weekend free-for-all – October 29-30, 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.)

Book recommendation of the week: The Wangs vs. the World, by Jade Chang. A wealthy family find themselves broke and embark on a cross-country car trip that is far more interesting and poignant than you think it will be.

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

{ 869 comments… read them below }

  1. Katie*

    Anyone else not able to drive? I’d be interested to know how it impacts your life.

    I just found out I’m not allowed because my eyesight’s not good enough and I’m pretty bummed. I feel like it’s going to be important for jobs and independence and lots of things, and it’s just something I always assumed I’d eventually do. (I’m 22 but only just got around to trying to get my license now.)

    1. Claire (Scotland)*

      I don’t drive, just because I never wanted to so I didn’t bother learning. I’m 40 now and I don’t care that I don’t drive, as it’s made no real difference to me. I live in a city with excellent public transport. I take the bus or walk everywhere. I can get trains or buses or planes for longer journeys, and I can afford taxis if I need to.

      I don’t know what it’s like where you are, Katie, but not driving hasn’t affected my work or my independence in the least. I hope you can find alternatives that let you live your life the way you want to.

    2. AshK434*

      Sorry to hear that! I have my license but choose not to drive because I hate it so much. I think a lot of this will depend on your location. I’ve lived in NYC and currently live in Boston and I’ve never really needed a car since both cities have relatively good public transportation systems. On a day-to-day basis I don’t feel like not having a car impacts my independence. However, I don’t plan on staying in Boston forever and I feel pretty limited in where I can move to next because I really don’t want to drive ever again.

    3. Sarahnova*

      It doesn’t have to affect your life but I’d definitely prioritise living in a city with strong public transport connections, because living in a car-dependent location can definitely leave you very limited. I got my license at 17, but I barely drove between 18 and 30 because as a Londoner I never needed it. I only got a car and started driving again when I got a job out in the sticks. (I could still get the train out there, but the connections are rubbish.)

      1. Katie*

        I guess this is one of my bigger concerns. I live in a city now, with good public transport, but I’m studying social work. And now I’m scared because pretty much every social work job ad I see says driving license. I also wanted to go rural after graduating. There’s heaps of opportunities in outback towns in need of social workers and now I guess that’s off the cards. But I know this is the non-work thread so I don’t mean to go too far down that path. (Sorry, AAM.)

        1. ck*

          You can work at the hospital in these rural areas. They always need very good social workers. Look into programs from loan forgiveness, if this is needed for you.

          Most of us have to adapt our career choices based on our skill set. Driving is just another skill, and honestly…. your lifetime health projections probably just improved by not driving! Most of us will be in an accident, and some very serious, in our lifetime. Driving is the most dangerous thing most of us do every day, and most of us never think about it.

          My father is now severely disabled after being hit by someone. I was hospitalized after being hit by a drunk driver, and now have permanent injuries. My major city has so many deaths from car accidents that they don’t even mention them on the news….

    4. C Average*

      I can drive, but I’ve gone long stretches without driving. In my twenties, I didn’t want the expense of a car and chose not to have one. I did wind up getting shut out of a couple of jobs because they wanted the person in the role to have “reliable transportation,” and my own two feet weren’t good enough. And I did have to make some careful choices about the proximity of home to work. So in that respect, it limited me a bit. I also had to come up with creative approaches to things like grocery runs (I had an actual red wagon I used) and getting to places like the airport (I’d arrange a taxi or ask a friend, always offering gas money or other incentives).

      More recently, I’ve settled in a place with great public transportation, and I’m in a walkable part of town. Although I have a car, it sits parked a lot, and people I know are sometimes surprised to learn that I own one. It hasn’t been a major issue. I think at my old job, people were sometimes annoyed that I never provided rides but always accepted them from others, but I tried to always be a considerate passenger–offering gas money, buying coffee, explaining that I don’t really like to drive and tend to be an anxious driver, particularly with passengers.

      There are definitely people for whom driving is central to their identity, and they’ll tell you they think it’s weird that you don’t drive and offer up “solutions” you may not particularly want, or talk about how they can’t imagine not driving. They’re annoying and deserve to be ignored. Life without wheels is perfectly doable in many, many places.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          Me, too. It reminds me of an old 1970’s newspaper clipping that we’ve kept of my recently-divorced young mother walking to the grocery store. It shows her pulling my brother and me in a wagon and pushing my baby sister in a stroller, while the family dog trots alongside.

        2. C Average*

          True story: I got downsized from my job and had to haul all my stuff home in my red wagon. Talk about a walk of shame.

    5. Creag an Tuire*

      If you live in an area with decent public transport it shouldn’t be a big issue, especially if your non-driving is a legit ADA issue as opposed to a personal choice.

      That said, you mentioned you only found this out when you tried to get your license — so I take it you failed the DMV’s vision test? Have you seen a doctor/optometrist to see if your condition is correctable?

      1. Katie*

        Not correctable unfortunately :( I already wear contact lenses and they help a lot. (I can’t see a bloody thing without them.) But my eyes still don’t focus properly. I didn’t think it was so bad that I woudn’t be able to drive but apparently it is.

      2. Katie*

        I don’t think I did a very good job of explaining that, sorry. Basically, my optometrist has been referring me to an opthalmologist for ages but I didn’t go because they cost like a billion dollars. I finally went recently and the ophthalmologist can’t find anything wrong with my eyes that explains the poor vision.

        He thinks that my eyesight never developed properly in the first place because I didn’t have glasses when I was a kid. I didn’t have an eye test at all till I was 16, when I had two job trials for part time jobs and they both told me that I couldn’t see and to go get glasses. (Prior to that I didn’t realise how bad it was because that was my normal. I didn’t know that the world could look a different way.)

        But he told me the visual system and the brain mature alongside each other and the brain requires high quality visual stimuli from the eyes to learn how to process images. And because I couldn’t see properly while my visual system was developing, my brain and my eyes never learnt how to work together properly. And so my brain only knows how to process blurry images and now even when you add glasses it doesn’t really know what to do. So essentially both my eyes are lazy but I’m too old to do anything about it because vision therapy for lazy eyes is only really effective when you’re still developing.

        1. Mimmy*

          Me again :)

          This is actually quite fascinating and gave me a thought:

          I was also born with a slight hearing impairment but didn’t get hearing aids until I was nearly 24 despite years of attempts by my family, professionals and my now-husband in getting me to get them. Like your vision, I think my brain probably never really learned to properly process sound. I do function better with hearing aids, no question, but I sometimes wonder how I’d be had I gotten them when my hearing system was still developing.

          1. EmmaLou*

            Yes, this. My varied and yet, incredibly dull, medical history has taught me that there are better doctors than others and some that just know different things and test different things. (The pulmonologist who didn’t notice that I had pneumonia. The Internal Specialist who gave me a life deadline. N.B. Years later I seem to still be alive.)

            1. Dynamic Beige*

              x infinity +1

              No person is perfect. Doctors are people. They are just as capable of making a mistake or having a bad day or not being as talented/practiced as anyone else.

              You might also want to read about brain plasticity. There’s a whole bunch of research being done on it right now that is calling into question long-held beliefs in the brain’s capacity to rewire itself.

              FWIW, I found out I needed glasses in fifth grade. Somehow, they figured out I couldn’t read the blackboard and moved me to the front row (I don’t remember the day it happened). So I’m kind of surprised (and yet not surprised) that you fell through the cracks.

              1. HoVertical*

                I’ve had glasses since the age of 5. I actually now don’t require them to drive, because I need them for far-away objects. Passed the vision test for the DMV without them, but I told the test administrator to please leave the restriction on, because I’ve had head injuries and it could revert to ‘absolutely need them’ any time without warning. That made her eyebrows go into her hairline!

          2. blackcat*

            Yes, get a second opinion. I’ve developed some eye problems, and I am currently going through the very, very weird process of changing which of my eyes is dominant (everyone has a dominant eye–you can google ways to figure out which one it is for you). My brain started doing it on its own, which surprised my ophthalmologist given my age (almost 30), but he has recommended exercises to help it along (because this middle ground is AWFUL). He also has said “Brains are amazing and unpredictable.”

            You are 22. It is a bit late for your brain to adapt, but it might not be too late. Get a second opinion.

            Also, I was nearly blind until age 7. I listened really well and had learned to function well, so my second grade teacher was the first person to discover I couldn’t see anything. Getting glasses was revolutionary. My vision was clear immediately, and I remember going “WHAT ON EARTH IS THIS?!?!” looking around at the world. Like you, I had no idea that the world wasn’t just blurry to everyone.

            I’m still correctable to 20/20 in one eye and was correctable in the other until very recently.

          3. Camellia*

            Yes, second opinion. I had to go through correction in stages, waiting for my eyes and brain to adapt throughout multiple eye surgeries. Now my vision is the best it has been in years, dominance has switched from left to right eye, and brain has adapted to mostly ignoring input from the left eye. And I’m 60 years old!

        2. Someone*

          Research your condition some more, if you haven’t already. I remember reading an article by a woman who had grown up without stereoscopic vision and managed to get it corrected as an adult so there might be developing treatments out there. The brain is far less plastic as an adult, but can still sometimes be tricked.

          1. IowaGirl*

            Yes, that book is called Fiximg My Gaze and vision therapy CAN be helpful for adults. OP, it may be worth a second look for you.

        3. Wehaf*

          There are VR therapies now for this (I’ve been following their development as I have the same problem, although in perhaps a mild form – I can drive, for example) and they are far more successful than people thought vision therapies for adults could ever be. When I have a bit more money I am going to pursue these in earnest. One company to look at is See Vividly, and there is an interesting article on the company/therapy (including comments on how many doctors still think there are no therapeutic options) here: http://qz.com/489048/an-entrepreneur-is-using-virtual-reality-headsets-to-try-to-cure-vision-disorders/

          There are certainly areas in which not having a license will be a significant impediment, however, self-driving car technology is getting very good – there should be commercially available self-driving cars within a decade, so this may be a short-term problem for you, if it is a problem at all.

    6. all aboard the anon train*

      It honestly depends on where you live. I’ve lived in cities with great public transportation or the ability to walk most places, and it’s never impacted my life. When I look for new jobs I make a point of only looking at jobs that are on public transit or that I can get to via walking or biking. I don’t have the money for a car and I don’t want to fight for parking in my city neighborhood (and also do not have a cool half a million to buy a parking space).

      But I grew up in the suburbs where the only form of public transportation was the school bus. You needed a car for everything – groceries, doctor’s appointments, banks, everything. There were no buses or taxis or trains. So people who didn’t drive needed to depend on others. I drove and while I didn’t mind driving my friends around, I know some of them were pretty annoyed at the lack of independence and need to rely on people for rides.

    7. Red*

      I don’t drive because cars are expensive. Life is still good, I’m just reading a book on the bus instead of cursing at traffic. No big deal, and I still have a job.

    8. bridget*

      If it hasn’t been a real problem for your jobs or independence so far, my guess is that you live in a city that is pretty friendly to non-drivers. (I definitely felt like I could not have held down my high school job or been at all independent without a drivers license the moment I turned 16). In my city (Los Angeles – notorious for being car-focused), it’s really not too much trouble to go without a car if you are careful about where you live and work. I have a car, but I walk, ride my bike, and take busses, trains, and Ubers* most places.

      *Ubers, specifically pools, are very inexpensive in my neighborhood; I know they aren’t everywhere. I can often get a pool fare for less than the cost of a typical bus ticket. Having a car is expensive, and is often a hidden or invisible cost to a lot of people. But if you aren’t spending money every month on a car payment, parking, gas, car insurance, and maintenance, that’s probably at least a couple hundred dollars worth of money you are saving that you could put towards other forms of transportation.

      I’d just say to choose a career path that is generally found in major cities, not rural areas (you can’t really be a non-driving ranch hand, for example). I bet you will be fine.

      1. MissDisplaced*

        I worked with a NYC-to-LA transplant who didn’t drive by personal choice. As you said, she was also pretty much fine, and that was even before Uber and Lyft came about. She did the bus/taxi and sometimes friends for lifts and walked a lot (no bikes for her for some reason).
        So, it’s not as bad as you think if you stay located in a fairly urban city.

        But I would get a 2nd or 3rd opinion on your condition. It may be correctable, or it may be correctable in the near future.

        1. HoVertical*

          There are people who never learned how to ride a bicycle. My oldest son never bothered to learn, and my daughter can’t, because she has an inner-ear thing that throws her balance all to heck. She can drive just fine, though.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            When my siblings and I were kids, we spent a summer living in a rental house it in the country while our house was being rebuilt after a house fire. Our neighbor, an older, sixty-ish lady, told us that she wished she had learned, but she never had a bike as a child. We taught her to ride, and she went out and bought herself her own bicycle.

    9. RKB*

      As someone who drives, I take public transit or walk as often as I can. I haaaaate driving. Not so much the act itself but other drivers make me so anxious and upset. One bad moment on the road WILL ruin my day. Though I live somewhere where driving is a must, if I could get by without it, I totally would.

    10. designbot*

      I was car-free for about five years, rode my bicycle EVERYWHERE. It wound up just becoming a quirk that people accepted about me, and I’ve never been healthier. It could definitely be annoying especially in terms of re-calculating routes or what happened if things didn’t go the way I planned (e.g. I wound up further from home than expected, the weather was bad, or something like that) but this was in the days before everyone had a smart phone, and uber didn’t exist yet. So I feel like it would actually be much easier now.

      1. fposte*

        If her eyesight isn’t good enough to drive, though, biking may not be a wise plan either. It’s hard enough to negotiate traffic on a bike with average vision.

    11. Elizabeth West*

      I didn’t get my license until I was 32, mostly because I didn’t have a car. The best thing about driving myself is that I can get in the car and go–I don’t have to wait for a ride, try to arrange a ride, etc. I live in a place with little to no public transport, just buses that take forever and don’t run at night. I would prefer to take public transport more often, but that just isn’t feasible here.

      As I get older, I’m getting really nervous about what will happen when I can no longer drive. I really need to find some way I can afford to live where there is good transport because I have no one (god that’s depressing ugh).

      1. HoVertical*

        I absolutely know what you mean, Elizabeth. Our public transit where I live is ridiculous, outdated, and slower than cold molasses – and the buses stop running at 7 PM! Most of the drivers are retirees, and there are about 8 buses total to cover 40 square miles. The furthest out the bus goes from the center of town is to the next village, which is ~ 6 miles away. The larger city to the south of us has 24-hour bus services.

    12. NewCommenterfromDaBronx*

      Two of my adult children are limited to day time driving only due to uncorrectable visual impairment. Definitely affected them as teenagers /young adults living in our unwalkable suburb with almost no public transportation options. They both have had to make very conscious choices on where to live & work as adults. That being said, they both are happily employed in good living situations.

    13. Florida*

      I have epilepsy. I can drive now, but there have been times where I couldn’t. Public transportation in my city sucks, so I depended on other people for rides. In my cases, I knew that I would be allowed to drive again in six months, so it was tolerable. If it were going to be a permanent thing, I would probably have moved to a city with better transportation.

      I will say that when people know you can’t drive for medical reasons, they are much more helpful than if they think your license was suspended for some act on your part. Usually I would tell people I can’t drive right now. Sometimes they would ask, “Was your license suspended?” (This was asked in a joking, but also serious tone.) I would say, “No, I had a seizure so by law I can’t drive for six months.” Their whole demeanor changed. (Wow, that sucks. Let me know if you need a ride home. Etc. etc.)

      1. Florida*

        Just thought of something. Depending on the severity of your vision situation, you may qualify for paratransit. Look into that. It is door-to-door service, but it is much cheaper than a taxi. Usually it operates like a taxi, but charges about as much as a bus route.
        Even if you don’t use it on a regular basis, you might want to get qualified for it so you can use it when you need to.

        1. Mimmy*

          I second the suggestion of looking into paratransit. It can be a bit of pain at times, but it is cheaper than a cab or even Uber. I’ve been using my paratransit service for 20 years in two different counties. Thus, you sometimes get to build a rapport with long-time drivers who see you for YOU and not your disability.

      2. C Average*

        Interesting! I have a good friend who’s epileptic and has never maintained a seizure-free streak long enough to get her license. (She had her first seizure in her mid-twenties, and had enjoyed driving up until that time. She’s now in her mid-thirties.)

        Her condition has definitely affected her life choices. She lives in a suburb of Washington, D.C. and can walk nearly everywhere she needs to go on a day-to-day basis. She can take the train into the city. She’s got three kids who all attend school close to her condo. She lives near her in-laws, who are retired and provide her with a lot of support. She works remotely, so commuting isn’t an issue.

        Florida is so right about presenting this in terms of a disability. People will be way more understanding and way more eager to help.

    14. AcidMeFlux*

      I was born in mid-town Manhattan and moved to a major European capital with great public transit (and a screwed up way of getting a driver’s licence) so I’m totally undriverable. I think it’s why I’ve stayed in Yurp.

      1. Violet Rose*

        I moved from a suburb of LA (where the Car Is King) to a smallish city in Europe that is best navigated by bike – expat high-5! I’m curious what this screwed-up way of getting a drivers license is, though – I think in Britain, at least, it’s pretty similar to the states.

    15. SAHM*

      Similar experience to the others. I grew up in an area with a good bus system (probably bc it’s a college town) and moved to a city with excellent public transportation for college. I also had a boyfriend who would drive me anywhere I wanted to go so it really didn’t affect me. I did get my license two days before my eldest son was born bc I didn’t want to drag a baby on the bus with me everywhere.

    16. K.*

      My grandmother never learned to drive. She was a lifelong New Yorker so never needed to (although others in our family, including my grandfather, did drive). I grew up in Philly and got my license at 16, but I used my feet or PT more than I drove (didn’t have my own car and we lived right on a bus route). Then I lived in NYC for ten years so never drove (although I did keep my license current), and then came back to Philly and had a job in a suburb that was completely inaccessible via PT, so I got a car. No longer have the job; still have the car but drive it far less.

      If you live and work in a city with good PT, you really don’t need to drive. Since you can’t drive, I think you’ll need to make it a priority to live somewhere that allows you not to, or live close enough to your work that you can walk or bike. Social work may make the latter tough since social workers are on the move a lot.

      1. Mimmy*

        I’m not Katie but I got an MSW knowing full well that most jobs require being on the go – yeeeeeeeah I shoulda listened to my gut when it was screaming at me to find another path :/

    17. Mimmy*

      I too have a vision impairment that prevents me from getting a drivers license. I was born with cataracts; they were removed when I was an infant but was not given lens implants. I read your replies below, and your ophthalmologist’s explanation is really fascinating – I’ll reply separately.

      Anyway, to answer your question: Yes, it has greatly impacted my life. I have other disabilities too, and I think independence wasn’t really encouraged by my family (even during college, my friend often walked with me to my classes). I had wanted to eventually learn to use the bus system, so when my mom insisted on signing me up for paratransit services, I was not pleased. Twenty years later, I’m actually grateful for that extra independence, though I live near a walkable distance to a bus stop, so I use the regular bus if a stop isn’t too far from my ultimate destination and I’m comfortable walking to it by myself.

      Not being able to drive has also affected my career, but since this is the weekend thread, I won’t get too much into that.

      Living in an area with a good public transportation system is definitely a consideration. It doesn’t necessarily have to be right in a major city, like NYC. You’d think that’d open up many doors, but because of my other disabilities, the thought of navigating a large city by myself is bewildering at best. Plus, their paratransit system is notoriously terrible.

      Feel free to ask me any questions – I can absolutely empathize :)

    18. Caledonia*

      I don’t drive and have no wish to either.

      Where I live at the moment is a bit of a pain (small town, far away from supermarkets) and the transport options stop running about 11 pm at night but other than that, it’s fine. It’s far better now, when you can do your supermarket shopping online, you can order clothes, furniture etc online.

    19. Myrin*

      I have a licence but I haven’t driven a car in six years. We don’t have a car because we’re poor but honestly, I’m at a point in my life where I don’t think I’ll ever get a car even if I wind up having the money for it. I live in a rural area but we have a good train system running (and a less good bus system, but it reliably takes me to the butcher’s nonetheless) which is essential, at least during the winter (I bike everywhere during the summer, including the supermarket; I have two huge bags for my bike and everything). The very few times I actually need to be somewhere the train doesn’t go I either take a taxi or have a friend drive me. I can totally see the advantage of having a car – it’s nice to just fall out of the house right into your car and just go – but honestly, I like the structure that having to use public transit gives me. But I know that I’m someone who’s content with very little and that many people aren’t like that.

      1. Mander*

        I have a US license but stupidly didn’t convert it to a UK license when I moved here, because I didn’t need a car and didn’t want to spend the money. So I haven’t driven on a regular basis for about 12 years now because it’s just too expensive to get a car here given that I don’t have a reliable income.

        That said, the public transportation here (Newcastle then London) is great so it is usually only a hindrance when I want to either go buy something big or want to go off the beaten track. However I would have more job options if I had a car. I do miss driving but it just isn’t feasible for me at the moment. I do want to get a license, though, because I’m tired of not having the option if my circumstances change.

        My husband has never had a license, partly because of an eye condition but mostly because he is too overwhelmed by traffic to feel safe. He has developed an incredible encyclopedic knowledge of how to get places on public transportation, though, so there are very few places we’ve wanted to go that we haven’t figured out how to get to. That said he wouldn’t take a job that relied on being able to get around in a car.

    20. Felix*

      I technically have a license but haven’t driven in over a decade due to the cost of car ownership (student loans ) I take public transit everywhere and have also made conscious choices about where I live in distance to work/groceries. I’m about a 10 min walk to three different bus routes and a 15 min walk to the grocery store.

      I would say it’s totally a doable to live without a car, but bc my city doesn’t have excellent transit it has limited some of my activities. Commuting to work is fine, but I often find myself passing on post-work activities if it requires more than one bus transfer. Similarly I’m only able to go hiking or other out of town activities when a friend can drive us.

      I second what everyone is saying- you can totally have an amazing life without car, but you may need to move to a city with great transit options!!

    21. Jenbug*

      I don’t drive because of my panic disorder. It hasn’t really caused me too many issues. I’m lucky to have supportive family and friends. And I love Uber.

    22. Kimberlee, Esq*

      I second all the calls re: cities with public transit. I don’t drive, just because I never got around to learning and now I’m scared of it. :) But, I also live in Washington DC, and between busses, metro and Uber/Lyft, I can get wherever I want whenever I want. It was worse when I lived in Idaho and Oregon; I was much more dependent on others to get to work or shopping or whatever. If you don’t live in a city with good transit now, make it your goal to move, it’ll open your whole world up.

    23. Franzia Spritzer*

      I haven’t had a drivers license for about 12 years. In that time I have lived in Oakland CA, Seattle, and Portland OR, all of which either had good transit, good walkability and or are good for cycling, walking and cycling are my two main modes of transportation, public transit as needed which has served me well enough that I have never needed a cab or uber/lyft (I will ride in fancy clothes). I live in Durham NC now and while I can get around without a car, I see most job listings stating that they require a DL. (I asked a while back under a different name if this practice was an effed up hiring filter.) Not having a drivers license has, I think, impacted my ability to get a job, eliminating a number of jobs I’d be otherwise qualified for. I’m not young, (I’m not old either), and in all of my 30+ years of working I’ve never been required to have a DL to work before I came here*. If you live in a good sized city with good public transportation you’ll probably do just fine.

      If you are amenable to bicycling, consider getting yourself an entry level hybrid bike and kit it out with good baskets on the front and back. I put huge Wald^ baskets on my bike and have hauled ridiculous grocery loads including cat litter, full laundry loads, and figured out how to commute with my art portfolio, I carried a new 27″ iMac onto the back, that thing doesn’t even fit in my DH’s car, and one time I took my cat to the vet. Not having a DL doesn’t have to be limiting.

      *I understand, through work I’ve done with a policy institute here, NC has some messed up labor laws and practices, some businesses specifically use drivers licensing as a way to vet unauthorized workers. That is a big ol’ gnarly ball of wax of it’s own, I’m only stating it as a validating point.

      ^In case anybody is curious, Wald 535 Rear Large Twin Basket, and the Wald 157 Giant Delivery Basket. They’re unglamorous but the load I can cary is legit massive.

    24. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      My 30 year old cousin just learned to drive last year and in between ages 16 to now she’s gone to college, worked for the NIH, and graduated from med school near the top of her class. Driving is awfully convenient in parts of California but you can totally do well without it in any place with decent transit options.

    25. Lissa*

      I also can’t drive due to vision. I find the most irritating thing honestly is people trying to convince me I should “try anyway”..I’m really not comfortable with the idea of driving with my vision impairment, and telling me “oh, my grandmother had [specific impairment] and she drove!” Ok, that’s nice, but I’m not comfortable with it and it’s frustrating to have people try to convince me otherwise!

      I live in a medium-sized city, and it’s mostly fine. I walk or bus everywhere, and having to walk actually forces me to get some exercise where I would normally be a slug who stayed in her apartment playing video games all day, so there’s that. I have two regular work locations (I work in post secondary and there are two campuses), one within walking distance and the other I bus to. I find if there’s public transit, it’s probably fine for work. The bus system where I am closes down at around midnight, which isn’t a problem for me now that I am older and boring, but in the past when I used to do clubbing I’d try to remember to always give my friends gas money if they drove, and never expect it.

      I’m so used to it by now it is just a fact of life for me, but I can imagine it would be harder for somebody who was used to driving and then couldn’t anymore.

    26. Finny*

      I used to be able to drive, though I always hated doing so. I no longer can drive, as I’m now legally blind. I prefer not driving, honestly. I use public transit. Fortunately Calgary has very good transit, and lots of stuff is also in walkable distance from where I live.

      The husband is also legally blind (he was originally totally blind, but was the first person who ever had congenital cataracts removed as a child), and has been dealing with this for much longer than I have. He helps me figure stuff out when I have trouble.

      Please feel free to ask any questions you like of either myself or the husband.

      1. Mimmy*

        I’m not the OP but I have a question: Did your husband get lens implants after the cataracts were removed? I too had congenital cataracts which were removed when I was an infant, but was not given implants.

        1. Finny*

          Nope, he’s not got lens implants, as they were not available in 1976. He was two when he had his cataracts removed, as he was the first human patient to have the surgery. His younger brother had the same procedure five years later at a couple months old and is not legally blind but is visually impaired.

    27. Shayland (ActualName)*

      I also can not drive. I’m 19 and I never learned how. My disability makes it difficult to judge distance and speed, so while walking to school I often got hit by cars (going slowly and breaking) when trying to cross the road in a school zone. I did try to learn, but I never got comfortable behind the wheel and couldn’t handle sharing the road with anyone, not even cyclist or people walking.

      It also turns out that I have a seizure disorder, and while it is non-epileptic, that might also exclude me from getting a license, I don’t know.

      Anyway, I choose to go to school in the middle of the city specifically because I would have an easier time traveling. Still, I needed to get a service dog so I could even use the busses and train system. And I love it. I feel incredibly free. I go to doctor’s offices all the time, I go into the suburbs to do my service dog training, and I take the bus to therapy and to work.

      I really do love it, and I’m spending less than $70 a month. It is do-able.

    28. Jen*

      I didn’t read all of the comments so apologies if this was mentioned, but self driving cars aren’t that far off- I bet in your lifetime, you could get one! I have no idea what kind of license you need but even if it’s not for a decade or so I bet it will be an option.

    29. JustAnotherAnalyst*

      I have not driven in a decade although I have my driving permit, which I just use as ID card. Cycling and walking are my main modes of transportation. My city is also decent for public transportation. Getting my driving permit was challenging for me since I was born with a vision problem, too. That problem was diagnosed in elementary school, but some of the wiring in my brain did not happen. I had therapy for dyspraxia, but my hand-eye coordination is poor and I get nervous quickly in traffic. Cycling is however easier because I am not constantly afraid of inflicting harm on someone else. Other than that, I rely on my partner for driving. My career requires zero driving.

    30. aelle*

      I have a license but I don’t drive (I never got much practice and I’m not very good at it to be honest). It’s fine. I’ve chosen to live in cities and countries with good public transportation, and it has always worked out.

    31. Umvue*

      *raises hand* I don’t drive because I’m not good at it and it makes me anxious. I live in a small city with public transit that’s fairly good for its size. It limits me some in terms of what jobs I can seek (some places are inaccessible and others would require a difficult commute) but in my fifteen years here I’ve always been able to find something that works. I picked apartments (and later a house) based on general walkability and also proximity to grocery stores. You may find walkscore.com a nice tool for finding places that are friendly to non-drivers.

      One place where I am starting to run up against annoying limits: child-rearing. I have a four year old and we’ve made it a priority to pick childcare and activities that either of us can get her to, but it does restrict our schooling choices a bit – I think it’ll make us less likely to pursue private school than we would be otherwise, and if she’s really not thriving at the local public it’s something that might actually convince me to get behind the wheel again.

      All of this hinges a bit on privilege, though: the kind of neighborhoods I can live in are expensive. I think if we made less money it would be more of a hardship not to drive. But in a large city the calculus might be different.

  2. C Average*

    Is anyone else planning to do NaNoWriMo this year? I did it last year and had a lot of fun with it, so I’m planning to do it again next year.

    1. all aboard the anon train*

      Yes! I think I’m going to write a bunch of short stories this year instead of a longer novel. Mostly because I want to play with narrative styles. I’ve been doing it since 2004 and while I don’t always finish, I enjoy it each year (also, seeing 10+ years of writing and how I’ve evolved is both cringe-worthy and amazing).

      1. C Average*

        Wow, that’s a lot of words. Impressive! (And, like you say, potentially cringe-worthy.)

        Good luck! I’m torn between what I feel like I should do (use the month to finally complete revisions of my novel from last year, which I think is actually good enough to be a viable project) and what I’m tempted to do (write something totally new). Cannot decide. It may come down to a coin toss.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      I can’t this year; I have too much going on in November. A writing conference the first week and this year we have to do the family thing on Turkey Day because my dad is turning 80. It’s a horrible month to do it, actually!

      I will probably begin the Tunerville sequel soon, however. Even if I’m not doing NaNo, it’s a good reason to excuse myself if the family visit starts turning to crap (or people start discussing politics). “Well, that’s nice, but I have to go work now! See you in a couple of hours or so!” >:)

      1. EmmaLou*

        It is too early… I read that as it’s a terrible month for your dad to be 80 and thought, “But he can’t help that… Oh.. nevermind…” More mocha…

      2. C Average*

        So when WOULD be a good month to turn 80? I’m a Scorpio, too, and I think it’s a pretty good sign!

        In all seriousness, I think part of the reason I want to do NaNo again, and actually got a lot done last November, is because it gives me a framework to announce to the fam, “Okay, I’m gonna go write for ten hours now. See you tonight.” And everyone is okay with it. Normally I’d feel really guilty doing this, but it’s just a month and they know it and I know it. It’s kind of like marathon training: it’s temporary, so it’s somehow a pass to neglect at least a few of my normal responsibilities.

    3. hermit crab*

      I’ve wanted to do it for years, but November is always hugely busy season at work so the timing just doesn’t work for me. If it comes down to writing or sleeping, I will choose sleeping, I’m not that dedicated! I am cheering everyone on in spirit.

    4. Nynaeve*

      Yes! This will be my 10th year doing it! Wow, time flies. I don’t have any good ideas yet, but that’s never stopped me before. :)

      Rachael Stephen has a helpful five-part video series on YouTube explaining her outlining process. Maybe next year I’ll try outlining instead of winging it.

        1. Nynaeve*

          I believe you! I don’t know why I’ve resisted outlining for so long, but I have, so here I am with the hottest of hot mess novels. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day!

        2. C Average*

          I’ve never NOT outlined anything I’ve written; even so, I’ve always, always had things crop up in my story that were not in the outline and that surprised me. And I’ve always gone with them. Is your experience similar? I am thinking of trying to be more disciplined this year, and telling the minor characters who try to get bigger roles, “Yeah, no, you’re not on the guest list” and telling the unplanned plot twists, “Sorry, you were not in the outline.”

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I have often thought that my writing transports me to some where that I have not always planned on. It’s as if it has a life of its own. And I found this just with writing papers for school, I cannot imagine what would happen if I wrote for any other reason.

    5. Felicia*

      I did it last year and I really want to this year, though with a bunch of stuff happening in November I don’t know if I’ll get to 50K. But it’ll be good for me to write every day, and at least I have an idea thats developed this year

    6. Talvi*

      I can’t this year :( I started doing it in 2006 and hit 50K almost every year until I started grad school… I can’t wait until I graduate and have time in November again!

    7. Oryx*

      Me! I’ve tried it past years but inevitably give up. I’m really determined this time to see it through.

      1. C Average*

        What hangs you up?

        I’ve only done it once–and I actually wrote 80k words!–and the stuff that helped me was this:

        –Events. Lots of write-ins and get-togethers.
        –Connecting with other writers and encouraging each other.
        –The tyranny of the word count.
        –Planned ass-in-seat-time appointments, which I kept religiously.
        –A detailed outline broken down into per-day goals.

        It helped that I had a story with a very tight plot and a lot of momentum toward an ending I very much looked forward to writing. Seriously. Every single day, while I was running or driving to the cafe to write or taking a shower, I’d think about how much closer I was to the final scene where it all comes together. That was by far my biggest motivator.

    8. The Other Dawn*

      I did it last year for the first time…and haven’t written since. I may do it again so I can write some more. Not a real novel or anything. It’s really about my life an obese person and my gastric bypass surgery. Since I’ll be going in for the skin removal in February, I’m thinking I might start writing about that process.

    9. rozin*

      Me! I did it last year and succeeded (woo hoo!), but that was on an already started novel. This year I’m starting from scratch (though I do have an outline) and it will be interesting to see how it goes.

    10. Anono-me*

      You seem to be an incredible step parent and wise. Please consider writing the book on step parenting ( referenced in another coment) and then please please publish it quickly?

      And please announce it here?(If permited.)

    11. anonstradamus*

      I am going to try this year, though I don’t know where I am going to find the time. I have a maybe 1 page outline and not a good sense of how things will end in my storyline but we shall see.

  3. sillypilly*

    Relationship question! I know there are a couple of poly people on here so help me out please:

    I dont personally identify as poly, but I’ve been casually dating for a while and I’ve always been open to the idea of dating someone who is, mainly because I’m not looking for something really serious right now. So ofcourse, I meet someone who is poly and has a primary, turns out we click really well, and now I’m floundering a bit with feelings. I’ve done some reading and been around enough of the internet to have some idea of how this works, and I know I just need to sit down and talk with them about this.

    But I guess the part which I struggle with is..the prioritisation as it were? One thing thats super important to me in a relationship is knowing that you have someone you can rely on when you need it. So I’m curious how it actually works in practise. Is there a hierarchy of needs (hah)? How do you even start that conversation? How do you work the logistics of spending time together without…feeling like your stepping on someone elses toes as it were?

    Any insight into the practicalities and how to have a sensible conversation about this are more than welcome! (And also affirmation that no, I’m really not just constantly going to be playing runner-up would be nice…I know that one is just in my head but jerkbrain feelings can be strong sometimes….)

    1. Allison Mary*

      Read this thoroughly, and for whichever parts of it resonate with you, have a clear conversation with your new paramour to make sure you are both on the same page about how you will operate in your relationship:

      https://solopoly.net/2012/11/27/non-primary-partners-tell-how-to-treat-us-well/

      It’s lengthy, but I’d really encourage you to read it top to bottom. I wish I’d read this before I got into my first serious non-primary relationship with someone.

      1. Allison Mary*

        In fact, some may see it as overkill, but I’d even recommend writing out your agreements with your new paramour, and then later showing it to them and saying, “Hey, just wanted to make sure I clearly understood everything we talked about. Does this seem accurate to you, based on our conversation?”

        If they are in any way decent at poly, they will not shy away from clear negotiations, and even written negotiations.

          1. Allison Mary*

            Hehe, oh yes. I’ve actually posted before about how I’ve applied Alison-esque phrasing and wording to MANY different personal-life situations, including poly navigation. :)

    2. Sparkly Librarian*

      A lot of the answers to your questions (which are very common concerns!) will depend on the relationship(s) involved. Some are very hierarchical, but some poly people reject hierarchy. Honest ongoing communication is essential.

      One thing thats super important to me in a relationship is knowing that you have someone you can rely on when you need it.
      This could mean different things to different people. In a hypothetical relationship (say, one with a person who already has a primary partner who lives with them), if you called in the middle of the night and said your pet was at the emergency vet and you needed comfort, they might be cool with coming to meet you (and their primary might be fine with that). But if you needed a ride to the airport, they might prioritize their primary partner’s need to be at work on time, attend an event as a couple, etc. and ask you to make your own arrangements. Airport ride reliability is something that is crucial to some people and would define the seriousness of a relationship, so if that were the case, that wouldn’t be a good match for you. But maybe if you’re “not looking for something really serious”, it wouldn’t be a hassle.

      How do you even start that conversation? “I’ve never dated multiple people before / been in a relationship with someone who’s already married, and I’m not sure how some things work, like making time for each other and not stepping on each other’s toes. Can you tell me about how this has worked for you and [partner]?”

      How do you work the logistics of spending time together without…feeling like your stepping on someone elses toes as it were?
      Some people swear by Google Calendar. :) Some sort of common scheduling system, anyway, can be very helpful. Managing your feelings about that may be separate from the logistical aspect. Sometimes having a regular time that is carved out specifically for a partnership can work fine — Wednesday nights are your date night, say, and everyone knows that and doesn’t schedule conflicting stuff on Wednesdays. Or maybe the primary partner has a Wednesday night commitment, and that’s WHY it’s available for date night.

      You’re in a common situation: person new to poly starting a relationship with someone who’s already in a poly/open relationship. There are a lot of online resources (e.g., http://www.morethantwo.com, http://www.polyweekly.com), and you might find a local group where you can ask questions.

      1. Connie-Lynne*

        All of the above!

        The way you start that conversation is by starting it! And it’s important to you and your new partner to have that conversation, especially so neither of you is ambushed by sudden hurt feelings.

        The only thing I want to add is that, if it turns out your new partner can’t be with you in the way you want them to — ie, you require “trip to the airport” being-there, and they prioritize other things — it is absolutely acceptable for you to say “this isn’t what I want, I can’t be in this relationship if this is how I am prioritized.” It doesn’t make you “bad at poly” or any of the other things people will sometimes say. You *both* get to choose which boundaries and expectations are important to you.

    3. Rocketship*

      To start, I highly recommend The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy. It’s a great introduction to polyamory if you’re not super familiar with it, and it really helped me feel better about having the kinds of conversations that one needs to have in such relationships. (Although personally, I think ALL relationships could benefit from conversations about boundaries, needs, wants, what makes you feel important, us-time vs. me-time, etc.)

      Really, being in a poly relationship is a lot like… being in a relationship. Maybe there are a few more moving parts, but ultimately what matters is that you feel safe, secure, appreciated and cared for. I often find it helpful to try and look at the situation as if it weren’t a poly relationship, to see if that changes the way I feel about it. For instance: I ask Pat out to a date on Friday, but Pat can’t go because of pre-existing plans with Robin. Maybe I feel rejected, because Robin is Pat’s primary and so it seems like I’m playing second fiddle. BUT – if Robin were just a friend of Pat’s, would I still feel that way? Probably not, because then I can see that the reason Pat can’t go out isn’t because of Feelings and Hierarchy, but just because the plans were already made.

      Conversely: what if Chris and I have a date set up, but Chris cancels because Alex wants to go out that night instead? If Chris and Alex are partners, I might be tempted to just go “Oh, no, that’s ok – Alex comes first because: primary.” But if they were just friends, it would be upsetting that Chris canceled on me in favor of Alex and rightfully so. Then it becomes more clear that Chris isn’t prioritizing me or being sensitive to my feelings and needs.

      These are, of course, over-simplified hypotheticals. But the point is: You are allowed to have wants and needs and boundaries regardless of what kind of relationship you have with someone, AND regardless of what kind of relationship they have with others. Being in a poly relationship doesn’t change that – if anything, it just means it’s even more necessary to communicate those things, because there’s less that one can assume about the nature of the relationship.

      So. I guess all that is to say that I agree with the above commenters: the best way to talk about it is soon, and often, and honestly. It’s good to honor the importance of the existing relationship(s) your new partner has, but don’t let that convince you to settle for less than what you want or need. A decent partner would not let you feel like you are constantly playing runner-up, or that you’ll always be less important than Primary Partner, if that’s going to hurt you and cause you distress. Be honest about what you want from them, and be willing to negotiate how best to make that work. It can take some trial and error, and most likely there will be missteps and hurt feelings here and there. But at the end of the day, a poly relationship is really just a relationship, and just like in any relationship it’s important that your partner treats you well.

      Best of luck, sillypilly – I hope it’s as wonderful for you as it has been for me!

    4. sillypilly*

      Thanks for all the feedback guys! I’d come across some of the resources before but not all, and I also have some food for thought re: things that are actually important to me (thanks Sparkly Librarian!)

  4. C Average*

    I’m excited for Halloween! Yes, I’m one of those dorky alleged adults who will never outgrow dressing up. I’ve spent the past couple of months creating a Catbus costume (those of you who have seen My Neighbor Totoro know what I’nm talking about), and on Monday I finally get to wear it! We dress up at my work (if we want to), and it’s looking like it will be a fun day.

    1. RKB*

      My parents immigrated from India and we never got the chance to do all of those classic North American childhood things. I never learnt to ride a bike, I went to Disney World when I was 19, Christmas wasn’t even a thing I knew about. But the biggest one I wish I had never missed out on was Halloween! I know it’s not too late to get involved but it is a bit too late to trick or treat!

      1. Jean*

        IMHO you haven’t missed a thing re Disney. Disclaimer: I’m speaking as a certified Disney-loather (aka grouch aka intellectual snob?) who was raised by Disney-loathing parents.* I neither visited Disney Anything as a child nor moved heaven and earth to take our own young ‘un several decades later. My brother, who did visit when his kid(s?) was (were?) young, told me with amazement that Disney even marked where one should stand on the pavement to take the perfect vacation picture. That was the nail in the coffin of my disdain for all things Disney. I’d rather never see Paris in my lifetime than be placated by some plastic reproduction of the Eiffel Tower in the middle of some amusement park.
        /Rant

        In real life I’m actually a fairly pleasant, cheerful person…

        * They refused to take us to the Fantasia movie because they didn’t want us to suffer their fate of forever envisioning dancing hippos whenever we heard a certain piece of classical music. They also passed on the belief that the original Winnie-the-Pooh illustrations–still available from Disney, describes these images as “classic Pooh”–are closest to the spirit of A.A. Milne’s writings.

        1. C Average*

          I’m not much for Disney, either. My stepkids are NUTS for Disney and I’ve come to enjoy Disney films a bit more after experiencing them with the kids, but there ain’t no way we’re ever visiting a Disney property.

          My sister and I got dragged to Disneyland when we were kids. We’d road-tripped to California with my parents, who had originally met in the Bay Area. We had this idyllic road trip down the coast and then camped at the beach, which was awesome, and then we stayed with some of my mom’s friends and they announced that as a special surprise, they’d gotten us tickets to Disneyland. We were like, “Uh, okay,” because we hadn’t seen any of the films and definitely weren’t fans.

          After a couple hours in hot, loud, sticky, expensive Disneyland, we plaintively asked my parents if we could bail and go back to the beach. My mother says she has never been so proud.

        2. ThatGirl*

          I mean, it’s fine if you don’t like Disney but… There’s no plastic reproduction of the Eiffel Tower in any U.S. Park, at least.

          While world showcase, at Epcot, is certainly a sanitized and monetized version of a cultural experience, they are staffed by people from whatever country and offer a brief taste of a new culture.

          And I don’t really understand the objection to marking where to take a good picture? There are marked photo spots at tourist attractions around the country…

          1. Elkay*

            I *think* Epcot does have a model version of the Eiffel Tower as part of the skyline France in the World Showcase, but you can’t go up to it. It’s not like the one in Vegas.

            If you want to be upset about being told where to stand for a photograph, don’t go to Paris because they have spots outside the Louvre for you to stand on for pictures.

          2. Jean*

            My preference to find my own take-a-picture spot is part of my overall view of life (why have a mind opinion when it’s possible to have a strong one?) but not the hill I want to die on. Sorry if my comment slid from outspoken to abrasive. :-/ I wasn’t trying to be offensive.

            I’ll go back to following Alison’s good examples for keeping it cordial here.

        3. catsAreCool*

          But the dancing hippos were cute!

          The lines are awful at Disneyland, but some of the rides are great. But to each their own.

        4. Old Hippie Granola Chick*

          I think Disney would have been fun when I was a child, but we lived far away and my parents only ever took us on a couple of vacations and never as far away as Disney Land. At this point it just seems so commercialized that I don’t think I would enjoy it.

          *There was a time, many years ago (when I was in college) that my friends and I enjoyed nothing so much as watching Fantasia after several tokes. Of course, I enjoyed pretty much anything after a couple of tokes.

      2. DoleWhip*

        I looooove Disney World! I went for the first time when I was 15 and it was a nightmare because my parents are buzzkills and did t want to go on any rides and wouldn’t eat me go alone, plus we went at a really busy time, and everyone was miserable. Then my husband, who grew up going to Disney World every two years, took me for my 27th birthday and it was the best time ever. I got to ride everything and get pictures with Pluto and Mickey Mouse and REMY (my favorite) and had a Mickey ice cream bar and it was just the most awesome time ever.

        We went to Palm Springs last year and drove into LA to go to Disneyland, where we spent about 11 hours and walked 13 miles and got to do the Haunted Mansion twice and it was also incredible.

        My 40th birthday happens to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Disney World, so we’ve already got vacation plans for 2021. :)

    2. Jean*

      My Neighbor Totorois awesome but I can’t quite remember the Catbus. Do you appear as large, bright yellow, friendly, and with a big warm toothy smile?

      1. C Average*

        Catbus is the creature/vehicle that rescues Mei at the end. And yes, he’s large with a toothy smile! I have a few finishing touches to complete and will figure out a way to post a picture when it’s all done.

        It’s been a bit of a complicated project. I made a large head that I wear–it’s designed somewhat like those toddler pumpkin costumes, but a lot more structured. The bus part is made from a large plastic storage bin. I cut window-holes in it and upholstered it with fake fur, and then attached a tail and paws. Four of the legs have wooden dowels inside and caster wheels under the paws. The bus attaches to the head and follows along behind.

        It’s nuts. It’s definitely getting reused at the local comic con next year.

    3. Jen RO*

      I just spent the morning Halloween shopping with two coworkers and had a blast! We are having a decorating contest at work on Monday and we plan to win! Costumes are optional, but we all bought some stuff. I’m going to be “generic dark lady”, i.e. I’m going to dress in all black, wear a black carnival mask and carry some black roses.

      Living in a country where Halloween is not traditionally celebrated, work gives me a great excuse to dress up so I am super excited!

    4. Ann Furthermore*

      We love Halloween too. We have quite the elaborate display in our front yard, and add to it each year. This year we got a 13 foot Stay Puft Marshmallow Man inflatable. It is so awesome. There’s an inflatable gargoyle thing too, which turns its head, and it reminds people of the demon dog from Ghostbusters. We also have a life-sized Frankenstein who groans and raises his arms, and a Wicked Witch of the West. They live on the front porch all through October, and then we move them to the driveway on Halloween night so the littler kids don’t get too freaked out.

      We hand out full-sized candy bars every year. There is nothing more fun than making a kid’s night by tossing a great big Snickers into their treat bag (or a Twix or Hershey’s bar, if someone has a nut allergy). Not surprisingly, ours is one of the most popular houses in the neighborhood. We also live in a very family friendly place, so lots of people bring their kids in from other areas to trick-or-treat. I have no problem with that…everyone wants their kids to be safe and have fun on Halloween, so I say the more the merrier.

      I ordered my daughter’s costume back in September. I do that early every year, so we can be sure of getting what we want. I can do many things, but making Halloween costumes is not, nor will it ever be, on that list. This year, my daughter picked a costume called Alien Abduction, which looks like her wearing jammies, with a green alien guy looking over her shoulder with his arms wrapped around her. It’s so cool.

  5. LawCat*

    Is anyone else watching HBO’s new show Westworld?

    It’s a slow burn, but my spouse and I have enjoyed it immensely and have had some spirited conversations on ethics and motivations of some characters (especially the characters played by Harris and Anthony Hopkins). We’ve also had conversations on what we’d do if we were visitors to Westworld.

    Anyone have any particular thoughts on the show? Other than my spouse, I don’t know anyone who watches so I’m interested in what others think of the show.

    **COMMENTS MAY HAVE SPOILERS**

    1. Kay*

      We’ve been enjoying it! I find that my partner and I differ most on how far we’re willing to take the conspiracy theories. He wants to think that everyone except Ford is a robot. I think it’s much more complicated than that.

      I did have some back and forth on the first two episodes – I can be sensitive to body horror and if they were going to do that every week I was going to tap out. But they’ve gone for much deeper and more thoughtful questions instead of just gross-out factor, and I really appreciate that.

      I kind of want Dolores to burn the whole thing to the ground, too.

      1. LawCat*

        We have not really thought everyone is a robot, but we thought maybe Ed Harris’ character might be (which got us on a whole thing of whether Arnold or Ford had released robots into the real world) and the center of the maze is only something the robots can find. I find I am more and more intrigued by Maeve because, as far as we’ve been shown, her development is entirely self-driven whereas Dolores is being studied and coached by Bernard.

        And then we get into debates about whether any of this seemingly “beyond programming” behavior really is the robots becoming conscious/self-aware/actually feeling emotion, or does it just look that way.

    2. Sunny Delite*

      Yes and I’m really enjoying it! The Man in Black is a fascinating character.

      Each guest can stay for 2 week max per visit and it costs $40,000 per day. Man in Black has been going to Westworld for 30 years. Is he a secret billionaire? If not, how does he do it?

      1. LawCat*

        I definitely get the impression that he is uber wealthy. Like the interest alone on his cash assets can more than fund a $40k/day vacation. We got a little hint that he’s possibility a well-known wealthy philanthropist when one of the guests approached him and mentioned the Man in Black’s foundation helping a family member of his.

    3. Pat Benetardis*

      You may like the blog “what’s Alan watching” on hit fix dot com. This is one of the shows he reviews and there are thoughtful comments.

      I only like the show a little but my husband loves it so I’ll keep going. I would have no desire to visit this place.

    4. Jen RO*

      I have been watching it since it started airing and I love it. Right now there is nothing I could point at as a flaw… so I hope the quality stays the same!

      (I am also getting a huge Dark Tower vibe, and I have a feeling that Westworld will be more Dark Tower-ish than the actual Dark Tower movie.)

      Also, if you are on Reddit, there are a lot of interesting discussions going on on /r/Westworld.

    5. Mike C.*

      I absolutely love it.

      Something I found out – Ford’s (Anthony Hopkin’s character) full name is Robert Ford. A name shared by the partner of Jesse James. Their relationship ended when Ford shot an unarmed James in the back of the head.

      I think this is not an accident and says something about the “accident” that Arnold suffered.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        Interesting! I had heard that name before, but did not connect the dots. I’m sure there’s some deeper meaning there.

    6. Edith*

      Here’s the thing that seemed obvious to me but absolutely no one else seems to have thought the same thing, leaving me quite confused:
      When Ford first spoke of Arnold he showed Bernard a photo of the two of them together and called Arnold his partner. Then in like the very next sentence he pointedly used the term “business partners” as if to differentiate it from “partner.” It was something like “My partner Arnold thought X, but our business partners thought Y.” I took this as clear indication that Arnold and Ford were romantic partners, but nobody in the forums I frequent or on the podcasts I listen to has even mentioned it as a possible interpretation. Did I really just read way way too much into it?

      I really like the idea of one of the main characters being out and it not being a big deal, so I’m a little sad it seems Ford and Arnold weren’t a couple.

      1. ZVA*

        I thought the same thing! Like you, I read a bunch of recaps hoping I wasn’t the only one this occurred to, but none of them mentioned it… I’m inclined to think the writers didn’t mean to make Arnold and Ford a couple, if only because of how the show has handled queerness in general so far (primarily woman-on-woman and in a way that feels to me like it was written by straight men)… but I wouldn’t rule it out either. I’d love casually out main character as well (I’d hoped the programmer—Elsie?—was gay but now I’m not sure) so I hope I’m wrong…

    7. DragoCucina*

      I’m enjoying it. The original movie is a lesser favorite. I wonder what Michael Chrichton would have thought of the storyline. Some of the ethical questions are in line with his writing. What makes a person a person has always intrigued me (thank you Star Trek:TOS).

      Ed Harris’ man in black is twisted an that interesting way. The first episode was well done when it becomes obvious that James Franco isn’t “human”.

    8. Ann Furthermore*

      My husband and I are both really enjoying it. It’s surprising, because he is extremely picky and hates just about everything. The visuals and special effects are fantastic, and the deeper ethical questions it raises are intriguing.

      I read an interesting take on the first episode (it might have been Alan Sepinwall’s) about the scene where the Man In Black drags Delores off to the barn, presumably to rape her. There was a lot of outrage about that, and how it perpetuates rape culture, and I see that. But the article looked at it differently, and said that it was necessary for us to see that Westworld is a dangerous and debauched place, where people come and satisfy whatever depraved urges happen to pop into their heads. It also pondered whether it could be considered rape since Delores is not human. I’m not taking one side or the other; it’s just an example of the really deep questions this show raises.

      1. Jen RO*

        Actually, flashbacks are now pointing to the fact that is was *not* rape and maybe it was the MiB looking for answers in her robot body (like when he scalped that guy for the map). I am 90% convinced it wasn’t rape, because the MiB is beyond such thrills after 30 years in the park. If it was, it was for ‘research’ or to jump-start her memory, not for the pleasure. I read some interesting Reddit threads about this and I am curious if anyone got it right!

  6. Kay*

    Can we talk quilting? I’ve recently started, mostly with the help of online tutorials. My grandmother was a spectacular quilter but she is now 96 and lives far away from me so I can’t ask her for advice. :(

    I’m doing mostly ok, but here’s my question: is there a way to bind the quilt by machine sewing? Words cannot express the depth of my loathing for handstitching. The idea of handstitching all the way around the edge of the quilt I have almost finished fills me with dread. (I’m also that person who would happily pay someone else to weave in the ends on a crocheting project.)

    I’ve done some general Googling, but nothing looks very promising. Is it the end of the world if I just follow the instructions I have found for binding…but run it through the sewing machine instead of handstitching? Is there another better way to use a sewing machine?

    1. C Average*

      I’ve never bound a quilt by hand! Although I really enjoy hand-sewing, it’s never even crossed my mind to NOT bind a quilt on the machine. The trick is to pin it really, really thoroughly, because the main risk in machine-binding is that the front and back will get misaligned or the binding will gap out from the quilt, leaving raw edges or batting exposed and necessitating a do-over.

      I’m talking a LOT of pins, like every inch or so, and you want to pin them across the stitch line rather than along the stitch line, so that you can run over them with the sewing machine rather than removing them as you go. (Go slow to avoid breaking your needle.)

      Because sewing through multiple layers can present issues, do some practice stitches first on something other than your quilt to make sure the needle is puncturing cleanly and not getting hung up in the batting, the thread tension is right, the back and front both look attractive, etc.

      If this all sounds like a lot of hassle, go to your local fabric store or quilting shop and ask if they know someone you could pay to finish it for you. They probably will. (I work in a fabric shop and am amazed by how many people who work there take side projects. I don’t–yet–but expect at some point I probably will.)

      1. Jean*

        You work in a fabric store? Oh, my. Swoon. What a fantasy come to life.
        I presume you’ve heard of SABLE [Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy (craft slang)]…?*
        My experience includes forswearing future purchases, but (not yet) evicting all past acquisitions. “But it would make such a wonderful slip / dress / draft sealer.” Back to fantasies.

        *http://www.acronymfinder.com/Stash-Accumulation-Beyond-Life-Expectancy-(craft-slang)-(SABLE).html

        1. C Average*

          Hahaha, YES. I am absolutely familiar with that term, and my even have *cough* firsthand experience.

          Here’s something kind of ridiculous: I literally inherited someone else’s fabric stash. And I didn’t even know her! When my husband’s ex-wife’s mother died, she left behind a huge stash, and my husband’s ex-wife gave it all to me with the understanding that I’d teach the kids to sew if they ever had an interest in learning. They haven’t, so far, but I’ve kept everything and have finished some of the projects.

          The woman who originally owned this stash liked to buy all the materials for specific quilts she’d seen in magazines, and in some cases the pattern has gotten separated from the fabric, so it’s taken a lot of research to figure out what some of these projects were meant to be. In some cases, I’ve given up and just made up something of my own.

          I’m determined to get through it all, with or without the kids’ help. I don’t want it to be landing in someone else’s craft room when I die!

    2. Susan C.*

      Disclaimer: I am personally absolutely rubbish at textile-related crafts, but my mother is an enthusiastic quilter and as far as I understand the mechanics, she does everything with a machine. I don’t think she’d ever finish her projects (which tend to be either very large, complicated, or both) otherwise, sheesh. Good job getting this far by hand!

    3. JenC*

      Google crazy mom quilts or cluck cluck sew. They are both bloggers with an amazing ability to explain things very simply. They also both have machine binding tutorials. I attach the binding with the machine and then stitch it down on the back by hand but that’s because I love hand sewing – but it’s absolutely possible to do the whole thing by machine! Mostly I hate making binding so sometimes I cheat and fold the backing piece over and stitch it down on the front to finish the quilt. Congrats on getting to the end of your first quilt and can I just say, erhmagherd quilting is the best most addicting hobby ever! The blogs I mentioned above are great for techniques and simple modern patterns. Good luck!

      1. Helen*

        I am avid quilter, and I machine stitch most of my bindings. ( I love handwork but am slower than molasses at it ). I’m a little different I sew my binding onto the back of my trimmed quilt and flip it to the front, top stitching it down using an open toed appliqué foot. I only pin at the corners. If you want to stitch it to the front first, I actually suggest you use small dots of Elmer’s washable glue to literally glue the edge of the binding down on the back. ( or I have cut 1/4″ strips of fusible webbing, and used them to ‘glue’ the binding down ). I would then stitch the seam in the ditch on the front of the quilt.
        The one method I do suggest you check out is Susie’s magic binding.
        Goggle images or You tube are two wonderful resources for finding quilting information on line. I literally can spend hours on my iPad searching.

    4. Talvi*

      No advice, I just wanted to chime in that I’ve recently started piecing my first quilt and I am very much enjoying my foray into quilting!

    5. Sutemi*

      I quilt, and have done some hand and some machine binding. My best efforts at machine binding have been done with a contrast color flange, which you can google for tutorials. Careful choice of backing colors and binding colors seem to give the best results since the binding thread shows up the least with matching. My machine doesn’t really have many decorative stitches, but that can be a decent choice as well to make the machine binding look more intentional.

    6. Colette*

      I’m all about machine quilting, and yes, you can bind with a machine. Sew the binding to the back first, then fold it over and finish it on the front.

  7. AliCat*

    I wrote in a while ago about my shelter dog being a bit miserable. Since then we’ve moved to a place with a fenced in yard and I think thats helping a little bit. But I’m seriously considering getting a second dog. (It also turns out that my dog is part husky and apparently they really require dog companionship). The problem I have is that my dog likes to play rough. He doesn’t hurt other dogs, he’s just really into wrestling about a lot. I’ve had trainers work with him and they confirm that it’s just his style and as long as he’s not starting actual fights and not hurting other dogs, I should just leave him be. He’s also a bit socially awkward which really gets on some dogs nerves. My issue with this is how on earth do I find another dog that will like this type of rough play? I’m thinking a female would be better for him as a companion because he tends to get less riled up with them. But I don’t want to adopt a dog only to find out that they can’t stand his style of play and then I suddenly have two miserable animals! And because he’s socially awkward it always takes a bit for other dogs to warm up to him, so a simple meet and greet doesn’t tell me too much (unless they really hate each other). I’m in a remote area and we don’t have a lot of animal rescues/shelters, and I’ve already reached out to them to ask them to keep their eyes peeled for a dog that may be a match. There’s a kill shelter in the next county (which breaks me heart) and it feels like if I’m going to adopt a dog it should be from there but I just don’t know how to go about finding a good companion. Any suggestions?

    1. RKB*

      Have you tried doggy daycare first?

      My corgi was getting a little sad at home and he kept shying away from other dogs – big or small – and he never really understood how to play. He was a rescue and so part of it was being shy and not getting the chance when he was a pup (they never walked him or let him out apparently) but part of it was because he didn’t have another pup to play with.

      I researched doggy daycares and found one that’s run by dog trainers who supervise the dogs all day long. I can’t tell you how much improvement he’s made. He currently has perfect recall, he loves to play, he understands rules of playing MUCH better, and he’s happy as a clam at an off-leash dog park. It also tires him out.

      At his daycare, there has to be like 6-7 huskies, not including husky mixes. It seems like it’s a popular option for husky owners!

      1. AliCat*

        We don’t have any doggy daycares where I live (though if I had some time and lots of money I would totally open one). We have a bunch of dog walkers but they just take them to the one dog park we have, which I personally find a bit hit or miss. Despite that, I do try to take him as much as possible for socialization. We used to go to a weekly group training session which was really great for him but the trainer moved overseas a few months ago and I haven’t found anyone else yet with a similar program.

    2. Paula, with Two Kids*

      When I was looking for a second dog, we went to a dog rescue farm and they had us bring our first dog. That helped immensely picking a dog right for everyone.

      1. Paula, with Two Kids*

        Can you call the kill shelter and see if they’ll let you bring your dog in to help make a selection?

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      If you have a good shelter, they should be pretty good about listening to you explain your animal’s personality and then suggesting the right companion. I would go in and talk to them and see who they suggest!

      1. AliCat*

        It’s not that our shelter is *bad*…I think they are just highly motivated to place animals and that results in bending the truth a little or a lot. I was brutally honest about what I could offer an animal – how much time I could devote to them, my activity levels and habits, etc. and that I was looking for a dog that would challenge me to get out a bit but not one that would require running 5 miles a day. And what they said about my dog versus how my dog actually is is night and day. It’s been a HUGE challenge but of course I wouldn’t give him up for the world now, but if they would have initially told me how intense his energy level is I probably would have considered a different animal, especially since he had a bunch of applications put in for him. So, that being said, Im highly skeptical that they will be entirely truthful if I speak to them about a second animal. Maybe I should tell them that though?

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yes — tell them that! Say that you didn’t get good advice last time and you’re really concerned about it being correct this time because you don’t want to have to return an animal (not that you would, but it might be useful to put that out there). Alternately, are they the only option in your area? You could also look into independently-run rescue groups.

        2. neverjaunty*

          And I would tell the managers that. They may not know that the adoption people are being dishonest – which is ultimately cruel to the animals!

        3. Perse's Mom*

          They may have been bending the truth, but it’s also possible that they were offering the truth as they knew it. Animals can be *very* different in a shelter environment behaviorally because it’s often so high-stress and they have to find ways to cope.

          1. Wehaf*

            Yeah, my guy was described as quiet and shy in the shelter – and that’s how he behaved his first few weeks with us. Then he became this big, boisterous, goofball. In retrospect, I would almost describe him as being shell-shocked during his early days with us.

      2. Allison Mary*

        I was just going to say exactly this. Be really clear about everything you’ve described here, and talk about what kind of dog personality you think would be compatible with the dog you already have at home, and ask for their recommendations.

        And even if it’s not a perfect fit right away, I bet there’s a lot you can do in terms of at-home training to teach them to get along with each other respectfully. It just might take a little bit of time investment on your part, to get things to a wonderfully harmonious stage. Dogs are pack animals, and they instinctually want to follow the lead of the “alpha” who is ideally you, if you’ve communicated that clearly to them in a way that they will understand (this can take some research, but is totally doable).

    4. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

      Many shelters will do a foster-to-adopt! Tell them what your dog’s needs are, and see if they have anyone suited. Then, you foster for a bit, and if it works out, great! If not, doggie gets adopted by someone else, which is also great!

    5. LCL*

      Check into husky rescue groups. I know what you mean about his play style, I have observed huskies and mals at the dog park. That’s what they do. My dog (pointer) won’t tolerate it. Or, just tell people you are looking for a larger, energetic wrasslin type dog.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yes, yes, yes. I got a husky mix here. I have had dogs most of my life. I thought I knew dogs. NOPE.
        I fell into someone’s blog who said “Huskies and wolves are NOT dogs.” I call my guy a “not dog”. I had to take everything I knew about dogs and throw it away, as it was useless.

        The first few years were rocky here. I think some people would have given up. But he turned the corner because of a few things, I changed his diet, he aged and I did some repairs on the house. I think some of the issues with the house were bothering him. I can’t fully explain that, but he is scary smart and he figures out some amazing stuff. For his off-the-charts ADD and hyperactivity he can tell me when things are not right.

        While he is not totally appropriate with able-bodied adults, he is extremely careful with children, small animals and old people. I am proud of that part. I can’t really take him to work, even though I am alone in the office most of the time. I can’t bring him into a crowd of people. But we can go for walks or rides together and do other quiet activities.

        The vet is right in that you will not totally work that fierce play out of him. I trained my dog with a water spritzer, when he acted too rough, I squirted him. Because he is dense/stubborn, I would have to squirt him repeatedly for him to actually get my point. (NEVER in the face, never.) It took time, but I finally reach a point where picking up the spritzer would cause him to stop the undesired behavior.
        I also wagged my finger at him when I scolded, that visual seemed to help because he did not respond to tone of voice.
        I saw big improvements at age 3-4 and again at age 5. He is 7 now and he is much less rough.

        He had to have time each day to cut loose. I have a cheap rug in my living room. I let him bounce around in that room. (He slides/falls too much on the bare floors.) So this has been my plan for letting him burn off steam. I think it really helps to have a way that they can just be silly/stupid and let go of some of that excess energy.

        Does your guy howl? If yes, please howl with him. Serious. My dog needed me to do that with him. He would howl and, gosh, it tugged at my heart strings. Like you are saying, I worried that he was lonely. I read online that you have to howl with them. So we howled together. If I sat down and started howling, he would just chime in. He stopped howling in less than two weeks, but to get to that point we howled together every night after dinner. I am wondering if this howling is part of your concern.

        I would not have another dog here with him. While he does not seem to be a fighter, another dog might think he is trying to fight and I could end up with a real dog fight on my hands.
        Consider getting a female dog, if you do go forward, because then you will have less of that arguing stuff that comes when they argue which one is the alpha male. My friend has a dachshund, a female dog, that he brings with him sometimes. We watch the two of them closely because my dog is 60 pounds and the little dog is around 13 pounds. She will tell my dog off when he gets to be too much, my dog will walk backwards away from her when she tells him off. It’s funny to watch.

        1. AliCat*

          hahaha wow thank you for your response. What’s funny is that the shelter told me that he was a border collie/lab mix and the more I took him to the dog park and observed him with other dogs the more I was thinking that they were really really wrong. I had come to terms with the thought of owning a border collie before I adopted him and prepared for all the mental stimulation that collies need. But when I was getting nowhere with him and talked to the vet about him and they observed as you put it his off the charts ADD and hyperactivity and his complete stubbornness they told me that I was likely not working with a collie and that it may be worth it to do a dna test to figure out just what I was working with. Which is exactly how I found out that my dog is part lab/beagle/husky. At first I didn’t believe the results but your descriptions of your dog match mine to the T (except the howling). When I take him to the park and there’s a husky there, they are always quick to come over and try to initiate play with him. So I suppose that a female husky or husky mix may be a safer bet for him as a companion. But then the thought of having another dog like mine is a bit overwhelming! Nope, a lot overwhelming. Plus – I’m not going to lie – I live in south florida – literally as south as you can go and its outright hot pretty much all the time – the thought of bringing a full husky down here just feels cruel.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Complete stubbornness. Find ways to go into it with him. For example, my guy would not stop jumping on people. It was really bad because he is so strong and puts so much force into it.
            BUT at the same time, he thoroughly ENJOYS doing the opposite of what I tell him to do.
            I put these two characteristics together:
            To get him to stop jumping on people so much I taught him to do high tens. He did it a few times, then realized that he had accidently obeyed me and he had to stop himself. What this looked like was, he’d start a gesture that looked like a jump and I would say “high ten, buddy”. He would drop the front paws to the floor and walk away. Of course, friends thought this was hysterically funny.

            The dog is a wise guy. If he were a different personality I would not mess with his head like this, there would be no need as I could just train him. But this is a dog that will mess with my head, he will pick my pockets, go through my purse and other strange stuff. In order to get control over the behaviors I had to change what I would ordinarily do. He does know he is loved and he can be very cuddly…. when he wants.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              And this is the very type of thing I found when I was wondering what to do with his howling. It was heartbreaking. I remembered my father saying a dog that howls is lonely. omg. I could not stand it, it just broke my heart to hear this little pup howl. I googled around and found stuff like this video. I knew what I had to do.

              The ADD/hyperness works for him in some regards. We howled every night for nine nights and then he was done with that. He moved on to other things. He is still quite verbal. He loves the sound of his own voice. And sometimes it sounds like legit sentences- “I love you” or if I am late coming home “where were you?”

              OP, my guess is your guy will move through this and then move into something else. That is what I have been seeing here. I got him out of howling and then he started opening the cupboards and drawers and putting everything on the floor. I finally got some child locks and I was just about to install them and he quit doing that and started opening doors, taking his collar off, etc. At this point I am wising up, I figured out –don’t spend money on every darn thing he thinks of to do. I just started using stuff on hand to either redirect the behavior or to make him stop. It took a bit of creativity to “one-up” his creativity.

      2. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

        Totally. We took our guy walking at the park and he was happy to meet a husky pup who was a happy cheerful gal and immediately pounced on his back to initiate play. He was totally fine with it but I could tell husky pup’s owners were alarmed and looked worried like he would retaliate. He would never, not against a young pup just asking for play, so I pointed out that he didn’t mind and she was just initiating play. I hope they went home and did a little more research or they’re in for a few more surprises. We had a mal a while back who was the total opposite and a sore disappointment to the local huskies :)

  8. RKB*

    I’m going in to write a midterm – because, even though my class isn’t on a Saturday, the midterm exam is scheduled on one – and then I’m off for my first vacation since I started university! I’m so excited!

    1. AcidMeFlux*

      Right? It reminds me of how my older brothers would sweetly play with each other and then out of nowhere pound the hell out of each other.

      1. C Average*

        A friend who has three boys calls this cycle of brotherly behavior “slug it out, hug it out.”

    2. Seal*

      My kitties do the same thing or vice versa (start out wrestling and wind up aggressively grooming each other). It always makes me laugh!

    3. Aurora Leigh*

      Eve and Olive are true sisters! Totally something my kitties would do (or my sister and me . . .)!

    4. Jen RO*

      My cats lick each other to establish dominance, I think… so all of their tender moments devolve quickly into fighting. They are hilarious.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        Never thought about that. Sometimes my boy will push his head at my (older) girl and she will groom him and it’s so sweet. But then the fighting starts, just like the video. Those sweet kitty moments never last that long.

          1. Stachington*

            Yeah, even their wrestling was sweet and pretty gentle (I have two cats who hate each other and the wrestling is not at all gentle). So adorable!

    5. AnAppleADay*

      Olive seemed like she wanted to sleep and Eve was disturbing her with the grooming. The “no-claw” light batting from Olive made it clear she meant business but didn’t want to hurt Eve. That’s is sweet.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Ha, the opposite! Olive is always the one who initiates wrestling; Eve would be content to cuddle or groom but Olive has an overwhelming drive to play with her.

    6. NotAnotherManager!*

      It’s nice to see that it’s not just my cats that do that. We’ve had two bonded pairs of boys (but not siblings), and this is pretty much par for the course. Our first pair had one alpha cat who was bigger than the other one for a while. He would mama cat groom his younger “brother”, sometimes forcibly and by biting him on the scruff and sitting on him, and it would go from grooming to fighting back to grooming in no time flat. We lost the 17-lb alpha cat last year, and the pair of year-old boys we got to keep his now geriatric brother company are the same way, except it’s the smaller cat who simultaneously grooms and kicks the cat he came with (who is infinitely patient, but when he finally loses his cool, he ends the slap-fest in about two strikes). We joke that it’s the Man Hug — I’m hugging you but I’m hitting you.

  9. designbot*

    Two weeks ago I got admitted to the hospital with what turned out to be acute pancreatitis, which my doctor thinks was caused by a gallstone that had already passed before we did the ultrasound. So we did not actually see any gallstones but my enzyme levels indicate that’s pretty much the only option, and she wants to take my gallbladder out. Anyone here living without a gallbladder? How is it, can you eat a normal diet, can you drink socially, does it impact you in any way? Or conversely, if anyone here had pancreatitis and doing the “wait and see” approach, what are you doing to try and avoid recurrences and how has it been working?
    I’m still deep in recovery mode, sleeping 10+ hours a night, only allowed semi-solid foods very low in fat. I’m back to work but putting in the bare minimum and then getting my butt home to rest.

    1. Red*

      My mother had her gallbladder removed. The only limitation it has on her life is that high fat foods like ice cream really don’t work for her anymore, but she says that’s totally fine because those are unhealthy anyway. YMMV with that! Other than that, she still eats and drinks just fine, including alcohol. I hope you feel better very soon.

    2. Oldie*

      I had my gall bladder removed a year ago and have had zero problems. I had considerable pain with gall stones, so for me, the removal was an absolute godsend. Truly, though, food digests just fine and I have made no changes in diet. My diet is in no way special. I don’t eat a lot of meat, but I do eat more cheese than I probably should. Nothing is off limits.

      The surgery was not bad, either. Day surgery. Checked in at 6:30 am, home by noon. Three tiny incisions.

      1. designbot*

        I haven’t ever felt what passing a stone regularly feels like, but the pain of one interfering with the bile duct was the worst thing I’ve ever felt by far. I thought I was dying.

      2. Lissa*

        I’m waiting for gallbladder removal surgery and have stones right now. When I had my first gallstone attack I had no idea what was wrong. it was awful! luckily the clinic doctor was super good and figured it out almost right away, but the pain was so hard to describe and like nothing I’ve ever felt. Apparently 80% of people with gallstones have no issues with them, so waiting for the surgery shouldn’t cause ongoing health issues I hope, just pain. Which I can deal with now that I know what it is and have the right painkillers.

        Sidenote; getting an ultrasound to figure out if it’s gallstones when you have them…super not fun when they were pushing right on them. Ow ow ow. I’ve been trying to eat less fat in my diet so have cut down my meat intake, but I’m sure I could do better…

        1. designbot*

          Good luck with your surgery! Yeah my doc is saying there’s no rush for mine either, but damn I’m looking forward to this notion of eating normally again. I guess the surgery won’t make the inflammation in my pancreas subside any faster though so that’s a dreamworld I’m living in.

    3. Meag L*

      I used to have a lot of digestive issues before I had my gallbladder out. Once it was removed things got much better. I don’t really notice a difference with fatty foods. I can eat and drink alcohol normally. Good luck! I didn’t realize how bad I felt until that darn thing was gone!

    4. Elizabeth West*

      Mine had polyps in it (I didn’t even know that was a thing) so out it came. I have noticed problems with overly fatty foods, and ever since (TMI ALERT), I’ve also noticed an increase in erm, more urgent and less solid poo, especially with fatty stuff. It’s easy enough to avoid fast food and greasy stuff, which isn’t healthy anyway.

      But I also found out afterward that I have a hiatal hernia and acid reflux. Occasionally I have excruciating esophageal spasms that feel like a f*cking stab wound (I know it’s not my heart because a gulp of ice water will kill them almost immediately and then I’m fine). So unrelated to Mr. GB, I’m kind of a mess. Or maybe his demise was the catalyst; I don’t know!

      1. AcidMeFlux*

        I had GB polyps for a number of years, and then one day I was told based on the ultrasound that they had disappeared. Same with the nasal polyps that appeared after a sinus infection. (I mean, what? Was it something I said?) As for living with no gall bladder, almost all my friends who have experienced the surgery tell me that once you’ve recovered, you may actually feel great, because you’re either avoiding or taking it easy on foods that aren’t the best for digestion. You can eventually eat a lot of what it on the nono list, in serious moderation.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Mine got mad for some reason and made me sick. The surgeon said when the gallbladder stops working correctly, the only fix is to yank it. So that’s what they did. I think maybe it was good that it brought the other issues to light; I was able to get them taken care of. So now I take ranitidine for the GERD and just try not to eat gross/too much food for the other. Urp.

      2. Kay*

        I have a hiatal hernia too, and it’s the worst. It’s the most extraordinary stabbing pain – when people talk about acid reflux that feels like it no way sums things up. Mine started flaring when I was a teenager and I have learned over the years to manage my diet carefully. Between that and prilosec I do pretty well now – I’m in my early 30s.

      3. Observer*

        On the reflux, try reading Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure. This does mess with your diet, but it really, really works for a lot of people.

    5. Sophie Winston*

      YMMV, but I know several folks with gall bladders out, and all have gone back to normal diets with no off limits foods. Good luck!

      1. designbot*

        Thank you for everyone who’s reported on this–this is so good to hear! I’m currently still in recovery mode from the pancreatitis, to the point where I’m barely on solid foods, and even scrambled eggs seriously hurt. So the idea of being able to go back to a mostly normal diet is looking very attractive right now as I eat my fat-free cottage cheese for breakfast.

    6. gallbladder-less anonymous*

      My gallbladder stopped working (probably due to stress) so it had to be removed. My ability to eat mildly fatty foods improved greatly but…it’s very likely that the surgery triggered an autoimmune response that caused me to develop celiac disease. I didn’t have it before the surgery but I have it now, and this happened in my mid-20s. Since I have a long family history of autoimmune disorders the doctors think that I had the gene and the “trauma” of the surgery (it’s not a bad surgery but our bodies don’t like to be operated on in general from what I can tell) triggered the gene. It’s very, very unlikely that that will happen to you, but I thought I’d mention my experience.

      Also, the only gluten-free high fat foods that give me trouble now are pulled pork and ribs. If I ate more bacon and sausage I imagine they might cause problems as well. I drink socially and I eat pretty much anything else I want (as long as it’s GF).

      Good luck!

      1. designbot*

        Totally understand–the gene for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis gets “triggered” in a similar way by stress to the body. Mine already activated years ago though, so fingers crossed for no further complications like that!

        1. JoniKat*

          I’m also in the autoimmune trading card group. I have type 1 diabetes and had a gallbladder removal which I believe triggered celiac disease (no proof, the timing was right though and it’s a common trigger). I don’t want to alarm you, just give you something to think about, but Hashimoto’s is also on the same gene as celiac disease. This of course does NOT mean you’ll get it (I believe only 5% of people with it get celiac as well), it’s just something to keep an eye out for afterwards because none of my physicians ever suspected I had it after a few years of falling progressively more ill.

          Even if I could go back in time and change things knowing gallbladder surgery may very well have been what triggered celiac disease, I would still have the surgery. Celiac is a royal pain in the gluteus maximus, but it’s manageable and nowhere near the debilitating pain having a gallbladder caused. In terms of after-affects of GB removal, I feel uncomfortable eating highly fatty foods but it’s much better than before. Wishing you the best of luck.

    7. Anon Accountant*

      most of my family has had theirs removed and they have more bowel movements and have had to cut back on eating high fat or fried foods. But they’re doing great and said it was just a period of adjustments and feel better.

    8. Jaydee*

      I have been gallbladder free for over a year and have had zero issues. I’m no longer terrified of gallbladder attacks and it takes a ridiculous amount of fat/grease for me to have any digestive upset.

      I have a friend who had pancreatitis and had his gallbladder out as a result (I just straight up had a bad gallbladder). If you have had pancreatitis my understanding is that your gallbladder really could try to kill you by causing another bout of pancreatitis so I would definitely get it out if your doc is recommending it.

      The surgery itself wasn’t bad at all. They fill your abdomen with gas to get enough room to move the tiny tools around to remove the gallbladder. So you will feel really uncomfortable for a few days afterward. That was actually worse than any pain from the incisions (just don’t bump into them and they won’t hurt too much). It seems counter-intuitive but walking around helps your body absorb all that gas and remove it. So staying moderately active will speed your recovery.

    9. Myrin*

      My mum had hers removed almost twenty years ago and while she constantly says she should actually technically theoretically cut back on fatty foods, she hasn’t changed her diet much and it hasn’t impacted her to a great extent (she feels kind of queasy sometimes but from what I can tell it’s not super horrible or anything.)

    10. MsChandandlerBong*

      I only drink a few times per year, so I can’t comment on the drinking aspect. My surgeon told me that the foods that triggered my attacks before I had the surgery would continue to bother me after the surgery. In the first year, I had to really avoid greasy food. Fat was okay, but oil was not (so no fast food, deep-fried food, etc.). I am also bothered by peanut butter and turkey. The surgery was no big deal at all; I had it done on a Monday and was home the next day. Went out to dinner for a friend’s birthday that Friday. Of course, everyone heals differently, but I’ve had a bunch of surgery and found it one of the easiest recoveries I’ve had. Now that it’s been more than a year, I seem to tolerate greasy food better than before. I just avoid peanut butter.

    11. rubyrose*

      I had mine removed 35 years ago. It was such a relief – I had two attacks and never ever want that pain again. I did not know how bad I felt until it was out.

      To this day I have to be careful about corn and fried chicken. I can eat them separately but never together. Outside of that, no problems with anything.

    12. chickabiddy*

      I had my gallbladder out two years ago. The surgery and recovery was far easier than I feared: I had a harder time with the aftereffects of the anesthesia , which is a known problem for me, than with anything in my gut. After about two weeks, I found that I could eat pretty much anything I wanted so my diet, which, unfortunately, is pretty typical American, has not changed. I did not drink alcohol before and the surgery did not change that ;), but I have friends who also have had gallbladders out and they seem to be fine with social drinking. Basically, no impact (except less pain, which is wonderful) after a relatively short and easy recovery. Good luck!

    13. DragoCucina*

      Having his gallbladder removed improved my husband’s life 1,000%. Mine improved greatly. He was pre-laproscopic, so recovery was slower. I was out and about 3 days after coming home.

    14. DragoCucina*

      Sorry, missed the alcohol portion. I’m studying for my Italian wine certification exam. There’s been no ill effect due to lack of a gallbladder.

      1. designbot*

        ha, that seems like a good parallel to my situation! My husband is an avid homebrewer—he owns a shop, is part of clubs, participates in competitions, it’s a big part of his and by extension my social life. I could stop drinking if I absolutely had to, but life would be a heck of a lot easier if I could participate in these activities, even if I was the lightweight that had to just taste a little bit or stop after one.

    15. Observer*

      I had my gallbladder out a number of years ago. I was far more restricted in my diet in the year + from the time of diagnosis till the surgery. I can’t drink for other reasons, so I don’t know how that works, but nothing else has really been a big issue. I’m not a huge carnivore, but I do eat meat. My understanding is that you need to avoid really high fat or large very protein only meals (the example that came up in the conversation was supper that’s nothing but a *large* steak). It’s never been an issue for me.

    16. JJtheDoc*

      Everyone in my family (except me!) have undergone gall bladder surgery (spouse, siblings, mother) and none of them have modified their diets. Moderation rules in some things – ice cream comes to mind! – and that’s the only limit. Have the surgery and enjoy your life!

    17. LeRainDrop*

      I had my gallbladder removed two years ago after several excruciating gallbladder attacks in the middle of the night, waking up with severe pain lasting until I started puking repeatedly. The doctor did an ultrasound and found the decent-size gallstone. My removal was “robotic” surgery, where the surgeon goes in through your belly button and you get virtually no scar whatsoever. I believe I was in the hospital a grand total of 4-5 hours from surgery prep through discharge. Real recovery at home was like one week, by two weeks I was pretty much fine other than not lifting heavy things, and I went back to work in a month (though it honestly would have been possible to return earlier). This has surgery has not affected my diet at all — no changes to what I can eat or drink whatsoever. Also, there are some people who claim their digestion is affected in a noticeable way, but not at all for me. My eating/digesting seems exactly the same to me now as it was before the surgery (other than I know there is a biological difference in the process at the stomach given the lack of the gallbladder itself), except that now I don’t get those horrible gallbladder attacks! All in all, this was a pretty great surgery to have.

  10. all aboard the anon train*

    Anyone here in fandom and writing for Yuletide? Obviously, don’t break the rules and say what fandom you’re writing for, but I’m just curious to see there’s crossover between AAM and the Yuletide part of fandom.

    Yuletide is one of the only parts of online fandom I enjoy anymore. It makes me miss LJ fandom, too. I know LJ fandom had its issues, but tumblr fandom is an explosive mess I don’t want to touch with a twenty foot pole (or at least it is in the big fandoms. I know the smaller fandoms or the fandoms that attract “old crowd” – aka 25+ – have less of an issue with drama).

    1. Susan C.*

      I don’t do fic challenges/exchanges, because I have a horrid track record with finishing (much less in time) in the face of brickspace happening, but I really enjoy poking around and finding unexpected gems about source material I love!

      (I wish I could disagree with you about tumblr on average… if you have the patience to look, those “older” pockets of social circles are still well represented in many fandoms!)

      1. all aboard the anon train*

        I usually don’t do fic challenges either because of past experiences of getting burned with 1. people who give no prompts; 2. people who give overly detailed prompts; 3. not finishing. But I try to do Yuletide when I have the time because I looooove small fandoms and Yuletide has produced some of my favorite fics across all my fandoms (and some I hadn’t considered before).

        I’ve definitely found some good fandom friends around my age and as I was telling one of them recently, I think some of the “older” pockets are so chill because we’re just too tired to deal with all the drama and yelling about whatever discourse is Important To Know that week.

    2. LizB*

      Me! :D Also, are you me? Your second paragraph perfectly describes my feelings on fandom right now.

      I’ve started brainstorming my assignment but haven’t started writing yet. I’m also doing the bookswap, so I’m hoping to try and figure out what to send my recip for that this weekend.

      1. all aboard the anon train*

        I’m super excited for my assignment. I was matched with someone who requested a fandom I had also requested and our prompts are pretty similar. I have a bunch of ideas, so I just have to pick which one I want to write.

        This was the first time I’ve had to explicitly state no Issue Fic, mundane AUs, or author soapboxing in my yuletide letter. I feel like that’s 90% of what fandom puts out these days. IDK what tumblr fandom has been up to in the last month or so, but I needed to take a break from the whole “you don’t headcanon this character the same way I do, so you’re a bigot/oppressing my identity and experience” drama going on in some big fandoms. Or the “you old people must have better things to do with your time than be in fandom”. There’s just so much anger and self-righteousness in what’s supposed to be a fun, happy space.

        1. Emlen*

          I know AO3 has extensive filtering ability, but sometimes I just wish there was a site-wide AU on/off switch. Mundane or otherwise, the ratio of AUs done to good and novel effect to all AUs is abysmal. The genre has become a crutch/excuse. I hate getting so excited to find fic in a rare fandom or pairing or what have you, only to see “high school AU” in the description.

          1. all aboard the anon train*

            Same! And it’s really frustrating when you have a historical fandom like Hamilton or a sci-fi fandom like Star Wars and most of the fic is a modern high school or college or coffeeshop AU. It seems like such a cop out to make it set in the modern day rather than the historical or fantasy/sci-fi setting. Part of the reason I love historical or fantasy/sci-fi things is because of the setting, so taking the characters out of that setting changes everything. Not to mention most of those AUs all read the same.

            I think part of it is having so many people in high school or college writing what they know or what they want their experiences to be. But at the same time it kind of weirds me out to be in a fandom where all the characters in canon are in their late 20s or 30s and all the fic in fandom is about those characters aged down to 16. No thanks.

            1. Aurion*

              Yeah, ditto. I will read AUs/fusions/canon divergence fics from a very select few authors I trust, but frankly I really dislike most AUs. Characters (and people in general) are shaped in (large) part by their setting and circumstance, so changing said setting and circumstance feels very off to me unless the author is very apt at storytelling and weaving all the things that should be familiar vs the things that change due to the different setting. Most AUs do not do this well. They can (they aren’t necessarily, but can be) fine stories on their own, but they are definitely not what I’m looking for as a fan for the most part.

              1. all aboard the anon train*

                I 1000% agree. I find a lot of these AUs sound the same regardless of the fandom. You could swap out characters from one fandom for another and the college/coffeeshop/whatever AU will read the same. I have read some great AUs and fusions that keep the tone and characterization of canon, but those are few and far between.

                I do like canon divergence AUs that wouldn’t really change too much in the canon plot. Because I find it super frustrating when a piece of entertainment draws out a plot line for no reason at all.

    3. bkanon*

      I am. A little disappointed because for the third year in a row I got one line of prompt on $FandomImatched when there were two or three paragraphs on something else. Maybe next year I’ll finally match on the fandom someone actually wants instead of their “meet the minimum” choice.

      But I do enjoy the atmosphere of exchanges very much, really. Over the past decade I’ve received some wonderful gifts. My work is usually well-received, too, so overall, exchanges and fests have been very positive to me.

      1. all aboard the anon train*

        See, I’m totally the opposite and I usually hit the maximum for requests (and offers). I don’t think I realized how many small fandoms I enjoy until Yuletide. But one line prompts are my nightmare because if I don’t have a good idea on what to write, those one liners stump me even more.

    4. Aurion*

      I’ll be keeping an eye on Yuletide, though I won’t write for it. Though my experience is that those small fandoms can have some pretty ridiculous drama too, and I’ve been pulling back on fandom more and more.

      An author I really respected once wrote that she feels there are two types of writers: those who write for themselves, and those who write for an audience. The former writes for the sake of the story and is happy if they finish a story and just put it away in a drawer, even though they completely love the feedback. The latter writes to tell a story to an audience, and wither away without said audience. Sadly, I’m firmly in the latter camp; my writing quality rises to new heights when I have a lot of people to discuss and bounce ideas off of even if they never beta a single word, but I’m so very tired of tumblr. When I’m writing just for myself, without discussion and meta and all that, the quality really suffers.

      In addition to keeping an eye on Yuletide, I might take November/Nanowrimo to work on a monster serious fic that’s been nibbling at me since summer…not sure how much progress I’ll make though.

      1. all aboard the anon train*

        Ah, yeah, I get that. I’m in the first camp and while I enjoy feedback, I don’t really need it to keep on writing. I will happily spam people with headcanons and ideas though! I do enjoy that aspect of fandom and writing. I actually do more of this on Twitter than Tumblr these days.

        1. Aurion*

          Unfortunately I never got into Twitter; I’m too long-winded. When serious meta for me regularly clock in between 10-35k words (for the entire meta/discussion, not just my contributions), me and my cohort are far too long-winded for something like Twitter. :)

          I miss the days when LJ was the primary fandom platform.

    5. SL #2*

      I’m not writing for Yuletide because my main fandom is dead (no, seriously, I haven’t seen anything new in over a year), but I’ll happily read anything that comes up in the other fandoms I enjoy.

    6. Shayland (ActualName)*

      God, my first ever Yuletide, which was last year, I wrote in my request about how important disability representation was to me, as a disabled fan. And the story I got back had the main character getting magically cured. And also spoiled the next book in the series which had only come out a month before. I haven’t been able to get into Yuletide.

  11. hermit crab*

    If you haven’t seen it yet, you should stop what you’re doing right now and watch the Sara Bareilles/Leslie Odom Jr./This American Life video. Oh my goodness gracious. It gave me chills. Link in a reply.

    1. Myrin*

      Sara Bareilles is so great – she makes unconventional music and uses background dancers who look like normal people (I especially love that aspect of her song “Brave”).

  12. Susan C.*

    We’re buying a house! Take THAT, millennial stereotypes! I’m very excited, and from the bank’s side everything looks good, we just have to get everything properly notarized.

    It’s also kind of hilarious to me that we seriously considered building our own, considering how much we’re already stressing out about ‘simply’ building our dream terrarium into an object that’s very nearly move-in ready by normal standards.

        1. Aurora Leigh*

          Thanks! There’s not a lot out there in my price and commute range, but I know something will turn up!

          1. Folklorist*

            Millennial here…I just bought a condo! There’s almost nothing in my price/commute range either, but the perfect thing actually turned up! But if you do find the thing, don’t hesitate to put an offer in (if you’re like me and live in DC where the market is really tight). I had one that I liked and waited a week on and it disappeared. But more stuff will come up!

      1. SL #2*

        Millennials don’t buy homes anymore and are permanent renters because we hate being tied to one place for the rest of our lives (and not because we can’t afford the cost of homes in high-growth cities where the good jobs are…)

        1. Aurora Leigh*

          Also, we take foooorever to do any of the adult things out parents generation did . . . not because jobs have been hard to find lately, but because we’re lazy and/or entitled.

          1. esra (also a Canadian)*

            Certainly not because we have to pay off a (generous) house down payment’s worth of student debt before we can even start saving to settle down.

      2. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

        @SL2, @AuroraLeigh, @esra: Wow. I didn’t even realize I was a Millennial until last week but those assertions are absurd. Tsk. Aside from ignoring economic realities, well, wait, that’s the whole thing, isn’t it? They’re just completely ignoring the economic landscape. Harumph.

    1. super anon*

      congrats! i’m also a millennial who bought a property this year. i didn’t think i would enjoy owning my own place as much as i do, if i’m being honest.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Building a house is in the top five most stressful things you can do in in life. It is that hard. When I was 16 my father was having a house built. He got sick, really sick. So here I was 16 years old and I was the only one watching this construction project. I was so stressed, some of that came from just not knowing how to cope with the adult world yet.

      Well, this event shaped me. I decided I would never, ever build a house. Happily, I can always find already-built houses that I LOOOVE. One thing I noticed later on is that people who have houses built seem to enjoy how everything is so nice and perfect, but if even a small thing goes wrong or gets damaged, they go into meltdown. It looked to me that the stress does not seem to go down over time, the worry is always there.

  13. Elkay*

    My cat is driving me up the wall, he insists on scratching our wooden furniture and cloth sofas despite multiple scratching posts around the room (including one right next to where he’s currently scratching). I’ve tried catnip on the other posts, lemon spray on the furniture, nothing stops him.

    1. LawCat*

      You could try keeping his nails trimmed. It took a while for us to get our cat to handle his front paws because he used to Not Have It. We wrap him tight in a towel (cat burrito!) on the bed, pull out one paw, and trim the nails (not necessarily all in one go!). We’d have a bag of treats on the bed during the process and he would get a right after. After a while, we didn’t have to wrap him up an then after longer, we didn’t have to give him a treat.

      Also, the cat might not like the scratching post material. Our cat only likes corrugated cardboard. We have one that hangs from the door knob so it doesn’t take up much space.

      1. Elkay*

        We trim his nails. He doesn’t seem to be a fan of sisal rope or cardboard which seems to be the only material you can get cat scratchers in.

    2. Allison Mary*

      Perhaps this type of scratcher, so he feels like he’s actually scratching the furniture, when he’s not?

      https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01EIZKCSM/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=110VY8E50PAE7&coliid=I2ANO1AUFTTWSI&psc=1

      Also, here are some admittedly very spendy cat scratchers, but I believe they are Jackson-Galaxy-recommended, and just check out the overwhelmingly positive reviews! I recently ordered the “Flip Pad” one myself.

      https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B008LN4ML6/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=110VY8E50PAE7&coliid=IQ14IADXUTLN5&psc=1

      https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00JK0BX2K/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=110VY8E50PAE7&coliid=I3J5KZB8U81XKS&psc=1

      https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01M16VNCV/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=110VY8E50PAE7&coliid=I1KKTV4C88RDNN&psc=1

      https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00JK0BXRA/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=110VY8E50PAE7&coliid=I2A4533E4RM7FZ&psc=1

    3. Sibley*

      This site seems to have covered the basics. http://www.catscratching.com/

      You can also get cat trees with carpet, or if you’re handy, DIY is doable. Get creative if you need to.

      If kitty hasn’t been to the vet lately and this is new(ish) behavior, a vet trip to check for problems may be a good idea. Sometimes cats will act out if they’re not feeling well, which makes no sense to us but it can happen.

      1. Elkay*

        I’ve just ordered him a cardboard scratching post, I realised the ones we had were all horizontal and he would use them if I put him on them. He had an injury/scare a few months back so saw the vet then but he was doing it before then too.

    4. MsChandandlerBong*

      I don’t have any suggestions, but I can empathize. One of my cats is just too stupid not to scratch the furniture. It doesn’t matter what we do. We’ve provided horizontal cardboard scratchers, vertical posts with sisal rope, a carpeted cat tree with multiple levels, etc. We trim his nails regularly. We have tried discouraging the behavior by shaking a can of pennies, squirting him with water, you name it. Just doesn’t work.

    5. KitCroupier*

      Years ago when my ex and I adopted two half grown cats we trained them to use a scratching post instead of the furniture. It took some time but it worked for us.

      First we moved the scratching post next to where they scratched and we rewarded them when they used it. They didn’t always, but if we saw one using the furniture we would go to the cat, move her to the scratching post (sometimes moving her paws up and down) and then praising her.

      It got to the point where we would come home after work and they’d run to the scratching post first, then come to us for attention.

      This did not keep one from being a jerk on occasion. I watched her stare me right in the eyes as she lazily used the furniture instead of the post. But that’s a cat for you.

    6. Emma*

      You can get caps to put on his claws – they’re perfectly safe for the cat, though we always took our cat to the vet to get them put on, because she was very good at scratching the hell out of us when we tried. Our cat, at least, didn’t seem to mind, after an initial hour or two of WTF. The caps come off as the nails grow and shed, so you do have to replace them as they go, but if nothing else is working that’ll at least prevent damage.

      1. Coraggio*

        We’ve had success with stopping scratching by putting tin foil (aluminum foil?) on everything that they currently scratch and a really good cat tree. Of course your home will look super styley like this, but hopefully it’s only temporary.

        The combination of stopping them scratching the wrong things and helping them scratch the right things has worked for us. Well mostly – they’ll still do warmup stretches/scratches on the carpet in the mornings but it’s much less

    7. Pen and Pencil*

      I dilute down vinegar and spray it everywhere I don’t want my cat scratching. They hate the smell of it. Seems to work well, but my guy is pretty good about doing what I want him to do where I want him to do it.

  14. KatieKate*

    So I have a Mac laptop that is a few years old now, and I’m constantly struggling to keep enough memory available. I’ve basically deleted everything necessary, and moved a lot to an external hard drive. I have very few files left on my computer, and very few applications. Does anyone know why my memory keeps shirking so quickly, or what else I can get rid of? All my music is in the cloud, I am currently moving all of my pictures to google photos, and I have maybe one video file left?

    1. ThatGirl*

      You may be confusing memory with storage/hard drive. Your music etc take up storage space, but programs running take up memory (RAM). If you’ve upgraded your OS it might be eating a lot of memory just by running. Unfortunately I’m not sure Apple lets you upgrade memory, which is an easy fix on PCs.

      1. KatieKate*

        I don’t think apple does–and I have no idea what is being eaten. it just says I have 10 GBS of…something left.

        1. Marcela*

          Probably it’s 10Gb of disk. When there is not enough memory (ram) your computer will feel very, very slow. Closing opened programs can help a little. When the problem is disk, you will probably see some alert, or find you can’t install new programs or even see weird errors in applications that don’t make any sense.

          Part of the problem could be that your disk is small, specially if the mac is old. Programs get bigger and bigger with every new version. For this there is no solution but to replace the hard drive with a bigger one. Another problem could be that some apps generate so much garbage that doesn’t automatically disappear, for example cache files for browsers or thumbnails for pictures. To see if it’s this, perhaps you can try to find a system cleaner or system analyzer for mac. I’m not sure they exist, since I’m a Linux user, but those will tell you the space that can be freed deleting non essential files. In the same spirit, perhaps there are disk analyzers for mac where you can see what’s using the space.

        2. neverjaunty*

          That’d be disk space. If you aren’t comfortable trying to fix the problem yourself (say with software), take it to the Genius Bar. You probably have random old files clogging up your drive.

          Go to the About This Mac – what kind of laptop is it?

          1. KatieKate*

            Any software suggestions?

            Mac Book Air from 2013, so not that old. 4 GB memory, 120 GB flash storage.

            1. fposte*

              120 GB is pretty small these days. Do you have images/music/video or just text files? If you go to “About This Mac” and click on “Storage,” what does it say you have left and what kinds of stuff are taking up room?

              1. fposte*

                Sorry, you answered the first question, but you can check to see if your computer feels the same way.

                Additionally, if you don’t turn it off and on regularly, start doing that. I’m really lazy about turning off my computer and it slows down hugely when I haven’t done it for a while.

                1. KatieKate*

                  I know it’s small, but I really don’t have the cash for a new computer. And it looks like Macs are still offering an air at 128 GB. Do PCs have much more?

                  It says that “Other” is taking up 69.5 GB. Movies and Audio is 25 GB.

                2. fposte*

                  @KatieKate–I love Macs, but Amazon is showing PC laptops with 2 to 4 times that storage for $250-$300. (You could also start uploading more stuff to to cloud, I suppose.)

                  However, you can also dig deeper into that Other category, because that’s more than half your space right there; add in applications and OS after that and the media files and you’re probably full up. I’ll post a link in followup with tips; you can also use the Get Info command on the File menu in Finder to see how much space a folder is taking up, and that will give you some hints on where the Other is lurking.

                3. KatieKate*

                  Responding to your last comment: HOLY COW I JUST DELETED THE BACKUPS (number 8) AND MY SPACE JUMPED TO 27.8 GB

                  YOU ARE A HERO!!! :D

            2. Anonymous Educator*

              I’ve got two suggestions:

              1A. Download a free program called GrandPerspective. It will analyze everything on your disk and how much space folders and files are taking up. It will show you visually the largest chunks, which you can hover over to see what folder they’re in, or you can right-click to open in Finder.

              1B. I support Macs for a living, and I’d say the #1 offender for taking up drive space is /Users/KatieKate/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/, which is where iPad and iPhone backups go. You can go there directly to delete those or delete them through iTunes itself.

              2. OWC (Other World Computing) sells SSD upgrades for Macs (and will even include the proper screwdrivers to do the upgrade yourself), so you can get more than 128 GB.

            3. Trillian*

              From looking at my Mac (2011 11″ MacBook Air) Other is all the files.

              Suggestions —
              — Check your Downloads folder for lurking disk images
              — Search your entire hard drive for large files. In Finder File > Find > Size is greater than 1 GB, greater than 500 MB, etc
              — Check what is synching on iCloud, Photos, Dropbox. Are they dumping a whole bunch of files to your SSD.
              — A couple of suggestions that cost, but are really effective. Gemini for finding and removing duplicate files, and Clean My Mac for everything else (system files, cache files, other languages support, leftovers from deleted files). Clean My Mac has a limited trial mode, but it may point to to where the problems are.

    2. Ayla K*

      Seconding ThatGirl’s comment above on storage vs. memory/RAM. When I was first out of college, I got a job at a tiny company where I had to use my own Macbook, which was about 4 years old at the time and slow as molasses in winter. The company couldn’t afford to buy me a new computer, but they did buy me a nice RAM upgrade which kept it running for another four years. I just replaced it last month after saving up for a while (it got to the point where it was unusably slow – still had tons of disk space, but it was just too old.) and it’s a world of difference.

      Try adding some RAM first, and seeing if that makes a difference.

        1. copy run start*

          Pretty certain you can’t with the Air. I think all the Apple machines now are stuck with whatever configuration you purchase.

          Maybe sell it on Craigslist and put the money towards a newer model with better specs? I heard they just refreshed the line so you might get a deal on the now-older models.

        2. Anonymous Educator*

          The bottom very much comes off the Air, but you cannot upgrade the RAM, because it’s soldered in. You can, however, upgrade your SSD—see my comment above regarding that.

        3. super anon*

          i have a 2013 air – you can’t replace the ram in them, it’s soldered to the board. however, based on what you’ve described i don’t think your problem is the ram, it’s likely that your harddrive is full. you can replace the ssd in the air with a bigger one, but it’s a custom size that only apple uses, so you may have to try to find a cheap OEM one. i think there may be third party companies that make ssds to fit it, but i haven’t needed to replace mine so i don’t know.

          i have a 256 ssd in my air, but i have a 2TB external that has all of my files on it. i bought icloud storage and keep all of my documents that i save on my computer there, as well as my pictures.

          1. Anonymous Educator*

            you can replace the ssd in the air with a bigger one, but it’s a custom size that only apple uses, so you may have to try to find a cheap OEM one.

            OWC is great for these SSD upgrades.

    3. copy run start*

      It sounds like you may have two problems: a full hard drive and low RAM for what you’re doing.

      For the full hard drive you’re already basically doing what you can. CC Cleaner may help you reclaim some space used for temp files, etc. Or you could do a wipe and reload of the OS and all your programs, but only if you’re comfortable and up for spending a whole day at it.

      All computers move some data in RAM into a cache on the hard disk. (In the Windows world, it’s called the page file.) The less RAM you have, the more is written to disk. The more that’s on the disk, the more space it takes up from your files and programs, and the more often your computer has to go there to get what it needs. RAM is MUCH faster than your disk, so every time it has to grab something on your disk, it takes a lot longer and you will notice the computer slow down. If your disk is full, it can’t write that data to the disk to help you out when you run out of RAM. :(

      For a quick fix, I’d clean up any extra junk files you have with CC Cleaner to get more hard drive space. You could look into adding more RAM or replacing the hard drive with a larger one.

      1. KatieKate*

        I got a whole 1.8 GB out of CCleaner! :D That may have sounded sarcastic, but it’s actually a nice improvement. Thanks!

    4. Mela*

      If you’re getting a pop-up saying your disk is almost full, that’s definitely your hard drive. After 4 years, I put all the files I wanted to save on DropBox/USB, then just reset it to factory settings. It was much faster, and created over 20-30GB of space if I recall correctly. I had 2GB RAM and 60GB hard drive, so you’re likely to get a good result with that as well.

      Also, for maintenance, I don’t normally ever shut down my laptop, so restarting it once a week is a good idea. It gets rid of a lot of temporary files and clutter.

    5. The Cosmic Avenger*

      If you don’t know what’s taking up space on a Mac, I recommend OmniDiskSweeper. It’s a free download from Cnet, and it’s simple, but deceptively helpful. It just gives you a total size for every directory and subdirectory that you can navigate through and see where most of your space is being used. I’ve used it many times to figure out where to try to delete files.

  15. Pokebunny*

    The kitty place I volunteer at recently had an opening for a tech support/receptionist. The staff there encouraged me to sign up for it. Problem is, I suck at interacting with people. I’ve never held a customer-facing job my whole life. Yet, it is precisely because of that fact that I should really take this up. My resume has one glaring gap: Little to no “excellent customer service skills”.

    I went through the training yesterday and it was nerve-wracking as hell. I’m going to start shadowing another receptionist today. *knots form in stomach*

      1. LCL*

        Because in most jobs you have to interact someway, somehow with other people. If you have had a customer service job, it shows that you have at least minimal people skills.

        Look at all the questions to this website alone ‘oh my gosh, I have to talk to people and interact with them and I don’t know how and it’s just too hard because I am an introvert and can’t be expected to talk to people.’ My opinion is that social avoidance runs wide and deep in our culture, and it is hurting everyone.

        1. Pokebunny*

          This is it. I work in IT, and currently my “customers” are people in my department, so even though they are “strangers”, there’s a “we all work here” thing that makes me not nervous. Once my contract is over, I will have to look for a job, and customer service is crucial for IT.

          1. neverjaunty*

            People skills are important, but having a customer service job is not then only (or even a mandatory) way to demonstrate that. And it can be UNhelpful if the customer service job is not congruent with your usual career path, or if you do poorly at it, which may well happen if you hate the work.

            What about something like Toastmasters or volunteer work that helps you improve your soft skills? That would probably be much better than a job that gives you massive anxiety.

          2. neverjaunty*

            (And to be clear, I know this is a volunteer position. What I poorly expressed was finding something where you volunteer that isn’t jumping into the deep end of the pool.)

    1. Jersey's Mom*

      It’ll be ok. People are coming to the kitty place because, well, they like kitties. You are the Vanna White of the gates to kittydom.

      You’re not trying to sell them something. You’re not giving them bad news. You are the first face they will see when they arrive at kitty place. It’ll be ok. If something is not working right at the front desk, people will not go nuts and they’re not going to blame you. After all, everyone is there because of kitties.

      After all, everyone in that building likes kitties. Focus on that. And I’m not being facetious – the new people coming in the door every day already have something in common with you. Remember too, that even if you’re terrified the first few hours, it will get better. The other staff think you’ll do a good job, and I’m sure they’ll have your back. In a few weeks, you’ll be amazed at how nervous you were for no reason. It will be ok.

    2. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      You can do this!

      Some things I learned when I was both terrified of talking to strangers, young, and starting out my work life as a receptionist at an animal place: there are some off the wall people but by and large the kitty loving people see you as an ally. Project outward calm and pleasantry and in most all cases, people respond positively to that, even if you’ve made a mistake or don’t know the answer. There’s nothing at all wrong with saying “I’m new here so let me find out the answer for you!” – this saved my butt on many occasions when I hadn’t learned enough institutional knowledge to do it all on my own. Be willing to ask questions to fill in your missing blanks or shore up your own knowledge if you need to.

      I think it’s really great experience in terms of learning how to deal with other people professionally so I agree with you that this is a good way to get that under your belt. When I hire, I look for this kind of “dealt with the general public, learned how not to run away screaming” experience.

    3. Emma*

      Dunno if this will help you, but it does me. In my personal life, I have trouble speaking to people or (especially) bringing myself to talk on the telephone. I can do it for work, though, because somehow, telling myself that it’s not me on the phone, it’s my workplace talking through me, gives me enough separation to not be anxious.

  16. Not Karen*

    Adulting 101 question (maybe 102):

    For the first time I have some outdoor space with outdoor furniture. Can/do I leave the furniture out there all winter long, or should I bring it inside? If it matters, winters here are plenty snowy with temperatures as low as -30F.

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

      How it does in winter depends on what it’s made of (plastic vs metal vs wood etc). For plastic or wood, I would bring it in; if it’s metal, it depends on how well painted it is. A little bit of scrapped paint could easily lead to rust.

    2. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      The material it’s made out of matters–metal can rust, plastic and would should definitely come in. Also it depends on what your outdoor space is made out of–concrete is fine, but generally you shouldn’t leave anything on a wooden deck all winter because it can freeze to the deck and damage the wood.

    3. fposte*

      For an alternative viewpoint on plastic, I leave my solid plastic stuff out all year round; it’s white, and it gets kind of baked-on dirty in spots in a way that doesn’t hose-wash off, but otherwise I’ve had no noticeable brittleness or yellowing after 15+ of this. I’m in Illinois so my winters aren’t as cold as yours, but it’s still pretty brutal.

    4. Edith*

      In addition to the great advice above you might get a cover for anything you’re leaving outside. Stack up the chairs if they’re stackable, bring in the cloth overhang if there is one, and cover everything that’s outside the way you’d cover your grill.

      I wanted to be able to sit out on my front porch, but was afraid patio furniture would get stolen since I live on a busy main road, so I bought a little foldable deck set with two chairs and a little table. When I’m not using them I keep them folded up in the coat closet with the vacuum and the step ladder.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I think a good rule of thumb is to bring it in so it will last longer. Stuff left outside over the winter seems to lose 50% of its life expectancy.
      However, I don’t. I pull the cushions in because the wet will kill them. I got my furniture for free and it is that plastic wicker. If it was an expensive set I would find a way to get it under cover for the winter.
      The only other consideration to me would be a slate roof. Snow and ice come off the slate roof of my house with a killer force. Even good, strong outdoor furniture would not escape harm. However the furniture is under another roof and the avalanche does not hit there.

    6. Chat Noir*

      We have cast aluminum furniture that we leave out year round. However in the winter, we do cover it. I’m not sure how other materials would do outside.

      Our patio table is tied down to our deck and there’s a tie down strap securing the chairs around the table. It can get very windy here and if the furniture is not secured it will fly right across the deck. If high wind is a possibility and you don’t have a way to secure everything, I would consider bringing the furniture in.

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

    I am so annoyed! I worked from home yesterday in order to receive a delivery that never came. I emailed at the end of the day asking what happened, and their reason is that I hadn’t confirmed the date.

    The email exchange to settle the date went this way:
    Me: “Can you come Friday?”
    Them: “Yes, we can”

    But apparently, since I didn’t reply that OK, Friday it was, they didn’t come.
    I’m doubly annoyed because this is the second time they’re delivering. We ordered a tiny little sauna, but the door was damaged, so they had to bring a new door. This has been going on for over a month now, and it has taken a lot of joy out of what was supposed to be a “treat yourself” kind of luxury.

    I know this is probably the firstiest of first world problems, but I’m very very annoyed.

  18. Gene*

    Yay! Halloween! I get another use out of my Rambo Brite costume. Not going to a party or anything, just greeting the kids.

    I snagged Saturday and Sunday tickets to Emerald City Comiccon in March, so if we’ll be a good hall costume. But it has no pockets. So I’m thinking an ammo can purse.

    On the sewing front, I did another shirt in a size smaller, it fits better; so I’m a large in that pattern. I need to finish another nightgown for my wife, then I’ll start on the bacon shirt.

  19. Gene*

    You may notice my name has turned blue. Nothing exciting, my old weather station died, so I got one that talks to the world and signed up on Weather Underground. If you want to see the weather in the Great Northwet, click it. And that applies this month, an all-time record for wettest October this year.

      1. LizB*

        I thought I was the only person who whispers “wunderground” to myself every time I look up the weather on that site!

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      Yeah, lots of rain in WA state – I think we got more than an inch! I am on the dry side of the state.

  20. Anon Accountant*

    So my therapist gave me an “assignment” to find some social hobbies to participate in that make me happy. Basically to get me out of the house and have things to look forward to. My hobbies are too solitary such as making fleece tied blankets, crafts, and cooking.

    He wants me to find hobbies that will get me out around people and interacting more socially. I’m drawing a total blank. I’m 33 and live in a small town 60 miles away from a larger city that would probably have some more options.

    What are your social hobbies? Any suggestions? Thanks in advance

    1. Lily Evans*

      Does your town have a library? Those can host a surprising number of hobby groups, like groups for writing, crafts, and (of course) book clubs. I’ve even seen libraries offer yoga and other exercise classes!

      1. JoniKat*

        Second the library! If they don’t have anything like that, please consider suggesting more classes like that! Speaking as a librarian, we love to hear what the public wants. If we notice several people asking for them we can use that to design programs or put out a search for volunteers.

    2. Caledonia*

      Is there a live mic night or something that you could go to as a crowd member? You’d be sharing an experience with others so you might get some chat in between songs/afterwards.

    3. Someone*

      Look at meetup for crafts meetups. My niece swears knitting is a great way to meet people. Book clubs. If there are no local meetups, its harder.

    4. Gene*

      I’ve made some great, probably lifelong friends playing Ingress. It’s something you literally can’t do without going in the world. Google the name.

      Do you have any racetracks nearby? We’re always looking for new volunteer workers. You can work corners waving flags at racecars, grid where you tell drivers where to line up, timing where you’re inside out of the weather tracking laps and time, registration, race control where you’re keeping things under control :-), or lots of other jobs. Contact your local SCCA try get started. Depending on where you live, the race season may be over, but will get going in the spring. Between SCCA and other organizations, I could spend every weekend at a track during the season.

        1. Gene*

          The big difference (besides no Pokemon) is that Ingress really encourages working together and group play. Some things can’t be done alone and Niantic organizes events where literally thousands of players gather in a site to play. The most recent one here has about 5000 players in downtown Seattle, I was sick and had to miss it, including the after party where our side rented the Pacific Science Center. I was bummed!

      1. Development Professional*

        +1 to Ingress. Social and a bit physically active (walking around). It’s also great because it’s social but not toooo social, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can just focus on the game and then click back into conversation/interaction when you’re ready. So great for introverts.

    5. the gold digger*

      I like to cook and I really like to take cooking classes. I am also intrigued by the group cooking events at church – they are doing a big apple pie bake in a few weeks, making pies to sell for Thanksgiving as a fundraiser for the church.

      I also like my book club. It’s only once a month, which is just enough social interaction for me. In an ideal world, I would have that hermit job they were advertising in Switzerland recently – they pay you $24K a year to BE BY YOURSELF.

    6. LadyKelvin*

      Adult dance classes? Like tap, ballet or something crazier like hiphop or bellydancing. Lots of rec places offer them, or small town dance schools might offer them.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        My mum used to run a small-town dance school in the 1970s and she literally did this. She taught belly dancing to women who needed to get out of the house and wanted something fun/exercise-y to do!

    7. Theguvnah*

      Volunteering somewhere? For a candidate for the next week, or for a nonprofit after (animal shelter, etc)?

      Idealist.org has ways to search for volunteer opportunities in your area.

    8. Chaordic One*

      Well, I volunteer at the local library. Friends volunteer at a local history museum, a couple of different thrift stores (one owned by a church, the other a community foundation) the animal shelter and at the food bank. There’s a very active quilting club and several different book clubs.

    9. neverjaunty*

      Another vote for checking out Meetup. You can search by area alone and it will tell you all the stuff going on in your area – you might find something that interests you that wouldn’t otherwise have thought of.

    10. Emily*

      I like athletic activities (indoor rock climbing/bouldering and ultimate frisbee right now, although I’ve tried fencing and karate in the past). If you don’t mind athletics, joining a local sports league or taking an interesting-sounding fitness class could be a good way to meet people. I also play in a community orchestra that practices weekly.

      Also, I’d like to second all the people who suggested looking for crafting groups, cooking classes, etc. There may be ways that you can make your current hobbies a little less solitary.

    11. Eager Beaver*

      What about Rotary Club or the Lion’s Club? My Rotary Club meets for lunch every week, and it’s a great way to meet people.

    12. J.B.*

      A moms group I was involved with would have crafting nights, and my church has craft related activities. Basically people get together to do their thing and talk and have snacks. Sewing stores would probably have ideas of the local groups. There may also be things like “once a month cooking clubs” which can be a fun way to try new recipes and share the results with others. Meetup for those probably…

  21. Wendy*

    What kind of exercise mat is best for bodyweight and core-targeting exercises? I originally planned to get a yoga mat, but then realised I didn’t know much about mats – all the different thicknesses and textures. Should I go for a 3mm or 6mm yoga mat, or a thicker one that’s around 1.5cm, or an actual exercise mat that’s around 4cm thick?

    (My apartment hardwood floors so there’s no give at all, so I’m sort of leaning towards a thicker one, but I’m not sure if it’d be awkward for gripping etc.)

    1. ptrish*

      I do bodyweight exercises at home. Basically, you need something that will be comfortable to kneel on or to lie on. If you’re more skinny/bony, you might need a thicker one, but keep in mind that you can always put a towel or blanket down for more padding. I have a 3mm one and it’s fine for me. I can’t imagine that anything thicker than 1cm is necessary. The 4cm ones are for safety more than comfort, for actual gymnastics or tumbling, I think.

      Also, they’re not too expensive, so it’s okay to start with a cheap one and then get another one once you figure out what you need.

    2. Trixie*

      Good call on gripping. I do find the thicker mats are more challenging for balance so I prefer thinner mats. I would start with something inexpensive from Target, Marshalls, TJMaxx, just to get you started. Some like extra padding when on hands/knees or the back so a handy blanket or second mat would work for that. I have an old handmedown Gaiam mat which I like a lot because its thin and old enough not to have a slippery finish. All variations of planks are AWESOME core-targeting exercises.

    3. fposte*

      I use two thin Gaiam-style yoga mats on top of each other-it’s probably about 6mm together. That gives me more flipping options over time, which is good because I do yoga on them as well. I had a 4 cm mat and couldn’t cope with it–like trying to work out on a bed.

    4. brightstar*

      When I was taking pilates/yoga combo classes, I bought a thick mat that is great for everything except balance work. I had to stand on the bare floor for that but didn’t need to pile towels on for certain exercises like most people in the class with thinner mats.

    5. MegKnits*

      Depends on what you will be doing. Body weight exercises where I have a lot of weight on my knees (or any sort of crunches) I prefer a thicker mat that my gym has. But it is not great for doing yoga as it has a lot more stretch/less stability.

      Honestly, if you’re going to do any sort of yoga, get a medium thickness yoga mat, and double up if you’re finding it hard on your knees. That’s what I do at home when doing yoga.
      Also suggestion: planks. I pretty much refuse to do normal crunches and just plank now. Easier on my body and apparently better for you (unless you have shoulder issues of course).

    1. ptrish*

      Best: volunteered at a big local event for the first time and had so much fun! It reminded me that I really like doing new things and meeting new people when I have a specific role to play or job to do. So I’m going to look out for more opportunities like that!

      Worst: I volunteered to host for a book club I recently joined…and nobody showed up. Even though the people I talked to had good reasons and assured me it wasn’t me…still feels like being the last one picked in middle school.

    2. QualityControlFreak*

      Worst: Wednesday. My mom had a stroke, another loved one had cardiac surgery and my spouse had the 2-week post-op evaluation on his cancer.

      Best: As of yesterday, all are home and doing well. Mom does not need OT or PT. Spouse is healing and does not need radiation.

      How are you holding up Ruffingit? I’ve been thinking of you.

      1. C Average*

        Not sure what’s up with Ruffingit–I dip in and out of the commentariat here as work and life allow–but I’m sending good thoughts your way, too. I always love your comments here. So wise and kind. You put a lot of goodness out into the universe. Here’s hoping you get some back.

        1. Ruffingit*

          Thank you C Average, QCF, and Camellia! I’m doing OK. C Average – my mother was in the hospital for two weeks and it was a pretty scary time. She’s home now, though that presents its own challenges. She’s not an easy patient by any means, but that’s a story for another day. Thank you all again for your prayers and good thoughts. It means the world!

    3. Elkay*

      Best: Tax rebate!
      Worst: It’s been a pretty crummy week, nothing in specific going wrong just feeling like I don’t fit in anywhere.

    4. Nervous Accountant*

      BEST–My Dr called with results about my hemoglobin A1c, it went down again! I started taking control of my diabetes last year, but got side tracked by tax season so it went back up plus I gained a few lbs. And then over the summer I was pretty sluggish and had 0 energy.
      I finally feel more energetic now. I’ve been working out off and on since June, became more consistent in September and finally seeing tiny results on my body…but biggest one is 8.2 to 7.4 in 6 weeks! Finally at the point where I feel excited about exercising.
      Also, I took a nice little vacation last weekend w the husband and it was lovely.

      WORST–I think I have a UTI. Im functional and it’s not super painful but at some point it feels like needles are coming out. Taking OTc for a few days and then will head to Dr. :/

      1. LizB*

        UTIs are the worst. If you aren’t already taking Azo, try it — it’s a painkiller that specifically targets your bladder/urinary tract, and it is an absolute lifesaver for me while I’m waiting for antibiotics to kick in for one of my recurring UTIs. The only problem is that it can mess with test results when they’re looking at your urine, so you should stop taking it 24 hours before your doctor’s appointment. It will also turn your pee bright orange, so don’t worry if that happens.

        1. the gold digger*

          Walgreen’s has a generic version that is cheaper than Azo. Be careful with your toilet seat – your bright orange pee can stain it. Wipe the bottom of the seat every time you pee. Bleach will not remove the stains. Nothing can, as far as I know, which meant I bought a new toilet seat before I put my old house up for sale.

          Get better soon. It is such a miserable, painful thing.

    5. Red*

      Best: Finally get to go back to work on Monday! I’ve been out for the past two weeks because of appendicitis, and I miss my job and my coworkers. Not only that, but my favorite coworker is getting transferred back to my site the day I return. So yes, I am SO ready for Monday! BRING IT ON!!!

      Worst: Apparently, when things are blurry, glasses are needed. I have literally no idea what I’m doing and dislike the way glasses look on my face. Ugh. Also I still have a wicked bruise on my arm from when I was in the hospital 2 weeks ago, which is crazy. At least it’s no longer vivid purple, I suppose.

      1. Mimmy*

        Be glad you were out only 2 weeks – an employee at my dad’s office was out for SIX weeks! But I think her case might’ve been more severe.

        Wishing you a continued good recovery!

        1. Red*

          I think it’s probably differences in surgery, actually! It used to be done with a huge incision, but now most appendixes (I hope that’s how you make it plural, sorry if it’s not) are removed laparoscopically. Healing is so much faster that way, because you only have three tiny incisions. They didn’t even give me stitches, just glued me up and sent me on my way!

          Thank you!

      2. Emma*

        Bruises, in my experience, can take a surprisingly long time to heal. It’s still annoying, though.

        On the glasses: if you really dislike them, can you wear contacts? If not, most people tend to adjust to them like they do a new haircut – looks strange/weird/different for a while, then they just become part of your face. I was so damn annoyed when I first realized I needed glasses, but now I think I look bizarre without them. Being able to see clearly is really worth it, though.

        1. Red*

          Contacts are not going to work for me (can’t even watch my boyfriend deal with his lol), so I’m hoping I adjust to the glasses quickly! I’m definitely annoyed though. Mostly at my insurance for not covering any of this, and for glasses in actual brick-and-mortar stores for being so stinking expensive. I’ve been looking at the ones Zenni sells, and as nice as their “online try-on” thing is, I want to put the actual frames on my actual face! It’s just more real that way, you know?

    6. Mimmy*

      Best: During a two-day training this week, I had resigned to just having a dull evening to myself (I stayed overnight at the hotel where the training was held) when I decided to go to the lobby to check out the little shop. I get to the lobby and I hear some distinctive voices and laughter coming from the bar – it’s my colleagues from the training! I ended up spending pretty much the rest of the evening with them.

      Promising: My legs are slowwwwwwwly healing. Not getting any new rashes, but I still have some very dry, discolored patches. I have a similar patch on my abdomen. Still itches sometimes due to the dryness, but it seems I may be able to cancel my dermatology appointment set for the 10th.

      Annoying: A couple of inaccuracies in the report of my recent two-week VR evaluation. Happens every time :/

    7. Ruffingit*

      Best: Ran my first 5K today! Ran/walked really but made it through!!

      Worst: Dog bite yesterday.

      1. Belle di Vedremo*

        Congrats on the Best, that’s great!
        Sorry about the Worst, hope it’s a very small superficial bite. Keep an eye on it in case of infection.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      BEST: Looking forward to the writing conference thing next week. My photos came out FAT FAT FAT. The lighting, composition, etc. is all beautiful but FAT. Ugh. Must work on this. I did get new business cards ordered so now all I have to do is pick out clothes and dust off my computer bag.

      WORST: FAT.

      1. Oryx*

        Ugh, I had a fancy work function on Monday meeting one of my most favorite authors and we took pictures after and I looked horribly fat. SO FAT. I got my new driver’s license that day, too, and also looked FAT and Monday was basically the worst day ever because of all of this. And now my fat photo with author and my stupid skinny co-worker is out there in the world.

      2. Jean*

        Ouch! Sympathies and moral support here. Gaining (or retaining) unwanted weight is no fun (and neither is losing it) but please be nice to yourselves.

        I’m trying to lose weight myself, but also ponder the larger-women-are-beautiful vibes from times and places besides the Westernized, skinniness-obsessed, post-industrial, early twenty-first century USA. There are no guarantees that I’ll retain my willpower and ability to exercise (i.e. walk and stretch) indefinitely. (Gee willikers, Jean is just a barrel of laughs this weekend! Sorry, folks.)

    9. Nina*

      Best: Finally got a job! I’d hope to be employed long before this, but I’m just glad the search is over. I start in a week. Seeing the onboarding emails about benefits practically made me cry. I won’t take benefits or a 401K for granted again.

      Worst: Trying to transition back into a normal sleeping schedule. I’ve been a night owl since I was 5, and dropping off to sleep at a normal hour has always been difficult.

      Ruffingit, was it you who posted about your mom a few weeks back? I hope she’s doing better.

    10. Aurion*

      Best: weightlifting remains fun and I’m still improving.

      Worst: car accident on Tuesday. Really minor, but I really didn’t need more stress on top of the two-weeks-from-hell at work.

    11. DragoCucina*

      Went to a family wedding Sunday. One of my sons and I flew across the country.

      Best: Seeing family I hadn’t seen in a while.
      Worst: Being ghosted by family in the immediate area of the wedding. Son was told, “We’ll go out tonight.” He made no other plans, hung about, then it was radio silence. I was called at the last minute to help decorate the reception hall. No problem. I arrived and there was a list of instructions and half the things needed to decorate. The person who asked me to help never showed. The last day of the trip we were to go visit a specific site where family has connections. Nothing. Fortunately, son went to nearby city for the day so he didn’t wait around.

        1. DragoCucina*

          Thanks. It’s one reason we live across the country from my family. We put the fun in dysFUNctional.

    12. Trixie*

      Best: Making progress on small goals. Walking at lunch (finally with podcasts), bring healthy food to work, making more group classes, clothes shopping so I FINALLY have a few new pieces to wear.

      Worst: Acknowledging to myself how unhappy I am living with family member. Weekends are miserable which is just wrong on so many levels. Wish family member had more things going on and some reasons to leave the house.

    13. Ann Furthermore*

      My best and worst is the same this week. Friday was my last day at my job. I spent 12 years at that company. So it was the best in that I’m really excited about my new job, and it was the right time to leave — things had gotten pretty bad, with no signs of improvement, plus the writing is on the wall for the outsourcing. It was the worst because I made a lot of very good friends there over the years, so I’m sad to be leaving them behind.

      1. C Average*

        I’m sorry and congratulations. It all sounds very bittersweet. I hope your new job is everything you hope it will be!

    14. C Average*

      Best: Had a nice chat with older stepdaughter. We’ve had a complicated relationship: not contentious or hostile or anything like that, but very very careful. It’s nice when she trusts me enough to open up a bit and share what she’s thinking.

      Worst: Election-related anxiety. I want it to just freaking end already.

    15. Bad Candidate*

      Best: I found out I’m being bumped up to the next level at work and getting a 5% raise effective November 1.

      Worst: The pinched nerve in my neck has been acting up and I’ve been in a lot of pain. :(

    16. George*

      Worst: the cat died. The dog died six weeks ago, and now there are no little animals asking for attention. (They were both elderly; dog was 18 and cat was 15.)

      Best: a common theme among a local sports tournament, a vacation trip with my daughter and her friends, and a work trip to a remote site, is that people really do seem to like me. Old experiences had trained me to not believe that, but I guess it’s true anyway.

    17. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Best – New work contract finally showed up with the agreed salary (thanks negotiation!) so I can sign that and get going on starting a new gig. SO OVER being at home!

      Worst – This herniated disc or whatever is going on in my back is not getting any better after 8 weeks and I am fed up with being stuck at home, limited range of motion, the burning foot and toe pain, and sidewalks that aren’t level (not to mention people who don’t pay attention!). Doctor on Wednesday (hopefully for something that will allow me to sleep longer than two hours at a stretch) then MRI next Sunday. I really need to go back to work so I can get private insurance to have this effectively/quickly taken care of if surgery is needed, but I am worried I wont have the stamina to make it through a day. New job is aware of the issue (and I changed my interview date twice due to being unable to actually walk) but it is so darn frustrating to constantly feel like I have a foot full of sand :(

    18. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Best: participated in an eyeglasses study at my university and got a $30 gift card and a free pair of glasses with my chosen frames, so now I’ll have my current black-and-teal frames plus the new burgundy-and-orchid frames.

      Worst: I have had to coach my direct report on professional norms around professional, collegial interactions with coworkers, but he keeps lapsing back into his smart-alec, sarcastic, petulant ways. He improves for a week or so, and then his natural know-it-all jackass-ness comes back. I’ve spoken with our HR rep about how to formally deal with him, and he said to document everything in preparation for putting him on probation. So that’s where I am with him now, and I’m irritated because this is just basic, common respect for other people — how can he be so lacking in it?!

    19. SeekingBetter*

      Best: Got invited to do a paid class facilitation next month!

      Worst: Didn’t hear back from any of the places I applied to, including one from a promising phone interview I completed last week.

    20. LCL*

      Best-saw Hell’s Belles again last night. They are an all female (their term) AC/DC cover band. Worst-same thing that always happens when I see talented musicians. I beat myself up over the road not taken and wonder why I quit music for so long.

  22. Anon for this*

    Not an overly frequent commenter but still going anon for this.

    How do I tell my boyfriend that he’s not a good kisser? It’s really bad to the point where I dread kissing him! He’s extremely sensitive and self conscience so I don’t know how to approach the subject without upsetting him!

    1. Lily Evans*

      Maybe instead of framing it as “you’re bad at this” you could talk about your personal kissing preferences. Like, “It feels really nice when you kiss me this way,” or “I’m not a fan of kissing with so much tongue, can you hold back on that?” And if it’s just so bad it’s not gently correctable, you could suggest trying totally new types of kissing, like, “We usually kiss like this, but could we try kissing like that?”

      1. Allypopx*

        Agreed, and to add, it depends on how he’s a bad kisser. Certain things like too reserved, too peckish, you can try leading by example. Tongue all over your face you could try “I’m really in the mood for something softer/more subtle/let’s relax a little bit.” Also if he does something well, point it out! Positive reinforcement is key with physical stuff.

      2. ZVA*

        This is great advice. If you can focus on your preferences instead of his skills (or lack thereof), you’re less likely to hurt his feelings. If he’s super-sensitive, you still might—but better that than suffering in silence… Good luck!

      3. Allison Mary*

        Thirded. I don’t think it would be productive to frame anything he’s doing as “good” or “bad” – it’s just an evaluation and a judgment, as if there’s an objective standard of “right” and “wrong” kissing. I would focus instead on what you like, and frame it as, “I don’t like this one thing so much – but I really like this other thing a lot and it drives me wild! Would you be up for trying out the switch?”

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      I know he’s sensitive, but can you just be honest with him that he’s currently a bad kisser, and you would love to teach him how to be a better one?

      You don’t have to compliment sandwich him, but you could also maybe throw in at least one thing (physical intimacy–wise) he does well already?

    3. neverjaunty*

      Seconding the comments about phrasing this as what you like and don’t like.

      That said – a relationship where your boyfriend is so sensitive that you are hesitant even to tell him how you like to be kissed? That’s not a great dynamic :(

  23. Lucy*

    I just moved into a flat with a window ledge. I’m thinking about growing some mint there, but I don’t know how viable that is given that it’s almost winter. Also, does mint attract insects? Are there other herbs that’s easy to grow?

    1. Trixie*

      I’ve read that mint is a very hearty plant compared to others that struggle. And I read that mint helps repel knats which would be great in the kitchen. (Perfect for those fruit flies that find my kitchen, regardless of season.) Mint, sage, rosemary, thyme.

    2. Emma*

      In my experience, mint grows like crazy. Any mint. I wouldn’t even really worry that it’s nearly winter, they’re pretty hardy. If they do die back, they’ll come back. And if you’re not careful, it’ll go everywhere and be impossible to tame. It’s notorious for taking over garden beds, and then making war on your lawn.

      I mean, I know people who started with one little mint plant and then found it growing in their walls.

    3. C Average*

      Mint is quite hardy, and there’s something delightful about gathering leaves from the garden to make a mojito in the summertime.

      Oregano and parsley are tough to kill, too.

      If only I could have decent luck with the basil. Sigh.

  24. Merri*

    Dry body brushing – any benefits?

    I keep reading about it in health magazines about improving circulation etc. Does anyone do it on a regular basis and have you noticed any improvements?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I use a luffa (loufa?) sponge in the shower to help with circulation and to help my skin.

      Apparently, it will help. I have seen several doctors tell their patients to use a bath brush of some type to prevent cysts. The way it works is that it stimulates tiny, tiny blood vessels. If those blood vessels are working you are less apt to get eruptions on the skin. I remember one case in particular, my father had a nasty cyst on his back. He had it surgically removed, jeepers, for a little thing it was awful, awful. The doc said “get a bath brush and use it on your back every time you shower. You will never have to go through this again. ” And I bought him a brush, he used it and never had another occurrence. Later, I met other people whose docs said the same thing.

      I have been using a luffa for about 20 years. I can see that my skin is consistent, I don’t have problems with things popping up. Which ever route you go, you do not have to brush hard. It’s not like sanding a piece of wood. A soft, light touch is adequate.

    2. Caro*

      I haven’t done it regularly enough to speak to any results but it feels amazing, especially on dry winter skin. Totally different than scrubbing in the shower.

  25. Bekx*

    In about an hour I’ll be auditioning for a local community theater musical. I haven’t done any acting in 5 years, and it’s been like 15 years since my last musical….but I miss acting terribly and I really need to get back into the scene. That being said, I’m so nervous!!! Ahhh!!

    1. Sami*

      Break a leg! I ought to get back involved in our community theatre. I love it too. What show are you auditing for?

    2. Bekx*

      Thanks everyone! I auditioned for “a little” ;) children’s movie turned musical… I sang something from the 20th century Fox movie anastasia.

      I ended up getting a call back for one of the leading lady’s sisters. Which is a role I wanted. Tomorrow is callbacks. So fingers crossed!

  26. Wildflower*

    What are your best tips for staying motivated when you aren’t busy? I graduated from college in June and am still unemployed (looking for publishing jobs outside of New York is hard). I’m really good at staying motivated and productive while I’m super busy, but now that I’m not, I’m having a hard time keeping up with personal goals like running a blog, or studying for the GRE, or even cleaning my apartment! My mind seems to be thinking “well I don’t have anything on my calendar tomorrow, or the day after, or the rest of the week, so there’s really no reason I have to work on this to do list today.” I’d really appreciate some advice!

    1. Caledonia*

      Volunteer!

      It’s seriously a life saver, plus you never know who you might meet or what skills you will gain/improve. I’ve personally volunteered for a charity in a secondhand bookstore (I love books) but there are so many other things available, my friend works as a befriender every other Saturday to a pre-teen.

      Even though you’re looking for publishing jobs, what about picking up a “for now” job? (for all the reasons above).

      1. Wildflower*

        I do have a temporary contract job in linguistics (which was my major), but it’s work from home and part time, so it’s not really helping me feel like I’m busy. Volunteering is a great idea, and I really should do more of it. It would be good to get myself out of my apartment!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          It will help you set your clock/calendar. I find that I will do more here if I know I have to get out the door at x time. It gives me a fake deadline. I was reading that some people need that, they need a planned activity at a set time and all their other activities fall in place around that one activity. This makes a lot of sense to me.

      2. Laura*

        I second this! When I was unemployed and job searching I found a nonprofit to volunteer at two days a week in their office. It got me out of the house with a purpose and provided some structure to my week. This helped me keep more productive in my job search and kept me from going insane. I ended up doing work that was relevant to my career and putting it on my resume, but when I first contacted them I offered to stuff envelopes or file papers just to have something to do.

  27. Myrin*

    So on Tuesday morning on my way to work, two teenagers (I’d guess they were somewhere around 16-18) sat down across from me (and talked in a way that promptly made me realise that I’m finally at the age where I don’t understand current youth slang anymore and where I also find it absolutely horrible, but that’s beside the point) and loudly talked about how much fun they had during an activity the evening before. I tried to ignore them and read on my book but they were so obnoxiously loud I couldn’t concentrate at all and suddenly, one of them talked about a man appearing on a balcony and his turning his face real fast so as not to be recognised. I was like… what? What illegal shenanigans did you guys get yourself into where you don’t want people to see your faces? So I started to listen and it turns out they’d broken into a storage unit, stolen a vehicle, and gone on a joyride! Their adventure was promptly stopped by apparently running into a group of people in all black with flashlights (whatever the hell happened there, I don’t even want to know) which caused them great fear (literally what was said: “Isch hatt’ so Angst, Alta!”) but man, it was so much fun and haha, so cool!

    They said all that, loudly I might repeat, while in a train full of people. What they also mentioned was the name of the third guy who was with them, which just so happened to be a name that, if a first name is completely unusual for someone younger than 90, and if a surname, well, easy to find; the name of the social worker who oversees at least one of them via the employment agency; and the fact that one of them filled out his documents too late and will now get unemployment two weeks later. I’m saying all that to illustrate that, if investigated by the right people, these guys are probably super easy to find.

    Well, back to me. So I listened to all of that and later told my family – mostly to rant about their atrocious way of speaking – and, well, on Thursday my mum found the incident in the paper where the police asked for witnesses. Well, I’m not technically a witness but I called them anyway and the officer was highly amused by my account of this amazing tale. So sometime next week I’ll be called by the actual officer who works the case to tell them the story yet again and I’m very excited! And I mean, seriously, if you want to be a criminal so bad, at least learn to not talk about it in public!

    1. Not So NewReader*

      This is why there is a school of thought that says criminals actually want to be caught and stopped. They know what they are doing is wrong and they cannot stop themselves so they go public to get help in stopping.

      Not all criminals and not all the time.
      But I hear stories like this and I cannot help but think of that.

    2. rubyrose*

      Speaking of people caught doing criminal acts by something obvious: “A veteran Denver Police Department officer has been arrested after he recorded himself with his body camera as he allegedly stole $1,200 from a suspect during a shooting investigation.” It’s in today’s Denver Post.

      1. Red*

        In my hometown, a news crew was robbed at gunpoint. While the cameras were rolling. Yeah, that happened.

  28. Nervous Accountant*

    My husband and I went to a beachtown last weekend, and I suddenly noticed these white dots on the front of my sunglasses. No matter hard we’ve wiped them, they’renot going away. I can seeperfectly fine from them, like I don’t see white dots, soit looks superficial. They’re not scratches they’re just…dots. Anyone know what I’m talking about? Not sure how I can share pix here.

    1. fposte*

      You can post images to a host like Imgur and put a link up.

      However, a quick Google suggests that they could be saline deposits and that commercial lens cleaner is the best way to remove them. Since there are usually coatings on glasses, you don’t want to mess around with home solutions (unless they’re cheap and you’re just mucking around for the hell of it).

    2. Elkay*

      Have you tried dish soap? That’s my go to cleaner because you’re never going to do any damage with it and quite often it works.

  29. Nervous Accountant*

    I’m trying to kick my coffee addiction. Any advice or tips or commiseration? If it helps, I never get that jittery feeling, it just stops me from yawning andfalling asleep.I don’t mind the occasional cup of coffee when needed but I want to break out of it. Also, if/when I ever get pregnant, I don’t want to go through the caffeine withdrawal at that time.

    1. Allypopx*

      Try switching to tea! I hear that the ultimate goal is to not be dependent on caffeine at all but sometimes weaning yourself down works the best. Green tea has great health benefits, and has less caffeine than black tea. Black tea has less caffeine than coffee.

      Also have some advil on hand in case you get withdrawal headaches – always the worst part for me when I try to cut back. And drink lots of water!

    2. nep*

      Lots of water, some time to rest (ideally), and a willingness to be uncomfortable for a bit.
      Have you ever tried to quit coffee in the past? If so, what kind of effects did you experience? Everyone will be different — but just keep in mind any unpleasant effects WILL PASS. It’s worth the struggle. I felt a lot better the couple times I went off coffee altogether. Best of luck to you.

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        Notat all, but I’m also not really sure it’s really an “addiction” per se… like Idon’t drinkafter 1 PM,a nd I stick to 1 cup a day.

        I guess the reason why I want to “quit” it is because I want to increase my sensitivity to it. Like for one of those days when I desperately need a pick me up, 1 cup of coffee should do.. rather than relying on energy drinks and pills etc which I was doing a few months back.

        Also I feel when I’m pregnant I’m going to have to reduce it any way, so might as well get used to it now? (of coruse I should also ditch the diet soda and sweets, buteasy steps first right?)

    3. LadyKelvin*

      My husband did it cold turkey over Thanksgiving so he could fight the withdrawal symptoms and sleep when he would usually have coffee to stay awake. After to 3 weeks he felt totally normal and more awake during the day.

    4. NDQ*

      I switched to water in a favorite coffee mug. I also liked little coffee flavored hard candies. I still drink a morning cup, but that’s it. It’s been a year and I sleep better now.

      NDQ

    5. Lissa*

      Solidarity! I am trying this too, and my main problem is the psychological — it is very much part of my morning routine both on weekends and weekdays. Weekends, I really love going to a coffee shop, getting something nice, and sipping it slowly as I read. I’m trying to convince my body it’s just as good if I do this with a different beverage, but it hasn’t worked yet.

    6. chickabiddy*

      It is generally okay to have some caffeine during pregnancy — I had a cup of regular coffee in the morning and iced tea at lunch and my doctor thought that was fine, so if you are only drinking one cup of coffee a day now there may be no need to make changes.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      I have just started working with peppermint oil for minor pain. I would be tempted to try a dab of peppermint oil for that withdrawal headache I can get when I try to quit caffeine.

    8. Chaordic One*

      I would say try decaf coffee and regular tea as a first step (for a week or so) and then gradually move onto caffeine-free herbal teas. Another alternative caffeine-free hot beverage you might try would be Pero or Postum.

    9. Anon for this*

      I stopped drinking coffee because of that jittery feeling. :( I really liked espresso! I cut down on coffee, then switched to tea. It wasn’t any trouble at all.

      1. Jessi*

        How about switching to decaf?

        If you take a big spoon of regular switch it for half decaf for a couple of days and then just drink decaf instead?

        I took up drinking tea when I quit coffee 4 years ago. If I now don’t have a big cup of tea in the morning I get horrid headaches

    10. nep*

      This all has me ready to get back to just one cup — then no more after brushing my teeth and heading off to work. I know I’ll feel better and sleep better. One other powerful incentive — controlling that horrible breath that can come from drinking coffee all morning. Ick.

  30. Cheryl Blossom*

    Does anyone have godparents or have chosen godparents for your kids? If so, what does that term and relationship mean to you?

    I casually asked boyfriend who his nephews godparents are and it devolved into one of our hilarious conversations that highlights how I was raised religious (no longer am) and his family is atheist. He thinks only Catholic ppl use the term as per the Webster dictionary definition and is largely about the child’s baptism. I think both religious and non-religious ppl use the term in different ways, but mainly to identify the couple that will raise kid in case something happens to the parents.

    We agreed I should post to get a wide range of feedback :)

    1. fposte*

      I only hear it with religious people. Non-religious people just talk about who they’ve named as guardians in their will.

      1. HannahS*

        I think it’s even more just specifically Christian. All the Jews + other non-Christians I knew, we knew who’d take care of us if our parents died, but I was always told that only Christians do the whole godparent thing.

    2. Elkay*

      Non-religious people in my experience don’t have godparents and as far as I understand it godparents aren’t automatically the people who will look after the kids if anything happens to the parents. I thought godparents were there to look after the child’s religious upbringing.

    3. the gold digger*

      I am Catholic. My godparents are the people my parents chose at my baptism to be in charge of my religious formation should something happen to my parents. Guardians are the people you put in a will to raise your children if you die while they are minors. Guardians and godparents are two completely different things. I have never hear of godparents in a non-religious context. I don’t even know why non-religious people would use a term that has the word “God” in it! :)

      PS If you have minor children and do not have a will, stop right now and make a will where you designate guardians for your children. BTW, unlike Hollywood would have us think, it is considered a best practice to actually discuss guardianship with potential guardians before you name them. They are not supposed to be surprised by the fact after your death.

      1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

        +1000 to this last paragraph especially. I have family who definitely have not done that and I know it’s because they expect we’ll all pick up the slack if anything happens but they also “know” nothing will happen to them. *shiver* here I’ve designated a guardian and am nervous that I can’t come up with an alternate just in case.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        In my case, I was old enough for the conversation and my parents explained to me who I would stay with and most importantly they explained WHY they picked this person. I really appreciated their candor and I was glad I knew what to expect rather than worry.

        1. So Very Anonymous*

          This was my experience, too. I don’t remember how old I was or how the conversation came about, but I do know that I knew that my sister and I would go to a family who my parents had been close to since before we were born. We spent a lot of time with this family growing up — I still have pleasant dreams about their house — and I had no doubts that we would be taken care of if anything happened. The parents still have a special place in my heart because of that knowledge.

          1. Neruda*

            It may be different in Australia and IANAL, but I’m fairly certain here you can’t actually designate guardians in your will. When my husband and I made our will our lawyer basically said we can make a suggestion, but it may not hold up in court. He said you can’t leave your children to someone like you can with say, a house. So, you can certainly make a note of it and that would probably carry some weight, but if for example, we nominated our friends as our child’s guardian should we pass away, our families could contest that and would in all likelihood win.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              I had a situation where I did a little research on the chances of winning a case in court in the US. This is light research, not serious case law research. Over all the trend in the US is for courts to favor close biological family members for having custody of the child. For example, a sibling of the deceased would be favored by the courts over a cousin of the deceased in a custody battle.

              Extending that out it seems that if family pushed an issue to court, the blood ties would win out over friendship ties. I think it is wise to discuss this with a lawyer as part of estate planning/child care planning.
              And I also think it is wise to discuss it with the family members impacted by the decision, meaning the family members who would not be named custodians in the will. Let people know your choices and if possible let them know why. Ask them to respect your choices. Not always an easy conversation, but it could be surprising to find out some folks are relieved not to be chosen.

    4. Aurora Leigh*

      I was raised Lutheran. My godmother (also aunt) was present for the baptism stuff and also have me card for my baptismal anniversary all through my childhood. But also I knew that if my parents died she was the one who was supposed to raise me. (Now that I think of it, that’s a weird thing to tell a little kid.) We’re still close.

      My sister’s godparents are more distant relatives (so she got bonus gifts for birthdays and holidays which I always thought was a tad unfair). I remember being a little weirded out that my parents would so casually split us up if they died, but my mom said we could pick who got us. I don’t think she has any meaningful contact with hers, but they live kind of far away.

      Youngest sib doesn’t have official godparents, but I have dibs on him if both our parents die.

    5. Glenn*

      Atheist here, in the San Francisco bay area, with one Protestant and one Jewish parent, both nonpracticing as far as I know.f I do not have godparents, I’m not aware of anybody I know having godparents, it wouldn’t occur to me to choose godparents for a hypothetical child, and I’m not aware of anybody I know having chosen godparents for their child.

    6. Kimberlee, Esq*

      I’m an atheist and wasn’t raised religiously, but I have definitely heard of godparents, and if I had kids (not planning on it, but if) then I would probably pick godparents for them. I have the same understanding of the term as you. Though, while I wasn’t raised to be religious, my hometown is very Mormon and probably overall more religious than not, so that might have had an impact.

    7. all aboard the anon train*

      This is going to sound bizarre, but the first time I ever heard the term was in Harry Potter. My dad was raised Catholic and my mum Protestant but they didn’t practice religion. My brothers and I are all atheist and never went to church as kids or were even read the bible. I associate the term godparent with religion. My parents named an uncle as our legal guardian in case anything ever happened and the term “godparent” never came up.

      To me, as an atheist, godparent would be someone who be involved in the kid’s religious upbringing. If I ever had kids, I’d name a legal guardian.

    8. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      I’m Catholic. I have godparents (well, one living, one deceased), my parents have godchildren, my kids will have them one day, etc. But for us it was never the family that would raise me if something happened, it was purely an extra set of religious parents with an interest in the child’s well-being and growth in faith.

      My godparents are the parents of my parents’ godchildren–they swapped kids, basically, in godparenting–and my godfather passed away when all of us kids were very young, under ten or so. So my parents and my dad especially stepped it up for the girls–attended lots of school plays and recitals and graduations, and my dad walked one of them down the aisle when she got married, and so on. Basically, an additional supportive guardian figure with a special interest in the child’s faith life. Not the automatic guardian if the existing parents died.

    9. Rob Lowe can't read*

      My husband is our niece’s godfather, and his SIL’s best friend is the godmother. SIL is a Baptist minister’s daughter, and my in-laws are lapsed Lutherans. I joked to my husband that I will not be contributing to our niece’s religious upbringing because while I have not embraced the devil, I have not specifically rejected him either. (He pointed out that this could be why I’m not the godmother.)

      My parents are Catholic by heritage, but not personally religious. I think they are godparents to some of my cousins, and I do have godparents (aunt & uncle), but they are and always have been just as non-religious as my parents.

      1. OldMom*

        Not sure I follow here because it sounds like SIL is Baptist, and Baptists don’t do infant baptism or godparents. So how did niece get godparents? (I think I am not following all the in-law connections correctly…)

    10. bassclefchick*

      I was raised Methodist and both my sister and I have different sets of godparents. I don’t even think we know where her godmother is anymore (her godfather passed away years ago). My godfather is a minister. I still keep in touch with them – we even made sure to visit them on our honeymoon so he could bless my rings! He was too ill to perform the ceremony, so I wanted to be sure they were included somehow. They were responsible for my religious upbringing if something ever happened to my parents (it didn’t – both parents are still alive and I am a “card carrying” responsible adult now).

      Of course, my religious stance these days is best summed up as “it’s complicated”, so there’s that. But yes, Gold Digger is corrrect “guardian” and “godparent” are two totally different functions.

    11. New Bee*

      We’re a very secular interfaith couple planning to raise our kids Jewish, but my husband still wanted to ask our designated godparents using that language specifically. We are using it to mean “people who will raise our kids if we can’t”, and we won’t have a ceremony or anything, but he still used that word, probably just for convention’s sake.

    12. The RO-Cat*

      Eastern European here. Nominally Christian Orthodox, really agnostic… I guess. Anyway, not practicing. In my neck of woods, godparents have mainly a social role, religion plays little to no part (at least, that is my experience. I guess there are cases where godparents do involve religion in their relationship with the child, I just didn’t meet too many). My anecdata say the in some parts of my country godparenting is about the adults forging relationships (mainly in the South), in other parts it is about social status in the community (mainly in the East), in yet other parts it is about providing extra help in life for the child (mainly in the West). These are just my findings, not to generalize.

    13. Cath in Canada*

      My husband and I are “godparents” to our friends’ daughter. All four of the adults in the equation are atheists and the daughter wasn’t baptized, but we’re named in the parents’ will as legal guardians if anything should happen to them*, and we’re very much in the daughter’s life – the only non-relatives invited to family birthday parties and other celebrations, that kind of thing. There isn’t a universally agreed upon secular equivalent of the term “godparent”, so we use the traditional word just because it’s easier, especially for the kid.

      My Dad’s Catholic and my Mum’s Protestant, and I was baptized and raised loosely Protestant, but none of my family are all that religious. My godparents were my Dad’s cousin and his wife (now both deceased), and a close friend of my parents. (I was always told that girls get one godfather and two godmothers, and boys get two godfathers and one godmother, but I’m not sure if that’s universal). None of them ever took me to church or gave me any religious instruction or anything like that – they essentially played exactly the same role in my life as my husband and I do for our “goddaughter”. In fact, I was once at a baptism for a friend of the family, and the only three people in the whole church who didn’t go up and take communion were me, my Dad, and my godmother! We had a very quiet giggle about that in the back row.

      *We’re also named as legal guardians in both of my husband’s sisters’ wills, who have two kids each, so at one point we were on the hook for five kids. I used to joke that none of the sets of parents were ever allowed to get in the same plane or car! One of our nephews is 20 now though, and a couple of the others are 16, so they’re pretty much ready to take care of themselves.

      1. Kate in Scotland*

        I (semi-lapsed Episcopalian) have 3 godchildren and my husband (atheist) has 6. Most if not all the families concerned take the view that by asking people to be godparents you are inviting them formally to become part of your family. So it’s not particularly about the religious upbringing (although sometimes they pick one particularly religious godparent to take charge of that bit), it’s saying ‘we want you to be involved in this child’s life’.
        We’ve made sure to have the guardianship conversation on a case-by-case basis because while we’d be happy to be guardians to the first 2 godchildren, we’re also nominated guardians to my nephew, and I needed to be sure that we weren’t being asked to be guardians to the others since we wouldn’t have the capacity for all of them.
        Although far fewer people here are having their children baptised, I’ve heard of people having ‘odd parents’ or ‘guide parents’ as an alternative.

    14. rubyrose*

      I was raised Catholic. Having godparents to me meant that I received gifts from them on my birthdays, Christmas, and my first communion. But these were typically religious gifts: rosaries, holy cards, statues of Mary.

      My best friend’s 26 year old daughter introduced me to a friend of hers as being her godmother. She is not religious and it is not as if I spent a lot of time with her when she was growing up (I lived out of state). But when I was there I made a point of spending time just with her. It warmed my heart when she introduced me in that manner.

      1. Myrin*

        I’m from an area of my country where most people are Catholic but not actually extremely religious and my experience with godparents has basically been the same as what you say in your first paragraph, only the gifts weren’t necessarily religious in nature (probably also because my godfather is also my uncle and we’re semi-close which allows for more personal gifts). They are also present at someone’s baptism ceremony and I believe they have to sign something. Also, the godparent relationship technically ends when the child turns 18.

        I just asked my mum and she did indeed have the idea of godparents as guardians not only in a religious manner but in a “life” manner, as well. Well, certainly never seemed like that to me, to be honest. I mean, had something happened to my parents when we were little we would have gone to live with my godfather but, again, that’s because he’s my mum’s brother.

    15. DragoCucina*

      Some people use the phrase or something similar without any religious connection. My cousin had an in home quasi Wiccan celebration naming two friends as not-godparents. There was a term, but I’ve forgotten it. I say quasi Wiccan because she’s rather like a Christmas and Easter Christian. If it’s fun and convenient she claims affiliation.

      Gold Digger provided some good background and advice. I will add one some more info. My husband is a Catholic deacon, teaches the baptismal prep, and performs baptisms. Much of the focus is supposed to be between the godparents and parents. The parents are making vows. If the parents don’t fulfill those vows the godparents are supposed to call them on it. We had some serious discussions with my late MIL about this. We didn’t choose people who we were currying favor with or could give the best presents. We also chose non-blood family members to our sons’ guardians because they were our family that most closely shared our ideals.

    16. Sparkly Librarian*

      Interesting! I was raised without religion, and don’t practice anything specific as an adult. My sister and I each had godparents named at or soon after birth, and I intend to ask some of my/our friends to fill the office when my wife and I have children (we’ve discussed it with both her weird-religion and my no-religion in mind – sometimes they’re “fairy godparents”). For my family, it wasn’t about religion (my godmother is Catholic, and may have seen it that way to an extent, but she’s only ever talked about religion to me once, and by then I was in college) or even about guardianship (my dad’s sister was the appointed guardian in my parents’ wills), but rather designation of a person (close friend of my parents) who would care about the child and help them as they grew up.

      [tl;dr specific to my family] A stunning 1 out of 4 followed through on this, btw. We didn’t have much to do with my sister’s godparents after she was out of infancy and we moved away an hour or so, and they got divorced somewhere down the line and we saw even less of them. I remember meeting my godfather once when I was about 10 (he and my dad were close when I was born, but my godfather moved across the country and wasn’t around when I was growing up). I found a substitute in one of my mom’s friends, who was happy to describe himself thus, saw me socially frequently as an adult, and officiated at my wedding. (He would have led the baby-welcoming ceremony if he hadn’t died this summer.) My godmother, my mom’s friend since kindergarten, isn’t local to me either, but has kept in touch. When I was going to college in her state, I had Thanksgiving there a couple times because I couldn’t go home. She sends Xmas presents (inexpensive, homemade things addressed to the family). She and I are very different, but I knew that I could count on her as a family friend. I would want my future children’s godparents to be good role models for them and someone who they can have an honest conversation with if they (the kids) feel they can’t talk to me. I don’t expect a lifetime commitment, but it would be nice if they did stick around as part of the chosen family.

    17. Gaia*

      Contrary to many posters, I was not raised in a religious family (and neither were either of my parents) but I do have godparents – and they are the people that would have raised me if my parents had died.

      It may be a regional thing but that is just the term people use where I grew up. It is only Catholics that have it have anything to do with religion. For everyone else it means guardianship.

    18. TootsNYC*

      I have definitely heard people assume that “godparent” means “the person who will raise your kids if you die” and who is supposed to have an extra special relationship with your child. Usually those a non-religious people, bcs most Christians have the faith/baptism thing in mind, and religious non-Christians probably avoid the term.

      But the title has NO legal standing. Whether there’s a baptism or not. Unless you appoint them guardian in a legal document, the godparent/godchild relationship is only a small factor. And a family relationship will trump it in court.

      But there are people who use the term that way and think it’s binding somehow (but it isn’t).

      Because I am an observant Lutheran who was raised by observant Lutherans, and bcs I married a man raised in a Catholic family, I’ve never, ever used the term that way. But I’ve seen others do it.

    19. EmmaLou*

      Protestant here and none of my Protestant friends have godparents or got any for their kids. It was odd to me that quite a few non-religious people I know have designated godparents since my understanding was as mentioned above for overseeing religious education mainly. They seem to see it as “Person who will look after my kid in some way.” (possibly leave them some money) Also as “Will take my kid if we check out early.”

      As a side note, my atheist friend and I discussed what would happen if she ended up with my non-existent children and she said she’d make sure they went off to Sunday School every week and would celebrate Christmas and Easter because that’s what we’d have wanted. Now that’s a good friend.

    20. Temperance*

      I’m an atheist ex-evangelical, and my nephew is my godson. My sister is also non-religious.

    21. Jen RO*

      I’m in a majoritarily (Eastern) Orthodox country and godparents are a thing, but in modern times their importance depends on each family. The only common thing is that they participate in a certain part of the baptism ceremony.

      My godparents were my great-aunt (grandpa’s sister) and her husband. We were not super-close and there was no religious component (mostly because my parents are indifferent to religion). If something happened to my parents, my grandparents would have been first in line to take care of me and my brother.

      I am a godmother now, to my best childhood friend’s daughter. I see it as being an aunt, and we did not discuss any other aspects.
      * Religiously speaking, my friend and her family follow a mix of Orthodox traditions mixed with New Age, her ex-husband (the father) is Catholic, they live in a Catholic country, and I am an atheist, so while I am curious what kind of beliefs the kid will have when she grows up, but I will not be involved.
      * I don’t like kids very much and I am not planning to have any, and my friend is super-considerate of that, so if anything happened to her, I would not be expected to take care of her daughter. There is no “written agreement” and her family would definitely step in.

      In short, for us it was just a way to highlight our friendship – I was touched that she asked, she was touched that I accepted (see: me not being a child person). I am still not crazy about kids, but my goddaughter is smart, well-behaved, a cutie, and we are already finding “our” things to do that she doesn’t do with anyone else.

    22. Jillociraptor*

      I grew up in a Protestant Christian family (though half of my extended family is Catholic and my mom grew up Catholic.). I have one set of actual godparents (my father’s lifelong friend and his wife), plus one set of baptismal sponsors (mother’s sister and father’s brother) who we also call my godparents–so a total of four.

      In my extended family, this was kind of how we meted out which aunts and uncles are responsible for gifts for which cousins. My mom is one of seven siblings, and there are sixteen cousins, so no one was buying every kid Christmas and birthday gifts and stuff. Every cousin had a couple of godparents, and we would typically only get gifts from that family. While I also think it was conveyed to us that my mom’s sister (my godmother) would be our guardian if anything happened to my parents, that was for both my brother and I–and he had separate sets of godparents.

      I don’t think I’d use the term godparents as we’ll raise our kids Jewish, but I really do like the idea of having an additional couple of sets of adults who are committed to supporting the kid. I’m not sure how or whether that’s something we’d consider formalizing. Then again, my partner and I each have just one brother, so I think it’s kind of built into our family structure.

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

      I’m atheist, raised as Catholic. I have two godparents, and the relationship I have with them has very little to do with religion, and a lot more to do with friendship. When I was a child, they were safe adults I could talk to who were not parents. As an adult, they’re good friends, with whom I have a much larger age difference than any of my other friends.

      I like having godparents, and in a way would love for my future children to have godparents too, with a similar kind of relationshipp I have with my own – some trusted adults they can go to if there is something they feel uncomfortable discussing with their own parents.

    24. OldMom*

      The only people I know who have official godparents (in the religious ceremony sense) are Protestant…episcopal, I think. For them, it’s definitely a kind of religious thing as well as a designated extra present giver. I have heard others use the term colloquially to describe guardians who would take over caring for kids if the parents died. It might be a regional thing (used more where there are more Catholic or other godparent-having Christian types) and the term “guardian” is definitely more accurate if that’s what you mean.
      The term always reminds me of the Gilmore Girls episode where Lorelei is not paying attention when asked if she renounces satan. I’ve been to a few of these ceremonies and the “renouncing” thing always cracks me up. It’s the only Xtian ceremony I know of that asks that….you can get married or baptized without renouncing satan and strangely, the parents themselves are not asked that, only the godparents (as far as I recall.) (I know it’s a bit tacky to be amused by others’ religious practices but as I was raised Xtian myself, it’s more of a reaction to something in my own culture than laughing at some other religion’s practices…and I don’t LOL, just smile wryly to myself….although I did laugh at the Gilmore ep but that scene was intentionally comedic.)

      1. the gold digger*

        renounces satan

        Interesting! When there is a baptism at Mass, the entire congregation answers the questions, including “Do you renounce Satan and all his works and all his empty promises?”

        In addition, although it is the godparents (I never realized some people use that term as a shorthand for “guardian”) whom the parents entrust the religious formation of the child should they die, the entire congregation is tasked with supporting the child and the family. The baptism is also a ceremony where we welcome the child to our community.

    25. Jax*

      I was raised an atheist, but I have a godmother (who is also an atheist.) She is my mom’s college roommate and best friend for 40+ years. My mom passed away when I was 25, and it turns out that (good) godparents still take care of you even when you are technically an adult. She drove up the day my mom took an unexpected turn for the worst, stayed with me for two weeks and checked in every day for 2 years until I really started getting my life going again. Her husband said “I feel like we should put an “it’s a girl!” sign outside our house!” after mom my passed. I don’t know what I would have done without her. Also, it is wonderful when she (unprompted) tells me how proud my mom would be of me, or how much I am like her, or a funny story that I may or may not have heard before.

  31. Allypopx*

    I was feeling great and ready to hit the town last night until I put my dress on aaaaaaand it wouldn’t zip. Still went out but the confidence took a bit of a hit.

    Anyone else feeling their metabolisms slow down as we enter the warm weather/any tips for some at-home exercise routines for the winter?

    1. Elkay*

      I feel your pain, I did that with a dress for a wedding, put it on and it was fine but a little bit tight around the legs sitting down. I actually find going to a class works better for me than at home because it’s a designated time to exercise but when I did try at home stuff I did Wii Fit which was fun, I’ve also tried YouTube videos, I think old-fashioned exercise DVDs are a good call.

    2. bassclefchick*

      Me too! I switched jobs and now no longer have a good option for getting in all of my steps and I can tell the difference. I really have to motivate myself to get back to some sort of routine.

    3. Chaordic One*

      I have to admit that I tend not to exercise as much as the weather gets chillier and that with the holidays I tend to party and snack more. At this point in my life I find it fairly easy to lose a few pounds by eliminating dessert and cutting back on snacking (but I do realize that I’m lucky that way, and it is a lot more difficult for many other people).

    4. Laura*

      Check out fitnessblender.com for at-home exercise routines. I love that website and now do almost all of my exercising from it. I even bought dumbbells to be able to do their strength training videos at home. They have videos at different levels and often show modifications to make them easier or harder. The best part is that the videos are all 100% free.

      When I need extra motivation, I find it useful to purchase one of their plans where they lay out for me exactly which video to do each day for 4-8 weeks. They’re only $10-15 and very worth it in my mind if they actually keep me exercising every day. Try one of their free 5-day challenges before you buy a plan though since they’re very similar and will give you an idea if you like the schedule and mix of exercises.

  32. AnotherAnony*

    How do you handle it when you’re with two other people and when you talk or respond to something, the other two people give each other a look, like they’re in on some kind of joke or there is something about you that they’re silently agreeing upon? I was in a toxic environment, so I guess I’m still a little fragile… but is it best just to ignore it or should you say something?

    1. fposte*

      I’d consider a few options at the moment: one, assume it wasn’t really about me and move on; two, consider what I said (was it an opinion, especially a negative opinion, about someone or something that may have tweaked somebody’s nose?) and avoid that kind of thing in future; or I’d say “Wow, looks like I put my foot in something there without realizing it. What’s up?”

      If it happens quite a few times with the same people, I’d hang with somebody else.

    2. Jbern*

      I would find other people to hang out with. Unless they brought you in to their shared nonverbal communication by explaining their look or challenging or commenting on your statement (whatever it was), it seems to me that they did not care that their actions would make you uncomfortable. You’re low-value to them. That’s my take, having been on both sides of this situation.

      1. BPT*

        I think that’s a tad overboard (ok, maybe way overboard). Most people aren’t doing it to be malicious or probably even think about it that much.

        I was in a conversation recently with a few people and one of them mentioned a restaurant my other friend and I had just been to. When we heard the name of the restaurant we sort of instinctively looked at each other but didn’t say anything. It wasn’t worth stopping the conversation to say, “oh, by the way, if you noticed the look Friend and I just shared with each other, it’s because we recently went to that restaurant. Now please continue your story.” It just wasn’t that important.

        That’s happened with movies or topics of conversation or anything like that. If it’s not pertinent to the conversation, I’m not going to stop everything and bring attention to myself just to explain an innocent look shared between me and someone else. I honestly never think that anyone else will be interested.

    3. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      I’ve been one of those two people exchanging a look a couple of times with my husband and both times it was because we were having a fight or disagreement and something “you” (the third party) said proved me right somehow.

      That said, once the fight was resolved I explained it to the other person, because the initial look was a reflex and not intended to exclude them but I also didn’t want them to wonder WTH was going on.

    4. Lissa*

      I think it depends, are these two people who are much closer to each other than they are to you, like you’re hanging out with a married couple? If so, I would just leave it. But if it was three friends hanging out, yeah I might say something like “oh, what’s so funny?” in a casual tone if you can pull it off. I find getting defensive/accusatory won’t go well with something like a look, because it’s so easy to deny. I mean, it *could* be misinterpretation on your part, and so they will often say it was anyway, you know? I have also been on the side of having my expressions really misinterpreted, so I wouldn’t jump to conclusions right away but would try to casually say something, which might solve it in your favour and if not, at least lets them know they aren’t being so “subtle” about it as they think.

      1. AnotherAnony*

        I usually ignore it because if I question it, I feel like then I would look like the crazy person- even if they were looking at each other to make fun of me or whatever. Plus they could always deny it and then you’re left feeling like, am I imagining things? Am I losing my mind?

        1. fposte*

          That doesn’t leave a lot of room for the possibility that you did misconstrue a look, though; if as an adult you feel like you see this a lot, I think you should consider that misconstruing is a possibility, because significant looks between two people that exclude the third aren’t really that common in daily life. Unless you’re seeing it only with two particular people repeatedly, in which case I’d either ask or set ’em loose.

        2. Lissa*

          I think, if you get accusatory or say “what was that look about, what did I say?” then you might look a bit unbalanced, but a casual comment should be fine. Like fposte says, is this with two specific people, or a lot of people? Because if it’s two specific people I’d look at what else is going on in the relationship, and stop hanging out with them if you really think for sure they’re talking etc. about you … but if it’s multiple people, it is likely you’re reading too much into these looks.

          I mean, if you’re going to think they are making fun of you no matter what they say, there’s probably not a lot that can be done in the moment — ignore and feel bad, or say something and don’t believe what they say? But I’d look at the overall relationship in that case and try to figure out where it’s coming from.

        3. neverjaunty*

          No, but you may be overthinking it.

          Are these friends who are routinely acting like you are a third wheel? Or who are shooting each other knowing looks many times during the conversation? If not, then as others have noted, it’s probably just a minor shared reference – not meant to exclude you.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Ignore it if you want or if you feel that pursuing it is not worth it to you.

      Otherwise you can say:

      “Okay, I see the look, what’s up?”
      “Did I miss something here?”
      “Hmm, you guys want to share that thought with me?”

      The more I go along in life, the more I see people explaining that exchange of glances, WITHOUT being prompted by me. Leads me to conclude that MOST people understand that an exchange in glances makes a third person feel left out, therefore you have to explain the gesture.

      In my family that exchange of glances is common with some people. And for some reason I never believed the explanation. Maybe because I had to ask? Or maybe because the explanation did not make sense. It’s an excluding type of gesture and I agree with others who said if you see a lot of this move on to different friends.

  33. Felix*

    So, I found out that I have a dentist-caused overbite from being prescribed and using the wrong kind of mouth/night guard to attempt to treat my TMD/TMJ for the last four years….

    Switched dentists (thankfully!) as old one was too far away. New dentist diagnosed the above, and was able to prove this definitively using the moulds (I thankfully kept!) that were made to fit the night guard. Unfortunately this overbite has caused gum recession, and several minor cavities, and potentially has made the TMD/TMJ worse.

    The treatment plan to try and get bite realigned is for me to stop using any and all night guards for 4-6 months to see if jaw will realign on it’s own. From there more intensive procedures may be necessary (the worst of which would be four crowns).

    So questions:
    1) Anyone with TMD/TMJ out there have tips for dealing with jaw pain? It’s a catch 22 for me to just not use the mouth guard. It’s been a few weeks of not using it, and the pain is manageable, but jaw is SO tight sometimes. I’m allowed to go to massage, but have been asked not to do physio until the 4-6 months of not wearing mouth guard is up.

    2) Do I have any legal options in regards to the old dentist royally messing up my mouth? I’m not sure and would appreciate any feedback on this.

    3) Has this happened to anyone else? Did you make it through? (I realize there are MUCH worse things, but the jaw pain is really unbearable at times).

    1. fposte*

      I have a couple of friends with serious TMJ; one had the surgery. What the other relies on is specific massage for TMJ–the therapist puts on a glove and massages from the inside of the mouth. Have you been getting that?

      Whether you have a cause of action against the old dentist depends on a bunch of things, including your state; malpractice is so fact-specific that generally it’s best to ask a malpractice lawyer to have a look at your info rather than relying on more general answers. The two obstacles I see are the statute of limitations, since that can be a small window in some states, and that it sounds like your financial damages are relatively small and therefore your case may not be worth the cost to a lawyer to take.

      I also had a friend who had terrible pain from her TMJ, and it turned out she actually needed a root canal. So don’t neglect the possibility that the pain is from something else wrong that’s being aggravated.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        A variation of what fposte has written, I had TMJ. To me it was a minor problem, other things were more bothersome. However, my chiropractor fixed it. He donned a glove and pressed on that connective tissue between the upper jaw and the lower jaw. It did not hurt and I noticed I had more mobility with my lower jaw immediately. (I have a dandy overbite and my teeth don’t line up. It makes chewing interesting.) However, I could pull my lower jaw forward more than I could prior to the adjustment.

        He said that this is pretty normal for dental work. I can expect my jaw to go out of alignment each time I go to the dentist. After seeing this, my recommendation would be skip the lawsuit- that will take years and cause you more upset than it’s worth and go directly to finding a chiro who has treated TMJ.

    2. Belle di Vedremo*

      Can you get a general mouth guard – designed to reduce grinding your teeth – to wear in lieu of the moulds? They shouldn’t have the same tug on your jaw.

      Massage can really help. Jaw tension often shows up across your back, where the bra strap would be. A massage therapist or physical therapist with cranio-sacral therapy or myo-fascial release training can move on to helping realign the jaw and the TMJ in particular. The moulds for changing the bite rely on moving the parts around slowly, and you can address that by the above kinds of therapy. Your therapist should be assisting in the realignment of the jaw, rather than determining what the realignment should be. I’d ask the dentist why s/he prefers that you wait a few months before adding that to the mix.

      Also, fposte’s point about this revealing other issues shouldn’t be overlooked.

      Good luck.

    3. Kate in Scotland*

      I had my mouth messed up by a night guard. It also caused increased tension in my jaw and increased headaches. However, I’m pleased to say that over time after stopping using the guard my teeth realigned and my bite is much better than it was.
      I find massage (and self-massage) helps. I’d be very hesitant to try any sort of guard again.

    4. neverjaunty*

      On #2, talk to a lawyer who specializes in malpractice suits against dentists, and do so IMMEDIATELY. As fposte says, the statute of limitations is running, meaning that you only have a certain amount of time to bring a lawsuit, should you eventually do that. You may choose not to, but the last thing you want to be told is “You would have had a great case if you’d called me a few weeks ago.”

    5. KR*

      Flexural has been super helpful for me and alternating hot and cold packs. I suppose you already know to avoid hard to chew food and gum. Nothing but sympathy.

    1. bkanon*

      Oh, oh, oh, if you like this, look for a group called Gregorian. All their albums are called Masters of Chant (I, II, III, etc.) They do nothing but covers in chant style and it is BEAUTIFUL. REM, Rammstein, Metallica, Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel – as long as it’s in the right key/time signature, they might have it. I love them and it’s always entertaining to see people’s faces when they realize what lyrics those “monks” are singing. :)

  34. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Day nine of laryngitis, and I can finally say a few words. I sound like a dragon and it gives out after a few words, but there is sound! And my bronchitis has decided it mainly prefers to come out in the mornings and at night, so I’m moving more toward something sort of like normal during the day.

    I’ve never been this sick for so long, and my mom is trying to convince me it’s old age (and also that if I did yoga, this never would have happened, but she believes that about all things).

    1. Myrin*

      I’m not joking when I say that I read that as “I sound like a dragon and it gives out flames”. Alison 2.0, now with more fire!

      For real though, glad you’re finally starting to get better and I wish you an if-not-speedy-then-at-least-normal-speed recovery!

    2. Lady Kelvin*

      I had never been sicker than when I had bronchitis last winter. It was bad enough that after a week of suffering with a fever I finally gave up and went to the doctor. She had already prescribed an inhaler for the cough but was worried it was turning into pneumonia. Thankfully it wasn’t and I finally started feeling better a few days later, but gosh that was the sickest I ever was. I wa sick enough to do nothing but work and sleep for three weeks, and my cough was so bad I ended up with a bruised ribs, so I was in pain for another 2 months. It was a rough winter. I hope you start feeling better soon!

    3. the gold digger*

      I am glad you are feeling better!

      I’m sure your mother is lovely, but I would disagree that yoga and youth would solve this problem. :) I rarely do yoga but I have not taken a sick day at work in about 20 years.

    4. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Ugh, I’m sorry! It stinks. As for your mom, she’s wrong– this never would have happened if you ate seaweed/did 3 planks every day/ate chicken soup the second you got sick. Yoga has nothing to do with it. Now, PILATES, on the other hand…

    5. Ismis*

      Glad you’re feeling better! I had a few years of bronchitis every winter and for me, I think that not being hydrated was a big factor (I tend to overdo it on coffee when it’s cold out, and avoid water). Bronchitis always lingered too – I am always surprised by just how tired it makes me!

    6. Jean*

      YUCK to the bronchitis (which can really lay a person low) but it’s good read that you’re getting better.

      Myrin’s comment was hilarious:
      >Alison 2.0, now with more fire!

      If you ever learn how to voluntarily sound like a dragon, please post instructions. In the meantime, if this makes you laugh, I hope it doesn’t hurt.

    7. Gaia*

      I’m not nearly as sick as you, but I’m officially on Day 7 of this horrendous cold (+ ear infection). I am lucky in that I never get sick and yet unlucky in that I have no coping skills for being sick because I never get sick.

    8. Sibley*

      I know if I get a chest cold or anything like that it can touch off a series of breathing problems. It takes a long time for the lungs to calm down, at least for me. Try to protect your lungs from cold, dry air – that stresses them more.

      Sometimes an illness just knocks you down. Take care of yourself and you’ll get better eventually.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Ha, yeah, but I bet her theory is that yoga practice would strengthen Alison’s defenses against the germs.

    9. catsAreCool*

      Hope you feel better soon!

      I had bronchitis, and the exhaustion from it lingered for months. I think it might have been because I tried to do too much when I was still sick. Take care of yourself!

    10. AnAppleADay*

      Oh, how horrible! That’s a long time. Hope you heal up soon. Maybe once you are through it, you’ll not get sick the rest of the Winter?

  35. Ideas for Dingle, Ireland*

    I have found myself with an extra day on the Dingle peninsula in Ireland. Anyone have recommendations? I have gotten used to left-sided driving and have a rental car.

    1. JenM*

      It’s the bank holiday weekend so the area should be fairly busy with a lot going on. There’s a walking festival in Annascaul with some great walks. And there’s always the pubs in Dingle. There’s bound to be some trad music this weekend. Enjoy!

  36. Red*

    So, it looks like I’m going to be buying my first ever pair of glasses! I think I’m probably going to buy them from Zenni because I’m both cheap and clumsy and $6.95 for glasses sounds right up my alley, but does anyone that’s worn glasses before have any advice? Particularly on figuring out what frames work for you, as I honestly think every pair looks strange, but any words of wisdom are welcomed!

    1. Myrin*

      I’ve had glasses for 18 years now but I definitely remember the feeling of thinking that every single one of them looked weird on me. I’ve long since changed my mind to thinking that I have a face that actually looks better with glasses than without but there’s definitely an adjustment period, just because it’s so weird and new!

    2. HannahS*

      Well, I can’t really offer advice in terms of frame shape, but make sure to consider the weight of the glasses and how well they stay on your face. Personally, I can’t stand frames that don’t have nose-pads–those molded plastic ones. They’re cute, but they slide right off my nose. I “test” frames by putting them on and shaking my head (like a wet dog) and seeing how well they stay on. Also, it’s good to think about how large the lens is. You’ll get used to the “border” of the frames in your line of vision, but little John-Lennon-style glasses give you a pretty small visual field, especially if your vision is really bad.

      1. Red*

        Thanks for the advice on the nose pads and testing frames, I never thought about that! My prescription isn’t that strong to where I can’t really see without them, but I could definitely tell the difference during the eye exam. I’m thinking I’ll just go with a rectangular pair, those seem to look acceptable on my face.

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

        I have two pairs of glasses, because my favourite pair is quite heavy. When I feel a headache coming, I switch to the very light pair, and it relieves it quickly.
        I’ve had glasses since I was 7 years old, and the best advice I can give is to stay away from the fun-looking ones. They might look awesome, but quickly you’ll find out the clash with half the things in your wardrobe.
        Also, definitely always keep a second pair around. You never know when one pair might break and you need a back up.

    3. Belle di Vedremo*

      Welcome to the club. :)

      Note that you will pay for both the lenses and the frames, they are priced separately. Some health insurance plans will contribute to or cover the costs.

      Lenses:
      You’ll choose between plastic and glass, and whether or not you want anti-glare coating.
      Plastic scratches faster but is lighter weight (but if you’re just learning you need glasses the lenses likely will be thin and lightweight either way).
      They should have sample blank lenses with and without coating to try; try them in indoors and out, and preferably on grey/sunny days and maybe after dark as if you drive you’ll presumably be wearing them for that.

      Frames questions:
      How much do you care about fashion? Do they need to be modern, classic, go with your wardrobe, etc?
      Do you like colored/patterned frames?
      Do you like plastic frames, metal frames, partial frames (ie, ones with a frame over the top of the lens but just an invisible cord holding the bottom of the lens in place)?
      How much weight are you willing to have balanced on your nose & ears?
      Do you want them to stand out on your face, or to have them be comparatively unobtrusive?
      Do you want them to act as sunglasses by changing in sunlight, or to be able to add clip on/magnetic sunglasses, or to fit under generic sunglasses, or to have sunglasses made?
      And how visible do you want them to be when you set them down somewhere, and don’t remember where?

      Choosing:
      Take a friend you trust with you.
      Let the optometrist suggest things to try, s/he has experience with choosing frames for a variety of faces.
      Take some photos of what you think are the best types to look at at home.

      Your optometrist will sell you the glasses, then call you when they have them ready for you – lenses in frames and will fit them for you in person. If they aren’t comfortable a day or two later, go back for adjustments til you get it right.

      1. Caledonia*

        I would highly recommend getting anti glare regardless but especially if you work at a computer/need the glasses for the computer.

      2. the gold digger*

        I have worn glasses since I was in fifth grade (needed them long before that – I blame not getting glasses early enough for my complete lack of hand-eye coordination), so I know what’s right and what’s not right.

        A few years ago, they used the RX for my right eye for the left lens and vice versa. I have a 0.5 different between the two eyes, so it was noticeable. They didn’t believe me at first, but then tested the lens and discovered the lab had messed it up. So if the glasses make your eyes hurt, don’t be afraid to go back! The lab is not perfect.

        1. Aurion*

          To add onto this, don’t be afraid to question your optometrist too.

          My last pair of glasses, they measured my PD wrong. My glasses caused splintering headaches for two weeks. I had vaguely remembered my old PD, and recalled my new PD was off, but the optician at my optometrist insisted it was right and I just had to get used to it.

          I walked into a new optician and told them the problem. Turns out my PD was exactly what I said it should be. I got a full refund on those old glasses.

          1. Kristina L*

            Good to know. I got reading glasses recently (prescribed), and although they seem OK most of the time, I feel headachy sometimes when I move my head and look at things that are farther away or when something on my computer screen is too large. I’ve been wearing them sometimes but taking them off other times. I’m not sure if this is normal

            1. Aurion*

              I’m nearsighted, so when they measure my PD they set the setting to “infinity”, i.e. when the focal point is somewhere far in the distance. Reading glasses are for when the focal point is right in front of you (e.g. a book), so reading glasses will have a different (smaller) PD. If you’re using reading glasses for distance viewing, you likely will have headaches.

              Incidentally, I knew my PD (=/- about half a mm) because I’ve ordered glasses online for a few years, though I still like to get it remeasured ever so often when I get new glasses. The botched glasses was to be my first mortar-and-brick glasses purchase in several years, and it got screwed up. And yes, they measured my “reading glasses PD” when they should’ve measured my “distance glasses PD”. The difference was about 4 mm, I believe.

      3. Girasol*

        I’ve had bifocals since seventh grade. I don’t care about fashion and usually pick sturdy wire rims since they last longer than plastic ones. (I hate broken frames!) I avoid big frames because the big lenses will weigh more. Some bargain eyeglass places have given me good lenses but the quality is so uneven that I’ve given up on them. When I get new lenses I don’t begin wearing them until first thing the next morning. An optometrist told me to do that to reduce the “getting used to them” problem and it really helps.

        You do need a little time to get used to new glasses but “you need more time to get used to them” is also an excuse poor optometrists make to avoid fixing problems. If you’re not used to them in a 3-7 days of steady wearing, or if you can’t drive with them after a day, don’t let anyone tell you that they’re just fine and you need to give them more time. There are a lot of problems that can crop up even with glasses that have the right prescription. Some people are sensitive to base curve (whether the lens is curved or flat across the front). Some people are sensitive to too thick a lens or to the kind of plastic it’s made of. High refractive index plastic may not be high enough and you may need glass. When I run into problems like this, or one of those hard to find prescription problems like corrections that are right but are switched left/right or the primary correction is right but a secondary correction is left out, I can’t describe what exactly is wrong. My vision isn’t fuzzy but I can feel the extra work my brain is doing to make sense of the image and it drives me crazy. I’ve learned not to cave on bad glasses as if it’s my fault that I’m not used to them. A good optometrist can find the problem and get the same prescription remade so that it really works. (With vision like mine, a good new pair of glasses is like the angels coming down from heaven singing. There’s no mistaking the difference between glasses that are pretty much according to specs and glasses that are really right!)

      4. Mallory Janis Ian*

        When I went with my daughter to pick frames, we took pictures of each other in each pair of frames that we tried on, and then we each flipped back through the pictures of ourselves and consulted over which ones we liked best on ourselves and each other. It was an easy and kind of fun way to glasses-shop.

    4. Talvi*

      Make sure you go to an optician’s and try on some pairs before ordering any online. This way, you’ll get a sense for what fits you. You don’t want to deal with glasses that are constantly sliding off your face because they are too wide or pinching your face because they are too small!

      If you look inside the frames, you’ll find a set of numbers (mine are 48-17-135, which is on the narrow side – you’ll see a lot more that are around 51-20-135) – these refer to the size of the frames. The first number is the width of the lens (in mm), the second is the width of the nose bridge and the third is the length of the arm.

      1. Red*

        That’s super helpful, thank you! I looked at a few frames at the optician’s before I realized they were all super expensive, I’ll have to go back now and try them all on!! And thank you for the clarification on those mysterious numbers, as well.

    5. ginger ale for all*

      Zenni has the online thing where you can ‘try on’ glasses by uploading your photo and then click on the glasses to have the glasses overlay on your photo that worked great for me. You have to submit measurements first but I liked doing it their way. When I would get glasses at the optometrist’s office, I hated it because my eyesight is so bad that I couldn’t see myself in the mirror with the new glasses on without my old glasses on.

    6. Aurion*

      See if you can find a site that lets you upload a photo to try on frames virtually. The site I use (Clearly dot ca) lets me upload a photo, record my pupillary distance (the distance between the pupils–you need this measurement if you buy glasses online), and by “marking” the pupils on the photo I upload they will virtually “resize” the frames so you get an accurate rendition of how the frames would sit on your face in real life.

      I have read that if you have a complex prescription (very strong or whatever) you will have limited utility in buying glasses online because they make some assumptions (e.g. that your PD is symmetrical between left and right, that your optical centre is at the vertical centre of your lenses and not skewed high or low, etc), which is why the very best fit will be custom to the frame and the measurements won’t be measured until you choose a frame. But if you have a simple prescription, online shopping should suffice and it is much, much cheaper.

    7. chickabiddy*

      I completely understand wanting and needing to save money, so I do not particularly like giving this advice, but I would get at least your first pair of glasses from an optician/optometrist. The pupillary distance matters in getting good focus, and it is not easy to measure on your own, as Zenni requires you to do. If you have one pair professionally measured and fitted, you will know exactly what things *should* look like through your glasses so you will be able to tell if future pairs from Zenni work as they are intended to, and you can probably get the optician to tell you your pupillary distance measurement for future orders.

      1. ginger ale for all*

        My optometrist gave me my pupillary distance in my prescription. I didn’t have to figure mine out so when Zenni asked for information , it was all covered in what my optometrist gave me.

        Zenni had a buy two, get one free sale each time I ordered and if I saw that sale again, I would get a pair of sunglasses. I never thought to do that and I regret it.

        1. Aurion*

          Interesting. Around here optometrists never give PDs with their prescriptions. They let the optician measure it when they buy the glasses.

          1. chickabiddy*

            It’s never been in my prescription or my daughter’s, and we’ve seen a few different optometrists. I guess I will ask next time. Hers are so strong and complicated that Zenni doesn’t actually end up being much cheaper, especially since she has vision insurance that isn’t great but does help. Mine are simple and pretty much just for reading (and I mostly wear them at home and if they don’t end up looking great I can live with that) so if I can get the PD I can get the Zenni glasses.

            1. Aurion*

              Hopefully you’ll have better luck. The optometrists here refuse to give PDs even when asked point-blank because they want to avoid online shopping. And I do believe in-person glasses are better when you get to more complex prescriptions, but for more run-of-the-mill stuff…I haven’t felt a difference and the online version is far cheaper.

    8. LisaLee*

      Three tips:

      -get the anti-glare
      -ask your optometrist to measure your pupillary distance so you know it’s accurate
      -your vision will feel weird/wrong or the first few days as you adjust to glasses. You might even want to take a painkiller if you’re prone to tension headaches. If your eyes don’t feel normal after a week or so, the lenses might be off.

      1. Red*

        I did not ask for the PD to be measured when I had my eye exam earlier, do you think they’d be willing to do that if I went back? According to Zeeni, you can print out this ruler and do it, but that sounds like a route to disaster and you’re right I ought to have a pro do it!