weekend free-for-all – February 11-12, 2017

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.)

Recommendation of the week: The Last Message Received, by Emily Trunko. It’s a collection of real-life final messages that people sent to others before break-ups, deaths, and other separations. It’s pretty heartbreaking … but it will also make you look at the messages you write differently.

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

{ 1,099 comments… read them below }

  1. Shabu Shabu*

    My mother has a milestone birthday this year, so last year I told her that I would take her wherever she wanted for this birthday. She had a few countries in mind and ultimately decided on Israel! We’re bringing grandma too, so three generations of Shabu will be on this trip.

    We’re actually going with a tour group, so our itinerary is pretty set in stone: the Dead Sea, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Tiberius, etc.

    Who has been to Israel recently? What did you love most? Anything I should know that a guidebook won’t tell me?

    1. OhBehave*

      What a wonderful gift! I’ve had many friends who have gone through our church and said it was the best thing they ever did! Have a great time.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      It’s been a really long time since my last Israel trip, but here’s my best tip: the food is soooo goooooooood. Shwarma. Baba ghanoush. Hummus. Falafel. Eat it all.

      1. PseudoMona*

        It’s been 15+ years since I visited Israel, but I still remember how good the hummus, pita, and falafel were. Oh, and the olives! And the yogurt and cheese!

        If you get the opportunity, swimming in the Dead Sea is a very unique experience.

        1. ToS*

          Seconding getting in the Dead Sea to check out buoyancy, even if it’s walking in up to your waist. It’s not about swimming, as floating on your back is the closest I’d want to be to swimming. It’s fun, and others are there for the same reason. Some play with the mud in a spa-ish way. They have showers like at the beach.

          Fresh-squeezed pomegranite juice is a lovely treat. Security by the Western Wall is tight, but write up your prayers, go through security and be present and in community as people channel with the divine.

          Safed has a community of artisans, it was another place where I wish I had more time.

          One of my friends broke her foot a few months before we travelled. The only place that was truly unworkable was The City of David, which is underground and a little tight, so maybe not for the claustrophobic, either, but a way to personally experience the escape route.

          One of the best places we had lunch (and that was a LATE lunch as the Israeli breakfast was huge, and wonderful and made for happy travels) was a working farm that was largely staffed by teens who made the cheeses (goat) and preserves and bread…and I can’t remember the name of it. If you like rural life and helping non-profits, you might want to look for something like this.

          Another lovely experience was having a traditional whole roasted fish and picking it off the bone (easier than it sounds) at a lakeside restaurant. Yum. Rosemary grows wild there near the shore of the Mediterranean, so the seasonings are somewhat familiar.

          We had a side trip to Jordan and saw Petra – which can be a lot of walking, or hiring a horse. Look up the NOVA special on Petra for details.

          Up your game on negotiating and rope in your family members to back you up on getting the lowest possible price from vendors in the market. Know who can be a soft touch and use the buddy system.

    3. Myrin*

      No actual thought of substance but can I just say that I’m delighted by phrase “three generations of Shabu”? It’s so cute, I want to pinch it!

      1. Not So NewReader*

        A wonderful gift for all three of them. I am sure, OP, you will remember this trip for the rest of your life. What a great memory to create.

        1. Shabu Shabu*

          Thank you, both!

          I’ve been thinking about this for 2 years. I couldn’t wait to tell my mom on her bday last year! I’ve been saving and saving so I can pay for most, of not all, of the trip.

          I get teary eyed just thinking of the three of us together on this trip!

    4. Phil*

      Sarah Glidden wrote a travelogue comic of her Birthright trip called “How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less” that’s very readable.

    5. Thursday Next*

      I went 2 years and 2.75 years ago to visit a friend. Wine is cheep there and hummus is very good. I like history, churches and museums so it was a good country for me to visit. I liked visiting the Israel Museum, and Yad Vashem was of course good as well. In Jerusalem, if you have free time and this isn’t on your tour, the Armenian church is open everyday at 3pm (I’m pretty sure) for visitors. It’s very ornate and impressive. The City of David is a national park just outside the Old City in Jerusalem and the tour includes walking through an old water tunnel – with water still in it – and some archeological sites, I really enjoyed that.
      In Tel Aviv we rented bikes and rode along the water front up to Jaffa, which was a good way to see the coastline.
      Outside of religious site you can wear whatever you would wear in North America. Don’t forget sunscreen – I forgot how much closer Israel is to the equator and got sunburned even on a chilly day in March.

      1. ToS*

        Yad Vashem is amazing, but expect to “decompress” as it is intense in a good way. We were heading to Tel Aviv after and stopped at an Elvis Cafe, complete with gold Elvis out front, because it was ridiculous, and it was a good move.

        Also, many places close for Sabbath and revive at sunset. It’s a good day to pack a picnic and go to a park.

    6. HannahS*

      My favourite thing to do (and I drag my whole family each time we go) is walk around Old Jaffa, visit the flea market (really boutique-y and trendy alongside actual flea market), get baked goods from Abulafiyyah, and sit and watch the sea. Then walk along the beach. A lot of the beaches have great walking paths.
      Here’s a short list of things I’ve loved:
      I don’t know if Mom and Granny Shabu are up to it, but the “City of David” tour in Jerusalem includes walking through underground aqueducts which still have (hip-high) water flowing through them. It stands out for me as being the kind of thing I haven’t seen or experienced anywhere else in the world. Nachalat Binyamin in Tel Aviv is a twice-weekly craft fair that’s great for pieces that involve traditional motifs without being tacky souvenirs. The Baha’i gardens in Haifa are truly gorgeous.
      To know…hmm…almost everyone speaks English. That said, the style of communication will likely come off as rude and abrupt. No matter the season, deserts get cold at night, and it can be very blustery near the ocean, so bring sweaters/light jackets.

    7. Cookienay*

      I’ve been recently and it was the trip of a lifetime. I hope you get to go to Masada. Such a neat place. And also Bet She’an is a treasure.
      My advice is wear good shoes for walking every day. We walked 5 miles the day we went to the old City of David. Enjoy your trip! Shalom.

    8. Observer*

      Sunscreen. No matter what the weather.

      Also, if you go to Ein Gedi or Massada make sure you take lots of water with you and keep drinking, even if you are not thirsty.

    9. Bluebell*

      Have a great time! Hopefully you will get to go to Ein Gedi on the day you go to the Dead Sea. The felafel is great but what’s even better are all of the salads/condiments that go on it.

    10. Jessica*

      The Dead Sea is amazing. It can be pretty desolate, so like others have mentioned, take plenty of water and sunscreen. One thing that surprised me- there were TONS of insects on the shores and their bites stung! Bug spray and/or sleeves and pants to cover bare skin might make you more comfortable when not in the water. The bottom of the sea is slippery and really sharp, so it’s helpful to have shoes that you don’t mind getting wet and salty. I wore nice-ish sandals, as that’s all I had, and they were ruined by the salt.
      Tel Aviv is at the top of my favorite places that I’ve visited so far. The people that we encountered were really friendly, there was a lot of good food. In particular, I liked Nanuchka. It’s a Georgian restaurant that went vegan along with its owner several years ago. They had some great desserts- we had a chocolate torte, and I don’t remember what it’s called, but there was also one that’s kind of like a candy served on a string, and it’s imported from Tbilisi. The city is easily walk and bikeable, and there’s a long promenade along the coast. White City with its Bauhaus architecture was cool. Ben Gurion airport was… an interesting experience to say the least- they were very stern and we received a thorough grilling upon exit.

    11. Jillociraptor*

      What a wonderful gift! I’m heading to Israel this summer and I’m so excited. The food and wine are amazing; you could have a great trip just buying felafel and Jerusalem salad.

      Some things that surprised me about Israel were: how direct Israelis are in their speech, how thoroughly not-a-thing lines are, and just seeing huge guns everywhere. Also, everywhere we went, people wanted to feed us. This was not a problem.

      If you do have flexibility on your trip, one under-appreciated site is Har ha-Zikaron, especially if you have a tour guide who’s able to lead a complex discussion of the past leaders of Israel. It was so powerful to explore the complexities of people like Theodor Herzl and Yitzhak Rabin (not to mention the lives of those dead in combat).


    12. Whats In A Name*

      I went 5 years ago and we went with a tour group but on family trip so it was my parents, my brother, my sister and I.

      My two favorite places were the Dead Sea and the day we spent in old town walking through the markets and the different areas. It was Purim while we were there and the kids were out during the day. I would recommend packing a hat/gloves/scarf and long underwear that can tuck neatly in a section of your suitcase. We went the first week in March and it snowed our first day and was in the 80’s our last day.

      If your guide doesn’t tell you – DO NOT SHAVE YOUR LEGS the morning you go to the Dead Sea. The concentration is very high and you’ll get a nasty reaction. My sister and I can both attest to that.

      To me the most awe-inspiring thing was the history – think: “this is the new church, it’s 4,000 years old”. Mosaics were beautiful in all the buildings we visited. Just be careful of pick-pocketing!

  2. Sabine the Very Mean*

    Does anyone have an advice for surviving in Phoenix, AZ? I’m relocating for an amazing job but I sweat like a man. Any guidance would be wonderful!

    1. Sara M*

      Yes! I used to live there. Good news, sleeveless dresses are totally professional, as are sandals. No one wears hose.

      Everything is air conditioned. It’s the reverse of the East Coast: people carry jackets to wear _indoors_.

      Everyone sweats. No one judges you for it.

      Your first season will be the worst. Your body adjusts some with time.

      I used to air out my pits discreetly when I could, and also blot them with toilet paper every time I used the restroom. I carried deodorant from April through October.

      It’s a dry heat, very different from the sticky mess in other places. It won’t be nearly as bad as you think. Though as I said, first season is the worst.

      Visit the Botanical Gardens and good luck! :)

      1. Drew*

        Seconding the Botanical Gardens! I visited my old college roomie in Phoenix last fall and he took me there. It’s amazing. Well worth the trip.

      2. Book Lover*

        I wear hose :). At work, anyhow. And sleeveless not considered professional where I work. So it varies! I do a lot of dresses with shrugs in the summer, save suits for the winter.

        Anyway, in the summer I barely spend time outside, except for enjoying swimming. And the winters more than make up for it. I mostly find stepping into a hot car to be the worst of it.

        I like certain dri – works really well for me.

    2. SCAnonibrarian*

      Drink sooooo much water. Go to a drugstore and try all the lotions until you find one you like and use it every night on hands and around your mouth and eyes.

      Make sure you’re using a deoderant that is ALSO an antiperspirant – some women’s products are only deoderants. There are medical-grade anti-perspirants you can ask your doctor about if you get desperate.

      Wear natural fibers: cotton, linen, silk, tencel, hemp, bamboo.

      Wear an undershirt and change undershirts at lunchtime.

      Look into ‘sweat guards’ or ‘dress shields’ which are somewhat old-fashioned and kindof finicky to manage but really do work amazingly well.

      Consider colors in clothing: going either white/offwhite/cream/taupe or going totally dark with navy/black/charcoal/deep dark ‘wintry’ colors will help a great deal to mask the appearance of sweat.

      1. Marche*

        Drysol is an antiperspirant I use and it’s AMAZING. Apply it once a week before bed and I never ever sweat.

        1. Neruda*

          Agreed. Drysol (maybe Drisol in Aus, can’t remember) is amazing! I used it before my wedding. Worked perfectly!

      2. Drago cucina*

        Echoing the water advice. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Phoenix is beautiful. I know you didn’t mention where to eat, but one of my favorite US classic French restaurants is in Cave Creek: Le Sans Souci. It has dated decor, but the food is marvelous.

    3. Hellanon*

      Much of the year it’s so dry there you won’t notice sweating because it evaporates – the issue will be replacing all that water & electrolytes before you get thirsty. The exception is during monsoon season, which is mercifully short but sees the humidity spike to 40% or 50% (when you are used to 8% that’s very sticky). My folks live in Palm Desert & the weather is similar. Keep in mind, too, that the heat is only really oppressive from June through Sept-Oct – the winter season is lovely.

      1. PHX NATIVE*

        It depends on what you consider oppressive. Sometimes highs soar into the 100s in mid April and remain there until Halloween. We get about 5 to 6 months of tolerable temps a year. Counting the days until I buy my summer home but until then, I sweat it out by the pool.
        Be sure to get a sunshade for your vehicle and perhaps a steering wheel cover. Unless there’s covered parking available, cars get intolerably hot!

    4. Jessesgirl72*

      Get used to it being the reverse of life in cold climates- from garage sales to the growing season, everything outdoors takes place in the winter, and people hibernate inside during the summer.

      And moisturize! You’re going to need lotion and chapstick.

      1. Hibiscus*

        As long as it’s about 20-25 degrees cooler at night, it’s really nice. After 8 years, I find that as long as we have a slow ramp up to the hottest part of the day, I can manage. And along with the reverse seasons, keep in mind reverse days in summer –you want to be out early and run all your errands, then come home and hibernate, then go out in the evening when it is cooler.

    5. Gene*

      All good advice, I’ll add some more.

      If you prefer a dark colored car now, you’ll change your mind. Carry oven mitts in your car in the summer so you can touch the steering wheel. The desirable parking spaces aren’t the close ones, they’re the ones that have even a scrap of shade.

      When we first moved there from South Dakota in a November long ago, we were in shorts and tees. Within about 3 years, 50 degrees required sweaters and jackets, 40 and it was time for gloves and stocking caps. The first summer was Hell; you do get used to it. Most people don’t get comfortable.

      Expect a $3-400/month electric bill in the summer unless you use a swamp cooler. And a swamper won’t work well during monsoon season when the humidity gets all the way up to 50%. Phoenix gets more rain in the summer than Seattle, if you’ve never been in a desert thunderstorm, you’re in for a treat. Don’t drive in a dust storm, it’s worse than fog.

      There are two electricity providers, Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project. SRP is significantly less expensive; to the point that it affects property values. Unless you live in an older part of town that has flood irrigation, don’t expect a lawn.

      Phoenix is HUGE. The city itself is something like 500 square miles, the metro area is probably 10 times that.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        When I lived in LA I was all about those reflective windshield shades. I don’t think I’ve seen one since I moved to the pacific northwest, but that was the only way I could touch my steering wheel in summer in Los Angeles.

        1. SL #2*

          LA native here. I have 2 in my car: a heavy-duty one for actual sun protection and a cutesy one for ~when I feel like it.

        2. Connie-Lynne*

          And, keep a towel in the car to put on your seat to keep it from heating up, and for grabbing the steering wheel when you forget the sun shade!

      2. Gene*

        A couple of other car things I thought of today.

        Installing vent visors can let you leave the windows cracked open, reducing the heat buildup in your car. And take an ice chest with you when you go shopping.

    6. Amanda2*

      You won’t spent a lot of time outside in summer months, very similar to living in cold climates in the winter when you don’t go out much. Everything is air conditioned. You’ll be fine.

      Travel to northern AZ to see snow or ski during the winter or to stay cool in the summer. Sedona is beautiful year round.

    7. paul*

      Lots and lots of water. If you haven’t lived in the desert before, you’ll be amazed how much you routinely drink. I can go through over a gallon a day without being particularly active. Never lived in AZ but southern NM is brutal in July and August.

      Get a sun shade for your windshield and carry driving gloves so the steering wheel doesn’t hurt to grab.

      Keep spare deodarant at your office, and a spare shirt. Just in case.

    8. Gadfly*

      As a breast owner, if yours are on the larger side I would recommend looking into the bra liners and sweat pads.

      If you do get a sweat rash anyway, have diaper cream on hand to treat it at the first sign.

    9. Mananana*

      People are often surprised by the commute times/traffic if working in Downtown Phoenix. There are buses that run from the suburbs into downtown, as well as light rail, but the rail doesn’t have a broad of a reach as the buses do. Most downtown workers have a 40 minutes commute from the ‘burbs, but can be much, much worse if you choose to live in the far East or West Valley. (We refer to the metro-Phoenix area as the “Valley of the Sun” and which encompasses close to 5 million people. You can find just about any type of housing (from urban lofts to early-century Craftsman) in the Valley.

      I second the importance of sun-shades for your vehicle. Add sunscreen and plenty of water, and you’ll be fine. Ceiling fans can make a big difference in your comfort level; our a/c is set at 80 during the summer and we’re comfortable. Cranking your a/c down to 68 can lead to a heart-attack inducing power bill; so keep that in mind.

      And welcome to the Valley of the Sun.

    10. DoReMe*

      Sunscreen, no matter your skin type.

      Water, more than you think you could need. When a local tells you to drink more, do it.

      Dryness: Talk with your doc and your vet about the dryness. In the desert, my nose starts bleeding after a couple days. If that happens to you, what does doc recommend for care and prevention? How about your eyes? What should you look for for stronger sunglasses? If you wear contacts, what should you expect to change? And, what makes sense for a humidifier at home? My first couple winters of dry indoor heat after high humidity summers I got laryngitis like clockwork. Humidifier in the winter seemed like overkill but really helped.

      Vet – same kinds of questions for Sabine. What will be “normal” changes in her & her needs with the change in climate? What should you be keeping an eye on? What does overdry look like, what does overheated look like, and what should you do about it?

      Heat is exhausting, plan on both of you needing more rest your first summer there. Adjusting to different climates takes time.

      Congratulations on the great new job!

  3. Amber Rose*

    So I’m a huge fan of our local lacrosse team. Lacrosse is pretty fun to watch, and their slogan is “come for the party, stay for the game” which is pretty much perfect. Every season they do a Star Wars night where they wear specially designed Star Wars jerseys that get auctioned off after for charity. STARS this year I think. The most popular player’s jersey is going for over two grand right now.

    A not-game version signed by the team is going for a quarter of that and I want it so much. I waver between “that is an irresponsible use of money” and “it’s for charity also my birthday is next weekend.”

    I’m not so good at adulting when it comes to spending money on silly things. *sigh*

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I am also a terrible adult and would end up buying it because (a) my birthday and (b) charity.

    2. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Buy it. I spent almost $1000 buying random crap from one of my personal musical gods when he did a clean out of his loftspace a few years ago. International auction and the bidding was INSANE, especially on the musical instruments. I didn’t have a real need for a Wasp synth or his drum kit, so I got more personal things he had saved over the years. I got a very nice personal note from him when I inquired about the provenance of something I bought, which was lovely. All proceeds went to his bank account so its not like there was even charity involved!

      However – I framed the jersey I bought and the note and it brings me such joy to look at them, almost as much as his music. Irresponsible use of money? Maybe, but I don’t spend money on other silly things and the happiness these items bring mean a lot to me. I do wish I had bought one of the giant posters he had for sale (advertisements for a special concert this band did in 1988 that is a milestone in a lot of ways), but those were bid way up over $1000 and I couldn’t justify THAT. But what I have cannot and will not ever be reproduced and there are only 10 other people on the planet with the same thing. I can always find a repro poster, but never what I have.

            1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

              I met the man in person in 2010 during his Recoil shows. Even at 50 whatever.. still just so, so good looking. Beautiful eyes. Got a great photo with him and shook his hand in thanks because I didn’t have a pen on me for him to sign my ticket!

  4. Sara M*

    I could use advice on a houseguest situation please.

    My husband’s best friend stays with us sometimes, about once every two months. I’m starting to dread his visits because he’s inconsiderate. Not horrid, just a problem.

    Normally, I’d say “talk to him about the issues” and stuff. But that hasn’t worked. He simply cannot remember things I ask of him. Basically I have to pick up after this middle aged bachelor.

    I am excessively fussy about my surroundings and I know that’s really part of the problem. I hate houseguests. If he were awful I’d say he has to go to a hotel. But he isn’t.

    So, how do I become more Zen about people in my space? Since that’s likely easier than trying to get him to remember anything.

    1. OhBehave*

      You could repeat to yourself that he’s a good guy and this stuff is not worth the headache.

      How about your hubby clean up after his bestie? Just ask him to grab his towels or whatever.

      Can you print a list of “Sara would love it if …” and place it in his room? It’s hard to ‘forget’ things if it’s right in his face every day.

      I know some guys wouldn’t be bugged about some of things that bug me, but you are not this man’s mama!

      1. Sheep*

        My exact thought as well. It’s your husband’s guest. If the friend is staying, your husband should make sure that there is no more work for you to do. Whether guest or husband does the ‘work’ doesn’t really matter, as long as it doesn’t add to wife’s load.

    2. Myrin*

      Just throwing it out there that a person doesn’t have to be “awful” for you to not want them to stay with you. There is no awefulness-metre where he has to reach a certain threshold until you’re allowed to say he needs to find someplace else to stay; your not wanting him there is enough.

    3. Marcela*

      Sara, I suffer from that too. I’m extremely territorial about my house and very rarely like my guests at home. Most of the time I just want to kick them out. What helped a bit was that my husband was in charge of the things that made me see red. So for example when my FIL and girlfriend left the doors open, even after we told them the cat is indoor, it was my husband’s duty to keep an eye on doors. The same with locking the front door. Or when they turned on the whole house fan, which I hate because it sounds like there is a jet engine inside my house, and they insisted on using even when I told them I just cannot stand the noise, it was my husband who turned it off when I was coming.

      However, in truth the only thing that actually helped was me leaving to house 11 hours for work. I could not care enough to me mad with rage as before, when I was that tired. And since I did not have to suffer my guests, and I’m going to do for my MIL’s next visit, who is SURELY going to reorganize my place because she knows better, well, I consider this ‘solution ‘ a success.

      1. tigerStripes*

        “So for example when my FIL and girlfriend left the doors open, even after we told them the cat is indoor” I have indoor cats too, and I’d be furious if people were doing that at my house!

    4. Artemis*

      This week’s Dear Prudence podcast had a question about a similar situation (more severe, their guest was staying several days each month) but she gave some helpful advice that might apply to your situation.

      1. Sara M*

        Thanks all! I appreciate it. I need to feel OK with the fact that I don’t like guests. I always feel bad about being fussy.

        1. Wendy Darling*

          I HATE GUESTS. I suck it up when my SO’s parents visit from overseas, but there’s a reason we have a guest room and it’s so we have somewhere to keep all of our books.

          If someone stayed with me every two months and trailed mess I would probably 1. fantasize about smothering them with a pillow, and 2. open serious negotiations with my SO whose stupid idea this was because goodness knows it would not be MY idea.

      2. Blueismyfavorite*

        I thought Dear Prudence’s answer to that question missed the mark! In that question the “guest” was her boyfriend’s business partner who came to stay once a month for a week and was rude and messy. The correct answer to that question is the business partner is no longer welcome. That was a roommate, not a guest!

        No one should stay at your house unless you want them to!

    5. Not So NewReader*

      So the guy stays with you about six times a year? Does he contribute anything to the household? I have had people fill the gas tank, buy a meal, that sort of thing. Is he making any attempt to SHOW thanks for the free lodging? Family members on a shoe-string budget could still find ways to give me little items for the house as a thank you. “I know you were looking for more files for your paperwork, my friend was tossing these out so I grabbed them for you.” I was touched that the family member even remembered that I needed some more files.

      I don’t know how to find Zen. I do know that life is trade-offs. If you have people in your life then there are other things you may not have. For example, some people may forego getting a pet because their absolutely most favorite relative is allergic. Having that relative come to visit is more important than having a pet. Trade-offs.

      OTH, there were times when I used a baseline approach: “This is something my husband wants. I love my husband therefore, I will just work through this as smoothly as possible.”
      Then there were other times where I asked for some special consideration. “Okay, we can do the X that you want, but after that can we do the Y that I want?” He usually agreed to whatever Y was, this made it hugely easier for me to go along with X.

      Last thought. Everything is temporary. Years roll by quickly and suddenly people travel less, they don’t stop over any more because travel is too difficult or they have moved further away or they are tied up taking care of personal matters, etc. I have found it helpful to think of having guests as a privilege, as opposed to being a chore. Not everyone has the time or desire to visit.

    6. Temperance*

      Have you talked with your husband about it? You shouldn’t have to pick up after this dude, your husband should.

      I don’t like people, with the exception of my sister and her kids, in my home. I grew up in a family where spending time alone was considered sneaky/antisocial and we largely weren’t allowed to do so, and as a result, I am frankly very territorial to the point of being weird. It probably doesn’t help that most of our recent houseguests were from my husband’s family, and they’re the type of people who believe that they’re family, not visitors, so they’ll go through cabinets and rearrange them, whine about the types of food we keep in stock, etc …

        1. Temperance*

          I do have two sisters. :) If you’re 29 and have 2 kids, you might be my sister. Although her name isn’t Marcela (just like mine is really not Temperance) …

    7. TheLazyB*

      I would make him go to a hotel, personally.

      But if he can’t/won’t/you don’t want to ask him? Find an air b&b or something locally and go have a little mini break on your own.

      It’s really, really OK not to want people all up in your space.

    8. MommyMD*

      Time to curb the visits. He has long since ceased to be a houseguest with these overly frequent visits. Say it’s not working for you anymore and don’t elaborate.

    9. Notthemomma*

      Develop the house rules, type them up with or without a corresponding ‘fine’ (money, wine, maid service) Print on some cool paper and put in a frame in the guest room. If he mentions it, say, “we’ve had trouble in the past, so the fines cover the cleaners we have to hire’ and laugh. If he forgets, say “Bob. Seriously? House rules”

  5. Ariel Before The Mermaid Was Cool*

    Hey all,
    Thanks for those that posted positive thoughts about our doggy on last week’s open thread.
    He came home this past Wednesday, and is mostly out of the woods in terms of a bowel perforation. His wound is draining, which is super gross, but he’s on antibiotics to prevent any infection and he gets his staples out next Thursday.
    If you ever feel like throwing away $1500, feed your dog a very gently used or unused baby diaper. (Thank goodness for tax refunds.)

    1. Sabine the Very Mean*

      I have not been following your story but my thoughts are with you as my little mean Sabine is the love of my life.

      1. Bibliovore*

        I thank you so much for updating. I have been thinking of you. I had a similar situation with my dog years ago and there was a bad outcome AND three thousand dollars on my credit card.

      2. Ariel Before The Mermaid Was Cool*

        Thanks so much.
        Long story short, we had to have a baby diaper surgically removed from our German Shepherd’s stomach. It was a pretty traumatizing experience for all of us, but as I mentioned, he’s home and we’re doing our best to help him heal. We’ve actually had him longer than we’ve been married, and our son loves him to pieces, so we were very, very thankful that he pulled through and very fortunate that I recognized that something was genuinely wrong (my husband was doubtful).

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Very glad to hear this outcome.

      Stuff happens when you have pets. I hope you get a smile out of this one. A friend and his wife got a pup. Neither one of them had a pet before so they thought they would share this new experience together. I don’t think they had the pup a day or two and a BEE flew up the pup’s nostril! Of course the nostril swelled up quickly and the two of them totally panicked.
      They got the pup to the vet and everything was taken care of, but not without a lot of tension and concern for the newbie “parents”. It’s been years, they never had a recurrence and they are totally enjoying their pet. Probably nothing like your experience here will ever happen to your pet again, either. Pets can give us a good hard scare sometimes.

      1. Ariel Before The Mermaid Was Cool*

        Poor puppy!! :D

        This is definitely one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ situations… At least, I hope it’s only once!

    3. Merci Dee*

      Glad to hear things are going well with your pup. You’re right- draining wounds are the worst.

      When I was in middle school (lo, these many years ago), I had a little dog that got absolutely torn up because he was chasing the ladies. Got ripped along his shoulder by a much bigger dog. The vet had to cut out a hunk of flesh about four inches across and six inches long, all the way down to the muscle. We had to swab it several times a day, and clean out his drains with cotton swabs to make sure the wound closed from the bottom up. After about a month, he was all healed up again, and only had a faint scar to show for his trouble.

      1. Ariel Before The Mermaid Was Cool*

        I’ll be so thankful when Cozmo’s incision is but a faint scar and a distant memory! I can’t wait for the drainage to stop so we can steam clean the carpet and upholstery! *Gags*

    4. Trixie*

      That is good news. I’m always grateful for emergency vet care because something just can’t wait until normal business hours.

      1. Ariel Before The Mermaid Was Cool*

        We were actually very lucky that the circumstances were such that our vet was able to see him during normal office hours, and they kept him overnight for supervision and monitoring, and they did the surgery the next day. I’m just glad I realized that something was truly wrong when I did; another hour or so and we would have had to travel a minimum of an hour and a half to the nearest emergency clinic.

      1. Ariel Before The Mermaid Was Cool*

        Thanks for thinking of us! I thought about going back and commenting on last weekend’s thread after we got him home, but didn’t know if anyone would see it, so I just decided to update today!

    5. Jessesgirl72*

      Our money pit needed doggy ACL surgery, for a lot more than $1500. ;) But we love her and she was only 2 at the time, so…

      You have convinced me that the diaper genie (okay, the arm and hammer version) is topping my baby wishlist on Amazon. I already have heavy items sitting on top of the bathroom trash can, because she learned how to lift the lid (smart dogs might be the death of us!)

      1. Ariel Before The Mermaid Was Cool*

        I actually wanted the Munchkin Arm and Hammer one, but our Walmart didn’t have it in stock, and I’m very much an instant-gratification person when it comes to shopping, so I settled for the Diaper Genie. We used to have just a plain flip-lid trash can in the nursery, and he’d get into it if we didn’t shut the nursery door. The only reason we got the Diaper Genie was because that stupid cheap trashcan smelled like poo, even after being bleached and sanitized.
        The crazy thing is, he’s eaten diapers before and they’ve always passed because they’ve been fullll (*gagging*)… This one my son had only worn for a few minutes between dinner and bathtime, so it might have even been completely dry and thus expanded as he ate and drank.
        See, Cozmo has had skin issues for a while so we had taken him to the vet about that, and he was on antibiotics and steroids. On top of that, we were told he needed to lose 20 pounds, so we put him on a diet. My thinking is that the diet, combined with the steroids, made him feel as though he was starving, even though he wasn’t, and that’s what drove him to eat that plain dry diaper.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          My instant gratification is called Amazon Prime in an area that now gets same-day delivery. ;)

          Now I know that the clean diapers have to be up out of Rottie reach, since it has happened that she’s gotten bored, and having the garbage blocked from her, she has gotten a hold of unused maxi pads…. Thankfully she doesn’t eat things whole, she loves to shred them first, but still. Ugh.

          I don’t think I was prepared for this coming baby making more work to prevent the DOG from killing herself, and not just protecting the baby from itself!

    6. Golden Lioness*

      Just to echo the other comments. I am glad your doggie is doing well. I was also wondering how he was doing.

  6. krysb*

    A question for all the book nerds out there. I have somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 books (not counting digital, of course). I’m moving them from one end of the house to the other and I’ve been stumped on how to organize some of my nonfiction section – especially my history books. How do you guys organize yours? Some of them are topical, some can be relegated by time period. For example, should I organize my book on the lives of women in Middle Ages be classified with women’s history or medieval history? Not having an organization plan is making me crazy, so any tips will be appreciated!

    1. Sala*

      I think what’s important is how you think of them. Is the history more important, or the fact that it’s women in history? You need to make them easy for you to find, not subscribe to someone else’s ideas.

      1. AnotherAnon*

        Seconding this, though I also think it depends somewhat on how many books you have on women’s history. If it’s one or two, and you have more medieval history books, then I’d organise by time period. But if you have more women in the middle ages (or women in history in general) books than medieval history books, I’d organise by topic.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Agreed. I group them according to how I use them. My plant/veggie books are close to my health books and close to my food handling books. If I have a health question, I am interested in finding what foods help that issue, then I am usually interested in how to grow those foods. It’s all one train of thought for me.

        My sewing and craft books are away from this cluster of books and they are in another cluster of their own.

        I have one shelf of over sized books and that is a mix of everything that won’t fit on the shelf with it’s subject/cluster. I painted and decorated two wooden crates and there I keep pamphlets or thin books that would easily get lost on a shelf. I hand made dividers for my topics of interest, so the small booklets are organized and easier to locate.

    2. Drew*

      Put women’s history next to medieval history. Put this book right in the middle.

      My last move, I tried something different: I put books on the shelf as they came out of boxes and I never organized them at all. I won’t be doing that again.

    3. Kit*

      My books are sorted via the Dewey decimal system and then alphabetically by author’s surname and then chronologically by original publication date. I was going to do them by colour, but 90% are black.

    4. Aurora Leigh*

      My fiction is divided by genre. Within in that they’re loosely is alphabetical order by author’s last name, but I have to make some allowances for weight of hardbacks vs paperbacks and which shelves are sturdier.

      Nonfiction is mostly history, so it’s in chronological order. My craft books have their own shelf and and are grouped together based on the craft.

    5. Turtlewings*

      There’s always the Dewey Decimal system. Even if you don’t want to actually put spine labels on stuff, you could just kinda use a cheat sheet to put them in order. With that many books, though, maybe you should thin about spine labels!

      1. Bibliovore*

        You can find the Dewey numbers on the CIP/copyright page.
        Simply put- the number organizes and breaks down by topic. That will put all the medieval history together and all the United States History together. Then you can sub sort.
        you can group all women’s history together then subsort by the dewey number. women’s history/religous history, women’s history/ civil rights.

    6. Em too*

      It doesn’t matter as long as it makes sense to you? It might be easiest to go with the first thing you think of, and if any feel really badly misfiled in a few months shift them round.

      I start from ‘what circumstances would lead to me needing this book?’, so if I’m feeling ill I look top left, ‘dip into’ books are bottom left, more challenging stuff is further right with genres separated vertically…

    7. DNDL*

      I’d like to recommend the website Library Thing for this project. I’m a librarian, and I use it to organize my books at home. You can choose from a bunch of different systems. It will help you figure out Dewy numbers if you like that, or help you figure out subject if you prefer a bookstore model.

      1. Kay*

        Yes! I’m a longtime LibraryThing user, though I’ve fallen out of the habit recently, and it’s a great tool.

    8. Jen Erik*

      I did mine by colour (fiction & non-fiction together): it felt properly anarchic, but I love it. I wasn’t intending to keep it like that – it was more of an experiment to see if it could be done (not enough books have lilac spines!) – but I’ve kept it because it makes me happy.
      The bonus is you get really odd combinations of books together (Anthony Beevor’s ‘The Battle for Spain’ beside Pratchett’s ‘Unseen Academicals’). The downside is that, while I’ve a really good memory for books, I’m caught out when the spine is a different colour than the front – it turns out the front is what I remember.
      Granted, this might not work if it’s important to be able to lay your hand on the right book instantly, but otherwise I recommend it as a surprisingly liberating exercise. (Though, of course, you’ll spend the time worrying about the intricacies of this way of shelving instead – the spine of Connie Willis’s ‘Blackout’ is half black, half white: shall I shelve it here, or here?)

      1. Fiennes*

        I go by color too. It means I never wind up with books in a pile waiting to be shelved precisely, and I tend to have a good memory for what color a book is. Browsing can be an adventure–but finding something unexpected to pick up is one of the joys of the process.

    9. Zip Silver*

      I organize my history books by era, rather than subject matter. Fiction gets organized by genre, though

    10. NoMoreMrFixit*

      I’m just as bad :-) I find topical worked best for me. That, and giving away a lot of books I knew I wouldn’t reread any time soon when I moved back home after losing my job. I found the real solution for me having limited space was to go digital as much as possible. Not the same thing as reading a physical hard cover book, but much more practical for me.

    11. SophieChotek*

      I have about the same amount of books as you, and I really think it is up to you. Where would you look for it? In women’s studies or medieval studies?

      My women’s studies is subdivided by era so I have a Victorian, civil war (us), medieval, etc.

      If I had one random book that is an outlier it goes wherever it fits….my culture studies section tends to absorb the odd books….but otherwise I have pretty clear concentrations of focus…I mean most could be go in multiple categories….but usually…I focus on women’s but don’t do much medieval….actually as I went through every book during my recent move I pared down….sold/ gave away about a thousand books….still have over. 2,000 left though…

      I keep a big database of all my books with title, date, author, edition, isbn, etc. I went through every book individually and matched it against my database when I unpacked.
      Found tons I had never entered….and a few that seem to have gone missing….loaned and never returned no doubt.

      Hope that helps. I would totally come and help you pack and unpack!

    12. Sibley*

      I’m not going to tell you my organizational system. Let’s just say it makes sense to me, and everyone else ends up asking me where a particular book is.

      However, as you’re moving them, you’ll have your hands on each one. Make sure you still want that book. And keep an eye out for duplicates. My mom had 6 copies of the same book about 10 years ago, and that’s the last time they were really checked for duplicates. Not looking forward to the next go-through.

    13. Elizabeth West*

      Oh, I would love to get mine organized, but I barely have the space to put them. My house is only 780 square feet. Right now they’re very loosely organized by topic and stacked on top of each other in shelves. I have 38 shelves that are FULL of books if you count all my bookcases.

      I would LOVE to organize my library all in one room. Fiction would be by author’s last name and then by title. Non-fiction would be by topic and then title. Gardening ABCD, decorating ABCD, history ABCD, dolls house ABCD, etc. What I really need to do is catalog them in case of disaster.

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        My husband took one new year’s break and put them in alphabetical order.

        That was 4? moves ago. When I’m unpacking, I always just want to get them DONE.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I might do this when I move. (I’m saying when not if LOL.) I would probably get rid of some of them beforehand, and then I could arrange them when packing or unpacking. There’s no point in doing it now.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Meant to add–for authors I have a ton of, theirs would probably be in order of publication, especially if they have a series. That’s how I have Stephen King right now, but I have to keep The Dark Tower all together even though other books came out in between. And The Wind through the Keyhole goes between books 4 and 5 because that’s where the events fit, even though it’s technically book 8.

            1. Jessesgirl72*

              See, I refuse to reorder Chronicles of Narnia now that “they” decided to put The Magician’s Nephew first. I don’t care that in Narnia years, it comes first. No.. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is first! ;) And if I tried to reorder Mercedes Lackey by order in the universe, it would really mess me up, since she jumps around in the timeline (and is just a TAD inconsistent, on top of that)

                1. Jessesgirl72*

                  Apparently the new publishers/book experts. LOL If you look at the new sets, they put Magician’s Nephew first.

                  Luckily, as Elizabeth says, we can put books on our own shelves however we want! LOL

    14. Jersey's mom*

      Fiction, is alphabetical, author last name.

      I think the Dewey Decimal is a little too “Sheldon” for me, so I use the DD as a topic driven system.

      So in my non-fiction, I have Religion, mythology, history, government/politics, sociology, language, gardening, environmental ID books, ecology, biology, chemistry, physics, then the orphans; travel, biography, and autobiography.

      Each is subdivided, so in history, I have grouped together books about different countries, and in language I have grouped together books on grammar, translators, and books about language. I do not go by author, since it would create a sea of complete confusion to me. If there is a book that could potentially go into multiple topics, I decide which topic I think defines the book. After all, this is my library, and I am the Queen who will need to find the book in the future. I don’t care where someone else “thinks” it ought to go.

      My system makes sense to me, so all I need to do is visualize my bookshelves and can usually locate a book immediately. That’s the key – figure out a topic drive system that flows logically to you.

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        I find DD is just not intuitive. I think as there got to be more books in more and more specific topics, the DD just broke down and isn’t always logical in a way that humans think.

        I like Library of Congress better, but honestly, just straight alphabetical by author works for me (and then for fictional series, by publication order, not alpha). But then we have everything logged into library thing and I can search via the title, if that is all I remember.

        1. Jersey's mom*

          I like to think that the DD was developed by an engineer. I’m an ecologist who works with engineers all the time, and I find that while we’re all data and logic driven, we just think completely differently. If we have to file a document, I can guarantee that we’ll use completely dissimilar names and locations to file the document.

          I think the DD was developed by Sheldon, the more I think about it….

          1. Jessesgirl72*

            I live with an Engineer… ;) We have discussions about our file server like “Why in the heck did you put the tax documents in the records folder, when I already have one labeled TAXES”

    15. GiantPanda*

      By big category: History, language, science, mathematics, computer science, other nonfiction. Literature, scifi, fantasy, thriller, mystery, poetry, other fiction. Within categories by author and by publication date.

    16. Jessica*

      I use a modified Library of Congress system. Nonfiction is straight LoC; most books have their LoC call number on the copyright page, and those that don’t the internet can help you with. I have separate, non-LoC sections for fiction (by author and then by publication date), poetry (ditto), and biography (by subject).

    17. Mephyle*

      You might like to read this article by the person who was tasked with cataloguing Doris Lessing’s personal library after her passing. Among other interesting things, he mentions organization of the library.

    18. Chaordic One*

      I use a system that we’ve adopted at the library used book store where I volunteer called “Casual Dewey.” It’s like regular Dewey, but with a few exceptions when it is convenient. Like I might put a biography of a favorite author next to the fiction that she wrote.

      A while ago I saw a small house for sale on the internet that had belonged to a librarian. It was probably around 1,000 square feet in size, but every single wall had bookshelves built on them. I loved it.

    19. ..Kat..*

      I consider my books organized if they are all on a bookshelf, upright, and with the spines all facing the same way!

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I have just tried to do a paperback cull and failed miserably. I mean I filled a big carrier bag with books to take to our church jumble sale, but I can’t say it’s made a difference to my (double stacked) bookshelves.

        And of course, I will probably be buying some more books when I get to the church jumble sale. It will have to be more going out than coming in.

  7. Myrin*

    I have an online acquaintance/friend who I can only describe using words fellow commenter AcademiaNuts used a couple of weeks ago which fit so well that I bookmarked them: She “can be kind of abrasive – not horrible, but [she]’s blunt spoken, has a low threshold for getting annoyed, and is very vocal when [she] is annoyed” and I am in turn finding myself getting annoyed by it.

    It’s not horrible, like I said, we’re more acquaintances and usually only interact via being mutuals on tumblr but I’ve known her for six years now and I have no idea if I’ve become more sensitive over the years or if she’s ramped it up because the amount of rude posts by her seem to be increasing lately. Something I realised some time ago is that while she’s very strident and almost too happy get into arguments with people, whenever I react to one of her posts and am inarguably right, she just… doesn’t react to it. Like, she doesn’t go against it but doesn’t acknowledge how she was wrong either and it’s annoying. Like, you somehow want to convince me that the way you write down a date is somehow “better” than the way I write down a date until you’re blue in the face but then you can’t even acknowledge that you erred in a post related to my academic speciality? She also has a bit of a habit of preaching a certain behaviour and then turning around and behaving in the exact opposite way; not cool, if you ask me.

    This comment makes it sound like this is some huge thing in my life; it’s not, and I’m not looking for any advice or even for anything to do, really. I have no problem with blocking posts or people or unfollowing them and whatnot and I do like her and enjoy how straightforward she is, but I sometimes feel like being a bit more friendly/polite/even neutral would go a long way.

    1. Colette*

      I think you have two options:
      – unfollow/unfriend her if it’s not worth the aggravation, or
      – stop arguing even when she’s obviously wrong (or only argue if it hits some threshold of “I can’t let this stand” – so you’d argue if she’s advocating something that would harm someone, but let the date formatting rants go).

      People like that have to believe they’re right, so you’ll never get her to admit she’s not.

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah, I’m usually doing #2; I don’t engage/walk away and then snark about it to my sister. Again, this doesn’t happen super often or so regularly that it’s something I fret over but when I see it, I do roll my eyes because really, would it kill you to be a bit more polite?

        1. Colette*

          Yeah, I understand. I find I usually argue at first, and then I just disengage. If that doesn’t work (I.e. If I am getting upset because of it), I unfollow/ unfriend.

          Ultimately, it would be pretty sad to live a life where no one else had anything of value to add, don’t you think? And that’s what people like this are choosing.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      It could be you used to like her and how she used to be straightforward. It sounds like now she is argumentative just to be argumentative. People change and we don’t always notice little incremental changes so suddenly one day it’s “how did I get to this point with the friend?”

      I have a deep respect for people whose walk matches their talk. I find that most people don’t always match up. I turned that one inward. I just look at my own talk/walk and see how that is going. Sometimes I find I need to fix me.

      I will say that I have noticed a few people in my life, who I consider to be valuable people in my life, WILL stop talking about a subject if my point is right on. If that is the worst thing she is doing, I can see where you might overlook it. I do because there are other things going on of greater value, this is a minor thing comparatively.

      I’d say roll with it until you can’t.

    3. BuildMeUp*

      Do you use Tumblr Savior or anything similar? It lets you “blacklist” words or phrases, so when you’re on your dash it shows up as “Username made a post containing X.” You can click on it to expand it and see it anyway if you want to.

      It might help to either find common things she posts/argues about to blacklist, or even blacklist her username. That way you can just scroll past her posts without seeing the content if you’re not in the mood to deal with it.

      1. Myrin*

        I use xkit and have actually used it to blacklist “Fahrenheit” and “Celsius” because her talk of which one is “right” and “makes more sense” got on my nerves so much! :’D

        I didn’t know you can downright block usernames, though. I’ll totally use that if she goes on my nerves again!

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          You can do the same thing on Facebook with FBPurity — block posts with mentions of any word, or pretty much anything else you can think of.

          And my first thought was that maybe it’s a (poorly done, backhanded) compliment that you’re the only person with whom she doesn’t argue back. I would see that as either her caring more about your opinion than anyone else’s, or maybe she doesn’t have a comeback because you make good points.

    4. Sas*

      You could also try to tell her what you said above. I’ll say though, as an adult, it can be rough out there to meet people. I’d hope that somehow each person could see that they have faults. Other than what others have mentioned, you could either choose to continue to be her friend, or not. She might be the way she is for some things that happened in her life. Even she needs friends, it might be more difficult for her to find them (who knows) per your statements about her way of expressing herself. If you choose to let her out of your life though, don’t do it without explaining and leaving the door open in the future (for an imperfect friend). Aside from absolutely awful reasons, closing the door is not realistic or worth it. Speaking from experience, I let many close friends (one I think of in particular) out of my life years ago, after terrible times, seemingly unforgivable actions, (I had to do it to save my own life, if that gives insight) ,and I think about it all of the time. Still. Life is what it is, we all can be absolutely AWFUL, and the bigger amoungst all people see the bigger picture.

      1. TL -*

        You don’t owe anyone your time or friendship, even if they struggle with friends. That’s their issue to deal with, not yours. I’ve closed the door on people for lots of reasons – no room in my life for more close friends, not interested in pursing a friendship with them (in a we’re just not compatible ways), sometimes just because their or my life changed so much we had nothing in common. A few because we had a big fight or there was an really bad action taken. I don’t believe they’re bad people, but they’re also not people I want to spend my time on.

  8. Marche*

    I want to try making crusty bread but all the recipes I’ve found are no-kneading – I want to knead bread, I figure it might be kinda neat and good stress relief. Anyone know for a really nice crusty bread recipe that requires kneading?

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I get all of my bread recipes from the King Arthur Flour website. Their hearth bread is excellent, easy, and requires some kneading! There are a bunch of other recipes on there you might like too.

      1. Hellanon*

        Seconding King Arthur Flour – they also have video tutorials. That’s the only online source I bake from, and their flours are excellent quality as well.

      2. Marche*

        Oh my goodness, the website has so many tutorials! I feel like my one singular attempt at making bread is going to erupt into making many types of bread very quickly. Thanks for the suggestion, I’m drooling at all these recipes.

    2. Lady Julian*

      Getting a crisp crust has as much to do with how you bake it as what recipe you use. You’ll want a Dutch oven, or if you don’t have that, a Dutch oven-sized oven-safe pot (which is what I use, since I’m not rich enough for a Dutch oven). The lid allows steam to build up, which in turn makes the crust crisp. I’ve also heard about good things resulting from sticking a panful of boiling water in at the same time as you stick your bread in the oven, again for the steam, though I haven’t personally tried that. If you’re on Facebook, there’s a Bread Baking group that I’d recommend; the members are always willing to offer tips and to admire each other’s handiwork. I’ve learned so much!

      I recommend this recipe, though I don’t use a cloche (just, as I mentioned, the big pot): http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-rustic-white-bread-from-a-bread-cloche-recipes-from-the-kitchn-194984

      1. Marche*

        We’ve got a small Dutch oven that I might try! Is the name of that Facebook group just Bread Baking? I might take a look through it.

      2. Lady Julian*

        Yep, the name is “Bread Baking”. You’ll need to request access, but they approve everyone as long as you don’t start posting stuff that’s not about bread. :)

      3. Drago cucina*

        This is a good method. Because I use a baking stone I mist the bread with water a couple of times during baking. Just a simple squeeze trigger bottle I only use for cooking.

      4. lm*

        Crusty breads are going to be higher moisture recipes, and that’s going to limit your ability to knead it.

        1. Lady Julian*

          This is true, though I’ve had success with kneading with a knife/spatula in the bowl. The FB Bread Baking community can advise further.

        2. Marche*

          That’s good to know. I’ve never made bread before (and baking, unlike cooking, I find occasionally tricky) so I’m going to soak up all the advice I can, thanks for the tip :D

      5. Jessesgirl72*

        I use the no pan (ceramic bricks I let outgas on the grill. Don’t burn off the manufacturing oils inside!) method- just form into a boule and bake on the bricks in a 450º oven, adding the pan of water below. I get super crusty bread. Which is also less necessary when cooking with gas- natural gas itself releases water into the air as it burns.

      6. Gadfly*

        I’ve seen people who claim success from using a crockpot. I haven’t tried it yet, but they say it works beautifully

    3. Mike C.*

      Don’t forget to toss a cup of water into the oven right after you put the lead in to bake. That’s a key part of getting a really good crust. I literally dump the water in and shut the door.

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        Is that what I’m doing as I shove in the pie plate of water and half of it spills onto the oven floor? ;)

    4. lcsa99*

      I love, love, LOVE making homemade bread. Have actually started making every week for our sandwiches and to use with dinner and it’s been great.

      You can definitely take the suggestions here and add boiling water or just plain water to the oven immediately after putting your loaf in, but I have found throwing a handful of ice cubes in a lot less scary and just as effective

      As for recipes, this is one of my favorites for crispy rolls that I shared on my much neglected blog, but you can tweak it for a loaf easily. https://lcsa99.wordpress.com/2008/04/22/tasty-tweaks/. Have fun with whatever you try!

  9. Marcela*

    Have any if you bought Modcloth shoes? I’m hunting some vintage inspired T-strap shoes, and Mocloth have several. The thing is, they are not leather and I try to avoid man made leather because my feet stink. Besides, when I used normal, man man leather shoes, I needed to break them, and I truly don’t want to go back to do that again. And finally I’m worried about cushion on the ball of the foot. I need these shoes for a Scottish wedding next summer, so I must be able to walk hours and dance with them. So, if you have bought Modcloth shoes, can you tell me anything about comfort? Reviews are not useful, for there are not so many so there is a clear trend.

      1. Marcela*

        That price is not a problem, Sala, thanks for the recommendation, I did not know that brand. However, I’m not looking for comfort shoes in general. Most of my shoes come from “comfort brands”, Clarks, Rockport, Born, Ecco, and I have happy feet. I am looking for a very particular shoe, and while I know Naturalizer makes something similar, I own a pair from a previous season that has never been comfortable enough. The sad thing about Fluevogs is that they are more quirky than I would wear. Why can’t they make some models in just plain black? It’s like the problem I have with Seychelles: I don’t wear heels higher than 3″, and most of theirs are 4″.

        1. Lore*

          They do make plain black (and other solid color) version of a lot of their shoes–they just don’t make it particularly easy to figure out which ones. If you go into “shop” you can sort by color–I just went through an extensive shop there (someone gave me a gift certificate) and I remember more Mary Jane than t-strap styles, but you never know. Their shoes are incredibly well made, sturdy, and comfortable, so if you can find something that suits your style it’s well worth it.

      2. Ann O.*

        I bought Fleuvogs because I kept hearing how wonderful they were, but mine were way too narrow at the toes and the tassle ornamentation fell off after a few months. It made me skittish about buying any shoes online, and also sad not to get to shear the Fleuvog love.

        1. Marcela*

          Oh, no, a narrow toebox is a deal breaker. Or a pointed one. I have managed to avoid the bunions that plague my family, using only round toeboxes.

    1. Hellanon*

      Try American Duchess. They do shoes for women who do historical/vintage costuming, and I have several pairs. Well made, comfortable, and nice quality leathers. Also Re-Mix Vintage Shoes. I’ve seen their line at Art Deco conferances and vintage fashion expos, and again, really well made & nice quality leathers.

    2. Artemis*

      I’ve found them to be pretty comfortable but poorly-made, the shoes I got from them fell apart pretty quickly. That said, they have an excellent return policy, so if you try them on and don’t seen them holding up for a wedding, you can return them for free.

      1. Turkletina*

        I have had the same experience. I’m kind of resigned to poor-quality shoes since I don’t wear leather (and don’t have the money for high-end stuff), but the shoes I’ve bought from Modcloth have had a particularly short life.

        1. Marcela*

          I could live with that if they are comfy enough. I mean, the ones I’ve seen and liked are less than $40 and I usually spend 3 times as much in good shoes. I’m more worried about them destroying my feet in a place thousands of miles from my home, in the middle of a trip where I want to walk as much as possible and see as much of Scotland as I can.

          1. Turkletina*

            My experience has been that they’re pretty comfortable. I think most pairs have needed some breaking-in, but a day of wearing them around the house seemed to do the trick.

      2. Junior Dev*

        Yeah, Modcloth has cute shoes for cheap but quality is pretty inconsistent. I have really not found any of them to be comfortable, but I wear sneakers and hiking boots most days. I love my gold wing-tips but my feet hurt by the end of the day in them.

        I like Clark’s for cute, good quality shoes.

    3. Triceratops*

      So, the thing about Modcloth is that most (all?) of their clothing is purchased from other brands. Even if some of their shoes are great quality, it’s perfectly plausible that this pair might be terrible, or vice versa.

      Since there aren’t a ton of reviews on this specific item, you could try to see if you can spot the brand labeling in some of the photos and search online for reviews (you also might find a better price that way). You could also try reverse image searching a photo of the shoes.

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        Exactly this. I’ve had some items from them that were decently made, and others that I’d call disposable clothing.

    4. Ms Ida*

      Do you wear Dansco? I have had Dansco Mary Janes that were very comfortable. Some of there styles are a little dressier. Zappos has a Dansco Linda that has a vintage feel.

    5. ArtsNerd*

      Modcloth has always been hit or miss for me (never bought shoes).

      I suggest you look for t-strap character shoes! They’re soft and comfy and made for dancing. They’re not the most durable shoes to wear in the street (again, intended for dance and theater) but they’ll easily get you through a few weddings.

      1. Marcela*

        That is a great suggestion! From time to time amazon would show me dance shoes, but I never found out the proper name so I never found leather ones. Now at least I have a brand that could work. Thanks!

        1. DoReMe*

          Character shoes are a type, not a brand. They’re designed to be neutral and go with most everything, and to have a sole that works well on a stage or a dance floor. Note that they are for dancers, whose feet take a lot of abuse. I’m not a dancer but have worn them on stage, and do not find them comfortable. They have roundER but not round toe boxes.

          A lot of women get a thin pad to go under the ball of the foot for a bit more traction if dancing on prepared wooden floors isn’t the goal. They are designed to be sturdy, but are not designed for dancing. I’d recommend keeping them for the wedding and bringing comfortable walking shoes for your touring around.

    6. Mouse*

      If you’re looking for something plain, try dance shoes! Character or ballroom shoes usually are pretty comfy, especially at the ball of the foot because that’s where dancers typically put all their weight. And I’ve worn lots of T strap styles before so I know they have them! Discount Dance Supply is a good website to look around.

    7. Applecinnamon*

      Hotter.com They are a British comfort brand who has lower heel t straps and some very cute pumps and shooties

  10. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I am at BEYOND bitch-eating-crackers stage with my landlords. If you haven’t read any of my previous open thread novels, here’s the recap: less than 6 months into a (second) two-year lease, my landlords told me they were selling our house. We wanted to buy it, but they asked for waaaaaay more than we can pay. Which is fine– I checked with a lawyer and the lease will transfer to the new owner(s), but it’s unsettling to have my home sold under me. Not a giant deal, just unsettling. Also, we still get mail for them, even though we’ve lived in this house for 2.5 years, and none of these documents are the type of automated junk mail that you’d think we would get– basically, they haven’t updated their address with many places, and to make it annoying for us, they won’t give us their address so we can forward their mail.

    Anyway. Last month, my landlord told me he would be putting up a FSBO sign at the house. Never happened. This week, he emailed me to tell me his “realator” (he always spells it that way, and dammit, it’s annoying) wants to speak to me to discuss the selling process. So now he’s going to list it? Fine. But we have not yet heard from the “realator” to set anything up, and I’m starting to feel like they don’t respect our time during this sale, they’re going to do what’s right and convenient for them without considering their tenants (us), and they don’t appreciate what an inconvenience this might be for us. I’m– perhaps in a paranoid way– envisioning disrespectful crap to come. Hence, BEC. It’s like I’m so irritated, they can’t do anything right by me.

    I’m also mystified at some of their communications. We’ve met their realtor– she showed us the house when we first applied– yet they’ve made no mention of that, which I definitely would have done in their place (i.e., “X will be our realtor again; I don’t know if you remember her, but she showed the house when you looked at it”). Like they seem to forget how we came to rent from them in the first place. Also, they emailed to set up our HVAC maintenance and then asked me if we had ever changed the air filter. I had a conversation with them about that a year into our lease. We’ve changed the filter every June, which is what they told us to do. While I acknowledge that I have an unusually good memory, I’m just baffled that they think we’ve gone almost three years without doing this, especially when we did discuss it.

    I feel like I’m looking down a long, annoying road, with showings and complaints about our stuff and open houses at inconvenient times. They want so much for the house, no one who pays that price will get a mortgage payment that will be equal to or less than our rent (we pay well over their mortgage payment; they want $200k over what they paid for it 4 years ago, and because there are tenants in place, whoever buys has to be buy as an investment property). If someone wants to live here, they have to wait 16 months for us to be out. Same if they want to tear it down. And I feel like the landlords don’t fully grasp that. Totally BEC. Sigh. Who knows– maybe they’ll offer us a buyout and we won’t have to deal with it.

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      What are the laws in your state and what does your contract say about making the house available.

      We really pissed off our last landlord, but they decided to sell after swearing they wouldn’t when we moved in and their realtor was a relative who really acted like we were a nuisance and didn’t think she had to accommodate us at ALL. So we defaulted to the California state law that no one could enter the premises with less than 24 hours notice, and that we could 1) refuse if it were inconvenient to us, as long as we were letting them show in good faith other times and 2) did not have to LEAVE for any of it.

      Our previous rental, we had gone to an open house when the current tenants had refused to leave during it, and saw how uncomfortable that makes people. So we knew that was the absolute last thing the realtor was going to want. So she agreed to a showing schedule that was convenient to US- and realtors couldn’t just bring sellers in all day any day, period. And when she was still there 30 minutes after she was supposed to be gone, we’d go right in the house and tell her the time was up.

      We would have been way more accommodating if she had been reasonable, but this woman expected me to just interrupt my work to leave the house with a dog and 2 cats whenever she wanted me to, and we only had (have) one car! The law wasn’t on her side in that, and I made sure she knew it.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        That’s kind of what I’m afraid of, that they’ll expect us to be available constantly. They’re required to give us 24 hours notice, but I’m going to ask for more– we, like you, only have one car, plus we have our dog. And no lockboxes. I’m prepared to go to battle for that kind of thing.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          Well, that is what the real estate agent will want, but you don’t have to vacate the premises on a house you legally rent.

          Let her try to show a house while the tenants are there. It’s a waste of everyone’s time.

    2. beem*

      Well now I’ll be saying realtor like it rhymes with elevator, even though I know that’s not how they pronounce it, just the spelling thing.

      1. bunniferous*

        I avoid writing the word because, since I am one I am supposed to write it in all caps with a trademark symbol. Yep, I am serious.

    3. Temperance*

      I don’t think you’re in BEC territory, they’re actually behaving abominably. Have they told you why they want to sell the property?

      Realistically speaking, they aren’t going to be able to sell the house for more than it’s actually worth unless they get an all-cash buyer. You can’t get a mortgage for a ton of $$ more than the appraisal. So this is going to be a long, annoying process.

      There’s also the very real fact that, frankly, it looks suspicious that they’re trying to unload a house with renters. When we were looking for homes, we came across one that was a good price on our desired block, which was basically like finding a unicorn. Then we found out that they had renters with a lease for roughly the next 2 years. As a buyer, that read like a giant red flag, because it looked, to us and other househunters, like we’d end up inheriting a home with nightmare tenants. Otherwise, why would these people pass up a guaranteed income stream?

      1. Jax*

        I don’t necessarily think it’s suspicious to sell a house while there are tenants-it just depends on where you live. I live in a college town and I would say that 50% of the houses in the neighborhoods surrounding downtown and the university already have tenants in place. In our town that usually means the lease is up in May. Obviously this isn’t going to be the case in non-college towns, but in some markets it is completely normal.

        1. Temperance*

          Fair enough. My neighborhood has a pretty tight housing market and a decent number of apartments available, so here, it would look like they were trying to offload problem renters. It’s also relatively unheard-of here to have 2-year leases, which was the biggest red flag to us.

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            It is very strange, and kind of shady. He told me he wants to sell because he wants to buy a bigger house, which… they only just bought 3 years ago. Whatever, not my business. Then it sounded like his wife had to stop working. So, why buy a bigger house again, now? It just feels fishy. They hit the jackpot with us, frankly– we do live near a college campus, and my boyfriend is a doctoral student, but we’re both in our 30s and I’m a full-time professional. In this part of town, there are only a few rentals (three on our street, but that is highly unusual.) We’re quiet, the rent is always paid in full and on time, and we never bother them for anything. When we moved in, we wanted the place so much that we offered $150/month over the asking rent. They offered us a great deal if we signed a second 2-year lease. We are dream tenants, no lie. Our last landlord (in New York) loved us so much, he handed me our security deposit a month before we moved out, and he wrote us the nicest reference letter. (We miss him.)

            I would not put it past them to list the place without mentioning there are tenants, though that might be against the law.

            1. Jessesgirl72*

              My guess? Some tax accountant informed him how the tax rules change on a house you own but aren’t living in after 2 years. That is why our last landlord decided to sell, when they’d swore they weren’t going to. Their first renters rented for a year, then we rented for a year, and they told us that their accountant had explained to them how much it was going to cost them to keep it as a rental, because of that change of status (that I only vaguely know, except to know it exists.)

              1. AvonLady Barksdale*

                You know what just occurred to me? Our first lease was 23 months long. I always wondered about that but didn’t question it, and now you’ve planted in my head the possibility that there is some tax penalty once he hits that 2 years, and now he regrets signing a new lease with us. Hmm.

                1. CAA*

                  The tax rule is: if the landlord has lived in the house during 2 of the past 5 years, then he can exclude some of the capital gain from his income. If he had tenants in there before you; or if by the time the sale closes, you’ve been living there for over 3 years; or if he’s selling at a loss; then he can’t claim the exclusion anyway.

                  I don’t think this explains why he’d set the first lease for 23 months. If he’d done 35 months, or 23 months plus a one year extension, then he could be trying to time the closing of a sale for the month you’d be vacating the property. But two (almost) 2-year leases don’t really amount to anything that’ll help or hurt his tax situation. It sounds more like he’s realized that he needs to sell before the end of the 3rd year after he moved out and that’s what he’s trying to accomplish now.

            2. Lily in NYC*

              Dang, I am way too late for this thread. But I think it’s time to brush up on old Brady Bunch reruns and do what the kids on that show did when the parents thought about selling – rig the house so it looks haunted when people come to see it.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        They’d give up an guaranteed income stream because they were losing big time money on it. The tenants could be the nicest people in the world, but the landlord is shelling out of pocket so the tenants can live there.

        I was that nice tenant. The house was a disaster, code enforcement would have had a field day. In a way, I felt bad for the landlords because the house needed so much work.
        Anyway, the realtor brought in potential buyers. I said I would have to be home when they came. One buyer turned out to be NINE people. The nine people included 4-5 kids. The kids went running through my place. I kept saying very loudly, “This house is not childproof!” They wanted to see the attic which involved emptying out the only closet in the place. I told them there were probably bats up there and that solved that problem. (Not a lie, there probably were bats up there.) They also wanted to triple the rent because the rent was too low. That was city prices not rural prices.

        They left and never came back. We moved about a year later. I think the landlord gave up on selling it as people could see the house was a disaster.

        OP, I hate saying this but people are going to do people-y things. There is no law against behaving stupidly, although sometimes I think there should be. Try, try, try to detach from the situation where you can. It’s his problem to sell the place. Set your boundaries and be consistent about your boundaries. Your area of concern would be who is in the place and when, try not to get involved in the particulars of selling it, if for no other reason than preserving your health. If this story drags on for a year or long you will be glad that you took steps now to detach from it.

        I do think that this makes a prime inroad for calling up and saying that you will be stopping their mail that comes to your house. I mean why have that annoyance on top of all these other annoyances? Control the parts you can control.

    4. bunniferous*

      A lot depends on your state regarding a lot about this issue but I can guarantee you if they price it too high no one will come look at it. Possibly that agent will not even take the listing if the owners refuse to be reasonable about price.

      If you want to buy that house, here is a suggestion. Call their agent and ask them how much they think the house is worth. They can do a CMA and give you a range. Between you, the agent and the landlord I bet something can eventually be arranged. ;-) (I say that because on the market, NO ONE is going to buy an overpriced house particularly if it is that overpriced. NO ONE. If someone gets it at a reasonable price it might as well be you! )

      1. bunniferous*

        Or, for that matter, call a different agent, come to think of it. No need to tamper with theirs, get your own!

        1. Kj*

          Yeah, that is my advice. We are trying to buy the empty property next to our house. We have nothing but empty land on three sides and would like to keep it that way, but the owner has jacked up the price- no one will pay it because the cost to build on the property will be too much (plus, 3/4 of it can’t be built on at all). We are using a decoy agent to feel out when they are getting desperate. Given the ages of the owners, I suspect we’ll have a chance to buy when one of them passes. I feel awful for thinking that, but really, they are trying to charge at least 3x what the land is worth.

      2. Episkey*

        I agree…I work in real estate and if they insist on listing the house for that much more than it’s worth, no one is even going to come look at it. They won’t get showings.

        They’ll realize the house is overpriced eventually when they have no activity on it. If you can wait it out, I bet they will also come to realize it would be way easier to have you guys buy it than deal with listing it. Besides, if they list it, they will be responsible for paying the agent fees (usually 5%); if they can just sell it to you without an agent involved, that saves them a ton of money.

      3. Temperance*

        I checked out my current house even when the asking was something like $110k more than we ended up spending. We liked the location, knew we were going to hella renovate, but we held out until the house hit a very low price for our neighborhood. So people might see it.

    5. Colette*

      I don’t think you’re obligated to be accommodating (over and above what is required by law). Return the mail to sender with “no forwarding address”, forget about their realtor being in contact until it happens, keep your house to a reasonable level of cleanliness without stressing about it being perfect for viewings.

      Realistically, if it’s overpriced there probably won’t be tons of people who want to see it, so hopefulky it won’t be too irritating.

    6. LawCat*

      I’d probably be as uncooperative as legally possible with an unreasonable LL. If the LL wants to show, have open houses, or expect me to keep things in a show state, I would expect something significant in return. Check your lease and maybe go back to the lawyer to communicate with LL and the realtor. Not always, but often, people will check themselves when they hear from a lawyer.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        This is kind of where I’m leaning. If they expect constant spotlessness devoid of clutter, then that will be a major inconvenience for me and I will ask for compensation. (We’re pretty clean, but this is a small house, our stuff is out, and we have a dog who sheds.) Our lease says we have to allow the landlord to show the place for the next tenants, but it doesn’t say we have to be in “show” condition, nor does it say we have to allow any kind of staging. I also plan to take a ton of pictures over the next couple of days, including shots of where all of my things are so I can tell if they’ve been touched or moved.

        I can’t tell where the line is between me being a responsible, contract-savvy person and me being a paranoid mess. :)

        1. LawCat*

          I don’t think you’re being paranoid. I doubt I’d be willing to absent myself if strangers were to be traipsing through my home.

        2. Gadfly*

          My line would include maybe packing up any small, pocketable valuables (monetary or sentimental value)

        3. Yetanotherjennifer*

          If you’re paranoid then I’m right there with you. Typically, when you sell a house, you suffer the consequences: inconvenient showings, having to keep the place spotless, people traipsing through your home and your stuff and not always being respectful. But in this case, you’re going to be the one suffering and your landlord seems kinda clueless so you’ll have to be very firm about setting boundaries that suit you. And I’d be one to be extra tidy while the house is actively being showed just because I’d worry about people seeing, moving or taking my stuff. We built a fake twin bed when we sold our house from afar and I was always worried someone was going to sit on it and hurt themselves.

        4. bunniferous*

          I showed a house last month that had dog poop (!) under the dining room table.

          Let me just reassure you that as a tenant, just being reasonable about allowing access will put you head and shoulders above the crowd.

          1. Ktelzbeth*

            We viewed one last summer when we were looking that had dog poop in the basement. It did not help our impression of the house.

        5. Jillycake*

          I had pills taken from one of my prescription bottles. It was one that I hadn’t used all of (take as needed) and I had yet to dispose of the remainder.

        6. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Hell, for compensation you can just tell them that if they want the place to be clean and orderly, they can pay for a maid service! Then again, if the landlord is already hostile, why cooperate at all beyond what is required by law? The harder you make it for them to sell, the more likely it is that they’ll drop the price to a reasonable market price.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Oh, that’s done. After over two years of being realllly nice about it, we finally gave up.

    7. MsChanandlerBong*

      I totally understand your frustration. A past landlord had our house listed for several years while we lived in it. Now, he was really nice about it. He wrote us a new lease for a two-year term so that the new owner would have to let us stay. But it was still annoying to have random people coming by to look at the place. I work from home, so it was always a big disruption to my routine, and it got my cats in a tizzy, too. I hope it works out for you!

    8. Viola Dace*

      Is the price they are asking actually in line with comps in the area? If not…have you thought about making a making a realistic offer based on comps? If it is overpriced, it will just linger on the market. If they have your offer on the table it may become attractive after time passes without their “dream” offer.

  11. Detective Amy Santiago*

    Tea lovers! I know I’ve seen people here talk about tea before. Tell me what your favorites are. Where are the best places to order online? Any fun tips or tricks?

    My personal favorite is Adagio. The prices are reasonable and they have thousands of different blends. And they’re nerdy :)

    1. Amadeo*

      Adagio is also my favorite! Yunnan Jig and Earl Gray Green are probably my biggest favorites from them, but I recently ordered sour apple, a strawberry tea and got a sample of an earl gray cream blend that I don’t offhand remember the name of, early gray moonlight I think (not bella luna). I can’t wait for them to get here!

    2. Jessesgirl72*

      I love tea, but I am such a picky tea drinker! I don’t like green tea or most herbals, and I don’t want anything strongly fruity or floral.

      So I go to the local small tea shop, or I order good strong English style teas from Twinings’ USA site. I drink mostly their English Afternoon Tea (stronger and blacker than the Breakfast teas). For a change, I will drink Prince of Wales and Lady Grey- Lady Grey was my favorite for the longest time. It’s more complex (less strongly bergamont flavored!) than Earl Grey- and the loose tea is lovely, with bits of dried cornflower in it.

      1. NoMoreMrFixit*

        Where do you find Prince of Wales? It’s disappeared in Canada and I can’t find it anywhere anymore.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          The Twinings site. I also think it’s one of the ones I can get off Amazon, as long as I don’t mind buying 6 boxes at a time.

      2. chickabiddy*

        Trader Joe’s has an Irish Breakfast that I like that is also stronger and blacker than English Breakfast and it is dirt cheap.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          Irish Breakfast normally has a different flavor blend, though. I have some loose Twinings Irish Breakfast.

      3. Misc*

        I used to dislike green tea… until I discovered that any flavours just referred to as ‘green tea’ were all the same kind of crappy nasty tea, and what I wanted was the *named* varieties, like Sencha, dragon pearl, genmaicha. Those are fantastic, and *not* horribly bitter.

        [I also hate fruity teas, I go for chais, nice greens, and ‘spice’ related teas]

    3. lifeguard272*

      Steeped Tea! I used to be an avid David’s Tea fan, but after trying their blends, I can’t help thinking David’s tastes off. It’s sold by consultants (like Tupperware), but you can order directly to your house as well.

      Good luck!

      1. Bibliovore*

        TeaSource . I drink their many varieties of Assam. Also their chai spice blend (not a tea-you add it to condensed milk and then add to your tea) and also I make my own blend of ginger, peppermint with fresh lemon and honey (this is for the recent flu)

        1. Awkward Interviewee*

          TeaSource is my favorite too! They have a black tea with ginger and peach that is awesome, and I also drink a lot of their plainer black teas.

    4. CAA*

      I also love Adagio teas. Earl Grey Bravo and Ceylon Sonata are my favorites. I also like their Cherry tea, which seems to be a love-it or hate-it flavor.

    5. Merci Dee*

      There’s an adorable tea room in a local B&B here, and that’s where I get all of my loose tea. I prefer flavored teas, and peach apricot and snowflake (almond and coconut, with a hint of vanilla) are two of my favorites.

      Since I have an unusual reaction to coffee – think face-down and snoring on my keyboard instead of pepped up for all those spreadsheetsame I have to build- I drink tea in the morning at work. I typically stick with Bigelow teas because I enjoy their smooth flavors. Constant Comment is my favorite flavor, with its sweet spice and orange. Bonus points, because it doesn’t become undrinkable if you brew it a little too long because you got caught up in a project…. the salted caramel and vanilla caramel flavors are quite nice, too.

    6. Drago cucina*

      I drink iced tea and usually make a blend of black and jasmine teas. I go to a local Asian market (actual name of the store is Asian Supermarket) and buy lose jasmine tea and one in bags. My tastes for the day decide what I make.

    7. Mags*

      Huge tea nerd here. My tip is definitely to stay away from the bigger brands/stores, they are always overpriced for sub-par quality. Harney and Lupicia would be the only two large brands I could recommend. For excellent quality I definitely recommend Yunnan Sourcing, What-Cha, Joseph Wesley, Taiwan Tea Crafts, Taiwan Sourcing, Yunomi, Mountain Tea… I could go on forever.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        For Taiwanese tea, I think Ten Ren has some branches in North America. They do nice loose leaf oolong teas, and I think they carry some puh er as well. (I’ve gotten so spoiled with oolong tea in Taiwan. – the default stuff in the grocery store is better than high end specialty shops elsewhere).

    8. Kay*

      I am rapidly becoming That Tea Snob. I get 90% of my tea from the local food coop, who have a big bulk section of Vermont Tea & Trading Company’s organic blends. I go through phases, but generally cycle between Irish Breakfast, English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Scot’s High Tea, and Ceylon. When I’m sick I crave green tea with honey, and I usually prefer green tea with something in it – I’ve been drinking a lot of mango-flavored that a friend gave me lately.

      I have one of these steeping cups at work, and it is my favorite thing right now. I keep 3-4 tins of tea in my desk depending on mood and time of day: https://www.teaforte.com/store/tea-accessories/kati-cup/

      I was also given a Hydroflask for Christmas and it is the most glorious travel mug I have ever had. Everything stay so hot, for hours and HOURS, even when I leave it in the car in a Vermont winter!

      I had never heard of Adagio and I may be about to drop some serious money, so thanks/no thanks for that…

    9. Elizabeth West*

      I love Twining’s Earl Grey. I love Earl Grey in general. Fortnum and Mason’s is my favorite, but that shiz costs. Plus, I like to ration it until I can get back to London and buy it in person because I love their store. :) And when I was in Cardiff, I visited Pettigrew’s Tea Room near the entrance to Bute Park. Their EG was exquisite–so good I didn’t even need any sugar. A pot of that and some bara brith, enjoyed outdoors while looking into the lovely park? HEAVEN. <3

      I'm mostly a black tea drinker–I like chai, rooibos, and green tea, but Earl Grey always wins. Not really into fancy teas because they're too expensive for me right now. We have a Teavana in the mall and I tried this really nice blend once, but it was $$$. :( I did get a very good strainer there, however. I mostly buy tea at the supermarket or the natural foods store. Loose tea is usually better, but I don't mind teabags if I'm in a hurry or just can't be arsed to deal with the strainer.

    10. Canadian Natasha*

      I love tea as well; it’s almost the only thing I drink.
      My current favouritest tea ever is gyokuro yamashiro, a Japanese green tea that is shaded while growing. It has a really fresh almost grassy flavour with no bitterness. It stays a pale yellow green when you brew it and looks like tiny grass clippings when dry. I found it at David’s Tea but it is so expensive- even for their usual price range- that I’m checking elsewhere for an alternative.
      Other teas I like:
      Herbal- Plum Cinnamon (Local shop), Licorice Spice (Stash- bagged), Bengal Spice (Celestial Seasonings- bagged), Tension Tamer (Celestial Seasonings- bagged), Ginger Peach (President’s Choice- bagged)
      White- Buddha’s Blend (David’s Tea), Ginger Pear (David’s Tea)
      Green- Sencha rose cherry green tea (local tea shop), Sweet Almond green (David’s tea- tastes like almond extract smells), Honey Lemon Ginseng green tea (Tetley- bagged, I drink this every morning to wake up)
      Black- Earl Gray (Tetley- bagged), Masala Chai (tea india- bagged), Double Spice Chai (Stash- bagged)

      I could go on but I’ll stop there. ;)

      1. Ktelzbeth*

        I can enthusiastically second the Licorice Spice Stash tea. It is my absolute favorite. Another I like is a seasonal flavor only: Numi’s Winter Spice. It’s nice done up with some mild and honey or sugar.

    11. Panda Bandit*

      I love Twinings – Earl Grey, Lady Grey, and Prince of Wales. Also their mixed berry tea and peach tea. They’re really nice fruity black teas. I have to order from their website because the stores around me offer very few choices.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        PG Tips.

        Ok, it’s Darjeeling really, but nothing else will do. I have started drinking the decaf version as well.

    12. Aealias*

      Twining’s Lady Grey (about the only black tea I can enjoy without milk)

      Stash Chai and double-spiced Chai

      Tetley Strawberry (guilty pleasure – I’m pretty sure it’s the equivalent of supermarket plonk, but it’s still yummy!)

      Thay Tea Earl Grey Cream (available through their website of the same name – thaytea(dot)com. This one is expensive, so a carefully hoarded treat, but oh, it’s ridiculously delicious. I keep meaning to try EVERYTHING else in their catalogue, but must prioritize silly thing like food, shelter and debt repayment. :(

  12. Myrin*

    I’m quite annoyed by my uncle at the moment.

    I’ll be visiting my grandparents for a week come Tuesday – which means you guys won’t be graced with my wonderful comment, what a shame! – and I’m bringing with me a list of things to do for them which somehow the entire rest of my extended family, who live just ten minutes away from my grandparents, is unable to get done. One of those is taking my grandmother to the hairdresser’s. This can be a bit of an ordeal since my grandpa, who his her caretaker, has to take her (she can’t drive) but it’s a real pain for him to actually wait there with her and whatnot.

    Anyway, I called my uncle last Friday (so, a week ago yesterday) to ask if he knew whether my grandma already had an appointment at the hairdresser’s (my grandpa kept saying he meant to make one but he’s becoming a bit forgetful as well). He didn’t but said he’d ask; he was also surprisingly on board with my plan to take my grandma there, said he’d call the hairdresser in the next couple of days to make an appointment for when I’m there. I said I could call them as well but he said no, it’s alright, he can easily talk to my grandpa first and then make an appointment. I was pleasantly surprised by his eagerness because, man, I love him, but he’s such a slow person in just about everything.

    Well, the week came and went and I didn’t hear from him. So I called again this morning and he said he hasn’t even spoken to my grandpa yet, much less actually made an appointment. I’m annoyed. I don’t know if he’ll flake yet again and, I mean, if it ends up me being the one calling the hairdresser’s, I could have just done that a week and a half ago instead of now hoping fervently that they’ll be able to squeeze my grandma in on short notice while I’m there. I’ve already said that if that’s not possible, I’ll personally march down there (it’s not actually far from my grandparents’ house) and make an appointment for after I’m gone because then they’ll just have to deal but goddammit uncle HP, was this really too much to ask, especially since I originally proposed to do the whole thing myself anyway?!

    (He also insinuated some weird stuff about my mum during today’s phone call. He (and his family) seem to have a bit of a distorted view of how our household works and additionally have a very different humour from me and my family and it seems like he has taken some lighthearted and very obviously hyperbolic remarks quite literally. I’ll see if the opportunity to clear that up presents itself or if maybe he was just cranky today and I took his words more seriously than I should have.)

      1. CAA*

        Sorry you’re having trouble. I agree he’s annoying and you’ll probably end up having to see if they can squeeze her in while you’re there. Maybe they’ll help you out if you mention that you’re only there for a short visit?

        BTW, you can be annoyed BY him too if you want. That’s perfectly understandable English, and if there’s a grammatical rule that says you have to use WITH there (guessing maybe because he’s a person instead of a thing?), I’d bet most native speakers don’t know it. I certainly don’t.

        1. Myrin*

          Yeah, I’m thinking that as well but I haven’t quite lost all hope yet. We’ll see. She’s been a regular customer there for at least 20 years so I can imagine they’ll be forthcoming even with such short notice. Again, we’ll see.

          And thanks so much for that information! Prepositions are hard but I usually get them right just through exposure but then later I’m not sure.

          1. Misc*

            “Annoyed with” = your annoyance is aimed at this thing. “Annoyed at” is a less ‘correct’, but common substitution.
            “Annoyed by” = this thing caused your annoyance.

            Multiple ways to say the same thing from different directions :D

            (I just started thinking about it, that phrase isn’t something I’ve thought about actively before).

    1. Jersey's mom*

      yep, feeling for you Myrin. My sibs live within one hour of the elderly parents, I live 1,000 miles away. When I go to visit for a week, it’s a huge deal for me (vacation, taking care of work stuff, getting a dog sitter, air flights, etc), yet my family act like I’m just stopping by. I ask for schedules ahead of time to try to schedule visits with extended family, set up family dinners, and most of the time I get no responses.

      It sounds like your family is similar. They don’t see your visit or priorities as a big deal. Don’t depend on them for any of the planning. Call the hairdresser and let them know you’ll be making a last minute appointment and see if there’s a particular day or time of day that typically works for them for a walk-in.

      For the past 30 years I took the time and effort to travel 1,000 miles for nearly every family x-mas. This past x-mas my sister complained that her son doesn’t see me enough and I should visit more. She has visited me once. Despite me inviting her (and her family) to visit and stay with us a few times each year. Now I send out an email blast in November and two more in December stating “I will be in town on these dates. If you want to get together, I’d love to see you”.

      Sometimes family just doesn’t get it – the scheduling, the time, the effort — you take when you come to visit. Say your mantra and breathe. Good luck and hope your grandparents are doing well and your visit is fun!

    2. TootsNYC*

      This is the sort of thing that I will never *allow* someone else to interfere with. If I’m involved, take care of it. If my husband is the one who has to arrange the time, then he has to arrange everything.

      I won’t do this “act as my secretary and make the appointment” thing. I just won’t.

      Your story is the reason why.

  13. Milton*

    What’s a nice way to say, “I’m never going to convert to (insert religion here), but I’d like to be friends”?

    Some Mormon missionaries (2 women) approached me the other day while I was getting something from my car and long story short they invited me to their sister group. My husband is Mormon, so I don’t think it would be too weird to go. However, I have no intention of becoming Mormon. Ever. I mean, never say never, but I know who I am and I just don’t see it happening with any other religion.

    Now that I think about, I think only one woman (A) was a missionary and the other (B) just happens to live in this apartment complex with me. B invited me to a games night/party at her apartment tonight. I have no friends nearby, let alone in this apartment complex, so it would be nice to get to know someone here. I just don’t want to “lead anyone on”.

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      How about some version of that? But honestly, it’s not even really necessary and you won’t be leading them on. Accept the social things (like game night), decline anything more religious (although, the Mormons, in my limited experience, do a lot more service type things than say, Bible studies) and if it comes up, let them know you’re just not interested in converting. Since your husband is Mormon, it’s not like you aren’t exposed to it. If they don’t respect that, then you probably don’t want to be friends with them anyway, but I bet they will.

    2. Jean who seeks to be Ingenious*

      Your wording sounds fine to me. You just have to say it with the right blend of warmth, confidence, and quiet determination. I’ve never actually had to do this myself so I’m guessing that the most delivery would convey equal parts of “I mean no disrespect to you or your beliefs” and “I have my own belief/affiliation/independence-of-affiliation and am not looking to change it/them.” The challenge may be to determine the appropriate time to speak up. While you don’t want to “lead anyone on” you also don’t want to presume that they are only interested in you as yet another person to recruit. Maybe they are already happy to get to know you as you are.

      Can your husband help you in deciphering these unspoken signals? I’m hoping that he grew up Mormon and knows something about Mormon community customs and nuances. Most religions (or other subsets of basic post-industrialized Western society, e.g. music enthusiasts, gamers, political activists…) comprise a spectrum of cultural behaviors. I know almost nothing about Mormonism and don’t want to risk inserting foot in mouth. If I have already done so, please accept my apologies.

      1. Milton*

        My husband is the most un-Mormon Mormon, hahaha.

        He was baptized at 18. On our first date he told me he was a Mormon and I jokingly asked him if he drank caffeine or wore the special underwear and he had no idea what I was talking about. Apparently there is a big difference between Utah Mormons and East Coast Mormons? IDK, I’m just going off conversations with my husband. I told him about my Mormon friends ahere on the west coast (great HS friends, btw) and he looked at me like I was a crazy person.

        My DH is also covered in tattoos, never did a mission (not mandatory, I know), and does not go to temple. He will be of no help!

    3. Temperance*

      Culturally speaking, it should honestly be fine to just tell B that you’d like to get to know her, but you’re not interested in converting to Mormonism. In my experience (and probably yours, since your husband is LDS), they’re generally very kind people who will actually take no for an answer and not hold it against you. You wouldn’t be leading her on at all, and she probably won’t keep pushing you to attend church with her.

    4. SCAnonibrarian*

      I’m going to be a bit of a downer. I was very religious as a child and young adult in a faith pretty similar to mainstream Mormons. If one of the ladies is a missionary and approached you in that context, they are not interested in being friends. They want to convert you, and will absolutely be friendly and kind and helpful to achieve that goal, but they do not want to socialize or hang out or visit with unbelievers, so if you are direct about your intentions, they will simply move on and leave you alone. If you like their company and want a friend circle, and don’t mind being continually exhorted to convert, then I suggest simply asking to attend their group meetings and gently refusing to commit to anything faith-related.

      I’m sorry to be a downer, but it’s a very strongly ingrained response that the only really acceptable interactions with non-believers is to convert them, and sometimes it’s even explicitly prohibited to interact with ‘worldly’ people in any other way. It was that way for me growing up, and several lapsed Mormon friends have shared that they felt similarly in their churches and missionary work. :(

      1. Temperance*

        This is such a bummer. I’ve had so many nice experiences with Mormons, even knowing that I’m a non-believer. I’m an ex-evangelical who was raised not to be “yoked” to unbelievers unless I was converting them, but the vibe I received from Mormons was that they’re a minority religion (in my region) and they don’t want to make waves.

        1. Jane*

          I have practicing Mormon family and in my experience with them, although I know it varies by family and location, is that they are open to friends from other faiths but the salvation of family – especially wives to practicing Mormon priesthood holders – is very important and they will keep at the conversion attempts or distance themselves in disappointment. I hope for a better experience for everyone

        2. Gadfly*

          I do understand that it varies in places where they are not the established majority, but that was my experience growing up in UT.

      2. Milton*

        Thanks for sharing! I can see that A’s purpose right now is to convert people. She is a missionary after all!

        B wasn’t wearing a name tag and she is married, so I’m thinking she was just being very friendly. She said she didn’t have any local friends either. I’ll have to report back tomorrow after game night!

    5. Turtlewings*

      Mormon here! Though I haven’t observed the same behavior SCAnonibrarian has, they do have a point in that the missionary lady is literally devoting her life to converting people right now, and there’s actually strict rules about how much time she can spend with you if you’re not pursuing that. She’ll happily be a friend to you as much as she can, but she’s just not in a position to socialize much. Lady B, though, is probably just looking for friends. Mormons are encouraged to share church stuff with any of their friends that are interested, but unless she just happens to be a pushy, insensitive person, she won’t keep pressing once you tell her you’re not.

      (Degree of acceptable pushiness may vary by region? I’ve always lived in the South, where there aren’t a ton of Mormons, so if we alienate our non-member friends we won’t have many friends at all!)

      1. Gadfly*

        I know it does. I grew up in UT and many of my friends over the years were LDS people who had moved in from other areas and were overwhelmed by the difference in assumptions. When I was a little kid it was not only questionable for kids to play with the non-Mormons (except about 2x’s a year when the bishop reminded them we were potential converts and for a few weeks we were all the most popular) it was questionable to play with kids in other WARDS.

    6. DoReMe*

      How about something like, “Thank you, but my husband is the Mormon in the family. I’d be glad to get together socially, we’re new to the area.”

    7. Snargulfuss*

      Another practicing Mormon here. I echo what Turtlewings said. The missionary’s job right now is to teach people who are interested in converting, so she probably can’t spend a whole lot of time just socializing. (Though as a former missionary I can’t tell you how tempting it was to spend an hour chatting with nice people rather than getting doors slammed in my face all afternoon.) I really hope that the other woman is willing to be a true friend. Yes, there are people out there who make the effort to be friendly only as long as they see you as a potential convert, but there are lots of us who wouldn’t bat an eye about socializing with people from all (and no) religions.

  14. Lord of the Ringbinders*

    I am at a wedding. The person sitting next to me (who I hadn’t met before) asked if I had children. I said no and tried to change the subject. She asked if I wanted them. I said that was too personal and again tried to change the subject. She said no it’s not, you can say if you’d like them. I said yes it is and then changed the subject successfully at last.

    Just, I can’t even.

    1. Jean who seeks to be Ingenious*

      Ugh (underlined) but good for you for defending your boundaries politely! It’s so uncomfortable when someone stumbles onto a topic that we find so personal that it’s uncomfortable even to say, “This is too personal; let’s discuss [other topic].”

      1. Lord of the Ringbinders*

        Thanks. I was sitting there thinking if she kept on I’d do an AAM and say “I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that.”

        1. TheLazyB*

          “what a strange question to ask a stranger” and/or “how strange that you have an opinion on what subjects are too personal for me to discuss”

          If neither of them worked, tbh, I would start talking to someone else. Pointedly.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              I saw that earlier today. I would never judge someone for feeling regretful about a huge life change. Parenting is very much that, and it’s hard AF to boot.

              I hate when people start asking me about kids because I do want (one) and don’t have anybody. Then they get into the whole “WHY DON’T YOU JUST ADOPT” thing and I have to explain that no, I don’t want to do it by myself. Then they get all judgy about that, aaugh. The rabbit hole is too deep.

              1. TheLazyB*

                I shared it on Facebook and said that while I in no way regret my child, I so understand this feelings. I love him so very very much but sometimes I just want him to leave me the f alone but you can’t really explain that to a five year old.

                People who judge you for all that instead of having sympathy are mean and I am metaphorically kicking them in the shins.

                1. Elizabeth West*

                  Yes. Facebook is also kind of “MY LIFE IS PERFECT LOOK AT IT” for a lot of people. They wouldn’t dare admit anything could ever be difficult because it would spoil their narrative. A relative’s wife only shares cute pics of her kids, selfies, and “I love my husband soooooo much” posts; her feed is all positive all the time. She has two young kids and one on the way–and as good as her kids are, I know she has those moments, but she will never say so.

              2. EvilQueenRegina*

                My aunt’s parents, who I had never met before they came over from the Philippines for my aunt and uncle’s 10th anniversary party, started badgering me about why I was still unmarried at 29, and I really wanted to tell them it wasn’t their business but I would have got it in the neck from my entire family if I had. (The aunt is the one who badgers me about buying an outfit for my wedding when I’m not even engaged. I’m tempted to suggest to her that she would do better to invest in a decent pair of pyjamas since at every other family.wedding she’s been passed out in bed drunk by 8:30pm.)

              3. Merci Dee*

                You seem to have a pretty good head on your shoulders, Ms. West. Parenthood is a major life change, and hard as hell, to boot. I didn’t want to do it alone, either, but that was the way it worked out after I got divorced when kiddo was not quite 2 years old. She’ll turn 13 this year (!!!gah!!!), and we’re still kicking along.

                Sometimes I wish I had an extra set of hands to help out, but I’ve found that single parenting is much simpler in some ways. I make the rules, and the final decision is mine. Kiddo can’t go opinion shopping to someone else, because I’m it. Now that she’s getting older and more responsible, we can discuss some of the house rules and change them to reflect the way things work in our home now. I’ve always tried to instill in her that we have to be respectful and work together to get things done since it’s just the two of us. And she does a great job of helping out and looking after her decrepit old mom. :)

                When I was in high school and college, I said I never wanted to have kids. Then I got pregnant unexpectedly, and I’ve never regretted that … though I do sometimes regret the marriage that led to it. I’ve never regretted having to raise kiddo on my own … though it’s changed me from a pre-kid insomniac to a near-narcoleptic (for pity’s sake, don’t sit down on the comfy couch before the chores are done zzzz…zzzzz…zzzzz….). Situations might not be ideal, but man- and womankind display an endless capacity to adapt and thrive in challenging circumstances. If life leads your path that way, I’m sure you’d find a brilliant way to make it work for you and yours. :)

                1. Elizabeth West*

                  Thank you, but if I had to make a choice between being married and being a mother, I’m going to pick being married. I REALLY do not want to deliberately do it alone. I don’t know many single parents who did it on purpose (a few, but the majority thought they would share that with someone). Whatever happens or whatever I’m doing, I do NOT want to spend the rest of my life by myself. I’d rather die right now.

              4. neverjaunty*

                Goodness, no, you don’t have to explain anything to these people! Especially when they get to the point of “WELL WHY DON’T YOU JUST ADOPT” as if it’s any of their damn business.

    2. Lord of the Ringbinders*

      If anyone hasn’t guessed, I don’t have them for reasons I haven’t chosen (that would also make adoption hard – I have some serious health problems). Not that the explanation has any bearing on the fact that it’s too personal to ask.

      1. HannahS*

        I’m sorry to hear it. And you’re right, of course, that none of it is any of her business. It’s such a weird break-the-ice question.

    3. dawbs*

      what an awful person.
      (I think I burst into tears and fled once while we were in kid limbo/infertility limbo/otherwise in the 5 years between deciding I was ready/wanting kids and actually having 1. People are lucky it’s only once)

      SOme rules must default to the ‘nay’–if I want to hug and my friend doesn’t, we probably don’t hug. If I want sex and my husband doesn’t, no sex. If I want to talk about incredibly (potentially painfully) personal things and the next person doesn’t, we don’t talk about them.

      (I DID find that immediately switching to cats shut people up sometimes. “Nope, no human children. Just furry feline ones. One who is friendly and sweet and one that eats strangers and throws himself out the door to attack the mailman. How about you?”
      Either they’d continue discussing cats or be desperate NOT to talk about cats and would change the subject. win-win.)

      1. Bibliovore*

        for many years,
        The question: Do you have kids?
        Answer: God has not blessed us.

        Never fails to shut that down.

        I did once lie to a cab driver when visiting a city for a conference. It was a long drive from the airport. Made up two teens and a few stories. What were the odds that he would pick me up two more times in four days?

    4. Temperance*

      The last time someone pushed me about having kids, I snapped and said that I didn’t work my ass off to get a law degree just to give up on achieving anything now. This was to a person who says crap like “being a mommy is the most important job any woman could have” and “God wants you to be a mother, it’s the most sacred duty”, so I don’t feel that bad about it.

      With a total stranger, I’m a big fan of the “well that’s certainly a strange and rude question” response, or pretending not to hear them talking to you.

      1. Jean who seeks to be Ingenious*

        Sorry you had to endure that tactless person, but what a be-yoo-tee-ful response. Sometimes people just ask for an answer that’s more steel than magnolia

        This must be why “bless your heart” is a reprimand in Southern American English.

    5. blackcat*

      My cousin married into a fundamentalist christian family. At the wedding, my cousin’s new MIL and I had the following exchange:
      Her: Where is your husband? (Implication: why are you traveling without your husband)
      Me: Traveling for work! You know how that goes!
      Her: Do you have children? (Implication: if you are married, you should have children)
      Me: Nope!
      Her: How long have you been married? (Implication: if you haven’t been married long, I suppose that’s okay)
      Me: Four wonderful years
      Her: *eyes go wide*
      Me: Oh, grad school keeps me much too busy. I’m getting a PhD in [male dominated field].
      She then scowled, walked away, and didn’t talk to me for the rest of the weekend.

      My grandpa’s wife overheard the exchange and burst out laughing. She tried to hug me, but she was laughing to hard. She is a lovely woman, who was childless by choice until marrying my grandfather a few years back (and by the time she married my grandfather, most of his *grandchildren* were teens or older, so her “stepparent” role is minimal).

      Haters gonna hate. Find friends to laugh with.

      1. Jean who seeks to be Ingenious*

        Laughter defangs many judgmental comments. Three cheers for your grandpa’s wife!

        1. blackcat*

          She is a gem. I have no idea why she is married to my asshole of a grandfather. Perhaps the only good thing he has done in 10 years is bring her into the family.

          1. Mouse*

            I am jealous! My grandpa is the same, but his most recent (and of course, it seems she’ll be the longest lasting) of 6 wives is an even bigger asshole. She moved him to another state and pretty much encourages him not to talk to any of us. I haven’t heard from him in years. I try to call on his birthday, Christmas, etc., but no luck. He didn’t say a word about my college graduation or my sister’s high school graduation. But they’ll drive back to our home state to see one of her grandkids’ high school football games. It breaks my heart. I miss my grandpa. He was horrible to my parents and their siblings but he was a great grandpa when we were young. I just miss him. Sorry for the paragraph- I was just thinking about him earlier today.

            1. blackcat*

              Oh, no. I’m sorry. Wives 2-4 were awful (according to my dad and his siblings… I met #2 when I was super small, and then my mom decided to keep me away from 3 & 4). #5 has been the keeper. At this point, I think she’s around for the long haul (my grandfather’s health is failing–I don’t expect him to be around much longer). And it sounds like my grandfather is less of an asshole than yours, at least now. He couldn’t care less when we were kids (he doesn’t like children), and he sort of tried when the eldest group of us were teenagers. The big thing is that he has always been so self-centered, he just doesn’t care about anyone other than himself. He was never out and out abusive–just an ass. His great crimes took place during my grandparents divorce–he did a bunch of stuff that hurt my aunts just to hurt my grandmother. And he was the one leaving *her* for wife #2. But that was over 30 years ago now.

              Fortunately, my grandmother married a wonderful man a few years after the divorce, shortly before I was born. He was the best grandparent I could have ever asked for. My mom’s parents died pretty young, and she got so teary eyed after my step-grandfather passed two years ago. She said she knew that her father would have wanted to be the best, most loving grandfather. When he was dying, she had prayed for him to live so her kids could have a kind grandfather. From her view God didn’t save her dad, but gave us all my step-grandfather instead.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      “Is this how they teach people to talk to each other at this church?”

      oops. did I just say that?

      I am a church going person, too.

    7. Laughing instead*

      Last time I was asked, I laughed.

      Person: Are you and your husband planning on having children?
      Person: Why is that funny?
      Me: I can’t remember the last time someone asked that so directly. Many people think that is something you discuss only with your closest friends.
      Person: blank face
      Me: Oh, you know. It can be seen as sexist or too personal. And you never know who is trying and having fertility issues. So most people think that’s not polite conversation.

      Person: Oh. So are you and your husband planning on having a dog?
      Me: Seriously? Why don’t you tell me about your new pet.

      1. ace*

        Love this. This is like Allison-quality verbal ninja moves. You’re not saying *she’s* rude, but some people see people who ask that kind of question as sexist or overly personal…

    8. Anon Accountant*

      “We’ve been waiting for the stork to bring us children but recently learned that’s not how it works.”

      My friend did this and the rude woman who asked was totally speechless.

      1. Luciferrous Sulphide*

        Ikr? I’m child-free by choice at the age where I’m receiving all kinds of comments like this… And to help you, I’ve come up with rejoinders to common questions along those lines that should instantly shut nosy people up:

        “Accidents happen!”
        So do abortions and adoptions. I can probably spare a coat hanger if it comes down to that too.

        “You’ll change your mind.”
        You can see into the future? Can you give me some lottery numbers too?

        “Who’ll look after you when you’re old?”
        My insurance and my savings.

        “But you’ll be a really good father/mother!”
        I’ll be a really good corpse, but I don’t really want to be one.

        “Weren’t you a child once?”
        Yes, and I was an egg once. I don’t quite like looking at used tampons, for some reason.

        “You need to carry on the family name!”
        Open the phone book. I don’t remember being the only ‘Sulphide’ there.

        “What if your spouse wants kids too?”
        Before we got married, we had a talk about this and other major issues. If we hadn’t seen eye-to-eye we wouldn’t have been married at all.

        “You’ll regret not having kids when you had the chance to and when you can’t anymore!”
        I’ve lived long enough to pick up a few regrets here and there. I’ll live with that one, the same way I’m living with all the rest.

        Enjoy! :P

    9. Applecinnamon*

      Anytime anyone asks a question that you don’t want to answer, the best response is a question. “Do you want children?” Could be responded with. “I’m sorry, but do I know you?” Or “why do you ask?” Or “are you taking a poll?” Do not respond to their question, wait until they respond to yours- and then immediately ask a new question, or just fall into uncomfortable silence (uncomfortBle for them, not you). If the persist, you can simply say “we are done with that conversation” and then ask another question-refuse to let them assume the role of inquisitor.

    10. Mike C.*

      Folks like this just make me want to go full Claire Underwood and ask them about their own regrets about having children.

      I haven’t had to do it yet, but turnabout is fair play.

  15. Sled dog mama*

    Need advice on dealing with someone who just doesn’t get it.
    Full Story: I suffer from migraines, depression, trigeminal neuralgia and probably chronic fatigue. After almost nine years of marriage my husband still doesn’t seem to get that I can’t just wake up and say today I’m not going to be depressed. I’m on medication that has really helped in the past but we recently moved states for my job and when I went to refill my prescription the new state doesn’t recognize my physician so I can’t transfer my prescription and I’m waiting on my new insurance to kick in before going to the doctor here.
    The anniversary of our daughters death is approaching and my mother is being weird which is making everything worse.
    I’m at my wits end on how to communicate with my husband. He is super energetic and has never had to deal with a chronic health condition I just don’t know how to get through to him that I’m not making a choice this is an illness like a cold.
    My new job’s EAP did kick in at day one and I plan to make a request through that Monday so some light.
    Oh and my 3 year old starts her new preschool on Monday, she’s so excited!

    1. MoodyMoody*

      I’m so sorry about that! Have you tried discussing spoon theory with him? https://butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/ Personally, I have only the depression and I’m functional, but several friends with other chronic conditions use it to explain why they can’t do as much as others. The gist: you get a limited number of spoons (units of energy) every day, and every time you do something, you can’t do something else. Sometimes “getting through a migraine” takes all of your spoons for the day.

      1. Bibliovore*

        This and he might not.
        I have been married almost 30 years. It was only when he needed a knee replacement two years ago that he understood the trial of intractable chronic pain.
        I have finally figured out that other people just cannot understand my pain.
        What works- Communication
        “I am doing the best I can today” “please turn off the lights and close the door” “occupy the child/dog” “do not talk to me until tomorrow” “does this have to be done now?” “Can you do this now”
        “I am having a bad day” ” I am out of spoons” “these are the steps I am taking to deal with this”
        “you can’t fix this”
        “You know what would help…?
        and accepting and acknowledging help.

    2. ArtsNerd*

      Oof, hang in there mama.

      I don’t have any helpful advice. Just acknowledging that you’re in a rough place for eleventy reasons, and it’s frustrating that your husband doesn’t get it.

    3. Marcela*

      I’m so sorry, Sled dog mama. You are living with pain and that’s hellish. It’s also something very difficult to understand to someone who has never experienced that. My mom never believed my terrible pain from endometriosis, until I got my surgery and all the disaster that it was (I got peritonitis). Sometimes I wonder if the pain was worse than not being believed.

      But also, you experienced the worse pain somebody can suffer. I could see my grandmother’s pain for losing his first child almost 60 years after that happened. He fully exists in my family, even if none of us, no even his siblings, could meet him. She said to me, once, it was the most difficult time in her life, like a black hole swallowed her and she was cold and dead, but feeling so much pain. It was the only time we talked about it, one day I asked her if the pain of loss was going to get better eventually. I had lost my grandfather, the person I loved the most. She said yes, eventually.

      I’m sorry I don’t have any advice. I’ve seen first hand my father being unable to understand my mom in several things and I’ve always wondered why he can’t accept she is different than him, and stop fighting her beliefs. Just one question, though. Has he talked to your doctor or counselor, so they can tell him that all the things you said you suffer are real conditions, not just “intentional moods”, which disappear if you “make the effort”?

    4. Lord of the Ringbinders*

      I’m so sorry he’s not getting it. You might find The Mighty website helpful – possibly for advice and definitely for solidarity.

    5. SCAnonibrarian*

      Has he ever had a physical injury? Maybe a sports injury in school? Appendectomy?

      Ask him how he would feel if his coach or doctor told him he should just ‘choose’ for that injury to be fine now.

      If not, tell him that his eye color is starting to bother you and you need him to just change it. Say it matter-of-factly and say that the color is becoming a problem and it would be easier for everyone if he just fixed it.

      Or, go the ‘show don’t tell’ route and pull up some comparison MRI or fMRI images of depressed/anxious brains and normative brains.

      I’m sorry that his empathy is lacking.

    6. Lily Evans*

      I’ve found Hyperbole and a Half’s comics to be a good explanation of depression for people who don’t have it (part 1 & part 2).

    7. TheLazyB*

      Yay to preschool :)

      I’m so sorry about your daughter. So, so sorry. And about your DH not getting it too, that’s hard. My DH doesn’t either, but at least he gets that he doesn’t get it, iykwim?

      I hope you can get through the next month or two fairly intact. Fwiw, I lost a baby at 17 weeks of pregnancy and the build up to the anniversary was horrible, but the anniversary itself was actually ok.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      Some of the stuff I had going on was stuff* that my husband never understood until he had his final illness.

      I concluded that maybe it was not for him to understand but rather the focus was for ME to understand so I took the appropriate steps to help myself. Yeah, kind of a hard answer to swallow. I still don’t fully understand why this happens, but I see it over and over.

      One thing I did find that I could focus on sometimes was the fact that he would do mundane stuff, not because he understood why I needed him to do but rather he did this mundane stuff just because I asked him if he would do it. So here he was doing some mundane stuff, not fully understanding why yet he did it anyway. That’s kind of powerful, if you think about it.

      *Stuff. I knew how to handle odd things. For example, to help keep my balance while riding in a moving vehicle, I knew to put my feet flat on the floor. When the car ride to the doc’s jostled my husband around too much, I told him to put his feet flat on the floor and make sure his butt was squarely in the seat. He tried it and it worked. I think once he saw all these odd things I had learned, he started to understand where I had been.

      The other response to this concern that I found is side issues can be a distraction from the main issue. The main issue was to get my health back and protect myself from further injury. If I concentrated on my husband’s lack of understanding that was lost time. I could have spent that time thinking about how to better help myself.

      Truth be told, others probably do not understand what some folks face daily. So there is that too.

    9. Ktelzbeth*

      Adding in very late, any chance your old pharmacy would mail you the medication under your new or old insurance (or even out of pocket if its cheap enough)? They must, at least, recognize your doctor.

      If you are in the US, which I’m going to assume you are for this part of the answer because it’s the only place I know anything about, it seems odd to me that the new state won’t recognize your doctor. I live in a border city in an underserved area for my specialty and treat people from 3-4 different states. I’m only licensed in the state in which I live and practice. I have not needed to be licensed in any of the other states to have the pharmacies fill the prescriptions I write. One state was difficult for a while because their state Medicaid/Medicare didn’t know me, but it was only that insurance wouldn’t pay, not that the pharmacy wouldn’t fill. The pharmacy may never have heard of your doctor, but should be able to get her into the system, if that’s the only problem. If any of this sounds like your situation, I’d encourage you to keep trying for a workaround because I know in the USA I don’t have to be licensed in a state for my prescriptions to be fillable in that state. I have to have treated the patient there, but she can take the prescription wherever she wants.

  16. Aurora Leigh*

    I’ve commented here before about how I’m planning to buy a house this year.

    There’s an open house tomorrow for a property I might be interested in!

    I’m planning to go, but I really have no idea what to expect. Any tips?

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      If it’s a house built before 1970, take one of those circuit testers with you that you can just plug into an outlet. That will tell you if it’s modern wiring with a ground. Never believe that just because there is new wiring at the electric panel that there isn’t still knob and tube in the walls. ;)

      And bring a tape measure, in case there are any questions about “will our bed fit in this room” etc.

    2. Colette*

      Make notes – they’ll probably have a sheet of info about the house, which will tell you square footage/bedrooms/bathrooms, but it won’t tell you that all of the light switches are behind the doors, or that the stairs are narrow, or that the kitchen is awesome.

      And think about what you really need (# of bathrooms/bedrooms, location, etc.) and what you’d like (no painting required, a/c). And then if there’s something on the list that the house doesn’t have, think about how hard it would be to add. A different paint color is easy, adding a bedroom is not.

    3. Hellanon*

      Look past the awful paint colors, unfortunate carpeting, and ghastly lamps/window treatments. None of that is remotely relevant to the decision to buy the house. Look at the bones of it – how big are the rooms, how will the traffic patterns work, what do the windows look out on? Can you make do with the kitchen/bathrooms or will they need immediate gutting? Is the laundry room a functional space? If there are moldings around the windows and doors, are they nice or are they the cheesy plastic ones? An inspector will have to look at systems, but you have to look for the stuff that will be expensive or impossible to change, and ask yourself if you can live with the house’s architecture. Decor is a distraction, but it works on most people – look beyond it.

      1. TootsNYC*

        And of course:

        Location, location, location.

        It’s the one thing you -cannot- change.

        Then worry about roof, water damage foundation.

        also: bad decor or really old appliances or crappy carpeting actually mean you should look harder at that house–because you might have a lot less competition for it, hence a lower price.

        Looking deeper will tell you if the same neglect of decor actually translates into neglect of roof, foundation, etc.

        A friend of mine bought a house that had been on the market for a while because the upstairs bedrooms were painted black or something. She got a very nice deal.

    4. Drago cucina*

      Count the drawers in the kitchen. We once bought a house during an emotional, high stress time and didn’t realize the kitchen only had one (1) drawer.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Walk around the outside of the house, look at the roof (bring binoculars if it helps) and look at the foundation. Ask how old the roof is.

      Look for large standing puddles in the yard (if no snow) to see if there is a drainage issue on the lot.

      Ask when the furnace was put in. Make sure you know how the house is heated.

      My husband and I were counting on a garage, so we checked the garage. Other people may not care about a garage, but anything you are counting on, anything that is a “must have” be sure to look at it carefully.

      I really wanted to have a dog. So I looked at the place from the lenses of a dog owner. Did the layout make sense for a pet? We looked at one place where the rooms were laid out like cars on a train. You had to go through the center of each room to get to the next room, nope, nope, nope.

      You will walk through the house, probably with the realtor escorting you and explaining things to you as you go. She will take down your name and number and perhaps call you later on. It’s fine to say something is not quite what you had in mind. Thank her for her time and wish her the best. One you have decided no on this particular house, she may offer to act as a buyer’s realtor for you. Again, it’s fine to say no thanks.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Some of this structural issues are things you can worry about later if you like the location and the basic shape of the house.

        You can come back later w/ an expert to look at the roof, foundation, windows, etc.

        This is a preliminary look to say: “Do I like the location, and do I like the basic bones of the house?”

        There’s plenty of time to figure out the big structural stuff.

    6. Kj*

      You want to be looking at the house’s ‘bones,’ not at the decorations. It may be “staged” with pretty furniture and stuff. As much as possible, block that out- you want to focus on the layout (are things convenient for you? Are their enough bathrooms/space to use for hobbies/space to entertain/whatever your priorities are), the area (is the neighborhood comfortable for you? Are other homes in good conditions? Try to walk around the block if you can, bonus if you can meet a neighbor), the structural staff (does the floor feel solid? are wall straight Are things level?- Bring a level! Does the roof look good?) and on how much it will cost you to make it livable for you. You don’t want to buy a house with every last penny of savings and not be able to change things you need to change. We had to re-do the heat ASAP when we bought our house, as the house had baseboard heat that was EXPENSIVE to run- we replaced with a heat pump, which was pricey but worth it. We cut 75% off last years heat bill.

    7. Aurora Leigh*

      Thanks guys!

      I just got back a little while ago. There are 7 drawers in the kitchen. ;)

      It really is a cute little house! I’ve called the realtor to try to set up a time I can look at it again and bring along my super handy dad to give me the truth about things like the roof and furnace.

      So excited!!!

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        UPDATE: Turns out there is already an offer on it, was before the open house. :( Fingers crossed it falls through :)

      2. Drago cucina*

        Glad you counted the drawers and hope you get it. If not it gives you a good idea of what you do want.

      3. Viola Dace*

        Read up on dual agency before you go to your next open house. Using the realtor who is hosting the open to complete your transaction is a minefield of potential conflicts of interest, etc.

    8. Ktelzbeth*

      I know you’ve already looked, but in case there’s more looking in your future, I’d add that you should take pictures! I kept getting houses confused otherwise.

  17. MoodyMoody*

    Hello! I’m fairly new to the site, but I hope you will help me anyway. My husband wants to reduce his carb consumption because his new cancer medicine spikes his blood sugar. Unfortunately, most of the low-carb recipes I’ve found use ingredients that cause digestive problems. His problem food list: cheese, all kinds of squash, all kinds of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, and whole grains. Surprisingly, he can eat dried beans and spicy foods, although he worries a bit about the carbs in dried beans. He also hates carrots and I can’t stand celery. He especially likes Asian and Mexican foods, but he prefers stews and casseroles to “hunk of meat” type of meals. Anyone have recipes that aren’t just salads, or can direct me to a site to ask others? I don’t think that Atkins or South Beach would be the healthiest for him; I don’t know how ketosis would affect his medicine. Thanks!

    1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Try Kaylns Kitchen – she was mostly south beach, but also includes a lot of links to other sites with similar styles of food. She has a fabulous hungarian pot roast on there. She does have a bit of cheese heavy meals (which I can’t eat because of lactose) but there is enough there to get ideas.

      Look out for any of the paleo type websites too – I really like The Iron You website – his honey harrissa chicken is fabulous and everything I have tried on there has been great. Not a fan of NomNom Paleo because a lot of her recipes are eating food from a bone (which I just can’t do), but Paleo Leap and Halfbaked Harvest have some good options too.

      Ideally you will start to build up a list of favorites and new recipes to try but I hope those help to start!

    2. Amadeo*

      You could try a veggie soup maybe. We make one with a beef broth base (and usually also with chunks of beef) and add a big can of tomatoes, then put in whatever sounds good to us, and if it’s a can of veggies, we just dump the whole thing in without draining. Green beans, peas, corn (which might be a little higher in carbs than you’d like), whatever works for you guys.

      I’ve seen some folks on my low carb FB group home fry radishes like potatoes. Roasted fresh green beans brushed with some olive oil and garlic. Balsamic vinegar chicken breasts. I don’t have a good site to point to though, unfortunately.

    3. Temperance*

      One of my favorite meals to make is shredded chicken tacos or rice bowls. It’s so easy. You just throw frozen or thawed chicken breasts in the crockpot with a cup of chicken stock, and then coat them with taco seasoning and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. After the chicken is ready, you can make enchiladas, tacos, rice bowls … pretty much anything in the neighborhood of Mexican food.

      I also regularly make our version of chili, which consists of a pound of beef or turkey, a large can of tomato sauce (30 oz?), and 3 cans of beans (I prefer black, pinto, and kidney) in the crockpot on high for 4 hours or low for 8. To make it spicy, I cover the whole thing with a layer of 21 Seasoning Salute, mix it up, and then cover again and mix. I don’t use dried beans because I’ve never been able to make it work.

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        To add to this – bulk cook meat in this way so you can package some up and keep in the freezer for “emergencies”. We do that for weeks when we get thrown out of schedule and its nice to be able to come home, pull some pre-cooked, seasoned, shredded meat out of the freezer to quick make something up rather than go out to eat. Much healthier!

      2. Sydney Bristow*

        We don’t have a slow cooker but I’ve started making shredded chicken tacos too. I bake the chicken breasts then throw them into my KitchenAid mixer for about 30 seconds on medium speed. It shreds the chicken.

        Last night I tried throwing the taco seasoning in while shredding. That worked well. Last week I kept the chicken in the fridge for awhile and reheated it in a pan on the stove with a bit of tomato sauce and taco seasoning. That worked well too and I liked the added flavor from the sauce.

        1. Kay*

          Holy mackerel I never thought about tossing the chicken into the KitchenAid to shred it. You are a GENIUS and I am going to use this technique this weekend. Thank you!

      3. Detective Amy Santiago*

        I make shredded chicken by putting it on the crockpot with a jar of salsa. You can also throw in frozen corn or beans.

    4. Elizabeth H.*

      You have the whole world of Asian food – I have similar stuff I don’t eat and I make a lot of stir fried greens with ginger and garlic, Asian fish, etc. Check out a Japanese cookbook. Especially if you’re looking to go low but not NO carb there are plenty of winter vegetable stews etc. Same with Korean. Most recipes are made to be had with rice so you can just skip the rice.

    5. Tex*

      a blog called “the woks of life”. All sorts of everyday and specialized asian foods for the home cook. Also has recipes sorted by ingredient and a visual dish picture list.

    6. MoodyMoody*

      Thanks for the comments! Sprechen? I will check out your websites. I took a quick look at Kalyn’s Kitchen, and some of the stuff looks usable. There’s still a lot of cauliflower rice there, though. Amadeo, veggie soups are often a problem because 90 % of them have carrots and/or celery. Corn is also a whole grain, and he can only tolerate it in small quantities. Radishes or turnips instead of potatoes is a great idea! Jessegirl72, thanks for the reassurance about ketosis. He has a Klondike bar several times a week, because ice cream. He can’t eat the sugar alcohols in the no added sugar stuff, so he has preportioned. Temperance, it would probably have to default to a chicken taco salad; he’s avoiding rice and tortillas. It’s still a good idea. Back to Sprechen? I often keep a quart or two of frozen leftovers, and sometimes pre-cooked meat. My Instant Pot can cook frozen meat if it’s fairly small like chicken breasts or a pound of hamburger. And Sydney, I’ll have to remember the Kitchen Aid for shredding chicken. Use the paddle, right? The whisk seems too delicate, and the dough hook too inefficient.

      Thanks for the advice!

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        Re: cauliflower rice – I can’t stand the stuff so I never make it (that and it makes a mess of my kitchen) but there are always zoodles! Definitely feel free to think about substitutions of what he CAN eat and go from there. Think of it as a way to get creative using twists on other peoples recipes!

        1. MoodyMoody*

          Unfortunately, no zoodles for my husband; zucchini is a problem food. I guess I could try daikon or turnip, but those are about the only two vegetables my husband might tolerate that spiralize.

        2. Temperance*

          You can actually buy frozen cauliflower rice now, so no need to rice it yourself! I personally don’t like it – cauliflower is just fine, and I like rice, and cauliflower is NOT RICE – but it’s much less messy than making yourself.

          1. MoodyMoody*

            Yes, I’ve seen it, but cauliflower rice is a no-go for my husband. Most cruciferous vegetables (turnips are an exception) are problematic. He doesn’t quite have IBS, but his digestion is close to that. He lost big parts of his intestines when his lymphoma tumor started growing into his intestines (both of them), causing a perforated bowel. His digestion has been messed up ever since.

            1. misspiggy*

              Obligatory have you looked at FODMAP diets? Not sure, but there may be overlap. Miss South is a food blogger who has produced some excellent and easy FODMAP friendly recipes.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I love Klondike bars. oh my.

        I was married to a diabetic myself. One thing that jumped at me was a study showing that many diabetics are allergic to dairy. I had to cut out dairy for myself so he made the jump, too. What happened next was interesting. My husband had a chronic sniff. He sniffed so much that the dog could pick out my husband just by hearing the sniff. My husband’s aunt (a really great lady) noticed that after my husband quit dairy the sniffing stopped. She only visited once a year, yet she noticed this.

        Your husband might gain some ground by shifting to Rice Dream bars or maybe coconut based ice cream. (I suggest the coconut milk ice cream because it is rich tasting and satisfying.)

        1. MoodyMoody*

          Not So, I’ll have to investigate that possibility. He doesn’t seem to have a problem with dairy other than cheese, but his nephew is 100% allergic to milk from both cows and goats.

  18. Ruth (UK)*

    Super duper running today (except for the sleet). I’m still running in corduroy trousers… anyway, 5k parkrun time was 25:37 which is a new PB for me, woo! (I’m still in that excellent beginning of a training routine, where I’m still seeing notable and frequent improvements. Not sure when it’s gonna plateau but it will have to eventually…)

    Anyway, I did actually manage a longer run last week, 6.4 miles (I’m training for a half marathon in April, which is the reason I took up running in the first place, back in January…). My time for that was slow (well over an hour) but it’s also the longest distance I have ever run in one go! Prior to January, I’d never continuously even run 5k before – though I have previously cycled long distances (100 miles in a day, and 50 miles per day on several consecutive days, etc, which is similar – at least in the mindset I think).

    Because I do everything a bit over the top, I’ve been running 6 times a week (usually only 2 or 3 miles). It’s surprising how little time you have to be able to put aside to fit this in (most of them have been on my lunch break at work). Don’t worry if you think I’m geting too obsessed – once morris season happens (from late April / early May and then throughout the summer until September), I’m dancing every weekend (often on both days, often travelling on the Friday, as well as any bank holidays) at various days of dance, festivals, pubs etc all over the place (I’m a regular member of 4 morris sides, and an occasional member of a 5th) and will no longer have time to obsess over running. It’s gonna have to be my winter activity I guess.

    (On which note, I am considering morris dancing a race. One of my morris sides danced a marathon 15 years ago [I was about 12 then, and not involved]. Apparently it took over 8 hours… I’m thinking more like a 5 or 10k…)

    1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Impressed you went out in this weather today! Its been really gross out and cold and windy, good job for getting out and going!

    2. Lady Julian*

      Hey, good for you! I’ve been wondering if you managed a longer run and it sounds like you did. Two thumbs up! Don’t worry about the slow time for 6.4 miles; in fact, it’s best to do long runs slow, so you’re less likely to injure yourself.

    3. Get A Haircut*

      Seriously impressed by this. I need to do *something* and have looked into running, & actually wondered about the winter-wear without buying special clothes thing.

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        For clothing, I realise I’m a bit outside the norm here, but I think cord trousers are fine for running. Someone commented the other week about chafing, but I don’t find a problem. I imagine they wouldn’t be good for seriously long distances – I did the 6.4 mile run in cords with no issues though. I think if your clothes fit and allow the range of movement needed, you’re fine. People do manual labour in jeans.

        I get cold easily – I wear a regular t-shirt, and a jumper (or 2 jumpers, one over the other if it’s below freezing :D). I take them off as I run and tie them round my waist if I get warm. Today I wore gloves.

        You really don’t need to do anything special to get into running. Proper trainers are a good idea though. I did my first 2 weeks in sensible lace up shoes (but not trainers) and my feet were not very comfortable. I wouldn’t recommend following my example there.

        1. JaneB*

          I suspect that depends a bit on leg shape, especially the inner thigh area – friends with actual thigh gaps never understand how picky I am about inner seams and fabric quality, but even at a perfectly normal weight (which I am not any more) I had several trouser shredding or chafing to the point of open bleeding patches incidents when I got too warm walking around in a perfectly normal and comfortable pair of pants which seemed to fit perfectly…

          1. Ruth (UK)*

            Yeah that’s a point I admit I didn’t think of – I’m very skinny with a straight up and down ‘stick’ figure. What makes things awkward is that I have very long legs comparative tomy size so of it fits in the waist, it’s too short in the length… So I buy for length and hold it up with a belt!

      2. Lady Julian*

        I also go low key. I wear a pair of regular leggings (e.g. the kind that you’d wear under a dress), with a pair of yoga pants on top of them. I have slightly nicer tops, real athletic material, but there was a time when I ran in my ski coat. It works. :)

      3. Elizabeth West*

        Layers are your friend. :)

        I wasn’t walking outdoors in winter until I quit skating, and then I realized Duh, I have all these cold-oriented exercise clothes. So I cut the feet off one of my thick pairs of over-the-boot tights and wear those under leggings with a couple of shirts and a windbreaker. The jacket has pants that match if it’s really cold and windy. I can take the outer layers off.

        A fleece gaiter and headband, and gloves, and I’m good to go. I bought some YakTraks shoe chains for snowy conditions, but we haven’t had any. It’s 80 F today!

    4. Junior Dev*

      Congrats on the personal best! Thats such a great feeling.

      I go through phases on my preferred cardio. Before I got my driver’s license it was biking, and I’m working on fixing up the cheaper of my two bikes so I can ride to work. I ran in and after college, but I injured myself running in late 2015 and haven’t been able to get back into it since. Now I roller skate once or twice a week and do the elliptical at the gym. But man, running is hard to get into if you’re out of shape, but once you do it feels incredible.

  19. Lady Julian*

    Okay, so after I read the discussion about candy/nut jars in yesterday’s nepotism thread, now I’m curious. What’s your favourite candy/nut to find in a jar? Your least favourite? What do you keep (if anything) in your own jars?

    Me, I don’t keep chocolate in my jar because I would eat it all myself. Had Jolly Ranchers earlier this year, then super-fruit Starbursts, and now it needs refilling again. I confess to making extra stops by offices with M&Ms in the jars. :)

        1. Allypopx*

          Hahaha ohhh some days I wish…
          Nah it’s a handpainted work wine glass I got at a yankee swap one year so I repurposed it to display that I liked it. Plus I worry about using it/washing it and the paint coming off.

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      Hershey Kisses are always good. I wonder about all the hands in things like M&M’s that aren’t wrapped.

      1. Lady Julian*

        One of the offices that offers them provides spoons, to avoid hands. The other one has a candy dispenser, so you don’t touch any M&Ms that you don’t eat.

    2. Temperance*

      I hate when someone has unwrapped candies in a jar. It looks so pretty, but all I see are all the grubby paws that have touched each piece before me. No thanks!

      My favorite are Glitterati – they’re tiny candies in really shiny wrappers and they’re fruit flavored. Our former office manager kept them around. She’s German, and said they were really popular in Europe.

        1. Temperance*

          OH YES! You can get them online from Amazon and The Vermont Country Store and a bunch of other candy sites!

    3. Turtlewings*

      I’m a big fan of anything chocolate, but it makes my day if someone has the GOOD chocolates — little Doves or Hershey Nuggets or — even better — something with peanut butter or caramel or something in it. Mmmm!

      Least favorite: Jolly Ranchers would be near the top of the list, lol.

      Our admin keeps a dish of those puffy peppermints, which I think is fantastic; delicious (yet you don’t really want more than one), low-calorie, not as messy as chocolate, pretty cheap. A good choice.

    4. Ruth (UK)*

      I prefer cake or biscuits, or salty snacks like nuts and crisps but if I had to pick a favourite candy… I’d probably go for liquorice allsorts! They’re often a love/hate thing I think but I love them! Someone I dance with always keeps aniseed balls in her car in front of the front passenger seat. Both of us are often early arrivers at events and i might have a tendency to invite myself into her car for the sweets… (hey wait, isn’t this what they taught us not to do in school!?)

        1. AcademiaNut*

          Me too!

          My favourites tend to be flavours rather than specific candies. I love mints of all sort, licorice, cinnamon, root beer, cola, coffee, anything citrus, and am reasonably fond of most fruity flavours. But I’ve never liked artificial watermelon, apple or strawberry flavours, even though I like the fruits themselves.

        2. The Cosmic Avenger*

          I learned that I like the really strong black Panda licorice because my dad loved the stuff. That is like the Altoids of licorice! :D :-9

        3. EmmaLou*

          Omigosh the Halloween jelly beans with the black licorice and orange clove jelly beans…! Why isn’t it Halloweeen?!

    5. K.*

      I have a sweet tooth so when I do a candy jar, I keep candy with nuts or peanut butter in it because I have an allergy, so I can’t eat those. (I do this with Halloween candy too.)

      I love caramel, especially those bullseye caramel cream candies. If someone had a jar with those, I’d probably just camp out in their office and eat them.

    6. Kay*

      Starbursts! Preferably the all-red package. I always had a bowl of them on my desk in college and people would wander in and out of my room to get some.

      My least favorite is anything not in a wrapper.

    7. paul*

      Laffy Taffys’. Oh goodness me I like those, and they’re wrapped so they’re not unsanitary. Or those fruit flavored tootsie roll things. Either of those.

      Least favorite: anything not wrapped. I love mike & ike’s but not out of a communal bowl

    8. Elizabeth West*

      Nuts: Cashews and almonds.
      Candy: If it’s mini candy bars, Milky Way Midnight. In boxed candy, orange creams. I will fight you for those, or the caramels. I know what they look like, too–boxed candy has a code! M&Ms are fantastic too. I like Bit O’ Honey, and a lot of people don’t, so I usually get those. :)

      Hate: Those damn nougat things in boxed candy. Also I don’t eat hard candy.

    9. LizB*

      See’s Candy makes these delicious little coffee-flavored hard candies that I absolutely love. The flavor is intense enough that I’m happy to eat just one at a time. If I had a candy bowl at work, that’s what I would fill it with.

      1. Bluebell*

        I brought some of those Sees candies back from a work trip and put them in my candy dish. Sadly, I’m bad at not chewing candy, and I pulled out a filling!

    10. Loopy*

      I adore dark chocolate. In my office I am the *only* one who likes dark chocolate so people just bring it by my desk. It’s amazing.

      At one point we were sharing a bag of these gummies called randoms (you’d just tip the bag and pour some into your hand, no reaching in). They are exactly what they send like- the most randomly shaped candy ever- from little smiling suns, to trash cans, to tape players, to acorns. It was so fun to see who could get the most unexpected shape. Worth the lack of wrapping :P

  20. Lady Julian*

    Anybody read Max Gladstone’s books? I’m in the middle of Four Roads Cross right now (the first one I’ve read by him) and am *loving* it. The “financial fantasy” aspect of it is so creative and fun!

    1. SCAnonibrarian*

      Hello! My husband and I like them too. I think the conceit of magic as contract law is amazingly crunchy and fun and mind-expanding. Savings accounts of soul-stuff and contractually-obligated worship services! Just bonkers, but sooo really freaking cool. I also super dig the meso-American vibe in a couple of the books (an analogue, but whatever) and that the characters are all melting pot and women and different religious and ethnic affiliations and not just a bunch of white dudes traipsing across the bucolic countryside.

    2. CAA*

      Oooh, these look really good. I’m not a huge fantasy reader, but I just need something new right now and I think I’ll give these a try. Thanks!

    3. PepperVL*

      I love them! I had a lovely Twitter exchange with him when he announced the new ones this week. I’m so excited to read more in the world.

    1. Turtlewings*

      Happy birthday! I spend a lot of time reading Dear Prudence on Slate, and The Billfold, which isn’t an advice column but a very approachable personal finance blog.

    2. Former Invoice Girl*

      Happy birthday!

      Like the others here, I also read Carolyn Hax’s column and Captain Awkward (although I find the commenters to be a bit overzealous sometimes — the advice is great, nevertheless).

      1. KR*

        I’m with you on captain awkward. I read dear prudence, auntie SparkNotes (for the pure humor), and a little ask amy

    3. SophieChotek*

      Dear Prudence
      The moneyologist
      Miss manners
      Captain awkward
      Elliot (people write in with travel issues….help my insurance company is charging me for damage to rental car….wasn’t damaged when I turned it in) …. learning a lot about travel tips
      I know there are more I read but these are the ones I remember
      Used to be a house one…it was uxpresss….like how do I fix my gutters…

      Happy birthday!

    4. Kay*

      I can’t say enough good things about Bad Advice. I’ll follow with the link in another comment but google “Bad Advice column” and it should come up.

        1. fposte*

          I stopped reading it when it looked like she quit adding there, but she’s started writing a Bad Advice column for The Establishment (theestablishment dot co) now!

    5. Sibley*

      Happy birthday :)

      I read AAM, Captain Awkward, and mrmoneymustache.com (not advice)

      And lately, Washington Post.

    6. AcademiaNut*

      Carolyn Hax and Ask a Manager are two of my favourites. I skip the comments on Carolyn Hax, but the AAM comments are often as interesting as the articles, and well moderated. Dear Prudence. I dip into Captain Awkward occasionally – I find it is very much aimed at people coming from dysfunctional, boundary challenged backgrounds, though, and the comments section gets pretty overwhelming.

      I used to read Amy Alkon, but her pseudo-scientific babble got too annoying and I stopped.

    7. NYC Redhead*

      Addict here, too. I will add Savage Love (NSFW)(also The Stranger website has a new column by him daily), Miss Manners, and Dear Annie.

    8. Lore*

      After a long hiatus, The Vine at the website Tomato Nation is starting up again (and looking for question submissions if anyone needs non work advice!). There’s a decent amount of overlap between the commentariat her and there as far as I can tell, and certainly it’s one of the few other places where respectful, thoughtful, but still independent minded commentary is the norm.

  21. Allypopx*

    I’m planning on joining a gym this week! I’m trying to lose some weight and just feel healthier, I’ve been having a grab bag of minor health problems and I want to feel like I’m making an effort while I await months of random tests.

    There’s an affordable women’s fitness center down the street from work so no creepy dudes/pretty convenient/easy to set a schedule to go. I’ve never belonged to a gym before though – any tips or things to know?

    1. Colette*

      Read the contract and make sure you understand what happens if you want to cancel.

      Bring flip flops for the shower – athlete’s foot is common.

      And if you need help using the machines, ask – most people are happy to help.

    2. K.*

      Congrats on taking care of your health!

      Cannot agree more on the flip-flops in the shower thing. I never step foot in any shower that isn’t in someone’s home without flip-flops on. If your gym offers any free training or getting acclimated sessions for new members, take advantage. Get a tour, ask questions about any machines you don’t know how to use, etc. And a personal training session might be good – you can set reasonable goals and get a workout plan. Try different classes, and try the same classes with different teachers – I definitely have a favorite and least favorite spin teacher at my gym, for example. And have fun!

    3. Jersey's mom*

      Really read the contract, especially if they want you to pay with a credit card. Many gyms will auto bill you for additional months/years without checking with you first. With some gyms it can be a nightmare to stop an autopay system. I paid by check and refused to provide my credit card. Another way to go is to find out what the fee is, then pay with a pre-paid MC/Visa (so they can’t continue to bill you for future months).

    4. KarenT*

      Most gyms have a free trial period, so you may be able to get a free pass (usually a week or two) to see if you like it. Most gyms also have some sort of orientation where a staff member will show you around and how to use the equipment. They may even give you a beginners routine.

  22. Bye Academia*

    Thanks to everyone who replied to my post a few weeks ago about cooking (link in the reply) ! I ended up buying How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, and I really like it. Plus I’ve been putting less pressure on myself to make the meal fancy or perfectly cooked. As someone said, as long as I eat it, I succeeded.

    I’m still only cooking maybe one dinner a week (with leftovers for one or two lunches) but it’s better than nothing. It’s really satisfying to actually feed myself.

    1. Anonyby*

      Yay progress! :D And as long as you like it, that’s good!

      One thing since your post, I’ve been trying to find more pre-chopped veggies myself (especially chopped onions & peppers), but I haven’t found any! They’re all mixes heavy on veggies I don’t like. :( Or they’re only corn or peas which is good as a side, but not what I’m looking for to build a recipe. Heh

      1. Red Reader*

        Kroger had chopped bell peppers and onions in their freezer section, and mirepoix too, I think. So does Meijer, if you’re in the Midwest.

      2. SharedDriveUser*

        If you have a Trader Joe store in your area, they sell onion, mixed bell peppers and some other frozen chopped vegies, as well as some prepared fresh vegies (squashes, depodded peas, trimmed broccolini, for example) in the refrigerated sections near the salads.

  23. RHCP*

    Any 30 year old’s (or late 20-somethings) out there actually buy a house in a HCOL area with out the help of an inheritance or help from mom/dad/grandparents? Just good ol’ saving money? I just want to know it’s possible ;) and how long did it take you to reach that point?

    I was talking with my friend the other day and we realized no matter what situation our parents were in, they were all able to buy their own house. I know many factors come into play as to why so many people were able to buy 10-20-30 year ago, so I don’t mean to simplify it.

    I’m not too attached to the idea of buying a house, but I’m not exactly a fan of renting for the rest of my life either. I’m in Southern California and while purchasing something at $450k is doable, the upper $500- low $600k is more realistic. Ugh, this crap is depressing, but I choose to live here and I still love it.

    1. Dan*

      Living in a high COL area can be very depressing sometimes. I won’t be buying anything until my 40’s.

      My student loans cost me $500/mo, which I’ve been paying on since 2010. Thats $42k – or a 10% down payment! Not to mention that I’ve spent about $115,000 in rent since 2009. (Been living in the same place w/o roommates for that long.)

      So yeah, depressing when I think about it. But my 401k is in good shape and I do like living by myself, so it is what it is.

    2. Jessesgirl72*

      No, but in the old predatory lending days of $0 down, we could have and been underwater. A friend was under water by $350K at one point…

      There is a reason we don’t live in Silicon Valley anymore. We were NOT in our early 30’s anymore, and we had an entire $10k saved up, despite vigorous trying.

    3. Sibley*

      31, I’m buying a house this year. Live in HCOL, but buying in next door MCOL cause I’m cheap. My advice: just save/invest money. You don’t need to use it to buy a house, but if you decide you want to, you’ll be closer to a downpayment.

      Tax refunds, bonuses, other odd money goes into savings. Also have an auto deposit into savings right off the top. Really look at your budget and identify stupid things you spend money on or things you can reduce. Make a budget and stick to it, and build savings in from the beginning. If you live a little more simply it can really save you money, especially long term. If you’re going to splurge it should be on something that is worth it for you. IE, if you don’t care much about fashion, don’t spend a ton of money on clothes. Same with fancy foods, etc. You can find a lower cost way to do everything.

      1. RHCP*

        Heeeey, that’s what I want to do! There is a MCOL right next door, it’s my spouse that wants to stay in the HCOL city we’re currently renting in – haha. I am also cheap :)

        I haven’t done our taxes yet, but you are totally right. Every penny we get back will go into savings. And for the last two years I’ve had a 20% automatic transfer to my savings with every paycheck! It’s one of the easier things I’ve done.

    4. Temperance*

      I’m a high COL area for my state, but not comparable to the Bay Area. We bought a fixer-upper standalone house with a yard, and spent over $125k less than friends who bought duplexes in better condition.

    5. Kj*

      I bought a house with my husband in a HCOL area last year. I used savings, not parental help BUT my parents had helped with college so I have no student loan debt. So I’m not going to say we did it without help. I had been saving for 5 years when we bought, but our rental was cheap and my husband covered most of the rent, leaving me to save for a house.

      Some tips that have helped us be able to do this sooner than later:
      1. We bought in an ’emerging area’ of our metro. That means, realistically, that there is some safety concerns in the neighborhood- it isn’t a bad area, but we are close to some sketchy areas with the occasional shooting. It is still less crime than the city I grew up in. We are both comfortable with this and it knocked off 100k of the price easily, but obviously you have know yourself. But our neighborhood is on the upswing and getting better by the day.

      2. We really decided to make it a priority; we were very frugal in our early years of relationship and marriage so we saved at a more rapid rate.

      3. We bought a house that was dated in look- it has great ‘bones’ and a lot of great features, but they were largely obscured by some awful decorating choices made by a previous owner in the early 90s (by the look of the ‘updates’). We ignored it. Paint, our own furniture, peel and stick tiles in the kitchen and our soon-to-happen carpet removal is letting the house shine again. Ignore the cosmetics. Tons of our friends struggled with this and ended up paying more for a house that looked better when they moved in, but they are paying for the new paint and up-to-date kitchen features in extra mortgage.

      4. We went with Redfin for a realtor. They did not pressure us, they helped immensely when we made the offer and such but were cheaper. Love them!

      5. We leaned on family to make sure somethings about the property were correct. My brother looked over the deed and survey, my FIL checked out the building as he is a contractor. They found some problems we were able to get fixed before we bought. That, plus an inspection, were worth it.

        1. Kj*

          No problem! It is doable, but not easy. We love our home and have been here over a year. One last tip: take your time and start looking at houses a few months before you are ready to jump on anything so you get to know the market. We had a good idea of what was over -priced and too-good-to-be-true before we started touring homes so we could spend our time well.

          We also prioritized houses that will help us be frugal in the long run- we have a large yard and I invested in planting fruit trees and berry bushes and other edible plants so that, in time, we will be more self-sufficient in terms of food. That may not be doable or important to you, but it suits us well and will hopefully help us save money since good food is pricey in our area (but we are in a very fertile region, so it is easy to grow stuff)

    6. NZ Muse*

      I’m in one of the most expensive cities in the world (median house prices are 10x a typical income) and I was approved for a mortgage with a 10% deposit through our first home buyer programme at age 27. I was looking at properties up to $500k (which doesn’t go very far here, trust me). Had I not taken some time off to go travelling I would probably have reached that point a couple years earlier – not only were houses cheaper back then, I also wouldn’t have spent thousands on travel and missed out on 6 months of full time income :P

      That said, once I started looking at houses (I was going to open homes with my parents, as I was separated from my husband at that point) my folks offered to help me out with some $ toward the purchase. So in the end, I borrowed some money from them that extended my budget and enabled me to buy a forever (or at least potentially forever) house. It was a really hard decision as I’m very independent and like you say, literally everybody else my age I know has only bought with help from their families, and I wound up being one of them too. As in your case, my up-to$500k budget. was almost doable (there were a couple of places in my original budget that would have been fine as a starter house) but $500-600k is where most prices start (the house I bought wound up being just under $600k).

      Needs lots of work but the bones are there! Which is the main thing.

      I’m naturally frugal, and a hard worker – usually have different side hustles (freelancing, blogging, mystery shopping etc) that I direct toward my savings goals. I also changed industries so I make double what I did at my first job.

      1. Marmalade*

        Oh man, Auckland prices. I grew up there and I have no interest in moving back, but even if I did, I feel like I’m completely priced out. Even renting costs are ridiculous now.

        One thing though – Didn’t median house prices in AKL hit $900K last year? I don’t think the median income is $90K, even in Auckland. I don’t have the figure to hand, but I know that nationally, median income is waaaay lower than that.

    7. Misc*

      Nope. My parents had to help – and I had literally saved up enough for the deposit! But my income was waaaaay to low to be approved for a mortgage on my own (and in the 3 years since then, the value of the house I got has gone up by 10x what I might ever have managed to save in that time).

      On the upside, once the price went up further and I had some equity (i.e. magic added value for doing nothing except owning the house while the value shot up above the mortgage), the bank WOULD lend to me on my own and I was able to buy off my parents. And now have a higher mortgage than if the bank had just lent to me the first time round *rolls eyes*.

    8. Reba*

      We saved while living in a LCOL area for four years before moving to the HCOL and purchasing. We also have no student loan debt, which I am so, so grateful for. We then sold that place and are looking at renting for the next several years (even higher COL area). There are rent vs. buy calculators out there which you’re probably familiar with, and it might be worth making your own version of that kind of thing (if you’re into spreadsheets) that weights your needs, preferences and resources.

      One thing to possibly make you feel better about people buying houses in the past… whenever I was stressed about house stuff my mom would remind me that when she and my dad bought their first house in 1981, their interest rate was 16 %. Yikes!

  24. Lily Evans*

    Does anyone have any advice for talking to overprotective parents about traveling? I’m traveling alone to Europe in April and I’ve been waiting to tell my parents until it was 100% set in stone so that they can’t talk me out of it and so I have them worrying at me for as little time as possible. Neither of them have traveled anywhere outside of the US/Canada or gone anywhere alone, so I know they’re going to see it as a pretty big deal. (When I was home from college in the summers, my mom made me text her everyday when I got to/left work. I worked half an hour away at my aunt’s business. And she was upset when I finally put my foot down and stopped when I was 22.) But I’m almost 25, am financially stable enough to afford the week and a half trip, and I’m very conscientious and have done a lot of research. I just have the terrible habit of letting my mother needle me back into my bratty teenage self headspace. I’m also worried that they might be offended that I’ve already told quite a few people (all of my coworkers, most of my friends, and one of my grandmothers) about the trip before telling them. I even fudged the truth about why I needed to get my birth certificate from them when I applied for my passport. I’ve joked about just sending them a selfie in front of Big Ben, but I know I should really talk to them beforehand.

    1. Temperance*

      My parents are also controlling and overprotective, and I decided that the best way for me to maintain my sanity was by not involving them in my personal life. It sounds like this, or a modified version of this might work for you.

      Is there a reason that you have to tell them that you’re going on vacation? Serious question, but do they actually have to know where you’re going, and that you’re going to be alone? I have some issues with my parents and am mostly estranged now, but back when I wasn’t, I honestly just didn’t tell them about trips I was taking. If your parents act like they are still in control of you, or get a say in your life, you can just decline to give them ammo.

      You can always say that you’re going with friends, if you really feel like you have to tell them (which I guess you might, since your grandmother might spill the beans). It’s not a lie, exactly, since you’ll presumably meet a friend while you’re there.

      1. Allypopx*

        Yeah I was going to say the selfie in front of Big Ben might be the way to go – or wait and tell them when you get back, which is the approach I’d probably take.

      2. Lily Evans*

        I mean, our relationship isn’t quite bad enough that I don’t want to tell them at all. And waiting until after the trip would probably be a pretty big blow to our relationship. I want to keep them at arm’s length, not out of my life all together. It’s just a hard balance to strike right now, but I’m hoping to get there.

      3. EA*

        I agree. It is really difficult to get yourself out of the headspace of overprotective parents. It is not normal to worry or need to lie about have access to your birth certificate. The only healthy response to “I am 25 and need my birth certificate” is “okay” not “whyyyyy”. I think the bigger issue is how to make strides towards independence.

        If just not telling them is too much to soon, maybe just tell them, but IMMEDIATELY put up boundaries. Like, “I understand your concern but I am a financially independent/fully functioning adult and will be going, lets talk about something else”. Then if they refuse, walk out. Tell them you are not discussing it any longer. They need to learn to relate to you as an adult, you are an adult, and you don’t need to feel like you ‘have’ to tell them, or did something wrong by not telling them.

        1. Temperance*

          I realized that my parents were Not Normal back when I was in college, entirely self-supporting, and my mother told me that I couldn’t go on vacation with my boyfriend’s family. I just told her about the trip (to freaking NJ, nowhere far or exotic, mind you), and she said “you can’t go on an overnight trip with your boyfriend, it wouldn’t look right”, and then doubled down and told me that she wasn’t giving me permission and I couldn’t go.

          In case it’s not obvious, I went.

          1. Marcela*

            Once my now MIL invited me to go to the beach with her, my boyfriend and my SIL. My mom said “I just can’t believe that person would be so evil”. WTF. I went anyway.

          2. Paquita*

            I went on vacation for a week when I was 23. I had already gotten married and divorced but was back living at home. I knew my mom would not be OK with me driving to DC alone so I told her I was going with a (male) friend. She was fine with that!? Friend was actually going for a conference and we did meet up for dinner one night. When I called home the first night and parents asked where friend was I just told them we did not drive up together because of schedule conflicts.

          3. MsChanandlerBong*

            My best friend’s mother was like that. We were 24 or 25, and I was at their house, and I said something like, “Oh, are you still going to NJ for New Year’s Eve?” and my friend got a panicked look on her face and starting frantically gesturing to me to be quiet. Her mother was (and continues to be, even though we are in our mid-thirties) super controlling. One time I was playing the piano at their house, and my friend freaked out and asked me to stop because she’d just have to hear “Why can’t you be like MsChanandlerBong and play the piano?” after I left. (To be clear, I don’t “play” piano; I can play Fur Elise, Greensleeves, and a few hymns, but I can’t just sit down and play random stuff, nor can I play anything that has different rhythms for the left and right hand–such as “O Holy Night” with the triplets on the left hand and the melody on the right).

        2. TootsNYC*

          I would not say “I understand your concern.”

          Because their concern is ridiculous and unfounded. I’d be pushing back on validating that in any way.
          “Mom, that’s ridiculous. I can’t have a conversation with you about this if you’re going to cling to such an unfounded fear.” Scoff.

    2. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Ha! This happened to me and really I just told them I was going. I think I was 19/20 and was going to the UK on my own for a week or ten days. My aunt told me some years later that my mom was convinced I wasn’t going to go, then I got a passport and she was convinced I wouldn’t book a ticket, and then I did and well, that was the end of that. But they never tried to talk me out of it. They also haven’t ever really left the US (my mom did travel to the UK once, however) and were far more overprotective of me than my siblings.

      You definitely need to talk to them, however, probably the sooner the better. Would it help them feel more comfortable if you gave them a schedule of when you would check in? Or times when you could Skype call them? I would also show them some things on YouTube or travel sites about places you are going and have researched, etc so they know is clean, safe, etc. Or reassure them that you will be sending a lot of pictures every day, and explain why this is important to you.

      I can remember trying to find a phone booth down a dark road in order to call my parents internationally, but today with FB and everything else, its pretty hard to completely disappear.

      1. Lily Evans*

        That’s a good idea! I think having a check-in plan would help put their minds at ease. And at least I won’t have to deal with them thinking it’s not actually going to happen (honestly, that’s another reason I waited).

        1. TootsNYC*

          I wouldn’t have a check-in plan. You’re 25, you’re going to be having fun and you’ll be perfectly safe.

          Allowing them to pressure you into a check-in plan–or offering it in the first place!–just tells them that they are correct to be worried, and that -you know- how dangerous it is or you wouldn’t be making this plan.

          Be breezy, be dismissive of their fears.

          (My MIL wanted us to call -on our honeymoon- when we landed in England. I flat-out refused, and my DH and I had a huge fight about it (well, huge for us). Eventually I said, “Fine. You can call her. But you cannot mention my name, and don’t you DARE mention that phone call to me, ever. Ever. Ever.” It worked, but I was actually pissed off that she ever asked at all, and a little pissed off that my DH gave in. We were married 30-yos; I think we can fly to Europe without having to worry about someone else’s illogical emotions.)

          1. MsChanandlerBong*

            I can’t figure out why some parents are like that. Every time we used to go to an aunt’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, my husband’s dad would call and say “Meet me at Exit 123, and you can follow us there.” We’ve both driven all over the country, including in NYC traffic, but somehow he thinks we can’t manage to get 14 miles from our house. I wonder what goes through his head. I’m so glad my parents (although they have their foibles) are not like that. They know they didn’t raise a goober who can’t figure things out for herself.

        2. TL -*

          Honestly, anything you do to assuage their concerns may help in the moment, but long-term it’s only going to teach them that their concerns are valid and it’s your job to take manage their concerns.

          I wouldn’t do a check-in plan or submit to a long Q&A about what you’re going to do to be safe; I would just give them your itinerary and keep any assurances to, “Mom, people travel to Europe all the time. It’s perfectly safe; thanks for the concern, but I’ll be okay.” The more information you give them, the more input they’re going to feel entitled to

      2. RHCP*

        Same! I was 21 and told my mom I was going to Germany for 9 days to visit a friend. She didn’t believe me. I reminded her a week before and I had my ticket and everything. My dad was cool with it, my mom was furious.

        It was so worth it. You are going to have a great time and create great memories.

    3. Colette*

      Let them know you’re going, and set expectations for how often they’ll hear from you (even if it’s “I’ll call if I get into trouble, so if you don’t hear from me, everything’s fine!)

      You’re probably right that they’ll be upset or anxious, but that is their’s to handle. You just need to be clear about what you’re going to do.

      1. Lily Evans*

        Someday, maybe, with any luck, my mom will finally get a therapist who will teach her that her anxiety is her problem and not mine (I have enough of my own, thanks) and she’ll knock off the “you can’t do this because it makes me anxious” logic. (It’s unlikely to happen, but I can dream.)

        1. Elizabeth West*

          My mum used to do this to me too. She helicoptered the HELL out of me but then she sent me off on my own after graduation to London, at eighteen. (It probably helped that I was staying with her sister–and now you know where my London fetish came from. ;) ) I wandered all over west and central London by myself without incident. If I, the ultra-helicoptered baby, can do it, you shouldn’t have any problem.

          I like the check-in plan idea. I’d err on the side of one check-in when you get there and then only if you’re in trouble, and then call them after you get back. That way, they know you made it okay and you should be able to enjoy your trip.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I think that is a healthy check in plan. I would expect my parents to do the same if they were the ones traveling.

        2. Natalie*

          Something I’ve run into with my mom, and my husband is currently working on with his mom. As hard as it is to deal with; you can’t assume that she’ll get better and then this will be resolved. You have to work on your own not-caring, and let her issues continue to be hers.

          If you have a therapist, this is definitely something they can help you with.

          1. Lily Evans*

            I totally have talked to this with my past therapist, and it was really helpful. I’m more at the point where it annoys me, but I don’t let it sway my own decisions anymore. In a prefect world it would just stop, but I’m just glad that it doesn’t make me feel so guilty anymore.

        3. Temperance*

          I know I’ve responded like 100 times to your post here, but it’s your mom’s choice to try and put her anxiety on you. It’s not your responsibility to live your life in a way that keeps her comfortable.

          I’m speaking as the child of a mentally ill parent. Anxiety is one of my mother’s issues. I personally got sick of having my life run by her illness, but she’s also not a nice person and we’re not close, so YMMV.

        4. TootsNYC*

          Listen, she may never get there–but you don’t have to make it your problem just because she wants you do.

          Maybe you could use a coach of some sort to walk you through how to do that on yoru end.

    4. Jackie*

      I don’t have any advice but can relate. My first trip, at the age of 19, was to Mexico. My father said to me “be careful, white slavery exists”. Sigh.

    5. Dan*

      Too late now, but you can get a copy of your birth certificate from the county you were born. No need to ask mom and dad ;)

      1. Lily Evans*

        I looked into that, but it was easy enough for my parents to get it too me. Luckily, my mom’s been talking about getting a passport herself since November, so I just used that line of logic.

    6. TL -*

      Don’t make a big deal out of it! Just mention it casually; they don’t get a say and the moment you start treating telling them like a Thing, they’ll think they do have a say. So just casually slip it in – either “Oh, not that week, Mom, I’ll be in Europe.” or bring it up very lightly, “Hey, I just finished booking my vacation for this year and I wanted you guys to have a copy of my itinerary. I’ll be seeing Brussels, London, and Paris – I’m so excited!” Be excited – you’re telling them good news.
      If they push back, just say, “Thanks for the concern, but it’s a done deal. What kind of souvenir do you want?” End the conversation if they won’t accept they don’t have a say.

      1. Mela*

        Yes, this. And if you see her face starting to go into panic mode, just say really brightly, “I’m really excited about this trip, isn’t it a great opportunity for me?” Keep asking questions like that where the answer generally has to be positive..and if she goes in for a “Yes, but…” cut her off before she finishes =)

    7. Merci Dee*

      My mom blows the top of the scale off when it comes to controlling behavior. I realized and accepted it long ago as part of who she is, and that it’s strongest when she’s worried about a loved one. What helps our relationship is my decision of how to handle it, since she won’t change. Sometimes I sit down with her and say, I’m thinking about doing this, and I want to weigh the pros and cons before I make a decision. This is what I’m seeing here – can you think of something I’m missing, and how could I mitigate that? She gets the chance to go all doom-and-gloom for a while, but then we put it to work in a constructive manner. She usually feels much better afterward, because she’s been heard and still feels like she’s vital in my life (which she is, anyway).

      Granted, there have been times that I’ve told her about plans, and then cut off the controlling tendency by saying, “I’m not asking your permission for this because I don’t need it. I’m just telling you my plans as a courtesy. ” This was the convo we had when I told her I booked a few days at Disney during my daughter’s spring break about 3 years ago. Never mind I was 36 at the time and could handle time off work and my budget without mom’s help.

      Ahhhh, the joy of being the youngest child … the parenting never stops.

      1. Lily Evans*

        Weirdly enough, I’m actually the older sibling and they’re much less controlling of my younger sister (she was way more rebellious than I was so I think they kinda gave up). It will definitely be helpful to brainstorm beforehand anything they might be worried about so I have answers ready.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          Nah, You were the practice child. Once you didn’t die of it, your younger sister got to do what she wanted. I had to fight for everything as the oldest, too.

        2. TootsNYC*

          “(she was way more rebellious than I was so I think they kinda gave up).”

          And what might this teach you? ;)
          That perhaps you could be more rebellious, and it might work?

      2. Marcela*

        I am the oldest one. And my mom never let me do things my friends did, until I left at 28. I could never go on school trips unless they were only in the same day. I could never sleep in my friends’ homes. When I was studying in the university, she once told me I was supposed to tell her if I was going to the restaurant one block from the campus, for she gave me permission to go to my faculty building only, not the restaurant. And I am the oldest, as I said before, and none of this happened to my _brother_.

        1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

          Oh yeah – I wasn’t allowed to drive until 18, never got a car at home, didn’t get a lot of freedom in terms of clothing/food for a while etc. Never got to go on the dumb friend trips to Mexico and concerts! those were out of the question! I was the good kid but man did I get some anxiety out of that. And now I spend a LOT of my time going to concerts and traveling :D

          My 11 years-younger sister was driving at 16 and got the beat up car to use her last two years of high school. She definitely cares less about what people think of what she is doing and just goes and does it.

        2. Temperance*

          Is your mom still a controlling nutjob? Once we stopped giving our mother ammo, she just started hating us instead and gossiping to the rest of the family about how mean we are. Oh well, they chose not to ever help us knowing how crazy she was, so no great loss.

          1. Marcela*

            I don’t know if she’s still controlling. When I left 11 years ago, I went from Chile to Spain, and internet wasn’t like it’s today, with many different ways to talk over the distance. Therefore, from one day to next one, I simply was not available for her, and I stopped telling her anything important when we talked on the phone. When I’m visiting home I don’t stay with her, so she never has any opportunity to “forget” I’m not under her control anymore. And yes, she has complained about how I prefer my brother, so I stay with him instead of her. As I told him in our last fight, if she wanted me to be her friend when adult, she needed to behave like I was a person, not some kind of stupid animal who could not be left alone because she was going to get pregnant or be unable to take care of herself unless mom and later husband make all decisions.

    8. Jessesgirl72*

      Yeah. I just refused. I stopped even engaging in the conversations.

      Tell them you’re going, and that you’re not going to discuss their worries because you’re an adult who will take normal precautions. And warn them if they bring it up you’re going to leave/hang up, and then follow through.

      Until you set and enforce boundaries, it’s never going to stop, and you can do that without resorting to being a brat. Firm, calm, and follow through.

    9. Sunflower*

      Are you me? I’ll be following this thread as I’m looking to take a trip alone outside the country in April as well and haven’t told my parents- I also posted down thread I want to move to Australia and also haven’t let them in on it yet. I’m 28 and only recently started to realize ‘oh wait just because my parents think/said that, doesn’t mean I think/say that’

      Hate to say this but I think you just need to tell them and remind yourself that any issues they have are their own to deal with. I’m sure traveling isn’t the only thing your parents are overprotective about and at some point you have to say ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’ and let it be. I traveled to Europe with friends and my mom wasn’t happy about it- and I wasn’t going to just never go to Europe because she didn’t like it. At some point, I just started accepting that my mother wasn’t going to support every decision I made and it’s not my burden to bear to try to change her mind- it’s far too much wasted energy. I obviously still struggle with this a lot but I’m getting better and feel much less guilt over making these decisions than I did before.

      Good news is I think as much of a challenge as this will be, it will also be a great step for you in setting boundaries with your parents.

    10. Em too*

      When I got laser eye surgery, my mum reacted badly enough to hearing I was thinking of it that I didn’t tell her I’d decided to go ahead. It felt odd not to tell but she told me afterwards she was glad I hadn’t told her in advance as it saved her much worrying and sleepless nights. Not sure how that would go down in your case but it’s not an impossible approach.

    11. Marche*

      I went to Europe by myself last year, alone, despite the anxiousness from my overly-worried parents. It doesn’t sound like mine are quite as controlling as yours, so consider most of this commiseration. One of the things I found most beneficial to remember is this: you are an adult. You can make your own choices. They can offer advice but they do not get to decide for you.

      Would it help to mention “I’m going to visit [place] in April, my planes leaves on [date] and I’m home [date]” just off the cuff? Don’t give them room to say “no you’re not”, inform them of your trip. If they say “I’m nervous about [x]”, tell them how you plan on handling it (if it’s a valid concern): “I’m worried about pickpockets, they’re everywhere” “Yes, I’ve heard that, so I researched it and I’m going to [do something].” Essentially just try to tell them how you’re handling their concerns, if valid. But more than anything, don’t let your mom let you get into that teenage headspace. It’s hard to stop, but if you feel it starting just take a moment before you respond.

    12. TootsNYC*

      I don’t have controlling parents, but my MIL worries too much and makes it my problem sometimes in ways I chafe at (esp. bcs my own parents don’t do that). Like, she wants me to call her when I get home if I’m driving back from her place in the rain.

      I learned something valuable from my son’s OCD treatments. OCD is anxiety driven. And anxiety gets STRONGER when you give in to it.

      So consider that you just need to always be firm about dismissing your parents’ worries–and not trying to assuage them. Don’t try to explain how you’ll be safe, etc. That just reinforces the idea that their worries must have some grounding in fact, or you wouldn’t be explaining; that they have right to express those worries to you, and the right to demand that you placate them.

      Go straight to, “This is inappropriate, Mom and Dad. Your worries are unfounded, and it’s not fair to you to dump them on me. You are perfectly capable of handling your worries all by yourself, without my participation. I’m not talking about this anymore.”

      or go to, “Why can’t you be happy for me, that I’m going to do something fun and interesting?”

      You also need to get yourself out of that headspace. In the OCD counter-training, they taught us about “talking back” to the anxiety and the pressure. So try something like that on yourself, as well as on them.

      They’ll get over it–honest they will. But it’s sort of like teaching your toddler to fall asleep–you can’t really manage someone’s emotions for them. You just have to create a situation in which they have to figure out how to manage it for themselves.
      So you’re not helping them when you allow them to make it YOUR responsibility to manage THEIR nerves.

    13. Ultraviolet*

      My mother is similar. You can’t make her not worry, but you can set boundaries around how much time you’re going to spend talking about her worries. In this case, I think I’d just recommend telling them about the trip a couple weeks out and letting them express their worries for a minute or two. Then say, “I’m sorry to hear you’re worried. I’m excited about this trip and don’t want to keep having negative conversations about it. Let’s talk about something else.” And whenever they bring it up in a worried way, repeat that.

      You could also consider saying something like, “I realized while I was planning this trip that I was super excited about it but also was hesitant to tell you about it, because I was sure you would be too worried to be excited for me and all our conversations about it would be downers. I feel pretty sad about that, because I don’t want to be in the habit of keeping my life a secret in order to stay happy about it. I know you worry a lot, but do you think you could try telling me about those worries less often?” But I would probably save that for a different incident, like a weekend trip or job switch or something, because I wouldn’t want any negative fallout to be associated in my head with the big trip.

      I understand this doesn’t work with all parents, but I think it’s appropriate for parents like mine, and my best guess is it’s worth a shot with yours too.

    14. Lily Evans*

      I just want to give a blanket thank you to everyone who commented with advice! I was working this weekend and didn’t have time to answer every reply, but I read them all and really appreciate all of your insight and tips! As always, you guys are awesome :)

  25. Gene*

    I’m home from the memorial service in Tucson. Got to see friends, many I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. Saw my sister on the way down and a couple of friends on the way back. 3465 miles. 11 days (5 of which were limited in-town driving around Tucson). Overall average speed of 53 mph. 65 hours of driving time. I got lucky and only had a couple of miles of snow on the road. Bare and dry until the last day of driving (Klamath Falls to Everett) when it rained pretty much the whole way.

    It was a sad reason to be there, but it was a good trip.

    1. paul*

      I hear that. We always treated funerals as family reunions minus one. Have a cry if needed, then go do some eating and catching up and swapping stories about hte deceased. That is a hell of a drive though. If you have the occasion again, try the route through Utah on I-15, it should be prettier than the Nevada or CA route.

      1. Gene*

        I really enjoy long-distance driving, especially out west where you can go an hour and only see a few other cars. I’ve taken the I-15 route, Vegas to home; in my mind, it’s not worth the added hour.

        I’m glad I came home via Reno and Portland instead of the normal route through Twin Falls, the Cascade passes got closed that day and I would have had to spend the night on the east side somewhere. Besides, I needed to stop into Edelweiss Deli in Portland and stock up on German cured meats. A German (Bavarian) co-worker says it’s the best German deli she’s found on the west coast.

    2. LizB*

      I’m sorry for your loss. It’s so weird to me how enjoyable memorial services can be — you get to see people you haven’t seen in years, catch up, share memories, laugh… but for such a sad reason. I wish it were easier to get folks together for less sad circumstances.

  26. LawCat*

    I’m heading to Vegas for a few days tomorrow with a fun relative.

    We’re staying downtown because I think it’s super fun, but planning to make one day of it along the strip since my companion has not had a chance to explore it before.

    I’ve been to Vegas a few times, but I’d love to hear any recommendations for fun food or entertainment!

    1. Gene*

      Old-school eating, the Peppermill.

      The Deuce bus to move between Downtown and the Strip.

      The Atomic Testing Museum on Flamingo. The Neon Museum a bit north of Downtown.

      Jump off the Stratosphere.

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        My mom swears by the bartenders at the Stratosphere. “They have a good pour”

        I haven’t been on the Strip in years as all the action has moved to Downtown. You can thank Zappos for that. Not to mention the casino industry has consolidated into three companies or so who all control the majority of the properties on the Strip.

        Oh! there is a fab middle eastern restaurant just off by the MGM…I think its the Marrakech Mediterranean Restaurant. Tons of fun, like dining in a tent. They give you so much food for the fixed price menu you practically roll out of there.

        If you have a car then I would suggest the Pinball Hall of Fame and Museum by the Liberace Museum. I think there is a bus that goes there from the MGM hotel area. All the games are playable!

    2. Drago cucina*

      If you have a car, or rent for a day, the Valley of Fire is amazing. Petrified sand dunes, pictoglyphs, petroglyphs, easy hikes and some more challenging ones. For French food Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris. Le Cirq has a good, not very expensive, pre-theater menu. It’s a luxury view of the Bellagio fountains.

    3. Red Reader*

      Go to the Coke Store on the strip, go to the sofa shop on the top floor and order an international flight for your group. Pass them around like a wine tasting. Get pictures of everyone’s first taste of Beverly.

      1. Amadeo*

        Mean! Anyone you recommend a taste of that stuff to has the right to mistrust you for the rest of your life. ;P (Tried it at Epcot’s tasting cubby).

        1. Red Reader*

          Oh, I’ll happily acknowledge that Beverly tastes like a rotten rhinoceros butt soaked in jaegermeister and filtered through the kidneys of a syphilitic donkey. Which is why the fun is in getting pictures of everyone else tasting it. :)

    4. SL #2*

      Gordon Ramsay’s got a new fish and chips shop in the Linq’s Promenade. The line’s always long but the fish practically melts in your mouth.

    5. Jillociraptor*

      Vegas is our go-to getaway spot – we’re in the Bay Area so it’s a super quick trip. We go maybe 5-6 times a year.

      Strongly recommend Cirque du Soleil’s O–easily the best Cirque show, and we’ve seen pretty much all of them!

      Gordon Ramsay’s Burgr is one of our favorite more casual places. Rao’s at Caesar’s is also VERY good. Mr. Chow (I think it’s at Caesar’s) is a fun experience, and yummy food.

      The best automated craps tables are at New York New York. :)

      Have fun!

    6. Suekel*

      There’s a newish (few years old) place downtown called Pizza Rock that had some really great food! It’s a block off Fremont, behind the Fremont casino.

      You probably already know this, but if you gamble at all, get a player’s card. They’re free and you will get discounts on rooms for future visits.

      Second the recommendations for Mob Museum and Valley of Fire if you have a car.

  27. AnonThisTime*

    I’m a regular commenter, and I’m looking for advice and/or a recommendation for an online form of some sort to talk to people about this, in part because the conversation I want to have might veer too close to politics (I’m going to keep that minimal right now).

    My husband and I had been planning to have a kid and to start trying at the start of 2017–this had been our plan for about a year. The election has left me very scared for the future, and suddenly ambivalent about having kids at all, let alone having them *right now.* Realistically, I know the world hasn’t changed that much. I had previously made my peace with bringing a child into the world knowing that climate change would have significant impacts in their lifetime. But somehow, now I feel different. My normally great therapist has not been super helpful–I think part of that is that she is a member of a group targeted by the new administration, and she seems very doom and gloom (basically, she validates all of my concerns, but isn’t helping me see a way forward).

    We talked and decided to try anyways. I had my IUD pulled out. I’m taking vitamins and have stopped having my glass of wine with dinner. I have a doctor’s appointment set up. But I have zero excitement and a lot of fear.

    So I have two questions:
    1) Has anyone here tried to conceive at a time when you were scared for the future of the world (for whatever reason)? 2) Does anyone know of a forum where I could talk about this? I don’t want to get in arguments or deep discussions of politics–I want a space to process my feelings about this.

    1. AnonThisTime*

      One more thing: my friends haven’t been super helpful. All of my friends who I am close enough to to tell them I am trying to conceive are childless, and not looking to have kids (most of them intend to be childless permanently). Basically, I get “that sucks and I can see why this is hard.”

    2. AthenaC*

      I’m sorry for what you’re going through. My only contribution is something I once said to friends of ours who felt similar to you: “The way we fix the world is by raising the next generation right.”

      Their daughter just turned two – she loves star wars and wants to be a warrior princess.

      Good luck!

      1. Bibliovore*

        Here to support your choices. BABIES! There is hope. It has been worse. It will get better. People are working to make things better for you and your future child. So….
        Put away the dystopic fiction.
        Read some lovely children’s books.
        Might I suggest Because of Winn Dixie?
        Might I suggest some lovely YA like Rachel Vail? Sarah Zarr? Lisa Yee?
        Do you like fantasy? The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill- so, so satisfying
        And for a lovely lift of the spirit- What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, and Blessings by Joyce Sidman

    3. Dan*

      Keep in mind that our society has survived some rather bleak times, and prospered afterward. Living during WWII couldn’t have been easy. 9/11, the 2008 recession (never mind the great depression.) And a few more… IMHO, this is nothing compared to any of that.

      I don’t think there is any reason to believe that “this” won’t pass either.

      1. chickabiddy*

        I was pregnant on 9/11/2001 and it was not a good feeling at all (and I realize that already being pregnant is kind of different than making a decision about pregnancy), but I do agree that as a whole, our species continues to reproduce even under dreadful circumstances, and while it’s nobody’s place to make family planning decisions for anyone else, I am not sure that waiting four years will have much of an impact on the country in general or your own child’s life in particular. I am more worried about my teenager (who may have her own reproductive rights restricted) for the next few years than I would be about a newborn, to be perfectly honest.

    4. Red*

      Honestly, I am not in your situation, so please feel free to ignore what I have to say. But here’s the way I look at it – yes, there is a good possibility the world is doomed. But you have the chance to bring someone into it and raise them into a good, kind person who recycles and stands up for people who need it and who helps the elderly with their bags at the grocery store and votes only for those who lead with dignity instead of fear and anger. You can’t fix the world alone, that’s on everyone to do. You can’t wait around for us, either- it’s just not right. What you can do is live your life well and lead by example, so have your child and your family can be a source of good in the world. We need that.

    5. Ariel Before The Mermaid Was Cool*

      This is something I thought a lot about before my husband and I had our son. I still worry about the world that current generations will leave behind, but what’s been more troubling to me as a mother to a son are all the possibilities that are more singular and less global in nature. For example, I worry that my son will date in high school and be falsely accused of rape because of an acrimonious breakup, or something like that.
      The best way that I’ve found to cope is to set the best example for him that I can. If the environment is one of your concerns, make an effort to recycle, etc. I’m also mentally committed to raising him to be the best man he can be, and to leave things better than he found them. I think that’s all you can do really, but the worry never really goes away. But after birth, those seemingly enormous in scope issues are trumped by the myriad of child-raising issues that come up: breast vs. bottle, make your own baby food vs. store-bought, co-sleeping vs. cribbing, etc.. I found that those end up being so mentally time-consuming that I don’t worry so much about the political climate or the environment or whatever might have perturbed me while I was pregnant/conceiving.

      1. AnonThisTime*

        Your second paragraph is helpful–a reminder that the day to day will become much more mentally time-consuming with a baby.

        But that brings on a worry on the other side: I don’t want to stop caring. I don’t want to stop the activism I’m engaged in now. And I worry a baby would stop that…

        1. Ariel Before The Mermaid Was Cool*

          I think it will only stop you as much as you let it. I wish I was more involved in some of the causes I feel strongly about, but I’ve allowed my circumstances (state employment, 3 hours commute round trip 5 days a week, limited financial means, etc) to preserve my evenings for family time and time-sensitive chores, and my weekends for more extensive chores.
          But that’s me, and everyone’s situation is different, and I’m sure if you were so inclined you could continue to contribute to your causes. :-)

    6. Drago cucina*

      Let me echo Dan. We’ve lived through scary times and come out better for it. I am old enough that as a child I woke up in the middle of the night because of riots. Not protests but riots. In the 70s there were many people who decried having children because we weren’t going to survive the decade.

      My biggest piece of advice is take a deep breath and try and separate fear of what might happen to what has really changed. Address what has changed. People who care about the world and society have an opportunity to raise children who care and will carry that forward. Teach them that their voices count. It’s how we move forward.

      1. AnonThisTime*

        “Address what has changed.”
        This is what I am struggling with. One of my close friends just decided that traveling to see his grandmother (in Iran) before she dies is too risky. He’s a permanent resident with an American wife and two American daughters. My brother–who is on a life-saving $100,000/year medication–is terrified of losing his ACA insurance. As a result, my father, who is in his late 60s and was planning to retire this year, is working harder than ever to build up more savings. My government is hurting people I care about. And maybe it’s my privilege talking, but I’ve never seen this on such a scale, hitting so close to me. These things have changed, and I feel powerless to address them. I don’t want to raise children who live in fear of their government or watch their friends living in that fear. (But again, maybe that’s my privilege talking? Because Black people have had to raise sons to be careful around the police since… forever).

        I think one of my big fears comes from the possible ACA repeal. I had thought the US was on the path towards universal insurance. But now that I see that isn’t the case, I really worry about being able to get a child the health care they need.

        I believe (and I know plenty of people disagree with this) that having a child is a selfish choice, and I guess it feels more selfish now that it did before.

        1. Drago cucina*

          If your fear is overwhelming you then it may not be the best choice.

          You mentioned ACA and your brother’s fear of a change that might happen. There are changes that can be made to ACA that can bring down costs and doesn’t endanger health care: Portability, insurance that crosses state lines. But, none of that has happened yet. I have family that pay large amounts for really no coverage to avoid the IRS fine. It’s a complicated issue.

        2. Observer*

          Blacks in the US have had to deal with these fears – and worse! since they’ve been in the US. You Iranian friend’s parents had to deal with worse when they made the choice to have him. Every person who made the decision to have children under Soviet rule faced worse.

          I’m not trying to invalidate your fear. I’m just trying to point out that it’s quite possible and sane to have children even in a world where a LOT of really, really bad things are happening.

    7. Stellaaaaa*

      At the risk of sounding like the type of person who thinks People Of The Internet need to get out more (hello, I’m a Person Of The Internet), I think you need to unplug a little. I’ve noticed that progressive-leaning forums are nurturing this vibe of finding romance in feeling bad about the future. There’s a conscious drive to recreate the fear and panic of the Vietnam era. The man in charge is literally just fulfilling his campaign promises – anyone who claims to be genuinely blindsided is either a lying drama queen or didn’t actually pay attention during the election. People who are freaking out about the Cabinet firing eventually reveal themselves as not knowing that the individual in question was basically already in her two-week notice period – commentators were reacting with huge aplomb and proving that they don’t know how Cabinet staffing works. Anyone who thinks that the government-sourced funding, land zoning, supply sourcing, and construction on a massive wall will be completed within a four year term isn’t worth arguing with.

      Listen, I’m worried too. I voted for the other candidate. But when you take a step back and realize that GWB has been reimagined as a well-meaning simple country bumpkin (I remember being just as worried post-9/11 as I am now; GWB’s “family values” thing was gnarly) you can see how there’s this internet-driven desire to make the current landscape a lot more dramatic and dire than it really is.

      1. Book Lover*

        Yup. I tell myself that I survived W (admittedly, not everyone did…) and I will survive this guy, too. And on my better days, I acknowledge that if it had gone the other way, we’d be mired in one fake scandal and investigation after another, and no guarantee that a Supreme Court nominee would ever get a chance at a vote in four years.

        As a Jew, though, having certain people at the highest level of government is genuinely frightening, and I am working on updating our passports. So I think there is a difference to this administration and we should be careful of excessive normalization.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I agree–but I also am starting to think that much of it SO crazy and SO outside the norm that it will burn itself out pretty quickly. Plus, there are plenty of people fighting the most egregious stuff. They’re not just saying, “Eh, that’s not how I would have done it but okay.” That’s giving me the impetus to do what I want to do anyway.

          I see it as the flailing death throes of a cumbersome Ice Age animal who is dying out because it can’t adapt. Yes, there will be damage, but almost none of it is un-doable, short of a button push.

          1. Temperance*

            Honestly, this is pretty accurate, I think. It’s hard for me to remove myself from it because I grew up in the middle of a blue collar area, where men were just assumed to run the household and be the King of Their Castle, women didn’t outearn them (and took their last names!), and women didn’t try to compete with them for good jobs.

            They don’t want to adapt because they feel there is no benefit when in the past, they were just on top without really trying and with no questions asked.

        2. AnonThisTime*

          Yeah, one of my close Jewish friends just had a bomb scare at her synagogue. A good friend of mine committed suicide in 2002 after his parents put him through gay conversion therapy, so having people who believe in that at the highest levels of our government really scares me.

          So every time I try to say “Things will be fine” I feel like I’m hit with something that makes it clear life has changed. And 90% of that *isn’t* coming from the news–it’s coming from friends, colleagues, and family members. I have a particularly high proportion of immigrants and muslims in my friend circle, and they are genuinely terrified. And every time I’m hit with something, I think to myself “And I’m going to bring a child into this mess?”

          And for what it’s worth, I’ve learned how to accept “Nope, not fine” with regard to climate change. I think humanity will find a way through, but not until there’s some huge upheavals. I just think those are ~100 years out, when sea rise could start to take out significant population centers. So not my child’s problem, but my grandchild’s problem, if that. And I do think we’ll find a way to reverse it through extraordinary measures at some point. We made it to the moon using computers less powerful than my old Nokia brick phone. We’ll figure out how to alter the content of our atmosphere to fix this mess.

          I find it so odd I can be totally comfortable with what climate change means for future generations (Humanity shall overcome!) and not okay about our current political situation (We’re DOOMED!). This totally isn’t rational, but it’s how I feel.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            It’s not so odd. We do have a very cool and infinite capacity to innovate. No wonder the Doctor keeps coming back here, LOL.

            And I don’t think we’ll end up like Snowpiercer, where everybody left is on a train and the rich folk are in the front while the rest are starving in the back. We’ve got a long way to go before it gets THAT bad. If it ever does.

            1. Gadfly*

              If for no other reason than because that is when pitchforks come out. Enough people have to have hope or they stop playing along or responding to threats.

          2. Observer*

            What has changed is not reality, but your perception. I’m serious. Bomb threats are nothing new – in fact a significant number of Jewish schools and other institutions have received Homeland Security grants because Jewish institutions have been such a target over the years. And, it’s not only grant recipients that have spent thousands (and 10s of thousands) of dollars on security. These places (often quite cash strapped) didn’t spend this kind of money just for fun.

            The parents of one victim in the 1999 Fresno Jewish Center shooting actually sued the center because it should have known it would be a target and should have had better security. (Bill Clinton was the President then.) When 4 men were arrested for trying to blow up two synagogues in Riverdale in 2009 (the beginning of the Obama administration), some were upset at the FBI claiming that the FBI wasn’t fair. (Fortunately, in that case, no one was hurt.) The guy who shot up the Kansas City synagogue in 2014 (also Obama Administration) was a past KKK Grand Wizard who hated Jews and Muslims and anyone who wasn’t lily white. If you want to get a sense of this stuff, it might want to google anti-semitic events of the last 20 years or so. Or just look at the history of the period around which you were born. Odds are you are going to find that a lot of people were making the decision to have children under circumstances AT LEAST as dire as the ones you are worrying about, or worse.

            I’m not defending Trump. I just think that Stellaaaaa has a valid point. And that some of the stuff that people are blaming on Trump are NOT new. And it’s kind of a turn off when stuff that was swept under the rug till now suddenly take on apocalyptic tones.

      2. Temperance*

        I think for a lot of people, there’s a genuine level of shock and surprise that people are stupid, mean, and racist. I grew up among people who believe that the country was founded by, and I quote “white European Christians” on a bed of Christian ideals. I grew up pledging allegiance to the Christian flag. It’s very easy to ignore the kinds of people who apparently believed that the wall was going up, and that Mexico would pay for it, because they frankly have their own society and we generally wouldn’t have much reason to interact with them, unless we’re all in small towns. I haven’t been able to ignore it because those are the people who make up my family and the community where I grew up.

        For me, I have hope that good will win, even though the bad is everywhere. I mean, by all accounts, I’m 33, should have married some loser and should be working in some small job, or not at all, if the culture where I grew up won the day. I should be an evangelical who has never spoken to a Muslim (or Mormon, or Jewish person …) in my life. But I’m not, because I made the choice to embrace the wonderful melting pot that makes up this country.

        1. Stellaaaaa*

          These people aren’t necessarily stupid though, and calling them stupid isn’t going to bring them over to our side. The left was offering college education and an expanded social safety net. The right offered them jobs, the dignity of working to support their families. I doubt that those jobs will come through, but I have a hard time aligning my side with a left wing that refuses to understand this point. The left also needs to knock it off with its hazing and purity tests and “it’s not our job to educate you, but we’re going to rake you over the coals if you guess at what we need and make a wrong decision in your activism.” As I’ve gotten older I’ve had to distance myself a progressive movement that hurls verbal abuse at me and then insults me for not giving them what they want.

          This is as far as I’ll delve into politics here, but I think it’s worth saying that the supposedly “better” side of the spectrum is incredibly hard to get along with and I’m not surprised that they’re not gaining many converts.

      3. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Hey, I’m sorry, but this piece of this thread (not the whole thing) is getting too political for this site. I think it’s a hugely important topic and if there’s a way to talk about it without getting into politics, great. But otherwise, it’s not for here. (Which is too bad because I really want to quote something from Andrew Sullivan’s brilliant piece for NYMag yesterday, but I will not.)

        1. AnonThisTime*

          Sorry, Alison. I was trying to keep my question focused more on feelings and less on politics. I’ll take the conversation to where Jubilance suggested.

          Thank you for giving me enough to google with :)

        2. Observer*

          I responded before I saw this. I don’t think I was being to political, but it can be hard to gauge, so I’ll pipe down.

      4. Linda*

        Stellaaaa I like you a lot. We need less drama on the left. Only have children if you can care for them and not make them afraid.

    8. Book Lover*

      I have two small children and I can’t regret that. Sometimes I worry about the future they will live in, but mostly I just take joy in them. And on the bad days when they are terribly annoying they keep me too busy to worry about the planet.

      Was there really ever a better time to be born? Every decade has its problems, but for all that is going on now, I think that if you are a minority, or gay, or a woman – this is a better time than a decade or two or three ago. Perhaps the olden days were only ever good for white men, or through rose colored glasses.

      Yes, there is the worry about the climate – now we probably have to look to a technological solution as there is nothing that can be done to go back years to when perhaps we could have prevented the extremes of global warming. But there are lots of bright people in the world who know that global warming is not politics but reality. There is lots of expensive real estate in Florida and California, not to mention the rest of the world – I suppose I will hope that greed will come up with an answer where politics hasn’t.

      There are a million and one things to worry about, but in the end, you should ask yourself if you want to care for an infant and then a child, if you think you have adequate resources and support to do that and make the best life you can for that child – and go ahead if you can say yes.

      1. TL -*

        Yes. The world is, as has been generally true for all of humanity, a better place today than it was in any of our yesterdays, especially if you are not a white male.

      2. Temperance*

        What’s hilarious to me is that if you ask most people that I grew up with, they honestly believe that things are worse for all of us. Women now “have” to work instead of staying at home, we’re all competing with men instead of just being women and taking care of kids …. it’s mind-boggling.

      3. AnonThisTime*

        Not going to get into too much to out myself, but I used to do climate-science adjacent work.

        South Florida is screwed. There is no saving it. It is sinking, in addition to the sea rising. Potable ground water is being depleted fast as salt water invades aquifers. Miami Beach will probably be partly or mostly abandoned within my lifetime (I am in my early 30s, which is part of the “babies now” conversation).

        New York can build sea walls. California has surprisingly little land within 3m of sea level, so it won’t be that bad. Greed will save those areas, but there is nothing to be done about South Florida.

        But, in general, I do believe we’ll find technological solutions. I think it’ll involve true climate engineering–intentionally altering the content of our atmosphere. In the process, though, people will die and many more plants and animals will go extinct. And I do have this hope, along with a plan to never move to South Florida.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yes, Florida is so vulnerable. Lucky we have plenty of room for people inland, unlike some other countries–which means that by that time, we may be looking at actual refugees who are leaving their homes because they’ve been inundated. We’ll just have to make the best of it. And not be dicks about immigration.

        2. misspiggy*

          I think there is possibly the heart of the matter. In areas where you have good technical knowledge and experience, you can extrapolate clearly and make a balanced judgement. That appears to be reassuring. So you might consider building up more technical knowledge, or talking to people with it, in each of the areas you’re concerned about.

          Plus – America is just one country, albeit an important one. There are so many positive trends in the formerly developing world. The huge progress in terms of life expectancy, economic growth and stability there gives me hope that humanity can sort out the problems which threaten to wipe us out.

    9. Jubilance*

      I had a bit of a crisis when my husband and I were ready to really start trying – I was worried about bringing a little Black child into this world when life in the US has never been good for Black people. I worried that my child would face discrimination, racism, possibly be a target for violence, etc. And then my mother reminded me that generations of Black people in the US have persevered through much more dire situations, like slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, etc. She told me that we can’t let the fear keep us from living our lives and having joy, and she was right. Yes, my child has the deck stacked against her, but she will have a good life just like I and her father have had a good life despite the challenges we’ve faced.

      We have a lot of these conversations on A Practical Wedding in the Happy Hour posts which are on Fridays. APW also regularly runs posts about parenting, especially knowing when you’re ready or having apprehension. It’s a very supportive community over there.

      1. AnonThisTime*

        And thanks for this perspective. I am a privileged white person, and I’ve generally been avoiding having too many conversations about my worries with my friends of color. With them, I’m just trying to listen. My closest friend with kids is raising two brown muslim girls, and I feel like my concerns for my potential white kid just pale in comparison to the very real issues he is facing (such as: he is worried about visiting his Iranian grandmother ever again).

        So I swing back and forth, knowing a kid of mine is most likely to be okay. My husband and I tick off all of the privilege boxes other than christian, and we could fake that if need be.

    10. Not So NewReader*

      Childless person by choice first, but I can honestly tell you that I believe a child is fate/destiny/whatever’s way of saying, “Life shall go on.”

      For me I saw that the clearest when I read the birth announcements for 9-11-01. A baby equaled “hope” in my mind.

      And who is to say, maybe your child will help to negotiate world peace. We just don’t know.

      You can borrow a page from my father’s book. He was 40 when I was born. We were two generations apart, not one. In some ways he could not keep up with everything. And in other ways he zoomed way out ahead of some parents. He told me, “You are going to take four years of math and science in high school.” It was not up for debate. (This was pretty cutting edge for the early 70s. Many of his peers did not think this way about a daughter.) Then he explained, “You are headed into a world that is far different than anything I have ever seen. Science and math will be very important. You will need to be able to understand how new things work. You will constantly be adapting to changes we only dream of now. You will have to make decisions that I have never had to make. You need to understand basic science and basic math so you can begin to cope with these things.”

      While I still hated all that math and science, I sincerely believed my father was doing his best to protect and fortify me for the time when he would no longer be with me. I got solid Cs in all these courses. All he said was, “You work very hard. Keep up the hard work.”

      Have your child(ren) and teach your child. Show him/her things that you feel will be important to know in the future. If you have the insight to see that their future will be different then you also have the ability/opportunity to help them gather the skills they need for that future. All you need to add here is commitment to helping them fortify.

    11. Em too*

      My children are small and I had some thoughts in a similar vein (after they were born). But – there’s still a lot of good about the world. You have kids knowing they might not have the life you hope and you can’t protect them from everything (that’s a hard thing to realise), but most of the risks are pretty unrelated to politics/wider changes, I think.

      Best of luck with it all.

    12. Kj*

      Thank you for asking this- I could have written exactly this- except my IUD is coming out next month. I’m scared too, but I want a child and I want to feel hopeful and I think a child is a way to say “I still have hope.” Can you focus on stories of hope and resilience? Not sure what your media choices are, but I have found myself drawn to children’s movies and books that are more life-affirming than the news. Rogue One was also affirming to me. Can you be part of the solution? I’ve been calling my representatives about things I care about. I’ve also been spending time with friends who have kids AND aren’t doom and gloom. I know your friends haven’t been amazing, but maybe try to cultivate some new friends? Or a TTC group? My job also gives me hope since I work with kids, but I know that isn’t a solution for everyone. But maybe you could volunteer? That is very affirming. If you want a buddy, I’d be willing to be one too- I was literally thinking about this the other day and it is nice to know I’m not the only one.

      1. AnonThisTime*

        I think your advice to find some sort of a community is a good one. I’m thinking of trying to become closer friends with colleagues who have kids, and some friends of friends. I really only have a couple of friends who have kids–for whatever reason, my core group of people from college and high school are either childless by choice or have a reason why they can’t (infertility, health reasons that would make pregnancy dangerous, gay and not enough $$ to adopt, single and waiting for the right person, etc).

        I work with college students, and they only bring me more doom and gloom. It’s not their fault–I deal with a large number of undocumented students, and it’s like I use up all of my hope trying to help them :(

        And a TTC group makes me nervous, too, largely because my husband decided long ago that we wouldn’t pursue medical options if I don’t get pregnant.

        I do think the APracticalWedding suggestion is a good one, so I’ll head over there next Friday. Want to join me? I’ll post under ICameFromAAM so you (and maybe Jubilance?) can find me.

        1. Kj*

          Yeah, sounds good, although I might be late to the party as I’m on the west coast and work until 6 on Fridays

        2. Kj*

          Oh, and plus one to the not using medical options to conceive. Husband and I agreed on that as well. I’m ok with whatever outcome we get, but I’m wanting to try for a kid. My IRL friends don’t get that.

          1. AnonThisTime*

            Neither do mine! Mine are all “YES, BABIES! (though perhaps not now)” or “Hell No.” My husband and I are more “Kids would be cool. So would not having kids. Let’s try, but not too hard.” I don’t know why that’s so surprising to my friends.

    13. Violinszing*

      There were a lot on babies born 10 months after 9-11 in my county. Located about an hour from NYC, there were more than a dozen families here who had lost someone. So for the community tethered was pain and fear and loss. Uncertainty for the future. But resilience and love and hope.

    14. Overeducated*

      I think many of us white Americans who did not grow up desperately poor or during a time of war have been insanely lucky in our security and standard of living by global and historical standards. And we take it for granted because everyone should have peace and plenty and life is full of all kinds of other problems to feal with for all of us. Now if things get a lot worse we and our kids are maybe going to experience life a little closer to the human average. Maybe we’ll understand where a lot of religious teachings that aren’t meant for the rich and safe came from (and I have prayed, in church, that I didn’t want to make that tradeoff, so I am not saying it lightly). Maybe we’ll understand more what life was like for our parents and grandparents who lived through wars and depression or left other countries to start over here. Maybe we’ll understand more what it’s like not to be a white, not poor American (while still having those attributes protect us more than others who are more vulnerable, sadly).

      I an not wishing suffering on anyone, I don’t think it’s good for its own sake or as an object lesson at all and I would rather we could make our country safer and more prosperous for everyone. I just mean that the kind of life I have had so far just by the chance of my birth is not the only kind of life worth living, or we would be extinct. Life goes on during bad times too. I think life is basically a good thing. And a kid growing up with loving parents is off to a good start and will have and bring joy.

  28. AthenaC*

    This has been a bit of an emotionally intense week! Shout-out to everyone else who has lived through hitting rock bottom and put your life back together on the other side. Y’all are superhuman, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.


    I like to think that for the most part I’m over and healed from all the stuff I went through with my ex-husband – I worked VERY hard to get that way! And then something hit me recently that I wasn’t prepared for – someone started a Facebook group for people who had attended the Defense Language Institute (military training school in Monterey, CA) during the years that I went there, which would have been a few years before my first marriage. And suddenly I was immersed in memories of the person I was before my marriage, and I started to see in new ways just how bad he had messed me up. It’s been over 10 years, and yet there I was, in tears, freshly mourning the loss of the “me” that used to be.

    It makes me wonder if there will ever be a point where I’m completely done being healed, or if there will be a point where the won’t be any more nasty surprises about damage I hadn’t uncovered yet. Even as I am still 100% in control of my life and happy for where I am! I just wonder about how much more work I’m going to have to do on myself.

    1. TL -*

      I watched Kubo and the 2 Strings recently – I didn’t realize the movie started off with his mom suffering from a bad head injury and ending up crying on the couch. My mom had a bad head injury and it was rough but it was also 13 years ago now.
      Reminders are really tough! Nobody’s ever done working on themselves but this probably was more like someone slapping an old scar than ripping open a fresh wound. They feel almost the same but the pain from the slap goes away a lot quicker and easier, I promise.

    2. Dan*

      Done? Probably not. But you measure progress when the time between “surprises” continues to increase.

      But, I’m not sure I’d define “healed” as reverting to who you were back then. I know that who *I* was back then was what lead me to make the choices I did, and I don’t want to go back to exactly that person. I look at my “failed” marriage not as failure, but a time during which I learned some stuff about myself and what I need out of a relationship.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Great point.

        Doctors say that a broken bone that is healed is actually stronger at the point of the break than it is at any other spot on the same bone.

        Of course, this does not mean go break a bunch of bones so they can be stronger. But it does mean that we can become more wary/careful of breaking another bone even though we know the healed break is strong.

    3. Sled dog mama*

      Reminds me of something rather profound my mother said to me, because when she’s not being weird she is kinda smart. This was in reference to the fact that I was struggling to even pick up the phone and call my grandfather after my cousin died over the summer (4 months after my daughter) but I think it can apply to your situation too.
      She said “for the rest of your life every time something happens, you are going to be figuring out who you are and how you relate to this new event all over again. Everything that happens is going to make you reexamine yourself and have to revisit daughters life and death, it’s not fair because you should get to heal rather than having the wound regularly reopened.” I just have to keep reminding myself that even when you pick at the scab, eventually your wound heals, much more slowly than one would like and with more pain and scarring than if it was just left alone but we live in the real world and the real world is messy.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        This. This is a good explanation of what grief looks like. We spend the rest of our lives reframing and re-examining.

        Not all reframing is bad. This is going to sound like an odd thing to say: My father passed about 6 years before the WTC tragedy. When that tragedy happened one of my first thoughts was I was glad my father was not here to see this. I know I would have had to leave work and get him, because he would have been absolutely devastated. He loved the city and he loved the people.

        Then I cried. It was the first time I felt relief that my father had moved on. In that moment, I had reframed his passing in a new-to-me way.

        I have found it helpful to expect events- big or small- to connect new dots. When these dots connect you will reframe, rethink old sorrows and griefs. Yep. It stays with you. The pain is less raw, it stings less and it becomes more familiar so it is not as startling after a bit. You get acclimated to the idea, “oh, I need to process this a little more in light of new information.”

    4. Jersey's mom*

      Congratulations on getting to the place you are today!

      I’ve also had some great times and horrible times in my past. Maybe it will help to think of life this way:

      My past has made me the person who I am today — both the good and bad. I can decide who I want to be tomorrow, and all the rest of my tomorrows. Sometimes I will feel happy or sad about things that happened to me in the past, but it is past. I will decide who I will be, and what I want to do to get there.

      I know, sometimes the scars really ache. I tell myself that it’s “only” a scar, and I’m not going to give the bad things/people in my past the power to continue to hurt me. Then I focus on the good things that have recently happened, or the good things I want to do ahead of me. I find that if I continue to think about the bad stuff, it’s like getting stuck in a rut; I keep thinking about it and the scar hurts worse. Sometimes I have to force myself to think of good stuff. The rut starts to heal, and it gets a little easier to focus on the good.

      Jedi hugs to you, and I hope you can focus on the good and happy.

    5. Sunflower*

      I’ve been reading quite a bit about loss and there’s a lot of questions of ‘when will I feel normal again’. And the fact is that the answer is never..because you’re now living with a new normal. And I think this happens everytime you experience loss. I have experiences that I know I’ve ‘healed’ from but that doesn’t mean they are no longer part of my life. I have moved on but those things still affected me and have shaped me into the person I am today. A new experience may bring up feelings from an old experience and uncover new things about me that I didn’t know were in there. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing since it’s my personal belief that the best way to live is to constantly be growing. The only constant in this life is change. Nothing is permanent. And that’s a really scary thought for a lot of people- myself included. It might be helpful to accept that you will never be able to uncover ‘everything’ because you can’t predict the future and you can’t control other people’s actions. And most importantly, remember that none of these things are going to kill you.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      The best gem I have is from my wise friend.

      He said, “We can look at rough parts in our lives when we feel safer. Matter of fact, when we see those patches with great clarity, that probably means we are very safe now from whatever was going on then.”

      I am guessing that you probably feel very safe from the wrongs of that time that is why you could look at that time with such great clarity. If we go by what my wise friend was saying we can assume you have completed another step in your healing process just by facing this time period with great clarity.

      So where does that lead? Okay, you are saying that you mourn losing the person you were at that time. My suggestion to you is to look at who you were and seize BACK the enduring life long qualities. Grab them and take them back.

      This is not to say “be naive” again. noooo. It’s to say “live your heart”.

      Let’s do an example. Let’s say you mourn the fact that you used to be more of a giving person. But now giving is hard because it’s hard to trust people. Okay, so in light of new information of how nasty people can be, how would you like to change your giving methods? Well, you could be more deliberate about how and when you give to others. Personally, I like hit and runs, meaning, random helps. A stranger at the store needs directions. I take a minute to help them. Someone calls my home, it’s the wrong number but I happen to know who they are looking for so I give them the right number. These little things allow me to live my heart and not get entangled in situations where I may get hurt.

      Take back those aspects of you that you liked and reapply them in new ways. Those aspects of you are still there and they have been waiting for their time to come out. It’s okay now.

  29. Lissa*

    I don’t know if it’s the time of year and everyone’s depressed from winter, stress from world events or what but I feel like everyone I encounter lately, on and offline, is so touchy and ready to fight. I feel it in myself too, and I’m trying really hard to be more positive and less ranty but it is *hard*. I have witnessed about three ridiculous facebook fights in the last week, over the weirdest things. Some of my really good friends repeatedly seem to feel like if people aren’t outraged all the time, people don’t care, and make really questionable historical comparisons. There’s so much hyperbole over *everything*. Like, someone will complain moderately about their boss and the response will be “your boss is a horrible human being”. And just so, so much sarcasm.

    I don’t know if I’m just noticing it more or if everyone is in terrible moods, but I feel like I am having a really hard time engaging in any type of interesting conversation because I’m so gun-shy that I’m going to mildly disagree with someone and they’re going to call me Satan or something. I’ve seen it from people I would *never* have expected would react that way previously.

    Anyway, sorry to spill that here! I am partly wondering if it’s just me and partly wondering if anyone has any tips on trying to improve positive interactions — I know I have a tendency to get sucked into unhelpful rantfests and contribute to it!

    1. TL -*

      Minimize online time! Stop interacting online and spend more real time with your friends. And when you do, try to contribute a funny story or an observation of something beautiful or a fascinating thing (a bird nearby, a funny piece of graffiti, someone wearing a hilarious accessory.)
      There’s plenty good in the world. Take some time to notice it and point it out to others.

    2. Lily Evans*

      I was just talking to one of my friends about this. We’re both in fandom communities online and there has definitely been an uptick in vitriol lately there too. One of her friends commented that there must be something in the water because everyone just seems to be picking fights. It’s weird.

  30. Bibliovore*

    Good and Bad

    Bad- Lost a week to the flu
    Good- Better living through chemistry. On my second round of steroids and finally feel like I am breathing normally. Side effects not great- a little hyper, a lot irritable.
    Friday’s work life balance thread got me thinking.
    so- called two old friends just to chat. did the grocery shopping and will make the husband’s favorite dish for lunch or dinner.
    For fun- caught up on AAM, four episodes of Top Chef and finished reading two grown up books- Gone, a memoir by Min Kym about a violinist and her Strad and The Hot One: A memoir of friendship, sex and murder (not usually my up of tea), started the new P.J. Tracy. On the pile is a memoir by Vij, one of chefs from Vancouver and Pachinko by Min Jin Lee that got a spectacular review in the New York Times.

    Here is a note of gratitude to the AAM community- for not only making my work life as good as it can be but also reminding me to be balanced in my life-life.

    1. Lily Evans*

      I’m not going to spoil anything since I’m not sure if you’re completely caught up on Top Chef, but I was super bummed this week that my favorite chef had to pack their knives and go. I was extra bummed when I realized that we won’t know Last Chance Kitchen results until next week since it’s the finals.

      1. Bibliovore*

        I know! Seriously. I couldn’t sleep…steroids and marathoned those last four episodes AND last chance kitchen. The last chance kitchen end was bogus!

        1. Lily Evans*

          I didn’t have time to watch the whole thing, so I fast-forwarded to the end and was so annoyed about having to wait! And I genuinely like both the contestants who made it to the end of LCK, but one is my overall favorite so that’s who I’m really hoping to see back next week!

      2. Bye Academia*

        FYI the editors made a mistake and you can see one of the Last Chance Kitchen chefs in the background of the finale preview. So unless they are just a helper for the finalist, they are likely the winner.

  31. TheLazyB*

    I posted a few weeks ago about my grandparents dying on the same day and how I couldn’t cry and was finding that really hard. At the end of the open thread I realised that my anti depressants were interfering with my ability to cry.

    I’ve started a very slow wean off the ADs now. I have a plan to get back to my starting dosage by the summer, stay there over the autumn and winter which is a bad time for me, then wean totally next spring. Obviously if I get worse at any stage I will reconsider.

    Anyway, the point is, this weekend there is a family celebration and I’ve travelled down to my parents’ for it. Last night before I left I was thinking ‘hmm, we’re not here for long, it’ll be hard to fit in a visit to my grandparents…. oh’. And I went and said this to my husband, feeling rather flat.

    Then I went and sat on my bed and let the sadness be there, and I managed to have a cry. And I feel so much better for it.

    I feel like this is good progress. I want to be able to cry more, but can be much more patient now I know that I haven’t forever lost my ability to shed years.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      It is good progress. More progress will come soon, I am sure. It sounds like you are on a good path.

  32. oh my...*

    Is there anyone here who has successfully gone from being an unorganized/messy person to actually being organized? I feel like no matter how much I clean, I am never finished. I’ve read various blogs on how to get organized, but nothing on how to STAY organized has helped me.

    Any advice is appreciated!

    1. Lou*

      I have the same problem!! Fwiw I think that for unorganized people, we will clean or whatever and then immediately slack off so in a few days all our stuff is in the floor again instead of putting it right where it needs to go the first time. I dunno. Just my theory. Hasn’t stopped me from being messy yet, though. *stares at disastrous room* I also have way too much stuff.

      1. Kristen*

        I was going to recommend this site as well. I think it’s mostly about spending X number of minutes everyday tidying up. Then taking a few hours on the weekend or whenever is good to do actual cleaning.

        P.S. I do not speak from experience as I have the same problem. :-(

      2. Bibliovore*

        I second “unf*ck your habitat” Gets past the shame and helps put things in a manageable perspective and reasonable time frames. I also create transition time and dump sites. I have a 15 minute time each morning when I put away last nights clean clothes. I have a bedtime routine of laying out tomorrows clothes and packing up the back back and making tomorrow’s breakfast, lunch and taking out stuff from the freezer to defrost.

        Before I leave the kitchen- look behind me- if the dishwasher is clean- I empty and put away. If there are dishes on the side of the sink. In they go.

        Dump site- I do not open mail until I am ready. that does mean that book review packages might be stacked in the living room until Saturday. Bills stay in their envelopes in at the bill bowl. (a big salad bowl)
        Junk mail and catalogs get sorted over the recycling.
        Books- I keep nothing. ( except for current research topics) It either goes to my library for the collection, little free libraries in the neighborhood or community groups. I drop picture and chapter books at the dentist and local urgent care. Anything with a 2016 copyright date is leaving this week.

        Imperfect of course- still trying to figure out why I haven’t tossed 3 moth eaten sweaters. (I vaguely think I am going to remake into a dog sweater) Do I sew? not really. Am I crafty? not really.

      3. Natalie*

        Yes, UFYH is basically how I transformed into a clean person.

        In general, maybe look at articles about how habits are developed. It’s a little harder than just deciding you’re going to do X and doing it. There are concrete steps to follow that help actually build a habit.

    2. Dan*

      You might be confounding words. I don’t necessarily consider clean and organized to be the same thing. If I have a pile of papers on my desk, but I know what’s in the pile, is that unorganized? If everything is arranged such that they appear clean, but I can’t find anything, am I organized?

      1. oh my...*

        I don’t consider clean to equal organized either, but I do think organized includes making it so others can find things on your desk.

    3. TeaLady*

      Yes. I was messy for years – from being a kid to being about 40. Always knew where stuff was (retentive memory) but usually had to dig a path to it.
      What helped:
      I couldn’t call anything done and tick it off the list (mental or physical) unless I had tidied it away afterwards – be that a craft project, dinner, laundry. Which lead to…
      A place for everything and everything in its place … keeping like things together which meant …
      Decluttering. I realised I had clutter/stuff because I was lacking something in my life. Sorted that out and sorted my stuff out which meant it was easier to keep to the new me
      Five minute room rescues. I never let a room get more than 15 minutes worth of messy… and you can do quite a lot in thst time so it gives me leeway
      If I go from room to room, I take something that needs to go elsewhere
      Stop clutter at source – unsubscribe from emails, have a recycle bin where you can put junk mail in without it going on a pile, use a library etc
      You don’t have to do much but do it consistently
      Good luck!
      PS 6 years in and I am still a tidy person. It is a 180 turnaround and yet it feels easy now.

    4. Jean who seeks to be Ingenious*

      Stifled scream. Sister sufferer here and longtime observer of the field of professional organizers. I’ve made the most progress when I’ve been able to identify my weak links and break down my resistance to doing what seems (to me anyway) most helpful in being organized. A few items listed below but YMMV because we all have our own set of vulnerabilities.

      TL;DR: Start small. Stay persistent. It gets easier with practice.

      – Develop good habits: hang up my coat; put yesterday’s newspaper into the recycling basket; always put my keys in the same location; restrict my glasses and cell phone to only two possible locations; before bed, put my worn-all-day socks into the laundry bin; rinse out recyclable containers and set them to air dry as soon as they are empty.
      – Clean up after each activity: put away the gift wrap, ribbons, tape, and scissors; toss the loose threads and put the sewing kit back on the bedroom shelf; get the dinner dishes into the dishwasher even if I don’t run it until the next day.
      – Identify unwanted stuff, without any more delusional dreams such as Finally Making a Lamp from that Ugly Jar and Stack of Dusty Sea Shells. My unwanteds include: junk mail; junk purchases from thrift shops; fabric that will never be transformed into an attractive, useful object; informative articles that are either already outdated or not sufficiently compelling for me to sit down and read them, ever; and far too many papers unreasonably loaded with sentimental associations.
      – Get good at heading it off at the pass: unsubscribe from catalogs; resist picking up random brochures at the library; develop the ability to stare fiercely at some unwanted, unrecyclable, and undonate-able object before putting in into the trash [yes, into the trash].
      – Useful resources: Unf*ckyourhabitat; Cheryl Mendelson’s enormous book about housekeeping; The Slob Sisters (may be out of print); Julie Morgenstern’s works (her first book was Organizing from the Inside Out; Don Aslett’s Clutter’s Last Stand (which has some hilarious passages); and Peter Walsh (Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?). I sometimes read the blog “Clutterbusting” by Brooks Palmer. The Apartment Therapy website also has some useful tips for cleaning and organizing. Neither Marie Kondo nor Flylady fit my style but many others find one or both helpful. These women have very different approaches to the challenge of organizing one’s life.

      If you have the financial means you might also find it helpful to find a professional organizer at www(dot) napo(dot) net or www(dot)challengingdisorganization(dot)org. The organizations behind these websites –the National Association of Professional Organizers and the Institute of Challenging Disorganization–both require their members to maintain professional certification. ICD’s site has a reading list for members of the public. NAPO offers links to education; also, many of their individual members maintain a resources section on their own websites.

      Good wishes and good luck. Here are some decluttering vibes: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    5. Sibley*

      The first thing that seems to help is getting rid of stuff you don’t need. Less stuff = less clutter = easier to keep organized. Even a naturally organized person won’t be able to keep up if there’s too much stuff.

      Try this. Get a box. Go to one area that bothers you. Put everything in the box and put date on the box. Put box in the closet. If you really, really need something from the box, go grab just that item. After a month, open box. That stuff can probably go away. Make it go away. Sell, donate, give to someone, trash. Whatever. Rinse and repeat with the next area.

      Also consider Marie Kondo’s methodology as a way to get started. Works for some.

      1. DeadQuoteOlympics*

        This method worked in our kitchen — we don’t have a lot of cupboard/drawer space and the things we didn’t use were making it difficult to find and store the ones we did use all the time. We put everything that we thought was only an occasional use in clear plastic bins (so we could easily see what was in it) in the basement, and it could only come back if it was actually worth the trip down to find it. An amazing number of objects have been down there, unmissed, for two years now. At some point we’ll donate them. Things that only come out for special occasions (giant roasting pans for turkeys) are in a separate category and are stored out of the way.

        I realized I had a bad habit of buying more multiples than I needed. We use wooden spoons a lot, so more are good, right? Nope — I have five burners, and five spoons are enough. More just makes the utensil crock overcrowded, harder to grab what you need, more to wash, etc. You might check to see if you have habits like that that are contributing to clutter. Another habit that helps with decluttering is going ahead and getting the one really good usable object in any category. Even if it’s more expensive, it’s is a better use of my space and time than several indifferent or slightly unsatisfactory objects that become “too good to throw away.” Worked with knifes and a variety of other utensils, as well as desk supplies and cosmetics. Just buy the Urban Decay palette already, instead of spending almost as much money on supposed dupes that aren’t, and that I don’t use.

    6. danr*

      I’m still a messy person, but I’ve gotten more organized over time. The keys to me were to separate cleaning from organization.

    7. Kate R. Pillar*

      Haven’t done it myself as yet – but found the blog “A slob comes clean” very relatable and hopeful for this issue.
      The writer has a book out now – but if you read from the beginning of her blog, she really started small and you get to experience what worked and didn’t work for her alongside her.

    8. Temperance*

      I’m still in the process, but have honestly been improving a lot. What worked for me is reading “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, “Spark Joy” (the follow up book), and Jolie Kerr’s book about cleaning your dirty house.

      For me, the biggest problem is that clutter makes me stressed, and then I end up in a shame spiral where I’m stressed because of clutter, because I don’t know where to start. Then I have guilt from being disorganized, stress from being unable to do better …. and a filthy house, because I am overwhelmed.

      I broke the shame cycle by working on getting rid of things. That’s why Kondo’s books were so wonderful and helpful. She definitely marches to the beat of her own drummer, but she’s honestly really helped me refocus my thoughts on stuff, even if I didn’t take it to the level she did. (My work clothes and winter boots don’t spark joy, but I need them. I would live in holiday print leggings if socially acceptable.)

    9. LizB*

      I’m in the midst of this kind of journey (and have been for years… starting to think it may be a perpetual journey with no real end point). I’ve found that for me to make any progress, I had to stop kidding myself about what kinds of tools and routines I needed to keep my space neat. I need a schedule, written out and posted on the fridge, of which days are my days to clean the litter box and take out the trash. I need very clearly labeled folders for papers, and a monthly calendar appointment to go through them and toss things I don’t want/file things I do want. I need to empty the dish drainer in the mornings, not the evenings, because that’s the time of day I’ll actually manage to do it. If my boyfriend asks me to clean up something I’ve left out, I need to get up and do it right that second or I’ll forget. I need a hook on the wall of the closet so I’ll actually hang up my coat, because putting it on a hanger is too much effort. I need to use Habitica to gamify my routines and help me build habits. I need to read UFYH to recognize that yes, cleaning is a never-ending process, but doing little bits regularly can be way nicer than big occasional marathons. I sometimes need to have my best friend come over and help me identify trouble spots and re-organize them.

      I resisted these things for a long, long time, because I had internalized the idea that if I was a real adult and a good person, I should just ~be organized~. I somehow missed the fact that organization can require actual effort, especially when your brain has a different standard for “acceptable level of messiness” than the brain of the other person you live with. Now that I’ve (mostly) gotten over that self-judgment, I’m committed to finding ways to make staying organized as easy as humanly possible for me, no matter how weird they might seem. This has been a lot of trial and error, and not every tip from the internet that initially sounded good has actually turned out to be helpful. Sometimes I’ve needed to really think outside the box and do things that seem absurd to others (like my much-neater-than-I boyfriend). I’m still not perfect, but I’m definitely making progress.

    10. TootsNYC*

      I do a lot of thinking about organizing (I used to spend a lot of time on a very active and supportive “organizing the home” forum; it’s not as strong as it used to be). So let me ask you this:

      • Can you function?
      Can you find your keys? Pay your bills? Dig out the paperwork for the furnace when you need it?

      • How out-of-control does your day feel?
      Do you normally get through chores without a lot of lost time, difficulty, etc.?

      • Do you enjoy your days?
      Are you spending your energy in places that make your life good?

      If you can basically function–finding what you need, getting done what really -has- to get done, enjoying your life mostly–you’re organized enough.

      The rest of it is something you can slowly work on improving. Don’t set the bar too terribly high or you risk demoralizing yourself out of -any- improvement.
      Also remember that being completely organized can take a lot of energy. It might not be the place you want to spend that much energy. So you might want to say, “Where’s the place I want to be that is worth the energy it would take me to get there?”

      Also: “organized” can mean different things. Messy people can actually be very organized. (That’s me–I have a lot of clutter, but I can find what I need. The stuff that’s important is where it needs to be.) I look at some organization ideas from Pinterest, and I think they seem like a big waste of time. They don’t look sustainable, they look like they took a lot of work to get them all pretty looking. As inspiration, they’re fine; but that’s not what “organized” looks like to me.

      Also–being organized probably goes in waves for most of us. Right now I’m at a lower point–I have my college-age daughter’s crap in the corners of my apartment, and I don’t know where to put it.
      And I waste some of my time at home dinking around instead of being productive.

      One last thought: Almost all clutter in my home is because of procrastination–an action or a decision deferred. I haven’t decided whether to keep something; I haven’t filed those insurance bills; whatever.

      1. oh my...*

        Yes, I am meticulous about paying bills and being a reliable person. Every once in a while, I can’t find my keys, but that is usually because they fell off a table into a corner!

        For me, it is all about clutter and reducing things that come into my apartment. I have read Marie Kondo’s book and have thrown away a lot of stuff (mostly clothes), but then it backfires because I realize that I don’t have much to wear and go shopping (even though I don’t like to shop). I also watch Hoarders sometimes because it traumatizes me so much, I just start cleaning and throwing things away.

        Thinking about how clutter relates to procrastination is an interesting point… I am sure that a lot of mine is related. That will be important for me.

        Thank you!

    11. TootsNYC*

      Oh, here’s another thing that helped me improve a few years ago.

      On that Organizing the Home forum I talked about above, I got into a bit of a challenge w/ someone about my dining room table.

      We were exploring the idea of a “petri dish” tactic–pick one area, and “grow a culture” of clean there. Then as you maintain that cleared-off spot, the “clean” will hopefully slowly spread across the entire room, like mold in a petri dish.

      I picked the dining room table, and I had a rule: It must be cleaned off before I could go to bed. The first week was hard–stuff kept appearing there. And of course, there was a huge backlog of stuff. And sometimes I’d to to bed without clearing it off.
      Then I’d remember my “friends” on the forum and I’d get back out of bed and put everything away. At the end of the first week I suddenly realized–the clear-off was going FAST! Because it was only one day’s worth of accumulation!

      I also got so that I wouldn’t put stuff on the table, because in the back of my mind, I knew I’d just have to pick it up and put it away in a couple of hours. I’d go put it in the right place in the first place. Pretty soon I’d be clearing off the table in the middle of the evening because it just didn’t look right to me w/ that stuff on it.
      (and now this is going to be my new rule, bcs my table is back to that horrible shape)

      And it did slowly spread across the room.

      The other thing I was able to do was to start really seeing the stuff that kept trying to accumulate there. Before, it was all just a big mass. Once it became a small amount, I was able to truly see those things.
      And I could say:
      -I keep getting bills here–I need a way to deal with bills.
      -Or, The invitations to weddings, or school field trips, keep landing here–info I’ll need in a couple of weeks and never again, so I’ll hang them on a hook by the calendar so I can find them.

      That helped me establish systems that I had proved to myself that I actually needed.

    12. Justme*

      Clean and organized are not the same thing. It sounds like you need help in both.

      I definitely agree with the posters who recommend UFYH. I would stay far far away from FlyLady or Konmari (in general, but definitely at this point in your journey).

  33. The Other Dawn*

    Has anyone here ever sold a house as-is, or know someone who has?

    As you know, I had the Tenant From Hell in late 2014/early 2015. I now have great tenants that pay, and because they pay just below market price, they do their own minor repairs, painting, etc. However, I’m absolutely dying to sell that house because I know it’s going to need a roof and we really don’t have the extra money to pump into the house if anything major happens. Plus, I really hate knowing there’s another property I’m responsible for; I feel like it’s a dark cloud hanging over me most of the time. Problem is that we would barely get enough to pay off the first mortgage (147k) and definitely not enough to also pay off the second mortgage (25k), mainly because of the area it’s in. My thought is to sell it as-is so we don’t have to do any repairs. Yes, we’ll get less money, but we won’t have to shell out 10k-12k for a roof and other possible repairs. I figure we can take a personal loan to pay off the second mortgage, as our credit is improving and we’re paying down our debt.

    Anyone have any tips, caveats, interesting stories?

    (Note: For anyone following the Tenant From Hell saga, she recently tried to friend me on Facebook, and also posted a comment on a cat rescue’s page (I posted a pic of a kitty I got from there) asking how we are. Are you effing kidding me??? I wanted very badly to post something like, “How the F do you think we are, bitch? After you royally screwed your supposed friends and then left your husband to pay the 5k owed to us?” But I didn’t.)

    1. Stellaaaaa*

      Are you sure you can’t replace the roof? Or raise the tenants’ rent a bit once the lease comes up for renewal? In all honesty, it’s not going to be easy to sell a house with a bad roof in an undesirable location unless you go well below your desired price tag. Plus, with the current tenants doing their own maintenance, there are bound to be other issues that pop up in an inspection. You’d be looking for a buyer who doesn’t need to move in right away. Could you have it inspected so you’d have a better idea of what the issues really are?

      1. The Other Dawn*

        When I said repairs, I meant things like changing door knobs (little stuff) and painting. They’re not doing anything major at all. It’s a month-to-month lease.

        I’m thinking I should just go to a realtor and see what they say. Most likely someone looking for an investment property or a starter home might be interested.

    2. It happens*

      You can do it. Essentially, you will be paying for the roof, through a price reduction. Do your preliminary due diligence by looking at comparable sold properties on zillow or the like. Then talk to a realtor. As much as they want a high sales price, they really want to sell quickly. And since the selling realtor agency only gets half the commission (2.5-3%) the speed is more valuable than another $10k. The buyer will do an inspection and if the roof is bad they will ask for a price adjustment. The only wrinkle would be if it’s really bad then the bank may require replacement prior to closing. Sorry that you’re going to have to put cash in to close out the HELOC, that stinks.
      You may want to set a refresh budget – maybe $500 – for the realtor to advise you on what would give you the most bang for the buck to sell quickly, might be fresh paint or even those door knobs…
      (Says the person who put too much $$ into trying to sell a house in a neighborhood with a pretty hard price ceiling…)

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I am seeing similar things here.

        I had to sell my father’s house while it was still in estate. The realtor made two suggestions on repairs. My husband did one at no cost to us and I hired someone to do the other for $900. I had told the realtor that I was willing to do a couple repairs and that was it. I could not do any more. The realtor said these repairs would add 5k to the selling price.
        The problem was the house was not finished, so a lot needed to be done. I have no idea if I got my 5k out of that one. But I do know that the realtor was much more comfortable showing the house, which probably increased the likelihood that it would be sold. It sold in four months which was excellent for that area.

        I think there has to be a little give and take in order to make the sale happen. If the realtor suggests some modest repairs, please consider. Be up front about the roof and other larger repairs. I think that helps too. I told the realtor that I expected him to tell the prospective buyers that there were x, y and z problems which I would not be fixing. Upfront honesty and clarity might help you to make a faster sale.

      2. TootsNYC*

        Essentially, you will be paying for the roof, through a price reduction.


        Many houses are sold as-is.

        I would say, talk to a real estate agent about prices in the neighborhood.
        And get three bids about the roof. It’s probably cheaper to deal with before it goes bad. And they might be able to tell you what sort of life it’s got left in it.

        Plus you might be surprised about what sort of materials or options there are out there for roofs nowadays. Someone online (here?) was talking about some sort of one-piece or solid roof molded to look like shingles.

        Also consider the concept of an allowance.

        If you have a bid for the roof, you could say to a prospective buyer: “Here’s the price, and it includes an allowance of $X for a new roof.” Sometimes buyers don’t have the cash to pay for fixing the roof, but an allowance (where you give them back part of the purchase price in cash or in escrow) lets them roll the cost of the structural fix into their actual mortgage.

        So talk to a real estate agent about options.

    3. Drago cucina*

      No real tips, but commiserations. We actually paid a someone to take over our mortgage on a house in the late 80s. My husband had it before we met and while we were stationed in Europe the renters literally turned it into a crack house. We reimbursed the person for some of the repairs and walked away.

    4. chickabiddy*

      I sold a house as-is (relatively structurally sound but in dire need of upgrades), but I had already been in contact with the buyer and he told me that he would rather make his own choices on his own dime so we agreed on a price that reflected the amount of work he would be doing.

    5. Finny*

      My mother sold her old house as is back in 2006. That house was in horrible shape, and she couldn’t pay the mortgage or handle her third bankruptcy (the first two being my paternal unit’s fault, thanks to losing everything on the stock market in the late 80s, then cleaning her out in the divorce in the late 90s because she trusted him), so she decided to sell through one of those “we buy houses” places.

      Don’t do that if you can help it.

      She got $15,000 total (and signed the mortgage over to them, somehow), $5,00 upon Sale and $10,000 two months later when we moved out. She could’ve gotten twice that if she’d been able to move out in two weeks instead, but no way could she do that, speaking as the person who had to pack most everything for her and watch her call three different charities and two rounds of junk people to get rid of everything else.

      Anyway, I hope there are better ways to sell than what my mother did. It worked, but it was hell live through.

  34. NaoNao*

    I’m going to Dallas tomorrow for a business trip! I’ll be in Irvine, and my mom’s friend is taking me out Sunday (tomorrow) for a little shop and eat, but anything I should try to get to Mon/Tues night? (I leave Wed afternoon).
    I don’t drive by choice, but I can use Lyft or hitch rides with my coworkers who will be there with me, to some extent.

    1. Kate*

      I’m in the dallas area! Ok, for food: Jake’s Hamburgers is a delicious casual restaurant. There are multiple locations, so you could google to see which one is closest. Sushi Zushi has delicious sushi, especially if you like creative rolls. Their menu is huge. For Tex-mex, I highly recommend Chuy’s.
      As far as things to do/see: the Perot museum is really cool, and the dallas aquarium is as well. The George w Bush library is worth a visit (although I know that depending on your political leanings you may not care to see that). The shopping is great here, if that’s something you’re interested in. Fair Park often has musicals, so you could look that up to see if there’s something showing that you might enjoy.

      Hope some of these suggestions helped! Enjoy your visit!

  35. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    Is there a way to turn off text preview for a specific contact, or send texts to a place to look at later (not in main messaging right on top), on an iPhone 6s?

    I have two phone lines and have for a while, because my mom was really angry when I married my wife, and I have a history of gas lighting and emotional abuse with my mom. But in the past three years, we have slowly got along better, and so I would like to drop a phone and give my mom the same number as for my regular stuff. But if she gets mean again, I don’t want to have to see it in my messages a lot, but I don’t want to block her or disable text preview for all texts from anyone either. My grandparents are both really sick and she deals with them and information about how they are.

    1. TL -*

      Can you have her message you on a separate app, like whatsapp or facebook or google hangouts? It’s easier to turn off notifications for an app, I think.

    2. Lore*

      What about setting up a contact group with everyone but her, then setting your phone to “do not disturb” but allow alerts from that group to come through?

    3. Natalie*

      I don’t think that’s technologically possible, unfortunately. You could get a Google Voice # to give her, though, which wouldn’t require you to have a second phone. You can set it up to forward to your one phone or not, your choice.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Yes, I would recommend Google Voice too, more so that you can stop forwarding your mother’s texts (and/or calls) to your phone at any time. I just tested it, and the text did preview in my Android notifications dropdown, but I have all content hidden on the lock screen (Settings>Lock screen and security>Notifications on lock screen) so I didn’t see the content of it when I saw there was a notification. I think there’s a way of setting some contacts as Priority, which means they notify/ring through when the default is to not do so, but I haven’t used that myself so I can’t tell you how it works.

      2. TootsNYC*

        This might be a time for a Google Voice number

        You can set it to forward to your real phone. (and you can call her from your Google Voice account, so she doesn’t get your real number, but you have to be careful to do that)

        And then if she gets mean, you can just tell Google Voice not to forward it at all, and you can go online to read it later.

    4. Lily Evans*

      If you go to messages and select the thread that’s your mom’s and click “details” you can mute the conversation by choosing the “do not disturb” option. Then you should only see them when you open your messages and specifically check for them. I have an iPhone 5 but it’s probably the same or very similar on the 6s.

    5. LCL*

      I googled this using the phrase ‘turn off text preview’ and using auto complete to choose your model. Lots of hits, it will be easy for you to find this info. I couldn’t check for accuracy because I have always had droids.

  36. Kristen*

    I’m not sure if I’m a weirdo, but I strongly dislike talking on the phone. I have to make a phone call to someone I don’t know well to RSVP to a party and I just don’t want to. And this person only provided their landline number so texting is not an option. Although, I could ask someone for their cell phone number to text instead, but that seems weird and maybe unwelcome by the party-thrower.

    Am I alone in my dislike for telephone conversations?

    1. Allypopx*

      I talk to my boss about this a lot. He hates that “people my age” don’t like to talk on the phone, and I point out that with options like texting and emailing, calling people (particularly cold calling people – like calling someone you don’t know) can feel really invasive and out of touch. And because it’s not a normal thing to do anymore I think people develop phone anxiety because it’s not something we have as strong a grasp on norms surrounding.

      Now personally I’ve *always* had really bad phone anxiety even when it was much more common, and have a lot of anxiety in general, so I’m super biased, but I don’t think you’re a weirdo. Even if it’s not an anxiety thing and it’s just a dislike, you’re probably in the growing majority of humans.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I don’t know what your age is, but I know it gets painted as a young-people thing, and I don’t think it is. I really dislike it too, and I’m 43. Used to love it, now hate it. I’m totally fine with the phone when it’s for work (maybe that’s the part that’s different by age?), but socially I find it annoying and inefficient and want you to email (unless you’re my mom, my sister, or my nieces, in which case I will talk to you by phone for hours).

        It’s not a phobia; it’s just a “ugh, why would I do that when we can email or text perfectly well?”

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I am in my mid 50s and I am growing to hate the phone. I used to be a phone person.

          I have to have a hands free if I am going to talk for any length of time. And the phone has to be away from my ear or I get an earache. (Earaches are a bfd in my world.)

          Add in that the voice clarity is horrible now. It used to be so much better. I hate asking a person to repeat themselves. Recently at work a person screamed at me that my customer service was horrible because I kept asking her to repeat herself. I would have felt bad, but in my work we don’t have “customers” per se (wild misunderstanding on her part) and she was screaming instead of following my instructions to speak slower. Louder is not better, it’s actually worse.

          I have a friend who will not take jobs where she must use the phone. She is also in my age group.

        2. Allypopx*

          I can do it for work if I have to, it’s more an inconvenience than a problem. I’d definitely prefer not to in all circumstances though.

          My boss definitely means “people under 35” but I also feel it transcends demographics

        3. AcademiaNut*

          I’m the same age, and I’ve never liked talking to random people on the phone, from the time I was a kid, although I’m better than I used to be. And I’m not a big texter either.

          The point someone made about voice clarity is a big one too. 20 years ago, you talked on a land-line, that was sitting inside, and the person talking to you had limited options about what they were doing while talking. The biggest problem was usually a TV or noisy kids/pets in the background. Now, it’s rare that I manage more than a 15 second conversation without someone needing to repeat themselves a couple of times, because the line is bad, or there’s background noise, and the person on the other end is often distracted because they’re doing something else that needs attention while talking to me, and sometimes the call cuts out for no reason.

          And if you’re not talking to someone immediately, sending an email is much better than leaving a message on voicemail. When answering machines first came in, they were considered amazing because people could leave information when you *weren’t home*. But you still had problems with people who mumbled or talked too fast so you couldn’t understand them, or left long, rambling messages, or didn’t give contact information.

    2. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Nope! I had a job where I HAD to use the phone and oh, I would just sit and stare at it for ages. Wish it would go away. But then I had to force myself and oh it was horrible.

      My family are not big phone talkers, I dont know what it is, but it seems to be hereditary ;). My uncle will let a phone ring because he can’t deal with it either. It took me ages to get a proper cell phone because I dislike the calling bit so much. I tend to have difficulty expressing myself verbally but not writing so I tend to text/email. But sometimes you just have to call for things like the doctor (which is horrible because I never know where to start).

      1. Former Invoice Girl*

        >I had a job where I HAD to use the phone and oh, I would just sit and stare at it for ages.

        This description is perfect. I do the same, then hope that no-one will answer the call, haha.

      2. Kristen*

        If there was a contest for leaving terrible voicemail messages, I would win hands down. I cringe when I’m at work leaving someone a message and I know my co-workers are overhearing me ramble incoherently. So, what I dislike even more than talking on the phone is leaving voicemail messages. Argh!

        I don’t mind calling for appointments and ordering take out, because how the conversation is supposed to happen is pretty set. Eh, I still don’t like it, but it’s more manageable.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Yep. And build a plan before you dial:
            Your name, from Company Name.
            How to contact you.
            Thanks, have a great day! Good bye.

            Even when I did not mind the phone, I still planned out what I would say before I started dialing.

        1. Gaia*

          Worse than leaving a voicemail, I hate listening to voicemails. I won’t do it. I probably have 3+ year old voicemails sitting there unlistened to. I don’t know why I am so irritated by them, but I am. If I don’t answer, hang up and text. I’ll respond. Leave me a vm and you are just going to have to repeat yourself.

          1. Kristen*

            I don’t mind voicemails at work so much, but hate them in my personal life. I think my brother and my best friend are in a competition for leaving the longest voicemails. I think half of the time, I cut them off in the middle and delete them without listening to the rest.

    3. Amy*

      I don’t love it either, to be honest. However, I hold a leadership position in a community group that is made up of mostly older folks who don’t do well with email or texting so I’ve had to do a lot of talking on the phone for that reason. What works for me is writing a to-do list that includes “Call so-and-so.” The pleasure of actually crossing something off my to-do list > the pleasure of avoiding making the phone call, at least for me, so that motivates me to just get it done.

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Here’s a great Slate article about this:



      “Calling somebody on the phone used to be a perfectly ordinary thing to do. You called people you knew well, not so well, or not at all, and never gave it a second thought. But after the Great Texting Shift of 2007, a phone call became a claim of intimacy. Today if I want to phone someone just to chat, I first have to consider whether the call will be viewed as intrusive. My method is to ask myself, “Have I ever seen this person in the nude?” The sighting doesn’t have to be (indeed, seldom is) recent. Nor is it necessary that I remember it. I need only deduce that, sometime or other, I must have seen this person naked. That clears phone calls to a wife or girlfriend, to children, to parents, to siblings, to old flames, to former roommates from college, and very few others.”

      Also, a good NYT piece:


      1. Mimmy*

        I’ve had phone anxiety since well before 2007, but it makes sense as to why dislike of talking on the phone seems to have increase in general.

      2. So Very Anonymous*

        I am older than Alison, and I will talk on the phone for hours with my mom, and there are several old friends I’ll have long conversations with. But — except for calling my mom and dad — I have always been terribly shy about calling people, and I am absolutely horrible at cold calling and will do anything not to do it. Not to get political, but all the pressure lately to “call your representatives!!!!!1!!!1!!1! email doesn’t count!” makes me feel like the most uncitizenly person ever because noooooooope. Can’t do it. With friends I feel like I am intruding, and have felt like that for long before 2007, though I remember having long phone conversations with friends all the time in my teens and 20s (and I miss that!). Now it’s just that much worse, because I feel like I’m intruding on even the people I do have phone conversations with (except for my mom ;) )

        1. Temperance*

          You can fax, too! There are free websites where you can fax online.

          I will call my reps, but it’s Pat Toomey who doesn’t answer his phone anyway, so I’m not sure I count.

          1. So Very Anonymous*

            I’ve been faxing, yes! I’m so much more comfortable writing than talking on the phone — FaxZero has been my salvation!

      3. Cath in Canada*

        I think this is why I don’t mind Skyping, even though I hate talking on the phone in general: I have to pre-schedule a Skype call (I don’t have the app on my phone, just my laptop) so I know I’m not intruding, and people can’t Skype me unexpectedly (I only log in when I have a call scheduled).

        1. ..Kat..*

          I hate Skype. I don’t know if it is the lighting, the angle of the camera or what. But Skype makes me look ill, hungover, and 20 years older.

          1. So Very Anonymous*

            I hate Skype too. I hate Skype interviews with a passion — would much rather have a phone interview instead.

    5. Cookie D'Oh*

      I’m on conference calls all the time for work, but in my personal life I prefer texting over calling. I’ll talk to my mom and husband on the phone, but I rarely just call anyone to chat. We will have a landline and my in-laws will usually call that number. Sometimes if I’m home alone, I’ll let the machine pick it up. They’re nice people, but I don’t always feel like making small talk with them.

      I used to be more anxious with making calls to businesses and such and I used to make notes about what I wanted to say so I didn’t get flustered. I love restaurants that have online ordering so I don’t have to call for carry out.

    6. Temperance*

      I hate talking on the phone once I’m out of work. I’ll happily do conference calls, call people, etc. all day at work, but I feel like my time is my time, and calls eat into that. I talk to my 4-year-old niece on the phone, and we both love that, but she’s the only one.

    7. LizB*

      I hate phone calls, and have my entire life. When I was in elementary school I would break down into tears when my mom tried to get me to call my uncle (who I saw regularly and had a good relationship with) to sell him girl scout cookies. I now have a job that often requires calling strangers on the phone, so I’ve learned to force myself through the anxiety, but it’s definitely still there. If I go a couple of days without having to call anyone, it’s super hard to start up again when I have to make another call. My favorite colleagues are the ones who prefer that I email them instead of calling.

    8. caledonia*

      I can do it for work but I never call anyone personally. Sometimes at work i prefer it over email because I get email overload.

      I am just not that type of person where I would call someone up, even my closest friends.

    9. Mimmy*

      You are not a weirdo at all! :) I too don’t like talking on the phone very much either, which for me goes back to the 1990s, well before electronic communication really took off. As a kid, I LOVED talking on the phone with my friends (sometimes a little too much, lol). I think my change of heart is tied to some negative experiences, both personally and at a couple of failed receptionist jobs.

      Anyway – I think I’m more comfortable talking to people on the phone when I’ve met them in person. It’s so strange – I’ve been talking with an HR rep on the phone all week for a new job, and my impression was somewhat unfavorable. But then when I met with her yesterday, my impression drastically changed.

      I always dreaded phone calls at work – you have no idea who’s calling, what the situation is, and how the interaction will go. What’s funny is that I also dread what I call “personal business calls”, like making an appointment with a doctor for the first time, or having to call what’s likely a call center, e.g. customer service issues. So I feel it on both sides!

    10. Canadian Natasha*

      You are definitely not alone!
      I have hated talking on the phone for my entire life. It was phobia-level bad when I was a kid to the extent that I’d be driven to tears if I had to make a phone call (even something as simple as calling the library to see if my book was in). I’ve gotten a bit better now but I still mostly avoid using the phone for calls unless it’s absolutely necessary. And I screen my calls instead of answering everything.

      Funnily enough, I answer the phone as part of my work and that isn’t a problem. I think the uncertainty of where the conversation is going and the struggle to understand the caller without visual cues is worse when it’s a personal call; office calls are a known quantity where I have a limited number of questions I’ll be asked.
      I also find that the buzzing noise a live phone line makes is really uncomfortable.

    11. Mephyle*

      I have always been shy (scared, nearly-phobic) of making phone calls when I don’t know who is going to answer the phone. I am in my late 50s in age.
      I am ok once I get past the awkwardness of asking who it is, and connecting with the person I want to talk to. Once that’s over I can enjoy talking.
      Here is a tip for doing things you don’t want to: be an actor and play the part of the person who just… does the thing. It’s a mental framing for getting you to a point where you “just do it” even though you don’t want to.
      Heh, I should take my own advice.

    12. Drago cucina*

      Oh no, not alone. I’m almost 60 and dislike talking on the phone. I like getting voicemails where I can say exactly what I need and not have to chat. It’s even better when I can leave my email to send info to.

    13. Gaia*

      On this tangent, my phone is always silenced. Not even on vibrate. Hearing notifications (or even seeing the blinking light) feels like a massive intrusion. I can’t say for sure when this started – I used to see it as just another thing – but the last week I’ve had my phone ringer on and it is so jarring. I am glad to have it off again.

    14. OfficePrincess*

      I’m another who hates talking on the phone. I used to chat with friends all the time and had no issues making other calls until I spent a year working in a customer service call center. By the time I left, I was having panic attacks regularly. Now I hate the phone. I have to use it a bit for work in my current job. Most of the time I can manage ok, but I still have days where I screen my calls. Outside of work I really only talk to my mom and my husband when he’s out of town. I do as much as possible via text and email etc. My doctor’s office now allows requesting an appointment online, which has been a huge relief. Your RSVP scenario would be a huge challenge for me and you have my sympathy.

    15. Cath in Canada*

      I just came back from walking 10 minutes each way to the store and back in the freezing cold. I offered to do this if my husband called to order take-out. He thinks I got the better deal. Sometimes we play a game of backgammon or cribbage to decide who has to make a phone call.

      So no, you’re not alone :)

      1. OfficePrincess*

        Ugh calling for takeout. We hardly ever get pizza since our favorite place doesn’t have a website. Sometimes we’ll place the order in person then go for a walk around the neighborhood while we wait and then bring it home instead of calling.

      2. Hattie McDoogal*

        My husband and I have this deal too. To sweeten the pot I will usually pay for the -out in addition to walking to get it.

      3. Sydney Bristow*

        My husband and I both hate it. If Seamless didn’t exist, we might starve.

        I hate talking on the phone because I can’t read the person on the other end and it makes me feel so awkward. I feel like I interrupt them because I can’t tell if they are about to say something. I don’t mind video chatting because it allows me to see them. Plus it is normally scheduled in advance, even if it’s just a text a minute in advance.

        I used to have jobs that were heavy on phone use and didn’t really have a problem. My aversion has developed more over the past few years.

  37. Amy*

    Thanks to everyone who gave me advice on first-time-home-buying and inspections last week! I was particularly concerned about our then-upcoming lead inspection because we have a young baby.

    Fortunately we’ve completed all our inspections and there’s nothing horribly wrong with the house. The lead test came back clean (huge sigh of relief!) and the house is structurally sound with a good roof and foundation. However, we’re probably going to have to work on updating/replacing un-fun stuff before we can get into doing the more fun renovations. It turns out the furnace is from the 70’s, the hot water heater is from the 90’s, the garage door opener and garbage disposal are both ancient and janky, and the deck in the backyard is rotten and needs to be removed (we’re not planning to replace it). None of that was a big surprise to us and can be remedied, but it’s going to eat up funds we’d also like to use to update the kitchen, paint the exterior of the house, landscape the yard, and do some general cosmetic updates around the house (it’s owned by an elderly couple who haven’t done a ton of updating). We also didn’t notice the house doesn’t have central AC – for some reason we just assumed it did, our bad – and my husband wants to get that installed. Despite needing a fair bit of updating it’s a nice house in a nice neighborhood and the layout is perrrrfect for our family.

    Our realtor is going to try to leverage the inspections to get the sellers to take some money off the agreed-upon price for the necessary updates, but I’m skeptical they’re going to go for it. We’re pretty unlikely to walk away from the sale at this point and I think they know it. Has anyone been able to do this successfully? Any tips?

    (Also, it was super awkward having the sellers lurking around during the home inspection. Our realtor wasn’t happy about it and told us we’d be within our rights to ask them to take off for a few hours, but we didn’t feel comfortable kicking them out of their house. They seem like nice people, but ughh… why would you want to hang around listening to everyone talk about everything that’s wrong with your home?)

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      Yay to no lead!

      Have you had any luck finding a less expensive surveyor?

      Honestly, even though we bought for-sale-by-owner, and our realtor had to explain to them that giving us money off for repairs didn’t mean the money came out of their pocket, they were willing enough to give us $1500 off to do the two things that needed done to bring it up to code. It’s not just that you might back out- the bank might back out for safety issues- like the deck.

      1. Amy*

        Oh, that’s good to know – thanks! There actually are some unsafe elements (hot pipes too close to insulation, rotten decking, wiring done with extension cords, etc.) so we might be able to get some money off for that.

        We ended up deciding not to survey it, at least for now. It’s just too expensive given everything else we need to do. We decided to fence off a smaller portion of the yard that will be more frequently in use and leave the rest open, and we don’t really need to know the exact property lines for that.

        1. danr*

          You should be able to find out who did the original survey. Ask the surveyor if the survey can be certified instead of re-surveyed. Someone will still come out to the property to make sure that nothing has changed, but it’s a lot cheaper than a full new survey. You’ll need copies of the survey for the bank loan and the new deed. If there are dangerous items that need to be corrected for the sale, you might ask the homeowners to get estimates for the work and put money from the sale into an escrow account held by the realtor or attorney (if you use one) to be used for the repairs. We did that when we sold our old house. There where some major repairs that needed to be done and taking the cost away from the buyers sealed the sale.

          1. Jessesgirl72*

            We didn’t have to have anything surveyed to buy. The bank just did it by “lot xxx” as recorded by the County.

    2. Really*

      Since you are replacing the furnace as well as adding A/C you may have some options like a heat pump that will take care of both. As far as the hot water heater goes as long as it works I say don’t mess with it right now. Mine is almost 34 years old.

      1. danr*

        If your heating is forced hot air, adding AC will not be a problem. If it isn’t hot air, you’ll need to consider other options. And look for ads from heating/cooling companies. There may be good deals for new and upgrade installations in the spring or early summer.

  38. Jessen*

    So, does anyone have any tips for saving on travel, preferably without adding too much extra time to the trip (because taking time off costs money too)? I’m trying to make a long-distance relationship of about 700 miles turn into a meeting. Key point is we’re not ok with staying directly with each other, so whoever isn’t in their hometown is going to need a hotel too.

    1. NaoNao*

      AirBnB or Couch Surfing, or if you’re under 25 and in a major metro area, hostels, might work
      Does either of you have a friend that might be okay with a couch surfer or guest for the weekend?
      Places like Econolodge or “hi-way rest motel” type places might work if you’re both out and about all day and only need a place to sleep. In my hometown, there are a few decent motels that are 40$ a night–they’re a bit bare bones (door opens onto the main room, no tub, only shower, stuff like that) but they could work if you’re okay with that.

      If it’s possible, Amtrack is often 1/3 of the cost of flying and it will only add a couple hours to the trip (and considering the pre flight stuff that you need to fly, it may even be roughly equal)
      If you’re in a major metro area and going to another major area, sometimes there’s “limited stops” Greyhounds or other buses that are *so cheap*. That may add a half day or more to your trip, though.

      When you arrive, stock up on small portable edibles, like granola bars, string cheese, fruit, etc. Use those for lunch and snacks, since breakfast, brunch and dinner are usually the most “fun” meals to eat out.
      If you’re not staying with the other person fully but visiting, consider having a meal or two at home and then when it’s time to say goodnight, part ways.

      Usually the area’s alternative weekly/arts weekly will have a list of free or low cost items to do
      Be a tourist in your own town, whichever one stays home. Go to the local main branch library, walk the parks, check out free or low cost days at the museums, go to the most popular diner, etc.

    2. Mela*

      Seconding staying with friends, pack travel snacks ahead of time so you’re not wasting money on that– fruit, nuts, bars, etc. I use old, washed out food containers for things that need support like the cut fruit and then just toss in a bin when I’m done with it.

      Hostels aren’t only for young folks anymore, and would work especially if you plan on spending most of your time together but just want to sleep separately or have the option to go to your own space.

      At 700 miles, can you both drive/bus and meet somewhere new in the middle? 350 miles is a 5-6 hour drive, and can be done on a Friday night.

      If you’re flying, the best thing is to be flexible on dates/times. If you’re going for a 2-4 day weekend, try Spirit or SouthWest or any of the airlines that charge for checked bags and then don’t check one. If you’re thinking closer to 5 days, then you can try for mid-week to mid-week (Wed-Mon, or Thurs-Tues for example). Surprisingly, Saturday flights out are sometimes a good deal because most people don’t want to waste the weekend.

      What I do if budget is tight, I make a spreadsheet with all the different combinations. In your case, you can put in sections for cost of time off work, transport (basic fares), extra transport costs (extra baggage fees, cost of getting to airport, if you flight gets in after the subway shuts down, you might have to take a cab), housing, food, etc.

      What a lot of my friends in LDR do is split costs by having the host person treat for activities/food etc. So if you’re the one going to your person, then they feed you and entertain you on their dime, and vice versa.

  39. Turanga Leela*

    I just filed my taxes and it feels SO GOOD. I feel like a weight has been lifted. I am getting a refund (yay!), but more than that, I’m done with something I’ve been putting off. And I finally looked at my retirement and long-term savings accounts, and they’re a little better than I thought they were.

    Just needed to share. :)

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      I did mine last week- as soon as the 1099 SA was available to download. I always try to get them done as fast as I can, and over with for the year. We owe the IRS and the state owes us more than we owe the IRS, so it evens out.

    2. Cookie D'Oh*

      I just sat down a the computer to get started on mine. Then I decided to hop on over here for just a bit. I use Turbo Tax so it’s not even that difficult. I just need to get it done. Thanks for the reminder about how good it feels when it’s done!

    3. Elizabeth West*

      I did mine last week. Got my state back already. Felt good to get it done–I use FreeTaxUSA and my stuff is fairly non-complicated. Except next time I might have a penalty because I don’t have healthcare right now, except for being on a program at the doctor’s office (I don’t think that counts).

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        I feel you! I use Free Fillable Forms and mine have always been super easy, but I had no health insurance for 11 months last year, and figuring out the fine seems really complicated.

        FWIW, I tried to get on the ACA but they told me I didn’t make enough money to qualify for any plans. I got kicked off my parents plan a year early, and I was too embarrassed (and proud) to try for Medicaid.

        So now to figure out how much I owe, or if I can get an exemption.

        1. Turanga Leela*

          This year, if you live in a Medicaid expansion state, definitely sign up for Medicaid! It’s not a matter of “try for”; everyone who lives in an expansion state and meets income requirements gets it.

          I know it’s easy to feel funny about using “public assistance,” but look at it this way: if you buy a house, no one tells you not to deduct the interest on your mortgage. If you have a child, no one tells you not to list them as a dependent on your taxes. These are all part of the social safety net, and there’s no more shame in using Medicaid than in taking a tax deduction.

    4. fposte*

      Oh, I’m jealous! I don’t even think I’ve gotten all the statements I need. Oh, well, I’m getting there.

    5. Damn it, Hardison*

      That’s terrific! I usually get mine done early but this year I have to have someone else do them for me. I sold stock which I’ve never done and have no idea what to do with all of the forms I got. I have a bad feeling that I owe money this year.

    6. hermit crab*


      We did most of ours today (still waiting on one document). I have come to the conclusion that a long-distance relationship is a piece of cake; it’s filing taxes when you don’t live in the same state as your spouse that’s the problem.

      1. Lady Kelvin*

        Our solution to that was to make sure one of us lived in a state with no income tax. Then we just figured out how much his AGI was by doing a mock “married but filing separately” and did his state taxes with those results. Makes life easier.

        1. hermit crab*

          Haha, that sounds like the way to go. In trying to figure out the best way to file, we have done mock versions of every possible joint/separate permutation (one of the states requires you to use the same status as federal, but the other doesn’t, and it has not only joint and separate but a mysterious “Married, Filing Separately on a Combined Return” status). This should be our last year of all that, thankfully!

    7. Sydney Bristow*

      I finished mine 2 weeks ago. Already received my federal refund and waiting for the state one.

      I love getting it all done and out of the way as early as possible. My husband is the opposite, but luckily we file separately because of my student loans that are on IBR.

    8. Justme*

      I’m waiting on the IRS to look at mine. Wednesday I think? I filed before January was over. Yay for EITC.

  40. Sunflower*

    Am I crazy to move out of the country(US) considering I’m a very limited traveler?

    I’ve only been out of the country a few times to the Caribbean and once to Europe. I’ve traveled a decent amount domestically(and alone) for work. I have wanted to leave my current city for a while(where I grew up) but instead of moving somewhere else inside the US, I’m strongly leaning towards Australia(I’m eligible for the temp work visa program) with a month or two stop SE Asia. I’ve done quite a bit of research and while I’d love to live somewhere in Europe or possibly SE Asia, it feels like Australia might be the best bet for me. I don’t know when another ‘good time’ for this will show up’ – I have no commitments or assets to manage, I’m already planning to move and possibly change job industries.

    I have a feeling I’m just scared because I’m comparing myself to others. I feel intimidated that there are people with multiple international trips under their belt and they still live here and I have one and feel pretty okay about doing this? I came from a family that doesn’t really travel so I know it will take a bit to gain their support. I’ve talked to one friend about this(who travels a good amount) and she’s confident I can do it. I’m nervous my friends, who I’ve always leaned on as my support system, will think I’m crazy and not experienced enough for this.

    1. Apollo Warbucks*

      Not crazy at all I went over there on a temp work visa and loved it. I’d only just turned 18 and had done no travelling by myself.

      I was terrified when I get to the airport to fly out but I’m so glad I did it.

    2. TL -*

      I’m moving to New Zealand in 4 months and I’ve never been across an ocean before, only Mexico and Canada and a few Caribbean islands. :) other people have figured this out and I will too.

    3. Rob Lowe can't read*

      When I joined Peace Corps, most of my training class of ~30 people had spent some time abroad (living, studying, etc.) before going, but there were – I think – 3 people who had never been outside the U.S. before they landed in our host country. (Maybe it was 2, maybe 4, it was something like that.) They all lasted the full 2.5 years, while some others who had spent 6 months to a year abroad previously did not. I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but it can be done!

    4. Mela*

      What might help is realizing that a move abroad and a 2 week vacation are very, very different. Vacations don’t help as much as you’d think. The best thing travel does is allow you to question your assumptions about things, but vacation assumptions are different than expat assumptions. Maybe general traveling, as in navigating airports, ground transport, etc. and foreign language if applicable, but really it’s totally different. Vacation is all about ensuring a good experience, whereas moving is all about creating a life. I’ve lived in 4 countries on 3 continents and what helped get better was each move, not the travel I was doing in between. (Exception for packing practice, travel has made me a MUCH better packer and those skills are invaluable.) Your best bet is to just read a LOT about Australia (there are soo many resources for that visa) and start prepping early on.

    5. katamia*

      Do it now. It’s easier when you don’t have those commitments. (Or so I’ve heard; I still don’t have those commitments and am planning to go overseas again late 2017 or early 2018–I took a job in Taiwan for part of 2015 and have been desperate to go abroad again ever since I got back to the US.) Not everyone regrets not traveling, but from what you’ve written here, it sounds like you would regret it if you didn’t.

      There are going to be days that really suck, days when you can’t figure out how to do X at a bank or when you desperately want to be home or any of 50 million other things. THIS DOES NOT MEAN LEAVING WAS A MISTAKE. People have bad days no matter where they are.

      I don’t know your friends or whether they’ll actually think you’re crazy for doing this, but part of being a friend is supporting your friends when they do something that you think is crazy, as long as it’s benignly so (which traveling is).

  41. Making New Friends*

    I’ve realized I have a hard time forming relationships with people—whether dating or friendship. I have a few friends but I don’t seem to form bonds with people the way others do. I’ve always blamed being introverted on it but I think it’s more my personality. I get anxious and I say and do the wrong things or don’t do the right ones. I come off in a bad way. People don’t like me; they don’t dislike me but they don’t like me. What comes naturally to others doesn’t to me. Can anyone recommend books are websites to help with this?

    1. NaoNao*

      Captain Awkward and the forum “Friends of Captain Awkward” might really help. There are SO many people who this is an issue for!

      1. NotAFan*

        I’d avoid Friends of Captain Awkward, I found it to be a very judgemental and unwelcoming environment.

      2. Rahera*

        Another vote for Captain Awkward, who has tons of very constructive things to say on this very subject. :)

    2. The Other Dawn*

      UGH this is SO me. I’ve always thought it was just me who felt this way, that I don’t seem to bond with most people. I mean, I feel a bond with some of my very immediate family, my husband and cats, and maybe my best friend (although it’s not nearly as strong as it was years ago). But that’s pretty much it. I have a few other friends, but I tend to feel like if they disappeared tomorrow I wouldn’t even think much about it. That sounds terrible, but it’s true. And I’m sure that’s part of why I have a problem making friends. I just don’t make an effort because I don’t *feel* like making an effort.

      So, I’d love to hear what others have to say/recommend.

      1. Cookie D'Oh*

        I’m the same way and I can totally relate to what you said about not making an effort. I can be friendly with people and make small talk, but I don’t have strong bonds with a lot of people. There’s very few people in life where I feel like I really connect.

        I’m introverted, but I do enjoy social situations and meeting new people as long as I have alone time to recharge. My husband is the opposite and is quite extroverted and friendly. Most of my social interaction comes from hanging out with his friends.

        I don’t have very many friends of my own, but I’m not doing anything to change that. I’m comfortable with things as they are. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

      2. MissGirl*

        I actually do make an effort and want to keep and hold friends. I want more people around me but am at a loss as to how to do this. I’m always on the outside looking in and it’s incredibly lonely

    3. Sunflower*

      Is it that you have a hard time forming the relationship at all or a difficult time forming a meaningful, deep bond with someone?

    4. Turanga Leela*

      The Doctor Nerdlove website is a great resource for learning how to meet people and develop social skills.

    5. Kj*

      I can tell you what has helped me. First off, having something to do with people I’m trying to be friends with. I hate socializing with no focus; board game nights, crafting, movie nights help me as there is something other than the pressure in my head. Second, husband and I lean on each other in social situations. We do better socializing together and having a safe person makes me more confident. Do you have an SO, sib or friend who you can lean on? My brother used to do stuff with me when we lived in the same city and that was nice. Third, can you pick one person or one other couple to be friends with? That way you can focus on seeing them biweekly or monthly which builds the relationship so it is comfortable. Sometimes it is about seeing the other person enough to build rapport. It sucks when you are starting, but when it comes to friends, I’ve learned I just have to do stuff with folks regularly and that is the only way I make friends.

    6. Anony Mouse*

      I struggle with this a lot too. Though in my case I (think I) am OK at making acquaintances and at least not actively making people hate me (I hope), but I have a hard time developing any deeper bonds with people, and I constantly worry about putting people off. I nth the Captain Awkward and Dr. Nerdlove recommendations.

  42. Anon for this*

    Random friend question: how hung up do you get about who initiates friendship activities? I have a friend who I’ve known for a few years – we weren’t super close to start but became closer when my dad was sick and passed away last year and I was super stressed. We see each other every few weeks, I guess, and stay in touch in between. The problem I’m having is that I am always the one who suggests plans, like brunch or drinks or whatever. She always accepts my invitations and we have a good time hanging out but she never invites me out. She also never starts a text conversation but if I do, she replies pretty quickly and is cordial and friendly. We don’t have any mutual friends so the only time we would hang out is if we make plans with each other.

    I guess it’s just the pattern we’ve gotten into, but I’m getting tired of always being the one making the effort, and also wondering if she actually doesn’t care all that much about the friendship and I should just let it die on the vine. I suffer from mild social anxiety and it’s hard to always be the asker. If she gave me soft no, or didn’t reply I would have quit trying by now but she doesn’t, so I don’t really understand what’s going on.

    Tl;Dr friend never initiates plans, am i putting too much emphasis on who asks/texts who first?

    1. LizB*

      This sometimes bugs me too with a few of my friends, but I also have social anxiety so I’m not a good judge of whether it’s a reasonable feeling or not! :) A few things I think about:
      – Because I’m anxious, it takes a lot of effort for me to start a conversation or suggest an activity… and it’s totally possible that someone I’m friends with would also have some social anxiety (whether they realize it or not), and maybe they feel relieved that I’m so proactive about maintaining the connection.
      – With some friends who have this issue, I’ve noticed that if I’m suggesting things super frequently, I find the lack of reciprocal suggestions annoying, but if I scale back a bit and only invite them to do stuff every once in a while, I don’t mind that I’m always the initiator. I’ve also noticed with one friend in particular that once I did this, I was much more relaxed about our friendship, and she actually started texting more frequently, possibly because of the change in attitude.
      – Even if I am more emotionally invested in a friendship than my friend is, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It doesn’t mean my friend is a bad person, it doesn’t mean I’m unloveable, it doesn’t mean we can’t have a good every-once-in-a-while friendship. I can think critically and realistically about my friendships without attaching a ton of judgment to the conclusions I draw. (Therapy, mindfulness, and meds for my depression has helped enormously with this.)

    2. Lady Julian*

      Oh, lord. I am nearly always the one who initiates, in pretty much all my friendships.

      And yeah, it does get annoying after a while. I know my friends care for me, but seriously? Is it too much to ask that *you* invite *me* to coffee once, instead of me having to reach out first? I know this isn’t true, but it makes me feel not cared for when I’m always the one doing the initiating.

      That said, IMO some people are just the kind of people who do the asking, while other people get asked. You’re either one or the other. I’m an asker. So are my parents; when they want to get together with couples, they ask. My close friend R. gets asked, on the other hand. This is just the way it works. Don’t get discouraged!

    3. NicoleK*

      I totally understand how you feel. I’ve stayed in touch with former colleagues from previous jobs. But it’s always me who is reaching out to them. It does get annoying but I try to focus on the end result.

    4. katamia*

      If you otherwise enjoy seeing this person and you think she enjoys seeing you, I think you should try to let it go and just, like Nicole K said, focus on the end result. If it’s feeling like a chore to keep the friendship going, I’d say scale back to the point where it doesn’t.

      1. Anon for this*

        Thank you very much for taking the time to reply. I think in particular the point that it’s OK to have different levels of investment in the relationship was useful food for thought. I don’t think the situation is bothering me because it’s a chore, so much as I want her to do something proactive to show that our relationship is important to her. But maybe a way to reframe that is to decide that I’ll willingly do whatever I think is required for the relationship in line with its importance to me, and let go of everything else. In some ways that feels empowering, but in others it feels like I’m accepting that she’s not going to invest any effort, and part of me feels I am worth more than that and it would be a better use of time and energy to invest in people who will reciprocate more. Adulting, it’s so hard :)

    5. Overeducated*

      How does she react when you aso or hang out? I used to be more of the usual asker until the combination of new job and family stuff just took up so much mental space that I am now finding it harder to plan ahead for social stuff. So I have noticed some of my friends are now doing a lot more heavy lifting in the asking department. I haven’t managed to change the dynamic yet but when they do ask, and we do get together, I try to remember to explicitly thank them and let them know I appreciate their reaching out.

      If your friend is happy to hear from you, that might just a be your dynamic right now and you can take pride in being a good friend to her. If she acts like she doesn’t really care, that’s different. Either way, if you want to pull back it’s totally up to you, just saying that you could read this as a good thing about you rather than a bad thing about her if you wanted to continue as is.

    6. MoodyMoody*

      I’m the other side of this. I rarely if ever initiate anything. I feel that I’m intruding on their life and that anyone who would want to hang out with me will ask. Otherwise, I’m not welcome. Maybe your friend is like that too. I don’t know your friend, so it may be different.

    7. Lily Evans*

      I had a friend like this in college and it got to the point where I had a lot going on and was tired of initiating everything, so I decided to just wait until she invited me to hang out. I never heard from her again outside of the club we were both in. I was kind of bummed, but at the same time I also have social anxiety and it was nice to have the weight of single-handedly maintaining our friendship off my shoulders. Now I have some friends who aren’t part of a larger group and I don’t see all that often but it’s about even for how often I’m the asker versus the askee and it’s nice.

    8. Jenn.Barber-ProcessQueen*

      Try not to feel bad if she is receptive to your texts and invites. If she wasn’t interested in your friendship, she wouldn’t be responding at all.
      I am terrible about not initiating and it’s not because the person(s) isn’t important to me. Between a crazy work schedule and a hard to treat sluggish thyroid; I am currently a space cadet who will forget anything without a calendar alert. I’ve gotten better about putting pre-scheduling reminders especially for invites involving my siblings and best friend but “saying” that out loud sounds weird so I’m probably one of a few who does that…

    9. TootsNYC*

      I have a friend who almost never calls me. I think of her as my best friend.

      After I realized that she hadn’t called me at all when one of her brothers died–not for comfort or to share, or even to notify me–I was starting to wonder if maybe I was pushing myself in where I wasn’t wanted (after years!), and that I realized–she was the one who made an effort to visit me. I’d visit her easily bcs she lived in my parents’ city, but she was the one who’d make a bigger effort to come to see us.

      I think if you’re starting to notice it, it’s time to deal with it.
      You might consider saying, “I notice I’m the one who contacts you. I don’t want to be putting you on the spot, and I don’t want to be pushing myself in where I’m not wanted. I’d really like it if you’d start the conversation now and then.”

      And then–leave room for her to do so!

    10. Blackout*

      I have huge issues with anxiety, and until very recently, I almost always relied on other people to ask me to do things. I’m getting much better at being the one in initiate plans, but I’m very grateful that my friends did as much asking as they did over the years. So try not to judge your friend too harshly (although I’m sure it’s very frustrating at times) ; you don’t know what might be going on in her head.

      1. Anon for this*

        Thank you everyone for commenting. You’re given me a lot to think about and I’m grateful. Have an awesome week!

  43. The Other Dawn*

    I’m happy to say that I’ve finally tamed the diet beast! Something just clicked last week. Probably the fact that I was three weeks away from surgery and didn’t want to let myself down by not losing the few extra pounds.

    I’ve been on track nearly 100%. Yesterday I was a bit over in calories, but it was my anniversary. We went to see John Wick Chapter 2 and then out to dinner. I brought a bottle of water and a protein granola bar to the movie and didn’t buy any popcorn!! I ate a few of hubby’s animal crackers, but not even a full serving. Dinner was the bunless gorgonzola burger with a side of caesar salad. I ate a bit of the tater tot poutine (yes, it’s as delicious as it sounds) and that’s it.

    Also, about a week and a half ago I went to have my RMR tested. I was worried that the gastric bypass and subsequent massive weight loss had messed up my RMR (it happens frequently). Many people report having an RMR of like 1,100 calories, which is really low even for a WLS patient. Turns out I burn 2,100 calories at rest, which is awesome. That means that once I lose the last few pounds and have surgery, I can maintain my weight by eating about 1,900 to 2,000 calories. That’s a lot of food for me, as long as I stick to high protein/low carb. The person who administered the test said it’s so high because of the muscle I’ve built through strength training. Had I not done that, it may have been much lower. All in all, it was a confirmation that 1,200 calories is exactly what I should be eating up until surgery in order to lose the last few pounds.

    I’m down about 7 pounds in the last two weeks. I have to say, it’s funny how sticking to one’s diet actually causes weight loss. ;)

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Aw, thanks so much! It was very hard the first few days, but I finally feel in control. I feel relaxed, in control, and not in my head so much. Whenever I’m not doing well on my diet I’ve noticed I feel a constant disquiet. Not sure if that’s the right word to describe it. I feel a constant need to snack, to fill the void. But I’m feeling good now.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yeah, I don’t eat that much at a time, but I’m trying to eat BETTER. And get off my ass more, LOL. Soooo many tempting treats, and not all of them are sweets! But I did get more frozen fruit for smoothies, mmm. Now if I could just wean myself off the salami and stuff like that…..

    1. Jersey's mom*

      Congratulations !!

      I’m also watching food intake to lose weight, and I’ve found that I have more energy and feel so much better about myself.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Yes! 2/27. It’s slightly more than two weeks away and it’s becoming real now. It was kind of A Thing In The Distance until now. Yes, I knew I was doing it and planning for it, but it now feels more real. I’ve been cooking and using the Food Saver so we’ll have food that week. Don’t get me wrong, hubby is great, but I really don’t want to live on hot dogs, chili and burgers all week. LOL And I also don’t want to live on Greek yogurt either, although I do enjoy it for breakfast with dry roasted peanuts mixed in.

    2. hermit crab*

      That’s awesome! It’s so cool to hear that weight training has such an effect. I’m also super curious about my own RMR now. I wonder if I could just get it tested for no reason, or if it would be too expensive – did you have it done at your regular doctor’s office?

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I went to a nutritionist and it was 50.00. She sells a la carte so it was easy to do just that. And you don’t need a reason to get it done. I told her why I was doing it and that I’m already working on my diet and exercise with my trainer under a doctors supervision. (It’s true, but I stressed it a couple times because i didn’t want her trying to sell me her services.) You can say you’re starting a program with a trainer and he/she said you should get it tested so your calorie intake is tailored to fit your RMR.

          1. The Other Dawn*

            Thanks, and good luck with the test! I felt it was valuable information, especially if you have a specific goal in mind. They say it should be retested with every 10-15 pounds of weight loss, but that seems unnecessary to me.

  44. Student A*

    I just finished the People Vs. OJ Simpson on Netflix. I would not have thought it would be this good! The performances were spot on. The suspense was insane. Anyone else here seen it? What did you think?

    I am old enough that I remember the day of the verdict, but too young back then to understand the historic importance of this case. My heart broke watching this show for Nicole and Ron, and for all victims of domestic abuse.

    And for those who delved into details of the case, do you think OJ did it or not? I am completely torn. As the jurors said, why weren’t the gloves and the car drenched in blood? The corrupt cop thing is also way too creepy.

    1. Cruciatus*

      I actually just finished it too! I was a teenager when it happened and in high school when the verdict came in. I remember being shocked, SHOCKED! that my best friend was grateful at the outcome (I still think he did it but don’t have the same level of surprise at people who disagree). I knew the basics of the story but as a teenager I know I wasn’t paying attention to everything so it was very interesting to watch some of the stuff as it happened again. Even the Bronco “chase” was suspenseful! Why did I think OJ was driving prior to this? Muddled memories, I guess. Marcia Clark really did get a raw deal with the sexist stuff that went on with everything from being a bad mother for working to being awful for not having great hair. All those problems with evidence (including Mark Fuhrman and the connection to Judge Ito’s wife, not to mention those tapes that got played at trial). But overall, I thought the whole thing was well done. When the show first came out I was surprised at how good the reviews were, but now that I’ve watched it all I understand.

        1. Cruciatus*

          She was Baha’i which focuses on social/race issues and demands (peacefully!) peace and equality for all and she (and members of her local church) thought OJ didn’t get a fair shake because he’s black and for them the evidence didn’t add up. In hindsight I should have seen that coming since I spent many a day at her church’s youth group stuff. Now that I think about it, I wasn’t invited to much after the verdict but I’d like to think it was because I was 14 or so and doing other stuff and not because my best friend thought I was racist…

    2. Elizabeth West*

      I was living in CA at the time, so I remember the whole thing. I watched the entire slow chase live. Being suicidal after committing the murder of a spouse or an ex is not unusual.

      Yes, I do believe he did it. It was basically a classic domestic violence case that was handled very poorly both at the scene and in court because of the fame of both the victim and the accused. Poor Ron was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The case ended up in my college forensics textbook as an example of how NOT to to handle a crime scene. Aside from everybody tramping through all the evidence and other missteps, I heard later that Nicole had blood on her as though someone bleeding had stood over her dripping their DNA on her (most likely the killer). It was noted but never sampled, and when they moved her body, they turned her on her back and this potential evidence was lost.

      OJ later went on to get in more trouble with his involvement in the sports memorabilia armed robbery case, for which he is now serving a 33-year sentence (he’s up for parole this October). I have never read If I Did It because my only thought after reading through all that evidence is, “Yes, you fucking did.”

      1. Temperance*

        I have a copy of the book that I bought at a book sale, but I haven’t had courage to read it yet.

    3. Mimmy*

      We watched the series when it originally aired last year, though our DVR kept cutting off the recording at the end. I thought it was very well done, though as terrific an actor Cuba Gooding Jr is, I think they could’ve found a better fit for the role of OJ – it’s hard to explain. Sarah Paulson, as Marcia Clark was outstanding.

      I didn’t follow the trial super-closely, but absolutely remember the day of the verdict. My mom and I were out on errands shortly before the live reading, and everything felt weirdly quiet. I cannot forget the look on my mom’s face when he was found not guilty – jaw pretty much on the ground. The seemingly worldwide reaction was astounding.

      Do I think he did it? Very hard to say. If the series was accurately portrayed, there are signs in favor of BOTH sides.

    4. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I just watched it last weekend and really enjoyed it.

      Honestly, I do think he did it. I read Marcia Clark’s book “Without a Doubt” and it really sounds like the physical evidence was overwhelming. I mean, the racial context all makes sense why he was acquitted and I can see how the jurors felt like there was reasonable doubt, but apparently there were some witnesses that testified in the civil case that provided some compelling information.

    5. Temperance*

      I was in 6th grade and my teacher put the trial on every day after class ended and we were waiting for buses. I thought it was boring at the time, but appreciate it now.

      I absolutely think that OJ did it. The DNA evidence was enough to prove it for me, but his history of abuse against his wife also helped. Basically, when women die, the most likely culprit is an abusive husband. Really sucks. It still breaks my heart that Nicole and Ron will never see justice.

  45. Cookie D'Oh*

    I’m cleaning up my desk and found some old receipts. One was from a restaurant we went to about 3 weeks ago. It looks like I accidentally took the signed copy of the receipt where I had added the tip. I checked my bank statement and confirmed they only charged for the amount without the tip. I always tip 20% or a little over. The server’s name is on the receipt. I’m half considering going back and seeing if I can leave some cash for her. Argh! I feel like such a jerk.

    1. Rebecca*

      I think that would be a very nice thing to do. We all make mistakes, though, so don’t feel like a jerk.

    2. Jessesgirl72*

      We have done that once! We called and asked when the server was on shift, explaining WHY, and went in and paid her in cash.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          That is how we normally do it too. For my records as much as anything. I don’t know how it got missed that one time- IIRC, my husband took a business group there.

  46. Jersey's mom*

    What’s your go-to when you get solicitation calls?

    I still have a landline (live in the middle of nowhere, and need a landline for the computer). So even though I’m on the no-call list, I still get calls from all sorts of people begging or trying to trick me out of money.

    I came up with a brilliant idea last week. I googled a bunch of phrases in German and practiced saying them out loud. Now I have them next to the phone and I pick it up every time it rings and answer with “Ja?”

    Then I just start talking in German at them. I ask them if they Sprechen sie Deutch? and they’ll answer no, and get completely flustered. I just keep talking at them until they hang up. It generally doesn’t take too long. This is my new happy thing. I can’t wait for the phone to ring.

    1. Gilmore67*

      I assume you do not have caller ID ? I don’t answer the phone if I don’t know who it is and anyway they will just leave a message if it is a real person for something important.
      If you don’t have caller ID then your idea is great !

    2. fposte*

      Generally I do only the one “hello” and don’t repeat if there’s no response; that seems not to trigger the “live caller” alert that gets somebody onto the line and I can then hang up within seconds. If I do get somebody I interrupt the spiel, ask them to be put on the charity’s don’t call list, and hang up. Generally works pretty quickly. I did recently have a call where the woman was so mechanized and relentless when I tried to say something that I thought she was a computer and started swearing profusely. Oops.