weekend free-for-all – March 4-5, 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 Vacationers, by Emma Straub. I loved this book. Emma Straub does family dysfunction well.

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

{ 1,030 comments… read them below }

  1. Jamey*

    Are there any burners here? (I admit a professional blog doesn’t seem like the best place to find them but hey, I’m here and you never know where we’ll show up!) Are you doing anything this weekend for Burnal Equinox? We celebrate it big in my area but I have no idea if it’s a big thing in other places (:

    1. Franzia Spritzer*

      AYE! There’s nothing going on where I live (deep south (sob)). I think there might be a total of 4 burners in my town.

    2. Connie-Lynne*

      Yes, I go camping in the desert every labor day. I work on the crew that puts the neon on the man.

      I think Burnal Equinox is really only big in SF and Austin, maybe Colorado.

        1. Red*

          Omg really? I also live in WNY (North Buffalo) and I’ve never heard of it! This is pretty exciting

          1. Jamey*

            ah, I’m in buffalo too!!! Although the big burnal equinox party was in Rochester. We have a cool burner population around here! My collective will be in the St Patrick’s day parade if you go to that (:

      1. Franzia Spritzer*

        Hey Connie-Lynne, I used to manage the Conclave with Rosie (I’m not on the council anymore, school). Yeah, working the event is WAYYYYYY different than going. In that regard I haven’t been to the event in 10 years, but I go every year.

        1. Connie-Lynne*

          oh yeah, working vs attending is pretty different. Even though I’m on call all event, I try to be present for the festival once it starts: I live out in the event (albeit in Gigsville, which is special in its own right), I cook in camp rather than going in to commie, I turn off my phone and I try to go out and experience the festival on its terms rather than on mine.

    3. Glenn*

      I went 2010-2015, and was a Ranger the last two years. (I still have a banked Ranger ticket, should I decide to go again, but other things keep coming up!) Not planning to celebrate the Equinox, but I am planning to go to UnScruz (the Santa Cruz / SF Bay Area regional) and Critical Northwest (the Pacific Northwest regional.)

  2. Feathers McGraw*

    What TV shows have you enjoyed on Amazon or Netflix? I was loving iZombie until something happened that ruined it – I won’t post spoilers! – and am looking for something else to get into. Black Sails and Mozart in the Jungle look fun. What else is worth checking out?

    1. Professional Cat Lady*

      I’m slowly working my way through Crazy Ex Girlfriend, and it’s pretty great. It’s a musical and the name is hugely misleading re: the actual plot and characters. Really good show so far (I’m partway through season 1).

      1. Muriel Heslop*

        Obsessed with Crazy Ex Girlfriend! More remarkable still is that my fairly conservative lawyer husband enjoys it, too. He says it’s inarguable that Rachel Bloom is a genius, if a wacky one.

        We also really like Longmire and Bloodline. And Grace and Frankie!

          1. kms1025*

            Same on season 2 of Bloodline…main character (police detective) just began to come across as too wimpy to me :(

          2. Amanda2*

            Yes season 2 lost me. I loved season 1 so much! I was actually sad about season 2. I stopped watching about half way thru the episodes

      2. RebeccaNoraBunch*

        Another huge vote for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend…obviously. :) I love it so very much.

      3. Morning Glory*

        Chiming in late here, but I started watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend last night after seeing this. So thanks to Feathers McGraw for asking the question, and to Professional Cat Lady for recommending it :)

    2. bassclefchick*

      I’m struggling with Mozart in the Jungle. I’m an orchestra nerd and just am not getting into it. It moves slow and the characters are a bit one dimensional. That may be just me, though.

      My husband and I have really enjoyed all the Marvel shows (Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Daredevil). Really well done!

      We’ve also been catching up on shows we either didn’t watch when they were first run or didn’t know about (Mad Men, Breaking Bad). I haven’t looked for the Sopranos yet, but if it’s on there I’ll check it out.

      Also the original documentaries are pretty good. But do check out Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. Both of those are excellent. Though I’m getting pretty sick of politics. Not sure if I’ll have the energy to sit through the next season of House of Cards. LOL

      1. Feathers McGraw*

        Maybe it helps that I’m not an orchestra nerd (studied music until age 18 but I play piano and guitar). I’m with you on having had enough of politics I must say!

      2. OhBehave*

        We just finished West Wing. We almost started watching it all over again!

        We’ve started on Madam Secretary.

    3. Caledonia*

      Mozart in the Jungle is good. Bosch (crime thriller) is excellent. I dropped iZombie after a season and a half.

      The Collection has been overlooked somewhat (family drama in a Paris fashion house) and The Crown.

        1. Myrin*

          Oooh, are you up to posting spoilers (with a warning, of course)? A friend has been watching it and I’ve thought about starting it for ages but this has given me pause. (Not that it’s likely I would have gotten around to doing it anyway, I’m just not that much of a TV person, but maybe it would have happened!)

          1. Feathers McGraw*

            No, sorry, I’m not willing to spoil it for someone else who might scroll past.

        2. Sydney*

          I’ve seen iZombie at least three times and I have no clue what any of you are talking about! Is it in Season 1 or 2?

            1. Teclatrans*

              Oh! It’s coming back to me now! Yeah, I stopped watching at that point right there.

      1. Ella*

        I also loved Goliath. Sneaky Pete was pretty good. Both on Amazon. The crown, stranger things, and shameless are great on Netflix .

      1. Becca*

        Seconded! DH and I watched it pretty quickly, it’s really fantastic. Characters, worldbuilding, and the plot are all really strong. Not to mention the stellar acting from the very delightful kids. And season two is happening in the near future too :D

    4. Lily Evans*

      I second Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Stranger Things! I’d also recommend Sense8, which seems to get overlooked but is absolutely incredible.

        1. ace*

          YES to Santa Clarita Diet. I thought it was a great series (tim o is Awesome) – though didn’t love the finale. Hopefully they bring it around next season.

    5. Snow*

      I really enjoyed Medici: Masters of florence on netflix if you like historical shows – I love Black Sails now but it took me a while to get into it – I think season 1 is the weakest.

      1. Artemesia*

        I like Medici but was disappointed that they changed so much that was historical and not to make it more interesting. The way in which Cosimo crashed the economy of Florence by moving his business interests out when he was exiled is more interesting than the rather tepid plot here. But it is beautiful cast and shot.

      2. Mike C.*

        Medici started to really piss me off because Jon Snow was being such a giant jerk to his wife for no reason.

    6. katamia*

      Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 if you’re okay with characters who can be kind of unpleasant sometimes. Also the various Star Treks if you haven’t seen them.

      1. Rachel 2: Electric Boogaloo*

        Oooh, seconding Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23. I loved that show!

        1. katamia*

          Yeah, I dropped Netflix and switched to Hulu for a bit because they had a temporary discount, and Don’t Trust the B is the only thing I really miss. :(

      2. lionelrichiesclayhead*

        Yes! I avoided this show for so long because it looked incredibly stupid. One day, in an act of desperate boredom, I tried an episode and it turned into one off my favorites!

    7. Kate, short for Bob*

      Ripper Street on Amazon UK if you can get it – superb story telling, lovely character development, and a refreshingly non-exploitative approach to the subject matter

      1. Namelesscommentator*

        The Americans if you like more suspense/drama!

        And +Whatever you crazy ex girlfriend

    8. LawCat*

      We just watched season 1 of “Humans” on Amazon and found it very thought provoking on the social, economic, and existential impact of artificial intelligence in the world.

      We’ve just started season 2 of “The Man in the High Castle” and find it fascinating. It’s an alternate past where the U.S. loses WWII. West of the Rockies is occupied by the Japanese, who have a tenuous alliance with the Nazis, who occupy east of the Rockies. Along the Rockies is a sort of independent, no man’s land.

        1. salad fingers*

          Third vote for Man in the High Castle! I was surprised that it’s received sort of mixed, and at least one of my friends who generally has the same taste in TV wasn’t very impressed. I guess be wary of that going in, but I personally loved it.

        2. salad fingers*

          Third vote for Man in the High Castle! I was surprised that it’s received sort of mixed, and at least one of my friends who generally has the same taste in TV wasn’t very impressed. I guess be wary of that going in, but I personally loved it.

        3. salad fingers*

          Third vote for Man in the High Castle! I was surprised that it’s received sort of mixed, and at least one of my friends who generally has the same taste in TV wasn’t very impressed. I guess be wary of that going in, but I personally loved it.

      1. Aardvark*

        I liked Season 1 of The Man In The High Castle, but haven’t gotten past episode 1 of season 2. It just felt really clunky, moreso than the first season (which had some issues, but the story made up for it). Does it get back on track?

      2. De Minimis*

        I still need to see that—I tried the first episode and couldn’t get into it but I feel like I should try it again. The book on which it’s based is a favorite of mine, though I think a series would pretty much have to go into its own direction beyond the basic premise.

    9. Lucy Westenra*

      Criminal Minds is a gem if you like a good, cerebral police procedural, although two caveats: 1. the cast turnover can get kind of irritating, especially in later seasons. 2. once you watch it, you will never be able to go back to other crime shows.

      1. Former Employee*

        I’ve watched Criminal Minds. Like the early shows better – the ones with Mandy Patinkin. The best episodes featured the fabulous Keith Carradine playing an otherwise total psychopathic killer who is in love with a woman who seems to have some mental issues (is she just slow or…?) played wonderfully by Amy Madigan.

        Otherwise, I’m very into Law & Order, especially the ones with the late, great Jerry Orbach and Chris Noth.

    10. AcidMeFlux*

      Second season of Love just became available on Netflix, at least where I live. If you haven’t seen it or heard of it, I can say it’s the first and only Judd Apaptow product that I’ve ever liked at all. Gillian Jacobs (from Community) is wondeful as trainwreck L.A. girl. The writing is good, just about always swerves away from the cliché you were expecting. You will need to at least cruise season 1, so be patient and give the characters at least 3 episodes to warm up to. I’m pretty picky about comedy and this really impressed me.

    11. PollyQ*

      Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but I LOVELOVELOVE Archer. It’s an NSFW animated show about a bunch of hapless spies–so smart & funny!

    12. Mela*

      Currently enjoying A Series of Unfortunate Events and just finished the Santa Clarita Diet. Drew Barrymore is perfect in it.

    13. salad fingers*

      I just started Ricky Gervais’ An Idiot Abroad and so far, it has been hilarious.

      1. Cath in Canada*

        I like Black Mirror, but it often seems like the concepts are much better than their execution. I think the stand-alone episodes format is just too short to explore each idea properly.

      2. Mike C.*

        I can only ever watch one episode at a time, because there’s always so much to think about.

        My only complaint is feeling really self conscious telling others about how great the show is then remembering what the pilot was about.

    14. Lady Blerd*

      I’ll stick to their original content and say that right now, I am sad that I’ve already burned through all of At the Chef’s Table. Most of those meal probably cost more then my montly mortgage payment, excluding air travel for some locations, but that is a gorgeous series.

      In fiction I love House of Cards (although how will it top current events) and the Marvel Series. I also enjoy watching their comedy specials.

      1. Springtime in Paris*

        We went to the Slovenian resto featured last year – Hisa Franko. Amazing food and got to meet the chef also. It was reasonably priced but then we also live in Europe so we drove there as part of our summer holiday.

    15. Felicia*

      I’m really enjoying Riverdale, it’s a way darker version of Archie comics which I love

    16. Vancouver Reader*

      If you like murder mysteries, I recommend Shetland. I like the non-North American crime series better because they seem more realistic (because really, is everyone on a CSI team a model prior to joining? And why the hell don’t anywhere of them wear protective gear when examining a crime scene?!?!), and Douglas Henshall is a helluva an actor.

    17. Audiophile*

      I watched Sneaky Pete a few months back. I really enjoyed that. It has a great ensemble cast: Bryan Cranston, Margo Martindale, Marin Ireland, Giovanni Ribisi, as well as an enjoyable story. I’d recommend checking it out, if your into crime dramas and if you’re looking for something to watch.

    18. Misquoted*

      We love Blacklist — it’s not a Netflix original, I don’t think…but the first three seasons are on Netflix. We’re near the beginning of Season 3. I’m interested in starting to watch iZombie. My daughter loves Grace and Frankie.

      1. Mike C.*

        Blacklist was ok, but I can’t believe that actually had a 1990s style clip show. That just felt cheap.

    19. Mike C.*

      Oh! The Expanse! Holy crap, it’s an amazing near-future hard sci-fi dealing with the political and military conflicts between Earth, Mars and the Astroid Belt.

      Also, I think Mr. Robot is available as well. That one is just a trip.

      1. Mrs. Fenris*

        We’ve just started watching The Expanse too. Good hard-SF TV shows are something you just never see. It feels confident, too, like it’s going somewhere…not like a lot of SF shows that threw a bunch of stuff out and waited to see what would stick.

    20. lionelrichiesclayhead*

      I’ve been watching Jessica Jones and I’m hooked. Not usually into the superhero shows but it’s a great one.

    21. Gung Ho Iguana*

      The Crown is amazing and doesn’t seem to be noticed like it should. Jessica Jones is also great. Broadchurch is good for a different take on murder mysteries.

  3. Lucy Westenra*

    Any tips for first time car owners/buyers? I need one so I can get a new thing-we-don’t-mention-on-weekends, but it’s just been trains and buses and walking up until now, and I’m almost twenty. Luckily money’s not too much of a problem; a relative has agreed to lend me enough for a decent used car, but I am terrified of buying a car and then driving it and having the engine asplode in the middle of the interstate.

    1. Turtlewings*

      When you take the prospective car for a test drive, take it to a mechanic (ideally recommended by someone trustworthy) and get it checked over for surprises. This is a very common and non-shady thing to do and would have saved me a lot of trouble if I’d done it with my second car. Sigh.

      1. Blue Anne*

        Yes! I bought a used car in November, first time ever buying and it was one rebuilt by a dude in rural Ohio. Took it for a test drive and it runs great… but the hose to the gas tank is kinked or something, so filling it up is a pain in the butt. I’ve been driving it around like that since November since I haven’t had the money to take it to a mechanic, and it works, but… I wish I’d gotten it looked over. Because who fills the tank on a test drive, right?

      2. chickabiddy*

        If you do not already have mechanics you trust or a good recommendation, most AAA Car Care facilities offer a comprehensive pre-inspection service (you get a discount if you’re an AAA member but you don’t have to be). I think it’s in the $125 range.

      3. JKP*

        Yes, definitely have a mechanic check it out before buying. I would also add that you should see if they can get you some sort of report showing the results of the inspection. The last car I bought, I had a trusted mechanic I had used for years check it out and do a full preinspection. After I bought the car, within a couple weeks I discovered the tires were shot and I had to buy all new tires. Turns out that while the dealership was doing my paperwork for buying the car, they actually swapped out the tires (which my mechanic had checked and said were almost new and wouldn’t need replacing for a long time) for tires that were almost bald and had actually been plugged and patched. The tires weren’t actually safe to drive with, and because I couldn’t prove that they had swapped the tires on me, I ended up being out the money for new tires less than 2 weeks after buying the car.

    2. fposte*

      Use word of mouth and review services to identify a reliable mechanic locally before you buy. If you’re thinking about buying a used car, which is what I’m guessing from what you’re saying, ask that mechanic about a pre-purchase inspection; what you’ll do is get the car checked out by that mechanic before you commit to buying it. If the seller won’t let you do this, run, run away.

      (I didn’t get my first car until I was in my thirties, so I don’t think you’re behind or anything.)

    3. SCAnonibrarian*

      If you are not a car person and not used to haggling, I really suggest CarMax. You won’t get the BEST price, but you will get a reasonable price, and have an option for a reasonably priced warranty that helps a lot with peace of mind, and you can pull cars from just about anywhere in the country. They don’t get paid on commission, so don’t care if you buy a cheap car (relatively speaking). Downside is that prices start around 10 grand so if your budget is truly tight they won’t work out.

      1. Lucy Westenra*

        Yeah, I’m going for something under 5k. I’ve been clicking around Carfax and seen a few good ones.

          1. Seuuze*

            You can also check Consumer Reports. They list good cars by price category and also tell you which cars to never purchase. But you do have to pay for the report.
            They will also tell you how to use the VIN number to find out if it has ever been in an accident. While it isn’t foolproof, it can save you a huge headache if you find out the car has been in an accident that was severe enough to be reported.

            1. Seuuze*

              Correction: You have to pay for the VIN report, not the Consumer Reports guide, (it’s in the library), for the used car listings.

    4. S.I. Newhouse*

      If you’re looking for a reliable car, I’ve owned a Honda CR-V for seven years and in that time, the only times it’s been in the shop is for maintenance items such as oil changes, tires, brakes and a new battery. Zero breakdowns in seven years. Other people I’ve known with this model have had similar experiences. It is an extremely useful vehicle with a ton of cargo room and good performance and yet, when driven gently, gets excellent gas mileage. Good luck!

      1. Junior Dev*

        I bought a new Honda Fit last year. I love that car. It’s pretty cheap for a new car, it seems very popular around here.

        1. Viola Dace*

          I have a 2007 Honda Fit that is inching towards 100k miles. It has been an absolutely trouble free car. And they call it the Fit, because you can fit a ton of stuff in there. I once got a Kivik sofa from Ikea in there. It’s our second car now, but I never want to give it up.

        2. Lia*

          I am on my second Fit, and my partner drives one as well. We love them. Low maintenance and a lot of storage space. I am 5’8 and long-legged and I fit easily in the back or front seats (it was kind of surprising how many cars are uncomfortable for me to drive — Elantras were awful and are super common rentals around here).

      2. Adlib*

        Hondas and Toyotas are generally very very reliable! My first purchased car was a ’97 Honda Accord, and I had it until 2012. (Bought it in 2002.) Currently have a 2004 that I bought in 2012 and haven’t had any major problems with it. Runs great, has all the options with the benefit of not having to pay for it new. :)

      3. Rusty Shackelford*

        Used Hondas tend to be more expensive, but it’s because they’re worth it! I didn’t have to spend any money on repairs until mine was 10 years old and had 128K miles on it. Maintenance, yes, but not repairs.

    5. MommaCat*

      I was lucky with my first non-hand-me-down car; my aunt had found a great place and had gotten nice cars for her sons, and was able to refer me to the same place. And really, I told her my price and she found me a great car for that price, I just had to pick it up and pay her. Basically, see if anyone around you recommends a good place.

    6. Manders*

      I found it helpful to go with a friend who knew more about cars than me. He was able to point out issues I would have missed.

      Also, don’t be afraid to negotiate. I got about $3,000 knocked off the price just by asking. Don’t tell the salesperson that you’re paying in cash until you’ve agreed on a price. And don’t be afraid to get up and walk away in the middle of the negotiation if something doesn’t feel right.

    7. bluesboy*

      Make sure when you do a test drive you find a chance to test reverse as well. Most people forget, and if reverse is messed up it can cost some serious money to get it sorted.

    8. Jules the First*

      Do you know anyone who is a car nut and could go shopping with you? My mom likes to joke that she lends my dad to all her car-shopping friends so he can scratch his must-buy-a-car itch without changing his car every six months.

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        My dad isn’t a car but, but he is a goid negotiator, and has for real gone with friends to help them get a deal on cars.

    9. Merida May*

      Seconding taking someone who has bought cars before. If they have a mechanic they trust you can have them check out the car before you purchase, too. When you’re signing the paperwork make sure you read everything they give you. When I was buying my current car I saw they had written down the price they were selling the car for initially, not the offer that we had agreed upon – and my mother had to be there to sign off to trade in my old car because she was the owner. Car dealerships are definitely high pressure sales environments, so having a more experienced person by your side is really helpful.

    10. Amalia*

      Whatever car you get, make sure you put enough money aside each month for gas, insurance, registration, and extra so you can handle maintenance. I put $100 each month aside for maintenance, but could probably do more. I haven’t had anything “break” on me on my current car, but things wear out eventually. Also getting AAA provides a lot of peace of mind in case you break down or get a flat. Good luck!

      1. De Minimis*

        If it’s cheaper, also look at roadside assistance as part of your insurance policy.

    11. ginger ale for all*

      Consumer Reports has an annual car issue that should be on the newsstands pretty soon. It usually has a short bit on used cars. I checked last night and it isn’t on the stands now. You can also pull old issues at your local public library. So if you are perhaps thinking of a 2009 Honda Fit, get the car issue from 2009 and look at the complete report.

    12. Belle di Vedremo*

      Make a list of what you need in a car, eg, electric door locks, manual/electric windows, etc etc. Tell any salesman your list. Do you want something little, an suv, a crossover? Do you care if it has two doors or four? Do you want something that handles well in the snow? Are there a lot of unpaved roads in your area? What handles that better? Eg, one place I lived had deeply rutted unpaved roads. You needed a lot more height than my car had to not scrape the undercarriage. If you’re in a hot climate, you do *not* want a dark car with a dark interior.

      Have a look at websites of car sales businesses, to get an idea of what kinds of options are out there in your budget. You might find things you’d like to see that way, too.

      Tell the salesman at any business that you’re just looking, that you won’t be buying that day. Repeat as necessary. You want someone willing to take their time with you.

      Test drives: drive on the highway as well as streets, highway driving can reveal things that don’t show up on the streets. Drive for half an hour, that too will bring things to the fore that 15 minutes won’t.

      Comfort: does the car fit your body? Do the windows work for you? The seats? The steering wheel? Do your elbows bang into anything? How’s the headrest?

      Take someone with you.

      Consumer Reports reviews of cars: you want to know not just what cars are great in the first hundred thousand miles, you want to know how they do – on average – in the second hundred thousand. You want a car that isn’t expensive to repair, eg not a BMW or a Volvo.

      Mechanic review: most shops have a set price for a used-car check, it’s really important to have this done. (A friend just did that and discovered that the engine on the car she liked needed to be rebuilt! She didn’t buy it.) Any car shop that doesn’t want you to do that doesn’t get your business. It’s entirely normal. You also want their take on the tires.

      Additional costs: save aside enough to cover car insurance, registration, licensing, etc that come with the purchase. Find out too if you can get the car before you get insurance, one place I lived you had to have the insurance certificate before you could take the car home. At your age, insurance is likely to be high. In my experience insurance is sold mostly in 6mo increments, not one year increments. Be sure that you know how much time your insurance covers.

      Last thought: don’t be in a hurry. With my first car, I was surprised to learn just how opinionated I was about how cars fit and drove as I tested a range of options.

      Good luck!

    13. Namelesscommentator*

      Have a good sense of what you want! For instance I was very meh about my first car having a leaky sunroof (oh, sixteen year old me), but refused to look at automatics, or cars without DRLs… Knowing your own preferences puts you so far ahead in how you spend your energy in the search!

      Have a trusted mechanic look it over (suspension, brakes, tires, engine minimum, others will have more comprehensive suggestions). We have a family mechanic who does this for us, find someone you trust and build a lasting relationship with them.

      For after you buy the cat, Are you in an area that salts roads: the undercoating is often very worthwhile, though maybe not this late in the season.

      I have nothing bad to say about Honda’s, Toyota’s and Subarus (other than head gasket issues). But depending on your needs you might be looking at a different set of cars all together.

    14. nep*

      As others will advise — can’t recommend strongly enough, have a qualified mechanic thoroughly check the vehicle. Good to find out from seller first off — maintenance records and how many owners.
      I missed out on a couple of cars I was interested in because others were willing to buy without a mechanic seeing it, but in the end my experience reinforced how important that step is.
      Best of luck.

    15. Not So NewReader*

      If you drive the interstate regularly, be sure to mention to the mechanic who checks the -almost-your-car that you will be driving on the interstate to get to that Wplace. This will probably trigger him to look more closely or check a few more things.

    16. Gov Worker*

      Get a Toyota or Honda. CarFax reports give the car’s history, car max provides them. I bought a real good Toyota Solara from CarMax, drove it for eight years. Am now on my fifth year of driving a used Camry. No problems. I can afford new but will only buy late model used, let somebody else pay the depreciation. Try rental car sales also,they are usually well maintained. Good luck!

    17. Lucy Westenra*

      Thank you all so much for your advice. I went to a dealership late this afternoon and test-drove a car I’m interested in. It was late, so I made an appointment to go back on Monday to have it checked by a mechanic and maybe do a more thorough test drive–I didn’t get a chance to go on the highway this time. I took my aunt, who does not know very much about cars but has bought them before, and she was very helpful. I do not deserve her.

      For those interested, it’s an ’05 Pontiac Vibe hatchback.

      1. Stinky Socks*

        If you belong to AAA (or plan to join anyway once you have wheels) they do a very thorough car inspection…

      2. Red Reader*

        I had an 05 Vibe for a year and a half and he was a great car, I’d have kept him longer except that I thought I was about to be doing a 50-mile commute so I traded him in for a newer hybrid. (then I got a job working from home…) my BIL said it was easy to do the oil change and brakes in his driveway, so if you know someone who does minor work on cars the Vibe should be a viable candidate for that. (And if not, at least you shouldn’t have to wrangle with specialty mechanics. I once had to have a car towed 65 miles because that was the nearest place I could get a replacement tire in less than three days.)

      3. Marcela*

        I have one of those! I really like my car, and since the engine is a Toyota, not Pontiac, it’s very cheap to repair and very, very reliable. Besides, the seats are comfortable for the petite me, and the storage in the car is unbelievable: it had carried big sofas, patio sets, big ikea shelves already mounted. My car is old, I mean we got it used with 150000 miles, and after more than two years, it hasn’t had any problem at all. It was my commute car, almost 3 hours daily, for more than 4 months, and just recently I replaced it with an EV. Just yesterday I was talking to my husband about how the mirrors visibility is so much greater in the Vibe than in the iMiev, even if the iMiev has bigger mirrors.

    18. Mike C.*

      Check and see if your workplace has any discount programs. Mine does and I saved a good chunk of money and didn’t have to deal with any dealership BS.

  4. Manders*

    Does anyone know what commenting system this blog uses? Is it a WordPress plugin?

    I’m struggling with finding the right commenting system for my blog. Right now I’ve got the generic one that comes with a WordPress.org site but I don’t want to require an email address and I love the way this system highlights new comments.

    1. Feathers McGraw*

      Just don’t use a Discus one that forces people to register and verify an email address and jump through multiple hoops just to leave one comment.

      I like not having to leave an email on here, too. But ideally would love a system like Reddit where you can opt to just be notified of direct replies to your own comments.

      1. Manders*

        I know, that’s what I’m trying to avoid! I also really dislike systems that pull information from whatever Google or WordPress account is connected to your email. I stopped commenting on The Toast and Captain Awkward because sometimes the system would randomly pull up my real name or link to a website with my real name on it.

      2. Elizabeth H.*

        I used to be an AV Club commenter and Disqus really fucked it up. They too had a home grown system that got difficult to manage and went to Disqus, but having to load more comments by scrolling down made it too aversive. I left fairly soon after they did that.

      3. Jubilance*

        Disqus doesn’t require that – you can comment anonymously using Disqus. A specific blog owner may have disabled that feature, but that’s not the fault of Disqus.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s the built-in WordPress one, with some custom modifications that my tech person created just for the site (like the collapse/expand feature, and the highlight new comments feature). I briefly used Disqus years ago and hated it — if their system goes down, all your comments temporarily disappear, and some workplaces completely block Disqus.

      You don’t need to require an email address to comment; just turn that off in your settings.

      1. Manders*

        Thank you! I was wondering why I couldn’t find one system with all those features. It really does work so much better than any of the fancy commenting systems I looked at.

  5. Miriam*

    Has anyone successfully requested more financial aid from a college or university as an incoming freshman? Any tips and how to go about it?

    1. SCAnonibrarian*

      I did, but it was a really long time ago. I went to the financial aid office and explained that I had absolutely no money and if they truly thought I would be an asset to their school they’d have to help me out a bit more. If I remember correctly, they doubled their original assistance offer, and (more importantly) connected me with a couple of targeted scholarships that they personally (as the school) sponsored me for.

      Just be honest, and show your numbers and ask what they can help you find. Good luck!!

    2. Jen*

      Yes. I had a full merit ride at state school (A), a full merit ride at Private U (B), a great aid package (some loans by mostly grants) from Private U C, and a mediocre aid package from Provite U D. I brought the Aid package at D up from all loans to $10k/year grant and the rest loans. I went to D.

      C&D are in the same ballpark ranking (top 20/top 40). B is top 100. A was Maryland.

    3. Overeducated*

      Yes. My school provided only need based aid and guaranteed to meet all demonstrated need, so I basically had to show why their calculation of need was too low. A parent had lost a job so we gave them the family’s expected yearly income, which was lower than the previous year’s tax return they were basing it on, and they revised the financial aid award upwards. We also asked them to take one family asset out of the calculation because it was legally reserved for the care of a disabled family member. Really good of them but it was a fairy clear cut situation.

    4. Sunflower*

      This isn’t the question you asked so feel free to ignore but in the case you can’t get more aid, there are SOO many scholarships. My number one regret was not applying for more of them. Of course, I was 18 and my parents did all my financial aid for me and I had no idea how much school actually costs( I’m one of the lucky ones who is only about 26k in the hole). I’m a first generation college student and i realllyyyy wish I would have applied for them.

    5. MindoverMoneyChick*

      A good friend of mine did this with her daughter a couple of years ago. Basically she said College A was her daughters first choice but it was just a little to expensive and college B was offering more money. College A did come up with a few thousand more dollars if I remember correctly. This wasn’t for an over the top great student either, just a decent one. So it’s worth a try.

    6. JHS*

      I did. My sister was in graduate school (not usually considered) and my parents were helping her out too. I asked if they would consider that and they did and reformulated my package. I thought it was a total long shot but it somehow worked!

      1. Stinky Socks*

        Please let us know how it goes! I pretty much routinely appeal back unless a school has made a really stellar offer. Sometimes they budge significantly, sometimes they do nothing at all. There’s no harm in trying. As long as you aren’t an obnoxious punk in your communications they won’t rescind what they’ve already offered…

  6. persimmon*

    Shall I mail normal brownies to my friend the first-year big law firm associate, or try these “browniest cookies” (link in a comment) or another idea? The cookies seem fun but I wonder which will keep better in the mail. She’s a bit of a picky eater so I do have to stick with something pretty plain flavor-wise.

    Context for why she really needs brownies: she worked almost 450 hours last month. Think about that for a second… It’s calmed down a little now, but I was supposed to see her passing through her city last Saturday and then she sadly had to cancel and work until 1 AM instead.

    1. Rebecca*

      15 hours a day for 30 days? That’s absurd. And unhealthy! When did the poor soul ever get time to eat a real meal, relax, or even see the sun? I feel very sorry for her.

      1. really*

        Not uncommon with the big 4. My niece left her job after about 4 years. She got tired of only having Sunday morning off. She absolutely was going to go to church no matter what.

    2. Jules the First*

      Normal brownies will post better (especially if you send them in the baking pan). The cookies might survive, if you pack them like crazy and get lucky with the delivery guy. I vote for brownies (although those cookies are fabulous!). If you want to make the brownies extra-special, I think Deb did a mixed batch one year around valentines where she did one batch of blondies and one batch of brownies and used a little cookie cutter to swap them around (brownie heart inside a blondie square and vice versa).

    3. Overeducated*

      Brownies. I have made those cookies and found them disappointing despite being a huge SK fan.

    4. PollyQ*

      You should make a batch of the brownies, a batch of the “brookies”, mail them to yourself, and see how they travel. You know, for Science.

    5. OhBehave*

      Try this:
      Layer of chocolate chip cookie dough; top with oreos; top with brownie batter. Cook at 375 for 20 minutes or until set. OM!

  7. Insert Name Here*

    Does anyone have thoughts on where to buy low rise womens jeans/pants? I feel like every time I try to buy pants now, at all the stores I normally shop at, everything I find is mid-rise/high-rise and I just do *not* find those pants comfortable at all.

    1. Kj*

      I’ve had good luck with Land’s End. They describe the type of pants and the rise really well and they are very durable.

    2. Lillie Lane*

      This may not be helpful, but there are tons of low rise pants and jeans at thrift stores right now.

      1. Grumpy*

        Second and third this (buy ON jeans for family members too).
        The jeans are fantastic, everything else from that store seems to dissolve in water but the jeans are awesome.

      2. Anon for this*

        Me, too. Old Navy’s jeans have gotten much better in the last couple of years, so if you haven’t looked at them in a while, try them on. I like their “rock star” (lol) skinny jeans, which come in low-rise, mid-rise, and high-waisted fits. They also have petite, short, long, and tall sizes.

    3. Insert Name Here*

      Thank you all :) I am going shopping later (ugh) and will check out those places!

    4. Junior Dev*

      So this doesn’t help you but where are you finding these high rise jeans? I have the opposite problem. All the jeans I find that fit me (size 18 or 2x) are too low and don’t cover enough :(

      1. Insert Name Here*

        Ooof…I feel like it’s literally everywhere I go (I am down to one pair of jeans I actually find comfortable and they’re really more jeggings than jeans), but I am not looking for plus sizes so ymmv. Target and Nordstrom (all different brands) and Gap have been my recent failures :( … so maybe try there if you haven’t already?

      2. Perse's Mom*

        I’ve had good luck with the fit for Ava Viv brand jeans from Target. I don’t like all the styles by any means, but the ones I do like fit well (I wear larger than your listed size, and these are waist-high on me) and so far have lasted really long, too.

      3. Cristina in England*

        Levi’s have mid and high rises in plus sizes. Google Levi’s high rise plus size jeans and you should get there. I have the high rise skinny jeans (never thought I would see the day since I carry all my weight in my thighs but I love these jeans). YMMV, but I have also found store staff to be helpful when feeling overwhelmed by choice.

      4. Rusty Shackelford*

        Torrid has some good mid and high waist jeans. (And good low rise jeans too, if the original asker is size 12 and up.)

    5. PseudoMona*

      I have this problem too! American Eagle Kick Boot pants used to be my go-to for low rise pants, but they’ve been redesigned to be mid rise. I’ve had limited sucess with some the other AE styles, but it might be worth taking a look at them.

    6. Phlox*

      I’ve had really good luck with goodwill because there are a variety of cuts and fits. Found out in trying a bunch that gap jeans for me well and they were 6 bucks each!

  8. Myrin*

    My mum is going through coffee withdrawal right now. She’s had a weird feeling and taste on her tongue and figured it was the coffee (turns out she was right) and has stopped cold turkey five or six days ago. I forgot in relation to what, but a commenter earlier this weeks posted something about how many people kid themselves about being actually (physically) addicted to something, say that’s not the case etc. and that’s absolutely what my mum’s been feeling. She didn’t actually drink a lot of coffee, but she drank it regularly (every day) so she completely crashed after stopping.

    She was tired, “slow in mind and body”, had headaches (something she doesn’t usually get) and just felt really fuzzy. As of yesterday, she seems to have finally overcome it and is constantly amazed by how fit and awake she is now (which is weird because coffee is meant to make you feel awake but maybe her body’s dependence on it weighed her down?). I don’t drink coffee myself so I’ve never understood the “I absolutely need coffee!!” mentality but I never would have guessed that coffee withdrawal is a thing and that your body actually changes after having gone through it.

    1. bluesboy*

      I don’t know the science or anything, but this doesn’t surprise me. I didn’t use to drink coffee & now have 4 espressos a day. Thing is that I need that first coffee of the day to get me to that level of awareness that…I already had before I started drinking coffee. I ‘need’ coffee because I drink it, not the other way around.

      Get a pretty bad headache if I don’t have time to get my coffee, so glad your Mum seems to be getting past the withdrawal symptoms!

    2. Jules the First*

      It’s true! We learned about it on a science show when I was a kid…there’s something in coffee that bonds to the same receptor in your brain as the thing (hormone? It’s been a longggggg time!) that your body makes to wake you up in the morning. Drink coffee daily within a couple of hours of waking, and your body slacks off producing this thing as it never actually gets used. So when you stop drinking coffee cold turkey, it takes about a week for your body to start production again.

      1. Grumpy*

        Hmm. Anyone interested in an AAM one-week coffee-free challenge? Meet back here in a week and find out ow everyone did? (Typo, it stays.)

        1. Elizabeth H.*

          If people are interested in doing such a thing, that’s cool but I want to also share my opinion that there is absolutely nothing healthful or beneficial about stopping drinking coffee, or taking a break from it, if it’s something you enjoy on a regular basis. Even if you experience “withdrawal” symptoms like getting a headache if you don’t drink it one day. (If you’re going somewhere you can’t or don’t have access to coffee, that’s different but if it’s just a choice and you enjoy it and can afford it, I don’t see the point) Some people find that too much (or sometimes, any) caffeine makes them jittery or nervous or have trouble sleeping. But if this doesn’t happen to you, there is absolutely nothing concerning or unhealthful, physically or psychologically, with continuing to drink coffee every day. I find that a lot of people have the thought process of anything that resembles an “addiction” is inherently bad and should be combatted, but in my opinion it’s just not logical. This is just a pet peeve of mine, that there’s something inherently worthy about stopping drinking coffee to prove you can or something.

          1. INFJ*

            Yeah, it depends on the person and what they hope to gain. I gave up coffee for 2 weeks once to see if I would feel more alert/energized and didn’t feel any different, so… coffee it is! But it sounds like from the comments that it was weighing some people down

          2. Anonyby*

            I was just listening to a Gastropod episode about caffeine and they talked about related subjects! Apparently there’s a genetic component to how people react to caffeine, and it’s about 50/50 in the population. Some are naturally sensitive, some are not. Also that coffee does have some health benefits (though no one is sure if it’s the caffeine or something else in it).

            It also apparently takes about a week to ten days for the affected neurotransmitters in your brain to reset to their pre-caffeine levels if you go cold turkey.

            Me? I fall on the less sensitive end. Soda is my caffeine-source of choice and I can drink it and fall asleep immediately afterwards.

        2. Anon for this*

          I’m more of a tea drinker, but I can join in a caffeine/sugar-free week.

          (I’m southern. It’s sweet iced tea.)

    3. the gold digger*

      Oh yeah! Caffeine withdrawal is definitely a thing! I used to drink several diet sodas a day and would have to go cold turkey when the caffeine started making me shaky. Then I would go through the withdrawal headache.

      Now I have one coffee in the morning and maybe a diet soda as well, although they have started to taste really bad to me, but I can’t have anything after lunch or I will not be able to sleep. Thank you, Princess and the Pea body that gets all the negative side effects of any drug. (Except weight loss.)

      1. Myrin*

        She did, actually! The problem is that she hates tea and only drinks it very unwillingly – just like myself, which is super weird because my sister is a veritable tea connoisseur!

        1. misspiggy*

          Caffeine pills are essential for me – Proplus in the UK. I take them if I’m travelling somewhere where I won’t be able to get a coffee by about 11am, as the withdrawal headaches are crippling. I expect one could taper the dose down.

      2. Jessesgirl72*

        The caffeine in tea isn’t the same and doesn’t stop the withdrawal symptoms.

        She could switch to Cola, but normally the acid etc problems with coffee are just as present in sodas.

        1. Newby*

          The caffeine is just lower in tea. I think the average cup of black tea has less than half the caffeine in a cup of coffee. Green and white teas have even less caffeine.

    4. Jessesgirl72*

      It usually takes me about a week to get over my caffeine addiction, when I’ve stopped. It’s not just “coffee” either- I don’t drink coffee at all. I drink cola.

    5. ginger ale for all*

      I shouldn’t have caffeine due to Menieres (sp?) but I slip and have it anyway and then have to stop. I do get foggy during withdrawal but I also sleep better.

    6. nep*

      I went through crazy withdrawal when I cut coffee. I felt a lot better without it, after the withdrawal. As with anything, abstaining becomes easier over time.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      I went from drinking regular caffeinated coffee to organic caffeinated coffee and I still went through withdrawal. Makes me concerned about what is in there.

    8. OhBehave*

      My son went on a water challenge and gave up soda. He had headaches and was so tired for about a week. After that, he was bouncing around! It’s been more than a month of just drinking water for him. I think it was more the caffeine (Mountain Dew!) than the sugar withdrawal.

    9. Hrovitnir*

      Heh, yeah, I’ve gone off caffeine at various points – I have chronically low energy but even stopping for a couple of months I just felt worse. I’d rather be addicted and have a reassuring routine in the morning. I almost never drink, don’t smoke or take drugs – herbal tea is *not* the same.

      But yes, I have gone cold turkey and weaned off, and I’m pretty keen on the latter now. You can get caffeine pills so you can transition off the physical addiction but cut off the psychological attachment quicker. I find the psychological/social part more powerful so that’s important for me to stop.

  9. Mimmy*

    This is a long shot, but here goes –

    I’m looking for recommendations for books on blindness or visual impairment, particularly memoirs.

    I’ve been visually impaired my whole life and have met many who are also visually impaired or blind. With my upcoming new job, though, I’m interested in accounts about a person’s lived experiences. I’d even be interested in hearing from any of you who have personal experience, either of your own, or someone you know.

    What I’ve been particularly frustrated with is that it seems like most people think you are either fully-sighted or completely blind. When I was at the training center as a (adult) student, I was struck by the range of vision loss – it wasn’t as black and white I used to think it was (though I had previously met people with “tunnel vision”).

    My personal experience is probably unusual – my acuities are not that bad (just on the edge of “visually impaired”), but because of my eye anatomy, I have limited depth perception and trouble with glare. I think there is a processing component as well because it’s hard for me to process a “busy” field of vision (crowds, stores). So it makes it hard to describe my challenges to others.

    (Alison – if the mention of my job goes against the rules of the weekend thread, please feel free to delete).

    1. Jen*

      Jean Little! She’s Canadian and I loved her books. She also writes other stuff, but her childhood memoirs are very engaging.

      1. Jen*

        And another Canadian suggestion is to check with your local CNIB, they often have a library or programmers and other staff who have a great sense of the resources – including voices of experience in books, movies, activities, etc

      2. HannahS*

        Oh I love Jean Little! Her biography is in two books. ‘Little by little’ covers her childhood through university, then ‘stars come out within’ takes you through her adult life until maybe her late 40s. Both are incredibly vivid and beautifully done.

    2. TeaLady*

      Stargazing by Linda Gillard. It’s not memoir but fiction but it is excellent at describing visual impairment. It’s a love story but not an icky one so don’t let put you off!

    3. Jules the First*

      I don’t have a book recommendation (well I do, but I can’t remember the name of it, so that’s not very helpful! I’ll try and find it), but I did want to ask if you have a good way for explaining the depth perception thing to people with normal vision?

      My vision is “normal” except that I have monocular vision, so I don’t see in 3d – which makes depth perception tricky. It’s not something that comes up often in adult life (no compulsory ball games!!!) but every so often it does come up and I’m at a loss for how to describe it.

      For example, last week my riding group was show jumping and someone asked why my coach was shouting “fold” at me at every fence, so I had to explain that while I can see the fence, I can’t tell how far away it is or how tall it is so I need a visual cue to judge height (the supports we use are striped) and a verbal one to judge distance. Which then led to an awkward conversation about how, exactly, I make it through the day without being able to tell where things are…which I don’t have a good explanation for (apart from I’m a klutz but I don’t look like one because habits…)

      1. Mimmy*

        Unfortunately, this is all I know, so I can’t really compare it to normal vision. My biggest issue is probably with going down steps. I tend to look down because it’s hard to judge their height, or if a step is even there (in the case of a curb or if there’s no contrast in color between the step and the ground).

        I do also tend to trip on and bump into things, though that could be because of my thick glasses, which messes with my field of vision.

        1. Jules the First*

          Oh stairs. I used to think I had no problems with stairs…aaaand then I moved to Europe. Ancient stairs. Stone stairs. Worn-out stairs. Glass stairs. Stairs with no contrast markings. Stairs with paisley carpet. Stairs with no railings. And worst – moving stairs with no elevator option (the escalators on the Tube gave me terrors for years). Also funny how going up stairs is so much easier than going down – I can’t count the number of times I’ve been coaxed into climbing a dome or a tower and then had to descend on my bum like a toddler or (scarier, but less embarassing) with my eyes shut and my hands on someone else’s shoulders so I can feel each (uneven) step.

          Most embarassing though was the day I misjudged the distance to a lamp post and gave myself a concussion walking into it…

      2. Vancouver Reader*

        My sister has sort of the same problem, she’s near sighted in one eye and far sighted in the other, so each eye became the dominant one depending on what she needed to see, so she had no depth perception. Have you talked to an optometrist about it? They might be able to fit you with something that helps you.

        1. Jules the First*

          Thanks for the suggestion. Sadly, I’ve been to a bunch of eye experts and they all tell me there’s absolutely nothing wrong with my eyesight – each eye is fine, it’s just my brain will only listen to one of them at a time. We only discovered it because the region where I learned to drive does a test for colour blindness as part of the licence process, and the test uses an optical illusion, which needs both colour vision and binocular vision. My mom was super confused when I failed and marched me straight to her ophthalmologist who listened, ran a couple of tests, and said “this is so cool!” and then explained.

          1. anonintheuk*

            I find stairs hugely problematic because hypermobility has damaged my proprioception.

    4. the gold digger*

      I hesitate to mention this because it’s so obvious and you have probably read it, but for others who are looking for something amazing to read, the Helen Keller memoir is excellent. And of course I can’t remember what it’s called because I read it so long ago (I just remember the part where she makes the connection between what Annie Sullivan is doing with her hands and the water flowing over them), but when I look her up, I see that she wrote many books. I think the one I would have read is “The Story of My Life.”

    5. dawbs*

      James Thurber was significantly visually impaired. I”m not sure it’s as expressed in his writing as what you’re looking for, but if you know that he was legally blind and then read (or re-read) his work, it’s really striking some of the things he dealt with.

    6. Nynaeve*

      Crashing Through by Robert Kurson. It’s a biography of Mike May, who grew up blind and had surgery to restore his vision when he was an adult. It really goes into the science of what it means to see…what’s biological and what’s learned. But it also explores his experiences as both a blind and sighted man and shows how neither life was better. Highly recommended.

      I actually lent my copy to my friend who just got engaged to a woman who is blind. I thought it would be an interesting bridge between their worlds.

    7. ModernHypatia*

      This is part of my job! (I’m the Research Librarian at the Perkins School for the Blind). If you contact me through the website link on my name, I’d be glad to send you an email with a bunch of options.

      You’re very right about the range of kinds of impairments (and the fact they can mean different things for accessibility.) I get questions fairly regularly from people thinking through accessibility things. One of the big things I tell them is that there are some things that are good general practices, but if you’re working wth a specific person, asking them what works best for them is always a great idea.

    8. Finny*

      Both myself and the husband are legally blind. He was born totally blind due to congenital cataracts, and gained what vision he has by being the first human guinea pig for an operation when he was about two, to remove the lenses of his eyes, and the cataracts along with them. His vision is about 20/250 in his good eye and nonreadable in his bad. I have retinopathy of prematurity, and while I’ve not always been legally blind (I’m currently 20/250 in my good eye, 20/300 in my bad with glasses, and so where far south of 20/400 in both without glasses–can’t even tell there is an eye chart without them), my vision has consistently gone downhill from birth on.

      It is difficult, but we manage. I use a white cane while out and about, as I’ve no real depth perception and not much peripheral vision. The husband does not, unless we are flying or travelling somewhere unfamiliar; even then, he is more likely to act as my sighted guide, as my visual processing is really not good (it can take me three hours or more to grocery shop by myself, for example, due to layouts being so visually overwhelming and confusing).

      We both use eReaders for most of our reading (Kobo is our favourite brand), at least for stuff that is available in eformats. Also, large print books and audiobooks (Audible is an amazing help–so much more is available in our preferred genres of science fiction and fantasy than even just a few years ago), and magnifiers for anything that doesn’t come in accessible formats. Accessibility settings on my tablet, such as larger fonts and alternative colours are also very handy.

      I work full time shelving and pricing books for a book wholesaler, and my company is quite good at modifying or shifting duties if my decreasing vision means I can’t do something I used to be able to do. The husband doesn’t currently work, because he is having to help his father and his father’s wife as both are getting older with massive health issues.

      Feel free to email me at the email in my user name if you’ve got any questions I can help with. I’ll be following this thread with interest, as I’m also looking for books on the subject.

      1. Mimmy*

        Thank you for sharing your story Finny! Unfortunately, I think only Alison can see people’s emails (probably for security reasons).

        That’s so interesting that you mention visual processing – other than during an unrelated neuropsych. evaluation 10 years ago, no one has ever tested my visual processing. I too find certain layouts visually overwhelming.

  10. smokey*

    Are most adults just tired all the time? I know I’m chronically anemic but, first, seriously no-one cares as long as “I’m tired” is the only complaint, and second, it seems like everyone is tired all the time. Are we all just supposed to deal with it?

    1. Caledonia*

      Yes I’m usually tired after a while. I’m a bad sleeper and my commute is a killer but every once in a while – once a week maybe – I get a GREAT sleep and the world seems so much better for it.

    2. Larz*

      I know I am. I feel so much better when I carve out the time to actually get enough sleep, but it means going to bed at 9:30 p.m., and I just can’t do that as often as I need. Doing some gentle yoga seems to help too, as it lets me work out any kinks or places I’ve been unconsciously holding, or adding stress, before I go to bed.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I had a busy week and few chances to catch up with the late nights. For some reason, the concerts I wanted to attend were on consecutive nights and ended later than expected. As soon as I could, I tried to have an early night, which wasn’t quite as early as I would have liked!

    3. Feathers McGraw*

      I don’t think many people get enough sleep these days, plus too much blue light and caffeine, so it’s not surprising really.

    4. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

      I am chronically tired during the week; bt that’s because I’m very introverted, and use time after my spouse goes to bed as “yay, alone and free of obligations!” time.

    5. Myrin*

      Can’t speak for “most adults” but I’m definitely not. I’m a morning person and as such am very energetic and lively immediately after waking up and then between two and four PM I often become tired/less concentrated but it usually goes away again after some time and then I’m good to go until bedtime.

      1. Myrin*

        Oh, I feel like I should add that sleep is extremely important to me. I get cranky when I don’t get enough sleep even two days in a row and I will abandon everything and everyone else to get back into my rhythm again. My friend at school found it amusing (I’ve always been that way) but it’s been serving me very well all my life.

        1. Cruciatus*

          I’m pretty much the same way! As a kid I cared less, but in my 20s I really started to consciously value sleep. I lucked out in college. My roommate and I were both ready for bed most nights at 11, later on weekends. I went to Europe and wasn’t interested in the after hours tour group stuff. I. want. sleep. I felt really lame but…I feel badly if I don’t get sleep (let alone coupling that with jet lag). I don’t like knowing that I will feel like crap in the morning and then actually feeling like crap in the morning and all day. I’m *not* a morning person by nature, but I wake up at 5:50 ready to go(ish) because I keep to my routine most of the time. They do say there is a natural dip in energy around 3pm. I often feel that but am also good to go until bedtime again.

        2. Lady Julian*

          From one sleep love to another, when do you get up / go to bed?

          I work a field (teaching) where people are notorious for staying up late to get work done (midnight grading sessions!) but I’ve discovered through personal experience that my brain simply does not process information well after 8-9 PM, 10 in a real emergency. And I go to sleep fairly regularly between 9.30 and 10.30, then get up at 5.00 or 5.30. I feel like such a wimp, nodding off on the couch at 9.30, so it’s nice to hear I’m not the only one!

          1. Myrin*

            My normal and best-for-me times are going to bed between ten and ten thirty and getting up between six and seven. :D

          2. Adlib*

            Usually in bed by 11 every night but by 10 on nights before my morning spin classes. Up at 6:30 on regular days but at 5 on spin class mornings (2 days a week). I can’t sleep past 7:30 on weekends. I am definitely a morning person!

    6. TeaLady*

      It’s likely many of us are vitamin D deficient, especially those of us going through winter and who don’t spend half an hour or so outside with face and arms exposed each day.
      Since upping my vitamin D intake (supplementary and environmental) I am less tired and sleep better – major wins for me as I have MS

    7. Junior Dev*

      Ha, I posted about this below. Yes. I am baffled by people who can do things on top of Basic Adulting.

    8. salad fingers*

      I’ve been asking myself this for years. It would be really interesting to be able to live in other people’s bodies for a while to gauge where you fall on the tired, depressed, etc scale.

      1. fposte*

        I think this all the time! I also want to know what other people’s pain perceptions are like.

    9. Former Diet Coke Addict*

      I’m not usually tired beyond a “man I could sit down for a minute,” no, unless it’s late (past like, 10). I work full time, get about seven or eight hours every night, and work out almost every day on top of social stuff, volunteer stuff, and a blog. Honestly, part of what helps me is having a very short commute (under 5 minutes!) And a spouse who does half the housework or more. Neither of us are stretched too thin at home or at work, so we have the energy to do other stuff. I don’t drink caffeine, so I don’t have caffeine hangovers, and I drink a shit ton of water and eat a lot of veggies. But I won’t lie, I have days where I don’t get much accomplished and just need to lie around and recharge.

    10. dr_silverware*

      No. When I was in high school I was tired all the time, but that stopped about halfway through college. My body fully matured and I realized I should get 8 hours a night and get up at about the same time every day.

      I think some of it is just complaints at normal low-energy times of the day, some of it is habitual complaining even when you’re not super tired. If it’s a big problem, seriously do look into medical intervention, mental health treatment, and/or lifestyle changes.

      1. Lissa*

        I literally feel like “I’m tired” is said the same amount as “how’s your day been”, and it just becomes like white noise to me after awhile … every person I know seems to complain of being tired all the time! I’ve wondered if it isn’t getting used to having somewhat lower energy levels than as a kid/teenager.

    11. Newby*

      I think that part of the problem is that “I’m tired” means different things to different people. For some it means that they are completely exhausted while for others it means that they are low on energy at that particular moment, but it doesn’t actually interfere with their ability to function.

      1. smokey*

        That probably is a lot of it. And maybe people assuming everyone else means the same thing they mean.

    12. Manders*

      I… think so? I don’t watch my iron intake quite as closely as I should, but I definitely did stop feeling as energetic when I started working at a desk 8 hours a day.

      There are days when I just feel lazy but I can push through it and do strenuous physical activity, and days when I come home and immediately need a nap or I can’t function at all.

    13. ..Kat..*

      Taking care of your anemia would make a huge difference for you. This is a two prong approach (unless you have a weird type of anemia). One, boost your iron intake. Two, decrease your body’s getting rid of red blood cells.

      Boosting your iron intake is easier if you eat red meat. I.e., eat beef on a regular basis. If you don’t eat meat, I recommend consulting a Registered Dietitian (RD) and/or taking iron supplements. If you take the supplements, taking a vitamin C supplement (or eat an orange!) at the same time increases your body’s absorption/utilization of the iron.

      Next, decrease your loss of red blood cells. Bleeding ulcer? Get it treated! One of the biggest causes of chronic anemia is being a menstruating female. If this is you, consider birth control pills that only let you have your period every three to four months. An IUD will also be effective, but is more expensive. An IUD is not a good idea though if you want to get pregnant or are religiously opposed to it. On a religious note, birth control pills to prevent pregnancy are not allowed in some religions. However, birth control pills to treat a medical condition (your chronic anemia) is a different matter.

      1. Thlayli*

        Good advice but just one comment – IUD can affect people differently. Some women find it gives them worse periods and I even knew one woman who bled constantly when she was on it – she kept being told that was normal for first few months and it would stop once her body got used to it but after I think 10 months of constant bleeding she finally gave up and had it taken out.

        Other women say it was brilliant and totally reduced the bleeding. There doesn’t seem to be any way to predict how it will affect you.

        Also endometriosis can cause low iron as well as extreme period pain and something like 90% of endometriosis is undiagnosed so anyone who has bad period pain or really low iron for unexplained cause should consider endometriosis.

        1. Emi.*

          Endo can also cause low progesterone, which can cause tail-end brown bleeding, so if you have that that’s another flag to check for endo.

    14. Emi.*

      I’m always tired! This is a semi-recent development and my husband has been always-tired for about the same time, so my mother says we probably need a new mattress.

    15. Felicia*

      I think i realized my being tired all the time was a medical problem ( it’s actually a combination of more than one medical thing) when I was tired regardless of how long I slept or what I was doing

    16. Cerberus*

      At any given moment on any given day, I could take a nap. Any time. Anywhere. Even if it’s just to close my eyes.

      My mother always told me thinking takes more energy than you think.

    17. Chaordic One*

      I think that exercise can help. However, finding time to exercise is a problem for me. It’s like I have to choose, either be tired and have housework take twice as long as it should OR exercise and get things done in a normal amount of time. I never have any time left over no matter what I do.

    18. misspiggy*

      Thank you for asking this question! It’s fascinating reading the variety of answers. I thought I was tired all the time because I stayed up late and didn’t get enough exercise, and gradually came to realise that I was in pain all the time, and that wasn’t other people’s experience. I have bursts of wonky-adrenaline-fuelled energy which allow me to get stuff done, and the incapacity afterwards has got worse as I get older. So yes, always tired unless I’m buzzing like a bee in a bottle.

      1. smokey*

        It has been really useful to see everyone’s answers! I’m glad I’m not alone in this (by a long shot, it seems), although also not happy that so many other people feel this way.

    19. Panda Bandit*

      I’m tired a lot of the time. I have anxiety and although it’s not anywhere near as bad as it used to be it still eats up a lot of my energy. I think I would feel less tired if I made some lifestyle changes and I’m considering going on anxiety medication for a while.

    20. Anxa*

      I’m wondering.

      I can count the number of days I feel decently energetic on my hands each year and it’s been that way since my early 20s.

      I don’t work a lot, I don’t have kids, I don’t do a sport.

      I have been suspicious of having ADHD, hypothyroidism, dysthymia, anemia, DSPS, or other things but sometimes I just think I’m tired. I can never hit the sweet spot for sleep. As soon as I get enough, it feels like I got too much. I typically don’t feel like I really wake up until I need to think about getting ready for bed.

    21. Hrovitnir*

      I think there are a lot of elements to this. Short version: no, *most* adults are not exhausted most of the time.

      Long version: yes, the way society is set up there isn’t a lot of time to work full time, have a family, have hobbies, and get enough sleep. Also, we don’t acknowledge that “the average amount of sleep needed is 8 hours” is *an average* so some people are good with 6 and some need 10.

      But there is a strong element of performing martyrdom to it too. “You think you’re tired” type rubbish. I read a paper about how people over report how many hours they work when self-reporting by up to 50%. I think there is a similar tendency to exaggerate how little sleep you get/how tired you are.

      I tend to get 5-7 hours sleep and that is not regarded as being underslept, but it absolutely impacts me – I’m pretty sure I need about 9 hours sleep, and while everyone seems to go to bed so late (!!), I’ve established many people are able to get up after 7-8 am, which is very late to me.

      I just think the ability to go without sleep is regarded as being “strong”, like being intelligent is attributed too much weight in peoples’ overall worth.

      1. LCL*

        I made a career decision that has cost me thousands over the years, and will cost me in retirement, so I can get 9 hours sleep each night. It was that or commit suicide. I’m not speaking with hyperbole, I was done.

        1. Hrovitnir*

          I’m glad you were able to make that change and hopefully it’s been a sustainable one despite the net loss of income. Chronic sleep deprivation is a big deal, and it really doesn’t matter if some other person would be sleep deprived with that amount!

  11. Elizabeth West*

    The sore throat monster got me this week. I’m missing meditation today, though I still have to go to a brow appointment. :P It’s better today than it was yesterday. There’s nothing more annoying than a scratchy throat. Plus I feel yucky. Yesterday I slept from 10:30 pm Thursday night until 11 am. And of course, being alone means I have to make my own soup. :(

    One of my chat members wants to meet up for lunch–they will be in the area next week. I don’t even know if this person is male or female (I suspect male). I hope (s)he is not thinking of anything past just being friends because I am NOT dating anyone in my chat again ever. Not after last time. Anyway, this person asked what there was to do here, and basically there is nothing–even Branson, hillbilly tourist trap of shit extraordinaire, is basically shut down this time of year. You just don’t come here in the winter. I have no idea what to do with them. I guess we could go see a movie if lunch isn’t too awkward. :P

    1. brightstar*

      I hope you feel better soon!

      The good thing about going to see a movie is that is removes the need to talk for a while.

    2. sophieChotek*

      Hope it goes well. I admit to wanting to do some of the Branson touristy stuff once….

      1. Elizabeth West*

        The lakes are nice, but the rest is just really cheesy junk. Silver Dollar City is only fun during the craft thing or if you’re a little kid. Plus, it’s a very tiny town that makes a huge amount of money from tourists in the summer, so it’s expensive. There are a couple of cool flea markets, though.

        OH I forgot–the Titanic museum is neat.

  12. Rollerskate Kate*

    Long-time friend, Wakeen, has Aspergers, I didn’t handle a recent interaction as well as I’d have liked and would appreciate any thoughts.

    Background: we’ve been friends for a long time and he’s one of my dearest friends. We normally communicate pretty well with each other. I get some things that really help, e.g. I get that if I ask a question (e.g. are you okay? or: do you want to talk about the teapot that fell on your head?) I should listen to his answer and not say “are you sure?” I know he prefers to be told if he has something factually wrong. He knows he can ask me questions when he doesn’t get something and I’ll always help and never laugh. And I know that if things get a bit sticky he doesn’t like to go back and talk about them and in fact finds it excruciating to do so, which is why I’m not asking him. Just interested in suggestions on how I could have handled it better.

    So we’re with another friend and I say I recently discovered learning styles (due to a post on a recent Friday open thread, in fact) and it’s been an absolute revelation because it has given me language and concepts to explain that I’m not a visual learner. I always thought I was just stupid or crazy because I can’t watch someone do something and copy it. I can’t watch a YouTube video and learn a skill. I once left a knitting class in tears as I kept asking the tutor how she cast on and she kept saying “you do this…” and showing me and couldn’t comprehend that I needed her to explain, with words. It’s been a relief to realise that it’s actually okay that I can’t learn that way, that it’s okay that when the world and its wife recommends YouTube videos I’m allowed to not find them helpful.

    Wakeen said that learning styles were in vogue years ago but those in his field found it frustrating when people got hung up on defining themselves by them as they’re not quite so clear-cut. I said it’s not about how useful they are, it was just a relief to realise I’m not the only person in the world who can’t learn from a video.

    Wakeen repeated that learning styles can be interesting but ultimately aren’t that helpful. I said I get that, but I’m actually explaining how this made me feel about an insecurity I had. Wakeen then repeated his explanation, ended up needing a few minutes out and we changed the subject. He didn’t get that I totally understood and heard what he was saying, but the facts didn’t matter, I was talking about an emotional experience. He’s pretty compassionate and I thought he’d empathise with the whole feeling alone and stupid part as he’d normally get something like that. But it’s like he got so hung up on the fact that I was mentioning this concept that he couldn’t get past needing to correct me/explain about the concept and hear that I wanted to talk about how I felt. And also get that this had boosted my confidence and it wasn’t the time to say it wasn’t useful.

    Does anyone have a sensitive way of saying: thank you for explaining x but I want to talk about how I feel and don’t need to be told facts currently?

    1. Myrin*

      Especially if you have a good relationship with Wakeen, I don’t see anything wrong with actually saying that last sentence.

      1. zora*

        Yes, I agree, but I’m thinking the second to last sentence. I think you need to be more accurate in the moment and put into as literal words as possible what is happening, and say something like “I understand that you are sharing interesting information, but it’s hurting my feelings a little bit that I”m explaining that this boosted my confidence and it feels like you’re telling me that it wasn’t useful, which sounds like you are saying that boosting my confidence isn’t ‘useful’. Does that make sense?”

        It’s something that feels weird at first, but it gets easier with practice to actually break down exactly what you are feeling but in a non-emotional way at the time.

        And then at the same time, he probably wasn’t feeling heard either, so you could also spend a little longer mirroring what he is saying back to him. But maybe you did that.

    2. fposte*

      This may not be ASD-related–Deborah Tannen observed this in common male vs. common female styles of discourse years ago. Can you frame it to him as your emotions sometimes being the most important information?

    3. Jules the First*

      My younger sister and I developed a code – sometimes she just needs someone to listen while she says emotional stuff (for the record, I’m not aspie, but also not good with emotions) and so she will start with “I’m sharing that…” which is my cue that the rest of that statement is something where she wants someone to listen supportively but doesn’t want to be contradicted or corrected, so I need to focus on asking her “feel” questions rather than coming out with facts or solutions.

      1. Myrin*

        I have something like this with my sister as well. We’ll say “Shall I just listen or do you want me to react?” which might seem almost rudely direct but is an immensely good communication tool.

    4. Turtlewings*

      In my personal experience — with Asperger’s folks but even just with anyone — saying exactly that is probably the answer. “Thank you for explaining x but I want to talk about how I feel and don’t need to be told facts currently.”

    5. Temperance*

      FWIW, I’m like your friend Wakeen, even though I’m not on the spectrum. I am also, like you, not a “visual learner”, even though I personally find learning styles to be bunk, too.

      I somehow struggle with not understanding other people’s emotions when facts are there.

    6. Elizabeth H.*

      Fwiw, it sounds to me like he meant that it wasn’t useful AT WORK (and specifically in the context of using them to improve efficiency and teamwork at work in his field specifically) rather than in general, in any arena of the world. I honestly don’t even think you need to go to the thought process, “I want to talk about how I feel, not hear a fact” but that you would be more accurate to frame it as “the theory of learning styles is clearly not very useful for improving workplace relations in Field of Wakeen, but it is useful for me personally when I am trying to learn a new skill or hobby so that I can be sure to do it the right way for me, rather than in a way that won’t work that will make me feel bad.” This seems to me to be both logical, factual and non-dismissive of your emotions.

      1. Rollerskate Kate*

        This would have made perfect sense – were it not that Wakeen is a teacher, and was talking about whether they help people learn, not about teamwork or etc.

        1. Elizabeth H.*

          Oh OK! I had assumed that in his field there had been a brief vogue for learning styles to enhance cooperation in an office setting or whatever. It still seems to me that you and he just disagree about whether or not it is a useful concept (I’d disagree with him too – I think it’s generally a useful concept though it’s possible it has limited scope of applicability in a classroom setting) rather than it being a facts vs feelings thing but obviously you’re the best judge of the situation.
          I can’t learn stuff visually either, I have to actually do it myself. I can watch a video or look at pictures if they accompany instructions I am follow along with (like learning an Excel trick) and the video/diagram is just an illustration for what it should look like when I’m doing it myself but mostly I have to do it myself to understand.

    1. Larz*

      I’ve been living on those Indian simmer sauces from Aldi. Put some rice in the rice cooker, chop and saute whatever vegetables you have (and meat if you have it and want it), add the sauce to the veggies, heat until hot, and serve over rice. If there’s an Aldi nearby (even Big Lots carries something similar, and Kroger did but it disappeared), stock up. If you wanna get fancy, doll it up with some sriracha.

      1. New girl*

        I’ve been tempted to buy the Indian sauces from Aldi but I was trying to find some reviews before I did! I will deff be picking some up this week!

      2. salad fingers*

        Mmmm, that sounds really good. I always want to use those but feel intimidated choosing what to simmer.

        1. Junior Dev*

          Some of my local stores have pre-cut vegetables in the produce section, so I like to pick up one of those when I make curry or stir fry.

          For simmer sauces you want something that’ll absorb the flavor and hold up to being boiled for a while. Any of the following sound good: eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash.

    2. Feathers McGraw*

      Frittata. You basically need eggs, milk, onion and whatever you want to put in there (I like cherry tomato, leeks and any other veg I have lying around).

      Chop and sauté the veg with any seasoning you want to add. Whisk eggs and a bit of milk together. Spread veg in a dish or put in individual ramekins, pour egg mix over and put in oven for about 20-25 min.

      It’s yummy and it keeps well and tastes great cold too.

      1. So Very Anonymous*

        I have made these in muffin tins too, since I was told to eat more protein in the morning — nice little bite of protein, easy to heat up in microwave.

    3. Becca*

      Shakshuka is, from what I’ve seen, pretty easy. And if you like salmon, my favorite fish dish is pineapple maple glazed salmon, which is very easy but people go “ooh ahh” for it. Just add a side or two and BAM! Done.

      And I have a recipe for a super lazy quiche (link on my name) that makes bonus mini-quiches so you also have breakfast/snacks. Six ingredients; delicious and simple.

    4. MsChanandlerBong*

      Roast in the slow cooker. Put potatoes and carrots on the bottom (baby carrots if you’re short on time and don’t want to peel/cut regular carrots). Put a chuck roast on top. Pour about 2 c. of water into the slow cooker, maybe a little more (enough to just cover vegetables). Add a packet of onion soup mix and several dashes of Worcestershire sauce on top of the roast. Cook on low for 8 hours. You can use regular onions, too, but I use the packet because I have trouble digesting onions.

      1. Liane*

        Must add Worcestershire next time we do one!

        You can also do the gravy roast with condensed cream of mushroom soup (two 10.75 oz. cans, or I use 1 big can) and a packet of onion soup mix. Mix the soups and 1 1/4 cups water in the cooker and add your roast; my recipe says 5 1/2 lb roast. Coat the roast in the soups, then cook about 4 hrs High/8 Low.
        You can add potatoes, carrots, more onion, etc. if you like.

        Tip on the soup: I have found that the low fat cream of mushroom (like Campbell’s Healthy Request) taste
        way better than the regular kind.
        We also do pork loins in the crock pot. Just salt & pepper the meat, cover with water and cook 4 hrs High/8 Low. Again, you can add whatever veggies. Or once, it is done, you can pull the meat apart and add your favorite BBQ sauce.

    5. Namelesscommentator*

      Romertopfs will be my forever kitchen recommendation. So easy to roast veggies or meat if that’s your thing.

      Soups in cast iron Dutch ovens are also super easy. Just throw in split peas or lentils, some onion garlic, carrots and whatever else you have around,veggie broth and bake for an hourish at 350. I’m saving up to get a le creuset dutch oven. So worth the investment if you cook soups weekly! (Sur la table had one for 90 this winter but I gave it to my mom! Lesson learned about jumping on the good deals).

      Also flatbread pizzas – I just take a premade flatbread, put some pasta sauce, mozzarella, and veggies, bake at 500 for 5 min, with a side of soup it makes a great, well-rounded meal.

    6. zora*

      I buy a lot of frozen ingredients that I can put together in a skillet for a quick complete meal.
      Frozen veggies/veggie mixes
      Frozen brown rice
      Frozen prepared chicken / or a pack of precooked chicken
      and then I keep some sauces and condiments around.

      So, I can mix these up in various combinations. Throw a bunch of frozen veggies in the skillet for just a few minutes on low, mix in the chicken. Add at the very end some pasta sauce or simmer sauce or pesto or salsa. Meanwhile the rice was in the microwave and I can just throw it all in a bowl. Top with something like slivered almonds or parmesan or chutney or sour cream/avocado.

      As long as I am careful not to overcook the vegetables, it all tastes as good as if I made everything from fresh.

    7. LibbyG*

      Ooh! Great ideas in this thread! My go-to 15-min meal is quesadilla on a whole wheat tortilla topped with canned black beans and leftover veggies heated up and seasoned with a chipotle taco spice blend out of a blue envelope.

      1. Adlib*

        Yes! I do quesadillas with leftover taco meat and/or veggies from leftovers all the time! So good.

    8. AcademiaNut*

      For very easy meals when you have time, roasting is a good option. A cheap cut of meat, baked potatoes, some roasted vegetables, and maybe some salad greens on the side. For meat, things like pork shoulder, pork loin, chicken legs or thighs work well. I tend to do pork fairly simply (we get really good pork at the local market), and chicken legs (skin on, bone in) with cumin and paprika. For roasting vegetables – cut up root vegetables (onions, potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, daikon, garlic), cauliflower, kohlrabi, mushrooms, etc. Toss with olive oil and whole spices like cumin or caraway. Cherry tomatoes or sliced whole tomatoes roast well too. For potatoes, I find they take longer to bake than something like chicken legs, so I’ll microwave them for about 2 minutes first, so they’ll finish about the same time, and sometimes do the same for the root vegetables.

      Thai curry pastes are great for fast meals. Set the rice cooker, then sautee the paste in a bit of oil, add coconut milk and blend, then your meat and vegetables, and cook until tender. Finish with a squeeze of lime juice and a dash of fish sauce if you want. This works with a variety of different vegetables. Japanese curry sauce and cream stew paste can be used in a similar way.

    9. Nerdgal*

      My absolute easiest is Three Can Chili. Warm up one can beans, drained and rinsed; one can corn, drained; one can diced tomatoes with juice; and chili powder. I keep microwaveable rice around in case I want a heartier version.

    10. Bruce H.*

      The canonical easy meal is ramen with an egg stirred in after the noodles are cooked. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, dice a clove of garlic and add it before the noodles. Eat raw fruit for fiber.

    11. Thlayli*

      Stir-fried anything with boil in the bag rice. Make sure you rinse out the pan as soon as you empty it and clean up is super easy too.

  13. New girl*

    I need some friendship advice. I was invited to visit a friend, Frank and stay at his place for a weekend away. Frank lives close to a lot of our friends from college. He told me bring along a friend for the weekend. I planned on asking my friend Amy.

    I’m kind of in a complicated position though because I live near a college friend, Tina. Tina and Frank are friendly but it is well known that Frank isn’t a fan of Tina for long periods of time (anything over a day). I don’t think he’d enjoy having Tina over for the weekend. This issue is that Tina is friends with the other college friends that live near Frank.

    I need to tell Tina I’m going and bringing Amy but I have a feeling she’ll be upset. When I go visit Frank, I’ll be seeing multiple people from college Tina is good friends with. I brought up to multiple people that I think Tina will be upset as a way to see if they have a suggestion and all they say is “oh well”.

    So basically, I need help telling Tina that I’m going to visit Frank with Amy, will be seeing our old college friends and the invite was not extended to her.

    1. fposte*

      Why do you need to tell Tina you’re going and bringing Amy? (And is this Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and why wouldn’t anybody want Tina Fey?) It’s not usual to inform people about an event and tell them they’re not invited to it. You shouldn’t be evasive, but you don’t need to clear it with anybody beforehand either, and it would be rude for you and Amy to talk about it in front of Tina anyway. The answer to “What did you do this weekend?” is “Amy and I went up to NYC–had a nice time.”

      It sounds like there may be a bit of the Geek Social Fallacies operating here (have a Google for that) in that you’re struggling with the notion of an event that includes some but not all friends. But those happen all the time, really, and it’s absolutely fine.

      1. New girl*

        Tina gets upset when she is not included or kept in the loop. I thought it might be easier to be up front with her.

            1. Feathers McGraw*

              That and this kind of thing will actively make people not want to include her. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy / vicious cycle sadly – but really not yours to fix.

            2. Jessesgirl72*

              Yeah… don’t get sucked into her drama and the “don’t upset the crazy person” coping/allowances that people make for difficult people. It just allows her to be difficult. You don’t owe her any explanations or to take her along with you. If she finds out and throws a fit, disengage. And maybe think about if you really still want to be friends with her.

        1. TL -*

          Then say, “Amy and I were invited down to Frank’s place that weekend,” but only when/if the weekend plans come up. That’s all the discussion needs to be – if she pushes, just say, well that’s the invitation I was given and it would be incredibly rude to push back on this with Frank.

        2. fposte*

          This sounds like there may be a deeper issue of a friendship that’s focused on placating Tina–and that could explain why Frank might have a limited patience for her.

          Presenting it to her like a bomb that has to be safely detonated makes it a bigger deal than it is. If she’s going to get upset at being excluded, she’s going to get upset whether she finds out before or afterwards, so you might as well have the conversation that suits *you* best.

        3. OhBehave*

          I think we just solved the reason why Frank doesn’t like her! She needs to own her own emotions. It’s not up to you to do so.

      2. Feathers McGraw*

        This is exactly what I was coming here to say but expressed so much more eloquently than I could have managed.

        You don’t need to make this your problem.

      3. Myrin*

        I agree. OP, maybe I’m missing something but you say that you live near Tina but, well, just because you live near someone doesn’t mean you have to tell them when and with whom and where you’re leaving. It would be trickier if you lived with Tina because then she’d definitely notice when you’re gone and it would probably come up in a normal we-share-a-household-what’s-up conversation, but just living near someone doesn’t create that same situation, in my opinion.

        If the problem is that Tina is friends with people living near Frank who might tell her about your visit after the fact then, like fposte says, it’s best to just stick to the facts since you aren’t obligated to bring Tina along just because you happen to be near friends of hers.

    2. TL -*

      Can you just tell her matter of factly? It doesn’t seem like it’s that big of a deal – you’re staying at Frank’s place, so it’s his invite, not yours. You can easily frame it as “Amy and I were invited”

    3. Feathers McGraw*

      Also, if she gets upset you’re actually not doing her any favours by pandering to it. That is kind of how the world works and you can’t protect her from the fact that she’s not going to be included in everything – any more than you can constantly reassure someone with anxiety.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      If all they say is “oh well” that says a lot about Tina.

      You can:
      a) Tell Tina that you and Amy are going to see Frank. Since you won’t get to spend a lot of time with her (Tina) you will come back and visit her on another trip.
      b) “Amy and I are going to see Frank. Frank is busy Wednesday afternoon so I thought I would use that opening to grab a visit with you. Are you going to be around?”

      The idea here is that you set the scene, you are going to see Frank, that is the main focus, the main goal. While you are mostly busy visiting with Frank, you would like to set aside time to spend with Tina too.

      This is a good skill to learn and become comfortable with. I have done this and I have had it done to me. The rationale is not everyone is for everyone. Ultimately, both Frank and Tina have to respect your relationship with the other person. With some folks the best we can do is just let our people go and visit these folks. The person our people are visiting is just not a person for us.

      If Tina is smart she will realize that Frank is hosting you so your first consideration is for your host. Next she will realize that you felt it was important enough to be sure to set aside time for her too. Last, she may realize that Frank is not interfering with your visit with her even though the two of them do not do well as friends.

      If Tina reacts poorly, then that is more information that you may want to consider for future visits. For example, it could be that you don’t call her at all and let the chips fall where they may.

    5. Temperance*

      Why do you need to tell her that you’re staying with Frank and bringing someone else? It’s totally fine that you aren’t including Tina in everything, and I don’t think you owe her an explanation.

    6. New girl*

      Thank you so much everybody for the advice. You all really opened up my eyes and made me realize I was going about this the wrong way. I’ve been debating if I wanted to continue my friendship with Tina and decided that how this situation plays out will most likely be the deciding factor.

      I kinda feel like a bad friend for doing this. For some background, Tina has been dealing with depression February 2015 after losing her grandmother and father within a month of each other. This was especially tragic because she had already lost her mother, leaving her with no parents/grandparents at the age of 24. I have really felt for her and tried to be there but she has been increasing difficult to be around. Am I being selfish?

      Anyway, I am seeing Tina on Friday. If the topic comes up, I’m nonchalantly telling her but I’m done worrying about it.

      1. Hoorah*

        As a friend of course there are times when we have to be understanding of someone who’s acting out of character during a difficult situation. (We’ve all been there, done that). But as with everything else in life, always within reason.

        When I was depressed I became angry, hyper sensitive, and just all around unpleasant company. If Tina is feeling like this that’s totally understandable given her circumstances. However, if her negativity is interfering with her relationships, it sounds like she would benefit from professional help. You walking on eggshells to avoid displeasing her is not actually helping her in the long run. Supporting Tina as a friend does not mean trying to please her at all costs.

        1. Rubyrose*

          Agree with this.
          New girl, you are not being selfish. It’s two years since the deaths. It sounds like some professional help is in order.

  14. salad fingers*

    I just got a new mattress! Very excited – it’s a size and a quality upgrade, and my old mattress was over 13 years old so my back is ready for something new.

    I have questions though. I will link the mattress type in the comments – Serta Enrapture ll Euro Top. It’s a double pillow topper queen bed, and online it says that it’s 16 inches thick, but in reality it looks like it could be even a little thicker. I’m reading that for the sheet set I’ll need either deep pockets or extra deep pockets, which are proving kind of annoying to find. Also, I live in an apartment in one of the most bed bug infested cities in the US, so I’m very concerned about protecting my new treasure. Thus, the following questions:

    Do you have experience with this mattress or a similarly gigantic one?
    Do you have a favorite deep or extra deep pocket sheet set? Is it possible to just buy King size bedding in this case?
    Do you more generally have a favorite type or brand of bedding?
    Will this mattress fit into a queen size mattress protector thing, or would it make sense to get a king size?
    Is there anything else I should know about protecting a mattress?

    Phew, sorry for all of the ??s there. I know there are a lot of home goods and comfort enthusiasts here and google has been kind of a miss on a couple of these points. Thank you in advance for any thoughts!

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      Because pillow tops have been a thing for so long now, I generally find most sheets fit, and they all pretty much say “deep pockets”

      I can’t give recommendations for sheets, because I’ve turned into a huge sheet snob, who only wants cotton sheets or mostly cotton sheets, period. I get them when they go on deep sale at Macy’s.

      I do actually like Ikea’s sheets, though, and they are reasonably priced.

        1. salad fingers*

          That’s good to know, thank you Jessesgirl and Delta Delta! I’m trying to avoid ordering blindly online, because I like going in store and feeling things or having a recommendation. I’m actually kind of a sheet snob too, I guess? In that I definitely am not into microfiber or jersey, probably only cotton and would consider something like linen in the right context.

          1. Jessesgirl72*

            I don’t mind jersey if it’s COTTON jersey- but most jersey sheets are microfiber/bamboo/other plastics that don’t breathe.

            I’m sure I’d love linen or silk, if I could afford them, but since I can’t, I manage with cotton.

    2. MsRoboto*

      If it’s queen use queen items. You will not be happy trying to use king sized. I googled deep pocket queen sheets and it looks like they can be found pretty easily. I am not a sheet connoisseur but amazon had a bunch I’m sure the reviews will tell you what you need to know.

      1. ginger ale for all*

        There is one exception to the use queen only. If you and your spouse tend to hog the blankets at night, get a comforter that is one size larger than your bed size. That way you can both get the extra bit in the middle of the night.

          1. fposte*

            That’s pretty common in some Scandinavian places, I think; I know I ran into it in Iceland.

            1. Jessesgirl72*

              We tried oversize, and it just ended up with one of us cold and the excess on the floor of the side of the other person.

              Two comforters means I can cocoon in mine all I want, and the excess drapes on the floor on his side, and no one complains!

              1. Jessesgirl72*

                90% of the time, if I get stuck in moderation, I know what I typed to trigger the filter.

                This one has me flummoxed! :)

                1. Junior Dev*

                  Probably the fact that you mentioned sleeping in the same bed as your spouse. Foul indecency!

                  (This was actually A Thing for TV and movie couples in the 40s and 50s due to the Hayes Code.)

                2. Jessesgirl72*

                  Yes- Lucy and Ricky were allowed to push their beds together and didn’t have to keep a foot on the floor because they were married in real life. :)

          2. Liane*

            We have a king bed and we buy twin comforters and twin flat sheets as well. So much better than grumbling over who is the thief an who the victim. We can’t buy sheets in sets of course

            1. Red Reader*

              I do! Our king bed is actually two twin mattresses on a king frame, so he can have his squooshy soft mattress with cotton sheets and I can have my super firm mattress with flannel sheets :)

    3. bassclefchick*

      I have a queen sized mattress that needs extra deep pocket sheets and I agree. FINDING said sheets is a pain! Yes, you can use king sized, but they won’t fit right. The fitted sheet will need to be tucked under and the flat sheet will be way too big, but it will work. I’ve gotten sheets at Kohl’s (if you’re in the Midwest) and WalMart (yeah, I know. I rarely shop there anymore). Never found anything I liked at Target, though. Bed Bath and Beyond is hit or miss.

      1. salad fingers*

        Thanks for the heads up! I think we do have a Kohls somewhere here, definitely in the suburbs. I went to Bloomingdales home, because I was close by and just to see, and the ladies there told me they had nothing that fit my dimensions sold in store, which definitely concerned me. Happy to know I can find them somewhere not online.

        1. Gov Worker*

          I like Wamsutta brand and 100% cotton, but they wrinkle terribly after washing. I happen not to care, but if that bothers you, you may want to add a bit of polyester. Fitted sheets, even cheap ones (I buy mine from Evine) are huge and fit my oversized mattress with no problem. Happy sleeping!

    4. ..Kat..*

      We bought a Sleep Number bed, which requires deep pocket sheets. Luckily, the Sleep Number store also sells the sheets!

    5. brightstar*

      I have a queen size double pillow top mattress, and recently purchased really nice sheets (700 thread count!) at a deep discount at Macy’s. They are so luxurious and I think I paid about $50 for a set with four pillow cases.

    6. AdAgencyChick*

      I have a very deep queen mattress. I use deep pocket queen sheets from Bed Bath & Beyond (the really high thread-count ones). Wish I could remember what brand they are!

    7. Aealias*

      With bedbugs in the building, the mattress protector is SO important. I’m paranoid on this front, so I’d enquire at the local pest control company for their recommendations – bedbug protection requires a pretty tight weave and a covered zipper, if I recall correctly. Make sure you’re getting the right bag for your purpose. With the cost of a good mattress, it’s totally worth paying to protect it (and your peace of mind – lots of people have serious hang-ups about bedbugs).

    8. Ursula*

      If your sheets are slightly not deep enough, you can also get sheet garters – I got mine at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Basically, they’re elastic straps that you attach to two spots on each corner to make an additional hold against the sheets coming off the bed – deepening the pocket, essentially. I call them garters because they’re straps with the same holding mechanism that garter belts use, which I find infinitely entertaining!

  15. Junior Dev*

    Anyone else have trouble having energy to do anything besides work?

    I work 40 hours a week at a job I started two months ago. I go to the gym a few times a week and try to hang out with friends and family a few times. Sometimes i work on creative projects.

    …And my house is a mess, I have months of paperwork I need to deal with, I want to volunteer but I’m scared that’ll make things worse. I get home in the evening and just feel like crap, no energy or motivation to do anything.

    I’m on antidepressants which increase my motivation somewhat but they don’t solve the problem. Trying to experiment with different meds seems like yet another thing I don’t have time for.

    It’s frustrating because I hate feeling like doing the bare minimum is all I can do. I mean, my co-workers have kids and spouses and hobbies, I know people who worked full time while also going to school, why can’t I even sweep the floor most nights? I don’t want to seem like I’m feeling sorry for myself, I know many people have it worse. But I’m baffled at how people can do basic adult responsibilities and also do other things.

    1. Feathers McGraw*

      Adjusting to a new job is a huge deal. Having depression is a huge deal. Can you be a bit kinder to yourself?

      I can’t do much in the evenings either. It can be hard feeling like everyone else has it more together but maybe start by focusing on self care?

      1. Junior Dev*


        I do need to focus more on certain aspects of self care. Especially getting enough sleep. I’m at least proud of myself for exercising consistently (I know I’ll feel even worse if I don’t).

        And now that I think about it I do have some friends who have an even harder time than I do keeping up with the basics, and also a lot of the people I know who are “doing more” than I am don’t do as perfect a job as I’m painting them as here.

        1. Feathers McGraw*

          And if you aren’t getting enough sleep you’re doing very well to make it to work. Try to remember that!

        2. Stinky Socks*

          Would it help to view your self care as your “second job?” i.e. You’re already working two jobs, so of course there’s basically no time left over for anything else just now.

          Because really, when you’re digging your way out of a depression, all the self-care scaffolding– exercise, sleep, nutrition, hygiene, fresh air, etc– are really essential but can also be energy-sapping. As your depression eases, your “second job” will hopefully start to morph into more of a side hustle. :)

          1. Junior Dev*

            That is an excellent way of looking at it–both the “second job” part and the “self-care scaffolding.”

            I had physical health problems last year that really did feel like a second job to deal with. I had two physical therapy sessions a week, PT exercises every day, doctor appointments every week or two, and also was in so much pain that doing most things was exhausting. I was also working (at a paying job) part time but felt way more drained than I had previously working full time.

            Now I’m only sick on a part time basis, in that my back pain is in remission but I have to do strength training to keep it from coming back, and also that I now have to deal with the depression and anxiety. But I’m working for pay full time! So I suppose it adds up to the same amount of work.

    2. TL -*

      Give it six months to get used to working. You’ll have more energy then, I promise.

      And celebrate the small victories – take some time to do just one chore and let that be enough.

      1. Junior Dev*

        God, I hope so.

        I’ve also never held a job for a full year, I thought I was going to last year but I got laid off. (I’m 26.) I am still getting used to the salaried thing of “managing your own time,” on the one hand it’s great that I don’t have to punch a clock, on the other hand I get really anxious about whether I’m “doing enough.”

        I’m also a socially anxious introvert shoved into a cubicle with 8 other people and it takes a lot of my energy just to be around them all day.

        It’s heartening to hear about others having similar problems, I sometimes feel like I’m some sort of special failure for not being good at this stuff.

        1. Lore*

          My office moved my whole department from offices to low, hard sided cubicles a while back and I happen to also be next to the conference room. I really like the three people in my cube “pod” and I’m still shocked by how much more exhausting it is for me to work in an environment with so much ambient noise.

          1. Junior Dev*

            Right?? I try to wear my noise cancelling headphones most of the time but it’s still really draining.

            Also sometimes people will have important conversations out loud and I’ll miss stuff. I hate it.

    3. smokey*

      I feel like that too, and I think we’re in similar boats because I’m always anemic at every lab test. So I’m left wondering how much is anemia and how much is normal being-an-adult? And you might wonder how much is the depression/meds and how much is normal? I have no answers but I absolutely sympathize.

      1. Junior Dev*

        Solidarity fistbumps!

        I got blood work done a couple years ago and they found I have a vitamin D deficiency, so I take supplements.

      2. mreasy*

        Highly recommend Floradix, the food-based liquid iron supplement my doc told me about. I also used to always come up anemic – then started taking a prescription medication where that’s a side effect! – but now taking this twice a day I don’t even come up as borderline. And it does make a difference. Plus: SLEEP. And vitamin D. The thing about sleep is that if you’re sensitive, like I am (and most people are), you will be rundown after only one bad night, where culturally we’re taught we should be able to make it through multiple days of short sleep and “catch up” later. That’s just not how bodies & brains work.

        1. smokey*

          Thank you, I’ll have to try that one. Looking at the reviews a lot of people noted that it doesn’t hurt their stomach, which is a really major issue with me. I get iron infusions about once a year but the insurance company doesn’t even like that frequency, and it only helps for about a month.

          I do really appreciate the note that one bad night can run a person down and that that is normal. That’s the thing- I’m 33 and it takes me several days to feel moderately okay again after one bad night. Or if I have to work a lot of extra hours one week I swear it takes a month to recover. It just seems like I’m too young for it to be that way and I can never tell if others are affected, too.

    4. SCAnonibrarian*

      I am in the same boat, so I feel you. I’m a perfectionist and an overachiever with anemia, depression, SAD (on top of the regular depression – ref overachieving), and an anxiety disorder. I’m constantly on my own case to Do The Thing and be An Adult and Get Sh!t Done, and … I just can’t make it happen most of the time.

      I know you said you were on meds, but if you don’t have a therapist, it’s really helpful to have someone professional to unpack all the unrealistic expectations that we carry around.
      Also, vitamin B-complex supplements. Super helpful.

    5. Yetanotherjennifer*

      How do you know they’re sweeping their floors? Or paying their bills on time or home cooking? I bet lots of them are only paying attention to whatever’s yelling the loudest and collapsing on the couch at the end of the day. It’s not helpful to compare your insides to their outsides. They probably only sweep when they know company’s coming. Check out the blog Home-ec 101. She’s got a great post for where you are right now that can get you started with baby steps on getting things under control. I suspect part of your lethargy comes from facing a task that seems too big to accomplish so why even start. Try breaking it down to the smallest doable task. do enough of those and you’ll find continuing on easier.

      1. Anon for this*

        +1 on all of this.

        I’ve been checking out Home Ec 101 lately. I also like Unfuck Your Habitat.

    6. Kj*

      Oh, I get this. So much. I’m job is demanding in an inter-personal kind of way that leaves me drained. I love it, but I am drained when I get home. On work days, I don’t do much in the evening- I read, I watch TV some nights, I craft, I exercise. But I don’t try and be social ever on a work day.

      On weekends, I have commitments I have chosen to schedule. I want to hold myself accountable for being social and part of a group, as feeling isolated triggers anxious feelings/ depressive thoughts. I also force myself to do house-holdy things that I know I will feel better about as soon as I get done. Animals help, as I have to do certain chores to make my animals happy.

      I find that a scheduled social event with the same people makes me feel better. I like those folks, they are easy to talk to and my struggles with friendship seems to be fading as I spend time with them.

      I find that Apartment Therapy’s weekend challenges help me focus on the house. I also allow some rooms to be messy! Only the public areas of the home need to be great and I am considering hiring household help for the big chores.

      Adjusting to a new job is hard! Give yourself time and think about the social interactions/hobbies you like to have in your life. Consider making them a regular part of your life- although it doesn’t have to be every weekend. Every other week, once a month- all can help you feel better and be easy. But you don’t have do it today. Figure out your new job, be kind to yourself.

    7. NoMoreMrFixit*

      This is a very common result of depression. No energy to do things, feeling numb physically and mentally. BTDT. You are not alone. Trying different meds is brutal and takes ages to find the right mix.

      Therapy helps more than I can put into words. More than the meds. You also need a team You. If my best friend and her family hadn’t been there to kick my butt into gear I never would have gotten out of bed some days. Lots of times housework got done because she was coming over with the family and I had to make the place presentable. More often they arrived and got me moving to do even more work. You won’t do it all on your own. A support infrastructure of close, loving people and trained professionals are critical to dealing with this.

      Volunteering is good for you. Find a group/cause you are comfortable with and join up. I did stuff with church until I went back to school full time. Had to give it up due to demands on my time and too many scheduling conflicts to juggle so a lot of outside interests have been temporarily shelved until this coming summer.

      Lastly, give yourself time. This doesn’t fix itself overnight. I went through a few years of therapy individually and in groups to get back on my feet. I’m not fully recovered but I feel more alive and “normal” than I have in 15 years. You’re doing the right things with gym, friends and creative stuff. Keep it up and God bless you.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      My wise friend used to say that messes somehow add to our depression and our inability to move forward.
      I tend to agree. I can see where coming home to disorganization is not going to make someone feel better about their day/life.
      I also am ticked that the way out of some problems is right through the middle of the darn problem.

      I worked on my house on the weekends. During the week I worked on proper rest and good nutritious meals. It took time for things to feel a bit lighter for me. I started by convincing myself that if my house was just a bit neater I would feel better. Next I conned myself into doing small projects each weekend. It’s not that I did a lot, it’s that I just. kept. doing it.
      It was probably six months to a year, I started seeing a difference. I knew where things were, my kitchen and bathroom became easy/nice to use.

      As an aside, take a look at the rules you make yourself follow. Go one rule at a time and say, “Is this rule necessary?” Some years my financial papers are all in a neat order in the file for that year. Some years my financial papers are stuff into the file every which way. I decided that putting them in a neat order every year was just not necessary, the most important thing was to know where they are.
      Carefully reconsider what mandates you give yourself, check to see if that mandate is actually serving you or if it is stopping you. Be realistic and set your home up so that it serves YOU and your needs.

    9. Temperance*

      I struggle with this, too, although I’m not on meds. I’m stressed, too. I try really hard to schedule myself, and sure, that helps, but I just can’t quite do it all.

    10. Zoe*

      You sound pretty normal to me. FWIW, I am working FT and going to grad school, and my floors are most definitely NOT swept. Something’s gotta give, for everyone.

      There are only 24 hours in a day. Minus 8 for sleep, 8-9 for work, maybe 1 for the commute, 1 for showers/using the bathroom/etc, maybe 1 for the gym, that only leaves most people with less than 3-4 hours a day for free time. (1 for me on class days). And that free time often comes when we’re not at our best or most energetic (like late at night or early in the morning). It’s not reasonable to expect yourself to be constantly “on” and productive either — everyone needs time to reflect and “zone out”.

      My strategy is to literally do all of what I call “adult work” (paying bills, house cleaning, laundry, shopping, meal prep, homework, taxes etc) on the weekends, only. I don’t even try to do these things on weekdays. I use my free hours on weekdays to just zone out, read, listen to podcasts, whatever.

    11. misspiggy*

      A) You are doing way more than the bare minimum. B) If you have depression, you probably have poor sleep quality (I think way more REM sleep, less deep sleep?), which is going to make you very tired because it never or rarely lets up.

      So I’d say congratulate yourself for every constructive thing you do, and accept that you need plenty of recovery time doing less constructive things. Also, prioritise the things that are really important to you – does it matter if the floor is dirty? I’d say no, especially if you don’t have allergies, you don’t eat food you drop on it and you’re able to give it a quick sweep if you have visitors.

      1. Junior Dev*

        Thank you for A). I also realized I left out that I am learning to play roller derby and also trying to do various hobby and home/vehicle repair projects. Even without that I am doing much more than I was when I had health problems last year.

        B) is true and also I need to make myself go to bed earlier.

        “Sweeping the floor” was an example of the many cleaning and organizing tasks that don’t happen but you’re right, those don’t matter as much as I’m making them out to.

    12. Dot*

      I identify so much with this. I graduated in June 2016 and started a full-time job two weeks later. I kept thinking I’d get used to it and stop being so tired; I just needed to push through. But in January my body said NOPE with forceful panic attacks and fatigue (I’d need to put my head on my desk because I couldn’t sit up straight at least once a day). I started seeing a therapist who specialises in work issues and when I’d described the way I operate at work she commented that a lot of people who experience severe burnout describe their way of working like that (e.g. starting a new task as soon as the previous one is finished; not taking the 20-second break between calls that is built into our phone software).

      I’ve only seen her a couple of times and I’m not sure the exercises she gave me are helping, but the biggest one is that I try to remember to take three deep breaths when transitioning from one task to the next (sometimes that means every 3 minutes, sometimes once an hour–my tasks are very unpredictable in length). Supposedly this “washes out” the stress of focusing on work and lets my body recharge a little bit throughout the day. I think the goal is that I’ll eventually not need to spend 100% of my free time at home and resting.

      As I said, I don’t know if this is going to work or if something more is needed for me but it was really eye-opening to hear her say that it was an unsustainable way to work. This is my first job out of school, and the way I’ve operated in my many years as a student is that I’ve worked very intensively for a few weeks/up to three months at a time, and then had weeks/months of lethargy to recover. Which obviously wasn’t very healthy (other than the tiredness my health is remarkably improved since I finished my studies), but it set me up to work intensively and with high expectations on myself … and I really didn’t instinctively GET that this wasn’t going to work when I needed to do it without a break, every week for months on end.

      Personally I also suspect I may have ADHD and have brought my concerns up with the therapist without much response (probably because she isn’t qualified to diagnose it) but with the promise to return to it when we’d worked through some other things.

      1. Junior Dev*

        Oh wow, this is a GREAT suggestion. I definitely struggle with taking breaks between tasks at work. I’m going to try the breath idea!

    13. Hrovitnir*

      Depression and lack of energy high fives. :P

      You’re doing awesome! I am in a very similar situation and I have a few main points:
      *Don’t compare yourself to others. That generally isn’t productive even when neurotypical, but the thing about depression that is chronic is that it is acknowledged as a disability for a reason. You may need to adjust your expectations – which doesn’t mean hold yourself back, but acknowledge your mental health as a significant contributor to what you can do. See: spoon theory (I particularly like the comparison to D&D spell slots but that may not work for you).
      *A new job + gym + socialising is a lot! You’re doing great! I hope this isn’t patronising, it’s just what I have to try to remind myself so I want to do for others.
      *Antidepressants (I’m assuming SSRI) can help with depression but it’s incredibly variable and even if it’s great for your mental health it may not work for energy levels.

      For comparison: I am 32 and am only just starting to sort of manage to clean up after myself (I’m good at work but not at home). I am exhausted all the time even just doing school work. I insisted on a 7.45-5 work day (where possible) for my Honours (like Masters) with one weekend day and was surrounded by people staying until 11 but still got top marks. I was extremely active at 18-20 but a horrible person ruined that for me and it’s only now I’m starting to be able to force myself to do sport again – being seen running/working out at something I’m not really good at can still induce tracheal constriction (ie: my throat closes completely) from anxiety.

      That improvement has happened over about 4 years with the assistance of antidepressants. I still struggle to care about anything and easily become dissociative. I feel like I have to force myself to just keep getting up in the morning in the hopes that on this day I’ll be able to access my enthusiasm about, well, anything. It’s really hard.

      You’re not alone. I hope you can make incremental improvements until you are happy with the balance in your life.

    14. Aardvark*

      This sounds totally normal. You’re a human with emotions, and it’s okay to give yourself permission to be a human with emotions. There’s a lot of pressure out there to optimize everything (and I’m guessing from your screen name, you work with some people who buy into that hardcore!) and…sometimes it just doesn’t work. Your brain needs downtime! Your body needs downtime! If you are living with depression even if it’s being treated, you may need more than average.

      You mentioned you’re 26 and in one of your first professional positions–you’re still getting to know yourself as an adult. That takes time and it’s okay that you haven’t mastered every aspect of it yet. Give yourself forgiveness when you don’t make it, and acknowledgement when you do! I’m a little (*cough* *cough*) older than you and have also dealt with depression on and off for 20+ years. I got much better at basic life stuff when I was able to do that. (It can be very hard to do, and it’s much easier said than done.)

      I also sometimes tell myself “I can be unhappy and have a clean floor, or I can be unhappy and have a dirty floor. Which do I choose today?” because I know that I will be miserable for the next half hour whether I am sitting on the couch watching TV or vacuuming. I know intellectually that 2.5 hr of wallowing won’t make me feel better than 3 hr of wallowing. I don’t mean to imply “suck it up and be happy” because that’s BS–but I think there is some value to simultaneously acknowledging that your base state is sometimes feeling pretty terrible and that you feel terrible because your body doesn’t regulate your chemicals right, not for an external reason that you can heal with continuous rest. Dealing with depression can be different than dealing with a cold or even a chronic illness in that way–it’s more like building strength. If you’re kind to yourself, a little bit of occasional, uncomfortable exertion can be helpful building up your baseline tolerance for life.

  16. The Other Dawn*

    Well, I had my tummy tuck this past Monday and I’m home recuperating. The pain isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, which is good. One surgical drain is out and the other will likely come out Monday or Tuesday. I have to say it was so weird to look down and see a flat stomach. I feel like it’s not me. But I’ll get used it in time. Things are starting to swell and bruise, and the compression garment feels like it’s getting tighter. Plus the skin surrounding the ends of the incision is getting sensitive. Today I’m emotional. Mostly a feeling of “when will I feel normal again?” And tired of being bored and having to work around the drains, the gauze etc. Tired of taking all the meds. But it will pass. I honestly didn’t think it would bother me this much to be nearly immobile. I mean, I can move around and do a few things (I managed to cook breakfast!) but I feel very useless and like a couch potato. Never thought I’d say that!

    1. fposte*

      Yay, Dawn! I was thinking of you. Recuperation is annoying but it sounds like it’s moving along, and soon you’ll be mobile again.

    2. salad fingers*

      So glad to hear everything is going well and I hope you continue to recover quickly. I haven’t been around the comments here in a while but I know it’s been a long journey to get here, so congrats!

    3. SophieChotek*

      Hang in there! Hope your can soon be “up and about” and doing things.
      In the meantime, maybe there a TV series or something you want to binge watch? (Funny how those things sound fun until it’s actually the only option)…

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Yeah, I have the full Golden Girls DVD set, which I might break out. Yes I’ve seen every episode a millions times, but it’s a comfort thing. Reminds me of my mom, as we always watched it together when it was running. I might watch the new series Bull to see how I like it, and my friend is bugging me to try Scandal.

    4. Junior Dev*

      Being bedridden (or nearly so) sucks. You absolutely have the right to just watch Netflix if you want, but if you feel better about yourself when being productive you could try taking online classes at Kahn Academy or Udemy.

    5. Mimmy*

      Yay!! I was looking forward to the free-for-all today in hopes that you’d update us on how everything went. Glad that everything is going well and wish you continued good healing.

    6. The Other Dawn*

      Thanks everyone! If anyone wants to see my “before” pictures just click on my name. I didn’t post any “after” pics yet since I’m still feeling pretty gross and not myself.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Sending you good wishes for a speedy recovery.

      Cry when you need to, I think you know that. It’s part of your recovery process.

      And keep looking ahead, soon you will heal and soon you will be wowed by reaching your own goals. Reaching a goal does not happen everyday, plan how you will celebrate that.

    8. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Glad to hear that things went well! Take time to recover. When I had my breast reduction, everyone on the website I read talked about how the third week was the worst one emotionally and physically, and it really was. Be gentle with yourself, get plenty of rest, and don’t overdo it <3

    9. NaoNao*

      Other Dawn I was thinking of you and hoping you’re okay!
      It’s hard to be a co-tato, but you can do it! So…many…shows!
      Hope your recovery is quick and you feel yourself soon!

  17. Anon Anon*

    I am very excited as I got accepted for the 2017 New York City Marathon. I was one of the lucky 16% of applicants. I’m never lucky so I was thrilled and shocked.

    1. SophieChotek*

      (But now I’m curious: How does the application process work? Is it based on athletic skill? random luck based on number of applicants?) What a thrill to partake!

      1. Anon Anon*

        It’s random luck. They have three drawings. One for people who live within 60 miles of NYC. One for everyone else in the US, and one for people outside of the US. They value geographic diversity so being from a state that has fewer applicants is helpful. Of course you never know who from your area is applying. And I know three people who applied from my area who did not get a spot.

        You can get a guaranteed entry if you can meet the time requirements, which for me would having run a marathon or half marathon averaging just over 7 minutes a mile.

    2. Grumpy*

      OMG, so happy for you. I did not get in, darn it. I refreshed the screen every 30 seconds like a nerd, it did not help.
      Hope you have the best time and run strong.
      Please post about it — including the training.

  18. Feathers McGraw*

    Sorry to start another post but I’ve realised I really want to share this: I had an assessment for free NHS therapy this week and I’m SO HAPPY AND RELIEVED at how it went.

    Have had bad experiences in the past (not being listened to etc). Had private therapy which helped lots but really can’t afford it currently even at the sliding scale rate I was going for and have been struggling a bit as I could really do with seeing someone again. I’m all for investing in myself but money is super tight right now. EAP (not a work related post otherwise!) provides a set number of free sessions of CBT – I think I need a bit more than they can offer and more flexibility of approach.

    This was an assessment with a psychologist to see if my local IAPT (government funded therapy) service could help with some anxiety symptoms I’m having. The psychologist was incredible. Really listened, asked good questions, totally got me. She said they can help, and she wants me to work with someone more experienced who can draw on a mix of approaches rather than a more newly qualified practitioner who might just do textbook CBT. There’s a waiting list but I’ll get six sessions to start with and see if it’s working and more if needed. All free.

    I’m so relieved – at being understood and being told they can help – that I could cry.

    1. Jules the First*

      Yayyyyyyy! It’s so wonderful when the NHS works the way it is supposed to!

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I am so happy for you to find some relief in all this. Best wishes for continued success.

    3. Hrovitnir*

      Congratulations! It’s so scary finding a new therapist. I’ve never had anyone terrible but I’ve had a lot of mediocre people and have friends with awful experiences. I’m so happy for you. :)

  19. :(*

    Does anyone know a reliable way to find good psychologists who specialize/have experience in sexual abuse?

    Asking for a friend…:/

    1. Feathers McGraw*

      Sorry to hear about what your friend is going through. The pandys.org website has some advice for people supporting someone else and you may also find it helpful to talk to RAINN.

      In terms of finding a therapist it’s actually less usual for someone to specialise in treating abuse. Partly because it is very common that every clinician will routinely work with it. Partly because they don’t always know who’s affected as people can take a while to disclose. And it’s often healthier to work with a mix of clients and issues to avoid them getting burnt out.

      What’s important is to find someone licensed with experience of and knowledge of working with trauma who is happy to say what qualifications they have and how they work. Any therapist worth seeing will understand that someone will probably want to meet them once and see if they click before deciding whether to go with them. RAINN or similar may be able to make suggestions also.

      I’m sorry to hear about this. The Pandys forum was a huge help to me when I was first starting to deal with my own trauma. Best of wishes to you and your friend.

    2. Kj*

      If you are in the US, PsychologyToday is a great directory of therapists and you can sort by “issues treated” and other factors (do they take insurance, gender etc).

  20. Stephanie*

    I posted last week about possibly having a rodent in my wall. Still not quite resolved yet (haven’t had any visual confirmation, but definitely hear things scurrying still), but I called my management company. I’m facing that I’m probably going to have to trap the thing (or things).

    So…I have a deeply irrational fear of mice. On a surface level, I know it’s a small harmless mammal. But yeah, that still doesn’t stop me from acting like an idiot when I do see them. Any tips for getting over this?

    1. Turtlewings*

      I personally love mice but have a wild irrational fear of spiders, so I can empathize with the whole “there’s no reason to fear this creature BUT I DO.” I think the two things that have helped me (to the extent that anything has) are:

      1) Exposure. The inevitable passage of years has taught me that the presence of a small spider in the room will not, in fact, cause anything unpleasant to happen. You could try visiting a pet store and spending time with the mice and other small rodents there — progressing from just being near them, to having a staff member bring one out in your presence, to eventually even touching it. (You can probably find a kind staff member who will be eager to help you with this problem.)

      2) Learning cute, harmless facts about them. In my case, learning things about how spiders take care of their babies, how they build their homes, what colors they can see, how smart they are, etc. — things like that helped me see them in a different light, and I learned to be more okay with their existence, even if I still don’t want them to touch me ever. Mice being mammals will help with this, I imagine, as they’re more similar to us — warm and furry with identifiable emotions, etc.

      Good luck! I commend you for acknowledging the irrationality of your fear. It took me a long time to reach a point where I could acknowledge the problem with spiders was me, not them. The animal just is what it is!

      1. Gaia*

        Side note, one thing that helped me fear spiders less (not lose all fear of them, but fear them less) was when I learned that their survival instincts tell them to stay away from loud, moving things and that humans are basically all of that. Most of my fear stems from them getting on me when I sleep, but when I learned that we’re just one huge, loud, vibrating creature and that is everything that screams “panic” to a spider and therefore they are less likely to intentionally approach me – it helped.

        …but I still shake out my blankets and shuffle my pillows before I get into bed…

    2. Wing Girl*

      There are traps you can buy that keep the mouse inside, so you won’t have to see or touch it once it’s caught.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Yes, these are good. You can just let them out. Please don’t use glue traps–they’re horrible. Chocolate chips make good lures. Mice love them.

    3. Evie*

      I also have a deep irrational fear of mice so I no advice. I’ve moved out of houses for a week until they are caught before. I don’t even watch cartoon mice/rats that are at all realistic like Ratatouille. Nope nope nope.

      1. Nynaeve*

        I just used this trap for the mice in my house and it worked really well. My sympathies. It was definitely not fun to have uninvited roommates and I think it’s pretty normal to be creeped out by some animal or another.

    4. Audiophile*

      It is unnerving to hear them in the walls. I think I hate spiders more than mice.

      Our exterminator uses bait stations, where the bait is held inside and the mouse crawls in and can’t escape. It’s been pretty successful, though a few times, there’s been a tail sticking out or they’ve eaten the bait and died before going into the trap, but that’s pretty rare. My mother has a significant fear of mice, that she’s largely passed on to me and my sisters.

      I’ve seen those in Home Depot.

  21. Willow*

    I was going to post this in the work thread, but while writing I realised it’s an issue that’s come up in more than just a work/school context. Basically, I don’t know if this is some form of imposter syndrome, or an indication of extreme low self-esteem (I guess the two are related).

    You know that old joke ‘I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member’? That’s how I feel…about almost everything. Like, when I got accepted into a really prestigious grad program, I suddenly started questioning whether their standards were really that great (even though throughout the application process I thought there was no way such a program would accept the likes of me). When I get a good grade, I’d assume either the marking criteria was easy or that it was some sort of fluke.

    This carried on into my work life as well. Everything I did well I’d assume must’ve been an easy task anyone could’ve done (and hence didn’t deserve any of the praise I’d get), and when I was successful for a promotion I questioned whether the panel mistook me for one of the other candidates or had a moment of misjudgement.

    Probably the worst context for this to happen is in my social life. If it seemed like someone wanted to be my friend (or was interested in other ways) I’d question first whether they had some sort of agenda, or if they wanted something from me. And if it turns out they were genuine…I’d usually want to pull away because it just felt so uncomfortable.

    Seriously, WTF is wrong with me?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It comes from somewhere, and probably from family-of-origin stuff. Did you feel this way as a kid? Was there a dynamic in your family that taught you that weren’t good enough or that you didn’t have much value?

    2. Feathers McGraw*

      One thing that really helped me with this was deciding they (whoever they were in the situation) could have a different opinion to me. That they were allowed to disagree.

      Which helped me notice a fallacy. I think I’m worthless except for when it comes to one thing: my opinion of myself. Then I’m always right and everyone else is wrong. The only thing I’m good at is knowing how much I suck. If I’m not good enough for them, then why would I not respect their opinion?

      It also helped me to ask; whose voice is that?

    3. Junior Dev*

      Uggggggh I have this too! I’ve picked up a bad habit of responding to any compliment or positive comment by downplaying or minimizing it.

      Like Alison says, I believe it has its origins in how I was raised. My parents were pretty good about most things but definitely instilled in me the idea that I wasn’t as good as other people, didn’t deserve to ask for things, etc. (I believe it came from their own poor self-esteem but it is still harmful.)

    4. nep*

      I could have written this. I remember such feelings from a very young age. And it’s really pervasive — almost no aspect of life escapes it. I don’t know about you, but it’s least powerful when I’m wrapped up in helping someone else, and when I keep the perspective that we are all part of one whole, rather than just a bunch of egos.
      I’ll be interested to read the responses here.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Excellent point. Helping other people has huge healing powers.

        I remember when my mother died, my father had every rotten thing under the sun happen to him, bankruptcy, dog died, his health in the latrine and so on. He turned and helped his neighbors. The husband was dying and needed 24/7 watching. My father would go over and sit with the husband so the wife could go outside or run errands, whatever.

        Such a simple gesture. It cost my father nothing. And it gave him so much. His life had meaning for those hours. He contributed something. He felt respected and loved.

        In a similar way, I floundered when my husband passed. People helped so much but I felt like I was just taking and taking. I wanted to have something to give. A friend needed help getting her driver’s license. She basically knew how to drive she just needed a licensed driver to sit there while she figured out that she already knew how to drive. This was easy stuff for me. And it worked into a couple hours a week for five months. Suddenly, I had a goal, I had something I was contributing.

        It could be that you privately feel that you do not contribute in a meaningful way, you could feel like are not putting your all into it. Look around, where else in the community could you make a contribution?

        Maybe you are a person who needs to step a little outside your own safety zone before you will allow yourself to feel that you have actually done something. That is okay. Carefully and wisely consider how you might stretch yourself in order to grow you. I am saying this as I picture a person (maybe not you, but someone else reading) deciding that they want to become a firefighter. Admirable. BUT. Carefully seek advice of people who you respect before starting such a venture. I am advocating for well planned stretches and NOT reckless/random/poorly thought out stretches.
        You may know on a deeper level that you are not filling your potential even though you are clearly excelling in many ways. Those ways do not resonate with you. Find out what does resonate with you.

    5. NoMoreMrFixit*

      Get a copy of this book: Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by Dr. David D. Burns, MD. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy workbook that I have used heavily over the years. In fact I had a few copies. Bought it, used it, gave it to someone who needed it, then repeated the cycle a couple more times. And those folks used it too.

      Really helped me to overcome those negative, self-destructive thoughts and turn things around. A good therapist will also do this with you but just the book might be sufficient. If it isn’t, then please talk to a therapist.

    6. Soupspoon McGee*

      You have my sympathy! I was going to post about the same thing! I thought I’d gotten past this, but I’ve been accepted to a very competitive grad program, and now I’m convinced that they made a mistake and that I’ll fail horribly. Rationally, I know this is imposter syndrome, but that doesn’t help me climb out of the ever-deepening trench of self doubt. In an online forum, all of the accepted students have posted bios listing their amazing career experiences, majors, hobbies, etc. and I swear half have run marathons while saving children and volunteering. One student is all that and a model. I’ve been tempted to post, “I once ate an entire bag of Funions in one sitting.”

      If I weren’t in the middle of all this, I guess I’d advise you to make your own brag board or book with photos and notes of all the things you’ve achieved, discovered, learned, and created, and all the people whose lives you’ve brightened. These things are real–you really did do amazing things, or your grad application wouldn’t have been considered, let alone approved. When you start to waiver, look at it and add something else. Reach out to someone who could be an interesting friend. Make something or grow something so you have a tangible reminder that you can do cool stuff.

  22. Ask a Manager* Post author

    After weeks of agonizing over whether it was ridiculous to spend that much on a pot, and more weeks of agonizing over what color to get it in, I pulled the trigger and bought a 7-1/4 quart Le Creuset dutch oven in indigo. It is supposed to arrive today and I am so excited. If I were smaller, I would just live in it.

          1. Myrin*

            No, I’ve actually been using this same avatar since I started being online regularly in 2008 – you might be confusing me with someone else?

            1. salad fingers*

              Sorry I was unclear – I meant that Allison living in a Dutch oven would make a fun new avatar for her :-)

              1. Myrin*

                Aaah, sorry, that makes so much sense re-reading your comment! I very much agree, though, that would be an amazing and I bet cute little avatar.

    1. New girl*

      Read the first sentence as you agonizing over whether you spent too much money on marijuana.

        1. Jenny*

          I thought the same and immediately thought that my mom would adore you, she frequently wishes to discuss both pot and kitchen supply budgets but refuses to discuss wine budget ;)

    2. Jessesgirl72*

      There is a special Beauty and the Beast Le Creuset dutch oven, with a rose on top, that horribly has tempted me…

      1. bassclefchick*

        Oh, man. I totally want that now. I’ve been coveting a Le Creuset for years. LOL

      2. Mononymous*

        I hadn’t seen this, so thanks for mentioning it. Gorgeous! But I feel like they missed a real opportunity to have the knob on the lid be formed in the shape of a rose, instead of the default shape!

    3. Bluebell*

      Enjoy! Two years ago I bought the bright blue Lodge dutch oven. It lives on the stove top so it makes me happy as decor, in addition to being a favorite piece of cookware.

    4. LawCat*

      Enjoy!! You’ll get so much use out of it.

      We got a Dutch oven a couple years ago (Lodge, non-enameled) after some agonizing over where will we keep it and do we *really* need another thing for the kitchen??

      Looooove it. Use it a ton. It lives in the oven when not in use. I’d get rid of all our stainless steel pots before I’d ever part with the Dutch oven.

    5. SCAnonibrarian*

      My husband is obsessed with le creuset. Ob-sessed. It’s a beautiful thing to see him with his pretty pots and skillets and Dutch ovens. We have the deep red ones and the sort of teal-denim blue ones. Congrats and I hope it’s a long and delightful relationship. :)

    6. zora*

      Good call!! My mom got one for her wedding 40 years ago and they still use it several times a week. A quality dutch oven is really so worth it. They’ve replaced non-stick cookware several times, but that dutch oven is still going strong.

      I can’t wait until I can finally get one.

    7. AcidMeFlux*

      One of the biggest regrets I have in my life is: when got dumped by my ex and I left the US to go to live in Europe in 89, I had to leave behind a small set of Le Creuset I had inherited from my late aunt. I was too broke and it was just too expensive to ship (or buy in my new home). Really, every time I make a stew or roast I remember that huge dutch oven and just about cry. The ex? Don’t miss him a whit and never have. Those Le Creuset pots, though (that au gratin dish that doubled as a roaster/broiler pan….!!!)

    8. Andrea*

      I’m not a dainty thing, but I find all of the enameled ovenware too heavy to consider using. A 7.25 Q plus ingredients would freak me out. I would worry about dropping it. I use my stovetop stuff in the oven, as well. I had to go and pick up each pan, since the trend seems to be heavy pans.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        You might like Emile Henry flame. It’s stoneware that’s designed for use on the stove and in the oven. I have a few pieces and love it – also much lighter than the LC.

    9. sophieChotek*

      And I think Williams Sonoma is having like a big sale this weekend on le Creuset….could get more….

      1. Grumpy*

        Me too… Staub from the online discount place (currently the fanciest thing I own)… then the little heart shaped Le Creuset pot, on sale (it was Valentine’s day!)… now the yellow round one that reminds me of a smile emoji is whispering, “spend you bonus on me, we’ll have fun together!”

    10. AdAgencyChick*


      Pretty sure at least 50% of what my husband and I eat is cooked in ours.

    11. Mike C.*

      Know that if you want more pieces, William-Sonoma had them for 40-60% off.

      I have a small Dutch oven in flame and I absolutely love it. You’re going to have a blast with it. Just note that you’re going to need less heat than you’re used to.

    12. Hrovitnir*

      Yay! I struggle with big purchases, but I’m so in favour of buying things that make you happy if you can afford them. :)

    13. Katie the Fed*

      Be careful – they get addicting! I’m a Staub girl myself but I now have, um, 6 pots and a couple skillets. I went a little crazy after the wedding. Also some nice All-Clad. I love my cookware :)

      1. Grumpy*

        I spent half an hour this morning soaking and scrubbing stuck egg bits out of the non-rounded corners of a no-name hardware store skillet. Never freaking again! Good pans are absolutely worth the money.

    14. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I recently got a couple of Le Creuset bruisers. I haven’t used a regular skillet since.

    15. Maxwell Edison*

      I love my Le Creuset dutch oven. My favorite recipes for it are ancho black bean chili and bolognese sauce.

    16. phil*

      I’ve had a Le Creuset dutch oven for 45 years and use it a lot.
      45 years. A good investment.

  23. SophieChotek*

    Alarm Clocks…

    I am very hard of hearing and was so happy when I found the vibrating alarm clock.

    (If you go to Amazon and type in vibrating alarm clock, they pop up; most are made by SonicAlert).
    What is frustrating to me is that they cost more than many ordinary alarm clocks…$30-$60. Which I guess in the grand scheme of things isn’t awful…my hearing aids cost $3,300 each (I wear two) and that’s not covered by insurance either…sigh…

    And I seem to go through the rate of one a year; I’ve written the manufacturer of the company to complain and they sent me a new one, but that died in less than a year too…which makes me think there is some sort of issue.
    It’s not the vibrating part…it’s the “visual” part — like suddenly the numbers all don’t show up or look screwy…so you have no idea what time it is. The first time this happened it still worked…like if you didn’t try to use it for the time and just set it to whatever it was set on, it went off at the appropriate time. (But you could never adjust it then.) the second time the hole thing just want black and it quite working…Forgot what happened the third time.
    But the vibrators themselves work…

    I wish I could adapt a regular alarm clock I can pick up for $10 at Target instead of having to shell out all this every year. I live in an apartment building so buying some super loud alarm clock and waking everyone up at 5:30 am isn’t a great option. (When I lived with my parents when i was young before we discovered the vibrating alarm, that is what we did, and everyone just learned to go back to sleep when my alarm clock went off loud enough to wake the neighborhood.)

    I guess I’m asking if
    a) anyone have any idea how to adapt a regular alarm clock or repurpose the vibrating mechanism when my fourth (or fifth) vibrating alarm clock dies…or
    b) any other suggestions? (Any other alternate ideas) of waking up (sadly I’m not a “natural” wake up at the same time every day sort of person)

    1. katamia*

      Would light wake you up too? There are alarm clocks that are light-based. Depending on how the lighting in your bedroom is and what time you need to wake up, you could also try leaving your blinds open a bit–my childhood bedroom was set up so a crack of light would fall on my pillow/face every morning, and while I hated it, it was useful.

      1. SophieChotek*

        Sadly no. I am one of those types who sleeps burrowed under the covers. (The alarm clock that recently broke vibrated and had flashing red lights. Pretty cool actually). Otherwise, I agree, for summer and non-cloudy days that would be a good option–and I think my bedroom/window even faces in the right direction.

    2. Delta Delta*

      My vibrating alarm clock is a black cat who purrs and demands cuddles at 5:55 every morning. Could set your watch to that guy.

      1. Feathers McGraw*

        Mine too, except an hour earlier. And he likes to jump on my husband and pat him in the face increasingly violently an hour before that…

      2. SophieChotek*

        I’m very allergic to cats/long-haired dogs/lots of other animals (rabbits)….otherwise I think that sort of alarm clock would be the best! =)

      3. Adlib*

        My cats will wake me up at exactly 7:30 for food if I am not already up (usually am except for weekends). My small female kitty will take one claw and gently drag it across my face or neck. It’s good motivation to get up. I still don’t know how she does it with all those extra toes she has!

    3. Jules the First*

      A lot of fitness trackers have a vibrate-wake setting – could you borrow one and give that a try? (Not a $10 alarm from Target, but probably more durable than the vibrating clock?)

      1. SophieChotek*

        I don’t have a smart phone. And actually my non-smart phone has a vibrate alarm function, but it’s not loud enough if i set it on a hard surface like a night stand and the vibration gets lost if I try it under my pillow — too soft a surface, I guess.

    4. Franzia Spritzer*

      Do you have a cell phone? I have used a vibrating alarm app on my phone, I put my phone on my bed (tucked under my pillow). If you’re not into sleeping with your phone the other thing that has worked really well for me has been the silent alarms on the FitBit Flex (first generation are about $63). You set alarms on your phone through the app, the little vibration on your arm is enough to wake you up. It’s the preferred alarm in my house, as my hubs and I get up at different times.

    5. Feathers McGraw*

      Is there a hearing loss charity that could provide one at a lesser cost?

      Or could you have another clock around for the time display part?

      1. SophieChotek*

        that is actually how I found out about them in the first place…but I moved and the paperwork involved to get set-up with your counselor, etc., is a lot of work…I never got around to it when I switched states/counties…

        The one that is (broken) now doesn’t work at all…I think it was like 2 clocks ago when the display wouldn’t read but it still vibrated…but if that happens again..good idea. (Although I’ll never be able to change the alarm time, better than nothing!)

    6. super anon*

      Are you a deep sleeper? If not, you could try using the silent alarm feature that Fitbits and Apple Watches have. Instead of playing music or a sound, it will vibrate on your wrist to wake you up. I sleep very heavily and it didn’t wake me up at all, but my friends who are lighter sleepers can wake up with to with no issue.

      1. Anon...*

        Yeah I’m a super deep sleeper. I tried the wrist-watch kind (Fitbit, etc., and there is a vibrating alarm watch) and I returned it because I totally did not feel the vibration.

    7. The Cosmic Avenger*

      What about a digital light timer, attached to a lamp, maybe even a bright reading lamp pointed at your head? I was thinking of the old analog kind that a lot of people use to turn the lights on and off when they go on vacation, but those are very inexact, and you don’t want it to be off by even 10 minutes when it can throw off your whole morning schedule. So I Googled “digital light timer”, and they are like $10-20. Light timers in general are very simple, and the analog ones last forever.

      1. SophieChotek*

        Thanks for the idea. (I need to get a digital timer anyway…for when I go away for a night…)

    8. HannahS*

      Do light-based alarms work for you? I have a Phillips sunrise alarm clock and I’m basically in love with the thing. I also get up before sun-rise most weekdays, and I’ve found that it keeps me from feeling that I’ve been “dragged from the deep” when I wake up. Though, the light wakes me up in conjunction with the gradually louder “birdsong.” I’m not sure if the light alone would be enough, if I couldn’t also hear the fake birds.

  24. Anxious Anon*

    I’m looking for a psychiatrist (‘m in the US) and it’s bringing more questions than answers.

    I go to a therapist(MSW) who I really like and we think it might be time to give anxiety medication another try. My GP has tried me on Lexapro and Pristiq which I felt did nothing. She suggested I see a psychiatrist since they know a lot more about this stuff than GP’s. Questions I have now:

    1. Do most psychiatrists not take insurance? Can EAP’s cover this the way they would for a therapy session?
    2. Some people recommend NOT going through insurance as it can get you dinged for having a pre-existent condition? How is that possible? I already use insurance for my therapist BTW.
    3. I’m pretty sure I know what to expect from the first visit but how often do I go back? Do I have to go back at all or can he just adjust my rx/doses over the phone?

    1. Junior Dev*

      I’ve been to many psychiatrists and they all took insurance.

      On the pre-existing condition thing… oof. I know there’s a lot of uncertainty in healthcare policy right now, but of all the various things being debated it seems that denying insurance to people with pre-existing conditions again would be very politically unpopular. (not going to say more on that because we aren’t supposed to discuss politics)

      Mental health is health. It’s true that there is stigma around some mental illnesses in some contexts. But ultimately it doesn’t make any more sense to try and sneakily avoid letting your insurance know you’re getting mental health treatment than it would to pretend you don’t have diabetes or a broken ankle or whatever.

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        Keeping the part about preexisting conditions not being allowed to cause denial seems to be the only thing universally agreed on- both sides of the aisle and even among Republicans who don’t want universal healthcare at all. It’s not just politically unpopular, it seems to be something only the insurance companies ever thought was right to do.

        1. the gold digger*

          I didn’t realize until recently that the entire definition of “pre-existing condition” changed from the time I was working for a health insurance company. When I worked there, a pre-existing condition was any condition for which someone had been treated or diagnosed in the year prior to getting on our group insurance plans.

          You still had insurance for other things, just not for that thing. So if you were pregnant or diabetic and started a new job, that condition would not be covered.

          Once you had been on the new plan for a year, the condition would be covered. Obviously, that would not help with pregnancy, but the diabetes would now be covered at start date plus one year.

          I had no idea that insurance companies were denying coverage completely and for STUPID THINGS LIKE LACTOSE INTOLERANCE. Sheesh.

          1. zora*

            They also counted the fact that I was on hormonal birth control as a preexisting condition. So, I had that and I got one abnormal pap, and BOOM, no insurance company would insure me at all when I lost my job (this was 2008/pre-ACA).

            1. the gold digger*

              When I started grad school in 1990, I had to get an individual insurance plan. I used to take prescription painkillers for cramps (I was not on the pill, which later solved the problem), so the policy I got excluded coverage for anything to do with my reproductive system, but I got coverage for everything else.

              When I lost my job in 2005, I was able to get an individual plan with no exclusions, but I had to arrange for the plan before my employer coverage ran out. (They paid for six months of COBRA.) I didn’t have to pay for the individual plan until the company-paid COBRA stopped, but I could not have a lapse of coverage.

              Saying BCPs are a pre-existing condition is right up there with lactose intolerance.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            NY made it a law that insurance companies have to cover diabetes. They are not allowed to say it’s a preexisting condition.

          3. Tris Prior*

            I got denied for having seasonal allergies that I manage entirely with OTC meds, costing the insurance company exactly zero.

          4. Rachel 2: Electric Boogaloo*

            Individual plans also denied you completely if you’d ever been treated for anything related to mental health.

            1. Violinszing*

              Pre aca a lot of people were deemed uninsurable as adults because they had been treated for acne as teens – a preexisting condition.

          5. Anxa*

            Oh yes.

            It really put you in a bind, because basically doctors were always pushing this “better safe than sorry” attitude, then you became uninsurable. So they were often way more harm than good by being overly cautious, because they might not be thinking about your insurance situation.

    2. Mimmy*

      Ditto – I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist for years and he takes insurance. I’m curious where you are hearing that most don’t?

      1. Anxious Anon*

        My therapist mentioned it can be hard to find ones that take insurance and google produced a bunch of articles reflecting the same. I also found myself reading an article titled ‘What your therapist hasn’t told you about using insurance’ and it scared the ish out of me honestly.

        When I looked for providers on my insurance website, it produced quite a bit of results. I also have a high deductible health plan so I’m not even sure it would be much of a price difference to go through insurance.

        1. Newby*

          Most of those article are designed to scare you. Don’t trust it too much. If you want to know what it would cost if you don’t go through insurance, just ask. If you just ask what it costs, you will get a vague answer about it depending on your insurance and you should talk to your insurance company, but they can give you the total cost without insurance easily.

        2. ValaMalDoran*

          But what is your copay? When my husband sees his psychiatrist, he only has to pay the copay for an office visit.

    3. Kj*

      Many take insurance, although some may not. EAPs do not generally cover it.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Pre-existing conditions being exempt is one thing people like about the ACA and whatever happens, I think that will stay. Besides, (not be dour) even if it does go away, you’ve already used insurance for your therapist and she’s almost certainly submitted your DX to your insurance.

      You usually go back about 2-4 weeks from the first visit, then about every month to three months thereafter. Someone depends on type of meds and risks you have as to how often you need to go back. If you are on lithium, say, you go back often. Zoloft? Less often.

    4. PollyQ*

      Some psychiatrists don’t deal with insurance themselves, but depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to submit receipts for partial (70-80%) reimbursement. If your employer offers FSA/HSA accounts, you can use that money to pay or get reimbursed as well.

    5. Newby*

      I don’t know of any psychiatrists that will adjust your prescription or dose over the phone. You will definitely have to go back for that. If you just need a refill, some will do that without an appointment while others will not.

      1. chickabiddy*

        I have a close family member who takes psych meds and the provider will adjust a dosage to an existing med (not start a completely new one) over email, but it is a longstanding relationship.I would say that as with most medical things, it depends.

    6. Beaded Librarian*

      1. All the psychiatrists I’ve seen take insurance but you might look into seeing an ARNP who specializes in psychiatry as well.
      3. Most will want to see you monthly for a couple of month to make sure that things are going well. After that it usually depends on the medication. Some medications they are required by law to see you monthly. Otherwise I got to the point they would see me every three months or so to make sure that everything was still going well.

  25. ginger ale for all*

    My boyfriend asked me an odd question last weekend and said it was strictly an either or question. He asked if I liked real or synthetic rubies. And I told him that I am not a jewelry person except that I do like charm bracelets. He pressed for an answer on the ruby question and I said synthetic but, truly, in reality, I don’t like rubies real or synthetic. I think he isn’t hearing me on things. He wants to spoil me and I am somewhat resistant. I want to tell him what kind of things he can spoil me with but would that be rude? He tends to get me what a stereotype of a woman would like when I want different things, like getting my car detailed or the like. I would hate to give him a get me this list or else but I don’t know what to do with the stuff he gets me. He is a wonderful guy and I want to go the distance with him so I need to start the conversation with out being odd. Any starting scripts?

    1. Delta Delta*

      You could watch the Wizard of Oz and casually remark that you don’t especially like rubies when you see the ruby slippers.

    2. Undine*

      Maybe set it up as a mutual discussion, for example, in the context of “love languages”. Then you could both explore what makes you feel appreciated and both learn something.

    3. Becca*

      No, it’s not rude to specify the kind of things you like, particularly when they cost a lot of money! It’s hard to figure this out without saying it straight out. It took a few failed gifts to my husband for him to say straight-out the sort of things he likes, and it’s a lot easier now :)

      One of the 5 love languages (Gary Chapman has written books about this concept) is receiving gifts, which sounds like your boyfriend! Giving gifts is how he’s showing his love, which is really sweet. You could try asking him what kind of gifts HE likes and segue into the things you would prefer. Good luck!

    4. bunanza*

      I don’t think that’s rude at all! I would just find a good moment and say something like, “Hey, it was so sweet when you [got me jewelry/whatever other things he’s done], and I know that’s a way that you show you care about me. But honestly I tend to like [puppies/car stuff/quality time with you/whatever it is that you actually want] more, so I wanted to share that with you.” He should take that just fine, because it’s not like you’re scolding him, you’re just redirecting him to things that are more meaningful to you–that’s the whole point of him spoiling you! And if he pushes back against you not wanting traditionally feminine things, he’s the one being odd, not you.

    5. super anon*

      I tend to be a very straight forward person, but I would have told him in the moment that you don’t like rubies at all. This is how my boyfriend and I operate – he asks me if I like something (and vice versa) and I answer honestly. If I don’t like the thing he suggests, I’ll tell him what I do like instead. What this has resulted in is that after 4 years together we both can guess with relative accuracy what the other one would like in almost all things (cars, houses, clothes, etc).

      I think there’s something to be said for being able to clearly communicate your needs and wants (not just in relationships, but in life in general). That isn’t rude, it’s one of the basic parts of being in a loving, trusting, and health relationship. If your partner does react negatively to you expressing your opinions, I would see that as a red flag. [note: not specifically targeting your relationship, this is a broad general you statement]

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        Yeah. I can’t even imagine not saying “Neither. I hate rubies. I really like emeralds”

        This is why my engagement ring has an emerald. I didn’t demand anything- I just let him know what I like.

        Also, I second the love languages book. It was really helpful to my husband and me a few years ago, when we went through a rough patch. Specifically about the other person not seeming to hear what was being said. (We heard… We just didn’t understand. The book helped us understand.)

        1. Newby*

          I had a similar conversation with my boyfriend. I honestly don’t really like precious stones. I think semi-precious stones are prettier. They might not be as much of a status symbol, but I appreciate them much more.

    6. ginger ale for all*

      I thought about it and sent text saying that I should have spoken up earlier and told him. I had made a bigger thing out of it in my mind than it needed to be. I think I just needed to know it wasn’t weird. Typing it out and seeing the responses settled it for me. Thank you all.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I hope you chuckle. I don’t really care for flowers. I would rather see the money spent on a plant that would stay in my yard for years or something else practical. Initially my husband was shocked but that turned to relief because he knew NOTHING about buying bouquets. ha!

    7. ..Kat..*

      I don’t like this guy. He wants to spoil you, but he gets to decide what you like. He won’t accept “I don’t like rubies ” as an answer. I could be misreading this, but it seems awfully controlling. Please run fast and far if there are other signs of “his way” or “his way” as your only choices.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        And even if you see no signs of abuse or control, this one anecdote shows that he is in a relationship with a figment, not with you. He has a preconceived notion of his girlfriend in his head, and is not interested in your thoughts or feelings if you differ from it. It may be possible to get him to see and pay attention to the real you, but from what you said he isn’t doing that now.

      2. ginger ale for all*

        Oh gosh no. He isn’t abusive. We are new to giving each other gifts and so we are still trying to figure out our giving and receiving styles. I think he is remembering what his dad gave his mom and is taking clues from that. They had a long happy marriage. I just needed to speak up and communicate better on this except I was thinking of the phrase about looking gift horses in the mouth. He does know that my dad also gave my mom lots of jewelry too and they are going to celebrate their 55th anniversary soon.

        1. Hrovitnir*

          I think the above responses are a bit strong and the worse “abuse” always freaks people out! But I think it’s worth bearing in mind that if you have a partner who won’t listen to your preferences (not just once but all the time) and are trying to spoil you as a generic-woman-person rather than an individual, that’s not all on you. Just… you can appreciate someone trying to be nice but also be aware that if it keeps happening even after you talk about it that it’s not all on you.

          I’m gonna go ahead and assume this is a one-off and he’ll get it now you’ve clarified your opinion. :D

    8. Sibley*

      He needs to listen to you. You don’t like rubies. He shouldn’t get you rubies. End of story. If he won’t listen to you on jewelry choice, then will he listen to you on much more important things?

  26. Former Diet Coke Addict*

    What podcasts do you listen to? What are they about?

    I’ve been at the gym a lot lately and I’m way more motivated to stay and keep crushing it if I’m listening to something interesting and I don’t want to stop. Music only does it sometimes! Suggestions?

    1. Caledonia*

      I only listen to the West Wing podcast but The Guardian had a compilation list a few months ago with the ’50 best podcasts of 2016′. Will link to the article in another comment.

        1. Cath in Canada*

          oooooh, thanks for this! I’m already subscribed to lots of these (My Dad Wrote a Porno is one of the funniest things I’ve heard on a podcast since Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant retired their show), but there are some new ones that I’m excited to check out, especially the new Jonathan Goldstein one as I absolutely loved Wiretap.

    2. Cath in Canada*

      I’m currently obsessed with sci-fi and paranormal radio dramas. There are tons of them out there at the moment! I blogged about my favourites recently (link in next comment).

      Music doesn’t work for me at all when it comes to exercise! I do listen to music while cycling to and from work, but that’s because I refuse to wear ear buds while riding so I just have my phone playing through its speakers in my front jacket pocket, and traffic noise drowns out too much of spoken word podcasts. (I started doing this after a spate of pedestrians walking out from between parked cars mid-block. Playing music has stopped at least a couple of people from doing this. Being audible makes me feel much safer, especially during twilight riding conditions such as we have here during evening rush hour at the moment. I feel much safer with my high-vis gear in full daylight, and also in full darkness with my lights, than I do in that horrible in-between phase where neither is particularly visible). In the gym, though, it has to be spoken word or else I get really bored really quickly.

      1. Manders*

        Have you tried Wolf 359? It’s really good (and I’m not just saying that because I went to school with a bunch of the cast).

    3. Delta Delta*

      I like Criminal. Each episode is relatively short (25-35 minutes) and is a true story about something that touches crime, but may not necessarily be a crime itself. I also really liked Serial, and the offshoots, like Undisclosed, and Truth and Justice. I once turned a 4 mile run into a 7 mile run because I wanted to hear how a certain story came out. Stuff You Should Know is another one I like and is a good way to learn some random stuff.

    4. LawCat*

      I love old time radio mysteries and dramas. People have taken them, cleaned up the the audio, and even added some commentary.

      I love “The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio” podcast. My favorite specific detective shows are “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar” (lots of action, mystery, and dames, but also pretty tongue in cheek) and “Dragnet” (very dramatic!)

      Other favorite old timey shows are “Gunsmoke” and “Suspense!”.

      For a modern show, I love “Welcome to Night Vale,” which is basically “A Prairie Home Companion” meets “The Twilight Zone.”

        1. LawCat*

          Who’s your favorite? I love Bob Bailey over any of the others that portrayed the character! There’s a three volume set of books called “The Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar Matter” that provides a detailed chronicle of the show. I really want to read it!

          1. Jessesgirl72*

            Bob Bailey, for sure, but I like the longer episodes of the earlier series, rather than the stories that stretch out over 5 episodes. But maybe that’s just because we started listening to them on Sirius/XM. Once we discovered radio archives, we can listen to the whole story at once!

    5. Anonyby*

      Some of my favorites:

      Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project (It’s about whatever Adam and two associates at tested want to talk about that week–usually movies, making things, what’s going on with things they’re doing-such as Adam’s current live show Brain Candy, but can veer into politics and social commentary.)

      Gastropod (It’s about the science and culture/history behind food.)

      Fear the Boot (Self-described as about “tabletop roleplaying games and a little bit more”. Most episodes are talking over problems that crop up in roleplaying groups, and a fair bit of their advice overlaps with advice Alison gives about handling people-problems.)

      Inquiring Minds (Science science science!, a little bit of science-related politics now and then, when something super-impactful happens)

    6. PollyQ*

      Only six episodes, but I love Mystery Show. Ummm, how to decribe? Well, I just swiped wikipedia’s description:

      Mystery Show was a Gimlet Media podcast hosted by Starlee Kine. In each episode, Kine solves a minor mystery which cannot be solved with search engines alone.The show was started in 2015, and that year was declared the best new podcast of 2015 by iTunes.

      Mysteries she has solved for the show include why a video rental store closed, and where a peculiar custom belt buckle came from. Along the way, Kine interviews people who may have a connection to the mystery. She also frequently veers from the original topic, asking subjects about more personal and philosophical matters.

        1. PollyQ*

          Yeah, for reasons unknown, Gimlet dropped Kine & the show last year. There’s some hope that maybe another podcast producer will pick up the show, but nothing solid yet.

    7. Lily Evans*

      Someone on one of these threads once recommended My Favorite Murder and I love it! (I even saw them live last night!!!) I also really like Lore and Thinking Sideways. They’re all kind of creepy themed, but MFM is comedy, Lore is more of a performance of legends and stories, and Thinking Sideways is investigative but not too serious and about unsolved mysteries. I only recently got into podcasts, and I’ve basically just been binge-listening to those three.

        1. Lily Evans*

          They were a lot of fun to see live! I feel lucky that I was able to go! Also, if you decide to give Thinking Sideways a try, I wouldn’t recommend starting from the very beginning because 1. there’s A LOT of episodes and 2. the earlier ones are kind of rough, it took them a bit to find their feet with it. I’ve just been cherry picking the topics I’m most interested in and I rarely feel like I’m missing things because of it.

    8. brightstar*

      I listen to a ton of podcasts, from comedy podcasts to politics and true crime.

      Someone already mentioned Criminal, which is fun. I just started listening to “Missing Richard Simmons”, which is super interesting. Richard Simmons just disappeared from his exercise studio and friends in 2014 and it’s about one guy (who was a producer for the Daily Show), trying to find out what happened to him.

      One of my favorites is the Dollop, where one comic tells another about American history.

      1. Damn it, Hardison!*

        I listened to all of the Missing Richard Simmons episodes to date this weekend. What an interesting and sad story. So much more to Richard Simmons than you might think.

    9. Emily Gilmore*

      I like Mike Barbaro’s The Daily podcast- from the NYTimes, about 20 minutes of news, usually one long story, one short and then a news recap.

      Also LOVE Terrible, Thanks for Asking. Just one season so far, but talks about various hard things that have happened to people, with the idea that most people don’t answer honestly when you ask them how they’re doing. The interviewing in particular is fabulous.

    10. Jubilance*

      I listen to The Read, Stuff You Missed In History Class, and The Longest Shortest Time consistently. I also really liked season 1 of Serial, and I listen to Radiolab depending on the episode. If you like Old Hollywood, I also suggest the You Must Remember This podcast as well.

      1. fposte*

        Hey, you lost your avatar and I almost didn’t see you there. Hope you and Baby Pi are doing well.

        1. Jubilance*

          Ooh thanks for pointing that out! Now I need to investigate why it’s gone. And Baby Pi and I are doing great! Thanks for asking :-)

    11. printrovert*

      I fell off the podcast wagon recently and am just starting to climb back on. I just started Pod Save America, which I like, but I imagine most people would rather unplug from current events.

      I was listening to some of the older Sex Nerd Sandra podcasts, but haven’t caught up. The Smithsonian also just launched a new podcast called Sidedoor that I have been meaning to check out.

      If you aren’t sure where to start, NPR has a guide called earbud.fm. There are over 200 podcasts on various topics.

      1. brightstar*

        I love Pod Save America! I anxiously await each new episode. Have you tried Pod Save the World? I find I don’t like it quite as much.

        1. printrovert*

          I have not! I think it’s a great concept and it’s probably a great series, but I feel the content of Pod Save America resonates more with listeners (based on the description of PSW). It might be something I come back to later, but I am enjoying PSA.
          (Ha! I wonder if the creators are aware of the punny acronym!)

    12. AliceBD*

      I have a bunch! Most of them have more or less explicit language in them.

      Smart Podcast, Trashy Books: Hosted by Sarah Wendell, the person who runs Smart B*tches, Trashy Books, a very well known romance novel review site. So they talk about romance novels, but also a lot of stuff about libraries and publishing, and get into disabilities (discussions with people with visual impairments about how they read, for example) and discussions about how women are valued (or not) (about 60 mins)

      The Bugle: Hosted by Andy Zaltzman and a revolving cast of co-hosts; the previous co-host was John Oliver, who got too busy; if you like John Oliver’s work you’ll probably like this (about 45-60 mins)

      Can He Do That?: Washington Post reporters researching the questions about the president; basically just asking and answering “XYZ thing is different from the way previous presidents did it. Is that allowed?” So not value judgements as much as just reporting. (about 30 mins)

      Sunday School Dropouts: Two people read through the Bible book by book. They describe themselves as “an ex-Christian and a non-believing sort-of Jew” and they emphasize it is not a Bible study podcast. It’s definitely an adult show and is not for children. (about 60 mins)

      The History of English: An enthusiastic amateur does a deep dive into the history of the English language. He starts with the proto-Indo-European language and moves into the Indo-European language, Old English, Middle English, and modern English. So far he’s just into Middle English 80-something episodes in. Delivery is fairly dry and academic, but I think it is fascinating. (about 60 mins)

      Rex Factor: Two enthusiastic guys give the history of each English/Scottish monarch (the first set of episodes was monarchs of England, and the one they’re in the middle of is monarchs of Scotland) and then rate the monarch on various factors. A fun way to learn more about English/Scottish monarchs. (about 60 mins)

    13. Lady Julian*

      Hardcore History for the gym. The host (Dan Carlin) does these series of five episodes, each five hours long, on one part of history (ancient Assyria, the buildup to the second World War, etc). So it’s basically like an audiobook and is perfect. I’ve also enjoyed Science Vs, This American Life, Stuff You Missed in History Class, and Radiolab for the gym.

    14. Elkay*

      Cariad Lloyd’s Griefcast is really good and hopefully coming back this year, she did four towards the end of last year. Each one is talking about losing someone, the Sara Pascoe one is a bit of a filler episode but still worth listening to.

      Adam Buxton has about 25 already released and will be doing more this year, it’s just him chatting to different people. I’d start with any of the Louis Theroux ones, also the Michael Palin one is nice.

      Sofie Hagen’s Made of Human podcast is interesting, I’ve only listened to a few but the Susan Calman double bill is a good place to start.

      Beautiful/Anonymous, I’ve only listened to a few but the premise is that the host doesn’t know anything about the person on the end of the phone, they chat for an hour and the host isn’t allowed to hang up.

      The BBC’s Seriously podcast can be good too, but it really depends on the subject matter and they’re only 30 minutes so maybe not great for a long gym session. They’re basically short documentaries on all sorts of subjects.

      Another BBC one which is between 15 and 30 minutes is The Untold which is another documentary podcast but around individual’s stories rather than a subject area. Recently they did a 5 part series on a woman searching for her partner who went missing.

    15. Adlib*

      One of my favorites is a local podcast about drinks/drinking/local food scene. It’s REALLY interesting to hear from local business owners and the goings on around town. If you can find one similar in your area, it might be fun. :)

  27. My cat is a unicorn*

    I am scheduled to have lasik on wed and I’m am terrified! I have very high anxiety and had been planning on taking the Valium/ xanax they prescribe prior to the surgery to relax. Unfortunately I found out yesterday when they called to confirm my appointment, they are no longer offering that because too many people had trouble focusing. Now I do not even want to go through with it and if I hadn’t told so many people I was getting it I would cancel.
    Anyone out there who has done the procedure? Any stories or tips would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I did it a couple of years ago! It’s literally about 20 seconds per eye — you will be shocked at how fast it’s over. You won’t feel a thing. There’s one alarming moment where your vision goes totally black (but they tell you right before it happens that it’s about to happen) but it’s back in seconds. Seriously, the whole thing will be over before you know it.

    2. SCAnonibrarian*

      I did it also last year (actually did it twice to get a ‘fine tuning’ on the vision) but I DID have the Valium/xanax and I really don’t think I would have been able to handle it otherwise. Can you call them back and explain that you have an anxiety concern and ask if they make exceptions? If you tell them you’re canceling if you can’t have the assistance, they may be willing to. If they don’t, then I’d seriously suggest getting it done somewhere else that does offer it. I’m sorry.

      Alison’s right – it is super quick and not painful at all (uncomfortable, not painful) but it’s intrusive and requires you to be absolutely still and have unpleasant dizzy-making things done around your face and eyes and you have to lie there and WATCH it all and not react or move. It was very stressful for me.

      1. blackcat*

        Even if you do go the drugs route, make sure to test it out first! A certain percentage of people have the opposite response to valium. I found that out the hard way before a medical procedure–instead of being calmed, it was like I had had 10 cups of coffee. It was MISERABLE. I would have been much better off without anything.

      2. My cat is a unicorn*

        I did call back and double check and they told me it was a recent policy change and for high anxiety patients they have a very heavy blanket they can lay across them to help relax and some stress balls for the hands. But I am most concerned that the anxiety will get to me in the waiting room and I will not be able to force myself through the door for the procedure. Everyone I know took the pills ahead of time to relax!

        1. Newby*

          You shouldn’t go through with it just because you told other people. If you really don’t think you can do it without the meds, cancel the appointment and find somewhere that will work with you. I am sure that everyone will understand.

        2. OhBehave*

          I would call them again and ask them to take you back the minute you check-in for your appointment. That way you don’t have time to let your anxiety get the best of you. You can ALWAYS back out once you are in there before they start the procedure. Don’t feel bad about having to do that either.

    3. baseballfan*

      I did it a couple of years ago. I got a little nervous driving over there, but it was very uneventful. I was in and out in less than an hour, including checking in, payment arrangements, etc.

      The part where they cut the flap on your eyeball is a little uncomfortable just because of the pressure, but not painful. The laser part was 35 seconds on one eye and 10 on the other. I felt nothing with that. Those numbing drops really work!

      Going home afterwards, I was pretty uncomfortable; it felt like I had sand in my eyes. I had my surgery in the evening, so I went home, ate something and went right to bed. I woke up 95% totally normal. My vision adjusted a bit over the next few weeks.

      It’s definitely worth it. No more glasses, no more contacts! Whee!

    4. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

      I had it in 1999. My vision was very poor (-7 range for my contacts + astigmatism). I took the valium, but it didn’t have an effect. However, it wasn’t bad at all because my doctor and the “cheerleader” doctor were very good about telling me what to expect during the procedure, which helped keep my mind calm for sure. My vision is still pretty good all these years later and it was the best $$$ I’ve ever spent. Given all that….for you….you need to decide what is right for you. Best of luck!

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        My vision is in the -8.5 range (astigmatism in both eyes) and Ive noticed lately that I think I need to update the prescription again :/ Were you able to go completely eyeglass and contact free? I don’t mind contacts and glasses but the lenses I need for both are specialized and EXPENSIVE. My eyeglass frames were $100… the lenses on the other hand were over $300. :/

        1. Lily Evans*

          I have a very similar prescription and I was able to order from Warby Parker, which starts at $95 for frames and lenses, I had to add on an extra $30 for special lenses (another option was $130 for thinner better lenses, but I wear contacts more often) so even with the better lenses it would be less. I haven’t gotten mine yet so I can’t vouch for long term quality, but their reviews are generally good!

          1. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

            Oooh, I got my driving glasses from Warby and I love them. I didn’t get any special “stuff” with them, and when my keys scratched them in my purse, I sent them back for free lens replacement (I have a few pairs of night driving glasses).

            1. Lily Evans*

              You have to get the special lenses over a certain prescription and/or astigmatism. I have a -8 glasses prescription and astigmatism so I had no choice, unfortunately.

        2. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

          My contact lenses were also “special order” and had those weights on the bottom of them. I’d been in glasses since 4th grade and contacts since 7th. It’s been 17 years since my LASIK and I only got glasses last year just for night driving (distance glasses, not readers) with a very low prescription (.25 in one eye and .5 in the other). Other than that, I’m still glasses free. I’m sure LASIK has advanced in those 17 years, too. They weren’t able to “get” all of my astigmatism, but I never had any sort of “touch up” to try to get it all.

        3. Adlib*

          I’m at -9.5 in both eyes. My doctor told me in the fall that he wouldn’t recommend me for the procedure at this point. I have a little astigmatism but can still wear in-stock contacts with little issue. Anything with my eyes freaks me the heck out anyway. Once had to have an ultrasound on them, and I nearly passed out since it was just too “icky”.

        1. Gaia*

          That is really very unlikely these days. Mostly because those that are at the highest risk are turned down for the procedure.

    5. Adara*

      I had it done in November and I’m getting an enhancement next month. Have you had the tear test where they measure your tear production? That’s way worse than the procedure. When they told me that at my pre-op appt, I felt so much better about going through with it. You’ll be fine!

    6. petpet*

      I had it done two years ago this May! It really is a VERY quick procedure. I think I was in and out of the OR in about 45 minutes, but the actual pewpewpew laser part was about 10 seconds per eye. It wasn’t painful in the slightest. I will say that I was given a Xanax to take beforehand and I think it made me a little spacey during the surgery. The doctor actually told me that they don’t give the Xanax for anxiety purposes, but rather solely to help you fall asleep once you get back home. They gave me strict orders to immediately get in bed and take a nap so that my eyes could rest and heal. I had a day or two of dry scratchy eyes, but that was the worst of it. I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

      That said, if you don’t think you can handle the procedure, you should cancel it. Mine got pushed back TWICE after I’d told everyone the date (due to doctor scheduling conflicts). If it’s easier, you can tell people it was postponed and then just not reschedule if you decide against it.

  28. super anon*

    Has anyone been diagnosed as an adult with ADHD? How was the process/was it difficult to get a diagnoses? Did medication help you to focus and not be unable to get things done? I think I may have it (due to a lot of factors that I won’t get into that are pretty boring), and reading that it’s genetic and knowing that my mother has an official diagnoses of it makes me even more suspicious that something may be up with me.

    I have a psychologist that I see on a regular basis and I brought it up to her, but her response to me was that I could have it, but it seems like I’ve done well adapting with it in my life and I don’t seem to be impacted by it much, so there isn’t much of a reason to look into it further. However, I am considering going back to school to get a Masters, but with my current inability to focus on anything for more than 30 seconds without getting distracted (case in point: it’s taken me 2 hours to write this comment) I doubt I would be able to do something as self-directed as a graduate degree. I also want to take advantage of grants and accommodations that would be made available to me if I get an official diagnoses that I wouldn’t be eligible for without one.

    I appreciate any insights you all have! tyia!

    1. katamia*

      Me, about a year and a half ago. I was already seeing a psychologist on and off for depression and other issues (which I think were caused/exacerbated by the ADHD–my depression has gotten so. much. better. since the diagnosis and taking steps to work on the ADHD, although that’s obviously not going to be true for everyone). It was actually a comment on AAM somewhere back in the archives that made me bring it up with my therapist. I don’t remember what the comment was, but I read it and went “Whoa, that thing I’ve always struggled with is a sign of ADHD? And so is this other thing? Mind = blown.”

      So I read more about it and my psychologist and I talked about it for a bit (he already knew me, which I think helped shorten the time span there), and he did diagnose me with it. I take Adderall now on an as-needed basis, and it’s really helped me a lot without any side effects, which is really unusual for me–I often get the really weird side effects when I take medication, but Adderall doesn’t do anything but make it easier for me to get things done. (My primary care doc officially prescribes it, since my psych was an ologist and therefore couldn’t prescribe it himself.)

      I really don’t like your psych’s comments about you apparently having adapted well and therefore not needing to look into it further. Have you laid out your focus issues clearly with her the way you did here (with the comment that it took you two hours to write this comment) and explained that you want to go back to school? If she’s still unsympathetic, honestly, I’d consider finding someone else. I adapted well too (mostly As in school and never anything lower than a B), but, looking back at my life, I wonder how much better I could be doing now if my teachers had caught it sooner. I remember finding a bunch of elementary school report cards awhile back with my parents, and every single one of them mentioned at least one sign of ADHD (usually that I was too impulsive but sometimes other things too), but no one ever mentioned it to my parents. *sigh*

      1. super anon*

        This was really helpful – thank you!

        I originally started seeing my psych because I was majorly depressed and needed to deal with CPTSD, unresolved childhood trauma, and dealing with guilt and grieving a major loss, which she specializes in. I also wanted to see someone who wouldn’t jump to prescribing me medication because at the time I didn’t want to take any. She’s wonderful at what she does and has truly changed my life in a really positive way, but I think a part of the problem is that adult ADHD isn’t within her scope of practice.

        I had mentioned it to her in passing, but at the time potential ADHD wasn’t effecting my life as significantly as I think it might be now and I wasn’t considering going back to school ever. I’m going to try bringing it up to her again at our next session, but if that doesn’t work I’m going to look for someone with experience in it and try seeing them.

    2. Rachel 2: Electric Boogaloo*

      I was diagnosed a few years ago,though I’d kind of suspected it for a while. Turns out I’m about as much of a textbook case of inattentive type ADHD as you can get. I too take Adderall and it does help me, though it’s not perfect. (When I first started taking it I felt quite the difference, though – I think my body’s just gotten used to it now.)

    3. dawbs*

      I always have mixed feelings about “well, if it doesn’t interfere w/ your life it doesn’t matter” as a part of the diagnostic criteria/etc. Because, the fact that you’re managing, doesn’t mean 1-you’ll continue to manage or 2-that you’re managing well. I mean–you might be, and you might be rocking it. But sometimes learning more about how your brain works can do wonders.

      There are different ways of diagnosing. A lot starts w/ questionnaires, but there are also tests (like “look at this computer, hit a button every time the screen changes” type tests and “here is a list of words. Bird. pants. blanket. run. Now we’re going to do other stuff for 15 minutes, then you tell me the words”) that can be done, if you go the “more rigorous testing” route.

      FWIW, IMO, the best books on the subject, that do actually cover some of the diagnostic stuff fairly well, and at least some of them have good questionnaires to start with, are the “driven to distraction” series by Ratey and Hallowell.
      You may also find a local CHADD group helpful–if nothing else, the people who go to them often know what shrinks in the area are helpful and where to start local to you–but like any support group, week to week and group to group the group dynamic changes and if you get a crappy week, give it another try or try another group.

    4. Lynx*

      I was diagnosed as an adult with a fairly mild form of ADD (definitely not hyperactive). My psychiatrist first had me try Ritalin, which didn’t do much for me. Then Concerta, which was better. Then she increased the dose and that was like magic!

      1. dawbs*

        Lynx brings up one of the key points–that meds and their success vary.

        I’ve had a diagnosis in my back pocket for…hell, almost 20 years now (I went and got old apparently, since I got diagnosed as an adult :). I did lots of reading. I tried a few meds. We’ve decided meds and I, at this point, don’t work well together (the ones that were moderately effective screwed up my effective coping mechanisms and/or had lousy side effects.)
        I still found a diagnosis useful, because understanding what the pros and cons were, and figuring out the coping mechanisms that would work with what I was dealing with was easier when I had a more big-picture idea of how my brain worked.
        But YMMV.

    5. Anxa*

      I was looking into because I have some incredibly persistent issues with follow-through, goal setting, forgetfulness, sleep, and an inability to manage my time and energy for myself (I can rally when there is external accountability). I saw a few people, not official psychologists who described me as ‘borderline.’

      I’m a women and was always described as ‘smart, but scatterbrained.’ I was also ‘gifted,’ which sometimes makes me think I did have real issues that went unnoticed for so long because I was smart enough to compensate and sometimes makes me wonder if I just didn’t learn how to sustain concentration at an early age because nothing was mentally difficult for me until I was already a tee.

      I’m a few years into considering doing something about it, but I’m wondering if at this point I’ll get all of the downsides and none of the positives of a diagnosis, especially if the ACA is appealed (don’t want an extra pre-existing condition).

      I’m currently on an a Medicaid health insruance plan, so I will not really have the ability to look into it more.

      I can say that for a while when I first discovered how many symptoms I had, structuring my life as if I had ADHD was pretty helpful. It hasn’t really let to any advances tangibly, but I can see a huge improvement in my life management.

      1. dawbs*

        if i can toss out one more book suggestion, for people w/o hyperactivity, Sari Solden’s books on ADHD and women are very good.

        A lot of people just starting w/ organization and diagnosis also like “you mean I”m not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?” (I was ‘meh’ about it, but I had a big box of tools before I read it)

  29. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I really wish I could have a week off from my house drama. The latest is that showings have started. I know this because I got an email from someone in the real estate agent’s office (not the agent herself) on Wednesday morning at 7am (that’s when I checked it, the email was actually sent at 10pm the night before) saying, “We have someone interested, we want to come by and take pictures. Is today still ok? Oh, and we’re going to put a lockbox on the door.”

    Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? The lack of notice was irritating, but we had told them that Wednesdays were good for the foreseeable future, so I couldn’t necessarily blame them for that. But, first, I had asked them TWICE to make sure my boyfriend and I were both copied on any correspondence, for precisely this reason– if he had been on the email, he would have read it, and I would have been spared the running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to put some things away so the place could look halfway decent (although part of me was thinking, less than 12 hours’ notice, you get what you get). So I wrote back as pleasantly as I could reminding her to please be sure to copy both of us. So that annoyed me. Then, the whole lockbox thing– I am not at all happy about it. On an unoccupied home, a lockbox is one thing, but we live here and we are getting no benefits from being inconvenienced. I don’t want a) random real estate agents showing up because they still have the code from the morning, or b) people thinking there’s no one in this house and coming to take a look around the premises. I expressed those concerns to the woman who emailed me, and she was like, nope, sorry, lockbox. I wrote back and threw out words like “safety”, “security”, and “liability”. I even said we would be happy to keep the lockbox inside and put it outside with notice. Only then did the agent chime in and say, “We can put it on the back door if that makes you more comfortable.” My boyfriend and I spoke and agreed to that, then I asked if it was an electronic lockbox that requires a code and a chip. It’s not. It is an old-school combo lock that looks like it belongs on someone’s luggage. I am irritated and annoyed because it seems like absolutely no one is taking our wishes, time, or even rights into account.

    So much of my annoyance would be assuaged with transparency. Notice. A list of what they’re planning to do. Acknowledgement that we are being inconvenienced. Some appreciation. I don’t even need money, I need, “Hey, we realize this is a pain for you and we want to make it as easy for you as possible, so we are going to do our best.” But no. My very basic request to copy two people on a damn email gets ignored. I realize the agent doesn’t work for us and therefore doesn’t owe us anything, but if she wants to sell this house, you’d think she’d want us on her side. As it happens, she and her office– and our landlords– are acting like we’re in the way, and I’m getting seriously pissed. We pay rent and we signed a two-year lease for exclusive use of the property. Our lease says we have to allow the landlord to show it, which is fine, but give me some freaking courtesy and respect. They don’t even seem to get that the new owner(s) will be our landlord(s), so wouldn’t it behoove them to be able to sell the tenants along with the house? If this keeps up, I’m asking for a discount on our rent. And spending it on blood pressure medication.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Any reason not to just be pleasantly straightforward with them? As in something like, “We signed a two-year lease for exclusive use of the property. I’m sure you understand this is a real inconvenience for us. We’re willing to make this as easy as possible on you, including things like keeping the place spotless so it shows well, but in return for that, we need X, Y, and Z — and frankly some understanding of the inconvenience would help as well.”

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        It’s funny– I have a tendency to go in and give people a ton of credit, then when they act in ways that I think are outside of the realm of common business sense, I get SUPER irritated. Not good for me, for sure. I will probably send something just like that when the next showing comes up. Especially if they forget to freaking cc him! :)

      2. Elizabeth H.*

        Yes, I think the landlord should pay for professional cleaning or for your time if he wants it to be in a certain condition for showing. And that you can demand 24 hour notice for any agent of the landlord to access your property each time, no?

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          I can ask for 24 hours’ notice, and I plan on it. This first time I felt was a bit of a gray area because we had already agreed to Wednesdays, so I’m willing to allow that. In this state, the notice rules are a little fuzzy: our lease requires “reasonable” notice, and in this state, “reasonable” is considered to be 24 hours… but there are no laws on the books stating outright that 24 hours is required. The local MLS regulations suggest 24 hours, but they acknowledge that it’s not a legal requirement. So if they come back and say, “Too bad,” to us, we don’t have the legal recourse that we might in other states.

          I agree with you on the professional cleaning! But I’d be shocked if we got it. Our landlord has zero interest in us or even the property, it seems. We’ve lived here for 2.5 years, and he’s been here ONCE, when some trees fell down. I think he just wants to be rid of it without any hassle to himself.

          1. Elizabeth H.*

            Given the universality of 24 hours notice I think you would still be entitled to infer 24 hours as “reasonable” even if it is not explicit in the lease. If you want to go firmer than “Wednesdays are generally good” and demand 24 hours notice for each Wednesday (or any other day) they want to enter you would be entitled to. Obviously you CAN let your landlord into your place any time you want (I have many times – like I was out for the weekend, there was going to be a rainstorm and he texted to ask if he could enter to close my windows) but you don’t HAVE to. I sympathize with the desire to be cooperative and as you say you’re required to allow the place available to be shown when necessary, as is reasonable, but you are entitled to have it be actually reasonable and as minimally annoying as possible. Just like he’s not “letting” you live there (you are paying rent) you don’t have to “let” them have use of the property that infringes on your reasonable exclusive use. If you are being asked to clear out so often that it is an impediment to your exclusive use as a living space you could potentially ask for something in return like reduced rent in exchange for being as cooperative as they are asking you to be.

    2. LawCat*

      Ohhhh, hellllll no on the lockbox. Hell no.

      Honestly, a lawyer. A nastygram from a lawyer may stop this.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I don’t think I have any standing in my state. :( The lockbox has to be approved by the seller of the home. I’m not the seller of the home. I can’t find a single ordinance or standard that would keep them from putting it on the house, and since I have to give my landlord access per the lease, that means I have to give the landlord’s agent access. I hate this crap.


        1. LawCat*

          Do they have some kind of all access pass under the lease? If they won’t work with you, they may work with a lawyer. I’m sorry to say that sometimes that’s what it takes for some people to listen and be reasonable :-(

          1. LawCat*

            A lawyer could also let you know if any of the provisions in your lease placing obligations on you are invalid.

          2. AvonLady Barksdale*

            You’re not wrong there! I’m a big fan of lawyers (and the law, which is why I’m very happy to be looking up ordinances during downtime at work). I already spoke to a lawyer about my rights and expectations under the lease, so I have one in my back pocket. Just kind of hoping I don’t have to use him, since that feels unnecessarily adversarial at this stage. (Yes, I personally feel pretty adversarial, but I’m just venting to you all right now!)

        2. SCAnonibrarian*

          Before the lockbox goes on, I’d be going around the house and making sure my valuables and money and important legal papers and loose small electronics aren’t lying around the house for sneaky fingers or nosey parkers to dig thru – get a small safe or move everything into a closed-up box in your car or rent a safe deposit box or put a locking doorknob on a closet and stuff everything in there. It’s a pain, but better to be safe and I’m not feeling like your landlord or the real estate agent would super be on your side if you reported a theft of property during a showing. It happens tho, even when you’re the homeowner. That sucks so much. Make me think they’re trying to annoy you in all the legal ways they can to drive you out early.

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            Ha, yes, that’s done! And I took pictures of everything that’s out– furniture, knick-knacks, liquor, artwork.

        3. Jessesgirl72*

          Is there any notice requirements? Because if you have to get 24 hours notice before letting in the landlord or hid agent, that means no reason for the lockbox to be there if no one has given you notice it will be used that day….

          Also remember what I said about them not being allowed to make you vacate during a showing. Refuse to leave a couple times and see if the agent becomes more cooperative.

        4. ..Kat..*

          Giving access does not have to mean lock box. Let them know you will have keyless dead bolts if they put a lock box on. They want a lock box so that they don’t have to give you proper notice.

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            Yeah, I would tell the seller’s agent that if they put a lockbox on, you’re going to put on a chain or security bolt like they have in hotels, just in case some other buyer’s agent doesn’t give you proper notice. They are probably putting the lockbox on so that any buyer’s agent can stop by whenever is convenient for them without consulting with the seller’s agent.

            But then, I wouldn’t have run around and cleaned up with less than 24 hours notice, I would have already been putting a chain or security bar on the door! Saying that Wednesdays are better for you doesn’t mean the same as “just stop by any Wednesday without notice”!!

    3. Andrea*

      I am only reading this part of the tale, but I wouldn’t expect that level of service when I am not a true party to the issue. Sorry, but the real estate agent is interested in selling the property and you are (somewhat) collateral damage to that. Owners go through the same thing with needing to keep the place clean, being able to show at the last minute. As a tenant, I’d think you come far below that level of concern for the agent, as seems indicated here. So, you’ll be inconvenienced and not cc’d as you like, etc.

      1. LawCat*

        But here, the owners and agents need to keep the tenant happy for showings to go well. The tenant doesn’t have an interest in the place selling. Why should the tenant bother keeping the place in show condition? Why not make it super awkward by loafing about in jammies and eating a bowl of cereal while staring at people checking the place out and stating they better not touch your stuff?

        The tenant has the right to be there and is paying for that right. Owner and agent would be wise to provide something to secure the tenant’s cooperation.

        1. Andrea*

          I don’t think any buyer is truly put off by people being inconvenienced. Unless you want to stage a crack den tableau, no one cares if you are loafing in a menacing manner. A potential new owner/or their agent would just potentially think “don’t renew this lease.”

          1. LawCat*

            Really? If agent and owners don’t care about the show quality, then OP might want to not worry about keeping the place clean or absenting from the premises during showings.

          2. Jessesgirl72*

            Buyers are put off by the residents being in the house… big time. I have experienced it as a tenant and would be buyer.

      2. Elizabeth H.*

        Tenants have a ton of rights. If you have a current lease you are entitled to exclusive use of the property for its duration. There isn’t an obligation to behave in a certain way or allow access beyond what is required by law. If the landlord wants to break the lease early or have you do extra stuff he has to get you to agree, whether by offering you something in return, or whatever. There are a lot of protections for tenants.

        1. dawbs*

          You are paying rent, you have a lot more rights than you seem to think you have.
          Talk to local housing authorities, a lawyer, someone. Because saying NO to random people able to let themselves into your home and paw through your stuff 24-7, whie you’re paying rent on said home is reasonable.

        2. neverjaunty*

          Yes. Renting isn’t borrowing. Renting means you have PROPERTY RIGHTS. And allowing the landlord to show does not mean giving some ditzy stranger the power to walk into your house.

      3. Clever Name*

        Uncooperative tenants can make a house very difficult to sell, so it behooves the seller and their agent to be as nice to tenants as possible. I’ve looked at houses where it was clear the tenants were unhappy that the house was selling. One house had clothing strewn about everywhere, the kitchen counter was covered with dishes and old food, and the bathroom reeked of stale urine. We didn’t even look at the whole house.

    4. Kristen*

      Ugh, you have my sympathies. It truly seems like you’re trying to be a sport about this. When I rented, I used to hate when my landlord would want to enter my apartment the few times a year it had to happen because of preventive maintenance items. I don’t know how you’re able to handle this so well.

      The real estate agent should be extremely nice to you and your boyfriend, not just because she’s trying to make a sale, but because as a human being (I’ve made the leap that she is one), she should realize how inconvenient/annoying the whole process is for you and you were placed in the situation not by your own choice. I’m sorry they’re treating you like you’re in the way. As a former renter, I’m angry on your behalf.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        You know what bugs me a ton? Most people I know in jobs like this, who operate essentially as independent contractors, are constantly working to serve the business. She doesn’t think about the fact that I could use her when I’m ready to buy? Or recommend her to my friends? Before we moved here, I emailed a couple of real estate agents asking if their offices handled rentals, and one of them said, “I don’t, but I would love to sit down with you and tell you about our city and the neighborhoods and where you should look.” She took 2 hours (!) out of her Sunday to chat with us. When we’re ready to buy, she will be our first phone call, and when our friends need a recommendation, we’ll sing her praises. It just makes good business sense– both for this sale and for broader purposes– to accommodate my reasonable requests.

    5. really*

      You would think the agent would remember that you and your boyfriend are potential clients and probably know a few people who might want to buy or sell a house.

    6. blackcat*

      Be aware that, in many states, new landlords can break your lease (with notice) if they are moving into it themselves.

      And, yeah, I’d say hell no to the lock box–buyers agents DEFINITELY will let them selves in without sufficient (or any) notice. Unlike the selling agent, they have ZERO interest in making you happy. I’d say that you’re really not comfortable with it, and that your lawyer says you do not have to allow it. Since you have already touched base with a lawyer, I’d ask if you can put in a basic latch on the inside of the door so that people can’t come in when you don’t want them to. I wouldn’t feel safe in my home with a lockbox on the outside.

      And I wouldn’t make an effort to keep it particularly clean. Live your life, maybe be a bit extra tidy, but don’t change how you live for them.

      1. Newby*

        Push back hard against the lockbox. It makes you less safe without any benefit to you. If you can’t prevent it, you may want to invest in a cheap security camera aimed at the front and back doors so that you would know if anyone enters your house without permission (and have evidence).

    7. ..Kat..*

      1. Tell them no on the lock box. Perhaps a lawyer to remind them that annoying you will mean the house will be less attractive to buyers.

      2. Insist on proper notice. I.e., if they want to show the house tomorrow, they have to contact you before 5 pm today. Again, lawyer.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Thank you! It’s been much more stressful than it should be. I’m glad I have AAM for venting and commiseration.

    8. Danii*

      I haven’t had this happen to me personally, but my best friend and her partner were tenants when the owner decided to put the house they lived in on the market. They had a complete opposite experience to what you had, but I think it shows what should happen: 1) they always had at least 24 hrs notice of people coming to view the property; 2) the owner paid for the house to be professionally cleaned before photos were taken; and 3) they got a $100/week discount on the rent for the entire period the house was on the market as an acknowledgment of the inconvenience to them. Considering my friend was 3-9 months pregnant across this period (she gave birth ten days late, and six days after the house was sold), it was an inconvenience, but the money also really helped at this time. And also because the owner and landlord were considerate and treated them with respect, they always had the place spotless for viewings, and left the house when viewings were occurring (except for I think once early on when the morning sickness was too bad and she couldn’t get out of bed).

      I’m sorry you are not being given the same respect as my friend and her partner were given. It didn’t take/cost the owner that much, and I think really was a win-win for all parties (even the new owners, who were delighted to have good tenants in place).

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Our landlord in NYC was like that. So thoughtful and accommodating because he knew our cooperation was crucial, we were reasonable people, and we had been good tenants. Good landlords and agents aren’t unicorns! I just wish ours were as considerate.

    9. Somebody else*

      I’ve read your comments about this and it honestly just doesn’t seem like a big deal to me. An inconvenience, yes, and everybody involved sounds like they’re not super polite. But nothing you’ve said sounds at all out of the ordinary when it comes to somebody selling their home. Nothing sounds illegal. I think your choices are to just put up with it or move.

      1. Newby*

        Tenants have rights and those rights don’t disappear just because the owner decided to sell the house. If the lease specifies 24 hours notice before someone else enters the home (which is what I have always seen in my leases), that still applies. They can insist that the terms of the lease and their rights as tenants are honored. I did live in a house that the owner decided to sell and he always gave me at least 24 hours notice before he brought people by to view the house. There was also no lockbox on the door.

  30. LivinginLA*

    A friend invited me to an event and I declined. Friend felt my reason for declining wasn’t good enough and made fun of me in a “pressuring to switch to saying yes” kind of way, but I still said no, as my reason for declining was valid to me. Now friend is mad at me and not speaking to me. Friend is going to this event with other people, my being there doesn’t make or break anything, and she is not out any money or a ride or anything like that. But I feel guilty and really don’t know how to make things right with friend (also not sure I want too as this kind of stuff happens more than it really should).

    1. Myrin*

      Just from this comment, your friend sounds pretty childish and manipulative. I’ve also generally found that when I’m already at the point where I’m thinking what you express in your last sentence in brackets here, the friendship is basically over, but that might just be me.

    2. Feathers McGraw*

      Oof. An invitation is not a court summons. Your friend is being super unreasonable. You have nothing to feel guilty about!

    3. Jessesgirl72*

      Your friend is not a friend.

      And next time, don’t give reasons for declining. Just say no. Not just with this person, but with anyone. An excuse leaves an opening to try to convince you.

    4. Athena X*

      There is no reason to feel guilty here. People are allowed to decline invitations.

      Keep your boundary and don’t apologize for it – friend should be the one apologizing, he/she is the one behaving badly. Reconsider this relationship. Do you really need this?

    5. Jessi*

      my fave way to turn down an invitation “no thanks, I have plans”. you never have to share what those plans are :)

    6. OhBehave*

      Here’s your sign.
      If this is one in a long list of her antics, then you need to remove yourself from her friendship. She doesn’t sound like a good friend if she doesn’t listen to you and respect your reasons for not going.

    7. sophieChotek*

      Your friend is mistaken. I can understand trying to nicely cajole a friend….and I know I’m guilty of that a time or two….but “no” is a complete answer, as everyone has pointed out. Sorry this is happening!

    8. Not So NewReader*

      Having been on the receiving end of the silent treatment, I have learned that during that silence I learned how to live life without that person. I thought I needed them in my life, not true, I wanted them in my life but I was fine without them.

      She hunted around for a way to make you feel guilty and she found one. What does that say about her? Possible manipulator? The correct response to your NO is “oh, okay maybe next time then.”
      Friendship is a gift not a court order.

      You make “it right” with her by waiting for her apology for bullying you. Then you decide if you even want to accept the apology. As a separate step, you consider if you even want the friendship.

    9. Observer*

      Your friend doesn’t get to have a say in how you live your life. If she won’t speak to you, it’s on her to make it right with you.

      Next time, pull a Miss Manners on her (assuming she grows up sufficiently that there is a next time) and don’t provide an explanation. “I’m sorry I can’t make it.” Is all the explanation you need.

    10. Anne (with an "e")*

      Your so-called friend is in the wrong here. If you don’t want to go that is your business. You do not have to justify yourself to this “friend.” Please, do not feel guilty about this. If you don’t want to go then you don’t want to go. You know what? That is not a betrayal. That does not mean you are a bad person. It does not mean you are not a loyal person. You just don’t want to attend this particular event. How old is your friend anyway? Twelve.

    11. ArtK*

      Just because someone else is upset, it doesn’t mean that you did anything wrong. (Easy to say, hard to get rid of the guilt.) This is her problem to own and there is *nothing* that you can do to fix it. There are no magic words (denizens of another board will recognize that phrase) that can make her see reason.

      You now know something important about this friend. Don’t ever JADE (Justify, Argue, Defend, or Explain) your reasons. She’ll just judge those reasons and try to negotiate around them. For most people we meet, this isn’t necessary but some you just need to use the old stand-by “I’m afraid that won’t be possible,” repeated until you’re sick of it.

      1. Larz*

        “Just because someone else is upset, it doesn’t mean that you did anything wrong.” – ArtK, 2017. Back in a bit, gonna go consult with a tattoo artist real quick–I need to REMEMBER this! :)

  31. LawCat*

    I’m starting a new weight loss program tomorrow offered through my insurance. It’s based online and you have a health coach and a group of people assigned to a group who do it together. I’m optimistic!

    I had great success with Weight Watchers in the past, but couldn’t stick with it when it switched to SmartPoints because it was nutritionally extremely difficult for vegetarian eating (like to stay within SmartPoints meant eating sub-1200 calories a day).

    I think a lot of the success I had though was from having group and a coach to lead us so I’m hoping this new program will really help!

    1. Teapot project manager*

      Good luck! I also just signed up for an online weight loss through my insurance. I’ve had success with WW also but then have fallen off it when I stopped tracking. This is a 52 week program with weekly online meetings with a coach and I’m optimistic.

      I had the initial meeting Thursday online, meet with the coach and group on Tuesday

    2. Gaia*

      Good luck! Weight Watchers never worked for me because my weight issues are not due to overeating – I actually tend to eat a relatively small amount – and so I struggled to meet the number of points I was supposed to hit. Their advice was always to eat more but then I ended up gaining weight….it was a bad cycle.

  32. anon (for this)*

    My fiancée left me on Sunday. We were together for 2 years and 10 months, engaged for 4 months and were going to get married on May 26, 2018 on the 4 year anniversary of the day we met and had our first date. We had lived together for 4 months and had one month left on our lease (we took over the lease of a friend of mine and were planning to sign a new one year lease next month, as well as to combine our finances and start wedding planning and house hunting) She ghosted me. I was out. She knew I was going out with friends. She packed up all her things. She did a factory reset on her phone and left it behind (we were on a couples plan). She deleted her email address and other social media and got a new phone number. She apparently told the landlord she wouldn’t be renewing the lease, paid the last month of rent on our old lease and had to him do a walk through to verify there was no damage. She left behind the ring. She left a note that said: “I can’t take it any more. Having anxiety doesn’t give you an excuse to be controlling.” I don’t know where she is. She deleted her email and other social media and changed her phone number. None of her friends or relatives will tell me where she is if I call or Facebook them and they block me and tell me to stop. She isn’t getting mail here any more and when I mailed her a letter to this address hoping it would get forwarded but it got returned to me with no reply from her. I went to the police because I was worried about her but they said she was already there and told them she was leaving me and wasn’t missing in case I tried to tell them she was. I don’t know where she is living. She just finished night school and she quit her part time job so I don’t know if she has a job or is working. I just want to see her. I love her. I want so bad to work things out. We never had problems before. I was shocked that she just left. I just miss her so much. I don’t even know what I’m going to do. I can’t imagine my life without her.

    1. Myrin*

      I’m so, so sorry for this, it sucks to be in this situation and must be incredibly hard. But please, please respect her wishes. She has made it clear that she doesn’t want to be with you anymore and doesn’t want you to know anything about her whereabouts and, as much as it hurts, you need to accept that (although it’s completely understandable for you to be mad and sad but you need to process that with someone who is Not Her). It sounds like it’s time you gather your Team You and take care of and focus on yourself. Good luck in getting through these hard times!

    2. Feathers McGraw*

      I’m really sorry that you’re going through this. But you do need to stop trying to find her as that could really backfire on you and get you into trouble. Right now: self care.

    3. Kj*

      Leave her be. She has made her choice and informed you of it. It might not have been the kindest or best way to do this, but she made a choice. Everyone is telling you to leave her be. She is obviously safe and has a team of people around her, all of whom are telling you to let her go.

      Find yourself a therapist or support group. Have a “team me” around you. But do not try contact her.

      You will go on- many people have been in similar situations. These things always suck and are horrible, but others have survived and you will too.

    4. I'm sorry*

      She left a note that said: “I can’t take it any more. Having anxiety doesn’t give you an excuse to be controlling.”
      We never had problems before.
      I don’t think we have the whole story and maybe some therapy is in order.

      1. Marcela*

        While I don’t think you are blaming anon, sometimes it’s very possible for one side to think there are no problems. My dad was like that. Pretended for years and years that everything was fine, that he could live with my mom being absent from home and working a lot because she was also doing her master and taking care of my sick grandparents. Until one day he, raised to be a macho, could not take it anymore and everything went to hell. Many years later, still suffering the consequences, he accepted and recognized the damage he did just pretending that as a macho, he could take anything. Damage that has taken years to my brother to understand and probably he will never be able to fully control.

    5. Newby*

      You should definitely see a therapist about this. They can help you process what happened and start to imagine your life without her. She has made it absolutely clear that she does not want to see you and may even be afraid of you. If you keep pushing it will only make things worse. You do know that she is ok so you have no need to worry about her. Her family and friends know where she is. She is not missing.

      1. Newby*

        Also, I recommend reading Captain Awkward. She gives great advice about how to handle breaking up.

      2. Kristen*

        I really hope you find a therapist who can help you get through this. I don’t have much else to add that will be helpful to you other than agreeing with everyone else on this point: she has been clear with her feelings, you need to respect that and listen. It will not prove your love to her by ignoring her wishes and seeking her out. I am very sorry.

    6. Dan*

      Speaking as a guy here… You say that you never had problems before and are shocked that she left.

      I gotta be honest, there were problems. Whether or not she tried to communicate that to you, I can’t say. But, she covered her tracks well. It’s rather obvious to me that she planned this and didn’t do it impulsively.

      She wiped her phone, went to the police, *and* told her friends not to give you any info, without saying anything to you directly. That’s cold, but it seems she knows you well… Because you did exactly what she expected you would do.

      Other people have suggested therapy, and I agree with that. You may want to get to the bottom of the anxiety and controlling behaviors, some of which are present in your letter.

    7. Dan*

      Wait. She left you a letter stating she’s leaving and you still went to the police? You need to think about that long and hard.

      You report someone missing if you truly believe something bad could have happened, or is about to happen. If someone leaves you a note, there is nothing to involve the police over.

      1. Amber Rose*

        It’s telling that she preemptively went to the cops to warn them that would happen also. Anon needs to really look at themselves and whether there really were no problems prior to this.

      2. Buffay the Vampire Layer*

        Very much agreed. Anon, please be honest with yourself. Did you go to the police because you were worried about her, or did you go because you thought you might be able to get in touch with her that way?

        1. Anon for this*

          Or that if you caused enough of a stir, she would come back to calm things down?

          What did you want to get out of the trip to the police station?

    8. OhBehave*

      You went to the police after you got told by her family and friends that they would not tell you where she is now? (To me, that indicates she is safe and protected.) To be honest, that seems quite extreme to me. You need to take an honest look at your life together and look for signs that she was unhappy.

      You know she is safe. She went to great lengths to erase herself from your contact. It sounds like she’s been planning this for a time. If you continue to pursue her, you may face a restraining order.

      If this statement of hers isn’t true, “I can’t take it any more. Having anxiety doesn’t give you an excuse to be controlling.”, she saved you from an unhappy life.

      There’s no denying you are in pain right now. The more time that passes, the more the pain will lessen. I would echo the suggestions of others that you get some therapy or gather your team around you for support. A therapist will help you walk through this pain in order to get through it healthy. Not only that, but they can help you avoid this kind of person in the future.

      I truly hope you can find your way through this pain and emerge stronger for it.

    9. Detective Amy Santiago*

      You need to get yourself into therapy stat. It sounds like she went to some great lengths to cut you off and people don’t generally do that without a good reason.

    10. Undine*

      Do you love her enough to listen to what she is saying? Do you love her enough to take a good hard look at your anxiety and consider whether it *has* made you controlling? Are you willing to do any work to change? I don’t think you can or should ever get her back. I don’t see anything in there that says you’re sorry you hurt her so much, or that you can’t believe you didn’t listen to her. And even if you are sorry, this has gone way too far for her to ever return.

      I agree you should get therapy if at all possible. I’m sure what you are feeling now is brutal — like the very bottom of your being has fallen out. But this *could* be a chance for you to work on your anxiety on a different level. Everything you are feeling now is a part of you, these are your feelings, and if you can face them and work with them, you can become a very different person. Anxiety is different to work with than drugs or alcohol, but if you give in to it, it can ruin your life in much the same way. You do have choices. You can get through this. Work on yourself and take this chance to grow.

    11. LibbyG*

      There’s a sociology book from the 80s called Uncoupling. It’s a study of how intimate relationships dissolve. The author explains that in almost all cases, the initiator of the breakup has been emotionally detaching for a long time, but the other partner is often totally stunned. Your ex’s meticulous planning maybe isn’t typical of most breakups, but her unilateral decision-making is, and your experience of this as a sudden, bewildering event is too. The normalness of this doesn’t make your loss any less devastating(I’m so sorry!), but it might help your grieving process to see it as part of a pattern.

    12. Not So NewReader*

      Please get help.
      This level of attachment is not love. It’s a form of emotional slavery or bondage, it’s not love.

      Love realizes that there are times we have to let go. You don’t seem to realize you have to let go.

      You will make it on your own. You will be okay. Focus on reweaving yourself and your life, this will help, I promise.

      1. Elizabeth H.*

        I think saying that feeling this way is “emotional slavery” is a huge leap. I have always felt like I can’t imagine my life without the person.

        Fwiw, leaving so abruptly like this so unusual that I don’t think it’s crazy to be this shocked and in disbelief.

    13. blackcat*

      Everyone else has covered what to do, but I wanted address one more thing: “I can’t imagine my life without her.”

      I don’t think it’s healthy to constantly fantasize about living without one’s partner, but I *do* think it can be healthy to not be able to imagine one’s life without one’s partner.

      I love my husband very much. We have a healthy, happy marriage. I have been with him my entire adult life. And I do know what I’d do if somehow he vanished tomorrow–though, for me, it’s more framed as “How would I go on living if my husband got hit by a bus?” Effectively, though, it’s the same. I have financial plans, thoughts on where I might move, etc if, somehow, he stopped being in my life.

      And if he decided tomorrow to leave and never come back, I’d be very sad, but I’d respect his choice to leave (things might be different if we had kids–I wouldn’t respect a choice to totally walk out on the lives of children). I’d be sad and upset, but it’s healthy to respect each other’s autonomy in a relationship. Part of that autonomy is the right to end the relationship. Each party in a relationship has the right to end it, without consulting the other.

    14. Observer*

      This is very rough. But the people who are telling you to get to a therapist are 1oo% correct. To be honest, everything you have done since she left validates her decision – and she did NOT ghost you since she was very clear about what she was doing. You’ve been badgering her friends, you’ve tried emailing her and you *went to the police* even though you KNEW that she left on her own, and wasn’t kidnapped.

      You know that she has her degree, that she has friends and she planned her move. So, claiming that you needed the police because you were “worried” doesn’t cut it. You don’t have any reason to worry about her. It does, however, explain what her note said. You are using “I’m worried” as an excuse to totally cross the boundaries of what is appropriately yours to know or control and what isn’t.

      I’m sure that you are hurting. And I’m sure you are not doing this because you don’t care about being a good partner in a relationship. But, it’s still a significant problem and it’s going to continue to be a problem in further relationships unless you deal with it.

      So, I totally agree with the advice from KJ “Find yourself a therapist or support group. Have a “team me” around you. But do not try contact her. “

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Agreed. She knew you well enough, OP, to tell the police you would be contacting them. And you did.
        She left you a note with what she wanted to say to you. There is no reason to believe that she has more to add.

        Honestly, if you kept following me around like this I would grow very concerned. Invest in you instead, OP.

    15. AcademiaNut*

      This sounds really hard to deal with. But as other people have said, anything you do to go forward from this point cannot not involve her. You will not get to work things out or get any answers beyond what she had given you.

      From your side – get support from family and friends, and definitely actively and immediately seek out therapy. You may not have seen problems, but when someone takes the nuclear option like this, and plots out leaving so carefully and systematically (down to notifying the police that she doesn’t want you to find her), there’s usually a very long backstory to go with it.

    16. Stellaaaaa*

      My ex went off his meds, started brandishing his guns, punched holes in the walls (he was aiming at me and missed), screamed at me in the grocery store because I stopped to eat a sample, told me I wasn’t allowed to wash my face at night because it took to long, and physically prevented my from going to my job. When I dropped him with no contact, he told our mutual friends that everything was fine and he had no idea what happened. In his case, this was just his normal way of interacting with women; of course he didn’t see what was notable about how he had treated me.

      I’m not accusing you of doing any of these things, but I’ve also learned not to take it at face value that “everything was fine,” especially when one person claims that the other was controlling. At the very least, you two have very different notions of healthy baseline behavior.

    17. neverjaunty*

      Anon, your life is without her now, and always will be. It is going to be hard to adjust but the first step is accepting that this is the new reality. The relationship is over for good. You have to move forward with that truth in mind.

      When things are less raw you will also have to take a hard look (with a therapist) at how you got here. When you say “we had no problems” that isn’t true – YOU were happy, she wasn’t. You aren’t listening to what she told you. Even if you think she’s wrong, that is what she perceived.

      It’s going to suck, but you will get through this.

  33. Sparkly Librarian*

    I’m in the dentist’s chair for the first time in, well, too long. Found one that takes Saturday appointments, but their office is so disorganized. I got here for my 10AM appointment, and it’s almost noon. So much waiting, so much answering the same questions over and over. Oh, hey, actually got seen by the dentist for about 5 minutes. Couple small cavities in between teeth, but my gums are in better shape than they were at my last appointments a couple years ago. I credit the waterpik.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      I’m so terrified I’m going to have cavities in between my teeth again (my next cleaning is on the 20th) – those are a bitch to drill and fill because of how tightly packed some of my back teeth are. And I just got my teeth whitened at the dentist on Friday – two and a half hours of torture – so I sympathize with your wait.

  34. Myrin*

    For the first time since I started commenting here almost three years ago, someone got really adversarial with me a couple of days ago. But Alison jumped in like the no-nonsense person she is and shut it down. So, let’s hear it for our Benevolent Site Overlord!

    (But really, Alison, I love your approach to moderating the comment section, all the while appreciating that it must be stressful as heck some days. Your firm hand would be much needed on many other websites.)

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Aw, thanks. I feel like lately I’ve probably been more easily frustrated with comment section problems because I’ve been stretched really thin for about six months with a massive project that I took on on top of my regular workload … and my stress level has been high. But that project is done now, and I’ve cut back on some other work, so hopefully at some point soon I will decompress (hasn’t happened yet, but there is a massage in my near future) and will be less stressed out.

    2. Lissa*

      Yup! I know some people hate it and have complained, but Alison’s new policy of deleting giant threads of language nitpicking for instance has made me feel comfortable commenting regularly instead of just occasionally when I agree with everyone. (I have been jumped all over and screamed at in internet forums for using a word someone didn’t like or having a slightly different opinion, and just don’t want to deal with that type of thing at this point in my life.)

  35. Loopy*

    Okay internet, tell me if this seems suspicious….

    I go to the dealership to get an oil change. Car is fine and dandy. I am pulling onto my street (about 30 minutes away) and see omg, my check engine light has been on this whole time. Drat, no! But I figure there must be a simple explanation that *something* occurred during it’s oil change. I called the dealership and they were like noon, there is no way we would have possibly caused that. You should bring your car into us to get checked. It *perfectly* safe to drive the 35 minutes over here.

    A) Really? You couldn’t have possibly caused the immediate appearance of the check engine light?
    B) IS it perfectly safe to drive? How can they be so sure without knowing what caused the light?

    I am suspicious. I know nothing about cars but mine is 2014, pretty new…

    What say you?

    1. Rebecca*

      I don’t worry as much about the check engine light as I should, probably. I have an ’03 Escape, and the light is on perpetually, along with the check gas cap light. The garage puts it out for me, but it’s a glitch, so at 137K miles, I’m not going to worry about it.

      I am not a mechanic, but I’d think as long as you don’t have a bunch of other warning lights, you should be OK to drive it back so they can see what code it’s throwing. Plus, some cars have scheduled maintenance @ X Miles, so it might just be a coincidence and that’s why the light popped on.

      As an aside, before you do that, check to make sure there’s oil on the dipstick. A friend returned from an oil change, parked her car, and went to drive to work the next day only to find a huge puddle of oil under her car and running down the driveway. The oil plug hadn’t been replaced properly.

      1. Loopy*

        So I was talking to a family friend about this and her sister had the same thing happen! I checked under my car-no oil, but I’ll check the dipstick tomorrow. I was surprised to hear this from two people!!

    2. really*

      a) Yes they could have caused the issue but cars can be unpredictable. And it can be as simple as just exposing a problem not actually causing it.
      b) I would check what your manual says but usually it will be okay. If it was really bad you probably wouldn’t have made it home.

    3. Jessesgirl72*

      Just not tightening down the filter enough would make the check engine light come on! For Pete’s sake!

      But it’s probably perfectly safe to drive. Honestly.

    4. Loopy*

      Thanks for the reassurances. I guess I’m just perpetually distrustful of mechanics since I’ve had them try to pull a fast one on me before :(

      I also have learned to doubt everything and get second and third opinions because when I don’t, I end up regretting it.

      I got my boyfriend one of those super basic code readers for xmas so I guess I can also ask him to use it and see what it says. Anyone have any experience with those? I got a pretty cheap one :X In my defense it was only a stocking stuffer!

      1. Kristen*

        Yes, a bit of experience. Don’t ignore the check engine light (I might be reading into people’s comments, but that’s what some here seem to be implying), but it is probably safe to drive. Either use your boyfriend’s code reader or bring it to Autozone or another parts store as someone else mentioned where you have it done for free. Parts stores should be able to tell you what the code means by providing you with a print out with common causes for the error code. If you use your boyfriend’s, you can usually google for the answer. I realize you most likely won’t fix the problem yourself, but it may tell you whether the oil change caused the issue.

        I’m guessing your car is still under warranty which means you can probably be more trusting of the dealership in that they’re not trying to scam you. (I would think anyhow.) If you bring it back there, don’t let them charge you a fee to diagnose the code. Most places charge somewhere around $75. Overall, I would trust dealerships more than I would oil change places (quick lubes) as far as scams go.

        1. Kristen*

          Also, you’re right that they can’t be absolutely sure that it’s safe to drive without knowing the cause. Did you notice anything unusual while driving it home (sounds, smells, rattles, etc)? If not, then it really is probably safe to drive.

    5. CMT*

      My check engine light is constantly on. I really doubt your car is unsafe to drive. You should have them check it out, but I don’t think your engine will just fall out or anything while you drive it back.

    6. SCAnonibrarian*

      I got nothing on the oil change, but in my experience, amber/orange/yellow lights are generally not things that require the car to be off and towed. If it’s a red check light, that’s when you need to worry.

    7. Red*

      If you don’t trust the dealer, take it to Auto Zone or Pep Boys or something first and let them tell you what code the check engine light gives them and then take the back to the dealer so they can check it out. If I’m remembering right, they do it for free, but it’s been a while. You don’t have to tell the dealer you already know the problem, but the answers ought to be the same.

    8. MsRoboto*

      They could have caused it. I just went through this. I had my car worked on. Went to pick it up. Check engine light. I go right in. The guy brings out the tester does a reset. Light all gone. He said it was on because of what the work they were legit doing just needed the reset.

    9. Not So NewReader*

      I had a check engine light come on while I was leaving the repair shop.
      It was unrelated. The code machine at the parts store said, “small evap leak”.

      Long story very short, I had a pin hole in the filler neck of my gas tank. It took a while to find it, but I was fine driving it around.

      Pull up your codes. Since you had no problem getting to the shop, you probably still have no problem driving around. I don’t see you talking about weird noises, funny handling, vehicle not starting etc.

      Let your BF drive the car, if he does not drive it regularly he may notice something that you are used to. My husband and I used to switch vehicles every so often. The theory being that the primary driver gets used to something and does not realize it is worse or more is happening. We’d double check each other.

    10. Spring Flowers*

      Check engine light can indicate the gas cap is not on tight.

      But they could have also done something. I took my car into servicing once at a dealership, and driving home, the AC acted up. I took it straight back and they accused my car of being old. Yeah, it was fine on the way in.

    11. Chaordic One*

      Well, since it happened right after you’ve had the car in for an oil change, check the oil right away and make sure that they refilled your car with oil. I’ve heard of cases where the mechanics forgot to refill the oil and driving without oil damaged the engine. If you do have oil in the engine, then it probably is something minor, but it does need checking.

      I used to have a Ford and they kept telling me that I didn’t put the gas cap on properly at first. They eventually ended up replacing just about everything that was related to the emission control system in the car, except for the gas tank itself.

    12. Lady Julian*

      I worked in a car shop for a while. You’ve probably figured this out already, but just in case:

      Yes, your car is safe to drive; “check engine” doesn’t mean the engine will fall out or anything; there’s just a problem with the computer that runs the car/engine. Some people who don’t want to fork over the money for an old car will leave cars with months for “check engine” lights. It’s possible, but not certain, that if the mechanics were clumsy, they could have done something that turned the “check engine” light on, but there are a lot of other possibilities too.

  36. nep*

    Maybe this has already been discussed here — if so, let me know. Anyone here seen the film Get Out?
    I probably won’t see it because I don’t like horror movies. But a friend mentioned seeing it and I’ve since watched at least 10 reviews or discussions about it. Fascinated by what Jordan Peele did here. And I’ve gotten a lot out of the analyses I’ve heard.

    1. katamia*

      I don’t do movie theaters, but I definitely want to see it when it’s out on DVD/streaming. I’m avoiding most discussion of it until after I see it, although I know enough about it to know that after I see it I’m going to want to read a lot more about it, if that makes sense.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Will you say more about why you don’t do movie theaters? I literally just came back from a movie theater thinking that I might not enjoy them anymore, and I thought I was alone in that.

        1. fposte*

          I’m intrigued that it’s now three of us in the thread saying we don’t. For me it’s mostly physical, in that sitting in movie seats is very tough on my back, but I’m willing to put up with that for stuff that I like better–movie theaters just don’t make the cut since I can see it later at home.

        2. PollyQ*

          I have sort of an opposite situation–I don’t go to the movies that often, but everytime I do, I enjoy it, and feel like I should encourage myself to do it more.

        3. katamia*

          It’s a lot of things, really. I don’t care much about special effects (even though I love science fiction and fantasy movies). As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I have ADHD and I like being able to stop what I’m watching and do something else for awhile, or I like to read or work while I’m watching something. I’m not a huge fan of being in close quarters with strangers. I haven’t felt the need in years to see something ASAP and don’t mind waiting for it to come out on DVD/streaming. And it’s just so ridiculously expensive and not worth it for something I’m not that into to begin with. I’ll still see a movie in theaters with friends if they want for the sake of being social, but I’m never going to make that choice on my own.

        4. the gold digger*

          1. Part of the deal of getting a big-screen TV was that we would not spend money going to the movies
          2. I can get a DVD from the library (for free) and watch in the comfort of my own home and stop the movie anytime I want to pee or get something to eat or get the cat
          3. I can watch while I am wearing my pajamas
          4. I can be in my PJs and throw a blanket over the space heater in the basement and be really, really warm and the cats will come sit on my lap underneath the blanket and purr – they love the spa
          5. I can turn on the subtitles and click once on the FF button and watch a 100-minute movie in about 80 minutes (or so)

        5. Anono-me*

          I’m on the don’t like movie theaters team.

          I love watching movies at home and snuggling on the sofa in comfy clothes that I would never be caught wearing in public. (And being able to stop the movie go a quick break rather than miss 10 minutes of the movie is a huge advantage.)

          The biggest thing for me is probably hearing too many urban legends about how hard movie theaters have to work to keep things clean.

        6. AdAgencyChick*

          I’ll go to NYC art houses, and to the nicer chain ones that have reserved seating. But I haaaaaaate the average movie theater experience. I hate dirty theaters, I hate the 20 minutes of previews you have to watch before you get to see what you came for (not to mention 20 MORE minutes of ads because you need to get there early or be stuck in the front row), and I go into get-off-my-lawn mode when people talk through the movie. (Not to mention in NYC you get to pay like $15 for the privilege now!)

          The last movie I saw in a big chain theater was “Loving,” which has lots of quiet, intense moments. And this one couple whom I’m guessing was hard of hearing kept “whispering” to each other, except their whispering was loud enough to hear through the entire theater. I was practically homicidal by the end of the movie.

          Usually the art-house theaters that are showing older or indie movies attract movie buffs who don’t want to hear the audience gabbing any more than I do (plus fewer previews, and previews of movies I might actually want to see). The reserved-seating theaters in Manhattan are pretty damned expensive, but worth it if there’s a mainstream movie I really don’t want to wait for on streaming services, since the couple of extra bucks for the ticket seems to scare away some of the obnoxious people.

        7. Anxa*

          I don’t really do movies much anymore, myself.

          It first started mostly as an economic thing. I would much, much rather spend 18 dollars on a nicer dinner for two than a date night to a movie. My entertainment budget was stripped down to only things I did to maintain relationships, and then I realized I didn’t really miss it. I see maybe a movie a year now in theaters for some sort of holiday or something and it gets me a little nostalgic for being a teen and going a lot, but I don’t really enjoy it all that much.

          Also, I find a lot of movies way too loud. It sort of takes me out of the experience.

          1. Shabu Shabu*

            Saaaaaame. Less then 10 people in the whole movie at that point. And even then, sometimes someone sits right behind me or next to me…really?! Go away!

            I like going 5-6 weeks after a movie has been out (if it’s still there).

            1. Panda Bandit*

              Yes, this! Last year I was one of two people in a theater. Someone else showed up, sat down next to me, and started texting on their phone. Luckily they left after 10 minutes, but they had dozens of empty seats to choose from. Why pick the one next to me?

              I do the exact same thing. Sometimes it’s hard to get the timing right though.

        8. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

          Overall I think there has been a shift in viewing patterns and production that leans more towards tv. Movies today are made to appeal to have the best possible ROI. To me that seems like a lot of comic book and action hero remakes/sequels/reboots which I really do not care for at all. Anything with a good plot and excellent cast and filming seems like it is on TV now, in more digestible chunks that I can pause if I like, or watch all at once. Not to mention the comfy clothes, my own snacks, and maybe a kitty or two to watch with at home!

          If its a film that really would be better seen on the big screen with a big stereo system then Ill go – I really wish I had seen Inception on the big screen. But too many movies lately just dont seem to fit my tastes and I tend to spend discretionary income on seeing live bands instead.

        9. Jessesgirl72*

          Well, our local theaters all have or are putting in “dream lounger” recliners with lots of room between rows and the seats are really comfy and soft, so I mind them less than I did the old theater seating, but mainly, I hate the people I’m surrounded with in a theater and it’s almost always TOO LOUD. If I go at off times to avoid the crowds, the sound is even painfully loud without all the bodies there to absorb it.

          We have a 96″ screen and a projector in our basement. The only movie I’ve seen in theaters in at least 5 years was Rogue One.

          1. Cath in Canada*

            They just refurbished one of the cinemas near me, and the seats are sooooo comfy now! They also turned the whole place into an adults-only venue, so now you can have a beer or wine at your seat, which is nice. (Our liquor laws are a bit behind the times in BC). The whole place is cleaner as well, because there are no kids in there (I worked in a movie theatre in Ohio one summer and spent a LOT of time cleaning up after teenagers).

            I mostly watch movies at home now, but it’s nice once in a while to go to see a new release with a group of friends. None of us have a big enough place to fit everyone in to comfortably watch a movie on TV. We tend to do this more often in the summer, because cinemas are some of the very few places in Vancouver that have decent air conditioning! Apart from that, we tend to reserve cinema outings for high-profile releases and 3D or very visual movies – so the last thing I saw on the big screen was Arrival, and I want to see Trainspotting 2 as soon as it comes out.

            But for the most part movies at home, with cats, cozy blankets, and a pause button, are preferable.

        10. Max Kitty*

          I also don’t like movie theaters too much. Mostly because of the people (so many are just rude!), but also because they usually are way too loud. The last two years, I’ve been to two movies–The Force Awakens and Rogue One. And those only because of the big-screen experience (and die-hard Star Wars fan husband). Before The Force Awakens, I think I hadn’t been to a movie in two or even three years.

        11. Not So NewReader*

          I”ll answer! I’ll answer! :)

          I went to movies back when they were 99 cents. That is about all it’s worth to me. Even in the nicer theaters with plenty of leg room, I just cannot sit for that long. It’s too tedious.

          I don’t like the big screen and the loud audio. I feel like I am getting sucked into the movie. I like to be able to comment to the person I am with.

          It’s just not too much fun for me. Even now my boss cannot get over how I never even look at tv. Eh, I used to watch a lot of tv, I just figured when I am old I will go back to watching a lot of tv.

        12. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Wow — so interesting. I thought I was the only one who felt this way! You all have mentioned everything I don’t like about the experience.

          1. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

            I also don’t do movie theaters. Hadn’t been in years until December when I went with my niece to see Moana. Movie was cute, but I still didn’t enjoy the theater experience for many reasons: cost for what you get (even if they’re swanky and new with reclining seats), loudness of people and film depending on the scene, the luck of the draw of who you sit near and what they do during the film, the knowledge that you should probably not go use the restroom, etc. I’d much rather view a movie at home, comfy, with all the snacks we want, in our PJs, with the ability to pause if needed!

          2. dawbs*

            My kid has some sensory issues–and I keep discovering that she’s her mother’s daughter. I’ve had to become more aware of her needs but it sometimes makes me more aware of some of my own baggage along the way.

            Being in a dark room that is inevitably to loud, where the contrast between the dark of the room and the blinding light of the screen is so extreme, while being held hostage to the crowd around me and I have to be aware of my own behavior (volume and whispering and conversation) is just less fun than being at home.
            The ones designed for kids and/or special needs are much more pleasant visits, IME.

        13. CMT*

          I get so bored watching movies, especially any movie that’s longer than about 90 minutes. I need to be able to do something else while I’m watching a movie, which you obviously can’t do in a theater.

        14. HannahS*

          Also not a fan. They’re too loud and I’m not comfortable sitting in one position for that long. Frankly, I have a hard time understanding the appeal, other than seeing a movie when it first comes out. I’d so much rather be cosy at home with popcorn with REAL BUTTER and can pee whenever I want.

    2. Andrea*

      It’s supposedly suspenseful and not horror/scary. I don’t like the genre (I get scared easily), but I will go and see stuff if I am interested in a movie. I went to see a scary film set in Tehran last year because I am obsessed with Iranian films. It interests me, too, but it seems like there isn’t wide release, even in NYC.

      I loved Keanu! He knows how to handle a genre.

    3. fposte*

      I love Jordan Peele, and while I don’t like horror I like suspense and weirdness. I can’t sit through movies in theaters anymore but I’m looking forward to seeing this stream.

      1. nep*

        I won’t go to movie theatres either — Might see it when out in another form later, just because of all I’ve heard and read about how smartly put together it is. Kudos to Jordan Peele.

    4. brightstar*

      I saw it last week and loved it. I don’t like scary movies but found this one only had a couple of jump scares. It’s more of suspense movie, I think Peele has described it as a social thriller. I found it engrossing and very well done.

    5. Jubilance*

      I just saw it! It’s not really a horror film – more suspense. There is some blood/gore at the end, but it’s not your typical slasher film. And there’s really a ton of commentary about race relations in the US.

      1. nep*

        The more discussions and interviews I listen to about this film, including w the actors and Peele himself — just more and more impressed with the social commentary he’s made here, and how ingeniously he pulls it off.

  37. miki*

    Long shot but I am hoping UK people might be able to help me:
    I am looking for a title of a documentary: plot goes: 8 0r 10 volunteers are locked in the house for a month with unlimited supply of food (they make the food I think) and strict instructions of not working out at all. They did the RMR test among other tests at the hospital (thinkg being stuck at the large pod to figure out your basal metabolism. At the end of the test only one person didn’t gain any weight (due to extremely fast metabolism). I saw it a year or two ago but I just can’t seem to remember the title of it.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        It sounds like the kind of programme the BBC Horizon science series might do.

      2. miki*

        No, it was in the house, and it was a typical British food that they were eating.
        Thanks for this one though, I’ll watch it.

  38. TheLazyB*

    At the end of November my aunt died.
    At the beginning of January my nanna and grandad both died.
    Last weekend my mum had a heart attack.

    She realised what was happening very fast and had stents inserted so fast that she still had her shoes on. She’s fine, minimal damage to her heart and her prognosis is good.

    But FFS, life!!! Stop shitting on my family!!!!!

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      That is really really a rough patch!

      I’m so glad your mom was able to get quick help and the damage is minimal!

    2. Caledonia*

      *hugs* how awful. I’m glad that your mum knew what was going on and seen super quick but even still, it doesn’t take away the fact that it must’ve been very scary.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Gah! *shakes fist at life* Cut that out or I will kick you!

      Sending good vibes for your mom and family. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    4. Vancouver Reader*

      Glad your mom’s doing okay. That’s a horrible amount of deaths in your family in a short period of time. Let’s hope that’s the end of that for a long while to come.

    5. TheLazyB*

      Thanks all.
      I feel rather battered at the mo. But for those who are taking notes, I cried on the train home from visiting her, and I’ve not been able to cry since mid December. Yay?!

  39. Anonyby*

    So, I went to a friend’s birthday party this week, where part of it was us going to one of those paint-your-own-pottery places. It was so much fun! I can’t wait to see how my pieces turned out! They’re supposed to be ready for pickup this evening, but I already have plans the next two days. Also, birthday-friend has made a comment that she’d like to get together everyone who didn’t finish to go back and finish together. I finished, but hey, I could make another piece! lol

    …Though I had a thought about the turntables they had and spin art. Probably not a SMART idea to do, but now I’m curious! lol (I don’t think the turntables would spin fast enough, plus no way to really secure the pottery on the turntable…)

    Anyone else tried one of these places? Fun stories? Horror stories? Want to go back?

    1. Feathers McGraw*

      I went to one as a kid and I would so love to do it as an adult. Brilliant idea.

      1. Anonyby*

        I had heard about them before and wanted to try them, so I was excited when I saw the invite. :) Last night I picked up the finished pieces. They came out awesome! And honestly, I think the little cat figurine I painted in 15 minutes came out the best. :) I had also painted an equally-small dragon figurine and a yarn bowl.

    2. Cookie Lady*

      I love paint your own pottery. My husband and I made it a Valentines Day date for the first 5 years of our marriage. In that time we made a complete set of serving dishes (platters, bowls, larger plates etc) We like it so much we’re trying to figure out what our next project is

  40. selenejmr*

    Does anyone have any advice on cooking for a picky husband? (We’ve been married almost 6 years and we are 49+ years old if this matters.) He dislikes sooo many things and I’m sick of cooking the same stuff all of the time as well as not cooking so many things I like. He doesn’t like: rice, stuffing, tomatoes (although he likes pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce), onions, asparagus, spinach, lettuce other than iceberg, sweet potatoes, melons, peppers, squash, carrots, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, sauerkraut, scalloped or au gratin potatoes, cole slaw, potato or macaroni salad. Any help would be awesome. Thanks!

    1. Emi.*

      Could he cook? I promise I’m not being sarcastic–would that be a good way for him to explore new foods and find things he likes with less trial-and-error, or would he just cook the same things over and over?

      Otherwise, could you explore ethnic cuisines that don’t have a lot of those ingredients? I’m most familiar with Chinese cooking, and you should be able to find recipes that don’t have a lot of those. (Look for dishes from the north, where there’s more millet and wheat bread and pasta instead of rice.)

      1. selenejmr*

        He used to cook, until we got married. (Lots of fried foods at that time.) After the wedding it has been just me cooking, even though for the first 3 years I would get home 2 hours after him. He seems to have stopped liking Chinese food a few months ago, and won’t consider any other ethnic foods. He doesn’t even like Olive Garden – sauces and salad dressing, you know. (Although he sounds willing to try chicken swarma so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.)
        LibbyG – I like your recommendation below. Thank you, everyone, for your suggestions!

    2. Andrea*

      Have him cook? Have him cook his own food? You both cook on the weekends and eat your separate meals throughout the week? I don’t love picky eaters because they don’t see the burden they place on everyone else. He’s been effectively deciding where the car goes for six years without doing any of the driving. Would you be entitled to choose every movie/show you both watched for the past 6 years because you had more refined taste?

      There is a cookbook called Simple where everything has 6 ingredients or less. Anyone can start cooking from that.

      1. Spring Flowers*

        Believe it or not, picky eaters do know they are burdens to others, and speaking as one, I know I’m a burden to myself. I don’t know why I’m like this as both my parents eat most things put in front of them.

        Anyway, for selenejmr’s husband, see if you can get him to try things on his own. Sometimes it takes many times before a picky eater can tolerate eating a specific item. I know that for myself. Also I know I can’t have people saying to me “You don’t know what you’re missing.” I’ve gotten better although I’m still quite stubborn on a few things.

        1. tigerStripes*

          I’m also a picky eater, and I promise, I don’t do it on purpose! Some foods, tastes, textures make me feel sick to my stomach. I’m just trying to eat food that I know won’t make me gag. I usually cook for myself, so that doesn’t put much of a burden on others.

      2. Tris Prior*

        +1. Have him cook! Boyfriend is picky, though he’s gotten better since we’ve been together. I’m unwilling to give up my favorite foods just because he won’t eat them, so we mostly cook separate meals for ourselves now. He doesn’t expect me to cater to his pickiness and only cook things that he will eat, which I appreciate.

        If he expected me to only cook things he will eat, never mind what I might like, I’d be pissed.

    3. Andrea*

      Also, tell him how burdensome you find it. Roles where one person does all of X come with unstated shifting of many burdens. He doesn’t have to worry about the menu, what you have in the pantry, how to shop, prep, cook and store food. That’s a lot of stuff he’s pushing off to you and being a dilettante on top of it.

    4. LibbyG*

      Two ideas: (1) a couple nights a week you make something you like and he gets something from the freezer section that he likes. (2) Make variations – like pasta with pesto and veggies for you and jarred sauce for him, or top-your-own flatbread pizzas.

      It’s tough! My spouse has a palate like a toddler too, but he’s a great sport about eating around the bits he doesn’t like. And we split the cooking.

      1. Ultraviolet*

        I think these are really good ideas! (And for what it’s worth, I also had toddler-palate until a few years ago.)

        Also, if you (selenejmr) haven’t already, I think you should start by telling him you’re tired of having the same dinners over and over again and never eating so many things you really like, and ask what he thinks the two of you can do about that. Maybe he has some ideas, or would be open to trying more things if he knew you were really unhappy with the situation.

    5. AcademiaNut*

      Option 1 – let him cook his own meals.

      Option 2 – spend a weekend making batches of stuff he will eat. Seal it into meal sized portions and freeze. Then cook what you like to eat, and if he doesn’t want to share, he gets a frozen meal out of the freezer. You could augment with iceberg lettuce and celery salads, boiled pasta and baked or boiled potatoes.

    6. Danii*

      Wow, I relate to this so much! Similar age and years married, and my husband won’t eat most of the same things (but also a few others). The list of things he won’t eat includes: onions, shallots, asparagus, spinach, lettuce other than iceberg, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, eggplant, red capsicum (will eat red or yellow occasionally), pawpaw, honeydew melon, squash, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, snow peas, sugar snap beans, turnips, suede, zucchini, cauliflower, sauerkraut, stonefruit, salmon, cheese other than cheddar, Camembert or Brie, or food that he generally considers too “sloppy” (ie stews, curries, slow-cooker meals). It is a pain, there’s no way around it. We now have a list of dishes that we both agree are okay (ie eat pretty much everything, but don’t like lots of meat). Often dinner will look like meat (or fish for me) and three vegetables, although often i’ll steam five or six vegetables, and then just give him the three he eats, so I can have a bit more variety (I am so sick of potatoes, corn and peas). But he works 3-4 evenings a week, so I’m those nights, I’ll cook things I enjoy and freeze leftovers in single serves to freeze for nights I don’t want to cook. And he does his own thing (usually sandwiches). And I also use lunches as an opportunity to eat things I love that he hates (cooking them up on weekends for during the week).

      Good luck!

    7. misspiggy*

      I’ve had success with shopping for high-quality versions of foodstuffs he doesn’t like, and getting him to help cook it so that it’s done exactly as he would like it. This is often after he’s had it unexpectedly in a restaurant meal, and found he likes it when it’s perfect. It’s a pricey but effective way to expand the list of stuff he’ll eat.

      I’ve also made it very clear that if I cook most of the time, he eats without complaint most of the time. If I make something new that he doesn’t like, he gets to say he doesn’t want it again, and I’ll respect that – but he eats as much of it as he can. As he’d rather do that than cook, we manage without too much frustration.

    8. neverjaunty*

      My advice: Don’t.

      If he isn’t willing to cook, then he can at least go through a cookbook and pick out recipes that avoid the things he dislikes, and show them to you.

    9. Feathers McGraw*

      Friend’s husband is similarly picky and she cooks separate meals or he cooks his own.

      My husband is a little picky (eats some veg and a little fruit but nothing spicy and likes to keep things quite bland). He shares the cooking. We also make recipes where you can add more stuff e.g. he likes pasta with non-spicy sauce, and I’ll add chili and more stuff to mine. If I was more organised I’d batch cook meals we both like more often so we could eat separately defrosted stuff together.

      I am also really pedantic about ‘doesn’t like’ vs ‘haven’t tried’. If he doesn’t want to try it, fine, but I insist on being clear about that. What really helped was gentle reassurance that if he tries something once and dislikes it nobody is going to make him try it again – it won’t open the door to him being forced to eat it. That helped a lot.

      1. Gaia*

        This is my thing. I know not all picky eaters are like this but two of my exes were picky eaters that “won’t try” vs “didn’t like” dozens of foods. I get not liking something. There are plenty of foods I don’t like. But to be completely unwilling to ever try it or try it prepared in different ways (for instance many people don’t like veggies because they were only ever fed them boiled and mushy but love them when try have them broiled or grilled, etc)? That is just childish to me.

    10. Weekend Warrior*

      A lot of things on your husband’s don’t like list are now off my eat list too. I ate them all most of my life but in the past year have developed full on nausea reactions to many of them. Since many of the foods starting by subtly bothering me and I found myself avoiding them without even realizing it several years ago, I’ve kind of revised my view of picky eaters. I think their bodies may be telling them something important. BUT -not saying that they shouldn’t take responsibility for their own cooking/eating, including making sure that their partner is also getting foods they like.

      Potatoes *sob*, I really miss potatoes. One (unaware) bite of a gluten free cookie made with potato flour starts my nausea response. Eggplants I miss but aren’t central to my life. :)

    11. Overeducated*

      My husband isn’t super picky, but he doesn’t like a few things I do, so occasionally we do customizable meals that we just make differently. For instance, I love mixing vegetables into tacos or eggs because it’s just easy and I like it, but he doesn’t like things mixed together. For a long time I made us both plain scrambled eggs but I had an inspiring omelet recently, so the other night I made myself an omelet with cheese and an entire pack of mushoots (which he hates), and he just had plain eggs. Win-win. You can do that for pizza, tacos, and quesadillas easily too.

    12. Rosalind*

      Husband is very particular. He’s happy eating the same things every week. I cook his favorite one night, with leftovers. Then I cook what I want and let him eat leftovers from the night before. He will often eat it or try it if it doesn’t have the specific offensive veggies, or had big enough chunks that he can eat around it. I also make small sides of vegetables he won’t eat, salads, coleslaw, etc and look at it as more for me and pair it with meals for the week. Also separate simple meals. He wants burgers and fries. He makes the burgers on the grill I brown my portion of beef with sloppy joe mix and pair with coleslaw

    13. LCL*

      I’m a picky eater, but try to be a grown up about it. It’s tough, I’m always trying to eat a greater variety of food but it’s not always easy. So here is my take and my opinion on his list, which is quite similar to what mine was.
      1. If a person doesn’t like onions, that makes thousands of foods off limits unless you prepare it yourself. I won’t eat dressing, potato or macaroni salad, scalloped or au gratin potatoes, cole slaw or bean dishes unless made by me or my partner so I know they are onion free. I will try a tiny forkful to try it, and if it has onions it’s no.

      2. Many people don’t like raw veggies. It’s an allergy/sensitivity issue. Broccoli and cauliflower aren’t edible raw, carrots just barely. Spinach too. They cause a weird sore and numb feeling that feels like you have something caustic in your mouth.

      3. Melons are allergenic as f. If you are sensitive to melons at all, they stink.

      4. Everyone hates on sweet potatoes, while I love them. Try slicing one into wedges, coating with oil, then salt and a spice you like. Bake until soft.

      5. Peppers. Cook the same way as sweet potatoes. Red and orange only, green are too bitter.

  41. Emi.*

    You guys, I think my husband and I have to buy a new mattress. We’re sleeping on a futon bed, but we’d be open to getting a regular mattress for it. How do you buy a mattress? I get that we should choose one that’s comfy, but is there a way to tell how long it’ll last? All I know how to do is examine the stitching like on clothes.

    1. Delta Delta*

      We have a regular mattress but recently had occasion to sleep on a Casper mattress. Oh my goodness. It was *divine.* I’m thinking of getting one. they’re relatively inexpensive and I still sort of can’t believe how comfortable it was.

      1. Adlib*

        We have one! You can try it out for 100 days – if you don’t like it, they come pick it up and you get your money back! If you decide to get one, listen to your local radio for a discount code. I think I’ve been seeing commercials on TV for them now. We love it!

    2. Cerberus*

      There’s a few websites out there that will teach you about the differences in the types of mattresses. It isn’t just box springs anymore – which wear within 5-7 years and tend to be uncomfortable. It also depends on how firm or soft you prefer your mattresses to be. My husband has always preferred pillow-top super soft mattresses while I need more support than that. It is easier to add softness, so we went with a hybrid mattress (a blend of box springs with memory foam top) that is firm enough for me and then we got a special pillow top mattress pad for my husband to have extra softness.

    3. fposte*

      I would straight up rather buy a car than a mattress; they’re so complicated. Turanga Leela was on the thread once when this came up and it turned out she loved mattress shopping so much that she would do it for other people if she could; maybe she’ll chime in with her experience if you can’t hire her :-). A decent regular coil mattress isn’t a cheap thing. If you can find an actual mattress factory near you that sells their own stuff, that’s often a way to get something better with better customer support than the big S name brands (Sealy and Stearns & Foster are owned by the same company, btw). Go, take your special pillow or whatever, wear lounging clothes, bring a book or an iPad, and plan to lie down for awhile on each. Pay special attention to your tastes in things like latex vs. coil vs. memory foam.

      There are the various online arrangements these days as well; you are, IIRC, young, so you probably won’t have the fussy bed needs I do and might well be served just fine by one of those. I would still recommend a showroom trip so you can at least test out non-coil mattresses if you haven’t, because they do feel different and people can find problems they hadn’t anticipated.

    4. Andrea*

      We just bought a new one. We thought about what we needed. The new foam mattresses were out because my husband already sweats too much at night. We wanted something that could be flipped and without a pillow top. Those seem to go flat quickly. We ended up at a local manufacturer, since most mattress places only do one sided mattresses now. They were less expensive and we have the option of flipping the mattress. We also looked at CR.

    5. Clever Name*

      We go to our local mattress shop and lay on different ones and buy one we both agree is comfortable. It helps knowing we don’t want a foam or air adjustable mattress. We like the non-pillow top coil mattresses.

  42. Kristen*

    Question for Alison!!

    I was thinking about this earlier this week when you were providing someone with a script on how to handle a work conversation. Have you always been the go-to person for advice (as a teenager, for example)?

    I think I was thinking about how some people are just naturally good listeners/rational advice givers.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Noooo, definitely not. I was a mess as a teenager. I mean, I’m sure I still tried to give advice anyway, but hopefully no one listened to me. I did a bunch of serious work on myself in my early/mid 20s to try to overcome the dysfunction of my upbringing, and I think a side effect of that was getting more of a grasp on … a sort of calm straightforwardness when stuff is weird?

      Sometimes, though, I think that what I do at Ask a Manager is actually a weird blend of my parents. I think I’m probably naturally like my dad, who was fairly mushy and emotional, but growing up I was most influenced by my mom, who is uber practical and no-nonsense (to an extreme). When you combine it, I think you get this website. Plus, my dad wrote for a living, so we can throw that in too. It’s a bizarre hybrid of the two of them.

      1. Aurion*

        For what it’s worth, I love your calm straightforwardness and I’ve applied the principle to my personal life with (mostly) great success. My parents were not, and are not, much of a model when it comes to good communication; calm frankness still doesn’t work on them very well but at least it works with just about everyone else. Just thought I’d let you know your advice-giving is beneficial well beyond the professional realm :)

  43. LibbyG*

    Small victories thread! I finally stopped losing sunglasses so often, so I splurged on some really great ones. I’ve had them for over a year now. Feeling rather proud of myself.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Yay! I have never been able to master this, LOL. I did have some really cool Liz Claiborne ones I got for free when somebody left them in the deli in CA–had them almost a year before I sat on them. :P

    2. fposte*

      I will add my small victory of the day: after cooking for decades, I have finally found out how to make hamburgers the way I like them in the kitchen. I love to cook, but I always find meat fussy and worrisome when I’m not just slapping it into a stew or soup. But an instant read thermometer and a plan, and tonight I had a very tasty, modest-sized hamburger (restaurant burgers are just too big for me) with fried onions, and I was happy.

      Oh, and I found out that you can nuke thin slices of cheese and get wonderful chewy/crispy cheesy goodness. Good food day!

    3. Colette*

      My bathroom sink has been draining slow forever, and yesterday I took out the drain stopper and cleaned it. It took 15 minutes, and now the sink drains. (I did not succeed in getting it back together properly, but I decided I don’t care. The real solution involves a bolt cutter, which I don’t own.)

  44. Science!*

    End of life decisions for pets?

    My dog Bob is a rescue we adopted 6 years ago. The vet and rescue told us he was about 5 years old at the time so he’s about 11 now. Medium sized (about 50 lbs) black shagging monster, looks like a black bear cub. Over the last year he’s developed arthritis and it’s gotten worse in the last six months, really bad since October. He can’t do stairs anymore, so my husband carries him up and down for every walk. He can’t stand up on wood or tile, so we’ve carpeted about 80% of the house. Lately he’s even had trouble on the carpet. The arthritis is all in his hind legs, his front seem okay for now. He’s also starting to have a bit of incontinence. We’ve been to the vet a couple of times recently, they said we are doing all we can (he gets special food and medicine twice a day) and back in October suggested that 6-8 months might be when it would get too bad, but that was based on a particularly bad day.

    I’ve never had a pet where the end wasn’t a pretty clear cut decision to stop the pain. But this gradual onset, and continual slow descent means I don’t know how to know when it’s too much, when is compassionate euthanasia the right decision? How do you know? I don’t want him to be in pain, but if he still seems pretty happy I don’t want to jump the gun.

    I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a couple Saturdays, but this morning was a particularly bad morning. We’ll be talking to the vet again on Monday morning, but I guess my question is when did you know it was time?

    1. chickabiddy*

      I am so very sorry that you and Bob are in this place right now. I know that it is a very difficult decision to make, but in my own experience and that of family and friends, far more of us have felt as if we waited too long than made a too-hasty decision.

      1. Science!*

        Thank you. I am worried that my fear of making a hasty decision is pushing me too far in the other direction. I talk myself in and out of the decision every day.

      2. LCL*

        This was me with my first dog, I had her from a pup. She had hip dysphasia in both hips, I let her go when she was eleven and after she was gone I realized I should have done it 6 months earlier.

    2. Jessesgirl72*

      My decision point is when I’m keeping the pet alive only for my own comfort, and the pet isn’t actually enjoying life. I won’t make a pet suffer just because I’m unsure the time is right- especially since some people never do get that “sign” they are looking for, and I’ve seen them make their dog live long past the time that, in nature, the dog would have gone out to the wilderness to die.

    3. Rachel 2: Electric Boogaloo*

      I’m so sorry. It’s the worst decision to have to make.

      In my experience, they let you know when they’re ready to go. Is he still eating? If he’s stopped eating, that’s a big clue. I had a feeling my previous dog was coming to the end when he not only stopped eating his food, but he refused treats as well.

      Fingers and paws crossed for you and Bob.

      1. Science!*

        He wasn’t eating much a month ago, but we started adding wet food. He still enjoys pets but today he doesn’t come seek them out, and at least today (the worst day we’ve had in awhile) he barely lifts his head when I pet him.

        We usually have a good day after a bad day so I’ll see how tomorrow goes.

    4. fposte*

      Agreeing with Chickabiddy that too soon doesn’t seem to be the mistake most people make, and that this is the hardest decision in the world for a pet owner.

      I like the advice I’ve heard to identify a few benchmarks of quality of life, of things that he gets enjoyment from. Does he still roll over and lean in to getting petted? Does he prick his ears and get excited when it’s suppertime? Does he still want his favorite toy? (I’m obviously guessing at the specifics, but you get the idea.) I would also say that losing mobility is a big thing for most pets; if you can work around the obstacle of getting him up and he can then move, that’s one thing, but if he’s limited to staying where he’s put, that’s a hard life for an animal.

      Have you looked into toegrips, lift harnesses, pet steps, etc. to help the situation? It won’t fix it, but it might help mitigate the problem.

      1. Science!*

        He still eats, although he did stop for awhile until we started adding in wet food. He’s never been a toy dog, but loves pets. Up until today I would say his enthusiasm for pets was undiminished but today he seems to just want to sleep.

        We have looked into lift harnesses. My husband uses a towel now during walks to help him when he looks wobbly.

        1. fposte*

          I only just found the toe grips when looking around before I answered you–it looks like they help wobbly dogs get enough of a purchase to get up. If you haven’t seen those, it might be worth a try.

          I think one day where he just wants to sleep is acceptable. But I might start tracking, at least mentally, how often those days happen. You want to avoid the “still has good days!” evasion when the truth is that mostly he doesn’t.

    5. copy run start*

      I think it’s time to consider it if Bob is struggling with incontinence. My dog growing up had a very slow, gradual decline. She must’ve had a stroke or something because towards the end she could only turn left, and couldn’t squat to do her business, couldn’t reliably determine if she was outside to do her business. Still my mom wouldn’t put her down (mom was most attached). She finally had a second stroke one night and couldn’t get up, so my dad called a mobile vet and did it while mom was at work. But I think it would’ve been kinder to spare her the last few months in our case; there was no chance she would improve. She was always an active dog, NEVER soiled inside past the puppy phase, loved all food. Towards the end she would just lay there and groan.

      If you decide to put Bob to sleep, you have the option of doing a little planning. Take him to his favorite park, even if he just chills in the grass. Feed him aallll the treats, give him a day of belly rubs while you say goodbye. A mobile vet can come over and take care of things at home, so you don’t have to deal with the vet trauma. You can also take a couple days off work to process things as well.

      1. KR*

        I agree with giving him a good last day especially if the vet makes him nervous. My parents had to put down their 13 year old lab. They knew she was going but when they brought her to the vet they found out she was riddled with cancer and there was no way they could treat her. But on the way over to the vet she rode in the convertible and died surrounded by her family all cuddling with her on the floor.

    6. KR*

      Look it up – I don’t have the link but here’s a dog quality of life scale that’s really helpful in these circumstances

      1. Onnellinen*

        Thank you! The Quality of Life scale (this whole thread, actually) has been extremely helpful to me – I have an 18 year old cat who is losing kidney function, and I’ve spent a lot of time pondering these same questions.

    7. scarydogmother*

      I’m sorry you are facing this decision; it’s a heartbreaking one. My dog experienced the same things as Bob about a year and a half ago. His physical and mental condition deteriorated pretty rapidly, so “fortunately,” it didn’t take long for me to realize it was time to let him go. I’d recommend having a consultation with a mobile vet, who provides care in the pet’s home environment. The day my Hoagie died was the worst day of my life so far, but having a gentle, caring vet put him to sleep while he lied in his bed with me petting him was a great comfort. I’m very grateful we had that option.
      If you’re agonizing about what do to, it’s probably time. Best wishes to you and Bob.

      1. Amadeo*

        My vet doesn’t do home visits (or didn’t when I worked for them unless you were a stock farmer) but I did ask if we could go outside when I PTS my GSD dog. We walked her out slow to the grass under a tree and she laid with her head in my lap. So she got to ‘leave’ the clinic and be outside.

        In the past when I was still a CVT, I’d recommend clients take a calendar and start marking good days vs bad. A black X for a good one, red for bad. Once the red began to outnumber the good, then it was probably time. It was a good, visual, quantitative way to keep track of how things were going and made it less arbitrary.

    8. rubyrose*

      I’m so very sorry. It’s been 20 years since I went through this and this final process is still painful to think about.

      Mine was 14 years. She had had some minor heart issues for a couple of years and some arthritis and had already been on medication for those. But I could see the decline. She didn’t walk as far as she had and her confidence outside of my apartment was less. She was eating less and would only eat what had been her normal amount if I added her favorite food in the world (tomatoes!). She quit meeting me at the door when I got home and I pieced together that she had lost her hearing.

      She had an event where she pooped some blood and mucous, but the next few weeks was fine. It happened again. But after another couple of good days I woke up one morning hearing her squeal in the other room, something I had never heard her do. She had fallen and was trying to get herself up and could not. After I put her up she walked behind the couch, where she could not be easily seen. I followed her. She was just standing there, I think in a combination of being embarrassed, not knowing what to do, with a confused look on her face like she may not have known where she was at. She didn’t want me to see her like she was.

      Her initial reaction passed in a few minutes, but that was enough for me. She had always been an independent dog and I knew that she was no longer having fun. The idea of leaving her alone one minute and having her fall again was more than I could bear. Took her to the vet that morning. I worried after the fact that I had put her down too soon, but I kept going back to the question of whether she was having fun, and I knew the answer was no. It was not just about her physical decline, but also her emotional reactions to it all.

      Please take the time now, if you have not already, and plan out how you will do this. Mobile vet vs. going to the office? Burial, cremation? You may need to execute it now or farther in the future, but having that plan in place will be a real comfort to you when it is time. Be gentle with yourself.

    9. Gaia*

      The best advice I ever received was to make a list of Pup’s favorite things. The things that he just loves (for Pup this is: long walks, eating, chasing his ball, jumping onto my bed for naps). Then, decide how many of those things can be no longer possible and still allow your pet to have a good life (for Pup, I decided 2 things could be gone and Pup would still have a good life but if he had to give up 3 he would no longer have a quality life). Once you cross that line, it is time.

      Your things and number might be very different than mine. But I so sympathize with the fear of making the decision too soon. Just know that a little too soon is far better than a little too late. This is one of the hardest decisions you’ll ever have to make. It is made of pure selfless love for your pet. They cannot decide on their own so they rely on us to make the decision for them.

      I’m sorry you are going through this.

    10. a big fish in a very small pond*

      It’s so difficult! Ask your vet about Previcox – it has added years to my dog’s life.

  45. chickabiddy*

    I was catching up on older columns and just read about the Fergus who applied to a job 142 times. Clearly there were other red flags there, but I wanted to share that I bought a Groupon for a national oil change chain, made an appointment online and received over 150 e-mailed confirmations of that appointment, three increasingly annoyed voicemails from the chain, 200+ (manually done!) appointment cancellations, and then another 150+ appointment reminders.

    I did not take my car to them! And the Groupon has expired because there aren’t any other facilities in a reasonable distance (small town) so I am annoyed.

    1. Kristen*

      I’m curious what the voicemails said? Was it a wacky computer glitch that scheduled you 150 times, which lead to 150 reminders, angry voicemails blaming the problem on you and your hijinks, then the manual cancellations?

      1. chickabiddy*

        The voicemails were along the lines of “please stop this!,” which made me believe that this was not a widespread computer glitch. They were not quite angry but they definitely were not happy.

      1. chickabiddy*

        No, I haven’t contacted Groupon. They had nothing to do with it — I was going to pay with the Groupon but hadn’t indicated that in any way in the chain’s scheduling system.

        1. New Bee*

          Groupon might still be helpful–we had an issue once with contact/scheduling, and they gave us our money back and threw in 40 Groupon bucks for good measure.

    2. SophieChotek*

      What???? (Did you leave a review about this?)
      150 confirmations????? This boggles my mind

    3. SophieChotek*

      Did you have to manually cancel the appointments yourself online? (Or did they do it?)
      Did you call and explain there must have been a computer glitch? How odd.

      1. chickabiddy*

        The center staff apparently cancelled them. I explained that it must have been a computer glitch the first time they called but then chickened out and did not answer the phone any more.

  46. SAHM*

    I got Lasik yesterday! It sucked! But it’s better today and I can see so much better so worth it!

      1. SAHM*

        It was kinda unexpected. I went in for a consult Thursday expecting to be turned down for lasik and told to do PRK, since that happened 7 years ago at my last consult, but nope! They said hey let’s do this tomorrow! And I went “uhh ok.” And now I can see!!

    1. AlaskaKT*

      I wish I could do Lasik. Looked into it last year and my eye layers are to thin by just a tiny bit. Maybe in a few years the technology will be good enough for me to do it.