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

Book recommendation of the week: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, by Jon Ronson, which looks at what happens to people after an internet mob goes after them (e.g., Justine Sacco, Jonah Lehrer, etc.). Really interesting.

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

{ 1,155 comments… read them below }

  1. Sugar of lead*

    My last weekend of freedom before starting a thing we don’t speak of on weekends. I am alternating between house chores and watching JAG (lesser-known NCIS parent show). Laundry’s in the dryer and Catherine Bell is amazing. I might also drive out to the nature preserve and scope out some running trails, since outside running season is upon us. What are you guys up to?

        1. Allypopx*

          I am also in my mid 20s lol that’s why my brain exploded a little bit. JAG was such an obvious presence in my life growing up.

          1. Myrin*

            Ha, same age, same thought, same routine (it came on Sundays here, though). I guess NCIS is better known because it’s more recent/still running whereas JAG ended over ten years ago, IIRC?

        1. J.D*

          It’s because of Gibbs. I live in Europe. My mother and my friends mothers are all about him. Like he is their fantasy lover or something.

          1. Panda Bandit*

            Mark Harmon has been a heartthrob for decades. He was named Sexiest Man Alive in 1986 by People magazine.

        2. DArcy*

          It comes down to the characters, especially Gibbs. As far as storyline goes it’s a dreadfully generic murder-and-terrorism-of-the-week police procedural, but the characters are interesting and you kinda get drawn into watching them interact with each other.

      1. Lucy Westenra*

        Probably the one where Harm finds his dad. I’m glad they didn’t go with a cheap storybook ending on that one.

      2. Time Immemorial*

        1227 Zulu
        AAM Weekend Thread

        I just adore the one where Mac’s uncle steals the Declaration of Independence. It’s the sort of premise you could only get away with in the nineties, and it was quite the introduction for her character.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      Last weekend was a bit frantic (I went to a birthday party, hen do and funeral in the space of 48 hours). This weekend I’m having some much-needed downtime and cuddles with my cat.

    2. Jessesgirl72*

      We went to a children’s resale at the local high school. We got there at 7, the sale opened at 7:30, and were still 208 and 209 in line to get in. The woman handing out numbers said people started to arrive at 5. And it was cold and windy this morning for standing in line!

      But we came home with the rocker/glider I was looking for and 2 large over-stuffed bags of baby clothes, for cheap. And once inside, it wasn’t that bad. It’s not often that you see something well organized and run- they even had added “sorting” rooms so that if you saw something you liked, you could grab it, and then later go through in a room away from the tables to sort through, and volunteers constantly circling to collect the discards and put them back out on the tables. AND people, even ones waiting to get in for 2 1/2 hours, were decent and polite and said things like excuse me and I’m sorry.

      So that was cool and we’ll go back to the fall sale.

    3. Pixel*

      At my desk, thankyouverymuch. Where else could I be? What is this “life” I’ve heard people speak of?
      It will be done by Monday and then I’ll hit the garden centre.

    4. Clever Name*

      We got about 10 inches of snow, so like any good Coloradan we headed to REI to buy camping supplies for the kidlet. He needs a good sleeping bag and we got him a frame pack to go backpacking with dad this summer.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      Yesterday I went to meditation group and then ran around in the storm of the century hitting flea markets, because it had stormed ALL night and I didn’t sleep well and was afraid if I went home I’d go right back to sleep! All I bought were some vegetables (somebody, I suspect Amish folks, sells produce at certain places during the spring and summer).

      Today I am eating breakfast and watching Neighbor’s cat give himself a bath on top of my window air conditioner. The rain FINALLY stopped and the sun is trying to come out!! \0/

      1. Clever Name*

        I love those small independent farm stands. I think they have the best produce. I’m skeptical of the big farmers markets in my area because I saw boxes and boxes of “from California” produce at one of the bigger ones. I’m not in California.

        1. LoneDragon*

          Independent farmers usually can’t afford to have their own boxes produced. The best thing for them is to reuse whatever containers they can get their hands on.

  2. Channel Z*

    Got pelted by freezing rain at sons soccer match. Luckily we live close so we could change soon after. Public holiday on Monday, long weekend yay!

  3. Moonpie*

    Tackled the dreaded weekend housework this morning. We were streaming 80’s pop while we cleaned, which led to a spontaneous family dance party (two middle-aged parents and a toddler) in the kitchen to “Celebration”. It sure made scrubbing the stove a bit less boring – what do you do to get through necessary tasks when you’d rather be relaxing in your “off” time?

      1. Emmie*

        I do the same! I recently started asking myself on Wednesday and Thursday “what can you do tonight to make your life easier?” I toss a loaf of laundry in. I clean the bathroom mirrors and sinks. I mop or vacuum. Doing one of these 15-30 minute tasks has made my weekends so much easier. I don’t look it as doing weekday chores. I look at it as making my life easier.

        1. Allypopx*

          I’m not one to pick on typos but “loaf of laundry” is making me giggle endlesssly.

          1. Emmie*

            Hahaha! I don’t know what it is about this blog and my phone, but I always end up with typos!

          2. Mallory Janis Ian*

            Ha. My laundry is currently a “loaf” from how long it’s been stuffed in the basket. Clean and dry and waiting and waiting to be folded.

              1. Jessesgirl72*

                That is what I do too. I fold it as I take it from the dryer. And then it sits there until I need the basket again for next week’s laundry! ;)

            1. NACSACJACK*

              I have four baskets of clean laundry sitting in my laundry room. I should fold it, but i just live out of laundry baskets. I’d like to see it folded, can someone invent a machine to do it.

    1. LizB*

      Music helps, or youtube/Netflix in the background. I also make deals with myself – okay, if you go put the laundry in, and then you can play silly phone games until it’s time to move it to the dryer.

      1. Artemesia*

        I listened to Turandot while cleaning yesterday — the music just fills my heart with joy — especially Questa Reggia and Nessun Dorma — but there is a lot of other good stuff too. Of course you have to ignore the plot in which all the most loathsome people triumph and the good people all die miserable deaths — sort of like real life.

    2. Muriel Heslop*

      I listen to celebrity audiobooks read by their authors. Currently listening to The Princess Diarist and it makes my chores much more enjoyable. If my kids are helping, we listen to Disney soundtracks and the BeeGees.

      1. Parenthetically*

        I have Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking on audiobook and let me tell you, it is a HAZARD to listen to in the car. So, so funny.

    3. The Cosmic Avenger*

      For me, the problem is always starting; I find that once I start, I usually complete whatever it is. Part of my reluctance to start might be because I know I’m likely to put off or ignore other things until I finish. (I actually have very high executive function, so I can stop one task for one that’s a higher priority, it’s just that I do have emotional/motivational trouble with the starting of tasks.)

      Anyway, because of that, what works best for me is that I’ve trained myself to jump on a task once I realize I have something unfinished that I consider a priority. Like, as soon as I think “oh, I am almost out of underwear, I need to do laundry”, as soon as that thought enters my mind I’ll jump up from watching TV or reading blogs/online news to go do it.

      1. Artemesia*

        Alas, I am really good at hauling everything out of the closet or whatever and then leaving it half done for days. I need whatever you have.

        1. Kyrielle*

          I just use Habitica. I will lose health if I do not get this done! And if I do get it done, I will gain experience and gold and maybe get a pet-related item (although I have plenty of those).

          Ticky box. Ticky box. Whups. Speaking of, I need to do the grocery shopping….

          I love it when the list is empty and I can just relax. I’d love it more if it happened more often.

    4. Sugar of lead*

      Give myself a reward, e.g. you can watch TV after you put your laundry in. Music helps too.

    5. Merci Dee*

      I don’t do any cleaning during the weekend. When I was growing up, my mom made us get up early on Saturdays to clean the house. I loathed it. So I decided that when I got out on my own, I would never clean on a Saturday again. Now, I do my laundry on Tuesday night and the rest of the cleaning on Wednesday night. I absolutely love being able to laze the day away when Saturday rolls around.

      1. LCL*

        I try really hard to arrange my chores in that way. I’m not always successful, sometimes I’m too tired after work and put things off. But, yeah, cleaning the bathroom, mopping the kitchen floor, etc I try to do on work days.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Sunday is usually my cleaning day, as I don’t go to church. Sometimes if I want to go to a movie on Sunday (that’s the best time, the earliest show, since everybody is still in services) I’ll do it on Friday night or Saturday, if I don’t have anything going that day.

    6. Trillian*

      BBC radio drama, and tech podcasts, which I may have to stop because they tempt me to spend money.

    7. Sylvia*

      I work in 20/10s and listen to Pandora’s “mellow pop” station. Turn my chores into relaxation.

    8. Bryce*

      Gloria Estefan for me. Any sort of music that gets me movin is gonna get me doing stuff while I move. Getting off the chair in the first place is the hard part.

    9. Pixel*

      That sounds awesome and your kiddo is brought up right. I put Queen’s “Don’t stop me now” on Spotify and go from there.

    10. Beezus*

      For food prep and kitchen cleaning, I bring my tablet in to the kitchen and stream old sitcoms on Netflix while I work – ones that I enjoy, but know well enough that I don’t miss anything if I get absorbed in my task or if work noises drown out the sound for a bit. Recently, it’s been Scrubs, but I also do Friends, The Office, Cheers, etc.

    11. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      I spread them out during the week when I have to be working anyway so at least I’m getting SOMETHING done, even if I’m procrastinating on the crappy work project instead. Also I put the two year old to work which isn’t *productive* necessarily but it keeps idle little hands occupied.

  4. fposte*

    I really liked So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. I think what made it extra good for me is that he’d clearly tasted the lure of the pitchforks and torches himself.

    1. Dear Liza dear liza*

      The Men Who Stare at Goats was a fun read, although I couldn’t tell how much I should believe.

    2. Lissa*

      I read an article/excerpt (?) from that book awhile ago and loved it. I know some people have problems with it and I’ve also heard arguments that some people deserve it etc. but I just don’t and can’t agree that one dumb remark on the Internet should ruin someone’s life, especially when you consider how many people say much worse and don’t get any blowback so it’s really basically random, and that there’s a pretty disproportionate number of people who get intense blowback who are women…but anyway…

      I think for me it’s fascinating/mind boggling (which I first appropriately typoed as “mindblogging) because even when someone says something terrible online, I never feel the need or desire to publicly engage with them or “do something”, *especially* if there’s already hundreds of people doing the same. Even when it’s something I really am horrified by, like the dentist who shot the lion a couple years ago, I never have the personal urge to send threats or stuffed lions or whatever to his office, so I just wonder about the train of thought in doing that.

    3. buzzbattlecat*

      I heard the author interviewed on my favourite podcast and it was fascinating.
      This also ties in with the thread of what do I do when doing chores- I download a podcast and listen to “Conversations with Richard Fidler”. It’s an Australia-wide, daily public radio interview that is accessible worldwide (free app) and has been running for 10 years, so there’s a huge archive, which can be accessed by topic.
      Richard Fidler is a fantastic interviewer but the best thing is the breadth of topics and the variety of guests: authors and musos, scientists, people who have had unusual experiences, historians, political commentators, religious folks and atheists, public figures and private everyday people.
      I always learn something, and always wish they went longer than an hour!

    4. Ann O.*

      I haven’t read the book, but in the excerpt I read, he completely misrepresented Adria Richards and PyCon. He also wrote a smarmy article about the Stanford Prison Experiment in which he claimed to have discovered certain facts that were actually well known and documented.

      So I am not Ronson’s biggest fan.

      1. Thlayli*

        I haven’t read the article, but in the book he makes it clear that the truth about the Stanford prison experiment was discovered by others a long time ago. He describes his own journey to get to the bottom of it and then describes finding out that all of this was discovered years ago. I couldn’t quote from memory but the impression I got was that he was disapproving of the media in general for continuing to misrepresent it even though the truth is out there.

        It’s possible the article you read was written after he found out the truth but before he found out that this had already been discovered, published and completely ignored?

        I don’t know if this would make a difference to your opinion but all his books are written from his perspective describing his journey through the information, not like a scholarly research article where you would present your final understanding of the facts without commenting on how you discovered them.

        I don’t know anything about Adria Richards other than what I read in the book but based on a quick Google just now I can’t see anything he glaringly obviously misrepresented. I don’t know the details though.

        1. Ann O.*

          I don’t want to get into a back and forth on the Standford Prison Experiment, so I’m just going to say that as someone who is trained in social science, Ronson’s understanding of the significance of what he “found” does not match the actual significance, which is why it’s ignored.

          In regards to Richards and Pycon, in the excerpt that I read, he presented Adria as having ringled a social shaming of “Hank” that caused Hank to lose his job. This is B.S. All she did was report him and his friend to the conference organizers for their actual behavior. She didn’t dox him or call for his firing. He’s not even doxxed–hence why he was able to use a pseudonym. His company made a fairly cagey statement about the company–presumably for legal reasons–but in that cagey statement, they were pretty clear that the behavior at PyCon was one factor among multiple factors and significantly, his friend was not fired as far as anyone knows.

          1. Thlayli*

            Oh that’s weird. In the book it doesn’t seem at all like he said she “ringleaded” anything.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      I didn’t like it much and I am kind of sorry I bought it. It’s probably going in the book donation pile, unless somebody wants it. That is, if I can find it–I’m not sure what I did with it.

      1. Kowalski! Options!*

        I liked it enough – it certainly gave me food for thought – but I have to admit that I didn’t like it anywhere near as much as “The Men Who Stare at Goats”. I re-read that one any time I need a laugh.

    6. SeptemberGrrl*

      I went into it thinking I would love it and was disappointed. I thought it was shallow, redundant and just kinda boring.

  5. Aurora Leigh*

    Next weekend I take the boyfriend to meet my family.

    I’m dreading it.

    If you’ve followed my saga over previous threads, you may recall that this is my first boyfriend and my mother can have a difficult personality.

    Basically she does not want to give up control. She’s just got over my moving out and 3 hours away no less (which happened over a year ago . . .) and now this.

    I wanted her to come see us (it’s my birthday weekend and I’m the one the one still living in our hometown) but now we’re meeting at a halfway point. . .

    Trying to choose my battles as I still have a minor sibling living at home who I want to maintain a close relationship with.

    But sometimes I just want to yell at my mom that not everything is about her!

    Thanks for letting me get all this off my chest, you guys!

    1. Muriel Heslop*

      I hope it goes better than you are expecting. It sounds like you have a healthy and realistic attitude about your mother. Does your boyfriend have an inkling of what to expect? Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

    2. New Bee*

      Good luck! The good thing about meeting at a halfway point (a restaurant?), is that there’s a prescribed beginning-middle-end to the interaction.

      1. Becca*

        And you’re free to leave if you have to! It’s much easier to leave to go home than it is to kick someone out of your house, in my experience. Good luck and I hope things go smoothly. And congrats :)

    3. Perpetua*

      Which aspect are you actually dreading? Maybe it would be comforting to come up with some possible scenarios and IF-THEN plans, for example, “If she gets rude/judgy/controlling/____, I’ll tell her calmly to stop once and state that we’ll be leaving if she can’t respect my wishes”.

      Even if yelling might not be the best option at a particular moment (and I understand that impulse well :D ), you can remember that you always have options, that there are things you can choose to say and do and that you can live your life in ways your mom necessarily approve. Also, even if there IS a conflict, it doesn’t have to be forever.

      Good luck! Maybe you’ll be surprised by how well it all goes! :)

      1. detached an*

        Over the years, prep like this has saved my sanity & relationships. I know what topics to avoid, have remarks on hand foe certain topics. I have replies for if someone says something offensive. One warning, so,estimes two, them I leave. Having in mind what I’ll say helps me to be confident & to stand my ground.
        Don’t threaten to leave, resolve to leave if you must.
        The funny thing is that I’ve never had to do this.

        1. detached anon*

          sent too soon, not even my name was finished…

          Aurora Leigh, good luck!
          I hope it goes well.

    4. Jessesgirl72*

      My husband makes dealing with my parents easier. He has my back and will speak up if necessary. But mostly he just is good support for when I am being driven nuts. I am good at maintaining boundaries with them, but he sometimes can get me to be less sharp/angry about how I express it.

      Hopefully you will find your experience similar.

      1. CoffeeLover*

        My husband sucks at this, so maybe yours can give him some pointers :P. This is all fresh in my mind though (see my comment below), so maybe I’m being a little harsh on him right now.

        He’s the classic “wants to fix it” type. My in-laws are fantastic so he has no real context for dealing with unreasonable parents. When I try to vent to him, he gives unsolicited advice (ie, “why don’t you talk to her about how it makes you feel” or the dreaded “don’t let it bother you”). I’m planning to have a “this is how I need you to listen” conversation with him, but until then I can’t talk to him about them anymore. He makes it worse. It adds an extra level of suckiness since it feels like I have no support from him.

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          It sucks when people don’t get it, I’m sorry.

          r/raisedbynarcissists helped me a lot (and I ended up being a mod there for a while)

    5. CoffeeLover*

      Just wanting to commiserate. Your mother sounds like my mother in many ways (though I’m sure they’ve got their own unique kind of crazy). I’ve been staying with my parents these last few weeks while I get ready for a cross-atlantic move. I started the visit in high spirits, so it’s been interesting to watch the slow disintegration of said spirit. Been debating cutting off contact (at least for a while) after the move, but I know that won’t happen. Anyway, hang in there and know you’re not alone in dealing with difficult parents. There’s no right or wrong way to deal with it, but try to take care of yourself in the process. Personally, I’m happy I’ll have an 8 hour time difference between us but a 3 hour physical distance ain’t bad.

    6. Bryce*

      My mother can be difficult (I donno if comparably difficult because I haven’t read past posts), fortunately we’re getting used to talking it out and although she can’t shake some of her controlling habits she realizes she’s in the wrong on them. What we’ve found is that the context of our interactions really affects our behavior; when I visit home I’m the kid again (though I’m 35) and we both fall into old behavior habits, but when she’s in town for a convention or other things and we meet for lunch or a concert it’s an entirely different dynamic. We can actually chat and behave as adults.

      That may or may not help you, just something I’ve noticed.

    7. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      Wishing you all the best for next weekend. Parents can be tough at the best of times, especially when they’re not happy about losing control over their kids. I’ve seen many ugly reactions to the weaning and hope none of them spoil your visit!

    8. A. D. Kay*

      Do you know the blog Captain Awkward? It has great scripts for dealing with difficult parents.

  6. LizB*

    I have been really off my meal-planning game for the past few weeks — Passover totally threw me off and I haven’t really gotten back into the swing of things. I need to get back on top of it but just feel so exhausted when I think of sitting down to figure out what to make that BoyfriendB and I will both like and then doing all the grocery shopping and prep work. I don’t really have extra money to spend on a meal delivery service right now (but someday…). Maybe I just need to take a day off and cook to stock the freezer? Ugh, adulting is hard. I’ll get a nice routine going and then any little thing happens and it just falls to pieces.

    1. Melody Pond*

      I’m completely the same way, with my routines! It feels like it takes so much momentum and energy to start a new routine (one that is healthy or beneficial or responsible in some way), and then if the tiniest little thing causes a disruption, then I’m just like… “Oh, well… it was good while it lasted.” :-P

    2. Temperance*

      What helped me get out of the rut, before I could do meal delivery, was to do a big grocery delivery order (so I didn’t have to shop), and spent a few hours prepping recipes, and then a big cooking marathon the next day.

      1. LizB*

        I may have to check that out. I’ve been eyeing the grocery delivery services in my area and they don’t seem prohibitively expensive, so this could be a good plan.

        1. Parenthetically*

          Do your local groceries have pickup options? Even that might help. You still have to go get it, but you don’t have to go inside and do the grocery shopping thing — they bring it to your car and load it up. First month is free and after that it’s something ridiculously cheap like $5 per order.

        2. Jessesgirl72*

          I love mine, and they (peapod, if it is in your area) is offer I a free 6 MONTH trial of their pass service, with no obligation to renew it when it us time to pay for the next 6 months. Some services are more reliable than others, and I have found peapod probably the best I have had.

          I also like that if I remember I have forgotten something before the cut off, I can just add it

          1. The Other Dawn*

            I LOVE Peapod!! Such an awesome thing. It’s so convenient, especially around the holidays or when you can’t get to the store. I recently scheduled a delivery to happen after surgery and before my cousin arrived, so my house was stocked when she arrived. Also, I often find that their produce is much better quality than in the store. Probably because it’s coming from the warehouse and not from the store, where it’s been picked over by hundreds of people. Biggest benefit to me is that I don’t wander the store aimlessly, buying things I really don’t need. Plus I don’t have to bag it all myself, lug it home and unpack it again.

            1. Jessesgirl72*

              Their quality is good and they very rarely are out of things I order. Which, having tried Safeway, Albertson’s, and Walmart delivery (all while living in California), let me tell you, puts them above the crowd.

              And I like that I can choose to be there when they deliver, or not- and they just leave things in a designated spot in insulated boxes.

              I also love that their prices are NOT higher than the local grocery stores- or sometimes they are, but sometimes they are lower, and you just shop sales like you do for normal grocery stores.

    3. Rebecca*

      I hear you! I think having a chef would be the best thing about being really wealthy :) I think it would be awesome to have healthy, wholesome meals served with no prep work.

    4. Jean (just Jean)*

      >Passover totally threw me off

      Yes! [“yep?” probably not “yup” as per yesterday’s thread :-)]. Also + 1 million, amen, and oy vey, oy vey.
      Passover hit 2 weeks after I started a new “thing we don’t speak of on weekends.” I managed to pull off a 3-person immediate-family seder on Monday night, but only now are we finally washing the dirty dishes that predated the weekend Passover cleaning.

      Are we epic slobs? Yes, probably, but life includes exhaustion, commuting, and other so-called distractions. I’m finally making significant progress thanks to this site, Unf**kyourhabitat, and lots of iced water and a leftover Passover brownie with very satisfying chocolate icing.

      NotSo New Reader, after this weekend I’m going on a sugar fast until Memorial Day weekend. It won’t be easy but it’s time to drop some of what Flylady calls “body clutter.” It’s also time to put into action the many, many paper and online pages of decluttering advice that I’ve absorbed over past way-too-long interval. It’s hard to live effectively (e.g. get out of the house promptly, spend my scant leisure time on self-renewing activities instead of brooding at the rubble) pif I’m forever dodging, tripping over, or being crowded out by physical and psychological junk.

      tl;dr: Time to adult already! Life is too short to be sandbagged by garbage. Thanks for listening, folks.

      P.S. Scary question: What will I post about on the weekend open threads after woe-is-me-because-clutter, clutter, clutter-comments are part of the dim, untidy past? :-D

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Good luck! I will be cheering for you. My cheat was watermelon. That saved my life. In a way watermelon is good because it helps to get rid of stuff faster. I have had to go back to my stricter version of my diet. I just started bloating too much. Oh well. I have had some small treats for a few years now, so I had a nice break from it. Just wish the watermelons here did not look so anemic.

        1. Jean (just Jean)*

          Thank you! Your moral support is much appreciated. The act of “going public” here will help to keep me honest.
          Confession: I will definitely be cheating with fresh fruit (probably apples or peaches). My downfall items are baked goods and ice cream, plus the candy dish at work. May will definitely be a month for a willpower workout. Oh, well, there are much worse problems in the world.

      2. Anion*

        I hope you had a very happy Pesach!

        I’m going back to calorie-cutting and watching my food intake again myself. I’ve been very lazy the last couple of years, and though it’s only resulted in 10-15 pounds, it’s 10-15 more than I want; we’re moving in a few days (cry) so I was going through my wardrobe and finding things that just aren’t going to fit the way they did or look as flattering as they did, and dammit I want to look good in my clothes again! It doesn’t help that I had a major abdominal surgery a few years ago–emergency surgery, NHS–and the incision was and sloppy and badly done, so the two sides of my abdomen don’t meet up properly but instead bulge weirdly. My stomach was already a mess from major stretch marks and two c-sections, so that really didn’t help. I’m still pretty confident that I can make it look not quite so bulgy, though, if I can lose those excess pounds.

        Best of luck to you!

    5. JoAnna*

      I just did a blog review of a meal planning site called The Dinner Daily, and I liked it a lot. You can try it free for two weeks, and the price seems pretty reasonable – $48/year, $30 for six months, or $18 for three months. Basically they send you a menu plan and a shopping list every week, based on the sales of the local store you choose (or you can use the Any Store plan if they don’t track the sales of any stores near you).

    6. The Other Dawn*

      I’m feeling the same way. I had a tummy tuck at the end of February, which took awhile to recover from. Just got back to work and my dad died that day, which threw me off for another two weeks. Got a tiny bit on track and then got hit with the two-week throat razor blades/cold/pink eye debacle. I’m pretty much recovered from that, but now I have the damn dry cough, which is much worse at night and is keeping me up. Not to mention, it’s really making my newly healed abs hurt like hell. (So thankful this didn’t happen right after surgery! I think I would have popped a bunch of sutures.) I had to go to the dentist this morning, now have a headache and am tired, and I really can’t face the idea of having to cook a meal or prep food for the week. My husband is out mowing the lawn because he’s one of those people that feels he has to be productive on his day off, which is so Not Me. I can tell he’s expecting that I mow a couple smallish spots with the push mower and I just don’t want to do it. So, instead I’m reading AAM, drinking my homemade iced mocha latte, and peeking over at my fluffy kitty who’s got all four legs in the air as she’s sunning herself in the window. (If I could figure out how people post photo links here, I’d post one of her.)

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Try some vitamin D on the coughs. Take at least one before the coughing starts. Then if you do start coughing take more. Once I started using vitamin D on coughs I stopped buying cough syrup. I do keep a small package of cough drops around, to have something while I wait for the D to kick in, but I rarely use the cough drops.

          1. Sparky*

            Careful, though, while most of us don’t get enough vitamin D, it’s possible to get too much.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              TOD, one way you can help yourself monitor the vitamin D intake is to match it to the levels of coughing. When the coughing stops, which it probably will, back off or quit the D.

  7. Melody Pond*

    So, I had my tubal ligation surgery on Monday! My tubes are now GONE! Thanks to all who responded to my surgery/recovery questions last week, I felt like I came away with a bunch of good ideas.

    My doctor had sent my tubes to pathology after they were removed, and she took pictures of them for me before doing so. She noted that the left one looked a little inflamed – and then a few days later, I heard back from her that the pathology report had identified endometriosis on my tubes (though they hadn’t specified which tube or whether it was both).

    I’d had the copper IUD for the past 5 years, and my periods had gotten pretty horribly painful. I’d been thinking this was due to the IUD, but maybe not? Maybe it was because of endometriosis? Also, I did a little more googling on the research my doctor had mentioned that found that most of the high-risk, most lethal forms of ovarian cancer start in the fallopian tubes. Between that and the endometriosis, I’m really glad now that I opted for complete removal of my fallopian tubes!

    I’m slowly making progress in recovery, although it’s taking a little longer than I expected, and I may not return to work on Monday, depending on how I feel tomorrow. I still feel fairly swollen, and it’s hard to stand up straight. Also, when I move around for a few minutes, it almost feels like I swell up even more around the abdomen, to the point where it’s difficult to breathe and fully expand my lungs. So I’d like to NOT be having any shortness of breath issues when I return to work. That’s reasonable, right?

    1. Cassandra*

      Totally reasonable. I was up and going a couple days after my tubal, but mine was completely uncomplicated and I went for the burn rather than removal option.

      There’s been metal and plastic stuff rummaging around in your insides. They are legitimately expressing pain about that!

    2. copy run start*

      I took two weeks off and I only had the clips. I’d strongly recommend not going to work Monday if you can.

      Congrats on getting those suckers out! Sounds like it was for the best. Endometriosis is brutal.

    3. Allypopx*

      I’ve started seriously considering that as an option (I think my insurance would cover it but I don’t know if I could get a doctor to do it for another five years) and your posts have been very informative! I hope you feel better soon.

      1. Melody Pond*

        Thanks! I hope I’m back to 100% soon, too.

        In case the knowledge of my experience is of any benefit to you — I have a high deductible health plan with an HSA, but standard tubal ligation would have been covered at 100% for me (I *think* this is due to the Affordable Care Act). But, because I opted to have my tubes completely removed, the surgery was NOT covered. And in fact, it took me up to my annual out-of-pocket maximum – which, because I have decent insurance right now, was only about $2400. I think the total cost of the procedure was over $6K – the excess of that number over $2400 was covered by my insurance.

        I’d talked about it with Mr. Pond, and we decided to scrape together the cash to do the tube removal, largely because:
        1) It’s a more effective sterilization. My chances of getting pregnant are even lower than they would be with a standard tubal ligation.
        2) Related to the above, very low (almost zero?) chance of an ectopic pregnancy, which scares the crap out of me.
        3) The decreased risk of ovarian cancer, which apparently there’s no way to screen for. And from when I was googling about it, I read that something like 75% of the deadly, super lethal ovarian cancers originate in the fallopian tubes.

        And then after the surgery was done, it also turned out that my tubes had endometriosis. So, now I’m really glad I scraped together the cash to do the tube removal.

        1. Allypopx*

          That’s super helpful, thank you! I have a family history of ectopic pregnancy and thats defintely something that freaks me out.

    4. Mimmy*

      I didn’t know you could have your tubes completely removed. I had the surgery in 2005, but mine was laparoscopic and the tubes were just clipped to cut off circulation (??). I took off that whole week from work, but I probably could’ve returned after a couple of days.

      Anyway – I missed your post last week, but I hope that this helps whatever issues you were having.

      1. Melody Pond*

        My surgery was laparoscopic as well. But to have the tubes completely removed, it results in three incisions, whereas I think if they’re just clipping the tubes, you can often manage to do it with just two incisions.

        I think that they put the laparoscope/camera through an incision near the belly button, and if they’re just clipping the tubes, they can reach both tubes through one incision. But if they’re removing the tubes altogether, then I’m guessing they need to do an incision close to each tube.

    5. Melody Pond*

      Oh! I forgot to share something adorable!

      The bandages they put on my incisions, after they finished? They made the bandages into heart shapes!!

      I asked my doctor about it later via email, wanting to know whose idea that had been, and she responded, “We often make the bandages heart-shaped – it helps with healing :)”

      If I can figure out a good way to share a picture here, I’ll do so in a reply to this comment.

  8. Trill*

    Today is the final day of volunteer week (Canada/USA), so I wanted to give a shout out and thank you to everyone out there who gives their time volunteering, whether on a regular basis or just once or twice a year for special events. Thank you all for your contributions.

    If anyone wants to share how they volunteer, and why it is important to you, please do. Maybe it will inspire other people to get involved in something they’re passionate about.

    1. NaoNao*

      I volunteer infrequently and I try to support “one time” events–such as volunteering to assist with silent auctions or (super fun) independent comic book shows. I feel like one stumbling block to doing volunteer work for many is the time commitment, it was for me. So I decided to look especially for one time or one off events, and that really works.

      I volunteer to meet others with similar values, to give back to a society I feel has given me both directly and indirectly many gifts, to open my eyes to new experiences, to affirm my values in the face of pressure not to, and to have fun!

      1. Fog*

        The one-time event approach is a great idea! I agree it’s a great way to get involved in a community.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          Our church has tried to move away committees toward “task forces” for just this reason. No one wants to join a committee and be stuck on it until you die. But if you offer opportunities to join a task force that does it’s thing and then disbands, you have better luck getting volunteers. They are also more focused.

    2. Colette*

      I plan and a run a haunted house at my community association’s Halloween party, and I run the games at their winter carnival.

      I used to run a Girl Guide group, but I’m not doing that this year. I might go back in the fall.

      1. Fog*

        The Halloween haunted house and winter carnival both sound so fun, and I can only imagine how rewarding it must feel to play a role in the community’s holiday celebrations.

    3. Volunteer*

      I volunteer with a youth organisation, I’ve just always done it. I took the leadership qualification to help me fulfil another requirement and somehow ended up running the group. I dropped out of it once because work was just so awful I couldn’t cope but I picked it back up again within a year and started being a bit more active about 3 years ago. I’m not passionate about it (in fact I’m not a very good leader) but it’s given me skills without even realising it that have helped in my work life, for example speaking in front of people doesn’t bother me.

      Please if your kids volunteer with something appreciate that the people who run it are doing much, much more in their free time than just turning up each week for the sessions. Respect their time and respond to their requests, don’t be a black hole when communications go out, “Sorry I can’t help” is better than silence.

    4. Annie Mouse*

      I volunteer as the leader of a Rainbow group (the UK equivalent of Daisies) which I love, I started as a Rainbow myself over 20 years ago!
      Volunteering also got me into the field for my current job and gave me the confidence to give it a go. I still try and volunteer for that organisation occasionally.

        1. Annie Mouse*

          Yes, they are, I couldn’t remember any of the other equivalents (it’s been a while since we taught the girls about units around the world and I was a bit zonked last night!)

    5. Fog*

      Cool, I didn’t know we had a volunteer week!

      I volunteer at the Reference Desk of a library, and although that’s mostly selfish (my library work is pretty technical and I want more public-facing experience), I do love doing it. When I finish graduate school and have 40-hour weeks again, I’ve thought a lot about volunteering on evenings/weekends doing A/V for special events at a local theater. It’s the sort of work I used to do and I always loved doing events and film nights the best.

    6. Heartlover*

      I volunteer for a radio-reading service and also for a transitional homeless shelter.

      For the radio-reading service, I love that our programming provides current news, information, and entertainment in “real-time”; our clients aren’t waiting for audio clips or items to be produced in Braille format, etc.

      For the homeless shelter, I’m one of the volunteers baking birthday cakes for residents. It’s great to help bring a sense of “home” to someone going through the program, and perhaps inspire them to complete and graduate!

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        That sounds so cool! I love to bake, but I work from home, so I don’t have many occasions to do it (we don’t need the junk lying around, or we’ll just eat it). I wonder if any of our local shelters have something similar.

        1. Heartlover*

          Definitely check it out! The shelter I bake for is a residential/transitional type; the residents are in the process of completing a 12-step type program.

    7. Colorado CrazyCatLady*

      I volunteer for CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocates. It involves being an advocate for a kid in the child welfare system due to abuse or neglect. I love it.

      1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

        Oh that’s a fantastic org from what I’ve heard – it’s such important work. If the intro period (MANY weeks of training) weren’t so rigorous (which makes sense!), we would have started volunteering with them this year. We just can’t take that much time away right now so it’ll have to wait til we can create a space for it.

        1. Colorado CrazyCatLady*

          It’s super time-consuming at first! They offered the training on a weekend this year, thankfully (it was 2 Saturdays in 1 month), but then you have to go for court observation, and then to court to be sworn in.

          There are things that would be much harder to do if I had a full-time, traditional 9-5 job like I did previously. Like I’ve had to go to her school to meet her teachers, go to court dates during the day, etc.

    8. FDCA In Canada*

      I’m the copyeditor for a national magazine. It’s bare-bones budget, so none of the contributors are getting paid either, and it’s directly relevant to the community I’m part of, but really it’s selfish on my part. I enjoy copyediting, always have, and it’s an additional line on my resume and talking point for communications-oriented jobs I’m interested in.

      The real reason I volunteered to do it was because when I moved here last summer (it’s published where I live now, but distributed nationwide), I picked up a copy and it was truly horribly edited. I mean, downright insulting typos to both the reader and the subject of the articles. So I went through it, page by page, marked up all the typos, wrote a letter, and mailed the whole thing off to the address on the masthead. (Note: Do not do this. It was not nice AT ALL.) The editor called me two days later and asked if I’d be interested taking on the job. It’s about five hours of work once a month or so, and I can do it at home in my pajamas, so sure!

    9. Schnapps*

      I do volunteer work for the Red Cross. I’m a Water Safety Master Instructor Trainer (which is a fancy way of saying, I teach people how to teach people how to be safe around the water and swim). I do it because in Canada, drowning is the 3rd leading cause of accidental death, and most people who drown don’t ever plan on going in the water.

      (learn to swim well enough to save yourselves, people. It’s a life skill)

      1. FDCA In Canada*

        This may be a dumb question, but is water safety instruction different from swimming lessons? I used to live in a major “water playground” area, where boating and swimming were major summertime hobbies, and I heard ads on the radio for both “water safety lessons” and “swim lessons” without ever actually distinguishing between the two (probably because they were for kids, which I don’t have). Are they just different words for the same thing?

        1. Schnapps*

          Swimming is one part of water safety. Both the Canadian Red Cross and the Lifesaving Society teach how to be safe in, on, and around the water. When you’re hearing them on the radio, “Water safety lessons” likely (but not certainly) refer to Red Cross swimming and water safety lessons.

          So what I said above: swimming is one part of water safety, but its not the be all and end all (and it’s not just for kids! our nanny from the Phillippines has just registered for swimming lessons which is awesome). A lot of the time it’s about judgment – should I go out to the end of the dock/how thick is the ice/could I swim to shore if I had to.

          Does that answer your question?

    10. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

      I volunteer when I can at our county animal shelter. Today, we had an adoption event at a pet store and both dogs we brought got adopted!! It was a great feeling and happiness all around. Most shelters need volunteers to do a variety of things. Walk dogs, help in the cat room, do clerical stuff, photography of the animals for their website, and more! Our county shelter takes volunteers starting at age 16 and provides all the training one needs!

    11. SeekingBetter*

      I volunteer in my field with a nonprofit that helps low-income individuals and also provides entrepreneurial opportunities to organizations and people. I’m usually helping at least 20-40 hours a year. I love the feeling when I help others and it also makes me feel better about myself as well!

    12. Rebooting*

      I’ve been running roleplaying games at local conventions for longer than I haven’t, at this point, and I’m giving some serious thought to getting in touch with the local hospital and seeing if they’d like me to come in and run some light D&D for the teenagers during the school holidays. I already have a working with children check, and I was a frequent flyer at hospital when I was a kid, so I know how dreary it can be.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        That is an awesome idea. I bet they would love for you to do that! You may be aware of them already, but there is a group called Game Changer that raises money to buy video game consoles, televisions, wireless headsets, and that sort of thing for hospitals so that kids stay entertained while they are admitted. It sounds like something you might be interested in.

    13. Red Rose*

      I teach in a ESL program that my church sponsors. I am just finishing up our year with two wonderful Spanish speaking ladies. Over the summer I’ll do one on one conversation practice.

      My church also does monthly dinners at the emergency homeless shelter for families so I sometimes serve or if not I usually cook something to drop off for it.

    14. Elizabeth West*

      My Doctor Who group does a little volunteer stuff, but it’s usually on Saturday mornings, when meditation group is. I skipped the last street cleanup even though that’s my favorite thing because I’m still getting the hang of what I’m doing, and I felt really strongly about not missing so early. We adopted a bit of street and a few times a year, we go out and pick up trash. For some reason, I really find that satisfying. :)

    15. MsChanandlerBong*

      I volunteer for the Ronald McDonald House. In addition to the house itself, we have two lovely in-hospital suites known as “family rooms.” They are used by the parents/guardians of children who are in the hospital, usually in the NICU or the pediatric ICU. I work in one of the family rooms. The organization is dear to my heart because my family used the RMH when I was a child and had all of my big surgeries. There is no way we would have been able to afford a hotel and restaurant meals every day for the duration of a hospitalization. RMH charges a nominal fee ($10/night, I think), has a full kitchen for food storage/food prep, and regularly plans activities for the families staying at the house.

      In the in-hospital suites, we have snacks (popcorn, chips, trail mix, fruit and grain bars, fruit snacks, soup, crackers, yogurt, and string cheese) and drinks (soda, water, milk, chocolate milk) on hand at all times. All of the food and all of the drinks, with the exception of soda, are free. We ask for a quarter donation for each soda. The suite also has a laundry room, which is free to use. We provide laundry detergent and fabric softener at no charge. Finally, there is a bathroom with a shower in the back of the suite. We provide soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and other toiletries to anyone who needs them, free of charge. Oh, and we also have computers for people to use if they want to check email, print insurance forms, or whatever they need. It’s an amazing program.

    1. Allypopx*

      Best: Working a half day today and then going to the Red Sox game! Great weather and I have great seats!

      Worst: Dentist says I absolutely have to do a $5,000 procedure or I’m going to have major complications later so….

    2. anon for this*

      Best: getting an offer to buy my next home accepted after a month of actively house-hunting and two weeks if negotiations with these particular sellers. I’m moving 1500 miles away for work and had to navigate a ridiculous seller’s market.

      Worst: It was my birthday this week, and for years I’ve had my birthday set to private on Facebook. I don’t post very often on my page but visit regularly and like my friend’s posts and wish them a happy birthday. I figured what the hell, I’ll make my birthday visible this year. A grand total of 12 of my 300-some friends wished me a happy birthday; no one called or texted. I was so humiliated that I just deactivated my account.

      1. Sugar of lead*

        I’m sorry about the birthday thing. It sucks when you put yourself out there and get ignored.

      2. Jean (just Jean)*

        By all means drop Facebook if it doesn’t work for you, but I’m sorry you feel humiliated! Your self-worth doesn’t rest on this one sample of Facebook silence. Your 300-some friends could all be swamped by work/life imbalance, or flooded basements, or plain old end-of-week exhaustion.

        Belated Happy Birthday. Do something nice for yourself (or for somebody else if that makes you feel happy).

        1. anon for this*

          Thank you. I guess I’m more frustrated at the overall pattern I’ve noticed for the past few years of genuinely showing interest and lending support to others and not getting reciprocation, on Facebook or otherwise.

      3. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I have a theory that fewer people are using Facebook, possibly due to politics exhaustion. I know soooo many people who have just stopped going there post-election. I only check it about once a week now. My sample size is obviously tiny, but I’ve been struck by it.

        1. Allypopx*

          This has been my experience as well. I also got super fatigued wishing people Happy Birthday on Facebook about a year ago, and only do it for people I’m particularly close to or haven’t talked to in awhile and feel like reaching out to when their name pops up.

          I’m sorry you felt humiliated, anon. I hope you had a great birthday otherwise.

          1. Cath in Canada*

            I tend to use Facebook birthday notifications mostly as a reminder to text my actual friends on their birthdays :)

            I’ve been using FB less recently. It’s become harder to focus on the “real” content rather than notifications from groups and events etc. About 90% of my notifications for the last couple of months were updates about the March for Science, for instance. Plus my parents joined, and feel the need to comment on absolutely everything I do on FB, e.g. “who’s the friend whose cat photo you liked last Tuesday?”

              1. Cath in Canada*

                I’m hoping they’ll calm down once the novelty wears off. I don’t put anything too personal on FB so I’m not too bothered; it’s just a bit exhausting. They haven’t quite got over the fact that they no longer know all of my friends, even though I moved out 22 years ago, so they’re just a bit excited to be able to see who I talk to, I think.

            1. Jessesgirl72*

              I hate that I can’t block people from seeing what I like or comment on. I lost a friend if 15+ years because I liked someone’s post, and she then commented on it too, with a nasty and personal political rant. Complete with name calling about this person I am friends with IRL but she has never met or even talked to before on the internet! So I told her how unacceptable that was and unfriended and blocked her.

              All because she saw a link I had liked

              1. Monodon monoceros*

                Yes, I’ve stopped liking anything because of this type of thing (people getting upset because I liked one post but not theirs…ugh). I now use FB to see things that remind me to email the person. “Saw the photos on FB, looks fun, how are things? “

              2. NACSACJACK*

                I hate it too. There are certain events in my community that I want to like so that I know when they are happening, but because I dont want my straight friends and family to see it, I dont…and then I miss the event or have to remember it in my head. I hate that I cant easily copy calendar details from FaceBook to Apple iCal. :(

          2. copy run start*

            Yeah, over the last year or two I’ve noticed Facebook birthdays have become far less the comment influx than they used to be. I no longer feel obligated to comment on anyone but my closest friends, and I’m usually just private messaging them instead. I don’t see the value in well wishes from people I haven’t even exchanged comments with over the last year.

            If I could ditch the wall part and just message my friends I would. The advertising and page posts are too much. I would love to return to the old LJ days where people posted blog updates and joined groups and commented but it didn’t feel like you were a commodity.

          3. Lady Jay*

            I’m on FB frequently, but it’s mostly for things like the Bread Baking group I’m part of. I almost never wish people Happy Birthday on FB, because I think it’s chintzy and meaningless. If you’re really important to me, you’ll get a card or at least a personal greeting.

        2. caledonia*

          I’m with that as well (the UK are having another election soon so it’s on everyone’s minds again. Urgh)

        3. Jessesgirl72*

          This, plus Facebook is so selective in what it shows- and that varies wildly between my desktop and phone, even- that if I get low response to something I expected more from, I assume people just never saw it. And I am often correct about that!

          1. copy run start*

            Yeah, sometimes I will get served a cool post from several days earlier! Then I feel weird commenting after the conversation’s died down.

        4. Mallory Janis Ian*

          Before the election, I loaded up my Facebook with lots of news sites (CNN, BBC, NYT, Washington Post, etc.) to keep abreast of headline news. I also added Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU, and a slew of local political action groups. So now my Facebook feed is full of politics and depressing news. I’ve unfollowed the feeds that slant the most in my political direction because it has become very irritating to read that “so-and-so’s tweet completely destroyed such-and-such politician” and then to see said politician carrying on with his business as usual, completely un-destroyed.

        5. nonegiven*

          I go about once a week and I probably see less than 1% of what’s in my stream or whatever it’s called.

          My mother hated the people coming on her page to say happy birthday or really anything else. It made her feel like she had a social obligation she didn’t know how to deal with. Not just thanking people or responding to their comments but that she should be doing things like that, too. It overwhelmed her and she had me delete it.

      4. Nynaeve*

        Happy birthday! I definitely relate to feeling snubbed and taken for granted and like you put in more work at maintaining relationships. I’ve dealt with similar situations in the past. Ultimately, I realized several things:

        1. Some people I thought were close friends were actually social acquaintances. They were happy to see me in group settings, but didn’t necessarily have a relationship with me individually. And that’s okay. In those cases, I just dial back the overtures of friendship.

        2. A lot of people are just bad at reaching out. Some people are kind of self-centered, but more are just busy and forgetful. With the latter, it doesn’t mean they don’t care. I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen people after a year of no contact and heard that they think of me often and are feeling so guilty for not talking to me more often, and then they tell me about all the legitimate life drama they’ve been swallowed by.

        3. Some people just don’t use whatever your preferred method of contact is, or they don’t use it the way you do. This doesn’t help with the birthday issue, but if this is a recurring issue (you reach out, but your friends don’t reciprocate), consider experimenting with other methods of communication.

        4. Facebook makes keeping superficially in touch easy, but it also creates an expectation that you should…so being ignored becomes way more salient. For example, back in the day, if you got 12 birthday cards, you would be pretty excited. You wouldn’t necessarily think about who didn’t send you one (unless someone super close to you forgot). But with Facebook, you’re hyperaware of all the people who aren’t wishing you happy birthday…even if in the past, these would be people you would never expect to hear from again (old classmates, distant cousins, people you meet at a party once, etc.). It becomes “ONLY 12 people…out of 300″[frantic math, depression] instead of “wow, 12 people wished me happy birthday!” (Also, is it possible that the notification wasn’t super visible, especially if you don’t post that frequently? I know Facebook’s algorithms can be wonky.)

        It sucks to feel ignored. But try not to take this as a declaration of your worth or even popularity. Spend more time and effort with the friends who reciprocate your efforts. Maybe also call someone and admit you’ve been feeling down. Most of the time, people have no idea you feel this way and will gladly reassure you that you’re awesome and they value you.

        1. anon for this*

          Thank you Nynaeve, those are really wonderful insights! I agree that Facebook and social media in general promote a culture of “collecting” hundreds of superficial connections that don’t translate to anywhere the level of investment we’d expect from close friends, and that’s both good and bad. I’ll definitely be taking your advice about spending more time with people who reciprocate; I’ve had a really difficult past six months (a sudden unexpected death in my immediate family, a surprise cross-country relocation for work to a place where I don’t know anyone and is 1500 miles away from my nearest family, and the associated stresses of saying goodbyes and relocating), and so my threshold for feeling vulnerable and hurt is much lower than normal.

      5. Temperance*

        I definitely don’t think it was meanness! I don’t do many birthday wishes on Facebook because I only use FB to chat now, or to share Buzzfeed articles with one of my sisters. I think many other people are avoiding it, too.

        We all wish you a happy birthday.

        1. Lissa*

          When Facebook first started up and the birthday thing became popular I got really paranoid that I’d miss somebody’s birthday, and they’d see that I had wished *other* people a happy birthday, so I decided just to never post happy birthday to anyone because if I did I’d have to do it for everyone! (I also am just not really birthday-focused and only remember to wish it to a few close friends who I know it matters to. I’m bad at this)

    3. Sugar of lead*

      BEST: Updated my immunizations at one of those oh-so-convenient minute clinics instead of going through the rigmarole of a doctor’s visit. Seriously, I cannot recommend those places enough.
      WORST: Accidentally took my medication twice and spent a day or so feeling like crap. If this happens again I’m getting one of those bottle caps with the timers on them.

      1. Artemesia*

        I hate that — did I already take the thyroid this morning feeling — doubling the dose on stuff like this is not good.

        When I travel I use one of those daily drug containers with room for 7 mornings and 7 evenings — I can thus load up two weeks worth of daily meds and then just have one, the thyroid separate which is taken mornings rather than evenings.

      2. Mimmy*

        I’ve never heard of such a bottle cap. If such a thing exists for eye drops, that would make my day, lol.

        An alternative would be a weekly pillbox. My husband and I use ones that have spaces for each day of the week as well for different times of the day. It really helps keep track of whether you took something, especially when you have multiple ongoing prescriptions plus any vitamins.

        1. ArtsNerd*

          I use a weekly pill box that has slots for 4 different doses a day. I only take my meds once, in the morning, so I use it as a month-long box. Breakfast is week 1, lunch is week 2, etc. It’s made a WORLD of difference in my ability to take my medicine every day, and just once a day.

      3. Ange*

        I use a pill tracking app and update every time I take meds.
        So much easier than trying to remember if I had an odd or even number of pills left.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I love the pill box app I use because of the graphics. You select what each of your pills looks like, and it shows a daily pill box with the meds sorted into morning, afternoon, evening, and bedtime. When the reminder pops up and you select “Take” (or skip, snooze, etc), it puts a checkmark by that pill so you can look in your pill box and see what doses have been taken, skipped, missed, or are upcoming.

    4. Handy nickname*

      Best: I AM DONE WIH SCHOOL :D :D
      Submitted the last assignment of my bachelors degree last night and I graduate next week. So. Friggin. Happy.
      Double-best: Emailed my boss last night to tell them I’d finished, and they said they were working on a raise and how much they’ve appreciated me.

      Between the two I’m walking on air today. :)

      Worst: I live at home with my parents/family who I love and adore and cannot handle living with anymore, and who would be so hurt and take it really personally if I moved out, especially if I stayed in our town, since then it would feel like moving just to get away from them rather than out of necessity (new job, etc.). Been having a really hard week with that.

      1. Emmie*

        I felt really guilty leaving home too. Many years later, it was the right and healthiest choice. I don’t think anything will fully change your guilt. Perhaps it might be helpful to your parents to drop hints before a discussion with them. It might make the transition a small bit easier. It’s okay to move out even in the same town. Many congratulations!

      2. Temperance*

        FWIW, sometimes you need to make choices that might hurt others. It’s perfectly fine and normal for you to want some space, especially if you lived with your parents through college.

        You can always approach the subject by pointing out that you’ll still be close by and see them regularly.

      3. Handy nickname*

        Aw thanks, Temperance and Emmie! I hate hurting the people I love and it’s hard to decide when the right time is but it’s definitely getting closer. One thought I’ve been bouncing around in my mind is staying long enough to save up a down payment on a house. At this point, that would probably take 1-2 years (I have a full time job currently and a raise promised) and maybe the major life step/investment aspect will help frame it more for them as a good next step rather than having the focus be on how me controlling my own life is more important than my family. Thanks guys :)

        1. Emmie*

          Aww! That’s an equally good idea. I really wish I would’ve learned what Temperance said about choices. I’m still learning it!

      4. nonegiven*

        Start talking about how getting your own place will make you feel like a grown up. Start looking at living room furniture or whatever on websites. Talk about how you visited friend and she’d gotten the cutest whatever for HER place. Rinse, repeat.

        1. Handy nickname*

          Yeah, I think talking about it in a normal way will help them adjust to the idea that I will be moving out at some point (soon! hopefully :)). Had a long and somewhat painful discussion with my Mum today about some tangential issues and blurted out at one point that I think part of the problem is her seeing literally everything I do every second of the day (okay, slight exaggeration, and I do have a full time job outside the home), and she said that she would never tell one of her kids to leave home, but if it was that painful on such a constant basis, than maybe moving out is something I need to think about/spend some time considering this summer.

          I know that was really, really painful for her to even suggest, but having the door opened even a crack just made me weak with relief. It will be gut-wrenching to leave – for me and her – but having at least some part of her realize that it might make sense is huge. I love her so very much, which makes it really hard when what I need is the opposite of what she needs.

          Thanks so much for the suggestions – really appreciate it!

    5. Applesauced*

      Best: Wedding planning is going really well this week – we finalized a delicious brunch menu, we’re suit shopping this afternoon, invites went out, and I just ordered flowers. I’m excited for all the beautiful roses in June!
      Worse: I just got a cavity filled at the dentist (TBH, it wasn’t NEARLY as bad as I expected)

    6. katamia*

      Best: I really like the new job (which isn’t totally new since I volunteered there before I was hired, so I knew my coworkers/boss already) and picked up some extra shifts, so yay more money/hanging out with people I like and a product I like.

      Worst: There are a lot of things I need to get done in the next year or so (travel plans, grad school applications, etc.) and I’m feeling frustrated with trying to manage so much planning kind of all at once while at the same time having to wait because my travel plans are contingent on how well a relative’s recovery from major surgery (which she had last month and she’s fine, but it’s the kind of surgery that takes months and months to fully recover from) is going to look, and I’m getting antsy to start trying to schedule things.

    7. caledonia*

      Best: finished my 2nd to last ever assignment for my degree!

      Worst: above assignment was a real slog and I doubt I will get a good grade. Late commuter trains.

    8. JanetM*

      Best: On vacation, visiting friends.

      Worst: I came down with a cold the day we left town, so I’ve been kind of a lump.

    9. Mimmy*

      BEST: Just got back from having lunch with a friend I haven’t seen in 2 years. I could talk with her all day, which is rare for me.

      WORST: Technical issues in my classroom at work.

    10. Elkay*

      Best: Improved my 5K time again in the gym, so close to being sub-30 minutes.
      Worst: Really bad aching joints all week due to weather (I feel so old!).

    11. Ramona Flowers*

      Best: I have four days off work to recharge (bank holiday weekend and I took an extra day as I had some comp time to use).

      Worst: my cat is bringing a lot of mice in and they make me panic as I have flashbacks to the time he bit the head off one right in front of me!

      1. nonegiven*

        I had a cat that put them in his food dish. When they’d crawl out, he’d slap them and put them back in.

    12. Colorado CrazyCatLady*

      Worst: Babysitting 4 kids at an outdoor wedding in the rain/snow/sleet where I couldn’t eat anything due to allergies.
      Best: Umm… getting my hair done for the first time in a while!

    13. Jules the First*

      Best: my houseguests of the last three weeks have finally headed home. It was wonderful to have them here, but my one-bedroom apartment gets a little overcrowded with three adults in it. Home always feels huge after houseguests leave.

      Worst: well, that thing we don’t talk about on weekends was pretty crap this week. But the non-work crap thing is that my houseguests left two open part-bottles of wine and a bag of crisps. Yep. Not shifting any of the post-antibiotics weight this week….

    14. Ruffingit*

      BEST: Got my new home office in shape.

      WORST: Needing to get more sleep than I do. Also, I wish people would just chill out about certain things. It can be exhausting when people get up in arms about things they have no control over.

    15. Spoonie*

      BEST: had my quarterly review at work and it was all positive. I subconsciously knew it would be (probably) but still stressed anyway.

      WORST: my neurologist, who I felt like I’d finally gotten into a rhythm with, is leaving his medical group, and my care is being passed to a different doctor. Doctor Two isn’t someone whose patient care is something I’m impressed by, though her education is equally as impressive as Original Doctor. Crossing my fingers that he’s opening his own practice and I can jump ship.

    16. KR*

      Best: Finally started work, had a successful work trip, and now am looking forward to making my personal budgeting dreams come true with two incomes and an excel spreadsheet. Just went for a long walk with my dog, my best friend, and a new friend and last night we all had a fire in the back yard.

      Worst: Really long week because of work trip. The two canvas lawn chairs we were using in our kitchen are on their last legs and I have a large amount of housework to do this weekend before I go on another longer work trip, so tomorrow we have to go look around for some chairs that match our older kitchen table and I have to do a lot of cleaning this weekend before my week long trip. There’s still a lot of murkiness with how to do my expenses and record my time at work so while I’m confident I’ll be paid and reimbursed for my travel expenses, I am really unsure about how to do it and if I’m doing it correctly.

    17. Nic*

      Best: The semi-feral kitty that I had been trying to tame but hadn’t seen in months showed up a few days ago. She’s been inside and has been gaining weight and comfort all week, and now will specifically come out to love on me (and picks that over food!) She’s also to the point where she only hisses at my other cat and ignores him, which is a HUGE improvement over not even being willing to come out if she smelled him.

      Worst: Noticed a funky smell in the house, tracked it to the birdcage, and found that my male finch had died. No evidence of the cause. The females all seem happy and healthy.

    18. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Best: We finally moved and the quiet is incredible after two years of noise. In fact, its so quiet I had to buy a white noise machine (well, also because we can sometimes hear our next door neighbor, but only if she is walking up the stairs). Also – had dinner and brunch with a Scottish friend who I hadn’t seen in months, had a massive catch up.

      Worst: The move was horrific with the place a total mess on Monday when we got the keys; so bad that the inventory clerk called the letting agency to let them know the “professional clean” that the prior tenant had done was unacceptable. Upstairs mattress was yellow and disgusting, there was food on the kitchen ceiling, and the bathrooms were a mess. I had a nasty head cold and was already struggling with the Moving Blues and just sat down and cried. Everything got sorted out in the end but this was rougher than past moves for whatever reason. We also knew we would have to buy some furniture so only 60% of stuff is put away right now.

    19. Elizabeth West*


      WORST: Hmmmmrerrrrrrrmmmm nothing really, unless you count a distinct lack of movement in every area of my life. I keep having a weird anticipatory feeling about everything. I hope it’s impending awesome rather than an impending shoe drop. Or that if it’s a shoe, it’s Cinderella’s magic slipper opening up a sparkly unicorn world rather than a steel-toed boot to the face!

    20. SeptemberGrrl*

      Best: My favorite guilty pleasure, “Below Deck” is back (Mediterranean edition)!
      Worst: Entering Month 7 of being unemployed

    21. General Ginger*

      Best and worst are same thing for me this week — started testosterone! Medical transition, finally :) but also medical transition, finally, AAAAAUGH

  9. BBBizAnalyst*

    Was guilt tripped into hosting a family member next week in my apartment. It was originally supposed to be for a week but we agreed to a few days instead.

    I am NOT looking forward to it. I really hate having messy house guests like the one that’s visiting. Plus, next week is the busiest week of my quarter at work. Next time I hope to have the courage to say no outright.

    1. Allypopx*

      I get itchy about my space and hate having guests, especially messy ones (my boyfriend’s friends house/dog sat for us when we were in Scotland over the summer and left the place a wreck, I’m still mad about it). I hope it goes smoothly for you, but I also hope you can say no next time. You should never feel like your space is being intruded on.

      1. BBBizAnalyst*

        The original request was for an entire week but I negotiated it down to two days to be nice. Regretting it and should’ve just said no altogether. The person staying with me has a lack of boundaries and chats nonstop. Literally chats to fill the silence. It’s grating since I like to come home and decompress after a long day. Hoping I don’t rip my hair out.

        1. Temperance*

          You have my sympathy. My MIL, who is a lovely woman otherwise, is a nonstop talker/extreme extrovert. It doesn’t make sense to her that someone might want alone time instead of family time, and it’s a rejection if you don’t want to spend every second with her.

          At least it’s two days. Two days isn’t as bad as an entire week.

          1. MsChanandlerBong*

            My MIL is the same. The funny thing is, I was known as a chatterbox when I was a kid, and my mother always told me she hoped I’d end up with someone to talk my ear off when I got older. Looks like she got her wish. If we take my MIL to the airport at 4 a.m., it’s non-stop talking from the time we pick her up until the time we get to the airport.

        2. Perse's Mom*

          It’s your home. It’s okay to set your own boundaries in your own home. (Aunt Susan, I would really appreciate it if you put your wet towel in the hamper instead of leaving it on the floor. Could you please put your dishes [location] when you’re done eating, Aunt Susan?) It’s harder to curb the chattiness, probably.

          Not that I’m encouraging you to invent new boundaries in order to make her regret the whole thing. Of course not, that would be silly. Ahem. But if you have boundaries and voice them and enforce them, perhaps this family member will be more hesitant in the future to put you in this position.

    2. OhBehave*

      I REALLY hope you stand firm on the ‘few days’ thing. Often these few days can morph into a few more.
      Your AAM mantra = That’s not possible at this time.
      Stay strong!

  10. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    I am debating whether to foster fail the cat I’m fostering now. He’s a shy 2-3 year old long haired male, so adopters have backed out before due to his not showing well.

    However, my other two cats have been fighting a lot with each other and need to be kept separate. As does the foster cat. So there has to be a cat in the bedroom at all times, including at night and during special alone with spouse time! I want the bedroom back, but I also don’t want to send the foster to a home that might not understand him, or have him go back to the shelter.

    1. Temperance*

      I hate to say it, but it sounds like it might be best for the foster cat to go to another foster home. That’s really stressful for you, for your wife, and for your other two kitties.

      Is he standoffish, or mean?

      1. Mimi*

        I hate to say it but I agree.

        I can understand the desire to protect the cat but I am sure there is someone else out there who will grow to understand and love it. Just maybe try to vet people well like you would a job. And you need to reclaim you bedroom for you and spouse and see if the less cats helps your other cats as well.

    2. Episkey*

      We had this situation once. We were fostering a large male cat and we had a male cat of our own. We had previously had a female cat (our own who passed away) and then one foster female and our male cat had gotten along with both of them fine. So we figured he’s was just a laid-back cat and OK with others.

      Yeah, he’s good with the ladies. We found out when we took in the male foster that he would like to kill other males. And not just some hissing and swatting — like he would launch himself at the other male and bite to the point of drawing blood UPON SIGHT. We had to keep them separated at all times and we had the foster FOR A YEAR.

      It just wasn’t a workable situation. I finally put my foot down and insisted that the male go to another foster home because we had had barely any interest in him getting adopted for the year we had him. BUT…just after he went to another foster, he got adopted by a really lovely family. Can you see if there is another foster home to switch him out to instead of going back to the shelter?

    3. The Other Dawn*

      Does he try to fight with your cats? Or is he curious and they decide to attack him? Or is it that your own cats are just upset at the change in the house and take it out on each other but leave him alone?

    4. Perse's Mom*

      What are the circumstances when potential adopters meet him? Is he being taken back to the shelter or somewhere else to meet potential adopters? If so, is it at all possible for interested adopters to do a kind of meet and greet at your home so they can better see how he is when he’s more comfortable (I know it won’t be exact, new people are still very stressful especially for shy kitties, but he’s less likely to totally shut down or cower in a corner)?

      You said he’s kept separate from your cats, but is that because of him (his behavior or status as a foster cat) or because of them? If he’s good with other cats, you could emphasize that side of him – he’s shy but sweet but would really do best as a friend for someone’s currently lonely cat.

      Part of this sounds sort of like bad matching – is he really “shy” or is he terrified of everything under the sun? Does he just take some time to warm up but once he does, he’s okay? Do loud noises cause him to hide for hours? The more specific you can be with descriptions of his behavior, the better idea the adoption people at the center will have for appropriate homes for him (ie most of those situations would mean he’d be best suited for a quiet home with calm, older residents with a consistent schedule as opposed to a bunch of kids who argue and are in and out of the house at all hours).

      If the foster coordinator is someone you trust, explain the situation to them. They may be able to find another foster home that could integrate him or remind the adoption folks that your foster would be good for adopters in situation X and Y but not in situation Z.

    5. SeptemberGrrl*

      I think it would be best if the shelter can find him another foster home, sound stressful for you and for the kitties to have to keep everyone separate. The shelter might be able to find him a foster situation where he would be a better fit. Thanks for fostering :)

  11. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    My cabin rental for Memorial Day weekend is all arranged! I’m excited. It’s on a lake in a preserve, so no big motorboats are allowed. There’s good fishing. I’ve never done that before since I’ve sailed since I was a kid, but I’d like to try. I am also going to rent a kayak on my way up north.

    1. Kristen*

      That sounds very nice. I finally got around to booking one camping weekend for the summer, but hope to get more in before the end of our short summer (MN). Also, because of someone’s suggestion here a while back, I’m thinking about getting an inflatable kayak.

      I think the nice thing about fishing is when you don’t have the adrenaline rush of catching a fish or almost catching fish, you can just sit and relax in the sun. May I ask what state you live in (you don’t have to answer, sorry if it’s intrusive)?

        1. Sunshine Brite*

          Me three! I thought when you said ‘up north’ but wasn’t sure if that was a thing many other places.

          1. Kristen*

            Haha, that’s what made me ask as well, though I realize other states have an “up north.”

  12. Merci Dee*

    Got some great news this week on the house-buying front. Got the inspection done last week, and it noted a problem with the pigtail for the electrical connection and some questions about the roof. The seller agreed to get the electrical fixed, because that had the potential to be a safety issue. Had a roofing contractor to come check the roof, and it was in much better shape than we thought. So we’re good to move forward with the appraisal. If that works out, we’re on track for closing on the 18th. I’m less than 3 weeks away from owning my own home! Now comes the dreaded sorting, trashing/donating, and packing. If this is the last time I move in my life, I’ll be happy as a little southern clam.

      1. Merci Dee*

        Thanks! I’m looking forward to living in my own place instead of a rental. It’s been a long time coming.

    1. Sibley*

      me too! I got a credit towards new gutters, and my appraisal came back ok. My close is the 22nd cause i’m out of town that weekend.

      Start purging now, makes it easier when you pack. I dropped a load off at goodwill earlier today. I’m sure there will be more.

      1. Merci Dee*

        I’m going through our closets next weekend. Doing some sorting of cabinets, bathroom stuff, etc. Not going to lie – doing my daughter’s room will be hell on earth. Her OCD tends toward hoarding, and she has a million places to tuck and hide stuff. Siiiiiigh.

    2. Epsilon Delta*

      Congrats! It’s very helpful for me to hear positive experiences of house-buying. We are in the middle of trying to buy a house and it is not going so well. We almost made an offer last week on what seemed like the perfect house, but realized that we couldn’t afford it for various reasons not related to the asking price. That sucked. At least we are not up against a deadline like a lease ending or needing to relocate by X date.

      And yes to the start purging your stuff now. Be brutal. Oh, and you can often get free boxes from the grocery stores. Ask the produce department.

      1. Merci Dee*

        Thankfully, I can grab boxes from work, so that won’t be a problem.

        I hate moving. I’m hiring a service to do the actual moving (thank you, stupid hernia!), but I’ve still got to do all the purging and boxing. Bleh.

  13. wearing too many hats*

    I have zero motivation to do anything that will just have to be done again in no time (dishes, laundry, change the sheets, grocery shopping). It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when Newman explains that “the mail never stops. it just keeps coming and coming and coming. there’s never a let up. it’s relentless. every day it piles up more and more and more…”

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      I so totally feel you on this.

      It is why I have an emergency stash of paper plates and plastic cutlery.

    2. Lady Jay*

      I find that listening to podcasts or audiobooks helps. I turn on something that’s good, then putter about the house listening. Sometimes this backfires and I find myself doing too much cleaning, simply because I want to listen to more audiobooks! :)

      1. Natalie*

        I have the opposite thing, where I save tasks like laundry to do while watching specific serious shows. I can’t concentrate on the show as well if my hands aren’t busy.

    3. Schnapps*

      Can you outsource one or more of those things? Shopping for groceries online and then delivery or picking up at the store? one chain of stores here has this awesome online shopping thing where you do your order, then when you get there, you park in a special stall, call the number and they bring your order to your car (and the fee is minimal, at the most $5 depending on the day/time).

      Or you could drop off the laundry. I have a friend who says (but I totally doubt this because those two are made for each other) that her marriage is saved by dropping off the laundry on the way to brunch on Saturdays, and picking it up on Sundays after their walk.

      1. Clever Name*

        We’ve outsourced cleaning, and it’s life changing. Our cleaning person comes once a month, so we obviously have to do some cleaning in the bathrooms and kitchen, but she mops and vacuums the floors and dusts etc.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          OH GOD I wish I could do this. I outsourced the lawn care, mostly because it kills my shoulder, and it’s fantastic. My yard guy can do it all in 15 minutes where it takes me 45 minutes to an hour. When my mower broke, I didn’t replace it.

          I do have a reel mower I use in mid-summer in between his visits, when it gets hot and dry and the grass doesn’t grow much. It’s much lighter and easier to push. Its only drawback is no mulching; the cuttings just lie there.


      Thank you all for speaking to this. I felt miserable this weekend and many weekends in the past two months because I just cant get motivated on the weekends to do stuff. I live alone now and without anyone in the house, it just doesn’t matter. Especially the repetitive stuff mentioned by “wearing too many hats”. The dogs will continue to shed no matter what I do, the leaves will fall, the grass will grow (except in the front yard), the girl dog will destroy another cardboard box, and so on. :( Thank you all so much.

  14. Allypopx*

    I’m freaking out right now. Saw my dentist yesterday and I have to have a procedure that’s going to run me 5k. I have some credit card debt, not a ton but not nothing, and I have student loans slowly piling on top of me.

    I live in (near) Boston so nothing is cheap, but I’m finally making enough money that I don’t need to second guess getting takeout when I’ve had a shit day. Now I have all this debt looming and I’m feeling weighed down by money again. I’m worried necessary debt is going to wreck my credit. I love my boyfriend but his parents are putting him through grad school and paying his half of our rent right now and he just doesn’t get why I’m worried. He just keeps coming back with “we’ll figure it out” and “what’s the worst that can happen?” He tends to be less of a worrier than me in general but his carefree attitude when he’s not carrying any of this personally is infuriating, though I know he’ll help balance things if debt repayment gets untenable.


    1. the gold digger*

      Tufts has a dental school. They don’t have their prices online, but I paid $175 for my root canal last month at the local dental school. Would going there be an option for you?

      1. Allypopx*

        Possibly. I had a bad experience at a dental school that actually led to this problem, so I’m hesitant about that, but Tufts is a good school.

        All told, the dental bill isn’t the most daunting thing, it’s just the most recent thing contributing to an increasingly nauseating debt pile.

        1. EA*

          BU has a dental school as well.

          Did you have issues with one in the Boston area? Everyone I have talked to has had good experiences.

        2. blackcat*

          Many of my friends have had good experiences at Tufts. It takes forever, but it’s excellent care.

      2. Jen*

        I’ve had work done at both BU and Tufts with no issues. At BU I did have an oral surgeon push me to get wisdom teeth hour a little too hard- my past dentists had all said it was my call. He made it sound like the world would end. That was 15 years ago and my dentists continue to say “watch and see.”

        BOth schools had “cheaper” options, such as silver fillings vs clear. I was a grad student with no dental coverage and very glad to have quality care for decent prices.

    2. Sugar of lead*

      Is there any way you could get the procedure done at the local dental college? My grandmom gets all her stuff done there and it’s always really cheap if not free.

      And I’m sorry about your boyfriend not getting it. Nothing to make stress worse like people telling you that there’s nothing to stress about.

    3. Anon for this*

      How much do you trust your dentist? Maybe shop around a bit. I’ve heard a lot of stories about dentists exaggerating. Second opinions are good.

      1. BBBizAnalyst*

        I agree with this. I switched dentists because she was recommending I immediately get several fillings, a crown for an old filling and a ton of other procedures. I have great dental insurance but it seemed like she was throwing a wide net to see what she could do to my teeth. My teeth are not bad at all so this was confusing me.

        I went to my current dentist and she said my teeth were fine. The old fillings she’ll watch for now but eventually need to be replaced in a couple more years. The old filling that needed to be replaced with a crown? Completely fine. No cracks or leaks so she was wondering why I was inquiring about its replacement.

        Get a 2nd opinion!

        1. Allypopx*

          Yeah I think I’m going to check at Tufts (thanks The Gold Digger). Thanks to both of you as well, this got me thinking quite a bit.

          That said, this is something I know I have to get done and it is going to be expensive to some extent. I think the reality of my student loans is getting to me more than anything and each new expense is making it worse. I’ve been doing the community college —> University route and have managed to only rack up 4k so far, but I know that’s going to change when I transfer in the spring.

      2. katamia*

        Yeah. I trust my current dentist, but my mom switched hers because she felt like her old one was recommending some procedures that weren’t necessary.

        1. Allypopx*

          Mine has never recommended procedures that aren’t necessary, and I’ve generally found their prices reasonable, but this is a heavy bill so I should probably shop around.

          1. Allypopx*

            Also when I considered not getting the procedure because of the cost my dentist seemed very concerned so I might be able to talk her down if I get a competitive quote.

    4. AnitaJ*

      I have so been there. It will be OK! As everyone has already stated, definitely get a second opinion. Or a third. I know that is a pain in the butt and takes a while, but that $5K is worth saving however you can.

      If you’re comfortable sharing what procedure you’d need done, I’d be interested to hear it to see if the dollar amount sounds right. (I’ve had tons of dental work done over the years, but two places in particular screwed me over substantially, so I know those places are out there, and it makes me furious.) I’m confident that you can find your way through this.

    5. all aboard the anon train*

      I just had this experience (and in Boston, as well). I have pretty bad teeth, so I knew getting close to $5K of work done would happen at some point.

      I looked into Tufts, but my insurance ended up working out better with my dentist and the endodontist I was referred to (they’re both amazing). Also my dentist was nice enough to put in both crowns in December and then charge me for one in December and the second in January because my insurance renews in January, so she saved me at least $1K.

      The caveat I’ll give with Tufts is that they’re a nightmare to schedule and appointment with. When I asked for a root canal appointment, they gave me a date three months away. I had a coworker who went to them for an appointment and was rescheduled four different times, one time the day of the appointment, and then they charged her for all the follow up appointments when they should have been lumped in (for instance, my first crown didn’t fit right after it was put on and when I went back to my dentist, she filed it down without charge because she said it was part of the normal procedure – my coworker had to pay for that at Tufts).

      I ended up opening a new credit card with a 24 month 0% interest rate because I knew that if I could pay $200/month for 2 years I could pay off that amount. I don’t know if this an option for you, but it’s worked out fairly well for me.

      1. Allypopx*

        Yeah my teeth aren’t great either and all told I’ve gotten a decent amount of work done for a reasonable amount of money. I think I possibly had that issue with Tufts before when I was originally dentist shopping, now that I think about it.

        I actually have CareCredit (if this is an ongoing issue maybe look into that if your dentist takes it?) which has been a lifesaver since my dentist doesn’t do payment plans. I already have two credit cards I’d be iffy about opening a 3rd, but I do appreciate that idea and I’ll keep it in mind.

        1. all aboard the anon train*

          I looked into CareCredit, but the interest rates were insane if you don’t pay in full by a certain date, so I decided to go with a normal credit card instead.

          This was my third card, and I was wary about opening it too, but it’s what worked for me financially. It’s just a plain, no rewards card with a lower interest rate than my other cards, so I’m designating it as my big purchase only card.

          Good luck with your procedures!

      2. NACSACJACK*

        CareCredit is great! Caveat being if you can pay it off before the due date.
        Three points I’d like to make:
        1) Not everyone takes CareCredit. Shocked the heck out of me to find out my health network doesnt take it. Have racked up med debt on my higher interest cards and am feeling it.

        2) Negotiate your payback time – you can ask for 6/12/18 months payback, but the amount has to be at least a certain dollar amount to qualify. For example, a $200 vet bill is limited to 6 months, but a $1200 dental charge can be 12 months. You have 90 days from the date of charge to correct the payback time. I didn’t catch it in time and now am stuck paying $900 onto of other bills within 6 months.
        3) Negotiate which bill gets paid back first. When I first got it, every monthly payment was applied to all charges proportionally, so I was paying a little on everything. When I had a bill that was due for payoff, I called them and asked how can I pay just that forthcoming note and they said, “Oh would you like your payment to apply in full to the next upcoming promotion?”, “Yes, please” and so now I pay back the next promotion first, which makes for creative accounting on my part if I have a $200 vet bill one month and a $600 dental bill in two months.

    6. Natalie*

      For $5K you could fly to another country and get the procedure done cheaper. Our tickets to Costa Rica (common medical tourism destination) were only $650 and even in the capital you can stay in a decent hotel for $50-75 a night.

    7. Damn it, Hardison!*

      Harvard also has a dental school practice; I’ve had a good experience there.

    8. KR*

      If you’re anywhere close to Southeast NH (not sure if you’re in the North Shore where it’s not an awful drive), Hampshire Family Dental is wonderful wonderful wonderful if you’re looking for a second opinion. I’ve recently moved across the country and can’t see them anymore and I miss them so much. I can’t speak to their prices since I’ve always had dental insurance but my dad has had crowns/root canals/ect there and he said it was as good an experience as it can be.

    9. Arduino*

      How often are you looking at debt?

      I remember being in your shoes in new England and I would worry myself sick about debt.

      My advice is to only evaluate debt quarterly or biannually – basically come up with a realistic and flexible pay back budget and then stick to it and forget about the balance.

    10. HR Pro*

      Allypopx, I don’t know if you’re still checking this thread, but if you are: if the timing can work for you, set up a flexible spending account (FSA) for $2500 of the cost. (In this situation, you can only set up a flexible spending account during open enrollment or when you start a new job.) That saves you 20%-30% in taxes. Alternatively, if you have a high deductible health plan and health savings account (HSA), you can use the HSA to pay for $3400 (if you’re single with no kids) pre tax (which, again, is 20%-30% savings).

  15. Myrin*

    Okay, I logged on briefly last week after I’d been fresh out of hospital and wasn’t feeling well yet, so count yourselves lucky because I’m almost fully restored now and you get to hear my tale!

    So, for anyone who doesn’t know: I had septum surgery ten days ago, on Wednesday the 19th. I got to the hospital by train, with a suitcase and my mum who wanted to accompany me to make sure I’m okay. And we got an uncharacteristical amount of new snow on that very day so we kind of stumbled through the more-wet-than-dense cold, but whatever.

    The hospital – which is actually the hospital I was born in! I had no idea! My mum had no idea! I thought for sure that this specific town has two hospitals but turns out, it doesn’t. So I thought they must have changed the name sometime inbetween which made me confused, but it turns out the hospital was actually established one year before my birth with today’s name already on the comemmoration plaque. The more you know! – was nice but weirdly empty. I later learned that they’re moving stuff around at the moment and closing parts and opening others and whatnot but it was kind of weird that it was so ghostly, even when we just arrived (although there was still a reasonable buzz at that time; it became emptier the longer I was there).

    The staff was, apart from one nurse, very friendly but in parts pretty unorganised. I was shown my room and then… left… there? I wouldn’t even have known to already put on my surgery gown if I hadn’t gone out again and asked.

    So my surgery was scheduled for 12:30 and at ten to twelve I guy came to wheel me away. During all that time, my mum was about ten times more tense than I was and she almost cried when I was taken away. I proceeded to have both the most horrifying and the most disgusting experience of my life (those are two different events): I reacted weirdly to the anaesthesia – I wouldn’t fall asleep for a good 30 seconds and could feel the stuff spreading from my arm (the IV) through my whole body which consequently felt like I weighed about eighty tons. It was so scary, unlike anything I’ve ever felt, and accompanied by an oxygen mask that made me super uncomfortable and sick (I mean, it was just air! Why did it make me want to hurl?!). When I woke up a little over an hour later, I felt normal for about 40 minutes and then suddenly I felt SO SICK. My god. SO SICK. I have never felt this sick in my life. Thankfully one of the doctors could give me something that worked almost immediately but Jesus Christ, I have never felt like this before.

    I was brought back into my room at about three, where I proceeded to doze, not be able to breath because my nose was taped shut, and feel another incredible wave of nausea about half an hour later. Keep in mind that I hadn’t eaten or drunk anything that day and also that I’m a huge glutton who normally eats massive amounts. My mum tried in vain to convince the one nurse who was really unlikeable that I was feeling bad because I was hungry – and I was SO hungry and also my feet were SO sweaty! – until an eternity later I got at least an apple juice and then even later I got to eat lunch and shortly after that and much to the displeasure of Grumpy Nurse dinner. My mum fed me because I was so weak and I couldn’t chew twice without having to come up for air, so to speak, so I had to have my mouth open all the time and chew noisily. Grumpy nurse tried to tell me that I would have “such a restless night” (which is maybe not something you should say to people who are already not feeling well??) but apart from the fact that I woke up five or six times I actually slept pretty well?

    There were several instances of disorganisation on part of the staff – for example, they only gave me these wonderful godly thingies after my ENT (who led the surgery) reminded them of them, or the lady who wrote down what I wanted to eat only came around on Thursday afternoon, meaning I had to specifically ask for all my food up until that point.

    But anyway, I stayed for three days where I mostly slept because I was so exhausted and actually felt astoundingly little pain in my nose – that actually only started on the third day! I had these tampon-like contraptions in my nose until Friday but the plastic things that stopped me from being able to breath and smell were only removed yesterday so I am only now getting used to breathing through my nose again.

    After coming home, I had to take three pills a day and tons of salve. I also saw my ENT on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (yesterday), where everything, including the stitches, was finally removed. He will probably not be happy at all that I actually still get less air through my formerly super small right nostril, but it’s a distinct possibility that that’s still swelling and that that will have shrunk when I next see him an Thursday. I hope so, at least; I mean, that was the reason I got the surgery in the first place and he also said that I actually have more space in the right part than in the left part of my nose now so logically, the air should flow through there much easier. We’ll see.

    So, I probably forgot a ton but whatever, as long as it makes sense. I remember fellow commenter ..Kat.. wanting to ask questions about the procedure or similar, so if others feel the same way, please ask away, I’d love to answer all your questions when this is still fresh on my mind!

    1. fposte*

      Congratulations on coming through, Myrin, and good wishes for more air as things heal. (I did initially read that the hospital had had a commemorative plaque for your birth; that would be fun.)

      1. Myrin*

        This town has a plaque for every mayor and brewer and clerical staff that’s ever lived in it it seems but sadly, I’m neither of those. (Also, I knew I’d misplaced the double m in that darn word – I’d spelled it correctly initially and then I changed it, ack!)

    2. Parenthetically*

      Oh what an ordeal! Glad you’ve come through. (My dad’s septum surgery was the most painful experience of his life so I haven’t been saying anything!)

      1. Myrin*

        I was so surprised by how the actual pain in my nose was about the mildest out of all the other things I experienced simultaneously, be it nausea, fatigue, or headaches. I do know that I have a pretty high pain threshold, but I have no idea if that has anything to do with it or if I just got lucky or if it’s because my ENT is really competent or because my healing processes are generally very fast or what.

    3. Mimmy*

      I can completely empathize with you. I had septum surgery (among other things) in 1991, and from the moment I woke up from the surgery and all through that first night was one of the worst experiences of my life. I don’t think I had much pain, but I was SUPER sick. I hope to never repeat that ever again.

      Best wishes for your continuing recovery.

    4. ..Kat..*

      Thank you for all the helpful details. So sorry you had to experience Grumpy Nurse! I am glad your mom was there to advocate for you when you felt too lousy to advocate for yourself.

    5. Merci Dee*

      Wow! Sorry you had such a weird experience with the hospital. I had sinus surgery in 2008, and my doc fixed my septum at the same time. Thankfully, my procedure was done out-patient, so I was in and out in about six hours.

      The nurses in post-op laughed at me. When I woke up, I asked how long I’d been asleep. They told me I’d been under about 45 minutes, then laughed when I said it felt like hours and it was wonderful….. and then I got sick from the anesthesia. Bleh.

  16. Audiophile*

    Working tonight. I volunteered to work, in exchange for some comp time.

    It’s the first time in over a year that I’ve worked a weekend. Hard to believe, I got used to giving up my entire weekend to work.

    Tomorrow will be laundry day and continuing the apartment hunt. Yay!

    1. SeekingBetter*

      I used to work every single weekend for 12 years. It still feels strange to this day to not have to work an entire day on Saturdays and Sundays (I used to work in a restaurant).

    2. KR*

      I feel the same way! I used to work 2 jobs – a PT office job and a retail job. I worked every weekend and holidays that my office was closed (holiday pay at office and time and a half at retail job f yeah!) and my day off was usually Thursday. It feels so weird now to have reliable weekend and holidays off! Good luck on your apartment search!!

    3. Elizabeth West*

      I haven’t worked weekends in ages. I refuse–my life has so little quality in it right now that if I do that, I will lose it entirely. Plus, I don’t do well with shift work; I can’t sleep or manage my time very well on off-hours.

    4. Audiophile*

      I worked almost every Saturday and Sunday for 2 years I think. And I worked most holidays. All because I left and then came back, so I lost my prime schedule. Finally left that company in December 2015, haven’t worked a weekend since then.

      I definitely don’t miss it.

    5. Blackout*

      My first job out of school required me to work every third weekend. I did that for almost seven years. Now I’m in a job where I never have to work weekends – and I absolutely love it!

  17. Lefty Fountain Pen User*

    Friend’s daughter just got taken on at LA Ballet for the summer. Daughter has to be there ready to dance on May 22. Friend is having hellish time trying to find lodging – hotels are out of the question, AirBnB is apparently nothing but scam attempts, is there somewhere else she should be looking? (Not sure if she’s tried CraigsList yet.) Thanks for any pointers!!

        1. BRR*

          I don’t think fposte meant university housing. Just the area around a university. College students get 12 month leases all the time and don’t plan on being in town all year.

        2. CoffeeLover*

          Are you sure? I’m in Canada so this might be different, but a lot of universities here rent out some of their dorms in the summer to the public. Most of the people that end up staying there are those coming in for conferences and things hosted on campus, but I rented a dorm in Vancouver last summer on my holiday. It was much cheaper than a hotel.

        3. Ktelzbeth*

          It may be, though, that students are renting off campus housing near the universities and looking for someone to take over in the summer.

    1. katamia*

      I’ve found legit, tolerable roommate situations through Craigslist, including one in LA. Seconding the rec for summer sublets/college students looking for roommates if there’s a college close to where she’ll be dancing–I lived with some UCLA students when I was in LA for a year even though I wasn’t a student, and it worked out fine. She can also try checking the classifieds on nearby college websites.

      It’s not clear whether this is a class or a job, but if it’s a class or some kind of formal program, there might be someone at LA Ballet who helps out-of-town students find lodging. Also, if there’s an FB group or listserv or something she can join, then she could ask on there as well.

    2. Gene*

      Had she checked out hostels?

      Does the ballet offer any assistance; not thinking financial, but facilitating girls rooming together, or maybe the patrons of the Ballet offer rooms, a lot like minor league backers put up players.

    3. Artemesia*

      I used AIRBNB for short visit to LA and had excellent luck although it was more like modest hotel prices so perhaps too high. You would think the ballet company would have ideas about lodging for dancers; it isn’t as if this is an unusual question. Sometimes universities make dorms available in summer for groups but you would expect the ballet company to have made such an arrangement possible. California rent is always crazy high. We want to spend a couple months in the winter out there where one of our kids lives and the rental costs are worse than Paris for a lot less. A dumpy little cottage of 1400 feet in a working class neighborhood costs a million bucks; you aren’t going to find cheap housing in that kind of market.

      1. Cedrus Libani*

        I admit, my first reaction was “1400 square feet is a dumpy little cottage?!? Who are you, Scrooge McDuck?” Then I realized I’ve been living in San Francisco for six years on a grad student’s salary. My perception of “normal” housing is a little warped. (I think my room-share is spacious, and it indeed makes all my friends drool with jealousy. But when my mother came to visit, I had to coach her on getting out of the bathroom, because you have to turn your body just so in order to make enough room to open the door…she ain’t from around here and is not used to that.)

        1. Sparkly Librarian*

          Ha, my whole house is just under 1400 sqft. 3BR/2BA in Oakland. People from the Bay Area always comment on how much space we got (the undertone is how we could afford it, not that it’s actually spacious by suburban standards).

          1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

            *waves* howdy neighbor! We’re on the other side of the Bay and near 1400 does indeed *sound* spacious after being here a while. Even more so once you’ve done some house hunting and see 3bd/1baths clocking in at 1100 or fewer square feet.

    4. Lefty Fountain Pen User*

      My friend has checked with the closest colleges – you have to be a current student. There is a private FB group for dancers at this place, but I gather that hasn’t been too helpful so far (friend’s daughter is going as a trainee, so it’s neither school nor a job). Part of the problem is that friend is trying to do this from 2,000 miles away. There is so much demand that no one needs to wait for any out-of-towners. Sigh. Thanks for your suggestions – I will pass them on!

      1. fposte*

        Not a dorm, a *private* sublet, but you find it through the university community; landlords and student tenants won’t care whether the person is enrolled or not. I don’t know for sure that such things exist in the relevant area, but in most college areas I know that’s a thing. Maybe look for a subreddit for the universities.

    5. mreasy*

      I have stayed in Airbnbs in LA lots of times with no issue, so she may still have luck if she refines her search.

    6. BuildMeUp*

      There’s a Facebook group called “Gypsy Housing – West Coast” that’s specifically for people in the performing arts community! There are a lot of posts of people looking for roommates/subletters, and she could also make her own post seeking housing as well. It’s a pretty active group – lots of posts, but also lots of people replying, so she would need to stay on top of messaging people in order to find something.

    7. Jillociraptor*

      Any chance either your friend or her daughter have alumni groups from their universities in LA? My local alumni club is always full of requests for short term housing. Or perhaps she could at least get a decent couch or spare room to sleep in until she finds a longer term space.

    8. KR*

      Is there a Facebook group for the other dancers? Maybe she could room with one of them! The ballet might also have a resource for dancers looking for rooms. I would also recommend craigslist for temporary roommate situations.

    9. Reba*

      Caveat that I haven’t lived there in several years… but during the time we lived in LA we found all of our arrangements through Craigslist. I would think that especially for temporary rentals or flatshares, she should find lots of people wanting to sublet while they’re away for the summer.

  18. neverjaunty*

    Shallowness time: I started watching “The Night Manager” yesterday after having heard so much good about it and was incredibly disappointed. I just can’t get into stories where there’s zero character development at the outset and people just do things for Reasons.

    1. fposte*

      Yeah, I bailed on that. I considered watching just for Olivia Colman, whom I adore, but even she wasn’t enough.

      1. Artemesia*

        We heard ‘My crazy girlfriend’ was good and we found it totally irritating and unwatchable. To each his own. The premise is so creepy that I just couldn’t find it amusing.

        1. Temperance*

          I couldn’t get through the first episode. She just made me so uncomfortable. Watching a woman throwing a grenade into her own life (partner! NEW YORK LAW FIRM! but okay, you’re throwing it away to go live in the middle of nowhere to chase a guy you haven’t seen in 20 years??) is just unpleasant for me.

          1. Ramona Flowers*

            Me either. People recommended it on here but I hated every second of what I did see.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            I love Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. LOVE it. I would never do the over-the-top stuff she does, but I can relate to her insecurity. Also, it’s hilarious.

            Every time the family gets together, my sister and I sing that “I’m so good at YOOOOOGA” song at each other and drive my brother-in-law crazy, heh heh.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I love her too. I love Broadchurch. I watched Black Books on Netflix (hilarious!) and she popped up in the hen party episode and I was screaming at the TV–OMG IT’S OLIVIA! Pam from the UK verison of The Office was in it too.

    2. all aboard the anon train*

      For the longest time, I kept confusing it with “The Night Of” because “The Night Of” and “The Night Manager” were both on my to-watch list and then they were both nominated during awards season.

      I personally thought “The Night Of” was very well done (but I will watch anything with Riz Ahmed, so I’m biased), but I was pretty disappointed with “The Night Manager”.

    3. Nina*

      It was definitely a mini-series I wanted to love more than I actually did. The first two episodes were the strongest. The spy stuff was boring, I actually thought his work in Cairo and his furlough in the small town were more interesting.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I quite liked The Night Manager, but my favourite Olivia Coleman role is as Minke, the fantasically violent Pole in Hut 33. It’s a radio sitcom about 3 Bletchley Park codebreakers who can’t stand each other.

  19. CatCat*

    I found some pretty glass containers and am going to use them to make candles this weekend so they’ll be cured in time for Mother’s Day and I can give them as gifts. I’m going to try doing two layers of color so we’ll see how that turns out. I’m thinking of doing pale green and pale pink. Not sure what scents I’ll use.

    1. Handy nickname*

      Do you tend to like more natural scents, like essential oils, or more – not sure what the word is, flowery? – type of scents?

      1. CatCat*

        I prefer muskier/earthier scents. My mom doesn’t like very flowery scents. I have one called rainwater that might be nice. Maybe I’ll do blue and green.

    2. KR*

      My husband is making candles with bacon grease and bees wax – what are you using for wick? We don’t have any craft stores near us so he’s improvising.

  20. NeverNicky (formerly TeaLady)*

    My partner and I are finally in a position to buy a home of our own. We have talked to a mortgage adviser, set a budget (well under the amount we could get a mortgage for) and have our list of must haves, nice to haves and deal breakers.
    We are arranging viewings next week for a property we are interested in. It’s quite old – parts go back to 1635 – but not Listed. What questions – big and small – should we be asking of the seller and what should we be looking for? (We are in England)

    1. Mimi*

      A house that old you want to know about what updates have been made and when especially for things like electric and plumbing which wouldnt have been a factor of the property originally.

      1. NeverNicky (formerly TeaLady)*

        It has been fairly recently updated, but I will ask about the wiring! I’m especially interested in making sure there’s plenty of sockets, I hate extension leads.

    2. Artemesia*

      Of course you want payment records for utilities. The problem is that sellers all lie, so you have to do your own due diligence with your own inspection and just assume that everything needs to be tested. Assume every giant floor pot with flowers is covering a terrible stain or damaged floor; assume anything that doesn’t quite work right will be difficult and expensive to fix (if it were easy it would be fixed before sale) etc etc. The things you really would like to know are things no one will tell you e.g. the vicious stalker neighbor, the loud partiers next door, the theft ring in the neighborhood, the fact that the refrigerator is on its last legs, the problem with leaks in the winter, the mold problem in the cellar. Buying a house is always full of surprises, rarely happy ones and so be prepared to pay attention and to plan to have to do some work you didn’t expect.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Why would you need payment records for utilities? Those are categorically not your problem until you own the place.

        1. the gold digger*

          I left a year’s worth of utilities bills on the counter when I was selling my house so potential buyers would have an idea of what it costs to heat and cool it.

          1. Ramona Flowers*

            Oh I see! Sorry, I thought you meant proof they’d been paid and not examples of prices. My bad!

        2. Caledonia*

          TBH websites such as rightmove and zoopla do this for you, as well as home reports (which you MUST have in Scotland, think it’s just a “nice to have” in England).

      2. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

        These aren’t things sellers are legally required to disclose in England? We were told that all of those examples are things we would have to disclose as being materially relevant to the property and that we’d be liable if we didn’t share it (in California).

        1. caledonia*

          I don’t know, I live in Scotland :) it’s different in many respects to the rest of the UK, which is why I put a question mark.

          1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

            Oh sorry, caledonia, my question was for Artemesia’s comment: “The things you really would like to know are things no one will tell you e.g. the vicious stalker neighbor, the loud partiers next door, the theft ring in the neighborhood, the fact that the refrigerator is on its last legs, the problem with leaks in the winter, the mold problem in the cellar.”

      3. NeverNicky (formerly TeaLady)*

        Yes, that’s pretty much our attitude – we’ve both been renting all our adult lives, so we have our fair share of living with unfixed stuff – we’re too old for all that!

    3. Anono-me*

      Talk to the neighbors. You would be amazed at what people will tell you about their neighbor’s house and the neighborhood. Also it is a good way to get a feel for the community and see if it suits you.

      Also try to drive or walk the area at different times of the day. Sometimes​ something that might be a concern for you is only a part time thing. (I wished I had known that at the quiet little commuter airport nearby, the helicopter flight school had classroom in the morning and actual flying in the afternoon.)

      Congratulations and happy house hunting.

      1. Windchime*

        Going to the neighborhood in off hours is so, so important. I didn’t do that for the house I bought right after my divorce and it was a huge mistake. The quiet, older neighborhood just looked a little bit run down; I didn’t realize it was party central and The Place To Be if you wanted to cook meth. I lost $10k when I sold that place.

        The next place I bought, you had better believe that I went over there at all hours of the day and night. I would literally get up and drive over there at midnight and sit in my car with the windows open, listening. Thankfully, it was much better.

        1. NeverNicky (formerly TeaLady)*

          Yes, we’ll be checking everything thoroughly. I mostly work from home, so I need peace in the day – evenings and weekends we’re hardly in, so it’s less important.

          We do know the communities we’re looking at reasonably well – we’ve been living locally for a number of years. Doing this slowly has really helped in that regard!

    4. Not So NewReader*

      My house is a youngun, compared to yours. Mine was built 200 years after yours, it’s about 190 years old.

      Based on what I have seen here I would ask about:
      the structure (foundation to roof), when was it last checked and/or reinforced?
      the lot drainage, any standing water? any water loving trees on the property?
      household pests (mice, bats, termites, anything)
      ask about the household systems, when were they last repaired/replaced (heat, plumbing, electric, air conditioning if any, septic/sewer)
      do the windows and doors work properly? Definitely not a deal breaker but at least I knew before I moved in that the windows no longer stayed up on their own and had to have prop sticks.
      Ask them to walk around outside with you and show you the property lines/markers.
      It probably has at least one fireplace, ask if it works. I have lived here for over 20 years. Upon doing some work around here we found that the chimney had a hole in it where the stove pipe used to go. The chimney is hooked to the furnace, whoops. Chimney liners are a wonderful thing.

      1. NeverNicky (formerly TeaLady)*

        Thank you – very useful points. There are working woodburners, so the point about chimneys is helpful.

  21. CatCat*

    Has anyone here read “The Simple Path to Wealth” by JL Collins?

    I’m about halfway through and really enjoying it. I wish I’d read it 15 years ago. Okay, that was before it was written, but still.

    1. gala apple*

      I was just listening (10 min ago!) to his podcast interview on Choose FI. The world of FI is new to me but I admire JL Collins. The book is on my to-read list in Goodreads; I’ll have to request that my library order a copy. Good luck with it; I’d love to hear what you are implementing!

      1. CatCat*

        I reduced our holdings in bonds in our 401ks and 457s and adjusted my TSP.

        One thing the book does not mention (maybe because it is not applicable to most people) is that if you have access to an ERISA qualified tax advantaged plan (like a 401k) and a non-ERISA tax advantaged plan (like a government 457), the max contribution limits are independent so you could theoretically max out both.

        My goal is to qualify for loan forgiveness on my student loans so I have a big incentive to reduce my AGI through tax advantaged accounts.

        1. CatCat*

          I also ratcheted my allocation to an actively managed fund down to 1%. I didn’t get rid of it all together because it’s a socially responsible fund and I’d like to bring a bit of investment pressure to bear there.

  22. Portia*

    I am so cranky because tonight is the big fundraising event for the school I teach at, and all teachers are required to work a four-hour shift. And they just informed us that they would not be validating our hotel parking.

    The question: we have to dress in semi-formal attire, and I do have a really pretty dress I’ve been wanting to wear somewhere. But I don’t have the perfect shoes to go with it. It’s an ivory lace dress, and I was planning to wear a pair of gold pumps I haven’t put on in, oh, at least four years. I tried them on this morning and they were SO uncomfortable- no way I can stand in those for four hours.
    So, do I a) wear my old tan ballroom dance shoes, which are at least comfy but don’t look that great with it b) wear a different dress and shoes or c) devote even more time to this darn endeavor by going shoe-shopping (but at least then I’d have new shoes!). Help me out; I’m feeling indecisive.

    1. Handy nickname*

      I’d say go with the tan ballroom shoes unless you really wanted have a pair to match your ivory dress right away. It’s a last minute thing and you’ll be on your feet a lot, so you wouldn’t want to get new shoes and end up with blisters halfway through the night.

      1. Portia*

        That is an excellent point; I hadn’t thought about blisters from new shoes. Plus, I’ve realized I’m probably going to be standing behind a table checking people in, so my shoes won’t really be visible most of the time anyway.

    2. Blue eagle*

      The ivory lace dress sounds fabulous. I would wear that with the old tan ballroom dance shoes (assuming that they are comfortable). Yes, some people will check out your shoes, but the vast majority will notice your dress and not your shoes, so to minimize any additional anxiety/stress at this event – – – – look fabulous in your dress and wear shoes that are comfortable.

    3. Cher Horowitz*

      You can be comfortable and get to wear the new dress. Assuming that not great together does not mean that they clash!

    4. Temperance*

      Where the most comfortable shoes that you have that are at least reasonably passable. Wear your ballroom shoes.

    5. Bluebell*

      Comfy shoes all the way. You will feel so much better at the end of the night. Hope it goes well!

    6. Al Lo*

      When I work galas and fundraisers, I usually have 3 pairs of shoes with me — the heels that go with the outfit the best, a lower pair of more comfortable heels, and a pair of dressy flats (and for that matter, I usually also have a bag stashed somewhere with the jeans I had on for setup, so there’s usually also a pair of runners in there). Could you take both, wear the comfortable ones when you need to or when your feet are out of sight, and change into the ones that match the outfit better if you have to get up on stage or if you’re out in the open and your feet aren’t hidden?

      1. Portia*

        Update: I wore the comfy ballroom shoes and it turned out I was behind a table all night, so almost no one saw the shoes. I got lots of compliments on the dress, though, so now I really want cute shoes so I can wear it to anniversary dinner with my boyfriend this week!

    7. Clever Name*

      As a parent of a student, I’d just like to thank you for doing this. My son has a lot of behavioral issues (ADHD, anxiety, etc), and every single one of his teachers has made such a huge difference. I’m sure you’d rather spend your weekend time doing things of your choosing, so thank you. :)

      1. Portia*

        That is really nice of you to say, thank you! The fundraising stuff is the thing I get the most grumpy about, because I feel like it takes time that I could spend on things that would actually benefit my students (like lesson planning and giving feedback on papers!) I know fundraising is important, but a lot of that money winds up going toward things that don’t actually benefit the students. But thank you for your kind words!

  23. Nicole*

    Ugh, don’t you just hate it when the weather ruins your weekend plans? It’s cold and rainy here so I can’t go shopping for a new car or visit the park known for beautiful lilacs and tulips. What a bummer. Instead I’m running errands which isn’t nearly as fun.

    1. Emmie*

      Cold and rainy end of the month is an amazing time for car shopping. They’re trying to meet quotas and hardly anyone goes!

    2. SeekingBetter*

      Totally agree!! I’m supposed to start training for a 5K in late summer, but haven’t had the chance to go out and hit the pavement due to similar weather. I don’t have money for a gym membership because I already use that money to pay for exercise classes at a place. This place I go to is really nice because I get an opportunity to actually socialize and have made friends with a couple of people who go there as well.

    3. Nina*

      Yes! I have a few days off and I couldn’t even run errands today because the rain is just that severed. And it’s worse because it’s so cold, you just don’t want to be outside.

    4. ThatGirl*

      Are you in the same town as me? It’s almost Lilac Time here and definitely a miserable weather weekend….I was lucky to go see the flowers on Tuesday.

      1. Nicole*

        Lucky! I’m in the western Chicago burbs and saw on social media this week that everything is in full bloom at Lilacia Park in Lombard. Usually this doesn’t happen until May. I go every year but by the time it’s nice enough this week to visit my guess is everything will be wilted or gone.

        1. ThatGirl*

          Yep, I’m in Lombard. Actually the bushes are pretty hardy and the blooms are staggered so they should still be pretty next weekend. Good luck :)

          1. Nicole*

            Oh good to know. Thanks for the info! How are the tulips holding up? The ones in my neighborhood are already starting to sag. :(

            1. ThatGirl*

              They still looked good a few days ago but I haven’t seen since the rain, so hard to say.

    5. Windchime*

      I’m in Seattle and it’s been cold and rainy for 6 months. I’m pretty damn sick of it. The sun came out for a few minutes the other day and we all ran to the window to try to bask in it for a minute.

      1. Nicole*

        I laughed at that image of everyone running to bask in the momentary sunshine because I can totally understand that. This gloomy weather has got me so down. It doesn’t bother me when it rains midweek but the weekends should be sunny and warm, darn it!

    6. The IT Manager*

      My team managed to get our 2 softball games before the terrible weather started. It’s not cold here, though.

      But the rain is too terrible for me to run errands now and I wanted to buy some meat to put in the crock pot this afternoon. :(

  24. katamia*

    Anyone really into ancient literature here? I want to read the Iliad and the Epic of Gilgamesh and reread the Odyssey, but I’m having trouble picking a translation. I know I want poetic versions, but beyond that I don’t know what’s really important to look for in a translation.

    1. CatCat*

      You might just pick up multiple copies of different translations at the library and read the first few pages of each to decide which translation speaks to you the most. For the Odyssey, try comparing Lattimore, Fagles, and Lombardo. (Odyssey is pretty much my favorite ancient tale and I’ve enjoyed all three if these!)

      1. katamia*

        Thanks! I can definitely do that with the Iliad and Odyssey. Might be a little harder with Gilgamesh because my local library doesn’t have copies, but maybe I can sample some ebook versions.

    2. Artemesia*

      Slight detour but the most amazing piece of ancient literature I have read in recent years is Lucretius On the Nature of Things which is like a chat with a modern person. He anticipated modern science by 2500 years. Without actual modern scientific knowledge his discussion of the nature of the universe and life and death are just so spot on and his science so close to accurate that it kind of blows you away. I can’t quite put my hands on it this morning, but I think we had the Copley translation.

      1. katamia*

        Ooh, thanks, that sounds really interesting! I’m very, very open to other ancient/classical recs, and I’ll definitely be checking that out. :)

      2. Parenthetically*

        It is phenomenal. I’ve taught it a few times and not only is his prescience pretty mind-blowing, the writing is really engaging and interesting. He’s also basically an atheist, which I find just about as fascinating as his understanding of science.

    3. Parenthetically*

      I’ve only read Lattimore for Homer, so I can only recommend that, but since you’re also looking for other ancient recs, I cannot over-recommend Herodotus’s Histories. I love the way Herodotus acknowledges his subjectivity and gives different perspectives of events — and I’ve cackled so many times at his theory about the “true story” of Helen of Troy. It’s delightful. Some stuff that reads pretty farfetched to modern eyes, but you can really see his effort to get the facts straight while recognizing that there’s a lot that can’t be known when the witnesses are biased. Plus it’s packed with gross anecdotes about scalping and cannibalism and all kinds of rip-roaring battle stories. Great, fascinating stuff.

    4. mreasy*

      I love Fagles. Lattimore, who I read first, is a bit too scholarly in his translation. Still excellent, but to me seems more “letter of the law” while Fagles’ tone feels truer.

      1. mreasy*

        Also, highly second the recommendation for Lucretius. If you want to get into some heavy satire & genre play, I would also point you toward Apuleius’ The Golden Ass. They’re both from “Silver Latin” era of Roman literature – which was broader, weirder, and less concerned with keeping to traditional form, so it allowed for a lot of interesting variations. (Can you tell I am a college classicist who is fairly dying to use her degree ever in the real world?)

        1. Parenthetically*

          Haha! broader, weirder, and less concerned with keeping to traditional form <– This is The Truth.

    5. all aboard the anon train*

      I’m seconding CatCat’s comment about comparing the Lattimore, Fagles, and Lombardo translations of the Iliad and Odyssey.

      If you’re looking for other lit, I always highly recommend Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf’s translation. It’s gorgeous.

      I’d also recommend Fagles’ translation of The Oresteia. They’re my favorite works in ancient literature.

      1. Jules the First*

        There’s a fairly new Antigone by Anne Carson too, which is awesome. Seamus Heaney did the Aeneid as well (always liked Virgil better than Homer, myself).

    6. HannahS*

      FAGLES! Oh my gosh it makes such a difference. He’s really good, and he’s done both The Iliad and the Odyssey.

  25. Mimi*

    I am off to go have an evening with friends of mine and a mutual friend that I used to be closer with will be there. She has complained to others that we dont spend as much time together anymore because she moved across the city where the transit is shit. But really it stopped before then because I realised she isnt a very respectful person.

    She is one of those people who puts friends down in a jokey way because she thinks its bonding but its really very toxic. She used to make jokes about killing my husband. And I asked her to stop when I was at a really depressed time in my life and was super anxious and it made everything worse and she did for a bit and then resumed.

    I really dont want to be near her but I want to see these friends. Any tips on how to be notfriends but still on okay terms for our social circle??

    1. NaoNao*

      I think the key is brisk, pleasant, and firm social interaction, the way one would with an unpleasant relative at a family function.
      Keep the topics on neutral subjects, and if she says something mean or toxic, give her the “Wow.” or the “Why would you say such a hurtful thing?” whatever she answers, say “Okay, I see. Well, please don’t do that again, it’s very upsetting. [Topic change].”
      I’d be “busy” a lot when/if she asks to hang out, and if friends are really bugging you, be honest “Honestly, we don’t really click the way I need to make her a good friend. She has some good sides, but we’re just not cut out to be close.”
      There’s this pressure to be gushy and giggly and all “we’re having the FB time of our lives” in social circles of some types, just try to resist that and be real, but distant.

      1. Windchime*

        Yes to all this. There is a guy that I am somewhat friends with and most of the time he is fine. He said something super rude and offensive the other day, and I said, “Wow, Fred, I actually find that pretty offensive.” And then I stayed silent. (That’s the hard part; trying not to walk it back after I called him out). He stuttered and apologized and that was the end of it.

        I’m to the point in my life where I am just not going to agree with this type of behavior, whether by being silent or laughing uncomfortably. I don’t want to be a jerk about it, but some things are just Not OK. So go and meet your friends, but be firm when Negative Nancy is rude.

  26. Mallows*

    Do you have a favorite somewhat inane but deeply treasured Twitter account?

    Mine: Cat in the Sink?. Not just for the suspense factor but thanks to the jubilant or despondent replies to each update.

    1. caledonia*

      I quite like parody accounts. There is a series that Many People Are Talking About called Line of Duty and there os a parody account of one of the main characters.

    2. FDCA In Canada*

      Birds Rights Activist, @ProBirdRights. It’s deeply dumb but I adore it. “it nightime already????????o wait my head just under a muffin wrapper flase alarem.” “i going start a new crereal brand there a prize inside (it me)” “anybod know how get unbanned from cat fancy forums?? i was not done sharing the truth???”

      I can’t explain it, but I laugh every time.

    3. Handy nickname*

      My favorite weird twitter account is Jeff Wysaski: https://twitter.com/pleatedjeans

      A few favorites: “My motto is forgive and frog pet haha just go to a stream and pet some frogs it’s very relaxing. frog pet ”
      “If you stack 5 increasingly smaller microwaves inside each other you can cook a whole turkey in 13 seconds”

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        LOL re the nesting microwaves. This reminds me of cold frames (basically mini-greeenhouses) in the garden: if you nest multiples you can theoretically fool your wintering plants into thinking they are in a warmer time zone. This theory may have been partially superseded by climate change.

      1. Perse's Mom*

        There is the similar thecatreviewer, where people… review the random cats with which they cross paths.

        10/10 would click again.

    4. Kristen*

      This sounds weird, but I enjoy Tom Hanks’ Twitter page where he post pictures of lost items he finds, usually gloves. And he signs everything “Hanx” which cracks me up.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I like this one too, plus one called Boop My Nose that has close-up nose photos of dogs and cats. I always BOOP it with my cursor before liking them. :)

        Also, when things get rough politically and worldwise, writer Chuck Wendig will post “emergency snoot boop” photos of his own dogs and people reply in kind. For HOURS. It’s awesome.

    5. Buggy Crispino*

      My favorite is @darth … I’m cracked up every day. Not to bring politics into the discussion, but I suspect those on the more conservative side would not care much for this account.

  27. EvilQueenRegina*

    Dress codes at parties. I’m not talking about Halloween or other costume parties, I mean a request to wear a particular colour theme. Is this more common than I thought, or is it quite unusual? If you’re invited to a party with such a dress code do you go along with it even if the theme doesn’t really suit you?

    The reason I ask is that there was a 50th birthday party for my aunt Cersei last weekend. I had messaged my cousin Sansa about something else a few days before, and she replied to me two days before the party saying “We only found out about the dress code last night. I haven’t got anything white or gold!” Dress code? Excuse me? What dress code? That was the first I had heard of it!

    Sansa explained that her brother Jon had been texting Uncle Robert, Cersei’ s husband, and Robert had told him about it. Jon had messaged Sansa asking what she was wearing and when she told him, he said “But the dress code is white and gold!” As the family compared notes, it became clear that none of the rest of us had been told this, and we all started wondering if Robert was joking (that is something he would find funny), and we all (including Jon and his wife Ygritte) just went in what we had planned, instead of looking for anything new to meet the dress code. Then the majority of their friends walked in wearing white and gold. So obviously most people except the family had been told!

    Sansa had explained the situation to Catelyn at the time and Catelyn had said it didn’t matter but has since made a point of putting pictures of the people in white and gold up on her Facebook and none of those who didn’t follow the dress code we didn’t know about in time.

    1. Katie the Fed*

      I’ve heard of them for weddings, but not parties. It’s obnoxious. A host’s job is to make the guest feel welcome. Dictating what a guest wears is exactly the opposite.

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, I’d keep on not getting the message. Or say “I’m so sorry, I’d love to see you at a less color-coded event.”

      2. CatCat*

        We had a themed wedding and alerted guests that they were welcome to dress in a themed way (lest they feel weird about it since the attire might not seem wedding appropriate otherwise), but would not have dreamed of dictating people dress in themed attire.

      3. Artemesia*

        sometimes there is a theme well in advance like a black and white party but for weddings or birthdays or whatever, it is presumptuous to try to bully guests into buying new clothes to conform to some idiotic color scheme. This is one to ignore after the fact.

    2. Lightly-chewed Jimmy*

      I think it’s pretty unusual – I’ve only heard of it in the sense of a White Party…and you know what you’re going to then, it’s not sprung on you at the last minute.
      It could be a fun thing, but a theme should be prominently included in the invitation and never, ever a surprise!
      I’d likely go along with an unflattering theme if full kit wasn’t required (I can handle an orange/pirate/skull/striped/polka-dotted/whatevs hair bow for a couple of hours ;) ).

    3. Ramona Flowers*

      I think there are two issues here: having the dress code, and not telling you about it.

    4. AcademiaNut*

      I find them obnoxious. I actually quite like costume parties for things like Hallowe’en – they’re generally flexible enough that you can decide how much fuss you want to go to, and you can improvise from what you have on hand. And if you don’t like costume parties, you generally turn down invitations to things like Hallowe’en.

      But I dislike it when hosts combine a celebration type party (wedding, birthday, etc) with elaborate demands about how you are supposed to dress (beyond a basic indication of the level of formality of the event), for several reasons. First – there’s the fuss of creating a costume, or in some cases, needing to go out and buy random clothing items to satisfy it. Second – someone who would normally turn down an invitation to a Hallowe’en party will feel pressured because they really do want to see their friends married, or celebrate with them. Third – in many cases it’s treating guests as props whose purpose is to make the party look good.

    5. Nic*

      I’ve heard of a Purple or Red one before…I think they were linked to the “When I am old I shall wear purple and learn to spit” poem, or the Red Hat Club. But like someone else said in this case it was the theme of the party and you couldn’t not know the dress code.

      I went to a wedding reception once that was supposed to be a costume party, and no one had told me. That was super awkward because it was my mom’s wedding and the reception was at her house, and I was visiting from out of state and staying there.

      I’d be super frustrated about not having been told the dress code. I’m okay if there is one, but the organizer needs to lay that out in the very beginning.

    6. Chaordic One*

      Yes, this is a thing. I’ve been invited to black parties and white parties and parties that seem to be more like themed costume parties. I’ve been invited to “Downton Abbey” and “Great Gatsby” themed parties among others. If I have time to plan ahead I can usually scrounge up a clever costume from second-hand stores (such as the Salvation Army), but other times they are just a pain and I end up skipping them.

    7. Me, hiding a little for this*

      Ugh. I think it’s just Pinterest silliness. My dad’s 80th birthday was near last Thanksgiving, and my mum said all he wanted was a family photo session. But she insisted we all wear blue (not navy). Literally the only blue shirt I had that fit was a Captain America comic book t-shirt. So that’s what she got. :P

      Dad didn’t care about the blue; this was all her. My mother is very Martha Stewart about things–her house is perfect, and when she sets a table, you could photograph it for a magazine. I like her sense of style, but the wear-blue thing was just so costume-y. I wasn’t the only one rolling my eyes. It would have been better just to ask us to dress nicely.

  28. Amber Rose*

    I’m at the Comic Expo on booth/demo duty. Some strange folk stopping by. Like 99% awesome folk, but that 1% holy smokes. I now know more than I needed to about one dude’s terribly cliched novel and another dude’s spiritual journey in MMA.

    The costumes are fabulous as always.

    1. Tris Prior*

      Ha, yeah, I always run into *interesting* individuals when I have a booth at a con. People will talk to you about anything and everything. My favorite (not really) was hearing all about some guy’s tattoo, which he had gotten…. you know where. At least I have a good story to tell now!

      1. Nic*

        Renaissance Festivals, too. There are some really cool folks out there, and some highly …interesting… ones.

  29. Elkay*

    Another show I was late to the party for – Bluestone 42. I watched all three series over the last couple of weeks and laughed so hard. It’s a shoe about a bomb disposal unit so very dark humour but brilliant none the less.

    1. Artemesia*

      Where is that available. I didn’t find it on netflix and amazon prime. It sounds interesting.

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          I like Bluestone 42 as well. I mentioned further up about Hut 33, and it is the same writer. It is also a bit of a surprise to realise Towerblock is played by the actor who was Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter films.

  30. Katie the Fed*

    you guys, I just found out I’m pregnant this morning! Too soon to tell family or friends, so I have to tell it here :)

    We’ve been trying for a year and I was really worried that with my thyroid and other hormonal issues it just wasn’t going to happen. We were about to go see a doctor.

    Now I’m just freaking the heck out, in between ecstatic happiness. GAHH. I didn’t ACTUALLY expect the stick to change.

        1. Jean (just Jean)*

          Yes. Your life will change but in a good way. Wishing you a healthy, happy next nine months with minimal freakouts.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        Thank you! I agree – you guys have been here with me through dating, marriage, and now this! :D

        1. Kristen*

          Congratulations! I bookmarked Ovia (thank you), because I’m hoping to start trying in the next 6 months to year, but am expecting difficulties due to my own hormonal issues/age.

          1. Katie the Fed*

            It took us a year – definitely use the ovulation strips and go at it like rabbits for the few days after :D

            Good luck!

    1. Mimmy*

      Congratulations Katie!!! You mentioned a while ago about wanting to start a family – so happy for you and your husband!!

    2. New Bee*

      Congratulations! I also have thyroid issues (had half removed years ago) and am cuddling my 6 month-old now. Wishing you a happy, healthy pregnancy!

    3. Anion*

      CONGRATULATIONS!!! What wonderful, wonderful news!

      You don’t know me, of course, but I am sincerely thrilled to the top of my head for you! Babies are the best things on the planet.

    4. Merci Dee*

      So happy for you! Hope the pregnancy is a breeze for you. Please keep us updated! Would give you hugs if I could!

        1. Katie the Fed*

          Oh good. I spent yesterday in a tizzy. I had a 529 college fund started by the end of the day, and spent so much time research car seats, whether or not my husband could donate leave to me, etc.

          8 months is plenty of time to prepare, right?

          1. Windchime*

            Yes, it’s plenty of time! How exciting for you. My ex and I were young and poor when we had our first, but we still put together a cute little nursery. I would go in there in the night and just sit in the rocker, looking around at the place where my little baby would soon be living. So fun!

          2. chickabiddy*

            First of all, congratulations and best wishes for a happy, healthy, and uneventful nine months!

            > spent so much time research car seats

            I was a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician with SafeKids USA for many years and am still active in that world. I have linked an email in my name and would be happy to engage in car seat geekery if you have any questions.

          3. Gem*

            Go straight to the blog Car Seats for the Littles (csftl.org) and you’ll be all set in that regard.

          4. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

            I adore you for having the 529 set up already. I’m super on top of money stuff normally but the 529 was something that took me way too long to set up.

            8 months actually is plenty of time to prepare if you get the full time to spend on it! Really. The babies themselves really don’t need much stuff: some clothes, a safe place to sleep, bottles if you need to supplement or whatever you end up choosing for the feeding bit.

            One thing that I did soon after getting pregnant was diverting the worst case scenario childcare cost out of our cashflow into a savings account for the kid so that we had a cushion for any unexpected expenses which gave me amazing peace of mind.

            If you ever want to, please feel free to ask anything you’d like about this period, I’m happy to answer any questions. No question is too terribly weird. I also do monthly updates on my kiddo over at the blog, some people find that helpful.

    5. Cambridge Comma*

      Congratulations! Just in case this is useful (14w today with thyroid issues.:-)) don’t let gynaecologists freak you out about your TSH levels. They seem to go immediately to panic stations if you test over 2.5, whereas endocrinologists have a much more nuanced view. We had an agonising wait to see the endocrinologist because the gynae was so freaked out, but no panic was needed at all.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        Oh good – thank you! I’ve been seeing a thyroid specialist for 7 years so I want to stick with her advice (she looks at T3 and T3 and the entire package, not just TSH).

        Congratulations to you! I’m so new to this it took a minute to figure out what “14w” meant, ha!

    6. Windchime*

      Oh, wow, what wonderful news!!! Congratulations to you and Mr. KTF! Don’t freak out; it’s so exciting and scary and awesome!

    7. Clever Name*

      Congrats! When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I had a moment where I thought, “OMG, what have we done?” Lol

    8. Anon Erin*

      Oh my gosh, congrats!! We had to try for almost two years. It’s so rewarding when it finally happens!

  31. Not loving my brain*

    How do anti-anxiety meds make you feel? I’ve been in therapy for a year, and while I am much, much better, I’m still quite anxious most of the time. It’s hard to be really present for relationships and work, and anxiety attacks are still affecting my life. What is the on-meds anxious life like?

    1. CatCat*

      I’ve taken lorazepam for acute anxiety I used to have about flying (it still makes me anxious, but not panic attack anxious). The drug made me feel spacey and I did not like that, but it was a valuable tool overall to get me through it.

    2. mreasy*

      I take Klonopin as needed, and it has been a huge help. I was initially hesitant, but in my reading, I kept coming across the idea that every panic attack floods your body with stress hormones, and thought to myself that maybe a small dose of a medication to prevent that might be easier on my body than a flood of cortisol. I feel no side effect when I take a pill other than realizing, in about 15-20 minutes, that I no longer feel so worried.

    3. Mimmy*

      I take the generic for Xanax. It makes me very foggy, so I only take half a pill–and I think I’m on the lowest available dose! So while it still makes me a bit fuzzy, it takes the edge off any anxiety or agitation I’m feeling. I try not to rely on it too often though.

    4. Cedrus Libani*

      I’ve been medicated before, though I’m not now.

      Benzos are for short-term and emergency use only. Tolerance develops quickly, and once it does, the withdrawal is brutal. The clinic I went to was very careful, but a friend of mine wasn’t so lucky…she spent months weaning off, and had life-altering withdrawal symptoms for at least a year after that. Seriously, don’t mess with the stuff. I don’t like the feeling – it’s not a “high”, it makes me woozy and want to take a nap – but I do like having a few around, just as a safety net. I’ve gone for them once in the past ~3 years.

      I’ve also taken Zoloft before. It does work. It doesn’t make the anxious thoughts go away, but it does tamp down any emotional reaction, so you can step back and observe the thought rationally. I think of antidepressants as “training wheels” for cognitive-based therapies. If that would be helpful, by all means consider taking one. The side effects, however, are no joke. I was stone-cold asexual the entire time I was on it, and for about six months afterward; it was about a year before I could orgasm at all, and I’m still not back to normal. Yes, I was on a fairly low dose. Also, I gained about thirty pounds over the month I was weaning off, though to be fair I’d lost weight while starting it (it seems to have some appetite suppressant effects, but there’s a rebound).

      I’m fully aware that having an untreated anxiety disorder has side effects too. I weighed the cost-benefit, decided to go on meds during a rough patch (*cough* grad school), and decided to go off afterwards.

    5. Bye Academia*

      I tried SSRIs first, and got pretty bad side effects that I couldn’t push through (extreme nausea, felt like I had the flu). After I had to stop three different drugs within a few weeks I gave up on SSRIs.

      Now I’m on buspar. It isn’t a magic bullet, but it takes the edge off the anxiety enough that I can work through it. So, I still feel mildly anxious most of the time, but when it ramps up I am more easily able to recognize that I am just having a physical reaction to something objectively nonthreatening. I can stay present in what I’m doing and just let the symptoms sit alongside me instead of taking over, if that makes sense?

      I do also have ativan on hand. I try not to take it unless things get really bad because it can make me sleepy. But when I am anxious enough to start getting dizzy/nauseous it just takes me back to baseline so I can stay more present and work through what’s going on, as above.

    6. Christy*

      The first med I tried was lexapro. It seriously killed 100% of my anxiety, and it was great. The only side effect I had, and the reason I eventually switched meds, was that it totally killed my libido. I’d emotionally want to have sex but physically/lustfully never.

      So I switched to Wellbutrin XL. It’s amazing. It’s killed about 95% of my anxiety and I truly haven’t noticed any side effects.

      I also have a prescription for .25 mg Xanax as needed. Even though it’s a tiny dose, it will quell a panic attack in less than five minutes. It’s a miracle drug. Last night I was wracked with anxiety (overstimulated from a loud bar) and was losing my mind and flipping out and when I got home and took a xanax I was like a normal, unanxious human again. The xanax can make me a tiny bit sleepy but I would definitely still be able to work through a work day, for instance.

      1. Not loving my brain*

        Oh, normal sounds so wonderful right now. I can read my blog and social media posts from 5 years ago, and I want to get back to that person.

      2. hermit crab*

        I used to have a similar “tiny xanax as needed” Rx and I agree that it’s a miracle. Actually, a big part of the miracle for me was the psychosomatic confidence thing — just KNOWING that I could take it if I needed to made me so much less anxious.

    7. Detective Amy Santiago*

      My anxiety was pretty out of control and constant. About a year and a half ago, my doctor switched me to Prozac and it has been a godsend. I also have Klonopin that I can take if I’m having an acute panic attack, but the Prozac makes me far more functional on a day to day basis.

      1. JaneB*

        I have both moderate depression and anxiety, although the anxiety is I think the dominant issue. I take Prozac and propranolol (beta-blocker). The Prozac flattens out the lows of the depression, which helps as the lows to me can best be described as lost-in-a-cold-wet-fog-on-a-mud-flat-in-a-river-and-the-tide-is-rising-and-I-can’t-make-my-feet-move are dully terrifying. The beta-blocker helps with the physical side effects of anxiety – I still feel the mental anxiety, but without the physical reinforcement of a cortisol rush/adrenal spike, I can cope with it much better. I’m pretty hypochondriac so the physical stuff was really adding a second layer of anxiety that I’m about to puke/faint/have a heart attack/lose control of my bowels/scream/hit someone or whatever on top of the original situation. I take a very small dose every morning, and have a larger dose available which I carry around and take if I can feel things ramping up – I’m having a lot of issues with my b-word at the w-word we don’t mention on Saturdays, and I teach at a University, so I currently take the larger dose in the morning on days when I have meetings with b-word, teaching days for the first couple of weeks of each semester (I do better once I know some of the students a bit, but all new people is a bit much) or when I have to teach in unfamiliar buildings or rooms (I get hyper-observant and reactive to the point where I struggle to talk coherently and tend to catastrophise for the first half hour or so in new public spaces, especially if I have to teach in them and therefore act like I know what I’m doing, it’s very frustrating…).

        The downsides… I’ve gained a LOT of weight, and am quite sure that’s partly the medications as well as the conditions and some life stuff. The Prozac especially makes me not care about things so much, and the propranolol makes me tireder than normal so I tend to reach for a snack for energy and just go for what’s easy. The tiredness is a pain – I had to do a lot of experimenting to work out when to take each med to get the minimum impact on my ability-to-earn-enough-to-pay-the-mortgage. It’s also not recommended for asthmatics – I’m not asthmatic but I was a croup-prone child and whenever I get a cold or chest infection I have a wheezy chest for longer, and need to take extra care. And yes, I still get depressed, and I still have enough anxiety that it’s life-limiting in some ways.

        I’ve finally found a therapist who is both affordable (I’m in the UK – short term CBT is the only option through the health service unless you are unable-to-work, life-threateningly mentally ill, and I’ve had that maybe 3 times now and it’s been no use at all) and someone I can work with – it’s taken a LONG time to get there, and I see her once every two weeks or so (not weekly-affordable!), and that is actually helping me get better at at least accepting and living with the anxiety – and I’ve also stopped gaining weight since I started going, which is making me hopeful of more improvements.

        So… I’m really not convinced my drug mix is the best one, but it’s enough to keep me functional, and that’s all my GP seems willing to work towards – plus the prospect of a couple of months or more of the side effects of coming off two meds and getting onto others (I tried other SSRIs before Prozac and had problems, and it took about three months at my current dose for the Prozac side effects to stop being annoying) is not appealing. They’re tools that help me live with my anxiety and work out ways around it – from not over-packing my diary to developing forms of words for politely getting out of social un-fun stuff to reshaping my J-O-B so I do more of the things that make me feel confident and less of the anxiety provoking ones, to “coming out” to some of my closer friends about it which makes it much easier to say “actually could we go to place Y rather than trying somewhere new?” when I know I have a much better chance of being calm and happy and able to focus on people somewhere we’ve been before, or where I can check out my food choices before, or whatever.

        Interested to follow up on other peoples stories too!

        1. Not loving my brain*

          It helps so much to hear other people’s stories. I have the puke/faint/bowel thing too. Plus asthma, so I can’t always tell if it’s an anxiety attack or breathing problem.

    8. Colorado CrazyCatLady*

      I’ve taken SSRIs which had unpleasant side effects (weight gain, loss of libido), Wellbutrin (which made me have more panic attacks) and Buspar (which helped, but I had a weird, rare side effect). I’ve also taken Klonopin for the last like, 14 years! I started out taking it 2x/day every day and that was too much. It affected my memory significantly (I’d forget entire days and entire events, not just minor things – people thought I was on drugs). Now I just take it as needed and it’s helpful. Sometimes when I need it too often, I notice the same problems with memory.

    9. Anonny*

      I take .5 mg lorazepam (Ativan) for anxiety attacks. One doesn’t do much anymore, two almost always takes the edge off my attacks, three makes me feel a little fuzzy and sleepy. (Doc says no more than 3.) it’s a fast acting and short term med so it only affects me for maybe the hour or so when I take it for a severe attack, it doesnt help me be less anxious overall and has no side effects for me. I’m in the process of obtaining my medicinal marijuana card from the state of MA, I just need my psychiatrist to fax a confirmation of my 25 years of anxiety and depression to the doc who’ll be prescribing the marijuana and then they’ll send my card application to the state. (For the record my shrink is 100% on board but doesn’t prescribe it. He told me about a few strains that are good for anxiety “off the record” so once I get my card I’ll look for those at one of our local dispensaries.) I’m not into smoking so I’ll be exploring my vape and tincture options.

    10. Anion*

      My husband (always the anxious type, but in the last few years it turned into general miserableness, sleeplessness, depression etc.) finally caved in to my concerned requests six months or so ago and went on Zoloft. The difference has been like night and day! He’s not had any real serious side effects, and says he doesn’t really feel any *different,* he’s just more cheerful and optimistic in general, and has much less of a temper–he’s the man I married again, which thrills me.

      The best part, though, is that he’s not so *worried* and anxious all the time. Like, when something unfortunate happens or when his mother is being a pain (which is often) or he has a bad day or whatever, he’s still okay. Things that six months ago would have had him almost puking from anxiety and barely able to speak without biting my head off are now things that he’s able to go, “Oh, that sucks. Let’s see if we can fix it,” or “That didn’t go the way I wanted it to, but it’s not the end of the world.” He doesn’t obsess about things the way he did, where he would fixate on a fear and not be able to let it go. He still recognizes bad days and gets concerned or even worries about things–it hasn’t zoned him out, or made him reckless or uncaring about anything–he’s just able to put that stuff in its proper context now, and not lose sleep or make himself sick over insignificant things. He no longer assumes the worst possible scenario. He feels like he’s in control of his life again, instead of like he’s being beaten by it.

      In every other respect he’s the same as he always was. He’s still clever and hilarious, loving and capable, still interested in and able to discuss anything and everything. This is especially important for us/him, because that was one of the fears that kept him from asking for medication for so long: he was afraid of becoming someone else, basically. That didn’t happen at all.

      He was made redundant at his work two months ago, which means we’re having to move in a few days. We’re all upset and sad to go (we live in the UK, but there are no jobs with comparable pay in the area, so rather than try to start over in some other town where our experience might not be as good overall as it’s been here, we’re going back to the US), but a year ago he would have been immobile for weeks after the redundancy, and in a full-blown panic at this point.

      He’s actually very angry at himself that he didn’t accede to my wishes and ask the doctor for medication years ago. He’s apologized to me numerous times (unnecessary, but nice to hear). He said he never realized the difference it could make or how good he could actually feel; he never realized just how much his anxiety affected him, both inside with his general feelings/mood/outlook, and out with his behavior toward me and our daughters, which was never–never!–abusive but could tend to be grumpy and a bit short-fused.

      Honestly, I am so proud of him for finally trying them, and so, so overjoyed to see him being his old self again–actually, better than his old self: he’s now the self he always had the potential to be, the self he was without the occasional bouts of anxiety and fear.

      So as far as my personal experience I can’t say much (although we’ve decided that once we get settled I’m going to see about getting something for myself to deal with my own depression), but I can say that it’s made a world of difference for my husband and improved our life immensely. I know he would say the same, because he has said it more than once. And as an outside observer, I can promise that while he’s happier, more pleasant to be around, and less anxious, he is still exactly the same person he was before, personality-wise.

      If anxiety is an issue for you, please do try medication (assuming your doctor agrees, of course). Watching my husband be so unhappy and stressed out for so long was awful. Seeing him feel so much better is wonderful. I imagine the people who love you will feel the same way I do. There’s no shame in needing a little help, or in having a chemical imbalance or whatever that requires medication to put it back in balance; there’s nothing but freedom and the ability to enjoy life again.

      I really hope that helps, and that whatever you decide, you’ll feel confident about it and maybe willing to keep us posted on how it goes. Best of luck to you! And a {hug}, if you’d like one, from a stranger who honestly cares.

      1. Not loving my brain*

        Thank you so much for this, and yes a hug would be lovely. :)
        I’m worried about not being my creative, quirky, quick self, I guess. However, the anxiety has eaten whole days of my attention, and that’s not really “me” either. Trips to somewhere new, or certain work meetings, or crowds cause vomiting before I leave the house. I have a hamster wheel of worries in my brain literally all the time. It’s exhausting, and I know I’m not my full self. Therapy has helped, and I’m thinking meds are the logical next step in getting back to normal. I so appreciate the support!

        1. Anion*

          Yay for hugs! Have another! {{hug}}

          I totally understand your worries. I had the same ones, and so did my husband. But I can honestly say the meds didn’t take away any of his creativity or humor, or change his personality in any way. And as you said, there’s not much time for creativity and fun when you’re crouched over the toilet puking your guts out, or lying in bed coated with sweat; there’s not a lot of room in your head for quirkiness or jokes when that head is full of anxieties you can’t get away from. So how much of yourself are you getting to be right now?

          And don’t forget, if you do find that the meds are zoning you out or making you dull, you can try different ones, or stop taking them–after speaking to your doctor, of course, because as another commenter pointed out, it’s not a good idea to just go cold turkey. But I wouldn’t worry too much about that, honestly. Our fears in that direction were totally unfounded. The medication has been a godsend for my husband, and by extension for our family as a whole. (He’s just asked what I’m typing, and I’ve explained/read him some excerpts. He nodded through your descriptions of how you feel, because that’s exactly what he felt, too, and he’s agreed again that he hasn’t noticed any negative side effects or problems. “Just do it,” he says. “Don’t be afraid.” )

          You *can* feel better, and you deserve to. I’m so glad that you’re taking this step! Again, please keep us/me posted if you think of it.

    11. Panda Bandit*

      Better and more relaxed, in a way I haven’t felt in many years.

      I’ve been doing talk therapy for several years now and I’ve gotten rid of a big chunk of anxiety through it. I never wanted to go on meds but I hit the proverbial wall pretty badly when I tried to tackle a few extremely important things.

      I was really terrified to start it because there is a lot of talk about side effects. I wasn’t even sure that it would help, but it turned out to be a good choice. I’m taking the generic for Prozac and it’s been great. I don’t have any side effects. It’s taken away a lot of my anxiety, and I’m not having headaches and stomach problems anymore, which I used to get nearly every day. I’m happier and I’m able to do things that used to terrify me. My face has cleared up! Maybe I should have tried it earlier, because physical anxiety symptoms are really terrible to experience, but I’m not mad at myself for waiting.

    12. zaracat*

      I was on citalopram (celexa, an SSRI) mainly for depression but it does have a mild anti-anxiety effect as well. I found it extremely difficult to come off after I’d been on it a few years – tried several times at the 5 year mark and gave up, then went through 8 months of hell withdrawing but finally succeeded after 12 years on it. My anxiety during and after stopping it was through the roof – could barely leave the house except to go to and from work. That took about a year to fade and still wouldn’t say I’m back to my pre-drug normal. This is apparently a well-recognised problem, and even people who take SSRI’s for conditions other than anxiety/depression can have severe anxiety after withdrawal that they never had before going on the drugs.

    13. Windchime*

      I was taking lorazepam for anxiety as needed for quite awhile but then my doc told me that they could be habit forming. Also, I would have trouble realizing I was anxious (because I lived in a near-constant state of anxiety), so I would often not take a pill till I was approaching panic. They worked well, but my doc suggested we go another route. I now take a combination of buspirone and zoloft for anxiety and depression and it does a really good job of making me feel stable but not spaced out or weird. Everyone is different, of course, but it’s been a godsend for me to not live with constant anxiety and panic attacks.

    14. Anon Erin*

      I don’t know if this would be applicable for your situation but I’m on Fluxotine, which is primarily for PMSing type of anxiety/rage.

      I really like it a lot. I take it two weeks out of the month – two weeks before the cycle starts – and I feel significantly more relaxed. At the same time, it’s not considered to be a narcotic, so it doesn’t make me feel stoned or loopy at all.

    15. NoNoName*

      I’ve taken Klonopin, usually 0.5 mg, one or more a day for 10+ years. It doesn’t make me foggy or out of it, just calm and less anxious.

  32. Myrin*

    We seem to be having an animalistic thief in my neighbourhood.

    Exhibit 1: Our neighbour’s cat actually lives with us most of the time, so he has lots of food here. He also goes through picky eater phases where he will eat only very little of his offered food. So I’ve taken to putting bowls with older food outside in the evening because he’s more likely to eat stuff he didn’t actually want to eat when he’s roaming around in the middle of the night. Twice now in the last few days have the bowls been basically obliterated. Or, well, not the bowls, but their content. They were licked clean! Neighbour’s cat doesn’t do that.
    Exhibit 1.2: Neighbour’s cat is littered with little injuries like bites and scratches. My mum also says she’s heard him fighting more often lately.

    Exhibit 2: There was a bird fat ball on a tree outside my window when I left for hospital. When I came home, it wasn’t there anymore. I mentioned to my mum in passing how I’d seen she’d put it away and she was super confused because she hadn’t. But the whole thing is gone, no trace of the seeds, the net, the little string we hung it on, nothing.

    Exhibit 3: My mum put the a bag of kitchen waste outside my window yesterday because it had suddenly started snowing again and she didn’t want to walk all the way to the house’s big bin. She forgot all about it and when she came home from buying bread this morning, she found a trashed (ha!) part of the bag in the middle of the street – it was completely shredded and some of its contents had littered on the asphalt. She immediately went to look for the bag but it wasn’t there anymore. This was a pretty big trash bag, definitely too big and heavy for a squirrel or hedgehog, whom we’d originally assumed to be the culprits.

    The mystery continues! What can it be? Will it knock on my window? Treat our neighbour’s cat to a meal? Most importantly, did it build a nest out of my mum’s old gym trousers which she had put on top of the big and which are also gone? Questions upon questions with probably exhilarating answers!

    1. Allypopx*

      My guess is it would be a raccoon or a possum. Anyone have a GoPro or something you could set up to catch the culprit red handed?

    2. fposte*

      Yeah, my first thought was raccoon and then I realized I have no idea if you have those in Germany. Urban foxes might be another possibility if you have those.

      1. Myrin*

        We have foxes here (and no need for the “urban” part, I live in a rural area with plenty of forest all around) and while I see one every once in a while, I’ve never heard of them coming close to houses. But it could be, I’ve thought of it already as well.

    3. Myrin*

      Aaaand I forgot to mention the most important part, which was stupid of me because you guys have already been led astray: While raccoons – which was also what I thought of – are not native to Germany, they do exist but not at all where I live (I checked and I would be surprised if I were the first to encounter one in my whole area).

      1. Allypopx*

        That’s interesting! I have friends in, I’m assuming, different parts of Germany and they say they run rampant!

        1. Myrin*

          I hear they’re especially common in Hesse – where the story Tau references below took place – but I don’t live near there and while there appear to be some in my greater area, they don’t really seem to have migrated quite where I live yet.

      2. Tau*

        I thought raccoons as well, because I’m from an area in Germany that has them and my parents had issues with one making a nest under the roof. But this varies a lot depending on how near you are to that place someone decided to set free two pairs of raccoons in the 1930 or that zoo that was hit by a bomb in WWII allowing the raccoons to escape.

      3. Labguy*

        Oh, thats why nobody was guessing coyote, which was my first thought. I guess nobody tried to keep a coyote as a pet and then abandoned it in Germany. Apparently that’s how raccoons were introduced to Japan after they were featured in a popular anime.

    4. Merci Dee*

      If the trousers are gone as well, there’s only one thing it could be…

      ….. Sasquatch!!


  33. pat benetardis*

    Has anyone watched the Handmaid’s Tale yet? It is so, so good. Watching it with my teen daughter (but this is definitely a know your teen kind of thing because it is disturbing) and we have been having some great conversations about it.

    1. Allypopx*

      Thoughts on appropriateness for those who would rather avoid forced sexual scenarios in media (and who have violently stopped watching Game of Thrones)?

      1. Sylvia*

        I’m not very far into the show, but if it is anything like the book at all, do not watch it.

      2. all aboard the anon train*

        I’d avoid it. The entire premise of the book is oppressing women into becoming broodmares and ritually raping them under the guise of a religious ceremony so that women can have children for other people.

      3. pat benetardis*

        A large part of the premise is that the handmaids are needed to have sex with the men because their wives can’t get pregnant. They did show this and it was very disturbing, in a very different, no nudity kind of way. Very different from Game of Thrones but you may not care for it.

        1. MegaMoose, Esq.*

          I will say that the sexual violence is 100% not titilating, which is what turned me off of Game of Thrones (double entendre intended). But it is damn intense.

      4. Keladry of Mindelan*

        I was worried about this too, and I stopped watching Game of Thrones for the exact same reason. There are forced sexual encounters in the Handmaid’s Tale, but it’s not sexualized or eroticized like in GoT. For me, I could handle it because I knew it was coming, and it also wasn’t super explicit. It’s definitely uncomfortable though, so don’t push yourself if it’s too much.

      5. Gaia*

        So far there has only been one scene and it is less violently forced as lacking consent (if that makes any sense…it is violent in that she has no ability to say no but it is not physically violent).

        1. JKP*

          In the book Offred specifically says that it’s not rape because she consented to it (she could have not been a handmaid and been sent away with the other women instead to some sort of work camp), but it’s also not sex because she’s not a participant. She’s just lying there, sort of dispassionately counting ceiling tiles.

          1. Gaia*

            I would consider it rape because of the power dynamic involved. She consented to be a handmaid but actual consent means she can withdraw at any point and I am positive that if she suddenly changed her mind it would result in a bad situation for Offred. These people don’t seem to be the type to say “oh gosh, okay, carry along now”

          2. Triceratops*

            I mean, it *is* rape, though. She’s being forced into sex by the people who hold power in her society, and the alternative is being sent to clean up nuclear waste (= early death).

    2. Keladry of Mindelan*

      I’m planning on watching it today! A friend is coming over and we’re watching it together (neither of us wanted to watch it alone lol)

    3. all aboard the anon train*

      The third episode – which is the one that deviates from the book, but in a surprisingly good way – was the most gut wrenching, especially that ending. I also like that they cast Serena Joy as a younger woman versus older as she is in the books because it changes the dynamic.

      I’m glad the entire season wasn’t dropped at once because just the series premiere made me as anxious as reading the book did almost two decades ago. I have to watch something happy after each episode. All the acting and directing has been astoundingly good.


      I am wondering if they’re going to keep the same ending from the book. Also, I was surprised they had WOC in the show as handmaids because the book makes it pretty clear that the purpose of the new society and handmaid’s is strengthening the white race (in the book, the fertility problems primarily affected white women and men) and there’s some shocking parts in the book about how they murdered WOC. The 90s movie also covered this, if I remember correctly.

      It also makes me wonder if the show is going to get into what happens with people who are Jewish and Muslim, since the book mentions their fates. I don’t know if that’s coming up in later episodes or if they plan to do a new season.

      1. Elizabeth*

        The issue of race has come up a couple times in articles about the show on Jezebel and io9. The producer/head writer has said that his conversations with Atwood about the changes brought home that “fertility is the thing” that mattered above all else, so he felt that any fertile woman, regardless of race, would be subjugated. Atwood has apparently given her blessing to the changes in the adaptation.

        1. all aboard the anon train*

          I’ve read some of those articles, but I don’t really buy that argument. Especially if you look at the beliefs of the religious sects Atwood drew inspiration from, as well as the racial politics regarding women in contemporary society. Ignoring the racial aspect is similar to how people say “X is a women’s issue!” but don’t acknowledge that X issue doesn’t affect all women the same way.

          1. Ann O.*

            I wonder if they were also nervous about getting a lot of negative press for having an all-white cast, even if it was plot justified. I agree with you that given the intertwining of patriarchy and white supremacy in the real world, it is more likely that racial purity would have been valued in Gilead than not.

            1. Triceratops*

              The articles I read made it sound like their reasoning was exactly along these lines — the quote from the producer was something like “there’s no functional difference between making a show about racists vs making a racist show.” And I have to say, I’m 100% okay with this change.

          2. KR*

            See it’s interesting because I’m really happy they changed that aspect. I feel like if even if they had added in a large amount of focus on the white supremacy aspect, it would have been an “easy way out” to avoid having dynamic, interesting important characters that were not white.

            1. all aboard the anon train*

              I mean, I am happy that we have a more diverse cast – and Samira Wiley is inspired casting as Moira – and that the “before” scenes show an interracial family, but I always found the race parts of the books just as unsettling as the rest of the plot. But a more diverse cast begs the question as to why all the prominent female roles are still white (as well as all the plot points in these three episodes).

              BOOK SPOILERS (MAYBE?) I don’t know if they’re deviating from the book in regards to Moira or if they’ll be an episode from her POV, but if not, it seems a waste of a diverse cast to only show episodes from a white perspective.

              Regardless, I think the show was bound to get criticism about race either way they did it.

      2. Detective Amy Santiago*

        The third episode was gut wrenching. I was initially disappointed when I realized that they hadn’t released the entire season, but after the end of that episode, I was glad that they didn’t.

        1. MegaMoose, Esq.*

          I just watched it, having stopped after two episodes last week, and I am still shaking, even after a smoke, cleaning the kitchen, and taking a shower. I’m considering renting Moana or something like that to try and relax. Or day drinking. My god. Do Not Binge.

          1. Windchime*

            I binged and it’s very disturbing but I will keep watching.

            Possible spoiler below:

            The part that was the most disturbing for me wasn’t the broodmare aspect (although that’s bad enough), but the part about the government being taken over by religious extremists and how it happened gradually. People were perplexed but accepted it at pretty much every step of the way until it was too late. It hits a little too close to home for me right now.

            1. all aboard the anon train*

              I’ve been seeing a lot of reviews or comments saying how this would never happen in our current society. But I first read the book in high school right after the Patriot Act was passed and remember the pretty apathetic response adults had to that, so it’s something that always stuck with me. The line in episode 3 about the laws being passed to protect them from “terrorism” is so spot on in relation to past and present events.

              One of the things I loved most about the book – and for me, one of the most disturbing – is how Atwood shows that complacency by the majority is one of the key things that led to the formation of Gilead. Complacency and willful ignorance has caused a lot of awful things to happen throughout history.

        2. all aboard the anon train*

          I was hesitant when it was announced Alexis Bledel was cast because I’ve never been impressed by her acting, but wow I take back everything I said about her acting being subpar after that third episode.

          As a queer women, the issues they brought up in that episode are something that made me emotional in a way very few other TV shows or movies have (and I think because it’s closer to life than other aspects of the show).

          1. Detective Amy Santiago*

            Yeah, that hit me hard too. It was like “yay representation” but then “holy shit”.

      3. Natalie*

        I’m happy they decided to skip the racism aspect, if nothing else because I really like the race-blind casting they did and I’m always happy to see Samira Wiley work. The racism of Gilead in the book added texture but ultimately didn’t feel critical to the story to me, so I personally don’t feel anything was lost.

        1. MegaMoose, Esq.*

          I don’t know, this is the only element bothering me a bit – I certainly love the casting, but white supremacy and racial purity goes hand in hand with this kind of religious misogyny that it does hurt the suspension of disbelief just a tad for me. I mean, the tiniest of tads, and only after the episodes end. Yes it was a minor mention in the book, but I’m having a difficult time reconciling it from a world building perspective.

          1. Natalie*

            See, I agree that they often to go hand in hand but I don’t know that it’s always a requirement. The in-group/out-group could just as easily happen on a nationalism or language axis, for example.

            Ultimately, though, I think it’s more important to not have all-white casts, so I guess for me it becomes a lesser of two evils thing.

          2. Natalie*

            Also, something that just occurred to me – I think you can still have Gilead be a deeply racist society without them specifically expelling all the blacks people. A racial caste system allows them to have a multi-racial cast (rimshot).

            1. KR*

              Yeah – and I did notice that some of the handmaids/marthas were POC but I didn’t see any people on the Commander’s level that were not white. So there is racism in that sense (note I have only watched one episode so far)

      4. Nic*

        I read an article about the show that touched on having WoC in it. Basically, the person interviewed (I don’t remember their association with the show, regretfully) said that they felt that by trying to include the Children of Ham and other PoC aspects from the book it would take away from the impact of the gender aspect. They felt that they wouldn’t be able to do both as well as they deserve, so they chose.

      5. Pat Benetardis*

        I can barely remember the book beyond what I saw in episode 1, since I read it more than 20 yrs ago probably. I found the protest scene and the gov response so jarring and frightening, in a, yeah, this is how this could happen kind of way…

    4. Sylvia*

      I’m watching this right now. I feel just as stressed and claustrophobic as I did reading the book.

    5. KR*

      I’ll preface this by saying that the Handmaid’s Tale is one of my favorite books because I think it’s an important feminist book. I think it’s well told and I love that it takes place in the Boston area because I’m from there.
      I watched episode 1 – I wanted to watch the other couple of episodes they put out but I don’t have a lot of time for TV watching lately. I LOVED it.
      I think they stuck to the story just enough and they stuck to the important details. I wish they had made Serena Joy the right age. In the book Serena and Fred are older and I feel like it adds to their characters. I love Elisabeth Moss in the role of June/Offred too and that they made her child mixed race and her husband a POC!! And I’m really happy they put Samira Wiley in the role of Moira because it would have been really easy for them to whitewash the whole show. In the book it’s implied that there was racial cleansing but I read that they made the creative decision that the Republic of Gilead valued fertility over everything.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Yeah, I don’t like the trend of recasting older female roles with younger actors because older women have enough trouble getting roles. It perpetuates the oh-gross-we-don’t-want-to-look-at-some-old-lady bullshit. AKA, you can’t get cast past your last f*ckable day, and the age for that seems to be dropping by the minute. :P

    6. Gaia*

      What has surprised me the most is that it is the flashbacks that have the most impact on me. The dystopian “present” is terrible but how they got there is….worse? Not worse, but it is so terribly close to our present right now that it hits me in the gut at times. Of course we are not there but there are just so many similarities both in the US and around the world that it is really difficult to watch. The protest scene was, by far, the hardest for me to watch.

      1. MegaMoose, Esq.*

        I’ve been listening to the remixed Heart of Glass song that played over the protest scene, and wow, was that effective. The scene in the kitchen where Luke says he’ll take care of June, and they’re drunk and laughing but also angry and clearly just stunned and bewildered rang so true to me. I appreciate that the male characters are largely kept in the background, but I like the expanded role for Luke and the idea that even well-intentioned men don’t quite get it.

        1. Gaia*

          I liked that kitchen scene because it showed how even good people can express casual misogyny. She’s clearly angry her bank account was just taken and given to her husband and his initial response isn’t anger on her behalf but “I’ll take care of you.” He’s a good guy but he doesn’t immediately see why that is an outrageous response.

  34. JengaViking*

    Hi everyone-
    I need to lower my mortgage payment and I’m trying to figure out how to do this. I am amicably divorced and both mine and my exhusbands names are still on the mortgage. I can do a streamlined refi through my current lender but my ex would have to participate in that (he may not have a problem with that) but it would only lower my payment by a couple hundred bucks.
    My income is pretty low (it used to be a lot higher) and I do not qualify to get the mortgage in my name based on how much is owed.
    I tried to qualify for a mortgage payment reduction program through my current lender but since I am not behind on my payments they wouldn’t accept me.
    If I moved into a two bedroom apt in my general area the rent would be about what my house payment is now. I have a teenage son and it would be nice to not have to move until after he graduated (two years) but I need to do something. I have suggested to my ex that perhaps he could move in to the house and I could try to find a cheaper place somewhere in town but he’s kind of ignoring that suggestion which is fine, he probably can’t afford it anyway.
    I don’t know where to go with this. The reality is I may have to sell and I don’t want to get behind with payments and mess up the ex’s credit since his name is still on there.

    1. LCL*

      1. You can’t afford the house with your current payment.
      2. If you refi, you still couldn’t afford the house.
      Would the refi get you a lower interest rate, and remove PMI? Or is the main purpose of the refi to extend the term so the payments are lower?

      If having roommates until your son is out of school will keep you from foreclosure, do that. Then sell.

      Being financially entangled with the ex can go very wrong. Even though he is decent with the best intentions, things happen. He could make another baby and baby’s mother wants him to take his equity out of the house, forcing him to sell. Or he could die-does he have insurance?

      1. JengaViking*

        He does have a life insurance policy. I talked to my lender again the other day and they can get me a lower interest rate, get rid of the PMI and lower the payment a couple of hundred bucks.
        Yes I agree, it can go horribly wrong having his name on the mortgage. We are supposed to talk in a couple of days about our options.

    2. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      How much are you trying to lower it by? If you can lower it, would you still plan to move in a couple years after your son moved out? Meaning, is your end preference to stay out long term if you can make the money work? Or would you be willing to or even prefer to move after he moves out because that would be cheaper and more manageable anyway?

      If you would prefer to stay put long term, nothing else is expected to change to impact your current income, and don’t have any other options, I would refi and find out whether you can recast the loan later for free and if they require either a large payment toward principal, or anything else.

      Then I would take the couple hundred in savings and bank them or put as much of it as possible towards principal every month for as long as you can, then recast the loan to get the monthly payment recalculated based on the new balance. This only works if you can hold out for a while longer to put those savings to work, though, at least a year. This is only one possible suggestion based on a narrow look at your question, I hope you can also explore other options like other ways to lower your expenses or defray them. Taking in a roommate, perhaps, if the place is large enough?

    3. Meh*

      This is a tough spot to be in. If you don’t qualify, there’s very little you can do as far a creative options with financing. I went through the same thing after a divorce. It took me over 5 years before I had enough equity to refinance. All that time, we were both on the mortgage, to the detriment of his credit rating, but I paid the bill myself. I felt bad, but we were underwater when he left, so it was both stay on the mortgage or go into foreclosure.

      If it’s the actual payment that’s a problem, that’s even worse. You could try renting out a room.

  35. Myrin*

    I’m a bit… hmm, not angry, that’s way too strong. Irritated? Frustrated? with a friend of mine.

    We met in the gym I worked at and were really close for years. Strictly speaking, we were only gym buddies as we never met outside of it, but we had a great relationship with equal parts goofing around, confiding in each other, and having long talks. Until this day, he is the only person I ever felt quite as comfortable around as my family; even with another friend who I’m very close with these days I don’t feel quite at ease as I’ve always done with him (I still, after 16 years, have a bit of residual fear stemming from bullying which often makes it hard for me to be 100% honest and who I am; I have literally never had this problem with him at all, I’ve always felt super comfortable being who I am with him).

    We fell out of contact for a bit when I stopped working at the gym but recently reconnected after my sister happened to meet him at a party where he said he would love to get into contact again. So now comes the actual meat of the story:

    During a recent Skype session, he told me that he now has a girlfriend. I was of course very happy and excited for him and said as much but then he asked “And how is your love life?” or something to that extent. Thing is, as many regular readers might know, I’m asexual. I’ve felt this all my life and already had the vocabulary when we were still in contact, I just never formally came out to him. But I was surprised by his question nonetheless because I had been single during all those years (five?) we were close and I’d definitely never expressed any kind of romantic or sexual interest in anyone; I thought, probably mistakenly, that he had picked up on this to some degree. But I didn’t want to get into this over Skype so I just said that there’s nothing going on which I’m very happy with and don’t want to change.

    And then he said “haha, you’ll meet someone!”. Well, he literally said “haha, irgendwann trifft’s dich auch” which is hard to translate but literally means “it will struck you sometime, too”, “it” being “love” or “Cupid’s arrow” or whatnot; it’s a completely normal way to say something like this in German but I’ve never liked that phrasing because it’s especially passive. Go get struck by lightning love why don’t you.

    Anyway, I just… I know that it was meant in a friendly, even encouraging way. But I was a bit… not shocked, again, way too strong. But, disappointed, maybe? That he thought that was the thing he needed to say to me. I was sad afterwards because yeah, I know that we’ve never directly talked about sexual orientation in particular but he must have clued in to my disinterest in relationships and sex at some point, right? Not to mention that it was just a bizarre thing to say in that situation, full stop. Why would you react to any declaration of “Oh, I’m loving Thing and am very happy with it!” with “You’ll find Opposite of Thing some time, don’t worry!”?

    I don’t really know where I’m going with this, maybe just talking or thinking out loud but I figured you guys would be the perfect crowd for it.

    1. Allypopx*

      That’s such a normal thing to say that it’s almost culturally expected (it SHOULDN’T BE, but) as a way to…. “soften the blow” when talking about your happy love life to a (clearly sad, lonely) single person? But I don’t think it was meant maliciously, and I that kind of thing can be harder to pick up on than some people realize if it’s not said explicitly.

      That said your feelings of irritation are completely valid. Would you feel better if you told him how you’re feeling?

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah, I know – he said the stereotypical phrasing that you use in such situations and that you hear all the time exactly the way he said it. And it definitely wasn’t meant maliciously, I’m sorry if it came off that way, argh! It was just such a “I though you knew me better than you’ve just shown to do” kind of thing, but I do think you’re right in that this might be harder for some people to pick up when not said explicitly.

        1. Gaia*

          I get where you are coming from but…to see it from another persepective…you expected him to know something you never told him

          Take me for example. If I were you and was expected to have picked up on me being asexual because I didn’t express any sexual or romantic interest over the years…he’d be wrong. I am not asexual, I just do not discuss my sexual or romantic inclinations with anyone (not my family, not my best friends – no one). Perhaps in this case he wasn’t sure if you were like me and just don’t like to talk about it (or maybe you wanted a relationship but were unable to obtain one and he didn’t want to be awkward) or if you were like you and asexual.

          I get being disappointed but I would try not to hold this against him. We can’t expect people to know things we don’t express. I hope your friendship continues as well as it did before.

          1. Myrin*

            Hmm, I think we’re not exactly talking about the same thing. I didn’t expect him to magically clue in to my being asexual. I mean, I don’t live under a rock, I know that most people have never heard of asexuality and as such wouldn’t be able to identify it in the wild in any way. But I’d argue that his reaction would’ve been a tad weird if he’d given it to you, too. In your case, my thought process would be “Friend, you know that I never talk about my romantic inclinations. Why did you feel you have to ask me about this?”. But I definitely don’t hold it against him and we continue to be good friends! :)

            1. Elizabeth West*

              I’d say because he’s happy with this part of his life, and it’s right at the front his mind. He probably wants you to be happy too but not knowing that you’re not really interested in it, he just went to the default.

    2. fposte*

      Here’s me as Friend: I feel bad going on about my wonderful good fortunate, so I want to make sure Myrin knows I’m not just interested in me. Aw, Myrin is valiantly protesting that she’s satisfied even without dating! I must reassure her.

      And honestly, I don’t think there’s any reason for him to have clued into your lack of interest in relationships–plenty of people don’t talk about stuff even when they’re interested in it. So while he might be a bit normative-assuming, you might be expecting a bit too much mind-reading. I would probably bring it up another time when you’re chatting with the “You know, this came up the other day and I wanted to explain a bit more.” If there’s anything else you don’t get into that’s popular, that can be a useful comparison. “You know how I’m cool if people are eating oysters but don’t eat them myself? That’s how I am with people having relationships. I’m glad you’re having some great oysters, but I’m just more of a chicken person :-).”

      1. Allypopx*

        “valiantly protesting that she’s satisfied even without dating”
        I mean you’re completely correct in everything you say here, but still, *gag*

        1. fposte*

          On the one hand, yes, *gag*; but on the other, it’s actually a thing people do. It’s hard for an outsider to tell the difference between a brave face and a sincere lack of interest.

        2. Anion*

          Why *gag*?

          The vast majority of people want to have romantic love in their lives. There is of course nothing weird about not wanting that, but there’s also nothing weird, patronizing, or condescending about assuming the person to whom you’re speaking does want it, and/or is looking for it, even if it’s not a priority.

          I’m honestly not trying to be weird myself, or rude, I’m just not understanding where the *gag* comes from, and I’d like to understand.

          1. Nic*

            I can’t and wouldn’t explain for Allypopx why they responded with gag, but I can give you my point of view on it.

            I’m super oblivious to a LOT of things, and have been most of my life. I’m also considered traditionally attractive in my region. In the last five years or so I’ve been working especially hard to not miss things about social interactions and pushing myself to have more of them, because I want to become a more social person. The number one thing I’ve learned is that if someone tries to start a friendship with me, there is a 99% chance that within the first few minutes they’ll start trying to talk sex, and if I indicate that I’m not interested in the topic or sex in general it will devolve into hours-if-I’d-allow-it “discussion” where I am told how closed minded or prudish I am for not wanting to talk about sex, or that I can’t actually be asexual and trying to convince me that/why I’ll find the perfect person one day. It has even ended with being sent dick pictures, because somehow me not wanting sex or to talk about sex means that I want a picture of your junk.

            After having to go through the same song and dance with nearly every new “friend” or even social circle addition (IRL and online), it becomes exactly as tiresome as “You’ll change your mind about not wanting kids” or “being lesbian is just a phase you’ll grow out of” or ALL the other comments that I and others hear. Even if it’s coming from a positive place (just like the you’ll want kids bit) it doesn’t change that it’s nails on a chalkboard.

            1. Allypopx*

              ^ yes.
              Also I this case it was stated to this friend that being single is a happy and comfortable experience and the friend coming back with and that Myrin wouldn’t change it, and as fposte says the response highlights this notion of “Oh look at you putting on a brave face. Your turn will come you courageous soul.”

              That’s really icky to me and has a lot of gross assumptions about gender and sexuality mixed up in it.

              And full commiseration with Nic on her last paragraph because… yeah. That’s a thing.

              1. Allypopx*

                Wow my phone botched that paragraph.

                “Also in this case it was stated to this friend that being single is a happy and comfortable experience that Myrin wouldn’t change it, and as fposte says and the friend coming back with…”

              2. Anion*

                Thanks for the explanation!

                I disagree about it having any gender connotations–people are just as likely to say, “You’ll find someone, don’t worry,” to a man as to a woman, and again, since the desire for love/sex is a basic biological drive I don’t think it’s weird or wrong for people to assume someone else has that desire, too (we don’t think it’s weird or bad to assume other people want to have a roof over their head, frex)–but I see where you’re coming from.

      2. Myrin*

        That’s a very fair point. I guess because I’m very interested in the dynamics of sexuality I’m just super in tune with even little things which just isn’t the case for everyone. The thing is that we’ve definitely talked about how I’m happily single and not interested in relationships before, so I was kind of surprised he felt the need to say that, but he might well have not thought about it at all and just answered what spontaneously came into his head.

        (I have also never eaten oysters but I am indeed a chicken person!)

        1. fposte*

          If you’ve said it before, then I think it’s kosher to offer a gentle reminder. “I appreciate it was well meant and I’m so happy you’re happy, but it was a little weird to me that you thought even despite our past conversation that this was something I was wanting.”

    3. katamia*

      It’s such a common and pervasive assumption that EVERYONE wants to find someone that he might not realize that you’re asexual even though you’d never expressed romantic or sexual interest in anyone. Which doesn’t really make it okay, but it might explain why he commented.

      Also, even if he does understand that you’re asexual, he may not realize that you’re also aromantic (if you are, which it sounds like you are?). I know a couple people who are asexual but who do want romantic relationships, just ones where they don’t have to do anything sexual but can cuddle and share a partnership with someone.

      Alternatively, speaking as someone who hasn’t dated much (I’m open to people of all gender identifications but am easily irritated and not interested in that many people of any gender), I get people guessing my sexuality wrong all the time and making a lot of assumptions about what my romantic goals are, and something similar may be happening here. He may genuinely understand that you’re happy single without totally realizing that when you said you didn’t want things to change, you meant ever instead of for the next year/five years/whatever time frame.

      I’m really not trying to excuse what he said because I’m generally Team Stay Out of Other People’s Love Lives Most of the Time, but I think sometimes people think their friends and family are better about connecting the dots (since you say you haven’t said you’re asexual explicitly) than they actually are. I know I’m guilty of this a lot.

      1. Myrin*

        Ha, “easily irritated”, that’s me exactly! I just had a very good laugh about that! :D
        And I think you’re absolutely spot-on in your third paragraph, with the “ever” vs. “next five years” time frame. (To add to the complication, I’m actually grey-ace. I’ve never been in a relationship or had sex and while I’m not really interested in it and could indeed happily go without it forever, I’m open to the possibility in general. I just don’t generally feel sexual or romantic attraction; I’ve briefly felt it about three times in 26 years of life.)

    4. Parenthetically*

      I go for saying something. Should he have picked up on something? Maybe, but maybe he was just putting the dots together incorrectly. In any case, say something. “Hey, the other night you sort of wished me happy with love, after I’d said I was very happy with how my non-coupled life was going. We’ve been friends for awhile so I figured you’d picked up on the fact that I’m asexual (or if you don’t feel like using the terminology, that I’m not interested in romantic relationships). I just wanted you to know that I found it a little disappointing that you’d take my statement about my happiness with my own life as somehow not true or needing correction, and assume that I wanted what you have. I know you wouldn’t want to denigrate my life, so I wanted to let you know that that’s how it came across to me. I am legitimately content with my life as is, and have no interest in a relationship. I wish you happy in your life and I want you to feel the same about my life.”

      1. Lissa*

        Yeah, I agree! I think it can be hard because it’s one of those things where exactly the same words/behaviour can mean two completely different things, and there’s this whole social idea (ugh I hate it too) that saying “No I am happily single!” means “one day I will meet the right person but don’t want anything serious now” at best, and at worst “I desperately want a relationship but don’t want to say so.” If your friend falls into this spectrum, where maybe he hadn’t dated much etc., he could well be projecting his own feelings-while-single onto you.

        I also think there can be a tendency to assume things that are very important to us and things that are talked about on, say, internet forums, are more widely known than they are. Things like asexuality, they/them pronouns etc. are concepts pretty widely talked about where I go online but the majority of people I know IRL either don’t know about these things at all, or only a very little bit.

        1. Myrin*

          You know, that is a very good point I hadn’t previously thought of at all. This is the first girlfriend he has had since we’ve known each other (more than six years in total) and I know that he suffered quite a bit under his lack of relationships and the fact that he isn’t conventionally attractive.

          (I also agree very much with your second point. My sister keeps talking to people here in our [not even English-speaking which is relevant insofar as there are many concepts especially in the US which simply don’t exist here and which sound especially strange if you don’t understand that they’re based in another language] hometown as if she were on tumblr and I keep holding myself back from telling her how awkward it is.)

    5. SeekingBetter*

      I’m so sorry to hear about your frustration with your friend and how you felt when he said “haha, you’ll meet someone!” From what you’ve told me, I think your friend may not really be aware of your asexuality. In fact, I used to have an asexual friend in college and she didn’t really reveal her sexual orientation to anybody except for people she trusted and knew very well. We hung out for at least three years and right before our senior year in college, that’s when she came out to me. It didn’t change my relationship with her and I never really found it odd that she never really mentioned having crushes on somebody or being attracted to whoever before she came out.

      If you want, next time when you speak with him, you could possibly mention how his comment made you feel? And if you’re comfortable enough, you can share your orientation with him.

    6. Anion*

      You say in a reply below that you have told him before that you’re happily single and not interested in a relationship; that changes my original thought a bit, because my first response was to say that asexuality isn’t common or necessarily a concept most people are familiar with, and if I had a friend who never mentioned dating or relationships, and was reticent about discussing the subject at all, my first assumption (if I made one; perhaps it would be more accurate to say my first guess, or my first hypothesis) would be to think that perhaps my friend was gay and didn’t want to come out to me for whatever reason. Asexuality is definitely not where my head would go, and I’ve been aware of it for some time.

      In fact, I have a friend who is asexual, who lives with her life partner; they’re not sexual (obviously) but they are very cuddly and romantic. My friend made very clear to me that while she is not a Sex Person, she is definitely a Love Person, and the documentary I watched on Netflix about asexual people a while ago also mentioned several times that Not Interested in Sex doesn’t automatically mean Not Interested in Romantic Love/Companionship. So again, my mind wouldn’t automatically go to “She’s happy being single, she must be asexual,” because my assumption prior to this was “Asexual people want romantic relationships, too, they just don’t want the sex part.”

      But if I were wondering/hypothesizing that my friend was gay and didn’t want to come out to me, and then we got back in touch after several years, I would probably be inclined at some point–especially if I’d just talked about my own love life–to ask, “So how is your love life?” And I’d likely ask it in just that way, figuring if you did have something you wanted to tell me, that was a way to give you an opening. Notice he didn’t say, “Have you met any nice men?”

      The fact that you’ve mentioned being Happily Single in the past actually means I’d be more likely to phrase it that way, in fact. Five years is a long time. I was Happily Single at twenty-two; at twenty-seven I’d been married for a year and had a baby on the way. So rather than ask something as awkward as, “So, are you still happily single?” (which risks a reply of, “Actually, I met someone a few years ago, fell violently in love, and got dumped in public on my birthday while his new girlfriend watched and laughed,” followed by sobs), and rather than ask something as risky as, “Have you met any nice men?” (which risks a reply of, “I’m a lesbian, your question is creepily heteronormative, and I can’t believe you didn’t pick up on that from me,” followed by cold silence from you and embarrassment from me), I would ask, “So how is your love life?”

      That question gives you the opportunity to reply exactly the way you did–no, there’s nothing going on there, which you’re very happy with and don’t want to change, which is fine and good. But you know, a lot of people say they’re very happy being single to put a brave face on, or because they don’t want to discuss it. Was it unfair for your friend to assume you were doing so–if he did, and his reply wasn’t just a generic thing to say in response to what could have felt a little abrupt?* Perhaps it was, sure. But is it unfair for you to assume he knows that “I’m happy being single, and don’t want a relationship,” means “I’m happy being single because I have no desire for sex or romance ever?” Perhaps it is, a little. You say the two of you were close, and that being close means he should have clued in to your lack of interest, and so should be more mindful of it or remember it. But the closeness you felt was apparently not close enough for you to actually just be honest with him about your feelings and tell him outright that you weren’t just in a place in your life at the moment where you were happy being single, but that you were single because you had no interest in ever finding a romantic and/or sexual partner in life, and that wasn’t likely to ever change, either.

      *His asking how your love life was an invitation for you to open up, if you desired to do so; you did not. That’s perfectly fine, of course, and I’m not in any way saying you did anything wrong, but if he asked the question hoping or expecting that you might open up, your response could have felt abrupt (which is why I starred that line above, and this one: so you’d know there was a larger thought connected to it, and I wasn’t saying you *were* abrupt, merely speculating that perhaps to him it *felt* abrupt.

      There’s a certain kind of…forgivable arrogance attached to being in a new romantic relationship, especially for someone who, like him, has apparently not had a lot of experience with them. It’s arrogance because it assumes everyone wants the thing you’ve just discovered, but it’s forgivable because it generally comes from a place of happiness and genuine goodwill; a place of honestly wanting others to be as happy as you are. “I’ve discovered this amazing feeling! I want everyone to be able to feel this good and experience this wonderful thing!” I suspect that’s where his “It will strike you someday,” came from. Is it possible that, as a lonely guy, he often told other people that he was happily single and/or not looking, to cover up his own loneliness?

      It is weird, that in response to “Oh, I’m very happy without a relationship,” people tend to say, “You’ll find a relationship one day.” You’re right, I can’t think of anything else where “You’ll find That Thing!” is considered an appropriate reply to “I’m really happy without That Thing.” But when it comes to relationships, it actually is, or at least, it’s not considered a weird or rude response. It’s just a Thing People Say. The desire for love/sex/romantic companionship is a basic human drive–mankind itself wouldn’t exist without it, and neither would any other living thing on the planet–and is recognized as such. It’s not weird to assume someone else shares it, especially when they’ve had plenty of opportunities to tell you they do not, but haven’t. I can absolutely understand and sympathize with the feelings of alienation that assumption, and the general societal focus on the subject, must cause, but that still doesn’t make the assumption itself weird.

      Anyway, tl;dr: You can’t expect someone to just know things about you, especially not when you’ve had the opportunity to tell them those things but did not do so. “Asexual” isn’t the place my mind would have gone, and I am aware of asexuality. Many (if not most) people are not.

      As for how to handle it, why not try this? Next time he brings up his girlfriend, say something like, “You know, I’ve been meaning to say something about this. It honestly didn’t occur to me that you didn’t understand, but I’m asexual. That means I really, honestly don’t have any desire for a romantic or sexual relationship. I’ve been this way all my life–I’ve never wanted those things. I’m really happy for you, of course, and I’m happy to talk about your relationships and everything, just like I’ve always been. But it’s not something I ever want for myself.”

      And see what he says, and take it from there.

      I really hope at least some of that has helped you clarify your thoughts/feelings. I tried to throw a lot of ideas etc. out there, figuring that maybe something would spark with you and help you sort them out. I also really hope that you and your friend can have a great talk from this and continue to be close–you sound really happy to have found him again!–and that some of my thoughts here have maybe helped you to see what he said a little differently, and thus feel less hurt by it. Best of luck to you!

    7. Nic*

      I feel you. I also consider myself part of the ACE community (demi, actually), and beyond the whole figuring out who I am and how that works I’ve recently been seeing how prevalent sex is as a motivator for what feels like Everyone In The World except for me. It’s disappointing…I think that’s a really good word for it.

      Many folks don’t understand, and not just in a “why don’t you want someone?” kind of way. The reactions I get trying to talk to people about asexuality feels like if I showed them a picture of a cat and told them it was a skyscraper. It just entirely does not compute. I think it’s so far out of so many people’s experience that they don’t know how to react, and assume (because of course everyone thinks/needs/wants the same we do) that we’ve just labeled ourselves that to get over our disappointment that we haven’t found someone to squish parts with.

      At this point for me, it’s FAR less disappointment that I haven’t found anyone to be sexual with as disappointment that sex is one of the first and primary topics of conversations with new “friends” I’ve meet over the past few years, and that in 99% of cases once I explain asexuality (and they seem to get it through their heads that I’m not just picky) suddenly contact just fizzles away. It makes me incredibly sad to think that all of these new “friends” aren’t interested in me as a person if there’s not the possibility of sex involved. As if there would absolutely 100% be the actuality sex with them and the only thing that’s preventing it is that I’m asexual.

      Well, that turned into a rant. I’m sorry you ran into that, and I hope that eventually enough folks will understand so that “well, someday you’ll change your mind!” isn’t the thing folks immediately respond with.

  36. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I’ve been in a weird off-and-on funk for the past several weeks now, and I really hope it all resolves soon. I called a therapist and I have a counseling session on Thursday; my initial appointment was more of an intake conversation with the psychiatrist who oversees the practice. I felt really, really good after talking to him briefly, though, so I’m hoping the counseling helps.

    One of the reasons I’m so down is that I’ve been experiencing some strange gynecological issues for the past 6 weeks or so. I’ve been on continuous birth control for a really long time (about 5 years now), but all of a sudden I’m cramping and spotting at odd intervals. So I’m a bit uncomfortable. Gyn appointment is this week too, so… meh. Anyway, I just kind of had to get that out. Someone send some good vibes to my mind and my pelvis, please.

    1. Teach*

      Definitely sending good vibes to mind and pelvis. I find therapy really helpful, and have had a lot of body stuff settle down as the funk recedes…hopefully that is your experience too.

    2. gala apple*

      Ugh that’s so rough! Hope it’s all sorted out soon. I know whenever I’m having any problems with my body (mainly discomfort associated with my period) it makes the rest of life so much *harder*.

    3. Stephanie*

      Good luck! I had to start seeing a therapist myself. I figured I was ok until I visited a friend for a bit and he was like “…do you want to get on the plane and go back? I can’t tell to be honest.” Some weeks, I’m like “Why am I doing this?” Other weeks are great.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Yes!!! I don’t know whether I’m unhappy or just nostalgic. So hard.

        For you, though? Stay the course if you can. You’re working so hard and it WILL pay off.

    4. Schnapps*

      Urgh. You and I have the opposite symptoms. No birth control, erratic cycles for the last 6 months or so, cramping, weird spotting, violent mood swings, and let’s just not talk about That Time Of the Month. I saw my doctor and he’s putting me back on birth control to see if it’ll regulate – now I just have to wait for my cycle to begin and of course it’s later than predicted.

      Good luck.

  37. AvonLady Barksdale*

    Something else, less whiny! I’ve started jogging again, and my right knee is not very happy about it. I used to think I had bad IT-band syndrome, but I’ve realized that my hamstring is tight and short, which is wreaking havoc on the tendons around my knee. My left leg is an inch longer than my right, which explains some of the strain– the right hamstring is trying to match the left, and the result is a whole lot of discomfort. Can any AAM runners recommend some stretches that have worked for them? I’d like to keep trying this running thing, mostly because it fits in the best with my schedule (I can jog with the dog during our 45-minute morning walk).

    1. fposte*

      Where does the extra length come from–is this a pelvic asymmetry or a genuine discrepancy in bone length? Especially if it’s the latter, it’s really worth looking into getting some additional height in that right shoe; it’s usually long-term hard on the body to run asymmetrically.

      That being said, for me, loosening the posterior chain is the best thing I can do for my knee too. I do simple forward bends at yoga speed, going up to flat back and going down again. Feel where you’re getting your max stretch–sometimes you can go farther down but you’re not stretching the tightest bit, just the most yielding bit. For me I stay about ankle height with my hands to really stretch the glutes and hams for at least the first few goes.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Thank you! It’s a bone length discrepancy. Discovered when I was about 14 years old, and it’s caused no end of problems ever since. :) I’ve been slacking on wearing my orthotics, but I probably should be a lot more diligent. I have the worst time– I wore hard orthotics for years and had to stop because my feet are really poorly structured and I kept getting stress fractures.

        Sometimes I think my body was simply not made for really good exercise. I have effed up feet, sciatica, this height discrepancy… I am a mess!

        1. Ktelzbeth*

          If you only have a few pairs of shoes you wear most of the time, you can get extra height added on the sole of some types of shoes, including a lot of tennis shoes/trainers/running shoes. If orthotics have been bad for you, this might help. There are also some supportive but softer orthotics out there.

        2. Ann O.*

          That is specific enough that I think you should see a well-reviewed sports therapist for exercises that will work with your body. I know a ton of hamstring stretches, but they’re not designed for assymetry and alignment is so important to a functional stretch.

          And wear your orthotics!

    2. katamia*

      I’m not a runner, but one thing that’s helped me a lot with tight muscles is massaging them, either with a rolling pin or with a sort of mitt with balls on it (sounds weird, I know, I don’t really know how to describe it but I’ll add a link to what I bought in a reply comment). Stretching is good, too, but I find that I can’t really stretch certain areas properly because I have horrible knees.

      1. fposte*

        Oh, yeah, foam roller and tennis ball, AvonLady Barksdale. Get them and enjoy the sweet, sweet pain.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          I keep hearing this. I think I need to start listening. I was at a charity run with a co-worker this morning and she said, “Foam roller. It is paaaaaaain, but it is soooooo good.”

          1. Schnapps*

            The foam roller is like your friend who tells you that That Guy is bad for you. It’s true, but it hurts.

            In the meantime, do a couch stretch – one knee down, bent up behind you with your foot on the couch, other leg at 90 degrees to support you, then squeeze your butt cheek – this will lengthen the muscles in the front.

            Pigeon pose, figure 4, and a hamstring stretch. If you have a resistance band loop it around a pole and then the other end around your upper thigh right by the groin. Then take a couple of steps out so there’s some resistance, and in a stable position, bend slightly (or more) and flex your knee on the same leg with the band back and forth 30 or so times. Increase the bend as you can.

      2. CatCat*

        Seconding rolling tight muscles. We have a foam roller and roller with hard balls in it. They’re like torture devices when you’re using them, at least to me, but provide so much relief afterwards that it’s well worth it.

    3. Anon attorney*

      Hey. I’m no longer a runner, but have you looked into getting a gait analysis from a physiotherapist and possibly orthotics?

  38. Ask a Manager* Post author

    We’re thinking of house hunting again. Some of you might remember that a few years ago we were looking for a log house (not like a log cabin but a big house made of logs), but we eventually dropped that idea after realizing we didn’t want to give up the amenities we have living closer to D.C. (where there are no log houses).

    So now we’re getting ready to look at normal houses and are thinking about McLean, Va. People in this area — thoughts on McLean? We’re thinking of it because it’s slightly less ridiculously expensive than where we are now (Arlington) and we can get more space, but it’s not super far out. But I’m wondering if moving from Arlington to McLean will feel like a let-down because Arlington has so much more going on and McLean is more … blah? (On the other hand, it’s not like we actually take advantage of any of the nightlife, etc. in Arlington anymore because we are old. But there also seem to be no good restaurants in McLean.)

    1. Allypopx*

      “Would you ever consider leaving your metro area?”
      “God no, have you tried the thai place down the street?”

      I feel you. I don’t personally live in McLean but a friend just moved back up from DC and her reports about McLean are…meh.

      Would you still be metro accessible if you wanted to pop back to enjoy your favorite haunts?

    2. FDCA In Canada*

      I definitely cannot help with that, but has it really been a few years since you were discussing log houses? I drove by a very nice one last week and thought “Huh, Alison was looking for a log home, I wonder if anything ever came of that.” But that may be just reflecting the fact that I spend too much time on this website!

    3. Cath in Canada*

      We’re thinking of making a similar move, from Vancouver proper to one of the ‘burbs. There are burbs and burbs, but the ones with more going on are also the most expensive. My current thinking (we haven’t really started looking at places yet, so this might change) is that I’d be OK with being somewhere quieter IF it’s on a direct transit link to downtown and/or other areas with nice restaurants and such.

    4. Temperance*

      My SIL and BIL live in McLean. They absolutely love it, but they are the kinds of people who prefer living in more low-key/rural areas. (They liked living down south in a place without cell service and they are fine with the greater Scranton area.)

    5. RR*

      What’s more important to you: a house with space or things going on and restaurants? My friends in McLean are happy there, because house with space was top priority for them (and they would prefer to be further out/more rural if possible). My friends in Arlington think the McLean friends are nuts. I think it really depends on what’s important to you.

    6. AvonLady Barksdale*

      It’s been a while since I lived in McLean (I was technically in Tysons with a McLean address), and my boyfriend’s dad grew up there. On a freaking compound. Not the type with walls and super-rich people, just the type where they had enough land to build three houses on it. Your comment about Arlington being more expensive than McLean made my eyes bug out a little– when I lived in NoVa, Arlington was just becoming the place to be, but McLean was for The Swells. Things are different 15 years out! Shoot, I would move back to the DC area in a second, and I kind of hated it when I lived there.

      Anyway, that is not helpful. I would say that yes, McLean is not that far out, but really sit down and think about your lifestyle and what you like most about where you live now. We’re further south than you and we deliberately moved to a neighborhood where we can walk to places and downtown is a quick Uber ride away. When our lease is up, we’ll likely be priced out, so it’s a matter of downgrading size or sacrificing convenience. However, if you two are real homebodies and only go into town once a quarter or so, then buy a house you love and can hole up in.

      1. Stephanie*

        Yeah, I was surprised McLean was cheaper as well! I always assumed it was for like rich lobbyists. :)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          That’s how I thought of it too, and I was surprised to find how much more house we could get there. Arlington prices have just gone crazy — I think largely because as traffic in this area has worsened, it’s really nice to have such a short commute if you work in D.C. (Plus good schools, restaurants, etc.) I grew up in Arlington and it’s weird to see how much it’s changed.

    7. Christy*

      McLean is the blah-est. My best friend grew up in McLean and hated it. He always felt overwhelmed by the wealth of the people around him. (He often says he grew up in the smallest house on the block, which he did, but the house had six bedrooms.) I personally would not move to McLean in a million years.

      I think it’s so important to live in the sub-area you want to live in. We’re condo hunting in our current neighborhood near downtown Silver Spring, MD, which is basically three streets of condos in a .25 mile radius. We could move out to Rockville and live on the train line for cheaper, but we love our little neighborhood. Even if I don’t go out around here often I still want to live here.

        1. Lizabeth*

          Me too…lived in the downtown part for years and moved to NY just before TJ’s etc came in. I miss MD in general too and would move back in a NY minute, probably in Baltimore this time.

          1. Detective Amy Santiago*

            I lived a couple miles from the downtown area, but we went down there a lot. Mostly I miss the thai restaurant :) Especially because we could get it delivered to our house.

      1. Elkay*

        Even if I don’t go out around here often I still want to live here.

        I’m so glad other people feel this way. I have a tiny radius in which I’m willing to live and people act like I’m totally unreasonable and tell me I won’t find what I’m looking for, except I’ve seen what I’m looking for it just doesn’t come up very often and isn’t always in my price bracket. I’d rather stay put and hope something comes up than move and be annoyed that I don’t have the amenities around me that I currently have now, even if I don’t utilise them all the time.

    8. Ask a Manager* Post author

      We’ve just had a real estate summit and decided that we’ll look at places in both McLean and Arlington, and see how we feel when we’re actually in the houses. The Arlington ones will be smaller, but I feel better knowing we’ll have options in both and can compare.

      1. No to McLean*

        McLean is, as another commenter said, extremely blah. If you live close to McLean’s commercial district, yes, you can walk around a bit, although it’s not pedestrian friendly, but there’s really not that much to do there outside of eat. There are some decent restaurants, but nothing that I’d go out of my way to get to. Also, traffic is not as good as you think it is to get into DC. You pretty much have to take 123 to the Parkway. 123 gets huge backups, and the Parkway gets clogged up badly during rush hours. You should pull up trafficland.com at the appropriate hours to see just how bad it gets. (I will say that getting from McLean onto 267-west for a reverse commute is quite easy.) I think McLean really only works for people who have kids and only want to do kid-tied stuff.

        Arlington has far more mini-neighborhoods and is better connected to all the surrounding areas. There are several roads into DC plus the two lines, so you have options, even if the roads do get all clogged up. There are far more walkable areas and things to do/places to go.

        I’ve lived in both, and Arlington gets my vote.

      2. Merci Dee*

        Good idea – the more options you allow for yourself, the better chance of finding exactly what you want. My realtor initially suggested I look for a place with 2 bathrooms and 3 or 4 bedrooms, because I’d have a better chance of selling it later down the road if I wanted to move. But it’s just my daughter, cat, and me in the house. I’ve been divorced over 10 years at this point and am not looking for a relationship at this point. And my daughter is 12, so she’ll be heading out to college in 6 years. I don’t need as much house as my realtor was initially recommending. The house I’m closing on in a few weeks has 1 bathroom and 3 bedrooms, with 1050 sq ft. Plenty enough for my little family, and plenty enough for the cat (my son) and me when kiddo flies from the nest.

        Also, I was seduced by the idea of spending less time cleaning with a smaller house. :)

      3. MindOverMoneyChick*

        No help on McLean because I love, love,love Arlington. Love it. But chiming into say if you are in North Arlington check out places south of Route 50. Still crazy prices but less so than the stuff in Clanderon/Courthouse areas. Demo skews a bit older too, at least in my neighborhood. I’m in between Crystal City and Pentagon City. And I’m old too, but I love walking to the grocery store, and shopping. I love biking on the Mt Vernon trail, biking into DC along the river. Really it might be proximity to the trail that I love ;). But it’s also close to Del Ray, not far from Old Town and of course it’s very close to DC.

    9. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

      I grew up in NoVa (Springfield). Parents now live in Reston, sis lives in Loudoun County. If you don’t frequently take advantage of all the “happenin’s” in Arlington, and if you can expand your area, I’d do so. I feel like there is this shift now where a lot of the new happenin’ stuff is more out in the country. Wineries, breweries, farm stands, U-pick farms, local events, etc. You don’t have to live remotely near the country, but it’s nice to know you’d be sort of halfway between things in Arlington/DC and things out in Loudoun. Happy hunting!

    10. PoniezRus*

      McLean doesn’t have a lot going on as far as food and entertainment. I personally wouldn’t move there because I’d be bored out of my mind.

    11. Dan*

      I work in Tyson’s and it’s the pits. Traffic sucks ass. The place is expensive for what it has to offer. You can’t walk anywhere.

      I think you’re better off staying in Arlington and paying a little more, or moving further out and paying less.

    12. Gaia*

      ….there are log houses? In cities?

      The only homes made of logs I’ve ever come across are at ski resorts. In the mountains. Or cabins in the woods. This must not be a big thing in my stretch of the country.

      Good luck finding what you’re looking for!

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Not in cities, and that turned out to be the problem. The places where we could find them (more rural), we ultimately decided we didn’t want to live in.

        1. Gaia*

          Ah okay, that makes sense. Log houses are beautiful and I’d love to have one some day but it would need to be when I’m older and willing to be further out.

    13. Clever Name*

      Think about what’s really important to you in terms of how much space you really need. Honestly, I think most people could get by in smaller spaces in the US, but we’re conditioned to think bigger=better. I actually wish our current house was smaller, but our lives (son’s school and both our jobs) are focused in this particular area of suburbia, and the houses are big. When son moves to college, we’re thinking we’ll downsize to a condo or smaller house near a small town downtown (like Littleton or Golden for the front range folks who read this).

  39. LadyKelvin*

    We have bedbugs. It is by far the worst bug problem I have ever experienced. And we told our landlord, and their response was well you didn’t report it when you moved in so tough luck. Mind you, we moved in about 2 months ago and just got out furniture last week, all of it brand new, so I’m pretty sure they were here before us. But instead we are paying a grand for an exterminator to come out and treat the house on Monday, the first of three treatments and we are currently washing every fabric in super hot water. Anybody have any other tips for surviving this?

    1. Episkey*

      I think you should check with the health department and an attorney. It’s been my understanding that landlords are required to handle this issue.

      You have my sympathies, it is my worst nightmare.

    2. Temperance*

      I’m so, so sorry. Booth and I were attacked by bedbugs on a bus last year (long story), and we went through a several week period where we were convinced that our house was infested. Bedbugger.com has really good forums.

      Your landlord might actually be culpable here. I recommend checking local regulations for this, because the rules vary from place to place, but bedbug treatment is really expensive.

    3. super anon*

      Everything I’ve ever read says the best way to ensure you’ve eradicated them completely is to throw everything you own away and then start again. However, that isn’t really helpful advice considering you just bought brand new furniture.

      I’ve heard people suggest using diatomaceous earth to kill them. People suggest using plastic covers on your mattress and pillows. Throwing out clothes, etc that you don’t really like anymore. I’ve also heard of freezing things to kill them, but I’ve also heard as well that isn’t a very effective treatment.

      The other thing is that your landlord absolutely should take this seriously, especially if you live in a multi-unit building. If so, there’s the high probability that even if you eradicate them yourself that they will come back as other units are infested. Usually when bedbugs are reported (at least here) the entire building ends up getting treated for them.

      1. Natalie*

        That’s really, really extreme and almost never necessary. Bedbugs are annoying, but they are not the radiation zombie attack people on the internet often believe. (And yes, I’ve had bedbugs and they were successfully treated.)

    4. Sadie Catie*

      I am so sorry you are dealing with this. Diatomasceous Earth did wonders for us when we had a problem. I hope this helps! Having bugs can be trying on so many levels.

      1. Nic*

        Seconding Diatomaceous Earth, but be careful if you have other critters (like cats) around who can breathe it in. I’ve also heard good things about a small line of vasaline along the legs of non-fabric items, an inch or so off the ground. It provides a sticky barrier to prevent ones on the floor from crawling up, or anything in the furniture from crawling down.

        I also made a point to wash all my clothes and fabrics in SUPER HOT water and immediately put them into sealable bags.

        Steam cleaning the carpet can help.

        Good luck!

    5. Melody Pond*

      I was just coming to add my diatomaceous earth suggestion, which I see a couple others have already suggested. I haven’t ever had bed bugs (thankfully), but man, oh man, did the food grade DE fix an ant problem we used to have!

      The only bug-like creature that diatomaceous earth doesn’t seem to completely eradicate is cockroaches. Because those little suckers are SMART and seem to learn how to avoid it!

      But yeah. If I were in your shoes, I’d be ordering a big old bag of food grade diatomaceous earth from Amazon and googling “how to use diatomaceous earth to kill bed bugs”.

        1. Melody Pond*

          Don’t know if you’ll see this, but — what we did for the ants:

          – Follow them to some kind of crack or opening through which they seem to be coming in and out of the house
          – Fill that crack up with food grade diatomaceous earth (doesn’t take much, but make sure you don’t breathe it in)
          – Repeat as necessary, trying to cover up all major ant highways into the house with DE
          – Gleefully watch the ant traffic jam that ensues
          – Within a week or so, delight in the sudden absence of ants in the house

            1. Melody Pond*

              You definitely don’t have to get them all. If you can just find a few of the major ones, that will have a big impact. You can also just spread around a thin little barrier on the floor, along all of the walls, next to the baseboards. Leave the barriers there for a couple weeks – I bet it will have a HUGE impact.

    6. Natalie*

      Your landlord is almost certainly full of shit, especially if you live in a multi-tenant building. Check your state and local tenancy laws, and perhaps get in touch with a tenant’s rights org.

      You want to start treatment as quickly as possible, so don’t delay. If you have to and you can afford it, pay for the treatment yourself and then pursue the landlord for reimbursement.

      1. LadyKelvin*

        Unfortunately there aren’t laws in HI so there isn’t much we can do. However, this has been another nail in the coffin for moving when our lease is up. We have requested things to be fixed (like the ice maker/water dispenser on our fridge that takes up half our freezer) that was on the list of things that were broken when we moved in and they refuse to fix. It isn’t bad enough for us to sue and break our lease because they aren’t necessary for a safe living situation, but I firmly believe that there is are big difference Between eh we can live without that until the whole goes and eh the tenants are just going to have to deal, we aren’t fixing anything that isn’t lifethreatening. And we did our part by alerting the property manager, so we aren’t going to bother with letting the HOA know. If the landlord does, great, if they dont, not our problem.

          1. LadyKelvin*

            Oh we are treating, the first treatment is monday. I would just want to move because my landlord has now confirmed that they aren’t good landlords and won’t fix anything that isn’t an emergency.

    7. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I had them and it was terrible– expensive, demoralizing, even embarrassing– but here’s the thing: they went away with treatment and never came back. I send much support. It is a pain to wash your clothes and live out of bags, but I promise it will pass.

    8. Nina*

      Ugh, you have my sympathies. I’ve had them twice and they truly are the worst.

      Your landlord is being an idiot about this, because those things can spread. Especially in close quarters. That said, it sounds like you’re taking all the right precautions. Did you just notice them last week? If it’s recent, then I doubt they’ve infested your furniture (not that you should toss brand-new furniture anyway) and you’ve already called an exterminator. Have them check under/on the boxspring, not just the mattress. That’s where mine were hiding. :(

      Be sure to dry your fabrics on high heat, not just washing in hot water.

      I know it sucks, but hang in there. The treatments should take care of those unwanted visitors.

      1. mreasy*

        I would ask the exterminator about the high heat. Mine told me not to. Also anything that can’t be washed in high heat can be put in the freezer for 24 hours (?) or sealed in an airtight container for I think 7 days. It’s similar to lice in that way, but you don’t have to worry about clothing, only upholstery. The good news is that bedbugs don’t multiply as quickly as other parasitic insects, nor do they travel quite as much. I hope that catching it early means you won’t have to go through too much! I will say that our apartment smelled absolutely poisonous for about 3 days after the exterminator came – we had the windows open nonstop – but otherwise it was all fine.

    9. excel_fangrrrl*

      i’m late to the party but i want to say: i helped my partner survive bedbugs a couple of months ago. after initially assuming it was a “burn it all down and start over somewhere else” situation, we made it through with zero fire :) there is hope! you will survive!!!

      we did it all ourselves as they were still confined to a single area when discovered. the entire bed was thrown out & replaced, i spent an entire weekend (he was too horrified, shocked, and sickened to even Deal and stayed in as far away from his bedroom as possible as much as possible) scrubbing, vacuuming, treating and otherwise taking 10 years off the life of his bedroom carpet & upholstery to ensure total eradication, plus liberal use of DE after the carpets were cleaned & the new bed was installed.

      otherwise, it was a matter of putting every single fabric item from Ground Zero and also the living room (where we spend the vast majority of our time lounging about in piles of blankets & pillows) through the clothes drier on high heat for 60 minutes, dispersing the bug traps & DE that came with the BedBug Apocalypse Kit we bought at the home improvement store, and then waiting to see if i got any more bites (turns out he is asymptomatic while i AM NOT!!!).

      that was almost 2 months ago and i’m happy to report there have been no sightings, none caught in the traps, and no bites on me. if 2 total amateurs can do it, i have faith you make it through with an exterminator.

      (i’m also happy to report the little fuckers DID NOT hitch a ride to my house *weeps tears of joy*)

  40. gala apple*

    What’s your missing puzzle piece- have you identified it?

    In one of her podcast episodes, Gretchen Rubin talked about how to “Find the missing puzzle piece from your life — the missing tool, item, or activity that’s missing.” For instance, a great pair of boots, a jean jacket, a yoga studio you actually like, etc.

    Mine may be a raincoat… I don’t think I’ve ever bought one as an adult; just making do with fleeces and the like. We’ve had a lot of rain this week (though it’s in the mid 90s today!) and since I’m trying to walk about 30 miles a week, I really missed having that raincoat! I ordered one (Columbia!) and it’s arriving next week.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      I like this concept. Mine is a great pair of black biker boots. I wore my last ones to death and seriously regret not buying two pairs (or, like, twelve) as they aren’t still available. I always have this problem – it’s so hard to find comfortable boots in the styles I like even though what I want shouldn’t be particularly hard to find! (Doesn’t help that my feet are on the large side.)

    2. Temperance*

      For me, it was a pair of casual canvas shoes. I weirdly hate wearing sneakers anywhere but the gym; I dislike socks, and hate having warm feet. I needed something comfortable to wear and slightly casual, but not sneakers casual. I bought two pair, one slip on, one tie.

  41. Cath in Canada*

    Spending the weekend decluttering the house prior to putting it on the market next week (which is SO! EXCITING! I’m so sick of our leaky old tear-down and would have happily sold it a few years ago, but my husband wasn’t ready until recently. Which was probably for the best from an investment POV, but I was getting a bit impatient). We have the photo session booked for next week, then three open houses scheduled the week after that.

    I moved every year or two from the age of 18-29, including a transatlantic move aged 24 with just a suitcase and a backpack. So I had a sort of built-in decluttering mechanism where I’d get rid of all the stuff I didn’t need every time I moved. But now we’ve been in this house for 11 years with no other regular decluttering mechanism in place, and it is ridiculous how much stuff has piled up! We’ve already got rid of a lot of stuff (the city had a free electronics recycling event last week, which helped enormously, and there was a very well timed bring-and-buy book sale at work) but we’re still piling up bags and bags of stuff to toss, donate, or recycle. We’re currently trying to find out if there’s anywhere that might want all the hundreds of CDs we’ve already transferred to iTunes.

    I’m going to need to start going through my stuff more often than every 11 years from now on!

    1. katamia*

      Check your local library and see if they accept CD donations or if they have a Friends of the Library-type organization (I’m in the US and I don’t know if this is a thing in Canada) you can donate your CDs to. The FotL near us accepts CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, etc. in addition to books, and it’s great.

      1. Cath in Canada*

        Unfortunately they will only take CDs in boxes with the original inserts, and our CDs are all in those wallets that were such an essential item to own in the 90s and 00s :)

  42. printrovert*

    My goal for this weekend was for it to be as restful as possible. I even managed to pick up groceries throughout the week so I wouldn’t even have to leave the house! I realized last night, however, that I didn’t have baking soda, and I needed some to remove grease with. Off I popped to the store this morning, but not before I threw a dish towel that had a potato starch stain in the washer to soak. Of course, I then tossed a few other items that needed to be cleaned in there when I got back.
    And then I swept.
    And then I vacuumed the upstairs.
    And then I went into a cleaning frenzy.

    Does this happen to any of you? It seems to happen to me most of the time when I am off of work…

    1. New Bee*

      Yes, I took a half sick day last week and ended up doing all the laundry, grocery shopping, and meal prepping. When I finally decided to relax, it was 15 minutes before I had to leave for childcare pickup. Lesson learned…

    2. Nina*

      It does, but I don’t consider it a bad thing. It’s not that I want to clean, but I actually find it kind of…relaxing? I think it’s putting things in order and decluttering that makes me feel better.

  43. Victoria, Please*

    We had a giant event at work yesterday that was months in the planning, and it went off well. So today I am taking an Absolute Break and doing exactly as I please, which has so far involved drinking coffee, eating bread-and-butter, sending an email to my extended family, lying on the sofa shopping zappos and naping alternately. Next up: Agents of Shield binge. Mmmmmmmmmmm, a Day Off.

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      Sounds heavenly. Good for you! I did the same thing today. Last weekend was complete insanity for me, taking my daughter all over creation for all kinds of activities. 2 flag football games and a birthday party on Saturday, a one-mile fun run and a rugby game on Sunday, plus 5 loads of laundry and a mad dash to the grocery store.

      On Friday I finished up work by about 3, went to Kohl’s and got a new bathrobe and a few pairs of nice new jammies. A few weeks ago I realized that I was wearing the same stuff I’d had since before my daughter was born — my daughter who turned 8 in February! Then I got a mani-pedi. Yesterday I got up early and started the laundry, and did the weekly grocery run, and was home by about 11:00. I spent the rest of yesterday and today pretty much doing nothing. It was lovely.

  44. Episkey*

    I’m not sure if anyone will remember this, but several months ago, I posted on the work open thread about kind of breaking down at work and telling my boss that I had had a miscarriage.

    Well, much to our surprise (and my doctor’s) I got pregnant again immediately after the miscarriage. Like, immediately — I assumed my cycle was a bit out of whack from the miscarriage and when I went into my doctor to have some tests done, they found I was pregnant.

    I’m about 12.5 weeks along. This is great & exciting! But…I’m also struggling a bit with how the pregnancy is going. I’m still fairly early on, but I always anticipated I would remain committed to being active and continue working out throughout a pregnancy. Unfortunately, I have a (hopefully small) complication called a sub-chorionic hemorrhage that they found immediately upon finding I was pregnant (via ultrasound). I have been on pelvic rest for the entirety of the time I’ve known I have been pregnant, with no sex, exercise, etc. For awhile, they didn’t even want me walking more than from my car to a building, things like that.

    Last weekend, I started bleeding in the middle of the night and freaked out so much that I woke my husband up and made him take me to the ER at 2 am. Everything is fine, and I knew it could happen, but I just got scared. I’m still bleeding (albeit spotting brown blood). I saw one of the doctors at my OBGYN clinic yesterday and she basically told me that some women spot/bleed throughout their entire pregnancy and I need to get over it and not make myself an anxious mess. I appreciate that she’s not concerned, but it’s still tough (and annoying, I have to wear & change a pantiliner at all times even though I’m pregnant!). I also miss working out and I won’t even be able to do water aerobics this summer if I’m still spotting/bleeding because I can’t wear a tampon.

    I know some women have it MUCH worse — like total bedrest — and so I’m trying to be grateful & remain optimistic that eventually the bleeding will stop and I’ll be able to resume normal activity. The first trimester has not been terrible, but also not a walk in the park — I’ve been sick with nausea and have been living on plain carbs & fruit smoothies. I’m hoping I’m on the upswing with that and I’ll be able to eat more normally soon…it’s already overall better, I think.

    Anyway, I don’t know what I’m asking for here, but if you have a (positive) experience with being pregnant with an SCH, I’d love to hear your experience — just please no nightmare stories, I already freaked myself out pretty badly Googling it once against my better judgment.

    1. caledonia*

      I have no experience but I do want to send you positive thoughts for the remainder of your pregnancy.

    2. Thlayli*

      Don’t have any good stories for you sorry just wanted to say hugs and good luck with it all.

      This may make you feel slightly better: I worked out all through my first pregnancy and i was certain I’d be back in training 6 weeks after baby was born.

      2 babies later I haven’t had a chance to work out since my eldest was born… 3 years ago. So if you look at it like that you’re just getting a head start on giving up exercise.

      Aim for a year from now. Baby will be 6 months old and hopefully sleeping through consistently and you will have enough energy and time to get back to working out. Give yourself a year off.

    3. Jessesgirl72*

      Our surrogate started bleeding at 13 weeks- just when we had breathed that sign of relief of being past the danger zone. She was on pelvic rest and given extra doses of progesterone and then the bleeding stopped. The baby was fine. THEN those all important genetic tests from the ultrasound got postponed because they couldn’t do a normal ultrasound through the hematoma that was left behind, and didn’t want to do an internal ultrasound (except quickly, to check the baby) and add risk of the placenta detaching. But the hematoma went away too, and we got all the good anatomy scans at 16 and 21 weeks, and now we’re just waiting and waiting and waiting. 27 weeks today!

      The advice I have for you, is to let go of the image in your head of how the pregnancy/delivery/having the baby/childhood was going to go. Goodness knows that my plans didn’t include not being able to carry my own baby. Then there were other bumps along the way to this baby that we didn’t think we were going to even have a pregnancy to worry about her losing. I’ve heard of other women just losing it and feeling really despondent if their birth plan wasn’t able to be followed to the letter. So you try to get through every step, however it presents itself, with all its imperfections and surprises, and deal with what your reality is, not the image in your head. None of these stages last forever, and if you miss working out now, you’ll be able to do it after the baby is born. The important part is that baby you’re going to have at the end of this! (and then, ,that won’t go as planned either. Babies have ideas of their own! LOL)

    4. PseudoMona*

      My sister had a rather large SCH during her pregnancy and everything turned out fine. Baby is now 7 weeks old and happy and healthy.

    5. Life is Good*

      I had an SCH when I was 6 months along with my second son. It was very, very scary for us as all we could think about was either losing the baby or giving birth to a very premature one. The bleeding got sparser each day for about a week, then stopped and I had an uneventful pregnancy after that. Our son is 23 and a high school band teacher now. I am sending good thoughts to you and your little one , Episky.

    6. Jean (just Jean)*

      There’s an organization called Sidelines that helped me when I was on partial bed rest for my one and only pregnancy. Link is https [colon slash slash] www [dot] sidelines [dot] org .
      I’m sending you healthy vibes. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    7. Sled dog mama*

      My SIL had SCH and placenta previa. My nephews is now 8 days old and she was able to deliver him vaginly.

    8. Nic*

      Oh man, that sounds incredibly scary! Congrats! I don’t have any stories, but I have well wishes!

      Keep in mind that difficulty isn’t a competition. Yes, others may “have it worse” in some ways, but they’re not you, their life isn’t your life, and right now there are things going on in your life that are scary and hard. Don’t feel bad for being scared and frustrated, you don’t have to be so tall to ride.

  45. CMT*

    My apartment is so dusty! It doesn’t seem to matter how often I dust. Besides not having skin or getting rid of the cat (both impossible options) is there anything I can do to reduce the amount of dust?

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      An air filter.

      If you have forced air heating/cooling, make sure you have changed the filter on the furnace (and we pay for the good ones- it does make a difference, especially with pets!) and have the ducts cleaned.

    2. Bryce*

      A mistake I have made: make sure when you dust you also vacuum. Otherwise you just stir it up into the air and it re-settles.

    3. Ange*

      I damp dust personally. That way you’re actually removing dust rather than moving it around.

      1. Ange*

        Oh, one more thought – do you have your windows open a lot? The one room where the windows are mostly open in my place is definitely the fastest one to build up dust.

    4. KR*

      Nothing but commiseration. Following for tips. We’ve been having some high winds/dust storms recently. Our windows don’t seal well so it’s blowing dust everywhere and there’s sand/dust all over the windows themselves. Oh how I love living in the desert.

  46. WG*

    The hubby and I have been trying since early March to coordinate schedules and plan a long weekend away, which is long overdue. We finally picked a weekend and made reservations this morning. It’s a busy time at work for both of us right now, so we’ll really be ready for some downtime.

    We’ve rented a small cottage that has a kitchen, so cut down on having to eat out every meal. The cost of eating out isn’t an issue, I just don’t necessarily want to have to get dressed to go out to eat (even for a diner) every meal. I’d rather lounge around the cottage in pajamas or sweats and eat in.

    But – I hate to cook. Any ideas for breakfast or lunch or snacks that are easy to shop for and prepare in a rental cottage? In the past I’d buy fruit salad and bagels for breakfast, but wondered if any of you had other suggestions.

        1. Elkay*

          My favourite throw everything in a dish in the oven meals:

          Nachos: I buy a kit – nacho chips covered in sauce, cheese and jalapenos bake 10 minutes in the oven.
          Chicken: Heat oven to 425F, thinly slice some potatoes, drizzle in oil, bake for 20 minutes, add chicken thighs and carrots/other root veg, drizzle a bit more oil, bake for another 20 minutes, add 300ml of stock and bake for another 20 minutes.
          Sausages: Cut sausages, peppers and red onion into chunks, drizzle in oil and balsamic vinegar, bake at 425F for 30 minutes, serve with cous cous.

          Baked potatoes (finish off in the oven if you prefer crispy skins).

    1. Aphrodite*

      Any Trader Joe’s stores around you? Here’s what I’d do and I wouldn’t vary breakfast and lunch.

      Breakfast: eggs, bacon, yogurt with fruit, toast.

      Lunch: TJ’s boxed tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

      Dinner 1: grilled steak, salad, simple vegetable and ice cream

      Dinner 2: Baked chicken thighs stuffed with goat cheese, capers some herbs and Moroccan olives plus a salad, simple vegetable and purchased brownie or other dessert

      Dinner 3: Sauteed salmon or other fish, salad, vegetable, rest of ice cream

    2. Cristina in England*

      My experience in cooking at a holiday rental is that you might not have some random yet essential utensil or other piece of cookware that you’d need to prepare certain dishes. Since you don’t like cooking anyway, you could buy foods that are mostly prepared but you have to put in the oven are super easy and require little work, like steak pies or lasagna. If you want something lighter or more customisable, soups and sandwiches are easy enough and yet variable that you could do this more than once but with completely different outcomes. Likewise salads and sandwiches. I would also make sure to get a special treat like ice cream for the freezer or one of those pies you can just pop in the oven.

    3. Damn it, Hardison!*

      For lunches: Mediterranean spread (hummus, olives, pita, raw veggies, etc.), Italian spread (cheeses, salami, focaccia), Deli spread (cold cuts, sliced cheese, potato salad, etc,). If you have a grocery store with good prepared food that’s a nice way to avoid cooking as much as possible (it’s my strategy on vacation).

    4. Schnapps*

      Look for some places that make frozen meals – you can store them in the fridge and cook as needed. Get some bagged salads and you’re good to go.

      (I’m not talking about grocery stores – these are smaller operations that make meals for families, etc)

    5. KR*

      Do you have a small portable grill or does the cottage come with one? Husband loves to put everything he can on the grill. We also have an electric griddle and it’s so easy to clean – just a sponge and some soapy water. We can cook everything from pancakes to fajitas on there.

    6. FN2187*

      I love baked oatmeal! I make mine with steel cut oats and whatever fruit I have on hand. If you don’t get bored with breakfast, you can eat on one for a week. Super filling, tasty and healthy.

  47. Red Reader*

    I started Clindamycin yesterday for a dental infection and it is kicking my butt. Like, I pretty much slept from 9pm last night to 3pm this afternoon almost straight.

    1. Gaia*

      I am convinced that clindamycin doesn’t actually fight infections but instead makes me sleep so my body can do it. There is no other good explanation in my mind.

      1. Red Reader*

        Feeling like the times to take it are not breakfast/lunch/dinner, but maybe lunch/dinner/bedtime :-P

        1. Gaia*

          I’m the same with muscle relaxers. Even the lowest dosage will make me pass out within 15 minutes of taking it. Last time I had to take them my doctor asked if they were working and I was like “well, yes, in that my muscles are very relaxed when I am passed out in a drool puddle for 10 hours”

          Pain pills do the same to me. Come to think of it, maybe my body just likes to sleep :p

          1. fposte*

            For me pain pills make me really sleepy but keep me from actually sleeping. It’s really annoying.

  48. WG*

    Congrats! Grand parenthood is so much fun – all the fun without the responsibility! It’s a great reward for the hard work and pain of parenthood.

  49. super anon*

    Does anyone do brush lettering/hand lettering/modern calligraphy? I’ve been absolutely obsessed with calligraphy videos on Instagram, but I never thought that I could do it because I have really, really bad handwriting. I also didn’t really want to buy supplies for it because I have an awful habit of deciding to start a craft and then getting frustrated or bored and moving on to something else quickly. However, I saw online that I can learn how to do it using my iPad Pro and Apple pencil, so I downloaded a free drills workbook course and started it last night using Procreate. It’s pretty fun, and I like that because it’s digital I can easily delete my mistakes and start again. If I get good at it, I could always try to make the transition to actual brush pens instead of digital. My far-off goal is to be able to write fun quotes to post on Instagram – but I think that will be a long way off.

    Anyway, if there’s any brush letterers here, say hi! If you want to share photos of your work that’s cool too, or tips and tricks, or in general ideas.

    1. beem*

      One of my middle school teachers taught us beginning calligraphy in homeroom. We bought Speedball Elegant Writer Calligraphy Markers, which are under $2 per marker. As a beginner, you wouldn’t want to invest in anything fancy anyway. And, from a fellow project-abandoner, you’re not sinking a ton of money into supplies that don’t have another purpose.

    2. Crafty*

      WOAH TIMING I came here today to ask if there are any other AAM calligraphers! I’m 3 weeks into a beginner’s class–we’re learning the formal italic alphabet currently, and the instructor keeps it really interesting by interspersing more fluid, modern techniques and new pens and media.

      I sketch a lot (also in Procreate, great app) and do a lot of crafty stuff but wow, I’m having a hell of a time getting used to it…I would share my work but I don’t have much to show yet! I would love to hear any resources people have, or practice techniques. Right now I do a trace trace once don’t-trace twice method.

    3. Pharmgirl88*

      I actually bought some brush pens from Michael’s a few months ago, but haven’t had a chance to start anything -I’m still working on a paint by numbers canvas! I too would love some suggestions for online workbooks or courses.

    4. dawbs*

      FWIW, I don’t do modern calligraphy (although I’m actually interested in learning and was considering heading down that path…good motivation) and I have STELLAR bad handwriting.
      Like…I got a U for ‘unsatisfactory’ or an I for “improving” (so between a C and a D) on my penmanship grade from first grade until they quit giving me grades for them (and then I learned to type), and I do calligraphy.

      My brain makes a distinction between ‘lettering’ and ‘writing’. Writing is getting the thought onto paper in a jumbled mess, and lettering is an art form that takes time and precision.
      (Which is also useful in workplace applications–knowing that I *CAN* address this envelope by hand and not embarass myself, if need be–which shocks the people who only ever see my chicken scratch)

      And beem is right, it’s not an expensive undertaking to start out if you want to do it old school.
      I mean, it CAN be (I may have at least $10 worth of inks in my amazon shopping cart right now), but really, for the basics, a pen holder, a few pen nibs, and ink. (I prefer dipping to markers, but YMMV, and I know I”m a Luddite) (or go the fountain pen and ink cartridge route. or the marker route)
      The internet has made a lot of the grids and such manageable to print.

      (although my LEAST favorite part is still drawing out the light pencil lines for large projects. I would pay good money for erasable pre-lined awesome paper, if someone knows where it exists)

  50. piercing etiquette*

    Is it customary to leave a tip for the person piercing you? It was a simple ear cartilage piercing. At the time I didn’t think to, was too excited about the piercing, but later I wondered. By the time I was paying, the piercer had gone back to the back with the next appointment. But I have to go back for an adjustment so I could rectify it then.

    1. CMT*

      It’s customary to tip for tattoos, so I would expect piercing to be the same. But I always err on the side of over-tipping.

    2. Crafty*

      In my experience piercers rely on tips the same way salon workers, tattoos artists, even bartenders (in my state bartenders make minimum wage but still absolutely rely on tips)

  51. Bryce*

    It’s still a few months off, but I’m looking forward to the solar eclipse this August. My dad’s an astrophysicist, it’s his first chance to see one, and he’s giddy as a schoolboy that it’ll be passing right overhead with the total coverage zone about half an hour north of him. Currently he’s trying to figure out the best place to watch it that isn’t going to be packed with other people (good luck with that), but since he’s doing all the planning all I need to do is show up.

    1. Mimmy*

      Is there a way to find out how good the view of the eclipse will be where you live? My husband is going on a trip with some high school friends to coincide with the eclipse, and the location is supposed to have a terrific view. For multiple reasons, I’m most likely not going (nothing bad, I promise!), so I’m hoping the view will be good for me. I’m in New Jersey.

      1. Anon Eclipse Expert*

        You can use this interactive map to find how much the sun will be covered where you are: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/interactive_map/index.html

        Inside blue lines = total eclipse; outside blue lines = partial eclipse, of varying degrees. And of course, please remember to use a solar filter (NOT sunglasses) or an indirect viewing method (like poking a pinhole in a piece of cardboard to project an image on paper or the sidewalk) when looking at a non-total eclipse (so that includes everyone outside the blue lines at all times, and the people inside the blue lines except for the few seconds that the moon totally covers the sun).

        Planning for and communicating about this eclipse is a major part of my job right now :)

      2. Anon Eclipse*

        You can use this interactive map to find how much the sun will be covered where you are: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/interactive_map/index.html

        Inside blue lines = total eclipse; outside blue lines = partial eclipse, of varying degrees. And of course, please remember to use a solar filter (NOT sunglasses) or an indirect viewing method (like poking a pinhole in a piece of cardboard to project an image on paper or the sidewalk) when looking at a non-total eclipse (so that includes everyone outside the blue lines at all times, and the people inside the blue lines except for the few seconds that the moon totally covers the sun).

        Planning for and communicating about this eclipse is a major part of my job right now :)

    2. Jessesgirl72*

      My inlaws live in Casper, ground 0, so to speak. The entire family is descending on them- minus us, who will still either be in Kiev, or home with a newborn.

      1. Bryce*

        My folks are near Madras OR, which is similarly bulls-eye for watching it. The entire area is giddy at the expected revenue, but also frantically trying to get infrastructure together. They just opened up a couple thousand more camping spots by temporarily allowing for camping in day-use areas (with porta potty additions and such), those disappeared as soon as they were offered. I assume Wyoming is facing similar conundrums?

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          They are. In fact, they are holding town halls about what to do with all the extra guests and what the local ordinances are, etc.

        2. Ann Furthermore*

          One of my best friends from high school and her husband live in Bend. A bunch of us are planning a reunion weekend, and just happened to pick that one. She’s not sure they’ll be able to make it, because the town is anticipating about 100,000 people descending on the town to observe it. She said they may just hunker down at home and wait it out instead of trying to travel anywhere that weekend.

          1. Bryce*

            Yeah, that’s plan B. If we can’t get anywhere we get a pretty good almost-full eclipse in Bend. But it would be a shame to be so close to total coverage and not try to get a bit north for it. At least it’s in August, I can’t imagine the disaster if this were happening in an Eastern Oregon winter.

    3. Amadeo*

      I’m in the path of totality here in the midwest, though fortunately not in Carbondale anymore. I worked at the university there and before I found another position across the river in Missouri I was DREADING. DREADING I tell you, the drive in to work through Makanda. I had even considered going in Sunday night and sleeping on my office floor to avoid the parking/congestion disaster I am sure 51 is going to be there around Makanda.

      I will get to see it, still, but I’ll be working my current university’s events. I got roped into the eclipse committee for this current employer very early on. We’ll only get a little over a minute and a half of totality, but I’ll sacrifice a minute of really neat darkness to not be anywhere near Carbondale on August 21!

      1. Bryce*

        Yeah, traffic’s gonna be fun. The Madras area has good highway maintenance but there’s only one road through everything. I figure travel’s either going to ba absolutely fine, or it’s gonna be so packed full of folks looking for a way around that it’ll be a mess.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I have family who actually live in one of the MO cities that will be in the path of totality. Heh. If I’m still here, and I suspect I probably will be (hopefully on my way out, though), they’re getting a visit whether they like it or not!

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        You had better let them know now. My inlaws don’t know where they are going to fit everyone who has already declared they are coming, and they have a BIG house with RV parking spaces, and it’s all filled!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I already did–I talked to my brother earlier and I told him I’m coming even if I have to sleep on the floor. He laughed and then struck terror into my heart by saying, “I hope it doesn’t cloud up and rain that day.” o_O

          But he’s cool with it.

  52. Detective Amy Santiago*

    My BFF and I are road tripping to Philly and NYC in a few months. Any suggestions on places to see or stay? We’re thinking about finding a hotel in Jersey so we can take the train into the city to try and save some money.

      1. Temperance*

        I feel like such a tool admitting this, but I’ve never been able to get myself to go to the Mutter Museum. I’m so squeamish.

    1. Temperance*

      I work in Philly and live in the suburbs. What kind of stuff are you interested in? I’m happy to give some suggestions tailored to your interests.

      As for my personal suggestions, I’m a huge Ben Franklin dork, and love Betsy Ross house.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Mostly we’re both giant nerds :) We’re going to be visiting a friend in one of the suburbs, but will want to do a little sight seeing too.

        1. Temperance*

          I live in the burbs – if you’re into beer, and your friend is in Ardmore, I HIGHLY recommend checking out Tired Hands. Amazing beers!

          I definitely recommend checking out the Liberty Bell and Betsy Ross House! There’s a ton of historical stuff around the same area, so you can see it all. It’s where Independence Hall is, which is just so cool. There’s also an excellent thrift store (Philly AIDS Thrift) and great German bar/restaurant (Brauhaus Schmitz, sp) in the neighborhood.

          Also depending on your brand of nerd, and what they end up doing, the Franklin Institute often has interesting exhibits. They just wrapped up Jurassic Park, and in the past, they had Star Trek. A+

    2. ThatGirl*

      I grew up near Philly and went back two years ago, I love it.

      Reading Terminal Market is a must. Old City is just cool if you’re a history buff, I love Independence Hall and Christ Church.

      There’s great stuff in Philly, have fun!

    3. Pat Benetardis*

      For the NYC portion you could stay in jersey city or secaucus NJ to save potentially money and be near public transportation. Or you could sign up for travelzoo dot com deals, I frequently see Manhattan hotel deals. There is a NYC pizza tour (3versions) I’ve heard great things about. And if course you should see a show or a play. If you’re not too picky it’s easy to get same day tickets.

    4. Stellaaaaa*

      I’m not sure the major inconvenience of trains is worth saving a few bucks by staying in NJ. The regular NJ Transit schedule isn’t awesome and the late trains don’t run on weekends – if you’re not on the 11 pm train you’re stuck until 5 am. You might end up paying for a NYC room anyway.

      You could take the PATH subway from Hoboken or Jersey City but the PATH stations in NYC are annoying to get to and half of them are closed late at night. At night you basically have to board the PATH at 14th st, ride it all the way up to 33rd st, and then take the long one-track route back down past every single stop because the express lines aren’t running. Nothing ruins a fun NYC trip like trying to work everything around transit issues.

      1. The Unkind Raven*

        I agree with Stella; the commuter train system to NYC can be very iffy. I would look around for something in Manhattan (or Brooklyn) and use the rail system in the city itself. Look at Doubletree; a cost-conscious friend stays in one in Manhattan and she gives it great reviews.

      2. GirlwithaPearl*

        Especially this summer since Amtrak has announced repairs that will severely limit the tracks available in and out of Pennn

    5. GirlwithaPearl*

      I live in NY and love philly but may I also recommend places like new hope and lambertville (outside of philly, in bucks county – and nearby Washingtons Crossing if you’re an American revolution nerd) or jersey shore areas like asbury park (just 1.5 hour train or drive from each city) as day trips?

      I lived in hoboken for years; the hotels in jersey city and hoboken aren’t that cheap and the transit tradeoff probably isn’t worth it. Maybe farther out like New Brunswick might be worth it but as I noted below, penn station is experiencing major problems and train commutes into the city this summer will be a mess. An air bnb in Brooklyn might be fun!

  53. Nacho*

    How am I supposed to make a long term budget? I want to buy a house eventually, but what difference does it make if I buy it next year or three years from now? And how am I supposed to know what my car payments will be like then when my current car will probably die within a few years? Or what will my salary be like when I may or may not get a raise by that time?

    I just got promoted, with a decent sized raise, and I’m trying to figure out how much of it I can afford to spend on myself. But it all comes back to questions like how much my next car will cost, or how much will my house cost and when will I buy it? Or what will interest rates be when I do finally buy it? Should I just pick some arbitrary fraction of my paycheck to spend and save the rest? Or do I pull all the variables out of my ass and build my budget off wild guesses?

    1. katamia*

      I struggle with this a lot because my income is so variable (freelancing with a lot of teapots that all pay different rates), but one general recommendation I see a lot and really agree with is to maintain your current lifestyle and use the extra money to either pay down any debt you have or to put in savings (or, if you’re okay with not having access to the money for a bit, maybe a CD). So I’d say try that for 3-6 months, see how you feel, and then reevaluate. And then continue to reevaluate every so often over time as your health, transportation, social, etc. needs shift.

      And congrats on the promotion!

      1. katamia*

        I realized I kind of wrote around my main point without actually stating it, so I just wanted to add to it. I have no plans to buy a car or house anytime soon so I can’t speak specifically to that, but before you make a major purchase, one of the best things you can do IMO is to make sure you’re as solid and stable financially as you can possibly be (and obviously that’s not going to look the same for everyone). Because you really can’t predict what the housing market especially is going to look like in the future, but what you can control (to some extent; luck is also a major factor) is how prepared you are if things don’t go your way.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        I used a combination of Dave Ramsey and You Need A Budget (aka YBAB) to get a handle on my finances.

    2. Jessesgirl72*

      You build your budget based on what your current necessities are, then decide how much of the rest you want to put toward the luxuries and how much toward savings. Your budget should be what you currently have and spend, not what you will in the future. When things change, then the budget changes. You are looking at it like once you make a choice in budgeting, you are locked into that choice- no, it can change as your needs/wants change.

      And in a lot of ways, what your future payments will be should be based on what you can afford- instead of you can’t budget because you don’t know how much you’ll want to spend later. You’re looking at that part backwards.

    3. CatCat*

      You can start budgeting the car payments now and then just buy a car outright when you need one.

      1. CatCat*

        If it’s anticipated 3 years from now, use the internet look at cars you’d be interested now so you can estimate the cost to buy. Divide by 36. That’s how much to start setting aside every month.

    4. Thlayli*

      You seem to be focusing on how much you will need in the future and saving for that (how much will me house cost, how much will my car cost etc). I know lots of people have success with that approach but I always went to other way and just focused on how much I could get away with saving right now and how frugally I could live without impacting my quality of life. So I just saved as much as I could and didnt think about what I was saving for. That way my house deposit /car money/maternity leave savings were all just “savings”.

      One thing that can make a big difference to the amount you save but relatibwly little difference to quality of life is your choice of where to live. I house shared /apartment shared until i bought my own house (and then had a lodger till I got pregnant). It has its downsides but there are upsides too and it’s soooo much cheaper than renting alone. I also always chose locations based on public transport options where possible, so a lot of the time I didn’t have a car at all – and once I had a moped. Massive savings compared to running a car. Though in some areas thats obviously just not possible. I also only buy clothes when I actually need them, buy non-trendy stuff and mend old clothes – compared to some people who spend massive amounts on clothes. Netflix versus cable, cooking in bulk and freezing versus buying small portions, having friends over versus going out etc.

      Tl;dr: what worked for me was focusing on finding ways to reduce my expenditure in general rather than working out how much I needed to save for a specific future thing.

      1. Thlayli*

        Just realised no one answered when you should buy. When you are A certain you want to stay in a particular location for the next 20 years and B can afford it. Buying a house is in itself an expense (solicitors fees is just the start of it) and is a lot of hassle so rent until you’re sure you want to buy. And you will probably need a deposit of a certain amount to get a mortgage. You could try an online calculator for your region to see how much of a mortgage you could get on your salary and how much of a deposit you would need . Some regions have strict regulations you could look up e.g. Where I live the law was recently changed so the largest amount you can borrow is a specific multiple of your salary and there is also a specific percentage of house price that governs your minimum deposit. So eg if you could borrow 4 times your salary and need a minimum deposit of 10% then you will maximise your spending potential by having 44% of your salary as a deposit and buying a house for 444% of your salary. plus you need fees tax etc on top of that. And don’t forget the more of a deposit you have as a percentage of house value the better interest rate you can get so e.g. If you bought a house for 300k with a 30k deposit versus buying with a 45k deposit you would get much better interest rates with 45k deposit. The mortgage will probably cost you more than the house so aiming to have more than the minimum deposit will pay off in the long run.

        Good luck and congrats on the raise.

  54. Audiophile*

    I’m seriously considering taking a solo trip somewhere. Looking at Louisiana or Atlanta. I’m open to suggestions on other places to go.

    Solo vacationers, any tips?

    I’d fly JetBlue, as I have a credit I need to use by August. There’s some inexpensive packages, depending on when I left. By then I should have a weeks PTO accrued.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      JetBlue’s packages are great. I went solo to Bermuda a few years ago for super cheap. Off-season, though, so it wasn’t great. Atlanta is a fun city… what kind of vacation are you looking for? Relaxing or activity-filled?

      1. Audiophile*

        Some relaxation would be nice! But I’d like to pack in some activities and exploring, otherwise, those 7 days with be a blur.

        When I went to DC a few years ago, I explored a bit, but not as much as I wanted to. The friend I went with didn’t want to check out any museums, so all we really did was walk the mall.

      2. Audiophile*

        Your comment reminded me that I still haven’t submitted my passport paperwork, which limits my traveling options to the states. I have had the paperwork out FOREVER.

      1. Kj*

        Yes! I recommend staying at a BnB if you can. Many are cheaper than hotels and are in historic houses. Magazine street are is the best in my opinion as it is less touristy but close to the street car and lots of aminities. The Ogden Museum of Southern Art is good, as is the D day musuem. One of my great uncles was a founder of the museum and he does the narration for some of the Pacific DDay stuff

      2. Audiophile*

        New Orleans is looking like it might be the winner. Should I book a package with a flight, hotel, and car? Does anyone have any recommendations for BnBs or Airbnbs that look promising?

        When I went to DC, I got lucky, because I found a hotel that was offering 50% all rooms as an anniversary special. Plus I somehow found an additional discount when I got there (I think on Foursquare or Swarm). Those are hard to come by.

    2. Nic*

      I’m a North Louisiana native, and there are some great options!

      Natchitoches (pronounced Nak uh Tish) is a lovely little town that is the oldest permanent settlement (continuously occupied) in the Louisiana Purchase. It’s full of plantations, a recreated historical fort, an alligator farm, a historic district with tons of tours, and a bunch of little local festivals like the Meat Pie Festival. I’d suggest staying in a bed and breakfast (some are old plantation homes!).

      Shreveport is a bit “bigger city” than Natchitoches (and about 75 miles North). It’s got several casinos so you can get some great inexpensive food and see some good shows. There are various other historical tours and such there as well. More happening at any given time than Natchitoches.

      The Cane River area is also beautiful and historic. Many of the locations are mentioned in Lalita Tademy’s Cane River, which is one of the Oprah book club books. There’s the Kate Chopin House, Melrose Plantation, St. Augustine (a very old Catholic church), and lots of other neat things within a day or so’s visiting distance.

      If you’re a nature person, there’s also Kitscachie National Forest which has some great hiking and camping, as well as canoeing, as iirc.

      Wherever you go, have fun and let us know!

    3. Lady Jay*

      I’ve traveled solo lots & really enjoyed it! You should definitely go. It’s way safer and easier and more fun than people make it out to be.

      One thing I’ve tried to do when traveling solo is strike up conversations with the people around me. On my last trip, I got to know the hotel clerk (I was staying at a mom & pop type place), as well as a fellow solo traveler at one of the sights. I also generally keep my schedule pretty loose. I’ve got a list of things I’m interested in doing, then decide which ones to do on what day once I get there; this allows me to spend longer at a really interesting place, or to add a place to my plans if somebody recommends it, or to allow for the fact that it takes longer to do some stuff than I originally planned.

      Good luck with your trip!

  55. TheLazyB*

    Following Ramona Flowers’ suggestion in yesterday’s open thread: let’s have your week in AAM headlines! Bonus points if you can make boring stuff sounds interesting :)

    Mine: our drain got blocked and overflowed, a mix up with bananas, and more…

    1. Ange*

      Sounds like fun.
      Mine would be: is it ok to socialise with coworkers while on long term sick leave?

    2. Amber Rose*

      Performing in front of crowds of thousands with anxiety, A houseguest who is an annoying shit and so, so much more.

    3. Cruciatus*

      20 minutes uncurling a plastic computer chair floor mat has made me murderous. Will jury side with me?
      Cat won’t let me make bed in morning. Is that legal?
      Being attacked by tree pollen and Mother Nature won’t do anything about it.

    4. New Bee*

      Hand, foot, and mouth disease, oh my! (Fortunately Baby Bee didn’t catch it at daycare.)

    5. Nic*

      The Prodigal Returns: Integrating a skittish new/old member with a since-established team.
      What’s That Smell? Dead Creature Edition
      My roommate’s job is turning him into an utter asshole and making him ill, but he insists that there are no other jobs available that he can live on. How do I help him see money isn’t worth it?
      To Push, or let topple? Problem coworker at BeC level who is coasting.

    6. Ramona Flowers*

      What was the banana mix-up?!

      Here are mine:
      -Mice are causing marital problems*, is it normal to be physically tired after a funeral, and more
      -It’s my estranged mother’s birthday and the only present I bought was for myself**
      -My depressed friend wants me to nudge her if she doesn’t reply but I don’t feel comfortable pressurising her

      *Not really. But it’s basically the only thing we argue about.
      **Self-care, innit.

      1. TheLazyB*