weekend free-for-all – May 13-14, 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: Shrill, by Lindy West. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. I thought it might be … you know, shrill. I ended up loving it and loving Lindy. Her writing about her dad, in particular, is beautiful.

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

{ 1,176 comments… read them below }

  1. Analysis Paralysis*

    Shrill was a really great read! Fun, funny and very human. Great recommendation, Alison!

    1. Muriel Heslop*

      I was worried I wouldn’t like it for the same reason – too much shrill. Definitely will try it.

    2. Ariel Before The Mermaid Was Cool*

      I just have to say, I love your handle. I first learned about analysis paralysis in a supervisory program I was in for work and it came up in a discussion about personality types and I was like “…OMG THAT IS ME AKFOROIGJGJUEUE738”.

      I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent pondering over choices for things at Wal-Mart only to give up and leave with nothing because I got so overwhelmed by the options.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        There are studies that show this, also. People end up buying nothing because they cannot decide which one. I once watched a friend spend 45 minutes deciding between two very similar pairs of earrings. One was $15 and the other $17. She could afford both, but felt it was too self-indulgent and she should limit herself to one pair. It was painful to watch. I prefer to walk away after five to ten minutes. If I can’t decide it’s probably because I don’t need/want the item.

      2. NeverNicky (formerly TeaLady)*

        It’s why I like shopping in discount grocers like Lidl or Aldi. The choice there tends to be baked beans or no baked beans, not four brands, low salt, curry, barbecue, with sausage, with five beans etc etc
        I also like charity shops for clothes and books for a similar reason.

    3. Dang*

      Best book I’ve read so far this year! And if you can catch her on This American Life from earlier this year, it really is an amazing and touching show.

  2. Anonymous Educator*

    Really excited about the new season of Master of None!

    What are you all streaming these days?

        1. Stephanie*

          I enjoyed it! It’s better than the movie. As someone who’s black and went to one of those elite schools, it definitely captured all the nuances I saw among my black classmates. The middle three episodes are really good–one’s directed by Barry Jenkins (the director of Moonlight).

          1. Anonymous Educator*

            Oh, that’s great to hear, because I actually liked the movie and was worried the TV series wouldn’t be as good.

        1. RKB*

          I know! I am desperately hoping for some Jake and Amy developments. I want to see Amy plan her wedding!

          1. all aboard the anon train*

            I really loved the last episode. It could have easily turned into Jake mocking Amy, but it was a sweet and funny way to show how well he knows her and how much he cares about her. I also really applaud B99 for having the characters treat a potential bump in the road as adults, which is something very few sitcoms do. I really appreciate that they don’t have ridiculous relationship drama for the sake of drama.

      1. CatCat*

        I’m dying to see it! Apparently, I watched season 1 without spouse so I need to go through season 1 again to rope him in. Love the show.

    1. Jen RO*

      I discovered we have Twin Peaks on HBO Go and I figured I’d finally watch it. (I “saw” it when I was a kid, but I don’t remember anything.) So far I saw the pilot and I’m not terribly impressed… but I’m gonna give it some time.

      1. katamia*

        I watched Twin Peaks a few months ago and really didn’t like it (to the point of not even bothering to finish it) even though I’ve liked other Lynch I’ve seen and generally love “weird” shows and movies. I just hated all the characters and didn’t care about what happened with them. I think I probably would have liked it more if I’d seen it on TV when it first aired, although I would have been too young to understand it then.

      2. Blue*

        I think it sucks. I mean it’s just bad bad. Awful. I’m really interested to see how this goes and whether it was just some weird thing that just happened to hit the pop culture zeitgeist at just the right time the first time.

      3. Anonymous Educator*

        Wait—is that the new Twin Peaks or the old one?

        Seems there’s a lot of hate for Twin Peaks here. I loved it. Or maybe I just remember loving it from decades ago…?

        1. Gloucesterina*

          Story-wise, the second season I find inconsistent to poor (I’m told that Lynch was forced by the network to reveal things that he didn’t want to reveal). But I think the first season up to about 1/3rd of the way through the second to be truly enjoyable. I love the world Twin Peaks imagines–the local color, the kitsch, the costumes, weird characters, and above all the humor. The storylines that are more humorless (James and Donna’s, for instance) I can do without; Nadine’s gets gratuitously weird without being interesting fast.

      4. anon for this*

        I liked it when I watched it a few years ago but I was a big pot enthusasist back then. I think that was the key.

      5. Jen RO*

        So I’m on season 1, episode 7 now and I can appreciate the film-making, but there is no story except everyone having an affair with everyone. I am really curious about the reboot now…

      1. BackAgain*

        I finished Season 1 last week. It was interesting and I’m looking forward to season 2 being available. Piqued my curiosity so I needed to Google the Madrid telephone building to see if it was real.

        Now, I ordered season 3 of Fargo from Amazon and have watched the first episode.

    2. Gov Worker*

      A Handmaids Tale on Hulu, binge watched yesterday. Elizabeth Moss is an ironic choice to play the lead, given her true believer status in Scientology. The church of CO$ also violates human rights.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Yes, I’ve been watching this, too. It’s a little heavy but well done.

    3. all aboard the anon train*

      I think I’m going to start Black Sails today since I love stories set in that era and I’ve heard there are queer ladies in it.

      Other than that, just my normal week to week waiting for new Handmaid’s Tale and American Gods episodes (the latter makes me happy I have a new Bryan Fuller show to watch, but it’s making me really miss Hannibal).

      1. Professional Cat Lady*

        I just finished watching Black Sails this week. It broke my heart in places. Enjoy!

      2. CatCat*

        Black Sails is awesome, we love it! A fun mix of fictional and historical persons. It’s really intense! I had a blast watching it after reading a book about pirates (though I had to pause the show a lot and tell my spouse about the actual history of the some of the people.)

    4. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I’m almost caught up on Transparent, which I only started a few weeks ago, although it had been on my list for a while. My wife and I just started Designated Survivor, I think because someone here said it was good. (It is!)

    5. katamia*

      Stargate SG-1 on Hulu. I missed it while it was on and am really loving it (season 7 now, I think). Then after that I’ll move on to Atlantis.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        I just started rewatching Atlantis today! I like it better than the original.

    6. Sarah G*

      I enjoyed “Easy,” although the fact that it’s shot largely in my old neighborhood in Chicago influenced that to a degree. I mean, I actually once photographed a band photo shoot in one of the rooms they show in Old Town School of Folk Music. But still, it’s a clever and authentic show and I like the actress Kate Micucci.

      1. fposte*

        Wait, I have to find this–Kate Micucci and the Old Town School of Folk Music? That sounds perfect.

        1. Sarah G*

          Dinosaur – Garfunkel & Oates are great!
          And fposte, that is so cool that you know the Old Town School. I love that place, took dance there for years, and also a few guitar classes, and know a lot of the teachers there. There are a couple episodes of Easy that take place in the Lincoln Square neighborhood and show a lot of my old stomping grounds. I live in the Bay Area now and love it here, but miss Chicago and visit often.

    7. SeptemberGrrl*

      Just finished watching all 3 seasons/series of “Last Tango in Halifax” on Netflix. It’s a UK show, featuring Sarah Lancashire of “Happy Valley”, a family drama that revolves around a man and a woman in their 70s who were childhood friends and almost-sweethearts; they’ve both been widowed and they reconnect on Facebook and fall in love. I love the Yorkshire setting! The last episode aired over 2 years ago but they recently announced a two hour Christmas special coming this year.

    8. Librarian from Space*

      A classic: Golden Girls. All seasons are on Hulu now. The show still really holds up!

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        This is seriously my go-to when I need something light to watch. Always worth it for the acting and comedy!

        1. Windchime*

          Same here. I had some serious struggles with anxiety in the past year and I watched a lot of Golden Girls during that time. Funny and simple.

    9. Elizabeth West*

      I need to watch that!
      I’ve been sporadically watching the new episodes of Red Dwarf on Britbox. They’re good. It’s been fun to see Dave, Rimmer, Cat, and Kryten again.

    10. Elsajeni*

      I got interested in Lucha Underground last year and was watching the small amount that they put up on Youtube, and now the first two seasons are on Netflix! I’m almost through the first season and I’ve moved on to the “try to infect others” stage of fandom, because I need more people to talk to about it.

    11. Fenchurch*

      Malcolm in the Middle on Netflix, it’s still a really funny show. It spawned a lot of comedies based on being lower-income like My Name Is Earl, The Middle, Raising Hope, etc. Also the dynamic of the family is fantastic!

  3. Handy Nickname*

    Social etiquette question:
    How do you go about exchanging phone numbers/social media info with people?
    I’m in my early 20s and have some contact friends, especially coworkers I would love to connect with more and not quite sure how to go about it. For context, I work in retail and many of my coworkers are friends with each other outside of work. I’m a little on the fringe since I work in a different department and have a separate, non-work social circle, but we get along splendidly and I’ve been invited to a few parties as well as being a first choice for work-related elective fun stuff.

    However, I can’t figure out how everyone connects online! Part of it is that I’m paranoid of requesting to follow or friend someone and then feeling obligated to accept, because if they don’t want to, it’s really fine and I would have no hard feelings whatsoever!

    Any script ideas? I’m especially looking for Snapchat and texting buddies, which is very in sync with our workplace.

    I’d love to friend a few coworker buddies online without making them feel obligated to accept and need scripts.

    1. Handy Nickname*

      Edit to add: would love scripts for non-coworker acquaintances too, just that most of the people I’d like to connect with currently work with me. Thanks!

    2. Sabine the Very Mean*

      Oh man. I’m sad to admit (or proud?) that at 31, I have no idea what Snapchat is. I’m sure you’ll make friends in no time though!

      1. Gaia*

        I thought I knew what it was until she mentioned friending people. It isn’t a texting app? Also 31 and confused…

        1. Stephanie*

          I’m 31 in grad school and most of my cohort is closer to early-to-mid 20s. They convinced me to join Snapchat. I did and I feel every one of my 31 years using it. I…just don’t get it. (I’ve figured out how to use it, but I sort of don’t see the utility of it.)

            1. Stephanie*

              I mean, the first time I heard about it, I was like “This sounds like something for people to send nudes.”

                1. Handy Nickname*

                  Yeah, that’s what it was originally created for if I recall correctly, but that is definitely not how I’m using for about a gazillion and 12 reasons.

            2. super anon*

              I’m in my late twenties and I use snapchat almost exclusively as my source of social media. Lots of my friends live far away from me and it’s a great way for all of us to keep track of our lives. My partner is in his mid-thirties and doesn’t understand it at all, or get the appeal.

          1. Janelle*

            I’ve used it and sort of understand how but I think it is just ridiculous. I ended up with video after video of people just staring into the camera with some fake flower on their head. Why? Why? What a waste of life. I don’t get it.

            1. Handy Nickname*

              That’s really funny actually because that’s how I’d always pictured it and the whole thing seemed so dumb. Fortunately my social circle uses it differently (lots of animal pictures!) and have have thus far received one selfie and zero pictures with flower crowns or dog faces. :)

              1. Stephanie*

                Yeah, I’m mostly using it to send silly photos. I still think it’s bit superfluous, but eh.

                1. Handy Nickname*

                  My people are mostly sending snaps of their cute animals and and new food they know I’d like. I like it because it’s more immediate and in the moment and it’s still a novelty to me.

          2. Mallory Janis Ian*

            My two coworkers in their mid-twenties use it, and I’ve been wondering if I should add it to my social-media lineup. But seeing what they’ve shown me about it, I don’t really get it. It seems like it’s mostly about putting different animal ears and noses on pictures of yourself and sending them to your friends? Which, after doing that once or twice and getting a good laugh out of it, who has that much sustained interest in anyone else’s manipulated images of themselves?

            1. Mallory Janis Ian*

              Maybe it’s like the old deal with pictures of one’s children and grandchildren: I’ll show interest in yours if you show interest in mine.

          3. Jax*

            Also, 31. I had my partner’s 16 year old son give me a quick lesson. I am still clueless, but like to take selfies with the filters that I mostly send to no one. Only occasionally do I send them to my best friend (who encouraged me to get it) but I still don’t feel confident/witty enough to do it regularly.

          4. Thlayli*

            The benefits over whatsapp as far as I can see are mainly that videos/pics automatically delete so you can send each other silly stuff without feeling like you are cluttering up inboxes. Also there are lots of filters for making “funny” pics and vids and if you both install Bitmoji you can do cartoon pics of the two of you together doing things.

            1. Thlayli*

              I really just use it to communicate with one particular friend in another country. Time difference makes it difficult to Skype or have text convos so it works well for us. We’re both late 30s lol

          5. Audiophile*

            Yes, I turned 31 this year and I don’t get it either. I’ve SnapChatted and I still don’t get it.

    3. misspiggy*

      I’m too old for Snapshot, but I usually say, ‘Are you on Facebook?’ Then if they want an out they can say, ‘Well, I am but I don’t use it very actively/Yes, but I don’t friend colleagues/Yes, look, here’s my profile, shall I add you?’

    4. Gaia*

      I think because I am so okay about not accepting friend requests, I do not think twice about sending them out either. If someone doesn’t accept, cool. If they do, also cool. I do know some people who make it A. Thing. however.

      1. Mike C.*

        Yeah, I’m the same way. I’m not sitting there keeping track of everyone who friends/unfriends me.

    5. Stellaaaaa*

      Just add people on Facebook. You’ve known them long enough. And next time someone invites you to something in person, say “sure, let me get your number.” You don’t need a reason.

      1. Handy Nickname*

        I guess where I get stuck is that the social invitations don’t tend to come with built-in opportunities for getting phone numbers, unless I’m just being massively overthinking things (which wouldn’t surprise me in the least).

        Example: Hey you should come up the Super Bowl party at Other Coworker’s house! I’m making all the food, just text OC if you’re coming over (I have OC’s number). So I just… texted OC and got no one else’s number.

        And if I had gotten the first coworker’s number, that wouldn’t necessarily be an invitation to text st random times, right? Argh, I’m not generally socially awkward, but sometimes I get so paranoid of annoying people or making them feel remotely obligated to be friends with me that I trip up on pretty basic social stuff.

        I really appreciate all the feedback, AAMers!

        1. Stellaaaaa*

          Last time I hit a new Paul’s number I just handed her my phone and asked her to put her number in. Friendship takes more and more effort as you get older and as the forced proximity of school goes away. You have to risk being corny.

        2. Natalie*

          You probably are overthinking it a bit. I empathize; I do that too.

          Personalk, for Facebook, IG, etc, I just add people and assume that they will either ignore the add or mute me if they really aren’t feeling it. Because of FB messaging, phone numbers feel different to me so I generally wait until I have a reason to text people. For example, my book club went on a trip to a charter member’s house out of state, and at that point we all exchanged numbers.

          That said, getting someone’s number doesn’t mean you have to text them random stuff if your relationship doesn’t work that way. I have a few friends that I text like that, and some I don’t. There’s no one-size-fits-all method.

          1. Handy Nickname*

            Happy to report I just added a couple of coworkers on IG! One of them followed me back almost instantly, which made me feel a lot better about asking. :) I don’t use Facebook really (have an account but never really got into it), and it doesn’t seem to be super popular among my coworkers, so messanger isn’t really an option, unfortunately, but there’s only a couple people I’d want to text specifically so kinda okay with that. We’ll see how it goes from here- thanks for the encouragement!

    6. super anon*

      With Snapchat I’ll just straight up ask. Sometimes it comes up naturally in conversation – like, oh look at this snap xyz sent me! and then i’ll say “you snap too? want to be friends?!?!” and then we do the exchange and go from there. I’ll start with a small amount of snaps to test the waters because I snap a lot and then if they seem to not be bothered I’ll go from there.

      You can also ask people to be in a Snap with you (especially if you’re at parties, etc) and often people will then be like “add me!!”. You can also just ask “who uses snapchat – I need friends!” at lunch or whatever as a way of making conversation. I’ve done all of these and it doesn’t seem to be detrimental to my social media experience, and I’ve added lots of friends using these methods.

      1. Handy Nickname*

        Those are perfect! I’d like to snap a lot, but worry about bothering people, so I mostly just put it in my story. Snapchat is harder for me to gauge too, since they don’t usually warrant replies, so I don’t know if they’re happy to see my snaps or internally rolling their eyes :/

    7. Sarah G*

      I think to some extent you’re overthinking it! When I’m fond enough of someone to want to be fb friends, I either find them on fb and friend them, or just say, “Hey, are you on fb?,” and the typical answer is, “Yes, let’s be fb friends!” Sometimes they find me first, and I’m always happy when someone I’m friendly with sends me a request, whether we’ve discussed it or not.
      I don’t like to be fb friends with people I work closely with unless we hang out outside of work too or have a particularly warm relationship, so if someone doesn’t accept your friend request, don’t take it personally.
      As for phone numbers, in that situation where you texted OC about the superbowl party, you could always have said to First Co-worker, “Hey can I get your number too just in case?” And then yes, it’s okay to text again in the future with the occasional invite, “Hey, it’s Hand Nickname from work. Jill and I are grabbing a beer on Sat, want to join us?” If you never get a response, then you can take that as a cue, but people generally appreciate friendly overtures!

      1. Handy Nickname*

        That makes a lot of sense- I’m inclined to overthink making social overtures and forget that there will be a lot of places along the way that I can back off if it seems like they’re just not feeling it. Thanks!

        1. Sarah G*

          I used to be more inclined to overthink this stuff but I’ve learned that people usually appreciate when you reach out and make the overture. If they aren’t responsive, like you said there will opportunities for you to figure that out and back off! I met a woman at an ongoing training at work — we work in neighboring departments but rarely saw each other until this training. I had an extra ticket to a play at one point and invited her. She couldn’t make it but that we should make plans for something else. I told her I really enjoyed her company and would love to hang out, and she said she enjoyed my company too, and now we are friends! If you are friendly and keep it casual, no one will mind, as long as you are not persistent when someone is unresponsive or as you said “just not feeling it.”

    8. MicroManagered*

      Recently a coworker asked me (verbally) “Can we be Facebook friends?” I said “Of course” but I thought asking me verbally had a certain panache to it because if I wanted to decline, I had a chance to say like “I don’t friend people from work–nothing against you” or something.

      For texting, I’ve had several experiences where someone says “I was gonna text you, but” which gave me an opening to be like “Do we not have each other’s numbers? Can we fix that right now?” And then I ask for their number, but it in my phone, and text them my name.

    9. Nic*

      I am a socially anxious introvert who isn’t good at making initial overtures. I got to be friends with someone who has remained one of my best friends for several years when I walked by her desk and she said “you seem really cool. I want to be friends.”

      I wouldn’t suggest that approach for everyone, but if you know someone at work who is kind of quiet but friendly it might be worth trying.

  4. Bibliovore*

    Checking in to say it is a perfect day where I am weather wise. We are planting some annuals. Pacing myself. Planning for a kitchen renovation. New floor. New countertop. Keeping the cabinets. New appliances. The stove is broken and the dishwasher only works every third run or so. Both are over 30 years old. Got a new fridge in the fall.

    Looking at a duel fuel stove. Anyone have one of those and/or a brand they like. Looking at a GE right now. thirty inches.

    1. Tempest*

      I had a Cannon one (I assume by dual fuel you mean gas hob and electric oven?) and now have a Hotpoint. I miss the Cannon a great deal even though they are ultimately all made by the same parent company. It just felt more high end, but the electrics all died in a dramatic melty fashion and I didn’t feel comfortable having another one. It was cream with gold hardware, kind of like a mini range cooker and I loved it. I designed the whole kitchen around it when we gutted the house before we moved in. We went with the Hotpoint when it died because it did everything we needed but was cheap, as we’ll likely have to remodel the kitchen in the next five years and when we do I’m having a proper range cooker inside the chimney breast instead of the silly gas fire we never turn on.

      Mine is a double oven as well. The bottom one is just an oven and the top little one is a grill/secondary oven. It makes doing a roast dinner so much easier. It’s only 24 inches wide but I think that’s pretty standard for the UK. Coming from exclusively electric hobs as a kid, I’ll never ever leave gas hobs now that I know how awesome they are. I’m not sure how brands will differ from UK to the USA though. I have a fan oven which I think is termed convection in the states. The fan is supposed to blow the hot air around and stop the oven having hotter and cooler zones. I bake in it all the time and never burn anything.

      1. Bibliovore*

        Thanks . Yes , gas stove and electric oven The house came with electric but there is a gas line and the contractor recommended the dual.

        1. Tempest*

          Yeah, if gas rings are an option totally go for it. The heat is instant and then gone (bar the stands obviously!) when you shut the ring off. We only had electric at my mom’s and even compared to her newest ceramic top electric stove, I would still take my gas one every time. We have mains gas for the central heating and I had the gas line for the stove added when we did the kitchen because I didn’t want to go back to electric. I don’t think you’ll regret it. The concept of gas scared me at first but it’s got an electric igniter so it’s really no harder to get going than electric was anyway.

    2. ..Kat..*

      We have had a Dacor for about 17 years. Oven is regular/convection as well. Love it!

  5. Jess R.*

    When is it okay/wise to contact an ex?

    Relevant details: I broke up with her almost a year ago. We had some problems, but the breakup was mostly because we’d moved to opposite coasts and neither was particularly willing to move to the other. We’ve only been in contact a couple of times since then, and only for brief and/or practical matters (happy birthday emails, a question about a mutual friend, a butt-text and subsequent clarification).

    We are not connected on social media, but neither of us has the other blocked either. I know she has a new girlfriend, although she doesn’t talk about her much on social media.

    I miss her. She’s a wonderful human. I do miss her romantically & regret the breakup, but I’m not going to say that because she’s with someone and I don’t want to be in the way of that. I also miss her friendship. I also still have a book that belongs to her that I should send back, which I could do with a note.

    Time is supposed to make it easier not to contact your ex, but I’ve missed her for months and it’s getting worse, not better. What do I do?

    1. fposte*

      The fact that you really, really want to contact her and are still interested in her romantically is to me a great reason why you shouldn’t step up contact. If you want to send the book back, that’s fine; do it with a note. But I think it’s better for you to be less in touch and not more for a while, and to let of the picture of what life would be if it had her in it.

      (The contact occasions you mention–did she initiate some of those, not counting the butt text? Because if she didn’t, then you definitely shouldn’t contact her.)

      1. PiggyStardust*

        I second fposte. Please consider the fact that the circumstances haven’t changed. You still live on opposite sides. She has a girlfriend, and is presumably happy. In time, hopefully you’ll do the same and move on with somebody new.

        Let her go. Skip the social media connections and everything else. Send her the book back with a note — nothing romantic, just a “Hey, thanks for letting me borrow this! Sorry it took so long to return. Hope all is well. – Jess”

    2. Turtlewings*

      I wouldn’t recommend contacting her unless you know you can be honestly, 100% satisfied with just being her friend, and let go of all romantic feelings. If you feel you can be in contact with her without just hurting yourself more, the book does provide an excellent way to get back in touch! You might even need (or “need”) to text her to confirm her address before you send it. Just tell her the truth — you know the romantic relationship is over and that’s fine, you’re not trying to resurrect it, but you miss her friendship and would like the two of you to try being friends, now that the worst of the breakup stuff is over.

      (If she wasn’t with someone else now, I’d say give the relationship another shot, but you don’t want to be THAT person.)

    3. Anonymous Educator*

      Honestly, I don’t think if it’s a been a full year that she really needs that book back, unless it’s inscribed with a note from a close and recently departed relative.

      I think when you’re not in this mode (I’ve missed her for months and it’s getting worse, not better.) would be a great time to reach out to her.

      It, sadly, probably will get worse before it gets better, but it will get better eventually. And when you’re fully over and fully moved on would probably be a good time to reach out to her.

      1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

        As a book cherisher, I winced at this. I STILL want my Good Omens back from someone I stopped being friends with some years ago. I lent it to her ten years ago and I’m still annoyed she never returned it after several reminders. Different from an ex of course, just wishing I had my book back :)

        1. TheLazyB*

          I once returned a book to someone after about a decade. I’d felt bad all that time. She had no recollection of having lent it to me.

          The kicker is, I’d only read the first chapter.

        2. Thlayli*

          Omg I lent that book to a friend and never got it back either grrrr.

          I love books. I also don’t think it has to be a massive drama being friends with exes. I am still friends with people I dated when I was a teenager.

          I would just text her saying “hey I found your copy of [book] want me to send it back to you.” And see what happens from there. You may even get a message saying she broke up with the other gf. Who knows. I’m fairly fatalistic about romantic stuff. If it’s meant to be it will happen but you have to relax and see. It doesn’t sound like now is the right time but if it’s meant to be it might come round again.

          Definitely unfollow on fb tho you don’t want to be torturing yourself with constant pics of her and gf

        3. Science!*

          This is why I have 3 copies of Good Omens: my reading copy, my lending copy, and my autographed copy that no one touches.

          I once lent an ex my copy of Stardust and never got it back. I still regret that.

    4. TL -*

      I’m seconding that if you’re still romantically interested in her, it’s not a good idea to contact her (and if you have her address, send the book. If you don’t, don’t, unless she asks.)
      Also, maybe lay off the social media checking. It’ll help not to be reminded of her.

    5. Sibley*

      Jess, go read some Captain Awkward, she had a post or 2 that may help.

      But no, do not contact your ex.

    6. Candy*

      Q: “When is it okay/wise to contact an ex?”

      A: Never.

      Sorry, probably not the answer you’re looking for, but seriously: never. Wish her well (in your head), keep the book unless she asks for it back (she won’t), and move on with your life making other friends and connections and living well. Maybe one day you’ll meet up again organically but don’t expect it and definitely don’t force it.

      1. JanetM*

        I think I disagree. Most of the guys I dated were in the same social circle, so I saw them all regularly even after we stopped dating, and still keep in touch with several on Facebook. A couple of them have visited my husband and me, and we get together with them when we’re back in Phoenix. I suppose it might be different had we been married, but I don’t know.

    7. Merci Dee*

      I agree with the “never” answer. Keep the book as a nice parting gift, and move on. You will not be able to be friends, with the way you’re feeling. And you won’t have to tell her how you feel for her to pick up on it. Just … no. Lose her number and find somewhere to focus your energies while you work through this.

    8. Jen*

      I broke up with my boyfriend of 4 years. I had a new boyfriend and he had a new girlfriend and even then, it took a long time until we could really interact again. We were each others’ best friends, and while i did not want to be his girlfriend, I really missed his friendship. Truely, I want to say it took 2-3 years before we were really back in Friend mode, and that’s because I was basically engaged and he had been dating the same woman for 3 years- we were 0% romantically interested in each other. And frankly, the only reason we ended up friends again was that we were part of the same college crowd, and five years out we lived in the same city. So lots of mutual friends/parties.

    9. Jess R.*

      Sigh. You all are right. I will not contact her. I will lay off the social media checking (which is occasional anyway). And I will send the book without a FEELINGSNOTE. Thank you.

        1. zora*

          Some of us are weird about our books, I have an ex I don’t really want to hear from, but if he had a book of mine and sent it back with no comment, I would be really glad to have the book back. I support sending the book with no note.

          But also, if it helps, you still might be able to be friends with her some day if you give it more time and work on your own stuff. I have been back in contact with my ex from many years ago, and it’s good now. I am glad we catch up a couple of times a year, and can reminisce about the old days. But we needed a few years off, it was hard for a while there. Give yourself some time.

        2. Panda Bandit*

          I’m against contacting exes but I’d send the book back. If an ex kept anything that belonged to me, I’d be mad. That’s my stuff.

  6. the gold digger*

    Alison, I know I am one of the worst offenders about going off-topic and I will reform. :)

    But I want to say that I loved the thread about Hills To Die On/Oxford Comma on Thursday. One of the main reasons I like this blog is because of all the OT conversations – I feel like all you funny, insightful, brilliant people are hanging out in my house and having a great time. (We are eating dill pickle cream cheese dip, hummus, and chocolate cake.) (And the Good Cheese. Because you are all worth the Good Cheese.) The line about “We will die glorious deaths and dine together in Valhalla” and the comments that followed that had me laughing all day long. (And even now!)

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I can’t tell if this is a complaint about me deleting it or not. If it is — please know I thought that was an entertaining thread too. But when the comment section is long and unwieldy, people stop reading. I’ve had a large number of people tell me they’ve stopped reading as much because of long and sometimes off-topic threads, and I’m concerned about that. Ultimately I’m going to do what’s best for the long-term health of the site overall, and I do not want it to turn into a Corporette-style free-for all. While I understand that some people enjoy that stuff, it’s not what the site is here for and the commenting section is large enough now that it has a much bigger impact than it used to. At this point, I feel pretty strongly that big off-topic tangents are impeding the mission of the site.

      In going on to read the rest of the comments on that post last night, I discovered there were zillions more off-topic conversations so I just gave up on removing the rest of them, but it was a pretty frustrating discovery. I don’t get the willingness to flagrantly disregard the site rules.

      1. the gold digger*

        No! I am not trying to be passive aggressive. I am one of the worst ones for going OT and I promise I will do better. I just loved that particular thread. And although I don’t mind OT conversations, others do. I understand your rule – it makes perfect sense – and will comply. :)

      2. Ramona Flowers*

        I do wonder if it would help to work out why people do certain things (some of which I know I’m guilty of) as without that intel it may be hard to work out what to do about it?

        I wonder if you’d find it helpful to talk to a consultancy that specialises in online communities (e.g. something along the lines of Feverbee)?

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Honestly, I think it’s because I haven’t been enforcing the rules as firmly as I should be, which would include more moderation and willingness to block repeat offenders (or at least put them on moderation probation). And the “ask the readers” posts bring out more of it because they are so conversational and share-y to begin with (and with yesterday’s, I wasn’t in there at all until later in the day, which didn’t help — but I have other work and can’t be in there constantly).

          That said, yes, I’d love to talk to someone expert in this because I’m figuring it out as I go and don’t have any actual expertise in how one does this. (On the other hand I’m also convinced, like most small business owners/founders/etc., that an outside expert could not possibly understand our Nuanced and Unique Dynamics. Which is probably not true.)

          1. RKB*

            Maybe you need to get comment moderators. I don’t know if that’s possible, but they wouldn’t have access to anything except deleting unwieldy comment chains.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Yeah, I know it’s the logical solution. I’m pretty convinced, though, that it would be more work than I want to take on. The devil you know, etc.

              1. Jessesgirl72*

                I don’t think moderators necessarily make more work, but the potential for more headaches are there. In some ways, it is easier for you to just delete/ban/put people under moderation because what you say goes. Once you add moderators there is an added layer of arbitration involved.

                I have been a moderator- once paid, and once volunteer from the users. Actually the paid for was to moderate the moderators as well as the board, so most of the complaints came to me. It is a fine line that needs struck between too strict and too lax, for sure.

                In my experience on the commenter end, the contracted professional moderation is the absolute worst. There is one in particular that I would leave if you hired, period. If you decide you need help, whether it is paid or volunteer, I recommend it being people you have direct oversight of. The groups never seem to gaf what the owner wants once a contract is signed.

              2. Natalie*

                This may be technically waaaay too difficult, but would you be amenable to give it a trial run with one post? Maybe an ask-the-readers post, where you can outline the guidelines pretty easily.

              3. gsa*

                I disagree. As you readership grows, your site should too. On or off topic, I have worked with a micro manager or two. If you want your site to grow, you might have to make some changes…

          2. Ramona Flowers*

            It’s not true – so long as you find a good expert/consultancy/whatever with a good track record in this stuff. If anything, speaking to an expert can help you see where you’ve gone off-mission and also help you figure out how to get to where you want. And that should involve talking to you and to your users.

          3. Allypopx*

            I think it might just be the nature of the beast with ask the reader’s posts. Those comment counts get super high anyway, I think they’re likely to turn more casual readers off either way.

            I did read the whole thing (as it was the morning after it went up, I haven’t kept up with it) and there were a ton of off-topic threads, but I found them easy to skip past, personally. They’re much more distracting on posts with a smaller comment volume.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Definitely true. The good news is that my tech person is in the process of testing a way to collapse replies to any comment, not just top-level ones. That would help make things more readable!

              1. JKP*

                Yes! Collapsing replies to any comment would be great.

                Also, maybe there would be a way to default collapse comment threads that are flagged as OT, so that the people who want to enjoy an OT thread about oxford commas can expand the thread and read/comment, but the casual reader can skip past it without any extra work. If posters could flag their own comment as OT/not OT when they post (with a little checkbox), then you wouldn’t have to do extra work to moderate/delete OT threads if your audience was doing most of the work for you.

              2. hermit crab*

                Awesome! I’m excited for this feature. I think it’s really going to make a difference.

              3. Parenthetically*

                Oh, that’s great! I also don’t mind OT conversations, but especially not if they’re collapsible.

              4. Miso*

                As a pretty new reader and very rare commenter, I’d absolutely love that!
                Even if the discussion is all on topic, especially the first comments get a looot of replies and often I’m like “Yeah, that’s all fine and dandy, but I just wanna read a new viewpoint now”. So I just scroll down and try to find the next “original” comment (that isn’t a reply, I mean), which can be kinda hard. It probably doesn’t help I’m reading on my phone.
                So maybe it also would be an idea to give the npn-reply comments a different color background, like yours are blue? Not blue, obviously.
                But that would make it easier to spot them.

              5. JHunz*

                I actually think this will fix the actual problem more or less entirely – not the going off-topic part, but the part where people stop reading the comments as a result.

          4. the gold digger*

            I think it’s because I haven’t been enforcing the rules as firmly as I should be

            I think that might be it, too. I didn’t realize some of my comments were considered OT until they were deleted in the past two weeks. Nobody ever sees the plank in her own eye, I supposed. But now I am more aware.

          5. Sarah G*

            Alison, I know I don’t comment often anyway, but the other day I accidentally made an OT comment and then realized right afterward and apologized. I’d wished I could have just deleted it. What if readers had the ability to delete their own comments? It might not help significantly, but it might help a little with due to the insta-regret moments.

            1. Detective Amy Santiago*

              The problem with that is if people say something objectionable and get called out, the person who made the original post could delete it and leave the rest of the thread without context.

              1. Sarah G*

                Yeah, I thought of that, but then I decided that it doesn’t really matter that much if the objectionable thing gets deleted, IMO. Would there be a way to set it up so that someone could remove a comment only if it doesn’t have responses? I have no idea whether any of those are an option, or whether it would even make a difference, I just know that I would have deleted my off-topic comment if it had been an option. But I don’t comment that often anyway, and now will probably be more likely to catch myself beforehand, after the one slip.

          6. AcademiaNut*

            My personal observation is that off-topic threads become a problem when you get a critical mass of long-term, regular commenters. For them, the forum is not just a place to discuss work issues (or whatever the column is about), but also an on-line social environment to spend time in. So they’re quite happen to spend hours on the site, talking about Oxford commas, or what is going on in their lives, or other off-topic threads.

            But for the casual visitor, or new people, or anyone who really just wants to discuss the blog, it’s offputting. First, having to wade through the off comment stuff to get to the meat, and second, realizing there’s an in-crowd and you’re not part of it.

            The other thing that goes along with this, which I have also seen on this blog, is that the the same regular commenters tend to dominate the discussion, and if you look at who is posting, a non-trivial fraction of the posts come from a small number of posters.

            1. Leah*

              I’ve noticed that too, and feel like it’s possible to observe the pattern and think that the in-crowd has different rules than less frequent contributors. Which is completely fine if that is the intent, but if Alison is looking for opinions from less frequent commenters then I’d say that I’m disinclined to participate because I read often enough to notice how arbitrary it appears and I don’t recommend that my staff participate either although I do recommend the posts themselves as reading often

          7. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

            I don’t know if I can be of any help, but without giving away too much personal info, I worked as a community moderator, primarily managing a large queue (in the thousands) of site-specific comments.

            I don’t consult (and haven’t moderated professionally for a few years now), but would be happy to share any advice/feedback that I can.

            I’ve added my email to this post, so feel free to reach out here or there if I can be of help!

          8. Todd Nilson*

            Hi, this is Todd from FeverBee. I’d be glad to talk about your moderation challenges. My Skype is todd.nilson so we could have an informal chat or call there if you’d like!

        2. Mallory Janis Ian*

          This seems like a fascinating field of study to me. Several of the doctoral students and tenured / tenure-track faculty in my department base their research and publications around behavior in online communities, and I’ve often wished I could read a paper based on the AAM community.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            The most surprising thing I’ve learned from briefly reading some of their research is that human behavior is so much less individualistic than I would have thought. As in, they are able to quantify and predict, in ways that I didn’t realize were possible, so much of what happens in online forums.

              1. Junior Dev*

                Not an academic resource, but the discussion system Civil Comments requires commenters to rate other people’s comments as “civil” or not, and on whether they contribute to the discussion, before posting their own. It both catches troll comments by having other users rate them and apparently inspires people who have just rated a comment to be a little kinder too.

            1. Mallory Janis Ian*

              Cool! Now the next time I’m conversing with any of them about their research, I’ll send them a link to AAM and see if anything comes from it.

          2. fposte*

            I periodically check Google Scholar to see if somebody has published on AAM–I would seem an absolutely fascinating research topic to me!

            1. fposte*

              Okay, that was a really interesting typo–I meant *it* would seem a fascinating research topic to me. I actually do not wish to be a personal research topic :-).

                1. fposte*

                  “I propose doing my doctoral dissertation on me, because it’s about time somebody did.”

                2. Drew*

                  A Hierarchical Bifurcate Investigation Into the Etiology and Germination of fposte, With Special Emphasis on Online Participatory Interlocution and the Syntactical Imperative

      3. fposte*

        I bet from a moderator’s POV it does feel frustratingly flagrant! For me as a commenter, though, avoiding going off-topic is the hardest thing of all, because of that very “conversation in Alison’s living room” thing that’s gotten established. I’m a big rule-follower, and I totally get why that rule is here–but it’s really working against my grain to keep that in mind when a lively conversation breaks out.

        In case it’s useful, here are some things that might help me and maybe others. While you don’t state the “conversation in your living room” thing all that often, maybe it could be recast as an informal meeting in your living room, which frames it as a conversation with a specific purpose. Another possibility is to add “and make sure your comment helps answer the OP’s question” after the “Please follow the site’s commenting rules” legend above the comment box.

        And if this was the ask the readers post about overreactions, I think any ask the readers post is going to cause more ferment; these are stories being told because they’re worth reacting to. If you want to try to limit that, it might be worth a special boxed note above the comment requesting that things stay on-topic, or even requesting that people not comment on others’ anecdotes–that it’s just a post-an-anecdote thread.

        It’s tough! Commenter practices that are fine and enjoyable with 100 people just aren’t with 2000, and then it takes more work to clean up. But sometimes I forget about the other 1999 when I post; sorry, and I’ll try to be more mindful.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          These are really good suggestions! I am adding them to the list of things that will help (which is a literal list that exists in a draft email and which is giving me hope that there really are some pretty good solutions here). It also could be that the “ask the readers” posts should just get more leeway on this. That might be fine. (One thing I see is that I’m having trouble figuring out where the balance is — is it all bad? is some okay? it feels like some is okay, but then how does anyone other than me know what that balance is supposed to be? etc.)

          I’m grateful to you all for indulging me and letting me think out loud on this topic for the last few months (and for your insights and suggestions).

          1. Lore*

            I had the thought that maybe when people feel inspired to veer off topic, they could instead be encouraged to add it to the weekend free for all–maybe, if the original inspiration was tangential-but-relevant, put a single comment with a link to the new discussion in the free for all. That may be unwieldy but it would let people have both conversations.

            1. The Cosmic Avenger*

              Actually, that’s very close to one of the solutions I was going to suggest to Alison — a daily Open Thread, for those off-topic tangents that the day’s posts might generate. You might even be able to move threads there, although I’m not that familiar with WordPress.

              Another suggestion is to see if comments can be tagged “Off-topic”. The Washington Post does this, and allows you to globally ignore off-topic comments or see them, each user gets to choose. Commenters are supposed to tag their own comments as off-topic, but others can, too, in the same way you can report comments.

            2. Jessesgirl72*

              Maybe the free for all needs to expand to beyond the weekend. No one wants to move a discussion to a thread that is a week old and already has 1000 posts, or wait to remember for Saturday- assuming they are even on AAM during the weekend. But I forget which blog has a daily free “lunchtime” post. It was brought up on Slate (they pretended they wanted feedback once) as a gold standard of someplace that has little moderation problems and many happy users.

          2. Allypopx*

            In the original post for ask a readers threads, perhaps you could ask people to be conscientious about staying on topic, but not spend the energy trying to actively police it unless you check in and something seems to be starting to really go off the rails?

            My two cents: Granting more leeway in your own moderating brain makes sense, but I wouldn’t make it overly clear you’re doing that, because as you say, then people get confused. I’d state the rules as they’ve always been and then just resign yourself to the fact you’re herding cats (and that really the cats are trying to be affectionate and playful with each other and sometimes you just have to let them knock things over).

          3. Detective Amy Santiago*

            Something else that might be helpful – if your tech person can give you a way to freeze specific threads instead of either deleting or closing comments on the entire post. That way, you can freeze something that seems to be getting out of hand or too far afield of the topic, but it’s less work for you than deleting things manually.

          4. Snorlax*

            I think if commenters had a way to send private messages to each other, it might cut down on some of the off-topic chatter. That way if someone’s post sparks an off-topic question or comment from another poster, they can take it to PM instead of using the comments section.

            For instance, its lovely to want to congratulate a poster who mentions her pregnancy in a post where she’s suggesting a morning-sickness remedy to a letter writer, but it clutters the comment section if several posters decide to convey their good wishes. Or if someone pops up in comments after having been away for a while, it’s normal for people to say “great to see you here,” but it’s off- topic. PM would help solve this.

            I imagine user registration would be necessary to enable private messaging, so I don’t know if that’s possible but I do believe it would help.

        2. Lily Evans*

          I was going to suggest something similar. Like changing it to “Please stay on topic and follow the site’s commenting rules.” Especially since it seems to be one of the most broken rules and it really is easy to forget in the middle of a thread of conversation, having the reminder right there might help people pause and rethink before posting.

        3. Not So NewReader*

          One thing I saw recently was that a person asked “what is X?” and was told they were going off topic.
          I think that if someone is asking what something means it’s important to give them a brief explanation, so they can follow the conversation and so they can learn. We have such a diverse group here, people of all ages, people starting out in the workforce, people who did not learn English as their primary language and so on.
          I know there are times where I am sitting here nodding, “Yeah, what is THAT X thing anyway?”
          PLUS, this is a pleasant environment and for the most part people sound relaxed and conversational. But as I recall, the Friday and Saturday threads were started in part as a vent to release some of this “chatter”. Other places on the net, comments are long because of people being nasty. Here comments are long because of people being NICE.

          I do think that reminders of “how does this help the OP?” might be the quickest/shortest way to remind people to focus, focus, focus.If the connection between the dots is not apparent the commenter could add a short explanation for the tie-in. Sometimes it’s like the OP is not in your living room with us because we seem to lose sight of the fact of why we are on a particular topic to begin with.

          1. Jessesgirl72*

            You have a point, but when I see “What is X” I normally think they could have googled in less time than it takes to ask…

            1. nonegiven*

              IDK, some of the acronyms I end up googling have several different meanings, none of which seem to apply.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                Same here. And some words have a refined, definite meaning inside a given industry. The word is not used that way in general. Other times I just have no clue. I could google, but sometimes the definition only leaves me with more confused. Usually commenters here can get the idea across in a couple sentences, which is enough for our purposes here.

      4. Abso-Anon*

        I fully admit to being one of the people frustrated with off topic comments and super long threads. If one comment gets to roughly 30 replies, I click collapse and move on. At that point, there’s too much fluff to even bother looking for the hidden gems of a relevant and practical thought.
        Additionally, I also find it irritating when one or two people are ALL over the comment section. I always catch the midnight post pretty quickly and within an hour or so, one person has made 10% of the comments/replies.

        1. Blue eagle*

          I agree with this. Can people be limited to no more than 1 comment per hour (other than the Letter Writer) on any given letter. It is disheartening to read the same people always jumping on the commenting bandwagon first and often so that it seems pointless for me to comment on something because the same people have already made the comments that I would like to make. So I just don’t comment and have lately stopped reading the comments.

          1. paul*

            I don’t think one an hour is a good limit, but maybe 2-3/hour? Or limit the number of times a commentator can post in one subthread per hour? What are WordPress’s options?

          2. Abso-Anon*

            I haven’t been reading as much of the comments as I used to either.
            When I first started reading AAM (lo, at least 3-4 years now), I rarely did because of the general reputation of Internet comments, but then I gradually waded in and was delighted with what I found. Now, it’s so cumbersome and overwhelming.

          3. Ramona Flowers*

            I used to make one comment on that post and people complained about having responses to different letters in one post and said they wanted them in separate comments. Those posts go up when I get up in the morning.

            I understand that this is how it feels, though this comes down to perception (and maybe Wakeen and the teapots don’t help). I’m also a bit frustrated that people don’t seem to get the connection between having kind, helpful, nice comments, and people who come back regularly. This is literally the only online comment section I can read without wanting to scream and facepalm.

            1. Ramona Flowers*

              In fact I remember feeling like separate comments was too much, but people kept telling me to do it that way.

              Cannot win. Giving up.

                1. Ramona Flowers*

                  Sorry, I sounded a bit melodramatic there – snowflake moment over. Just I remember being terribly concerned about seeming to post too much and, well, here we are. It can be hard to remember that what feels like just having a normal discussion on, say, a Facebook thread comes off differently here. On a Facebook or Reddit group (neither of which I spend much time on these days, before you think I just live on the internet 24/7), I wouldn’t think twice about replying to a reply. It can be hard to remember.

                  I think part of the problem is that this has become an online community rather than a blog – and some of the things that make people come back and post a lot, or have off-topic conversations, may well be the same things that also result in the comments generally being nicer and more helpful than in a lot of other places online. I also think there’s something in there about what makes people comment – finding shared connections, wanting to help others and value one’s own expertise or experience or whatever.

                  I wonder if it would actually work to just switch the posting schedule around? The five questions posts go up at a time when a minority of people are reading – it seems to be midnight for some and it’s early in the morning for others e.g. I read it over my morning coffee as I get up at stupid o’clock to comment. So a minority of people are coming to that post and maybe leaving three, four, five comments in response to all the different letters, at a time when a lot of people are asleep. It’s hard to read and not comment, because part of what’s compelling about AAM, part of why people want to give advice in the first place, is that it seems to be written in a way that encourages discussion (especially the short answers posts, which often don’t give that much advice so readers tend to have things to add). Maybe the answer is to do a one-letter post at that time, and post the five-questions ones at another time (e.g. the first of the posts that go up later) and see if that changes things.

                  I think the other problem that’s happening right now – and this is kind of subtle, but bear with me if anyone’s still reading – is that there’s a lot of talk about how some people (and I know I’m guilty of this) get in there early and say lots of things other people might want to say, and then other people feel discouraged and don’t want to post. And that’s a useful point to make. But think about it. By emphasising that in response to the super users or loud ones or whatever you want to call the people who are currently getting in there first, it’s also emphasising the message to other people that, nope, you shouldn’t bother posting your opinion as well. All the talk of how to make the loud people shut up a bit also sends a message to the quieter people that, yup, they do need to stay quiet, because it’s the same message – so it’s always possible that these conversations are also reinforcing the idea that those people should be discouraged from commenting.

                2. Ramona Flowers*

                  Haha, that was another amazing typo. I don’t get up early to comment! I get up early to commute!!!

                3. Elizabeth H.*

                  I don’t want it to be an online community, just blog comments. I actually don’t think that it’s the community feel that makes people leave more helpful and polite comments but the overall tone of the website. I just REALLY don’t want it to become a message board or even Disqus. There are enough of those on the internet.

                  I definitely don’t read the comments as much as I used to (because there are so many) but I haven’t really noticed there being an emphasis on not replying to replies or certain people commenting “too much.” the moderation/commenting rules seem pretty light handed to me.

                4. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

                  Elizabeth, I agree. I really value the comments here (on most posts), but I’m uncomfortable with how a “community” is developing here. (And I’m among the longest-tenured readers/commenters and a fairly regular commenter, so it’s entirely possible that I’m part of the “problem” I’m identifying.) It feels… exclusive. It’s why I don’t read the comments on Carolyn Hax or Captain Awkward. It’s like somebody’s club, rather than an open forum.

        2. Myrin*

          I agree, although with the caveat that especially with the midnight post, which for some commenters (including me) goes up right when they fire up their computer in the morning, it’s kind of easy to make 10% of the comments because there aren’t that many there yet. For example, if you write a separate comment for all five questions, at first, someone who scrolls down the site can see your name five times in a row and it will seem like super much. But when all of those comments get replies, the original commenter’s distribution appears much more spread out. I think when it does become frustrating is when that same commenter then comes back and replies to every reply they got, and usually with only a reiteration of what’s already been said anyway.

      5. The Unkind Raven*

        I found it annoying that thread was deleted. That forum was more open than others, so I didn’t get the deleting of it. I also don’t like it when some threads are deleted and other, also off topic threads are not. You write that it’s too pervasive to continually keep up deleting them, but then on the reader’s end it just looks inconsistent. I find that the moderation has become so heavy handed; it feels like a scolding every time it happens. I still like the site, I’ll still read it, but that’s my perspective. Thanks for all your hard work in running it.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          It’s definitely inconsistent! It’s the result of running what’s become a fairly well-trafficked blog on top of a regular workload. I can’t do the stuff I could do if this were my full-time job. I’m okay with that, but ask that y’all remember that’s the situation.

          1. Mike C.*

            You’re only human and I think you’re doing a fine job dealing with the complications that arise from a growing website.

    2. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Aaagh, I missed that conversation! It was gone by the time I checked AAM again that day, and I’ve been wondering what it said. I do understand about deleting off-topic posts, but now I’m having whatever the sensation of realized FOMO is. :-)

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Sorry, Alison — I was posting at the same time as you and now my comment beneath yours looks, perhaps, like a rebuttal of yours. That’s not what I meant, and I understand about the commenting policy. I guess that’s what we have the open thread for!

    3. Lissa*

      All I ever need to do is read an unmoderated forum of any kind to remind myself why more moderation of off-topic threads is a good thing. It also stops things from feeling as cliquey – there are places online where I never engage with comments because I literally cannot figure out what is even being said, or if people are sarcastic or really mad at each other, and there are so many references to things I don’t get that I just check out.

      I know for me the threads that are basically a long string of quotes from pop culture get frustrating, especially if I don’t watch the thing and have no idea what’s going on (which is usual)– but one funny comment referencing someone’s user name can make me laugh, so I don’t really know where the ‘line’ is even for me personally.

      1. PatPat*

        Totally agree about sites feeling cliquey. Sites where the first comments you read are some version of, “Hey, girl where you been? Did you get things straightened out with your boyfriend?” are sites I don’t spend a lot of time visiting.

        1. Blue*

          There are comments sections now that are basically serving the function of AOL chat rooms — but not in real time. Someone would make a killing bringing those back for a new generation that clearly wants/needs something like that.

        2. The Unkind Raven*

          I mean…that does happen here. It can get cliquey on AAM. People really don’t like that when you say it, but I can’t be the only one who has noticed.

          1. fposte*

            Any suggestions for mitigating that while still allowing the community benefits? I agree with PatPat that I’m really put off by a comments section that starts right off with social catchup, but I also really like the familiarity of repeated commenters.

            1. CMT*

              I think you actually do a very good job of not perpetuating that atmosphere, even though you’re a frequent and well-known commenter. But your comments are always relevant and helpful. What most annoys me are the “in-crowd” commenters who say things like “Alison says this, and Alison says that” and come off like they have this sense of authority due to their frequent commenter status. Plus it just sounds so much like a teacher’s pet, that it annoys me on a personal level.

          2. Jessesgirl72*

            I think people need to get over being so against the normal familiarity that comes with good online communities. It’s kind of a pet peeve of mine, because I’ve been hit over the head with it since I was a teenager, but when you start criticizing people for it, all you are doing is penalizing people for liking some people better than others.

            If new commenters were having their opinions minimized or ignored or drowned out by or because of the older and more prolific commenters, then sure- there is a problem and it needs shut down. But if the old timers are welcoming and willing to accept newcomers and include them… well, for anyone who then is still unwilling to jump in because other people know and like each other? Then that is really their problem.

    4. Schnapps*

      If you ever want to talk about the Oxford comma, I will definitely participate. I love me some Oxford commas and believe they should be on an endangered species list.

  7. Ramona Flowers*

    Are the kitties playing that iPad game for cats? Mine couldn’t get the hang of it as he kept looking behind the iPad…

    I gave up smoking this week. Using an e-cigarette a tiny bit here and there but trying to keep that to a minimum as in the past I’ve ended up just spending loads of money on vaping. Anyway, my e-cig went missing yesterday. My husband handed it to me this morning and asked me why I’d tucked it into his jacket? Except I hadn’t. Which leaves one four-legged suspect!

  8. fposte*

    I know some people here are fans of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and some people are fans of Caity Weaver, because they recommended her wonderful “Thatz Not Okay” Gawker column a few years back.

    If you like either of them, you will be pleased to know the new GQ includes an absolutely delightful piece by Caity Weaver about how absolutely delightful Dwayne Johnson is. http://www.gq.com/story/dwayne-johnson-for-president-cover

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I love them both, but I loooooooove Dwayne Johnson. He is at the top of My List (yes, that List) and the only man I ever want to stare at, sigh, and say, “He’s so dreeeeeamy!”

    2. hermit crab*

      Ahhhhh, this is so charming! I am sitting here reading every other sentence out loud to my husband, who is also reading the article.

    3. Victoria, Please*

      That *was* utterly charming! I will have to go watch some of his stuff now.

  9. Allypopx*

    Allergy season in New England is brutal this year. Everyone around me is feeling ill. I’m not having a ton of allergy symptoms, but my asthma is out of control. I had the worst asthma attack on Monday that I’ve had in over a decade. My doctor screamed at me for not going to the ER.

    The doc gave me an inhaled steroid but that might take a couple weeks to work. In the meantime I’ve got my puffer and some allergy meds, but I still can barely walk from the bus to work without doubling over in a wheezing/coughing fit. Exercise is out of the question. Sexytime is out of the question. Basically anything that involves breathing. Short spurts of being outside make me feel like my life support bar is depleting in the radiation. (Mass Effect reference? Is this the crowd for that?) My Fitbit thought I exercised for 20 minutes yesterday when I was sitting and playing D&D, I think the excess talking and being excited just got my heart rate up.

    Mostly I’m whining. But if anyone has advice for wading through the next week or so I’d love it (the pollen next week is supposed to be EVEN WORSE. Yay!)

    1. all aboard the anon train*

      Ugh, tell me about it. I usually go for Zyrtec and ibuprofen, but I’ve been sneezing like crazy and my eyes are so red and itchy. I miss the days of my childhood when I had no seasonal allergies.

    2. Turtlewings*

      I usually don’t even HAVE seasonal allergies, and they’re driving me nuts this year. I think it’s nation (world?) wide — I’m in Texas. I’m the last one to have advice because I’ve never had to deal with it before, but good luck, you’re not alone!

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        Yeah, it is everywhere this year. I have heard complaints in the Midwest, East, Southwest, and West Coast.

      2. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

        Not worldwide. Finland has it easy for the second year in the row.

    3. NoMoreMrFixit*

      I’m outside of Toronto and it’s pretty bad up here too. The usual mix of meds I take for allergies are barely doing anything this year for me. Hot showers help open my sinuses temporarily. Eucalyptus essential oil helps too.

    4. Anon for current purposes*

      Is feeling generally under-the-weather a symptom of allergies? I’m just curious; that’s never happened to me a lot in Spring but I’ve had a few bouts this month.

    5. This Daydreamer*

      Are you using one of the newly-OTC nasal sprays? Nasacort has done wonders for me.

      1. Allypopx*

        I’m not having any nasal congestion and because of my asthma I’m super hesitant about inhaling heavy liquids in case they settle in my lungs (bronchitis is no bueno). Even with my typical inhalers I use a spacer.

        BUT, if others need allergy recs, I can confirm having heard wonderful things about nasacort.

    6. Josie De Vivre*

      In Texas we have “cedar fever”. Some people have good results using a Netipot. I can’t use them, but saline nasal spay helps me.

    7. Andrea*

      Do you have the emergency asthma spray? The one that works about 6 hours? Maybe you could take that daily till the steroids kick in?

      1. Andrea*

        Also, just in case you don’t already know but:
        – rinse your hair before going to sleep
        – wear (sun-)glasses at all time outdoors
        – only air your house very early or very late
        – use saltwater (isotonic water) to rinse your nose and eyes

        1. neverjaunty*

          This. My eye doctor also recommends gently washing your eyelids and eyelashes with diluted baby shampoo (rinse well!) before bed to get rid of accumulated pollen.

    8. Merci Dee*

      I have insane seasonal allergies with asthma, and I live in the southeast. Our allergy season started back in February, and it’s been coming in waves ever since.

      I take Flonase, Singulair, and Zyrtec daily for my allergies. My ENT told me those meds can make me drowsy, so he recommended taking at night since they all work for 24 hours.

      And, of course, I keep my albuterol inhaler within reach at all times.

      Good luck. Hope you feel better.

    9. LCL*

      I’m across the country from you, and pollen is actually backing off here.
      1. Wash all the jackets you are wearing regularly. Try to store them away from your living area.
      2. Wear a hat outside, take it off inside.
      3. Wear a hat, long sleeves and pants and gloves if you have to do any outside work.
      4. Try meds without sudafed. If the name has D after it, it has sudafed. I take sudafed separately as needed. Sometimes it will take a couple doses for your allergy medicine to work.
      5. Change your sheets, pillowcases, and wash your blankets today.
      6. Now is not the time for any spring cleaning that will stir up a lot of dust. Vacuum if you have a good vacuum.
      7. I drink a 1/4 lemon or lime steeped in boiling water and it seems to help. I have read in more than one place that citrus makes allergies worse. My experience has been the opposite.

    10. copy run start*

      I take Zyrtec and Nasacort year-round and I’m still feeling it this year. I just bought a second air purifier for my living area (already been using one for the bedroom for years) and it’s helping a lot just to run it at night.

      Aside from that, changing clothes when you get home for the day, or a second shower before bed can really help. There are special allergy detergents you can use for bedding and clothes too! I use one by All, but I’m pretty certain even Target is serving a generic version now. They’re not that much more expensive.

  10. RKB*

    I am leaving my abusive parents home on June 30. I am so terrified. I don’t know which is the best way to go about it: a police escort or just ghosting. I’ve been slowly taking some of my stuff to a storage locker every time I leave the house, but I need to exit with my dog on the day of, and that’s probably going to need police intervention. Cuz they’re crazy.

    1. Allypopx*

      If you feel unsafe, call the police. It’s not worth the risk if they could hurt you or your pup.

      I’m glad you’re getting out. I hope the outlook is better now, after this hurdle.

      1. RKB*

        Yes! I actually read more in the subreddit for first generation Indian children, as there’s a unique cultural aspect to being an Indian girl and leaving the house and how ingrained abuse is in our culture. But RBN has been so helpful. Even if Reddit is sometimes not the best, I’m glad RBN came out of it.

        1. Thursday Next*

          Which subreddit is it? I’d love to read it. Have read some of the posts specific to Indians on RBN.

          You sound very organized and methodical about your exit strategy. Your situation must be so difficult, and you’re doing an amazing job of doing what you have to to keep yourself intact. Brava! My parental relationship wasn’t as fraught as yours seems to be, but I certainly had a long period where contingency plans and exit strategies played a huge role. You’ll get through this.

    2. Red Reader*

      :( “vet appointment” or “grooming”? “Visit to the dog park” maybe?

      (I don’t mean to say that you shouldn’t call the police if you feel it necessary – but if you wanted to try something lower-key first to get the dog out of the house, that might be an option.)

      Best wishes to you, and stay safe.

      1. RKB*

        Yeah, I was considering going to the park but in actuality dropping him with my boyfriend. Then returning with a police escort to get his food and my remaining clothing and some furniture I got myself. Since the car isn’t under my name, I also want a legal witness to me returning their things, like a credit card, mail keys, house keys, etc so that they can’t try and get me with it later.

        1. Yetanotherjennifer*

          Just remember, stuff is replaceable and you aren’t. The main focus is for you and your pet to get out of a dangerous situation. If that means saying goodbye to a bed or a chair or a bag of dog food, then so be it. I hope it all goes well.

    3. Turtlewings*

      I would say err on the side of caution, but if you decide not to go with the police escort, maybe you can say you’re taking the dog to the vet? Or, if you’re taking too much dog stuff with you to make that plausible, say you’re boarding her for some reason? If you can just sneak out in the middle of the night or when they’re out of the house, go for it the minute you get a chance. Good luck!!!!

    4. fposte*

      Do you have unambiguous proof of ownership of the dog? Registered to you, shelter payment made by you, vet payments by you, etc.? A lot of times when people are living with their parents (or SOs) the paper trail for pet ownership isn’t all that clear, and a clear paper claim may be what’s needed for the cops to be on your side. So if you’ve paid for everything from purchase to worming with bills in your name, gather ’em together; if you haven’t, maybe consider that a reason to go for the “dog park visit” rather than the police intervention.

      1. RKB*

        Yes! He’s registered with the city under my name, my name is on all of his vet paperwork as his primary owner, all payments were made by me. He has me as his only owner by the daycare he attends and my name and number are on his collar. He’s very much mine.

        I waffled on taking or leaving him because my mother really loves him… but that’s not reason enough for me to stay, so it’s not reason enough to abandon a four legged creature who can’t speak, either.

        1. fposte*

          Excellent. In general, cops aren’t interested in deciding civil matters like whose dog it is, so clear “Here is incontestable proof that it is my dog” stuff will make them a lot more comfortable with supporting the pup’s relocation.

        2. Trixie*

          Absolutely take him with, sounds like you’re keeping each safe and in good company in a difficult time.

          1. Bagpuss*

            If he goes to daycare, can you arrange for him to go there as usual,then pick him up after getting your stuff from the house?

            1. Perse's Mom*

              And make very, very, very clear to the daycare (and vet!) that no one other than you is allowed to pick him up. If someone else shows up claiming you sent them to pick up Rover for you, the staff for both places need to know they need to turn that person down and contact you immediately.

    5. gladfe*

      I think police departments vary a lot in how they handle stuff like this. In my hometown, I’d tell you to call the police non-emergency number ahead of time and ask for their help, but I’m not sure that would make sense everywhere. Is there a local DV shelter or someplace similar that would have experience dealing with your local police? They might have more specific advice on when to call them.

      1. fposte*

        That’s a good idea. I know not everyplace does offer the police escort service, so it’s definitely worth ascertaining before you plan on it.

      2. RKB*

        I work closely with police in my line of work, so I actually have the upper hand in that situation!

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Not much to add except, warm thoughts and good vibes for safety. You can do this, you will make it. Let us know how it goes for you.

    7. This Daydreamer*

      Wow. Good luck! If there’s a domestic violence shelter nearby you can give them a call for advice. The one I work for is pretty strictly for victims of intimate partner violence but we can still tell you which police forces are likely to be sympathetic and what other services may be available that you don’t know about.

    8. LCL*

      You can do this!
      If you haven’t yet made copies of your ID and contents of your wallet, get that done. Leave maybe a copy with boyfriend, or at school or work.
      Maybe if you have access to an unsupervised computer, do a search for support for Indian women in your situation. There might be hidden allies that the wider community wouldn’t know about.

    9. Liane*

      Hugs for you. Many years ago*, my dad got the police when he finally left my mom, and took me along. I hope they still do this.
      I know most DV shelters can’t take pets but if there’s time, and you can do so safely, call and talk with a counselor at a local one anyway. They should still be able to give you some advice on how to go about this in the safest way.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Also some shelters have links with fosterers who will care for pets while you get out and get settled.

    10. Father who's an Artist, A Con Artist*

      Just wanted to reach out and give you my support! I moved in with my sociopath father post college with hopes that I could change him. After six months and my identity stolen, I moved out. It was tough, but I think being straight forward with him and having a support system with me at the time of move out helped a lot. I would also suggest calling the police, as I did not, and he accused me of stealing property that I did not. He tried to press charges, but the police didn’t investigate, as they knew of his con-artist ways.
      On a brighter note, that day and the weeks following were rough, but it gets better. Just remind yourself that you are you and not your parents!

    11. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      I think everyone has mentioned good possible resources so I’ll just second the suggestion that your and your dog’s safety comes first. Things can be replaced and they aren’t worth risking your near freedom and safety for, in grand scheme of things. Best of luck.

    12. SeekingBetter*

      Glad to hear you are planning to get out. I’m sorry to hear and I hope that your exit strategy works without them knowing about it.

  11. Red Reader*

    I am leaving Monday morning (like, I have to get in the car to head for the airport at 3am) for a week all by myself at DisneyWorld. I have not packed yet. I should probably go do that.

    Super stoked though. I’m doing a behind-the-scenes tour at Epcot one morning, and the Flower and Garden Festival is currently going on, and really I just generally massively love WDW, like this will be my 8th trip or so in the last two years with two more scheduled for later this year including my honeymoon. I’m also hoping for soft-opening sneak peeks of the Pandora area, though it’s not officially opening until the end of the week after I get back.

    (This morning, at the farmer’s market, the guy who rang me up for my cinnamon bun was like “Can I ask you a question? You have Mickey Mouse on your shirt, and on your credit card, and on your purse, and you have one of those little mice from Cinderella on your jacket. Are you a Disney fan?” I was like “… yes?”)

    1. Amadeo*

      Let me know how that goes for you. I went with my family and we had a mild disagreement about which park we were going to the last day of the trip (I wanted to go check out Star Wars Weekend, they wanted to go to Epcot) so I went to the Hollywood Studios park on my own. I may have just been self-conscious, but it felt like I got a lot of ‘little girl, are you lost?’ glances wandering around on my own.

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        It was you. :) I know a lot of adults who solo there. A friend does her own online business for Park stuff, and is alone there every day. The only grief she sometimes reports is if she has a table at one of the casual eating restaurants when they are busy. 2 weeks ago, she was eating lunch and two different family groups were really rude and obnoxious about wanting her table.

      2. Red Reader*

        I’ve gone solo (and wandered solo while there with groups) a bunch of times and never had any issues :)

    2. Jessesgirl72*

      The new fireworks show at MK that debuted last night us really super amazing! People thought nothing could top Wishes, but they were wrong.

    3. ArtK*

      Have a great time!

      Although it was a bit different since I’m a guy, I’ve done WDW solo. I gave myself the trip as a graduation gift many (many, many, many!) years ago.

      The only reason I wouldn’t go solo now is that my wife would kill me. She’s an even bigger Disney fan than I am (and that says a lot.)

      1. Red Reader*

        haha, I get a lot more PTO than my fiancé does, so I asked him if he minded me going solo once or twice a year :) he said no, once a year was enough for him!

    4. Little Missy*

      We were at Epcot the first of May when the Flower and Garden Festival had just opened. It was beautiful. I am so glad you will get to experience it!

  12. Sugar of lead*

    Ahh, weekends. The sun is shining; the birds are chirping; the flies are buzzing, and my phone is off so that I don’t get guilt-tripped into picking up extra shifts and running myself into the ground.

    An issue came up that I asked about yesterday in the context of work, and I’d like to do a sort of an informal survey: do any of you experience sensory issues, especially sensory overload? What are your experiences like? What kind of steps do you take to prevent it?

    1. Mimmy*

      I definitely have sensory issues, though some of it could be explain by having mild vision and hearing impairments.

      Hearing: I experience sensory overload. When there is a lot of noise or talking, I get agitated, particularly when indoors. I’m fine if I don’t need to be particularly focused, like talking to someone or paying attention in a meeting or class; I just tune out. But when I’m trying to do something, any distractions make me nuts. I almost feel as if I had some sort of squeeze toy, it would help. I’ve also found that when I’m at a gathering and I’m mingling, I find it hard to stay focused on the person I’m talking to. I’m also pretty sure I have major misophonia (sp?), which I know has been discussed here before – Any sound of crinkling bags or chewing makes me extremely twitchy.

      Visually I think I have issues too. I find it difficult to process a busy visual space, particularly if it’s in an unfamiliar setting. Examples include a large crowd or a grocery store. Although my visual acuity is impaired even with correction, it’s not super blurry.

      I also tend to get overstimulated by concerts, especially when the artist is someone of whom I consider myself a fan.

      Step for prevention: The only thing I can really minimize is the auditory sensory overload – I try to make sure that I step out on occasion to give my brain a break. Everyone goes to the restroom now and then, so I figure that’s a good cover :) I also tend to only go places with my husband, which I know is an unhealthy strategy. I’d love nothing more than to go to New York City on my own to meet up with former online classmates, but I know that doing so will be very taxing on my nervous system, particularly during the work week.

    2. Junior Dev*

      Yes! I am extra sensitive to sounds, I think it’s related to my anxiety. I also get overwhelmed by large groups of people ot by being in public spaces like stores. My best coping strategy so far is to know my limits and head home when I start to feel burned out, even if it means I don’t get to do everything I planned on doing. Having a car helps a lot because 1) I don’t have to ride the bus, which is extra overloading 2) I don’t have to plan every trip and feel like I wasted a bunch of travel time if I go home early.

    3. This Daydreamer*

      Ugh. Sounds, especially shrill noises. I’ve pretty much given up on going to concerts because of the inevitable migraine. I also get overwhelmed in crowds.

    4. Kate*

      I have ADD (they call it ADHD now but I am stuck in the past!) It is generally decently managed, but I am extremely sensitive to sound. I get extremely agitated if there is too much background noise of any kind.

      Fans running, dishwasher running, TV noise, my husband insisting on loudly mouth-breathing while he has a cold and refuses to take anything for it…

      As a rule, I try to keep things to one activity at a time. So I will make my tea and *just* have my tea (and maybe a book). I try to carve out time in the day where is just me and not my husband and kids (usually in the am, before they wake up). And we have a house rule of only one noise-making toy permitted to EXIST in the house at a time. Once the giant keyboard gets rotated in (ugh), the singing zebra goes (ugh ugh). And I never give noise-making toys to anyone else’s children! I call that my gift yo other parents like me.

    5. Tau*

      Yes! I’m on the autistic spectrum, so it kind of comes with the territory. And I’ll note that although the popular conception of Asperger’s is almost solely about the social difficulties, for myself I consider the sensory problems even more debilitating and more of a problem for everyday life. (Although executive dysfunction tops them both.)

      The #1 culprit is noise. Too much noise, or too much background noise when I’m trying to focus on something related to hearing (e.g. listening to someone in a noisy environment), feels like someone’s poured acid on my brain and which is eating away at my ability to think. I basically temporarily lose cognitive skills as time goes on, and if I stay I will probably end up a gibbering wreck in the corner where the only thing I am capable of thinking or expressing is oh god it’s loud. I’ve managed to avoid it getting to that stage, but I’ve had a few close calls – including one time I went out to a noisy pub on a trip and a friend had to walk me back to our hotel because I was in such a state she was worried I wouldn’t be able to make it back OK on my own, and another time my ability to understand spoken language blipped out for a bit when I was in a noisy environment and then got stressed on top of that.

      The only way to deal with it is to avoid too-loud environments and limit my exposure to the danger-level ones. Thankfully, I get a decent amount of warning before things start going seriously downhill cognitively speaking, so I can generally go “OK, we are in a danger zone”, turn around and get myself somewhere quiet stat. I also think my tolerance may have gone up very slightly as I’ve gotten older, although this may also be due to the fact that socialising as a thirty-something involves less clubs and bars. This was a huge problem in my late teens and early twenties, because I basically couldn’t tolerate any of the standard environments my peers used for socialising and I was more unsure of myself and would therefore let myself get peer pressured into going to unsafe places or staying there too long.

      Sensory problem #2 is touch – a lot of types of touch feel pretty terrible, and light touch in particular lingers in a really, really unpleasant way, like ripples in water after someone’s dropped in a rock. This is less of a problem in daily life because it’s a lot easier to control how I’m touched than what I hear, so I just don’t buy clothes that feel bad and don’t touch people much. (Being asexual really helps on the latter front. ;))

    6. Parenthetically*

      My only sensory issue is related to bass-range sounds. It’s not just “ugh, too much bass,” it’s a physical response — my heart rate and breathing go up, my jaw clenches, my whole body gets tense, my stomach starts to flip. It’s awful. If it’s in traffic, coming from a nearby car, I can breathe through it, roll my windows up, turn up my classical music until it’s gone. If it’s the person, say, living below me studying at 3 am with the bass cranked, I can spiral into anxiety really fast and it’s a major struggle to cope.

    7. HannahS*

      I have sensory issues d/t having fibromyalgia. It’s very difficult to describe. In general, the issue is that I can’t “mute” stimuli as well as I could before (and I’m in the strange position of having had fairly normal sensory experiences for 18 years and then surprise!). At parties, I have to concentrate HARD and try to read lips to hear what people are saying, because the background noise doesn’t fade to the background. To me, every conversation I can hear is the same volume. I know that it isn’t literally true in terms of decibels, but in terms of my ability filter competing noise, they are. Every chair that digs in to my back is going to dig in to my back the entire time I’m sitting in it. If my hair is touching my face or neck, it will feel like it’s rubbing against me until I move it aside. Mostly, my skin hurts. I know I’m overtired when clothes hurt my skin. I’ll start the day in rayon/spandex leggings thinking they’re the softest things ever, and within a few hours I might be in tears because they feel like sandpaper. It makes me feel jittery and agitated and like I really want to SCREAM and tear all of my skin off. It takes a lot of energy to push those things aside and focus. Sensory issues have actually aggravated my introversion! I can’t spend a day in the wide world and then come home and deal with someone else’s noise. Fortunately for me, I take Lyrica and holy moly it makes a huge difference (and manages pain, which is very important). It’s shocking to walk around the same streets I found to be such a sensory overload a few years ago and just carry on a normal conversation.

      1. Nic*

        I’ve never met anyone else who described the sandpaper feeling before, but I’ve TOTALLY HAD THAT. It’s the absolute worst.

        I’m so sorry you have to deal with that. :(

        1. HannahS*

          Thanks! Honestly, I focus on how much the medication has helped me. It feels miraculous, and I know a lot of people never find relief.

    8. PatPat*

      Yes, the general hum and buzz of an office really gets to me. Every day I eat lunch by myself in a quiet place, in my case usually the roof of the parking deck in my car, and have one hour of peace and quiet. It does wonders and allows me to recharge. In my position I’m not chained to my desk, do the majority of my work off site, and can manange my schedule as I see fit, so if the noise is really troublesome I just find work to do off site and take off!

    9. KR*

      When my anxiety gets too much I get sensory overload. I kind of shut down and can’t focus, and every single noise or person talking to me or smell or sensation or whatever is just too much. I usually end up looking like an idiot/jerk for a while until I realize what’s happening and can excuse myself either to go to bed if the party is in my house or leave if it’s somewhere else. I also really dislike music and the TV playing, as well as music that’s too loud. I don’t even mind loud music but if it’s blaring it stresses me out. Like the above commenter, I find driving everywhere to be extremely helpful because I can control when and where I am at all times and if I get overwhelmed I have a space ready to take a break or run away. I keep Tylenol/water to combat the usual headache and a blanket or sweater to comfort me. Also sometimes it’s just helpful to go in my room, close the door, hit the lights, turn my phone off and just process what’s happening in my head and give myself space.

    10. Nic*

      In general sensory stuff isn’t too bad for me, though too much input (especially of multiple sorts) at the same time will short circuit something in my head.

      I once spent too much time around too many people and overstimulated until I broke myself. It was really really bad. It took months for me to be able to speak without busting into tears from the stress of having to make a noise. (Strangely typing was fine, it was only verbal where I had issues). I also lost all social acumen I may have had. I didn’t comprehend jokes or humor of any sort. I had no tact AT ALL.

      Since that time I’ve been very careful about how many people I’m around, for how long, and how I’m feeling. I’ve let my friends know that this has happened in the past (in general terms, unless I suspect they’ll have to help me out of such a situation later) and let them know that if I say I need to get out of a place or spend a lot of time by myself, it’s IMPORTANT.

      When I feel it coming on (it comes on as an antsy-ness and a desire to lock myself away in a small room with no humans) I start clearing my social calendar, spending more time away from electronics and social media, and try to engage in quiet activities like reading or quilting.

      I wish you the best of luck in dealing with yours!

      1. Sugar of lead*

        Thanks Nic, and to everyone, for sharing your stories As a kid, everyone treated me like I was picky and selfish because I was always begging them to stop talking, or turn the volume down, to the point where I believed it myself. But hearing that you’ve all had related experiences has made me feel less alone, so thank you for that.

    11. Elizabeth West*

      Usually not, unless I’m not feeling well or it’s close to Aunt Flo’s visit. I have panic attacks but they’re not stimulated by sounds or crowds or anything like that. Which sucks, because I can’t always identify triggers easily. Mindfulness is helping with those, however.

  13. Belly Dancing Romance Writer Anon*

    A short story I wrote for an upcoming anthology has been accepted by the publisher! That makes 2 books and a short story so far accepted for publication in the last two years. My second book will be released in late 2017 abd the anthology I believe is coming out in early 2018.

    1. fposte*

      Hey, you–I don’t know your real name, but I remember your sequence of monikers and exciting stories, and that’s wonderful that your writing is going so well for you!

  14. Stephanie*

    People who are good at packing! Help! (I am not one.)

    I am moving for the summer for my internship. As I’m only gone for the summer, I’m just taking what’ll fit in my car (a Golf). I’ve got a large suitcase, a carry on, and like a duffel bag.

    1. How would you suggest figuring out what clothes to take (and how many)? Dress at my internship is business casual to start, but I’ll have to visit factories/assembly plants periodically. I could see the packing casual clothes + work clothes + gym clothes getting unwieldy fast, so tips on how to keep from showing up with a steamer trunk are greatly appreciated.
    1a. I’ll be in the Detroit area, so it’ll be warm and humid, but I imagine it might be cooler at night. What exactly are the summers like? I’ve mostly lived in areas with scorching summers, so this is new to me.
    2. My roommate is staying for the summer. He says repeatedly he doesn’t like to cook (and I can pretty much attest to that). 99.8% of the kitchen stuff is mine and we’ve been sharing. I’m in corporate housing for the summer, which does have pots and pans and such. Would it be weird if I took the spices and good knives with me? I don’t think I’ve seen him use either very often.

    1. RKB*

      Look up capsule wardrobes! I find those are the best at exemplifying how to cut down on your professional wardrobe but still look classy and different everyday.

      Also: folding things within each other and then rolling it up. So pop socks and undies into a shirt, lay the shirt on top of your pants, roll them all up. It’s unwieldy to unpack but you can take more of what you need.

      1. Becca*

        Capsule wardrobes for sure!!! I recommend The Vivienne Files— it’s a blog that focuses a lot on capsule wardrobes, and there are a ton of posts about packing and traveling.

        In terms of #2— just take what’s yours and let him know ahead of time. It’s not weird at all for you to use your own things! Good luck with your internship and have fun in Detroit!

        1. Rookie Manager*

          I would third the capsual wardrobe idea; choose a base colour (black, navy, grey, brown- whatever suits you) a couple of accent colours and keep the rest neutral. That means everythng can be mixed and matched including jewellery and shoes.

          I’m a fan of dresses for work as they can be easily dressed up or down, are comfy to wear and take up less space (and budget) than seperates.

    2. misspiggy*

      Prioritise formal, good quality clothes that can be dressed up or down with casual or smart shoes, tops, jewellery etc. Business casual is still pretty formal.
      Check with your roommate what you can take with you, but that sounds OK as long as he knows in advance.

    3. the gold digger*

      You will be working with engineers?

      Nobody will notice what you wear. Seriously. I work with almost all male engineers and I have a wardrobe of white t-shirts, black t-shirts, and a few skirts. That is what I wear. Nobody cares. Just take comfy shoes for the plant visits and accept that comfy shoes pretty shoes. (Which you already knew.)

    4. fposte*

      Well, it doesn’t necessarily cool off that much at night; you’re still thinking desert weather. And the humidity gets higher at night just to compensate :-). I would say a single jean jacket would probably do you handily for the outside weather, but during the day you’re going to be moving in and out of A/C, I bet, so a decent versatile cardigan would be useful.

      And I’m seconding the “uniform” idea. I’m guessing you’re there for 2-2.5 months? Figure out what colors you can simplify to and work from there. If you have enough black, grey, and white, those are the easy ways to go; you can add one other color (navy blue is an easy one) to mix it up. Throw in a few scarves to brighten things up and protect against the A/C. Separates are more versatile than dresses, but you also don’t want to go out and spend a pile just for this; knit tanks and cheap sweaters can give you a little variety if you reuse dresses. In general, I’m a huge fan of knits for a situation like this in general, but you’d need a read on their work appropriateness; knit summer skirts especially can be *really* casual.

    5. Undine*

      Think in terms of minimum, not maximum. You probably don’t need more than one factory outfit, for example, or one jacket for the evenings. (Google “Detroit climate” to get a sense of the range.) Find out how convenient laundry is going to be (small washer in the unit?) and expect to do it frequently. If you can afford it, set a budget for extra clothes purchases after you get there instead of trying to cover everything perfectly. If you have acceptable factory clothes that you wouldn’t mind tossing after a summer’s wear, take those. You will acquire things there — you are human — so don’t take only stuff you will *have* to take back.

      Packing cubes take up space, but they help you keep organized.

      If you’re really worried, you could pack a couple extra boxes of emergency clothes, label them clearly, leave them in your room and arrange with someone to pick them up and mail them if necessary. (Like Cold Evenings, Extra Office, Factory.) Again, that’s a cost thing though.

      Talk to your roommate and let him know you’ll be taking some of the kitchen stuff. It might be weird if it all just disappeared, but if you give him a heads up, I would think it’s fine. (But they will have spices in Detroit — it might save your energy/space to bring only a couple really special ones you know you’ll use, and get marjoram and oregano when you are there, then toss them or give them away when you come back. Again, if you give yourself a small budget to start up your kitchen, you can use that to cover gaps.)

      Take some stuff that’s special to you and that will help you feel at home. But small.

      1. Stephanie*

        Makes sense on the spices–I was mostly thinking of taking them after remembering how expensive it was to restock all of them…but I’m also imagining spilled cumin in my car.

        1. Jean (just Jean)*

          You can put the spices into a plastic bag, or even bag each spice individually and then put them all into a larger bag. (Zip-close bags are nice but you can also re-use plastic bags you already have.)

          Good luck! I hope it goes well.

        2. Natalie*

          They probably have co-ops or Whole Foods that sell bulk spices, so you don’t have to buy whole jars of every single one

        3. Dan*

          It’s expensive. Damn expensive. I’d talk to your roommate and take anything he won’t use. For the mess, staples makes some file boxes that are also awesome moving boxes.

          Fwiw, I still have some spices I bought in grad school. I only realize that because the brands are not things I can get around here. Sadly, grad school was enough years ago that I won’t admit it publicly, other than that it takes two hands to count.

        4. Gingerblue*

          If you need to restock, there’s a bunch of ethnic groceries in that general area which are way cheaper than normal grocery store prices for spices. (And if you’re ever out towards Ann Arbor, the store By The Pound has spices, pastas, grains, teas and coffees, etc. in bulk bins at prices that kept me fed as a grad student.)

    6. Thursday Next*

      I’m in a similar situation, driving to a summer internship with a business casual dress code. For clothes, I made a list in excel with very specific categories – business casual tops, other tops, shoes etc. It’s a little obsessive but I found that having everything written out helped with packing. I tried to pack a couple of “capsule” wardrobes and really had to limit the other clothes I brought – I only packed 5 cotton t shirts out of the 20 I have, I didn’t bring all my workout shorts because 2 pair is plenty etc.
      From my memory of upper Midwest summers if you bring a light jacket and a couple of light sweaters that should be good for a more chilly evening. If you’re going to do outdoors things into the evening bring some long sleeves that are bug spray friendly.
      Bring the spices and good knives. I’m renting a room through AirBnb so it’s furnished but I’m bringing a pie pan, my mini cuisinart and a couple of knives because I like cooking and baking, so I’d say bring your favorite knives and spices.

    7. Jessesgirl72*

      It won’t be cooler at night. You will be shocked at how hot and humid it remains even on the Lake.

      But you do get the occasional day even in July when it feels like 45. Pack layers for all levels of dressiness.

    8. Sami*

      Depends on what you mean by the Detroit area? The closer to a large body of water you are, the cooler you’ll be. It’ll definitely be hot and humid. And not necessarily less humid at night.
      I live about an hour NE of Detroit and about a mile from the St. Clair River (dividing Michigan and Ontario), and it’s cooler here than it is say if you’re more to west of the city.

      1. Stephanie*

        Yeah, further west (working in Dearborn, either living in Ann Arbor or Dearborn, depending where I’m assigned).

    9. Gingerblue*

      I did grad school in Ann Arbor, and Michigan summers can be brutal–really hot and humid, and not as much change at night as you would hope. Layering clothing is the way to go, both so you can take stuff off in the heat and warm up in overly air-conditioned buildings. Agreed that capsule wardrobes are a useful concept.

      If you’re coming from areas where tornadoes and thunderstorms are a thing, you already know the following, but just in case you’re not, look up preparedness actions for both. Summer thunderstorms are super common, and you want to take shelter before the storm starts and unplug electronics. (Sounds paranoid, but I know multiple people who have lost computers/tvs/phones/etc. to lightning hitting nearby powerlines.) Tornadoes are uncommon and rarely severe when they do happen, but we would get the occasional warning. The internet says Detroit has tornado sirens. Look up the schedule of when they’re tested so you know whether it’s a drill or an actual emergency when they go off.

      Have fun! It’s a great part of the country.

      1. Stephanie*

        Yup, I grew up in Tornado Alley. I assumed everyone grew up doing drills where you huddled against a wall, but apparently that’s not the case.

        1. gingerblue*

          Yeah, coming from upstate NY, the possibility of tornadoes in MI came as a surprise to me. I never realized they could happen that far north!

      2. dawbs*

        yup, assume ‘office settings’ = over airconditioned, so imagine what yo’ud need with men in suits operating the thermostat, but the heat can be BRUTAL. Like ‘set up cooling shelters in areas w/o AC, to keep people from dying’ sort of brutal.

        But, it’s kinda the unpredictably annoying sort of brutal for that.
        You may also want some long sleeved ‘thin’ shirts if you’re gong to be out at night-depending on what you mean by ‘Detroit area’, because our mosquitos like the heat. I’ve already been getting bites. If you’ll be out at night out of cities, assume the blood suckers are there.

  15. Ophelia Bumblesmoop*

    I had sinus surgery and my tonsils/adenoids out on Wednesday. My doctor really really talked up how painful it was going to be; how it gets much worse before it gets better. So far my only discomfort is during swallowing (and it’s not that bad!) and when I first wake up (which is sometimes pretty bad but only until I get ice). If it stays like this, I can handle it.

    But I already know it won’t stay like this so I’m bracing myself.

    1. Anon for current purposes*

      I remember when I had my tonsillectomy at 6 years old, and I found out I wasn’t allowed to have Taco Bell. I cried up a river.

      Just wanted to give you a bit of humor to help you get better :)

      1. Ophelia Bumblesmoop*

        No lie – I’ve been texting my friend about all the food I want to eat and we went into detail on the Taco Bell. Lol

    2. CheeryO*

      Sooo much commiseration. I had a septorhinoplasty about a year ago, and I’m currently playing nurse to my boyfriend who had a whole boatload of things done to his sinuses on Thursday (septum un-deviated, polyps removed, bone spur removed, and drainage holes re-configured). It’s been rough for him so far, but every day gets a little better. His doctor seriously underplayed how uncomfortable the recovery period would be, so in a way it’s good that you were prepared for more! Hang in there! :)

    3. DanaScully*

      I can sympathise, I had a tonsillectomy 2 years ago. I had 2 weeks off work following the surgery which I thought was sufficient. I was prescribed codeine and paracetamol by the hospital which I took at planned periods. I did find that by the time I was nearing my next medicine dosage, I would start to feel pain again. I also woke up in the night a couple of times in agony for some reason.

      There can be some pain when the scabs are loosening (I believe around day 7?) so be aware of that. My best advice is to not let your home get too dry (I used a humidifier) and to rest up. I basically stayed in bed for 2 weeks except towards the end of the second week when I felt OK to get up and sit downstairs for a short while. Do you have anyone looking after you? I lived with my folks at the time and my mum basically became my personal nurse. I couldn’t have done it without her to fetch me things and check in on me.

      Wishing you a speedy recovery!

    1. Allypopx*

      Best: Semester is over! I have a few weeks to play video games and relax on my days off before summer semester starts.

      1. Mike C.*

        Those trees are also reproducing all over my car!

        Yellow pollen really shows up well on a bright blue car. >.<

    2. RKB*

      Last Sunday my partner and I lucked out and won tickets to the Edmonton Oilers home game. We won 7-1. It was especially bittersweet as they were eliminated on Wednesday – but the atmosphere was fantastic and I’m glad we got to witness it. Definitely the best.

      The worst relates to my comment up above, but I missed a bus coming home and my father went berserk on me. It’s turned into the best thing though – because I am finally going, going, gone!

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          I’m already on vit D supplements as it happens but this is the post-quitting-smoking cough and there is no way round it – the crap has to come out!

    3. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Best: I had a phone screen yesterday for new job. I hope I get called back for an in-person interview.

      Worst: I’m feeling demotivated at my current job, and it’s not them — it’s me. My previous university department was more crazy and dramatic, but a better fit for me. This department is sane and dry and I’m just not feeling it for them, even after two years. I’m not saying that I want crazy and drama, which I realize it might sound like. I’m just looking for the department where my natural inclinations for how to do things is more in line with the department’s perspective of how things should be done. I miss not having to second-guess all my initial inclinations in order to align with the culture and habits.

    4. AvonLady Barksdale*

      BEST: My girls came last weekend! We had an amazing time. I have wonderful friends and dammit, they love me. They also loved every place I took them to, which is a relief, because I was worried that I would talk up a favorite restaurant and they wouldn’t be impressed (why yes, I can be massively insecure).
      ALSO BEST: I baked a really, really good loaf of bread.
      WORST: My body hates me this week. Ugh, the CRAMPS.

    5. Hellanon*

      Best: finally feeling better after a 3-week bout with bronchitis.
      Worst: finally feeling well enough to both notice & feel the need to address the crud that’s built up in the last 3 weeks. I managed to keep up with laundry, the cats, and the dishes, but that was seriously all, and wow, does everything need a thorough cleaning!

    6. Mimmy*

      Worst: Realizing that my primary misery with my new job is my coworker, who is generally nice but can be negative. Yet, I’ve only been there just shy of two months and I’m supposed to cover for my coworker for a month and a half beginning next month. Otherwise, I’d probably be job searching.

      Best: Submitted my latest draft for my side project and, after a tough week, was told it was my best draft yet. Saw that email while at work and it was all I could do to not do a happy dance right there in my office, lol.

    7. Trixie*

      Best: Paid off one more credit card, one left. Once paid off, saving towards yoga teacher training.
      Second best: Week of house sitting coming up. Yay for some personal space!
      Worst: Feeling bad eating habits and age catch up on my frame. Need to remember hormones/stress will also cause weight gain. Kitchen habits more important than ever

    8. Victoria, Please*

      Best -had a magical weekend last weekend, running the Avenue of the Giants half marathon at Redwoods State Park, with my sister. We both swore the course was downhill both ways, in among those towering presences. Then we ate at Chez Panisse, something she has wanted to do for decades. (O.my.god, what good food. O.my.god, what a lot of money.)

      Worst – now I have a cold and am spending this weekend on the sofa.

    9. Gala apple*

      Best: seeing little kids from all different cultures dancing just for fun, together, not known to each other before, at my city’s festival of culture

      Worst: I may (probably) have PCOS.

    10. Casuan*

      Worst: Very stressful week with a few days of nothing-I-do-is-right & one of those days also was the-cars-are-in-the-left-hand-lane-driving-way-under-the-speed-limit-&-doing-other-vexing-things-like-that [which I deal with by thinking that they’re preventing me from a speeding ticket; I’m not so much a speeder, tho sometimes I realise I’m driving too fast because I wasn’t looking at my speedometer].
      Better: After much work, one of the most stressful situations got resolved by Friday night.
      Best: On Monday, I’m off on holiday!! Yay!!
      possibly bad: When I return from holiday, I might need to pack my iMini into checked baggage.

      :::focussing on the Better & Best!!:::

    11. Anonyby*

      Best: Went to a Stitch’n’B**** last night and had a lot of fun!

      Worst: New Coworker (who was supposed to have one final day of training on Mon with me before taking over her duties) had a medical emergency. Sucky for her, and I have to spend another week+ juggling both her job and my own…

    12. Red*

      Best: My husband surprised me with concert tickets last night and we had a great time

      Worst: Just about everything outside of that lol. My abusive mother is still causing me problems years after I left and ceased contact and I’ll probably not be able to go back to college because of that. Really makes mother’s day a fun time. Oh, and my apartment ceiling has a catastrophic leak – for the second time this month.

    13. Sparkly Librarian*

      Best: I am at lunch with my friend who graduated today! (and a lot of other people…)

      Worst: On Thursday my wife and I got called by the adoption agency about an immediate placement, and for a few hours we thought we might be bringing home a baby this weekend. So we talked to our bosses and whipped the nursery into shape. But then circumstances outside our control changed, and it turns out that baby was not meant to be our baby.

      1. Casuan*

        Sparkly Librarian, I’m so sorry about the adoption falling through. I hope you will have a new family member very soon!!

      2. Ramona Flowers*

        I’m so sorry things changed like that. I can’t imagine how hard that must be.

    14. Merci Dee*

      Best: signing the papers to close on my new house on Thursday! I never, ever dreamed I’d be able to own my own home. I’m just so ready.

      Worst: buying a house means you have to pack your s*** and actually move into the damned thing. If I have to throw away another bag of trash that’s accumulated during the last 9 years, I’m going to lose my mind. Oooh, wait. Kiddos room is only half-sorted …. I feel my sanity leaking away as I type. I’m just so ready for this to be over.

    15. Anxa*

      WORST: A friend was in town and we were supposed to meet, but she didn’t realize there was an extra obligation so we won’t be seeing each other.
      BEST: I cleaned my apartment for it, so now it’s clean anyway!

    16. Liane*

      Worst: still have a box or 2 we need to empty and see if contents are salvageable from flash flood a week & a half ago. We forgot about them. :(

      Best: My Mother’s present from College Son is a lightsaber!! The kind you can actually spar with. (Unlike my golden oldie Master Replicas, which is just for show.) I don’t know exactly what hilt or blade color it is; we looked at the website together and I showed him hilts and blade colors I liked, as well as what options there were. It won’t be one of the fanciest, I am sure. Heck I liked some of the lower-cost ones best.
      So next weekend, I should have pictures!

    17. HannahS*

      BEST: I got in to medical school! It was my third try, after my third time writing the MCAT. I’ve mentioned a few times on these threads that I have fibromyalgia–it seriously disrupted university and messed up my GPA, so having recovered academically from that (and having my illness managed well enough) to pursue this was a huge, huge personal victory.

      WORST: Apartment hunting. I mean, so exciting, but I went with my parents and hoo boy it was stressful. I feel terrible for being frustrated, though, because they’re going to be helping me pay for living expenses (and supported above-mentioned dream of going to medical school which is unfairly expensive and therefore classist as hell which is a discussion for another day), so I suppose I resent myself for being a spoiled brat. Not a great look.

      1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

        Congrats!!!! I hope you have good pain mgmt now?

        Mine also disrupted my university years so I changed my major and career path entirely since, at the time, fibro wasn’t a thing people knew about, particularly my doctors who suggested it was all in my head.

        1. HannahS*

          I’m sorry to hear it. :( I was very fortunate to have a doctor in my family who advocated heavily on my behalf–without them, I’d be in a terrible position. I’m on Lyrica, which works miracles for me. Nonetheless, medical school is going to be very, very hard, and I know I’m trading a lot of quality of life over the next few years in exchange for my career. I know a few people who made it through medicine with Crohns or Ulcerative Colitis, who’ve said variations of “It’s going to be awful; you’ll be sick the whole time. But it’s possible.” And I decided I want to be a doctor badly enough. So…I’m both nervous and excited to get started :)

          1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

            Oh awesome! I know a few people for whom Lyrica is THE medication of choice. I’m so happy for you that you have an option. And frankly to have a doctor who knows this stuff firsthand will be such a boon for your patients. I think too many doctors haven’t got nearly enough experience being a patient to understand how to empathize properly in a way that helps them do their job. You’re gonna be a wonderful addition to the ranks!

    18. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      BEST: Been on vacation this week and last night got to meet one of my musical heroes, get his autograph, a hug, and a ton of pictures with him. Added bonus of meeting other fans (there were only a few of us after the show!) and we all ended up going for a beer after. Turns out two of them were at the same show I was last week for a different band, and I think i was standing next to one of them (small small world)

      WORST: I thought I was finally getting over this sinus infection but now Im coughing for some reason. Could be trees as they are only just blooming now here in Scandinavia. Also, it was unbelievably cold here this last week and we had snow flurries so…. real bad timing weather wise!

    19. Fortitude Jones*

      Best: I passed an exam for my job on Monday, which means I get a $400 bonus check and am only two exams away from having the preeminent designation in my field. And my 30th birthday was Wednesday, and I got to spend it exactly how I wanted – in bed, snarfing down gluten-free brownies, and binge watching Graceland on Netflix.

      Worst: The guy from work that I’ve talked about here previously when I was posting as Doriana Gray, the one I had been gaga for who got married and then caused me to have a massive anxiety attack in a Starbucks months later (NotSoNewReader and others gave me great resources on how to deal with that last one then) – well, he and his wife had a baby either Thursday or Friday. Yup. He got married on my brother’s birthday and then had his first kid a day or two after my birthday – the universe really knows how to curb-stomp my heart. Oh, and I got three job rejections this week, so I’ve just been having a lovely time.

      I hate my life.

    20. Elizabeth West*

      I am so late that nobody will even see my replies to any comments, LOL.

      WORST: Nothing on the job front. Also, I am so incredibly tired of this place I can’t even concentrate on anything. It’s very frustrating.

      BEST: Yesterday I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and I LOVED IT!!!! I liked it even better than the first one. Every second of it was tons of fun. Yes, you have to sit through the entire closing credits, but even that is fun (there is stuff going on in and around them, besides the extra scenes). Just the opening sequence alone was worth the price of admission. :D

      I AM GROOOOOOT!!!!!

  16. Anon for current purposes*

    How do you get through noontime/midafternoon wearies without caffeine or napping?

      1. Stephanie*

        Also, I lived off Clif bars when I was working second shift (I’m not a night owl, so that was a struggle for me).

    1. Katie the Fed*

      Take a 15-20 minute walk outside. Studies have shown it will help revive you. I’m too lazy to find those studies right now but I swear I’ve read this.

      1. Florida*

        I can attest that this works. It’s my own research with me as the only research subject. ;)

    2. paul*

      eating a healthier lunch has helped me a *lot* as has a small degree of physical activity on lunch. I’m lucky–I’m in a smallish city so I can drive home for lunch (I live 3 miles or so from work). So 2-3 days a week I come home, eat a salady type meal with chicken or turkey and do light chores–laundry or dishes generally. Healthy, high protein meal with mixed greens, and some activity seems to leave me feeling a lot better.

      The other days I grab a sandwich and head to a nearby park and have myself a picnic and walk around looking at birds and squirrels and stuff.

      Since starting to do one of those, my midafternoon wearies are much reduced. Not 100% gone, but much better

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        Second this. Lunches that are higher in protein and lower in simple carbs have stopped the mid-afternoon sleepiness.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Water will help. As the day wears on it’s easier and easier to forget to hydrate.
      Or you could check out a protein drink, it could be that you are not getting enough protein in your regular meals.

      I treat it on the physical and mental planes. To help myself mentally, I find a time consuming project or I make a little list of things to get done before I go home. Sometimes I can distract myself from thinking “nap time”.

    4. Junior Dev*

      I find it helps to eat a snack with some protein around 2 or 3 pm, and to avoid sugar in general.

      Good snacks: string cheese, chicken salad, nuts, jerky, hummus.

    5. Chaordic One*

      I second the staying hydrated and drinking water. Not lots of water, but at least 8 ounces and 16 if you can handle it.

      Also, chewing gum.

    6. Thlayli*

      Fresh air sometimes helps. I have 2 caffeines a day though – one red bull and one coffee

  17. Katie the Fed*

    What’s the most expensive unexpected home repair you’ve ever had to deal with? I don’t mean routine maintenance – but emergency situations.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      My ceiling fell in. On my TV.

      I was renting at the time, and it wasn’t my landlord’s fault – this was a leasehold flat meaning there’s a management company in charge of the overall building and the management company were to blame as they’d skipped some maintenance.

      I was okay in the end as I had contents insurance and, bless him, my landlord paid the excess (what you’d call a deductible I think?) and gave me some rent back. But it was pretty stressful when it happened.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        Oh that’s awful. I was renting once and the apartment above me flooded and water came pouring in through my bathroom light fixture, but that’s as bad as it ever got.

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          That sounds horrible too!

          The really nightmarish thing was that I was away and I had pets there – when my flatmate called I was so relieved to hear that my pets were okay that I didn’t actually care that much about the TV.

          What made you ask? Are you dealing with a situation – or maybe debating buying a house?

          1. Allypopx*

            Additional question: If it’s the latter, are you trying to give yourself nightmares?

          2. Katie the Fed*

            We’ve had a lot of unexpected plumbing issues lately that the home inspection didn’t catch. I was just curious how bad other people have had it :)

            1. Ramona Flowers*

              I also grew up in an area with major flooding problems. As a kid I thought all fields filled up with water and ducks when it rained. There were a few occasions when we got stranded inside because the front garden was full of water. My parents’ garage used to flood regularly. And would they move? Would they heck because “there might be different problems somewhere else”.

            2. Jen*

              Our home inspection didn’t catch:
              -the tree that was near the house was so close our new homeowners insurance carrier threatened to drop us unless it was cut down. This happened after we closed, so no recourse. $1800 (it was a massive tree and involved 2 cranes), plus cost to grind stump when we get around to it.
              – water leak behind basement laundry. Had mold behind it. Mold remediation was $2500 and basement is now ripped down to the studs in a few areas. This is a secondary laundry area (like a mud room), so we just left it for now and will gut the basement eventually. Would have been $5k if we had repaired the drywall and floor damaged.
              -needed a new boiler within 3 months of moving in. This was noted on the home inspection as something likely to crop up eventually (along with needing a new roof in <10 years and a new driveway soonish) but it just up and crapped out. $1500.

              Inspector did catch the termite issue which the sellers remediate did to the tune of $17k of treatment and structural repair. And we got a $10K concession for a few other things.

              The inspector should have caught the water leak; the rest is just bad luck.

        2. Lissa*

          We had a similar thing happen with the apartment above flooding, and it was particularly fortuitous timing because just two days before my partner had moved his guitar+amp out of that spot to lend to a friend after it had been there for about 5 years. Instead it just drenched some hats.

        3. Chaordic One*

          I had a similar thing happen to me. It wasn’t really the upstairs neighbors’ fault though, as a pipe from the bathtub drain had broken and was leaking in my apartment below. The really lousy part was when they sent repairmen to replaster the ceiling and one of the walls. The repairmen left an awful mess and there was dust over everything in my apartment.

          I was especially upset about the dust that went in my desktop computer. I was at work and not home and it never occurred to me that this would be a problem or I would have covered the computer with plastic sheeting. The the apartment manager told me I would have to file a written complaint to the managment company. Although I ended up typing up the complaint, I added that the manager should have done this herself and that if she weren’t so lazy, she would have.

          They ended up reimbursing me for having my computer and cleaned by professionals at the local computer repair place, but I still had to thoroughly dust and vacuum everything that was in the open in the apartment. It was a real pain.

    2. fposte*

      Broken sewer line. $12k. Plus costs of repairing neighbor’s yard and fence, which were on me.

            1. fposte*

              Sorry. Could be different areas have more vulnerabilities–we’ve got heavy clay soil and brittle clay pipes, apparently. But this really is one of those totally-out-of-your-control things, at least; there’s no misuse that could have led to it or maintenance that would have prevented it.

            2. London Calling*

              I hear ya, Katie, my house is over 1oo years old, but those Victorians sure knew how to build.

            3. Not So NewReader*

              My house is 180 years old. It will be okay. You will get through it. Nothing lasts forever. It’s probably good to plan that things need to be reworked, supported up or something about every 20-25 years. If you think of it as a line of dominos crashing, that won’t help matters. If you think of it as normal wear and tear AND an opportunity to beef things up the way you would like them to be then you might find satisfaction there.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Oh, I forgot about the time my husband had to dig up and replace the line from the water meter to the kitchen sink. It involved jackhammering the slab foundation and replacing all the pipes and flooring. It would have been way more expensive if the plumber hadn’t offered to serve as an advisor/consultant as my husband did all the labor. The plumber was near retirement and didn’t feel up to the physical demands of the job, so he cut is a deal.

    3. paul*

      In the last 2 months, we’ve had two separate trees hit our kitchen. God doesn’t want me to cook. And we’re broke as a joke now.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        Ahhhh trees scare me so much! We have a yard full of old, old trees and they come down in the neighborhood periodically. Right after moving to this house we had a HUGE branch come down outside, so I had the tree looked at and it was dying. So that one came out, and another near it. This house is bleeding us dry right now.

        1. paul*

          The one we’re about to take out is 80′ ish tall, has several birds nest, is home to squirrels,a nd it sucks to take it out (particularly at nearly a grand)…but this is enough :/ We took out one already, then this one dropped a branch bigger around than my thigh into our wall…

    4. Mallory Janis Ian*

      My husband left the garden hose on while we were out for the day, and water started leaking into the house from the hose bib. We came home to three inches of water in the laundry room and spare room floors. Fortunately the floors were just inexpensive linoleum tiles that needed replacing anyway, but they were still expensive to replace.

    5. Caledonia*

      £15,000 for damp proofing. They had to take down all the walls in my kitchen and 2 walls along the side and take out my entire bathroom, put a membrane in and rebuild the walls/kitchen/bathroom. I was out of my flat for 3 months.

    6. Mimmy*

      I’d say it was when our water heater bottomed out and flooded half the house. I don’t remember the costs, but not only did we have to replace the water heater, we had to rip up the carpeting in the hallway and home office.

    7. ThatGirl*

      Our water heater exploded unexpectedly. I mean we knew it was old but it just went fwoom one day. All over the laundry room.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      The worst one I have seen is my father’s house. It was built on a hillside. Right away, this should have been a warning, but nooooo. The basement was perpetually damp. The cellar walls shifted because of underground waterflows coming down this hillside. Some of the actual house shifted and some did not shift. And that is when the problem got huge.

      Dig out all around the house. Jack up the entire house to raise it up higher. Fix the bowed cellar walls then add to the height of the cellar wall. Set the house back down on the higher foundation. Lay perf pipe all around the house. Run the pipe down the hill about 200 feet to a dumping area. Back fill with sand and stone. Plant grass seed because there is no grass anywhere at this point. Take a gallon milk jug and a stop watch down to the open end of the pipe. Measure 800 gals per hour coming out of that pipe. Sigh.

      The real kicker here, it was a new construction. The first contractor wildly underestimated the conditions the house was set on. The poor house looked like it was on stilts when the project was done. But the basement was bone dry.
      I will never ever have a new house built for myself. Never.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I don’t think it was. The foundation was not included in the house kit, neither was the roof. (wth!) So the house kit people would not cover anything. I am pretty sure that my father brought in different people to do the basement, because the first set of people clearly did not know what to do. This would mean no warranty there, either.

    9. Tempest*

      We bought a repo so while none of it was an emergency as such, the electrics were straight out of 1953 when it was built so we had to have it all rewired because it was unsafe. Gas back boiler behind the gas fire which was ugly and back boilers are inefficient and unsafe so all new central heating had to be installed. Kitchen is literally about 8 feet by 6 feet and had nothing in it when we bought the place so new kitchen. Being tiny at least it wasn’t expensive but being tiny I hate it so eventually I’ll have to rip it all out and knock through into the dining room to make a useful size kitchen diner. Bathroom was ick and a coloured suite so new bathroom. Carpets were also all ick so all new flooring. Windows hadn’t been fitted properly the first time they were swapped from timber to upvc so the one in the living room which should have been a structural element for the wall was bowing and letting the bedroom wall above collapse so we had to have all new windows and some had to have the brickwork partially removed so a lintel could be installed and re bricked in. Going through the place re plastering one room at a time because the walls are terrible. When we bought it the whole place was wallpapered in textured wallpaper someone had then painted 1980’s colours of shiny oil based paint over. Upshot, when we get it all done it’ll be outdated and time to start again. The joys of home ownership. I guess the most expensive thing in the list was the windows. We economized on the bathroom and kitchen knowing they were a for now solution. Electrics and heating weren’t cheap, but still less than the windows. The house was a lot easier to heat last winter with the new windows in place. Trade off it’s now so airtight we really have to remember to open windows and cycle the air or we get black mould. The washer, dryer and oven all decided to die one after another too but I guess you expect appliances to have a finite life. Not sure five years is where I’d have set the expectation but we need all that stuff to have a life so… At least the house is worth several tens of thousands more now than we paid or invested in the renovations so I can feel like my stress, labour and almost the end of my marriage because my husband is useless at practical stuff and I got irate was worth something lol.

    10. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Wow, these have me beat. Now I don’t feel so bad about the unexpected AC (whole house unit) replacement, which was around $6K. Even that wasn’t a problem, but I had been making plans for that surplus we had, when….NOPE, not gonna happen. Of course, it could have happened just AFTER we had spent it.

    11. NW Mossy*

      Not terribly expensive (because it was covered by insurance), but my most dramatic emergency expense happened this past winter. It’s unusual for it to snow as much in the NW as it did this year, and in January we had about a week stuck at home due to it. On day 7 or 8 when it looks like it’s finally starting to melt, I was sitting at my dining room table eating lunch with my family when we hear this loud whoosh followed by a tremendous bang.

      Ran to the front window and realized that the entire sheet of snow on our front roof elevation came off at once, straight down onto my car parked in the driveway. Brushed off the snow to realize that the entire windshield was spiderwebbed (with little glass bits scattered throughout the interior) and the hood was dented in 5 or 6 places. We later pulled footage from the security camera that showed the whole thing, and it’s terrifying to see how fast that can happen.

      The scariest part of it all is that not 10 minutes before, a couple of neighbor girls had come by to return my daughter’s sled. We were so relieved that they weren’t harmed that it really put the expense and hassle of car repair in its proper perspective.

    12. Red Reader*

      We were renting, but the outflow pipe from a shower backed up (or something, I don’t speak plumbing) and dumped the entire contents of the water heater (which was on the second floor, how damn stupid is that) into the ceiling of the first floor. They had to basically re-ceiling the entire living room.

      1. Merci Dee*

        Not uncommon, unfortunately. My parents have a single story home, but the water heater is in the attic. Up a tiny ladder. Not the best arrangement. Last year, the drain for the water heater gave out, and they didn’t know it until my mom heard a weird sound and found water flowing down the wall in my dad’s bathroom – about 3 inches over from the power outlet. Thankfully, dad is very handy, so he was able to fix it for the cost of a new drain hose, about $15.

        1. Red Reader*

          Yeesh! At least our water heater was easy to access. (And the problem was evident very quickly, as gallons of water began pouring out of the ceiling vent.)

    13. Elizabeth*

      Adding a clean-out to the sewer line. Since we were able to pay cash, the contractor gave us a 10% discount. It was still absurdly expensive.

    14. zora*

      my parents had to do a mold remediation that cost thousands, bc it was one whole side of the 2 story house.
      We had always been super heavy users of humidifiers in the kids bedrooms (that side of the house) and then when they had a new HVAC put in, they let the guy convince them to have a built in humidifier added to it, and apparently that is a super bad idea bc it just ended up creating crazy moisture buildup in the drywall/insulation of that whole side of the house. And didn’t realize for years, so by the time they found it the mold behind the walls was so bad that they had to have all of the drywall, insulation and carpeting removed from half of 2 floors of the house.

      They then turned off the built-in humidifier. Never doing that again!

    15. Liane*

      Probably the flash flood a week and a half ago. It was about an inch of water in the house for an hour or so. enough to soak anything on the floor. Like 95% of the clothes College Son owns. We also lost a few books and we haven’t decided if the living room rug is okay. And we are fine if it isn’t, as we got it secondhand so Bear the dog didn’t have to lie on a cold, bare floor last winder.
      But we spent like $60 at the laundromat, plus 2 or 3 lunches out, getting everything washed. A lot of it was College Son’s clothes, but most of it was towels, blankets and sheets. Kids grabbed those to shove at the bottoms of the doors and other places where the water was coming in.
      Aside the laundry costs are our only expenses. Checking the AC and gas water heater, which were flooded, is on the landlord.

    16. Dan*

      Air conditioner went out in 100 degree heat, and ceiling collapsed over my bath tub.

      But I rent, so well I had to deal with them, I didn’t have to pay for them.

    17. PatPat*

      Dead central AC unit. We had to replace it for $6k. We live in the subtropics so it was pretty much an “emergency”. Not fun.

    18. Cajun Lady*

      Our house flooded in August of last year and we did not have flood insurance (we are considered to live in a “x” zone which is protected by levee *insert eye roll here*). We got 18 inches in the house and lost both vehicles. 18 inches might as well have been 3 feet because just about everything had to go. Not only did we have to replace all of our furniture, we had to have new flooring installed and had to replace the upper cabinets in the kitchen to match the new cabinets we had to get. Luckily our mortgage had been paid in full so the very large personal loan we had to take out isn’t being paid in addition to a mortgage. I was able to remodel the house how I wanted which was good but if I never have to deal with a contractor again I will be happy!

      1. Merci Dee*

        One of my sisters lives in North Carolina, in the area that got hit last year with flash floods, and then hit again when several dams gave way. Her house is on a charming little creek that turned into a raging maelstrom twice within a few weeks. Insurance took for-ev-er to pay out, but they finally got the funds around Christmas and started to rebuild. Now everything is going sideways, because inspectors keep coming back with changing requirements, etc. It’s gotten so bad that it looks like the Corps of Engineers or FEMA or whoever is going to buy out their mortgage. On the positive side, my sis and b-i-l have decided they want to move back closer to the family once this is settled.

        1. Cajun Lady*

          Yeah a friend of mine was smart and waited until all assessments were complete to begin rebuild. Her neighbors started almost immediately and we’re pretty much done when they found out they had to raise their homes or be priced out by insurance. Many of them let them fall into forclosure because the couldn’t afford raising and couldn’t afford over 10k a year in insurance. Now my friend has to wait until the funds are released to raise the house but it is a grant so it won’t cost any more than rebuilding would be. The whole thing is a mess. The ones with flood insurance are worse off than the ones without. I may have had to come out of pocket to repair but I’m back in my home. Many are still in hotels or FEMA trailers

          1. Anxa*

            It’s so tricky because you don’t want to wait because every day the building stays wet is another day for it to rot, but yeah, my community was hit with this. For Sandy it was frustrating because raising the house would destroy what property value was left post storm and also because it wasn’t a common process so there weren’t really any local expert contractors

      1. ThisIsNotWhoYouThinkItIs*

        WOW! Were there any warning signs? …I have an old house and am now slightly paranoid.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yeah, I hope OP responds here because it would be good to know why that happened.
          I had an older furnace here. I found it helpful to have it serviced and checked over once a year. And I put a smoke detector right over it. Each time the furnace had a problem it was the smoke detector that warned us. It’s good to know where the emergency shut off is and which breakers on the panel box are for the furnace, too.

        2. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

          I’m racking my brains to remember whether she had any warning signs – at the time, things were still being repaired and so no conclusions had been made. I do recall she said that they were actually in the middle of routine maintenance checks and it was lucky that he happened to have stepped away when it went or he’d have been seriously hurt. Her house was REALLY old, though, so possibly the former owner had not done enough maintenance?

    19. Nic*

      My water heater sprung a leak in the middle of winter and put out its own pilot light. Luckily nothing sparked anywhere nearby, but it was a very cold miserable week with no hot water available. That one ran around $1000 to repair.

      The AC going out at the beginning of summer was more costly, around $6k.

    20. Liane*

      Another flood tale, although not mine. When I was in college in the ’80s, my late father was winding down his carpentry/painting business. The last TWO remodels I recall him doing were for the daughter-in-law of his insurance agent (the whole family were friends of his). Mrs. D did the first one because she wanted a new look to the house. It was practically everything–cabinets, new wallpaper and trim, carpets (which Dad didn’t do), baseboards, etc. and it was a wonderful job.

      A few months later, one of her middle school age boys turned on the water in the bathtub, then went outside or something and forgot about it–until the water flooded part of the house. All. That. Remodeling had to be redone/replaced, plus I believe more. I helped Dad with some of it over my Thanksgiving break, and he told me the water lines had been 2 plus feet up the drywall he’d pulled out. I wondered how that poor kid escaped with his life and if he was still going to be grounded at my age.

    21. ThisIsNotWhoYouThinkItIs*

      2 Furnace blowers ($600) and a board ($500) until they figured out it was the drain pan on the a/c above and recommended the whole thing be replaced ($6k). Still looking at options on that.

      Also had a tree take out part of my back deck ($2k).

    22. NacSacJack*

      One year after buying my house, discovered the downstairs bathroom shower wasn’t connected to the sewer system. The drain from the shower had a pipe pointing, only pointing, to the floor drain located under the floating floor of the basement. Flooded the laundry and downstairs hallway.

  18. Ask a Manager* Post author

    A bird has built her nest right outside our front door — on top of the light fixture next to the door. So every time we open the door to go in or out, it’s a few inches from her and she freaks out and flies into a nearby tree, where she yells at us. My very sweet and soft-hearted husband has decided that he’s going to avoid using the door as much as possible (meaning he will go in and out through the deck door, not that he’ll stop leaving the house — but the deck door only locks/unlocks on the inside so that’s not a full solution). But I am wondering: are we traumatizing this bird (and her babies, when her eggs hatch)? Also, should we not turn on the light that her nest is on top of? (Will the heat from the light … I don’t know, make her eggs hatch early?)

    In my fantasy, the bird comes around and lets us co-parent the chicks.

    1. Katie the Fed*

      Ostensibly, mama bird knew what she was doing when she picked that spot by the light, so I’d leave it alone. She might like the extra heat. But yeah you might want to use the other door for a while. That’s adorable :) What kind of bird is she?

    2. paul*

      The bird knows the environment it chose to nest in and will probably be fine.

      Until a tree hit our porch this year (boo, hiss, and damn it was expensive) we had a swallow nest there since, well, before we bought the place. Right where everyone has to walk in/out of to come in the house and they never cared.

    3. Rogue*

      She and the babies will be fine. I had a robin nesting right outside, next to where I had to walk every day. I startled her once and she flew off, but since then, I talk to her before I get close and she stays put now. They know where they’re building their nests and she chose that place on purpose.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I don’t think the heat will make the eggs hatch. But not seeing it, I would be vigilant (not worried) about a fire hazard.

      Depending on the bird, I have seen robins get really protective. One mom drilled a hole a my father’s neck because he insisted on planting flowers under her nest. She was not used to him being in that spot. I think that if you talk to her when you walk by she will get used to your voice and your presence.

      It won’t be really long, the babies will get big fast and the parents will need to move everyone once the babies have flight because they will need more space.
      Traumatized? No. They will keep coming back each year. If you don’t want that you may want to get a plastic owl from a nursery and place that in the vicinity of the nest area after they leave this year.

      1. NoMoreMrFixit*

        The owl thing doesn’t always work. I tried that with pigeons roosting on my balcony. Not only did it not scare them off, they used it as a latrine. Evil things those feathered rats.

          1. Rookie Manager*

            I wish I hadn’t read this! Today we had a plastic owl with a swivel head attached to the roof to try and scare away pigeons. We also have ribbons of reflective tape up there. We thought that the two together would work!
            (Lasr weekend we had the gutters cleaned out s they were over flowing with pigeon poo and I had to powerwash all the poo off the garden path!)

            1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

              It might work! We just have preternaturally bold pigeons who are being fed by an equally evil neighbor who doesn’t care about the havoc that the birds are wreaking.

              I don’t think it’s an option for you given that’s it’s your roof but I had heard that loud noises would deter them. What worked for me when they tried to roost on our property was being around during the day when they were scouting it out. The second I heard cooing by our doors and windows, I’d burst out yelling at them. I looked like a psycho murderer but it worked – they were so frightened after three outbursts they have never ventured near again.

      2. Jackie*

        I once used a rubber snake to deter nesting birds. It did work as the wind would move it around too.

    5. periwinkle*

      My dad’s house has an open carport rather than a garage; he stores various things on shelves there, including the lawnmower and various power tools. One year, one of the resident mourning doves built her nest in the coiled power cord of a circular saw. Another year, there was a dove nest on the lawnmower’s clipping bag.

      Mourning doves are dumb. Or maybe not so dumb, because we looked out for the nests and the baby doves all thrived and flew off, to presumably make their own inexplicably-placed nests in the fullness of time. We may have enabled a further dumbing down of the dove population, now that think of it…

    6. JKP*

      The same exact thing happened to my parents every single year for the 40 years they lived in that house: bird would nest in the corner right next to the front porch light and have baby birds. We didn’t have the option of using a different door. So we lived our life as normal: used the porch light, kids/grandkids running in and out of the front door. The baby birds were fine each year and we would peek in on them as they grew until they flew away. Different variety of bird each year. One year we had doves, and every time we opened the front door, the mama bird would fly into the driveway and stumble around like she had a broken wing to lure us away from the nest, and then we would have to chase her away so we didn’t drive over her when we backed the car out.

      One thing we learned is that after they’ve left the nest for the year, you need to clean out all the nest materials, because if they use the same nest next year, the baby birds are more likely to get parasites and die.

    7. This Daydreamer*

      The same thing happened to me several years ago! They weren’t on a light, though. They were in a holly bush. The parents would fly away every time we used the door, and there wasn’t another door we could use, but all the chicks survived to fledging. I’ve even got video of the little family on YouTube.

      I think you might want to keep that light off while the birds are still in the best.

    8. FDCA In Canada*

      Please, please, please keep a close eye on the light with a nest! The same thing happened to me as a child–a robin built a nest atop of the light outside our garage. We thought it was cool, left it alone, until the night (actually, the night of my tenth birthday) that we had guests over and left the light on. Later that night I peeked out the window to see the side of our garage in flames. Everything was fine after liberal doses of the fire extinguisher and a surprise visit from the firefighters to ensure all was OK (happy birthday! House fire!), but I was pretty traumatized for a good while and now I’m nearly obsessive about nests in lights. Most of the time they’re fine. Every so often they’re not. Be aware!

      1. JKP*

        I missed that the nest was literally on top of the porch light. I would definitely not use the light if there is risk of fire. The nests on my parents porch were always in the decorative sconce *next* to the porch light, but not actually touching the light.

    9. Jessesgirl72*

      Depending on the type of bird, you can use the door if you really want to. The bird will be fine, regardless. But some more aggressive birds will dive bomb anyone too close to their nest.

      We have had mourning doves nest near our front door and she got used to us really fast. My parents have them on their porch every year, and since that is where the mailbox is, there is no avoiding the area for a month. They also have finches under the awning of their kitchen windows, and the birds have had to adjust (some haven’t liked when someone walks into the room, but you can’t avoid a kitchen either!)

      And personally, I’d keep the light off. You won’t hurry the process- you will just cook the eggs. :(

    10. HannahS*

      We had a robin do just that! She came back every year for about three years. Our springs have been cool the past few years, so I assume she did it because of the warmth at night.

    11. dawbs*

      I know in the past I was told by the university extension office folks that if the eggs haven’t been laid yet, and it’s going to be a very problematic location (where the parents are likely to abandon the nest because of foot traffic, etc), to remove the nest.

      Because removing the nest early enough gives the birds a chance to re-build and lay eggs in time to have a clutch of babies survive–while if they lay eggs or hatch eggs in a place to hazardous, they’ve spoiled their chance at bird babies for the year
      (and INAL, but, migratory birds act says not to screw w/ nests w/ eggs and babies in them–but empty nests are allowable)

      A lot of the time, the birds get used to certain things and people. At work, there is a starling nest in an area where I have to spend time. The parents scream their fool heads off at people, and won’t enter the nest if I’m right next to the nest, but they’ve decided if I”m at least 10′ away that I’m harmless, because I”m there a lot.

    12. Drew*

      My parents had barn swallows up high on the wall next to their front porch for several years running. We didn’t store anything valuable under the nest and the birds didn’t seem to care much, although occasionally we’d startle them by throwing the door open dramatically before we remembered they were there. (Oops.)

      Unfortunately, my parents got their house re-sided a few years ago and the mud nest won’t stick to the new paint, so the swallows had to move on. Too bad; they were beautiful birds and amazingly chill.

  19. DecorativeCacti*

    Would y’all like to hear about my brush with death this week?

    Friday morning, I am woken up by strange noises outside my bedroom window. Scratching? Footsteps? I can’t quite tell. I am trying to convince myself it’s just my cats making noise, but it’s not working. My heart and mind are racing, I have my hand on my boyfriend to wake him up, and my alarm goes off. I silence it and finally look towards the window.

    Now, my curtains don’t cover the entire window. We just moved in and haven’t gotten new ones, so there is a gap of about three inches between the bottom of the curtains and the window sill. In this gap, I see… Something. Something dark and skinny which drops out of the window as soon as I sit up. It’s not a person, but all of a sudden I’m worried it was someone’s arm holding a camera. I crawl over to the window and try to get a better look.

    Whatever it is has moved down the deck. It looks like it might be a dog’s tail but I don’t have my glasses on and the reflection of the curtains on the window makes it hard to see. I try to take a picture with my camera at a better angle but I can’t see anything. At this point, I have to go to the bathroom so badly I can’t wait.

    When I come out of the bathroom, I hear it again. Scratching, scittering, footsteps. I flatten myself against the wall and as slowly and unnoticeably as I can I peak out the curtains… Peacocks. At least six. All over my deck. Jump/flying up onto the railings and then onto the roof and back down creating noises that sound just like a murderer waiting outside my bedroom window with a giant weapon. I have no clue where they came from (they didn’t care about me or the cats) and they were gone when I got home from work. But at least they didn’t murder me.

    1. Katie the Fed*

      Ha! Where do you live that there were peacocks?!

      This reminds me of a time I was vacationing with family in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in the winter. Everyone else went snowshoeing while I caught up on some stuff, and I heard loud steps on the porch of our cabin. I opened the door and freaking MOOSE was standing right there. I shut the door.

      1. DecorativeCacti*

        I live on the Key Peninsula in Washington state. It’s fairly rural, but I do live in an actual neighborhood so not totally in the sticks. It wouldn’t have been so crazy if I had ever seen a sign of peacocks before. I never even heard them and they are LOUD.

        1. Tmarie*

          My sister and b-i-l had two Peacock hens hanging out at their house for months! Poop everywhere, and they were not very nice birds at all. They live in the country (in Washington) and have no curtains and the hens would sleep right outside their bedroom window/exterior door. Very uncomfortable…

      2. The RO-Cat*

        Jackson Hole, Wyoming! It’s the location picked by Tom Clancy for a secret meeting in Icon, IIRC. Nothing to add, just my nerdy passion for Clancy.

        1. Allypopx*

          It’s also where Mr. Feeny retired to in Boy Meets World.

          A rich tapestry, Jackson Hole.

          1. Chaordic One*

            Very rich.

            It has gotten so expensive to live there that they have a terrible time attracting people to work there. People like teachers, or police, or people to work in the restaurants, hotels and resorts. (In the summer a lot of the workers bring their own RVs and live in them.)

            The billionaires in Jackson Hole have driven the multi-millionaires out to Dubois, and the mere millionaires out to Riverton and Lander.

        2. paul*

          how the hell do they not get eaten by any of the variety of critters? I’ve been to Jackson Hole a few times and remember seeing coyotes in town at night

      3. NW Mossy*

        Peacocks do surprisingly well in a lot of different locations. I know there’s a flock local to me (suburbs of Portland, OR) and it always kicks up a bunch of activity on NextDoor when they’re spotted.

    2. RKB*

      Oh, peacocks are just awful. They fight like the dickens and it sounds terrifying. It sounds like cats who are slowly dying.

    3. Jessesgirl72*

      I can live with the scratching on the deck. But have you heard a peacock call? ZOMG, it’s loud!

    4. Merci Dee*

      I’m in central Alabama, and a neighbor a few doors down from my home during my high school years had a small flock of peacocks. Beautiful and proud birds, but you could hear them calling every night around dusk. No mistaking them for anything else, that’s for sure.

  20. Not a Cat Lady*

    Anyone have experience with allergy medicine?

    I took Allegra for the first time and felt a million times better. It seems to fade after about 16 hours though despite it saying 24. Does it build up if you take it everyday? Is it worth trying Zyrtec and compare which works better?

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      Personally I find things with cetirizine help me regardless of brand, and things with loratadine just don’t seem to work for me.

      1. Allypopx*

        I desperately wanted loratadine to work for me because my boyfriend needs to take it daily, year round, so we have value size bottles of it in the house all the time – but alas, I must shell out the extra cash for my off brand zyrtec.

        1. Not a Cat Lady*

          I tried Claritin but had a very bad reaction. Fainted in the back of a restaurant. :-/

        2. This Daydreamer*

          Do you belong to a shopping club? Both Costco and Sam’s Club have allergy meds for ridiculously low prices.

        3. copy run start*

          You can get 365/count generic Zyrtec on Amazon for ~$20!!! Done it for years now. :)

          @Not a Cat Lady Zyrtec has worked well for me for years but miss a dose and I get a HORRIBLE case of the itchies. (Google Zyrtec withdrawal.) That’s my only knock against it, but I’ll probably be taking it indefinitely so I just try not to forget a dose.

          1. Ramona Flowers*

            Oh. My. God.

            I started taking it due to itchy skin. When I didn’t take it, and I got itchy, I assumed I still needed it. I had no idea this could actually be withdrawal. Wow. Thank you for posting this.

            1. Ramona Flowers*

              That said, I take generic and haven’t taken branded Zirtek for years so maybe it’s not that.

    2. Allypopx*

      You can try Zyrtec just for science, that’s what I use, but if Allegra works for you there’s no problem sticking with it.

      It does seem to last a little better when you take it every day, but something with a 24-hour potency is likely to start to wear off after about 16 hours, that’s totally normal. Does Allegra have a 12-hour version? Taking two 12-hours might work better than 1 24 hour, if that’s your concern. Or is there a time of day you could take it where the 16-hour fade isn’t as big a deal?

      Your pharmacist might have suggestions.

      1. Not a Cat Lady*

        Thank you! I will ask about the 12 hour one.

        Thanks everyone for responding as well.

        It’s safe if I want to switch, right?

        1. Allypopx*

          Yes! Some doctors recommend switching occasionally, because over time (usually a longer period of time) for some people, their body adjusts and the drugs become less effective.

          I wouldn’t take two different kinds at the exact same time but waiting until the dose wears off and starting something different will be totally fine.

    3. paul*

      I’ve got good sustained luck with Advil Cold & Sinus; zyterc worked for me for like a month but that was it :/ Don’t know why it quit working

      1. Aunt Vixen*

        Point of order, Advil Cold & Sinus is ibuprofen + sudafed. It does work wonders! But it’s not an antihistamine.

    4. Rogue*

      I’ve taken Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra, and a plethora of other allergy meds. They never worked immediately for me, but took a day or two to get in my system. Also, I built up a tolerance to them after a month or two. The only ones that worked long term have been singulair. When I was younger, I was unable to use nasal sprays, because I’d just sneeze the stuff back out, but as an adult I’ve been able to use Flonase and this stuff has worked wonders for me.

      1. Not a Cat Lady*


        Anyone have recommendations for natural remedies as well? I already eat pretty clean and I work out. Maybe there’s some supplement I should try?

        1. Allypopx*

          You can get saline mists at the drug store which can help if you’re having congestion. Avoiding fresh fruits can help too, because they can have trace amounts of pollen on the surface. YMMV.

          1. Undine*

            Actually, there are fruits that have the same proteins as pollen, and you can be cross-allergic. For example, if you allergic to birch, you may also be allergic to apples.

        2. CatCat*

          Neti pot in the morning can really help if you’ve gotten congested overnight. (Or when you get home if you’re congested from being out and about.)

          1. Chaordic One*

            A good alternative to a neti pot would be a sinus rinse kit, such as the one put out by NeilMed. It has a little plastic squeeze bottle and you just squirt the saline solution up into your nose. Many people find it easier than using a neti pot. You can buy them in most drug stores, many supermarkets and stores like WalMart.

            Aside from flushing mucous out of your sinuses, there’s a theory that the saline solution temporarily forms a thin layer over the inside of your sinuses that makes them less sensitive to pollen and allergens. Remember to use distilled water to combine with the saline mix because there have been a handful of people contracting bacterial infections from using tap water.

        3. LCL*

          No raw veggies except lettuce. No commercially prepared smoothies. No raw fruit.

          Cashews are having a moment now in healthy eating circles. Cashews are allergenic as eff, stay away from them if you have allergy issues.

        4. GirlwithaPearl*

          Diffuser with eucalyptus oil

          Windows closed

          Neto pot or saline spray

          Shower at night to rinse off the pollen

          Chiro or acupuncture

          Vitamin d

          No dairy

          (These all came recommended by my doctor in addition to various meds ).

          FWIW I hated Zyrtec – made me exhausted ; Flonase seems good so far and I just paired it with otc Claritin which I think is going well but my doc wants me on the rx version.

          She also just told me on Friday that I only have a few more weeks of this season (of course my fall allergies also suck so…)

    5. Tina*

      I tried Claritin, but it didn’t work for me. It made the allergies go away for sure, but it also made me so tired that I slept for 12+ hours a day, and had a constant headache! As soon as I stopped taking it, I felt much better even though I still have mild allergies year round.

    6. Sibley*

      Allergy meds work best if you take them regularly, and start before your symptoms do. They need to build up in your system to work properly, and that takes a week or 2. If you’re starting after the symptoms, it’ll take longer.

      Definitely worth trying different meds to see which works best for you though. They all work a little differently, so one may work better. Also, over time you can develop a tolerance and one won’t work for you anymore. When I try new ones, I give it 1-2 months to kick in fully and really see how it works. For me, it takes years (8 and counting on Zyrtec) for a med to stop working.

    7. SeekingBetter*

      I liked zyrtec when I could afford it. Right now, I’m taking a generic brand my PCP prescribed to me. I guess it works fine, but Zyrtec is better.

  21. nep*

    Too many trees coming down, damn it.
    A couple streets over, tens of mature, beautiful trees are coming down soon as part of work to replace water main. Was driving down that street the other day, and was almost in tears as I saw one huge tree after another marked for removal. Just heartbreaking.
    In neighboring town, countless smallish trees killed in a parking area for the construction of an office building.
    Just a couple weeks ago neighbors across the street hacked down a perfectly healthy and glorious red bud tree. Seriously I just don’t get it.
    Can’t stand to see healthy trees come down.

    1. fposte*

      Argh. I hate losing trees even when it’s reasonable–I still mourn my beautiful sugar maple street tree, which had amazing autumn color, that started splitting and got taken down by the city. And ash borer has hit hard enough that the city is taking down all the ashes.

      My big problem with newer developments is the lack of mature trees. I’m willing to risk one falling down on my kitchen for all the blessings of their presence.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I lost my beloved backyard ash tree to ash borers. It was the only large, mature shade tree in the back yard. Our red bud trees are getting pretty big now, but they’ll never replace the large area of deep shade that the ash provided.

    2. Amadeo*

      Oh good, it’s not just me. I implored my parents not to let the electric co-op cut down the ash tree we climbed as kids (I don’t think they wanted to see it gone either, as it didn’t take much from me for them to tell the trimming crew to leave it alone) but they let them take the maple under the power lines because otherwise they were going to mutilate it to trim it back. I still wish they’d left it because I miss it.

      I hate to see trees cut down, hither and yon, too. We live by the woods and I really do kind of love trees.

    3. Myrin*

      It’s so nice to see someone who feels as strongly about tress as I do. Even just writing this down I feel kind of silly but trees have a very special place in my heart and although I’m usually quite unemotional I literally want to cry whenever I see (especially unnecessary, as has become weirdly common in my hometown in recent years) one being felled.

      1. nep*

        Same here. Exactly. The killing of healthy trees makes me feel sick and I just want to cry. They are glorious and like best friends. Majestic, giving…

    4. Nicole*

      I know exactly how you feel. Came home one day two years ago to find our association removed the tree right outside our unit. I’m still sad about it. Once we get a house I hope it’s on a street with mature trees. Those neighborhoods feel homier (sp) to me than the new ones with baby trees. I love the shade they provide too.

    5. LCL*

      Trees planted by nature or street trees? Street trees are planted by humans alongside the road, and are usually chosen to have a definite relatively short lifespan and not get too big. As long as they are replanted afterwards, its not a net loss. And yes, i have family members in the nursery trade.

      I know how you feel. Someone in our neighborhood was fixing up their house, so they cut down a flowering cherry tree in full bloom. Yes, they aren’t native, and it’s easy to find replacements, but I was annoyed they didn’t wait the 2 weeks until it was done blooming.

      1. nep*

        The city plans to plant saplings — that’s meager consolation though.
        (I keep seeing these trucks of the local company cutting down healthy trees — Let’s just say the name of the company denotes a respect for the environment; I say BS.)

    6. Anon attorney*

      I am growing three trees from tiny saplings. They are memorial trees – the plan is that they replace the wood from which my late husband’s coffin was made. It has made me feel weirdly connected to/protective of trees. I’m sorry the trees in your area are being cut down. I don’t know how anyone could bear to do it.

  22. Jen RO*

    I had my first wisdom tooth taken out on Thursday and I think I may be the luckiest person ever, because I had virtually zero pain, despite the fact that the extraction itself was pretty complicated (according to the doctor). I’m just waiting for the swelling to go down now and I should be back in shape in a few days!

    And a question for the readers: *what* hurts after you have a tooth taken out? Is it like the pain from a cut or like a toothache? I am ridiculously interested in this (but also happy I didn’t need to find out on my own).

    1. Allypopx*

      For me the pain has always been in my jaw after an extraction. I’m glad you’re having such a smooth healing!

    2. Ramona Flowers*

      I always found it was more like a bruise from being punched, if that makes any sense?

      1. Jen RO*

        Yeah, that sounds like what I’m feeling, but it just… doesn’t hurt (unless I poke it). I have to get another one taken out and I am crossing my fingers and toes that it goes just as smooth!

      2. Amadeo*

        Having extracted canine and feline teeth (I’m assuming extraction in people is probably at least sort of similar), this description seems like it’d be apt. There’s a lot of blunt trauma going on working a root loose that…wasn’t loose to begin with. Little fractures of the thinner bits of bone as the periodontal ligament gets worked free, that sort of thing.

        1. Jen RO*

          This is fascinating :D I asked the doctor not to tell me what he was doing, but judging based on the tools he had on the table and on what I felt, he had to shave off part of one tooth (which was getting in the way when he tried to pull out the wisdom tooth), then he made a “hole” or “shelf” in the wisdom tooth, put a pick-like thing in it and lifted the tooth (like a lever). He worked at it for a good half an hour or more – apparently my bones are very strong, which is good, but makes for a complicated extraction. In the end, the most painful thing was the stitches, because the anesthetic had started to wear off… I didn’t even feel when he pulled the tooth itself out.

          1. Amadeo*

            Yes, I used several different tools, but I’d always divide the tooth up according to the roots with the drill first. The big carnassials in the back, upper quadrants have three and they’re huge. Then there’s a tool called an elevator, there are a couple different sorts, but they do look a bit like picks with a ‘scoop’ on the end. Got down in between the roots and gently worked back and forth to loosen things. The last thing I ever wanted to do was break the darn thing, but it happened sometimes. I’d go around and around the root like that until I finally got it out. It was easy to spend a lot of time on a big tooth that was cracked or infected and had to go but the ligaments holding it in place were still strong.

          2. Amadeo*

            Heh, the most harrowing were always the lower canines in the little dogs who almost always have the worst teeth. Far too easy to break a jaw trying to remove those and I’d often abdicate the dental chair to the vet for those (I was a CVT).

    3. Stellaaaaa*

      I had all four done at once while I was in college. The painkillers knocked me out for 18 hours at a time so I never felt much pain. The swelling lasted for about a full week.

      1. Jen RO*

        Oh wow, 4 at the same time? How did you eat?! I still can barely open my mouth, so I’ve been on a diet of mush since Friday…

        1. Stellaaaaa*

          Sleeping through the first 3 days really helped. College wasn’t my healthiest phase, I drank lots of iced coffee and ate 400 soft burritos a day.

      2. Drew*

        I also had all four done, the day after Christmas (because I had tickets for a bowl game on New Year’s Day and I didn’t want to be doped up for it – bad call, as it turned out, because the game was NOT a happy experience for my team). They knocked me out and my poor mom had to pretty much pour me into the car to get me home. I slept for a day solid and woke up sore and very hungry; they went and got me Chinese takeout.

        My sister donated one of her uber-Motrin for my pain and I was super happy for two days after. (Her: “I use them for my cramps.” Me: “I didn’t know you got cramps.” Her: “Exactly.”)

    4. all aboard the anon train*

      For me, it was more like a toothache. Something that goes away with a couple ibuprofen.

      I had all four taken out a few years ago and there was no swelling and very little pain. I felt groggy from being put to sleep and had a headache and minor ache in my jaw, but it was a bit more than the ache I get after I get a filling. I took whatever drugs they prescribed, but they made me feel sick, so I only took them for a day.

      Honestly, after hearing so many horror stories, I was really worried, but it was pretty painless. Maybe I’m lucky, too?

      1. Jen RO*

        They put you to sleep for extractions in the US? Or just for wisdom teeth? Do they always prescribe hardcore painkillers? My (American) boss told me his daughter got sent home with Percocet (I don’t exactly know what’s in it, but TV makes it sound like a big deal). My doctor just told me to get the maximum strength OTC painkiller (in my case, 400g ibuprofen) and said Americans are crazy :P

        1. Stellaaaaa*

          In the US they’ll put you to sleep and get all four out while they’re still under the gums. The healing time is the same whether you get one or all out, and you might as well have it done before you lose your parents’ insurance.

          1. Jen RO*

            Huh, OK, I never thought of the insurance angle. I thought my extraction was fairly expensive, but I bet it would feel like change compared to the US prices… (It was the equivalent of $115)

            But this explains a lot about the strong painkillers! I am sure that four wisdom teeth at the same time really requires something to make you sleep for days.

              1. Jen RO*

                Hm, I’m gonna ask my dentist if it’s any different if you have actual teeth, but still inside your gums… The one I had taken out had partially burst through the gum, but the other one is completely inside. I wonder if it’s more difficult if there’s just a bud compared to a full-grown tooth…

                1. brushandfloss*

                  Usually all the teeth are fully formed just not fully erupted. People just are seeing one of the cusps of the tooth through the gums (sometimes there are mirco teeth). What makes impacted teeth difficult to remove is that they are usually malpositioned and with lower wisdom teeth, they may be close to a nerve (sometimes only crown of the tooth is removed).

                  I had all four of my impacted wisdom extracted under sedation at the same time. I looked like a chipmunk with full cheeks for about three days.

            1. all aboard the anon train*

              Mine were about the same. It was about $125 for one tooth extraction and my insurance covered 85% of it, so it wasn’t nearly as expensive as I thought it would be.

            2. Anxa*

              In the US there are a lot of insurance plans that don’t cover wisdom extraction (like every one I’ve ever had), so you’ll want to get a lot of bang for your buck. X-rays cost a lot and if you can get them done just once there’s a potential to save a lot of money.

          2. katamia*

            Not always. I had all four out and was only given local anesthetic because I was under 18 and my parents didn’t want them putting me under. I’m not sure what their logic was for that (I’ve gotten different answers over the years), but I wish they’d allowed it.

        2. all aboard the anon train*

          Just for wisdom teeth, and they only put me to sleep because I had all four out. If had one, they wouldn’t have put me to sleep unless I specifically requested it. I was given the choice for pain killers (I think I got Percocet? I can’t remember tbh), but again, they only gave me that because I had all four out.

          When I had a root canal, I just got extra strength ibuprofen. So really, it’s more extreme measures for multiple teeth at once.

        3. Natalie*

          They gave me Vicodin but I thought it was overkill. It made me really itchy, and honestly the pain was perfectly controlled with ibuprofen.

          1. LCL*

            I had all 4 out under general anesthesia. All 4 were impacted, so the surgeon made the choice for me. I was a minor so wasn’t consulted. I had actually wanted them done under a local because I was terrified of being put under. I mentioned this to the surgeon on a follow up visit, he said he wouldn’t have done it under a local because of the difficulty of the procedure.

            I was sick and miserable afterwards because my mom controlled my codeine and only let me have 2 total. She wasn’t a user, but had misplaced faith in the efficacy of aspirin.

    5. katamia*

      They had to cut into my gums to take my wisdom teeth out because they hadn’t broken through, so for me it was very much the pain of a cut. Also took ages to heal, and even now (15 years since I had them done), I still sometimes get twinges in my gums where they were. I don’t think my dentist did anything wrong, but it was definitely unpleasant.

    6. Tau*

      Congrats, and I hope the rest of the recovery goes as smoothly for you as the extraction!

      I had all four of mine out on separate occasions (the dentist planned to do two at a time, but I’m hilariously resistant to local anaesthetic and he had to give me the max safe dose just to get one tooth reasonably numb) and I do remember being in pain afterwards, but I can’t remember the details all that well – I think it was a dull pain in my jaw more than anything else, which icepacks helped. The swelling was almost more annoying than the pain.

      I will say that the worst part of my wisdom tooth experience was not the extraction or the pain but the fact that all of them got infected and then reinfected afterwards. Apparently this is really unlikely and probably not something you have to worry about (apparently my mouth contains antibiotic-resistant superbacteria?), but just in case – if the swelling isn’t going down after a few days, if the pain increases, or if at any point up to several weeks after the extraction you get a fever, see your dentist ASAP.

      1. Jen RO*

        I’ve been on antibiotics since the extraction, but thanks for the heads-up! I’m going back in 10 days to get the stitches out, and then in ~1 month to get the other tooth taken out, so at least I should have at least a form of regular check up in the near future.

    7. hermit crab*

      In addition to what others have said, there can also be wonky pressure/space (?) issues in your mouth, because there used to be a solid thing there and now there isn’t. I got all four wisdom teeth out as a teenager, when I was on the high school swim team and also did synchronized swimming (so I spent a lot of time underwater). The first time I dove into the pool after getting them out, the effect from the water pressure was honestly the weirdest feeling I’ve ever had in my life! It didn’t hurt, exactly — just felt totally bizarre.

      1. Schnapps*

        I had no wisdom teeth on the bottom only the top. And I had 5 of them – two fully formed and three buds which would explain a few things.
        The first extraction was a nothing – they knocked me out, and I was on antibiotics and tylenol 3. The second was a little more arduous – the recovery seemed longer and more painful. I also had to negotiate a new furnace installation (ours died right before a cold snap) while on painkillers so that was fun.

  23. AvonLady Barksdale*

    Physically, it has been one hell of a week. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been having some spotting issues. My gyn very matter-of-factly said that he sees this all the time and I just need a break from my pills, so at his instruction, I stopped taking the Pill for four days. I have been on continuous birth control– no breaks– for five years. He said I would have a light period but nothing major. HOLY CRAP was he wrong. Or misleading, or something. The cramps were awful, and I ended up going to a CVS at lunch to buy pads. For the first time in 5 years! I nearly had the type of accident I used to have when I was 12. I’m back on the Pill again and feel marginally better, but it’s not over yet and uuuggghhh. I also learned that the maxi pad market has changed quite a bit. So many options!

    Emotionally… eh. Some of my best girlfriends came to visit last week and it was so good for my soul. We set plans in motion to go to New York Memorial Day weekend so I’ll see them again soon. I usually dread having visitors, but I had the most amazing time and it just did me a world of good. I’ve been mostly ok this week (Super Period notwithstanding), but then I spoke to my grandparents this morning. It seems that my mother, their only child, finally showed her narcissist stripes to my grandparents, and they’re so upset they don’t want to visit her ever again. I don’t want to get too into the details because they center around politics, but basically my mother crossed a major line with her parents and didn’t even think to filter herself. They already hate her husband, my stepfather, because of his beliefs, but they never believed their daughter felt the way he did. I’ve known this for a while. Now they realize it, and I don’t feel validated or good that I was right– I feel so hurt for my grandparents and so angry at my mother. She has every right to believe what she wants, but she knows that they completely disagree, so she should have kept her mouth shut, or, at the very least, had a dignified adult discussion. Instead, according to Grandmom, she spewed the same kind of bigoted, racist crap that my stepfather likes to go on about. My grandfather also pointed out that my mother has become a snob, turning her back on her friends who aren’t rich enough (this is completely true), and he’s hurt and appalled at what she has become. My mother’s parents didn’t raise her to be hateful, and in fact, she didn’t raise me that way, so this comes from a place none of us understand.

    I feel like I’m talking about a woman in her 20s and not one who is about to turn 70, but there it is. My mother has always been close with her parents– to the point of being jealous of my relationship with them– but it’s like she’s willing to completely ignore their feelings to make certain points. Not for nothing, they’re quite elderly and we’re lucky they’re alive and healthy, but that is likely to change pretty soon. And you know what? Their hurt could have been avoided if they had talked about Bloomingdale’s or weird family members or how disappointed they all are in me because I’m not married and I don’t have babies. Sigh.

    1. Junior Dev*

      I stopped taking birth control pills when I was 18 after 3 years on them and good Lord, the cramps. I had had the 3 weeks on, 1 off kind so I’d had periods while I was taking them, but the first period off it felt like my uterus had panicked and was trying to claw its way out of my abdomen. Taking a hot bath helped a lot.

    2. Graphic Designer*

      Please go get a second opinion from another obgyn that comes recommend by people you trust. Seriously…

    3. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      I’m so sorry about your mother causing her parents, and indirectly you, pain. That’s such a hard thing to experience, especially when/if you thought you had raised or were raised by a fundamentally caring person.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Thank you. I was caught so off guard by my reaction. I’ve known for years that my mother is a snob and a narcissist, but it’s so hurtful (to all of us) that now she’s elitist and racist. Mother’s Day has been tough for me for a few years now, but this year I don’t even feel like putting up the facade.

    4. ThisIsNotWhoYouThinkItIs*

      Heavy periods suck. Also–quick shout-out for Always Infinity if you need to stock your emergency stash for that sort of thing.

    5. SeekingBetter*

      Wow, I’m so sorry to hear about how difficult your mom is. My immediate family is far from perfect so I can relate. Unfortunately, even though your mom wasn’t raised to be hateful, it seems like she really changed over the years.

    6. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

      Get a 2nd opinion for sure. Also…Mirena (or something similar). I switched over and it only has Progestin and so far, has been pretty darn good. Good luck!

  24. Ruffingit*

    I currently live in Texas and am from the West Coast, but I’d like to try living on the East Coast for awhile. I crave the colder weather and milder summers. Texas is a horror show of humidity. Anyway, have no problems up and moving somewhere I’ve never been as that is what I did when I moved to Texas and it worked out fine. No worries about good school districts and that sort of thing as I have no kids. Also, small towns, big towns, whatever is fine. I have no desire to live in NYC (nor could I afford to) so I’m thinking more Vermont, Connecticut, Maine, etc.

    So, I’m wondering from those of you who live on the East Coast, what is it really like? What do you love, what do you hate?

    1. paul*

      Come up to the panhandle if you want winter….Texline ISD here had to cancel school this month. For snow.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      I spent decades in New England. I wouldn’t exactly call the summers mild, but I guess they probably are milder than Texas ones! I would say you shouldn’t cross Rhode Island off the list. It has its own quiet charm (and lots of great food).

      1. Allypopx*

        Rhode Island, Vermont, and Maine would definitely be my recommendations – particularly if you like great food! The Burlington, Vermont area is so lovely.

        1. Becca*

          I currently live in Providence, RI, and it’s a nice small city! I personally prefer Boston, but RI definitely has its draws. RI is more affordable than eastern MA, and it’s still in fairly easy distance to Boston, NYC, NH, etc. Plus, the winters in RI are easier than further north. It’s cold, but less snow— a win. And Providence has a great theater!

          It is still often humid in the summer, but less so than in Texas I imagine!

    3. Allypopx*

      I grew up in Maine and have spent my adult life in Massachusetts.

      Summers get hot, and it’s a humid heat, but temperatures rarely get over 100. Springs and falls are absolutely gorgeous (allergens aside, this spring, but apparently that’s a widespread problem). There’s really nothing like New England foliage in the fall.

      Winters can be hard to get used to. The farther north and the farther inland you are, it’s worse. Generally it has to be pretty bad for schools and businesses to close, because we have plows and people are supposed to have shovels or snowblowers in their homes, so clearing snow is something you have to learn, as well as driving in snow, if you’re in an area where you have to drive. Two feet at a time of wet, heavy snow is not uncommon.

      Assuming you haven’t experience that before, winter would be a big adjustment, but I’ve seen people make that adjustment successfully. Spring and fall, as I’ve said, are lovely, but also unpredictable, so you need to have mastery over dressing in light layers, because the temperature can range 40 degrees and 3 types of weather in one day. You’ll need to own a variety of jackets of different weights and styles. Shoes as well.

      Really, all said and done, what I hate is the humidity in the summer. You can always put on more layers, but summers can be really uncomfortable. If you’re already dealing with intense, humid summers, you’ll probably not even be phased, but I know people who have come from dry heat areas and found the humidity really hard to adjust to, even though the median temperatures are lower.

      Hope that helps!

    4. Stephanie*

      I really liked how close everything was! (Moved from Houston to DC.) I could drive less than four hours (or take a train or bus ride) and be in a totally different city.

      Hmm, what might be an adjustment is the housing. If you’re not talking NYC, it may not be dramatically more expensive, but you’ll have to get used to older housing with things like no central air, radiators, etc unless you’re living in something new.

      Wardrobe might be a bit of an adjustment. I didn’t really grasp the concept of a spring jacket until I moved to DC. Things like long underwear, insulated boots, etc were also foreign to me until I moved to Pittsburgh.

    5. Portia*

      I live in Texas too, but I lived in New Hampshire for four years and Massachusetts for three.
      The summers are not that much more mild: summer in MA and NH was very humid, and pretty hot. More importantly, central AC is not nearly as common in the north as it is down here, so I found summers in the north much more uncomfortable because it was harder to get cool inside. However, the summers are much shorter: mid-June to mid-August, basically, rather than our lovely May-October southern summers.

      I loved everything about living in Boston — the culture, the architecture, the history, the food, the great public transit, the general sense that something fun was always happening — except two things: housing cost and winters. I HATED the winters. Hated, hated, hated. I realized that it really didn’t matter that I had access to all these great things in Boston, because I basically stopped leaving my apartment in winter except for work because I hated the cold so much. Do not underestimate the logistical hassle of snow and ice (and I didn’t even have a car!). Also, rent in Boston was so darn high.

      1. Stephanie*

        Yeah…don’t discount the lack of central AC. My parents helped me move from Phoenix to Pittsburgh last August. We drove and they were like “Pssssh, we’re from Phoenix. Pittsburgh summer won’t be that rough.” And then they got to my non air-conditioned apartment and dealt with 85 and humidity and were like “This is terrible. Let’s go find the first A/C unit we can.” (We bought a floor model from Costco.)

        Similar thing happened going from Texas to DC. DC summers weren’t as bad, for sure, but they were still a bit miserable. I was walking around a lot more and there were more older buildings that lacked the mega-powered A/C units so common in Texas.

    6. Stellaaaaa*

      I’d suggest thinking about whether you’d prefer cold winter/milder summer or mild winter/hot summer. I’m in NJ where we get down to winter 0 and up to summer 100 and it’s really hard on my body as I get older. Dry winters and purely wet humid summers. I can’t imagine committing to a long stay in this state if you’re not used to that.

      1. Stellaaaaa*

        I would also gently urge you to consider the general attitude shifts in the northeast. I hesitate to say that we’re rude mofos but the overall culture here doesn’t lend itself to a mode of slow pleasant politeness that you might be accustomed to. My mom moved here from ohio 35 years ago and she still struggles with it. Sometimes I’ll travel to another state and I’m shocked by how nice people are to me, a stranger! Omg do they want something from me ? Should I be nervous??? If you struggle to socialize it’s something to take seriously. At the risk of generalizing, friendships are hard in NYC-adjacent regions.

        1. Allypopx*

          Ha, yes. That’s one of my favorite things about Boston, honestly. Cold and unfriendly, unless you genuinely need something, and then totally willing to help you out. (Except to service people. Always be genuinely nice to service people. Always.)

          But in the more rural areas of Maine/New Hampshire/Vermont I still encounter that small town charm where everyone wants to be your friend. It’s one of my least favorite things about going home.

          I realize this says a lot about me as a person.

            1. Allypopx*

              Oh that’s interesting. That hasn’t been my experience. I have my DND bubble up regarding strangers, but my friendships are typically strong and comfortable.

              I do also have a lot of friends who didn’t grow up here but I don’t find relationships difficult with people who did.

              Everyone experiences the region differently though.

              1. Stellaaaaa*

                If you don’t still have all your friends from high school it’s rough to start over from scratch as an adult in this area. People don’t want new friends.

                1. all aboard the anon train*

                  I actually disagree with this. I think it’s a lingering stereotype, but I know plenty of people who grew up and still live in New England who are looking to make new friends, myself included. Most of my friends have moved on to kids and spouses and houses in the suburbs and I’ve been creating a new friend group without that many problems.

                2. Stellaaaaa*

                  NJ is often its own beast when it comes to stuff like this. I found people in New England to be positively southern compared to the people in my region.

                3. Allypopx*

                  I mean I started from scratch. Most of my friends and my bf I’ve met in the last 3-5 years. Some at work, some through friends of friends, one good friend I met at a move premiere, idk. But I hear this a lot from people and I know it’s a major hurdle to moving to new areas… I wonder if anyone has good strategies for making friends?

                  I know it’s not that people don’t want new friends, I have one friend in her 30s who moved her from Ohio and never goes to an event without three phone numbers of people who just want to talk to her more, but she’s more blatantly social than anyone I’ve ever met.

                4. Stellaaaaa*

                  I’m not really disagreeing with you Allypop. But I’m not going to debate my actual lived experiences with other commenters who don’t even live in the state I’m talking about.

                5. Allypopx*

                  Oh I was erring towards discussion, not debate, I’m sorry it came off that way. I’m not disagreeing with you either. I just think the breadth of experiences in this is interesting, and you bring up a concern that comes up a lot on this site even, and I wonder how cultural it is and what factors really contribute.

                  But we can move on.

                6. all aboard the anon train*

                  I can’t reply to my other comment because of threading, but I just realized you weren’t talking about new England. Whoops! Sorry!

        2. all aboard the anon train*

          Yeah, I generally try to tell people that when you approach on the street or strike up a conversation with a stranger, we tend to be wary and short, but it’s more because they don’t know you rather than because we’re unfriendly. I know my first reaction is always “What do you want? Do I know you?” but slip into being friendly and helpful if they’re asking for directions or help or something.

          It’s a culture of needing to get where you’re going ASAP and without any interruptions rather than strolling along and taking your time.

          1. katamia*

            Yeah. I struggled a lot when I lived in the Midwest because I found all those conversations that other people seem to like really intrusive. I was just trying to get where I was going/do my grocery shopping/whatever, and these “friendly” people were getting in the way of that. If someone needed help, yeah, I’d help them, but otherwise politeness, to me, is not getting in people’s way.

            1. all aboard the anon train*

              Definitely. I think, and maybe this is regional and maybe it’s my experience, wary of people trying to get personal information out of small talk. My first reaction is “why do you want to know how my day is going?”, but that could be New England reservedness.

              A friend who used to live in the South said she found it bizarre when she came up north because when she’d ask “how’s it going?” people would respond “Fine!” or “Good” as they kept on walking whereas she was used to people stopping to actually talk about how their day was going. Regional quirks are hard to get used to.

              1. katamia*

                I’m not always wary about it, although sometimes I am. My reaction is usually closer to when I’m driving in a 35-mph zone and I get stuck behind someone going 20: “Ugh, why are you messing up my flow?”

            2. Stephanie*

              Yeah, my friend and I were in Indianapolis for a wedding. He’s from the Northeast. He comes back to our hotel room and is like “Gah, the lady at the CVS was so friendly! It was weird. She kept asking all these questions about my visit and it was just really odd. I just wanted my toothpaste!”

          2. Stephanie*

            My friend moved to NYC from California. She theorizes that it’s just a lack of personal space in NYC (i.e., that you’re always around people) that might make people seem colder than they actually are. She did say once you got past the initial barrier, it was easy to make friends there.

        3. The Unkind Raven*

          I disagree with this stereotype. I’m from NY. I’m rarely treated rudely where I live or in the city, and no more so than when I’ve traveled to other states. In fact, I’m often impressed by the general kindness I encounter where I live and in the city. So while you are entitled to your experiences, as you note below, please don’t generalize/stereotype about whole states full of people because of your personal, individual, perspective.

    7. Mimmy*

      I live in New Jersey but visit Boston every Thanksgiving where my sister lives.

      New Jersey’s climate can vary greatly, no matter what time of year it is. Some winters are mild, others are cold and snowy. I used to love the change of seasons when I was younger, but now I’m craving something more consistent. Boston is similar.

      I also find the Northeast to be very congested, at least the places I’m familiar with, like Boston, NYC or Philadelphia. The infrastructure is just not built for allllllll these people and vehicles!! At least with Boston and even Philly, there is a lot of history to many of the buildings and neighborhoods.

      I love going into NYC for shows and other unique experiences, but oh yes, it sure is expensive!

    8. Not So NewReader*

      I left Connecticut. That is all I will say there. YMM will V.

      Upstate NY is nice. Of course the more north you go the worse the winters get. But I probably run an AC three times all year. Of late the worst part is February, the rest of the winter is tamer than it used to be. You need to stay near populated areas if you want a variety of job choices. I have thought that things are less expensive here than in Connecticut. Just my opinion, though.

      Vermont is interesting to me. It’s a different mini-culture and a different way of looking at things. Some of it is tree-huggy stuff but mostly it seems pretty laid back. NY does a lot to protect consumers( probably why industries packed their bags and left), I see stuff in Vermont that would never fly in NY.

      Maine. “Live free or die” and I am finding that Maine is yet again different from other states. The one complaint I have heard is that property taxes are incredible.

      1. KR*

        I should not Live Free or Die is the New Hampshire motto. Everyone always forgets about NH.

        1. Allypopx*

          Yep, Maine is The Way Life Should Be ;) (Or Vacationland, after a rebranding awhile back, but that’s dumb.)

    9. katamia*

      I live further south on the East Coast (DC area), but I spent a lot of time growing up in New Hampshire in the summer. It gets cold there (it got down to the 30s at night sometimes). I’ve never been up there in the winter, but my friends in New Hampshire and Massachusetts seem to be constantly buried in snow all winter. Which they seem to tolerate okay, but the sight of even small amounts of snow just makes me want to cry, so I don’t understand how they deal with it (although they don’t understand how I can do a DC summer with broken air conditioning without melting, either :P).

      I was also bugged by the lack of diversity up there, although we spent most of our time in smaller towns, so maybe it’s better in the big city. But as a religious minority, I’m not sure I would have felt comfortable actually living in the places we visited. I assume the cities are better about that, though.

      If you wind up in Maine (or even New Hampshire) and you’re near the ocean, eat ALL the cheap lobster you can get your hands on. So good.

    10. Jenny*

      I am born in NY, raised in NY and CT and now live in MA with my husband, who grew up in TX. Here is the scoop:

      Texas pros: mild winters, friendly people, low cost of living (even in the cities- husband loved in austin and dallas). Bluebell ice cream. Big wide open skys.

      Texas cons (from my Ex-Tex husband and my point of view): too much religion, too much passive-aggressiveness (bless their hearts), too many people that have never left Texas. We are still asked when we are “coming back home to God’s country.”), heat, humidity.

      New England pros: seasons, ocean, boats.
      New England cons: cost of living, cold (COLD), people are standoffish and keep to themselves (we don’t mind!). Everything is close together (“like bottles on shelf” says DH). Even in the farm-y areas there are major clusters of people/places that is very different than TX. Traffic here is horrendous. Anything along the I-95 corridor and especially anywhere near NYC or Boston. Southern CT (Bridgeport to Greenwich, then westchester) is its own hell.

      Noteworthy considerations:
      -if firearms are a hobby of yours, consider New Hampshire. They are extremely expensive to own in MA.
      – no income tax in TX; no income tax in NH. 5-7% elsewhere.
      -generally speaking, public school options up north are better than in TX. Varies, but my husband was genuinely surprised at the quality of public education up here.
      -much less emphasis on religion, very vocally socially liberal. MA has a republican governor but that is strictly fiscal.
      -country/social clubs are different here than down south
      – I am a working mom; this is totally and completely common in MA. It is rare among DH’s family friends.

      1. Jenny*

        Coming back to add- if finding a job/decent commute is not a concern, I’d recommend these areas to maximize an east coast experience without breaking the wallet:

        Southeastern CT (1-95 corridor from Madison to Stonington), Rhode Island (but not Providence- anywhere in the coast which is most of RI), the “south coast” aka “farm coast” of MA (coastal MA from south of the Cape down to near New Bedford/Fall River), southern coastal Maine, possibly the north shore of MA (Ipswich, Newburyport, Glouster, etc). NH and VT are very nice but if this is a temp move, I’d push to be nearer to the ocean. If not, then try for near a big mountain or lake in VT/NH. If you move to NH near an election year be prepare to be inundated with political ads since NH is a swing state. It’s incredibly annoying.

    11. Anxa*

      While I’m sure it’s nothing like Texas, do keep in mind that the East Coast is not exactly Not Humid. The North East can be refreshing because they don’t blast the AC as bad, in my experience, which means that you can wear shorts and short sleeves and won’t get that awful feeling of walking in from 90 degree weather all sweaty into a chilly room, which makes me really miserable. On the other hand, some buildings don’t have AC at all.

    12. Dan*

      Transplanted small town midwesterner to suburban D.C. What do I like? Civilization.
      Public transportation. Four pro sports teams. Good dining options. Access to good air transportation. The winters here are nothing compared to what I grew up with.

      What do I not like? Traffic sucks ass. Summers are humid as hell. Cost of living? You’re going to miss Texas. That’s the one thing that makes me want to move.

    13. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

      New England has milder summers. Everywhere else is like heat and humidity Hades (I’m from DC area, lived in MD by the water, and now live in FL). The mid-Atlantic humidity and temps beat where I live in FL every single summer (we have a breeze to trick us into thinking it is not as bad as it actually is). Happy moving…change is great!

    14. Elizabeth West*

      I lived in Delaware for a while. It wasn’t bad, though it ended up not being for me. It’s a pretty part of the country and is relatively close to everything.

  25. paul*

    The new edition of Texas Mammals is out and man is it sparking some debate with the updated range maps for cougar, bear and elk. I haven’t had this much fun in years. It also validates my long standing suspicion that most historical reports of grizzly bears in the Texas panhandle were spurious, or misidentified black bears.

    Personally I’ll bet my bottom dollar we get at least occasional transient members of those species in the NW panhandle (I’ve seen roadkill elk within 10 miles of the TX/NM border, and bear scat within 30-40 miles). I also don’t think we’ve got resident cougar as far into the southeast panhandle as they do, mostly based on discussions with researchers that run game cameras in the Palo Duro Canyon system and the Canadian River drainage.

    1. fposte*

      That first sentence is the kind of peek into a new world I just adore. I don’t think anybody’s claimed they saw a grizzly around my part of the country; the jury’s still out on the possible bobcat sighting, which is about as exciting as we get.

      1. paul*

        I’m happier in an ecosystem where something can eat me :)

        I don’t think anyone in living memory has claimed to have seen a grizzly here; but most “historical range maps” show them as occurring in the western 2/3rds of the state which has *never* made sense. There’s one, repeat one, documented case of a single old male being shot in the Davis Mountains down near the border in 1890-and keep in mind Texas has *always* been fairly sparsely populated in that region-there weren’t a ton of people to push them out.

        There were constant references to recent (<500 year old) fossil remains but none of them were really full. And in the last couple of years a pair of fairly respected researches spent a lot time combing through them and determined nearly all of them were black bear. Some were unidentifiable (single digit amounts here) and may have been grizzly but most of them weren't.

        Currently the big debate around here is black bear, cougar and wolf, and if they're starting to come back or might come back. I'm hoping jaguars do eventually–they used to be moderatly common (by apex predator standards) in the southern 1/4 or so of the state–but I'm kind of pessimistic about those, since that area is much more heavily populated.

        Wolves…*if* Wyoming, Idaho and Colorado don't shoot all them in their states I think we'll start getting them again. One was hit by a car (and this was a radio collared wolf from a Yellowstone pack) along I-70 in Colorado, and they've seen packs along the Utah border again recently. Northern NM and Southern Colorado are pretty empty so if they start coming back in numbers–and it may take 20 years IF those states don't start shooting them all–I kind of think we may get them again in the northern panhandle

        1. fposte*

          Now I’m trying to figure out if the few cougar and bear sightings in my state in the last few years are verified. It does look like one was killed in a near north Chicago neighborhood in 2009 (looking for the nightlife like all the other cougars, presumably).

      2. Liane*

        While we now live in the state capital, before my in-laws passed away, we lived in the rural area just outside the city. (Most of Arkansas is rural.) There are still rumors of a cougar aka mountain lion roaming around there, but we never saw any signs of it. I just checked the Game and Fish Commission website and it said, in a Nov. 2014 article, that there had been 5 confirmed sightings “in the last 5 years” (but not where) & no breeding population verified. It mentioned that the animals had been common until 1920. I looked for information on whether there were wolves in the state, but it looks like they were killed off, probably in the predator bounty hunts in the late 1920s as the same article gave counts for wolves and bobcats taken then. :(
        We do have coyotes and foxes and have seen a few of each, even close to the city.

  26. Myrin*

    We had a lively thread about gardening here last week and I’d like to post an update:

    I got my young plants on Tuesday and after two days of restless work, they all have a new home now! They seem to have lived through their first night without a cover very well – except for the basil, who is a very sad plant at the moment because the little hat I gave him was blown away and almost took him with it but I’m positive all will be normal in a day or two. I’m all for documentation so I made heaps of pictures – I’m too lazy to search for the connecting cord right now (it’s already evening here) but I’ll post them to my tumblr tomorrow and if anyone’s interested, I’ll put a link to that here as well?

  27. Gingerbird*

    So I’m finally doing a dating app, and I find that all my recent photos I have were taken by my parents. As such, they are all horrible. Why is it that parents always have the ability to take photos that give you a double chin?

    1. esra (also a Canadian)*

      Seriously. I am so glad the woman who handles our instagram account at work has snapped a few shots of me, because I am also giving online dating a shot and my mom seems to live for derpy shots.

    2. salad fingers*

      My guess is that it’s because you always look beautiful to them, no matter what ^ω^

    3. Mazzy*

      Growing up we used to laugh because my grandma had a photo of each of us in her wallet, and the one of my sister was a side angle in a shadow with a double chin. The picture was horrible! But she was showing it to everyone!

    4. Elizabeth West*

      My mum has a FRAMED picture of me she took at my first ice show, attempting to do a spiral (the worst spiral in history) and it’s AWFUL. It’s right next to my sister’s beautiful ballet picture. Jeez mum.

  28. nep*

    Another trip to the dentist this past week. I will go to my grave not having addressed all the problems in my mouth. And I haven’t got the money to get very necessary work done right now. (Great added incentive to make more money.) Oddly, though, I invariably come away from the dentist office almost giddy; the experience always gets me momentarily overwhelmed and on the brink of meltdown, but instantly I think to myself, a lot of people are facing far worse issues than I. The experience also always reminds me to live in and seize the moment; I ‘ve got many and potentially dangerous problems with my teeth… But I’m alive, pretty damned healthy otherwise, and life goes on. One day at a time.

    1. Jean (just Jean)*

      +1 on the “things could be much worse” observation. Also that life goes on, one day at a time.
      Any chance you can find a dentistry school to do your work for less money?

      1. nep*

        Many have recommended that; it’s a great suggestion. It’s largely down to stress levels. Already it’s all I can do to open my mouth (it’s a special kind of nakedness, truly) in front of staff and dentist I’ve been seeing for a long time. I’d rather deal with the stress and objective of coming up with the money than go see a new group of people.
        (And yes — it probably would be character-building in a way to suck it up…but that’s where I am.)
        Thank you.

  29. Myrin*

    Thoughts on a relationship between a 22-year-old guy and a 17-year-old girl?

    The guy in question – who is a good friend of mine and has been for years – told me last week (via chat) that he has a girlfriend now. Cool! I’m really happy for him! I asked what her name is and if I maybe know her (we were both born here so if she’s from this area as well, that’s generally quite possible) and he wrote something like “I don’t think you know her; she’s quite a bit younger than me, only 17. It’s a bit weird, I know, and I had to think really long and hard about it but oh my, that’s how it is. :/”.

    The fact that her age pretty definitely means that I don’t know her since she’s almost ten years younger than me aside, do you think such a relationship is weird/cause for concern? I know one always needs to take the actual people in it into account, not just statistics and generalities, but I’m wondering. I’m feeling nothing in particular about it other than a mild strangeness which mostly seems connected to my feeling like an old fart, but my sister immediately went “Ugh, creepy!”. My friend is definitely not the predatory type and 22 is hardly old but on the other hand, 17 is really young. Also, he himself seemed unsure about it as well if he feels it’s “weird” and I’m not quite sure what to make of it. (I haven’t talk with him in person since, maybe his text just came across weirdly.) What do others think?

    1. Allypopx*

      21 and 26? Not weird at all. I’m 25 and my boyfriend is 32. Totally cool. But 17 and 22 is a bigger age gap, practically. Relationships aren’t about years alive, they’re about being in the same place in terms of goals, experience, stage in life, and most importantly maturity. These things become blurrier when you get older, but 17 is young by most standards, and 22 really isn’t.

      Also, I’m assuming it’s legal where you are because that’s not part of your concerns, but that can be a concern in general.

      She could be a really mature 17 (or he could be a less mature 22) and it might work great for them! But “she’s mature for their age” is also a thing creepy people say to justify their creepiness, so that defense makes me a little skeeved, even if it’s true.

      The individuals are the most important thing. It bothers me in theory, but I don’t know these people, and when I was 18 my boyfriend was 21, which doesn’t bother me as much, so it’s a little subjective. The important thing is they are in a safe, mutually beneficial, respectful relationship, and if they are, good on them!

      If you trust your friend I don’t think this is on its own a cause for concern. But if he’s having feelings, maybe help him talk through them. People should trust their gut in those dynamics.

      Also, as you demonstrate, they’ll probably be attracting some side-eye, which he may or may not be willing to take the weight of.

    2. fposte*

      Age gaps and suitable age are things where opinions shift like the wind over time and distance; right now the US tends to be very, very opposed to the point of considering relationships between over 18 and under downright immoral (in about 10 states in the U.S., it’s statutory rape for your friend to have sex with with this girl).

      But I also don’t think it’s that simple–I wouldn’t necessarily be appalled by a 17-year-old college freshman (which I was) dating a 22-year-old college senior (though I didn’t). What makes me raise an eyebrow is that those are usually, in contemporary Western culture, two very different stages of life; it’s too common for the appeal for the older person, consciously or unconsciously, to be the limited knowledge and experience of the younger person. They like the asymmetry of power that they wouldn’t have with partners their own age. That’s the dynamic that worries me, but the ages don’t automatically tell you if that’s the dynamic–they just make it a very significant possibility.

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah, that’s exactly what makes me go “Caution!” whenever I hear about such relationships.

        Our educational system is pretty different from the US one so it’s very possible to have a 17-year-old who is already in her second year of full time work and a 22-year-old who is in the middle of his university time, which I would view differently from a 17-year-old who still has two years of school to do and a 22-year-old who has been part of the workforce for six years already (although even there, the aspect of “general life experience” doesn’t simply go away). But I don’t know what my friend’s girlfriend does anyway, so that’s a bit of a moot point right at the moment.

        I’d really like to see them together, just to get a better feel for the situation. I’ve also been thinking a bit about why he would be interested in a teenager like that (I know that when I was 22, it would have to have taken an exceptional 17-year-old for me to get interested in because they’re just so much younger!) and I’m coming down on a bit of a mean thought: He is somewhat unattractive (I’m a horrible friend, dear lord), a bit of a hermit (something we originally bonded over), and his last relationship was already in the past when we met six years ago. I know that he always would’ve liked to have a girlfriend during all that time we’ve known each other and can imagine that he doesn’t want to let the opportunity go to waste, so to speak. Which is a bit at odds with the fact that he’d had to “think about it long and hard” but that’s where my brain is going. But that’s all speculation, of course, and I’d have to talk to him about it to really get a feel for the situation because maybe I’m reading it all wrong!

      2. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

        I know someone who started dating her now-husband when she was in high school and he had graduated from university. They seem to be doing fine, been together for over ten years now, and the age gap isn’t so big anymore relatively. So it can work – but I still think it usually won’t.

        1. fposte*

          And then you get to the interesting possibility that it works and we don’t like the reasons why–that the couple likes the asymmetry, for instance. Lots of lasting relationships squick other people out.

    3. Ann O.*

      I was in a relationship with that age difference, and unfortunately, you really do have to take the actual people in it into account. There’s not a lot of generalities. The actual age gap is not large by adult relationship standards, so it’s really about life experiences/current places in life. At that age, those can be quite divergent or not actually all that divergent.

      Also, even when the life experiences are divergent, it doesn’t always matter. One of my college friends was in a relationship with a similar type of age range, where they absolutely were in different places in life. On paper, it would have sounded creepy. But they met through a shared hobby and just gelled. I’m in my late 30s, and this couple remains happily married.

      In the abstract, I would definitely worry about it being predatory, but it sounds like you feel confident that’s not the case here.

    4. Rogue*

      My husband is 45 and I’m 35. I met him when I was 16 and started seriously dating shortly after I turned 18. Been together ever since.

    5. Ruffingit*

      I think it’s too much of a gap right now. As Allypox mentioned, the older you get the less a 5-year gap matters, but at this stage, she’s about to graduate high school and he is college grad age. It’s just two completely different places in life. I say this with some experience as I was 19 when I met my first husband who was 26 at the time. We were in such different life places, it wasn’t a good idea. Of course, I didn’t realize that at the time. Had I been 26 and he 33, that would have been fine. But when you’re still a teen, it matters a lot.

    6. Stellaaaaa*

      When I was 17 I would have thought nothing of dating someone who was 22. At 22, I found peers who pursued teenagers to be kinda creepy.

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah, that was basically my thought (and always is whenever I hear of relationships with that kind of age gap). I’d love to see them together or just generally learn more about how they met and what made her interesting to him but we won’t see each other until the week after next so until then, I’ll have to think about it by myself.

    7. all aboard the anon train*

      Well, 17 is high school and 22 is college (or post-college). Those are two completely different situations. Five years isn’t a big deal if you’re 30 and 35, but 17 and 22 is the difference between a teenager and an adult.

      If he admits that it’s a bit weird and that he had to think a long time about dating someone so young, he obviously already has concerns about her age. It does come off creepier than a five year age difference between adults.

    8. Detective Amy Santiago*

      My sister had just turned 18 when she met her now husband who was 26. They’ve been together for 8 years, but it was definitely weird when they first started dating.

      1. SAHM*

        Oh that’s so funny! That’s my hubbys and mine age gap! I was 18 and he was 26, been together 12 years and three kids now. We’ve always just meshed, I joke he’s my other puzzle piece.

    9. AlaskaKT*

      Eh, when I was 16 my boyfriend was 26. Back then it was cool, thinking back it was weird. Of course I met him in high school. He was still in school (got kicked out eventually) when I started (at 13, I was a youngin).

      Of course I broke up with him because he wouldn’t prove he was an adult. Had the same 7 11 job for 5 years and refused to get his FED.

      Oddly enough, my parents liked him and were cool with it. Or maybe they just hated him less than my previous boyfriend…

    10. Not So NewReader*

      The age difference does not raise an issue for me. I met a guy just before my 19th birthday. He was 32. I married him.
      The concern I have is that she is not 18. These things go okay until they don’t. Too many times the parents decide they don’t like the guy and the guy ends up on the sex offender registry because the parents reported him.

      I had a 20 year old friend who was getting interested in a 16 year old guy. I told her to be careful. And I told her specific stories of people we knew. She must have really thought about it because later she told me they parted company.

      I do agree that the difference between 17 and 22 can be more like a ten year difference because of the stages of life, but people can work though that and grow together. It’s tougher, though, when one of them is in prison.

      1. Myrin*

        Fortunately, that’s not a concern in my country. (I was quite sure of that already but I actually looked it up just now and he would only be indictable if he gave her money for sexual favours or if he were something like her teacher, guardian, boss, or similar.)

    11. SaraV*

      There’s a “rule of thumb” that’s floating around the internet that if you’re the older partner in a relationship, you divide your age by 2, and then add 7. This gives you an “acceptable” age to date.

      So 22/2 = 11
      11 + 7 = 18

      So your friend is just outside those parameters, but not by much obviously. Still, for me, that whole “not 18” squicks me out a bit. But that might be my “American bias” showing slightly. (I believe you’re in Germany?)

      PS – Can I use any more quotation marks? “Yes,” she said.

      1. Thlayli*

        That’s pretty much the standard rule. I’ve actually done the sums and found that it fits with my own gut feelings for what’s weird. 22 and 18 wouldn’t phase me. 22 and 17 is just a bit weird, though I think that’s as much because of the adult/child aspect than the actual age difference.

      1. SeekingBetter*

        I also knew a lot of girls in my high school who dated guys in their early 20s.

    12. HannahS*

      It so much depends on the people. A mature 17 year old and a young 22….eh. Especially if they’re in similar stages of life—say, a young woman starting her post-secondary education and a young man beginning graduate or professional school. Or two young people beginning of their careers. It wouldn’t have been right for me, but I could see it being fine for lots of people.

      AT THE SAME TIME I’m super wigged out by adults being with minors. I knew them, I’d strongly advise them not to have sex or even publicly have a relationship until she’s 18. I’m not 100% up on the laws of statutory rape (and we’re not likely in the same jurisdiction anyway!) but I’m pretty sure that where I live he’s on awfully shaky ground. I heard a story (and this was from a teacher, so, reputable) about a 17 year-old a 22 or 23 year-old–both men. Even though they asserted that everything between them was consensual, the younger guy’s father called the police and tried to set up an investigation on the basis of statutory rape. The subtext was that the dad was not totally on board with his baby boy being gay and was lashing out, but it still caused real trauma and damaged the burgeoning relationship.

    13. Anonymous Educator*

      I think in terms of determining how weird or judge-y about it to be will depend on a couple of things:

      1. Is your friend creepy and predatory in general. You said he’s not, so we’ll take your word for it.

      2. Is this a trend with your friend (he always seems to date extremely young women)? Also sounds as if that’s probably not the case.

      The only other thing I’ll say is that—and I realize some people here hate Dan Savage as much as they hate Myers-Briggs, but sometimes he speaks truth—your friend should follow “the campsite rule” and just make sure he leaves her better off than he found her. No undisclosed STDs. No unplanned pregnancies. No lofty unrealistic promises of their future together.

    14. LCL*

      I had a ‘relationship ‘ in high school with a man that started when I was 15 and he was 30. And yes, my parents did everything in their power to stop it but weren’t able to. Looking back, I see it as mostly a waste of time.

    15. Mela*

      Does 17 mean she’s not in university yet? Or starting next fall?
      Differences in age aren’t necessarily bad, you can learn from older partners.

      I think it’s more important to suss out if there are power differentials. If she’s changing her life plans to suit him, or not doing things she would normally be doing because of their relationship, then that’s no good. It sounds like he’s aware there’s room for this to be inappropriate, maybe ask/talk to him about what he’s going to do to make sure she retains her agency. I’d say in this type of set up, it’s the older person’s responsibility to actively encourage the younger partner to go and do things, to ensure they’re not missing out on the experiences they deserve at that age.

      1. Myrin*

        I know literally nothing about her other than her age yet. And we have a very different school system here compared to the US, so she could either already be in her second year of full time work or she could graduate in one-and-a-half years and after that either go to university or start learning a profession.

        I’m definitely going to talk to him about it but I’ll only be seeing him in the week after next, so I’m in speculation land at the moment.

    16. Rookie Manager*

      When I was 17 I casually dated a 22yo. He was definitely an “older man” which seemed cool to me and my friends. At that time boys my age seemed really immature. He encouraged me to plan for the future, have adventures and physically it was a pretty chaste relationship (I think he felt responsible about not crossing any boudaries while I was at school). However, my parents weren’t ‘excited’ about our friendship.

      For several years after that we kept in touch and he would give me relationship advice from the male perspective. My partner and I have the same age gap now and there have been no issues there apart from the odd joke about him being ancient or something being before my time.

      I think it really depends on the individuals involved. You’ll get a better sense of that when you meet her and see them together.