weekend free-for-all – May 27-28, 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: The Painted Veil, by Somerset Maugham. The rather shallow Kitty Fane cheats on her husband, who then takes her to a cholera-infected region of China, where … things happen.

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

{ 957 comments… read them below }

  1. Daria Grace*

    Alison, I love seeing the pictures of your cats every week. They’re delightful

  2. Cristina in England*

    I just wanted to give a shoutout to Lectrofan mini white noise machines. I love this little thing so much. Much better than looping a white noise track on my phone/tablet/laptop. It is usb/Bluetooth and can double as a little wireless speaker if you want it to.

      1. Your Weird Uncle*

        Oh! I’ll look into this – I normally run a fan in our room, but we’re going on a cruise later this year so having something like this along might be perfect. Thanks for the tip!

        1. Cristina in England*

          I have the Lectrofan Micro, which is the size of a small jar of face cream. Very good for travel!

      1. Cristina in England*

        There are several different sounds, and I am not sure which ones are which but there should be so,etching for everyone! Some have higher pitches, some lower, some have a hum as well, some sound like a machine or hairdryer.

    1. anonymouse*

      I literally was just looking up white noise machines on Amazon…. I usually use a box fan for noise, but I’m getting annoyed at the slight breeze on cold nights.

      The Lectrofan white noise machine was the one I had tentatively settled on.

      1. Cristina in England*

        I have the micro and I love it. Has a few different sounds with no break/loop. It is just continuous.

    2. Book Pusher*

      The Lectrofan is amazing! I used to have to take a fan with me when I travelled, which looked kind of ridiculous lugging it around. I just pack up the Lectrofan in my backpack now and it hardly takes up any space. We got one for friends who had issues with snoring and apparently it’s helping them immensely.

    3. Parenthetically*

      I just bought one on your recommendation! We have a camping trip coming up and sleeping is always the hardest part. I’ll report back when we get back and let you know how it went!

  3. Mela*

    Can we talk about ADHD, specifically loving people with ADHD?

    I had admittedly thought the main issue is distraction and need for movement, but now I know better: the emotional issues are the ones most difficult to handle. I’d randomly come across an article about rejection sensitivity (definition below) and crime, and I realized this explained my partner’s bizarre behavior during tough conversations perfectly. We talked about it and he didn’t realize it was a “thing” either, but he thanked me for noticing. So, how do you have these conversations when you know it’s hurting your partner? I can’t stop talking to him about difficult things because that’s a disaster. This isn’t something he can “work on” in therapy, it’s literally how his brain is wired. So far I’ve stuck to couching “criticisms” with lots of love, but are there any other strategies folks have used that seem to help?

    Rejection sensitivity is an extreme emotional sensitivity and emotional pain triggered by the perception – not necessarily the reality – that a person has been rejected, teased, or criticized by important people in their life. They may also be triggered by a sense of failure, or falling short – failing to meet either their own high standards or others’ expectations.

    When this emotional response is internalized, it can imitate full, major depression complete with suicidal ideation. When externalized, it looks like an impressive, instantaneous rage at the person or situation responsible for causing the pain. Rejection sensitivity is hard to tease apart. Often, people can’t find the words to describe its pain. They say it’s intense, awful, terrible, overwhelming. It is always triggered by the perceived or real loss of approval, love, or respect.

    1. Allypopx*

      This is real and I understand your struggle.

      My partner internalizes, so it’s hard to read how hard he’s taking certain things. I also couch with love when I can, but mostly I try to keep all criticism constructive, and make sure the message isn’t “here’s what you’re doing wrong” it’s “here’s what we can do to make this better”. And where I can, I make sure that’s “us” and not “you” so we’re approaching it as a team.

      It’s not perfect. I also let things go where I can. But I also stand firm that I won’t be in a relationship where we can’t talk about tough things, or where I can’t express when I’m unhappy. I think every relationship needs to find its own balance, and every person will react to different things better or worse, which makes giving advice hard.

      1. Mela*

        Thank you, that is really helpful! My partner and I were talking about conflict in general and I said my rule of thumb is that if it still bothers me 48 hours later, then I’ll bring it up. He seemed super on board with it, and now I know why!

        I think the big issue right now is that we’ve been circling around this one thing that can’t be solved by “us” because it’s based on decisions he’s making that I understand intellectually but they still hurt me.

        Both my partner and my husband internalize most of the time as well, and only rarely externalize when it becomes unmanageable (I think). While my husband is newly diagnosed, we’ve already come up with communication habits that have nearly eliminated the external rage. But now that doesn’t feel like enough because it still hurts him just as much =/ And my partner is new enough that we don’t have any solid communication shortcuts yet–he’s only externalized twice so far.

        I think I can tell when both of them are internalizing. I had called it their “processing face,” because it seemed like they were deep in thought about something I’d said. But now I’m realizing it very well may be that they’re internalizing. A lot of the time I think in the moment that what I said might be misinterpreted, but it seems a bit self-important to always be checking in if I said something hurtful. But on the other hand, wouldn’t it be better to know that I definitely didn’t mean it whatever negative way they’re taking it?

        1. Allypopx*

          But on the other hand, wouldn’t it be better to know that I definitely didn’t mean it whatever negative way they’re taking it?

          Yes, and verbalizing that is important, even if they only hear you 30%, because that’s 30% better than whatever they’re doing to themselves. If you see the processing face you can try to pull them out of it. My boyfriend does that to me as much as I do that to him. “What are you holding onto?” “Come back.” “I feel like I’m losing you right now.” “What are you thinking/feeling?” It’s not self important, but it can feel awkward until you get a rhythm to how you have those conversations. But it really helps.

          For specific behaviors I usually do something along the lines of “let’s talk about why you’re doing this this way, okay, I understand that, this is how it makes me feel, let’s find a middle ground” which sounds a little condescending when I type it out…but for example, my boyfriend used to drink and drive a lot before we met. He still did it for awhile after we started dating even though he knew it really bothered me. It was his behavior to correct, but I talked a lot about how it set off my anxiety, how I worried about his safety, how he could really get hurt or hurt someone else, and we talked about alternatives. We live near public transportation, if he absolutely has to drive can he limit how much he drinks, can someone else drive, if he really wants to drink can he have a beer or two with coworkers and then we can drink at home…we hashed it out. He doesn’t drink and drive now.

          Be open about your feelings and what you need, remember your feelings don’t become less important just because they might clash with someone else’s. Encourage your husband and your partner to do the same, without raging. Communication is so important in these dynamics.

        2. BananaKarenina*

          “Processing face”! Internalization! Ah, this + 1,000! While I cannot speak about loving a spouse/partner with ADHD, I struggle with this diagnosis mightily – and work with students who often have the diagnosis themselves. I can certainly identify about colleague and family reactions to my “processing/internalizing” face often. And the awkward communication and criticism (often misinterpreted) that accompanies those expressions. Thank you – this is very helpful!

      2. PatPat*

        I had never heard of rejection sensitivity so I’m very glad to read about it. I work with foster kids – who by definition have been rejected – and so many of them are diagnosed with ADHD. I’m working with a set of siblings right now that all have ADHD and all fly into unexplained rages. This is so helpful!

        1. Mela*

          I’m so glad you found it helpful! I have a hard time imagining how it feels when my partners perceive rejection that isn’t really there, let alone how it would feel actually being rejected. Thank you for your work!

    2. Gretchen Weiners*

      Oh wow, that’s really interesting! I think this explains something that’s been happening with my 7 year old daughter. I really need to get her tested for ADD.

    3. blackcat*

      I want to push back on “This isn’t something he can “work on” in therapy, it’s literally how his brain is wired.”

      This, and many other things *can* be worked on in therapy. It will be hard, but many non-neurotypical people can work on these things through CBT with a good therapist. A good therapist can also work with both of you together, to find a way to develop strategies for the two of you to have difficult conversations. What works is going to vary couple to couple.

      I say this as someone who is wired to have certain type of OCD-like intrusive thoughts that create spirals of the sort you are describing (basically, if my husband said, “Can you please pick up your laundry?” my brain would go to “I’m such an awful person I should go kill myself.” and I would ruminate on that.) It has taken me a LONG TIME and LOTS OF WORK. The thoughts aren’t gone, but now I can say to myself: “Brain, that was not useful. Moving on, now.” And I view it as *my responsibility* to do this work, not my partner’s. I appreciate his patience, particularly when I started working on this. In what you wrote, it sounds like you are taking all of the responsibility for figuring out how to have difficult conversations. That’s not fair to you.

      1. neverjaunty*

        YES. The idea that “wiring” means therapy is useless and unnecessary is incredibly misplaced. It isn’t “oh well, therapy can’t cure me so no point” – therapy is also about learning ways to work with and around our ‘wiring’.

        And having a problem that is neurological is not an excuse for anyone to oursource the work of adulting to their partners.

        1. Mela*

          I want to reiterate that I definitely agree with what you’re generally saying, but I want to add some context for why therapy wasn’t the go-to in this case.

          The concept of “rejection sensitivity” is something being pioneered by literally one ADHD doctor in the US (William Dodson), most ADHD specialists world-wide don’t necessarily subscribe to this theory. We’re in a country where mental health care is rather stigmatized and my partner earns his income in the local, depreciated currency, so the costs of foreign therapy services are quite high. So all that, along with the the non-monogamy, makes finding competent professionals quite difficult. My husband is already in online-based therapy (he earns USD) and my partner has decided to give it a go because it’s the only option no already exhausted, despite its cost.

          1. neverjaunty*

            Oh, didn’t mean to suggest that you must do X or Y – that was definitely a comment, generally.

            I live in an area where there are a lot of people with ASDs and other issues like ADD/ADHD, and there is so so much of this nonsense where people use it as an excuse to behave selfishly, rather than seeking out therapy or other techniques to address how their issues impact others.

      2. Mela*

        Oh absolutely! When I said it’s not something he can “work on” I just meant that the feelings will always be there, that they don’t stem from some childhood experience etc. My partner has definitely done a lot of self-work already, is in the process of getting into talk therapy (already has a psychiatrist) and like I said above, the externalization isn’t something that’s happening frequently.

        So don’t worry, I’m definitely not taking all of the responsibility. But I have to acknowledge that the way I deliver feelings/thoughts/opinions to both of them can improved. I’m a blunt person, it takes a lot to hurt me, and I will name a feeling and feel instantly better. It’s so strange to wrap my head around the idea that these kinds of things can hurt/ linger much longer than I could ever imagine. I feel like it’s my duty as a compassionate person to at least try to meet them halfway.

        And thank you for the CBT idea, that seems like something I might recommend to my husband!

        1. blackcat*

          Ah, not being able to access therapy is a different issue. I do hope he is able to find an online therapist who can do CBT and/or mindfulness techniques. Those often help people retrain their response to intrusive/unproductive thoughts. The goal often isn’t to not have those thoughts (because that *is* often set by the wiring), but to let them go so they don’t have an impact.

          And I get it about meeting him halfway. It sounds like you’re already working on that, which is great.

          1. Natalie*

            It’s not ideal, but there are “self-CBD” options like mindfulness meditation or Moodgym. If therapy access isn’t going to improve anytime soon, those would be worth checking out.

    4. Handy Nickname*

      Omg this explains so much. I have dealt with ADHD my whole life and my relationship with my mom has often been painful even though we love each other dearly. We’ve had so. many. tear-filled conversations where I’ve tried to explain why her opinion matters so much to me, and just wow. Light bulbs going off everywhere.

    5. Merci Dee*

      I see this so much with my daughter. I might say, “kiddo, time to clean up. Can you put your shoes in the closet?” She’ll look at me like I just suggested she lick the floor clean with her tongue, and screech, “are you saying I’m a pig for not cleaning up?!?”

      So many times, we’ve had conversations about not putting words in my mouth, and that she can always count on me to say exactly what I mean. And that, if I say I love her with my whole heart, she can take that to the bank. She sometimes gets on a spiral where she thinks people tell her nice things because they’re forced to. We talk about it when it happens, and about how people are generally much too stubborn to say things they don’t mean all the time.

      Besides the inattentive type ADHD, she also struggles with OCD that tends toward hoarding. So I wasn’t surprised when I cleaned 8 kitchen bags of trash out of a 7 x 9 room during the recent move.

    6. Temperance*

      I actually disagree with you you wrt this being how your husband is “wired”. That may be true, but he can absolutely still work on this skill in therapy.

      I grew up with a borderline parent, and developed some coping skills that helped me get through dealing with my mother, that made me a bad friend and bad partner. I have the same issue as your husband, because, well, my own mother rejected me because of her issues.

      1. Honey*

        I grew up with a boderline parent as well! I am interested to hear how you cope in your current relationship. It is extremely challenging.

        1. Temperance*

          I’m happy to answer any questions that you have, but I’ll give some context below. I will say up front that I currently do not have much of a relationship with my parents and one sister because it’s best for me, but I understand that doesn’t work for everyone.

          Booth knows that my mother is unstable, so he’s supportive of my choices regarding my relationship with my family. I have done a lot of work over the years to try and make sure I’m not acting like an asshole. I regularly check in with Booth and my younger sister to make sure I’m not emulating my mother’s behavior.

          I think in some ways this is easier for me because, growing up, I was the all-bad in our family. My mother didn’t like me, and was open about thinking I was a bad person. She regularly shared this feeling with me, and with others. So my default self-image is that I’m a bad person, I’m a jerk, etc. I’ve worked on this in therapy, and I do still struggle a little.

    7. TL -*

      So my person has pretty bad anxiety and sometimes I say, “You’re doing this and I can’t deal. It hurts my feelings and needs to stop.”
      And sometimes he responds, “oh if I’m such a terrible person why even talk to me?”
      And my response is either a) that’s not true and you know it. But we’re talking about X. You need to stop X. Or b) Or you could just stop doing X. I really don’t like X.

      Because when we’re fighting or I’m bringing up something difficult, at some point I just have to trust that he feels secure enough in the relationship overall, even if that moment is bad, to allow me to talk about what I need. And the moment can’t be derailed because he feels bad.
      In return, I generally do my best to verbalize how he has security with me in the day to day- I really like you! Oh, I’m disappointed I don’t get to see you but I understand that you’re sick and I want you to rest and and feel better!
      I do it in a way he responds to and ways that I like (so win-win, because I like being affectionate) and, after a fight/conversation, truly after, I might clarify something if I think he took it wrong. During a fight/conversation, I keep my “critiques” very specific and behavior orientated: “I don’t like it when you do X. It makes me feel Y/it makes Z difficult.” Then I listen to his response and reply based on that – sometimes he just apologizes and never does it again, sometimes we have to find a compromise.

      1. Mela*

        If I’m recalling correctly, not everyone who has rejection sensitivity has ADHD, but everyone with ADHD has rejection sensitivity (at least according to Dr. Dodson’s experience in his practice).

        Thank you for passing on the book recommendation!

        1. Temperance*

          I don’t think that’s possible, though. ADHD is different for everyone, and symptoms vary so widely that this just can’t be true. I don’t respect an alleged expert who would make such claims.

          1. TL -*

            Yeah, my little brother has ADHD and he definitely does not have this; he’s never been especially sensitive to either rejection or criticism. I’m pretty blunt with him and he’s always just been like, oh, yeah that’s fair; I am being an a-hole, aren’t I?

          2. katamia*

            Yeah. I was relatively recently diagnosed (under 2 years ago) and am still learning myself, but I don’t do a decent percentage of the “all ADHD people are like this” habits. I definitely don’t have this kind of rejection sensitivity or sensitivity to critique.

          3. GraceW*

            I agree. My ADHD is managed with a combination of meds and developing useful habits. Rejection sensitivity has never been part of my emotional makeup nor my brain chemistry.

          4. paul*

            Plus, this a theory being pushed by one practitioner, not a widely accepted thing. That’s worth remembering before people throw out absolute statements about It’s prevalence

        2. Sylvia*

          I have ADHD and can’t say that I have “rejection sensitivity” or that others with ADHD I’ve known have shown it more than average people. It’s an interesting theory, but I think oversensitivity to rejection is something that can coincide with ADHD, not something that always comes with it.

        3. Mela*

          I should have added a “nearly” in there. Like I said above, he’s the only doctor pioneering this concept, and he is careful to say that the patterns he notices are within his patient group, which is most likely becoming more and more saturated with rejection sensitivity folks now that he’s known for it. If I’m recalling correctly, this guy is one of the only doctors in the US that you can get ADHD meds from and be a competitive athlete, so he’s not a fringe guy, but rather well-respected.

          I’m hearing all the folks with ADHD saying they don’t feel like this–that’s awesome! But I’ve been married to my husband for 7 years and had no clue he was experiencing this. He had no idea this was atypical, and you couldn’t tell from his external reactions to things that he was hurting so much. The thing I keep reading over and over again is that folks who experience this learn right quick that they’d be “dramatic” if they expressed themselves, so they hide almost all of it. Or, like that original article I found was discussing, they turn to violence and end up in the criminal justice system.

          1. Sylvia*

            Ah, so people with ADHD who don’t fit this one doctor’s theory aren’t outliers, we’re simply hiding it? :) It definitely sounds like your SO both has problems with rejection and has ADHD, but I’m really going to push back on claims that this is something that all people with ADHD share.

            1. katamia*

              Yep. There may be special difficulties people with ADHD who also have rejection sensitivity deal with (or maybe not; hard to say since I’ve just got the ADHD) and if so, there may be special solutions that would help more than others. But I have a hard time believing both that all people with ADHD have this (especially since I don’t) AND that it’s a thing that only people with ADHD have.

            2. Mela*

              Uh…no? I’m not claiming anything, just sharing one theory. I was using my husband as an example to point out that unless you hear that this is a “thing,” you can live your whole life thinking this is normal, and you just are weird for not being able to handle your emotions, so you come up with coping mechanisms without guidance (ie hiding it). There are comments on this *very* post that indicate this explains a lot for either individuals with ADHD or caretakers, so I don’t see the need to be so defensive. If it doesn’t resonate with you, great!

              I feel like I’ve implied/said twice now that I don’t personally believe this is something everyone with ADHD deals with, and just in case, I’m saying it again! I’ve made it abundantly clear this isn’t an officially recognized thing, that there is only one doctor who has this theory, and that it is based on his patient population, which I assumed would make it clear that’s not a sweeping announcement. I think the idea this doctor is pushing is not that *all* ADHD patients deal with this, but more like a much larger percentage of this population has this previously unknown/ignored symptom that is actually pretty debilitating.

              We’re learning more about mental health all the time, and I think it’s important to acknowledge that we don’t know everything, or even much about a lot of this stuff. I’m all for new theories and ideas because if it helps some people, why not?

              1. Sylvia*

                Hm, this comment is fairly different from the one I replied to? Which did say that people who have ADHD have “rejection sensitivity,” and people with rejection sensitivity cover it up. I’m not quite sure how I’m coming off as defensive when I have been simply saying I disagree with this doctor’s theory. It doesn’t make much sense.

          2. Observer*


            Firstly, the people in this thread aren’t worrying about being dramatic etc – there is a level of anonymity and people are sharing voluntarily.

            Secondly, there are many “better” reasons why so many kids with ADD wind up being violent and in the criminal justice system. Again, I’m not saying that it’s not an issue, but it’s totally not a necessary explanation for a very and problematic issue.

        4. Observer*

          That itself raises some red flags for me. I’ve got family with ADD, so I’m not just talking theory.

          I’m not saying that it’s not a common problem, but *always*? Yeah, I definitely see why others are not on board with him.

          1. Mike C.*

            Yeah, I’m really concerned about an idea that “only one doctor” is working on. That’s sounds sketchy as all heck, especially in a field where there are so many spreading so much misinformation.

            If this hypothesis were supported by solid data and studies, why aren’t more doctors talking about it?

    8. ADHDhaver*

      A thoughtful, supportive therapist may be able to help a lot even if they’re not familiar with rejection sensitivity literature specifically. After I was diagnosed with ADHD, I found a couple pieces of writing that really resonated with my own problems. My therapist was not familiar with the sources, and had some skepticism that they would apply to everybody with ADHD, but she was still happy to take them as starting places for what I in particular was experiencing and wanted to work on.

      1. Mela*

        I completely agree that it’s possible, it’s just very hard to access mental health in our country in general for a variety of reasons I outlined above. I’ll suggest both partner and husband send along articles to their online therapists. I think that is a great idea in general, but also I know my husband read one article and said that every single word described him exactly.

    9. katamia*

      Would it help to have them in writing? Like you write out what you want to say, give him a bit of time to read it and process (in private, like one of you leaves the room, with a time limit), and then he responds in writing, you read and process in private, etc.

    10. Bryce*

      This sounds similar to an issue I have (hard to tell if it’s the same thing), and what I’ve found helps me is willfully taking things at face value, and family who understand that I do that. You lose some nuance, it winds up a little naive (not TOO naive, I’m not going to believe “I have this bridge you can buy” but “you’re welcome to stick around (please leave please leave)” is gonna go right over my head), and if you’ve got someone who loves to use subtle sarcasm or the like it can be a trainwreck, but when I try to read the subtext behind people’s words it tends to spiral into depressive paranoia so this is a better alternative.

    11. Observer*

      I haven’t read the responses yet, so what I am about to say may have already been, but it’s an important point.

      It absolutely IS possible for your partner to work on his reactions. Not that he’s going to be able to turn himself into a different person, and it’s not something that’s going to happen easily or overnight. He is also going to need to work with someone who REALLY understands ADD in adults.

  4. Your Weird Uncle*

    Long weekend with the kids and no sports in sight! We’re waiting for them to wake up (I love that they sleep in longer than we do) and we’ll decide what to do for the day. Options include museums, getting out of town for a day, Donuts with Dad at a local museum, learning how to ride a bike…. :)

    1. MC in NJ*

      My husband and I are trying to decide on activities with the kids today, too. Tough choices! If it were a month or so from now, I’d think strawberry picking – but it’s too early in northern NJ, I’d wager. Hmmmm.

      1. Your Weird Uncle*

        Have fun whatever you do! This weekend (or rather, today) is a rare combination of having the kids (they’re part-time between us and Mommy’s), NO sports on the agenda, and me having enough energy and motivation to pretend that I’m an extrovert for the day. So I’m thinking we take advantage of this perfect storm to go out of town and do something!

        BTW being an introvert and raising extroverted (step)kids is soooo hard, but I got an unsolicited hug from the youngest last night which was soooo awesome and I’m pumped for today. :)

  5. Cristina in England*

    Anyone else a bit obsessed with houses for sale? Post links in here!

      1. Lightly-chewed Jimmy*

        it looks like either a device from an old spy movie (turn the knobs and it will mix the chemicals to make the thing! and end life as we know it! you have 4 hours to stop it!) or perhaps some sort of music setup? Or lights maybe, I can’t tell if the silver things are speakers or have bulbs…

      2. Rick Tq*

        Might be some kind of infra-red heating system. Warm up the bed without heating the whole room.

      3. Cristina in England*

        I thought it might be a really unsafe looking self tanning device, or a hanging Teasmade, or some funky lighting for some in-bed dentistry, or speakers. My husband thought it was something for a disabled person, also because of the runner rug around the bed? Also what is with the half door under the window? The entire room is a mystery.

        1. Jules the First*

          It’s a vintage 1970s solarium (judging by the looks of the decor, it’s in its original installation!) – they were used for “phototherapy”, such as vitamin D deficiencies and *woowoo* general wellbeing…(they turned out to be really, really, really good at giving you skin cancer and not so good at anything else)

          The wacky red thing on the wall that looks like a flattened lifeguard ladder is in fact a retro rowing machine!

          1. Cristina in England*

            Thank you for solving the mystery! So my guess of a (pretty dangerous) tanning bed wasn’t too far off…

      4. Rookie Manager*

        That house is amazing! I would love to get my hands on it and renovate it all.

      1. Cruciatus*

        Is “garden” what all yards/lawns are referred to in the UK? Or is it a special term for a space fenced in like that? I think in Germany that’s the term my host family used for a space very similar to that. I was talking to one of my coworkers who met someone from the UK at an international conference and he mentioned something about his yard and she thought that was weird since in the UK that term is used more for poor people. But he didn’t get to find out more what that meant. How are yards viewed as poor? As you likely already know, in the US we have yards and “yard sales” where we sell our stuff to other people. Often not actually in the yard so who knows why it is called that. To me a garden is where you have flowers and/or vegetables and the rest of the space would be the lawn. All of it could be “in the yard”. I hope that made any kind of sense.

        1. LPUK*

          In U.K. A yard is different from a garden. It’s enclosed in some way but will consist of hardstanding – stone flags, tarmac, cobbles, brick -and will be utilitarian. Often agricultural or even industrial. Farms have yards, when they keep livestock and machinery ( and the farmhouse will probably have a garden attached) . In domestic architecture yards are found attached to older terraces or back to backs ( if you’ve ever watched Coraonation Street or anything from Catherine Cookson, then you’ve seen a yard!)it’s not something that is found in modern housing – there it’s always a garden, even if a large part of it is decking, gravel or flags

        2. Marzipan*

          In the UK we’d tend to call it a garden if it has plants/a lawn. In a domestic setting, I’d call it a yard if the only outside space a home has is a small paved area, usually at the back and enclosed.

        3. Cristina in England*

          I have switched to saying garden for pretty much any land attached to a domestic dwelling (I am American). I am told a yard is like a prison yard so I have tried to switch my terms on this.

    1. Anonyme*

      We justmoved to a lower housing. cost area so Im hoping to. buy in the next 18 months. I take walks to stare at houses in my neighbourhood.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I am house hunting! We looked at some last week that were close but not quite there, but the good news is that I think we’ve identified the two neighborhoods that we’re interested in buying in. (Neither is in McLean, for people who advised me on that a few weeks ago. They’re both in Falls Church, for people who know D.C./northern Virginia — Lake Barcroft and Sleepy Hollow. They are full of massively tall trees and they’re oddly quiet and peaceful for being so near D.C.)

      1. Christy*

        Falls Church is probably my favorite part of northern Virginia! I’m excited that that’s where you’re looking.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Oooh, will you tell me why? I’m feeling pretty good about Falls Church, but I’m also struggling with the idea of no longer being in Arlington (which I love, and also happens to be where I grew up so it feels like the bar against which I measure everything else). Hearing why Falls Church is your favorite would be interesting!

          1. Christy*

            I like Falls Church for the same reason I like my neighborhood in Maryland. The biggest thing is that people choose to live there. Like, people who live in Falls Church could afford to live in other places (including closer in, like Arlington, and farther out, like McLean) but choose to live in the middle. There’s real houses and real neighborhoods, not built up in the same way that Arlington is, and not gaudy in the same way McLean can be. There’s long-existing casual places like Mike’s Deli–not a typical DC-area food place, but one of its best, mostly because it’s so un-DC, yet people love it.

            Like my neighborhood, Falls Church feels like a respite from the rest of the area. While still geographically very much a central part of the area.

            The area is modest, I think. Like, full of wealthy people who could choose to be immodest about their wealth if they wanted, but instead choose modesty.

            Anyway, these are my many feelings on Falls Church. I can’t speak to the Arlington of your childhood, but I wager (based on very little) that it’s probably closer to the Falls Church of today than it is to the Arlington of today. But that’s entirely hunch.

          2. SaviourSelf*

            Sleepy Hollow is my favorite. A good community, great location, close but not too close, easy access to everything but an actual neighborhood…

    3. Jessesgirl72*

      Oh yes. Even though we’ve decided that we can’t really put the house on the market (and we need to built up equity to move) until Feb/March, we still look constantly and I let Redfin send me daily recommendations. LOL Which is sometimes painful, since there is a house right now in our price range in a neighborhood we like RIGHT ON THE LAKE. But baby coming in 9 weeks… LOL

    4. NeverNicky (formerly TeaLady)*

      Yes but as we have just had our mortgage offer through on a house (first time buyer at 48!) and are waiting for the contract we are now officially Not Looking!
      I think it was only a month ago in the open thread I asked for people’s tips on things to check/look out for!

    5. Cruciatus*

      Oh yes! I’ve been toying with the idea of buying for about 2 years now and spend some time nearly every single day on Zillow and Realtor (two American housing for sale sites). I’ve done it long enough that I know now that more houses come out Monday and Tuesday and that houses in a certain township (just beyond the city limit with lower taxes and better schools) will be pending within 2 days or less–almost no matter the state of the house. And so many people in my area love wood paneling. I hate it! I think it looks cheap. But I think no matter what I buy I’ll have to deal with it somewhere in the house!

      I also take the houses I like and google map them so I can see the neighborhood and other houses nearby. I haven’t done anything with actually visiting houses yet because that makes it real and I’m a bit anxious about taking that next step because I don’t think mortgage lenders will find me a great borrower because my salary is low and my credit score is excellent but limited. I could just buy a house outright due to inheritance but I don’t want to do that. I want to use some of the money and continue building up my credit. But I don’t want to get screwed into a high rate. So I’m avoiding all decisions for the moment. But still checking those houses daily!

      1. bunniferous*

        You can talk to a lender free of charge and get some ideas of where you stand. You might be pleasantly surprised.

        Oh and Zillow is fun to peruse properties on but be advised much of their info is out of date and a lot of it is inaccurate. If you google around there are real estate company based sites that will give you access to your local MLS for free with way more accurate and timely info. Be warned you will most likely get a phone call from an agent. But you can tell them that you are not in the market yet (tell them you are about 6 to 9 months out from looking) and they should leave you alone for awhile. Or put in inaccurate contact info. But you did not hear that from me ;-)

    6. Marzipan*

      I’m gearing up for another round of fertility treatment (donor eggs this time) and my defence mechanism is to pore over what houses I could afford to live in with my imaginary offspring. The answer to which is hardly any unless I was prepared to move to one of the little towns within a ten mile or so radius, and then I could have all kinds of space but my commute would be eeeevil. It’s fun to look at the listings, though!

    7. Windchime*

      Housing prices here in the greater Seattle area are nuts. Out of control. My son and his wife earn about $130k combined, and I still don’t know if they will ever be able to buy a house around here because of the crazy prices.

      I’m fortunate that I bought a home about an hour north of Seattle 6 years ago before the boom started, but it’s got a postage-stamp sized yard and I’ve got giant houses behind me that look down on me. Combine that with crying babies and barking dogs and I feel like I’m in an apartment.

      Here is an example of something I would love, love, love but the price is out of range for a single person.

  6. NJ Anon*

    2 current obsessions! My oldest son and girlfiend are house hunting. Yay for the interwebs! It’s so much fun!

    Secondly, hubby and I are looking into buying a vacation/eventual retirement place in Delaware. Have a real estate agent sending listings. Weeeeeee!

    1. Vandergaard*

      I can’t stop laughing at ‘girlfiend’- I’m assuming an unfortunate typo? Although I know my brother has certainly had his share of girlfiends over the years :-)

  7. bassclefchick*

    I FINALLY figured out how to get podcasts on my phone!! Yay! I use Google Play Music. They don’t seem to have a big selection or maybe I’m still doing it wrong. For those recommending My Favorite Murder, thank you! Oh, my those two crack me up. Very interesting podcast. I want to listen to them all RIGHT NOW!!!

    I also started The West Wing Weekly. Loved that show. Can’t wait to get all the behind the scenes info on the episodes and will certainly have to rewatch.

    I know there have been several discussions of favorite podcasts here. I’ve already finished Serial (didn’t care for season 2 very much and that seems to be the consensus.) Not really sure what else I want to listen to, but I’m sure if I dig through the archives here and find those old posts, I’ll find something else.

    1. FDCA In Canada*

      If you like MFM, you might like their sister podcast, The Dollop, which is about weird stories from history. (I would say mostly US history, but they’ve done episodes on Australia and Iceland occasionally as well.) The MFM women have guested on a couple of episodes–I’d start with “Otto In The Attic” as a hilariously weird crossover.

      1. Librarian from Space*

        I agree about The Dollop. It’s so interesting and funny. They did a really great 4-episode series about the history of the LAPD (not as funny as some episodes, but fascinating).

      1. PatPat*

        Seconding S-Town. It was compelling and heartbreaking. As a Southerner I was fascinated by the Southern eccentric at the heart of the story.

        If you start listening to S-Town don’t google pictures or anything until the end or you’ll see spoilers!

        1. Windchime*

          Yep, I also loved S-Town. It ended up not being what I thought it was but it was compelling.

    2. Mischa*

      I love more educational podcasts. My favorite right now is Stuff You Missed in History Class. I also listen to some more topical podcasts (like Star Wars-themed podcasts, for example) and food podcasts. I also discovered Little House on the Podcast, which produces hilarious recaps of the old tv series. I was dying laughing at work.

      1. On Fire*

        I used to LOVE Stuff You Missed in History Class, but then they changed the hosts a few times, and the host chemistry just wasn’t there anymore. But the stories are fascinating!

        1. Mischa*

          I know exactly what you mean. The earlier episodes are great, but Holly and Tracy (the current hosts) are so thorough, professional, and well-balanced. I love their stuff. Plus, they don’t ramble or talk at great length about their personal lives. You should definitely give it a go again!

    3. Penny*

      I love Lore! It’s a look into various things considered spooky and mythological. They dive into ghost stories, local legends, creepy crimes, unexplainable tales, and more. And they’re getting an Amazon show in the near future, it’s filming now! I’ve actually fallen behind in listening to it but I’m looking forward to catching up.

      1. On Fire*

        Seconding Lore. And if you like creepy *fiction,* check out Fireside Mystery Theatre – they do live shows at the Slipper Room in NYC, and stream podcasts from those shows (last live show of the season is tomorrow).

    4. Anonymous Educator*

      For what it’s worth, Google Play Music can work, but I’d highly recommend Pocketcasts. It costs a tiny bit of money, but I think you can free trial it for a day or so.

      1. Allypopx*

        Seconded – it’s like $5 one time and then you have it forever. It’s the best thing on my phone.

      2. TL -*

        I love pocketcasts as well! I got it for free but my roommate bought it on my recommendation (I think I just timed it right? I’ve had it for a while) and she’s always said it was money well spent. They have everything available, super easy to use, and you can get it in the google play store.

      3. bassclefchick*

        I think that’s the one my husband uses. I might switch to that one so I can get more variety.

    5. KR*

      Not so much podcasts, but I’ve been listening to NPR One app all week and I LOVE IT. I used to listen to NPR where I used to live a lot and was bummed I didn’t get a station out here on the radio but now I can listen all day every day on my phone!

    6. JimmyMcGill*

      I’d recommend BeyondPod — best podcast manager I’ve found and the free version works really well.

      1. Al Lo*

        I use Overcast and really like it. I tend to listen to my podcasts at about 1.2x speed, and Overcast’s setting does a “smart speed” that fluctuates between about 1.15 and 1.25, depending on silences and other factors. I don’t like going as fast as 1.5, but I do like shaving a little bit of time off.

    7. Kezi*

      I enjoy Thinking Sideways, especially the old stuff. History Goes Bump can be fun if you like ghost stories. I loved the Karen and Ellen letters. Hannah and Matt Know it All can be fun and occasionally they read an AAM letter. :)

    8. Anonymous Educator*

      I just got into Nancy and Shut up and Listen, and I’d highly recommend both podcasts.

  8. neverjaunty*

    Anyone else dealing with this horrible head cold that’s been going around? Because allergy season wasn’t already awful enough…

    1. Effie*

      Yes! Oh the coughing and the sniffles combined with allergy sneezes :( My friend recommended manuka honey but I am hesitant due to cost. I’m making do with my Chinese herbal medicine.

      1. Aussie academic*

        Most honey labelled as ‘manuku honey’ isn’t actually manuka honey – the amount of it produced and the amount of honey called manuku that is sold are vastly different… chances are if you buy it, you’ll be paying extra for no benefit. Just in case that helps you stick to your budget :)

    2. KR*

      Same. My coughing/stuffiness symptoms haven’t been that bad which I am grateful for because usually whenever I get sick I sound like an 80 year old chain smoker coughing for weeks if I get any type of cold, but I have really noticed the lack of energy.

    3. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Had it about a month ago right smack in the middle of a house move. Was AWESOME let me tell you. Then I spent the next week mopping up under my nose from combined allergies/end of cold. A lot of Benadryl to dry things up was the only way!

    4. Liane*

      Our family has missed it so far, but 2 or 3 people in my church choir have, or had, it the past week or so.
      It sounds extra nasty.

    5. Workaholic*

      If it’s the same one i had – i missed a Friday and Monday from work. Took longer than usual to get over, and then there’s an odd lingering cough. Every day is better but still not 100%

    6. Aussie academic*

      Yep, and feeling so crap. Whenever I’m healthy, I think ‘how bad can a cold be? I can’t believe I took time off work for a cold’ and now after having a cold for a week (which has also caused a flare in my asthma), I am feeling SO CRAP. I’ve been travelling for work this last week and consequently haven’t had any chance to rest and let my body heal. I just looked up how much sick leave I have left (2 and a half days – woohoo!) as I just want to spend tomorrow in bed resting. But a couple of weeks ago I scheduled a meeting for 11am tomorrow with 5 of my team and they’ve all confirmed they can make it… it’s so hard getting everyone all together, and I really need to keep the project moving forward, so I guess I will go in.

    7. Nynaeve*

      Yes! I’ve had it for over a week now. I’m so over it (but I don’t know if my body is).

    8. Mananana*

      Uggghhh…. mine started as the flu (complete with 102 temp), and how now morphed into bronchitis. It will be 3 weeks this Thursday, and I am SO done with feeling like poo.

  9. Marcela*

    I have a question about protocols. Yesterday my pilates instructor gave me a sweet note telling me that I am strong, and I will survive the shit I am currently living (being cheated on after 16 years of relationship). It meant a lot to me, and I said thanks and gave her a hug in the same moment. However, I wonder if I should give her too a thank you card or so something else to express how deeply grateful I am. What do you think?

    As an update about my situation, in two weeks I am moving from the west to the east coast for 3 months. After that I’ll need to decide where I want to live.

    1. Mela*

      I think a general thank you/going away card when you leave in two weeks would be fine =)

    2. Emmie*

      FWIW … I’ve been similar to where you are, but 15 years. My heart goes out to you. Your Pilates teacher seems like she has an amazing heart. I think your thank you and hug was amazing. I probably wouldn’t send an additional card, but you know that relationship best. Do what feels right to you. Good luck!

    3. Belle di Vedremo*

      Hi Marcela,

      It’s good to hear from you. It sounds as if you’ve found some clarity and taken steps to move your life forward, which is great. I hope that the move goes well, and that you find new ways to nurture your radiant and generous heart.

      As for protocol, there is no need for an additional thanks for your Pilates instructor but a good bye card thanking her for her support and her class as you move away would be a nice gesture.

      You are brave and kind and strong. I look forward to hearing how the next part of your life opens up.

      1. Marcela*

        Hi Belle. I’ve started to look for your words in the weekend threads every week :D I haven’t met you, and yet I feel you have my back. That’s so amazing I don’t have a word for it. Magical, perhaps, in a world where I believed for some weeks that magic did not exist and that I was mistaken all my life. Thank you, truly, from the center of my heart.

    4. Jenny*

      Sometimes it’s nice to have someone to look forward to telling good news – so in addition to your lovely in-person thank you that you already did, maybe a card in the future when you have a good day to share would be neat

  10. Lysis*

    Does anyone have tips on cultivating a more positive attitude? I’ve been trying out the gratitude journal thing, and trying to reframe situations to look at them more positively, but as a lifelong cynic, I feel like I’m struggling.

    1. Yay you!*

      Good for you! I would consider the things you’re doing a great starter kit. I also think that it’s normal to struggle. You’re learning new behavior and a mindset that’s going to rub up against habits and mindsets (and survival mechanisms) that you’ve had for a long time. I’d encourage you to keep going and allow yourself to coexist with the discomfort and find your way. You’re on the right track!

      1. Cookie D'oh*

        I like the idea of coexisting with the discomfort! To add a more positive note, I’m thankful for the sleeping, purring kitty next to me who is letting me rub her belly.

        1. Gala apple*

          Yes! On retreat one of my teachers said “it’s not let it go; it’s let it be”

        2. Not So NewReader*

          I don’t know if you are aware but making lists of things you are grateful for is a very good way to grow more positive. And the beauty of this list is that you do not have to write it down, so you can work on it in the car, in the shower, whatever. I’d even suggest deliberately work on it at different times of day. That will help you to think about what is going on right in the moment that is going well.

    2. Cookie D'oh*

      No advice, but I can commiserate. I find it very difficult to look at the glass as being half full. I try to stay away from the news, because it can be such a downer. I’m starting to explore the idea that I might be suffering from depression. I tend to feel anxious and sad more often than not. It just feels hard to be hopeful when the world seems like such a dark place.

      1. Lysis*

        Me too! I feel like I have no reference point for what a normal level of happiness or cheerfulness is. And sometimes being optimistic or trying to be optimistic feels like a fool’s errand, because whether or not I’m optimistic doesn’t change the facts of the world. But I’ve been told I need to be more cheerful and I’m also tired of feeling so tired/down all the time, so I have to work on something. I’m just not sure if it’s going to be a practice like meditation or journalling or if it’s going to end up being medication or therapy. Therapy’s been very helpful for me before (so I recommend trying it if you haven’t already) but at some point, I would like to just be “fixed”.

    3. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Funny, I was just involved in a discussion on Facebook about owning your choices. It might not encourage a positive attitude so much as discourage a negative one, but for me that’s often enough to get me out of a rut.

      I always encourage people I’m close to and who have a problem to own their choices. You may not like your job, but you could quit, right?. Quitting would be hard, and scary, and might cause a lot of problems, so maybe it’s better to stay at your job and just start looking for another job. So weigh those choices you’ve dismissed, and realize that you’re choosing what you think is the best possible choice at the moment, based on what you know at the time. Of course I sometimes regret my decisions, but if it’s based on something I found out later, I figure I made the best decision I could at the time, and I resolve to remember that new data and take it into account next time.

      The worst part is usually when we’re paralyzed by indecision. That’s when we get stuck in abusive relationships or horrible jobs, and just stay in that rut. So this process helps me feel like I have a plan, even if my circumstances haven’t changed, and that can make a huge difference in attitude.

      I still beat myself up over things, of course, but this process of weighing decisions helps me a lot.

      1. Yay you!*

        I so totally agree with this and would add that even recognizing that there ARE choices opens the door to owning them. I think assuming they are stuck is where people often get stuck. For example, if I hate my job, I always have the choice to quit. I can literally leave at any time. Quitting, though, may have serious consequences that I don’t want, so my choice to stay can be a conscious one and the right thing to do at a particular time. But at least I’m choosing to stay based on present needs vs. really being stuck.

        1. Yay you!*

          Wait… my example basically repeated yours. UGH! My point is that even recognizing that there are choices can be a huge mental barrier for people sometimes.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        This is some powerful stuff right here.
        I have made decisions myself that were not the best. I did the best I could at that time.

        We have a choice we can get caught in “how was I supposed to know THAT?” or we can chose to chuckle, shake our heads and say, “I would chose something different the next time.”

        It is in learning peace with our own missteps that we learn to forgive others their missteps. This can make s difference in one’s life.

        1. On Fire*

          ^This. There’s an old anecdote about a counselor/minister/someone who said they could tell when depressed or discouraged people reached a turning point: in the throes of depression, they said, “if only.” When they reached a turning point, they began to say, “next time.”

      3. Lysis*

        This is timely because I just quit my job (sort of. I was loaned out to another area in our company and after 3 months I called it quits). I like the idea of having a plan, and owning choices. Maybe doing things like making a deliberate choice to compliment someone once a day will help. Baby steps, right?

    4. Fictional Butt*

      I’m a big fan of mindfulness meditation. It isn’t necessarily about cultivating a positive mindset, but it has helped me learn how to allow myself to move on from negativite thoughts.

      1. The RO-Cat*

        Seconding that. For me, mindfulness meditation turned into the first step – letting feelings, thoughts, the world just be. No judgement, no “if only”. Just being there. Learning to just be with my thoughts, no matter how unconfortable, was liberating. Next, de-identification. I used to identify with my moods and thoughts. Now I look at them as fleeting manifestations of my brain. They’re mine, of course. But I’m not my mood. Form here, learning to be grateful and seeing the full half of the glass – in addition to the empty one, if the glass really needs filling – is a natural evolution.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        You beat me to it, LOL. Yes, practicing letting those thoughts float by is a BIG help. For me, they tend to get stuck and repeat and repeat and REPEAT on an endless loop of anxiety. Learning to acknowledge that yes, I’m thinking this, but it’s just a thought and not me, and I can let it go by is a process, but it’s helping.

    5. overeducated*

      One thing that helps me is thinking of the people I’ve known who are able to spin everything in their lives in a positive way and look forward as though it’s all part of a great plan coming together – even people with the same frustrations I’ve had, like spending a few years in part time or grant funded positions after grad school. I realize that I believe people in the way they frame things, and so that positive framing probably helps them in things like job and grant applications because they come off as successful people, vs. my “well I’m anxious and I haven’t figured it all out and reached the finish line” default mental state. So I try to consciously narrate my life in a way that imitates them, to create a “success” narrative that will help me build bigger successes, even if I don’t believe it in my heart.

      The other thing that helps me is religious practice, just because it gives me perspective that that feels bigger than the things I worry a lot about in my everyday life. YMMV on that one of course.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Recognize that being positive does not mean you stop protecting yourself from bad situations. You can be positive and still know that you need to stay away from a negative person or negative activity. This means some of that cynical attitude is still going to be useful to you. But in different ways than before, you won’t rely on it like it’s your crutch in life.

      Read positive articles/books.
      Hang out with positive people.

      When you hit something you can’t do, then instantly ask yourself “well what can I do here?”
      EX. Living room really needs a deep cleaning, but you have no time/are too tired/etc. Okay what can you do here? If you pick ANYTHING you win. So this means tidy up the coffee table and call it a good day. You won.

      You will find that self-talk comes into play. How often to you cut you some slack? Ever?

    7. Lady Kelvin*

      One suggestion I read in a book (happiness for beginners, it’s really good) was to think of three things that were good that day before you go to sleep. At first it will be hard but it will get easier as you train yourself to notice the good things. And three things aren’t very many or time consuming.

    8. Trixie*

      I’m not a lifelong cynic. Pretty much the opposite, that really annoying person who can only bring up the positive. (Coworkers who can only complain when it’s 70s and sunny because it’s not warm enough. Really?)

      Anyway, I try to be positive with a journal thing and making a note of the good things. I find this useful as well as acknowledging the things I’m not thrilled with. When I feel more engaged with the negative things, I try to remember this feeling will pass. Like I may have not have the savings I want or living situation or community, but tomorrow or in a few days I’ll feel better about where I am. Usually feeling better when I’ve gotten some exercise and some fresh air :)

    9. StrikingFalcon*

      Try to take notice in the moment of when you are having negative thoughts (especially ones directed towards yourself) and reframe them. One of the things that made a really big difference for me is realizing how frequently I… yelled at myself, I guess, and how harmful that was. YMMV, of course, but learning to shift my thoughts from things along the lines of “ugh I wasted so much time, why am I so lazy and unfocused” to “oh I really got lost in that, I need to get back to work now” allowed me to feel a lot more positive about myself, and thus about other things. And to my surprise it actually made it easier to cultivate good habits because I was thinking about my behavior more objectively, rather than in a cycle of shame and guilt.

      1. Lysis*

        Yes! I have this problem too. I blame myself for a lot of things, and I tend to hold on to anger, so part of trying to be optimistic for me is being less angry at myself (and sometimes other people!). I think developing objectivity about yourself takes some time, though– and a lot of work.

        1. Celeste*

          I’ve heard of a good technique for angry thoughts. Pretend that they are like cars going by. You can let cars go by without thinking of them and reacting to them. Acknowledge the thought and let it go by, again and again.

    10. Kit*

      These things take time to feel natural. It’s like correcting your posture: at first you have to consciously use your muscles, but eventually it becomes second nature.

      One thing to try is assuming everyone else has good intentions. Like when someone is late, assume something important came up, rather than that they don’t respect your time. It may not be true that everyone has good intentions, but assuming that they do keeps other people’s mistakes from ruining your optimism.

      1. Fictional Butt*

        YES!!!! The “assuming good intentions” thing is huge, because it’s such a domino effect. If you assume people have bad intentions, that is pretty obvious in your interactions with them, and then they will respond negatively to you. Whereas if you assume they had good intentions, even if they didn’t, you are giving them a graceful opportunity to continue the interaction positively.

        1. Fictional Butt*

          *meant to add, if you assume bad intentions, ppl will respond negatively even if their intentions weren’t bad.

        2. Parenthetically*

          TOTALLY agree with this. Assuming people have positive intentions, or failing that, reasons that make sense to them or are coping mechanisms for real issues, has REALLY transformed my interactions with people. There are still people and situations that get me down but boy it makes such a difference, doesn’t it.

    11. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      I’m also a lifelong cynic, and this is my work in progress. One of the things I try when I’m too far down the cynicism road is take a step back for perspective and look beyond what’s just in front of me. For example, I tend to self-isolate, and see more bad things going on than good, but if I’m able to metaphorically look at the lives to the right and to the left of me, I realize that the world also has good people and beauty and art and these are good and enriching things that exist alongside of the bad and ugly and evil. It’s hard not to stay in the cynical morass when we see all the bad and hard stuff going on but if I can at least acknowledge that it’s not the ONLY stuff going on, I can be more evenhanded and objective. Then after a while I can find a more positive viewpoint as well.

      1. Fictional Butt*

        This was something I forgot to add in my comment, that mindfulness meditation has helped me with. I think it can be pretty easy to get caught up in worrying about the future/other people’s lives/the world in general. Sometimes it’s good to be able to look at just the present moment in time and acknowledge that nothing terrible is happening to you, specifically, right at this exact second.

    12. Accidental Analyst*

      Fellow life long cynic who also has depressive/anxious tendencies. There’s a couple of things that I’m trying at the moment.

      (1) If someone pays me a compliment or I do something and feel good about it, I try and sit with that positive feeling for a bit longer. Normally I’d just dismiss it or move on to something else. This gets me looking for positive things and helps me see that they happen more frequently than I think.

      (2) Related to one, if I do something that goes towards selfcare I give myself a little “go me”. This gives me a little boost and encourages the behaviour.

      (3) I’m trying to catch the pessimistic/cynical thoughts and immediately label them “not helpful”. Even if I can’t get to reframing them in a more positive light it helps to reinforceta they’re not helpful.

      (4) I’m also trying to be more generous in my thoughts about others and myself. So if someone’s doing something that’s annoying me but they’ve also made an effort to reduce the behaviour I’m trying to think “hey they’ve managed to halve the time they do the annoying thing which is great” rather than “why are they still doing the annoying thing”.

      (5) Give myself permission to mess up the previous steps and try again

    13. Panda Bandit*

      When something bad happens find three positive things to come out of it.

      I struggle with being more positive, too. I have anxiety and I nearly always expect negative outcomes. I have gotten better. It is nice when something good happens and proves me wrong.

    14. Temperance*

      I’m not sure if this will work for you, but I default to negative. My mother is a negative person, and instilled it in me. She is also the constant victim of her own life and everyone else.

      What works for me is owning my choices, and trying to forcefully shift whenever I’m in the negative. Here’s an example: there’s a rude bully on my train who has been terrorizing people, I have been hating him for months, and on Friday, he made a jerky comment and I loudly called him on his BS. Instead of stewing on how shitty this guy is, I let him know that he can’t talk to me like that.

      I’m also NOT a touchy-feely person, so journaling and meditation do NOT work for me.

    15. Anon-ish*

      Something to maybe consider: could there be an underlying medical issue? Not long ago I was diagnosed as vitamin D deficient. Apparently this is somewhat common. And it’s not the kind of thing you can fix by simply drinking more milk. I’ve been taking a vitamin D supplement, and it has made a really noticeable difference in my energy levels and attitude.

      It’s not a cure-all. But lately I’ve seen a lot more awareness of how health can affect a person’s attitude and life. For example, sleep apnea can suck the energy out of a person, and they may be completely unaware that they suffer from it. I’m not sure that anyone even knew about it 50 years ago.

    16. K.*

      I’m grateful for this thread because this is something I’m working on (with my therapist). I’ve learned that my cynicism is a self-defense & preservation mechanism – if I assume something won’t work out, it hurts less when it doesn’t. But it doesn’t hurt less, really, so I’m trying to work on reframing my negative thoughts. I’m a lifelong journal-keeper, so reframing in my journal is helpful.

  11. The Cosmic Avenger*

    I have to say, the Acela is a little nicer in every way than the regular train. Not usually worth the difference, but I saw Acela business class tickets for around or a little more than the regular train, so I decided what the heck. I like that most regular seats have tables, and the bathrooms and train cars are just nicer in general.

    So, I’m going to be seeing friends from college, high school, and elementary school this weekend. What are you all doing?

    1. Liane*

      College Kids & I are going for lunch. (Mr. Liane is way under the weather, alas) Later we are going to get groceries, including ribs. Yum! Not much planned except tonight is the weekly Skype role-playing game Son and I are in. (Curse of Strahd D&D 5e for my fellow geeks. No we don’t play just Star Wars.)

    2. overeducated*

      I’m visiting my parents for the long weekend and we’re keeping things pretty low key – in fact it’s noon here and the kiddo and I are still in pajamas! (It’s a very long drive, we’re tired, and there is lots of space to play here.) We’ll probably head to a park or specialty store later this afternoon, just to get out of the house.

      Yesterday the parents babysat so spouse & I could go to a local beer and wine tasting event, which was fun since we don’t usually get to do that sort of thing, and my mom and I went to a store that’s become sort of a tradition when I visit. It sounds like tomorrow my grandparents are joining us for dinner, so that’ll be a rare opportunity to have four generations in one place.

    3. NJ Anon*

      Shopping, out to dinner tonight, neighbors bbq tomirrow, family bbq Monday. Love when the weather gets warmer!

    4. atexit8*

      I have only been on an Acela once.
      I don’t remember exactly what happened, but there was some sort of problem with service, so they put me on the next train which happened to be an Acela. Very nice! :-)

  12. Cookie D'oh*

    Has anyone tried alternative/holistic treatments for pets? At what point did you decide to try that route?

    My big tabby boy has been having these episodes, for lack of a better word, where one or both of his back legs seem to cramp up and pull up close to his body.

    The first time it happened was in February. The incident passed quickly and he was perfectly fine afterwards. I kept an eye on him, but didn’t notice any other issues.

    The second time it happened was in March. He had a couple of episodes so I took him to my regular vet. She did a basic exam and bloodwork. She noticed one of his liver enzymes was slightly higher, but she didn’t think it was anything to be concerned about. She reccomended another vet hospital if he continued to have issues.

    After that he had one or two more episodes, so I decided to get him an appointment at the vet hospital. Unfortunately, before that I had to take him to another emergency vet for surgery on an infected abscess. It seems that our little 7 lb cat bit his 17 lb bum when one of their play sessions went too far.

    After that surgery, I didn’t notice any episodes for three weeks. Then just a week ago, he’s had issues almost every day and sometimes twice a day. I’m not home to monitor him during the day so all these have been in the evening.

    I’m thinking of taking him back to the emergency vet where he had surgery. They also saw him last year when he had been panting. They did a bunch of tests to make sure he didn’t have heart disease. He does have a murmur, but no signs of disease.

    They have his full history and I feel like that would be the next logical step. When he went in for surgery, I briefly discussed the leg cramping issue with the vet. Her initial thought was a blood clot. That’s what I read when I researched online, but he didn’t seem to have other symptoms, like cold limbs.

    Then I found another vet that provides services like acupuncture, laser therapy, etc. Then I was wondering if I should take him there instead.

    I guess I’m leaning towards taking him to the old vet that has his history. I trust they’ll do a thorough job to diagnose the issue. If he continues to have issues, then trying the new place.

    1. Mandi*

      I hope you find out what is going on with your kitty! Have they ruled out anything neurological?

      1. Cookie D'oh*

        Thanks! They haven’t done detailed testing yet on the issue other than bloodwork. Initially, I thought it could be caused by diabetes, but those levels came back normal. I was thinking it could be neurological or something related to his heart. Most likely I’ll take him to the emergency vet today.

    2. Melody Pond*

      I’ve always taken my cats to a holistic/naturopathic vet. They are more expensive, but the ones I’ve seen also have the standard DVM licenses, so they can prescribe standard medicine if that’s really what’s needed.

      I like the holistic/naturopathic veterinarians, just because they tend to look at animal health from a more “big picture” perspective. Sometimes I’ve walked away with herbs, sometimes I’ve walked away with suggestions for changes in their diet, and sometimes I walk away with actual drugs or medicine. But to me it seems like vets with a naturopathic focus tend to see more big picture, and my experience has been that they are sometimes better about seeing the underlying cause, rather than just the symptom.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I have been using alternatives on my pets also. While it may seem expensive at first, the results seem strong and lasting. Yea! to less vet appointments.
        Currently I found a veterinary chiro who uses Eastern medicine, essential oils and acupuncture, too.

        When my little guy was about 5 years old he hurt himself while playing HARD. By the next morning he could barely stand up or walk. He had a couple vertebrae out of place but he had other concerns. Primarily, he was very hyper and prone to bouncing around which would mean more injuries could be expected. She suggested changes in his diet to foods that were calming, put him on some blood builders and did a few other things. By helping him to calm he would have less injuries in the long run. All total her initial visit was $240 which included the house call and the nutrition. She used chiropractic and acupuncture to help with the immediate crisis. He was on his feet and bouncing around again before she left. (I had to tell him to be easy.)

        This part slays me. The dog uses gestures to indicate he is starting to have difficulty and he might need to see the chiro. He has done this twice in the last 2.5 years. He was right each time.

        1. Cookie D'oh*

          Thank you both for the feedback! The vet practice I’m looking at does both traditional and holistic treatments, which I like.

    3. Belle di Vedremo*

      Going to a vet you trust is important.

      I’m with Melody Pond in wanting a broad scope of care for my cats as I do for myself. There are mechanical things that crop up in bodies that go largely unrecognized as issues in standard allopathic (western) medicine. If your current vet options don’t have answers, I’d try out the other vet. If you follow Kitten Lady Hannah Shaw online (see kittenxlady on Facebook), check out what she’s doing to help her new rescue kitten Chloe who came to her with a broken back/paralyzed back end for an example of some of what’s possible.

      1. Cookie D'oh*

        Yes, I follow Kitten Lady! She’s amazing. Examples like that are what is making me consider non traditional options.

    4. nonprofit manager*

      We us a holistic veterinarian for our cats and couldn’t be happier. Our experience is very similar to Melody Pond’s and we have had great results with a combination of dietary changes, probiotics, herbs and other supplements, and short courses of medication for severe, acute problems.

      What made me seek out a holistic veterinarian was digestive issues that several traditional veterinarians could not figure out, including two at our former practice and one or two emergency veterinarians. My poor cat was on so many medications, even though his labs were “fine”, that his quality of life was severely diminished. I stopped all medications except one and decided to change his diet, because I suspected the problem was an ingredient in his canned food. The vets at our former practice were skeptical this would work, especially because I rejected the “sensitive” food they wanted to sell me. Well, it worked. My cat was better within days, but I was nervous doing this on my own and wanted help from someone who would look at my cat as a whole cat and not just symptoms. Four years later, my cat is healthy and happy.

  13. Mischa*

    So I’m house sitting in a more urban neighborhood (I am from the suburbs, though not too far from downtown) in my city and I absolutely LOVE it! There’s things to walk to! Like a cafe and a grocery store. Back in my neighborhood the only thing within walking distance is… well, more houses. And an elementary school. Why on earth city planners had to make suburban American neighborhoods devoid of personality is beyond me.

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      Because out in the suburbs, I want space and peace and quiet. If I wanted to live in the city, I would. I don’t.

      1. Mischa*

        I totally get that. It’s like an urban suburb where I’m currently staying. It’s not full of skyscrapers or anything, but there’s shops, cafes, etc. around this little city square about six blocks north. It’s extremely quiet and quaint, and if you never wanted to visit that city square area, you could happily live your life and it wouldn’t intrude on you at all.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          In order to make things walkable, buildings need to be close together- that means I don’t get space and privacy, and all those “fun” shops and cafes and pubs cause noise. It also means you have to pay more for more space.

          In the suburbs, there are things available to me that I want within a couple minutes by car. I don’t need to walk everywhere, and my idea of “fun” is probably very different than yours.

          1. Temperance*

            I commented downthread. My neighborhood has a really great mix that has everything I could want in walking distance but is still quiet. I dislike the extreme quiet of the country, but love not having to worry about dealing with apartment neighbors or not having a yard.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              I really want walkability–here, you have to drive everywhere unless you live in certain places (not always the best places). Neighborhoods are housing developments–mine is from the 1950s. There aren’t stores close by in a lot of them. There are two downtown areas you have to drive to. One has lofts and student apartments close to the big university campus and has nice restaurants, my favorite cinema, etc. The other used to be the strip where you would go to pick up prostitutes and the neighborhoods around it are very low-income, although the street itself is becoming gentrified. That’s where we go for coffee after meditation every weekend.

              The rest of the city is quite sprawling. Most people who walk here do it because they don’t have a car or they’re exercising. The weather sucks half the year anyway, which makes walking suck too. I am in better shape when I’m someplace where I can walk everywhere (or have to, like London). I want good public transport too, because someday I may not be able to drive anymore.

              1. Temperance*

                I live in the Philadelphia suburbs, and many of our communities are laid out to be walkable. Of course, the best ones are the most expensive, but I lucked out by finding an ugly house in the area where we wanted to live.

                Where you live now sounds like an improved version of where I grew up.

            2. Amadeo*

              I’m not sure I’d qualify the country as extremely quiet, it’s just devoid of ‘people’ noises. My parents have a 17 acre patch of land, most of which is wooded, and a couple years ago when the cicadas emerged it sounded like we had a UFO down in the trees somewhere with the unearthly whirring noise those bugs made.

              We don’t hear traffic, or people talking or radios or anything, but there’s the susurrus of the wind in the leaves when everything is leafed out, katydids, crickets, birds, grasshoppers and occasionally a screaming fox. The only time it’s ever truly silent is when it’s snowing heavily and *that* is ethereal.

              It’s all totally worth having to drive a half hour one way to work to me. I can completely leave people behind when I go home.

        2. another person*

          I don’t know about you, but I am currently living (in a very parks-y neighborhood) in a city and it’s so hard. Everything is so loud, even at night you can always hear cars driving. I need a large yard where my neighbors can’t see me. I want to be able to be in my yard and not able to hear my neighbors in their house. I like to spend most of my time outside, but here almost all outside is public space and so I can’t relax in it. I don’t really do much that takes advantage of living in a city (even with free parks and free museums, it’s just so expensive to do things like go out to eat or go to other events–and I don’t like crowds either). Ideally, I’d have a house with a large yard (I am used to almost an acre) and then I could spend most of my spare time with my animals and gardening and such. But I’m pretty strong on the quiet side of the spectrum.

    2. Reba*

      Yeah, I grew up in a subdivision. My parents still live there. I could walk to my grandparents’ house (which is part of why my parents made the choice to build out there vs. buy in a more urban setting) but *nothing* else. It was very homogenous in terms of race and class of course, although that has changed a bit. When I was growing up nearly all of my friends lived in more central parts of town. I had an interesting chat with my mom recently about how they just didn’t think of the sustainability aspects of subdivision building at that time (early 80s).

      When I visit my parents nowadays I’m always struck by how different it is to the way I live now! Thinking about where I’d like to live long term is tough, because I don’t want to give up walking as the main mode of transit and all the other benefits of density, but I also appreciate green space, having enough room, and quiet.

      1. Reba*

        also the history of housing in America is so interesting, surprising, and often shameful.

        1. blackcat*

          Oh man, this. It took me forever to figure out why my precise neighborhood is so much cheaper than one like 3 blocks away (on the other side of the main road through the neighborhood). It’s even zoned for the same elementary school. My side seems nicer because we’re closer to the big park in the neighborhood.

          My realtor told me the hard truth: it’s because black people live in my neighborhood. It’s about 40% white, 40% black, 20% multiracial families, with the number of multiracial families increasing fast. Apparently, some folks seek out my neighborhood precisely because it’s integrated. On the other side of that is people who won’t buy here. One time when I was checking out an open house in my neighborhood, and I watched this white couple pull up to the house. They got out, looked at the house, looked at the group of black kids playing basketball in the driveway across the street, got back in their car, and left. I mean, the fact that kids play in the streets in this neighborhood can be moderately annoying, but it is mostly endearing. And those kids weren’t even in the street! They were in a driveway.

          (My realtor’s final comment on the matter was, “I know, racism sucks. But at least you’re getting this awesome house for less!” Ick.)

          1. Mischa*

            Ugh, what a gross thing to say, realtor! I just listened to a podcast on this. Basically, lenders would make maps designating the “best” neighborhoods for lending (100% white professionals), all the way to “hazardous” neighborhoods, which were usually 90%+ black or minority. Frequently people in the “hazardous” neighborhoods couldn’t get loans, so they’d move to the better neighborhoods…but surprise, that started to drag down the rating on those neighborhoods. This was outlawed in the 1960s with the Fair Housing Act but it absolutely still happens today. More info below if you’re interested.

            1. TL -*

              Realtors also tend to show people neighborhoods that “look” like the people – ie, they won’t show black upper middle class people white neighborhoods, even if it’s in the budget; nor will they show white people black neighborhoods in their budget. And it doesn’t always have to be intentional – you can just have a “feeling” that the house won’t be a good fit without ever thinking about why.
              I imagine the internet is changing this (people can ask for houses to be shown to them and find houses for sale much more easily) but it’s still a problem.

              1. bunniferous*

                Seriously, report that to HUD if it happens. They take that stuff very seriously. To include sending out fake homebuyers to see how they get treated by agents. It is drilled into us over and over in real estate school and in continuing ed that we must NOT do this. In fact, we are not supposed to talk about racial makeups of neighborhoods at all. I am surprised that agent was so blunt. Because it is really really easy to get in big trouble as an agent if we are caught even having the appearance of discrimination.

            2. blackcat*

              It was a poor attempt at a joke–from his perspective, it was great that we saw the diversity of the neighborhood as a plus, since that allowed us to get more house for our budget than the other neighborhoods where we looked.

              Back in the 50s, this neighborhood was redlined (according to an older neighbor who inherited her house from her parents). In the 80s-early 90s, it transitioned to mixed and stabilized that way–which is pretty unusual.

            3. LCL*

              Why is that a gross thing to say? A realtor who knows the history of how racism has affected the housing market is a good thing. That doesn’t mean the realtor said racism is grand.

              If I said, I believe white privilege has benefited me because I was never arrested for my juvenile shenanigans, that’s not gross. Sadly true, the reality is tragic and unjust for others, but that doesn’t make me racist or gross to point it out.

              1. blackcat*

                I thought it was a bit icky because he presented it as a “Hey, you can benefit from other people’s racism!” It wasn’t the acknowledgement that the racism existed, but the attitude of “there’s an upside to everything, including racism!”

    3. blackcat*

      I grew up in suburbia and now live in a sort of transition zone–it feels moderately suburban (1/4-1/2 acre lots, mostly single family homes but some two family homes), but just around the corner is a town square with most things you’d want, including a train to downtown of the nearby major city. I love it! I can walk to most things and bus/train to anything. About 4 blocks away in one direction, it shifts to being more suburban (1/2-3/4 acre lots, homes further back from the street, etc). Less than a mile away in two other directions, it’s properly urban big story apartment buildings and tiny lots (and lots more shops). And the time a neighbor had a heart attack, the ambulance was here in 15 minutes for an ambulance to make it’s way through the ‘burbs.

      My mom has stayed with me a few times and now she LOVES my “urban living!” I find her really funny, actually. I’ve worked hard to live in walkable neighborhoods since graduating college–I even found a way when I lived in the south. When my mom stays with me she loves that she can basically take care of herself as a guest. She won’t even do public transit alone (suburban living for 60+ years will do that to you, I guess), but she’ll declare “I’m going to go WALK to CVS!” like it’s a miracle or something.

      (Urban living has its costs. Actual $$ costs. Even though my parents live in a more expensive metro area, but my house costs more per square foot. My house is also less than 1/2 the size of my parents’ house and sits on 1/10th the land. I have the smallest lot in my neighborhood…)

      1. overeducated*

        Cost is a serious issue and it annoys me when people are like, ” Well, I just CHOOSE to live somewhere walkable because I VALUE it. I make TRADEOFFS.” (I have had a lot of these conversations in person.) They are usually thinking of easy tradeoffs like not having a car you don’t need, or living in a condo instead of a large SFH. They are not realizing that I don’t make the same “choices” because I would literally have to go back in time, go to school for a higher earning career like law or medicine, and not have my kid. I already don’t have a car I don’t need or own property, the tradeoffs I had to make to be in a mostly walkable area 6 miles from work involved giving up storage space and a dishwasher and laundry in my building. To live in the actual urban center 1 or 2 miles from work, I would somehow need to come up with another $1k a month. Acting like anyone can live in the most desirable, high priced areas in the entire country if they just WANT it enough is really obnoxious.

        Anyway thanks for noting the costs. Walkability is amazing, but density costs more, it’s just fact!

    4. LCL*

      I grew up in the burbs in the middle of nowhere. They weren’t planned, other than buy cheap land and build houses.

    5. Temperance*

      I live in the perfect suburb. I have a detached house with a nice sized yard, but I can easily walk to the train, to a coffee shop, to a convenience store, and bars/restaurants. It’s like a 10 minute walk to my favorite bar.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Have you read the “raised by narcissists” subreddit? It provides some amazing support and tools for dealing with narcissists, and isn’t just about parents, although that’s obviously the trend there. It’s worlds different than most of Reddit, much more supportive and heavily moderated to keep the comments supportive. You can google it, but I’ll include a link in a reply to this.

      1. Who is the anon-est of them all?*

        I’ve heard of it but had no idea it wasn’t just about parent-child relationships. I’ll check it out. Thanks for the rec.

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          So sorry you are going through this. I’ll second the recommendation for RBN. Also, the Out of the Fog website is helpful.

    2. Merci Dee*

      I’m not one for rash decisions… but I’m also not one to draw something like this out for months while I consider how badly someone else is treating me.

      Also, what does it matter if you are needy and irrational? Even if you decide that you are (and you’re probably not, if you think you need to contemplate it), that doesn’t mean you deserve the treatment you’re getting. You could be needy and irrational and still have to get out of this situation.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        My wise friend used to say very seldom are people needy for no reason. Something is driving that emotion, there is a void somewhere in their lives. Until that void is met, the neediness will continue.

        When my spouse came home and told me he was having a problem, I did not respond by telling him he was needy and irrational. Likewise, he never said that to me, even if he did not understand my problem. It’s just not a thing to say to a loved one.

      2. Natalie*

        Would a counselor be an option? (For you, not a couples counselor.) I found it very helpful when I was struggling with those kinds of feelings and a bad relationship. It’s good to have a neutral person you can talk to.

    3. No, please*

      I was in this type of marriage once upon a time. It took me years to see that I was being gaslighted because I had no idea it was a thing. Plus there were other instances, not gaslighting, but just straight up verbal abuse that I really thought was my fault. My best advice is to get yourself some counseling. It’s important to have a neutral person as a sounding board. And in my experience friends want to help but telling them too much was not helpful or productive. I just got tired of the constant questioning, once I did talk to a friend. I’m glad you’re saving. It may be too early, and maybe you already know this, but take time choosing an attorney you are comfortable with when/if the time comes.

    4. Paula, with Two Kids*

      I have been through this. Number 1: Expect your “barely a narcissist” partner to become 100% all about wounding you once he knows you are out. If you have kids, they will be targets too. If you think he’s bad now, you will be jaw-dropping amazed at the amount of evil that was lying underneath. Number 2: You can’t have enough money. My lawyer estimated my divorce would be about $3K, took $15 K because of ex’s nitpicking. Number 3: Don’t ask for 50/50, ask for more. Because your narc wants to feel like he’s getting a win. Ask for more, settle with 50/50. I asked for 50/50, settled for 40/60…because what we were dividing was getting eaten up by legal fees. Also selling the house…ex cannot afford it, but agreed to it to “give him” the win. No reason other than wanting to hurt myself and the kids. Number 4: Find a lawyer who has a lot of experience with narcissistic/verbal abusive partners, one who is vested in downplaying drama.

      There is a lot of support out there for partners of narcissists. Read some books (in secret). I can’t say there are any websites where I found a ton of support. A lot of people are just venting and not actually leaving their partners. Maybe someone will have better ideas on supportive sites.

      I am sorry for what you are about to go through, it will probably take longer than you think (I waited a year to file, then divorce took 19 months). But you will come out the other end stronger.

      And yes; living with the constant lies IS exhausting. You will feel great when that is over!

      1. Allypopx*

        My father used to have blowups when I didn’t want to do stuff he liked. I remember one particular instance of not wanting to watch Xena when I was like 8 and I got screamed at and then my mother got screamed at. Those things add up over time, they really do, and I don’t talk to my father anymore. It’s not petty.

      2. No, please*

        This is great advice. I was a step mom but the teenage daughters lived with us. I picked one daughter up from the ex’s place one night. She, a 15 year old, handed me a divorce answer packet and said I needed to fill it out and return it to the courthouse. I had already done this with my attorney. It was such a terrible feeling.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I hope you reported that the child was being used in this manner. Lawyers love to know this stuff.

          1. No, please*

            I did. But since I was a step parent it made absolutely no difference, at least in that particular state. The judge was more upset by ex having changed the locks and moving my stuff to storage without telling me.

      3. extra anon*

        my mother is a covert narcissist. i was an only child and also the golden child. she saw me as an extension of herself and parentified the hell out of me. i could write a novel about the abuse she put me through, and just how damaging it all was to my development. i no longer speak to her, and i don’t consider her my parent.

        luckily, she had terrible credit and couldn’t afford to buy her own home so i lived with my grandparents, who were normal, loving people. even still, the years of minor and petty things my mother put me through really messed me up mentally. however, i learned a lot of really great, positive things from my grandparents and their parenting gave me the skills i would need to be a successful, productive adult. thanks to them, i’ve vastly exceeded my mother in every single way. i’ve had a lot of therapy to heal the damage done by my mother, and i’m still not done with it, but my life has definitely improved in so many meaningful ways.

        all of that to say – if your husband is a narcissist, having one “normal” parent who loves your child and doesn’t participate in the abuse can go very far to mitigating the damage done by being raised by a narcissist.

    5. Emmie*

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. I’ve been there too. I’m proud of you for realizing what’s happening. That’s hard to do. I recommend these things:
      – Keep a list of all the kind compliments others give you and the proud moments you have for yourself. When you’re feeling down, go back and read through the list a few times. It helped retrain my mind and when I was feeling down.
      – Read all you can about emotional abuse, gaslighting, shift blaming, narcissism, etc… When he’s speaking, mentally name what he’s doing.
      – Google The Power and Control Wheel. There’s also a Power and She control Wheel for healthy relationships. I started writing down what he did on each of the pieces that fit the abusive behavior. Only a small slice of the wheel is physical abuse (and that’s horrific too.) I slowly started to realize how bad it was and it was because I was writing it down. (Keep it in a safe place where he can’t get to you.).
      – Counseling helped tremendously- while in the relationship, leaving, and getting better.
      Once you leave, some people won’t understand. They’ll say insensitive things like why didn’t you leave sooner, or assume that it’s all better once you leave. But, there are people who understand. I’ll say that the leaving period , for me, was as bad as leaving him b/c the abuse continued and he kept showing up in my life. Your experience may be different. If you experience what I did, I am sorry, but it will get better as you work through all of the emotions, sever all ties, and do whatever is necessary for you. And be careful about those online stories about people’s lives being magically better. My experience was so different. I had to work for it. Good luck!

      1. Paula, with Two Kids*

        I really like Emmie’s advice here. Also, I forgot to mention going no-contact. You cannot do it completely if you have children, but you can implement it a great deal – and keep communications by text/email (and use a backup app). Try to disengage as much as possible so you can heal faster.

        Also, like Emmie, I thought I would be SO happy once he was out the door. But no, it’s a long, slow process. By the time the divorce finally came, I was in a much better place. Still not dating, but happy with myself.

    6. Yay you!*

      Several years ago I read “Help, I’m in Love with a Narcissist,” and it helped me tremendously. At the time, I felt it nailed the issue better than other books on that subject.

    7. Female-type person*

      Don’t get sucked into the rabbit hole of trying to parse the pathology. That isn’t important, and it is distracting. It doesn’t matter if his behavior is a choice or a manifestation of a mental health condition–regardless, it feels the same. It impacts you the same. You deserve better. Marriage isn’t supposed to be actively hard on a daily basis. “One day at a time” was never intended as a long term coping strategy.

      1. Anonny Nonny Hey*

        This is a great point. I saw a lot of this in the posts on the Relationships subreddit, where (usually) women would ask if their partner was abusive and describe the situation, and the commenters would say “holy crap, yes, that’s abusive” and the OP would reply to comments asking “Do you think he knows he’s being abusive?” It was as if they wanted to believe that if they just showed their partner the post and went, “See? You’re being abusive,” their partner would be like, “OMG I had no idea, I’ll stop immediately!” It definitely won’t work out that way.

        It doesn’t matter whether your husband knows full well what he’s doing or is only doing it subconsciously. What matters is that he’s treating you badly and you need to get away from him. Good luck.

    8. Dan*

      I’m gonna boil this advice into two words:

      Get out.

      Leaving a narcissist isn’t rash; it’ll likely be the most sanest thing you ever do.

    9. Update on he wants a baby*

      Except for the fact that you put up with it much longer than me, your story sounds so familiar. I got sick of it last weekend and started my plan to leave. I am very fortunate to be in the situation where I am the primary breadwinner and we don’t have combined financial accounts, so I’ll be about as easy as these things can get.

      I would recommend seeing a therapist. Even if the two of you together can’t do anything to change him, he or she can help you keep your perception of yourself in the right place. It’s been helping me.

      Hugs and anything else you want.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Go, you! A very difficult decision to be sure, but a necessary one. Stand tall as you reclaim parts of you. Sending warm wishes/vibes your way.

    10. No, please*

      I finally left because I didn’t want my step daughters thinking we had a normal relationship. I wish you and your child all the best. And I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It’s f-ing hard.

    11. Belle di Vedremo*

      Seconding the counseling suggestion. When one has an insight like this, it’s not uncommon to be on an internal roller coaster of hey, he did it again thru aw, that was sweet, this is just normal, etc etc. It’s also not uncommon to have an insight like this bring one to a fairly swift intolerance of previous accepted behavior with a need for an exit from the situation. So I also recommend an initial consult with an attorney: What kinds of things will make your life easier if you decide to leave (temporarily or long term)? What are the ramifications for establishing custody rights, etc? If everything shifts in ways that make you happy to stay, that preparatory work will not intrude. If it doesn’t, you’ll have the advantage of making better informed choices.

      Next steps should include finding ways to take better care of you, to support your resilience and growth. What nurtures you? How can you build more of that into your life? How can you offer your child more of what nurtures hir? Remember that growth means change, and some people respond to seeing someone grow by testing you or trying to return you to the conditions you’re growing past. Take that as confirmation that you’re growing, rather than accepting that it could be “irrational and needy” behavior.

      Please keep us posted, we’re pulling for you.

    12. Accidental Analyst*

      My stepfather did the whole gas lighting thing to mum while I was growing. We knew that it wasn’t normal for parents to act that way but we knew it was normal for him to. Honestly I would have loved for mum to get out of that relationship sooner (I understand why it took so long). You’re ahead of the game by recognising it now and taking action to leave. You may find that just by getting out you’ve got less back-pedalling than you expected to do.

    13. Dawn*

      My husband shows signs of narcissism too. I’m trying to find the strength to either tell him (he’s a very loud and angry person), or just wait until he’s gone and try to leave with my stuff (we live 1500 miles from my home). It sucks, and it’s scary, and I am second guessing every step.

    14. Anon for this*

      I too divorced a narcissist. In my case, he wasn’t abusive, so things went okay. I think it also helped that I established some pretty clear boundaries at the end of the relationship and didn’t waver, so once I was gone, I was GONE.
      I agree with Paula–I’d plan to budget more than your lawyer says, because he very well might drag things out. My ex did that.
      I’d also recommend working with a therapist ASAP. I found it extremely helpful…and in the process, learned that a huge part of my constant neediness and emotionalness (emotionality??) grew from living with someone with poor emotional and physical boundaries who didn’t recognize me as a person, rather than intrinsic personal weakness. I also learned a lot of general coping skills that helped me get through the divorce.
      Good luck! I hope you have a smooth path to the next phase of your life.

      1. Who is the anon-est of them all?*

        “a huge part of my constant neediness and emotionalness (emotionality??) grew from living with someone with poor emotional and physical boundaries who didn’t recognize me as a person, rather than intrinsic personal weakness.”
        Just knowing that is a possibility is SUCH A RELIEF. Thank you.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          The word “starvation” does not just apply to situations where food is lacking.

    15. Rainy, PI*

      People like that can tell when they’ve crossed a line and will instantly become the most charming version of themselves, the one they usually only show to the public. I’m not sure they even do it consciously, to be honest. My mother was never so nice to me as when she’d seriously crossed a line and seen a flicker of rebellion.

      I left home at 17. I am VLC with my mum and dad. Your child will thank you someday when they understand what you made possible by leaving.

  14. OneOfMany*

    Since statistics say 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, I’m sure this group has a lot of accumulated wisdom on luving with this diagnosis. I had a lumpectomy this week. This will be followed by radiation. We have to wait on the pathology report to see if I’ll need chemo.
    So my questions…you who went through chemo, how did you handle the hair loss? A preemptive shaving before your hair started to fall out, or did you just wait until it began to happen? Did you wear wigs, hats, scarves, or some combination of those depending on what was happening? How long after the chemo stopped before your hair started to grow back? What surprised you the most?
    Thanks for your time.

    1. Emmie*

      I am sorry you’re going through this. I don’t have any experience to draw on, but I’m sending healing vibes your way. Big big hugs.

    2. Ange*

      I’ m literally just going through this now – had my first chemo session yesterday. I shaved my head about 8 weeks ago, before my surgery (total mastectomy and lymph node removal) so it’s still pretty short. My nurse said 14-21 days for it to start falling out.
      I’ve bought some scarves but more from a not-getting-sunburned place than to cover up. I often have really short hair so I’m not too bothered. Mote worried about losing my eyelashes TBH, and spending the rest of the summer getting dust in my eyes!

    3. Isobel*

      Also sending lots of good vibes your way. I don’t have any direct experience but I’d recommend the blog Breast Surgeon with Breast Cancer by Liz O’Riordan. She writes a lot about the practical side of chemo and what helped her.

    4. FDCA In Canada*

      Both my parents are cancer survivors, my mom breast cancer specifically, and she did not lose all of her hair. In fact, it only thinned a bit on top of her head. She did lose her eyebrows, the hair on her arms and legs and underarms, and it only came back much thinner several years later. Chemo won’t necessitate hair loss–it’s so specific to each person, so you may want to wait on shaving your head if that’s how you choose to go. My dad also had an intensive chemo treatment and lost about half his hair, and it began coming back immediately after the initial round of chemo–even though it was still ongoing treatment, his hair was coming back. Different, but coming back. Both my parents found their hair came back differently–my mom’s was lighter and curler, my dad’s bright silver and much coarser than it had been before.

      1. K.*

        Someone I know said her hair came back curly (I met her after she was in remission so didn’t see her hair before). She wears it short no matter the texture so she’s not that bothered- if curly hair is the price she pays for not having cancer, so be it, she says.

        My grandmother didn’t lose her hair at all. Sending you nothing but good thoughts.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      My aunt, although in her late 60s, was still a very pretty woman. She looked pretty even with out hair. Around the house she was comfortable being wig-less. By odd coincidence she was given two wigs by two different NPOs. Both were actually NICE wigs. Even those of us who knew her could not be sure if that was her hair or her wig.

      When her hair came back in she had chemo hair. I gave her a bottle of Arbonne conditioner and that helped her hair settle down and be more normal. She decided on a very short cut, which made her look very nice and very up to date.

      Initially she cried over losing her hair, understandably. In a way, I was glad that she let those tears come out. I think it helped her in a small way somehow. The twist to the story was that she actually liked her wigs and liked hearing that people could not tell. Then when her hair came back she grab that as an opportunity to up date her look. (She had grandma curls before, she switched to a medium type of pixie thing that looked GREAT.)

      I am sorry you are going through this, I hope your road is a gentle one.

    6. Reba*

      I have no direct experience, but my mom’s hairdresser makes wigs for chemo patients out of their own hair (before treatments begin). It’s a passion project for her that she does for a low cost. For women whose hair is important to them, it seems like a really nice thing! Just wanted to share that in case it’s an option you’d like to look into.

      Good luck with your treatments!

    7. Kit*

      Not all chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss, but if yours does, get a wig asap so you have options. Human hair wigs are easier to style and hold up better than synthetic ones, but synthetic are much cheaper. I suggest a human hair wig that looks like your usual hair, and a synthetic in a colour or style you’d like to try for fun. It’s important to find some fun.

      Once the hair starts to come out in clumps, buzz it short so it’s less messy and upsetting. Keep in mind that a wig is basically a fur hat, so you will likely want some warm-weather options like scarves and hats. Also keep in mind that you will be busy treating your illness and you don’t have to take on the additional work of making other people more comfortable with your appearance if you don’t want to.

      Your hair will start to grow back quite soon after the chemo stops. It may come in greyer or curlier or both. During the grow out phase, get a haircut once a month to keep the mullet at bay. It may seem more logical to tough out the awkward stages to get length faster, but feeling uncute for six months is not good for your health!

      I wish you the best.

    8. Accidental Analyst*

      Mum’s had cancer a couple of times now (breast twice). She found losing her hair the first time really hard. She also found it hard when it grew back like steel wool (colour, texture and curls). It took awhile but then it grew back normally. While bald she tended to where scarves.

      Things were different the second time round. Once the hair started falling out she got it cut short. This reduced the amount of hair in her mouth when she woke up etc. When the hair got painful we made a family event of shaving it. My sisters and I cut designs into her hair, gave her a Mohawk, a friar cut etc. There was a lot of laughter etc. For this round of baldness she choose to go with hats. I forget the name but there is a hat maker who specialises in hates for chemo patients.

      My cousin is currently undergoing treatment. She decided to cut her hair very short. It looks very stylish and when it starts failing out in earnest it will be less of an issue (no long clumps around the place).

      My thoughts go out to you. I hope you don’t need chemo but if you do I know you’ll be strong.

    9. Mapmaker*

      I’m 2 and a half years out from diagnosis (HER2+), surgery, chemo, and radiation. I lost all my hair about 2 weeks after first chemo infusion, and lost my eyelashes and eyebrows after the last infusion. I had my hair cut really short once it started falling out. But if I had to do it over, I would not have waited to get it cut. I had shoulder length hair at the time, and when it started coming out it was everywhere and I felt so overwhelmed.

      I didn’t get a wig. I did get hats because I lived in a place that has pretty serious winters when going through treatment. What I did learn was that I like having short hair and losing my hair didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. My hair started growing at the end of my last chemo infusion. And I had it cut/shaped about 7 months after the last treatment and it was starting to stick out in all directions.

      I’ll be thinking of you and hoping you don’t have to do chemo.

    10. OVCA Survivor*

      I’m a young ovarian cancer survivor, my oncologist was straightforward with me about the guaranteed hair loss I would experience. I shaved my head prior to chemo and don’t regret it to this day (just over a year cancer-free now!). I was able to get my head shaved in a salon that did it for free– best part is that the salon was (intentionally) completely empty for it. If I didn’t have that option I would probably do it privately in my home. As you can tell, I valued privacy with that, but also the control of just getting it done, I cherished my hair and cried way too much to make a party out of it like some do. But if you might enjoy the party atmosphere with close friends and family I say go for it!

      If I’ve learned anything from having cancer it’s that whatever you are feeling is valid, what feels right to you is what you should do! Especially when it comes to styling yourself. And sometimes it’s a day by day thing. I got a couple cheap wigs in fun colors, and they were pretty cool when I was feeling up to it… but I ended up enjoying pairing turban/caps with headbands/scarves more. It was much more comfortable and just easier to put on when I was feeling terrible. I highly recommend the Three Seam Turban from Headcovers.com. “Buff” scarves are also great. I really did not like the shape of my bald head so I felt it necessary to keep it covered to feel the best about myself, plus I was going through treatment during a midwestern winter so going bare wasn’t really an option anyway, ha!

    11. Clever Name*

      Hugs. One of my closest friends is going through chemo for breast cancer right now. She’s on her second round. No advice. Just sending strength.

    12. ValaMalDoran*

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Hugs if you’d like them.

      My mom lost her hair during chemo, and she had a really awesome wig. She’s a natural redhead, and the wig looked so much like her hair, people often couldn’t tell. She would go wigless at home when no one was visiting, or when it was just me.

      Her hair changed in texture when it came back it, it was course before, and grew back baby fine. Also, thinner than before. That really bothered her until she started using Nioxin, which she still uses. I believe she uses the #4 system, as well as their minoxidil (Rogaine). And I *think* she had some kind of sleeping turban, to protect what hair she had left while sleeping.

      If you do loose your hair, make sure to protect your scalp from the sun. My dad had skin cancer on his scalp. He wears hats regularly now. (He didn’t have chemo, but wore hats to protect his healing scalp post surgery, and to protect his bald spot now.)

      It’s not hair related, but my mom was surprised by how much fatigue she had with radiation. It really wiped her out. Oh, and post chemo, she has reacted differently to medications, including anesthesia. She’s needed stronger doses of “twilight sleep” anesthesia post chemo when having surgery.

      *hugs* Good luck.

      1. ValaMalDoran*

        She would also wear the turbans around the house during the day. Her head would get cold.

    13. Pearly Girl*

      Someone brought up a good point about fatigue.

      My SO is a cancer survivor (lymphoma) and he was surprised by how tired he was post-chemo — lack of stamina for everyday activities — even tho he was warned. It took about a year for him to feel like he was back to normal. He’s an otherwise healthy and strong 60YO.

      You will get thru this and I wish you all the strength and healing.

    14. TwistedKnickers*

      Lots of hugs to you. When I was diagnosed 27 years ago, I pre-emptively cut my hair pretty short, because I was expecting to lose it all. I “only” lost about 75% of it, but by having short hair to start with, it wasn’t as obvious as it could have been.

      I did buy a wig, ahead of time, and chose to get a red one in a bob style (something that was quite different from my normal hair). I wore it a few times, but found it pretty uncomfortable – hot and itchy. I donated it to the America Cancer Society when I was done with chemo.

      My hair did grow back really curly on the top of my head, which was really fun for a change. I’d say after about 3 months it started growing back normally.

      I decided then then, that if I ever had to go through chemo again, I would either go proudly bald or wear some colorful scarves.

      All the best to you!!

  15. Colette*

    I’m having my basement renovated. Two weeks ago, I was ridiculously stressed because I had to order stuff (flooring, bathroom fixtures, etc.) and clean out the basement.

    I’m having a junk removal firm come in to get rid of most of the furniture since it’s in pretty bad shape and not worth finding a place to store during the renos, and I plan to build new furniture after the reno.

    Now the basement is 90% empty (except for the furniture, which will be gone on Monday), the flooring and vanity have been ordered, and I have nothing that needs to be done right now except for wait.

    I really want to start building the furniture, but I have no place to store it, either.

    It hasn’t even started and I can’t wait for it to be over.

    1. Tax Accountant*

      It’s funny… I’ve watched countless hours of HGTV, and I’m always fiddling around with my house some way or other. I’ve always thought it would be great to do a bunch of renovations. But we finally had our first non-DIY project done a few months ago (new counters and backsplash in the kitchen) and I was surprised by how stressful and irritating it was. The whole thing took almost a month, because we worked with different people for the counters and backsplash, and its amazing how disruptive it can be to not have a fully functioning kitchen. Prior to that experience I was really gung-ho about gutting and completely redoing our main bathroom, but now I’m a lot more hesitant. I love love LOVE the results of our kitchen project, and I hope your basement turns out as well as you hope too. But yeah, it was an annoying and patience-testing process to get there.

      1. Colette*

        It’s so disruptive! I’m lucky that the mess will be out of my way (unlike a kitchen reno) but there’s so much to do to prepare, and then it’s largely waiting until I can do the million things I’ll need to do when it’s done.

        I did both my kitchen and bathroom years ago, and they were much more annoying to not be able to use, but the basement is annoying because of all of the stuff I have to move or store before they can start.

        (But I don’t regret doing the kitchen and bathroom, and hopefully I won’t regret this either.)

      2. Clever Name*

        We gutted our master bathroom and it was pretty damn stressful. It took about 3 months of living with dust and stuff protecting our floors. The results are amazing, though.

      3. anoncmntr*

        Can I ask, did you not have to replace the cabinets? We really want to replace our countertops and backsplash, but have beautiful cabinets that I don’t want to lose. I thought it would be impossible to keep them while replacing the tiles, but maybe not?

  16. Merci Dee*

    So, it’s the end of the first week in the new house. Been going pretty well. This coincided with the last week of school for kiddo, so it gave us a few days to refine our morning schedule for fall.

    Everything is out of the old house, and we handed over all the keys last night. Now it’s just a matter of going through about 15 or so boxes and deciding their fate. I’ve still been donating and trashing a good amount of stuff that’s been brought over to the new place.

    My parents have been a-maz-ing this week. While I’ve been at work, they’ve been packing up the last of the stuff and ferrying it over to my living room floor. Kiddo and I have been sorting through the stuff during the evenings, and what a helper she’s been! I’ll sort as much stuff as I can today and tomorrow, but I refuse to open a single box on the holiday Monday. That’s going to be my well-earned lazy day to see if I can, in fact, get my butt to grow into the couch. Bonus points if there’s a marathon of “How It’s Made” or “Rehab Addict” on TV. There’s also a good chance that anything left over on Tuesday that hasn’t been sorted will just get dumped into the big trash can on the carport. I’m that ready to be done with this.

  17. Need a New Name (formerly Mander)*

    Sort-of a work related mini-rant. Background: for tedious reasons my DH and I have two homes on opposite ends of the country. I went to visit our “main house” last week to pick up some stuff, tidy up the garden, etc. While packing I considered bringing a nice summer dress and a pair of formal shoes but decided not to as I’m not currently working and hadn’t heard anything from my multiple office job applications after a month. My “regular” job involves safety boots and hard hats so cute little dresses and heels are not needed.

    Of course, half an hour after getting on the train I got an email from the job that I wanted the most, inviting me to an interview. Now I am scrambling to find something appropriate to wear because all of my work-appropriate summer stuff is at the other house. It’s become very warm here this week so black dress, black tights, and boots would be unbearable. The dress and shoes I decided not to bring would have been perfect, but everything in the shops around here seems universally awful. Argh!!

    1. Colette*

      Needing to buy clothes always seems to make the decent ones disappear. Do you have friends/family you could borrow something from? Can you throw yourself on the mercy of a salesperson?

      1. Need a New Name (formerly Mander)*

        Alas, no, to the first one, and I have yet to see anything in any of the shops I’ve visited that I would be tempted to buy at any price. Everything looks awful or uncomfortable to me! Especially the shoes. I can either get paper-thin flat sandals or ridiculous sky-high heels that I can’t walk in, it seems. I’ve been having this problem for a few years though…

    2. Sled dog mama*

      Any chance your spouse could mail you an outfit? It probably wouldn’t cost as much as a new interview outfit.

    3. Call me St. Vincent*

      Can you use Rent the Runway? They have interview appropriate stuff. I use them all the time for special events.

      1. Need a New Name (formerly Mander)*

        Do they exist in the UK? I probably wouldn’t have had time to arrange it in any case.

        But I was really just venting. I ordered two dresses online and went to pick them up plus did some frantic shoe shopping yesterday afternoon. I managed to find some decent shoes, and one of the dresses is fine. But after modelling everything for my husband, he greatly preferred something I already had in the flat all along!! D’oh.

        I was really freaking because it has been so incredibly hot here and I have been dripping with sweat constantly. Not a very good look. Fortunately it’s not supposed to be so warm tomorrow so my panic was mostly for nothing. Le sigh. Oh well, at least one of the dresses is quite cute, though a bit too tight to be interview wear, and I found a pair of decent leather shoes for £11.

        1. Call me St. Vincent*

          Apparently not! I did a google search and it looks like there are some UK based similar sites. I found one called Girl Meets Dress and then there’s another called Hire the Catwalk. I have no experience with either unfortunately but I’m glad it worked out that you had something in your closet already!

  18. CatCat*

    I’ve never been to Denver and I am going soon. Anyone have recommendations for fun things to check out in the city? It’s not a very long trip. I like museums of all kinds!

    1. SophieChotek*

      The Denver Art Museum is good.
      The Denver Center for the Performing Arts tends to do very good theater performances (I think they bring in touring shows but they also have their own local theater company that brings actors and directors from around the US). Estes Park isn’t super far from Denver if you want to go hiking.

    2. Sabine the Very Mean*

      Okay then def Denver Art Museum. Amazing. Red Rocks amphitheater w a concert or not. Confluence Park = good restaurants. Prepare for weed everywhere but nice people not total burnouts.

    3. Need a New Name (formerly Mander)*

      Do you like plants? The Botanic Gardens are nice, though a bit out of the way if you’re staying downtown and don’t have a car.

    4. Girasol*

      I love the Denver Museum of Natural History. They have a lot of mammoth and dinosaur fossils and an amazing collection of gems and minerals as well as some other temporary and permanent displays. I used to love to get lunch in the sunlit gallery by the snack shop.

    5. Max Kitty*

      The History Colorado center is practically across the street from the Denver Art Museum. Right now the two museums are collaborating on a Western American art exhibit.

      The Art Museum is also collaborating with the Clyfford Still Museum (right next door to it) on an exhibition about Still and contemporary American artist Mark Bradford.

      The Molly Brown house is near downtown.

      The Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science are both at City Park, just east of downtown. The Zoo has a new exhibit for its tigers. The DMNS has a Viking exhibit currently.

      The Botanic Gardens is south of City Park (a bit southeast of downtown). This summer it’s featuring sculptures by Alexander Calder.

      There is a museum of contemporary art downtown that can be interesting. Also the Denver Mint does tours and the Colorado capitol building is open during the week.

      Red Rocks Amphitheatre (near Golden, west of Denver) is open during the day (lots of people go to exercise up and down the stairs and the seats).

    6. NaoNao*

      It’s a bit off the beaten path, but you can also check out the RiNO (River North) art district. It’s really cool, funky, and gritty. There’s a restaurant row (on Larimer street) and a really awesome food hall called Denver Central Market.

    7. Parenthetically*

      If you’re flying in, take the train in to Union Station and then have a cocktail at the bar! It’s a gorgeous historic train station and the neighborhood around it is extremely walkable.

    8. Mephyle*

      Are you into book stores? Denver has the Tattered Cover. I haven’t been there, but it’s famous enough that as soon as you mentioned Denver I remembered it from my “if I ever visit” list.

      1. K.*

        The Tattered Cover is AMAZING. I could have spent all day there – as it was, we were there for hours before my then-4-year-old “niece” (best friend’s daughter) needed to move on (thankfully she loves books).

  19. Kept in the dark*

    I just found out of my cousins has been involuntarily committed. My family has only shared a few details with me. I knew he’d been having some problems that prompted him to move back in with his parents after college but I didn’t realize how bad it was. Didn’t even know he’d been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder until this weekend. He apparently had a breakdown so bad at his therapist’s office that they had to call hospital security and then the police to handcuff him and take him to be committed.

    My family generally hides and tries to shelter the ‘kids’ (myself, my siblings, cousins around our age) from family health issues, even though us on the ‘kid’ level are in our mid-late 20’s. So I don’t actually know what goes into be committed, what will happen to him, and how he’ll be allowed to leave. And that’s not info my family is sharing. Has anyone else been through this that can give me some idea of what’s to come? And any ideas on how to get my family to let us know about these things? My parents didn’t even tell me when my beither was having a major surgery for a sports injury, I had to find out from Facebook!

    1. Colette*

      I can’t speak for everywhere, but there are laws that control how long someone can be committed against their will. So your cousin might be held for 72 hours while they get him stabilized and then released, for example.

    2. Temperance*

      FWIW, your cousin might not want the entire extended family knowing his business like this, which might be why they didn’t broadcast to the whole family. It can be embarrassing, and if he’s deep in the throes of psychosis and serious symptoms, he might really want some privacy.

      There is no easy answer here. Very likely, your cousin will be released within 72 hours, because the standard to keep someone longer than that is incredibly high. It’s going to be a long road for him to get stable. I think people sharing information about his issues probably won’t be helpful, TBH, if he finds out about it.

      I don’t tend to share personal health information with anyone, to the point where I told my husband that he was not allowed to tell my mother about a serious illness that I had. I find the whole “family must know everything” to be really strange, but I think I’m in the minority.

      1. katamia*

        This. I’m comfortable with my parents knowing all my business, but my second cousins I’ve seen once or twice in the last ten years? If I were involuntarily committed or had something similar happen, I wouldn’t want them to know even though we’re friendly and they’re nice people. And my mom would respect that even though she’s pretty close to their parents.

    3. PatPat*

      I deal with involuntary commitments in my job. People are generally released in 72 hours but sometimes stay longer if the hospital feels they aren’t stable enough to leave. The treating psychiatrist in the hospital will diagnose them and prescribe medication if appropriate then recommend they follow up with an outside psychiatrist once they’re released. It shouldn’t be a bad experience at the hospital. The kids I work with find the process of being what in my state is called Baker Acted more traumatic than the hospital stay because many times the police are involved in transporting them to the hospital.

      Your cousin will probably appreciate no one bringing it up once he’s released because it’s embarrassing. If he wants to talk about it he’ll bring it up.

      The main problem I encounter in my job after someone has been Baker Acted is the kid doesn’t want to take his medications since some psychiatric illnesses, like bipolar disorder, can feel good to the patient so they don’t see the need for meds.

    4. dr_silverware*

      What’s to come: it probably won’t be his last inpatient stay. He might go to a day program after he gets out of the hospital.

      How to get in on the “adult” news loop is going to depend on what the system looks like for getting news out in the family and organizing support. For instance, if your mom is someone who tends to be a news nexus and a casserole-maker, you can go to her and say, “Mom, can you keep me more up to date with family news like my cousin’s hospital stay? I want to be able to send care packages,” signaling that you’re interested in moving into the family’s “adult” circle and ready for the responsibility.

    5. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      My empathies on not being told things that are happening with your immediate family, at least. That’s a tough nut I’ve never been able to crack with my own family and it frustrates me to no end. Sometimes I have to call and ask specific questions like: Has anyone needed to go to the doctor (note, not just “did they go” because some of them will need and refuse to go), has anyone been hospitalized or broken anything?, etc. It feels completely silly but yet I can’t get them to see that it’s really worrying not to know when bad things happen.

      As to the cousin level, I can understand that they wouldn’t share that information widely. There’s so much stigma around mental illness, it’s harder to share when someone is going through crisis. As the family member of someone with MI, I am both stressed and deeply embarrassed by the chaos caused when that family member causes harm to others and refuses treatment because it feels so out of anyone’s control. The shame/embarrassment isn’t really fair, but for me, it’s linked to the feeling that I’m responsible for cleaning up after this person and minimizing damage when I truly have no control over their choices and actions. I don’t know how else to feel, other than embarrassed and frustrated.

      1. Temperance*

        FWIW, I find it unfair that you feel shame and embarrassment because of your family member’s actions. I can really relate to those feelings, though, especially if you are the one who is responsible for cleaning up their mess. It’s doubly true if you are the one who ends up taking the blame.

        1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

          Unfair to family member or for me?

          It’s this weird cycle of knowing I feel shame over it but also feeling like being ashamed of their actions is somehow judgey and wrong of me. Simply cannot win.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I think I had my own version of what you are talking about.

            Something was wrong with my mother and my father refused to discuss it with me. For YEARS! It was epic, it shaped parts of me into the person I am today, because it was that big.

            I was embarrassed by the secrecy.
            I was embarrassed by not being able to explain what was going on when people asked.
            I felt somehow I had ceased being a member of the family, again, embarrassed by that.
            People did not help by hinting that her illness was a show of weakness on her part which any show of weakness is unacceptable. (DUH! Illness is weakness in the body. And most of us will have our turn will some type of illness. Narrow thinking drives me nuts.)
            Then there were the people who said I was a rotten daughter because I did not do enough to take care of her. (Let’s see. I am not allowed to know what is wrong, what is being done, what the prognosis is and yet I am supposed to give care? How does that work?)
            And this skips huge parts of the story where I had been working around her illness for over a decade, I already knew all her symptoms. No one tried to comfort me. That was so weird. It was all either secrecy or blame game.

            So. It took years to sort this and here are a few of my conclusions:

            1) People who do not share what is going with a family member SOMETIMES do so because their comprehension of the problem is so extremely poor that they are not able to explain it to anyone. It is embarrassing to them to explain because then we would know just how much they do not understand.

            2) Denial is a powerful emotion. Denial also shuts down conversations. “Nope, there is no problem here.” or “What? She drove her car into a tree for the fourth time this month and you think that is a problem? Well, I don’t know where you got the idea she has done this four times. That did not happen that way.”

            3) Fear. People can become very afraid for their person and sometimes, in turn, afraid for their own well being. “OMG, this could happen to me!” People in fear clam right up.

            4) Distancing. In my case, I had a rough relationship with my mother for most of my life. If I could have learned more about what was going on with her it might have helped me to put some of my own tears to rest. Instead it felt like my family had abandoned me yet again.
            The reason for the distancing was, in my father’s mind, to protect me. So I could go forth and establish a life. Learning this was NOT helpful, it verified how huge the initial disconnect was. He had no idea the extent and depth of the problems there.

            I ended up embarrassed by everything. I was embarrassed she was so ill, I was embarrassed that my family hid it, I was embarrassed by all the tsk, tsk, tsk that went on. Wait. I have 37 more things that I was embarrassed about…. Embarrassment became a full time job for me.

            This is what happens when we feel powerless.
            Let me say this again, this is what loss of power looks like and feels like.

            I vowed to live my life in direct opposition to what my family did. I tend to be open most times and there are not a lot of subjects I run away from. I think there is one thing more scary than confronting a difficult issue and that is NOT confronting it. I learned that when people say, “I think I have a problem…” they have just solved 50% of their problem by reaching out. Isolation makes problems grow exponentially.

            Take back your power:
            Read relevant articles. At least teach yourself so you have a general idea of what is going on and what might come up next.
            Find people who will talk with you. They are out there and they do not mind talking. Look for them.
            Understand that we cannot help people who won’t let us help them. Vow to be a person who does accept help or barest minimum a person who does listen to advice from others. Chose to listen to others whose opinions you respect.
            Continue to build your life as best you can.

            I hope something here calms the whirlwind in some small way. It is a whirlwind. All we can do is control how we respond to it. We can decide to let it shape us in good ways. One thing I decided was I would try to be willing to talk with anyone about anything they wanted to talk over because, above all else,the scariest thing is secrecy and silence.

    6. Jen*

      YES. It was my sister. My parents flew across the country, stayed with her/near her in the hospital for a *week* and called me when they were in their way home. I was fuming mad; I wasn’t a kid. I was a 28 year old married adult. My sister and I are really close.

      She was at home and started hallucinating/acting like she was tripping on acid, which she was not. Her boyfriend and roommate took her to the hospital where she was put in the psych ward. She was transferred to a better hospital where she was also in the (slightly less terrifying) psych ward for 2 weeks. She was discharged with a dx of bipolar, extreme alcoholism, and possibly schizophrenia. My dad and her boyfriend packed up her things and they flew her to my parents house across the country to recover. Boyfriend wrapped up work, leased the apartment, and followed a few weeks later.

      Anyway, that was about 5 years ago. She is stable, has been sober for 4 years (there was a LOT of denial on her part- and frankly, shock on our part (close family, friends, boyfriend) to learn how badly she abused alcohol- we had no idea. Like, vodka bottles in her purse, under her bed, in her car bad. We knew she drank and partied and stuff, but she was 23- that’s not anything I didn’t do at that age!).

      For the first 4-6 months, she was a totally different person. She doesn’t really remember that time. she truely had a mental break. Remembers nothing about the days leading up to the hospital or afterwards. Doesn’t remember details about living with my parents for the first month or so. She went to AA, my parents went to Al Anon, she went to intensive outpatient therapy. She struggled to stay sober (she came to visit my new baby and I walked in on her pouring liquor from our cabinet into her soda can…). She eventually made peace with sobriety, found non-alcohol hobbies, got a job and made a life plan. She’s lucky in that while she still gets fairly major bouts of depression, she isn’t suicidal or reverting back to alcohol.

      We didn’t tell the extended family anything. It’s weird. Random tips:
      – avoid drinking around your cousin. May or may not be at play, but err in the side of caution.
      – Long term, if your cousin ever had kids, do NOT ask about b-feeding. It’s not possible while on the cocktail of drugs my sister is on and she’s super sensitive about it.
      – expect her to act differently; she may or may not remember things as they tweak her meds. – this is a time for support, and healing, not advice. I learned this the hard way as I’m a planner and a do-er. I wanted to help piece her life together and Make A Plan. She needed soft blankets, trashy TV and no expectations or judgement. She did need laxatives because her drugs made her constipated, so I could at least help with that ;).

  20. Fictional Butt*

    Need some general friendship advice, for making friends with people I don’t naturally see all the time (at work/school/through other friends/etc). I’m good at the very first stages of making friends: meeting someone, getting friendly with them, inviting them to do something once or twice. Then I get busy and distracted and all of a sudden it’s 6 months later and I feel weird trying to “rekindle” the friendship when we never really developed a close friendship in the first place! One technique I’ve come up with to fix this is setting a reminder on my phone, so a week or two after we hang out the first time I will remember to text them or invite them to hang out again. Any other ideas?

    1. Colette*

      Theres nothing wrong with have casual friends you see every six months, if you’re both happy with that. But if you want to see them more often, one option would be to commit to a regular activity together – sign up for a cooking class, or make plans to go for a walk every Thursday, or whatever. Force yourselves to see each other more often for a couple of months.

      1. Felicia*

        Adding to That, I have friends I mostly see for certain things… like one friend I see when I want to do outdoor activities, another I see when there’s a festival in our city, another I go to musicals with. It helps because I’m like I want to do X thing, i should contact the person I usually do X thing with.

    2. Aussie academic*

      I chat to friends on my commute; it’s an easy way for us to keep in touch when we’re all crazy busy with work/family/hobbies/whatever. One friend is an early bird so we chat on the way into work, and another drives home at the same time I do so we call each other and chat for the drive time. It also is a low-pressure way to stay in touch as it’s time limited; we hang up when one of us gets to their street.

  21. Chocolate Teapot*

    This week’s book recommendation “The Painted Veil” was interestingly, one where I saw the film (Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber) several years before reading the book.

    I thought it was good, but it appeared to be one of those occasions when the adaptation has steered away from the source.

    1. Lady Jay*

      Ooo, funny story about the movie. Years back I was in Germany for the summer and listening to two people, one who natively spoke German and the other who didn’t, talk about this movie, in English. The German speaker recommended the movie to the other, but she couldn’t pronounce the “V” sound correctly, so what she actually said was, “Yes, you must watch the Painted Whale.”

      1. Myrin*

        Tangent that has nothing to do with the book/movie but that your comment reminded me of: As a German, I’ve always found it super weird that an English-speaking person mimicking a German person speaking English (got it?) will generally make every “w” into a “v” when in fact, most Germans have no idea that a “v” sound even exists in English and will always use the “w” (just like the person in your example). It’s like the other side of the same coin, where the English “w” is a sound that doesn’t exist in German and is ~very English~, therefore it must be everywhere.

        1. Turtlewings*

          Wait, what? Why would German-speakers not know English has a V sound? Why wouldn’t it?

          1. Myrin*

            I guess it’s precisely because of that “other side of the coin” thing I mentioned – when we first learn English, it gets hammered into our brains that the English /w/ doesn’t sound like the German /w/ (which sounds like the English /v/). It’s a foreign sound and we have to learn it (it’s also typically how you can easily identify a native English speaker who speaks German) and get so swept up in it that the “v” sounds – which are just not as present as the “w” sounds – kind of fall by the wayside. People generally seem to think that the sound a German /w/ makes – which is the same as the English /v/ – doesn’t exist in English at all, not just that it’s not expressed by the same letter.

            I also know that I never actually learned about it. I distinctly remember my eighth grade English teacher telling us to practise how to pronunce “viking” and that people had a suuuper hard time with it and many couldn’t do it (which is insane – it’s literally the same sound as our /w/!), but I don’t think he explicitly said that all /v/s are pronunced that way; I know that it very much seemed liked an outlier to me at that time.

            (And as for “why wouldn’t it”, I mean, why would it? All kinds of sounds exist in one language and not another and it’s not like you – especially kids who are just starting out learning a language – could just intuit that.)

          2. all aboard the anon train*

            Not a German example, but in Polish there’s no “v” in the alphabet. My grandparents had a hard time learning English words with “v” because the English “v” sound is the “w” in Polish (and the Polish “w” is sometimes pronounced as the English “v” or “f”), so they didn’t know what to do with words like “victory” or “violin”. It wasn’t that the sound didn’t exist, it was just that the letter wasn’t part of their alphabet and they associated the “v” wound with a different letter.

        2. all aboard the anon train*

          It’s similar for Polish. I know that tripped me up when I was learning the language, as did the “dz”, “cz” and “sz” sounds, since I had learned the English alphabet first and “z” isn’t commonly used in English, whereas it’s very frequent in Polish. I’m sure my accent sounds very “native English speaker who also speaks Polish” because of it.

          My last name beings in “w” and ends in “ł”, and a lot of people are confused that those letters are pronounced differently in Polish and English. English speakers assume it’s their “w” and “l”, but in Polish “w” and “ł” are pronounced like the English “v” and “w”. It baffles me that some people don’t understand that the same sounds exist in Latin based languages, but they’re sometimes associated with different letters because the alphabets differ.

          I’m always a bit sad that my last name was Anglicized when my grandparents came over to the U.S., and that even now there are people who refuse to pronounce it the way I say it and default to the English pronunciation of the letters.

        3. Lady Jay*

          This is cool and probably explains that mixup, Veil/Whale. I’ve wondered, because I *know* Germans speak the V sound (heck, my best friend has a German last name that starts with V!). Thanks for sharing.

          1. Myrin*

            It’s really fascinating, isn’t it? (Then of course it’s probably not all that fascinating but easily explained by that we just never really learn about it [or it least I didn’t, maybe it’s different for pupils today]. There are so many sounds in English that we don’t have and we learn about them just fine – this is a weird outlier.) If your friend’s name actually starts with the letter “V”, it’s probably pronunced like “f”, but if it’s pronunced like your English “v”, it almost certainly starts with a “W”.

        4. Julia*

          Hm? I guess it’s because we (or well, I hope I don’t anymore – my linguistics prof says I don’t) pronounce v and w the same. So, Painted Veil or Painted Whale, it could be either. Or, more precisely, the German “w” in wer, wie, was, for example, does not sound exactly like the English w, but a bit like the v.

  22. SophieChotek*

    Phantom of the Opera – the “New” Production???

    Has anyone seen it? I remember reading it was supposed to be a bit “grittier” or something? I saw a brief clip on TV of Christine and Phantom running down a turning staircase, instead of the big bridge that spans the stage and goes up and down in the original.

    I saw the “original” three times as it has toured and of course love the Royal Albert Hall 25th anniversary performance that you can get on DVD.

    The “new” POTO is coming to town this fall and I want to know if it’s worth seeing? I’m really only interested if the sets or something is substantially changed/interesting otherwise it’s too expensive for me to just go.

    (Like I saw the “revival” of Les Miz on Broadway that was touted as being smaller/more intimate, etc. Honestly I just thought it was stripped down for no good reason and I missed the big sets, etc. and it still cost the same.)


    1. CatCat*

      I just saw the show on tour last weekend and really enjoyed it. Assuming this was the “new” one, it was pretty much as I remembered it for the story. IDK what would have made it grittier… Phantom was not cartoonish in “Masquerade,” I suppose . There were differences in the sets from when I’ve seen it in the past and I thought the sets were impressive (but not necessarily more impressive than in past shows.)

    2. atexit8*

      The tour and the Broadway show are different.
      The Phanatics do not like the tour very much.
      I follow a Broadway show message board, and people who have seen both have commented thus.

    3. Clever Girl*

      I saw it Easter weekend and loved it! Don’t know about grittier but I felt like something was different in it. The Phantom (or maybe the actor) seemed darker and more stalker-ish. It was my second time seeing it.

  23. Ramona Flowers*

    16 days smoke-free. I’m pretty proud of myself although it’s been weirdly easy this time compared to past attempts, not that I’m complaining.

    I always thought it would be better to quit in the winter when it’s horrible going outside (and I’ve always crumbled when something stressful happened as I’d use that as an excuse to have a smoke). Turns out summer weather is better as you can sit outside and eat ice lollies. The walk to the station after work when I’d have a cigarette? Ice lolly.

    Now I just need to wean myself off the ice lollies and I’ll be good!

    1. Liane*

      Good for you! What are ice lollies? Just the name sounds tasty.
      (My dad’s go to cigarette substitute when he quit in the 70s was starlight peppermint candies.)

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Thank you! I forgot ice lollies = Britishism. I think you might call them popsicles.

        1. Liane*

          I thought it might be something like popsicles, which is one of those brand names that gets used for the item regardless of maker.

    2. WG*

      Good for you! Maybe the fact that it seems easier this time means that you’re really ready this time. I know I quit lots of time because I knew intellectually that smoking is bad for my health. But I wasn’t successful until I was mentally ready to really be done with cigarettes for good for my own reasons and not because of what I’d read or heard.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        I think it’s exactly as you say here – but I didn’t know I was ready until I looked back and found I really did seem to be. It’s like I decided to feel ready and then I was.

    3. Cristina in England*

      Congrats! Well done.

      What are your favourite ice lollies? I have three kinds in my freezer right now:
      The striped kids ones (Robertsons or Robinsons, maybe?), Tesco Finest Valencia Orange Juice ice lollies, and knock-off mini Magnums from Iceland in milk and white chocolate (£2 for a pack of ten). I don’t live very near my local Aldi so I haven’t seen their boozy ones, I think they have a gin and tonic one, 4% alcohol. On my list to try.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Thanks! I’ve always loved Fabs, Twisters and Mini Milks. I also just got some stripey Fruit Pastilles ones to try. And on the walk from work to the station, it’s usually a mint Cornetto.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I had to use Chantix. What took forever was breaking the habit of going outside after dinner and smoking. Even when I wasn’t getting anything from the cigs, I was still sitting out there for a good week after they said I would stop!

      I do not regret quitting at all. Though I am an addict so I have to avoid dating anybody who smokes (I’d be right back on it).

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        God, I know what you mean about the after dinner smoke!

        I quit successfully on chantix but then started again. Not this time!!!!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I’ve been smoke-free for ten years (? I think). Sometimes I can imagine having a cigarette, but I probably wouldn’t unless we have a worldwide nuclear war and we’re all going to slowly die of radiation poisoning anyway. Or a comet is coming or something.

  24. Lily Evans*

    I vented about my apartment hunt a couple weeks ago, and I’m excited because I’m pretty sure I’ve found a place! I still have to do the official paper work, but the roommates who I’d be living with picked me. I won’t be completely relieved until I’ve signed a lease, but it’s really nice to be headed in that direction. I’m just so at the BEC stage wiht everything about my current living situation, so I’m really hoping this one works out well.

      1. Lily Evans*

        College roommates were definitely tough since all of mine involved sharing an actual room. Having your own room and sharing the rest of the space should, in theory, be better as long as you have good roommates who clean up after themselves! It’s definitely a take what you want and pay for it situation, though. I want to live in a high COL city, so I pay for it by having to live with other people.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Ha me too and then when I lived in California, I roomed with a friend of mine. He ran up the cable bill and then got behind on his part of the rent. The landlord said I could find a new roommate, but I didn’t know who to ask, so I ended up moving out. :P

  25. Lady Jay*

    I’ve been trying online dating off & on for a few months. Some people leave the *oddest* messages, but my favourite so far is the first-time message that only asked, “What do you think of our new president?”

    Um, yeah. That’s not a romantic opener, dude. BLOCKBLOCKBLOCK!!

    1. Need a New Name (formerly Mander)*

      On the other hand it could tell you quite a bit about whether you’d get along.

      1. KR*

        That’s my thinking. Personally, I don’t know if I could seriously date someone who didn’t vote the way I did, at least with this election.

        1. K.*

          I explicitly state in my profiles that I will not date anyone who did not vote the way I did. “No [removed for diplomacy’s sake on this blog].” I’ve seen lots of people with similar sentiments (in both directions) in their profiles. It’s a deal-breaker and I want to be clear about that up front. No regrets.

      2. Lady Jay*

        That’s true. It’s just a heckuva opener. I clicked over to the guy’s profile out of curiosity & he was mostly using it to actively promote one of the candidates. So it feels less like an “I want to get to know you” and more “I want to talk about my political opinions”.

        1. Anonymous Educator*

          Yeah, it’s good information to have in maybe a first or second conversation, but as an opening line…?

      1. Ange*

        Yes, it’s sometimes good for them to out themselves as a waste of time straight away – like the ones who start by negging or spelling out an explicit sexual fantasy in their first message.

        1. nep*

          I was thinking in this case an interesting filter on the part of the person putting it out there. Perhaps a political persuasion is the deal maker or breaker and he wants to know right off. (Not that it’s attractive in any way — just effective, perhaps, if that means so much to someone.)

    2. Detective Amy Santiago*

      On the upside, at least you didn’t waste any time if you don’t have similar political opinions. We seem to be living in extremely polarized times right now and I think it would be difficult to build a relationship with someone who didn’t share your core values.

    3. SeekingBetter*

      I’m scared of getting pointless and off-topic messages like this. But then again, at least I’ll know which side he’s on politically.

  26. Ophelia Bumblesmoop*

    It’s been just over two weeks from tonsillectomy. Whew. It was bad. Really bad. The first week was almost perfectly fine and tolerable, but days 7-12 were nothing short of hell.

    On day 6 I had an allergic reaction to my antibiotic so my doctor switched me to a different kind. On day 9, I reacted to the new antibiotic by developing extremely painful mouth sores that prevented me from drinking. I spent days 9-10 begging my husband to take me to the hospital for IV hydration and pain management, but he made me tough it (wisely). I stopped the new antibiotic and the mouth sores cleared up almost overnight, allowing me to drink again. I got very nauseous and vomited day 12, but it was probably the best thing that could have happened – it cleared out all the build up and I was able to drink and even eat.

    All said I lost almost 10lbs and am starting to finally feel really good. I can eat regular foods again. The only thing I’ve not gone back to is soda. I’ve a major soda addiction that I’m really trying to break.

    1. Former Employee*

      I feel your pain. I had surgery in my mouth (partial removal of tongue and lasering of floor of mouth, luckily all on same side). Right afterwards, I felt pretty good because the area stayed numb for several days. Then, the stuff began to wear off. The pain was excruciating and all I could take was Tylenol. Unfortunately, I can’t take narcotic pain meds as they make me sick. I am always asked by medical staff if all of them make me sick. How would I know – it’s not like I’ve tried every single one of them! All I know is that anything I’ve tried has made me sick. (Muscle relaxants also make me sick.) I did not have to take oral antibiotics – they gave me rounds of IV antibiotics in the hospital – which was good because I have trouble with them due to an intestinal condition. I am doing better now at the 2 1/2 week mark. I only found out after surgery that 1. The first 10 days are the worst and 2. It can take 6+ weeks for the swelling to go away completely. In retrospect, it’s probably just as well that I didn’t know this going in and I’m usually the one who wants to know everything, up to and including the kind of stuff that is in the MD’s notes.

      1. Ophelia Bumblesmoop*

        I can’t take narcotics either. I’m allergic to penicillin and reacted first to cipro then biaxin. Hell!

    2. Kit*

      I had a tonsillectomy when I was 22. Went okay until day 12 when my throat ruptured and I came very close to bleeding to death.

      I see now why my doctors wanted to make sure the infection was worse than the cure!

  27. Keladry of Mindelan*

    While we were on vacation for a week, my boyfriend decided not to shave, and now he wants to keep the beard. He’s never had a beard in the 6+ years that we’ve been together, and now that he has one he looks eerily like my ex-boyfriend in high school. It’s kinda weirding me out. I want him to shave because it’s very disconcerting, but he’s so proud of it and wants to keep it and try out this new look! Any one else ever had this problem? It’s very silly, but they really do look so similar it’s scary.

    1. JenM*

      Have you casually mentioned how much like your ex he looks now? Might be weird for him too and he’ll shave!

    2. PatPat*

      My son wears a full beard. He broke up with his girlfriend and her next boyfriend had a full beard just like my son’s and looked similar in other ways. It was very odd. I don’t blame you for not wanting your new boyfriend to look like a clone of your ex. Did you tell him how you feel?

      1. Keladry of Mindelan*

        I haven’t told him yet, as it’s still quite short and he may not decide to keep it. I feel like I’ve made my preference for a clean-shaven face known, but it’s also not my body so I want to be respectful? If he keeps it for another month I think I’ll have to say something. Or maybe I’ll be used to it by then. He’s so happy with it, I don’t want to put a damper on his enjoyment.

    3. Chris*

      I had the same issue, but with a coworker. He looked so much like my abusive ex-boyfriend that ever interaction just put me on edge. I felt bad that when he gave notice my response was relief (if you ever read this IT dude, I’m sorry!)

      I would straight up explain to your boyfriend the problem- it may help for you to know that he knows.
      Brains are weird- good luck!

      1. Keladry of Mindelan*

        Thanks! Brains are weird. My ex isn’t bad, it’s just a little eerie. It was more pronounced when we went to a baseball game last night and he wore a baseball cap for the first time in an extremely long time. The baseball cap + beard just took me back to high school unexpectedly, you know?

      2. Mallory Janis Ian*

        My husband has very few similarities to my ex, but he does one minor thing that reminds me of the ex and is annoying, besides. My ex used to call sandwiches “sammiches” in a way that was a little too cloyingly, ‘Aren’t I being cute?’. And once in a great while, my husband does the same thing! No, I don’t think it’s very cute; and then it’s a nuisance to be looked at as if he’s waiting for me to find it adorable. It just gives me flashbacks to how my ex had that same annoying quirk.

    4. Cristina in England*

      I once went glasses shopping with my husband and I straight-up had to tell him “you can’t buy those ones, you look just like my ex” and we laughed and he did not buy them. Beards are different so it won’t be quite so easy but if it is something you cannot get used to (you might?) then you should say something about how it is weirding you out

  28. Dr. KMnO4*

    Update on bridal showers and wedding:

    I asked a question maybe a month ago about shower/wedding gift etiquette when one is a bridesmaid. Everyone’s responses were helpful, and now that the wedding is a week away I thought I’d give an update.

    I went to the “girls only” shower and brought a gift. It was something small, not from the registry, but something I knew the bride would enjoy. She was very pleased. I didn’t enjoy the bridal shower, but then I wasn’t expecting to, so no big loss there.

    I will be missing the “couples” shower today because of work. Nbd. The bride understands.

    I was talking to the bride a few weeks ago, and she brought up (without me asking) that she doesn’t feel that her bridesmaids need to give her wedding gifts. In her eyes, we’ve done plenty just by agreeing to be in the wedding, and she understands the time and money we’ve had to spend on her wedding. She is just happy that we’re going to be celebrating with her. I still will get her a card, and maybe a framed photo or something as a gift, but the pressure is definitely off to buy a fancy gift.

    Thanks again for the advice!

    1. Anon Accountant*

      I didn’t read your original post but this is lovely. I think a framed photo is nice.

    2. Jessesgirl72*

      And that’s how it’s supposed to be! :) Not every bride is a bridezilla, even ones who are having elaborate weddings.

  29. periwinkle*

    So, the legendary Seattle Freeze is definitely a thing. Not that I’m a terribly social person, but it would be nice to feel some sense of community and to meet people who aren’t my co-workers. I’ve done Meetup and it’s a good way to go do fun stuff (and there is in fact a local group which has tons of events of the “there’s a festival/comedy show/garden tour/etc, let’s go” type). However, that’s not anything sustained.

    The easy response is hey, join a church. I’m an atheist, so nah. Or maybe? Have any atheists/agnostics/otherwise secular types here ever tried out a Universal Unitarian church?

    1. Fictional Butt*

      I wouldn’t describe myself as secular, but I’ve been involved with a few UU churches/communities. Some of them can be kind of formally churchy, but most (in my experience, and in my opinion as a religious person) are very secular. I don’t think a “militant atheist” would feel comfortable there, but if you are looking for a community with a mildly spiritual bent, a UU church is a good bet. I’ve formed some very close friendships through my involvement with UU communities. It’s an especially good choice if you are interested in social justice.

    2. Hellanon*

      Have you tried volunteering for/joining say a local theatre group, historic preservation group, that sort of thing? Here in Los Angeles there’s a large & active historic preservation community, so there’s an Art Deco Society, various conservancies & heritage associations, the Historic Theatre Foundation – all of which are run by interesting people and are generally in need of volunteers to staff events, lead tours, and so on. It’s one good way to meet a variety of folks & if you volunteer, it’s an easy conversation-opener to ask about how the other people you are working with got involved in the organization.

      1. Loopy*

        I’ve found volunteering at something I really find fun is a great way to meet people!!!

    3. Temperance*

      My husband LOVES Seattle and would love to live there, but I keep reminding him of this. We have a few friends who live there and have all reported the same thing, and these are really lovely, kind people.

      They ended up making friends with other transplants, because they felt the freeze, too. FWIW, it’s apparently just considered normal chatter there to suggest getting together, and isn’t actually suggesting that you get together. I find it super weird, as a transplant to Philly, which has an undeservedly bad rep.

      I’m an atheist, and I’ve been told to avoid the UU church here. At least in my neighborhood, it’s primarily Christian and is pretty much a non-denominational Christian church.

    4. KR*

      That’s so interesting – this is the first I’ve ever heard about something like that. I’m from New England so we have something similar going on here – no one makes new friends.

    5. Vicky Austin*

      There are plenty of atheists at UU churches. Large city churches also have a good chance of being pretty active, so it’s worth a try for sure. (Saying this based on my own experiences as an atheist/secular UU). You may even find that there are social/social action stuff you can do with the church, even if you don’t want to go to services.

      1. Vicky Austin*

        I should note that it still isn’t easy to make friends as an adult – but it tends to be easier if you decide a group will be your “community.”

    6. Trixie*

      Can you help host/schedule outings with local group? I bet others would like to see something more active as well. I’m not a church goer either so it’s pretty much meet-up (not active here), group fitness classes/gym, and maybe creative classes or workshops. When I lived in Madison, I would often take evening or weekend classes on these like pottery, cooking, etc. Mostly through community college or University mini-courses. Great way to meet people or see friends on a regular basis. I supposed like a good book club if you can find one.

    7. Natalie*

      I’m a Minnesota native and we apparently have the same problem. My transplant friends have had the best luck making friends with other transplants. There might be transplant-specific meetups that would be fruitful.

      1. Kristen*

        Yep, I was going to say the same thing about Minnesota apparently. I’m also a native and used to work somewhere where there were a lot of transplants, but they didn’t seem to have problems. I think it was that particular environment though. I’ve never lived elsewhere so I’m not sure, but I’m wondering if it’s the usual, “I’m an adult and don’t know where to meet new friends” thing, but since a new city/state is involved the blame is misplaced (if that makes sense).

        1. Natalie*

          I’ve spent some time living in other places, and I know a lot of transplants, and I do think it’s a real thing here. There’s a particular local more of politeness that can read as very standoffish or superficial to people from places where the mores are different. It’s not insurmountable, but it can be hard IMO. Even as a native I’ve struggled to expand my friend group.

        2. LCL*

          You would be amazed at how many people in the Pacific Northwest are from Minnesota. Bunches and bunches.

          1. Natalie*

            As far as I understand, both areas were heavily Scandinavian, and this characteristic is common there, too. But I’ve never lived in Scandinavia so I could be misinformed.

    8. Kit*

      I’m from Vancouver which has a basically identical local culture, and I think you just have to let go of the idea of making friends organically or meeting people out and about. You need to find a way to spend a fun time with the same people on a regular basis, like a class or a sport (church is not a bad idea, but it’s really just the “weekly with the same people” part that’s important. From a native’s perspective, I am super uncomfortable with strangers trying to make conversation unprompted, all of my friends are from school or work or soccer, and I never do social things out of the blue. I still have a very happy social life, though, and I think you’ll find that once you’re in with a Seattlite they’ll be a friend for life.

      1. Rainy, PI*

        I moved to Van from the Midwest and felt a way about how people in Van are for quite a while, but most of them are actually lovely if you are forced by circumstance to interact regularly until they lose their terror of you as a non-Vancouverite. I made my friends in my PhD program and then was, once okayed by a native, slowly moved into their native circles where I made other friends.

        Now I live somewhere else and honestly, I have my boyfriend and our cats, I have my best girlfriends (all of whom live incredibly far away from me) and regular human interaction at work, and I have given up, for the moment, on my attempts to make friends in my current city. I’m sure it’ll happen at some point, but I’ve sort of stopped caring for now.

    9. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I searched for “Seattle Newcomers Club” on Google and came up with a few good hits. Newcomers clubs are great for areas that are socially insular. And go to a few events even if it doesn’t sound like your thing. Maybe you’ll meet other people who don’t fit the club but will fit you. You could also create whatever you’re missing yourself; like a book club, supper club or neighborhood group. Many libraries have book clubs that probably attract a pretty diverse group of people.

      I’m in New England too, and it does take longer to find a place here. I was told by a returning native that it took her 3 years to develop a good social group…and she has kids. So part of the secret is to just keep showing up and putting yourself out there until people realize how cool you are and make room in their lives for you.

    10. Mallows*

      I am also an atheist and have tried several UU churches. I like the social and community involvement they tend to have, but the actual services are too woo for me. Then again I am oddly conservative when it comes to religious music – no drums, no guitars, definitely no praise bands. There are groups of atheists out there who have church-like communities that apparently are called Sunday Assemblies. I’ve just moved to a city that has one and I am going to check it out.

      1. Need a New Name (formerly Mander)*

        I’ve heard of those Sunday Assemblies but I’ve never been to one. Sounds like a cool idea though.

        I’m also with you on the oddly conservative religious music preferences. I’m agnostic at best but I will happily go to church with my family when requested. I just can’t stand the “rock and roll Jesus” types of services. I like old school hymns with their occasional archaic words and a slightly boring preacher, not the overly emotional shouty ones. I guess the slightly dull and low-key services really fits my boring personality better! ;-)

    11. katamia*

      I know atheists and agnostics who are really happy with their local UU churches, but as someone on the atheist/agnostic end of the spectrum, it would never be something I’d feel comfortable with, so I never have.

      I agree with the volunteering suggestion. Also if there’s some kind of class you might want to take (learn a new language, learn how to dance, something like that), that can be a good way to make friends, too.

    12. Rena*

      I’m a Seattle atheist who grew up Christian, and I really like the Shoreline UU church. It’s fairly small and feels like a close church community, but without any of the things that make me super uncomfortable about Christian services.

      I’d also second the regular meetup thing, find a hobby and get in that way. It was board games and game nights for us. It took a year or two, but we’ve slowly built up an awesome collection of friends and frequently feel that we don’t have enough time in a month to see them all.

  30. VeryAnon*

    How do I deal with a SO who gets down (depressed) but turns it on me and makes harshly critical remarks about me to me? Things like ‘it’s your fault our dog barked when startled’ and ‘you loaded the dishwasher wrong’ and often much worse. ‘You ALWAYS do …..’ What do I say?

    1. JenM*

      “Please don’t talk to me like that” and if it continues remove yourself from the situation. As in leave the room. When your SO is in a better place you need to talk to them about how they treat you. And if it continues you need to decide whether you’re ok being with someone who treats you like that.

      1. Anon Accountant*

        +1 to this. Also is your SO open to considering talking to a therapist and addressing this?

        1. Allypopx*

          Yeah this needs to be worked out, possibly professionally. He needs to learn to channel those outbursts better. Depression is no excuse for him to mistreat you.

          My boyfriend and I do well with verbal cues. I can get like this when I’m depressed, and if I cross a line he’ll go “whoa” and I’ll immediately take a deep breath, and apologize, and figure out what I need in that moment (to be alone, to stop the task I’m working on, to get a drink of water, whatever) and take a productive step.

    2. Temperance*

      My husband has some rage issues as a part of his anxiety, and he’ll start doing that. I don’t feel bad telling him that he’s being a jerk to me and he can’t talk to me like that, though. FWIW, he hates that about himself and prefers being called out to acting like a douchebag.

    3. Ramona Flowers*

      That’s not being depressed. That’s being unkind and potentially abusive. Depression might be contributing, but it’s not an excuse.

  31. WellRed*

    Current roommate just left for
    Wedding catering gig at an Indian American wedding. A former roommate is getting married today…in an Indian American wedding. What are the chances there is more than one such wedding in the area today?

    1. Anon Accountant*

      Around here Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend weddings are popular. I think it’s because of the long holiday weekend and because there’s many who are traveling to be there.

  32. Loopy*

    So my boyfriends mother wants to make a super basic video of horses with recorded audio over it.

    I am not technical. She is not technical. I have an iPhone and a MacBook Air. Does anyone know if I can just record the video and import it into imovie then strip the audio and do a voiceover?

    Someone please say it’s that simple!!

    1. KR*

      Yes, it is! I can’t speak to how easy it is with iMovie, but my brief experience has been that it’s a very easy to use program. You can even do the voice over with the iPhone voice recording app. If you’re using your iPhone for a camera, one thing I would say is make sure the camera is held the same way every time (horizontal vs. vertical), try to hold it very steady, and record the voice over in a quiet room with no wind noise and your mouth the same distance away from the phone at all times.

      1. Loopy*

        Ah thanks! That’s a relief! It is just a for-fun project and I was hoping I could minimize using nay other apps/software or making it complicated. I was going to use the iPhone for the video and just import it on my mac to work on the audio parts and editing on a bigger screen.

        This makes me so happy to hear iMovie is easy peeasy. That’s about the level we need!

        1. Jules the First*

          If iMovie proves too tricky, Adobe Spark has an online editor (including a free version) which will let you sync audio and video – especially handy if you have to stitch together multiple video segments.

  33. Anon Accountant*

    Shameless bragging and patting self on the back. This week I paid off my student loans in full. I graduated December 2005 with loans from 2 colleges and $22,000 in debt.

    It was a struggle at times to make those payments but this week I made the final payment. Tax refunds, overtime pay, it all went to my debts. Plus a substantial medical bill was paid in full this week. Best things that have happened in a while!

    1. Amadeo*

      Congratulations! I cannot wait until I can say that I’ve also done this. I graduated in 2008 with about $26k in debt, I’ve got it whittled down to almost half that (one was a Sallie Mae loan, fortunately small enough that I could get rid of it rapidly), the rest is in a federal loan. I want to know what it feels like to have only the truck payment as debt again!

      1. Anon Accountant*

        You can do it! You are halfway there. Thankfully the Federal interest rates aren’t too bad.

    2. MindOverMoneyChick*

      Congrats! That’s awesome. I remember how happy I was to pay off mine and I love hearing stories like this. You will be amazed at how much you will be able to save now, too. Being debt free is the best.

      1. Anon Accountant*

        I can’t wait to save some cash each month to have a larger emergency fund and save for a house, etc.

        I love reading money and savings blogs and can’t wait to sock away cash each month now.

    3. atexit8*


      Now, contribute in full up to the company match in your 401(k).
      If you don’t have one, contribute $5K to your Roth IRA.
      Save. Save.

      And get and read the book The Bogleheads’ Guide To Investing.
      I wish I had read that in my 20s.

      1. Anon Accountant*

        I definitely plan to! I’ve been putting a little into a Roth IRA but want to increase that. Thanks for the book recommendation. I’ll have to check that out.

    4. Raia*

      Congratulations! My plan is to smash my $58,000 in 5 years. So far I’m 1.25 years down and $15,000 paid! Interest means my debt is only down to $46,000 though.

      1. Anon Accountant*

        That’s a great accomplishment though. It’s a great goal and you definitely can do it. The next 3.5 years will go fast and it’ll be great when you have those paid off.

    5. Zathras*

      That’s awesome, congrats! I am eagerly looking forward to the day I can say this too, I’m still about 1.5 to 2 years out.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      Congrats! I’m jealous–unless I win the lottery or get an insane book deal, I’ll die before anything is even close to being down to five figures.

    7. Mischa*

      Congrats! It’s such an amazing feeling to have that debt gone. I’ve paid off about $8,000 on my car (on a very limited budget!) since January. It’ll be paid off in June. So, so excited.

    8. kittymommy*

      That’s awesome!! Good for you. I raise a glass of wine to you and your accomplishment.

      (Little jealous. Out of grad school in 2006, out of work for 3 years and $70,000 in student loan debt. I will die with this stuff!!)

  34. Dinosaur*

    Does anyone have any yoga instruction video recommendations for people with chronic illness/pain disorders? I want to be more active and regain some strength and flexibility, but most of the poses I see in videos aren’t possible for me right now. I’ve enjoyed the “beginners and seniors” videos from The Mat Project on YouTube, if that helps for recommendations.

    1. Lady Kelvin*

      Check out doyogawithme .com they have hundreds of yoga videos of various lengths, difficulties and focuses. You can probably find a few there for people recovering from pain or with cronic pain. Oh and it’s free.

    2. Call me St. Vincent*

      You can try yogaglo.com they are all really amazing world-renowned teachers out of a studio in LA. They have a lot of restorative on there that would probably be helpful and they specify which classes are for people with which injury. I believe it is $18 a month for unlimited streaming classes.

    3. FDCA In Canada*

      Yoga With Adrienne has a million beginner videos, and she’s usually very good about offering options and variations for those who can’t manage a pose for whatever reason. She has series devoted to healing, beginners, winding-down, and I think she even has some that can be done seated in a chair.

      1. Cookie D'oh*

        Second Yoga with Adrienne. I’m just starting out trying yoga and she’s got lots of different videos. I’ve created a playlist in YouTube to save my favorites.

    4. StrikingFalcon*

      I have an app called Yoga Studio that has a set of exercises specifically for back pain. They’ve been amazing for the arthritis in my back. I also like that the app has a lot of really short workouts (10, 15, 20 minutes) I could use to get started, because for various reasons I had almost no muscle tone at all when I started and an hour long session was completely beyond me. The other thing I like is that you can make your own workouts, so if there are poses I can’t do, I can duplicate one of their pre-made classes and swap that pose for something that works for me. It costs a few dollars, but I found it well worth it.

    5. kewlm0m*

      Peggy Cappy has yoga dvds specifically targeted to people with heart issues, arthritis, senior citizens, etc. I was able to check them out from the library before deciding to buy. https://peggycappy.com/

  35. Orlando*

    He takes his wife to a cholera-infested region in response to her cheating? That’s a tad disproportionate, no?


      1. Orlando*

        So, I read the summary (because I found your “…yeah” intriguing). The book sounds seriously amazing, especially in regards to character development. Thank you for recommending it.

        1. Rikki Tikki Tarantula*

          The book is very good, and the movie adaptation with Edward Norton and Naomi Watts is quite good as well.

  36. Sophie*

    I was in town visiting my mom and was staying with her for a few days. She had to babysit my nephews one day and since I don’t see them much, I stuck around to help out.

    The next morning my brother-in-law called and my mom was sleeping, so I answered. He wanted to know what the boys ate and drank because they were “cranky” and had diaper rashes. He claimed the youngest was walking funny because he was in pain and demanded that I list all of the food/drinks they were given. I informed him of what I knew that they drank, but told him that I was not the one in charge of feedings/meals/etc. Yes, I was around, but they were not left in my care only. I was washing dishes, taking out dirty diapers, watching that no one got hurt, feeding the cat, etc.

    He then proceeded to tell me that he doesn’t want them to be given fruit, he’s not there to monitor what they eat, etc. and then at the end of the conversation I received a patronizing, “Thank you, Sophie”

    I understand the situation and feel bad that the boys may not feel well, but it really caught me off guard. I know that I was just on the receiving end- if anyone else picked up that phone, they would also get that, but it was slightly upsetting because I was not the person responsible. The kicker is that when my mom called him back, he didn’t speak to her the same way that he spoke to me. Ugh….

    1. Call me St. Vincent*

      I’m so sorry! That isn’t cool. Some parents get so caught up that they forget that the world doesn’t revolve around them and that not everyone can read minds. I’m a parent of a toddler and I can’t imagine expecting someone else to do things “my” way unless I explicitly tell them to do it. If you have a kid with a food issue, you pack your own food. No monday morning quarterbacking after someone did you a favor! Hopefully it was all said in a haze of panic at a kid not feeling well, but I hope he apologizes to you at some point.

      1. Sophie*

        I tried calling her, but she was at work so I wrote her an email and she responded with, “Ok.” Her husband has a temper and flies off the handle- this is not the first incident.

        1. TL -*

          Next time he starts flying off the handle around you, can you just say, “Thanks for letting me know, Frank, but I need to get going. Mom’ll be up in an hour if you need anything else.” and then hang up/leave?

          Just because he wants to be a jerkface does not oblige you to engage.

          1. Sophie*

            I’m proud of myself for at least saying to him, “I wasn’t in charge of that…” and “I was only helping out- I didn’t give them any food.” But it wasn’t enough and I should have either hung up or told him what you wrote.

            1. Orlando*

              You know, I, a random stranger, am reading your message over here, probably in some other country, and I really wish there was some way I could make you be kinder to yourself. :D

              You should feel proud! Firstly, you identified his behaviour as the problem. Not everyone can do that: many people assume they’re the problem instead. This is how abusive relationships happen.

              And then, not only did you recognise problematic behaviour, but you spoke up against it. Okay, you didn’t speak up against it in perfectly fluent, polite-yet-assertive kickass speak. Seriously, that’s 99% of the population. I know that statistic is real, because I just made it up. Most of people think back on situations and make up scripts in hindsight. This is why Alison gets so many letters asking for scripts to use in sticky situations.

              Seriously though, hang in there. It gets better with practice, really.

            2. TL -*

              You did a really great job! Just thought I’d offer you something to work off going forward – I definitely have been caught before with “wow, I wish I hadn’t let that jerk talk to me like that but I didn’t really know what to say/do”

              (Seriously. I had an old lady grab my ass on the subway one day. Do I wish I’d said something? Absolutely. Did I/do I have any idea how to react to that? Heck no.)

    2. LCL*

      BIL isn’t living in this reality. Diaper rash doesn’t develop in one day. It’s possible his family is treating the kids with something and didn’t tell your mom, so their rash got a bit more irritated.

    3. overeducated*

      The time to tell people what your kids can and can’t eat is BEFORE dropping them off. My kid has a food allergy. If he wound up in the hospital because I didn’t tell my mom about it when she babysat, would it be my fault or hers? (Answer: mine.) If I were in your B I L’S shoes and thought the kids were reacting to an unknown food, I would call apologetically to say thank you for watching but can you please give me some details so I can try to pinpoint the problem. Anger is not appropriate.

    4. No, please*

      This is not your fault! Lots of toddlers get 48 hour bouts of diarrhea. He could very easily google the symptoms and follow the instructions. My son had the poops over a weekend, but no fever. You do a baking soda bath for the rash, use cotton balls and water instead of wipes, apply Vaseline after each diaper change, and restrict their diets. It’s not uncommon. Kids get the runs. I know it’s painful for the little ones, (mine walked like his bum hurt) but it’s a fast recovery. Bananas, brown rice, applesauce, toast and yogurt. Worked like a charm. I’m sorry he’s putting it all on you. No one could foresee or prevent the poops.

  37. Awkward neighbor*

    Our driveway is technically in our neighbor’s property. It’s an official easement that goes back as long as the houses have been around. It’s on part of their property that they never use (think: back 20 feet of woods).

    We have to re-do the driveway and want to install a fence. It’ll have to go partly on their property, too.

    I don’t know these neighbors well at all- we are almost an acre apart! And I don’t want them to pay for anything, but I’m pretty sure they will somehow need to be involved in this fence business since it’s technically their land.

    I was planning on calling them up and saying “we found out we need to re do our driveway, and wanted to share our thoughts with you, do you have a few minutes at some point this weekend?” Is that weird? I figured just stopping by could be awkward, and put them on the spot.

    I know I’m overthinking this. But…

    1. Really*

      You might want to consider a land transfer. If there is not a legal easement in their deed this could become a problem if either of you sells.

      1. Awkward neighbor*

        It’s a legal easement on both our deeds, and has been since the homes were built in the 50s. We do all the mowing/plowing etc as it’s functionally our land. Our septic field is in this area as well (on both our deeds it’s a 30′ easement for driveway and septic).

        They can’t transfer/sell it to us because it would of their property under the minimum for zoning in our town. So, sorta stinks for them that they have to pay taxes in it but they always have.

        We only moved in recently but there are some super old unhealthy trees in this area and we are also planning to tell them that they have to come down (per our insurance agent) but of course as it’s functionally our space, we’ll pay. Same with the fence.

        1. Awkward neighbor*

          Oh- and we’ve had a survey done that shows all this stuff, and that’s what we used to draw up the modified driveway layout and fence.

        2. Jerry Vandesic*

          Your insurance requires that the trees on the neighbor’s property need to come down?

          1. Awkward neighbor*

            Yup. There are 2 that apparently are too dead and too close to the house and are hazards. The ins. doesn’t say who has to pay, just that we have to trim or remove the trees or they’ll drop us. We could always switch insurers, I suppose.

      2. Jerry Vandesic*

        If you can’t do a land transfer, you might want to do a long term (99 year) lease that would give you the rights to develop and change the property. The price should be close to what it would cost if you bought the property outright.

    2. Gingerblue*

      I think that makes a lot of sense as an approach. (Especially for a holiday weekend; there’s a good chance that either they’ll have more time han usual or they’ll have plans and dropping by would have been bad.)

    3. J. F.*

      Not at all weird! We talk to our neighbors every time we have to do anything along the property line. “Hey, could we talk about this tree that is hanging on our electric line?” is how they started it last time. (We didn’t really want to cut it down but did anyways, because electric line!) I think mostly people are pretty reasonable about these things. You might need someone to draw up a legal document about who owns the fence and who has responsibility and authority for repair, especially because in some jurisdictions if you let someone use your property for something like a fence without objecting, the fence-havers can (sometimes) make an ownership claim on the land under the fence. (This is true where I live.) Hope it goes well!

    4. Anono-me*

      I would suggest having a game plan before contacting the neighbors; and bring up that you expect to pay for everything early in the initial conversation.

      When my neighbors asked me about building a fence, I contacted my city planner to ask how something like this generally goes and what some of the common speed bumps are. He was very helpful. In addition to educating you on local covenants and codes; most city planners can give you general information, but not specific legal advice. (Of course depending on how complicated your situation is, a legal professional maybe the best way to go.)

    5. Jerry Vandesic*

      It probably depends on what the fence does to their use of their property. The egress gives you access to their property, but doesn’t prevent them from accessing it also. If the fence would block off access to their property, it’s probably going to be a hard sell.

      Couldn’t you put the fence on your property, up to the point of the egress?

      1. Awkward neighbor*

        Not really, because it blocks the garage.

        They don’t use the land, and in fact their property is landscaped in a way (row of bushes and an (ugly, crumbling) stone wall on “their side” of their land that we have the easement on). Our proposal is to put a gate in, anyway, so if they or future residents ever wanted access it would be there. But we’re taking about a portion of their property that they can’t see from their house (or anywhere on the usable part of their property).

  38. Anon-ish*

    How to deal with talking, lying strangers on a plane?

    I’ve had this happen on numerous occasions: I’m seated next to someone on a plane (for instance), and that person proceeds to try to engage me in conversation, ignoring my obvious disinterest and non-responsiveness. Even if I force myself to be rude and turn away as best I can, they continue talking “at” me.

    Earbuds or headphones are an obvious solution. But I don’t always have them available to me.

    I’ve considered saying something direct like “Please stop talking to me” but I think that that would make me feel like a bigger jerk than the stranger who won’t shut up. But maybe I should do it anyway?

    An added complication is that the Talking Stranger is sometimes, say, a senior citizen. Or a 11yo kid who can’t stop talking about baseball.

    I guess I’m looking for some Magic Words that make the problem go away. Does anyone know any?

    Or maybe I should grin and bear it and make nice to the grandmother sitting next to me?

    I’ve done this. Which leads me to the 2nd part of this question: How does one deal with a stranger who proceeds to tell you one outrageous lie after another? For example: I’ve had this happen to me at least 3 times that I can remember: twice on a plane, one waiting in a line. Each time an ostensibly sweet grandmother proceeded to tell me unlikely tales of their grandchildren ala “my Henry scored so high on the SAT that they made him take it twice, and his score was so high that they couldn’t grade it!” Or “my Jimmy got a full-ride scholarship to play football for NYU” (I could be wrong but my understanding is that NYU hasn’t had a football team since the 1950’s).

    I was raised to be kind to grandmas, so I can sit there and say “oh, how wonderful!” But what then happens – and this happened on all three occasions – at some point she started to ask me about me or my kids, etc. The first time this happened, I was young and en route to start a new job, and she asked me what I was going to earn. An impolite question, but (again) I was young, and I didn’t see the harm in satisfying her curiosity. It was an okay but modest salary, and I wasn’t trying to brag about it. I told her. She responded “my Byron graduated with an architecture degree and he took a job that pays $250,000 a year”. And at this point it hit me that this grandma was playing some kind of game or something. The other two encounters were variations on this theme.

    So if you’ve ever had something like this happen to you – especially if you had no earbuds and could not simply leave the area – what did you do? Are there any “Magic Words”?

    For sure, it’s not like these encounters caused me any permanent harm. And maybe they were simply lonely elderly ladies who might have a touch of Alzheimer’s, I don’t know. But in addition to the three “grandma encounters” I’ve mentioned, over the course of 30+ years I’ve experienced this kind of thing from various men and women, young and old. Not hundreds of times. But maybe 10 or 12 times? Am I some kind of magnet for this?

    It’s not something that keeps me awake at night, but I confess I am annoyed at the notion that someone walks away thinking I’m a credulous idiot (or whatever) when the truth is that I’m a polite person who isn’t certain how to politely inform another person that I am aware that they are completely full of shit.

    Do I just need to carry earbuds with me at all times?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You need an excuse. For example:

      * “Well, I need to get some work done now. It’s been nice talking to you.” (And then open a computer.)

      * “I’m going to need to spend most of the flight reading this for a book club, but it’s been nice chatting.” (And then open a book.)

      * “I think I’ll try to get some sleep now. Enjoy the rest of the flight!”

      * “I’m going to immerse myself in this game now, or I get antsy about flying. But it’s been so nice talking with you!”

      And so forth.

      Basically, a statement of what you intend to do with your time now, followed by some mild social nicety that says “this has been nice and we are at the end of the conversation.”

    2. Temperance*

      Okay so, I am kind of an aggressive introvert. I hate when people who have a captive audience feel the need to chat you up. I sometimes feel like because I’m a young-looking woman, I’m a target for this.

      The worst offender was this old lady on our flight to the Dominican Republic. She sat next to me and Booth, and before the plane took off, started nattering on about her family. She clearly didn’t bring a book or anything, and just wanted us to entertain her. My plans were to watch a few eps of a show, with Booth, since we were tired. I was polite but uninterested, and she was so self-absorbed that she didn’t notice. Once we were allowed to use electronic devices, I whipped out the tablet and fired up the show. She kept talking at us even though we had headphones on. We weren’t answering, and I think my husband mentioned we were going to relax with a show. The woman was SO ANGRY. It was really strange. I still remember it because she like, ran to her daughter as soon as she could when the plane landed and started muttering about us.

      I call out liars. I hate lying. If it’s a stranger, I do it politely. Like with the woman talking about the SATs, I would ask her if she was confused and meant another test, since the SAT has a max score. Or I would ask who made him take it again, because the College Board doesn’t do that. Same with NYU and football. I had to do this with Booth’s grandmother over and over because she kept claiming that BIL’s ex-girlfriend couldn’t get in to medical school because “no doctor would agree to speak for her”, because, apparently, in Nana’s world, you go to med school if your doctor tells the medical school you’re quality.

      1. Anon-ish*

        Thank you everyone. Temperance, my experiences have been similar to your flight to the DR. I mean, what do you do if you make an excuse, go back to your book, and they still won’t leave you alone? For example, long ago I was on a flight, seated next to a boy that I’d guess was 11 years old. His father was elsewhere on the plane. Early on I said “okay, I’m going to read my book now” but every few minutes he’d interrupt me to show me a baseball card. This was long ago and before I became a father and today I might be more comfortable communicating with someone else’s kid.

        I had another person who was an adult begin talking at me while we were de-planing. I literally turned my back on him but he kept on going. This was amidst a crowd of people, mostly standing, waiting to get off the plane. I considered saying “Stop talking to me!” but I didn’t want to make an uncomfortable situation even worse. I remember flashing on the Kurgan in the movie Highlander: “If you talk to me again, I’ll kill you”. But I didn’t see that working out well for anyone.

        Maybe there is no real answer. Maybe I asked the wrong question. Maybe I really want to know how to deal with some stranger on a plane who subtly but surely begins to push my boundaries? I’ve never pushed the flight attendant call button to complain about the person I’m sitting next to. I’m not sure it would go over well.

        Some of the wording Temperance suggests is interesting. “I’m sorry, you must be confused” or “but they don’t do that”. I knew someone who would sometimes say things like “that’s difficult to believe” or “if you say so.” The only downside is that saying these things requires more engagement with the liar than I want to give. But maybe that’s as easy as it gets.

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          I find it really hard when kids do that, e.g. the kid who kept tapping my arm at the bus stop the other day when I just wanted to be left alone.

        2. Orlando*

          When people ignore my first line of defense (excuses, books, headphones), I sometimes pretend to be asleep. That works for aeroplanes.

          It’s not you, though. Really, grandmas just want to talk and kids just want to show off their baseball cards. Have you read any Jane Austen novels? They’re infested with people like that. You could try observing them with amused detachment, and collect material for a literary endeavor.

        3. Temperance*

          I sometimes just ignore people, but that’s in extreme situations when I’ve already tried politeness. I like peace, quiet, and relaxing. I’ve been known to wear headphones while not listening to anything to get this.

    3. Colette*

      As far as the lies, smile and nod – there’s no point in pointing out that they’re obviously false. But I think you can politely say that you want to concentrate on your book, or take a nap, or whatever you want to do instead.

    4. Mela*

      Yes to earbuds! But also feel free to talk about the in-flight movies, and ask if they’re excited to watch any–and you’re super excited to see what they have. Or you’re about to dive into your book, or whatever activity. Or you’re so interested in whatever they’re saying, but you just have to get some sleep because you need to hit the ground running once the plane lands. You say any of those with a cheery smile and then just turn and do whatever it is.

    5. KR*

      I agree with all the excuses, but if you just want to veg out you could beg motion sickness. “Well, planes make me kind of woozy so I’m not up for talking right now!”

    6. gladfe*

      This sounds like my grandmother! Well, not the talking to strangers, but the nonsensical stories for sure. If it makes you feel better, my grandmother was never deliberately lying, she just had a really terrible memory for details (starting decades before dementia was an issue). If you had told her that, say, Grandkid A had joined his middle school soccer team and Grandkid B had an academic scholarship to Columbia, she could easily have garbled that to Grandkid C having a football scholarship to NYU. (She also mangled stories in both directions; when my cousin got her master’s degree from a really prestigious university, my grandmother told everybody that she’d just graduated from high school.) I know that doesn’t solve the problem of strangers not shutting up, but maybe the lying part will be less aggravating if you assume they’re confused rather than playing mind games.

    7. NoMoreMrFixit*

      I’ll give a polite “that’s nice” a couple of times but if they don’t get the hint then I make a point of fiddling with my hearing aid, explain the battery died and put it away in its case. Obviously doesn’t work if you don’t have a hearing aid but it’s never failed to score some peace and quiet.

    8. katamia*

      Honestly, if it’s a stranger, I couldn’t care less if they lie to me in small-talk situations. I’m never going to see them again, and the shit they’re full of will continue to reflect badly on them. Why do you feel the need to tell them that you know they’re lying? (Honest question because this is an impulse I lack, and I don’t understand the mindset behind it.)

      I don’t seem to get talked at like this (I swear I have some sort of invisibility mode–no one ever tries to talk to me in public, and a lot of times people who are facing in my direction walk into me because they don’t see me, and I believe them because it doesn’t seem malicious), but if this happens to you a lot, I’d say carrying earbuds/earphones (visible ones so people don’t keep trying to talk to you) might be the best plan.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I have known a few people who were highly concerned about being lied to. I don’t understand the level of upset. It seems to be based on an idea that lying can be prevented or that other people never get lied to, neither of which is true, ever.

        I remember one person at work getting rattled when I said “Lies always bubble to the surface.” I thought she was really going to fall apart after I said this. Some how her preference was to ID the culprit as quickly as possible. But I did not see her do anything once she had clearly found out a person was lying. Again, I don’t get it.

        So what if they are lying? I am not sure how that becomes an issue if I would never see this person again. This is a confused person. A person who is prone to gross exaggerations, misstatements or out-right lies is a person who is probably having many, many difficulties in life. Even if they are aware and in control of what they say, I think to myself “where would I have to be in my head to think this form of communication is okay?” I have to conclude that my worldview would have be distorted for a big reason or many smaller reasons.

        I don’t know if your preference is to chat with people, OP. However, when you first notice someone is lying pull out one of Alison’s suggestions and use it right away. Just shut the lair down. Remember you are on a plane, so I would select the most neutral and blandest way to end the conversation. “OH, gosh. I am sorry. I am so tired and did not even realize. I must take a nap now. I am sorry, rude of me but I truly am exhausted.”

        1. Anon-ish*

          Liars don’t always annoy me. But sometimes they do. The LOL who told me about her architect grandson is a case in point. Perhaps you had to be there, but the things she said were oddly aggressive, and I remember a sense of her trying to put me down.

          If liars don’t bug you, I’m certainly not going to try to change your mind. But a stranger’s words can be offensive and insulting. Lies, racial slurs, insults, and so on. If you hear a stranger use the n-word, do you think “they must have many life problems?” Maybe you do. And you’re probably right! I’m reasonably certain that many people become upset by this kind of thing.

          When someone tells me an outrageous lie, it sometimes feels like they’re saying “you’re stupid.” I find it offensive.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Maybe thinking I am stupid somehow makes us even for when I think that their lives have run amok for some reason. I don’t know.

            I do have a less generous reaction to the other bad behaviors you mentioned. I do tell people not to use those words around me. With insults I can sometimes find a way to throw it down into a neutral place. Not everyone can and I can’t all the time. I do understand that, but I needed to learn this to survive one rough job I had.

            I have had a few people, who I actually knew and valued, directly tell me I am stupid. Yeah, it hurts. But I also know that there are plenty of things that I am actually stupid about, it may/may not be the very thing they are pointing to though. And sometimes all we have is quietly knowing the real truth about ourselves. We have to reassure ourselves that we are not stupid or lazy or whatever else people come up with. People might lie to you but they are not going to play you for any gain, I can see that here. You are savvy enough to know a snow job when you see it. And sometimes that is as good as can be expected in these situations.

    9. tigerStripes*

      I’d probably want to make up my own stories “Well, my daughter can fly. Without using a plane!” and maybe egg the person on to find out how far they’d go.

    10. persimmon*

      I think it’s easier to make your excuse and not engage from the beginning, if you find it too hard to cut off a brief convo. If you want to engage even less (e.g. with an apparent creeper), saying just “Sorry, I can’t talk right now” is valid and polite. Also make sure to react slowly–you are focusing hard and surprised to be bothered, makes you a less satisfying audience. Again, “sorry” is a useful word that allows you to directly ask for what you want, no excuses or explanations, while appearing reasonably considerate.

    11. Elizabeth West*

      If someone started playing that lying game with me, I’d be really tempted to one-up them on everything they said until it got completely ridiculous.

      “I have four kids and they’re all astronauts; they’re tapped for the first manned missions to Mars and Jupiter.”
      “I’m flying to my vacation home in Bermuda from here.”
      “I’m engaged to marry Prince Harry; shh, don’t tell Megan Markle.”

      But I’m a horrible person, LOL. >:)

      1. Myrin*

        OH NO, yes, that is Sam! I’m used to him looking more round and was so absorbed by the leggyness that I totally didn’t register their faces.

      2. TheLazyB*

        I thought lion!
        Alison do you search your cats’ names in these tests so you don’t miss anything?! (I totally would) :)

      3. Don't Mind Me*

        I was getting ready to ask why your orange cat’s front legs looked so long. It almost looks like those panorama picture fails!

      1. Trixie*

        My Orange Boy, Tyler. 14 years old this summer and just as sweet as when I brought him home from a Wisconsin farm.

        1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

          What a big boy! We also have a big ol’ Farm Boy kitty, although it seems his sister, the mysterious “well, she arrived at the shelter in a box” cat has more leg than he does. Boy kitty Martin is pretty big and pretty dumb though, and he likes to roll in dirt. And get in fights, but then he needs his snuggles when he gets home and cries if hes scared.

          We have a large all white male cat in our neighborhood who likes to sit on the corner every night from 11 pm. We’ve taken to calling him Sir Cat because he looks really regal sitting out keeping on top of the neighborhood business. But when was the last time anyone saw an all-white cat?!

          1. Seal*

            There was a very large all-white cat that used to hang around my condo complex a few years ago. Very mellow and truly one of the biggest cats I’ve ever seen. Sadly, he got hit by a car. I still feel guilty that I wasn’t able to take him in.

  39. Trixie*

    Looking to purchase a treadmill desk for the office (day job) and really excited. Had me think about something at home too. Maybe a used treadmill from Craigslist and set up a table from Ikea. Much easier for home set-up since it’s usually just one person using. Work is tougher because you need something that will allow for different heights. Maybe suggest to my sister is just starting a massage therapy certification program and is hitting the books again.

  40. Jessica*

    Does anyone use a meal planning subscription or app that they like? I’ve tried Mealime and liked it, but I’m searching for something new to get me out of a dinner rut.

      1. Yetanotherjennifer*

        I love cook smarts as well but I don’t use them for menu planning. I don’t need that much variety in my life. But I’ve bought a bunch of their recipe ebooks and I check out their archives occasionally for inspiration. She writes a good recipe.

        Cool Mom Eats and Lifehacker both have free weekly meal plans. Cool Mom Eats is pretty kid friendly and has a good variety of foods. Lifehacker’s recipes tend to be vegetarian but can be modified for meat.

      2. Jessica*

        Hi CatCat, not sure if you will see this, but I wanted to let you know that I signed up for CookSmarks. Thank you for the recommendation – I love the variety, tutorial videos, and the option to add in a meal.

    1. Loopy*

      I wish I saw this a few hours ago! I just ordered from Hello Fresh after some very brief research. It seems like they vary a lot according to how much effort/skill you are willing to put in.

      1. Annie Mouse*

        I’ve just had my first Hello Fresh delivery (in the UK) and I loved it. The choices were great and I enjoyed cooking the meals, even after 13 hours at work, cooking wasn’t the usual hassle!

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          I wanted to try it but there’s no solo option, only two or more, as far as I can see. (I’m married but Mr Flowers’ work involves lots of evenings/nights so I’m often just feeding myself.)

  41. Trill*

    Tips on finding a buyers agent aside from getting recommendations from people you know in the area?

    I’m thinking about buying in the next six months or so. I’ve bought a house before in a small city with a stable market and the whole process was really simple there. Now I’m in a big metro area with a crazy market. There’s so many agents out there. What are important things to look for in a realtor when you’re buying in a big, hot city, and how do you go about finding them?

    1. Anono-me*

      I really really like recommendations from people of recently used the realtor (but are not relatives).

      I have also found Realtors by going to open houses in the area I am interested in. A few minutes chatting during a lull can give you a good idea of how well they know the neighborhood and the market.

  42. Myrin*

    I wanted to share a story from a few years ago that is weird and creepy and kind of surreal and I’d like to invite others to share similar stories if they’d like because while I can’t deal with gore and whatnot, I love me some good eerie vibes.

    So, my mum’s family home is at a long, straight street with many houses with big gardens side-by-side. The people two houses over had a daugther (Leni) who was about my grandma’s age; they also had a son (Norbert) who was significantly younger – I just asked my mum and she guessed he was about ten years older than she is.

    That family had a little corner shop in their house. My mum says they always went there primarily for milk, but sometimes also to get fish or similar stuff. That’s how she knew Leni, who worked at the store. According to my mum, Leni has always been kinda weird – she was very sullen, unhealthily dependent on her own mum, used to stare at people from the corner/the window/when she walked past, reclusive, etc. All stuff that isn’t bad but apparently complemented the kind of spooky aura that always surrounded her.

    The younger brother, Norbert, was also always considered “different”, however, my mum says that in hindsight she realised that he was probably gay and deeply unhappy in his neighbourhood and family; she remembers that he moved away to places unknowns as a young man and that no one ever heard of him again.

    Now I’m sure I’d heard about these people in passing conversation but I didn’t know them. I only knew their house, because the street goes down a steep hill at one point and when you come up that hill, theirs is the house that stands at such an angle that it seems to loom directly in front of you; it also always had ravens and magpies circling above it, both birds that are very common in that area probably because my grandpa feeds them relentlessly but only did the circly thing above that one house – I used to watch it in rapt fascination as a kid.

    Anyway, several years ago, my grandma called to tell my mum that the police had been there to ask questions. Apparently no one had seen Leni for quite some time and they were called to investigate. Which they did, only to find out that Leni had apparently died in her sleep. Which isn’t unusual, seeing how she was already near eighty at the time. But what was unusual – and here is where it becomes spooky – is that they also found Norbert. Sitting in a chair. Who was also dead. And apparently had been for quite some time. Years, I mean. Which was the single most scariest thing that had ever happend in my grandparents’ street.

    So it turned out that apparently Norbert had, unbeknownst to anyone, moved back a few years before that. And that creepy Leni wasn’t only fixated on her brother to the point of obsession where she had him keep her company as a mummy from across the living room table, but that she’s also raked in his (apparently quite hefty) pension for all those years.

    There’s a family with four daughters living in that house now. They have a swiming pool in the garden and no ravens circling their roof.

    1. Spectacled Elephant*

      That is a delightfully creepy story! I do hope Norbert had a nice life despite the end…

    2. katamia*

      Yikes! That’s really creepy.

      The only creepy thing that’s ever happened to me was when I was petsitting for my parents for the week (and therefore home very, very alone). The house is very open–there aren’t many walls, and you can see most of the “middle” floor from the top floor. I was on the top floor and heard male footsteps coming from the middle floor, but when I looked down I could still hear the footsteps even though I could see no one was there. Nothing had happened there while I was growing up, and AFAIK nothing has happened since.

      I was peeved with the dog because I had/have issues being home alone at night sometimes and consoled myself by saying “Oh, if anything either human or supernatural shows up, Dogdog will pitch a fit. As long as she’s calm, I’m fine.” Yeah…the footsteps were very close to where she was sleeping, but she didn’t budge. Harrumph.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Something like that happened to me once, in the house where I grew up, back in the 1970s. We had this big old barn and there apparently was a ghost in it. My brother and mother both saw it–I did not, though sometimes when I went in the barn at night, I’d get creeped out (especially in or near the storeroom), and my kitty, who always followed me in, would run out.

        So one weekend afternoon, my mum and sister and brother went to town; I don’t remember where my dad was, but he was gone too. I was home alone.

        I was sitting sideways in my dad’s recliner in the family room (it used to be a garage) with my legs hanging over the arm. I couldn’t find anything on TV, so I was suuuuuuper bored. I had this belt in my hand and kept flicking it out into the air trying to think of something to do, when I became aware that someone had come through the door from the utility room, down the two circular steps, and stopped behind my chair. I heard no breathing or footsteps; it was just a presence. You know how when you’re reading and someone comes over and stands behind you, and you can feel them? Like that.

        I froze, because I knew there was nobody else in the house. I slowly turned my head to look and there was nobody there. I could still feel them standing there, but I saw nothing.

        I didn’t know what to do. I started talking to them (it?), like “Hey, what’s up; how are you, dude I can’t see you,” babble babble blah blah blah. After a few minutes, this invisible person turned (I could FEEL this), walked back up the steps, out the door of the family room, and was gone.

        I sat there for a few minutes completely and utterly unable to move. You could have knocked me over with a feather, had I been standing. Then I heard the car tires crunch on the gravel outside, and I looked through the picture window and saw that my mum had come back. That broke my paralysis; I leaped up out of the chair and tore outside, yelling “MAAWWWWWWWWWMMM!!!”

        It was ages before I could go back into the family room alone. Creeped me out to the max. I’m pretty sure that’s not the first time it came into the house, either; the cats would sometimes do that alert-OMG thing when we let them inside and stare at the hallway door. Once in a while, I heard footsteps in the hall on the plastic carpet runner, too. I have told this story a zillion times and people always say, “Oh you must have fallen asleep.” Nope, I was wide awake!

        I wonder if any of the people who own the house now ever saw / heard it. I think I would have been less scared had I been able to see the white shape my mum and brother both saw; then I could have been like, “Yep, ghost.” But the invisible presence, though not malign in any way I could tell, was much more creepy. I suspect it was just lonely. :(

        Same thing happened to me in a flea market in the tourist trap town near here. I went upstairs and into one room and could NOT stay in the corner for the life of me. It just felt really bad. After I went back downstairs, I asked the proprietor if anyone had ever noticed anything weird in there. He said, “You went upstairs, didn’t you?” I said yeah, and then told him what happened. He said other customers had told him the same thing and that there was a bad person who used to work in the company that owned the building. And during a huge ghost hunt in a known haunted location here, I went into the jail room and was like, “NOOOOOOPE” and walked right back out again. So I’m not clairvoyant, but apparently I’m a little bit clairsentient?

        1. Lulubell*

          Thank you for this. I love a good ghost story. My dad’s house has a ghost. Years ago, before I knew that, I was drifting off to sleep one night and then just all of sudden felt someone standing over me. I sat up, turned the light on, and barely slept the rest of the night. About ten years later my dad nonchalantly mentioned that they had a ghost who wandered around up there. Thanks, Dad. I haven’t slept over since.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Oh gosh that never happened to me, thank goodness. I would have never slept again either. To this day, I still sleep with my neck covered, in case of vampires. LOL!

    3. Dan*

      I’ve got his video game called Resient Evil 7. It’s a story line set in an old haunted house. I think I might have seen Norbert on the game.

      Side note for gamers: RE7 was released as a standard game on multiple platforms… except Sony paid the developer to develop and release an exclusive in virtual reality for the Play Station Virtual Reality platform. This game is creepy as shit in VR.

      1. Myrin*

        I don’t play horror games because I’m hugely afraid of them but I know a couple who played RE7 on their Playstation VR and they said it about quadrupled the “TERRIEFIED” experience.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Ex-bf started me on Silent Hill 2, but I haven’t been able to finish it without him because it’s too damn scary. I literally would not play it unless he was right beside me. Pyramid Head, brrr.

    4. No, please*

      Chills! That’s like Poe in real-life! I have some creepy stories in my family. The story that was creepiest, to me at least, was the death of my grandmother’s brother. My grandmother had “visions” and dreams throughout her life. One day her brother was climbing a tree. He fell from a high limb and hit his head. He seemed fine at first, but eventually developed blood poisoning. This was in rural Appalachia during the early 1900s. My grandmother was sitting with him in the living room, waiting for the doctor, when she saw disembodied praying hands near his body. She screamed and told her mother what she had seen. The doctor finally arrived and examined my uncle. Doctor said he had blood poisoning and couldn’t be saved. He died shortly there after.

      1. Lulubell*

        Ooh, I love these kinds of stories and believe wholeheartedly. Please share more.

    5. No, please*

      And one more- that happened to me. My dad died unexpectedly from an aneurysm. A few weeks after his death I had filled my apartment with a lot of his stuff. I got up one morning after having a very vivid dream about him. I dreamed he showed up to give me a hug before a trip I was about take, IRL. It was happy and sad all at once. Anyways, I’m in my kitchen making coffee and hear a sound like shuffling. I stop what I’m doing and look around to see if it’s my dog. But then a small leather bag comes flying at me from the corner. It was my dad’s guitar kit (picks, capo clip, oil rag) and it had to be 5 feet from the kitchen, on top of a guitar case that was perfectly upright. Nothing else was touched. I still wonder what the hell that was all about.

      1. Lulubell*

        Wow. That is very powerful. A few years ago, my dad came to visit me for the first time, and the first night, I had a very vivid dream that my grandparents/his parents, who were both deceased, were in my room, smiling and happy about our reunion. No big deal, I thought. It was natural that they would be on my mind, what with him coming to visit, which was kind of a big deal in itself since he’d never stayed with me before. That morning I went into the kitchen to make coffee, and couldn’t find my favorite coffee mug anywhere. I don’t have a big kitchen or many places it would be. After looking around for a bit, I found it sitting on the counter top in front of me. Could I have been nervous, making coffee for my dad for the first time? Yes? Was that exactly my grandfather’s sense of humor, to hide something then put it in plain sight? Also yes.

        1. No, please*

          I love it! That kind of stuff happens to me regularly. I blame it on the house faeries. And I do enjoy the visiting dreams :)
          I did live in one house as a kid (11-12yrs old) that was really creepy. It was a rental so I don’t know any history on the place. But it was probably built in the 70s, so not too old. I would wake up to pee at night and I’d always have this feeling that I needed to look down the hall towards the living room on my way to the bathroom. It wasn’t in the same direction so it was weird. But I stopped looking after I saw a tiny white figure staring at me from the living room, waving its arms and sort of bobbing. I told my mom but she said she had never seen it herself. One night I got up for the pee run and when I sat on the toilet this black/gray thing came in the room. I thought it was our cat but when I reached out I saw IT WAS A FREAKING CLOUD OF STATIC. I don’t know how else to describe it. Luckily I was on the toilet already, haha! So I ran into my moms room to tell her and she helped me get back to sleep. Well, the next night it followed her the bathroom. We never saw it again. It was truly terrifying for both of us.

    6. Rainy, PI*

      The house I lived in for 12 years with my late husband had a dog ghost.

      We slept in the front bedroom for the first few years we lived there, and then we moved to the back bedroom. When we put our bed in the back bedroom, the ghost showed up. We had no idea it was a ghost for a while, because we had a big dog, and when you heard a dog jump off the bed and race across the room to look out the window, well, you assumed it was our dog.

      Then one day I was downstairs with my husband and we heard our dog jump off the bed upstairs, race across the room to the window, and put his paws up on the sill.

      Except our dog was asleep on my feet.

      A few years later, we moved the bed across the room and the ghost stopped showing up to sleep on it.

      It was probably just floorboards creaking in an accustomed pattern, though. The house was built in 1908, so it was pretty old. There was also a strange add-on room in the basement that had a cupboard in the wall running the length of the room that couldn’t be opened even though it had a door, and a handle, and wasn’t nailed shut or fastened in any way that was discernable. The floor was uneven, and I went in there once and then left and said I wasn’t going back again until it stopped feeling like the bit in a horror film right before we find out there’s someone who’s been locked in the basement for 20 years. Hub put in a floating floor over the existing floor and put a desk against the cupboard door, (and probably cleansed the hell out of it, literally, as he was a practicing Wiccan, but I didn’t ask) and suddenly it was just a dingy little room. That house was *weird*.

  43. Update on he wants a baby*

    Thank you all for your words last weekend. I am working on my plan for leaving. I have contacted a lawyer and I’m figuring out where to live in the meantime. I am really lucky in that I’m the primary breadwinner and our financial accounts are separate, so I have the means to do this. I hope to tell him sometime in the next couple weeks. One thing that worries me is that we don’t have no fault divorces where I am. If he won’t agree to irreconcilable differences, I have to prove a harmful grounds, most likely in our case, extreme cruelty.

    1. Allypopx*

      This has been quite the journey, and I’m glad you’ve found a place here to share it. Hugs, and good luck. I hope this is the first step towards a much better future.

    2. No Name Yet*

      Sending strength and good thoughts, I hope it goes more smoothly than you expect.

    3. Hrovitnir*

      Oh god, I’m sorry you don’t have no-fault divorces. That is so bizarre to me!

      I’m sorry that it’s come to this but glad you are able to leave. Good luck.

    4. Dan*

      I’ve been in your shoes, as the bread winner who wanted to bail. TBH, I felt a little bit of guilt over leaving, because I was about to f up my ex’s life while mine would get better pretty much instantly. The good news is the guilt didn’t last long ;)

      The advice I do have is that you should get ready to pay up. I did, and it turned out to be absolutely worth it. In m state, it was less to do with fault/no-fault, and more to do with whether we could agree on how to divvy up the property, spousal support, and all of that.

      The thing to keep in mind is that if you end up with a contested divorce, your spouse will get absolutely nothing until the process makes its way through the courts and the judge makes a decision. That could take months, if not years. Your spouse may be will to take a lesser amount, but get it up front.

      I ended up cashing in some of my Roth IRA to get rid of my ex, and it was worth every dime.

      1. neverjaunty*

        As the saying goes, sometimes the cheapest way to pay for something is with money.

    5. neverjaunty*

      A lawyer can help you with that – and wishing you a lot of strength and peace on this. You will be okay!

  44. Mints*

    I’m approaching BEC with Boyfriend’s roommates. Their lease is up in three months and we’ve started “only a couple more months” at each other.

    This is the rant:
    (We’ve been dating for a few months.) A couple months in, roommates brought it up that I’m over at their place a lot. Which is true, but Boyfriend asked what specifically it is that bothers them. Are we too noisy? No. Are we in the common areas too much? No. Have we ever accidentally eaten their food or drunk their booze? No. So it’s literally nothing. “You’re always so considerate but please be more considerate.”

    The actual complaint was like “When you and Mints are using the kitchen we can’t use the kitchen” “When you’re watching a movie we can’t watch the TV.” That’s just how roommates work. You share common space. It hasn’t gotten worse since we’ve been dating. Oh and the female roommate said “When Mints is here I feel like I can’t hang out in my pajamas without a bra” and apparently has forgotten that she also wouldn’t wear no bra when it was just Boyfriend.

    Oh and the best part (in a hilariously wtf way) is that they brought up that the guest parking pass I’m using is only supposed to be used 10 consecutive days maximum “and Mints is approaching that.” Which was objectively not true at that time and pretty far from being true in any given ten day period. (I hadn’t been there that night before, and roughly half the time in the previous ten days.) There are enough nights that we’re hanging out quietly in his room or go out the whole evening that they literally can’t tell the difference. (!!)

    I think because it was friendship before roommates they feel entitled to be more nitpicky, and like we should care about their feelings in a way I don’t think is necessary in a roommate context.

    1. KR*

      Eh, I can see where they’re coming from. A friend of mine just moved out of an apartment for a really similar reason. Her roommate’s boyfriend was over a lot and it really bugged her. She signed on to be roommate’s with one person, not two and sometimes she really just wanted to chill out in the common areas without feeling like a third wheel or having to hang out with him. Are you monopolizing the guest parking pass so other roommates can’t have people over? Is there any way that you and boyfriend can hang out at your house more? Does the apartment get very crowded with more than one guest? Maybe the other roommates feel like they can’t have people over.

      I see why you’re frustrated though, totally.

      1. Mints*

        No, there are multiple guest passes and it’s a pretty big house. The part that’s most frustrating to me is that they’re not accurate. Like if they had said “Mints has been here three days this week and we feel like that’s a lot” I’d be “Bummer, but okay.” Versus “Mints has been here every day this week” when it’s only been three days I’m pretty dismissive

        1. TL -*

          I think they’re telling you the amount of time you’re spending there is too much, whether they’re exaggerating or not, and you should respect that.
          It is not your living space and you don’t have negotiation rights to it.

        2. Cristina in England*

          I had a roommate do this to me once. She would complain that I was never around and I had to tell her “I have spent the last eight nights here, and you haven’t been home! ” It really annoyed me. It felt like a proxy for another issue she wasn’t saying, I.e. It felt super passive aggressive.

    2. Cruciatus*

      I also see where they are coming from. If I live with a set amount of people who are contributing to the rent, to the utilities, to the wi-fi, etc., I only want there to be that many people living with me most of the time. Even if the person who is there is perfectly lovely and thoughtful about cleaning up. Sure, parties are OK, and occasional sleep overs, but not days on end of another person being there. That’s another body taking up limited space. Using the water. Using the wi-fi and so on. It would make me feel I need to be a little more formal (like the one roommate not feeling comfortable enough to have on pajamas without a bra). If the roommates weren’t going to be gone soon I would definitely suggest the two of you getting your own place, or visiting your place more often, if possible. I hope it works out for everyone, but I do see their point.

      1. Allypopx*

        Same. I hate people in my space outside the people I have agreed to live with. If it’s consistent it feels really invasive.

        1. Apartment/Roommate Woes*

          Yup. I’m not a huge fan of my roommate having friends over, especially when it’s for an entire afternoon, but it’s something I can tolerate when it’s occasional. Just like my boyfriends roommates just tolerate my presence.

    3. all aboard the anon train*

      I can understand why you’re frustrated and I think you have a right to be, but at the same time, I totally understand why they’re frustrated too. When I had roommates, one had her boyfriend over all the time, and it does begin to feel like an imposition when a couple is using the TV or the kitchen and you feel like you’re intruding or the third wheel in the same space. It was very different, imo, for me to tell my roommate that I wanted to watch something on TV than it was for me to tell a roommate’s partner that I wanted to watch TV. One feels like normal roommate negotiation, the other is making demands of a guest. You can’t act the same around a guest as you do with someone you live with.

      If I had wanted two roommates, I’d have looked for that. I didn’t sign up for one roommate who brings in a second roommate who uses our space and our things without paying rent. They signed up to live in a shared space with your boyfriend, not with you, so if you really are over there all the time, they have a right to be annoyed too. Even if you’re never in common areas, it’s still sharing space with an additional person they didn’t expect.

    4. Apartment/Roommate Woes*

      I’m also going to take the roommates’ side on this, sorry to say. My first roommate out of college got a girlfriend and our apartment became her second home in no time. She’d spend whole weekends here, just hanging out. They’d spend large chunks of time in the living room. They’d spend what felt like forever cooking elaborate meals in the kitchen and then neglecting the dishes. Sharing an apartment with my actual roommate was tolerable, sharing the apartment with the both of them was irritating. Not because she was rude, but because she was just there a lot.

      1. Mints*

        I think it’s a personality thing (or just wired that way, whatever) that both roommates do, what when one thing happens it becomes “this thing always happens.” Not related to me, and before we were dating included. Like parked crooked one time becomes “You always park crooked and I always have to squeeze in.” When the level of problem as a one off doesn’t get a response from most people. Problems just become inflated for whatever reason

        1. Apartment/Roommate Woes*

          Okay, that does sound like you’re exaggeration, and they shouldn’t complain about one-offs as though they happen often. They still have a right to be annoyed if you’re there often, especially if you do things like park crookedly. The solution here is to balance the amount of time you’re there with the amount of time you’re together at your place, and maybe find more ways to spend time outside the apartment.

          Remember, you may be your boyfriend’s guest, but you’re a guest in their home as well as his.

        2. neverjaunty*

          But you’re nitpicking the details (three days vs. a whole week) as a way to say “you guys aren’t allowed to have those feelings, so nyeah.” Actually, yes, they are allowed to have those feelings. They feel like you’re in their space an awful lot. You may be unhappy that they feel that way, but being dismissive and pedantic about it is not going to solve the problem.

    5. Temperance*

      I’m an introvert, and I hate people in my space. I have sympathy for the roommates in this situation, TBH.

    6. TL -*

      Yeah, I’m also with the roommates on this one. I didn’t sign up to live with a couple and I don’t want to live with a couple and I *certainly* don’t want to live with someone who is not on my lease – and if you’re there 5 days out of 10, you’re essentially living there.

      Honestly, it feels like they’re telling you you’ve way overstayed your welcome and instead of accepting that you’re intruding on their space and they don’t like it, you’re trying to force them to give you a reason that you can refute so you can continue spending time there.
      I think the solution is for you to spend less time at your boyfriend’s place. You don’t get to decide what considerations you have to care about *in their space.*
      (And for context, most leases have a clause about when guests become tenants and they sound pretty close to looking that up and contacting the landlord. I would.)

    7. Ask a Manager* Post author

      For what it’s worth, it sounds like they want to say “you’re here too much and it feels intrusive” but they feel awkward about saying that so they’re coming up with other reasons (“we can’t watch the TV”). If you focus on the specifics of the reasons they’re giving, you’re going to miss the larger point — which is that they want you to be there less. Ultimately, because it’s their living space, they get to say that and you (and your boyfriend) really do have to abide by it.

      1. Mints*

        Yeah, to be fair, everyone is a lot more cordial than my anonymous rant probably lets on. It’s just disheartening because we really did make an effort for a few weeks and it didn’t seem to make a difference. I think we’re all just resigned to being quietly annoyed with each other

    8. Fictional Butt*

      Another voice of support for the roommates, unfortunately. It would piss me off to have a roommate’s partner around all the time. You’ve said that they sometimes can’t even tell if you’re there or not– but if they assume you’re going to be there, it might not matter. For instance, if they think you’re going to show up at any moment, they might feel like they can’t invite people over. Could you agree on a set schedule of days you spend at your boyfriend’s place? Or text his roommates to let them know you’re coming over, and make sure they haven’t made plans that would interfere with?

      1. Allypopx*

        I second setting up a system. It’s only a few months but it doesn’t have to be a miserable few months. Sit down, all together, and find something that would work for everyone. Be prepared that it might mean you’re there less, or have to be there more predictably.

      2. Rainy, PI*

        The problem is that even with a system, that’s not a guarantee that the roommates aren’t going to be unreasonable about things–even if they knew about them going in and agreed to them!–for their own reasons.

        My last roommate and I, when we met (CL ad) and started talking about things, I was clear up front that this was a one year deal, that I had a serious boyfriend, how much time he would spend at ours, how much time I would spend at his (we literally split it 50/50–he spent 2 nights at mine, I spent 2 nights at his, we spent 3 nights apart, every week, same nights, for the entire year she and I lived together). I had definite preferences as to cost and neighbourhood, which I compromised on (the money was a strain for a while, the neighbourhood wasn’t the end of the world). She still found a bunch of stuff to complain about, mostly things that I told her ahead of time were going to be the case, or the results of things she chose to do that worked out poorly for her. She wasn’t awful, and we still hang out sometimes, but by the end I just desperately wanted to GTFO.

        1. neverjaunty*

          Of course it’s not a guarantee, but it’s better than “screw you guys, you’re ONLY roommates so I’ll do as a please”.

          1. Rainy, PI*

            Oh definitely–I’m not saying that it’s not the right approach to negotiating having roommates and a non-cohabiting significant other, just that it’s not foolproof.

            My roommate literally told me that I couldn’t move in with my boyfriend because we weren’t married and I’d have no protection from him taking advantage of me. (I am the higher earner in my relationship. I am over a decade older than roommate. I am *a widow*, for chrissake, and she’s never dated anyone for more than a few weeks. But sure.)

    9. Ramona Flowers*

      That is how roommates work, but you’re talking about sharing space with a couple which isn’t the same. I’m sorry but it’s not reasonable to get BEC over this. What about your place? Can’t you go there sometimes?

    10. paul*

      If you are over multiple days a week consistently then yeah, it’s too much for a lot of roommates. Ott was for me

    11. Ella*

      I’ll echo the other comments. The roommates don’t sound unreasonable. In your situation I’d either spend less time there (maybe just weekends?), or I’d offer to pay some rent. It sounds like it’s just a few more months before you plan to move in together, and since they’ve been friends previously, it might be a way to preserve the relationship.

      1. Ella*

        As an aside, my husband’s stepbrother lived with us for about 6 months & 4 months in got a serious girlfriend who then spent many nights over. We were cool at first but eventually had her start paying rent since she spent most nights here. She’s a perfectly lovely person so it wasn’t anything personal. But having an extra person around is just a pain in the ass- it’s slightly louder, more utilities, and just …more. When the stepbrother paid more rent for her it was still annoying but the money definitely took the sting away.
        And for what it’s worth, they found their own place after 2months of extra rent, which was best for everyone.

    12. LaterKate*

      Yeah, echoing what others have said. When I had a roommate, I hated when she had a boyfriend that was over all the time. Nothing to do with her bf, who was perfectly polite. But it made me feel like I couldn’t use the space in the way that I typically would. For instance, if they were hanging out in her room, in theory I could use the living room however I wanted. But what I wanted was to do my exercise tape, and I felt awkward doing that when I didn’t know if they would be coming out to make food or whatever. I didn’t mind exercising in front of my roomie, but her bf was a different story. Same with lounging around in my pjs. I didn’t mind my friend seeing me in short shorts and a tank or whatever, but it felt inappropriate to be dressed that way when he was there. My bottom line was basically that I would put up with being uncomfortable in my own home occasionally, as would she when I had guests. But it shouldn’t be a regular thing. And this was all communicated to her, not him.

      1. Zathras*

        I think this is a key point. If my roommate is sitting in the living room by himself, I am totally comfortable parking myself in a different chair with my computer or a book or whatever and we can each do our thing while tuning the other one out. But if he is there with his girlfriend they will be talking, or cuddling, or whatever and it’s much harder to just sort of ignore each other and coexist in the same space without feeling awkward about it.

        Whether or not you personally care about what they do when you’re around, they are less comfortable using the space in their home when you are there, and that is something you need to respect.

    13. Who is the anon-est of them all?*

      I had a friend rent a room off me for a while. She had a friend (not even a boyfriend) come and stay most weekends, except his weekends are usually Thursday-Monday or even Tuesday. If I was then who I am now, I would have just told them no, but I just seethed internally instead.

      It got to the stage that one day I got home from work not expecting him to be there, and his car was outside, and I seriously considered keying his car. Only for a second or two, but that made me realise I had to draw a line.

      If they had asked me what he was doing wrong, I could not have told you other than the fact that I did not sign up to live with him. Three adults living there was already a lot; four was unbearable.

      It’s not your house. He’s only going to be there three months.

    14. CC*

      Yeah, also agreeing with everyone – this is not very cool. I hate feeling like I’m sharing my home with more people than I agreed to. No one wants to regularly feel like they live with 4 people when they only signed up for 3 (or whatever the number is). Has nothing to do with how quiet or non-intrusive the person is.

      I think Alison’s spot on that you’re getting hung up on the small details of their complaints when the broader, overarching issue is that they just don’t want you there as much, and no matter the reason, they have every right to feel that way. It’s not just a place they hang out at – it’s their home, and that automatically makes it reasonable for them to want to have some control over it.

      I would try to work out another solution.

  45. StrikingFalcon*

    Currently planning a wedding from the other side of the country. Suggestions for resources that were particularly helpful or tips to keep sane among all the logistics? Wedding-spot has been really useful for venues, but there’s lots of other decisions to make.

    1. Sled dog mama*

      Reaves Engraving company (http://www.reavesengraving.com) did my invitations (full disclosure I grew up two blocks from their office and have known them most of my life)
      They did an awesome job and offer everything from very traditional invitations to custom, and they do calligraphy addressed envelopes, just hand them your guest list and they will print, address, stuff envelopes and mail.

    2. Reba*

      More for the emotional than the logistical (though they also have a vendor list) I recommend A Practical Wedding (website and book). Good luck and congratulations!

      1. Trix*

        Yes, I was going to recommend the same! Definitely helpful for keeping sane, and I found a few vendors through their site too (including Printable Press, where we got our invitations, and both the actual invitations and the overall experience with them was absolutely lovely).

      2. StrikingFalcon*

        I did take a look at their site, and they seemed to have their priorities straight! I’ll have to check out their book. Thanks!

    3. Jules the First*

      A good wedding planner.

      Seriously – if you’re planning a long distance wedding and you have more than 40 people coming, a good wedding planner will be worth every penny. You need someone on the ground to ride herd on the caterer, the DJ, the officiant, the venue manager, the cake supplier, the florist, your transportation plans, hotel accommodation – assuming other people are also coming from out of town – the photographer, the make up artist and hairstylist…

      Your wedding planner will also know a seamstress who can leap into action at the last moment when the airline mangles your dress on your flight out (been there, done that), a good bakery who can magic up a cake the day before the wedding when your chosen caterer has a heart attack (yep, it happened!), and call in a favour to get you a justice of the peace when you realise that your venue doesn’t provide an officiant as part of your wedding booking (oh yes, that was fun….). As you may have guessed, I’ve done a few long-distance weddings – they didn’t all feature disasters, but the ones that had a local wedding planner were decidedly less stressful!

      1. Reba*

        Oh yes, our wedding organizer—not a planner per se, because we handled the bookings, researched the vendors etc., but the “stage manager” of the day—was worth every cent of her fee. It was amazing when I had a question or something went wrong, I didn’t have to deal with it, just say, “Ask Alicia”!

      2. Rena*

        I absolutely second the wedding planner. We were planning in town, and we hired a day of coordinator who also did check-ins ahead of time and she was worth every single penny. A good coordinator has a network of vendors that they’ve worked with and trust and is willing to tap in to find anything you need.

      3. StrikingFalcon*

        Oh goodness. We’ve actually found a few vendors that offer that as part of their service, and are definitely leaning towards them because of it. But we’ll definitely look into hiring one if we go with one of the options that isn’t all inclusive.

    4. Wedding thoughts*

      Former event planner then wedding coordinator for a caterer – I recommend giving your budgets and any hard and fast rules/preferences to your vendors and letting them come up with proposals that fit. You’re more likely to get their creativity and strengths when you leave it mostly to them. Also, get recommendations from our venue once you choose one. They will be able to point you to people who are familiar with their space and rules, which makes for a smoother event overall.

      And agreeing with getting a planner – they will be able to narrow down your choices with your parameters in mind, so you won’t have to sift through as much information from a distance.

      Definitely have them run things the day-of. It’s ultimately much more effective than having a friend or family member try to run point on logistics. I’ve seen too many weddings where the cousin or best friend is supposed to be managing the details and gets pulled into photos at a key moment – or really would just prefer to be enjoying the wedding instead helping the servers figure out what to do with leftovers.

  46. Caledonia*

    I’m reading this open thread from Paris, specifically the Trocodero which is just in front of the Eiffel Tower. Monday – Wednesday is watching the tennis live and then on Thursday I go home.

    This is my graduation present to myself because on Wednesday I submitted the last ever assignment for my degree. It has been 7 years (part time).

    1. Cristina in England*

      Yay congrats!! That is excellent news. I hope you’re having a fabulous time!!!

    2. Marzipan*

      Yay you! OU, right? (I just barely scratched my EMA together for the first module of my MA, that was due on Thursday.)
      Have a wonderful time in Paris!

  47. Allypopx*

    I was listening to a podcast a couple weeks ago – maybe Dear Prudence? – and there was a line about how “no one wants to come home to someone who’s miserable all the time”. I appreciate that line, and it’s really stuck with me, because it gave me one of many moments of clarity that I’ve had lately about how something in my life has to give. The level of overwhelmed, anxious, and on edge I’ve been lately actually hasn’t been causing a lot of strain on my relationship, but it will eventually. My boyfriend has been unbelievably patient and supportive, but he can’t take care of me forever, and from my perspective it’s making our give-and-take really uneven, and I hate to be the one doing all the taking.

    I’m an incredibly impulsive person and I like things to happen fast, but I know the changes I need to make now are probably going to be slow and need to be handled with care (career, school, mental health). In the meantime, I’ll still need support. My boyfriend says as long as I’m trying to get better he’ll never hold the bad days against me, but how can I make our relationship feel more balanced when I know I can’t commit right now to making sure he’s not coming home to a miserable person every night?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Work every single day on your concerns. I agree with your bf, I can have extreme patience if I see people are trying. Notice I am saying trying. Not every idea pans out, so ditch the idea and move to a different idea or modify the idea somehow. Keep going, even when nothing seems to be going that great.

      The other thing you can do is give him random, surprise thank yous. Get his favorite foods. Plan a movie night. Go for a ride together. In short remember to be a couple and remember to have some fun every so often.

      When my husband was in his final illness, I said to him “I will ride this out with you. We will just keep going.” And the reason was he was incredible. He would try things to help himself, he would participate in problem solving and running the house (to the extent that he could). Not everything he did was successful and that did not matter, because he just kept going he did not let failures or let downs stop him. In the short he inspired me to work harder also.

      1. Allypopx*

        Thank you for this. I try to do things for him – or that I know he likes more than me – when I can, but I can make it more of a focus.

    2. Fictional Butt*

      One thing, if you can manage it, is to react with happiness and genuine interest when he tells you about good things that are happening in his life, even if you don’t have many of your own to share. I read somewhere that the most successful couples (as in least likely to break up) are the ones who are good at celebrating each other’s happy events, even more so than the ones who are good at comforting each other in tough times. I think this is kind of the crux of the issue of “coming home to someone who’s miserable”– you don’t want to make him feel that he can’t be happy in your presence, or that you resent him for being happy, or that you are apathetic to his happiness.

    1. Allypopx*

      Yes. (from a US perspective) In fact a couple years ago the word was stricken from all federal documents.

      There’s a few issues with it, but strong issues with the term came out of the 20th century and all the ways Asian American citizens were treated during and post WWII. It has a history of being a demeaning and distasteful word. It’s been explained to me as being roughly equivalent to “negro” in that it was used to refer to an subset of people as “lesser”. I know many people who get very offended by the term.

      1. Raia*

        I’m in the US and find it pretty offensive because of this. Refer to me as Asian, or ask me my nationality or heritage if you’d like to actually know.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      It’s highly offensive. Please don’t refer to people as Oriental, especially in the U.S.

      1. periwinkle*

        Could be worse. I was born in New Jersey back in the 1960s; on my birth certificate my Japanese mother is identified as “yellow.”

    3. Cruciatus*

      Yes, very un-PC. I learned this from Pam on the Real World 25something years ago. I recall her saying that “Oriental” could be referred to things (lamps, rugs, etc.), but not to people. Everything I’ve heard since then has backed this up. When in doubt, go with “Asian”.

      1. Jessesgirl72*

        Even then, after so many years in the SF Bay Area, I refer to decor objects as Asian, not Oriental. It’s just best if you don’t want to be offensive.

    4. Call me St. Vincent*

      If you have time, read Edward Said’s book “Orientalism.” It might give perspective as to why the word is not used in the U.S. among many other things. I will say that in the UK, where I lived for some time, using oriental in terms of food and people was done all the time. I’m not sure of the current status of whether it is PC at this point in time there.

      1. Isobel*

        In my experience Oriental is not generally used in the UK to describe people. Art/decor, possibly. But also, Asian, here, when talking about a person, usually means Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi. I think East Asian or South East Asian would be used where Asian is used in the US.

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          I wish we had common usage for that distinction in the US. Too often, the description of “Indian” is just used for all the Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi, etc and I end up muttering things like “I won’t assume they are Indian, they could be Pakistani, etc” and “Middle Eastern” doesn’t really fit that region either- people thing Iran, not India.

          I was so relieved when I got to know the one family at church well enough to learn they are really from India, so I could stop trying to gently guide people talking about them.

          1. AcademiaNut*

            I live in Asia, and the usage I would give is East Asia for places like China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, South-East Asia for the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, etc, and South Asia for India, Pakistan etc.

    5. SeekingBetter*

      Yes, it is un-PC to describe somebody as “Oriental.” However, knowing my own family who came from an East Asian country, people over there describe themselves as East Asian and consider people who are from India to be Asian. So I guess over in that side of the world, you would call Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese to be East Asian while Indians and Pakistanis are Asian.

  48. yet another anon*

    After 30+ years with my company, I am considering retirement. This might be awful dry reading, but if anyone can point at any obvious red flags, I’d really appreciate it. I’ve put a lot of thought into this, but I worry about “unknown unknowns”.

    Several weeks ago, my company informed me that I am eligible for their “Transition to Retirement” plan: I would work 60% (i.e., 3 days a week) at 70% salary for a year without fear of layoff. The year would end on 1 July 2018, at which time I would be Officially Retired. The company would continue my 401K, health insurance, and life insurance at 100% during this year.

    I am currently 57 years old. My wife is about my age and she has a job and wants to continue working. We have two kids, 21 and 20 – one is independent (and proud of it), the other requires assistance with insurance and other stuff. Currently we have no debt except for our mortgage, which will end in about 1.5 years. Not counting the house or other personal property, we have misc retirement assets that total about $1.8M USD. About $400K USD could be turned into cash in less than a week. It has proven impossible to rigorously project future yearly expenses, but call it $30-50K USD/year.

    The big question in all of this is healthcare, and bridging the gap until age 65 and the Promised Land that is called Medicare. I will have company subsidized health insurance from now until I reach age 63. From age 63 to 65, I’ll have to pay insurance out of pocket.

    Is this an acceptable risk? I’m unsure just how much certainty anyone can have about healthcare costs in 2023. And there are healthcare costs beyond insurance premiums. I’ve thought about this over the years and the only answer I could come up with is “save money”.

    I’m open to anyone’s thoughts, opinions, or suggestions. I have to decide by the end of the month. Currently I am inclined to do it.

    Thank you.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      This may not seem to be answering your question at all, please bear with me.
      Retirement is just one day. One day you walk into work and tell them it is your last day. Then you go home. From what I see it takes about six months and the person realizes they have nothing going on.
      What is your plan for when you retire? How will you spend your time and fill up your days? In the course of thinking about this, you may find the answer to your question about health insurance. You could decide to take another job that would provide insurance for those years.

      My health insurance has gone up 800% in the last 11 years. I am not optimistic about this improving any time soon. I think now is a good time to figure out what you will do for those years.

    2. Book Lover*

      Do you want to retire?

      1.8M can seem like a lot, but if you’re healthy, there’s no reason you couldn’t live into your 90s…. Are your parents still living and well, anything run in the family?

      Will you want to occasionally take nice vacations, go to nice restaurants, put money away for grandkids?

      1. Girasol*

        I retired at 62 with about a roughly equivalent amount for my age. I had the option of group health insurance from a previous “early retirement” severance package, which has some company retiree subsidy but a smaller subsidy than employees get. So I’m in kind of the same boat as you. Before I pulled the trigger on it I did a lot of research into Medicare and shopped insurance online. Medicare is more complicated than I realized. I had to account for the cost of my under-65 insurance, my husband’s Medicare, his Medicare Advantage, out-of-pocket medical costs worst case, plus dental, vision, and long term care. I also talked to my investment advisor and my tax guy before making the move. If you haven’t done financial modeling with tools like Fidelity’s or T Rowe Price, you really should! You can experiment and see what happens if you spend a lot or a little, if it’s a good market or downturn, or if you live to a very old age. But the numbers worked out for me if I would stick to a budget. I’m living frugally, volunteering, helping older relatives, and am still delighted that I made the move when I did. My only financial concern is that my medical budget depends on the “maximum out of pocket” and “no lifetime limits” provisions that came with Obamacare and affect even those of us on corporate plans. I didn’t figure on those going away so soon and leaving potential medical costs completely open-ended, which might happen. If it did I’d consider returning to work.

    3. Jen*

      If your wife wants to continue working, could you/would you be eligible for health benefits from her company?

      Could you negotiate 2 additional years of subsidized insurance from your employer as part of the package?

      Could you/would you want to do some kind of part time consulting or work to bring in a bit of money/keep you active? With a partner working full time you might start to climb the walls anyway.

      Also, what’s the risk of layoff if you do NOT opt into this proposal? Might be far riskier than 2 years of healthcare.

      1. yet another anon*

        So many thoughtful responses! I appreciate everyone who took the time.

        Risk of layoff? My best guess is “high”. Plus my company has instituted changes in the past couple of years that have shot my motivation all to hell. Part of my reason for opting into this program is that it gives me some small measure of control over that sort of thing. I had a small epiphany thinking about this stuff: healthcare is going to be an issue regardless of whether I early retire or not.

        Could I negotiate 2 additional years? My first thought was “no”. My company has something of a reputation for being rigid. But upon further thought, I may call HR and ask about it. I’m reasonably sure that they did not anticipate that this “retirement transition” program would coincide with the current government churn on healthcare. And I’m also sure that they want LOTS of people to participate in this program. It is barely possible that they might sweeten the program to draw more applicants.

        Financial modeling? I’ve done some, primarily with firecalc ( http;//firecalc.com )(mentioned in one of atexit8’s links above) plus I wrote my own simulator, which is not as sophisticated as firecalc but it’s better than a lot of the crap I’ve seen online. It includes adjustments for inflation plus several different scenarios for Social Security. I’ll look at what Fidelity and T Rowe have. More modeling certainly won’t hurt!

        Lifespan? It’s impossible to tell, but I’ll be ecstatic and amazed if I make it to 72. No pity, please. I’ve accomplished all of the important things I wanted to do. The projects I have planned for retirement are essentially Bonus Points.

        Again, thank you all!

        1. Ella*

          If you do take the early retirement, could you find another job, even if it was lower paying or part time, for the next few years, while you’re still in good shape to work? That might be a nice compromise- at least reducing how much you’d need to tap into your retirement funds for now.

    4. Dan*

      Only you can judge your risk and your risk tolerance. If I told you there was a 90% chance you’d stay healthy for two years, but a 10% chance you could get so sick it would wipe you out and force bankruptcy, would you take that risk? Someone with few assets might be fine with that, but someone with more than that might not.

    5. LCL*

      You should talk to a retirement planner. I think you should be able to get cobra medical coverage after you leave work.

      Also, if you can afford it, there is some provision in the tax code that will allow you to make double the normal permitted 401k contributions your last two years of work.

    6. kewlm0m*

      AARP has a lot of good retirement info. I’d suggest researching tax implications of Social Security & Medicare to incorporate into your forecast for future expenditures. Two things to consider: under current regulations, at your income level, Social Security would most likely be taxable. Also Medicare premiums are paid with after-tax not pre-tax dollars so that adds to your AGI.

  49. Apartment/Roommate Woes*

    Before I start, yes, I’ve talked about this on Corporette. I’ve gotten that community’s input, I’m posting here because a) I’d like to see how this other, slightly different community reacts and b) I still feel like venting.

    I’m at risk of losing my amazing apartment in September, because my roommate is a lazy, self-centered cheese brain.

    We live in Boston. Most leases are Sept-Aug, and searches for apartments on that lease cycle usually begin in April. Apartments hit the market as early as that, and as late as June. I found this place in June, my then-roommate and I got lucky with that. As you can imagine, people looking to move in September usually ponder that decision early in the year, and come to a decision by early spring, giving whatever roommates they may leave behind plenty of time to find replacements before landlord needs a decision on whether the lease is being renewed.

    My roommate told me *two weeks ago* that he’s planning to move out. My landlord told me that I need to give him the name of my new roommate by June 1st or the apartment goes on the market, meaning I’ll need to find somewhere else to live.

    I am effing livid, y’all. Not that I want to live here forever, but apartment hunting and moving are tough, I don’t wanna do that unless I want to; the fact that I might need to do it because someone else made an unnecessarily last minute decision to move is ticking me off big time.

    And I know anger isn’t productive. It would be better if I could just take a deep breath and move forward with my brain fully in logic mode, but I’m human.

    I also worry that anger is “unfair” to my roommate. He’s been going through personal stuff, weight loss, dealing with depression, I should be compassionate. But it’s tough for me to have compassion for someone who’s made this kind of mess for me. Literally, he hasn’t been great at getting his room ready to be shown, or cleaning up all his clutter in common areas. He’s been trying, but I worry he’s turned off potential roommates.

    So far three people have seen the place. Two guys from housing website came on Wednesday, they seemed nice but I haven’t heard from either, followed up to no avail. Someone came today, she’s my top choice, but needs to think about it and may not be ready to make a decision by my deadline. Which is understandable, just sucky.

    So . . . just . . . guhhh! I’m starting to worry I’ll need to move in with my parents in the suburbs. Apartment hunting in the summer is tough, unless I can team up with a buddy in June and find a place quickly, like last time. Doesn’t help I’ll be traveling abroad for a week in mid-late June.

    Feels like everything sucks and hardly anything is within my control.

    1. overeducated*

      I’m sorry! That’s so frustrating and stressful. I wonder if your landlord might be willing to negotiate a slightly later date for confirming a new roommate because so many people travel during the holiday weekend? It’s a particularly bad time for a one week turnaround.

      1. Apartment/Roommate Woes*

        If I can’t find anyone by then, I may call on the last of the month and beg for an extension, maybe explain I have someone interested but she needs more time to decide. But I also don’t want to strain the relationship and become a high maintenance, annoying tenant. It might be best to just go with it . . .

        To clarify, I’ve been looking since the 9th, so it has been a little more than 2 weeks. Maybe more like 3, now. But that’s still not a lot of time!

        Maybe the woman who checked the place out would be willing to team up and hunt for a place together.

        1. WellRed*

          I think you’re placing too much hope on the one woman. I usually meet quite a few potentials. Also, if she was really.interested I think she would have said so.

          1. Apartment/Roommate Woes*

            I met with a couple others too. And I don’t blame her for wanting more time, it was too optimistic for me to hope she’d jump on board this afternoon.

    2. Mints*

      If you really want to stay, maybe you can offer a little bit extra money for the extension? Like if you’re asking for an extra two weeks to find a roommate, offer to pay an extra two weeks if you have to move? My experience with individuals as land lords is that throwing money at the problem helps a lot because they mostly want a responsible, financially stable tenant.

      Also I think you’ll have to bite the bullet to clean roommate’s messes in the common areas while people are looking, and hopefully his disaster room won’t seem so bad in context.

      Apartment hunting sucks! Condolences

    3. all aboard the anon train*

      That’s a weird requirement from your landlord, and I say that as someone who rents in Boston. Normally, the landlord would just expect you to pay the full monthly rent until you find a new roommate. I know friends who’ve had this problem and usually the previous roommate covers the rent until they find someone to replace them in the lease.

      Is your lease up on June 1st? Or do you have the standard Aug 31 end date? Because if your lease isn’t up on June 1st, that’s pretty awful of your landlord.

      1. Apartment/Roommate Woes*

        Standard end date, but they want to put all units that aren’t being renewed on the market in June, and they’re worried the unit won’t get rented if it goes on the market later than that. Of course it would get snapped up by a last minute renter, because some people do wait too long, and that could be my argument. But I think the landlord is just not convinced I’ll find someone by the end of June.

        Roommate’s moving out in August, not right away.

        1. all aboard the anon train*

          Also, out of state students usually start looking in late summer for fall housing, so you can use that as an argument as well.

          It’s weird that they’re so intent on putting it up in June since we have such a lack of housing in Boston that most apartments go very quickly.

            1. Apartment/Roommate Woes*

              I’m not sure they’re keen on subletters, and they might be suspicious if I picked up the whole rent myself, especially if I didn’t hand in the extra key or anything.

              1. Allypopx*

                I don’t want to put you on the spot to share too much information but can I ask what part of the city this is in? I’ve lived or been a part of the leasing situation in Somerville, Medford, Chelsea, and Allston and never come across anyone this unwilling to negotiate with a current tenant who’s on good terms. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this, super crummy.

                1. Apartment/Roommate Woes*

                  Brighton, near the Brookline border. I dunno, maybe I’m not on good terms? Sometimes our rent is a day late but since they’ve never complained I assumed it didn’t matter that much. We’ve certainly never gotten warnings on anything. We don’t ask for a lot of repairs, our air conditioners were out by October 1st when that rule was added to the lease, we never store anything outside the apartment and we’ve never had neighbors complain about noise, that we know of.

              2. all aboard the anon train*

                Why would they be suspicious if you picked up the whole rent? Why would this make a difference to your landlord as long as he got the entire month’s rent?

                I’m not trying to be difficult, I’m just genuinely curious why this would be an issue to him.

                The only thing I can think of is that he wants you out regardless of being on good terms so he can raise the rate of the rent. Is your apartment market rate?

        2. Allypopx*

          That makes it super weird they’re being so pushy. We JUST resigned for our July lease, and they want you fully sorted out for a September one?

          There’s always people looking, especially for September.

          1. Apartment/Roommate Woes*

            Just thought of this though, maybe he’s worried the only people looking in the summer are students, or irresponsible people, and the sooner it gets on the market the more likely it is to get snapped up by working professionals who don’t procrastinate on this sort of thing.

            Of course, I’m living proof that not every late hunter is a procrastinator, Sometimes we just get screwed over by idiots.

            1. Allypopx*

              Students who are living off campus in apartments *usually* have parents as cosigners and it’s not a huge risk. Not always, but usually. Possible, but paranoid.

            2. all aboard the anon train*

              If that was his worry, though, he could just not rent to students. There’s plenty of places in the city that don’t rent to students because of these concerns (and whether someone agrees with it or not is a different issue). Most of the rental applications I’ve filled out have asked whether I’m a student or asked for a full paycheck to make sure I’m employed/can afford rent.

              As for late hunters, I get it. I once had an apartment with a Aug 31st end date and my landlord told me on July 1 that he was raising my rent to a price I couldn’t afford, so I had to find a new place very quickly.

              1. Apartment/Roommate Woes*

                When my first roommate and I went in to sign the lease, the realtors were dealing with some people who were still looking, and apparently it’s not uncommon for landlords to sell their buildings and force out all renters relatively late in the season. It’s always a concern of mine around this time of year. But my landlord doesn’t own the whole building, just the unit (in what is technically a condominium), and probably other units in the area. So maybe it’s building management with the policy in place.

                1. Ramona Flowers*

                  Just FYI, I’ve never met a landlord who would be happy to get the rent late. That’s not a particularly great habit to get into.

    4. copy run start*

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this! I hope you are able to find a roommate or a place to live soon. Not knowing where you’re going to live is sickening. I went through something similar a few years ago and it was the most stressful 6 months of my life (the place I moved in to was not a good fit).

  50. NeverNicky (formerly TeaLady)*

    Does anyone have any tips for dealing with or preventing swollen ankles?
    Mine have been getting gradually worse. Not only do they look unsightly, they ache and make walking uncomfortable.
    I currently take two medications for high blood pressure and I have heard these can contribute to this swelling. I will talk to my GP about this but might not get far as they are effective in managing the hypertension. I work from home in a sedentary job which isn’t helping either.
    Most advice I have seen basically tells me to cut out salt (done), lose weight (trying) and exercise more (difficult because of the discomfort).
    Thank you!

    1. Book Lover*

      Compression stockings – shower at night and put them on before you get out of bed in morning. Excercise that strengthens the muscles in your legs to help avoid venous pooling, leg elevation. If you’re on a calcium channel blocker (amlodipine, for example) that can cause some fluid retention.

      And definitely get up and move around frequently.

      1. NeverNicky (formerly TeaLady)*

        Thank you for your help – one of the meds I’m on is amlodipine, so I will have a word with my GP about it.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Certain foods trigger my ankles to swell. Deli meats are a big offender. I can have a couple sandwiches with deli meats and then I am done for a while.
      Reducing my sugar intake helped a lot.

      Recently my chiro said to make sure I stand up every 15 minutes while working at sitting tasks. He also recommended using a mini trampoline. He said it was more important to bounce 4-5 times a day than how long you actually bounce. I don’t know. I will try it.

      1. NeverNicky (formerly TeaLady)*

        The mini trampoline sounds like it might need to wait until I’m out of our flat and into a house! Although when we move (all being well) I will have a garden to go and potter around.
        I will perhaps keep a food/drink diary – I know it won’t be deli meats as I’m vegi, but perhaps there is another trigger – yesterday for example my ankles were fine until late afternoon.

    3. brushandfloss*

      Agreeing with the compression socks. I had cankles and tired achy legs. You may also want to see a vascular specialist to rule out varicose veins, mine were internal. Also a specialist can prescribe which type( how much pressure) of compression sock you need. I usually the socks from Amazon, much cheaper.

      1. NeverNicky (formerly TeaLady)*

        Thank you – I think a chat with my GP is the next step, perhaps a referral to a specialist.

    4. BeachSunSandy*

      Regular elevation, good hydration, keep walking and absolutely compression socks – there are some excellent and cute ones out now (one brand: vim and vigor?). Also, do check with your provider about it. Sometimes medications have this effect, even over the counter ones (naproxen does it to me horribly). And let them know it’s uncomfortable and limiting your activity – your walking is also a BP treatment, and son making sure you can feel good being active is part of the strategy – not just meds.

      1. NeverNicky (formerly TeaLady)*

        Thank you – your comment about walking being a BP treatment really hard, (and it’s therapy for my MS too) so I will have a chat to my GP.

  51. What does a healthy relationship look like??????*

    Advice needed: I’m not currently in a relationship right now, but I could use some advice on how to get into a healthy relationship. I recently realized that I subconsciously accepted a fate where I will inevitably end up being betrayed/exploited by my future partner, based on past experiences. How does one discontinue being a magnet for exploding fireballs of relationship disaster??

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      Therapy. Or at least a lot of good and honest self reflection where you figure out why you are accepting that kind of relationship and what signs you are missing and what personality traits you are attracted to- and why – to have you end in the same place.

      All that is easier with the help of a good therapist.

    2. NaoNao*

      It looks different for everyone, but some commonalities:
      Respect: this person *says and shows* respect for your beliefs, values, and wishes.
      Communication: it’s clear, respectful, consistent, and sane. You communicate in a similar way. For example, I had an ex who wanted to have (to me) weird, New Age-y, vague, cliche-filled conversations, and I didn’t. He wanted to have sort of a mutual “vibe” or understanding. Not my bag. And so on.
      Boundaries: the first time you have to say no, how do they react? Do *they* seem comfortable saying no to others in a polite and kind way? *A person without boundaries will not respect yours*.
      Same level of commitment: If you’re casual, so are they. If you’re serious and exclusive, they’re not on dating sites and apps “for kicks” or “for friends”. nu-uh.
      They treat others well. Their lives are, in general, populated with long term friends and family. Not a series of burned bridges and sob stories. Yes, everyone goes through hard times and has toxic family members. But is *everyone* in this person’s life “toxic”? Bad sign. They treat friends and coworkers with kindness and respect.
      They value kindness, character, sacrifice, and compassion. They aspire to these things. My now-BF has a whiteboard in his apartment that says “The Goal is Peace above all.” That right there made me realize he was for me.

    3. Dan*

      If you feel like you have to “change” for the other person, and you don’t really want to, run.

    4. Arduino*

      If you realize that you are holding out for the good days or have the same arguments over and over again its not a good relationship.

      Been with hubby for 6 years now and never.had the same argument twice. Most days are good days and bad days a rare.

      Back when I was dating the wrong people there would be a few.amazing days and I would glomp onto.them and let a lot of bad days.pass thinking we could get back to the good. A good relationship is good but default.

  52. Sled dog mama*

    For my dad’s 65th birthday he has decided that he wants to go on a wilderness canoe trip (he’s been several times before, actually been on the route he wants to take so it’s not like this is totally off the wall).
    Hubs and I both used to be outdoor guides, that’s how we met, and still enjoy the outdoors although we have moved to different careers.
    So dad has invited two friends (both have been previous trips with dad), my two brothers (both have been on this exact trip with dad, one has gone twice) and my husband.
    Hubs is thrilled that after ten years of marriage my dad invited him on this trip. I’m upset that my dad has never even asked me to go on any trips with him and I can’t really tell my husband because he is so excited about this trip. Of course to me there is no question that hubs is going, I’m just slightly put out that he’s doing this, then a month later he’s going on a trip with his dad an brother to go elk hunting (his dads dream trip to take hi sons elk hunting).

    1. Not So NewReader*

      My father would do something like this. The unspoken in our family is that the outsider is made to feel included. So there would be no need to include me because I would be considered an insider. Therefore my husband would get the invite.

      Honestly, I can’t stand this stuff, these weird rules/behaviors.
      Can you invite your dad to do something with you?

    2. Ella*

      I’m not saying this is right, but would your dad be seeing this as a guys-only trip?

      1. Sled dog mama*

        I’ve considered that it’s more the fact that he’s never invited me on anything and that I can’t complain to hubs because I don’t want to rain on his happy “I’m being included parade”

        1. neverjaunty*

          Sounds like this parade could use a little rain. Why is it OK for him to be over the moon about being invited on a trip with your dad when you were never invited to go? Why it is your job to cram down your feelings – rather than talk to your own husband about them – just so he doesn’t have a single bad feeling? And has it dawned on him that he gets two fun vacations in a month while you stay home – presumably without similar downtime planned in the foreseeable future?

  53. Gaia*

    Well I am clearly not doing as well as I thought I was over the loss of my dog.

    Two nights ago a “friend” on Facebook messaged me and asked me if I wanted to “take [her] dog since [I] don’t have one anymore.” I’m not even paraphrasing. That is what she actually wrote. Her dog is a high energy dog and she outright refuses to walk him. I may have lost it a bit in my response but I was just seeing red. I would give the world to have my dog back and here she is trying to toss hers away because she cannot be bothered to walk him? And to use my dog’s death as a way to try to convince me to take hers?

    We are no longer “friends” on Facebook.

    In other news, I got the tattoo of pup’s paw and I love it. It looks like he dipped his paw in ink and touched my leg. I don’t love the font she used for the words. They are right-aligned around the paw print rather than centered and the font is kind of Disney-esque rather than “paint-brush” I’m trying to not be sad because I can always work around the font and, ultimately, cover it if I don’t grow to love it and the paw print is what matters most and that is amazing.

    1. Hrovitnir*

      I’m sorry you are having a hard time, and your ex-friend’s behaviour was reprehensible. I previously worked at a (“kill”) shelter and people surrender animals for all sorts of reasons good and not-so-good, and none of them are anyone’s responsibility but their own.

      It can take a very long time. It took me probably ten years to stop crying whenever I mentioned a dog I bonded far too closely to who was not able to be adopted.

      I also recently commissioned a painting for a tattoo of one of our cats who we had for far too short a time. We adopted her as an older cat when her owner had to go to a home.

      Congratulations for your tattoo! I’m glad it makes you happy, and hopefully you can change up the font later.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I am sorry.
      I think you are doing okay. People can be so dense.

      FWIW, I get a little too angry when I hear of people neglecting or abusing animals. I am not quite sure we ever totally “get over ” our buddies we have lost. Or maybe it is because we know what a gift they truly are.

      1. Bibliovore*

        I am sorry for your loss. The AAM community was so supportive when I lost my dog a few years ago, I really felt they understood my grief. Your unfriend was incredibly heartless.

    3. Lison*

      The paw tattoo sounds wonderful. Such a lovely idea. When my companion dog died a person at work said to someone else who loved my dog “I’m going to give Lis a list of shelters so she can get a new dog” the same week he died. At least the person who knew us better was able to quickly tell her this was a very bad idea and stop her.
      Some people who have never had the connection to a companion seem to think it’s like a blender breaking “Oh they are sad a slightly bad thing happened, i’ll help replace that” and not have the empathy to understand the utter heartbreak or the time needed.
      It wasn’t that wanting to help person in my case was a bad person, and had she had an unwanted dog I could see her thinking it was a great solution for everyone involved. She just didn’t get it. And you know I feel a bit sorry for her that she’s never had the sort of love from an animal companion that would allow her to empathise.
      Hope it gets better for you sooner rather than later, you always have the love that you both shared.

  54. Loopy*

    So I just ordered my very first meal delivery kit. I chose Hello Fresh because they have a vegetarian option and it got good reviews from what I read. Plus it wasn’t one of the more expensive services.

    It seemed like canceling wasn’t absolutely infuriating and I liked the option of pausing service easily.

    Has anyone used it? Are the time and skill level descriptions accurate? All my meals say level 1 and time is 30 which is about all I can handle. I got it for my birthday week so I could enjoy more variety that week and not have to put any thought into grocery shopping! It seemed a nice way to treat myself without overdoing it.

    1. CanadianUniversityReader (Studying in UK)*

      I’ve tried it but I wasn’t a big fan of the dishes that I selected. I found it to be expensive when you pay the full price.

      I did Hello Fresh two or three times. I tried the Pan-Fried Chicken with Spicy Lentils, Spaghetti with Creamy Smoked Salmon and Crispy Broccoli, the Fragrant Lamb Pilaf with Spinach, Apricots and Minted Yoghurt, and chickpea pancakes with cajun chicken and sweetcorn salsa and some others that I can’t remember (don’t know where the recipe cards are). I loved the Lamb Pilar recipe. But, really disliked the chickpea pancakes and the spicy lentils. The spaghetti with creamy smoked salmon was interesting to try but I wouldn’t make it again. I’d say out of the twelve dishes, I truly enjoyed one of them and the rest varied from thinking they were average to absolutely hating them.

      I tried SimplyCook which is just a spice delivery kit with recipes and I found I liked the food a lot better but they don’t tell you what spices are in them. The dishes were better but I really don’t like the fact that you aren’t able to repeat the dishes.

      1. Loopy*

        Thanks for the feedback. I’m considering this first week a test week and tried to keep my expectations low-ish. However without a grocery kit, my dinners are usual salads, spaghetti, sandwiches and other extremely uninspired, simple fare. So I’m hoping that with such a low, sad baseline, even an okay dinner will be an improvement!!!

        I think Hello Fresh is one of the cheapest I’ve found and I don’t think I can go much higher so my options seem limited :( I am doing it for just me so I get three meals for two people which is actually a full week of dinners for me, at least.

        Considering my full week grocery budget is the full price for this I agree. I’hoping I enjoy it enough to consider it a worthwhile splurge.

    2. Temperance*

      I’m a huge fan of Hello Fresh. We’ve tried Blue Apron, Home Chef, and Sun Basket, and that was our favorite choice. The meals are delicious, I’ve tried things that I haven’t before, and the meals are fairly uncomplicated, for a novice cook.

      1. Loopy*

        Sounds like it’ll be a good fit! I have a friend who does Blue Apron and the recipes seem to take a much longer time and be more complicated. It’s what initially scared me away from such services!

        1. Temperance*

          Blue Apron was way more complicated, IMO, and took a lot longer to cook. I have even noticed improvement in my timing now that we’ve been doing Hello Fresh for a few weeks.

    3. Margali*

      I just started using Hello Fresh, and I’ve really liked it. One meal was just OK, but the family was enthusiastic about all the others and I’ve made a few of them again on my own already. The user interface could be improved for some stuff, but their email response time is excellent. I decided I wanted 1 box per month. I couldn’t see how to set that up on the site, but I made the request via email and they set up my delivery schedule for me right away.

      1. Loopy*

        Knowing they’ll do that is amazing to me. I can’t afford every week and was thinking of doing maybe two boxes a month but the idea of pausing and unpausing service seemed like a hassle. Thanks for mentioning it! Also I always feel better when a company is responsive to emails/calls. That’s a huge factor for me!

    4. Annie Mouse*

      I’m in the UK and tried Hello Fresh a few weeks ago. I presume the US one (if that’s where you are) is a similar context. I loved it, I got it for the end of a week I was off work and the meals were really tasty. The timings were about right, generally 30-40 mins and I was able to do then after work which is unusual for me. Nothing too complex either :)

  55. Katie Marr*

    Well, everything is in the new house, and of course it’s all a mess. So far though everything has arrived in one piece. The cats are cautiously exploring, but it’s also nap time for them now.

    My feet hurt. New house has hardwood, which is gorgeous, but I’m used to carpet with extra padding. Combine that with being on my feet for several days straight, and I’m very glad to be sitting for a few minutes. I did find my slipper though, so yay for extra padding on my feet!

    1. Liane*

      Enjoy your new place. Yes, wood floors are beautiful but hard and cold. Not just slippers but rugs are your friends.

      1. Lison*

        +1 to this. I usually am barefoot when home but sometimes I pulled on fluffy socks because it was cold. I ran to get to the kitchen on the wood floor and slipped and broke my wrist. So with wood floors make sure slippers have good grip.

    2. Merci Dee*

      I feel you. Slowly working through the last of my boxes from the move last weekend, and the end is almost in sight. Less than 10 boxes to sort through.

      My floors are also hardwood, and I love them. My allergies precluded carpet, and I stumbled onto these gorgeous oak floors. My last house, a rental where we stayed far too long, had linoleum floors throughout. It won’t take long for you to adjust to the firmer floor texture.

      Two bits of advice.

      First, you’ve got all the time in the world to get your stuff sorted, put away, and then re-arranged to where you really want it. Don’t kill yourself with unpacking. Take breaks as you need them. Everyone and his mama has been telling me this same advice.

      Second, slipper socks with grippy treads on the bottom are the way to go. Feet stay warm, and nicely connected with the floor! I have 10 or 12 pair of slipper socks, and I love them. (Nevermind that I can’t sleep if my feet get cold, so I have to wear fuzzy socks to sleep every night. :) )

  56. Cruciatus*

    I’ve finally been able to catch up on the current season of Fargo and was shocked, shocked!, to discover Varga is the same actor who played Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter films. I totally see it now, but since he’s playing such an evil guy with horrible, terrible teeth I just did not make the connection until someone mentioned it.

    Also, regarding Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I was shocked, shocked!, to discover this is the real speaking voice for the actress who plays Rosa Diaz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nINO_21wa9c
    Sorry that it’s an ad for Ford, but it’s the video I saw with her so it’s the one I’m sharing.

    OK, I maybe wasn’t actually shocked, but it’s been a slow week (which is A-OK with me) and not much else is happening.

    And thanks to whoever mentioned “All Your Worth” by Elizabeth Warren & Amelia Tyagi. I got it from the library and am not very far in, but am appreciating the approach they offer for managing money.

    1. all aboard the anon train*

      Stephanie Beatriz’s normal speaking voice is SO different from the voice she uses as Rosa. She’s used it on the show a couple of times (and in the last episode!) and I’m still surprised whenever I hear it.

      Also side note, even though it’s a car commercial, it reaffirms my love for Stephanie Beatriz and Melissa Fumero and their adorable friendship. I always get really happy when those two have social media posts where they’re hanging out. I love when genuine friendships seem to form between actors on shows.

    2. Myrin*

      Regarding Brooklyn Nine-Nine, I literally just saw the season finale and I was shocked, shocked! by its twists and turns. I mean, I know everything’s gonna be resolved in the first or at least second episode of season 5 but it’s still soooooo far away!

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        I only just started watching it when I finally twigged that it was a show I should see. I love it.

      2. all aboard the anon train*

        I was really anxious throughout the last two episodes, and that’s not a word I associate with B99! I know it’s going to be resolved, but I kept going, “but this is going to ruin their reputations and careers!” I wonder if S5 is going to reference Holt convincing Rosa to stay because wow, was he wrong about that.

        I thought S4 was a low point in terms of the show – but still better than a lot of other sitcoms – and after seeing the last three episodes of this season, I wish they had drawn that plotline out for more of the season. It would have made the finale even better and more shocking, I think.

    3. katamia*

      Oh, my gosh. I knew that was her real voice, but every time I hear it I’m still surprised, lol. I love the pink in her hair, too.

      And this reminds me that I really need to catch up on B99. Oops.

    4. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Daaaaaaaang, I had no idea that she used a different voice for Rosa. Wow.

    5. Melody Pond*

      Re: “All Your Worth” – I think that was me! Last week or so, right?

      I’m glad to hear you’re liking it so far.

    6. Merci Dee*

      Heh heh heh. Cruciatus is talking about Harry Potter. Every once in a while, the universe conspires to make me smile.

  57. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

    This is a bit of a brain fog day for me and I so appreciate that husband recognized that and took our kiddo off for a high energy visit elsewhere so I could attempt to work through it. I suspect this fog is fibro related but it could just be fatigue related – a long walk this morning hasn’t helped dispel it and that usually helps a lot.

    Other than sugar, or coffee which I don’t drink, what do y’all do to get the cotton and cobwebs out of your brain?

    1. Fictional Butt*

      Salad, especially from a salad bar. Just a ton of raw vegetables with some cheese and maybe pasta. Works really well.

    2. overeducated*

      Allergy medicine, I think seasonal allergies are often the hidden cause of my brain fog. (Other clues: coffee and naps don’t help, eye fatigue, mild pressure between eyebrows.)

      1. gladfe*

        Oh, wow, you just made the lightbulb turn on in my brain. That is exactly what’s going on with me this week! My allergies haven’t been this bad in a few years, and I had forgotten it could cause this kind of fogginess. Thank you; that epiphany will make my next week better!

    3. all aboard the anon train*

      Drink a lot of water and take a long, hot shower. Sometimes I’ll go for a walk or run.

  58. Nervous Accountant*

    Fixing credit score–how do I fix it? I havent checked it until i was in the process of leasing a car this month and I put myself as a consigner.

    I made some bad choices early in life, but now that I’m working FT and have steady income & savings, I feel I should invest in fixing this.

    My bank gave me a few CCs and they kept increasing the limit; I pay more than the minimum. I plan on using some of my savings to pay off the CCs.

    Any idea of how I go about doing this?

    Are CC repair services worth it?

    Before I look in to paying it I wanted to tap in to the expertise here. TIA!

    1. Cruciatus*

      I am not an expert, I am not an expert, I am not an expert. With that said, I do know you can’t fix it quickly but you can definitely improve it over time and I think the best things to do are lower/eliminate any debts you have, and pay on time, every time. Don’t open up new lines of credit. Give it some time and you’ll see the numbers start to rise. I’m not sure how any repair service could actually help you and it sounds scammy to me and potentially a way to get in an even worse off situation (but I’ll leave that to people who may know more about it).

    2. Sparkly Librarian*

      Try Credit Karma (dotcom). You can see an approximation of your score every week, and they will offer tips on how to increase it. It’s free, but you do share a lot of your financial information. They also started doing tax filing service this year, and it was free for both federal and state.

    3. Uncivil Engineer*

      CC repair services are mostly a scam. At best, you will be paying them to do a bunch of things you can do yourself (and it sounds like you’re already doing them). Pay off your credit cards as soon as you can, always pay your cc bills on time, and wait it out. Info stays on your report for 7 years (except bankruptcies which stay for 10 years) so, over time, the bad stuff will slowly drop off the report and not be counted.

      1. Dan*

        Technically speaking, it’s not a scam to charge people for something that they can do themselves. We all have things in our lives that are a pain in the butt for us to do that we pay others for convenience…

        The problem with credit “repair” services is that they are somewhere between a ripoff and unethical. It’s one thing if the bad items on your report are erroneous and you don’t have the time or knowledge to deal with them, but it’s completely different if the negative items on the report are legit. So, paying a “credit repair” service at worst is going to be a waste of money (those negative items will withstand scrutiny during verification) and unethical at best… if those things are legit, claiming they’re not isn’t really true, is it?

        The other ripoff-y aspect I’ve seen is that these services will tell you to stop paying your lenders, and pay the service instead, because they claim they’re negotiating lower APRs for your. In reality, the service is holding your payments, and letting you default on your debt, which kills your credit score. Then, they call the banks up and say you’ve hit hard times, but would like to negotiate lower APRs/some kind of settlement. They aren’t upfront about what they’re doing, and it absolutely screws over the customer.

    4. Natalie*

      Credit repair mostly takes time, which no credit repair company can help you with.

      I seem to recall you’re in Canada? If I’m wrong and you’re in the US, pull your credit reports from the gov site and see if there’s any negative reports there. If they are near to 7 years old, you can just leave them and they’ll fall off. (They’re also likely past the statute of limitations for legal action, but check your local laws.) Pay off any random items you can, and pay those cards down and keep them low. A big part of a credit score is utilization – the ratio of debt to available credit. So having a high limit card with no balance is advantageous. Age of account also matters, so if you have an old credit acccount you don’t use, keep it open as long as you aren’t paying a fee to do so.

      Otherwise, the best approach is standard sensible budgeting – pay off interest-accruing debt as soon as possible, and don’t take on debt you don’t need.

      You mention having savings and CC debt – this is almost certainly a bad idea. The interest rate you’re paying on that debt is higher than the interest rate you’re earning. If you can, pay the debt off entirely, and then put whatever your CC payment was into that savings account every month to replenish it.

      1. Fictional Butt*

        Emergency savings are important though! No savings + an emergency = even more debt

        1. Natalie*

          I don’t think there’s one right answer to that, but it sounds like the OP is not in that tight of a situation. If I were in their position and could be disciplined enough to replenish the savings quickly, I’d pay the debt off in full and take the chance on an emergency not happening right away. YMMV.

    5. Trixie*

      In addition to not opening new cards, I would not close the accounts you have once they’re paid off. Think of a low debt to credit ratio I think it’s called. Ideally you might have cards with no annual fee. If you’re carrying a balance, you might look at balance transfer to card with zero interest rate but FIRST check the balance transfer fee. Make sure you’re actually saving money in the long run as you pay them off. Paying on time is big. Some folks pay off the highest interest first but I usually started with smallest balance. Felt great to pay if off and put collective efforts on next balance. I
      Yes, if in the US skip credit karma and just request a free annual report from one of the three agencies every four months. This way, you’re always keeping tabs. Good luck!

      1. Natalie*

        Closing the accounts is good if one struggles with credit spending, but it actually worsens utilization (debt-to-credit ratio). A card with no balance is 100% on the credit side of the equation, 0% on the debt side.

    6. Jessesgirl72*

      You need credit, but they don’t want you to carry a balance on multiple cards, and your debt to credit ratio, they want to be high. So them raising your limit is awesome, as long as you don’t actually use it! ;)

      The rest is just time and history of paying your bills and paying off any debt. Except if you have a mortgage, your credit score will jump- apparently just that makes you more credit worthy.

      If you have a Discover card, they will show you your Experian score for free. (IIRC, too lazy to check exactly which one)

      1. Natalie*

        Discover provides some version of a FICO score, which is one of the most commonly used.

    7. Dan*

      There are two things you do: Pay your bills on time, and have a low credit utilization ratio. (That’s the amount on your cards divided by your total credit limit.)

      There’s nothing else to do. As others have mentioned, those credit repair services are scams at worst and unethical at best. What they do is write to the credit bureaus and dispute the negative items on your credit report. If the credit bureaus can’t verify them, they have to delete them. To that end, you can just do that yourself. The unethical part is that if those items are valid, then…

      Along the ethical lines, here’s what I *wouldn’t* do. If you have old items that are unpaid, I wouldn’t pay them. They have to drop off after seven years, and if you pay them, it can reset the clock. Second, paying them does not improve your score. A collection item that is marked as paid counts just as bad as an item marked as unpaid. Paying them doesn’t make them drop off.

      Second, your utilization ratio isn’t just about your revolving debt… it takes into account how much you charge during the month, even if you pay it off.

          1. Really*

            It’s not really wrong. Your utilization is based on the moment they look at the record. All my credit cards have similar pay dates. So if you look at the record just before the payments hit I will have a much higher utilization than afterwards.

            1. Jessesgirl72*

              I have used credit monitoring services in the past, and the number they reported and based the credit score off of was always (no exceptions) the balance on the most recent statements, and the statement dates were all spread out, so it wasn’t a coincidence of they just happened to pull numbers when the amount was the same.

              1. Dan*

                I realize my wording is a bit more vague than this, but this is certainly the spirit of what I wrote in that last sentence. To call it “entirely incorrect” is very misleading.

                The point I was trying to make is that if you have cards with low limits, you max them out every month, and pay them off on the due date, then your cards are considered maxed out, which is very bad.

                1. Jessesgirl72*

                  Your wording was not vague- it was incorrect, and I told you that I have SEEN, with my own eyes that whatever you had on the card does not show up on the credit report- only the amount reported at the end of the statement period. If I had $0 at the end of the statement, that is what was reported to Transunion- not that I’d had $5k on it the day before the statement closed, or the due date. Period.

                  Anyone can claim to be an expert on the internet. I highly suggest that people take your alleged expertise with a large grain of salt. It took 2 years to rebuild our credit, watching every month what made it grow, and why.

        1. Dan*

          I’m well versed in this subject matter. If there’s something that’s incorrect or written poorly, please point it out. I’ll also admit that it’s hard to “prove” anything I’ve written, which is also why this industry is so full of unethical, shady actors trying to get money from vulnerable people who have little access to accurate information.

          1. Ramona Flowers*

            I’m in the UK where this would be dangerously bad advice, so I wondered if it was right. For example things don’t just drop off after x years, it’s not that simple, it does make a difference if you pay something, and things do ‘drop off” in one way when paid in that they won’t sit in the unpaid section although they will appear in your history of late payments if you have one.

            Finally, over here it’s not the case that there’s nothing else to do. To someone here I’d suggest a low-cost fixed-rate loan or credit card shuffle, and to sign up for MSE membership to monitor your score.

            Your comment was so far from that that I just wondered if it was right. Which is why I said I’m not sure.

            1. Jessesgirl72*

              It’s not that simple in the US either. If you have paid something off, it drops off after 7 years, but if you’ve left a debt unpaid, it stays on your credit report while the debt passes back and forth from debt collector to debt collector, and then it would be 7 years from the last time they tried to collect- so 7 years past the end of infinity. :P

              And a card that you paid off- and a mortgage if you can get one- go a long way to building your credit in the US.

              1. Natalie*

                In almost all states the 7 year reporting limit is longer than the statute of limitations, so debt that old doesn’t often get resold as it’s hard to collect.

            2. Dan*

              With the three major bureaus, they don’t separate “paid” vs “unpaid”. There is a note on each item noting its status, but they all sit under a section called “collection items” and the mere fact something is there can really screw you.

              The other thing that really complicates this discussion is that there are both federal and state laws governing collection. Credit reports in the US are simply *reports*. Debts can be collected after the seven year reporting period if the relevant statute of limitations permits it. Similarly, if the relevant state statute of limitations is less than the seven year reporting period, the collection agent can’t collect on it, even if it is still legal to report it.

              There’s a scam in the us where collection agents are illegally trying to collect on old debts.

              As far as fixed rate loans go, in the us, if you have bad credit, you cannot get a low fixed rate unsecured loan. Your best bet is to get a secured loan of some sort, like an auto loan. I would not pay a high interest rate (or any interest rate, really) for the sole purpose of increasing my credit score.

              The real advice I was trying to give at the beginning of the thread is that one should not pay money for an improved credit score. Most companies who offer those kinds of services are scams, and are somewhere between a ripoff and unethical. The secondary point is that paying off old collection items won’t actually make your score go up. Whether or not one *should* pay them off is a different discussion; the point here is simply that paying them doesn’t make them go away or your score go up. (If you owe enough money, and the creditor believes you have the ability to pay, they can and will sue you in court.) I’m also not sold on paid “credit monitoring” services.

              In this way, credit advice/counseling/monitor/repair services are a lot like job search advices “services”. There’s a lot of scams going on there too, especially with resume writing services.

            3. Apollo Warbucks*

              There is a statute of limitations for uk debts so after 6 years they can not be collected, but there are only certain circumstances that applies it’s not a guaranteed way to avoid payment.

              I was travelling overseas for a couple of years and when I got home I’d had a number of letters from a debt collection agency saying I owed £200 from a credit card I’d had. I asked for a copy of the statement it related to, which I was never given so I refused to pay. I could have been taken to court but I guess they didn’t have the paper work to prove the debt was legitimate and the balance was so small to be worth them bothering about.

              I wrote a lot of letters to the bank, the debt collection agency as well as the credit reference agency but none of them wanted to help remove the error from my credit report and I gave up dealing with their nonsense.

              It’s no longer shown on my credit report and I was able to get a new credit card from the same bank so it seems to have been forgotten about.

    8. EN*

      I wouldn’t go to any random credit repair service, but I used to work at credit unions, and I’ve heard good things about the financial counseling services that many of them offer to their members free of charge. They’ll help you set a budget that gets you on the right path and can even negotiate the payments on your behalf.

    9. Ella*

      One thing to look at is how much of a card’s limit you’re using. For example, if a card has an $1000 limit and you’re using $800 on it, your credit is going to be harmed much more than if you’re using $800 of a $5000 limit card.

      We’ve been paying off debt for awhile now (I think in less than a year from now we’ll be CC debt free!), and credit karma has been great to keep tabs on things. It’s not 100% accurate- I find it reports my score as being slightly lower than it actually is, but it’s helpful because you can access it any time, and it shows the kinds of factors that impact your score.

      One thing that’s also helpful for us in paying off debt is having an emergency fund. We started off with about $1000 and have gradually saved up to $6000, with the goal of $10000. Having an emergency fund means that if things come up with our house, car, medically, etc, we can cover them and don’t need to add to debt.

      I also use the goodbudget app (& site). It’s free for the basic version. I basically made a budget & it’s on my phone with different categories (food, debt payment, gas, savings, etc), and I just record whatever purchases I make as I make them, so I can easily see how much $$ I have left in a category that month so I can slow down spending as needed.

      Good luck paying off debt! It takes time but it feels so good to see progress! I also recommend making a note of all of your current balances so you can periodically look back & see all the progress you’ve made. It’s good for morale :). Best wishes!

  59. Paquita*

    @Keladry of Mindelan, I just downloaded the first book from the library to my kindle. All because of your username.Keladry of Mindelan

    1. Keladry of Mindelan*

      I’m honored! The Protector of the Small quartet is my favorite series by Tamora Pierce. I hope you enjoy it!

  60. BananaKarenina*

    Has anyone seen U2 on their current “The Joshua Tree” tour (or have tickets for an upcoming show)? I saw them, with Mumford and Sons, at Levi’s Stadium in the Bay Area last week. Despite the chilly weather, the concert was pretty darn fantastic. First time seeing both bands, and was not disappointed.

    1. Kristie*

      I love U2! They are amazing. I have been to one of their concerts. Would like to go again.

    2. nonprofit manager*

      Yes, saw them last weekend at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Really good show! And by kind of random accident – my huge U2 fan friend lives in Pasadena and we went to the Rose Bowl the night before to check everything out, and arrived near the end of U2’s sound check – we were in a small group of people who got to meet and chat with Bono! My friend has loved them for 30+ years and this was definitely the highlight of the weekend, as she got to speak with him and shake his hand, though the concert was really good, too.

  61. katamia*

    “My skin is dry from medication and it’s torture” update and another question.

    Thanks for all the suggestions last week for chapstick! I’m giving Burt’s Bees a try, and the dry skin-induced split lip I’d had for like 3 weeks is mostly healed now, finally.

    Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut this medication is also making my face incredibly dry. I can deal with the feel of chapstick, but I have major issues with the way lotion/cream/moisturizer feels on my skin, and when I finally bit the bullet and tried it a couple days ago with the lotion I had around, it made me break out horribly. So…lotions/creams/moisturizers for your face that don’t feel slimy at all? (How do people just, like, walk around with lotion on their skin without wanting to drop everything and run to the nearest shower?)

    Actually, I’d love a good moisturizing body wash rec, too, since I assume that wouldn’t give me the same problems.

    1. Fictional Butt*

      I use Olay for my face, specifically the “sensitive skin” one.

      For body moisturizer, St Ives is good (that’s just for a moisturizer, idk about body washes). I think the slimy feeling is something you just need to get used to, but it shouldn’t last very long. If you really feel slimy even after several minutes, maybe you’re using too much?

      1. katamia*

        It’s possible I’m using too much, but I feel like when I try (which isn’t often), if I used any less then I wouldn’t have enough to cover my entire face. I also have a minor case of OCD, though, that flares up mostly with regard to unpleasant sensations/touching unpleasant things, though, and I think that might also be contributing to the “Slime. On my face. Can’t function or focus on anything but the slime. On my face.” feeling I get from lotion.

    2. Ariel Before The Mermaid Was Cool*

      I swear by Aveeno.
      I use the original oatmeal body wash and daily moisturizing lotion for body. I use the positively radiant face wash and positively radiant daily moisturizer and the daily essentials night cream. The only one that has a heavy feel is the night cream, but I forget about the daily moisturizer and body lotion 5 minutes after I apply. I highly recommend!

    3. Jules the First*

      I use Garnier’s After Sun face and body as my go-to moisturiser because it’s not sticky, it’s not greasy, it doesn’t make me break out, and it’s incredibly moisturising. Do test it on a small patch first though, as I have seen online reviews from people who reacted very badly to it….

    4. Cruciatus*

      For my face at night I use Cetaphil lotion. It sinks in pretty fast. For day I use CeraVe with SPF. On my body I’ve used Jergens for forever. Maybe for a minute or two it’s a little sticky but for me it absorbs quickly. I usually put it on before I blow dry my hair and by the time I’m done I can put clothes on without it feeling sticky. I also don’t need a lot of any of the lotions. I find a little goes a long way. You could even use the Cetaphil on your whole body if you didn’t want to buy a bunch of different ones.

    5. M*

      I switched to Canus Goat Milk soap after having increasing issues with soaps and fragrance that exacerbated my seasonal eczema. I don’t have to use moisturizer any more and since I also use it as hand soap, my hands aren’t cracking any more either.

      It’s also cheap for my area – $2.49-$3.35 a bar from Amazon.

    6. Lady Kelvin*

      I use Estee Lauder day wear. It is very light and soaks in quickly so I don’t even notice I’m wearing it. In fact, I notice I’m not wearing it. It is a bit expensive, $54 for the regular sized jar, but I have never found a drugstore brand that didn’t feel slimy and it lasts me about 9 months.

      1. Lady Kelvin*

        Oh and if you go to the Estee Lauder counter in most department stores they can usually offer you free samples so you can try a couple different of their lotions before you decide to buy.

        1. Trix*

          Yes especially if you tell them the reason for your difficulty. They should be able to give you a couple different samples so you can see which one you’ll be comfortable consistently wearing.

          Personally I’m not a huge fan of Estee Lauder moisturizers, but that’s just my skin. I’d suggest going to Nordstrom, either to the Ad Tech (lots of skincare brands) counter or to a Beauty Stylist, or Sephora, and trying different brands.

    7. Jessesgirl72*

      I also use the Oil of Olay sensitive skin on my face. It’s light and not greasy.

      But the main improvement to my dry and sensitive skin is that I quit using body wash and commercial soap entirely. The chemicals that make it lather all dry out skin. Google “Natural Mystic Soaps”- I use her oatmeal soaps, primarily, especially on my face. Or go to any local farmer’s market or craft fair and there will be a soap seller who uses real ingredients (and only lye to activate)- usually olive oil or goat’s milk. I heard this week of a llama milk soap- and they’ll have an oatmeal soap that is good for sensitive and dry skin.

      1. Ella*

        My dermatologist also said it’s ok to not use soap on your body at all unless something is particularly dirty. She told me this after I got a rash from some harsh soap. So I rarely use soap (sometimes on my face for makeup), and I’m clean. :)

        1. Jessesgirl72*

          I like the oatmeal soaps for the exfoliation. :) I mean, I could make my own gentle sugar or oatmeal scrub, but for usually $5/bar, it’s just easier to get it from the farmer’s market.

        2. Life is Good*

          My dermatologist recommended Dove sensitive skin soap for my extremely sensitive facial skin. I live in a very dry climate (like less than 25% humidity all the time). I used to get red, itchy bumps all the time. Have gotten none since I switched about ten years ago. I follow up with Eucerin sensitive skin facial moisturizer. Soaks in quickly and doesn’t feel greasy under foundation. Good luck to you, dry skin is the worst.

    8. Natalie*

      I use Aveeno’s facial sunscreen as a morning moisturizer – it doesn’t feel greasy/tacky to me and sunscreen is good if you aren’t currently using it. At night I use CeraVe’s pm moisturizer (which is the same as their am but without sunscreen.)

      1. Kali*

        Ditto to this! I have super dry skin and live in a super dry climate. Before I started using jojoba oil, my skin used to overcompensate and I’d break out a lot. Now I just rinse my face with water and use the jojoba oil afterwards, once in the morning and once in the evening. My skin’s a lot clearer and the oil doesn’t have the oily feel you’d think it would.

        1. Melody Pond*

          Yes, exactly! Jojoba oil (which is technically a wax, apparently – not even a true oil) is super light! And I read somewhere that it’s closest to the oil our own skin produces which is why our skin tends to like it so much.

    9. Celeste*

      Neutrogena HydroBoost gel moisturizer. It’s been a revelation. I use it right after washing, and it is really works great.

      If you are having flaking, consider a gentle powered facial brush when you wash. If you get the dead stuff off, the products can soak in better.

    10. Merci Dee*

      I am such a huge, huge fan of all the Burt’s Bees products, including the facial cleansers and lotions. My absolute favorite is the Intense Hydration line, especially the treatment mask. I have crazy-sensitive and dry skin, and the treatment mask gas been a godsend. Directions state to rub on, leave for 3 to 5 minutes, and then tissue off whatever’s left. But my skin just drinks this stuff, so there’s nothing left to remove after a minute or two. This stuff moisturizes like nobody’s business, but had never been thick, greasy, or heavy on my skin.

      Now that I think about it, I have to re-order my two tubes of treatment mask. Noticed this morning that I’m almost out.

    11. Excitable Sim*

      I’d recommend trying some Korean skincare products. Look for lightweight serums or essences, which are less oily and don’t sit on your skin as long. You only need a dime-sized amount (at most) and it should seem like you barely have enough to cover your face. Sephora has started carrying SK skincare, but they are pretty expensive. You can find cheaper (but just as good) brands on eBay, Amazon, peach and Lily, and many other online retailers. CVS has apparently started carrying some SK brands, and here in Canada there’s TheFaceShop, which I’ve loved. Good mid/low price brands to look for are Mizon, TheFaceShop, Holika Holika, and Tony Moly, but there are loads more that are good too. You could also try some sheet masks, which might give you a good boost of hydration and don’t leave your skin as sticky after use. Sephora sells these for about 8$ a pop, but 2$ each seems to be a more correct price from what I’ve seen online and in SK shops.

      Also! Are you washing your face? Are you using face wash for dry skin? This could help too.

    12. Sami*

      I hate sticky/greasy/slimy lotion too. And the best I’ve found (for hands and body) is Dionis. It’s goat milk. And they have an unscented that I really love. I usually buy it at the local Cracker Barrel store but Amazon has it too.

    13. Anon attorney*

      Dr Hauschka does a day cream that is very light. The product range as a whole is very soothing. I also like Blue Lagoon moisturiser from Iceland (they do mail order!!)

    14. Dead Quote Olympics*

      On my sensitive rosacea skin these have been most successful:
      Cerave PM facial moisturizer
      Dove Nutrium deep moisture foaming bath wash (or something like that)
      Neither leave a film on my skin or irritate it.

      Also, try taking fish oil capsules (I use Theratears and freeze them — no fishy burps). It really helped my medicine-induced dry eye and seems to have helped with dry skin in general. It was also recommended by my son’s dermatologist when he was taking very drying acne meds.
      Good luck!

    15. Red*

      This is gonna sound word, but there are these face sprays you can get that you might like. Sometimes they’re just water, sometimes they have humectants or essential oils in there, but you just mist your face with it when it feels dry, and then it isn’t. The effect doesn’t last as long as a moisturizer, but the only good product is the one you’ll actually use so whatever. They also feel really refreshing in the summer.

      As for body wash, get thyself some Shea Moisture! I have insanely sensitive skin and their products have never bothered it, and they are so moisturising and smell great.

    16. nonprofit manager*

      I recently started using good quality oil on my skin and it’s made such a difference. I am in my 50s and still have oily skin and breakout problems. But I have found that good quality, food-grade oils really help. Right now I am using Trader Joe’s facial cleansing oil, as the price was good and this was an experiment. I am so happy with it that I will continue using oil to cleanse. I am also using facial oils by Acure for moisturizing. I mix with sunscreen for daytime use. Good quality oil will absorb right into your skin and you won’t even feel it. And my skin is no longer oily or breaking out, so extra bonus.

  62. Victoria, Please*

    What’s your favorite cleaning supply brand? Looking for something(s) nice for wood floors and tile, and shower walls in a hard water region. (Baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar classics are, sadly, out.) Thanks for suggestions!

    1. Jules the First*

      Method’s stuff is absolutely brilliant. I hate cleaning and it sooooo does the trick (and most of them are gentle enough that you don’t need to wear gloves). The only one I’ve found that doesn’t work is the daily shower cleaner (which is fine, because their general bathroom cleanser works brilliantly on every surface in the bathroom that isn’t the toilet)

    2. Natalie*

      Not sure about the shower, but I’ve generally liked Method. They have a lot of different items that work well as far as I can tell, and they smell nice.

    3. Dear Liza dear liza*

      Hard water is my jam. Bar Keepers Friend is great for kitchen and bathroom cleansing. I like Bona for my wood floors.

    4. Ella*

      For mopping wood floors I love Murphy’s oil soap. I like method too as a gentle spray for counters. For the bathroom I use scrubbing bubbles for the shower & also soft scrub (the kind with bleach) since it’s kind of got a texture to it, kinda like baking soda, so it can get into the crevices on our shower floor. I’m not sure if we have hard or soft water.

    5. CC*

      Also echoing Method! They have a cleaning product for everything and it all smells great and works well.

  63. Aphrodite*

    A post above asked how others here get a more positive attitude. I really liked the question and answer. I didn’t want to hijack her thread but wanted to ask a variation of that question I am struggling with.

    My ego. My job. And the regular battle between the two.

    I work as a “Senior Office Assistant” at the adult ed section of a two-year college. I am, frankly, embarrassed at my title and the low level of work it entail (plus the relatively low pay, about $45,000 a year plus benefits). I came into this job after a layoff at the college and it was awful for several years because I wasn’t really wanted but didn’t know that until I was physically here. (It’s a long story and details might out me so I’d rather not go into that.)

    I have also not acted professionally all the time. There’s been nothing major but a series of things I did I wish I hadn’t done. The result is that I am not considered for promotion, but the job I have is extremely hard, detailed, complex and, I firmly believe, underrated. My ego, despite a lot of past therapy, is still easily wounded and I am quite sensitive with an artistic temperament. So when my new supervisor, who is coming in this month due to massive, ongoing changes at work, tells me to do something a particular way (like adding a salutation to my internal emails) and I am furious beyond any reason I should be but likely at least partially due to complete and total exhaustion and frustration I go into a kind of fantasy mode where I visualize telling them off in a crazy way.

    I write this out and it seems so ridiculous. It is actually. But I don’t know how to grab hold of my unreasonable ego by the throat and re-train it to recognize that these petty stupidities, which I view many of them as, aren’t me. They don’t reflect the talented, wonderful, warm person I truly am but keep in my private life. I am polite and helpful at work but I am a very private person. And since I keep that professional/ private wall very high I don’t socialize if I can avoid it. (I do, however, ask about others’ interests and weekends and such; I just don’t share much of mine.)

    Does anyone else suffer from this (childish) thing? Does anyone have any suggestions for me to help myself?

    1. atexit8*

      I have a MSEE. About 9.5 years ago I started working at a job a defense megacorp. Most of my colleagues had an associates degree at best.

      I needed the money to pay my bills. The salary was a 15% decrease from my highest salary when I was working at Lucent before the tech bubble burst post-9/11.

      I sucked it up. My manager had said they had been concerned how I would deal with my co-workers and were pleased when I meshed well.

      To me a job is the means to an end — early retirement.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Why are you totally exhausted?
      There are not many people who can do a great job of controlling their temper while being totally exhausted. I think you should figure out what it will take for your to feel more rested.

      Next step. People become angry when they do not know how to handle a situation. In other words they have no other plan, getting angry is their only plan and therefore the go-to plan. Have you worked with a therapist to build plans of what you will do when you feel your temper rising?

    3. Ella*

      I was an admin assistant for a few years for $32k, with a masters, after taking a pay cut from another job, and I was depressed and embarrassed about it. It helped to do good work & look for other jobs. It took years, but I eventually was able to get a promotion/other job offers. If you can afford it, I recommend therapy. I’ve found therapy helpful in overcoming specific obstacles- it doesn’t necessarily need to be a long term thing. That might help you get strategies for coping now & moving on.

  64. Natalie*

    I am officially on vacation for the next two weeks, and we don’t leave for Costa Rica until Wednesday. Which led me to be motivated to get all my garden weeded today. So much creeping charlie – I’ll be pulling that crap up in my sleep, I’m sure.

  65. Babies*

    I have 2 kids. The second is 10 months old and I haven’t slept full night since she was born. I got my period back in April. I have not had it since. I woke up with an awful feeling in my stomach that felt like morning sickness. I could potentially be pregnant if my body is still a bit irregular and I really ought to have Had a period by now.

    We have always waffled between 2 and 3 kids, and we are financially fine to have another, but the idea of 3 kids under 5 and 2 under 2 makes me want to throw up. My birthday is tomorrow and I refuse to take a pregnancy test until Monday. Just gonna worry* until then.

    *cant actually decide if I’m worried. I’m just a planner and this wasn’t something I’d planned, exactly. But it would be totally fine. Even if it were a boy and I have a house full of girl clothes. Also, haven’t told the hubs. He won’t freak out, but I don’t want to feel like i need to test immediately, which he’ll want to do.

    1. Jessesgirl72*

      Happy Birthday!

      Whatever the test says, I’m sure you’ll be fine. :) We aren’t going to discuss the dresser and bins I have stuffed with boy clothes, most of which I paid $1 or less for- and garage sale season is just really getting started here! Boy, Girl, 2 kids, or 3- you’ll work it all out!

      A friend’s mom had 4 under 3 (twins were the oldest) and didn’t go insane, so it can be done!

    2. Lady Jay*

      Happy birthday!

      Also, from the kids’ perspective, being that close in age sometimes helps them build stronger relationships. I personally am nearly five years in age from my only sibling, and we’re not particularly close. I chalk a lot of it up to age.

      1. TheLazyB*

        Heh, I’m much closer to my decade-younger sister than my two-years-younger one :)

    3. Hrovitnir*

      I think ambivalence is a natural response! I would feel worried if I had been sleep deprived that long and might be starting again, even if I really wanted another child. The part of having babies that involves “you’re going to be sleep deprived for an amount of time you can’t anticipate” is pretty huge to my mind!

      I hope you have a great birthday and if it is another baby that you have a smooth pregnancy and the next one sleeps through the night quicker.

  66. salad fingers*

    I had a really crappy birthday a couple of days ago so I booked a last minute 4 day 3 night trip to New Orleans, starting tomorrow. I’m at the tail end of a cold (hopefully) and travelling solo, so trip isn’t ALL about a party. Do I absolutely have to go to any museums or landmarks? Shopping? Everything else?

    1. Lady Kelvin*

      The zoo is supposed to be fantastic if you like that kind of thing. But the aquarium is awful, don’t bother. My friends did a graveyard tour once that was pretty cool too. They got to see a lot of the more famous people who are buried and learned a lot about death in NO. Which sounds morbid, but they do it differently than anywhere else.

    2. Damn it, Hardison!*

      It’s been several years since I was in New Orleans, but I enjoyed the Greyline tour I took of the city, which gave me a sense of where things were and what I wanted to see. I did a tour of the Garden District which included a cemetery tour that was really interesting (if you like history and old houses). I also did a fantastic culinary tour of the French Quarter. Here’s a link to some recommendations from someone who lives in New Orleans http://joythebaker.com/2017/01/what-to-do-in-new-orleans-winter-2017/

    3. Pharmgirl*

      World War II museum – it’s absolutely fantastic, hands down my favorite museum.

  67. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    My wife just CANNOT catch a break w/r/t injuries. She broke her leg in three pieces because we were horsing around on the dock at our rental cabin and a board broke.

    And I have just been crying. It’s totally selfish, but she had surgery 10 months ago and mental issues that made her take work leave 5/6 months ago.

    But I CANNOT work and caregive AGAIN. Too much.

    1. LCL*

      Oh, I am sorry for her injury and the bad times you have been through. I read every time you post, I know things have been tough for you both.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Can we brainstorm some resources for you guys?
      Start with family and friends can you get a couple people who would come help your wife, say, one day a week? Or maybe someone would agree to prep a few meals and load up your freezer?

      It’s fine to be selfish and cry. Many people do when their spouse is not well. This is our other half and our other half is having problems which means we have problems. Problems that we did not cause, nor ask for and we can’t fix the problems ourselves. Yep. Cry.

      Can she get some PT so that basic activities are easier for her?

      Do not do this alone. Find ways to bring in other people to join you in helping her. When my husband was sick with his final illness I brought in an army. I knew I was not going to be able to help him by myself. Likewise with you, your wife has several problems all at once. It’s no longer realistic to think that you can manage all this by yourself.

      I am not sure if she is amenable to letting others help. I told my husband he did not have a choice. If you need to tell her that, then you can say it is in the best interest of the both of you. My husband did fine with letting others help.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        NSNR is giving good advice here:
        Do not do this alone. People can help you keep house, run errands, prepare meals, do laundry, and maybe even stay with your wife for a few hours so you can get out and go revive your spirit. That’s important too.
        Reach out. Remember, this time it’s you receiving assistance, but in future you can pay it back or forward.
        Sending you good thoughts and much encouragement to reach out to others and ask for help. Sorry if I sound didactic.
        P.S. Yes, this stinks. You guys deserve a break.

    3. Temperance*

      Oh that sounds just awful. I’m so sorry, overcaffeinated.

      Not knowing your financial situation, can you outsource things like meals and cleaning? I had a serious health issue last year and Booth had to step up in so many ways, but our house was basically a shithole and we lived on takeout until I was up on my feet. I’m also super independent, though, FWIW, and hated no having control. The only thing he had to do was manage my medicines until I stopped being loopy.

    4. Ramona Flowers*

      It’s completely understandable to cry and feel stressed or any other reaction you might have. Caregiving is stressful even without work on top of it. You are allowed to have feelings.

      What would help you with the stress? Are there other people who can help? Can you arrange to have some time to yourself at certain points?

      1. Bibliovore*

        It us actually good that you know your limits. I am for organizing an army. Asking for help is hard but care taking is like adding a full time job with the attendant fitigue etc.

    5. TheLazyB*

      Oh overcaffeinated. What a gutter for both of you. I think crying is totally reasonable, I remember how exhausted you were from caregiving last time. I hope you can get people to look after you both.

    6. Hellanon*

      Maybe your landlord’s liability insurance could cough up enough of a settlement to help pay for home care? If you haven’t yet pursued that angle, it might be worth it.

  68. Amber Rose*

    I’m on a train. It’s dinner time. It’s 1885 and someone has been murdered. I must solve the mystery by dessert. Outside, lightning flashes.

    It’s delightfully Agatha Christie.

    Dinner theatre is fun.