weekend free-for-all – July 15-16, 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: Do Not Become Alarmed, by Maile Meloy. Four children will disappear on a cruise, and you will stay up all night to find out what happens.

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

{ 1,151 comments… read them below }

  1. Caro in the UK*

    The gluten free letter writer from earlier this week reminded me of something that I’ve been wanting to ask some people, but didn’t know who to ask. I figure you guys might be able to help!

    My stepmother is gluten free. She’s not celiac or allergic to wheat, and she can (and does occasionally) eat it, but it makes her feel ill. So it’s probably closer to the intollerance end of the spectrum rather than an allergy.

    However, something came up recently that confused me. She and my Dad love to travel; they’re both retired and go on several trips round Europe every year (they’re born again bikers!) When I was visiting after they got back from their last trip, they were telling me about all of the amazing food they’d had and my Stepmother was raving about all the amazing croissants and bread she’d eaten in France.

    At this point, I kind of did a double take and said something along the lines of “but I thought you were gluten free?” My Dad replied that the gluten in Europe doesn’t affect her, it’s only the stuff in the UK that makes her ill.. Apparently she can (and does!) eat pizza, pasta, bread, croissants and cake in Europe for pretty much every meal. But when she’s at home in England, even a serving of salad dressing with gluten in it makes her sick.

    I was a bit flabbergasted at this and didn’t really know what to say, so I just nodded and the conversation moved on.

    But I wanted to know, Is this a real thing? Is the gluten in different countries different? I’ve got to be honest, I’m pretty skeptical, but if anyone else has encountered this then I’d be really interested to hear about it.

    1. self employed*

      I’ve heard that about US wheat. I think it could be attributed to the genetic modifications/breeding in lost commercial wheat but I’m not an expert. It does appear to be a real phenomenon though!

        1. Saturnalia*

          I have also heard this from a lady from Spain. I… require more data before opining.

        2. Rachel in Minneapolis*

          I don’t know about European versus American wheat however I know personally I am sensitive to non organic wheat. Most wheat crops in the US are sprayed with Roundup (glyphosate) at least once in their production and often near Harvest to help them ripen. I have a bad reaction to that wheat (nearing Celiac levels of symptoms).

          However when I eat organic wheat products, I have no reactions. Perhaps when she is traveling the wheat is not sprayed with glyphosate.

            1. Labguy*

              I think you should specify that you mean soil half-life, I work with glyphosate and I have clear jars full of the stuff that is years old and still has the same concentration.

      1. Sunny*

        US wheat is not genetically modified. (it is bred, but is not a GMO).

        We do have GMO corn, soy, and a handful of other products that make up a huge amount of our crops, but wheat is not one of them.

        1. Mephyle*

          Wheat hasn’t been genetically modified by GMO techniques, but it has been modified by breeding ever since humans first started eating and planting the wild grasses that eventually became today’s wheat. And it has been modified by breeding much more in recent decades since the start of the agricultural revolution.
          So it’s possible that some of those modifications could have heightened the content or composition of certain elements (gluten and others) that people are differentially sensitive too. And it’s possible that the wheat in different regions of the world contains different mixes of these elements.

          1. Mike C.*

            What do you mean that it’s been altered more in recent years than in the 10,000 years or so that agriculture has been around? Given the massive changes to get domesticated wheat in the first place, how can minor tweaks in past few decades be more drastic than full domestication?

              1. Mike C.*

                Domestication is a much greater genetic shift than the slight improvement seen in the past few decades. GMO techniques are even smaller changes, genetically speaking.

      2. JamieS*

        IIRC American wheat is usually hard wheat whereas European wheat is soft wheat. Hard wheat had more gluten content so people who are gluten sensitive have more trouble with it. I don’t think it makes a difference with people who are allergic though. To them gluten is gluten.

        1. Windchime*

          My friend from Russia has the same problem. Eating bread or other gluten-y things here gives her terrible sneezing fits, so hers is some kind of allergy. But when she is in Europe, she can eat whatever she wants. She buys imported flour for baking at home.

      3. neverjaunty*

        That doesn’t make any sense. Europe is not a pristine land where nobody has ever done any selective breeding of wheat plants.

    2. Parenthetically*

      There is a whooooole theory about the types of pesticides/herbicides used (glyphosates, I think) in different countries, and gmo (sprayed with those chemicals) vs. non-gmo (not able to be sprayed with those chemicals), and how that all interacts with grain sensitivities — that perhaps people who think they’re sensitive to gluten are actually reacting to the pesticides/herbicides sprayed on modern GMO grain.. It’s anecdotally fairly common.

      1. Caro in the UK*

        Hmmm, I’ll mention that to her. She might be able to get some non-GMO, organic stuff over here to do a test with.

        1. Thursday Next*

          As also noted above, there are NO commercially available GMO wheat crops, so it is impossible for anyone to be sensitive to GMO grain. Monsanto did develop a GMO wheat (early 2000s), but it was never brought to market.

          1. TL -*

            And organic and non organic stuff hit the market with the same amount of residue pesticides on them – very little.

            1. Thursday Next*

              Yes. This isnt to say that there aren’t different varieties of wheat that have different amounts gluten etc that folks may respond differently to but it’s not due to GMOs. And the vast majority of what we eat (plant and animal) has been selectively bred to the extent that few things are similar to their wild relatives.

            2. Rachel in Minneapolis*

              I’ve seen data to suggest the opposite. The wheat tested by the University of Minnesota after the spraying of Roundup near Harvest had significant herbicide residue in the flour.

              1. Mike C.*

                The data isn’t conclusive at all. Other studies have found halflives as short as 2-3 days depending on field conditions. Without actually doing any causal studies, it’s little more than speculation to blame one specific thing for “gluten sensitivity” when there are so many other things that could explain the symptioms.

    3. fposte*

      The other thing is that there are a lot of things in wheat, and gluten isn’t the only known digestive problem but it’s one people leap to because it’s what they know about. People are often intolerant to inulin, for instance, but inulin hasn’t gotten the bad press gluten has (coming soon to clickbait near you!).

      And without remotely suggesting that this is made up, food reactions are hugely psychologically influenced. There’s the famous gluten study where people who believed they consumed gluten but didn’t still reported having symptoms. With my Crohn’s, I can eat stuff at home that I can’t when traveling (sort of the reverse of your stepmom). So I think one possibility also isn’t that the wheat is different but that she believed the wheat was different.

      1. Caro in the UK*

        Yeah, even if there’s not a physical difference, I don’t think she’s making it up. I was guessing it might be psychosomatic.

        1. fposte*

          It’s a legit term, but I’d love a contemporary replacement for “psychosomatic.” It’s got such close associations to hysterical manifestations, etc. Stress diarrhea is pretty common, and most of the time people don’t say that’s psychosomatic, even though it’s following similar channels. I mean, it’s perfectly true to say that wheat sometimes gives her GI stress; it’s just that it might not be the ingredients in the wheat irritating her gut. It reminds me of the research on some people with scent sensitivities whose reactions are identical to anxiety reactions, not asthmatic or allergic respiratory distress.

          Basically, brains are trouble.

          1. Caro in the UK*

            Sorry, didn’t realise the issues with the term. Is there a better one I can use instead?

            1. fposte*

              Oh, no, I wasn’t meaning to correct you; it’s a perfectly accurate word. It was just making me think about how weird we are about brains and bodies, and how our understanding and uses are continually changing.

          2. Artemesia*

            But stress diarrhea or ulcers or whatever ARE psychosomatic; that is what it means. It doesn’t mean the person isn’t sick; it means the illness is caused by psychological rather than physiological processes.

            1. fposte*

              Wikipedia nicely sums up what I was getting at here: “In the field of psychosomatic medicine, the phrase ‘psychosomatic illness’ is used more narrowly than it is within the general population. For example, in lay language, the term often encompasses illnesses with no physical basis at all, and even illnesses that are faked (malingering). In contrast, in contemporary psychosomatic medicine, the term is normally restricted to those illnesses that do have a clear physical basis, but where it is believed that psychological and mental factors also play a role.”

      2. katamia*

        Yep. Growing up I thought I was allergic to a certain food, to the point where my throat would close up if I ate it. Then I got bored one day as a teenager and wound up reading the ingredients of both the cereal I’d eaten as a kid/sometimes as a teenager and the granola bars I was currently addicted to. Both of them had that food in it, and neither one of them had ever made my throat close up.

        1. fposte*

          Were you able to eat that food again when you realized that, or was the association too deeply wired?

          I had a friend who had a bad dream about a chicken sandwich that made her sick, and she couldn’t eat chicken sandwiches after that. We have a lot of evolution poured into evading dangerous food, so I think that’s just a hard bell to unring.

          1. katamia*

            Yeah, I was. I doubt I’m ever going to seek out or crave this particular food, but for awhile I went out of my way to order dishes containing this food at restaurants (it’s not common in any of the cuisines I cook), and when I’d feel a twinge of “throat closing up,” I’d just mentally tell myself, “Nope, it’s fine. You’re not allergic. Get over it.” And then eventually it stopped happening.

          2. Artemesia*

            One of the ways we protect ourselves is that when we get sick following eating something our brain associates that with illness and makes aversive to it. It is a big problem with chemo; I read of a pediatric oncologist who gave kids maple ice cream before chemo so they would develop an aversion to this easily avoidable flavor rather than the cheerios or scrambled eggs they had for breakfast. I have a once favorite recipe that I got sick after eating 20 years ago; I am pretty sure the food had nothing to do with getting sick but the thought of eating it still makes me flinch. I have never eaten it since. My husband got food poisoning from one of those fancy salad composees in Paris and has never been able to eat one again. This is apparently an evolutionary characteristic we developed to avoid being poisoned by the things we ate during our hunter gatherer days.

            1. Wendy Darling*

              oh man I would so want to pick the food I gave myself an intentional version to so I could pick something I need to stop consuming (like cola) or already don’t care for (like fake strawberry flavor). I love maple. I’d be so sad if I developed a massive aversion to maple.

            2. Elizabeth West*

              Yeah, this absolutely happened to an ex of mine. He got sick shortly after eating a particular variety of bagel and could not touch them again afterward.

            3. Natalie*

              Yes, I haven’t been able to eat root beer or fruit flavored chocolates since a memorable “stomach flu” weekend I had in childhood.

            4. Gaia*

              Yes. I once got food poisoning from chicken. I could not eat it for months after – and I still cannot eat chicken in the way it was prepared that day.

            5. only acting normal*

              It was bananas and custard for me one time, and sausage and mashed potato another time. Haven’t had bananas and custard for nearly 20 years! But I had to get over the sausage and mash one because it’s my husband’s favourite.
              Plus I can’t bear cream soda because I used to be given it whenever I was sick as a kid (with a spoon of sugar to take the fizz out, to rehydrate me I think…)

        2. SusanIvanova*

          When my brother was about 7 or 8 he sat down in front of the TV one afternoon with a half box of Raisin Bran to snack on and polished it off. Half a box of bran is not going to do you any good, but he was convinced for years afterward that he was allergic to raisins.

        3. Elizabeth*

          I had a coworker years ago who had celiac and IBS. The night she first had really bad symptoms, she had also eaten lobster. She could not bear to eat lobster ever again, even though she *knew* it was the disease that had made her sick, not the lobster.

          1. Tau*

            Food poisoning can have this effect. I got food poisoning or at least severe GI distress off some part-baked rolls which had gone off, and for years afterwards I couldn’t eat part-baked rolls despite the fact that I knew it was 100% my own fault for not checking the best-before date and nothing to do with the foodstuff itself. I figured that it was probably beneficial in the (evolutionary) past for the brain to try to work out which food was responsible for a “poisoning” and ensure you won’t eat it again, annoying as it proved in this circumstance.

            1. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

              It doesn’t have to be a food poisoning. It can be a stomach flu you get from another person, not food. Still the last food you ate before it can make you feel ill for years afterwards. I’ve had this effect for rice porridge and pineapples, for example.

              This whole discussion is really weird to me as I’ve never heard about differences in wheat in different countries. In Finland it’s milk! There are people who can only drink milk abroad, but I haven’t come across such claims about wheat. And if I remember correctly, the milk thing has been studied and the subjects couldn’t tell the difference in a double blind study.

              For me the organic thing is the other way round! I have wheat allergy so I can eat gluten free oats and most “normal” oats made by big companies, but not organic oats. The organic stuff is probebly made by smaller companies who process smaller amounts of different grains so the risk of contamination is more real.

        4. Sylvia*

          When you thought you were allergic to that food, what happened if you knowingly ate it? Did you feel like your throat was closing? Or did you successfully avoid it?

          I was told that I had an allergy as a kid. I actually don’t. I can safely use the thing I’m “allergic” to, but I get itchy if I think about it. These things are weird!

          1. katamia*

            When I thought I was allergic my throat would close up if I knew I was eating it. My parents never believed I was allergic (I know normally this would be a bad sign, but, well, I’m not allergic so I’m not mad–I know if they thought it was a genuine allergy they would have taken me to a doctor and gotten it sorted out ASAP), and sometimes I’d eat it to try to “prove” I was allergic, and my throat would start to close up (never enough to be life-threatening).

      3. neverjaunty*

        This is absolutely true – like the way that if you eat a food when you’re violently ill you may feel sick smelling or tasting that food ever again, and it’s a real reaction even though it isn’t an allergy or sensitivity.

        That said, my money is on Stepmom wanting to eat delicious French pastry and coming up with a reason to do so.

        1. Wendy Darling*

          I get terrible, terrible motion sickness. Things that make my motion sickness worse include sitting in the back seat of a car, stop and go traffic, and cars with manual transmissions (that slight lurch back you get sometimes in a stick just makes my stomach flip over).

          One day I put on a brand new perfume I’d gotten a much-sought-after sample of and went out with some friends. We all piled into my buddy’s super low two-door stick shift sports car and went off to get dinner, but got stuck in horrific bumper to bumper traffic so instead of 20 minutes it took us over an hour to get there, and I was smelling this perfume the entire time, struggling not to throw up in someone’s lap.

          To this day if I smell that perfume I instantly become incredibly nauseous. I threw the sample away in the outside trash can and washed my hands afterwards. I have the same reaction to new car smell and AM news radio from riding in my dad’s ’89 Thunderbird, which had lousy visibility out the back windows and suspension like a riverboat.

    4. Wheat thoughts*

      Not a wheat expert here, but I do know that there are some fairly significant differences between different types of wheat. Wheat varies from diploid (two of each chromosome, like humans) to hexaploid (six of each chromosome). If I recall correctly, the wheats with larger ploidy tend to have larger fruit so those are the ones that are most popularly grown. However there are still many different varieties and they have different uses/are popular in different areas.

      I’ve definitely heard of people who could eat European wheat but not American before and I remember hearing something about how Italian pasta (or bread maybe?) was made with a lower ploidy wheat than American stuff so it had less gluten. Wikipedia tells me that most of the varieties popular in America are high protein/gluten but doesn’t give a comparison to Europe although it does say that hybrid varieties have done well in France. I would guess that generally wheat in America (and maybe the UK too based on your comment) has been bred specifically for high protein/gluten because gluten is actually great for adding stickiness/thickness to foods. Of course if you are sensitive to it then you wouldn’t appreciate that!

      This came as a surprise to me but as far as I can tell there isn’t ANY genetically engineered wheat that has been approved for commercial use. There have definitely been field trials but I’m not seeing any actually released varieties. I was going to say that people who noticed a difference between eating GM/non GM wheat may have a sensitivity to glyphosphate/Roundup, which is the pesticide that it is typically modified to be immune to, but I guess that doesn’t apply in this case!

      1. Artemesia*

        French flour is definitely different. The reason their baguettes are so great is that they are made from different four; it is hard to get here and I have never found good bread in the US to compare with what we easily get in France. Even good ethnic bakeries here — French, Italian etc don’t quite manage to make it as good.

    5. MommyMD*

      Those who suffer from Celiac disease truly cannot tolerate gluten. It also may cause the fairly rare food allergy. Otherwise it’s the fad of the decade and in a few years we will move to something else. It’s the middle and upper classes who “suffer” from these fads of the day as those struggling to put food on the table don’t have money or time to be trendy. I’ve been practicing medicine 20 years and have seen them come and go. Your MIL is selectively gluten intolerant.

        1. fposte*

          If you look at this kind of thing historically and globally, though, people are always getting sick or afraid of getting sick in ways that don’t make sense to other eras or places. This is just a current flavor.

          1. Elinor*

            Some of it is because the testing for celiac is better now. There is a simple blood test. It’s not the definitive diagnostic tool but it is a start. I have celiac and read not long ago that doctors believe only a third of people who have it have been diagnosed.

            1. fposte*

              I think we’re talking about people who don’t have celiac disease but still seem to have trouble with wheat products sometimes. The actual tested celiac rates seem pretty constant from country to country, for instance, but the rates of people who feel they have problems with gluten don’t.

        2. Sylvia*

          Puritanical tendencies + misinformation about health and science = socially acceptable superstitions about common food items and health care?

      1. Quickbeam*

        Celiac disease is a pretty awful thing and diet can be life altering and life saving. Half my yoga class avoiding gluten for some hazy reason? Not the same, absolutely.

      2. Mallory Janis Ian*

        It’s the middle and upper classes who “suffer” from these fads of the day as those struggling to put food on the table don’t have money or time to be trendy. I’ve been practicing medicine 20 years and have seen them come and go. Your MIL is selectively gluten intolerant.

        I feel like this perfectly describes the SIL about whom I’ve complained here several times. She says she’s gluten intolerant, but she goes “off the wagon” whenever she wants to. However, she’s always “on the wagon” when invited to my house for a meal and I always have to prepare a gluten-free accommodation for her. I always do it, but I give her serious side-eye for making other people coddle her when it isn’t even a thing that she does consistently for herself.

      3. Gaia*

        I feel it is worth reminding that it is not only the middle and upper classes who suffer from celiac but it appears more often there because those in poverty cannot afford to avoid cheap gluten based foods and, therefore, suffer with it.

        1. Nye*

          I think MommyMD explicitly excluded celiac sufferers from her comment on social strata – it’s the (often self-diagnosed) “gluten intolerance” fad that’s much more common in the upper and middle classes.

    6. CityMouse*

      I’ve mentioned before that I have a friend with celiac and, for her, gluten is gluten. She spent a year in Spain and still got sick from some accidental exposure. Based on that I don’t think so.

      I actually have some digestive issues that I was completely convinced was lactose intolerance for a while. It made sense, I ate a lot of dairy, my mom is lactose intolerant, and I had some digestive issues. The whole “most obvious solutions”. But nope, I tested negative for it but did test positive for another problem. For something like wheat that is in anything (like dairy was for me) it’s easy to try to correlate symptoms, but it’s not correct. What made me better was seeing a doctor and getting proper testing done and medical treatment, and I would recommend it for everyone. I was sicker longer because I was convinced it had to be the obvious solution.

    7. JamieS*

      Has she been medically diagnosed as gluten intolerant or just knows she gets some if she has too much grains at home? If she hasn’t been diagnosed my theory, which is backed up by nothing other than personal observation, is that she’s either reacting to something else in the food and is incorrectly attributing it to gluten or it’s basically the placebo effect where she thinks certain food will make her ill so she feels sick after eating it.

      I could be wrong but I don’t think gluten itself varies as in if you extract gluten from a French roll and a British one the gluten would be the same. However the amount of gluten in food can vary which can also explain her reaction if UK food had more gluten. I still wouldn’t expect her to be able to eat a lot of grain product though.

      Also I thought the UK was in Europe? Do you guys not consider yourself European? I know that’s not your question but I found that interesting.

      1. Caro in the UK*

        To my knowledge she hasn’t been diagnosed. Her best friend has been, and because my Stepmum had been feeling a bit lacklustre for a while, she decided to try going gluten-free too. She feels like it’s really made a difference and now she feels unwell and gets digestive issues if she does eat it (in the UK at least).

        For the UK/Europe thing… I definitely feel European too, very much so! (Brexit still makes me incredibly sad and angry) I think I just wrote it as the easiest way to say “non-UK Europe”. I think the correct term is Continental Europe, but I forgot to type that out!

        1. JamieS*

          So your stepmom had been able to eat gluten then cut it out for a bit and now gets sick when she eats too much? It sounds like her body may have just become accustomed to not having gluten so now she gets sick when she has foods high in gluten. Based on this new info I’m going to say UK foods probably have higher gluten content than other parts of Europe. Something I find rather surprising but makes most sense from what you’ve said.

          As an aside, I’d wager if she made a point of eating gluten she’d probably be able to readjust her body to having gluten at home. Course she’d want to start off small and see a doctor to rule anything else out first. Obviously wouldn’t want to do anything based on the advice of someone with zero medical expertise.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            Yes, my husband and I were vegan for a year, and the first time we ate pizza afterward, we thought it was never, ever, ever going to digest. I guess after a year of no dairy nor high-fat items, our bodies had quit producing the necessary enzymes.

    8. Piano Girl*

      My sister-in-law can eat bread in Europe but not here. I believe it’s because of the different kinds of wheats used.

      1. GraceW*

        Except thr US is one of the top exporters of wheat and Italy is the top importer of wheat.

    9. TootsNYC*

      yes, it can be different. Different strains of wheat might be bred (or altered) to have a higher proportion of certain proteins. Or might be processed differently.

      Lucky for her!

    10. AlaskaKT*

      I actually read a study on this, and tested it with my celiac friend. Lots of places dough is allowed to double rise, but in places like Italy and France, it’s more like the dough is allowed to set for 3+ days before being cooked. This allows gluten to break down farther so people with intolerance don’t get sick.

      I left dough in the fridge for 3 days before making a sourdough loaf, and my friend with celiacs tried it. She was mildly I’ll, but nothing like how horribly sick she would have been had I made it fresh.

      There was an article (in Slate maybe?) about this kind of thing. I can’t find it now, but it’s a good read if you can Google around enough.

    11. Book Lover*

      Like, I think, MommyMD, I am incredibly tired of people diagnosing themselves as allergic or intolerant to gluten. I feel like I am quite capable of diagnosing celiac sprue, between screening labs, genetic markers, and biopsies.

      I focus on taking deep breaths and asking myself why I care if they are making their lives harder…. it does frustrate me when I see people who are ‘sugar’ free, dairy free, gluten free and coming to me because they still have symptoms and not putting together that it is because their symptoms are not really diet associated. Though I do feel a low fodmap diet helps with some. In the end, people are just doing what they can to feel well and be healthy and I have to investigate within myself why I feel so irritated by it. Maybe because I am a carbaholic :)

      Anyway, anyone with celiac would absolutely not be eating wheat from any source or country. Just because they don’t feel ill at the time doesn’t mean it is not hurting them. Anyone else should do whatever they want.

      1. Mike C.*

        What bothers me is that these folks are spreading bad scientific information – when they find out they’re wrong, then all the blame goes to the scientific researchers whose work in the future is then mistrusted and disregarded. You see the very same issue with regards to the terrible reporting on scientific topics in general.

          1. Mike C.*

            Whether or not I personally read high quality sources for scientific news has very little to do with the sheer amount of bad scientific reporting out there. For every Nature there are hundreds of local news stations filled with non-experts reporting on the latest study for 3 minutes before going to the next house fire or traffic accident.

    12. Lindrine*

      One of my friend just had blood drawn for an extensive allergy test. It turns out it is not a problem with gluten exactly, she has actual allergies to brewers yeast and baker’s yeast and different types of grains. Wheat is not “red” but in the orange range for her. She is also mildly allergic to gluten. Moderately allergic to most nuts.

      1. Book Lover*

        Yes, that sounds like IgG testing which is not known to be accurate. IgE testing is sensitive but not specific, can be helpful in the setting of actual allergy symptoms (hives, angioedema, anaphylaxis), same with scratch testing. IgG testing appears to be essentially worthless at this time, based on our allergists, who generally know what they are talking about. It is usually naturopaths and sometimes family docs who order IgG testing. IgE and scratch testing isn’t green/yellow/red but normal or abnormal response.

    13. TL -*

      Is she more active on vacation? If she’s walking around a lot more, than her digestive system might just do better overall and she might just be more comfortable eating anything and have less time to focus on how she feels after she eats.

    14. Jules the First*

      My money is on a soy allergy. A lot of bread in the UK is ‘fortified’ with soy protein or soy flour and no one trumpets it. French bread is almost never anything but ‘pure’ wheat. It would be easy to confuse a soy allergy with a gluten intolerance because lots of things that have gluten (salad dressings, breads, gravy, soup, etc) often also have soy. The other possible option is a preservative allergy; the French are very picky about the preservatives they allow in their flour.

      The gluten in French bread is no different than the gluten in British bread; if she can eat the croissants in France, she can eat the croissants in Britain.

      1. INTP*

        This is a good point. It would also explain reactions to things like salad dressing which at the most would have a teeny bit of gluten from a soy sauce or barley syrup or other additive, but might be chock full of soybean oil, lecithin, etc.

    15. INTP*

      This sounds unlikely to me. I’m not saying she is lying, but something else is probably going on, like the reduced stress or healthier lifestyle they have on vacation makes her digestive system less reactive, or she’s allergic to a particular strain of wheat or additive in baked goods in the U.K.

      Different species of wheat do have different gluten contents, and different flours (even within the same country) may be produced with different blends of wheats. However, the difference is not drastic enough to explain why bread and pastries in one country are fine but the minuscule amounts in something like salad dressing are problematic in another. The total gluten content can’t be the full explanation. (Bread is high gluten wherever you are, that’s the whole point of kneading it.)

    16. Cafe au Lait*

      It might be the different between artisan made breads versus commerical made breads. Artisan breads use the “slow yeast” method. Basically they take a tiny bit of yeast, like 1/8th or 1/4er of a teaspoon to help the bread rise. The bread making process takes four times longer than commercial breads, but often people can sense a difference in their guts. Commercially made breads use a ton of yeast to help the bread rise quicker and get out to the shelves faster.

    1. Wendy Darling*

      You did not mean me but I do have a pig head story!

      I took a pork butchery class back in October and the day before halloween was the day we skinned the pig head. There was a candy-making class for children in the next classroom over and we had a giggle about scaring the bejeebus out of them with our pig-head-skin before affirming that we would never in fact do any such thing. We did, however, accidentally traumatize a parent who almost came into the wrong classroom because our teacher was at that time waving a skinned pig’s head around.

      We also had an extended discussion about what you can do with a pig snout, none of which I remember because it turns out the one and only thing that totally grosses me out about butchery is, uh, eyelids. *shudder* So I was busy looking at and trying not to look at the eyelids.

      Also pork cheeks are delicious, if you get the chance definitely eat them.

  2. Liz*

    Hello all,
    Just wanted to say thanks for all I have learned here!
    Also, movie you think is over rated (ie you hated it and everyone loved it). Mine in the reply

    1. Liz*

      The Notebook. Husband wanted to see it (we are so gender reversed in our movie and TV watching!). I HATED it.

      1. Courtney W*

        I’m with you. I completely do not get the appeal of The Notebook. (Although there is one book/movie by Nicholas Sparks that I like, as people often guess based on my son’s name, haha.)

            1. Elizabeth West*


              Re the author’s beef with Love, Actually–I actually like that movie. It’s the only rom-com I can stand. I like it because even though some of it is mega-stupid (Mark’s obsession with Juliet and his stupid f*cking signs, for example), it shows different kinds of love (familial, carnal, friendship) and how it doesn’t always end well for everybody.

              1. JapanAnna*

                Aw I have to admit I do like some of the stories on “Love Actually.” (NOT THAT SIGNS GUY tho!!) But I still enjoy that takedown too.

    2. Emmie*

      Not sure about moves, but I have songs – Pour Some Sugar on Me, Def Leopard; The Cat Came Back, Nursery Rhyme; Celine’s Titanic song, but only because I’ve heard it too much.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I wouldn’t watch Titanic for the longest time after it came out; I was already sick of it from sheer overexposure — it was all anyone was talking about at the time. Not to mention that the movie is LONG and I have commitment phobia regarding long movies (I nearly died from how long that one Batman movie was).

          Then I found a two-VHS set at a yard sale for $1, and it seemed like a low-stakes entry into finally watching Titanic. I could watch it in bits over several days, and it only cost $1.

          Well, my husband and I started the movie and watched both VHS tapes all the way through in one sitting. I liked it. I’m aware of the plot holes, etc. that critics cite, but I can always suspend disbelief enough to not be bothered of the movie is otherwise up my alley.

      1. Chaordic One*

        When Titanic came out my then teen-aged niece immediately fell in love with it, with Leonardo DiCaprio, with the theme song and with Celine Dion. Every time I visited my sister that damn song was on and it drove me up the wall. Then I heard the doo-wop cover versions by Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, which I really rather like. There are versions with a guy group, with a girl group and various mixed combinations. Here are links to the guy group and girl group versions on YouTube:



        1. Marzipan*

          *I* like Star Trek: The Motion Picture. There. I’ve said it. It’s so beige and ponderous, and Spock is so gloriously unconcerned with following any sort of rules or procedures (really, he’d be a terrible employee).

      1. Thinking out loud*

        Ditto. And my husband grew up in Fargo, so people ask me about the movie on a pretty regular basis. (I tell them that it is mostly set in Minnesota, actually, which sometimes shuts them up.)

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      Shrek 3 and Spy Kids 3. In both cases I thought the 1s were fun and the 2s even better and the 3s abysmal; critics assured me I was wrong.

      Borat. I really expected to love it, as did my husband, and we sat stony-faced thinking “These seem like nice people trying to defuse things while an asshole tries to get a reaction from them.”

      1. the gold digger*

        Yeah, I liked the (very few) parts where he punched up instead of punching down. But the rest? People were just trying to be gracious and nice to him, even though he was being a jerk.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          If you like him when he punches up, you should check out the Ali G Show, his earlier TV show, where he messed with Newt Gingrich and loads of other politicians, both American and British. (There’s also one where he tries to sell his invention of an ice cream glove to Donald Trump, who gets very angry.)

              1. fposte*

                How did I not hear this one before–that is hilarious. (And a fine entry in the very narrow category of UN secretary name jokes.)

          1. Merci Dee*

            I love Mad World, it’s a gorgeous song. Weird thing is, I really prefer the Gary Jules version to the original by Tears for Fears. This is weird for two reasons: 1) I love 80s music, and Tears for Fears is one of my favorite groups, and 2) I generally don’t like re-makes of songs and tend to prefer the original compositions by the original artists. With the Gary Jules version, I think it’s the cello and the video that made the difference.

    4. Caro in the UK*

      Avatar, anything Michael Bay and anything directed by Christopher Nolan… especially Inception.

        1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

          So did I. I never even bothered to see the third one, because the second was just so…. meh.

          It felt like a superhero movie that was embarrassed to be a superhero movie.

        2. BeautifulVoid*

          I made the mistake of saying I didn’t like them to an otherwise good friend and got treated to a lengthy rant/lecture about how they’re the best movies ever, how they mirror today’s society and political climate and highlight all the issues in creative ways, and how they’ll be considered classics decades from now because of how amazing they were and how they reflected the issues of our times. I let him ramble for a bit and then just said “You may be right, and I won’t argue the validity of your points, but I still didn’t like them.”

        3. Wendy Darling*

          I thought the Batman movies were fine but I was like OMG TURN ON THE LIGHTS the entire time.

          I love Inception though. Probably more than it deserves, but it just tickles my fancy (and apparently a lot of other people’s).

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I liked Batman Begins, LOVED The Dark Knight, and hated The Dark Knight Returns. Severe badass decay, plus I think I was just bummed because of what-might-have-been if Heath Ledger had lived.

            Still haven’t seen Inception. For some weird reason, whenever I try to watch it, something happens so I can’t. o_o

            1. BeautifulVoid*

              That’s me with Chasing Amy. Every time I’ve tried to watch it, something has happened, up to and including a friend’s VCR catching on fire in an earlier attempt. o_O Knowing about my past issues, my friend (the same one I mentioned upthread who loves those Batman movies) bought me the DVD for Christmas one year. I’m afraid to take it out of the packaging.

          2. Jessica*

            I think Inception is a beautiful movie to watch and listen to. I really like it. The concepts are interesting to me.

            Hated Avatar. The special effects were so well-done that they were *too* well-done–except for the floating rocks, I could’ve been looking at a travelogue about Hawaii or something. The theme of “Discover noble savages, go native” is so, so, SO overplayed. And Cameron is terrible at writing dialogue, so the plot sucked (what little there was of it).

            1. Elizabeth West*

              I literally sat in the cinema alternating between “Oooh, pretty floaty flower things!” and “I think X is gonna happen next.” Every time I did the latter, yep, I was right. Not one thing in that film was a surprise, except the 3D. That’s just not enough to carry a film, let alone a sequel.

              1. Amadeo*

                Agreed on that ‘no surprises’ thing. It was a visually pretty movie, but I only watched it because my brother gave me the DVD for my birthday. There was literally nothing in it that I didn’t see coming through the entire thing.

        4. Amadeo*

          I liked Batman Begins well enough, but the one time I’ve seen The Dark Knight I felt like I never once got the chance to just…catch my breath. If that makes sense. I was increasingly stressed out through the entire thing, like I never got to unwind, so I never bothered to see the third one either.

      1. Audiophile*

        Wow, nothing Nolan has ever directed?
        One of my favorite films, is his film Memento. I can still watch it and enjoy it the same way as when I first discovered it.

        I enjoyed his Batman trilogy, though I think Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were better than The Dark Knight Rises. And I hope we can all agree that all of those films were better than Batman vs. Superman.

        1. Nye*

          I saw Batman vs Superman as the first movie of a drive-in double feature. Partner and I wished we’d thought to bring along a laptop so we could watch something else while sitting in the car waiting for the second movie.

    5. Rikki Tikki Tarantula*

      I hated Thelma and Louise. It combined an Idiot Plot with a Character Arc Loop-De-Loop.

      1. CityMouse*

        Ooof I really hate this one, partially because I really, really like the book. In the book, it is clear the “love story” isn’t really a “love story” but about self destruction, and Kip is more the main character than anyone else. One of the very very best passages in the book is about Kip disarming a new type of bomb that killed his mentors and friends, and it’s completely omitted. It’s kind of predictable that Hollywood would diminish the Indian character from the book, but in a book that really emphasizes colonialism in the 20th century, it’s kind of horrifying.

        They completely cut the brilliant gut punch at the end of the book, and the line that I believe actually gives the book its title:

        “When you start bombing the brown races of the world, you’re an Englishman”.

      2. Connie-Lynne*

        It was so bad! Everybody made the shittiest choices ever to be the worst possible people, just to move the plot along!

      3. Windchime*

        OMG, this was so long and boring. Another one is “Out of Africa”. I have only tried to watch it a couple of times and just couldn’t do it. Total snooze-fest.

        1. Artemesia*

          I liked both Out of Africa which is sort of more or less accurate about the people it wrote about and the English Patient.

      1. Julianne*

        I was also disappointed by Frozen. Based on what I’d heard about it (including from adults, not just the first graders I taught at the time!), I was expecting to just be carried away by the movie, like I remember from Disney movie musicals of my childhood (or even some of my favorite Pixar movies from adulthood – Up comes to mind), but the whole thing just left me…cold, to use an appropriate adjective.

        1. all aboard the anon train*

          I enjoyed Frozen, but I thought Brave was such a better movie and I’m incapable of watching the end of it without bawling my eyes out. I’m sad it doesn’t get as much love and recognition as Frozen. Same goes for Moana.

        2. Rookie Manager*

          Yes!! I just did not connect with it at all and do not understand why the world seems obsessed with the film and that bloody song!

      2. Emily*

        I enjoy Frozen while I’m watching it, but it doesn’t have much staying power for me! I feel like the plot and character development (and honestly, even the animation – though that may be partially stylistic preference on my part) are lacking compared to a lot of its contemporaries.

    6. Parenthetically*

      Napoleon Dynamite. Everyone in my demographic was OBSESSED when it came out and I watched it and… nary a chuckle.

        1. fposte*

          In real life, they’re usually the sign of a crap, profit-based facility, and apparently those cubs were born in 2014 and mysteriously never heard about again.

      1. LCL*

        Yes! The whole thing was a shaggy dog story. And the boys’ back story was never explained-some dreamer had sons they named Napoleon and Kipling, then disappeared. What happened? Why are they being raised by their grandmother?

        Then the whole thing with the llama, Tina. Snubbing an animal to a fence post like they did is abusive, unless you are doing it for a short time and have a good reason. A good reason would be to administer vet care. Feeding an herbivore ham is not a good reason. WTF with the ham, anyway?

      2. Julianne*

        I actually considered breaking up with my then relatively new boyfriend after he dragged me to see it, having seen it himself 2-3 times previously. (Spoiler alert: I did not break up with him. Spoiler alert to the spoiler alert: I probably should have, and having wildly different taste in popular culture/entertainment than I do is now, fairly or unfairly, a litmus test for new relationships.)

      3. Connie-Lynne*

        Oh ha, a guy tried to hit on me in a bar this week by referring to the music in that movie and I was just “ummm, I thought it was boring. I don’t remember the music.”

    7. Myrin*

      Tangled, the Rapunzel Disney movie. I liked it all right but it didn’t really do it for me, especially humour-wise (there were some really fun moments but nothing like what my friends had raved about).

      1. Wendy Darling*

        Oh man I actively hated that movie. All my friends were crazy about it so I stuck it on Netflix and was like, what. What. This is it? Seriously?

        I also found Frozen super meh. Like it was fine, it was cute, I watched it on an airplane and I don’t regret it, but the HYPE.

      2. Effie, less broken*

        I HATE TANGLED. I was all set to give it a try (my whole family went to see it in theater which is a big deal for us, my parents don’t like spending money on things they deem “fripperies”) and it wasn’t bad (her parents were mutely adorable). And THEN…

        I moved to do an internship with a nonprofit and somehow when all the female interns hung out together it became a thing that we had to watch it together and THEN my host family bought it and when my roommate loved it and borrowed it all the time they bought her her own copy and there was no escape!

        Also IMO Rapunzel was not anywhere nearly awkward enough for a person who’d only ever interacted with one other person. Mother Gothel is one of my favorite Disney villains though.

        (Also it awakened my jealousy as a child WOC that there was yet another white Disney princess and who I couldn’t identify with at all)

    8. Marzipan*

      Every review for Baby Driver says it’s amazing, and while I didn’t hate it I certainly didn’t think it warranted all the love.

      1. Quickbeam*

        Loved it but only because that was my exact age cohort. Plus Burt Reynolds talking himself out of an Oscar by badmouthing the movie!

      2. Audiophile*

        It’s funny, I didn’t love Boogie Nights. I bought it sight unseen, I think, and that was a bad choice. I tried several times to watch it before giving up and selling it.

      1. the gold digger*

        I hate Star Wars so much that it is one of the terms I have blocked with Facebook Purity. (Thank you, Cosmic Avenger, for that link!)

        I also have the name of the current president blocked. And the terms “nom nom” and “squee.”

        1. Wendy Darling*

          The only appropriate use of the words “nom nom” is to caption a picture of a very cute animal eating something in a very particular way — the item must be 1. too long/large to fit in the animal’s mouth all at once, and 2. drawn into the animal’s mouth as it chews as if by an invisible conveyer.

          Like this.

          Any other usage is bogus.

      2. Muriel Heslop*

        Ugh. Me too. It’s fine, I guess, if you like that kind of movie but I really can’t stand them.

      3. BeautifulVoid*

        A friend and I have always said we love the *idea* of Star Wars, but the execution left a lot to be desired.

    9. katamia*

      Bridesmaids. I just…didn’t laugh. At all. I laugh at everything but didn’t even crack a smile at Bridesmaids. The only thing I got out of it was “Wait, Carnie Wilson used to be a singer?”

      1. Jules the First*

        Oh thank you! I thought I was the only person on the planet who didn’t find Bridesmaids funny!

    10. Courtney W*

      Rocky Horror Picture Show and Pulp Fiction.

      People understand the second one more since it’s pretty graphic and I’m not into gore, though it’s not my main problem with the movie. My hatred for Rocky Horror always baffles my friends since I usually love cult classic type movies. How it generally goes is they’re horrified and say I need to try it again, I tell them I don’t re-watch movies that play off sexual assault as a joke or message about something else, black humor or not. A surprising amount of people don’t understand what I’m talking about until I bring up that scene and the specific problems I have with it. One friend was like, “Ahhhh! I see your point, but I really don’t want to because I love that movie and now that’s going to bug me every time I watch it!”

      1. Paul White*

        I just turned that movie off at the cannibalism scene; that’s a hard nope for me. May not be rational but my hind brain just can’t handle that.

        1. Chaordic One*

          Yeah, it started out provocatively and it had it’s moments, but just pooped out after the dinner party.

      2. JulieBulie*

        I like Pulp Fiction, but cannot stand Rocky Horror Picture Show. There’s a chance I might like it if it were not a musical, but we’ll never know.

    11. Falling Diphthong*

      TV: The Wire. I watched the first few episodes, and found the criminal side pretty intriguing and the cop side utterly boring. Like, I don’t watch cop shows yet called every twist several steps out, which… one could argue makes for a good tragedy? But I was just bored.

      But a lot of people with whom I have overlapping tastes view it as the pinnacle of peak TV.

      1. Quickbeam*

        The Wire! I was a probation officer in my first career. Everyone on the planet wants me to watch this. I never made it past the second episode. Way too dreary for me.

      2. Windchime*

        I tried watching this and it seemed so dated that I gave up. I was distracted by all the typewriters and old-school telephones.

        1. Waiting On GoT*

          But… Dominic West and Idris Elba!!! Joking aside, The Wire really grabbed me. Sorry you guys didn’t like it. :/

    12. Katie the Fed*

      The Hurt Locker is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. I’m not in the military but I work closely with them and I found it incredibly unrealistic to the point of being almost comical.

      And it’s a book but I think it falls in the same category – Eat, Pray, Love. The uninspiring tale of a self-obsessed, aimless divorcee with a book deal who makes navel-gazing insights while traveling the world. Amazing. The worst thing is people keep giving it and recommending it to me since I’m an avid traveler and a foodie. UGH.

      1. Paul White*

        Eat, Pray, Love should be re-titled “Middle class white people being pretentious”.

          1. Wendy Darling*

            I am a middle class white American woman and “(upper) middle class white people navel-gazing for 300+ pages” is my least-favorite genre of literature. It just makes me incredibly angry. And I feel like it always devolves into “It’s so HARD to have all this PRIVILEGE! I must go hang out with poor and/or foreign people because they are simple and unsophisticated and will teach me how to be authentic!”


            1. all aboard the anon train*

              When I worked in fiction publishing, I’d say a good portion of the manuscripts we’d get were about how hard life was for a middle/upper class white heterosexual man or woman.

              A professor of creative writing from a very reputable MFA program who often freelanced for us used to complain about how most of the creative writing classes they taught where filled with this genre. Because apparently that’s what’s considered “literary fiction”. I always wanted to yell at the authors who came from MFA programs (and thought that alone would get them published) and thought their middle/upper class suburban white heterosexual story was unique when they all sounded the same.

              1. Katie the Fed*

                Does this stuff get published? ‘Cause I’m a middle class white woman and I could write tons of “insights” on finding myself!

                1. all aboard the anon train*

                  Yeah. I mean, a good portion of “classic lit” is pretty much this genre, especially the books written by upper/middle class heterosexual white men.

                  But with most of the manuscript I found, the general plot was a middle/upper class white heterosexual man/woman who has an unfulfilling life and buys a business/travels/helps “underprivileged” people/etc. while having introspective moments about how their stress free, privileged life is so boring and inauthentic and somewhere along the way they learn some deep insights into their sole and end up fulfilled.

                  Enough of it got published because it was considered good material for critics – aka the people who review it can relate the most to the premise of the book – but it rarely makes money unless there’s a movie deal or someone famous namedrops it.

                2. Paul*

                  Stories about “finding myself” seems so masturbatory (“finding yourself” even works as a euphemism for it!).

                  I mean, I get it: money doesn’t buy freedom from problems. God knows I know that. But you know, the whole damn genera…I don’t think i’ve heard of one of them actually realizing “holy shit these people have it horrible and my lfie has been so much easier in most ways”. It’s always “oh these poor natives helped me connect with myself”.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        SO feeling you on Eat, Pray, Love, as someone who loves to read, eat, and travel. Just not like that.

      3. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        Ugh- Hurt Locker. I made it 10 minutes. The shaky camera work was making me ill and I just wasn’t seeing the point. I felt bad because first female director to win Oscar and all but it was like… this? Really?

        1. Ann Furthermore*

          OMG, yes. I didn’t read the book, but I did see the movie and it was terrible.

        2. INTP*

          I liked the movie, though I haven’t read the book. I went into it knowing I was there to see pretty scenery and food porn, though. I think if I were expecting a meaningful story about personal growth I would have been disappointed.

        1. Jules the First*

          I also thought it was weird and boring…until I watched it while I was home with the flu. At which point it suddenly became adorably quirky. I can’t explain it, but I won’t apologise….

    13. all aboard the anon train*

      Not a movie, but 30 Rock or any of Tina Fey’s shows. I don’t find them funny and sometimes they’re borderline offensive and I don’t really like that she’s refused to apologize for offending people. And by offensive, I don’t mean lewd jokes, but offensive about different demographics that don’t fall into the white straight middle/upper class demographic.

      30 Rock is one of those shows everyone raved about and I watched and kept wondering if it was supposed to get better or funny….and it never did.

      1. Audiophile*

        I was a big 30 Rock fan and have enjoyed most of Tina Fey’s movies. I’m not in love with her new show, Good News. I missed a large portion of the episodes, but will give it another shot when the second season starts.

        I can kind of understand her hesitance to apologize for some of the jokes. I think it can be a slippery slope for comedians.

    14. NB*

      Anchorman. I thought it was the worst movie I had ever seen, and I couldn’t believe how people LOVED it. I’m still amazed they made a sequel to that piece of trash.

      I’m probably offending everyone on this site. My sister and I are the only people I know who didn’t like it.

      1. selenejmr*

        I watched a few minutes of it and left the room. I thought it was very stupid. My son couldn’t understand why I didn’t think it was funny.

        1. Manderley*

          Yes! I loathe Elf with the fire of a thousand suns. It’s one of my sister’s favorite movies so I’ve seen it far too many times.

        2. Audiophile*

          I’m the opposite, liked Elf, hated Anchorman. I liked most of the players in Anchorman, but just didn’t like the movie.

      2. Enya*

        I hated Anchorman. I’ll go all in and admit that I can’t stand the very-overrated Will Ferrell. The only time I liked him was when he did his impression of Janet Reno on SNL.

        1. Lindsay J*

          Seconded. I’ve just never found anything he did funny. I did like Talladega Nights, but it was more despite Ferrell than because of him.

      3. Chaordic One*

        Yeah, Will Ferrell has a sense of humor that is similar to Tina Fey, and it just strikes me as being kind of lame and flat. Not all that funny.

    15. CityMouse*

      I’m going to be controversial here:

      I didn’t really like Moonlight. Considering I spent a summer in Miami working with kids from Liberty City and similar areas, I should have liked it. But it was just kind of a beautifully shot exercise in misery but I didn’t feel inspired by it and I didn’t feel like his experience was typical enough (given his extreme social isolation) that it would help people understand how kids from that area are set up for failure.

    16. Cookie D'Oh*

      I never got into Harry Potter. I read the first book and tried watching the first movie, but I just wasn’t interested.

    17. selenejmr*

      Punch Drunk Love…..hated it. Left the room after 30 minutes, which my kids couldn’t understand. I just felt I had wasted 30 minutes of my life. After the movie was over they decided that they had wasted 90 minutes of theirs!

    18. Falling Diphthong*

      Sherlock. Which my husband and kids absolutely adore without complication, and I can’t unsee “A portrait of a smart person made by a stupid person who thinks that smart people are indistinguishable from wizards.”

      1. AcademiaNut*

        I recently read some of the Sherlock Holmes stories for the first time recently, and I found that a lot of them offended my sense of logic. In other words, I’d get to the end and think “Yes, you’ve found an explanation that fits the available facts, but it’s not a unique explanation, and you have not proved that it is true.”

    19. Nye*

      Wild. Haven’t seen the movie but the book is intolerable. Congrats, lady, you repeatedly made terrible life decisions and hurt everyone around you, then ran off to do something for which you were dangerously, wilfully unprepared. And then wrote a self-absorbed book about it, leading it to become a cultural touchstone for a trail you hiked less than half of.

      I feel very strongly about this one because I hiked the PCT (all of it, not just the easy parts) alone, and EVERY freaking person who heard that says, “Oh, just like Wild!” I know they mean well, but geez, it’s such an insulting comparison considering how utterly Cheryl Strayed screwed things up. Can’t bring myself to watch the movie.

      1. Windchime*

        I watched the movie on a long, cross-country flight and was very embarrassed to be sitting in the middle seat watching an explicit sex scene that I wasn’t expecting to see. I was worried that my seat-mates would think I was watching porn.

        1. Nye*

          There was a guy at a trail stop bar in northern California who was telling all the hikers that he had slept with Strayed. Have to say that none of us believed him, though.

        2. Lindsay J*

          I was watching the HBO show Girls on a plane and had to stop because of the explicit sex. I didn’t want to make my seat-mate uncomfortable, and honestly I was uncomfortable because it looked like porn.

          I loved Cheryl Strayed as Dear Sugar, so I’ve been avoiding Wild because I don’t want her persona ruined for me.

      2. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        With a similar complaint – the movie for Into the Wild. I really like Krakauer’s writing but the book made the seethe with rage/annoyance at the stupidity and lack of preparedness of McCandless. To have made a movie about it then just.. no. (I grew up in Alaska, we were taught to have respect for nature and the wild, so to read about this guy thinking he would just “drop out” by hiking his unprepared ass into the bush still makes me angry)

        1. Nye*

          Yeah, it pisses me off that movies tend to glorify idiots who head out into nature with wide eyes and zero planning. This type of storytelling just encourages a fresh crop of idiots who endanger the SAR folks who inevitably have to bail them out.

        1. Nye*

          There’s a truly amazing review from Rick Polito that circulates every once in a while – you’ve probably seen it, but just in case:

          The Wizard of Oz
          “Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.”

      3. Sylvia*

        Haha. I liked reading Wild – I liked her honesty about those terrible life decisions – but it must be infuriating to hear about every time you talk about hiking that trail.

    20. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      Idiocracy. I know it resonates with a lot of my friends, but I found it condescending and just kind of gross. It felt a lot like the “we have to outbreed the heathens!” I’ve heard from certain sects of Christianity, and it seemed like it also confused intelligence with class markers in some really uncomfortable ways.

    21. NoMoreMrFixit*

      Titanic. I’ve never been able to watch it. Big Bang Theory is my most disliked tv series. Overplays the geek stereotype.

      1. Audiophile*

        Memento is one of my favorites, so much in fact that I have the special Criterion collector’s edition. (I was wrong, Following is his film that has a Criterion edition.)

        Black Swan was alright. I don’t love it by any means.

        Never saw Don’t Think Twice.

    22. Waiting On GoT*

      Manchester by the Sea… everything about it screamed that I should love it and I absolutely hated it. I feel like a bad person for that one.

    23. HannahS*

      Up in the Air. A man discovers that, actually, finding human relationships burdensome and trite is…not a great way to live. Wow, revolutionary. How the heck did this get Oscar noms? It’s like a bad Hallmark movie.

      1. Audiophile*

        It’s not the best film, but I think Vera Farmiga’s performance was excellent, but she’s good in almost everything she does. Including Bates Motel, which as much as I liked it, she was basically the reason I watched.

    24. Chaordic One*

      Anything by Quentin Tarantino. Partly it’s all the violence. The humor is a bit too dark and they’re just not all that interesting.

      1. Bostonian*

        The first movie I thought of in response to this question was Reservoir Dogs. I do like some other Tarantino, though.

    25. Sylvia*

      Inception! I don’t dislike it. I only think it doesn’t live up to the hype. It’s not really that clever.

    26. JulieBulie*

      Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I got through the whole thing, but it was a tough slog. I didn’t care about those guys and looked forward to their demise.

    27. Merci Dee*

      Got a couple of entries here:

      ET and Wizard of Oz, I hate for the same reason – over-saturation

      When I was a kid, my great-uncle (or Grunkle, as they’re known on a certain kids’ show) would pop it in the VCR every time we went over to visit. It’s not that I asked him to, because I never wanted to watch it. I think he just had a crush on Judy Garland.

      I got sick of ET because my high school Spanish teacher would play it every time she didn’t want to teach, or she had to catch up on grading papers. And, yes, it was the dubbed Spanish version. And it’s not like she even started the movie from where we left off. She started it from the beginning every time, so we always saw the same hour of film. Unsurprisingly, the only thing I remember from that Spanish class is, “cierra la boca”, or “shut your mouth”.

      There was another one I was thinking about a minute ago, but it left me. Like that’s a surprise. Will add it if it comes back to me.

      1. Dawbs*

        Ahhh, taaah, telephoneo mi casa.

        First thing I think of when told “say something in Spanish”

    28. FlyingFergus*

      Guardians of the Galaxy. Sat there the whole time alternating between “but everyone said this was funny…” and “this makes no sense at all.”

      1. Jessica*

        I didn’t like it either. Bo-ring! And the whole thing with the critter that only says “I am Groot” and yet everyone correctly interprets what it means in context? I grew out of that schtick when I was still watching Sesame Street.

        Somehow I just wound up on a Wikipedia page explaining the entire back story of Groot and why everyone can understand him. K. Still an old schtick.

        1. JulieBulie*

          Heh, Groot was the only thing I liked about the movie. He was the only one that made any sense to me.

    29. INTP*

      Alien. Maybe you had to be around when it first came out to appreciate it? I’m told it was groundbreaking but it doesn’t hold up as a classic imo. It was completely predictable what the alien was going to do, which was the only thing going on in the movie. The characters weren’t well developed and the white panties scene was so blatantly exploitative that I had secondhand embarrassment. Maybe I’ve seen enough movies that were basically the exact same thing in various settings with various monsters that it doesn’t seem at all unique to me but if I saw it when it first came out it would have been more interesting.

      As my brother said while we were watching it and our parents were incredulous that we weren’t at the edge of our seats “It’s just a plastic alien on a spaceship.”

      1. JulieBulie*

        That’s a fair assessment, actually. Aliens kicked off a whole slew of similar movies that ended up doing the same thing much better. If you’re interested in the genre, then it’s interesting to watch its earliest entries, but otherwise it doesn’t really hold up.

    30. The Other Dawn*

      Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I just couldn’t get into it. I happened across it while flipping channels and decided to watch. While watching I was checking reviews of it and there were so many good ones I figured, ok I’ll give it a little time. I finally turned it off. It was a bit hard to follow and I just didn’t care about the characters at all.

    31. Buggy Crispino*

      Forrest Gump. SO much hype at the time and I just didn’t understand why. The entire time I was contemplating getting up and leaving but I figured “something great must be coming any minute!” Nope.
      Today, people still look at me like I’m a raving loon when I say that I hated it. I think that’s kind of when I decided I didn’t like Tom Hanks in general, too.

      1. Nye*

        With you in this one. I like Tom Hanks, but Forrest Gump (the movie) was just so…dumb.

        My low opinion of the movie has been lowered even further by that ridiculous chain of restaurants it inspired. They have​ one in a major fishery area of California, selling “Gulf*” seafood to tourists. Because why eat local when you could sit on the ocean and enjoy shrimp shipped in from ecologically-disasterous farming operations in southeast Asia?

        1. Audiophile*

          Don’t hate me, I will admit I ate at a Bubba Humps when I was in Florida. I think the one on the Orlando boardwalk with the Hard Rock Cafe.

          1. Nye*

            I will admit that, much as I loathed the one in CA (which I never ate at), they would have a pretty good Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump impersonator working outside the place some weekends.

    32. Beth Anne*

      I liked the Notebook but in a 1 and done thing. I don’t need to watch it a million times. The book sequel the wedding was actually way better.

      For me the movie Frozen seems so overdone..it was a cute movie but i don’t get the thype.

    33. NaoNao*

      Late to the party but so many. Basically my taste seemingly runs exactly counter to most of the American Public because I hated (or refused to watch on principle) all of the following:
      Little Miss Sunshine
      Knocked Up
      Napoleon Dynamite
      The Notebook
      Forest Gump
      As Good as it Gets (DETESTED this movie)
      Pay it Forward
      Saving Private Ryan
      any of the Transformers movies
      any of the Taken series
      any of the Harry Potter movies
      Manchester By the Sea
      Pitch Perfect I, II, or III
      any of the holiday themed romantic comedies: “New Year’s Eve”/ “Valentine’s Day” etc.
      Seeking a friend until the end of the world
      Spanglish, Punch Drunk, or any other Adam Sandler serious movie
      any of Jim Carey’s oeuvre
      I have also rewatched Pretty Woman and Shakespeare in Love and find that what were once delightful romantic comedies with happy/uplifting endings are now horrifying sexist, dated, claptrap.

  3. Ramona Flowers*

    I can’t work out whether it’s okay to post this. I contributed a letter to an anthology called The Recovery Letters. It’s for people with depression written by those who’ve been there. There’s a website too. Link to come in follow-up comment.

    Residual jerkbrain was sure my letter would be cut, but my copy came the other day and it’s in there. It’s a wonderful project and I wanted to let people know in case it helps anyone. As for how I feel about being in the book, the right word hasn’t quite been invented yet.

    Also I’ve almost finished The Humans (would have read it faster but have been saving it for the last leg of my morning commute as it makes me laugh SO much I start the day in top spirits) and can’t thank AAM enough for such a wonderful recommendation.

    1. Purple snowdrop*

      Oooh I haven’t looked at the link yet but I’m intrigued and thank you for sharing. Well done!

    2. BananaKarenina*

      Just got to the link. Congratulations on getting published! I like the personal feel to “opening” the letters. What a cool way to encourage others through those times of the “black dog”. Thank you for sharing this!

    3. ..Kat..*

      Thank you for doing this. The more people talk about this, the less stigmatized and shameful mental health problems will be. Which I believe will lead to more people getting treatment. And therefore living better lives.

      And congratulations!

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Totally agree. Though I just wrote one letter – the real kudos goes to the people who edited it but hey there’s plenty to go around right?

    4. Peanut*

      Congratulations! And I coincidentally just started reading “The Humans” tonight, also because of AAM!

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        I hope you enjoy it. I am going to be in book mourning for a long time after this one…

  4. Mimmy*

    At the risk of getting laughed at…

    I am not good at telling whether or not clothes fit right on me. The size and/or the cut might be wrong, but I can’t always tell. My husband tries to help, but I don’t think he trusts his judgment either. I should probably just bite the bullet and ask one of my sisters to go shopping with me, but they all live out of town, and when our families were all together last week, the focus was on the (teenage) kids.

    My husband keeps telling me about a crowd-sourcing website where you can post a photo of you in the outfit to get feedback, but I’m leery about privacy concerns. Has anyone tried something like this? Any other suggestions?

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      What about seeing if anywhere has a personal shopper service e.g. department stores?

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Seconding the personal shopper, though I’m not sure what your shopping level is. Someone paid–often by the department store–to help you find things that you will actually want to buy, and then return to the store to buy more, and that’s how they get their return: Not by convincing you to buy the most expensive pair of pants, but to buy the pants that make you a loyal customer. But not every clerk is authorized to tell a customer those pants aren’t flattering.

        I still remember shopping in a maternity store geared toward women with office jobs, and the clerk after observing the first few outfits I tried on brought back half a dozen things, which were all really well suited to my taste and price point, and it made shopping a lot easier.

        (My husband would be of the opinion that I was wearing clothing, and would be really worried at a test of whether it was the same clothing I was wearing ten minutes ago or completely different.)

      2. TootsNYC*

        ditto–a friend of mine went to the personal shopper at Macy’s, and it didn’t cost him anything extra, but the guy found all sorts of clothes that were great for his slight frame.

      3. Rookie Manager*

        I did this before starting a new job and the girl was great at finding me things I wouldn’t normally look at and things that suited me well. I trusted her because early on I tried a dress she brought and got a “no, that does not suit you because of x and y- let’s avoid those things”.

        It didn’t cost any extra and she worked within my budget. It was like having my sisters there but with detailed product knowledge!

    2. Janice*

      How about if you just send a picture to one of your sisters? My daughter does that with her friends when she goes shopping. Also, lots of magazines these days (Redbook especially) often feature non-models in the copy. Keep an eye out for women who resemble you and what they are wearing. That would work for style but not for fit.

      1. Purple snowdrop*

        Ha yeah I’ve got a WhatsApp group with my sisters and often send then pictures from the changing rooms. They usually respond fast enough and I trust their opinions :)

      2. a nony mouse*

        THIS. I will get pics of my sister from a dressing room trying on clothes, and I do the same with something I’m on the borderline about.

    3. self employed*

      Do you have an honest and stylish friend? I’d also do a personal shopper before an online thing. Also, consider taking pieces you like to a tailor to have them fit properly and customized to you.

    4. Junior Dev*

      The Female Fashion Advice and Male Fashion Advice subreddits will have people post photos, often with their faces cropped out for privacy, to get feedback.

    5. Cece*

      Depending on where you live, a department store may have a free consultation or personal shopping service. I’ve done this a few times because I find clothes shopping frustrating. Satisfyingly (or, sadly?) I’ve rarely found myself making any purchases, since despite the attendants’ best efforts and 60-90min of trying, there isn’t much that fit/suited me.

      It was reassuring to know that even an expert agreed that it just wasn’t my season. It was also comforting to know that when I get up the courage to try again, I could go back to any of those stores for help.

      Alternatively, if you have this kind of relationship with your sisters (and schedules allow), ask for their time alone for shopping! No kids/partners. Feeling good in your clothes isn’t a trivial thing – ask for their help!

      1. Jiddy*

        It not ‘being my season’ has been such an issue for me, and I equally find clothes shopping to be very frustrating. I feel like over the last 5 years or more, fashion has skewed really shapeless and I have shape for daaaaays. I’ve resorted to mostly second-hand clothes shopping, which I know is not for everyone, but honestly it’s the only way to get around this problem if I need new winter clothes etc., plus it’s cheaper and more eco-friendly/ethical than the fast fashion shops in my price range.

        I was browsing in a shop the other day when I had another woman approach me and ask me for my opinion about a blouse she’d tried on (she did it in a very friendly, un-weird way so I was game to help). I was honest and told her that I th0ught it was too billowy and overwhelming for her frame, but it was a cute pattern. She came and found me again in 10 minutes to ask about another top, which looked amazing on her and got two thumbs up from me. I probably wouldn’t take this approach but it can work!

        1. JulieBulie*

          Me too on the “not my season.” There are some years where I just hate everything that’s available and/or it doesn’t look right on me. Right year, I am doing okay, but last year was really bad. This is why I tend to wear the same clothes for years on end. Since I am not buying “fashion,” and try to go for classic styles, hopefully my clothes don’t look too outdated after a couple of years.

    6. Triceratops*

      Not sure if this what your husband is referring to, but that’s definitely the kind of thing you could do on the Female Fashion Advice subreddit. (reddit dot com /r/femalefashionadvice) Look for threads titled “Outfit Feedback” or “Simple Questions.” Your username can be whatever you want so it’s not linked to your name at all and post pics that don’t show your head or blur your face out. They give good, detailed, kind advice!

      1. Triceratops*

        Sorry, I made some assumptions — as another poster above says, Male Fashion Advice (same URL but with ‘male’ rather than ‘female’) will also answer questions like this. I don’t know as much about which threads would be best to post to there.

    7. Business Cat*

      As my body shape changed moving into my late twenties, I have found that checking out Pinterest fashion inspo for people with my body type (i.e. curvy, hourglass, broad-shouldered, short-waisted) has been immensely helpful in finding shapes and cuts that are the most flattering. You can usually spot a trend in what types and shapes of clothing fit your body type, figure out what you’re drawn to, and go from there. There are a ton of fashion bloggers out there of all body types, and if you can find someone with a similar body shape and a style you like, that is super helpful.

      Once I’ve gotten a good idea of new pieces I would like to get for my wardrobe, I do a lot of online window shopping to see which stores carry those kinds of clothing and make a note of which specific items are similar before I go shopping. If you can nail down a few brands that fit you best and have consistent sizing, that makes it easier to shop for clothing online if that’s something you’re interested in. For me, Jessica Simpson and Express carry options that are figure flattering and trend toward the style I prefer. Sweetheart necklines, asymmetrical shapes, drapey fabric, fit-and-flare dresses, and mid-rise pants are my happy place, so as long as I stick within that style paradigm I know my odds of looking a mess are infinitely lower. Happy shopping!

      1. Loopy*

        Seconding pinterest. I was truly shocked at how well it worked to figure out what was flattering to my figure and go hunt down those styles. Three years later I’m happily wearing the same pieces I got after a few days of using Pinterest!

    8. Merci Dee*

      If you’re talking about needing help in the moment when you’re trying on clothes…

      Just ask one of the store associates, or another person in the changing area, that you’re on the fence about the outfit and can’t decide if it fits you. Most people are willing to help out and tell you if the outfit is working for you. I’ve been on both sides of the outfit – getting the advice and giving it. It’s worked out pretty well.

    9. Cookie D'Oh*

      There’s a website called You Look Fab where you can post pictures in the forums. You need to be a member and logged in to view the photos. I haven’t posted in the forums in a while, but a lot of people would post pictures but block out their faces. I remember the other members being helpful and kind with feedback.

    10. Passing Through*

      I learned a lot about how to choose clothes for my body type watching some episodes of TLC’s “What Not to Wear.” If you haven’t seen it, two fashion-types give a woman advice about how to shop for clothes that are flattering on her, like what type of pant leg works best based on your shape and height or how to choose a jacket or top with a flattering fit. It looks like there are episodes available on TLC’s website.

      1. Mimmy*

        I watched that show all the time! I definitely would’ve been a prime candidate for intervention :P

    11. HannahS*

      Don’t feel bad. Until I started making clothes, I had a very hard time telling as well, and would often come home with stuff that was too…big. But like, not? I mean if I went a size smaller the darn things wouldn’t have fastened, but somehow it just looked…off. Once I was able to make clothes that DO fit, I’m more able to understand that usually the problem is that I’m short, so the curves in the clothing are all hitting in the wrong place, pulling the fabric strangely, etc. Not that that helps you, particularly, because making your own clothes is pretty impractical. I feel like the idea of a personal shopper is good; someone who can look at your body and understand why clothes aren’t fitting you right. Maybe you have narrower shoulders or a much rounder bum or whatever than what the brands expect, so they’ll be able to recommend cuts or types of garments that are more likely to fit you. For example, I now know that it’s hopeless for my short, pear-shaped self to buy a sheath dress, but a fit-and-flare is much more likely to fit correctly.

        1. fposte*

          Right, I’m a short-waisted petite and I get stuff tailored to fix that stuff sometimes. You can often shorten the shoulders on sleeveless stuff without much trouble and move the vertical torso seaming so it doesn’t go too high any more (the cause of the dreaded poof over the shoulder blades).

          That being said, it also helps to know what styles of clothes you can alter without a lot of expense and what you might not have to alter at all. It’s sad to fall in love with something and find out it would cost over $100 to alter it to fit you.

        2. HannahS*

          Ooh, yes, that’s a very good point. Looking at a thing and going “Why doesn’t this look right? What would need to change for it to fit?” is a very useful skill. Then you can decide if it’s worth it to buy+alter.

      1. only acting normal*

        Knowing how to judge making pattern alterations is so helpful in knowing how to judge fit (even if you just reject something off the rack rather than bother with the alteration).
        Quite a few sewing books have this kind of instruction in. Things like:
        sharp horizontal creases = not enough width,
        loose vertical creases = too much width,
        loose horizontal creases = too much length,
        tight vertical creases = not enough length.

  5. Junior Dev*

    Tell me about your sports and exercise again!

    I am going to the same personal trainer today as I saw a couple months ago, to correct my form on weight lifting. I was able to add a fair amount of weight and broke the 100-lb mark on two of my lifts but my form was bad. So I want to learn to do it correctly.

    What are you up to?

    1. Courtney W*

      Well this is nowhere near as impressive as you, but I just got into an exercise routine this week. Going back to college after having kids lead to weight gain (part from never fully losing the baby weight), and my stamina for physical activity basically going way down. I’m starting with walking/jogging/running – so far up to 2.5 miles in one workout! Which I realize is not a lot for most people, but I’m hoping to just make slow and steady progress and start working in other activities too once it’s an established part of my daily routine.

      Breaking the 100lb mark sounds amazing! Even with the form issues – you’re aware of them, at least, so I’m sure you’ll keep improving there.

      1. Junior Dev*

        Aw thanks! It took months of work to get there and I already had fairly strong leg and back muscles when I started due to roller skating.

        Yay jogging! I used to use the couch to 5k app from cool runnings, I don’t know if I ever successfully completed the 5k. I’ve injured myself a couple times running so I don’t really do it anymore but it definitely got more fun the better I got at it.

      1. Junior Dev*

        I was on a date with a woman where we went out for dim sum and I asked for a vegetable dish. She said something about “I should eat that, it’s good for me” and I said “it’s all good for your soul.’

          1. Effie, less broken*

            That is extra cute when you realize that “dim sum” translated means in essence “a little something to touch your heart” :)

    2. CityMouse*

      My regular instructor for a sort of dance/cardio class I go to talked me into going to bootcamp this week, and it completely kicked my butt. At some point I just gave up on push ups and stayed in a plank until everyone else was done. I know it’s good for me, but boy is it hard to get into stuff like that because you feel so sore afterwards, and even though your teacher is encouraging, you feel bad for not being able to do everything.

      1. miki*

        Try modified push ups if the regular ones are too much for you (the kneeling ones). Less strain on your lower back, but similar to the upper chest. (Been doing body pump the last 6 months), I am still staying away from boot camp, looks very intense to me.

    3. nep*

      Love the way kettlebell complexes make me feel.
      Left wrist keeping me from doing some yoga poses — giving it time.
      Body weight exercises are fantastic.

    4. neverjaunty*

      I shelled out for the Fitplan app because it is something that tells me what weights to lift next, but isn’t a perky instructor. Also it doesn’t care what time I show up at the gym.

    5. Aurion*

      I’ll be going back to weightlifting after a two month break (broken finger). Going to be dropping the weight since I haven’t practiced any lifts for a while. Lots of hiking lately too, the weather’s nice.

    6. Loopy*

      I’ve been unable to find the right exercise regime for me (posted a couple of weeks ago) and this past week I went to a sort of open house run through Yelp at anew gym in our area called Koko fit club (apparently they have other gyms all up the east coats?). They focus mostly on personal training but also have lots of points systems and high tech machines that help you track progress over your visits.

      I got a 15 day free trial and am thinking I may need to go the personal trainer route because I will show up for appointments. I could never stand someone else up.

      So I’m excited have the trial and see how it works out for me.

    7. edj3*


      I’m upping my running distances, ran 8 miles this morning and will probably do the same amount tomorrow. I can’t do long runs during the week–I already get up super early, so the most I can do on a weekday is not quite five.

      Toying around with running a 10k and then a half marathon. We shall see!

    8. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      I just got in the pool today for the first time in over a year and it felt amazing. Form is still in good shape, and my back (which was my injury preventing any and all exercise for almost a year) held up well. The pool is in a fancy pants gym so its not quite regulation length, but its not going to matter for the first few months while I get up to speed. Besides, I can use any other gym in the network and there are two near me with 20m and 25m when I get up to it and a govt run 33m pool (which is the weirdest length I’ve ever seen) in the neighborhood.

      New gym also has an amazing hydrotherapy pool, a little workout pool, a gorgeous cycling studio and all sorts of nooks and crannies around. I was hoping to spend a month working on my own building up strength and some fitness before getting a trainer for a few sessions to ensure proper lifting technique, improve core strength, and hopefully building into spinning again.

      This winter I want to try track cycling, learn to play squash, and go back to my rollerskiing club. I also want to do a Swim Trek swimming tour next year, so lots to look forward to, in addition to dropping this weight I’ve packed on in the last two years.

      Otherwise I walk a half hour each way to work every day which has done a surprising amount for improving my strength. May start run commuting home (1.7 mi) once I am more comfortable jogging.

    9. Nervous Accountant*

      I’m into spin these days. I’m able to do a full class (45 minutes) w/o stopping. I’m not as fast as the sprints but I’ll get there.

      As a side, Im taking a break from weights for the rest of the month and seeing what only cardio (spin, couch25k, maybe add elliptical & stairmastet one week) can do for me. (I know all the benefits of weights but I hate cardio and….idk I swear I think my blood sugar is better after a cardio session than weight session although I could be wrong about that.

    10. Elizabeth West*

      I really want to do that when I get a job again. My routine is walking almost every day (Saturday is typically my recovery day, since I’m busy most of the time that day, but this week I walked today because I didn’t do it on Friday). Three times a week, after walk, I do some free weights (probably wrong). I need to add my Pilates DVD back in or try the yoga one I have but never looked at to work on my core and gain some flexibility.

    11. Minta*

      Just purchased a Pilates reformer. I’ve been wanting one for years. I can’t wait until it’s up and running. I’ll barely have room to walk into my office, but I’ll soon be a willowy SOB with terrific posture! :-P

  6. Nervous Accountant*

    Side effects of melatonin-grogginess daytime headaches and sleepiness and just all around feeling like a fat lazy pos. I’m gonna stop taking it but I realized that maybe this is what’s made me feel like this for the last few weekends. I’m usually fine during the week, but weekends are insane.

    I’m about to go to work, I need to get through this sludge. From past experience, Energy (SF) drinks and coffee do little to help this side effect

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        Yeah I take it on the weekends to help me sleep more deeply. I’ve a tendency to wake up middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep easily.

    1. Morning Glory*

      I’ve noticed that taking even half a melatonin at night does the same thing to me, even when I take it every night. My husband, on the other hand, is totally fine the next day.

      Nothing has really worked for me, other than to stop taking it. But splashing cold water on my face, or being in an uncomfortably cold room have helped somewhat. Hard to achieve that last one during this heat wave, but good luck.

    2. Optimistic Prime*

      So according to my friend who is a neuroscientist – and a bunch of sleep researchers – from when I was battling insomnia, melatonin isn’t meant to be taken as a long-term sleep aid for insomnia. Melatonin’s role in the body is simply to regulate your circadian rhythm, and melatonin supplements are for if you need to reset your body’s natural sleep clock – like jet lag or shift workers. It only works for a few days, and after that (and often during) it has the unpleasant side effects you’re noticing.

      Good luck, I hope you get through your day at work all right!

    3. NB*

      What happens if you cut the tablet in half? Or if you take it after dinner instead of at bedtime?

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        I take gummies…2.5mg x 3. I mostly don’t eat dinner but when I do dinner time is about 2 hours before bed (10).

        I don’t take them on a workday. I only take it on weekends so I don’t end up awake at 6 am.

    4. Sherm*

      How much are you taking? Melatonin is typically sold from 0.3 mg to pill up to 10 mg per pill. That means that the highest dose has about 30 times the melatonin as the lowest dose! You might want to try a different dose and see how you feel.

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        5-7.5 mg gummies 2x a week.

        I was taking a 5mg pill but holy crap the dreams I had were insane.

        1. misspiggy*

          That’s quite a high dose, as others have said. See if you do better with gradually cutting bits off.

      2. Emma*

        I take Trader Joe’s, which is 500mcg (=0.5mg), and I love it. I don’t take it every night, but maybe a couple of times a week.

    5. Purple snowdrop*

      Pre-biotics (not probiotics) are the new big thing in the UK to aid sleep. I’m too tired to link right now but Google Michael Mosely truth about sleep. Might help?

    6. CoffeeLover*

      Just wanted to commiserate on the insomnia front. I’ve always had bad sleeps but I’ve had an unusually rough week or so and am exhausted. Can’t fall asleep and wake up throughout the night. It’s terrible. Planning to try melatonin for the first time and this post has been really helpful.

      1. Jessica*

        I have personally found melatonin to be very helpful for achieving restful, uninterrupted sleep.

        But other things to try, if one has an adverse reaction to melatonin:

        1. Stopping backlit screen use a couple hours before you plan to start sleeping
        2. Dimming the lights and/or using warm lights (golden/orange)
        3. Mindfulness exercises to calm the brain (I really like the Headspace app, but there are many to choose from)
        4. Warm/hot shower

    7. Ophelia Bumblesmoop*

      How are your B vitamin levels? I have found my insomnia is much worse when I am short on my Bs. I take a B complex in the morning before I leave for work. After a few weeks, I can start skipping a bit and take it just once or twice a week to maintain.

  7. mental readjustment needed*

    I am feeling really mad at some friends – we have plans to go see a show – I suggested the show, and bought the tickets once we agreed on a date (this was about 3-4 weeks ago). I thought they’d suggest some restaurants (it seems one person knew the area) but when I didn’t hear yesterday, asked because I was a bit worried of having a restaurant on a sat night in that popular neighborhood. They were like we don’t know any. I probably should have just let it go at that point because that answer made me mad. But I was interested in having a good time so I googled some suggestions and they liked one and then could not decide on a time either. I just feel like I did all the lifting to organize this outing and I am so mad right now and really need to readjust my feelings or I won’t have a good time! Part of it is perhaps that they are dating (so it’s a couple and me) and that also irks me that I did all the work here. Am I out of line? How can I think of this differently?

    1. fposte*

      Oh, it’s annoying to feel like you were the event admin.

      But what I would do in future is state upfront “Hey, if I get the tickets, can you book us a table at a restaurant?” They may have thought this was “your” evening since you suggested the show, and even if they didn’t this might keep it from falling off their radar.

      If this is part of a larger pattern where you do all the work, you can feel free at a future date to respond cheerfully to a “Let’s hang out, what do you want to do?” with “I decided the last few times–your turn!” And if it turns out that they really suck at followthrough and it ruins the evening for you when you have to wait an hour for a table because they forget and then rush to the show, you have to weigh the satisfying experience against the shared admin. But being annoyed with people who don’t give what you don’t ask for is the road to disappointment. Ask me how I know :-).

      1. neverjaunty*

        And if your friends get pissy when you say “hey, I picked last time, you guys need to figure it out this time” – well, there are lots of other friends you can spend time with who don’t expect you to be their Cruise Director.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      I can offer empathy but not solutions: At Thanksgiving we rented a beach house with extended family and I did all the cooking, shopping, and meal planning. People wanted to take me out as a thank you. Thanks but it’s probably easier if I cook breakfast, how about this dish? No, no, we want to make it easy on you: all you have to do is research all the area restaurants, figure out which ones are open this holiday weekend, work through the distance/style/price/menu options to identify the three options you think the rest of us are most likely to enjoy, explain them, explain them again because some people weren’t listening the first time, and it will be so much easier on you!

      And they meant it.

      1. Artemesia*

        LOL It is like the husband who don’t know that it isn’t ‘helping’ unless you take ownership of the task i.e. decide what to have for dinner, shop for it or make sure it is on the shopping list and make it.’ The planning executive functions are the harder part of most tasks.

        1. KR*

          Ugh this! My partner is big on “How can I help you?” And I love that I can ask him to do things and that if he has a beer or two on a Thursday night his natural inclination is to clean but sometimes I just want him to see that something is messy and clean it!

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            That’s when I quote that one commercial and tell him, “Look with your special eyes!” It’s become an inside joke between us for when one of us is overlooking something that the other thinks is obvious.

      2. Wendy Darling*

        I just had a flashback to going out with my parents. They always want me to decide where we go to eat. They both have major and somewhat mutually exclusive health-related dietary restrictions. I eat anything that isn’t cheese, eggs, or a cephalopod. They insist I know the area better, even though they’ve lived here four years now and all I do is go on Yelp and look at reviews and menus.

    3. Reba*

      That sounds annoying! But FWIW if I were your friends, I really would not have thought to suggest restaurants without your prompting (unless there was a particular one I was passionate about). Since you started the planning I would have assumed it to be your thing—though I probably would have checked in with you about the dinner plans sooner. I think fposte’s wording is excellent, as ever.

      Hope you still enjoy the show!

    4. BeautifulVoid*

      I feel your pain and I don’t think you’re out of line for being a little miffed, but I’ll also say that I became happier and less irritated by my friends when I fully accepted my role as The Planner. My 30th birthday was tons of fun and exactly what I wanted…because I planned everything.

  8. Blah*

    Does anyone have advice for increasing self-esteem? Self-help books, courses… *anything*. A combination of factors (heavily including not finding a job) has just wrecked how I feel about myself and it’s really starting to be a problem.

    1. Airedale*

      Volunteering. Something that makes you feel needed, and gives you a second of knowing you made a positive difference, which is empowering. Just dog walking at an animal shelter gave me that.

      Personally, taking care of my appearance, home and meals boosts my self-esteem, too. For “home,” trying to be more minimalist has made a big difference to me.

      I also have a Pinterest board of people who inspire me, real and fictional. A lot of them “started from the bottom” so it’s nice to look at when I feel like I’m…at the bottom.

      Making something, like crafts or cooking or woodworking or whatever you want.

      And this sounds bad, but also recognizing that most people who actually seem really confident have tons of their own demons. I’m not rooting for someone to have hidden problems, but it can make you feel less alone.

      I know this is tired advice, but I’m just sharing what I wish I’d known earlier. Good luck.

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        Echo taking care of appearance. One of the things that helped pull me out of a really nasty bout of mental badness was starting to wear makeup on a daily basis. I don’t anymore because I decided I’d rather sleep for an extra half hour, but for a while it was really fabulous for a mental pick-me-up.

        1. TootsNYC*

          my daughter had a self-care checklist that said, “put on armor,” meaning makeup.

    2. Junior Dev*

      I like the app “Mood Space” for this. It has some simple daily writing exercises you can do to challenge negative thoughts and acknowledge positive stuff.

      Another thing you can do is take 10 minutes every day to write down 3 things you did that day that you’re proud of. Can be something big or small. Even stuff like “I got to work 5 minutes early” or “I had a good conversation with the cashier at the grocery store” or “I put the dishes away.”

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Thanks for the recommendation of the Mood Space app. I started using it yesterday as soon as I saw your post. I made a journal entry in it today and identified eight different kinds of “warpy thinking” relating to just one minor incident, so apparently I have my work cut out for me . . . :-)

    3. Loopy*

      Volunteering at something I loved helped me so so so so much when I was feeling like I had NO self esteem and struggling with depression. I highly recommend finding something you enjoy.

    4. Andrea*

      1. Build some wins into your day. Like making your bed, filing stuff, cleaning a space. It helps to see yourself as an effective actor.
      2. Walk or exercise. Listen to good podcasts that help you get out of a negative head space.
      3. Reward yourself. An iced coffee for applying for jobs, planning a get together with friends that you can look forward to.
      4. Stay connected to people who love you.
      5. Look for ways each day to be kind, helpful or useful to other people.

    5. Belle di Vedremo*

      One that hasn’t been mentioned: Look at your friends and the family who choose to spend time with you. If you respect their opinions then you need to accept their opinions of you, too.

      Seconding the benefits of volunteering you enjoy and of physical exercise that you’re happy to get. Eg, animal shelters are usually looking for volunteers to help keep things cleaned up, to walk dogs, to socialize cats, and to help keep things cleaned up (that’s often the greatest need to fill, hence listing it twice). Volunteer tasks that leave one with a visible accomplishment can help with the “what am I doings?” This got sorted out, that got written, this many dogs got walked, this stretch of riverbank got cleaned up, etc etc.

      Internet hugs.

    6. Not That Jane*

      Here are some of mine.
      1) exercise. I don’t do it to lose weight, so I’m not talking about that aspect of it. I just love the endorphin rush of having gotten my heart rate up for 20 minutes or so.

      2) therapy. My therapist actually asked me at my last appointment, “Do you still need therapy?” Which was really nice to hear after four years :) I originally went to cope with persistent fears that my husband would leave me, my friends secretly hated me, etc.

      3) doing something positive every day that is lasting. By that I mean, it’s really easy to get into a rut where all I do is dishes, laundry, diaper changes, vacuuming, i.e. stuff that will just have to be done again tomorrow. So I’ve found that it really helps me to plan something more permanent to accomplish every day. For me that has included creating curriculum for my school, teaching for a day, doing something nice for a friend, donating old clothes, etc.

      1. Not That Jane*

        Here’s some more! I’ve also heard good things about:
        – the book Feeling Good by Dr. David Burns (includes CBT-based exercises)
        – the website Superbetter (gamification of recovery from mental or physical malaise)

        1. London Calling*

          Definitely a vote for David Burns here. I love his attitude of ‘why feel bad when I can help you to feel good?’ plus another vote for a journal of what you’ve achieved each day, even if it’s just ‘got out of bed.’ I write a gratitude journal and it’s amazing what there is in your life to make you feel better even on a really sucky day.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Our routines for ourselves and our homes can be a way of showing respect for ones self. In turn, that show of self-respect can be very strengthening.
      Also investing in ourselves is a way of building ourselves up. That investment can be to learn a new skill or teach ourselves on a new topic.

      However, for something like not finding a job you may be able to reclaim parts of yourself just by reading happy stories or reading stories of other people’s success after a long period of no success. I know when I have gone through intense periods of job hunting I had to be careful what I read/watch for leisure. I benefited from things that pull me outside my own normal routine thoughts/thinking.

    8. Emma*

      When I was having a hard time, it was helpful to exercise and train for a race. I’m not fast or anything- this was the type of training where you run x amount x times per week to build up to x distance. It was nice to feel like my body could do something, when everything else was out of control.

      I second others’ ideas of volunteering. When I didn’t have a job, finding some steady volunteer work helped (in my case, a political campaign). It gave me a sense of purpose and reminded me I could be good at things.

      Finally, taking on little projects. When I didn’t have a job I had a hard time with identity. When I did things like bake focaccia bread for the first time, I could be like- I’m now a person who bakes focaccia bread & I’m actively improving my life.

      Hang in there. Jobless times can be hard.

    9. Minta*

      2 things that work for me:

      Mindful self-compassion and CBT exercises help me.

      For self-compassion resources, look up Kristin Neff.

      One of my favorite re-set exercises (based in CBT) is the Daily Mood Log. http://www.burdenbearersdv.com/documents/Daily_Mood_with_example.pdf
      Think about one upsetting event or situation. Write it at the top. Rate how you’re feeling/the emotions you’re experiencing. Identify what kinds of distortions you may be applying, using the included chart. Take a breather. Then go back and rate the emotions/how you’re feeling again and see how they have or haven’t changed. It’s a great way to stymie rumination and spiraling thought.

      Both are great ways of putting space and time in between stressors, stressful thoughts, and reactions. Best wishes.

  9. Update on he wants a baby*

    He finally responded to my filing for divorce. A little background first. Where I live, either both people have to agree to divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences or one has to prove before a judge that the other has done of one a few things, such as abuse, abandonment, cruelty, or adultery, to justify the divorce. My husband’s response was that there were no irreconcilable differences and no other reasons for divorce, so the judge should dismiss the case with prejudice and make me pay his attorney’s fees. If the divorce is granted, he goes on, he should be granted alimony, relocation expenses, and money to cover counseling. He has a living wage job, though it is lower paid than mine, we’ve been married less than two years, and have no children. To make matters worse, this response came on my birthday and four weeks after my filing. Signature dates were the day before, but still. . .

    I am so confused and upset. I know he doesn’t want it to be over, but I’m not sure how anyone can believe that any relationship that must be enforced by judicial order is ever going to be good. The other thought is that the request for dismissal is a bargaining tactic. I also feel like he is not the person I thought he was or a good person. I divorced once before and my feeling, then and now, is that each party takes from the divorce what they brought to the marriage and what they earned during it. He made good money for the first one and I didn’t. I was headed back to school and about to take out loans to support that. I still didn’t think I was entitled to his money just because I had been married to him. In my current marriage, I had had some thoughts occasionally about being used and now I feel really used. All he seems to want is my money.

    1. Saturnalia*

      I’m so sorry :-( when I got divorced it also really surprised me how much my husband (who made 3x what I did) became suddenly attached to all our stuff. In his case, sooo many of his guy friends were telling him (sometimes within earshot of me) that women are all out to take advantage of men in a divorce so he shouldn’t trust me or let me have anything.

      I had more of a mindset like you. He made more, so he kept his money. We bought both cars off his family, so he kept both cars. Our furniture was hand me down from his parents (wedding gift) so he kept that too. He kept the house we were renting – I couldn’t afford to live there. Then he started asking for my stuff. He had logic and self righteous man anger, and I valued my freedom over my possessions… So he got to keep some expensive musical equipment my parents had given me for a high school birthday. I ended up homeless for a few months while I saved for a down payment on a rental.

      It’s like the narrative of “women screw over men in the divorce” is so strong for some men, that they super overcompensate the other way.

      Good luck, friend. You will make it out the other side. Sending positivity your way.

      1. WellRed*

        Oh lordy. This reminds me of when a friend split from her husband (he didn’t want the split). Not only did he get half her childhood christmas ornaments, he also wanted the fancy drawer and cupboard knobs from the kitchen, even though she stayed in the house. Kitchen knobs!

        1. Windchime*

          My ex insisted that he should get to keep my sewing machine. So I let him keep it and bought myself a better one.

          1. Red Reader*

            Mine moved out with what we had agreed he’d take, but came back when I was packing to move out of the apartment myself and stole a bunch of my stuff out of already-packed boxes. (They wouldn’t change the locks for me because he was still on the lease; we separated a month before the lease ended.)

    2. Myrin*

      Ugh, that’s horrible, I’m so sorry you’re going through this!

      (And without actually knowing much about divorce laws, wtf is up with that one in your case? So if one person just doesn’t like their partner anymore and wants to divorce but the partner declines then they just… have to stay married for all eternity?)

      1. Update on he wants a baby*

        Fortunately, usually the judge also realizes it’s ridiculous and grants the divorce. But I agree with the WTF.

        1. blackcat*

          Yeah, and most judges will also go WTF at an alimony request for a short marriage, particularly if both partners have been working the entire time.

          (BIL is currently going through this. The judge actually laughed at his wife’s request for alimony. She made about 2/3rds of what he did and has kept the same job since before they were married. They have been married 6 years, no kids. On the other hand, though, one of my friends who paid off her ex’s med school loans will get alimony until he has paid back what she paid off–like 80k. They were only married 5 years, and she makes okay money, but she apparently convinced the judge that her ex literally married her for her ability to pay off his med school loans. Ex was a dick *to* the judge, and that never ends well.)

    3. Dan*


      I’m sorry you have to deal with this. I had an ex that I had to pay to go away. Yes, I believe in these kinds of situations the spouse who wants the divorce is in a weaker bargaining position, and is generally going to have to pay to get the thing over with, fair or not. It’s why I’m less likely to get married again, or if I do, kick the tires long and hard so I have a damn good idea what I’m getting into.

      But… your feelings on how things “should” go have nothing to do with this. The law is the law, for better or for worse. I agree with you that short marriages without children shouldn’t obligate the higher income spouse to too much, especially when no children are involved and the other spouse still makes a living wage. But what you and I think has no bearing on the situation — it’s what your other spouse and the judge thinks that matters.

      How long was your first marriage? Have you thought about talking about much of this with a therapist yourself?

    4. fposte*

      I can’t remember–do you have a lawyer? Because if you do, that’s the person you listen to about what’s likely to happen, not your ex. Even if you don’t have a lawyer (if you’re going to have a contested divorce, as it sounds like, you absolutely should), you just don’t listen to your ex. (He thinks a judge is going to dismiss a court filing *with* prejudice? Like, you can never divorce him? I am, shall we say, dubious. He thinks a judge is going to grant spousal support for an under two-year marriage with between two wage-earners? He’ll be very lucky to even get a little resettlement money.)

      It is true that not everybody and not every court is going to share your belief about going out with what you came in, and what happened in your first divorce is not going to be a factor in how things get handled on this one. What you’re really seeing here, I think, is how angry people can get when they’re told they can’t have want they want. And that’s yet another good reason for a lawyer to help you make dispassionate decisions–like, if it’s cheaper to offer him $2k relocation as going away money than to have two years of contested divorce.

      I’m sorry the disentangling is so fraught, but just persevere, and think about how much better things will be in a few months when this is all done.

      1. CityMouse*

        Seconding talking to a lawyer. If your legal system is anything like the one in my area, people can claim whatever they want in a filing and often make absurd claims, and the judge and his clerk are pretty good at cutting through the crap.

        I am so sorry that the system is this crappy. I really can’t understand legal systems that keep people in marriages when they don’t want to be married anymore.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          This is important to note, the judge and clerk HAVE seen all the tactics while the person in question may be totally convinced that NO ONE ever before him has thought of this.
          The judge is aware that things don’t happen in a vacuum. People don’t get up one day a file for divorce, or file a law suit or anything else because all is going well. That just does not happen.

          I have a good ending story of a friend who filed for divorce. Like you, OP, are saying the ex wanted this, that and all that over there. She was concerned, but the judge saw right through it all. She landed in a good spot.

          You’re soon-to-be ex tipped his hand and showed who he really is. That is what happened here.

      2. Update on he wants a baby*

        The only reason I brought up my first divorce was because it illustrates that my personal values around who gets what are not due to my better financial situation in this case. Otherwise, I feel like it just sounds like I’m saying one should keep what one has because it is to my benefit. It is a belief I held to even when I came out the worse for it. It has no legal bearing, though.

    5. Update on he wants a baby*

      For those who are concerned, yes I have a lawyer. I know my feelings have nothing to do with the law and my lawyer, the judge, and the law determine the outcome, not my feelings. I still have my feelings, though. I’m using the legal system for my legal issues and friends, family, my therapist, and this board for my feelings.

      1. Belle di Vedremo*

        We’re in your corner. Hope that being out means that you don’t have to spend much time with him any more, and that if you do that your lawyer will be keeping you company for most of it. Good for you for finding a therapist for this part of your walk; you’re doing a good job of taking care of yourself even if it doesn’t always feel like it.

      2. fposte*

        Oh, I’m glad! We’re happy to help with your feelings; I was just worried that your interests weren’t getting the same level of attention.

        It’s hard to go from paying a lot of attention to somebody to learning to ignore him, but if you can do that I think you’ll find it helps this process.

        1. Update on he wants a baby*

          I’m staying with a friend and trying to ignore him. Unfortunately, there’s work going on in the house to fix damage from a leak. I have to manage that and communicate to him what is going on. We started with him managing it because he was living in the house, but he couldn’t do it. That will be done tomorrow and then I will be able to do a much better job of ignoring him.

          And thank you all for your support.

    6. neverjaunty*

      He’s an entitled ass and he’s going to be even more of an entitled ass until you guys split, because he’s losing control and his ego took a hit. He’s going to front and push and be aggressive about “I want” this and “I believe you owe me” that.

      And yes, it’s a bargaining tactic. Assume everything he does is either a bargaining tactic or an attempt to punish you emotionally unless your lawyer specifically tells you otherwise (i.e. “yes, the law says he is entitled to half of X”).

      1. Not So NewReader*

        My wise friend used to say, “You can tell how right on target you are by how big a push back you get.” Using this as a gauge, OP, you are right on target.

    7. Observer*

      I’m sure you are right, that it’s a bargaining chip. But I highly doubt he’s going to get what he asked for – that’s a bargaining gambit, too.

  10. Saturnalia*

    Just wanted to throw some love back at this community for being here, mostly kind and mostly awesome, talking about stuff I can read through to get out of my head when my head’s not a safe place to hang out. This and CA have gotten me through some hard times. I love how loquacious y’all are. When I’m up to my brainstem in anxiety, seeing over 500 comments on a post is BALM TO MY SOUL. I can safely get lost in an intelligent conversation until my brain is ready to behave.

    Internet hugs to anyone who needs one today. Today is a good day for me. I have hugs to go around :-)

  11. Marzipan*

    Last week I started injections in preparation for my upcoming round of donor egg IVF, and good lord have I felt awful this week! I never felt anything much when I was stimming for own-egg IVF, but for this I’m on a much bigger dose of the ‘don’t ovulate’ stuff than I had to take then. Next week I have a baseline scan and then I think the dose drops down, which will be better, I hope.

    In the meantime, I am pressing ahead with painting the stairs. I ripped the carpet up a couple of years ago and then kept procrastinating, and every time I didn’t get pregnant/had a miscarriage, I’d think ‘Well, at least you can still get the stairs painted! Wouldn’t want to do that if you were pregnant!’. So, if nothing else, I will at least come out of this with the stairs painted. (Ironically, I’m using terribly virtuous water-based paint which would probably be fine to use while pregnant). The walls are now done, I’ll start in on the skirting boards tomorrow, and next weekend it’s on to the stairs themselves…

    1. Optimistic Prime*

      I donated my eggs several years ago (I guess that would be…5 or 6 years ago now) and the hormones made me BONKERS. It was one of the most uncomfortable things I ever did, but I’m glad I did it, and I wish I could do it again (I have an IUD now). I like the idea of having helped a family :)

      1. Marzipan*

        Wow! You’re awesome!
        (I’d gladly do it except my eggs are old and shrivelled and crappy.)

      1. Marzipan*

        I’m sure I have a few decent ones rattling around in there somewhere, but last time I tried IVF with my eggs I just didn’t respond to stims, at all, even on the maximum dose. And then both times I got pregnant on my own I miscarried, and my consultant reckons my odds of miscarrying with my eggs would be 50/50 even if they did manage to coax some out of me. If I had all the money and time in the world then maaaaaybe I’d give it more tries with my eggs, but I think I’d just been mulling over the idea of moving to donor eggs for a while and found I was happy about it and ready to go for it.

          1. Marzipan*

            Yeah, I don’t have another half of the equation either! Solo effort. I realised one day that Mr Right was unlikely to suddenly fall from the sky (and even if he did, the timescales for him knocking me up were going to be problematic) so maybe I should just get on with it if I wanted to have a family.

            The thing that swung me, with donor eggs, was reading the parents of donor-conceived children talk about their kids and say basically, they couldn’t imagine being the parent of any other child than the awesome little person they knew, so ultimately they were glad they’d used a donor because that was the way they got to be that child’s parents.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              That makes sense to me, I guess. Come to think of it, I did see a video on FB with a woman who met her husband when she was like 49, and at 53 she had a baby with a donor egg. Her doctor was like, “Why not? You’re healthy. Go for it.” And I said something about the one good egg to my doctor when I went in recently. Instead of going, “AT YOUR AGE WHAT ARE YOU NUTS,” he said, “I think the oldest woman who had a baby naturally was 70. You could still do it.”

              OKAY THEN

              I’ve been told I should do IVF/go to a bank (isn’t people telling you what to do great!? :P), or adopt (I do know someone who did this for a very similar reason–she got tired of waiting), etc. etc. etc. But the thing is, I do NOT want to do it alone. Never did. I wanted to do it with someone I loved, who loved me back, and who wanted to make a family, and make it WITH ME. If I wanted to do it by myself, I would have already.

              If a fairy appeared to me and said, “You can have a wonderful handsome awesome kind fantastic husband and never be alone again, OR you can have a baby–but you can only pick one,” I would probably pick the husband. But there’s nothing wrong with wanting both. I just hate that people act like there is. I’m also sick of sitting next to friends who are like, “I want this,” and then they get it but I don’t. This has actually happened at least twice. Feels like I’m the catalyst for them but it’s never the other way round. :'{

              Anyway, good luck!! I hope it works out perfectly. Fingers crossed! \0/

  12. CAA*

    I had forgotten what a pain it is to learn a new keyboard layout when you change laptops! And I would like to know who thought it was a good idea to get rid of dedicated page up/page down/home/end keys? I use those keys a lot and this new Dell only has them as Fn + arrow keys. Since Fn is on the left, and the arrows are on the right, page down takes two hands now. There’s an Fn Lock key, but it only affects the top row, not the arrow keys. :-(

    On the bright side, I am enjoying the touch screen and that the whole thing folds over backwards to tablet mode. And that it’s super fast compared to the 7 year old machine it replaced. :-)

    1. Red*

      I got a new phone a couple days ago with a very slightly smaller screen (wouldn’t have even noticed, if not for the keyboard) and now I feel like I can’t type anymore, so I feel your pain!

      1. CAA*

        Yeah, I know I’ll get used to it, but right now I have to look at everything that’s not one of the standard keys because the reach is different and it’s slowing me down a bit.

    2. Mimmy*

      When I switched from PC to Mac a few years ago, I was so crushed at losing those navigational keys. I know, different situation, but I still feel your pain!

      Now, I’m a keyboarding instructor…and everyone is on a PC – oh how lovely it is to see those keys again! ;)

      1. CAA*

        I went through the PC to Mac switch at work a couple of jobs ago. It definitely took a while to get used to the more arcane things like using Cmd+Shift+F4 instead of having a PrintScreen key right there on the keyboard!

    3. Bryce*

      My new keyboard is slightly smaller than my old one, with a slightly larger caps lock key. I hit it ALL THE TIME when going for shift!

    4. Tris Prior*

      I feel your pain! I recently got a Chromebook to replace my dying Macbook. Despite being a diehard Mac person, I couldn’t justify $2 grand plus for a new Macbook when I have a desktop Mac that does all the heavy graphic design lifting and I was primarily going to use this for Internet.

      It has no caps lock key. None. Where caps lock should be, is a Search key that brings up Google. This has been such a huge WTF. Way worse than the mild annoyance of having to use Ctrl instead of the nonexistent Cmd key (mac only).

      1. TootsNYC*

        ooh, I’m glad to read this!

        I’m contemplating buying a Chromebook, but I’m going to want to type into Google Drive.
        I’ll watch for the keyboard arrangement.

    5. Blister in the Sun*

      I find that it really is worth it to buy a full-sized keyboard for your laptop for when you use it at work or at home. But that’s just me.

      1. CAA*

        Oh I have one of those attached to the docking station on DH’s desk. I just like to sit on the sofa with my legs stretched out and the laptop on my lap. I think I just have to get used to scrolling on the touch screen instead of with the keys.

    6. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

      I feel ya. 5 years ago my home was robbed. I got a replacement laptop and for some reason, didn’t notice that the keyboard had a number pad on it, all on the right side. I typed very askew for several years, with my hands off center and constantly hitting the wrong keys. Maddening! Thankfully (??) the battery on that laptop decided to fall out every time I picked it up, so I had to procure yet another laptop. You can bet I looked specifically at the keyboard layout!

      1. CAA*

        Oh my gosh! The battery falling out thing is exactly the reason I finally replaced my old HP laptop that had the full number pad and dedicated scrolling keys with this new Dell. The keyboard on the HP never bothered me, but I still have no idea what broke and caused the battery to start falling out all the time.

        As an aside, do not attempt to hold a laptop battery in with duct tape. The heat melts the adhesive and then it gets all over everything. Clear shipping tape works much better!

  13. Myrin*

    Chronic sore throat!

    My throat always hurts, a concept that seems to be surprisingly difficult for about any physician to understand. (“What do you mean, you always have a sore throat?” “Well. I always have a sore throat?”) I already had this when I was still in school, so I’ve been dealing with this for at least eight years.

    I’ve seen various doctors (ENTs as well as not) about this over the years and all of them were stumped – none of them could see any swelling, inflammation, redness, or injury and I’m just about at my wits’ end. It’s not super horrible (unless I get an additional sore throat because of an illness – then it is extremely horrible) and it’s usually a little scratchy feeling in the back of my throat that I can more or less ignore but it’s just so irritating and I want it gone!

    Does anyone have any experience with something like this?

    Could it be a fungus? I’m not sure how visible that would be but in case it wouldn’t, could it just in general be something you’d need to take a sample from my throat for? (Because if so, I’m gonna insist on that the next time I see my regular doctor.)
    Could it have something to do with my vocal chords? Because I know my grandma (the one who died last week) had lifelong problems with her chords which had also altered her voice and she found that out when she was about my age, but I don’t know if she had chronic sore throats as well or if that was just something that manifested through her voice.
    Any other ideas about wth is going on there?

    (As a sidenote, I’m underwhelmed by all of the doctors I saw. I’d expect them to not just look into my throat twice and then shrug and declare they have no clue. I’ve known all these physicians for years, why did no one but my regular ENT try to dig deeper and actually find out what’s wrong?)

    1. Toph*

      It could be acid reflux, or if you have mild seasonal allergies, post-nasal drip but not enough that you notice or feel congestion or runny-nose like, but still happening enough to irritate your throat. If you’ve been to ENT’s and they didn’t suggest either, I’m probably wrong, but I’ve had sore-throat-with-no-other-symptoms on a handful of occasions before and both of these were frequently suggested.

      1. JulieBulie*

        Seconding postnasal drip, per my own experience; and seconding acid reflux on behalf of a couple of coworkers who ended up with very hoarse voices due to damage from the acid.

    2. Georgia Girl*

      I’ve had a sore throat and dry cough for four years, and one possible cause suggested by my doctor was silent reflux (http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/laryngopharyngeal-reflux-silent-reflux). I saw a GI doctor, and it didn’t really help, but maybe you want to rule that out? Also, this book was helpful: https://www.amazon.com/Chronic-Cough-Enigma-recognize-neurogenic/dp/1940561000. I realize coughing isn’t your issue, but the book talks about vocal cord problems.

    3. JKP*

      2 suggestions. First, my mom developed this issue, went to many doctors who were equally stumped, and then did a bit of research on her own and discovered that it was listed in the small print as a possible side effect to one of the medications she had been prescribed. When she asked the doctor who prescribed the medication, he didn’t realize it was a side effect to that medication. He did some more research and changed her prescription, and her sore throat went away.

      Second, I have had a few clients come to me (as a hypnotist) with that same issue after seeing a multitude of doctors who had no idea how to help them. This may not apply to you, but the clients who got results had been constantly clearing their throat as a coping mechanism, which then kept their throat chronically sore. Once I helped break them break the habit of frequently clearing their throat, their throat healed up.

    4. fposte*

      I’m speaking from the American health care system here, but I’d actually expect that to be even more interventionist. Even here, a very mild chronic condition that hasn’t interfered with life and hasn’t advanced over a fairly long time isn’t something doctors are going to consider is worth poking around more deeply for. Every thing they do to you brings its own risk and carries a cost, and there are things that just don’t repay the information-seeking. Doctors aren’t really devoted to solving puzzles but to making sure your engine keeps running and the heater operates properly.

      It could be a fungus, but it’s not that likely; annoyed throats are pretty common just from mechanical stuff, whether it be nasal drainage (they’re a common component of allergies) or perhaps even just an anatomical quirk. There’s also medications–I have eyedrops now that give me a scratchy throat in my sleep.

      But mostly, I think you’re expecting the wrong thing of doctors. They’re really not there to wrestle every question to the ground, just to intervene when those questions bug you. I find the older I get, the more I encounter medical situations where they never know for sure what the problem is even if it’s more serious; sometimes it’s because it’s genuinely unknowable and sometimes it’s because it makes more sense to do the treatment or intervention, and then if it works, we don’t need to know. Initially that frustrated me too, since I like answers, but I’m getting to the shrugging point.

      1. neverjaunty*

        “Even here, a very mild chronic condition that hasn’t interfered with life and hasn’t advanced over a fairly long time isn’t something doctors are going to consider is worth poking around more deeply for”

        ….which is why malpractice lawyers will always have work :(

        1. Artemesia*

          Actually almost noone wins a malpractice award for things undone. It is damages done by those unnecessary tests, or positive errors. Doing nothing is rarely compensable. My husband is nearly blind because an opthamologist ‘watched and waited’ until it was too late to save his sight. I know someone who died of an aneurysm after being sent home from the ER with Advil; it was operable if they had acted when he went to the ER with the ‘worst headache of his life.’ He was dead 8 hours after they sent him home. His widow sued and got nothing becuase the doctor didn’t DO anything to harm him.

        2. fposte*

          That’s not malpractice, that’s reasonable practice. You really don’t want to die from exploratory surgery for something that was never going to hurt you. A new symptom or a growing symptom is another matter, but most human bodies have weird and suboptimal things going on somewhere; it really doesn’t make health or health-care sense to pin them all down.

          1. neverjaunty*

            There are a lot of options to take another look at chronic conditions (which can be symptoms of more serious conditions) beyond exploratory surgery. Human bodies definitely have their quirks, but “The Doctor Said It Was Probably Nothing” would go on a lot of headstones.

            1. fposte*

              In some cases, sure. But in cases where it’s a very mild symptom and it’s gone on for years and not changed at all, that’s really not all that likely.

    5. ABL*

      I had something similar for about a year after I moved somewhere that made my allergies worse. Turned out it was “post nasal drip.” Gross out warning here, sorry… basically my nose was dripping into the back of my throat while I slept. A prescription nasal spray for allergies solved it for me. Good luck!

    6. mreasy*

      My ex had this, and it turned out he had a chronic throat sore (like a canker sore, but in his throat). He started taking lysine supplements on his doctor’s advice, and it healed.

    7. Anon attorney*

      Random thought: I sometimes develop a sore throat when suppressing tears or any expression of difficult emotion. I’ve discussed it with my therapist who said this was a common enough connection between emotion and body. She said there was research on this but I didn’t look it up and now can’t remember details. Could this be a factor?

      1. GirlwithaPearl*

        Your throats chakra is being blocked when you don’t say what you want or need to! Iv had this cause a sore throats for me.

    8. nep*

      Just putting this out there because reminded of it. Can’t vouch for it, but a former landlord had chronic sore throat. His doctor couldn’t nail down a cause. He started taking black seed oil and said the throat problem completely went away. Doctor was amazed.

    9. NoMoreMrFixit*

      Have you had allergy testing? I discovered my sinus, ear and throat troubles were ultimately caused by a number of allergies.

    10. Myrin*

      Add-on because many comments mention it: I’ve been allergy-tested several times (both throughout my whole life and particularly during the last year) and, like I expected, I don’t have any allergies whatsoever. I mean, I guess I could have something really obscure and rare, you never know, but my gut tells me that that’s not it.

      I also had septum surgery in April (so I’d say it’s not nasal drip, either), partly because my ENT thought it might help with the sore throat. It didn’t.

    11. Ron McDon*

      I have this issue at the moment – well, a long term sore throat but combined with fatigue and hoarseness.

      An ongoing sore throat can be an indicator of lots of conditions (such as glandular fever, anaemia, thyroid problems, ME), but for these conditions one would usually have other symptoms, which you have not mentioned you have?

      If the only symptom you have is a sore throat (no associated tiredness, hoarseness, fever etc), then Doctors probably won’t want to spend a lot of time/money looking for the cause, as it is unlikely to be causing you physical harm; it’s just irritating.

      If you have other symptoms – even if you don’t think they’re related to your sore throat – you should definitely go back to your Doctor and see if they think it should be investigated further.

      In the absence of any other symptoms, post-nasal drip (as suggested by others here) seems to be the most likely explanation.

      It’s frustrating to have something wrong and not know why, I do feel for you.

    12. Not So NewReader*

      Have you lived in the same residence right along? Am thinking maybe there are environmental causes?

    13. Observer*

      Get the book Dropping Acid. If it’s not post-nasal drip, then this is an EXTREMELY likely cause for what you are experiencing. And the good news is that you can test this on your own, very safely as it doesn’t require medication, or anything like that.

    14. ..Kat..*

      Probably not a fungus. That would not stay localized to your throat, but instead spread up into your oral cavity. Plus, someone looking down your throat should be able to see fungus/yeast. It is disgusting and obvious.

    15. DanaScully*

      I don’t know if you have any other symptoms, but a chronic sore throat can be a symptom of Myalgic Encephalopathy AKA Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

    16. Jackie*

      I had a sore throat that came and went, visited my GP and an ENT doctor. I had tests and nothing was found. But one time I saw a white spot on my tonsil. I found out it was tonsilloliths or tonsil stones. They can be painful and sometimes you just can’t see them. That was the cause of my sore throat.

  14. the gold digger*

    Planner married to a Procrastinator trying to leave for a ten-day trip where we need to take all our food with us. Planner thinks we could have debouched the charcoal from the huge Costco bag into smaller bags earlier this week. (Planner also wonders if it was worth the 25 cents Procrastinator saved to get the huge bag.)

    Planner thinks Procrastinator could have staged frozen foods earlier in the week. And selected and packed clothes. Etc. Etc.

    However, if Planner and Procrastinator can remain married (even though Planner hissed to Procrastinator, as she is holding the microwave up and dripping sweat while he tries to find the screwholes, “I WANT A DIVORCE AND I WANT IT RIGHT NOW!”) through a minor kitchen renovation, I guess we can survive this.

    1. CAA*

      Hang in there! This week my procrastinator actually said “I think your idea to try test packing early before our 3-week trip to Europe is a good one” (this is the longest trip we’ve ever done with carry-on luggage only). You could have knocked me over with a feather as I fully expected to be up until 1:00 AM the night before we leave listening to him trying to figure out what to bring.

    2. Artemesia*

      Part of every long trip we take is buying clothes for my husband because he didn’t pack what he needed, getting prescription drugs for my husband because he forgot the pills, coping with the fact that he forget his hearing aids etc etc. I have learned to just let him solve it when we get there.

    3. Not That Jane*

      Makes me a bit sad that Planner is female and Procrastinator is male. Because… Planning is emotional labor! And (generally, on average) women in relationships with men do more of the emotional labor.

  15. Charlotte*

    I’m starting my first full-time job after college in a few months, and my partner and I have to move several states away for it. I’m not too worried about the move itself (already jettisoned most of our stuff moving from school) but would love advice on what to look for in an apartment, or which features aren’t worth the money. In college I had such a tight budget that I just picked the best I could find of a cheap bunch, but with a salary I’ll be able to afford a little more. I don’t want to be wasteful, but would love a happy medium between that and living somewhere with major issues just for the sake of squeezing an additional dollar or two. Any advice would be so so appreciated.

    1. Airedale*

      First, congrats on your job!

      I’m four years out of college, have lived in 3 apartments in 2 states during that time, first alone and now with my boyfriend. So here’s what I wish I’d thought more of:

      – Commute to work, for both of you. If you’ll need to take a bus, is that nearby? (Ask the landlord or use Google Maps to check)
      – I used to prefer living in an old, crappy apartment in a cool neighborhood, vs a nice, new place that’s out of the way of the trendy spots. Not anymore! “Shabby-chic with character” (a.k.a. old) wears off REAL fast; it is not as cute as Urban Outfitters makes it look. Go for a place built this millennium if you can :)
      – Parking. Will you be ok parallel parking, parking a few blocks away if needed, or scraping snow off your car if there’s no garage access?
      – Laundry – if it’s not in your actual apartment, at least in the building.
      – Dishwasher. For me, not having one is a deal breaker. Ditto for central air conditioning.
      – Guest room. Not essential – a lot of recent grads don’t have one – but nice to have if you can afford it.
      – Hiring movers is sometimes worth it, especially in a new state where you don’t have friends to help, and you’re moving furniture up several flights of stairs. I did read one article that said to have a backup moving company’s number ready in case they don’t show up. (Fun)
      – In our experience, renting a moving van from Enterprise was significantly cheaper than U-Haul. (Although my dad’s employer had some kind of discount.)
      – When I moved to a new city, I commented here asking for advice, and got SO many tips! Remember to do that.

      It all works out, though. Things will go wrong when you move, but just laugh about it and be kind to each other, and remember when it’s over you get to enjoy your brand new neighborhood! Good luck.

      1. Liz*

        These are all good, key points!
        Location is so important. I know the commute and access to groceries, activities, etc are first priority for me.
        Getting to work and getting food without a lot of hassle is important to me. And you need a place to park the car(s). After that it is laundry, dishwasher, and appearance.

        I left out AC because I live in south Florida and cannot even imagine life without it anymore, I just assume it is there!

      2. Julianne*

        Also possibly relevant re: parking: if you are apartment-hunting in a place where it snows and you’ll be parking on the street, be on the look out for signs about winter parking restrictions, or check them out online. Last time we moved, we almost rented a place on a street that prohibited parking during snow emergencies and I vetoed it, in part, because of that. Our area gets enough big snowstorms that I just didn’t think I could deal with fighting the rest of the neighborhood for parking during blizzards, even if it would only be for a week or two per year.

        1. amanda_cake*

          This is an excellent point. I have to park on the street at my current place, but when it snows downtown residents are advised to park in one of the city’s garages or parking lots (if these are usually pay for parking spots they remove the fee for the duration of the storm.

          Last winter (my first winter in this place) it didn’t snow a lot so I’m worried about this year. One of the free parking lots is an extremely short walk from my house, so I will definitely try to get in there if they advise us to park else where. I can walk to work. I work in higher ed on a campus that rarely closes, so I will likely have to report to work unless it snows so deep a giraffe’s rear would be covered. It wouldn’t be a fun walk, but likely might be better than trying to drive.

        2. blackcat*

          This can even be an issue for streets that do allow parking during snow. My street runs parallel to one and perpendicular to two streets that do not allow parking during significant snow storms. My street also only allows parking on one side of the street during snow storms. If just the folks who lived on my street parked all on one side, it would be fine (most folks have off street parking for 1 car, so it’s just the households with 2+ cars that park on the street). During snow emergencies, parking on my street is terrible! And the folks who don’t actually live on my street but park on it are SUPER INCONSIDERATE about where they put the snow when they shovel off their cars. Like they put the snow from their car onto the newly shoveled sidewalk, because they figure the sidewalk isn’t their problem. Or they put in into people’s cleared driveways.

          I hate it. It’s basically my one complaint about my neighborhood.

      3. 2e*

        I’d also consider:
        – What the building/neighborhood is like at various times of day (quiet or loud? crowded or completely deserted?), especially if you expect to sometimes work late and commute home.
        – If you can, turn on the shower tap to see if it sputters or anything weird – this can say a lot about not only the water pressure but also the general state of repair a building is kept in.
        – If there are any building conditions or rules you care about, are they actually enforced? And is that a good or bad thing? For example, my building is technically “no pets allowed” but quite a few people have small dogs. Doesn’t bother me, but it was nice to know in advance.

      4. Parenthetically*

        Oh goodness, yes, shabby-chic/charming/characterful quickly gets annoying when the floor creaks, the windows are drafty and rattle, you can hear your neighbor sneeze, there’s no insulation so your heating bill is $$$…

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      Come up with a rough budget and go look at three places that meet it. It really helps calibrate what $X/month looks like in this region, which could be far off your college options in either direction. Block out all advice from people who are sure that there are many far more fabulous apartments available for a fraction of the cost, based on their memories of looking for an apartment 15 years ago in a different state.

      A lot of it then comes down to “when we walked through this place I wanted to live here.” But being able to analyze what led to that feeling helps. Start with Airedale’s list and expand–How inconvenient will laundry be? What’s the commute? Is there natural daylight (vs curtains closed against a wall 3 ft away) and how much do you care about that? Is it a walkable neighborhood (either for exercise or popping out to get milk) and how much do you care about that? How quiet is it? (When we were in Germany last year–yow, triple-paned glass. Incredibly quiet on top of the energy efficiency.)

      (The soundest advice I received house-hunting isn’t relevant to you–don’t bring young children. For concrete brain development reasons they are not able to picture the house without the scary dog or the cool race car set and you’re asking them for insight they can’t give you.)

    3. Mallows*

      I just moved 3 months ago to a building where a whole lot of stuff is not under my control. Water heater is shared. Climate control is provided via boiler/chiller (and a fireplace) and whether you are in heat or cool mode is decided by the landlord and is not changed for unseasonable weather. I’m not finding any of these things too troublesome thus far but they do require some adjustment; coming from the east coast, these things were totally alien to me.

      1. Parenthetically*

        THAT is a very important point — do I have total control over the temperature in my place or not? Even now, living in a condo I own, the system is changed over from boiler to chiller in the spring and from chiller to boiler in the fall, and it’s always a frustrating situation, especially in the spring when I’m sweltering on the top floor and no amount of fans-in-windows will cool me down!

    4. AcademiaNut*

      What I find is that the four big things are price, location, size and amenities. You can often get one of them, sometimes two, but not all of them. What you can get also depends wildly on where you will be living, which I find tends to be a major shock to people moving to higher cost of living areas when they find out how much they have to pay, how long their commute will be, and/or how small the place is.

      For me, I don’t have a car, so public transportation access is major – good routes to get to work, and to things like shopping, or weekend activities. And I find it makes a difference to be able to stop at a convenience store on the way home from the bus. A kitchen is important, as I like to cook, but things like a pool or a gym aren’t high priority. Size isn’t a huge issue, but having a separate bedroom is – I find a one room apartment a bit claustrophobic.

    5. New Bee*

      One thing to consider, depending on what utilities you pay for, is buying more “stuff” after you move. For example, if you’ll have coin-operated laundry, it’ll save money in the long-run to have several sets of towels, sheets, blankets, etc., instead of washing weekly. Same for pots, pans, and dishes. I’ve found great deals on both at Target and the Kohls clearance section.

    6. Pat Benetardis*

      Cross breezes! One of my first apartments was was in a building with apartments on both sides of the hall. All of the windows were on the same side of the apartment and it was difficult to get fresh air to circulate. It really bothered me and ever since that’s been something I’ve looked out for.

  16. katamia*

    I know you mostly can’t change people, but has anyone had any luck with training people to go to Google first rather than asking you? My parents constantly come to me with tech advice…on devices/websites/programs I’ve never used. I could sort of skate by with their phones because we all have Androids (even though mine is Samsung and theirs are LG, so not everything is the same), but my mom just got a tablet, and, dude, I don’t know how to do this stuff either!

    Then she gets annoyed when I don’t know how to do everything when if she Googled, she’d probably be able to find the answer and with much less irritation on everyone’s part. I’ll admit I don’t always react well to being asked for help because I haaaaaaaaaaaaaate being interrupted and their interruptions have been much more frequent within the last few months.

    1. Myrin*

      Through what medium are these interruptions happening? Do your parents live with your or near enough that they just bodily show up and demand you help them? Or is this happening via calling or messaging you? Because if the latter, I’d absolutely advice to conveniently not hear your phone or misplace it or to be so busy that it takes you ages to answer. Not guaranteed to help, but I’ve seen that happen successfully. If the former… hm. Is it at all possible to sit down with them and have this exact conversation with them? If they’re otherwise reasonable people, explaining that it’s frustrating for you and would be much easier for them to look stuff up might get through to them, although I obviously don’t know what your relationship is like otherwise.

      1. katamia*

        Nope. I live with them (until September, when, baring Wacky Visa Issues, I’m moving overseas, which is another reason why it’s so important that they be able to do things on their own–I’m genuinely not going to be very available to help them). I feel like I’ve been very explicit with them about how they need to not interrupt me (repeatedly saying things like “Don’t interrupt me”), and while they seem to understand me when I say it, they just…keep doing it. When I say it’s frustrating, they just come back with “Well, it’s frustrating for me when you do X.”

        I’m toying with, at first, telling them what to Google (I have excellent Google fu, theirs isn’t awful but is probably underdeveloped) and just letting it go from there, although then they’d probably ask me which result to look at. *sigh*

        1. Kristen*

          I like the idea of telling them what to google. Maybe say something like: “Oh, I’m not sure.” Seem very perplexed. Then, “you should try googling ‘how to change the background in Windows.'” Maybe they’ll start to get the idea after a while.

        2. TootsNYC*

          I’ll say this, as a parent with a child living with me: The reason you’re in my home, taking up space physically and psychologically is because you’re my family. So that means you need to interact with me–because that’s what families do.

          So I don’t really like hearing “don’t interrupt me,” and literally “you need to not interrupt me” would have me ballistic. Interacting with me is the price you pay for living in my home. I have never said to my kid, “You need to not interrupt me” unless I was on the phone.

          I get the “I need some space and privacy” thing, but unless you’re actually doing something that needs concentration, or you’re Skyping with a friend, I expect my child to be interruptible. My kid will sometimes say, “OK, I’m going to go unwind,” and I honor that “alone time.” But I would not be ok w/ being told, by the person living in MY home, that *I* “need to” do anything.

          I would just go for saying, “I don’t know, Mom–did you google it? I’m sure this is something you can find out as well as I can.”
          My mom used to say: “What would you do if I weren’t here, and you needed the answer?” Try that, maybe.

          Also, this may be a way of creating an interaction.

          1. katamia*

            It’s not their way of creating an interaction, trust me. I’m living at home right now for financial reasons, not because I actually want to, and we all recognize that it’s not ideal/what any of us want–we’d all be much happier if I were living elsewhere.

      2. WillowSunstar*

        Nope. I have a coworker who will always, always, always ask first, no matter what. Despite the fact that I have written up tons of documentation with click here-type instructions on our group drive and he has access to them, and has repeatedly been told to check there first, he still always, always, asks me.

        This is the guy who was following me around not just the first week, but several months into his newness, who I had to go to the boss regarding other inappropriate things about, and acts generally very strange sometimes.

    2. puzzld*

      Ah yes. The I taught you to eat with a spoon and to use the toilet ; You can teach me how to use this new fangled technology… predicament.

      I think you’ll just have to deal with it. I’ve managed it with people who didn’t give birth to me, only instead of google, I transfer them to the reference desk at our library, but mom gets snifty when I try that with her.

    3. kb*

      I had a similar problem. I actually sat them down and walked them through the process of Googling tech info because it turned out they were Googling very poorly. They were typing full paragraphs into Google which clearly wasn’t yielding the results they needed. I also showed them a few reliable websites they could reference. Before I left, I bought them an accordion folder to put all their gadget manuals and warranties in. When they realized they could ask Google anything and she wouldn’t snootily complain that she explained it to them last week, they came to really prefer Google.

      1. katamia*

        LOL. They’re not doing full paragraphs. It’s definitely just a few words. I think they just…don’t know how the Internet/Google thinks, I guess? Whereas Google has been a crucial part of my job for years, so I know what search terms are likely to give me good results. They also don’t seem to know what things are called (not that I always do, but I’m a better guesser, I guess).

        1. TootsNYC*

          Then maybe sit with them and teach them how to do it, each time they ask.

          of course, then they may ask more often simply to get to spend more time with you…

    4. Lady Bug*

      My grown children do that to me. I usually respond with How the f would I know, Google it!

    5. JKP*

      Totally relate. My mom calls for computer help all the time. I tried showing her some things and having her take notes step-by-step. But then if she doesn’t do it everyday, she still calls for help even with the notes.

      I think Amy Schumer’s Mom Computer Therapy skit sums it up perfectly:

    6. Peanut*

      So this might or might not help, but before you move out, you could consider installing software on their devices (not phone, but laptop, computer, maybe tablet) to let you remotely control them from your own computer.

      I used TeamViewer, which is free for this type of use, and basically how it works is that I installed it and then showed my parents where it was on their devices and how to open it to find the password that they would need to give me when they inevitably called me for tech support.

      When they call me for help now, I log on my computer from my own home, enter their password (it changes every time), and can then see their desktop. They move their cursor around to show me what the problem is, then I take control of their device remotely (while they watch) and fix whatever it is.

      This was much easier for me to deal with because before doing this, I had difficulty figuring out what the problem was (English is not their first language), and even more difficulty explaining over the phone what to do to fix it. I am very impatient and would yell on the phone and then feel bad about it later. But this way, I could help them as quickly as possible and so we were all in better moods when done.

      Obviously, the best case scenario would have been if they could have learned to figure out how to solve their problems themselves, or what professional they could call. But realistically, I was not going to be able to train them out of calling me first, so this ended up being a workable compromise for us since I don’t live close enough to them to drop in.

    7. Retail Manager to Designer*

      Yes! I moved out almost ten years ago and just this spring my mother proudly told me that she googled something before bringing it up with me. To paint a picture, when I first left I was getting phone calls about how to change the printer ink.

      What seemed to help was, after getting some comment about “growing up with this stuff and learning it in school” (um, not so much the latter…), always telling her what I searched for and why. Plus, she was genuinely frustrated with herself for not knowing more.

  17. RKB*

    Washington readers! I’m doing a four-city trip in America in August (I’m Canadian) and Washington is the last leg of my tour. It’s also the only city where I’ll be alone. I plan on tackling the National Mall and the Museums but when I was looking around on Google Maps, there’s a TON of restaurants and I’m slightly overwhelmed!

    Tell me your faves!

    1. Katie the Fed*

      You mean DC, right? (I usually assume Washington is referring to the state, but since you mentioned the Mall I think you mean DC)

      What’s your budget for restaurants and what kind of food do you like?

    2. Free Meerkats (formerly Gene)*

      There’s a great Afghan restaurant near the zoo; IIRC, it’s called the Afghan Grill. Reasonably priced and the guy who owns the main Aghan restaurant here in Seattle (I work with his wife) recommended it to me when we were visiting 3 years ago.

      1. Kathenus*

        Second the recommendation of the Afghan Grill. I lived in the DC area for six years and came to love that restaurant, I really miss it. And save room for dessert – they have amazing Bastani – rosewater and cardamom ice cream topped with pistachios.

    3. Windchime*

      Yeah, I was all ready to tell you about the beautiful places to visit in Washington, till I saw the part about the National Mall.

    4. Tabby Baltimore*

      If you can access an online version of the Washington Post, you can read area reviews by its restaurant critic Tom Sietsema. He also hosts a weekly online chat about D.C.’s restaurant scene, so you should be able to find and search previous chat transcripts. During the chat, he provides recommendations to chatters w/specific needs (seeking a low decibel level for hard-of-hearing guests, seeking a specific type of cuisine in a particular area of town at a certain time of day or night, seeking good craft beers, where can a chatter go who’s budgeted only $X for a meal, etc.)

    5. Lo Squared*

      Lincoln and Founding Farmers were two restaurants I really enjoyed last time I was in DC.

  18. Katie the Fed*

    So, we adopted a cat earlier this year who hates me. She likes my husband but she really hates me. If I get close to her she runs away. She won’t let me pet or even come near her.

    She’s not a terribly affectionate cat, but she does allow my husband to pet her some.

    Any ideas what the issue is, and how I can fix them? My only theory is that I’m the one who cuts her claws because my husband is scared to do it (sighhhhhhh). Usually he holds her in place while I do her claws. But she seems to only blame me.

    I also don’t know if I might smell different now that I’m pregnant.

    Any ideas?

    1. fposte*

      1) it could be the clipping 2) you could smell different 3) she could just not like you. Not everybody likes everybody.

      I would, if possible, leave her the hell alone. If she doesn’t like you, interaction with you that she doesn’t initiate only firms that up. If you can be visibly the one to feed her, that probably wouldn’t hurt, but otherwise I’d stay away.

      You really haven’t had her that long. Cats often play the long game in relationships; assume you’re not going to see anything from her for a while and see what happens by this time next year. (Maybe she’ll like the baby best of all and give your husband the cold shoulder too, who knows.)

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Agree on both leaving her alone and the long game. One of our cats (adopted when we’d been married several years) you would swear had led a bachelor existence with my husband before I ruined it all, but when my husband started doing long business trips the cat eventually decided that he should keep on my good side since I was the only one who could open the wet food.

    2. Aurora Leigh*

      Another vote for giving her time to warm up to you!

      My boyfriend’s kitten isn’t my biggest fan either. (And cats love me! ALL cats love me! Always!) I’ve been around a couple months the longer than she has (which I tell her) but she lives there (his response lol) and I think jealousy may play a role. She no longer has his undivided attention when I’m around!

      1. ValaMalDoran*

        When I first showed up at my then boyfriend (now husband)’s family’s house, one of the cats sat on him, and glared at me.

        1. Cafe au Lait*

          I adopted my cat two weeks before I met my husband. The first time he came over (two weeks after we first met, one month after adopting Arya), she jumped up on his side of the sofa, stomped over his lap, stomped over my lap, and sat down. Then she got up, and stomped over my lap again before settling between us.

          “My person,” she seemed to say “Keep your hands where I can see them.”

    3. QualityControlFreak*

      You very well may smell differently. The mare I rode when I was pregnant would put her muzzle against my belly and breathe in my scent (I’m sure she could feel the movement as well). She completely bonded with the kid, too. I’m not sure that’s much help, but if this is the problem at least it’s temporary.

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’m convinced that you can get any cat to come around if you’re willing to put in the time and patience. (But I spent 10 hours a day sitting on the floor in a room with Eve and her brothers for five weeks, so it’s possible I’m willing to do more of this than normal people are. And it’s also possible that I’m just wrong.) But have you tried treats? If you could be the sole giver of treats, that might help. Also, try playing with her with things that don’t require her to be right next to you — like toys at the end of a very long string. If she comes to associate you with food and toys, that might help … but expect it to take at least a few weeks of concerted effort (don’t stop if you don’t see results in a week, because you probably won’t).

      1. Windchime*

        I’ve had good luck with shy cats by just quietly sitting on the floor near them and not talking to them or looking at them. Once I’ve done that for awhile, I might start talking softly. But the key with cats is to have them come to you. Smelly treats might work (like tuna or canned food). It takes a strong, strong cat to resist the toy on a string that Alison mentions. Also, I would stop with the clipping for now because she just knows you as the Lady Who Does Things to my Toes. My cat is almost 6 years old and he still barely tolerates having his nails trimmed.

      2. NoMoreMrFixit*

        Nope, hate to say there are exceptions to this. Cats typically take one look at me and become my best friend. Except for my best friend’s cat. Which I have known since a kitten. And house-sat multiple times over the years. That four legged sociopath loves her family and hates everyone else on the planet. Especially me. After 15 years I have finally given up and accepted that there is actually a feline that truly hates the ground I walk on.

        Annoying thing is I am a cat person while my buddy is a dog person at heart.

      3. Emmylou*

        I agre — a lot of sitting on the floor not that interested in the cat. When my skitty emmylou was new the one time she would come out to paw at me was when I was sitting on a meditation cushion with my eyes closed. (It wasn’t a ploy, I really was meditating :-))

    5. Amy*

      Is it possible to have a groomer cut her claws? Perhaps a mobile groomer that comes to you? It may improve your relationship with your cat. We have a groomer cut our dog’s nails even though we are totally capable of doing it ourselves, because she completely freaks out. My husband sees how upset she is and gets upset himself, and the whole thing is just super stressful for everyone. Much easier to have a groomer be the bad guy – plus they’re usually faster and less likely to nick the quicks.

    6. Elkay*

      Are you the one who feeds her? That might help her associate you with good things (I’ve seen this advice from Jackson Galaxy).

      My parents adopted a cat and it took a good couple of years for her to settle properly in their house, give her time.

    7. anon24*

      Cats generally hate to be ignored. My female cat adores my husband and sometimes loves me and mostly hates me. When she is being a little pain I make a point to ignore her for however long it takes – even when she gets irritated and eventually begs me for attention. I just love on my other cat and ignore her for awhile (days, weeks, etc) until she calms back down and I decide I want to give her attention. You have to take away the power from her.

    8. Andrea*

      Girl cats tend to really like men. I think it has to do with their smell. Also, girl cats tend to be more loners and one person cats. I would suggest wooing strategies:

      1. Get the cat treats from Trader Joe’s. Shake the canister and call to her, giving her a treat. Be the only one to give her these treats and do it consistently. Associate the sound with it. After or while she is eating, talk to her and then rub her head.
      2. Invent and play games with her. Before meal time, take some dry kibble and throw them along the floor to chase and eat. Cats have a natural cycle of hunt, kill, eat, groom, sleep. The chasing before the real meal triggers the hunt and kill instinct. Our cats love it and it helps them run off energy.
      3. Be polite and offer your finger at eye level. It helps them initiate smelling and nose bonking (your fingertip mimicking a nose), which is how they greet one another. You can then offer your closed fist as a substitute cat head for her to rub, of just rub her head. Also, if you wear glasses, offer her the arms of the glasses to smell. It has your scent.
      4. Crib from your spouse. Where does she like to be rubbed?
      5. Spoil her with high value food such as tuna fish from a can (also, tuna juice cocktails), ham (omg-they go crazy for ham) turkey. Be shameless. They are.
      6. Prozac helped our most skittish one. She is living her best life on meds now.

      Good luck!

    9. Not So NewReader*

      I think reframing this might help. It does not sound like she truly hates you, she is not spitting/hissing at you. It sounds like she is more afraid of you. The difference is important because it means different strategies.

      I’d also look at how she reacts to visitors in your home. My cats hid until they got used to the new voices.
      Do you talk to her even though she ran away or is hiding? A soothing tone of voice can help them to get to know you.
      I can say this, with each cat we had it was a good year before they finally settled in to their new home with us. They had to go at their own pace and they each did their own crazy thing. I had one cat who would climb up the side of the clothes hanging in the closet so she could lay/sit on the top shelf of the closet. My solution was to just leave her there, I mean she got herself up there. It would be a disaster for me to climb up there and pull her down. So I left her there. After a bit she stopped doing that and moved on to some other crazy thing.

      One cat was even more timid than the others. We would sit on the floor and read while she hid under the bed. It was probably a couple hours each night. We did this for weeks. Finally curiosity got her and she came out to sniff our feet.

      I think soothing tone of voice is helpful. I used the same phrases over and over. Because I believe they do understand a lot of what we say. “It’s okay, Kitty. You are alright.” Providing her with food/treats is probably a good idea.

    10. Kathenus*

      Hi Katie. Echoing some of the suggestions made by Alison and others. While there are no guarantees that you can get any animal to like you, here are a few things that might help:

      – Find out her favorite foods and treats, and then have them only come from you. Offer them as frequently as you can so that your presence, which isn’t reinforcing to her yet, will have a positive association.

      – Don’t force your presence on her until she shows some signs of wanting it. Even with offering the treats and favored foods, drop them in her bowl and back off, put them on the floor and walk away, or if it doesn’t make her nervous you could lightly toss or roll them to her from a distance.

      – Give her the power to modify your behavior, if you are approaching and she begins to get tense or looks like she’s going to leave, back off and give her the space – even walking a different path to get past her if the space allows.

      – If she’s at all nervous or gets startled at times when you do things, give her verbal warnings first so she’ll be aware that something is going to happen before it does – so your ‘trust account’ doesn’t take a hit before you have enough built up in it.

      – The suggestion of a toy with a very long string is a good one too, at least to try, to see if you can engage her in something fun without violating her ‘personal space’.

      – Talking to her or greeting her when you’re around might be good; I think it’s showing her respect to acknowledge her presence.

      – Definitely agree with those who say to stop being involved in nail trims, it will be incredibly hard to ever build a positive relationship when you regularly participate in something she finds aversive. And she needs a groomer or vet for this, your husband needs to be the one to take her, not you.

      – The main message, as others have said, is to let her set the pace; and to find things that change her perception of you, such as the favored food and play. If you have value to her through these things, over time she may change her feelings about you.

      – Patience is the key, as has been mentioned. Let her have the power and wait for her behavior to tell you when you can take the next step.

      Good luck!

    11. Basia, also a Fed*

      We had a dog who had been abused and hid in the corner of the bedroom for a few years. He wouldn’t let me pet him for a year and he avoided my husband for THREE years. By the time he died, after 11 years, he was glued to us like Velcro, to the point where he tripped us when we walked around our house. The vet said part of the reason he came around was because we left him alone (except for taking him out, feeding, and the kennel, which was also the groomer). Some days we only saw him for 15 minutes or so. I don’t know if the cat will ever warm up to you, but my advice is don’t coax her. She may feel more comfortable if she doesn’t feel pressured.

    12. Pet sitter*

      When cats don’t like me, I ignore them, sit down on the floor, and read or watch TV. They usually come around. To explain…

      The cat needs to learn that you aren’t threatening her. Unfortunately, the cat is interpreting your attempts at interaction as threats. So, let the cat observe you doing non-threatening things, and let her come to you on her own terms. Look for progress like her hiding less frequently, staying in the same room as you more often, or watching you from less of a distance.

      Also… Maybe make the claw-trimming a husband-only job for now! Or vet-only. :)

      1. Pet sitter*

        If it helps you feel less upset by the cat’s behavior, remember that it’s not personal. The cat just doesn’t understand you. She has the intelligence of a toddler, she doesn’t know your language, and she doesn’t totally get your body language. That’s okay.

    13. ..Kat..*

      The best way to get cats to love you, rub up against you and sit on your lap is to be allergic to them!

    14. Katie the Fed*

      Thank you guys for all the suggestions. I’m going to leave her alone until she approaches me. Last night I did play laser pointer with her which she enjoyed, and I took over feeding from my husband. He’s going to try to start clipping her claws too.

  19. Free Meerkats (formerly Gene)*

    If this goes too far into politics, please delete.

    My city has a proposition on the primary ballot to change from at large to district representation. I can see pluses and minuses to each, so I’m currently undecided. What are thoughts from the commentariat here?

    1. Paul White*

      We have that in our city and it’s been a simmering issue here too for like 2-3 election cycles (keeps getting narrowly voted down).

      My biggest complaints with the at large is that it seems like the rich portion of town gets really over represented. We just voted in an entire new city council and mayor so who knows how it’ll be now though. I don’t know if districts will fix that though.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      Both have plusses and minuses, and what works in one town could be negative in another–Paul gives one scenario. What problems is the change supposed to fix in your case? Do you agree that they are problems?

    3. LCL*

      My city did this. We went to district representation. We are now the laughing stock of the region. The argument in favor was basically, we need a wider demographic of people running for office. Unfortunately we got the mean and stupid. The ACLU likes district representation. They interfered and forced a small city (not ours) here to switch to district representation. I was totally supportive of the ACLU until they did that.

      Politics is the only profession where people along the entire political spectrum argue that experience is bad and we should make more effort to elect people with less experience. I believe that view point is stupid, shortsighted and destructive to government and society.

    4. Ann O.*

      Mine just got forced to that to avoid a lawsuit (which still infuriates me). I think which is better is probably city specific. I don’t think it was a good idea for my city because we’re not very segregated, so I don’t think district representation solves any problems (and potentially could create some). In a city with different demographics, I think well-drawn districts could be helpful.

    5. JulieBulie*

      My city actually has both. We have ward representation, which is important because even though the city is small, there is a lot of demographic diversity, and different neighborhoods have different issues. There are six wards. However, we also have five at-large reps. I’m not sure what purpose they serve, tbh, but maybe it provides balance.

  20. Carmen Sandiego JD*

    1. Relaxing after dental a week ago and hoping my body just…cooperates.

    2. Buying a Self-meditation book on sale, and having to mentally justify spending $ on myself

    3. For those of you who went no contact with nmom/edad then later married and had kids, are you still no contact? Do they know you have kids?

    4. Trying to think up snack Desserts gluten free, healthy, yet with a bit of dark chocolate…..

    1. Courtney W*

      I’m the child of a situation like #3, so I would just like to point out that having grandchildren in the mix usually makes a narcissist behavior worse, not better. I really, really wish my parents hadn’t had the misguided notion that they should at least try to let my dad’s parents be involved in my life. I’m assuming some extreme stuff happened for you to go no-contact. Assume that sooner or later, they will treat your child the way they treated you, because that is often the case.

      If you do decide to re-establish contact, take it slowly and have reasonable boundaries. If they can’t handle a slower pace and reasonable boundarie, that will be a huge red flag for you.

      1. Carmen Sandiego JD*

        Thanks; nmom has in the past few months–insulted my SO, my career, my taste in men, she had a public meltdown causing my dad to email me while I was at work to ‘apologize’ even though it’s not my fault, just to keep her quiet. She always said I cost too much, I owe her money for education, and always complained she never reaped money from me like she ‘deserved.’ Years earlier, she’d remove money from my acct without my permission and harass me with 38 calls if I didn’t pick up. (I’ve since separated my finances, moved away, and have my own phone, and am financially independent).

        The no contact came however, when I told her she’d have to wait another several weeks for my SO to take an exam bc the program spelled his name wrong.

        She responded by sending 3 30-line long emotionally abusive emails reaming us out and accusing us of lying.

        Basically, I realized after those emails I felt hollow inside and felt nothing for her anymore–no hate, no love, nothing–and I was done with her. Blocked her number, emails, and now it’s month 2.5.

        1. Courtney W*

          Oh wow. That is horrendous and I am so sorry. You deserve better, and so does your child. I wouldn’t tell her a damn thing if I were you – no contact sounds like it’s going to be much healthier. In a perfect world, it’s great to have a mom to support you when you’re going through pregnancy and figuring out your newborn and what’s important to you as a mom. But it sounds like all your mother would do would be to berate any choices you made that don’t align with hers while verbally abusing ou for basically everything during what is already a kind of trying period (sleep deprivation, ugh. I’m sorry.)

          Some of them can be kind of extreme, but there are a lot of online support boards out there. Reddit has raised by narcissistics and Babycenter has DWIL (dealing with the in-laws, but there’s lots of people there whose issues are with their own family.) If nothing else, sometimes just reading other people’s drama is a reminder of what you don’t want to go back to!

      1. TootsNYC*

        There’s also a great cookbook of desserts called “flourless.”

        Flourless.: Recipes for Naturally Gluten-Free Desserts Hardcover – August 12, 2014
        by Nicole Spiridakis (Author), John Lee (Photographer)

        (I’ll let you google it, since a link will end up in moderation.)

        All the recipes are desserts that NEVER had flour or gluten in them. Like meringues, flourless chocolate cakes, macarons, etc.
        It doesn’t substitute rice flour for regular flour to make predictable desserts–the author sought out those recipes that didn’t have flour in the first place.

    2. Sibley*

      1, 2 – Relax, take care of yourself. It is required, not optional.

      3. I’m not in that situation, but WHY would you expose a vulnerable child to a situation bad enough to make you cut off your parents? Seriously, why?

      Also, if you had to cut off your parents, strongly recommend therapist to fix your head or make sure you fixed your head, before you screw up the next generation by accident. Someone had posted a link to a website talking about these sorts of situations (sometime this week), and apparently it’s very common (even normal) for the children of narcissistic parent(s) to have issues, and accidentally be bad parents themselves.

      4. No help, sorry. Hopefully google will.

    3. Hey Anonny Nonny*

      I don’t have the narcissist parent situation, but I was no contact with my biodad (just a garden-variety jerk) for several years, then married and had a child, felt guilty about him not knowing about it, decided to contact him. It went fine for a very short while (a few months maybe) before he showed me he was exactly the same person and I went no contact again. Now I have even more children and live in a different state and I doubt he has any idea. I don’t care.

      I don’t think it’s worth it to contact your parents about the child, but just to be safe, google what kind of grandparents’ rights they might be legally entitled to where you live, and if you have any leftover links to them (siblings or family members you’re still in contact with who are also in contact with them) you should make sure they know that they are absolutely to never, ever pass along any information about you, especially that you have a child(ren).

      1. Hey Anonny Nonny*

        Just to be clear, I brought up the grandparents’ rights thing so that you would know what they might try to escalate to (taking you to court?) if they accidentally found out, not to make you feel like you have to allow them anything at all – you don’t.

    4. Ktelzbeth*

      Not necessarily health, but flourless chocolate cake for dark chocolate and healthy. You can probably google prune or black bean brownies. I’ve seen them, but don’t have a recipe or suggestion.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      2. Tell yourself that investing in things that help support you and sustain you is your NEW way of life. You are going to do this as a life long habit. You can help yourself justify it by carefully choosing what you will do and how you expect it to help you.
      A while ago I went through Life Stuff. My back tensed up beyond belief. The muscles felt like concrete. Well, I knew that was not good and definitely not something that should go on and on. I went to a massage therapist. Oh my, I so looked forward to my appointments. We have to put good stuff into ourselves from time to time. It’s not reasonable to expect our bodies/our lives to keep going well if we don’t.

      3. While my parents had their own weirdnesses one of the things they got right was to keep me away from family who was not safe to be around. After seeing this, I have very strong beliefs that if a parent knows another family member has problems, then it is up to the parent to shield the child from that person.

      4. I don’t bake much. I just happened upon some Glutino mixes and bought a couple. They are not too bad for a gluten free product. I have seen different cookie mixes, brownie mix and I think I saw a cake mix somewhere.

    6. Temperance*

      Re #3: I don’t have kids, but my sister does. She’s extremely LC with my parents. They see the kids maybe twice per year, for an hour, in a heavily supervised setting. My mom can’t resist the urge to overstep and act inappropriately towards the kids, but my sister was concerned that if the kids didn’t meet them, they might reach out later and my mother would have more power to manipulate.

      It’s a lie that we’re told that grandparents are essential. If you were a shit parent, if you’re abusive and/or mentally ill … you’re not going to be a better grandparent.

    7. circus peanuts*

      Chop a banana into bite sized pieces and freeze them. When they are frozen, add the Magic Shell on top. It’s that ice cream topping that hardens when it is on top of ice cream. They have it in several flavors, including chocolate. I suppose you could add nuts to it if you like but the Magic Shell hardens fast.

  21. katamia*

    And another question…

    Anyone ever read Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter? I heard about it a few years ago, decided it sounded super interesting, and gave it a shot, but the copy I got from the library was some sort of updated version with an (IMO) insufferably smug preface/foreword/whatever about how no one understood the book when it was first published or something like that. I got annoyed and didn’t even get to the real book before putting it down.

    But I’m still really interested in the subject matter. Is the rest of the book like that, too, or is the writing of the actual book much more neutral?

    1. Headachey*

      I read it in college, after I had lunch with Hofstadter – I remember little of the book now after so many years, but I do recall that lunch fondly. He spoke about the challenges of machine translation of poetry, and we had a lovely discussion about language acquisition and machine language learning. The rest of the attendees – all honors Comp. Sci. majors – were quite put out that he was deigning to speak to me, a mere linguist and the only woman in the room.

      I say skip the forward and give the book another shot!

      1. katamia*

        Oh, that does help to put things in perspective. That’s a great story. :) I hate skipping forewords and prefaces and all those (inveterate completist here), but it sounds like that might be the best option.

    2. Book Lover*

      Yes, I think as a teen and I probably still have it somewhere. I’d skip the preface and try again :)

    3. Mephyle*

      I read GEB when it was relatively new, and it was worth it. Skip the preface, that sounds annoying. I read an earlier edition that didn’t have that preface. I also heard Hofstadter give a talk once when he came to my city and it was good.
      I also really enjoyed his Le Ton beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language, which is about language and languages. It’s probably somewhat easier to understand for the general reader (as I am).

      1. katamia*

        Yeah, I work at a used bookstore and we got one of his other books in that looked really interesting, which is what made me want to give it another shot. But I wanted to start with GEB because I really love Escher, lol. Hopefully if I like GEB I’ll move on to his other stuff eventually.

    4. TootsNYC*

      oh, never ever ever read the preface.

      Only if it’s the sort of prologue that the author intends as part of the actual plot.

      Never, never.

      Read it AFTER you’ve read the book, maybe
      Just dive right in–the author created a highly specific opening and introduction to her/his book. Let her/him be the one to pull you into the story.

      There was an essay someone wrote that got spread around a lot making the argument to not read the preface or foreword. It made a lot of sense, and I’ve found that it helps.

      1. TootsNYC*

        or, if not plot, she/he has crafted the introduction to the topic, framed it, etc.
        Let that introduction do its job.

  22. YRH*

    I’m in the very early stages of wedding planning. One of the venues I’m looking at is in a state park. To get into the park, cars have to pay $10 for a day pass or $30 for an annual pass (good for all state land in the state). Is it problematic to make your guests pay for parking? It seems standard to me to expect to pay for parking, public transit, or a cab. However, my dad thinks this isn’t ok at all. I am planning on having a shuttle from the hotel (I believe parking is free at and near the hotel) as well as from a major traffic chokepoint almost everyone would pass easily accessible via public transit and walking (no free parking nearby though). A friend who’s sister got married there said no one seemed to care. Most of the guests that lived in state had an annual pass, they encouraged people to car pool, and had a handful of backup day passes. For the record, I have no problem paying for parking and was more surprised by the force of my dad’s response than anything. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Courtney W*

      Where is the wedding? I’m in the Midwest and this is not done here and would get a very strong reaction from older guests, so I can kind of see where your dad is coming from. But in a big city area I doubt people would think much of it.

    2. katamia*

      I hate paying for parking on principle.

      That said, between traveling to the site (not that it’s a destination wedding, but I’m assuming some people might be, say, driving 2-3 hours to get there?), wedding presents, maybe new clothes, babysitter if they can’t/don’t want to bring their kids, going to a wedding already costs guests money. So, assuming the expense is reasonable for the area, I don’t really see a problem with paying for parking in particular.

      1. kc89*

        I agree, anything that can be made free for guests is excellent, but there’s also the expectation that going to a wedding will cost the guest some money.

    3. kc89*

      I think it’s fine especially if there are alternative free options for those who wish (like the shuttle)

      I would just make sure the information is clear and given to everybody before the actual wedding.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Seconding on making it clear before the wedding. Most people seem to put out some sort of informal thing with practical travel details, and they’re really helpful.

    4. CAA*

      What would the parking cost be at other venues you’re considering? I think most hotels charge for parking in most major cities, so if the alternative were something like a hotel ballroom the guests would end up paying anyway, right?

      I think I’d rather pay for parking than deal with the hassle of the last wedding I went to, which was on a navy base and required us to send the groom a visitor access form that included our SSNs so they could pre-clear us for access.

    5. Stellaaaaa*

      Honestly, I wouldn’t be cool with that. I think you should consider paying fur everyone’s parking as part of your planning/budgeting.

    6. Amy*

      If you could swing it to pay for everyone’s parking that would be ideal, but if it’s a large wedding I can see how that would be a big expense. I think if you offer the free shuttle option you’re in the clear. Just make it abundantly clear (like, on the “info cards” people usually send with invites, on your wedding website if you’re doing one, having your parents and wedding party reminding people as the date approaches, etc.) that if people choose to drive themselves instead of taking the shuttle there is a $10 entrance fee. I would be mildly annoyed to be blindsided by it but if I was expecting it I wouldn’t think it was a big deal. I think encouraging people to carpool is a great idea.

    7. self employed*

      The absolute must is notifying your guests of the options. I would not care that much about $10 at a park but would be mildly ticked if I was not informed ahead of time. It sounds like your options are considerate and convenient to your guests, so kudos. Perhaps a heads-up about return info for the shuttle people?

    8. Emma*

      I’d be irritated, but if you offered a free shuttle option (or there was some way to park somewhere free & walk), I’d be fine with that. Renting shuttles can be expensive, though!

      With city weddings, I assume that I’m covering transport, but I get to choose. Like I get to choose between walking, bus, Uber, car rental, and all the price differences. So I guess when I have a choice, I don’t feel irritated, but when I have no choice I am. It would kinda feel like an admission fee.

      But if you don’t cover it, definitely give ppl a heads up so they can carpool, etc to minimize costs if they want. Also so they can keep cash on hand if that’s needed, since I typically don’t!

    9. AnonyMouse*

      The key is letting people know ahead of time. My friend recently got married and sent an email out a couple weeks before saying, “There’s free street parking around the venue and valet parking at the venue for $X”. If there’s no option BUT to pay, I would lean to covering the parking fees if it’s possible. But if there are free alternatives you’re arranging, I think it’s fine just to inform guests of the options in advance.

    10. Jen*

      I would pay for this on your guests’ behalf. It’s a courtesy. Logistically, talk to the park- I’m sure it’s happened before. You could leave a credit card # on file and have them charge however many cars say there are there for the xx-yy wedding.

      As a guest, I don’t really care about paying for parking, but I’m not sure I’d think ahead to have $10 cash on me- I usually make sure to have some $1s for tipping the bartender and that’s about it. I guess if they accepted credit cards that’d be less of an issue.

      On your invite you could state “park at the hotel and take our free shuttle or drive your car ($10 parking fee per car). Definitely make sure you pay for your grandmother and anyone else to who might clutch their pearls over this sort of thing.

    11. HannahS*

      Sounds fine, given your two shuttles. I wonder if what’s rubbing him wrong that it’s a “day pass” rather than a “parking fee.” Like if a wedding was at a hotel and I had to pay to park in their garage or if I had to pay-and-display to park on the street near a restaurant I wouldn’t be annoyed at all. But if I drove to a wedding and had to pay 10 bucks at the entrance of the park, I’d be irritated, because then it feels like an admission fee rather than a service fee. Which I 100% realize is stupid–it’s not like putting a pay machine by the parking lot in a park is different from having a kiosk at the entrance, but it feels different somehow. But honestly, given that you’re arranging TWO shuttles for your guests and as long as you warn people, I think you’re completely in the clear.

      1. The IT Manager*

        No. This is precisely it for me. I’m not going to the park for the park, but I’m being forced to pay an entrance fee to a friend’s wedding. You’re thinking of it as a parking fee, but that’s not what it is.

        But also where I’m from I would not expect to pay for parking at the wedding. I wouldn’t necessarily be upset to encounter it but in “the country” where I’m from you park in the venue (church) parking lot and the reception hall for free.

        1. The IT Manager*

          Also I’m surprised that your rental of the venue doesn’t include entrance fee for a reasonable number of guests. You’re already paying for that. And your guests in wedding attire are only coming for your wedding and are unlikely to go to go hiking or whatever is normal park activities after.

    12. The Unkind Raven*

      I had this happen to me as a guest not too long ago! I was annoyed a bit, but 50% of that was not being told ahead of time. Parking was $8 dawn’s and I was lucky i had cash on me (I don’t usually). The state park was nice, but it was unseasonably cold and a bit rainy. Fair warning.

    13. Em*

      As someone who works in a state park system, I’d suggest talking to the folks in that park office. They might have some kind of permit-based system for larger events where you could pay a fee upfront.

  23. Courtney W*

    Anyone besides me a Disney parks fan? I’m spending today eagerly awaiting the announcements at D23.

    1. CAA*

      We got annual passes to Disneyland this year. Ours are SoCal passes that are blacked out for the summer, so we’ll go again in Sept.

      We have a friend at D23 who’ll be here for Comic-Con in a few days. He’s texted a few pics from there and I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more when we see him. DH is the one who can’t wait for updates though. I’m more the type to just wait and discover the new stuff when it appears in the park.

      1. Courtney W*

        My husband is more along your lines too – yesterday he told me I sounded like I was prepping for a press conference as I was listing off all the things hat will possibly be confirmed, that we’re hoping to get a date on, where construction has already started but they’re keeping it hush huh, etc. I’m kind of ridiculous.

    2. Dr. KMnO4*

      I love Disney! My parents are DVC members and I can’t wait until I have the money to buy points of my own.

    3. Beth Anne*

      yeah I’ve been following all the D23 news! I really want to go to D23 one year. I think it would be fun! My husband loves all the star wars stuff they have announced. I’ve had an Annual pass to WDW and he always complained disney was too expensive and now HE GOT ONE AND HE’S ALL EXCITED about going to disney in 2 weeks for his bday!

  24. Aurora Leigh*

    Anyone here have a spouse or SO who is on shift work?

    I have your standard 8-5, Mon-Fri schedule, plus a flexible evening/Saturday part-time job.

    My boyfriend currently works nights (11-7) Tues-Sat, but he could wind up on second shift (3-11) with Tues and Wed as his days off soon.

    With night shift, there’s still 4 or 5 hours of the day where we’re both awake and not at work (unless I’m at my second job) but if he winds up on second shift with no weekend days that overlap with mine . . . I’ll be sad.

    So how do you make different schedules like this work? Any tips from the trenches?

    1. Paul White*

      Honest answer: it kind of sucks. My wife and I have both done shift work at various times. Try to make sure you prioritize each other during the times you are both available. My wife and I try to arrange to take a PTO day together every few months too.

    2. Red Reader*

      I work m-f 7-330, my fiancé works m-f 3-1130 (soon shifting to 1230-9). The only reason we see each other during the week at all is that I work from home, not like that’s actual quality time. And I recently applied for a promotion that would have me not working from home anymore. So I guess we’ll see what’s what :-/

    3. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I work 8:00 – 5:00 M – F, and my husband works 4 days on/4 days off, a month of days (6am – 6pm) and a month of nights (6pm to 6am). There are advantages to the 4 days off schedule, such as having someone with occasional weekdays off to take care of errands, but it sucks that he can never commit to activities that take place on fixed day of the week. So I was able to be a scout leader on Monday nights for our son, but my husband could only attend meetings occasionally.

      People at church or in community groups have a hard time understanding why the shift worker can’t commit to helping at regular intervals. They understand intellectually, but I think they still harbor some “why doesn’t so-and-so carry his weight around here?” Then when the shift worker is available, it’s “oh, he decided to dabble a little bit in helping out . . .”

      As far as around the house, it’s been important in my life to keep the house quiet when husband is sleeping in the daytime and to never, ever schedule anything for us that would cause disruption to his sleep routine.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Your second paragraph struck a chord as only this week someone we know felt the need to tell me my husband should spend more time with me. I’m like: uh, right, thanks for the unsolicited advice, person-with-9-to-5-job.

    4. Ramona Flowers*

      My husband works in the music industry (road and stage crew). There is no pattern because it depends on location. Sometimes he’s home around midnight, sometimes 5am, sometimes he’s away overnight or touring abroad.

      I advise that you don’t get tempted to lose sleep in order to see each other. Quality not quantity matters here. We text a lot and send each other photos. Just silly stuff like what the cat is doing. If we aren’t around to say goodnight or have a nice day we do it by text.

      When you are both around try to do basic things like eat together. But don’t put pressure on each other not to do other stuff like see friends or spend time on hobbies.

    5. ..Kat..*

      My husband works 8-5 (but longer hours) M-F. I work 12 hour shifts 7am-7:30pm, at most 3 days a week. Plus every other week, two of those are Saturday and Sunday. This works well for us. He gets his ‘me’ time on the weekends I work, does his major household chores with whatever ballgame he wants blaring on the TV, and cooks me a yummy dinner. On the days I don’t work, I take care of dinner. He works out after work, so he gets home on the late side, so I take a couple hour nap so I can be up when he gets home without being exhausted. Unfortunately, it sounds as if your schedules are harder to mesh. Good luck.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        The one thing I envy about my husband’s 4 on/4 off schedule is that he regularly has entire days with the house all to himself.

        My M – F, 8am – 5pm schedule means that the kids are always off when I am. I do occasionally schedule vacation days for when everyone else is at work and school, because I *love* being home alone doing everything or nothing, as I wish.

  25. How may I direct your call?*

    So Alison, lately I’ve been searching for my favorite threads using phrases I remember being used in the questions and answers. I was wondering if you’ve ever had any odd phrases entered into the search engine and if so, what are they?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You know, I actually never check, because the volume makes it impossible to sort through them. There’s no way to see just the terms entered into the site’s own search engine; you have to look at all the search terms that brought people here, and a huge number of visits here come through Google … 1.3 million in the last month. So it’s too overwhelming to try to look at them. I just tried looking for the ones in just the last week and it’s still pretty overwhelming — but here’s a screenshot of a random snippet of them:

  26. Foreign Octupus*

    I adopted a cat from a rescue shelter last week (5-6 years old, no one is completely sure) who had been in the shelter for the last four years. She’s a Turkish Van with the most amazing blue eyes who I’ve named Bones (after Leonard McCoy from Star Trek).

    I’m telling everyone and wanted you lot to know as well!

    1. CityMouse*

      I adopted an adult cat and I will also recommend giving her some time. My first month with my guy was rough, he hid, he peed on things, he wouldn’t let us pet him (despite being snuggly and friendly at the shelter). But he got over a lot of it and is now a total snuggle buddy and lap cat.

      1. JaneB*

        I’ve a long history of varied food intolerances, and I’ve found that my problem with wheat products seems to be FLOUR IMPROVERS, not wheat – many of our UK commercusl products are full of apparently healthy extras, especially those to encourage rapid and light rising. “Artesan” or homemade or sour dough products are definitely better tolerated by my system, and the French are much more likely to have bread and related products made using slower more traditional methods than here in the U.K.?

        Another thought is that perhaps she actually has stress related gut issues and on holiday is just less stressed, eats more slowly, sits after her food rather than rushing off etc!

        1. JaneB*

          Stoopid mobile phone commenting! This clearly belongs on the earlier thread.

          Happy to hear about older long term shelter kitties finding homes, both my girls met that description and were/are wonderful companions

      2. Foreign Octupus*

        Thanks CityMouse, I need to hear that. For the first day, she hid. The next three days, whenever I sat down, she would be all over me and now she’s avoiding me again. This is the first cat that I’ve ever had and so it’s a bit of a learning curve. I’m trying to be patient but it’s so hard!

        I don’t really having the peeing problem. She’s only peed twice out of the litter box and that was because she didn’t like it. As soon as I changed it, not a problem.

        And thanks to everyone for your comments!

    2. Bunny Purler*

      Awwww!! Sounds like a wonderful cat. Great name, too. When I was a child, some friends of the family had a cat called Pie-Jam-Boney-Cat, Bones for short. I loved that cat.

  27. Windchime*

    I’m a big Sam Smith fan, so I don’t know how I made it this long without hearing “Not in That Way” until just now. Wow. I want to hear it again and again and again.

    1. Chaordic One*

      It’s a great song and he’s an enormous talent. I’m eagerly awaiting his next album which is supposed to be coming out in September.

      1. Windchime*

        Yeah, I go down these rabbit holes where I listen to everything I can find of his on YouTube.

  28. Anxa*

    So, this is a bit of a follow-up to the adulting post:

    Maybe I’m a millennial stereotype, but booking doctor’s appointments still overwhelms me!

    I have a medicaid plan that, ostensibly, has vision coverage.
    I have to log into my Health plan to find a link to the to the vision provider.
    They’ve changed names.
    I need a separate account with them. I set it up.
    I look for optometrists in my area. A bunch are listed.
    A bunch of them don’t actually take the insurance or the only doctors that take it don’t have appts outside of work hours (taking a half day would be just barely cheaper than the costs of a typical eye exam).
    I book a few appts, planning to cancel the other 2 once I have a chance to go look at the actual eyeglasses in store.
    I get a VM that one of my appts is canceled.
    A week later I get emails confirming my appt. Ah, that must have been the other optometrist, then.
    I call the day of to reconfirm they accept my insurance.
    I go to the wrong lcoation (there’s two of the same chain within a 2 minute drive in opposing plazas .
    They mention they don’t accept my insurnace. I consider just goign home. Like A FOOL I go to at least cancel in person.
    I am assured that my appointment “has been covered, we have your information.”
    I think I feel too grateful for being seen while being late (because of going to the wrong one).
    I figure that when I booked for the two locations (not realizing during booking they were so close, just thinking of them as the two in my city), the one I accidentally went to must have been the one that called to cancel after they realized thy didn’t take my insurance. Subliminal logic there made me thing if they didn’t take it, they’d have done the same thing.
    Exam is over.
    I go to look at glasses.
    Optician tells me they don’t accept my insurance.
    I ask if I can talk to the receptionist.
    She then says, oh no, we don’t take that. But it’s okay, you can get reimbursed.
    $100 gone after a 20 minute appt. This was the one part of my vision benefits I could use, becaue I only get a little money to cover frames, and I can’t just get the standard lenses (I need AR coating). Thought I could get a free exam, then buy my glasses which a chance to price shop. I could have waited a few days for an appointment in another city after work.

    Now I have a Rx and have spent too much of my budget for that to actually buy anything for at least another pay cycle.


    I have to have a health physical done for a school program that I may or may not enroll in (I was accepted but I am hoping to find a job before that). I have an appt booked that I have to take a half day for. I won’t know until I’m in the appt if it will be covered as an office visit or billed full price, and I don’t even know if I will get what I need from it (will they accept my immunization records?). Which if I don’t get what I need, I’ll have to pay for titer labs out of pocket plust another office visit and probably miss the deadline grace period anyway.

    (Sidenote: I’ll never understand the push to ‘shop around for healthcare’ as a solution to medical costs because it it is NOT easy to get quotes or even know how an office visit will be billed)

    I have lost so much sleep trying to plan how to get this eye exam and physical done around my work schedule, by the deadline, without breaking the bank. And I don’t think my insurance benefits are going to be helpful at all. On the one hand, I don’t pay anything right now so I really shouldn’t think of myself as having coverage, but on the other hand, why does it have to be such a labyrinth to get what you need to take care of your health and be responsible when you’re working poor? Plus I wouldn’t mind paying SOME money, but some of the quotes for this physical + titers is worrisome.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I’m 49, and really hope the new health insurance cards (for the insurance that started July 1st) get here this week. My husband did finally drag the new number out of the company, so if someone has to go to the ER I can try that. And the thing is, 10 or 20 years ago it wasn’t great but I do not remember the level of ridiculousness I have encountered the past few years.

      Hard seconding on how ridiculous “show around for prices” is in practice–no one knows! They are going to put your numbers in, the insurance will eventually (weeks after the visit) decide what to charge, and that random number is what you pay. I found the orthodontist was good about coming up with solid numbers–but that’s for a five-figure investment that often isn’t covered by insurance.

      1. Anxa*


        In the past few years so much has gotten better for me (Essential benefits outline, more clear insurance member booklets, insurance that didn’t exclude almost every thing I was concerned about, subsidies some years, etc.

        But I also feel like it’s harder than ever to get any sort of a heads up on the billing practices, etc. I just wish there was a menu. Just give me a menu with prices with a disclaimer.

    2. vision trouble*

      This stuff is overwhelming! I have limited coverage for glasses (and a very expensive prescription!) so what I do is use my medical insurance to go to an ophthalmologist (a small co-pay) and then take that prescription to a glasses place for frames and glasses so that vision insurance can cover a max of that part. I don’t know if that may work but it’s been good for me! I also feel I get a better eye exam this way (but again, I have complicated eyes).

      1. Anxa*

        Oh, I’ll think about this in the future. This system doesn’t match my current needs or insurance plan, but I’ll consider that in the future.

    3. Reba*

      That sounds so frustrating! I feel like I’ve spent so much time figuring out how much something will cost, then asking the insurer or office to reprocess due to error (and somehow every different kind of care seems to be covered by a different benefit manager company), then chasing down how to pay it over the past couple of years.

      Re: the glasses, have you considered Zenni or Warby Parker (or there are probably other online glasses places now, but those are ones I’ve used)? I also have some vision insurance but even with the discounts on in-store frames, the online stores are just so much cheaper. I have WP frames I love ($95) and Zenni ones that are pretty good ($29, not the cheapest ones they offer). They both offer AR lenses and unless you have complicated needs that would require an optician fitting, the online ordering works well.

      Good luck!

      1. Anxa*

        I have been considering online glasses, but I’ve noticed that the price isn’t THAT much cheaper once the lenses are upgraded. Also, I have a much harder time finding plainer styles online.

        My original plan was to go get a Rx and then go to Costco (there’s one near work) and shop around a bit. I was prepared to forfeit the lens/frames benefit, because the frame markups are so high at the places that take the insurance that it would be a wash (I think).

        Glasses are really tricky, because I feel kind of torn about splurging on frames I like. Personally, I think AR coating and the best lenses possible are medically necessary for most people. And I NEED my glasses for work. Actually, difficulty performing my job. (driving in unfamiliar locations looking for traffic signs, transitioning from super bright outdoor areas to poorly lit sheds, having to read small meters across equipment in dim light, being able to scan the area for hazards). So I feel super entitled to truly affordable exams and lenses.

        But I’m willing to pay a little more for something that sits on my face every day, all day, for a few years and has a tremendous impact in my personal and professional appearance. Also, I’m a young(ish) woman, so I feel like it’s extra important to feel confident in my appearance. If not beautiful, then at least I don’t want to be self-conscious. That’s trickier, though, because if I have money to splurge….maybe I can afford to pay OOP for the medical side. But like, I had been saving for months to upgrade my lenses, also get some sunglasses (my Rx ones slide down my face ALL day, and I’ve almost broken out in frustration-cries 3x this summer during heat waves when my face was extra slippery), and have eaten my brought-from-home-lunches in a sweltering car or standing on the side of the road instead of grabbing a bite in the A/C and I’m just so frustrating with myself for blowing it when I had questioned my insurance coverage and then didn’t just cancel the appt since I had my doubts because I felt it was unfair to waste their appt slot.

        Did the $95 include AR?

        And yes, I was just thinking today… It’s kind of funny because a lot of times when SAHPs talk about what the bring to the table in terms of workload, it seems like booking appointments comes up a lot. And I thought that always sounding kind of trite because, how much time could that take compared to all the other stuff people do in managing a family/personal life. But really, a LOT! Imagine if you didn’t have stuff like that hang over your head! It’s not just the time, but the energy, too.

        1. Emma*

          I’ve gotten glasses at Costco & I *think* I remember getting some kind of insurance reimbursement. Like I think Costco gave me a form that I had to give up my insurance, so Costco wasn’t really involved.

        2. JulieBulie*

          Seriously, look at zenni. AR does cost extra, but I can get that, plus tinting, plus a sunshade clip-on, all for a fraction of what I would pay for a no-frills pair of glasses from any local optician, even with a vision plan/insurance.

          1. ginger ale for all*

            Seconding Zenni for a reason not listed here. When I try glasses on at the store, I can’t see what they look like on me because my vision is so bad. Zenni allows me to upload a selfie and try on glasses on that image. But also, I got three pairs for $180.00 – all with progressive lenses.

        3. Reba*

          I have WP frames. They include AR coating. And while I do not think the lenses are the highest-possible quality in the world (I’ve never gotten above the basic lens quality when I did optometrist shops) they have lasted about 4 years before the oleophobic coating was less effective, 5 years before the AR coating finally failed. I should not that wasn’t super heavy use–I wear contacts half the time. I love the frames and I’m actually looking into re-lensing them with my new rx. They also do rx sunglasses for 175.

          I hear you about quality stuff to put on your face. I sometimes struggle with what is worth spending money on, I get stuck in thinking I have to save save save, wait for sales, always choose the cheapest options (of course it’s a luxury to have that as even somewhat of a *choice*) when really, sometimes the price, quality and the satisfaction I’ll get out of it are correlated.

          Also I forgot to put in my first comment that I ALSO struggle with making appointments! I’m sorry the office people really biffed it.

      2. MechanicalPencil*

        I believe WP’s AR is standard with the glasses. And their warranty is pretty decent. I went to one of their stores to pick mine out, and they ended up delaying delivery because the first pair didn’t meet their quality standards. Kind of annoying, but I appreciate it at the same time.

    4. Paul*

      Not to mention you’re frequently not in a position to shop around; I wound up in the ER in june and it wsn’t like I was comparing the local hospitals in the ambulance you know? And it isn’t like they could quote me for something when they didn’t know what was wrong ya know?

    5. The Expendable Redshirt*

      *Canadian head tilt of confusion*

      Come up North, it’s simple here.

      1) Call the doctor that you want to go to
      2) Attend exam
      3) Leave doctors office

      1. Windchime*

        Unless you are my cousin with heart trouble and live in British Columbia. Then you get put on a list for months and finally dig up the cash and come down to Washington State and pay out of pocket anyway so you can be seen before something terrible happens.

    6. ..Kat..*

      If you are in the US, save your receipts/documentation. If your health care costs exceeds a certain percent of your income, you could get some of it back at tax time.

  29. Gazelle*

    Kind of a random question, but any thoughts on what it’s like to live in either Denver or Minneapolis? I have job offers in both cities and am trying to weigh pros/cons. I’m bookish and into arts/culture and politics, but not really outdoor activities (I mention that because it seems like a lot of people love Denver mainly because of the good access to nature)…

    1. JKP*

      I lived in Minneapolis for about 7 years. It was my favorite of anywhere I lived. Also, not an outdoor person. I had an apartment with underground parking, an office with underground parking, and parked in the covered lots when I went shopping. Could literally go the whole winter without dealing with the snow. I liked that it was a big city with lots of activities, but the traffic really wasn’t that bad. The roads were laid out pretty well. It always seemed pretty clean and safe. Although, I did have my car broken into, even in the key-access underground lot.

    2. Bruce H.*

      The humidity is a lot lower in Denver, which moderates the effects of both high and low temperature extremes. Even if you don’t get outside much (as I don’t, anymore), I like being able to see the mountains.

    3. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      I lived in St Paul for 4 years, commuting out to Eagan. We were just talking tonight of places we used to eat/shop at and how great it was except for the location, winter, and the people. To me it felt very claustrophobic – its hours of driving/plane ride to the next large metro, with not much in-between, winter is No Joke and the weeks in Jan/Feb when you are stuck inside makes you go crazy, and I always got a sense that if you weren’t from there (and/or didn’t have kids) it was hard to break in and meet others. We made friends… with people who transferred in from other places too. Oh, and the wild temperature swings made my sinuses crazy, just too extreme. The living was good/easy but nothing ever happened either. According to the Talking Heads that is Heaven, but I still think David Byrne is wrong on that account.

      There is a good arts/culture thing and we saw a lot more shows than I would have anticipated up there, and they luuuuvvvvv the politics, but ultimately it wasn’t the right fit for us.

    4. LizB*

      I live in Minneapolis and I love it! It’s a great place for arts, culture, politics, books, etc. There are options for outdoor activities but you can definitely find a social circle that doesn’t revolve around that. Yes, the winters are intense, but with the proper clothing & a good shovel you will be fine. I’ve never been to Denver, so I can’t make a direct comparison, but I really like the Twin Cities. Is there anything in particular you’re wondering?

    5. rubyrose*

      I live in Denver, actually, in the southern suburbs. I love it. Low humidity; because of that you will learn to apply lotion on a regular basis. I think they have measured that we have around 300 days of sunshine every year. Autumn comes the end of September. It is possible to get snow in April. We do get snow, but nothing like the mountains. Municipalities are good about staying on top of it and getting it cleared quickly, at least on the major roads. There can be periods where it gets below 15 degrees and stays there for a week, but that is not the norm. The sky really is bluer here than at lower elevations.

      Yes, we have good access to nature, but I don’t take advantage of it much because of physical issues. But there is plenty of other things to do here. The Tattered Cover Bookstore is an independent that has three or four locations. There is constant stream of authors there. We have several art museums. The primary one, the Denver Art Museum, brings in nationally known exhibits. There will be one on Degas next year for which Denver will be the only U.S. venue. There is ballet, dance, theatre. Many cultural groups are partially financed via a sales tax specified for scientific and cultural groups; go check out scfd.org to get a sense of the wide range of groups covered. Our public radio stations are wonderful.

      Politics – Colorado is a purple state. The more conservative groups are down in Colorado Springs, more liberal in Boulder. You can find any type of politics you want in metro Denver, with Denver itself being more liberal and the suburbs more conservative. And we have a history of electing people who are not lawyers (nothing against them, but I think it’s good to have some representation from others). Our governor started one of the first brewpubs in the state.

      I’ve lived places where people would bad-mouth their own city and state constantly. Not here. Overall it is a very positive place with positive people. A place where people are not afraid to try new things.

      What else would you like to know?

      1. Gala apple*

        I’ve been curious, coming from a state where marijuana is not legal, how much of a thing is it there / part of day to day life?

        1. rubyrose*

          It probably depends on the circles you run in. For me, someone who never smoked it, never had any interest in it, but who is now experimenting with CBD oil for pain, day to day there is little to no influence. Where it does come into my awareness is in articles in the newspapers and reporting segments on radio and TV. They are not there every day, but they are there. They cover a wide variety of angles, but no advertising. From a business perspective, you hear about municipalities debating expanding store hours from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, or reviewing applications for a new store. I’ve seen stories on how investors and store owners decided to get into the business. Articles about getting or giving research grants to investigate the effect on both humans and dogs. Comments about making PTSD a condition that is eligible for medical purchase. Someone who uses for a medical condition who loses their job because their employer has a no tolerance rule. Without it, the person cannot function to work.

          And yes, there are the reports where things have gone really wrong. A visitor from another state who went off a 10 story balcony at a hotel who apparently had used too much. A man who killed his wife in front of their three children, under the influence of pain medication and marijuana. Exposure to reports like that does educate one about the need to be really careful, especially with the edibles.

    6. Seal*

      I spent most of my life in Minnesota and most of my adult life in Minneapolis. Ten years ago I moved to the Deep South for a job and have missed living in Minneapolis every single day. I particularly miss living in a liberal state, especially these days. Career-wise, I most likely won’t be able to move back anytime soon, but if I had the opportunity I’d jump on it.

    7. TreeGeek*

      Spouse and I just moved out of Denver after 20+years (for me…Spouse is a native.) The altitude and low humidity can be much bigger issues than some people expect. Hats, sunscreen and extra hydration are a must! If you aren’t into outdoor activities, you might do okay. One of the reasons we left was because any time we wanted to go into the mountains or otherwise enjoy Colorado’s outdoors, we felt like we were doing it with 20,000 of our neighbors. If you do decide to go into the mountains, go further than a simple day trip will take you. It’s the only way to avoid the crowds.

      The cultural side of things is actually pretty good. You can probably find at least a couple of things to suit any interests you might have. We have a couple of friends in Denver who are writers, and the book/author community is thriving. I second the recommendation someone had for The Tattered Cover.

      How are you about sports? Denver is a pretty sports-centric town. The Broncos are almost a religion with some folks. The Rockies are not a good team, but Coors Field is worth seeing in person. Sit on the 3rd base side to catch some relief from the afternoon sun.

      Traffic is terrible! Maybe not L.A. or Boston levels of terrible, but certainly unpleasant. And be prepared – most Denver drivers have little respect for red lights. Running them seems to be a local hobby.

      Urban sprawl is a real problem. Development is eating up farmland on the Front Range faster than you can imagine. And housing costs along the whole Front Range have gone through the roof, so brace yourself if you are looking to buy a home.

      I’ve only visited Minneapolis a couple of times, but based on what I’ve seen, I’d probably pick it over Denver.

    8. Clever Name*

      I live in a Denver suburb, and I love it. And yes because of the outdoors. But Denver is really cultural too. Really, and large city is, in my experience. The Tattered Cover is an amazing independent bookstore. There’s an awesome history museum. And you have the art and science museums. Politically, Denver itself is quite liberal. The suburbs are more conservative/ independent/ libertarian. It’s a very educated place.

      The weather is very, well variable. Temperature swings of 30 degrees in the span of a few hours isn’t unusual. Summer isn’t too hot, but it’s very dry. Winter is sort of snowy. It melts quickly, and you can have stretches of 60 degrees where everyone goes on a muddy hike. :) fall is gorgeous. Spring is usually cold a d snowy.

    9. Paul*

      I mean…I used to live not too far from Denver (hourish into the mountains).

      it’s been a bit, but the access to nature always seemed the best part of it. Museums in town were really nice though if you like that, and it’s NFL team is pretty good. Lots of food options, tons of shopping, a hell of a fine arts center…I don’t know how many independent book stores are left, or it’s all B&N now.

      First time I got stabbed was in a crappy alley on Broadway Street, near a porn store in Denver though, so….avoid seedy deals in back alleys there?

      Never been to Minnesota but it’s on the short list once my wife’s done with school’s. QoL metrics seem reasonable high?

    10. Sabor de Soledad*

      I’ve lived in both MPLS and St. Paul and I love it here, although I’m a native to the state. I’ve heard people say it’s difficult to make friends if you’re not from here – I haven’t had that experience though, even since moving out of state and coming back. Denver was a huge alternative for my millennial-aged friends who moved away for college, but now that they’re ready to buy a house/condo/have more space/own a pet, many of them are moving back to the area. Winters can be rough, but the last few have been relatively mild in comparison – it’s honestly the length more than the cold that gets you. There’s a lot going on in the metro area, especially in regards to arts and culture and music between both cities. Other commenters are correct in that it is a very blue area, while getting redder as you move away from the Twin Cities metro.

    11. NaoNao*

      Hoo boy do I. I’ve been here four years.
      Pluses (many of which I don’t care about):
      Proximity to nature
      Laid back, sporty culture
      Up and coming city, booming housing and rental market (lots of options)
      Tech options for jobs
      Pet friendly—this city loves dogs
      Nature trails and TONS of sporty options
      Very mild weather: winter gets cold, but it’s overall mild. Summer does get hot, but the nights are cool and if you’re in the shade, it’s cooler. Not muggy or humid.

      Could be a bonus depending on how you look at it: legal weed. The culture is very…weed intense. Musical acts come here for 420 and smoke up. Dispensaries are on every corner and ads for “MJ” are in the back of the local “art rag” throwaway free city magazine. Vapes with weed, hash, and other oils are smoked in the street. The funk of weed hangs *heavily* over the city in areas. Jobs in dispensaries and in the industry are booming. Downside is the homeless population has gotten a lot higher because of above.

      To me, it’s not a match for bookish, indoorsy people. The intense focus (which is hard to understand for outsiders) on sports including mountain sports, running and obstacle courses, yoga and working out, biking, hiking, kayaking and other river-type sports, professional sports teams, and fitness in general, including healthy eating, and restricted diets or special diets is, to me, SUPER off putting. Let me live!

      The culture is there, but it can be difficult to find and can feel…manufactured. Gentrification is a real thing, and many areas are being bulldozed and changed into ticky-tacky blank beige buildings. Everything, to me, feels like a slightly watered-down version of a bigger, cooler city.

      The main thing here for me is that so many transplants just LOVE it here. I didn’t click with the city and I’m finding my way here and it’s hard. To be surrounded by ecstatic devotees of the city while I was struggling was frustrating.

  30. Rhoda*

    I’m 37 and my husband and I are thinking of trying for a baby. It would be my first time being pregnant. Anyone else have a baby over 35? Success stories? Horror stories? What should I expect physically as a pregnant 30-something?

    1. Courtney W*

      While of course it’s possible that these people were the exception, many of my friends/coworkers in their mid-30s had an easier pregnancy than I did at 25! It seems to vary so greatly based on your individual body and hormone levels. I realize I’m not who you’re asking to hear from but just chiming in with my own anecdotal stuff. I was one of those people who threw up all nine months, so yeah.

      1. Rhoda*

        Interesting! I always hear it the other way around (those who got pregnant in their 20s had an easier time than when they did it again in their 30s)

    2. Really*

      There is no way to know what it will be like till it happens. Had 3 children at 30, 34, and 40. No problems getting pregnant at 30 or 40 but needed a little help at 34. All the deliveries were different. All kids were a round 9 lbs but presented slightly different. The labor at 34 was easy as I didn’t feel the pains for the first 4 hrs. Took 24 hrs to deliver the first, about 8 for the other 2 (induced). During pregnancy the third was more uncomfortable but that had much more to do with it being my third not because I was 40.

    3. Book Lover*

      I had my son when I was 30/turning 31 and my daughter at 38. In all honestly, I had wonderful pregnancies, though there was a thread a few weeks ago that suggested that was impossible :(. Anyway, I felt great, no diabetes, no blood pressure problems. I worked up until I had them. My second pregnancy went by so fast because I had my son to think about.

      My friend had her first at 41 and second at 43, just recently, and she had some swelling in her ankles and was up at night a lot to go to the bathroom, otherwise fine :)

      Running after the kids is hard, but I think that is hard at any age!

      1. Book Lover*

        Oh, and on the success stories, you mean in terms of getting pregnant? I got pregnant my first try with my daughter, but I know I was lucky. My friend went through IVF twice for her first son and got incredibly lucky and got pregnant naturally for her second.

    4. Pregnant*

      I’m 35 and preg, will give birth at 36. It’s going ok – about as exhausting as I remember being preg at 30 was. The nausea is a bit worse this time around. We’re lucky in the fertility department – 2 months of trying for kid 1 and three for kid 2, but I had chemical pregnancies the month before each kid took hold. Those are super early miscarriages where you see a faint positive on a preg test, then you test negative in the days or so after and you end up getting a slighty late, heavier period. That’s definitely a downside of active trying… if I wasn’t testing, I wouldn’t have known that was happening.

    5. Anxa*

      My mom was just shy of 34 and was 35 (I know, not quite your age) and had uneventful pregnancies. I don’t think she even remembers being uncomfortable (to the point that she can be pretty unsympathetic when people complain because she thinks they are dramatic, and I think she was even luckier than she is tough).

      I was not a quick labor and induced, and her second baby “slipped out; nothing to it. I could have showered, got dressed, and walked out.”

    6. Hey Anonny Nonny*

      My mom had my baby sister at 40. She was a surprise for all of us! LOL (I was 17 with one older and one younger sister.) I know she had an “easy” pregnancy in terms of not having any health problems or especially bad morning sickness, but now that I’ve experienced having a baby at 33, I have to imagine that she was drop-dead tired! With each pregnancy I have been more and more tired. Good luck!

    7. The New Wanderer*

      Had my first at 35 and second at 39. First time happened fast, second time took several rounds of IUI (first stage of fertility treatments). Physically I was fine, no issues except my heart rate would spike so I couldn’t exercise more than yoga or a fast walk, despite being in good cardio health otherwise. First baby was so active, I never had to do a kick count but it was really distracting at work since I would squirm and my shirt rippled at times. Second baby was more mellow. More fatigue the second time, and I pulled a rib out of joint getting out of a chair and had to go to PT to get it adjusted. Induction failed the first time and they had to go with emergency c section, so second time was scheduled c section. Recovery was pretty quick, fortunately, though it meant spending 3days at the hospital each time. Pro tip: They will make you a chocolate milkshake if you ask.

  31. Turtlewings*

    My sleeping bra is getting super sad and I’m not sure how to replace it. I’ve always just slept in whatever bra was too worn out for me to wear “for real” anymore, but all I have in that category right now is one, that for structure reasons, isn’t comfortable for sleeping in. Any suggestions? I’m definitely not looking to spend a lot of money.

    1. all aboard the anon train*

      I usually sleep in sports bras that are too worn for me to wear at the gym – as in, they’re not tight enough to hold my breasts in when I’m running, but they’re loose enough that they’re comfortable to sleep in. I get mine from Athleta since they’re the only place I’ve found that actually has sturdy sports bras for larger chests, and if you keep an eye on their site, they have some pretty good sale deals. I’ve gotten some for around $15 on sale.

      1. Turtlewings*

        Sadly, I can’t stand to wear sports bras when I’m awake, much less for sleeping. Squashing my boobs together is the exact opposite of what I want. The main reason I even wear a bra to bed is to keep them from touching — I know it’s weird but I just cannot stand it!

        1. all aboard the anon train*

          I get it! I actually like that feeling when I sleep because if I sleep without one, they end up hurting more than they do when they’re all squished together. It’s so weird. I also sleep on my stomach, so that may have something to do with it.

        2. Anxa*

          I can’t wear them much either. One of the biggest impediments I have to exercise, is that I’ll want to dress to work out before I’m ready to. But then once in in my other clothes I don’t want to change back. Can’t breathe in sports bras.

          Too tight on my chest, too lose on my breasts.

          1. Ktelzbeth*

            Keep shopping! It took me a lot of work (small band, large cups) and a specialty store, but I found one that is right in both chest and breasts and does not squish my breasts together.

    2. New Bee*

      If you aren’t looking for a specific size (just small, medium, large), you could try a nursing bra. I have one that just goes on over the head, and one that clasps like a regular bra without underwire.

    3. Windchime*

      Google for “Leisure bra”. I’ve got a couple that I wouldn’t probably leave the house in, but they are soft and stretchy and good for sleeping or lounging around the house.

    4. The New Wanderer*

      Check out the “barely there” line, they’re a pretty cheap stretchy kind that wouldn’t be good for day support for work for sleeping in (I bought multiples).

  32. Unhappy Tenant*

    This week I’m having issues with my landlord and could use some advice, but mostly also just to vent. I realize the laws differ state by state, and I have left messages with several different local lawyers to find out what my rights are, but none have gotten back to me yet. Also, it seemed like most of the lawyers I looked up served just the landlords, not the tenants. And the only tenant resource service I could find served only low income clients.

    I live in an apartment complex in the suburbs, with many separate large buildings, each with their own large parking lot. There is always plenty of available parking no matter what time of day. There is no street parking. The landlord decided to repave all the lots and sent the residents multiple advanced notice in the weeks leading up to it: several emails, a posted flyer on each apartment door, and another email the night before. All the notices stated that all cars should be moved out of X parking lots between 7am-5pm or be towed at the owners expense. It also instructed everyone who couldn’t move their car by 7am to park in Y parking lots instead.

    So I diligent park in Y parking lot everyday. Anytime my boyfriend visits, I remind him to park in Y lot. And then one day after visiting