weekend free-for-all – July 29-30, 2017

This comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. (This one is truly no work and no school.)

Recommendation of the week: Nicole Cliffe (of Toast fame) is writing an advice column for Elle, and it’s so good. She’s also doing Game of Thrones recaps there. Read everything here.

{ 1,151 comments… read them below }

  1. Miso*

    Huh? I’m utterly confused the open thread is up so early… Not that I’m complaining!
    Was at my cousin’s wedding yesterday, which was really great, but man, I did not sleep enough… I guess that’s the disadvantage of staying at a hotel and not just going home.
    And I don’t even drink. I don’t wanna imagine what it’d be like with a hangover now…

  2. Al Lo*

    Today (Saturday, although it’s still Friday night since I haven’t gone to bed yet…) is National Lipstick Day. MAC is giving away free lipstick at every store and every MAC counter, while supplies last — looks like both U.S. and Canada. I think I saw Australia listed somewhere, too, but can’t confirm. It looks like it’s a totally free giveaway — no “with purchase” or sample size; just while supplies last. I’m heading to my nearest mall (with two MAC counters) in the morning to try my luck. So… if you need a new lippie, today might be your lucky day?

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I’ll have a look in the MAC shop today. Also, it’s 25% off everything in my local Sephora. I have become a huge fan of Benefit and Bare Minerals, so I always stock up on a discount day.

        1. Artemesia*

          I love minerals and wish I could wear them; they look so great on many women. On me I go from being an old lady whose skin looks amazingly young for her age to an old crone. The stuff puts 10 years on me immediately.

          1. Ego Chamber*

            I know, right? I’m only in my 30’s but something about them just settle in every tiny line—not immediately for me, but like within an hour (stealth crone!).

            Maybe I am using the wrong kind of brush? Wrong moisturizer? Wrong finishing spray (am I supposed to use finishing spray)? But at that point I’ll just go back to the foundation I have that works, so.

    1. Audiophile*

      I used to love MAC products, but have mainly used Origins now. I need to restock my makeup, everything is expired at this point.

      If it’s truly MAC counters as well I could probably swing by Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s (I forget which store carries them now) at some point today.

    2. Shayland*

      Oooo Fun!

      I finally tracked down a black lip stick which has completed my little collection, so I’m good. I love that there is a thing called lipstick day in the first place and that Mac is giving away free lip sticks to celebrate.

    3. Loopy*

      I have a friend who went! Unfortunately seems the lines and cutting in lines were pretty frustrating! Good luck to those who go!

      1. Artemesia*

        I have reached the time of life where no small savings is worth waiting in a long line.

        1. Loopy*

          I’m getting there too. Though I’ve always felt it’s not so bad with a friend and the right mindset.

        2. salad fingers*

          Oh, so same. I think we’re in the same city – I was close to the Michigan Avenue Mac store so I strolled by to scope out the scene. The line was basically from Ohio to the river, three or four people wide, leading into a tiny store. The time and anxiety of that experience is not worth $18 for me anymore.

    4. Optimistic Prime*

      I love Mac makeup and especially Mac lipstick. I was going to say I am too lazy to go this Saturday morning, but I just realized most of the Mac stores/counters aren’t even open yet (it’s not even 10 am here on the West Coast). I have to be in a shopping center with a Macy’s in it later, so I’ll check and see if they have any left by then!

    5. Al Lo*

      I was in line about 10 minutes before the mall opened and there were about 50 or 60 people ahead of me. The line moved quickly, and people were super respectful and chill. There was still quite a bit of selection when I got into the store, but there were a few colors that were already gone. The staff said that it was kind of based on what each store had in stock from that particular line. The mall I went to has a MAC store and a counter, so out of curiousity, after I got mine from the store, I checked the counter in the Bay, and they had no line but only 3 colors left — a green, a grey, and an orange — but the clerk there said that they hadn’t had as much stock to begin with. No idea if they had a line when they opened. I would also imagine that the busier stores would have had more stock to start with, but would probably have had longer lines.

    6. Ophelia Bumblesmoop*

      I drove by a few different stores that sell MAC and there were 40+ people in line half an hour before the store opens. I don’t love their lipstick that much!

  3. Cristina in England*

    On holiday in Scotland right now. Forgot how wet it is in the West of Scotland. Even though I lived here for 8 years coming back with kids is totally different. We are visiting all of the parks and playgrounds and railway stations and rivers. We have so much stuff with us we drove instead of taking the train. Most useful thing learned on this trip: Dramamine works.

    1. Not Another Non Profit Manager*

      I grew up on the West coast… I don’t miss wet summers one tiny bit. But I absolutely do miss Glasgow and the ability to escape to the middle of nowhere and walk up a mountain. The Riverside Museum is amazing (especially with kids I’m told)

      1. Cristina in England*

        We went there today, and it was a lot of fun with the kids, they liked sitting in the subway and tram cars, and they really loved the interactive fire engine game.

        There is also a big sandbox outside near the picnic tables for the summer, complete with buckets and spades.

    2. Elizabeth West*


      One of my bucket list items was to visit Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle, which I got to do in 2014 (I even climbed to the top of the castle). I used to have this daydream that when I got married, my husband and I would honeymoon there and stay alone in a small cottage overlooking the loch. I’m a bit disappointed I had to go alone and not stay over, so I put that in Secret Book, where it will survive the extensive rewrite if I ever get around to it. And I’m not ruling that out as an IRL thing to do. ;)

  4. Not Another Non Profit Manager*

    Relationships: my marriage is coming to a slow, very amicable end because I’m pretty much exclusively attracted to women now. There’s been no cheating or lying from either party because we’ve never been monogamous and have been talking about emerging issues since they started to become apparent. We’re both doing therapy but I’ve made my peace and grieved a lot while my OH is still working through it, probably because it’s not an issue inside his head!
    When we separate how do we frame this to loved ones and the world at large when no party is to blame, and we still care very deeply for each other? I’d rather not have to out myself a million and one times because I’m not sure what label I’d use, and it’s not always relevant.

    1. glor*

      I use “our lives just took different paths” or something approximating that. I feel it gives that sense of “nothing happened, we just don’t work out together” without having to spell it out like that. No outing required.

    2. Myrin*

      There’s a German expression called “sich auseinander leben” which is the perfect (and even kinda stereotypical) way to describe what you describe here – although that doesn’t really help you if you’re not German! Anyway, it means “going about living your life and drifting apart while doing so” which I think is a pretty honest assessment that doesn’t put blame on one party or the other, so maybe something like that?

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Some couples grow together and some couples grow apart. I think this is an accurate description for what happened here.

      2. Not Another Non Profit Manager*

        I love this a lot as it’s pretty perfect. Thank you. We got married super young (as in I was still at uni young) and have grown up together but over time people change.

    3. Nic*

      With my “good ex”, where it ended well and we still cared about each other, but it just wasn’t right we said just that. “Sometimes love isn’t enough. No one did anything wrong, we just didn’t work the way we had once thought we might.” My experience is that the questions quickly dry up because no drama is boring.

    4. Isobel*

      Some friends who had a very amicable split just said “we realized we were better as friends than as a couple”. I agree if there’s no drama people are less likely to pry.

      1. Ego Chamber*

        This is the best answer. Clarify, if needed, that no one did anything wrong and no one was the bad guy. These things happen. It sucks for a while because a relationship ending is a relationship ending no matter what the circumstances are, but you’re both better off.

        (I’m stupidly happy whenever I hear about amicable separations, because they are underrepresented in life and I like believing that they can eventually be normalized, instead of the other way being the only way people ever expect it to happen.)

        1. DArcy*

          I definitely wish my ex would realize that. I don’t hold it against her too much because I was her first relationship, but she pretty much decided that I *had to* be the bad guy because she didn’t think *she* did anything wrong. The reality was simple incompatibility, but she apparently didn’t believe a “no fault breakup” is a thing.

          (I mean seriously, claiming I was emotionally abusive because I /didn’t hit her/ when we argued and that meant I didn’t really care?)

    5. Jessica*

      “Our relationship evolved into a good friendship. So we feel right that we should be friends, but not that we should be married.”

    6. Child of Divorce*

      I think just telling people it was a mutual ending should be enough. My parents divorced when I was a baby and it was very clean because they still cared about each other, they just realized they were better as friends than husband and wife. When I tell people my history and mentioned their divorce, saying it was mutual and they’re all still on great terms years later, no one questions it further.

    7. Artemesia*

      ‘The relationship just ran its course. He is a great guy but we are just heading in different directions.’

    8. Stellaaaaa*

      What you say (or don’t) say now might have some impact down the line once you’re openly dating women. It’s not anyone’s business per se, but people are going to figure it out eventually so I’d avoid giving any kind of explanation that wouldn’t make sense a year from now. Like whatever you say now, that’s not going to stop people from using their eyes and inferring that your sexuality is what ended the marriage. Unless you intend to never ever reveal any future same-sex relationships to anyone? If my friend told me something vague and then I found out she started dating women, I would wonder why she didn’t just tell me.

      And forgive me (as you know the situation better than I do) but if your husband is struggling with this and would prefer to stay married, I think you might want to consider holding off on the “it was totally mutual” or “we still love each other but are moving in different directions.” That doesn’t give him a lot of space to grieve the loss of his marriage or to even tell the truth about what really happened.

      1. Not Another Non Profit Manager*

        Whatever we land on will be led by him – for exactly that reason. There’s no timeline at the moment because we’re working through all the things and talking a lot about where we both are.

        I don’t have an issue with people inferring from my future relationships that that’s the reason we broke up however don’t want to eclipse ‘we’re separating and it’s sad but we’re still very good friends and care deeply for each other’ with ‘ta da I’m a great big lesbian’. I’ll tell people in person if they ask but it’s not necessarily a thing for work (where it doesn’t matter what gender I’m attracted to) or with extended family or less-close friends.

      2. nonymous*

        While I agree that “totally mutual” may be over pollyanna-ing the situation, I do think that for acquaintances the phrasing that “we still love each other but are moving in different directions” is factually valid. OP is clearly moving on a tangential (orthogonal?) path to the one OH is on.

        There is no judgement in that statement and it clearly communicates the type of verbal support that OP is looking for while setting a clear boundary. If I were a less-close acquaintance to OP, it’s likely that my primary interest is how to accommodate OP during this difficult transition – the details are really not my business. While I haven’t personally brushed up against OP’s situation, I have noticed when someone vents extreme detail during this process the listener can get dropped/avoided once the divorce is processed emotionally. That is sad when it happens during friendships, but when this happens in a professional setting it can have severe negative consequences for the listener’s career.

    9. NacSacJack*

      Coming out to family and friends will definitely be all the explanation needed, but will generate lots of questions. Your husband may need/want to get involved in the “Straight Spouses” support group. It’s always tough to break up or end a marriage, but this is when it is completely incompatible and you both want the other person to be happy.

  5. TL -*

    I’m in New Zealand! And settling in. I miss Boston a lot – specifically, I miss being surrounded by driven academic people and the seasons here aren’t as defined. But it’s super nice and hilly here and even more walkable than Boston, which is lovely.

    1. Scarlettnz*

      Welcome. From memory you came to the town where I live. It’s been absolutely freezing here these last few weeks. Hope you are settling in ok.

        1. Kathenus*

          I’m so jealous. I visited the South Island a few years back and loved Dunedin. Make sure to check out the albatrosses, penguins, and sea lions!

      1. TL -*

        So far yes! The cold hasn’t gotten me down at all (plus there’s all this lovely chocolate to eat to keep me warm – I haven’t had crunchy sweets in forever and the Hokey Pokey is amazing!)

  6. Mary (England)*

    I have a minor personal dilemma which I’m unsure about and it’s basically to do with going vegetarian, and what to do about certain things I already have in my home (basically, sheepskin rugs).

    First, some background:

    I’ve only been ‘properly’ vegetarian since near the beginning of this year. That is, I don’t eat meat or fish. I’ve adopted a casual approach to certain things – for example, if I am in the supermarket, I will buy vegetarian cheese, and I do a bit of home brewing without using isinglass finings, etc. However, If I am out in a restaurant or pub, I will not start quizzing staff there or going on a mission to find out if the cheese was made using rennet etc, and will accept that most beer is not strictly vegetarian (because of the finings) and not worry about it. This ‘level’ of vegetarianism is in line with some of my closer friends, or people I socialise most with – with some people I know being stricter (eg. about the cheese, beer, or sweets [gelatin], etc situation), and some being even more casual than me (eg. some who eat fish so don’t care about finings).

    Despite only being a ‘proper’ vegetarian for a short amount of time, this isn’t a random sudden new change for me. I’ve actually been going gradually vegetarian over the last good chunk of years. I stopped eating red meat at uni (about 6 years ago) and was a chicken-and-fish eater for a while. About 2 years ago I stopped chicken and have been one of those vegetarians-who-eats-fish from then until this year. I say this only to give context that I didn’t wake up one morning in February and suddenly throw all my chicken wings out the window or something. Incidentally, I have no intention to become vegan and I’m probably not going to ‘continue’ further down the apparent path I seem to have been taking with this.

    My dilemma is that I own 2 sheepskin rugs and a sheep-wool rug (on a woven mat background) which I have become increasingly uncomfortable about recently. But also reluctant to get rid of and I’m not sure how I feel about them. One of the sheepskins and the mat-rug was a gift (both from my mother on different years for my birthday), while the other sheepskin came from a charity shop. I’ve had them all for at least several years, and the first one from before I gave up any meat etc.

    I think I’m tending towards wanting to get rid of them (which I would do by first checking with my family if any of them want them, and next either selling them or giving to a charity shop). But I’m also finding it difficult to do because they’ve been a permanent fixture in my room (over quite a number of house moves) for a good amount of time.

    As a side note, I do not wish this to descend into a discussion of every piece of leather or wool product I might possibly own. It’s true I also currently own leather shoes and a belt. However, sometimes you have to pick out what you’re going to focus on, like with the cheese/rennet or beer/finings thing. You can’t always do everything. I don’t have the mental energy to consider the ethical value of every item I might currently own right now, but these rugs have jumped out at me as seeming particularly hypocritical to own (being basically a whole dead sheep skin) as a vegetarian which is why I’m considering them right now.

    Anyway, thoughts on the compatibility of owning sheepskin rugs vs being vegetarian are appreciated.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      I think you get to decide what you want to do. There’s no one right way to be vegetarian – and nobody else gets to decide for you.

      When I was veggie (which I was for many years) someone had a go at me saying I wasn’t a proper vegetarian as I had xyz. I was like: okay, I’m not a proper vegetarian, I just don’t eat x or do x or do you want me to go start eating meat again?

      It’s a spectrum and you get to decide where you want to be.

    2. Ron McDon*

      Hello, I am also an English veggie, and although I have been vegetarian for about 30 years I also don’t worry about cheese etc whilst eating out etc – I think this may be a peculiarly English thing?

      I don’t have any sheepskin, but I think my feeling is that if I had these things from a long time ago I wouldn’t nec scarily feel it was ‘un-vegetarian’ of me to keep them?

      I wouldn’t go out and buy a sheepskin rug now, but I had sheepskin lined winter boots from before turning veggie that I continued to wear after…

      I think though if I were vegan it would be a no-no, as that is a stricter ‘no animal products’ way of life.

      At the end of the day though, all that matters is how you feel about keeping/not keeping the rugs :)

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        If you are going to get rid of the rugs, it might help if you buy something new to replace them with as soon as possible. That way, you won’t feel there is a hole in the living room where your sheepskin rugs used to be. I’m not saying buy a new, non-animal rug for the sake of it, but perhaps a wall hanging or picture?

        1. Mary (England)*

          Yeah I think that would be a good idea. I was thinking of looking through charity shops etc for fluffy non animal rugs, especially something colourful and maybe will get rid of the sheep ones once I find something nice to go in their place..

          1. Annie Mouse*

            Not a charity shop but Dunelm Mill has some fantastically fluffy rugs (particularly their teddy bear range) that aren’t bank breaking. Although it depends on what you’re looking for and what you want to spend :)

      2. JamieS*

        I don’t think still eating cheese while vegetarian is a British thing. I’m American and not eating cheese sounds like veganism not vegetarianism to me. Yes I know veganism is a type of vegetarianism but a person can still be considered a vegetarian and eat cheese.

        As an aside how in the world can someone eat fish and consider themselves a vegetarian? That makes zero logical sense to me.

        1. Mary (England)*

          If you’re a vegetarian in medieval England, pretty much any water-dwelling animal is fair game (no pun intended). Geese, beavers, swans… :D

          1. JamieS*

            No. You can’t eat meat and be a vegetarian in modern society. The definition of vegetarianism precludes that. It sounds like medieval vegetarians weren’t vegetarians but just people who didn’t eat chicken or beef or horses.

            1. Mary (England)*

              Lol, obviously I know that. I was just commenting about how interesting/amusing it is what people considered to be ‘meat’ or not at a different time in history. That said, I once saw a horse swim so I’m pretty sure that counts as a fish too, right ;)

            2. Anion*

              The joke May was/is making is that in medieval England everyone (the vast majority, anyway) was Catholic, which at the time meant strict rules about when meat could be eaten vs. when it could not (like Lent). Eels and other fish dishes were common during Lent, as were the other meats Mary mentioned, as they did not count as “meat” to the Church and thus could be eaten without sin.

              I don’t think anyone called themselves “vegetarian” at that point in time. Some might have always abstained from meat, but “vegetarianism” wasn’t a thing.

        2. Ron McDon*

          There are speciality vegetarian cheeses, which are processed without calf rennet – calf rennet is an animal product, so really a vegetarian should eat vegetarian cheese. But the chance of finding a vegetarian meal in most U.K. restaurants which has vegetarian cheese are quite slim.

          When I’m at home I am very strict about eating veggie cheese, not eating anything with gelatine in, but when I eat out if the menu doesn’t specify whether a meat-free it is veggie friendly I don’t always ask.

            1. Ego Chamber*

              That’s what I thought. I was super-confused, reading this thread and thinking “vegetarian” meant something different in England.

              In the States, vegetarian is just no meat, all other animal products are on the table. I’ve known vegetarians who wore leather boots because “I didn’t eat the cow, I’m just wearing it!” (but I totally understand not wanting to use animal products for whatever reason and it’s a personal decision).

              1. Mary (England)*

                I think it might vary a bit by person though I don’t know any/enough America veggies to compare if this is a brit/american split. Most veggies (not vegans) I know would consider both gelatin and rennet to fall under ‘meat’ and be technically out for veggies (who are not vegan), but their level of strictness in avoiding it tends to vary due to how difficult it can sometimes be to know (hence checking no rennet in the supermarket but not worrying in the restaurant etc). I guess the thing making it ‘meat’ is you actually have to kill the animal to get the rennet out of them.

                I know a couple where one, ‘sarah’ is much stricter than her partner, ‘tom’ about avoiding gelatin. Sarah has been veggie over 20 years (all her adult life). Tom will often eat sweets when offered while Sarah will decline the offer. Sarah will also only eat eggs that have been laid by chickens that are not on farms but owned by friends (we know a few people who have ‘rescue chickens’ – which had been on their way for slaughter) while tom will eat store bought eggs as long as they are free range.

            2. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Vegan means you don’t eat dairy or eggs either. Vegetarian means you don’t eat any part of an animal’s body, and gelatin is made from bones and rennet is made from stomachs. There are plenty of vegetarians who don’t worry about gelatin or rennet, but avoiding them wouldn’t make you vegan; it would still be vegetarian.

        3. Elizabeth West*

          Eating fish and seafood would make you a pescaetarian. A lot of them also eat eggs and dairy (lacto-ovo vegetarian). If I were to give up meat, this is probably what I would do. I could never be vegan and I don’t want to give up dairy or fish. It’s just whatever you want to do.

    3. Catclaws*

      My two cents: if you feel uncomfortable, get rid of them. If not, keep them. If you choose the latter, you’re under no obligation to justify your decision. I’m a lifelong vegetarian, and am ashamed to say that I have twice purchased such rugs thoughtlessly. So I applaud the fact that you’re being so mindful.

    4. Colette*

      The sheep no longer need their skins, I mean, if you want to get rid of the rugs, go ahead, but you’re not harming animals by keeping them, so if you want to keep them for the sentimental value, do so.

      1. Nic*

        This was my thought. Continuing to have something that has been a loved possession in the past doesn’t do any new harm to any creature. If it makes you uncomfortable to have them, then don’t. But I don’t think you should feel you have to get rid of them.

    5. Anonyme*

      Also vegetarian. I generally try to not buy things like a sheep skin, but I don’t throw out things I already have though. I suspect an animal shelter might be able to use them if you do want to get rid of them.

    6. OldMom*

      I guess it would depend on why you are vegetarian. If you find farming of animals unethical, then it looks hypocritical to have those rugs. Most vegetarians/vegans I know do it for health reasons and not for “animal rights” reasons so the source of rugs, shoes, etc is not a dilemma for them. So I don’t entirely understand the issue. The sheep are already dead, you didn’t kill them and since the sheepskins were gifts, you were not responsible for the economic conditions that led to their deaths. Also, sheep are farm animals and likely would not even exist in their present forms were it not for human farming. They are not endangered, or wild, or hunted and trapped. You might feel better if you could find out if these sheep were raised and then killed “humanely” but then if you find any raising and killing of animals to be inhumane, perhaps there is no category of animal product that you’d be comfortable with. Personally I would see no hypocrisy in a vegan keeping sheepskin rugs when the rugs are “historic” and you didn’t personally slaughter the sheep.
      My perspective is… The cats love the sheepskin throws so I would keep them for the cats…and if you keep cats, who are meat eaters, you are providing meat for someone in your household anyway, so there is little point in being strictly vegan. You can still be pro animal rights and minimize (rather than eliminate entirely) your use of animal products. Unless your friends are policing your commitment I don’t see the point of throwing out the rugs. Sheep gave their lives for those rugs, might as well appreciate their sacrifice.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Can I take a stab at explaining this? When you stop seeing animals as things we use for food, clothing, etc., it starts becoming more alarming to see them being used that way. It’s hard to have a rug like that around when you’ve started seeing it as visual evidence of animal suffering rather than as a rug. It’s upsetting. And the idea that they gave their lives for it and so you might as well appreciate their sacrifice doesn’t really work when your mindset has changed, just like you wouldn’t want a human skin rug lying around in order to appreciate their sacrifice (which in both cases probably wasn’t made willingly).

        (Full disclosure: I do have some animal products around now. But I used to be 100% vegan and I remember well how it changed some of the way I saw things. A leather couch was no longer just a couch, etc. You see it more clearly for what it is, and it was disturbing in a way that I don’t think other people fully get.)

        I definitely do not want to open up a debate about any of this, just wanted to explain where people are often coming from when they want to get rid of this stuff.

        1. atexit8*

          You’ve put it very well.

          I try to be vegan, but I am not.
          I have leather belts and leather handbags that I still used, but I will never knowingly buy another one.
          The lives of farmed animals are lives of misery.

          Just go to a farm animal sanctuary to learn of the suffering of farmed animals,
          and to see the beauty and innocence of animals.

        2. OldMom*

          Thanks, I appreciate the perspective. I meant no disrespect to this point of view. The vegetarians I am most familiar with do it for their own health reasons and have not mentioned an increased awareness of animal treatment. Merely wanted to point out that if OP’s problem is feeling hypocritical or being perceived as such, it might depend on the reasons she has expressed for being vegetarian. More of a “don’t worry about it since no one else should judge your choices on that” than a “silly of you to have such silly feelings.” My apologies if it came across as the latter.

        3. Mary (England)*

          Thank you, this does explain a bit of what I am feeling. Though obviously I have always known leather is an animal skin etc, I have more and more (recently) begun looking at leather things and literally ‘seeing’ a dead animal having their carcass stretched over something.

          The truth is that at least part of my vegetarianism is through what is similar to ‘peer pressure’. That is, none of my friends have actively been like “you should be veggie!” but… being surrounded by veggies does make me more aware of when I have consumed meat etc. The majority of vegetarians I know are veggie due to their views on animal rights, not for health reasons. The social group I am part of (who are mostly a bit older than me) includes people who have been (and still are to some extent) involved in hunt sabotage (basically, they get in the way of fox hunts. Fox hunting is illegal now but still goes on. However, they sabbed hunts when hunting was still legal). I am also highly active in a food-waste / food re-distribution charity where the majority of volunteers are either vegetarian or pro-veggie (ie. reduced meat consumption).

          Anyway, none of my friends have told me I should get rid of the rugs, and I doubt they would. However, I also think that when they see them, they also (like I am starting to) see a dead sheep on my floor. And truthfully, they are people whose opinions matter to me. It’s not good to care too much what ‘other people’ think I guess, but I suppose it makes sense to care about people who are close to you, and who you usually think you share values with…

          As an aside, I don’t keep cats. I used to have a rabbit though!

        4. JamieS*

          Given Mary specifically said she’s keeping other obviously animal products (leather shoes and belt) this doesn’t really make sense to me in this context. Ethically what’s the difference between cow skin and sheepskin? Yes I realize a person can’t do everything at once but in my mind there’s a difference between someone who’s trying to avoid animal products for moral reasons not being able to research if absolutely everything they own, from their phone charger to the tires on their car, is animal free and not being willing to give up things that are clearly animal products. To me that’s like saying you’re giving up steak but will continue to eat all beef burgers. It simply doesn’t make sense.

          For the record I’m a meat eater and I’m not taking some moral high road. I just don’t see why Mary would give up rugs she likes (I’m assuming) but keep other animal products. To me, the keeping of the leather negates any moral reason for getting rid of the sheepskin. If she still uses animal products and likes the rugs she should keep them. If she doesn’t like the rugs she should get rid of them. This strikes me as a very cut and dry issue.

          1. Ego Chamber*

            “This strikes me as a very cut and dry issue.”

            (I see what you did there.)

            My guess is that a sheepskin rug still looks more like a sheep than a belt or a handbag still looks like a cow, so if you’re starting to be more viscerally aware of what these things are made of, it feels kind of like you’re hanging out at Ed Gein’s house.

    7. Sled dog mama*

      When I was Vegetarian (before I started raising my own meat) I drew the line at anything that required the animals life end for me to use it. So by my (admittedly arbitrary) standard sheepskin not ok, woven mat-rug ok.
      I also made the decision that I wasn’t suddenly going to get rid of a bunch of not acceptable things and replace them with acceptable alternatives. That decision was purely economic, I just didn’t have the funds to replace things all at once. I decided that for items I had it was more respectful to the animal’s life to use the item until it needed replacing then replace with a non animal item. I felt this was better than donating or selling because the next person might not feel the same way and whatever the item is might end up thrown out while it still had life.
      I also have to agree with CatClaws if they make you uncomfortable get rid of them, but I don’t think keeping them makes you any less a vegetarian.

    8. Emily*

      I know a lot of vegetarians/vegans who will not buy new leather things, but will keep and use old things that they acquired before their shift in ethics. So I think that if you wanted to keep them, then it wouldn’t be incompatible with your current vegetarianism.

      That said, it sounds like you might feel more comfortable getting rid of them – if that’s the case, I think you should get rid of them (and replace them with different floor coverings that you like, as other commenters are suggesting).

      Basically, either decision is fine and it mostly depends on what you want to do!

    9. Akcipitrokulo*

      Veggie here… I think it’s fine to keep because this isn’t a new item. I wouldn’t buy leather new but may buy from charity shop.

      But if it makes you uncomfortable then it’s ok to get rid as well.

    10. Sibley*

      I really don’t think this has anything to do with you becoming vegetarian. You don’t want sheepskin rugs in your house anymore. End of story. That’s fine. I eat meat, and I don’t want sheepskin rugs in my house either.

      Anyone questions you, just say that you realized you didn’t want sheepskin rugs anymore, so you passed them on to someone who did.

    11. Uncivil Engineer*

      Vegetarianism is spectrum and only you can decide if owning sheepskin rugs is compatible. I am also vegetarian and, several years after I stopped eating meat, I decided to stop buying leather and suede goods. Like several other commenters, I didn’t give away what I already had. I decided that was wasteful but most of them have worn out and been replaced (with a veg-friendly option) by now.

    12. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I mean, first of all, you have to decide what you’re comfortable with. For me, items that I’ve had a long time and to which I have a sentimental attachment might get an exemption from anything like that. But if you feel like you want to replace them, try actively seeking replacement rugs, and see if you find something you’d be excited to have. Once you know you want to replace it you can decide what to do with the old one, but offering the nicer gifts ones to family or friends would probably make them easier to part with.

    13. Epsilon Delta*

      Oh, interesting timing. I have been vegetarian+fish for the last 7 years but I’m experimenting with eating meat again. So I’m moving in the opposite direction from you and trying to figure out how I feel about that. (weird, mostly)

      Anyway, to get to your question, I don’t think it’s incompatible at all with being a vegetarian to own leather, sheepskin rugs, etc. It’s a highly individual choice, but my understanding has always been that vegetarians are focused on not eating animal meat (ie focused on the diet), whereas vegans are interested in avoiding animal products in general (diet + consumer goods). If the sheepskin rugs make you uncomfortable you can get rid of them, but I don’t think it’s hypocritical to be a vegetarian with sheepskin rugs.

      1. Anion*

        I was a vegetarian for six years, and when I started eating meat again I lost about ten pounds and gained a ton of energy within about a month–I’d never felt “bad” before but suddenly I just felt better. It was weird at first, yeah, and for the first month or two I basically stayed vegetarian at home but ate meat when I went out…but when I realized my clothes were looser, my skin clearer, and my energy levels were up I went all-in. :-)

        I found it easier to do things like soups at first, too (at home, I mean), or spaghetti sauces with meat, that kind of thing. You can get pre-cooked meats at the grocery store, seasoned or unseasoned, that don’t require you to deal with raw meat. (And beef was way easier to deal with, cooking-wise, than chicken, but that may just be because I’m weird about chicken anyway.)

        I hope that helps a little!

        (Note: I’m not saying being vegetarian is unhealthy or anything, I’m just talking about what happened for me personally.)

        1. Tris Prior*

          And I had the completely opposite experience! I initially went veg in college for ethical and environmental reasons. I stuck with it because I suddenly developed an immune system. Overnight I went from constantly being sick with every bug that passed through our campus, to getting maybe 1 cold per year, year and a half. This continues to this day. I generally felt better, had more energy, no longer had, ahem, any bathroom issues.

          I find it fascinating how our bodies are all different and there really is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet!

          1. Anion*

            It is, isn’t it? (Heh, I stopped getting colds etc. after re-introducing meat, too, so yeah, exact opposites!) Our bodies are really amazing.

    14. LCL*

      (Emphatically not vegetarian posting.)
      Box them up and store them for 6 months to a year. Check on how to do it properly so they don’t deteriorate in storage. When they aren’t staring you in the face every day your best path will become clear to you.

      If you must decide right now, keep the wool rug, give your mom back the skin she gave you and give away the other one to a friend or charity.

    15. Tris Prior*

      I think that this is a personal choice; despite what some really hard-core folks might tell you, there is no “right” way to do vegetarianism. I’m much like you – no meat, no fish, eggs and dairy OK, I will buy the vegetarian cheese when I can and if the label states “animal rennet” I won’t buy it but I don’t go nuts doing research if it doesn’t explicitly say. I avoid gelatin mainly because I saw a video of how it’s made and about threw up, but until then I was sort of half-assed about avoiding it.

      I went veg at 19 and could not afford to replace all my leather shoes and belts, being a poor college student. I just didn’t buy more leather, when what I had started to wear out and I had the cash to replace them.

      Regarding the rugs – it sounds like you’re uncomfortable with owning them for your own reasons, not just because of “what will people think?” It’s OK to get rid of them. Maybe replace them with something else you like that isn’t animal-based, if you feel like your house is going to look bare without them?

      1. atexit8*

        Do you know that male hatched chicks are grind up live because they are useless to the egg industry?

        Do you know that dairy cows are artificially inseminated so they can produce milk?
        Once the baby cow is born it is torn from its mother so the process can be repeated again?
        The males are raised for veal. The females are doomed to the same miserable life as her mother?
        And when the females are too old to give milk, they are slaughtered.
        No easy retirement for them.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              It’s just one of those trigger topics for militant veggies/vegans. I got it from someone once on an article about milk because I said I like it. They can’t let it go unremarked on. It’s a bit like evangelicals and Jesus.

        1. Mary (England)*

          I know all of those things. I live in a rural part of England and have had some very first-hand experience of dairy farming. I have seen (not on a film or video) how chicks are killed, and the conditions laying hens are kept in. One of my friends stole a tractor when we were teenagers and went for a joy ride. Wait, that bit isn’t relevant…

          Sometimes you just have to pick your things. Sometimes I recycle stuff, sometimes I get a plastic straw in my drink even though I didn’t need it. You can’t do everything, so maybe I don’t eliminate any impact of animal cruelty from my life, but I can reduce it, and I guess I have to just decide where and how, and how much.

        2. Anion*

          It’s great that you care so much about those things. But that doesn’t mean anyone else is required to.

          1. Ron McDon*

            Anion, beautifully put.

            And Atextit8, the way you’ve phrased your comment is not going to persuade people to come around to your viewpoint…

    16. Optimistic Prime*

      Well, I think you said it yourself. You have to pick out what you’re going to focus on. You might decide that since you are *now* vegetarian you wouldn’t buy anything that conflicts with that lifestyle, but you won’t get *rid* of the things that you already own.

    17. Not So NewReader*

      Folks here have posted some fantastic advice.

      The only thing I can think of to add is if you are having a bad time deciding even after reading all this, turn and look at something else in your life that you know you want to change.

      I find that if I fix up the parts that I am certain about, I can become more clear on previously murky questions.
      Fix the things you know you want to fix and see where that puts you.

    18. HannahS*

      I maintain that it’s a personal choice, especially if you already own the thing. You keep saying “proper vegetarian,” but I don’t know that that’s a helpful concept. Some people would certainly say that owning an animal skin would be tacit approval of its death, but those same people would probably think it’s much worse to continue consuming rennet. Everyone, at some point, needs to throw their hands in the air and say, “Eff-it. This far, and no farther.” If what’s driving you to get rid of them is that you feel uncomfortable having them in your home, then yeah, away they go. But if what’s driving you is that you feel that you can’t really call yourself a vegetarian if you have an animal skin or wool rug in your home, then I think it’s better to let go of the concept of being a perfect vegetarian. People need to balance ethical eating (whether that’s vegetarianism or free-trade or organic or whatever) with the cost, the convenience, their personal relationships, and not being driven crazy.

      1. HannahS*

        Sorry, to clarify, what I mean is that other people who would feel it’s their place to criticize you for not being a good enough vegetarian on one dimension are the same people that are likely to criticize you for not being a good enough vegetarian on every dimension.

    19. Mary (England)*


      I have ended up with this being resolved today, in fact.

      I discussed it with some friends and thought about it, and decided if I’m feeling uncomfortable well, I will just keep feeling that way if I keep them and just have something in my house that causes me this type of thinking dilemma.

      I know a person who really likes this type of thing, and so have contacted them offered them the rugs (they want the hides, but not the woven mat). I know they will enjoy them and appreciate them, and they’re the sort of person who would be likely to buy this type of thing anyway.

      I looked round some charity shops today (just in general, not with much specific intent) and came across a chest of drawers for £5. Very convenient, so I’ve bought that. The whole reason this came about was at least partly because I’ve been going through all my stuff lately and trying to re-organise and sort of storage solutions so this is very handy.

      They are going to collect the rugs this week, and I’ve put them in a bag and feel pleased and relieved about the ‘solution’.

      Thank you for all the comments and various speculations. I will repeat that I am aware that I can’t do ‘everything’ or be a ‘perfect’ vegetarian. There are many things that are difficult to avoid that pose ethical dilemmas for many reasons, whether it’s other types of animal rights (including other animal products, or products tested on animals), as well as human rights (conditions of workers etc), or environmental impact, and so many things. It’s an impossible task to try and eliminate every form of cruelty from life, but I just want to find some places where I can reduce my impact (of whatever it may be) where I can, and work out my feelings on different types of things.

      I tend to buy re-used items anyway, and a lot of my food is either grown myself (I’m an allotment holder), or by other people I know, and as noted somewhere above, I’m involved in a food waste and distribution charity. I’m also a home-brewer and sometimes the result is a concoction that will cure any problem anyway (ie. it tastes so bad, all your problems will suddenly seem insignificant in comparison. Ever tried onion wine?)

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Giving items to friends has solved a few dilemmas in my life. Congrats on finding a happy solution.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        It’s an impossible task to try and eliminate every form of cruelty from life, but I just want to find some places where I can reduce my impact (of whatever it may be) where I can, and work out my feelings on different types of things.

        I think this is a very astute observation. Also, yay for allotments! My cousin in London has one. :)

      3. Saturnalia*

        Just throwing this in the discussion, because I have always loved it, the original definition of vegan:
        “Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

        As far as is possible and practicable – if your choice is eat animal products or literally starve, eating the animal product so you can live to do more good in the world does not negate your veganism. Anyway, maybe that’s just my read on things, but it makes me feel better about my occasionally laid-back stance on asking detailed ingredient questions in bars and restaurants. As far as is practicable.

        So I think the “perfect” veg*n is the one who is doing their best and focusing their energy where they are able to do good. I can’t protest, but I can cook delicious vegan food for others. We’ve all accidentally eaten something that we find out later wasn’t as veg*n as advertised. We do what we can, when we can. You’re just great :-)

    20. Mike C.*

      I think it would be best for you to treat your approach as “harm reduction” rather than being ideologically pure. You’re current habits are more in line with what you want than those in the past and so on. Being concerned about those rugs feels like being concerned about a hamburger you had years ago – the deed has been done and you can’t do anything to change it. If you get rid of those rugs, those animals will still be dead.

      So do what you want. If they cause you stress get rid of them, if you like them or even think that using them for years and years is even honorable, then keep them. No one gets to tell you how to be a good person.

        1. Mary (England)*

          You don’t have to ‘oops’ after commenting. I appreciate your comment and I agree, it is good to think of it as harm reduction than trying to be ‘pure’. It’s not quite like feeling guilty about an already-eaten burger, as I can’t go back and give the burger to someone else, but I can still pass on the rugs to someone who would want and use them, even though yeah, they’re already dead.

          But I see your point, and I don’t think it would be wildly unethical if I (or someone else in a similar situation) had decided to keep them. It just ended up not being the right answer for me :D

    21. Essie*

      For many people, being vegetarian is about being kind to the planet. Throwing out and replacing something that isn’t worn out goes against that goal. Just something to consider.

    22. Aphrodite*

      Animal shelters would love the sheepskins and any other floofy stuff like towels, some bedding.

    23. Observer*

      You didn’t buy them, and you didn’t receive them as you switched over. So, I don’t see anything hypocritical.

      If you think that someone is likely to give such a gift again, it’s worthwhile to let them know that you’ve gone in this direction and would find it uncomfortable – and even politely refuse such a gift if they insist on buying it for you. But, I don’t see what you are trying to accomplish by getting rid of them.

      Not that there is anything wrong in getting rid of them. Your life changed, and if these rugs don’t fit any more, they don’t fit.

  7. Ramona Flowers*

    Happy weekend, all. I’m holed up in an Airbnb with some friends and a pile of board games. We are off to Whitby today, via my friend’s village fete. Hope you all have a good one!

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Thanks! I’m technically half Yorkshire-ish but haven’t spent much time there – am with natives though.

  8. amanda_cake*

    Last weekend I posted about blogging. So far, I’ve posted a couple of restaurant reviews and a review of my Wunderlist replacement, Todoist. I’m currently considering moving from wordpress.com to wordpress.org and doing the self hosting with my own domain thing. Bluehost has a deal that makes it pretty cheap. They have a partnership with a wordpress help link, so if you go through their referral link you save a small amount.

    Any advice on the transition, suggested URLs (fallingacorns.com is a comic strip website, should I go with fallingacornsblog.com or fallingacorns15.com? ’15 is my college grad year, which ties into the blog name. Currently, it is fallingacornsblog.wordpress.com), etc.?

    I do have experience with basic HTML and have used wordpress.org to build a website for a class, so I’m not completely flying in blind.

    1. Optimistic Prime*

      I used Bluehost for my website hosting and domain and I really liked it – inexpensive and easy.

      Were it me, I would try to use something very different from an existing site especially a big one – someone who forgets the blog part and accidentally just types in “falling acorns” will get very confused. But if that’s already your name, then you probably don’t want to change it – so I think I would go with the fallingacorns15, because the number stands out visually and may be easier for people to remember.

    2. King Friday XIII*

      Is there a reason you don’t want fallingacorns.net? If you’re worried about being confused with the .com, it’ll probably happen if you take fallingacornsblog.com too.

      Transitioning from one wordpress blog to another is pretty easy. Export from wordpress.com, import into your new blog once it’s set up. All of your posts and things should come over easily, and then you can put whatever skin on it. I also know there’s a way to do it with databases that’s slightly smoother but to be honest it’s too complicated for me. XD

      1. amanda_cake*

        I hadn’t really thought about .net. I don’t think there’s any way to avoid possibly being confused at some point or another. I imagine most of the people who read will add me to a blog reader or will click on the links I share on social media, so I’m not sure how important the handle is. I just think it would be cool to have more power, and some control over the ads that show up on my page. Plus I know I won’t make any money from it, but monetizing the ads would be cool to me because a few pennies is more than I had before. I don’t really know how that works, however, as I have never had a website with ads that I could control.

    3. Anion*

      I second the “BlueHost is great!” They’ve hosted my website for years now, and I’ve been very happy with them–I did something tremendously stupid once and had to call their helpline/customer service line, and the guy there was totally cool and helpful and didn’t even let a hint of “Geez, lady, how dumb are you?” color his voice. :-)

      As for the name, I don’t know what your site is for, but I’d have to recommend trying to find something totally different. The problem with “Fallingacornsblog” is that it sounds like it’s the blog for the Fallingacorns site. (Have you checked domain name ability yet? They might even have those already–I own the domains for a number of iterations of my name, after someone tried to piggyback off me several years ago. So I’d have a few names you’re happy with ready when you go to register your domain name.) Maybe even something like Fallen Acorns–same idea, but at least not the exact same name?

      1. amanda_cake*

        I have checked availability, so I know that the two options I through out would work. I will see. I wonder when the World Wide Web will reach the point it is impossible to be unique?

        Blog/site will be personal for the most part.

    4. AlaskaKT*

      No matter who you host with, pay for domain privacy! If you don’t then your phone number and email address end up on a domain registry list and you will get serious amounts of spam offering hosting, logo creation, content writing, etc. And I mean like 15-30 calls a DAY.

      Source: I made that mistake when starting my blog.

      P.S. Shameless self promotion here, I’m a bluehost affiliate, so if you do decide to go with them and want to help a fellow blogger out I have a sign up link on my blog (it’s an image advert). I get paid if you use it to sign up.

      P.S.S. If you use bluehost sign up to be their affiliate, I make 90% of my blog income from them.

    5. Ego Chamber*

      If this is weird or creepy, ignore me entirely, but I clicked the url in your name and I was wondering what kind of camera you use for the photos on your blog? You have a really good sense of composition and everything is very well shot. I’m a low-key sort of photo geek and always want to know about details like that. :)

      1. amanda_cake*

        Yes, I upgraded recently and plan to review it after my vacation (if I have one… booked for Hatteras in North Carolina, but they have a power outage that may not be fixed for weeks and a mandatory visitor evacuation!). I shoot with a Canon 80D and have 18-55mm and 55-250mm lenses. No formal training, just a good eye!

        1. amanda_cake*

          Some of the on the go type shots are from my iPhone 7 Plus. I haven’t gotten comfortable reviewing restaurants with the big camera in hand yet.

  9. Myrin*

    So, the conclusion of my stunning tale of two adolescent Extreme Crime Lords!!! is about the most anti-climactic thing I’ve ever experienced but I know that you guys were just dying to know how this whole story turned out, so here goes:

    (For those of you who have no idea what the heck I’m talking about but would like to know: You can read the entire breathtaking saga starting from here – I always linked to my previous comment about it, so you’d have to click three or four times and will be able to read up on the whole thing from start to finish, with this being the very last update only six weeks ago.)

    As subpoena-ed, I went to court on Monday where I had to wait outside the courtroom for a bit. Waiting with me were, in order of how we sat on the benches:
    – a guy about my mum’s age who seemed to, by all accounts, be the stenographer; he later had to leave the room because the hearing wasn’t public after all so my next best guess is that he was press? I have no idea what was up with that guy, but he knew everyone there, including the other two witnesses
    – another guy about my mum’s age who seemed weirdly familiar – I’m almost definitely sure I know him from some kind of local election poster but I still haven’t found out who he really is (which is completely my bad since they actually read out everyone’s names aloud and I could’ve just remembered his, but whatever) -, obviously a witness
    – another witness, also about my mum’s age, who looked so much like one of my neighbours that I couldn’t think about anything else whenever I heard him speak
    – myself, weirdly nervous – what if it’d suddenly turn out that I had stolen these vehicles??
    – a young guy who had clearly hit a growth spurt before his actual features could catch up with the maturing, ergo looking like a very long, gangly porcelain figure – clearly one of the defendants
    – a young woman who shared age, haircolour, and sound of voice with me – I first thought she might be the young guy’s lawyer but that turned out to be wrong and from how she spoke, I guess she was his assigned social worker
    – lastly, standing before those two, the guy’s father – he wore flip-flops, bathing trunks, an eighties haircut with extra grease, and had enormously round eyes

    And then came in another young guy I immediately recognised because he was one of the two who sat opposite from me on the train. Oooooh, the giddiness! Witness Mode Activated!

    Anyway, as the flickering sign next to the door changed from green to red to green and back, alternately proclaiming this to be a public sitting and then not (ultimately setting on not), we heard a weird crackling through the speakers below it and then silence and then more crackling and then a woman who turned out to be the actual stenographer stepped out of the courtroom, clearly annoyed, and called everyone inside.

    We witnesses just had to confirm that we were there (and two weren’t there, although you can be punished for that like what is up with these people) and then leave the room again. Okay. After about ten or fifteen minutes, the crackling started again and between bouts of it I could hear the goblin-like voice of the goblin-looking judge ordering all witnesses to come in. The other two witnesses, by virtue of being elderly gentlemen, clearly hadn’t heard anything at all, so I beckoned them to come with me and as we were all piling through the door the stenographer had to step out yet again to ask us to come inside but since we were all already halfway inside the room, neither of us could actually really hear here.

    After all of us finally were where we had to be, the judge called us up to him and informed us that we wouldn’t need to testify after all because the defendants had confessed to everything they were accused of. We got a piece of paper that would allow us to get reimbursed for the travel cost we’d spent coming to court (gotta love German bureaucracy, you can claim expenses for everything) and then we went on our merry way.

    So, I suppose that’s the ending of this lovely story. May they not steal another vehicle ever again and also not involve innocent bystanders who were just on their way to work and then had to be subjected to them bragging about their bizarre joyrides.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      This type of thing happens in US courts also. The threat of witnesses testifying can cause people to rethink what they are saying. Lawyers usually encourage them that a trial with witness testimony is not a good thing, it’s an iffy thing and who knows how it will play out.

    2. Alice Ulf*

      I’ve been following this story with interest, so I’m glad your legal saga is over and that justice was done!

    3. Pomona Sprout*

      Wow, I just read the whole saga through from the start, and what an antimactic ending that was! At least it was anticlimactic in a good way, sort of (since the bad guys confessed and all), but I would have been quite miffed at not getting to testify, after all thst drama, lol!

      I guess I’m weird, because the stuff that goes on courtoms fascinates me, to the extent that I’m actually disappointed to have never served on a jury and hope to eventually get a chance. I got called up once in my life so far but was not chosen to serve on the actual jury, and was disappointed where I guess most people would have been relieved?

      At any rate, I’m glad those guys got themseles caught and will have to face at least some sort of penalty. And good on you for callong the cops to share what you heard on that train!

  10. Marianne*

    If you inadvertently saw a friend’s search history (e.g. if you were using their computer – with permission – to look up something and suggested terms came up) and there were a lot of search terms relating to suicide, would you be concerned? (Assuming they’ve shown no other cause for concern, apart from normal stuff like being stressed from work, and considering they’ve freely let you use their computer without feeling the need to conceal that stuff?) Would you bring that up? It seems like a violation of privacy even if it wasn’t intentional?

    1. TL -*

      I’d ask! They could have been going down the Wikipedia rabbit hole after watching 13 Reasons Why or something but ask and have a frank conversation. If you’re still concerned, talk to her family or close friends if you know them.

    2. Harriet*

      I would ask. I’m a suicide helpline volunteer, and when people are suicidal it’s often a very difficult thing to bring up with anyone in their lives, and sometimes someone else opening the discussion can be very welcome.
      I know it’s a very difficult subject to raise, and as TL says there could be a dozen innocent explanations. But on the off chance it isn’t, I would suggest you bring it up in a casual low-key way – “I noticed this with the suggested search terms, and just wanted to check in”. Then listen.

    3. Red*

      I’d ask. I’ve been that person, and it’s impossibly difficult to say something on your own, but things need to be said, just the same. It’s awkward but easier if someone else starts that conversation. Even if he’s just down some weird Wikipedia path, at least your mind will be set at ease.

    4. C*

      They also could have intentionally let you seen it in hopes you would see it & say something about it to them because it is too hard for them to broach the subject themselves.

      It is much better to bring it up (even if they get upset) & have your friend deny that they are suicidal than to learn they have died.

    5. Optimistic Prime*

      Ask. It may feel a bit weird to the person you’re asking if they were not considering it, but you didn’t find it by snooping – you found it in the suggested terms while using their computer with permission. And any awkwardness is worth keeping your friend safe. If it’s truly nothing, they’ll just say it’s nothing.

      I used to work in student services and a big part of my job was working with suicidal students or students who were thinking about or considering suicide. It’s always better to ask. People who are thinking about it are often very relieved that someone else is finally talking about it and she may open up to you.

    6. Don't turn this name into a hyperlink*

      In this case, safety most definitely trumps privacy. Ask away.

    7. Junior Dev*

      I agree you should say something.

      Suggested wording:

      “How are you doing lately?” This is a decent conversation opener and keeps it from being too abrupt.

      Once they’ve responded:

      “I know this is hard to talk about but I care about you and I have to ask: I saw some stuff on your laptop search history about suicide. Is that something that’s been on your mind?”

      Then just listen.

      It can be really hard to say the word “suicide” and want to get around it with euphemisms like “hurting yourself” or elude the topic altogether and talk around it (“is everything ok?”) But bringing it up explicitly means they have to give a yes or no answer, and won’t feel they have to avoid awkwardness by being similarly euphemistic.

      Bringing it up in terms of the laptop also gives them an easy way to explain if it does turn out to be innocuous ( like they are watching a TV show about it or something).

    8. Marzipan*

      I’d ask. You won’t do any harm, may do some good, and they’re unlikely to be upset with a kind enquiry whether or not they have been having thoughts of suicide (or just searching it for some other reason).

    9. Candy*

      Always safe than sorry, you know your friend best, etc etc but I think it could also depend on what your friend does for work/what her family is like/etc. For example, is she a writer? Maybe she was googling suicide to accurately write about it. Does she have depressed family members and she was searching for ways she can help them? Our search history doesn’t always reflect our plans. Like going through my history just now I came across “sample telephone scam” (I am not looking to scam anyone over the telephone), “baby nursery tour” (I am not pregnant nor hoping to be), and “cider cocktail recipes” (I am, in fact, looking for cider cocktail ideas)

      1. Anion*

        Yes, I’m a writer. Some of the things I’ve looked up over the course of the last ten years or so would make your toes curl.

  11. KitKat*

    I need to move a queen mattress from Austin to a storage space in Houston. Roughly a 2.5 hour drive. How would you go about doing something like that? I’d rather not rent a UHaul to drive between cities, or a trailer to pull with my SUV. I’m wondering what options y’all might recommend. Thanks!!!

    1. Scarlettnz*

      Is it worth the money to move it? Would you be better off to sell/donate it and just buy another when you need it?

      1. KitKat*

        It was an expensive mattress that’s just six months old. It’s a keeper for a whole bunch of reasons.

      1. Buggy Crispino*

        I actually don’t recommend strapping a mattress to the top of a vehicle. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one done properly to keep the wind from getting underneath it and lifting the front of it up, which breaks down the mattress at that point where it bends. They’re never quite the same after that.

        1. KitKat*

          Preserving the mattress is important, but I’d be even more concerned about the safety. Yikes! I’d never do that to myself, or my fellow drivers an drew neighbors on the road!

        2. amanda_cake*

          Wasn’t aware of that part.

          I am probably more handy with self hauling and ratchet straps than most folks, so I would be confident that if I tied it down it wouldn’t go flying in the road at least. Didn’t think about air impact.

    2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      I bought a mattress from a friend, and we found… ugh, I can’t remember the name at the moment, but a service that was basically Uber for shipping. Gig economy shipping service. It cost about $110 to have a very nice dude pick up the mattress in Jersey City and deliver it in Baltimore, and he even helped me haul it to the 3rd floor.

      1. KitKat*

        There’s a service called U-Pack, I think, that I was hoping someone would mention. ATX to HOU is a frequent route, so I can’t be the first person moving a piece of furniture from A to B.

    3. Anono-me*

      If time is not an issue, I recommend calling a few of the small moving companies in both cities to ask about a “space available move”. Sometimes a mover will have just a little bit of room left on the trailer, but not enough for another household. The big companies are less likely to bother trying to fill it, but smaller companies sometimes will.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        This is a great idea.
        I was able to get an antique desk to a family member, by letting the desk hitch a ride with an antique dealer going that way. It was a four hour ride and a good size desk.
        If you can think of people who are heading in the same direction, you might find someone who would be interested in picking up and extra $100 or so.

    4. Ron McDon*

      Do you have a car with folding rear seats? It might fit if you put the seats down?

    5. KAZ2Y5*

      Are you not wanting to drive it yourself at all? I just ask because at UHaul you can also rent a moving van that would fit a queen size mattress. I refuse to drive any of the moving trucks, but have driven the van and it is just like driving a (very large) SUV.

      1. KitKat*

        Great! Yeah, a van would work. Didn’t think of that. I e driven trucks before and the lack of a R/V mirror is unnerving for me. Didn’t realize U-Haul rented vans. Thanks!

  12. Jessen*

    Mentioned a little of this last week, but wanted to get back and clarify:

    I have a cat I want to start feeding primarily wet food instead of dry. The trouble is she’s used to free feeding, and if she’s free fed dry food she’ll ignore wet. But when I try to give her wet she just kind of nibbles it and leaves it. She might get back to it later, but I can’t just leave that stuff out that long and I have to go to work so I can’t feed her 4 meals a day so she gets enough.

    Any advice for getting her to eat a little more, or a little more quickly?

    1. Caledonia*

      I have always had cats who eat wet food and it’s not been a problem with leaving the wet food in their bowl to free feed at their leisure. Sure it’s a bit smelly but you get used to eat. If they eat too fast they might throw it up. She also has dry food in a bowl.

      1. Caledonia*

        I am in the UK though. From precious cat posts on here I understand that there is somewhat of a difference in cat ownership.

        1. TL -*

          I’m confused about how that would affect feeding, though? Most food is okay to leave out for a few hours and it’s not cruel to the cat to let her own pace (presumably you would be home to replace the food before it got moldy and dangerous.)

          1. Jessen*

            At least here most people say you shouldn’t leave wet food out for more than 30min, an hour at max. Otherwise you risk a lot of bacteria developing and kitty can get food poisoning.

            1. TL -*

              Hmm. I’d ask your vet but animals are more resistant to food poisoning (and have a better sense of smell to avoid off foods) than we do. 4 hours shouldn’t be a big deal. (I will also eat things that have been left out overnight if they’re not stinky/slimy/discolored.)

              1. Jessen*

                Well, it’s going to be either 30min-1h, or 9-10h, realistically. Because I can’t come home midday to deal with it.

                1. Sydney*

                  If your cat hasn’t eaten it in 9 hours he/she isn’t going to eat it. Feed in the morning and leave it, and throw out the uneaten portion when you get home and feed again.

                  however some cats won’t eat canned cat food so make sure the cat is eating. The extra moisture is good but a happy cat is a fed cat.

                2. Jen RO*

                  I absolutely leave wet cat food out for a day and my cats are fine. The food gets dry after a while and they stop eating it anyway.

            2. FiveWheels*

              Long story short, my cats used to routinely eat “leftovers” that were out all night. None of them ever had any food poisoning issues or similar.

            3. CS Rep by Day, Writer by Night*

              We mix wet and dry together and leave it out for 8-10 hours. I’ve never had a cat get food poisoning in the 30 years I’ve been an owner of multiple cats who have lived very long and healthy lives.

            4. Artemesia*

              They eat carrion in the wild; I think they are more able to manage food sitting out a bit than we are.

      2. Sydney*

        I leave wet cat food out too. It’s a few hours – it’s canned – it’s fine. Mine eats most of it at one sitting but I don’t take it away if she doesn’t finish the portion. They eat raw mice. It’s fine.

    2. Harriet*

      I think the recommended advice is to move away from free feeding the dry to feeding it at certain times, and then taking it away, so the cat gets used to needing to eat meals rather than free feeding…and once that transition has been made, wet food can be gradually introduced.
      I ignored that advice and just took away the dry and started feeding wet meals – I had previously tried to cut down on dry and introduce wet, but as long as the dry food was there they ignored the wet. I’m lucky to have generally laid back and robust cats though which managed it with no side effects, and there was a reason the change needed to happen quickly. If I’d tried that with my last cat it would have resulted in either major stomach upsets or just refusing to eat, so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it.
      If money isn’t an issue, could you try some of the super-premium wet food which is more like a treat?

    3. The Other Dawn*

      Why can’t the wet food be left out? I have multiple cats. They get some wet food before work. Some of my cats inhale it all at once, whereas others like to graze on it. So I leave it and it’s gone when I come home.

      Maybe your cat is just a nibbler by nature. Or maybe she’s thinking that the dry food is coming so she’ll just have a little bit of wet and then save her appetite. Another possibility is she’s a cat who just doesn’t care for wet food. I have one cat who will eat only dry food. Can’t get him to eat wet food no matter what I do, so I just let him eat the dry food.

      1. Jessen*

        I’m worried because she’ll leave it out for hours. It’s basically just canned meat and fish, and it can go bad and start to grow bacteria if you leave it out. I don’t want her to end up with food poisoning from food that’s just been sitting out. I don’t want to leave it out any longer than I’d leave a bowl of tuna for me sitting.

        1. MommyMD*

          Let your cat be your guide. Mine won’t touch wet. I feed a high quality kibble. Not supermarket trash. If your cat has health problems, there are prescription diets. Always lots of fresh water.

        2. Caledonia*

          The only times my cat is sick is when a) she eats her food too fast or b) she eats too much grass outside. My cat is regularly fed at 7 am and not again until I come back from work at 6 pm.

        3. Nic*

          My cat was used to grazing all day on dry food, and I recently started doing a wet meal in the mornings. I leave it out for him all day, but past a certain point he shows no interest in it, and will go for the dry food (even though he MUCH prefers the wet).

          Cats are pretty good about knowing what will make them sick, in my experience.

    4. Ramona Flowers*

      Why don’t you want to feed some dry food which can be left out?

      You can’t make her eat more quickly and you dont want her to – she might just throw up. Don’t encourage her to self regulate (even) less.

      Our cat gets free fed wet food for various reasons – but only when we are in. When we aren’t, he has dry food. The mix works fine and our vet tells us he’s the perfect weight. Just in case that’s your issue with dry food?

      1. Jessen*

        No, my issue is my veterinary advice is that even if she’s fine on dry food now, long-term feeding can cause issues like kidney problems and diabetes, especially if she’s exclusively fed dry food. But if she’s free fed dry food she’ll ignore the wet food because she knows she’ll get dry later.

        1. Amadeo*

          Eh, I’m still not totally convinced of this and I was a CVT for a while. I have a 19 year old who ate dry food all her life and has only recently begun to have the geriatric cat kidney issues. Old cats are going to have those problems whether you feed wet or dry, it’s just an aging thing.

          Sometimes cats just won’t eat certain things and there’s not a whole heck of a lot you can really do about it, because you just can’t ‘starve them out’ like you can a dog. Feed the cat what she will eat and encourage water drinking with a fountain or a wide dish that won’t bother her whiskers.

    5. Episkey*

      Luckily, I don’t have this problem because my cats are like Labradors with food, they inhale it in 45 seconds (they are both raw fed). Here’s the thing, though, most cats are not like dogs and while you can say for a dog that it’s OK to “train” them to eat faster by picking up the bowl after 15 minute and eventually they’ll learn that if they want a full meal, they have to eat it at that point — cats are more difficult. Unfortunately, you can’t let them go for a period of more than a day without eating much because that in itself can cause more problems which then leads to a downward spiral.

      My friend has 2 cats that she was trying to transition to raw and one wanted no part of it. She wanted to transition because she just wanted their diet to be healthier and to give her cats the best possible food, but her one cat protested and wouldn’t eat and she didn’t realize how dangerous that can be. The cat ended up super sick and had to be force fed for like a month before she finally got back to normal eating habits. Sometimes you just have to pick your battles with them.

      I totally understand wanting her on wet food because it is far better in the long run for them than dry, but if she won’t do it, she won’t do it. You could try reducing the dry free feeding to a set amount that is less than she would normally get and then giving her wet to try to make her a bit hungrier so she is more likely to eat the wet, but I wouldn’t recommend anything drastic because she might revolt. You could also try a few different brands of wet to see if one strikes her fancy a bit more. If nothing works, just try to have her dry be the best quality you can afford and get in a little wet or more moisture however you can.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Dogs take longer than 15 minutes to eat a meal? Serious question, I have never seen this. Maybe because I don’t leave dry food out?

        1. KT*

          My pup is a slow, leisurely eater. She stands at the bowls and eats a kibble at a time and seems to savor each bite. It takes her at least 20 minutes to go through the process.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Am giggling. That is too cute. I suppose if you are hurrying that can kind of be annoying, though.

        2. Stardust*

          My dog inhales her food like it’s an Olympian sport. Her food is gone in less than a minute and I try different ideas to slow her down.

    6. Sibley*

      I do modified free feed with my cats, both wet and dry. (They get a set quantity, I don’t pick it up.) Dry food is dispensed automatically on a schedule, morning and afternoon. Wet food I put down morning and evening. I’ll pick it up when the bowl is empty, or when it’s time for the next bowl, whichever comes first. I’ve never had a problem. Trying to get a cat to do anything is an exercise in futility.

      I assume that you’re wanting to switch to wet food for health reasons, likely the extra water. That’s what I’ve done. However, I’ll warn you that if the cat doesn’t want the wet food, you won’t win. You can try different brands/flavors, but you may be out of luck. My younger cat is chronically mildly dehydrated despite 2 water fountains, 2 toilets, and whatever puddles outside. I am well aware of this. She’ll eat some wet food, but prefers dry food. When she’s had enough wet food, she won’t eat it anymore. Even if she’s hungry, she’ll wait for dry food. Silly cat.

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        This is the method we do. Our little girl, who was absolutely TINY as a kitten, has a tendency to inhale anything in front of her. We think its some sort of food anxiety thing, but she was really starting to pack on the pounds so we had to do something a bit drastic.

        We now free feed 1/2 to 3/4C of premium dry in the morning to share, and they share a packet of wet at night. They mostly lick the wet and then finish off the chunkier bits over the few evening hours, or have some kibble. We also have a broad shallow tupperware out with a lot of water, topped up throughout the day and changed every morning, which has helped get a lot more water into them. They dont like their whiskers touching the sides of the water bowl apparently. So far this seems to be working pretty good, they aren’t complaining or hungry, and I am not going nearly through the kibble bag as fast.

        Have you tried mixing some kibble in with the wet?

        1. Nic*

          On the water thing: My roommate’s cat for ages would only drink out of a dripping tap; preferably a bath tub. My roommate was getting bad about leaving the tub dripping for hours, and having addressed it with words many times I finally put a tall tupperware container under the tap, and plugged the drain so if there was overflow he would see that, too.

          Turns out, his cat and mine both LOVED the “tall bowl”. Now they both reject traditional bowls AND the tap. We think it has something to do with not liking to bend down to the water bowl. Bonus: because the “tall bowl” is so large, we don’t have to worry about it going dry during the day.

          Maybe something like that would help entice yours to drink?

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            My cat loves to drink from glasses of water that people have left on end tables or the coffee table. I guess that’s because of the “tall bowl” aspect.

    7. Melody Pond*

      I can’t remember where I read this – I tried to find the article or youtube video for you, but I couldn’t track it down.

      This is the gist of something I read recently?

      If possible? Start shortening the chunks of time during which food is left out. If you’re leaving food out all day, then go to leaving food out for only 3-4 hours at a time. Do that for a few days. Then shorten it to 2-3 hours at a time. Do that for a few days. Then shorten it to 1-2 hours at a time. And so on and so forth, until you’re only leaving the food out for 30 minutes.

      This could be difficult, if you have a work schedule or something you’re working around. So, it might be a little spendy, but it might be worth it to invest in an automatic feeder type of thing that would let you program these intervals. I haven’t looked yet myself, but I’d bet there’s something that would do this, that you could find on Amazon.

      If I were in your shoes, I would do this first with the dry food, and get her to where she’s consuming the dry food within 30 minutes. And then, slowly start mixing in wet food with the dry food. And I do mean SLOWLY. Like, over the course of three or four weeks, start with 1/2 teaspoon of wet food mixed in with the dry food, do that for a few days, then increase to 1 teaspoon, and at the same time, decrease the portion of wet food by approximately 1 teaspoon. Do this until you’ve very gradually switched from the dry food to the wet food.

      I’ve found that with picky cats, the trick is just to introduce new things SO slowly, that they don’t even notice it’s happening. And 95% of the time, I bet that will work.

    8. nonprofit manager*

      Haven’t read all the comments so maybe this has been mentioned.

      Use a “Frosty Bowl”. You freeze the insert of the bowl and food placed in the bowl stays cool for quite some time. If you are planning to do this only once a day, you can re-freeze the insert overnight. Or you can buy two inserts and always have one in the freezer.

      Also, if she realizes that no kibble is coming, she will eventually eat faster. I transitioned our cats from dry to canned to raw and they eat their meals pretty quickly now, though it took some time to get there.

    9. Stardust*

      I find that my cats like some brands and flavored of wet food better than others. And they change their mind a lot, too. So I don’t buy too much of one type but get a variety of cans. Its possible your kitty might like a different wet cat food better. Have you tried a variety of types (brands and flavored etc.?) Also, some cans are pâté and others are chunks or small shedder bits. My kitties don’t seem to like the chunky and shredded canned food as much as the pate type. Also, I leave out dry food all the time so the kitties can feed when they want and then put out wet food about twice a day.

        1. periwinkle*

          Our two most skittish cats are tummy rub enthusiasts, while our two most mellow cats hate it. Cats are weird. You might have noticed this.

          1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

            Yep. My cat used to be a source of needly death if you touched her belly, but since we moved away from other cats, she’s transitioned to where she really likes belly rubs — but only if they come in the form of scritches or soft kneading with my knuckles, not vigorous rubs.

            1. Saturnalia*

              My kitties prefer the gentlest tummy tickles only. They’ll get reeeeeeel long and show off their armpits and spay scars for the gentle tickles :-)

          2. Elizabeth West*

            Pig liked it when I brushed her belly. I would go outside and sit on the patio and tap the brush on the concrete. She would come over and flop down on one side (always the same one; what up, cat) and I would gently brush her head and down her back to her tail. When she was somewhat relaxed, I’d go over her side and belly. She would always get up and run around and then come back for more. If she got aggressive, I’d give her the brush to bite and then we’d call it a day.

            Sometimes she wanted belly pets and sometimes she didn’t. I learned to read her body language so I didn’t get clawed.

  13. Katie the Fed*

    My husband and I were supposed to fly to see his family last night. With the storms and insane rain here, I was worried about flooding and trees falling (we have a 65-year old house with a lot of old trees around). So I made the decision around 11am that we were going to delay the trip a day. Husband thought I was being a little too worried, but I just felt it was the right decision.

    Well, our original flight ended up getting delayed 6.5 hours and we would have gotten in at 2am. Husband has begrudgingly admitted I was right :)

    1. Vicky Austin*

      You made a good choice – I was trying to get back to D.C. from NYC. Tried to leave on a 3 pm and ended up home at 9. (And that was one of the better stories I heard at the airport!)

      1. Katie the Fed*

        I got a note Thursday that they were waiving all flight changes for the region, so it didn’t cost a dime. Plus we booked on miles.

        1. fposte*

          No, I meant to swing things so that you were absolutely right in what you told your husband.

    2. Dan*

      TBH, if an airline is offering weather waivers, take it, unless you want to hang out in the airport for extended periods.

      I would have thought you were overly cautious about the house, not so about flight delays.

  14. Not trying hard enough*

    Finally decided to join the gym. It’s pretty much my last chance to take advantage of my student discount and the gym it applies to is less than a 10 minute walk away, and open 24/7. It’s very no-frills (you can choose to pay for add-ons if you want them) so the rate is pretty good.

    The problem is that…it’s been a week since I joined, and I haven’t yet gone.

    I’m not sure what the problem is. I’m not scared of gyms or anything (used to use one in my home city quite regularly), but it’s more…a ‘disruption’ to my current routine? I’ve carved out a time to go in the morning before work, but instead of actually /going/ I’ve been…I don’t know, pottering around my flat in the morning (all the while going ‘you really should get to that gym’), and then I’d be like ‘well if I go now I’ll only have 20mins to work out’.

    I’ve tried laying out my workout clothes in the morning, trying to go to bed earlier to get up earlier, but…it’s like a mental hurdle more so than a physical one. It’s the middle of summer so it’s not even as if it’s cold or dark outside at 6am either! And I’m always /awake/ during that time, I just can’t seem to get myself there!

    1. TL -*

      Just go for 20 minutes then! That’s still a workout.
      It’s not a failure to go for 20 minutes at first (or 10 or 5) and it’s also okay to just do a bit of walking on the treadmill or some light weightlifting while you get started. Or, heck, always, if that’s what you prefer.

    2. nep*

      You can indeed get in a decent workout in 20 minutes (just be sure you don’t skip a warmup). Also, though, I would say that getting decent exercise does not require going to the gym. If the time crunch in the morning is an issue, you could do some quite effective no-equipment moves right at home. Could this work?

    3. Robowoman*

      I used to have the same problem when I was trying to get into the habit of going to the gym at lunch during work. I’d delay and delay and it would get to be 3 or 4 o’clock and then “it’s too late”. Then one day I just picked a time (1230) and just stood up from my chair and said it’s time to go. No thinking or deliberating. Like Nike says, “Just do it.” I somehow separated the thinking and doing. Put myself on autopilot and mechanically made the movements to leave the building. Hard to explain but it worked — usually.

      1. Trixie*

        Pretty much this. I think so many of us struggle to go on a regular basis and some times it’s just do it. If you do work out, you almost always feel better. And if you won’t work out, getting there is a good first step. This is why I like classes. The instructors guide you and all you have to do is follow. (or a youtube video.)

      2. Saturnalia*

        I haven’t figured out how to channel it, but if I manage avoid thinking about the thing as little as possible, I won’t have time to consider alternatives and I’m able to get far enough into it to feel committed (already heading somewhere, for example). I am pretty much the worst about over thinking everything though; hopefully I’ll nail down how to invoke the Nike superpower!

    4. neverjaunty*

      Good advice from a commenter here a while back: You don’t have to DO anything while you’re at the gym. Just treat it as your downtime and go. It’s perfectly OK if you just walk in, sit in the locker room and read a book for half an hour, and then go home.

      When you can decouple “going to the gym” from the anxiety train of “…and then I have to be on the exercise bike, and then this and that will happen…..” running underneath it, it gets easier to go.

    5. Junior Dev*

      Can you go after work? Then it won’t matter if you’re later in getting to the gym than you planned.

    6. Dead Quote Olympics*

      Yeah, I know what you mean, although my inexplicable lack of action tends to be in social situations, not the gym. You mentioned add-ons. Can you sign up once or twice for a personal trainer at that time or have someone meet you at the gym? Even a friend to meet you at the door (or your door) and then go on their merry way? Not wanting to disappoint or inconvenience someone else might be the way over the block. Even a friend or family member calling or texting you five minutes after you should be in the gym and asking if you made it. Mild social shame can be a great motivator!

      1. Jessi*

        I would try to pick a class, or even better arrange a couple of sessions with a PT. Then you have a reason to be at the gym and it can be part of your new routine?

    7. Gym tricks*

      3 things that helped me:

      1) Go ahead and get dressed in your gym clothes, even if you’re not sure you’ll go to the gym. For me, getting that one tiny obstacle done helped a lot when I finally made the decision to go to the gym. I rationalized it as “well, I’ve got to wear something, might as well be this gym outfit.”
      2) don’t try to go at a time of day that’s not gonna work. I know going to the gym in the morning is supposed to make you feel great all day, but I just Will. Not. Do. It. Since I’ve started accepting that and going to the gym after dinner, life’s been a lot easier.
      3) I pretty much go to the gym exclusively for classes. The ones I like only happened a few times a week, and they start at a specific time, so if I don’t walk out the door on Thursday evening at 7:20 PM, I’ve missed my chance for a while.

      Maybe none of these tricks apply to you, but they helped me. Also I’m realizing that I rely on tricking and threatening myself quite a bit. Hmm.

    8. Fenchurch*

      Think of yourself 6 months, a year, or more from now. Think how much better off that person will be from you going to the gym today. You are doing this to get there.

      That was one of the big mental hurdles I got over was thinking “If I had started working out seriously x amount of time ago, I wonder how I would be today?”

      It IS very mental, and it’s hard to see how each day you skip adds up over time.

      You can do this!

  15. Mike Crapbag*

    Dilemma here.

    Bob is on his way to a trip on the other side of the world. He misses the connecting flight, spends the night at his friend Rob’s house and goes back to the airport the next day. Long story short, they spend the whole day trying to sort out a new flight with lots of unexpectes bureaucracies and delays. Bob is sorta elderly and does not speak much English so Rob assists him that whole day.

    Finally they are told they just have to purchase another ticket. Rob takes Bob to Rob’s office nearby. Rob does the online purchase for Bob. Due to the chaos of the day Rob accidentally types his own surname “Robertson” instead of Bob’s surname “Bobbertson.” So when theg arrive at the check in counter, Bob is turned away for having an incorrectly named ticket. Rob tries to get the ticket name changed but faces customer service delays.

    At this stage Bob has lost too many days on an already short trip, can’t afford another ticket, so cancels the trip.

    In this situation should Rob reimburse Bob for even a portion of the lost trip for making a mistake on Bob’s online ticketing?

    Bob has no insurance, btw.

    1. Katie the Fed*

      I think so, yes. Rob was very well-meaning, but he did cause harm to Bob. Therefore Rob should pay.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Eh, for me a lot of it would depend on the relationship between the people. If Bob really depends on Rob to take care of things for him, then I’d lean *slightly* towards Rob reimbursing Bob.

      However, just as presented with no assumptions or further detail, Rob was trying to help and doing things that Bob probably could and should have done himself. Rob could offer if he feels bad, but I think Bob basically delegated authority to Rob, and so Bob is ultimately responsible for Rob’s work product, as it were. The elderly and language parts don’t seem to enter into it, as if both could be used to describe me I’d still be either doing it myself with Rob over my shoulder, or I’d be looking over his while he did it for me.

    3. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Eh. I mean, in a similar situation, I would have had my friend come look at the screen to verify the info, ideally, so I would not have felt bad if it turned out that the info is wrong. Bob leaned a LOT on the labor of his friend, and it’s his responsibility to make sure his travel bookings are correct. Offering reimburse would be nice, but I don’t think it’s a moral obligation.

    4. Optimistic Prime*

      Eh, I don’t think so. Rob was trying to help by doing Bob a favor, and these things happen. The wrong name was not the sole cause (or even the primary cause) of Bob missing out on his trip.

      I am more curious about the name and ticketing thing. It sounds like Rob bought the ticket for same-day travel, or at the very least less than 24 hours later. Since all airlines now have to let you cancel the tickets within 24 hours without charge, why didn’t they just cancel the ticket and get a new one?

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Ideally. Rob could offer and Bob could refuse.

      My own rule of thumb is that if I ask someone to help me and it blows up on us, I absorb the costs of that. I frame it as, I could have asked someone else, or I could have perhaps avoided the whole problem for x reason. And sometimes we help people and the help goes belly up, this happens, too.

      Bob is lucky to have a good friend like Rob. Rob gave him a night’s lodging and a full day of assistance including language translation. That is worth a few bucks and really we cannot ignore that part of the story. I think Bob broke even on this deal.

  16. Reflection*

    Just a general question…

    When you look into the mirror, do you like what you see?

    1. TL -*

      Sometimes! Sometimes I’m amazingly good looking, sometimes I’m ugly, but most of the time it’s just my face, which is the same face I’ve had all my life, and that’s pretty comforting.
      Even when it’s a really ugly day, I tend to forget what I look like as soon as I’m away from a mirror, so as long as I look appropriate for the day’s activities, I figure it’s okay. (Actually, the same for good looking days! It’s just my face, after all.)

    2. nep*

      Sometimes. Generally depends on whether I’m well hydrated and whether I’ve been getting enough sleep; a deficiency in either of these shows up on my face straightaway.
      I often think about the fact, too, that what I see — a mirror image — is not what others see.
      What about you, Reflection?

    3. OldMom*

      Mostly, yes… I notice that I look just like my grandmother (especially first thing in the morning) and I loved my grandma so what’s not to like? First observed this on my 51st birthday and (not) coincidentally, that was about her age when we first met.

      1. TL -*

        Oh! I hope I look like my grandmother when I get older. I’m lucky she’s still around and all there at 91 (and 1/2!) but it’ll be nice to have a reminder of her when I get older.

    4. Red Reader*

      Honestly, it depends entirely on whether I’m dressed or not. Heh. My spare 20 pounds is much less noticeable when I am clothed.

    5. OnFire*

      Do you mean physically? My face, etc.? Yeah, I need to lose weight, but I’m not self-hating and I consider myself decent-looking.

      Or do you mean having to face one’s self in the mirror? That’s an entirely different thing. I’ve had times that I didn’t like facing myself, even though I *looked* good. But now I don’t have trouble looking myself in the eye.

    6. fposte*

      It depends. I gotta say, though, the upside of nearsightedness is that we’re *all* beautiful without my glasses.

    7. Emily*

      I do! For the most part, anyway. I mostly like how I look and am comforted by the familiarity of my face.

      As someone who has struggled with acne (I still get some now, but it’s a lot better than it was five years ago!), I think I’m also more at peace with minor blemishes and temporary imperfections than I might have been otherwise.

    8. Get a Haircut*

      Visually? Often yes… although I’ve gained a bunch of weight this year & I’m not thrilled about that. I just keep reminding myself that bodies are malleable.

    9. Don't turn this name into a hyperlink*

      I think I’m liking it better and better, although it’s still a work in progress.

    10. Amy*

      Often, yes. I have a chronic illness and when I was a child it was unclear if I would live to adulthood. Now I’m almost thirty and going strong, so things like the little wrinkles around my eyes and the stretch marks on my belly from pregnancy are sweet reminders of how lucky I am.

    11. HannahS*

      Some things I like (my face!) and some things I don’t (I could lose about 25 pounds). But I also find that it doesn’t distress me when I don’t like what I see. I have about the same emotional reaction that I have when I notice–once again–that my walls are beige. Like, ugh, beige, but repainting is a little more work than I can handle right now, and it’s a pretty great place overall so *shrug* whatever.

      As a side note (and I know this isn’t what you asked but here are my unsolicited thoughts) I loathe the “LOVE YOUR BODY EVERYONE IS BEAUTIFUL BE CONFIDENT” rhetoric that’s sold to women. There is no need for me to think that I’m beautiful. Why should I? Because believing that I’m aesthetically pleasing would make me more confident? I feel like the evil, evil message behind that is that confidence for women should rest on our looks. Being more aesthetically pleasing wouldn’t make me more competent. Or smarter. Or funnier, or a better friend and daughter. Isn’t that where I should derive my main source of confidence? Being more aesthetically pleasing would make me more desirable. But why should I want to be more desirable? What would that get me? More male attention? Why should my confidence rest on how much I get male attention? I need one dude to be attracted to me–the one I’m with. No one else needs to find me aesthetically pleasing, and anyway attraction is a lot more complicated than just looks. So…yeah. I don’t always love what I see in the mirror, but I also don’t feel that it matters.

      1. Saturnalia*

        I’d say it’s almost easier to appreciate the function than the form. I’m pretty sure I’m not capable of that overwhelmingly confident self-love. Focusing on the things that work, the extra weight that’s gotten me through stress… if my parts are (mostly) doing their job, I should care less how they look doing it.

        But to directly answer the original question: nope.

    12. Ermintrude Mulholland*

      No. I can’t afford to dye my hair and going white doesn’t suit me. I am disappointed I am letting myself get flabby. I like the rest but those two factors are overriding.

    13. Clever Name*

      Sure! I’m very lucky that I’m in a place in my life that I like myself. I’m also lucky because (at least in my opinion) I’m more attractive than average. I hope that doesn’t sound conceited. Like I said, I feel very lucky.

    14. nonprofit manager*

      Generally, yes. I am aging and have some grey hairs and some wrinkly/saggy spots on my face/neck/chest. Plus I am about 30 pounds overweight. However, I am strong and capable and otherwise healthy, and working to be even healthier. I have made peace with my physical imperfections and am happy with what I see.

    15. Myrin*

      I do! I’m actually not particularly attractive but I’m a-okay with that because I really like myself!
      (I also have one of these faces that is basically like a blank slate – seriously, it’s very bland and non-expressive and thus super versatile – and I can technically make myself fit our standardised beauty ideas quite a lot but I choose not to most of these days.)

    16. Not So NewReader*

      Some days are better than others! ha!

      Seriously though, I like my looks better than I used to and this is due to getting some of my health back. My mind set is less critical and more accepting in some ways. But you know, the rules change as we age. Less pressure to be “beeeeautiful” and less focus on physical appearance.

      More importantly, I have a better idea of who I am and what I believe in. It’s interesting how settling some internal quandaries can also help us to like the person in the mirror better.

    17. Woman of a Certain Age*

      I don’t dislike what I see when I look in the mirror.

      But I often feel like I don’t know who that person in the reflection is. She’s much older than I am and she sort of looks my mother or an aunt or some distant cousin.

    18. QualityControlFreak*

      Interesting question. I’m old and grey and too skinny, but I’m strong, fit and flexible. Most of the time I’m reasonably well groomed, but my self esteem isn’t really based on how I look to other people. Sometimes I look haggard and I don’t like that. It’s been a rough road of late and I see that in my reflection.

    19. Nic*

      These days, yes.

      There was a time where I avoided mirrors specifically because I hated what (and who) I saw when I looked in them. I’d look and see someone who I didn’t recognize, who had let down childhood me so badly, and I’d be angry and sad and hurt all at once.

      It took a long time, but through changing both the things I didn’t like about myself and the way I talked to myself I’ve gotten to the point where I enjoy looking in the mirror and seeing what I’ve become.

      I feel like it’s an artist looking at a statue taking shape from a lump of clay. It’s not perfect, but it’s getting better, and there is beauty even in the flaws.

    20. Never Nicky*

      There’s an old Del Amitri song with the refrain “Look into the mirror, do you recognise someone? Is it who you always hoped you’d become, when you were young?” and it goes through my head a lit if I look for more than a passing gaze in the mirror.

      And the answer to that now is yes – which for all of my twenties and some of my thirties wasn’t the case. I am in a good place now, love my job and it gives me a sense of doing some good in the world, my partner is the right one for me, I have great relationships with family and friends and I feel that I have accomplished something in my life.

      Appearance wise? I am what I am. Short, fat, curly haired and middle aged. And that’s fine too.

    21. Jen RO*

      I don’t dislike it, I guess? Sometimes I think I look good, sometimes I think I look shit, most time I just look like me (nothing special, but I’m used to my flaws).

    22. Bryce*

      It took me a long time to learn to look in the mirror without flinching, but it feels SO good to do now. Major step in managing my depression. Sure I got things I’m not proud of (my teeth) and others I wouldn’t be sad to change (I carry a lot of weight in my face, though I also carry it everywhere else) but it’s my face and my body and that was never really the reason I had difficulty.

    23. Caro in the UK*

      Nope. I do my makeup at the edge of the mirror (only showing the bit I’m doing at that particular moment). I actually can’t remember the last time I looked at my whole face in the mirror, it’s just depressing :(

    24. Jules the First*

      I try not to like or dislike what’s in the mirror- it’s me, and the most important thing is that I *feel* present and at home in my body.

      This is something my therapist recommended when I was a teenager with a disfiguring skin condition – it’s almost entirely healed now, but I still have hang ups over the scars.

    25. Elizabeth West*

      Sometimes I look and think, “Damn I’m still pretty good-looking; somebody awesome should hit that.” Other times, it’s more like “Just shoot me now.”

      At least I can actually DO it now. For a long time, I literally could not look at myself. I would look at bits and pieces, like certain items of clothing, but not at myself as a whole.

    26. LizB*

      I’m trying to. It’s a process. I’ve gotten to a point where mostly I like what I see, but there’s the little voice in the back of my head going “Okay, but other people have higher standards than you do, nobody else thinks this is an okay way to look.” Now trying to shut that voice down/not care even if it is true.

      I was recently looking through some journals from my adolescence and found an “all about me” page where in 6th or 7th grade I had filled in the prompt “I weigh ____ lbs” with “too many,” which I know from looking at photos (and remembering that the actual number would have been around 120) was just patently untrue. And I just felt so sad for the girl I was then, who hated herself so much for absolutely no effing reason. What could those years have been like if I hadn’t been taught I needed to spend so much energy obsessing about my weight? What choices would I have made differently if I had been happy with the body I was living in and trusted that other people could love it and me? I’ve lost too much of my life to fighting myself. I don’t want to do that anymore.

    27. Mallory Janis Ian*

      It’s funny: I feel more confident now when I look in the mirror than I did when I was younger and objectively better-looking. I’m older, I’ve gained weight, and I’m more natural / less high-maintenance in my presentation. I think part of it is leftover self-confidence from always being told I was pretty as a little girl and a babe as a teenager / young adult, and part of it is that I feel so much better now that my look is more about how much (or little) effort I want to put in, versus working my ass off to present myself to meet some outside standard. Not that I’m free from wanting other people to find me attractive; just that it’s a whole lot less effort to accept validation from the ones who like my look the way I, myself, like it.

    28. Fenchurch*

      I am lucky to be able to say yes. Most of the time I am happy with how I look. My face has never bothered me, but sometimes my body creeps up and slaps me in the face with looking more flabby and curvaceous than usual. Those days can be rough.

      But overall I am happy, and I am blessed with a partner who constantly reaffirms me.

  17. nep*

    Started what looks like a regular period yesterday — a mere 16 days into my cycle. Usually start on day 27 or 28. Reckon just another feature of life as I approach the pause. (I’ve read that an early period can also be triggered by stress or other things.)
    Not complaining, as I’m healthy and grateful for that. Just — I’ll be so glad to be done with all this.

    1. only acting normal*

      My clockwork cycle became wildly erratic (for me) a couple of years ago. I thought it might be peri-menopause too, but turned out to be low ferritin levels, and some iron supplements levelled me out again. Lucky, as regularity is the only positive thing my cycle has going for it!
      Just something for consideration – as it’s usually a fairly easy diagnosis and fix.

    2. nonprofit manager*

      This happened to me a few times a couple of years ago. I now appear to be very close to the pause; it’s been almost 10 months since my last period. I would only suggest mentioning it to your OB/GYN on your next visit to make sure it’s not a sign of any problem.

      1. selenejmr*

        I was at 9 months, 21 days, then bam! period. Then 3 weeks later another one. Hoping that is the last one.

        1. Rebecca*

          Me too, I was on depo for other issues, so at age 53 (on my birthday) I had my last shot. 9 months later, a full period! Then nothing for 2 months, then a period…then 1 each month on the dot for 3 months…then 2 months…then 3 in a row…and now I skipped 3 months, and had a very light almost non-period for 5 days. I hope it soon stops! I have to carry feminine hygiene stuff with me everywhere I go, since I have no idea when it will hit, and I started to carry an extra pair of underwear too. GO AWAY!! You have done your duty. It’s time to stop. I’m keeping track for my doctor’s office but they said it will run its course in due time. Sighs.

  18. Yada yada...ya*

    On the subject of blogging: I’m quite interested in writing, but don’t really have a focus area at the moment, and not all that familiar with the blogosphere in general…so I was wondering, are there any topic areas that are truly ‘saturated’ with blogs now?

    (Like…pretty much any photo blog featuring avocado or the like…)

    1. The Other Dawn*

      I blog, but it’s not really focused on anything but me. I like it, though, because I just write whatever I feel like writing and I’m actively trying to grow a big audience.

      I don’t read a lot of blogs, but I do feel like food blogging is just really over saturated.

    2. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Personal finance feels somewhat saturated, although there are a ton of sub topics that could be covered.

      I think it depends on if you want it as a creative outlet, something to make money, or both. I have a friend who writes on obscure UK import albums from the post punk era of ONLY 1978-1985 or so (postpunkmonk, which is the greatest name ever). He has a small following and doesn’t monetize his site or anything, its just a labor of love and a creative outlet for him. Its almost refreshing not to see the standard “how to blog” “income reports” and other slick photography on a blog!

      Writing tends to beget writing – why not just get a blog up and running and start writing? Even if its just ramblings in your head?

    3. Ego Chamber*

      “are there any topic areas that are truly ‘saturated’ with blogs now?”

      This is the internet: everything is truly saturated, almost by design. The thing about that is it doesn’t matter if you’re the millionth photoblog featuring hawt avocado-on-avocado action, as long as 1) your style is compelling, and 2) people can find you. Like they said in a softer world, “We are all fucked and we are all saved.” (the comic is linked in my name on this one because a softer world was consistently genius and I’m sad it’s over)

      Do whatever you want, because you’ll be more interested in something you want to do than in something that seems “marketable,” and if you spend years on it and it never goes anywhere, you won’t be resentful the same way you would be if you’d spent all that time on something you didn’t even like, you know?

  19. Keira*

    When it comes to online dating, how much of a time investment is it? (Part of the reason I’m considering it is due to being time-poor at the moment – and might be for a while yet).

    I realise it must come down to individual choice, but for those who’ve done it, what is the minimum time you need to make it in any way meaningful? Just in terms of communication and the like? Not even including the in-person meetings, but how much time would you spend on, say, messaging matches etc?

    1. Aurora Leigh*

      It does really come down to individual choice.

      I had a friend who put hours a day into it. She was on multiple sites, etc. She really wanted to meet someone to settle down with within a year and she was determined to meet as many people as possible and do all the the things lol. To be fair it worked out for her.

      Me . . . I put an hour or two into crafting a good profile and finding a handful of pictures and then only checked occasionally. I also didn’t pay anything until there was someone I wanted to message, so I didn’t feel like I needed to be making contacts to get my money’s worth. And it worked for me! I met a great guy and we’ve been together almost 6 months now. :)

    2. Librarian of the North*

      Super individual based not just on yourself but your matches. There’s some guys I put hours of communication into that didn’t work out or went nowhere. My Husband and I exchanged maybe a dozen messages before we met up. Total pre-date investment in him to my memory was like 30 minutes.

    3. HannahS*

      Very much a personal choice. I’d say that I spent maybe an hour and a half a week on messages? But I don’t think I did it right. Women tend to get inundated with “hey babe you up” kind of messages, so I wish I’d spent more time seeking out men and initiating than trying to keep up with politely rejecting people who hadn’t thoroughly read my profile.

    4. No, please*

      I have a strange step mother-in-law and FIL. SMIL has no kids of her own and is the youngest child of an immigrant family. As far as I know she has no family in the US besides my FIL and us. She has said things about our toddler that really make me wonder if she’s was just born an adult, or never had a real childhood herself? Famous family quotes include “Do you think he can think?”, and “If you don’t cut his hair he’ll be cross-eyed!” When they fly out to see us they can’t understand why our two year old doesn’t want to (forcibly) hug them or be tickled. They also refuse to spend time with us that isn’t at the dinner hour. They fly from CA to TX just for dinner, at least that’s how it seems. No two year old wants to sit in a restaurant for a long family visit. We have explained this repeatedly, but what do we know? They send gifts that are dangerous for toddlers, like metal toys with sharp edges and tiny, bite sized pieces. When they ask if he liked his gift we just say yes because past attempts of explaining toys that are safe just go in one ear and out of the other. I love my mother in law (luckily) and absolutely understand she divorced my FIL. He was drunk for most of my husbands upbringing and has no real memory of what small children really want or need. He’s sober now and not a bad guy, just not really grandpa material. I can also tell he’s a chauvinist so I just stick to small talk. My dads been dead for five years and I wish my son could have known him. My dad loved young kids and understood how their minds work.

    5. Stellaaaaa*

      I think you need to go into it expecting that you’ll get out of it whatever you put into it. If you don’t have a lot of time for dating or for investing in a potential relationship, that’s going to close a lot of doors and might make you frustrated with the process. Your situation is 100% reasonable, but it’s also understandable that people who want relationships aren’t going to be thrilled to find out that this isn’t great timing for you. If you don’t have a lot of time for dating, you’re going to match best with people who also don’t have a lot of time for dating. Personally, if I match with a guy and he tells me that he’s too busy to date in a pre-serious way, I wonder why he’s on dating sites and actively looking for women. That’s actually the reason I stopped using dating sites. Too many people using it “just to see what’s out there” but not able or interested in real dating. I don’t know if any of this is helpful, but if you were wondering if dating sites a worth it for people who don’t have time for serious relationships, there you have it.

      With online dating, my sense is that if it’s going to work for you, you’ll know pretty quickly. If you go a month without any decent matches, it’s not for you. It’ll just frustrate you if you keep seeing bad matches and flaky people.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      I had no luck with it at all. But I’m guessing that has more to do with where I live–my target demographic during the time I was giving it the most effort tends to already be married or taken here. I mean, everybody gets married at like, twelve. There are far more single women than men and the single men tend to either be college age or they look like Santa.

  20. anon24*

    Anyone want to share your crazy in-law stories? Or if your family was the crazy in-laws? Been a lot of family drama lately and I’d love to hear about other people’s craziness!

    1. the gold digger*

      If I may be so bold as to refer you to my blog (link in my name – the gold digger), which is almost exclusively about my crazy in-laws (threatened to boycott our wedding, told my husband I was a Bad Bacon- Eater, threatened suicide when my husband said he wasn’t coming for Christmas, threatened to disinherit my husband if he didn’t Get [Me] In Line – he didn’t and they did, left porn and sex equipment and photos of themselves naked with the equipment for my husband to find after they died, etc, etc, etc.)

      1. anon24*

        Oh boy!

        *rubs hands together while giggling maniacally*

        I bookmarked your blog. I know what I’m doing tomorrow while I’m hanging out at home :)

    2. Librarian of the North*

      I am SO here for this. Don’t even know where to start… I have a 6 month old baby and my MIL has always been an overly dramatic narcissist but the birth of our child has really ramped it up. Here’s a few things that have happened since we announced I was pregnant.
      – Told me 5 times in one visit she wasn’t excited for us because I could lose the baby (I was not high risk)
      – Tried to convince her side of the family they weren’t invited to our coed baby shower so she could plan her own
      – Stalked us while I was in labour calling everyone she knows who knows me to find out where I was
      – Attempted to feed my then 4 month old iced coffee
      – Multiple times has called herself “Mommy” to the baby and says the baby looks so much like my husband that sometimes she gets confused and thinks the baby is him
      – When we postponed Easter a few days because we didn’t want to take our 6 week old baby out in a blizzard she literally sobbed that she couldn’t believe we “could do this to her.”
      – Asked if my 5 day old baby was on a schedule and called my Husband to “get me in line” when she questioned my parenting (again, of my 5 day old baby) and I told her I have it under control
      There’s so much more.

      1. SouthernLadybug*

        I am so sorry. I’m impressed you aren’t writing this from jail. I would not have reacted well to a lot of that.

        1. Librarian of the North*

          Thank you. We’ve been to couple’s counselling over how to deal with her and I have upcoming therapy on my own as well. It is truly never ending.

        2. nep*

          ‘I’m impressed you aren’t writing this from jail.’
          I just want to say — that is quite a clever and funny line.

        3. nep*

          By the way, Librarian — not at all to make light of your situation. It sounds awful. Just appreciating SouthernLadybug’s line.

    3. anon because...MIL*

      I highly recommend JustnoMIL on Reddit for these stories! My in laws are pretty annoying, particularly my MIL. Basically her whole identity is wrapped up in being a mom, so when her kids grew up and moved out she still wanted to control their lives. Husband went along with it (path of least resistance, basically) until I came into the picture and told him that his mom calling the shots was going to be a dealbreaker for me. You will probably not be surprised to hear that I’m not her favorite person.

      Things she has done since we got together – went and peeked in the windows of houses we were considering purchasing, because she picked out his first house and was upset we didn’t bring her along to do the same this time. Tried to pick our color scheme/decor for the new house. Wanted input on the kids names and made her dislike for our youngest child’s name known. Made lots of snotty comments about how our wedding was too fancy (it was only semi formal…she was mad we didn’t have a casual backyard BBQ wedding like her daughter because everything her daughter does is the best.) She tried to sneak into the delivery room and kept texting my husband complaining it was taking too long (even though we’d told her not to come yet) and snuck in to take pictures of my husband after he changed into his scrubs (while I was in the OR sobbing for him as they prepped me for an emergency c-section – I hate those pictures.) Says I’m too strict with my kids. Lied to me and let her dog with a history of biting/attacking around my kid when I left the room for a second – and he did get bit, thank god not badly.

      Personality-wise…well, besides being a control freak, she’s also bigoted. Says she can’t help it because she grew up in a small town. Every time we go out to eat she finds things to complain about to try to get a discount. She’s always arguing with cashiers over coupons she wants to use in ways that are clearly not allowed. That kind of annoying.

      And she majorly plays favorites. Since her daughter is the favorite child, her daughter’s kids are the favorite too. The oldest is awful – he once beat the crap out of a little kid for no reason and told us he likes hurting people. He tells my kids he hates them and they should never come over. Calls my two year old a stupid baby. Throws things. Growls and hisses at adults for looking at him. When I try to make conversation he calls me annoying and says to stop talking. Yet he is the favorite and she’s constantly taking him on special trips and sees him almost every single day. Meanwhile she always tells my oldest that she’s busy when he asks to see her (even though after she does finally see him she always raves about how good and polite he is.)

      Wow. That was a lot. I will sum this all up by saying we don’t see my in laws too much.

    4. AnotherAlison*

      I’ll go toe-to-toe with anyone on crazy in-laws (except maybe gold digger). The good thing about mine is they live nowhere near me, and we don’t have a whole lot of contact with them. That’s the only good thing.

      My MIL has been divorced 7 times. She is 63, lives in a trailer that her sister owns and she can barely pay lot rent. She was a legal secretary for her career, but has been un- or under-employed for the last 10 years and has nothing now. She had a condo that she bought for $165,000 in the 90s, took out all the equity ($400k) pre-recession, and lost it in the recession. Separately, she has declared bankruptcy twice. So, I worry that if anything happens to her sister, she will end up with us. She has nothing.

      MIL put my SIL in foster care when she was a young teenager, and when my husband was 16, MIL moved from NY to FL and didn’t take him with her. He went to his dad’s for a couple months, that didn’t work out, and he ended up living with his aunt and uncle in the mid-west, where we still live now. (Aunt and Uncle and all his cousins moved to FL in the late 1990s.)

      His mom and dad were divorced when he was 2, and his dad got remarried to the classic evil stepmom. There is a story about the time my husband and his sister were at his dad’s, got picked up by his mom at a strip mall, and when they had to go back to get a forgotten backpack, the stepkids were getting treated to ice cream. That was just one small thing, but the stepmom would never treat him and his sister nicely. The stepbrother was the oldest and biggest and allowed to hold my husband down and beat him.

      His dad got divorced a couple years ago (after 30+ yrs marriage), and is now marrying a woman who is my SIL’s age. She has two kids, and the youngest is 13 (same age as MY youngest son) and is bipolar. That family lived with the girlfriend’s parents before, so obviously a very successful situation. My FIL also has nothing. Anything he did have had a big payment on it, and he had to split stuff up in the divorce. Please don’t let these people end up living with me.

      My SIL is a piece of work herself. She has 3 daughters, by 3 different dads, who are in their early 20s now. Two are strippers, and the middle one had her first kid when she was 15. (My SIL had her oldest when she was 16). One of the dads is in prison for drug dealing. SIL was married to a guy later who was a liar. He had about 7 previous kids she didn’t know about. Things ended after she found out he was picking up prostitutes, but they were together for almost 10 years. They actually never got divorced, but he got eye cancer and died a couple years ago. She’s now dating a guy who has a really weird life story. He retired at 50 because he inherited a bunch of money from a grandma that he never even met, who lived in the backwoods of VA with no electricity, and had a good job at AT&T and put all her money in the bank. Only, this guy and my SIL have been together about 5 years and break up every year because he can’t deal with her “previous lifestyle.” Then he gets over it and they get back together.

      Then, my husband has a half-brother who is in prison. He’s a disgusting person.

      My own family is just normal crazy. I’m not sure how I ended up with those people.

    5. Obi-wan's wife*

      Oh gosh. All I can add is those of you with MIL problems, just pray daily they don’t get dementia? Husband was only surviving child when MIL got diagnosed, yet she’d had it a while. Spent every penny she had and only received $675 in SS a month. We had to take her in. It was the most difficult 5 years of my life. Daily accusations of me trying to poison her food, that there was a man trying to break into the house to kill her and the inability to do basic needs for herself made me so depressed. It’s not that I couldn’t suck it up and help her, I did. But it’s not even close to caring for a child. Children want help. She was sure I had it out for her. With my husband gone at work more than full time it was really difficult.

      It’s not for the feint of heart. Make sure your parents and in-laws have forward looking plans to care for themselves in the future!

      1. Julianne*

        Oh, that’s hard, I’m sorry you had to go through that. My grandmother also had some paranoia as part of her dementia, with my uncle (her youngest daughter’s husband) as the target. We didn’t know how common this type of thinking was at the time, which made it much harder on my aunt and uncle and their kids – it’s not that the rest of the family believed that Uncle Fergus was trying to kill Grandma, of course, we just really didn’t know how to respond at all. There are some sporadic cases of dementia on the other side of the family as well, with both grandparents still alive in their early 90s, and we’re bracing ourselves for what may be coming up.

      2. Julia Gulia*

        The worst is caring for someone with dementia who was previously a sh!tty person. My physically abusive FIL now has Alzheimer’s, and I’m convinced that the disease only makes you more of who you already were. At least he’s wasted away enough that we can overpower him when he starts to swing.

    6. Ermintrude Mulholland*

      FIL after the birth of our child swore at me as I was in the depths of pnd because I told my SIL her advice wasn’t helping and lectured me about what a good mum she was.
      Came to child’s christening and told endless ‘hilarious ‘ stories of hb’s childhood which were essentially all degrading and utterly disrespectful.
      Seems to think he is the best dad in the world who would never let his kids suffer – ignores the fact that when hb was at university, he was so poor he had to eat cardboard…

    7. No, please*

      I have a strange step mother-in-law and FIL. SMIL has no kids of her own and is the youngest child of an immigrant family. As far as I know she has no family in the US besides my FIL and us. She has said things about our toddler that really make me wonder if she’s was just born an adult, or never had a real childhood herself? Famous family quotes include “Do you think he can think?”, and “If you don’t cut his hair he’ll be cross-eyed!” When they fly out to see us they can’t understand why our two year old doesn’t want to (forcibly) hug them or be tickled. They also refuse to spend time with us that isn’t at the dinner hour. They fly from CA to TX just for dinner, at least that’s how it seems. No two year old wants to sit in a restaurant for a long family visit. We have explained this repeatedly, but what do we know? They send gifts that are dangerous for toddlers, like metal toys with sharp edges and tiny, bite sized pieces. When they ask if he liked his gift we just say yes because past attempts of explaining toys that are safe just go in one ear and out of the other. I love my mother in law (luckily) and absolutely understand she divorced my FIL. He was drunk for most of my husbands upbringing and has no real memory of what small children really want or need. He’s sober now and not a bad guy, just not really grandpa material. I can also tell he’s a chauvinist so I just stick to small talk. My dads been dead for five years and I wish my son could have known him. My dad loved young kids and understood how their minds work.

    8. Temperance*

      I have shared here before the story about my FIL throwing on a suit and handing out his resume to anyone who looked important, so I’ll admit openly that my family is the crazy one.

      My mom is mentally ill and as part of that, she sort of sees herself as #1 in her children’s lives. Like, to the point of telling my sister not to get married when she was pregnant so the baby could “be part of our family” and she could raise it. Or telling me and other people, INCLUDING HIS MOTHER, that Booth wouldn’t marry me because I drove him to drink and made him an alcoholic. (I didn’t, he’s not … we just drink, and my mother is a teetotaler because my grandmother is one.) She’s done other stuff that is wacky, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    9. Essie*

      My MIL was a manipulative narcissist who enjoyed every second of having a long-term, incurable disease. She refused to let her children go to college more than 30 minutes away and flipped out if they even thought about moving out of town, because they all had to be around to wait on her hand and foot and pay homage to her at all times. She destroyed the careers of two of her children by refusing to allow them to move for specialty training, and they were so brainwashed from their upbringing that they wouldn’t go against her wishes.

      Every disagreement was “won” by her claiming she should get whatever she wanted due to her illness. The best incident (from an anecdote perspective) was when my husband was planning to cook dinner and she wanted a more difficult, time-consuming meal. They argued and she proclaimed “I could die tomorrow, so you better make me roast beef.” She didn’t develop serious complications under more than a decade after that incident.

      Angels sang when that b!tch dropped dead.

    10. Anon-in-law*

      My sister in law is pretty bad. Highlights include over excited screaming in my face at our wedding (once I can put down as error in judgement the second was after I’d told her not to do it). Informing my husband of the gifts we should buy for her and her husband, we did not request this information and the gifts were 2-3x our budget. Telling us to bring the receipt for the gift we’d bought because it was “wrong” i.e. not the gift she’d told us to buy. There’s more, basically until I can along everyone just did what she told them to, her parents still do.
      My parents in law just have zero boundaries which is why they are no longer welcome in my house. A nail in the coffin was arranging a family celebration without asking if we were available (we weren’t) then moving it because another family member couldn’t make it and not telling us the new date. They are also all totally conflict avoidant (hence giving in to SIL) so they never ask my husband why we don’t visit/invite them.

  21. Rebecca*

    I’m heading off to my parent’s house, and keeping my fingers crossed the rain stays to the south so I can get 3 of my Dad’s tractors out. With any luck, I’m going to figure out the shift pattern on the Farmall F14, and get the Case and Allis Chalmers (all pre 1950) started and hopefully take them for a short drive down the field and back. A family looked at the Case this week, but I haven’t gotten an answer as to whether they’ll be buying it or not. I’m hoping to sell them this summer. And don’t laugh, I may wear a helmet when I do this, just in case.

    Mom needs gas in her new car, so I have to do that for her today. She still won’t pump gas, and we don’t have full service here. Sighs.

    1. Obi-wan's wife*

      Good luck with the tractor sales! My husband would end up buying one if we were close.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Not laughing about the helmet thing. That is really smart. My friend had a ’48 Farmall and man that thing would bounce the driver around like a ping-pong ball. Plus sitting six feet up in the air. We have come a long way in establishing routine safety features.

      Pumping gas. In my state everyone pretty much pumps their own. But I do know that some places are empathetic with people who have a difficult time doing this. Perhaps you could talk to a manager of a local station and ask if his crew could pump gas for your mother. I think that convenience stores would be most likely to say yes, but it’s worth a shot anywhere. It’d have to be a convenience store with more than one person on duty at a given time.

      Good luck with your sales. I hope that moves right along for you.

  22. Bloop*

    My university has decided that my service dog can’t be in any campus buildings last semester because a student falsely claimed my dog bit him. This has lead to me being hospitalized on and off during the end of the semester and being forced out of my housing. I’m settled in a new apartment, weekly therapy sessions, and have trained intensively with my dog.

    Since the Fall semester is starting soon, I’ve reached back out to talk to the university about my dog returning. It hasn’t gone very well. They keep saying that my dog has a history of biting students. So I’m putting in on this labor to get this done when basically everyone agrees, as my therapist put it, “They’re really f****** you over.”

    (So validating to hear that.)

    In my session today we addressed the idea of me taking a semester off as I will have to do if the school continues to ban my service dog from campus. It was a really difficult conversation. I’m hurting and exhausted at the prospect of returning to school and… I just don’t know.

    1. nep*

      Sorry you’re having to face this.
      What were the circumstances of that alleged biting incident? On what is the university basing its claim that your dog has a history of biting people?

      1. Bloop*

        I’m not at all comfortable answering the first question because of the identifying details involved. If this is ever linked back to me I want to maintain plausible deniability that this isn’t actually about my circumstances.

        As for the second one – campus security observed, on several occasions, my dog playing with other students while not vested. (This is also a campus where a lot of people come to just walk there dogs because it’s very beautiful with a lot of good walking paths.) Combined with the one alleged incident is where they are getting the idea that he has a history of biting.

        1. AfterBurner313*

          I don’t know what when down with the bite issue. I’m guessing there is either campus police report and or ER report. For a “bite”, it doesn’t have to look like a shark wound, it can be scratches from the dog’s teeth. It has to break the skin (a scratch is a skin break). That is enough to sue. No, I am not kidding. Legally you have to be in control of your animal at all times, and this includes a leash.

          For your dog to not be vested and playing (was it off leash?) the university has a very good claim your dog is really not a service animal. The bonus round is the alleged bite. Like I said before, this doesn’t have to be a need 18 stitches bite. It could be a bruise and a scrap that broke the skin.

          The liability of you not “keeping your dog under control”, and them getting sued trumps you need this PARTICULAR dog. What will most likely shake out is…

          Yes you can have a service dog.
          It must be vested and leashed (harnessed) while on any campus facility.
          It can not be this PARTICULAR dog.

          If you received this dog from a company that has a long tracker record training services dogs, I would contact them ASAP. Maybe you can “swap” the dog out if push comes to shove. Maybe you can find a local person and work with them, and it will give you a sliver of a chance.

          If the dog is one you picked, then yourself trained, it will be an uphill battle. The letting the dog playing, when it should be working in public really sank your chances with university.

          A family friend has an autism service dog for her son. They are fanatical about it not being petted and interacting with in public. The dog is a working dog. The dog does get down time, but the down time is with another family member taking him out.

          I have a feeling it is more the dog not actually working, but playing on campus that is causing the problem than the bite. You could have taken the dog to a city dog park, and the university wouldn’t have cared. The fact you asked for an accommodation, and weren’t following standard protocol is why they are questioning in the dog.

          A service dog is a working dog. You need the dog while being on campus. A service dog needs to be vested and working since you need this accommodation on campus. While campus, the dog wasn’t vested and was interacting with the public (a huge no for service dogs). This why the university has their diapers in a wad. The alleged bite is the bonus round.

          You may need to look for another dog.

          It is awful, but the university is playing hardball, and does have a case against this particular dog.

          Good luck.

          1. Bloop*

            No wound. Literally none. Dog is leashed at all times. Other dogs are allowed to play on campus.

            1. TL -*

              Other dogs aren’t working dogs, though. Presumably other dogs aren’t going to be allowed in classes and dining halls (except if you’re at A&M, but then it’s only Reveille)

              1. Bloop*

                Okay, so I live right next to campus, if my neighbors are allowed to take their dogs onto campus to walk them and play with them, then why am I not allowed to?

                1. TL -*

                  Because your dog is a working dog. You’re taking your dog to class and to the dining hall and to all these other places that other dogs aren’t allowed to go, so the optics of your dog being a working dog on campus, and never a pet, are really important. I can see how that might be a pickle if you live on campus but I think not blurring the lines between pet/service animal is really important.

                  Your dog sounds lovely and the bite thing sounds like bull (and I’m sorry they’re doing that to you!). I hope you and the university can work something out.

            2. AfterBurner313*

              You are misunderstanding. A service dog WORKS. My friend’s autism dog never ever plays or “acts like a pet” in public. Your dog (because it is an accommodation, not a pet) should not be interacting with people on campus. A good service dog/animal should almost be invisible to the general public.

              My BIL is a psychiatrist and does write the once in a while RX for a service dog. His minimum is the dog has the AKC Good Citizen certificate. At least the dog and the patient has gone through the obedience training, so the dog isn’t causing issues out in public. Also, the patient can control the dog. He’d much rather have the two work with a psychiatric service dog trainer, but that costs $$$.

              He also has the patient read the state guide lines for service animal accommodations. People can get confused on the rules. A service dog in an office setting can’t be playing catch/doing tricks/being a pet while you are at work. You can’t take it to the grassy area on company property to play fetch during lunch. Whatever job the service animal suppose to do for you, that is it.

              For the university to go death con 5 on a service animal, I wonder what paper trail they have against you, and who complained. Honestly, there is no up side for them to get involved. There has to be more than one person who complained about your dog. Prof, dorm mates who knows… If you have an attorney, that is probably where I would start. Who had a supposed axe to grind against you?

              I send you good vibes that everyone can work this out with minimal grief. The whole thing sounds like a nightmare.

            3. TL -*

              Wait. Did the dog bite someone (in play or otherwise?) on campus or is someone saying the dog bit them and your dog has never laid teeth on a person?

              Because a working dog who nips anyone while they’re supposed to be working is a big problem. And your dog should be working the entire time you’re on campus. Even if it was a play nip, during roughhousing, didn’t break the skin scenario – that shouldn’t happen with your dog on campus, ever.

                1. TL -*

                  Ugh. I’m sorry someone is being mean to your dog, then. That’s a horrible accusation to make to any innocent animal.

    2. bassclefchick*

      I briefly scanned the FAQ of the ADA website. Service animals generally can’t be banned from public spaces per the Department of Justice. The list did not specifically address biting, though. Is it possible for you to contact a lawyer who specializes in ADA disputes for a consultation?

      1. Bloop*

        I am working with a lawyer. Unfortunately we don’t want to University to know that at the moment so I still have to write all the responses, send it to her for approval, and then wait.

        The University should have gone through the court system to ban my dog from campus, however, we don’t want to sue over any of this because I don’t really have the choice of changing school because of my financial circumstances.

      2. Mimmy*

        A person with a service animal can be asked to leave a place that’s covered by the ADA if the animal poses a legitimate health or safety risk or has hurt another person. The document I’m referencing (from the ADA National Network, which has TONS of information on all things ADA) does not specifically address instances where there’s a history of inappropriate or dangerous behavior, as Bloop’s school is alleging, but it does say that if a service animal is excluded, the person with a disability should be offered the opportunity to obtain “goods, services and accommodations” without the animal present.

        This sounds like a difficult situation – Bloop, I really hope that this gets resolved fairly. Good luck!

        1. Bloop*

          Thank you so much for the support and well wishes.

          It is difficult because my disability is such that I can’t receive the services offered by the school without the dog. It would really suck for things to fall apart last minute when it comes to my return. But by the same token I’d kind of like to take a break from it. Figure out what kind of job I can do and would be good at. Breathe a little.

          It’s all just so uncertain.

    3. bunniferous*

      I do not know if this is an option, but would a muzzle worn on campus solve the dilemma?

      1. Bloop*

        Oh, once this is sorted he’s wearing a muzzle whenever we’re on campus. This was so messed up, total he said she. Service dog handler’s don’t usually muzzle their dogs because if they dog is aggressive it can be removed so the muzzle can be used against it and it generally gives off a bad impression of service dogs as a whole.

    4. Temperance*

      Bloop, why don’t you reach out to the Legal Clinic for the Disabled to see if they have any advice for you?

      1. Temperance*

        Alison, please feel free to remove my comment if this makes Bloop uncomfortable, since I recommended an org in the city where Bloop attends school.

        1. Bloop*

          I am working with a lawyer, and she’s been a hug help. Unfortunately the school’s in a position to hurt me even more so lawyer and I can’t even do much.

          (Also thank you Alison for being wonderful. And commentators for the support, I’ve been going through this for so long, and I just finally needed to say something.)

          1. Jessi*

            Bloop – could you do all of your classes remotely? many of my lectures were recorded and tons of the lectures put their slides/ notes up on the web. Could you ask for this to be done?

  23. CatCat*

    Has anyone here ever purchased property with more than one dwelling on it (like a duplex, or 2 buildings on one lot) to share with a relative? Is there something different about that process vs. buying a single dwelling? Other things to know/think about?

    I have a beloved aging relative with a single family home who lives in the same geographic area as me who wants to stay in the area, but wants to downgrade her living situation to a smaller place and have a smaller mortgage so she can travel more. She can afford a down payment on a place, but even with a sizeable down payment, she hasn’t found anything in the area that would give her much smaller of a mortgage. She’s thinking of moving out of state, but that is not her first choice and I also worry about her being very far away as she ages and may need more help.

    We could pay a mortgage for not more than our rent if we had a down payment, which we don’t, and her share of mortgage payments would be half what she’s paying now. So this may be a reasonable solution. Getting along with this relative is not an issue and we have a high level of trust. We’re in the early steps of exploring this possibility so I’d be interested in anyone’s insight into making a purchase like this.

    1. Anono-me*

      I would be concerned about the potential impact to your home you have a falling out or if the other person has to sell the property and you get an unpleasant neighbor.
      Especially as your relative is elderly and you are concerned about their health in the future and in the USA at least there are all sorts of rules about assets and nursing home benefits.

      Could your relative loan you the money for the down payment and rent 1/2 of the duplex from you. (Please be aware that you may need to use a local lending expert as this would be a more complex loan.)

      1. Optimistic Prime*

        If I were the relative in that situation, I would not necessarily agree to that arrangement. Even if I were close, me renting the duplex means I could be kicked out at any time – no protections for me staying in a place that I paid a significant proportion of.

        1. Anono-me*

          I apologize, I should have been more specific. I meant a legally binding loan something like a second mortgage, but called something else when it is for the down payment on a home.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            That could be hard to find. Many mortgage places do not like the fact that you are paying a separate loan for the down payment.

    2. Episkey*

      I never have personally, but I work for a real estate agent where we often have listings that have 2 buildings on one lot — a main house & a guest/coach house. We are in an affluent area, so often these are larger estate type homes. There is nothing different about the purchase other than the inspections might be more expensive if you would like both buildings inspected. Sometime our clients specify the extra building (the non-main home) is “as-is.”

      I can’t speak to duplex properties, though.

    3. WG*

      A family member purchased a duplex with a friend some years ago for the benefit of owning their own homes and not being at the whim of landlords. But neither had the financial resources to own their own home. It can be important to have written out who is responsible for what, how shared expenses such as property taxes are paid, what happens when one of them passes, etc.

      They did determine what the shared expenses are (trash pickup, taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc) and created a separate bank account that they each deposit a set amount into each month to ensure the funds are there when the bills come due. And they readjust the amount regularly as costs increase/change.

      They worked through a lawyer and put the property into a trust and the trust document covers the issues of what happens when one of them dies, so that neither set of heirs can push the other owner out of the property.

    4. C*

      Look to see if Lennar is building any NexGen houses in your area. There are multiple floor plans but it is a house with smaller attached unit. The attached unit has a separate entrance & a door to the main house so you can be as separate or as connected as you want. And the smaller unit has a kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedroom, etc. (And I believe all smaller units are on the first floor so it would be good for an aging relative.)

    5. Temperance*

      I would consider other possibilities before doing this. My MIL has done this with her parents, and their care has destroyed her life. It also limited her in many other ways, including being unable to relocate to live near her grandchildren or find a better job.

      If you want to have a family of your own or a partner, this is probably not a good scenario.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Get everything in writing and get a lawyer to help you.

      The problem is not between you and the dear family member. The problem is a) outsiders to this living arrangement that may have stake in her estate, this includes nieces and nephews and b) state laws.

      I assume that you all intend that if anything should happen to any of you, (heaven forbid) then the survivors will inherit the deceased share of the property.
      Problem 1. In NY for example, if there is no will then NY has a chart of who gets what percentage of the estate. Yes, our government distributes your estate for you if you have no will.
      Problem 2. If your family member has a catastrophic illness and corresponding medical bills a shared ownership in a piece of property might become a problem if you have not had a lawyer help you set this up to protect everyone’s interest. (Keep in mind, just because we are younger than some of our relatives does not guarantee that we will out live them. So your family member also needs protection if something happens to you.)

      When I was house hunting my father was still alive. I wanted a place for him to live during the winter as winters in his region were very harsh. At first I thought about a shared mortgage, for maybe five seconds. Given his setting that was not going to work. So I moved to the idea of him renting from us for a modest amount of money.
      Long story very short, what I ended up with was a modest house with a guest room, that other people could use also.
      I was very sad because of this outcome, it was not my dream. Then my father passed 14 months after we bought the house. If we had been dependent on his income to keep the house we would have been sunk right then.

      Everyone involved in this transaction should have an idea what they would do if one party is removed from the setting.
      I have a two thumbs up for the guest room idea, but you see my reasons for that bias.

  24. Aurora Leigh*

    Does anyone have tips for ways to fade acne scars without breaking the bank?

    From about age 13 on through college I had bad acne on my back and shoulders (the kind of acne that was painful and would burst on their own and bleed . . .it was gross!). Anyway, 12 years since my skin troubles started, things are finally settling down. I still have monthly breakouts, but they’re just normal run of the mill zits. But as you would expect, my back is pretty scarred from the past decade. I’d like to try to start fading the marks if possible, but I don’t want to spend a lot of money.

    Thanks for any tips!

    1. fposte*

      If they’re actual scars, there’s nothing OTC that will provably do it (even Mederma and Vitamin E don’t survive double-blinded tests); the pigmentation isn’t a separate issue from the scarring. But it wouldn’t hurt to talk to a derm about possible treatments just to see what the cost is, and then you can start investigating likely results and whether it would be worth it to you.

    2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Yeah, I agree with going to a dermatologist. I have have a skin condition (no one is sure what it is, other than severely dry skin, that scales and peels if untreated), and I never got treatment for it as a kid cause my mom was just like “why go to a dermatologist? It’ll be expensive, and all they’ll do is prescribe an expensive cream.” Finally went to see one when I was thirty(!) and turns out, they prescribed a steroid cream that costs like $7 for two tubes every couple of months. I hate that I waited so long… a lot of prescription skin stuff is really old and the generics are cheap. Good luck!

      1. Clever Name*

        Ugh. My almost ex husband is like this. “Why should I go to the doctor? They’ll just tell me I have what I’ve already decided I have based on an internet search and it will be a waste of money” funnily enough, since he’s not a doctor, he’s usually wrong about what he thinks he has.

    3. blackcat*

      Can you reach many of the scars? And/or do you have a close friend/roommate/SO that would be okay touching your scars? One of the most effective ways to reduce scar tissue is regular, firm rubbing. This will particularly help if the scars are raised.

    4. Cruciatus*

      So, these probably aren’t the cheap options you were hoping for, but this happened to pop up in my Facebook feed today: http://www.self.com/gallery/5-types-of-acne-scars-and-how-to-treat-them?mbid=social_facebook

      Based on that article it kind of looks like a dermatologist is your best and safest bet. The article seems mostly focused on the face, but I (admittedly not a doctor) don’t see why some of that advice couldn’t also be for other areas of the body. When I visited one years ago (for cystic acne) it really wasn’t too bad money wise. The worst part was trying to get into one. I think I had to wait 3 months. Insurance paid a portion of it and the price for the creams and other things I used was also not bad and lasted a long time. It might be worth it just to talk with one!

    5. Jules the First*

      I don’t have any specific suggestions, but I wanted to weigh in from ten years down the line and say that time, sunshine, and a good moisturiser will do wonders. I had a disfiguring skin condition from the age of 12 until my mid-twenties (the kind of thing that bleeds at the drop of a hat and left me with full-thickness scars when we finally got it under control) and ten years on no one believes me anymore when I tell that story.

      I can still spot the scars, but you’d have to know me really, really well to see where they were and while I’m not totally unselfconscious in a bikini these days, I’m told I have no reason to be nervous about it.

    6. TheTallestOneEver*

      Check out the skin products on the Makeup Artists Choice site. I love that they sell samples so you can test products before you fully commit to anything. If you send an email to them with your skin concerns, they’ll make recommendations for you.

  25. ThatGirl*

    I had a very good first week at my new job, and my husband is gone for the weekend so I can do whatever I want and have some money to do it! My plan is pedicure, dinner with a friend and cocktails… But we’ll see where the day leads :)

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Congratulations! And enjoy your weekend– I love having my boyfriend around, but it can be soooo relaxing when I have a day or two to do only what *I* want. :)

      1. ThatGirl*

        I love my husband and enjoy spending time with him but sometimes being alone is just nice. And he’s with his best friend so we’re both having fun.

  26. Emily*

    I broke two bones in my left hand this week – oops! I tripped while playing sports (ultimate frisbee) and landed on it in a weird way. Although I could tell something was wrong, I hoped it was a sprain.

    On the upside, I’m not in much pain and I only have to wear a cast for three weeks, assuming nothing else goes wrong. And the cast is waterproof, so I am allowed (even encouraged!) to shower with it and even go swimming, if I’d like. This injury feels like small potatoes compared to the time I tore my ACL.

    1. DeLurkee*

      Sorry to hear you’re injured! I had a sprained wrist and messed up a tendon for a while too, and I know how it impacts your daily life while it heals. Wishing you a speedy and comfortable recovery!

  27. EA*

    Hi all,

    I’ve posted a lot about getting rejected from rescues and we finally got a dog! She is around 2. We brought her home last night after meeting with her foster. The house training is going well. I can tell when she needs to go out after less than a day, and have been reading about taking her to the same place every time and rewarding her with treats. She pulls a lot on the leash and also mouths a little bit. Not aggressively, just to play, but it freaked me out a bit when she first did it. I know a lot of his is probably just exercising her enough and being in a new place. It seems like we can’t ever get her energy or so far. I’m taking her on walks and running with her. Anyone have any suggestions?

    1. fposte*

      That sounds great! I’m so glad you got a pup. I wouldn’t worry too much about the energy right now, since she’s not even been there for 24 hours–she’s almost certainly pretty wired by all the novelty. If there are behaviors that are an issue as a result of her energy, focus on the behaviors, preferably by arranging things so those behaviors can’t happen (aka, if she’s galloping around problematically, you can leash her in the house for a while, and it’s not too soon to start crate training her). Are there plans for obedience classes in the works?

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        What fposte said. We adopted our buf when he was 2, and he engaged in some minor puppyish behaviors for about two weeks before he settled in. He also got a bit anxious in our apartment at first and wanted to go outside all the time to explore. Enjoy the weekend anf just focud on getting used to each other. Congratulations!

        1. fposte*

          Is “buf” a phone-ism for “pup” or is this a formation from “boof” for “bark”? It works for me either way.

          1. Junior Dev*

            I use various pet names for my cat and sometimes they slip out when referring to other animals. Most common is “Bibi” for baby but I’m sure others come out too.

          2. AvonLady Barksdale*

            Hahaha!!! I usually mean “bud”, but obviously I was having Phone Issues. I was, oddly enough, at the vet, where my pup got FIVE SHOTS. I nearly cried. He is now at the bottle shop with his papa, enjoying life.

            Also, I refer to my dog has the following: Bud, Budlet, Goofus, Doofus, Woofus, Pumpkin, Pumpkin-Butt, Pumpis, Baby, Sweetpea, Goodboy, Boodle-Doodle, and… a whole bunch of other things. Plus his name. Boofles has, I believe, come up at some point.

            1. K-Stew*

              <3 I love your list of names! My husband & I call Roscoe, our Basset Hound: Roscoe Boscoe, Roscoe P. Coltraine, Roskies, Puppers, Bubby, Sweet Boy, Roscoe P. Hound, The Hound :)

    2. Natalie*

      Did the foster give you any info on how she is with other dogs? Assuming she isn’t dog-aggressive, in my experience humans cannot tire a dog out as much as their own kind can. Could be a dog park, doggie daycare, or just a friend’s reliable dog.

      And I second getting into dog school. Even if she has basic obedience down, there’s classes for more advanced behavior, tricks, and dog sports, and learning also generally uses a lot of their energy.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Chew toys are good for dissipating energy. I also use them for when the pup gets too mouthy with me. I redirect, “Where IS your toy?” It does not take long for them to figure out the word “toy” and it is more productive than say, “No. Stop. No. Stop.”
        I use a lot of redirects.

        If you have a sturdy carpet in a large room of your house you could get a soft toy to toss around. I say carpeted because dogs skid. Sometimes they skid and crash which can cause chiropractic injuries that are avoidable.

        For tugging on the leash, you could get a metal chain type leash OR I might try just dipping some vinegar on my finger and rubbing that down the cloth leash. My dogs all have hated vinegar. My current dog would get up on the counter and lick dirty dishes. He stopped once I started sprinkling them with vinegar.

        1. TL -*

          I wouldn’t get a metal chain for your dog – you can do some pretty severe damage to their throat.
          Instead, every time they pull on the leash, stop. Wait until they’re no longer pulling, then go forward. When they’re pulling again, stop. The goal is to teach them that any pressure on their throat means stop.

          1. Natalie*

            A gentle leader (face harness, basically) is also a good option. It takes a bit of knowledge to fit it properly and get your dog accustomed to it, but it’s very effective.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            Whoops. I can see how you got that out of what I said.
            I meant a metal leash attached to a normal collar.
            I use a walking harness for my dogs. It goes under their “arm pits” instead of putting tension on their throats. I do agree that stressing out their necks/throats is a good point for concern.

            My old dog would reach around and pull on the leash as if to walk ME, “come on, let’s go!, right now!” I changed to a metal leash so he would stop doing that but I kept the walking harness.

    3. Optimistic Prime*

      As for training – you just gotta figure out what the dog responds to. I adopted my dog at 10 months, and she was already mostly house trained but needed a little finishing. She is very treat-motivated but also very praise-motivated, so taking her to the same spot and praising her profusely and playing a little game was enough for her to learn.

      I got my dog an EasyWalk harness when I adopted her at 10 months. She also pulled like crazy, and she’s 60 lbs., so it wasn’t easy to control her. The EasyWalk harness works by tightening when the dog pulls and putting some uncomfortable (but not painful) pressure on their front. Basically, it’s a disincentive to pulling. My dog basically doesn’t pull at all now that she’s got the harness (only if there’s another dog nearby).

      Some dogs are just mouthy when they play and exercise alone isn’t going to stop that if that’s how she is. If you have concerns and want her to stop, you’re going to have to train her out of it. There are several techniques but most of them involve simply withdrawing from play every time (every time, every time – consistency is important) she mouths you and rewarding her whens she plays without mouthing.

      When I first got my dog (who is now 3.5) she had boundless amounts of energy. I could take her to the dog park for 2 hours and she’d be tired but still pretty alert. She’s mellowed out somewhat – she still has a lot of puppyish energy (she’s a Lab mix and people often mistake her for an adolescent puppy) but now long walks or an hour at the dog park is enough to tire her out.

    4. WG*

      Try using a sensation harness when walking. It puts the pressure on the dog’s weaker muscles, naturally and non-painfully taking the pull out of the dog. Collars and some harnesses put pressure on the strong muscles, which have an opposition reflex and help the dog really dig in and pull.

      Do consider at least one basic obedience class. Even though the dog is a few years old and most likely has some manners down, part of a good training course is to build the communication between you and the dog. Dogs don’t speak human and we have to learn how best to motivate them to behave the way we want them to. A good trainer can also provide tips for your specific issues, such as mouthing, within the scope of your situation.

      Congrats on finally finding a dog! They can be such great companions.

    5. Namast'ay in Bed*

      Congrats! For a pull-y puppy, I highly recommend a front lead harness. It attaches like a regular harness but connects to the leash in the front so that when the pup pulls, they end up twisting themselves around and not actually pulling on the leash. We use one on our pup and it had an almost instant effect and she no longer pulls even when on a regular leash.

  28. Loopy*

    Oh my gosh how can I not pay eleventy billion dollars for a super basic custom size frame?!

    I have this awesome Cirque du soleil poster I paid a dollar for but since it’s an off size I can’t figure out how to get even the most basic frame for under (or even around) 100 dollars! It’s super tall (26×50) but I just want something crazy basic and the entire internet is failing me.

    Does anyone out there know a way to get it hung without spending a fortune?! I’m going crazy trying to figure something out!

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      Could you find a framed picture that’s the same size in a thrift or junk shop and reuse the frame?

      1. Loopy*

        Sadly it’s a really bizarre size in height so I’ll keep an eye out but I don’t think I’ll have any luck.

      1. Loopy*

        So, today I stopped by and they had a 60% deal plus 10% off the sale price for custom frames. Seemed perfect! And it wasn’t busy and I had a great lady helping me but she couldn’t get it below 233 dollars! I was crazy clear on the fact I wasn’t going to be able to do it except for the absolute most basic options and I *think* she was really trying to get the price down.

        Really though?! 233 dollars at that big a discount?! For a basic black frame, no fancy glass, no matting…


        1. StrikingFalcon*

          Michaels marks their prices way up (about double) and then offers very high coupons. 60 + 10 is one of their better sales, which means that you actually likely got a relatively decent price quoted. (Source: used to work there. Other customers told me that for the area I was in, with the good coupons we had the best prices in the area)

          Some other options: Are you sure it’s an odd size for a poster? Standard sized posters are a different set of sizes from standard photos or paintings, and being Cirque du Soleil it may be a metric size. Check online to see if you can order one.

          Michaels sells (or at least did a few years ago) clip together frames where you picked four pieces and then assembled them into an odd sized frame. You can get a custom mat cut then, which isn’t too expensive since it’s just mat board. Coupons don’t apply to matting alone at Michaels though. You can also get a standard sized mat cut with a nonstandard sized hole, which will help with costs.

          If you’re concerned about UV fading, though, you have to put it behind UV protective glass. Regular glass won’t work, so off the shelf frames wouldn’t help even if it fit. Fortunately, you can buy that online too. There are places that sell custom sized protective glass. Don’t buy the glass alone from Michaels, it’s way over priced.

          You can do custom framing online too. Some will cut everything for you and send you the pieces (frame + mat + glass, not pieces of frames) to assemble, others you send the artwork to them and get it back framed. That will be cheaper than a store, but not super cheap.

          It’s expensive though because you get what you pay for. UV protective, non reflective glass, an acid free mat, and a solid wood frame is just going to cost a lot more than cheaper alternatives, but I’m sure that’s not what you’re looking for with a $1 print. I hope you can find something that works for you.

          1. Loopy*

            Thanks so much for the in depth answer! I’ll definitely have to regroup and make a new plan of attack (and seriously consider if it’s worth the budget). I thought this would be a quite easy bargain hunt, lol!

    2. fposte*

      If you want a real frame, that’s likely to get expensive just because frames are expensive, and 50″ is big, outside the 48″ standard premades and well outside the more usual 24-26″. I second Ramona Flowers’ idea of cannibalizing an existing frame–I actually did this with an ugly picture from K-mart once and turned the frame into a nice mirror. If you can decently wield a saw with a miter box you can probably cut it down yourself; I just used wood glue and flat brackets to reinforce the corners. If you’re prepared to get a little funky with paint or applique, you could actually combine two smaller frames and that might well be cheaper than finding one of the big size.

      1. Loopy*

        I think that might be my only option but I have no equipment and am definitely not savvy with that sort of stuff, especially the glass part. I also would prefer the UV glass which might have to be purchased.

        1. Pieforbreakfast*

          I did picture framing for 15 years.UV glass for something that size is going to be almost $100 itself.
          The cheapest solution would be to drymount the art on foamcore and put hangers on the back, this gets it on the wall without using tape or pushpins. The next step would be to add glass and a clip frame, (i.e. a “Uniframe”) which is a system or clips-and-string-in- tension that holds everything together. Again 50″ might be beyond the size for this. Plexiglass can’t be used in this system.
          If you want a basic frame that is low cost metal will be the option. Look for frame kits, you buy each size separately and put it together yourself which takes a screwdriver. I’m not sure 50″ pieces are available though. Color options will be minimal. Another option would be to be order just the metal pieces from a frame store and put it together at home, get the glass from a hardware store (won’t be UV) or plexiglass from a plastics store.
          You’ll need backing, cardboard is basic but highly acidic which will stain the art over time. Foamcore is a great choice, you can find 40″x60″ pieces in art supply stores, it is cut with a box knife. If the art isn’t attached to the backing it will wrinkle and move over time. To prevent this sprayglue works for DIY attaching, frame stores will drymount, but something this size probalby costs $40 just for that.

          1. Loopy*

            Thanks! This is really helpful! It looks like I just need to adjust my expectations and maybe do this gradually over time. But this knowledge will be super helpful going forward!

    3. OperaArt*

      How much would it cost to get a large matboard in a standard size, and get the inside cut to match your poster? I haven’t priced matboard in years.

      1. Loopy*

        Does that option not include glass? Im super worried about fading, unfortunately. So I want the UV glass. The frame can be cheap as heck though.

        1. Alston*

          I don’t know if you can just they the glass cut somewhere, but if you know anyone who does woodworking they might be able to make you a super basic frame cheaply.

    4. CAA*

      Have you tried framing4yourself.com? They don’t make it super easy to get a price on oversize frames, but if you click on “Looking for a bigger frame?” and follow the directions, they do work.

      1. Loopy*

        Thanks! Just the frame was almost 77 dollars which is not including board or glass.

        Gosh I feel naive going about this!

        1. LizB*

          Just wanted to say you are not alone in feeling naive. Until a few years ago, I mostly decorated with posters and photos that fit into basic cheap frames from target or ikea. The first time I went to go get something framed that was a slightly weird size, I was SHOCKED at how expensive it was. I had absolutely no concept of how pricy a decent frame could be, even with a really good sale at Michael’s.

          1. Loopy*

            Thank goodness it’s not just me. I’m 29 and so I was feeling way behind the curve.

    5. Colette*

      I believe frame shops can mount it for you. Last time I had it done, it was under $100. It’s not framed, but it looks good.

      1. Loopy*

        They gave me that option at Michaels! It was much cheaper but the room I want it in is so sunny that I’m sure it would fade very quickly without the UV glass. I think I’m looking for the impossible option here though.

    6. Jen*

      I’d buy a frame bigger than the poster and get a mat cut custom, that’s usually cheaper even if you pay for custom cutting instead of doing it yourself

      1. Loopy*

        I don’t think they have standard sizes bigger than the height unfortunately! That would be a good option.

    7. Halls of Montezuma*

      Amazon to the rescue – I haven’t checked that particular size, but I got a couple of weird size poster frames from Art to Frame for about $25 each. They’re basic, but they work just fine and look nice rather than cheap. You might have to play around with frame style and color to find good prices – they’re kind of random.

    8. anon24*

      Do you know anyone who woodworks as a hobby? My dad loves working with wood and jumps at any chance for a project so he’s always willing to make custom frames for me. He usually has wood and stain around so he doesn’t charge me anything for it, and if I want glass I call a local glass/window company and get a custom piece cut.

      1. Loopy*

        Oh I wish I did! But if someone mentions it, I’ll definitely have an ear out. Admittedly, my boss does but I am not going that route!

    9. Not So NewReader*

      I have been looking at mirrors. I found quite a few for less than $100 but the width has not been correct. The best width I have found is 24″ but the lengths were up to 68 inches. My thought was to take the mirror a part and reuse the frame. I don’t know if it would look right if you shaved 2 inches off the picture though.

      As far as UV glass. check around with window companies. Aim for someone who is a local (or near local) manufacturer.

      I have heard of people using decorative wall molding to make picture frames out of. I found some nice molding for $5 per 8 foot piece on a clearance table.

      1. Loopy*

        I like the mirror idea. I’ll have to look into how easy it is to convert a mirror to a frame!

    10. YouvwantmetodoWHAT?!*

      Just wanted to mention that you can use Michael’s coupons at Aaron Bros. They are ‘sister’ stores (same parent company). If you haven’t already, sign up to Michael’s, to get coupons, and wait for that semi-rare 60%.

  29. AnnaleighUK*

    Sometimes I wish I had an indoors hobby. There’s four of us that are currently soaked through and rather ticked off waiting to use the shower cuz we went for a run and it rained. It wasn’t meant to rain. I’m wet and cold and I look like a drowned spaniel. I want a cup of tea!

  30. periwinkle*

    During a recent business trip to St. Louis, the topic of frozen custard came up and all the local folks started debating the merits of their favorite spots. This week I met with an external consultant team, one of whom lived in St. Louis, and more frozen custard discussions commenced.

    Meanwhile, here in Seattle you’d expect that level of debate for coffee places but more often the discussion flows around the best teriyaki spots. Back in Maryland, we debated crabhouses (Cantler’s Riverside, oh how I miss you).

    What’s the topic your local debates?

    (I can’t tell any real difference between teriyaki places, TBH)

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      I used to live in Devon, UK, where it was all about whether you put jam or cream first on your scones. (I did it the Cornish way. Controversial.)

      1. Anion*

        We lived in Devon! For a total of almost nine years.

        We’ve been back in the US for about three months. I’m still homesick.

        And hot. God, so HOT. I’m not used to southern US summers anymore!

        1. Merci Dee*

          I’m not sure it’s even technically possible to get used to summers down here. I’ve lived in the south all my life, and I still prefer to stay inside and nap when the weather’s hot outside.

        2. Ramona Flowers*

          I went there for university (Exeter). Don’t make it back much now as most of my friends have moved on.

      2. London Calling*

        Wooo, me too *waves, hello, mi ‘an’some* grew up on the north coast in the dim and distant sixties. And it’s cream first, can’t recall now if that’s Devon or Cornwall.

      3. Toph*

        Oooh, I’m sure I’d be bashed in such a debate because I tend to do jam or cream on scones, not both at the same time. I might eat both in one sitting, but it’d be one scone with jam, then one scone with cream (or vice versa, order wouldn’t matter), but the same scone wouldn’t have both on it.

    2. Red*

      Wings! Oh dear lord, it’s such a contentious topic… It’s a tiny piece of chicken, covered in hot sauce and future heart attacks, who cares this much?!

      (I’m a vegetarian living in Buffalo NY. Life can be a challenge)

        1. charlatan*

          Vinegar for me. I think I’d drink vinegar straight out of the bottle if it were just a bit more socially acceptable to do so.

          1. E, F and G*

            Out of curiosity, have you tried it on pizza? Has anyone else done that? Someone pointed it to me that enhances the flavour of the crust and I’m still trying to figure out if there is some area of the world where this is considered a normal thing to do.

      1. anonanonanonymous*

        Same here! I’m in San Francisco. Are you here too, or is there another center of burrito debate?

      1. Red*

        Ha, I feel you on that! It’s surprising how big of a debate that can be… At least in my group of friends, the one ordering does the choosing.

    3. Temperance*

      Outside Philly, and it’s beer. We largely have settled the cheesesteak debate and only outsiders really care about Pat’s v. Geno’s.

    4. Cruciatus*

      In my neck of the woods if you don’t eat Smith’s Hot Dogs you are a traitor. And I’d say common debates are best local pizza place and best Mexican place. Maybe later something more along the lines of how you eat something will come to me… We live in a tri-state area that used to be a popular travel hub so things from New England or the Midwest, or even sometimes the South became common (or at least not too weird).

    5. Alice Ulf*

      Welcome to Colorful Colorado, where we must spend hours debating exactly which of the dozen microbreweries in each town is the best. And then which of their beers is the best. By category.

    6. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      In my hometown? Bratwurst – who makes the best ones, where to buy the best hard rolls (this is super contentious and bakery preferences can go back generations), what’s the best butcher, whats the best grill technique, whats the best festival to eat brats, what’s the best charity brat stand, where’s the best restaurant/burger type place to buy a brat, and god help you if you don’t FROST that hard roll in butter before you place that brat (and it better be a double) in there. Secondary level – frozen custard and malts (my opinion is the local place Randall’s beats that chain crap Culver’s hands down, always has and always will.You can also get a pretty good brat at Randall’s, to go with that chocolate malt and fries, in case you need to clog up an artery or something). Tertiary level – Friday fish fry.

      Here in London man, I swear some days it seems like everything is up for debate, especially around food, although most of the time its comparing commutes and/or coping strategies for the trains!

      1. Your Weird Uncle*

        You aren’t originally from Wisconsin are you? Cause everything you mention is very near and dear to this Wisconsin born-and-bred. :)

    7. INTP*

      The best cheesesteaks. The best vegan cheesesteak is also a hot debate. Unfortunately I can’t participate in either because I don’t eat meat or seitan (gluten). I’m a little bit scared to ask if someone can make me a cheesesteak with portobello mushroom for the steak and put it on gluten free bread.

    8. Sylvia*

      Donuts! We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to donut places, and arguing about which is best gives us an excuse to taste more of them.

      We also argue about barbecue because, well, Southerners gonna Southern.

    9. WKRP in...*

      Cincinnati-style chili. Skyline Chili might be the best known outside of Cincinnati, but we Cincinnatians will passionately defend our favorite chili parlor (yes, we call them chili parlors). We have more chili parlors per capita AND per square mile than any other place in the world (even more than Texas). Skyline Chili. Gold Star Chili. Blue Ash Chili. Delhi Chili. Camp Washington Chili (that’s my favorite – Google it!). Dixie Chili. Empress Chili. U.S. Chili. Eastside Chili. Finneytown Chili. Pleasant Ridge Chili. Price Hill Chili…….. The list goes on & on.

      For those of you not familiar with Cincinnati-style chili, it’s very different from standard Tex-Mex / chili-con-carne. It is fine ground meat in a tomato-based sauce with a uniform (not chunky), soupy consistency. It is seasoned with Greek/Mediterranean spices like cinnamon, cumin, allspice and chocolate — it is savory but with a flair.

      If you visit our fair city, please try it! Just don’t think of it as “chili” (i.e. Tex-Mex) or you’ll be weirded out. Oh, and be sure to order it like a native: two-way (chili over spaghetti noodles), three-way (spaghetti noodles, chili, shredded cheddar), four-way (3-way plus either fresh chopped onion OR beans – but be sure to specify which!), or five-way (3-way plus both onion AND beans). And there is no shame in donning a bib – it’s very common in a chili parlor at lunchtime to see a group of people in business attire wearing bibs.

      An aside… it’s fun living in a city where you can openly answer the question “what did you do last night?” with “I had a three-way”, and no one bats an eye!

    10. D.W.*

      I’m from the South where debates often broke out over Waffle House vs. IHOP (Waffle House, duh!) and sweet grits vs. butter grits (butter, of course).

      Now I’m in NYC, and int he circles I run in the debate is around who has the best pizza, best bagels, and best vegan doughnut. Still haven’t satisfied that last requirement, so if anyone knows where I can get a bomb vegan doughnut, please let me know!

    11. Elizabeth West*

      Around here, it’s cashew chicken. Everybody has a favorite. The particular style we are known for was invented here but I’ve never actually eaten at the place where it originated; my favorite is a cash-only family-run place downtown that also has the best crab rangoons and an enormous lunch special for $5 that is two days’ worth of food. :)

    12. LizB*

      Juicy Lucys, cheese curds, and local beer, in that order of prevalence. (Guess where I live!)

    13. Your Weird Uncle*

      CBS Sunday Morning had a feature this morning about frozen custard, featuring, of all places, Milwaukee! I live just close enough to Milwaukee to know and to have been to some of the more popular places, but I never knew it was such A Thing.

  31. Lady Jay*

    Anybody on here hike Colorado’s 14ers? I just finished #9 and #10 last week: Democrat & Lincoln! Pretty proud of myself, especially since they were my first solo 14ers. I drove myself (in a 2WD passenger car, no less) to the TH, hiked the whole way on my own, and drove home. Yeah for hiking!

    If you don’t know what a 14er is, it’s a mountain more than 14,000 feet above sea level. In the US, they’re all in Colorado, California, and Alaska. Colorado alone has 58 total.

    1. Zinnia*

      I did a few on vacation when I was a kid, roughly 30 years ago. Don’t remember which, but I remember we camped at Turquoise Lake, so near there. I’m from New England, so we talk about 4Kers out here. Happy hiking!

  32. Ramona Flowers*

    Does anyone know anything about palmistry?

    I just had a palm reading from someone who straight up told me she did not claim to be psychic and had just learned palmistry and would say what she saw.

    What she saw:
    -I have had serious health problems since childhood and might have a chronic illness
    -My income has come in peaks and troughs, perhaps due to self-employment
    -My parents were either emotionally or physically absent from my childhood to the point where she wondered if I was fostered or adopted
    -My parents are completely separate from me or somehow not in my life (my head line and life line have a noticeable gap between them)
    -I had two abusive boyfriends when I was younger

    With each thing, she explained why she saw it in my hand. I did not tell her anything about myself or discuss any of what she said while waiting outside the tent. I do not believe these were Barnum statements. I’m fascinated that apparently this stuff shows on my hand. In fact it was weirdly validating.

    She told me she had not read a parental estrangement on someone’s hand before. I don’t understand how this is on my hand.

    1. KatieKate*

      I know a smidge about palmestry and the like, but that seems like a lot to get from one palm reading. Was there no way for her to glean the information otherwise? Did you give our name, and are your social media accounts locked down?

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        No name given, social media on complete lockdown and none of this is on there – plus I had only just met her, in a field with no mobile coverage at a country fete in an area where I don’t live!

    2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Hahaha, I have a good friend who had something similar… she doesn’t believe it’s “real” but her mom insisted she go to her own astrologist, who did my friend’s whole charts and whatnot. All of her stuff was predictions of the future that, so far, have ended up being totally accurate (and specific, for instance saying that she would date someone for a very long time, get engaged to them, and then not marry them… she recently broke off an engagement with someone she’d been with for 7 years). I feel like it’s probably sufficiently explained by the law of large numbers (you tell 50 people they’ll break off their engagements, and 3 of them do, that sort of thing) but idk!

    3. Just Me Here*

      Did she definitively say you had this or your parents were that? Or did she say hmmm, it appears that xxxx and followed up with yes that is true? If it’s the latter, she probably read your body language- something you can’t always control and signaled an affirmative response to her.

        1. Persephone Mulberry*

          FWIW, I don’t think you’re an idiot. I think it’s fascinating that people can glean so much about us through body language signals that we often don’t even realize we’re giving off. (There was a TV show a few years back called Lie to Me based on this. Highly fictionalized, I’m sure, but it was still compelling and thought provoking!)

            1. So Very Anonymous*

              I have days at work when I want Tim Roth to show up, say “‘e’s lyin’!” and then smugly explain what the lies are and how he knows.

        2. Anion*

          Hey, just saying…

          I worked for a while as a phone psychic, years ago–I read tarot cards, and read them honestly (I mean, genuinely laying cards and interpreting them). I was good at them, and sometimes got freakishly accurate results.

          But sometimes…sometimes I’d actually see things, like people or places, and when I described them I was right. I once got a message (there’s no other way to describe it) from someone’s dead uncle, who not only “showed” me his message etc. but also the very specific and unusual way he died. Sometimes something would tell me to ask a certain question, that wasn’t really showing up in the cards, and it would turn out to be right.

          I’m not saying I’m psychic. I’m not saying I believe in psychics or palm-reading (I actually really don’t, in general, despite my experiences). I’m not saying the person who did your reading was psychic or able to read your palm with this high level of accuracy without using cold-reading techniques. All I’m saying is that sometimes things happen that might have some other kind of explanation, and that you certainly shouldn’t feel stupid or anything else for being open to possibilities.

        3. neverjaunty*

          You’re far from an idiot. You’re human, and these are techniques designed to (pardon the tired expression) hack how human beings process information.

        4. Not So NewReader*

          noo… you’re fine.

          Getting a read on people is such a fascinating subject.
          Not in the exact same idea but along similar lines I have been fascinated by Dr. Joseph Bell and his influence on Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Bell looked more at physical attributes than body language, but still fascinating to watch someone develop an idea about a person’s background within a very short time of meeting them.

          We give away a lot of information about ourselves just in the process of walking into a room and we never realize.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      Most people who do this kind of thing as a profession are very good at what’s called “cold reading”–they pick up clues about you while they are talking to you and from your clothing, demeanor, demographics, etc. Then they incorporate those bits of information into their predictions. It comes out sounding like an accurate (to you) prediction.

      It is bogus. Spend your money on it if you want–it’s your money. But there’s nothing to it.

  33. Aurora Leigh*

    I know this group gets asked about board games a lot, but what are some of your favorites for 2 people?

    We like Carcassonne at lot! Tried Pandemic, but I think that is better with a bigger group.

    1. Phlox*

      Monarch can be a two player, Jaipur and the new one in the house is Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle.

    2. EhtoZed*

      Ticket to Ride can be nice. Lots of different boards/variations depending on what type of game you want.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        I played Ticket to Ride once and was bored to tears, but other people I know love it.

      2. Jillociraptor*

        Ticket to Ride: Rails and Sails is a great expansion too! Plus I’m really improving my global geography…

    3. CatCat*

      Backgammon is my favorite two-person board game.

      I’m also a Scrabble fiend, but that can have more than two people.

    4. CAA*

      DH won a copy of MOD X at Comic-Con last weekend, and we’ve played it a few times and like it. The rules are very simple, but there’s a lot of strategic thinking involved (at least there is when we play), so it’s a good quiet game, but not a great socializing game.

    5. Junior Dev*

      I like Star Realms (there’s a fantasy themed variant called Hero Realms). It’s pretty easy to learn (the scoring system is kind of weird, get a pen and paper to do it with if it confuses you. Otherwise it’s pretty simple.)

      Other games I like that can be 2 player:

      * Race for the Galaxy
      * Orleans
      * Dominion

    6. Colette*

      Gloom is fun – it’s a storytelling game where you have to make your family sad and then kill them off while cheering up your opponent’ family. The winner has the saddest, dead family.

      1. hermit crab*

        hahahaha YES. My husband is a military history buff -slash- board game fanatic and sadly can never find anyone to play Twilight Struggle (or Paths to Glory, which is like the WWI version, but harder/longer) with him. I emphatically do not like long or complex games but I may have to break down and play with him one of these days. He’s suggested sacrificing a table to it and playing in hour-long increments for several days running.

        We both like Blokus (which you can play as a two-player game with each person playing two colors; we also have a travel version that’s designed for two players). And we are kind of obsessed with Capitals, which is an iphone word/strategy game. We like it so much that we made a physical game board, which we play with Scrabble tiles and pieces scavenged from other board games.

    7. ThatGirl*

      Oh this is up my alley, we play a lot of two player games.

      Seven Wonders Duel
      Elder Sign (a longer one)
      fairy tales

    8. Saturnalia*

      We play munchkin and a lovely indie game called area1851. Forbidden island/desert are a different style, very co-op, and I’ll second race for the galaxy. We just tried Planetarium, which promises to be wonderful, but have to figure out how to play without the cats getting into the small pieces (one’s a mouthy little lady, bless her heart – after panicking to get the second one out of her lil mouth we declared game over for now) .

      1. Ron McDon*

        Who Knows Where? is a really great game for two players or large teams – you have to choose where on a world map certain things are; capital cities, tourist attractions, geographical features.

        It is really good fun, and I am often surprised at how near I can get, even though I am rubbish at geography!

        What’s humbling is that my 17 year old son thrashes me every time…

  34. Anon to me*

    Public service announcement ;)

    I’m 40 years old. I do not have children. Yesterday I received the results from an AMH test that determines my ovarian reserve. The unfortunate news is that I will never be able to have biological children. It wasn’t that shocking to me (I had suspected that might be the case), however several of my friends initial reaction was I was too young for that to happen.

    So, I would encourage anyone who may want children to get their AMH level tested. Most women won’t get the same news I did, but if I had known even 5 years ago that my levels were low, I would have had a lot more options. It’s a simple blood test and it’s usually covered by insurance.

    1. DeLurkee*

      That’s good information, and kind of you to think to help others – thank you for providing it.
      I hope that you are ok. It sounds like you were not taken by surprise, which may help. Sometimes it’s still hard when a thing that in doubt turns to a definite “no”, so if you need support, I hope you find that, whether that’s here, or with your loved ones. Wishing you much happiness in your life, and offering Jedi hugs if wanted.

      1. Anon to me*

        Thank you. And of course it’s sad. It’s not the result I was hoping for, but at least now I can move onto a path that will hopefully end in me being parent.

    2. Book Lover*

      Check out the high FSH and low AMH forums if fertility is still something you are interested in. It is a difficult situation but not necessarily impossible

      Truth is, the result is probably accurate. But – at 37, my level was checked before I went for IUI (I was using a donor, no history of infertility) and my AMH was in the menopause range. My FSH was normal, my antral follicle count was low. I got pregnant my first unmedicated IUI cycle. It is possible that it was a miracle, but more likely the AMH just not 100% accurate, like most other tests.

      Similarly, a friend had a low AMH, struggled with IVF, finally got a single embryo and was fortunate enough to have a beautiful baby, then had a natural pregnancy a year later. Again, possibly a miracle baby, more likely AMH isn’t the whole story.

      I don’t recommend people have testing unless they are infertile or are considering egg retrieval. There just isn’t any purpose – people should know fertility rapidly declines and that if they wait, having kids may not be an option. But if they aren’t ready to have children, what is the point of the testing? And if they are ready, they should just try. One year if under 35 and no risk factors, six months otherwise (while planning ahead to schedule a consult). I am not saying you are wrong, just giving another perspective.

      1. Marzipan*

        I do take your point, but on the other hand, having the information may help people to make decisions about what they want to prioritise at different points in their lives – being ‘ready’ is something it’s possible to influence and work towards as much as it’s something that happens to you. I wouldn’t necessarily have considered myself ready five years ago, say – but if I’d known then that in five years I’d be having donor egg IVF, I might have moved a bit quicker towards readiness than I did.

        I also definitely see among my friends a general disinclination to believe that women’s fertility *really* declines quickly – they’ll merrily go on about how the figures are terribly out of date and it’s surely different now – and since I’ve chosen to keep my treatment private for the time being I bite my tongue. So, just generally, I think that kind of information can be helpful.

        1. Anon to me*

          I think many women, especially many professional woman, think if they have enough resources that they won’t have a problem getting pregnant. And fertility is the one thing that financial resources can’t fix. Now they can help provide alternate pathways to parenting, but money can’t fix the problem.

        2. blackcat*

          What I have actually seen is a better understanding that baseline fertility depends a lot on the individual–odds are good that if someone has trouble getting pregnant at 35, they would have had trouble at 30, too. One close friend of mine started trying at 25 and finally had an ivf baby at 32 (they didn’t start ivf for a long time, due to finances).

          On the flip side, someone who easily gets pregnant at 30 will probably also easily get pregnant at 35. And very fertile women are much more likely to have had an unplanned pregnancy when younger. So, in general, people trying to get pregnant for the first time later in life are skewed a bit towards women who aren’t super fertile to begin with.

          What IS very dependent on age, regardless of fertility, is the likelihood of carrying a pregnancy to term. A big reason to aim to have kids before 40 is that after that, pregnancy complications, including stillbirth, are far more likely. My MIL easily got pregnant 4 times in her 40s, but only had two live births during that time. Similarly, my grandmother had 5 pregnancies in her 40s, 2 of which led to live births (but 3 babies, as the last pregnancy was a “package deal” as she calls it). My grandmother had her first at 23 and last two at 46 and reports she got pregnant as easily at 45 as she did at 22. She did not view that positively, though! My grandfather was a controlling ass who did not believe in birth control.

          1. Anon to me*

            I think one of the problems is that because so many women delaying having children until they are older, they don’t know which category they fit into.

            If your friend who started trying at 25 had delayed having children and didn’t start trying until she was 35 or 40 the outcome may have been very different. All I want for other women is that they should know the risks. Both RE’s I’ve talked to have indicated that most women of advanced maternal age underestimate how difficult it will be to get pregnant and overestimate the odds that they will have a child with a condition like Downs Syndrome.

      2. Anon to me*

        You are correct that AMH is only one piece of the puzzle, but it’s one exceptionally important piece. My AMH is 0.11, so it’s exceptionally low. My RE doesn’t recommend IVF for anyone in my situation because it’s so likely to fail (for women in my situation there is a 95-98% chance I won’t even get to the egg retrieval stage). I know there are other women in a similar situation as I am that will do endless rounds of IVF. However, I can’t afford endless rounds of IVF, and even one or two IVF cycles could quickly eliminate the possibility of pursuing adoption.

        And while women should know that their fertility starts to decline starting at around 30, I think most women believe they will be the exception, because so many celebrities wait until their 40’s to have children (most who are over 44/45 aren’t using their own eggs), or they have a grandmother, aunt, cousin, etc., who conceived naturally when they were older.

        I would like to see an AMH test (or FSH test) offered to every woman after they turn 30, so that they have the opportunity to determine where their fertility stands. While AMH isn’t the perfect test it’s an excellent predictor, and allows each woman to determine if they potentially need further testing. Every woman is different, being provided with factual information about their fertility I think would be very helpful.

        1. Book Lover*

          Sigh, I had a long answer and it got eaten. Just so you know, though, my AMH was 0.06. I got pregnant the first time I tried with frozen donor unmedicated IUI, lower chance than if I had been trying the old fashioned way.

          I promise I am not trying to be argumentative, I just think there is a lot about fertility we don’t understand. I was so devastated about my number and almost didn’t try, and that would have been tragic for me. I think it is perfectly reasonable for an RE to use it as a reason to not do IVF, but it is clearly not the be all end all of fertility.

    3. Loopy*

      Wow, thanks for this post! I am going to be 30 and have been thinking about this. Does this test give you a sort of range? Say “this needs to happen in the next x number of years for you” type result?

      Man, I need to look into this before I hit 30. I’m not married but in a long term relationship and getting jittery.

      1. Book Lover*

        It is a general test of ovarian reserve. It doesn’t guarantee future results :). Additional things that can be checked are an antral follicle count (ultrasound) and FSH with estradiol on day 3. I’m not up on this stuff as my experience was a few years ago, but it sounds like we haven’t progressed much beyond this.

        1. Loopy*

          Thanks. I don’t know if its premature to look into this when Im not in a place when I can get pregnant or better than to be blindsided if there’s any concern.

          I have always given myself a mental deadline of 35 but am realizing that might be oversimplified (as its based on well, nothing) and naive.

    4. MommyMD*

      Getting pregnant naturally after age 42 is very rare. Years before that our fertility plummets. After 35 there is a steep decline in fertility rates each year. It’s unfortunate but true. Peak years are the early twenties when most women are not ready.

  35. Sparkly Librarian*

    I auditioned for Jeopardy this week! There were only about 20 people in the room, and I was one of four librarians. It was fun! Now I wait to see if I’m called anytime in the next 18 months to come tape a show.

    1. fposte*

      Librarians and Jeopardy, man. I’m starting to think that the answer in a librarian interview to “Do you have any questions for us?” could be “Which one of you was on Jeopardy?”

      But fingers crossed for you–one colleague actually won some nice money and get some family vacations out of it!

    2. SpiderLadyCEO*

      OMG! How exciting, fingers crossed for you! Jeopardy is my all-time favorite show. I keep wishing it were on Netflix ;)

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        So do I – it would make practicing much easier! :D I’ve been watching a lot on YouTube (some are great quality, but some are fuzzy or include the commercials or don’t show the whole clue onscreen). I always skip the interviews, though.

        1. SpiderLadyCEO*

          Oh good idea! I’ll have to do that. I don”t have television, and I miss it at my place. I can’t stand the interviews, either.

        2. Sami*

          There’s a Jeopardy app you can try.

          Good luck!
          I’ve taken the test three times (and passed twice I think) but no call to audition yet.

    3. ThatGirl*

      Good luck! My husband made it to that stage years ago, never got called and wants to do it again.

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        I believe I was the sparkliest. (Another one did have colored hair, though.)

  36. The Dating Life*

    I have not dated or been with anyone in about a million years but have recently gone out with someone. It’s probably too early to know where this is going but how did you know it was time for example to take it to the next step? We have not kissed or even held hands and I am ok with going really slow although some tips say that if you haven’t done that by date 3, then the whole thing is off or veering into a friendship maybe not a relationship.

    1. Aurora Leigh*

      I’m not very well qualified to answer this as I’m in my first relationship ever (at the age of 26). But with zero even holding hands or kissing experience before meeting my boyfriend I was very shy and a little skittish. It was date 3 for us before hand holding and a quick peck good night. But I don’t think there’s a magic number of dates before it has to happen. The kiss wasn’t until after our official boyfriend/girlfriend conversation, for what it’s worth.

      Also, culture can play into this a lot. I grew up in an ” I Kissed Dating Goodbye” culture which definitely played into my not wanting to get physical at all without some commitment.

    2. all aboard the anon train*

      Honestly, this is so subjective. It really depends on the people involved. For some people, no kiss at the end of a good first date means there’s no connection. Some people view a hug at the end of a first date as friendship and not a relationship. Some people think the third date is where you have sex or else no relationship. Some people like to wait until the fifth date.

      It’s really what you’re comfortable with. If you like the other person enough, bring up your concerns. Communication is key! The person you’re dating might have the same concerns or might be waiting for you to make the first move.

      1. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

        I agree. Random people on the internet can’t help much in this question. The thing that helps is to talk to the date person and ask where things are going. There can be a zillion different reasons why someone hasn’t suggested kissing during the first three dates, one of them is that they are for some reason waiting for the other person to do that.

        I’m also a big fan of defining clearly the type of relationship. When you’re seeing someone and haven’t yet agreed about being a couple but you’re interested in meeting that person again, it’s not an easy stage to be in and I think it’s best to keep that unclear stage short. If one of the people involved isn’t yet ready to decide one way or another, you need to talk about what makes that decision difficult and could something be done to help figure out if there could be a relationship.

    3. Serious Sam*

      Is there anything wrong with just taking things over with the other person? They probably are as uncertain as you. Decide how you want the relationship to go as a couple. There is no right or wrong way, human relationships are amazingly varied. Do what feels right for you, do not let cultural norms or unrealistic portrayals in the media decide for you.

  37. Detective Amy Santiago*

    It’s almost time for my vacation and I cannot wait! I still have a ton of cleaning to do to get ready for my BFF being at my place, but it’ll be totally worth it.

  38. Anonymous With Shame*

    I’m wondering what you guys think I should or shouldn’t do. The other day, I was remembering that when I was in second or third grade, I bullied a girl on the bus- I think she was a year or 2 younger than me. (I’m also a girl). This was back around 1976 or so- a long time ago. She was probably in first grade. The girl was small for her age and had the skinniest legs I’d ever seen. For a few days (I don’t think it lasted longer than that), I called her “Skinny Legs” and “Chicken Legs Bella” (not her real name). The poor kid never cried in front of me, but she didn’t look happy. I think the bullying lasted a few days, but of course even one day of bullying is too much! I’m sure it wasn’t long-term, the only part of the story I’m grateful for. She moved a year or 2 later and I haven’t seen or thought of her since. So the memory of my horribleness popped into my head the other day, and I felt like garbage for doing that to someone. On a whim, I Googled her (she has an unusual name) and I found her right away. Even her picture looks exactly like I remember. She’s a university professor and seems to be doing very well (I hope!). Part of me wants to get in touch with her and apologize, but what if it upsets her? Maybe she’s forgotten about it, in which case I don’t want to reopen an old wound. But I really am sorry for what I did, and I think maybe I should tell her that. Is that silly? Should I just leave it (and her) alone? I’ve seen comments online about people not wanting apologies from their long-ago bullies. I don’t know what to do.

    1. WellRed*

      It wasn’t nice, but I don’t think a 3rd grader (or whatever) calling a first grader chicken legs for a few days rises to the level of bullying. She probably doesn’t dwell on it 40 years later, if she even remember. Forgive yourself.

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah, I agree. If this had been going on for years or was something much more pervasive I might think differently but as it stands, this squarely falls in the “unkind but probably not horribly-soulcrushingly so” category for me. I commend you for seeing this the way you do but I really think you’re allowed to not dwell on it.

      1. nep*

        Yes — and what WellRed said: forgive yourself.
        I know everyone is different but just to give my two cents — I was bullied something awful in fifth grade. It would seem odd and utterly unnecessary to have one of the perpetrators apologize today. It seems as if the gesture might help you not her — in this case, back to WellRed’s advice.

    2. Gina*

      I’d leave it alone. Personally I’d be super-pissed if any of the girls who called me names back then showed up out of the blue to dredge it all back up. I don’t need that in my life, and I’d feel it was more about them soothing their consciences than about me.

    3. CatCat*

      It might upset her, who knows. If you had inflicted any deep-seated pain, you’d have to be prepared to hear whatever she had to say on that topic and not be defensive about it.

      I’d probably have some pretty unkind things to say to my junior high bully if she ever contacted me as it would dredge up a lot of negative emotions. An apology from her would mean dick to me.

    4. Courtney*

      I would leave it alone. Honestly, with early elementary school teasing that is so short lived I wouldn’t even assume she would remember it. I had some bullies I would appreciate an apology from…but they were teenagers who spent a year doing everything in their power to make my life miserable, not 7 year olds who called me a stupid name for a few days (and I experienced that too – but honestly, I couldn’t even tell you who called me those names. We were seven. It was a tiny blip on my radar.)

    5. all aboard the anon train*

      Leave it alone. You mean well, but apologizing so long after the fact, and so out of the blue, makes it about you and your guilt, not about her, and that’s not the point of an apology.

    6. Temperance*

      Why don’t you do something nice for someone else, as a way to atone? Leave her alone. This seems pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, too.

    7. Purple snowdrop*

      I’m all about the writing a letter but not sending it. Hell, write it and post it here next week if you’d like to send it out into the void.

    8. Obi-wan's wife*

      I doubt she even remembers.

      But speaking of random things that happened as a kid: in second grade a boy chased me home every day. I was super shy and couldn’t speak to him. He’d leave small gifts like a stick of gum or a marble at my front door. It kind of scared my 7 year old self. He moved during Christmas vacation and my heart was glad he no longer would be chasing me home each day. Then on Valentine’s Day I received a box in the mail. It was from him – a box of chocolate covered cherries – to my utter amazement. I don’t remember his name, but some fifty years later I still think of him. And, his mom. What a champion of a mom to go to that effort for her 7 year old love struck son. ❤️

    9. Marzipan*

      Why not make a donation to an anti-bullying charity? It’s unlikely she’s affected now by what happened then, but there are children who *are* currently being affected by bullying, and that would be a way to help them.

    10. NPG*

      Go for it. Even if you send an email and she never replies – you’ve done your part to mend the fence, esp. since your conscience won’t let it go.

      Good luck!

    11. Never Nicky*

      As someone verbally bullied at school (but a little older when it happened) – I would say reach out. I would be really heartened to know that you realised that your actions were wrong. And in a not very worthy schadenfreude-y kind of way, I would probably think that you being eaten up with thoughts about what you’d said was pay back for the time I spent eaten up about the things you’d said.

      One of my childhood bullies organised a school reunion and found me through Facebook. She invited me and said it would be good to see me. Never acknowledged the hurt she and her clique caused – or even said “I know we didn’t get on but…” I think that obliviousness thirty plus years on was almost as hurtful as the original bullying

      1. Ice Bear*

        I know exactly what you mean. There was a girl who bullied me for an entire school year in 5th grade (two girls, actually, but one of them was my friend before the other girl moved to our town) and it really bothered me when we ran into each other years later and she acted like nothing happened. It disgusted me when she tried to hug me but not acknowledge what happened. Did she really not remember how mean she was to me? Because I’ve never forgotten about it. I’m a very sensitive person and I look back at that time as one of the worst in my life and for her to not even realize the damage she did to my self esteem is worse than everything she did.

        1. Never Nicky*

          I’m sorry that happened to you too. On the whole though, I would rather be sensitive than oblivious to the feelings of others, wouldn’t you?

    12. Infrequent Commenter*

      Apologizing might make your victim dredge up bad memories despite being quite successful. Apologizing does more for you (relieves feelings of guilt) than for your victim. You’ve done a horrible thing- your penance is to live with your guilt, not to have it forgiven.

  39. BMO*

    DH is in the final weeks of a year long deployment. I’m so excited he’ll be home soon!

    I know reintegration can be hard sometimes but I feel like *I’m* already being weird about it. I feel like I have nothing “interesting” or “smart” to talk about. We were lucky to talk frequently throughout this and everything was very natural. Sometimes we’d talk about silly stuff, other times serious, the whole gamut really. IDK why I’m suddenly claming up now that he’s so close to coming home. I’m a pretty damn cool lady with my own successful career. WTH is happening to me?!
    Now that’s it’s all winding down and returning to “normal”, maybe I’m a little scared of how our routines are going to sync together again.

    1. Mobuy*

      I’m sure you know this better than I, but you have had to be totally self-sufficient for 12 months, doing all the “boy things” as well as any tasks you normally take on. Him coming back means adjusting your workload, which is good, but also will make you dependent on someone else to get things done. You may have an adjustment of your sense of self, AND be expected to help your husband readjust. I don’t blame you for feeling apprehensive in the middle of all your excitement!

    2. Tabby Baltimore*

      And that’s totally legit concern, BTW. I’d like to suggest you consider doing the following: prior to his arrival, take some time to talk with your husband about what his immediate needs/wants are on arriving, and in the 2-3 days after, and also fence off about a week afterward, where no one from either his family or your family is allowed to come by the house to visit (calls are fine, if you and he are up for that). Why? B/c you two are going to need some sustained time together to adjust to your “new normal,” and you just won’t be able to do that if family members are coming in and out of your house, distracting you both, and disrupting this process. Family members, particularly family members of his who live close to you all, or who feel emotionally close to him, are not going to like this, but you both must stand firm. After you have had your week, or 10 days, or however much alone time you two think you need to have, then let the deluge start. Also, please do your DH a favor and don’t plan to “pick up X b/c you’re so close to [store name]” after you pick him up from the airport, because he will probably want to go straight home. I know that might seem obvious to you, but it’s not to everyone.

    3. Iain "Get off my lawn!" Clarke*

      This is probably too late, but it puts me in mind of my parents. In the latter part of his working life, my Dad spent many months at a time in Saudi Arabia while my mother stayed at home.

      While she missed him personally, she got very used to her own routines, and just getting on with everything. When Dad came home, he was around for a few week solid. That meant he made a complete mess of her routines by helping! And he was disappointed when there wasn’t a long honey-do list, as she’d just fixed things in his absence.

      1. BMO*

        Mmhmm! I miss him very much, but I got on with things pretty quickly and now I’m going to have to factor him back into my schedule. It isn’t too different than what we used to do, but those small tweaks are catered to me of course ;)
        It’s funny, my friends were more affected than I was when he left. “I just can’t imagine” “how awful is it?” etc. It sucks, but you just do it, you know?

  40. 14 years*

    Survey time! List your top 3 Disney animated movies and your age. I’m curious if people gravitate toward classics they grew up with, movies that came out when they were young, or movies they saw as adults.
    I’m 32 and mine are:
    1) Robin Hood
    2) Tangled
    3) Sleeping Beauty (with Beauty and the Beast in a close 4th)

      1. Mimmy*

        Yeah, I think I prefer the Pixar films myself. I’m 43. Monsters Inc. is probably my favorite.

    1. Aurora Leigh*

      I’m 26, and it’s hard to pick just 3!

      1) Pocahontas. My dad took me to see it in the theater when it came out and I loved it!

      2) Lion King. Generation defining really.

      3) Sleeping Beauty. I love the art and music!

      But I’m also quite partial to Tangled. And I really liked the live action Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast movies. They’re the perfect blend of nostalgia and something new.

    2. Mimmy*

      Age: 43

      No special order:
      – Beauty and the Beast (never seen the live action version though)
      – (If Pixar counts) Monsters Inc.
      – Frozen (if only for the one song, lol)

    3. NowAGrandma*

      I’m 63.
      From my own childhood
      Lady and the Tramp
      The Incredible Journey
      101 Dalmations

      From my time as a parent of young children
      The Brave Little Toaster
      The Little Mermaid
      Muppets Christmas Carol (which I still HAVE to watch every year)

      1. Optimistic Prime*

        The Brave Little Toaster actually is not a Disney movie! It was originally supposed to be a Disney movie – the WDC had purchased the rights to the story, but they determined it would be too expensive to make as pitched to them. So a couple of Disney employees either left or got fired, formed their own production studio, and made it themselves. I think Disney invested in the movie but was not involved in the production. So Disney-adjacent?

        (As a matter of fact, The Brave Little Toaster was indirectly the reason for the beginning of Pixar – John Lasseter had stepped on some toes while trying to get TBLT made and got fired from Disney. A friend found out and snapped him up for Lucasfilm Computer Graphics, which eventually spun off into Pixar.)

    4. Courtney*

      Ooh that’s hard, but
      1. Beauty and the Beast (I prefer the new one)
      2. Mulan
      3. Oh god…I can’t. Something Pixar. Monsters Inc? The Incredibles? Ratatouille? Too hard!

      I’m 29. My (four year old) son’s favorites are Beauty and the Beast, Finding Dory, and Frozen.

    5. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      I’m 31.

      1) Aladdin
      2) The Little Mermaid
      3) Mulan

      I reaaaalllly wanted to put The Black Cauldron on there, but the movie just wasn’t that good. :(

    6. all aboard the anon train*


      1. The Lion King
      2. Mulan
      3. Brave

      (The Lion King wins purely because when I first saw it as a kid I apparently told my parents how much I loved the plot….and they think it’s hilarious that I went on to do grad work in Shakespeare since TLK was influenced by Hamlet.)

      Beauty and the Beast, Robin Hood, and 101 Dalmatians are all tied for a close 4th, though.

    7. As if*


      Beauty and the Beast

      I really don’t care for the older Disney films.

    8. Optimistic Prime*

      Oh man, this is so hard for me because I’ve seen the vast majority of Disney animated movies and I love most of them. But

      1) Lilo & Stitch (2002). I was almost 16 when it came out, so not really from peak Disney years, but I loved that they did something different.

      2) The Little Mermaid (1989). I was 3 when it was released, so a bit part of my childhood and I was in peak princess era at the time.

      3) Wreck-It Ralph (2012). I was an adult – in graduate school – but I’m a huge video game nerd so I was stoked! also I like the humor and the voice acting in this movie.

      The Lion King (1994) is my close fourth, mostly because of the music and animation.

      I’m 30. I do as a group love the Disney movies that came out during my childhood, but I think that’s partially nostalgia and partially because I grew up during the Disney Renaissance. Second favorite period is the 1960s-1970s movies, which came out before I was born.

    9. Disney Movies List*

      Age 28.

      Mulan, Cinderella, tie between Beauty and the Beast and Pocahontas.

      If Pixar counts, add “Incredibles” in spot #2

    10. Ermintrude Mulholland*

      Frozen deserves So many points for the baffled horror that everyone displays when Anna is explaining why she’s going to marry someone she Just Met.

      Love Aladdin. Really dislike old Disney.
      40 years.

    11. Clumsy Ninja*

      I’m 40. This is hard to do!
      1) Beauty and the Beast
      2) The Great Mouse Detective
      3) Robin Hood

        1. Zathras*

          I’m so glad other people love The Great Mouse Detective! I’m 31 and that one has always been my favorite. I’m less sure what to put for the other 2 spots on the list.

    12. Merci Dee*

      I’m 40, and my 3 faves are Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and The Incredibles. Gotta be honest, though – I absolutely loathe the old Disney flicks. Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella. I would rather pluck my eyes out with a spoon than watch them.

    13. NaoNao*

      I’m 38.
      Mine are:
      Beauty and the Beast (I’m a bookworm brunette, so no contest)
      101 Dalmatians (love the artwork from that period, it’s my absolute fave)
      The Aristocats (again, the artwork! I love that sketchy, late 60’s look)
      *Runner up is totally Robin Hood too.

      It’s a mix of classics I saw on re-runs or that my family owned/library copies and things that were new releases at a formative time in my life.

      I also love stories about aristocratic or otherwise “noble” women/female animals and bouncy, a little naughty, high energy, rough around the edges men/male animals, I guess!

    14. Bruce H.*

      I’m 63. When I opened this I was going to say that I don’t believe I have ever watched a Disney movie, but as I read other peoples’ answers I recognized 101 Dalmatians. I was a wee child when I saw it and hardly remember anything about it, so I don’t know if I should count it as my favorite or not.

    15. Librarian from Space*

      What a great question!
      I’m 38. I love Mulan, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Moana. Well, a tie between Moana and Zootopia for 3rd place, actually.

    16. Sylvia*

      26. Moana, The Lion King, and Frozen. Moana and Frozen pushed The Little Mermaid and Hercules off of the list.

    17. SaraV*

      41, and I realized my top 3 are from three distinct eras. (I can’t really put these in a particular order)

      1) Cinderella – classic Disney
      2) Beauty & the Beast – “new” animated Disney. I was 15 when I saw it at the theater, and I remember murmuring “Oooo…” on that very opening scene, plus I love the music.
      3) The Incredibles – Pixar. Just for the love of how they wrote the family dynamic between the four main characters.

      Surprised I haven’t seen Toy Story yet…

    18. Levity Not Brevity*

      1. Little Mermaid
      2. Beauty & the Beast
      3. Tie: Aladdin, 101 Dalmatians, Lion King, Monsters Inc, Incredibles

    19. Jen RO*

      I don’t like Disney movies too much (I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch or rewatch one), but my favorite is the Aristocats. It’s definitely nostalgia for me – I saw it when I was really young, in a time where animated movies (or foreign movies in general) were not available in Eastern Europe, and I’d always wanted cats (my mother didn’t). I’m 33.

      1. Rogue*

        But I also love Sword in the Stone, Alice in Wonderland, The Lion King, Robin Hood, Monsters Inc.

    20. Felicia*

      I’m 27 and I love most Disney movies so it’s hard to pick favorites.
      1. Mulan
      2. Beauty and the Beast
      3. Frozen

    21. Anon here yet again*

      Ooh… this is exciting! Okay:

      1. The Little Mermaid

      2. Aladdin

      3. Brave (and Inside Out as a 4th)

    22. LizB*

      26, and I think I’d go with Hercules, Emperor’s New Groove, Mulan. If we’re allowing Pixar, The Incredibles takes the #2 spot and pushes Mulan off the list.

      (But really I love them all so this is an impossible question.)

    23. Kathipen*

      Does Studio Ghibli count? My favorite movie is Nausicaa in the Valley of the Wind, followed by Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. I’d take those over any traditional Disney movies or Pixar movies, great though they are. I’m 63.

    24. and Peggy*

      26 – Moana, Mulan, The Lion King.

      Two of my faves are less about time and more about content and personal circumstances: Moana because I’m from New Zealand and as my display name might indicate, a Lin-Manuel fan; Mulan because I’m Asian and “Reflection” spoke to me :)

  41. Kj*

    I’m super-tired lately and feeling really down. I know some of this is my job, but I think it is more than that. I’m wondering how other people get out of a rut when they feel stuck. I’m seeing a therapist, I exercise daily, I spend time with my spouse, but nothing is helping that much. Anyone have any ideas?

    1. ThatGirl*

      Start a new hobby. Take a class or do a craft or something.

      Consider a physical, too, to see if you have any deficiencies.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      My go to is check the basics. Are you getting all the rest you need, should look like 7-8 hours per night, easily. How is your water intake? What have you been eating lately? I know I tank when I eat a lot of junk or a lot of carbs.
      Don’t answer here, but bowels working? Two to three bowel movements a day is what to watch for. If the bowels aren’t working fatigue and depression can set in.
      And the toughest one for last: Goals in life. Do you have any? Nothing makes life more pointless than being without goals. We flounder, we are adrift just riding whatever wave happens by.
      Without knowing specifics, the best thing I can say is if you ate in a rut then change one thing you are doing and see where that puts you. Then change another thing and see where you land with that. Do one thing at a time so you can see if it is helping or not. I know some changes I have kept in spite of not being that helpful because I felt the change would be good in the long run.
      Human beings do not do well with stagnation. Growing is absolutely essential in having a quality of life.

    3. Cheshire Cat*

      See a doctor to rule out any medical issues! I was exhausted all the time a few years back, and chalked it up to stress. Turned out I had anemia.

  42. Reunion Anxiety*

    So, I have my 20th year reunion coming up in 2 weeks. I RSVP’d yes and paid the fee…but now am having 2nd thoughts.

    I grew up in a very poor and depressed town/county; I would say about 30% of my class had an opportunity to go to college, and an even smaller portion of us moved away once we did earn our degrees. I have done ok for myself – not amazing but solid middle class.

    At my 10 year reunion a few of us went back and were basically ignored – some people said some pretty crappy things. At that point I was still swimming in debt and barely making ends meet.

    Everyone told me by 20 years we’ve matured, I wouldn’t have that to worry about…well now I am worried. I just found out no one that has moved away is going back and I am trying not to freak out or be nervous. There are friends I’d genuinely like to see and that I cared about A LOT in high school and have thought about numerous times over the years -because we didn’t grow up with FB and email was really just beginning a lot of us lost touch after HS and college, especially those of us who moved away.

    Does anyone have an advice or words to calm my nervous self down before I go in there so nervous I can’t even carry on a conversation??

    1. WellRed*

      Can you reach to a friend who is going beforehand to tell them, Hey, looking forward to catching up with you at reunion! Also, I agree that everyone will have matured and probably become nicer.

    2. Colette*

      Hopefully they’ll be polite. If they’re not, it’s because of them, not because of you. And it’s a sign that you did well to leave, because if you stayed you might be as insecure and scared of the rest of the world as they are.

    3. Mobuy*

      I loved my 20-year. Everyone was far enough away from HS that old cliques didn’t matter except that it was fun to see people from back then. Everyone was comfortably middle aged and socially ept. I had a lot of fun. YMMV, obviously.

    4. Drew*

      I went to my 10th and had a decent time, but mostly I was astonished by all the children running around.

      I skipped my 20th for several reasons: I wasn’t in a great place in my life right then, they scheduled it opposite something I had already bought tickets for, and the woman trying to put it together was being extremely unpleasant about the number of people who had not said they were coming. (I understand after that reunion, she basically said “Nope, not doing it again, someone else can organize.”) I’m told it was a lot of fun, but I don’t regret the choice.

      We didn’t have an official 25th, which bummed me out a bit. 30th is coming up and noises are being made, but I don’t think anything concrete has been proposed.

    5. Clever Name*

      I’m going to my 20th reunion next weekend! I have no idea how many of us have moved away from our hometown. I know a fair number haven’t. I’m recently separated from my husband, so I’ll be going solo. So at least one person at another reunion possibly far away isn’t doing impressively well. Maybe tell yourself that you’re committing for staying like an hour and give yourself permission to leave if it’s not enjoyable.

    6. GirlwithaPearl*

      Give yourself permission and a plan to leave early if you aren’t enjoying it. I’m sure it will be fîne but that plan B can alleviate concerns.

      My same reunion is in two weeks and I am not going mostly because I already have plans that night but also because I refuse to be in a room with so many Trump voters

      I have no regrets about not going. But if I was going I’d probably find a way to enjoy it.

    7. poppunkcat*

      I went to my 10th and it seemed too close to high school still. The 20th was a lot more fun, as it seemed that everyone was just happy to see everybody else. The 25th was okay, but not well attended. My 30th is this year, and I’m not going as it was planned by the mean girls and I have no desire to see them lording it over the rest of us. Many people are not going to the 30th and the pleas on facebook to hurry up and get tickets(as it does not look to be well attended either) is kind of gratifying.

  43. Foreign Octopus*

    For all the cat owners out there, where do you stand on water additives to improve and maintain dental care? My adopted cat won’t let me get near her with anything resembling grooming implements but her breath is unpleasant, to say the least. I’ve seen some articles recommending water additives, some against them, and I’m just deeply confused.

    I’d love it if I could get your opinions to help me (and Bones) out.


    1. neverjaunty*

      Dental crunchy cat treats might work (they often have breath additives).

      However – sounds like she needs a trip to the vet to check her teeth?

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        I’m planning on taking her at the end of August. I’d take her sooner but in Spain everything shuts down for the month of August (and I do mean everything) except in cases of emergencies. She had been seeing a vet weekly at the shelter so there are no immediate problems. I just want to head off any possible problems now.

    2. Optimistic Prime*

      I have a dog, so not the same, but I use a water additive as an in-between maintenance to keep her breath fresh. I don’t think it’ll help if the animal’s breath is already very unpleasant – they need some dental care first, probably, and then the additive helps maintain in between cleanings. My dog drinks her water to no ill effects and I honestly think she can’t even tell the difference.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        I’m not sure of what’s normal cat breath to unpleasant to be honest. She’s my first cat and I’m playing a lot of it by ear. My tolerance might be low but she also spends a lot of time with her face in mine (separation anxiety and a desperate need to be loved after four years in the shelter) so I might just be a little more sensitive to it than normal.

    3. Julia Gulia*

      I would never put a dental additive in my cats’ water fountain–replacing the pump and filters is $$$. I might consider it if we used a non-motorized water bowl.

      We do use a dental rinse that the vet provides. It’s C.E.T. Oral Hygiene Rinse by Virbac Animal Health. I know brushing a cat’s teeth is usually impossible, but this is a squirt bottle you just squeeze over the gumline. It’s easier to wrestle the cats into submission for this than it was to brush them. May be worth a try.

    4. MommyMD*

      I’d rather have my cat’s teeth professionally cleaned under anesthesia once or twice a year. I do this for my one cat and two dogs. Money well spent.

  44. charlatan*

    Who here started playing Best Fiends when Alison posted about it a while back? I downloaded it and played for a week or so then basically forgot about it, but for some reason I have recently become enamored with it again.

    1. Best Fiends player*

      I did, & am enjoying it far more than expected (or any other online game.)

      When Alison told us about it, she had negotiated a special price for a “starter package” of goodies to spend in the game. There was some talk of how expensive this might be/become, so for what it’s worth I haven’t bought anything yet and am at level 690.

      1. Anatole*

        Wow! I’m only at 435. I also have not bought anything. Up until earlier this month I played it daily. I’ve recently downloaded Simon’s Cat Crunch Time, but Best Fiends is my favorite.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      I tried it when a friend endorsed it on YouTube, but I didn’t get very far before it wanted me to pay. I don’t like that so I deleted it. I’d rather pay a small amount to buy it and then be able to finish it. I don’t like in-game purchases unless they’re optional. Bummer, because I liked it. :(

      1. LizB*

        Hm, I don’t think I’ve come across any required in-game purchases yet. It tries to sell me packs of stuff at least once a day, but there’s always an option not to buy them.

          1. Toph*

            Many games have a certain time period, so if you want to get to the next level as soon as you’re elligible, you have to pay, or you can just keep doing other exploring type things on the level you’re on and if you do that enough the other levels eventually unlock. I’m not familiar with the specific game you’re talking about, and it’s totally possible some games truly are free only until level x and then you must pay. But most do have some free way to keep going, with purchases optional, it just involves a different style of gameplay. So it might be worth researching.

    3. TheTallestOneEver*

      I’d never heard of it before her post, and it’s replaced Candy Crush Soda as my go-to time killer. I’m on level 343.

  45. Nervous Accountant*

    Any nonparents who love back to school time just for all the cute supplies? Almost makes me wish I was going. Back to school. :-)

    1. Red Reader*

      Yar! And I *am* a student — one more year of grad school!! — but I still don’t have any actual need for the cute supplies, I take notes and whatnot on my tablet and laptop.

      But I have enough composition books, spiral notebooks and index cards (not to mention pens) to outfit an entire elementary school, I’m sure. (I think most of it is going into the back-to-school donation box at work.)

    2. Mimmy*

      Oh good, so it’s not just me, lol.

      And yes, it does make me miss school. If money were no object, I’d probably go again (I already have a masters and a graduate certificate).

    3. rj*

      I am a university professor, with no need for new anything. I just look at stuff in stores and drool, basically.

    4. Julianne*

      I’m a teacher, and I hate how early the back to school ads and displays start (of course, the reason I’ve been at Staples so much lately is because I made the choice to teach summer school…), but I do love new school supplies. My school provides us with basics, but I do buy myself things I like, which is mostly Post-It notes, come to think of it. School buys off-brand, which are good for some purposes, but I generally prefer the super-sticky kind. I also prefer to keep different sizes of Post-Its, including lined ones, for different purposes. I’m not very brand-conscious about nearly anything, but I always pay more for actual Post-It brand sticky notes.

    5. periwinkle*

      I loved back-to-school shopping when I was a kid and yeah, the smell of fresh #2 pencils still makes me happy. Our company has an annual fill-a-backpack drive so it’s about time to browse through this year’s Jansport collection and pick out coordinating colors for spiral notebooks and pens.

      The Seattle area has some branches of Daiso, a Japanese home goods store in which almost everything priced at $1.50. I’ll admit to stopping by occasionally to see what totally kawaii school supplies they’ve got in stock…

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        I had no idea about this Daiso thing! We are headed to LA in September, and I see they have some stores in the area, can’t wait to buy cute Japanese things!

    6. Optimistic Prime*


      I just bought the most beautiful planner (Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner in Happy Stripes). It was expensive but worth it – I’ve been taking 5 minutes at the beginning of each work day to plan out my day’s work and I’ve found it really helpful to organize my thoughts and figure out what’s important. I had a weekly planner before and that just wasn’t cutting it, but I am extremely picky about planners.

      And colored pens are resurging because of adult coloring books, which makes me really happy because I love colored pens!

    7. Windchime*

      Are you asking if I go and wander the aisles and buy things I don’t really need, like gel pens and brand new pencils and maybe a notebook or two? Yes, yes I do.

      One year, I was trying to organize my knitting tools and I bought a big zip-up binder and a bunch of really sturdy clear pencil bags that have binder holes. I have a different bag for each size needle. It’s awesome.

      I think I’ll make a Target run.

  46. AlaskaKT*

    So I asked a few weeks ago about tips for weaning my daughter but I hadn’t gotten around to actually weaning yet (mostly because it’s very convenient to have snacks on tap when it takes so long to even get to the road out here).

    Well thursday my husband flew out to see family and took our daughter with him. Now I’m dearly paying for it with a rock hard swollen chest. Lots of hot compresses for me!

    0/10 would not recommend.

      1. AlaskaKT*

        I’ve been expressing in the shower and that helps imensly. Unfortunatly I gave my pump away when I didn’t need it anymore.

      2. MommyMD*

        Very cold compresses if you want to reduce milk supply. Express just enough milk so you are not in terrible pain. Expressing more can cause breasts to keep producing. Good luck!

    1. Ermintrude Mulholland*

      Eep, pump or something, don’t risk mastitis! I didn’t see last week but do you want to wean? Don’t if you don’t want to, there’s no need

      1. AlaskaKT*

        I was ready to wean, but I didn’t expect to do it like this. Between husbands deathly sick family members and my family moving across country next week, this was the last chance for some people to see our daughter. It was a buy tickets & fly out next day situation

    2. Cher Horowitz*

      Hope this is not too late – jump into a hot shower and manually express enough to relieve the pressure. If you want to continue to nurse after your daughter comes back, express more to keep up the supply.
      Have had a lot of acquaintances swear by cold cabbage leaves in their bras as well.

    3. ..Kat..*

      Okay, heat alone makes it worse (but expressing milk in a hot shower is fine).

      Express just enough milk to make your breasts comfortable. If you express more, you are stimulating them to make more milk, leading to a repeat of uncomfortable engorgement.

  47. Junior Dev*

    I have been feeling very depressed this week. I take antidepressants and exercise quite a bit which usually keeps it under control but I got very stressed out by two things I’m not supposed to discuss (the Forbidden Topic of Weekend Threads, and politics). I stayed home sick Tuesday and spent a lot of time in the other afternoons lying in bed.

    I have a prescription for Ativan but have not been taking it because this is manifesting mostly as low energy and trouble concentrating which I don’t want to make worse with a depressant med.

    I know I’m not the only person here who struggles with mental health problems. How do you avert a crisis as you feel it coming on? How do you pull yourself out of the hole when already there? I have some ideas for myself this weekend but I’m curious what others do.

    1. NoMoreMrFixit*

      Reach out to friends or family. I found when those sorts of feelings were piling on that being alone with them was the worst thing I could do. In those situations I practically lived with my best friend for days at a time. If you have a favourite place such as a museum or park, go there and spend some serious hours immersing yourself in enjoying it. If going out isn’t feasible due to weather or other reasons binge watching your favourite TV shows or movies can help. Or dive into a good book. Often I’ll reread the Lord of the Rings books.

      The common theme here is to do something, and with someone you feel totally safe with if at all possible.

    2. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I usually give myself permission to wallow for X amount of time. I’ll read books or marathon something on Netflix or Hulu. When I have politics fatigue, I don’t open Facebook.

      — this may not be the healthiest way to cope, but it tends to work for me.

    3. katamia*

      For me it’s best to withdraw for a bit because my tolerance for dealing with others is not always high to begin with. I’m actually not an introvert, but I grew up with incredibly needy and demanding parents, and even when I’m doing well psychologically I still have a bit of residual…not quite caregiver fatigue, but I’m not sure what else to call it. I’m also paranoid about doing to other people what my parents did to me, so I’m not great at reaching out in general, although it’s been years since I’ve felt like I needed to reach out like that anyway.

      So I’ll read a book or rewatch a movie or TV show I love, have exactly what I want for meals, try to do things I’ve been meaning to do but haven’t been able to, and just generally tune the world out. I don’t have any kind of rule about not checking social media (it’s not a major stressor for me, and I have a lot of friends who post really interesting articles), but I just find myself checking it less because I’m doing other things.

    4. Simone R*

      A sign that I’m getting off is feeling like people don’t like me/my closest friends don’t care about what’s going on so it helps me a lot to tell people oh hey I’m feeling blah right now. It’s an easier thing to overcome than some other symptoms and can give me the push to do other stuff.

    5. INTP*

      Like some people mentioned above, I do give myself permission to wallow for a bit. I think it’s healthy to do so occasionally.

      I’m not always GREAT about doing the following and sometimes stick my head in the sand instead, but my ideal scenario/advice to myself when I feel depression coming on is to go to bed early and stick to a routine (but a pared down one). Cut steps as possible – buy some precut veggies or whatever is needed to make cooking simpler, etc. Try to stick to a routine when I don’t feel like it. In the depths of depression I’m not going to, say, take a shower or do my laundry because I want to, but if it’s firmly a routine, I might semi-keep up with it. I’ll call family but I don’t make too many plans because just surviving my work week and basic chores tends to take all the energy I have. And of course remove stressors – unfollow political things, start a netflix series that is light and cozy and not too tragic or violent, etc. It’s not the time to save the world, you have to protect yourself for awhile.

  48. Fellow Traveller*

    Looking for advice- My husband’s father passed away this past week. On top of the grief and emotions of losing a parent we are dealing with the estate and going through the house and possessions (40+ years’ worth of stuff- this is the house my husband grew up in). My husband’s only sibling lives abroad so we will mostly have to do go through and settle everything ourselves. My husband is the executor of the will. We live out of state, a 10 hour drive away, so whatever we do will have to be done over a weekend here or there when we can get back. We are definitely feeling overwhelmed by all there is to do.

    Folks who have experienced this- any do’s, don’ts or “wish I knew”s?

    1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      You might consider hiring help! You could sort of go thru and pick out stuff you want to keep, etc, and then hire someone else to manage an estate sale. Dealing with all of that at the same time you’re trying to mourn is just tough, I’m sorry for your loss :(

      1. What's in a name*

        This what my BIL did for the MIL. We all took what we wanted and he brought someone in to either throw away or donate anything else.

    2. fposte*

      I’m very fortunate in that the house cleanout and the passing were separate events. But I totally support the idea of contacting an estate sale person–10 hours away is crazy, and you probably have had to do it enough times already this year.

      I would also contact an estate lawyer in the town where your FIL lived to see what services s/he could offer and for how much in this situation. When my dad died out of state we hired the guy he worked with on the will for a flat fee just to be local point person, and it was totally worth it.

    3. AfterBurner313*

      My next door neighbor’s kids had to deal with this. Both kids live out of state.

      The townhouse was Horders Lite. Time was worth more than getting money from things for them. Wasn’t filthy, just stuff accumulated from 50 years of never throwing anything out.

      1. Get everything you want out.

      2. If your loved one had anything you think might be valuable, get an appraiser. The next door neighbor’s appraiser bought the entire houze contents for X amount of dollars. Some appraisers will cherry pick, but hey, you don’t have to deal with that mammoth china cabinet.

      3. Get all artwork/antiques appraised. Forget the circa 1960-1990s collectables (unless its baseball cards or something that has a strong niche market). The knick knack collectables are really only worth memories in many cases.

      *Remember you can never by more time on this planet. Figure out how much time and energy is going to placing the things on Ebay/do it yourself estate sale/garage sale.

      If you have money, hire someone to buy the contents and let them clear out the house. Neighbor kids did that at the end. Get a local realtor to put the house up.

      I am not a sentimental person. When my grandmother died, we had to rent TWO roll off dumpster to clear it out. There was really nothing of mad cash value. People delude themselves their stuff is worth more than it is.

      Main point YOU CAN’T BUY MORE TIME. Don’t muck around trying to unload those 100 Precious Moments figurines or that match book collection unless you already have that as a hobby.

      I’ve been in your leaky boat. It is so not fun. Sorry for your loss.. (hugs)

    4. Situational Anon*

      When my mom passed in 2010 I was executor, and lived about 1200 miles away. I have two brothers, one local to my mom and one halfway between me and her house. She was somewhere between a packrat and a hoarder, so lots to go through. The only things spelled out in the will were % for the beneficiaries and who got the car. We pretty much applied the % to the monetary assets, not the other belongings, something my brothers and I agreed on.

      A few things that helped us – if we gave something to my mom, we got it back if we wanted it, period. For other items, we all put a colored post-its on anything we were interested in – it might be strong interest or mild interest – and there was no pressure to not have more than one person express interest in the same item. Once we had done that, for things that more than one person wanted, we took turns picking an item until they were all divvied up. We were all able to get to the house to do this in person, but maybe something like this could be done via pictures with the sibling abroad?

      Once the things we all wanted were decided upon, extended family members were given the chance to express interest in remaining items that they wanted if they were for sentimental reasons (versus utilitarian, like “I’ll take the pots and pans for my kid graduating from college next year”). Because each of my brothers could get some economic benefit from remaining some household items that didn’t have sentimental value, they got dibs on these before extended family did.

      Everything left after that was up for grabs by extended family, and all remaining was donated to various thrift stores and the like.

      I don’t know if any of these will work in your situation, but they were helpful in mine and helped keep most of the conflict out of this part of the situation.

      Condolences to you and your husband.

    5. Stellaaaaa*

      If he had any antiques or collectibles, invite over any friends who might want to come and take it. Seems gauche, but you might as well. Post about free furniture on craigslist. College is starting up soon and I guarantee people will want the bigger pieces. Don’t feel guilty about throwing good stuff away.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Delegate, delegate.
      Even a modest estate can take about 9 months to a year for the paperwork to process.

      You may not get good control over things in the house but you can get decent control over the money and the financial situation in general.

      Pick up a shredder if you do not already have one. I remember my husband laughing at me for shredding checks from a home equity loan. Yeah. FOUR years later I got a call from the bank wondering if my father wanted to use those checks. The lawyer had assured me the loan was closed, I guess not. I was glad to know I had shredded all the checks for the account. My husband thought I had some magical power to predict that one.

      As executor, your husband will have to keep estate records for seven years. I put them in a copier paper box and marked the shred date on the box. Unfortunately, my father had just done an estate for someone else. I put those papers in a second box and marked the shred date on that box.
      Keep track of your expenses. The estate can reimburse you. But talk it over with the lawyer. I am an only child so I decided that it was not worth the extra effort.
      Talk to your tax person. You will need to file a final return. In my case I was able to show a capital loss on the estate and take it as a deduction for several years on my own taxes.

      For myself, I needed some cash to handle the estate. Since I was the only beneficiary on the life insurance the first thing I did was cash in the life insurance. This gave me cash to pay for the (modest) funeral and pay some of my expenses incurred from processing the estate. (This sounds awful but we were on a tight budget when my father passed. Any additional expense was a problem.)

      Get copies of the death certificate. Here they are $10 each. I got ten and I doled them out cautiously because I had no idea how many I would use. I think I have one left. I asked each person who required a DC if they needed an original or if a copy was okay. Half the time a copy was okay. This saved money and saved running for more DCs.

      My husband was not good at picking out stuff to keep. He needed encouragement to keep even something that he clearly told me was special. Keep an eye on how your spouse is doing with this. Once the stuff is gone, it’s gone. If he does not want anything, encourage him that he can take a couple things and throw them out later if he decides. (Presuming he had a good relationship with his parents.)

      1. fposte*

        Oh, such good points. I got 10 death certificates too–that was probably more than I needed, but it wasn’t expensive in that county, and apparently it would have been a big pain to get more later. In addition to the point that your husband will have to file taxes next year, if FIL was 70 or older the executor will need to make sure that RMDs are taken from any tax-deferred retirement accounts by the end of the year if FIL didn’t do it already.

        However, I’ll also say that the IRS is really, really forgiving about mistakes in this area. Usually an explanation and correction is enough to get back on track, so if something gets missed, it’s not the end of the world.

  49. KatieKate*

    So this is a weird one.

    I collect coins casually, which is anything from places I’ve visited and or scooping our handfuls at flea markets and figuring out what I want to keep later. I don’t display the coins, but I am trying to figure out a way to hold them better than “in a cup.”

    In my last haul, I ended up with a Nazi coin from 1938 and I am completely conflicted on what to do with it.

    1. Keep it?? I am Jewish and while I am mostly disgusted that this thing is in my house, a part of me thinks it’s cool to have this piece of history. But I couldn’t imagine ever displaying it.
    2. Donate it? I can’t imagine it’s rare, of if museums would even want it.
    3. Throw it out? The history nerd in me is yelling “noooooo” but I would hate for it to end up with someone who would treat it like memorabilia.


    1. rj*

      I would be alarmed if I found that. I might contact (this is based on places where I have seen Holocaust memorials/exhibitions) a local Jewish museum (I have gone to a great one in Philadelphia), or human rights museum (there’s one in Winnipeg, a city with a large Jewish community, so includes exhibits about Judaism and the struggle for human rights)? I would fear, like you, that someone might want to use it as memorabilia. These places might just have ideas for you even if they don’t want it.

    2. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I would contact the Holocaust Museum and see if they were interested. Or some of the places that rj suggested.

    3. NoMoreMrFixit*

      If you can’t sell it at a flea market check Google for coin shops or coin shows in your area. I doubt museums would be interested unless it’s in mint condition due to how many were made.

      For storing coins you have a few options depending on the size of your collection. Mounted in a frame is possible for smaller collections that have a common theme. Not practical for large collections. You can get coin binders and inserts that are plastic sheets with individual pockets for coins. Convenient and easy to store on bookshelves. Only real downsides are removing the coins from the pockets can be a pita so sorting your collection can be a challenge if you decide to rearrange it. The other option and the one used by hardcore collectors and pros is to get coin sleeves which are squares of cardboard with plastic windows. Put the coin in the pocket and then place each sleeve in a cardboard box with a lid. Rearranging them is a breeze. You can also get wooden cases but those get expensive as your collection grows.

    4. Stellaaaaa*

      I’d probably toss it in a fountain and make a wish. Anyone who dives in there to steal the money is welcome to keep that coin.

    5. Chaordic One*

      I don’t know what I’d do. I’d feel uncomfortable selling it at a flea market because of the kind of people who might want to buy such a thing. I wouldn’t want to encourage them or have them think it was a great.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      You can have cool artifacts in your house that have a less violent history.

      My suggestion is to first find out how much it is worth. It might be worth nothing and that would make the whole conversation moot.
      If it is worth something, you can consider taking the money from its sale and buying a New Cool Thing for your home. Or you can consider donating the proceeds to your favorite charity.

      My family is German and we tend to marry Germans. Being German is something that is a huge negative in our family. So when family member found spouse’s Nazi era memorabilia she went through a lot of the things you are saying here. This was his childhood, buuutttt…..

      I said to her, anything that causes that much mixed emotions needs to go. Surround yourself with positive things that do not pull you down. In her case, money was an issue. The items did not bring that much, maybe $100. I told her to use it to pay bills and forget about the rest. She was at a point in life where thinking too much would not help her.
      Sometimes the best we can do is a line up a couple options, pick one and just do it.

    7. Jen RO*

      Maybe it’s because I am not American/Jewish, but for me the Nazi coin would just be a piece of history like the others. I would keep it.

      1. Rogue*

        If you’d like to speak with me about it, feel free to email me at citizen1776 @ gmail. I’m totally 100% serious. My grandfather was in D-day and I’ve always had a fascination with everything WWII related and am an avid collector historical artifact collector.

  50. FiveWheels*

    My 17 and a half year old cat, who we rescued over 17 years ago, died last week and I feel absolutely horrific. Sharing here, pseudo anonymously, because I feel like if I discuss it with RL loved ones I won’t be able to even pretend to keep myself together.

    1. Trixie*

      So sorry to hear this. It’s probably still very much a “raw” feeling right now and will be for a while. We try to remember all those lovely years together but ultimately want to do right by them. Eventually the pain will ease up a bit but we will always miss them. When I lost mine (six years ago this month), I was grateful I had a second kitty in the house so we could comfort each other. Sincere condolences.

        1. Julia Gulia*

          You never really get over that special one. (Mine was a cat, too, but I called her ‘my Lassie’ because it was good shorthand that people understood.) It’s been three years and I still miss her every day.

    2. nep*

      So, so hard. There’s nothing quite like that void. I hope you’re allowing yourself to grieve however you need to.

      1. FiveWheels*

        I’m semi okay if I’m in a situation where she wouldn’t be like work. But even coming to the door makes me feel sick because she used to greet me.

        I know this will get better but it’s just hard to even walk right now.

        1. nep*

          I hear you. There’s no silence like that — first couple mornings, waking to his absence was beyond sad.

        2. nep*

          (And initially I was thinking, damn, this is always going to sting like this. Inexplicably, time helps heal.)

    3. fposte*

      Oh, that is a long, long partnership. I’m so sorry for your loss, and for the shadow it’s casting on your life.

    4. Ramona Flowers*

      “My heart has joined the thousand, for my friend stopped running today.”

      I am so sorry for your loss.

    5. Your Weird Uncle*

      Oh, I am so sorry to hear that you lost your friend. I, too, recently said goodbye to my 17 year old sweetheart Oliver and just reading about your loss is making me tear up. Everyone knows how hard it is to lose a pet, but I had a difficult time explaining how Oliver was more than a pet, he was like my best friend or my pet soulmate. I’m sure it’s no different for you.

      I wish you peace and healing in your recovery.

    6. anon24*


      My husband rescued my first cat when he was just old enough to be away from his mom. He’s about a year old now and he is my very special baby. I tear up just thinking about him dying of old age in the (hopefully) very far future.

      I am so sorry for your loss. I hope the pain gets better. Let yourself grieve for as long as you need.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      I am so sorry.

      Cry. Tears are to help us process what we see in life. You don’t have to stay put together. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be human. Each day take time to feel the feelings.

    8. Anatole*

      I’m so sorry for you loss. I also lost my “special” cat earlier this year. Thankfully I didn’t have to discuss it with loved ones face to face (so thankful for electronic communication) or I would have been an inconsolable mess. But as time has gone on, I can now discuss her without tears. I still miss her something terrible but time has allowed me to recalibrate to a life without her physical presence. Big hugs.

    9. selenejmr*

      I’m so sorry. We had been treating one of our 9yr-old girls for kidney disease for the last 11 months. Yesterday it was discovered that not only did she have kidney disease, but she also had a kidney blockage. They said they could operate and extend her life a few months, but that just seemed cruel to put her through all of that. So we said goodbye to her yesterday. We had gotten a new kitten a week ago so she and her sister didn’t even have a chance to adjust to the little guy yet.

      1. Your Weird Uncle*

        I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s so hard to say goodbye to our fur babies, they become such an integral part of our lives. Internet hugs from afar, and I hope your new kitten brings some much-needed light into your life!

  51. Ask a Manager* Post author

    So we closed on our new house a week ago. The seller has been renting it back from us for a week, but tomorrow she is officially out and we take possession of it, and on Monday we begin a week of insanity. I have the following set up for a five-day period: painting, yard re-grading, runner installation for the stairs, sump pump repair, security installation, locksmith, shades person, handyman stuff, shower glass replacement, and I think something else I’m forgetting. It’s not clear to me why I thought it was wise to schedule this all for the same week, and before we’re even living there, but so be it, it’s happening.

    All of which is to say — I’m going to write fewer posts than usual next week. Do y’all want something in their place — like reprints of really old stuff you may not have seen? That’s easy to set up and takes almost no time. Or maybe a few extra “ask the readers” posts? Updates? Or does it not matter either way?

    1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      My votes are Updates and Ask the Readers! I say, post like 3 Ask the Readers each day, clear out a bit of question backlog, and let us just run rampant on there having our fun. :)

      1. NoMoreMrFixit*

        I’ll second that. And good luck – you certainly have a busy week ahead of you.

      2. katamia*

        I don’t always make it here during the week, but seconded, especially updates. I love seeing those.

      3. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        Non-controversial Ask the Readers, so you don’t have to worry about monitoring comments! (No mental health questions, no pantyhose, no car/driving other people, etc.)

    2. Courtney*

      Updates are always amazing! Especially if you post that conversation you mentioned in yesterday’s open thread, even if it is setup so we can’t comment. My drama llama really wants to hear the details.

      1. Helen*

        +1 to the conversation mentioned yesterday. Or the update you mentioned a few weeks back in the Friday thread that you have not published, because of how much of a storm the original letter caused. I admit to being curious about both of those, even if there were no comments allowed. (Like Courtney, my inner drama llama really wants to hear the details)

    3. Don't turn this name into a hyperlink*

      Congrats! Hope you’re stocked up on coffee and protein!

      I’ll cast a vote for Ask the Readers.

    4. What's in a name*

      It’s not clear to me why I thought it was wise to schedule this all for the same week, and before we’re even living there, but so be it, it’s happening.

      You answered your own question in the question. Because you aren’t living there yet. If I were to move to a new house I would want at least a month so I could take my time and get everything ready. It’s too easy to just live with things the way they are when it means you get inconvenienced to get it done. I do not want to move the furniture. I do not want to use the kids bathroom.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yeah, definitely for the painting. But I could have held off a week on all the rest and it would have been much more convenient than constantly going back and forth between the two houses. I tend to want everything done RIGHT NOW. This is causing me major angst on the furniture front, because all I want to do every minute of the day now is buy furniture, but I know I should wait until we’re living there and have a better feel for what we’ll want.

        1. Saturnalia*

          I did some super neurotic measuring so I could scratch that “buy furniture now” itch when I moved :-) the upside is that I have *perfectly* fitted bookshelves in the wasted space down a long hallway with a sloped ceiling. The downside is realizing how few websites make furniture dimensions prominently visible!

          Have fun!!

    5. SpiderLadyCEO*

      Seconding updates and ask readers, I love those! And congrats on your house :) I wish you the best getting all of your to-do list checked off!

    6. nep*

      Updates and/or ask the readers would be great. All the best with the work at your new home. Exciting times.

    7. Obi-wan's wife*

      Oh I like given subject like “weird intern things” etc, and throwing it to readers for responses. Y’all are pretty great with work stories.

    8. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      I love having posts to chatter on during the day, so I’d love to see any combination of updates/reprints/ask the readers. Whichever of these is the least work for you!

    9. fposte*

      What’s your ability to moderate going to be like? If that’s going to be comparatively limited as well, I think reposts are less likely to require a firm hand, or you could do “Ask the Readers” posts and say upfront that you’re requesting a focus on stories rather than discussion.

      If you’re really going to be out of commission, you could just not have comments on any posts this week and limit it to updates and reposts.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        That’s a good point. It’ll be harder to wade in if something needs it, which is a point in favor of reprints. (The other point in favor of reprints over “ask the readers” posts is that I think reprints are better for non-commenters, which is the majority of readers.)

        1. LCL*

          Yep. Reprints. Step away from the blog. Don’t you tell people that we should use our vacation time? Take your own advice and switch mental gears for awhile. If you can’t moderate up to your usual high standards, one post could be a bomb that could cost you hours of damage control when you come back.

    10. Marcy*

      Any of those other than reprints would be great (sorry, I just find the reprint post kinda annoying).

      Good luck with the move!

    11. Foreign Octopus*

      How about the strangest letters you’ve ever received? Or something similar like that? Then you won’t need to weigh in as heavily and it’ll also be interesting to revisit the oddities of the past. My favourite (although that’s the wrong word, I know) was the letter about the employer having a new employee delivering and leaving a letter at the grave. I’d be interested in hearing which are your top 5/10 weirdest letters.

    12. Ramona Flowers*

      Extra ask the readers please – I love those. I’d personally like to exchange tips on coping with stress.

    13. Candy*

      I vote for updates or ask the readers. Quite often when I’m bored at work I click Surprise Me so I feel like I’ve read most of the older questions now

    14. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Okay, I am doing a mix of all of those.

      It was interesting to see that hardly anyone wanted the reprints! I am including one reprint each day because those are the easiest/fastest for me (and I think more interesting to non-commenters than doing a lot of “ask the readers” posts would be), but I’m mixing in the other types as well (and there will still be a new short-answer post each day and a few new standalone questions as well). Thank you for helping me think this through!

      1. New Bee*

        Late, but I do like the reprints! Especially since the old posts are labeled “terse answer Tuesday” or “wee answer Wednesday” and such, so there are plenty of posts in the archives I haven’t read.

      2. Zinnia*

        I don’t mind reprints! There’s usually less drama as we know the situation is long past and the writer is unlikely to be reading. But still a good discussion, and even if it derails, that’s not a problem since the focus isn’t on helping the writer.

      3. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        Heh. I think some of us don’t like the reprints because we’ve literally read every post on here (yikes!). But that only applies to a tiny group of longtime, dedicated readers/commenters, who are not your main audience. :)

    15. Sibley*

      I’ve been there recently. Some unsolicited advice:

      Add house cleaners to the list if you haven’t already (and can). Trust me.
      Have food there. You will be stuck while someone is working/coming/going and can’t leave for food and will be starving.
      Have paper towels, hand sanitizer, soap, toilet paper, etc.
      Bring your phone charger.
      You will spend a ton of money. Wince. It’ll be ok.

      1. Typhon Worker Bee*

        Our realtor is paying for cleaners at our new place before we move in, and at our old place after we move out. She’s dealing with all the scheduling too. SO GREAT. We love our realtor, who also brought us the keys to our new place attached to the biggest bunch of balloons I’ve ever seen.

    16. Anono-me*

      I suggest old posts and maybe a few readers updates with all the comments locked. Take your vacation time 100% next week. We will miss you, but we will survive.

      You say you feel like some big premove thing has been forgotten. My guess is the floors. Shampoo the carpets and have any hardwood floors buffed and glossed if they need it.

      Congratulations on the new house.

    17. Red*

      Updates are my absolute favorite! Ask the Readers posts are also a good time, and obscure reposts would be a fun read, I’ve only been on here about a year or so.

    18. Toph*

      Updates and Ask the Readers!

      I’d also say, even though it may feel like insanity to do all of this next week and before you’re living there, I think you’ll in the end be glad you did.Obviously, not everyone is the same, but every house I’ve purchased we had a list of certain “must do before we move in” things and then some other “we’ll get to that after” things, and we either never got to the “after” things or we got to them way way way later. Once we were moved in it was way too easy to continue to procrastinate. So even though every time we’d see the not-done thing still not-done it’d vex, my new perspective on house buying is anything I really want done has to be done before move in. Which is a long way of saying, I do think you were wise to schedule all of that for the same week, even if it might not feel like it at the moment.

  52. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    I’m installing 1602 AD, a vintage computer game, on my two-year old laptop. Crossing my fingers and hoping it’s not too old to be playable!

    I swear I spent half my preteen/teenage years playing that game- but let’s just say, if the game were a person it would be almost old enough to vote by now!

    1. SpiderLadyCEO*

      OMG Good luck! If it doesn’t work, is there a dupe you can play online, or a mimic machine?

      1. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

        It took a lot of troubleshooting, looking through gaming forums, and cursing, but I got it!

    2. Sherm*

      Hehe, yeah, I enjoy this game called Pharaoh from 1999. The graphics aren’t great, even by 1999 standards, I would say, but something about it is addictive.

      Speaking of older games, there’s an arcade near where I live that has video games from the 80s, and little kids love playing those games! I would have thought that they would find such games to be way too old and crude, but apparently not!

      1. Simone R*

        I LOVE pharaoh. We played it all the time in 6th grade whenever we couldn’t go outside for recess. I occasionally played it on my parents ancient computer when I was home from college until they finally got a new MacBook.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        We have one of those arcades! You pay around $8 and can play as long as you like. I tend to get bored really fast, especially if we go on Saturday and it’s super crowded. I don’t like waiting forever to play my favorite games and I’m not that great at them, so I get tired of it quickly. It’s fun to go, though, because of the nostalgia factor.

  53. SpiderLadyCEO*

    Y’all I just want to gush: I went on a third date with NiceBoy this morning and he was SO NICE! He did a Pokemon Go raid with me just bc it matters to me, and respected my boundaries and was just so, so sweet. I have never dated a boy like this before! It’s such a nice change. :D

  54. Darkest before Dawn*

    So my husband and I were given notice on our apartment… The landlord is selling the house.

    We are now officially priced out of our area.

    With no raises or better paying jobs on the horizon, we will not be able to afford the going rate in the are which is about 2.5x more than what we pay now. We are looking at having to sell most of what we own, or paying half of what we pay for rent for a storage unit (probably both), and having to surrender our cats to the pound (no one we know can house them either temporarily or permanently, and re – homing efforts rarely work here, a sad and common story when the majority of landlords prohibit pets.)

    …and moving across country from one another to our respective hometowns and parents’ houses, as no one else can host us and said parents have downsized to the point where even one of us is pushing it. If it comes down to moving out of the area, both my husband and I will lose our jobs. Transferring somewhere is not possible, neither of our jobs will do a straight transfer, and neither of us are eligible to apply to another position or branch at this time. We are both somewhat specialized in what we do, so finding new jobs will take awhile

    Unfortunately even if suitable apartment does become available in time, we may still be unable to afford the deposit, 1st month’s rent, and the truck to move. Thanks to outstanding medical bills, we were already short on cash and staring bankruptcy in the face.

    All of this, and I can’t tell anyone.

    I can handle hearing: “Well you never should have moved away from your hometown if you couldn’t afford it.” My husband and I have been able to afford it for the 9 years we have been married. Also whose hometown? Mine or my husband’s? (Unfortunately this kind of conversation has also been known to devolve into “you should have known this could happen when you married a ‘someone’ from another state.”)

    I can handle hearing: “You should never have adopted cats knowing there could have come a day when you wouldn’t be able to keep them.” Because we obviously adopted them on a foolish whim! Pets are just like toilet tissue, you just flush ’em when you are done, right? One of our cats we’ve had for 8 years, the other we have had for 3. If it was a matter of choice my husband and I would be homeless first! But with the local kennels – sorry misnomer- “Overnight Pet Spas” having limits on length of stay and charging as much as our rent… we can’t.

    For the record I can stomach a little “I told you so.”

    I am just not ready to hear: “Well at least you don’t have kids!”

    We made a home for ourselves here for +8 years. Now, everything is falling apart, and there may be nothing we can do about it.

    In all that time, I have had people tell me our home is not worthy of that name because there are no children there. We have been asked not to call ourselves a “family” because we are *just* my husband and I and our two cats. We have been asked why we even got married if we didn’t plan for children? We are going on 40, have had awesome lives, have had good paying jobs before and after finding one another, and yet we have been asked countless times: “When are you going to settle down, accept REAL responsibility, and learn what REAL love is? When are you going to stop “Playing House” and get on with it? Not having kids is Ridiculous.”

    So… After all this. After YEARS of this…

    I can almost guarantee that I will find out from everyone that the ONLY thing we did right – in all that time – was NOT have kids.

    Thank you. Thank you to anyone who was listening.

      1. Don't turn this name into a hyperlink*

        There isn’t much I can do, but I will send you and your OH an Internet hug.

    1. Purple snowdrop*

      Oh my goodness.
      I am so sorry to hear everything you’re dealing with.
      I hope everything somehow works out not-too-badly.

    2. Obi-wan's wife*

      I’m so sorry! Actually verklempt for you right now. This just sucks from any view you take on it. I hope the best for you and your husband and furry children!

      1. Darkest before Dawn*

        Hello Obi-wan’s wife

        Rereading what I wrote earlier, despite feeling down for the count, baring all publicly has made me to want to rally. This support from you (sorry I made you verklempt!) and knowing that people here – and elsewhere – are willing to offer their support is fortifying. Hopefully I can now escape the feelings of self – pity, (I felt a lot of that this morning) and return to trying to find solutions.

        Some of what lays ahead is may be inevitable, but I got a good reminder that much of this is still up to chance and there may still yet be a way.

        Thank you kindly for your well wishes.

    3. LCL*

      Oh man, I hurt for you. Those people that are telling you your family is insufficient? They are not your friends.
      If you feel able to, if you told the general region where you live someone local to your area may have some concrete ideas.

    4. Christy*

      Oof, I’m sorry. That’s a whole lot to deal with. I’m sorry you’re dealing with it.

      Is there any chance of moving into a group house or getting roommates? Obviously it’s not an ideal solution. But I have married friends who have a roommate, and I know people in their 40s who have multiple roommates. Is there a suburb where you could live with roommates?

      Also, the people who blame y’all for marrying someone from out of state are patently ridiculous. And the ones who are grateful you don’t have kids are straight up jerks.

      1. Red Reader*

        Yep – my house is four adults (two couples) (plus two dogs and three cats) all in our 30s in a 4 bedroom house, and we’re planning on sticking with this setup for at least several more years. I love having housemates.

      2. Darkest before Dawn*

        Unfortunately people were hurt when we got married. Because we were from two different states, we had had an idea that we could try to meet in the middle, so no one would be excluded from the wedding. It was very idealistic, and I thought nothing could go wrong with this plan and I was destined to have a Happy Wedding! Soooo, of course no one could make it.

        Wedding planning caused so much strife between us and our families. We finally realized no matter what, someone would be hurt, decided that we were not going to choose one family over the other, and eloped.

        Eloping was not a mistake because we realized that the important thing was to be married. At the time we were often reminded that if we’d come from the same place we wouldn’t have to choose, and this was a bed of our own making, so hurry up and piss the other family off (never spelled out quite like that but the feeling was there!) Not happening. We choose to upset everyone.

        Some ten years later most everyone has forgiven us, however in the occasional throes of disagreement, sometimes someone will throw out that “such and such” wouldn’t be a problem, you know, if we had both come from the same place!

        To that I usually respond “That may be true, but oh well too late for that now!” and they will realize what they said and apologize.

        Unfortunately feeling vulnerable like this, I am just scared it will be said and hit home.

        1. Temperance*

          Something to consider: Booth and I are from the same small town, and live a few hours away. You know what? Visiting still sucks. Family gets EXTREMELY competitive wrt our time, and we never get to enjoy a visit because we’re always running around.

          1. Darkest before Dawn*

            Yup. If you cannot make anyone happy (and you never will), please yourself!
            He was the right man, everything else in the end was trivial. That we came from different places? We were lucky to find one another.

            Our families don’t like to be reminded that they can be petty this way, so when I ask: “well would you have rather I didn’t find the love of my life, and just, you know, live here, with YOU, forever, complaining everyday about how much I hate it here, and I hate everyone, and how I want to leave…”

            I usually get waved off at the point, and subject is dropped. Anytime someone gets on our case about moving closer, we remind them about how they could barely be bothered to see us when we lived in the same city… What difference would it make being closer? Or… yeah! Maybe we will move back! Back to the other family’s hometown…

            They don’t like that either. Best of luck with your own family maneuvers Temperance!

        2. tigerStripes*

          Your family sounds like they have some issues – blaming you because you were trying to hold your wedding somewhere neutral for both families? Sorry this is happening to you. Wish you the best, and your kitties too!

    5. Ermintrude Mulholland*

      Those people are jerks. I am sorry you are having to deal with this. We seem to be having a similar life bomb couple of months and it is terrifying and so disempowering. Sending you all the best wishes, hold onto the hope that it just Has to work out- it’s what I am desperately doing.

      1. Darkest before Dawn*

        Wishing you the best in your times of trial Ermintrude Mulholland.

        I am so sorry to hear you are getting shelled as well. While I did not imagine that I was the only one in the world, I actually kinda hoped I was. I am grateful that there are people who understand, and I don’t have to feel alone… but by the reverse, I also know that those who understand the best, are going through a storm themselves.

        Keep fighting, we WILL find a way.

    6. Drew*

      This sounds so hard and I’m sending you and your husband all the hugs. I wish I had a solution to give you.

      1. Darkest before Dawn*

        Do a kind deed for someone – and I will be pleased knowing you took this to heart, and would help a complete stranger. Thank you, Drew.

    7. King Friday XIII*

      I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I live in Portland, where I see this happening a lot too. My family and a lot of my friends have been slowly scooting further and further out into the suburbs, but I’m guessing if that was an option for you, you would have already looked at it.

      My advice before you go home is for you and your husband to have a plan, even if it’s a plan you end up changing, just so there’s some future you’re looking toward and not an indefinite black hole in front of you. Freelancing? Lower COL areas where one or both you can find a job? Just knowing there’s a plan can make such a difference to your peace of mind.

      Jedi hugs for you if you want them, and I’m so sorry again. I wish you and your husband and your cats all the best, and please remember that the choices you made were the right ones given the situation at the time. You gave your cats a good home for as long as you could. I hope something better comes along soon for you.

      1. Darkest before Dawn*

        Thank you for your kind words.

        This is happening to many families we know, and that is why I am so scared. We are not the worst off by far, there are others that need much more help than we do. Down the street there are families living in vans running extension cords into their overcrowded relatives’ house, praying that county workers won’t tow them for parking in the easement, and CPS won’t find out and take their kids. There are disabled seniors sleeping in church doorways, and roughing it in the bush because they cannot find anyone willing to accept their housing voucher.

        We used to be able to help anyone who asked unconditionally; the last few years we’ve lived here we were able to make ends meet, but rarely able to help others. Now I am praying that I’m seeing the point where we will never be able to help anyone else again.

        Anyway. You are right about making a plan (and everything else actually, though the cats will sting badly if we cannot find a suitable solution for them). Focusing on making a plan, and remembering plans happen one step at a time has definitely helped. Now we just have to find a way to Beat The Clock.

        1. Darkest before Dawn*

          I am praying that I’m NOT seeing the point where we will never be able to help anyone else again. Like everyone here I want to help.

          Watching my favorite Japanese cat Ten Miginikuroi interfere with his mama’s laundry on Youtube helps too.


          Oh Ten-chan what I do if I didn’t get to see a videos of you slamming doors with rabbit kicks and getting brushed off against your after escaping outside into the snow?

    8. Stellaaaaa*

      I am so, so sorry, The same thing happened to me last year and it was terrifying. It’s the worst fear and stress in the world to have lived somewhere for close to 10 years and then find out that everything else got more expensive in that time. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to make it your fault. You were a good tenant and you paid your rent. Your landlord should have told you when he started thinking about selling the house. It is cruel to expect good tenants to move at a moment’s notice.

      If you’re the sort of person who works through problems by taking action, look at the listings constantly. Get up early and check every single day. Get a type-A friend to help you. I found my current place in a very early morning search, when the listing had just gone up but was not yet filtered through all of the housing ad boards.

      In my state, selling a house does not automatically mean that tenants have to move. All it means is that the new owners have tenants now, and their current leases still apply. The tenants would not be forced to leave unless the new owners intended to move into the house themselves, and they couldn’t make you leave until they were ready to move in. You would have to check the paperwork on their lease where they’re currently living to make sure they weren’t actually living somewhere else. The idea is that you can’t buy a house when you already have one, and then kick out the current tenants in an effort to get new tenants for higher rent on new leases. It’s worth looking into this a little. Landlords don’t always know this tidbit about tenant law. You just have to make sure this applies to your state.

      1. Darkest before Dawn*

        Hello Stellaaaaa, I regret that when I wrote in yesterday I apparently cast my landpeople in bad light…

        Absolutely not my intention at all. While I appreciate your advice, I am now honor bound to elaborate their part in the situation, as I did not provide an adequate explanation yesterday.

        Our landlord took us and our cats in, when our previous situation became untenable. They have always accepted less than the market rate in rent, in order to help us and keep us around because they knew us and liked us and know families in the area struggle. Even though we started out with a lease, they’ve always made it clear that if we needed to move, they would not hold us to it. That was years ago, and we have since graduated to existing on month to month basis.

        Both him and the landlady are a retired couple, and unfortunately after experiencing several health issues this year, their children have persuaded them to move and be with them. They are having to sell almost everything they have from their home of +35 years, and need to renovate the house such that it will command a price to provide for them in their twilight years. These renovations will make the structure uninhabitable for months.

        Though these folks have resisted selling to this point, last Thanksgiving flying out, they realized that their home was no longer the family gathering place – their children had assumed hosting duties, and their kids and grandkids were returning to see them less and less. When we got the call they were changing their tickets to stay an extra week, the writing was on the wall for us, and we knew it was a matter of time before this was going to happen.

        Truly the landlord was more upset than I was when he broke the news. I willed myself to be impassive, because I know what moving means for them – they are giving up their own dream and irrevocably changing the lives around them. They know that without an affordable place that will take our cats, we are left with very difficult choices. They themselves would take the cats in for us, but they are on the verge of having too many already, and need to come up with their own plan for their pets.

        We were actually given more notice than the law legally requires in this state, and they even stopped collecting rent in order to help us save for a deposit somewhere else (which to my great shame, I found myself verklempt and unable to decline).

        Truly both him and the landlady are doing their best to help us, they are just unable to stop the clock right now. The problem is we could save and live free for months, but at our rate of pay, one month of rent at the current rate (which skyrocketed in the last 2 years), will take more than 2 times more than my husband’s current take home pay. Kills me, because his employer got much better insurance this year… and we pay almost 300 more a month for it! My take home, doesn’t even cover the rest of the bills.

        Unless war is declared, a natural disaster strikes, or our state secedes, the affordable housing shortage is only going to get worse.

      2. Darkest before Dawn*

        I am also very sorry you went through this last year Stellaaaaa. I want to thank you for all of your advice and the laugh I got when I read that I should Get a type – A friend… ’cause I know you would absolutely be my go to person if you could!

        Take good care of yourself.

      1. Darkest before Dawn*

        Tell me about it. I am all for: “Judge not, lest ye be judged yourself” “live and let live” and the like – but man is it hard to live by those words, when people don’t let up!

        Though I have never gotten to the point of issuing ultimatums, once I see that the discussion of our fertility is becoming a THING (rather than a than an occasional topic of conversation,) I’ve been known to become mysteriously unavailable for future engagements.

        Honestly though, if they only knew. The parents who are the most vocal about our ‘ignorant choice’ (because they Know we are Good People who would DO the right thing if we hadn’t been swayed by *insert bad influence,* please let us pressure you!) are my greatest reassurance whenever I question myself.

        If I am awake at night it isn’t because I regret, it’s because I feel bad for their kids.

    9. NPG*

      Oh man, that sucks; I get some of it because I’m in a somewhat similar situation. Like many others, there’s not much I can do other than pray and hope for the best.

      1. Darkest before Dawn*

        Thank you for your thoughts and prayers NPG. I will pray and hope for the best for you too!

        1. NPG*

          Hey Darkest –
          I know it’s probably entirely too soon, but has there been any improvement in your situation? I’ve prayed for you a couple of times throughout the week.

          1. Darkest before Dawn*

            Hey NPG, How are you holding up? I am sorry I haven’t updated yet, I should have one ready for the Sept 23 Open Thread. Unfortunately I have had to work and didn’t want to take up space with a filler update. Much is well, and all will be revealed soon. ;)

    10. Not So NewReader*

      Your family really sucks. With remarks like this no wonder you moved away. Who’d want to be around that.

      It’s funny/odd how their words can echo in our heads in times like this.

      I feel pretty certain that no one on this blog lives closer than 5- 8 hours a way from me. So I figure you are not close either. If you were, I would try to help in whatever way….

      Sincere suggestion. If you cannot find any other solutions I suggest going to the biggest church in your area. Ask the pastor there if anyone in the congregation has an apartment to rent at (your $ range) and could put up with your two cats. Sometimes you can find a place that someone did not have on the market for whatever reason by doing this. Or you could find out that someone is looking for a house sitter… or who knows what.
      If that pastor has no suggestions, go on to the second biggest church.
      A good church will help and they won’t care if you are of another faith or if you even have any religious beliefs. They will help because they KNOW what is happening to you could happen to anyone at any time.

      Please keep us posted on how you are doing.

      1. Jessi*

        Could you look into long term house sitting as a way to buy some time while you look for jobs?
        So sorry this is happening!

    11. Teach*

      I’m really sorry this is happening! I know we aren’t in the same location, but if I could help, I would.
      I think if you can compartmentalize your hurt over what other people think or say and put that aside right now, it would be good. You need all your mental and physical energy for Super Problem Solving!
      What local networks can you shake down for living arrangements? Craigslist, social media, churches, friends of friends, etc? I know several retired couples with rental units that would not pop up on real estate listings because they fill them word of mouth. Now’s the time for word of mouth.
      As for the cats, start getting in touch with rescue groups – they may have ideas for temporary fosters. I would gladly take in adult, well-behaved cats for a month or two while someone relocated or figured out new housing. You may not find these groups through an animal shelter – look on Facebook or search specifically for “rescue.”
      In short, screw what people think right now. You have built a great family, a great life, and have shown a lot of consideration for the feelings of difficult people. Totally ok right now to focus on you. Also totally ok to have a “not the best” situation for awhile until you get better solutions. Hugs if you want them.

    12. Elizabeth West*

      Damn. :(
      I hope everything works out. But who the BLOODY HELL are these people asking/telling you these things? They should be flogged immediately. >:( I volunteer to do that myself, along with some enthusiastic skate-kicking.

    13. Harriet*

      I’m so sorry. My heart is breaking for you.

      For what it’s worth, an awesome life with husband and cats is my dream for a family unit. I’m sorry you’re surrounded by people telling you otherwise.

    14. Hellanon*


      Also, you need new people. None of that advice is remotely helpful or even kind.

    15. Bryce*

      I have to ask, are these actually things people around you say or is it your own anxieties and doubt echoing back at you? Because if your friends say that instead of giving sympathy you deserve new friends, and if it’s your own echoes (I know those voices well) then keeping it bottled and alone won’t make them go away.

  55. Diarist of a few very bad years*

    How do you get your brain to stop being “on” all the time?

    The last couple of years have been really shitty, with many factors out of my control (deaths, ended friendships, money, omigod I HAVE to find a job or I’m homeless!) that nevertheless exerted a disproportionate amount of control over my life and hit one after the other in rapid succession.

    I *finally* feel like I’ve hit a more secure place in my life, where the material stuff at least is no longer an issue. But I still find myself freaking out over little things. A year ago a missed detail here and there may not have been literally world-ending, but it would’ve come damn close.

    How do I convince myself to switch “off” and stop flipping out?

    1. Obi-wan's wife*

      In time it will stop on its own. When life pushes you to the limit freak outs are normal. For example, years ago we were so poor I had to justify even purchasing food for our family. That has changed, thank goodness, but I still get nauseated buying a full basket of groceries. It’s body memory that kind of reminds you it was tough once but you made it through.

    2. rj*

      I have found doing yoga to be really helpful for figuring out how to invest in things, and what friendships/parts of job/etc to pay attention to. It helps me remember to breathe. I just follow yoga with adriene on youtube – she has short and also free things. Therapy is also helpful… my current job doesn’t have good enough insurance for me to go, and it is not bad insurance… so, not sure that will help.

    3. Junior Dev*

      Exercise helps me a lot. Something so intense my brain can’t focus on anything else. Weight lifting, roller skating, running, dancing, or long distance hikes or bike rides.

    4. Ramona Flowers*

      Mindfulness-based stress reduction, through my EAP, helped shut my brain up. Also yoga.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Minerals will help. You might try some magnesium at night before bed.
      A tired mind will run and run. A person who has been stressed for a long period of time can be low on vitamins and minerals as stress tends to burn those things right up.
      You could try a drink with electrolytes in it, too if you’d like.
      Load up on good foods and make sure you are keeping hydrated, these things if unchecked will stress out an already stressed body.

    6. Windchime*

      For me, the racing mind is a sign that my anxiety is getting out of control. Medication has helped me a lot with that, but the combination of mindfulness and exercise also helps me a lot.

  56. Cactus*

    I got the Vertical Sleeve 2 weeks ago and i’m so miserable. When does it get better? I crave everything I see on TV! Things I’ve never wanted to eat before. Ugh. Buyers remorse. :(

    1. brushandfloss*

      You sorta grieve all the food you never got to eat ( I admit I wished I had a real Philly cheesesteak). But it will and does get better. Its tough now but once the weight starts coming off you realize it was worth it. You had this surgery for a reason and hardly anyone does this surgery without a lot of thought. Right now try on concentrate on healing and getting in all your protein & water. My quality of life has improved so much.
      Hope this helps.

  57. Purple snowdrop*

    I’m at my parents’ house, there are far too many children and siblings here and only one person here knows that my marriage is effectively over.

    I have managed to find some quiet time but honestly I just want to hide under a table and cry.

    On the bright side I’ve got an initial appointment with a solicitor next week. And a massage booked a couple of hours later :-|

    1. Clever Name*

      Dude. I’m in the same place. Get together with friends have kiddos (mine and theirs) around. Don’t want to talk about it in front of youngins… it’s hard.

  58. INTP*

    Has anyone used something like Bumble BFF to find friends in a new city? Yay or nay?

    I moved about 6 months ago in the depth of a depression and I’ve finally started feeling energetic to explore my city and engage in my hobbies again. I would like to start building a social circle (slowly is fine, I’m not desperate, I would just like to have some friends in the long term), but I’m just starting to feel energetic enough to have some free time on top of trying to keep up with the work week and necessary chores, so I want to spend most of it doing things that I enjoy most rather than meeting strangers and I want to avoid too many structured time commitments. For those reasons, I don’t think meetups (which always seem to involve a train ride into the city) or volunteering (in any sort of steady committed capacity) are right for me right now. And the local yoga studio is $175 per month which I can’t swing right now.

    Anyways, I was thinking that maybe using an app like that to find women in my area to meet up with for a happy hour drink or something would be an ideal solution for me right now. A couple hours of time, low cost, and I’m more comfortable with one person than many. Any experiences or advice? I’m 30 if that matters.

    1. Anonymousaur*

      I am around your age and have used it on and off over the past year or so. My personal experience is I end up matching with a bunch of people, get lunch or drinks with several over the course of a couple weeks, and end up with one or two I keep in touch with in the longer term. Then I tend to get overwhelmed by the app and take a pause for a couple months… then come back to it. I’ve met some great friends that way though

    2. LDP*

      I know I’m late to the game on this one, but in case you check back, here’s my experience with Bumble BFF!
      I used it when I first moved to Texas almost a year ago, and it was…okay? In my area it seemed like it was mostly wives and mothers who were wanting others to go on double dates/play dates with them. Since I’m super single, that wasn’t really appealing to me. I met up with a few of them, but I haven’t formed any lasting friendships with any of those ladies. They were nice, but we were all in really different places in our lives, so it never became an instant BFF sort of thing.
      What I did do was join an organization that hosts about 2 events or so a month. It’s a political organization, so it was good to meet like-minded people who are about my age (mid-20’s), but it was a super low time commitment since there’s only a few events a month. That’s where I met all my friends in the area, and I’ve really had a great time with it! So, maybe that’s something else you could look into? (Doesn’t have to be a political group, I’m just a mega-politics nerd. Hopefully there’s a group of people who are interested in the same things you are in your new area!)

      Best of luck to you in making friends in your new city! I know how tough it can be, but as long as you take time to put yourself out there, I’m sure it’ll work out! :)

  59. Red Reader*

    I have had my wedding dress hanging in my closet since August of last year. I finally tried it on for the first time last night. (Wedding is six weeks out.) It fits!

    Technically it’s about half a cup size too big in the bust, so I may see if I can have a seamstress put in some cups with light padding to fill that out – it’s strapless and fairly structured with embroidery on the bodice, so I don’t know that taking it in is really an option, I think it would be way more complicated than worthwhile.

    Down side: The shoes I bought don’t go with the dress at all, but I was mostly expecting that, and I like them anyway :)

    1. Awkward Interviewee*

      I got married recently and had a strapless wedding dress that was a tad too big in the bust. Having the seamstress add cups was exactly what I did. It worked perfectly. Good luck with the close to the wedding craziness!

    2. Anono-me*

      Might I suggest asking the seamstress to add some straps that can be hidden until any energetic dancing starts. Most well fitting strapless dresses stay up just fine, but the exception are real pains.

      Best wishes on the wedding.

  60. Countdown to Halloween...*

    I’m in the mood to read something that’s not outright horror, but creepy, maybe other-worldly. Along the lines of Coraline, The Night Circus, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and Asylum. Anyone have book recommendations to share?

    Similar vein but different topic, how many of you are familiar with the Five Nights at Freddy’s games? My friends and I play the games and love them but then we’re gamers and geeks who love that kind of thing. I’m curious to know how far reaching it is to the rest of the world.

    1. katamia*

      House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Maybe Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy too, although I only really liked the first book of that series.

      I’ve heard of Five Nights at Freddy’s but have never been able to buy any of them because I didn’t hear about them while I still had disposable income. :(

    2. Jillociraptor*

      We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Definitely creepy and other-worldly.

    3. Be the Change*

      I enjoy Juliet Marillier’s work. Sevenwaters, the Bridei Chronicles, Blackthorn & Grim. Otherworldly and a tad creepy but not horrifying at all. Set in pre-Christian (or early Christian) Ireland.

    4. ThatGirl*

      Not as creepy, but The Night Circus. Slightly creepy, The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

    5. Red Reader*

      Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series– first book is Every Heart a Doorway, second is Down Among the Sticks and Bones. Third one is due out this winter.

    6. Teach*

      Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
      Lockwood series is excellent older audience YA. Sassy, ghost-hunting female protagonist. Just the right level of creepy.

      1. TL -*

        Lockwood is what I was going to recommend! I look myself in the bathroom every year and stay up all night finishing it but I never have nightmares. (I’m seriously sissy about horror movies. The sixth sense gave me nightmares for a week.)

    7. Stellaaaaa*

      Here’s another rec for House of Leaves. I actually wrote my MA thesis on it! I have THOUGHTS about that book.

      Try Bloodroot by Amy Greene, perhaps the best book I’ve read as an adult. It’s a really inventive way of updating the concept of American folklore. The main character was rumored to be descended from witches and there’s nothing fantastical about the book but there’s still a whole creepy gauzy element to the story.

    8. Loopy*

      Not sure if it’s other worldly exactly but it is on the dark/creepy side: The Savage Song and This Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab!

    9. Saturnalia*

      The Book of Lost Things – john Connolly
      Any of Kelly Link’s short story collections. Stranger Things Happen was beautiful and weird.
      If you can branch into a graphic novel epic, The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. He’s solid all around, but Sandman forever holds a special place in my heart as my introduction to his work.
      I’ve heard House of Leaves is amazing but haven’t yet read it. My partner has a bit of a book buying & collecting habit, which I love, but it does mean we have dozens of unread books in our library. (OK no lie, it’s one of the few childhood fantasies that has actually played out and I am *deeply* infatuated with our home library)

    10. Librarian from Space*

      Ooh, I’ve got a good one that I just read! It’s called The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero. It’s about a 20-something European guy who inherits a big ol’ creepy estate in Virginia from a distant cousin. The house is definitely haunted, but that’s just the beginning. It’s also got weird secret societies and strange dreams. It was really great.

      I’ve heard of Five Nights at Freddy’s from all my tween patrons at the library. They love it, but I don’t know much about it.

    11. Serious Sam*

      Charlie Stross’s Laundry series, beginning with The Atrocity Archive. There are some short taster stories on his blog.

    12. Windchime*

      Oooooh, how about the trilogy by Justin Cronin? The first one is called “The Passage”. It’s about vampires, but not the sexy, teenage, shimmering kind. The horrifying, scary kind. It’s kind of post-apocolyptic and the combination of the good story, character development, and the excellent writing meant that I literally could not put my book down. I read all three of them (and they are long books) in the space of a few weeks.

  61. katamia*

    Anyone know any good yogurt substitutes for cooking Indian food? I don’t mind the yogurt once it’s actually cooked in the food, but I can’t stand the sight or smell of yogurt on its own–it makes me gag. But I really want to be able to cook Indian food because it’s one of my favorite cuisines and I won’t be able to eat out much after I move. So…suggestions?

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      There are plenty of Indian recipes that don’t require dairy at all. I make a lot of curries that are just tomato-based, and sometimes I use coconut milk. Is there something specific you want to make that you need the yogurt for?

      1. katamia*

        Honestly, almost every recipe I look at requires yogurt. Tikka masala, korma, vindaloo, and a bunch of others I can’t remember off the top of my head. I bought a small Indian cookbook recently, and just about all of the sauces required yogurt, as do pretty much all of the recipes I’ve found online.

        1. Tris Prior*

          I make chickpea masala with coconut milk and it’s amazing. You just have to make sure you use the full-fat kind.

        2. Cookie D'oh*

          My mom cooks amazing Indian food, but it’s from memory and she never uses a recipe. However, she gave me a cookbook from author, Madhur Jeffrey. I admit it’s been a while since I’ve used the cookbook, but I think she has a variety of recipes. Also, South Indian dishes use more coconut and different flavors (less yogurt) than North Indian cooking.

      1. katamia*

        Thanks! I’ll give that a shot. They look similar, but sour cream doesn’t gross me out at all the way yogurt does.

      2. Chaordic One*

        Or milk that has a bit of lemon juice or vinegar added to it. It’s sort of like making your own sour cream.

    2. Lily Evans*

      Does non-dairy yogurt bother you the same way? There’s a whole bunch of dairy free and vegan yogurt options that I’ve seen in the store that you could try as substitutes.

        1. Saturnalia*

          I’m not sure if you can get Kite Hill anywhere but whole foods, but in my humble vegan opinion it is the absolute best of the whole bunch :-)

          Otherwise, I’m also on the coconut milk team for most of my own Indian cooking. If you wanted the yogurt tang, you could always do the diy buttermilk thing by adding about a tablespoon of vinegar per cup of coconut milk (mix and let sit for 5 mins to coagulate – works with all dairy and nondairy milks!)

    3. Bruce H.*

      Another possible substitute is kefir. I think it tastes a lot like yogurt, but it’s liquid, so it might not trigger your texture issues. I have no experience cooking with it, so I’m just suggesting the possibility.

      (Years ago when I took Russian, our instructor was telling us about Russian foods and started to explain how kefir is like yogurt but different, and was surprised when several of us in the class told her, “Yes, we have kefir here, too.”)

  62. nep*

    For anyone using WordPress.org for a website — what are you using for security? From what I read, free plugins alone aren’t enough; I think I’ve got to get something like Sucuri firewall to complement. Advice? What’s worked for you?

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      Keeping up with updates. WordPress vulnerabilities are discovered and patched all the time. The key is to actually apply the patches. Many web hosts will actually automatically update WordPress to make sure users don’t fall behind on updates and thus expose their server instances to hacking.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      Not really sure how a firewall would help. Are you actually hosting your own in-house web server instead of hosting WordPress on a paid-for host?

      1. nep*

        Yes — self-hosting. WordPress.org as opposed to .com. So a level of the security up to me. I’ve read that Sucuri has worked well for some people with this setup.

        1. Anonymous Educator*

          No, but by self-hosting, I mean on your actual physical server in your own home as opposed to on somebody else’s server.

          It’s only WordPress.com if WordPress itself is the host.

          If you host anywhere else, it’s WordPress.org, whether that’s someone else’s server or your own server room. If you host in your own physical space, there’s a lot more security you need to worry about than just the WordPress part of it.

          1. nep*

            Oh I see what you meant. OK. I was using the term the way I see it used to distinguish WP.org from .com. Thanks

  63. ujvbhjjjikgbuihikokl*

    Do you guys keep in touch with your good/best friends from elementary/middle/high school and/or college/university? How many from each? Which do you feel closer to, School friends or College/University friends?
    How often do you see them? Do you have any friendship traditions weekly/monthly/yearly to stay in touch?

    1. What's in a name*

      Not I but my husband has friends that go back to kindergarten. They have a yearly poker game. There is one guy who retired to Florida who flies up to Virginia for it.

    2. Kathenus*

      I met my best friend in late eighth grade. She’s the the only childhood or school-related friend I’m still in touch with. A couple of others have fallen away the past few years mostly due to moves on both our parts and not having correct addresses for holiday cards so losing touch.

      No traditions I can help with. I’m not on social media and she doesn’t email much, so it’s just the occasional text or phone call between visits. We can go many months without any contact, sometimes even closer to a year, but when we do talk or see each other it’s as if we were never apart. We just click. We see each other randomly, she lives where a couple of my family members do so whenever I’m there visiting. Might be a couple of times one year, a couple of years between the next.

    3. all aboard the anon train*

      I keep in touch with friends from college, but I’ve lost touch with all my pre-college friends. I had some good times with my elementary/middle school/high school friends, but when I look back, we were all so different and it was more of being friends just so you weren’t alone. We all went on such different paths and I don’t think we’d still be friends now even if we had kept in touch.

      My college friends and I have different traditions. There’s a few of us who’ll plan a weekend vacation where we rent a house on the Cape or Newport each summer. There’s one who I have monthly sushi and mani/pedi dates with. Some us have a yearly Harry Potter movie marathon (coming up soon!). Another couple friends and I will get together biweekly, depending on schedules, to get dinner and see a new movie.

      It’s definitely not daily or weekly the way I used to think it would be based on TV and movies, especially since we’re all busy with different things in our lives. Some of my friends have kids and marriages, so they have less time, which is why we try to do a monthly or bi-monthly meetup just so we make sure we stay in touch. For others, we have traditions, but we also just meet up whenever we feel like hanging out. I’m lucky in that my friends are like me and like alone time, so it’s not like all of us need to be in contact with each other 24/7.

    4. Stellaaaaa*

      I have one very good friend from college. I met many of my closest friends during my college years, though I didn’t meet them at school.

      High school is a different story and a very long one. I don’t have any close friends left from those years but whenever I run into former classmates we’re perfectly happy to chat.

      1. Stellaaaaa*

        I’ll add that my university has an annual alumni beer tasting every January and a wine tasting every March, and I have a group of buds that I only see at those events. I don’t think I’d miss any of them if they stopped showing up to the tastings but I very much enjoy those events and seeing those people, even if I never think to reach out to them otherwise.

    5. Purple snowdrop*

      I have one friend who I met at school when I was 16 and just about to leave.

      Other than that, I have a couple of friends I met while I was at uni, but the vast majority of my friends I’ve met pretty recently and that’s just fine with me.

      For a counterpoint, my sibling always meets up with all her old school friends when she’s in the country and keeps in touch with them all. I quite like some of her old friends, but I wouldn’t want to see mine. Weird, I know.

    6. Bigglesworth*

      I have one friend that I’ve known since 1st grade. She was super popular and I…was not. However, my birthday is exactly one day before hers. We met in our lunchroom and talked about how cool it was that our birthdays were so close together. Well, come to find out, my mom and her dad are born one day apart and my dad and her mom are born one day apart. Her husband’s first and middle name are the same as my dad’s first and middle same. Plus, we got married in the same year and our husbands have become good friends. All that to say, we have a lot of history. We would usually meet up every 2-3 months, if not more, just to have dinner, talk, and play video games.

      I do try to keep in contact