{ 1,008 comments… read them below }

  1. Junior Dev*

    Alison made a comment about emojis in usernames and “the table flipping thing.” Table flipping thing? Did I miss something?

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      It was a letter where flipping a table was really needed to accurately convey the response. Someone found table-flipping emoticons, and they spread.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I couldn’t remember which one it was (my first two guesses were wrong), but GingerBlue has the link.

  2. Junior Dev*

    I went camping and it was really fun but I had a very hard time sleeping. It was cold and I forgot that I always sleep with about 10 pillows at home. I commented to my friend, “I like camping except for the part where you sleep outside.”

    What’s something you like that would be perfect if not for that one thing (that is probably pretty foundational to the experience)?

    1. katamia*

      I love everything about living in cities…except for all the people. I love the diversity, the increased job opportunities, the better public transportation, better restaurants, etc. But man do I not love being around so many people.

      1. Lucky*

        Me too, but for music festivals. I would hit every music festival if there were just 10% of the people.

      2. AnonAndOn*

        I agree with you there! I feel the same way. I want the amenities of living in a city without the crowds.

      1. Overeducated*

        I would like shopping more if I didn’t have to drive somewhere and park. I don’t know why but living in a city just makes it feel like way too much hassle, even with stores 2-3 miles away.

    2. Uncivil Engineer*

      Travelling… without the plane ride. I wish I could drive or take the train everywhere I go but that’s not feasible.

      1. Violet Strange*

        Yes. I like being other places but not the actual physical journey. If transporters or teleportation were available, travel would be my favorite hobby.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I have very bad travel anxiety so I tend to overplan. Especially when I have to drive myself someplace, and especially when I’m not sure where that someplace is exactly. Flying–not so bad (except for cramped legs). Train–even better. I wish we had trains all over the place here.

    3. DietCokeHead*

      I can’t really think of anything at the moment but I have to comment and say that about 75% of the time that I go camping I forget to bring pillows!

      1. Kowalski! Options!*

        Heh heh…we always forget toothbrushes and bottle openers (and not everything is a twist-off, unfortunately). We just bought a pop-up camper on Wednesday, so hopefully having the storage in the camper will keep us from forgetting the fundamentals!

        1. DietCokeHead*

          Ooh, I used to have a pop-up and I loved it. Having most of the essentials stored right in the camper is so handy.

          I have a pair of Reef flip flops with a bottle opener built into the sole. Super handy for camping or boating.

    4. Mallory Janis Ian*

      Being married except for the part where you have to make joint decisions. We’ve half-joked about living in two halves of a duplex so that we could each have complete autonomy over one side of the house (decorating, level of cleanliness, etc).

      1. Saturnalia*

        I would love this! We have separate bedrooms and bathrooms though, and that’s pretty good too.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Ha — yeah! College town with no students around. :-) I love them, but it sure is great to have the roads, restaurants, and stores to myself.

      2. oldbiddy*

        This. I work at a university where there are a lot of grad students who are here year round, so it’s not like it clears out entirely, but the difference is still really dramatic. They come back this week, but the grocery store was already busy yesterday with throngs of people doing their shopping now to avoid having to go later in the week.

        1. Justme*

          I can tell it’s back to school time for k-12 as well as the local university because my store was out of macaroni and cheese.

    5. Girasol*

      Can’t think of a thing. But hey, about camping: the fluffiest most expensive down sleeping bag will leave you shivering if your body is squishing it flat against the cold ground. An insulating mattress between you and the dirt or the cot – something with closed cell foam – makes the difference between sleeping warm or freezing. An air mattress or squishy foam mattress might help with softness but they won’t do much to keep you warm.

      1. Junior Dev*

        I had an inflatable sleeping bag and a pad, plus I was on a wood bunk in a rustic cabin, so I wasn’t exposed to the ground. But yeah, in general I agree a good sleeping pad is important. I hadn’t heard that about closed cell foam.

    6. Chaordic One*

      No matter where I go, I want nice clean restrooms. When I go camping (not often) I really miss having a nice hot shower or a bath in the morning. And don’t get me started on out houses and porta-potties.

    7. CharmedGeek*

      I would love going abroad, if it wasn’t for the hot weather. I live in the UK and even 17c is too hot for me, so going anywhere like Spain, the US or Australia is just…no. I know you can visit at certain times of the year when it’s colder but how reliable are temperature forecasts when you’re looking months ahead? I hate having holidays ruined because I’m just too hot and uncomfortable to go anywhere!

      1. oranges & lemons*

        You should come to the Pacific Northwest! It is very temperate here. If you come in spring or fall (or winter, if you don’t mind a lot of rain) it is pretty much guaranteed not to get hot.

    8. unnecessarily anon*

      At the moment, having just come home from visiting my mother-in-law, I love everything about visiting my mother-in-law except for all of it. Glad we only do that once a year.

    9. Victoria, Please*

      Exercising. Except for the sweat and pain (especially in my shoulders, which are tight as hell), exercising is great.

    10. LazyGirl*

      For me it is babies. I love babies and toddlers and would have happily had one after another. But I do NOT want any more kids to raise. Two is enough. I will just patiently wait for grandchildren.

  3. DietCokeHead*

    We’ve been house hunting for about 5 months now. We are seeing a house today. I’m trying not to get my hopes too high but it does look nice.

      1. DietCokeHead*

        I’m worried that we won’t like the house in person and then I will be disappointed. Around here, it’s a really tough market to be a buyer. My husband and I haven’t really been on the same page with houses that we both like.

        This house is at the top of our budget but should be doable. The yard might be a little small for my husband’s desired veggie garden. Otherwise, it should meet our needs and the location is good.

        I am also slightly annoyed that our realtor is sending her assistant to look at the house with us. Not that the assistant isn’t a perfectly nice person but she doesn’t seem to have the home knowledge that our realtor does. I feel like our realtor is getting sick of showing us houses.

    1. DietCokeHead*

      We liked the house!!!! Good size, good layout, good location, quiet neighborhood, and well maintained. The backyard was a bit small but doable. The landscaping needs some love. I had a question about the basement walls but I texted some photos to a friend who said that they looked good. We can see the landfill from the backyard but it isn’t super close. And we could maybe plant a tree or bush to block it.

    2. DietCokeHead*

      Well, now we’ve slept on it and we seem to be debating the merits of the house. The house itself is super nice. The yard is small. And the sight of the landfill…

      So we drove by the house again and it’s about 1/2 mile from the landfill itself. We weren’t able to smell anything until we were driving right next to the landfill itself.

      But is this the compromise that we make? Nice house, small yard, view of landfill? Or do we keep looking for something with a larger yard and a non-landfill view. Help….we are confused.

  4. Carmen Sandiego JD*

    Last week, nmom & enabler dad stopped outside my apt door to drop off items. I was out with SO luckily.

    Update: upon reader suggestions, I notified the apt management that 2 unauthorized people left something at my door. Manager left voicemail that he checked footage and didn’t see anyone propping a door open to let them in, and asked for more details.

    I replied via email that they were unauthorized, had a history of emotional bad, public meltdown by nmom that terrified me and nearly jeopardized my career and that my bosses knew and understood this. Plus she used to take (read: steal) money from me. Luckily I got it back, but it took 2 years.

    I also stated the specific entry time and stated that just bc someone doesn’t look like an intruder doesn’t mean they aren’t. Emotionally usiveabay people come in all forms.

    My worry is that now he found out they’re estranged family, he won’t take my concerns seriously. What would you do? Anyone in a similar situation?

    1. Elkay*

      Stick to the facts with your apartment manager – someone got in who shouldn’t have done. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they did to you in the past. Also follow up with what you want them to do to fix the situation and prevent it happening in future. Remove the emotions from the situation when you’re talking to management (be as emotional as you like about it elsewhere!).

    2. rj*

      yes! just because someone looks like other people in an apartment building does not mean they belong. Stick to your story because it is the true story – and because management does not need to know all the details. They were unauthorized (and scary).

    3. Purple snowdrop*

      I remember the first few times you posted about your mum taking your money, being utterly horrified, and I think you couldn’t see a way out back them IIRC. You have come SO FAR. My situation is totally different to yours but you make me feel change and freeing myself are possible.

      I hope your apartment people take you seriously. Good luck.

      1. Carmen Sandiego JD*

        Thanks so much–you’re right. Luckily, the manager sounded very empathetic, promised to send notice out to not let strangers in, and even provided contact details of authorities in case.

    4. Sylvan (Sylvia)*

      I think you can expect this to be taken seriously no matter how you talk about it, but telling the story in a “controlled” way might make you feel more confident in that. Tell the facts of their behavior, including stealing.

      Even if someone in management is dismissive of abuse, they don’t want people who steal anywhere near their property. Nor do they want people who have public meltdowns. Letting nmom and edad into the building seems to me like it would cause a lot of trouble for apartment staff (as if being a shitty thing to do to you weren’t enough of a deterrent?!). Nobody wants the full Difficult People Experience.

      I’m sorry you’re going through this right now. Take care of yourself.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        This. Also, try to remember you don’t have to invite anyone to judge your story. These people aren’t welcome. Nobody gets to question that.

        Hugs if welcome.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Right on.
          Toxic is toxic how the people are related to each other does not matter.

          Give them one more shot at understanding the seriousness of this. Then consider giving them notice in writing,
          Dear Landlord, This writing will confirm our conversation of X date where we discussed that: [fill in with appropriate details.]
          Keep a copy for yourself, of course.

      2. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Yes, mention that you had to receive a judgment against them to get back something they stole, and that if you see them anywhere on the property you would consider them trespassing. The first demonstrates that it wasn’t just your opinion that they stole, it wasn’t a “family disagreement”, they were found at fault in a civil suit (I assume, or maybe guilty in a criminal suit). The second, using the word trespass is a clear signal to the property management that they have no business on the property as far as you’re concerned, and you are presumably the only resident they know.

        That wording should set off alarm bells with the property management and make it less open to interpretation.

        I’m sorry you’re having to go through this, but I’m very happy for you that you said (in another open thread) that you were so much more at peace and happier going no contact.

    5. OlympiasEpiriot*

      Not in that situation anymore. But, sympathies. Don’t let people know too much unless you feel that it would be helpful and just stick to the facts: like so many others said here, there was an intruder.

  5. Uncivil Engineer*

    Has anyone had laser hair removal that didn’t work? If so, did you go somewhere else and it DID work?

    I did everything right: picked a reputable business, stuck to the schedule, went to more sessions than they originally said I would need, and followed all the rules for what to do before and after the sessions. Talking to the business afterwards, they said (after they verified I had done everything right) that sometimes it just doesn’t work. It’s very rare, but it happens. I guess I’m just that person.

    1. Call me St. Vincent*

      Mine reduced hair but didn’t eliminate it. I did 6 full sessions and 6 “mini sessions” per the package I bought from them and my place was also reputable. I also have the type of hair that it supposedly works best on — dark coarse hair on lighter skin. So yes, if being gone was the result, it didn’t work for me either.

    2. Amy Farrah Fowler*

      Yeah, of course it’s been 12-15 years ago, so I’ve heard the technology has gotten better. I have (undiagnosed) PCOS and grow dark hair on my face (and other places, but those are normally covered by clothes). It *really* bothered my mother when I was a teenager. I went to an endocrinologist, tried electrolysis, laser treatments, the whole nine. Nothing worked for me, so I just shave it. Maybe I should look into it again now that it’s been so long, but I’ve always just felt that it is what it is.

      Good luck though!

      1. Jenny*

        I think it sometimes doesn’t work on hair that is hormonally related, or at least that is what I was told when I looked into it at some reputable places

        1. Christy*

          For me, I had eight sessions and it’s removed almost all of my hormonal-related hair. I still have new hair grow in (grr) but it’s worlds better than it would otherwise be.

          1. Jenny*

            That’s so great to hear! I have a sister with PCOS who is going to look into this more now for herself

    3. Chaordic One*

      I have a male friend who became bald in his mid-20s and he had laser hair removal on his “fringe” so he would be completely bald, although he kept his beard. He did everything that you’re supposed to do and everything seemed fine for about 5 years, after which his fringe hair started growing back. It is not as thick as it was before the laser treatments, but he has gone back to shaving his head with a razor. He says he is considering going back for another batch of laser sessions.

    4. Story Nurse*

      I had the same experience, about ten years ago. Dark hair, light skin, and you can see stripes in my leg hair where the laser worked a little bit but mostly it’s just the same as it was.

    5. Anon for this*

      I’ve had everything. Electrolysis, thermolysis, laser hair removal 4 times now. Laser has worked best, but it always comes back after a few years. Though it probably wouldn’t is I did top up appointments when it started to reappear, but I let it get really bad then start from scratch. And when the laser works it doesn’t take the 6 appointments, it takes 12 or 18. The laser is worth it so I don’t have to do hair removal for a bit, but don’t believe that it is always foolproof. Also, there are different kinds of lasers and some might work better on you than others.

    6. Another one*

      Aren’t there different kinds of lasers? I know what it’s like to have unwanted hair, so if my treatments hadn’t worked, I would probably have tried another kind. The woman I went to had gone to school for it, and had recently purchased a used machine and rented out a space. I found her on Groupon because I couldn’t afford the packages at the big name places. It was $99 for 6 upper lip treatments, and I bought 6 more, plus a whole face (including chin) package for $189. I think that one was 8 treatments. Anyway, it worked really well. I used to have to attend to my facial hair daily-bleach, wax, depilatories, tweezing, shaving. I kept it under control but I was noticing that I was damaging my skin. Especially with the bleach and depilatories. I do have to keep an eye on it still for a couple of gray hairs the laser didn’t get, and some fine ones right next to my lip, but it’s so, so much better.

      Also, since that worked I decided to invest in one of those home treatment things for the rest of my body. After scouring reviews online, I chose the Flash N Go. I used the heck out of that thing on my full legs and bikini line and that worked too. This summer, I shaved my legs about once a month to get the areas I missed and don’t feel like re-doing yet (it’s time consuming and a little painful), but I used to have to shave every day. I don’t even have those giant pores where it looks like the hair is just waiting to pop out again.

      For the Flash n Go, I saw a lot of reviews where people said it didn’t work, but I was desperate. Maybe it legit didn’t work for them, but I was also extremely dedicated. I lasered like it was my second job (big bod, lots of hair). I probably over used it. It’s been over a year since I last used it and I’m still thrilled with the results. Before I invested in it, I figured with so many bad reviews I might be able to find a cheaper one on ebay or Craigslist or something but I never did. I don’t know, maybe people just let them sit in their cabinet unused, but ask around because someone might have one for you to try out.

    7. Liz2*

      I dunno what your circumstance is but I got my own home laser so I do my own treatments whenever I want for my chin. It’s still not perfect but I don’t feel irritated every afternoon with stubble and it takes 2 minutes with no need to even get dressed after a shower when I do a treatment- no money, no setting appointments, no driving, no tips, no pressure to buy more products.

  6. Lizcat*

    How do you budget with inconsistent income? I’m a freelance editor a couple of steady clients (a publisher, authors who write A LOT), but my income can vary month to month. I’m struggling to make YNAB work for that reason – I can’t give every dollar a job if I don’t know how many I’ll make next week.

    I want to save and pay down credit card debts. Thoughts?

    1. WG*

      Is your lowest monthly amount enough to cover your essentials? If so, you could budget on that amount and use any additional each month for paying down debt, building savings, and extras.

    2. Melody Pond*

      This is a link to Dave Ramsey’s daughter’s website (Rachel Cruze):


      The gist of it is, you write out a budget for the whole month, but you number each item based on importance. Both Rachel and Dave Ramsey recommend food being #1, shelter being #2, basic clothing to cover yourself being #3, and basic transportation (to get to your job) being #4. And you keep going from must-haves/needs, down to savings, and all the way down to “wants” like entertainment and eating out. Then, when you get your paycheck, you go as far down the list, as your check will carry you.

      The trick to it is, the total money budgeted for, needs to be more than your income. So you put money towards the things on your budget, until you run out of income. Then, if you get an extra paycheck in that same month, you continue on the list where you’d previously left off – i.e., if you made it down to item #10 on your list with paycheck #1, finish what’s left of #10, and continue on to #11, with paycheck #2.

        1. Melody Pond*

          I hope you find it helpful!

          As others have said, a lot of it can be extra short-term savings, or a job of “wait until I need you.” The list can be super long, and go all the way down to, “if I was having a REALLY good month, these items are categories I would add extra savings to.”

    3. rj*

      I don’t use YNAB so this may not help – is there a way to set aside, say, 20% of your budget for savings for lower paying months – and then in the lower paying months use that specific type of savings? YNAB might alert you or something but at least you’d be consistent for yourself

      1. nonegiven*

        Make a category called “deferred income” add to it as many months as possible and take some out if you come up short on necessary bills, groceries during months with less income.

    4. Amy Farrah Fowler*

      I use YNAB. My income is steadier now, but I found when it wasnt, that I would always make sure I was setting aside for necessary things first each month and if I had extra, I would allocate into the next month. My husband and I also don’t give every dollar a job because he chafed at having to decide what to do with each dollar and felt it didn’t give us flexibility when things change throughout the month. I’m sure if you have debt to pay down it can be tempting to do that first, but if your interest rates are not too bad, for stability sake you may choose to allocate your expenses out for the future month, then when you have extra at that point, you can pay down debt and save.

      Also, being a month ahead will mean that if your income goes down you’re not immediately in a dire position. YNAB also really promotes this by telling you the “age” of your money.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Good point, the idea being not to run up MORE debt because of overpaying on current debt.
        OP, once you get your emergency fund built up to a decent level then you will have more wiggle room for paying off current debt. But the same rule applies, you still don’t want to tear into that emergency fund unless it’s a real emergency- car repair, vet bill, etc.

    5. katamia*

      As a soon-to-be-ex-freelancer (ending next week) with a very varied income, I agree with WG about budgeting based on the minimum amount you’ll make each month if possible. I don’t use YNAB, but some other things that have helped me (more savings-focused since I don’t have credit card debt) are:

      -Don’t use autopay for your bills unless there’s literally no chance of overdrafting. Which is hard to have with a variable income (although not impossible, I’ll admit). Depending on how your bill due dates line up, pick one (or two, or three, or however many you need, but keep the number small) day a month to just go through your bills and pay them and go over your bank statements and do whatever you need to do.

      -Interest rates suck. Interest will not make you rich. But shopping around to see if you can get a bank account with better interest can slightly improve your financial cushion over time. If/when you feel like you have enough savings to do this, you can also look into CDs for the (slightly) higher interest rate.

      -Split up every check you get when you first deposit it. Sometimes I have to move things around later, but with every check I get, I put a percentage into Bank Account A, a percentage into Bank Account B, etc. right after I first deposit it rather than waiting. That way I don’t forget and can also be sure to get that extra cent or two of interest, lol. For you, that could also include a percentage of each check you want to put toward your credit card debt.

      -A slightly more philosophical one: “Wait until I need you” is also a valid job for a dollar. (See also: non-starting sports players, substitute teachers,

      1. Lizcat*

        I love your last point. I think I was getting too caught up in “everything must be known now”.

    6. Story Nurse*

      Other people have already given great advice. I’d just add that as a freelancer, you are your own boss—so run your business like a business. Freelance income goes into your business account. Set aside a chunk of it in your tax savings account. (When I was freelancing full-time I’d save 50% of each check for taxes on the assumption that even the very high freelance tax bill probably wouldn’t be quite that high, and because it was easy to calculate.) From your business account, pay yourself as close to a steady paycheck as you can manage, based on your minimum monthly business income until you have a cushion saved up and then gradually increasing. That paycheck goes into your personal account just like any paycheck would.

      Even if you’re just DBA and not incorporated or anything like that, it’s always a really good idea to keep personal and business money separate. Business expenses are paid out of the business account. Personal expenses are paid out of the personal account. Your accountant loves you (and is paid from the business account; tax prep is a deductible business expense).

      Also, if you’re not already doing this, quote flat fees to your clients but put them in hourly rate terms for your own records, and hunt the jobs that pay you the most for your time. If one client pays you $500 for five hours of work and another pays you $1000 for twenty hours of work, the first client is the one you want to get more jobs from. The more your income outstrips your expenses, the less you need to sweat over income variability.

  7. Pekelady*

    Has anyone had any experience with the Tidy Cat Breeze litter system? Reviews seem to be all over the place but I’m looking for alternatives totalling 50 pounds of litter every week which is bothering my knees and back more and more.

    1. Cookie D'Oh*

      If you’re looking for lighter litter there is a product called CatSpot litter. It’s mad from coconut. The difference is that you stir in the liquids and scoop the poop. Then you have to dump the entire contents every couple of weeks. Their website has more info.

      I haven’t tried it myself, but I’ve seen good reviews. The litter boxes for my cats are huge plastic storage boxes and I’m not crazy about hauling them to the garage to dump everything. I might try it once to see how it works.

    2. Amadeo*

      I have two and have abandoned scoopable clay litter entirely. I LOVE them. I change the pads weekly and the litter pellets every couple months or so. When you change the pellets you do have to rinse the tray out good to clean up the urine that dries on the grate. The pee smell is non-existent, the litter pellets are easier to pick up and don’t quite scatter the same as the clay and changing the pee pads is so fast and easy.

      I’ve read that some people soak the pellets and then dry them to reuse them, but I haven’t personally tried that.

    3. MarianCSRA*

      TidyCats and Arm & Hammer both have lightweight scoopable litter options. I think there are some other brands that do as well. The usually weigh about half as much as traditional litter.

      1. Nic*

        Seconding Pretty Litter. Not only is it super light, it’s delivered. Also, it changes colors based on the ph of the urine, so it can alert to bladder issues.

    4. Sparkly Librarian*

      I’ve used them for my two cats for years, and never plan on switching back unless I win a million bucks and get automated scoopers. Bonus for not hauling heavy sacks: once you know what your household’s approximate turnover rate is, you can order supplies from Amazon’s subscription service. They get delivered on a regular schedule (that you can adjust) and there’s a small discount.

    5. OwnedByThCat*

      100% love it. Been using it for like 7 years with my car and can’t recommend it enough. We order the supplies in bulk from Amazon a few times a year.

    6. Al Lo*

      Yes. We LOVE it, and our cat seemed to take to it just fine.

      We live in a small apartment, and the litter box is inside the coffee table, so it’s imperative that it doesn’t track and doesn’t smell, since it’s right in the middle of our living room, and this is by far the best system I’ve tried for that.

      We also change the pads weekly, scoop the poop a couple times a week (it seems to be less smelly and doesn’t bother the cat to have a couple of days in there, since the pee clumps aren’t part of the box), and change the pellets a few times a year.

      We did try rinsing the pellets and reusing, but they never quite dried the same, and neither we nor the cat were impressed, so we tossed them and started fresh.

      The only thing I don’t love is that the pellets are difficult/expensive to find or order in Canada, so I stock up on Amazon when I do an order to my nearest border crossing for all my “too expensive to ship” items, once or twice a year.

    7. Alwaysanon*

      Loved it except I wish they made an enclosed one. My cat pees high and always went over the edge in that box. I LOVED the pellet/pad system but I need a fully enclosed box for her or she damages floors and walls behind and under the box :(

    8. Episkey*

      We’ve used the Breeze systems for years now and I would NEVER go back to regular litter unless one of my cats absolutely decided to refuse to use it and started peeing in my house.

      The major con I can think of is that it WILL be more expensive than regular litter/litter box. We have 2 cats and use 3 boxes. My husband keeps them very clean because we did have an incident a few years ago where the female cat peed inappropriately a few times and we’ll never know exactly why, but it could be my husband wasn’t keeping them clean enough. We also added the 3rd box at that time.

      He monitors the boxes daily and changes the pads probably every couple days or so (depending on use) and changes the pellets maybe once every 3-4 weeks.

      The other yuck part is transitioning your cat over to using them. You set up the Breeze next to the old regular litterbox and basically “stop maintaining” the old box so that the only clean option they have is the Breeze. Some cats just don’t care and will start using the Breeze right away, some take a little longer. It can get a little gross with the unmaintained regular box, but IMO it’s worth it to get them using the Breeze.

      You will love the not having regular litter tracked all over your house aspect as well!

  8. Jessen*

    Vaguely work related but not really:

    I’m going to be switching to overnight shifts. You’re supposed to keep your sleep schedule consistent. I’ll have 3 nights off a week. What I’m looking for is things to occupy myself on these nights off. I’m not in a major metropolitan area, so things open overnight are going to be rare. I also live with non night shift people, so I’ll have to be quiet.

    Other than watching TV/playing video games all night, what are some good options to occupy myself?

    1. katamia*

      Depending on how squeaky your floors are, yoga or some other relatively quiet exercise might be good. I also find it’s a lot easier to get personal projects done at night when there’s no one else around to bother me, so (quiet) cleaning or organizing your files or something, though not fun, can be good to do then.

      If there’s anything you want to study, like learning another language or something, again, the quiet/lack of interruptions can be really good for that. If you have the income for it and there are courses available that you’re interested in, you could also take asynchronous college courses.

      1. Jessen*

        We do have a cheap online college around here (online branch of our local state school). Still, money is tight right now – well, will be once I move out of my parents’ spare room, which I’m trying to do ASAP.

        1. Gingerblue*

          If you’re planning on school at some point, but can’t spend the money right now, do you have an idea of what you’re planning to study down the road? Depending on the topic and how you do as an autodidact, you might find it worth doing some preliminary studying to get ahead on the topic so it’s easier when you officially take it. Especially if you’re taking a full course load or taking classes while also working, having some of the books read or brushing up, say, math you might need as a prerequisite could make a huge difference to your stress level down the road.

          You also mention moving out–if you haven’t lived on your own previously, are there any skills you feel you need to pick up that could be done quietly? Cooking, for example? Again, there might be something that it would be nice to get ahead on.

          Other than that: nothing wrong with video games! (What are you playing?)

          1. Jessen*

            I’ve lived on my own before, no worries. Looking to study computer stuff – I’m working on doing some online, maybe even come up with a portfolio, possibly once I get some idea do ultra-cheap freelancing.

            1. Gingerblue*

              Oh, cool! I’ve recently been teaching myself some coding via online courses for a side project I’m working on, and I’m surprised by how fun I’m finding it. The wealth of free online tutorials these days is amazing.

          2. katamia*

            Ooh, great idea. Jessen, you can also look at Coursera, edX, the Saylor Foundation, etc. to familiarize yourself with some of the material you eventually want to “officially” study beforehand to make it easier on yourself down the road.

          3. Jessen*

            Oh, and I’m mostly a strategy game person. Europa Universalis and Civilization are fun. Roguelikes are good too – I even beat Nethack once!

            1. Gingerblue*

              Civ! I’ve recently been really enjoying the old Civ-adjacent game Alpha Centauri. It’s one of those wow-it’s-three-hours-later-than-I-thought games for me.

        2. Annie Mouse*

          I don’t know if it would be of interest but FutureLearn do great free online courses, designed by universities, in a wide range of topics. Something like that might give you the chance to try out lots of different subjects to see what you find interesting to learn about.

    2. Call me St. Vincent*

      Are you going to be doing nights permanently or just for a short period (like a night float rotation)? If it’s just for a rotation, my husband does that and what he does is he goes back to his nighttime sleeping when he’s off because for such a short time and with switching, you end up really exhausted. So let’s say he’s working Monday through Friday nights then he’ll sleep for like five hours during the day Saturday, wake up for a while then go back to sleep at like 10 or 11 pm Saturday night just to get the extra sleep. He has never tried to stay up for the “off” nights. It’s worked for him. You never seem to be able to fully switch if it’s only for like 2 weeks. If it’s permanent, then please ignore the above!

      1. Jessen*

        Permanently, or at least for several months (or until I can get something better, which, who knows).

        1. Call me St. Vincent*

          Gotcha! Good luck with it! Some people end up really liking it. My husband has a few friends that took night time gigs for a while because it pays a lot more. I am sorry I don’t have advice on your original request, but I hope you find something!

    3. Call Me Crazy*

      I’ve been working third shift for 13 year now (call me crazy). Like Call Me St. Vincent mentions downpost, sleeping for several hours after you get home on your “off” days, get up and do stuff, go to bed around 11 or 12pm. The afternoon of the day you return to work, sleep for three hours or so around mid-afternoon. This has worked well for me, but you’ll figure out your own personal “best” in short order.

      For quiet activities to do if you are having trouble getting into the sleep routine, try reading or a quite hobby (I do genealogy and scrapbooking). Please be sure to send in an update in a few months.

    4. Red Reader*

      24-hour gym, set up a workout habit? If you have a planet fitness around, they’re $10-20 a month and open 24-7 at least M-F.

    5. Ptolemy*

      You could try astronomy as a hobby. If you’re in a more rural area with less light pollution you can see quite a lot.

    6. Paul*

      Any good state/county parks that dont’ close at night? If you’re in a small town or rural area you’d be amazed what wildlife comes out at night. Get a good red light flashlight, stick to marked trails and have fun. Slightly less advisable if there’s a good population of large carnivores in your area.

    7. Story Nurse*

      Handicrafts are a very pleasant way to pass the time, and generally pretty quiet. You could also pick up a hobby that would encourage you to make online friends in other time zones. For example, if you’re in California and start studying German, you’ll have lots of folks in Germany to chat with during your mutual day.

    8. Nic*

      I craft. I’m working on a quilt and an afghan.

      I’m also taking classes online. Khan Academy and Code Academy come to mind.

  9. WG*

    I was on vacation this past week and used that time at home to do a deep purge of junk that had accumulated over many years and thorough cleaning. I didn’t get all of the cleaning done, but it was a significant amount. Now that the house is in good order, does anyone have tips for keeping it that way?

    1. MsVader*

      I read an article once where every day at a time that works, you set an alarm for 15 minutes and you clean for those 15 minutes. It gets things tidy and you aren’t spending a lot of time cleaning.

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        Yeah I sort of do this system but once or twice a week (on top of my normal 15 mins when I get home which is maintenance like wash dishes/scoop cats/sweep etc). I call it my “Hour of Power” and give myself an hour to do the vacuuming, bathroom cleaning, kitchen scrubbing, floor mopping etc. I almost always finish early but giving those chores a defined time and a day (usually a weekend) means that on Thursday night when I see cat hair on the floor and start stressing I put it in the back of my mind because hey, I can live with it for two days until I can really clean it. (Although if I get OCD on it I may get the pan and brush out for 5 minutes but I usually forget after a while)

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      Luxuriate in it?

      We have a few relatives who inspire the feeling “When we get home, let’s immediately throw out three things.”

      1. OnFire*

        Too true. Husband and I both have a few like this. He laughs at me because the rare occasions that we see any of their houses, I come home and go into “ruthless clean out” mode – and we *do* keep a clean, organized house! :-)

    3. Junior Dev*

      I am not a Clean Person but this helps me keep the mess under control. I use Habitica to track stuff I want to do every day, but you could also set up phone alarms or give yourself stickers on a calendar.

      Identify about 5 specific things that will keep the mess down and try to do them every day. Each thing should take less than 5 minutes. If you can’t do all the things, try to do as many as you can on a given day. Here are some of mine:

      * Clear clutter from and wipe down one counter or tabletop

      * Take out one trash or recycling bin

      * Put away any clean dishes in the dishwasher or dish rack

      * Put any dirty dishes in the dishwasher

      * Clear all clutter from bedroom floor

      Give yourself things to do that truly will take 5 minutes or less; if the bedroom floor is a giant pile of clutter, don’t try to clear it as your daily chore until after you’ve taken a weekend to actually get it cleaned up. This is about maintenance, not big projects.

      I find giving myself specific tasks with a defined outcome way more manageable and less overwhelming than something like “clean for 15 minutes a day.”

    4. Gingerblue*

      What made a huge difference for me in keeping the house tidy was using a to-do list on my phone which will automatically reschedule tasks as due every week. (I use Wunderlist.) It’s not just that it reminds me to do the things, it’s that it eliminates the nagging feeling that I’m forgetting something in between cleanings, so I can relax about it the rest of the time. I schedule everything as due on Sundays, and I’ll usually have checked off at least half the list by the time I get to the weekend, just doing it in a couple minutes here and there. I also list tasks in small enough chunks that I can do most of them in a few minutes (so instead of “Clean the bathroom” I list “Clean the toilet”; “Clean the tub/shower”; “Clean the mirror”; “Vacuum the floor”, and so on). I initially made a rule for myself that I had to use the time I spent waiting for tea to brew to do small kitchen tasks (my sink was always full of dishes, and it was getting to me). Once I was reliably on top of the dishes, I started expanding that to other cleaning jobs. Small task chunks and a couple of 5-10 minute increments throughout the day made a huge difference, and that’s time I wouldn’t have used for anything else productive anyway.

      If you have the space and a bit of money to throw at the problem, keeping duplicate cleaning supplies near the tasks you need to do makes it feel a lot more possible to do a couple minutes here and there. I keep a small collection of stuff like bleach and sponges and dustcloths both upstairs and downstairs so I can easily grab them, and my floors got a lot better after I bought a second dustbuster to keep upstairs in addition to the one downstairs. Sometimes having to go downstairs for something makes all the difference in whether I’d take care of it or not. I also list some big tasks for myself where I only plan on doing a little bit of it once a week, like cleaning the refrigerator–I’m definitely not doing the whole thing every week, but I’ll generally wipe down one shelf each week so it never gets to the point of needing a major cleaning.

      Also, if you find music motivating, cleaning playlists can make a surprising amount of difference!

    5. Cookie D'Oh*

      I like UnF*ck Your Habitat. I enjoy seeing the before/after pictures.

      I try to have a place for everything so stuff doesn’t pile up. I try to do as much as possible online to eliminate paperwork coming in the mail. I try not to buy stuff I don’t need. I’m only keep clothing items I love and that make me feel confident.

      Our trash pickup is once a week so that’s a good time to do a quick look around the house and fridge to see what needs to be pitched or recycled.

      1. Sylvan (Sylvia)*


        I have three UfYH-style 20/10s of stuff-I-don’t-want-to-do daily. One of them is cleaning. If you’re not fighting against an inherently messy nature (lol) you can probably do less than that.

      2. MsChanandlerBong*

        I HATE mail. We pay all of our bills online, with the exception of one-off bills from the doctor or hospital. I’d say we get maybe 8 to 10 pieces of “real” mail per month. The rest is a heap of junk, and it ticks me off. I have pleaded with several companies to remove me from their lists (I literally throw the catalogs in the garbage can as soon as I come back in the house from going to the mailbox), but they refuse. I shop online; if I want to look at stuff, I browse the retailer’s website. All I do with the catalogs they send me is shred the address page and throw the rest away. What a waste of paper and postage.

        1. the gold digger*

          We are getting mail for Primo’s sister, who died before I met him, at our house now. We still get mail for his parents – I have had to send not one but about five emails to the Smithsonian to tell them SLY AND DORIS ARE DEAD and are not shopping anymore.

          When I get junk mail with a postage-paid return envelope, I stuff as much paper as I can in the envelope, write, “Remove this name and this address from your mailing list” next to a page with Sly and Doris’ name, and drop it back in the mail. Petty, I know, but it’s been two years since they died and 13 years since Primo’s sister died and I am sick of dealing with this.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            You can stop the mail at the Post Office, if you wish. After my husband passed, I kept receiving documents pertaining to his mother but the mail had my husband’s name on it. I felt it was totally inappropriate for me to get these things. The post master put a stop on that particular return address. It was magical. I never received another document again.
            I tried three times to tell the sender to stop. Deaf ears. One trip to the PO and problem solved.

            1. the gold digger*

              Thanks! I will try that! Primo had put their names on the “Do not send” list (or whatever it is), but then had to forward their legitimate mail to our house. I guess the PO sells those change of address lists without checking them against the Do not send list.

              1. fposte*

                There also is the Deceased Do Not Contact list kept by the DMA. It’s not perfect, but it helped a lot with my father’s mail, which was also forwarded to me.

    6. fposte*

      It doesn’t look like it’s getting updated any more so I can’t swear to you it’ll work forever, but I love my Home Routines app. For me making the tasks specific and granular is the only way I can do them, and I’m a sucker for gold stars.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Oh, I might switch to Home Routines. Is it free? I pay $8/year for the Motivated Moms app.

        1. fposte*

          Looks like it’s a purchase app ($4.99 is the price I’m seeing) but no subscription needed.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            At least that’s a one-time charge versus a yearly fee. Plus I really like the gold stars and the “good job” smiley faces when all the tasks are done. My app only pushes items to the bottom of the list as they’re checked off. I’m switching over!

    7. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I use the Motivated Moms app. There isn’t anything overtly mom-ish about it, outside of the name; it’s just a household cleaning and maintenance list that reminds you of daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly tasks. Everything from clean the toilet to change the batteries in your smoke alarms.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I like it because you can divide the chores into categories based on location, time of day, or person. I set mine up by morning, afternoon, and evening and get a lot of satisfaction out of completing my morning chores before leaving for work each day. I don’t always get to every single thing on the list, but my house looks better when I do at least some of it versus none of it.

    8. Mischa*

      I immediately clean when I get home from class/work, or when I think of it. “I should do laundry later” becomes “I am doing laundry now.” If I don’t do something in the moment, it won’t get done. Partially because I’m kind of lazy, and partially because I have godawful short term memory.

    9. Girasol*

      I use Google Calendar on my android and set recurring appointments with alarms to remind me what chores need to get done today. So “vacuum” pops up weekly, and “declutter” and so on.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I got to a point where for every one thing I brought home, TWO things had to go. I was not a jerk about it though, any attempt was what mattered. Sometimes I brought home a pair of socks and got rid of a piece of furniture. Other times, I’d bring home a shelving unit and toss two knickknacks. So this was not a ridge, over-thinking thing.

        OP, if your community has a town-wide garage sale, you can use that to help yourself along. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot to put at a tag sale, so I get friends to come with their stuff, too. It helps to draw people if you have more stuff.

        1. WG*

          My town dump/recycling center has a shed for putting items that are still usable for others to take. I’m too lazy to do all the work for a yard sale, so many things went to that shed this week.

          I do like the concept of anything new coming in means at least one thing goes out. I tend to keep things thinking I may need it later or I’ll lose weight and fit into it again some day (most of the clothes I got rid of were 3 sizes too small).

    10. Not So NewReader*

      Some of it will just stay in good order. Once you get that baseline control it’s pretty hard to lose it entirely.
      I had stuff fairly well organized here and then got a lot of work done on my house. Things were flying every which way. So even though there was stacks of stuff, it was still in some kind of order.

      I remember reading in “Taming the Paper Tiger” the author said to weed as you go. The trick is to toss only the things that you are 100% sure you do not need. If you are unsure, you keep it. This is the important part that I missed, I would get lost in trying to figure out if I needed something or not. Now I just go with uncertain = keep. I can work faster using this rule. I have applied this to my whole house, not just the paper in my house.

      I have recycling bins, donation bags and a compost bin. As it occurs to me that I am done with an item, I put it in the donation bag (if appropriate). I have a garage sale pile as we have a town wide event once a year. Sometimes I realize a friend or family member would get better use out of an item than I would. I put the item by the door or in my car to make sure it gets to them.

      Make sure the storage containers are labeled very well. It’s funny because my boss and I were talking and we both came to the same conclusion. We pick a particular size storage container and that is how much we allow ourselves to keep of various things. So the Halloween decorations cannot exceed the Halloween decoration container, and so on. Am chuckling. You do what you have to do.

      I bought a label maker and I find that making nice labels motivates me even more to put things where they should go.

    11. Not That Jane*

      I like the philosophy of the website Unf*cK Your Habitat: similar to the 15-minute timer idea.

      I actually rotate every two weeks around 10 different areas of the house, and give myself a daily 5-minute timer to deal with that space somehow. Once I’m in the swing of it, I often go more than 5 minutes, but this way I know that I’ll be addressing each area at least every 2 weeks for a minimum of 5 minutes. (Note that I’m a mostly stay at home mom of a toddler, and this is in addition to the tasks like dishes, wiping counters, etc that need to be done more often.)

    12. Seal*

      When I got serious about job hunting a year or so ago, I started decluttering in anticipation of moving out of state. While my job search hasn’t paid off yet, the downsizing and decluttering has been fairly successful and tremendously satisfying. I’ve found that that once I’ve gotten a space cleaned up and organized it’s much easier to keep it that way. That’s particularly true for counters and other spaces that are out in the open. My closets and some cabinets still need work, but at least I can keep those doors closed until I can do something about the mess.

      I’ve also found that having a routine helps. Dirty dishes go straight into the dishwasher and dirty clothes straight into the hamper. Clean clothes get put away rather than being allowed to sit in the laundry basket. Mail gets sorted when its received. Groceries get put away as they come in the door (that one’s a bit of a no-brained when you have perishibles). And so on. Doing these smallish tasks as the occur rather that letting things pile up makes cleaning so much easier in the long run.

  10. I am still Furious*

    I have an appointment with my attorney on Thursday; I thought it was 2 days ago, left work went to the office, and the secretary was so nice, and said no, it’s next Thursday, and I can’t even squeeze you in because he’s out for the rest of the day. My time off wasn’t a total loss, though. I stopped by a tobacco and lottery ticket store, and the owner was happy to give me copies of purchase receipts and what was purchased on two of my cards. Hundreds of dollars in scratch off lottery tickets and a few snacks thrown in for good measure. She also said the clerks are in trouble, as they didn’t verify ID for a purchase over $30 as is her rule in the store. There are 3 of them who may be out of a job or severely reprimanded.

    I found other evidence of gambling. His bank account is overdrawn (found a statement in the trash, so that’s fair game in my opinion) with lots of charges to stores that sell cigarettes and lottery tickets only, and he doesn’t smoke. I also noticed a credit card statement mixed in the junk mail, he must have missed it as he always gets the mail before I get home from work. I tucked it aside and haven’t opened it yet. Technically I shouldn’t but I need to know how much he’s into the card company for, even though it’s just in his name, it will become my problem.

    I forgot that my Amex card was in my wallet and one day last week, a charged popped up for $30 in Merchandise at a local gas station/convenience store @ 7 PM at night, and I know by my FitBit activity I had gone for a walk. He must have waited for me to leave, taken the card, gotten lottery tickets, then put it back before I got home. I opened a fraud file with that store chain, and heard from their legal department. They will release all records they have against my credit cards if my attorney supplies them with a subpoena. The customer service department has been really helpful in telling me verbally what was purchased. It’s the same every time: refill store chain gift card (that is linked to his name, BTW) then that same gift card is used seconds later to buy lottery tickets in the same amount as was charged to my card.

    I went back through statements to the beginning of the year, and found what I thought were gas charges, and I remember saying why are we using so much gas when I drive back and forth to work, and you don’t work, so quit running around so much, but it wasn’t gas, it was lottery tickets. $30 here, $40 there, so far, I’ve identified about 60 or so charges over 2 cards.

    In PA, there are a few things that are grounds for divorce. Addiction is one of them. I hope my attorney can make a case for this. I should not have to pay up to 40% of the difference between my income and his (which is usually zero because he just won’t work, won’t get training, can’t even draft and send an email for that matter or work his way through an online application without help) when this sorry excuse for a human being is blatantly stealing from me and using me as a human ATM machine. We have no relationship. I want him gone, in fact, if I could nuke him from orbit and get away with it, I would. The other thing I want to do is see if he can be prosecuted for device access fraud for using my credit cards without my permission since he is not an authorized user on the account. It’s no different in my mind than if a thief broke into my house, took the card, and racked up some charges.

    I’m prepared to walk away with my car and personal belongings. I secured a place to stay with a female friend after the papers are filed. I’m over 50 years old and cannot wait to start over without this anchor around my ankle.

    1. Dan*

      Have you talked to your lawyer about imputing income on your spouse?

      Can you just move out? My quick scan shows that if the other spouse won’t agree to a divorce, you can file for one after a two year separation.

      1. I am still Furious*

        I’m talking to my lawyer this coming Thursday, and I’m getting ready to move out, have a spot lined up, but I want his advice before I do anything. I’m starting to gather up my important stuff and I’m taking it to my friend’s house tomorrow under the auspices of just going for a visit…sneaking things into the trunk of my car a bit at a time.

    2. fposte*

      I’m so glad you’re taking steps to get out; sorry about the mistiming on the lawyer, but next week is coming fast. Do be ready for the possibility that it could cost you more in fees to file based on addiction than to pay him short-term spousal support (I don’t know that it will, but the more work it takes a lawyer, the more it’s likely to cost you). Be clear with yourself what your goal is–is it to make a point, or is to get shot of him the speediest and most economical way?

      And honestly, until you’re out, I would take my credit cards with me everywhere if I were you, including into the bathroom. If the door doesn’t lock, put ’em in a ziplock bag and take them into the shower.

      Sounds like suckage is nearing an end, though–good luck!

      1. I am still Furious*

        I put my cards in a auto repair manual for 1967 – 1977 Ford engines :) It has to do with actual physical labor, so no danger of it being opened for any reason by him.

        I want this over. I want it done. And as soon as possible. And I want to legally change my name back to my maiden name so I am not even associated with him any longer. I am going to ask my attorney what the most expedient way is. There is a small house and 4 older cars, all paid for, and I’m willing to walk away with just my personal stuff and 1 car, and abandon the rest if he just signs and leaves me alone. Otherwise, I want to file charges on the fraudulent use of my cards, every single count. Let him twist with the court system for a while or go to jail, his choice.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          This is well thought out, just my opinion and I’m not a llama so FWIW. It’s a huge time and energy suck but it’s an investment that will give you life-long returns in peace of mind, financial security, etc. I hope Thursday goes extraordinarily well for you.

    3. Effie, going nowhere fast*

      Whoa, that’s a lot. So glad you’re taking concrete steps to get out. Wishing you the best and hoping for the speediest resolution!

    4. Rookie Manager*

      I’m so sorry you are going through this. It sounds like you are taking all the right steps to get out safely. I don’t want to scare you or cause extra stress but leaving an abusive relationship (and what is happening here is definitely abuse) can be a really dangerous time for women. It might be worth getting the number for a dv/womens shelter/advice line and putting it in your phone just in case. Depending on your area there are probably a number of organisations who can help you take the steps you need to and create a safe plan. Lawyers are great and necessary but they might not be able to advise on the practical things.

      Good luck.

      1. I am still Furious*

        I had thought about this. The gravy train is going to come to an abrupt halt, and for someone who has literally skated through life it’s going to be a rude awakening. The entire time we’ve been married he’s never once been responsible for anything. I tried, but it was “it’s just better if you do it” type thing. Not my problem for very much longer, though.

        1. tigerStripes*

          It might be worthwhile telling him you’re leaving by phone or with a large sheriff’s deputy by your side.

    5. Enough*

      I live in PA and have friends who have divorced here. Last I knew in PA just because he doesn’t work doesn’t mean they automatically assume zero for the income. If he could work but chooses not to they will normally assume an income based on past jobs/income (so at a minimum, probably minimum wage for 40 hrs a week). Also there is usually a limit to the time you would pay, most likely around 3 years. This is to allow the lower wage spouse time to get work or more education/training so they can live without support. Now this is a few years ago but I don’t believe there has been any major changes to the laws. And I believe that support is taken directly from your wages. Initially the support office in your county will determine what the support amount is (as outlined in the law) and then you can adjust things in the divorce settlement. Your lawyer should be able to explain all this.
      The biggest issue can be getting this all settled. Obviously if you are both agreeable it can be quick. However if there are any issues you could end up in front of the master. This person sort of fact finds and mediates. In my county we have (had?) 1 master and they were ridiculous. My friend would go to a scheduled meeting and his wife would simply say she didn’t agree to something (that she usually had agreed to through the lawyers) and the master would say, okay come back for another appointment weeks or months later.

    6. Red Reader*

      You should absolutely be able to press charges for using your credit cards. Start filing charge backs with the companies too. “I didn’t make this charge.” The company will then require the business to show who made the purchases, and since it clearly wasn’t you, you have a very high chance of getting some of the money back. (Even if you HAD said it was okay for him to use them, technically the store isn’t allowed to let him use a card without his name and signature on it.)

      They will then probably require you to get new cards with new numbers, which will keep you safe from the possibility that he wrote down your card info and might use it online or something.

  11. Gerenuk*

    Does anyone uses beeswax wraps for food storage as an alternative to plastic wrap?

    If so, how do you like them? Did you buy them or make them yourself? How do you clean them? How long do they last?

    I’d like to use less disposable plastic and theres some things that are better stored tightly wrapped than in a reusable container, so these seem like a good idea.

    1. Connie-Lynne*

      I had a friend send me some from Germany for wrapping cheese. I haven’t tried it out yet but I’m excited to.

    2. beem*

      I bought some. I wanted to use them for covering cat food tins but they didn’t seem to work very well. Maybe it didn’t stick to the metal or the paper label? Or maybe I was supposed to warm it slightly with my hand? I did like seeing the cheery pattern every time I used it.

  12. AnnaleighUK*

    Boyfriend got the keys to his first cafe premises in our town today! He’s opening a breakfast and lunch spot that will serve pastries, typical English breakfasts and also have a sandwich counter for takeaway. I don’t think I’ve mentioned before that he’s a chef and a really good baker as well. I’m so proud of him. He’s wanted to do this for years since he moved to the UK (he’s French) and finally it’s happened. He’s aiming to open at the end of September. Yay!

    1. Michelle*

      Damn, I really want to ask where (always on the look out for good cafes) but that’s probably breaking the anonymity.

      1. AnnaleighUK*

        Oh he will be doing those, on fresh baked bread with local bacon from rare breed pigs. I shouldn’t have written that at 6.15am before we’ve had breakfast cuz we’re off on a triathlon today so no bacon sammiches until we’re done… darn I’m hungry now!

      2. London Calling*

        In toast, with BROWN sauce, not ketchup. And a large filter coffee. The best Sunday morning breakfast there is.

        1. London Calling*

          OK, just read that you are using rare breed pigs, so scrub the sauce. Dang, I want a bacon sandwich now…

          1. AnnaleighUK*

            I like a little smudge of sauce even with the rare breed bacon. And yes, brown sauce. Always brown sauce. Ketchup just isn’t right. Bread must be lightly toasted.

            I’m making myself even hungrier, I’m not due off the startline for the triathlon till 11.30 but you can bet we’re getting bacon sammiches on the way home. Maybe I’ll do a faster time today because bacon is my motivation…

            1. London Calling*

              And not too much butter, I really dislike soggy toast. Good luck with the triathlon, where are you competing?

              1. AnnaleighUK*

                Over in Kent today – funny course, I’ve never seen one quite so flat! My legs hurt but the good news is that we have had our bacon sandwiches from a food van at the venue. Not toasted sadly but with lashings of brown sauce. Mmmm.

            2. Bagpuss*

              See, I’d rather have my bread un-toasted, but should be fresh, crusty white bread. Real butter, smoked, streaky bacon cooked to a crisp, and maybe a tiny bit of HP sauce.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          YES YES HP SAUCE
          I don’t use our equivalent, A-1, anymore for ANYTHING. It’s too sweet. HP is sooooo much better.

          Also, yesterday I watched a very cute pig video and now I’ve been put off bacon. :'{

  13. anon for unpopular opinion*

    While I think filming incidents can be really helpful in certain situations, I’m kind unnerved by how many people just whip out their phones and film something without thinking twice.

    Incidents I’ve witnessed in the past month:

    1. Someone having a very distraught public breakup and people filming it
    2. Someone who tripped and fell against a bust construction site and hit their head on a chain link fence and was bleeding profusely
    3. A homeless person who collapsed on the street in the middle of a hot day

    I went over in those two situations with some other people and called 911, but I’m kind of sickened at how many people were just standing there filming the situations. I love technology and think it’s so great, but when did it become okay to hide behind your phone instead of helping??? Why assume someone else is going to be there to help? What if in the next situation, no one else steps up and it’s just a crowd of people filming on their phone??

    1. Call me St. Vincent*

      I agree with you–it’s bizarre. I witnessed a fight in a public park and I had gone for a walk with a friend and neither of us had our phones. We kept asking other people to call 911 and they kept filming the fight! We ended up locating a police cruiser and verbally reporting it. It was really disturbing.

    2. The Other Dawn*

      I have nothing to add, but I totally agree. It’s awful how many people just want to be spectators and get it all on film, rather than helping someone in need.

    3. fposte*

      I think that’s such a common reaction to all kinds of things (I’m bemused by how many people will video weddings that they’re attending), especially with the potential of moneymaking attached, that that genie’s not going back in the bottle any time soon. It’s essentially how a lot of people pay attention to stuff.

    4. Sylvan (Sylvia)*

      Bystander effect. A more charitable interpretation might be that people think video may be useful later as evidence of whatever horrible thing is happening. Gives me flashbacks to a Black Mirror episode, though. It just seems cruel.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        My husband and I once challenged a woman on the bus who was subjecting another passenger to racist abuse. When we reported it to the police, they asked why we didn’t take any footage of it.

    5. Becky*

      There was an incident recently in Florida where a bunch of teenagers filmed and laughed while watching a man drowning. None of them called 911 and the man died. And there is no law in Florida that obligates people to get help or call 911 if someone is in distress so they are unlikely to be charged.

      Sometimes I just get really really depressed with the state of humanity.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      Oh man, I don’t want to tell you what exactly it was because it was SUPER gruesome. But I was dicking around online one night and fell down a rabbit hole of links into videos I probably shouldn’t have been watching. In one, a person was grievously injured (fatally) and these idiots were just standing around shooting video of him. He was conscious and upset and not ONE person tried to help him or hold his hand or even cover him so he couldn’t see his own injury (trust me; it was bad) while emergency personnel were on the way. This was in a country in Asia (I honestly can’t remember where), but STILL. Couldn’t one person have comforted the guy? He was dying, for shit’s sake. :'( I’m sorry I watched it because it was horrific, but at the same time I’m not, because it made me aware of how people are and that someday, I might have to be the one to step up. Which I am fine with.

      I know people are going to film if something crazy is going on, like the N@zi (yep that’s what they are) march last night in Charlottesville and the subsequent t3rrorist (yep that’s what it was) car attack on counter-protesters. And that’s sometimes the only way the rest of the world can find out what’s going on. If it’s a big deal, TV will be there, but they don’t always shoot everything and are not always in the right place at the right time. But when people are having a hard time or need help, somebody should be willing to take the initiative.

      1. anon for unpopular opinion*

        See, I agree with filming in the case of your second paragraph. It’s the instances that you describe in your first that really upset me. Documenting events is one thing, but documenting someone’s pain without even thinking of helping is another. I just think of myself in that situation and I’d be so angry and mortified that someone’s first thought would be to film my misery or pain to put on the internet. It just seems heartless and cruel.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          That’s exactly how I felt about it. I was upset more by the bystanders than by seeing the injury–maybe when you see something that bad, you disconnect somewhat, plus I’ve already seen so much gross stuff from criminal justice studies. But the depths of people’s callousness has an unending capacity to piss me off.

    7. dawbs*

      I will admit to waiting to call anyone until getting out my cell and turning on the video record recently (and setting up that 911 was a half a tap away), for something roughly the equivalent of #3–because that’s a situation where I’ve no idea what I”m walking into and damn if I”m doing it without some record and way to contact help.
      (And as it was, it concluded with 911 call being made (by my employee while I was setting things up) and paramedics taking the person to the hospital, and my only real attempt to help being handing bottles of water (that technically belonged to my employer and were for sale, but they didn’t really object to this) to all the overheated people.

      I do, in my moments of being generous with the humans of the world, think there’s a certain amount of ‘preserve this for the future’ and ‘make sure there’s a record, JIC this all goes south’ in a lot of people that’s becoming heightened by ‘pics or it didn’t happen’.

      1. anon for unpopular opinion*

        But…I guess what I don’t understand is if someone sees another person collapse, why would their first thought be to film it instead of asking if they’re okay? Wouldn’t you rather call 911 just in case it goes south than film it? It just seems like a step back from empathy and more of a concern for documentation than human kindness.

        1. Panda Bandit*

          I’m questioning that right along with you. It feels like these people see others suffering as a form of entertainment or a way to get attention for themselves.

    8. GLaDoS*

      Or the people that film the end of a police call and post it online claiming it’s footage of an officer killing someone. Always needing to be the first to post it online.

      It’s ridiculous

    9. Kerr*

      Was just discussing this the other day. It’s chilling and baffling. I can see the advantage in certain situations for safety or documentation, etc., but people whip out their phones in SO many situations where it’s an inappropriate response. I remember reading about an attempted suicide in public, and people were literally filming it on their phones instead of trying to help. :( It confuses me because I understand freezing, I understand the bystander effect, but I don’t understand being able to function and “do something”…and having your reaction be “I should take video of this” to be “doing something.” Or maybe these people DO feel like it’s doing something, even when they’re totally not?

      Also, I’m not even sold on the idea of filming *and posting* things like the racist rants that Ramona Flowers mentioned. Filming for the police is one thing, but posting it without the victim’s explicit OK – what if they don’t WANT that out there, isn’t that just victimizing them again? (Also, if I were the target, I think I’d rather have someone help me in the moment than stand by and “document.”)

      1. anon for unpopular opinion*

        Exactly. I think there’s a time and a place, but there are so many instances where it’s really inappropriate and disturbing.

        I always think that if I was a victim in a situation, I’d be so angry with the people who decided to stand by and film me and post it online. It can make a situation so much worse for the victim and for what? Bystanders being able to upload it to their social media account? For what purpose?

        It just sort of makes me wonder when it’s going to get to a point where everyone whips our their phones to take a video an incident and that causes something awful to happen because no one put down their phone to actually help.

    10. ..Kat..*

      Locally, we had a case of an elderly woman at a gas station. Somehow she had accidentally locked herself in her car in the front passenger seat, and her car caught on fire. She became catatonic with fear and couldn’t move to save herself. I was sickened to read in The Oregonian about all the people who whipped out their phones and started to video a woman who was about to burn to death (and no, they didn’t call 911 first). Luckily, a large (and strong) high school athlete was on the scene. He punched open the window, reached in, and lifted her to safety! What presence of mind and courage!

    11. Ann O.*

      I really think we need an update to our laws about video and photography in public spaces for the digital era. I don’t know that we can make people behave with empathy and compassion, but we can at least make laws so that filming or taking pictures and then distributing them all over the Internet are illegal. Also, if people don’t have that option–or if the laws are written so that documenting is only legal if it’s done after emergency services have been called/for the purpose of reporting to law enforcement–maybe more people will intervene.

    12. Not unpopular, just endangered*

      I’ve seen people call for such bystanders to get doxxed. I’ve even gotten that kind of threat myself just for mentioning the Portland incident in this case.

      So no, not that unpopular, but maybe it should be.

    13. ZucchiniBikini*

      Coming to this thread late but only to cosign what you’ve all said. Filming something that might be evidence later is one thing (and a good thing, generally speaking). Filming someone’s distress or serious health / personal situation without trying to get help for them is just appalling.

      I know it’s hard to think of celebs as human sometimes (and really, many of their problems are … not the problems the rest of us have), but I’m reminded of a story told by a good friend of mine whose cousin is a famous Hollywood person. She and her cousin, and the cousin’s toddler, were travelling from Australia to LA, and the toddler threw an epic tantrum mid-flight and ended up whacking themselves on the head on the plane seat. Toddler was bleeding at this point.

      My friend was incensed that all the surrounding first-class passengers AND all the flight attendants whipped out their phones to film / photograph and stood back – my friend had to ask the flight attendants for ice for the little guy’s head and try to block the cameras’ view as her cousin comforted the kid. OK, granted, the kid was not going to die, but he was very distressed and injured, and his parent was just trying to parent him. Where’s the humanity?

  14. Call me St. Vincent*

    Guys, I’m in the middle of a terrible nap war with my toddler. She was rubbing her eyes and tired at 11:30 EST and it’s now 12:45 and she’s still not asleep. She’s asked to use the potty five or six times and has used it 5 of those times (lord knows how she had that much pee) and I really don’t know what to do right now because she is totally refusing to sleep. If she doesn’t sleep, it’s going to be a disaster. My sanity is hanging by its last tiny thread right now as I’ve been up since 5 am when my husband left for work!

    1. Sabine the Very Mean*

      Oh man. I suffer from serious (to me) insomnia. At 31, I’m realizing that this might be the reason I can’t have kids. I cant consider taking on your experience if I can’t sleep more than an hour a day! And I don’t even know if I want kids yet! Ugh what a strange time of life.

      1. Call me St. Vincent*

        The funny thing I think is that having a baby and toddler makes you so tired, maybe it would actually make you sleep! I’m kidding, but not :) Have you done a sleep study? My father in law did one and it turned out he may have some form of sleep apnea and isn’t getting enough oxygen even though he isn’t who you would traditionally think of as someone with apnea (he is low in weight and exercises frequently). His body then wakes him up over and over again because he isn’t taking in enough oxygen and he never goes into REM sleep. He is actually going to start using a CPAP machine. Maybe worth getting one done if you’re sleeping that little?

      2. Book Lover*

        Having kids totally cured my insomnia. I am out like a light as soon as my head is on a pillow. I have to admit it is kind of nice. Except for the not being able to sleep as much as I want now that I can sleep thing.

      3. Mrs. Fenris*

        I have serious insomnia (fortunately these days it’s well controlled with medication) and I was worried about that very thing when I had kids. For whatever reason, it wasn’t really a problem. My kids were not terrible sleepers, but I did have my share of nights where I was up and down several times, and I managed to sleep about as well as anyone else would. My “normal” insomnia pattern re-emerged after they got older and started sleeping through the night, but by then my current meds were available.

    2. Mephyle*

      This may not help in the short term (today) but in general, when the nap time schedule is transitioning and things like this are happening, a strategy often used is to change your expectations from “must sleep” to “must have quiet time” alone in her room with some toys.
      If you can establish this expectation with her (yes, it can take some days), she will likely fall asleep during quiet time anyway if she needs the sleep.
      Search on the following string to find many articles about it: toddler won’t nap “quiet time”

      1. Call me St. Vincent*

        Thank you! I don’t want to jinx myself, but it may have actually happened (only 1.5 hours after our first attempt at sleep). I think that’s a great idea though. I can definitely talk to her about that and I think she would be receptive. Part of it is that we just did potty training a couple of weeks ago, so I’m really sensitive to her asking to use the potty and she knows that. (She actually used it like four times before bed, even though the book that I used said to give 3 chances, I have found that she actually needs it when she asks!) I’m hoping that it’s just a temporary thing. She normally does a little fussing but this was ridiculous!

        1. Overeducated*

          I actually posted about the same issue a couple weeks ago and commenters advised “quiet time.” It helped with my sanity, and then about an hour of quiet time my toddler has been falling asleep. Good luck!

          1. Elizabeth West*

            My parents did this when we were kids and we had to go to bed at eight o’clock (we had ridiculously early bedtimes, haha). But in the summer it was still light out! So we were allowed to take a couple of toys to bed, but we 1) could not get out of bed, and 2) had to keep the light off. We would play for a little bit and then fall asleep.

            Of course, once I discovered reading under the covers with a flashlight, all that went to hell. I was so stupid, however, that it took a while for me to realize I had to also shut my door so my mum wouldn’t walk by and see the light. :)

            1. Another Lauren*

              Haha, I still remember when I was little and my parents had to physically unscrew and remove the light bulbs from my bedroom because I would stay up all night reading. I was maybe 4 or 5, and was SO. ANGRY. WITH. THEM.

          1. Call me St. Vincent*

            Hah! Yes, we have been trying no pull ups during nap at home but it isn’t like it matters because she uses them for naps at daycare.

      2. LCL*

        This is exactly what my mom did with my sister and I. I would ask her why I had to take a nap when I wasn’t sleepy, and she would say the naps were for her, not me. To this day, I don’t have any sleeping difficulties unless there are external factors.

      3. Story Nurse*

        My kid is 19 months old and we refer to all nap times as quiet time as a matter of course, since that’s what their daycare does. I also appreciate that the daycare midday quiet time is from noon to 3; no toddler is going to sleep three hours at that age, but most of the kids will sleep for an hour or two somewhere in there, and that’s good enough.

        Caveat: my child has been an excellent sleeper from day one, and their current approach to napping is going into their room, grabbing their teddy bears, and lying face down on the floor in their typical sleeping pose with a bear under each arm, just in case we might have missed the “I want a nap” memo. I can’t really speak to how to help kids who are struggling more with sleep. But today they had a hard time napping—we’re traveling and the house we’re staying in has amazing echoing properties, and anytime one of us made a noise they’d wake up—and since they’re used to the quiet time idea, they were quite comfortable being left alone in the crib for an hour even with sleep not really happening.

    3. self employed*

      How old? It could be the shift from one nap to no naps. It can happen as early as 3yo for some unlucky folks. :/

      1. Cristina in England*

        My daughter stopped napping at 2.5. I had to take them away since her awake times had gotten so long that I needed to get her up at 6am so that she could nap at lunch time and then she would still be awake until 9:30pm. Once I dropped the nap she started sleeping from 7 to 7.

      2. Thlayli*

        My eldest dropped naps before age 2! Was still sleeping 12 straight hours at night. My youngest is almost 2 now and some days has no nap and some days a 15-20 min nap. Also sleeping 12 hours – not straight through all the time tho :(
        My eldest is now 3 and is down to 10.5 hours at night. But luckily will do colouring or something else quiet in bedroom while I clean up downstairs.

        Having kids that need less sleep than average is definitely tough! Quiet time was an absolute necessity for us when my eldest dropped the midday nap because at the time my youngest was still beeastfeeding every 3 hours round the clock and I was shattered.

        1. Overeducated*

          Yeah, my kid only sleeps about 9-10 hours at night, which means I get very little adult time in the evenings. He’s always been that way so I doubt dropping the nap will help much, but I sometimes envy parents whose kids are asleep by 8!

      3. Call me St. Vincent*

        She’s turning two in a couple of months so hopefully I still have some nap time :)

    4. Book Lover*

      I am not sure how old she is. When my kids were little, they did the two nap thing, and then when they switched to one nap at 1pm. That is a pretty standard time, based on what I see from childcare. So maybe you are trying to put her down too early, even if she does seem tired earlier?

      And at 2, my son was done with naps completely, but I put him to bed at 6.45pm every night. My daughter at 3 is now pretty much done with naps, though I think she would be happier if she took them. Her bedtime is right about 7pm.

      1. Call me St. Vincent*

        I just follow the daycare schedule on weekends so it’s consistent and I also look for when she is doing the usual signs (eye rubbing, yawning). That tends to be between 11:30 and 12:30, so possible that I read the signs wrong this time! She did seem pretty tired though.

    5. NaoNao*

      My mom and several of the moms I know used to institute “quiet time” which means that you don’t have to nap, but you do have to be in your room alone, with a book or one quiet toy. Oftentimes if the struggle or tension is taken out of it, then quiet play turns into a nap.
      Other options:
      Before naptime, intense physical play such as dance party, outdoor stuff, walks with Mom and pets, “helping” house clean, etc.
      Then lunch and a wind-down ritual: low lights, perhaps a short massage, a book, and then noise machine and closed door while she has “quiet time”.

      1. Call me St. Vincent*

        Thanks, pretty sure it is behavioral, not physiological in this case. She normally goes like 3 hours between pees, but somehow right before nap she is able to squeeze it out to delay getting into her crib! :)

  15. The Other Dawn*

    I’m sad to report my brother died on July 31. He had esophageal cancer and was 60.

    We drove up on July 28 and stayed at my dad’s house until that Sunday. I went to visit him all three days, although on Sunday I only saw him for about 5 minutes, as he was in pretty rough shape at that point. It was really tough because I knew it was the last time I would ever see him; he died the next day. But we got to spend some time together alone on Friday, then a group visit with my sister on Saturday.

    Our “alone” visit was strange, mainly because there was 18 years between us and he spent most of my life in prison. I’ve only gotten to know him the last 13 years, so we’ve never had a lot to talk about and it’s always been more like friendly, distant cousins, I guess. He talked about the first time he stole a car–he was 12!! Hence, prison. LOL Talked about things that had happened in his youth and how my dad and uncle were always out looking for him. He asked me if I “buy all that religious bullshit.” I told him no, that I think of it more as a force in the universe, something that controls things. But I don’t think of it as God. He said, “Good! I’m more about nature.” I think he wanted to feel as though he feelings were valid and that he wasn’t some crazy outlier who doesn’t believe in God.” A few family members had told him that he’ll see that there is a heaven, etc. Not in a way that pushed their beliefs on him. I think they were just stating their beliefs and thought it would comfort him to think there is a heaven.

    I really feel as though he held on until he got to see all of us one last time. He had told my cousin the previous Wednesday that he knew he would be gone in a few days–that week was a VERY fast decline for him. And he told me that if I want to see him I SHOULD come up that weekend. He told me no pressure, but he would love to see me. But when he said I SHOULD come up, that’s when I knew it was time. So I went up that Friday.

    We had the service last Saturday and we shot off a ton of fireworks in his honor and we also set off memory lanterns for him, my dad and my mom. He had asked if we would do that for him when we had my dad’s burial last month and we agreed. In his state fireworks are legal so we loaded up and my husband and niece shot them off. Then each of us four sisters shot off a finale-type firework, all at the same time. It was like the best display on the 4th of July. A little intense, too, once they all got going at once. LOL And we lit a bunch of firecrackers in his honor. For some reason, he loved those. No idea why. I think it’s because most young boys have their first experience with blowing stuff up when they get their hands on firecrackers and it’s a nostalgia thing.

    In between when he died and having the service, I worked from home. That was chaotic, too, because I had to order flowers, coordinate with people, get my work done (my choice; boss told me do whatever I’m comfortable with), clean the house and pack to go back up for the service. I also had a one-day trip back up there the day after he died so my sister and I could help SIL with the arrangements.

    So, I’m back to work this week and I’m just drained. Still feel like I’m not sleeping well, my back is a mess from all those trips out of state (2.5 hours each way), and I have a headache pretty much everyday. Hopefully I feel better next week. I’m doing absolutely nothing this weekend.

    I have more to write, but that’s enough for now.

    1. fposte*

      I’m so sorry, Dawn. Loss is always difficult and I know this was a complicated one for you. It sounds like your presence meant a lot to your brother and that he had a fine sendoff.

    2. Book Lover*

      I am sorry for your loss. I am glad you were able to see him that last time and that you knew what he wanted for his memorial.

    3. Myrin*

      Oh Dawn, I’m so sorry. I remember when you talked about your brother and your journey with and around him before and I’m sad to see this ending of it, but it sounds like you had a good last time together.

    4. Overeducated*

      I’m sorry. It sounds like you loved and honored him well at an end that came too soon.

    5. Jean (just Jean)*

      Condolences. I’m glad you and your brother were able to have the past few months and this last pair of visits. Sounds like you have supportive people in non-cyber life. Know that you have the same here at AAM.
      The fireworks sound awesome, frankly.
      Yes, grief is draining and exhausting. Take care of yourself. Give yourself space, sleep, nutrition, and time.

    6. It happens*

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve been reading your stories here for a while and you seem like a very nice, caring person. Even if you didn’t know each other for a long period of time, you were each lucky to have the other as a sibling. Grieving is hard, thank you for sharing with us.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      I am very sorry.
      It really warmed my heart to hear you talk about how he wanted you to come see him and even almost warned you that time was of the essence. I am happy about that for you and for him.
      No doubt in my mind that you are exhausted. I hope you are able to get some extra rest. You are a good sister to him.

    8. Mananana*

      Oh, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. I hope you’re able to extend yourself grace and practice self-care.

    9. ..Kat..*

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I am glad you were able to spend that time with him at the end. From what I recall, he really made the most of his life once he decided to stay out of prison. I hope you can find some comfort in this.

    10. Julia*

      I’m really sorry for your loss.
      It seems as if he was at peace and got what he needed from you.

    11. The Other Dawn*

      Thanks, all. I’m relaxing this weekend and doing whatever it is I feel like doing, with no pressure. We got a little yard work done, which had fallen by the wayside this year with everything going on. I really had no intention of doing it, but I went out to get the mail and my husband was trimming the bushes, so I grabbed some clippers and joined in. Before we knew it, all the bushes were trimmed, wood rack was moved, grill put in its place instead and a bench moved onto the patio. Looks nice out there again.

      Today I bought a bathing suit top for when I go to California in October on business. Surprisingly I found something that isn’t hideous and actually fits. Disappointed it wasn’t on clearance yet, though. Also stopped at the farm stand up the road and got some green beans, cherry tomatoes and some fresh oregano.

      I’m feeling more like myself today, which is really nice. I slept pretty good and didn’t cry yesterday or today for the first time since maybe April or so. Nice feeling. Got my kittens on my lap now and that helps a lot, too. :)

    12. Vancouver Reader*

      I’m sorry for your loss. It was so good that you got to see your brother and spend some time with him. It was nice for him to know he had support in the end. I hope your weekend is relaxing and you feel better soon.

  16. Sarah*

    Anybody have a structured journal that they like? I’ve tried journaling in the past and haven’t been very successful with consistently just sitting down and writing about my day. I’m thinking something like a sentence a day journal will help me keep it up but I’m open to any formats y’all recommend.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      I really like Keel’s Simple Diary. It asks a question about your day and a few other random questions. And it’s not dated so you can use it as often as you like or not. Link to come…

    2. Perpetua*

      I LOVE the One Line a Day journal, it has kept me journaling consistently for over 5 years now. It’s a five-year journal, with a date on the top of the page (no years pre-written, so you can start using it anytime), and 5 slots for writing under that. For me, the key for consistent journaling is keeping it short, so limiting the space works great. Also, it’s always interesting to read entries from previous years above the current one. :)

      Doing that, I’ve sort of realized what sort of memories I’m the most interested in reading about later, so I write more of those – less fact-based things (I went to the cinema, saw Wakeen, ate paella) and more feelings and unusual occurrences. Giving myself permission not to record EVERYTHING has been liberating and helped me form the habit, after trying unsuccessfully many times in my teens and early 20s.

    3. Thlayli*

      You might have already decided against this but just in case – you could try bullet journaling. The entire point of it is that you structure it in any way that suits you. You can do it in any notebook and you just set your own structure to suit yourself. So try a line a day for a month (or a week or whatever) and see if it works for you, and if not try a doodle a day or a paragraph a day. Or draw boxes for each day and use the space in those boxes. Or you could write prompts for each day “today I felt mostly…” “today I met up with…” “my positive thought for the day is…” or whatever you want to put in your journal. If the prompts aren’t working for you, flip the page and try something else the next week

    4. Zathras*

      I’ve been making bullet journaling work for me. Not the artsy approach to bullet journaling, I just use a plain notebook and a normal pen and nothing in there is remotely artistic. But I found the approach freed me from the pressure I was putting on myself to write Beautiful Prose. Now I write to-do lists, events, and notes about things that happened. The notes can be long or short and it doesn’t matter so much if they’re not well connected.

      It does tend to mean that my journal has a lot of room devoted to grocery lists, but it’s also meant that when I have a thought about (for example) a book I just read or some event I just attended that seems worth writing down, I feel free to just pull out the book and scribble it down as it comes.

  17. Curious cat*

    Hypothetical situation (based on real life, but nothing happened). Contractors were working at our house outdoors with lots of tools. Neighbors 2 and 3 year old children were playing outside in a waging pool unsupervised and ran into our yard and started grabbing and touching things. The contractor shooed the kids away and the neighbor came outside and got the kids and brought them inside. (I saw this all from upstairs window). If kids had hurt themselves (thankfully they didnt), would that have been on us and our homeowners insurance, the contractor and his insurance, or the parent for leaving toddlers unsupervised? I assume on us as the homeowner but am not a lawyer. And I worry more about the kids being sent outside to play in their pool alone, I can’t believe they are ok with that. :(

      1. fposte*

        In the US, yards (gardens to you) aren’t regularly bounded by fences or hedges, especially in the front. My neighbors’ kids get to my front yard by walking five steps along the path.

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          Oh, wow. Though ours are often less divided in front too.

          I just wondered if it was undivided or if they climbed something.

    1. fposte*

      Country/state and even municipal laws may factor in to this one. However, in practice you’re not likely to get an actual legal decision determining fault; assuming your insurance covers it, what would happen is that they’d sue you, you’d report it to your insurance, and insurance would deal with it as they see fit, including a settlement if they deemed it wise.

    2. Sibley*

      Regardless, I’d consider having a chat with the neighbor about letting her toddlers play unsupervised in an unfenced in yard. That’s a disaster waiting to happen.

    3. PollyQ*

      Maybe I’m over-reacting, but if I saw 2 & 3 yo children unsupervised in a pool, I’d think about calling the police and/or CPS. Seriously, kids can drown in just a few inches of water, in just a few minutes.

  18. Shrunken Hippo*

    Fall is coming up which means that I have to start crocheting all those warm things like gloves, arm warmers, hats, and scarves. Now all I have to do is find or come up with some cute patterns!

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I’m so happy I get to wear my scarves again. It was way too hot even for the very light ones earlier in the summer.
        Not happy about being cold, though. Or dark mornings and evenings.

        1. gingerblue*

          This. If we could just have a couple more months of late September/October weather, a month or so of snow around Christmas, and then cut to spring I’d be delighted.

      1. Shrunken Hippo*

        Oh I love baking! I’m not a fan of pumpkin, but I go nuts with apples. Apple cinnamon rolls are the best, apple cider in the dough makes it amazing! And while things are baking I can work on making a scarf ;)

  19. Ramona Flowers*

    Am I the only person who has noticed that Brie Larson and Sarah Wayne Callies are pretty much doppelgangers?

    Oh and three months smoke free as of yesterday!

    1. ..Kat..*

      Wow! Congratulations! Have you started to get your sense of smell back yet? Do you have more stamina yet? Now you get to look forward to a cold and flu season with fewer/less severe respiratory infections.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        I have definitely got my sense of smell back. But I hardly ever get colds/flu/respiratory infections anyway. I used to get everything going until I went into therapy about five years back to deal with all this stuff that had built up and then boom, I just stopped getting ill. I’ve had about three colds since then, and flu maybe once. It’s the funniest thing.

  20. Medication Changes*

    Anyone have words of wisdom for dealing with medication changes for mental health conditions? My anxiety medication, which had been working really well for about six months, stopped working so well (or stressful life conditions overcame it? I don’t know). So we’re trying to up the dosage of one of the meds I was on that’s supposed to be fast acting. So far, things feel a little better, but the tightness in my chest didn’t let up all day at work yesterday. I’m torn between being worried nothing will work and thinking I’m being a big baby about the whole thing because it’s never been that bad; I’ve always been functional.

    So this is kind of an inchoate question, but anyone been there? I’m just feeling depressed about the whole thing, and my therapist is out of town for a couple of weeks which doesn’t help.

    1. Sylvan (Sylvia)*

      I’ve been there and I’m sorry you’re dealing with this level of anxiety. Is the fast-acting medication a benzodiazepine like Xanax or Valium? Are you noticing anything like a rebound, where the medication helps you for a short time but, when it wears off, you feel worse than before? Xanax did that to me and it was a Bad Time. Ativan, which I’m told wears off more slowly, didn’t have that effect.

      1. Medication Changes*

        No, this is abilify – so fast acting in a matter of days, not minutes. I had been taking klonopin, which I think is also relatively longer acting, but I’d rather not rely on it.

    2. Schlee*

      I’m in the same boat. Things just leveled up anxiety wise a few weeks ago, and the chest tightness won’t go away. Changing up meds now too! I’ve been using a lot of skills I learned through DBT therapy (mostly distress tolerance) to help get through the day. Breathing exercises mostly, also stepping up exercise. If it’s something that seems like it could work for you, look into DBT- just learning some of those skills can help get through the day, even without the program itself. I know everyone is different, but I do hope it helps.

      Hang in there! You’re not alone and you’re being aware and working on self care which is so important. You’ll get through it.

    3. Junior Dev*

      I’ve been there. I’m planning to ask my psych about a similar issue at our appointment this week.

      How’s your self-care outside the medication? Are you getting enough sleep, eating satisfying meals often enough to avoid an energy crash, exercising, and doing fun things regularly? Another thing for me is to check my levels of sugar and caffeine–both mess with my mood and anxiety levels.

      1. Medication Changes*

        Thanks. I’m trying to do all those things but am failing on the caffeine at least. I know there’s more I can work on.

    4. ..Kat..*

      I have had this happen to me several times and had to switch medications. The good news is there are so many medications out there now. By this I mean be patient and work with your doctor and you will find something. Slow, deep breathing helps me in the moment when things get tense. I recommend practicing at home twice a day for ten breaths. Once you do this for a few days, it becomes easier to do it during tense moments. As you breath in, picture your chest wall as a loose, pliable sheet of rubber. See how flexible it is. Look how easily it expands. As you exhale your rubber sheet chest wall gently returns to its original shape….

    5. Julia*

      I’m sorry. I can’t really help you, and wouldn’t dare to make suggestions, but I wanted to thank you for describing your anxiety as a tightness in your chest, because mine manifests similarly, but I’ve never managed to express it that way.
      I’m on a mild antidepressant so I can sleep, though nights are usually fine for me, it’s daytime that makes me anxious. I can’t reach my therapist either, but I’ll try to meditate more regularly again using the app Calm.

      I hope we’ll both feel better soon. Hugs if you want them.

    6. Saturnalia*

      I so definitely understand. I’m on an antidepressant that makes my anxiety worse, and it is rough. I need to change meds. It’s really really easy to feel like it’s something wrong with you when a med doesn’t do what it’s “supposed” to. Those “maybe I’m just a big baby” thoughts are a byproduct of the same mental health stuff you’re trying to address with the medication.

      I’m seconding the DBT suggestions for getting through the anxiety moments. I personally give myself a hard time when “all I can do is soothe myself and I’m not making any progress” but it is a fallacy. Being able to soothe/distract is indeed progress. We get better at it with practice, and it is part of a larger toolkit for managing this stuff. Especially when you are adjusting meds, expect that things are going to be weirder until the new levels settle in your body/brain. Even the good changes can have a feeling of adjustment and difficulty.

      Anyway, I feel for you – this is pretty much my whole life right now, anxiety feels so crappy, and hugs if they’re wanted.

  21. Drowning-in-paper-Anna*

    I am recently divorced and we are splitting the kids’ medical expenses. I pay the provider and he reimburses me. I have to send both the bill and proof that I paid the whole thing. No big deal. I scan the docs and email them to him.

    However, sometimes I pay by credit card, both for convenience and the miles. Does anyone know a cheap or free app to black out the charges on the bill that are not related to the kids without me having to waste a sheet of paper and sharpie the non-medical things?

    I have way too much paper around here and am trying to find a way to cut back on the clutter and save trees.

    1. Purple snowdrop*

      On my credit cards I can search for payments to a specific provider and basically just print a mini statement with just them.

    2. fposte*

      From what I can see in a search redaction in .pdfs is more complicated than it seems–pasting black rectangles over stuff is easily defeatable at the other end. It looks like Acrobat Pro can do it, but if you don’t already have access that’s a pricey purchase.

      But do you mean you pay by credit card by paying online? Can you do a screengrab of the “paid” screen if they don’t do an e-receipt?

      1. Mephyle*

        I’d think that if you make an image (screen cap) paste black rectangles and then screen cap the result then there is no way to defeat that. You could make a pdf of the final image to keep the file types orderly if you want.
        The online image editor Pixlr can be used to edit images.

        1. Mephyle*

          Link for Pixlr online image editor.
          Clarification of the above:
          1. Have the statement open on the screen.
          2. Save a screen cap of the document in an image file.
          3. Open this image file in Pixlr using above link.
          4. Black out or blur unwanted data.
          5. Save the result.
          6. Open the new image file on your computer (i.e. not in Pixlr)
          7. Screen cap the result to make a new image file.
          (optional 8. Save it in a pdf.)

          1. Liane*

            Even with MS Paint, you can do this:
            1. Control -Print Screen
            2. In Paint, Control-V
            3. Black out
            4. Save as an image file
            5. Can be attached to an email, or put into a document if you worry that an image attachment might flag it as spam

            I do this a lot

    3. Amy Farrah Fowler*

      If you can pull your credit card charges up on the computer, use the snipping tool to take a picture of just that charge and email him that, maybe? I love the snipping tool, use it for almost everything

      1. Emma*

        Was also going to recommend the snipping tool! It’s on most windows operating systems, just search for snipping tool in the search bar.

    4. Emma*

      In terms of phone apps– I enjoy skitch– you’d just take a screenshot and load it into the app, there are options for editing that are easy and straightforward. You could make black boxes OR there is a pixelation/blur option. I believe it was a free app, at least when I downloaded it!

  22. Purple snowdrop*

    Thank you to the people who commented last week on the open thread/weekend free for all. I never replied but I really appreciated the replies.

    I think I can actually do this.

    I did some suns and I think I could afford to take on our property and buy him out. Not getting attached to that plan until I’ve spoken to a financial advisor this week but it feels like it might be an option. Amazing.

    Terrifying, but amazing.

    1. Effie, going nowhere fast*

      So glad to hear you’re moving forward mentally! You CAN do it. You have the capability and endurance. You can.

    2. Purple snowdrop*

      Thank you both! It’s good to feel I have choices. It’s good to feel I’m moving forwards.

  23. self employed*

    Help! I am a terrible house cleaner. Please recommend cleansers for grout and shower tile and tub for infrequent cleaners. I probably need something relatively heavy duty. Vinegar and a microfiber ain’t gonna cut it.

    1. Mrs. Fenris*

      For just cleaning/wiping the surfaces: Scrubbing Bubbles. For getting rid of mildew: spray on mildew remover, open the window, leave the room, shut the door, let it do its thing.

      1. Call Me Crazy*

        Barkeeper’s Friend is great for getting out rust stains, too. Often used for kitchen counters, sinks, etc.

    2. Sylvan (Sylvia)*

      For the shower and tub, the green Method foaming bathroom cleaner. Use it with a scrub brush. It works better than everything else I tried. It smells like eucalyptus but the smell goes away.

    3. NJ Anon*

      Kaboom. Greatest thing ever invented. (Weel, besides birth control and the microwave, lol.) Just spray it on. Thats it. A little pricey but worth every penny!

      1. Beatrice*

        I second Kaboom. You spray it on, wipe it off, and rinse. I get 3-4 whole-bathroom applications (shower/tub, counter/sink, toilet bowl) out of a canister.

        I also use CLR for really bad calcium deposits in a couple of places where water pools a bit and dries over and over and leaves deposits behind. Our water has a lot of minerals in it.

        For shower head mineral build-up, I fill a quart-sized plastic bag with vinegar and use a zip tie to fasten it around the shower head for an hour, then remove it and wipe up.

    4. Jenny*

      I have arthritis so I find it easiest to use baking soda and those exfoliating gloves you can buy at the drug store for skin care – it’s fast and easy even with incited dexterity and can be thrown in the washing machine if rinsing isn’t enough

    5. ..Kat..*

      Apparently, we are soul mates with respect to how long we let the shower/tub area go before we clean. I just bought the most amazing battery-powered device – the Black+Decker PKS 160 Power Scrubber. $13.12! I spray SCRUBBIng Bubbles first, let it sit a few minutes, then scrub away! Magic.

      1. self employed*

        !!! You may have just changed my life. Is the scrubber part safe for tubs too? I see there are other types of attachments as well. This plus the other suggestions may save me from going insane and living like a gross college student.

    6. Saturnalia*

      I don’t know how good it is for the long term life span of stuff, but for many years I only cleaned when moving out of the year-lease apartments. So a full year of homebody level filth. Anything made by CLR is a godsend. It’s probably awful for the environment and possibly awful for the surface, and it works amazingly well with minimal effort. Scrubbing bubbles did nothing for me.

    7. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

      I hate scrubbing the tub!

      Mrs. Meyers makes a Baking Soda Cream Cleaner that works wonders. I buy a dish scrubber [the ones from the Dollar Store], and use that to scrub with.

  24. AvonLady Barksdale*

    Our next-door neighbors are supposed to move out early next month and I a) hope they’re telling my boyfriend the truth and b) cannot wait. For the past year, it’s been one guy who’s about 20 years old and a revolving door of roommates around the same age. At least twice a week, my boyfriend (who is much nicer than I am, btw) has gone outside after midnight and asked them to please keep it down, as we can hear every word they say in our house. These are both single family homes on lots that are somewhat close, and these guys and their friends sit on their porch smoking, shouting, and playing guitars until all hours. Last week my boyfriend saw one of the friends suddenly drop to the ground and start rolling around in the grass (not a seizure– he jumped up eventually). They’re just annoying as hell. At one point, the main guy gave my boyfriend his number, and he’s responded positively to my bf any time he texted to ask them to please keep it down. They’ll be quiet for a day and then start up all over again.

    But what made me furious– beyond the fact that we have to keep freaking asking them to shut up after midnight– is the screed the kid sent to my boyfriend this week. A wall of text that included a line about how rude my boyfriend is and how dare he ask them to keep quiet when we live near the projects “and they have so many issues over there”. Um, excuse me? I don’t hear a damn thing from the projects, and we’re not talking about the people in the projects. We’re talking about you and how you agree to keep it down and apologize and then go right back to being obnoxious. My boyfriend and I were flabbergasted by this response, which strikes us both as pretty racist. Like these kids think it’s ok to be loud and obnoxious, to throw cigarette butts all over their yard (not my yard, sure, but still gross) and to disturb their neighbors just because we live a block away from public housing. They also got on the wrong foot with our neighbors in public housing when they first moved in because they let their friends park in the community spaces.

    I really, really hope they’ll be gone in a few weeks. The guy told my boyfriend that their landlord wants to tear down the house, and while I’m not looking forward to construction, it will be a welcome change after this crap. Maybe I’ll get some sleep without a white noise machine for once.

    1. Gala apple*

      I was just wondering what was going on with your house saga! Any uodate about selling it?

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Yeah, that got “resolved” a few months ago. :) I use those quotation marks because the whole thing was just stupid. The landlord decided not to sell after all and do a cash-out refinance instead, which is great because we only dealt with his real estate agent briefly, but sucks because I would bet anything that our current rent doesn’t cover his new mortgage payment. Which means that when our lease is up in June, he will probably try to jack up the rent by an insane amount and we’ll have to move– which would be fine except we don’t know if we’ll be here after the summer of 2019 (bf is a doctoral student) and I really, really, really do not want to move twice in two years. Just a pain in the ass.

    2. CatCat*

      Ugh! I’ve had those neighbors in my apartment building. Same pattern of behavior minus the screed. Finally, I had HAD IT. Fortunately, we have the same landlord and when we said we were done and planned to leave because of these neighbors, the landlord intervened and told them if he got one more complaint, he would kick them out. They got their act together after that.

      Living next to the assholes next door is one major reason why we have not taken steps toward home ownership. I like the flexibility of being able to easily move in the face of such bullshit. I just can’t imagine owning and having to live next to people like that.

    3. Anono-me*

      Can you reach out to the landlord of the property next door about renting it?

      The landlord may only be considering the teardown because of nightmare tenants. Or maybe the landlord just told nightmare tenant/neighbor that the property was going to be torn down to make getting rid of the guy easier.

      You guys would probably be such an improvement that the other landlord would treat you like the treasure that good tenants are.

      Anyway, maybe it is a wild idea, but sometimes wild ideas actually work.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      That sucks. I had neighbors like that in the house next to my apartment (the one I was in when I moved here). The first family was nice, and so was the third, but the ones in between were the trashiest people I have ever known in my life. Rubbish all over the lawn, the teenage kids ran wild, and they would pinch butts out of my ashcan outside and dump it all over to get them (I still smoked at the time but only outside). I realized it was them doing it and started filling it with water, haha. That discouraged them. And the whole family was noisy AF.

      The landlord was a well-known slumlord here in town, too, so I doubt he checked any references. They moved out suddenly in the middle of the night, finally. The property was historic and it was a shame to watch these people trash it. When the third family moved in, they said the inside was nearly as bad as the outside. :(

      I hope this gets resolved soon for you guys. It’s awful to have inconsiderate neighbors.

    5. Gwen Stefani-Shelton*

      Oh boy, we had a similar problem with our neighbors. Our houses are very close together and our bedroom windows face their carport/driveway and they’re a young couple who often had friends over late at night and then would frequently hang out outside drunk-talking (much louder than regular talking) and it would wake me up and I could literally hear every single word they said. I could have grabbed a pen and paper and written down their conversations word for word.

      At first I didn’t say anything because I figured they weren’t doing it maliciously and had no idea how loud it sounded in our house (a Mr. Heckles situation, if you will) but then it started happening so often (multiple times a week, multiple times each night) that I said something to our property manager about it because we have the same one. She told them she’d ask them to hang out in their backyard instead. For a while things were quiet, but then there was a night where they had several friends over, outside on their driveway, talking and singing. I had been up listening to it for a couple hours and then the noise started to disturb my baby so I banged on the window. They panicked and sent all their friends home, but I heard the guy telling his friends that we had complained about them “just for standing around and talking.”

      I got up, baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies and wrote them a note that explained the entire thing, including that I was sorry they felt I had complained about them unfairly BUT that I really could literally hear every word they said. I haven’t heard a single peep from them since. I imagine they probably still hate me, but at least they acted like reasonable people about it?

      Your neighbors sound awful and I hope they do move out and leave you in peace. Good luck!

      1. Gwen Stefani-Shelton*

        Whoops, left out the fact that I gave them some cookies and the note the next day. They didn’t answer the door when I knocked but I left it right outside and they had to have gotten it, hence the silence. We never have spoken to each other though.

        1. Saturnalia*

          I kind of love the way you handled this and I want to be this awesome in the face of neighbor annoyance.

          1. Gwen Stefani-Shelton*

            Thanks! It was mostly borne out of my fear of confrontation and my love of chocolate chip cookies. I would have written them a note in the first place but I was afraid they would react badly to it and thought the property manager would be better equipped to handle it diplomatically. All’s well that ends well, I guess.

        2. Bibliovore*

          Pick me! Pick me! at my apt building before I live now, I had the worst neighbor who had an aggressive dog that she WOULD NOT put on a leash. We had a fenced in area at the front of the building that led to our parking lot. She let the dog run out the building door no leash. On more than one occasion her dog would run be out when I came out with my dog (on a leash) and the dog behaved aggressively towards us growling and harassing my dog (not biting but barking and growling and getting in her face), I would remove ourselves from the situation. I asked her to keep her dog on a leash when in common, public areas. She responded with a schedule of when I would be permitted to leave my apartment with my dog. Really. We moved soon after.

  25. Gala apple*

    How do you distract yourself from news you can’t look away from?

    Major protests in my city today — I left town for the day but can’t stop refreshing the news and thinking about it.

    1. Emma*

      National political news has been too much for me lately– only thing I’ve found that works is a combination of focusing on activities I love that sufficiently distract me (reading, for example) AND finding good news sources that are sort of just dry enough that I get the news and feel satisfied without it generating too much anxiety. I’ve noticed an excess amount of commentary or opinion on the news is what triggers anxiety for me the most. Of course, that’s easier said than done with local news.

    2. Sylvan (Sylvia)*

      I try to read a lot of books and keep up with sites that don’t post about politics (or at least not my state or country’s politics). You can count on LoveMeow, for example, to not raise your blood pressure…

      If you need to stay up-to-date on the protests, find one source you can expect to be both level-headed and brief. You can read all the details elsewhere when the event’s over.

    3. This Daydreamer*

      I’m in the same town and at work. EVERYONE here is talking about this mess. I just want to go home and cry.

        1. Landshark*

          I’m close by, but not in the mess. It’s hit everyone in a few hours’ radius hard. Major hugs to everyone who lives even closer. It’s such a mess, and I fear that tensions will stay high for a bit too.

    4. Thlayli*

      I made a conscious effort to stop this too. At least one study has shown the constant news cycle brings on PTSD-type symptoms for some people. I deleted all my news apps and installed an app that blocks various social media sites. I also turn off the news every time it comes on the radio and I was already just watching Netflix and not tv anyway. Sometimes it is frustrating but it is worth it:

      Anything really important you will hear about by word of mouth if you work in a physical workplace and/or have contact with other adults daily.

    5. LCL*

      I had to go on a news diet for a few days. The sillier subreddits are good for this. Try r/dogberg or r/doggo.

    6. OlympiasEpiriot*

      Be careful. The police there didn’t seem to be too eager to actually act on the problems.

  26. Ask a Manager* Post author

    I moved! Unpacking and getting settled in is SO MUCH WORK. I hate this part, where half the items you need are still in boxes. It feels like we’ve been camping all week, although we used the kitchen to cook for the first time last night, so it feels a little less like that now. My paint color choices ended up being beautiful and worth the five million hours that it took to pick them out. The cats are starting to settle in, although Eve thinks it’s a good idea to walk on a bannister that has a two-floor fall below it, which seems ill-advised to me.

    I welcome all tips on this stage of the process!

    1. fposte*

      Oh, how funny, I love this stage. It’s like opening presents!

      Do you have any kind of schema for where the contents of each box are going, or is it just which room, or is it even that? Can you differentiate between stuff with a known destination (any storage furniture that came with you can be presumed to have the same stuff in the same places, for instance) and stuff that needs figuring? Overall, I’d calculate based on low-hanging fruit, snowball effect, and satisfaction. Stuff that’s brainless to put away can go first (blast some music for additional thrills); if the whole box isn’t brainless, consolidate the needs-brain stuff into a subsequent box to get rid of box one. Move empty boxes and packing material to their purgatory immediately–flatten them and put them in the garage or car, bag packing up and put them by the garbage, whatever. You need the box cleared out right away, otherwise it might as well be full for all the space that work got you.

      After the brainless stuff comes the easy-ish in high-satisfaction spots, like bedroom and living room. It can be helpful to put a time limit on puzzling over an item’s placement; it’s better to have a miscellaneous stuff cabinet than several stalled boxes with questions hanging over them. At some point you may need to decide (which might really mean find agreement between the two of you) if you’re “all boxes must be emptied” people or “I’d rather have boxes in my guest room for a month and do them slowly and enjoy the rest of the house” people. Beware the trap, as a friend says, of the invisible boxes–the ones that you’re going to empty and then they stay so long you don’t even see them any more.

      And tell us what colors you used. I love paint.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        This is all good advice — thank you! Now if you have anything that will prevent me from being drenched in sweat all day from all this labor, I would also appreciate that.

        The paint colors:

        We used Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist, which is a really pretty pale grey, for most of the main level. There’s a bunch of trim on the walls on that level (chair rail, shadow boxes, etc.) and we did all the trim in BM Chantilly Lace, which is a bright white. We did the den in BM Saybrook Sage, a pale-ish green, which I wasn’t sure I was going to like, but with a bunch of white bookcases in there, I really like it. The master bedroom is BM Collingwood, which is a sort of darker Balboa Mist. The master bathroom is BM Black Raspberry, which is a dark purple and I love it. (We’re now in the process of replacing all the gold trim in there with nickel, and then it will be all purple/white/silver in there.)

        The guest rooms and the basement haven’t been touched yet, but I’m going to do those in round 2 in a few months.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Mmm, grey. My auntie re-did her house in London in mostly greys in between my last visits. I hadn’t thought of using it before, but now I want to do that.

        2. PetticoatsandPincushions*

          I’m a piler- when I clean or pack or unpack, I tend to sort first and then put away. So one pile on the floor for dirty clothes and one for clean, one for trash and one for bathroom stuff, etc. It lets me mentally find spaces for each item (because you can also sort by drawer or closet, top shelf or bottom, etc), it turns a huge box into discrete tasks, and it’s also a lot harder to ignore piles on the floor taking up space than a neat and tidy box! It’s not the fastest or most efficient method but it works for me!!

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I like to target the bedroom, bath and kitchen to begin the process. I have to eat, sleep and shower. When I get this much in place, I feel like I have really accomplished something.

        The next important thing to me is lighting. I have to be able to see to navigate at night. Rooms that do not have an overhead light switch, get lamps set up PDQ. This way I can work on these rooms after dinner or if I get up very early. (I usually can’t sleep with so much unfinished stuff around, so lights get important fast.)

        I have to find my hammer, hooks, screwdrivers and that sort of thing. I line them up on a tray or bucket so they are handy.

        My next layer is to push furniture around so it starts to make sense. Minimally get it out of walk ways or away from doors.

        I totally agree with doing the parts that come easy first. I start to make a shopping list for things that I notice need fixing or need something additional. I put it on the fridge for the lack of a better location. Once I have a list of six or more things I go get them. I don’t like letting the list get too long, but I don’t like running for just one item.

        Some things, like the several hundred books, I consider a separate task. I pile up the boxes of books and allot an afternoon (or day, sigh) to deal with them. Before I hoed things out here I had 600- 78 rpm records. That was a morning putting them away so they would not break. Sometimes it’s easier to collect up like things and just allot a block of time to deal solely with that group of things.

        One of the last things I do is hang pictures. I wait until I have figured out the furniture placement before hanging anything.
        The rest comes with use. You can tweak as you go along. Nothing is set in stone, you can switch items on shelves and you can move items from room to room once you see how you use your home. I still move stuff around because needs change as the years roll by.

        1. Adele*

          If you will be in SE Michigan/Metro Detroit, it isn’t terribly cold and snowy anymore. The west side of the state is much snowier due to the lake effect snow. There is a snow band across the upper part of the state. The Upper Peninsula can be seriously cold and snowy. Assuming you will be in the southeastern Michigan, you are more likely to suffer from the unrelenting, depressing gray skies than cold and snow. But excitement about a new baby should mitigate that. Congrats!

      3. Safely Retired*

        Just a couple of thoughts.
        Don’t let the empty boxes and packing material get ahead of you. Dispose of them as they are emptied.
        Set up whatever you need for some you time early in the process. That might be a comfy chair with a good reading light, or a sofa and TV, or a computer on its desk, a stereo, whatever works for you. When it gets to be Just Too Much, take a break.

    2. Ramona Flowers*

      I hate that bit too as I just want it all in its right place already! Personally I find it helps to make a list of what to do and then focus on one area at a time. If I don’t know where anything needs to end up I draw a floor plan and plan where to put certain things. (I have moved a lot. But still suck at actually unpacking.)

      Yay paint colours. What sorts of colours did you go with?

    3. Elizabeth West*

      I like unpacking; I get to decide what goes where and how I want to display things. It gives me a chance to try something new. That’s my tip–shake up the decor a little bit. Try stuff in different places.

      1. Typhon Worker Bee*

        Same here! I also love getting a new desk at work, or a new handbag – there’s something very satisfying about figuring out the best way to arrange all your stuff.

        We move in 11 days (eep) and we’ve rented reusable plastic boxes that will get picked up from our new place 6 days after the move. So We have a time limit, which I think will help! We were both able to take some time off work, thankfully.

        1. Gala apple*

          That’s such a cool concept, instead of cardboard moving boxes! I haven’t heard of it before. In the US?

    4. Tau*

      So much sympathy, from someone who still has ~15 boxes cluttering up their living room and a nice long list of furniture still to buy. Ex: bed. I also have a ground flat with way too many windows and the current privacy solution is still super temporary (one word: buttermilk), so I know I won’t feel actually at home until I have actual curtains up.

      The unpacking technique I used last move was to have my laptop break and then have the adapter I needed to be able to use my desktop (i.e. only computer) be in the second-to-last box I unpacked. Worked extremely well, would however not recommend. What I’m trying this time is to unpack at least half a box per day. Usually it ends up being more, but as long as I do SOMETHING every day I’ll get there eventually.

      This time, I also set up something nice and homey that I couldn’t have had before – a really gorgeous little table for my new terrace with matching chairs and cushions. This way, if it all gets too much, I can have my dinner at my lovely new table outside and feel at least a little as though I’ve actually arrived. Maybe something like that would help?

      Hang in there! The nice thing about this phase is that it’s finite, the progress is visible, and at the end you will be living in your lovely new house with the beautiful paint colors!

      1. fposte*

        “the current privacy solution is still super temporary (one word: buttermilk)”–wow, I had to google to figure that one out. I don’t think that’s hit the U.S.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              They used to make paint out of buttermilk, ages ago. We think that some of my house had buttermilk paint, but we can’t be sure.

        1. Tau*

          I definitely hadn’t heard of it before this – I was moaning about the curtainless state of the flat (which has been affectionately nicknamed The Aquarium) to an acquaintance and she told me about this trick. I still hadn’t planned on actually trying it but, well, desperation is a strong force! It worked amazingly well, but I’d still like something that, say, allows me to wash my windows.

          1. fposte*

            Okay, so this isn’t something that people around you are doing all the time either. But somewhere there’s a thread of people who know about this, apparently. I love finding stuff like this.

    5. Chaordic One*

      I’m afraid this isn’t really a helpful comment, but I always just hate moving in because I feel like I need to clean everything myself before I really feel comfortable in the house. I especially need to clean the bathrooms and the kitchen. It’s like a compulsion with me.

      After that, there’s still more cleaning to do, but I don’t mind the unpacking too much. Be careful when moving large pieces of furniture or even large boxes. You don’t want to hurt yourself (and that’s what you pay the movers for).

      1. Mischa*

        I am the same way. I just spent hours degriming and mopping my tiny galley kitchen and bathroom in my new apartment. I swear, those cabinets hadn’t been cleaned in easily thirty years. So gross.

    6. Al Lo*

      I have two little tricks that help me unpack:

      1) Unpack a room at a time enough to run the Roomba. I know that there will likely be more mess as things go to their places in the house, but getting the boxes off the floor and the clutter sorted in just one room and running the vacuum while I work elsewhere makes that room feel accomplished.

      2) Host something within 2-3 weeks of moving in. To me, that means all the artwork will be hung, boxes will be unpacked or stored properly, moving detritus is gone, and the house looks like a home. The best motivation in my books is having people over to see the new place, so the sooner, the better.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Wow, see, for me no 2 is a guaranteed way to cause a minor breakdown due to the pressure it puts on me – but each to their own.

    7. AliceBD*

      No tips but I moved 300+ miles last week so I’m doing the same things! I moved from a one bedroom apartment with a lot of mismatched hand-me-down furniture, got rid of a lot of the cheaper furniture that didn’t look good, and moved into a two bedroom townhouse so I am also having to go to the store a bunch to get new furniture from Target. I can’t afford to get everything I want right away so I am also having to prioritize that.

      1. Bibliovore*

        We picked Benjamin Moore Wythe for the renovated kitchen. Soapstone counters, slate colored ceramic tile for the floor. Patina green/blue backsplash. Brushed steel appliances. A little anxious but have put up swatches and still like the color.

        1. fposte*

          Oh, that sounds so beautiful–I love blues and greens in a kitchen. I love the look of soapstone but I’m not sure I can move my mindset to accepting the use marks on it, even though it’s a much more sensible approach. (I’ve got a very mid-mod kitchen and I actually like Formica, so might just replace the Formica.)

    8. Falling Diphthong*

      Plan to host some sort of entertainment, so you have a deadline by which things need to be livable.

    9. Gingerblue*

      I’ve moved a ton in the last couple of years, and the unpacking stage can be so exhausting. I highly recommend prioritizing one room that can become a sanctuary when you need to retreat from the rest of the chaos and unwind. Either wherever you usually relax or the bedroom is a good bet–I usually try to get my bedroom put together first thing because it’s one of the easier rooms to do and then I can retreat into it in the evening and have a calm, uncluttered space to read wirhout feeling like I’m surrounded by undone tasks.

  27. Tanked Fan*

    I like the TV show Tanked (fun show, beautiful fish), and I’ve been trying to find it on DVD. I found the first 2 seasons, but most of the seasons only seem to be available on Amazon Video. I looked at the fine print, and Amazon says they can stop supporting Amazon Video at any time, which isn’t comforting.

    Does anyone here have experience with Amazon Video? Is this something that can be copied onto a DVD? I like using my laptop when I’m watching a show, so watching it on my laptop would be annoying.

    1. fposte*

      I don’t think you can without getting into at best gray areas of the law; Amazon’s terms have historically limited you to watching when you’re logged into Amazon.

      I sympathize; I’ve still got one foot in an older tech setup myself, and I definitely am with you in wanting to use my laptop while I watch TV. Is your TV HD? If you have a device other than your laptop, you should be able to use an HDMI connector and stream it to your TV that way. (If you have a pre-HD TV, you could probably still manage it but it would get more complicated and you’d need to ask the internet how to make the connection.)

      1. tigerStripes*

        I’ve got an HD TV. I don’t want to get into a gray area of the law, but it seems odd that I can buy a video and not have it really belong to me. I think that when a person buys a CD, the person can copy it for the person’s own personal use (like put it on their own phone or make a “favorite songs” CD for their own use). Seems like videos should be the same thing.

        1. fposte*

          I am at heart with you here. However, you’re not buying a DVD, you’re streaming video, and if you stream a song, you can’t legally copy that for your personal use either. Even if you purchase digital music there are often limits on what you’re allowed to do with it. Basically, we’re no longer buying a movie; we’re buying rights to watch that movie under certain circumstances.

          1. tigerStripes*

            Thanks. Looks like I’m not going to be buying Tanked episodes for a while. Maybe someday they’ll decide to make them available in a format that I can actually own.

            1. fposte*

              I feel you. I don’t even like the British thing where you get a 99-year lease on a house instead of buying.

              Interestingly, I was just reading a book review in the London Review of Books that talks about how hard the internet has hit the music business. Apparently YouTube is now the biggest music source in the world, “but in 2015 musicians earned less from it and from its ad-supported rivals than they earned from sales of vinyl. Not CDs and recordings in general: vinyl.” Strange times.

    2. OperaArt*

      I have a Roku Stick that allows me to watch Amazon Video directly on my TV. I also use it for Netflix, PBS, PlayStation VUE, Hulu, even YouTube. One time payment of $US 39.99.

  28. Marantz*

    Legal question.

    I’m an only chid. Does my mom (she’s a widow) need a will? Wouldn’t everything technically go to me?

    Is taking my mom to see an Elder Law attorney a good idea? She’s working full time, but will retire at some point soon. She doesn’t own property, but has retirement funds, etc.?

    The Elder Law attorney wants to charge for the time preparing for the consultation, in addition to the consultation. Is this normal?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. fposte*

      Laws on intestate succession vary by state–if you google “intestate succession [state]” you should get more specific information. Are you named as a sole beneficiary on the retirement accounts? Does your mother have any siblings or other close relatives? A will would help protect you if there’s any likelihood of dispute. (While there may be some overlap, in my experience elder law attorneys are more geared to handling the needs of the elderly as they age, while estate planning attorneys would be the ones to go to for a will.)

      IANAL, but if all she’s got is a room full of stuff, a 401k, and a checking account and there’s no great likelihood of dispute, what I might do if I were her is download the Nolo stuff for making your own will. Going through the questions can be a real eyeopener, and if she finds at that point that her estate is more complicated than she realized she can go to an attorney.

    2. self employed*

      If you don’t do a will it’ll be a bigger headache. Also consider a state-specific will (us legal forms dot com is reliable) are very low cost for simple estates. I would do one of those (like $30) and have a lawyer friend look it over for me as a favor.

      1. Marantz*

        Mom is in MA. Mom has siblings, but they live in another country.

        I also hear that a lawyer can help with asset protection which is crucial.

          1. Jerry Vandesic*

            She definitely needs a will. If she doesn’t want to go to an attorney, I highly recommend the WillMaker software package. In a matter of minutes, she can set up a very simple will, leaving her property to the beneficiaries of her choice.

            Beyond a will, there some other things that she can do to specify how her property shoud be handled upon her death. For financial accounts, such as checking to savings accounts, she can often set up a pay on death (POD) beneficiary with the bank that will transfer the account independent of her will. POD beneficiaries can also be set up for other accounts including brokerage and money market accounts. She should also set up beneficiaries for any IRA or 401k accounts.

        1. fposte*

          Asset protection from what and when? Are you worried about scammers when she’s alive, taxes after she passes, something else? I’m not sure what you’re meaning here separate from identifying beneficiaries and successors, and it might affect who’s best to handle it.

          However, I notice elsewhere in the comments that the picture will likely include at least one grandchild. That will often affect estate planning, and I would for sure recommend she use a lawyer in that case.

          1. Marantz*

            Huh? I didn’t mention a grandchild although that is possible. Asset protection in case of nursing home costs and qualifying for medicaid.

            1. fposte*

              Oh, sorry, I got you confused with Marzipan! No wonder that didn’t make sense. Yes, that part is more elder law attorney; some people are JD/CPAs, which would be a particularly good fit.

            2. LCL*

              You absolutely need an attorney because you are talking about asset protection in regards to Medicaid. That is a specific thing and that is what elder law attorneys specialize in. All of the simpler ways suggested only apply to her estate after she has passed. Since you want to do some things with her assets while she is still living, you and her need a lawyer.

          2. Passing Through*

            I would talk to an attorney. Besides a will, you may also need to consider other documents such as a living will or power of attorney to clarify your mother’s wishes should she become unable to make decisions for herself at some point.

        2. neverjaunty*

          If your mother has siblings, then you are not necessarily the only heir. Please, please see a lawyer.

        3. nonprofit director*

          “asset protection”- yes, you do need to see a lawyer for this. Make sure the lawyer is versed in elder law and estate planning.

    3. nonprofit director*

      I am not a lawyer, but we recently administered an estate for my MIL. Based on what I learned in this process, and we used a lawyer due to potential dispute issues, for a small estate I would start by making sure all bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, pensions, etc. name you as sole beneficiary. If she has a car or other vehicles that are titled, add you as co-owner. In most states, property that passes in these methods does so immediately upon death with no court involvement.

      Without a will or trust, any untitled personal property or other assets that do not pass via beneficiary designation could be up for dispute. Depending on the size of the estate and the state, it may be subject to probate without a will, which will cost money and take time. I like the idea of starting with a do-it-yourself will or trust, as that will give you and your mom something to think about. And if it is more complicated, then go see a lawyer. Keep in mind, a will requires probate. A trust bypasses probate but is still subject to state laws for administration.

      1. fposte*

        I don’t think every state requires probate for every will–we didn’t have to probate my dad’s in Ohio, for instance. But all the more reason to consult with a lawyer in the jurisdiction–they’re the ones who know the important specific rules.

    4. ks*

      If your mom has any assets, it’s worth the time and money now to have her put together a will (and/or, depending on where you live, a living trust). Depending again on where you live, it can remove the need to go through the probate process at all or it can reduce it to a filing a few simple forms.

      More importantly, a decent estate attorney can help you make sure she has a health care power of attorney and/or a power of attorney for property. You want to make sure that your mother has communicated her wishes to you and that you have the appropriate legal authority to act on her behalf if she becomes incapacitated.

      1. ks*

        Oh, and for the record, wills and trusts are actually really easy to screw up if you don’t know what you’re doing.

        1. nonprofit director*

          Yes, part of the reason why we had to hire a lawyer for a tiny estate- there were a number of problems with the trust that had been created properly, but then messed up when amended.

    5. Puckter Grumble*

      Where I live if your parent dies without a will there is a costly and time consuming process to receive the inheritance. I definitely think its worth having one anyway. It’s a small one off cost that potentially saves a lot of headache during a time of grief.

      Kinda like insurance, I guess.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      I am not sure about Massachusetts. In NY, if there is no will then the estate is divided up by percentages among siblings and descendants. It’s definitely worth your while to check into this. In NY you can get a pamphlet that describes what happens if there is no will. Maybe Mass. has the same thing?

      My husband and I each had a will, a power of attorney and medical wishes done (six documents) and it came to $500 all total. Very cheap for the job these documents do.
      YMMV, of course. And if you are looking to protect assets then you will probably be looking in to a trust fund or such.

      I don’t know if it’s normal for the attorney to charge for prep time, I guess I would find out how much time that usually is. I do know that the amount of work involved is staggering, mind-boggling. So I am not surprised by this.

    7. neverjaunty*

      Yes, she needs a will.

      No, you should not assume everything will just go to you anyway.

      You want an estates and trusts attorney. Elder Law is a broader category.

    8. Anon attorney*

      If you don’t consult an elder law attorney now, at some future point you might find yourself talking to someone like me (I go to court to fix probate situations that have gone horribly wrong, usually because the person didn’t take or didn’t follow legal advice at the appropriate time). Do not do this. Get it done properly.

      It’s not unreasonable to charge for meeting prep time, but it’s fair for you to ask for a detailed estimate of charges for the whole thing. Oftentimes people expect attorneys to be able to pull the answer to their very specific problem out of the sir there and then. There’s a lot of law out there and we don’t carry all the details around in our heads. Your attorney is actually being upfront with you about the prep cost. A lot of others, sometimes including me, would quote a fixed fee for the meeting which would include those costs. One way or another, were just asking you to pay for the work we do, which seems fair to me.

      While you’re there, get a power of attorney sorted as well. I also deal with situations where this hasn’t been done. It takes months and $$ to sort out (in my jurisdiction, anyway).

      Tl:Dr – go with the attorney.

    9. Book Lover*

      I hated spending money on getting a trust in place. But it did provide peace of mind. My mother did the same and my brother has a will, also via an attorney. I do think it is reasonable to ask for an estimate of costs so that you are not blindsided by costs at the end. But some things are worth the expense. My attorney asked some badic questions to start with and then provided a package cost rather than an hourly rate.

    10. ArtK*

      I was the executor for my father’s estate and trustee for his living trust. Even with a will and trust documents, dealing with the estate was a pain. I can’t imagine how difficult and slow it would have been if he had died intestate. Pay a moderate amount of money for an attorney now rather than a larger amount later, when you’re dealing with grief.

      Small bit of advice: Make sure that if she sets up a trust, that everything gets put in there. Dad neglected to transfer his safe deposit box to the trust and gaining access was a serious pain. The bank refused to follow the law.

    11. OlympiasEpiriot*

      Yes. NO. Yes. Yes. Yes.

      There are so many situations where you need an executor. A neighbor died in her home alone. Despite the fact she had been dying for a couple of years, her home was declared a crime scene and no one was allowed in until one of the kids was declared executor by the court. There were issues with who actually had access and rumor has it someone with access walked off with some of her stuff until the executor could get the locks changed (right away when had court papers declaring them the executor).

      For example.

  29. Moi*

    When I visit Ask A Manager on my iPhone, it constantly re-loads with an error message, “A problem occurred with this webpage so it was reloaded.” Anyone else have this issue? It makes the site impossible to read on mobile. I have cleared my cache and browser history and re-started many times.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Try installing an ad blocker; should fix it 100%. (The ads intermittently cause problems for a small portion of readers and if you’re in that group, I’d rather you just block ads and be able to read the site in peace.)

      1. Book Lover*

        I did this. I didn’t want to but I just wasn’t able to read the site on my iPad any more, it restarted the page about every 90 seconds or so the past week. Adblock worked.

    2. Nicole*

      Have you tried a browser other than Safari? I’ve had good luck with Dolphin on my iPhone. Bonus is being able to increase the text size.

      1. ..Kat..*

        I am using Dolphin right now on my iPad and it is so much better. Thank you for the suggestion.

  30. licoricepencil*

    I posted a comment a few weeks ago about adopting a cat, and I just brought one home today! Thanks to everyone who gave me advice. :)

      1. licoricepencil*

        She is a dilute tortoiseshell and has beautiful green eyes. :) Her foster name was Cuddles, and has a remarkable similarity to my childhood cat, Princess Cuddles, so her full name is Princess Cuddles II: Electric Boogaloo. Long and ridiculous but lots of nicknaming potential!

  31. Anon Accountant*

    I read about these Weight Watchers cruises. I watched a video tour of the cruise ship, read about the amenities, and I want to go so badly. My eyes were glued to the screen in complete amazement and excitement. 8 days and 7 nights of pure relaxation and fun.

    Hard part? No one to go with. No boyfriend, no siblings, friends all have young kids (ages newborn to 7), and my mom won’t go in a cruise. She’s terrified on any boats and doesn’t like travel that’s not local. Ugh

    1. The Other Dawn*

      I say go by yourself and have a blast. There’s definitely a good time to be had when you’re alone. No one to say, “Nah I don’t want to do X, I’m too tired, I don’t like that, etc.”

    2. Amadeo*

      I have sort of a similar problem myself – no boyfriend, no one else who can really go with me on short notice (mom won’t, sister has two littles, brother has two littles and most of my friends are not close to me geographically), but have honestly begun considering just doing crap on my own. Like, I caught myself figuring up what it’d cost to do four days of WDW alone the other day, and when my 19 year old cat has gone, it may be the thing that I do for myself, similar to the way I looked at my sister after I put my dog down and went “Let’s go to Disney World” (before she had kids) and we went.

      Do you think you could have fun going by yourself?

        1. Amadeo*

          I have slowly been coming to grips with the idea that it is possibly something that I could do next year, just myself. 2019 is a possible trip to Star Wars Celebration with a not-local friend and 2020 is the planned Everybody Goes to Disney with sister, brother and mom (we’d have to chloroform my dad and take him under duress, so he gets to stay home alone). Airfare, resort and park hopper tickets with a dining plan would still be cheaper than the computer I just bought. :P

    3. Mephyle*

      I vote for you to go. You won’t be ‘alone’, you will probably make new friends. It will be like summer camp for grownups, but you only have to do the parts you like.

  32. nep*

    Tips for getting shower curtain completely clean? I put it in the wash and most of it looks fine, but the mildew (?) in part of the hem remains. Time to toss it and get a new one?

    1. fposte*

      Toss it. I think mildew stains (it’s that and not hard water, right?) are really hard to get out without damaging the material and taking more time than is worth unless it’s a truly precious, precious shower curtain.

    2. Uncivil Engineer*

      The fabric curtain that hangs outside the tub or the plastic/polyester curtain that goes inside the tub? For the inside one, I use diluted bleach along the lower hem. Mine is polyester and the bleach doesn’t damage it.

    3. The Other Dawn*

      Toss it. I usually wash it once in the washer with hot water and bleach. After that I usually toss it and get a new one. They’re pretty cheap so to me it’s not worth the hassle to keep washing it.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I now have glass doors, but when I had a shower curtain, I used to buy just the liners because they were cheap. I would bleach it a couple times then give up and toss it out.

    5. Emma*

      I always just rewash ours. Sometimes it takes a few washes & it helps if I kind of run my fingers over the bottom where it curls.

  33. Cookie D'Oh*

    What do you when you have to leave town but have pets with medical issues?

    A couple of weeks ago, I took my big tabby to the cardiologist. He was diagnosed with heard disease and hyperthyroidism. They also found fluid in his lungs which indicates the beginnings of hear failure. I’ve never dealt with a pet who has serious health issues so I was crying a lot the first few days after the appointment.

    He’s on medication and has to take three pills in the morning and four in the evening. They gave me these gelatin capsules so I can put all the pills in one capsule and give him everything in one shot.

    He went for a follow up appointment yesterday and luckily they are seeing some improvement. His breathing rate is still a big higher than normal, but his blood tests show some levels that were previously elevated are lower. He’s eating/drinking normally and his behavior is normal so I’m feeling better about his diagnosis.

    Anyway, we need to travel to California (from Ohio) in October for my sister-in-law’s wedding. We have two other cats and have had friends stop by once a day to give them food/water and clean the litter boxes.

    Unfortunately, now that he’s on medication twice a day I think I will have to board him. He’s a big 15-pound boy and to pill him, my husband holds him in his arms and I open his mouth and us a pill gun to to adminster the capsule. I’ve tried pilling him myself and it’s a challenge. He won’t have anything to do with pill pockets. The friends who come over don’t have experience with watching the cats and I don’t know if they would be comfortable giving him his pills.

    I’m going to do a search for professional pet sitters as well, but my initial search didn’t return many results in our area.

    I boarded all three cats about 5 years ago when I had to travel out of town on short notice. They were fine, but they would have been more comfortable at home. This time it would just be the one kitty. I feel bad having to board him, but with his health issues I might be more comfortable having him in a supervised environment.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      I would say boarding them at the vet’s office would be best. My initial thought was to try finding a cat sitter or a friend/family member who has cats and that’s experienced with giving meds, but it sounds like that’s not an option.

    2. fposte*

      Yeah, this is outside of the friend-sit category; it’s not fair to them or to your cat to ask them to do this. I know some professional pet sitters around here who could handle this easily, so it’s not impossible to find one (find one through your vet or a vet school, if possible), and you have enough lead time that you could watch the sitter pill the kitty in a dry run to see if you think it’s workable. But if you can’t, boarding is really your only option.

      1. Pet Sitter*

        Seconding all of this. If you need another resource for pet sitters, Google NAPPS and check their pet sitter registry.

    3. Damn it, Hardison!*

      Both of my cats are elderly and on multiple medications a day. I asked my vet about pet sitters who could watch them and they had a list of former vet techs who did pet sitting. Sometimes even the current vet techs do pet sitting on the side.

    4. LW5*

      I used SitterCity recently when my kitties needed to be out of the house due to home repairs. Some people on SitterCity know about medicating animals- we got a person training to be a vet, so she was very good.

    5. Cookie D'Oh*

      Thanks all! I’m definitely leaning towards boarding and it makes feel better that others feel the same. I emailed some professional pet sitters to inquire about rates, but I’ll probably end up boarding the one cat and then having a friend come once a day for the others.

      Luckily there are several vets that offer boarding services. I’m going to see if I can check out the facilities this coming week.

      Even with a professional sitter, I would want to do a trial run to see how they do with administering medicine. Between him and my other cat with kidney disease I have to administer pills and IV fluids. Luckily the kidney cat only gets fluids twice a week so we can work that around our vacation schedule.

      1. Anonish*

        Our vet office knows our kitties well, so the last time I was in with Truly Ancient Cat, I Asked if they knew of pet sitters who would give meds. Three different techs quietly slipped me a card with cell phone #s and offers of references. They are all younger, single, and probably underpaid, so ate happy to pick up skilled work on the side!

    6. Max Kitty*

      A vet tech might be willing to come in (that’s what we did in a similar situation). But an advantage in boarding is if he suddenly takes a turn for the worse, they’ll be on it quickly.

    7. Belle di Vedremo*

      Is there a vet school nearby? I used to live near one, and many vet students loved house sitting and playing with your pets, and were happy to do basic meds/subq fluids, etc for a little money. If I recall correctly, the school kept a list of interested students.

  34. Kat*

    Tomorrow I will be 34, and it’s causing a small existential crisis. Why am I still in a job I don’t enjoy? Why haven’t I saved to buy my own place yet? Why am I still single? Why don’t I even know what I want or where I should be going?

    Y’know. That sort of thing. 34 in itself doesn’t bother me, but being 34 and still feeling as adrift as I did at 30 is a bit sobering.

    On the plus side, I just came back from two weeks in Canada, which was amazing. Sunshine and mountains and lots of food!

    1. Overeducated*

      Yeah I turned 32 this month and feel similarly. Like I really thought I’d have my life more together by now! I just try to remind myself that life doesn’t have a finish line I’m in a hurry to beat others to…..

      Happy birthday!

      1. Kat*

        I know exactly what you mean! I don’t really know where to start to change things, either. The more I think about it, the more overwhelmed I feel, so I do nothing… Vicious cycle.

        And thanks!

        1. Story Nurse*

          Is there anything (or anyone) consistently costly that you can get rid of or stop doing? Most of the positive changes I’ve made in my life have involved parting from jobs, “friends”, partners, schools, family members, volunteering gigs, etc. that took far more from me than they ever gave back. Eliminating even one drain on your emotional or financial resources will give you far more wherewithal to start looking for the positive things to say yes to.

          Doing this with jobs made my résumé awfully patchy for a while, but at some point I stopped thinking of myself as a dilettante and started viewing it as being well-rounded, and that plus a very low tolerance for misery helped me keep moving from job to job and field to field until I found a combination of gigs that worked for me. I’m 39 and have been in my current job for ten years; before that, the longest I’d ever held a full-time job was 18 months. So it really is possible to keep trying things and cutting your losses when they don’t work out and eventually find something worth sticking with.

          If it helps, get angry. Get fed up. Declare the situation intolerable. Strong emotions fuel change.

    2. Lady Jay*

      If it’s any help, I’m 32 & feel much the same way: stuck in a job, single, not really sure of what steps I need to take to actually move forward with life.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      My father said something that comforted me. He said he did not really feel his life coming together until he was in his 40s. I was born when he was 40. He bought our house at age 45.
      Personally, I think each decade of life has it’s advantages and it’s disadvantages. There have been things each decade that were good and unique to that decade of my life and then there were things that were Not Good. Both the good and the not good changed as time went on.
      I do remember that in my 30s it felt like everything was so stagnant. It felt like nothing ever changed. My job felt like a hamster wheel and I was caught in an endurance contest. Change one thing you are doing and see where that puts you. Then change something else and see where that goes.

  35. Bullwinkle*

    Has anyone ever flown on Christmas day or the day after? Is it less busy than immediately before Christmas?

    My wife and I are planning to travel from the east coast to the west coast to see my family around Christmas time with our daughter, who will be 6 months old at that point. Though I’m excited about the trip, I’m already dreading the travel, and I’m wondering if it might be less stressful if there is a less busy day, especially since my immediate family and I are not particularly attached to the day of Christmas itself. Any advice?

    1. nep*

      It’s been several years, but I have on a couple occasions flown on Christmas Day or maybe the day after — times seen as perhaps less desirable. I recall it was a lot calmer at the airports.

    2. Kj*

      Christmas day travel is GREAT. Much calmer and everyone is nice. I recommend it. Late Christmas eve can be ok too, depending.

    3. LCL*

      I don’t travel, but my friend who travels extensively on a part time teachers salary always chooses Christmas Day flights if available. She said they are the best price.

    4. HannahS*

      Yep! When my (Jewish) family would travel to Israel, we would often go on Christmas eve. It’s cheaper, the flights and airports are quieter, and it’s just more relaxed all around. Same for flying on New Year’s Eve.

    5. Sandy*

      A contrary view: we did an international trip a few years ago on Christmas Day and it was an awful enough experience that we wouldn’t do it again.

      We ere flying through Heathrow, which likely contributed to the problem.

      There were still TONS of big international flights coming in. I think we got to customs at the same time as an India flight, a Pakistan flight, and maybe Nigeria? There might have been less flights coming then normal, but there was even LESS customs staff on duty, so customs alone took us 4+ hours.

      And surprisingly for such an international city, the Tube doesn’t run on Christmas. That meant the usual solution for a long layover- a quick trip into London- wasn’t an option.

      We wound up in this weird airport hotel, which was at least supposed to have a pool. When we got there, it turned out lame guy had booked out the pool and surrounding area for a giant Christmas lunch, so they gave us a complimentary bottle of wine, which we drank by ourselves in our dark room before making it back for our next flight…

      At least we can laugh about it NOW…

    6. neverjaunty*

      I have flown on Christmas day. It wasn’t really bad – most people fly right before or right after. And I got priority seating because the flight attendants let people wearing red or green board first.

  36. Rookie Manager*

    My partner and I are coming to Montreal next month. Any Canadian readers or past visitors able to give me any tips please? We’re away for 11 nights and want to have a good mix of exploring and relaxing. Hotel booked in the latin quarter.

    1. Cristina in England*

      What sort of things do you like to do? There are so many things to do when the weather is warm. Make sure to google Montreal Festivals to see what will be on.

      It has been a long time since I lived there (15 years) but I would advise using the subway system and or buses to see all parts of the city. One thing I used to like to do was to walk through Westmount and go up Mount Royal through that route. You can walk up and over and come down the other side near St Josephs and take the subway home.

      1. Rookie Manager*

        I’ve been googling festivals and we arrive right at the start of an arts festival where we are staying! I also googled sports teams and found that none of the professional teams have a home game during our visit which is a shame as it’s a good way to get a feel for the locals.

        We like to explore a new place and find more than the normal tourist haunts. A wonder round a neighbourhood seeing whats on and maybe sitting watching the world go by. We like to see a bit of history/museums but not so much it feels like a school trip! Live music/performances are often high on the list too, especially if it’s something local or that we couldn’t see at home.

        I’d read about the subway system and considering getting the multiday tickets so that is helpful info to know. Thank you.

        1. Cristina in England*

          Montreal is great for live music, I spent many a night at indie rock/pop shows at La Sala Rossa and Metropolis. Check out Pollstar to see what’s on nearby. Here is a listing for a small festival, I am posting it just because it looks like something I would have gone to when I was there:

          Oh, the weekend breakfasts around town are FABULOUS. They’re on until 3pm and have a wonderful mix of everything. It is pointless to mention anywhere in particular because it was so long ago but it seemed like every cafe did a weekend brunch that was spectacular. I miss that. The UK is definitely lacking in the brunch department.

    2. Lore*

      I went last fall and loved loved loved it! I was traveling solo so didn’t explore as much night life as I might have, but still saw great live music twice at a place called Divan Orange. There were two or three other live music places in its area as well, on St. Laurent. The art museum is really more of a complex–four buildings. You could easily spend an entire day there (I spent about 4 hours and barely scratched the surface but I had someplace specific I wanted to have lunch so I moved on). The city history museum in the old city was small but surprisingly interesting, at least the main exhibit at the time, which was about the criminal underworld in Montreal across the eras,was.

      The weather was not great when I was there so I didn’t spend as much time in parks/outdoors/exploring the old city as I might have, though I did go up Mont Royal and it was worth it. I ate amazingly well the whole time, but probably the single best meal I had was in the Marche Jean-Talon, which was a little out of the way but amazing. Do you speak French? The bookstores and theater are very geared toward French-speakers, I found (my French is passable for customer service type interactions but not good enough to shop in used bookstores or go to the theater, though by the time I left I’d remembered so much more that maybe in another week I’d have been willing to try!). The main library is right near where you’re staying and was pretty cool.

      I basically just picked a neighborhood a day and wandered around; when it rained (a lot) I’d find a store/restaurant/cafe to perch in for a while. Mont-Royal and St.-Laurent had great vintage, record, and housewares stores (if I’d traveled by car I suspect I would have bought furniture). St.-Denis had a huge variety of restaurants and bars.

      My favorite thing about Montreal was the street art. Almost every bare side of a building has an amazing mural painted on it. I took literally hundreds of photos of them!

      1. Rookie Manager*

        We’re flying so sounds like I’ll definitely need to leave space in the suitcases! It sounds like you had an amazing time Lore; my partner would be very interested in a criminal underworld exhibit so I’ll have to check if that is still on. We’re both excited about the food aspect as from what I’ve read there are just loads of choices and all of them are good but your recommendations are noted.

        I’m currently listening to a Learn French CD on my commutes in an attempt to remind myself of school French. If I need to find out when someones birthday is I’ll be fine – but the theatre would really be pushing it! Thanks for all your suggestions.

        1. JenC*

          Lived in Montreal for two years and my husband is Montreal born…I would suggest things like the botanical gardens and some of the beautiful parks spread out through the city to get a feel for how green and “neighbourhoody” Montreal is. The metro system is your key here…as you could get off and on and go exploring around each stop! I lived in Park Extension which is historically a poor immigrant neighbourhood so maybe not traditionally a tourist stop but it’s a crazy mixture of Indian and Greek influences which leads to an interesting vibe and great food! Get on the blue line and get off at Acadie, walk up to corner Birnam st and Jean Talon st for great Indian food, and continue walking up Birnam until the next crossing street, take a right, walk to the next corner and you’ll see a cute little Greek market with amazing feta, olives and halva. Marche Jean Talon is very cool as noted above (also blue line) but Marche Atwater is very nice too….Verdun has beautiful water front cycle paths etc….hire Bixi bikes and ride around the huge network of cycle paths…eat lots of poutine! There are great museums and art galleries…where you are staying will be buzzing so you’ll find tonnes to do! It’s a busy fun place and it sounds like you won’t be trying to drive around which is lucky and the condition of the roads and the hyper aggressive drivers are pretty much the only downside of Montreal! Don’t worry about French, everyone in customer service is going to say Bonjour Hi!!! To you which is your invitation to choose your language so just say Hi and they will probably switch to English. If they don’t, they’ll find someone to help, and if they are rude (which is unlikely) go somewhere else! Montreal loves her summer tourists. Hope this helps, have a wonderful time!

          1. Rookie Manager*

            This is fantastic, thank you! I’m salavating as I read… I’ll annotate my guide book with all this information. I also can tone down my French lessons if most people are billingual. Thanks Jen.

            1. Cristina in England*

              Two things about speaking French:
              -Unless you’re Canadian the Quebec accents are going to be very different from the French you learned in school, so expect not to really understand what someone is saying back to you, even if you said it perfectly.
              -The west of the city is more anglophone and the east of the city is more francophone, though most people are at least somewhat bilingual anyway

        2. Lore*

          If your hotel is close to the direct bus route from the airport then it’s definitely worth doing a multi day metro pass–if I remember correctly that ride is $10 purchase separately but included in the passes. I was only there 5 days but it ended up being well worth the weekly card (even with having to pay $6 for the card itself) because of the two airport trips, and being able to just jump on a bus when I started purring was also a plus!

  37. Marzipan*

    Donor egg IVF update: my donor’s retrieval was on Monday. The fertilisation report on Tuesday wasn’t great news; one egg fertilised normally and two more they were keeping an eye on to see if they fertilised late. Because of that, they had me in on Wednesday for day 2 transfer. Then when I got there, they told me a second egg had actually fertilised, so I had both embryos transferred. I feel slightly better that there were two, even though I think it’s really unlikely either will come to anything.

    Now the wait…

    1. Book Lover*

      I hope for positive results. I know you must have been hoping for more embryos, but hopefully it just takes one (or two, in this case).

  38. NGL*

    I’ve been a space cadet this week because we found out Tuesday afternoon that I’m pregnant! Total surprise. 6 weeks along. I have basically 0 symptoms, which is nice in general though I think makes it harder to believe this is really real.

    The worst thing so far is I take a nasal steroid for my allergies to my cats. The medicine says it’s inconclusive whether it’s bad for pregnant women to use, but you probably shouldn’t. I’m waiting to hear from my doctor what I can replace it with, because this will be a VERY long nine months if I can’t breathe any time I’m at home!

    1. Mela*

      Congrats! This place is run out of UC San Diego. (link in my name) Their only job is to keep updated on the latest data around teratogens. With your consent, they can work with your doctor directly on figuring out replacement options.

  39. Please help me feed myself*

    So I got a new thing we don’t speak of on weekends and now I need to start packing my lunches, something I haven’t done since I was in elementary school! When I’m at home I usually make pasta for lunch, but now I need ideas for food I can pack that’s either cold or room temp (there is a microwave available but I would rather go eat in my car than in the break room). What can I pack besides the requisite sandwich/fruit/etc.?

    1. CatCat*

      I always just double the dinner and take leftovers as lunch the next day in my cooler lunch bag. I find I don’t mind most things cold even if they were hot when I had them for dinner.

      1. Zathras*

        I do this too – I typically microwave the leftovers, but plenty of things taste pretty good cold too. For things that don’t, could you microwave and then take the lunch to your car?

        Also, whether this is possible depends a lot on your job and to some extent your metabolism – but you might find that you can have the break room to yourself if you pick a slightly oddball time to eat lunch, either earlier or later than usual. Our lunch area is busy and social 12-1, but if I eat lunch at 1:30 I can sit by myself and read.

      1. katamia*

        Yeah, some sort of pasta salad might be good (and easy to make in bulk and have for several days).

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          I’m also a huge fan of frittata. You can put in whatever you like (veg etc) and it tastes SO good cold.

    2. Effie, going nowhere fast*

      Seconding hard-boiled eggs. You can also double-boil eggs (I’m sure you can find a recipe online. Abbreviated version: boil eggs, peel them under cold water, make a mix of soy sauce/sesame sauce/water/sugar/etc and re-boil the eggs, simmer for 30-40 min, turn off heat and let stand in sauce for 5 hours to overnight, depending on how much time you have and your personal taste), which taste good hot or cold.
      If there’s a fridge, you could bring yogurt and smoothies.
      Stir-fried glass noodles also taste good cold.
      Sushi is good cold (yes you can make sushi at home, I promise it’s easier than it sounds). If you don’t want raw fish you could either make vegetarian or add a fried egg slice or dried pork/fish sung (kind of like jerky but shredded).

    3. Sophie*

      I used to make salad or pasta salad a lot for my lunches. You can get a cooler bag or lunch bag and stick an ice pack in it to help things stay cool. Otherwise I would get microwavable pasta and then take it and eat elsewhere.

    4. HannahS*

      Cold pesto pasta salad (I don’t like mayo-based pasta salad, personally). Marinated bean salads. Chicken salad (again, not mayo-based for me; spinach, chicken, pumpkin seeds, and honey-mustard dressing). Definitely nuts for snacks, if you eat them. Granola bars for snack-emergencies. Can you have a small electric kettle at your desk? There are many examples of “kettle soups” online, and I’ll link to one “template” that I like. I’ve done one that’s miso paste, some chopped raw mushrooms, frozen udon noodles (through instant ramen would definitely work too), tofu, and green onions all in a heatproof container. Add boiled water, let it sit three minutes, and bang, a miso soup with a veggie, a carb, and some protein.

    5. Vancouver Reader*

      You could also pack things in a thermos to keep it warm if you’re so inclined. Make a big batch of soup or chili, heat up what you need in the morning and throw it in the thermos.

  40. Myrin*

    Some of you might remember how I learned a few weeks back that my 23-year-old friend whom I hadn’t seen in many months had started dating a 17-year-old and how I was really skeptical of that and said that I’d have to see the two of them together to get a better sense of how I should be feeling about this? Well, turns out that is probably going to happen sooner rather than later because she wants to come with when we meet next.

    I have to say, I’m feeling a whole lot of :| about all of this. We’d lost contact for a bit after a not-suuuuper-close-like-best-friends-close-but-still-really-good friendship of six years but found each other again by chance while I was still contemplating whether I should contact him out of the blue or not. We’d originally planned to meet up much sooner but then both of us had unexpected important deadlines come up and then he had a sudden grave illness in the family and then my grandma died and everything went topsy-turvy for a while.

    And I’m really looking forward to finally seeing him again. We have a bit of a weird bond – we’re both loners who prefer solitude and aren’t really into close friendships – and have been texting back and forth about this and that and then suddenly out of the blue he wrote “Would it be okay if my gf accompanied me to our meeting” and my reaction was basically “um”.

    Because the thing is, I don’t actually have anything against her being there and I did want to see them together. But on the other hand, we haven’t seen each other in so long and I’d planned on telling him a lot of stuff that is really not the business of a random outsider I don’t know (also, I wanted to ask him about his new relationship and I can’t very well do that when she’s right there). She is also ten years younger than me and I’m honestly not really sure what I’m going to talk about with a teenager (not that teenagers can’t be delightful people, mind you), not to mention a teenager I’ve never met before. Furthermore, I have a huge problem with people being jealous of their partner’s friends. This was actually the main point that made me go “um”.

    Now there is a small chance that this was my friend’s idea and that he wants me to know his girlfriend (my sister called it the “I want Myrin-senpai to approve of my girlfriend”-sentiment), but I doubt it. I also asked him twice if this is a case of her not “allowing” him to meet up with me and that I’m willing to do it as long as it’s not jealousy-based and he completely ignored either of those sentences which makes me somewhat uncomfortable. He just said “Oh, I’m sure you’ll get along great” and “she’s not some run-of-the-mill woman” to which my inner reaction was “what.” and nothing more because honestly what do you even say to that?

    It’s just a really strange situation to be in. I have no problem with meeting this young woman in general – I’m great with people and I’m sure we’ll get along at least superficially and have a nice time together. But he is my friend and I wanted to meet my friend and not my friend +1. And I’m also super uncomfortable with the idea of him being in a relationship where his partner doesn’t trust him or want him to spend time with a (female) friend. And to top it all off, there’s still the initial weirdness of my fully-adult friend thinking it’s a good idea to get together with a minor. I mean, I can’t really do anything about any of it and maybe the whole thing turns out completely different from how it’s presented itself until now but as it stands, I’m feeling a whole lot of “meh” about this whole situation.

    1. Perse's Mom*

      “I’m looking forward to meeting her, but I was hoping it would be just you and me this time. We haven’t been able to get together and catch up in quite awhile and I have a lot of pretty personal stuff I want to tell you. It’s not the sort of stuff I would be willing to discuss around someone I’ve only just met.”

      If he pushes back on that… I really don’t know. I feel like there are a number of flags being presented here. Not all of them are red, but some of them are closer to orange than they are to yellow. It’s a bad sign if he suddenly can’t hang out with you without her present.

      Some people turn into different people when they’re in a relationship. Hopefully that different person ultimately doesn’t mean he’s become so different that you can no longer maintain a healthy friendship because of new rules he puts in place (or allows his new GF to put in place).

    2. Miso*

      Hm, I can’t really say much about the jealousy stuff and so on, but I don’t think their age gap is that weird. It’s just 6 years after all. In another 10 or 20 years that’s going to be nothing.
      Sure, it’s still a bit more now, but after all they always say that girls develop faster mentally than guys, so they might meet at the perfect spot. I have friends who have a 10 year age gap (they met when she was 19 or 20 and he was 10 years older), they’ve been together for 10 years now, are married and are honestly my “dream relationship”.

      Besides that, I was kinda friends with a girl almost 10 years younger than me (she was almost 18 when we met) in vocational school. She is kinda difficult and we were never super duper close, but I’m not sure how much of that was age and how much simply her character…

      1. TL -*

        6 years matter a lot more at 17 than at 30. A lot.
        When I was 17, I was getting ready for college and leaving my parents’ house for the first time. When I was 23, I was working a full time job living on my own with a college degree. Those are two very different stages of life. And the maturity gap there is huge as well. The girls I hung out with in high school were not anywhere close to as mature as the men I knew right after graduating college. It’s hard for me to respect someone who has an interest in a person who is so much younger than him, honestly.

        1. Myrin*

          Yeah, that was the consensus when I wrote about it here when I first learned of this relationship. It can totally work but a lot of the time it’s also kinda, hm, dubious (?) for a 23-year-old to be interested in a 17-year-old, from the older person’s perspective.

          1. Julia*

            I agree. At best, it means that he is somewhat immature. I am definitely side-eyeing his comment about her not being some “run-off-the-mill woman” – is that how he talks about women often?

            1. Myrin*

              Not at all, actually, which is why I was really taken aback as well. (And, please ignore this if you’re not the Julia I mean but if you are, you’re German as well, right? So what he literally said was “keine 08/15-Frau”.)

              I’ve been getting the feeling that he kind of tries to hype her up in his mind, if that makes sense? Like, the very first thing he said when he told me about his girlfriend was that she’s 17 and “yeah, well, I know it’s kinda weird and I did have to think about it for some time… :/”; so it kind of feels like that by making her out to be really exceptional he’s kinda justifying his interest in her to himself? IDK.

              He also said this in conjunction with my doubts of us getting along so maybe he feels like I only hang out with really outstanding people? I have no idea. In any case, the ball is in his court now and I’ll see how it goes.

              1. Julia*

                I am German! You remember me! Wow!

                “Keine 08/15 Frau” is… I mean, what does that mean? How many women does that apply to? Plus, at 17, she’s not even a woman yet… That said, when my brother was 23ish, he dated a girl who was around 17, so I think in Germany, there’s not such a big stigma around it. When I was still in school, I knew several girls who dated older men. I never got the appeal, but most people seemed okay with it.

                You don’t have to have a thing for outstanding people to not want your friends to date underage girls. But I hope you won’t lose your friend over this.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I was 19 when I met my husband. He was 32. It worked for a lot of years.
      Don’t wear his discomfort for him. If she does not trust him that is their problem and they will need to find a path through that.
      If this becomes a committed relationship, and it looks like it is, then he will be spending lots of time with her anyway. SOs are a huge time suck. lol.
      Anyway, you can put the time in getting to know her and then you won’t have to worry about talking about things with a stranger later, she will no longer be a stranger.

      I will plant this thought: I had a friend who got involved with A Guy. I did not particularly care for the guy, to the point I was sort of worried about my friend’s safety. Well, lots of life stuff got in the middle of this story and we drifted, she kept Guy and lost me. I did not see that one coming, I was blindsided by it. I felt badly about that we never got back on track. I had said too much to try to take back. (Well she said xyz and I would say, “Are you sure you are okay with this dude?” I kept questioning her. There wasn’t really a way to take that back.)

      Think about this. If you knew he would keep her and drop you off, would it still be worth pressing the point based on the little evidence you see so far?
      I have seen plenty of couples that just adopt a single person into their lives. It does happen.

      1. Myrin*

        Oh, I’m definitely not going to press the point – I said as much as I’ll ever say and that’s it. I’ll wait and see what happens when we meet but, as I said to neverjaunty below, I won’t desperately cling to this friendship. I know that I can come across as pretty apathetic speaking like this but I’m not a big “friends!!” person and while I’d love to become closer again, I’d have no problem with that not happening, either.

        (I realise that writing such a huge comment like my original one can make it seem like I’m hugely invested in this but that’s just because I’m very verbose in writing. In reality, that whole exchange was a few messages spread over the course of an hour and I didn’t much think about it later on. I actually almost forgot that I’d wanted to get you guys’ opinion on it because it happened at the beginning of the week and I sat here yesterday going like “wait, there was something I wanted to write on AAM about…”)

      1. Myrin*

        Ha! As someone who, as I said, prefers solitude and isn’t hugely into close friendships, I already felt the same when that text exchange happened – like I said, I value him as a friend but honestly, I’m not willing to put a lot of effort and energy into this situation if it turns out to stay as annoying as it is.

    4. nonegiven*

      Those are the exact ages my husband I and I were when we met and married almost 43 years ago.

  41. Scratched Glasses*

    Does anyone have any experience with home remedies for fixing scratched glasses? Google tells me it’s possible to fix scratches with toothpaste or baking soda, but I’m hesitant.

    Long story: I have scratched my glasses and won’t be able to get a new pair for close to a month. I have an old pair but they are kind of scratched up too. Both pairs are useable but kind of give me headaches or a slightly nauseated feeling. I might be willing to try a home remedy on one of them but would love to hear others’ experiences first.

    1. Mimmy*

      I’ve scratched glasses on a few occasions and always assumed that they can’t be fixed. I’ll definitely be looking at this thread!

    2. Chaordic One*

      I did not have good luck doing this. The toothpaste only ended up scratching the plastic lenses worse and made the glasses completely unusable.

      I’ve seen kits that cost around $15.00 or that would probably help a bit, but seem pricey. Maybe an optician could do something to eliminate and minimize the scratches.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Agreed. I don’t think I would experiment at home with this one.
        I remember working retail we had plexiglass all over the place. They used a spray furniture polish to fix the scratches. They way they explained it was the furniture polish goes on clear and fills the scratches. It’s an illusion, the scratch is still there but you just can’t see it.
        So basically you want a scratch filler of some sort. I would go to a place that sells glasses and ask. I would bring some home with me because probably it will wear off and I will need to do it again.
        For DIY I see articles saying to use car wax. This would be a similar idea, you are filling the scratches with something that dries clear. I don’t think I want car wax with in an inch of my eyes all day long, though.

      2. Lilo*

        As a long-term glasses wearer, I would just take it to your optician. You’re likely to scratch them worse to the point of unusability doing DIY things. The optician may just recommend replacing the lenses, but then at least you know.

    3. HannahS*

      I strongly suspect there’s nothing you can do to really repair them, unfortunately. When you scratch glass or plastic, a little bit of the material is now missing, right? So how could toothpaste or baking soda (both abrasives, both opaque, both things that will immediately wash off) repair that? It doesn’t make sense to me. Can you call your optometrist’s office and ask if there’s anything that can be done? They might be able to tell you over the phone if there’s any kit you could buy that would work. There may be something that will turn the scratches clear instead of whitish–maybe then they’d be less annoying for your eyes to look through.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I wondered if the thought about toothpaste was similar to fine grit sandpaper, just sand down the whole lens. I am not sure on how that will help because lenses are ground to a specific prescription. I don’t think I’d want to mess with that too much even on a tiny level.

    4. Scratched Glasses*

      Thanks for the comments, folks. I probably won’t be bothering with taking them to the optician as I’m getting new ones soon, but we’ll see how it goes. I guess I won’t try the home fixes for now. Maybe after I get the new ones I’ll try a fix on my oldest pair, just to see if it works. If I do I’ll report back!

  42. Nina*

    I’m in the process of selling my furniture (moving to the UK) and…is it weird that I get this warm fuzzy feeling when the person I’m selling to is super-happy about the thing they’re buying?

    There was one young guy who was probably 20 at most, and looks to be furnishing his own place for the first time. He bought my futon (one of those ones that clicks back into a bed) and was so thrilled about it. And another guy who bought my TV stand was like ‘oh this is perfect! I’ve been looking for something exactly like this!’. And a lady who bought my (electronic) piano for her son who kept saying how excited he’ll be because he’s been asking for one for so long.

    But then there was a guy who bought my desk for a house he was renting out to students, and was like ‘yeah, that’ll do’, and I felt…weirdly reluctant to sell it (even though he was paying my asking price).

    It feels so silly! I’m selling the furniture, not putting it up for adoption lol.

    1. KR*

      As someone who gets attached to furtiture and sentimental about it, I completely understand your feeling.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I freecycle a lot of stuff, and sometimes people will send photos of the item in their home afterwards, and it makes me SO HAPPY when they do.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Oh absolutely not!
      When I sold off my father’s stuff I was THRILLED beyond belief that people were interested in the stuff. It made me very happy.
      On a sadder side, when my aunt sold her home of 40 some years, the couple that bought it let if fall to ruin. Then they divorced. She was so very upset.

      Yes, it’s uplifting to know our stuff is with someone who cares and is happy with it.

    4. WellRed*

      I love when my stuff goes to a good home, especially if they are just starting out or not well off. Sold a wetsuit yesterday for a young woman doing her first big swim race or some such. Excited for her.

  43. KR*

    So my 11 year old puppo gets bad allergies and hot spots. I just got him last March so I’m not sure how long he’s had them. They were seasonal until we moved to the desert, now they’re year round. We were treating them with Apoquel which works well, but not great and he was still in a cone whenever I couldn’t be right there to prevent him from licking. Well at my vets recommendation he got the Cytopoint allergy shot and oh my God he’s like a new dog. Within hours he was sleeping peacefully with minimal hot spot licking whereas before he would lick it for hours if I let him even with Apoquel and Benadryl. So I’m happy about that. They said it only lasts for a month sometimes and it was pricey, but considering he won’t have to take a daily allergy medicine which is also pricey, this is saving us in the long run. My logic is also that if we can get the hot spots healed we may just be able to treat with intermittent allergy medicine when he gets itchy again. I have no one to share with since my husband is at sea so I wanted to tell you all in case some of your dogs get bad allergies.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      We just got Cytopoint too! So good for our bud. He still licks his paws sometimes, but his hotspots are all healed. Now I worry he’s bored because he used to spend so much time sucking on his legs and he doesn’t know what to do with himself anymore!

      1. Book Lover*

        Looks like they are in phase 2 trials. So not yet. And when it is, it will cost a fortune.

  44. Michelle*

    Just wondering: does anyone still have a landline in their home?

    It’s been years since I’ve had a phone in my house (basically since I moved out of my parent’s place), and most of my friends don’t have a landline number anymore. I still /can/ have a home phone (I have to have a landline for broadband) and was wondering if there’s any point in getting a phone…

    1. Kat*

      I do, because I live alone and I have it just in case my mobile stops working one day or something and I need to make an emergency call. I have been thinking about getting rid of it because I never use it, but something about it is quite comforting.

      1. fposte*

        That’s where I am. I keep meaning to dig through the terms because I’m pretty sure there’s an underpublicized cheaper phone package that I should switch to.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        This was one of my reasons for hanging onto it, but I finally had to let it go because it was costing me $80 a month (with DSL, which was another reason). I never used it and all I got were spam calls. And DSL was so slow–websites and videos were outpacing it. So I got cable internet and ditched it.

    2. Miso*

      I moved quite recently, and while I don’t have a landline phone yet, I actually want to get one. I do have a flatrate with my mobile phone, so I don’t really need it, but on the other hand, I pay for the landline flatrate anyway as well.
      I think for longer phone calls the house phones are usually nicer than a mobile phone, you know, ergonomically. The mobile phone is just so flat…
      I also always mute my phone during the night, so I think it would be nice for emergencies.

      (And also, I got a phone table – don’t want to use it just for my router, haha)

    3. Ramona Flowers*

      Yep. We have one because I worked from home until last year and it’s included in our package with TV and internet. Mobile reception isn’t great where we live and I just feel better having one.

    4. Kathenus*

      I have one through the cable company, because it cost the same for cable and internet or the bundle of cable, internet, and voice. The main benefit is I use this number for the many businesses I have to give a phone number for, versus using my cell number. And I never answer it, just listen to the messages every once in a while. I probably go weeks without a message I actually care about, even though I may get several a day from telemarketers and the like. If it had been a significant upcharge not sure I would have gotten it, but I’ve found it useful for screening out calls so I can use my cell primarily for people I know.

    5. Dinosaur*

      We had a landline for about 2 months. After day-in, day-out telemarketing calls and zero personal calls, we disconnected it. I’d rather just pay for very reliable cell service than go back to BS calls on the landline.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        I get almost none of these calls. We have something called the TPS here (telephone preference service). It’s free to sign up and cuts out almost all the junk.

        1. Dinosaur*

          We have the Do Not Call list here in the US but it takes a while for your number to actually appear on there and there are still people who call despite being on the list.

        2. Rookie Manager*

          We’ve signed up to TPS (even resigned up last month!) and are still getting spam calls. Its at the point that we don’t answer the landline anymore and are thinking of disconnecting it.

    6. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I have a landline and I love it! I will never give it up. I think the sound quality is significantly better than cell phones. I’m always annoyed when I have to talk on my cell phone.

      1. Dear liza dear liza*

        I kept my landline for the same reason- I can’t stand the drop outs and such with cell phones- but then everyone I knew moved to cell only, so I still had to deal with the audio issues. I’m now cell only, but wish everybody still had landlines.

      2. Florida*

        Agree with the sound quality. Plus the ergonomics of the landline phone compared to the cell phone.

        If a friend calls me on my cell phone and it’s going to be longer than a 5 minute call, if I’m at home I’ll call them on the landline.

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          Mm, I just love it when my iPhone gets all sweaty and runs out of battery – said no one ever.

        2. the gold digger*

          We saw a play last night that was set in the ’70s (Deathtrap). The one writer tells the other writer, “What? You use a manual typewriter? But when the power goes out, you don’t have an excuse not to work!”

          I feel the same way about phones. I hate the sound quality of a cell phone, but if my battery dies or the call drops, what am I supposed to do? Keep talking? Oh well. I guess I can go back to my book.

      3. atexit8*

        I still have landline.
        Cell to cell is the absolute worse when it comes to voice quality.
        I have had one or two job interviews where the other person is on a cell. No good.

    7. Mrs. Fenris*

      We never got rid of ours. It’s bundled with our cable and internet, so it really doesn’t cost anything, and there was no reason to actively cancel it. Also, it took a long time for our 75+ year old moms to get the concept of calling our cell phones. They finally did (but now my mom is paralyzed with fear that she will call me at a time I can’t talk, no matter how many times I assure her that if I can’t talk I just won’t answer, and she can leave a voice mail…sigh…) But. I kept pointing out to my husband that we could just unplug the physical phones, because after we converted the moms, nobody ever called the landline except telemarketers, so we would get annoyed every time it rang. So, one night I just unplugged it and didn’t say anything. It’s been about 6 weeks and I swear to God nobody in this house seems to have noticed that the landline doesn’t ring anymore.

    8. copy run start*

      No, my parents insisted I had one through a cable bundle for a few years, but when I cut cable TV they seemed okay with it. They use theirs because they feel the quality is better on the landline. Personally I think it’s moot if you get a $10 cordless phone and put it on a landline, but many people keep them for hearing and safety reasons. Many areas of my state have spotty or no cell coverage.

    9. Thlayli*

      I do because:
      1 for emergencies if my mobile isn’t working
      2 it was very cheap to get when included with my broadband package (about €2 per month additional)
      3 it is cheaper for dialling terrestrial numbers; in fact it’s free for a local call which covers most of the companies I have to call

      Look around for packages with ur internet provider or your mobile provider (you can Even get an internet-based number though I’m not sure how that works with an actual physical phone rather than a laptop). I had a contract once with an old mobile provider that allowed me about 100 mins a month for free from my landline to mobiles from the same provider – which covered both my boyfriend and my Mam at the time so worked out much cheaper than calling them from my mobile.

    10. WG*

      I like the security of a landline for emergencies. If the power is out and the cell phone can’t be charged, most likely the landline will work. I live in the country and we’ve been without power for days at a time, even up to a week. I don’t want to depend on a cell.

    11. JamieS*

      No landline for me. My parents got rid of the landline at our house when I was pretty young so I don’t really remember ever having one or what the quality is like compared to cell phones.

    12. Tau*

      I’m about to get one! It came with the internet package (all the packages I found had phone as well), and also my mother and I like to have really, really long phone conversations. Landline will be cheaper than a mobile (in fact, landline-to-landline calls are free) and better quality than Skype. At least I hope so.

      That said, I don’t think I’d give out the number for general use, especially as I will never be home during the weekday and hate answering machines with a burning passion.

      1. Myrin*

        Yeah, same, although I think our country is more landline-y than the US in general. But yeah, it comes with the internet package and the free landline-to-landline is a big advantage – I exclusively use our landline when calling the doctor, the bank, any kind of office, etc. We don’t have these telemarketers that seem to be a pest in the US, either, and everyone in my family turns their mobiles off at night so the landline also serves as an emergency thing.

    13. Not So NewReader*

      Landline here.
      When the power goes out so does the cable. So I have a phone company provider. Even though landlines have better sound quality it is nothing like it used to be when I was growing up. Landline phones are not that great. But at least the phone works in a power outage, which happens often enough here.

    14. AliceBD*

      I wouldn’t mind having one for the power outage/safety reason but it would cost me a significant amount of money and I think the ergonomics of it are worse than cell phones — for cell phones I stick in earbuds if the call is going to be more than about a minute and then have my phone in a pocket/waistband/on a table/etc, and with a landline you have to hold it in place all the time! How is that more comfortable?

        1. ThatGirl*

          Right but… Earbud. I used my iPhone earbud for multiple job interviews, it’s so much more comfortable than holding anything up to my ear, and then I could take notes.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I have a cordless phone that comes with a belt clip.
        I clip it to the neckline of my shirt and use the speaker phone.
        This means I am hands free and can keep talking while I am working on something.

        When I replace my cordless, I search until I find a model with a belt clip for this reason.

    15. Observer*

      Even with a good cell phone, sound quality can be better with a landline. Also, a telco (not cable) landline will probably stay up even when there is a power outage if you are using a plain phone.

    16. Pat Benetardis*

      Yes we never stopped having one. While I rarely use it anymore, it was really good when my kids were old enough to get phone calls but not old enough to have their own cell phones.
      I think it’s good for a family to have one central phone number and I don’t want calls from 9 year olds on my cell phone while I’m in a meeting.
      We were recently getting way too many telemarketer calls but signed up for a service called nomorobo (dot com) and now the phone rings once and the calls go away.

    17. OlympiasEpiriot*

      Yes. One, because it is still a back up. Two because I’ve had it for many years and there are people who have that number and don’t have my cell no. (Especially abroad). Three because if I’m going to be on a call for a while, it is easier to hear on landline tech and the receiver is far more comfortable to hold/jam under my ear. I don’t like speaker phones. I’m always saying “whut, whut”.

    18. Safely Retired*

      Absolutely. We have had the same number for over 35 years, so it is the number distant friends and family have. It is the number I put on every form so that I don’t get interrupted with nonsense while I am out of the house. The number we give the Chinese takeout place when we call in an order. The one number that my wife and I share, so whichever of us is around can deal with it. Yes, we get tons of robocalls, buy most of them aren’t even there when we pick up and say Hello!

      Would we have a landline if we moved out of the area? I don’t know.

  45. Miso*

    I just had a really great date with a guy I met online. Was really fun and we had a lot to talk about, and dang, he even looked better than on his photos!
    Unfortunately, while I really liked him, he didn’t like me *sigh*
    At least, you know, not physically.
    I guess it’s nice that he told me right away and didn’t just ghost me or whatever, but still. I actually was kinda guessing he just wanted sex anyway, but I would’ve been totally fine with that!
    My ex boyfriend broke up with me only a couple of months ago and I wanted some ego boost, not getting it crushed…

    I know it’s ridiculous after just some chatting and one date, but man, I’m really feeling down right now :(

    1. Jean (just Jean)*

      Look for another way to boost your ego?
      Or tell yourself that he’s not worth feeling down about, or spending more than (x specific amount of time) feeling sad about?
      Otherwise, sympathies.

      1. Miso*

        Oh, rationally I know it’s not really something worth to be so sad about.
        I think it’s really more some flashback heartbreak from the breakup which I was feeling kinda okay with surprisingly soon. I guess it’s just catching up now or something.

        I wish I’d drink…!

        1. Effie, going nowhere fast*

          I kinda know how you feel, I discovered during the aftermath of my recent breakup that I cannot get drunk. My body refuses alcohol after a certain amount is ingested so I am unable to get drunk enough to override its natural limit :P

          There’s a hilarious YouTube video by Youtuber IISuperwomanII called “Stages of a Breakup” that may be relevant! Link to follow

    2. rj*

      I haven’t dated anyone seriously in a long time. Last fall I dated someone for a few months. I moved a bit ago and was ready to try again. One date, was a bit meh, man had different values than I did so I said no. I also promptly gave up. Not sure this is helpful, but I sympathize! And, if someone just wants something physical, and you want a relationship, that’s aggravating in its own special way.

  46. KatieKate*

    So for the first time in our adult life, I weigh more than both of my younger sisters. I don’t begrudge either of them-one has been working on her weight for a long time and I’m really proud of her, but in terms of the silent competition sisters sometimes have, that was one of the few things I had over both of them. I’ve felt too busy to work on diet and exercise recently, but they are both just as busy as I am so… just feeling a little down about myself. I need to prioritize my health.

    1. fposte*

      Prioritizing your health sounds great, but maybe also stopping the habit where you and your sisters share your weight? That sounds like it has more potential for harm than it does for benefit.

      1. KatieKate*

        It’s a bad habit for the whole family. My mom has struggled with her weight since we were kids, while my dad boasts every time he fluctuates 2 lbs. so we’ve all struggled with the complexes that grow around that sort of childhood conversation.

        As for the sister who just dropped some weight, the change was very visual-to the point where she brought some clothes that didn’t fit her to pass around. I snagged a cute dress, but then felt bad about myself because it belonged to my formerly larger sister. No one mentioned numbers because we know how bad that is, but we did congratulate her on the weight loss.

        It’s really just me doing dumb comparisons. Both sisters are in happy and heathy relationships, while I’m single. Both are happy in their careers, while I’m struggling to see next steps. They have stuff they’re dealing with, for sure, but on the surface they’re both rocking it. And I’m happy for them! And neither are shoving anything in my my faces! I’m just super self conscious

        Yikes that got long. Tl;dr I should maybe look for a new therapist

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Sometimes things come up that jar us, they rattle our cages for any number of reasons.
          I think this is supposed to happen. We are supposed to feel a jolt of motivation. I know I get a nudge or a jolt when I have been coasting for too long. Yep, that is right, I have been ignoring X and I need to pay attention. In my mind it goes under the heading of “good message, bad delivery”. I have many, many things filed away under that caption. Sigh.

        2. neverjaunty*

          You should, and I don’t mean that in a snarky way AT ALL – it sounds like you are realizing you have some really unhealthy internalized things about your sisters and your body, and that’s a great step towards fixing them.

        3. the gold digger*

          My mom does that – she, too, has struggled with her weight, and even now, at 74, she tells me about her diet and if she’s lost weight or gained weight. We wanted to take her on this cool dinner train ride for her birthday but she didn’t want to because it involved food. We want to take her out to eat when we visit but no, that involves food. (I hate eating out not because it involves food but because it takes sooooooo long.)

          She had me on a diet starting when I was in kindergarten. I, too, now have a horribly unhealthy relationship with food. I have tried to learn from my mom and to not talk about it to other people. It’s boring, it’s self centered, and nobody wants to hear it. But I know I have this problem and it bothers me.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I will always have an odd relationship with food for various reasons. One thing that has helped me is to get very practical and view food as fuel for energy. I got involved in nutrition and how foods work in my body. It gives me something more to think about beyond my reasons for food concerns. But yeah, I think if we get a weird relationship with food as kids, it’s pretty hard to shake that one off.

    2. rj*

      try focusing on health (exercise, vegetables, whatever floats your boat) – you may lose weight this way too – but it might help with a mental reset which I have found hard, and which i have found to be a good thing.

  47. Sparkly Librarian*

    I posted a couple of weeks ago about my Jeopardy! audition. They told me that I could be called anytime in the next 18 months (or not at all), so I settled in for a long wait of studying US Presidents and geography. But, um, I got the call on Monday. And I’ll be taping in September.

    1. MarianCSRA*

      That’s awesome! Please report back on your experience. I’ve always wanted to go on Jeopardy too.

    2. Effie, going nowhere fast*

      Congrats!!!!! Tell us all about the parts that aren’t covered by an NDA when you come back! ;)

    3. Former Contestant*

      Changing my usual commenting name for this, b/c it makes me too identifiable. I was on the show for a few episodes a while ago. Maggie, the contestant coordinator, is the absolute best! You’ll have so much fun! If you’re not from LA or aren’t super familiar with it, feel free to ask me for info. (Assuming Alison can connect us in her abundant spare time.)

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        Oooh, neat to know there’s another contestant on here! Maggie’s a kick. I’m mostly worried about utterly humiliating myself and bombing in the first game. Other than that, sure – tons of fun! :P Who’d you have in the studio audience? My mother-in-law lives nearby, and apparently she wants to come see me even though she’s never seen the show on TV.

        1. Former Contestant*

          The first time I had WAY too many people, and I wound up not even getting on that day (since they have alternates.) So the second time I just had my parents and my uncle, who had also been on the show years before.

          Also, re: bombing the first game. The absolute worst thing that can happen is that you win $1000, so I saw that as a license to bomb away. :)

  48. Ramona Flowers*

    Are there any other sites like this one? (Aside from Corporette. Those commenters are brutal.)

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Yep! Work norms, bosses, colleagues, productivity… I love all the things Corporette covers apart from the workwear posts. I do not love the commenters, who do things like telling each other to “f*^k off and die in a fire” (wish I was joking on that one). I’ve never seen another really good website about work, let alone a good blog.

        1. Sylvan (Sylvia)*

          It’s not work-related, but the productivity and basic time management advice, like how to avoid burnout, at UnF— Your Habitat got me through college and I still love it years later. The writer is simultaneously blunt, compassionate, and extremely practical.

    1. NaoNao*

      If you’re not on Captain Awkward, that’s a great one for advice. The commenting rules are even more strict in a good way, and the comments are strictly monitored so there’s no trolls. Ask Polly on The Cut and before that, The Awl, is very entertaining and fun.
      For work stuff, this is pretty much it, but for other types of advice, AndThat’sWhyYou’reSingle is fun, sassy, and helpful.
      “Non-Consumer Advocate” is a personal blog from a penny pincher who is very fun and down to earth.
      YouLookFab, AlreadyPretty and WardrobeOxygen are my favorite fashion and style blogs, and the comments there are mild. YLF has a very active and supportive community.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Thanks for the recommendations. I kind of can’t take Captain Awkward – her advice is great but I find the questions really draining to read as I’ve worked so hard on all my own boundary type stuff. I think she’s great, just not right for me right now. I haven’t heard of the others though and will check them out.

        1. Chaordic One*

          I sort of feel the same way about Captain Awkward. I can’t quite put my finger on just why she bugs me, but she does.

          1. Sylvan (Sylvia)*

            Sometimes the posts stray too much into personal stories and social justice 101 for me. I am glad the issues are being addressed, it’s just not made to my exact personal taste, haha.

          2. Ramona Flowers*

            For me it’s just that I’ve worked so hard to get past this stuff, and have to have such good boundaries to protect myself at work, I find it exhausting to read about it quite so intensely on my downtime.

            1. Julia*

              Thank you for saying this. I’ve been critical of myself for not being able to read Ask.Metafilter anymore because it increases my anxiety.

        2. Beatrice*

          I like to read CA now and then, and I think she gives good advice, but her writing style is incredibly idiomatic. A couple of years ago, I had a Spanish-speaking friend who was having major boundary issues with his parents, and I tried to introduce him to her blog, only to realize that her writing was almost nonsensical to someone with an intermediate grasp of English. Once I noticed it, I couldn’t stop noticing it, and now I only read her once in a while.

    2. rj*

      I don’t think so! I came here after I got laid off. I like some personal finance blogs (the billfold and frugalwoods) that have a good commenting culture – but askamanager sticks out because it must stay aggressively on topic. I loved the hairpin (I don’t think it has a commenting function) and the (now-defunct) toast as a grad student, so I follow Mallory Ortberg still.

    3. The Unkind Raven*

      There is a New York Times advice work columnist who posts twice a month (I know, not nearly enough!). He’s called the Workologist and he’s in the business section. His advice always seems sound.

  49. Marius*

    I have a newfound obsession with soba noodles. There was a sale on them at my local Japanese grocery store, now half my pantry has been taken over by soba.

    While looking for recipes for soba, I also came across something called ‘miso butter’…and I haven’t had a chance to try it out (I always have miso around but never butter…) but it sounds absolutely amazing…O.o

      1. Julia*

        There are different kinds of soba noodles with varying buckwheat percentage. Generally, in Japan, the cheaper ones have less buckwheat. Maybe you can find some you can digest?

    1. CatCat*

      Oh man, we use a recipe for miso lime butter and it is amazing.

      Green onions – 1 stalk, chopped finely
      Butter – 3 Tbsp
      Miso, any type – 1 Tbsp
      Lime juice – 1 tsp

      Soften butter in microwave for ~10 seconds. Mash in miso, lime juice, and green onions.

    2. Nina*

      Panera Bread used to have this soba noodle bowl that was so good. First time I’d ever had them, and I was addicted to that dish.

      And then they discontinued it. Because of course they did.

    3. ..Kat..*

      I really like King Soba 100% buckwheat noodles. More protein and fiber than wheat noodles and GlutenFree.

    4. OlympiasEpiriot*

      Once winter rolls around, do a web search for pizzocheri. That’s an italian buckwheat noodle — rarely sold in the US — that is cooked with cabbage and potato and then baked in a cheese sauce with sage. Very rich and delicious for cold weather. Whenever I’ve gotten it, I have to buy a half dozen packs of it. But, it is dry pasta, so it keeps.

      CatCat’s recipe will work well for you.

  50. Sparkly Librarian*

    I was reminded that my sister went to college in a snowy state, and still has outerwear (winter jacket, boots) that will fit me well enough for our possible trip to Michigan (adoption/ICPC stay – I mentioned it a few open threads ago). And maybe a hand-me-down that will fit my wife. I don’t need to stress about cold weather gear on top of everything else.

    1. Adele*

      If you will be in SE Michigan/Metro Detroit, it isn’t terribly cold and snowy anymore. The west side of the state is much snowier due to the lake effect snow. There is a snow band across the upper part of the state. The Upper Peninsula can be seriously cold and snowy. Assuming you will be in the southeastern Michigan, you are more likely to suffer from the unrelenting, depressing gray skies than cold and snow.

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        Grand Rapids! It would be nice if there’s not too much snow. Weather reports say that average high is about 30 degrees Fahrenheit in January. Brrrrr!

  51. Effie, going nowhere fast*

    The worst part about being broken up with is when I’m feeling down, I get this weird impulse to call my ex and tell him all about how much he sucks and how I feel. Not my current ex, the version of him that loved me.

    I know he’s gone and he’s not coming back. I just miss him.

    The version of him that exists right now is the version that cheated on me, lied to me repeatedly, and rubbed it in my face our last three weeks of living together (while I was trying to get my stuff together for a transcontinental move) after he’d broken up with me that he was DTF anyone and everyone that he was into that wanted to.

    So now, I often get a fleeting moment of missing him, hating him, and loving him. Can’t wait until these moments decrease more and more until it’s just a nick in the surface of my day instead of a puncture. And then someday it’ll be more like an afterthought than a real thought.

    If anyone invents a way to fast forward through life, let me know :)

    1. Miso*

      If anyone tells you secret, please share with me!
      I sometimes think I’d prefer to hate my ex, but “unfortunately” he didn’t cheat on me, changed or anything, he just stopped loving me. Which sucks.
      I actually left the actively crying phase behind me pretty fast (and way faster than the last time my heart was broken, an occasion which couldn’t even really be called a relationship in hindsight… So I kinda expected worse), but I dunno, I really get those bouts of just missing him so much from time to time. And I’m still kinda secretly hoping he’ll see what an idiot he was and come back to me. Which will obviously not happen, but unfortunately hope will die last…
      Ah well.

      We can do it! Stay strong!
      And I’m sorry your ex was such an ass.

      1. Effie, going nowhere fast*

        I most definitely would share! AAM readers for free, everyone else has to pay ;)

        I mean, they’re your feelings, if you want to hate him, go for it…sometimes it’s more effort than it’s worth but other times it’s like…super cleansing to feel that rage.

        Youtuber IISuperwomanII has a great video called “Stages of a Breakup” that may be helpful for you and Wong Fu Productions (also Youtube) has a great video called “After Us” that made me cry and cry and love myself if you’re interested!

    2. Annie Mouse*

      I can completely understand what you mean. I broke up with my ex a few months ago and while I don’t miss him (he pissed me off too much for that!), I miss having someone to text when I’ve had a bad day. And I miss having someone to cuddle up with on the sofa.
      It is getting better, although the impulse to text someone is still there every so often. It feels weird really, not having someone else (other than my Mum) to tell that I’m home safe.
      Sending you virtual hugs/ice cream/cookies/fluffy pillows (whichever you’d like!) if it helps a bit :)

      1. Effie, going nowhere fast*

        Thank you! I know right, it almost feels a bit like a let-down when I have exciting news and feel like I can only send it to my mom…on the plus side she’s always excited for me even when I feel like my news/texts aren’t exciting.

    3. Purple snowdrop*

      Aaaah I want to talk to the person I thought my husband was. Not the person I’m living with. It’s hard. I can relate.

      1. Effie, going nowhere fast*

        AND they have the same voice and look/smell the same as the person you thought they were! It’s the worst.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      This is grief. Grieve has an angry stage and a weepy stage. Confusingly we can go back and forth or do both stages at the same time. All of this is totally normal, even though it sucks totally.

      Start by telling yourself the mood swings are normal and it is indeed part of the process of moving on. Feel the feelings. Don’t deny the feelings and don’t act on them either. Just feel the feeling.

      Next. Plan each day. You don’t have to pack it full and you don’t have to knock yourself out, but before you go to bed at night have a list of several things you will accomplish tomorrow.

      And last. That impulse to call him is your old plan. A bad plan is better than NO plan. So think about what your new plan will be. Call a friend, call a family member. Type another post on AAM. I don’t know what sounds reasonable for your setting, but start building New Plan.

      And these are some of the ways you can help pull yourself through this.

      1. Effie, going nowhere fast*

        Haha thanks! No I def haven’t been contacting him. I write angry notes to myself (because really I am my best friend and I’ll never get tired of listening to myself) and don’t send them to him instead :)

        1. Effie, going nowhere fast*

          Also have been very gentle and understanding to myself, I’ve really been enjoying getting to know myself as my best friend :)

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Congratulate yourself on this one. This is hard and probably even harder than break ups. I think you are really making lemonade here.

      1. Purple snowdrop*

        Oh my god. I read one article on her website that was good and then read another and cried and cried. Thank you for the recommendation. I needed it.

  52. anon24*

    Does anyone know anything about the person who was commenting as “Update on he wants a baby”? I haven’t seen any comments the last few open threads.

    If you see this, I have been thinking about you! Hope you are doing ok.

    1. acmx*

      I think she has been posting about her journey to divorcing under a different Title the last couple of weekends.

  53. Annoyed with doctors*

    Just wanted to vent a bit about my chemo! I’ve been feeling really bad since it started (completely exhausted, but not sick except for a few days immediately after a session) and assumed that was the effects of the chemo. Turns out that it was not the chemo but the fact that the steroids had completely negated the effects of my diabetes medicine. When I last saw the oncologist I told him my symptoms (including blurred vision) and that I had used some of my last blood glucose strips and got a measurements of 26, 28, and 30 (fasting) – should be 4-7! He was all “you should get more strips and monitor that” – they did do a test there which was 11, but my fasting b.g. had been 26+ for 3 days, which he did not seem very concerned about (despite my classic hyperglycemia symptoms) .

    Managed to see my GP on Monday (who at least was concerned) and am on new meds and 3-daily b.g. test and it has not been over 15 since. I feel so much better (have not felt this good since I started chemo) and realise that basically the steroids have been negating my diabetes meds since end of May and nobody thought to tell me that this was a possibility or to test my b.g. at any point despite knowing I’m diabetic! And cos the only steroids I’ve had before are my inhaler, I didn’t realise it might be that – just put it down the chemo. Also when I looked at the advice online it’s not that helpful – certainly doesn’t suggest that the steroids will entirely knock out the diabetes meds, more that your b.g. might be high on days you take steroids.

    I guess I will have to add this to my big complaint letter that I will be sending the hospital after my treatment is done. I realise I should have thought to check my b.g. earlier but I was kind of focused on the whole cancer thing, and also because my symptoms were so rapid and so correlated with the chemo it was not surprising I didn’t realise the real culprit.

  54. Lady Jay*

    Recommendations for buying women’s clothing (nice, but not super professional; I’m a teacher & often work in khakis) online? I’ve tried Stitch Fix & it didn’t work for me.

    I’m slender (2-4) but have narrow hips & a tummy that kind of pooches out, so I dislike the high waisted clothing that’s popular right now. Plus, I hate shopping in real life. I’d love to be able to find clothing that is comfortable & cute without subjecting myself to store upon store upon store of pants that don’t really fit.

    1. NaoNao*

      Have I got them!
      Talbots for conservative, casual clothing that is not trendy
      WhiteHouse/Black Market for on-trend but not flashy or youthful stuff
      J. Jill and Soft Surroundings for upscale artsy soft, flowing, comfortable stuff
      J. Crew, Gap, and Banana for preppy basics, good for boyish or straight figures
      Madewell for classic preppy casual with a youthful edge
      Nordstrom Rack for “play clothes” casual funky stuff
      Macy’s Bar III, Rachel by Rachel Roy, and INC
      Kohl’s Dana Buchman and Simply Vera by Vera Wang

    2. rj*

      I have bought pants on ebay – the gap and banana republic discontinued my favourite kind a few years ago but ebay still has them. I’d recommend banana republic. They often have sales. Ann Taylor might work for you – I buy their curvy styles but their other styles of pants might work. Also (seriously, from a friend who is a social worker, so varying formality depending on who she’s meeting with) – American eagle.

      1. Lady Jay*

        Actually, nearly all of my jeans are American Eagle, and a few of my dressier pants. They do work well! But I’m looking to spread out. :)

    3. Nye*

      I’ve been really enjoying ThredUp for secondhand clothes. (Also tried StitchFix and found it wasn’t for me.) Same upsides and downsides to shopping at a nicer consignment shop, but you can try things on in the comfort of your home. What’s worked best for me is to buy a bunch of things that might work, and send back a lot of it. That way I always end up with at least a couple items that I like. I’ve been trying to upgrade my wardrobe for a new job and have gotten several nice tops and blazers this way.

      Good luck!

    4. neverjaunty*

      MM Lafleur, if you can save up/wait for sales – they are expensive but the quality is FANTASTIC and much of what they sell is washable.

    5. Female-type person*

      Do you have Ann Taylor Loft near you? I swear, you could dress three generations in that store, and every age from teen to granny would look appropriate and up to date. I stay away from anything that is 100% rayon. Probably half my closet is from there. The merchandise selection turns over quickly, and every time you turn around, there is a sale. 30% to 50% off the entire store is pretty common, which makes it reasonably priced.

  55. Detective Right-All-The-Time*

    I’m about to pull the trigger on purchasing a brand new car. I’ve never purchased a car before, let alone a brand new one and it’s making me incredibly nervous.

    Anybody have any advice or bits of wisdom, or things you wish you knew before buying a car?

    1. Dr. KMnO4*

      Make sure it has cruise control if you ever think you’ll be driving long distances. I didn’t think about it and ended up with a car with no cruise control, which is brutal for longer drives.

      I also test drove a new car 6 years ago that didn’t have electric windows, so double check that as well.

    2. Amadeo*

      You don’t have to pay whatever the dealership is asking! They have holdbacks in addition to whatever incentives manufacturers are offering. Shop around, see who’s going to work with you on the vehicle you want, bargain on price, not payment (that’s secondary). Most dealerships will list on something like Autotrader, so you can start there to get an idea of what discounts each one is offering. Don’t fall for high pressure sales tactics (and in some dealers the sales people will get SUPER HIGH PRESSURE), I prefer the ones who tell me about the car, work with me a little on price and then wait for me to make a decision instead of pressing hard.

      1. Julianne*

        When I was car shopping, I emailed dealerships to get a quote for the make/model I was interested in. (I had already researched it and determined there was really only one car that best met my needs.) I also researched discounts, there was one I could have gotten for being a member of a credit union, but the salesman at the dealership had a better one to offer. (This was 3 years ago, and I honestly don’t remember what it was based on or how much it was! It was more than $500, but not more than $2000, which I do realize is a significant range.) I didn’t negotiate any further, since I was satisfied with the discount and their staring price was $2000 less than any other dealership quoted me for the exact same car. Maybe they would have gone lower, maybe not, but I was satisfied with the price – I didn’t want to negotiate just for the sake of it.

        1. Amadeo*

          I suppose that’s up to you, of course. By not going with the first offer I got, I got a nearly $10k offer on my trade in car (that didn’t even blue book that much to sell privately, so I KNOW the manager knocked 3 or 4 grand off the truck to do it) in addition to the incentives Ford had out at the time and a discount for being a Farm Bureau member. A guy at another dealership knew my brother and told him I played hardball (I think my dad swelled up with pride). Sure, it’s not for everyone, but if you are willing to take the bit in your teeth and play the game, you’d be surprised how it works out sometimes.

        2. Lilo*

          I also went to three different dealers. They were all actually trying to sell the exact same car (I had specific requirements, dealers in the same brand can “call” a car from another dealer) and got three different price quotes on it.

          I’m also one of those people who is entirely willing to walk away when I feel pressured. It actually just makes me want to leave.

    3. rj*

      I am a woman, and I look younger than I am, so ymmv on my advice. I have bought two cars in my life, both used, but about 3 years old each time, so low mileage (30000 miles first time, 8500 recently) and both times great condition. The first one I bought from a local dealer who was super reputable who did not pressure me – he had new and used.
      Recently, an older friend (like three decades my senior) took me to a car lot, I looked at some cars, and then he made me look at consumer reports for these cars, and then look up the NADA and Kelly blue book values to see if it was a good deal or not, and THEN to test drive them after I had narrowed down from “small sedan that I don’t hate.” So I picked a car based on that.
      If you go new, I would follow the advice of the article called “how to buy a car without interacting with a human” on the toast. It’s 3 years old but the advice is sound – and you do all the negotiating online.

    4. Chaordic One*

      I would say go to your library and read the “Consumer Reports” automotive reviews about the cars you are considering. I think their auto reviews are very well done, and the frequency of repair ratings are about the best that you can find anywhere. The April edition has a comprehensive summary of the most popular cars sold in the U.S., but new reports of cars are added every month. They also have special auto guides that come out more often.

      After you’ve narrowed your list of choices down to the top 3 or 4 models, go test drive them and sit in them and see if find them comfortable to sit in, to look out of, and to drive. Don’t let the salespeople try to push you into buying a car that you don’t like or that isn’t very well-rated.

    5. atexit8*

      I bought my 2004 Honda Accord on Halloween 2003.
      The conventional wisdom is to buy at the end of the month because the dealer needs to get rid of inventory.
      I bought my car sight unseen, and I picked it up late in the evening.
      I would not do that again. You see things better during the daytime.

      I have near 205,000 miles on it.

    6. Melody Pond*

      Well, I don’t *think* I’ve seen anyone else upthread say this, but my advice would be…

      If it’s at all possible – don’t buy brand-new? Or, if you must buy brand-new, don’t finance it?

      It depends on the car of course, but – most brand new cars lose something like 60% of their value in the first four years. If you want a really nice car that hasn’t had much of a chance to develop any problems, I would suggest you go buy a 2 year old, pre-owned certified … whatever the term is, I forget (and am too lazy to go Google it, this instant). I know it’s a thing my dad does with BMW’s, because he loves BMW’s. He buys 2 year old cars that are “certified pre-owned” I think. They come with a certain guarantee as to the condition/quality of the car, but they’re significantly cheaper than brand-new.

      At least let someone else take the major hit on the loss of value for the first two years. You’ll save a ton of money, and have a car that is probably 90% as good as brand-new.

      1. ThatGirl*

        This really depends. When I bought my car, new ones were barely more expensive than two year old versions, and I wanted to finance anyway. I know all the advice, I’m pro used car, but it can vary a lot.

    7. Book Lover*

      I found carguru.com to be enormously helpful in terms of comparing different dealers and figuring out what I should pay.

    8. AnnaleighUK*

      Make sure it ticks ALL the boxes you need. The car I bought earlier this year had to have a seemingly impossible long list of Everythings, but I found what I needed after reading umpteen reviews and driving a ton of cars. So now I’ve got a vehicle that’s automatic, comfortable, can tow, can take four bikes easily, has a huge boot and isn’t that horrendously expensive to insure. It is brand new but I bought it when there was a special offer on so I got a very good deal. It’s worth looking for dealership offers, you can save a lot. I saved about £5000 on mine and my only compromise was the colour – had to have black instead of blue but I can live with that. So now I have a car that makes me grin every time I look at it and that I know I’ll be keeping for at least ten years. Don’t buy anything unless you’re totally happy with it!

    9. Perse's Mom*

      I was not nearly as prepared as many of the other commenters discussing this. I bought a used car just a couple of years ago – it was only a year old, so next thing to new, really.

      If you feel like you should walk away because you’re uncomfortable with their sales tactics/pressure, DO IT.
      Watch the fine print. They may try to tack on extra costs or fees.
      Understand what applies to you and what doesn’t – if your credit isn’t great, you’re probably not getting that low low interest they’re advertising.
      Whatever the advertised price on the vehicle, the total price will be considerably higher (taxes, fees… if you don’t realize you don’t qualify for the low low interest…). Maybe not if you can negotiate down far enough, but that really depends on if you have any kind of trade-in or other leverage for that.
      Know what kind of insurance is required and factor that into what you can afford.
      TEST DRIVE the crap out of it and trust yourself. There’s nothing quite like a five year loan on a car you don’t like driving!

      I mean, the car I got is fine. It runs well, it has nice features… but I don’t love it.
      Also, if you take a family member/SO along for a second opinion, remember that it’s YOUR vehicle – YOU need to want the features it has (or live without the ones it does NOT have), YOU need to be comfortable driving it.

  56. Sophie*

    I went out with my sister and her friends last night. We went bowling and then back to the house of her friends.
    They’re really nice and it was fun. The friend’s brother was there and she was like, “He’s single, you’re single, so…”
    But we didn’t really talk much and I was just there to hang out, not be set up.

    I had fun, but I was sort of a little quiet. They like heavy metal and drinking a lot so does my BIL, so I tried to be social but it was awkward. At the end of the night, the friend shook my hand and then gave me a hug- it seemed like she felt bad for me. I’m introverted and probably have some sort of social anxiety, but I hate it. I make people uncomfortable and I feel like I’ll be alone and lonely for the rest of my life. It sucks.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      No you won’t. *hug*
      No WE won’t. *hugs self too*
      That doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy either. The friend sounds like a nice person, though I do hate it when people think just because two folks are single that they’ll get along great. That shouldn’t be the only criteria!

    2. NaoNao*

      I totally feel your pain, believe me!
      One thing that really helped is trying to see my life as a series of snapshots, and moments. One moment of weirdness does NOT mean you’ll be alone forever!
      Also, looking around at the love you do have, and the sliding scale of interactions. Flirting, dates, one nighter’s if that’s for you, short term stuff, long term stuff. You might get some, all or a few of those. And those moments matter just as much as being with someone too. It’s all part of life’s rich pageant.
      As someone who has been in a couple long term things and is in one now, it’s very nice, but being single has its perks too.
      My BF is on a fast and is on Day 1 (lots of napping, he’s very tired since he’s only drinking green shakes) and I’m like “oooh I can eat like I’m single again!” meaning dinner of a roll and some cheese. Heh.
      If it makes you feel better, I often see people I would consider *very* socially awkward and how to put this nicely….not everyone’s cup of tea at all, and they’re married! With kids!
      It can happen :)

    3. Ramona Flowers*

      I heard something once that helps me at times when I feel that something will be true forever, which is this: feelings should be taken seriously but not literally.

      You have some feelings right now that are causing you pain. That doesn’t mean they’re correct in what they’re telling you. But they are there and they are hurting you – so what’s really important is to take care of yourself and be kind to yourself while you work your way through some stuff.

      1. Effie, going nowhere fast*

        Ooh I love this comment! Thanks for your insight Ramona Flowers.

        @Sophie I’m sorry that your nice night out got hijacked by someone wanting to matchmake. If it happens again maybe you could shut it down with a big smile and “Thanks, but I’m unavailable!” ? I did that the other night when I was out with a friend (who has a serious bf) and a guy came over with for the stated purpose of hitting on someone. (Friend said “sorry, I have a bf, Effie is single”; he turned to me and said “You’re single…” and I said, “Nope, I’m unavailable” without a smile, but since it’s a friend who means well I think it’s fine to include the smile if you want)

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I would not make out well with a bunch of heavy metal and booze either. I never would have.
      I figured I was too introverted. But, no, I actually don’t like sitting with a bunch of drunk people listening to heavy metal. That was the problem, it’s not my thing.
      So clumsy me, I figured I was not a night life person. Actually this helped, day time activities tend to be different and I enjoyed those activities.
      Instead of beating up on yourself, why not just step back and decide if that type of thing is something for you to do at all?

    5. neverjaunty*

      “You’re both single so you should go out!” AARRRRRGH. SO ANNOYING.

      And no, you’re not going to be alone forever, and I doubt you make people feel uncomfortable as much as you worry you do. You had a nice time and it was fun right up until you started feeling anxious about being set up, right?

    6. Julia*

      I’m sorry you had a rough time.

      I’m married (very recently, too), but losing my husband is my worst fear because I don’t think I’d want to be alone after having this, so while I’m not alone right now (although he works a LOT), I can still understand your feelings, I think.

      Recently, there’s been so much talk about loving to be alone and being one’s own best company etc. etc., which is great, but I also think that humans aren’t really programmed to be alone. We’ve always been social creatures, and while it’s great that now we get the choice of not marrying if we don’t want to or to live alone if we prefer to do so, I feel like we’re losing our bonds and communities over it.

      Sometimes I wish we could just gather everyone who feels alone and build a huge network, match people with roommates if they want them, build communal housing that’s for more, er, non-hippy people, and offer dorm-like solutions for adults who don’t like to party.

      1. fposte*

        It’s interesting, because I mostly live alone and I really do like it, but I utterly concur on the loss of community and I’m intrigued to hear that it extends beyond the U.S., because I mostly hear it in U.S.-focused discussions.

        (What you’re describing sounds pretty similar to the retirement communities I’ve liked–maybe we just need to start earlier!)

        1. Julia*

          I guess you hear about lonely people pretty much everywhere these days, which is really, really sad. Sure you can do lots of meaningful things alone, but having no one to share my life with is my worst nightmare. I don’t care if that makes me weak. I can only hope that I’ll find a nice retirement community when I’m old.

          At the moment, I’m living in Japan and there is a big breakdown of families going on, it seems. Everyone used to live together, but now young people move to the city and live alone, and most of them seem to like it, from what I’ve heard. There’s still a huge rush to get married before 30, but I also know people who resist that and find relationships troublesome. And then I have friends who really want to get married, but have a hard time finding someone, and I feel so sad for them and guilty to have found my husband mostly by luck, and scared of my luck being taken away somehow.

          Anyway, a lot of the decrease of marriage in Japan is due to the fact that young people have trouble finding life-time employment and /or prefer living with their parents rent-free instead of moving out and starting somewhere with their low salaries. My in-laws were horrified when we announced our wedding plans because my husband only has a short-term contract and I went back to grad school, so they were super against our marriage at first. They came around, though, which is good. I guess they were worried about their old age. (One thing my MIL said to me was: “Who will pay for our retirement if you keep working those low-pay jobs?” As if we chose to earn so little…)

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I am hoping that was a reference to social security and not money out of your own personal funds.

            1. Julia*

              What my MIL said? I’m not sure. That was one of the things she brought up as a reason why we shouldn’t get married, and I was too upset to question her further. She’s usually very nice and reasonable, so she really caught me by surprise.

              It is pretty common for old people to live with and be taken care of by their children, although, as I said above, it seems to be on the decline.

  57. Elkay*

    Has anyone cruised with Norwegian? Any opinions on how they compare to other cruise lines appreciated.

    1. Passing Through*

      I have sailed with Norwegian, Princess and Carnival. I thought the hospitality/service was a bit better on Princess and Carnival, but the food, amenities, excursions, shows, etc. on Norwegian was very comparable to the others.

    2. Get a Haircut*

      I took a weekender with Norwegian and have done longer ones with Carnival. I was not thrilled with Norwegian to be honest. It was a cruise, so how bad could it be, right? It’s not that I didn’t have fun, but because of the duration of the trip, we were on a not-as-nice and smaller ship with a bunch of drunkards. We’ll have a drink with dinner, but weren’t up for the whole floating club thing.

      There were things about Carnival I really liked. It just always seemed like they were up for a good time. You could drink or not drink. Idk, it was just more laid-back. I felt like Norwegian took themselves too seriously.

      We also had differences depending on the accommodation booked. The porters kept trying to get us out of the room the times we booked less expensive, (on Norwegian, for what that’s worth). But I also feel like YMMV, because comparing shorter stays to longer ones isn’t super-representative.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I have only every cruised on Norwegian, but I like the solo studio cabins on the newer ships, which means you get to meet people if you are travelling alone.

        Have you visited the Cruise Critic website? There is lots of helpful information and regular posts on the forums comparing different cruise lines.

  58. Purple snowdrop*

    I just deleted the facebook I’ve had for a decade. So that feel really weird. But I’m glad to be out.

    Although I want to go back to post ‘I just left facebook’ aaaaah

    1. Marantz*

      I deactivated mine a few years ago. It feels great. You will be happier. No more FOMO or comparison.

    2. Purple snowdrop*

      Tbf it was deactivated for 3-4 years in that time. But yeah. I’m much happier when I’m not on it!

  59. Elizabeth West*

    My eclipse glasses are on the way! \0/

    This week, I’m going to practice on the moon and the sun with my point-and-shoot and the filter I’m going to make out of one pair (there are three in the packet, according to the website I ordered from). One for me, one for my mum, and the third for my camera. I have welder’s glass I can shoot through, but if I do, everything is green. :P My camera is not sophisticated enough to shoot RAW (only jpg) so I wouldn’t be able to alter the color. I’m going to practice with timing and taking the filter on and off, and also get fresh batteries for the camera (I haven’t used it in a while) and a fresh SD card. And practice with my phone as a backup. And make a beanbag tripod if I have time; I don’t have a tripod. Or maybe look for a cheapo one. Then I can set the phone up to record while I’m watching and shooting with the camera and have video AND stills. They won’t be pro quality, but I don’t really care that much.

    I found out that two friends from Europe I know from my chat room will be in the area for the event, and my mum said it was fine if they come over and watch with us. :D So I get to see my friends, yay!

    But now I’m super anxious because I read this article on MSN this morning that said, “Experts who are big poopy-pants say all the maps are wrong and off by a mile or more; you might not be in totality,” and now I’m freaking out. That would suck; my friends are stoked that they might actually get to be in it! What if the stupid sun and moon refuse to cooperate?! Or it’s cloudy, arrrghhh!

    1. Amadeo*

      I’m starting to get anxious about what my drive to work is going to be like come Monday morning a week from now. Fortunately I don’t have to drive to Carbondale (OMG, I would die), but my university of employment is still in the path of totality and will probably draw its own crowd of sorts. I’ll have to work our event, but I’ll be outside from noon on, so I’ll see all of it!

      1. fposte*

        Cool! I thought about driving down to Carbondale at one point, but it’s pretty clear that there’s not going to be any casual driving toward totality that day! We get another shot in 2024 so maybe I’ll plan for that one :-).

        1. Amadeo*

          No, they’ve already got the blinking road signs up reminding people (as if there were any forgetting!) that eclipse events start on the 19th. SIU is doing a little comic con thing that Saturday and Sunday and there are probably a few other festival type things at the wineries and stuff. I’d go to the comic con if I weren’t 100% certain that traffic in that town is going to be hell next weekend. I work across the river now and that town will get a few seconds less totality, but I’ll trade it for the Famous Scientist doing a speaker series event that evening (and far fewer people to navigate around!).

    2. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Coworker at work just left for the US on Friday for his two week vacation to Wyoming etc to be in the path of totality which ought to be pretty cool. However he is doing this WITHOUT A CAR. I think hes insane going to the West unable to drive but thats his problem not mine :) Apparently hes taking a bunch of buses and small hopper flights around.

      What IS my problem is that due to unfortunate timing he more or less left the rest of us stuck on this project from hell (hes the project manager) with a psychotic micromanaging project director and oh god the next two weeks are going to be awful because he is the one able to keep a clear head and deflect her attention and drama away from the work product so that we dont all up and quit and walk out the door. He tried his best to get it set up decent before he left (not leaving us in the lurch at all) but it will all go downhill within two hours of Monday morning.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Arrgh, that’s going to be hard without a car. My friend from Colorado will probably be in Wyoming,–I think that’s what he said. He IS a photographer (he’s Native American and shoots a lot of powwows and produces insanely gorgeous pics) and his results are going to be amazing. Mine will probably be lame, haha. Oh well.

        1. Merci Dee*

          Looks like one of my sisters in Tennessee is going to be in the path of totality, and I’m terribly jealous. She told me I’m welcome to come up to spend the night, but it’s not going to work out.

          On the plus side, my eclipse glasses are arriving tomorrow instead of Friday! So yay for that!

          Hope you get some great views and pics next week! I’d love to see what you come up with. Get some links ready for the open thread, please?

    3. Liane*

      One of the state parks here, Petit Jean Mountain, is having eclipse viewings and event and we are going. It will be only 90% totality but still cool. Plus I have never been there and want to see it since my husband and son have a lot of good Scouting memories from there.

    4. Victoria, Please*

      Traveling to Oregon, here. With 1,000,000 of my best friends! Yikes.
      We’ve decided that we are just going to have to be mega-patient and determinedly cheerful no matter what, even to the point of not actually seeing the eclipse.

  60. Paul*

    Got out to Ute Lake (about 1.5 hours away), then drove down to Clovis, today to kill a busy, hopefully exhausting day with my toddlers. They’re not worn out but I’m trying to stay awake till bed time.

    Why do they hate getting otu of bed for day care, but insist on waking up with the sun on the weekends? It wasn’t even 6am when they woke me up today. Too early! Did see some cool critters though (early morning in rural NM = wildlife).

    1. atexit8*

      What do you want to know?
      I am a member of a local group.
      You can also post things to give away on Craigslist.

    2. Tris Prior*

      Be prepared for people to flake out and fail to show up. I tried Freecycle for a while but got tired of sitting at home waiting for someone to arrive to pick up whatever it was.

      I know a lot of people leave stuff on their porches for the freecyclers to pick up and say so in their ads. I lived in a high-crime area where stuff would get stolen from my front stoop immediately if it was left out, so I couldn’t do that (though…. I guess either way it is gone from my house?). But if it’s an option for you, I’d recommend it.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        People take stuff here too–last time, they came up in my yard at night and stole three of my solar lights. Just three-what the hell? :P I’ve used the curbside option many times for stuff I don’t want.

        If it EVER stops raining, I’m going to have a giant garage sale soon. Pretending I’m moving might actually get me to clear out this house.

  61. tigerStripes*

    I’ve been thinking about writing an app or two, mainly for my own amusement or for family members. I know c# and a number of other programming languages, but I’ve never created an app for a phone before. Any recommendations on books or web sites that can help me with that part? (Android phone.)


    1. atexit8*

      Android apps are written in Java.
      I bought several books as each has weakness.
      I would say get Head First: Android Development first.

      1. tigerStripes*

        Thanks. I’ve heard c# and java are similar, so hopefully it’s not a steep learning curve.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      Google’s website has some basic tutorials to get you up and running on Android Studio.

    3. Jaguar*

      Depending on what you’re trying to do, there are options where you can avoid writing in the native languages (Java for Android, Objective-C or Swift for iOS, and haha who cares? for Windows Phone). The most popular is Cordova/PhoneGap, which packages up HTML/CSS/JS into apps for every operating system (and you can run frameworks like Ionic on top of it, which cuts down the time to completion even more). But since you mention C#, there’s something called Xamarin that lets you build in C# and .NET, but I don’t know anything about it beyond that.

  62. Sorgatani*

    This time last week, I was participating in the Nullus Anxietas VI (Australian DiscWorld Convention) Charity Auction.

    So, here begins a rambly post wherein I review my holiday.

    I have not been in charge of planning a holiday before, especially not one that requires flying.
    This convention was held in West Lakes, Adelaide SA – and I live a few hours east of Melbourne VIC. My driving stamina is not high, and train didn’t feel like the right choice – the money saved on transit would be spent in accommodation. So, my fiance and I flew.

    This happened during an airport security scare, so we planned for extra airport time. I had booked both flights to be between 2 and 3pm departing, which I thought was a smart option – time to get there and still have daylight on arrival. The airports, both there and back again, turned out to be complete nonevents. I got randomly scanned for explosives 4 times and it was all I could do to resist talking about the game ‘exploding kittens’ in my suitcase.

    Caught a taxi to the hotel we’d be staying at, and started noticing the other guests’ arrivals – there were clear signs that others would be attending the same event. Started chatting to people in the hotel bar, but then it was dinner time.
    Shopping centre right across the road from where we were staying! I found American Gods on Blu-Ray, at an excellent price. Other conventioners were at the food court, so we had dinner with them. We all had curry, because it is one of DEATH’s favorites.
    On Friday, event check-in was slated to start at midday. People were starting to arrive all morning though, so I had to dash upstairs and get my costume on. I was dressed up as Anoia, the Goddess of Things Stuck in Drawers.
    I was thrilled when people recognized my character purely by my headwear – no headwear is described in the books, but if you picture a crown of thorns and combine it with a cutlery drawer, that’s what I wore. With kitchenware at my waist so it would swing and rattle as I walked, and a floral sheet toga (she is not described as wearing a toga, she’s wearing a sheet – so I took it to the logical extreme), I was a stunning sight. I received a few ‘best costume’ nominations. I didn’t win, but that was okay. I did not participate in the ‘Maskerade’ costume parade/show, as I didn’t have anything prepared except the costume itself. That would’ve been enough, I found out later.
    Saturday I played Ankh-Morpork the game, a game of hidden agendas and minion placement, and learned about Clacks, and looked at Thud!. I learned how to play Werewolf, and as it turns out, I’m not very good at Werewolf because I have no subtlety, but it was fun. Some of the friends I made playing Werewolf joined me when it was time for the Quiz. Our table was “The Brains With Rocks In”, and we were around mid-range when it came to scores. Not last (which would’ve netted us some wooden spoons) or 1st, 2nd or 3rd. 1st was the L-Space Librarians, and with a name like that it’s no wonder they won!
    I got to meet and chat to Stephen Briggs, and he signed my Discworld Companion, and put up with me demonstrating my morning alarm, which is Feegles singing ‘row, row, row your boat’ in Wintersmith. I wanted him to hear that because it’s his fault that soundbyte exists!
    I actually ended up staying up until 2-3am playing werewolf every night of the convention. Some people who attended the Gala Dinner realized that others had left behind their souvenirs, and picked them up. A new friend gave me a souvenir plate from Klatch, the nationality of my convention passport.
    Sunday morning, there were conflicting items of interest on the schedule. I attended a small chat session with David Lloyd, while my fiance went to the Songs of Praise session. It would actually be most accurate to say that the fiance and I did typically attend different sessions over the convention – and we got more out of it that way! I later learned that Songs of Praise included a song for me, Anoia. It was mentioned that someone needed to sing her song to her. Fiance asked “Which Anoia?” and received the answer “The best one – the one with the cutlery crown!” – and he answered “That’s my wife!” so guess who had to do the serenading? Great song. Worth it.
    I met the other two people cosplaying Anoia over the weekend, and they were awesome too, I liked their costumes a lot.
    At the auction, I bid on lots of things, and won two things: a bookplate with PTerry’s coat of arms and actual autograph, and ‘Magic Missive’, a Discworld-themed version of Love Letter created for the convention. Once I have the cards sleeved, I will post photos.
    The box for Magic Missive was the perfect size to transport the bookplate home.
    The other thing I received purely because I thought it was so awesome, is a prop tooth from the set of Hogfather. I’m not even certain who gave it to me now, he either bought a bag of teeth from the emporium or he worked on the props. Either way, I’m thrilled.
    After the closing ceremony, I donated my Anoia headwear to Nullus Anxietas VII’s charity auction – it seemed fitting, and I know how to make another one.
    Getting to the Adelaide airport was a simple task, we asked the front desk to call one in, and invited a fellow conventioner to join us for the taxi trip, because there was space and she was headed to Melbourne too.
    My voice is still recovering, because several nights on little sleep because a/ not in bed and b/ brain won’t shut up when IN bed, combined with cold, windy, rainy weather are not collectively good for the health. Fiance was more sensible, so he still has a voice.

    The next Nullus Anxietas convention will be in Melbourne, in 2019. So the fiance and I have definite plans to attend. As soon as it was announced, we made eye contact and said, in unison “We’re SO there!”

    So in the last few days, I’ve been trying to sort out what to do with my new things. I’m getting my bookplate framed, and mounting the tooth underneath it, and I need to visit the local tabletop games store for protective sleeves for my game.

    I’ve been in a super good mood all week because of these memories, and I’m probably going to be buzzing for a little while yet, but because not everybody knows Discworld, it’s not easy. As I posted on facebook (which I finally got around to joining), “If this was Star Trek, I just got autographs from Patrick Stewart and Leonard Nimoy”.

    Argh, so much stuff, and such a long post! But… it’s also nice to be home.

    1. Sorgatani*

      Hm, forgot the thing about planning and flying:
      EVERY single leg of the journey went smoothly. For a first-time planned trip, that is a huge thrill. The worst that happened was that the flight out was delayed by half an hour because the plane before it had not taken off. Probably because of fog.
      I’m proud of the fact that I did the planning and booking – I consulted with the fiance, but it was mostly me putting the pieces together and working out the timelines and deadlines. We even managed to catch the last train home instead of one an hour later that wouldn’t have even gotten us all the way!
      My smile is bigger than my head with that knowledge.

      1. Rookie Manager*

        It sounds like you had a fantastic time and all your planning and preparation was worth it. Werewolves is a great game, we always end up playing it at one particular friends house, I think I’m too suspicious to be good at it. Hope the next one is even better.

        1. JaneB*

          Yay DIscworld! Very special cand bs (been to U.K. ones a few times) – book living people are just so much fun to hang out with!

  63. Sibley*

    Had my housewarming party today. I suck at parties, especially if I’m hosting. Luckily, my friends in general know this, and my parents and sister were here and helped a lot. It was a good time overall.

    And, I’ve got my house cleaned up again. toddlers and potato chips are interesting :)

  64. Red*

    I put sunscreen on before I went out to the beach on Lake Erie, but forgot to reapply. Now I have an awkward sunburn on my nose from where my glasses rest, which is annoying because I don’t actually have to wear them 24/7, so I don’t always have them on. Any advice? Because otherwise, I’m just going to wear the darn things despite Not Wanting To, and I’d like to avoid that.

    1. Julia*

      Cover up with concealer? And try to fade the sunburn more quickly with aloe and a good vitamin C serum. (NO lemon juice!)

        1. Julia*

          I hope it works for you! Please be gentle on your skin, and maybe head over to reddit’s skincareaddiction and ask over there?

          1. Red*

            Eh, nothing’s ever gentle enough for my picky skin, may as well do what I want! At least, just this once.

  65. HannahS*

    I wanted to share some information that I learned a while ago that helped me understand the seeming randomness of women’s clothing sizes. It made me less frustrated, and hopefully you’ll find it interesting–not that it’ll particularly help you find clothes that fit!

    So. A size medium does not correspond to any standard set of measurements. In fact, all it represents is what the statistically average customer in a given store will wear. Therefore, it is the size that the store will carry the most of. (In a shop like Torrid where they use numbers, my guess is that the middle number serves as M.) Because stores target different demographics, they have different average customers. While it’s frustrating to be different sizes at different stores, it actually makes more sense for each retailer to design around their own average customer than a standard “average woman.” Here’s why:

    Let’s say we’re dealing with female bodies between the ages of 12 (which is when I aged out of children’s clothes) and 95. If we demanded a standard fit model–one single set of measurements that was labeled medium–it would probably be the average measurements of a 42 year-old. We’d have L and XL and XXL marching up and S, XS, and XXS marching down….meaning that a store aimed at early teenagers with would consist mainly of sizes XXXS, XXS, XS, and S. That’s difficult for a customer to sort through, and doesn’t make much sense considering that a woman in her 80s is not likely to be a customer in a store intended for 14 year-olds–the style, fit, cost, and quality of those two groups’ clothing doesn’t overlap much. So why should both of them use a sizing system designed around the average middle-aged woman? What we have instead is every store deciding who their average customer is, what her proportions are, how she wants her clothes to fit, labeling that “medium” and then scaling up or down with an algorithm.

    This is why so many plus-sized clothes fit poorly; the retailers just continue to scale up and up from the M-sized model, but this doesn’t account for relative differences in proportion. The woman who wears an M probably has a much larger skeleton than someone who wears an XS, so the scaling algorithm accommodates for things like greater height and broader shoulders. But the skeleton of a woman who wears an 3XL is not similarly much larger than that of a woman who wears an L, so continuing to act as if she’s getting taller and broader instead of having bigger breasts, hips, and thighs will result in a tent-like garment that’s also weirdly tight in some spots. Stores that have good plus-sized clothes are the ones that designate a new average customer, draft around her, and use a different algorithm.

    Hope that was interesting and not too long!

    1. JamieS*

      Very interesting but I think someone somewhere made sizing way more convoluted that it needs to be. Clothes should ideally just list the actual size of the garment using standard units of measure (inches, centimeters, etc.). For example a shirt with a chest of 32″, neck of 13″, waist of 26″, and sleeve of 32″ would be listed as 32/13/26/32. I say if it can be done with men’s pants it can be done with nearly all clothing items.

      1. tigerStripes*

        I agree with Jamie S.

        I keep hoping that with internet sales of clothing, more specific measurements will become popular, but it hasn’t happened yet.

    2. LAM*

      I have worked in clothing stores on and off for the past eight years (more on than off, mostly part time) and never realized this. I knew that the way our clothing was size (particularly the pants and denim) was different, but could never quite articulate how. This explains so much. Thank you!

      Just curious, how did you find this out? I love tidbits like this and would love to learn more.

      1. HannahS*

        It’s from a mix of sources! I sew and read a lot of sewing blogs. Many bloggers transition into selling commercial patterns, so I’ve seen a few posts explaining the process of choosing a fit model and why including plus-sizes means drafting another set of patterns. There’s a blog called The Fashion Incubator which explains a lot about the differences between home sewing and commercial sewing (see her post “The Myth of Vanity Sizing,” which is where I got the info about what a medium really is).

    3. OldMom*

      Interesting theory. However I don’t think the average American woman fits a M. Most women I know wear L or XL. The only people I know who wear M are teenagers or rather slight adults. Poorly fit clothes are a result of the economics of manufacture (why so many dresses don’t have sleeves anymore…they take longer and cost more to make) and sexism. Notice how men can buy pants or shirts with specific inches of collar or inseam. But women? No it’s L or 12 14 16 or 9 short or I don’t know what all. Clothes do not seem to be designed to fit well on most actual women. Perhaps if the woman is 5’10” and 120 pounds. I appreciate your insights but I think the real reason is they can get away with it. And perhaps planned obsolescence. Why sell a woman one well fitting well made garment that will last years when you can sell the same woman new items every year that are not quite right…but close enough…but she’ll be back for more not quite rights next year?

      1. fposte*

        If it didn’t make them money, though, they wouldn’t want to get away with it. We have the option to buy by inseam and waist size; we just don’t take it often enough for that to become the dominant model. We have the option to buy one well-fitting well-made garment; we’d rather buy a pile at H&M. (The capsule wardrobes that are floating around “capsule” at 30-40 garments *per season*. That’s what people are trimming *down* to.)

        1. fposte*

          I should add that it’s not like I have a closet that contains three couture suits and nothing else–I’m not meaning to throw stones, as I sit here in my Kmart knit shorts and university t-shirt :-). But fast fashion is cheap and easy and tempting, and it’s up to us to decide to look beyond it.

    4. Liane*

      Oddly, this reminds me of my joke about baby clothes sizing, which are done in months in US (0-3 months, 6-9…24) then 2-5T ( for toddler?). “This clothing will not fit if your child is this age.”

    5. Mimmy*

      Ahh so that’s why women’s wardrobe always confused me! lol. Very interesting! I’m curious about your insights, if any, for petite clothing. I have a really tough time because although I’m short, I’m heavy in my torso and hips, but small everywhere else. In looking for clothing to accommodate the heavier areas, there is too much material for the smaller areas.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      I noticed the tent thing when looking for shirts that fit me in the shoulders. I have to go up a size; either the shoulders will fit and the rest of the shirt flares out like a Christmas bell, or they’re just way too tight and forget about it. They shape men’s clothes in a V because their hips are usually narrower than their shoulders but women’s clothes are the exact opposite. Plus, they think all women are only 5′ 9″. No. I am 5′ 11″. Fortunately, Walmart’s Riders jeans (made by Lee, a brand I like but can’t afford), actually fit me and they have tall sizes from time to time so I don’t look like I’m ready for a flood.

      If I’m buying something gender-neutral at mass-market retailers like Walmart, I just go to the men’s department. Stuff like hoodies, sweatpants or sweatshirts, t-shirts, and pajamas. I don’t care if the pajamas have a fly—I can always offer extra pants to a guest. :) The t-shirts in the men’s department have much cooler designs than the women’s, AND they have SLEEVES.

      Oh yeah, and basics are usually cheaper than the women’s section.

      1. tigerStripes*

        Back in the 80’s, wearing a belt over the waist area of a shirt was a big thing. Sometimes that could be a flattering look. I’m kinda sorry it isn’t “in” anymore.

        1. fposte*

          I really like that look too, and it’s still cool on dresses, so I don’t know why it’s not still a thing with shirts.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          I HATE belts. My go-to back then was the giant sweater over very tight jeans and those little ankle boots. With extremely voluminous hair, three-color eyeshadow, and big earrings.

          OMG I was in the flea market yesterday, and I saw a girl who looked about sixteen or seventeen dressed head-to-toe in ’80s garb. Pork pie hat, acid-washed denim jacket with buttons all over it, colored hair, the works. Even her makeup was on point. She looked like she’d stepped out of a time warp! I was so impressed. Her mum (probably around my age) laughed when I said she looked great and so authentic and seemed very proud. Most people who try for that era miss badly, but she absolutely NAILED it.

          The girl said, “I love vintage clothing!” Which made me feel kind of old, but whatever, haha. It was still really really cool :D

  66. Marie*

    I’m in my mid-twenties and still keep in touch with childhood friends. When they don’t get their way, like if they want to hang out and I’m not available, they’ll pout and not talk to me for a few days. Or if they do, they give me a guilt trip the whole time. I once had a friend call me up and start yelling at me because I didn’t answer her text message. (I was sick and just got home from the hospital at the time.) Another time, I had a friend invite me to her husband’s graduation party, but I couldn’t go because I had my own graduation. I still sent a gift, but she got mad and didn’t talk to me for two weeks!

    Even when I explain all of this to them, they’re still not happy. I don’t yell at them or treat them the same way, so I don’t understand their behavior. (Given our age I thought we’d be past this phase by now.) I’ve tried to distance myself from them and they act nice and are fine. But then the pouting and yelling eventually starts up again. What am I doing wrong? Are friendships supposed to be this much work?

    I just want a normal friendship where everyone is treated nicely-or does that not exist? It makes me not want friends, because this is ridiculous!

    1. JamieS*

      That’s definitely not normal. Friends occasionally have disagreements, that’s just part of having a relationship, with another person but your friends are being ridiculous and acting like they’re still children. Unless you left out something really really major, such as your friend texted you after finding out you’re having an affair with her husband and yelled at you for the affair, it sounds like you might need to expand your friend circle and reduce time spent with the drama queens.

      1. Marie*

        No, no, no…. no affairs or anything like that. They just get mad if I’m not there or can’t make it to an event. I always RSVP promptly and it’s not like I say I’ll show up and then flake, but sometimes I have other stuff going on and they don’t like that.

        1. tigerStripes*

          You aren’t doing anything wrong – they’re messed up. Maybe you might want better friends.

    2. neverjaunty*

      You grew up; they didn’t.

      Normal, nice people in their mid-20s do not pout and pull the silent treatment when someone isn’t available to hang out. Decent friends don’t yell when someone fails to immediately answer their text message.

      Ditch these horrible people. There are better friends out there.

    3. Ramona Flowers*

      You aren’t doing anything wrong. This is, unfortunately, who they are and you can’t make them change. You can, however, decide whether they’re worth investing your time and emotional energy.

    4. Puckter Grumble*

      My philosophy is I’d rather be friendless and lonely than friends with jerks. If I’m lonely I can find things to do to fill up my time, but dealing with jerks is a pointless drain on my energy and emotional health. Your friends are jerks if they expect you to be at their beck and call and give you the silence treatment for having your own life.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Oh yeah! I so agree with this.

        OP, I have a rule about matching what I see coming at me. So with this rule, a pouty friend would be told, “Don’t pout, you probably don’t realize but it comes across as manipulative. If I don’t do what you want me to do then your weapon/retaliation is to pout. hmmm. Noooo, friends don’t treat friends like this.”

        Friendship is a volunteer position, we don’t HAVE to be friends with any given individual. Friends should enrich our lives and for our share, we should endeavor to enrich a friend’s life. Encourage them if they think of friendship as a gift not a command performance they might find life a little easier.

        OR you could just fade out of their lives. Whichever makes the most sense. I have started fade outs by pretending not to notice they are pouting. “Oh you’re busy? Okay. We can chat later. See ya.”

    5. The Other Dawn*

      I would say your childhood friends are still living in “childhood.” I know you’ve been friends a long time, but I think you need new ones; it’s not supposed to be this difficult. I feel that if it doesn’t come somewhat naturally and you need to work a lot at it–most of it on your side–then it’s not meant to be. Same with relationships (friend is going through this now). Personally, this is why I choose to not have a lot of friends. I’d like more friends if we all treated each other, and acted, like adults, but I haven’t found much of that yet.

    6. fposte*

      I’m with Dawn on its being time to change to new friends, or spend more time with whatever friends you have who don’t do this. Mid-twenties is a big friend drift time anyway, and it sounds like it couldn’t happen too soon for you.

    7. Perse's Mom*

      You’ve outgrown these people who are friends in name only – their behavior certainly doesn’t support the title.

      You have a few options.
      1. Accept that this is how they behave and continue to be frustrated by it.
      2. Attempt to help them grow up by calling out the behavior AS it happens and explaining how it’s inappropriate and not conducive to a healthy friendship.
      2a. This could backfire, as manipulative people really don’t like being called on it, but that may be a risk you’re willing to take at this point. If one of them is sort of a leader in your social circle, they may freeze you out by turning (or trying to) everyone else against you. But again, maybe at this point that would be a relief.
      3. Let these non-friendships fade away and find new friends.

  67. JamieS*

    I’m not sure if this should go in this thread or the Friday one (or if it’s already been suggested) but I’m wondering if a set standard for OP names could be established to make it easier to find OP updates in the comments? For example the OP for the first letter would use “Letter Writer #1” with everyone else using something else to reference OP (such as OP #1 or LW1). I think that’d make it a lot easier to find updates especially on phones.

    1. fposte*

      It’s already been suggested; I think it’s not something that can OPs can be expected to come up with on their own or that anybody wants to require, though. So some do and some don’t.

      1. JamieS*

        OPs wouldn’t come up with the set naming standard though. Alison would. That would defeat the purpose if each OP came up with it because different OPs would come up with something different.

        I don’t want to boggle down the site with rules for OPs commenting either but it’s also extremely tedious wading through 100s of comments in order to find any OP updates and I doubt AAM will have the capability to single out OP responses any time soon or that it’s even being considered as an enhancement.

        1. fposte*

          Right, but either the OP has to voluntarily use it or Alison has to hunt down every OP comment without advance notice, or require advance notice–both of which have problems.

          1. JamieS*

            I’m not suggesting Alison “hunt down comments”. I think you’re overcomplicating this. All that would need to be done is put a “PSA” out for a week or so and possibly add it to the rules as a request/suggestion. I realize not every commenter will follow the new convention and I’m not suggesting their comments be edited if they don’t. However I think if there was some kind of standard for OPs to reference it’ll catch on quickly enough and most would use it.

            I say this because most OPs are already using 4-5 standard names. Typically they use either OP, OP1, LW1, OP #1, or LW #1. Problem is so does everyone else so when you search for those phrases 500+ results appear instead of just the OP updates.

            1. tigerStripes*

              I agree – make it voluntary but put out a convention that’s easy so we can search.

              Also, maybe we other commenters could use a slightly different format of the name so that searching on LW1 or whatever won’t also find every single time someone is addressing LW1.

            2. fposte*

              Oh, I misunderstood and thought you were talking about OP self-identification, which has come up in the past. Dunno what Alison’s take would be on this–I guess we’ll see. I suspect that it would be pretty hard to herd the cats on, though.

            3. Ask a Manager* Post author

              This has come up a lot, but it’s not something I want to do. Most people aren’t comment-section people to begin with (which is easy to forget when you are a commenter), so it’s already a big ask when I ask letter-writers to engage in the comment section. I don’t want to add another barrier to them doing it by giving them instructions to follow about how to do it; I think it will feel either fussy or onerous to a lot of people. It’s just more micromanagey than I want to be with letter-writers.

              1. JamieS*

                I understand not wanting to be fussy or micromanage (I don’t think anyone wants that) but I’d like to point out that you wouldn’t really be asking OPs to do something they aren’t already doing since most already use a convention. The only real difference is you’d be putting forth a suggested standard that differs from what all other commenters use.

                Making it required or editing/deleting comments that don’t follow the standard would be tedious and not a path to go down. However most people will follow a convention set by you even if it’s just a suggestion. For example I’ve noticed a lot of commenters use she for unknown gender even though that’s not overly typical outside AAM.

                Anyway I’ll get off my soap box and let it go but I hope you’ll at least consider it. I really don’t think it’s as much of a barrier as you imagine.

    1. This Daydreamer*

      As a Charlottesville resident I only have a worst tonight. It’s been a long day of hatred and violence and I can only hope that it’s over now.

      I guess the best is that now it is a new day. But I still feel sick and numb.

        1. This Daydreamer*

          I spent months volunteering full time less than a block away from where that woman was killed, and I know a bunch of people who went to the counter-protests. I’m dreading learning the name of the victim. I may know her. I know odds are I don’t personally know her because there were thousands of people downtown.

          But I can’t get over how much wonderful time I spent volunteering that year. And the counter protesters are my tribe. And one of them is dead because she fought against hate. This is the city I have always lived in and the city I love more than any other and my heart is just so broken right now.

      1. PB*

        I am so sorry. I’ve spent a bit of time in Charlottesville in the last few years, so I’ve been deeply saddened by all the news. My thoughts are with you.

    2. Caledonia*

      Best: tax rebate coming my way.

      Worst: being waay outbid on the property ladder – prices are pretty crazy so I have to go and have a re-think of priorities.

      Coming up worst/stressy: exam results to be processed, overtime required on top of already long days due to my commute. Not looking forward to it or the tales of woe on the phone.

    3. Elkay*

      Worst: My body totally hates me this week, spent one day in bed doing the too hot/too cold weird dreams thing, also have the starting of a cold that seems to be stuck at the stage of being slightly congested so I feel under the weather but not fully I’ll.

      Best: Pizza and Pokémon Go. The changes to the gyms have made it a lot more fun.

    4. Aurora Leigh*

      BEST: Boyfriend and I are going to the state fair today! The wether is supposed to be great for it (not too hot for once!). Haven’t been for years, so I’m really looking forward to it! We both have a ridiculous sense of humor so I know there will be lots of laughs!

      WORST: My mom canceled my little brother’s visit next weekend. I’m really bummed, I was looking forward to us having some sibling bonding time. There’s a 10+ age gap between us and it’s really important to me that we stay connected.

    5. Red*

      Best: Accepted to the perfect college for me! It’s a state school for non-traditional students, and the cool bit is that you more or less design your own degree. Oh, and it’s only slightly more expensive than the community college I went to! I’m super excited.

      Worst: I’m sunburnt and will be outside even more today. Better stay away from Red Lobster so they don’t mistake me for an entree…

    6. Liane*

      Best: Family Friend’s birthday was yesterday and as a present we offered to pay part of the cost for a lovely lightsaber he’d been talking about getting for himself. He sent pictures and it is an elegant weapon.
      @ the geeks: it, & the lightsaber I got for Mother’s Day, are from Ultrasabers.
      @ Alison: I see Ultrasabers ads here!

      Worst: I *despise* retail closing shifts, last night and tonight again. Especially when I am coming down with something. Sounds like what Elkay has.

      1. Amadeo*

        I got my lightsaber for my Jedi general cosplay from Ultrasabers! I need to order a slightly shorter blade for it, because I am short, and if I spin it/swing it I’m always a little worried I’m going to catch that 36″ blade on the ground. Which hilts?

    7. Julia*

      Best: I’m spending my summer vacation from grad school in my home country with my family, plus my best friend from my school’s country is coming over tomorrow and will stay for a few days.

      Worst: My husband couldn’t come with me because he has to work. And my anxiety is running rampant again. I think it’s something about going home and then leaving again that triggers it.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      BEST: It’s not hot, though it’s been rainy and the heat is supposed to come back in a week or so. But right now it’s okay. Yesterday was actually REALLY nice.

      I watched Get Out finally and it really freaked me out. It was nice to rent a film and have it turn out better than you expected.

      WORST: The-thing-that-shall-not-be-named-on-weekends, of course. As in still don’t have it.

    9. JamieS*

      Best: finished booking my vacation that’s a couple weeks away. My bank account is looking light but I’m excited and starting to count the days.

      Worst: I’m trying to get my feet accustomed to walking a lot on concrete so they currently hate me.

    10. Mimmy*

      This has been an interesting week!

      BEST: My husband and I saw The Revolution, Prince’s band from the 1980s, in Atlantic City on Friday night. My husband and I were on our feet pretty much the whole show. Our seats were close but off to the side, so the music was a little loud, but oh man, it was so much fun!
      Not as great, but not the worst: I overindulged a little bit and had poor sleep, so I did not feel great yesterday. Also, we saw how depressed Atlantic City has gotten in the last few years. Very sad :(

      WORST: My husband accidentally left the water running in the kitchen sink (got distracted) and flooded the house! I was at work so I didn’t see the actual flooding, but he said it got pretty far before he realized what he’d done (we have a one-story ranch). He had to rip up the laminate flooring in the hallway and the kitchen floor is starting to buckle (the floor was already ruined from previous issues and a bad sanding job by a contractor). On the plus side, this gives us a chance to begin thinking about remodeling the kitchen, which is outdated.

    11. Ruffingit*

      WORST: Week two of bilateral ear infection. I have meds and am getting better, but it’s slow going. I still have one ear that is completely clogged.

      BEST: Spent a lovely weekend with my husband celebrating his birthday. We did a staycation and had fun.

    12. Merci Dee*

      Worst: spent all last week without air conditioning. Night time was the worst – trying to sleep with some windows open and attic fan going, but worrying about people breaking in through the open window or the cat breaking out …. and having to sleep on top if the covers because of heat and humidity.

      Best: air got fixed on Friday, and I realized exactly how disturbed my sleep had been during the week it was out. Fell asleep on the couch at 8:30 Friday night, slept until 1 a.m. Woke up long enough to stumble to bed, and slept until 10:00. Oh, my word, it was glorious. Almost felt human again.

      Best of the best: thanks to the home warranty provided by the sellers a couple of months ago, I paid $100 service fee to have my compressor replaced, and the cost of materials and labor were covered.

      I realize my suffering without air conditioning is totally a first world problem, and even in the US can still be a regional thing. But it kicks your butt when you’re used to it and then it’s gone. I also realized I could survive without it if necessary. But probably not without the attic fan.

    13. Trixie*

      Best: Successfully moved family member to new apt for new job. We were exhausted last night but very excited for her first day. I took today off so I could stay overnight and help unpack/organize. Also enjoying the quietness of of home now that i officially live alone again.
      Worst: Missing family member <3

  68. Melody Pond*

    Has anyone else paid off their student loans ahead of schedule?

    I’m working on paying off my roughly $23K in student loans, as fast as I can, but my income feels frustratingly low (to me). In addition to my monthly minimum required payment, I pay an extra $300 on every bi-weekly paycheck.

    But, at that rate, it’ll take me until 2021 to pay everything off. And I know that’s still better than 10 years or whatever, but… I guess I wish it’d go faster.

    So, I could do with some inspiration. Did anyone else pay their loans off ahead of schedule? What sorts of things did you do to keep at it, or how did you find extra money in your budget to throw at your loans? How fast did you do it, and if you’re comfortable sharing, how much did you pay off in that time?

    1. Ange*

      I did pay mine off early – it was a lot less than yours (UK) so I was only paying off around £6000. I put all my OT towards it and paid it off in about 2 years. I was lucky enough to be able to do a lot of OT in that time. I also paid off a previous student loan of around £3000 while I was studying by having a second job and putting all the wages from that towards it.

      My motivation for the smaller loan was entirely about paying it off before I would have to start paying the bigger one – my first loan was on more generous terms than the second so I would otherwise have been paying both together on graduation. I found that making a spreadsheet and tracking my payments helped – I like seeing the total owed go down. Also I wanted to pay it off so I could start saving for other things. And also so all the money in my paycheck was mine – I was so happy when those autodeductions stopped!

      $300 extra every 2 weeks sounds pretty good to me – that’s $7800 a year extra you’re paying! Plus if you get any raises or bonuses you can hopefully increase that.

    2. TL -*

      I did! I cheated a bit, though. :)

      I had $25K when I graduated. I paid off one small one with my savings about 6 months out (it was 2K), and made payments that were either 2x or 1.5x the monthly payments, depending on my finances, for 2 years. Then I moved to much more expensive place, and paid closer to 1.5x. Every tax return I had, I put towards student loans, also bonuses and unexpected money. I paid more on higher interest loans, less on lower interest loans. After 4.5 years, I had 10K left (so I’d paid off 15K+interest in less than 5 years) and..my grandma asked how much I had left and then gave me 10K to cover the rest. Sorry; I know that’s not helpful!

      I budgeted around my student loans, so it was rent+bills+groceries+1.5x student loans in my budget sheet. I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but I put everything on my credit card and paid it off in full each month.
      When I was paid biweekly, one pay check went to bills (rent, utilities, student loans, whatever), and one went to credit card (groceries, gas, fun). I knew I wanted at least $100 in my checking account at all time, so after each pay check, I’d all of that pay check’s bills on one day and after a little math, whatever was left over went into savings or loan payments. I also got a second job (and sometimes a third and fourth one) a year after I moved to a HCOL area, though one job was to make money for photography stuff and one was to gain experience for grad school. I have *very* consistent spending habits and I know about how much I can make in “big purchases” each month, so my credit card bill was only a surprise during Christmas or if I had an unexpected necessary expense.

      Looking at how the amount of interest I paid each month decreased as the total decreased made me feel really good about things. Keeping a a rough idea of how much I owed was helpful; I looked at my loans at least once a month.

      It helps that my family has always been willing to help with unexpected things – large medical expenses and the one big car repair my parents really helped out with. I wasn’t stressed about emergency savings because of that, though I did have savings and was mostly self-sufficient.
      I also found a lot of free things to do for fun – hiking, libraries, places where I could volunteer for classes, photography (I already had a camera and when I wanted more gear, I got a very flexible job doing photography to pay for it).

    3. Sparkly Librarian*

      I paid off my undergrad loans ($15K) by the 5-year mark, including a year of unemployment, and my grad school loans ($30K) the month after I graduated. (I actually got back a chunk of change, too, since they considered it the same as if I’d refused the last semester’s loan, and didn’t charge me interest.) I started saving when I applied to grad school — which I only did after I cleared my undergrad loan balance — and kept it in a savings account because I didn’t accrue loan interest while a student, but I could get a tiny bit of interest on the savings. I did all those things TL wrote (also with $9K from my grandmother! — I cashed in bonds she’d given me for my first few birthdays), and lived on half of my paycheck for a year in grad school. (I was working full time and schooling full time; I had no spare time to spend money!) It set me back on a couple other savings goals (retirement, adoption, house), but I think it was worth it to get out from under the school debt. I’ve since made up a lot of time on those other accounts.

      You are doing the right thing if your goal is to pay off early. Even if it takes a few more years, you’ll save so much on interest! And you will have accomplished something that takes long-term financial pressure off of you.

    4. Puckter Grumble*

      Not me, but a friend of mine went to teach English in Korea immediately after graduation. She had a reasonable graduate salary, her employer paid for rent, and the living costs in Korea are reasonably low. She took up private tutoring as well which paid a lot of cash. With all of this she managed to pay off all her student loan within one year, which was really impressive. I’m not sure how much it was but she had a 3 year bachelor degree.

    5. Sandy*

      So I had about 25k of student loans after I graduated.

      I started by puttering away at it with my frustratingly low wages after I graduated. I was pretty sure it was never going to keep going FOREVER.

      Turns out I am the impatient sort. I accepted a job in a war zone (as a civilian) far away. I had no housing costs, nothing to spend my money on, and a TON of overtime (there wasn’t much else to do)

      Loans were paid off in two months. Wedding was paid for in cash a month later. Then a down payment on a house.

      Then I left because, amongst many other reasons, I didn’t want to get to used to that kind of lifestyle. You get a little weird eventually. And I had that wedding to attend ;)

    6. Overeducated*

      Yes, in big chunks instead of on a monthly basis. We (at this point I was married with joint finances) would pay the regular monthly payments because we had inconsistent income and wanted to keep base bills low. But once or twice a year when we found we’d earned more, got a tax refund, or didn’t need to use some money we’d set aside for a period between jobs because we found enough work/scholarships to get by, we’d just put down a few thousand at a time.

      I can’t remember exactly when we started, but we paid them off Jan 1, 2017 after around 3 years or so. The amount was a bit lower than yours but not by an extreme amount. We did have two salaries to throw at them in the last six months though, so the last chunk was a significant one.

      I think it sounds like you’re doing a ton now. It might not take until 2021 if your income increases as mine did in the last year or you get a windfall. Even if it does, that’s not far away.

    7. Nynaeve*

      I’ve been chipping away at ~$65,000 in student loans and am now down to around $24,000 by paying off 3 of 6 loans. I basically started with the smallest loan and threw money at it first, then took the money I was paying on that loan and paid it toward the next smallest loan. I wasn’t always consistent about it because sometimes I had other financial priorities. I paid off the first loan about two or three years in, I think. It’s been six years now since I started paying off my grad school loans. (They’ll be paid off before undergrad because I had some periods of deferral and forbearance on those and extended the payment period because I wasn’t making much money at the time.)

      What motivated me was wanting the extra financial flexibility and security. I liked knowing that if I paid off this loan, that $98/month or whatever would be going to *me,* not somebody else. To my present and future, not my past. I could invest it, or take up guitar lessons, or just have more of a financial cushion if I were ever unemployed again. I took breaks in between paying off loans to enjoy the feeling of having more money. You’re playing a long game, so you have to find a way to give yourself short-term wins.

      Good luck! It’s a drag, but it’s worth it, in my opinion.

    8. Melody Pond*

      Thank you to everyone who replied! I found this really helpful and motivating/encouraging. :)

  69. Story Nurse*

    Hello, I’m new here! I’ve been hanging out in Awkwardville for millennia and I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to come by AAM. I see a couple of names here that I recognize from Captain Awkward comments. Looking forward to getting to know the rest of you. It seems like you have a lovely community here.

    Story Hospital is the name of my advice blog for writers; you may have also seen me around the internets under my actual name, Rose Fox. (If you have seen a Rose Fox or rosefox somewhere online in the past 15 years, odds are very high that it’s me.) I edit book reviews for a living, which means I’m paid to have opinions about other people’s opinions. Consequently, I am even more full of opinions than I would be if left to my own devices. I do try to only give them when asked, though. I have two spouses and the world’s most adorable toddler (multiple reputable sources confirm this) and live in Brooklyn. I’m queer and nonbinary (they/them) and disabled and Jewish and a social justice bard. Nice to meet you!

    1. Mimmy*

      Welcome Story Nurse! I too many check out your blog because I’m thinking of being a writer (not sure in what capacity yet) and it seems you have an interesting background.

      1. Story Nurse*

        Thank you! I’m happy to support writers of all kinds. The nice thing about writing is that the skills are often transferable from one kind of writing to another; I got much better at writing fiction after a stint doing medical journalism.

  70. Puckter Grumble*

    Just for fun. Does anyone know / have any connection to celebrities?

    My high school classmate is a relative of the British royal family. And a friend’s friend’s friend is Brad Pitt’s brother.

    My cousin is a doctor at a hospital that has treated a number of celebrities. She used to gossip about Famous Actress coming in for an abortion or Famous Actor being treated for depression until she abruptly stopped working there for reasons she won’t elaborate. I guess (and hope) she was fired because of illegally accessing and disclosing confidential patient medical information.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      Yep. Quite a few now I think of it!

      My estranged uncle was childhood friends with Ben Kingsley, or Krishna Bhanji as he was known back then. My grandmother had pictures of them playing together. My grandmother is also very distantly connected (like three times removed by marriage or something) to one of the Harry Potter cast but I’ve never met them and don’t know how to trace the connection (and now have zero way of doing so – please don’t make suggestions, I need to stay away from my birth fam).

      My husband works for a reasonably well-known musician and has worked for others in the past. My friend’s mum used to date Lemmy, and her dad used to work for Jeremy Irons. Another friend’s grandma used to babysit PJ Harvey. I worked with a relative of a famous singer (think someone who sings about young people in the USA) at an old volunteering job. And a friend of a friend is married to someone who told a famous singer to go to rehab (he’s a real mensch and not the reason she died).

      Your cousin sounds very unethical.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        NB what I said up there is no reflection on the person I’m apparently distantly related to. Our grandmothers are distant cousins by marriage, or something.