weekend free-for-all – August 19-20, 2017

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

Book recommendation of the week: Constance Harding’s (Rather) Startling Year, by Ceri Radford. Extremely funny.

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

{ 934 comments… read them below }

  1. CatCat*

    We just got back from a camping trip. Super fun overall, buuuuuut… my spouse snores (loudly!). He has a CPAP machine at home, but it has to be plugged in. He tried a mouth insert that is supposed to help, but it wasn’t really effective. We have enjoyed our foray into camping except for this! It’s really exhausting and frustrating for me not to get adequate sleep. Ear plugs do not work for me. Does anyone have any tips or suggestions?

      1. CatCat*

        Wow, the travel battery (or two) might be just the thing. I did not know there were batteries that could power the machine. Pricey, but worth it if they work! Time to start saving up!!

      1. amanda_cake*

        These are also great for other areas of life, like charging phones in an emergency. They have ones that will jump your car and pump air into your tires, so that is helpful if you have a car disaster.

    1. TeacherNerd*

      I use a CPAP myself, and after a number of recent issues (power outages and faulty wires), my husband nudged me towards getting a CPAP battery, which has as recently as last weekend saved my hide. One can plug it into a wall if there are current issues (as there were with the hotel at which we stayed), but even if there’s no wall, it can help. The only caveat is that depending on your husband’s particular CPAP and settings, the battery can keep it powered between 4-8 hours, which is a bit of a difference; it also takes a couple or more hours to charge up fully, so you might consider getting 2-3 of them, and/or planning your travel around outlets, which can be, of course, challenging.

      This is the one I bought: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072F1L4DR/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1.

    2. TeacherNerd*

      I’ve had similar issues lately myself – not with camping, but I have a CPAP myself and the past several trips I’ve run into problems with faulty wires and outlets, so I bought this CPAP battery: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072F1L4DR/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1. One can plug it into the wall and CPAP simultaneously if there are current issues, and I’ve been really happy with it (won’t travel without a backup battery anymore, because I can’t even sleep without my CPAP anymore).

      Downsides: It can take several hours to charge completely, and depending on the CPAP model your husband has, and its settings, the battery has a range of 4-8 hours, which is pretty significant.

    3. Ktelzbeth*

      My home medical equipment supplier gave me instructions on how to run mine from a marine (deep cycle) battery. It would require buying an adapter, but I expect that battery life would be better than 4-8 hours. They are big batteries, though.

  2. Typhon Worker Bee*

    Today’s jobs: packing our whole house into boxes (moving on Thursday), and counter-protesting an “anti-immigration” (i.e. white supremacist) protest. Both unpleasant; both necessary.

    1. Gingerblue*

      You have my serious admiration. I spent a lot of this winter stressed over a job search and upcoming move, and feeling guilty over not doing more about the current political situation but too overwhelmed by other things to get out there much. If you’re managing a protest and a house move in one week, my hat’s off to you.

    2. fposte*

      I’m deeply impressed as well. I’m also really saddened–I hadn’t been hearing about the fact that supremacist protests were happening in Canada as well.

    3. Typhon Worker Bee*

      I’m so glad we made time for what turned out to be a very positive and uplifting experience!

      I’ll admit, I was very nervous heading into the march, and I was glad my very burly husband was with me. I’ve been to a bunch of marches and protests in Vancouver, but never to one where an actual “opposition” were expected to show up in numbers. I work very close to the rally site, so I brought my building access card in case I needed a safe bolt hole, and I wore glasses instead of contacts in case of pepper spray, things like that – but in the end there were thousands of us and only a handful of them. I did see one guy with a Pepe the Frog sign from a distance, and I saw video footage of a couple of other alt-right guys yelling at people before being led away by cops, but they basically didn’t show up in any real way and the rest of us had a great time listing to fantastic speakers, drummers, and a carnival band. There was a rumour that they were going to reconvene in the evening and have a rally when they wouldn’t be so outnumbered, but as far as I can tell reading the news and social media this morning, that didn’t happen. As one speakers said, “we totally ruined their rally”.

      I’m so proud of Vancouver! And shout out to Boston too. We still hate your hockey team though, LOL

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I saw the pictures of both on Twitter. Go you!
        I had no idea if anyone in MyCity was doing anything; at any rate, I’m not there today so could not have participated.

        One of the guys in the Charlottesville pictures was identified as a local dude. The newspaper checked and it was definitely the right guy, and he was proud of it. He should just stay away from me, he should.

      2. zora*

        Yayyy, well done!! I’ll be attending the protest in Berkeley next weekend and I hope we have a similar story to tell! Love defeats hate!

      3. SpiderLadyCEO*

        OMG. Just saw this, haha – so glad it went well! Very very happy you “ruined their rally”.

    4. SpiderLadyCEO*

      Yeah! Way to go! I am also packing this weekend, and it’s been so awful I can’t imagine dealing with white supremacists in one weekend. Go you!

  3. Mischa*

    Has anyone had success buying clothes on ThredUP? I have been losing weight thanks to exercise and portion control. Normally, I’d be super excited about this, but I just started law school and am on a bare bones, bills and basic needs only budget. I can get a tiny bit creative, but I will soon need to replace my entire wardrobe.

    1. Courtney*

      I had major issues with sizing from them – literally everything I bought seemed like the previous owner had shrunk it considerably before selling it! It was a shame since it all looked like nice quality. So basically, I recommend sizing up!

    2. Cari*

      Yes! I just placed my first order and everything came in looking beautiful. Do you have any specific questions? Is it more like fit, etc.? I just had it save my sizes so everything that comes up in results is in my range. Everything I bought fit, so I didn’t have to send anything back, but I’m pretty sure they have a return policy.

      I’ve had the same issue as you, only the opposite problem (gaining weight) and have had success with a combination of online bargain shopping and Goodwill. I feel happy now that I’m in clothes that fit.

      1. Mischa*

        Definitely more worried about fit. And I totally agree – I gained a lot of weight a few years ago and wearing clothes that actually *fit*, regardless of the number on the tag, was such an amazing feeling.

    3. Sparkly Librarian*

      Yes, I love thredUP and revamped my (casual) work wardrobe there. My advice: Figure out how much total you want to spend on clothes in the immediate future (up to… 6 months?) and then buy up to that amount in your first order. When you send back anything that doesn’t fit or you don’t like, you’ll get the credit back on your thredUp account and can keep making purchases and returning if necessary until you’ve spent it all.

    4. rj*

      Lots of websites and podcasts have referral links – but the one I used (from call your girlfriend) I don’t think is active right now. So, look around for those. I got a great blazer – and I knew I would like it because it was a similar cut but slightly newer (or older) style. I would recommend trying on various brands to figure out what you like best. And also going to a thrift store in or near a super fancy neighbourhood. They may not have anything, but they also may have brands that you wouldn’t normally see, to give you an idea of what you like in your new size.

    5. nep*

      Bravo, you. Well done on the weight loss and health gains.
      I’ve bought a lot on ThredUp and for me it’s been a great experience every time. Most of what I’ve found — at great prices — has been new with tags. Of course I’ve returned some things; but returns could not be easier.
      Not your question, but — do you go to resale shops at all? I almost always have good luck at Salvation Army thrift stores — also often new or like-new items. And you truly can’t beat the prices.
      All the best — continued good health.

    6. Portia*

      I have been building a work wardrobe, and I really love thredup! Everything I’ve received has looked new, and I’ve found a ton of brands I like that I wouldn’t be able to afford new. Sizes are tricky, though – I do use the return policy liberally, since you can send anything back for free as long as you’re willing to take store credit as the refund. If you want a referral link, this will get you $10 off your order (and give me $10 to spend)

    7. Mischa*

      Thank you for the advice! I don’t have internet yet in the new apartment so I haven’t been able to get online much today. Mostly I am worried about sizing. The last few years have been fairly lean so I haven’t been able to buy much clothing at all, especially professional clothing (which I will need VERY soon for school). So I’m just not sure how certain brands fit me, especially since I am getting smaller.

      I’ll definitely look for those referral codes. I’m going to hit up some secondhand stores in my area as well. There are a lot of wealthy students who go to my state university, so maybe I can find some good stuff!

      1. Mela*

        I’m not sure what size you are, but if you’re plus size (10+), Universal Standard has free shipping, and has a collection specifically for fluctuating weight. It’s a small collection, a few pants, shirt and a skirt, but it can be reassuring that you don’t need to worry about your pants not fitting in a little bit. Link in my name.

        “That’s why we created Universal Fit Liberty, a new, game-changing shopping experience designed to remove this anxiety for millions of women.
        If a piece from our core collection no longer fits due to size fluctuation, we’ll replace it with your new size, within a year of purchase, free of charge. All returned clothing will be laundered and donated across a number of charities supporting women in need.”

    8. Triplestep*

      PLEASE DO NOT buy from Thred-up without reading company reviews. (One of them mine; I can dig it up for you if you like).

      Long story short: It started out as a good company that was fair to both buyers and consignors; now they are ripping off consignors left and right in really unscrupulous ways. There are literally thousands of stories about this in online reviews.

      I know there are a lot of people who like Thred-up; I ask them to be aware that the great deals they are getting are at the expense of other unsuspecting women. I wish people would not support these unethical business practices.

      1. Amadeo*

        I kind of agree with this. I know that my sister loved them to start out with, when they were newer, but something has changed and I see more and more ladies leaving awful reviews about sending in clothes that were new with tags and getting pennies for them and then seeing them sold for near-retail on the site and all I’ve seen thredUp respond with was ‘please email us for details on your bag’ and nothing else.

        I suggest having a read of their Facebook page.

        1. Triplestep*

          Yep, this is what happened to me. In the consignment industry, it’s not uncommon for sellers and consignors to disagree on an item’s value. But “new with tags” cannot be disputed. I intentionally *only* sent them things that were new with tags, and donated the rest locally. I do not understand what they had to gain by representing my new items as anything other than that, and yes … they gave me pennies in site credit (which I won’t use now.) Wish I had read the reviews beforehand. Could not believe how bad they were once I did.

          I don’t think it was Thred-up’s business plan was give a false sense of how they would operate, and then start taking advantage of people after they’d established themselves, but that’s exactly what’s happened.

          1. Mischa*

            Ew, that’s not cool. I definitely don’t like supporting businesses with questionable practices.

    9. Mrs Pitts*

      This isn’t thread up, but I have found a nice thrift store me, it is by Safe Harbor. If you ask your neighbors, maybe they can point you towards an upscale second hand store. Good on you!

    10. RVA Cat*

      Nothing to add about ThredUP, but since you have gone down a size, would it be possible to have some of your existing clothes altered to fit better?
      Congrats about law school!

  4. Junior Dev*

    Let’s talk about mental health, again. How are you doing? What is hard for you right now? What are you proud of?

    I’m in the process of adjusting my meds–switching from taking them in the morning to taking them at night–and between that, stress about money, and other life stuff, it’s been a pretty rough week for me. I’m proud that I finally took action on balancing my budget by canceling some subscriptions I no longer use, and that I went to the gym consistently.

    How are you doing?

    1. Anon for this*

      Hope the meds switch levels out for you soon!

      This is a timely post for me. I posted last week about upping my meds but still feeling a diffuse anxiety. The higher dose of meds kicked in all at once partway through the day on Tuesday and I feel much better now. Still not in love with the idea of upping or switching meds every time things are rough and not sure how to find the right balance. It’s something I’ll discuss with my therapist when she’s back from vacation.

      I just finished reading When Panic Attacks by David Burns. Some of the strategies seemed useful but he didn’t give any hints on dealing with background anxiety or intrusive thoughts that don’t seem to be related to real life, which is a lot of what I’ve been dealing with lately. And it was very anti non-cbt therapy and meds, both of which I’ve found helpful, so I don’t know.

      1. Junior Dev*

        Honestly one of my stressors this week was trying DBT therapy and having it do more harm than good. I hope you can take what is helpful and leave the rest from that book.

        1. Anon for this*

          Thanks. Good reminder that there’s no one true way. Which this book had issues with.

    2. Red*

      I’m overall doing well, or at least I thought so, but then I was talking to my friend/coworker and the topic shifted to why she always wears long sleeves, and it’s what I thought it was. It just makes me really miss self harm, for some reason I can’t quite articulate. I don’t know. I won’t do that again, I have a husband now and it would hurt him even more, but I miss it. I don’t quite know what to do with that, it’s not like I don’t have much better coping mechanisms now.

      I hope your med changes are worth the effort. I’m proud of you for going to the gym!

      1. Paul*

        I hear you.

        I cut the words “Worthless F**ker” in my legs–right to left, on each thigh–before my vacation. First time I’ve cut since, god, before my kids were born.

        I spent the week in trunks (vacation, kayaking) and a friend that’s been with me through thick and thin noticed. My wife barely did.

        That was a bad combo and we had some awkward conversations. Not sure what the result is yet. Kids were present since we was kayaking and camping when it happened so it was a very discrete conversation that managed to sour the mood for a couple of days. I’m still not sure where she’s at on it. IDK.

        1. Red*

          Thanks for commenting with that, because I was starting to feel like there was some sort of line I crossed somehow. I hope everything’s ok between you and your wife now (and, you know, with you in general), and I hear you on your friend noticing more. My best friend yelled at me when I went off my meds without me even telling her I had done so, while my husband didn’t even notice. For me, it’s been about 5 years since the last time, and now all of a sudden I can’t stop thinking about it. Strange how things come back like that, huh?

          1. Junior Dev*

            BTW sorry if I gave the impression I was upset by not commenting. I didn’t really know what to say, because my experiences with self harm have been pretty different from what you described and I didn’t want to presume anything about what you’re going through. I don’t think what you’re describing is that unusual though.

            1. Red*

              No, definitely not! I just feel so weird about discussing my mental problems that when I do go for it, its either with someone I know really well or I stick to the more common things I experience (like depression and anxiety) and leave out the gory details like this in hopes of avoiding the “oh god, now they’re going to want me committed” feeling. I’m trying to get more comfortable with it for various reasons, but it’s a difficult process. I appreciate you for making these threads!

              If you don’t mind me asking, what was your experience like? Paul is honestly the third person I’ve spoken with who also does this, and I’m interested to hear aanother perspective. (If you do mind me asking, just say so, it’s totally fine)

              1. Junior Dev*

                I know that feeling of talking more in generalities. It’s a lot easier to say “I have depression” than it is to say “there’s food rotting on the counter because I don’t have the energy to clean” or “I made my niece cry by sleeping until 2pm when I was supposed to come see her that morning” (both things that have happened in the past year)

                Regarding self harm (anyone who’s disturbed by this topic may want to stop reading now) I had a phase of cutting in middle school. I’m in my late 20s now. I have on and off had instances of doing other self harming behavior like slapping myself in the face or hitting my head against the wall when facing severe anxiety or depression. I haven’t ever really had an ongoing urge to do it though, it’s more like an expression of extreme emotional distress, and an attempt to cope by giving myself a physical stimilus to focus on.

                I try to do other things when I get that urge now. Breathing exercises, play games on my phone, go for a walk around the block, text a friend for support. I think exercise has been such a life saver lately because it gives me something to focus that nervous energy on, instead of it building up to the point that I take it out on myself.

      2. Lindsay J*

        I understand.

        It’s like an addiction I think.

        I haven’t cut in about 20 years.

        However, 4 years ago when I broke up with my ex, the urge was there.

        I could remember how it felt, both physically and emotionally. It was as vivid as if I had just done it. I wanted to do it again. I felt like I needed to do it again.

        It scared me.

        I had no idea that that urge, those feelings, or even the memories of doing it were still in my brain anywhere. Yet a bit of emotional turmoil and there they were, clear as day.

        I didn’t do it, focused on other, healthier coping mechanisms, and it went away.

    3. Dr. KMnO4*

      Finally back on my meds. The psych nurse was much nicer than the psychiatrist, and actually listened to me. I told her I didn’t want the brand name meds for insurance reasons and she wrote scripts for generics. I told her about my previous ADHD diagnosis, and why I feel it was correct. She agreed, and wrote me a prescription for an ADHD med. I’m feeling so much better because of her.

        1. Dr. KMnO4*

          I have often had better medical care from nurses than from doctors. Nurses rock, and are too often underappreciated.

    4. JaneB*

      Too much eating too little movement lots of reasonless anxiety… and some reasonable things to worry about going on at the place we do not talk about on this thread too, so it’s very easy for the bit of brain I’m trying to talk down to rationalise it’s upset… On the plus side, I’m not to overdo depressed at the moment and my sle is quite good!

      1. Junior Dev*

        Yay sleep! I have been having trouble with sleep lately, I’m glad it’s working out well for you.

    5. Jessen*

      So far my off-meds experiment is going great! Although it’s a little hard to tell when one’s family is driving one up a wall. But I haven’t smacked anyone yet. ;)

    6. Ramona Flowers*

      I have anxiety and OCD. I’m doing really well at fighting automatic negative thoughts, especially at work, and asking myself: what evidence do you have for that?

      I’m still finding it hard not to beat myself up when I make mistakes.

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          Thanks, I learned it from CBT. I haven’t actually had CBT (my past therapy was integrative and more drawn from gestalt and person-centred) but have learned about it and am having some soon.

          It’s hard, though, to argue when my jerkbrain is telling me someone hates me or I’m about to be fired or whatever.

          1. DDJ*

            I just had my midyear performance review and every comment from my boss was positive (and a lot were very uplifting, for me). But the VP hasn’t stopped in to say hi to me at all today, which is a bit unusual, and my first thought was “Probably feels awkward because they have to let me go.” Even though the actual evidence I have available suggests that they’re doing everything they can to make sure I’m happy here. Hopefully that is not too work-related for the open thread! I think it’s just because there’s a lot of mental illness stuff that gets wound into work stuff.

            Jerkbrains gonna jerk.

            Lately I’ve been telling myself “You are worthwhile, and you are loved” through my yoga classes. Kind of my mantra, I guess. Every time my mind wanders somewhere else, “You are worthwhile, and you are loved.” Because theoretically, I know that must be true. Whether I believe it or not (I don’t), objectively it must be true, because people say it to me. (Jerkbrain chimes in here to say that they’re faking it because they don’t want me to feel bad, logicbrain says if they didn’t like me, they wouldn’t care about making me feel bad.)

    7. Anon as well*

      Dealing with serious brain fog, so that’s been less than stellar. More depressed than anxious at the moment, but I swing between the two. Also, been a bit triggered by someone talking about their assault unprompted, however I managed to avoid a panic attack.

      However, I’m proud that I made it through the week and that I managed to get to the gym a couple of times. I’m planning on going there again in a little bit.

    8. Anxa*

      Oh, I just posted on the Work Thread about how my mental health (or maybe it’s behavior health, or maybe even just neurobiology) is really hurting my job search.

      I’m not doing that well. In some ways I’m better than ever. Working full-time + long commute + extra side jobs + it’s summer and summer just is always busy hasn’t given me as much time to actively express any depression or anxiety.

      But I also feel like I haven’t had the time to be as organized as I was the past two years, and that really has me feeling rushed, forgetting to pack a lunch some days, falling behind on things, and otherwise making feel like an incompetent adult. I know responsible busy people have to prioritize, but I identify so strongly as a F*ck Up that it really is hard for me. I have a lot of ADHD symptoms and so there’s a lot of shame in being disorganized.

      I’m kind of proud of myself for going on so many interviews lately. So far no rejections. Unheard of!

      One thing that has me super stressed is the ACA repeal attempts. I am individually insured and so my entire early adult life was spent knowing that any diagnosis that wasn’t necessary to keep you alive could kill you. I had one ‘just-to-safe’ mole biopsy that made it damn near impossible to have health insurance, so I am still incredibly wary of getting professional help. I don’t so much thing that the ACA will be repealed, but I do not trust that we’re past the point of information about your health hurting you as much as helping. Also, I don’t have good insurance now and couldn’t actually see anyone for anything anyway, but I spend every week wondering what my life would have been like if I had had the kind of insurance growing up that didn’t penalize you for taking care of yourself. If I had had earlier interventions.

      Also, I may or may not enroll in a program that could heavily trigger my phobia, but I almost don’t care anymore because life if just triggering for it.

      1. Junior Dev*

        I was literally crying on the phone to my senator’s office the day before the last vote. I hear you. It’s so stressful. And those of us who have been receiving mental health treatment since the ACA went into effect have a lot to lose if the pre-existing condition protections go away.

    9. Amber Rose*

      I was doing better with my anxiety and mental health for ages. I used to cry and throw up before being able to even attend a class or go anywhere. In April I successfully performed in front of a few thousand people with just the usual small butterflies level of nerves. Amazing!

      But well… I have this chronic illness thing with my liver or something. And the drugs make me sick. They make me hurt and fatigued and nauseous. The depression every time I look at a pill bottle now is near crippling.

      Every time I endure it a while, finally complain, and I get switched to a new drug to see if I tolerate it better. But the recovery period is weeks. And at this point I can’t even tell what’s side effects, and what’s just the result of my sheer misery.

      1. Junior Dev*

        I’m so sorry you’re dealing with that. Depression or anxiety combined with physical illness is so hard. I had probably the worst 8 months of my life when I was dealing with chronic back pain as well as unmedicated depression. It can be really hard to stay hopeful in those conditions. Do you have anything you enjoy doing that can take your mind off the pain and anxiety?

        1. Amber Rose*

          I used to have my martial arts but the pain from the meds and the muscle wasting means I’ve lost strength and i’ve been out of training since last year more or less. :(

          I read a lot and play video games mostly these days. I picked up Rosetta Stone too, trying to learn Japanese. Trying to keep busy.

          It’s hard though.

    10. INTP*

      I’m at that point where I am coming out of a depression fog, but not quite yet feeling better, because I am suddenly seeing all the ways I’ve made a mess of my life that didn’t seem to matter when I was depressed. My apartment is frankly disgusting, and so cluttered it’s contributing a lot to my stress. My savings have dwindled due to some careless spending and a low income. I’ve gained about 15lbs since the first inklings of depression started to appear (but I was already overweight, and I’m short, so now I’m flirting with Obese, which is only 30lbs overweight at my height). I just got an abandoned vehicle ticket, I left my car in one spot for so long. None of these things stressed me out when I was so depressed but they do now. They also make me feel crappy about myself, like I’m failing at being a functional person or I’m inherently gross (I’ve seen the way people talk about people with dirty homes when they don’t feel a need to filter bc mental illness is involved) or irresponsible.

      What I’m working on now is 1) small steps towards fixing the messes and 2) focusing on what I have been able to do or maintain while depressed so I feel better about myself. I spent Friday night writing out a budget and finding an app to track it, and the first step will be sticking to that. I think I’ll also try working on cleaning and dishes for 30 minutes every morning because I just find it miserable when I’m drained after work. And I’m reminding myself that I’ve held a full-time job during all of this without letting my work suffer terribly, and not everyone that is depressed does that, so it’s something to be proud of. I moved out of my parents home and out of state mid-depression even though I didn’t really have the salary to make that a safe decision, which I think was my gut telling me it was a necessary self preservation move, and I’m proud that I was brave enough to listen. And I kept eating fairly healthily and ate lots of fruits, veggies, legumes, home cooked things. (This is not intended to denigrate people that lose their jobs or don’t eat well during mental illness in any way, btw, I’m just trying to focus on personal small victories.)

      On a random note, I’m on day 1 of my budget and already noticing how much of my spending was out of anxiety or impulse, or due to my disorganized environment. I wasn’t buying tons of pricey clothes or luxuries, I was just buying more little practical items and small luxuries than I could afford. Like, with the bathroom such a mess, going in it feels stressful and taking a bath is not relaxing, so I’d feel an urge to buy a scented candle to make it relaxing. Just little purchases that would make me feel some sense of control or pleasure in my environment to think about, but not in reality. It turns out that just having that $75 limit for shopping and miscellaneous items is enough to keep it from becoming an anxiety spiral where I obsessively think about what I need in a Random Item, research them on Amazon for days, buy it, feel soothed at first, and then have a sense of anxiety about money because I didn’t really feel in control of the purchase. Thinking “is it worth $15 of my budget this month?” as soon as the “I should buy…” thought pops up interrupts that pattern and stops the whole process.

      Anyways that turned out much longer than intended, but this is all stuff that has been on my mind the past few days especially, so I happened to have a lot to say this week.

      1. Dot*

        Managing to keep on top of eating even somewhat properly when you’re depressed is so impressive! Go you!

    11. AlaskaKT*

      Tried going off my post partum medication and it is not going well so I’m dosing back up again.

      Basically between money stress (husband and I are both unemployed at the moment), getting property in another state sold, building a house here and my daughter turning one in a few weeks my anxiety is through the roof. Although my anxiety looks a lot like depression because my “fight or flight” is “oh god I’m so tired I’ll just lay on this rock and take a nap”. Its either I’m fine, or so exhausted I can’t function (chronic fatigue from EDS doesn’t help).

      And there is So. Much. To. Do.

      So, back on the meds I go. I’d rather deal with the manic episodes they bring on and get things done than spend this much time sleeping.

    12. pol*

      Three weeks of illness, first sleeping 2 hours a night, then on a med that could also serve as a sleeping pill. Then, first night off it, and it took me 6 hours to fall asleep.

      It really feels like I forgot how to fall asleep, and three weeks off my summer projects are already putting me in an awkward position with some people, and my anxiety is restarting to climb. So now I can’t do anything because I’m sleep deprived again, but I really don’t want to explain to the people I do the projects with (well, I did to one, who’s my best friend, but there it’s a deadline for a gaming conference and my good will isn’t much help -_-)

      also, 6th day in a row I manage to stick my fingers in my tea while it’s hot.

    13. Anon for this comment*

      What’s hard: Realizing that I sometimes need my anti-anxiety meds just to function. I know the meds are there to help me, but it makes me feel a little ashamed. It’s most at work, but we don’t talk about that on weekends :)

      What I’m proud of: That I got through the rest of the week after a meltdown on Monday.

      1. Junior Dev*

        Yay for getting through the week! I have a similar struggle with anxiety meds, every doctor, pharmacist etc only focuses on how they are potentially addictive and it took a lot of work to give myself permission to actually take them when needed.

    14. veggiewolf*

      I’m proud of remembering my meds every day this week (morning and evening – the morning ones were being missed because I had to move them to the kitchen) and avoiding 3 meltdowns at the place-not-to-be-named by repeating “not my circus, not my monkeys,” as needed.

      However, after not skin-picking for two weeks I managed to tear open my foot and the inside of my ear tonight. I think need to go back on a news/politics fast.

      1. Junior Dev*

        Yay remembering meds!

        Ugh, I have a couple bug bites that I just can’t seem to leave alone and it’s made them stick around for way longer than they should. So I feel you on the skin picking. I successfully quit biting my nails but I seem to have replaced it with some similar habits.

    15. Lindsay J*

      I went to my new psychiatrist for the second time last week.

      I really like this guy. He doesn’t just prescribe meds, but does a full 1 hour therapy session as well. I haven’t ever had my prescriber and my therapist be the same person before, but I find it sort of reassuring in that I know there can’t be any miscommunication or anything like that. And he’s like the stereotypical psychiatrist – older gentleman, white beard, kind voice, leather couch in his office and everything. And he waited for me and didn’t scold me or charge me when I was running 15 minutes late due to traffic.

      He pointed out something that I hadn’t realized – that I have a lot of anger towards my parents and other adults who were my care-takers growing up. It’s interesting, because if you asked me on a normal day if I was angry at them I would say, “No”. However, it’s kind of undeniable when you get me talking about them for more than a minute or two that I do have a lot of anger/resentment towards them. It’s just something I put out of my mind when I’m not on the subject I guess.

      It’s also interesting hearing someone else’s unfiltered thoughts about my childhood etc. Like things that I kind of found to be “meh” – not examples of great parenting but situations where I didn’t see what else my parents would have or could have done – he found to be borderline abusive.

      I know a lot of people don’t necessarily like the whole analyzing your childhood or whatever and prefer just to delve right into CBA. But this is working for me – I think, in part, because I’ve never really talked about a lot of my upbringing with anyone before, I’ve never really journaled it, I try not to think about it on a day-to-day basis, etc. So it feels nice to let it out, and to process it in a way, before I attempt to move forward from it. In the past I would have told you I had moved forward from it, but pretending it never happened isn’t really moving forward and isn’t really working for me at this point.

      My only problem right now is that holy heck this guy is expensive, but when my health benefits kick back in in October it won’t be too bad, and I can pull the funds together for my September appointment.

      My apartment complex also opened up the fitness center they’ve been promising, so I plan to either go over there and work out or do some exercises in my room after work most days. Nothing too intense at first, just something to get me moving and in the habit.

      Making friends is still a struggle at the moment. I’ve gone to a local board game night the last couple weeks. And while that was fun, I didn’t really feel like I connected with anyone specifically. And even though I enjoy myself while I’m there, both weeks prior to going I just sort of felt like, “why bother?”

  5. not single female lawyer (undercover name for this one)*

    Just looking to vent and for commiseration if anyone wants to.

    My wife and I are both 28. We just got (on the 10 year anniversary of the day we met/had our first date). The last year has been a busy one. We both graduated from law school, passed the bar exam, moved in together, had to plan the wedding etc.

    We met just when the freshman year of our very first of college started when we were 18. It’s a weird coincidence because although we never met or knew each other before we went to college, both of us come from the same county/same state. Our college and law school were in New York, across the country from our home state.

    While neither of us want to leave here and go back to our home state, I can’t help but feel jealous and envy towards our families back home sometimes. We have good relationships with them. But my cousin who is the same age as me just bought a house. The cost of living is so low there that her mortgage for the whole year is how much we pay for rent for our place each month. It’s an old farmhouse and while it needs a new coat of paint, it is not falling apart or a fixer upper at all. There is no way she and I can afford to buy in this market. It was hard enough to find a place to rent.

    We both work in biglaw so long hours and little chance for weekends and holidays. Between the two of us from student loans we are half a million dollars in debt. The thought of paying all that off and trying to save for a down payment seems stressful and impossible. We drove out of a state for a friend’s wedding today and we are still having to answer work emails and things. It’s like we can’t even have one day. I know we are new to working and biglaw is daunting at first but I see our families working in manufacturing and for other small businesses in their small towns and having 9-5 no weekend/overtime, no bringing work home ever type jobs and sometimes I get so envious.

    I have no desire to live in a small town and neither does my wife. We do love New York and we need our jobs as they are right now to start paying off the debt. My wife and I were both the first from either side of our respective families to attend college and leave the county. Since then a few of our cousins have attended community college in that county but no one has left and 100% of both of our relatives still live there.

    It’s a completely different world there. A road trip across the state is a big deal. A trip out of the state is a once in a lifetime thing for like a honeymoon or something. Don’t get me wrong, our families are wonderful and nothing but supportive, they just live different lives.

    My wife and I ended up having to hire someone to clean our place. We also have someone who cooks or prepares meals for us and someone who does errands/laundry or picks up our dry cleaning. It makes our lives easier because we barely have time but part of me still feels like it is wrong to have people doing things we should be doing. We have talked about having a child but there is a question about which one of us would be pregnant or have to take time off for maternity leave. It’s clear we would have to hire a nanny full time because neither of us can afford to scale back or stay home right now.

    I love my wife. I love being a lawyer. I love living in New York. My wife feels the same way. But we still get the grass is greener syndrome and can’t help but be envious of our family back home sometimes. Their lives seem so peaceful and simple compared to ours (I don’t mean simple in a bad way, just that their lives are not complicated and stressful like ours). Not having any debt besides a mortgage and being able to afford a huge house on a single income in your 20s sounds like heaven sometimes. I know my wife and I will make it work. It just gets so overwhelming and stressful sometimes and I hate knowing we will likely never be able to afford to buy here.

    Sorry if this was long. Excuse any typos as I am on mobile. Thanks for listening/reading.

    1. Temperance*

      FWIW, my background is pretty similar to you and to your wife. I’m the first person on my dad’s side to get a 4-year degree, and the second on my mom’s side. (To put that in perspective, my dad is one of four children, and my mom is one of six.) We hire out cleaning and do Hello Fresh. It works well for us. We’re happy with this life.

      I sometimes envy the simpler life that my extended family has, even though I know that it really isn’t for me. Even as a teen, I knew that it wasn’t for me. I was bored constantly, and didn’t fit in. Sure, we could have bought a mansion for the same price that we’d spend there on our house …. but I honestly love the pace of our lives.

    2. JKP*

      When you think long term plans, maybe it doesn’t have to be either/or, maybe there is a way to have some of both. You can have the experience of living in New York as long as you both want, and you can later move to a city that has a lower cost of living but is still a bigger city with the amenities/culture you want and not as small of a town as where you both come from.

      And sometimes, just thinking of your other options and choosing what you already have makes you feel better about your present life because you feel more like it’s a choice rather than feeling stuck.

      1. Kj*

        Yeah, that is what I am thinking- it sounds like you like your life in the big city most of the time and right now. In 10 years, who knows? Do you have to make up your mind as to how you spend the rest of your life right now? It is ok to live in NY, then move elsewhere later, if that better suits you. It is ok for you to work in biglaw until school debts are paid and then consider if you want to work elsewhere. It is ok to have household help. It is ok to have a kid, or not, or choose to wait. You have plenty of time to try many things. What is today does not have to be what is tomorrow. 28 is comparatively young; you can put off decisions about kids for at least a few years and you might then have some clarity about your direction.

        Lawyers tend to be rather driven. But you don’t have to make all the choices about your life now. Let yourself have time to figure it out and allow that you (and your spouse) will change with time too.

      2. Paul*

        I miss living 2 hours westish from Denver FWIW. Hick town sure as hell but a decent metro near enough you could go there every other weekend. But you could sit on your porch and hear elk bugling while your family got drunk and swapped stories.

        Problem is work.

    3. Book Lover*

      I have about five thousand different responses to this…. It is hard to look at someone else’s nine to five life or big house and not have some level of envy. But you wouldn’t want to be them or live there or have that job, so that just isn’t useful. What you can do is look at your own life and figure out what it is that you don’t like, and have a plan to improve it, slowly over time. I know that doesn’t really change the way you feel, but at least a practical approach. And that might mean moving in ten years or just accepting that you have a different life and priorities.

      I think it is great that you have recognized you need help at home and have found solutions for that. I have a gardener and a cleaner and a nanny, and they all do a better job than I do and allow me to do the things I need to do. What is the point of beating yourself up for giving people a paycheck?

      You might remember that along with the pleasure of buying a house there is the stress of worrying about the a/c breaking, the foundation having issues, what to do about grading, what to do about the dozen other things that are necessary on a yearly basis when you own. You are already busy, I know that owning a house is part of the American dream, but it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be :)

      On the kid thing. I am not going to say you have forever, but assuming no major health issues, you seriously don’t have to worry about babies right now. Talk about it with your wife and decide when to sit down and discuss it again. In 2019 or 2020 or whatever you will deal with it, and then forget about it until then. Things change and why think about it now when there may be obvious answers in the future. If you really want to go ahead right now, then have that discussion and figure out the finances. There is nothing wrong with needing a nanny :)

    4. neverjaunty*

      There’s nothing wrong with paying someone to do work for you, as long as you’re paying them fairly and treating them with dignity.

      But, a little real talk on BigLaw: it will always, always be terrible for your having any kind of a life outside of BigLaw. That is the entire business model of BigLaw. Your job is to generate money for the business owners (i.e., equity partners), and so they will wring every billable hour out of you that they can. And even if it’s not overt, even if there’s a lot of lip service paid to “work-life balance” and “diverse career tracks”, the reality is that you are being pitted against your co-workers to see who can do the most work and bring in the most money.

      That’s a long way of saying if you are jealous and envious of the more relaxed lifestyles of your friends – of being able to think about having kids without budgeting a full-time nanny in advance – you should channel those negative feelings into an exit plan for one or both of you.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        OP, take a serious look at this. My friend who is a lawyer said that pretty much law becomes your life. You have nothing else going on, it’s a 24/7/365 job.

        OTH, think very hard before you move. It’s easy to want something we don’t have. Part of deciding on major changes in life is deciding to make New Idea work NO matter what. Commit to pulling out all the stops in effort to build what it is that you do want. (You will need that commitment if New Idea does not go as expected.)

        There are advantages and disadvantages to every life style we can think of. I grew up in a populous area. The streets were well lighted and the snow was cleaned up promptly. I also caught two kids trying to break into my house. Drug dealers were on every corner and so on. Where I am now, the streets are not always well lighted, sometimes they plow sometimes not. I can sleep at night and the crime rate is fairly low. I know my neighbors. It’s ten miles to the nearest grocery store and jobs can be even further away. After seeing this, I have to say that I would not plan on being less tired or less broke, it’s just that you can be tired for different reasons and money is short for different reasons.

        It’s all trade-offs, OP. The trick is to make sure you actually get something of lasting value for yourselves. I am happy with how my life played out and where I am now. I would not go back for all the money in the world.

    5. extra anon*

      My wife and I ended up having to hire someone to clean our place. We also have someone who cooks or prepares meals for us and someone who does errands/laundry or picks up our dry cleaning. It makes our lives easier because we barely have time but part of me still feels like it is wrong to have people doing things we should be doing.

      I read an article the other day about how if you have the income to spend on housekeepers etc you should do it, because buying time is the number one thing you can do to improve your happiness. It also stated that many people who can afford to do this don’t because they feel guilty or foolish spending money on things they can do themselves (I will link the article in a comment below so this one doesn’t go to moderation).

      If you didn’t spend money on those things, would you be happier? would you even have the time to do those chores yourself? and if you did have time, would you be sacrificing the time you could spend with your SO for chores and cooking & how would that make you feel?

      I’m not articulating this well, but don’t beat yourself up for making your life easier if you have the means to do so. You can’t do all the things, and have found a way to make it work and make your already action packed, stressful life easier, and that isn’t a bad thing.

      1. Paul*

        bought a powerball ticket at a gas station coming home from vacation today; if I win (hayh yeah right) I’m never touching a vacuum cleaner again, tell you that.

      2. Anion*

        In the #1 LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY books, the main character mentions repeatedly how in Botswana 9at least in the Botswana of the books; I have no idea how accurate they are) it’s considered selfish and/or irresponsible to NOT hire household help if you can afford it–the idea being that if you can provide paying work for other people, you ought to do so.

        We can’t afford it, but I’ve always found that viewpoint appealing, and it’s been helpful to a few people I know. You’re not being lazy or selfish, you’re creating jobs. That’s how economies are supposed to work, and that’s how they grow, and that’s how people are able to take care of themselves and not need handouts.

        1. NacSacJack*

          I like this – this arguement actually works for me. I have the guilt syndrome. With two dogs and a stressful IT job, I’m losing the battle.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          I know people here who use their wealth to pay people who might not find employment elsewhere. For example a person who is escaping a bad marriage and needs huge flexibility in work hours.
          The people I see doing this are people who know A LOT of people so they are aware of many personal stories.

          The only thing I can add is make sure you are paying a decent wage, something that is actually meaningful to the employee. And if you recommend someone who is working for you, be sure to allow them room to set their own price for the new job. Going the opposite way, I only connect up employers who pay and pay promptly. Don’t connect your employees with jerks.

        3. Dead Quote Olympics*

          I lived in Southeast Asia for awhile (I am from the US), and this was definitely a social and cultural expectation. If you can afford it, and most middle class people can, it would be incredibly selfish not to contribute to the local economy by providing work, even if you could do things for yourself. This made me think of my Roomba, and how I don’t at all feel guilty or lazy about robot vacuuming. But I think most people from industrialized countries feel guilty about the implications of servitude and how to build a work relationship about personal services, not the shirking of work.

          1. neverjaunty*

            Possibly because there’s a cultural memory that service is something many people did because they had to, not because it was the best option available for them? I recall when I was in college running into a couple of Indonesian grad students whose culture shock included having to do their own housework; they couldn’t afford to pay a housekeeper here to do everything for them.

        4. Nervous Accountant*

          I don’tknow if anyone mentioned this but just generally speaking, I feel like there’s also a gender thing at play here too–I grew up in a culture where women took immense pride in cleaning their home and keeping it neat and clean. My mother was like that and I know lots of women (working and non) who enjoy cleaning. “boys don’t do this stuff” (funny enough my brother is way cleaner than I am lol).

          I’m not such a woman. Even when I was jobless, I did the bare minimum and while I love to cook, if I could never have to wash another dish again I would. Of all the other things, I refuse to let *this* define my “womanhood”

    6. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      I know what you are saying/feeling. We moved to a different country and while we love it here in the big city, there are still the daily stressors of commuting, stressful jobs, trying to cram in seeing friends and doing social activities, cleaning, even keeping up back home with family is difficult. We could afford to buy here…..but what we could get with the deposit if we saved hard for it for three years would be a substandard apartment in a bad area which makes you wonder why I should sink six figures into a dump here when I could get 7 rental properties back home. I have a friend whose place has appreciated several hundred thousand in the last 6 years but she needs more room and she can’t afford the jump up to the next level (a 2-bed apt).

      Both myself and my partner come from smaller towns and we see the price of real estate in those towns and just gape at what we could get with a downpayment of essentially six months of savings. Or friends who got the nice big house and yard with the fruit trees three blocks from the harbor and he works a non-stressful job an easy bike commute away and she got a country job a five minute walk by the kids school – how easy must their lives be. I try to remember too that they probably think we have this big glamorous, fancy life and theirs are so boring, stuck in that tiny dull town. Swings and roundabouts and all that.

      I did bring up at lunch today in a half-hearted way that maybe he should look for a job in his home country (though that would have major consequences for my career), just because I was tired of climbing over tourists to get somewhere and we havent left town in months. But we both honestly know we would be bored stiff there after a month.

      What we have tried to do instead is to accept that we we pay here in rent, lifestyle, etc is just part of living in the big city but understand that eventually some day we may want to arrange our lives differently where we can spend some of the year in the big city but some of it in a place with more space which doesn’t necessarily mean our hometowns. Maybe our tastes will change completely and we end up in yet another country we wouldn’t consider right now. Also, nothing is stopping us from putting a downpayment on a house in one, or both, of our hometowns and getting a renter in to cover the mortgage if we really felt we needed to “own” a place for security for the future.

      Biglaw is a tough, tough gig though and you two should be proud you have both made it to that level. It also doesn’t have to be forever but it can be a great springboard for a few years to get that debt paid off and align yourselves well for the future for less stressful jobs too.

    7. Natalie*

      I think it’s perfectly fine to spend some funds on household upkeep – who says you’re “supposed to” be doing these things yourself? You don’t grow your own food or make your own clothing, why is having someone else clean you bathroom significantly different than that?

      Something my husband and I talk about a lot wrt money: money represents options. As you’re both attorneys I’d be very, very cautious about the golden handcuffs phenomenon. Aggressively pay down your loans, and when that is done aggressively save. If and when you or your wife or both want to leave Big Law, that lack of debt, lower lifestyle costs, and savings will ease the road immeasurably.

    8. Paul*

      I’ve lived in metros, I’ve lived in the country, and my preference is for the country. I feel like a failure for raising my kids in even a smaller metro area (200k). They barely know what it’s like to grow their own food, and haven’t killed and prepped their own meat yet at all. They don’t know how glorioiusly indifferent nature really can be. I don’t know how or why people are so entranced with big metros or situations like that.

      But everything has trade offsa nd these are trade offs y’all are choosing. Gotta try to make peace with that–focus on your positives, think about the benefits of living that type of city, etc. Utopia translates to something “no place” after all…nowhere is perfect.

      1. Bibliovore*

        I was just saying to someone that’s New York City people are the only ones I know who shop a new location whenever they are out of town or on vacation, wondering, could I live here?
        And no one but NYC people know how hard daily life is there.
        And I didn’t know until I left.
        A few things to remember as someone who had left five years ago.
        We take our type A high achieving personalities with us where ever we go.
        There is such a thing as quality of life …I’m in the Midwest. Traded a two bedroom coop for a three bedroom house with two bathrooms and two cars and money in the retirement.
        My job is just as challenging and engaging.
        the grass is greener some where else. The question is…do you want to mow the lawn or hire someone to do that?

        We still have the housekeeper once a week. Cleaning is not something I want to spend time or energy on and I would gladly trade money for time and energy.
        What I miss…Fresh Direct. My friends and neighborhood. The dog park. my coworkers.

        As for comparing your life to the people back home. Stop. Just stop. Make your choices for yourself.

        1. Quikaa*

          Fellow big law survivor.. did my time (about 4 years), saved my money, learned a lot, but had no real outside life.. able to trade it in for a great job in a boutique law firm full of other big law survivors doing quality work for quality work with some actual work life balance in a smaller major city with pretty good pay for the area…had friends do the same or found life in house or at big firms in second tier areas… basically hang in there , there is a path but it won’t be apparent right away but in meantime you are getting skills and debt paid off so ready when path appears.. also Def yes to household help.. could not have done without as you need any downtime for sanity inducing activities not cleaning

    9. Triplestep*

      I’m writing from the perspective of someone who is older than you, who grew up in NYC, and had two lawyer parents. (Not BigLaw, but partners and worked all hours and were always available to their clients even before computers, e-mail and smart phones.) Some questions for you to consider:

      Could you be happy in a smaller city where your cost of living could be lower, and you could pay off debt more easily? If so, do a ‘net search on “hip” “cool” or “up and coming” cities. (I phrase it this way because my city is consistently making these lists.) Consider Providence, which is a commuter rail ride away from Boston jobs and salaries, yet more affordable and has a lot to offer. Pittsburgh, from what I understand, is becoming a mecca for artists and musicians. Coming from NYC, I was never happy living in a non-city, but I have been happy living, working and raising kids in a smaller city. My kids are urbanites who only want to live and go to school in cities; the older one (your age) is about to move to NYC for grad school.

      Are you both equally committed to BigLaw? The one person I know who has a career in big law has a husband who stayed home with the kids. If one of you has a hankering to do something else, it would be ideal if that person also wanted to take on more of the “family management” stuff. ‘Course this would probably only work if you combine it with the scenario above so you could afford to live on a lower family income.

      And of course it’s fine if you both want to stay in BigLaw to build your careers, and continue to devote resources for cleaning, cooking, etc. Nothing wrong with that. But if this is the case, then I do think that – if the goal is to pay off debt and plan for a future family and home-ownership – then something has to give, and that’s your housing costs. (See question one above re: smaller city.)

  6. Myrin*

    Is there anything you read on AAM that you sometimes randomly think about and that just cracks up? Or just posts or comments that you particularly remember and will never tire of? Anything you posted yourself that you still find exceptionally brilliant?

    My claim to fame is certainly the “bouquet of shrimps” I linked to in my name, but that whole comment section has some hilarious gems (it’s been more than four months and I’m still laughing about Alison’s two people “limply holding hands”).

    Other than that, I will never get over someone saying wrt communication and words and their meanings being important that “forgive me father for I have sinned” and “sorry daddy I’ve been bad” express the same sentiment but have wildly different connotations (with LBK’s excellent follow-up that you’d indeed need wildly different outfits for the respective roleplay). I can’t find that anymore since it seems to come from tumblr or twitter originally or I’d link to it, but I’m still regularly and randomly cracking up over this.

      1. AnnaleighUK*

        This. I thought about it cycling to work on Friday morning and had to stop because I was laughing so hard I started to wobble. Also there was a show I was watching and the son was called ‘Wakeen’ and I cracked up and my housemates thought I was crazy.

      2. PhyllisB*

        This was from a couple of years ago, but a reader wrote in about having some flooring installed in her office. She went to check on it, and she started skidding across the floor (in heels and a skirt.) Her sentence “I went flying by doorways, half shrieking, half apologizing…” When I was reading that I just totally lost it, to the point of tears streaming down my face. My family started wondering if I had gone insane.

    1. fposte*

      Well, Savannah’s first Christmas, of course. But one that I was remembering this week the story of Rose, who at an office party kicked her boss in the balls. It’s a beautiful story–I’ll link in followup–but one of my favorite lines is “The jager is delicious, and makes me smell faintly of licorice and frat houses.”

        1. swingbattabatta*

          Oh good god I just read that story for the first time and woke my husband up from his nap from laughing so hard. That just improved my day to the nth degree.

    2. Sylvan (Sylvia)*

      “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned”/”Sorry, Daddy, I’ve been bad” kills me.

      Sometimes I remember that guy whose interview went badly, who pooped in a plant. Honestly, a lot of bad bathroom-related (or unfortunately-not-bathroom-related) stories.

    3. Ramona Flowers*

      Sexy linguine night broke me recently. (A typo someone posted about on an open thread.)

    4. Mallory Janis Ian*

      The guy who took his impossible, frustrating stack of paperwork down a dirt road and set it on fire. I still sometimes fantasize about doing that with my stacks of boring paperwork. I imagine it like that scene from Office Space where they take the copier out tho an empty field and that rap song is playing: “Die, motherf****, die motherf****!!”

    5. anon24*

      In an open thread somewhere someone posted about passong gas loudly during a presentation. I was reading it in the archives and I cried laughing. I was in the car with my husband when I read it and he wanted to know why I was laughing. I tried to read it to him but kept having to stop because I was laughing so hard so it ended up being half an hour before I calmed down enough to finish the story so that he knew why I was laughing. I think he thought I’d completely snapped.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      I am still laughing (albeit in a rather horrified fashion) over the duck club. Every time someone refers to it with a “Quack!” I start giggling. It’s like their in-joke is now OUR in-joke.

      1. SpiderLadyCEO*

        Oh my gosh, me too. I have told so many people about that but I think it is actually one of my favorite posts ever.

    7. Liz*

      There was a question on a short answer post (link to follow) that was basically, “Can I work tons of illegal overtime and pay the fines for my company?” The commentariat was understandably baffled, but it was worth it when oldfashionedlovesong tied the whole debacle into a plotline from the TV show The Newsroom.

      I still laugh when I think of “Dev Patel, is that you?!”

  7. Nervous Accountant*

    I’ve had a rough week. In addition to the work BS and all, I put myself on a strict diet (limiting carbs and sugar) following Drs orders. My endocrinologist changed my meds and dosage, so I’m taking much more insulin and much more consistently (wasn’t consistent before). That means up to 8 injections a day, from 130-150 units a day.

    Despite the diet, I’ve gained 6 lbs!!!! in 2 weeks just from the increased insulin. Dr said the cause of hte weight gain is irrelevant bc I can’t stop taking insulin…but that the gain will stop and I just have to put in extra effort in the diet and exercise. I’ve taken a break on exercise bc i have leg pain or a leg clot or something (going to pcp for this) and I get extremely exhausted and in pain just from walking 1 block. I feel so stupid in that I never realized it was hte insulin preventing me from losing weight, when I was working out like a maniac.

    I just feel like utter POS right now. I love to dress nicely and do my hair and put on makeup, and I feel like I can’t do any of that since none of my clothes fit well w the gain and I look and feel like a balloon. It’s different than the previous weight gain bc I feel powerless.

    1. Amadeo*

      Man, that has to suck, I’m sorry. When you said you’d gained 6 pounds before I even got to the ‘because of the increased insulin’ part I knew that was the case. It’s just not fair the way that works.

    2. SleeplessInLA*

      I’m sorry you’re having a rough week. One of the things that helped me deal with unexpected weight gain was getting a few fit and flare or empire waist dresses b/c they conceal a good portion of your bottom half but don’t look frumpy. It’s a small thing but helped me feel pretty on days I was really down on myself.

      1. Gala apple*

        Right! I was going to suggest getting one top or outfit or whatever that works for where you are now, just so you feel presentable in the world.

      2. Nervous Accountant*

        I’m going to find my maternity clothes. I SOOO wish I could use them for their intended purpose but….sigh.

        1. Nervous Accountant*

          Gosh this is so depressing. I don’t understand how people can treat diabetes by losing weight if the insulin makes you gain!!!!

          1. Not So NewReader*

            My husband was on Lantus. It would drop him and around 2 o’clock in the morning he would be at a blood sugar of 40. He would get up and eat Thanksgiving Dinner at 2 am. I learned to keep entire large meals in the fridge.
            Finally he realized he had screwed up what he was doing because apparently you can only keep insulin for 30 days and no one told him. The bottle was a few months old because he kept forgetting to take it. So he tossed it out and the 2 am drops stopped also.

            Later he worked his way off all his diabetes meds and his blood sugars returned to normal. Apparently in some people, and only sometimes, blood sugar meds RAISE blood sugars.

    3. Reboot*

      Have you thought about looking into getting an insulin pump? I was having hellish trouble with my blood sugars and getting my insulin consistently, and getting the insulin pump has been a godsend for me. It’s actually lowered the amount of insulin I need to take per day, because my sugars are more consistently controlled and it allows for finer control regarding insulin-to-carbs ratio.

      And your doctor is full of it. Insulin can make it very difficult to lose weight, something I’m still struggling with myself, but it’s his job to find ways to work with you around your difficulties.

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        Tha may be something in the future. I had my first meeting with the endo earlyierthis month, and she asked me to come back in 2 rather than 4 weeks. So i’vehad 2 visits so far. the numbers were better after this second visit, and I got a dieuretic for the water weight.I’m also going back to the gym, just push myself through the pain.

        I wnet to my PCP for the leg pain and he says, “why do you think you have this pain?” WTF DUDE I AM NOT THE DR!!!! he didn’t see any swelling or anything, so he didn’t prescribe me anything. I know whatI’m feeling is NOT normal but he’snot listening so I’m finding a new Drnow.

        1. Elizabeth H.*

          Good luck, I hope you find a new & better doctor (doctors?) It sounds like you’re not getting the medical help and guidance you need. Wonder if it might help to find a nutritionist who has experience with people with diabetes? I have gotten good dietary guidance about managing medical conditions from a (qualified, PCP referred!) nutritionist.

  8. SleeplessInLA*

    Has anyone else had to deal with societal/family pressure to be married (or at least coupled up) by a certain age? How did you combat it? I’m early 30’s and know I should ignore all of the unsolicited opinions + “normal” timelines and live on my own terms but struggling with the idea that I must be doing something wrong to still be single..

    1. Miso*

      Thankfully no. I’m 29 and I’ve only had one 6 months relationship at 18 or 19 (that wasn’t very serious) and a 2,5 years relationship very recently.
      Now I’m back to being an unhappy single. I swear, if I’d had to deal with additional crap from my family…
      But nope, no one ever said anything ever. I’m very thankful for that and I’m totally feeling for you and the unwanted comments.

    2. deesse877*

      I *thought* I did not have such expectations from my family, but the second I turned 35 several in my parents’ and grandparents’ generation got really hostile (actively denigrating a major professional success, for example), because they’d apparently been consciously counting down my fertility. I have literally never wanted marriage or children–growing up, my one Barbie was divorced, and the other two were gay–so it was really a shock. Over time they’ve pulled back considerably, but I can tell it just makes no sense to most of them. They don’t know how I get up in the morning without “a family” to get up for, and they sometimes seem to experience my existing in this way as an attack on them and their choices. I do have one uncle who never married, and who made me feel more OK as a kid and an adult.

      I never tried to change any minds–just limited contact, frankly, which not everyone can do, or feels comfortable doing. I’ve found that as my mother gets older she has mellowed and changed somewhat, in part because she lives on her own now too, and has sort of absorbed the fact that there are other ways to be. My dad has backed off rather than changing, but I’ll take it.

    3. rj*

      I don’t deal well. I have somewhere around 30 cousins and there are 8 of us who aren’t currently partnered (and one is like 12 and one is immediately post-divorce). I am in my early 30s… and I finally have a job I am happy about. I try not to be jealous of more conventional life paths (because I know that they are also not perfect), and I can mostly do that. Social and family gatherings are hard – I am a woman, am very goal oriented, so I often find it hard to discuss children (which seems to be a common topic of conversation for women, especially in a get to know you type of thing…)

    4. Fake old Converse shoes*

      I’m 28 and I haven’t asked in a date. Never ever since I fell in love for the first time, back when I was 12. My grandmother asked me why I wasn’t in a relationship since I started having my period until her last days, and I always told her that no one was (and still isn’t) interested in me. Now the ones who ask are my mother’s friends, because their kids are in their middle thirties and they worry I’m “weird”. I still shrug and answer “I don’t know, it doesn’t happen”. So far it works. So sorry you are going through it.

    5. Loopy*

      So I’m in a little bit of a different situation but hopefully this comment will still help. I am in a long term relationship (just over four years) and 29 so everyone seems to think it is okay to give me crap for not being married yet. And actually I would absolutely love to be married so this is a sore point.

      Ultimately though, this is between my bf and I and I don’t need anyone (or everyone) else voicing their opinion, especially when it makes my own issues on the topic worse.

      I’ve had to resort to just telling people to back off. I haven’t really found a good way to do this yet, but ultimately I think once you find a script, it comes down to having to actually tell people that this is a part of your life you don’t want/need others commenting on, you aren’t looking for their opinions on, and it’s a topic you don’t want/need to discuss.

      If anyone has tips on a script/phrasing I’d love to discuss. I’ve only tried it once and it wasn’t great. Still, I think this is something you have to be firm and rather direct on (IMO). How is the hard part.

      1. SleeplessInLA*

        I have a friend in a similar situation as you and you can now see a visible, pained reaction from her when people ask why she and her BF aren’t married yet. Unfortunately I don’t have a script to suggest but I’m sorry you’re going through that because it’s such an invasive and rude question.

        1. Triplestep*

          “Why do you ask?”

          I find that turning inappropriate questions back on the asker is pretty effective. If they don’t just stammer and change the subject, but instead persist by asking a different way, then there are more responses that turn their inappropriate questions back on them: “That’s just a really odd thing to ask someone”. Or if they are really dense: “It’s interesting that you’re so comfortable asking such a personal question.”

          The trick is to turn it back on them without saying anything that makes you come across as hostile, so tone is important. They should leave this interchange mildly embarrassed (and enlightened ahead of the next time/next person they feel like badgering) but not turned off by you.

      2. Anion*

        You could try bursting into tears and running out of the room.

        (Yes, I’m joking–but only half. Maybe if people understand that this is a painful subject–if they see it in a big dramatic way–they’ll back off. It’s not the most reasonable or adult solution, but if nothing else works, or if you just want to do something big and dramatic one day…)

    6. blackcat*

      Do you have family members who *do* fit the “normal” timeline who you can have be your ally?

      Every time my grandmother gives one of my unmarried cousin’s shit, I call it out as not okay. She shuts up faster that way.

      (Grandma does the “I just want you to be married before I die!!!” guilt trip. I generally ask, “So should she marry an asshole just so that you can attend the wedding? No?” Or I bite the bullet and say, “Come on, I thought you were supposed to be nagging us married grandkids to start popping out babies!”)

      1. Fake old Converse shoes*

        Thanks to call out your Grandma, even if she is… well, your Grandma. I’ve just remembered one of her last Christmas when one of her sisters-in-law had enough of her and yelled “Will you just leave her alone and let her do whatever the hell she wants to do?”. At the end of the day she my Grandma’s sil apologized and told me to enjoy singlehood and not to get married in a rush with the first person that pays me attention.

    7. neverjaunty*

      Try shaking your head sadly and saying “I know, I should have at least one divorce under my belt by now”?

    8. Not So NewReader*

      Shut it down.
      You could try reminding them how awful they felt when someone spoke to them that way. Remind them you are a complete person on your own, spouse and kids are not necessary for completion.
      You could say, “Oh how old-timey to say such a thing!”
      Or you could say, “You have said this before unless you have new material to add, I would appreciate it if you stopped repeating yourself. You have made yourself clear the first time.”

      For your internal struggles, you are a complete person. You do not need a spouse and family to be complete, you all ready are complete. This leads to a much larger discussion but I am ending on this sentence so you can really think about it: you are already complete. Decide to believe that.

      1. SleeplessInLA*

        “You have said this before unless you have new material to add, I would appreciate it if you stopped repeating yourself. You have made yourself clear the first time.” This is the exact script I was looking for, thank you.

        I feel like I’ve accomplished SO many things that the majority of my family has not and I don’t want to turn it into a p*sing contest (for lack of a better phrase) because I don’t think any one way to live is better than another. Yet family/relationship is the one box I haven’t checked thus far and it’s like they love bring it up. You are right, I am complete. I’ll work on internalizing that.

      2. SeekingBetter*

        In some cultures though, the pressure for getting married is crazy. I come from a culture where if you aren’t married by 27, people consider you not marriage material at all, or there’s something really wrong with you. Doesn’t matter if you’re finances are in order, have a great career, or help others out. This type of societal expectation is really hurtful.

        1. SeekingBetter*

          Oh, if you also try to “shut it down” you will not be able to. They make it their full-time job to remind you of how you should magically get married to benefit the family.

    9. Purple snowdrop*

      Hahaha I was married in my late 20s and now here in my early 40s I’ll be getting divorced because my husband is emotionally abusive. Wish I’d stayed single :-/ might such cautionary tales work? If so feel free to use mine!

    10. SeekingBetter*

      Yes, I’ve dealt with family pressure to be married by 27 years old; I can definitely relate. I never really met anybody who married me then. And when my family arranged dating meets with guys, nothing happened then. When I was 30 years old, my grandpa pretty much blackmailed me to go to China with him and tried his hardest to force me to marry his cousin so his cousin could get a green card to come to the US to work at a relative’s restaurant. Of course I said “no.” So it definitely hasn’t been easy for me.

    11. Jules the First*

      Yes. Oh god yes.

      I have used the bursting into tears and running from the room tactic, but more effective turned out to be calmly stating that I’m happy, my relationship status is not up for discussion, and if and when I have something to share or decide I want advice, I’ll ask. And then you change the subject. Aggressively, if necessary.

      It took about a year, but my mom has mostly quit with the pressure even though I’m now the only uncoupled daughter.

    12. Triplestep*

      Writing as the mother of two single young adults: This may or may not be helpful, but when older relatives ask, I think they are really asking about themselves: Did they do a good job helping you become a person who values strong bonds? A person who takes risks, is open to others, is just basically a good citizen of the world? From their perspective, you are wonderful, so what’s the problem? They wonder did *they* do something wrong – not what are *you* doing wrong. And of course they want you to be happy. They don’t know what it’s like now to meet and click with people in today’s world.

      Don’t get me wrong: I do not ask my kids! (See my other comment in this thread on possible responses to people who DO ask.) But I do engage them in conversation about dating – not frequently – but it’s because I worry about the above. I love them and I want them to be happy and good to other people. I don’t want my daughter to pick people for the wrong reasons like I did, and I don’t want my son to be alienate women because he thinks too highly of himself.

      I know I can’t control these things and it’s none of my business. But I’m a parent and I worry. Of course you should ignore unsolicited opinions about “normal” timelines and live on your own terms. I only mention this as a different way to see the need some have to question. Maybe this will help it roll off your back more easily.

    13. EvilQueenRegina*

      The very first time I met my aunt’s parents (they were over from the Philippines for her and my uncle’s 10th wedding anniversary party) they started grilling me about why I wasn’t married yet. I had turned 29 the week before. Not at all an appropriate question but I felt I couldn’t be too rude to someone I only just met so I gritted my teeth to keep the peace.

      Their daughter, my aunt, keeps bringing up shopping for wedding outfits for me despite the fact that I am not, and have never been, engaged. This is the one who had the dress code of white and gold for her 50th birthday party and no one told the family. So far I have resisted the temptation to come up with a completely hideous colour clashing combination, tell her it’s the dress code and see if she buys something.

      Her husband once spent half of Boxing Day Googling my ex. Never mind the fact that that had been over for 13 years, it wasn’t amicable, he had since married the third party involved in the breakup and frankly I’d rather be fed to the spider from Harry Potter than go there again. Thankfully he did quit that.

    14. SpiderLadyCEO*

      I give super catty comments when people ask me why I’m not married/when I’m having kids. For a while I grinned and told them “my womb is filled with acid” or something equally insane. The crazier it was, the more they left me alone.

      Also, snapping rudely at people tends to make them feel bad. Even if YOU don’t care, if they think you care A LOT they might drop it or leave you alone. I have found people bug you MORE when you don’t seem to care, because then you don’t have the same priorities as them.

    15. Stellaaaaa*

      I don’t deal with that very often, but when I do, I tell those people to go out and find me a decent man in his 30s with a job and who doesn’t have kids yet, since they think it should be so easy.

  9. Apollonia*

    For me this is a work-related issue that will have to await next week, but more generally, how do you deal with discovering a friend’s political views are way different from yours, or what you thought hers werw? I recently went over someone’s house and saw their bookshelf and felt my heart sink. You would never have guessed it otherwise.

    On a related note, do you ever get possessive about people with opposite views liking the same things you do? Like a visceral “how dare you”?

    1. Amadeo*

      I have plenty of *good* friends whom I don’t agree with politically – I don’t see it as a particular problem as long as if we happen to be discussing it we approach the discussion with mutual respect. I don’t understand, if she’s an otherwise pleasant person who you like spending time with/get along well with, why does knowing that she doesn’t think the same way you do change that? If a touchy topic ever comes up and you don’t want to have that conversation, just ask her if the two of you can just avoid that topic.

      TL;DR, if you like being her friend and you get along well, don’t let what’s on her bookshelf get in the way of that.

      1. Courtney*

        I think the issue, if it’s anything like the one I’ve dealt with here, is that it isn’t really just politics. Lately it just seems muddled in a lot of other views on kindness, decency…not being a bigot. Like if you suddenly find out one of your friends is a racist, sure, you could just avoid discussing minorities with them. But that’s not really getting at the actual problem, which is that they are a fundamentally different person than you had believed.

        1. Gingerblue*

          Yeah. There are issues where I could agree to disagree with someone, and then there are issues where I could never go back to thinking about them the same way. Disagree with me on how to balance the budget? Enh, fine. Think white supremacy is just ginchy? I’m done with you. That’s not “just politics”, and if you want to call it judgmental or close-minded, well, yes! I am judgmental of Nazis! Decent human beings are. We have judgment for a reason, and I’m exercising mine in deciding that my life does not need Nazis in it.

        2. neverjaunty*

          Exactly. It’s often not “politics” or “we think differently”, but a profound difference in principles and values. I can be (and am!) friends who may have entirely different views from me on, say, the best way to address homelessness. But if their attitude was ‘homeless people should just die so I don’t have to look at them’, I don’t see how you paper that over by simply avoiding the topic.

        3. INTP*

          I agree with this. Like, if I think it’s best if the government manages X and Y and my friend thinks it would be most effective for private enterprises to do so, but within our hearts both of us just wish for everyone to access the services in the most effective way, we can agree to disagree. That’s an intellectual difference, not a deeply held value.

          But a lot of issues and topics being discussed right now ARE matters of our most deeply-held values, or for some groups, a matter of personhood and physical safety. They aren’t just opinions or intellectual differences, and it’s a pretty privileged viewpoint to act like they should be treated as such and anything else is intolerant (privileged in that if you have this attitude, you probably aren’t in a group whose everyday life is affected by these politics in a very real way). Most of us probably have moral lines that we just can’t feel the same about someone if we see them crossing. For some it might be having an affair or breaking a law, for others it’s a sociopolitical stance.

          1. Gaia*

            Right. If I think government should supply food stamps and welfare and person X thinks poor people should just die unless they “bootstrap” hard enough it isn’t really about politics.

    2. Aphrodite*

      My best friend is a very strong Trump supporter based primarily on one issue. I hated Clinton but I also hated Trump. (The country got screwed in my opinion.) But here’s the thing: we like and respect each other so much that politics doesn’t matter. I don’t take it personally and neither does she. She’s thoughtful, intelligent, wonderful, caring, warm, generous and one of the loveliest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I am so grateful she and I have been friends for 40+ years.

      Politics is so unimportant. Really. I don’t need to agree because I view the topic as not an essential part of what I base a relationship. What I do need is to feel that the person has given it a great deal of thought and has solid, understandable reasons for their stance. My friend does. I love her. I love her as the person I know her to be, not what her political stance is.

      Is your friend your friend for a reason? Does she have great qualities you like? Do you respect her as a person? If so, that should be the basis of your feelings for her, not mere politics.

      1. neverjaunty*

        You’re very fortunate to have the luxury of these things being “mere politics”, as opposed to actually affecting your and your family’s lives.

          1. mollygus*

            It may be privilege but Aphrodite is making a point about her life. Her opinion may not be popular but she’s providing her view to the OP.

      2. Blue Anne*

        Politics becomes pretty relevant to my friendships when my friends think I shouldn’t be able to marry who I want.

        It’s pretty important to me that I can lose my job over who I’m dating and that I can be denied affordable health care because of a genetic birth defect. It’s pretty important to me that I be allowed to choose not to pass that birth defect on. And I’ve lost friends over that.

        It’s really nice for you that politics are unimportant.

        1. Anion*

          Being able to marry who you want is the law of the land, and that’s not changing anytime soon, and last time I checked no one was forcing people to get pregnant.

          It’s really nice for you that you’re so patronizing to someone who is probably affected by politics just as much as you are but chooses to focus on other things.

          1. neverjaunty*

            It’s not patronizing at all to observe that choosing to “focus on other things” is much easier when “other things” are abstract and unimportant to one’s own life.

          2. Gaia*

            People can be fired for being gay. While being able to marry who you want is the “law of the land” there are a lot of people who would love to change that like, yesterday. You can be fired for identifying as gender non-conforming.

            Look, I am a white, heterosexual, gender conforming woman. Yes, politics are important to me because I am a woman and there is a large contingent that would like to see me denied birth control and yet forced to carry forth any pregnancy. However, politics do not impact me nearly the same level that they impact any person of color or any person in the LGBTQ community. It is quaint when someone says politics are unimportant to them because they are either 1. naive about the impact politics has on their day to day life or 2. in the group of people that aren’t under assault on a daily basis by people attempting to restrict their rights.

            1. Elizabeth West*


              And it will affect those who choose to disengage; take climate change for example. More extreme weather caused by the earth’s warming makes it harder to grow crops, which in turn affects food prices. And things like putting executives in charge of the national parks systems. Oh looky there; all of a sudden, there is no more ban on bottled water in the parks (it was put in place to reduce litter). Guess who has to pay for future cleanup? Me–but also people who claim to not care. Comes out of ALL our wallets.

              I just want to slap people with a clue-by-four.

              I don’t want to hear people bitch about that stuff. If they do, they will definitely get an earful from me.

    3. StudentA*

      Did she actually confirm her views? I read things, including books, I disagree with because I find it fascinating.

      I do know the feeling of the heart sinking like that. And sometimes people’s views change drastically over the years, so the people you love staying the same is not guaranteed. Ask anyone who’s gotten a divorce. There’s not a whole lot you can do about it. Just decide for yourself if you want to ban certain topics with them.

      In fact, I think I have friends who feel that way about me a little. But with me, they think I’m too tolerant, which is fine with me.

    4. WellRed*

      I had this happen last night. But. She’s a nice person, I’ve known her forever and i remind myself she’s actually not particularly political. Then, I texted a likeminded friend to express my dismay and get it outta my system.

    5. Thlayli*

      It’s just politics. It’s only one aspect of their personality. Ive noticed a lot lately that some people seem to have this unspoken idea that they way they think is the only conceivable way to think and that the only way anyone could ever think differently is if they are evil. But that’s simply not true. You can have two very intelligent sane lovely people who have totally opposing viewpoints on a particular issue. It helps if you recognise that her politics doesn’t entirely define her as a person.

      Leta look at a not-extremely controversial example everyone can understand: I drink milk. I understand that the life of a dairy cows is not emotionally fulfilling – they are impregnated every year and the calves are taken from them as soon as they are born. They themselves were taken from their own mother as soon as they were born. After 5 years of this they are slaughtered. It is a horrible way to treat another being that can experience physical and emotional pain. I don’t like that the dairy industry has become like this (it was very different only a few decades ago).

      Yet I still drink milk. The “political opinion” I must therefore hold is that I believe cows have less rights than humans. Some people would think this makes me an absolute monster and that anyone with a conscience would switch to soy milk. Maybe they are right. Maybe not. Who knows.

      the point I am trying to make is that my being a milk drinker does not entirely define me. I am nice to animals and people (mostly). I don’t have any particular hatred for cows. I amn’t an evil cow hating person who sits around rubbing my hands in glee at the thought of calves being separated from their mothers. I simply hold a political view that the rights and health of humans takes priority over the rights of cows.

      (Please note I deliberately chose this topic over more widely debated political issues in order to avoid a massive debate – I really don’t want to get into a vegan/dairy debate – it was the least controversial example I could think of to explain how someone holding a particular view doesn’t define their personality. I will not respond to any debate on soy versus dairy – I am aware of the issues and some time in the future I may switch but it’s not going to happen any time soon).

      1. neverjaunty*

        You know, there’s a very well-known picture in photojournalism of an elderly woman in Klan robes, with the face cover flipped back, holding and kissing her baby grandchild. Every line in that woman’s face shows how much she loves that little baby, like any doting grandma. And yet there she is wearing robes and a hood, fervently allying herself with a group that joyfully spread hate and terrorism against those they saw as less-than-human.

        It wouldn’t surprise me at all if that woman loved her family, baked cookies for her grandchildren, brought covered dishes to her (white) neighbors when someone died – in some parts of her life, she was an intelligent, loving, generous person. And in other parts, she was an enthusiastic agent of evil.

        Is it fair for those who cared about her to dismiss her views on race as “just politics”? To defend her as being a lovely and intelligent person who gives selflessly of herself to others, and maybe it’s OK if she has completely opposite views on some things?

        I know, you’re going to say that gosh, that’s an extreme example. And that’s exactly the point – that this is a matter of degree, not kind. That when we say “golly, that’s just politics” we’re really saying “those issues aren’t all that important to me”. Or “okay, they may be important, but I like hanging out with this person better”. Which is fine, if that’s your choice, but it’s unnecessary and tiresome to scold people for being judgmental or over-interested in ‘politics’ for drawing the line elsewhere.

        1. Thlayli*

          Yeah I agree with you actually. I was thinking of “political views” to mean like where there are legitimate arguments on both sides and rational people can disagree. A few other commenters also seemed to think of those types of political views. And we made comments like “hey it’s just politics you can have different views and not be evil.”

          But a bunch of other commenters jumped straight to nazis. Which honestly never even entered my head. I guess I’m lucky I live in a country where nazis don’t really exist. Well, there are millions of people so I’m sure there must be at least one nazi in the whole country but it’s not like they have an organised group or anything. I’ve literally never heard anyone express any nazi views outside of on American tv or in history books. The the thought of someone finding out their friend is a nazi and saying their friend “has different political views” just literally never occurred to me.
          It would be interesting to know what “political views” the original post was actually referring to.

          I would clarify my opinion by saying that for the majority of political opinions my post above applies, but for extreme views like being a nazi, I don’t think I could look past that and remain friends with someone if I found out they were a nazi, and I am extremely thankful that I don’t live in a country where that is a remotely plausible scenario.

          1. neverjaunty*

            No, it really isn’t about how extreme a given person’s opinion is. It’s about people being complex creatures, rather than cartoon villains, who can be great and supportive friends to us yet hold morally repugnant views or act terribly toward others.

            And it’s also not the case that there is a master set of issues on which all sensible people can rationally disagree, or that if there are “arguments on both sides” that means nobody is allowed to perceive one of those sides as immoral or repugnant.

            That’s particularly true when you consider, again, that not everyone has the luxury of treating those matters as Debate Club. “Should we take funding away from Program X?” maybe be just politics to you and me, but it sure isn’t for the person who relies on Program X for life-saving medication.

            1. Thlayli*

              I really don’t get what your point is then. It seems you’re saying that every single political opinion is so important that there’s an “evil” and a “good” side, and that its not acceptable to be friends with anyone on the “evil” side of any issue. If that’s not what you’re saying then please explain what your actual point is.

              If that is what you’re saying then I disagree. I’m sure people who are close to any particular issue will feel strongly enough to end a friendship over it, but there’s no way I’m gonna end a life long friendship because someone disagrees with me over whether to drink soy milk versus dairy. I get that it’s an important issue for cows and dairy farmers but given I am neither I don’t see why I should fall out with someone over it. If you did that you’d never have any relationships at all because everyone disagrees about SOMETHING.

              1. Lissa*

                I think that this is a situation where each person has to decide for themself what their issues of “won’t be friends with someone who feels the other way” are, but things have gotten extremely polarized that even saying “I have friends with different political views” is now seen as having privilege, even without talking about what those political views are. I mean, I’m not really sure what the point is of repeatedly telling someone they’re privileged for being able to have friends with views they strongly disagree with – is the point that they should stop being friends with those people? I honestly don’t know because so often it’s just tossed off as a glib counter without really getting into the weeds about what the views are, what the correct course of action is, etc.

                I feel like this is relatively new and also hugely coloured by the fact that most people on the Internet are Americans and there’s recently been a huge political shift there – 20 years ago people had just as terrible views on things but there wasn’t as much of a push to isolate from people who disagreed, I think, or an assumption that if you had friends ‘across the aisle’ it could only be because those issues didn’t directly affect your life.

                1. neverjaunty*

                  but things have gotten extremely polarized that even saying “I have friends with different political views” is now seen as having privilege

                  No more than “I have friends with different political views” is a humblebrag about being super open-minded and tolerant, I don’t think.

                  And it’s really not true that pushing away people who disagreed is a new new thing. Go look at how polarized America was over the civil-rights movement or the Vietnam war.

                2. Thlayli*

                  Thanks for explaining this, im actually kind of relieved to know this sort of extreme polarisation and insisting on only having friends with the exact same views is A “thing”. I was worried that I was completely missing some sort of social norm I’d never heard of. Just another reason not to discuss politics with Americans I guess. You guys do things pretty differently.

                  I am actually feeling pretty creeped out by the responses on here. A lot of it seems to be like “you think it’s ok to have a friend with different politics than you? do you think it’s ok to be friends with a nazi? Do you?” Eh.. wtf?

                  It’s also pretty weird to see the comment thread above where someone mentioned they had a friend who voted trump but they weren’t going to end a friendship over it – and they got criticised for it!?!? Its very strange, it seems like the commenters are saying you should just cut everyone out of your life unless they hold exactly the same political views as you do on every single issue. That would lead to a very lonely life I think.

                  “What’s your view on the recent controversy about NHS funding of scientific research? Oh you think that group should have got more funding? Get out and take the kids with you I can’t be married to someone who doesnt agree with me on every aspect of government funding of scientific research”

          2. Gaia*

            Funny. I thought I lived in a country where Nazis didn’t really exist. The last few years have taught me so much.

              1. Gaia*

                I readily admit I was incredibly ignorant to the sheer amount of racism and hatred that continues to exist here. I mean, I knew it was there but not “Nazis carrying flags in a park” level.

    6. The Unkind Raven*

      I just find your comment to be so closed-minded. You should look at your own judgmental-ness.

      People can have different politics than you. They can be good people and have different politics than you. This friend likes you despite your politics, after all. You don’t own the things you like and people of all walks are allowed to like them.

      1. zora*

        politics isn’t always just superficial, it can literally be life or death for some people. It’s a privileged position to be able to put all “politics” aside 100% of the time.

        It’s also a pretty big jump to call Apollonia ‘judgemental’ based on a few lines with no actual details of what she is talking about, that’s pretty harsh for this site. You could have said what you were trying to say in a more kind way.

        If I find out that someone I know is actually okay with white supremacists, or a handful of other extreme issues like that, I am pretty okay with being judgmental towards them and not being ‘friends’ with them anymore. There is ‘politics’ and there is ‘politics’.

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          Even if their politics is just about the budget and they think encouraging white supremacists to come out of the woodwork is an acceptable side effect to their desired end, I’m done with them. Just done.

          1. Gaia*

            Yup. I just ended a very long friendship last week over a discussion that resulted in her telling me she actually believed these white supremacists deserved equal time to spew their hate because it is just another viewpoint.

            Hell. To. The. Nope. Do they legally deserve a permit? Yes, because of the 1st Amendment. Should their ugly hatred be given my time of day? Nope.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            Yeah, I just can’t align myself with that. At all. Someone I know has a child adopted from an Asian country and she shared one of those posts on Facebook where the poster uses a bunch of false equivalencies to justify racist blah-de-blah-blah. You know the kind I mean, where at first it looks reasonable. And I called her out on it. I told her that no, this is how they argue their position, and their position is that anyone who isn’t white, including her daughter, should not be here. I said I would fight to the last breath in my body to oppose that, but I was gonna name it and shame it where I see it. I mean, she of ALL PEOPLE, seriously. I hope it was just that she didn’t read it closely enough to realize what it actually said.

      2. Kj*

        I do think that people can be different from me politically and be good people. But some differences would, in my mind, mean someone is not a good person. If I found out a friend supported racism, I am not going to call it a political difference and say “it’s cool.” OTOH, if they disagree about taxes, that is not a big deal. Some political issues are moral issues to me and I whole-heartedly reserve the right to judge my friends based on those.

      3. Thlayli*

        I agree the original comment came across as extremely judgemental. particularly the part about “how dare” someone with different political views like something I like. I don’t see how that could be interpreted as anything other than judgemental.

        1. Maya Elena*

          I agree but I think commenter meant the feeling of How Dare You was visceral – not necessarily the rational opinion.

      4. Courtney*

        Ironically, this response seems fairly judgmental and close-minded as well. You have no idea what the books in question were. What if they are books that make it clear her friend is a bigot? And if that is the case, let’s not do the circular argument of “you say you’re against intolerance, but you’re intolerant of intolerant people!” Because no. Just no.

    7. Sylvan (Sylvia)*

      It depends on the specific difference. If it’s something that personally affects me or has a serious, real-life effect on other people, it could be the end of the relationship. If it’s an abstract or philosophical thing that doesn’t manifest in any real-life harm to anyone, I don’t really care.

      It also depends on how we’re able to talk about these things together. I have a relative at the opposite end of the political spectrum who I can talk politics with because we can both stay calm and respectful. There are some other people who share my exact beliefs and opinions – and I would fake my own death to get out of talking about it with them.

      I would try not to jump to conclusions based on a bookshelf. Reading a bunch of writers who are proud members of the Political Group That Sucks doesn’t mean your friend’s in that group; it means that she wants to have a better understanding of them. She might even read them to learn more about an agenda she wants to work against.

    8. rj*

      so my political views are a huge part of my identity (I’m extremely liberal, and would use the word feminist as the first word to describe myself and if I were American I’d vote for who you’d expect). None of my good friends have wildly different views. I am friendly (or was where I used to live, just moved) with people who would vote differently. For me there’s a line – oh, you think taxes should be lower (probably not going to be bffs) vs oh you think some people aren’t actually human (going to go out of way to avoid… also…. some people who would on paper lean the same way politically turn out to be real jerks so I also go out of my way to avoid them).

    9. EmilyAnn*

      I’ve always had friends from all over the political spectrum (I worked professionally for a different political party than I belong to now). That said, I don’t do Trump supporters as a minority I’m not going to give people the opportunity to support a white supremacist and call themselves my friend.

      1. Gaia*

        Exactly, there is a line. You think taxes should be X and I think they should be Y? Let’s have a lively debate about the impact of each. You think the EPA should do A and I think they should do B? Let’s bring out the research and each learn something. You think people of Z identity don’t deserve equal rights and dignity or access to our country? You can get the hell away from me right now and never come back.

    10. Sibley*

      I don’t care what people think, I care how they ACT. If your friend otherwise acts in a positive manner, don’t worry about it.

      Food for thought: my mom had boxes of fantasy books, accounting books, law books, etc in her house. All belonging to me and my sister. It happens.

    11. NicoleK*

      If I discovered a friend’s political views are different than mine, I may drop them as a friend (depending on their views and how they express those views). But then I wouldn’t be upset if they dropped me as a friend if my views were different than theirs. People are allowed to have their political views. And we all have the right to decide who we want to associate with.

      This is my stance on friendship and politics. As a person of color, it’s just not “mere politics” for me.

    12. Not So NewReader*

      Books on a shelf are pretty benign. It’s what is being done with the words inside the book that is of concern.
      I routinely read things that I disagree with and the reason is to try to learn what it is others are seeing and thinking about. It’s quite challenging to read something I disagree with and there are days I cannot do it.

      People with the opposite views liking the same things you do:

      This is supposed to happen, I believe. We are supposed to be reminded that we are all human beings first and foremost. We are not stark opposites to each other like day and night. It can be very disconcerting to be reminded that we actually do have things in common. We can even have things in common with people whose views we do not subscribe to. This is normal and to be expected.
      I suggest that you decide not to let this startle you and hopefully, you decide not to spend a lot of time thinking about it.
      My wise friend said it’s important not to let this confuse us. Evil is still evil. So Bob likes gardening as much as I do. I can’t let that muddle my judgement on his activities against specific groups of people. Bob is allowed to like gardening, (maybe if he did more of it he would work through that hatred he is carrying around). I have choices, I can either talk to Bob and help him to understand what he should be doing OR if it’s not safe around Bob, I can chose to distance myself.

      For less violent, less radical people AND depending on the closeness of the relationship sometimes we can just talk to them. Find out what they hope to see achieved and specifically point out that there are other paths. Show specific paths where possible. In doing this, we, ourselves, have to control our own tempers.

      1. zora*

        This is so well put and important, as well. I think there is a tendency to oversimplify things and think ‘oh well there are only a few people who are actually white supremacists, so racism is over.’ and that is just one example. But finding out someone we know has a belief we didn’t realize should encourage us to remember that these things are actually really complicated, and not easily separated along clear lines. I worked closely with people who were emphatically in favor of ending the Iraq war, but then if immigration came up, were angry about undocumented immigrants. People’s actual views rarely line up cleanly along party lines.

        I definitely think there are lines where I won’t be friends with someone, but it also encourages me to look at their actual views on different issues and see where the nuances are, and look at my own views again to see if there are any unconscious biases I have that I am blind to. Maybe to figure out how to talk to that friend about the more insidious, ingrained racism that continues to exist. Because I always have to stop and look at myself again, because this is a complicated and ongoing process that will never be ‘done.’

    13. Halls of Montezuma*

      You sound like you’ve already made the decision – your political ideals, to include intolerance of friend’s perceived politics, are more valuable to you than the relationship/this person’s presence in your life. That’s a you decision, so just make sure that you make it for yourself, not based on what other people think your answer should be, and that you are willing to accept what that does to the size of your social circle and support network.

      Personally, I’d be sorry to lose a friend because they saw NRA political junk mail for the person who used to have my PO Box, and decided I was a Nazi, but if they were going to ditch me over that, they probably would have over something else, like the massive gun collection in my cellar, and I’d rather know the friendship was doomed.

    14. Lissa*

      Depends on a lot of things, like what the views are of course, as well as if we can talk about them. I think there is a lot of hyperbolizing that can happen with things, as well as assuming the absolute worst. I see this especially online, where Person A says “I think there’s room for debate” and Person B says “that means you literally want me dead” and it’s really rather hard to talk under those circumstances. In real life, though, I feel like most people I know would at least be willing to hear out a friend on why they think what they do, and perhaps illuminate their own POV….like the above exchange, if it were about health care, quite possibly both people think their way would save more lives, they just disagree on methods. Or whatever. I guess what I’m saying is if a friend has previously shown themself to be compassionate, and they have a view that I find totally uncompassionate, I wouldn’t totally decide everything else was meaningless and a lie, but I’d want to talk to them about why.

      (Sorry if using health care as an example upsets anyone, it’s jut the first one I thought of since I’m Canadian and we often have a hard time relating to Americans on this issue!)

      1. Not So NewReader*

        The willingness to get hot tempered is at an all time high.
        If the object is to yell the loudest no one wins. We all lose.
        If a person is very good with words but choses to throw those words around in an irresponsible manner, we lose here also.
        Any time people are injured or killed, we have all lost.

      2. Amadeo*

        I see this especially online, where Person A says “I think there’s room for debate” and Person B says “that means you literally want me dead” and it’s really rather hard to talk under those circumstances.

        This is what always pulls me up short, even in this particular discussion thread. Saying ‘I have friends who don’t agree with me politically’ isn’t necessarily a privilege or a ‘humblebrag’ (really?). There are some of these friends who understand I don’t want them to hurt, but we don’t agree on an approach to a particular problem and we can have a good talk about some things. And then there are others with whom I simply enjoy the things we have in common, like fandom, and we just don’t talk politics period.

        Obviously this is a thing that everyone has to work out for themselves as to what’s acceptable in their friend-circle, but I think it’s a stretch to assume that someone wants you dead because they don’t like that the ACA as it is forces someone to buy insurance or they get penalized, for instance. It just kind of boggles my mind that a lot of people in this discussion jumped straight to ‘Nazi’.

        1. CorruptedbyCoffee*

          I knew a lot of people who said they “didn’t have a problem with gays, but they disagreed with gay marriage. ” Sometimes, disagreements have negative consequences for other people. The entire point many are trying to make is that, to you, these are “just disagreements,” whereas, to others, it’s the difference between getting to see their loved one in the hospital on their death bed. It’s very easy to dismiss people for getting upset over “just disagreeing” but your disagreement can have horrible consequences for their lives. By refusing to aknowledge that, you show that you have not considered things from their point of view and do not understand their interests or concerns. It’s hard to be friends when you dismiss things that are big problems for them. Note: I am not gay, I just really hate the “just disagreements” argument from people who never had to worry about losing their job or not being able to adopt over these disagreements.

        2. zora*

          Well i think a lot of us jumped to Nazi because that is what is actually happening right now in the US and that is what is on our minds.

          But I for one was not saying that having a friend I disagree with is a privilege, being able to say “I don’t worry about politics at all, politics are unimportant” is a privileged position, because SOME political issues are life or death for some people. I’m not saying all politics are that way, I also have a lot of friends with some different opinions than me. But some people can’t ignore certain political issues because they actually effect their lives and bodies.

          1. Thlayli*

            Every political issue actually affects someone life to a large degree – otherwise it wouldn’t be a political issue in the first place.

        3. Thlayli*

          Yeah this part really creeped me out. I see it all the time on other sites but was not expecting to have it thrown at me here.
          Me: “I think it’s ok to have friends with different political views”
          Reply: “Do you think it’s ok for someone to be friends with a nazi?”

          Honestly I was pretty freaked out by seeing this sort of comment on this site. This place is usually really calm and rational. But I guess tensions are high over there at the moment so people aren’t as calm as usual.

          1. zora*

            I don’t think saying that is irrational right now in the US, we are literally dealing with people finding out that other people in their families are going to Nazi rallies and part of Nazi groups. It’s just pointing out that there is a spectrum of “different political views”, and some of us feel like there is line where we can’t be friendly with someone. It’s not coming from a place of not being ‘calm’ these are actual conversations we are having right now because it is actually happening.

    15. Stellaaaaa*

      It depends on the underlying beliefs and their reasons for having those political leanings. I am personally a bit more conservative than you might be comfortable with, but my reasons are based on my own personal experiences. Online activism has made me really wary of outspoken members of the far left. Don’t call me a cancer on society, refuse to answer my questions, look down on my well-intentioned yet imperfect efforts, and then dare to ask me why I’m not doing anything for you anymore. Ya know? I’m not masochistic or codependent enough to participate in the hazing and virtue signalling of liberalism. I’m iffy on drug legalization and the like because I’ve never met someone who got high and then was nicer to me. Left-leaning thinking asks me to put my personal experiences aside in favor of other people’s experiences, and those people certainly aren’t willing to give up anything for me in return.

      So there you have it. I believe in equality and treating people well. I voted for Hillary. But if you’re basing your human value judgments on the specific question of whether I identify as a liberal, you might decide I’m not someone you’d want to associate with.

  10. Al*

    I’m moving in with my bf in January and need advice for what we need to talk over/look out for/consider that isn’t the obvious stuff! We’ve already discussed finances, division of chores, how to argue, health problems, what to do if we break up, and other obvious stuff. Is there anything random/unexpected that any of y’all ran into when moving in with a partner that I should know about?


    1. Loopy*

      Pets? I moved in with a bf and really wanted a dog after a while and he wasn’t really as into dogs as me… for some places this is a moot point, but if not!

    2. Junior Dev*

      I’m not sure how to phrase this but…alone time signals? How to say “I don’t want to be socialized with even though we are in the same house”? And expectations for social contact when you’re living together. Do you need to unwind alone after work or do you want to talk about your day together? Are there certain activities you prefer to do alone or with your partner?

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Yes! This is very important. When my boyfriend moved in with me, I had lived alone in my studio apartment for 7 years. I told him he would have to find an evening activity once a week, and on top of that, I would require some alone time for a few hours on weekends. I wasn’t quite as straightforward as that, but I came close. Luckily for both us, we met doing a hobby that got us both out of the house on different nights, and in that first year, his gym was a 30-minute subway ride away. I really, really need alone time to recharge. I have been known to say, “I’m going to lie down now, by myself, please don’t follow.” (We live in a two-bedroom house now, it’s a little easier on both of us.) He doesn’t need quite as much alone time as I do, but his schedule is also much more home-based than mine. The key for me is to be calm and kind about asking for down time, even if he’s annoying the crap out of me and I just want him out of my space for ten dang minutes! Headphones are also good for this; I do almost all of the cooking because it relaxes me, and I often put on my headphones, zone out, and cook.

        Also: you will get annoyed with each other. It WILL happen. If it doesn’t, you have nerves of steel. And it’s perfectly ok!

      2. Damn it, Hardison!*

        OMG, yes! When my now husband and I started living together that was a fraught issue. He just didn’t understand that I needed time to myself, and that no, sitting together reading books didn’t count. He took it very personally. It only took a couple of years for him to stop being passive aggressive about it.

      3. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        Yeah after 13 years he knows the signs I need “space” before I do (usually after work, after 10 pm) but if he doesn’t catch them I just tell him “I need to listen to ocean for a bit” (or even “I need ocean”) and he knows to not bother my while I literally go listen to sounds of the ocean on my ipod.

        When we first moved in together I would just up and say “I need some alone time”. I still use that phrase; even used it today when I told him I was feeling cranky and thought I would maybe take myself to lunch after the gym (caved later and decided it would be more fun with him, and it was)

        Im a big fan of telling people what I need now because no one is a mind reader and honestly, its better for everyone if they get what they need to function. Definitely a good topic to bring up!

    3. Anono-me*

      Time. Think about what time you do things and how long? Bed time, meal time, wake up time, visiting time, shower time, bathroom time etc.

      All stuff that most people can work together on pretty easily, but you don’t want to find out on at 11:30 pm on your first Sunday together that that is when bf normally takes a 1/2 hour shower. Especially if you have to get up at 6:00 am the next day for a big unmentionable project.

    4. Ange*

      For me it would be 1) guests and 2) personal space/time. As in, how do you handle it if one of you has a friend who seems to be always around and the other one would like some couple-only time? Also things like relatives staying, especially if they disapprove of one or both of you. And I personally would need an agreement about having alone time, but I’m quite introverted so YMMV.

      1. Pieforbreakfast*

        Yes on guests. I’m open to anyone staying at the house when in from out of town, especially family (mine or in-laws), it’s basically how it was in the house I group up in. My husband doesn’t want to offer the option to visitors but wait for them to ask and then limit it to weekends only. We’ve sort of resolved/compromised on this in the last 12 years? but it would’ve been great to enter into living together knowing it would be an issue.

      2. Loopy*

        Oh gosh seconding this. My bf is local and I’m not so I have more out of town guests for overnight stays than he does.

        We never talked about it though and I so wish we had! Ive seen this be an issue with other couples too, though.

      3. Red Reader*

        Guests, yes. Both overnight and even just stopping by. I’m super protective of My Space and I get really irate if people show up unexpectedly/without invitation, and my fiancé used to be of the “people come by whenever, I don’t even lock the door when I’m home and they just come on in” variety, which is … SO beyond my comfort zone it’s not even funny.

    5. JKP*

      Intellectual Foreplay by Eve Eschner Hogan is a great book for this sort of thing (you can find it on amazon). It basically has tons of questions to ask each other including lots of living in the same space questions. Skimming through the questions could bring up some topics that need to negotiated that you hadn’t thought of yet.

    6. blackcat*

      What foods do you both like? Is there something one of you loves that the other hates/is allergic to? If so, have a plan! Eat out where someone can get a favorite food that can’t be kept in the house.

    7. Never Nicky*

      Bathroom usage/habits – let’s leave it there
      Morning routines – I don’t expect anything approaching words from him until bf has had coffee or its 10am, and he’s had to learn I have 2 states – zonked out or wide awake, no cosy drowsy snuggle state
      Tolerance for mess/dust etc
      Temperature, light and ventilation (and doors open/shut/locked)
      Attitude to leftovers and out of date food in the fridge
      Leaving chargers plugged in (yup)
      How to pair socks

      1. AVP*

        oh, morning habits, this actually was a big thing that I forgot about. It turned out that based on our commutes, we pretty much needed to be in the shower at the same time, or one of us would have to wake up early, which we both hate. This worked itself out pretty easily when my schedule changed but I wish we had talked it over in advance.

    8. AVP*

      The only unexpected things that came up for my and my bf when we moved in together were design issues, more or less. I was moving my stuff into a space he’d been living in for a few years, and while there was plenty of space, it took a little tinkering for me to feel like I wasn’t just living in his bachelor pad, surrounded by 80% his stuff. It didn’t lead to big issues but it has consistently grated on me that the bedroom is set up to only have a nightstand on one side (and it’s not mine!) for example.

      1. Ann On a Mouse*

        My wife and I discovered that putting together Ikea furniture can be one of the biggest challenges to a relationship. If you can not only survive the trip through Ikea, but get it assembled without fighting, they’re a keeper :)

    9. Ramona Flowers*

      What do you need and want when you walk in the door? Eg does one of you like to debrief the day while the other needs quiet time to decompress?

    10. Anxa*

      It’s cliche, but do you have any expectations or hopes about getting married?

      I don’t regret moving in with my SO before marriage, but it’s absolutely effecting his interest in it. There’s no sense of urgency behind it and while he’s interested in ‘someday,’ he doesn’t see any reason to do it sooner rather than later.

    11. SophieChotek*

      Some of this my fall under finances but…

      …TV watching. That may sound odd, my if there is only 1 TV/Computer – will there be issues if one person wants to watch 1 thing/another watch something else. I mean, nowadays with streaming, in theory it could be fine to just go watch other show on one’s computer, but will there be different expectations of “watching shows together” or something. (I experienced this some.)

      …trips. taking trips without bf. will that be a possibility/potential problem. I suppose that could be discussed without living together but it might loom bigger after sharing space. (for instance, some couples don’t care if one goes on a trip, whereas in others some might be upset if one wants to go to X, even if the person-who-is-upset did not particularly want to go).

      …agree about food/cost of food/”special” foods-just-for-me (if such exist)

      …agree about guests/overnight guests/how long can family/friends visit

      …agree about pets (potential pets down the road)

      …division of chores – yardwork/snow removal – if either are applicable – sometimes people don’t realize how much time that can take

    12. Mela*

      The one thing my husband and I had constant little disagreements on was how to determine what was an “us” purchase, vs a “me” purchase. Mostly it was me wanting to upgrade something like our old hand-me-down dishes/get a kitchen appliance; him not wanting to spend the money, but me seeing it as a joint thing since he’d be using it as much as me.

      1. Amy Farrah Fowler*

        Omg, yes this!

        I’m married 4 years and my husband and I *still* haven’t found the sweet spot on this yet…

  11. Loopy*

    So to be honest, this is mostly just a rant.

    Why is there only ONE gym in my area that doesn’t demand a contract??? Due to life uncertainty, I cant commit to one right now and the one option is 30 minutes from work and home!

    Very annoyed that contracts seem to be A Gym Thing. Everywhere.

    1. Anono-me*

      I don’t know what your life uncertainties are but, some gyms will have relocation cancellation options.

      Community ed and especially in smaller
      communities, local highschools (evenings and weekends) sometimes are also options

      1. Loopy*

        Ah thanks! Yes! Golds gym did that for me when I moved and it was lovely. Sadly this is finances related. My income might uh, cease to exist in November >.<

    2. Girasol*

      We used to go to a gym that had a buy-two-years-get-one-year-free contract. We liked it and went all the time. Come the end of two years they didn’t want to honor the third year. Their objective was that you’d dive into a new healthy lifestyle, buy the whole three year package, and give it up after a month or two. They way oversold their facility counting on the fact that most people would buy in and not go. They weren’t pleased to see us asking to put their place to good use for a third year without paying anything more! Why would a gym sell a month-to-month contract when they can sell a month’s worth of use for the price of a year? It’s not fair but it’s what the market will bear.

      1. Loopy*

        I see your point. But for me it means they don’t er my business at all rather than getting it for at least a few months.

    3. Thlayli*

      I think it’s because the only way gyms actually make their money is by hundreds of people signing up in January and not actually coming. If people only paid when they came it would probably be unsustainable as a business.

      Or maybe they are making a massive profit – but I doubt it since this seems to be the case everywhere in the world. You would think price wars would be happening if there was massive profit in there.

      1. Loopy*

        I guess, but it’s really hard for people who need more flexibility with their budget. I’d happily pay for a month at a time.

        I’m doing a trail at gym where the options are an entire year contract or pay 20% more for month to month… and nothing in between :/

    4. rj*

      Is there a planet fitness? I was in Chicago for a month, and joined the PF closest to where I was staying. (I have a gym from my job normally.) I had to send a letter by certified mail to cancel and told them I was relocating (which was true as I was leaving Chicago … except I gave them the same address I signed up with so… obviously not doing a ton of checking).

      1. rj*

        also I didn’t love PF because they didn’t have super heavy weights, but, it was an environment with people of various backgrounds and literally every fitness level, so, that was a plus.

      2. Loopy*

        I do but it’s the one that’s 30 minutes away from me, which is realistically never going to happen, knowing myself.

          1. Loopy*

            Yeah, and I have a rough commute and a pet so 30 minutes isn’t really feasible even if I wanted to!

    5. Loopy*

      Ironically, after making a fuss…I finally found a no contract gym about 10-15 minutes away. Cue embarrassment. Pricey but hey, no contract!

    6. HannahS*

      That is so annoying! Back when I was making a cursory effort to work out I found that my local public community centre had a dinky little gym and public pool, but it had everything I needed, was filled with comfortingly middle-aged people in track pants instead of buff dudes grunting intimidatingly at their biceps, and cost about 3.50 US per visit if you didn’t buy a monthly pass. Is there something like that near you?

      1. Junior Dev*

        “buff dudes grunting intimidatingly at their biceps” is my new favorite phrase.

        I say this as a not-buff lady who recently started lifting weights and have found some of those giant buff dudes to be friendly and encouraging! But the grunting is still annoying.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      If I go to the gym to use the indoor track, I go to one of the city parks and rec ones. Of course, I realize that’s not an option for everyone who doesn’t live in a city that’s large enough to have that. I do it mostly to avoid this contract crap. Otherwise, I exercise at home/outside.

      I do want to find a trainer when I have money again who can help me with strength training. I want to get skinnier and be powerful, LOL.

  12. Caledonia*

    I’m going to Berlin for a weekend soon. Does anyone have any recommendations? I like food, history and parks and out of the ordinary things. I’m not really an art person.

    1. Miso*

      Well, the museums of course! There’re a bunch of them on the Museumsinsel – the Neue Museum has the bust of Nefertiti (and other stuff of course ;)), the Pergamonmuseum has the Pergamon altar and the gate of Ishtar (my favourite). I’m not sure if they’re done renovating it though…
      Well, there are way more museums of course, depends on what you’re interested in. You can also buy the tickets in advance, so you don’t have to wait in a line.

      What we did last time was take a city tour on a boat. Was called bridge tour, I think and took about 4 hours. It was really nice – you get to see a lot of stuff with explanations, it was surprisingly green and your feet didn’t hurt at the end ;)

      Another time I was there we actually took a guided city tour on bikes. That worked surprisingly well! It was a couple of hours, but since you only drove a little bit and then you stood around with your guide explaining stuff, it wasn’t exhausting at all.

    2. 30ish*

      The Tempelhofer Feld, a former airport. It’s a huge open space in the middle of the city. Kreuzberg and Neukölln are interesting areas nearby.

    3. Nina*

      Mauerpark ist really nice on sundays, with an open air karaoke and a big flea/street market.
      Check Berliner Unterwelten for some out of ordinary old bunker’ tours ;)

    4. Isobel*

      I haven’t been to Berlin (would love to!) but my sister visited last year. She really recommended the DDR museum. She also did a craft beer tour which sounded like a fun evening activity (good if you’re on your own).

      1. Ismis*

        I second the DDR museum and also the bike tour that Miso mentioned above. The one I did (admittedly over 10 years ago) was a Fat Tire tour.

    5. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      The area around the Zoo is pretty neat – there is the bombed out church (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church) on the K’damm, and near there is this shopping mall called Bikini Berlin that has all sorts of independent shops and design – other half got a beautifully worked leather man bag there (courier bag). The Tiergarten is really beautiful to wander around – we enjoyed it even in March!

      We’ve been twice and have been to the Templehof area (mostly for shows at Columbiahalle, but the buildings are neat) and Friedrichshain areas. Last trip we spent an afternoon apart and I went to the Technological Museum (if you like boats and planes etc) and he went record shopping.

      The U-Bahn is easy to use and I think we just got a Berlin Card for the first trip to make it easy for us as we were taking mixed forms of transport. We did the Wall thing and the Brandenburg Gate etc etc. There are a lot of flea markets and the like around on the weekends usually on the side jus north of the Spree. Some of the best coffee Ive ever had I got at a place called The Barn, they do a really good organic breakfast too. We had amazing schnitzel at this bizarre place near the Zoo – restaurant berlinchen.

      If you are flying out of Tegel give yourself a LOT of time – its extremely squished, the security lines are long and any food other than a currywurst is AFTER the security. Which is at each gate. The airport looks straight out of the 70s and is stretched to its limits. I refuse to go back to Berlin until the new airport comes back online. The other airport is ok and easier to use, but its really far out in the countryside. The train journey in is fine if a little disconcerting.

    6. Apollo Warbucks*

      If you book on line in advance you can visit the parliament building, which is really cool.

    7. Moon Watcher*

      If you like Cold War history, the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie and the GDR Museum are fascinating.
      Berlin is great! Geniessen Sie gut!

    8. Julia*

      As a born Berliner, I always take people to the Technikmuseum, the Berliner Dom and Checkpoint Charlie.

  13. Aphrodite*

    My mom is dying; Hospice has been called in. I live about an hour and a half away so I am driving down tomorrow to see her. It’s fine. She is 94 and has lived a good, long, wonderful life. She’s not in pain.

    But family drama is becoming overwhelming. One sister (there are five of us) is the source of the drama. I think the physical cause of her behavior is ” alcoholic dementia,” and it’s causing her to lay on the rest of us incredible abuse. (She is likely in the severe stage of it and any kind of recovery is impossible.) I probably get the least of it but I can see it’s killing one of my brothers who is the current target. Difficult as it is now, I believe it will get ten times worse when Mom dies and the estate kicks in. I have set up personal boundaries and will no longer take her calls nor will I pick her up to take her to Mom’s home. Still, I am scared to death for her as she will lose her low-income housing, her SSI, her MediCal/Medicare, and all her other government assistance when she inherits. And she is 66 years old. She refuses to face reality and has rejected all advice. I am emotionally distant now but not entirely disconnected. I don’t know when it will happen but I feel as if I am waiting for a train to hit me when this comes to a head.

    Has anyone been through this?

    1. fposte*

      Oh, man, I’m sorry. My sibs have their issues but were at least not troublesome at my father’s death.

      You have some choices here, as you probably already know. You can take your sister’s troubles all on you; you can leave them all on her doorstep untouched; you can find a way in between. It’s up to you, and “in between” can cover a multitude of things. It might make sense to start talking to a therapist about all this; it wouldn’t hurt also to consult an eldercare attorney yourself to see if s/he can give you an idea of ways this might play out and what you could do to mitigate the possibility of your sister becoming homeless and completely impoverished. I think figuring out a plan of action, even if it’s only finding out ways to approach the question and make your decision, is likely to feel better than being just on the train tracks waiting to see if it wrecks before it hits you.

      (BTW, do you know for sure what’s in the inheritance the sister will be receiving, and do you know where it is on a scale of “just enough to bump her out of eligibility” to “enough to live on for 30 years”?)

      1. Observer*

        All of this. Also, is it possible that your mother put this into a trust for her, which should help for some issues.

    2. Anono-me*

      I have supported a friend through a somwhat similar situation. (The bad behavior of friend’s sibling was not due to brain damage. )

      Please spend as much time as you can with your mom.

      Document everything related to money and valuables.

      Support your brother in learning to set boudarys if HE wants . (Something for you to consider and possibly share with him. If your sister was not unkind before the brain damage, and you could go back in time, she would probably ask you all for help to not be unkind.)

      Can you or your Mom talk to an estate lawyer about a trust for your sister? Sometimes trusts can be set up to improve the quality of life of the beneficiary (fairly and without ‘gaming the system’) rather than disrupting things with a sudden temporary infusion of cash that later leaves the person worse off and needing more assistance.

      My sympathies on all that you and your loved ones are going through.

      Remember to take of yourself or you can not take care of anyone.

    3. Jessen*

      Is it getting to the point where you are or will be needing to consider having her declared incompetent?

    4. rj*

      I second the attorney. I have a friend who works as a social worker specifically for elder crime victims. If you have a victim services bureau (this is an org in rural Ohio funded partially by grants and donations, and works closely with law enforcement) they would be able to offer resources around legal questions, mental health, etc.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Third the attorney. A retired eldercare social worker at my church pointed us toward the best eldercare attorney in our area when two grandchildren were financially abusing my husband’s grandparents. He helped my MIL get guardianship over her parents, sort out Medicare issues for nursing home care, and contacted the prosecutor for the two grandchildren. Having the attorney saved us months of time when they would have been draining the bank accounts while no one could stop them.

        Your situation is different in that no one (presumably) needs to be prosecuted or have guardianship taken from them, but the elder care attorney will know so much about what your options are, it’s totally worth speaking to one.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      That’s a lot of worry in one paragraph, holy cow.
      I get it and I do the same type of worrying.
      Force yourself to focus on today and what is going on today. Respond in a way that is appropriate for what you see in front of you right now.
      The number one rule is do not allow yourself or those you live with to become injured. “Injury” can mean emotional, financial as well as physical injury. Protect you and those who live with you.

      Your sis does not want help. The only thing I have ever found to do with that is to tell myself to watch the ways I reject help from others and that I should watch what I am doing. Can’t salvage her, can only salvage yourself.

      I don’t know how you feel about helping your brother who is under attack. Again, if he does not want help, then there is not a lot that can be done there.

      You have your boundaries which is great. Hang on to them and don’t be afraid to make them tighter or stricter if need be.

      Back to sis. She must qualify for other things just because of her age. Really you can’t tell her not to accept her inheritance because then she will just say that you want to keep the money for yourself. So best not to even try to explain. She has case workers who will explain that her benefits are gone.

      I am not clear on how a train would hit you, when it’s your sis who will be impacted. Perhaps you mean an emotional train where you are forced to watch her life unravel. I think on a logical level you know that you have been watching her life unravel right along and this is more of that.

      I have watched people unravel themselves it’s probably some of the worst stuff in life. It’s very humbling for one thing because we can’t stop it. And it’s scary because it reminds us that anyone’s life could fall apart at any time. Not a comforting thought for sure. Then we think of our own lives and realize how fragile we are….

      Some suggestions that may or may appeal to you:
      1) Firm up things in your own life. Take good care of yourself and your home so that you KNOW for a fact that you are doing your best.

      2) Understand that she spent her life getting herself into the spot she is in now. You alone can’t fix a Grand Canyon size problem. It would take a huge team of people to fix her problems.

      3) We are each responsible for how our lives play out right up to the last day. Yeah, sure, the courts can declare a person incompetent and someone else takes over their affairs. But that person must live with their loss of autonomy and their loss of control over their own course in life for the rest of their days.

      4) We toss out our life preservers and try to save people. Not everyone grabs the life preserver. Some people say no out right. Some people want a purple life preserver and we only have pink ones. We don’t get to pick who responses positively to our offers of help. Often the person we are most desperate to help is the very person who turns us down. Hopefully, with us removed from the situation someone can get in there that our person will actually listen to. But maybe not. In the end, maybe the best we can do is learn to accept the person as who they are and realize they will never be what we think they should be.

      I say the train has already hit you. The shock of the total devastation in your sister’s life would be overwhelming to most people. My suggestion to you is the train has hit, you may never feel entirely disconnected and your life will be changed. Your life will be changed because you will think of her and make different choices than you have in the past. Life will change because you will hold those near to you a little tighter and a little closer, as they have grown dearer. Allow it to shape you and grow you in good ways. Think of what you have learned from what you have seen and use it to help others. It is in helping others that we can start to process our own profound grief.

    6. OtterB*

      Fourth the attorney, someone knowledgeable about disability law. My MIL’s will was set up to put the share of one child (out of 4) in a trust to preserve her access to benefits. Also, even if your sister inherits directly, it may be possible for her to put the money in a trust herself and retain her benefits (although in that case, if money remains in the trust when your sister dies, it will go back to the government to repay benefits). But requires her to cooperate, which doesn’t sound likely.

      Also, hospice deals with a lot of family drama and may be able to help with strategies.


    7. SeekingBetter*

      I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through this with your sister, on top of what’s happening. I don’t have advice to offer but you have my sympathies.

  14. Loopy*

    All… what is the site etiquette on multiple posts on the weekend thread? Is there any??

    If not…. thinking of abandoning camp iPhone…maybe. Anyone have a non-iPhone that they LOVE? And why?? :)

    1. KR*

      I have a Galaxy S7. First I had an iPhone and I liked it well enough but didn’t love it. I got a Droid Turbo and I LOVED it but now they don’t make them anymore. So I got a Galaxy and I’m a huge fan .

      1. Loopy*

        That’s how I feel about the iPhone. I like it well enough but I’d like to have a phone I really love. I’m looking for my phone soul mate and iPhone doesn’t seem to be it.

    2. fposte*

      Post away! I just try to not post a bunch in close succession so that people don’t get sick of seeing the same name over and over again when they first open the thread.

      1. Loopy*

        Thanks for this guidance! Today mine are a little close, but I’ll keep it to two! So hopefully no one is sick of me! :P

    3. Cruciatus*

      You can post multiple questions. I’ve been quieter lately, but sometimes have 2 or 3 things I’ve been thinking about. I wouldn’t post every question you’ve ever had but a few is definitely OK. I’ve never seen any actual rule about it either way.

      I’ve only had a Galaxy S4 and S7 and think they are great. I will continue buying them as long as they continue to be so well rated as well. I only got the S7 because it was available for $100 (contract renewal). My S4 was still kicking butt 3 years later but the deal was so good I went for it. I’ve had the S7 over a year now and it’s still in good shape despite being lost for 3 days in a snow pile and I’ve somehow dropped this sucker time after time. Battery life is still good, still haven’t run out of space (that was my one minor complaint with the S4. I felt like I ran out of space quickly and constantly had to re-add updated apps back to the SD card–but on the other hand, you were able to use an SD card with it). I’ve been really happy with my purchases.

      1. Loopy*


        I’ll have to look into the Galaxy. Right now I have 8 GB and I need more space for music and pictures. I know you can go higher on iPhone but also I am looking for a better camera and battery life (though mine might suck because I keep mine on a caharger way too often??)

        1. Elizabeth West*

          What I did on mine was get a 32 GB micro-SD card and put my music / pics on that. When my S4 died, I just moved the card from the old phone to the new phone. (All that music is backed up elsewhere too, btw.) They were also able to transfer all the stuff from one phone to another; I lost NOTHING. The batteries are no great shakes, but I don’t think any of them are, actually.

    4. Dr. KMnO4*

      Google Pixel is amazing! It came with very few preinstalled apps, and those were Google apps. I have a great camera, great battery life, a headphone jack, plenty of storage space.

      1. Loopy*

        Oooo I hate the preinstalled apps I can’t delete! So that’s a plus. I’m also looking for a great camera on my phone. I didn’t realize how important it was to me until recently.

        Can I ask how much storage space it comes with??

        1. Dr. KMnO4*

          Somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-32 GB of storage. The preinstalled apps thing is what made me switch from LG to Google.

            1. Dr. KMnO4*

              Yeah, the iPhone is super stingy with their storage. And with the Pixel you have Google Drive for backing stuff up.

      2. The New Wanderer*

        Me too! So far I really like it and it was an easy adjustment from the iPhone. My photos go right into Google Photos and I can see them online immediately vs having to copy them over. (Probably iCloud allows for this too but I never set that up)

        One thing I find a bit weird – it feels like the phone is stalking me sometimes. :-) I get messages saying “It looks like you’re at X Place” and probably would provide me with links to Yelp or something but I haven’t explored it much yet. It also tried to give me “today’s commute time” to the local mall the day after I went there, which would be handy if I worked at the mall or went there daily, but that was just a one-off trip.

    5. Fake old Converse shoes*

      I really don’t get all the Apple hysteria. Why on Earth would I spend so much money when I can get something similar or better for a significantly lower price? I own a Moto E 2nd Gen and I won’t change it until it breaks.

      1. Loopy*

        I had heard their products lasted a long time and I hate being inconvenienced by dying technology- so that was my motive. So far the mac laptop has been 100% great for 3-3.5 years so far but the phone (about 3 years) is starting to make me worry that it’s on the decline. I’d like to start looking around before I absolutely have to.

        1. Amadeo*

          Yeah, I have had Macbook Pros for the past 10+ years. 3 of them. The third being just a few months old. So I’m getting an easy 5-6 years out of them before they hit the point where they’re too slow for the programs I need or I can’t update the OS anymore – much, much longer lasting than most PCs. Frankly I could probably have gotten another year or two out of the MBP I just replaced, but I didn’t want to wait so long I was locked into buying the new MBP with the touch bar where I’d need a lot of adaptors for the USB-C ports it has.

          I have an iPhone for the ease of communicating with my laptop and I find that I can get 3 years or so out of them before you can’t update the OS or they start doing some rather weird things. I like them well enough and will probably keep getting them, but I wish they’d last as long as the laptops!

          1. Loopy*

            I really wish the phones had the longevity of the laptops! I really don’t feel the need to upgrade and would happily use this model for 1-2 more years at least!

            1. Jules the First*

              Fun fact – there’s one version of AppleCare that gets you a free iPhone upgrade every two years.

              My 4s is just beginning to do the funky, as is my iPod Touch (circa 2010), and I’m debating whether to replace them individually or with just one phone. I love the size of the 4s, though…the SE (which is my work phone) is a little awkward for my short stubby fingers.

          2. Anion*

            Yes, I tried to give up Apple/MacBooks, but the durability…I tried replacing my old MB with a Windows machine (a decent one, too), and within six months I was having issues with slowness/bugginess/etc. I ended up going back just because I’m a writer; I literally can’t work if I don’t have a reliable computer, and the Windows machine was just more of a mess every day despite constant virus scans/debugs/etc. I had to shut it down every night just to get it to boot up in less than five minutes. Just not worth it.

        2. Red Reader*

          I have apple computers from 1984, 1987, 1993, and 1997 that still work exactly as they were intended to. They’re obviously not good computers for modern use – two of them don’t even have what we consider to be hard drives – but I’m pretty impressed nonetheless :)

      2. Book Lover*

        I’ve never had a computer other than a Mac that I could just plug in and not worry about until I decided that I fancied a new one (generally about 6 years later). I used a galaxy for a while as my first non flip phone and hated it. Really delighted with my iPhone and only upgraded when I wanted a better camera, and the old phone is still working for my son. In the meantime, my brother has been through several android phones. I like iPads and buy a new one every year, but all of the old ones are still working for family members. I have never bought a warranty and never needed one. For me, being Apple just ends up being cheaper.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      In all the years I have been reading here, I have never, ever seen anyone count posts.
      Nobody cares how many posts you have.

  15. AnnaleighUK*

    Today we started stripping off old paint and taking out old units in the cafe my boyfriend has bought that I mentioned last week. There’s something so satisfying about taking a big hammer and whacking horrible stuff into oblivion. Boyfriend remarked I was enjoying the destruction too much and that I had a scary Disney villain look in my eyes.

    I like renovating. This is so. Much. FUN!

      1. AnnaleighUK*

        It’s great, isn’t it? We’re doing most of the work ourselves with the help of a friend of ours who is a builder, so I can only help at weekends due to Real Job but any excuse to renovate or redecorate pleases me so much. More whacking today, it’s almost 6.30am and we’re starting early so we can get some of the nasty wallpaper off with a steamer. We’re not hammering at this hour!

    1. PX*

      Didnt comment last week, but was definitely in camp ‘if you ever want to say which city its in, I’ll try and support it if I can!’ :D

      And obviously destroying things is the best ;)

  16. Beatrice3*

    The Toast’s new day of content made me realize again how much I miss them… can anyone recommend some sites or other media to help fill the Toast-shaped hole in my heart? I’ve been reading Dear Prudence and Nicole’s advice column for Elle, but it’s not quite the same.

    1. Roseberriesmaybe*

      I miss it too! I found AAM through Nicole’s link roundups. Nothing else has managed to get the delicious mixture of feminism, humour, and dirtbaggery that I crave

    2. rj*

      i KNOW. I have not found anything. I read some of Roxane Gay’s fiction and non-fiction. It’s amazing but not as funny.

    3. SpiderLadyCEO*

      Reductress is amazingly trashy, but I have died laughing over some of the articles they have run. Fair warning, many of them are NSFW.

  17. Allypopx*

    Safe thoughts to anyone participating in protests today (particularly in Boston, but if there are any elsewhere)

  18. PhyllisB*

    I’m rather sad right now. I just got a call from the vet that my dog just passed away. She had surgery and seemed to be on the mend, but her little heart just gave out.

    1. fposte*

      Oh, I’m so sorry, and it sounds like it was unexpected to boot, which can make it even harder.

    2. ThatGirl*

      I’m so, so sorry. I love my dog so much and it’s hard to imagine him not being here. So I can only imagine your pain.

    3. TreeGeek*

      Deepest sympathies on the loss of your dog. That’s such a hard thing to deal with, I hope you can comfort yourself with happy memories of her.

    4. Loopy*

      My condolences. Losing a pet is so so hard. Thinking of you today and hoping you can find some comfort.

    5. Dinosaur*

      I’m so sorry. We lost our dog unexpectedly six weeks ago and it was really hard, but being able to properly mourn him and lay him to rest was helpful for healing. Please do whatever you need to do to memorialize your sweet friend and take care of yourself, okay?

    6. Emma*

      I’m really sorry about your dog. Pets are family. I hope you will be comforted and can remember the good times.

      1. PhyllisB*

        Thank you for all the kind responences about my Roxy. She was 10 years old and had already been through one surgery about 4 months ago and rallied beautifully. Then when I realized she needed to go back to be checked again she was just too weak to make it through the second. (Of course we didn’t realize that or I never would have put her through it.) We could only do what we thought was best, and she seemed to be doing well and was supposed to come home the next day, but…I appreciate all of your kind sentiments.

  19. Marie*

    Would you be weirded out if an old friend emailed you?
    I contacted an old friend, “Diane”, whom I haven’t spoken to in 6-7 years. I moved away and was busy with school and work. Diane got really wrapped up with work and a guy- she used me as a verbal punching bad and even admitted to doing it.
    I got tired of it and distanced myself from her. This made her mad and I remember her leaving a message on my voicemail saying that she was “busy travelling” and we never really talked again.
    I contacted her to ask about a friend of ours. Her sister and my sister hung out, so I talked about that. It’s been about a month, so I doubt she’ll respond. I’m sure she’s busy, but it just sort of stinks.

    1. fposte*

      I wouldn’t be weirded out, but that doesn’t mean I’d respond. I could mean to and never get around to it, I could have decided that I didn’t really want to revive the friendship, I could have left this old email address up but never really check it.

      So I think reaching out via email was a perfectly fine thing to do, but I think not getting an answer is an unsurprising result.

    2. amanda_cake*

      She’s probably surprised you contacted her, especially if she used you as a verbal punching bag. I would be hesitant to answer if I received an email from someone I was not the kindest to previously.

    3. Stellaaaaa*

      I’ve sent emails like that and the response has been mixed. When I’ve received them, my reaction has been along the lines of, “I suppose that’s nice, but I ended this friendship for a reason and I don’t have the energy to dredge up the past just to rehash it in the interest of making someone else feel better.”

      It sounds like your motivations were different, but there’s no way of knowing where your friend’s thoughts went after reading the email. You haven’t received any mean responses. I’d say that’s fairly favorable.

  20. Claire*

    I’ve always had the types of friends where they seem to only hang out with me when there is no one else around. In college, we only hung out when they were back in town. Otherwise, we would hang out until one of them got a boyfriend and then they were gone.
    I always considered them to be my best friends, but I don’t know if they ever felt like that with me. Then we sort of all went off on different paths in life and some of them talk and now I’m the one on the outside. I tried to reach out and talk to them, but I’m getting the cold shoulder. (I’d probably have to do a lot of groveling, if they even would consider talking to me.)
    I’m not perfect, but I always went out of my way for them.
    I just feel like I’ve never had a true friend. Friends only calling you when they need something/someone to hang out with isn’t a true friendship, is it? I don’t know if I’m overreacting or have high expectations…

    1. fposte*

      Oh, that’s a tough feeling. I’m sorry. FWIW, I don’t really think that “true” vs. “not true” friendship is that useful a division–it can be a true friendship and still not give you what you want from a friendship. It also sounds like you’re talking about high school friendships dissolving post college, and that is really, really common.

      It also sounds, though, like you’re trying to make these people into the friends you want rather than finding people who actively want to be those friends. I’m not sure where the “groveling” is coming from, since that sounds like you did something they’re upset with, but whether they’re upset or just drifting, I think it makes sense for you to turn your energies to new friend possibilities and stop making yourself unhappy with these people.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Agreeing with fposte and adding. Friendship should be a two way street of give and take. Expect it. And allow people to do things for you. If you are a person who routinely says, “No thanks, I got it.”, then stop doing that. Let people do for you as you do for them. It’s okay to expect friendships to enrich our lives and we should enrich our friends’ lives.

      2. Claire*

        The groveling part is because we sort of stopped talking and they would probably blame me. With one, we had another falling out in middle school and became friends later on again. When we would fight, she would throw that back in my face, even though it happened over 10 years ago. I would apologize, but think, why keep punishing me for it?

        Overall I think I’m better off without them and should meet new people. There was a lot of unhealthy competition, pettiness, etc. But then you remember the good times, the laughter, etc. and miss all of that. I knew their families and have a lot of fun memories…. Sigh. I don’t know.

        1. Lissa*

          Somebody who throws a fight back in your face from *middle school* is, IMO, not someone it’s productive to be friends with. I find in these cases for me it’s useful to separate out whether I believe the person is a true friend, or if they are a good person, from the simple question of if this friendship is providing me more good than bad. Otherwise I get tripped up with “oh, but they’re going through a bad time, and they aren’t a bad person . . .” so easily.

          I know what you mean about the memories, and keeping hold of the good times that did happen. I think meeting new people is a great thing to do whether or not you end up keeping these friends though, because you may find you like them better yourself, and at least it’ll keep you busy and hopefully missing your old friends less because you’ll be making new good times.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          You will have very good times with new people.
          The laughter and warmth will come flooding back to you in a positive way. “Ahhh, there it is. I found it again.” Only with new people.

          This is most of life. It’s a mixed bag of happy and sad stuff all in one story.
          Keep the good memories, think of people in the past fondly and hope that they can do the same for you.

          Friends for a reason, a season or a lifetime. We don’t know until we get to the very end who is which type of friend. I have used this saying and sometimes it helps me get to a peaceful place about life stories.

    2. Stellaaaaa*

      I see my casual pals/drinking buddies 2 or 3 times a week and my best friends once a month, if that. I know there can be a tendency to view our most frequently-seen friends as our best friends, but if you start evaluating them for the quality of their friendship, you might find that you have a few great friends that you just don’t see as often as you see other people.

  21. Broadchurch Finale (no spoilers)*

    Yay! Got to watch the finale on my phone a day late in a hotel room that didn’t have BBC America.

    I’m very happy with season 3. A clue dropped a few episodes back had me sort of guessing the bad guy. But not quite and being Broadchurch people are still left devastated.

    I guess that’s my one complaint. It couldn’t redo season 1 just because that’s would be too coincidental so the people devastated by the crime and the criminals are not close to Hardy and Miller. We followed the case through hardy and miller so the impact to left undefined (no miller in the hotel room with her sobs explaining what happened). Also the newspaper editor’s and vicar’s story didn’t fit in. Clearly shoehorned in to get the actors back but their own arcs felt forced especially in the short timeline (actually that wasn’t clear was it only a week or two?) of this season.

    Overall though, I was surprisingly pleased with how they moved away from everything having to do with the first season’s crime and still told an amazing story about two skilled and dedicated detectives in a small town who rarely catch a murder or stranger rape but when they do they give it everything foregoing sleep, food, and family time to catch the criminal.

    I think that’s part of it. Hardy and Miller are great at their jobs but they’re not jaded because they don’t see these crimes very often in the small town of Broadchurch.

  22. many bells down*

    Another mini-rant: my stepson, age 16, will sleep with literal garbage, food wrappers, and dirty dishes in his bed. He won’t shower or even change his clothes unless we force him to.

    But if he takes a plate or bowl out of the cabinet and it’s not totally spotless, he will pull all of them out and stack them on the counter until he finds an acceptable one. Just. Wash. The. Damn. Plate.

    What weird super annoying things do your kids do?

    1. CatCat*

      14 year old. Asks how to do incredibly basic things without making even a slight effort to figure it out. My now canned response is, “I’m going to let you try to figure that out first.” (I try not to be snappish about it, but sometimes… geez…)

      For example, this morning, opening a bottle of milk. As if he has never opened any bottle in his entire life and without even attempting to remove the cap, “How do you open this?”


      When he actually looked at it, he figured out quickly that the cap just pops off.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        In 8 years, he’ll be my employee. Sigh. “How do I do X?” Um, refer to the guidance?

      2. Portia*

        Um, this is also my boyfriend, and he’s 41. But I’ve figured out that he doesn’t really expect an answer from me — he’s just kind of saying to the air “How does this remote work?” or “Where’s the soy sauce?” — so I’ve stopped answering.

      1. many bells down*

        Teenagers are so WEIRD. Half the time they’re eloquent, mature adults and half the time they’re toddlers. Same stepson spent an entire day sulking in his room because we wouldn’t let him download a sketchy game mod onto the main home computer. He has 100 games in his Steam library, but “I need THIS ONE!”

      2. neverjaunty*

        My favorite is when they go through that stage of realizing that you, their parents, actually were also teenagers at some point and were not always the fully-grown boring pains in the butt you are now.

    2. Mallory Janis Ian*

      My son, seventeen, will literally forget what my husband or I said to him one minute ago.

      He’ll respond as if he’s engaging in the conversation, but if we bring it up again a minute later, he’ll act like he’s never heard us speak of such things, ever, and why are we acting like he’s supposed to know what we’re talking about, and why do we loooove interrupting his video games so much?

      1. Miranda*

        I did that with books as a kid, you truly have to make sure the absorbed person is fully disengaged from their book/game/video if you want them to actually have a chance at remembering the conversation. My poor mum, I was always grumping about being always interrupted, but really it was rare to find me not reading in a spare moment.

    3. No, please*

      My step daughter had some pretty unsanitary habits in her teens. We eventually told her to pick seven outfits, seven sets of pjs and a few lounge outfits. This was after trying all sorts of checklists and basic discussions of hygiene. She was not depressed, we tried counseling. After she did this we took the rest of her clothes to storage. For every week she kept her room clean we gave back an outfit of her choosing. At first I felt mean, but it worked. She consistently kept her room clean and pitched in with household chores. She did not backslide. When I say unsanitary, I mean it. I won’t give details but her room stunk to high heaven until these rules were enforced. We still have a great relationship!

    4. Merci Dee*

      My daughter will be 13 next month, and she’s already developing those lovely teen habits. Naturally, if her phone is in her hand, her hearing is disconnected from the world around her. I admit I sometimes take advantage. If I’m trying to get some info from her, I’ll just start asking her random questions until something clicks and she looks at me. “You don’t know what you want for dinner? How about some possum roadkill I picked up from the side of the road? No? How about some toe jam sandwiches and foot fungus salad? I think I have some eye of newt soup in the pantry ….”

    5. Teach*

      18 year old senior male person will completely ignore me all day, slump around with headphones on so I cannot invade his aural space, suddenly need to lock himself in the bathroom if dinner is ready or if I want to speak a sentence to him, act like he has never used consonants or full phrases before in his evolution, then at 11:47 pm he appears next to me with bright eyes, affectionate demeanor, and a deep need to discuss philosophical theory as revealed by the new Zelda game or whatever. He is a very pleasant kid outside the house, I’m told.

  23. Bibliovore*

    Just checking in. Its a beautiful day. Need to go into the Place that is not named on the weekends because I am having trouble accessing the share drive. Know that it will only be a few hours and I am on a deadline.
    Just made plans for a puppy play date at my house Monday afternoon. My old dog and two new puppies. My idea of heaven.

  24. Carmen Sandiego JD*

    SO and I are road tripping with SO’s family starting tomorrow, but SO and I will take a separate car. What fun stuff do you do for road trips? Anything you’ve packed that came in super handy?

    Also, Aunt Flo started (ouuuuch). And SO didn’t pass the license exam, which has a 40% obscenely low pass rate. Luckily, we both have our health, our jobs aren’t tied to that exam (it was an extra thing), and we have each other.

    How do you console your SO if a failed exam is involved? Right vs wrong things to say?

    1. Christy*

      When my wife and I drove to Wisconsin from DC we went through the entire e-book version of 1001 questions to ask before you have kids. Before that, on another road trip we’d done 1001 questions to ask before you get married. Very fun and sparks conversation!

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Aunt Flo has the uncanny ability to wait until you’re just about to travel. She got me both times coming back from London. Aaaaaaaaand here she is messing up my eclipse weekend (I am so uncomfortable and not in my usual space, arrrggh). But I’m glad she’s still with me, so I’m not complaining too much.

      Can he try again? I failed my driver exam the first time (messed up parallel parking). The instructor who failed me said “Now you know what to expect; you can practice and come back and you’ll ace it.” My dad’s neighbor helped me with it and I passed the second time.

  25. Jessen*

    Permission to strangle the next person who says any form of “if you really wanted it, you’d make it happen somehow?”
    I’d really like to win the lottery, you know?

    1. Thlayli*

      Well obviously you don’t really want to win the lottery or you would have made it happen :p

    2. Clever Name*

      Yeah, a lot of that law of attraction new age stuff can be frustrating to hear and downright classist at worst. I mean yeah, if you want a new job, ya gotta fill out some applications, but it’s not like you have any real control over whether a place hires you.

      1. Jessen*

        Ableist, in my case, usually. I’ve had desires to give a lot of people lessons on spoons. Alternately, there’s also a lot of people who don’t get how mental health treatment works.

    3. HannahS*


    4. Not So NewReader*

      I had to think about this one.
      I think the underlying motivation for saying something like this could be the person is sick of hearing about a dream that never comes to fruition.

      I had a large tree in my front yard. By it’s own nature it was a weak tree. But it was BIG. And during storms it danced on the power lines. Scary. I kept saying, “I get some money ahead and that thing is coming down before I repair anything else here.”
      I guess I said that too many times for too many years. Finally a neighbor who I do like, said, “NSNR, you ALWAYS say that and then nothing happens.”
      I stopped saying it. My credibility was dying.
      And then VICTORY! One day I went over my neighbor’s house. “Safety, safety. This Saturday that tree is coming DOWN! I wanted you to be aware.” He flashed a big ear-to-ear grin. “Good for you. You made it. You got this one.”

      1. Jessen*

        I get it, it’s just that sometimes you really don’t have a lot of resources to actually make it happen, or to make it happen quickly. It’s frustrating when people get upset at you, but they don’t have any concrete ideas how to make it happen, or their ideas are wildly inaccurate to how things actually work.

        A lot of what I’m dealing with right now is health problems. That means there are things I can’t do, and I may not be able to fix that. Sometimes there are things I can do, but that take a very long time to have any result. A lot of people have the idea with mental health, for example, that it’s just a matter of popping a pill and maybe seeing a therapist for 6 weeks and it’ll be all better. When you’re still frustrated and struggling a few years down the road, those sorts of lines start to come out.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I do a lot of alternative stuff to help my health. One day my husband said to me, “So. When are you going to get better?”
          I replied, “So. When are you going to come off your diabetes meds?”
          We never went back to that discussion again.

          The problem here is the misconception that there are people out there having perfect health and so should we.
          You know. I have never met one of these perfect health people yet and I am over 50 y/o.

          The truth is that sometimes our health issues are such that we have to make a life long commitment to taking care of said health issue. People don’t like to hear this. “What? You mean this could happen to me and I could have to WORK at being well??? HORRORS!”

          Time levels the playing field with some people. They develop chronic condition X and then they learn what an additional effort it is to take care of X.
          Some people never get it what it is like to have an on-going condition and they run at life 90 mph. These are the folks who don’t see age 50.
          Then there are folks who get it right off the bat.

          My best thought I have ever found is to make sure I look at the person who is talking to me. Really look at them. Just like you can’t get blood out of a stone, you can’t get sympathy/compassion out of people who don’t understand and have no plan on learning. The way to handle this is to be selective about what you say and to whom you say it. Pick people who lift you up.

    5. Stellaaaaa*

      As with many things, people get extreme about anything that started out as a basically decent concept. I believe it’s baseline true that you are more likely to get a job, meet better friends, and generally have a better life if you are nice and pleasant. Sometimes a positive attitude is the tipping factor that makes someone hire you. But does it make you a magnet for awesome things that wouldn’t otherwise be in your orbit of possibility? Nope.

  26. NicoleK*

    I will be taking a couple of trips in the next few months. Instead of packing pants and jeans, I was thinking of packing more leggings to save space and weight in my carry on. I don’t have the money to buy 10 different pairs of leggings to test so I’m hoping the ladies on here can recommend some brands. Budget friendly, doesn’t pill, isn’t sheer, and will last for a decent time.

    1. Cookie D'oh*

      I have a pair of Style & Co brand Ponte knit leggings from Macy’s. I wear them frequently and they’ve held up well for a couple of years now. There’s some pilling on the inner thigh, but I think that’s from my legs rubbing together. I’ve heard good things about Dell’s brand leggings from Nordstrom, but I haven’t tried them myself.

    2. Jay*

      I like Hue brand. The grey ones hold up longer than the black ones. (My black ones are still great, but they become a bit more sheer over time.)

    3. Ledgerman*

      Check to see what Lysse leggings are available from Nordstrom Rack! They are spendy full price but I got a pair for $20 from the Rack that I’ve had for 3 or 4 years now and they look and feel like new…and I’m not skinny, so that’s amazing!

    4. Loopy*

      I adore a pair I got from Express (it was their store brand). I don’t know how widely available that store is though. They have withstood the test of time and are comfy and solid.

    5. Effie, moving along*

      Another vote for Hue, Lysse, and Zella from Nordstrom/Nordstrom Rack to save money! Also I like “tasc performance” brand athletic leggings – bamboo cotton so bad smells don’t linger and they hold up really well.

    6. CA Teacher*

      I’m obsessed with Old Navy compression pants. They’re all I wear for exercise and casual wear, they’re completely opaque, and they last for years!

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I got some at Old Navy recently–some very thick ones for winter, and some sheer-er ones to wear under dresses and such. It will be interesting to see how they hold up. My Long Tall Sally ones were good and still wearable for workouts, but I’ve washed them so many times they’re a little too faded.

    7. Red Reader*

      I’ve had good luck with Lush Moda on amazon. $10-12 a pair, available in a zillion colors, either capri or full length, many colors available in either regular waistband or the wider yoga style.

    8. LaterKate*

      Zella high waisted live in leggings are amazing. Thick and opaque, and hold everything in. I got mine from nordstrom, so you might check Nordstrom rack to see if they have them on the cheap.

  27. Caroline*

    How did something as fundamental as food – and eating – become so complicated?

    I was in high school around the early 2000s, and by then issues such as eating disorders was being talked about quite a lot in health education (I also went to an all-girls school, where they’re probably more vigilant about these things) and we were constantly warned against crash-dieting, and how bodies come in all shapes and sizes and how that was okay.

    At the same time we were still taught the ‘food pyramid’ approach to eating, where complex carbs were in the ‘eat most’ group. It was also a time when ‘diet’ foods were being pushed as a healthy option – skim milk and low-fat yoghurt and diet sodas etc, and fats should be avoided.

    Then time went on and suddenly carbs were the enemy and diet foods were toxic, and it was all about avoiding processed foods and sugar. More recently all the ‘clean eating’ stuff with quinoa and kales and avocados started flooding the market, and apparently the “right” (organic, expensive, exotic-sounding) foods can cure all ills.

    And /then/ the backlash hit – people calling out the pseudo-science touted in those books and nowadays ‘clean eating’ has ironically become a dirty concept, driven by money and all empty promises. You had people who proclaim that you should just eat what you want and quit worrying so much about crafting a ‘perfect’ diet…but none of that will alleviate problems with eating disorders or rising obesity and all those other issues the diet industry is constantly claiming it’s trying to ‘solve’ yet all everything they do just perpetuates the problem.

    How did it get so complicated? Why does it even have to be?

    1. Jessen*

      Tell me about it! I’m trying to save money on groceries. The cheap healthy recipes I learned were very carb heavy – pasta, rice, and so forth. Now I’m being told that eating too much of those is bad for you, but I’m not even really sure what you’re supposed to replace them with. Half the recommendations are “that’s nice but I’m still hungry.” I tend to go for nuts, but now those are too high fat too…

      1. Mephyle*

        Nuts are all right, because fat is back into favour.
        My suggestion for cheap and healthy but still filling is: vegetable and legume carbs instead grain carbs. Beans and lentils, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, and squash instead of pasta, bread and rice.

        1. Old Biddy*

          This is so important. I’m an introvert and my husband is an extrovert who also talks a lot. I love him to death but sometimes I just need to think my own thoughts without talking or TV noise in the background. He gets it but not completely, and it took him a while to realize that sometimes I’m just not talkative and it has nothing to do with him. I like to do my own thing in the kitchen/dining room area while he’s watching tv, and I usually take a bath most nights (he works an earlier schedule than I so I go to bed later). Ever so often I have to just declare that it’s introvert decompression time.

      2. Natalie*

        Unless you physically feel crappy, or are being told to cut carbs by your doctor, I’d just go ahead and ignore that suggestion if I were you.

      3. Emma*

        Beans are good, filling, and cheap. I’ve recently discovered that! Just made some pinto bean & cheese stuffed peppers from a test kitchen vegetarian book & they were filling and delicious!

    2. Sylvan (Sylvia)*

      The recommendations in the US are influenced more by business than by medical advice, so we just get jerked around all the time.

      Did you know that the American Heart Association says coconut oil is bad for you now? A lot of it is imported. Vegetable oil is supposed to be better for you now. We make that here.

      I think the best diet advice has two steps:
      1. Moderation. Nothing is “good” or “bad” or “clean” or not clean.
      2. Talk to your doctor, or better, a dietician, who knows your individual medical history and lifestyle.

      1. fposte*

        Coconut oil was never touted as particularly good for you by anybody other than trendpushers, though. If I were to add to your very nice list, I’d say 3. Don’t change based on headlines.

      2. Book Lover*

        That is because it is high in omega 6, which is not part of a heart healthy diet. Does everything need to be a conspiracy?

          1. Book Lover*

            I apologize – I didn’t mean to sound snarky. I had someone argue at me for an hour that the only reason diabetes isn’t cured is because of pharmaceutical company profits. It is very tiring to hear that stuff day after day and it gets worse every year. Most of the time, expert panels just want to help people.

            1. Sylvan (Sylvia)*

              Oh my God, that sounds obnoxious. You’re right that experts do want to help people. Recommendations can be influenced by business, though I said that in an unnecessarily aggressive way.

              I think I’m still mad about all the dairy products I’ve eaten when I’m lactose intolerant…

    3. Ange*

      I think the most helpful advice I’ve come across is “eat a varied diet, mostly plants”, which is more or less what I try to do.

        1. EA in not rainy (today) Florida*

          In my view, yes. Potatoes are a plant, therefore their derivatives are plants as well.

          Then again, I grew up with a parent who would say that their 2 favorite vegetables were cocoa beans and coffee beans, so my nutritional advice should probably be taken with a shaker of all-natural sea salt.

      1. nep*

        Good advice. That’s along the lines of Michael Pollan’s wise seven words: ‘Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.’
        I think a great guideline is eat foods as close as possible to their natural state — I don’t mean raw; rather, eat mostly ingredients instead of foods with a long list of ingredients.

        1. fposte*

          My take on moderation is that industrialization is also good in moderation. Don’t overdo it and live off of Cheez Fude; don’t underdo it and eat rotting carcasses and ergot-tainted wheat.

          1. nep*

            Right. I once mentioned to this guy who was peddling chemical-laden supplement drinks that I stay away from processed food. I guess for him that was not an accurate term to use. He went on and on ‘Well! Do you know what’s done to those vegetables you’re eating? Do you know all the chemicals you’re getting…You’re never really eating non-processed food…’ and on and on. Really awful, pushy salesman.

            Good way to put it re degree of industrialization. (Vegan so I don’t have the issue about rotting carcasses.) Anyway point well taken.

            1. fposte*

              I eat meat, so we can swap with my ergot-tainted wheat :-).

              I think I posted this here a few years ago but I really like this historian’s essay about food and cultural modernism. Link in followup.

    4. Effie, moving along*

      Ugh, I know what you mean. Right now I’m going through a phase where I can’t taste anything and don’t really get hungry so even remembering to eat is a chore. Right now I’m operating under “some food is better than no food, eat what you can”. Sometimes I wish we could convert sunlight into energy like plants do. That would alleviate famines!

      Funny thing is when I was in college, how I ate was influenced by the classes I was taking/what was on my mind a lot. For example, when I took a Food & East Asian Cultures class, I made sure to eat equal amounts of “hot” (ie cherries, meat) and “cold” (ie celery, grapes) foods so my body would stay balanced internally. When I took ballet, I ate a lot of “light”/airy foods and when I took African dance I ate a lot of “heavy”/earthy foods (because the moves were pulling from the earth, etc, it was always on my mind. I’m REALLY not trying to make any comment on how traditional ballerinas look vs traditional African dancers). When I took a physiology class (which was basically a nutrition class), that’s when I paid attention to things like carbs & sodium. Everything is in quotes because I don’t think there’s really a “right” or “wrong” way of eating. I think the most important thing as Sylvan said is moderation. Everything in moderation, even moderation :) Also I’d rather be happy when I eat than miserable.

    5. TL -*

      Nutritional science is still a developing field – we don’t know very much and science reporting is generally terrible so when something new is found out it gets blown totally out of proportion.
      It’s also really hard to study nutrition because it’s hard to break down into parts.
      For what it’s worth, if you feel good on your diet and have all the energy you could have (given your other lifestyle factors), you’re probably doing okay.

    6. Old Biddy*

      It doesn’t. Nutrition trends come and go. I was borderline prediabetic this winter, so I have been seeing a nutritionist every two months or so. The general goal was weight loss/lower my blood sugar and pick up some better eating habits. I was expecting to get some variation of Paleo or Atkins (esp. since I live in a college town where people love their kale and coconut oil), but the diet that was recommended was old fashioned portion/calorie control, with lean protein, whole grains, vegetables, and low glycemic fruits. Surprisingly, I was told to target a serving of whole gains (45 g carbs) per meal. Beans, soup and more fish were some of the nutritionist’s favorite recommendations.

    7. NoodleMara*

      I’ve had to change up my diet for health reasons, no wheat, no onions, no garlic and I’m naturally a picky eating person because of taste/texture issues. I get so frustrated when I’m trying to bake things and all the recipes are for “healthy clean whole 30 whatever” because it’s so easy to get caught up in that stuff. I just want to bake things that taste good and have a lot of chocolate. The current thing is detoxing???? or whatever that crap is. And so many substitutes are incredibly expensive. So much of the current trend seems to be the most expensive ingredients are the healthiest, which drives me nuts.

      My biggest issue is eating enough, so I will eat as much food of any kind because as long as it’s not making me sick, it’s good for me.

      I think that diets should be as varied as people because each person is going to need something different.

      1. nep*

        Every body’s different.
        And the body is an amazing thing — it has organs and mechanisms for detoxing itself. (I’m no expert but I think it’s clear that eating well, drinking enough water, sleeping well, and moving the body help those mechanisms work at their optimal level.)

      2. Julia*

        You might want to take a look at Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog. She offers ‘clean’ suggestions, but you can totally make unhealthy bean brownies.

    8. oranges & lemons*

      My (paranoid, radical left-winger) view is that all of this expensive health trend panic is a Capitalist Plot to distract people from the fact that the major predictors of health are socioeconomic–wealth, education level, environment, neighbourhood, etc. I’m kidding, but only partially. I don’t think there is actually a cabal of capitalist bigwigs plotting our demise, but I do think that capitalism is good at absorbing the forces that oppose it. Another example is in environmentalism–the more people worry about their individual buying choices (and spending extra dough on “green” products), the less they agitate for larger-scale policy change.

      1. TL -*

        I think it’s a lot of we’ve solved most of the diseases that can easily be solved and everything else is a lot of bad luck. People want to convince themselves that if they just just the perfect diet, then they’ll be perfectly healthy because it’s easier than dealing with the fact that 1 in 3 Americans will get cancer and who is the 1 and who are the other 2 is mostly luck. (Or heart disease or autoimmune disorders or whatever…)
        There are things you can do to reduce your risk but nothing will eliminate it and people don’t like that.

        1. zora*

          ooohhh good point about the disease issue! I never thought about that, but it makes a ton of sense. We just are out of other ‘easy’ medical discoveries to make. Interesting.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Am grinning. I have long thought that there are many “weapons of mass distraction”. Squirrel!
        Conversely most change happens from the ground up. It’s up to the consumer to demand better.

        1. oranges & lemons*

          I agree, but I also think channelling individual concern into buying choices only acts as a bit of a safety valve that lets government and big business off the hook. The sense of accomplishment I get from buying earth-friendly toilet paper might make me feel less concerned about protesting oil tankers on fragile coastlines. But that’s not to say buying choices don’t matter; I think they matter, and are also a distraction.

    9. Willow Sunstar*

      I agree. I now have some social anxiety about eating in public, even though I look relatively average-sized for an upper-Midwest woman who is middle-aged. I am very careful about what I bring to That Place We Should Not Name for lunch, lest some well-meaning idiot make a judging remark. I have hypothyroid and have tried enough diets to know they won’t make me a size 6.

      Yet the people on the fru-fru fad diets don’t realize, not everyone can afford that stuff, especially if you have student loans and no husband to help pay bills.

    10. Hedwig*

      I came across an interesting observation once that we have replaced a Puritanism about sex with a Puritanism about food. Like we have a deep-seated need to have some place to restrict ourselves and judge others, so we’ve decided as a culture that it should be food now since we are not supposed to be judgmental about sex.

      I also think there’s an element of class signifying. Quinoa and kale and the time and knowledge to devote to a more complicated diet instead of a fur coat and the time to devote to getting a suntan.

      1. zora*

        ooo these are really interesting theories, too! I’ll definitely be thinking more about this. Thanks!

  28. blackcat*

    My mother in law was just diagnosed with cancer, it’s advanced, and she’s not expected to make it a year. On Thursday, everyone just thought she had pneumonia. My husband is reeling, and I don’t know what to do. We’re pretty young (husband is 31), she is an otherwise very healthy person with 0 risk factors. I am not close to her, but my husband is super close to both his parents (speaking to them daily). They live a short flight away from us. She’s at a great hospital, and we expect the best possible care, but even with that the prognosis is very, very bad.

    What do I do? What can I do? Help?

    1. Aealias*

      Encourage him to visit, with and without you.

      What he needs may change dramatically from day to day and even over the course of the day, so try to be aware that what helped this morning might be a painfully wrong response this afternoon. This might mean cutting him some slack if he’s snappy or withdrawn occasionally. Don’t let him be mean to you, but do accept apologies more easily if he messes up.

      When you have the energy, (and if your mother-in-law could accept this) you can offer to travel to visit with him, and volunteer to take care of practicalities while he spends time with Mom. Grocery shopping, yard work, cooking, cleaning will probably become hard for your in-laws to keep on top of, and if they can allow you to take some of that burden from them even briefly, it can be a big help.

      1. blackcat*

        Thanks, this is helpful. I have been encouraging him to visit. He just started a new job, so he doesn’t feel like he can take vacation time now (I have gently pushed back on this, encouraging him to talk to his manager. They give all employees 4 days off at the start of employment–otherwise time off accrues.). But it is definitely close enough for a weekend trip. I have been encouraging him to not worry about the price involved in flying back and forth frequently–his new job literally pays 2x his old one and we were comfortable before, so we have plenty of money. IDGAF if we spend several thousand bucks on short notice airfare in the next few months, but my husband is super frugal and he’s not okay with it. I’ve been clear that I will go with him or not, depending on his preference. I’m a PhD student at the dissertation writing phase, so I can work from anywhere. I also have family in the area, so if it turned out I *shouldn’t* be around him/the family, I could easily disappear.

        I don’t really think my father in law will accept help from outside, even if my mother in law would. If he accepted help from anyone, it would be his kids ONLY, not even us spouses (there are 4 kids, 3 spouses, of the spouses, I have been around the longest at 10 years). I might talk to one of brothers in law to see if we can set them up with a grocery or food delivery service.

        1. Observer*

          Please point out to your husband that 1. THIS is what you save for. 2. In 10 years the couple of thousand dollars is not going to be the thing he misses the most. It’s HIS MOTHER he’s going to miss, and the guilt WILL be bad. 3. This is NOT a luxury or a “nice to have”. This is HIS MOTHER’S LIFE.

          My IL’s live on another continent, and we rarely visit. But my husband is close to his parents. And my husband is also a super frugal type. But the ONE time he didn’t worry about cost was the time his father had a bad heart attack and it was very scary. He hopped on a plane and went to visit his father – even though he’s a teacher and you don’t take off school if you can help it. And, his boss didn’t give him flack either.

          1. blackcat*

            Yeah, my husband seems to be calming down about spending money on tickets as he’s looking at prices. It’s like $200ish for a round trip weekend ticket, just two weeks out. I think he was thinking that all tickets would be more like the last ones we bought–which were for Thanksgiving! Yeah, those were $350 per person round trip, but that was for Thanksgiving! At minimum, we do have one set of tickets already locked in. I think he’s now thinking aiming for at least one weekend trip a month.

            I think some of his resistance to spending money comes from the fact that, despite him out earning me (by a factor of 3!) at the moment, most of our collective savings are mine. Our roles were reversed a few years ago and he was making *very* little. Because we hadn’t merged finances, we paid 50/50 on a budget he could afford–so there was a time in our lives when I was banking a ton. But I’m trying to get him to see that we now have an extra 3k/month compared to just a few months ago (in addition to him earning more, we have been able to reduce expenses), so it doesn’t matter if we spend a lot in the short term.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              You might help your hubby by pointing out that some things only happen once in life, there is no do-over button. We only get one chance and then we have to live with ourselves for the rest of our lives. I am a big fan of doing what it takes so I can look at myself in the mirror.

        2. Anion*

          Yes, definitely tell him to talk to his manager. The company my husband used to work for was not particularly “family friendly” as far as policies went, but when I had emergency surgery they told my husband to go home, keep in touch, and come back when he could–they arranged for him to do some work remotely and had regular phone calls, too, so he could be home w/our kids and then with me. At his new company he’s already been told by another employee that if any family thing ever comes up he should talk to the CEO, because although it’s not in a policy guide or anything the CEO is extremely family-oriented and the company is ready and willing to help.

          A lot of places are like this, I think. Even if they can just arrange for him to leave early one Friday a month or something to fly home for the weekend, it’s worth asking.

          I’m so sorry about your MIL.

    2. Emmie*

      I don’t know. I am so sorry. This seems hard for all of you. I suppose understand and accept that everyone grieves differently. There’s no timeline for getting over this. Some folks have peace before death. Others take years. If spending time with her is important, do it. And people fight over the oddest things …. for us it’s been recipes handwritten and pictures. Many many hugs.

    3. The Other Dawn*

      I’m so sorry to hear that. I just went through this very same thing with my brother. He was diagnosed last November, got his expected timeline in December, did some treatment, and passed away July 31. Contrary to your MIL, though, he had several risk factors.

      As to what to do, all you can really do is support your husband any way you can and in whatever way he wants. Let him tell you what he needs. For me, I just really didn’t want to talk about it because I spent so much of my alone time thinking about it. To then have to talk about it was too much. I don’t think there was a single day in the whole nine months that I didn’t cry about it, or at least tear up. I had some days when I would want to talk about it, but mostly I didn’t since it was just too tragic to think about.

      Based on what my brother experienced over the last nine months and things he’d said to me, I would say don’t be bubbly and optimistic about the treatment and how it’s going to kick cancer’s ass. I mean, we all want to think that, but that’s not reality when it’s late-stage. You can be supportive without being unrealistic. It is what it is. It’s late-stage and there isn’t much that can be done other than to treat symptoms.

      Help your husband to help her get her life in order. Meaning, if she needs to transfer things into someone else’s name, set up a will, living will, deal with life insurance and bank accounts, etc., help him, her or the family in general with that stuff. A lawyer was really helpful with all this stuff for my brother and his wife. It can be quite overwhelming and chaotic (and traumatic) to suddenly have to fit the rest of your life into the space of less than a year.

      My sympathies to you and your family.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I just realized that I probably sound a little harsh in saying “it is what it is” and not to be all bubbly and optimistic. I say that from my perspective and my brother’s, because several family members would tell him how he’s going to be the one that beats this particular cancer that typically kills pretty quickly, and there’s going to be a miracle, and not to worry, he’ll be around next Christmas, etc. It was tiring for him to hear and to me it just seemed like my family members were in denial (they probably were, I guess). I guess the way I live my life and the way I get through things is to worry about the things I can actually change, and accept those I can’t. My brother was the same way. He was a very practical, logical person.

        1. blackcat*

          I totally get what you are saying. One of my husband’s brothers is all onboard the “It’ll be fine” train, which I don’t think is helpful.

          We’ll know more once the gene-sequencing test comes back. If it turns out to be a type where there’s one of those fancy new mutation-specific drugs available, the picture will be a lot brighter. If not, the care will be mostly palliative.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          Ditto here. I called my aunt to say her brother (my father) was ill and would not make it. She told her kids and they said, “Naaa, he will be fine, you will see.” In that moment my aunt felt pretty alone. I could see it doubled her grief load.

          You can help your hubby by telling him it’s okay to cry. Both men and women need reassurance that it’s okay to cry. You can tell him tears help cause a chemical reaction in the brain that keeps the brain healthy. And a healthy brain will help him through this.

          Don’t forget the power of silently putting your hand on his shoulder. It’s an “I am here” without words. There maybe times where you find yourself wordless and that is okay. And it’s okay to cry with him if the moment moves you to do so.

          1. blackcat*

            I’ve been doing a lot of the putting a hand on him sort of thing.

            I just wish I could get our stupid cat to sit in his lap. I think that would help. But we do not have one of those cats who will snuggle someone who is upset. The only comforting this animal will do is cuddle people who have fevers, but that is entirely because he likes to be warm. Otherwise, he is a great cat, but man, I wish he could take a hint and be helpful from time to time.

      2. blackcat*

        I think one of the things that is really hard for my husband is going so fast from “she’ll be fine with IV antibiotics” to “she’s going to die” within the span of 48 hours. The “it’s likely cancer, we don’t know how bad it is yet” phase was like 12 hours. She’s at a major teaching hospital, so everything moved really fast. And, yeah, so far, my husband doesn’t want to talk about it too much. He’s having me overhear phone conversations/read texts partly so he doesn’t have to repeat it all to me.

        Fortunately, my in laws have done a great job of estate planning. One brother in law can’t be trusted with communal property or anything to do with money, so they’ve always made it super clear what would happen. They learned a ton when they each lost their parents, so they’ve been very careful about their own estate planning. That’s really a gift to the entire family.

        1. TL -*

          She’ll have the most up to date care. If it’s the cancer I’m assuming it is, there’s a number of things they can do if it comes back mutation positive.
          It sounds like you’re caring, concerned, and doing your best to be helpful, which is the best thing you can offer. I will keep my fingers crossed for her.

          1. blackcat*

            Thank you.

            In thinking overnight, I think I will wait a week or two for the dust to settle and directly ask FIL if there is anything logistical I can do. He did A LOT of the estate stuff for my MIL’s parents, because MIL and her siblings didn’t always get along and it was easier to have an “outside” person (who’s super organized) handling stuff. FIL and I are pretty similar, and there might be odds and ends that I could take care of, even from afar.

    4. Observer*

      You’ve gotten some good advice. One thing I’d like to repeat is that everyone grieves in their own way.

      It’s ok if he cries – and make sure he knows you know that. On the other hand, it’s OK if he does NOT cry – and make sure that when you tell him it’s ok to cry it doesn’t come out as “You should cry” but “Grieve as you need to, whether it’s crying or not.”

    5. Portia*

      I’m so sorry. I’m 31 too, and I lost my otherwise-very-healthy mother this year to cancer. In my case, we had three years from the initial diagnosis, which I’m very grateful for.
      Encourage him to spend as much time with her as he wants. Don’t push him to talk about it, but of course be there if he wants to. Encourage him to talk to her about it if they both are able to. It can be tempting to just avoid the subject, but my mom was very open and straightforward about “after I die,” which has been really comforting.
      My one piece of practical advice: doctors, even at the best hospitals with the best care, can be surprisingly bad at communicating with patients, and your MIL is probably not very clear-headed right now. Make sure someone accompanies her to oncology appointments and takes detailed notes. It was amazing how much we would have missed otherwise, because her doctor would just breeze through something quickly. If your MIL has to spend extended time in the hospital, don’t be afraid to push back against hospital staff when you need more information about something, or if she’s uncomfortable and the staff isn’t doing anything about it. (I am not trying to bash doctors or nurses here — my mom had a lot of wonderful people caring for her — but there was also a lot of really awful care.) It is such an emotional time, it’s really nice to have some slightly more detached people around to do things like hunt down nurses and ask for pillows or tell them her scheduled pain meds are three hours late or whatever.
      If you two are at his parents’ house together, and you want something to do, you could assign yourself the job of making sure everyone is fed. That’s what my boyfriend and my sister’s husband did during the week she was in hospice, and it was really helpful. I had no appetite and didn’t want to eat ever, but they kept handing me sandwiches and burritos and cookies, and some of it got eaten.

      I wish I could give some more practical advice, but it’s just…hard. It will be hard on him and on you. I’m so sorry.

      1. blackcat*

        Thanks, this includes some good reminders.

        I am unsure if my FIL is taking good notes–he’d certainly be capable of it if someone else was sick, but it’s unclear how he’s holding up. I know how important this is–my grandmother has actually been going to the same hospital for a lot of appointments and my nurse-aunt always goes with her and does the documenting (my grandmother is in fine health, but she is a 91 year old hypochondriac. A plus side of me going on some trips is to visit said grandmother, who magically forgets she’s “sick” when she gets to see her out of town grandkids).

        FIL doesn’t have any medical expertise, but he’s smart and organized (and only 64. MIL is 75.). I just don’t know if he’s too distressed.

        So far, my husband hasn’t really been able to talk to his mom, mostly because she hasn’t wanted it. The local brothers think that this is in part due to the fact that everyone wanted her to go to the hospital two months ago when the first round of antibiotics didn’t cure the “pneumonia.” She was really resistant to getting more care (and getting care at the big hospital vs. her regular doc), and it sounds like she’s beating up on herself for just assuming she’d get better. It’s possible that if she had gone in when she was first sick and got the appropriate tests, it could have been caught before it spread, and she would have more options. But that’s not what happened, so it’s not worth dwelling on in my book. She is a ruminator (something she passed to my husband & most of her sons), so I’m betting this is part of what is going on/why she doesn’t want to talk to people right now.

        1. Observer*

          Also, don’t be afraid to push back on “the rules” and “Routine care” that doesn’t seem right. And medical care decisions get made by her doctor, not the residents. When my father was ill, there was a lot of that. There was the intern who tired to force my father to get a catheter because that’s “routine care” – but it was not necessary and his doctor never asked for it. (He didn’t get the catheter.) Or the nurse who tried to enforce some rules and the Head on duty finally told her to shut up and stop being an idiot.

          I’m also not trying to slam the medical professionals my father deal with. Most of them were wonderful, and I’m deeply grateful. But the outliers can be difficult and it’s ok to push back.

    6. Mobuy*

      I’m really sorry you are going through this. The best advice I ever got was comfort in, dump out. Basically, the person with the problem is in the middle. She gets to dump her feelings on anyone. The next level is her husband. He can’t complain to her about his feelings (dump), he can only comfort her. He complains to the next level out. By this method, you should never complain to your husband, only comfort him. He gets to dump his worries and sadness to you, but if you need to vent about this, find someone else. I’ll post a link in the next comment to the article this comes from.

    7. Halls of Montezuma*

      I’m so sorry for what you all are going through.

      We just went through this with a pair of my aunts. On top of all the good advice above, once things start really going down hill, be prepared for MIL and/or husband to not want any more visits – either of them may want to say goodbye on their own terms, when MIL still feels like herself. One of my aunts was very adamant that no one come visit her – she’d talk on the phone, but hated how awful the cancer had made her look and didn’t want anyone to remember that image.

  29. bassclefchick*

    Are there any other Murderinos here? I’m SO excited Karen and Georgia are doing a live show in my town!!!! I even splurged and got the VIP ticket so I get to meet them!! I can’t wait!! Now I’m trying to decide – do I get them a gift? What will I SAY to them?! (I met Molly Ringwald once and got so fan girl and nervous that I babbled and she probably thinks I’m an idiot.)

    What event or show have you been totally excited to go to/see, yet still nervous about?

    1. Courtney*

      This is unlikely to sound familiar to anyone who wasn’t a teenager in the early 2000s, but I got to meet Good Charlotte last year (yes, they’re still a band and just came out with new music for the first time in ages!) and omgggg all the emotions! I had a pretty tough childhood/adolescence, and they were my favorite band whose songs really kind of spoke to me. I hugged all of them and got a bit ready eyes telling them how much their music means to me – I’m sure they’ve heard that a million times, but they were super nice! It was also a VIP package thing.

    2. Sarah G*

      That’s great that you’re getting to meet them. Don’t get them a gift! Just look them each in the eye, tell them how happy you are to meet them, and what their show has meant to you. If you have time, you can tell them what your favorite episode is. If there are others waiting to meet them, be conscious of how much time you take. Personally, I’m a strong believer in NOT asking for a selfie — I think it’s classier not to, and I treasure the personal exchange more than I would a photo. First and foremost, remember they are human beings like the rest of us. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s true. I’ve had the privilege of spending time with musicians and others whom I deeply admire, and whom even left me starstruck before I knew them a bit better, and well, they are all just people when it comes down to it.

    3. Librarian from Space*

      Oooh, I’m a huge Murderino. You are so lucky! If I were you, I wouldn’t bring a gift, but have your Hometown story all ready, just in case!

  30. ThursdaysGeek*

    This is kind of Friday/weekend both.

    I’m preparing to go see the eclipse, staying at a cabin with a co-worker and his friends and family. We’ll bring fudge. Hopefully mixing work and pleasure will work out.

    Here’s to clear skies for all of you on Monday.

    1. Mimmy*

      My husband is flying to Missouri today (if he’s not there already–left this morning) to watch the eclipse with some classmates. However, I saw that it’ll be cloudy for them :( It’ll be beautiful where I am, but we’re only supposed to get about 72% coverage, which is still probably cool to see. With my luck, though, I’ll be stuck inside at work.

  31. Valerie*

    I moved to the SEUS a few months ago and this is the first time in forever I’ve had central air. I CANNOT get the combination of blankets/sheets/pjs right to stay comfortable all night. I have to have some kind of cover over me to sleep so I lower the AC to a point where I think I’m comfortable but then alternate between freezing and sweating all night long. Any suggestions? Maybe something fluffy but light weight? Or is this what quilts are for versus duvets?

    1. Sylvan (Sylvia)*

      Yeah, use a quilt instead of a duvet or comforter. Sleep in something loose and thin. Lower the AC until you’re comfortable, then turn it off or raise the temperature just before you go to bed (so it’ll still be cool when you fall asleep but won’t turn cold in the middle of the night).

    2. Gingerblue*

      In hot weather I like to leave the top sheet off and sleep with just a comforter or quilt, which lets me stick my feet out from under it while my body is covered. (I’m like you; I need the weight of a blanket.) With a fan, that’s enough for me to sleep comfortably. If I get chilly in my sleep, I’ll usually pull my feet in without waking up.

    3. rj*

      I just moved to the southeast as well. I have an “all season” duvet from ikea (synthetic) and a sheet. I sleep in shorts and tee-shirt type pjs. At night I set my thermostat to 77 but I think it’s a bit warmer, especially on the second floor. I have a ceiling fan. That’s my sweet spot. Any hotter and I start to get a headache.

    4. EA in not rainy (today) Florida*

      I’m in Florida – generally sleep with only a sheet. AC is set to 77, but goes down to 76 at about 5am, because my wife tends to get hot right before waking up. We have a ceiling fan, but don’t often use it while sleeping, although occasionally, it’ll just seem really warm, so we do.

    5. Old Biddy*

      I am a warm sleeper too, although I’m in upstate NY so I sleep with the window open in the summer. I sleep in the nude and have a sheet and a lightweight cotton quilt (Garnet Hill “Dream Quilt”). Most of the time it ends up down by my my legs or the cats claim it, but it’s there if I need it in the middle of the night. In the winter I use it as a bedspread.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      I have to let myself be a little cool as I fall asleep, because as I sleep I get warmer.
      The only exception is my feet. My feet cannot be hot or cold, they have to be comfy.

      1. Merci Dee*

        I’m picky about my feet at night, too. I absolutely cannot sleep if my feet are cold. Even in the summer, I have to sleep with fuzzy socks.

    7. HannahS*

      Can you find a light cotton woven blanket? I rarely see them in Canada (big surprise lol) but they’re very common in Israel and I assume in other hot places. The ones I’ve seen are often just a large piece of waffle-knit cotton, which you use with or without a sheet. They’re light and breathable, but have more heft than a sheet and so are good for warm-blooded Canadians who can’t bear to sleep without some kind of covering. I’m quite a sweaty person in general, so for me, all natural fibres are necessary to avoid that clammy feeling.

  32. TreeGeek*

    My family and I recently moved to a very popular vacation area that happens to be in the Zone of Totality for Monday’s eclipse. Summer weekends are always busy, but the influx of eclipse-viewers into the area over the past couple of days is unbelievable, and those in the know tell us to just expect it to get worse. (“Shelter in place” is the official advice for the locals this weekend!) It’s weird to see the news about all the people traveling to see the eclipse and know that all we have to do is step out onto the deck.

    I’m half tempted to engage in a little eclipse-based capitalism…we could probably fit 5-6 vehicles on our property, and I almost want to put a sign up on our turnoff from the highway that reads “Eclipse Parking – $50”.

    Any other Z of T dwellers out there?

    1. Nana*

      Not in the area (hurrah!), but I’d pay that for parking…and even more for a clean bathroom. Understand there are no Port-a-Potties to be had for love or money anywhere in the Z of T.

    2. Gingerblue*

      I’m fascinated to watch this, but I’m glad other people get to do it first. My family in upstate NY will be in the zone of totality for the 2024 eclipse (which, hey! I only heard that was a thing a couple of days ago!) and we’re taking notes now on what to expect.

      1. Mimmy*

        Ooooh anywhere I can find info on this?? I live in New Jersey so probably not in the Z of T, but I imagine it’ll be close?

    3. Soupspoon McGee*

      I am! We’ll be able to see it from our driveway or a corner of the back yard. I’m trying to decide on driving today and tomorrow, since the freeway is going to be nuts.

    4. swingbattabatta*

      I saw on the news yesterday that some people are advertising parking on their property for $1000. People suck.

    5. Anon Because I'm Sharing Location*

      I’m in Charleston SC and I’ve heard craaaazy things. Supposedly all the hotels in the city are 100% full and the people coming into town are going to outnumber the locals.

      I asked to work from home on Monday. Normally I’d worry because even though it was granted it’s abnormal but I’ve heard so many awful projections about traffic I couldn’t imagine making my already unhappy commute WORSE.

      Even the schools that already started up are out for the day! So glad I am not going out in the (supposed madness)

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I’m really surprised you had to ask! I’m a few hours’ drive from Charleston, not in the Z of T, and even people here are being cautious about going into work because of the traffic. I figured most businesses would insist you stay home.

    6. Ailin*

      Yep, I’m right in the path of it. Can’t get any solar eclipse glasses because of a shortage and I’ll be in work when it hits, so I guess I’m just hoping the traffic isn’t too disrupting.

    7. Kathenus*

      I’m in the zone, in the midwest. Luckily already off work, ordered glasses from one of the guaranteed safe vendors a while back, and can watch from my house or more likely walk a little further into the totality area since I’m right on the edge, in case the maps are off. I’m not interested in events or hoopla, just getting to see it with a couple of friends. I feel fortunate, and am looking forward to it.

    8. rj*

      am also in path. I considered airbnbing my couch just to see if I could make money but decided that that went against my lease and I didn’t really want to.

    9. Lynn*

      Yep – Greenville, SC here. Staying home from work on Monday because I cringe to think of how tough it would be to get home from work at 4:30 (right as it ends). The reports are that we will double our county population for the next few days – from just under 500,000 to over 1 million +. I am having a hard time believing we’ll be getting half a million visitors on the day! We are pretending it’s a storm and staying close to home. On the plus side, we can enjoy from our backyard (which we have not rented out LOL)

    10. Dinosaur*

      I’m in the zone of totality and it’s been pretty quiet so far, but I expect it to get terrible here tomorrow. One of my coworkers is charging $550 per RV to park on her land. I’m very jealous.

    11. Chaordic One*

      On Friday afternoon the traffic in the downtown seemed much heavier than usual with a lot of motor homes and cars with out-of-state license plates. The grocery stores were packed with people. Today it was eerily calm, there wasn’t much traffic and the downtown was fairly quiet, although the grocery stores were still very busy. I’ve heard that the hotels, motels and campgrounds are all full.

  33. The Other Dawn*

    I did something really scary today: I brought my car to the dealer to see what’s wrong with it.

    Since my husband has always done the work on my car, I pretty much don’t trust any car repair shop, car dealer or even quick lube place. It’s not that I’ve had any bad experiences–I’ve actually had few experiences in general. It’s just that I can’t fathom paying the prices these places charge when my husband can do it for less than half the price. Also, I’ve seen lots of investigative shows that expose bad businesses. Things like parts being cleaned and not actually replaced, but charged for the full repair. Stuff like that. And of course friends and family members telling me how they went in for a 100.00 fix and ended up paying 500.00+, or the car had more problems after being in the shop. So, yeah. I avoid having to bring my car anywhere other than for an oil change. And even then, I’m wary of it. (Both my husband and I worked at one at the same time and some people there were pretty dishonest and complete sharks. And he’s worked at others than were worse.)

    So, last night my car some weird thing. The only way to explain it is it was as if the just had a power surge. Everything went off for a second and came back on when I tried to straighten my car out in the parking spot at the drug store. Then this morning it was hard to start, and my theft deterrent system light went on. Then when my husband went to start it at the store, it took him quite a few tries. Since it didn’t seem like the battery, which is less than a year old, he thought maybe the ignition switch or the transponder in the key.

    Even though we dreaded it, we went to the dealer. If it was they key, we’d have to go there anyway for a new key. Since we were walk-ins, we walked across the street for lunch while we waited for them to look at the car. When we got back, they were still busy. Then the guy went out to my car and was in 5 minutes later. He told us we’re all set, it’s the battery, they jumped it for me, and to go get a battery. Didn’t try to sell us one. Didn’t even charge us for it.

    I’m pretty happy. :)

    1. blackcat*

      In my old car, I had previously replaced my own tail light. It was HARD. I had to sit in my trunk and pry off the panel that had been glued in place. I bruised myself, and it took 2 hours. Several years later–by which time I had a good job–a head light went out. Reminded of my previous suffering, I took my car into a local dealership to replace the bulb because I was totally willing to spend $30 to have someone do that for me (price described on the phone).

      I show up, guy checking me in looks over my car. He asks me to pop the hood. He jiggles something, and then reaches into his pocket and pulls out electrical tape. Bam! Headlight is on! I asked, “What did you do?!” He said “Oh, the connecter comes loose in his make. You should be good now.”
      Me: “How much do I owe you?”
      Him: “Uh, nothing? Have a nice day!”
      I took my car to that dealership for repairs and service until the car was totaled in an accident. They were always honest, including encouraging me to get a second opinion the one time they recommended something more expensive than $100. After the accident, I bought a new car from that dealership. I am 100% sure they profited from treating me well!

      1. many bells down*

        A mechanic who does little stuff like that is one that gets more business from me. My guy now is great. And once I was driving a couple hours from home and my gas pedal … fell off. The bolt that held it on just sheared. I pulled into a tire place and they fixed it for me for free, so I recommended that tire place to everyone in the area.

      2. Amadeo*

        Yeah, the dealership I bought my truck from I think is going to be my go-to when my dad retires. My truck is currently under warranty but suffering a couple of little niggling issues that they have busted their butt trying to solve (one being the SYNC Black Screen of Silence, totally not reproducible, spontaneous and random) and a creak that no one can hear but me (you’ve got plenty of time on your warranty yet, whenever you’ve got time, come out and drive it with one of us and see if you can point it out where we can hear it).

        They have been amazing, patient and thorough and they’ve got me for life.

        1. Arjay*

          Completely off-topic, but I’m so happy to see someone use the word “niggling” here. I used it, appropriately, in conversation and neither of the people I was talking to knew what it meant. They were side-eyeing me hard, because it sounds like it might be racist? Since then I’ve done an informal poll of a handful of other people and they were all clueless about it too.

      3. Other Duties As Assigned*

        One of my life’s “rules to live by” is that when you find an honest and competent auto repair place, be super-loyal to them and recommend them to everyone you know–places like this deserve to thrive.

        I had one from my distant past like this. While I was in grad school, I was driving an old boat of a car to get to work and for my really long commute to night classes. One day, the automatic transmission flakes out, leaving me with only neutral and low gears (I had to “feel” for the gears anyway since the little gearshift indicator needle on the dash was permanently stuck on P). On a recommendation, I took the car to a onetime filling station in my town that had been taken over by two young mechanics; they worked on their stock car between customers. I left the car there in the morning, bracing for a big bill, since transmission repairs are notoriously expensive. In mid-afternoon, they called me at work to say the car is ready to be picked up. Turns out it was a moderately simple fix and they got everything back to normal. They added: “while we were in there, we re-connected the indicator needle, so that’s working again, too.” The bill to me: $24! They got all my future business and I told everyone I knew about my great experience and drove a lot of business their way.

    2. LCL*

      Year old battery failing? I see an alternator or serpentine belt in your near future. And possibly another battery.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Alternator seems good. Maybe a bad battery. I don’t know. We bought a new battery today and found out that one was bad, right off the shelf. Just got back from exchanging it and all is well now. I’m guessing someone returned the battery or something and the store didn’t check it before putting it back on the shelf.

        But, yeah, maybe a belt. The car is 11 years old with 160k miles. It was so tempting to look at new cars while we were at the dealership, but I really don’t want a car payment right now, as we’re concentrating on paying down debt.

    3. Forrest Rhodes*

      Oh, yeah, for me a good mechanic is right up there on the Essential Stuff list along with food, air, and water, and I’m with you regarding dealers’ repair rates, and it’s tough to find somebody good.
      Not to sound like a commercial here, but I found Wendell, my current terrific automotive genius, by going to the Car Talk webpage and checking their Mechanics Log. You can search it geographically and by make of vehicle, and the recommendations are all from Car Talk listeners (before the show went away) who are customers themselves; businesses can’t buy space on the list.
      I was surprised at how quickly and easily I found a good mechanic who’s in my neighborhood, who has fair prices, who talks to me about not just the immediate but also the long-range stuff my truck needs, and—even more important—who doesn’t treat female or non-car-savvy customers like morons. If Wendell and his family ever relocate to another state, so help me, I’m going too.

    4. Trixie*

      I found a local shop I like a lot but recently I came across a mechanic who is “retiring” from fleet services at my day job. He will continue to work on cars and gave me a pretty competitive price replace shocks/struts on my older car. Other than investing in an older car, I’m considering about having someone not tied to a shop or dealership work on my car. What happens if something goes wrong? No real warranty or guarantee. But if he’s good enough to work in fleet services at my company, that’s say something.

    5. Old Biddy*

      Before I met my husband, my alternator died on the way to work. I cruised in to the repair shop I used (it was on the way to work) and they replaced it and the timing belt for around $350. I was able to take the bus from the auto shop to work and then back again that afternoon.
      A few years later, my now-husband has that same car and the battery light went on. He figured out that it was the alternator, had me drop him off/pick him up from work, and got his coworkers to take him to the autoparts place at lunch. The replacement alternator was around $150, but he spent at least 8 hours trying to put it in, had to call friends to get an extra set of hands, and still had to go get a replacement timing belt installed.

    6. LAM*

      I only take my car into places where my boyfriend knows the person… Our mechanic for anything other than oil changes is someone he’s known 10+ years. Same thing with the body shop. Because of that we’ve been able to get my car in and out in a couple of days vs the week minimum he’s heard them quoting others, and for often cheaper than we anticipated. And luckily my oil change place has never tried to upsell me on other services, which (being a twenty-something female) was a first and a huge plus. I’ve been going there for a few years now.

      I blew a tire while driving across the state earlier this year. Luckily I was thirty minutes from my destination and someone there had a family friend who managed a tire shop. So he got me in and out in twenty minutes with a great deal on two tires.

      Just thinking about bringing my car to somewhere new where we don’t know someone makes me nervous…

    7. AlaskaKT*

      I had a mechanic once who wanted $1500 for repairs on a $700 car that I’d already had for 5 years.

      Told him nope, I’d just drive it to the junkyard, at which point he told me I couldn’t do that because it was unsafe to drive. I said ok, well if your going to pay the tow truck to have it towed to the junkyard that’s fine, I’ll wait and sign it over. He wasn’t going to do that either so I asked for my keys again and he *held them over my head* telling me I couldn’t leave.

      Naturally this infuriated me, so I pulled out my phone. He asked who I was calling so I told him I was calling the cops to report him for theft and kidnapping. Probably over the top but I was promptly handed my keys and ushered out the door with a stack of free oil change coupons, which I immediately tossed.

      A few hours of YouTube videos and one $60 part later and my car was up and running. That was the last time I ever took that car to a mechanic, and she still runs to this day!

    8. Not So NewReader*

      This is how I found my car dealer that I have done business with for over 20 years.

      No matter where you go there will always be people who will tell you what a rip off that particular place is. I go by what I see and how I am treated. I am mechanically declined. And I have still managed to be able to figure out a place is ripping me off. Some rip offs are blatant.

      I have learned a few things, though. And the best one was to describe the symptom rather than diagnose the solution. The service manager at the place I go to pointed this out to me. He said, “People like yourself come in here and tell us the engine is making a funny noise. Sometimes you try to mimic the noise yourself. This is great, we know what the exact concern is. HOWEVER, other people come in and they want new spark plugs. That is all the info they give us. So we put the plugs in. A week later they are back and they are raging angry, ‘YOU did not fix my problem!’ Uhh. You never mentioned a problem you said to put plugs in so we did.”
      That is when the manager would find out, “Well I thought plugs would fix the funny noise.”
      Service manager: You never mentioned a funny noise.


    9. Jules the First*

      My mom has followed her mechanic through his eight changes of job over the last 40 years. His announcement that he plans to retire next spring was what finally got her to cave and admit she needs to buy a new car (hers is more than 25 years old and we’ve been trying to get her to buy a new one for about a decade…even the threat of not letting her drive her grandson around in her car didn’t work!)

    10. Stellaaaaa*

      I usually just go to Goodyear. You can schedule stuff for the next morning and they have the parts they need on hand. They can be pricey, but I’d spend more in total if I had to take Ubers everywhere while waiting for my friend’s brother to fix my brakes or whatever.

  34. Talvi*

    Background: I live in my university’s graduate residence. Each suite houses 4 grad students, so I have 3 roommates, all of us assigned to the room (i.e. we were all strangers when we moved in – and our schedules are such that we rarely actually see one another, so after a year we’re acquaintances at best). In September, we get a new suitemate agreement form, where we have to discuss and work out details of noise levels and thermostat preferences and chores, that sort of thing.

    I hit BEC-levels of annoyance with one of my roommates ages ago – put simply, she is rather a slob. I have spoken with one of my other roommates, who agrees that next year the general cleanliness of the suite must go up. Any advice for approaching [slob roommate] with the end result being that she behaves like an intrinsically cleaner, tidier person in shared spaces? (Her bedroom can be as messy as she likes as long as it doesn’t attract bugs. But I need the kitchen/bathroom to be an overall cleaner place pretty much all of the time or I am going to go nuts.) I’m worried about how to approach this without it coming across like I’m targeting her, as we do have to live together – I’ve got a list of things I want to discuss with my roommates when we get the new agreement forms, but for 90% of the things on this list, it’s really only [slob roommate] who is the problem.

    (I can’t wait until I can afford to live alone…)

    1. Aealias*

      I’m naturally slobby, and what I needed to not drive my roommates nuts was really clear boundaries.

      1) None of your stuff stays in common areas if you aren’t there. When you leave the living room, take your knitting or book with you!

      2) dishes must be washed within half an hour of cooking (this allows time to eat while the food is warm) Note that because you’re at BEC stage, you’re likely to be aggravated if you come into the kitchen to cook and find dirty cooking dishes sitting while RM sits and eats. Be consciously fair about allowing adequate time for cleanup to happen!

      3) Weekly chores need to be done by a certain day/time.

      I appreciate that you acknowledge that in her own space, she can be as slobby as she likes. In public space, you obviously have different standards, so you need to clearly and precisely articulate your needs so RM knows what you need from her.

      1. Talvi*

        I will keep this in mind, thank you.

        Frankly, I’d be over the moon if dishes got washed every other day! (We’re all students; sometimes you just have to finish that paper that’s due tomorrow and maybe get 2 hours of sleep before getting up for your 9am class and barely have time to eat let alone wash dishes. It happens. But going 5+ days between washing dishes is, in my opinion, unreasonable.)

        We do have a rotating chore chart (so you only have to clean the bathroom once every 4 weeks, so it’s not always the same person stuck doing it), but I’ve been getting the feeling that people (this one’s not just her!) have been treating the chanegover as a sort of get-out-of-jail-free card and deciding that since it’s no longer their name next to it, they don’t have to do it at all (even though they didn’t do it when it was their week). Judging by how dirty things are when it gets to be my turn :(

        I’m starting to think I might have the highest standards of cleanliness amongst us, so I’m trying to figure out what a reasonable balance is that I won’t be annoyed all the time while also not trying to impose too much on my roommates either.

        1. Simone R*

          My roommates and I do rotating chores every 2 weeks, not every week, which is actually pretty awesome. I can be slovenly and they are really clean so I always actually do it, and it means that you only have to do something every other week. I don’t think the bathroom/kitchen etc need to be cleaned every week, and I remain surprised at how much easier it is to clean than the previous every 1+ month cleanings that used to get done at my old place.

    2. AVP*

      Same! Another natural slob here. I agree with Aealius, and can add that if there’s a specific chore that you would like to see your suite-mate doing, make it explicit on a weekly chore wheel or something like that. Don’t just assume that everyone knows how to clean stuff by the time they get to college because, I can tell you, it isn’t true. :/

      1. Talvi*

        I never used to think I was all that super-clean of a person, but I am realizing that apparently I am.

        Don’t just assume that everyone knows how to clean stuff by the time they get to college because, I can tell you, it isn’t true

        I think that might be part of the problem – roommate in question is the youngest of the four of us (she was 21 and fresh out of undergrad when she moved in last September). Meanwhile, the rest of us are in our mid-to-late 20s, and have lived on our own before. Yet at the same time, I can’t help but feel that “I am not your mother, it is not my job to teach you basic adulting skills” :/

        I’m always worried I’m being patronizing when I say things like “please rinse out your recyclables and let them dry before putting them in the recycling (so it doesn’t start to smell)”.

    3. rj*

      I have definitely been there. Don’t write passive aggressive messages on whiteboards (sorry, past roommates, I was a jerk). I was a student for a long time (because of grad school) but it does not matter. Dishes immediately after use (like 30 mins-1 hr is fine). The best cleaning arrangement was that everyone had to clean an area (bathroom, floors, kitchen) once a week and keep it clean (and explain exactly what that meant).

      Set things out clearly. The clearer the better. Do you have plants? Do you have decorations in your shared space? Do you have pets (guessing not because of the suite). Make sure you know exactly what each thing entails. It is a lot more work upfront for the cleaner roommates, but saves so much resentment afterwards! And (according to messier friends), saves them from feeling bad but not knowing how to fix the problem because they literally do not know.

      I lived with some people who had grown up with a housecleaner so they could do laundry and dishes but didn’t know what went in to keeping a place clean. And some roommates whose families had messy and disorganized houses. I just thought my norm was normal. It wasn’t. #somuchlearning.

    4. HannahS*

      Captain Awkward has loads and loads on that subject, and you might find some of it very helpful! One thing that clicked for me reading comments over there was that not only do some people not know how to do certain chores, people have different ideas of what completing a given chore looks like. Like, to me, “cleaning the bathroom” obviously means bleach-powdering the entire toilet and sink, washing the tub, spraying and wiping the tiles in the shower, replacing the hand towels and bath mats, taking out the garbage, washing the mirror, and swiffer-ing the floor. To others, “it’s your turn to clean the bathroom” means washing the inside of the toilet bowl, wiping the inside of the sink with water, and taking out the garbage. So, being explicit is important.

      In truth, despite my bathroom-cleaning know-how, I’m a bit of a slob. The kitchen and bathroom are clean, but I shed papers and books and my knitting like a tree in the fall. It doesn’t bother me, and it doesn’t bother me when other people do it–if I want to put my stuff on the coffee table but someone else’s stuff is there, I put their stuff in a little pile and plunk mine down. I literally have zero emotional reaction when I notice that someone else’s pile of stuff has been there for a month, unless it’s in my way, in which case I move it. So unless someone explicitly says, “Hannah, I want the coffee table to be clear unless you’re sitting at it doing something” I won’t know that it’s something that other people would care about. Similarly, if I had a roommate who wore her outside shoes indoors I would flip out (“Can she not afford slippers? Why is she making our house disgusting? The shoe mat with everyone else’s shoes is right next to the door…WTF WHO DOES THIS”) but I’ve come to learn that it’s not on most people’s radar. So make sure that you’re not thinking that anything you want should be obvious and part of being a considerate adult, because that’s so different from person to person.

      1. LAM*

        This reminded me of the agreement my boyfriend and I had to make.

        I’m allergic to bleach… Like my whole body gets itchy from just smelling it. So he’s on deep cleaning bathroom duty (and whatever else requires using bleach that I can’t think of off the top of my head), and while I do majority of the laundry, if he wants his whites bleached, he needs to do the washing while I’m at work as the laundry room is right below our bedroom (I work a varied schedule due to retail and having two jobs, so this is feasible for us).

        So if she’s not cleaning certain areas to your standards (ie using bleach), keep in mind that there may be a reason.

        Know I know that if I tried hard enough, there are most likely alternative products I can use, but the above trade off is works best for us.

  35. Ask a Manager* Post author

    I am still unpacking. I don’t understand what all of these things are and where they came from.

    I know some people can live with boxes for months after they move in, but I am not one of them; I feel horribly unsettled until everything is unpacked and organized. So I am determined to be completely unpacked all on floors except the basement by the end of the weekend, and I think it might — might — happen.

    I’m also not totally clear anymore on why we thought we needed this much space. We bought a five-bedroom house. There are two of us. It is lovely, but it is LARGE. I frequently go hours without knowing where all the cats are. (We moved from a two-bedroom townhouse, so I always knew where they were.)

    Moving is weird.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      Honestly, many times I’m happy to not know where all my cats are. But I have 11, so I guess that’s a little different. We, too, bought a larger house. There are two of us and 11 cats, but we have 4 bedrooms. However, I do have a large family that come from out of state and stay, so it’s really handy for that; people can actually sleep in a bed and not on the floor, couch, or wherever they’ll fit.

    2. many bells down*

      My problem is that once I’ve unpacked things like the dishes and my clothes, everything else that isn’t immediately necessary just … lingers. We moved in February, and I’m making a real effort this time, but still I’ve got these boxes just full of JUNK that isn’t mine and that no one else will go through and decide if they want.

    3. Katie the Fed*

      We crammed a bunch of boxes into our third bedroom and have been ignoring them. Unfortunately, that’s the nursery so now Im doing some some mad cleaning/purging. It’s a little easier though since I figure if I haven’t needed this stuff for 2 years, we probably don’t need it at all.

      5 bedrooms though! Im jealous!

    4. Kathenus*

      Similar to Katie the Fed the third bedroom is the default box room since I bought a house a year and a half ago. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I’ve got family visiting soon who will give me a ton of crap if I still have a room full of boxes, so I get to spend this weekend frantically trying to get them unpacked and everything organized.

    5. rj*

      I hate having boxes. I unpacked within 3 days of my movers dropping stuff off. 6 weeks later I barely feel settled. Even with my stuff up everything doesn’t run quite how I want it to … yet.

    6. Nicole*

      Oh wow, five bedrooms. All I can imagine is all the cleaning that would entail. Unless you pay someone and then it’s a non-issue.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      The existing stuff always expands to fill the available space.

      I remember my parents moving into their Cape in the 60s. When we packed the house in the 90s the difference was incredible. The basement and attic barely had anything in them when we finished unpacking. When we moved out you could not even walk through the attic or basement without bumping into something.

      Storage space is a great way to avoid making decisions.

    8. PB*

      Moving is weird. We moved a year ago, and we will haven’t completely settled in. The boxes have been unpacked for about 11 months, but most of our art is on the floor, and our lamps still aren’t plugged in. I really need to fix that sometime.

      I’ve also noticed that we’ve just acquired a lot more stuff. We were in our old home for almost six years, and we had so much more than we did when we moved there. Moving in my 20s was so much easier.

    9. AliceBD*

      Maybe have one of the extra bedrooms be the nieces’ room so they always know they’re welcome? One of the most useful things one of my aunts has done for me is let me live with her. I stayed with her for a summer in college so I could take an internship in her town; it was a paid internship but it didn’t pay tons and living rent-free with her let me save the money to use for school. And then I just moved permanently to her city from another city several hours away and I stayed with her multiple times when I was interviewing.

    10. Clever Name*

      I had a similar reaction while unpacking from my most recent move. I’d pull something out of a box and think, “Why in the world do I still have this, and why did I pay to move it?” I ended up purging quite a bit after we moved, which is the wrong way to do it.

  36. Soupspoon McGee*

    My high school reunion is tonight. I’m not sure if I should go, ostensibly because eclipse traffic is between it and me, so the return trip is going to be extra long and unpleasant.

    I’ve skipped a few reunions and connected with my old friends on FB, in a cursory, distant way (you know–in the last few decades, here’s my life in a three sentences). The honest reason I want to go is not to see and catch up with people I have some fondness for, but because my inner 17-year-old self craves acceptance from people who are no longer wrapped in their own 17-year-old worlds. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that lots of people struggled and felt out of step at that time in their lives, and what matters is what we have become now. So, why do I still kind of want to go and kind of want to stay home and eat an enormous amount of chocolate?

    1. AnonAndOn*

      I have no idea what your decision was if you’ve made one, but only you can make that decision. Think of it this way – whatever you decide to do will be a good idea.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      The chocolate will definitely make you feel better, but going to the reunion may or may not make you feel better.

        1. Soupspoon McGee*

          Surprisingly, yes! Peopled have mellowed and matured quite a bit. It was fun to talk about some of the more outrageous things we remembered, like the teacher who hit on every girl, or the goofy trends we thought were so important, like the correct brands of jeans to wear or the correct amount of hairspray to use (answer: all of it).

  37. Come On Eileen*

    My newish (6 months) boyfriend spent the night st my place last weekend, and my older cat was quite displeased. She yowled quite a bit, kept trying to reclaim her place next to me in bed (understandable) and apparently peed on his overnight bag. (He said it was wet and smelled like cat pee when he got home.) my other cat, a few years younger, didn’t act any differently with him around. Any suggestions for what to do the next time he stays over (or before then) to make this a more pleasant experience? It felt like she was throwing off a “this is my territory and you’re invading it” vibe. I’d like him to be able to sleep over without my cat getting so distressed.

    1. Come On Eileen*

      Also to clarify, when I say older I mean compared to my second cat. She’s not terribly old, maybe 7 or 8 years.

    2. Ramona Flowers*

      Would it help if he was the person to feed her that day and maybe gave her some treats?

    3. Old Biddy*

      My best friend has a cat who likes to pee on visitors’ shoes and bags. She has me put my stuff on a chair or counter as a preventative measure.
      I suggest having your boyfriend give your cat treats and play with it. It seems like half the episodes of “My Cat from Hell” involve a cat who acted out when a significant other moved in, and that’s what he always suggests.

      1. tigerStripes*

        Also, is there some place, a closet or something, where he can put his stuff that your cats can’t get into?

    4. Liz2*

      Was it the first time they met? Maybe a slower transition from meeting to full overnight would help. Did you have ex problems or another male who caused tension in the past or was kitty abused by a male in the past?

      And agreed on the feeding/treats, turn him into chill guy who gives yums.

  38. Fake old Converse shoes*

    The good:
    * I managed to see and deal with my crush without crying or feeling super sad.
    * After months of weight gain, I lost 1,100 kg in two weeks. Well, at least something good came after all the heartbreak and stress.

    The bad:
    * Apparently lots of people in my office consider my boss attractive. Last Thursday he had a meeting at the client I’m currently at, and lots of women we don’t work with walk by our area to say hello to him (and only him). Now I’m kind of jealous because I’ve failed in every attempt to get someone so far, while all necks turn in his direction whenever he is here.
    * My right knee is killing me. I went to the hospital and the doctor told me I need to MRI it, but my insurance doesn’t cover emergency MRIs (!?), so I need to book an appointment with a traumatologist ASAP to do it, and cross my fingers I don’t need surgery.
    * My 13 y.o. cat is having liver issues. She’s on a good mood, but there are days she loses her appetite or eats very little. I know she’s old, but I don’t think I’m ready to face bad news.

    Should I wait to December to tell my crush I’ve been distant because I fancy him or tell him as soon as I have a chance? I really don’t know, because he’s a decent human being and I feel the need to let him know and lift that weight off my shoulders, but at the same time I don’t want to ruin our friendship.

    1. fposte*

      I remember this but not in detail. Is there a time frame on this for a reason? My view is that there’s no point in telling him you have a crush on him unless it’s an actionable statement–IOW, unless you’re asking him out. Otherwise, you’re just kind of dumping this information in his lap to, as you say, lift the weight off of your own shoulders, which isn’t fair.

      Most knee stuff doesn’t need surgery, so it’s likely that time and some physical therapy will put you right–fingers crossed for you!

      1. Fake old Converse shoes*

        He’s my classmate and teammate at one of my evening classes at Uni. I fear that if I tell right now it’ll be too awkward for both of us and the team will suffer. Also, I recently found out he’s in a relationship, so I truly believe I don’t have a chance – hence the heartbreak. He’s a responsible student, excellent teammate, cat lover, good cook – basically he’s just too good to be true. Or available.

        1. fposte*

          Unless you’re asking him out, there’s not really a point to tell now or later. I’d carry on.

    2. rj*

      I agree with fposte. I am pro-telling someone about my feelings if I can date them. Like, hey I think you’re cool, want to do xyz at this specific day and time? If they say no, I can move on.

  39. Katie the Fed*

    So, the anatomy scan for the baby came up fine! Unfortunately I found out after that I failed the 1-hour glucose tolerance test (for gestational diabetes) and the doctor wanted me to go in for the three-hour one. I asked instead if I could just skip right to monitoring my own blood sugar because the 3 hour test sounds miserable and my doctor agreed. So now i’m monitoring my blood sugar 4 times a day which isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

    1. No, please*

      Congratulations! And I failed my first gestational diabetes test too. But my second was normal. Good luck! I’m really glad your doctor agreed to self monitoring for you because the three hour test is awful.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        I don’t eat much sugar in the first place and it just sounded hellish. Plus if I passed I’d have to do it again at 28 weeks. Thanks but no. :)

    2. Friday*

      I failed my 1hr too but passed my 3hr with flying colors! Might be worth it for you to try if it saves you from having to monitor your blood sugar. I had to do it at 8w because I’m fat, and it was initially hard to get the drink down because of nausea but I did it and read a great book in the waiting room.

      I have to test again at 28w though just to make sure im still good, which is fine.

  40. The Other Dawn*

    Any Stitch Fix users out there? I just signed up and I’m nervous to see what they send to me.

    As most of you know, I lost a lot of weight. I’m now struggling with clothes shopping. I kind of straddle the line between Women’s and Misses. I’m a 14/16 and 5’11”. Long arms and legs, pretty straight torso. I really want to get out of the mindset of trying to hide my body, but I’m not totally comfortable with exposing certain parts, like my flabby upper arms (the consequences of being morbidly obese most of my life–the skin just doesn’t snap back into place). What makes shopping so hard, aside from the whole “what’s my style?” thing, is the vast difference in clothing sizes. I tried on six pairs of capris today and they all fit differently. Some size 14s fit while some didn’t. Same for the 16s. Actually, some of the 16s were tighter than the 14s. Some were just right in length, and others were really short. So frustrating. I eventually got some clothing, but when I got home I realized it’s all stuff I bought when I was 343 pounds, just in a smaller size.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing what Stitch Fix sends me, but I’m also dreading it. Even though I made my preferences known, I hope I don’t get a ton of “out there” stuff I’ll hate.

    1. LizB*

      I have basically just had to throw out the notion that clothing sizes mean anything at all. I buy a ton of my clothes secondhand, so I get an even wider variety of brands and styles than in another type of store, and whatever’s there is what’s there, you can’t just try the next size up. So no matter what the number says on the tag, I have to consider each piece of clothing individually: does this specific thing fit me well? Does it feel and look good? Can I move around properly? Do I like it enough for it to be worth the price they’re charging? And if any of these answers is No, that’s on the item of clothing, not on me. It’s been very freeing.

      I’ve only gotten one StitchFix box so far (I’m doing the thing where boxes only come when you ask for one, not a regular schedule) but I liked what was in it! I kept a top and a pair of pants, and would have kept a dress except it was an near-exact copy of something I already own and I didn’t need a second dress in that color and style. The two tops I didn’t want to keep suited my tastes but didn’t fit quite the way I wanted them to. I’ve heard from friends that they get better at learning your tastes after you’ve gotten a few boxes and left detailed comments on why you’re keeping/not keeping things. I’ve also heard that it really helps to have a Pinterest board to link them, so I’ve been working on building that.

    2. Cat*

      I’ve been happy with Stitch Fix. I’m pretty conservative style-wise, and while they send me too much stuff that shows my bra for some reason, there’s always something in every box I’ve enjoyed. And I get tons of compliments on the stuff I buy through them.

    3. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I’m getting ready to cancel my StichFix subscription. I’ve kept 2 things from 4 boxes, a white shirt and a necklace. Most of what they have sent me is too casual, and honestly too young for me (I’m 45 next week – how did that happen?!). I asked for business casual clothes, not skirts, shorts, or sleeveless things, and I’ve gotten all 3 of those. I’m on the border between misses and plus (16 or 14W) and my entirely unscientific theory is that they are still working out the kinks of the plus size styling (most of what I’ve received has been plus sized).

    4. Bluebell*

      I’ve been doing StitchFix for a year and mostly like it. I’ve kept quite a few dresses, some pants, 2 skirts and also some accessories. I love the chance to at least try things that I might have not picked for myself. I’m petite and early 50s so there are definitely things that don’t work for me. My advice is to write lots of feedback when you return things and keep an open mind. I’ll be interested in hearing how it goes for you.

    5. The Other Dawn*

      I’m also seriously considering a personal shopper consultation at Nordstrom. I’ve heard some great things about the store and that service. It’s free, so I have nothing to lose. I always thought they were outrageously expensive, but after looking at their website I see they have a mix of prices. Still a little more than I might usually pay, but they have some nice stuff. Some really hideous “trendy” stuff, too…

      1. CA Teacher*

        If you have issues with sizing, I would try Nordstrom first. My friend uses Stitch fix and it’s great, but don’t they only send the sizes you tell them to?

        1. The Other Dawn*

          Yes, they do. I’m finding that I’m only having issues with pants. Shirts seem to be OK with sizing. I figured I’d give it a try, though. If I don’t like it after two or three fixes, I’ll cancel.

          1. CA Teacher*

            My friend uses it for everything but pants pretty much. She’s found that even if she knows her size, it’s hard to get that right. Good luck!

          2. Stephanie the Editor*

            Stitch Fix has sent me awesome Kut from the Kloth jeans. The brand is at Nordstroms too.

            I am tall (5’10”) and around size 14. I have had some success with Stitch Fix, but it’s sort of hit or miss. I will say that I regret keeping some pieces, so I should have considered the pieces more before gleefully ripping off the tags.

      2. Damn it, Hardison!*

        I don’t use Nordstrom’s personal shopper service, but I do buy a lot of clothes there. I tend to buy mostly their house brands (Sejor, Halogen) which wear well and are reasonably priced. Plus, they do alterations in store!

      3. HannahS*

        Oh my gosh, do it! (I partly say that in the hopes that you’ll come back and tell us about it because that sounds soooo fancy even though I know it’s not.) A knowledgeable sales person will know all of the “this brand is good for this body type and that one fits longer or tighter” and even if you don’t buy anything, it could jump-start you on being more brand-literate, if you know what I mean.

      4. Georgia On My Mind*

        The Other Dawn – I am really late to this so I’m not sure if you will see it, but Nordstrom has a subscription box as well called Trunk Club. I think the clothing items might be a little more expensive than Stitch Fix, but they send better things as well so that might be an option if you are leaning toward Nordstrom anyway. Same basic concept: Fill out a profile, (I think you may even talk to a stylist), they send you clothes to try on and send back what you don’t want. I hope this is helpful if you do see it!

  41. periwinkle*

    Random realization this afternoon… When I first watched “Desk Set” with Hepburn & Tracy, I longed to be a reference librarian like Bunny Watson. While re-watching the movie this afternoon it suddenly dawned on me that, thirty years later, I had become an efficiency expert somewhat like Richard Sumner.

    1. Cristina in England*

      I love that movie! I think of it sometimes when someone is trying to explain to me why a process I do manually should be automated.

    2. fposte*

      I’m another who wanted that–I suspect there are a lot of us Bunny Watsons floating around AAM.

  42. A N Mouse*

    It’s little league World Series time again. For some reason I am irrationally annoyed by the timing of the little league World Series. The kids in my area have been back to school for a week or two now. I’m middle aged and we always started in August and were out of school before June. And it really annoys me that LLWS happens after boys in my area are in school. I don’t know why as it has never affected me.

    Another odd thing about LLWS is all the media that is directed at this age group. Little League is these 9-12 year olds, but there’s other leagues for older kids which don’t attract the media attention that this group does. Plus there’s even other youth baseball organizations, but it’s this little league age group that attracts crazy amount of attention for a couple of weeks each year. Why is that?

    1. Kristen*

      I’m not sure if I know the answer to your question exactly, but I’ve always enjoyed watching the Little League World Series. It might be because I remember playing sports at that age and there’s so much emotion that goes into it. Before that age, the competition is much less and kids are really just practicing the fundamentals of whatever sport and beyond that age they’re old enough that they feel the need to hide their emotions. It’s like that prime age where you can totally see the kids’ hearts in it. I think that’s pretty sweet. Although, I will say I do wish the girls’ Little League World Series was that big of a deal.

      1. amanda_cake*

        The softball world series made the new majorly this year, as a team from my state was disqualified for a Snapchat photo displaying poor sportsmanship.

        1. The IT Manager*

          Oh, I heard about that but I’d didn’t realize that is was a Littke League softball team.

          That was unfortunate for that team. Dumb mistake.

  43. Katie the Fed*

    Has anybody here transitioned their lifestyle to something more minimalist? I’ve realized I really like maternity clothes because I have so few of them so getting dressed is really easy. And I feel generally encumbered by having too much CRAP. I’m doing a lot of purging right now in preparation for the baby (and cleaning out the nursery which was used for storage) but I’m not sure how far I want to go. Right now I feel like getting rid of most of my stuff, ha.

    1. fposte*

      I don’t think I’ll ever be minimalist, but I’ve trimmed down a lot. I can’t decide if you should go for it now while you can or if it’s wasting time because you’ll be buried under stuff when the baby comes, so you pick which :-).

      1. Katie the Fed*

        Our house is small, so probably best to get rid of as much now. Plus I’m motivated now.

        1. Natalie*

          This is probably a good time to start getting rid of stuff especially since you’re having a baby. Babies need their own stuff, of course, but also you may well be inundated with stuff from your folks, siblings etc. They mean well, of course, but the baby doesn’t need 1,000 toys either. If you start doing the work now it will probably be easier to pack some of those toys off to the local women’s shelter or whatever a year from now.

      2. Soupspoon McGee*

        I had to take only a tiny fraction of my clothes and furniture with me to my tiny studio apartment for school. It’s so much easier get dressed with a small, coordinated wardrobe I actually like. It’s inspiring me to purge the closet. When I come back to my house, everything feels so cluttered!

    2. mollygus*

      We’ve gotten rid of extra stuff- furniture, kitchen supplies, clothes, why-do-we-have-this items, and it is glorious. It’s freeing and made me realize how much I used to buy just to buy and shown me how much less we can survive with. It was addicting though. We started with one room and months later we were through the entire house, shed and garage.

    3. rj*

      I was away from home (fellowships) for 5 months. I had so few clothes with me (relatively). 10 shirts of varying formality, three dresses, 2 pairs of jeans, a few sweaters, some scarves. IT WAS AMAZING. I now want to cut down on my wardrobe but I am hesitating.

    4. Temperance*

      I read “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and “Spark Joy”, and it really helped my approach to “stuff”, although I’ll never be a true minimalist because the idea intimidates me.

      There are some good blogs on the whole “capsule wardrobe” thing, but it doesn’t work for me.

      1. Sylvan (Sylvia)*

        +1 on Marie Kondo.

        Her book has been the biggest help with clothes-clutter and gift-clutter.

    5. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I’m paring down slowly but surely. I still have too many clothes and too much stuff in the kitchen, but otherwise I’m making improvements. I find it’s hard for me to get rid of even things I don’t use or care about (I’m not sentimental at all) because I’ve already spent money on it so I might as well keep it. Not logical at all, so I’m working on it.

    6. Fellow Traveller*

      Apartment Therapy has a concept of a Outbox, which I love and has helped me purge things I’ve been on the fence about. The idea is that you have a box. You put things in the box that you don’t need but aren’t ready to give up. Leave it there for a week (or however long). Then at the end of the time period, you throw the box out (or take it to Goodwill). Or you reclaim the things you couldn’t live without. It’s explained better at the link:

      I’ve found it’s really important to: not open the box!!!!

      We are nowhere as minimalist as I would like (books! Yarn! Baby clothes!). But I’ve used a lot of my time on maternity leave to get rid of stuff. I find the stuff I’ve mostly been getting rid of is the stufd in our basement storage anyway. As in, “Why are we wasting space keeping this?”.

      Also- after having to go through my father-in-law’s house after his death (thank you to all those who offered advice on this a couple weeks ago!)- I look at a lot of the things around our house and think, “Do I want this to be something my kids will have to deal with when I die?”

    7. Grumpy bear*

      I’ve been becoming more minimalist the older I get. Unfortunately for me, my husband and my pre-schooler like their stuff (and like it everywhere). So I struggle with constantly wanting to declutter the house while being respectful of the other members of my household. Babies are easier in that respect, at least.

    8. Overeducated*

      I’ve only missed maybe 5% of all the clothes I’ve ever gotten rid of. The 5% is mostly a small number of favorite items I dropped due to weight change and missed when my weight cycled back. I say do it.

    9. oranges & lemons*

      I’m doing this semi-involuntarily because I’m in the process of moving from a 3-bedroom waterfront cabin in the wilderness to a 500-square-foot apartment in the city (for double the rent!) I’m finding it actually feels great to get rid of all of the unnecessary stuff, but I’ll probably still find it a bit of a squeeze in the new place.

    10. Sibley*

      think of it this way. if you get rid of a coat you shouldn’t have, you can go buy a new coat. So if you want to get rid of it, you’re probably ok.

    11. Arjay*

      This isn’t environmentally friendly and probably makes me some sort of bad person, but I’ve gotten to the point where I just throw a lot of clutter out. The process of deciding if it’s worth donating or cleaning or repairing takes so much mental energy for me that I don’t get very far that way. But sometimes I can get into one of those merciless moods and plow through a lot of stuff if I don’t have to make any decisions beyond “Nope.”

  44. Ailin*

    My boyfriend and I decided to call it quits today. I’ve had to come to accept you can’t change people into who you want them to be. He had no motivation career or relationship wise, but he was such a nice person. I feel terrible about having to end it. Anyone know some good breakup music?

    1. SaltWater*

      Sorry to hear, Ailin. Hang in there. Last year I googled break up songs and found several I liked. I’m older than the demographic for most of these songs but they did the trick!

      Already gone, the Eagles
      Forget you, Ceelo Green
      Rolling in the deep, Adele
      So what, Pink
      You oughta know, Alanis Morrissette
      Since you’ve been gone, Kelly Clarkson
      Sold me down the river, the Alarm

    2. Effie, moving along*

      Hmm since you’re feeling guilty, try Meghan Trainor’s “Mr. Almost”
      I also like Beyonce’s “I’m a Survivor”
      Sara Bareilles “Fairytale”
      Keith Urban “Blue Ain’t Your Color”
      If you’re feeling a bit spiteful, try Meghan Trainor’s “Credit”

      I have a ton more if you tell me your specific mood/feeling you’re going for ;)

    3. Clever Name*

      Pink’s The Truth About Love. I’m going through a divorce right now, and that album pretty much says it all.

  45. I am still Furious*

    So, in the saga of my deadbeat gambling addicted thief of a husband, there is positive news for me, at least.

    I met with my attorney. Turns out, I have grounds for divorce, thanks to the gambling addiction (which he readily told people about in the past), along with the lengthy spate of credit card fraud that I’ve identified as far back as February of this year.

    Long story short, I just want out with my personal stuff, will walk away from the house and all but one car. I do not wish to pay a boatload of spousal support and alimony for years to someone who steals from me, refuses to work, and is an addict. My attorney says I’ll probably end up paying something, but nothing at all like it would be if there were grounds.

    Going the simple route first. Will try for no fault, meaning, just sign the papers, walk away, done in 90 days. When he balks at that, and starts fussing, then the credit card fraud comes into play. I’m fully prepared to pursue charges on every single charge that involved buying lottery tickets. I told my attorney I want to go back as far as the statute of limitations allows. I suspect there are some from last year. The businesses involved are more than happy to provide backup (one already has). Then we will refile with grounds for divorce, and start a legal process that he can’t pay for, as his bank account is overdrawn and a credit card statement shows late fees and no payments…sighs…

    I’ve been slowing removing some of my personal things and stashing them at my Mom’s, like the less obvious things (winter clothes, boots, some clothing items, things like that). I opted to have an armed constable in uniform serve him. I won’t be here. I’ll be moved into my friend’s spare room by then, with most of my stuff, hopefully.

    So, hopefully by the end of next week or at minimum the week after, papers will be served and I can reclaim my life.

    Now I have to sit down and figure out which bills are in which names, like car insurance and homeowners is in both names, electric is his, cable is mine…that type of thing.

    It feels so good to be moving on. And it is so hard being here in the same house, knowing this is coming down the pike, and listening to him blather on about what I should or shouldn’t be doing, criticizing me, and just being a slug. Enjoy the gravy train while it lasted. It’s about to come to a crashing halt.

    1. rj*

      Good the attorney could help you strategize, and that you have places for you and for your stuff that will be calming as you go through all of this. I hope it all comes to a speedy conclusion.

    2. Sylvan (Sylvia)*

      I’ve been thinking about you! I was hoping you would have good news from the attorney. This whole process seems like hell. I can’t believe he did this.

      1. I am still Furious*

        I want to bury him, and I want him to think nuclear winter is a day in the beach in Miami. But. I am going to be calm, I am not going to fly off the handle, and I am going to reclaim my life and be happy. I’m even getting my maiden name back so I am no longer associated with him at all.

        1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

          You are incredible, and should be so proud of yourself. I admire you!!

          Use your energy to do good for yourself or others, don’t waste it on this human dumpster fire.