weekend free-for-all – September 16-17, 2017

back yard with no kudzuThis 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: Happenstance, by Carol Shields. My friend recommended this after I mentioned how much I’m loving novels about middle-aged married people (a self-centered interest, no doubt), and it’s great. It’s basically two novellas: the first one from the wife’s perspective, and the second one from the husband’s.

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

{ 1,214 comments… read them below }

    1. Melody Pond*

      Would you be willing to share more about how you came to the decision to walk (versus run) in this event?

      I hate running. But I like walking, even for long distances. And I would totally walk in something like this – especially for The Oatmeal! But, then I start second-guessing myself and worrying about being the only person who’s walking, and everyone else thinking I look ridiculous. :(

      Hearing that other people do it this way, and that it is A Thing, could be helpful, though.

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        Hi Melody, I’m someone who took up running in January this year and I can tell you that people do walk at plenty of running events and you wont stand out for doing it.

        It’s worth checking a particular event or race first to see if they have a time cap (eg. Some will say you have to finish in x amount of time or stop). However this is more common with longer events (eg the half marathon I did had a cap) and is usually cause of road closures – someone walking such a long course would be a lot of time. The 10ks and 5ks near me either are not capped or have a very generous cap – a friend of mine recently walked a 10k with 2 other people in my city in July. It had a cap of 2 hours which I think would probably be a reasonably brisk walk. In reality, they did not disqualify a few people who were a little over that. (in contrast, the half marathon I did, which had to be finished in under 3 hours, was extremely strict, and some people got asked to stop even in the last couple miles. You had to reach certain check points by certain times). So it’s worth checking an event out first.

        A good thing to do is to look at results from last year if you want to enter a race or funrun. Look at the last finishing times and see how many people are finishing in times that could be a brisk walk, and then decide of it’s something you want to do.

        I think you also get a higher number of walkers in charity events as lots of people who wouldn’t necessarily otherwise want to enter a random running race might take part for reasons other than a love of running.

        Incidentally, I’m doing a 5k funrun today, with a group of 4 friends and it is extremely likely we will not exactly be sprinting round. Ohyeah, and it includes a giant inflatable slide!

        1. the gold digger*

          higher number of walkers in charity events

          Not just walkers, but people wearing jeans and having a ciggie before the race.

          My friends and I ran a charity 5K and saw the jeans people smoking before the race started.

          “We’re going to WIN this thing!” we said.

        2. Stephanie*

          Yeah, these are good points. I second checking the course limit and gauging your pace from there. You’ll usually see the course limit if a lot of road closures are involved. That being said, sometimes you can still keep going if you’re past the course limits, you just may be asked to walk on the sidewalk or the race won’t guarantee medical support.

      2. Free Meerkats*

        I’m walking because I’m not built for running. I’ve broken both ankles in the past (right one twice), and I’m fat. But I can walk forever, and at a reasonable pace. I have great to enter an event where I got the side eye for walking, I just keep right and walk a straight line – alone. The people who mess it up for walkers are those who walk three abreast, chatting with no situational awareness.

        And Beat the Blerch, well, it’s different. Only running event I’ve been to with a kitten petting tent, free grilled cheese sandwiches, and a beer garden.

        Time to leave, I’ll check in later.

        1. CM*

          >>I’m walking because I’m not built for running. I’ve broken both ankles in the past (right one twice), and I’m fat. But I can walk forever, and at a reasonable pace.

          I’ve been having so many mobility problems lately, and I feel like I’m barely moving and gaining weight and feeling stiffer as a result. Reading this helped me feel more hopeful that even if I can’t go back to my previous activity level, I can still find a way to get consistent exercise that doesn’t hurt me. Thanks!

          1. KH*

            I had 3 back surgeries last year and have some lasting nerve effects. I have found that even 30 minutes walking or on the elliptical machine keeps me from getting stiff and keeps my legs from swelling with the nerve issues. I am working up to an hour of cardio a day. It takes time and you will get there!! Just keep at it as much as you can! :)

  1. Al Lo*

    I’m such a night owl; I love it when the free-for-all thread pops up on Friday night.

    I took today off work and spent the day getting a bunch of piddly errands and tasks done. Aside from the usual sense of accomplishment in actually getting them done, I feel really accomplished for walking to everything.

    I live in my city’s downtown core, where almost every office building is connected by an indoor walkway (over the streets). On a chilly, rainy day like today, I can cross one street outdoors from my apartment and walk to everything else inside — but that’s not super useful after work or on weekends (or during my most productive times of day — see night owl status above), when all of the office building retail and services are closed. However, it made me feel very accomplished today to get all my stuff done that way, and when I can make it work, it’s so convenient.

  2. Someone else*

    How do you find a contractor in a city where you don’t really know anyone, and not get ripped off? Other than Yelp. Or is my fear of being ripped off overblown from hearing horror stories of guys who don’t show up or do half the job and bail or take twice as long as quoted, etc? I’m sort of frozen getting repairs to my house because I can’t decide how to decide.

    1. ScoutFinch*

      Do you have NextDoor? I have found good recommendations there.

      I use the web-based version, not the app.

    2. Ann Furthermore*

      Try Angie’s List. I’ve never used it, but it seems to be reputable. I don’t trust or like Yelp because they will make a business’s good reviews harder to find and make the less favorable ones more prominent if you don’t pay for their marketing/advertising services. It’s shady. My best friend from high school owns a real estate business with her husband. They’re constantly fighting that battle. She won’t pay Yelp on principal because it’s tantamount to blackmail.

      And listen to your gut. If you think something sounds too expensive it probably is. We live in what is considered an “upscale” area, and I’m convinced people jack up their quotes when they see the address because they figure everyone is rich and too stupid to know any better. Fortunately my husband has a very good idea about what it takes to do just about everything, thanks to his job and what he knows how to do himself.

      A couple years ago he asked an electrician for a quote for some work in our kitchen. $4700. He laughed in the guy’s face and told him to get the f*** out of our house. I told him if someone had given me that quote, I’d know it was way too much, but I wouldn’t know why, and I asked him how he knew. He said he could go to Home Depot and get all the materials for about $500, and the whole job wouldn’t take more than 8 hours, and whatever is left over is the charge for labor. So even being generous and assuming $700 for materials means he was being quoted $500 per hour for labor, which is ridiculous.

      1. jasmine*

        I’ve been happy with the contractors I’ve found on Angie’s List over several years of using them. They’re not always the cheapest, but they seem to be honest and do decent work, unlike some that I’ve run across in the past. (I pick from the ones that have the best ratings and comments.)

        Regarding your electrician: $4700 sounds like a lot, but there’s more to it than just materials and labor. The electrician has to account for the costs of his vehicle (gas, maintenance, depreciation, insurance); for the time it takes to get from one job site to another; for the time it takes to go get supplies; for the time it takes to go around giving estimates (not all of which turn into business); for insurance; and some larger contracting businesses have office staff to take the phone calls and do the billing and scheduling.

        1. Ann Furthermore*

          All of that is true, but it doesn’t justify an hourly rate that high. My husband runs a machine shop and knows all about overhead and developing hourly rates that cover the cost of doing business. He even said he wasn’t expecting the quote to be dirt-cheap — the guy’s got a business to run. But that was way too high. The other electrician gave us a quote for about half that. So the guy was straight up trying to rip us off, and figured he’d get away with it because he assumed we were rich and too stupid to know any better.

      2. Anoa*

        My husband does woodworking/things like installing hardwood floors on the side very very occasionally and he charges 2x the cost of materials. Like if materials are $500 he’d charge $1500 total. But he isn’t doing this for his primary job, so I don’t know if that’s comparable to full time people who own a business.

      3. PatPat*

        We’ve used Angie’s List for years and have never hired a bad contractor. Some of the contractors Angie’s List has referred us to have been straight up amazing. We had one guy come out to fix our washing machine and after he fixed that I asked him if he worked on refrigerators, which he said he did. He even had in his truck the new motor our ice maker needed so he was able to get our ice maker working. He only charged me for the part but no labor since he was already at our house and it took him about 10 minutes to put the motor in.

    3. Ophelia Bumblesmoop*

      I second NextDoor. It’s a fantastic app for multiple reasons.

      Also, try HomeAdvisor or Porch dot com.

    4. neverjaunty*

      One other thing I check is the county court – many of them allow you to do a free online search of lawsuits by party name. So if I see a string of cases where Fergus Roofing is being sued, I know not to hire them.

      I did this when my mother in law bought her house, which was going into foreclosure. The guy living there was giving her all kinds of sob stories about how construction was tough right now, talking her into letting him keep his stuff there and move out late, etc. That stopped when I showed her the guy had multiple lawsuits for shoddy work and owed child support to THREE women.

    5. Yetanother Jennifer*

      We’ve gotten recommendations from our real estate agent. You could also check to see if your town or area has a facebook group or a list serv.

    6. Anon for this*

      My dad is a contractor, and when I asked him, he said he would go to the contractor’s desk at like a Home Depot, and ask the guy behind he desk for 3 names of contractors that do the type of work that you’re looking for. Then call them to get estimates. You can also ask them for references. And if you’re in the US, make sure they are licensed – you can usually check thins through your stats’ professional licensing office.

    7. Brendioux*

      Look to see if your neighborhood has a facebook group, that way you can join and put out a call for contractor recommendations from your own neighbors!

    8. Not So NewReader*

      Stealthing, Look around and see whose name shows up over and over around town.

      Recommendations. They don’t have to come from friends, it could be a cohort whose opinion you respect or it could be a casual acquaintance who has had success in a similar setting.

      Test the waters. Take your best guess (realize we all are guessing at who to hire) give this person a smaller job and see how it goes.

      Listen to the person before you finalize your agreement. Tell them what is wrong and ask them how they ordinarily handle it. Does the plan seem to make sense?

      1. Someone else*

        Yeah, part of my problem/indecision has been neighbors and acquaintances seemed to have plenty of horror stories and people they don’t recommend. Not so much people they do recommend. And the ones well known around town for being good also have a reputation for declining to quote because “this job is too small”, where “too small” is less than $25k. I figure surely there must be contractors who do gigs too big for a handyman but not in the teens of thousands either.

        Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

        1. Mephyle*

          I wonder if any of the ones with the good reputation, who decline “small” jobs, would be able to recommend contractors who do take jobs in your range.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I met my friend and contractor when I lost a couple dozen shingles from an evil wind.
            I was calling around to contractors and getting no where. Then I called another widow on her own, similar to me. She knew who to call immediately. I ended up with a person who most people would describe as a handyman. He jokes that he is a rent-a-husband. However, he will do tiny jobs that take only a few hours or he will do projects that take a week or more.
            Maybe you know someone who is already using a handyman and can recommend him.

            That said, contractor/client relationships are difficult. I consider my setting to be very good and I still have times where I think I paid my friend too much. BUT. A few weeks later, he will fix something else and I know for a fact I did not give him enough money. So it’s a balance over the long term. Try to keep your expectations on an even keel. Everything costs money, lots and lots of money. Once you find this person you can stress with them that following a budget and keeping costs down is super important to you. My friend has numerous sources for discounted items and he has been a big help in keep material costs down. Additionally, he will bring work to a point where I can handle it. This means more savings on labor costs.

    9. Juliana*

      I second Angie’s List. A membership is definitely worth the 15-ish dollars when you’re hiring someone who will charge three or four figures!

      I’ve also gotten excellent recommendations from a local mom-and-pop hardware store that sells to contractors. They know who does good work by the quality of the supplies they buy, whether they settle their accounts in a timely fashion, and generally how they do business dealings with suppliers.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author


      One of the guys I talked to when I was getting estimates on the work on our trees told me he once chopped down a dead tree … which then stayed suspended in the air. He investigated and found that there was a thick mass of kudzu at the top, connected to other trees, that was acting like a net and holding up this massive tree that he had just separated from the ground.

      1. Bryce*

        On a trail by my old house there was a juniper tree that had been shaped by virginia creeper (NM’s kudzu variant) into growing crooked, so it wound up looking like the creeper had pulled the tree into an arch over the trail. Rather neat but low enough that it was a big safety hazard so it had to go when we cleared that place up.

        I love small towns. Check with the right folks and you can just take a saw with you on a walk and do some trail maintenance. Probably can in big towns too, I’d just imagine it’s harder to find the right folks to check with.

  3. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

    Wow this is really early – 6.21 am by me. Couldn’t sleep and I was going to get up early anyway to go to meet a friend at the gym in a few hours. Just reprimanded the cat for making an absolute mess of the water dish, not entirely sure why she was standing in it and playing (and this is the smart one!) but there is water all over the floor and their placemat is soaked. *sigh*

  4. Al Lo*

    5 years post-LASIK, my eyesight is still a combined 20/15 with both eyes, which is great. Getting LASIK was one of the best health decisions/splurges I’ve ever made.* However, my left eye has always been a bit weaker than my right eye, and still is, so as of today’s optometrist appointment, I have a tiny little prescription in one eye.

    Which is kind of awesome, because it means I can get glasses as accessories, get the digital protective coating for high-computer-use days, (no longer have to pay for the super expensive high-index lenses that I used to have to get,) and have them covered by insurance.

    So, I ordered three pairs of super cute frames from EyeBuyDirect for $120 (which… what?! that’s unheard of from my previous life, when a) cheap internet glasses weren’t a thing, and b) my super bad eyes meant that my lenses alone were always, like, $200), all but $5 of which will be covered by insurance. Excellent.

    *Getting an IUD was the other.

    1. Jay*

      Tell me more about computer glasses…I get bad eye strain at the computer but I don’t wear glasses currently even though I probably need to. I can get by fine without glasses when I’m on the go; it’s just computer work that’s fuzzy.

      1. the gold digger*

        I am nearsighted – I have to wear glasses to drive – and I have astigmatism and creeping age-related farsightedness.

        I have special computer glasses – glasses with only astigmatism and some farsighted correction and without any nearsighted correction – because my eyes can no longer overcome the nearsighted correction for close work.

        That is, I need the glasses for astigmatism on the computer and used to be able to use my regular glasses, but now my eyes are saying, Nope, too much work to focus close through the myopia correction so we’ll just give you a splitting headache instead.

      2. Al Lo*

        This wasn’t a thing the last time I bought glasses, but you can get a blue light filtering lens coating now. So it’s not a specific computer prescription (for me), but just something to help combat eye fatigue.

      3. OtterB*

        I have worn glasses for nearsightedness for 50+ years (except for the 15 years or so I wore contacts). I’d started getting age-related farsightedness and had gone to progressive lenses, which have the near-vision prescription in the lower side and far-vision further up. Which works fine for driving, reading, cooking, most things, but led to neck strain at the computer because I was tilting my head back to be able to see the screen though the bottom of the glasses. I now have a pair of computer glasses that correct only for the distance of a normal monitor. They help immensely.

      4. Gaia*

        It isn’t the same as what Al lo is talking about, but I get a hi-def lenses with a reflection coating and it really really really makes it easier for me to stare at a computer all day. With my old glasses my eyes still got really tired (and since I am neither near sighted nor far sighted but have pretty nasty astigmatisms, tired eyes = blurry everything). With my new ones they never do get tired.

      5. KK*

        I had LASEK at 23 (my eyes had been stable since 16 and they said I was eligible) ane have never looked back…but recently I really started to feel the strain of screens on my eyes and head. I don’t want to go back to wearing glasses, and with the surgery experience eyesight is not something I take for granted. So I bought a pair of “gaming” glasses with orangey yellow lenses that filter blue light… And they are amazing. They make me look like Bono at the office, but I can live with that.

    2. Fiennes*

      LASIK bought me a decade without glasses … but now the more pedestrian blurring of middle age has set in, and I wear glasses again. I don’t mind, though; my vision was worse than 20/2000 pre-LASIK (which at least then was as far as that measurement went), and so even the ability to easily navigate my house and yard without corrective lenses is something I don’t take for granted.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      I really want to get this. I hate being poor. I wouldn’t mind wearing reading glasses to read if I didn’t have to mess with contacts anymore. But I don’t want to wear them for the computer–that already happened when I had contacts that corrected too much for far vision. Now I have multifocal lenses and they work perfectly (but are a pain in the goolies, as contacts are).

    4. Trixie*

      I’m thinking more and more about Lasik surgery. I wear glasses for driving but this might be the way to go. My mother just had cataract/Lasik surgery done and she is so much happier now. I think normally Lasik surgery is around $2500 or $3000?

      1. Al Lo*

        It depends on your prescription. Mine was quite bad and LASIK was around $3000. Lower prescription = less expensive surgery.

    5. Hrovitnir*

      Nice! I love this sort of thing – things that don’t sound exciting but make a big difference to your quality of life/just make you really happy. :)

    6. Cara*

      Hold up! So if I’m nearsighted, I would get the digital protection glasses for computer use without a prescription, right?!

  5. Ask a Manager* Post author

    For anyone who has been following the saga of my kudzu-covered trees, the work is now done. That photo above is our kudzu-free trees! (Those bare tree trunks were previously completely covered in it. Here are before and after photos. You can’t even see the creek at all in the before photo because the kudzu was so thick.)

    1. AcademiaNut*

      So that’s kudzu! I’ve heard the name, and I can see lots of it from my apartment window, but hadn’t connected the two. It grows everywhere here, but it’s also native to the area, so it’s supposed. to.

      1. Merci Dee*

        If you’re anywhere in the U.S., then kudzu isn’t really native to your area. It was brought over from Japan in the 1870s, when countries from around the world were invited to construct exhinits as part of the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The Japanese government built a garden that included kudzu, and things went sideways from there. Pretty soon, farmers used it for free for their animals, and the Soil Conservation Service recommended planting kudzu for erosion control. So now, we’re drowning in the stuff.

        Without a doubt, kudzu can be useful in some situations. But it’s definitely a catch-22 — when those Japanese representatives set up their garden almost 150 years ago, they didn’t bring any of the insects and other wildlife that naturally keep kudzu in check in Japan (why would they? no one would think to do that), so we’ve had to come up with other ways to keep from it in check.

    2. Djuna*

      Wow, the difference is amazing.
      So glad you found someone who didn’t balk at the task.
      Enjoy your creek view!

      1. Paul*

        Creeks are awesome.

        If you’re into wildlife, I’d suggest setting up game cameras near your creek. You might be amazed at the cool critters that come to drink on occasion :)

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Oh really good idea.
          Friends had a creek near their house and they kept lawn chairs IN the creek. The idea being you come home from work, kick off the shoes and wade right in with beverage of your choice. The chairs were always in place and ready to use.

    3. The Other Dawn*

      It’s funny, now that I’ve seen what kudzu looks like I can’t help but notice it everywhere. Kind of like when my husband said you can tell someone has multiple bathrooms by the number of vent stacks on the roof. Now I have to look at houses whenever I’m the passenger in the car so I can see who has more than one bathroom.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Same story for me but substitute electric meters. The husband pointed that out and now I always notice the number of meters on the side of a building.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        If you know northern Virginia, we’re sort of across from Lake Barcroft. It’s Fairfax county, but we’re only about 10 minutes from where we used to be in Arlington. But our backyard borders park land so behind our trees are just more trees, which is really nice.

    4. ..Kat..*

      Not to be a downer, but kudzu generally needs regular maintenance/cutting back. If you like the company that did this work, I recommend setting up a “maintenance ” contract.

  6. Ophelia Bumblesmoop*

    Scottish Games this weekend. It won’t be over 100*F for the first time in almost ten years, so we are taking the little. My husband has long wanted his clan tartan but always hesitates. Hoping to convince him to take the plunge.

    1. Paquita*

      Some friends went on a church choir tour to England and Scotland last year. They got a little pin with my grandmothers tartan. One of them anyway. Clan Ranald (McDonald) has a lot of tartans!

  7. Sparkly Librarian*

    Cat people! Especially cat people with recent kids… Advise me, please.

    My wife and I may have to go out of town for anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks (gawd, I hope it’s on the short end of that) and I am wondering how to handle cat care. For a long weekend we normally fill a free-feeder and a couple of large water dispensers, leave clean catboxes, and might occasionally ask a neighbor to look in on them (such as during the recent heat wave). For this longer absence, we’d probably need someone to come over every other day, check that all cats are present and not in distress, clean their boxes, and maybe put down some wet food. The cats don’t really warm up to strangers, so there’s no cuddle sessions or grooming involved. I’m not sure if they would care if it were the same visitor. We have several friends who could take a turn at visiting, but I think it’s too much to ask of one person/family to be on call for the whole time. I’m open to hiring someone we don’t know — would that be better? (I’d probably provide less cash in total to a group of people each doing us a one-time favor, but we would compensate them in some way.) I don’t think boarding is an option due to expense and potential discomfort to the poor old cats who do not leave home except to go to the vet (which stresses them out).

    Also, if we’re gone that long (a first in the kitties’ long lives) and reappear bearing a strange-smelling squalling bundle that demands all our attention… how to minimize the feline trauma?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      The ideal thing would be to have someone live there while you’re away. Any chance you know someone in a roommate situation who would enjoy having their own space for a while?

      1. Melody Pond*

        Ooo, I second this suggestion, if it’s in any way possible. Maybe reach far out into your social network? Like, maybe a parent or other older relative has a trusted friend whose kid is in college and looking for easy ways to earn extra money – that kind of thing.

        Also, I’d suggest googling Jackson Galaxy, if you’re not already familiar with him – he’s got tons of stuff on how to help cats feel safe/secure when a new baby comes home.

      2. Sparkly Librarian*

        I don’t know why I didn’t think of this. There might be a few options in our extended circles.

      3. Artemesia*

        I used to occasionally travel for 3 mos and when we did that I would find a grad student for whom free housing utilities paid was a plus. I left money for cat emergencies and the student was free to have guests (I didn’t have people who would have parties and trash the place). One year, I had a law student for fall semester who was getting married in December so it was a big plus for her to have a free place. The only thing they had to do for it was care for the cat.

        For 2 to 6 weeks I would probably try to hire a local teen you have confidence in. Our building manager will do cat duty for $5 a day which I consider too low and pay $10. A teen would probably do it for 10 a day. And make sure anything you wouldn’t want a neighbor or a teen to see is locked up; you may not have a snoopy caretaker but odds are high that it will occur. I locked our bedroom when we were away and had a kid feeding the cat; all our financial records, medications etc were in the locked room.

        1. Traveling Teacher*

          Just replying to add that I did this for a professor one summer with another friend to make sure someone was always there for the cat–we also mowed the lawn once/week and that was it, and it was a huge plus for them to have the house be “inhabited” for their own peace of mind. Before they left, they introduced us to two trusted neighbors we could go to with any questions, as well, and that was a huge plus for our peace of mind! We got to stay there for free while job searching, so it worked out really well for all parties concerned!

      4. Zathras*

        Definitely look into this – I house/dog sit for various family members when they are away, and it feels like they are doing me a favor for letting me have their house to myself! (I live in small apartment with roommates.)

      5. Snowflake*

        I have stayed in other people’s homes with their cats a few times, starting in my mid-20s. Someone in my network (who is about 10 years older than me) did it for a family who would leave the country for a month at a time until she got her own cat. Then she referred me. I’ve also watched the person in my network’s cat several times (for week long trips or long weekends) and the cat of a friend of hers. It was so nice to spend some time without roommates and even change up my work commute. I probably undercharge but for me not living with roommates was worth it.

        And it turns out that I really like living with cats. I don’t have one but I probably will soon

    2. Harriet*

      If the house sitter isn’t going to work, I’d suggest paying someone to check on them. I interviewed a few Catsitters when I got my fur babies and picked the one that the cats picked – honestly, she’s like magic and they love her. Especially with older cats and with being gone potentially that long, you want one person to be checking on them to spot any issues that might come up – plus, if you do end up being away at the longer end of the spectrum, the person won’t be a stranger to the cats at that point, and will provide them with a consistent routine.

      As far as adapting them to new family members…afraid I don’t have much advice, other than feliway and providing them with escape routes and high perches. Looking forward to what others say though!

      Good luck with it all :)

      1. Connie-Lynne*

        If you go with a service, ask them to text you pix of your kitties when they visit. It will give you peace of mind plus it ensures they haven’t forgotten or otherwise lost your pets in the system.

        1. Pet Sitter*


          I do this for a couple of clients. It’s no trouble at all.

          You can also use a motion-activated security camera to see when the pet sitter visits.

    3. the gold digger*

      The longest we have ever been gone is ten days. For the past eight years, we have had the same catsitter. He lives two doors down from us and we paid him – officially – five dollars a day but I usually gave him ten a day.

      He left for college three weeks ago. :( We really miss him not only because he is a great catsitter but also because he is just a great kid. (I have had to say goodbye to too many college students recently!)

      Anyhow. We paid him to come over twice a day to feed the cats (we can’t do free-feeding because Laverne is a little vacuum cleaner) and scoop their box. He really likes the cats so would also hang out with them.

      We wanted to go out of town for Labor Day but don’t have a new catsitter lined up. (Our next-door neighbors are our backup, but they were out of town as well.)

      A friend who does not have cats suggested boarding them. We had never even considered that – it’s super expensive but mostly we know our cats would be so, so miserable. When I was a kid, we had to put our cat in quarantine for a month when we moved back to the US from Panama and he cried and cried.

      1. Artemesia*

        For short treks like labor day weekend, a cat feeder works fine. Worst case scenario, it breaks and doesn’t work, the cat won’t die. And we have never had one fail like that. My daughter’s cat managed to pry theirs open and eat everything so they now need to duct tape the top on when they will be gone. Leave a functioning feeder, a huge tub of water and a clean cat box and they are good for short breaks like a weekend. For more than 3 days though, you need a cat sitter who will check and clean the box and replenish the water.

        1. the gold digger*

          The problem is that Laverne will eat all of her food at one sitting, but Shirley eats only a tiny bit. Anything Shirley leaves, Laverne will try to eat. So what would happen is Laverne would eat all the food at once and then fall into a kibble coma and Shirley would be hungry and pissed the rest of the weekend and would knock everything single thing off the kitchen counters.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        Ask your former great catsitter if he has any local friends with younger siblings looking for a gig.

    4. Episkey*

      Honestly, I don’t think having someone live there is necessary. How many cats do you have? We have 2 and we use a pet sitting service that comes everyday, once a day when we go out of town. Our cats eat raw, so they need to have food given to them everyday, plus I just feel more comfortable with having someone check in on them daily.

      The service we use has this really cool technology where they scan a QR code you keep on your fridge as a magnet when they arrive & leave — it then auto emails the sitter’s remarks, photos of your pets the sitter took while there that day, and the time stamp so you can see exactly how long they stayed and you know they were there. It’s nice to have the peace of mind.

    5. Thebe*

      My 13-year-old son and a friend have been running a cat-sitting business for two years. We’re in San Francisco, and people here travel a LOT. The boys give 10 percent of their proceeds to the SPCA. Now my kid has more spending money than I do. If you know a responsible who can visit regularly for a fee, that could work.

    6. atexit8*

      Ask a trusted neighbor.

      I went in daily to check on neighbor’s two cats.
      One cat was friendly. The other cat hid as soon as I opened the front door.

    7. Bagpuss*

      Pay someone to come in daily. The cats may not be cuddly but they will get lonely. If the same person is coming every day it may well be that they will get to know that person.
      My previous cat was very much a one-person cat and avoided strangers. My cat sitter would tell me that if I was away for a long weekend, she didn’t see him at all. If I was away for more than about 3 nights then she would start to see him, although he would be watching her from a safe distance. If I was away for more than around 5 nights he would start to come to her for some contact.
      So having one person come regularly would be better for the cats as it would give them the opportunity to get to know that person, and to get the point where they feel comfortable coming out for attention and petting or playing.

      So far as returning with a baby is concerned, it can be helpful to think of it as you would if you were introducing a new pet to the household – make sure that the cats have their own ‘safe’ spaces, places they can sit and observe etc. I’ve read that it can be helpful to gradually introduce new things, so having stuff such as the car seat, stroller, cot etc in the house ahead of time, so there are not huge numbers of new things at once, can help.

      It’s harder when you are going to be away – if you had a situation where it was possible, then bringing home things that smell of the baby ahead of time would also help – if mum is in the hospital and dad returning home smelling of the baby, or even bringing home a blanket or ‘dirty’ babygrow, so the cats used to the scent, may be helpful.

      You may find it useful to get a ‘feliway’ plug in to use when you do first return home – it uses cat pheremones, to help calm them

      Finally, make sure that the cats still get plenty of attention so they don’t get jealous of the baby.

      Good luck.

    8. nonegiven*

      My son has a sitter that comes every day when he is away, starting the day after he leaves. She scoops and washes the dishes and puts out fresh food. She makes sure they are ok and will play with them if they will come out. One is coming out to play, now.

  8. Junior Dev*

    Mental health thread! How are you doing? What are you struggling with? What are you proud of?

    It’s Friday night and I just got back from a friend’s house. It was nice and I’m glad I got out and spent time with people. I’ve been pretty good at balancing social plans and getting stuff done, though I haven’t done a full grocery shopping trip in a while. I got a bunch of frozen food which is good for when I don’t have the spoons to make food happen.

    I’ve been having quite a bit of anxiety about the Forbidden Topic of Weekends. I think I’m actually doing a fairly good job keeping up on self care. I’m exercising, sleeping enough most nights, and taking steps to make things better.

    I am struggling, though, because I’ve been putting off making an appointment with my psychiatrist. It’s avoidant and I know I need to just talk to her about my concerns. I told her last time we talked about difficulty concentrating and she talked about getting screened for ADD and I’m really dreading talking about that. I have a very complicated history with being treated for ADD as a child in a way that made my anxiety and depression worse. I suppose all I need to do is tell her I’m not interested in taking medication for it. (Does anyone know about resources for non-medication coping strategies for difficulty with concentrating and executive functioning?)

    I’m also drinking too much coffee.

    I’ve been having trouble getting out of bed and getting going in tbe morning. Again, Forbidden Topic. I think a lot of my anxiety and depression right now is in response to specific life circumstances, and I don’t know that it can really get completely better until I make some changes.

    I also have a lot of personal projects I need to balance, and I’ve started volunteering.

    I don’t know. I don’t feel great all the time, but I think I am doing fairly well at coping with it, considering.

    1. JaneB*

      I’ve fallen back into eating sugar and too much of the wrong sorts of carbs – helps with the short term, makes things worse in the medium term – and have let my sleep pattern change back to two sleeps in 24 hours…
      I’ve been on annual leave from the thing we don’t talk about on Sundays and I SO don’t want to go back (plus some idiot set me up as contact person for an email to new “clients” so I’ve had to do some of thing this week anyway).

      On the plus side, my elderly cat is responding well to antibiotics so maybe she doesn’t have Ominous Thing after all, and I managed to read and enjoy two long, complex novels this week, when I haven’t been able to read anything other than safe fluff for months and months, plus did some errands involving new places and talking to strangers (things like eye tests and a mobile phone upgrade which I can stress about and put off for months) without needing any extra mess, so the break is helping some and I feel more confident that at least part of my problem is made worse by Thing We Do Not Discuss….

      And thanks for this check in space, so nice to have s place to be honest in (people in real life either worry at me or tell me it could be worse or to stop worrrying or I’m being selfish or weak/lazy or “just exercise” – they all mean well but makes it hard to be honest, you know?)

      1. Junior Dev*

        You’re welcome! And the people who say “””just””” exercise need to stuff it, I’ve been using exercise to care for my depression for a few years now and I have to say 1) it takes a long time to build up the habit 2) it’s not a linear process, there are ups and downs 3) all that is much harder to manage when you are dealing with mental health issues. Not to discourage anyone from doing it, but rather saying that anyone claiming it’s easy to exercise away mental health problems–or do anything else for that matter, meds or therapy or other lifestyle changes–doesn’t know what they’re talking about. It is a long process and any small progress a person can make is better than not doing that thing–that’s a big part of why I ask about what people are proud of.

      2. Hrovitnir*

        Yay for cat responding to antibiotics! And a second commiseration for unsolicited “helpful” comments* (especially anything containing the word “just”). *sigh*

        *There are lots of reasons this shit is super unhelpful and the reasons are mostly not related to the efficacy of your suggestion.

    2. Lizcat*

      I’m sorry you’re struggling. It can be so hard to make changes and forbidden topic can really affect everything.

      As for me, I’m improving this week. I finally found a new psychiatrist and have an appointment on October 5. I’m hoping he’ll write me a script for the newest long acting ADHD medicine (and then follow through with the prior authorization, which the last did not do).
      And I started writing again!

    3. Ramona Flowers*

      I’m so sorry things are hard right now. You are doing well, but it can be hard feeling like you have to, can’t it?

      I have had a very up and down week. About to have lunch with a friend which may or may not help.

    4. Red*

      My husband has adhd, and he finds having a consistent routine and lots of reminders on his phone and/or to do lists to be helpful. He tried using a detailed planner (Passion Planner, if you’re interested), but found that he’d forget all about writing in it. I actually stole it from him and love it, so it wasn’t a total loss.

      As far as my mental health… Oh boy. I honestly started to think about checking myself into a hospital because I was getting frightened, and my friend yelled at me to just call my f’ing psychiatrist already. Said psychiatrist upped the Lamictal again and added Seroquel (another mood stabilizer) and maybe this is just wishful thinking, but I already feel a little bit better. Either way, it’s nice to have someone looking out for me like that.

      Also, I hadn’t had much of an appetite in a while, and lost a fair amount of weight, which isn’t good because I’m tiny already. Well, it’s back with a vengeance lol. A security guy walked past me in a hallway at work carrying some sort of club and I had to turn and look again because I seriously thought it was a whole baguette.

    5. A. Non*

      I’m working on setting up some good boundaries and getting back into doing things for myself, also a regular exercise routine.

      Unfortunately the regular exercise routine has been interrupted by a) major surgery (I am so far only cleared for walking and stationary bicycling) and b) old man kitty, who likes to camp on the stationary bike. I’m sitting here contemplating getting up to go visit a farmer’s market, which will at least mean walking around and sunshine, but I have yet to motivate myself enough to do it.

      Also I lost my mailbox key.

    6. Shrunken Hippo*

      A lot of my family has ADHD and there are a various lifestyle changes that can help with overall concentration.

      Earlier this week was suicide prevention awareness day (well it was last Sunday, but I forgot to write about it then!) and I wrote my suicide story for the first time on facebook. I had been reading to many discussions about how they can help someone who is suicidal or just depressed and I thought my story might help. The main point of the story was I was saved because someone was willing to sit with me in my pain and listen without trying to fix things. It was the first time I had told any of my friends that I had been suicidal or that I have severe depression, and it was met with lots of support and some good conversations. I was very glad to have finally shared that with my friends.

      I had a minor breakdown earlier in the week that put me out of commission for a while, but I just spent the rest of that day relaxing and sleeping and I felt much better after. Having been invited out for a coffee and crochet hour also helped a lot.

      Overall I’ve been pretty good this week and I hope this becomes a trend!

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        Hugs from an internet stranger. I am truly, honestly, so glad that you are still here in this world. I’m sure your friends in real life feel the same way.
        I hope your trend continues also.
        Huge credits to you for using your self-care skills both alone and with other people.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      *hug* Baby steps.

      I feel like no topic is forbidden in therapy, but it’s been a while since I had a therapist. I had a great one but when I changed from OldExjob to Exjob, I found that he would not take my new insurance (DAMMIT we need some kind of universal healthcare that covers mental health, shit shit shitty shit shit!).

      I started to have a panic attack yesterday–I tried to call the dentist’s office about my toothache, and I couldn’t get through. Jerkbrain went, “OMG they closed your phone isn’t working you’re going to have to find a new dentist nobody will take you without insurance you have no money you’re gonna lose a tooth like you did in 2012 when you had no money you gap-toothed hillbilly bitch nobody will ever love you–”

      And then just as I started to hyperventilate, I tried that thing where you pretend your jerkbrain is someone you’re BEC with and told it to STFU.

      AND IT DID.

      Then I told it, “We’re fine; we have money; if we have to pay for this we can. Yes it will set us back, but we’ve been there before and survived and no I am NOT a hillbilly bitch I am worthy of the finest Avenger he should be so lucky to have me NOW SHUT THE HELL UP.”

      And then I went to the dentist’s office and found out their phone was down because of a transformer fire downtown (which I smelled, actually, when I took my walk). I have an appointment on Monday and I guess I’ll just pay for it and then pull money out to cover my mortgage payment.

      Screw you, jerkbrain!!

      1. Junior Dev*

        I love your dialogue with the jerkbrain, that’s hilarious. Congratulations on making the dentist appointment happen!

      2. Jean (just Jean)*

        Same song, different words, (less the personal abuse, more the “did I really put both enclosures into that envelope? How about the one before that one? Huh? Huh? Huh?”) but laughing in sympathy and recognition.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        I have no clue if this would be for you or not. My friend bought a dental plan. It’s not considered actual insurance, but rather a plan. You pay $99 per year and then you get discounts on the work done during the year. Problems- You may not have enough work to do to make it worthwhile to shell out the $99. Or it could be that your dentist does not take it. Annnnd, lastly, it could be the plan is a fraud and my friend just got lucky with it. Carrington dental plans is the name. I can’t use it because the doc I go to is not on their list.

        If you do decide to look at these plans, some of them are really bogus. They double the price and then tell you that you are getting half off. No. You are paying regular price PLUS paying for a plan that does nothing. It could be that my friend ended up with an honest dentist and that is why the plan worked.

        1. C*

          I have a true dental insurance plan from Delta Dental for $115/year. It is a dental HMO so you have to pick from their list of dentists. But it covers all the cleanings, bitewings, etc. And has a fee schedule for bigger services. Deltadentalins is their website name (dot com). Besides saving money on twice yearly cleanings, it is great knowing I have coverage for bigger problems.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            This is good; my dentist is in the DD PPO network. But coverage would not begin until November, so it doesn’t really help me now. However, I WILL bookmark this for future reference, in case I get a job that doesn’t cover dental.

            Plus I’m old so maybe I can get a senior discount. ;)

    8. Tiny Crankypants*

      I have CPTSD.

      I saw my therapist this week. After that, my work performance improved considerably as my mood improved. This was because we tackled a big memory, and I told my inner voice to STFU and not say horrible shit to me.

      There is still a long way to go because similar memories are stuck together like a spiderweb, but it helps.

      Ex also broke up with me. He wants children, I don’t. This happened 2 months ago and he is now dating someone else. I am resentful of this because the relationship we had meant so little to him that he was able to move on so quickly. There is nothing I can do. I could not sleep after I found out and wanted to hunt the both of them down, but that would not be of use. It hurts and I find myself thinking that I will not be loved again because I have low self-esteem.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Big internet hugs to you if wanted. I’ve found the Pete Walker website helpful for coping with the emotional flashbacks that can come with cptsd.

    9. Fake old Converse shoes*

      I’m still struggling to make friends. Most of my coworkers are nice and friendly, but we don’t have anything in common. And every time I suggested to my Uni group to meet to have a chat, all of them claim to be very busy or not in the mood to see anyone. I’m used to blame myself because grew up with people telling me I’m a weirdo and that it’s my fault I’m so slow to get friends, but I’ve been betrayed so many times that I don’t know if I want to try anymore.

      1. CoffeeLover*

        I’m in the no friend boat with you (and I think we have a lot of company). I’m also in the “tired of putting in the effort” boat. My friend-exhaustion comes from a different place though. I’ve moved so much over my life and lost so many friends due to moves that it just feels… pointless somehow. I just moved again recently (with an 8hour time difference this time). I know I could be better at keeping in contact, but honestly, life moves on and people move on. Whether it takes a few months or a few years, I know I won’t be talking to them (especially now when I’m at the age of marriage and babies). I’ve been good at making friends in the past, but I’m just tired of playing that game. It almost feels like dating.

        For the record, no I don’t think it’s your fault. The older we get the harder it is to build meaningful friendships and the more old relationships start to dwindle. It’s something a lot of people struggle with. Life gets in the way and you don’t have the same opportunities or the same time to build relationships. Personally, I’ve started going to a monthly bookclub and am pretty happy with it. Maybe I make a friend there, maybe I don’t. But it gets me out of the house and talking to people about an interesting topic. I’m not saying I don’t still feel lonely sometimes. I do, but I try not to focus on it too much.

      2. Anonaglob*

        I also find myself pretty much friendless. I feel like a grew apart from the friends of my 20s, and those I didn’t grow apart from have moved away, and weren’t close enough in the first place to carry on a meaningful long distance friendship. I do have one close friend, but that is now a long distance friendship.

        It is SO hard for me to find and make friends. I am the kind of person who really needs to have a “chemistry” with someone and that chemistry is rare. And even when I feel it, it’s so hard to go from acquaintance to friend! Right now I totally have a friendship crush on someone at work, but I’m not sure if it’s totally weird to be like “Hey, I know we usually talk about those TPS reports, but I really like you and want to hang out with you outside of work. Do you want to be friends?” And then I also have this voice in my head that she probably actually finds me annoying and only tolerates me because she’s my coworker, or she would never spend her free time with someone as dorky as me. I’m 35 years old! Shouldn’t I have discarded those thoughts at 15??!

        This shit isn’t easy. You’re not alone!

        1. SeekingBetter*

          Yeah, it’s totally hard for me to make new friends too. On top of that, it’s even harder for me to find a relationship since I also need that “chemistry” to happen as well. Anyway, I’m just taking care of me right now, and that kind of helps with my depression sometimes.

      3. Fake old Converse shoes*

        Update: today my father asked why I can’t be “normal” and have friends like “normal people”. *sighs*

    10. Ramona Flowers*

      I’m actually really not feeling too well today. I’m meant to attend an event with my team on Monday evening and am feeling really anxious and panicked about either going to it or being there while everyone else leaves and beating myself up for not going. If I’m still feeling this tearful and rabbit in headlights-ish on Monday I may need to stay off sick anyway.

      This will be the second time I’ve dropped out of a (totally optional, out of hours, meant to be fun) work event because having to be around a lot of people and eat in front of a group is just not something I can handle at times. Guh.

      1. Hrovitnir*

        Aw, no. I know that feeling. :/ I hope things improve at least a little soon.

        Makes me think of the The Onion headline I saw today: Man Spends Whole Day Dreading Fun Activity He Signed Up For.

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          Oh thank you – your Onion headline made me laugh as it’s basically the story of my life in various degrees.

    11. LS*

      I’ve found a lot of useful info on the Attitude magazine site, for managing ADHD without meds. I’ll share the link.

      For me personally, it helps to prioritise and tackle only a few things at a time and not try to fix everything at once. For example I realised that I was often late for work because I’m not a morning person and I could never find my car keys, my phone or my handbag. So I started putting them in the same highly visible place every night before bed. It doesn’t always happen, but I’m far more aware of needing to do it. Once that was less of a problem I started adding in other things.

    12. Mischa*

      Struggling with getting out of bed and getting going, as well. If I didn’t have the dog to let out, I probably would’ve stayed in bed all day today. It’s having a domino effect elsewhere: not able to get up, meaning I run late, and I don’t take care of myself as much as I should (basic grooming, exercise), and then I don’t have time to eat, then I’m late to class.

      I’m going in for an evaluation at the doctor’s on Friday. What should I expect? I suspect I have depression, but this appointment is to find out if that’s what’s going on or not. I’ve never been to a psychiatrist, and I’m honestly terrified. But I want to get my life back.

      1. Red*

        Is your appointment with your primary care provider or with a psychiatrist? If it’s with your primary care doctor, they might actually be able to prescribe your medication without sending you to a psychiatrist – that’s how my husband got his Prozac prescription. They typically have no problem whatsoever with writing prescriptions for your standard antidepressants (SSRIs, etc.).

        If it’s with a psychiatrist, it’s not bad at all. I have to go to a psychiatrist because my diagnoses are way out of a PCP’s scope of practice, and it goes like this: The doctor will sit and talk with you about your family history, your symptoms, any other treatments you may have tried and how well they’ve worked for you, and anything else you or they might think is relevant. Then they’ll talk about what medication they think might be right for you, and send you home with a prescription for it and a follow-up appointment. The first appointment is usually about an hour long, subsequent visits are more like 10 minutes.

        1. Mischa*

          I think it’s with a psychologist, my error. I’m going to my campus’s counselling and psychological services center. They said that part of the appointment will be paperwork (naturally) and an evaluation.

          I’m not 100% keen on medication (mostly because I absolutely will just forget to take it — I would forget my arm if it weren’t attached to me), but I’m open to it if that’s the best way to get back to normal. Glad to hear it’s not as scary as my brain has been making it out to be!

          We’ll see how it goes!

          1. Red*

            Oh, alright! I did that as well (for better or worse, I have a lot of experience with this sort of thing lol), and they had me do a thoroughly annoying of forms. This gave them a good idea of what I could use help with. They then spent some time talking to me about what the questionnaires revealed and what brought me in, etc. At this point, you may be thinking – why do the forms at all? If you’re not thinking it now, you will halfway through filling them out. This is because the forms ask about a lot of things you may not think to bring up, but are relevant to your mental health. For example, I had guessed I had depression and anxiety, and probably would’ve just asked for therapy for that, but the evaluation actually revealed it was bipolar and PTSD, which is 100% accurate. After the paperwork and the conversation about what you’re hoping to accomplish, you’ll talk about what you can expect from counseling. If your counselor thinks you need medication, they’ll tell you, and suggest how best to go about getting it. You can also ask them about this, if you are undecided on the subject – counselors get to know you really well! I wish you the best of luck, and if you have any more questions, just let me know!

    13. JanetM*

      As of Wednesday evening, I am back on Abilify as an adjunct to my antidepressant, and once again, it is an absolute magic bullet. I have been in a bleak, BLEAK depression since mid-July; within 12 hours of the first dose, I started to feel better.

      Then I came down with a head-cold. *sigh*

      But I’m still doing so much better emotionally.

        1. nonegiven*

          Think of the people having to come up with names. They need new pronounceable words that aren’t too close to existing drugs.

    14. rj*

      thank you for this thread! I just moved a couple of months ago to start a new (forbidden topic), which also means I need new friends and new community. It’s just hard. For like 3 days this week I remembered to eat the amount of vegetables that makes me happy and drink enough water.
      I am fairly active, but I think I need to either walk to work (instead of biking) or go for walks in the evening – because I need to clear my head. But on days when showing up wearing reasonably appropriate clothes is an achievement … because I had been panicking the night before… these goals are lofty.

    15. LizB*

      Had a good therapy session yesterday with some significant EMDR work, then had ultra weird post-EMDR dreams last night. They don’t come every time I do a session, but when they do, hoo boy. My subconscious has a hell of an imagination. They’re not unpleasant, just always bizarre and way more vivid than any other dreams I have. Ah well, small price to pay for a treatment that works really well for me!

      I also decided in that therapy session to ask my boyfriend to stop commenting on/reminding me about putting my worn-once-but-not-dirty-enough-for-the-laundry clothes away. He has the best of intentions, and I do want to get better about that task eventually, but it’s proving really really difficult and his reminders make me feel terrible more than they help. So I asked him to leave that topic alone unless the clothes are actually in his way, because I’m going to work on my habits around emptying the dish drainer and keeping the dining room table clean first, then I’ll tackle the clothes thing at a later date. He took it well! Now I just have to follow through on working on those other habits.

    16. Shayland*

      I’ve been in a lot of (physical) pain lately and have had an incredibly overwhelming past two weeks. I’ve been doing a lot to support the Glass Blowing Guild, including spending ten hours last Sunday at an arts festival sale. We made $4,000 over that whole weekend. I also went to a three day conference where I ran into a lot of people who I hadn’t seen all year (since the last conference) or even longer ago.

      Then of course, there’s school work, which I’ve fallen behind with.

      I emailed my mold making teacher, telling her that I wasn’t going to have the email update about how my mold making homework went in on time. Four hours after the deadline I was able to get that in to her. She didn’t respond that day, and I spent the entire time stressing about it and wondering if she was going to give me a hard time about it. If I was paying more attention I would have known that I wouldn’t have been able to get the homework done, and I could have emailed her in the beginning of the week and requested an extension (part of my disability accommodations). And I was just really beating myself up over that. However, she was super kind and checked in with me to make sure I was doing better (emotionally) since my email came across as really down and defeatist. She was really, just so compassionate, and told me that while I should strive to have a better understanding of my limits and stuff, she would not penalize me for the late work. I’m not sure if that was an “in general” or this time.

      Anyway, I have a blow slot in about an hour and I’ve been doing my best to clean my apartment all morning. It’s basically a dump since I haven’t had any time to give it TLC over the past two weeks.

      I’m sad, I’m tired, and I want to rest but I can’t yet.

      I have a neurologist appointment Tuesday and have let my teachers know that I may not be in class because of it. Even if the appointment doesn’t leave me in a state where I can’t go to class, I might just stay home anyway so I can rest.

    17. Observer*

      You’ve gotten some good resources for dealing with ADHD without meds – and they are a good idea regardless of whether you choose meds or not.

      Please do talk to your psychiatrist about this, though. She’ll take you seriously, and if you do decide on medications, will choose ones with a better track record on this issue, and you’ll monitor this so you can respond quickly if it becomes a problem. And, if she does NOT take this seriously, I’d say that you need to find another psychiatrist.

      Lots of luck!

    18. NaoNao*

      Maybe too late to the game, but sailing into week FOUR of no drinking at all, and hanging loose. It’s been fairly easy (knocks on wood) and the health effects have been SO amazing. I’ve dropped a few lbs, just enough to keep me going/motivated to stick with it, and my skin is much better—healthy, bright, and the color is good. Best of all, I’m sleeping well.

      Tough rows I’m hoe-ing: I’m moving on to my third and final interview on site at High Profile Dream Co and I just completed the practicum test. Pretty much everyone who made it to the final round gets an offer, from what I read on Glassdoor, but augh!! Every step I take with this company the stakes get higher and the work gets tougher!

      I’m a bundle of nerves, and I’m all over the place emotionally. My dreams could be coming true, but it would be an LDR for me and my guy for about a year. Lots of changes comin’!

  9. Not Australian*

    I posted a couple of weeks back about my upcoming breast cancer surgery and promised to update after it was over. The people here who reassured me were absolutely right – despite all the alarming (and, frankly, alarm*ist*) information from the hospital I sailed through in fine style, without even needing painkillers afterwards. The day after surgery I went shopping; two days after that, for a two-hour country walk.

    Unfortunately the start of my radiotherapy has been delayed slightly due to a paperwork snafu, but that’s just given me more time to build up my strength. I’ve now been on cancer meds and industrial-grade vitamins for about a week and I’m feeling appreciably better every day. I still get pretty tired, but luckily I’ve been able to get someone to cover my small business for me so I can sleep whenever I want and watch box sets of Netflix in between.

    I understand that I’ve been very lucky, and believe me I appreciate it. I also want to say, though, to other people, that when people tell you ‘it may not be as bad as you’re expecting’, there’s a very good chance they could be right. Thank you, everyone on AAM who was so supportive.

    1. jasmine*

      Best wishes, and hope you have a quick recovery! A dear friend of mine survived breast cancer and chemo almost three decades ago, and she’s still going strong.

    2. Daisy*

      I’m happy to hear that you are doing well! I just did a follow-up with my radiation oncologist last night and found out that I don’t have to see him again for six months ( pause for happy dance). I’m glad you have support with your business so that you can rest and recover-Netflix is a wonderful thing. Best wishes as you move on to the next step in your treatment

    3. Artemesia*

      Glad to hear it. All my friends who have faced this have made it through and you probably will too. Scary to face though.

    4. OperaArt*

      One person’s story, for what it’s worth…I finished radiation treatment in late July–16 days (every weekday). It wasn’t very bad. Each treatment only took a few minutes. They spent almost as much time getting me aligned properly as they did zapping me. I felt a little fatigue up until the last week. Then I felt walloped, and had to stay home for 3-4 days. Other side effects were what looked like a sunburn on my skin, a mild burning inside, and the occasional twinge. It took about 4 weeks before I really felt back to normal, but I didn’t really feel all that bad while healing.

      Surgery was mid-May, a lumpectomy. It went fine.

      Good luck.

  10. Plse help, any IANAL*

    I need a suggestion to this dilemma. I have a 95 year old mother who wrote her will in a Northeastern state 27 years ago and moved to AZ about 12 years ago. My sibling feels mother has a valid will. I feel if she does not have a valid will then there will a hassle with probate and lawyers more money and time will be required. This isn’t an inheritance issue, she has a pension and has LTC insurance but doesn’t own any property. I just can’t see how her will written in another state would meet current law. Help please!

    1. Indy's mom*

      Her will is still valid unless she writes a new one after she wrote the first one. They aren’t location dependent.

      Not a lawyer but has taken wills, trust, and probate class. But if you are worried go look into a consultation with an estate planning professional.

    2. Where's the Le-Toose?*

      As with everything, it will depend on the facts surrounding how your mother executed her will.

      Although I’m a California lawyer, Arizona law reads that if your mother’s will was valid in the other state when she executed it in the other state, or if the will complies with Arizona’s requirements for a will, the will is valid in Arizona. Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 14-2506 reads, in part, that a “written will is valid if executed in compliance with section 14-2502 or if its execution complies with the law at the time of execution of the place where the will is executed ….” ARS 14-2502 gives the requirements for a valid will in Arizona.

      Those Arizona statutes are available free online. You should review them, and you should review the laws from the state your mother was living in when she executed her will. If you think there is an issue that her will wasn’t valid, you need to talk to a lawyer in Arizona.

      That being said, if your mom has no assets to leave, are you just worried that you will have to probate her estate and incur costs? Because no-asset or limited-asset probate cases can be done without the help of a lawyer. There are books you can buy for under $30 that have all the forms you need an instructions on how to file.

    3. Jerry Vandesic*

      If she doesn’t have any complicated assets (real estate, vehicles), the easiest thing to do is add beneficiaries to any financial accounts (banks, insurance, IRA) that she might have. If everything meaningful can be covered, there will be no need to even file probate. When my father died, I was on all his accounts, and I received the proceeds of his bank, IRA, and insurance without filing any probate. It was all done in a couple weeks, with zero cost. If your mom is competent to sign legal documents, she can quickly and easily add you and your sibling as beneficiaries.

  11. anony-mouse*

    Best & Worst

    Best: I’ve been practicing my instrument a lot this week and I’m giving a concert today. It’s gonna be great.

    Worst: Hit another car in an unfamiliar parking lot. Called the police to make it right by the other owner and my third party liability insurance will cover it, of course, but the whole process and the paperwork was a pain in the behind.
    I feel good about doing the right thing here (I suspect most of the people in my neighborhood would’ve just left the scene) but I lost a night’s sleep over it anyway and was on “somehow make it through this week without falling asleep at ” mode all week as a result.

    1. The IT Manager*

      Worst: My girlfriend broke up with me on Monday night.

      Best: I have two great friends who have been supportive all week. Texting when that’s all I can handle and talking when we can. I haven’t always had friends like this and I’m grateful.

    2. Fiennes*

      Best: my partner has all but emerged from his bout with depression and we’re getting our relationship on an even keel again. It’s beautiful to see him happy and productive once more, and such a joy just to be able to hang out and have fun together.

      Worst: my highly problematic mother would like to start a fight for drama’s sake. I haven’t obliged her, which means she’ll be sulking and looking for a soft spot at which to strike. Send me strength.

      1. PurpleNovember*

        I’m sorry your mother’s choosing to behave badly– I hope she finds something else to do, and that your partner keeps doing better!

    3. Talvi*

      Best: I repotted my succulents a couple of weeks ago, which resulted in some cuttings. A few of them are just now starting to poke out roots!

      Worst: Still waiting for one of my textbooks to arrive. I ordered it on the 1st, so hopefully it will get here soon…

    4. Schnapps*

      Best: this was a really good week, overall. I mentioned the work stuff in yesterday’s thread. I made it to crossfit 6 days this week, acquired a new (to me) pair of Nike Metcons from someone else at the box who is downsizing – they are barely used and cost a lot up here in the Great White North. We had a most excellent workout today in honour of Terry Fox (Canucks know who I’m talking about – if you don’t know who he is, google him). His niece also attends my crossfit box and the owners donated $10 for each person who attended today’s workout to the Terry Fox Foundation, and members also donated.

      Worst: I was so freakin’ tired yesterday. But the good outweighed the bad this week by a long shot.

    5. Paris Geller*

      Worst: The girl I was seeing broke things off.
      Best: I found a new local park with a good, not-to-busy walking trail, and I managed to summon up the energy to go twice this week.

    6. LizB*

      Best: Went to an awesome comedy show this week! (John Mulaney with Max Silvestri as the opener.) I was sleepy the next day, but it was so worth it. I was crying laughing.

      Worst: I’m in a second-day-of-period funk and I need to do laundry. Whyyyy.

    7. AlaskaKT*

      Best: My daughter has grown a bunch since her last appointment. She is now half my height at a year old. Gonna be tall like her daddy.

      Worst: Managed to get my leg run over by the 4 wheeler while on it. Dislocated my knee and sprained my ankle. At least my loose joints means my knee popped right back in! I’ve been trying to stay off of it since to speed healing, but winter is coming and stuff needs doing.

    8. SeekingBetter*

      Best: Went to an awesome exercise class yesterday and had lunch and chat times with a couple of good friends and classmates there :)

      Worst: Found out that I will need to buy new tires for my old car when I don’t really want to spend more money on it.

      1. Sparrow*

        Best: Passed my first exams, and am feeling prepared, organized and motivated to learn the next set of material.
        Worst: Missing my former partner particularly hard last night and this morning.

  12. KR*

    Best, husband comes home from deployment soon.
    Worst, having the worst time motivating myself to clean and prepare for my work trip next week and for him coming home.

    1. Artemesia*

      Any chance you could treat yourself with a one time deep clean of the house by a service or by a cleaner one of your friends uses. There are times when this little luxury really makes a difference. And then you can prepare for your husband’s homecoming by planning a fun dinner or other events instead of cleaning the floors and bathrooms.

      1. KR*

        Thanks ♥️ I am outsourcing getting my couch cleaned and that’s going to alleviate a lot of stress. It’s not even a lot of work, I just got to do the actual work ahaha

    2. Alinea*

      Woohoo! So exciting!

      My husband just got back a few weeks ago after 11 months and I also could not motivate myself to clean (or get 6-pack abs). I didn’t do as great of a job as I wanted and felt like a POS when he got back :(

      DH just yelled from across the house that you should clean (he’s a neat freak thoug, ink howmmich your H would care)
      I say – I feel you, uuugghhh cleaning. You can do it! Maybe find a good playlist and jam out while cleaning?!

      1. KR*

        It’s so hard to be motivated isn’t it! I just got an absurb amount of sleep so once my cat gets off my stomach I think I’ll put on a good playlist, get a tiny bit intoxicated , and start going at it. It helps my husband told me to make him a honey-do list for when he gets home so all the chores involving bugs and axel grease he can handle ahaha. It’s so much easier to clean when they’re home isn’t it!

  13. Paige*

    If you could have a ‘mundane’ superpower, what would it be?
    (By ‘mundane’ I mean stuff that wouldn’t make a very exciting movie.)

    I think mine would be able to turn back time by like 30 seconds. Just enough time to ‘undo’ the last accidental thing, like breaking a glass or anything else that takes a moment to happen and ages to clean up lol.

      1. Floundering Mander*

        Ahhh this would be so awesome. I avoid washing them for as long as I can because I hate changing them. I insisted on using a flat sheet, American style, when I moved here.

      2. HannahS*

        Yes. I would rather clean three days worth of dishes and clean the toilet than put the stupid duvet back in its stupid cover.

      3. Epiphyta*

        Spouse changes the covers, as one of the “I would rather do x than deal with this; trade me?” chores. For what it’s worth, here is how he does it:

        Turn the duvet cover inside out. Shove your arms into the opening until you can reach the corners. Pick up the corners of the duvet, hold on tight, and shake the cover down. If there is another person available, have them pull the cover down until they’ve reached the opposite corners. Shake the duvet between you, close the opening, put on bed.

    1. nep*

      I’d be able to make the remaining coffee in my cup piping hot without having to heat it up. (I know — it’s called a thermal mug…but at home I prefer using a cup.)

        1. Floundering Mander*

          I used to have a tiny hotplate that I plugged in next to my computer to keep my coffee mug on. You can probably get a USB powered one these days.

    2. Dr. KMnO4*

      Complete control over any muscle in my body, so that I’d be able to instantly fix a stiff neck or back.

      1. GermanGirl*

        Oh yeah, just the ability to relax any muscle at will would save me so many stiff-neck-induced headaches and so many hiccup fits. I’d take that superpower immediately.

      2. nep*

        Yes. I see that I’d find some of these others more valuable than my original. Reserve the right to change.

    3. the gold digger*

      I would like to be able to eat whatever I want without gaining weight. I know – it’s trivial and materialistic but yeah, that’s what I want.

      My actual superpower is I can find any typos except the ones I make.

      Primo’s superpower is that he has to hear only one song on the classic American Top 40 (with Kasey Kasem) to know what year the episode is from.

      1. Paul*

        Seconding this.

        If I could live on cheesecake and maintain a lean 200 lbs body weight I would be so very happy.

      2. Mimmy*

        Thirding the “eat what I want” superpower! And not just without gaining weight, but also without messing with my blood sugar.

        I love Primo’s superpower! I grew up on ATF, and I used to memorize the top 10 each week. Even now, I could probably tell you roughly the time period a particular song was in the top 10 (e.g. early summer of 1984, winter of 1986).

      3. Victoria, Please*

        Trivial or not, I’m with you.

        My superpower is that I can do heavy gardening in my office clothes and not get them dirty. I once relocated a palm tree while wearing my favorite slacks and shirt, which came out unscathed.

        1. GermanGirl*

          My not-so-super-power is that I think I can do that and it works 4 times out of 5, but every so often I’ll ruin some good clothes and think “yeah, really should change into old stuff before doing that”, which I’ll then do the next 2-3 times and not get them dirty so it’s back to not changing – rinse and repeat.

      1. Girasol*

        I would so go for this one. I fold them in thirds, corners to the center, because I imagine the rumply corners will be hidden that way, but they usually aren’t. And now I’m imagining Sheetsella in a cape with its corners elasticized.

    4. Paris Geller*

      I’d like to be able to get the fitted sheet on the bed properly on the first try. (Apparently this is not a chore for some people, my family informs me, but the fitted sheet is my nemesis).

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Meals. A steady flow of good, wholesome meals at a snap of the fingers. Open the fridge and there it is.

    5. Roseberriesmaybe*

      To park bike and be confident that it won’t be stolen when I return; that I haven’t forgotten or lost something very important (yes, I am a low-level worrier).
      And one for my mother-to be able to find the car in the parking lot straight away :D

    6. Red*

      Definitely an immunity to papercuts on my hands! I work in a hospital and there’s a lot of hand sanitizer involved and it gets really annoying.

    7. Shrunken Hippo*

      How about the ability to restart conversations from any point so when my social awkward self decides to say something embarrassing I can redo it. Also so I could be rude to rude people with no repercussions.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      I would like to be able to clean the house with a wave of my hand–just sweep it over the room and everything would be magically in order and sparkling. Sort of like Doctor Strange object manipulation.

    9. Floundering Mander*

      I’d like to have the magic ability to maintain motivation do normal stuff, like keep the house neat and fix my hair so that it doesn’t look frizzy and unkempt all the time. I’m unemployed and home all day right now, there’s a million tiny things I could be doing, but I surf the web all day instead.

    10. miyeritari*

      I would always have the right route/transit vehicle come within 5 minutes of me arriving at the transit stop.

    11. Purple snowdrop*

      My superpower is to randomly come across really nice (but not expensive) restaurants when I’m staying away overnight for work.

      1. miyeritari*

        Once I was really anxious about what could have potentially been a serious health issue (turned out fine, thank god for that), and I was sleeping really poorly. The sleep in the MRI tube was the best rest I’d had in like two weeks.

      2. Zathras*

        I have this one too! It’s a blessing/curse superpower – I can fall asleep anywhere I want to, but it’s also impossible to stay awake if my body has decided it is time to sleep.

        As a cyclist, I would like to be able to know with certainly how any given car would move in the next 5 seconds.

        1. GermanGirl*

          Yeah, or how icy the next bit of road really is when it doesn’t look icy but the temperatures are low enough.

    12. Gingerblue*

      The ability to pack and unpack a house efficiently. Why does moving stuff always take ten times longer than you expect?

    13. Kristen*

      I would like the ability to be able to turn back the clock 30-45 minutes, so I could sleep in and still be early to work. I wish for this almost every morning.

    14. Elizabeth H.*

      I think some of these are not mundane enough – I feel like anything weight or motivation related is a MAJOR superpower :P

      I started to type out one idea but just thought of a better one – the power to instantly produce ice cubes!!! This is different from being Iceman because it would be specifically limited to producing ice cubes at the point when you want to put them in a drink but someone else emptied the trays and just refilled them, or the trays are almost empty, etc. Having ice is very important to me.

      The superpower I already have is being able to fold fitted sheets effortlessly!

      1. the gold digger*

        OK – how about this one? I want to be able to time my requests at the library so that Nashville season four, The Missing season 1, and Deustchland 83 season 1 all don’t arrive on the same weekend.

    15. JulieBulie*

      To be instantly showered, clean, hair dry and teeth brushed without having to even turn on the water.

      I hate being wet.

    16. MommaCat*

      My actual superhero power is being asked for help and finding the problem fixed by the time I get there. It’s pretty awesome.

  14. Accidental Analyst*

    A couple of weeks ago I posted about having terminal ileitis. I’ll know in three weeks if it’s crohns and if there are any medical reasons why I couldn’t go on immunosuppressants.

    I’ve been very fortunate throughout this whole thing. It looks like this has been caught early. My family is supportive. My doctors are taking it serious. My work is being understanding and allowing me to work part time. My symptoms are pretty low key – constant bloating, intermittent pain, persistent fatigue. Bathroom wise this actually seems less than IBS flare ups.

    The fatigue is the biggest issue for me. I think it’s also affecting my memory and mental functioning. I’m on iron tablets and b12 injections, and I drink plenty of water. I have a couple of days a week were I nap half the day. Here’s to hoping any treatment for the underlying cause will sort this out quickly.

    1. fposte*

      Good luck! Speaking as a Crohn’s person, I’d say it’s possible they’ll start you on Uceris, which is essentially a topical that works directly on the gut rather than systemically–that’s really low impact and helps a lot of people.

      1. Accidental Analyst*


        I’m not sure that’s available where I live. I can see that the TGA considered it January last year and seemed to give it the go ahead but I can’t seem to find any info about it being sold anywhere.

        Little fuzzy on all the details but the specialist mentioned a med that was an immunosuppressant. They also ordered tests which check to see if I can metabolise it, to check for other immuno conditions and things that would be affected by the drug. Basically it might take longer to work but has better long term control. They did mention that prednisone could be used short term if I’m still missing so much work.

        1. BeautifulVoid*

          Another Crohn’s person here – I was on 6MP/mercaptopurine for yeeeeeeeeears, and that immunosuppressant worked pretty well for me. I always took it in combination with other meds, though. And if that doesn’t work, don’t be afraid of the biologics. I even stayed on one while pregnant and everything was fine. Good luck!

  15. Anonicat*

    I posted a couple weeks ago about my partner being in a manic state. In the interim, things have been very hard. She was asked to take a couple weeks away from work, but a colleague and I negotiated a compromise with our boss. (She and I work together.) The following day, I broke down about something she has been lying to me about and said something hurtful, and she broke up with me, but told me the next day we’re on a break. She’s angry that I was monitoring her behavior, which I understand. We commute, living in one city and starting a couple nights a week in the city where we work. She has exiled me from our main home and taken away my keys. I hate the city we work in, which is why we built our lives in the other place. I’m utterly devastated. I miss my bed and my cats (our cats, but adopted because I wanted them) and my yoga studio and my life. She wants a break for at least two weeks, has established a list of conditions the violation of any of which will mean an instant breakup (mainly, discussing her mania with anyone), and I asked for no contact during that time.

    I don’t know what to do with myself. I feel like my whole life has been taken away. I tried so hard to help in a context where the vast majority of her anger and irritability was directed at me, I saved her from an involuntary suspension, and as a result, it feels like I lost everything because I let frustration and hurt take over for one moment.

    There’s heartbreak, anger, loss, uncertainty, and fear of the future (and how the situation is affecting my own work). I don’t know exactly what I’m asking, but grateful for any thoughts/experiences/strategies for when your life falls apart overnight would be appreciated. Any experiences with someone coming out of mania appreciated too (she started an anti-psychotic a week ago).

    1. Djuna*

      Oof. I’m sorry you’re going through this.
      I’m not sure if I’m really qualified to give advice here, but bipolar disorder runs in my family (hi mom, hi me) and I know a little about dealing with mania from both sides.

      I’m not sure that negotiating a compromise at work was the best thing to do here. Of course, you love her, you want to protect her, but you can’t and shouldn’t over-insulate her from the consequences of her mania.

      Manic me (because I generally have mixed states episodes) is guaranteed to make anywhere I go an unpleasant place to be. I would earn, and deserve, time-outs from work and friends. I’ve lost friends. I lost a job due to being hospitalized. Nothing is rational, nothing is sacred, all is burning rage and terror. Even if someone has the ebullient, bulletproof, spendy and grandiose kind of mania, the kind that’s maybe more ‘normal’, it’s still destructive and dangerous if allowed to run amok. Meds matter, a good doctor matters (a good one is one who will work to make your meds dull you as little as possible, to make it easier for you to take them daily without feeling numbed out), having to take responsibility for yourself and your moods matters too.

      You are not responsible for the way she’s behaving right now. She may do a 180 after some time on her new meds and feel terrible about what she has done (most of us are cursed with perfect recall of all of the things we say and do while manic) but equally she may still be mad at you (or herself, or just plain mortified) and may still want to keep her distance. None of this is probably what you want to hear, but it’s all very wait-and-see.

      Give her space, give the meds time to kick in, and in the meantime, take care of yourself. If you can, since you work in the same place, take some time off. Give yourself space too. Asking for no contact was a good first step, but you have to also enforce that. I have no way of knowing how hurtful the thing you said was, but I’d bet you got some pretty hurtful stuff flung at you too. Distract yourself with friends, movies, books, videogames (whatever works for you).

      And…here’s the other thing, right now it feels like your world is crumbling, but you’ve existed in a state of watchfulness and wariness for a while now. If (and I missed your other post, so I may be off-base here) she doesn’t want to take meds for some reason, that’s a decision that affects you too. And it’s one both of you need to talk about when she comes out the other side. You can love someone and be firm with them. Sometimes being firm and unwavering is the best way to show your love. If the two of you get together again, make a plan for how to deal with her episodes, and then enforce it. Consistency matters.

      There are two people in your relationship, which means you both have to put in some work. Your work is understanding that you can’t (and shouldn’t try to) fix everything she breaks, and hers is understanding that her moods affect more than just her. Seriously, it is ok to tell an angry, irritable, manic person that you’re not willing to engage with their current nonsense. She mightn’t like it (I never did), but she should ultimately respect it. Speaking only for me, I do not want to be coddled, I want to be called out on my manic bullshit (mania itself is far from bullshit, but manic me has extremely paranoid notions that most certainly are). If I’m with someone I trust and love, I want that for them as much as for myself. Loving someone who is bipolar does not mean that you aren’t allowed to have your own feelings, and especially that you can’t talk to or vent to other people about those feelings when you need to. It’s not disloyal to have your own support system.

        1. Anonicat*

          Yes, very helpful! I was trying to protect her in the best ways I knew how, since I knew how mortified she would be later. Maybe that was the wrong decision. Trying to control something not in your control doesn’t work out well.

    2. fposte*

      I’m so sorry.

      It’s up to you to decide what’s important here, but it’s pretty unlikely she had any legal right to kick you out or take away your keys; from a relationship standpoint, the list of conditions, which seems to include you talking about your own life experience with her, makes me raise an eyebrow pretty high. I don’t think she gets more rights than you just because she’s mad at you, and I hope if you decide to reconcile that that apparent imbalance goes away.

      1. Myrin*

        Yes, I understand that this is a stressful and unpleasant time for both of you but I’m seriously unimpressed with the imbalance demonstrated here.

        1. Anonicat*

          I recognize the reality in that. The imbalance developed over the last year especially. I talked to a couple close friends of mine about the mania when I was close to giving up. I also reassured some co-workers who were worried about her. She still doesn’t understand how exceedingly unusual (hostile/kind of mean, arrogant, and condescending, with poor judgment about what shared with whom) her behavior actually was, so she thinks people must have said something when, in reality, it was obvious something was very wrong. So she feels like I violated her privacy all over the place.

          I’m in limbo, so I can’t go looking for a place of my own in the neighborhood I love, at least yet. Thanks for letting me vent!

          1. rj*

            yeah this seems shady at best. I think a no contact period (that you enforce for yourself, and find work arounds at your place of employment) will be really hard but also really a good thing for you to give you perspective on what you actually want. internet hugs, if you want them. this sounds really tough.

          2. neverjaunty*

            You are spending a lot of time orbiting around her demands and not enough time paying attention to your own needs here.

            She has NO right to kick you out of your home and confiscate YOUR keys and keep you aware from YOUR house and your cats and your things. PERIOD. And she’s fooling you into thinking she does by threatening you with a break up if you dare to disobey. She has already broken up with you. This crap about it being a ‘break’ is meant to keep you dangling in case she decides she wants to get back together with you.

            Please: stop dancing to her tune and thinking that the most important thing in the world is keeping her happy. It isn’t, and she’s the absolute last person you should look to for whether something is or isn’t OK.

          3. Observer*

            You don’t need to be in limbo. Her behavior really is not acceptable, and you need to accept that. You can decide to stay with her if she wants, but you should seriously consider walking away.

            Keep in mind that this is not just about her apparently not well managed mental health issues. It’s also about her not being a trustworthy person. Yu caught her LYING TO YOU. And, instead of apologizing and committing to making it better, she is making YOU the bad guy! Why do you think that’s OK?

      1. Ellie*

        Don’t accept being separated from your cats!! They’re yours, too. Obviously, proceed in ways that are healthiest and most beneficial for you personally, but I advocate doing what it takes to get your cats.

  16. Foreign Octopus*

    I’m early this week! This never happens :)

    So a thing has happened that’s kind of been annoying me but has also been resolved but I still want to complain.

    Last November, I lent a book to a friend of mine. I’d really enjoyed it and had been raving about it (Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier for those who are interested) to her. She expressed an interest in reading it and so I lent it to her. In April of this year, she asked to keep it for longer because it was helping to improve her English (she’s Russian) and at this point I already felt that six months was a long time to keep a borrowed book. Fast forward to now, I’ve had to ask her three times to return it and last night we went out for drinks. She only handed it back when I returned a book to another friend.

    Is it me? Or is keeping a book for nearly a year weird?

    1. Djuna*

      Depends on what you mean by weird. In my experience, it’s common to the point where I no longer lend books to people unless I’m okay with not getting them back.

      I have maybe 50 books which are “never lends” (signed copies, first editions, out of print/hard to find books), but anything else on my (many, groaning) shelves is fair game.

      I’ve lost count of the number of books I’ve bought replacement copies of over the years – sometimes the original finds its way home again and I wind up with multiple copies, which makes it easier to lend the same book again. I think I have 3 copies of Rebecca at the moment, so it’s definitely one that I care enough about to replace, too.

    2. Ramona Flowers*

      I have a few borrowed books I’ve had for longer but I know their owners don’t mind. I refuse to borrow books from people who want them back quickly. And I think the fact she had to be repeatedly asked sounds annoying!

    3. Elkay*

      I think I’m in the minority here but I assume all books are lent until the lendee is done with it. If you need it back by a certain time you need to let the person know when you lend it to them. I had a book for well over a year that someone lent me. I hadn’t asked to borrow it but they gave it to me to read because they thought I’d like it. They were right, I did, but it took me a long time to be in the right mood to read it.

      1. Anion*

        Yes, I agree with this. I assume a book is lent until the lendee is ready to return it. If I need to read or look at it while it’s lent, I may ask or I may just buy myself a new copy, honestly (assuming it’s a MMP and not a hardcover or something). Having more than one copy of a book is never a problem for me.

    4. Paris Geller*

      I have a lot of books, and I’m very particular with them, but I assume even my best-intentioned friends will keep a book for at LEAST six months, based on prior experience. A year is not uncommon for a book I’ve lent, but I also only lend to trusted friends and I don’t really care how long they have them — they’re trusted friends because I know even if they have the book for years, they’ll remember that it’s mine and take care of it.

    5. fposte*

      I think book lending conventions are a labyrinth of secret human variability; everybody seems to firmly believe a set of conventions are understood, and nobody’s are the same. In my experience book lending ranges from an approach more like babysitting (you can have it for a little bit but it needs to come back in exactly the same condition and very fast and don’t ever forget whose it is) to buying lite (it may get interfiled in the borrower’s books or passed on again elsewhere). Both are common.

    6. miyeritari*

      When I lend books I generally assume they’ll be gone for more than a year, I only lend books I’m comfortable rebuying, but I also don’t think you’re in the wrong to expect the item you lent someone back within a reasonable time.

      I think fposte’s is the most accurate take on this.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      I try to read a book I borrow as fast as possible. I no longer lend any after getting them back damaged or not getting them back at all. A person would have to be extremely close to me (as in sleeping in my bed) to borrow a book of mine, and only if I’ve seen they would take care of it (as in, they take care of their own books). Some of mine are old and not in great shape, mostly because I have so many secondhand books and they were a little ragged when I got them. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t mind if someone else ruined them! Also, some were extremely hard to find and they do not leave my library. Ever. I don’t even read those outside of the house.

      DVDs too. I lent a Miyazaki DVD to a coworker and she never brought it back. She wanted to take it with her on a visit home so her niece could watch it. Though she never said, I suspect she lost it and was too chicken to admit it. It’s since been replaced but never again. If you want to watch one of my DVDs, come over and we’ll make popcorn and view it together.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        I’m the same as you. If I have a borrowed book, I read it as fast as possible and get it back to the person.

        I’m a very fast reader naturally. I go through 2-4 books a week depending on my mood (and the length of the book) so I get a little frustrated when other people don’t read as quickly as me.

        I think I’m just going to have to stop lending books. It’s too stressful from my point of view, particularly as I seem to be out of sync with the normal way. I’m still fuming over the fact that when my brother and his girlfriend broke up, she didn’t return the Book Thief that I’d lent her.

          1. Foreign Octopus*

            It’s really quite easy.

            1. Work from home.

            2. Have 1-2 friends you see only once every 2 months.

            3. Do nothing else with your time!

            (Full disclaimer: I’m in a reading slump at the moment. It’s been 2 weeks. It’s gotten so bad, I’ve scrubbed the grout in the bathroom AND kitchen.)

    8. On Fire*

      Interesting responses here. I lend and borrow in a very small circle, and we tend to return books within a couple of weeks. I did keep one for a year once, because the owner specifically loaned it so I could do some research, no time constraints. Other than that, though, even a month would be unusually long in my circle.

    9. Mischa*

      Not at all. I loaned a book to a coworker (hardback edition of All the Light We Cannot See) in March, and asked for it back in August before moving to a new city. She lost it. I do not know how you can possibly lose a 400 page hardback novel.

      I no longer loan things, period.

      1. Mischa*

        Whoops, sorry — to clarify, it is weird to keep a book for more than a year, in my opinion. And it’s not weird to not want to loan things.

    10. SophieChotek*

      I’ve lost several books to friends (who claimed they returned them, but they never did).
      It sort of depends on the book and the friend…

      There are a few books I recommend a lot – so I finally purchased a second copy just to lend, and kept my copies to read. (Because I might need a comfort read at midnight when I cannot find anything else to read).

      There are some friends I will lend things to, because I see them very regularly, and I know them well enough that they won’t care if I as for it back. (Usually these are also the friends that feel guilty when they have it for more than 2 weeks and ask if they should return it, even though they have not read/watched DVD). With the exception of a few books/DVD, as long as I know where the book/DVD is and the person to whom I lent it also knows where it is/remembers it is mine, I don’t have a “return by date.”

      If I know I need it back by a certain date, I will say “hey, I’ll lend you X, but I need it back y This Date because of Y” and 99% of the time, they decline to borrow because they don’t want the pressure.

      I don’t lends signed editions, really expensive books or rare books. Ditto for DVDs.

    11. StitchKittea*

      It’s strange, but whenever I lend a book out I assume it’s never coming back. I always write my name in the back, so maybe in a few years if the person sees it they will think of me. Sometimes, if it is a book that I truly love and cherish then I will go to a used bookstore and buy a spare copy to lend out. If the spare copy comes back, great! I can give it to others, if not then I still have mine.

      I have a little list still of books that I lent. I just look for them again in a used book store. Sharing the book is more important to me than owning the copy.

  17. evilintraining*

    All eight of my SO’s grandchildren slept overnight. It’s quiet now, but boy, am I dreading breakfast!

  18. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

    I’ve been waiting over a month for a cheque. Called twice about it and was told “the cheque is in the mail.” Well today, I got my cheque! It seemed so quaint to be waiting on the mail for a cheque these days. Does anyone still wait for that elusive cheque in the mail?

    1. Djuna*

      Ha, I was doing some online claiming for medical expenses recently, and a friend warned me that the default payment system from my insurer was a cheque. I thought they had to be kidding, then checked and was relieved they’d warned me. Took 2 minutes to switch to direct payment to my account. Otherwise, I would most certainly have been anxiously waiting for a cheque in the mail.

    2. Dr. KMnO4*

      Not a check, though something important. I’m waiting for the state to send me my new driver’s license and my car title. It’s been FIVE weeks since I went to the DMV and changed my residency. FIVE. I’m stuck with a temporary license on printer paper, that thankfully hasn’t been a problem so far. And I don’t have the title to my car. Which I own (it’s all paid off). I’m tempted to go talk to the DMV employees and ask when I can expect my documents, but I am sure they will say, “The documents are in the mail”.

      1. anon24*

        When I bought my first car (with cash) I waited 2 months for my title and registration to show up before I went back to the dealer. In my state your temporary registration is only good for 3 months and it was right around Christmas time so I was getting worried that if I waited everyone would be on vacation. The dealer made some phone calls and located my title at a nearby tag/title business. It was marked as undeliverable. The state had a glitch in its software so that when anyone would input my address with the correct zip code, it would change the name of my street and change my zip code to the neighboring town (think 123 Oak street 10021 would end up EAST 123 Oak St 10022). I had to watch after that because all my paperwork would end up under the wrong address. The same thing happened before when I had gotten my learners permit. My license they finally got it right, but then I got a letter in the mail saying they forgot to put the UV tag on my license and so it would show as fake if anyone checked it and that I needed to drive 45 minutes to a location that could fix it (I never bothered). And that’s how I learned why everyone hates the DOT

        1. Dr. KMnO4*

          The weird thing is that my plates have arrived with the registration for my car. But not my DL or my title. I don’t know if I should blame the state or the USPS. I don’t trust either one, to be honest. (I’m not anti-government in the slightest, I just have had too many bad experiences with those two institutions).

          It is so annoying when the state can’t get things right. I would be frustrated if I couldn’t trust that they’d get the address right. It seems like the DOT/DMV/BMV/whatever acronym they are using is awful no matter where you go.

          And I’ll say this, I felt like I was in the DMV in the movie Zootopia with how slowly the employee who was helping me worked. I went in to change over my DL and plates and it took 2 hours! And there wasn’t even a line!

    3. Overeducated*

      I do! I get paid by check for large periods of time (longer than a month). The issuer of the check emails me the day it goes in the mail to be on the lookout. Don’t want to miss that check.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I once got a surprise check in the mail. It was an insurance overpayment to this hospital for an ultrasound when I had a DVT and they sent the balance to me, $300. I wish that would happen NOW! (Getting an unexpected check, not the DVT, haha!)

    5. Zathras*

      I don’t wait for it, but every year I get a check in the mail for the interest on my security deposit. This year it was something like 45 cents. I have no idea why they don’t just put it in the account.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        My parents used to own a Hallmark store, and they had a long-time employee (Rosalie) whose husband (Bruce) was an accountant. Bruce did my taxes for a while. He told me once that he got a refund check for a few cents. He laughed, chucked it in a drawer, and forgot about it. Six months later, he got a letter from the IRS asking him to cash the check please, so they could balance their books. :D

        I miss Rosalie and Bruce (they are no longer with us). They were lovely, lovely people.

    6. Janelle*

      For work I do which is annoying because my boss thinks everything arrives in one day. Hospitals mostly pay by checks and it takes way too long for them to pay though.

      Today I am waiting for my Fall FabFitFun box. So excited. Plus they had my Murad lotion for a steal on the ad on just when I ran out. Woohoo

  19. Reg Commenter...Anon for This One*

    Today I woke up feeling unhappy with my life on every front, and it’s not just depressing- it’s got me scared and anxious and overwhelmed. I don’t even know which part of my life to start working on right now (or how). I see a therapist regularly and have an appointment Monday because this is way bigger than I can tackle here (even though you guys are AMAZING).

    Does anyone have some right now tips for soothing overall extreme life anxiety (with the understanding I just have to make it to Monday). I don’t know how to not obsess about all this every second of every day for the next three days.

    Basically, how do I get out of my own head right now???

    1. Anoa*

      When I’m anxious, staying busy sometimes helps- running errands, cleaning, spending time with friends, that kind of thing. Just having a busy body to match my anxious mind.

      Exercise also sometimes wears me out so I’m physically tired, making it easier to fall asleep. Staying off social media/ taking a break from the internet also helps me get out of my head, as does reading a favorite book in the bath.

      I hope you find something to help you get through to your appointment!

    2. nep*

      Sorry you’re having such a rough time. You will get through it.
      Different things will work for different people/situations, of course. Some things I sometimes do: Walking in a wooded area without headphones on, just being with the ambient sounds (even just a park with a lot of trees); stretching and deep breathing; letting myself just chill and watch some episodes of a favourite sitcom on YouTube. Just to add — don’t put pressure on yourself to conform to a way someone else might think you should be handling things. Just be as you are inclined to be.
      Wishing you all the best. Keep us posted.

    3. Portia*

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. I think getting out of your house is the best idea, especially if it breaks your routine. Is there something like a museum or zoo you could go to and spend some time? Even better if there’s a friend who’ll go with you. If not, are there any projects you could throw yourself into for a little while? Clean out your closets and take the stuff to Goodwill? Alphabetize your bookshelves? It sounds like anything that keeps you busy would help. Good luck!

    4. Christy*

      Go exercise. Do something hard or that makes you concentrate. For me, it’s a kettlebell class or lifting weights. I can’t think while I do it.

    5. Anxiety Anon*

      I so relate to this! In therapy last week I realized that it’s been a year since I “lost” a whole weekend to anxiety — but before that, it was a regular thing.
      Exercise – hard class, or yoga class, or whatever type of movement requires effort and leads to that “flow” state. I liked a class better because I was not likely to walk out in the middle of it and classes on DVD in my living room had that option.
      Walking – especially in a pretty area with trees and landscape or neat houses. I like light audiobooks or funny podcasts.
      Creating – baking, knitting, sewing, scrapbooking, drawing, painting, etc. Make freezer meals or spice blends. Enough brain use that it diverts the other traffic, but not needing concentration. I tend to have comfort Netflix on (Friends, the Office, Great British Baking Show) as background chatter.
      Stay off social media, cut way back on caffeine, no alcohol. If Benadryl makes you drowsy, it probably also has a mild anti-anxiety effect — same ingredient as OTC sleep aids.
      Self-talk: put off the worrisome thing until therapy. When it creeps in, cheerfully remind yourself it’s already allocated to the Therapy To Do List and you have the choice to not consider it until then. Praise yourself for your excellent self-care. Make yourself a little schedule of what you will do for each few hours of time, then make a list of what you accomplished.
      Honestly, I just give myself space to get through Full Panic Mode. I don’t like to be around people, but I do like to text them. I feel worse if I stay on the couch, but picking through a thrift store or going to the library is good.
      I’m sorry your brain is doing this right now! I know it’s miserable.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      Somebody said walking in a pretty spot and I will second that. Also getting out of the house can help get you out of your head. If I’m feeling anxious, I NEED to get out because my house becomes a prison. If I don’t have anywhere to go, I’ll sometimes drop by the biggest flea market I can find and just wander around. I don’t have to buy anything. Just looking at stuff and being somewhere besides my sofa helps.

    7. Kathenus*

      Lots of great replies already. For me it’s reading. If I get into a good book the rest of the world disappears. This was really important to me at times in my life when there was a lot of stress and turmoil. Maybe it will be beneficial for you. Good luck.

    8. Accidental Analyst*

      Sometimes I’ll listen to podcasts. Not to really listen/pay attention but to remove the focus from my internal monologue. May sound weird but it helps me to ignore uncontrollable thoughts so I can focus on what I need to.

    9. Fiennes*

      Try working on something mundane/physical (housework, etc). Usually this kind of thing can be broken up into finite and achievable tasks, so you will both feel and be productive, plus gain a sense of control over your immediate environment. It also helps take your mind off the rest, even if only by annoying you intensely. I hope this helps, and hang in there!

    10. Gingerblue*

      If you just need to wait it out a few days, I recommend something immersive–a good book, a Netflix binge, a fun game.

    11. Not So NewReader*

      I am a big fan of self-talk. I have seen it impact my life and other people. Pretend you are talking to a friend, what would you tell your friend? “We’ll figure something out here, we will get this because we are going to work at it.”
      And so this is how to talk to yourself. If you slip up, which is pretty normal, just tell yourself, “whoops. Of course X will not happen and this will go better than that X negative thing.”

      Second suggestion, look around. What little thing can you change today that would be one less sucky thing in life for you. Keep it simple. Let’s say you always stub your toe on the corner of the couch because you haven’t taken the time to move it over a bit. Move the couch. Good, success, no more stubbed toes. Okay, what is next simple thing can you do next that would make your life a tiny bit easier? The subtlety here is about taking back your power, inch by inch. Go slowly, pick wisely, fix something, then move to the next thing.

  20. OldMom*

    In the stupid questions category: when people say “vaping,” does it always mean e-cigarettes, or cannabis, or does it depend on context? Is there terminology that clearly refers to one or the other? And, can people tell which thing it is, from the smell or the appearance of the device? (I am in a state with legal medical marijuana and recently saw a sign in the pizza parlor parking lot that said “no smoking, no vaping” and wondered what does it mean? Surely no one is doing marijuana in the parking lot which would be illegal anyway…but then if there isn’t an unpleasant smell why would they care to restrict e-cigarettes?)

    1. nep*

      Slightly off-topic, but did anyone see the article about vaping ‘food’? To help with cravings for sweets. Whoa.

    2. Temperance*

      It generally means e-cigarettes. There are some marijuana devices that look like e-cigs, but you can tell by the smell.

      E-cigs can have an unpleasant stink to them. There’s a woman near my office who smokes some kind of cotton candy stuff, and the smell isn’t great. It’s not as bad as cigarette smoke, but it triggers my allergies.

    3. Artemesia*

      It means e cigs which do in fact smell and produce vapor that other people are breathing. It is nowhere near as bad as a real cigarette but it bothers some people.

    4. CoffeeLover*

      Before e-cigs took off, “vaping” referred pretty much exclusively to cannabis. Now, it refers to e-cigs for the most part as others have said. I was really confused when e-cigs first became popular and people would opening talk about vaping. Like woh, didn’t know we were openly talking about this stuff yet haha. I’m Canadian though, so I guess we will be soon :).

      1. Someone else*

        In the specific context of “no smoking or vaping” signs in public, my experience has been this definitely came with the rise of e-cigarettes because people would use them in restaurants and whatnot and when told to stop would respond that they didn’t have to because they weren’t “smoking”. So that’s part of why that type of messaging suddenly got more specific a few years ago.

    5. Sabine the Very Mean*

      I wouldn’t discount people smoking weed in the parking lot of a pizza place though! That seems like a fairly normal combo. I moved from Colo to a neighboring state and kept forgetting not to just fire up in my car whenever I got the urge.

  21. PatPat*

    We survived Irma! We evacuated to another state and had an awful time getting home because traffic on all southbound interstates in Florida was at complete gridlock and gas was extremely hard to find so people were running out of gas on the highways. We tried to get home on Tuesday but had to turn around because we couldn’t find gas. But when we got home our house had no damage and we even had power!

    Any other people here deal with Irma? How did you fare?

    1. ScoutFinch*

      That’s awesome.

      I have a friend in Key West who had to go all the way to Key Largo to get a phone signal just to let everyone know she survived. Dwelling, didn’t but she is OK.

      Sending good juju to those in affected ares.

    2. Florida*

      I’m in Orlando. I fared pretty well. I hunkered down in my historic home. Had some yard debris, but nothing major. I never lost power. Several people in Central Florida did lose power. In fact, there are people who are still without power. For the Orlando, this hurricane was not as bad as Charley ’04. I know for other areas it was worse.

      When I was driving to work on Tuesday, I forgot to plan extra time for the four ways stops. All the traffic lights were out. You forget how long the four-way stop routine takes. Now, most of the traffic lights are up and running. The problem now is that everyone has these mountains of yard trash on the curb waiting for it to be picked up. Most people are respectful and put their pile in their yard, but some people build their pile in the road or on the sidewalk. It will probably be weeks before the city has all of this picked up.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        That happened to us after the ice storm. The city, which normally doesn’t pick up yard waste, set a specific period where they collected everyone’s tree limbs for free. They sent these guys in a truck with a big skip on the back and picked them up with a claw–it was super cool. I got to watch them do mine. And yes, some people didn’t pile them up right (the claw got it anyway) or did it too late and were on their own for disposal.

        Then they took the limbs to a big dump area and burned them. Everything smelled like a campfire for ages.

        I was watching them pick mine up and I told the guy operating the claw, “That looks like fun.” He laughed and said, “It’s just like a big video game!” :D

  22. Sandra Dee*

    I know I am slow to join the Instant Pot bandwagon, but I finally took the plunge and purchased one (my sister bought one this summer, but hasn’t used it yet, I just don’t understand). I have done hard boiled eggs, oatmeal and have a chicken tortilla soup on the docket for the weekend.

    Looking for other quick and easy recipies for this novice Instant Pot user.

    1. CatCat*

      I tried to share some links several hours ago, but they haven’t appeared so I am not sure what happened and I’ll just describe them. My suggestion was beans! Very easy (though not necessarily fast since you should pre-soak the beans, but that’s not labor intensive or anything.)

      Look for “How To Cook Beans in a Stovetop Pressure Cooker” on The Kitchn website. Follow the recipe as is until you get cook times since you need to adjust for an electric pressure cooker. Use the cooking times from Hip Pressure Cooking’s site “stovetop & electric pressure cooker cooking time chart” to get the times. The beans turn out perfect and the “bean broth” that comes out as well is delicious (great base for soups or to cook grains in).

        1. CatCat*

          I know that, but it usually doesn’t take hours to show up and other posts with links that showed up in the time frame that I expected it to show up. It has never shown up so who knows what happened.

    2. Paquita*

      There is a Facebook Instantpot group with LOTS of recipes and suggestions.
      I bought one but never opened the box. When one of my coworkers lost her house and all the contents in a fire I gave it to her.

    3. BeautifulVoid*

      I love my Instant Pot! My mother got one, too. I’ve been trying to convince my MIL how amazing it is, so I’m making risotto for her tomorrow.

      The two sites I use the most are hippressurecooking.com (that one has the risotto recipe I use) and pressurecookingtoday.com. A few months ago, I even started making some of the cheesecake recipes from Pressure Cooking Today!

      If you want super basic, use the same general concept as for slow cookers – meat + liquid = meal. If I get beef cut up and marked “stew meat” (or something similar) from the supermarket, I usually don’t have to change anything from the Stew setting. Two basic non-recipes I do: 1) stew meat, jar of salsa, press Stew, shred it when it’s done for tacos or burritos, 2) stew meat, can of beef broth, use the Stew setting again, and switch over to Saute when it’s done to thicken the sauce with some flour or cornstarch (if you’re feeling fancy, you can throw a chopped onion in there, too). For both of those, along with just about anything involving beef, let the pressure come down naturally instead of hitting the valve.

    4. Gingerblue*

      I have one and I love it! Are you looking specifically for pressure cooker recipes, or for slow-cooked ideas too? When I bought mine I went to the library and got a couple slow- and pressure-cooker cookbooks out, which got me started. There’s a bunch of “easy 3 ingredient slow cooker recipes” type books which I’ve sifted some good ideas from.

      I did a big batch of wild rice in my Instant Pot last weekend, and I’ve been eating it with butter and baked fish on the side.

    5. Mandy*

      I am waiting to see what kind of Black Friday sales there will be on Instant Pot to jump on that train but I sure am getting excited about it!

    6. Stephanie*

      I got one this summer while I was living in an extended stay where I had a glorified EZ-Bake oven for a stove. It was lifesaver.

    7. E*

      I know I’m late, but just wanted to share that I made copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana in my electric pressure cooker a week ago, it was awesome and so fast! Since I could brown the sausage and then just throw in the other ingredients to cook the soup, it was easy to clean up as well.

  23. Epsilon Delta*

    Does anyone make lattes at home? I have a handheld milk frother that I use, but I cannot get a layer of foam to say at the top of my drink like you see at real coffee shops. When I do get the foam, it dissolves into the coffee within 30 seconds.
    What am I doing wrong? Is it possible to get a good foam that sticks around for awhile with a milk frother or do I need to invest in an espresso machine?

    1. Pharmgirl*

      My parents bought a Nespresso machine that came with a free “aerocino” as a promotion. It’s a separate unit so you wouldn’t need to purchase a whole espresso machine. I’ve used it and it works really well, and is easy to clean. I did a quick search on google and it is pricier than I thought, but there seem to be other companies that make similar items. Maybe something like that could be an option?

      1. Janelle*

        I want one so bad. I just have my Keurig now but when that dies I will get a Nespresso. At the Bloomingdales in Fashion Island the store has a Nespresso counter and I always stop by and grab one.

    2. fposte*

      I don’t do lattes, but I regularly froth the hell out of my milk. Have you tested your frother under other circumstances–like, just frothing up a cup of milk? What happens if you add the froth separately? What fat content are we talking about, and are there extra additions to complicate the picture? It’s possible your frother isn’t creating a stable froth, either because it’s not a great frother for your purpose or because your frothing technique is letting your foam down (pun intended). I find with the handheld, for instance, that a genuinely stable foam takes longer than I think; I generally can tell it’s done by the change in sound rather than the look of the thing, since it looks done a lot earlier than it sounds done.

      If I do a quick Google there are aficionado forums talking in painstaking detail about this issue, too.

    3. waffles*

      use whole milk or half and half or make sure to heat the milk quite a bit. last, i cant tell if handheld means electric, but if it is manual it does take some oomph.

    4. Cristina in England*

      I have a Severin milk frother which I use to make hot chocolate. It heats and froths the milk beautifully. Other brands are available… I am pretty sure I got my friend a Williams Sonoma milk frother for her wedding ten years ago (which is what gave me the idea to get my own a decade later). If you google “milk frother” you should get some hits.

    5. Stellaaaaa*

      I work part-time for an artisanal boutique coffee brand. I am a certified Coffee Dick.

      Aside from the other mentions of separate frothing devices, maybe it has to do with the temperature of the coffee? Cafe brewers operate at like 207 degrees F while home brewers are maybe 180 degrees. I can see how foam would last longer on a hotter beverage.

    6. Gingerblue*

      With your handheld frother, is it one of the little battery-powered whisk kinds? I have better luck with those when I put my milk into a cup and microwave it for 20 seconds before frothing. It also works better the fresher the milk is. It won’t be as durable as at a coffeeshop, but it’s WAY better than what I got before I saw those tricks.

      I’m pretty sure this is what I was looking at when I started experimentng:

    7. The German Chick*

      Is your frother a manual or an electric one? The manual ones work much better for me that the electric ones.

  24. Dr. KMnO4*

    Does anyone else have problems with getting blood drawn? I had to have it done this week and it was rough and I just need to vent.

    Background: 5 years ago I had a mystery illness appear. I wasn’t a fan of needles, but with the sheer amount of medical tests that required blood draws and IVs, I was actually getting used to them. That lasted until I had surgery to fix the underlying problem. It was a minor surgery, but I was a bit anxious and unhappy about it. So when the nurses couldn’t get the IV in, we had a problem. It took them FIVE tries (both elbows, forearm, hand, and finally wrist) to get a working IV.

    After that I’ve avoided needles like the plague. But the nurse who prescribes my psych meds pointed out that I should have blood work done. She wrote me an order and I sat on it for the better part of a month.

    Fast forward to this past week: I decided that I’d go on Thursday and just get it over with. Wednesday night I started to realize that I was getting pretty upset about the thought of the procedure. My palms were sweating, heart rate up, the works. But I needed to do it, so early Thursday morning I go to the hospital. I chugged water Weds night and Thurs morning in the hopes of making things easier. I brought a small stuffed animal to rub for comfort. And the second I got into the room I started getting really scared. I started to cry, which I wasn’t expecting in the slightest. I didn’t want to cry, but the surgery experience must have had a deeper impact on my psyche than I’d realized, and the anxious/scared part of my brain forced a hostile takeover.

    The initial phlebotomist couldn’t find my veins. (Cue tears). So she called in the expert. The expert earned her title, though she also couldn’t find the veins in my elbows. (Cue more tears). So she had to do my forearm. Which sent my anxiety into overdrive. (Cue maximum tears). The initial woman stayed with me the whole time, and talked to me during the draw, which helped to a degree. But I was tense and upset, which of course caused bruising even though the expert used a butterfly needle. I have covered the bruise with a bandaid because just looking at the bruise reminds me of the procedure which makes me feel tense.

    I don’t know if my experience this week made things better or worse. I definitely don’t want to find out anytime soon.

    1. Artemesia*

      Were you very well hydrated? I had minor surgery recently to remove a bunch of hardware holding my elbow together. One of the wires had pulled out from the bone so I wanted the stuff removed (8 mos after the initial surgery). Of course I was on nothing by mouth after midnight so by the time the surgery occurred I was pretty dehydrated. The result was that for the first time, the anesthetist had a very difficult time finding a vein to put the IV in (the first one in my hand blew out and they needed to find another) This has never happened before. so next time you might try drinking a lot before the procedure.

      1. Dr. KMnO4*

        For the surgery I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight. I was as well hydrated as I could be the day before, but it seemed to not make a difference in the morning.

        For the blood draw on Thursday I was drinking so much water Wednesday, the whole day. I also drank ~20 oz of water before the blood draw. Didn’t seem to help.

        I’m sorry that your vein blew out. That’s awful.

    2. MissDisplaced*

      They have a hard time seeing my veins too, but a good phlebotomist can do certain things. This is what I’ve been told over the years.

      Drink plenty of water before: It helps plump up the veins.
      Lie down. I can’t watch the needle (phobia), so I ask to lie down and put my arm out to the side. As long as I don’t see it, I’m fine (same with shots!). They should have a table for this, and the arm rest adjusts so it tilts down to get blood flowing to arm.
      Warm: warm compresses can help get blood and veins to plump.
      They can use a “butterfly” needle, which is much thinner.

      1. GermanGirl*

        The nurse in my doctor’s office always tells me to squeeze my fists a couple of times before she starts searching for the veins. But I don’t know if that makes it easier to find them or if that is for something else …

      2. Paquita*

        When I had surgery last year they did the warm compress. BEST THING EVER! Also had a butterfly needle. I have terrible veins.

    3. the gold digger*

      Yes. I dread it. I tend to pass out when I have blood taken. To get a discount on my insurance premium, I have to have a physical and a blood workup every year. I swear I spend the weeks before the draw having nightmares. I just had it done last week but am getting sick to my stomach thinking about it.

      I am so glad to hear the advice about being well hydrated. I have to have another procedure soon that requires an IV (also getting woozy thinking about that) and I will remember to drink lots of fluids. I also listen to my mp3 player while the tech is drawing blood. I ask her not to tell me what she’s doing. I tell them that I might pass out so they put me in the Comfy Recliner, which was not so comfy because it was really deep and really wide, but still. And I usually have Primo next to me holding my hand.

      My uncle just had a stem cell transfusion (he has multiple myeloma) and he has tubes all over his body. I remind myself if he can take it (AND he walks the three miles a day as his doc has ordered!), then I can take a small stick.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Fluids do help–after the DVT, I was on Coumadin for a year and had to have monthly blood draws. I had to wear a MedicAlert bracelet too. I would try to drink a ton of water before each draw. Luckily, I didn’t end up with a phobia, but being stuck repeatedly is no fun. I was really happy when they took me off it.

        Also, I was not allowed to have spinach or broccoli while I took it (no vitamin K). Weirdly, I now can no longer eat broccoli–I get a tremendous stomachache. :( I like broccoli. Why couldn’t that have happened with cauliflower, which I hate!?

    4. Recruit-o-rama*

      I’m so sorry. Needle anxiety is terrible. I don’t have it, but my daughter, who is 15 does. She always has since she was little, but it gets worse every year. When I take her for vaccines, she sits right next to me while I hold her and she just cries. She is not generally a crier or very dramatic at all so I know it’s a very real anxiety. I asked her how she wants me to handle her vaccines; does she want me to tell her way in advance or spring it on her so she doesn’t worry. She’s opted for a few hours notice so it’s not totally out of the blue but she also doesn’t have days and days to think about it. I know it’s not the same thing as a blood draw, I can’t even imagine how she would deal with that, she’s never had blood drawn. My husband works in healthcare and does blood draws to get blood gasses and he sees it pretty frequently. It’s not at all an uncommon phobia. I know it doesn’t help you with your individual situation, but healthcare providers are very aware of it and usually take it in stride and do their best to make it quick and as easy as possible. You are not alone.

    5. Red*

      I have to get a PPD every year for work, because I work in a hospital. What that is, is they inject a tiny bit of some kind of tuberculosis derivative under your skin so it makes a little bubble. It’s quite alarming. The first time I had it done, I got dizzy and threw up. The time after that, I had a panic attack. The most recent time, I passed out and my coworker was about ready to take me to the ER. I get it, I really do. I wish I had a solution for you, but I haven’t found one yet. I’m thinking of asking my doctor for a xanax next year.

    6. Cam*

      Heat should help plump the vein up. I give IV injections to mice, not humans, but we use a heat lamp on their tails to make it easier to inject. Try bringing a disposable hand warmer with you next time and holding it on your arm before.

    7. CheeryO*

      Yes. I never used to have a needle phobia, but after having bad experiences with blood tests and donations, I get nervous now, which of course doesn’t help. I had to get eight vials taken a few months ago for a bunch of tests, and I was desperately trying not to black out for the last few. The phlebotomist helped me to the bathroom, where I proceeded to sweat profusely and teeter on the edge of blacking out for a good 10 minutes. :( At least I didn’t drive myself.

    8. Traveling Teacher*

      My mom draws blood as part of her job–she loves to work with patients on this because she and so many other lab folk have similar issues. She always says to just let them know right away if there are any techniques that you know do/don’t work from past experience or if there’s something that will help calm you down. When I had to get my blood drawn every week for about 3 months (OMG!), I had the great luck to find a phlebotomist who had me come in a half hour early and let me rest in the chair and even fall asleep(!) and then she would draw the blood. For me, that was the key to not having any of my usual symptoms (nerves, fainting, throwing up…). I always call in advance if going to a new lab and explain my issues so that they can tell me the best time to come in–they can be very accommodating if they know in advance and will really appreciate it if you let them know!

    9. Lison*

      Personally I also had a mystery illness and have had a lot of trouble with people taking my blood. Because of the illness I also ended up being up on blood thinners so had regular blood draws and also have yearly for work. My experience is the person drawing blood blames you for the difficulty not themselves, one time when I was in hospital I ended up being poked with needles 7 times for one draw and had blood dripping from my hand onto the floor before a doctor who had worked as a paediatrician got it in one and said to me it wasn’t my veins it was the skill of the people trying to take blood. Another time a nurse who trains people in taking blood from newborns was utterly embarrassed at not being able to use the vein that I learned from previous experience was the easiest and stopped and used a more difficult vein because she didn’t want to damage the vein most people can use. Make sure you are warm as well as well hydrated, and I’m sorry, it sucks. IME if there is somewhere that has worked well before tell them that and also if there is the opposite tell them it doesn’t usually work so they aren’t starting from scratch and looking at random. None of this is your fault, it’s them, but it might help

      1. Artemesia*

        This enrages me. My daughter had a medical condition as a small child that required blood draws. I remember sitting there while the nurse mangled her arm and she had tears streaming down her face. She was about 6 and sitting stock still. When the supervisor came in and said ‘what is the problem’, this harridan said ‘well she keeps moving’. Yeah hurt a little kid who is perfectly still and cooperative and then blame her.

      2. Anion*

        A man taking my blood in a UK hospital a few years ago missed the vein, so rather than withdrawing the needle and trying again he just dug around in my arm with the needle tip until he found it. It was excruciating.

    10. Gaia*

      Every time I have to get blood drawn, they have to use a vein in my hand. I tell them this every time, and every time they insist on trying the normal places first and poke and poke until they give up or I snap.

      I hate getting blood work done.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Well, if they would listen to you then there would be a lot less problem. I don’t understand why this happens why can’t they just listen?

    11. MsChanandlerBong*

      Yes. I have a terrible time. When I had my bone-marrow biopsy, I ended up going in late because it took over an hour to find someone who could get my IV going. They tried a vein finder, and it turns out that my veins are short and curved instead of being long and fairly straight. My nurse ended up calling someone from the “rapid response” team, and he was able to get the needle in the vein and get it to flash. My worst experience was when I was an inpatient in a hospital that required nurses to try to get blood twice before they could call a phlebotomist. One nurse stuck me NINE times before calling the lab. I almost kicked her in the face because she tried getting blood from my foot, and it hurt like a son of a gun. When I get blood drawn, I just have to ready myself for the likelihood that it’s going to take at least two tries to get anything.

    12. Talia*

      Aw. I try to have a friend come with me and distract me when I have to get blood draws. The two friends who have done this with me have both, at various times, apologized to phlebotomists for my behavior. (Jumping, flinching, crying, frantic cries to “talk to me about something, anything, that isn’t this”…) They don’t habitually have trouble finding my veins or anything like that; it’s just leftover reaction from the days when I was a child and sensitive enough that shots were usually accomplished via my parents threatening me.

      1. Dr. KMnO4*

        I wish I could have brought someone! Unfortunately my husband and I are doing a long-distance relationship and I don’t have any close friends or family where I work.

        I know kids have to have shots, but wow, threatening your kids doesn’t quite seem like the best method. I can see why you would have a bad reaction to needles.

    13. First time caller*

      This is literally my first time commenting, but I feel your pain! They can’t find a vein in my right arm. When I was pregnant, the phlebotomist dug around for so long I cries for hours. Then when I was in the hospital, it took four tries from three people to get my IV in. Because of course I was dehydrated because you’re not allowed to drink on the day of surgery! I had bruises up and down my arms. It was just a nightmare.

    14. ..Kat..*

      Warm packs and being well hydrated help. Also, tell them if you are a hard stick. Ask if an IV therapy nurse, a rapid response nurse, a transport nurse, a paramedic, or a phlebotomist are available. These are all people who tend to have a lot of experience with difficult IV sticks. Butterfly needles tend to be smaller, but if the person is not used to using them, they are no help. As a nurse who works with inpatient children who have already been stuck a lot, I go straight to asking our IV therapy team or our transport team to place the IV or draw the blood. My patients have already been through enough. They don’t need me poking them as well.

    15. Julia*

      Just reading this makes me squirm.
      I have mostly gotten over my needle phobia after having to get blood drawn regularly (and two IVs), but I’m also super lucky to have good veins and really pale skin. I still can’t look, though, bur I’m squeamish in general.

      If you can, ask for their finest needle and most experienced – and compassionate – nurse/phlebotomist. If someone makes fun about you for your fear, they don’t have the empathy to be in health care.

    16. Jules the First*

      Oh yes. My GP practice has a resident phlebotomist and he never listens when I tell him I’m a difficult draw – he’s always looking for veins in my right arm even after being told no one has ever found one.

      For me, the trick is to get a pediatric phlebotomist and a child’s butterfly needle…it takes longer to fill the sample, but it’s sooooo much easier (the kids needle puts the sample container at the end of a delicate tube rather than straight onto the needle, which is less scary and way more comfortable if they need to take multiple samples).

      I also listen to my favourite music while they’re in the room and close my eyes.

    17. Dot*

      Yep! I’ve had about five blood draws in the last six months and they’ve ranged from “nope, not getting anything today” through “we can probably make do with 2/3rds of the amount that was requested, we’re not going to get any more than this” to “successfully completed almost before they started”. At one point I was there twice in seven days and the nurse the second time (who hadn’t been there the first time) was like “oh, are you that one?” when I explained it might be hard, so apparently they’d been telling stories about me during that week…

      I hate it and am often very tense but the things that work for me are:
      1. knowing beforehand that I’ll give up and reschedule if it doesn’t work after 2-3 tries. (Seriously! The peace of mind of knowing I only have to put up with so much at one time really helps.)

      2. cycling there wearing more than usual (like cardigan, jacket and gloves in the summer) and keeping as much as I can on in the waiting room so that I’m as warm as possible when I go in.

      3. letting them know it’s going to be hard, indicating the place(s) that has worked before and what I’ve done to improve my chances (i.e. keeping warm), and also being upfront about them having a couple of tries and then I’ll just reschedule.

      4. trying to sit comfortably, leaning back, looking away, doing deep breathing, etc. and accepting anything they offer me afterwards, like staying in the seat for a few minutes, a cup of water, etc.

      Also keeping in mind that I wouldn’t be there and doing it if it weren’t necessary!

    18. ValaMalDoran*

      I do best with a pediatric butterfly needle. Also, *hugs* if you want them. I’ve always hated needles.

    19. nonegiven*

      I hate that. I’ve passed out from seeing someone else get a shot. My veins roll. I’ve had three people take a stab, if you’ll excuse the expression. I end up with knots on both arms and the damn iv in my right hand for 3 days. One time I got home and put wet towels in the freezer and just wrapped them around my arms.

      I hate getting blood drawn. After I flipped out and told my doctor I’d never let a woman (who turned out to be the manager of the lab) ever touch me again. The woman blamed me for her not hitting a vein. Then gave me a cup and sent me to a bathroom with no paper. My doctor told me to never let any one but Brenda touch me. I’m here to tell you Brenda’s not that good.

      I always insist on laying down for blood draws. They flat out told me, if I pass out they’ll call an ambulance to take me to another small town I never want to go to again, that’s only 10 miles closer, because our ER is closed. I’m gonna ask to get my blood drawn 50 miles away if I have to, at least I’ll be in the right town if I pass out.

      All I know is every IV I’ve had in that hospital was quick and painless and every IV I’ve ever had anywhere else has been hell. I know its possible but you wouldn’t know it by the phlebotomists.

    20. SnarkyLibrarian*

      I got nauseous just reading this post! I hate blood draws too, I’m sorry about your terrible experience.

    21. nosy nelly*

      I have trouble with this! For a recent blood draw they tried the backs of both my hands, then got what they needed from a deeper vein in the middle of my forearm. Do you think the back of your hand might be an easier option in the future? It only didn’t work in my case because I was pretty dehydrated–those hand veins are very close to the surface on almost everyone!

  25. Annie Mouse*

    Not So NewReader, I answered your last question from last week but it was mid week before I saw it, sorry. Let me know if you want me to repost it here :)

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Ah, good. I remember now! (almost forgot) will check and if I have another q I will ask here, so we don’t have to go back to last week. Thanks!

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Okay, I got to sit and read it. Thank you so much. I will need to incubate that for a bit, if the topic comes up again I might develop another question later on. I appreciate you taking the time to type that all out in a clear, digestible manner. That was very helpful.

      1. Annie Mouse*

        I’m glad it helped, and that it made sense. If you do get another question pop up, I’ll try and answer it again.

  26. Anons*

    My SO has gone back to school to learn all about, say, chocolate teapots with the aim to get into the chocolate teapot making industry. He loves it, which has been great for his well-being! I’m really happy about that!

    However, he tries often to have conversations about all the nuances he is learning. I like chocolate teapots fine, but I have no interest in nor am I really able to follow all the nuanced details in the types of chocolates that can go into a chocolate teapot and all the minutiae that goes into building them. I just kind of “uh-huh” during a pause in his lengthy explanations.

    Any tips for steering the conversation elsewhere when it goes to the art and science of building chocolate teapots? I don’t want to deflate his enthusiasm for the education program, but it’s kind of making me nuts.

    1. anon24*

      Been there. I’m not very tactful. I said something along the lines of “honey I know you love chocolate teapots and you know I’m interested in them too but they’re not my entire life and right now if you say one more word about them I honestly think I’m going to cry.”

      We would still have conversations about it but when I had enough I would just say so politely and ask to talk about something else. Love him dearly but man he can monologue and it’s exhausting sometimes (once we were stuck in the car and he started talking and I decided to wait til he stopped and then ask for peace and quiet and I had to wait 45 minutes before I had a chance to say “please stop talking”)

    2. Artemesia*

      LOL. My husband sang for years in choruses, choirs, etc and took voice lessons and was very invested in this hobby. I loved the performances and always went to everything he was in and loved it. BUT nothing on this earth is more boring than a discussion of singing technique. My solution was to find a couple in our new city where the husband also sang in choruses. His wife is now a close friend and whenever we get together as a couple, the guys can discuss singing if they wish and have a ready audience. Any chance you can encourage him to identify a friend in the program who is also married and do some couples things?

    3. Floundering Mander*

      This is my husband and trains. He doesn’t even work with them, it’s just a hobby. But he can explain things in minute detail and I just don’t care about that! The macro view is enough for me.

      Mostly I have to just smile and nod, or else try to get him to talk to his brother instead.

    4. Stellaaaaa*

      My experience is that people are either aware of it or they’re not. Everyone goes through phases where they’re really into rubber stamping or Game of Thrones or Oscar Isaac. It’s not so different when someone gets a new job and spends the next few weeks excitedly repeating everything they’re learning. I feel like there’s always one person in every friend group who’s got something like that going on?

    5. Talia*

      This sounds like my partner and physics. I’ve never had much luck steering it elsewhere even when I’m obviously not following along– I just found an adjacent thing I can be interested in (history of physics) and started talking about that instead.

  27. anon24*

    I got a letter this week from the IRS. 2015 was the only year I ever paid someone to do my taxes, I always use TurboTax, but there was a lot of confusing things that happened in 2015 and I was lost on the tax front, so I paid a small tax company with a great reputation to take care of it.

    Well apparently they screwed up big-time, and now the IRS is claiming we owe them $2500 plus interest for 2 years (I love how they waited 2 years to tell us so we HAVE to pay all the interest).

    I sort of just want to die. My car is not even worth $2500. We are a one income household just barely scraping by paycheck to paycheck.

    I looked it up online and supposedly you can legally sue the tax preparer for the money for their error. But I sure don’t have money for a lawyer either.

    I’ve just been trying not to think about it. My husband has been in touch with the tax preparer and I’m going to bow out and let him handle it. I haven’t been getting much sleep anyway and I’m not emotionally capable of handling one more high stress situation at this point in my life.

      1. anon24*

        I thought they did but now I can’t find it on their website. They asked for the paperwork so they can look everything over. So we have to take that to them this week. It seems like the biggest issue was that they gave us the education credit and one other credit but the irs is saying because we were under 24 we can’t claim it… but we were married so I thought that changes things?

        1. fposte*

          Can you say which education credit (there are a few different programs) and what other credit? Eligibility for particular credit programs is very program dependent, so if you name the program people may have had experience that can be helpful.

            1. anon24*

              I don’t know which one it is, sorry. I think the other one was the American opportunity credit (???) And no, we claimed ourselves as dependents. We were both living at home with our parents from January-April but I was not a student while I lived with them and so had been claiming myself for a few years, he was a student but we were told to claim ourselves for the year.

              I don’t know how any of this works, I just plug my numbers into turbo tax and let them figure it out. We only paid someone because between the 2 of us in 2015 we lived in 3 different counties, paid tuition to 2 different colleges, and had 6 jobs. I was not about to try to figure that out on my own (the local was a disaster).

              If they have to steal our money every year by taxing us, why do they have to make it so GD hard!

              1. anon24*

                Oh, and it probably doesn’t matter because, but I was also paying rent to my parents to live at home. But I know they didn’t claim it as income.

              2. blackcat*

                Are you sure your parents didn’t claim you as a dependent without telling you? That could cause an issue with the deductions.

                1. anon24*

                  No, my dad actually was the one who told me when to start claiming himself. He’s a banker so he’s really big on being financially honest.

        2. Observer*

          Being married and independent of your parents definitely DOES change things. And the IRS has been known to mess up, so bring your stuff to the preparer.

          Make sure that your parents didn’t claim you for anything.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      The IRS will make a payment agreement with you. I ended up with a $700 tax bill freelancing and paid it off in monthly installments of $25. If you have to do this, call them. In my experience, they’re fine about working it out as long as they get their money.

      I would see also if the tax preparer can do something to mitigate it–it was their error.

    2. Anon in IL*

      The tax preparer should explain the notice to you. If it is their error, ask them to pay interest and penalties. Regarding the education credits, the IRS is cracking down. They are (randomly?) asking taxpayers to prove that they actually paid the tuition for which they took a credit. This is time consuming but not difficult. You would send them credit card statements or tuition statements showing that the tuition was paid. The tax preparer will tell you if this is the case. Good luck.

      1. Anon in IL*

        To clarify, the tuition form the school issues (Form 1098-T) and that people use to claim the education credits shows amounts **billed** to you for tuition in 2015. This IRS initiative I am familiar with is asking certain (randomly selected?) taxpayers to prove that these amounts **billed** were actually **paid** in 2015. I hope it works out ok.

    3. Yetanother Jennifer*

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this. If you recall seeing a guarantee on the website it would be worth going into the Way Back Machine to see if they had one in effect when you hired them. The archive doesn’t catch everything but it’s worth a look. Also, was there one mentioned in any paperwork you signed? And it’s possible that the IRS’s math isn’t right either. Your taxes could be correct or you could owe less that the IRS says. If you do end up owing the money, you can always arrange a payment plan. Good luck!

    4. Look What You Made Me Do*

      Oh no, that sounds so stressful. I’m sorry. I’m sure everything will work out fine – either the tax preparer will take care of it (and they should because it was their error) or the IRS will work out a payment plan with you. I certainly hope it works out for the best and you don’t have to pay anyone anything.

    5. Gaia*

      Okay I have been here. A few things.

      1. Respond to the IRS – don’t ignore their notices. Things go from bad to worse when you ignore them.
      2. Contact the preparer and ask for their assistance. They may offer help (for instance, if your preparer disagrees and you want to appeal the IRS decision)
      3. If all else fails and you have to pay, the IRS does really reasonable payment plans. At one point I was paying them $20 a month for a $2,000 bill. The one thing that they definitely will do, if you do a payment plan, is snatch up any refund that is owed to you next year.

      As much as the IRS gets a bad reputation, I actually found them really reasonable to work with. I did a payment plan to pay off my amount owed and when one month came and I couldn’t make the payment I called them well in advance and they were able to accommodate me.

      Good luck.

      1. neverjaunty*

        THIS. As long as you are not hiding from them, the IRS is fine with working something out. Assuming that you actually owe the money, and it sounds like the preparer should handle that.

    6. Nervous Accountant*

      I’m sorry, that sucks. I do this for a living (hope it’s ok to talk about here!) so whenever a client (current or past) gets a notice we always look at it and try to help them whether it’s the clients fault or ours. I can’t imagine any scrupulous tax professional NOT taking this seriously.

      Good luck!

    7. No regular name*

      It definitely sounds like either one or both sets of parents claimed you as a dependent on their returns or the IRS is looking for proof of tuition paid. I work for a tax preparer, and clients get notices frequently. We do request the client bring us the complete notice to review and we respond accordingly. If your parents claimed either of you, for example, we would write a letter to IRS showing proof that you were not dependents & were therefore eligible for all credits claimed. This would result in your parent likely then getting a letter from IRS re their return being incorrect.

      If you provided incorrect or insufficient info to your preparer and the IRS notice is correct, you will be responsible for the tax plus all interest & penalties. If the preparer made the error, they should pay the interest & penalties, but may not pay the tax due. And yes, notices like these are frequently 2 years behind.

    8. Girasol*

      Call the tax preparer first. I made a very simple mistake once on my tax forms – reported the correct amount without showing the calculations, which they wanted to see – and got a bill for $20,000. I got an accountant who argued it and got the amount reduced to $1.40. And once the IRS said I owed for a year’s wages at a place where I hadn’t worked at all. I wrote a letter explaining that and that was the end of it. So don’t give up yet! The IRS can be wrong too.

  28. 9/16*

    Getting my car repaired. It was It’s a ten year old Honda CRV. The auto body shop said that they are installing “used” doors, instead of new ones because the car is so old and new parts are expensive and or nonexistent. Is this normal?

    1. anon24*

      I’m going to assume this is being paid for by insurance?

      If so, this is pretty typical. Unless you have a rider on your insurance saying you want new factory parts, the insurance company will often use used or aftermarket OEM parts to save money. Alternatively, sometimes they find used parts because the cost of new parts would exceed the legal limit for damages and end up totalling the car. They did this for my dad when he hit a deer and dented his fender, hood, and door. The cost of new parts would have totalled the car and because he loves his car, the insurance adjustor called around and found used parts for just under the legal limit (in my state it’s legally 90% of the car’s value, but each insurance company varies).

      If it’s not insurance and you are paying for this yourself the body shop probably did this to save you money. You can certainly ask for new parts but expect to pay a lot more.

      1. 9/16*

        This is so helpful, thank you! Yes, insurance is paying for it. I was also concerned because my car has side airbags, so I wasn’t sure how that would be legit if aftermarket parts are used. It sounds like the auto shop knows what they are doing though!

      2. the gold digger*

        I needed a part for my car (body, not engine) years ago. I hadn’t reported the incident because it was my own stupid fault (I hit a lightpost or something – this was 25 years ago) and didn’t want new parts because they were so expensive. (It may actually have been that I couldn’t even get them – this was a Subaru in the late 80s).

        I called junkyards until I found one that had what I needed and drove out there to retrieve it. Car was still fine. And my driving has improved. Mostly.

    2. Book Lover*

      That is standard, yes. I managed to damage my brand new car within a week or buying it, and apparently in the first year they use new parts. Otherwise they use after market.

    3. Janelle*

      Very normal for an older car. I work in this industry. Most insurance won’t pay for new parts after a certain age.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      My late husband was an insurance adjuster for a while. He was fond of saying “Insurance is nothing more than a loan. You pay it back later with higher premiums.” So not only is it normal to put on used parts, you might actually want that in order to keep your insurance premiums down.

      He would never file a home owner’s claim for this reason. We just fixed stuff ourselves and went on with life.

      1. the gold digger*

        “Insurance is nothing more than a loan. You pay it back later with higher premiums.”

        I love this! When I worked for a health insurance company (we sold employee benefits to large companies), people would complain that they paid premiums but never filed claims and that was so unfair. I would ask them if they really wanted to get their money’s worth from their health insurance. I know I don’t.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          People are stunned when their insurance goes up after filing a claim. Insurance companies have to take in more than they pay out. If they pay out more then they take in then the company collapses. One well known insurance company insured BOTH parties involved in an accident, the offender and the victim. The financial side of that story got really messy.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Right, when the cost of repairs exceeds book value they total out the vehicle. Meaning they declare the vehicle totally lost. This drives up costs, also. I remember doing $6k worth of damage to a van that had a book of $8k. They fixed the thing and I got it back. I did not want it back, but I had no choice.

        1. Free Meerkats*

          And in some cases, the lack of a part will make them total the vehicle. I own a mid-90s Impala SS, same body as the Caprice. Since so many of the Caprices went into police service, and they tend to hit things with them, the supply of radiator supports dried up. I think there’s an aftermarket supplier for them now; but for about 10 years, if you destroyed that part, your car got totaled unless they could find a good used one.

  29. Relationship Question*

    I was late to the party last week so I’m going to ask the same question: Have you ever taken a break from your significant other? How long were you apart? Did you see other people while you were apart? Did you get back together after the break or did you decide to break up?

    1. The IT Manager*

      No. Why are you considering a break instead of a breakup? What’s not working and how will it be fixed by time apart instead of working on it together with a counselor?

      A break when you’re allowed to see other people seems a break up where one (or both) partners are trying to soften the fact that they in fact want to break up. It’s like you’re shopping for a better partner and one of you is likely to find one because of the infatuation and ease of a new relationship even if it ends p not being a long lasting one.

      A shortbreak where you don’t see other people could allow one or both people to clear their head and make a decision about the future of the relationship with a bit of distance from strong negative emotions brought on by fights or difficulties.

    2. miyeritari*

      Generally speaking, I think couple’s therapy – finding out WHY you need to take a break from your significant other, trying to resolve those whys – is probably more helpful than taking that break.

  30. Elizabeth West*


    I may have a cavity. I have no dental insurance. I don’t want to dip into my money market fund AGAIN. It’s rapidly dwindling and soon I’ll have no escape money at all. :(

    I thought about doing a little collection of three short stories for 99 cents or $1, so maybe if I got enough takers they would get something and I could pay for this without touching my account (which I already just touched again–dammit the IRS is gonna hate me). But then I though how awful it would be if nobody wanted it. Plus other people sell whole books for a buck. :P I don’t have one that’s ready to go, and I think that’s too cheap for an entire book anyway. Authors I like have 99-cent specials on Kindle but their books are usually more expensive than that.

    If the universe doesn’t get moving Ima kick it in the nads and walk away!

    1. Red*

      I would totally buy that! With everything going on I don’t have time to read a whole book, nor do I have the money for one. That sounds so perfect

    2. Annie Mouse*

      You get some people sell some really terrible, substanceless, ridiculously tiny ‘books’ for far more than £1/$1. A set of three, decently written, short stories for $1/£1 would be a refreshing change :)

    3. nep*

      I feel you.
      A piece of a molar broke off last week and it’s the *least* of my worries when it comes to my teeth. (Also no money to get the work I need done — yet. It’s one of my greatest motivations for finding a decent job right now.)
      Hope you’ll be able to get it resolved soon.

    4. ScoutFinch*

      You have probably already considered this, but are you within a reasonable drive of a dental school? Most will take appointments or have “clinic days” that don’t require patients to be indigent.

      The one here does really good work. Students practice under licensed dentists. Even if it is a longish drive, may be worth it to make it a day. Maybe take a friend and visit parks or something else in the area?

      1. Elizabeth West*

        No, I’m not.
        The only clinics around here for people with no money don’t do fillings–they pull teeth. Which is ridiculous, considering how easy it is to fill a tooth these days.

        1. brushandfloss*

          I suggest if you qualify to go to the free clinic you should go get the exam and x-ray and see what they tell you. If they want to extract refuse and ask for a copy of the x-ray.

    5. Amadeo*

      Do you know about Patreon? Something to check out for your writing. You can set up tiers for people to support you at on a monthly basis for your content.

      1. nep*

        Just looked this up and viewed the ‘about’ video. What a great initiative. Thanks for that.
        Anyone here have experience with it?

        1. Amadeo*

          Heh, I don’t have one myself because I don’t draw or write often enough to justify any kind of monthly support from anyone, but I know a lot of artists and a few writers who do use it, and successfully. They’ll use it to fund a web comic, like, say, the main plot of the comic is free for everyone on a separate site, but if you support their Patreon you can make requests, and/or they post supporter-only content. Some writers do serials based on a monthly subscription level I think. It’s a really interesting tool!

        2. OtterB*

          Not on the receiving end, but I am supporting several writers / artists I like with small monthly amounts. Some of them provide nice Patreon-only perks. Others post work where everyone can see it but credit their Patreon supporters as making the work possible.

    6. Accidental Analyst*

      Sounds like if you did it and let people here know you’d get some buyers. This removes the no buyers concern. I get that a low number of sales can also affect the ego. Maybe if you frame it as attempting to reduce dental costs rather than putting yourself out there as an author. Ultimately are you in a place where you can handle it potentially having low sales? If you are then do you have anything to lose by doing it?

      Also you may want to look at the returns you’d get at different price points. I remember reading somewhere that 1.99 gave better percentages. Maybe worthwhile if you’ve got a few more short stories.

    7. EN*

      I recently thought I was developing a cavity; a spot on one of my molars was getting very sensitive, especially to temperature. It turns out this particular tooth protrudes more than the one behind it, so the gum probably got a bit irritated just from brushing and has exposed a bit of the root. The dentist gave me Colgate Sensitive toothpaste, and it seems to be helping. Maybe something like that could help at least buy a bit of time or lessen the pain?

        1. ..Kat..*

          Please only use oragel per the package instructions. If you use too much, you can wind up with methemoglobinemia or a paralyzed epiglottis. Both are bad.

          Take care of yourself, and here are some internet hugs for you.

          And, I will buy your short stories. If people can download them as ebooks, no postage necessary!

    8. Janelle*

      Ugh I don’t have anything I know is going on but same. I need to go, need a night guard, I’ve tried the do it yourself ones and they all hurt me, I have a small mouth. No dental insurance. So dreading it.

      1. Artemesia*

        I have paid $400 years ago for a custom night guard and never liked it. The ones you eat and form from the pharmacies are miserable. But years ago I discovered this one; it used to be kind of expensive but it now widely available and cheap. I need one and this one really works for me and it doesn’t restrict your mouth the way the cheap molded ones do; those hurt my jaw. And it is cheap.

      2. C*

        Amazon has custom nightguard kits where they send you the supplies to make a form of your teeth & then the mold gets sent to a dental lab to make the nightguard. It is the same thing a dentist will do except you make the mold of your teeth yourself (with the provided supplies and instructions). It is under $100 vs $400+ from a dentist. I did the SportingSmiles brand one but I believe there are several.

    9. NicoleK*

      Is there a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in your area? In my state, the FQHCs usually have a dental clinic.

    10. Traveling Teacher*

      Do it! Even if you don’t get a huge amount right away, in the long term you’ll hopefully make some cash in the long run that you can reinvest! And, have you checked with your dentist to see if they could put you on a payment plan? Perhaps that way your sales could have a bit more time to catch up with the bill, too :)

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Their payment plan is through this dumb healthcare credit card thing, and I don’t qualify for it. I already tried. But I also forgot when I called them that I had a credit freeze on two of my accounts because of the Equifax breach! Oh well!

        If I did this story thing, what it would do is put the money BACK into my account. I can’t put off the appointment, unfortunately.

      1. anon24*

        Jerkbrain is an asshole. Jerkbrain needs to go away on a nice relaxing vacation.

        I’d love to read your stories :)

    11. nonegiven*

      A lot of the romance writers on Amazon that MIL read, had multipart books that were 99 cents each. I don’t know how common that is.

    12. Elizabeth West*

      Nobody will see this, but UPDATE:

      I went to the dentist and it’s just a pocket of gum inflammation (probably because I missed my cleaning in July since I didn’t have the money to go). NO infection. NO cavities they can find. I do NOT need a root canal. \0/

      I will have to go back and get the cleaning and a little extra scraping in that area, which will cost about the same as a filling but I have a little over a week to figure out how to pay for it. They could have done that today, but I wanted my regular hygienist to do it because I love her.

  31. tattoo x2*

    I am taking a tattoo apprentice workshop tomorrow! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I finally just decided to go for it. I’m fully expecting to be twice the age of everyone else in the class -I’m 50. This is part of my “next phase” dream – and I hope I actually like tattooing.

    One of my art teachers – who became a friend- died in a freak accident over the holidays. It has really caused me to realize I may not have all the time I think I do, and I should live more now.

    1. nep*

      It’s great that you’ve come to this realisation and especially that you’re acting on it.
      Enjoy. Keep us posted.

    2. Anion*

      I’m so sorry about your friend. But very excited for you about the tattoo class! I bet your friend is cheering you on.

  32. Trip to PNW*

    Planning a trip to the PNW and will be spending a day in Portland and two days in Seattle. Any recommendations for can’t miss things to do/places to see/food to eat? I’ve never been to either city before so any suggestions would be helpful!

        1. de Pizan*

          It is. Literally. It’s the largest used bookstore in the world, the building covers an entire city block and is 5 stories. They have maps available so you don’t get lost. They have a few other locations around Portland, but it’s the main one that’s the draw.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            They must have had hotels pop up all around them. A person could spend their whole vacation in that building.

    1. Cat*

      Oh, I just sent a friend a list of somewhat scattershot Portland recs (I don’t live there anymore but go a few times a year).

      Definitely go to Powell’s Books. That’s a must do.

      On the other hand, don’t go to Voodoo Donuts – it’s a tourist trap.

      As far as food goes, try some of the food cart pods. They’re all fun, but you can find must-hit carts on-line. Pok Pok is famous, but legitimately good – I love the chicken wings. Bollywood Theater is good for Indian. Salt and Straw has amazing ice cream. And if you want neighborhoods to wander around in and stroll in, try Alberta Street in NE and N. Mississippi. They have the advantage of being on the East Side of the river, which is good to check out.

      1. Cat*

        Oh, and if you eat meat, the Olympic Provisions restaurant is great for cured meats of all kinds. And Renata for Italian.

      2. de Pizan*

        Definitely agree on avoiding Voodoo. The lines are ridiculous, and frankly their donuts aren’t that good. They’re mostly famous for their weird food combinations and risque names. If you want good donuts, Blue Star or Pip’s are better, and you still get the unique flavors.

    2. Yetanother Jennifer*

      We were in Seattle and Portland as part of an eclipse trip as well. I agree with Powell’s and the Japanese Garden in Portland. The rose garden next to the Japanese Garden is also very nice and is free. Portland’s Science Museum was a bust for us. Voodoo Donuts is overrated. The food trucks are good, but there’s nowhere to sit and eat. In Seattle, the MOHAI museum is excellent and has a great exhibit on Seattle. We also loved the Living Computer Museum. The troll under the bridge is a fun touristy thing but it is in a little residential neighborhood so give yourself some extra time.

      1. CheeryO*

        We did a whole day in Fremont when we visited Seattle, and it was one of the most fun days! There’s a great hard cider place, a distillery, the chocolate factory with tours, Gas Works park, and of course the troll.

    3. anon anony*

      If you want to hit all the big touristy spots then I recommend the citypass
      you pick out five attractions
      I would do
      space needle
      seattle aquarium
      harbor boat tour
      museum of pop culture
      chihuly garden and glass (a highlight for me, I loved it)

      But if you were looking for those cool places that only locals know about sorry can’t help you lol

    4. Bryce*

      For Portland there’s the tourist stuff and the non-tourist, depends where your interests lie.
      Tourist: Powell’s and Voodoo Donuts are the big ones. Saturday Market if that’s the day you’re there.
      Other stuff: We have a BUNCH of parks tucked all over the place. I particularly like the rhododendron garden near Reed College (it’s tucked into a nook by a lake, and they’ve engineered it well so you can totally forget you’re in a city and next to a golf course), but in NW by the zoo there’s the forest, Hoyt arboretum, rose garden and Japanese gardens all by each other. The zoo is also quite good and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is aimed more at kids, as such things are, but tends to have really neat exhibits.

    5. Lightly-chewed Jimmy*

      if you like books then Powell’s! :) (mentioned by others, but cannot be mentioned enough :) )
      if you’re a gamer at all (board, tabletop, anything like that) then Guardian Games is pretty awesome.
      as mentioned, the Saturday Market is fun
      I’m only familiar with the Pearl District (which is delightfully walkable, btw) but I’ve never had a bad meal in Portland :) I generally check with the front desk, but have also had good luck just wandering until something appeals. I haven’t tried the food trucks, but only because of allergy concerns.

      enjoyed the Underground Tour (haven’t done much else there)

    6. Die Forelle*

      For Seattle, one of my favorite things to do is take the ferry out to Bainbridge Island. It’s $8 to walk on (more if you drive, and potentially a wait if you drive; never a wait for walk-ons), and no fare on the way back, and it’s about a 30-minute ride. You get a beautiful view of the Seattle skyline and it’s fun to get out on the water. When you get to Bainbridge, it’s about a 5-10 minute walk to their little main street strip with restaurants, coffee shops, etc., so I like to go there for a meal and then return later in the afternoon (brunch at Nola is a favorite). The downtown Seattle ferry terminal where you depart from is under construction and I haven’t been in awhile, so leave extra time to catch your boat, especially if you do decide to drive onto the ferry.

      I also second the Fremont recommendation. I work near Fremont and it’s a great spot to hop from coffeeshop to happy hour to dinner.

    7. de Pizan*

      Ordinarily I would say a visit to the Columbia gorge right outside of Portland is a must (75 waterfalls in a 15 mile radius), but we’ve had a huge wildfire there for several weeks that is still ongoing. Most of the trails will be closed for quite some time and the extent of the damage is still unknown. But other things to do:
      Portlandia statue
      Tom McCall waterfront park–pretty walk along the river, Saturday market is there (there are farmer’s markets elsewhere, this one is mostly arts and crafts–and despite its name, it goes all weekend) and most weekends there are usually outdoor concerts, festivals, etc going on there.
      Rose City Rollers (women’s roller derby) just started up for the fall season.
      McMenamin’s pubs (most are in historic buildings converted to pubs and hotels or theaters–the Kennedy School, Bagdad theater, Crystal Hotel, St Johns and Mission School are the best ones within Portland)
      Food carts–there are several “pods” around town where they have several carts together and picnic table seating (usually in the fall/winter they’ll put up tents with space heaters)

      restaurants: Theo’s Burgers, Por que no, Tin Shed Cafe, Corbett Fish House, Thrive Sauce & Bowls

  33. Dainty Lady*

    I mentioned last week about having an old friend whose husband is terminally ill. He’s in hospice now and it’s a matter of less than a few months. I’m far away so I can’t help materially at all. I do plan to go for the funeral if at all possible.

    I’m worried about…hurting her somehow during that time. We used to be close, but my life is so smooth and easy compared to hers, and we have such different lives, that my moving away left us as friend-ish. She is sensitive and prickly at the best of times. This is decidedly the absolute worst of times. Following her on Facebook, she’s absolutely flayed, everything is painful. Of course I won’t talk about myself and will try hard to draw as little attention as possible, but what else? I want going to the funeral to be an act of love, not a problem.

    Any advice welcome.

    1. tattoo x2*

      I recently read Option B by Cheryl Sandberg. By telling her experience of dealing with her husband’s sudden death, she offers a lot of insight into how to be a good friend to someone going through a difficult time. I think it could be a useful resource for you.

    2. anon24*

      I spent a short period of time between full time jobs working as a part time home care aid for the elderly. One of my clients was on in-home hospice as well as having care aids and everyone knew it was only a matter of time. It was so hard talking to his wife about it. I had no idea what to say to her and didn’t want to come across as insensitive. Finally I just said “I’m so sorry, I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through right now.” I just didn’t know what else to say, and I didn’t want to hurt her or make her angry. When she would talk about it I would just sit and listen and tell her I was sorry this was happening.

    3. JKP*

      Everyone is so different in how they handle grief, I would just ask her how you can be the most help to her. A few recent deaths in my family, and everyone needed different things. Some people wanted to talk. Other people wanted to be left alone. Some people wanted to be distracted and talk about light hearted stuff. Some people needed something to DO to feel useful to others and not drown in grief. Some people wanted to cry, others wanted everyone around them to be strong and NOT cry so they could keep it together themselves. It’s really hard to mind read and guess. I would ask her or ask someone else close to her what’s the best way you can give support.

    4. Jean (just Jean)*

      Can you offer anything practical (that won’t offend her or remind her of any possible financial differences between you)? Can you contact anyone who is geographically closer to your friend to ask for advice–or ask your friend “hey, I really want to help, do you have a friend coordinating things for you?” Maybe she’s part of a congregation with a Caring/Helping Committee or her husband’s care team includes a social worker. Maybe a third-party person can tell you that your friend would love two paid hours from a professional house cleaner or errand-runner. Maybe there’s an aging-in-place village in her area (combines mutual volunteering and builds community via events). If she’s interested, could you enroll her and pay for a year’s membership?

      You could also try doing something to give her happiness now, even if things seem so terrible. If you have compliments for her and her husband (he’s such a great person, their marriage is an inspiration to you, your whole family appreciates his encouraging your college-age niece who wants to enter the same profession he has followed…whatever) write them down and mail them _now_ while he’s still in this world to read the note. A few sentences plus a “thinking of you” card are fine–you don’t have to write 500 words.

      Or make a donation in his honor to a cause that he supports. If you want to avoid politics or hot-button issues donate to something more “neutral like their alma mater, public library, local food pantry or animal shelter.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Keep in mind that you may not be able to help her because she does not want help. In extreme cases, grief can be like drowning, the person might sincerely believe that there is nothing that will help. I read that there is a study that shows when a partner dies, the likelihood of the surviving partner passing within the next two years is very high. And this cuts through any demographic you can think of, it happens across the board.
      I busted my butt to pull myself together and it was friggin hard. (I think because there were other deaths of loved ones at the same time, it seemed to make everything BIG.) However, I try not to be self focused and I was so self-focused. I think this comes from struggling to get through the day and do the estate work and try to stay healthy etc. People who are really struggling can be very self-focused.
      You see where I am going, expect her to be self-focused. Everything is about her and what is going on with her.
      She will probably lead the direction of conversation and probably not be able to hear anything that does not relate to her.
      Funerals are usually pretty busy so having a conversation of any length may not happen. You can tell her your sorry and encourage her to take good care of herself. If you talk to her before he passes or a while after the funeral you can ask her “how are you doing today, what’s going on today?” This is a great question because you may find that there are little helps you can give long distance. I found out that my aunt wanted to donate my uncle’s colostomy stuff, I googled and found a number for her to call. She was THRILLED when they said they would come to the house and pick it up. The brain drain is incredible so never under estimate the power of handling something that seems small.

  34. miyeritari*

    At my office I am one of the two people that sign for packages.

    When I walk to work (literally the best decision I have ever made, and insanely worth the additional cost!), I often SEE the UPS guy around. Sometimes I give him a ‘hello’ smile. Is that polite enough to say ‘Hey I recognize you, good to see you’ without disrupting him from time-sensitive work?

      1. miyeritari*

        I just don’t want him to be like “ugh, it’s HER from TEAPOTS INC.” I know I am being ridiculous about this.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          You can’t control how a person reacts. I am sure if you are brief but cheery it will be quite fine.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      I’ve seen FedEx guys I dealt with at Exjob outside work, and we usually say hello, briefly if they’re working. One of them started mowing lawns for extra money (he hated working at FedEx) and now he and his wife do it full-time. He’s still mowing mine. His wife is a sweetheart and we usually end up yakking away while he’s mowing, LOL.

      It’s only been awkward one time; I saw a driver I knew in Walmart and we exchanged greetings. He was with his wife, who gave me a look like “Who the hell are you!?” But I figure she’s probably jealous overall. That’s his problem, not mine!

    2. Janelle*

      Well a.) I have a big crush on our Fedex guy. I see him out and about often at lunch and we always have a quick chat. He is married though so not like im trying anything. Being friendly also has helped because he will redeliver same if I happen to not be in the office the first try.

  35. Becca*

    Story time: So on Thursday, my dance troupe performed at a charity event run by a car dealership, except it was the weirdest thing I’ve ever been to! Rather than celebrating their generosity in a normal fashion, by highlighting the charities they were donating to, it was a COMPETITION for a $10K check. So three local nonprofits had to basically beg for money in front of a dispassionate crowd.

    But the most ridiculous part was that the guy who announced the winner said, “I wish we could just give you all the same amount of money!” And I’m like… you could, my friend. $3,333.33!!! That would still make a difference!

    Anyone else had a weird experience this week?

    1. miyeritari*

      i’m not in this space and never experienced anything like that, but that is SO WEIRD. and in terrible taste. yeugh.

    1. Look What You Made Me Do*

      I’m guessing you mean trying to conceive, and I’ll say that I have no idea how common it is but I know I’ve heard of it happening before. The process itself can be really stressful if you’re doing that whole basal body temperature omg-we-have-an-hour LET’S GO thing. Also just the idea of “Wow, this might work and then we’ll actually be having a baby and our whole lives will change” can really freak people out, even if it’s something they really want.

    2. Artemesia*

      Years after we had our son and had had fertility issues my husband mentioned how stressful and unfun sex was during that time. I actually loved every minute of it as to me sex is even more fun when you are trying to make a baby. I figured it would be the same for him since he is pretty much interested any time anyplace; but he told me it was quite stressful and he didn’t remember it as a good time. We didn’t have performance issues but I can imagine a guy who is feeling stressed certainly could.

    3. Maya Elena*

      I don’t know for men, but I am firmly on the bandwagon of “it will work out when you stop trying”. Not always, not if there are physiological issues, etc., but I’ve seen it happen so many times, with myself included….

      1. FDCA In Canada*

        I know you mean well, but this is a horrible thing to say to people struggling with infertility. Believe me, it’s not at all helpful, and the person has heard it a hundred thousand times before. That’s great that it happened for you, but if someone is already worried and struggling, this basically says “You’re doing it wrong. Stop thinking so much.” This whole concept of “just relax and stop trying” has absolutely zero to do with conceiving.

        And it’s not all helpful, verging on rude.


  36. Ask a Manager* Post author

    So we have a buyer for our old house. Contract is ratified, etc. But she had the inspection this week and we got her list of things she wants fixed, and it’s a ridiculously long list full of things that are just part of buying a house that’s not brand new. My realtor agrees it’s too picky. I’ve decided to say no, and that we’ll offer her $1K at closing toward the list, but not more, particularly since she’s already buying the house for $10k below list price. So now I’m waiting to see if she walks away over it.

    I would love to hear from anyone who said no to a buyer’s demands/requests and what happened. Did the deal go forward anyway? Did you lose the buyer?

    1. Victoria, Please*

      I am still annoyed at my mother, who has been dead for 6 years, for walking away from a terrific house that she really wanted because she offered $500 of earnest money and the sellers wanted $1000 of earnest. She just got her stubborn up and said $500 should be enough to make them trust her! Oh mom.

      Good luck.

      1. Artemesia*

        my parents walked away over about $1000 difference and so instead of my mother getting the house with the gorgeous view of Lake Washington she wanted, they ended up in a ranch in Newport Hills. But my Dad was in ‘take it or leave it mode.’

        I would do what you are doing though on the sale OP. $1000 takes care of a lot of BS.

    2. Kathenus*

      Some buyers respond well to the seller agreeing to fix some of the issues better than the money at closing, so that they don’t have to go to the trouble of getting the repairs. Not sure about your buyer’s preference, of course, but when I bought a house last year the seller agreeing to take care of some (not all) of the requests was a big plus to me. Best of luck.

    3. the gold digger*

      I had two full-price offers on my house three days after I listed. I accepted the one where the buyers wanted a cash credit over the one where the buyer wanted me to fix stuff. (House was built in 1922 – old houses have old house issues but it was still a solid house.) I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of replacing beams that had termite damage from decades ago.

    4. hammock lover*

      We had this happen years ago. We had already moved 300 miles away, so we said no. They countered by asking if they could have the closing on Saturday. That worked. Maybe she just thought it was worth asking.

    5. Awkward Interviewee*

      Perspective from the other side: husband and I are under contract for buying our first house. There were a bunch of little things we asked the seller to fix and they agreed to most of them. If they hadn’t, we still would have gone through with the sale. We’ll be paying list price, but our realtor managed to negotiate the sellers paying $10K of the closing costs.

    6. The Other Dawn*

      I’m going through this now. My siblings and I are selling my parents’ house. It’s part of the estate and there is very little money in the estate to fix things–just a few thousand dollars. We have enough for final expenses and such, but not much else. All of us are out of state, except the one living in the house. And she…is a huge procrastinator and slow as molasses., which means if we need her to arrange to have something fixed, it ain’t gonna happen. (Not in this century, anyway.) Also, none of us would have the extra money to front for the fixes.

      If a buyer asks us to fix a bunch of things, our feeling is that if it’s cheap enough, the person isn’t trying to milk us, and this One Thing will get the house sold, we’re going to do it rather than losing the sale. Especially if it’s and offer very near or at asking price. We’ve had a few offers about 6k below price and they wanted several things fixed, which we said no to since it would require hiring someone, would have drained the estate, and were just nit-picky.

      Now, when we bought our current house, we asked for certain things to be fixed, which were all safety -related, as the house was built in 1735. Things like asbestos removal, radon removal system, fixing certain electrical outlets that were considered dangerous, a new sump pump for the basement (very necessary!), and I think there was one other thing. There were lots of other things we would have loved to have fixed, but my husband is very handy so I didn’t ask for them. I was really focused on getting the safety-related things fixed. Plus, asking for things like painting a room, removing carpet, etc, are just not important. Those are all cosmetic things that can be done on your own time, to your own taste. (Those aren’t actually what I would have wanted done. They’re just an example.) In the end, they installed a new sump pump, serviced the boiler, replace some GFI outlets, and removed the asbestos. We got $1,000 towards a radon system; they tested and we tested, and the two tests were so completely different that they didn’t want to pay to install a system. That was fine, since we got everything else we wanted. Also, they told us they were broke and couldn’t afford it. (I know otherwise, as it turns out they live behind us. But I’ll leave it at that.)

      Not sure what was on the list they gave you, but it sounds like it’s probably things that are cosmetic. Basically, the way I feel is that safety-related things should be fixed if possible in order to save the deal. Anything else I see as nit-picky and wouldn’t do it. Even if it was at-asking, since that drags it out longer and leaves room for the buyer to come back and ask for more, or say it’s not done to their liking, etc.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Forgot to add that I hope to sell our old house later next year. We are likely going to sell as-is so we don’t have to fix anything, or do a regular sale and do only those fixes that we can afford. I’m totally willing to take less money on an as-is sale, rather than spending a bunch of money to fix things and we end up netting the same amount.

        (As an aside, my former Tenant From Hell has attempted several times to friend me on various social media sites. She’s so oblivious. And she stuck her husband with the burden of paying us back the $5k we won in Small Claims court. He’s almost paid off and we have a friendly rapport with him. He stepped up when she ditched him and us. If he misses a week, he pays double the following week. And if he does miss, I don’t ever ask him for it. I know he’s good for it and I never expected to get a dime anyway.)

    7. OldMom*

      My recent experience as a buyer was that I wanted them to fix many things revealed by the home inspection, they said no and also refused to lower the price further. (This was after they had agreed to fix safety related things.) I was trying to decide whether to walk away or not when they came back and agreed to do a few more but not nearly everything. It was enough that the deal went through. I relied a lot on the advice of my realtor. If this buyer doesn’t work out you will probably find another soon. The process reminded me of your advice with job offer negotiations except you don’t have to work with the people you are bargaining with in the end.

    8. Book Lover*

      If it is stuff that was obvious (for example I had a cracked tile in the entry way that was visible) then it seems just a way to try to get an additional discount. Stuff that isn’t visible but has to be done, I think offering funds for a fix or just doing it yourself is reasonable.

      I fixed some straightforward things – some rooftiles that I would have done for myself if I had been aware of them, but not everything.

      1. Florida*

        I agree with this. Asking for money to replace the cabinets or repaint or other visible items is crap. They saw the cabinets when they made the offer, so they should’ve considered that in their offer.

        I also think that if you tell them, “there is a hole in the wall behind that picture. That’s why we have the picture there,” then they don’t get money to fix the hole. They consider that when they make the offer.

        To me, the only stuff that’s fair game is invisible stuff that was unknown prior to making the offer, such as termite damage in the attic, foundation shift, or some other thing that there is no way they could’ve known.

    9. Janelle*

      MY mother just sold her house and said no. Last minute the fridge stopped working (day of closing) and they wanted 2k for a new fridge. It was 10 years old. She said $500 or forget it. They were trying to bend her over as her stuff was on a truck and felt they could take advantage. Now if the amount is equal to another mortgage payment it could be work sucking it up but I say stand your ground.

    10. Sandra Dee*

      I just bought and sold a house in the past 6 months. I asked for nothing from the home inspection, as it was all minor stuff, and part of a 40 year old house. The furnace was new, the kitchen and bathrooms were totally remodeled, and I don’t regret not asking for any repairs. As for the one I sold, they had asked for a ton of stuff to be fixed as a result of the report. My realtor agreed that they were over the top, and crazy picky, and I didn’t want to deal with something not being to their standards, therefore I offered a flat amount, and told them they could do whatever repairs they wanted with the cash. They accepted. It helps that this is a crazy market right now, and they knew I had 2 other contracts in the wings, and theirs was full price. I am sure they didn’t do half of the things they requested. I don’t care, it’s their house now, not mine.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Makes me think that in your story and Alison’s setting the buyers were trying to drive down the price.

    11. msroboto*

      I am in my 4th house and have usually been in favor of money at closing in lieu of performing actual repairs.
      First house we had water in the basement. I got an estimate and offered 1/2 the cost of the fix to make the problem go away. As far as I know they never had it fixed. (We happened to know the buyers but it was a coincidence and a realtor based sale.)
      Second house no issues.
      Third house longer list. I did fix the A/C unit that broke right before the inspection and offered cash for some of the picky crap. I believe 500.00 as these were stupid items. Apparently in Georgia (perhaps other places) it’s not unusual for the show to be plumbed backwards, The handle starts at hot towards cold. And some wood trim stuff.
      We are still in house number four.

    12. OtterB*

      When we sold our last house, the buyers were really persnickety. Our agent said they were just nervous first time homeowners, and I hope he was right, because I would have hated to inflict jerks on our nice neighbors.

      Anyway, we had agreed to an allowance for redecorating – not at all unreasonable, we’d been in the house 10 years and it needed new paint and such. They were also really explicit that we needed to take all old cans of paint, etc., out of the basement (there were just a few, not a basement full). After we moved out they made a final inspection and asked for more money to fix a big ding in the wall at the bottom of the stairs (looked like the movers banged the corner of a piece of furniture into it). And I hit my limit. I told the agent that I saw the hole they meant, I agreed it was ugly, and if they hadn’t made me get rid of the partial cans of paint, I would have spackled it and touched it up for them without even being asked. But since they already had a redecorating allowance anyway, I thought it was ridiculous to get more.

      Deal went through anyway. :-)

      1. the gold digger*

        Yeah, it all depends if you think the buyer (or the seller) is acting in good faith. The person who bought Sly and Doris’ house had said to leave the furniture that had not sold at the estate sale – that he wanted it.

        Day before closing (two days after he had demanded an extra $2,000 for something), buyer said No, I don’t want the furniture – house has to be empty before I sign tomorrow.

        Did I mention the closing was on Christmas Ever? And that the house is in Florida? And Primo and I are a 1,000 miles away?

        Primo asked realtor to deal with it – so realtor dragged everything to the curb – in front of the neighbor’s house.

        Neighbors were not happy.

        But buyer signed – finally – and we were done with that damn house.

        That buyer was a jerk. If it had been our house and/or our money (Primo did not inherit the house), I think Primo might have said forget it and looked for a new buyer. But we just wanted to be done with it all.

    13. Episkey*

      Work for a real estate agent — in my experience, it totally depends on the type of repairs and the personality of the Buyer. My boss (the agent) usually will walk our buying clients through the inspection issues revealed and advise them which to ask for to be addressed and which to let go. Things like mold issues, safety issues, radon mitigation, some types of window issues, roofing, water leakage issues — are all big things and we have had Buyers walk away if the Sellers say no. But we have had plenty of successful deals go through where the Seller agrees to remedy some things & not others. Be aware that a lot of Buyers would prefer you make the repairs rather than offer a credit because they don’t want to deal with it themselves. Also, 10K below list price is nothing, you can almost expect that and even slightly more depending — at least in our area, but I think I remember you saying your market is different.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        That list price thing floats so much, it’s unreal.
        A family member’s home was worth $120k the realtor said. So he listed it for 100k. (???) It sold for 80k.
        I was firm. I said I would do a couple repairs that would be meaningful but I was not going to do a half dozen or more. I do think that impacted the price offered. We just wanted to get out from under.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I think the key is the “supposed worth” part. The realtor got too excited and over estimated the worth of the property before weighing in the many, many considerations. In a separate story with similar circumstances the situation caused family members to argue with each other and did permanent damage to the relationships. “The realtor said it was worth x and you only got x minus 20%. YOU failed the family.” ugh, ugh, ugh.

    14. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      We are a slightly weird case because we’re selling in the Bay Area which is bananapants but as I shared in detail in a post last week, we had two buyers, and we deliberately chose the buyer who didn’t request any (unnecessary to comply with code) work. Then we had a faucet give up the ghost while we were under contract so we had our realtor do some labor comps to give us an average of what 3 handymen would charge, added that to the cost of an equivalent faucet, and offered her that amount in cash. This approach was in line with how we negotiated too so we didn’t have any issues with that part of the sale.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        This is interesting! Don’t you not know what repairs they’re going to request until they’ve had an inspection, which doesn’t happen until after you’ve picked a buyer and ratified a contract? The Gold Digger said something similar above, which is making me wonder if different states do this differently.

        1. the gold digger*

          Alison, I think (it’s been almost two years) that the problems we had with the buyer for Sly and Doris’ house had more to do with

          1. The buyer was a jerk
          2. Primo chose unwisely when he decided to go with the new realtor (“He needs someone to give him a chance!”) as opposed to the realtor with 20 years’ experience.

          But I did find this (a post about it) – the implication is that things can still happen in the walkthrough

          (PS The guy did keep all the money):

          Primo sent a fedex package yesterday with all the signed closing documents. We thought that meant we were DONE. Except we thought that the buyer might find more problems during the walkthrough later today.

          We still don’t know what the buyer will find during the walkthrough. The realtor is spending the day clearing the house of all the leftover stuff that the buyer had said weeks ago Primo could leave in the house.

          He called the title company to make sure they got the package.

          They did.

          But then they said Oh by the way there is a new Florida law and that $2,000 the buyer wants in escrow to cover additional repairs? We can’t use escrow for repairs any more. So you need to send a check overnight directly to the buyer.

          Primo: But that means we have to trust the buyer to send any extra money back.

          Me: I don’t even care anymore. I just want this guy out of our lives. I don’t care if he keeps the money.

          1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

            Can’t blame you for a second, Goldie, for just wanting that guy to be out of your lives. He WAS a jerk, I remember reading those posts just half growling at him.

            It’s true they CAN find things during the final walkthrough but a reasonable seller and an experienced realtor would know (ours reminded us of this last week) it should only be to ensure that things were essentially what you were expecting since you made the offer. No one sledgehammered the walls, or gouged the floors, and appliances meant to be left behind are still there, and so on.

        2. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

          So this is part of the Bay Area weirdness – it is more normal for the seller to get the inspection done before accepting offers! It then goes out with the disclosures so that all prospective buyers know what your inspector thinks of the place. The one thing that those buyers wanted changed was a thing the inspector specifically told me is a “probably should do in general but absolutely not required before sale”. Required before sale would be anything complying with CA code, and while our place wasn’t perfect, nothing was out of code.

          So it was interesting that the buyer had the inspector’s report stating that it was just a recommended but not required item, and still insisted that it had to be done before closing, as part of their offer. They also snarked our realtor about it during the open house so that suggested that they would be more difficult to deal with.

          Having been both a buyer and seller, I actually prefer the inspection report be done beforehand. I found it helpful. But we ARE weird.

    15. neverjaunty*

      If she walks away, consider it a relief. Honestly, a huge picky list is just an invitation for her to find yet another thing she “just noticed” to try to drive the price down more – you know she’s not being reasonable!

      We also were selling in the Bay Area which is, as noted, bananapants, so when the buyers tried “oh, we want to pay less money because of $X,” we shrugged and said that was too bad, if they didn’t want the house anymore at that price, no hard feelings. They paid it.

    16. SophieChotek*

      My parents just went through this. The buyers had a riduculously long list of things they wanted fix – their realtor said it was ridiculous — “they are buying a house that is 20 years old, not built yesterday” sort of thing. (Actually even the potential buyer’s realtor apparently told my parent’s realtor that the demands were ridiculous.)

      In the end, I think the original builders came out and basically wrote a letter and said: These are normal “wear & tear” and really, the foundation is fine, the house just settled….

      I think the realtor ended up agreeing to pay $500 for some of the repairs, and my parents ended up spending another couple hundred to do some of other urgent fixes…

      I think they also managed to convince the buyers that some of the things the insectpor found were not necessarily “fix-worthy” more like…”things to know”….

      The sale did got through…

  37. Typhon Worker Bee*

    Frustrated with FedEx. I ordered an awesome adjustable height desk online a few weeks ago, and it arrived in my city this week. Great! Except they only deliver M-F, and I work full-time. Usually, after two failed attempts they take the package to a depot where you can pick it up on a weekend, but this time the package tracking site said they’d be attempting delivery again on Monday. I contacted them and they said that I can’t change the delivery request and reroute the package to a depot – only the company who shipped it can do that. They’re in a different time zone and were closed by the time I realized this. Whyyyyy would a shipment be set up this way? Surely the recipient should be able to request a change, by default?

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      Oh, I feel you.

      Normally I’m fine with packages from Amazon but sometimes they’ll use a delivery service that doesn’t seem to know the depot exists and I have to go through 30 minutes of phone conversations in Spanish because I can get them to redeliver on a day that I’m actually going to be in. I never know when something I order is going to come with this delivery service either and it makes me want to scream.

    2. blackcat*

      I am baffled because I just had the opposite experience–I was easily able click a link in my delivery scheduling email to say I will pick it up at X FedEx office (not even a depot!). I am sorry you are having this problem.

    3. copy run start*

      I loathe FedEx. It’s always so much more painful than dealing with UPS or even USPS*. I recently had a package that I didn’t realize needed a signature (no where on the tracking page did I see this!) so it wasn’t delivered. There was no way to redirect my package without getting the door tag, and I don’t usually get home until 5:10 or 5:15. The local depot is only open 9 – 5:30. Utterly ridiculous.

      Luckily 99% of what I order seems to come UPS or USPS. I feel like only jerky companies or companies who do business with other companies use FedEx.

      *I say this as someone who’s package was recently misdelivered by USPS, filed a claim… and the only contact I got was a survey on my claim experience. Sadly there was an option for “never got contacted.”

    4. CheeryO*

      That’s happened to me too (and it was a $20 SIM card, so it was especially annoying). I called and begged, and they eventually agreed to hold it for me at the distribution center after the third delivery attempt. I explained that I wouldn’t be home and that they could leave it at my door, but that was a no go too. I don’t understand why FedEx is such a pain – I’ve never had a single problem with UPS.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I live in a safe neighborhood. I signed a waver saying that the carriers could just drop the package without my signature. This was years ago, but I still never sign for anything. I did this with FedEx and UPS and that one that went under, can’t remember the name but I guess it’s still around.

  38. Nicole*

    Today my husband installed a transition piece between our living room carpet and the laminate floor in the dining room. I am so happy because I’ve always hated how it looked without the piece when everything was installed almost 13 years ago but it was never an issue to address until we got a puppy last year who liked to eat the carpet fibers in that spot. My husband isn’t fond of the look of transition pieces in general, the spot is quite wide so two pieces were actually needed, and he didn’t want to pay $100+ for the laminate back when he installed the floor. The pieces we bought were only $13 each plus a tube of glue. I can’t wait until it dries to see the finished product! Little home improvements like this make me so happy.

    Speaking of which – am I the only one who loves organizing to the point that after doing so they are in a fantastic mood the rest of the day and into the next? I reorganized our hall closet and part of the garage yesterday and I can’t stop admiring my work. I’m such a dork.

    1. KarenT*

      You are not. I just reorganized my front hall closet (and installed two new shelves) and will tell anyone who will listen!

    2. ..Kat..*

      Can you provide more information on the transition pieces, and/or a picture? DH and I need something like this, but no one at the store understands what I am talking about.

      1. Nicole*

        The transition pieces are wood of various widths and stains that can be either installed in the gap between two different flooring types or in our case glued (or screwed) to one material and then overlaps another. Here’s a before and after shot I took.


        If you have a store called HOBO in your area I highly recommend it for home improvement material at affordable prices.

    3. OhBehave*

      I’m a dork right along with you! I am hyper-organized and LOVE cleaning out closets, children’s rooms, etc. It’s a sickness.
      My mom passed away a few months ago. I’m just now starting to get out from under all the stuff that we brought home. It’s a work in progress but I’m happy with the steps I’ve made so far. I would LOVE to be a professional organizer.

  39. The Quiet Child*

    I am struggling with my own inner demon.

    I seemed to have a fear of communicating details of my everyday life, especially work frustrations and my observations at work, with my family. I believe this goes all the way back to my childhood when I always have fear of telling my parents that I am not making friends, being bullied, have trouble learning, etc. because I know I am failing their expectations of being a successful child and am quite embarrassed about it. My family members often express toughness, great disappointment, and sharp outrage at things that upsets them. So I avoid talking to them to avoid their emotions they will have on me. I have made some dumb mistakes at work and in everyday interactions, and I definitely do not want to talk about it at home.

    So as an adult now, I never talked about work with my family. The work I do now is not what I wanted to do and some of the processes and tasks I have to work with seems ridiculous and not quite make sense sometimes. I am scared to how my family reacts when I tell them my work tasks are so heavy yet ridiculous. My family do not know my workload either. I do not have much friends within my workplace or outside my workplace. My siblings worked at the same company that I worked in, but they are in a different building location. My siblings have friends who worked in my work building, and sometimes I get nervous if they get information about my job through their work friends. Maybe my siblings will be mad that they learn more about what I do through their work friends than through me, or that they learn more about my department through work friends than through me. Some of my family member have express some curiosity as to why I don’t share too much about my personal life. But it is something that I really can’t answer them. It has something to do with how I have conditioned myself to process my feelings deep inside. It is hard to change after so many years of not talking to my family or hiding from my family. And yet I am not sure if I wanted to change, I think mostly because I am afraid taking the simplest steps to change.

    1. anxious*

      In the least judgemental way possible, what you need is a therapist. That’s the person who is best equipped to help you learn how to communicate your needs to people around you.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      So, let me see, your family spews emotions all over the place and you want to tell them about your job?
      Why bother? They sound like rude and mean people. If you don’t want to talk to them then don’t.
      So what if you sibs learn more about your work through your cohorts than through you? This is fairly normal stuff. I have heard of many cases where family did not learn what a person did at work, until that person’s funeral and others mentioned it to the family.
      When they ask why you don’t share too much of your personal life tell them it is because of the constant expressions of great disappointment or great outrage that you witnessed for decades. Say, “I am tired of the emotional roller coaster and small things blowing up into big deals.” Or you could just say that you are tired of all the upset all the time.
      I am not sure why you are putting yourself through this. But if you really want to do this, I think you should get some support in terms of counseling. I don’t think there are many people out there who would be able to do what you are doing alone. They would need additional support.

  40. Lily Evans*

    Has anyone else who uses Amazon fairly regularly noticed a serious decrease in delivery quality lately? Like quality as in timeliness? I don’t have prime, but when I used to order from Amazon with the free standard delivery things would always be on time or early with no problems. However the past few times my packages have been completely late (even with a 10 day order to delivery projected window), dropped off at the very last second, or not delivered correctly. I’m so annoyed with them, I’m considering just not using them anymore.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      I haven’t–I usually get things faster than expected. Have any of these been third-party sellers, or was fulfillment by Amazon itself? I guess I’m lucky; mine have all been okay, even from third-parties, and even when I ordered from Amazon UK.

      1. Lily Evans*

        They’ve all been directly through Amazon, not third-party. And it’s so weird because I’ve never had problems like this until recently. They got things to me more quickly when I was living in the middle of nowhere than they do now that I’m in a major city. I don’t know if they’re trying to frustrate people into shelling out for prime or what.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          It could be the companies they are contracting with locally to complete the deliveries. Probably worth giving them some feedback on it.

          1. Lily Evans*

            I have definitely given them feedback before, and I just spoke with someone on their chat to give more feedback and ask what was going on with my current late delivery.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            That was going to be my next suggestion–I’m guessing it’s the couriers.
            Most of my items come through the mail. If it’s a problem with the mail and Amazon won’t help, you can complain to the postmaster in your city. Sometimes it’s the actual mail carrier who is the problem.

        2. SophieChotek*

          I also have thought/think sometimes Amazon sits on a package to try to get people to get Prime. I’ve noticed that often if I purchase enough things to qualify for free shipping (5-8 days) it comes in 5-8 days when it gets shipped, but it takes like forever for the warehouse to prepare it. But then, weirdly enough, I just ordered something and it came in like 2 days (not Prime) so now I am all confused again…as that proved my theory wrong…

          1. copy run start*

            I have Prime and the warehouse is still slow as all get-out. I ordered stuff Thursday and it just left the warehouse today.

      1. Lily Evans*

        Well, that disproves my theory above, that they’re being purposefully bad for non-prime customers to get them to order prime!

        1. copy run start*

          Yeah, I suspect a big price hike in Prime is coming, or maybe even a third tier (Prime Plus?) for more $$$ and the hope of seeing your package in the same calendar year.

          Truthfully, I would pay more to guarantee my packages were always delivered by UPS direct (not the “Sure Post” product). They do a good job and the local people are nice and helpful every time I’ve ever had an issue.

          1. Lily Evans*

            I agree! I’d definitely pay a bit extra to choose which shipping service I get. I’ve been doing some reading about it, and it looks like the carrier they used for my past few problematic deliveries (AMZL) is their own shipping “company” that’s mostly staffed by anyone with a passed background check and a van. No wonder it’s so bad.

      2. Paul*

        Same. We’re probably not renewing.

        We’re not in a major metro but we’re not in the big empty either…200kish people these days, and we’re the regional hub for UPS and Fedex both!

    2. Ramona Flowers*

      I’m in the UK and have totally given up on them after a series of bad experiences that included faking my husband’s signature for a PlayStation they dumped in our garden, and leaving a parcel in our front hedge.

      1. Lily Evans*

        That’s horrible! I’ve had them lie about giving the package to a person when they left it on the porch, but faking a signature is unbelievable!

    3. Claire*

      I’m in the UK and have Prime membership, and I haven’t had any problems at all. Delivery is always next day at latest, and quite a lot of my orders are actually delivered same day.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I have to say, every time I’ve ordered from Amazon UK and they used Royal Mail to send it to me, it got here in record time.

        Once I ordered a big fat book I saw at Word on the Water but didn’t have room in my suitcase to carry home. It came a different way–the bookstore return address was in Hay-on-Wye and the package ended up going through France for some odd reason. Weird!

        I also love how Amazon UK’s emails say my order was “dispatched.” :)

    4. anon24*

      Yes! Since the last year or so when they really started cramming prime down everyone’s throats it takes FOREVER to get anything if you don’t have prime. I used to get all my packages early, every time. Then suddenly it was taking 2 weeks just to ship, and another week to get here. I learned not to order anything that I couldn’t do without for another month.

      My mom has Prime, and set up my address on her account. If I needed something fast I would email her and she would order it for me and ship it to my place. I’d mail her a check or pay her whenever I saw her. Now I have a .edu email so I signed up for my 6 months free of Student Prime, but when that runs out I’ll just have to go back to being a little kid dependent on my mommy :)

      1. Lily Evans*

        Yeah, I think it might be time to get over my guilt at passing my work .edu off as a student email to get prime free for a bit. And I’m definitely going to shop around more for things instead of defaulting to amazon. I’m willing to pay a bit more for the product if there’s not this much hassle attached every time I order.

    5. copy run start*

      Yes. It got so bad a few years ago that I broke down and signed up for Prime. Now I’m sitting here still waiting for the items I ordered Thursday to ship. Supposedly they’ll get here Tuesday. If I didn’t have Prime I’d probably be waiting until October.

      For me, the biggest thing I’ve noticed is that it takes longer for Amazon to actually ship items. I still typically receive my packages within 2 days of the actual ship date. They also seem to be using some mysterious third-party to get items to a distro site or even my local UPS/USPS that takes twice as long as the shipping companies do, but not really calling my stuff “shipped” until it hits the end delivery service.

      I’m guessing they’re bleeding money on shipping on people like me in the far-flung corners of the US so they’re trying to cut corners. Unfortunately, being in a far-flung corner, there aren’t a ton of other options. I tried to purchase what I just ordered locally (a ski parka and HDD) but nothing comparable was available locally.

      1. copy run start*

        Seriously it snowed at 6,000′ last night and there ain’t a freakin’ winter parka in sight. But I can buy harvest-themed table decorations!

      2. Lily Evans*

        I mentioned above what my poking around online discovered about the third party shipper thing. If it says “AMZL” it’s apparently some contracted person instead of an official company, which explains a lot. But I’ve noticed too how long things are taking to ship. My original delivery window was the 13th-15th and I didn’t receive shipping confirmation until the 14th. I wish they could just figure out more realistic shipping windows (or overestimate them so things seem early) based on their new poorer performance. It would be so much less annoying if they’d just be upfront about it.

        1. copy run start*

          No, no AMZL listed here. I just get “package has left seller facility and is in transit to the carrier” listed for a few days before items mysteriously arrive at UPS/USPS. Maybe AMZL is dropping them at hubs for delivery?

        1. copy run start*

          Interesting. If they can’t determine the cost of last mile delivery, how does the postman know how much you owe him?

    6. Floundering Mander*

      I’ve quit using them, but never had any issues. However, my Mom recently ordered something and her package came as an obviously empty box! It was assembled as two bits that slide into each other, and the outer box was open & it was clear that there was nothing inside. She got it refunded but it was astounding that the delivery person just handed it to her without even seeming to notice that something was wrong.

      1. Lily Evans*

        That’s absurd! How could they not tell that the box was empty? I don’t get how people can pay so little attention to their jobs.

    7. Paul*

      YES. It is very frustrating. I still use them for stuff but it’s definitely driven me to source things from other retailers/e-tailers if price is roughly similar.

      1. Lily Evans*

        I’ve been comparing prices for the next few things on my “to-buy when I have the disposable cash” list and it looks like there are definitely other places I can buy from for only a few more dollars.

    8. OtterB*

      I have prime and have for some years and haven’t really noticed a problem. Although I did order a book that was supposed to be delivered Friday. It was in fact delivered Friday. And I got an email late Friday that they apologized for the delay and would let me know when they could get my purchase to me.

    9. Simone R*

      Yes! I have prime, and lately a lot of orders have been a day or two late. For the last order I got an email saying that it had been delayed, but usually I just check the tracking and notice that its a day or two later than the original date or what it had been advertised as when I bought it. I’m in a major city as well.

    10. Valerie*

      yep. somehow two business days for prime equals a week now. I tried to order something this past Monday and the estimated delivery was NEXT Monday.

    11. Artemesia*

      I am amazed at how fast it is. But the packaging remains insane. I got a ginomous box last week with 100 pastry bags. The pastry bag container took up maybe 20% of the space in the giant box; the rest was inflated plastic filler.

      1. the gold digger*

        Which I don’t get, because pricing for shipping (in the US) was switched from weight only to weight plus dimensions. Our customers have been trying to figure out how to minimize package size without having to stock additional box SKUs – or, at least, they have been looking for that sweet spot of SKUs vs shipping costs.

    12. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      Yes, a dear friend has had this problem with them repeatedly over past 18 months and it’s always because of their local carrier. She’s complained about it a lot but they’re still pretty crappy. She’s at the point where she’s told them they had better only use the major carriers or she quits.

    13. Anion*

      You’re not the only one. I have Prime and had a delivery come two days late last month (with no explanation or credit or anything), and now in the last few days they sent part of my order on time, promised the other half would arrive Friday, and now they say Tuesday.

    14. Lily Evans*

      I found out that it is possible to request that Amazon doesn’t use certain delivery services! I don’t know if they’ll actually honor the request, but the rep I was just talking to said that she’d mark my account so that my deliveries aren’t sent by the service that’s messed up my last few orders. I’m not sure how much of the problem that will solve, especially since seeing the comments here and elsewhere on the internet makes it seem like a larger problem, but the next time there’s something only available through Amazon I’m hoping it will save me some headache.

    15. memyselfandi*

      I have Amazon Prime and have noticed a significant decline in delivery time this year. What I have noticed is that they seem to be using another carrier and then transferring them to the USPS. I prefer that they send things USPS because I have a PO Box. When they use USPS things come quickly. I have given them feedback about it.

  41. Lemon Zinger*

    Any advice for breaking up with your partner when you live together? We have two bedrooms and slept separately for the first time last night. He does not want to break up but I know this is right– I’ve been having doubts since Day 1 which was almost two years ago.

    I won’t be able to move out right away because I can’t afford my own place at this very moment. Possibly in January.

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      Oh dear. I’m so sorry.

      I don’t have any personal advice but my brother and his girlfriend broke up after 5 years together recently. They broke up and 3 weeks later, she moved out. I’m not sure about the intimate details of how they lived together but I do know that she had been planning this since January of this year (and 6 months later they had The Conversation). She moved back in with her mother because she had no money to afford her own place or moving costs (flat is in brother’s name because he’s been paying the rent for the last 3 years).

      Do you have anyone you can move in with temporarily? Parents? Siblings?

      1. Lemon Zinger*

        Thank you for your kind words. My family all live in another state so I am on my own. My goal is to have my own place, which I could afford if downsize (and I’m totally willing to do that).

    2. Ruffingit*

      I did this with my ex-husband, but the difference there was we both wanted to end the relationship, but my moving out couldn’t happen for a few months due to finances.

      Honestly, in this case, I’d suggest you look for a cheap AirBNB or something you can temporarily move into. If one of you doesn’t want this break-up, living together is going to be absolute torture for you both.

    3. Nicole*

      I guess it depends on what kind of person he is. 17 years ago I broke up with a live in boyfriend in September and didn’t move out until January. I slept on the couch in the meantime and we both started dating other people (who ended up becoming our spouses, although he and his wife later divorced). Other than some guilt-tripping on his part it wasn’t bad because we are both fair people who can remain civil even in less than ideal conditions. I wish you luck!

    4. Never Nicky*

      By the time ex and I officially broke up we’d been living separate lives for years and sleeping in different rooms (originally because of medical issues but then it became the norm).
      However, after having “that” conversation it became increasingly awkward and I can only advise finding somewhere else to live ASAP even if you have to scrimp, save and borrow. Ex didn’t want to actually split either and thought we’d just carry on as before but as official housemates. It took moving out to make him realise it was over between us.

    5. AlaskaKT*

      When I broke up with my ex we’d been living together for 4 years, in 550 sq ft. I slept on the couch until I saved up enough to move out. We avoided each other for the first month or so, then went back to being friendly-ish (he cheated, friendly-ish was the best I could do). Eating meals together, watching tv etc. He listened to all my boundaries which was helpful, but I think he really thought we’d get back together.

      I guess it depends on your relationship. It will be awkward, but as long as your partner isn’t an *ss you’ll make it through.

  42. Tookie Clothespin*

    I have to buy my own dental insurance and am a little overwhelmed at the options. I have good teeth and (knock on wood) generally just need my teeth cleaned twice a year. However, I would like protection for something bigger. My dentist accepts a ton of insurances which is good, but doesn’t give me a great place to start. Does anyone really like your company or have any suggestions?

    1. Nicole*

      Last year when my husband was out of work we purchased dental insurance through Guardian. We didn’t have any issues. I’m not sure about prices, though, since we got it through the Healthcare Marketplace.

    2. msroboto*

      First off most dental insurance is very very limited. They will cover 1000 (sometimes 1500 sometimes 750 depends on the plan) PER YEAR. One crown and you’re done. It’s not going to cover you if you need an absurd amount of work.
      You will probably pay 300 or more for 1000 worth of coverage.
      I concluded it’s not worth it. I’ll just pay for my cleanings.
      I used that money for a better health plan since I am independent contractor and have to provide my own.

      1. the gold digger*

        Agreed. I used to work for a health insurance company and it was our internal assessment that dental insurance is worth it only if someone else is paying most of the premium. Individual dental insurance is not a good value.

    3. Five after Midnight*

      If you have good teeth and are diligently taking care of them, I would skip dental insurance. “Something bigger” is a root canal/post/crown/bridge/etc., and for these procedures dental insurance will come with severe caps, limitations, and exclusions. Instead, I would suggest that you put the $10-20 monthly premium into a dedicated piggy bank (or account, or however you want to keep it separate) and essentially self-insure. If you’ve been using the same dentist for years and something “big” comes up, negotiate the cost after doing some research (discount plans’ price lists are one of good sources). Honestly, if you are flossing daily and brushing twice a day, you can probably get the check-up and cleaning once every two years.
      For background: I’ve got multiple fillings and one crown, all of which were caused by neglect about 20yrs ago. Since that “overhaul” (done under a discount plan, no insurance), I only get cleaning, check-up, and x-rays once every 2-3 years, and in all that time had to get couple of fillings and the crown replaced, all paid out of pocket. Because I’ve ever had only one dentist, he’s been very agreeable on the price and payment plan options. SO has NO fillings and gets check-ups and cleaning (no x-rays) done twice a *decade*, and always gets complemented on beautiful teeth. For us, a discount plan or insurance would have been a total waste of money.

    4. Jules the First*

      I self-insure for things like fillings and crowns (like you, I have good teeth that only need cleaning and checkups, which I pay for out of pocket). I do, however, have what’s called “catastrophic dental” insurance which would cover me for full repairs if I were in an accident or something that left me needing a whole lotta work. I used to have a dedicated dental policy for that, but I think I now have it as a patchwork of home insurance, travel insurance, and equestrian insurance.

    1. caledonia*

      Best: I appear to have purchased property.

      Worst: Signing away all my money and contemplating moving – again.

    2. Red*

      Best: Staring to see a good improvement in my mental health issues.

      Worst: Started college classes on Monday and I already feel like I’m behind. Ugh.

      1. nep*

        Oof — I remember that. Feeling all fresh and ready to take on the world in the first day or two of school, then almost immediately starting to feel buried. Seems to be the nature of the beast. You’ll handle it. All the best.

    3. Annie Mouse*

      Best: It’s been a great week, I’ve started a new course at work which has been interesting so far and is only going to get more so, I’ve been climbing for the first time in ages, and I’m thoroughly enjoying more cuddles with my furbaby in the evenings.

      Worst: I’m getting up earlier than normal and that’s hard to get used to (although I will do eventually), and I’m aching all over, partly due to the climb but more because I’m sitting in uncomfortable chairs all day instead of being up and down, hope that’ll get better soon too!

    4. Elkay*

      Best: I beat my target time I the race I did this morning and my team didn’t come last!
      Worst: Came down with a migraine as the race ended so didn’t get to go for post race celebrations with the others.

    5. AvonLady Barksdale*

      BEST: It looks like I’m at least losing (or re-losing) some of the weight I’ve put back on. Maybe a pound or two, but this is encouraging. I think my problem is that I’m leaving too many baked goods in the house, and since we finished the peach pie last week, it won’t be tough to keep the baked goods out of the house.

      WORST: I was having a really good time at an annual event yesterday and fell on my knee. HARD. I stepped in a hole in the lawn. It could have been much, much worse (I didn’t twist or break anything), but my knee is bruised up and I spilled my wine (white!) all over myself. A very nice couple ran over and started handing me Lysol wipes, and the security guard at the venue got a cone to cover up the hole. However, this is after my strained hip is finally better and my runner’s knee was starting to mend. Blech.

  43. Cher Horowitz*

    I have had severe hair loss after the birth of my second child. It was totally unexpected because I did not encounter it when my first child was born. My GP thought my hormones could be out of whack but tests said otherwise. She asked me to try biotin but it made me sprout stronger eyebrows and sideburns but not head hair. I vacillate between being ok with this and then worrying that I am going to be bald in a year. It has gotten bad enough that my braid is now half as thick as it used to be.
    Any suggestions from the commentariat?

    1. New Puppy Mom*

      Have you tried Rogaine? Pattern baldness runs in my family, and I started losing my hair in my 20s. I think for women, it’s very unlikely you’d actually be bald, but you lose hair all across the scalp (fun….).

      I don’t love the Rogaine solution, but I don’t know that there’s anything else. I have been using it for about 10 months now, after bouts over the years of starting and stopping. If you do start, I recommend you stick with it; you can’t just try it for a few weeks and then give up. I can’t say it’s been a ringing success for me necessarily, but I do think the magnitude of hair loss is less.

      On the cosmetic side, I use Toppik, which are hair fibers you can put onto your scalp to fill out the gaps. I became very self-conscious about that, and it helps some. Other than that, I use Aveda’s hair loss shampoo and conditioner (Invati), as well as other products in their line to add thickness. It helps, but candidly, it will never make up for all the hair I lost.

      This is probably not what you wanted to hear, but that’s been my experience. Best wishes to you; I know how hard this is.

    2. Book Lover*

      I had to start rogaine after my second child. Not sure if it is just age and genetics catching up, or still hormonal changes, but seems unlikely three years out. Other than making sure you vitamins and iron are ok (I assume your doctor checked?) not much else to do :(

    3. brushandfloss*

      How long ago did you have your second child? I had weight loss surgery two years ago and about three months after my hair began to fall out due to hormones being out of whack. I had a receding hairline pattern for around six months but eventually my hair grew back. Hopefully once your hormones get back to normal, your hair will regrow.

    4. Look What You Made Me Do*

      I had a ton more hair loss than I’d ever experienced after my third child. My doctor said it could be my thyroid and it turned out I did have hypothyroidism – I assume your doctor checked that? If that’s not the issue, I remember this old post at Design Mom that talked about this – lots of comments, which I haven’t reread but probably have some advice.


    5. Anion*

      My hair has always been on the thin side, and I’m blonde so I shed a lot. I started using Plantur 39 shampoo a few years ago (it has caffeine) and did notice less loss after that. It’s hard to find in the US, you may need to order it online, but it’s worth a try.

  44. New Puppy Mom*

    We got a puppy about a month ago (aww) and while she’s a smart little dog, she’s entering a crazy barking phase, and we’re not sure what to do. We’ve read countless articles online, watched videos, etc., and like all dog training advice, it seems contradictory and non-sensical. For example, we’ve read that you’re supposed turn you back/ignore your dog when she barks, and then reward her with a treat when she pauses, even if briefly. How can you do that if you’ve turned your back to her? And how is she not learning that barking is allowing her to be rewarded with treats? I have a totally separate rant on training in general, but that’s for another day.

    With our puppy, we’ve had bouts where she just doesn’t. stop. barking. at all. To the point we can’t even reward her for a breath. My partner says he has never trained a dog so barky. We have neighbors to think about; they must hate us. We can’t just let her bark her head off until she gets tired; this is not practical advice. Our tack now has been distracting her with treats and going into training mode, but I don’t think it’s addressing the barking problem.

    Friends have recommended locking her away in a small, dark, enclosed room when this happens, or using a vinegar spray the moment she barks to dissuade her. Both of these seem unduly harsh (although when she’s going insane, it’s hard for me to be very compassionate).

    Any advice? She is not a purebred; mostly border collie and Australian Shepherd.

    1. EN*

      I’m with you. Rewarding when she pauses seems to send the wrong message. Neither of those punishments seem overly harsh to me, though, as long as you’re consistent about correcting every time. A bark collar could help with that. The ones I’ve seen give a warning tone when the dog starts barking and then shock if the dog continues. Once they’ve learned, the reminder tone is all they need.

    2. Kathenus*

      Try teaching her to do something incompatible with barking, like holding a toy in her mouth, playing tug of war, etc. This can build up a reinforcement history for the new behavior(s), which coincides with being quiet as well, so can increase the ‘quiet’ behavior as well.

    3. BRR*

      Is she bored? If she’s border collie and Aussie I imagine she needs an ungodly amount of exercise to actually be tired.

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, this is what I was thinking. This is an active mind finding things to respond to. Tire that brain out. Those are breeds that do best with jobs.

        I also think you may want to find an actual in-person dog trainer at this point and not just internet videos. Barking is tremendously satisfying to a lot of dogs, so it’s a challenge to train away from; somebody with experience and precision is going to be your best help here.

      2. TL -*

        I would bet money she’s bored – I love Aussies but they’re wicked smart and need tons of exercise (or play time, when they’re that young.) And Borders are really similar. (My parents get about 5-6 miles of exercise a day and they both have their daily jobs and they always escort people wherever they go. Bandit is 12 and he is finally choosing to nap more than run, but he’s still more active than most dogs I know.)

        You’ll need to socialize her lots anyways, because Aussies can be really reserved, so try taking her out more to dog parks and anywhere you go that’s puppy friendly. When you scold her, drop your voice an octave – they respond better to a deeper voice. They’re also super sensitive to punishment, so you can try just picking her up and telling her “no ma’am” in a super unhappy voice. (This is how I housebroke Bandit. Molly took a little more work.) But increase her stimulation levels and play time.

        Seconding fposte’s question on why this dog. Aussies are hands down my favorite breed but they’re *incredibly* destructive when bored and they are quite easily bored.

    4. Episkey*

      I have 2 friends who have this issue with their dogs (one has a JRT & the other has a Chi mix & a basset hound) and the only things that have had any success are bark collars that give a brief shock upon excessive barkiness. Obviously, not everyone wants to use this method. I’ve personally used the water bottle squirt method with some success and I don’t think it’s too harsh/cruel.

      Unfortunately, a Border/Aussie mix is going to be a real challenge. They are both super smart breeds that need a ton of exercise & mental stimulation. Did you do research on these breeds before adopting this dog? I don’t mean that to sound judgey, but if you haven’t & are committed, I would definitely read up on them now and get your dog into some agility classes or other type of mental/physical training.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I use spritzers of water and it works great. I got several spritzers from the dollar store and placed them around the house so I usually had one in reach.

        I aim for the back or butt, never, ever do I aim for the face or ears.
        My dog is part husky, I would have to squirt him 3-4 times before he heard me once. If you work with it daily it will not take long for the behavior to stop.
        While you are away from home I would suggest playing a radio softly, maybe some classical music but nothing rowdy.

        My dog was a high energy pup also. It did not take him long to figure out that he would skid on linoleum but rugs were not a problem. I would let him run and bounce around on the living room rug. He could tire himself out a little that way.

        Another thing with the barking, you might be missing cues. Check the water dish, check to see if he might be hungry and take him outside just in case. This current dog I have would bark if his toy got caught under something, since I could not see the toy I had no idea what was causing the barking. Sometimes pups learn stuff and they communicate it very poorly or we totally miss their point. I kept a blanket on the kitchen floor for my pup to sleep on. He kept dragging it across the house to the living room and I would carry it back to the kitchen. We did this for weeks until it dawned on me, duh, he wants a blanket to sleep on in the living room, too. I got him a blanket for the living room and that ended the blanket dragging. So it goes.

      2. New Puppy Mom*

        Yes, we did research this breed. My partner was looking for an active dog, and he felt a smart dog would be good for me in terms of training the first go around because she would pick up things quickly. She’s not a purebred; also has pitbull and Australian kelpie, but I suspect the Aussie/border is winning out.

        My partner works from home and is with her a lot, but I’m getting concerned it’s taking him away from his job. I want to hire someone to help with training, but he’s pretty adamant against it. So I guess it’s on him, then, to keep her active!

        She’s so young right now (3 months), we can’t even take her out of the house or put her in classes (I think). We’re having a tough week with her, so I think we’re just at wit’s end. :-\

        1. TL -*

          At 3 months, she should have had her first rabies shots and while I wouldn’t let her run wild, you should definitely consider taking her out somewhere where she can be supervised but get her energy out. Do you have a backyard? Is she spending time there?

          Honestly, Aussies and Borders aren’t great first time dogs. They do train really easy but they get bored super fast and they have really high energy needs. The country vets I know love them. The city vets I know think they’re terrible. If you exercise her properly, give her jobs, and keep her stimulated, she’ll be a great dog. But she’s only going to get more energetic as she grows.

          1. New Puppy Mom*

            We have a yard, and take her on controlled walks to help burn her energy. Like I said, my partner works from home, and takes her out a lot. We got her because my partner is extremely active, and wanted a dog he can take running/hiking/to the beach, etc. So we knew what we were getting into with an active dog. Interestingly, we live in an urban environment where most people don’t have yards, and I see a lot of Aussies here; I just don’t understand what they’re doing when we’re doing as much as we can to burn her out.

            She has her good days and bad days. Right now, the barking and biting make up the worst days.

            1. TL -*

              Talk to your vet and see what kind of exercise she can handle and see if you can up the amount of exercise you’re giving her. See if she likes obedience training or fetch or tug of war and play with her through those ways. (more than you already are.)
              And give her jobs. Have her carry things for you, check out the yard every morning, wake up you or your husband, escort you places, help you shut the house down at night. They’re working/herding dogs so they need to be physically and mentally stimulated a lot – but more importantly, they will try to herd children and they will bite them if they are not taught otherwise. So the biting needs to get under control.
              A lot of people do agility training, flyball training, and obidence training with these pups. Try those if they interest you.

    5. fposte*

      It also occurs to me that it’s worth figuring out when she does and doesn’t bark. Lying down vs. standing up? When there’s noise? Outside vs. inside? When you’re home vs. when you’re not? When your neighbors are home vs. when they’re not? Night vs. day? Living room vs. bedroom? Shades up vs. shades down? Looking at you vs. looking out the window? Chasing a ball vs. having a ball in her mouth? Working out a puzzle toy vs. just running around the house? Keep a record for a week or so, noting especially what the sitch is when she isn’t barking and what changes when she starts to bark. That can help you order things to encourage the behavior you want.

    6. SAHM*

      I recently bought a bark collar for my dog (I have two dogs but only one is obnoxiously barky), it does not shock, only vibrates and lets out a high pitched noise. It works FABULOUS!!! The only thing I have against it is the odd batteries it uses, it died a couple weeks ago and I haven’t replaced the batteries yet…

        1. TL -*

          I’d suggest trying to get her properly exercised and stimulated before trying this. If boredom is the cause, she’s just going to find another set of destructive behaviors to get her energy out.
          Aussies aren’t good house dogs. Take her out.

  45. The Other Dawn*

    So, I got my second Stithc Fix. If you want to see the clothing and read about it, just click my name. It’s the first blog post.

    If you don’t want to click:

    Verdict on my second fix: not keeping it. I’m sending everything back. The shirts were too big and made me look bigger than I am, the jeans are too small and a little short, and I don’t like the earrings at all.

    As far as sticking with Stitch Fix, I’m going to give it one more shot. The first one I don’t really put too much weight on, since it was the first one and it takes awhile for someone to get a feel for someone’s taste, sizing and style when they’re not face to face. The second one I put much more weight on. It’s not that I don’t like what they sent me–I do for the most part. Sure, a few things weren’t to my taste, but I liked most of the items. Also, they seem to listen when I say, “Send me something to match the tan cardigan I bought last month.” They did–the purple sleeveless shirt. I asked for lighter colored jeans, and they sent them. The issue is sizing. After losing the weight and having the tummy tuck, it seems I’m kind of in between sizes: I’m not consistently a Women’s 1X or 16, and I’m not consistently a Misses XL or 16. I’ve asked that they send me Misses sizes next time to see if that helps. If not, then I plan to cancel.

    1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      I dont do Stitch Fix but I can commiserate on the trial of being in that weird “in between” sizing of 1x vs 16. I stopped looking at sizes a long time ago, but for trousers this is important for me because curves and big athletic thighs.

      Also, maybe its just here in the UK, but it seems like EVERYTHING is cropped these days with flowy tops, neither of which suit my body type at all so hey! back to no options again.

      Why is it so hard to have simple things that fit well? Or a little bit of flair but not some crazy print?

      1. Floundering Mander*

        Ugh, clothes shopping in the UK as a large woman has always been irksome. I don’t know if I just haven’t found the right retailers after 13 years or what but it seems like it’s ludicrously difficult to find things that fit and flatter me.

        Lately it’s cropped, flowy, with the weird cold shoulder thing, or ripped in the knees. I looked through the offerings for my go-to stores the other day just to see what kind of normal office work wear stuff they might have, and their “back to work” photo shoot featured ripped jeans and cropped tops with blazers. Uh, no.

    2. Minerva McGonagall*

      Dawn, we are clearly the same size. Drives me nuts. Especially Talbots’s. Often their 16 is just a little too snug, obviously pulling across the back, but I swim in a 14W. Aargh.

    3. Melody Pond*

      Have you considered having your clothing (the tops, specifically) tailored?

      If you like the tops, but they don’t fit quite right – some tailoring could help them look awesome on you, especially if they’re already a little on the big side. I mean, obviously, if they’re obviously several sizes too big, then, tailoring would actually mean re-cutting the entire garment, and that would get unreasonably expensive. But if just seems slightly too big, that’s the ideal zone for some tailoring to take place, because it’s easier to have things taken in, than let out.

      When I was in college, I did the administrative data entry for the in-house tailoring department at Nordstrom. So I’m not a sewing expert or anything, but I have an idea of what can and can’t be done. And in general, I’m still a big proponent of getting things tailored to fit your exact body.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I think in order to have something tailored I’d really need to absolutely love the piece of clothing. I haven’t found that One Piece yet. But yeah, I may need to start thinking about that if it gets too frustrating.

  46. Random Citizen*

    Hello all, I am in need of suggestions for post-surgery activities! I had foot surgery a few days ago, and still at the sit-on-the-couch-all-day-with-my-foot-up-so-the-pain-is-at-least-semi-manageable stage. I have comfy clothes and blankets and wonderfully helpful family, and lots of books, but welcoming any suggestions for things to do at this point!

    1. miyeritari*

      The Great British Bake-Off is a super wonderful show just filled with wonderful humans but you WILL become hungry.

    2. Book Lover*

      I like to cross stitch. Latch hook rugs are also doable while laid up, and can listen to podcasts or watch tv while doing those. I have always meant to learn how to crochet or knit also. Maybe something crafty like that?

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I love cross stitch and it was my plan when I had surgery earlier this year to work on one I’d started 10 years ago. Did I do it? Nope. Found too much other stuff to do, like watching TV, watching TV and watching TV. Oh, and eating while watching TV. Yeah, I didn’t do anything I planned and had set aside for myself.

        1. TiffIf*

          I have to do things with my hands while watching TV/movies, otherwise I get too fidgety. I often knit, crochet, cross stitch, or color while watching. I color or cross stitch when I am watching something I am already familiar with and don’t need my eyes on the screen 100% of the time. I knit or crochet on new stuff because I can do both almost completely by feel.

          Actually though lately I have been playing a ton of Zelda: Breath of the Wild–a friend loaned me her game and I want to finish it and return the game to her in a reasonable amount of time, but the world of the game is so freaking vast!

    3. Floundering Mander*

      Coloring book + podcast (or maybe language learning tapes)? My grandma can no longer read after a stroke and that’s something that she likes to do, plus it helps her exercise the arm that was affected by the stroke.

  47. Pudgy Patty*

    I gained 15 pounds in the last year, probably in the span of about 2 months. To give context, I’m not typically overweight; I’ve been 5’5” and 130 pounds for most of my adult life. I know in the context of obesity and significant weight problems, this is nothing, but it has taken a huge toll on me. I don’t recognize the person in the mirror anymore. Even though it’s “just” 15 pounds, I’ve been inactive and eating poorly for several years now, so it’s a lot of fat that I see, and it’s not what I’m used to. I’m also now in my mid-30s, and I have this fear that all of a sudden, my metabolism has slowed to a halt and I will never be able to lose weight.

    Can anyone out there relate? Do you have any advice/success stories you can share with me? I am so depressed. I have been seeing a counselor, writing down everything I eat, and am aware of my problems — but it doesn’t stop me from overeating. It’s never been this bad and I’m getting really concerned I can’t stop it.

    I guess I’m looking for the most practical ways to stop myself from overeating. I honestly don’t think trying to be introspective about my feelings and why I want that loaf of bread is going to help. The better way is probably meal prep and forcing myself to eat fruits and veggies at every meal. But I seem to lack the willpower for that as well.

    Just… I could use some advice and support. It embarrasses me how much this has taken a toll on me, but I want to lose this weight and I want to get fit again. I just feel so far away from actually doing it. Help!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I was very skinny until my early/mid 30s and suddenly wasn’t and it freaked me out too, so I understand. Women, Food, and God (http://amzn.to/2fqitUP ) is a really interesting book that might change your mindset. It was originally recommended by someone here, and despite the title isn’t religious, although it’s spiritual in parts.

      More practically, if you like to eat large quantities (I do), it can help to find stuff you can eat huge amounts of that are still low in calories. Popcorn is one. And spaghetti squash — you can eat enormous amounts of spaghetti squash for almost no calories.

      1. Pudgy Patty*

        Thanks for the book rec, Alison. I’ll check it out.

        Spaghetti squash is a great rec, although it’s such a big vegetable and I like in a climate where produce goes bad quickly. I do love it, though. Popcorn is also a good one!

    2. Look What You Made Me Do*

      I’m sorry. Your feelings are valid. It’s okay to be upset about this. You mentioned keeping track of what you’re eating, but what about exercise? Have you started doing that or given any thought to it? You don’t have to join a gym or anything – there are SO MANY exercise routines and fitness channels on YouTube that you can find anything at all that might interest you (Zumba, strength training, HIIT, walking routines, etc.) and do it at home with (usually) minimal equipment.

      1. Pudgy Patty*

        Thank you. I feel really guilty about this.

        As for fitness classes, I can only do group exercise. I don’t really like exercising, but I do feed off the energy in a room. I prefer dance classes and some of the new fitness fad classes (i.e. think SoulCycle), but where I live, it’s hard to get to a class at a time that works between my work responsibilities and home. I know that’s just an excuse, but I can’t leave work right at 5 for a 5:30 class. If I go to a later class, that means I mess up dinner plans with my partner. I am not a morning person, so that’s out too. I think I would exercise more if I could free up other commitments, but I never seem to be able to.

        I am going to try moving forward to make it more of a priority and force my partner to get on board too. He will derail me with breakfast plans or happy hours with friends, and I always choose spending time with people over working out. But I think I need to take at least the next 6 months to just focus on me.

        Fingers crossed.

        1. nep*

          I think a lot of us can relate.
          Seemingly small changes will make a difference. I like Alison’s point about eating — think ‘crowding out’ instead of ‘cutting out’.
          Of course exercise is an important factor (and of course good for you in countless ways other than just for weight loss); but you will shed pounds just by making some changes in your eating. I think best not to think in terms of willpower, because then you’ll always have that ‘voice’ that will shut down your efforts — ‘I don’t have the willpower’. You don’t want to restrict so much that you will only go overboard at some point anyway. It’s a commitment to yourself to treat your body better. And it feels really good to just pause, think through things, and move past the moment when you were about to overeat or eat junk. You’ll see.
          With just a few small changes, I’ll bet you’ll start to feel a change and that is likely to spur you on to be good to your body in more ways. All the best. Keep us posted.

          1. nep*

            Not to dismiss willpower — in weight loss/fitness and many other things in life, it’s critical, of course. I just meant, going by what you wrote, it’s sometimes easy to fall in the trap of letting ‘I don’t have the willpower’ be your out. Everyone’s got it. It seems to get stronger with each application/success.

          2. Pudgy Patty*

            This is good advice, thank you. I definitely self-sabotage with the willpower talk. I think I’d succeed more with focusing on GOOD foods — I actually love fruits and vegetables, but I don’t put in enough effort to incorporate them. I have to spend more time there, but my hope is it’ll drown out the “bad” stuff.

            1. Gaia*

              I self sabotage a lot. I mean A LOT with willpower. Especially when it comes to exercise. I hate it so much. Unlike you, I cannot do group classes because I’m always worried I am being judged (logically I totally get that no one is paying attention to me but that horrible voice in my head doesn’t shut up).

              So what did I do? I started sabotaging that horrible voice that tries to sabotage me. When I am walking and I have only gone 20 minutes and want to quit I pep talk the strong, healthy, fit me. We talk about what a total b* that other voice is and how she is just trying to bring us down and WE are NOT going to let her win because we are stronger and we are in control. I will literally keep repeating phrases like this to myself over and over until I’ve walked as long as I had originally planned (sometimes more). It is really weird and my friends think I sound crazy when I tell them but it WORKS!

        2. blackcat*

          What about weekends? I’ve started a once a week, Saturday morning class, and that’s been great to start my weekend. I have to pay in advance, so once I’ve paid, I feel like I have to go!

          1. Pudgy Patty*

            I have a fitness class I love; I just have work travel, illness, and taking care of pets that keep getting in the way. But you’re right — start small. My class is use it or lose it within the month; I’ve already wasted a few classes, and it hurts! My work travel is getting cut back, so that should help some.

        3. Portia*

          Since you like dance classes, I highly highly recommend Jazzercise! I know it has the reputation of being an old-lady thing, but there are generally lots of young people there, and it’s super welcoming and supportive. I have also gained a lot of weight in the past year and feel really self-conscious about it, but I’ve gotten back into Jazzercise lately and it’s really helping my overall mood.

          1. Pudgy Patty*

            I tried Zumba for that reason and really enjoyed that. Have never tried Jazzercise; will be on the look out!

    3. Triplestep*

      Try “my fitness pal”. Its a website and app that will help you track your calories in vs. calories out. Definitely download the app for tracking, but make sure to take a look at the website myfitnesspal.com – it is easier to navigate the app once you see how it’s all organized at the desktop site.

      There is a community forum in which you will find some of everyone, including folks in their 30s who have never battled weight and now suddenly have 15 lbs to lose. It will make you feel less isolated, and they can give you tips for what’s worked for them. There is a section of the forum for success stories, too.

      Unlike you, I have struggled with being overweight my whole life, ranging from slightly to very. I’m not done yet, but I lost weight using the myfitnesspal app and exercising more. I found that taking the first steps were the hardest part, but that once I got in the swing of it, my cravings subsided and my willpower strengthened. It’s really true that “nothing succeeds like success” for motivation.

      Good luck, and don’t be embarrassed – either by the gain or the toll its taking. It’s upsetting to look in the mirror and see someone you don’t recognize. It’s great that you recognize the problem now and want to do something about it. (I’m 54 and should have started in my 30s when I noticed my metabolism slowing; I lost 30+ lbs last year, so you can lose your 15 with 20 years on me!)

      1. Pudgy Patty*

        Congrats on your success! I have tried My Fitness Pal; I had a hard time with the app and prefer using a notebook. However, I’ve never checked out the forums. Thanks for the rec.

        1. Triplestep*

          The difference between the app and the desktop version is enormous, in my opinion. The developers have spent a lot of time and resources on the app, which unfortunately has meant that some of the better features in the desktop version have kind of languished. (User blogs, for example). But the forums are so much more easy to navigate on the desktop version.

          Their focus on the app means there have been noticeable improvement as of late, however. You may want to take a look if it’s been a while since last time you checked it out. Since they added a bar code reader to the app, I find it pretty handy.

          I’m there under the same user name if you want to try to find me :-)

    4. Kristen*

      This is almost exactly my situation except I started out at the line between underweight and normal weight. I gained about 35 pounds over 8 years and got a belly (yay). I’m still not overweight by BMI standards, but was inching ever so closely. I have no great advice. Personally what I’ve done so far is stopped drinking pop. I mostly drink water or Canada Dry lemon lime sparkling water (great bc it’s like pop without sugar). I will have to make more changes, but for now I’m trying to focus on not overeating. That was the main culprit and I suppose always is. Snacking and overeating. Also, trying to eat out less, so I can eat more healthfully. The good thing I think about only needing to lose 15 pounds is you can do it slowly without drastic changes.

      My plan with the gym is to go a few times a week and go walking/running when I don’t go to the gym. My opinion is since working out doesn’t add much as far as weight loss, you should focus on getting the recommended amount of cardio and strength training in without getting hung up on being at the gym 5 days a week for an hour each time. And it’s better to try to find stuff you like to do. Other than that, I think just try to be more active in general even if it’s not actually working out. Walk more, limit couch time, etc.

      1. Pudgy Patty*

        Good thoughts! I heard you on the gym thing; my issue is food, not exercise (though I definitely could be better there). I have found a fitness class I enjoy, so I’m trying to do that. Hopefully with time and some focused effort, things will take care of themselves. I think I got very down recently because I was with a bunch of women my age, all of whom seem to have gotten even thinner and fitter since I last saw them; some are moms who are far thinner than me. It just really got to me and bummed me out. Hopefully things get better soon.

    5. Floundering Mander*

      I’d be curious to know what changed in the last year, and how it triggered weight gain. Perhaps your answer lies there (new office with more snacks? stopped taking the stairs? super stressful project started?).

      1. Pudgy Patty*

        Ding ding ding! It’s been work related for sure. I always eat as a response to stress, and in the past year, I had relationship drama (I actually lost a bunch of weight because for the first time ever, I couldn’t eat; then work kicked into gear and I ate too much. I have to think the drastic fluctuation wasn’t good for me) and then started traveling monthly for work, and over long distances/periods of time. It wreaked havoc on my routine, and I was eating out all the time. I found myself eating meals with colleagues, and then going home and ordering room service. I still have no idea why.

        Luckily, work travel will be cut down to a minimum, and I have a several month stretch coming up ahead where I can focus. Or at least, I hope so.

    6. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      I have a friend who went from doing xc ski marathons last winter to putting on 40 lbs in 5 months this year after she had a bulging disk problem in her back. Actually we both had bad backs simultaneously (I put on 5 lbs but was already carrying more than her), but she has a more stressful job than me and works with a lot of guys = binge eating, eating bad food in guy sized portions, lot of business drinking and long days. She also had three rounds of steroid shots for her back and has spent a lot of time on the couch watching Netflix and eating because she honestly couldn’t move.

      About a month ago she sounded very much like you do above. Frustrated, angry with herself to an extent for letting it get that far, wanting to make a change but success seeming so far away AND she can still barely move. Then she had a health assessment and burst out crying when the nurse told her that her cholesterol was really high and “had she considered exercise and eating better” without knowing her background. That was more or less rock bottom.

      Instead she figured this was getting critical healthwise and she embarked on the Whole 30. Shes almost done and has lost 15 of the 40 lbs, and realigned her eating to focus more on fresh fruit and vegetables, cooking at home, eliminating drinking etc. She was finally cleared by her physio to start exercising maybe 15 minutes three times a week cycling, and we do some swimming together on the weekends, as much as she can manage. Mentally she made her health a non-negotiable priority and just went and… did it.

      Now thats not to say you need to go bust out a W30 (and there are certainly some challenges with that plan), but are there small changes you can make that you won’t even miss? I stopped drinking for a month and haven’t really missed it, cut out soda completely (even if I wasn’t drinking that much) and sort of half-assed the W30 (steering clear of grains/corn/potato chips/candy/dairy for the most part) and have now lost 10 lbs in the last two months (in addition to building up my swimming strength and doing aqua weights, I still cant do much else). I did discover that having a banana at night with a bit of cashew butter actually seemed to help resolve a lot of the chips/salt and candy cravings I had been having for years (nice bonus!).

      So essentially – dont over think this and if we can do it (my friend and I are both 40 and my weight has been increasing since 2004!) being less than mobile you can do it too. One day I stopped thinking “I should sign up for the gym” and I just went and did it. There was not a question about it anymore, it was something I needed to do in order to get my back strong again. I found a class I enjoy and make it a priority, there is no “oh ill go tomorrow” or “but I have a late meeting” nope – I did too much of that which put me in the position I am in now. Class is non-negotiable. Having a rough day at work? The pool is at the gym over the bridge, instead of going home to sit and watch tv and eat garlic bread I know if I go swim, even if just for 20 minutes, I will feel a lot better and WONT want the junk food.

      Also, the first few days of any diet are frustrating and feel like you will be on it foooreeevverrr, but after 3 or 4 days I find I tend to lose my sweet tooth, or have found other substitutions. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing (which is one of my big complaints with the Whole 30 is this need for utter perfection. I am sorry, but I really love lentils and will eat them, but I can dig not having cheese because I know dairy upsets me.).

      Best of luck, I know how it can be but try and be gentle with yourself on this too. Accept its happened and accept where you are at – wishing and anger wont make the weight go away, but positive, directional changes will.

      1. Pudgy Patty*

        Thank you for this.

        The biggest struggle for me is leaving work for a class. I work with a bunch of workaholics, and leaving at 5 is generally frowned upon. All the classes I would love to attend start at 5 or 5:30. How were you able to manage that?

        I guess the reality is, I’ve been at my job for several years and my work ethic should be known, plus I always take my laptop home with me. I just feel like I’ll be Talked To if I leave at 5, although nothing has happened yet. And in the grand scheme of things, I would rather get my health and fitness in order over being promoted, so I suppose I just answered my own question as to how to prioritize my life…

        1. Anansi*

          I relate so much to everything you’ve posted here – the recent rapid weight gain, the stress eating from work, inability to work out on your own, the difficulty in leaving work on time. I think the most important thing you can do is to prioritize your health and start leaving on time. Unless you’re actually required to be in the office until 6:00, start scheduling stuff at 5:30 and treat that as a set in stone commitment.

          For me, I started a new job and for a while I was losing weight and then I hit a really rough patch where I was stress eating constantly. I had gained about 14 pounds in a couple months and was spending more and more time at work too. I finally decided I had to change something so I started signing up for fitness classes (check out ClassPass if it’s available in your area, it partners with local gyms and fitness studios to offer classes, and I’ve been loving it so far). I booked classes right after work so I had an excuse to leave on time, which also massively helped with my stress and mental health. Once I got the exercise routine down, I started also doing a ton of meal prep and eating only what I’d brought from home. I’ve definitely slipped up a few times, but I find that prepping my meals in advance gives me a much better chance of success than being hungry at lunchtime and not having a plan for what I’m going to eat.

          For me, it’s been about three months of going to fitness classes regularly and one month of eating better and I have already lost half the weight. I still have a ways to go but it does get easier, and small changes do help. But above all, if your job is causing you stress, I really recommend focusing on your health and minimizing the time you spend there. The first few times I left at 5:00 exactly I felt so guilty, but my boss never even noticed.

          1. Pudgy Patty*

            Work is absolutely the number one issue I have. I work for a boss who comes in at 7am and doesn’t leave until 10pm. Like, regularly. Like, on weekends. Like, this isn’t counting time he works from home. We’ve also had several staff members quit, and so more and more work is piled on the remaining staff. I’m one of those people who can get the majority of work done in 40 hours, but facetime is important at this organization, so even when I’m done for the day, I feel I have to sit around.

            Then again, facetime is important to those who want to be promoted. I have zero career ambitions — I’m one of those few people who just wants to pay the bills and go home (I’m surrounded by ambitious people and think our culture worships them, so I feel all alone in this). But, I always feel like I’ll get a Talking To if I don’t put in tons of extra hours. After all, all my colleagues do it. Why shouldn’t I?

            The other thing is, this job HAS come in the way of so many classes I booked in advance. I’ve been doing OrangeTheory, and have had to cancel several because of work. That means I’m eating $20 each time due to their cancellation policies. But I can’t say anything about that, because it’s my life, so who at work should care?

            At this point, I think I just need to leave on time and be damned the consequences. After all, if so many people are quitting, they can’t exactly fire me for leaving at 5, right? But my fear of repercussions at work, is probably the main reason I don’t go do all the classes I want to. (Other than maybe eating a ton of bread right before class too — I also have done that a bunch, eep!)

            1. Anansi*

              :( I think you need to talk to your boss (assuming you haven’t already) and explain the situation. You don’t have to go into a ton of detail, but most people aren’t so unreasonable that they won’t let you leave ON TIME (not early) to make an appointment, regardless of what it is. The fact that this is something that will likely improve your mental health and work/life balance should make it even easier. Does your boss actually expect you to work the same hours as him? My boss loves to stay late but he doesn’t expect everyone else to. Even if there are days where you have to stay late, can you pick a couple days a week you get to leave on time and make those firm, standing commitments? You know your boss and I don’t, but I hope he’s willing to work with you so you can get some extra time.

    7. moql*

      If you’re having trouble with snacking try brushing your teeth whenever you get the urge. Not a wholistic approach, but it helps me sometimes.

      1. Anion*

        Yep. Sometimes I paint my nails instead of snacking, too. Keeps the hands busy, the smell isn’t appetizing, and nobody wants to eat with wet nails. By the time they’re dry the snack urge has usually gone away.

        1. Pudgy Patty*

          I think this would only work for me on weekends, but you’re totally right about it! Who wants to do anything with wet nails??

          1. Anion*

            Heh, I certainly don’t. I’m careful with them for hours after painting, actually, which is silly; they’re dry, I know they’re dry, but I’m still (ridiculously) trying to avoid doing anything that might result in something touching my nails.

            It is helpful for avoiding snacking, though. Oh, as is cleaning–like, scrubbing the tub or using spray cleansers. My hands always feel covered in cleanser after, even after several washings. You know, when you can still smell the cleanser? So I get really paranoid about touching food with them. It doesn’t keep me from eating a proper meal with silverware, but it does generally keep me from snacking on finger-type-foods, like chips or crackers or whatever.

    8. Turtlewings*

      Everyone’s giving you great advice on weight loss, but I’m wondering if you’ve been to a doctor about it. That amount of weight gain that quickly, when your lifestyle hasn’t changed, seems alarming to me. I really think you should get it checked out.

      1. Pudgy Patty*

        I actually have. She saw no issue, and almost acted like I was overreacting (which, to be fair, I suppose I am). I’m still within a healthy weight range. I just know my body and how I feel, and it’s sub-optimal for me (as opposed to greatly unhealthy).

        I did have one recent lab where my good cholesterol was too low, and that’s the only thing my doctor told me to address. Luckily, I was able to.

    9. Schnapps*

      So the thing that worked for me was low carb. If you want to lose weight quickly (and 15lbs isn’t really that much, at least not in my context), keep carbs under 50g, protein at 1g per pound of lean body mass (that you want to be) and fat at 65-75g. I do a lot of crossfit (basically HIIT training), and even though I should be around 130g protein, I do better at 140-150g – so play with the numbers a bit. My trainer started me out at limiting carbs to 100 g/day and then decreasing from there over a couple of weeks. My body type is the kind that’s designed to run on fat and protein. I have lost over 50lbs in the last year since I started this. It works for me and to be quite honest, the first 20lbs dropped off in a matter of about 5 weeks.

      (note: if you go this route, you will feel crappy for a couple of days. That’s just keto flu and you’re resetting your body to use fat as an energy source rather than carbs)

      My Fitness Pal (mentioned above) lets you track your macros as well as your calories.

      And don’t be afraid of weight training. It takes more energy for your body to maintain a pound of muscle than it does to maintain a pound of fat.

      But whatever you do, keep planning your food intake (whether you’re a grazer or 3 squares a day, this is what helps the most – it’s really about mindfulness), and keep exercising and challenging yourself at the gym.

      1. Pudgy Patty*

        But I loooooooooove carbs! Carbs is my problem. Bread, noodles, sugar. It’s all I want all day. I am sure if I could cut back, the weight would fall off. Problem is, I have no ability to resist.

        Do you have any recommendations on how to build a weight training plan, ideally at home? I really hate working with weights, but I think that’s because I have no plan I can follow.

      1. Pudgy Patty*

        This is true for home, but everything flies out the window for me at work, when I can just go outside and buy something sweet (which I frequently do). The work week is my challenge; less so weekends, ironically enough.

    10. Anon for now*

      I am in my early 30s but I’ve been overweight since my teenage years and earlier this year I decided it was time to change–I have lost 35 pounds since May, but still have a ways to go until I hit what would be a healthy weight for my body. For me what has worked best is simply counting calories. (I intend to add more exercise, but I have some medical issues that are complicating that right now.) I second Allison’s suggestion of finding things you can eat a large quantity of with fewer calories. Also, some advice from my sister from when she started counting calories a number of years ago–give yourself days where you don’t track or worry about it. For her it was any holiday she could eat whatever she wanted and not worry about counting. If I give myself a cheat day once a month or something like that I can control my cravings much easier–it isn’t “you can’t have that anymore” it is “you can’t have that right now”. As long as you are not giving yourself cheat days constantly it will usually work.

      1. Pudgy Patty*

        Congrats to you! Good advice about taking days off. I am tracking food less for calories and more to see what I’m actually eating during the day. But some days, I just can’t. I think that’s a good way to continue this long-term. Hopefully, I can get to a point where I reset and don’t actually have to log anymore (that’s another goal for me too!).

    11. The Other Dawn*

      Bear with me here a moment.

      As someone who was overweight as a very young child, then an obese teen/young adult, then morbidly obese (I HATE that term…) into my 30s, I used to think “skinny” people who complained about 5, 10, 15 pounds were ridiculous. I mean, those numbers on me were absolutely nothing. Lose 15 pounds? Not noticeable. Gain 15 pounds? Still not noticeable. I was THAT heavy.

      I lost and then gained it all back three times in my life: 80 pounds once and 50 pounds twice.

      Finally, I hit rock bottom. I would go to the grocery store and buy three or more candy bars, all of which would be gone by the time I left the parking lot. I was 343 at my biggest, a size 30/32 (4x or 5x), and borderline diabetic with severe sleep apnea. Also had gallstones and a hiatal hernia. Family history of heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, you name it. So, I had weight loss surgery almost four years ago. I’m now about 215, a size 14/16, and no health issues other than back problems, but that’s not related to my weight problems.

      Now that I’m four years out from surgery, I find it’s effing hard to maintain, and even lose a few pounds. I gained 15 pounds after tummy tuck surgery in late February and holy crap I feel it big time! Even though I’m working out, I’m still having trouble getting back to eating right. And now that I’m at a normal weight for my frame/height, those extra pounds are very noticeable, both in terms of how I feel and how I perceive myself to look. I totally get it now. When I hear someone say, “I gained 15 pounds and I feel terrible,” I totally understand. I can even feel a big difference with five pounds.

      OK, if you got through all that, here are my suggestions and some things that helped/help me:
      –Start small. I mean, very small. If you drink soda, cut down by one a day for a week. Then two a day the next week, etc. You will be surprised at how quickly a few pounds come off from just that alone. My niece cut out soda only and lost 30 pounds in a year. And she wasn’t terrible overweight to begin with.
      –Meal prep just one meal a week, like breakfast. Don’t go gung ho at first. For me, that’s a recipe for giving up. I get easily overwhelmed with the prep I need to do. Since I’m a WLS patient, meal prep is extremely important for me to keep on track. Since my stomach can hold so little food (half a sandwich maybe), I often think, “Meh, I just need to fill the void. I’ll grab whatever is easy or convenient.” That’s a very fast track to weight gain for me.
      –Like Alison said, if you feel the need to overeat, eat something that’s dense and low in calories. Celery with hummus is great for that. It’s crunchy, bulky and filling.
      –Exercise: Yes, it’s important. But my trainer says that while exercise is really important, it’s not so much important for weight loss as it is more for developing muscle that will burn more calories, keeping you active so you age easier and keep your joints in working order, and just improving your overall health. He says it’s about 90% diet and 10% exercise. Diet is much more important for losing weight. I know, because if I eat like crap even while working out five days a week, I simply maintain my weight. Once I watch my calories again the weight starts coming off. Start really small with this, too. Talk a walk around the block or the office a few times a day. Take the stairs. Park father away and walk.
      –Make it simple: There’s no magic bullet out there for weight loss. It’s about the calories you eat vs. the calories you burn. (And eating healthy in general.) Yes, medications and things like that can interfere, but for the most part you should lose weight if you take in less than you burn. And as you exercise more and build muscle, you’ll burn more calories without additional effort. I had my RMR tested earlier this year to find out how many calories I burn by simply existing. I found out I burn about 2,100 calories a day. That’s without exercise. So theoretically, I could eat 1,500 calories a day, not exercise, and lose a pound a week. Your RMR changes depending on how much muscle you have, weight fluctuations, and other factors, but it was a good indicator for me that what I was doing for diet and exercise was on target.

      I want to add that I agree with what you said about how exploring your feelings isn’t going to help tell you why you want the loaf of bread. Yeah, for many people that have weight issues or overeat, there are underlying issues. But sometimes it’s just that you love to eat. That’s how I am. I didn’t have childhood trauma or any mental health issues or anything else that made me eat. I just enjoyed it. I mean, I guess I could say that I used food to alleviate boredom, celebrate, etc., but to me that’s different than eating because I suffered some trauma that I’m trying to get away from. But it’s different for everyone.
      –And, finally, I just had to flick that switch in my mind and “just do it” as Nike would say. Easier said than done, but when I get to a certain point, that’s what I have to do.

      If you’ve read this far, good luck to you!! I hope you find the thing or things that help you. It’s not insurmountable. It just feels like it right now. I know, I’ve been there MANY times.

      (Sorry this was so long! And of course these are just my opinions and what works for me. )

      1. Pudgy Patty*

        Thank you for this. It’s really helpful to hear others’ stories.

        I think I know all I need to do; it’s the actual DOING of it that’s the issue. The biggest takeaway I’m getting is to just start small (in terms of meal prep and changes), being consistent in activity (a walk around the street is better than sitting on the couch), and to try to be more mindful. I inhale my food, even in social settings. So I want to try to savor food/drink more when I’m with people. My hope is once I can do that, I can improve that behavior when I’m alone.

        Thank you again for this thoughtful comment! Best wishes to you.

    12. Gaia*

      I’m sorry. Your feelings are legitimate. I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum where I am morbidly obese and working really hard to lose weight (and posting updates here weekly!) but it really doesn’t matter that your weight gain isn’t on my scale – your struggle is! Losing weight is hard whether it is 10lbs or 100lbs. And emotionally it sucks.

      But you can do this. You can find what works for you and you can be healthy and strong. For me, I had to give up (most) sugar and (most) processed foods. It is the only thing that works for me right now. For you it might be something different. The best thing I can suggest to keep from overeating is to measure *everything.* And, it seems dumb, but use smaller plates and bowls. Normal plates and bowls are huge and if you put normal/healthy serving sizes on them it feels like not enough. But, I use salad (like just a little bigger than a bread plate at the restaurant) and my dinner fills the plate so psychologically it feels like I’m eating more. That might help you, too.

      Good luck. Don’t be embarrassed. This is so normal to feel this way. We’re here to support you :)

      1. Pudgy Patty*

        Smaller plates/bowls is a really good idea. I need to do this more. I’m not sure I can really measure, but overall portion control (smaller plates, packing up half the food at the restaurant before I even start, ordering the smaller size, etc.) will help me.

        Thank you for the kind words. I really appreciate the support and advice. :-)

  48. Loopy*

    I’ve been on the fence about pet insurance for a while and am looking for tips. I’ve looked into it and found most have different tiers. It seems like the only tier that’s really comprehensive is always the highest one. I’d hate to pay for something and find the thing I need it for is excluded. Something like a car accident is possible but very unlikely in our particular situation.

    Right now I have a very healthy 7 year old pit bull. But I know I need to start figuring out if this is a god move as he gets older.

    Any experiences/recommendations/horrors stories/ thoughts?

    1. pit*

      I wonder if you could find a list on a pit bull website indicating what sort of age-related illnesses your dog is susceptible too based on his breed. That might be a good idea to match up with some specific pet insurance coverage.

      Also, I bet your dog is extremely cute. Is it too forward to ask for a photo?

    2. KR*

      I didn’t find it worth it for my 11 year old just because the premium would have been so high we would have ended up paying more. But for a middle aged dog or puppy, I generally think it’s worth it.

    3. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      I don’t buy it because we tend to adopt older and that means that the rates are higher than I’m comfortable with. I self insured instead by always keeping at least $5000 in the dog’s savings account, always. One year, our malamute cost almost $9000 in emergency surgery and now I would rather have $10,000 on hand always. But that is also adjusted for living in a HCOLA.

      If we had younger pups, I think it can be worth it to get a solid insurance plan because it’s (used to be, I haven’t priced them lately) much cheaper to start young.

      Also pibbles FTW!! Ours is going on … 13? He’s had chronic allergies but he’s worth every penny.

    4. Zip Zap*

      No advice or info to offer, but I’m looking into the same thing. I have a 2 year old pibble. He’s adorable! And sweet. And cuddly. But he’s also what I would call adventure prone. And prone to ear infections. I’m paying off some vet bills now and I want to be prepared in case anything more serious ever happens. I don’t earn a lot, don’t have any savings, so it would make a big difference.

  49. Chocolate Teapot*

    After last week’s Zumba class, I decided to attend an evening class at the same gym, which turned out to have a different teacher.

    It made quite a difference. Also there were far more people in this class, who all seemed to know what they were doing. I am not sure if I will go back on that night, but there is another evening class I will try.

    1. Dance fever*

      I do jazzercise, and the teacher makes or breaks the class. My studio has 7 or 8 instructors, and I’ve learned not only which teachers I click with, but which classes have a vibe
      I like. I also can’t stand when the room is really crowded, so I avoid certain high attendance classes.

  50. esra*

    I need to give my landlord notice… and also use him as a reference. Are landlords generally okay with this? I’ve been living there for ten years and have been a great tenant, and he’ll be able to charge more rent to the next person.

    1. It happens*

      Should be fine. Especially if you are at the end of a lease period. If you’re month-to-month just make sure you give proper notice (60 days is normal, I think) and be prepared to let people in for showings. Dig out the photos of what the place looked like when you moved in and take photos of how you’re leaving it to make sure that you’ll get your security deposit back.
      People move every day, landlords survive. Good luck in your new place.

    2. anonanonanonymous*

      Yes, it will be fine. To you, the apartment is home, but to him it’s a business. Best of luck with your move!

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Totally fine! He’ll likely be sorry to see you go but yes, there will be more rent. We had a wonderful landlord who wrote us the absolute best letter of recommendation. I miss him.

    4. Florida*

      I used to manage commercial property. Don’t worry about this at all. It’s almost exactly like a job reference. A boss hates to see a good employee leave, but they would still give a good reference. Same with landlord/tenant.

      1. esra*

        You guys were all totally right. He took it very well, and I signed the new lease this morning!

        Ensuite laundry will at long-last be mine.

    1. Southern Ladybug*

      I came home one day really looking forward to my pot roast. Didn’t plug in the cooker either. And since it had been out 12 hours, couldn’t salvage the meat. This was years ago. I still obsessively check the plug every time I use it now.

  51. Come On Eileen*

    Pet owners: have any of you found that an air purifier helps you stay on top of pet fur and floof and dander? I have two cats, one with long hair, and have been stepping up my vacuuming and dusting game over the past few weeks. A friend mentioned that I should also look into an air purifier. So I poked around Amazon and bought a mid-priced one (Winix 5300-2) and am wondering if I can expect this to help. I also have allergies and from time to time have trouble sleeping, so am thinking it’s likely going to benefit me in several ways.

    1. copy run start*

      Yes. It probably won’t help with fur, but dander and dust from the cat litter does seem to decrease. Also, less odor. I accidentally bought the litter that makes my place smell like fruit-flavored cat poo this month (ughh) and it helps cut down on the awfulness.

      1. Come On Eileen*

        I will definitely report back! I found there was a pretty wide range of prices, some as low as $50 and others upwards of $500. I had an Amazon gift card, so I decided to get one in the $130 range that had good reviews. I’m really self-conscious about stuff like cat fur and dust because my boyfriend has a housekeeper and is naturally a lot more tidy than I am, so when he comes over my place is never on par with his own cleanliness. (Plus he has two dogs from a breed that don’t shed, and he’s allergic to cats, so put it all together and I feel like he can just SENSE the cat fur and floof around my place.)

    2. Juliana*

      I’d love to hear a review once you run it a bit! I’ve been able to use a much finer filter since we upgraded our HVAC unit, and that has been a big help. (I also change it monthly, despite the manual suggesting only four changes per year.)

    3. Sabine the Very Mean*

      When you vacuum, shake a homemade carpet freshener on your carpet first. Get a shaker jar (like for parm cheese) and fill with baking soda. Add several drops of lavender to it and shake vigorously to mix. Lavender is good for all of your issues: allergens, smell, sleep.

      Hint: same thing but with peppermint and cypress for bug repellant. I just spent my first summer living in the Phoenix Valley and I’ve never seen a single bug in my house, not even a spider, and we do no other pest control.

      1. esra*

        So do you shake it and leave it for a bit, or vacuum right after? I haven’t had carpet since I was a kid, but recently signed a lease for a place with carpet in the bedroom + I have a cat. I don’t want to get moths/beetles/etc.

        1. Sabine the Very Mean*

          You can jusst vaccuum it right up. What is nice is that if an insect does walk through, not only will it hate the smell anyway, but the oils can suffocate them on their own and then the little critters will track the microscopic bits of soda to their homes where it will begin drying out their exoskeletons. This kills them without poison which damages DNA. Im not trying to destroy a species, just the poor bastards who dare enter my home.

          Another tip is to mop with Dr. Bronners Magic soap in peppermint with the two oils added to the soapy water. Further (you can tell I have a bit of a phobia), I spray the same mix to the perimeter of the inside of my home and then, once monthly, my partner and I work together to dig a small moat around the foundation of the house outside–maybe a two inch deep and wide moat–and I fill buckets of water with the same mixture and pour it in the moat and then cover it up. I got this idea from the Orkin man himself. That is how they administer poison.

          1. Sabine the Very Mean*

            Dr. Bronners is sold at Walmart and Target and Walgreenss. It also comes in Lavendar which goes with peppermint quite nicely IMO and will help wiht any allergens.

          2. esra (also a Canadian)*

            Interesting, I am going to give these tips a try, thank you!. I share your issues, I lived in an older building with casing moths years ago. And I don’t want to use poison in case the cat gets into it.

    1. This Daydreamer*

      Reminds me of the cute-off that a bunch of zoos and aquariums held on Twitter at the beginning of the year. Awesome stuff.

  52. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    My wife managed to get us Hamilton tickets! It’s only for the traveling show in Chicago, so no Lin-Manuel Miranda. But I’m still so excited!

    Who has seen it so far?

    1. KatieKate*

      The Chicago cast is great!! I saw it with the original NY cast (sans Lin Miranda) and in Chicago, and both were excellent. You’ll have a amazing time!

    2. Someone else*

      Lin isn’t in it at all anymore, anywhere, so nothing to miss on that front. I’ve heard good things about the tour cast.

    3. Alinea*

      Awesome!!! I saw it in NY in June (my friend bought the tickets 8 months in advance) and it was wonderful! Everyone around me cried at the end. I’m usually a big crier, but I kept it together and just got teary eyed.

      Of the 4 of us that went, 3 had never seen Hamilton and we all decided not to listen to the music before hand so it would “be a surprise”. The first two songs I couldn’t really catch the lyrics, so I panicked thinking I wouldn’t be able to understand anything. Luckily, I could understand everything after. In retrospect, I still don’t think I would have listened to the album before. My coworker and her daughter listened to the album for a year before they saw the show here in LA and they still cried, LOL.

      Have a great time!

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        It said in the Guardian that Hamilton will be opening in London shortly. Apparently there has been a rush for tickets.

        1. Curly*

          I have tickets for the London show in Feb. I bought them in January, over a year ahead of time. Which is pretty standard for hot London shows. I did the same for the cursed child. I think I was in the online queue for about 4 hours before they popped up and I bought them in a panic. Unfortunately I paid £179 for the absolute last row of the balcony. I was pretty bummed out when I realized where the seats were.

  53. Jennifer Thneed*

    No pants day – what does this mean to you?

    I keep reading people’s descriptions of being at home and not wearing pants (for instance, if someone comes to the door) and I’ve always assumed that the person in question was wearing a shirt and their underwear. Like, not naked but not something you’d leave the house in either.

    Recently I read someone’s comment about not wearing any pants, but it turned out they were wearing yoga pants or pajama bottoms or something similar. I was very surprised, because in my mind, that’s fine for answering the door or giving someone a ride somewhere if I don’t have to leave the car.

    And this was the kind of surprise that makes me realize I have an assumption. (I love that moment of clarity.) I’d always assumed that “no pants” meant, literally, no leg-coverings of any kind, just underwear. I’d assumed that’s how people were using it. HOW DO YOU USE IT?

    1. Lily Evans*

      I’ve definitely said I have to “put on pants” when I was already wearing sweatpants/other pants I wouldn’t leave the house in. When I say I don’t have pants on I usually mean I don’t have presentable pants on, not that I’m hanging out in my underwear.

      My old roommate on the other hand, meant that she only had underwear on when she’d say she wasn’t wearing pants. Which happened way more frequently than I cared for tbh. So I guess it just depends n the person.

    2. Paris Geller*

      Normally when I saw “no pants” I mean that I’m wearing athletic shorts a size too big (aka my pajama shorts I have in many varied hues)

    3. Al Lo*

      Underwear only. I might say “I need to put pants on” to mean “something besides leggings or yoga pants” if I’m getting ready to go out for dinner or something, but a quick errand or to answer for a delivery? If I have to put pants on it’s because I’m just in underwear.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      For me, it usually means either shorts or pajamas (which is usually sweats or men’s flannel pj bottoms). I don’t wear going-out pants around the house and that includes leggings. I don’t go out in pajamas either, even if it’s only to Walmart at 11:30 pm.

      1. Jennifer Thneed*

        Yes, in the UK “pants” is underwear for men and maybe for women, and “knickers” is underwear for women. And the outer garment is called “trousers”. Except when it’s not, as in an Agatha Christie novel from the 1950’s that I was listening to this weekend, where it was pants, and clearly outerwear.

    5. Mandy*

      To me “no pants” means underwear and no leg coverings.
      Also immediately reminds me of Improv Everywhere’s annual No Pants Subway Ride.

  54. The skeptical anon*

    Does anyone know anything about functional medicine?

    My extremely gullible parent who has a chronic illness has recently found an extremely attentive MD who “specializes” in functional medicine. Parent is falling hook, line and sinker.

    This “care” is coming at a significant cost above insurance (read thousands). Should I be worried? I feel somewhat okay because this doctor at least has a valid MD. But I would hate to see more money, time and hope go down the drain for more snake oil.

    All opinions welcome! I’ve just started looking into this, so links to any resources would be fantastic.

      1. The skeptical anon*

        Thank you for this article- it definitely confirms what I’ve suspected. Ugh, I’m so sad and tired of parent falling for these scams. Parent desperately needs more care but it’s difficult to find an evidence based docotor who takes the time attention and care as the quacks.

    1. Book Lover*

      I don’t have a lot of positive experience with it. Tentatively, what I’ve seen is that they basically diagnose and treat patients based on symptoms, even if the labs don’t confirm the diagnosis, so thyroid, testosterone, or hydrocortisone for tiredness. Most people seem to have fatigue/weakness which may not be a straightforward issue and get a prescription that can be harmful when inappropriate. But that is just what I have seen. I have also had people come in and tell me they were to get thousands of dollars of tests including ‘alternative’ Lyme serologies, food intolerance panels, etc.

      1. copy run start*

        My mom is on this path, but has enough medical training to be dangerous and self diagnoses and self treats. She treats herself for her “Lupus” with supplements she gets online. She treated herself for a while for for her “thyroid” issues with other online supplements… turned out she had !#@^&*!@@ cancer. Thankfully she at least let real doctors cut that out of her.

    2. neverjaunty*

      Even if the doctor really does have a valid MD (and you may want to check), that doesn’t mean everything is on the up and up. Medical boards are notoriously unwilling to do anything about mediocre or even dangerous doctors.

      1. Julia*

        Seconded for empathis. Even if a doctor completely mistreated you or failed to do a crucial test, there’s usually nothing you can do.

    3. Five after Midnight*

      Just skimmed the article at fposte’s link and my conclusion is that functional medicine (“FM”) is full of meaningless gobbledygook and miscellaneous jargon that sound like a marketing campaign that doesn’t actually say what the product is. In one of the recent discussions there was a link to a satirical website that converted simple job activities into resume-speak – this sound just like that.
      For more details about various “treatments” that may be recommended under guise of FM, look at www (dot) quackwatch (dot) org. Most of the articles there are old (10+ years) but still relevant and fairly well written. The website, IMHO, is quite comprehensive when it comes to pointing out unproven practices, therapies, treatments, and diets.

  55. Bye Academia*

    Fellow glasses wearers, please tell me if you’ve ever had any horror stories getting your glasses.

    At the beginning of August I finally had both time and vision insurance, so I went to update my four year old glasses. Prescription similar with a few tweaks. It took them two weeks to come in, and they were so. wrong. Piercing headache, blurry vision, etc. We realized that the lab put the optical center 5 mm too low, so I was trying to see out of the edge of the corrected area. Sent them back for a redo, took another three weeks. Something is still messed up. Everything looks sharp, but out of whack. The best way I can describe it is just that the right eye feels right, and the left eye feels wrong. It feels lazy, and takes effort to focus. And the eyes don’t feel balanced. I wore them for 48 hours, dizzy and nauseated, before I gave up. I have been wearing glasses for 20 years and understand adjustment periods, but it has never been like this. Usually the new glasses feel like a relief, even if they take getting used to for a few days. Especially since I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the left eye when I went in for the exam.

    I compared the prescriptions, and the only thing she changed in the left eye was to make the astigmatism 0.25 weaker. I don’t know if that’s the problem, or if the glasses were made wrong again. I’m going in Monday or Tuesday to see if the technician can measure the glasses and give some insight, but the doctor can’t fit me in for another 10 days if the prescription needs to be changed (!).

    I’m so frustrated. The old glasses are thankfully okay, but I am sick of the frames and the anti-glare coating is peeling off. I wanted new ones for a reason. It should not be this difficult or take this long. I can’t go somewhere else because I already used insurance for these, so that would only help me for my next pair in two years. I’m half curious to get a budget pair like Warby Parker and say screw the insurance, but my prescription is kind of bad and I need thin lenses and good adjustments. I don’t know what to do if this place can’t fix the ones I already bought.

    1. Elkay*

      I had the wrong prescription for nearly a year. Once a month I’d get searing migraines, and I thought it was hormonal. I didn’t notice that they started at the same time as the optician told me to wear my glasses more often as I was having issues with my contact lenses. I finally realised it was glasses related when I wore my glasses for two days in a row and had a low level headache on the second day which disappeared when I put my lenses in.

    2. Jennifer Thneed*

      I have not had horror stories. But I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 9 (so: 45 years now). And my current glasses I got online.

      Warby Parker glasses are very nice, and they can do any sort of prescription. When I got mine, they weren’t doing bifocal or progressive but that changed soon after. And they cost me about $120 out of pocket, which was fine.

      Then I decided I wanted more pairs, and I went with Zenni Optical, and I really recommend them! You can get a complex prescription, all the coatings, everything, for well under $100. (In fact, when I was getting those, I was curious to see how little a person could spend: if you need only a simple correction, you could get utterly plain glasses for $20, delivered.)

      The big thing you need for the online glasses is to know what your “pupillary distance” is. Whoever did your eye exam can tell you that. And yes, you can use the prescription from the place you tried to get glasses from. It’s a prescription, just like for meds. You can take it anywhere to get it filled. Good luck to you!

      1. Bye Academia*

        Thank you! I have heard of Zenni Optical before and kind of want to give it a try, but I’m worried the problem is that the new prescription is wrong. Also, how do they know the pupil height in the frames online? That was the problem the first time. The pupillary distance was correct, but my eyeballs sat way above the center of the lens. Maybe my ears are too low. :P

        I am going to file the idea away for the future, though. Or sunglasses!

      2. AnonAndOn*

        The big thing you need for the online glasses is to know what your “pupillary distance” is. Whoever did your eye exam can tell you that. And yes, you can use the prescription from the place you tried to get glasses from. It’s a prescription, just like for meds. You can take it anywhere to get it filled. Good luck to you!

        Trying to get that from my eye doctor (which is called MyEyeDr.) was a pain in the butt. They gave me the prescription without it and told me that I had to come in person to get the PD. They were making it difficult so I wouldn’t spend my money elsewhere. I gave up trying. They act like the fast food version of an eye doctor at times, rushing people in and out and not taking the time and care like past eye doctors have.

        1. JulieBulie*

          I had a similar problem getting my PD from my eye doctor. I took my Rx to an eyeglasses place and asked them what was the fee for getting my PD measured. They did it for free even though I told them I was getting my glasses elsewhere.

            1. JulieBulie*

              Yes, I’m familiar with that article. Did you read what it says about measuring the PD? “Many doctors don’t charge for the pupillary distance measurement. If your doctor charges for it, some online sellers will refund the cost.”

              In other words, the doctor isn’t required to give you the PD measurement for free, and the seller isn’t required to cover the cost either.

              1. JulieBulie*

                …my point being (because I left this part out, oops), sure my eye doctor will do a PD measurement, but they charge handsomely for that on top of what they get for the eye exam. Which, no. I can get a PD for less or for free somewhere else. (And maybe next time get the whole exam somewhere else.)

      3. This Daydreamer*

        Another vote for Zenni. It cost me about fifty bucks for a pair of thin lensed, polarized sunglasses in my prescription.

      4. MsChanandlerBong*

        I bought my glasses at Zenni. $6.95 for the glasses + a few bucks for shipping, and they cost me less than $12!

        1. Floundering Mander*

          I’ve bought many pairs from Zenni. Even if they do it wrong they are generally so cheap that it doesn’t really matter.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Only when they tried to give me bifocals as a kid. They drove me CRAZY. The little line across the lenses, gah. I cried and pitched a fit and my mum took me back to the doctor, who put me in regular lenses.

    4. Max Kitty*

      I’ve had problems twice. Once when I felt seasick wearing the glasses and once when everything was super focused and overly sharp. First time the glasses were made wrong and the second time was the material they used (a cool new type of material that apparently doesn’t work for some percentage of people, including me). Both times they tried to tell me it was just the adjustment period, but with decades of glasses wearing I knew it wasn’t. I had to keep after them to get proper glasses.