weekend free-for-all – September 23-24, 2017

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

Book recommendation of the week: A Year in Provence, by Peter Mayle. A charming and funny account of a year spent living in rural France. Much pastis is drunk.

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

{ 1,159 comments… read them below }

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        They seem pretty adjusted, I think. We’ve been debating whether they like having a big house to roam or whether they prefer a smaller, cozier space. I think maybe it’s the latter since cats like small, enclosed spaces, but they do seem pretty settled in here now. (Although occasionally if one is on a different floor from the rest of us, they’ll cry sadly until we call them. Olive chose to do this at 4 a.m. this morning.)

        1. Turtlewings*

          Our cats used to do that too, and our house wasn’t even that big! It always baffled and amused me. Like, cat, if you want to come in here with us, no one’s stopping you. You don’t have to wait for an invitation.

        2. Ramona Flowers*

          We call that “singing the song of my people” thanks to Sad Cat Diaries (which is well worth YouTubing).

    1. BlueShedSurvived!*

      Looks like a cats paradise: large windows, cat tower and beds front and center.

      My sons rescue cat’s favorite spot it on a small table in front the big living room window. If we had a cat tower we’d put it right in front.

  1. Blue Eagle*

    I just finished reading The Nightingale and am currently reading The Last Goodnight by Howard Blum, both really good reads related to WWII. The first is historical fiction set in France based on a woman who led allied aviators via an underground railroad to safety in Spain. The second is nonfiction, but an engaging read, of the story of Betty Pack “a dazzling American debutante who became of the WWII’s most successful Allied spies”.

    What did you just finish reading that you enjoyed?

    1. Pam*

      Sarah Rees Brennan’s In Other Lands. A charming fantasy about an unlikable boy who goes to a magic land, turning both itself and him upside down.

      1. Book Lover*

        I liked her fanfic but couldn’t get into her first published book. This sounds good – will get it from library :)

    2. SophieChotek*

      I read TheNightingale and remember enjoying it.

      Just finished four books by Ashley Weaver – 1930s British/Europe mysteries – wealthy couple (Milo and Amory Ames) solve mysteries. Reviewers compare to “Nick and Nora”. Fun reads, nothing heavy. First book is Murder at Brightwell I think.

    3. Kali*

      Underground Airlines by Ben Winters. It takes place in present day time, but in an alternate reality where slavery was never outlawed. Very, very good!

      1. The IT Manager*

        Oh! That’s rapidly rising to the top of my pile.

        I recently really enjoyed One of Us Is Lying. Present day breakfast club where one of the breakfast club is murdered and the others are under suspicion.

    4. Portia*

      I just finished Donna Tartt’s The Secret History last night. I loved it! I had never been interested in reading it, especially since I really didn’t like The Goldfinch, but man, I’m glad I did. The Secret History is a pretty amazing book.

    5. Ms Ida*

      I just finished Churchill’s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler’s Defeat by Giles Milton, non-fiction about the people that developed “ungentlemanly” weapons and sabotage programs during WWII. It was very engaging and an east read, I enjoyed it very much and it was an interesting follow up to my last book Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill by Sonia Purnell.I am usually more of a fiction reader but I really enjoyed both of these books.

    6. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I recently finished “a tale for the time being” by Ruth ozeki and really enjoyed it. A woman on a small island near Vancouver finds a sort of diary, and so you have the typical parallel stories thing between the journaling character and the reader and then there’s some other elements thrown in.

    7. Caledonia*

      Eleanir Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman.

      Brilliant book, especially if you read Addition by Toni Jordan.

    8. Mrs. Fenris*

      “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple. I wasn’t sure at first whether I was going to like it, because it’s largely a lot of bickering between a crazy person and the people in her life, but it ended up shaping into a good story.

    9. Jen Erik*

      The Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirstein. (A steerswoman studies knowledge for it’s own sake: she will answer any question you ask, but you must answer any question she asks. This one becomes interested in some unusual blue stones and that, over the four books that are written so far, leads to a re-framing of her entire world. Well written, and also very satisfying to have women just having adventures, in a world where equality is a given.)

      1. Emily*

        Ooh, yes, these books are very good! I won’t say more because of spoilers, but the re-framing of her entire world that you mention is one of the (many) things I like about the series.

    10. Rachel Paterson*

      11-22-63 by Stephen King. It’s about a guy who goes back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination and hopefully save millions of lives from subsequent altered events (eg Vietnam), but he can only arrive in 1958 and live through the interim years, and he has to be sure enough it was Oswald to ensure that stopping him will save Kennedy. It was a fascinating, gripping read, and I have never read one of King’s books before. There are things that thread through the narrative, echoes of past events harmonising with others enough to creep you out just a little, and it gets really nail-biting at the climax. The ending was not what I expected at all! I’d definitely recommend it, even if you’re not a fan of Stephen King.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Fantastic book! Definitely not King’s usual style.

        The Hulu miniseries was pretty good.

        1. KK*

          Stephen King is a fantastic writer. I always say that “The Body” is one of the best pieces of fiction that I have ever read. I feel like he feels like he has to be prolific and fit into this certain genre created around his work, so he ends up recycling themes, which is his main downfall.

      2. Julianne*

        I really liked that one too, although it doesn’t fit with my beliefs about how time travelers should conduct themselves. :D

        1. NiceOrc*

          Julianne, you might like Jodi Taylor’s Chronicles of St Mary’s. It’s about a group of researchers who use time travel to study historic events, and they have clear rules about not changing History, not interacting with people, cleaning up after themselves. It’s also very funny and well written, and made me cry in a few places too!

    11. Typhon Worker Bee*

      Finally got around to reading Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. Very good; promptly bought the rest of the trilogy to read on an upcoming trip.

      I also really enjoyed Your Brain on Music, by Daniel Levitin, a former music producer turned neuroscientist. It gets into the science of memory, expertise, how we sort things into categories, why different people like different things, and other fields of study that go beyond just music. Definitely one of the better non-fiction books I’ve read recently.

    12. Vancouver Reader*

      The Third Plate by Dan Barber. Sort of a history of how his restaurant did the farm to table, where he sources his food, why he does what he does. I found it very engaging because of the food, but also inspiring in terms of what farmers and other providers of food are doing in terms of sustainability.

    13. all aboard the anon train*

      The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.

      Historical YA with a bisexual main character, a character of color, a badass female character, boys mutually pining after each other, a lot of sweet, fluffy romance, pirates, adventure, intrigue, and general wonderfulness. I don’t think I’ve ever fallen in love with a book so quickly. It was honestly so delightful from beginning to end that I reread it immediately.

      I’m super excited for the sequel/spin-off novel, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy.

    14. CV*

      Late to the conversation, but The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I laughed, I cried, I clutched my pearls and gasped “he didn’t!” Goodness, the plot twists.

  2. bassclefchick*

    True crime fans! I’m about halfway through The Devil in the White City, about H.H. Holmes. However, it seems more like a book on the Chicago World’s Fair with a little bit of Holmes thrown in. If I had wanted to read a book about how the World’s Fair came about, I would have gotten one. However, I want the murder. And Holmes’ murder mansion. I mean, I get it. The Fair was going on at the same time and that’s how he got his victims. But it shouldn’t be the main focus of the book.

    What about you? Did you like it? What other true crime books did you think veered too far off topic? Oh, and only a few more weeks until I get to see Karen and Georgia live!! Can’t wait!!! SSDGM.

    1. Music*

      I loved it, and I loved the world’s fair bits. You can’t talk about one without the other–the fair was his whole reason for finding victims! It’s what let him get away with everything for so long!

      The book’s been out so long, I guess I’m struggling to understand how you picked it up not knowing what you were going to get. It’s not ‘off topic’ so much as just not to your tastes, which is fine! But maybe you’re just not all that into what the book set out to do.

      1. Oryx*

        I loved the world’s fair bits, too! The way he slowly built up the Ferris Wheel just blew my mind, how you have no idea (or at least I didn’t) what this bizarre contraption was they are all concerned about until the name drop and omg.

      2. bassclefchick*

        I’d seen the book at bookstores and the library, but never picked it up. The ladies on the MFM podcast talked about it because of H.H. Holmes, so I was expecting more of the crimes. I suppose if I had actually read the cover blurbs, instead of thinking “yay! another murder book to read!”, I would have gotten the whole picture.

    2. Oryx*

      I don’t know if I would say that book veered off topic so much as you maybe went in misunderstanding what it was about. The subtitle is “Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America” so it really is a book about the World’s Fair and the serial killer taking advantage of it. The two are so intertwined and that was the story Larson wanted to tell.

      1. nonegiven*

        My husband has been watching a series conjecturing that the same serial killer was Jack the Ripper.

        There was also an episode of Timeless that was about the murders in Chicago.

    3. Cruciatus*

      I really liked Devil in the White City though I felt the book was very clear that you were getting both elements. I enjoyed learning about the World’s Fair and all the things we still have today because of it. I pretty much will read anything by Erik Larson because I know I’ll be entertained and even end up learning something. I don’t read a lot of non-fiction but make an exception for him.

      1. bassclefchick*

        I’m such a true crime nerd that I had heard the book was about H.H. Holmes and wanted to learn more about him and his murder mansion. Didn’t read the cover blurbs before picking it up. TOTALLY my fault. LOL

      2. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        Larson books are generally a good buy – the Galveston Hurricane one is a favorite too. But I really didn’t like the one about Berlin pre-WWII and the Lusitania one I felt wasn’t quite as good as it could have been.

        Krakauer’s – Under The Banner of Heaven is a fabulous read though and very informative. I find him far less hyperbolic and free with the language than Larson.

        1. Pomona Sprout*

          I adored the one about pre-WWII Berlin (In the Garden of Beasts)! I think it depends on what one’s interests are. I’m kind of a WWII/Holocaust nerd, and I feel like that book gave me a better sense of what that transition, of Hitler taking control and his power gradually increasing as Weimar Germany evolved into the Third Reich, was like. I’m sure it wouldn’t be that interesting to everyone, but it fascinated me.

    4. Shark Whisperer*

      I had the same reaction as you. I actually never finished the book. I supposed if I had done my research I would have realized it was mostly about the World’s Fair, but I was told about it by a friend who only told me that it was about H.H. Holmes, so I was sorely disappointed. I probably would have like it more if it had been described to me differently so I didn’t have such string unment expectations

    5. Sherm*

      I agree that it’s pretty much two different stories that happened to take place in geographic proximity. But, like others here, I really enjoyed the descriptions of the fair. Made me wish I was there!

    6. Lilo*

      I quite liked it, but I enjoyed the fair parts too. There is quite a bit of murder in there as well. Some of it is the fact that the Fair is so very well documented, and a lot of what we think we know HH Holmes’s murders are either based on his unreliable testimony or on speculation, so the author can’t provide quite the same level of detail.

    7. LCL*

      I liked it. I thought he did get into the weeds a bit with all of the World’s Fair details, but I finished the book. As Lilo said, there is much more documentation on the fair then on Holmes.

    8. Leslie Knope*

      I was JUST thinking about this the other day, wondering if there were huge My Favorite Murder fans in the commentariat. I love them! So jealous you get to see them live!

      1. bassclefchick*

        I even splurged and got a VIP ticket! I get to MEET them!! Here’s hoping I don’t get all fan girl and turn into a blathering idiot like I did with Molly Ringwald. LOL

    9. Rogue*

      I actually own and love this book. However, I’m also a history and architecture buff. I loved the details about the buildings and grounds and then the tail of H.H. Holmes woven in.

    10. Nye*

      This is fiction, but if you liked the historical aspect of Devil in the White City but wanted more crime, you might like The Alienist by Caleb Carr. Set in turn-of-the-century New York and with a focus on early criminal psychology. For noon-fiction, Capote’s In Cold Blood is a classic for a reason (if you haven’t already read it).

    11. Bluebell*

      I loved Devil in the White city but I read it mostly for the parts about the worlds fair, not the true crime. I’ve read several other of Erik Larson’s books and really enjoyed the way he ties history together.

  3. Charlie Bradbury's Girlfriend*

    What’s the most dramatic thing you’ve ever done to your hair? I’m about to dye my brand new pixie cut platinum blonde! :D

    1. Amadeo*

      Teal streaks followed by teal ombre. It was fun! I’m not sure my current place-we-don’t-talk-about-on-weekends would allow something so brazen, but I might be able to get away with subtle orange and purple highlights. Been thinking about checking.

    2. bassclefchick*

      Kind of boring, but I cut it from waist length to shoulder length. Haven’t gone back to really long hair, either. But I would LOVE to be a lavender blonde! I just don’t want to deal with the maintenance of a cool dye job.

      1. Dot*

        I’ve recently done the very-long-to-shoulder-length cut as well, and I’ve been dreaming of dyeing it a bright pink, but now that I’ve come face to face with the reality that I need to get it cut every 8 weeks to keep it at shoulder length (which I refuse to do, I hate going to the hairdresser’s!), I’ve realised I’d never be happy with a fun colour. :/ Maintenance is the worst!

      2. AlaskaKT*

        I consistanly have cool dye jobs with little/no maintenance. I just don’t have time for that (or unlimited water). The thing I’ve found works is to use a good dye, then do minimal hair washing. I wash mine about once a week, and I leave my conditioner in extra long afterwords.

        I’ll try to post a picture link below this of my hair.

        1. AlaskaKT*


          My hair has been this color since early July. Before that it was teal, before that hot pink, and so on back in blue/white/purple/pink, apricot(for my wedding), blonde, silver, purple/silver, bubblegum pink, fire engine red, neon orange, purple/pink.

          I dye my hair a lot lol!

      3. Jen RO*

        That’s my most exciting too – shoulder length to chin length. I had incredibly blah long hair for 10+ years, usually in an even more blah ponytail, so cutting it short was the best thing I ever did!

    3. Red*

      I had butt-length blonde hair. I cut it to chin length and dyed it bright red. Best decision I ever made with my hair, tbh

      1. Turtlewings*

        I did the same, without the dye, about two years ago. I loved it for a long while, but the constant trims were expensive, and I both hated styling it and hated how it looked if I didn’t style it. It’s back down to my shoulders now, which makes me happy, but I do wish how much easier it was to wash…

          1. No Green No Haze*

            I was chatting with a trans lady online awhile back & asked her if she was willing to share any of the more mundane culture shocks she’d had since her transition.

            She said taking care of long hair took way more time out of her day than she’d been expecting, and SERIOUSLY WHY ARE THERE NO POCKETS?

        1. Red*

          I have curly hair, so it looks a little wild no matter what I do lol. I just dry it with a diffuser and some gel and it looks pretty good.

    4. The IT Manager*

      It took years of me thinking of it ( and starting to work from home full time) to bleach my hair and dye it purple and then a month later when that faded, blue.

      Unfortunately it fades fast and I live somewhere with a steamy hot summer so maintenance like -minimal washing and keeping it out of the sun – was not easy during the summer.

      I’m glad I did it. I will probably do it again over winter and Mardi Gras season, but I’m someone who wants minimal hair care and those colors don’t stick long enough for my tastes.

      1. fposte*

        Can you recut that at home, and how often do you have to cut it to keep it? I keep thinking about more low-maintenance styles but they all seem to involve cutting more frequently so I’m not sure if the tradeoff is enough for me.

          1. nonegiven*

            My husband has been having me buzzcut his hair for him. He lets it grow out more than an inch before we do it again. I keep telling him it might be easier if we did it more often.

        1. nep*

          When I was keeping it a buzz cut, I just used the clippers every day or every other day. Simple and fun. Indeed it’s this in-between phase that would need maintenance if one wanted to keep it at a certain length. I hate the current stage because I don’t like using product but at this point I pretty much have to. For low maintenance I want either the buzz (using the clippers is easy and I consider it low-maintenance), or long-ish. There’s always this trade-off of the awkward in-between phase. I’m tempted daily to mow it down again.

        2. Home hairstyling*

          My mom has a buzzcut that my dad maintains at home for her. He cuts it maybe once a month (so not as often as another commenter mentions) and is a careful, detail-oriented guy, so is well-suited to the task. I’d think you could do it yourself as well, it would just be harder to make sure you’d gotten an even, attractive cut all around (tough both to see and control the clippers precisely on the back/sides). Thinking about it now, tho, trimming every other day or similar might help mitigate that a bit since you’d be hitting everything regularly.

          1. nep*

            I kept it super short, using the 1 or 2 guide on the clippers. If I waited a month it would no longer be the buzzed look I wanted.
            I’m really hating the current length — but I’m going to exercise some patience and not shave it again…There is a length I like that I should reach in about a month or two.

    5. anon24*

      I did bright purple the last 3 inches of my blonde hair, because I wore it in a ponytail and it looked like I’d dipped it in paint. This was before it was trendy to have non-natural colored hair. Then when I got sick of that I cut the purple ends off and dyed my whole head reddish brown and let it fade back to blonde.

    6. Candy*

      I once cut my long brown hair into a pixie and dyed it blonde and no one recognized me for weeks. I would literally be talking to people at parties that I have known for years and they’d be like, “sorry, what was your name again?” It was weird!

      1. Bookmobile*

        I recently cut my longish brown hair into a short platinum pixie and it’s totally like I’ve gone undercover! When my husband and I went to parents’ night at school, my mom friends thought he was running around with someone else! ;) I do love the cut though!

    7. Ramona Flowers*

      I have dyed mine bright red and bright pink, and had red dreads and, some time later, electric blue ones. I used to put safety pins in them with glow in the dark star beads.

    8. Natalie*

      Dreadlocks, dyed the dreadlocks various colors, took the dreads out, did them a second time, buzzcut twice, and my current style is curly with an undercut on one side. The patterns never stays as long as I want it to, though. :(

    9. NaoNao*

      I went from “mermaid” hair (faded teal, pink, purple, and blue) to straight ultra-violet. It’s very intense. It’s not cartoonish, but the color is very vibrant and it’s all over. It took like 4 hours, and I had it done professionally, but I get tons of compliments on it. :)

    10. Quickbeam*

      I have past my waist hair. When I went to nursing school I cut it all off to a very short pixie cut. Hated it, let it grow back and there it stays.

    11. Windchime*

      I’m kind of a medium-ish brunette (or at least I used to be before I started going gray on top). Probably the most dramatic thing I’ve ever done was put in bright red highlights. Then I changed hairdressers and she started doing a bright red panel underneath the top layer, so only the bright red ends peeked through. That was fun. I gave that up a couple of years ago. Now I am basically a dark blonde. That’s because the root grow-out is less noticeable than it was with darker hair. Sigh.

      I would love, love, love purple highlights (low lights?) but I don’t think it would be allowed at work since it’s not a “natural” color.

    12. Bryce*

      I shaved my head once. Cutting my own hair in college, had taken the extension off to do the neckline, noticed a bit to touch up on top and absentmindedly forgot to put the extension back on first. After that the options are either reverse mohawk or bald. I have dandruff issues, sometimes when frustrated it’s tempting to shave it all off again and see if the fresh air and sunlight helps my scalp sort out whatever’s going on up there, it works for beard rash.

    13. katamia*

      Dyed it purple (all of it). I loved it and am considering doing it again. I just wish it hadn’t faded so quickly.

      1. Fiennes*

        I dyed mine purple this winter. I absolutely loved it but it was hard to maintain, especially since I spend a lot of time traveling for work. Am currently shifting through magenta back to red.

    14. Elizabeth West*

      Temporary: In high school, I dyed it bright red with food coloring. I was chicken and did it during the summer, LOL, so I never actually showed up at school that way.

      Permanent: Going blonde. I was very nervous about it–I didn’t want it to look cheap or end up with a shade that didn’t suit me. I’m so glad I didn’t try to do it myself because I would have bungled it. But I LOVE IT. I love putting pink, blue, and purple hair chalk in it, too. :)

    15. many bells down*

      The “oil slick” color which is a mix of purple, blue, green, pink – like when you see an oily rain puddle. It’s also called “duck feather”.

      And once I accidentally dyed it neon orange. The box said “cinnamon”. It came out more “atomic tangerine”.

    16. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I went from waist-length blond hair to an asymmetrical (chin-length to shoulder-length) style with a buzzed undercut and dyed it all intense red.

      Most dramatic after that was when I went back to my natural color after a decade of frequent color changes; natural was finally the only novelty left to me.

    17. Nana*

      DD, in 7th grade, cut her hair from waist-length to pixie. People didn’t recognize her at school the next day. She did this shortly before her sister’s Bat Mitzvah…pure coincidence. (she didn’t know it, but) I cut my hair from past-my shoulders to short a few days before HS graduation. (I didn’t know it, but) my mother had cut her hair from shoulder-length to 20’s bob a few days before she graduated from HS.

    18. Woman of a Certain Age*

      Many years ago when I was in college there was a “beauty contest” sponsored by “Toni” home permanents. I usually do not perm my hair, or when I do I go with a soft body perm. (I like my hair long, and often wear it in a pony-tail.) Anyway, they were giving away free home permanent kits. My girlfriends gave me a stunning afro. (It was kind of neat.) I didn’t win, but I was a finalist in the contest.

    19. Bigglesworth*

      I bleached my pixie pure white and then dyed the bangs bright blue. I used to tell people that I found a cult who sacrificed Smurfs and they used my head as an alter.

      Joke’s on me. When I got married, I changed my name to my spouse’s name and it translates to “Smurf”.

      1. Bigglesworth*

        Btw, I hope you’re living your pixie cut! I’ve had mine for over 5 years now and never plan on having long hair again. :)

  4. HeatingUnit*

    You know when you cut a friend out of your life, but there is a liiitle part of you that wonders what they’re up to (childish, I know). Then you sneak a look at their social media and get sad that things didn’t work out. Just trying to figure out a way to not do that when their social media pages aren’t private.

    1. Fake old Converse shoes*

      It really difficult. Sometimes I check my high school crush’s FB profile… Damn he still looks fine after all this time.

      1. SL #2*

        My high school crush is constantly sending me Snapchats. Granted, we were good friends in high school too, but I know an awful lot about his life given that we haven’t spoken IRL in nearly 8 years.

    2. Gaia*

      I didn’t cut the person out of my life, they cut me out of theirs in a way that was particularly cruel. It was five years ago now and I’ve moved on but I definitely still miss the friendship we had. The hardest is Facebook’s “memories” feature because we were so close for so many years that they tend to show up a lot on previous posts. I can look back on those memories fondly now but their little profile image that shows next to their posts and comments keeps me a little connected to their new life. There was a wedding. A baby. Things I should have been there for. Things I wanted to celebrate.

      It has gotten easier over time, but it has taken a lot of will power. Some days I wonder if they ever think the same when I show up on their feed.

    3. WonderingAgain*

      On a related note. My brother-in-law blocked me on social media because he didn’t want me reading what he was up to. When I send a Christmas card to my sister should I leave him off?

      1. nep*

        I guess I would say what would you want to accomplish by leaving him off? Does your gut say you should and it feels like the right thing to do — then yes. But just examine why you’d be leaving him off.

      2. Safetykats*

        Wow – that’s weird. Although families are weird. I take it you’re still on good terms with your sister? If so, I would still address it to both of them. It’s just a Christmas card, after all. (And probably leaving him off the envelope is too subtle for him to catch anyway, so it would just make your sis feel bad, if anything.)

      3. anon24*

        I have my in-laws blocked on social media. We don’t have a close relationship (they did some spectacularly awful things to me early on) but we get along just fine when we see each other. They are the type of people to “like” everything you post 30 seconds after you post it and it was getting a little creepy, plus I really don’t need them to see all the cool pics from the hiking trips we take (I’m totally fine with random people seeing them, but I don’t show them to family, and yes I’m weird).

        They don’t know I blocked them. They asked my husband why they couldn’t find me anymore and he passed it off as a weird Facebook glitch.

        I don’t know your relationship with your brother in law but I wouldn’t worry too much.

        1. Triplestep*

          You don’t have to block them so they can’t find you. You can still be findable, but post things that they’ll never see. That’s what I do – less drama.

          1. anon24*

            They are technological idiots. Blocking was the simplest method for me. There’s no drama because they have no clue I am responsible for them not seeing my stuff :)

        1. Anon anon anon*

          Me too. Blocking someone on social media doesn’t always mean wanting them out of your life. It can be more of a boundaries thing. Some people just don’t want their family and friend circles mixing, or for their family to see everything they “like” or every event they’re “going” to. Even if you use the Restricted list, there’s a lot that can still show up.

        2. WonderingAgain*

          Thank you everybody for your suggestions! I am going to send them a Christmas card with both of their names on it – taking the high road. :)

      4. annon*

        I’d either send a super-personalized, in-jokey card to just your sister, or send the blandest, most generic card you can get away with to both of them.

      5. GriefBacon*

        Do you know for sure that it’s because he doesn’t want you to know what he’s up to?

        My default Facebook privacy setting is “all friends…except grandma, sister-in-law, and best friend’s mom”. While I’m not particularly crazy about my sister-in-law, I don’t hide everything from her because I don’t want her to know what I’m up to. I do it because she developed a habit of commenting on posts in ways that *I* understood/knew was a joke, but my friends didn’t and were offended by. It was MUCH easier to just hide posts and have her none the wiser than defriend/block her.
        (Not saying you’ve done anything that would offend your brother-in-law’s friends. Just that there could potentially be other explanations?)

    4. annon*

      In my case, I found myself checking because the toxic relative I had to cut out has kids, who are sweet and who I worry about. I’m still friends with their father, though, so that helped – I could get the info I really craved without looking at Toxic’s stuff.

      I don’t have a good solution. In my case my blocking Toxic made her angry enough to block me in return, so I can’t see her stuff anyway. I still get the curiosity, though.

    5. Clever Name*

      I’m going through something similar with my ex husband. I eventually unfollowed him on Facebook because I got tired of getting annoyed at what he posted.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Very few things in life are clear cut, we can wonder about people and hope they are okay but not really want them in our lives. It’s not all one way, it’s okay to have a mix of feelings and thoughts.

      It kind of makes me smile. Some people believe that if we happen to think of someone from our past that is because they are probably thinking of us around the same time. What I like about this one is I try to think of the good things and I try to imagine they are doing the same.
      Sometimes I think about the saying, friends for a reason, a season or a life time. And I try to figure out what the reason or season was. A big picture focus can be very helpful. Usually, I can point to something I learned or experienced that influenced me in some manner.

      Last, if we are lucky enough to have long lives then many, many people will come and go as we journey onward. It’s nice to have someone to walk with and it’s good to realize that more cool people will come along. It’s not without some sadnesses, though.

    1. Safetykats*

      Ugh. We had a bad summer for various reasons and just didn’t get out regularly, but de used we still needed to do a couple of long, organized charity rides. Normally they are only a little challenging – distances we are used to, but fatale pace than our norm – but without our normal rides? Ouch.

  5. WellRed*

    Just drove from Maine to Cape Cod. Driving didn’t use to bother me but now I am completely stressed out and anxious when I drive. And that’s with no traffic. Don’t think I’ll do it again.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I don’t blame you. I used to do a lot of driving and as the years rolled on not so much. I do know why. Too much driving under stress, have to get to toxic job or get to the hospital or the funeral home or whatever. In the last 15 years or so I have reclaimed some of my range that I used to drive. But I would not attempt going from ME to the Cape. It’s not fun anymore, in the beginning it was fun.

    2. Happy Lurker*

      The Boston and Cape traffic was bad 30 years ago. Now it’s so much worse, especially since everyone has a phone in their hand. My sympathies. I feel the same way. I spend way too much time driving to enjoy it the way I used to.

  6. Junior Dev*

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

    I lost my job, which is never easy. But I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job of staying positive and keeping on track with exercise, seeing people, and getting stuff done.

    Weather has been nice and I want to start biking more.

    I’m struggling with making sure I get some human interactionin every day; I know from experience that being isolated is the worst thing for my depression. I’m proud that I’ve been able to clean a lot–my apartment is still pretty bad but a lot better.

    How are things with you?

    1. Fake old Converse shoes*

      Oh, no, I’m so sorry! As someone who has been laid off many times, excercise is the best thing you can do right now. Virtual hugs and best wishes for you.

    2. Red*

      I’m so sorry to hear you lost your job :( I know how hard you worked to keep it. I’m glad to hear you’re working hard to exercise, get out of the house, and clean though – that’s a huge accomplishment!

      As far as myself – Lamictal is finally starting to really work! Sadly Seroquel didn’t work out and I’ve chosen to just deal with the insomnia until my next appointment, but whatever. As long as I’m no longer horribly depressed, I can live with it.

      1. Mrs. Fenris*

        Seroquel and Lamictal were a very, very bad regimen for my husband. Life is much better for us with just run-of-the-mill Prozac.

        1. Red*

          I’m glad it helps him! My husband does very well with it, too. For me, though – it’s just not going to work out with my diagnosis (bipolar).

          Funny thing is, they gave my grandpa both trazodone and Seroquel to help with his dementia symptoms, and it was a hot mess. I also can’t deal with either of them!

          1. Red Reader*

            My husband is on lamictal for bipolar for about a year and change and it’s been just amazing for him. Good thoughts for your continued progress!

        2. Lindsay J*

          My boyfriend is weaning off of Seroquel and it’s been a really good thing for him so far to be taking less and less of it. It helped him a lot and he sure needed it for awhile, but now he seems to be much better off without it, and it seems to be helping our relationship as well. He has a lot more energy and desire to do things now, and seems a bit more carefree in general.

    3. Anon for This*

      I’m sorry to hear about the job – sounds like you’re doing all the right things and I hope this period of unemployment is short.

      I’m doing okay. My psychiatrist decided I should try rexulti instead of abilify as an augmenting agent, and I agreed with her it made sense and there wasn’t much to lose, even though honestly I thought I was doing pretty good on the old meds. The first few days of transition felt a little rough and I’m not sure the dose is high enough. I feel kind of anxious and jittery. We’ll see.

    4. Ange*

      Went for the eye test I missed 2 weeks ago – no good reason, I just totally forgot. Then had to come home and lie down. I hate chemo so much right now. But only 2 more sessions.

    5. bassclefchick*

      This week was pretty good. The new job is still going well. I’m fitting in and everyone tells me I’m doing great, so that’s a big step up from the last permanent jobs I had.

      My struggle? Up until July/August of 2016 I was doing great! I had lost about 20 pounds, I completed a half marathon (never doing that again) and was on track to FINALLY make my weight loss goal. And then everything went to hell in a handbasket. Got fired, twice. Good friend committed suicide. Lost my confidence, gained all the weight back. Was unemployed for over 2 months and the depression and anxiety exploded to unmanageable levels.

      But, I got help for the depression/anxiety. I’ve just signed up for a series of races and I’m slowly starting to cut out all the extra sugar, watch what I eat, and be sure to get in my 10,000 or more steps. It’s going to be a long road, but at least I’ve started.

      1. Tiny Crankypants*

        Sorry about the job.

        This week hit a snag. I got yelled at by a client over the phone. Immediate superior thought client was unreasonable.

        I have CPTSD and cannot take yelling or loud noise triggers me and my stress levels go up immediately. I started thinking I wasn’t good enough to do my job or do anything. So much about my self-worth has always been based on performance and how well I do at work/school. I lost so many things and failed so much this year. I just don’t want to feel like a loser.

      2. Junior Dev*

        It sounds like you’ve had some awful stuff going on lately but you’re working on improving things for yourself. That’s awesome.

      3. Emily*

        Oh, gosh, that sounds terrible. I’m sorry about your jobs and your friend. Good on you for getting help and making positive changes in your life, especially in the face of so much awfulness.

    6. Turtlewings*

      Sorry to hear about your job! I hope you’re able to find whatever you need.

      Yesterday I finally looked up my workplace’s EAP and contacted a therapist about the severe food anxiety problems that have defined my every meal from the age of 3. I don’t know how much progress I can really have in the 3 free sessions, but it’s a start.

    7. Dot*

      So sorry to hear about your job :(

      I had an introduction session for ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) this week and it’s looking very weird. So far I’ve only started taking daily one-hour walks without company/distractions but I should be receiving the workbook early next week and I’m starting group therapy (eek?!) on Tuesday. I’m fairly skeptical but willing to try this because I’m really not doing well on my own right now.

      One thing I can’t stop thinking about is that the therapist mentioned dysthymia in the session, and the best I can figure is that it was in the notes from my earlier assessment with a different psychologist (who referred me for ACT) (the ACT therapist can’t possibly have come up with it on his own because we only talked about me for five minutes at the end as there was a lot to go over about the treatment). She didn’t mention dysthymia to me, and so I don’t know if it’s a firm diagnosis or a theory or what, but reading up on it has made me reexamine my life and it looks so … glum. Like I had my first really bad episode when I was barely 14 and that’s 12 years ago and it’s pretty much all been a fog of feeling awful and clawing my way through school since then. I’m going to ask my doctor about it because I think if it’s a “yeah, you fit the criteria for diagnosing this mental illness” that would really change the way I view myself (currently as “a lazy failure who mysteriously can’t fulfill her potential”, but maybe “a person who has done a lot in spite of mental illness” is actually the truth??!).

      I REALLY hope ACT works. (My doctor has mentioned trying an SSNRI if it doesn’t work well enough but I’m *terrified* of medication for some reason.)

      1. Reba*

        Dot, I’m so happy for you that you are starting therapy. It’s such a huge hurdle to overcome just to start. It sounds like you are on the cusp of great changes, understanding yourself better, being kinder to yourself. Our narratives about ourselves are powerful.

        I think it’s very common to have doubts about medications, and it’s true that for some people they are not helpful. But you could try to look at them as another tool in your toolkit (not a substitute for the long-term work of therapy, but as supporting that journey). Just some anecdata, for me and other people in my family, taking anti-depressants gave us a level of relief pretty quickly that allowed us to get out of immediate danger, so to speak, and that let us have the energy/”spoons” to do the introspection and hard work of therapy. I’m off them now, and partner is still on and doing really really well.

        If books are helpful to you, we recommend “Feeling Good” by David Burns (the first mass market book about CBT) and “The Mindful Way through Depression” (kind of “woo” but really good, sounds like it might complement the ACT).

    8. Ramona Flowers*

      I am so sorry about your job loss (I know I said this yesterday but it’s worth repeating). Sending many many good vibes your way. Well done on the cleaning – that’s something to be proud of.

      My mental health has not been good this week. I had some kind of depression relapse or something and ended up having to tell work I needed to go home NOW – ironically the day the mental health letter came up in the five questions post. My bosses are very kind and supportive and it’s all been okay in that respect, I just feel a bit wrung out.

      I’m seeing my old therapist for a session next week. He’s brilliant but private and while he already charges me a reduced fee I just cannot pay it regularly right now (I am paying off debts and on a reduced budget). I have considered going to the EAP as they do eight free sessions and I could see someone in London near work – I can work from home around appointments if needed but working from home is really bad for me when I’m unwell as things get unstructured fast – but the idea of building a new relationship feels exhausting and if I don’t click with the therapist it will make things worse, not better.

      In any case my old therapist is usually able to help me loads in just a one-off session as he knows me well. So there’s that. I am doing all the right things to care for myself, it’s just so damn exhausting. I feel sort of like I’ve been emotionally hit by a bus.

      1. Junior Dev*


        I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time. It can be so much work just to keep up with life and I’m glad you are also able to reach out to your therapist on top of that.

    9. Mimmy*

      Saw the post about your job in yesterday’s thread – so sorry (((hugs)))

      I’ve had this irrational mindset that I’ll get stuck at my job and that I’ll end up as the sole person in my area. That terrifies me, especially given that this particular role is not something I want to do long-term. But I think it’s *finally* starting to sink in that this is not forever and that it is just a stepping stone. Problem is, I don’t have a plan yet. I’m working with a Voc Rehab counselor, who has been AMAZING, but as with anything run by the government, it’s a hurry-up-and-wait thing.

      On the non-work side, I’m doing okay. I know I should be exercising, enjoying the fresh air and eating healthier because of the physical and mental health benefits, but I just. can’t. muster up the self-discipline to maintain those habits. My husband is the same way (though he doesn’t have the mental health issues I do).

      The other issue I’ve had relates to my meds. I take a daily maintenance med, but I also have an anti-anxiety med–a benzodiazepine–that I’m supposed to take as needed, ideally when I know I’m going into a situation that exacerbates my anxiety or agitation. However, I’ve read about people getting hooked on those pills and having horrible withdrawal. I don’t want to get into that situation. Plus, it does make me a little fuzzy–which isn’t helpful when I’m working with students!

      1. Junior Dev*

        I take Ativan which is a benzo and it’s been very helpful. Maybe talk to your doctor about addiction concerns? I’m not a medical professional of any kind but I think that if you use it as one of several tools in your toolkit to manage anxiety you shouldn’t feel bad about taking the meds as prescribed.

        1. Anon for This*

          Yes, agreed. Talk to your doctor. I take klonopin as needed and my doctor has told me that taking it once or twice a week won’t lead to any tolerance or dependence and that it’s not usually an issue for people who aren’t already prone to substance abuse.

      2. FormerEmployee*

        Are you in an area where it’s safe to walk?

        If so, try to set a time (after dinner is usually best) to go for a walk for 1/2 hour.

        Unlike a gym situation, there’s no cost, no special clothing required, etc.

        Get your husband to go with you. Not only is it good for your health, it can also be good for your relationship – bonding while walking.

        Best of luck.

    10. King Friday XIII*

      So sorry about the job! I hope you find something better soon. Sounds like you know what you need really well and that’s awesome.

      I’m doing okay mental health-wise, though I’ve had a few really out there intrusive thoughts in a way I haven’t for a while and I’m wondering if it’s just stress or if I should talk to my doctor about increasing my dose. I’m pretty happy with the prozac so far and I kind of don’t want to mess with what’s working.

    11. Anon anon anon*

      Debt collectors are calling. I work at least 70 hours a week every week. I don’t take days off. I’ve just had a lot of extra expenses lately. It sucks. But I’m making progress in getting everything paid off so that’s good.

      I reconnected with an old friend. There isn’t as much common ground as there used to be. It made me appreciate how much I’ve changed and how much better my life is now.

      I’m earning more money. My dog is happy. Gardening to relieve stress. Hoping to get that debt paid off soon.

      1. nonegiven*

        Pull your credit reports and send by certified mail return receipt or priority mail with tracking to every address of every collector with a ‘cease and desist’ all phone calls as they are ‘inconvenient’ and they may only contact you by US mail at [mailing address.]

        1. Anon anon anon*

          Ooh, good idea! Fortunately, I only have a few things to pay off. There’s a steadily growing parking ticket, a vet bill, and two car repair bills. The last three are with the same company. They call all the time, but I know they’ll stop once I make a payment. It’s not a lot of money. It’s just slightly more than I’ve been able to afford. Argh, I need an extra $300 a month or so. But I am doing better and getting caught up.

    12. LizB*

      Oh no, I’m so sorry about your job! Exercising and seeing people are great strategies for keeping yourself moving forward.

      I had a routine physical yesterday morning and of course my doctor brought up my weight, because it’s crept up a bit and she wants to make sure it isn’t a meds side effect… but it just totally threw me into a spiral of self-hatred and despair that I’m still in the midst of 24+ hours later. Like, musing about what it would be like if I just stopped existing kind of despair. I’ll have to bring it up at therapy, I can’t be like this every time someone tells me I should eat more veggies and find some time to exercise, both of which are true things that I would actually like to do.

      1. Red*

        I feel you on the “what if I stopped existing” thoughts, and what’s helped for me is reminding myself that what I’m looking for is relief, not death. Relief is an emotion and you can’t feel it if you’re dead. Best to find another way.

        1. LizB*

          Yeah, that’s always the conclusion I come to. I don’t actually want to stop being here, and I definitely don’t want to kill myself, I just want to not find it emotionally painful to live in my body. Something to work on.

          1. JaneB*

            “stop the world I want to get off” syndrome, my grandma called it – when you just want a break from all the noise and demands inside and outside your head.

            Been there a lot this week :-(

    13. NaoNao*

      The “proud of” is that I’m being flown to L.A. for an in-person interview for a job I really want and I’m very excited about.
      The struggle right now is a bit silly but I hope others can relate. I’m in Aspen, CO, for a weekend getaway and it’s gorgeous. But the town is ultra high end, multi million dollar estates, Dior boutiques (I picked up a pair of Prada shoes in the thrift store!!), and the people walking around are just so obviously loaded with money.

      My BF and I went to a cool little restaurant last night, and although I dressed up, I felt really scruffy and like a little ragged puppy. Most of my clothes are thrift store or vintage, and I have a funky, artsy style. My hair is rich, bright purple, and I stand out a bit :)

      Looking around at all the coiffed and sleek, pampered people I had this sinking feeling like “that will never be me”. Most of the time I’m happy, but put me in the lap of luxury and while I love it, I’m squirming out of my skin mentally and running down all my flaws.

      1. Junior Dev*

        Congrats on the interview–i hope you get the job.

        I’ve definitely had the weird sensation where you are surrounded by wealthy people and even though you don’t want any of the specific things they have you feel intimidated or out of place.

    14. Anonymous for this*

      Sorry about your job :( Sending you good vibes.

      I feel like I’m struggling a little bit this week. (Hope this isn’t too work related for this thread). Basically, I’m doing something new at work, and a while ago I had an interaction with a family member of one of the people I’m now working with, which ended in the worst possible way (not through anything anyone did wrong, it was one of those horrible things). We’ve spoken briefly about it, but it’s not something I want to keep bringing up with them because of what it involved. However… one of the things we will be doing in a few weeks is directly related to the interaction. And I’m worrying. Not because I think they’re incapable of being professional, but because I’m concerned it might be awkward, and also that I’m going to struggle with it when we do it. I’ve thought far more about it, and other, similar events, in the last week than in the last 6 months.
      I’ve spoken to one of the people involved in what we are doing, who is going to talk to the coordinator for me and get them to get in touch. But I’m debating whether EAP might be a good idea, it was something I was offered and turned down at the time, but I was reminded again about it last week, and I don’t know if it may be the right thing to do now.
      I have no idea if any of that made sense! But it feels better having got it down in some form!

      1. Reba*

        I don’t think there’s anything to lose by calling the EAP, right? It sounds like you are having a lot of anxious/unhappy thoughts about this, and it might help just to get them out with someone who is not involved in the situation, doesn’t know the people, but who is just on your team (i.e. a counselor). They might be able to give you some strategies to set those unhelpful thoughts aside.

        It probably *will* be awkward when it comes to it, but I think you can come through that just fine. Good luck!

    15. Bryce*

      Some friends of mine moved to my apartment complex and are having a party in half an hour. And I’m all torn up not just from usual group activity anxiety but also because now these guys live right next door and I like being social but I like it on my terms and how can I get away with that without seeming like I’m shunning them and aaaaaaaaaaaaa.

      Then after a deep breath I remind myself that they’ve been there for two months and hadn’t even bothered to let me know until this party. I don’t think “what happens if they just drop by on a weekend and this place is such a mess” needs to be high on my list of worries, they have their own lives just as I do.

    16. Shrunken Hippo*

      Sorry to hear about your job.

      I’ve had some major depression this week to the point I almost checked myself into a mental hospital to be put on suicide watch. Somehow me getting a job set me off and I had a panic attack thinking about it and then I got depressed and nothing mattered. I think what set me off was the fact that I have to carpool to work and I’m having serious issues finding rides for weekends, and because it’s a retail job I know that me not being able to work weekends is really going to hurt me and might get me terminated (and my mind works in run-on sentences when I’m stressed!). I’ve made it work for now, but something has to change. Unfortunately for me my depression is often accompanied by anxiety and lots of tears so breaking down crying isn’t unusual for me. That’s always embarrassing.

      Nothing I’m really proud of this week other than resisting the urge to kill myself. Not that it’s not a big deal, I just deal with that on a semi-regular basis.

      My goal for the coming week is to make a doctor’s appointment and get myself set up with some specialists to work through my mental issues and figure out my chronic pain.

      1. Red*

        That is a big deal! Even more so because you deal with it often. Congrats on having the self-awareness to consider the hospital, too – that’s always useful.

      2. Reba*

        It’s not surprising that a big change–like starting a new job, especially one that comes with a lot of logistics stuff–would set off anxious thoughts. It sounds like you are going to get yourself set up to succeed with your mental and physical health. That’s wonderful and I wish you lots of good luck with that and with your job. I’m glad you’re still here. :)

      3. Ramona Flowers*

        That is a huge deal. I also deal with those feelings on and off. One thing that helped me was learning that it can be a sign that pain and stress have exceeded your resources for coping with pain and stress so it’s like your brain is basically going “system overload! self-destruct! argh!”

        Keep holding on, friend.

    17. Mrs. Fenris*

      Pretty good these days. I was on Lexapro for about a year but things got better. Some life stresses got better and I got much better at self care. Mindfulness meditation and spending lots more time in the woods. :-)

    18. Chaordic One*

      I’m struggling with getting ready to move. I’m just a bit overwhelmed and having anxiety attacks about it. Most everything is going into storage for a while, but there’s just so much stuff. I’ve made a couple of runs to the thrift store where I’ve donated a lot of things. I know I’m forgetting something.


    19. Ramona Flowers*

      I bit the bullet and called the EAP. My old therapist is superb, but I can’t afford to see him weekly so I’m focusing on what I can do. They can provide up to eight sessions per ‘issue’ per year and are going to find someone I can see in the afternoon after work. It’s mildly frustrating that they find someone within 15 miles of the address you give, which is fine outside of London but not so helpful in it (I’d like someone within easy walking distance of any stop on my daily tube route) but will see what they come up with. It’s apparently a mix of approaches including person-centred and CBT which sounds good. And I really liked the way they handled the phone assessment, so that’s a good start.

    20. JanetM*

      I’m back on Abilify after three months in a really bleak depression. Magic f*ing bullet, boy howdy, I tell you what. (For me. Others’ neurochemistry may vary.) I started feeling better within 16 hours of the first dose.

      On the other hand, I then promptly came down with a cold, which has made my breathing worse.

      On the gripping hand, I’m finally getting referred for some more tests to see what’s going on with the breathing (swallowing study and sleep study). Thank ghu for good insurance.

      On the octopus half, I’ve been de-cluttering. I’ve cleared / cleaned / reorganized all the kitchen counters and upper cabinets; next steps are the drawers and lower cabinets. Dale has promised to clean the fridge and the table (the latter of which is piled about 18 inches high with his stuff).

    21. Ricky*

      I’m so sorry about your job :( It sounds like you’re doing a really good job of taking care of yourself, though!

      I’ve let everything fall by the wayside and am finally trying to pick that up. I desperately need to get back to keeping a bullet journal or planner.

    22. Lindsay J*

      I’m doing pretty well.

      I’ve just about hit the 3rd month at my job, so in 5 days I will have my health insurance back. Now I’m trying to decide whether I want to find an in-network psychiatrist, or continue seeing the guy I’ve been seeing for the past few months who is very expensive and will be out-of-network. I’m considering just staying with him, as I can afford it and he seems to be helpful to me in the way other psychiatrists and counselors in the past were not. (And I do like that he does drugs but also does therapy so I’m not seeing two different people for different things.) The price is a huge difference, though. $35 copay vs $350 out of pocket. My insurance will reimburse 50% of out-of-network costs, but they cap that as 50% of 110% of their negotiated in-network amount, which I imagine is closer to maybe $100-$15o than $350. One of my drugs is also a schedule II drug which can be difficult to get people to prescribe when you come in for the first time so that factors into it. It’s working for me and I don’t want a new doctor to try and push me to something that might not work as well just because it’s less risky to prescribe.

      The last appointment he said I seemed to be doing pretty well, and I feel good for the most part. I’ve been going out and doing more things with people – board game nights, community garden, etc. And I’ve been getting great feedback at work.

      The past couple weekends my boyfriend and I have also gone and done things that involve a lot of walking and being outside, which I think has been helpful for me. I feel healthier when I go out and do things vs just sitting around our apartment all day.

      My biggest struggle at the moment is just getting up in the morning. I’m getting enough sleep for the most part, but every morning I just want to cuddle back into my nice warm bed for another hour or so. Part of it is that my boyfriend snores (sinus issues, has already had surgery for it, probably not ever going to change) and sometimes tosses and turns at night which wakes me or keeps me up. We have a pull-out couch and one of us either starts or ends the night on there most nights (and it’s really comfortable) but it’s kind of frustrating. My drugs also make it difficult for me to sleep – Adderall and a high dose of Wellbutrin. I’ve found ear-plugs and a sleep mask help, and I go to bed in time to get a solid 9 hours of sleep, but it’s still a daily struggle to get up (and it has been most of my life, honestly).

  7. SophieChotek*

    I know there have been variations on this question before…

    How do you navigate family? I live very close to my parents (like 10 mins away) and have been very close to them growing up. My parents seem to want to spend time with me (which I guess I ought to find flattering) but honestly I try to only see them once a week because more than that is too much. But I am always turning down invitation to have dinner with them, etc. so they probably are starting to think I don’t like them…which isn’t true…but I am discovering that if we don’t have an “activity” (i.e. watch a TV show, watch a movie) we actually don’t seem to have a lot to talk about. We’re not interested in the same things, we tend to disagree about politics/religion (they are much conservative than I am) — and unfortunately they seem to talk about that quite a bit. And honestly, I’ve discovered that a lot of the things they like to do/talk about often bore me –and then I feel selfish even thinking that – and I’ve discovered things that really interest/excite me (that I can have deep hour long discussions with friends about) are just so completely out of their frame of reference, you don’t want to spend an hour explaining the context. (I don’t know…trying to explain fan fiction to someone who doesn’t even read “regular” fiction or explaining opera to someone who doesn’t really listen to music). So those of you in similar situations – what do you do? I feel bad that I feel bored/therefore try to avoid my family! I feel like I am being selfish and not loving and not trying…I’m trying to practice active listening/ask questions, but I sometimes think my boredom still seeps through…

    1. Gaia*

      I am in a similar situation. I find one way to ward off the concern that you don’t like them is to sometimes be the one that recommends getting together.

      That said, set boundaries that make sense for you. If once a week is the right amount for you, it is the right amount.

    2. Safetykats*

      We live around the corner from my mom and dad, and both our kids live just across town. It can be interesting trying to find a topic of conversation. A lot of times we end up talking about work – it’s a small town, so we all work with people the others know, and whatever so-and-so did the other day is usually safe and sometimes funny. It helps when the kids are around – my daughter and my mom and both into cooking, and my son and my dad into history. Strangely enough we are getting my mom into cosplay – not that she is going to dress up herself anytime soon, but she is an amazing seamstress so she can get really caught up in making really specific costume pieces.

      It does take work though, and we definitely don’t talk with family about the same kinds of things we might talk about with friends. Although honestly, what we talk about with friends depends on the friends.

      If what you’re mostly doing with your folks is going to their house for dinner, that would drive me a little nuts too. I would maybe try to pick your interactions and invite them – so you get that focus on an activity that works out better for you. And it’s okay to say no. Once a week is a good frequency; don’t feel bad that you’re not spending every other night with them. (One thing that works for us is to say it’s just too hard most weeknights – we have to get up early for work. that also works for Sunday’s.)

      You might think about why they invite you so often. Are they worried you’re sitting at home and lonely? Are they worried you’re not eating right? ( we worried about both with our kids.) Or are they a little lonely now that you’re gone, and maybe don’t have a lot to talk about without you there? Im not sure what you can do about the last one, but talking with them about your other activities, or about what you’ve been cooking lately, can go a long way towards convincing them they don’t need to feed you or be your social life.

      1. SophieChotek*

        We do talk about work (which sadly devolves into the “you need to get a new job and aren’t working hard enough into it” conversation…

        I think they invite me over because (and they’ll say this) “we like spending time with you”…I don’t think they think I am at home and lonely; I’m sure they wish I would eat healthier (since my Mom has explicitly said I need to lose weight, which is true)…I think the just think that we should have more “family time” in general…

        Thanks…must try to find more activities we can do…

        1. Adele*

          My mom and I often invite each other to do things. Last weekend it was a history-focused tour of her small city’s dowtown. Sometimes it is to see a play or an outdoor concert or a museum exhibition. I also bring up news stories that will lead to interesting discussions. We can disagree but these really help me know my mom more fully.

    3. annon*

      I would suggest you continue to turn down most invitations, except when you really want to go. Most people will adjust, honestly, at least in my experience. (The relatives who didn’t – like the one who couldn’t seem to get why I wouldn’t just fly back across an ocean to visit on her whim – were generally toxic in other ways.)

      Since you do want to maintain a relationship, I’d accept as many offers as you feel you can enthusiastically accept. If it seems like it might help, have a few polite stock answers to why you have to turn down an invitation (e.g. “I’d love to, but I’m totally wiped out from work”). I’d also recommend being the one to extend an invitation every so often (an invitation you’d reasonably enjoy, so that it isn’t a burden to you and so that they can choose to participate in something you like), so it doesn’t seem like they are the ones always reaching out to maintain the relationship.

      I do think a lot of this is a function of how physically close you live. When my mother and I lived in the same neighborhood, she was constantly inviting me over or trying to invite herself over, but when I moved further away that naturally dropped off. It can seem weird to some people to set boundaries if there isn’t an (in their opinion) actual inconvenience*, but that doesn’t mean you’re bad for setting boundaries.

      *One of my biggest pet peeves is when you tell someone no and they act like there’s an unspoken “it’s inconvenient” appended. I’ve had people cheerfully tell me that it’s really not an inconvenience for them to stop by, when what I’ve told them in response to their request/demand is “Not today, thanks.”

      1. SophieChotek*

        Yes, I agree – it is hard – because my parents do live so close. I see my Mom at least once a week – and they are always “dropping by”…sometimes it really is just to drop something off (yesterday it was home-made granola) but often, there is an expectation if they “drop by” of course, I’ll invite them in, stop whatever it is I am doing, and offer the refreshments, etc. (Actually I see them 2x a week usually, because we all go together to see my Grandmother).

        I guess it is on my mind this week because my mom invited me to dinner, and I pretty much had to lie and say I have plans, because she kept saying “Oh, well if you are not available Thursday, we can do Friday, Oh, you have plans Friday, what about Saturday?…”

        I think I feel bad already because I don’t invite them over very much, etc. and so I’ve gotten lots of comments like “what do you have to do to get an invitation to your place?” sort of thing, or find myself self-editing to trying to remember to NOT mentionI had Jane and Bob over….

        I agree — setting boundaries is hard…and my Mom (especially) is really not good at taking any hints…but I doubt either of will be moving any time soon – actually they just purchased a house 10 minutes away (not that we didn’t live reasonably close before, but at least it was more like 20 before…)

    4. Augusta Sugarbean*

      I’ve never agreed with the “but we’re family!” sentiment. You don’t have to like people just because you happen to be related. My family is perfectly fine but we just don’t have a lot in common. My parents raised us to be independent – and it worked! Haha. Maybe try to do a little more objective assessment – how much is self-imposed guilt and how much are they *really* going to be upset if you aren’t there all the time? Kids grow up and make new lives for themselves all the time. Maybe there isn’t the expectation of constant visiting that you assume is there.

      But if you want to ease tensions a little, how about initiating the invitations instead of always worrying about accepting or declining? Invite them out to a movie, still something you do together but you shouldn’t be talking during it! And then afterwards, “sorry have an early morning appointment, must run.” Or is there community theater in your area? Those usually have wide appeal. Or do some research and find a family-friendly or non-political stand up comedian.

    5. Natalie*

      I’m an advocate of just being direct about approximately how often you can see them. Having to constantly turn down invitations gets old for both of you. If they’re reasonable people, they’ll appreciate the information. And if they’re unreasonable, at least in my case, it didn’t avoid the conversation so much as push it down the road and annoy the other party. (Unreasonably, but as my mom is generally unreasonable that was always going to be the case.)

      I can’t tell how old you are, but if you’re on the younger side know that this is a really normal part of adult children/parent relationships.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Are you parents going through empty nest syndrome? Is this something where you can encourage them to develop new activities?

      You have gotten great advice here. I totally agree with people who said seeing them once a week is PLENTY. With my inlaws we just told them we would be over on X day each week. We kept our word. My father was different as he would talk to us about our concerns and our interests. At separate times I caught my husband and my father saying they “couldn’t wait to see the other one so they could talk over X subject.”
      When people are not contributing to our lives visits with them can feel obligatory, simply because not too much rewarding happens.
      You can try to shift the dynamic a little here by looking for ways that your lives intersect. Let’s say your mom is into couponing. You notice you have a lot of coupons or you have a coworker that wants to unload coupons. Bring your mom the coupons. Going the other way, let’s say you are suddenly into house plants, see if your mom has friends who are willing to give you cuttings that you can grow yourself. At first it’s hard to find these little intersections, after a bit it gets easier. And definitely it’s not a miracle cure, but it can relieve some pressures/discomforts/etc.

    7. Jessi*

      Could you have a weekly event? I have an interesting relationship with my mum but the thing we like to do is go for coffee.

      Could you set up a weekly movie/show and then go for dinner/ dessert/ coffee afterwards? I think this does a couple of things a) sets up the expectation, b) decreases your stress as you can talk about the show/movie while you dinner/dessert/coffee c) allows you to ‘jump the gun’ so you can do the asking ‘hey mum really looking forwards to seeing your at our monday movie and dinner – can you still make it? so it breaks the pattern of them asking and your declining and also d) allows you an easy out/ redirect. “Oh I can’t do dinner tonight. I’m really looking forwards to seeing you monday night for our dinner and a show – can you still make it? I’ve got tickets to X”

      1. annon*

        Or if weekly’s too much for you, nothing wrong with doing this biweekly or monthly too.

        I like the idea of this kind of recurring scheduled event, actually. Not only does it give you the easy out, it gives them something regular to look forward to. It might work best, especially since you don’t have a lot of conversational topics in common, if you make it something special that you wouldn’t ordinarily do (like a movie or a fancier dinner out than typical) – which also gives them something to look forward to and makes them feel like they’re being treated well, which makes them less likely to have problems with the arrangement.

      2. SophieChotek*

        Thanks – yes, that’s a good idea – we used to have that (a weekly TV show we all watched) – maybe once it comes back on again we can try to do that…

    8. Bryce*

      I’ve found that when I visit my parents (3 hours away, so close enough for a long weekend every couple of months) the dynamic makes me “the kid” even though I’m 35, but when we interact somewhere away from home turf, when Mom comes up here for a concert and we meet for coffee, for example, we’re able to interact on an equal adult level. It doesn’t exactly answer your question, but if you’re looking to connect with them in a different way changing the setting might work.

    9. ST*

      I felt the same way about my parents (particularly my Mom) When she would call (regularly) I’d kind of hold the phone away from my ear and concentrate on something else. And then she got a really aggressive form of Alzheimer’s and was gone in about two years. I’d give almost anything for her to call and bore me again.


      1. SophieChotek*

        Thanks – ST – and exactly what you said that totally freaks me out too — I don’t want to “push them away” and then regret not spending more time later. (My mom is going through a similar thing with my Grandma…)

    10. Asterix*

      Especially as an adult, you have a right to also live your life in an enjoyable way, without having to do what pleases your parents. It took time, but eventually the guilt went away when I realized this. You weren’t born to forever please your parents. Once a week is plenty. I also don’t know how much time you spend when you see them, but you can try to shorten it. If you stay all day, hop over for dinner and hang out with them for 2 hours max. And I think it’s also ok to talk about your interests, even if in that instance you bore them. It takes practice, but do remind yourself that you can set limits, that even though you are their child, you are also your own self, and an adult.

  8. MsChanandlerBong*

    We have a problem with trespassers coming into our yard and climbing over our fence to get to the restaurant next door. The fence is 9+ feet tall, so I am worried about liability if anyone gets injured. I’m also tired of hearing people scuttle through the yard in the middle of the night. We can’t put up barbed wire, per local ordinance. The police suggested we put up no-trespassing signs, but they can’t do anything unless they catch someone in the act. Any suggestions, or are we just supposed to put up with random people jumping over our (locked) front gate and then scaling the fence in the back yard?

    1. Amadeo*

      Put up a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign? Especially if they’re going through at night and they can’t really tell if there’s a dog in there or not. ;)

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        We had one, but it was inconvenient because the UPS drivers and postal carriers would not deliver our packages when it was up.

    2. nep*

      I like the ‘beware of dog’ sign idea.
      Perhaps prominent signs that area is under camera surveillance? (Is it legal to put those whether under camera surveillance or not?)

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I don’t see why you couldn’t put up a sign about cameras. There used to be (maybe still is) companies who made these signs.

        Def consider doing what the police say to do. I think that will be in your favor for insurance purposes also. Then ask the police to patrol regularly.

        I would also talk to the manager/owner of the restaurant. Maybe you can join forces.

    3. annon*

      What helped with us (locked fenced yard bordering a school, popular cut-through for kids going to/from it) was roaring out to confront them every time. Had to do it a few times, but we never caught the same person doing it twice, and after a few months, word apparently got around and it became pretty rare. We’re talking full on lights in the face if it was dark, stern raised voice, phone in hand, and not letting them complete their walk, but making them turn around and leave. And a lot of shaming of the “who the hell are you and what the hell are you thinking?” variety, loudly enough to attract attention from neighbors.

      Obviously, only do that if you feel safe enough to do so. I’d also call the police every time, in case they can catch someone nearby, and I’d definitely put up the no-trespassing signs. I’d also consider asking neighbors about how to handle it or posting on community forums, if there are any, in a kind of “this keeps happening, how do I protect myself?” way. And keep asking any relevant people what you are legally allowed or required to do to protect your property, etc. You say you can’t do barbed wire, but there may be other things you can do, beyond signs. I might even keep bothering all relevant people about the possibility of harm to myself/theft because a lot of people don’t think trespassing is that bad.

      Worse comes to worse, if it’s legal and you’re comfortable doing this, I’d honestly consider getting a gun. Not to shoot people, but so that when you confront the trespassers it is clear you’re serious. (We never had to do this – kids are fairly easy to scare, esp. if they know you know their parents – but we had friends whose house bordered a popular area to get drunk/high, and they had to resort to this.) Too many trespassers treat people lightly unless they think they might actually suffer consequences. Or, if you’re so inclined, get a dog.

      The most creative solution I ever saw was the guy who planted a four-foot-wide bed of cacti around all his fences. It wouldn’t stop someone getting through the gate – he obviously needed access to his own yard somehow – but it did make people think twice about jumping the fence anywhere else.

        1. MsChanandlerBong*

          Good idea! I live in the desert, so cacti are common here.

          Every time I see someone doing it, I yell out the door that they are trespassing. Unfortunately, the type of person who thinks it’s okay to trespass on private property is not generally the type of person who cares if someone yells at them.

          1. annon*

            Yeah, no one cares if you’re just yelling. We’d make it very clear we had a phone and were prepared to use it – fingers on the buttons – and we’d always go out and physically block/chase the kids and (except for a couple who were fast enough) blocked their way and left them no option but to go back the way they’d come. Being yelled at isn’t an inconvenience for them – not being able to take their shortcut is. Getting the cops called on them is, unless they’re really confident the cops won’t bother them.

            Though, we were dealing mostly with kids, and we were pretty confident none of our trespassers were going to hurt us. Dealing with a bunch of adults, I don’t know if I’d feel safe enough to do that.

          2. Bryce*

            As a bonus xeriscaping looks nice in the desert and conserves water, and I’m sure there are humorous “Beware of Cactus” signs out there on the internet.

              1. Mallory Janis Ian*

                That’s exactly what I was thinking: turn the [motion-activated] hose on them. Maybe have a wet slip ‘n’ slide under the fence for them to land on when they jump over. Then they’d slide flat onto their backs AND get the hose turned on them. And then you could come out and yell in their faces about what the h they think they’re doing, who the h they think they are, etc., etc.

                1. Lindsay J*

                  This sounds fun but if she’s already worried about possible liability due to injury, I don’t think sticking something slippery at the bottom of the fence is a great solution.

          3. nonegiven*

            Take your phone and get pictures. When you call the police, you can tell them where to find the trespasser and email the picture.

            1. E*

              Buy a game camera, they are motion activated and take night pics. Send pics to police. No need to go outside or interact with these trespassers in person.

        2. Tris Prior*

          I love it too! Natural deterrents are great. My mother had an issue with teens hopping her fence and smoking up in a secluded corner of her back yard. She dumped a big pile of manure and mushroom compost (super stinky!) there. No more teens smoking up in her yard after that!

    4. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      Put up no trespass signs and throw a beware of dog in there too (You don’t need the actual dog but maybe a few accessories that make it look like a BIG dog lives there). Get a motion activated light in the spots where they like to jump over. Or try running the sprinklers at the times they are most likely to tresspass.

    5. The IT Manager*

      WTH? Why do so many people think climbing over a 9 ft tall fence a good idea? Is it a really long walk around and there didn’t used to be a fence?

      Is it possibly employees that get to work that way? Maybe mention it to the restaurant owner/manager.

      Other than that the thought process to hop a fence is so bizarre that I can’t imagine anything except maybe a large vicious dog would keep people out.

      1. annon*

        There are a surprisingly large number of people who have taken “the shortest distance between two points is a straight line” to heart. From my personal experience the only way to get them to stop was to make it far more inconvenient to deal with us than it was for them to go around.

        I also know at least one person furious at the concept of private ownership of property – unless it’s his, of course. He regularly goes on rants about how fences prevent him from walking where he pleases and enjoying the nature in their yards, and he blows off any concerns people have about their own rights as being brainwashed by capitalists.

        On a related tangent: this is why my father eventually moved out of the house where he had a pool – it was too hard to deal with the neighborhood kids who would go through any barrier he could come up with to get to it, and he was responsible if they got in and got hurt. Didn’t matter if it was a solid wood, locked, high fence and they’d cut through the bottom of it – didn’t matter that it wasn’t their property and they should know to stay out. He was told, repeatedly, that the kids might’ve trespassed but if they got in his barrier wasn’t good enough and that was on him. I always vaguely wondered what would’ve happened if he had gotten a dog and it bit one of the trespassing kids.

      2. MsChanandlerBong*

        I have no idea why they do it. We live at the end of a cul-de-sac, so there are no other streets nearby. It’s not like we live next to an alley and it makes perfect sense for people to walk through as a shortcut. There’s literally NO reason for anyone to be on this street unless they live here, are visiting, or they make a wrong turn (we get lots of people turning around in the cul-de-sac because they don’t realize there is no outlet).

        1. annon*

          That makes me wonder if their GPS is leading them wrong. Not that it excuses trespassing, at all, but I’ve been taken down some weird routes by GPS or some of the online maps, including once trying to walk to work only to discover that the supposed sidewalk right up to the strip mall was, in fact, a tiny little unpaved track through a creek.

          1. fposte*

            I was wondering the same thing–Ms. C, have you run some routes via Google Maps, for instance, to see if they lead them through your yard?

          2. Mrs. Fenris*

            There is a sign near a dead end on St. John, USVI that says something like “This is a dead end. Google Maps is WRONG. There is no access to North Shore Road through here.” Google Maps is indeed very glitchy on that island and I guess the residents got tired of it.

          3. nonegiven*

            That would sure be something to check. Pick an address at the entrance to your cul de sac and ask Google for directions to the restaurant.

        2. LCL*

          That tells me that the trespassers are neighborhood kids/teens that aren’t driving. Also the fact that climbing a 9′ fence is easier for them than walking around. I think you should contact the restaurant owner and brainstorm.

          1. LCL*

            And get a sign at the head of the cul de sac ‘no through traffic to yellow brick road’. And a sign on your fence ‘road ends, no access to yellow brick road’

      3. Elizabeth West*

        Well, we did this in college to cut through a cemetery on the way to the mall, but it really WAS a long walk around. I would not even think of cutting through someone’s back yard, however.

        1. MsChanandlerBong*

          If it weren’t for the fence, I wouldn’t care too much about this as long as they weren’t littering or causing problems. I can empathize with someone who has a long walk to work or school. It’s the fact that a) they have to climb over a locked gate to get into the yard, so there is NO mistaking the yard for an alley or public walkway, and b) the fence is not in great condition, and I worry that someone will be injured and end up suing us (we rent, so it’s not our property yet, but we did add extra liability insurance to our rental policy in case something happens).

    6. Candy*

      Maybe a motion sensor light will discourage them? (Or if you’re really fed up — motion sensor sprinklers!)

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I have seen them at garden supply stores, they are used to discourage deer and other critters. This could be an interesting solution.

    7. annon*

      Also, is it worth talking to the restaurant management over this? I’m not sure what they could do – they aren’t the boss of their customers – but it’s possible they might be one of those places with a pretty close clientele or where management often chats with customers, and they might be able to mention it. I do find myself wondering if they have sufficient parking for their customers, or if they’re like many restaurants where I lived in college that have no or very weird, hard-to-access (or even find!) lots. If that’s the case, it’s possible they could make it clear where customers are expected to park.

      If it is the same people doing it over and over, and they live in your neighborhood and are just being lazy, I’d consider going over to their house and talking to them in person.

    8. Sawcebox*

      That sounds really frustrating! Why are people willing to go to the trouble of scaling a 9 foot fence in order to get to the restaurant? I’m assuming the alternative is a very long walk or something?

      Are you allowed anti-climb paint?

        1. LCL*

          I googled it. I was impressed. But the temperature range it gave was up to 35c, which the internetz said was 95F. The southwest US sees temps as high as 115F. Talk to the manufacturer before you spend the money.

          1. Sawcebox*

            Ah, maybe that’s why several people on this site seem not to have heard of it. It’s pretty common here in Ireland and in the UK. 35C is unheard of here!

    9. Yetanotherjennifer*

      What about thorny bushes? Raspberries, roses, etc. I’ve got raspberries growing on the north side of my house and they do fine so I wouldn’t worry too much about sun exposure. And cacti as mentioned earlier is also good. There’s all sorts of winter hardy ones if you live in a cold climate.

      Or how about a motion activated sprinkler?

      Definitely look into the legality of these things since you are essentially setting traps for people. Maybe the bushes don’t have to be thorny: bulky and in the way could be enough.

      1. annon*

        Thing is, roses, blackberries, etc. are perfectly acceptable things to put in your own yard. I would be pretty damn angry if I were told that I couldn’t put normal, common plants in my yard because a bunch of trespassers might get injured. By the same logic, you couldn’t own a dog if you got it to ward off trespassers. At least the raspberry bushes won’t chase you.

        Though I generally despise laws or rules that make it illegal to deter other illegal acts. Putting thorny bushes on my side of a fence, putting excess spice in food in my own lunchbox, the idea that I have to take some consideration for people who are themselves doing something wrong is galling. I mean, yes, don’t murder them. Don’t put rat poison in your lunch, don’t put an alligator moat under your fence. But it seems to me that if you trespass/steal/break into my stuff, you deserve what you get, and if you didn’t want consequences you shouldn’t have done it in the first place. Otherwise, it puts the rights of the criminal above the rights of their victim, which is disgusting to me.

        1. boop the first*

          This is great, the ONLY problem with it, is the time it takes for them to get large enough to be a deterrent. Before then, it will be extra sad when people break and enter and then trample every poor little plant that never got a chance.

        1. annon*

          Yes. Either that or my grandpa rigged something. It’s a damn good way to piss off your neighbors, though if you point out to them every time they get upset that it only goes off with trespassers, it might be worth it.

          Just, if you do the motion-activated stuff, especially bright floodlights or sounds, try to make it so that it doesn’t go off for common animals or rain/wind. Please. I had one neighbor with really sensitive floodlights pointed right at my house, and so at night you basically couldn’t look out the back windows without the risk of being blinded.

          On the motion-sensor stuff, I am wondering about trail cams. If you snapped photos of the trespassers would the cops take it more seriously? I suppose if the reason they’re not arresting them is because they lack proof, that might be a solution.

        2. nep*

          That would be great. Sure, it would perhaps disturb the owners and neighbours, but probably would have to be activated only once or twice to get the job done. Does this exist?

    10. Anono-me*

      Blackberry, Baybery and Yuca plants.

      No trespassing/not responsible for injuries signs.

      “Holy guacamole, that’s bright!” motion sensor lights.

      Motion triggered recording of dog from Cujo. (Only if you don’t have a dog, but I don’t think you do.)

      Security cameras. *

      Talk to the restaurant. This is their problem, but your pain. Make it clear that you will be escalating the issue to the city licensing department and if it is a chain restaurant that you will escalate to corporate.

      Complain to corporate if this is a chain.

      Complain to the city licensing department. See if any neighbors have complaints and try to get them to file complaints also. Most restaurants in or adjacent to residential areas have strict license requirement to minimize the business’s impact on people’s homes.

      *Pictures will be good if it is the same few people doing this regularly and especially if they are restaurant employees. (How many people regularly dress up to go out to dinner and scale a couple of 9 foot fences each way? I know that being asked to dinner and then having being in amateur American Ninja Warrior sprung on me would not go well.)

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        It’s a fast-food place, so nobody is dressing up. :) It’s also a chain, so I could go to corporate if necessary.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          The company may have a “good neighbor” policy in place. One company here is diligent about taking care of property lines such as installing fences and periodically replacing the fences. They also do mowing and plant things to help with a good neighbor relationship.

    11. AvonLady Barksdale*

      If you lived near me, I would loan you my dog for a few nights. He is sweet as pie and extremely gentle, but when people approach the house, his bark sounds really fierce. Impractical, I know. I love the motion-sensor sprinkler idea, quite frankly…

      1. annon*

        Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I think the sprinkler idea is utterly brilliant. Not only does it soak them so they are probably going to be uncomfortable sitting in a restaurant, it makes them pretty easy to identify unless it’s raining or the restaurant frequently tosses water on its patrons. It also doesn’t remotely hurt anyone, so the likelihood of you getting in any trouble over it is very low, and, well, plants need water anyway.

        Though the kids in my previous neighborhood would’ve run through on dares/when it was hot, so it could be just exchanging one problem for another.

    12. Temperance*

      Can you put up those things that deter pigeons? Not technically barbed wire, but would hurt if some dumbass tried to climb it.

      1. Undine*

        OOh, there’s sticky stuff for pigeons, gets all over your hands and clothes. You could put it on the top of the fence. The brand I’ve heard of is Roost No More.

    13. Anon anon anon*

      Plant thorny vines that will drape over the fence so people won’t even bother. You’re not brainwashed by capitalists; you love nature.

      Also, I’m pretty sure it’s legal to film or photograph things that happen on your own property. How about motion activated cameras? You could say they’re for wildlife. But I think all it would take is one public online post saying something like, “Look what our wildlife camera picked up last night! We got some great shots of racoons and barn owls and also Dr. Fergus tumbling over the fence at 1:00 in the morning. Is that a wine stain on his shirt? And who are those other people? I don’t recognize them. Maybe you can help.”

    14. ST*

      Motion activated flood lights helped me stop similar.

      Motion activated camera is also a useful tool (along with a sign indicating pics are going to the police and charges will be made).

    15. boop the first*

      If it gets to the point where you’re super desperate, maybe move the fence inward a couple of feet and leave a little sidepath? The situation sounds just awful and I think the restaurant should take more responsibility…

      I’m trying to imagine how on earth climbing around private yards seems like a reasonable alternative to JUST GOING TO THE RESTAURANT. Does the restaurant have a moat in the front? Is it facing the edge of a cliff and people just drop off to their death if they leave through the front? Is it turned backwards? Do you live in a weird dream?

    16. Kelly*

      I wanna know what they are selling at that restaurant!! It would take a LOT for me to even consider scaling a 9ft fence to get to food. That just seems absurd.

  9. AvonLady Barksdale*

    Last Saturday night, I was attending an outdoor event and I stepped into a hard-to-see hole in the lawn. At the time, I was just a little scraped up; thankfully, I was wearing loafers, not heels, and the wine I spilled on myself was white. I also stained my white jeans, but they were super cheap and it was the end of the summer, so no harm done, right?

    Wrong. Big, fat wrong. After Rosh Hashanah services on Wednesday evening, I came home and couldn’t walk without difficulty, nor could I bend my knee without pain. I was already dealing with some runner’s knee issues, and apparently fall just bungled everything up. On Thursday afternoon, after another day of services, including one where we all walked– wearing sneakers!– to a stream, I went to the orthopedic urgent care. All ligaments are intact, but I have some arthritis (normal) and some bad inflammation. I’m on a very strong anti-inflammatory and doing much better, but I can only be on my feet for about 30 minutes before I start to have pain and stiffness in my knee again. I am stubborn, so I cleaned my bathroom and kitchen this morning, but now I’m elevating with Call the Midwife on in the background. This is annoying more than anything. BLECH.

    1. Becca*

      ACK, that sucks! It’s never fun to get injured but right before the high holidays… yikes.

      Shana tova. I hope you’re recovered soon!

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Shana tova to you too! And thank you. You know what really sucked? I had an aliyah! The one where you walk around with the Torah. I managed just fine, but man, the knee put a damper on things.

    2. fposte*

      Ouch! Do you have a knee brace? I swear by those; they handle stabilizing the joint for me when I can’t. It’s a bit fiddly figuring out what’s the best for your particular situation, but drugstore ones can be a fine place to start.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I do have one! I was using it for the runner’s knee issue, but with the inflammation it was just unbearable. Once all the swelling goes down, I’ll be back in it… and cursing the gods of Neoprene because I hate that stuff.

    3. Triplestep*

      Ugh, sorry this happened to you.

      I have been dealing with joint pain in one knee, and Achilles tendinitis in the opposite leg. I can’t take anti-inflammatories, so I eliminated a few things from my diet and it really seemed to help. I think wheat, dairy and sugar elimination did the most good. I have since gone back to eating a little dairy and sugar on occasion, and I still seem to be OK.

      I also discovered that completely flat shoes made the pain worse – wearing something with a small wedge and not sitting for long periods of time at work really helped. Might have had something to do with just keeping things moving, lubricated and kind of warmed up.

      L’shana Tova; hope you’re feeling better by Yom Kippur. (Lots of sitting and standing required, but hey at least it’s a complete elimination diet!)

    4. Anoa*

      Ugh, that sucks. I had whiplash from a low speed crash in may, and it took z couple of months to get over fully. Rest and physical therapy helped a lot. I aggravated it when I’d continue to push through and garden/do chores. Rest if you can- it can make recovery much quicker.

  10. Candy*

    I’m 37 and planning to go back to school. So come Spring I’m going to be sitting in classes with 19 year olds. Not to mention, I already work at the university so I’m also going to be going from being a peer with many faculty to their student. Has anyone else done this? Is it going to be as awful as I imagine?

    1. Lady Jay*

      Good for you, for going back to school! Will you go full time or part time, switching back & forth between working and studenting?

      As for the being 37-in-a-group-of-19-year-olds thing, yeah, that can be awkward. But the 19 year olds will benefit from having you there; the older students in my classes (I teach first-year college coursework) are always great students, with insightful things to say, and are sometimes a good role model to the younger students of being mature, and of pursuing goals. Also, even if you feel like you’re the only one, you’re not really; a family member of mine is nearly 60 and is going back to school for a certificate that will allow her to be a nurse’s assistant. She’s in the class with a bunch of people in their early 20s.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I agree. I was 34 when I first went to college. Most of my classmates were in the 19-22 range, with a few older ones (older than me, too). I was worried, too, but it actually worked out well. There’s an advantage to being the older/oldest one in the class, because the others can learn from you. You’ve been there, done that and can offer some great insights. I ended up really liking that I was the oldest one, because when it came to group projects they all wanted me. :) And that was Not The Case in high school and elementary school, so it was pretty nice. And when it came to a group project, I found that they usually looked at me for guidance. But that also means if someone is slacking off on their part of the assignment, you’re usually the one that gets elected to speak to them. I had to drop someone from the group once and it wasn’t fun. But she wasn’t doing anything she was supposed to do, so…

        Good luck!

    2. Amadeo*

      I took some classes a year and a half or so ago at 35. I was staff at a university, not faculty, but it was fine. I was one of five women in a Java programming class and developed a small crowd of young men who would sit around because I had nearly 20 years on them and the life skills required to actually figure some stuff out. There were a couple admitting to getting A’s in the class because of me. LOL.

      You’ll be fine! It’s not bad at all.

      1. Candy*

        I just imagined you looking like that dana scully gif where she has half a dozen men trying to light her cigarette

        1. Amadeo*

          LOL, not quite, but I was always the first go-to before they bothered to ask the instructor (who was brilliant, but had a little bit of a language barrier and also suffered that trait that some very smart people who are very good at logic things like math have of not quite being sure why you don’t get it and don’t know how to help you get it).

    3. Red*

      I’ve been a 16 year old college student sitting next to an 82 year old student. It was really valuable to have the variety of perspectives in the class. Just remember that you are important.

    4. Forrest Rhodes*

      Good on ya, Candy. I think you’re going to love the whole experience. I was 40 years old on my first day of college, and as a full-time student with two part-time jobs.

      I spent the first two weeks eating lunch alone in my car because I was sure nobody would want to talk to the geezer, but quickly found out I was wrong—the class material itself was a great leveler. It didn’t matter that my eventual study buddies were 19, 26, and 34 years old; we were all wrestling with the rate-of-change problems in the Calculus homework, or with assigning a part of speech to every word in the poem “The Jabberwock” for English. Discussions in History classes were great—my own older family members’ personal stories of WWII and the Great Depression raised topics that the younger students had never considered (or, in the case of one exchange student, about which they’d been sadly misinformed).

      Also, the half-my-age students were in awe of the history I’d experienced personally—for instance, that I was actually alive during Watergate—and they couldn’t stop asking questions about it. Most of my teachers said they loved having the more grownup students in class because of the perspectives that the elders added to the discussions. One of my professors referred to his older students as “commandos”; he said, “They’re here for the learning, and they’re not going to let [the teacher] out the door until they get it!”

      And it wasn’t like I was monopolizing every class—my student colleagues taught me a lot as well. Not room enough here to talk about all of it.

      Sorry to go on at such length, but again, I think you’re going to really enjoy the process in addition to obtaining your degree. It’s tough (organizing class schedules with the needs of work and family, for instance); but it’s energizing, you learn fascinating stuff, and it’ll take you in directions you haven’t even thought of yet. My current circumstances don’t permit it, but given the slightest chance I’d start on another degree tomorrow just to be on a campus again and inside the academic environment.

      All the best to you.

    5. Yetanotherjennifer*

      My husband did that at 40+ and it was fine. He was one o 3 or 4 “old guys” in each of his programs. Everyone knew his name after orientation — he’s also just one of those memorable guys. Professors appreciate students who can offer another perspective. Yes, some of those kids will seem painfully young but one of my best friends is 15 years older than me and you’d never realize there’s an age difference.

      What you’ll really notice is stage of life difference. My husband was the only student in his program to be married with a child and a mortgage. Student health insurance was designed for healthy 18-year-olds. I once dated someone who had gone straight from undergrad to grad school while I was in the work world, and yes, he was immature, but a big piece of our problems were in the difference in lifestyles.

      Honestly, I think you’ll forget about the age and lifestyle difference pretty quickly and just see your classmates as individuals.

    6. Temperance*

      It will be fine! Just don’t do the thing I’ve seen many adult learners do where they just keep participating in class to talk about their children / life experience when it’s not relevant. You’ll be great!

    7. NoMoreMrFixit*

      Just completed 4 semesters at college full time. I’m 55. Most of the time I was older than the prof. Some of the biggest challenges I found were centered around group work. The other students expected me to take charge each and every time. No matter how hard I pushed back for someone else to take up the mantle for once. Managing a bunch of kids was unpleasant due to lack of work ethic. One major project I got the last person’s contribution at 5am the day we were to present it. I warned the prof in advance that our project was going to be uneven due to the lack of cooperation from some of the other people. Fortunately I got marked separately from the rest of the group due to warning the prof in advance of the troubles.

      Technology is far more pervasive. Never used notebooks. Everything was done on my laptop. In many courses everything was done in powerpoint so we just downloaded the slideshow and made notes using the speaker notes function.

      Tests were all done using bubble cards. Very few essay type exams. Instead it’s mostly multiple choice which I fully admit I hate with a passion.

      Working at the school likely saves you from getting nickeled and dimed with fees for everything. I found they had a fee for everything but breathing.

      Ultimately it depends why you are going back to school. If it’s for the love of learning you will likely greatly enjoy it. I went back to college for a hoped for career change. Discovered I hate the field so now I’m looking at going back to what I was doing for a living previously.

    8. Nacho*

      It’s not that unusual for people your age to go back to school anymore. I know I had a few in my classes. If they ever found it awkward, they never let it show, and the rest of us didn’t really pay them any mind. Except for one guy who used to operate a nuclear submarine for the navy before going to school to get a degree in chemistry. It was obvious that everything we were learning was beneath him, and he acted as an unofficial TA for most of the classes he was in. Everyone loved him.

    9. Chameleon*

      I went back to school at 30, and it was actually quite nice. Like many have said, the classwork is a great leveler–everyone is at the same place with regard to the material. Being older made me more confident and more driven so I could engage in the material with a lot more interest.

      And speaking as current faculty–yes, your profs will treat you as a student, but as an adult student. After the class is over, they should resume more of a peer-type relationship. I would look forward to it–best decision of my life!

    10. Fake old Converse shoes*

      I’m 28 and once a week I share a classroom with a bunch of 18 y.o. boys that are definitely NOT interested in studying. A couple of weeks ago I had some sharp words with one that claimed that optional coursework is for losers. I don’t know who is more annoyed, the professor or me.

    11. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I taught graduate classes as an adjunct and loved having more experienced adults in my class! They brought real-world experience to the discussions which was really helpful.

    12. Kat*

      Not me, but my dad went back to college after I was born, when he was in his mid 40’s. He was older than some of his professors, even. He said it helped that he didn’t live on campus, and that he never really felt connected to the other students, but at that point he also didn’t really mind. Ended up with his masters and a good teaching job until he retired.

    13. Pam*

      You go! We older students tend to be the curve busters- we have already learned to buckle down and work.

      Mine was the opposite of yours- I returned for a degree and then started workng. It was fine. Out of courtesy to the other students, I would call them by title in class, unless they invite all students to use first names.

    14. Elizabeth West*

      Nah, I’ve been a non-traditional student twice, and I had classes with them when I was in music school fresh out of HS. It is not awful. You’ll all be doing the same class work, and that’s a great leveler.

    15. many bells down*

      I did! It was actually great. Well, I didn’t work at the university but I was of an age with a lot of my professors (pretty sure I had a few years on one of my math profs). I loved going back to school; sadly, we had to move for my husband’s job before I was able to finish.

    16. Not That Jane*

      I did something similar: went back to community college classes full time for a year to update my teaching credential. I was 30, most of my peers were 18, and I went from being a teacher of 18-year-olds to sitting in class next to them. (Not the same people, just the same age group.)

      I didn’t find it awful, in general. A few things that helped were:
      (1) I stopped putting pressure on myself to “make friends” in my classes. I can be very social and usually want to interact with classmates, but it just didn’t work with the age difference.
      (2) I felt very free to turn down any “want to be in a study group?” requests that seemed too one-sided to me. I’m a very good student, plus having the 12 additional years of maturity, made me attractive as a “study buddy” to kids who didn’t want to do as much work. I Noped the heck out of that.
      (3) paradoxically, though, unnoticed I also felt more comfortable if the professors also knew I was a high school teacher. It felt like I could interact adult-to-adult and educator-to-educator, which helped me not feel as much like a misfit in their classes.

      Good luck!!

    17. Kerr*

      As a young student, I always enjoyed having older fellow students in my classes. They brought extra experience and knowledge with them, and quite often their skills wowed the entire class. Beyond that, I don’t think anyone cared – it was certainly never An Issue in any class I attended.

  11. nep*

    Stepped out of the comfort zone this morning and I’m so glad I did (as is generally the case). I’d known about this place for a long time — it’s a nearby gym that does Olympic lifting training. I’ve done a few lifting clinics in the past and I work on some of the moves on my own, but I’m still very much a rookie.
    I tend to sit at home and talk myself out of doing That New Thing…going to that unfamiliar place where I don’t know anyone and I’ll be clumsy and everyone will be super fit and perfect wonder what the hell I’m doing there.
    None of that. Everyone was great (of course). Coaches sweet and super helpful. Lifts were made, lifts were missed. I learned some great technique tips. All around an excellent couple of hours. I’m grateful.
    Sooooo glad I didn’t give in to the pathetic little voice in my head this morning.

    1. Annie Mouse*

      From a fellow ‘little voice that says “why bother, you won’t fit in”‘ fighter this last week or so, well done! Glad you had fun.

      I went to the local climbing wall last week to join in their ‘come and climb, you don’t need a partner’ night, only to find it wasn’t on. The people who go were there anyway so I offered an introduction, and I nearly said no. Sooo glad I didn’t as I had a great night, and went back this week :)

    2. Ms Ida*

      My little voice also has a lot of excuses for not doing new things. good for you ignoring it and doing something new. It sounds like a lot of fun!

      1. nep*

        Truly, that little voice has all the excuses. I was sitting here at the computer about 15 minutes before I would have to get going…thinking, ‘Who are you kidding? You’re not going.’ I got so sick of this wussy awful thing inside that is NOT ME, not who I want to be…I got up, got dressed, and off I went. The more I can slay that voice the better.

  12. Jules the First*

    Grumpy about all the press complaining about Uber’s licence being pulled in London. Rant beginning…

    People! If you cannot take an Uber, you have alternatives! Yes, you can take a black cab (eye-wateringly expensive if you’re going outside zone 1), the night tube (patchy coverage), or the night bus (only in a large group!) but there’s also this lovely invention called a mini cab.

    You book it using an app, you pay via the app and get a receipt by email, they text you when they arrive (so no waiting outside), you can track the journey, someone always knows where you are, you get the driver’s name and phone number and plate number, you pay a fixed fare (no surge!)…and you get a driver who’s licensed, insured, and passed a criminal background check. Number of passengers raped last year in a mini cab? Zero. Number of passengers raped last year in an Uber? 32.

    Uber deserves to have its licence pulled if it’s not willing to comply with safety regulations.

    Rant over…

    1. Ange*

      Yeah, I was a bit surprised by that. I mean, people managed to travel around London before Uber….
      Plus it is clearly Uber’s fault for being dodgy and not TfL’s for trying to keep people safe.

    2. annon*

      It’s not just the safety regs for passengers that make me think they deserve to get their license pulled, but how they treat their drivers, too. And while I don’t know specifically if this is a problem with Uber, I know other “sharing economy” businesses like AirBnB have issues with dodging taxes, which I also think is inexcusable. (Nobody likes paying taxes, dammit, but pay your share anyway or go somewhere else. Taxes pay for society.)

      I have a lot of problems with the Uber/AirBnB sharing economy stuff. Maybe I’m an awful cynic, but the more I hear the less I like or trust them.

    3. Becca*

      I heard about it on NPR last night. What really gets my eyes rolling is how Uber tries to pin the blame on taxis and a “small but loud” group of people “maligning” Uber’s name… as if they weren’t doing it to themselves!

      1. Jules the First*

        In London. I was just looking at the statistics the other day, trying to explain to a friend why I will happily use a car service or mini cab but won’t uber (or Air BnB for that matter).

    4. Parenthetically*

      I had the same feeling. Like look, if you’re not willing to comply with rules and regs, you can’t complain if your license gets pulled. Everyone needs to be subject to safety regs and it’s so bizarre to me that that’s controversial.

      1. annon*

        I really hate the idea, which seems to be common among a certain stripe of entrepreneur, that rules only exist to be broken by a creative/daring enough person. It’s uncomfortably similar to the mindset a lot of toxic, entitled people have, that rules are for sheep, for common folk, for people who aren’t them, and that the only purpose they serve is to allow the rulebreakers to exploit others’ general willingness to follow rules. It’s con-man thinking.

        1. Parenthetically*

          Agreed. I’m not much of a conformist myself (I’m a “Questioner” in Gretchen Rubin’s four tendencies framework), but rules like this exist — and work! — to protect the actual safety of actual humans. They’re not burdensome over-regulation of creative, out-of-the-box thinking. They stop people from getting raped. It shouldn’t be hard to get on board with them.

          1. annon*

            Exactly. Are there stupid rules? Sure. But rules aren’t generally put in place just to cramp your style, and approaching things with some thought and some empathy for all the other human beings in the picture is necessary. It’s the lack of empathy that really gets to me about these people – thinking that striking it rich or whatever matters more than the actual safety or rights of others.

            And even if the law is stupid, breaking it comes with consequences. Maybe ones you consider worth paying, but don’t whine when consequences happen.

            1. Anon anon anon*

              It’s that attitude of, “Rules are for everyone except really smart/rich/special people like me,” that’s so messed up and irritating. “The rules don’t apply if you can get away with breaking them.” “The rules don’t apply if you can hire a really good lawyer or rely on your connections to get you out of stuff.” It’s social Darwinism.

              Questioning and disagreeing with rules is a whole different thing. It doesn’t have to go with the idea that rules are for some people but not others.

              1. annon*

                Yep, exactly. Like the rich person who speeds because they know they can afford the fines, if anyone even bothers to ticket them. They get a rush out of it and get to show off how powerful they are, so who cares if a bunch of plebes get run off the road?

                It’s lawbreaking as status-symbol or lawbreaking as a weird form of gumption, and I’m not sure which explanation angers me more.

          2. nep*

            Same. I’m the first one to scoff at what seem like arbitrary rules. I’m quite a non-conformist. But I’ve always said that when it comes to traffic/driving, hooray for rules. It’s about keeping people alive. Hell even *with* the rules people do stupid stuff behind the wheel and put others in danger. Some rules are indispensable, and what’s needed sometimes is stricter enforcement.

          3. AcademiaNut*

            Plus, people look and go “ooh, that’s cheap!” and don’t stop to think that a lot of those regulations were built up over decades (or centuries) because of Bad Things that happened. Like the fact that hotels have stricter regulations than private houses when it comes to things like fire safety, for example. Or for that matter, discovering that an AirBnB customer counts as a tenant after a certain amount of time, and has to be formally evicted by a lengthy process if they refuse to pay.

            Uber got fined and kicked out of Taiwan for evading required fees, and then rebranded and is trying again. And the thing is, cabs in Taipei are cheap and convenient. I came out of a party with a friend, and he proudly explained his Uber app and showed how he could see that the car was coming in 8 minutes. Then I waved good-bye, hopped in taxi and left him to wait.

            In the US, there’s litigation over whether Uber drivers count as employees or contractors. They’re currently treated as the latter, which means that they aren’t eligible for minimum wage or unemployment insurance (or any other benefits like work-based health insurance), and have to pay all their own payroll taxes.

            1. Mike C.*

              In my industry, you can trace so many different regulations back to specific air crashes. I’ve heard old timers say “FAA regs are written in blood” and to a certain extent is have to agree with them.

              1. Lindsay J*

                Yup, I’ve heard that saying loads of times.

                S0metimes I get annoyed because it seems like the industry as a whole is more reactionary than it is pro-active. However, I guess being reactionary and passing laws and regulations after the fact is better than not doing anything about the issue at all.

                And it stops me from grumbling to myself about how stupid it is that I can’t ship PBEs aboard an aircraft when I think “well, we don’t want another ValuJet 592”. Sometimes the rules are really really important.

        2. Anon anon anon*

          Exactly. Very well put. And you encounter this mentality all over society, from high up in the corporate world to every day low lifes running scams and conning people. It’s a good thing to watch out for – that attitude of entitlement.

        3. Mike C.*

          But it’s ~ disruption ~!!

          Then they start talking about wanting to enter really heavily regulated industries with “biohacking” and “Uber for helicopters with ‘independent’ pilots who only need sport licenses.” The latter actually comes from an Uber white paper and the dude who posted it was livid when I pointed out the numerous ways it would be illegal or get people killed. Either that or it was because I started to throw around the term “investor story time”.

          1. annon*

            I keep thinking of what one of my favorite teachers told me – that you have to understand the rules of grammar before you break them. I think that’s what bothers me so much with these people: they don’t have any sense of why the rules they break exist, just that they are stopping them from doing what they want.

            It’s one thing to break a rule thoughtfully, having thought out the reasons and consequences. It’s another to just be like “hell with rules” and do whatever you want.

          2. Lindsay J*

            Jesus fucking Christ.

            Like I can get how people can think that personal drones or even ones for commercial use are NBD. I mean, they are, but on the surface they seem innocent enough.

            But Uber via helicopter with underlicensed pilots? I can’t see how anyone could look at that and say, “seems like a totally great idea. I don’t know why nobody’s ever done that before,” or at least I don’t understand how they could maintain that outlook after doing even a modicum of thought or research.

    5. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      But the license isn’t necessarily pulled though – they will be operating while they appeal and appeal and appeal and appeal and eventually come to an agreement with TfL. I doubt Uber are going anywhere, and if Lyft were smart they would get their act together and enter the market now to pick up drivers with a solid proposition.

      The cabbies have to adapt to the new realities of the market and Uber needs to adjust to accept the regulatory realities of the market. Both sides need to work towards the other. But let’s not make saints out of the minicab and black cab drivers either here.

      1. nep*

        Yes — my understanding from the Guardian article is that given the appeals process, Uber could be operating for a long time to come.

        1. Jules the First*

          Not really. They have three weeks to appeal and they get one appeal. TfL are pretty hardass about safety.

          Once they’ve appealed and lost, they have to reapply for the licence, which means halting operations while they wait for it to clear. I have no problem with Uber operating in London as long as they are subject to the right safety rules. And since the reason cabs and mini cabs are more expensive than Uber is because they have to comply with these rules….there goes the business model.

      2. Mike C.*

        All those other companies needed was to be more responsive and have an app – Uber needs massive, massive changes to how they operate. For one thing, they’re still massively unprofitable.

    6. Jessi*

      oooo Whats the name of the app? I lived in London all of last year and there are so many options for getting around the city!

      1. Jules the First*

        Gett uses black cabs, but at a fixed, discounted rate. Hailo also does black cabs and can be more convenient at weird hours. Addison Lee and Green Tomato both have full featured Uber-like apps, excellent safety records, and relatively reasonable rates.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      Uber has had problems in the States with this, so it’s not just TfL and the London cabbies. Blaming them is wrong-headed. It’s Uber’s problem and they need to fix it if they want to operate anywhere. I think they’ve been banned in cities here too. And they need to treat their good drivers better, IMO.

      I do wish London cabs weren’t so expensive, because I like them a lot. They’re like tiny limousines! (It’s the shape.) And it’s fun when you get a chatty cabbie. :D But I’m okay riding the tube and the bus, and I’m not afraid–nobody ever bothers me. I guess I have resting “F*ck with me and you die” face, LOL.

    8. Maya Elena*

      Uber is a huge multinational company with really high driver churn in many markets so the ability to come up with 32 criminal drivers is really not indicative of anything.

    9. Maya Elena*

      Uber has done an excellent job of f-ing up an innovative and pretty great business model through really stupid moves like driver mistreatment an idiot ex-CEO. That said, the Uber experience offers reliable transportation and good customer service at a better rate than taxis, at least in my US experience, and thus fills a real niche – hence its stratospheric success. And it is really naive to claim that all the regulatory opposition was out of selfless concern for safety; at least some of it is attributable to a lobby by an industry that is known for crappy service and doesn’t like having to change. So the question is, how much of the London decision truly public-spirited, if much of the public liked Uber, and how much is it kowtowing to special interests? And if it’s the latter, isn’t it reasonable to be upset by it? I’ll leave Londoners to tell us the truth of the matter.

      Also, a fair assessment of the sharing economy’s safety is as compared to existing alternatives, not perfect safety. If there were 62 rapes in taxis or on thr tube last year (not a real number – made up as a thought experiment!), Uber would be doing better. If anyone knows those numbers that would be cool to compare.

      1. Jules the First*

        The stats are in my first post. 32 people were raped in a London Uber last year. No one was raped in a licensed mini cab or black cab (which are the competitors).

        Black cab drivers train for several years (they’re not supposed to look at a map – they have to know where they’re going) and go through hefty criminal background checks. Basically, a black cabbie is as trustworthy as a cop.

        Anyone else who wants to drive the public around (mini cabs, chauffeurs) has to pass a test, provide proof of insurance, and pass a detailed background check which has to be repeated regularly. The company that employs them must also ensure that the vehicle being driven is clean, well maintained, and properly insured. They are not allowed to pick passengers up off the street – it has to be booked by phone or app with an operator who takes down start and finish addresses, contact details, and agrees a price.

        Uber is in trouble because they are not properly checking the status of their drivers (both when they sign up and at regular intervals thereafter), they are not properly checking and logging the condition of the vehicles being used, and they have not intstituted a way to allow passengers to confirm the identity of the driver. Once they solve those issues, they will be welcome to operate.

      2. Mike C.*

        The price is only subsidized because of massive influxes of VC cash. They’re massively unprofitable and that’s after what is likely a massive misclassification of drivers.

      3. Lindsay J*

        My problem is that Uber itself spends a ton of money lobbying and purchasing commercials etc to push public opinion in their favor while obfuscating the real issue at hand.

        Uber and Lyft stopped operating in Austin Texas for awhile because they did not want to comply with the regulatory issues. And it was the same regulations that any service providing public transportation in the city had to comply with. It’s not like the cabbie unions were trying to push extra laws for Uber that they themselves didn’t have to comply with. And it’s not like they were trying to artificially limit competition with a medallion system or similar. lIt’s that anyone who drove a cab or similar had to have a full background check, including finger-printing, etc. Uber came in and there were no laws for companies that employed drivers that were not cab companies, because there were no companies like that in the past. But the spirit of the law was basically, “everyone driving other people around for money has to go through this process” so they changed the letter of the law to match the spirit.

        And instead of complying, Uber took their ball and went home. They thought that by threatening to pull out of the area they could strongarm the city government into changing their rules because “OMG, we can’t lose Uber.” The government did not change.

        They also threatened to pull out of Houston shortly before the Superbowl for similar reasons.

        And honestly, Uber could definitely afford to comply with the regulations. Because they’d most likely push the cost off onto the drivers like they do with everything else.

        They problem is that if the drivers have to go through additional hoops to drive, that’s going to significantly cut their driver pool (some people aren’t going to be willing/able to front the money for the background check and inspection, some people will fail the background check or inspection, some people who weren’t too into the idea of driving but were willing to do it because it was ridiculously easy to start are going to drop if there is really any sort of barrier to entry.) Less drivers on the road means that the remaining drivers are more valuable, and so Uber has to compensate them and treat them better in order to keep them driving.

        Currently Uber does little to nothing to keep their drivers happy and on the road. They don’t need to, because there isn’t much skill involved to be a driver (thought there is to be a good, safe driver), and for every person who realizes that it is not worth their time, effort, or cash outlay to stay on the road and quits, there is another person lured in with the unrealistic promises of quick, easy cash to take their place. Finding an Uber driver who has stuck with if for a year is rare. In my experience, most burn out within a couple of months.

        And if you think about it, really, do you want to be driven around by someone who was dissuaded from driving because they had to undergo a background check, finger-printing, and a motor vehicle inspection? I really think that if those things were going to put you off from becoming a driver, it’s probably better that you don’t drive people around. And yes, I do accept that this means that some people who are really destitute but would otherwise have made good drivers would be excluded. However, the requirement for your car to be under a certain age probably eliminates most of those people anyway. And really, if you are so destitute that you can’t afford to save up or borrow between $25 and $100 to get background checked etc, what is the likelihood that you’ve been able to upkeep your car in tip-top shape, gotten your oil changes on time, and have fresh tires that aren’t going to blow in the middle of a ride. And what’s the likelihood that you’re able to afford car insurance that will cover the commercial use (Uber’s insurance will cover you while you have a passenger in the vehicle, but not if you’re driving without a passenger because you’ve just dropped someone off or whatever, and many car insurance companies will not cover you at all or charge a much higher premium if you use your car for any type of ridesharing etc).

        And the way they present the info to the public is misleading. If you ask most people, “Hey, do you think that Uber drivers should have to go through the same types of background checks that cab drivers do,” most people say “yes”. If you say, “Does it sound like a good idea for Uber drivers to have to be background checked and fingerprinted, and for them to have to have the vehicle they use inspected yearly?” I bet most people would say “yes” as well. If you listen to radio ads and see billboards, etc, about the “Onerous new regulations” that were “pushed by the cab companies” because “they don’t want to and can’t compete with us so they’re trying to kill us with regulations” you get an entirely different picture and an entirely different answer.

        This is all from someone who drove for Uber for awhile, (and my boyfriend actually went out and purchased a new car mostly so he could drive for the upper-level categories and make more money than driving for X), and I do use Uber a lot because it is convenient and it serves areas where cabs do not. (In my hometown the nearest cab would be 30 miles away from the town border at least, so getting a cab to take you to work when your car won’t start, or to take you to the grocery store or whatever isn’t an option. And I do like that no matter what city I go to or where in the world I am, I can be pretty sure that I can get a ride woithout downloading a different app, dealing with language barriers, etc.

        I don’t want Uber to die.

        However, the fact at the moment is that they are so cheap because of A. venture capitalist money that will eventually run out. B. Because they are skirting regulations traditional companies have to follow. If taxi companies could get away with not paying their drivers a fair wage, not paying to have their drivers background checked and commercially licensed, not paying to have their vehicles inspected, foisting the cost of vehicle maintenance and upkeep and gas onto their drivers, etc, then cab fares would be able to be a lot lower as well.

        At this point I’ve begun to think that maybe Uber’s role in the transportation business will be the same as the original Napster was for the music industry. Like before Napster, buying music sucked. You could only buy full albums or sometimes select singles, albums cost like $20 each, you had no way of knowing you would like the other 9 songs on the album that weren’t played on the radio but after you brought the CD you’d be stuck with it, you couldn’t get ahold of more obscure stuff unless you had connections.

        And then Napster came along and it was awesome. You could listen to whatever you wanted whenever you wanted without paying a cent. You could download just that one song from the album, or the band’s whole discography or anything in between. You could hear all the songs on an album before you decided you wanted to buy it or not. You could take a chance on listening to something new and not be out money if it didn’t work out. It was a whole new world. Unfortunately, that new world was based on fundamentally violating laws that were in place for a reason.

        However, after Napster was litigated and died, some significant legal changes came to the industry. Like iTunes came about. And you could buy an individual song for $.99 rather than buying the whole album. And the album price became more like $9.99 instead of $19.99. And you could preview a bit of the song before you brought it to see if you would like it. And you weren’t limited to just what was on the shelf at your local store – there was still some stuff you couldn’t get but a lot more that you could. It was a middle ground and pretty much everyone was happy. Paying $.99 wasn’t as great as being free, but you also weren’t worried about getting nabbed by the RIAA for illegal downloading. The distributors and artists weren’t making as much money as they were before, but less was better than zero, and their costs were reduced because they didn’t have to pay for the physical media to be sent to the customer.

    10. Floundering Mander*

      I agree. Sure there are maybe some aspects of the London cab system that could be relaxed but I have never felt comfortable with Uber. I’ve only used it a handful of times and only when I’m with other people who insisted on using it.

      In a city like London there are so many ways to get around by public transportation that I’m surprised it has done so well. Obviously late night or early morning pose problems that only a cab can solve, but calling an Uber because it’s cheap doesn’t make much sense to me when the bus is cheaper and has CCTV.

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        I used to think that way too until you try dragging a bunch of suitcases around the tube, try to get to the airport for an early flight, or have to change a bus or two to get where you are going, many of which may not have space for luggage or will take ages to get to where you are going.

        We used an Uber to get from our house to Blackfriars station on Tuesday evening in order to catch the tube to Heathrow. We had a ton of luggage and the guy even hefted it over a railing for us. He was polite, timely, and knew the roads without the gps anyway. I’ve shared Ubers with workmates in getting from one really difficult location in East London to get back to either a train station or our neighborhood (while drunk), and it was a godsend. Or from one afterwork party to another. Or the night we took a packed bus after a show from Alexandra Palace down to Finsbury Park tube station and got an Uber from there because to get to our neighborhood at the time was going to involve two more trains and going into central and an hour compared to 15 mins in an Uber. Forget finding a black cab up there. The night bus is romantic when you are in your 20s but not in your 40s, and so what if it has CCTV? The incident will have occurred and good luck if they actually find the perpetrator, but in the meantime you can have a really uncomfortable ride for longer than it needs to be.

        The point is, there is a market because not all areas are well connected, the transport isn’t seamless, and everyone has circumstances where you just can’t drag 50 kg of luggage 15 minutes to your nearest tube stop. The last time I used a black cab we had to read the map (yes the PAPER MAP) for the old man who couldn’t actually see the detail, in order to get us a half mile. Yes it was an actual black licensed cab. No, I did not feel safe. Or the many times I watched 10+ black cabs in service pass me on the Farringdon Road at various times with my hand out, trying to get a ride to another office.

        Uber fills a niche place in the market for how Londoners get around – its just another option to consider when planning a journey. In my hierarchy the black cabs are the last resort option; id rather try and get a minicab (using Kabbee) but there is the risk that those bookings taking 20+ minutes to get to you cancel at the last minute, the car is of questionable cleanliness.

        1. Floundering Mander*

          I am in my 40s and live way out in the boonies, with only a half hourly train service and far beyond the nearest tube station, so I’ve done all those kinds of things. I routinely take the tube to Heathrow with my luggage*. Like I said there are times when it makes sense, like getting to an early flight or back home from a party in the middle of nowhere.

          I’m not saying that Uber is evil or that nobody should ever use them, but it does seem like people that I know started taking them for the most trivial of journeys just because they could. I’ve been with people who wanted to get one for a journey that was like 5 stops on the bus, no changes, no luggage, at a time when it wasn’t crowded. It just seemed unnecessary to me.

          *You probably know this but if you’re going to Heathrow from Blackfriars on the tube, it’s much easier to change from the District line to the Piccadilly at Baron’s Court. The trains are usually on the same platform so you just have to get off and wait for the next one, plus it’s a cool old – fashioned station so it’s fun to look at while you’re there.

  13. I Am Still Furious!!*

    Sorry for how long this is, lots of pent up feelings and frustrations.

    Update, soon to be ex husband now wants a check for half the value of our small house, plus more money on top of that because he doesn’t have a job. So between Saturday and Sunday, he apparently talked to people. He has an appointment with his attorney, whom he cannot pay or provide a retainer because he has no money, this coming Wednesday. I told him not to call me any more. He also wanted to meet with me in private to agree to things before the attorneys got involved, and I refused. I did leave money for him and made sure the bills were paid, there was food in the house, and the cats are provided for before I left. I didn’t want him to be able to say I left him high and dry. Oh, and I told him he needed to get at least a part time job. This brought about more whining about how hard it is to find employment here, I never give him any chances…ugh.

    Of course, all of this is my fault, according to him, but there is blame here on both sides. I should have never stayed married to him this long. The last 10 years have been awful, and I asked over and over again for a divorce, to no avail. He always said he would never sign the papers, would never move out, etc. I told him it was only a matter of time before I found a place to go and then left, but even now, he acts like this is a huge surprise. The constable called me and warned me that he was really angry when the papers were served. I can’t tell you how many times I said, in response to a verbal barb or criticism, “I’m not happy to be here, you don’t want me here, so why can’t we just end this?” To which he would reply, you don’t try hard enough, you always have to act like an ass, etc. What it all boils down to is that I cannot be with someone I can’t trust to even leave my wallet with credit cards in my purse, while I go out of the house, for fear he will take one and go buy lottery tickets. So many times I wanted to leave, but couldn’t afford an apartment on top of spousal support and then alimony. My foray to the attorney last month was the 3rd time I went, and finally, this is getting done.

    I’ve been at my friend’s house for a week. I am drinking too much, not eating much, not sleeping well, but going to work and functioning as best I can. She is so kind. I’ve been keeping myself busy by cooking, doing dishes, cleaning, that type of thing, just to help out. She’s going to visit relatives next week so I thought I’d clean up the flower beds and do some outside work. Going to work on cutting back the alcohol while she’s gone. She arranged for a few of her friends to drop by next week to check on me and keep me company if I need it. Looking forward to that.

    To top it all off, I feel so very alone and lonely. I hadn’t realized how utterly lonely I feel. I see couples talking and walking together when I’m out and about, and it makes me want to cry. I haven’t had a husband/wife relationship in the last 10 years, it was just a contentious roommate sort of thing, and now I wonder if I’ll ever have that again. Even before things got really bad, looking back, things were never quite right. I was too young when I got married, and I’ve realized that perhaps I never really loved this person at all. He even said that to me when he called, I know you never really loved me. But then again, it’s hard to love someone who has an addiction that they hid for more than 15 years and then repeatedly lied about dealing with it once it came to light. At one point, not too many years ago, he claimed he would never gamble again, that he’d rather die because of all the harm it did to us. Well, that turned out not to be the case. He just was able to hide it better.

    So, I’m just trying to sort through all sorts of emotions, gearing up for what might be a fight or what might not be, not sure of the time table, not sure where I will be in 6 months or a year, but at least I have a place to stay for as long as I need it, I have a job and I have friends. So there’s that. I hope I can make this go away with minimal financial impact. Yes, I can refile with cause, and press the issue with the fraud and forgery issues, but that will make things drag out for a year or even 2, and right now, I want my freedom, I want my maiden name back, and I want to go forward and see what I can do with whatever time I have left on this earth. So basically if I have to pay him something to go away, I may just do that. We’ll see.

    Thanks for letting me ramble on.

    1. annon*

      Jesus. Good on you for getting out of there. Take care of yourself. You sound like you know this, but his addiction isn’t your fault, his behavior isn’t your fault, and the destruction of your relationship isn’t your fault. Maintaining the relationship wasn’t solely your responsibility to begin with, and it’s disgusting that he tried to trap you so you wouldn’t leave. You absolutely had the right to end the relationship, from a moral perspective (not sure about the laws where you are), any time you wanted to, and this whole having to ask for a divorce/him refusing to sign thing, in general, I just find infuriating.

      On the paying him thing – on the one hand, if you can afford it, it might be enough to make the problem go away. Sometimes, that happens, and it’s often worth it to avoid a hassle or continued contact, or whatever. But it’s also possible it won’t be a one-time thing with him, and he’ll keep finding reasons why you supposedly owe him. (This is what my toxic relative does. Paying her off only taught her that we would, eventually, if she made us miserable enough.) Is there anyone who might be able to advise you on this, who has a better understanding of things than a random internet stranger?

      Best of luck to you.

      1. Dan*

        My ex is a lot like op’s ex. But at least in my state, pay-to-go-away is done as part of a legally binding contract, so there’s not much risk of needing to pay more money for more signatures.

        Op needs to figure out with her lawyer just how much of a squeeze she can put on her stbx. He’s asking for a bunch, but the longer he goes with no food on the table, the sooner he will settle for less. I paid my ex $13k, fwiw. In my state, I was legally obligated to pay rent, put food on the table, and cover emergency medical expenses. What I did for encouragement was stash the car she drove (we were both legal owners, but I paid all the bills) at a friend’s place where she couldn’t get it. Basically, my offer to her was the wheels and some cash in exchange for a signature and moving out. Not having the wheels cramped her style, so that worked like a charm. I never had to figure out the legal definition of “food on the table” but would have gone the rice and beans route if necessary.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      What a man-child. Pardon me for saying so but your next marriage will be your first actual marriage with an actual partner. This guy is clueless.

      When my husband passed, my pastor said, “The firefighters who do the best when there is a big fire are the ones who avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.” These four things can pull us down so our emotions can ramp up. He went on to recommend going for daily walks. I did this stuff more often than not, however, I never did it perfectly all the time. I think it saved my butt. You have your own version of a big fire here.
      Self care is a lot of work, but I figured I had all this excess energy anyway! ha! It’s our self-care and our routines that pull us through.
      Keep an eye on your future. What can you do today that you will be glad you did, say, a year from now? You won’t find an answer to that question everyday but some days you will see something that you know Future-you will be glad that Current-you did.
      Keep looking up and keep looking ahead. This will not stay the same, it will change. You’re almost done. You will get this one.

      1. I Am Still Furious!!*

        I called a friend earlier, and we talked for a long time. He reminded me about looking up and looking ahead, as he’s been through this, and about things changing and how very hard it is now. He’s remarried and so happy, and said that I was strong enough to move forward, I have good friends, a place to stay, a job, and of the positive things in my life. Then I took a long walk. I haven’t been eating much of anything, so sugar and tobacco are no issue, but I do drink coffee (but to my credit have cut that in half in the last 3-4 weeks, down to 2 big mugs in the AM). As I told Dan below, getting the alcohol under control, just beer and wine, but still…I felt sorry for myself but drinking to excess and having a hangover is no way to go through life. I know that deep down.

        My friend won’t let me pay her to stay here, so I’ve started to take over cleaning tasks, doing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, that type of thing, cooking (our schedules are about an hour different, and I get back to the house from work almost an hour before she does), buying groceries, helping with her little dog, that type of thing. It makes me feel useful, and frees up her time in the evening, so it works out I think. She said I could stay as long as I wanted but hopefully a year from now I won’t be here. If I am, that’s OK too.

        It made me smile about a next marriage, as last year I remember saying “if I ever get out of this mess, I will never, ever get married again”. Now I think I may have been hasty, but I have to get this out of the way, resolve my feelings, and then maybe I can move forward someday. It would be nice to have a partner in life and not an anchor around my ankle.

    3. Dan*

      Easier said then done, I know, but ignore the emotional stuff. Hell, even admit it if you want. There’s no need to explain anything when he calls. Heck, I went through a phase where I just kept my phone off for two weeks, and never returned my ex’s calls.

      Once, my ex said to me “I know you low balled me in the divorce.” I just shrugged my shoulders at the time, but if she were ever to say that to me again, I’m ready with “you low balled me in the marriage, so I thought it was only fair.” There’s also, “and you were dumb enough to sign.”

      I’ve posted to your threads a few times over the months, you should know that I’ve pretty much totally been in your shoes.

      Getting out is the hard part, don’t let the alcohol take you down.

      1. I Am Still Furious!!*

        Thank you. I read your posts too. For the life of me I wonder how people become so entitled and so clueless and whatever, good grief, he actually said “you have to give me more money, you know I don’t have a job now”. Uh, then go get one. I told him to go to McDonald’s and work part time. Then I asked him what he did with the money he made at his part time job he had for 4 or 5 months prior…oh yeah, that’s right, you gambled it away. Again, not my problem.

        And yeah, getting the alcohol (beer and wine) consumption under control, as I need to be focused and on my game, not hung over and miserable. For the first few days I felt really sorry for myself and just drowned my sorrows, in my friend’s house, as my attorney said not to be drunk in public (yes I mentioned Ron White…couldn’t help myself).

        1. annon*

          In my toxic relative’s case, she’s very charismatic and has literally never been in a situation where she couldn’t persuade someone to help her out. Now that we’ve (finally!) cut her off, she’s just turned to the relatives who haven’t or to her friends. In her case, she’s very firmly convinced that everyone and The Man is out to keep her down and if she can’t immediately get what she “needs” (i.e. wants), it’s somehow proof she’s being cheated and someone needs to come bail her out. If you tell her to take care of herself, you are being mean, and she will accuse you of being bigoted or abusing her, and otherwise do everything she can think of to make it your problem. She probably puts more work into trying to force people to give her what she demands than she would actually working. Sometimes I wish I knew what led to her warped thinking; other times I think that if I knew it’d just suck me back into her little con.

          I’m sorry. It’s so tough to deal with. I had to go full-on communications blackout and move across a continent to get away from my grasping relative, and she still tries to get in contact; I sincerely hope it’s a lot easier for you to handle your soon-to-be-ex.

          1. Dan*

            So… my ex got tired of me ignoring her and threw a Hail Mary… OD’d on some psych meds and got checked in to the psych ward at the local hospital. I checked my vm one morning and surprise!

            I did call the hospital to verify she was admitted, and then called one of her family members. Surprise, she called nobody but me. I saw that attention grab for what it was right away, and I never contacted her at all.

            Where does that entitlement come from? Childhood stuff.

            1. annon*

              The more you talk about your ex, the more glad I am that you got away from her. That sounds horrible to deal with.

        2. Dan*

          May I ask why you feel sorry for yourself? The problem I had to deal with was guilt. I knew that the day I got rid of my ex, my life would get better. Hers wouldn’t. I was getting pretty goddammed deppressed when she wouldn’t get her spending under control and *she* would give *me* a guilt trip for telling her that those spending levels were not sustainable.

          The irony with her is that she spent a year volunteering somewhere in the hopes of getting a job. They hired her part time, but she was fired three months after getting on the payroll. I saw the firing coming, and warned if she got canned, we’re done. Well, she gets fired and said, “are you really going to kick me when I’m down?” Well no, but I did kick her ass out six weeks later.

          So yeah. The sadness and depression certainly comes before the divorce. The separation was child’s play in comparison. Have you been able to figure out what’s getting you so far in the dumps?

          1. I Am Still Furious!!*

            Now that you ask, maybe it’s not so much feeling sorry for myself, but guilt and regret. I don’t have many regrets, but I do regret something I did all those years ago, spending 32 years married to the wrong person. I’m relieved that I’m getting out of it now, but I feel like I wasted my life so maybe it’s feeling sad, guilty, and regretful. There was a another man back then who loved me but I chose someone else. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about that. Basically, I feel like a bit of a mess right now.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              No experience is ever wasted. I have no idea what that means in your life, but I do know that every experience we have shows us something we would not have learned any other way.
              Granted 32 years is a bit of time, but you still have a full life ahead of you.

            2. Yetanotherjennifer*

              Oh, Furious, this is just the next part of the process. And you know what they say: the grass is always greener on the path not taken. This is just a story you’re telling yourself. Old you probably had a good reason to make the choice you did. You just can’t remember it right now. But even so, Its best to keep your eyes focused forward. Is there anything you can put on the calendar, outside the divorce, to look forward to?

            3. tigerStripes*

              There’s a saying “The best revenge is to live well.” This has helped me when I’ve felt furious. I hope it helps you too. You deserve a good life.

        3. many bells down*

          My ex once told me “I need you to do something about this past due child support because it’s making it look like I have a $30,000 debt on my credit!”

          Um. That’s because you do. You owe me that much money. HE is the one who needs to fix it, not me!

    4. Jessi*

      Please, please, please follow your lawyers instructions! He might WANT a check for half the value of the house plus extra money but your lawyer will know what you actually have to do, and probably have suggestions for how best to use leverage to get YOU what YOU want. Don’t listen to anything your ex has to say, delete the messages, don’t look at the texts and let your lawyer guide you in this! I’ve been following all of your posts and I hope you are able to walk away soon!

      1. I Am Still Furious!!*

        My reply to everything he said was, talk to your attorney. I am not agreeing to anything. He doesn’t want the attorneys to get involved because all of a sudden, he wants this done right away. Well too bad. He refused to proceed for years, now it will take what it takes. I don’t want to go down the long road, I truly don’t, I want my life back. I told him the attorneys would work it out, there are laws, and that’s what would be followed, and I wasn’t agreeing to do anything without legal counsel’s advice.

        1. annon*

          Honestly, if at all possible, at this point, don’t even talk to him directly yourself. He knows contact should be going through the attorneys; he’s trying to pressure you into slipping up or agreeing to something you shouldn’t. Block his number, block his social media, block his email – unless your attorney advises otherwise. Don’t meet him in person without your attorney present. He’s trying to control the narrative and the process – bow out of that game entirely, there’s no winning on his playing field.

          1. nonegiven*

            Yes, block his number. Don’t answer numbers you don’t recognize. As long as you still answer he thinks he can still get to you. Maybe if your lawyer tells his lawyer that his choice is sign or go to jail, he’ll get the idea.

              1. SouthernLadybug*

                I’ve been following the past few weeks and agree with the above and other excellent encouragement and advice. You are strong and fierce. And sound like an amazing person and good friend. Virtual hugs to you.

              2. I Am Still Furious!!*

                While I have a conceal carry permit and several firearms, I think that should be the last resort :) Plus, I removed all the ammo from the house. And couldn’t find his handgun, so he probably sold it for gambling funds. That should be fun to explain to the court.

                1. ..Kat..*

                  Replying to your not feeling fierce comment – you are fierce. You cleverly planned your escape. He is terrified of losing his easy bank roll. You rock!

          1. I Am Still Furious!!*

            hahahaha he can’t/won’t text. No internet presence, but he has a cell phone, easily enough dealt with. And I unfriended people on Facebook that I thought might try to spy on me. And changed my settings that only friends can see things.

            1. nonegiven*

              My husband couldn’t text with a gun to his head. If I got one from him, I’d have to assume someone had his phone.

    5. Candy*

      Your ex sounds a lot like mine. Don’t give in to his whining about how hard it is to find employment. For the 5 years my ex and I lived together I paid everything because there was always some reason he couldn’t get a full-time job. And then surprise surprise two weeks after I left and he no longer had me to pay his way, he was miraculously able to find work. Funny how that happens!

      My ex and I weren’t married, but after I left I’d get texts from him about how he was going to sue me for spousal support, etc. He never did, of course, because that would have required effort on his part. It was just more hot air from him.

      If you don’t have kids together and truly only want to communicate with him via your attorneys, I’d really recommend blocking his number on your phone/on social media/etc. My ex was calling me numerous times a day alternating from housekeeping questions like “where did you leave…” to verbal abuse. Not having to ever see any of that again was soooooo freeing.

      I took a year off from dating after my break-up just to recoup and nest in my new place and spend time with friends, which was incredibly therapeutic. Taking some time to just relax and find yourself is so important. And after that year, I took a year off from my jobs to travel during which I met my now-husband so you really have no idea what lies ahead for you! Trust me, though, your life will only get better from here on. Don’t despair!

        1. I Am Still Furious!!*

          Exactly. I am walking away, I just want my stuff. I don’t want the house. Now, all of a sudden, oh there are too many memories here. He wants to scurry away to another state to “start again”, translation, go someplace, blow all the money on gambling, and then crawl back and want more help.


          I don’t want the house. He could take it and sell it and keep ALL the money. I don’t care. But, that would require work on his part. He doesn’t want to work, he wants everything handed to him.

    6. purple snowdrop*

      I am so impressed with your progress. FWIW you don’t sound furious any more, you sound sad and exhausted by your situation. I can relate to that. Sounds like you’re looking after yourself.

      I have a max of 45 days til I plan to leave; hopefully only 38 if all goes according to plan. He has no idea, even though it should be plainly obvious. The soft part of me feels bad for him. But he shouldn’t have treated me so badly. Funny that since I mostly disengaged he’s much nicer to me.

      I wish I could go no contact but kids make that impossible so low contact only re access will have to do.

      Good luck. You’re getting there.

      1. I Am Still Furious!!*

        I thought I was being sneaky, but he said he knew weeks ago because I was so utterly cold toward him. I’ve been cold for years. I was so sick of the whole thing maybe I did give off those vibes. I don’t much care. Just glad I’m out. You can do this! I’m lucky our daughter is grown and on her own, so I don’t have kids issues.

        1. Purple snowdrop*

          So he knew yet he’s still angry and fighting but didn’t do anything different?! Interesting.

          I feel like I’m following in your path, it helps to know so many other people have left and survived and will even thrive. Thanks for being a bit ahead of me :)

    7. gabrielle*

      My ex (mis-)behaved in a similar way. Unfortunately, I gave in to some threats he made and didn’t involve lawyers, which just dragged everything out. I left a lot of money on the table, but now I realize it was worth it and consider it just a big tuition payment to the School of Life.

      The good news is, you’ve made this first step, which is the hardest. The next little while is going to suck, I can’t lie about that. Take care of yourself, lean on your friends when you need to. You will be through this very soon and it’s only going to get better. You’ll get to do what you want, when you want, and live your own life without having to clean up his messes or listen to his lies.

      And (hugs) to you!

    8. Elizabeth West*

      He’s freaking out and pitching a fit because he’s losing his bank. Ima bitch slap him. *slapslap* There.

      When all this is over and you’ve had time to settle in yourself and heal, you will be free to find that sort of relationship, if you want it. I don’t think for one second that you’ll be forever alone.

      1. I Am Still Furious!!*

        Thanks, Elizabeth West! When I talked to my friend today, he reminded me that I need to get the legal stuff done, put my head down and plow ahead. No going back and no staying put. Just moving forward. Also, I should call him or his wife any time if I need to talk. I am so grateful for my friend’s home. It’s a stress free environment here, she is calm and understanding, and I can just rest or do what I need to do with no constraints on my time and no one staring at me or needling me about something and I don’t have to worry about theft!

              1. nonegiven*

                That really occurred to me when you said he was in a hurry to get out of state. You might know some but do you know everything he did?

              2. SAHM*

                You might want to consider unlocking your credit. It costs about 45$ (I think 15$ to 3 separate credit places) but it keeps anyone (including you) from opening a line of credit. You can easily unlock your credit by paying a fee and waiting a couple days, so making big purchases (car, house, etc) you plan ahead and unlock the credit for that, but it also keeps you from randomly opening a new credit at Target or Hone Depot or whatever.

    9. SophieChotek*

      Aww. I am sorry you are going through this! i wish I had something more constructive or useful to say (but I don’t).

    10. Detective Amy Santiago*

      If you happen to live in SW PA, I would hang out with you so you’re not lonely.

      Take care of yourself. The end is in sight.

      1. anon24*

        And I’m south central PA (with strong ties to southeastern PA). I would buy you a coffee and give you a sympathetic ear.

    11. Soupspoon McGee*

      Hang in there! When I divorced my jerk ex, I was so desperate to get out and get it over with that I “compromised” far too much financially, and it took me years to get out of debt. Please listen to internet strangers who’ve been there, and listen to your lawyer. Don’t pay this assweasel one more cent than you absolutely have to. He will slink away when he realizes he has gotten all he can from you.

      And hugs to you! It will get easier. My first few months away, I watched all the movies he’d never wanted to see and made all the interesting dishes that were too exotic for him–it was so freeing!

    12. ..Kat..*

      Be strong. You have taken the hardest step. From experience, I can tell you it will get easier. Don’t be too sure that paying him to go away will not stretch out for years. He is losing his life of ease. Fighting the divorce is the first hard work he has done in over a decade.

      Be strong. You are at your most vulnerable right now. You can do this.

  14. CatCat*

    Finished reading “The Turn of the Screw” this week. I’ve never read it before. It was very creepy and disconcerting. It wasn’t clear to me whether supernatural things were really happening. I’m thinking of re-reading it.

    The ending was so abrupt and it was at the ending that I really questioned the prior events. I thought the governess was responsible for what happened at the end.

    Spoilers in comments that follow this.

    1. CatCat*

      I had such pause at the end. Did the governess kill Miles and has been delusional this entire time? I want to re-read it through that lens.

      1. SophieChotek*

        It’s a great read I agree. I also love the opera version by Benjamin Brittain. Several DVD versions available, plus a BBC film with Jodhi May and Colin Firth.

        I think it can be read several different ways – (somewhat colored by the fact I’ve seen the opera several times and only read the book once).

        1. There really are hauntings (Peter Quint, Miss Jessel).

        2. The children (Miles/Florda) are like mean rotten (bad seed?) children out to make the Governess batty…never realizing how insane/out of hand it will get

        3. The Governess is delusional (I suppose Victorians would cite the catch-all sexual hysteria) and projects on to the kids.

        1. CatCat*

          They did the opera in my city a few years ago and now I hope they do it again so I can see it!

          I was along for the hauntings throughout the story, but then so shocked at the ending that I wondered if it all really happened. I wanted to go back and see if the things the children said were really as creepy as they seemed when I thought there were ghosts. I hadn’t even considered #2, but I like that idea as well! Going to give it a second read.

        2. StrikingFalcon*

          I remember reading this in high school. The teacher was absolutely convinced that #1 is the only correct interpretation and that it was a delightful ghost story (she acknowledged there were other interpretations but insisted they were wrong). The farther into the book I got the more I read it as #3, and then the ending is SO disturbing. I found the book horrifying, personally. I’d probably be more okay with reading it as an adult, but it left a pretty deep impression on teenage me. It’s an impressive piece of fiction though.

      2. Anon in IL*

        Spoilers in this comment.

        The thing that kills me about this story is the double-framing device, which I have not seen used elsewhere. First, the story is being told at a Christmas house party. That’s the first remove. But it didn’t happen to Douglas, it happened to his friend the governess. And he sends away for the story that she has conveniently written down in a book which he proceeds to read aloud to the Christmas party. That is the second remove. Then, as you say, the story ends so abrubtly and we are not re-introduced to the Christmas party setting at the end.

        I am sure the trick to the story lies in this framing. James in his correspondence admits there is a trick. But I can’t figure it out. Some readers think Douglas is Miles grown up, because the words both mean “soldier” but I still can’t fit it all together.

        1. SophieChotek*

          Yeah I always find that double-framing device problematic too because they never come to the Christmas party. (Of all times to tell a ghost story.) Plus how reliable is Douglas anyway? Is he making up the story himself?

          “It is a curious story…”

    2. deesse877*

      Recommend also the film starring Deborah Kerr. Some dialogue written by Truman Capote, and an amazingly lush set, that somehow looks lush even though it’s black-and-white. VERRRRRRRRRYYY expressionistic cinematography, and evil children.

      1. SophieChotek*

        Yes, I agree that’s a great film too. (Plus Deborah Kerr is beautiful to look at.) I think this version is called “The Innocents” as I recall – how that leads you to interpret the book/title…

    1. nep*

      Yay you. (There have been occasions when I have physically patted myself on the back after leaving a store without buying certain things that would have just been goodies I didn’t need.)

      1. Bryce*

        I walk by the pies at the supermarket and I spend so much willpower resisting them that by the end of the line I’ve decided I should have a treat.

    2. Nye*

      The greatest summer of my life was the one I spent backpacking, aka The Summer of Consequence-Free Eating. Which your story reminded me of because on one town stop, I ate a cinnamon roll the size of my head and also a piece of pie, then went elsewhere for dinner two hours later. I would give up a lot to have been able to keep that metabolism without the 25+ miles /day of hiking.

  15. Parenthetically*

    Long shot, but any AFL watchers/fans/supporters? How about the crowd at that GWS/Richmond game hey?! It would have been deafening! Predictions on the Grand Final?

      1. Parenthetically*

        We have a WatchAFL subscription so we can watch either live (we literally only do this for the Grand Final because it’s at like 1 am here) or on demand. It’s not cheap, but hell, it’s only money, right? My husband and I support different teams so we watch the two games a week, every week, all season, so we almost feel like we’re getting our money’s worth.

    1. It's Business Time*

      I hate both these teams in the GF, but as a Victorian I have to go for Richmond… hurts just to type it. Glad I am living here in the US so I do not have to witness those Richmond supporters in all of their glory

  16. Anono-me*

    If anyone knows of any online stores that sell bathroom tile in 60s colors, I would appreciate the name(s).

    I have a 1960s house with colorful 1960s bathrooms. I love the bathrooms, but want to redo the grouting and would love to replace a few cracked tiles and a broken soap tray. I have been completely unsuccessful in finding replacement tiles in the correct colors at the nearby big city reclamation and vintage hardware etc. stores. My admittedly average googling skills have failed me utterly.

    Thank you.

    1. Temperance*

      If you do Facebook, join the “Our Old House” facebook group. They have a wealth of knowledge about vintage wares and where to find them.

    2. annon*

      This is probably a really dumb suggestion, but have you taken any of the old tiles (say, a broken piece) to those stores and asked if they can help you match it? A lot of places in my area may not have precisely what you want in stock but they’re often very willing to help you figure out who would have it.

    3. Jean (just Jean)*

      Any architectural salvage establishments in your area (or not impossibly far away)?
      If you can’t find an identical match, could you make do with a complimentary or contrasting color instead?
      I just did a google search on “architectural salvage maryland” and came up with:
      – Community Forklift in Hyattsville, MD — I’ve visited them (I **love** this place) and remember seeing wall-mounted ceramic soap trays and cup/toothbrush holders…un-mounted from the walls and lying on shelves in the store for re-use.
      – Vintage House Parts & Rdtrs in North Brentwood, MD
      – Houswerks Salvage in Baltimore, MD
      Your results may vary but I hope you find something. Maybe they’ll offer online assistance.

      Because you said your house was 1960s I also started a Google search on “mid-century modern house blogs.” The results look promising, but I don’t dare start browsing because I need to spend some time cleaning up my current residence rather than fantasizing about other ones!

      Good luck with your hunt for bathroom tile.

    4. the gold digger*

      Thank you for your decorating integrity. I looked at 1920s houses with re-done bathrooms and kitchens. People. If I want a 1920s Arts and Crafts house, I do not want black and gold tile in the bathroom and I do not want a black tub and toilet.

      (I didn’t buy that one.)

    5. ST*

      the FB groups Mid-Century Modern and Mid-Century Modern Kitsch would be good places to search (first) and then ask.

  17. DentalTroubles*

    Are there any dental professionals or anyone out there who has experience with having teeth pulled/replaced? I have a tooth that was damaged by wisdom teeth crowding and after years of procedures and trouble it was deemed a total loss and I’m having it pulled next week.

    I’m not thrilled about this, but somewhat relieved that the saga will be over, although so annoyed that when I was a young teenager, my dentist told me the pain I was feeling in the back of my mouth was my teeth coming in, when it was really pain from the crowding. If he’d listened earlier and done an X ray, I might not be losing the tooth.

    But – does anyone have experience with whether I’ll actually need the implant or not? It’s a far back tooth so cosmetics aren’t an issue, but I have read about the potential for other teeth being damaged (like the one above it). Implants are just so expensive though, if I can avoid it without harming my other teeth, I’d like to.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      Weirdly, my husband and two of my sisters are missing the same tooth on the same side from having to have it pulled. None of them replaced it. It’s on the top, though, so no worries about the top one growing down too far. From what I understand, if the tooth on the bottom is pulled, it has to be replaced because the top one has nothing to hit against, which means it could start growing down a bit. Not sure how true that is, but I’ve heard it from a few people.

      1. nep*

        I can attest — with bottom teeth missing, top ones reach down over time. I hate that this is the situation with a couple of my upper teeth, but can’t afford implants or even a partial right now. Back to the job applications…………

        1. nep*

          (I should say it’s been years, so it’s not as if there will be some drastic movement if you don’t replace a bottom tooth. But I do think the ideal is to fill it in. It’s first on my agenda once I a) win the lottery or 2) land a job with decent pay.)

    2. Gappy*

      I’m missing a tooth in the lower back right hand side and not had anything done to fill the gap it’s really not worth the money to me you can’t even notice it’s missing. My dentist didn’t even mention filling the gap.

      1. DentalTroubles*

        Thanks. I’ll admit to being a little skeptical of my current dentist because she pushed so many alternative treatments and I kept asking “are we sure this isn’t a lost cause” and it turned out to be a lost cause. I may need to find a new dentist but it is just so difficult to really assess when someone is over-treating you.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          I’ve found that some dentists seem really driven to save the tooth at any cost, while others are fine with pulling it at the patient’s request, and others are in the middle.

    3. Ramona Flowers*

      I had two gaps and got an implant in one but left the other due to the cost. It’s at the back and I can’t even remember where it is without feeling around in my mouth!

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Once that tooth is gone, will the tooth above it actually hit another tooth when you are chewing? This can happen when teeth are crowded, the uppers and lowers do not match up that well.

      My husband had an unusually small jaw. He ended up having teeth removed because of crowding. In his case the crowding was foreseeable because his jaw was remarkably small. He never needed to replace the lost tooth.

    5. the gold digger*

      I had #2 pulled years ago. I didn’t want to get an implant (or a bridge) but my dentist said my other teeth would go askew. Also, when I smiled, you could see the tooth was missing!

      I had my implant done at the U of Tennessee dental college in 1999. It cost only the cost of the materials – $600 back then. If it is at all possible, go to a dental college. They told me they have a hard time getting enough practice on implants and really advanced procedures – it shouldn’t be too hard to get in.

      (My mom even drove from Colorado Springs to the dental school in Denver for her implant. Even though she had to take a few trips over the months – you have to let the implant heal for six months before they attach the new tooth, she saved literally thousands of dollars over a retail dentist.)

    6. Elizabeth West*

      I lost one on the upper left–it broke and was unsalvageable. Never had an implant because I can’t afford it. I don’t want a bridge because I don’t want anything in my mouth that I could swallow. You can’t see it, and it isn’t a problem; I can chew just fine. Maybe I’ll get one someday, when I’m rich, or even braces or something, since my teeth are crooked and my eyeteeth are fangs. I’ve never liked my teeth. :P

    7. Paul*

      Not a dentist but missing two teeth (one fight, one infection). I elected not to do implants because they were *expensive* and my insurance didn’t cover most of it; I’d have been out of pocket 600ish each time.

      It’s annoying to adapt to; you kinda learn to chew around it? But it’s not the end of the world to go without.

    8. Dragonsnap*

      I can’t speak to whether you need an implant but will say that I’m very happy with mine. Since the initial procedure (which I had done under anasthesia as I got my wisdom teeth yanked at the same time) it’s been painless and easy. It also has helped to keep my teeth from shifting.

  18. The Other Dawn*

    So, I’m going through my cabinets, fridge and freezer today. (I’m supposed to be shampooing my carpet and couch, but that’s not gonna happen right now…)

    I found a few items I need to use. Anyone want the challenge of figuring out what I can use them for? I’m not very creative when it comes to putting together a meal.

    Jar of roasted red peppers (not a clue as to why I bought these)
    Scallions (bought and forgot about them)
    Baby carrots (fresh)
    Green beans (fresh)
    Garden and Roma tomatoes (fresh)
    Garden tomatoes (frozen; was going away and didn’t want to toss them)
    Corn on the cob (frozen; same as above; will probably make cornbread in the cast iron skillet)
    Pimentos from the garden that are taking forever to ripen
    Jalapenos and green peppers from the garden
    Sage, parsley, lavender and rosemary from the garden
    Lots of fresh frozen blueberries (probably will make muffins or pancakes)
    Wheat berries (soft winter white and hard red)
    1/4 jar of almond butter

    If it helps, I have pork tenderloin, Italian sausage, boneless and bone-in chicken, whole chicken and steak in the freezer. I also have a very large amount of Jasmine and brown rice.

    On another note, I went to the ortho for my back pain yesterday and he ordered an MRI. I’m happy I’m getting one, because this pain I’ve been having is different from the usual pain. Just so tired of never waking up feeling refreshed or even good, for that matter; it’s exhausting and depressing. I actually can’t remember a time when back pain wasn’t a part of my day in some way, shape or form. Whether it’s dull pain that I get from sitting too long and goes away when I get up and move, or pain I wake up with because my body has determined I’ve stayed in bed too long (I’m not someone who can stay in bed for more than 10 minutes or so after I wake up because pain sets in quickly) or all day pain that is there no matter what I do (pretty much the last two months), it’s there. Can’t wait to find out how much the MRI will cost me since I’m now on an HSA plan. Hopefully it won’t be too bad, because this is only my first year in the plan.

    1. Lady Jay*

      Recipes! I love being creative with recipes.

      The farro & wheat berries could make delicious grain salads. Cook up one (I think I’d use the farro for this), then chill it with the jalapenos, scallions, and green peppers; you could throw it the tomatoes too if you want. Add cheese & nuts, a boiled egg on top or some cooked chicken for protein. Yummy!

      The fresh or frozen tomatoes will make a lovely shaksuka. You can find recipes online, but you basically saute onions, chuck a tomato or two (I use one big tomato for a single person) into a hot pan & let it cook down into tomato sauce, then break an egg into the sauce, cover the pan, and let it cook (5-10 minutes, make sure the yolk doesn’t soften). Serve with bread or naan on the side. Some of your roasted red peppers could be added in here, I think.

      You could make the steak into a steak salad: a good green, the tomatoes, jalapenos, and green peppers, and a good dressing (I recommend Ree Drummond’s).

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Shaksuka. That sounds just like something my Bulgarian team member mentioned to me last week, but she called it Mish Mosh. Same concept and ingredients, though. I think I might need to try that.

    2. annon*

      Grain bowls! All of those ingredients sound perfect for grain bowls, though I am rather biased in their favor. Grain bowls don’t have to be savory, either – you can do fruit and nut butter ones too.

      Seeing your list of fresh/frozen veggies immediately put me in mind of a salad, especially when I saw the herbs you have on hand. I am a bit jealous of your garden, to be quite honest.

      Whenever I’ve had roasted red peppers I didn’t know what to do with, I used them to make a pasta sauce, but you could use them to add flavor to pretty much anything.

      If you have more blueberries than you need to make muffins, you can use them to make a sauce for the pork (or the chicken, but I generally prefer to match fruity sauces with pork).

      Honestly, with that list, you could probably throw any random ingredients together and it’d come out tasting delicious.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Oh, I’ve got lots more! LOL These are just the things that seem to be haunting the recesses of the garden/cabinets/fridge/freezer.

        A blueberry sauce for meat. I didn’t think of that and it sounds delicious. Thank you so much!!

    3. Cookie D'oh*

      Another option for the corn is chowder. I’ve made the Summery Chipoltle Corn Chowder from Pinch of Yum a couple of times.

      I take baby carrots and hummus to work for a an afternoon snack.

      Maybe use the tomatoes for chili? I know most recipes call for canned, but I made a recipe recently and substituted the same amount of fresh tomatoes.

      Or use the jalapenos and tomatoes for Pico definitely gallo or salsa.

      The food blog Mel’s Kitchen Cafe has a recipe for grilled rosemary buttermilk chicken. Haven’t tried it myself yet.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Yes, the carrots will be going to work with hummus I got BOGO this morning. I have enough, though, that I could use them for other things.

        I’m thinking chili with the frozen tomatoes, since they won’t be suitable for eating raw. And I can throw the jalapenos and peppers in there, too.

        I’m dying to make pimento cheese, which is why I planted pimentos, but they just don’t want to ripen. They’re huge, but still green.

    4. Gingerblue*

      Roasted red peppers make a great sandwich ingredient. Lay them out on paper towels and pat them dry first. I like to make grilled sandwiches with goat cheese and red peppers, fried in a little olive oil. Some of your herbs like sage and parsley could be a nice touch here, too.

      Aside from baking with them, blueberries are nice half-thawed and eaten with whipped cream or sweetened sour cream.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        Those all sound like the sort of ingredients Nigella Lawson uses. Nigella.com is full of ideas.

      2. Aealias*

        I’m with you on roasted pepper sandwiches. Spread a roll with goat cheese. Dress the peppers in a little white wine vinegar/olive oil/fresh basil vinaigrette and layer ’em on the goat cheese. So good!

      3. Paul*

        a little turkey, grate some of the baby carrots, dice up the peppers, slice the scallions, serve with cheese, serve on some sort of hard bread?

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Thanks. Sorry, I just realized your reply was to me. I’d forgotten that I mentioned the MRI price! My doctor recommended Open MRI. He said their pricing is way less than going to a hospital.

        1. StrikingFalcon*

          I hope you get some answers from it, and there are options available for treatment! What you wrote sounds very familiar to me. I dealt with pain for years before I found a doctor willing to do enough tests to get me a diagnosis. I hadn’t realized how much it was affecting me until I had some relief. I hope you are able to get relief too.

  19. Lady Jay*

    Dating was never my thing, so I’ve actually never been through a romantic breakup. But over the past few months, I’ve come to realize that the person I thought was, and would remain, my closest friend is no longer really my friend. :(

    I’ve known her for nearly fifteen years, since our first year of college. For nearly all that time, we’ve lived at a distance from each other and used to have long phone conversations maybe once every six or eight weeks. Now, we don’t speak for months, and if we do call each other, I’m always the one doing the initiating. We’ve talked in the past about how I get weary of initiating and how this makes me feel unvalued, but nothing has changed. Plus, she talks mostly about herself and her own concerns, does poorly keeping track of my problems (which have increased in the last few years), and creates big plans for her future (then tells me about them!) which involve all her new friends and never me. I am feeling hurt because I was there for her at low points in her life, yet she’s not there for me.

    So I’ve made the decision that while I’m not cutting her off, in that I’m not writing an angry email breakup letter, I’m not going to put any more work into the relationship. I’m not calling her anymore, not writing her anymore, not sending any more gifts or emails. Zip.

    And it feels exactly like I think breakups must feel. It’s weird, because so many of the high points of my life involved her (we traveled through Europe together in college, and I took a number of vacations to see her) – now, looking at those photos is such a weird mix of pleasure (because I had such fun) and pain (because she’s hurt me).

    So, let’s talk breakups: Have you broken up with a friend (as opposed to an SO)? Do you ever really get over them? How does this feel 20 years on?

    1. Paige*

      I may or may not be going through something similar (it’s probably a bit too soon to tell). I’ve been drifting apart from a friend who I’ve known almost 20 years (since our school days). We’ve also lived quite far apart after we graduated, but used to email/text constantly, and even sent snail mail occasionally.

      But over the past year or so I feel like we’ve been drifting apart, where we’d go through phases of the constant texting, but then have large gaps where we don’t really interact at all. We sorted of floated the idea of doing a short holiday together but the vibe I’m getting is that she’s just not that into the idea and would rather travel with other friends (the ones who are more in her current social circle).

      It’s a weird sentiment though isn’t it? Unless a romantic partner there’s no exclusivity when it comes to friendships, so there’s nothing you can really do – and nor should you have the right – to stop your friends getting closer to other people, and people change as time goes by. It does make me sad at times – all those ‘friends forever!’ promises made as children, and it’s especially difficult when that friendship stretches back to childhood. It’s another part of growing up that can really hurt at time.

    2. Lily Evans*

      I’m going through something similar right now with a friend I was really close to in college. She’s been super flaky and I’m always the one putting in the effort to go to her. I know I’ve talked about it here before, I’ve gone to see her several times by train, which took an hour and a half each way, and she’s never once reciprocated. In fact she was supposed to come to a party of mine last week and cancelled day of because it was going to rain that night. And apparently she has this great new group of work friends she’s always talking about. Every time we’ve made plans to take a trip together for years they’ve fallen through on her end, but now she’s planning a Vegas trip with her new friends and it does hurt. I’ve decided to take a similar approach where if she wants to initiate contact again she can but I’m done for now.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I have lost sight of friends. One friend that I tracked down was not happy to hear from me. She said she would call and never did.
      I don’t think you get over it, but I think you do adjust to accepting it as part of your life story. I think there is still a little pang in my heart. But I think that time has been kind in other ways. My days have filled up with other people and activities, overall my life has been rich. I hope hers has been rich also.

    4. Turtlewings*

      I had a very, very close friend in college who just… cut me off one day. Never told me why, just refused to ever speak to me again–even though we had classes together. It’s the most painful that’s ever happened to me. Like you, I’ve never had a romantic breakup, but I can’t imagine it being much worse. That was ten years ago, and I’ll be honest, it still hurts. I still think about her and worry about whether she’s okay (because I feel like her controlling parents were a factor in what happened). But it does gradually hurt less over time. In my case, the things that helped most were (a) giving myself permission to forgive her and still remember our friendship fondly. Losing her in the present and future were bad enough, I couldn’t handle losing our past together too, and I couldn’t handle trying to feel angry or hateful toward someone I loved so much, even if objectively she might deserve it. (b) finding new friends. I have other friends now that I’m just as close to as I was to her, so even though I still miss her, I don’t have a hole in my life, I don’t have to pine after what we had, because I still have it, just with different people.

      Good luck to you. It will, eventually, get better.

      1. Lady Jay*

        I think this is part of the problem, is that I’ve never really found anybody else like her.

        Right now, I’m living in a small town part of the country where people are very different than me (married with kids when I’m single, conservative when I’m not, sporty when I’m more of a thinker) and it’s hard to find people who really “get” where I’m coming from. She, on the other hand, is in a city where there are lots of similar people and has had no trouble making friends.

        I think I need to move to bigger city. :P

        1. Not So NewReader*

          And you probably won’t find anyone like her.

          I got myself chuckling about this because I thought “what if husband/BFFs/etc were a dime a dozen at the local convenience store?” Then these people would cease to be special, we would just go to the convenience store and pick up another one. Gosh, I hope I am not that easily replaced!

          The truth is that each one of us is unique, there is no one else like you or me or your friend. There are more special people out there just waiting for you to meet them.

          As far as liberal/conservative thinking, my suggestion there is to look deeper. I have never met anyone who totally subscribes to being a consummate liberal or conservative. Right now I w-o-r-k with two people who are on the opposite ends of the political spectrum. They both have a high admiration for each other and surprisingly they often agree about how to handle work issues.
          I can honestly say, that I have met self described liberals who had shockingly conservative views and visa versa.
          I think the piece missing to your puzzle here is that it takes time to learn these things about people. Just like it took time for you to build up this friendship that you are missing now. You were not strong friends on day one of your relationship, that took place over time.

          If we look for reasons to feel alone in this world we WILL find those reasons, each time every time. The key is to forge ahead anyway and find common interests with others. There are lots of people out there who feel alone (to varying degrees and at different times). This is good to remember, because someone can be looking at US and saying, “Please befriend me” and we just don’t realize.

    5. Aurion*

      I had a very close friend (we’d shared beds, we’d shared clothes, double dated, talked until 5 in the morning etc) dump me–at something like 1 am on a work night. (She called me and wanted to come over but refused to say why; I thought she was having boyfriend troubles. If I had known I was about to be dumped I would’ve at least asked for it to be daylight hours when I had to get up for work four or five hours after that.)

      It does get better. With time, it does sting less, just like any other breakup. But I’ve never been able to look back on shared memories without being bitter. I don’t wish bad things on her (e.g. death or harm), but I don’t wish her well. I certainly wouldn’t think she deserves it if she ended up winning the lottery or something. But then again, I’m not the forgiving type.

    6. Chaordic One*

      I was in a similar situation with my best friend ever. We were college roommates, randomly assigned. I really think that out of anyone I ever met, she was probably the only person who really “got me”. I was very naieve and inexperienced and she was very worldly and encouraged me to expand my horizons and go for things, which I needed at that time in my life.

      Things happened, we were no longer roommates and we each had our own apartments and our own lives and friends. After a time, I sort of realized that I was the person who was always initiating things and I got tired of it, so I just stopped. No angry phone calls or letters or emails. Nothing. And she never got in touch with me again. Eventually we both moved away to other cities.

      One night I had a dream about my former best friend. In the dram I was walking across our old college campus and she came up to me from behind me and apologized to me for being a bitch. And I was so happy and hugged her and jumped up and down and I think I cried in my dream.

      This led to me doing some cyber-stalking and I discovered, to my eternal heartbreak, that my former best friend had been killed (along with her fiance) in a car accident several years earlier. They were hit head-on by someone trying to pass a semi-truck on a two-lane highway. Weird, huh?

      1. Not So NewReader*

        It sounds like you may have a had spiritual experience. I have seen in my own life when it is super important they sometimes come back for us. It must have been super important to her for you to know this.

    7. jbern*

      I did. But I never really felt myself in the friendship and over time, I just became a shell friend to her then stopped contacting her altogether.

      It sounds like your friend already broke up with you, though.

  20. nep*

    What do you use Twitter for? Do you like it?
    Up to a week and a half ago I’d never been on Twitter or FB. Wanted to get familiar with Twitter and see whether I like it. Set up an account, was fairly active, and one week later I deactivated it. I was happy to get in touch with a couple former colleagues I’d not talked with in years. Used it mainly as a news/information aggregator — followed things along the lines of my professional life; not the personal blow-by-blow, I-had-this-for-breakfast type of stuff…
    Initially quite keen. I liked learning about things I might not have. After a few days saw pluses and minuses. In the end the bad outweighed the good and I was relieved to be out of it. (But I’ve got a familiarity with it, I suppose, should I ever have to use it for work.)

    1. The Other Dawn*

      I only use Twitter to share a link to my blog posts. Beyond that, I’ve never seen any value to it. Maybe I just haven’t looked at it enough, but I feel that if I have FB, why do I need Twitter?

    2. Overeducated*

      I use it the way you did. Don’t tweet much myself but helps me keep abreast of, and sometimes get on the radar of, active people and projects in my field. For me the bad is mainly just that since I do follow a relatively tightly networked group, I see the same stuff retweeted again and again sometimes, but the good of the new stuff i learn outweighs it.

    3. annon*

      I use it to follow updates for sites, businesses, etc. I really like. I refuse to follow political stuff and I only check it when I remember to.

    4. fposte*

      I have a Twitter account, which is completely dormant. I use Twitter as read-only just for a few people who have information I find useful or who enhance my day. It’s also useful when something unexpected seems to be happening in town to figure out if anybody else heard the noise or knows what’s happening.

    5. nep*

      I should say that up until the point when I created a Twitter account, I used it quite a bit for news/information. I was (and now am again) strictly a watcher. I still find it very useful in that sense. Just did not like having the account.

    6. Anonymous Educator*

      For me, it goes like this:

      Twitter – follow celebrities and thinkers for political news and witty one-liners about current events.
      Facebook – see what my friends are thinking / primarily concerned about.
      Instagram – see pictures of my friends, and of their kids and pets.

      Obviously, there’s some overlap (sometimes those Instagram pics show up in Facebook… some of the people I follow on Twitter are in-real-life friends), but that’s mainly how I use those three social networks. I haven’t figured out Snapchat, and I may be too old to!

    7. Loopy*

      I use Twitter to follow authors and book related accounts. It does a great job of keeping me in the know about upcoming books and appearances!

      1. nep*

        Cool. I can see how it would be very useful for that. I did learn about a couple of editing webinars and the like.

    8. Claire (Scotland)*

      I use it for three things:

      1. Talking to my friends – this is why I got it to begin with. All my friends are people I found through fandom, and they are all around the world. Twitter gives us an asynchronous way to chat, share stuff about our lives, and as we are all used to it it’s our main form of communication much of the time. It helps that most of us are friends with each other, so it functions as a group chat quite well. We’ve all been on Twitter from the early days of the site.

      2. Following celebrities, performers and authors I like to keep up with their work, and often because they are interesting and informative on Twitter. Examples: Adam Lambert, Seanan McGuire, Lin Manuel Miranda.

      3. Following businesses, companies and organisations I am interested in for some reason. Local council, bus company, and train company for information I need, and then businesses like restaurants and attractions for special offers etc.

      I’ve been on Twitter for a long time and never had any bad experiences. I use it a lot and I love it.

    9. Kimberlee, Esq.*

      Facebook is how I keep in touch with friends and family I’ve known over the years.
      Twitter is where I hang out with really cool people that I don’t know IRL. Twitter is great for building communities like that; I follow a lot of leftists and a lot of Weird Twitter accounts, and it’s hugely entertaining and informative. But I don’t even try to follow friends very much, cause that’s just not what I’m there for.

    10. Anon anon anon*

      I kind of feel like social media has run its course. It’s full of bullies and stalkerish types. A lot of the people I know who are popular on social media are not nice people in real life. And most of the nicer people I know don’t use social media much.

      But it has its purposes. It seems to work well for some people. Myself, I’m really scaling back on it. Offline is the new online, haha.

      1. annon*

        Well, an awful lot of that depends on who you follow and what your settings are, really. Social media is one of those things where you really do curate your own experience, and at least the platforms I’m familiar with make it pretty easy to block/unfollow people that are making you miserable, or let you tighten down your settings so they can’t find you. Not foolproof, but nothing is.

        I’m not excusing online harassment, by the way. But it’s helpful to remember, sometimes, that these people are not actually standing in your living room refusing to leave, and it is possible to have an internet experience that largely avoids them, even when using popular social media platforms.

        1. Anon anon anon*

          Yeah… Unfortunately, that hasn’t been my experience. Social media seems to bring out the worst in a lot of people. As much as I try to curate my contacts and control what people can see, there are still issues.

          But I think it depends a lot on who you are, who you interact with, what you use it for, etc.

          1. annon*

            Yeah. Certain topics always bring trolls, certain people always cause drama, and if you’re interested in those things or don’t want to unfriend those people, the troll door unfortunately stays propped open. This is basically why I don’t engage with politics on social media – I’ll go to other websites when I’m in the mood and read things that way, and I know which ones I can read the comments on and which I can’t. For me at least, it helps to have that distance, where it’s not all just coming across my feed at all hours. I do think the social media model doesn’t entirely work for things like the news – too little info, too many people engaging in competitive trolling and just plain hostility in the comments/reactions.

            I will say social media’s really good, in my experience, for following local stuff (like town events), keeping in contact with far-flung friends and family (and letting you hide/unfollow them with minimal fuss if need be), and it makes it really easy for me to get my pretty-pictures-of-birds fix. (I follow more birder organizations than I do friends and family on Facebook. We all have our little obsessions.) Hobby stuff, local weather, things like that, though I guess that also depends a lot on your particular hobbies.

        2. nep*

          Agree — it very much depends on how you use it, whom you follow and why…
          My week-long Twitter life was quite stimulating intellectually and I felt as if I was among mature, intelligent company.

    11. katamia*

      I don’t have an account, but I like going there for very breaking news. I also like some Twitter stories, like Adam Ellis’s Dear David (which reminds me, I haven’t checked that in a few days). And there are some celebrities I check up on every so often. I just want to be able to do those things when I feel like doing them rather than having my own feed, which creates pressure to check it.

    12. Elizabeth West*

      I share my blog posts on it. I follow writers and other people I like. I started with it to expand my internet presence, hoping I’d have a damn book out by now (!). I share articles, crisis info, and science-y things on it. And I use it to resist. :)

      Sometimes it’s fun, and some days I have to step away. I follow some cute animal accounts, so my feed gets kitties and doggies amidst all the political horror, and funny stuff like Medieval Reactions. I’ve only got about 450 followers, which compared to influencers and celebs, who have MILLIONS of followers, is like being invisible. But it’s ready when I need it for marketing, and someday hopefully I will. I have Instagram but I don’t post on it much, because there isn’t a lot happening around here that I want to take pics of. I don’t spend much time on it, although that will probably change if I ever get the hell out of here.

      Facebook is mostly for friends, social groups, and family stuff, though I get political on it now and then. And memes. Love me some funny memes. XD If I ever became famous, however, I would probably delete the FB page and / or have a secret one. I am getting sick of FB but I keep it since I have so many friends who live very far away, plus my Doctor Who group communicates through it.

    13. Stellaaaaa*

      The people I know who are into Twitter pretty much only use it for work or to promote their bands/art. I don’t know anyone who uses it to share legit life updates with their real-life friends.

      1. nep*

        Right — seems that FB is the platform for that kind of thing. I’m not the least bit interested in Twitter accounts that give that ‘my life’ blow-by-blow.

    14. SL #2*

      I love Twitter and honestly, if it shut down, I’d be devastated.

      I run two accounts: one is a personal one for joking with friends, ridiculously whiny updates about my life, and stuff that I don’t want certain people seeing. My other is a “professional” account where I share political updates, news, keep up with old coworkers, and the like. I’ve had my personal account since 2009. That’s nearly 8 years of being on Twitter. I can’t imagine not using it now.

    15. Colette*

      I think Twitter (like social media in general) is an individual experience for each person – you choose what you see based on who you follow and what you say. Personally, I follow a lot of writers, a few news organizations, people I know (in real life or through the internet) and people I think are funny.

      And I don’t check it often, usually once or twice a day.

    16. Ramona Flowers*

      I hate it. I periodically make an account to contact companies about customer service issues. No matter what I do, it makes me come up as a suggested contact for everyone I know which stresses me out – I can’t seem to just make an anon account even when I changed my freaking email. So I feel stressed and close it. (Family estrangement issues.)

    17. Floundering Mander*

      I have three accounts, actually! One is under my real name and I mostly use it for following and talking about academic stuff. I originally started it as a way to promote my copy editing business but I wasn’t very disciplined about keeping political stuff off of it. It’s mostly dormant now. I started a second one for a conference so that it would be “clean” of political things but I generally only use that for live tweeting at professional events.

      My third account started as a joke but I started using it for my more activist and irreverent stuff. I use it for talking with people I don’t know in real life about anything from politics to cultural stuff. The name has nothing to do with me and I set up a dedicated email for it so it’s much more anonymous than the other two accounts.

      Very few of my friends use Twitter for personal news so I don’t really use it for that. It’s kind of the equivalent of standing on a box in the park and ranting, while Facebook is more of a chat in the pub.

    18. Typhon Worker Bee*

      LOVE IT. I’ve made friends through Twitter; I just got a new job partly through Twitter connections. I also run a couple of work accounts.

      I share articles that I think are interesting (mostly science and politics/current events, but some sport and other random stuff too), cat photos, photos of signs and other things that make me laugh, screenshots of some of the more ridiculous phrases Duolingo comes up with, random observations, and anything else that crosses my mind. I also retweet silly puns and photos, plus more serious science/politics/etc content. Oh and I use it to share good reviews of my book, and to help promote work stuff and friends’ books/events/art etc.

      I’ve heard people say “Facebook is where you connect with people you went to high school with; Twitter is where you connect with the people you wish you went to high school with”, and also “Facebook will make you hate people you’ve known your whole life; Twitter will make you love people you’ve never met”. Both are true in my case. You just have to find Your People and follow them.

      1. Typhon Worker Bee*

        Oh, and it’s also great for contacting your representatives, bitching to companies about bad service etc. Many of them tend to be more responsive via Twitter than by email, especially if they see that you have lots of followers. I know my old MP quite well, having first introduced myself on Twitter. I then met him in person a few times and ended up volunteering on his last re-election campaign. We moved a few weeks ago and I introduced myself to our new MP on Twitter in the first week (different party – will not be working on his campaign :D). Twitter was also useful when dealing with FedEx woes last week. And our local transit authority is GREAT on Twitter – you hear about delays and cancellations there first, and they always respond to inquiries within minutes.

        1. Typhon Worker Bee*

          (Keep thinking of new stuff. I practically live on Twitter, LOL).

          I’m almost always the first person to know about breaking news, because of trending hashtags. Because I run a couple of work accounts, I have Twitter open all day at work (I check it at the end of every 25 minute Pomodoro), and see things as they happen.

          I’m @enniscath if anyone’s interested. Work accounts are @CEEHRC and @IHEC_Epigenomes

  21. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Move update: The work is basically done, except for a few small details (like I have to paint a mirror frame as it’s the one remaining gold item in our now-silver bathroom). But I was in such a hurry to unpack and get things put away so we weren’t living out of boxes that I didn’t put enough thought into organizing things, and now it feels like everything needs to be reorganized. But I’m completely burned out and can’t motivate myself to do anything.

    Driveway etiquette question: Our cars are both usually in our garage, so our driveway is empty and I’ve noticed that no one will park in it! Delivery people (groceries, other food, packages) will not go near it — they all park on the curb, even though they’re only going to be here for 30 seconds, giving themselves a much longer walk. Is this some kind of etiquette I don’t know, where you’re not supposed to park in someone’s driveway? I’ve been watching this with bafflement. (The other trend I’m noticing is that some delivery people call before they come up to the door, which is equally baffling to me. Ring the bell!)

    1. The Other Dawn*

      I find it’s mixed in my neighborhood. Some park out front and others come up the driveway. Doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. Perhaps their company policy is that they can’t come in the driveway? Or maybe they feel conspicuous if they do so? I know when I go to a stranger’s house I park in the street. It just feels…too familiar?…to use the driveway.

      As far as the bell goes, many doorbells don’t work (none of mine do, old house) so that’s probably why they’re calling. Or they’re giving you a chance to collect yourself and get to the door.

      And I did the same thing when we moved. I really wish I’d put much more thought into where things should be stored. I feel a bit disorganized in certain rooms because of it.

    2. fposte*

      I never even thought about this. However, in my experience, the only people who drive up the driveway to deliver are those delivering heavy goods, like refrigerators or trees or something. Groceries, pizza, UPS, etc. stick to the street. My suspicion is that driveways are such a mixed bag (mine is tricky) that it’s quicker to stick to the street and just run up to the door.

      1. Rocketship*

        Having run delivery a time or two before: It’s also much faster to take the slightly longer walk and just pull away from the curb than to pull into the driveway and have to back out of it.

        In a non-delivery context: personally I avoid parking in someone’s driveway when I can help it. It feels too… intrusive, somehow. Like I might as well be parking in their living room. But that’s just me – to each their own!

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      The calling before they come to the door is new, and I have no idea why they do it. Sometimes I think it’s because they’ve encountered too many barking dogs or perhaps too many people who won’t open the door, who knows. Odd, though, I agree.

      The parking-by-the-curb thing makes a little more sense to me. When I park at my own home and just have to run in and grab something, or I’m picking up my boyfriend, I won’t pull into the driveway. It’s easier to keep going that way because I don’t have to worry about backing out– I can just drive off. That would be my guess. If it were a repair or maintenance visit, I would expect someone to park in my driveway, but for a quick drop-off, I’m not surprised they stay on the street.

      1. nonegiven*

        If they call, then they can get your package out and meet you at the door. If you were in the shower or something it saves them an unload and reload and they can come back later.

      2. Mallory Janis Ian*

        According to an NPR piece I heard last week, it’s because millennials have ruined the doorbell. /s

        The article said that people are less likely to answer the doorbell anymore, because they expect that if it’s anyone they’re interested in seeing, they will text first.

        1. Floundering Mander*

          Of course, millennials ruin everything. :-)

          I prefer a call or text because I don’t have a doorbell and I’m usually upstairs. If someone calls to say they will be there in 5 minutes I can go wait near the door.

          More than once I have had a delivery person knock, then leave if I don’t instantly open the door. It baffles me. Do other people who are home during the day generally hang out by the door in the hopes that someone will knock?

          1. annon*

            The main FedEx guy for my area will knock and just go, but none of the stuff he’s delivered needed signing for. He was really put out the one time I actually opened the door and he had to hand me the box instead of just parking it awkwardly on the doorstep, though.

            I wonder if a lot of delivery companies expect you to be keeping tabs on when the delivery is due, and thus be watching for them. Which would be fine, except they usually just tell you something like “will arrive between 8am and 8pm,” and at least in my experience are often off by days – or marked as delivered when they’re still on the truck. So if that’s what these people are expecting, they need to get on the ball with their tracking system.

        2. annon*

          I just … never answered unexpected knocks/rings of the doorbell anyway, even before cellphones. I would, if I felt generous, maybe look outside the window and see if I could identify you, but if you were one of the jackasses who deliberately hid from the window I just wouldn’t answer. If someone who knew me did drop by unannounced, they knew to holler who they were through the door at me.

          It’s not like arranging a visit requires texting, and it’s not like antisocial folks like me are somehow new.

        3. nonegiven*

          I’m not millennial but if I’m home alone, I will not open the door to someone I don’t know or am not expecting.

    4. annon*

      In my area, a lot of people won’t park in the driveway unless it’s a heavy package – unless there’s a car already in the driveway. They seem to assume that if there isn’t a car there, there should be, so someone is probably out and might be back any second. Having seen how angry some folks get when someone’s parked in their driveway and they can’t get in immediately, I don’t really blame the delivery people for wanting to avoid that.

    5. nep*

      All I can think of for the delivery drivers is — even with walking the extra few steps — it’s quicker to just take off from at the curb than to have to back out of a driveway…?

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Backing up in a strange neighborhood might be more of a safety issue than we realize.
      Maybe the back up warning horn has drawn complaints from the neighbors.
      If it were me, I’d want an excuse to stand up and move around after sitting so much.

      Friends call me from the driveway, which is funny to me. Maybe they are being polite, or maybe it is just easier to them.

    7. LCL*

      Parking on the curb instead of the driveway means no backing. Which means a faster job and safer driving. Unless the house has a long driveway, or something large and heavy is being delivered, delivery drivers will pick curb parking and are usually instructed by their management to use it whenever possible for safety.

      Even with the short walk, it takes a longer time to back safely than to walk. Multiply those seconds times 80 or 100 stops per route, and the time adds up. Walking isn’t the hard part of delivering, the hard part is stepping in and out of the truck. (I loaded delivery trucks for a multinational delivery company when I was in college.)

    8. cornflower blue*

      My parents have three acres, with a fully wooded area at the front, so all you can see from the road is the driveway disappearing into the trees. Delivery drivers always walk up, and the driveway is about 200 yards long.

      Maybe they just can’t be sure if they will be able to turn around or back out, and decide to play it safe?

    9. Database Geek*

      It’s probably just easier/safer/faster to just stay on the street and go forward once delivered rather than backing up out of the driveway each time.

    10. the gold digger*

      I would never park in even a friend’s driveway unless the friend specifically tells me to. I would be shocked if a delivery person would park in the driveway. It appears to be Not Done in Milwaukee. (And it was Not Done in Memphis, either. Or in Austin.)

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        It’s been my experience, as well, that parking in someone else’s driveway is by invitation only. The drivers probably don’t want to presume to park there unless explicitly invited to do so.

      2. SL #2*

        I live in an LA suburb and I never park in a friend’s driveway unless they tell me “hey, pull into the driveway” for whatever reason. A former roommate from my college days came to pick me up last month and she pulled into the driveway and I had no idea. When I stepped out of the house, I saw her car and I just… immediately had this sense of incredible discomfort, like a weird boundary had been crossed? But it’s just a car in the driveway for fifteen minutes! This was a person I’d lived with for two years and she’s practically my sister! I had no idea why I felt that way, but I just did.

    11. JamieS*

      I think both are more of a courtesy thing so you have time to get yourself together (put on a robe) and so they don’t leave oil on your driveway. Not to mention they’re probably a little gun shy if someone’s previously yelled at them for parking in the driveway. I can think of several people who would get upset over a delivery person parking in the driveway. Better safe than sorry.

    12. Mal the College Student(Again)*

      We specifically will tell friends who are coming over to park in the driveway. We learned to do this after some friends came over for dinner and parked in the extra parking spaces in our cul-de-sac – IN A DOWNPOUR. It’s like almost a block long walk! We have a driveway, use it lol!
      Delivery people will use the curb, which is more convenient for a quick drop off, but we’ve have a couple different construction companies out here for varies things and I’ll email/call to tell them to park in the driveway when they come so they’re close to the house. We’re the house at the curve of the cul-de-sac so the curb isn’t close or convenient with the way our front door is behind the lawn, if that makes sense? It’s like, driveway, garage, lawn, front door.
      I didn’t know I had to tell people to use our driveway either. First time homeowner problems I suppose!

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Ha, I do that too! I’m really big on directions, so all of my invitations include parking instructions, including, “There is room for one or two more cars in our driveway, please park in it!”

      2. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I won’t park in someone else’s driveway unless they explicitly invite me to do so. The driveway is assumed to be for the use of the household members and I don’t want to block anyone in, or out, or make an inconvenience of myself. Of course, with friends I visit regularly, I know the drill about being welcome to park in the driveway, so I don’t make them have to tell me every single time.

    13. nonegiven*

      I think it’s harder to back up those delivery trucks because of limited visual field, plus it takes longer. Its’ probably faster to walk up the driveway than to pull up in it and then back out of it.

    14. Liz in a Library*

      I have also wondered about this! It took me badgering our friends, even, to get them to park in our drive (I have a reason to ask–we’ve unfortunately had several cars and mailboxes hit in our block by careless and drunk drivers, because we are right on a curve and hill, and I don’t want my friends’ cars hit!).

    15. Anono-me*

      When I ocasional drove a work truck, a big safety rule was to never park anywhere that would require backing up if you could avoid it. (Plus it was a pain to back up.)

      Calling from the vehicle saves time and energy. If you are not home or the address is wrong the driver saves about 7-10 minutes because s/he doesn’t have to get the delivery or the tools out of the truck, hike up the drive, ring the bell, wait, ring the bell again, wait some more, realize no one is home. Hike back to the truck , with heavy stuff and put it right back where it was 10 minutes earlier.

    16. Elizabeth West*

      I don’t know about the driveway thing. Everyone here parks in mine.

      As for the reorganizing, I rarely put everything away immediately when I move–I will slowly unpack because I almost always end up changing things around later if I don’t. I like the process of exploring and finding spots for stuff. I don’t mind a few boxes around as long as when I’m done, I’m done!

    17. Red Reader*

      I wish people would call instead of ringing the bell, bleh. I have 120 pounds worth of doorbell-reactive hound dogs, and answering the door around them is tricksy at best. I keep pondering a sign on the door to the effect of, “If you have a delivery, leave it in the box on the porch. If you have my number, call or text me. If you’re selling Girl Scout cookies, leave me your contact info and I’ll take three boxes of thin mints. But don’t ring or knock, or else the dogs will go crazy and I will get angry.”

    18. Windchime*

      This has nothing to do with the driveway thing, but have you heard of Rub n’ Buff? It’s a paste in a tiny tube and you could use it to give a silvery finish to your gold mirror frame. Here is a link:


      I’ve used this several times and it’s super easy to use. A little goes a long way and you can layer it.

    19. Jennifer O*

      Where I live, delivery people won’t leave things at the door if you’re not home. By calling when they arrive, they can know if you’re home or not. If you’re home, they can take your package to the door. However, if you’re not home, they can leave the package in the car and just come to the door with the delivery notice. Saves them time and the work of traipsing the package back and forth.

      (I’ve known them to skip the calling part and just leave the note on the door – even when people are at home waiting for the package.)

      1. Arjay*

        Which is so frustrating when they call from a number I’ve never seen before without caller id and don’t leave a message. If I’m expecting something, and I catch the phone ringing, I’ll answer. If I’m not expecting something or don’t have the phone on me (often the case), I’m out of luck because they don’t knock and wait 30 seconds to see what happens.

  22. Ramona Flowers*

    Does anyone else do 10Q? They send you ten questions (I think it coincides with rosh hashana but anyone can do it) and then email you your answers a year later. It’s pretty cool. Link to follow…

    1. nep*

      Interesting — never heard of it.
      Is the idea that we’ll be amused or surprised a year from now how we saw a certain thing? Could you give an example of a question?

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        It’s more reflective than anything. The questions are the same each year – here are some examples:

        -Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?

        -Is there something that you wish you had done differently this past year? Alternatively, is there something you’re especially proud of from this past year?

      2. LizB*

        To add to what Ramona said, in the Jewish tradition, the 10-day span from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur (which is when 10Q runs every year) is a time for self-reflection, making amends to anyone you’ve hurt in the past year, and setting intentions for the upcoming year. So for folks who are Jewish and some level of observant, the questions provide a good framework for the reflection we’re doing anyway right now, and getting your answers from the previous year is another way to look back and see if you’ve made the changes you intended to make a year ago.

  23. Loopy*

    I will never not struggle with wedding etiquette. I have a dress that’s mostly black with a few white accents. I generally try not to wear black to a wedding (not sure if I made that rule up or its a thing) but is it okay for a rehearsal dinner?? The bride is very very… Particular. So I’m trying to err on the safe side. And I’m a plus one so we aren’t close enough for me to ask.

    1. fposte*

      You didn’t make up the rule, but a lot of young people really like black so it’s not observed as often as it used to be; I don’t know that it ever applied to the rehearsal dinner anyway. If you wanted to be especially safe, find a brightly colored scarf as an accent and don’t wear black or white shoes.

      1. Loopy*

        I’m really hoping there are less rules around the rehearsal dinner! I’ll have to find some bright accessories.

        I went looking for a cheap dress today to avoid this dilemma and nothing worked out.

    2. The Other Dawn*

      I’d wear it. (I’ve never been to a rehearsal dinner, though, so I don’t know if there’s etiquette involved there.) And if the bride is Particular, that’s her problem, not yours. It’s not like you’re walking in on her wedding day wearing a white gown or fluorescent orange.

      (But I have no patience for worrying about the feelings of the Delicate Flowers of the world, so take this with a grain of salt.)

      1. Loopy*

        I so wish I could just not worry but I hate to feel self conscious in a social setting so it’s as almost much for my comfort to check if this is commonly allowed! Knowing that I am wearing the socially acceptable thing to a formal event gives me a least a little less nerves about the whole thing!

    3. Julianne*

      Wait, you’re not supposed to wear black to a wedding? Hope my friends don’t care about that rule, because I don’t have time to shop for a new dress before their wedding next weekend…

      1. annon*

        I think the idea is that it’s funerary, which isn’t appropriate for a wedding. OTOH, most people I know only have one formal/nice outfit, often black, because at least in my social circle it’s a bigger faux pas to show up in a bright color at a funeral than a dark one at a wedding. I’ve run into some etiquette sticklers, but the no-black-at-weddings thing seems to be going away, as long as you aren’t otherwise presenting with a mournful demeanor. (I like fposte’s idea of the bright scarf, or maybe some bright happy jewelry or somesuch.)

        The bigger problem is wearing a white dress to a wedding when you’re not the bride, especially if you’re like a narcissistic relative of mine and showed up in what was very clearly a wedding dress.

      2. Tomato Frog*

        You’ll be fine. I’ve always followed the no-black rule, but even so I didn’t think anything of my guests who wore black to my wedding. Personally, I like to see people in color, it makes me happy, but I didn’t find it rude or offensive when people wore black.

      3. Loopy*

        I honestly don’t know where I got this idea. I’m weirdly anxious about wedding dress. I tend to go way out of my way to be well within the lines of appropriate. Sometimes unnecessarily!!!

      4. Dance fever*

        Black is pretty common now, but it used to be a Big Statement of Disapproval. Back in the late 1970s my uncle married a woman NO ONE liked. All of his friends came to the wedding in black. One woman even wore a black veil! The marriage didn’t last, but the wedding photos, which seemed to capture a weirdly upbeat funeral, brought years of hilarity.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I wore a black top and a black patterned skirt to the last wedding I went to. I had nothing else, and the bride did not care. She actually said I looked really nice, and I know she meant it.

      2. Loopy*

        For my best friend’s wedding I know she would not mind and has also worn black herself to weddings. I don’t think I would have been as anxious about it for there weddings, actually. I guess I’m putting this wedding in the category of more formal/traditional.

    4. Tomato Frog*

      I don’t believe there are rules for the rehearsal dinner, beyond the usual considerations you would make as a dinner guest, and maybe not wearing white just in case the bride’s being thematic. Personally, it would never ever ever occur to me to object to black at a rehearsal dinner. I certainly did not think about it at my own.

      1. Loopy*

        It’s perfectly likely I’m looking for worries unnecessarily but in the past I’ve seemingly offended this person for things I didn’t think were a problem at all, one bitten twice shy and all that.

    5. Jules the First*

      Black is fine for the rehearsal dinner (though ideally not all black – colourful accessories and fun shoes, or a print, or accents, or…) though I am surprised you’ve been invited to the rehearsal dinner when you’re not close enough to the couple to call and ask….they’re usually family and bridal party only.

      Generally you want to avoid black at a wedding as it is considered mourning, but it can be done if you have an obviously cocktail number and pair it with bright accessories – I wore a LBD to s friend’s wedding this summer, with a hot pink shrug and shoes.

      1. DCR*

        It is also really common to have a bigger rehearsal dinner and also invite everyone who traveled to town for the wedding. Unclear if that is OP’s situation, but I don’t find it odd at all that she was invited to the rehearsal dinner (especially as a plus one)

    6. Loopy*

      So my anxiety got the best of me. I ran out to the Goodwill up the street. I told myself it wasn’t a big deal if I didn’t find anything, I’d wear the black.

      But someone just my size must have donated like 10-15 perfect dresses in exactly my style. So I lucked out and found a perfect deep purple dress for the dinner and a mostly green (with some white) dress for the wedding. Pretty sure the green is the primary color of that dress and not white (ha now I’ll be worrying about the white ratio on the NEW dress). For 5.99 each it seemed crazy not to snatch them up.

      Gosh, I’m so glad this is the last wedding of the foreseeable future. I might sound crazy but I’ve heard so much talk about between other guests and by other women over the years it’s given me serious/major event anxiety when it comes to dress. I hate that I care so much!

      1. OhBehave*

        That was a great score! If the bride is very particular, be observant of her wedding colors. If she’s that picky, she might not be pleased that you match the wedding! I figure if people are that concerned with what I am wearing, then their lives must not be that exciting. Have fun :)

        P.S. I feel the same way about these kinds of events. I drive myself crazy finding the right thing to wear.

          1. annon*

            Are you a bridesmaid? If so, then you do probably want to contact the bride and ask about colors, style, whatever. If you’re a member of the bridal party on the groom’s side, ask him. If you’re just a guest, no, you don’t need to match the wedding colors or dress like the bridesmaids or anything like that – you just need to not take attention off the bride (that’s what the not-wearing-white rule boils down to, and sort of the no-funeral-attire rule).

            Frankly, if someone was getting so picky as to try and dictate precisely what non-bridal-party guests were wearing, I’d refuse to attend the wedding. If she has issues with you somehow not wearing precisely what she dreamed you would, that’s on her, not on you.

      2. Nana*

        When DD got married, she asked her bridesmaids to wear black cocktail length dresses, their choice. And this was 15 or so years ago…rules have changed.

          1. fposte*

            You’ll never get into trouble *not* wearing black at a wedding, though, so it doesn’t need to change you that much.

          2. annon*

            Style rules are always in flux, which is why one of the few ironclad rules of etiquette is to always assume good faith, not insult, on the part of the person violating some piece of etiquette unless you have really good reason to believe it really was done intentionally.

            For example, if a guest shows up to your wedding wearing black, and is not going around making it clear she’s done it as a snub to you, the proper thing to do (even if you are internally taken a bit aback) is to be gracious and assume she wore that dress because it’s her only formal dress/she liked it/she didn’t know the rule/it’s not a rule in her culture/etc., and treat her as graciously as if she’d worn the bright dress you expected. Rules and expectations of etiquette work both ways – guest and host need to make good-faith efforts, and etiquette shouldn’t be about lording one’s deep knowledge of esoteric rules over others, but making social occasions run smoothly.

            If someone took you to task for wearing black to a wedding, they’re the rude one.

      3. annon*

        Your green dress should be fine for the wedding. The rule isn’t “no other article of clothing can have any white at all,” it’s “don’t wear an entirely white dress if you’re not the bride,” because you don’t want to wear something that could theoretically get you mistaken for the bride or take a lot of attention off of her. (For a similar reason it’s probably a bad idea to wear a blinking neon hat that flashes I’M THE BRIDE at people.)

        I envy you that purple dress. I don’t even know what it looks like, I just like purple.

    7. Nye*

      In the US, I think there’s a regional aspect to this as well. On the East Coast, I’ve noticed it’s quite common to wear black cocktail dresses even to the wedding. On the West Coast, it’s pretty rare and seems overly formal when most guests are in more colorful, less tailored frocks. For a rehearsal dinner, I think black is fine anywhere unless you’re given a very particular dress code.

      1. Loopy*

        I am from the Northeast and am currently in deep south, so I find myself always worrying about not being on the same page as everyone else!

        1. Nye*

          I was pretty surprised the first time I wore black to a West Coast wedding! I knew the traditional etiquette but had been to enough Northeast weddings that I figured it was outdated. It wasn’t a problem, but there were only two of us (both Northeast transplants) in black.

    8. Call me St. Vincent*

      Maybe this is a regional thing, but in the NY metro area, people wear black to weddings all the time. I’ve worn black to plenty of weddings (usually when they’re black tie or black tie optional, but otherwise still fine!). I don’t see why a black dress with white accents would raise even a little bit of an eyebrow at a rehearsal dinner. Go forth and enjoy! If the bride raises a concern, that’s absolutely ridiculous and I was a “particular” bride myself ;)

    9. Floundering Mander*

      I think there is no hard and fast rule on this kind of thing anymore. I was once a bridesmaid where we all wore black evening dresses (it was the easiest way to get everyone to match). I have worn black to various weddings and rehearsals. But none of my friends are picky or traditional, so I could have turned up in jeans and it wouldn’t have been a problem.

  24. The Other Dawn*

    I want to thank whoever recommended Ken Follett’s Century trilogy a few weeks ago. I was able to get it electronically from the library and I’m happily reading the first book. It’s 842 pages long, so I’m quite happy (I love long books). Only issue is it’s taking me awhile due to my relentless back pain. I just can’t sit or lay down and read for as long as I used to because the pain drives me to distraction.

    1. Simone R*

      I think that was me-I’m glad you like it! I loved it, but because I read it when they were still coming out and I had to keep rereading them when a new one came out because I couldn’t remember what had happened!

    2. CatCat*

      If your library uses Overdrive, you could possibly check out the downloadable audiobook to the Overdrive app. Might help if you need to be standing or walking for your back. The narrator on the Century Trilogy is phenomenal.

  25. Sophia*

    Does anyone understand/can explain the differences between Amazon subscription and save program and their prime pantry program?

    1. King Friday XIII*

      Subscribe and save, you’re saying “yeah send me this every three months” and you get a 15% discount if you’re getting five or more, and they ship on a specific day of the month. Pantry orders come in basically a giant box and don’t have any recurring schedule, and they take like… I think two weeks to ship from whenever you order them? And have a shipping fee.

    2. periwinkle*

      Prime Pantry = Fill a box from their selection of Prime Pantry items and buy for a one-time shipment. There is frequently a “buy 5 items from this selection and save $6”, which basically means free shipping since that’s $5.99 per box. Each Prime Pantry item description includes a percentage – when you’ve reached 100%, you’ve maxed out one PP box. I’ve never quite figured out how the percentages are calculated – some combination of bulk and weight, I guess? The heavy box of 24 Fancy Feast cans takes up slightly less “space” than the bulkier but lighter 12-pack of toilet paper. There are often electronic coupons on items – just click and you’ll get the savings. When I place PP orders, they generally arrive in a few days – not as fast as the standard 2-day Prime shipping, but not much longer. The order will come in one very large, very sturdy box.

      Subscription = You’ve designated the item for auto-ship on a regular schedule in exchange for a lower price. This is handy if the item is a consumable you use regularly in a predictable amount like diapers or coffee.