weekend free-for-all – December 30-31, 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: Mortified: Love Is a Battlefield, by David Nadelberg. I’m obsessed with the Mortified podcast (based on the Mortified stage show where people read their real-life diaries and letters from adolescence, and believe me, the name fits), and this is a book with more of the same. I’ve recommended their first book in the past as well, and their entire empire is delightful.

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

{ 1,637 comments… read them below }

    1. Overeducated*

      I’m not going that far but I definitely feel like I need a dietary overhaul involving much less butter and sugar and much more vegetables and beans. (Almost interested in the Whole 30 idea but honestly I don’t quite have the time to cook those menus.)

      1. Samata*

        I did the Whole30 without cooking at all. It was pretty easy to stay compliant. By way of salads. Lots and lots of salad with O&V.

      1. Fiennes*

        I did a thing for a while where one meal of the day was vegan, another was vegetarian, and only one involved meat. It allowed for a lot of flexibility while still challenging me to get creative with options, and greatly decreased my meat intake. My partner and I are considering starting this up again soon.

        1. Helpful*

          It really gets you eating more fruits and vegetables, which is a major win. Once you take away cheese and crackers as a legitimate lunch, you have to be way more creative. :)

          1. Overeducated*

            I tried that one year…the problem for me was that I love dinner leftovers for lunch, so getting that creative was not a fun change! (Also, almond milk in my coffee.) Might have to try for a modification like meatless Mondays, but vegan.

    2. Book Lover*

      I have officially eaten too much of everything. However, I pretty much enjoyed it, and will choose to worry about it on Monday :)

        1. JD*

          This is what we are saying today. I am hungry as heck today however as everything I ordered to eat yesterday was prepared wrong to the point of me barely wanting to eat it. I don’t like onions people!! Arg. Hoping for decent food today and then laying off the booze and Fat Tuesday.

    3. ThatGirl*

      I’m not personally going that far but I typically cut waaaay back on sugar in January and try to do a general diet reset. No sweet baked goods or dessert, avoid adding sugar, avoid French fries, that sort of thing.

      1. Samata*

        I like the no baked goods or deserts for January. Those are my weaknesses for the most part and if I can get out of the habit of them my life gets much easier.

    4. Rainy*

      I’ve been sick since the Thursday before Christmas, and wasn’t able to eat anything but tea and crackers until just the other day. All my grand plans for delicious holiday food…just didn’t happen. :/

    5. AdAgencyChick*

      Normally I overindulge in some kind of food (cheese, sweets) in December. This leaves me feeling chubby.

      This December I have been overindulging in alcohol, so now I feel chubby AND dehydrated. :/

    6. Coywolf*

      Well I went vegan 2 years ago and cheese was the hardest thing to resist but if you keep it up long enough your taste buds change and even if you ate cheese again it probably wouldn’t taste as good as it used to! Little by little I’ve become more sensitive to salty and high fat foods, they taste too salty or feel too oily to me all of a sudden and cheese is both of those things! Good luck!

    7. GirlwithaPearl*

      I’m doing a January Whole 30 and cannot wait.

      First I need to consume all the cheese in my fridge. Also the wine.

      1. Pretend Scientist*

        One of my co-directors at work did this with Moe’s queso. It was delivered by a Pharma rep, I think, and she took a ton home in a coffee travel mug, ate it all, and subsequently wanted to die the next morning. She said that she felt dehydrated from all the salt more than anything else.

  1. I Love Thrawn*

    I hope this is ok; if not I understand if it gets removed. I’m only posting here because we are kind of desperate. My cat Toby is 13 years old, an orange tabby. He came into my life when he was three weeks old, found in someone’s car engine on a cold day. I believe that loss of his mother too early led to his health issues in his senior years, which I’ve managed until now. Right now, we are dealing with his need for a dental procedure for his resorptive lesions; teeth are being reabsorbed into his jaw. Surgery is required now. Extraction if we are lucky, but it might need his jaw drilled into. This is painful and progressive. And do I need to add expensive?

    I started a GoFundMe for him, but my problem now is one of exposure. Just don’t know enough people, and my social media prescence is almost non existent, so our success here is probably not going to happen. If anyone is interested in contributing or even passing the word on to others, purrhaps, I would be grateful. Prayers and good thoughts for his procedure and recovery are also very welcome. Details can be found at GoFundMe by searching for Toby dental surgery, Tallahassee. He’s the cute orange cat. Thanks and Happy New Year!

    1. Hrovitnir*

      Good luck. I hope you can get the money – it’s amazing how much it improves their quality of life, even though they feel a bit crap for a little afterwards.

    2. Tara*

      You should try posting the page to reddit at reddit.com/r/assistance and reddit.com/r/gofundme.

      They have a couple thousand subscribers each. I’ve also seen people post albums of cute cat pictures to imgur.com with the story of how you got the cat, pictures throughout its life, what’s happening now and a link to the gofund me page in the text at the end.

      1. Safetykats*

        My cat just has two teeth extracted for the same issue; it is expensive. I’m going to share your gofundme on my FB and I hope it helps. You can also try angels4animals.org or graciesmission.org, they are organizations that provide help with vet bills.

        1. Safetykats*

          Also make sure when you share your gofundme on FB that you make the post public. You can change the privacy settings for that post only. That way your FB friends can share it more widely. I mention that because while I can find the gofundme on their site, I can’t find it searching FB – so I think you might be sharing it with a narrow privacy setting.

      2. I Love Thrawn*

        I just put him on the reddit page. Wow, there are some seriously heart breaking requests on that page.

    3. Former Employee*


      If you can’t raise all of the money on your own, contact Red Rover (link, above). They help people with expenses they can’t cover for their animal’s medical needs, among other things. Just go to their site, click on resources at the top and under that there is “apply for help”.

      Best of luck to you and Toby. Please let us know what happens.

    4. AnonAndOn*

      Unfortunately I can’t donate due to going through financial difficulties, but I shared it to my social media. Good luck in getting the help you need!

    5. Eagan and Rory's Meowma*

      I love ginger kitties! Toby is so precious. I have two of my own. We’ve donated and my kitties have shared the GoFundMe link on their Instagram account, they have about 600 followers, so hopefully that helps! Have a lovely New Year!

    6. Alison Read*

      I rarely read the open thread, I’m glad I did today. I wish your little wooby the best possible health, I couldn’t spare much but hopefully a bunch of little donations will add up to get him the treatment he needs. Kudos for taking on what to most cats would be a death sentence. I am encouraged by the other poster’s comment that their wooby improved after the same treatment.

      1. I Love Thrawn*

        We really appreciate it. And your lil guy is so cute! That face, oh my goodness. I’ve heard from other cat moms on this subject; I am nervous about it, but we have to do this for him. Happy New Year!

    7. MsChanandlerBong*

      Good luck to Toby! I wish I could have given more, but my job situation just changed, so we have to tighten our belts for a few weeks. Hopefully, a lot of little donations will add up to the amount you need.

      1. I Love Thrawn*

        Thanks so much ! So many people have been so kind to Toby today. I told him so too. Happy New Year.

    8. AnonEMoose*

      I’m not in a position to donate just now, but I shared the GoFundMe to a group I’m in on Facebook that I know really loves their kitties (and dogs, and birds, and…). Very best of luck to you and Toby!

    9. Pretend Scientist*

      Donated. We have had many cat health issues this year and lost Diego in March to a pituitary tumor, and Bubby passed away from end-stage FIV on 12Dec. Difficult as it has been, I have been mindful that we have been incredibly lucky to be able to afford regular, specialty and emergency vet visits (feline neurologist? who knew?!)–quality veterinary care is so expensive. We spent NYE last year at PVSEC in Pittsburgh with Diego (Toby looks a lot like him). I hope he has a successful procedure and full recovery. My parents’ cat had abscessed teeth removed soon after they adopted her ~10 years ago, and the recovery (and her new-found enthusiasm for pain-free eating) was great.

      1. I Love Thrawn*

        Thank you so much for your kindness. I’ve been able to keep up with his more routine illnesses and needs, it’s just that this particular issue has such a high price tag. Happy New Year!

    10. Bye Academia*

      I donated! I hope you are close enough that you can go through with the surgery. My cat had a dental a few months ago and it really does make a difference. Good luck!

      1. I Love Thrawn*

        Thanks!! Yep, we are very close now. Maybe another week, factoring in all logistics. The kindness of strangers has been amazing.

  2. Courtney*

    Tell me how you celebrate New Years Eve if you stay at home for it! Since having kids my husband and I usually end up falling asleep before midnight hits, but we’ve had a very hectic month and I’m looking for inspiration on ways to make the night a little more special once the kids are in bed.

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      For the last few years we’ve spent NYE with 2 other families. Our kids are all friends, so they all run around together, and the adults hang out drinking cocktails. We always have dinner too. This year I’m going to make a leg of lamb. My mom brought it over a few months ago, and it’s been in my freezer. She found it on sale at the grocery store and couldn’t pass it up.

      1. Courtney*

        This sounds really fun! Most of our friends are childfree and will be going out, but a good idea for if we ever find some parent friends.

        1. Ann Furthermore*

          It’s hard to find parent friends that you get along with, and who have kids you get along with. We were really lucky. One family had the in-home daycare my daughter went to for about 4 years, and we got to be good friends with them, and my daughter is close friends with their kids. The other family has been friends with them for years — they all went to high school together. Their son is the same age as my daughter, and they are best buddies and are in the same class. And we’ve become close friends with them too.

      2. blackcat*

        This is what I did as a kid! Tons of fun. Everyone (adults included) slept over.

        Just as a warning, though, starting around 14, we were able to sneak booze out from under the adults noses. In retrospect, it is entirely possible the adults decided we were old enough and the environment was safe enough that they didn’t care.

        1. the gold digger*

          At a family reunion where a lot of people were camping, I said something to my cousin about all the drinking teenagers. She replied that she wanted her kids to have a miserable drinking experience in an environment where they were not driving and there were adults around.

    2. Overeducated*

      This isn’t quite what you’re asking, but I like the New Year’s Day brunch substitute – celebration with food at a time i am more awake.

      1. Muriel Heslop*

        We are doing this for the first time this year with three other families and I am looking forward to it!

    3. Adjunct Gal*

      I’d be curious too. Technically It’s our dating anniversary also, but getting a sitter for NYE is $$$ as well as next to impossible. We used to go out to see friends, but now that we have a dog also…well, it’s just better to stay home.

      Maybe games, a fancier dinner than usual, a little wine, and a good movie?

    4. another Liz*

      When I was little, my parents did parties like Ann’s, kids downstairs adults upstairs. It was a blast.

      This year, it’s been super hectic. We’re doing a movie and some wine by the Christmas tree.

    5. The Other Dawn*

      I’m usually in bed by 10:30 or so, so we really don’t do anything; it’s a regular night for us. In years past we would buy some cheese and crackers, and maybe some shrimp cocktail. We’d watch the ball drop and then head to bed. Real party animals, we are.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Last year I told my family about how they have Netflix countdown videos so parents can trick younger children into going to bed earlier. Around 10:00 pm, my sixteen-year-old son said, “Mom, can you “trick” us with one of those videos? I’m tired.” So we played a countdown video, had a champagne/sparkling grape juice toast, and went to bed.

        1. Courtney*

          I saw the NYE thing on our Kid profile but didn’t realize what it was – I’ll definitely have to check that out!

    6. Windchime*

      I always stay home for New Years Eve. I am just not much of a partier or drinker. I live in a place with easy access to illegal fireworks, so it’s usually impossible to sleep before midnight because of the fireworks/explosions happening all around. So I get myself a nice snack and do a project while the Twilight Zone marathon (Syfy channel) plays in the background. Last year I cleaned my master bedroom closet.

      Yeah. So it’s pretty wild around here.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I don’t do much either, but this year I was invited over to a friend’s house. We’ll probably just play cards or something. I was kind of hoping for a party, but it’s going to be so frickin cold. Ugh.

    7. The gold digger*

      Best party ever was NY’s Eve in Paris: party started about 4:00 p.m. central and was over by 8:00 p.m.

    8. DanaScully*

      We have a Chinese takeaway and pop a bottle of something fizzy. Usually we watch the New Years specials on TV and join in the countdown.

    9. Book Lover*

      I can’t keep my eyes open past about 10, so we do a lovely family dinner, put the kids to bed as usual, and go to sleep before the fireworks start. Sorry, not what you are looking for, but the kids are going to be bouncing out of bed at 6 and that means getting some sleep if I am going to be functional.

    10. tab*

      My husband and I always stay in. I don’t like to be on the roads early New Years morning. I make cheese fondue with broccoli & cauliflower for dipping, and I get a tiny dessert from Whole Foods. I always stay up ’till midnight, but my husband doesn’t bother. We have brunch with friends late the next morning.

    11. Peggy*

      My wife and I had an exhausting year. Usually we go to a party, but this year we’re going to cook a feast (filet Mignon and shrimp) and make mocktails and watch movies. We’re in our 3rd round of IUI, we’ll find out if she’s pregnant next week, so we’re not drinking. We’re way overdue for a quiet night in just the two of us!

    12. Incantanto*

      Going to a social dance (contra) to dance the night away then going to the afterparty at the callers house. Have been told to bring dance shoes and wine. Should be fun.
      Unfortunately its a hour away by train and strikes are looming

    13. Suddenly Free*

      Up till this year we’d mostly stay in and *try* to stay awake for the fireworks, with varying success. Occasionally we’ve had friends over, eaten lots of yummy food, booze for those who partake, etc. This is our first year without spouse/dad. We’re having a few close friends over. Hoping to start the new year on a positive note. 2017 was brutal.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I will be on my own, so I have ordered a festive meal which just requires reheating and will perhaps go out briefly to see the fireworks, but it has been really cold and snowy here.

      2. Nines*

        I’m sorry for your loss. The first holidays are always tough without the presence of a loved one. I’m glad you will have some friends over to spend the time with. That has helped our extended family immensely with the loss we had this year.

      3. Connie-Lynne*

        I lost my husband as well this year; you have my sympathy.

        I’m gonna have a far more mellow new year this year.

    14. Laura*

      Honestly, at my house it’s 2 things- our favorite contraband- for me that’d be Cheeto puffs, Oreos, Easy Cheese-the spray can stuff, American flavor-, and ritz crackers- and the Twilight Zone Marathon on theSci Fi channel.

      Seeing as I’m fighting off the ick this year, prolly gonna be modified.

    15. Nines*

      We usually just do a movie with something bubbly at midnight. This year we’re trying something new to incorporate the seven year old and I’m really excited about it! We have a local Native American organization that focuses on substance abuse and they do a huge pow wow every year all day long. So we’re taking the kiddo this year. Not sure we’ll make it to midnight, but I’m excited to have a family friendly celebratory event for us to go to this year.

    16. Gadfly*

      Netflix? Snacks? Reading? Bubble bath?Calling and chatting with people? I don’t know. I’ve been old and boring since before I was young.

      Neo-pagan rituals (SMIB!) is my back up plan, but I’m leaning Netflix.

    17. anon24*

      I don’t have kids, but I’m very laid back, don’t like crowds or parties, and don’t drink, so I always stay home on NYE. I would love to have a few people over to chill, but I don’t have any friends and all my husband’s friends are partiers and drinkers. The two of us usually stay home and snack on food, shrimp, cheese, crackers, etc. This year we made caramel popcorn and I’m going to make cinnamon buns so it will be a true junk food fest that will probably have us both wondering why on earth we ate so much. We usually watch a movie or he plays video games and I read. I don’t usually bother to stay up, he stays up and watches the ball drop on his tablet and then goes to bed. We’re so boring :)

    18. oranges & lemons*

      I usually cook something nice and have a few people over. This year is paella and a few simple tapas. Still refining the menu…

    19. Aphrodite*

      I’m having four friends over for NYE from about 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm. We’ll snack on salad, tomato soup, and some of the frozen appetizers from TJ’s as well as champagne, sparkling water and white pomegranate tea as we chat, laugh and play board games. It may not be exciting to some but it works for us–and we all still get to be in bed at an early, reasonable time. (We are at the age where that is a wonderful thing.)

    20. Connie-Lynne*

      Usually my Burning Man village goes off into the mountains to celebrate and have a campout at a 4H camp.

      This year, the logistics of me getting there are too much (I have PTSD that makes it hard for me to drive alone, particularly over bridges and mountainous areas). But I’m really looking forward to hanging out with another friend, in town. We’re going to get together and cook a big dinner and just enjoy hanging out.

    21. Clever Name*

      I’m not really big on going out for NYE. I remember my parents had big parties when I was growing up. Grown ups would play board games and the kids would play the Nintendo in the basement. So now that I have my own kid, I like to have friends over and do the same. I’m newly divorced this year, and I’m having a few girlfriends bring their kids and we’ll celebrate together. I just hope I can make it to midnight!

    22. Ramona Flowers*

      We are staying in and I’m so happy. We were meant to go to the local pub with friends. Husband said he wasn’t sure he wanted to bother and apparently the look on my face showed how thrilled I would be to just stay in. We have pizza and Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit and lots of snacks!

    23. Bluebell*

      Visiting nearby friends for dinner -which almost counts as staying home. They have a fireplace though which makes it nicer, and we make dinner together, and have fancy hors d’ouevres.

    24. AnonEMoose*

      We’re doing a night in. Probably movies and watching a countdown video with a non-alcoholic toast at midnight. Doing a light dinner as I woke up with a pretty unhappy stomach this morning. Though it’s doing better now.

    25. Die Forelle (The Trout)*

      My husband and I are livestreaming the Phish concert at Madison Square Garden and we have some champagne to enjoy. He’s the Phish fan and I’m on here/reading a book when the jams start to drag.

      We can see our city’s fireworks display from our apartment building roof, so we’ll probably go up there to watch that if we stay awake until midnight. I’ve always enjoyed a quieter New Year’s Eve. My family would get together with another family who had daughters who are about the same age as me and my sister. We’re scattered to the four winds now, but I’ve enjoyed seeing glimpses of everyone’s at-home celebrations on my social media feeds today.

  3. Ann Furthermore*

    Also, it’s the one night of the year when we all tell the kids they can stay up as late as they want.

  4. Bibliovore*

    okay, finally, finally , finally feel human again. Two rounds of antibiotics and steroids. Anxiety rising about the thing we do not discuss on weekends. On the other hand, it is thirteen below zero and I don’t have to be anywhere.I have a stack of books to read. A warm dog who understands how to use a pee pad, gas fire, and enough food in the fridge for the duration. There will be laundry, a lot of reading, and maybe something in the Instant Pot. I might bake something.

    1. nep*

      Feels great to feel human again after being through the wringer like that, doesn’t it? Glad to hear you’re feeling better. And that you don’t have to be anywhere in this freaking uninhabitable weather.
      What are you reading?

      1. Bibliovore*

        Top of the pile is How to Read Nancy by Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden, Pablo And Birdy by Alison McGhee, and an advance of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, Holt, March 2018.

    1. nep*

      Same. It’s to the point we are glad when it gets to the teens or — heat wave — 20s. And it’s supposed to stay this cold through next weekend. Ugh. Hate. (One consolation — not a lot of new snow right now. No way I would shovel in this brutal cold — too dangerous.)

    2. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      Me too. and it snowed yesterday, so I need to go out to shovel it. It’ll take me 10 minutes to get outside with all the bundling. :(

    3. WellRed*

      I know most people hate winter, but I like it for the most part because:
      an excuse to be all warm and cozy indoors with tea and a big stack of reading
      sparkling snow and giant ice stalactites are pretty
      sea smoke if you live by the sea
      fewer bugs
      noisy neighbors are stuck inside too!
      It’s -13 where I am.

    4. Middle School Teacher*

      I’m so tired of the cold. Apparently yesterday it was warmer on Mars than it was here.

      1. Former Employee*

        It was about 80 in L.A. on Friday. It should be somewhere in the 70’s for the next several days and then drop into the 60’s.

        I’m glad it will be warm for the Rose Parade since people camp out overnight. Should be in the upper 40’s/lower 50’s New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day in the early morning. I don’t recall exactly when, but several years ago, it was so cold New Year’s Eve night that they put out hypothermia warnings for the people camped out on the street. Yes, it was in the very low 30’s. And people wonder why someone like me who lives in SoCal owns a coat!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          With climate change making the weather so unpredictable, I would definitely keep one coat if/when I move out there! Besides, you might want to go into the mountains, where it’s definitely much cooler.

    5. Tris Prior*

      I’m really grateful that I (mostly) don’t have to go out again until Wednesday when I am back at work. Though we have to do a grocery run today. Booooo. Last I checked it was SEVEN degrees out. Which, at least it’s above zero? Ugh, this sucks.

  5. C Average*

    I’m writing this on a plane to Honolulu, where I am having what I’m describing to friends as a little offsite with myself.

    I’m going to spill my guts here, because I’ve always valued this community as a safe place to share personal and work-related things.

    My life has been in such a skid the last few years. A decade ago, I had a job I loved at a company I’d long aspired to work for.

    Then I took a promotion I should have passed up and ended up in a dead-end role I sucked at, working for a manager I couldn’t stand.

    Around the same time I married a guy with two kids. I had some trepidation about this, but I loved him and got along well with the kids, who lived with us part-time.

    Everything has gone so wrong.

    A series of family tragedies landed the kids with us full-time. I left my job to take care of them. The older kid was severely traumatized by everything that happened, and she turned the full force of her pain and rage on me. For several years I endured psychological and emotional abuse from her, as well as physical threats. Her father chose not to get involved.

    Then my sister got cancer. She’s okay now, but it’s been a very difficult journey.

    I left my husband in the spring. The divorce will be final in the next couple of months. I live alone with my cat. I work retail—I haven’t had much luck jump-starting my stalled career. I’m really happy doing what I’m doing, but it’s paycheck to paycheck. It’s hard. It’s probably always going to be hard.

    The political events of the past few years have been really hard for me, too.

    It hasn’t been all awful. I had an irregular mammogram that turned out to be nothing. I took some design classes and am gaining skills in sewing, something I’ve always loved. I wrote a first draft of a novel and am working on the revision. I’ve found a few wonderful friends. I have a tiny, beautiful, affordable apartment in an area that’s in the city but feels like the country. I got a new-to-me car in the divorce settlement and sometimes on my day off I drive out to the coast, and no one tells me when I need to be home. I’m closer to my sister than I’ve ever been; we both call ourselves survivors.

    I really want 2018 to be the year the skid ends. I know worse things have happened to better people, I know everyone is fighting some kind of battle, I know I still have a lot to be thankful for. I’m trying. But it would sure be nice to catch a few breaks.

    I had a huge airline credit from a trip to Europe I was supposed to take with my ex and his kids. It needed to be used soon, and it’s hard to get much time off working retail. So I am blowing the whole thing on three days in Hawaii for New Year’s. Yeah, it’s a little crazy. But I’ve been dealing with so much of the bad kind of crazy that I’m ready for a little bit of the good kind.

    Happy New Year to Alison and to all of you here. I hope it’s a great year for all of you. You’re a wonderful community, and I’ve learned so much great stuff here. You’ve been a consistently bright spot in a pretty dark world, and I’m so grateful for all of you.

    1. Caledonia*

      Ah I’m sorry to hear of your troubles C Average. I am glad that you are taking the air miles and doing something with it for yourself.

      Hope 2018 is good to you and your family in the ways which this last year has not.

    2. Purple Snowdrop*

      My god. I knew things had been tough for you but not this bad.
      My 2017 has been pretty shitty, too. I hope for better things for you and me in 2018. Keep posting. It’s made a world of difference to me, having this community supporting me. Take care.

    3. Hrovitnir*

      Oh man, that is so many hard things! I hope you have a great New Year and 2018 is an upward trend. A trip to Hawaii for New Years doesn’t sound crazy at all. I really hope you enjoy it.

    4. patricia*

      I know what you mean about the last few years being the skid into awfulness. Same here, for a variety of reasons. Happy new year to you, I hope the Hawaiian vacation helps (at least you’ll be warm while most of the rest of us freeze our collective tuchas off!) and I hope 2018 is less of a dumpster fire. Hugs to you, internet friend.

        1. BatteryB*

          Thirded. FWIW, I’ve always enjoyed your posts. I’ve spent a lot of time in the archives and had wondered how you were.

    5. Windchime*

      It sounds like you have had a really rough year, but you are doing an excellent job of taking care of yourself. I’m so glad that you are taking a little break to enjoy the beauty that is Hawaii. Here’s to 2018 being a much, much better year for you.

    6. Book Lover*

      New Year in Hawaii sounds like a perfect way to kick start 2018 for you. I am so sad things have been so terrible but it sounds like you are making a great new beginning for yourself. I hope your retail job allows you a bit of spare time to apply for jobs in other areas, and that you get back into an area that you love.

    7. Enough*

      Sounds like a wonderful way to have a reset and new focus for the new year. From postings I know that you were trying to help these children and really cared. Unfortunately when they are in that much pain it is so much easier to attack the outsider than to admit that your parents have messed up big time and that you can love and hate them at the same time.
      So I toast to you and all those who are making 2018 a fresh start.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      Aww, C, I am so sorry.
      I will say this, I watched your stories and you went above and beyond in trying to help your ex and kids. You put your all into it. You were exemplary in your unselfish choices. But we can’t help people who don’t want to be helped and this is a profoundly sad conclusion to reach.

      You are very gifted with insight. There were quite a few times I was struck by what you said of this or that. I hope your next career path allows you to use it with people who actually want to be helped. Hang on to the fact that no experience is ever wasted. You have seen and learned so much, this will be a help to you moving forward.

      Let us know how Hawaii is, okay?

      1. C Average*

        Your wise, kind words always mean so much to me, NSNR.

        Hawaii was wonderful. The beach, the stairs at Koko Head, the beach, watching New Year’s Eve fireworks from the lanai, eating the best pineapple I have ever tasted, the beach. . . it was a fast trip, but managed to be everything I hoped for and more. I’m getting through, and I’m going to be okay.

        Peace out, 2017.

    9. Update on he wants a baby*

      I’m so sorry to hear how hard everything has been and I’m glad you feel like you can share and get support here.. I think a trip to Hawaii sounds like a fabulous idea. I will lift my glass to you, to me, and anyone else who needs it on New Year’s Eve for a better 2018 (if I get out to get something to put in said glass in this subzero weather).

    10. fposte*

      I’m so glad you’re finding a chance to do something for yourself.

      Sometimes, no matter how much good will and effort we put out, we can’t make life go the way we want it to. But the way it does go can still be valid and rewarding. I hope it is so for you.

      1. Yetanotherjennifer*

        I can’t think of a better way to ring in the new year. You’ve accomplished and endured so much, I hope this is the start of better times for you. Happy 2018!

    11. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I’ve always looked forward to your comments here and missed them when you’ve taken breaks from commenting. I’m sorry to hear that things have been rough for you for a while. It sounds as if you still have a lot going for you, and I hope things get so much better in 2018.

    12. A bit of wisdom*

      To C-Average: I hope 2018 is the year things turn around. I’m rooting for you!

      To others: this is a cautionary lesson that one hears all too often. Do not sacrifice your economic livelihood/self-sufficiency to become a caregiver.

      I am sure some out there will disagree; I don’t think this is the place to debate it, so I’ll just say up-front that YMMV, but also that you never think it will happen to you.

      1. Hildegard Von Bingen*

        Thank you. I agree. I’ll never forget my first full-time job out of college. I was a Claims Rep for Social Security. A woman who’d stayed home all of her life to take care of her family got dumped by her husband. She was in her late 40s – early 50’s -with no kids under 22 (so mother’s benefits were out), she wasn’t blind or disabled (so, no SSI, a means-tested federal welfare program), and her cheating soon-to-be-ex was still alive. She had no earnings record of her own. She had no savings of her own and no traditional outside-the-home job skills or experience.

        She came in assuming she’d get some kind of benefit payment. I had to tell her that she didn’t qualify at that point. I’ll never forget the look of terror and panic in that woman’s eyes, or how she asked me, “What am I supposed to do?” I winged it, with recommendations for job training, food banks, Social Services, Section 8 housing. I also suggested she get herself a human shark for an attorney and take her husband to the cleaners in the divorce settlement if she possibly could.

        But this woman was middle class, and it was as if I were speaking Greek to her. She couldn’t imagine herself using such services. It was heartbreaking. That encounter helped shape my decisions forever afterwards. A total eye-opener. All these years later, I still think of her often. I hope it all worked out OK for her.

      2. C Average*

        This comment has been in my head ever since I first read it.

        As general advice, yes, I co-sign it with all my heart. Don’t step out of the workforce without realizing that stepping back in at the same level might not be possible, especially as time passes.

        At the same time, I don’t know how to think about my own situation. When I left my job to try to stabilize the household in the wake of the original tragedy (the kids’ mom’s loss of her home in a house fire—the kids were with her when it happened and landed with us full-time afterward because she was struggling to find a place to live and then to furnish it), I figured I could freelance, do some contract work for my former employer, stuff like that.

        But then tragedy compounded tragedy. My husband’s ex—the girls’ mom—has a very scary mental health episode while they were with her, leading to total estrangement between the older girl and her. The girl subsequently developed a severe eating disorder, a lot of self-harm behaviors, and generally a lot of behaviors not indicative of a healthy mind.

        I crammed calories into her. I begged my ex to get her into therapy. I drove her to the therapist and the nutritionist, all under the white-hot glare of her utter contempt for me. I hosted her friends, I lent her my stuff, I read the books she enjoyed to look for common ground, I took her to my parents’ house for holidays so she wouldn’t have to navigate contact with her mother that she wasn’t ready for. I held as much space for her as I was capable of holding—frankly, more. Under the guidance of a good therapist, I am finally being real with myself about just how very hard it was, and for how long.

        I sincerely believe she might well not be alive if it weren’t for those efforts. I occasionally speak to my ex, and I know she has spent the past three months in an inpatient facility. He is worried that she hasn’t made more progress. He dreads her coming home. He doesn’t know how to deal with her. I think he’s finally beginning to understand a little of what it was like for me. (She loves him and is affectionate with him, which probably makes it a little different.)

        My point, and I do have one, is that I don’t know how to look at a sixteen-year-old girl’s life and say, “No, I should have stayed in my career track.” If I had to do it again, knowing I have possibly many years of underemployment and financial struggle ahead, I still would. Saving her when she didn’t want to be saved is the most important thing I’ve ever done. I hope my ex and the team of professionals helping her can finish the job, and set her up for a good life that she can come to value.

        (At the same time, I hope I never lay eyes on her again. The thing she did that finally ended our relationship can be forgiven, but not forgotten. Wherever she goes from here in life, she’ll have to get there without my help. Yes, I am still bitter. Working on that.)

    13. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      Blowing the miles on a Hawaii trip sounds like just the ticket after all that you’ve been through. I’m sorry it’s been such a rough road but I hope that this is the beginning of it turning around for the better.

    14. Jean (just Jean)*

      Vicarious heartache for your bad news, and good thoughts back atcha for your good news. May life continue to improve for you and your sister (and for your ex and ex-stepkids, someday, when they’re ready for it).
      You made the best decisions you could at all the choice points along the way and your caring shone through in all of your postings.
      I don’t know why life has to include these roller-coaster stretches. You sound like you’re coping pretty damn well.
      (As for the political news…hang in there. Do what you can–within your limits of energy, time, and funds–to improve the world. And vote, vote, vote, every chance you have.)

    15. SeekingBetter*

      I’m sorry to hear about all that you’ve been going through, but am very thrilled to hear you’re going to Hawaii! Wishing you well during your trip and to a healthy and prosperous New Year!!

    16. Stellaaaaa*

      I have read your posts for a while, and I have often thought of your stories when making similarly difficult relationship decisions of my own. You have acted in kindness during situations that many people would not be able to endure with grace. I hope 2018 will be better for you.

    17. ..Kat..*

      Happy New Year. I hope your trip to Hawaii is the reset button for your life circumstances. Best wishes going forward. Your apartment sounds like heaven.

    18. Struggling*

      I wish you a wonderful and rejuvenating time in Hawaii. I’ve been struggling with some pretty dark times since the summer of 2016 and I often don’t know what to do with myself. Life seems like such a bleak thing sometimes. It’s good that you have the means and ability to get away for a few days in paradise. Enjoy it

      Comments like yours that often make me wish this site has a forum, rather than blog comments. Usually, forum software allows members to have a login and message each other privately, where we can share email addresses, etc. I’ve made some friends from various online forums, and even met a few, but you can’t really do that if everything is public and you can only share so much.

      1. C Average*

        I’ve had that thought, too, Struggling. I hope things look up for you this year and in the years to come. I usually at least lurk in the weekend open threads. Shoot me a bat signal for empathy anytime—I’ll keep an eye out.

    19. nonegiven*

      My friend lives there and I’m cold (23F outside) so I looked up his location and it’s 74F right this minute.

    20. Frankie Bergstein*

      You sound like a wonderful and resilient person. Frankly, I am really admiring you for this post and your weekend trips and design classes and closeness with your sister with everything else happening. And here’s to 2018 being the time the skid ends!

    21. Clever Name*

      I’m newly divorced too. It sucks, but you get through it, I guess. I’m sure you already know this, but your ex-husband standing by while his daughter spewed her emotions onto you was absolutely not okay and is a form of abuse. You didn’t deserve it.

      1. C Average*

        Thank you for saying this. My therapist says it, too, and I’m getting to where I can actually believe it. I think he was doing the best he could in a complicated situation, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t deserve better. It’s taken me a while to be able to split that hair.

        Good luck recovering from your divorce. It’s a journey, isn’t it?

    22. C Average*

      You GUYS. Do something about the dust and the onions in here.

      I spent the day wandering Waikiki, and now I’m having a glass of wine on the lanai and reading y’all’s wonderful comments.

      It’s ridiculously beautiful here. My Airbnb comes with not only its own lanai, but CATS! They’re keeping me company as I write this. Tomorrow I’m climbing the Koko Head stairs and then going on a tour of a pineapple plantation.

      Thank you for all the kind words of support. I plan to come back and read them again and again.

      1. Former Employee*

        I was in Hawaii many years ago. Loved it.

        I think that many of us have had a difficult year in 2017. From unpleasant health related “surprises” (I had some of those this year) to political “say what?” moments.

        Wishing you a Happy New Year and a better time in 2018.

      2. Bluebell*

        Have a very very happy New Year and all the best for 2018 – you deserve it. Will that Airbnb give you a choce of cats or puppies? If so, it sounds perfect. ;)

    23. Jade*

      Missed your comments when I didn’t see you around; sad that all this happened to bring you back.
      Many wishes that 2018 will be much kinder to you!

  6. Chasing pavements*

    Going anon for this.

    This situation is weird, right? I had someone quote me for some new windows.

    Then today I logged into fb and he had sent me a friend request. This is bizarre, right? I am a little freaked out now. He wants me to give a deposit for the work (I said I would go with the quote) and has texted me twice about it.

    I should say something to his company, shouldn’t I?

    1. Red Reader*

      Is it weird enough that you’re willing to not use his company after all? If so, I would definitely tell the manager that and why — “Look, I was very pleased with your quote, but Reginald has made me seriously uncomfortable with his personal overtures, and I’m just not willing to have him further involved in my transaction. If switching me to a different representative isn’t an option, I’m going to have to take my business elsewhere.” (Personally, this is where I would be. I’d rather pay a little bit extra to work with a company that doesn’t suck.)

      If it’s not that bad (by your personal definition), it’s a little hazier. I’d be worried that, if I still intended to work with him/his company, “telling on him” (which isn’t how *I* would see it, but probably how *he* would see it) would come back to bite me in the butt as far as getting the work done, and possibly cause him to escalate, whereas if I just ignore his personal overtures and keep it business, and then block him when my windows are done, maybe I can just muddle through it?

      1. Red Reader*

        I feel like my reply is awfully wishy-washy. Sorry about that. =/ I did have a service rep at a car dealership send me repeated facebook requests at one point, and by my recollection, after the second one I told him to stop, and after the third one I submitted a customer service complaint to the dealership about him. I never heard a response back from the dealership, but I also never heard anything from the service rep again. I was satisfied with that outcome, but that also didn’t involve someone who had any professional reason to be coming to my house like a window-replacing guy might. (I … honestly don’t remember if it was the same dealership I still take my car to or the previous one – this was several years ago and I’ve moved twice since then. I do know that I didn’t stop using the dealership because of this one dude, but I never encountered the dude again at said dealership.)

        1. Chasing pavements*

          Luckily this quoting guy is not a workman – just the salesman who does the calculations and so on. The work is already pretty expensive but they do have a decent finance plan (very low interest).

          1. Book Lover*

            Is it possibly a Facebook page that he really uses for business purposes? My trainer and the other trainers at the gym sent Facebook friend requests and even though it is their personal pages, they only use them to talk about gym stuff.

    2. CatCat*

      Ehhhhh… some people just like to add everyone under the sun to facebook. Just decline/ignore the request to add the window guy as a friend.

    3. Helpful*

      I don’t like this. My neighbors got taken— they put down half for windows and the guy never came back. Be sure there is recourse. I went with Lowe’s because I felt I had some recourse if anything went wrong.

    4. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      I would call the company and ask to speak with a manager, and try to work with someone else at the company. If they weren’t able/willing to accommodate that, I’d go with another company or get more quotes if you need.

      It’s perfectly reasonable to expect a customer to take a day or 3 to get a deposit in. Especially given the holidays. If I got 2 text messages about getting a deposit in, that’s a bit much. And FB is completely over the line. Block the guy on FB – google it if you don’t know how.

    5. Triplestep*

      He may just be today’s version of the typical pushy sales person; Facebook friend requests may mean something completely different to him than they do to you. But if you’re uncomfortable for any reason, you don’t owe anything to anyone here.

      I got the contact info for a handyman on a neighborhood social media site. He returned my call at 11pm at night (I didn’t answer) and I know it was intentional because he posted at the site moments later that he couldn’t get in touch with me. I checked with a few people around the same age as he (I’m in my early fifties, and he appeared to be early thirties) just to see if anyone thought this was a generational thing; All of them saw red flags as well. It’s possible this guy was a fine handyman who was clueless about how to come across to potential customers, but I decided to go with my gut and not continue contact. I think you’re fine doing the same – it’s a valid reason.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yeah, clueless is right. I have a friend who works on people’s homes. While he will make phone calls any time day/night he always considers the person first. If he does not know the person and does not have specific instructions to call anytime before x hour (a late hour) he waits until morning.
        A good rule of thumb is to be a little formal until specifically told to be less formal. It’s good for business.

    6. JD*

      I am going to get internet beat down for this but so be it. I stand by my opinion on this. A man happening to find you interesting, attractive or whatever and attempting to add you on Facebook is not bizarre or requiring threatening his job. You decline and move on. If that was so bizarre then every man/woman who ever so much as found the other sex attractive is in the wrong. But oh wait, that is what is happening lately. If his two texts were regarding the windows, perhaps you do not wish for him to text you, but plenty of people do business using text.

      Sure it does sound like he might like you. Ok, so? And? This comes across as acting like you are being stalked by someone who simply is reaching out. I really do not wish to live in a World where every time someone smiles at another person their employment is at risk. It has all gone too far.

      1. blackcat*

        But if I have *only* had business interactions with someone, why do they have to insert their personal feelings into the business transaction?

        I’d find it much less uncomfortable if all the work was done *and then* dude sent a facebook request. As it is now, this guy has made it seem like she has to be personally friendly with him in order to get the price/work done. That’s really uncool.

      2. Safetykats*

        Yeah, but this is man she currently has a potential business relationship with. Contact should therefore be business related only, and business-appropriate, at least until the business relationship is finished, or until they know each other well enough for him to know whether personal contact would be welcomed. I actually think that if he sent the friend request because he’s attracted to her that’s worse than if he is just clueless, or using FB to track business contacts – and if he is using his business related access to troll for women his employer should definitely be notified, because that’s not okay.

        OP – I would decline his friend request, block him, and ask the company for another contact person, explaining why. It’s not just creepy to have someone like this trying to friend you – it’s potentially dangerous – particularly if you’re going to have any of the work done while you’re not there, and would therefore be giving this company a key to your house.

        Of course, before you give them a deposit, make sure they are licensed, bonded, and ensured. Look them up with the BBB. Visit their actual place of business. And if you do decide to go with them, provide your deposit by stopping at their actual place of business.

      3. Elizabeth H.*

        I don’t think it (necessarily) has anything to do with attraction or sex! Other than that I generally agree. Delete request and move on. Some people friend literally everyone on Facebook. I find it weird but whatever.

      4. Colette*

        If he’s ignoring business boundaries now (I.e. the Facebook request when Facebook is fundamentally a personal platform), what boundaries is he going to ignore if/when he’s in her home?

        This is a legitimate thing to be concerned about, and could easily cost his employer business, which they would want to know about. Should he be fired? Probably not, if this is an isolated incident. But he’s not entitled to mine business contacts for personal relationships just because he wants to.

        1. Truth teller*

          Actually, yes, he is entitled to reach out to whoever he wants on Facebook. I add business contacts to Facebook all the time. If you don’t like it, don’t accept the request. If you can’t abide by the fact you can reach out to business contacts on Facebook generally, don’t use Facebook. Problem solved.

      5. Former Employee*

        “If that was so bizarre then every man/woman who ever so much as found the other sex attractive is in the wrong. But oh wait, that is what is happening lately.”

        Yeah, it’s just terrible how sexual predators and rapists are losing their jobs lately!

    7. Hildegard Von Bingen*

      Get another quote from another company. What you’re describing is way out of line. I had substantial work done on my home in 2017: new HVAC system and hot water heater, new flooring, new ceiling fan installation and wiring, and I got estimates for extensive new landscaping and exterior paint on my 2,000-sf home, to be done in 2018. Nobody I dealt with pulled that kind of nonsense. If they had, I would not have done business with them. Vendors should behave like professionals. I think it’s always a mistake to do business with people who don’t.

      Just get another quote. Surely there are other window companies in town.

  7. Fabric shaver*

    Unexciting question, I know, but does anyone have a recommendation for a fabric shaver/sweater stone they like to get rid of pills on sweaters? (Or, I suppose, an anti-recommendation of ones that didn’t actually work very well?)

    1. Tabby Baltimore*

      I have a small old battery-operated hand-held Remington model that I’ve used for several years, and it works pretty well. The head is rounded, not flat (I don’t know if round-headedness is an industry-standard feature or not), so you do have to use a sort of swirling motion as you travel the head over the fabric surface. It has never pulled a thread out, so I’m pretty happy with it. Before using a device like this, though, I would recommend looking over the garment’s exterior surface pretty carefully and then use either your fingers or a sharp pin to pull loose or pulled threads that have come out, and that lie on the external surface, back to the inside of the garment. That way, you won’t accidentally cut any threads with the shaver blades and cause a hole to open up.

    2. Todd Chrisley Knows Best*

      Yep, I always get the cheap 8-12 packs of razors from Dollar Tree and each one is good for a few shirts or sweaters. Easier to control pressure and not put holes in the shirt. I also find them easier to keep up with because I lose small appliances like it’s my career path.

    3. Pollygrammer*

      I was surprised when I switched from lint rollers to a fabric brush how many little pills it cleaned up, not just lint.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I just got one for Christmas. My boss found these things somewhere. She bought it and reeeally liked it, so she bought a bunch more to give as gifts. She mentioned it in passing and I did not think anything of it. I said I would have to look for it because my pill buster died. Funny because I had just thrown it out. I was really happy that she gave me one.

      The name of it is “Gleener on the Go”. It’s got a little bag and accessories, you can put different blades in it. I have not tried it yet, but so far I like that it does not need batteries and I like the way it’s made. Their site is gleener dot com.

      1. Teach*

        Seconding the Gleener! I’m a knitter and thrifted sweater hoarder and I’m always amazed at how this little tool spruces up the pilly areas!

    5. Pretend Scientist*

      I think I got mine at Big Lots, multiple years ago. It shaves decently and doesn’t snag. The metal “screen?” is rounded. If there’s anything that it can’t handle, I ask the dry cleaner to do it so I don’t start ruining stuff.

  8. Detective Amy Santiago*

    It’s snowing, freezing, and I’ve been sick for the past couple of days. I went to the grocery store this morning and now I don’t need to leave again until Tuesday morning for work.

    Happy New Year!

  9. Nic*

    At this moment I am both proud of myself and extremely disappointed. I’ve lived with the same person for about 2 years and in this time we’ve only really had one argument, however it is a doozy.

    The basis of it is that when I say that something he says is painful for me my roommate argues that I am the only one who can decide if something hurts and I shouldn’t let myself be hurt, rather than being willing to change phrasing patterns. When I have tried to discuss this with him I am told that only stupid people require the kinds of things that I am asking him to do, and that when they are done towards him it makes him feel belittled.

    Things came to a head this weekend and after
    the same old argument again and being told that when I thought I’d finally gotten through and he tried a couple of the phrases I was “compromising his conversational ethics”, I asked if I need to look for another roommate because obviously this isn’t working.

    He flipped out started back peddling, while at the same time telling me that I was overly emotional and crazy, and when he got home from work that night he yelled at me.

    That night I finally replied back to an email thread from the summer that had gotten me so upset I couldn’t face it until now. It was about the same old argument. I explained one last time and told him that I was no longer going to allow myself to be hurt. I told him that that would involve me leaving the conversation and not seeking conversation with him. He hasn’t replied, though the day after I sent it he apologized for yelling at me and said that he would think on it for a few days before replying.

    In the meantime I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter what his reply is. He has shown me that his unwillingness to change is more important to him than the fact that he is hurting me. So I’m looking for another roommate. And even if he responds to that email in the most perfect way possible he’s going to have a lot of trust to rebuild.

    I am incredibly proud of myself for setting that boundary. At this point the pain of losing him as a friend is less than the pain of having to continue to deal with it and I’m stopping it now.

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      It sounds to me (and correct me if I’m wrong) that you asked someone to respect certain boundaries and he was like – no.

      Good job on what you did. You can be disappointed at losing a friend but also proud of standing up for yourself at the same time.

    2. Hrovitnir*

      Good for you! What a tool. I hate it when someone who I assume was otherwise a good friend reveals such a terrible dealbreaker.

      You are the only one who can “let yourself” be hurt but people being considerate makes him feel belittled? Maybe he shouldn’t let himself feel belittled. Pfft.

    3. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      If something someone says or do causing someone distress, they ask you to not do it again, and you refuse to change going forward, then they’re not a good person. Find a new roommate, and this guy isn’t your friend.

    4. Pollygrammer*

      So basically, you told him he was being cruel and he blamed you for finding his cruelty hurtful? What outrageous gaslighting. I really, really hope you part ways.

    5. fposte*

      Ah, yes, the overintellectualized version of “everything is your fault.” No reason you have to live with that; glad that you’ve decided not to.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      ugh. Clearly, you mistook him for a responsible adult. We only waive the rules for five year old children. I wish this guy much luck in life, he is going to need it.

    7. Indie*

      If you say x bothers you, then a good friend will either say ‘oh Ok, how bout y and z?’ If x is super important to them they will sadly conclude an incompatibility but still accept your right to dislike (or like) whatever the hell you want.

      The behaviour you describe is entitled, insulting, contemptuous and that of an enemy. you should run away in a straight line to the furthest star. I imagine you knew this would happen if you dared make a suggestion which is why conflict was rare.

    8. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      Ditto what Foreign Octopus said. It sounds like he just wants to do anything he wants without regard for anyone else. That’s fine for him I guess but his desire to be thoughtless or rude doesn’t obligate you to put up with being hurt. Good for you for standing up for yourself.

    9. ..Kat..*

      Good for you for setting boundaries. Good luck finding a new roommate.

      BTW, it does not matter what he (or anyone else) thinks of the reasonableness of your boundaries. These boundaries are reasonable for you. And you deserve a safe home space.

    10. Clever Name*

      Good for you! Honestly, reading this reminded me of my 17-year marriage to my ex-husband. He called me overly emotional and crazy whenever I would express a need or disagree with him. He was always right (even when the topic was a field in which I have an advanced degree in and clients pay me for my expertise). We also rarely argued (because I earned I wouldn’t ever get my needs met and arguing became an outlet for him to emotionally abuse me). So, you’re not overly emotional, and you’re not crazy. I’m sure you already know this, but it’s helped me to hear folks acknowledge this truth to me.

    11. Nic*

      Thank you to everyone for the comments. The validation is really helpful!

      We had a long conversation tonight. He apologized for several things, but did not bring up the things from the email. He said he’s still waiting to respond to that. At the end of the conversation he asked if I felt better, and I said no. He asked if there was anything he could do to help, and I said yes, but that he’s said he’s not ready to discuss it yet, and that given previous discussions, I’m not bringing it up.

      We’ll see what the future holds. I haven’t stopped keeping my eyes open.

  10. Foreign Octopus*

    I had the worst Boxing Day I’ve ever experienced (December 26th for those who don’t celebrate the Christmas period).

    After the trauma of uninvited guests on Christmas Day, my dad and I were driving into a local, smaller town to get some supplies as it’s business as normal in Spain on Boxing Day. Halfway down the long, winding road, a cat ran out in front of us and we hit it. Unfortunately, the car broke its back and we had to take it to the vet to have it put down. I was in floods of tears because it was awful and nothing like that has ever happened to me before. It was only a little baby. The vet said that it was about two or three months old, and I was just heartbroken. The one saving grace was that we’d hit it in such a way that it didn’t feel any pain once the shock wore off.

    That same day, we decided to take my cat to the vet (some of you might remember that I adopted her from a shelter about six months ago). It seems that anything that could be wrong with a cat, is wrong with my cat. She has an eye infection, possible parasitical worms in her intestines, malnourishment (which I hadn’t realised because she’s been putting weight on since I got her and she seemed fine), and very, very bad dental problems. The vet thinks that most of the problems are stemming from her dental problems. Apparently the build up of bacteria in the mouth will affect the rest of the body because that’s how the nutrients pass through her system (seems obvious in hindsight).

    She’s currently on a course of antibiotics to clear up her mouth in order to allow the vet to clean her teeth. That will then let me know whether she has to have any teeth removed. I’m also taking her in for a blood test to make sure that there’s nothing more serious at play.

    Overall, on a day to day basis, she seems perfectly fine. Doesn’t seem troubled by it in the slightest, but I just feel so guilty for not realising that there was something wrong with her, and for not taking her to the vet sooner. The only reason I didn’t was because I was afraid as I’d have to have the conversation in Spanish, which is so stupid now I look back on it.

    So, yeah, that was my week.

    1. Red Reader*

      oh, rough :( Good thoughts to you and your kitty. If it helps any, cats (and I think a lot of animals?) are very very prone by instinct to concealing when they’re not feeling well. It’s hard enough to know what’s going on with them when they can’t communicate clearly, and even worse when they’re actively trying to act like everything’s fine. No fault of yours!

    2. Detective Amy Santiago*

      It sounds like you’ve had a really rough holiday season. Here’s hoping the New Year brings you some peace.

    3. Purple Snowdrop*

      Oh my god. that is horrible. I am so sorry. Thinking of you, the poor kitten, and your cat. Take care of yourself. I can understand being reluctant to deal with that conversation in a foreign language :-(

    4. Hrovitnir*

      Aw no, that all sounds awful. I hope things start looking up!

      On the plus side, at least all or most of your cat’s problems should be resolvable, so here’s to a healthy cat for 2018.

    5. The Other Dawn*

      Ohhh, dental issues. Yeah. Dental issues are a very common thing with cats, especially orange cats for some reason. I’ve have several cats go through some major dental work because we didn’t take them in for regular cleanings (who knew??). It’s quite expensive and can cause all sorts of problems that have nothing to do with the mouth.

      So sorry about hitting the kitten! I’d be heartbroken, too.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        You can bet I’ll be taking Bones in for regular cleanings now. How often do you take your cats in?

        1. The Other Dawn*

          No particular schedule. Their teeth are checked when it’s time for annual vaccinations and I go from there. The major work is done for the four cats that needed it, although two more cats need major dental soon (extractions and cleaning). Now it’s just upkeep. In other words, whatever the vet recommends when they go in for routine stuff.

    6. Ramona Flowers*

      I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve had such a dreadful few days. I hope you know that hitting that cat was absolutely not your fault and that you did a very decent thing by taking it to the vet.

      I think anyone can tell you love your cat and that you took her to the vet as soon as you were able to. Animals are really good at hiding health problems – frustratingly it’s a survival instinct but of course it has the opposite effect by delaying you getting them help. You are not to blame for her being ill.

      The best of wishes to you and your kitty.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        Thanks Ramona.

        I really do love her, and I realised just how much with everything that happened on Boxing Day. The vet did try to tell me that it’s normal for cats to hide their pain but I was too busy kicking myself to really listen.

        As for the poor little kitten we hit, we discovered that it’s so, so normal for people in my part of Spain to just drive on after they hit animals because there’s such a high percentage of stray cats and dogs around due to the custom of not neutering them. The vet was surprised but pleased that we brought the little girl in.

    7. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      Re the cat you hit – accidents happen. You did the kind thing however, taking the cat to the vet and making sure it wouldn’t suffer further. If you’d just driven off, that cat would have died a very painful death. So yes, it’s horrible that you hit a cat, but it’s wonderful how you responded.

      Re your cat – cats are MASTERS of hiding pain or illness. Showing weakness in the wild will get them preyed upon. Parasites are relatively easy to treat AFAIK, and can cause malnutrition. So treating that will help. The antibiotics should help with the eye infection and make a dent in the dental issues. When she goes back in for the dental, tell the vet that if there’s any teeth that could go either way, you’d prefer that they be pulled. They typically do everything while the cat is knocked out, since it’s hard on them. Cats adjust very well to missing teeth, even a large number of missing teeth. It’ll be better in the long term to pull 3 teeth now, versus 1 now and 2 in 6 months.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Echoing, I have been told by vets that cats can hide anything. Kidneys not working? No prob, just hide it. It’s pretty normal to get a cat to the vet and find some big deal going on. When I first had cats, I felt like such a bad cat parent but the vet said no, that is not what is going on here. I learned to watch more closely and I learned somethings to watch for, this helped a lot.

      2. Red*

        My cat has 4 teeth left after some dental problems, and they’re all the tiny front ones. To be completely honest, I’m not even sure she realized she woke up from surgery without them. The very next day, she was demanding to have her hard food back, after we switched her to soft food when her teeth started getting bad. Apparently, house cats don’t need teeth! Who knew?

        1. Pet sitter*

          One of my favorite cats to petsit for had lost all of her teeth and had facial injuries before her owner adopted her. She eats more canned food and less kibble than the other cats, but she doesn’t do anything else differently. I’m always surprised by how “normal” she is, though of course I haven’t been through a vet visit with her. It’s really amazing how much animals can recover.

        2. The Other Dawn*

          It’s so weird. I have a cat that basically has no teeth (his teeth were in very poor health when we adopted him and he eventually had to have most of them pulled), but he absolutely refuses to eat wet food. He wants dry only, and has always been like that. And not just any dry. It must be Purina Naturals. He gets really annoyed when the store is out of that branch and I have to get something else. I also feed prescription food for a couple cats, which means they all get it since i have 11 of the buggers. He eats around it. I always say he’s not a real cat, because he won’t touch tuna, milk (yes, I know cats are lactose intolerant and I don’t normally give it to them), most kinds of meat, or anything else that’s considered to be widely liked by 99% of cats. He will eat a little deli ham, but that’s it. And I don’t like to give that to him. He gets it maybe two or three times a year and it’s maybe 1/4 of a slice while I’m making lunch.

            1. The Other Dawn*

              Haha! They kind of go about their business. Some love attention, others not so much. They tend to entertain themselves a lot. I now have a good mix of seniors, adults, and teens. The teens and adults sometimes play together, the seniors like to sleep. Two of the teens (very recently kittens) love to snuggle with one particular cat for some reason. We do play with them, but they have a lot of toys, cat trees, and scratching posts so everyone has something to occupy them.

              Feeding is a game of musical plates. As I’m scooping food into their dishes they all have to try each other’s dish (no, they don’t have assigned dishes LOL). Eventually they settle on one, but they do have to visit each typically.

              I know this is long, but I like talking about my cats. :)

      3. Foreign Octopus*

        Thanks for this guys.

        My vet said that it’s really normal for cats to hide it, and because she was a shelter cat (one-two years on the street, four in the shelter), I just didn’t think anything of it. I thought her body was just reasserting itself.

        I’m going to go with whatever the vet tells me. It’s going to be expensive but I hope that she’ll be with me for another ten years at least and it seems a small price to pay to keep my little fluff ball pouncing on my face in the morning.

      4. Gadfly*

        One of my cats nearly died once because of hiding sickness. He had some sort of odd urine crystal goop issue. I took him to the vet becsuse I noticed he’d stopped jumping. Between home and the vet he went from fine looking to looking half dead. The vet sent me to a 24hr place but told me he probably wouldn’t make it. They found his kidneys were shut down and did a bunch of flushes and such and were able to get them restarted.

        Now I have to buy prescription food for him and he gets cage rage if I try to leave him at a vet (which makes getting urine samples funnnnnn…. my old vet had a system, but after moving I haven’t found a vet who is a good fit yet.)

    8. Elizabeth West*

      Awww. Pig had a mouth infection too and I didn’t have a clue until she stopped eating. They took a tooth out and we added a cleaning onto her annual appointment, and it never came back. I felt really bad myself, but how would I have known? At least you caught it, and now it’s being taken care of.

      As for the accident, you took care of the kitty as best you could. Not your fault at all.


      1. Foreign Octopus*

        Thanks, Elizabeth. I appreciate the hug :)

        Also, I love your cat’s name. It’s a great one!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          LOL the neighbor who had her prior had named her Miss Piggy, but I didn’t like that, so I shortened it to Pig. I rarely called her that directly–she was Piggles, Piggins, Kitty, Little Baby, Baby Girl, and Come Here. :)

    9. another Liz*

      Cats actively hide it when they are ill, don’t beat yourself up over that. You took her in when you realized she needed it, that’s all you can expect of yourself.

  11. Purple Snowdrop*

    Hi all. Just thought I’d give a quick update. Christmas was OK but hard. My food was tasty, though, and I saw Small Child for an hour. And went to visit some friends Christmas Night – and someone heard me apologizing for something the husband has done since I left him, and said ‘what on earth are you apologizing for him for?!’. And on one level I can explain that, and on another level, fuck that. He’s making his own choices now. Yes he’s in a sad situation, one he had no idea was coming, but taking it out on mutual friends (…. who are now officially just my friends… yay?) is a) out of order and b) totally on him.

    So. Yeah.

    I’m having a hard time. But I will get through.

      1. Update on he wants a baby*

        And this one. I agree with the friend who thinks you shouldn’t apologize for things your husband does now. He gets to to make his own choices and mistakes. And I say this as someone who almost couldn’t take her ex-husband off the car insurance on the day she said she was going to because what if he hadn’t gotten his own yet? Taking too much responsibility is easy, but not healthy.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      Yes, remember that he makes his own choices now and it’s totally on him.

      My friend just got divorced and her ex is basically homeless. However, he saw the divorce coming, chose to continue his lifestyle, didn’t bother to try and save any money, made some REALLY bad choices in the romance department (unfortunately, he’s quite gullible and is always hoping for someone to “save” him), and has no car because he chose to buy new at 450.00 a month and it was repossessed after only about 6 months. So, my friend feels guilty and lets him stay at her apartment (and her new boyfriend is being very forgiving about it), and he’s basically taken over her car. She has to get a ride to and from work from either the ex or the new boyfriend. I don’t see her getting out of this situation any time soon, because she continues to feel responsible for the divorce and his situation.

      All this to say, your ex is on his own and it’s up to him to make his choices and own them.

      1. K.*

        Seconded. Ex is an adult and can – must! – make his own way. One of my friends has had two “when the relationships ended the guys ended up homeless” breakups (my friend owns a home and has moved two men in with her), and she feels guilty about that until someone, usually her sister, points out that there was nothing stopping these guys from having jobs and saving money during the time she was with them. Or before that, even (one of them had a particular aversion to working, claiming that it was more noble to be poor. He had grown up in poverty so he had kind of warped ideas about money).

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Starting new habits. You probably apologized for him in the past. But now you don’t have to, he is not on your watch any more.

      My husband used to say, “Eh, not my turn to watch him”, in reference to other people having poor behaviors.
      So this is a piece of your new normal. You will find other pieces as you go and it will be okay in the long run.

    3. Gadfly*

      Hugs. We call my husband’s ex his 3rd child. If it weren’t for the first two actual children we’d be able to leave her to flounder, but not while the youngest is a minor and lives with her.

      My husband enabled her being helpless and incompetent while they were married, so he’s having to fix his bad habits of saving her/helping her in ways that let her think that is his responsibility. It is hard to watch because she just is really bad at basic adulting. And won’t get better unless she has to. Balancing that with the whole issue of the kids is complex. And I think ulitimately is going to be worse for her, but the kid is the priority.

      Anyway, the sooner you can stop enabling, the better it will likely be for everyone.

        1. Former Employee*

          Some people do seem to be missing the adult gene or they have the gene but came without the kick starter.

    4. MsChanandlerBong*

      Good for you for recognizing that. I used to be friends with someone who “fell on hard times” and got evicted. My husband and I let her move in with us. The original agreement was that she didn’t have to pay rent as long as she saved all of her pay to move out within three months. Both of us are freelance writers, which I know can be difficult, but we worked for all the same clients, so I knew how much work was available. She could have easily made $2,500 per month (and I think $3,000+ was also doable) and had $7,500+ on hand to get a new apartment. Instead, she barely did any work and pi**ed away the little money she made on cigarettes and daily coffee from the gas station down the street. I told her that if she was going to stay longer, she had to pay us $275 per month, which I thought was reasonable. She was late the first month and didn’t pay us the second and third months. We finally had to ask her to move, and she hasn’t spoken to me since I drove her to a rest stop and had her daughter pick her up. I am sure she has painted me as a horrible person in her re-telling of the story, but she is the one who didn’t do what she was supposed to do. And it’s not like we asked for $1,000 a month. We asked for a measly $275. There was enough writing work available at the time for her to make that amount in a day or two. I felt guilty for a long time, but then I realized, hey, she made her bed and had to lie in it.

  12. Ann Furthermore*

    Every year we spend New Year’s Eve with a few friends, and it’s always really fun, and I’m looking forward to it again this year like always.

    But the last couple of years it seems like the end of the year has been so depressing. Last year, I was so sad when George Michael died on Christmas day. Then just a few days later it was Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

    One of my favorite authors died yesterday — Sue Grafton. She wrote a series of books about a private detective named Kinsey Millhone, set in the 80’s. It was the “alphabet” series, and it began with “A is for Alibi,” and “Y is for Yesterday” was released a few months ago. I was really looking forward to seeing how she would conclude the series.

    I also found out yesterday that one of my cousins is now in hospice at home. She battled cancer for many years, and did several rounds of treatment, but a few months ago her doctors told her there was nothing more they could do for her. She did get to spend the holidays at home with her kids, which what she wanted. I feel kind of stupid and naive… I knew she’s been ill, but I didn’t know how bleak her prognosis was. Everything she’s posted about treatments, doctor appointments, and hospital stays has always been very positive and upbeat, and not in that fake, artificial way that you see so much on Facebook. It’s always been very genuine.

    We aren’t particularly close, but I was still so sad to hear that. The whole thing is just so unfair. I sent her a note via Facebook messenger last night, to share a couple of memories and let her know I was thinking about her. I did get message saying she’d “reacted” with the angry emoji, but it’s so easy to hit one of those stupid emojis when you don’t mean to. I’ve done it so many times. I hope that’s what it was and that I didn’t say something to upset her.

    1. Caledonia*

      I’m sorry to hear about your cousin.

      It’s sad about Grafton, her daughter said that they are firmly against ghostwriters so the alphabet will end at y.

    2. Pharmgirl88*

      I’m so sorry about your cousin.

      I didn’t know about Sue Grafton, but I’m sad to hear it. I picked up the series because of a recommendation on an open thread (from you maybe?) and have been loving it.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        I read once that her first book was based on an idea she had for the “perfect murder,” that she came up with while fantasizing about ways to get revenge on her ex-husband. Instead of actually doing it, she wrote a book instead, and ended up creating a beloved character and becoming hugely successful. Talk about the best revenge!

        The last book was going to be called “Z is for Zero.” The completionist in me may never get over the alphabet ending at Y.

    3. Muriel Heslop*

      Sue Grafton died? I’m so sad. And I am never especially sad when famous people die (Except George Michael. I’m still sad about that.) I’ve been reading her books for almost 30 years. I loved her work and I have so many memories of my life tied to when her new books came out. I was looking forward to “Z” as well but I was also looking forward to what she would do after. She is quoted as saying she was going to “take a long nap” after reaching “Z”.

      1. Muriel Heslop*

        I’m also so sorry to hear about your cousin. I was processing Sue Grafton and meant to offer my condolences about your cousin’s prognosis. And people hit the wrong thing on Facebook all the time – I’m sure it was an error. You were thoughtful to reach out to her.

        1. Ann Furthermore*

          Thanks. I’ve hit those dumb emojis by mistake so many times, especially in the messenger app while re-reading something.

          Normally I would take the time to handwrite a letter and mail it, but since she’s in hospice I wanted to be sure and get it to her. A family friend of ours passed away earlier this month, and he’d been in hospice as well. I’d planned to write him a letter and was thinking about what I was going to say, but then he went downhill pretty quickly.

          When I heard about George Michael it felt like losing a little piece of my youth. The only good thing to come out of it was finding out that he was a very, very generous person and donated a lot of money not just to charity but also directly to people in need. And I think he set it up so that Andrew Ridgely, his partner in Wham! ended up getting all or most of the royalties from Careless Whisper, since he helped write it. It was one of the only songs he had songwriting credits for, so George Michael let him have those so he’d be set for life.

    4. WellRed*

      I was so sad to hear about Sue Grafton and I am another who doesn’t get all maudlin with the passage of the famous.
      Sorry about your cousin.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        Every once in awhile, a celebrity passing will really hit me. The other one this year that I was quite saddened by was Tom Petty. I am such a huge fan of his music, and he was responsible for much of the soundtrack of my youth. I was at a trade show in San Francisco, manning my company’s booth when I heard about it. I had to take a moment to compose myself.

    5. Sled dog mama*

      So sorry to hear about your cousin.
      FWIW as a person who works in cancer care, often patients don’t realize how dire their prognosis is, and many try to hide it from their families and friends.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        You’re right. I don’t think she was doing that, I think it was more along the lines of trying to stay optimistic and hoping for the best. I think she’s a pretty pragmatic person.

    6. Kirsten*

      I’m so sad about Sue Grafton. I started reading her books in middle school in the mid 90s and have loved them ever since. I own them all. I always found it amusing she started writing them the year I was born, and by the time the series ended I would be almost the same age as Kinsey.

      I’m sorry about your cousin.

    7. Big City Woman*

      I’m sure the emoji was unintentional.

      Also sorry to hear about Sue Grafton. I started reading her Kinsey Milhone series back around 1986 or so, when there were just a few letters done and there was still such a thing as a small bookshop devoted only to mysteries! Ha, there were three mystery book shops in my general neighborhood alone (NYC) in the ’80s – – my favorite had a hidden door in the wall that led to their office. You’d be browsing there and suddenly the shelves would swing forward and someone would pop out.

      I loved the character of Kinsey Milhone, and would always look forward to the next letter of the alphabet coming out. I also thought it was interesting how, over the course of the series, her writing kept improving and her plots got tighter and more cohesive. A is for Alibi is very slow-paced compared to the later books. Eventually, though, I lost interest in detective/mystery novels in general. I’m pretty sure the last one of hers I read was M is for Malice. Actually, I thought she’d taken a break for a while and didn’t realize she was still keeping the series going.

      Well, I say what better way for a crime/mystery writer to leave this world than with the last book in a series left to be written – the ultimate mystery!

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        I did get an updated response to my message, with a happy face.

        That’s a great way to think about the alphabet series never finishing. Her writing really did improve over the course of the series. Towards the end of the alphabet, she changed things up a bit. She started writing from the perspective of different characters, in addition to just Kinsey’s point of view, and some of the secondary storylines were really good. In either “S” or “T,” she really did a good job creating an evil, sinister character. The first one I read was “H is for Homicide,” and then I went back and read the rest of them.

        1. Former Employee*

          I’m sorry about your cousin, but glad that she was pleased to hear from you.

          It’s very sad about Sue Grafton, who was a lovely woman as well as a wonderful writer. I had so looked forward to finding out what was ahead for Kinsey in the future. (I thought she might get back together with Cheney Phillips.) From reading comments her family members have made, I know that she did not have a story worked out for “Z”, which would have been the only book that had a predetermined title – she had always said that the last book would be “Z” Is For Zero. However, if she had a plan for the way she wanted to leave Kinsey in the end, perhaps she shared that with someone.

          1. Epsilon Delta*

            I’m so sorry to hear about your cousin. It is so hard to know someone you care about is suffering.

            Regarding the unfinished series, it can be so frustrating to not know how it ends. I like to imagine that the characters are still out there living their lives like I am — meaning they are having new adventures that I can imagine, and that *I* get to decide how their story ends. It makes them feel a little more real to me, in a way. Real life doesn’t usually get tied up neatly and sometimes fiction doesn’t have to either.

  13. AnnaleighUK*

    It’s nice to be back in the South of England! A Christmas in Scotland was nice and obviously seeing the parents but oh my gods, talk about being grilled about wedding plans. So yes, nice to be home and away from that.

    In other news, apparently I sound exactly like Merida from Brave when I’ve had a few drinks. Well aye, yes, I do get even more Scottish when the drink flows.

    Hope you all had a nice Christmas, AAM folk!

  14. Hrovitnir*

    Oh hi. It’s 4 am and I’m awake (went to bed at 10 pm, gave up at 3.30 am.)

    Means I’m early for an open thread though! I hope everyones’ end of year is going well or at least not too crap.

    Mine is going pretty well: cleared out 630 kg/1390 lbs of crap from our house today, though that’s only scratching the surface. My partner has remortgaged after decades of very little upkeep on the house, and we have fairly significant plans, so that’s exciting. New piles/roof/repaint + replace some of siding/actually insulate and double-glaze/rearrange the rooms and windows so they utelise the sun and view properly (~1920s house with a great view best observed through the bathroom or laundry.)

    Will probably have more work next year. I have had permanent staff enquire casually as to whether I’d be interested in a career in diagnostics (what this temp position is in; some opportunity for research) if one came up, so it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. I have my name on a grant application for a PhD I’ll find out about in June, but that’s a fairly low chance of getting funded, and if there were an opportunity for permanent work I really don’t know! It’s an adjacent field to what I’ve been working in/towards, but very different work, but also it’s… science work, that’s interesting, in my city. That’s huge. Just playing it by ear, but even the idea has certainly shaken up my thinking.

    1. Windchime*

      Ha, the best view in my house is looking out the tiny window (behind the toilet) in the upstairs guest bathroom.

      I am on a dejunking tear. Yesterday I cleaned out the fridge; there was so much old, freezer-burnt crap in the freezer that I couldn’t fit actual food in there. So I threw all that out, plus some expired condiments and questionable produce. Today is going to the be the kitchen countertops and a couple of cupboards. I put up with junk for months, it seems like, and then all the sudden I get annoyed and start pitching crap.

      1. Lady Alys*

        I’m getting ready to move in the spring, so decluttering is my other part-time job now. Visitors to my house in the past few months have departed with everything from empty bookcases to unopened packages of pearl sugar.

    2. Book Lover*

      I love hearing about/watching/reading about home repairs and improvement :). I used to watch this old house and stuff like that nonstop. I hope everything turns out just the way you plan :)

      1. Hrovitnir*

        Thanks! When we actually start *doing* something (more than clearing out) I might try and update on here.

      1. Hrovitnir*

        It is pretty cool; I’m not even entirely sure what would be my preferred outcome re: career goals. I naturally included it here with thinking because it’s kind of the shape of my life! Until I was lucky enough to get this foot in the door my path and was flexible but looking at >5 years to even really start my career and almost definitely moving to Europe. Now… I don’t know. O_O

  15. The Other Dawn*

    So, I had the cortisone shots for my back a couple weeks ago. It helped cut down a lot on the pain while in bed, which is great. It’s quite awful to be trying to sleep and your back is in pain. You toss and turn most of the night and then wake up in pain, too. As far as daytime pain, which is typically while sitting for 10 minutes or more, it really hasn’t helped. Went for my follow-up the other day and they want me to have another round of shots on the 11th. I knew going into it that there’s a 50/50 shot of them working, so I’m really not surprised. A little disappointed, definitely. And the cost….doctor’s office charged the insurance $1,800.00. I don’t know yet what portion I’ll need to pay. With all the back issues between me and my husband, the HSA is wiped out (it’s my first year in the plan). But I guess the bright side is that I hit the deductible and I’m close to the out-of-pocket max. My plan year is May-April, so from here on out I won’t have to pay much. I’ll just have to make sure I get everything in before the new plan year.

    In other news, it’s effing cold here in the Northeast, my lovely cats knocked my computer speakers behind the desk (that will be fun crawling around under the desk with all the tangled wires–how do they get that way anyway when they never get touched??), and I need to clean the house for my family’s Christmas shindig next weekend. Wash all the bedding in the spare rooms, shampoo the carpets because cats, etc. People will be sleeping over, so it’s not like I can just close the doors upstairs and pretend there’s no mess. At least a lot of the nitty gritty cleaning is done, because my husband’s family came over for Christmas.

    And speaking of his family at Christmas, one niece and nephew, as well as SIL–all adults!–didn’t even thank us for the gifts, which was just lovely. We don’t ever expect gifts in return–we buy because we like to–but a thank you would have been nice, ya know? Also, I know that everyone has things they go through that make them not look forward to the holidays, but SIL every single year moans and complains that she’s not in the mood, hasn’t shopped yet, doesn’t feel like putting up the Christmas tree, etc. Every. single. year. Her dad, my FIL, does exactly the same thing. They both enjoy complaining and I have no idea what they would do if they couldn’t (not just my opinion– even MIL and husband, as well as their extended family, say this about the two of them). Anyway, I told my husband that I don’t want to hear it from her this year. I’ve had a very rough year with the loss of three cats, my dad, my brother, surgery, sickness, and now the back issues. Apparently my husband must have said something to her before they came over, because she started complaining about “not being into Christmas this year” while I was in the kitchen, and she stopped mid-sentence and walked away. She had nothing to say once she couldn’t complain and was basically quiet the rest of the night. Spent most of it playing on her phone. I was very happy not to hear the “woe is me” spiel this year. Any other year I just ignore it, but I just couldn’t take hearing it this year.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Thanks! Yup, hoping next year is better. I burned a real bayberry candle on Christmas Eve and will do so tomorrow night, too. The years I’ve done this I’ve tended to have a pretty good following year. I forgot to do it at the end of 2016, and I feel like 2017 would’ve gone better had I remembered. I totally know it’s just folklore, but it makes me feel like I have some sort of edge in the universe.

          1. The Other Dawn*

            There are several versions, but basically it is thought that if you burn a real bayberry candle to the nub on either Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, or both, it will bring you luck, health and prosperity in the new year. Here are a few I found online at Cape Candle and Colonial Candle:

            “As folklore goes, To bring good luck for a year, burn to the nub on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. And if the flame burns bright and the light shines clear, then the heavens will bless you all through the year”

            “This bayberry candle comes from a friend, so on Christmas eve burn it down to the end. For a bayberry candle burned to the socket, will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.”

    1. Mimmy*

      Oh yes it is indeed super cold (I’m in NJ – I know much of the country is feeling the chill).

      You have been through quite a lot this year and I’m sorry your relatives were less than appreciative. I am sending you hugs and good wishes for a better 2018.

      On a lighter note – I hear ya on the tangled wires! In the room I use at the place we don’t discuss on weekends, there are 5 computer stations in two rows of desks, both rows with a rats nest of wires and cables around and underneath. Oy!

    2. ..Kat..*

      So sorry about your back pain. Have you tried topical lidocaine? In the USA, it is available in patches and cream. I suggest it because it has made my pain much more tolerable. However, BIG CAVEAT, lidocaine is also a heart medication. If you take any heart medications, consult your health care practioner first. Also, don’t use more than the package advises, because this is a heart medication.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Yes, I’ve tried it and it didn’t help. The pain is from two bulging discs and an annular tear, so it’s not muscular pain. I’m guessing if it were, the lidocaine would help.

        1. BatteryB*

          Sorry to hear about your continued back pain. A few years ago, I had two ruptured discs in my neck. The pain eventually ended up feeling like an electrical shock running down my arm. Medication and physical therapy didn’t help so I ended up having surgery. I don’t regret the surgery at all; the only thing I regret is that I didn’t have the surgery earlier since I ended up with some permanent nerve damage in my right hand. The ruptured discs were impinging on one of the nerves in my right arm. Wishing you the best for a full recovery.

    3. chi type*

      I’m not sure you want suggestions but a TENS machine is the only thing that helped at all when I blew out my back. I got it from a chiropractor (that was the only helpful thing he did) and my insurance completely covered it.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        A cousin of mine mentioned it, too. If the cortisone shots don’t help it’s something I might consider. I’m not in awful pain, but it could definitely be better than it is. And an annular tear is apparently a long healing process.

  16. Cawfee Ninja*

    My house is full of dust and dog hair and I can’t ever fully get rid of either! (Especially the dog hair) Ughhh

    1. All Hail Queen Sally*

      My house is always full of cat hair. I can never keep up with it. I am always surprised that my cats aren’t bald–and there are only two of them! Years and years ago when I had a white cat, I went to a Dr appointment and while I was sitting up on the table and he was getting ready to examine me, he asked me if I had a cat. I said “yes, why”. and he said “you’re wearing him.” I looked down and my navy blue slacks were white and furry from the knee down. I was in such a rush that morning that I hadn’t noticed. My cat liked to rub against my legs in a figure 8 design while I was getting around in the mornings.

  17. Mimmy*

    So it appears that my husband got my mom’s cold, and I don’t think I’m too far behind. And on Tuesday, we go back to that place we don’t discuss on weekends. Well, at least *I* do – he does it from home most days.

    I’m also going to get my glasses checked in a few minutes – will update later, but I expect some frustration.

    Yay. Happy New Year :/

    1. The Other Dawn*

      Hopefully you don’t catch a cold. I’m just getting over one and it sucks so bad. One would think with all the advances in the medical field that they could find a cure for the common cold, or a vaccine or something. It’s a week of pure misery, followed by hacking our brains out for another week.

    2. Rookie Manager*

      My sympathies. Went home for Christmas and brought home presents and germs. Lots of germs. Haven’t left the sofa all day. Hope your household germs are less persistent than mine.

    3. Mimmy*

      Well, good news is that I’m not sick – I think it was just temporary irritation…we hadn’t dusted the living room in a while…. But hubby is definitely sick :( (seems a lot of people are though).

      Got my glasses adjusted. Still not great, but not being able to be corrected to 20/20 makes getting the right script that much harder. My eye doctor actually made the script WEAKER. I have to give it time to see if I get used to it–which the woman at the optician counter said might take awhile–but if not, I’m bumping it back up!

  18. Rocky Top*

    Looking for recommendations for using 2 olive oils I received for Christmas, harissa and sage & mushroom. So far, all I’ve come up with are roasting vegetables, and using the harissa as the base for Smitten Kitchen’s finishing oil with her quick pasta and chickpeas. Any other ideas for *vegetarian* uses for these 2 oils would be greatly appreciated!

    1. AAM fan*

      Ooh I love flavoured oils! I use them instead of spices – like, for the harissa one, use that when you might use chilli’s, like in a soup or any spicy recipe. Or to intensify flavours: mushroom oil in mushroom soup, or drizzled over mashed or baked potatoes. I also use them in salad dressings or in place of mayo in sandwiches. I think the harissa oil would be awesome with veggie burgers, and you could make a type of truffle fries with the mushroom oil. I think ohsheglows has a good baked potato fries recipe that you could use either of those oils with. Or Yotam Ottolenghi veggie recipes could work well with these oils too.

      1. Kuododi*

        Oh that all sounds delightful!!!DH and I used to have access to a really good hot pepper olive oil…. this was ages ago. I don’t even think it is on the market anymore. He would use it to make this amazing 4-cheese omlete. Stuff was not for the faint-hearted and DH had an asbestos GI tract. Good times.

    2. Overeducated*

      I cooked some mustard greens yesterday (no pork, just stock, spices, vinegar, and maple syrup) and thought harissa olive oil (which a family member also received) would have been a nice addition. It could also be nice on tomato soup or a grated carrot salad.

      Sage and mushroom could be good for potato pancakes, gnocchi, or ravioli.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Hmm… I love harissa and mayonnaise as a topping for veggie burgers or roasted cauliflower– maybe make an aioli or mayonnaise with mostly regular olive oil and some of the harissa oil?

      Or… shakshuka, finished with harissa oil. Pasta tossed with goat cheese, lemon, and your sage and mushroom oil.

    4. The Other Dawn*

      The only thing I can think of is for dipping bread. I have some rosemary oil and garlic oil, and that’s what I’ve been using for. I really eat too much bread…

    5. Incantanto*

      Use the harrissa oil for chickpea and spinach stew. Fry onions in the oil, add cumin, chickpeas, tomato puree and water (I would normally add harissa here, but the oil dows that.) Stew for ten mins then add spinach.

    6. AcademiaNut*

      Any sort of vegetable could work well – drizzle the harissa one over steamed green beans, for example. Add a squeeze of lemon and a bit of salt, if you need to. I’d also be tempted to try them on steamed rice.

    7. BatteryB*

      I don’t know how vegetarian this is, but I used to make brownies with blood orange oil. I love the chocolate/orange flavor combo.

      I also use either garlic oil or jalapeño oil when making chili. I even looked into making my own flavored oils, but most sites that I looked at discouraged it because of the possible health hazards. I did end up making my own flavored vinegars and vanilla.

  19. Cristina in England*

    I need some advice about phrasing awkward things, and I know this is a great place for that.

    Someone I am close to sometimes says… prejudiced things that I am not ok with. And so much of it is so subtle. He will, for example, complain about BBC Radio 4, and it will always be about a presenter who is female, minority ethnic, or gay. He will some sort of snide comment about the way someone’s name is pronounced or something else and then complain that they interrupted someone or they are biased. He has no problem when the straight white male oresenters interrupt someone or are biased though! He doesn’t say anything outright enough that I have a good opportunity to just say “that’s racist”, it’s always almost an aside when saying something else. So I would have to go out of my way to circle back to that aside and I am not quick-thinking enough or confident enough in an argument to do that. He is also sensitive to “political correctness of the left” etc etc so if I say what I am thinking, “you’re a racist, not old-fashioned, and I don’t find these comments welcome” it may blow up and be counter productive.

    My goal is for him to actually question his views, not get into an argument. Any thoughts? And no I can’t avoid him.

    1. Todd Chrisley Knows Best*

      I kind of had to do this with my mom, though I think she was a little more forward than this friend seems to be. She’d say things like “it seems like a safe neighborhood to have a bunch of black people” and I’d go “well, why would that have anything to do with it? They can be just as poor as we are, or far richer. *Lists examples of people we know in real-life* – and just because it’s a poor area doesn’t mean it’s crime ridden. Low income doesn’t equal crime.” And she’s getting better. Essentially, I just acted like she was saying the dumbest thing I ever heard anytime she said something to that effect, and point out why she was wrong. She’s beginning to see the error of her ways. I think this is going to depend largely on your relationship with this person. My mom isn’t big on political correctness either (largely because she grew up during segregation and it’s just a foreign concept for her, I’d like to believe she isn’t genetically wired to be that awful) – but she took it fairly well. I think I may have rambled my way around your question, but perhaps you can find a few pieces of advice buried in that.

      1. Cristina in England*

        I wish I were having this conversation with my mom instead! I find it so much easier to say stuff to her outright. Like my latest thing with her is to say “you won’t like that show because you don’t like flawed female characters” and she always takes it well when I am blunt like that and I think she tries to figure it if there’s merit in that. At least she doesn’t get angry and shut me down. Good for you for taking this on with your mom!

    2. Junior Dev*

      Maybe with the not-quite-outright statements you can ask questions. What do you mean by that? You seem to be implying ___, do you know of any evidence for that?

    3. Anon anon anon*

      I would question his commentary. “Why does that person seem biased?” And also point out when the straight white male presenters do the same thing. “Wow, he’s constantly interrupting the interviewee. That doesn’t bother you?” Over time, it could start a conversation or make a point.

    4. Florida*

      When someone makes a subtle racist comment, with a wink-wink, you-kn0w-what-I-mean tone to it, I like to play dumb. No, I don’t know what you mean, you’ll have to explain it to me. You could say, “What do you mean by that?” (with a curious tone, not an accusatory tone). I keep asking until they finally have to explain that it is because the person is of ___ minority. That will accomplish you goal of getting them to consider what they are saying.

    5. Triplestep*

      I was going to say pretty much what others have said: Saying things back to people in the form of a question can often be the best way to get them to stop and hear themselves. And often, you don’t need to elaborate; just a simple “what did you mean by that?” can stop them in their tracks. Like Alison recommends for job offer negotiations, say the thing you want to say then stop, and do not fill the silence no matter how awkward. Your fiend will be left to explain, after which you’ll either have a conversation (if he feels like defending his position), or he’ll see how he’s coming across and start to pay more attention to the things he says.

    6. Book Lover*

      Cristina, have you listened to In Our Time at all? I keep getting my hackles up because it seems like the women experts get interrupted or dismissed more than the men, but I wonder if I am just being irritable.

      A lot of this stuff is so deep and unconscious that it sometimes just takes being told about it or having it pointed out. As long as it isn’t in a ‘you are sexist/racist’ way that makes people resistant.

      1. Cristina in England*

        He usually complains about the Today programme but Any Questions is also a target. Question Time has been for similar reasons and he won’t even listen to PM because he can’t stand Eddie Mair (he thinks EM is condescending but not John Humprys!) every time he mentions EM he describes him as gay. Like any time he describes random people in stories it is always “this black woman” in a way which on the face of it could seem purely descriptive but there is something about his tone where it is obvious to me he is going all “white working class men are the demographic nobody cares about”.
        Anyway, his main radio complaint is that left wing women are the worst interrupters ever on these shows and talk over people and use condescending tones of voice, and the white male conservative counterparts are unfailingly polite and get talked over. It has gotten grating, over the years.

        1. TL -*

          A good way (for me) is to just start asking questions, like, “what did her race/sexual orientation have to do with it?”
          Or pointing out the obvious in a neutral tone. Like, if he says he doesn’t like a female presenter, just nod and say, “yeah, I figured you wouldn’t like her. You always complain about the women on this program.”
          After that, don’t get into an argument with him – he’ll probably bluster and sputter and deny, but you should just say “okay” in a doubtful tone, or “hey, not looking for an argument, only an observation,” and change the subject. Don’t engage in a fight; let him stew in his own head.

          1. Cristina in England*

            Thanks, I especially like the “what does X have to do with it?” and I think I will use that. I would love to point out the obvious (to me) in a neutral tone. If I did that, I would say “you only complain about people on Radio4 if they’re women, minorities, or gay”. Then here would really be fireworks! For someone so obviously racist, he is pretty touchy about anyone calling him racist. What’s up with that?

            1. Ann O.*

              Super common. Because they know that racist = bad guy and they don’t want to be the bad guy (or see themselves as the bad guy).

              I think if your goal is change, your instincts to avoid direct confrontation are dead on. Social science is clear that while direct confrontation may make US feel good, it just causes people to dig in on opinions. Little, indirect comments while still appearing to be on the same side are the most effective over time (with “over time” being key).

              Another thing you may be able to do is counter-complain. If you see a white, Conservative guy interrupting/talking over/etc. complain about that in the same fashion this guy complains about the women/PoC/gay people. Your acquaintance probably doesn’t even notice because he almost certainly has an unconscious bias that the white guy should be the one talking.

              1. Cristina in England*

                Thanks very much! I shall try counter complaining, I hadn’t thought of that as a strategy. I did ask him if it bothered him when John Humphrys interrupted and talked down to people but of course he disagreed and said that JH didn’t do that, and was “one of the best”. :-/

        2. Elkay*

          John Humphrys is the worst! As one of my left leaning workmates said the other week “He had me feeling sorry for a Conservative MP”. I can cope with about 5 minutes of his interviews but beyond that I switch to our local station which is like listening to Alan Partridge.

      2. Nye*

        Interesting – I haven’t noticed that. Mostly I’ve been impressed that, in BBC fashion, there is always at least one female expert on the panel. That seems so unusual compared with most American media that I’ve always thought of it as a quietly progressive program.

      3. Gala*

        Haha I usually say (or think) “Shut up Melvin!!” a few times every time I listen to In Our Time. I know he’s trying to keep the show on track but I want to know what the experts want to say! I haven’t noticed a gender bias but it doesn’t mean it’s not there. (Plus if he didn’t expound on his own theories there would be more time, too).
        Good luck with your friend, Cristina, it can be a process…

    7. Not So NewReader*

      I love it when people complain about the radio or tv. NOT.

      If the show bothers him he can turn it off. You can start there. “You don’t seem to be enjoying the show, get something else on or turn it off.”
      (I actually did this to someone.)
      From there you can work your way up. “Hmm. You say that a lot when a woman is speaking…. what’s up?”
      Now I am at the point where I can speak up about word choice. “Gee, you know, times have changed and more and more people do not use that word now. It’s a mean word, ya know?”

      I started by coming in under my targeted area that I wanted to address. I mean, I could have sledgehammered with my words, but then I would not be heard. I wanted to be heard. So my solution was to make it an on-going conversation where I cover a part each time.

      1. Cristina in England*

        Thanks, I think I will try to adopt a long term view, and see it as an ongoing conversation. I think I’m afraid that no matter what I say, even a curious “what do you mean?” will trigger a more polite version of “get stuffed with your leftie PC nonsense and I’m not racist, the left wing uses that to censor people, and they’ve never even been on a city bus with 30 immigrants shouting at each other on their mobile phones.” If that happens the ongoing conversation won’t ever happen. We’ve had a conversation about race in America that went surprisingly well (I am American but he is from the U.K. and the part he is from was 90% white until a decade ago, so this is also tangled up with “the immigrants are ruining our country” stuff).
        He doesn’t use offensive words but he does use a lot of coded language and shortcuts. When he speaks, “Salt of the earth”=white working class conservative. Just as often, when we are talking about a neighborhood, he might simply shake his head and say “Asians”. In this context, “Asians”=Pakistanis and Bangladeshi immigrants who throw rubbish in the street, stand in large groups talking on street corners, have poor hygiene habits and hate white people. And the thing is, he is work friends with Asian guys who are immigrants. It’s so hard to call out because he rarely says anything outright. And I can’t just say “you’re racist” because he can then say “but I am friends with Mohammed”. I’ll just keep telling myself “ongoing conversation”.

        1. TL -*

          If he says Asians, you can ask what he means. “Asians?… I don’t get it. I guess the neighborhood does have a lot of Pakistani-British people, but what does that have to do with Subject?”

          And then, when he says loud, dirty, whatever, you can just say, “oh, that hasn’t been my experience with them. The Person I Work With/whatever is really nice and I enjoy their company.”

    8. Cristina in England*

      Thanks, all. I took your advice and did a playing dumb “what did you mean?” when he made a comment about the pronunciation of someone’s name on the radio. I did manage to suggest she might have originally had to westernize her name when she got into radio and now no one can bother to say her name correctly, which may or may not be true, I don’t know, but I was proud of myself for saying something and also not pushing the point to where it became an argument (I often struggle to find a middle ground of calm disagreement in the moment). I am going to take a long view on this since that more closely matches what my reality will be. I am going to throw out some crumbs for thought more regularly and see if anything lands. Thanks again!

      1. Reba*

        thanks for reporting back! Good luck with changing the dynamics in the relationship. It’s one of those things where you feel like you can never win but I think you’ll feel better for pushing back.

  20. DanaScully*

    Is anyone here familiar with skin conditions? My fingers and hands have suddenly come out in tiny, itchy blisters. I *think* it might be dyshidrotic eczema. I’m disabled so I’d rather avoid having to go out for medical assistance unless I really need to. I’ll reply to my comment with an image (best I could get).

    Thank you for any responses, and I hope it’s okay to ask here.

      1. Pollygrammer*

        I get those and they usually go down in about a week. I might try switching to unscented products for a while, try not to expose your hands to extreme heat or cold and take a look at what comes into contact with your hands–it could be something crazy like the lining of a pair of gloves. My go-to is Smith’s Rosebud Salve, which is quite cheap and great for pretty much everything.

        Also, nobody is ever going to notice them unless you point them out, I promise!

      2. Elizabeth West*

        That totally looks like the eczema I have. Try a cortisone cream for the itch, and talk to your doctor. Mine prescribes betamethasone valerate ointment. It’s a steroid, and you’re not supposed to use it forever because it can cause thinning of the skin, but it’s the only thing that works for me. I only use it on active outbreaks, not any other time.

        Keep hydrated and moisturize aggressively. Thicker lotions are better, preferably fragrance-free because scented lotions will aggravate it. I’ve had great luck with Gold Bond’s eczema formula–Walmart has a generic version that isn’t as expensive. Reduce stress as much as possible. I find that when I’m stressed, it gets much worse. When things are going fairly mellow, I don’t have any problems.

      1. C*

        Most dermatologists take months yo get an appointment with…so you could make an appointment now while trying the above treatment. If it doesn’t work, then you will know by the time you have your appointment. And if it is better, you can cancel the appointment.

    1. Simone R*

      I’ve gotten something that looked exactly like that before and I also assumed it was some varient of eczema, just on my toes. It went away eventually, and for me, is usually brought on by some change in shoes/socks so I never did anything to treat it except change what I was wearing.

    2. Book Lover*

      I have always done a good thick hypoallergenic lubricating cream. Especially after washing hands. It is ouchy – hope it resolves quickly.

    3. Ktelzbeth*

      It looks and sounds a lot like my dyshidrotic eczema. If it is, the treatment is moisturizing and a steroid cream.

      1. Ktelzbeth*

        But if it gets worse or just doesn’t get better, you may have to go to the doctor. As C says above, it can sometimes take a while to get in with a dermatologist, but if it’s one of the more common skin things, a general practitioner might recognize it or, at the very least, be able to tell if the need for a dermatologist is urgent and speed things up.

    4. Courtney*

      Ugh, sorry! My husband and I both occasionally get these. Haven’t been able to figure out a reason, so I’m afraid I’m not helpful for advice, but I can relate!

    5. CopperPenny*

      My response is a bit different then the others.
      I got dermatitis on my hands that looked like that initially. If it doesn’t go away in a week or two I would make a dermatologist appointment. Mine became an open wound because I waited so long and was also unbearable pain and itchiness.
      The moisturising cream that worked for me is CeraVe. I need both a steroid cream and the CeraVe to get rid of it when it flairs up, but the CeraVe by itself is a great help.
      Mine was caused by developing an allergy to most soaps. I also wear gloves now while using cleaning supplies and anything harsh.
      I hope it goes away quickly and fairly painlessly.

      1. Aussie academic*

        I also have this and have also got to the open wounds stage, and I’d strongly encourage you to take action before it gets that bad. Treatment now can help, but it’s really worth once you’re out of this active flair looking at what are your triggers and figuring out what you can do to avoid them. I’m quite sensitive to cleaning products and heat, so no washing up for me, even with gloves, as the heat will trigger it. Good luck getting it under control!

    6. Amy*

      If it came on suddenly it’s possible it could be Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. It’s a virus that usually just affects children but can infect adults as well. If that’s what it is it’s pretty benign and will go away on its own.

      It’s just top of mind for me since my preschooler had it over the winter break and had little blisters all over her hands (plus a few on her feet, lip, and bum). My husband got a mild case too.

      I hope you feel better soon!

    7. Anon b/c of medical stuff*

      That looks similar to how my shingles presented at the onset – I’d recommend seeing a doctor to rule out that possibility, because if it is shingles, the sooner it’s treated, the less severe it (typically) will be.

    8. Molly's Reach*

      Looks like excema to me. That’s how my outbreaks start – with those tiny bumps. I do have a medicated Rx cream for it. I think it’s called Elocom. With mine the bumps kind of dry up and the skin gets quite dry and itchy. My dermatologist said to moisturize often, like 10-15 times a day. Use gloves when cleaning. Don’t use really hot water for bathing. Use sensitive skin laundry detergent and skip fabric softener all together. These are all tips my dermatologist gave me. Hope this helps.

    9. AcademiaNut*

      I get this occasionally on one foot, and sometimes the fingers. It flares up, and then goes down, and is worse in hot weather. I find the hand one more difficult to deal with, because it’s so hard not to rub the fingers together when it itches.

      For eczema, the first treatment tends to be over the counter steroid cream, which can be used for a couple of weeks, and reduces the itching. You can ask your pharmacist about it. If that doesn’t work, then you can go to the doctor. Eczema can be a real pain to treat, though.

      From what I’ve read, this type of rash is not always eczema based, but can be an reaction to a fungal infection like athlete’s foot somewhere else on the body (an id reaction). And the treatment is very different than that used for eczema. So if the over the counter stuff doesn’t work, a doctor can help you figure out whether the problem is actually what you think it is.

    10. Bluebell*

      This looks like the eczema I had on my fingers when I was younger. Knock wood, I haven’t had it in 20+ years. The doctor gave me some kind of steroid cream, and it really helped. Weirdly enough, I can’t use hydrocortisone because it really makes me itch, so OTC remedies aren’t really good for me. If you can avoid doing lots of dishwashing, I think that is helpful. I vaguely remember being told to avoid it if possible, and to stay away from really hot water. Hope it clears up soon!

    11. Pat Benetardis*

      I have what I think is dyshydrotic eczema on my feet, but have never gotten in to a dermatologist while it’s active. Anywho, last time I had it I used tea tree oil on it, and it cleared up really east (faster than when I’ve used an Rx steroid cream).

    12. DanaScully*

      I just want to say a huge thank you for all of you who took the time to reply. I’m keeping a close eye on it and I’ve been applying an eczema cream which seems to be helping. It’s *so* itchy! Really not sure what kicked it off.

      I’ll get an appointment with my GP as soon as I can after the holidays. I’m sure it will disappear that very day! Thanks again.

    13. JanetM*

      Oh, is *that* what that is! I used to get those all the time as a kid, and I still occasionally get one or two — always on my palms or the palm-side of my fingers. Itch like crazy; eventually dry up and peel.

      I will take the suggestions in this thread to heart.

  21. Junior Dev*

    So this is gross but…my cat is barfing a lot. I think it’s caused by eating too quickly. I tried getting one of those dog bowls that has multiple compartments so she can’t eat the dry food as fast but I don’t think she knows how/is able to get the food out of it. I gave her some wet food this morning and she threw it up.

    I took her to the vet a couple months ago and they didn’t find any problems that could cause this. I don’t have much money now but I start a new job in January so once I get paid I could take her again.

    Does anyone have other suggestions? I mostly feed her dry food, she likes wet food but for some reason only when the can has just been opened, and a full can is too much.

    1. Caledonia*

      How much is throwing up a lot?

      My cat was throwing up after food – all food, every meal – and it turned out she had an inflamation of her osephegus so they gave her medication and she was as good as new after a week.

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          My cat used to eat his food too fast and throw up. We found it helped to feed him in a few smaller amounts.

          1. Loopy*

            This may not apply because I’m not a cat owner but my dog was doing this suer fast inhaling like eating and now we also break his meal into smaller “courses” so to speak. He hasn’t had any issues since.

    2. Windchime*

      How is her breath? Does it smell like clean kitty breath with a tinge of cat food? Or is it stinky? I had a cat who barfed constantly and he also had bad breath. The family vet didn’t really know what the problem was and told me that he probably was eating too fast. A visit to a different vet revealed that he had very bad tooth decay (that was what the bad breath was from) and the pain and infection was making him sick.

      When you take her back, make sure they look carefully at her teeth. If she has a tooth infection, it can cause all kinds of problems.

    3. CatCat*

      Our cat used to eat his food so fast that he’d puke. We got an automatic cat feeder that dispenses three small meals per day (instead of the main meal he had been getting) and that solved it.

    4. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      If an empty food bowl is causing food stress, then you need to bypass that process. My older cat was like that and would overeat and eat too quickly (she’s old enough that old issues have been outgrown and replaced with new issues). I got an automatic feeder that I could program to put down x amount of food 3 times a day, and she figured out very quickly that if the bowl was empty, she knew when it would have food again. That knowledge prevented her from panicking that she’d starve, so ate less overall and slowed down, so stopped throwing up. You can get these at pet stores or online.

      There are bowls that are designed to slow them down, but if she can’t figure it out that’s only going to make things worse.

      Also don’t rule out sensitive stomach. If slowing her down doesn’t fix it, she may be having trouble with the food itself. Right now, it doesn’t sound like this, but keep it in the back of your mind.

    5. Red Reader*

      Try like, a muffin tin? Less complex than what I’m envisioning from your dog bowl description, but if you break the food out, a spoonful in each divot, it’s more like a dozen tiny bowls. Slows her down, but not really complicating matters too much for her.

    6. the gold digger*

      Laverne was throwing up about once a week or so. We tried putting tennis balls in her food bowl to make it take longer for her to eat, but she was still throwing up and then she started losing the hair on her belly.

      We switched her food (I think you guys suggested it!), finally settling on a fish only/no grain/no filler formula – Fromm Grain-Free. It worked – she has stopped vomiting and her hair (finally) is growing back.

    7. Gadfly*

      My cats will do that. I have mostly defaulted to just having dry food always available (one of them had kidney and urine crystal issues where stressing him out to try to control his food is a bigger problem then him over eating. And they don’t over eat now that they are used to it.)

      I also tried thing like tbe snuffle mats. There are a lot of options for feeders that slow the animal down. Even just spreading it out on a big tray with some obstacles to have to work around or in a couple small bowls not next to each other helped.

      I also learned to give him just a little, a few pieces only, first and then a few minutes later fill the bowl. That way it wasn’t a lot of food hitting his stomach all at once.

  22. Todd Chrisley Knows Best*

    I’m pretty financially illiterate in terms of saving and investing. (Thankfully, my parents did teach me that a credit card is just a pretty terrible idea. I have no desire to go through what they’re just now starting to get out of.) I don’t have a ton of money above basic living expenses to deal with right now, but I’d like to start having a plan for when I do, hopefully in the next few years. I stumbled upon The Simple Dollar and I really appreciate how simply they seem to break everything down. Does anyone have any experience with that blog or perhaps similar ones? (I don’t have any consumer debt right now, just student loans. I’ve seen some of Dave Ramsey’s stuff and it isn’t really my favorite, but I’ve only heard the no debt preachings, and not much of anything else he may or may not touch on.)

    1. CatCat*

      I’m a huge fan of YNAB for personal budgeting and they have a blog. It’s not particularly geared toward investing, but does have a good approach for saving for things you know you’re going to need (e.g., car repair). They also just came out with a book, which I haven’t read yet, but other users have commented on it favorably.

      For investing, I like The Simple Path to Wealth as a place to start. It’s written very conversationally and is easy to read. (I’d recommend reading other books too. I like The Four Pillars of Investing and Bogleheads Guide to Retirement Planning, but I think move onto those after The Simple Path to Wealth). You can get the Simple Path to Wealth as a book or basically just read the whole thing in the author’s blog. I’ll share a link in a reply.

    2. CatCat*

      I read Dave Ramsey’s book several years ago. I think his investment advice is bad and has overly optimistic projections.

      1. Kuododi*

        I wasn’t crazy about his investment, long-term planning advice either. DH and I did find it very helpful in terms of daily/weekly planning as well as just helping opening up dialogue on issues around money management as a couple. (We were able to take the course for free as an employee benefits at his place of work a few years ago.)

      2. MsChanandlerBong*

        I like to use a school analogy. Dave Ramsey’s stuff is for people who are in financial elementary school (I don’t mean this in a mean way)–drowning in debt, living beyond their means, don’t know anything about budgeting or saving, etc. His baby steps are quite helpful for someone who has never had a budget, an emergency fund, or any kind of cushion: save $1,000 in a “baby emergency fund,” pay off all consumer debt (including student loans), build an emergency fund of three to six months’ worth of expenses, start saving 15% of your salary for retirement, save 20% for a down payment on a house, save for kids’ college expenses, pay off the house, build wealth by investing/give generously to others. Once you’ve got these basics under control, it’s time to graduate.

        I also cannot stand Ramsey’s political opinions. However, I was able to get great value from listening to his podcast and just skipping the parts where he rants about how government should be run like a business.

    3. Simone R*

      The Billfold has been pretty hit or miss lately, but there are a lot of personal stories about money that look at spending/saving from different angles and the commenters there are great! There are some open thread like posts to ask specific questions as well.

    4. It happens*

      I think reading the articles by the founder of the simple dollar (Trent) is a good first step. He gives good, conservative advice on how to approach frugality and saving. The others are a little more salesy or gimmicky (hey, the site has to make money…)
      At the end of the day the core advice is to spend less than you make; set goals and then work toward them. Which is very boring and hard to sell advertising for.

    5. Melody Pond*

      I really like a blog called 20somethingfinance.com. And I also really like Elizabeth Warren’s book, “All Your Worth.” Her simple breakdown of the 50/30/20 rule for managing where your money goes, was really helpful for me.

      I’m really into personal finance – so much so, that Mr. Pond and I developed a little presentation to illustrate what we do, and what our plan is for our money. If you’re interested, it’s here:


    6. Mallory*

      I think one place to start is identifying goals- shorter and long term. Then create a plan based on those goals.

      Do you want to retire early? Buy a home? Have a savings account of $X? An emergency fund that needs beefing up? Go on a spendy vacation without guilt? Pay off your loans ASAP? Start a family?

      For example, Mr Money Mustache will help you optimize your life around financial freedom/early retirement, but may not be the best if what you want to do is be solvent enough to buy a house and have a bunch of kids.

    7. Meag L*

      Your right that credit cards are terrible if you don’t pay off your balance every month! BUT they can also be very useful in building credit, IF you are able to manage them responsibly. I put every purchase I possibly can on my credit card, and then pay if off in full each month. I have a strong credit score which helped when I went to obtain mortgage. If you don’t use credit or have other debts that you pay off your credit score might be impacted. Just some food for thought.

    8. NDQ*

      I’d start with mr money mustache. It is a great philosophy to learn to live on less, invest more and live a life you design.


  23. CatCat*

    I got all kinds of stuff to make soap for Christmas and today I’m going to try it out! I’m just doing a basic recipe without added color or fragrance to see how it goes.

    This is going to be a great activity for my inner pragmatic mad scientist.

    1. Gadfly*

      Melt and pour?Cold process? Details!

      I have only done a little of the melts, but want to play with lye when I have space (does not exist in affordable Bay Area apartment)

      1. CatCat*

        Hot process! No patience for cold process and I couldn’t find palm-free melt and pour or I’d be doing that.

        1. CatCat*

          I didn’t get a kit, but I did do a lot of research. I read a couple books, read instructional material on the internet, learned how to use a lye calculator, and bought the component materials that I needed. I looked for kits and Brambleberry has some beginner cold process soap kits (would work for hot process, I would think, you just need to add the step of cooking the soap). I wanted palm-free soap though and the kits use palm oil.

  24. Vicki*

    Do you wear shoes indoors?

    People on television shows (English-speaking ones in any case) always seem to just walk in/out of their homes without removing their shoes. I used to think it was just a matter of convenience for filming (much like how no one ever knocks and why presents are wrapped separately) but I’ve been told that in the US people actually do that as a matter of course?

    (For context, I’m from a culture where removing one’s shoes at the door is a pretty big deal, and it’s considered incredibly disrespectful to wear your shoes into someone else’s home unless explicitly invited to do so. Guests are usually provided with slippers.)

    1. nep*

      I wear flip-flops while in the house. I don’t like keeping my shoes on once inside, but don’t like walking around barefoot or in socks.
      When I go to someone else’s house, I always go to take my shoes off near the door — just doesn’t feel right to be inside a home wearing shoes that have been outside; but people generally say don’t bother.

    2. Windchime*

      I grew up in a house where shoes are removed when you come in (in the USA) and my shoes are still the first thing to come off when I enter. I have a pair of sandals that I sometimes wear around the house. If it’s dry outside, then I will sometimes wear my shoes indoors for a little while but if it’s raining, I don’t.

      When service people or workers come to the house, they always put on those little blue shoe cover things so they avoid tracking in dirt.

    3. Book Lover*

      We take off shoes and put on slippers :). Or sometimes the kids go about in socks or barefoot, but not shoes in the house.

    4. DanaScully*

      I live in the UK and I’d never go into someone’s home without removing my shoes first. Sometimes people say it’s okay to leave them on, but I’d still rather remove them as I think it’s polite to. I had this drilled into me as a child and it’s stuck!

      In my own home, I’m either barefoot or in socks/slippers. The only time I wear my shoes inside is if I’m ready to go out and quickly run back inside for something I’ve forgotten.

    5. Cruciatus*

      Yes, I wear shoes indoors, though not constantly in my own home. In others’ homes I do ask if I need to take them off, but my mom wears orthotics and would be extremely uncomfortable without her shoes. I’d prefer to keep my shoes on in other peoples’ home if I had it my way (obviously not muddy, gross, icky shoes). It would feel so weird to have a dinner party in my socks or someone else’s slippers. I’d do it, but it’d be uncomfortable for me.

      1. CatCat*

        I’m with you. I actually avoid some people’s homes because they want me to take my shoes off (never actually been offered slippers, but I’d find it kind of gross, and shoes end up discarded in a pile). I wouldn’t dream of asking a guest to take off their shoes.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        The dinner party in socks is one that seems weird to me. When it’s a normal day I take my own shoes off for comfort, but I don’t expect it of guests. (With my kids’ friends, it seems evenly split on whether “of course shoes indoors, and keep your clothes on too” and “of course always take your shoes off on walking into a house.”_

      3. Starryemma*

        Agreed. I’m really not used to removing my shoes, so I’m usually unprepared for it. It’s the worst if I’m wearing shoes that don’t require socks, or tights or boot or something. It’s so awkward going barefoot in someone else’s house, but I’ll do it if asked, or if it seems like everyone’s taking their shoes off.

      4. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Most people I know don’t remove shoes as a matter of course when entering the house. I mean, they may choose to remove them and wear socks or slippers, but it’s not a standard or a requirement. My SIL sprung the “please remove your shoes” on me unexpectedly when they first moved out here. I hate being barefooted! At home, I take off my shoes and put on slippers, but others in my house just wear their shoes around. So I spent an evening at my SIL’s with my feet awkwardly bare and cold. Now I put a pair of socks in my purse when we go over there.

      5. Courageous cat*

        Totally agree. Shoes are a significant component of one’s outfit and it would be so strange to be in a party setting without them!

      6. Liz in a Library*

        Like your mom, the pain of not wearing shoes is the crux for me. I have problems with my sciatic nerve, and the change in my posture from standing flat-footed for as little as five minutes can lead to pain shooting down my leg hours later. I’m in shoes from the moment I get up until I climb into bed, and I generally just can’t accept invitations to homes that require shoes off.

        I’d be happy to slip on painters’ booties over my shoes though, and have occasionally kept a pair in my purse for that purpose.

      7. Catarina*

        Medical reasons aside, I am always amazed at the apparent grace and agility of shoeless home dwellers. I am constantly tripping over cat toys, bashing my toes into a chair someone didn’t push in…if I went shoeless, I’d have ten broken toes in less than a week.

    6. MissDissplaced*

      American here, and yes we mostly do keep our shoes on in the home. It’s not considered rude to do so and most people keep their shoes on around the home.
      However, I like to change into my slippers when I come from work in the evening. But this is more for comfort, not because of social norms.

      1. MissDisplaced*

        I should clarify that if one is wearing shoes or boots that are muddy, dirty, wet, or snowy, grassy, or especially gross, then of course those would be taken off at the door. (Though my hubby doesn’t always follow that rule and sometimes tromps through the house making a mess!)

        “Normal” shoes such as sneakers, loafers, heels, etc. were/are typically worn in and around the home. At least this is how I was raised and still do so. I’m wearing my sneakers indoors right now. In the mornings, I put my work shoes on in the bedroom and walk through the rest of the house. Do others not do this? Do you keep all your shoes by the door then or set them out every night?

        Funny, but I tend to equate removal of shoes in homes with being more “well-to-do.” Growing up, there were a few freind’s homes where the parents required shoe removal in their home. But I always thought this was because they had much nicer “fancy” homes with plush white or beige carpets, expensive furnishings and such. And of course I knew removing shoes was the norm for some cultures. But in my working class home, we wore our shoes. It’s kind of an interesting cultural question, and I wonder why shoe wearing is more the norm with Americans.

        1. Valancy Snaith*

          As a shoes-off culture, yes. All the shoes are kept near the door or in the hall closet, unless it’s a particularly formal/fancy pair of shoes, in which case they live in my closet and get taken to be put on when I’m walking out the door.

          1. MissDissplaced*

            Hmmm… in my house there is no space by the doors allocated to this purpose. And literally no place to put a seat or storage for the shoes, or even a basket. You enter right into my living room or kitchen, and in the kitchen, you’d fall down the basement steps if you tried to sit to remove/put on shoes!
            I’ve been in houses with “mud rooms” of course, but I’ve personally never lived in a home with one.

    7. Valancy Snaith*

      I live in Canada. Shoes come off at the door, always. But I grew up in the States where it was common to leave shoes on all over the house, and I much prefer shoes-off. The floors stay so much cleaner!

      In the winter, where I live, places like medical offices, spas, etc., will often ask you to take off your shoes at the door as well or wear shoe coverings to keep the entire place from getting salt stained and mucky.

      1. NoMoreMrFixit*

        Another Canadian and shoes definitely come off indoors. If we’re cold then we put on slippers or thick socks.

    8. Muriel Heslop*

      We take our shoes off as soon as we enter our house and our 4 and 6 year olds do, too. We have a very leafy entrance and our kids are always muddy, so it’s just a habit. We don’t ask other people to do it, but they usually do when they see the basket near the door.

    9. LazyGirl*

      In the US this is regional. I grew up in a place where shoes were not removed, but now I live somewhere where people expect you to remove them. TBH it still feels rude to me but I comply in other people’s homes and just give people the option in my home.

    10. fposte*

      I’m American and I grew up with shoes indoors. As an adult I’ve split the difference; outdoor shoes are okay downstairs for a quick walk from getting dressed or right when I come home, but upstairs is no shoes.

      Or no outdoor shoes, anyway. I’ve got foot annoyances that mean I’m often better off with shoes, sadly, so I have indoor shoes that are kept separately.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        In Germany and Austria, I have been invited into people’s homes and been given slippers to wear (think a fabric version of the free towelling slippers you get in posh hotels)

        Although I remember once going to somebody’s house for a meeting/get together and I was the first person to arrive. I had visited her before and not needed to take my shoes off, but this time, she told me I had to. Ok, but then when the other people arrived, she didn’t ask them to remove their shoes!

    11. Ktelzbeth*

      I always take my shoes off when entering my own house unless I’m quickly grabbing something and running back out. In the winter I put on slippers. At someone else’s house I will ask. I’m in the USA Midwest, so in the winter it’s often off because of the amount of snow and salt and sand that could be tracked in. I usually bring slippers with me if I expect this to be the case. I would prefer guests to my house take off their shoes, but will not make anything of it unless it is clearly muddy or otherwise gross outside and I can see the footprints coming in.

    12. Courtney*

      I live in the US (Michigan) and grew up with shoes on indoors. My husband grew up with the opposite (although he’s from the same area) and I’ve deferred to the way he prefers it since I don’t really care.

    13. Not So NewReader*

      The doc says I have to wear shoes. My secondary reason is my floors used to be flipping cold. Think of your feet being so cold you start crying. I used to let my dog on the furniture for this reason. I put a thermometer on my floor one time and it said 45 degrees. My house is warmer now but on these cold days I would still wear shoes even without the doc ordering me to wear them.

      For me, I get tense if I have to take my shoes off in someone’s home. I do it. But it is not without physical pain.

      1. BatteryB*

        Same here. Doctor has told me to always wear shoes. I do change from outdoor shoes to ones that are only worn inside. I also keep some in my car when I visit someone who wants me to take off my outdoor shoes.

    14. Fiennes*

      It varies in the US. Continuing to wear shoes generally isn’t considered rude, but some areas usually have people take their shoes off, and others don’t. Just based on anecdata, it seems like urban areas are more likely to remove shoes (because they’re loud in apartment buildings, and people have generally walked on public streets and/or been on public transport), and more rural/suburban areas are more likely to keep them on (as there are no downstairs neighbors to disturb, and people have generally traveled door-to-car-to-door). It also seems to me that removing shoes is becoming more common in the US, particularly in the past decade or so.

      1. MissDisplaced*

        I’ve always equated shoes off with being more well-to-do. and nicer furnishings So, maybe that’s why it’s more the norm in the city? Plus being practical in large apartment buildings and public transportation would make sense. Interesting.

    15. Detective Amy Santiago*

      At home or when I’m at my parents house, never.

      When I go to someone else’s house, it depends. Some people think it’s rude if you do take your shoes off, some prefer if you don’t. It’s definitely not a US custom to provide slippers to guests (anywhere that I’ve been) but I usually follow whatever the host is doing.

    16. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

      I don’t because I personally find it pretty gross (and also I just hate shoes and don’t understand why anyone would want to wear them a moment longer than necessary), but in general US culture it’s not wrong to wear shoes indoors, although even as a kid I had some friends whose parents wanted us to take our shoes off indoors.

      1. MissDisplaced*

        To me though, someone walking around with sweaty bare feet and sweaty socks is even grosser than the shoes.
        Not to mention athlete’s foot and fungal infections.

      2. Elizabeth H.*

        I feel EXACTLY the same way about shoes. I cannot understand how people can stand wearing them indoors, ever!
        I don’t feel like socks or bare feet are gross either, or at least certainly not as transgressive as shoes. I do change into clean socks/slipper-y socks when I get home.

    17. ThatGirl*

      In my house we take our shoes off at the door; I also do that at peoples houses I know well. If I don’t, I follow their lead. I think it really varies. I’ve known people who don’t take their shoes off till it’s time for bed. That said it’s winter and very snowy so shoes off prevents gunk from being tracked all over.

    18. Moonmodule1998*

      From the southern US here. I’m wearing boots on my bed right now. :) Too lazy to take them off at the moment. Yes, it’s acceptable to wear shoes indoors in the US, but different families and people will have different preferences. For example, on Christmas we visited my mom’s boyfriend’s parents house, and a lot of people took off their shoes before they went inside. However, they didn’t explicitly ask us to, and I didn’t take mine off because 1.) it seems weirdly informal and I don’t visit them that often, 2.) no one else in my family did, 3.) I wasn’t sure how long we were going to be there. I think there are some people here who will ask you to take off your shoes, but I haven’t been in any of their houses yet. I’d be fine with doing so if asked and wouldn’t think much of it, but it is less common. In contrast, if you visit my parents house you aren’t expected to do that, and it could seem kind of odd to do so, almost.

      From this random Americans point of view, taking off your shoes in someone’s house seems like a weirdly informal, even potentially rude thing to do. Like, maybe kids could do it, but not these grown guests who aren’t family and are only here for a while. I’d also be thinking about stinky feet, LOL. This is a very culturally American thing, it seems.

      1. Amy*

        Agreed – I would never take off my shoes at someone else’s house unless I was asked to. It would seem much too familiar, in a weird way. However, if the host wants no shoes I’m fine with that.

    19. Loopy*

      I used to at the home I grew up in and I’ve found most others actually don’t! So as an adult I don’t and now it irks me when guests leave shoes on. I also feel really rude when people tell me I am fine to leave shoes on in their house!!! I usually follow the hosts lead or see what other guests do, but though I am in the U.S, it’s stating to feel more odd to be tracking dirt everywhere knowingly.

    20. copy run start*

      Grew up in a shoes-off home in the US. Often my mom would yell at me for running around in socks (because they’d get dirty) so we typically wore slippers or went barefoot (during high summer). In my own home as an adult I always take my shoes off, though I don’t bother with slippers anymore and opt for slipper socks or barefoot during the summer.

      Honestly I think wearing shoes around the house is revolting. I have a friend who is a shoes-on family and their off-white carpet is now gray with filth in high-traffic areas. As a guest I would feel deeply uncomfortable wearing shoes in someone’s home and people who do not take off their shoes in my home seldom are invited back. I’d much rather walk around in socks because they’re easier to clean and replace than the floors and furniture.

    21. Nicole*

      We always take our shoes off at the door and let new guests know ahead of time before visiting. I don’t think it’s rude to do so. Not only is it more comfortable, but also more sanitary. There was a study where they found traces of feces on the bottom of every shoe tested. I don’t want that on my carpet and floors! Also, how does one relax on their couch wearing shoes? I like to sit with my feet up. :)

      1. Todd Chrisley Knows Best*

        I think it’s incredibly kind of you to alert guests to your preferences before. It wouldn’t sway my decision to visit you, but being able to mentally prepare for that and not be blindsided would be a huge relief. It’s like when people tell me where to park. Those are the folks I like to visit. :-)

    22. Bryce*

      It really depends on the house/family. Most of the folks I know leave their shoes on, but I always take them off. My mother needs to wear shoes for stability but has a separate pair of indoor ones to keep them clean. I think it can depend on how much of the floor is carpets and whether you want to bother; shoes tend to stay on for parties for example because keeping track of everything is bad enough with jackets.

    23. Lissa*

      I’m from Canada and we take our shoes off. I remember learning about Japanese culture and reading “they take their shoes off inside!” as though this was some surprising fact and I was like….yeah? It seems to be mostly USA that keeps them on, though I also like how in some European countries, slippers are offered!

      Every time this topic comes up a couple people who live in shoes-on areas mention how they can’t take their shoes off, or know people who can’t, for medical reasons. I have never seen this come up in a shoes-off location though and I imagine that most polite people would totally understand a “actually I have a foot condition”…I just haven’t ever seen it come up, oddly!

      1. Bryce*

        My mother has an ankle issue and needs shoes for support, but she has a separate pair of indoor shoes.

      2. Colette*

        Canadian as well, and I think most people with foot issues bring separate indoor shoes to wear. But yeah, you take your shoes off when you come inside.

        (I don’t think I did as a child, at least not all the time, but I wouldn’t think of keeping my shoes on now.)

    24. Elizabeth West*

      It varies. I usually take them off at home just for comfort, but I don’t make other people do it. I don’t have carpets, though. If asked, I will take them off at other people’s homes, no problem.

    25. Amy*

      I’m in the US and don’t generally remove my shoes when coming inside, except when I’m planning to be inside the rest of the day and would rather be in sock feet for comfort. We were raised to take off our shoes if they were muddy or wet, but otherwise we didn’t worry about it. I’m happy to comply if that’s someone else’s preference in their own home, though.

    26. Elizabeth H.*

      I’m from USA (MA) and have basically always lived here. I personally take my shoes off at home and I have ever since I can remember (including as a teenager), but I wasn’t raised like we are supposed to take shoes off at home and I think my parents often wear shoes in the house and always have. In my (miniscule) dorm room in college I always took shoes off at the door and when I’ve lived in apartments I always take shoes off at the door. Once in a while I forget something in my room and have to run back and get it and if I’m in a major hurry I leave shoes on but it seriously makes me cringe. Some things to add are that I am a huge neat freak (when I had my own place I vacuumed weekly and kept the floors literally, for real literally not hyperbolic, clean enough to eat off of) and that I personally have a big compulsive thing about shoes (I hate wearing shoes at all and especially closed toed shoes). I feel uncomfortable wearing shoes in other people’s houses and usually take mine off if there’s any sign it’s socially acceptable to do so (in winter in New England, it’s normal to take your winter boots off at door). The exception is if it’s a party or festive occasion and I’m wearing nice shoes like heels or nice flats in which case I will wear those shoes the whole night inside (including if the dinner or party is at my own house). And sometimes in snowy weather I’ll bring nice shoes to change into when I get inside.
      I think wearing shoes inside is pretty unpleasant but I recognize it’s common here. Because I recognize that it’s common here I don’t ask guests to take off shoes (except my boyfriend when he is in my bedroom) but when I had my own place I would clean scrupulously after they left.
      As you can see I have many thoughts on this so I’m happy for the opportunity to share! I really loved traveling in Japan where it’s not weird and is in fact appropriate to take shoes off inside *always*. And Russia.

    27. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I have always hated wearing shoes indoors but I grew up in a shoes-on household. When I moved out on my own, I made my own home shoes-off, but I don’t insist on it with guests. When I visit someone for the first time and they’re wearing socks, I usually ask if it’s a shoes-off house and prepare to de-shod. I usually wear fun socks, so I’m prepared.

    28. Annie Mouse*

      I usually at least go to take my shoes off at the door and kinda expect people to do that at my house. Although sometimes I will nip inside my house with them on if I’m not stopping long.
      I would say a dinner party is possibly an exception to that if you’re all dressed up posh.
      And I have a massive exception at work. My shoes go on when I leave the house and the only times they will come off before I finish for the day is if I get something in them or if the police need them as evidence for something. And I go into a lot of houses each day. I realise that it can seem disrespectful in some cultures but my boots keep me safe and I’m enough of a clutz with our equipment that I’d have serious issues with my feet if I took them off!! But give me a pair of those blue shoe covers and 99% of the time, I’ll stick them on.

      1. Annie Mouse*

        Just thinking actually, my work boots are the only shoes I absolutely won’t wear in my house past the hallway. I know where those have been in the past….

    29. Courageous cat*

      Yeah, I always wear shoes indoors throughout the day, I only take them off at the end of the day really. I dunno, I get the argument against doing that, but like… I’ve done it my whole life and I haven’t experienced any weird horrible disease from whatever’s on my floors, which seems to be what some people seem to think will happen. It’s just not a big deal to me. Shoes are part of the outfit and so I wear them with the rest of the outfit. And my floors are not visibly dirty in any way.

      And I can tell I already start feeling defensive when I am typing that because I tend to be in the minority on this and I sort of hate coming to someone’s house and being asked to take off my shoes when I am not expecting to, particularly if I’m not wearing socks. It feels too intimate to be barefoot in someone’s house, especially if there are people there that I don’t know very well.

      1. MissDissplaced*

        A lot of my shoes are worn without socks and it would be gross to me to have to walk around barefoot in someone else’s house.
        This is really fascinating though.

    30. Rookie Manager*

      Fascinating thread! We’re very much a shoes off household (Scotland). In our old house I’d take off my shoes but my partner didn’t all the time – but downstairs was all hard flooring.

      When we moved into our new house we decided that all carpets were shoe free. Guests can wear shoes in the hall/kitchen/downstairs loo but if they venture into the lounge etc shoes must come off. We have pale fluffy carpets and after 7 years they are almost immaculate. We used to warn people that we were shoes off and to paint toenails/bring slippers/wear clean socks (or whatever makes them comfortable) and have never had any push back. Now everyone does it automatically, we even have a bench to sit and take off/put on shoes.

      In home visits in a professional capacity I have occasionally been asked and occasionally offered to de-shoe. My family are all shoes off households so I do it automatically, SIL just got a new carpet so is shoe free and most friends I expect to remove shoes and feel more comfortable when I do. My MIL always fussed and says to leave my shoes on but I know how much effort she puts into keeping the floors immaculate so I ignore her and will take slippers for any longer than an hour visit.

    31. kas*

      I’m Canadian and shoes come off at the door. I can’t walk around my house in the same dirty shoes I wore outside. If I go to someone’s house though, I always bring socks unless it’s family. I don’t feel comfortable walking around barefoot in someone’s house, especially because I don’t know if their floor/house is clean.

    32. K.*

      At home or at my parents’ homes, never. Growing up we didn’t wear shoes indoors. Slippers, sometimes. At others’ houses, I take my cue from the host. But I literally never wear shoes in my own home. I’m wearing wool socks right now.

    33. Big City Woman*

      Yes to indoor shoes. We would only take slushy or muddy boots off. When I was growing up, I only knew of one family that required shoes to be removed when I went to their house, and that was considered pretty weird and a pain in the butt. I have one friend who requires removing your shoes, and I hate it because I always have problems with my feet or have holes in my socks and don’t want anyone to see.

      1. fposte*

        I think she’s talking about the way TV presents have the lid and box wrapped separately, so people open presents just by lifting the wrapped lid off the box.

        1. nonegiven*

          I used to wrap that way, but only if I had a box with a separate lid, not like an Amazon box or whatever.

    34. ..Kat..*

      I need foot support from special, expensive orthotics to try and manage my plantar fasciitis (which is really painful). So, sigh, my shoes now have to stay on in the house.

    35. Aphrodite*

      I have no idea why but this subject is generally a hot one wherever it appears. People are either “no shoes in the house” or “shoes on in the house.” There seems to be very little middle ground, and I am not sure why. I always follow my hostess’s rule and have no problems with either way.

      I am definitely in the no-shoes camp. I wasn’t raised that way; we wore shoes except when sleeping or bathing. However, in 1979 I moved to Hawaii were no one wears shoes in the house. And I never have since–nor do I allow anyone else to do so. I wouldn’t walk barefoot on a public *gags at the thought* and to me wearing shoes that have been on the street and then wearing them inside your home is no different.

    36. Kerr*

      US here. I go barefoot in my own home for comfort, but I live in a firmly shoes-on culture and would never require it of guests. But I’ve lived in both shoes-off and shoes-on cultures, and both make sense to me.

      The key is that if it’s cultural, nobody is surprised. If you’re going against the culture and making a special request, you want to give people warning well in advance and not press your expectations upon guests. In a shoes-on culture, I don’t expect to take off my shoes in someone’s home, and my feet may be unpedicured/stinky that day/wore mismatched socks/shoes are grubby inside (especially sandals!). It’s my feeling that hosts going against the grain should give advance notice and/or disposable shoe covers or slippers.

    37. MsChanandlerBong*

      We change into slippers/socks when we get home, but only because our yard is filled with plants that drop thorny little balls of terror all over the ground. The barbs are so sharp that they sink into the soles of our shoes, so if we wear shoes in the house, we end up shedding spiky things all over the place. I don’t know what the plants are, but the barbed balls of terror look kind of like kidney stones with hooks sticking out from them. They are awful.

    38. nonegiven*

      My husband wears lace up work boots, pretty involved to put on and take off. He’s in and out most days doing stuff outside. He puts them on in the morning and doesn’t take them off until he’s getting ready for bed or shower.

      I can’t stand shoes and I take them off in the bedroom and put on my slippers as soon as I get home.

    39. Catarina*

      I actually have a question about this, and I’ve never gotten a straight answer.

      For people who refuse to wear shoes indoors, how do you deal with going in and out over and over with your arms full–like when unloading groceries from the car? Do you teeter in the doorway fumbling with your shoes each load, or just walk back out to the car barefoot? I don’t get it.

      1. Someone else*

        I can usually carry all my groceries in both hands. I never have more than 4 bags at once, but usually it’s more like 2-3. If I did need multiple trips I just put them down right inside the door. There’s no need to repeatedly take shoes on an off to unload groceries. Once they’re all inside, I take my shoes off at the door and then move the bags into the kitchen.

      2. Clever Name*

        I have a tile entryway, so I bring in my groceries and set them on the carpet near the door. Once they are all in, I take off my shoes and carry them to the kitchen/have my 11-year-old carry them the rest of the way in.

      3. Valancy Snaith*

        I have stone in my entryway and a rug in front of the garage entrance. So either I bring everything in and set it on the rug or the stone, or stack everything right outside the door and bring it back in. It’s not that complicated. Honestly, it’s so rare that I have more groceries than my husband and I can carry in our hands that it doesn’t come up very often at all.

    40. Clever Name*

      I don’t wear shoes in my own home. In summer I go barefoot and winter I wear slippers. But I don’t demand guests remove their shoes. If it’s slushy outside and folks are wearing boots, people normally remove their shoes without being asked.

      My parents wear their shoes in their house, and when I visit, I keep my shoes on, mostly because I think they don’t clean their floors often enough or are particularly thorough about it.

  25. paul*

    End of life care is awful, at least in the United States (is it better elsewhere? I haven’t seen it in action elsewhere).

    I didn’t make my dogs die like this. Why do we make people go this way?

    1. Book Lover*

      I am so sorry. I have had wonderful experiences with hospice, but I know that they are different companies and it depends on which one you choose. And of course the patient and family have to want hospice. Again, so very sorry.

      1. paul*

        He’s in hospice and we’ve removed the hydration IV (there’s a term for it, I’m forgetting it). Lots of anti anxiety meds and morphine but he’s 80 years old and if we want to avoid jail time we basically have to let him die of hunger and/or dehydration. Staff last night said it could be up to 8 or 10 days like this :/

        Hell of a way to die.

        1. Suddenly Free*

          I’m so sorry paul. I watched my husband slowly suffocate in the hospital. Yes, he had morphine. He had stage 4 lung cancer. His lungs were shutting down. And it still took literal days for him to die. He was 64. I will pray for your loved one and for you what I prayed then; for this to be over.

        2. fposte*

          I know it seems horrible, paul, but I think it’s harder for the onlookers than for the person dying. I’ve known people who chose that, and it’s actually been really peaceful for them; the body just shuts down on its own. Does it seem like they’re in distress?

          I agree with you that physician assisted death, as is legal in a lot of places, is something that should be available. But I think if your person doesn’t seem uncomfortable, they probably aren’t, and it’s more of a problem for those close to them.

          I know it’s tough, and I’m sorry you’re going through it.

        3. Book Lover*

          This is how my grandmother went, in another country, and as awful as it seems from outside, for her it was peaceful and painless. And with family at bedside as much as possible. Sometimes people want to give hydration because they think how uncomfortable it would be to die of thirst, but actually it is not like that, and hydration causes more problems with breathing. I am not sure if that helps, but just to say I have seen it and it really is peaceful. I am not saying that there couldn’t be better options, but it is not so awful as it sounds (for the patient, of course hard for the family).

        4. Detective Amy Santiago*

          I am so sorry :( I agree that it’s cruel that we make people suffer to die “naturally” when we don’t do that to our pets.

          Sending good thoughts to you and yours for a quick and painless passing.

        5. Tris Prior*

          I’m so sorry. I went through this with my father. They took him off of the machines and said he’d go in an hour or two. He held on for four days, and it was awful to watch.

          As you say, we don’t make our pets suffer like this.

        6. ..Kat..*

          I am so sorry that you and your loved one are dealing with this. But, part of the dying process is the shutting down of the digestive system. The patient loses their appetite. We used to think that putting in a feeding tube and feeding them was the right thing to do. But now we know that (when someone is dying) the not-eating thing actually provides some pain relief. We let the patient decide whether to eat or not.

    2. Suddenly Free*

      It’s better if you have the money to pay out of pocket, or can do the care yourself. Well, one of those is better. My BIL died in hospice care in a beautiful private home setting with full-time medical staff. It was bloody expensive but he had superlative care. My husband died in the hospital after being cared for in his own home by myself and our daughter for several months. I’m very grateful he was able to be in his own home, with his own family for that time, but it was … just incredibly hard.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      We have a long way to go in developing our medical treatment plans. A very long way to go.

      Very sorry, Paul. Very sorry.

    4. Elf*

      I decided years ago that if I get any of the diseases my grandparents died of then I’m moving to a state with euthanasia for precisely this reason. I hope he has a heart attack or an aneurysm or an accidentally high dose of morphine to speed things along. Just remember that it will end.

    5. All Hail Queen Sally*

      My father was in hospice for EIGHT MONTHS when he was dying of Parkinson’s Disease. He would get so constipated from the morphine and be in pain but they wouldn’t give him an enema because that was “treatment” so they would give him more morphine for the pain. It went on and on like this. It was just horrible. When my time comes, I want to be euthanized.

      1. Lissa*

        Same. I actually don’t understand why it’s considered humane and the right thing to do for pets, but not humans. I’m not being facetious, I actually don’t know. With humans they can even say “this is what I want” so we can be sure!

        1. Epsilon Delta*

          I struggle with understanding why we view these cases differently too. I can’t wrap my brain around the logic.

    6. Clever Name*

      We were lucky in that my granny was able to die in her own home. We had been giving her morpheine (under the supervision of the in-home nurse). We gave her appropriate doses at all times, but the nurse still cautioned us not to give her too much because “it might suppress her breathing”. Essentially the nurse told us to do less to ease her pain and drag out her dying process. It was unreal.

      I’m sorry you’re going through this.

  26. AdAgencyChick*

    Someone just canceled his RSVP for my NYE party (for which I cook a full meal with apps and desserts) because he doesn’t want to go out in the cold.

    Don’t be surprised if I don’t invite you to any more parties, bro. This is a lifelong bachelor who has never hosted anything in his life (unless “come to my apartment and bring all the food and booze” counts as hosting, but he hasn’t even done that in years). I don’t know whether he just doesn’t know how much work it is to put together a good party, or if it’s that he doesn’t care. Either way, he sucks.

    Just venting. :/

    1. Triplestep*

      Sounds like you’re lucky he cancelled rather than just deciding not to show up without telling you. (And yes, it also sounds like he does not know how much work it is to put together a good party, and/or he thinks it comes easily to you and you enjoy it, so his cancelling is no big deal.) Sorry you’re one short; is there someone else you’d like to invite in his place on short notice?

    2. Simone R*

      Ugh. I will never forgive the people who came to my NYE party (with tons of homecooked food) and then took the alcohol they had brought back with them when they left! Ever since then I’ve hidden the wine, or thrown out the 6 pack carrier so they can’t do that.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        Huh. In my circle you bring your own booze to drink and take it home with you or you hand a bottle to your host.

        1. Rookie Manager*

          In my circle that would be incredibly rude unless the host insisted you take it back with you. It’s how we have ended up with a collection of spirits we don’t drink… but is fantastic for the occasional ‘just come back to ours’ at chucking out time.

          At house parties the host would normally provide the first drink or two and plenty mixers and guests would bring their own alcohol for the rest of the night. Depending on how raucous the night becomes the host may come out with more or less booze than the start of the night. My partner is also likely to go ‘you have to try this new whisky/local keg I bought.

          Unfortunately neither me or my friends are sophisticated enough to match drinks to courses!

        2. Simone R*

          This was beer and wine, not spirits, the guests handed the wine to me, and drank the provided cocktails and ate the fancy food I had cooked. That’s why I found it annoying!

          1. Rookie Manager*

            I probably wouldn’t invite them back! Unless something was explicitly agreed I would just find that really rude.

            This is so context dependant though. A couple of months back a friend popped in a had a glass or two of red wine, when he left I sent him away with the rest of the bottle because it was a fancy one that neither of us would drink, it seemed a waste to turn it into gravy or poured down the sink.

      2. Elizabeth H.*

        Hmm, interesting. I can see this both ways. If I am going over to a small dinner party I would leave whatever didn’t get consumed during the evening. But at a larger event (including possibly an NYE party) if something I brought didn’t get served, like an entire bottle of wine, and it seemed unobtrusive for me to take it back (as in I hadn’t like presented it to the host, just left it in a bag waiting to replenish the alcohol available set out), I think I’d take it back. I would also take back beer that didn’t make it into the fridge in the first place.

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          Also is this alcohol that’s being shared with the group or that people are bringing just for themselves? I’ve got a bottle of gin I’ve taken to two dinner parties this week – I can’t afford to leave it there just so I can have a couple gin and tonics and wouldn’t be expected to.

          1. Rookie Manager*

            If you are just having a couple of gins at mine then I’d definitely suggest you take it home with you. Or if you were regularly round and insisted on leaving it I’d be very firm that it would be ready for you next time.

            We tend to put all the alcohol together and people batter in. I get annoyed when people (Not necessarily at mine) will drink the open bottle of wine/vodka/drink of choice all night then take theirs home because it hasn’t been opened. Or bring a cheap bottle themselves and drink the quality stuff others have brought – this is how we have paint stripper vodka in the cupboard *shudders*.

            It can be a fraught issue if you stray from the norms of your group I guess.

              1. Rookie Manager*

                I don’t think I explained clearly, all the drinks tend to get put in a cold spot and everyone helps themselves after the first drink or two. If I had to be a proper hostess serving people we would be much less hospitable. Between the shoe thread and this one I’m currently surprised anyone comes to our house!

            1. Middle School Teacher*

              A little off topic, but paint stripper vodka can be drinkable with the right mix. I use it for Caesars :)

        2. Simone R*

          Yes, this was wine that had been handed to me and beer that was in the fridge that got taken back. That’s why I was annoyed!

          1. Elizabeth H.*

            That is pretty bizarre then! I can’t imagine handing someone something then taking it back, unless it was a really casual & large party (the BYOB type party) and there was an excess of whatever it was. And especially taking beer out of the fridge, again, unless it was a BYOB party. Most of the gatherings I go to are BYOB but you can pretty much tell the difference.

      3. Rookie Manager*

        I will never forgive the unknown person who brought a 1/4 bottle of vodka to a house party over 15 years ago. No one drank less than 1/2 bottle and most drank far more. No one had money as we were all students. We found the bottle during clear up next day and no-one admitted to it. Same party someone superglued a flower to my cactus, that person sheepishly apologised the next day.

      4. MsChanandlerBong*

        Yeah, that is pretty rude. To me, the booze is a gift for the host, so to take it back would be like giving somebody a gift and then taking it home with you when you left.

    3. Todd Chrisley Knows Best*

      I know some people are just generally crappy, and I’m not trying to self diagnose, but does your friend have anxiety or any sort of family drama going on? The holidays can be rough for either of those. I have anxiety and I’m not proud that I’ve canceled on some friends, and some of my excuses have been pretty pathetic but sometimes your brain doesn’t give you much of an option, or at least make it easy to override. Obviously, if it’s a pattern, maybe not. Just thought I’d throw it out there because I never really even thought about that being a reason before I realized and was diagnosed it myself. I completely understand your frustration though!

      1. Bryce*

        I’m that way with anxiety. If I agree to go to a social thing I can’t give myself any escape clauses (“if the bus schedules cooperate” “if I’m not too tired” et cetera) or part of my brain starts trying to sabotage me to fit into them. It’s also (among other reasons) why I tend not to host; I’m often the first one to want to wrap things up, and I prefer it if I can just say some discreet goodbyes and slip out the door.

        That said, once I commit I’m committed. The only time I’ve ducked an RSVP is when I had the flu, that wouldn’t have been a very nice wedding gift.

    4. fposte*

      How cold are we talking about? It’s supposed to be 12 below here on NYE. I’d damn sure cancel if I was doing anything invitational.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        We are about the same here. It said on the news that they were expecting a lower turn out at a big wingding in our state’s capital city because of the cold. They will have heaters but that is just not enough to motivate me.

      2. K.*

        I agree. I’m supposed to go to a yoga thing on NYE. It snowed today and tomorrow’s high is 18 degrees. There are no reserved spaces so there’s nothing to cancel but I’m contemplating not going. I went out to dinner with a friend earlier this week and it was sub-zero with wind chill, and while I enjoyed my friend’s company I wished I’d stayed in. It was COLD.

    5. Fiennes*

      Is there anyone you know likely to be alone that night who might appreciate the dinner that guy just turned down? Maybe his rudeness can be someone else’s good fortune.

    6. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I think you’re being a little harsh. He called and notified you that he wasn’t coming a day ahead of time. Maybe he’s not feeling well or has some other health condition that makes the cold difficult for him. How far would he have to travel and how? If I had to drive a great distance or rely on public transit when it was this cold, I would be hesitant to go out too.

    7. brushandfloss*

      I wouldn’t be surprised if more people canceled on you depending on the weather. Its bitterly cold in the NE right plus snow in some places. I’m not risking an accident or getting stranded just for party. Those are the risks with hosting parties during cold weather. I would expect a friend to understand that.

    8. Tris Prior*

      Eh, I don’t know. I understand being disappointed because someone is bailing, but, you’re in NYC, aren’t you? (Apologies if I am misremembering). I am in a similarly public-transport-friendly city where it’s normal to not have a car – I don’t – and I am seriously thinking over whether I want to bail on my NYE plans. Do I really want to deal with public transport when it’s going to be -2 out (before the windchill)? Is the Lyft surge pricing going to go so high that I can’t afford it – on busy nights like NYE, that often happens? Or do I want to gamble on catching a cab on a busy night, which might take longer than taking the damn bus in the first place?

      I don’t know how cold it’s going to be where you are, but here it’s not that unusual for people to bail on stuff if it’s going to be dangerously cold and neither they nor their friends drive. (And we are supposedly “hardy midwestern stock” who can take everything; still, it can be downright painful to be outside in these conditions.)

    9. Ktelzbeth*

      I’m sorry. That sounds frustrating, since you’ve probably already started putting in some of the work. On the other hand, I don’t know where you are, but if it’s anything like where I am, it is going to be dangerously cold the next couple of days. Church was cancelled for tomorrow morning and our pastor told everyone to stay home and be safe. Sometimes it really is too cold to go out and that number is different from person to person. It also sounds like you do a lot more for him than he does for you, so unless he is truly scintillating at parties or has some other major attraction, it doesn’t sound like you have much to lose by not inviting him back.

  27. Junior Dev*

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

    I started using my SAD lamp and oh wow, it’s really helped my mood. It’s not a cure-all but i do think it helps with my depression when the days are so short.

    I’ve been concerned about getting my sleep cycle back on track for a Thing We Do Not Discuss on Weekends so this is encouraging too.

    Anxiety is still bad in certain contexts. I took an Ativan before going to the mall recently and I think it helped.

    I’m thinking about trying to ride public transit again, but I’m not sure if I can mentally handle it. I started a knitting project and I’m thinking of riding with my noise cancelling headphones and a podcast on. I don’t know if that would be safe, they’re nice headphones. I might try a test run next week when I don’t need to be anywhere in particular.

    I wasn’t able to exercise for a while because I was sick with a cold. I went to the gym last night and used the hot tub after working out and by 10:30 pm I was ready to collapse in bed so that’s a good sign. I had been staying up til 1 or 2.

    How are you doing?

    1. Windchime*

      I’m doing well! When I take the train, I will sometimes knit but the bus is too crowded (for me). But I see people crocheting on the bus, so I could probably knit if I wanted to. Make sure to keep your ball of yarn in a baggie or something so it won’t go rolling down the train aisle if it falls(as me how I know this). As far as the headphones go, I have a big (expensive) pair that I used to take back and forth to use on the bus, but now I leave those at work and use a smaller pair of ear buds on my commute.

      I continue to feel pretty good, anxiety-wise. Holidays are usually rough for me, but I pretty much sailed through this one with only little pangs of anxiety. I’ve got a tropical vacation coming up in three weeks, so that is keeping me pretty excited and happy. Oh, and I paid for the rental car with credit card points so I’m feeling pretty smug about that.

      1. JaneB*

        Not great, but so pleased to hear the light is helping you!

        I’ve got into bad sleep patterns (too much/wrong time) and lazy eating habits (not awful but not good) over the break and I totally don’t want to do anything ever again, or leave the house… slowing down is great, but worrying about having to get going again is hard… back to the thing we do not talk about with a vengeance on Tuesday, with a trip to a conference (no talk written yet) and I don’t want to :-(. More sleep please!!!

    2. nep*

      Great stuff, Junior Dev. Glad the lamp is helping some.
      I’ll be interested to hear how the public transport outing goes. Years ago I used only public transport for work; right now I don’t have to, and I really wonder whether I could. I sometimes think of hopping on a local bus just to see. The thought of it freaks me out — all the more reason I should do it.

      A hint of dental pain yesterday had me pondering suicide methods.
      I need an F-ton of expensive dental work done and I’m broke, so it’s all got to wait. I’ve been fortunate — touch wood — in that I’ve been pain-free for a long time, against all odds. It’s like a ticking time bomb, because heaven knows what I’ll do if something gets really bad. (Already I’m living dangerously because any kind of infection in the mouth can wreak havoc.) When that pain came yesterday, ending it all is really the only “solution” that came to mind.
      I wouldn’t go through with it, though; as I’ve said before, while I might contemplate it I can’t imagine acting on it. The dental problems are an enormous source of stress, and I can plainly see how the stress is affecting me.
      Very fortunately, the pain has subsided. Bought a little more time.
      Current home situation is crazy and working out saves my life; I’m so glad I’m able to exercise.

      1. AAM fan*

        Is there a dental school near you? If so, it might be an option for cheap dental work. You probably already know this, but just in case…

        1. nep*

          Indeed — that is a good idea because of cost and I’ve heard of people having good results with that. Call it ego or whatever the hell — truly it’s all I can do to expose my horrid mouth to the dentist and hygienists I already know and who’ve seen how bad it is; can’t imagine going to a new dentist. As it is it’s stressful as hell even going to the one I’ve been seeing for years. I’ve thought about going to a dentist who’s closer to where I live, who’s an acquaintance; the one I go to is a ways away. But my regular dentist and his staff have been really fantastic.
          Probably would be a really good ‘exercise’ for me to go and be vulnerable in front of a dental team and just let it be. What would I tell a friend? You are not your teeth. Your mouth does not define who you are.
          Crazy thing is the period when my teeth took a real beating was decades ago when I was depressed and thinking of suicide. In a way the fact that I’m alive to deal with me teeth issues is testament to — I don’t know — something that brought me back from the edge.

          1. C*

            Also, do you have Dental Insurance? Costco offers dental insurance for not that much money. You can also buy an individual plan from Deltadentalins dot com. It is typically a Dental HMO where you have to choose a specific dentist from their list. But your dentist may be an option – or it might be worth changing if it would be more affordable.

            1. nep*

              Once my financial situation stabilises I’ll certainly look into dental insurance or especially CareCredit. (Most insurance probably has a cap above which I’d easily go within months.)

              1. Nye*

                Something to consider is that personal dental insurance (eg not through work) sometimes doesn’t cover anything more than checkups for a set period of time, like a year. So better to get coverage sooner if you can swing it, to pay for future dental work. I was without dental insurance for 8+ years as a grad student/postdoc, and was dismayed to discover this.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            Aww, nep, I so feel you.

            Just been going through a bunch of stuff with my teeth. I do not see an end in sight yet.

            A couple random suggestions:
            There is a discount dental plan – Careington Dental. The website is “1 dental dot com”. My friend used it and it probably saved him 30-40% on his extensive work. Unlike some dental insurance there is no cap, so you just keep going with the work you need. It’s $99 per year, of course, you can cancel it in the second year if you only need it for one year. You do have to check to see if the doc accepts the Careington Plan. The other thing I would check is to find your doc’s prices and compare that with the estimates on the Careington site, to make sure you can reasonably assume you will save money.

            Going a different way, my dentist had me get this product at the health food store. It’s called Peri-Gum. It’s around 30 bucks a bottle. The dentist could see the results the first week I used it, everything started calming down, gums less red and so on. It’s cayenne pepper, so you start off with a small dose and work up. There are clear directions right on the bottle. His strategy here was to keep things from getting worse and worse. I can tell you, it worked. I understand the desire to hide from one’s own mouth. Been there. This might help dial that back while you take care of other things.

    3. DanaScully*

      I have finally come to accept that my arachnophobia is getting out of hand, and I’ve asked for help. I check for them in every room I enter, and if I ever do encounter one, it’s a full blown panic attack with hysterical crying and it takes me such a long time to calm down.

      I’m also really concerned that I have some sort of OCD due to the rituals and affirmations that have become part of my daily life. Hopefully the therapist I’m assigned will help me to explore this.

    4. Almost Violet Miller*

      I think I made my first personal post in response to a question of yours… and here I come again.
      Those lamps are great! I also use one, usually in the morning while I am having breakfast/getting ready. It’s not how it’s supposed to be used exactly (at least mine) but I found it to be the most useful way. When and how do you use it?
      I am proud of having enjoyed the holidays more than I’d expected. I also haven’t done anything desperate after my break-up which is hard when you are staring at your phone through your tears but being alone gives me some perspective and while I still don’t know what my ideal scenario would look like, I think I am as close to figuring it out as it’s possible for me.
      Struggling with: pretty much what I just wrote above. Being alone, even when I am an introvert and generally need A LOT of alone time, is hard and not having someone there for you constantly is a new/old experience I am learning to deal with. I am also working on a side project and I am a bit behind but I am having fun with it and also am learning a lot from it so I am letting myself enjoy it in my own pace.

    5. Ramona Flowers*

      I’m so glad to hear the lamp is helping and well done on getting to bed. Re public transport, can you break it into small steps? One time just go to the stop or station, look around and leave. Maybe next time get on and ride for one stop.

      I’m proud that I advocated for myself after my very disorganised local chemist (unfortunately the only place I can conveniently get my meds) left me a snitty voicemail saying I ‘still’ hadn’t picked up a prescription from December and insinuating that they would throw it away.

      I had been in twice in December. The first time they were struggling with a huge backlog and I had to come back another time. The second time they failed to give me everything. I said this was their oversight not mine. That I have five prescriptions to keep track of and they were making it even more stressful. That I’ve been using them for several years and always pick up my medication and it’s a shame they don’t have any way of keeping track of regular customers.

      I asked could they not call me in future? She said no, they had to as it’s policy. I said well I have anxiety and I need you to make a reasonable adjustment and make a note that you do not leave voicemails like that – just tell me I need to pick something up. I added an AAM-style: can you do that? She said yes. But it was a hollow victory as it was so damn stressful.

      I’m struggling a bit with not being taken at my word over on the Friday open thread when posting about something really hard for me – I know the person meant well but being told “you’re probably wrong, this person probably hasn’t noticed that you don’t work on x” when I KNOW THEY KNOW WHAT I DON’T WORK ON has just been kind of exhausting. I’m not usually so easily rattled by internet comments but I guess I was feeling vulnerable.

      I also need to deal with the stuff I posted about on there. So I guess I’m struggling with people asking me about what I’m eating.

      1. Ktelzbeth*

        Congratulations on advocating for yourself with your chemist! I can picture myself shaking while trying to have that conversation, so please don’t read me as at all sarcastic when I say that that sounds huge. I’m sorry you had trouble with some replies yesterday. I hope you got some good too.

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          Thank you, I really truly appreciate that. And I got a slew of helpful responses yesterday, too, I hasten to add.

      2. Foreign Octopus*

        Congratulations. That’s really excellent that you were able to stand up for yourself like that. I do find that AAM comes in handy in many different circumstances.

        I’ve just been scrolling through the Friday Open Thread. I’m sorry you had to deal with that. It’s really frustrating when you want advice about a particular thing and yet you have to sit through unnecessary reassurances about another. It’s like “thanks, but that’s not at all what I need to talk about but please, continue for five minutes while I bang my head against this table.”

        I hope Sunday is a relaxing day for you.

        1. Ramona Flowers*

          Thanks, Foreign Octopus. I definitely summoned the power of AAM in that conversation.

          As to the other thing, I know I’m taking a very minor thing to heart and shouldn’t let it overshadow all the kind and helpful responses.

    6. Fiennes*

      I’m really struggling to stay regular with my meds while my schedule is so unpredictable and disordered. Please bring my routine back!

    7. anon for this (no name)*

      I’m not doing so good. I met my cousin’s fiancee for the first time over Christmas. She is so put together in all aspects of her life. She has a serious investigative type job with the government and is well connected to judges, lawyers and politicians. She is educated and articulate. She is financially savy (she helped my cousin learn to budget and crawl out of debt, he was notorious for having awful spending habits before they met and now she has changed all that and taught him to budget and have control of his own finances) and she got him to pay off all his debt (she has none). She is the kind of person that everyone goes to if they need help/something fixed. My aunt had flat tire and was up the road from the house we were having Christmas. She went with my dad and uncle and helped them to change the tire. My nephew is a month old and he stop crying whenever she held him. She is pretty and I do admit to being jealous of her looks. She has a pixie cut and on Christmas morning had no makeup on and oversized pajamas and bedhead and she looked like a frickin model. I know it’s petty but I can’t stand her even though she did nothing to me and was nice. My cousin’s dad and my dad are twins and live next door to each other so I see my cousin a lot. I know it’s my own anxiety and other issues which are causing me not to like for no reason. Christmas was rough with her around and I just found out she will be at New Years Eve tomorrow.

      1. NaoNao*

        You know, I totally hear you on those types of people and how they can make us feel.
        If it helps…
        I recently made some lifestyle adjustments for health reasons and started investing in major self care. I got mid-price (so, like 20-30$ instead of 6-7$) skin care and started doing multiple steps a night/day. Huge difference, but what really struck me was this:
        To be that “pulled together” person who looked effortlessly good takes *a ton of time and money* usually.
        And if I’m away from my routine for a few days, it shows.
        Very, very few people just “naturally” have their lives together and look great. It takes dedication and tons of effort.
        But the good news is that it’s possible for us mortals to achieve that too!

      2. Ramona Flowers*

        I hear you on feeling like that but try not to let it fester. You know this isn’t really about her but some unresolved feelings within yourself, right?

    8. AnonAndOn*

      I mentioned in the Christmas thread how I started a GoFundMe to raise money for my rent. While I couldn’t share the fundraiser here, so many people came out of the woodwork to help me out and I managed to make enough money to save my apartment. I was humbled by the people who were willing to help me (some were complete strangers) in a time of need.

      Compared to my last mental health check in I feel better. I no longer have that stress of being evicted or moving in with a relative (that I get along with better with distance). I can relax…well I’ll be able to relax more if I could find a freaking job but that’s another topic (one better suited for the work thread!).

      I hear you about dealing with public transportation. Dealing with crowds and people’s noise can be overwhelming. When I’m on a quiet route I’m fine sitting and staring out the window, but when I’m on a loud and crowded one listening to music helps keep me feeling calm. I take the headphones off when I get off the bus or train so I can be alert.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        Great news! Nice to hear that your problem was solved AND with the help of kindhearted strangers! Thank you for the update. Enjoy having this worry lifted from you.

      2. Effie, who is wondering*

        Oh wow! That’s awesome AnonAndOn. Wishing you the best :)
        Sometimes wearing sunglasses helps me on public transportation. It worked well in the Southwest, not so well in the Northeast ;)

    9. bassclefchick*

      I haven’t checked into this thread recently, and I really should have.

      My godfather died at the beginning of December. He’d been ill for a long time, so it wasn’t unexpected. Still, I’m struggling with his loss. My dad has been in and out of the hospital for most of December. I was very scared he wouldn’t make it. He’s on the mend and doing better, but I’m still concerned I won’t get another Christmas with him.

      I’m proudest of FINALLY asking for help for a really bad habit I’ve had since childhood. I’m not really sure if I’ll ever truly be able to end the behavior. But I’ve asked for help, the counselor has given me some great coping tools and I’m making a bit of progress. I know a lifetime habit can’t be broken in only a few months, but I’m trying and that’s what count.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        I’m so sorry for your loss and worries. It’s great that you’ve asked for the help you need and started making progress – well done.

    10. Foreign Octopus*

      I’m so glad that most people are doing well here! It always makes me happy to see.

      As for me, I think I’m doing okay. Now that my brother has finally sorted out internet in his new flat (2 weeks it took, 2 weeks) and isn’t around mine every. single. day working (I got relegated out of my office and into my bedroom), I feel much happier. I’m no longer caught up in his dark pit of negativity and I’m breathing much easier having my space back to myself.

      I’m a happy little hermit who turns into a Gollum-like creature when my personal space/time is invaded, and I know that it’s partly the cause of some bad mental health days, so it’s such a relief to be able to get back to myself in time for the New Year.

    11. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I researched a therapist and emailed to set up a consultation. This will be the first time in therapy for me, outside of one-off trips to the EAP for one thing or another. This will be the first time I’m seeking long term treatment with a goal in mind for what I want to work on.

      For the past few years, I’ve been getting stuck in negative thought loops that I can’t make myself stop repeating. When it first started, it was only that I would entertain a few “pet” irritations and aggravations during my weekend housecleaning routine, and I could turn it off and on at will. Then it became more of a pattern to automatically think angry, uncharitable thoughts every time I did housework, and now I feel stuck in an almost-constant state of negative, angry, and anxious thought. Every time I vow to just stop it, already, I slip back into those well-worn grooves and before I know it, I’ve wasted another weekend making myself feel awful.

      I’m hoping maybe CBT will help me stop doing this to myself?

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I remember that I started doing it because a little bit of zippy, righteous irritation added some spice and pep to boring, routine housework. I never expected to get stuck in it to the point of being unable to stop even when I want to.

    12. Elizabeth West*

      Ugh. Trying to avoid everyone talking about how cuuuuuuuuuuuute one of the crushes and former ex/nowbacktogether are. Puke. Avoid avoid avoid. (Something’s off about that, anyway. I can’t put my finger on it, but it doesn’t seem like it’s just wishful thinking on my part. Well, sometimes you have to go back to realize you can’t go on, soooo….)

      I’m pretty annoyed that nothing is happening here. I could use the distraction. >:(

    13. Gadfly*

      Thanks for the reminder to use my lamp. It got put away in a safe place while cleaning and rearranging and I need to bring it back out.

    14. Elf*

      I’m having a really hard time. I think I have some kind of SAD thing going on, because last year I was really useless all fall but it was noticeably better by mid-January, and the timing on this seems similar. It’s really bad because it mainly manifests as an inability to do anything useful housework or toddler-wise, so it all falls on my husband, which is super-unfair to him, and the house is an awful mess because its more than one person’s worth of work, and it makes him so angry and frustrated which I understand because I’m being useless but also makes it worse because it is too much angry for me to live with.

      It’s worse this year because I’m pregnant and the first trimester has really been taking it out of me, and I don’t honestly know where the line is between genuine physical pregnancy-related incapacity, and other stuff. Pregnancy was a lot easier last time, but I also wasn’t working a full time job, nor did I have a toddler. I think it isn’t objectively bad in terms of symptoms (I’m not throwing up or anything), but I’m just so tired.

      Exercise might help, but there’s really nowhere to put it without borrowing from sleep, and that’s a trade I just can’t make right now. The only time of day I could possibly have the energy is first thing in the morning, but I already have to be up at 5 to get out the door for work, and I can’t manage earlier.

      I would appreciate advice, as long as it doesn’t involve taking medications or spending lots of money.

      1. zyx*

        I know you don’t want to spend lots of money, but is it possible for you to hire someone to do a one-off housecleaning session? It sounds like the mess is a real source of stress for you and your husband. Similarly, is there a neighborhood kid whom you could hire for an hour or two after school as a “mother’s helper” to care for your toddler while you’re still in the house? When I was 12, I did that for a neighbor. I’m not sure what she did while I played with her kid, but you could exercise at home or take a nap. Even once a week might be a help.

      2. TL -*

        Can you count your days in successes rather than failures?
        You’re exhausted and pregnant and winter is hard, so if you pick up clothes from the living room, or load a few dishes in the dishwasher, celebrate! Set the bar for happy success really, really low and then revel in every little thing.
        When I’m sick, that’s what I do. If it’s 20 minutes or 5 minutes of work and then an hour nap, hells yeah! I am super happy with myself for getting something done and rewarding myself with rest so I can do more and feel awesome about that, too.

    15. Red*

      I’m doing fairly well! I started taking vitamin D3 because I know I’m not getting enough; I live in Western new york and don’t like milk, so there goes the usual sources. I also have a psychiatrist appointment coming up next week, which is great because I have some psychosis-related concerns and there are meds for that.

      I did talk about my husband in this thread last weekend, and I do have an update. We had an argument that ended in me telling him that I desperately want to spend my life with the man I met almost 5 years ago, but that’s not the man I’m living with now, and I’m not willing to spend my life with him because he’s a jerk that does nothing but snap at me and demand more than I have to give. He is now totally, 100%, completely motivated to go to therapy and work out his med issues, and I’m actually going with him to his next therapy appointment. I really hope he can be more like the version of himself that I fell in love with, because I miss him terribly.

      1. Red*

        I posted that comment a bit early, whoops! It continues below.

        I also wanted to thank you for posting these threads weekend after weekend. It helps me so much to have a space to tell people about my problems and victories and to read and respond to their posts. This is such a great thing for you to have created, and I appreciate it.

        And, for the final but of the comment, anyone else have a lot of awkwardness going on regarding drinking and holidays? I can’t drink with my meds, and people get all sorts of weird about it!

    16. Tris Prior*

      I’m proud of starting yoga again. I’ve done it more days than not, all this week.

      Otherwise….. things are rough. I think it was a perfect storm of: post-holiday blues (this Xmas was going to be a hard one for Family Reasons and I thought I got through OK but crashed HARD after), the horrible horrible dangerously cold winter weather and resulting cabin fever, seasonal depression, hormonal stuff, insomnia, some old eating-disordered thoughts/behaviors cropping up again when I thought I’d gotten past that 20 years ago, and the cherry on the sundae was discovering in the middle of the night that we have a rodent problem in our apartment. That last one really set me off and I ended up *weeping* in my therapist’s office over it.

      I then very tentatively brought up my eating-disordered thoughts (not literally starving myself, but definitely not eating enough and really obsessively counting calories and feeling fat and disgusting when Rational Brain knows I am a normal weight), and she suggested I try Weight Watchers or see a nutritionist. Which…. maybe I didn’t adequately explain the problem, but I don’t think either of those are going to help with the “I know rationally my weight is fine but I feel disgusting and can’t make myself eat normally” issue, you know?

      I said something like, “um, OK, yeah, I can look into a nutritionist, but I usually find medical stuff really overwhelming and it causes a lot of anxiety, and I still don’t have a primary care doctor” and she said, “OK, we need to work on that too, then, because regular medical checkups and tests are SO important.” And something just broke in my brain because I literally CANNOT “work on” another issue right now. Dealing with my toxic family and the resulting anxiety and PTSD, plus seasonal depression, is literally all I have the mental energy to work on right now. I didn’t say that, though, because the session was ending and honestly I didn’t have the energy to advocate for myself right then. (And because, yes, I KNOW MEDICAL CARE IS IMPORTANT. That doesn’t mean I can flip a switch that suddenly makes me able to do it.)

      1. Schmitt*

        Sometimes I really have to break it down into the tiniest steps, like…. Step 1: Think about finding a PCP. Accept that it’s OK if this takes a month to complete. Step 2. Do some research about doctors available to me. Accept that it’s OK if this takes a month to complete. Step 3. Make an appointment. Accept that it’s OK to ask for help and have my partner call for me.

        When I was dealing with severe depression and pain from a surgery that did not go well, my partner did the research step for me as well – ended up with a therapist that was terrible, but that happens sometimes, and I had improved enough to tell her to go fuck herself at least ;)

    17. Junior Dev*

      I wrote this in the morning. It’s now evening and I feel exhausted. I had a panic attack after spending all day with my friend and not eating enough. I managed to eat fast food for dinner, buy groceries, drive home and take an Ativan. Now I’m hiding in bed, still scared to do anything that is at all stimulating. I need to eat a snack and get ready to sleep. Brain why.

  28. Sophia*

    In an effort to get a little healthier in the new year, we’re contemplating signing up for one of the food delivery services like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron? Does anyone have recommendations, insights, suggestions, etc?

    1. Temperance*

      Booth and I do Hello Fresh, and really enjoy it. Blue Apron is good, too – the food is awesome – but I’m kind of a novice cook when it comes to meat and it was a bit hard for me. (Plus, I have an inability to certain kinds of peppers, so I avoid them all, generally … so that is limiting with BA.)

      Home Chef is more simple than Hello Fresh, but I don’t think the food is as good. We tried Sun Basket and it wasn’t ideal for us, but the food is very healthy and you can pick paleo if you want.

    2. CatCat*

      We do a meal plan service rather than food delivery service. The service is called Cook Smarts. It sends recipes to you every week (with 3-4 options for each meal) and generates a shopping list and steps you can do for prepon the weekend. The service is integrated somehow with Instacart so you *can* have the ingredients delivered, but we don’t because my spouse likes grocery shopping.

      We’ve used it for 3 years and love it. We make 4 servings of each meal so dinner one night also serves as lunch the next day. It definitely cut back on eating takeout for us.

    3. Mimmy*

      I’ll be interested in hearing others’ responses too – we did Blue Apron for a while this year but stopped because the meals were getting repetitive and the quality of delivery was going down, e.g. missing ingredients, packaging with holes or not securely sealed. The prep was extensive too. I will say, though, the food was often very good and, by comparison, healthier than our typical diet.

      How does Hello Fresh compare?

      1. Searching*

        We had the same experience with Blue Apron about the declining quality of delivery and the amount of prep time. Plus all the packaging materials bothered us (sure it’s recyclable, but there was so much of it). We stopped the service after about a year.

    4. Bigglesworth*

      I just signed up for Hungry Harvest. I enjoy cooking (it’s a stress relief from Law school right now) and I support the mission. They don’t send you recipes with the food you get, but you can customize your box, get only veggies, only fruits, organic, etc. It is only on the east coast right now, but there’s tons of coupons and they base new locations on the zip codes on their waitlist.

    5. Loopy*

      I do Hello Fresh (vegetarian meals only) and really enjoy it. My only issue is if you wait too long with the meals (say ~4 days after getting it) produce can go/be bad occasionally.

      I find it very easy and like most meals. I am a terrible cook and they make it pretty foolproof. The meals are usually around 55-650 calories and not always crazy healthy if you are trying to avoid things like cheese- but they are fairly healthy compared to eating out! I have also had really really great experience with their customer service. I mean, shockingly positive and helpful. That’s as much of a plus to me as the food part with subscription services. I usually recommend them.

      1. Loopy*

        oof 550 calories. Need to proof my posts. Also I hope I didn’t scare you away with the produce thing. It’s a rare occurrence and usually because I get the meals saturday and sometimes don’t get around to the last one until later in the week- like Thursday. Even then, it’s an only sometimes thing.

    6. Piano Girl*

      We did Hello Fresh for awhile. It was interesting, and I finally tried my hand at risotto, but we finally quit, as we preferred my cooking to what they offered. I think if you are a beginning cook with somewhat adventuresome eaters, it would be a good place to start.

    7. oranges & lemons*

      To be honest, I live in a country that Blue Apron doesn’t deliver to and couldn’t afford it anyway, but I like to use their recipes. They’re all available on their website and there are some good ones. So if you’d like to get a sense of what the recipes are like, you can try it out for free.

    8. Elf*

      I’ve tried a week of several services (I really can’t afford any of them, but I used the half price first weeks). I found the Blue Apron recipes the most polished/interesting, with SunBasket as a fairly close second. Blue Apron has a slight price advantage due to shipping charges on SunBasket, but I thought SunBasket was the clear winner for me because of the Paleo option (I don’t eat paleo, but I try to avoid grains/potatoes so paleo eliminates what I don’t eat) and because it had better sized protein portions. I felt Blue Apron tried to fill out their menus with the starches a little bit. I tried HelloFresh recently and was really not impressed. The recipes were all things I could do myself, but better, and the chili recipe came with this absolutely disgusting pre-shredded orange cheese that looked like what you’d get at Taco Bell. (I am definitely a cheese snob).

      If it was in my budget, I’d love to use one of these (particularly SunBasket, but I wouldn’t say no to Blue Apron if someone offered to give it to me).

    9. MsChanandlerBong*

      I tried Blue Apron for free. I would not pay for it. The portions are incredibly small, especially for the price, and I think it’s wasteful to have everything individually wrapped in paper and plastic. I could get almost a week’s worth of groceries for the price Blue Apron charges for three (small) meals.

  29. Lcsa99*

    My husband and I have been watching a lot of older tv shows for the last few years and are enjoying the reactions we have to some of them.

    TJ Hooker has me a little ashamed of William Shatner. Seriously, police training academies can use most of the episodes, especially in earlier seasons, as examples of what NOT to do. It doesn’t surprise me that Columbo is so much fun. He’s playful but sharp as a tack. I love how much of a badass Cannon is, in spite of his weight. It’s fun watching him get in a fight. While Rockford wouldn’t hesitate to jump right in, Cannon fights smart and will stand there and use the bad guys momentum against him. We are watching an episode of Cannon now and just heard a great line “I get your message, loud and clear. Especially loud.”

    Has anyone else been re-watching stuff like this?

    1. Triplestep*

      I’ve been re-watching Rosanne and I’m really taken by the changes in the show’s characters, writing, and acting from the early years to the later. I know the show was criticized for having gone off the deep end in the last season (and for a terrible finale) and I agree with those assessments. But I can see why it was considered ground-breaking, and I’m excited for the reunion episodes coming out this spring.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Ms. Orange Worshipper has lost me forever. I enjoyed the original show, up until David and Darlene get together, and then I get bored with reruns. But the first couple of seasons are still watchable. My favorite was always the tornado episode and the Halloween ones.

          1. Triplestep*

            Yes, her politics are a strange turn of events, but that won’t stop me from watching the new episodes.

            Sounds like you the seasons you prefer are the ones I like less! I think it got better after David and Darlene got together.

            1. AnotherAlison*

              I will echo your comments. I think I was about the same age as Darlene at the time of the original series & I liked her character arc. I’m curious to see what they do with the new show.

          2. Cristina in England*

            I am with you on preferring the early seasons when Darlene was still into sports. And no to new Becky! (I didn’t like her much on Scrubs either).

              1. Triplestep*

                Sarah Chalke was just SO young when she played Becky. Her body language said “awkward teenager” because that’s what she was. Lots of standing with her hands on her hips (paired with leaning forward when she was acting angry) or folding her arms, or tucking her hair behind her ear too much, or slouching. Not good.

          3. Brittasaurus Rex*

            I thought there was far too much David and Mark in the later seasons. I loved Darlene and didn’t care for her character arc near the end.

    2. Muriel Heslop*

      My six year old thinks the Dick Van Dyke show is the funniest thing he has ever seen. We are watching it together and he can’t get enough of it (I’m thrilled, since it is far superior to Paw Patrol.)

      TJ Hooker is craptastic and basically unwatchable (Adrian Zmed, god bless him) but we still love Rockford. I’d say that they should remake that show, but there’s only one James Garner.

      We always watch Cheers at night while winding down and discussing our day and we still love it.

      1. fposte*

        I will love the Dick Van Dyke Show forever. I am also delighted beyond all measure that Rose Marie became a Twitter goddess at 94 before she died.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I know! I heard and I was like, “Oh no, not yet! She just got on here!!”
          But also glad she shared her famous spaghetti sauce recipe first. I’d love to see the film about her, Wait for Your Laugh. It will be playing in KC but I have no way to get up there (can’t afford it). I’ll have to wait for the DVD.

          1. fposte*

            I know; I really want to see that too.

            I think that exemplifies some of the good Twitter can do. She was able to enjoy the spirit and admiration of a bunch of people who thought she was fantastic and would never have been able to tell her so otherwise.

      2. Book Lover*

        Omg Paw Patrol :(. I could live with never seeing it again. Right now we have thankfully switched to Doc McStuffins but that won’t last.

        And on topic – rewatching Stargate (series) and planning on Babylon 5.

      3. Lcsa99*

        I am sure they will try to remake Rockford at some point (probably with James Garner as Rocky) but honestly I hope not. It can’t be improved so it would be a waste of time. Like remaking Macgyver. I can’t believe it’s lasted.

        We love the Dick Van Dyke Show. He is such a fun actor. Watching him in Diagnosis Murder is fun too. They should have done a Murder She Wrote/Diagnosis Murder crossover.

    3. LazyGirl*

      I’ve been rewatching Will & Grace. It’s interesting to see how things have changed since the 90s. For example, in one early episode they talked about how marriage and family would be impossible for Will :(

      Also, everyone is wearing amazingly high waisted pants.

      1. Lcsa99*

        I really liked Will and Grace but my sense of humor must have really changed cause I just find it cringeworthy now. Same with Friends.

    4. CatCat*

      Every now and then, I go on a “Murder, She Wrote” binge. I just love that show. Jessica is so kindly and terrifying to me.

      1. Muriel Heslop*

        Every year when we take extended family photos at the holidays, we take a “Murder She Wrote” pose of us all fake laughing, like she ends every episode. (And yes, that show is so comforting to watch.)

        1. CatCat*

          Hahaha! That’s awesome! I love how they try so hard to end in an up note. Sure, there’s been a terrible murder and Jessica is the harbinger of death, but [quaint and corny thing] so it’s all good.

          1. Merci Dee*

            I love “Murder, She Wrote”, but I’ve said for years that knowing Jessica Fletcher can be hazardous for your health. You’re sure to either be murdered, or falsely accused of murder until Aunt Jess rides to your rescue. I’m surprised Cabot Cove still had any residents, with the way Jessica and Co. would wade through them. The dumb ones ended up dead, and the smart ones should’ve run for their lives!

        2. Lcsa99*

          That is hilarious.

          My husband and I used to watch Murder She Wrote with my grandmother when we went to visit her. Since she passed a few years ago, we’ve found ourselves watching it weekly. It’s just charming.

    5. Cone*

      I remember losing interest in watching Friends around 1999-2000. I thought maybe I was just being a teenager who thought I was too cool to like something so popular, but now that I’ve watched it years later from season 1 and season 10, I can see that the show did stop being clever sometime after they all went to London. Before London, they were fairly reasonable 20-somethings with typical life problems. After London, they transformed into clowns with exaggerated quirks played for laughs. I found myself not appreciating all the LGBT jokes either. Hard to believe these were still acceptable less than 20 years ago.

      1. WellRed*

        This is interesting
        I like the whole series but I thought the writing and acting seem a bit heavyhanded in the earlier seasons and then improved.

        1. Lissa*

          I think Friends really hit a sweet spot – the first season and a half or so weren’t great and then all the characters became really caricatures of themselves later on, but IMO some of the middle stuff was *really* good.

          I find the LGBT portrayals to be weirdly heartening just to see how far we’ve come in what’s considered acceptable (not that things are perfect now but the fact that so many people cringe at stuff that was considered modern back then is kind of cool.) Also Joey was *horrible* to women. I know Ross gets much of the flak for being such a perfect example of a “Nice Guy” stereotype but some of the early stuff with Joey was really really bad.

      2. DoctorateStrange*

        Funny enough, Living Single seems to be for the most part timeless. I find that interesting as the this was the show that came before Friends and what was apparently what inspired Friends to come to be in the first place. Maxine Shaw was my favorite character, although I was fond of the whole cast. Rewatching Friends, I started realizing I disliked everyone except Monica, who, well, deserved better.

    6. Fiennes*

      I rewatched Columbo last year and LOVED it. He’s one of the few American fictional figures who fits what I think of as a British archetype: the humble, comical, seemingly ridiculous figure who never resorts to violence, but wins through mental brilliance and the willingness to let others underestimate him.

      1. Elf*

        This reminds me of a favorite oldie of mine: MacGuyver. I first got into it because I loved RDA in Stargate, but MacGuyver is just absolutely the best character, because he always saves the day by *knowing all the random stuff*!!!

      2. LCL*

        When Columbo was new, I was a grade school kid. Out of all of the mystery movie series, he was my favorite. My mom and I would always have good natured arguments about the show because she loved mysteries and watched them all, but hated Columbo. She still let me watch it.

    7. Middle School Teacher*

      I’ve been rewatching MASH and the original Law& Order. MASH was not without its problems (the sexist issues especially) but I think it was pretty groundbreaking for the way it tackled things like racism, being gay in the military, and mental illness, and especially for definitely showing the hellish side of war. It’s interesting to see the way things changed on L&O (when Detective Curtis had a cell phone, for example, whereas before to call the precinct they were all using payphones) and some of the social issues (being gay and high-profile; prosecuting someone who was deliberately infecting women with HIV, etc). It’s interesting to see how much life has changed since the 1990s.

      1. caledonia*

        I love Law & Order. I did a watch of all the early seasons this year. It made me smile to realise that the first episode had Leo McGarry/John Spencer in it. I liked Briscoe the best and never saw the ones in S1-3 without him in it.

        1. Former Employee*

          I loved John Spencer who left us much too soon. I looked it up in Wikipedia -he was only 58 when he passed in 2005. And “The West Wing” was one of the best shows ever. Fun Fact: He got his start on “The Patty Duke Show”. And Patty Duke was another one who was still in her prime when she died.

          Law & Order is always worth watching, especially the ones with Briscoe. Jerry Orbach was an accomplished actor of stage and the big screen before he went to L&O. He was in The Fantasticks! off Broadway and I thought he was wonderful as Baby’s father in “Dirty Dancing”.

          1. Middle School Teacher*

            I also love Jerry Orbach! Briscoe was so witty, and he was so great with all of the partners (I especially remember his reaction when Detectives Logan punched a councilman, I think, and he got demoted). The other actor I really liked from the later seasons was Dennis Farina. I thought it was so cool that he was a cop in real life before he played one on tv. The Sundance channel is totally enabling my MASH and L&O fix right now.

      2. AcademiaNut*

        I remember as a kid being allowed to stay up late to watch the MASH series finale – I think it still holds records for most-viewers non-live programming.

        I’m not a big fan of sitcoms in general, as I have a low tolerance for cringe comedy. But I liked MASH, and I remember enjoying Night Court (I’d love to be able to rewatch some of that). And Murder She Wrote is the TV murder mystery equivalent of chicken soup.

        1. Cruciatus*

          I have Dish and have a channel called Laff. They re-air Night Court and Empty Nest, Roseanne, Ellen, Grace Under Fire, That ’70s Show, and lots of other stuff. Actually, my friend who doesn’t have cable also picks up Laff with an antenna. We only started getting this channel in the last year or so so it’s possible it may have been added to your channel lineup with whatever provider you have (if any).

    8. Bryce*

      There’s a broadcast station here that plays the old stuff and I like it for background noise. Kojak is incredible, my favorite episode boils down to “you did it, I know you did it, I can’t *prove* you did it, but don’t think this is some chess game. You’re a kid who got lucky and I gotta convince you of that before it all comes back to bite you.” Also a lot of westerns. Big Valley, Bonanza, Rifleman, there’s some good episodes in there and some really overly saccharine ones if not outright tone-deaf.

      What I’ve found most interesting is Get Smart. Comedy doesn’t always age well, so you get great actors with great comedic timing doing a great show that suddenly runs into a joke that doesn’t fly at all these days. Like “and now for a solid 15 minutes of racist Chinese caricatures” not flying.

    9. Foreign Octopus*

      I’ve been rewatching Star Trek: Voyager and there was a point in season five where everyone suddenly seemed wildly out of character.

      Janeway was distant and a little cold to her cruel.

      B’Elanna had attitude.

      The decisions that were made seemed unusual.

      I don’t remember it being like this.

    10. Trixie*

      Miami Vice. Love seeing the retro locations which were seen again in Burn Notice. Miami Vice producers also discussed how in the early episodes local retirees were paid as extras. And some neighborhoods really were that run down and abandoned.

        1. Be the Change*

          OMG Burn Notice was my favorite (except for West Wing). Such a great combination of action, drama, and comedy, although the comedy disappeared in Seasons 6 & 7. I wish I could be Fiona.

    11. Windchime*

      I’m a sucker for The Golden Girls. It hasn’t aged well as far as fashion goes (the shoulder pads–my god, the shoulder pads!) and a few other topics, but I generally find it a pretty gentle and kind show. I will sometimes turn it on and let the reruns play when I am having an afternoon nap on the weekends.

      And I almost hate to admit this, but I love Little House on the Prairie. I do.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        The only complaints I have about Golden Girls is that they make fat jokes and there is slut shaming. But it was ahead of its time when it comes to LGBT and race issues, so I still love it.

      2. Mimmy*

        I have such a soft spot for Little House – I watched it incessantly when I was little and even watched syndicated reruns when I was in college. I cried when Michael Landon died. I was fascinated by the storyline where Mary goes blind.

        Do you know if it’s in reruns anywhere? I’d love to watch it again.

        1. Lcsa99*

          I don’t know if you get them but there are two channels we get that occasionally have it. Cozi and MeTv

    12. Stellaaaaa*

      The X-Files and Lost almost 100% hold up, though Lost seemed to have gone through an unusual amount of on-air trial and error. I’ve never seen another show attempt and then drop so many elements.

      Buffy also mostly holds up, though the Whedon dialogue gets exhausting. I was surprised to find out that I found the last two seasons to be the most consistently well-written all around.

      1. Lcsa99*

        Joss Whedon has such a talent for writing. I still love Buffy, and wish they let him go further with Firefly.

    13. Aphrodite*

      Oh yes! The Carol Burnett Show, Rockford Files, LA Law (learned not to go past season 4), Hill Street Blues, The Bob Newhart Show, and more of that era.

      1. Aphrodite*

        Also, Columbo (which I never get tired of) and the Mary Tyler Moore Show (god, the Chuckles the Clown episode is to die for).

        1. Former Employee*

          Carol Burnett’s show was about the only physical comedy I ever liked, other than A Night At The Opera; for example, I can’t stand the 3 Stooges.

          James Garner was terrific in Rockford as well as in Maverick and quite a number of movies, especially The Americanization of Emily, Victor/Victoria (both with Julie Andrews) and Murphy’s Romance.

          LA Law was such a departure from the usual legal dramas and it introduced the wonderful Jimmy Smits to a wide audience.

          Yes, MTM/Chuckles the Clown, dressed as a peanut, was killed when a rogue elephant tried to shuck him. One of the funniest things on TV ever. That and the Went With The Wind episode of Carol Burnett

    14. RL*

      Every couple years I re-watch the old Mission Impossible series. I love how we don’t really know much about them personally, we just know them as super spies.

    15. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I tried to watch MASH, but the constant sexual harassment that was the basis for most of the humor left me more irritated than amused. I had to stop watching after two or three episodes.

  30. Almost Violet Miller*

    This has been a rough year. I see many of you fellow commenters have gone through a lot in 2017. It’s reassuring to know I am not alone in all this and this virtual community has been really supportive – thank you for that!
    A recent break-up (apart from giving me months of heartache) made me realize that I am not really in touch with who I am aspiring to be. So here’s my plan for 2018:
    – starting meditation/mindfulness classes and practicing it in everyday life
    – finding a job that intellectually stimulates and challenges me (I might be going back to school)
    – if changing careers, finding a way to keep up the balance between my interest and not letting academia/work overtake everything
    – a trip to another continent
    – closing a *thing* one way or another after almost a decade of mixed signals (so that I can move on from my break-up and general relationship past)
    Wow, feels good to write these down.
    Here’s to a(n even) happier 2018 to all of you!

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      Good luck for 2018.

      I’m curious though, as this isn’t the first time I’ve heard someone mention mindfulness. What is it? And can you point me in the direction of some reputable websites where I can get more information? It sounds interesting.