weekend free-for-all – February 3-4, 2018

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:  The Power, by Naomi Alderman. This is SO GOOD. This is what happens when teenage girls everywhere suddenly discover that their bodies can produce lethal electric shocks — instantly shifting the balance of power in the world.

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

{ 1,615 comments… read them below }

  1. Aurora Leigh*

    What are your best road trip tips?

    Boyfriend and I are planning an epic road trip for mid April! We’ll be traveling through Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nebraska (also Illinois and Missouri, but those are our home turf lol). We’re going to camp along the way. Some for sure stops are Crater of Diamonds in Arkansas and Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas, Rosewell NM, Colorado Springs and the Ohmaha Zoo.t

    We have 11 days – the longest vacation I’ve ever had as an adult. Its going to be awesome!

    I’d love any tips you all have to offer!

    1. nep*

      Wow that sounds fantastic.
      A few things that come to mind:
      Enjoy silence and scenery. (No need to displace the silence at all times.)
      Lots of anti-bacterial wipes / wet wipes.
      Take advantage of pit stops to get in some stretching and a few squats, good-mornings or other hip/glute exercises — good when you’re doing so much sitting. (I like to travel w a kettlebell in the car for some swings.)
      Large plastic bags or sheets in case you need to place rain gear on floor or seat to air out.
      Happy for you. Have a great time.

    2. Wrench Turner*

      If you can afford it, rent a car, preferably a minivan like the Dodge Caravan (we have one) with fold flat seating. Plenty of room for your stuff, if you don’t feel like camping in a tent or finding a hotel you can sleep fully stretched out in the back. I do this all the time on real long trips. Newer ones also get pretty great gas mileage.
      Best part? You’re not putting breakdown or crash risk on YOUR car. If something happens, call the rental company and they bring you a new one.

        1. Wrench Turner*

          Just truck rest stops on the highway! We threw a futon in the back and pulled over wherever. Never bothered by anyone.

        2. here goes*

          Essentially wherever you want, in my experience. Some Walmarts let you park (but not all), campgrounds, rest areas, pullovers over the ocean… I’ve done this in a few countries, and I’m certainly not the only one.

    3. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

      Make sure you have some CDs or something if you like to listen to music when you drive. In some parts of the country you can’t get radio reception, and sometimes not even cell reception, in isolated areas. This has definitely happened to me in the Southwest, although I don’t remember exactly where so you may not hit those places.

      Also, try to plan out not only where you’re going to stay but also backup places to stay if you run into traffic and can’t make it to where you were originally planning to stay. We’ve always used AAA guidebooks for this, so you might want to look into a membership, although I don’t know how much it costs (my parents have always been members, so if I’ve ever needed anything I’ve gotten it through their membership).

      1. nep*

        Re listening — Maybe download some podcasts or shows you like (Cartalk is a blast to listen to in the car) onto CD or mp3 also.

        1. Reba*

          I love podcasts on a long trip because you can easily take breaks, chat, or rest in silence between episodes.

          1. TardyTardis*

            I love audiobooks, I download them onto my MP3 player and hook it into the car’s stereo system. Frankly, audiobooks keep me awake and aware while driving than music does.

      2. Wrench Turner*

        If you like Dungeons & Dragons, may I recommend The Adventure Zone podcast. Great storytelling, lots of comedy and perfect for road trips.

      3. Namelesscommentator*

        I-70 in Utah gets approximately zero cell reception. Or radio stations.

        Also I-15 in western CA – no cell service and the only radio station I got was a fundamentalist Christian station. Was definitely sorry I didn’t pack roadtrip cds for that.

      4. JamieS*

        I’d recommend downloading songs, podcasts, etc. directly onto your phone or iPod or whatever media device that’s handy. Everything’s in one place, less to lug around, and don’t have to worry about a CD getting scratched or reception.

    4. ampg*

      Oh this will be so fun. Car ride tips:

      It may be worth a Spotify subscription if you don’t have one already. You can download tons of music in advance.

      Bring a pack of baby wipes! You can use them for a quick hand washing, spills, etc etc.

      Don’t forget to stop and see the wacky little sights. If you see a billboard for something, don’t be afraid to alter your plans a bit for some spontaneous sight seeing.

      You must visit Garden of the Gods outside Colorado Springs! Beautiful unique rock formations.


      1. FrontRangeOy*

        Red Rocks Open Space too! It’s part of the same geologic formation as Garden of the Gods, but a lot less crowded and has great hikes.

    5. Bullwinkle*

      Sounds like a great trip!

      In my experience, you will end up spending more time in the car than you anticipate, it can help to add some margin to your travel estimates so that you still have plenty of time to do other things and don’t feel stressed. Also I recommend having a couple places where you spend more than one night to get a break from packing/unpacking.

      Not everyone is a Starbucks fan but they reliably have clean bathrooms and Wifi. Bring paper maps, there are definitely parts of those areas that don’t get cell reception, especially in the mountains. Not all campgrounds have showers, public pools can be a good place to get a cheap shower if they are open in April.

      Caprock Canyon state park is a gem in north Texas, it’s like a slice of Utah plunked down in the panhandle. Palo Duro Canyon is also nearby. You can’t really go wrong with New Mexico and Colorado, both very beautiful places.

    6. TL -*

      Natural Bridge Caverns in Texas sounds like it might be right up your ally! I think there’s a dinosaur place around there too.

      1. Kj*

        I’ll second this! That place is awesome! Also Palo Duro Canyon is great- they have a show during some month that is performed in the canyon about Texas history. It is a neat spectacle

        1. Parenthetically*

          Palo Duro Canyon is INCREDIBLE. We randomly found it because it was between our first stop with friends in OK and our first “destination” in NM, and it was honestly one of my favorite spots on our whole trip. So quiet and peaceful.

      2. Paula, with Two Kids*

        That’s a great spot, but would add 7 hours round trip to their journey (just want to point it out, it’s much further south than Glen Rose).

    7. Lynn*

      Pack a cooler with lots of snacks – including healthy snacks. There will be places on that loop where there aren’t good places to stop and eat, and if there were, days of fast food aren’t going to make you feel great when just sitting and driving.

      Pad your driving times for the day. You’ll need breaks. You’ll drive by last minute things you want to stop at. You’ll have car trouble. Add time, especially if you’re making reservations anywhere.

      1. kas*

        Agree with your food comment, I was going to comment saying the same thing. One of the worst stomach pains I’ve ever felt (besides cramps) was due to eating too much fast food on a road trip. I was young and my parents packed snacks but I ate the same thing from the same fast food spot every time we stopped. I was dying to get out of the car and it was a 15 hour drive. Most uncomfortable trip ever.

    8. Ms. Gullible*

      It can still get real cold in April in Nebraska and sometimes snow. If you plan on camping here, bring plenty to warm you both.

    9. Fiennes*

      Audiobooks are great for long trips, particularly interesting ones that spark conversations. My last road trip with my partner, we listened to the new biography of Leonardo da Vinci and could’ve talked about nothing else—so fascinating.

      1. Not Australian*

        We’re working our way through the Margery Allingham ‘Campion’ novels as read by Philip Franks; we were a bit late to the party and had to get most of them on e-Bay but they’re perfect for long journeys. May be a specifically British taste, though.

      1. Not That Anne, The Other Anne*

        Definitely Carhenge. Is it campy and a little ridiculous? Yes, yes it is. Embrace the campy.

    10. Reba*

      Carry more food and water than you think you’ll need. If you see a grocery store, go there before going to your campground (or you could do what we did, arrive, set up camp, learn that nearest food was 50 miles away).

      Carry AAA (or a roadside assistance service provided by insurance, or similar) and consider upgrading it to a level that will do a very long towing distance. Practice changing a tire if you haven’t done it in a while. Paper maps.

      I recommend Mesa Verde in Colorado, if you’re going that far West! There are several other cliff dwelling sites in the region, including some on Native lands that can be visited, in the region. They are so fascinating.

      When in Nebraska, make sure to go to the state capitol building! A really surprising and lovely piece of civic architecture.

      If you are camping (or even if not), look into the list of Dark Sky parks and see if you can be in or near them. (Obviously there are also plenty of remote, dark places that are not designated dark sky parks.) There are really no words for a truly dark night in high, arid place.

    11. Who Let the Dogs Out*

      1 1/2 years ago we drove a loop from St. Louis > KC > Denver > Utah (stopped in Moab, UT to hike and see the arches) > Idaho (stopped at Niagara Falls of the west) > Oregon > Seattle (Space Needle, Chihuly Museum, etc) > Olympia (stopped to see the giant red wagon in Riverfront Park; drove through Mt. Rainier National Park to get to Olympia) > Idaho > Montana > Wyoming > Yellowstone to see Old Faithful > South Dakota (Belle Fourch to see the Center of the Nation monument; Deadwood; Black Hills (Mt. Rushmore & Crazy Horse Memorial); Wall Drug Store, Corn Palace > KC > St. Louis. We had planned to see Devils Tower and the Pony Express Museum, but the timing didn’t work out for us.

      1 year ago we drove St. Louis > Kansas City > Kansas > Oklahoma > Texas > New Mexico > Arizona (stood on the corner in Winslow) > Santa Cruz, California > Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park (unfortunately the Big Foot store/museum (?) was closed) > Highway 1 to Carmel, Big Sur > Arizona > Grand Canyon South Rim > Texas > Oklahoma > Kansas > Kansas City > St. Louis. We wanted to see 4 Corners, but the timing didn’t work out.

      (I’m from St. Louis and my friend is in KC).

      1. Who Let the Dogs Out*

        Oops – didn’t notice you asked for tips. I thought you were looking for recommendations of fun road trips. Your trip sounds great!

    12. LNLN*

      Check out Jane and Michael Stern’s Roadfood books and website. They write about local restaurants that serve regional food. When my husband and I drove around the United States 28 years ago (looking for a place to live), a friend gave us their book and we had a lot of fun locating the restaurants and eating food we might not otherwise have eaten.

    13. Aluminosilicate*

      I highly recommend Chaco Canyonin NM, if you can fit it in. And for all New Mexico locales, bring lots of water, and wear sun screen. Wear sun screen in the car. Also a hat. A lot of the state is high altitude as well as sunny desert. Maybe take along some aloe wipes.

      1. Basia, also a Fed*

        Yes, definitively camp at Chaco Canyon. We’ve camped all over the country and setting up our text amongst the Anasazi ruins was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had.

    14. PM-NYC*

      For road trips, I love looking at the Atlas Obscura website to find any funky roadside attractions, haunted places, weird museums, unusual natural phenomenon, etc. You can search by state and then see if any of them sound cool and are on your route. It can often work well to build a small, fun roadside thing into a normal stop for stretching your legs in the middle of a long driving day.

    15. Tea, please*

      Leave time for spontaneity. On recent road trips when we were driving to get to events, so I hadn’t done any research on what was along the road. If we saw signs for something we were interested in and had time, we would stop. Those random stops are some of my favorite memories.

    16. Connie-Lynne*

      On your way to or from Roswell, consider day stops at the Smokey Bear birthplace or the Very Large Array!

      1. Puzzld*

        Friends do a road trip each summer. 2 rules. No interstates, and stop at any antique stores in any small towns they drive thru. Always wanted to do that.

      1. The Curator*

        Snark, I am going to be in Denver next week. What shouldn’t I miss. Will be at Tattered Cover for sure.

        1. Sarah G*

          The history and science museums are both great. Liks ice cream! If you have time to hit up Rocky Mtn Nat’l Park, it’s really incredible, much more beautiful than anywhere else I’ve been nearby. Love the Train Cars cafe in Nederland which is also on a beautiful route to the Nat’l Park.

    17. Mephyle*

      Six years ago, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do a road trip that started in Nebraska and continued eastward. I have two specific suggestions for sites to visit in Lincoln, if your trip happens to take you through there, and if Art Deco and/or quilting float your boat: a tour of the state capitol (takes about half an hour), and the International Quilt Study Center & Museum (also well worth taking the volunteer-guided tour), respectively.
      Also seconding Tea, please’s suggestion of leaving time for spontaneous things you find along the way. That was, for example, how we discovered the tiny Pony Express Station Museum in Gothenburg, NE.

    18. Sarah G*

      If you will be anywhere near Mesa Verde Nat’l Park in CO, it is incredible. Much moreso than you could possibly imagine. Also, White Sands National Monument is NM is pretty amazing.

      1. Full Speed Ahead*

        Mesa Verde is amazing and you can do a really awesome ranger-guided tour of a cliff dwelling, for a whopping $5! As long as you are ok with crawling through an enclosed space and up a few ladders, it really is a once in a lifetime experience. We were there this summer and if I remember correctly you can sign up a day in advance, though we did ours the day of. However, we had to wait about 4 hours until our tour, so we ended up going out for lunch and heading to 4 Corners during our break.

        Note that is is an hour drive from the entrance of the park down to the cliff dwellings. But it is a spectacular drive!

        Also – on this trip we went to Moab and stopped at Hole in Rock on the way, which is also quite amazing in a quite different way. It’s a house blasted and carved out of a cliff, and full of the original owner’s things. Such as her doll collection and his amateur taxidermy. Quirky America at it’s best. Have fun!

      2. Not a Morning Person*

        Agree! Mesa Verde and White Sands are amazing. White Sands is pretty far south in New Mexico and it’s at least a day’s travel from there to Mesa Verde. And in southern Colorado, Sand Dunes National Monument is incredible. I would not have believed it if I hadn’t seen it.

    19. Parenthetically*

      WATER. Take SO MUCH WATER. We have a five-gallon water carrier that we keep in the car and when we were in New Mexico and Arizona last year we were SO grateful for it. We couldn’t get enough to drink and our two one-liter water bottles did not last us between stops.

      Definitely do the Enchanted Circle in New Mexico if you can. Stunning scenery — and go down the canyon roads as well. There are great, beautiful state park campsites there, just double-check to see if they’re open that time of year. And speaking of that, it will be really, really cold overnight in the mountains in NM and CO. Make sure you’re prepared with shoes, cold-weather camping gear, and clothes.

      Just my opinion, but that sounds like a LOT to do in 11 days. We’ve done two huge road trips (we live… east of Illinois and went as far as the Grand Canyon last year, and as far as Idaho the year before) and it’s really draining to get up in the morning, pack up, get in the car, and drive for another four or six or eight hours every single day. Give yourself time to slow down and enjoy things, maybe spend two nights in the same campsite.

      Have so much fun!!

    20. Diamond*

      The hubby and I love audiobooks and downloaded TED talks for driving trips!
      Have snacks and water readily available, and toilet paper just in case!
      I like to sit on a soft blanket or shirt as after hours in the car some seat fabric can irritate my skin.

    21. Anono-me*

      I love my driving shoes for driving long distances. I find it does make a big difference on how my feet and legs feel.

    22. Adele*

      White Sands in New Mexico is amazing. Carlsbad Caverns, too. The whole state is full of wonders. Santa Fe is great for art and culture.

    23. Mephyle*

      IF you’re going through the Nebraska state capitol, and IF quilting and/or Art Deco float your boat, I highly recommend stopping for a tour of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, and/or the state capitol building, respectively. The state capitol tour is only half an hour, but well worth it. The museum tour is a little longer; it’s delivered by dedicated volunteers, and if either of you have any interest in needlework/folk fabric arts, again, well worthwhile.

    24. Arkansan*

      So glad you are planning to stop at Crater of Diamonds – it’s a fun thing even if you don’t find any diamonds. There are some neat shops (minerals, jewelry, antiques) in the town nearby. If you’re a Clinton fan, Hope (town where he grew up) isn’t far from the Crater. And there’s the Gangster Museum in Hot Springs, with great stuff about Capone and others from the golden age of gangsters.

      +100 to the water recommendations – take more than you think you’ll need, restock when you still have plenty, and drink even when you’re not thirsty. In the desert, you don’t realize how fast you’re drying out.

      Take podcasts/books on CD, snacks (granola, dried fruit, etc.). Pack clothes that layer easily, because your route will have a huge temperature range. In some areas, 911 tracking your location isn’t really a thing, so pay attention to where you are, what county/town you are in or near, what mile markers you’re seeing, what road you’re on. Hopefully you won’t need it, but it helps to have that info.

      Large animals crossing the road have the right-of-way. ;-) Don’t swerve, but stop well back from them. (We had a great view of a Very Large Critter crossing in the Colorado Rockies.)

      Have fun!

      1. Not a Morning Person*

        And in the desert, make sure you have a wide-brimmed hat! It’s much hotter and more tiring than you expect to be out in the hot sun wandering around ruins or even open-air markets and towns.

    25. Pam*

      I took my WiFi hotspot up I-15, and avoided cell dead zones.

      Once you start planning, cut back a bit. You don’t want to fill every minute with sightseeing or driving. Build in downtime. The sights you miss will be there for the next trip.

    26. Not a Morning Person*

      I haven’t read all comments but didn’t see this recommendation in the first several: It may be obvious and you already have this on your list, but bring a cooler for drinks and snacks that are better kept cold/cool. You may like to stop and have a picnic instead of drive thru fast food or truck stop food.
      Splurge occasionally for a dinner in a sit down restaurant that has good reviews and is local to the area where you’re traveling. The southwest has some really great food!
      Stopping at a grocery to stock up or for a restroom break is often just as easy as the truck stop or convenience store and the options are more varied and plentiful.
      If you want to take photos, bring an extra memory card for your phone or camera to store all the pics of great scenery you’ll see or make sure you can upload to your cloud account…when you have service! (On one memorable trip I ran out of memory in three days! And the place was so remote I had good cell service only about two days out of six, so no access to cloud.)

      Have an amazing time!

  2. Language Student*

    How do you take care of your clothes, shoes and bags? I have a tendency to use something to death, and I’m wondering if I should just be buying better quality (much of my wardrobe is from Primark), if I should be alternating what I wear (I’ll wear the same shoes daily until they break) or something else. Thoughts?

    1. London Bookworm*

      It depends on the item. I’m a big fan of having soles added to my shoes my a cobbler and air-drying most of my clothes where possible. If you have leather shoes, those leather furniture wipes can also help keep them looking smart.

      I was always told that if you alternate shoes, they’ll last longer, but I don’t know if it’s true. I do think it’s better for your ankles if you mix it up a bit.

      Bags will often last longer if you don’t store them by hanging, although I never follow this advice.

      1. bluesboy*

        You should definitely alternate wear of leather shoes. You sweat in them, and they will last longer if you give them the chance to dry naturally between wears.

        1. neverjaunty*

          Yes. You can also buy terrycloth inserts for your shoes – they absorb sweat so the leather doesn’t, and you can throw them in the washer.

      2. Reba*

        If you’re looking at leather shoes and bags, some maintenance — regular resoling, cleaning, and conditioning/polishing — can make a huge difference in their lifespan. Sometimes it is shocking what a cobbler can do! I bought shoe cream for most of my shoe wardrobe colors and now do a lot of this at home.

        Unfortunately I do think you kind of have to splash out to buy clothing of lasting quality. And even that is not a guarantee! But look for sturdy fabrics, strong regular stitching, and details of construction like facing and lining for clues as to how something might last.

    2. Temperance*

      I have the same tendency. For me at least, it’s from growing up in a household where I didn’t really have anything extra, and “extra” was seen as waste.

      I can’t speak to the quality of Primark or the clothes that you’re wearing, but I do think the issue with the shoes is that you aren’t giving them a “break”. I do the same thing with pants, too.

    3. JKP*

      If you get 2 pair of the same shoe and alternate days wearing them, you’ll be able to go 3x as long before replacing them. So each pair lasts 3/2 longer.

    4. Ron McDon*

      I usually buy better quality clothes for items that are more ‘classic’ rather than fashion-led (e.g. plain trousers, linen tunics, cardigans, dresses), and cheaper clothes that are more fashion-forward and I probably won’t want to wear next year – last year I bought quite a few work tops for about £15/£20 each from Dorothy Perkins which I wore to death through the spring/summer/autumn. Because they had ‘statement sleeves’ (draped, or ruffled, or flouncy etc) they probably won’t be in fashion this year, so I’ll donate/recycle them.

      Same with boots/shoes; I buy some sandals/boots which are expensive but plain, to last a coupleof years, then buy cheap shoes with sparkles/bows etc to wear for a few months before they fall apart.

      As I’ve got older I tend to buy more of the expensive, better quality clothes, as I get fed up with poor quality stuff not lasting so well.

    5. Fiennes*

      I think shoe quality does matter—a really well-made pair will not only last longer than a cheap one but probably provide greater comfort and protect your foot better. (Manolo blahniks notwithstanding.) A friend of mine says the two things worth splurging on are shoes & mattresses, “because if you’re not in one, you’re in the other.”

      1. Natalie*

        My stepmom’s dad had a similar saying about anything between you and the ground: shoes, mattresses, and car tires.

    6. INTP*

      I think these days you have to get really high up in price to get both quality/durability and style. Mid-priced stuff tends to focus on one or the other, not both. (For example, clothing from Gap might be a little more fashion-forward or less cheap-looking than Old Navy but it won’t last any longer.) Clothing is pretty much designed to be replaced frequently these days even from places much pricier than Primark. If you’re happy with your current wardrobe and it suits your personal/professional needs, I don’t see any reason that you need to change your habits. I often wish I’d just bought fewer items and worn them more frequently so I could justify replacing things more regularly, like when I get tired of my color palette and want to move on to another or the seasons change.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Funny aside, most of my Old Navy clothes last a season if I’m lucky but their workout gear, especially leggings, has lasted me years.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      I am tough on clothes. I buy a lot of second hand stuff and I clean through my clothes closet at least once a year.
      I keep two bags near my closet, one is for clothes that can be donated for use as rags and the other bag is to donate for people to wear.

      I have a tough time getting rid of things because of growing up with very, very frugal parents. My base line is I look for holes, rips, broken zippers and other similar wardrobe malfunctions. My distant second choice is to get rid of things that just make me feel awkward, such as it’s too baggy in one are or too tight in another area. Perhaps the garment no longer feels stylish, then I might donate it.

      I think that I am not as careful about clothes as I should be so I endeavor to fix that by trying to go through everything at least once and hopefully twice a year. I also have those bags by the closet so on random days when I spot something that no longer works I can put it in the appropriate bag.

    8. HannahS*

      Clothes: all get washed in cold water and hung to dry (except for socks, underwear, leggings, etc.). Once in a blue moon I’ll spray the underarms of shirts with stain remover to get the deoderant out.
      Shoes: I wear’em till they fall apart. For leather shoes, I wipe them clean and polish them a few times per season (especially in the winter, or if they get particularly dusty in the summer.
      Bags: …I don’t do anything. If they’re cloth I might throw them in the wash every so often.

      1. HannahS*

        Oh, and what I meant to say with that is that my clothes (which are nothing special; Gap, Old Navy, Joe Fresh, thrifted things) last well. I’d say I get a good 4-5 years out of pants, 2-4 from shirts and sweaters, and 3-4+ for shoes and boots that I wear regularly.

        1. HannahS*

          Also, one more thing, mending is the least exciting form of sewing, but really the only one that saves money. Basic hand sewing has given my clothes extra years of wear. With only a sewing needle and thread (cheap!) I have: sewn up split seams, sewed buttons back on, sewn gaping cardigans shut for use as pullovers, sewn lace and ribbons back on clothes, and repaired holes and runs in knitted sweaters. VERY worthwhile.

    9. Gingerblue*

      I bought some soft horsehair brushes (like these–they’ll be near shoe polish and shoe laces in stores) and use them to brush down my shoes after wearing. I also have a stiffer nylon brush (like you might use for scrubbing tiles) which I use to get dirt and pebbles out of the tread. If it’s wetter out, I’ll use a damp cloth to wipe any mud or salt off. The key is to do it as soon as you can. I also bought a set of leather cleaner and conditioner and use them on my leather bag once or twice a year. They also make stain-protecting sprays for shoes (like this) which I’ve used; I don’t really have a sense of whether they’ve made a difference or not. You can get them for different materials like cloth, leather, or suede. When I’m living somewhere where I have the space, I like to keep all this paraphernalia in a plastic bin in a spare bathroom–I can drop the shoes in there when I get home, and come back in later in the evening and brush the shoes off over the tub and do any other cleanup. If the stuff is all in one place, it only takes a minute.

      On clothing, can you do basic mending and maintenance stuff? (Do you have the means to depill a sweater or sew a button back on, that sort of thing?) That can help. Handwashing delicate things and air drying on a rack can also prolong clothing life, though as other people have said, modern clothing is really designed to fall apart relatively fast. I took a quick look at Primark and it does look to me like most of their clothing is going to be short-lived.

      I tend to wear stuff to death once I have it, too. Once I had the money, buying better quality has definitely been worth it, but I also don’t much care about being in sync with fashion, which makes it easier to hang onto stuff for a long time.

    10. super anon*

      I’ve had fast fashion items from Forever 21 and H&M last me 5+ years by washing them in cold water and hanging them to dry. Hang dried clothes can get a bit stiff and less soft, so usually after they are dried I will throw them into the dryer with a wet towel. The steam from the towel drying and the movement of the clothes in the dryer will refluff the fibers, making them softer without risking shrinking the clothing item.

      For shoes I usually alternate pairs and buy shoes that are more expensive but can be repaired more easily. I also will only buy shoes that have removable insoles so I can switch them out if they start getting smelly. Also, you can waterproof leather shoes with beeswax and a bit of heat. This is how Hermes waterproofs the seams on the handles of their bags, and the same idea will work for your shoes.

      For bags, if you’re not using them store them in their dust cover, and stuffed so they hold their shape. Either keep the bag standing up, or lay it on it’s back of it’s a super structured bag. If you have leather bags with heavy hardware (think metal chains) make sure the chains are not touching any of the leather when you store it, otherwise you can end up with dents in the leather, especially if it is a soft leather.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        I’ve gotten a lot more patient about laundry and separating out certain types of fabric for cold wash/air dry. Very few things wear out on me anymore, to the point where most of my castoffs can be donated rather than textile-recycled. But I also have a lot of clothes I don’t wear often at all, so it’s hard to judge if my care keeps them looking good, or just very little wear to begin with.

      2. Talvi*

        I tried waterproofing my leather shoes with beeswax last year, and it works WAY better than those waterproofing sprays they sell. One thing to keep in mind, though, is it will darken the leather of light-coloured shoes. (In my case, it worked out really well because I liked the new, darker shade of brown better and I actually wear the shoes far more often than I did before, but do keep this in mind.)

    11. Tuna Casserole*

      Lean to do your own simple fixes, like replacing buttons or repairing hems. Also, resale shops are great places to get higher quality items for less money.

    12. Elizabeth West*

      Ha, I love Primark. I make cheap clothes last for ages by hanging them to dry. I have a tripod clothes dryer set up in the back bedroom, and after I give them a spin with a fabric softener sheet, I take the things I don’t want to put through a dryer cycle out and hang them up. Lots of folks in the UK don’t have dryers, I realize, so air drying is more common. That’s pretty much what my auntie does—she drapes things around the house and also has a rotary umbrella-style clothes dryer in the garden. Sunlight will fade garments, so I’d hang the dark and colored clothes inside and the light ones outdoors.

      I like Primark for bags; by the time they fall apart, I’m sick of them anyway. I find scarves, bags, and other accessories at markets for very little money. Sometimes you can get good quality for a lot less on gently used items. I do not recommend buying used shoes — not only has someone else sweated in them (eww) but they would have molded to someone else’s feet. Save up and then look for sales instead.

      For shoes, they definitely will last a bit longer if you buy better quality, plus it’s less hard on your feet and back. Cheap shoes break down much faster and it costs more in the long run, as you’re buying them more often. You can get soles replaced if the uppers are in good shape. And yes, you should be alternating them.

    13. FrontRangeOy*

      In the US, I’m a big fan of closeout/end of season stores for getting good deals on clothing and shoes. Some of the the stores that are common in my area are TJ Maxx, Ross, and Burlington Coat Factory. They get the ends of lots shipped in from high end or major retailers at the end of a clothing season and sell at a heavy discount. Pro: Great prices. I got a heavy wool winter coat, normally about $200 USD for $50 and wore it for a decade. When I replaced it this year, it was only because the color and style no longer suited my tastes. The person who buys it at Goodwill will have an excellent coat for at least another decade. Con: Sizes and styles are extremely hit or miss.

      As far as priorities, I put a lot of money into well made trousers
      – I have weird proportions and when I find something that fits, I want it to last
      – my j-o-b involves lots of standing/moving on concrete floors
      winter coat
      – I’m just vain enough to want my figure to show even when bundled up
      – nothing fights my chronic disorganization better than a decent bag that keeps my stuff together without getting lost in the bottom

      Making things last tip, make friends with a dry cleaner and a seamstress or tailor. Dry-cleaning can reduce wear and tear on the pieces you want to last and clothing that’s tailored to you wears better over time than clothing that wears and rubs.

    14. Phlox*

      Check out the zine Loved Clothes Last, I think the PDF is free online. Good stuff about how to care for lots of different clothing. Microcosm publishing has a decent book on mending but my favorite is Mend It Better by Kristen Roach. Its more on the visible mending side of the spectrum

    15. Safetykats*

      I’m not familiar with Primark, but I checked out the website. At those prices, I think there’s just no way the stuff can be expected to last. If you’re buying something that you think you will want to wear more than a season I would try to go with better quality. There’s no reason to buy new if you can’t afford it. Find a resale shop in a nice part of town, shop out of season, and try eBay. A quality pair of dress shoes should last you several years even if you wear them a lot, as long as you’re not walking miles in them on pavement. A quality pair of boots will last even longer if you get them resoled.

  3. The Curator*

    Very excited about my trip to Japan. I will be in Tokyo for most of the trip. Does anyone have a recommendation for a 2 day trip to hot springs from there and a place to stay?

    What to pack? I will be wearing my usual Eileen Fisher for business attire. Suggestions for packing light would be appreciated. We will be there for almost two weeks.

    Concerned about jet lag. I have three days to adjust before my work appointments begin.

    I also want to go to Kyoto for two days. Am I trying to do too much?

    What shouldn’t I miss in Tokyo.

    I am interested in Children’s Books, Manga, Child Development. Gardens. I love to eat!- sushi, ramen,
    Mr. Curator will be accompanying me. We both love books and printmaking.

    I was told not to take cabs. I have mobility issues and use a crutch. Will the subway system be a problem?

    Thank you.

    1. Wrench Turner*

      We’re planning a Japan trip in November/December. All the manga, the shrines, the street food… I can’t wait!
      Why wouldn’t you want to take cabs?

      1. Justin*

        They are mindbogglingly expensive there, for one.

        Like, I livein NYC and avoid cabs, and Tokyo was like 4 times worse. Nope nope nope.

        That said I wouldn’t know what to say re: mobility.

          1. matcha123*

            If you aren’t going that far, they are fine. But I’ve had 15,000 yen fares before…all within Tokyo.

    2. Savannnah*

      My husband and I went for his work trip a year ago and we loved it! We spent most of our time in Tokyo but we did do a 2 day trip to the base of Mt. Fuji for the hot springs. There are a ton of hotels that have hot springs in them near fuji and that was the best way for us to do the trip with limited time. Picking one just depends on your budget. We took a lot of taxis but maybe you were told not to take them because of traffic or price? They are expensive and the subway system is super easy to navigate, google maps has the platforms and stops color and number coded and signs are in English. If you have mobility issues just move slow and don’t try to keep up with the crowds- also avoid rush hour if possible- the crowds are larger and move faster than anywhere else I’ve been but they are orderly. We didn’t get to Kyoto but it is supposed to be amazing.

      1. The Curator*

        Thank you Savannah,
        I used to live in NYC and take the subways. Curious. Can you recommend where you stayed at the base of Mt. Fuji?

        1. Savannnah*

          It was kaneyamaen hotel- they have a hot spring below the hotel and almost all rooms have a view of Fuji. They also had amazing food and we saw very few western tourists. It was lovely all around.

    3. The fix it up chappie*

      I visited Tokyo a few years ago and had a great time. Fair warning there were a ton of stairs at the railroad and subway stations. Elevators were there but we found them hard to find. The station themselves were extremely easy to navigate though. We only got really confused once and someone noticed we looked very confused and helped us. Enjoy your trip!

    4. HeatherB*

      Definitely go to Kyoto – it is amazing and you have plenty of time! Hiroshima is beautiful as well and the memorial is very nice. Super easy to get on the shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo. Be on time for trains. They are never/rarely late. Cabs are easy but if you don’t speak Japanese just have the hotel write down the address of where you are going and take the hotel card with the address to get back. Subway is easy. No tipping which I personally love. Enjoy!!

    5. LAI*

      definitely go to Kyoto. In fact, my advice would be to give yourself more than 2 days if you can. I wad there for 2 days and it wasn’t enough – so many beautiful shrines, parks and historical sites. If I went back, I would spend more time in Kyoto and skip tokyo – I suppose it’s good to go see it once but it’s a big city and I feel like the things to do there are like shopping and just walking around.

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        Agree. Hubs and I did 10 days in Japan 2 years ago (2 days each in Hiroshima and Kyoto, the rest in Tokyo) and if I had it to do over again I’d cut a day from Tokyo and spend more time in Kyoto.

    6. Meh*

      I studied abroad in Japan a few years ago and had a blast. Here are my recommendations (sorry in advance for the long post):
      -I don’t know any hot spring locations near Tokyo off the top of my head, but I’m sure there are plenty.
      -What to pack: Japanese tend to dress more conservatively than Americans, but they won’t mind if you have more tourist-like attire when you’re exploring. Good walking shoes are essential. Having disposable paper tissues are a good idea because some restrooms don’t have toilet paper (rare, but it happens sometimes). Other than that, just the usual tips of packing light for traveling to any other first world nation.
      -Jet Lag: It’s intense. If possible, I’d recommend trying to adjust to Tokyo time as much as you can before leaving by getting up/going to bed an hour earlier (or later, whichever works better) each day as close as you can before leaving. That will at least give you a head start on the jet lag and will make adjusting easier.
      -There’s a lot to see in Kyoto and it may be tough to get in much in only two days, but with the bullet train, it’s only a few hours away so it’s not too hard.
      -Kyoto recommendations: International Manga Museum, Toei Kyoto Studio (movie set and theme park), Gion Corner (an hour-long performance of things like the tea ceremony, bunraku, flower arrangement, etc.), Heian Shrine (or any of the impressive shrines), and Kyoto station, which is an attraction within itself that has the entire top floor dedicated to ramen shops. Osaka, which is near Kyoto has a lot of great things too, but for only two days, I’d stick to Kyoto.
      -Must-do Things to do in Tokyo: Ghibli Museum (a must if you like the movies), Odiaba Island (man-made island across the Rainbow Bridge filled with museums, malls, and a full-sized gundam), Akihabara (the anime street), visiting the theaters (to see things like Kabuki, Takarazuka, etc.), Sanrio Purloland (Hello Kitty theme park), Tokyo Disney Sea (since there is no other park like it), and for more general things try to explore the malls and train stations to check out the interesting shops (they usually have the affordable restaurants where the locals eat).
      -Things near Tokyo: Ramen Museum and Chinatown in Yokohama, Kamakura (where the outdoor Buddha is located), Edo Wonderland in Nikko (Edo-style Japan theme park)
      -Cabs are expensive, but if you have walking problems you may want to keep them in mind because there are a lot of stairs in the subway/train system. Elevators are there, but they are hidden (like The fix it up chappie said). If you want to plan out where you’re going, I recommend visiting the HyperDia website, which lets you put in your beginning train station and ending train station and it’ll give you routes and times. Also have a map handy in case you end up off the beaten track. Get a rail/subway pass if you can, but if not, know you have to pay for your ticket in advance before boarding the train. If you don’t know the cost, buy the cheapest ticket available and pay the difference when you get to your destination.
      That’s the general gist. Sorry for the super-long post, but it was a really great experience and I hope you have a ton of fun on your visit.

      1. Lola*

        Seconding the Ghibli Museum, but make sure to get your tickets ahead of time because you cannot get them there!

      2. The Curator*

        Love the long post. Thank you.
        This didn’t occur to me. I will do this. .” If possible, I’d recommend trying to adjust to Tokyo time as much as you can before leaving by getting up/going to bed an hour earlier (or later, whichever works better) each day as close as you can before leaving. That will at least give you a head start on the jet lag and will make adjusting easier. “

    7. Typhon Worker Bee*

      My favourite place in Tokyo was Meiji Shrine – it’s in a huge park / gardens, so we went there on our first day and got more sunlight than is available in other parts of the city, which helped with the jet lag. The national museum was also excellent (also in a park – my friends who went to the zoo in the same complex said it was great). I thought the fish market itself was overrated, but we did get the best sushi EVER in one of the little stalls next to it. I hate lining up for things, especially food, but the 90 minute wait for this sushi was well and truly worth it.

      We had three days in Kyoto and it wasn’t anywhere near enough.

      Nikko is a fantastic side trip out of Tokyo. The temples and shrines are all in a forest, overshadowed by huge trees, so it has quite a different feel to many of the other temples we visited on that trip (Nikko cured my temple fatigue at the end of the trip!). I can’t remember if they had hot springs – I couldn’t go in any of the public ones because I have a tattoo, so we didn’t seek them out.

      1. Typhon Worker Bee*

        Ooh – Takayama had hot springs. Beautiful little mountain town with a great outdoor museum and well-preserved merchant district. It took about 3 or 4 hours from Tokyo by train. The second half of the journey was a real treat – through mountains, forests, and along a river. Beautiful!

    8. Elkay*

      We did 5 days in Tokyo, 2 in Hakone for views of Fuji and staying in an onsen hotel then 2 days in Kyoto. In Kyoto I’d recommend starting at the silver temple and doing the philosopher’s walk to see some other temples (if your mobility issues allow). The Inari shrine is also nice but involves a lot of walking.

        1. Julia*

          You can actually view Tokyo from above for free if you go to the Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku, it’s even open at night. Sky Tree is expensive!

          1. Elkay*

            Oh yeah we did that too, I just really liked the Skytree, possibly because I got deep fried cheese at a restaurant there.

    9. Wendy*

      Ah hot springs. I went to one in Hakone (easy day trip from Tokyo, but worth staying overnight also) called Yunessun, which has novelty springs such as wine, tea, chocolate etc. It’s also one of the few hot springs that is co-ed and where you can wear a swimsuit. It also has the more traditional types of hot springs so you can experience those as well.

      I was neutral on Kyoto, but probably because I’d been to so many castles and shrines by that point. I found Hiroshima really interesting, but – no surprise – quite depressing at times. But from Hiroshima you can take a ferry ride to Miyajima, which is absolutely gorgeous (and full of deer). The food there was /amazing/!

      1. Julia*

        No (more?) chocolate bath in Yunessun, but wine, coffee, tee, champagne and sake, plus a grotto outside. The hot spring area is not co-ed, actually, only the pool area (which doesn’t have an actual pool for swimming, lol). The onsen part is separate and naked.

        Seconding Miyajima, the Itsukushima Shrine is gorgeous!

    10. I should be studying*

      If you like printmaking, you should do a print party (1-hour workshop) at the Mokuhankan woodblock printshop in Asakusa, Tokyo. It’s fun and they also sell some really cool prints, plus Asakusa is great for wandering around in.

      Kyoto is lovely and definitely worth a trip, plus then you can take the shinkansen – be sure to get a bento to eat on the train!

      You definitely want a pocket wi-fi – you can rent one ahead of time and pick it up at the airport when you arrive. It makes getting around so much easier!

      Have fun!

    11. ks*

      When we were there we had the Japan rail pass (which you likely can’t get if you’re there for business). Since the pass covered the (mostly elevated) JR rail lines and not the subway, we used the JR rail to get around instead of the subway. I’m not mobility impaired, but I am not the fittest and we were often hauling pretty large suitcases, and we managed to find escalators at all of those train stations. (It may be a bit of a catch 22 for you though– I distinctly remember needing to walk an extra block or two to get to escalators at points.)

      We were supposed to go visit a hot springs outside of Nagano (next to the snow monkey park!), which was going to be easy enough on trains, but there was a snow storm that stopped the second, smaller mountain train from operating. Instead, we went to a Ryokan near Hakone. (Gora Kadan, if you care. It was wonderful, but was also the single most expensive night I’ve ever spent in a hotel. Worth it on our honeymoon.) It too was totally accessible by train, but it did take three different trains from Tokyo, of increasing smallness. The last one actually switchbacks its way up the mountain.

      1. The Curator*

        We are taking the bullet train to Aomori. Really trying to pack light. hah! Thanks for the recommendation for the Ryokan. I do want to stay overnight at HaKone.

        I wanted to go to the snow monkey park but I am sure that I can’t to the walking.

    12. Mephyle*

      Absolutely don’t miss visiting a Tokyu Hands and/or Loft store. I’d recommend the ones in Shibuya: they’re some of the biggest.
      I just got back from a week and a half in Tokyo. Are you going soon? There’s a super exhibition on at the Museum of Western Art – you might ask why go all the way to Tokyo and look at western art? Because the current exhibit is all about Hokusai (of the Great Wave) and his influence on Western art. It is fabulous. Plenty of labels in English, so you don’t miss too much of the explanations.
      I don’t know why someone would tell you not to use cabs – I’m not aware of any reason why you shouldn’t. There is a lot of stair climbing involved in using the subway/train system. There are some escalators, too, but pretty much every station, even if it has escalators, has at least some parts where you have to use stairs. There are some elevators, too, but since I didn’t use them, I didn’t pay attention to whether they are in all the stations. If you do use public transit, get a local transit card – I have a Suica card, and it works in Kyoto, too.
      Someone mentioned Odaiba: if you go, and if you like dogs, be sure to visit the dog mall in the Palette Town mall. Multiple dog cafés, and people go shopping there with their doggies!
      For manga – not the books, but the characters – don’t miss the Nakano Broadway mall.

    13. Dan*

      I’ve been to Japan three times, and every stop included Tokyo… and I want to go back and spend a few weeks traveling the country.

      Northern Hemisphere climate is the same world wide. In a sense, it’s like asking what the climate in the “US” is like in any given month… it depends on where you are.

      Jet lag is a thing, and affects everybody differently. I don’t buy into the advice that says “adjust before you get there”. I don’t know how that is supposed to work, part of your circadian rhythm involves sunlight, so… I’ve also found that jet lag affects me differently on different trips to the same area. There’s no one “rule”. Sometimes I get whacked hard, and sometimes I barely notice.

      I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone always tries to do too much when they go some where… unless your plan is to sit in your hotel the whole time — which then means you’re not doing enough.

      In Tokyo, I’ve absolutely loved the Shinjuku area, in particular, the Golden Gai and Piss Alley.

      As far as taxis are concerned, yeah, they’re expensive. The abolsute singularly “do not” rule that you should not break is “do not take a cab from Narita Airport to Tokyo city.” This will cost you $300 or so. Within the Tokyo metropolitan prefecture, cabs will still be expensive, but you have to balance that with convenience. The Tokyo subway system is huge, and each station is so large that you need to know which “exit” (they’re numbered) to take for your destination. Also, be very careful, because some stations are so ginormous that transferring lines can require a huge amount of walking. I live in Washington DC and have been to NYC several times, and the expanse of the Tokyo subway puts both to shame. It can be a hinderance for one with mobility issues; I would acknowledge that and plan for the significant expense of cabs when you need them.

      1. Julia*

        Yeah, and at some stations, once you’re through the ticket gates, it’s really hard to go back to where you want. Tokyo Central Station is horrible for this, and always too crowded to stop and look (and under construction). But most stations that only serve one or two lines are easy enough. ins

        To get to the airport and back, you can take the Keisei Skyliner or a limousine bus, depending on where you want to go. Depending on your hotel, a bus might drop you off right in front of it. If you have luggage, it will be REALLY hard to board any trains during rush hour, so try to stay clear of everyone’s commuting times.

    14. wishful thinker*

      I was in Japan for two weeks in October and it is definitely one of my favourite trips ever. Hakone was great, and to get there you can go on all these different forms of transport (train, mountain train, cable car, gondola, boat). If you get off half way on the gondola you can eat a black egg, cooked in volcanic steam which adds 7 years to your life (uhuh….). We stayed in a traditional Japanese Inn called Fukuzumiro which was not super glamorous but our room was almost over a rushing river, easily one of the most relaxing places I have stayed and I would go back tomorrow if I could. They also do a traditional Japanese dinner served in your room. They have three different onsens in the hotel (copper, stone and wood, we tried them all). However, if you stay there I suggest you tell them you need a room on the ground floor, as there wasn’t a lift I don’t think, and the stairs were very steep.

      I agree with everyone else’s comments about Tokyo, however we did find the stations a bit hard to navigate – there is more than one company that runs the underground, so often you change companies within the station which can involve a bit of a hike/some confusion. I walked so much that I got blisters on the soles of my feet (and I walk a lot usually), so anything you can do to limit the changes of line/hotels near stations is probably a good idea. Tokyo Hands and Loft were both excellent, but I also recommend Flying Tiger Store at Shibuya, it’s Scandinavian but full of fun stuff (though, depending on where you live you may already have that store, I’m in NZ where pretty much everything is a novelty). You can then also cross at the famous crossing (the excitement of which escaped me a bit, but while you are there…). We didn’t have a bad meal in Tokyo – at a pinch the 7elevens have rice balls and sushi etc, but department stores all seemed to have amazing food departments. Usually we would just google “best [whatever we felt like] [wherever we were]” and would find something fun. Food was really unstressful, always delicious and the restaurants were clean and felt safe. Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about finding good food.

      If you get a chance, and like art, I highly, highly recommend Naoshima Island. It might be a bit of a trek but it is amazing – really beyond description for me.

      I don’t know if this will interest you, but lots of places in Japan have public stamps – I looked out for them at train stations and attractions and stamped them in my travel diary.

      Have a great trip, I wish I was going back!

      1. The Curator*

        Thank you everyone. I will be there the first two weeks in April. I don’t know the times yet but on Wed, April 4 I will be doing an afternoon workshop at Tokyo Children’s Library
        Thursday, April 5 – afternoon Bridge workshop, Gallery A. Quad. and an evening lecture at Kyobunkan Bookstore on Virginia Lee Burton.

        I will have other meetings on my schedule but am really planning the work/life balance and to have explorations and not all work time.

        1. Julia*

          Since I live in Tokyo, I’d be happy to be of help! (The address of my long-gone blog is in my name if you want to contact me.) Last year’s April was SUPER cold, so bring some warm clothes just in case!

    15. Julia*

      I live in Tokyo and there is MUCH more to see in Kyoto. As in, we didn’t know what to do in Tokyo after the third day when my brother was here. Sure, you can go to Akihabara or the Samura Museum in Kabukicho, but Kyoto has SO much more to see. We were there for a week and did day trips to Nara and Himeji and still didn’t see everything – even though it was my second time there. Kyoto also has nicer gardens.

      Hot springs one night stay could be Hakone or Nikko. I prefer Hakone – go to Yunessun and try out the fun baths and onsen.

      Why shouldn’t you take cabs? They’re pretty cheap. Not all stations have elevators and some can get so crowded a slow person may be pushed around.

      Also, if you’re going now, Japan will still be really cold. We had snow last week, which is super rare in Tokyo, so pack some warm clothes, but layers, because they love to overheat the subway.

      1. Mephyle*

        I beg to differ. While I don’t have anything near your experience of having lived there, I’ve spent about two months cumulative in Tokyo but spread out over half a dozen trips, and I keep finding fascinating new things to visit on every visit. For me, there is way, way more than three day’s worth of sights. Maybe you’ve seen them all and lost track of how long it took to get to know everything the first time. On a nine-day trip, The Curator will barely scratch the surface. Kyoto is special too, and well worth it, but I think maybe there is more in Tokyo than you’re giving it credit for.

        1. Julia*

          I think it depends on what you want to see. For “old” sights, I much prefer Kyoto and Nara. Tokyo does have interesting sights, but if I had to split my limited time, I’d spend more time in Kyoto.

    16. Cristina in England*

      Lifehacker just posted an article about what to always have with you in Japan Hope its helpful!

    17. matcha123*

      When are you going? It’s somewhat cold in Tokyo now and there’s some snow in areas around Tokyo. The main onsen that people go to from the Tokyo area is Hakone? I’ve never been, but I think you could make a weekend of it.
      Are you coming for work? Or fun?
      I would spend more time in Kyoto/Osaka/Nara if I were you. Honestly, Tokyo is kind of meh to me. The Kyoto-Osaka area and further west are more interesting and have deeper culture.
      Kyoto has a famous zen garden, the name escapes me now, and a ton of temples and shrines. The big temple is Kiyomizu-dera. And Kinkakuji is also quite famous. Both spots are filled with tourists.

      Manga…Mandarake has many shops in Tokyo and Nakano Broadway in Tokyo is a building filled with anime and manga. Akihabara is an obvious choice for anime and manga, but Nakano and Ikebukuro also have their manga/anime areas. You can get children’s books at any bookstore: Kinokuniya, Maruzen, small shops, etc.

      Most subways have elevators to the platforms and escalators. However, they might be on the far ends of the train. Moreover, people are VERY pushy. I take the subway for work every morning, and I’ve seen people in wheelchairs and using crutches get shoved around by morning commuters. The JR lines are typically packed with people. The Oedo line has fewer riders, but still quite crowded. You can get day passes for the Tokyo Metro/Toei subway lines. Or, you can get Pasmo or Suica to use on the subways. Be warned, Pasmo/Suica cannot be used in Kyoto/Osaka….or maybe Suica can be used on JR lines in Osaka/Kyoto, only.

      1. The Curator*


        Mostly work but
        From experience, I know that I need a few days to get over the jet lag, so there will be a few outings in Tokyo that are not work related. The pretty much work from April 2 to the 6. Then some time off. I am thinking that is the time to go to Kyoto. Work during the week with 2 days in the middle in Aomori. Then back to Tokyo and then perhaps an overnight at a hot spring.

    18. fort hiss*

      Not enough food recs in here!!!! I am honestly not a big fan of Tokyo (nothing wrong with it, it’s just too big for me) but a lot of the food is amazing.

      Do you have a favorite manga series? You might be able to find a theme cafe for it! Theme cafes are fun, even if the food often isn’t as good as it looks. Last time I was in Tokyo I went to the Revolutionary Girl Utena cafe, though that’s closed now I believe. That was a rare one where the food was as good as it looked. If you google around, you may find an amazing theme cafe that’s open for a limited time. There’s also lots of fun permanent theme cafes, like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s Kawaii Monster Cafe or the Gudetama Cafe.

      If you like karaoke, you’ve got to hit a Pasela while you’re in Tokyo. Go for a couple of hours and order a honey toast. It’s basically a whole loaf of white bread with strategic cuts in the sides, brushed with butter and honey, baked, then filled with ice cream and other toppings. Nobody does hanito better than the Pasela Resorts. It’s tough to find it outside of Tokyo, so I always get it when I’m there.

      If you can get to a ramen restaurant under the Yamagishi Kazuo name, DO IT! You don’t have to go to his flagship store, Taishoken. He was a ramen legend and all of the restaurants with his name attached good. My partner and I stumbled onto one while lost in Ikebukuro station and had the best ramen of our lives. We went back looking for it years later to find it had closed, but there was another shop selling his style of ramen nearby and it was just as good.

      Try a crazy seasonal Starbucks frappucino flavor if you can. The one right now isn’t too wild (chocolate and caramel for Valentine’s Day) but the one previously was matcha, cirtus, and white chocolate. Who knows what the next one will be! The flavors are unique to Japan (China sometimes gets them too) and change every month or so. If you come in spring, there’ll probably be a sakura flavored drink; those are always good!

      Tabehoudai (all you can eat) and nomihoudai (all you can drink) deals can be really fun. A lot of restaurants will have a course you can order with those sort of options for 3500-6000 yen. I don’t know if anyone has warned you, but drinks in Japan are usually around 400-600 yen with no refills. That’s the same for soda, coffee, tea, and liqour. There are no open carry laws in Japan, so you can walk around with a can of beer wherever you want. Do with this knowledge what you will…

      Try the Indian food while you’re in Japan! Few countries have Indian food as good outside of India.

      Check those Google reviews. There’s a lot of intrepid travelers out there documenting the good food you can get. You’re never far from something delicious in the city. Good luck!

      Also, if you like fine dining: while in Kyoto you must, you must, you MUST go to The Sodoh. It’s a fine dining restaurant with two set course options that change every month or so. The fare is a fusion of Italian and Japanese cooking. It’s inside a beautiful walled garden (you can ask for a seat with a view). If you make a reservation, they’ll assign an English-speaking waiter to you. Whoever the head chef is, they’re truly creative. They do lunch or dinner, with lower prices at lunch, but I recommend the normal dinner course. You can eat like royalty for about 6000 yen a person.

      1. The Curator*

        A shoutout of appreciation to the AAM comment section. I love that I get to hear from people who live or have lived in a area that I am visiting.
        Mr. Curator will be doing the sites while I am doing business most days. The food and hot water are the Venn diagram overlap of things we like to do together.

        I AM all about the ramen. He will enjoy all the interesting museums and malls and tech of Tokyo.

        1. Charlie Bradbury's Girlfriend*

          This was super helpful to me, The Curator, so thank you for posting! I’m planning a trip to Japan as well, and these replies are a great jumping off point. Let us know how your trip was when you get back!

  4. I Love Thrawn*

    General Hux (Star Wars) has a cat, Millicent! What’s not to love about that? Ok, it’s not exactly canon, but definitely blowing up the parts of the Interwebz that care about SW. And cats. AND she’s an orange cat. Of course. If anyone needs to de-stress, it’s definitely G. Hux.

      1. Gen*

        I think it was Pablo Hidalgo (one of the showrunners for Star Wars) that made a joke about it on twitter last year and the fandom kind of ran with it. A lot. Hahah

  5. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

    So I have zero…mental stamina, I guess you could call it? I think but am not sure that this might be an ADHD thing. I’m hoping to improve it, but I don’t know how.

    By this, I mean that I get burned out incredibly easily. Always have. As a kid, I’d get burned out by school by the second week (and it wasn’t because it was hard), I just found sticking to the schedule exhausting in a way that it wasn’t for others–everyone always assured me I’d “settle in” to the schedule eventually, and that has NEVER HAPPENED, not at school, not at work, not with fun hobbies/classes, not anywhere. I even find it exhausting to stick to to-do lists, which a lot of people with ADHD seem to swear by but which wind up frustrating more than helping me most of the time.

    Same with chores and even doing fun stuff like going to museums–it takes so much mental energy that I can’t do very much. And then once I get burned out, it takes aaaaaaaaaaaaages to get back to normal, and then within a week I’m burned out from something again. I just feel like I’m never really at my best, and I hate it.

    I know the basic “get enough sleep, eat healthy” burnout advice, but this doesn’t seem to be enough for me. Has anyone found anything more substantial that’s either made them more resilient/less prone to burnout or that improves their burnout recovery time?

    1. Wrench Turner*

      You need to seek professional help. There may be greater issues in nutrition or mental health/chemical imbalance that just adjustments in diet/exercise or change of habits won’t fix. Talk to your doctor and see what they recommend.

      1. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

        Done that to a certain extent. My doctor found a couple of vitamin deficiencies, and I take supplements for those almost every day (should be every day, but I forget/am too busy sometimes). They help me feel physically better, but they don’t really address the mental exhaustion, the “Ugh, I can’t face that even though I’m physically fine” element.

          1. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

            Not recently. I’ve had bad luck with counselors (assuming you mean psychiatrists/psychologists) in the past, and while I know it can take a long time to find a good one, I’m in grad school and planning to move in under a year, so I don’t really have it in me to look for one at the moment.

            1. Anon Pixie*

              It might be worth checking out the kinds of therapy available over the phone/via texting/online, because those would not necessarily be location or even schedule dependent.

            2. TL -*

              I meant a good old fashioned talk counselor (generally a masters) who can sit down for therapy sessions and talk about strategies for managing life.
              If you’re in grad school, you might have access to a referral service, like an EAP, that can do the hard work for you. But either way, that would be my advice – find some new strategies for approaching life with a professional.

              1. Stephanie*

                Seconding this. Your university should have some on-campus counseling services. LCSW/MCSWs usually just do straight talk therapy, which can be helpful if you just need to talk through issues (not knocking medication if you do need that).

            3. Yetanotherjennifer*

              I agree a counselor would be a good idea. And I like the idea of at least finding a remote one now vs waiting for your life to settle. If you had someone you could text about how you’re feeling in the moment and what you’re facing, they could help you see patterns and help you find solutions. You could even do so yourself by emailing or texting yourself and looking at the whole thread periodically.

              I also encourage you to explore the resources your school offers now, while you’re in school. I expect a counselor/coach with experience in what you struggle with would be easier to find in a university setting. There may also be clubs or support groups on campus that are for students only. The more you can learn now about what is a problem and what helps, the better you can structure your job and career choices to suit your needs.

        1. oldbiddy*

          Did they check your thyroid? I’m hypothyroid and when my meds are a bit too low I notice it as much mentally as physically.

        2. Nicole*

          I have found a reminder app invaluable for remembering to take my supplements and medications, as well as anything else I need to do. I would forgot more often than not if I didn’t. I get easily overwhelmed and exhausted by things too, so I can relate. There’s always way more on my to do list than I can realistically handle but I just reschedule in the app anything that isn’t urgent and go from there.

    2. anaonao*

      I don’t know about ADHD but I know about severe depression and what you describe sounds like what my depression felt to me. The thing that helped me was therapy, intense, like a couple times a week.

      1. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

        I’ve had depression in the past, but it’s not the issue here–I’ve had this issue with burnout since long before I became depressed, and I wouldn’t say I’m depressed right now.

        1. anaonao*

          Fair enough. Exploring the why of this feeling you describe above “Ugh, I can’t face that even though I’m physically fine” may lead to some clues. In my case, that feeling was related to childhood family issues I had not dealt with, that on the surface was totally unrelated to anything currently happening in my life in its present form.

        2. The RO-Cat*

          Well, there’s at least one research (“Comparative symptomatology of burnout and depression” by Bianchi et al., on US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health’s website) that states that “Our findings do not support the view hypothesizing that burnout and depression are separate entities and question the nosological added value of the burnout construct”. That is, maybe you just haven’t stumbled upon the right resource as yet; if so, when it happens you could cook two rabbits with one match.

          1. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

            Huh, interesting. I’m not sure I’d agree with that because my depression and my burnout have always felt VERY different, but I’ll look into that.

    3. LilySparrow*

      Yes! I am diagnosed with ADHD, but I think this might be separate or a subset. Lots of people I know with ADHD have more stamina than I do.

      What helps stave off bad crashes for me are permission, short intervals, and protected downtime.

      1) Permission: Recognizing that there is no right or wrong way of being, and that long-term goals for me are about resilience, not pushing through. I give myself permission to be “done” when I feel like I need to stop.

      2) Intervals: whenever I can, I break my tasks, days, projects, etc into intervals so I can alternate between output and input, or between stillness and movement, between concentration and rote work, etc.
      3) Protected downtime: I know how much of X I can do in a regular week, and refuse the rest or build in recovery time afterward. Right now, for example, I work from home. In a week, I have 2 mornings where I go out to a faith group, 1 morning to go to an office, 1 afternoon driving kids to activities and 1 session of grocery shopping/errands.

      That’s it. If I try to go anywhere else or add meetings, doctor appointments, etc, then there’s a good chance I’ll need a Saturday in bed.

      If I have a busy season like the holidays, I will probably need 1-2 days per week that I went “over the limit”. So I try to keep that in mind and build that recouperation time into my plans.

      And if I forget and crash, I think back on what I was doing and go back to permission. “Oh, right, I’ve been pushing hard for a month and a half, that’s why I’ve flopped over. Okay, I can expect to need the rest of this week on minimal life-support, and start getting back to normal on Monday.”

      Are you familiar with the Spoon Theory? It was originally about chronic invisible illness, and it’s a bit cheeky to co-opt it for other applications. But it’s such a fantastic metaphor, and there really is such a thing as mental spoons.

      1. LilySparrow*

        Oh, and I have found that the “ugh I can’t even” versus “hey, no big deal I can do that” feelings (aka self-efficacy) are strongly related to my dopamine levels.
        For me, the ADHD meds made a huge difference, because I was not depressed. When everything that’s easy for other people seems terribly hard, that can be one symptom of depression. But there are others, and if you don’t have any other symptoms of depression there’s a good chance something else is going on.
        As a matter of fact, there are lots of natural non-drug ways to increase your dopamine that are also good for you in general, so that’s certainly something safe and worth trying at home. Getting mild exercise in natural light and greenspace is a good one, for example. Doing very small tasks that have a visible result, or anything that has a built-in sense of satisfaction and reward (like giving yourself a gold star for taking your vitamins) is another. They sound kind of silly, but they work.

      2. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

        Oh, man, I struggle so much with the permission element. I’m very hard on myself when I don’t get “enough” done, and then when I do get “enough” done, I get mad at myself for not doing more than that. I know there’s no way to win there, but I can’t seem to break myself of the mindset, either, and it probably makes the burnout worse because I either keep going long past when I should or I just sit around feeling burned out and angry that I’m burned out, and being angry takes energy too.

        I’m familiar with the spoon theory, but it doesn’t really speak to me because there’s so much variety in what I can do sometimes. Like sometimes grocery shopping is one spoon, sometimes it’s five, and it’s really hard for me to predict when it’s going to be what.

        1. LilySparrow*

          There’s a very gung-ho mindset in our culture, usually connected to career/education/life purpose, that says if you haven’t “pushed to failure” or “left it all on the floor” you can’t succeed or make progress.

          This is bullshit.

          It’s a way of describing athletic training, and even in that context it’s not absolute or literal. Athletes who push their bodies literally to the breaking point get career-ending injuries.

          The difference between Amundsen (first party to the South Pole) and Scott (buried at the South Pole) is that Scott focused on getting to the pole, and Amundsen focused on getting everyone safely back.

      3. Betsy*

        I don’t have an ADHD diagnosis, but I do have anxiety. I really feel you on the burnout and Lily’s suggestions are things that I also find very helpful.

        I realise I can push myself and often do, to work very long hours, but there are some days I can’t and don’t want to get out of bed. I’ve had come to peace with being the kind of person who can’t write six books and run a marathon and have seven beautifully behaved and well-presented children while working as a high-powered lawyer.

        When I’m having a difficult day I just make myself do between one or three things, depending on how I’m feeling. If it’s a really bad day, one thing could just be to have a shower.

        I also divide tasks into small increments, like mentioned above, and tackle whatever I can handle first, even if it’s just something like checking emails. The worse the day, the smaller the task. The first task could just be ‘open Word document’.

        At the moment, I’m working on really protecting my downtime outside work, so at least I can do my job effectively. I’m trying to make sure I have plenty of free time. I almost have to make myself watch TV, but it’s working and I’m much happier.

        Obviously, I’d love to (and feel pressure to) be able to do more. I’d like to do some exercise (which I haven’t been doing lately) but I know, being me, that I will just have to start off with a couple of yoga classes a week or similar, because being the type that does burnout easily, it will be much easier to stick to this. If I go to the gym every morning, I’ll last three weeks at most and resent every bit of it, because I’ve tried this recently.

        Another thing is, I feel like other people often overstate how much they do. Sure some people do have heaps of energy and run marathons (but they’re fairly rare). But there are plenty of people who like a weekend in watching DVDs and couldn’t be bothered to go to the museum. I do think full-time work wipes most people out, and being a grad student is probably pretty tough too. I know some people who go out and socialise all the time after work and others who just want to curl up on the sofa with the dog. I guess I also just need to remind myself that option two is equally valid.

        Since you’re in grad school, check whether your expectations of yourself are really realistic. Having been to grad school, I think it’s just a brag fest where everyone tries to pretend to be the world’s most productive (and implicitly best and smartest) human. So if they’re like, ‘I worked on this paper for sixteen hours straight and then went extreme off road cycling in a canyon for 100 miles’, take that with a grain of salt.

    4. anonagain*

      When you’re up for finding a professional, ADHD coach maybe? I work with one and I find it so much more helpful than therapy. My coach has ADHD herself and has suggestions that other people wouldn’t think of. It’s more concrete and constructive for me.

      For online resources, have you seen the How to ADHD youtube channel? I also like some of the resources on adult ADHD on Additude Magazine’s website, but separating the wheat from the chaff takes some work. (Also it can be a time sink, so there’s that.)

      ADHD meds help me. I also spend time alone every day no matter what.

      It helps me to recognize that there are lots of things that other people find easy that I just…don’t. So I have to make those things easy for myself.

      For example, getting my materials together for an activity is hard for me, so when I was a student I had a bin for each class with everything I needed to study for it. Every bin had my notes, graded work, etc., but also pens, notepaper, index cards, etc.

      Sure I had duplicates of lots of things, which irks lots of people, but getting those materials is a real energy cost for me. Even having a pencil case that I need to track down is hard for me. So I don’t beat myself up about it anymore. I just fix the problem.

      If I have to make a phone call to schedule something, I do that when I have a little time to take a break after. I also just do fewer things than most people. I have help cleaning every other week. I buy microwavable food and order delivery. I have nutrition shakes for days where I’m too tired for that.

      Still, I have only found things that help and no real answers.

      It’s hard. I’m sorry you’re struggling. I hope you find some things that help.

      1. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

        Yeah, I took ADHD medicine in the US, but I’ve had so much trouble with the NHS (they literally brought me to tears earlier this week) that I haven’t been able to face trying to schedule appointments just for ADHD meds because I don’t need them as much for school right now, more for general life.

        I’ll take a look at Additude and the YouTube channel, thanks.

          1. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

            So I’ve heard. They are also really, really rude and condescending. Which does make sense if they’re stressed out, but tbh I’m at the point now where I don’t want to go anywhere near them until I leave and am just hoping I don’t get sick/injured because interacting with them makes me so miserable.

    5. D.A.R.N.*

      I have no advice because I’m currently working through the same thing (and terrified I won’t be able to ever hold down a job as a result), but I wanted to give you an e-hug- in solidarity.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      You know, if we have a toxic job or a toxic relationship of any type all the rest and good foods in the world are not going to prevent fatigue/burnout/etc.

      Do you know the source of your burnout? It sound like it is right near you because you say it takes ages to get back to normal and one week later it’s gone again. Look around, is there something pulling you down on a daily basis? This could be anything from toxic people, to bad ventilation at work to mold around the house.
      Do you think you might have allergies? Allergies can rob us of our ability to think/process.

      How is your water intake doing? chapped lips? dry skin? While you are sorting all the ideas here you can be e working on this, if you have any doubt about hydration levels. Remember death from dehydration is really awful because the sufferer loses their ability to think and process. Not that you are going to die from dehydration but just to say such a little thing and it can cause levels of misery like hell on earth. You have got some pretty substantial misery going on right now.

      Adding a drink with electrolytes in it is really good for brain function. Brains need minerals to run. People who are stressed/burned out use up minerals at a much faster rate than people going about an average day.

      Your problem sounds more like exhaustion to me. Having had a pretty good bout of exhaustion in my early 20s I still remember the feeling. My life was a shambles and I was running from one fire to another. I never did fun things because there was no time and I preferred sleep over fun.

      One last consideration. A low grade infection can burn us right out and quick. Don’t over look your teeth. I am getting dental work done and boy, can I feel my energy coming back. This time it was an infected tooth dragging me right down.

    7. Minta*

      There are some great comments here so far, especially from LilySparrow.

      I have very similar energy levels and patterns to yours, and I often react to said levels and patterns in a similar way. I really think the permission thing is key. I’ll admit that it is disappointing because it suggests that significantly changing your energy is either impossible or unlikely. I’ve been this way, like you, for so long. Doesn’t mean that it’s not frustrating.

      I try and practice self-compassion. An excellent source for for learning and practicing is Kristin Neff. She has a great CD set available (I think it’s on streaming services too). Books too. My husband also helps. He often recognizes when I’m being hard on myself (which is much of the time), and calls me out on it. A self-compassion buddy, I guess you could call him.

      ^^ I am, by no means, good at keeping up with SC practice, but I try my best. I need to incorporate more physical activity into my life too.

      I’m looking into treatment for ADHD/sluggish cognitive tempo again. It’s been a while since I did anything about it. I think it’s time. Best wishes. I know it’s frustrating.

      1. LilySparrow*

        Thanks for the mention!

        Exercising permission is counter-intuitive. You’re not resigning yourself to being low-functioning forever. Recovering from a crash steals a shocking amount of time & energy.

        When you keep your reserve tank stoked and stop wasting energy on guilt, shame, and beating yourself up, it’s amazing what you can do!

        There is so much power in self-care. Sharpening your saw, protecting your margin, maintaining readiness, whatever you want to call it.

    8. Left Field*

      A couple thoughts from way out here in left field to add to the mix.

      Women in contemporary US culture are socialized to “clean up after” others in often unconscious ways. Years ago someone pointed out that I was doing a lot of that, emotionally & energeticly. That started an ongoing conversation, & gave me tools to use. It’s changed walking down a crowded street from often being exhausting to generally no big deal.

      I’m also an empath. Sometimes I’m aware that the stuff I’m carrying isn’t mine. Sometimes I wasn’t paying attention and am so overloaded it’s hard to see why. Sometimes it’s all my own stuff out for a tour… I’ve learned some ways to cope with each to different degrees at different times.

      For some of us, these are practical & useful to know & use in addition to the kinds of things you’ve already tried & others have mentioned. They aren’t always useful or relevant, so take or leave them as you see fit.

    9. Safetykats*

      You mention taking supplements – but if you can try to get the nutrients you need from your diet you will feel better. Really, eating well and regularlyC staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep and enough exercise is terribly important. I notice that you didn’t mention exercise anywhere, and that you do mention tending to overwork yourself (which likely means not eating and sleeping regularly or well enough.) Try making a schedule and sticking to it, and see if that doesn’t help.

      You may also want to try a diet that helps to keep your blood sugar stable. I get very fatigued when I eat too much sugar (even natural sugars) or too many carbs, because I’m hypoglycemic. Eating many small healthy snacks instead of fewer larger meals is really important to my energy level.

  6. Justme, The OG*

    This year’s flu can go die in a fire. I’ve spent a week home with my sick kid and OMG I need adult interaction.

    1. Elizabeth*

      Agreed. My DH has been fighting it since Wednesday, and I come down with it yesterday. He didn’t get the shot, I did. I’m already on the mend, he’s slowly getting better.

      1. French toast addict*

        Completely understand…though it’s me who’s been sick. Been home for 4 days with a horrific cold that isn’t the flu but it may as well be. It morphed from a bad sore throat to a flood coming out of my nose, pain in my head and sinuses and also led to 2 doctor visits…on the mend now..I think. I blame everyone who steps outside when sick, lol. Irrational, I know, but I hadn’t been this sick in a few years…And I get my flu shot annually.

        1. Former Employee*

          Not irrational. Unless someone has to go out to get food or medicine, they should stay home if they are sick.

          Of course, I think that everyone should have as much paid sick time as they need. I know that some slackers are bound to take advantage, but I believe that they would be found out one way or another.

          There, now I’ve fixed it!

          1. Safetykats*

            People make the decisions they make, good or bad. I’m all for paid sick leave, and agree that it should be standard. The folks I work with HAVE plenty of paid leave, and they STILL come in sick. I’ve politely but firmly told a few that they need to just go back to their own offices and call me on the phone. It’s working so far (knock on wood).

    2. Anon For This!*

      I’m trying not to be totally freaked out by the flu. I have a 3 month old daughter and if we don’t get out of the house every day (I work from home) we both get cranky. But the flu!

      I use a looooooot of hand sanitizer these days.

      Hope your bud is feeling better!

  7. Wrench Turner*

    Today is lunch with, then awkward family ambush, of our antisocial hermit super conservative dad who needs to have some serious conversations about senior care/assisted living/etc. He’s been avoiding us for years and it’s time. He wants to move to the literal middle of nowhere desert in Nevada (yes, it’s pretty out there, no argument) but nowhere near a hospital and no way for us to get there should he need help. My sister saved his life when he had a stroke a couple of years ago because we live close. We’re trying to get him to move to a large retirement community in Florida where other family already live. It’s warm year round, hospital specializing in geriatrics right there and surrounded by Republicans. What’s not to like?

    1. Anono-me*

      I’m sorry, but that sounds miserable for a loner ( No matter what the political situation is. ). Can you work with a realtor to find a different condo or townhouse that has more privacy but is still nearby family and handicapped accessible?

      1. Anono-me*

        That comment was too terse. I apologise.

        I have had the “Reality can no longer be denied. You are no longer healthy enough to continue with your current living situation. ” conversation to many times.

        The successful times involved finding new housing that suited my elder. ( For example: One elder said “I love my neighbors, I don’t want to live with a bunch of strangers”. We found an association that had people my elder already knew. WIN) Since it sounds like your father is a loner; Can you work with a local realtor to find an accessible unit in a community that has a lot of privacy but is still close to family?

        1. Wrench Turner*

          You’re not wrong! No apology needed! It’s so frustrating!
          One problem is he hates all people. He’s a real bigot (ex: first Thanksgiving at my newlywed house he used a racial slur about Latinos in front of my Latino wife… yeah. 5 years later I’m still apologizing to her for that.), and has zero friends, except for 1 guy he sees maybe twice a year and who’s a real bro jerk to him. He won’t even go to the grocery store because there are people there – gets his delivered. And yet he complains about being lonely. My sister and I are his only socialization, but he doesn’t even like it when we come over.
          I’ve told him flat out, “I go to a therapist and you should too. You have mental health issues that need to be addressed; your social isolation is bad for you, here’s science proof. You get exhausted just walking up the stairs and doing basic things. A 10 acre farm with horses (horses now?!) will exhaust you within a week and may kill you and nobody will know for months. We can’t drop everything to save you across the country, we can’t afford to go out on planned visits as-is.”

          Fortunately he seemed open to the idea after watching The Villages promotional video. He’s not a golf person but he was interested in their local radio station and newspaper as activities he can participate in. GAH! (┛◉Д◉)┛彡┻━┻

          1. neverjaunty*

            Have you pointed out to him that he both complains about people and complains about being lonely?

          2. Casuan*

            Oh, I suspected you meant The Villages!
            I have friends who live there & I go not-as-often-as-I-woued-like. It’s an awesome city & there are groups for almost anything you can think of. Lots of events at the different squares & almost every day there are day trips to different areas.
            The ambience is hard to describe, one really needs to experience it. Even though The Villages is a city, its name comes from the different “villages” that comprise it. There isn’t a city vibe at all, it’s more of a home town feel. There are open areas, much gold although I think there are some horse farms as well.
            It’s even cleaner than Disney!

            1. Casuan*

              forgot to say: I think people in The Villages would respect if your dad doesn’t want to socialise. As long as he isn’t a bad neighbour then I think he’d be okay there.
              And there’s so very much more to do than golf. Like riding around The Villages by one of its common transports: the golf cart.

    2. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      It’s probably also worth discussing what his goals are. I am in medicine and deal with a lot of end of life care, and the thing about living close to a hospital is that he would have to want the care the hospital provides.

      Not to be harsh but would your dad want to survive another stroke, if it left him with significant mental or physical limitations? What quality of life would be acceptable to him? Most people don’t appreciate that for the elderly, going to the hospital almost always means returning to a lower level of functioning even if the person recovers.

      And it can be hard to separate what we want (eg, “I want my dad to live no matter what”) versus what our love ones want (eg, “I only want to live if I can still go on walks” or watch TV or remember my grandchildren’s names or whatever it is).

      Is his idea of living an isolated existence his way of telling you he doesn’t want his life saved next time? Or only under certain circumstances with certain prospects for recovery? Worth asking.

      1. Safetykats*

        Yes, thank you Cheesesteak. The goal of children generally seems to be to keep their elderly parents as healthy as possible for a as long as possible, even if that costs them autonomy or freedom to live as they please. Your dad may just want to live he time he has left, whatever that is, in the manner he chooses. If assisted living represents reduced quality of life for him, forcing him into that won’t necessarily make him live longer – people who are depressed and angry about their living situation don’t live longer. If you can find a solution that meets his goals and also provides appropriate care that’s the best of all worlds. If not – if he’s insistent on complete autonomy even to his detriment, I think you should try to respect his right to make that decision even if you don’t agree with it.

        Being Mortal by Atul Gawande is a really good book that addresses this dilemma exactly, and may give you some good ideas, or make it easier to understand your dad’s position.

  8. Fake old Converse shoes*

    Valentine’s is approaching fast, and everyone is desperately making plans.
    Mom is more anxious to see me in a relationship than ever. Last Saturday she called me while I was studying to tell me about a friend’s son who is “single and living near us”.
    Meanwhile, I plan to have a nice dinner with my notes, since I have a final the next day.

    1. soz*

      That sounds lovely. Even if you were in a relationship I would say don’t go out on Valentine’s Day on a date! So much unbessasary pressure.

      Your plans sound lovely, good luck for the finals! Let us know how they went.

      1. many bells down*

        Seriously, I’ve been married for 15 years and we only go out on Valentine’s Day if we have to. Everyone is eating out that day and restaurants double their prices and call it “specials.”

        1. Typhon Worker Bee*

          We decided to create our own personal Valentines Day – it’s the anniversary of our first date, in late January. So we go out for a nice dinner that night, then it’s Netflix and pizza on Feb 14th. I’m actually going to be away at a conference on V Day this year, and lots of people have commiserated with me about that, but it’s just another day for us so no big deal.

        2. King Friday XIII*

          Same! Valentines is just overpriced, IMO. We specifically avoid having a date night near Valentines at all.

        3. Julia*

          Same. I’m doing a Japanese Valentine’s where I make his favorite chocolate and he has to repay me with my favorite store-bought sweets on March 14. Although this year we’re also going on a delayed honey moon to Sri Lanka. <3

        4. Mike C.*

          I met my wife on Valentines Day but our first date was a week later, so Vday is only a reminders to do something in a week.

    2. Overeducated*

      Valentine’s is such a crock – it’s a lot of pressure on the single and newly coupled but far from a lifelong holiday everyone cherishes. (Maybe some do, that’s fine, to each their own.) You’re not missing much and the final is more important anyway.

    3. AnnaleighUK*

      Our plans for Valentines Day are a Fast & Furious movie binge and a takeaway pizza from the posh place owned by actual Italians who make proper Italian pizzas because literally everywhere that’s a sit-down place hikes their prices for that day. And it’s tacky and cheesy and commercial. Treat yourself to a nice meal (and don’t spill any on your notes, and good luck with the exam).

      And tell your mum to back off, you and only you set your relationship status. Parental pressure is not acceptable.

      1. ket*

        I think with a good pizza you’ll have a slightly cheesy Valentine’s anyway…. good on you for choosing the cheese you like ;)

    4. Caro in the UK*

      I’m currently dating, but casually, and I really want to spend Valentine’s by myself, eating sushi and watching movies! I’m sort of hoping that the guy I’m dating doesn’t suggest we do something for it, because I don’t want to deal with the expectation and pressure that other people put on it. So you have my utmost sympathy for the comments from your mom!

    5. London Calling*

      Gaaaah, I got married on Valentine’s (that was in the proposal and at the time was just *so romantic*) and try as I might after all these years seeing all the hearts and red roses and cards can still put me on edge, depending on my mood.

    6. NeverNicky*

      Valentine’s is six days before my birthday and Mr NN and I will probably exchange cards and that’s it (maybe get a M&S dine in meal if we remember!)

      Good luck with the final!

    7. Fiennes*

      Valentines falls on Ash Wednesday this year. I expect the entire city of New Orleans to spend that day sleeping off Mardi Gras.

      1. SpiderLadyCEO*

        This is my plan! I’m going to church, and spending the day cleaning up from the friends I am having over the night before.

        I don’t like Vday in the first place, but it feels especially weird to have a celebratory holiday on a somber holiday, so this year Ash Wednesday is coming first.

      2. The Person from the Resume*

        I was going to say that we’ll barely even notice because we have a bigger and better holiday on our mind.

        But also, Ash Wednesday means no meat and fasting for practicing Catholics so it’s not the day to go to a restaurant.

    8. oldbiddy*

      Good luck on your test!
      I’m happily married but will be traveling on V-day. In previous years I always had a grant application due Feb 15. Meanwhile, my husband has an unexpected business trip next week and may have to stay for a while. We’re a bit disappointed but are also happy that we won’t have to worry about the restaurants being too crowded when we do celebrate it.

    9. Overeducated*

      For you or anyone else looking for an alternate February 14 holiday, try celebrating Frederick Douglass’s 200th birthday!

      …I just realized that a meme of Frederick Douglass quotes and pics, kids’ drugstore valentine style, would be the greatest thing ever. Is someone already doing this on Twitter? If not I may have to.

    10. Sylvan*

      Your plan sounds great.

      My mom has informed me that she wants grandchildren. I am absolutely not passing on my own genes and I have been single for ages, so I’m not sure how she thinks it’s going to happen. I told her she has grandcats.

      1. Former Employee*

        As I recall, Barbara Walters said that her daughter told her that she will have granddogs.

        Ms. Walters has also said that when her daughter was a child she said that her mother can’t cook, can’t drive, can’t do anything but TV.

    11. ECHM*

      As a single I celebrated Valentine’s Day as “Chocolate Appreciation Day” and gave myself permission to eat large amounts of chocolate.

      Best wishes with your final.

      1. Southernbelle*

        I celebrate the day *after* Valentine’s day as Half Price Chocolate Day. Every year I get the spouse something delicious and say “I love you…. half-price.”

    12. Cheshire Cat*

      Sorry you are having to deal with this — overbearing moms can be difficult. After I divorced, mine nagged me repeatedly about finding someone. The absolute worst was when my daughter’s boyfriend’s parents separated and Mom thought I should ask out the boyfriend’s father. (They reconciled shortly after.) I don’t think there’s much you can do except tell her you’re happy with your life every time she makes a comment.

    13. Vday Grinch*

      I’m currently smarting over a heartbreak. I purposefully planned a trip on Valentine’s Day and through the week to keep my mind occupied and still have fun. I do plan on treating myself to a pink-frosted cupcake because I love those.

    14. Dan*

      Does said friend’s son have a job and live by himself? Both items are really important, if not absolute musts. (I’ve lived alone for the last ten years aside from marriage… I can’t imagine dating someone with a roommate.)

    15. Not Australian*

      For various complicated reasons we still have our ‘dinner for two’ Christmas meal in the freezer – stuffed quail – so I’m hoping we’ll get to settle down and have that somewhere around Valentine’s Day instead.

    16. Windchime*

      I’ve been happily divorced for over 20 years, and my mother only gave up trying to see me paired-up a few years ago. For the first few years, Valentine’s Day was really hard for me but now I don’t even think about it. I’m sure I will buy some pink and white M&M’s or something, because….candy!

  9. Red*

    I’m thinking of getting my self harm scars tattooed over, but I know scar tissue holds ink differently. Has anyone here had a scar tattooed over? If so, how did it go?

    1. Anon Pixie*

      I never have gotten a tattoo, but a reputable tattoo artist near you should know the answer to this kind of question!

    2. nep*

      I just get a nice feeling thinking that this likely means you’re no longer self-harming — good for you.

    3. Starley*

      Every scar is different, so it’s hard to say without seeing it. I suggest you find a reputable shop and sit down and talk to an artist who can take a look at your scars and figure out how best to incorporate them. At the shop I go to several of the artists have done scar work and have some of that featured in their portfolios, so you can search around and see if anyone in your city does the same. I know my artist loves working around scars, freckles, birthmarks, etc. because she finds it interesting to incorporate the individual’s unique body into her art. I know some of y’all are redditors, if you’re one of them /r/tattoos has had a few people with scars post photos of their work if you want to see what they come out like. (Here is one I particularly liked where I think the texture makes the tattoo even more beautiful: https://www.reddit.com/r/tattoos/comments/61k4gs/third_tattoo_covering_up_some_self_harm_scars/?st=JD7JQKNX&sh=ba435ef0) I’m sure it can be incorporated into your design. I wish you all the best luck in your emotional and physical healing process.

    4. Kj*

      I’ve not done it myself, but I know others who have and I’ve seen the results. It has looked good on every one I’ve seen. The deeper the scare, the less effective it is is my understanding. I’d be very careful about choosing an artist who you are very comfortable with. For my tattoos, I opted for only female artists who worked in private spaces.

      Congrats on stopping cutting and getting a tattoo to celebrate.

    5. Reba*

      Great idea! I hope you get something you love.

      No personal experience with this one, but friends have tackled it in different ways. One did a dense tonal/watercolor tattoo over the whole area: scars are simply invisible. Another did an intricate linear design: the scars are visible but become part of the image. Some of the scars needed more touchups to look evenly dark.

      There are artists on insta & youtube who have a specialty in this.

    6. MRK*

      It’s very possible, though results may vary depending on the scar tissue. Ideally look for an artist who has dealt with tattooing over scars, and be up front about the fact that you are looking to go over scar tissue. An artist who does a lot of tattoo coverups may also be a good option. Any good artist will be happy to supply examples and discuss the best plan of action, don’t feel like you have to settle. Also be prepared they may turn you down or recommend you to another artist (a good tattoo artist will admit if something is over their head, this isn’t a reflection on you.)

      Also, the older the better with scar tissue, ideally at least a year out. I’ve been speaking with my artist about tattooing over some major burn scars I have since they are over a decade old. They evaluated the area and agreed they think it’s viable. I’ve had smaller scars/stretch marks gone over with good results.

    7. PickyD*

      I hope this means you’re in a better place mentally, so I’m proud of you. :)

      My daughter had self-harm scars that bothered her, so our dermatologist did a couple things to clean up the areas. A few laser treatments combined with (steroid? cortisone? filler? I wish I could remember) injections helped smooth the area out. You can still see slight evidence of previous scarring if you look closely, but the areas look completely normal from 2 feet away. It was covered by insurance.

      Perhaps after the laser/injections, you may feel comfortable enough with the results that you decide not to get a tattoo after all. And if you decide to get one, that area might be easier to work with.

      She was cutting from late middle school to well into high school. She focused on her thigh and her wrists, never cut deep enough to truly hurt herself, and (needless to say, to my chagrin) made sure she covered them with long-enough shorts and TONS of bracelets.

      PARENTS: If your child wears 2-3 inches of various bracelets, tied strings, Live Strong bands, etc., check underneath them occasionally. That’s how my daughter hid her scars. Also, realize that while cutting would have been an utterly shocking act when we (anyone over 40) were young, it’s really not that unusual now. Cutting does not necessarily indicate suicidal feelings or actions. Try not to act horrified if you see evidence of cutting, but you should arrange for help as soon as you can. The right therapist can do so much for your child and your family.

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        Huh. The bracelet thing makes me think of my friend in high school who had a rough time with family issues then and for four years wore three inches of black jelly bracelets/strings. She never mentioned cutting or other self harm even after we hit adulthood, but to this day she ALWAYS wears long sleeved shirts. Always pulled down far beyond her wrists too. Those bracelets were her thing and I can’t think of that time and her without them and it was a time and age a few years beyond that fad too.

      2. Full Speed Ahead*

        PickyD, thank you for your post. Our daughter was cutting a few years ago and it was a lonely and terrifying time. She now is self conscious of her scars and I will see if she will consider speaking to the dermatologist about them. She is extremely private about it, so she may not, but it is great to know about his option.

        My note to PARENTS: also, socks. My daughter would cut on her lower ankles and keep socks on at all times. Even at the drs, so they did not see the cutting either.

        Good luck to you Red!

      3. Red*

        PARENTS & LOVED ONES: Also keep an eye out for watches. Yes, they can be used to tell time, but so can phones, and everyone has those. It may be a fashion statement, but in one’s pajamas it is not. I used to think I was being *so* smart when I was a teenager… Now I wonder how/if anyone missed it.

    8. Sylvan*

      I haven’t done it, but I’ve been looking into tattoos over scars, too. (It’s a reward for reaching the five-year mark.) It looks like they turn out very well. Sometimes the texture of the skin is still visible, so if the scars are noticeably raised, the tattoo is more of an addition than a concealment. I like that, too. There are paintings on textured materials instead of plain ones, so why not tattoos? Anyway, there are some YouTube videos on this that might help you decide what to plan for.

    9. My Anonymous Alter Ego*

      Be sure to look up self-harm-tattoos-gone-wrong. I don’t mean this to discourage you, I just think you should have that perspective because if on the off-chance the tattoos don’t look as planned that might add insult to injury. My limited understanding is that this scenario would be very rare. Is it feasible to get a small “test” tattoo that can be expanded if you like how the ink settles with your scars?

      Congrats on stopping & on making the self harm scars into something that is positive for you. That’s awesome & you have several people who are now rooting for you!

    10. Kuododi*

      I’m afraid I’m not going to be any help with the tattoo question itself….(zero experience). Just wanted to wish you the very best and tell you I’m thinking of you fondly and hoping all kinds of good things in your future!!!!

    11. Red*

      Wow. All of you, just…wow. This is clearly The Most Supportive and Kind Internet Place Ever and I love you all. Thank you for all your kind words.

      1. Lau (UK)*

        I have some tattooing over some scars and echo ‘speak to an artist whose work you love’. My artist was up front about things like potential colour bleed into the scarring and the potential need for more touch up however I’m really happy with the result.

    12. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      I haven’t had it done personally but I just read a magazine article that dermatologists recommend tattooing over stretch marks with ink close to your natural skin color as one of the best ways to hide stretch marks.

      Stretch marks are a form a scarring… so I don’t know if you had a design in mind or just wanted to hide the scars, but getting them closer to a “plain” skin look should be an option from a reputable tattoo artist if you are interested.

  10. Xanax taker*

    Legally how much Xanax can I bring in to the US w/o an rx and not get arrested?

    When I was in the home country, I went to the pharmacy and asked for sleeping pills so I could sleep on the plane and reset my clock when I came back home.

    I didn’t take it on the plane, but I took it when I got home. Took it a few times. Realized that I felt AMAZING…I didn’t feel fatigued or groggy like I normally do when I take melatonin or any OTC sleeping pills from here.

    I googled it and turned out it was Xanax. 50 cents for a pack of 8 pills. I’m amused but freaked out at the same time bc I could have bought 50 packets or something and not realized it was an Rx-only pill and gotten arrested.

    I also don’t want to get addicted. So far I take it to sleep and feel great in the morning.

    1. TL -*

      You can’t bring any in legally. I’m not sure what will take you from confiscated drugs to getting arrested but it’s not a good idea to take them into the USA illegally.
      Make an appointment with your doctor and talk to her about your problems sleeping. Tell her about the Xanax and how it helped and see what she says. The best way to not get addicted is to take it under a doctor’s supervision.

    2. Natalie*

      I’m not sure if benzos would be considered a psychotropic, but if so the typical advice is that you can only bring in a 30 day supply and you definitely have to at least have a letter from your doctor, but a prescription would be better.

      Also just a heads up if you begin taking Xanax regularly for an extended period (three months or longer) – if you ever need to stop for any reason, seek medical advice. Benzos are one of two drugs where you can actually die from withdrawal symptoms, so it may not be advisable to detox at home.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        You also need to go to ‘something to declare’ and declare it, if it’s a controlled drug – I was told to do that when bringing my prescription modafinil into the USA. You should probably check with the FDA for any particular issues you might have – they told me my modafinil needed to be in a bottle so my doctor wrote a letter specifically saying it could only be supplied in blister strips.

        A lot of people thought I was being overzealous and should just take it through. Yeah, because I really wanted to commit a crime on my honeymoon.

      2. Ramona Flowers*

        Just a heads up; I’ve left a comment with advice but it’s gone to moderation so do check back!

      3. Starley*

        Definitely see a doctor. I wasn’t taking mine recreationally or even more often than prescribed and still got addicted. I was having a tough time at work with anxiety and stress and it took me about a month to figure out why I was getting sick every weekend. It was physical withdrawal. I went to my doctor and she helped me taper off it slowly to avoid that. Be very careful with benzos.

    3. Temperance*

      If you’re an immigrant and not a citizen, this is a great way to get deported. Talk to your US doctor about this; Xanax can be habit-forming, and in this climate, you frankly really don’t want to be an immigrant with a criminal record.

      Drug crimes of any sort are considered aggravated felonies, which renders one deportable.

      1. Xanax taker*

        Citizen, born and raised in the US. went “home” for an emergency. I really don’t want to do anything illegal or mess w my health. But I was having sleep issues off and on for a while and this seems like a magic pill to me.

        1. Temperance*

          I definitely recommend talking to your doctor before proceeding. Xanax helps a lot of people, but it’s also super addictive if not used carefully.

    4. Thursday Next*

      Def talk to a doctor–Xanax is habit-forming and you won’t get the same results from this dose for long. There are better choices for long-term sleep management.

      I’m a US citizen and travel with meds in their original Rx bottles whenever I fly, even domestically. I’m very leery of airport security.

      1. fposte*

        That’s the one medication I won’t mix in a general bottle when I’m traveling (I know you’re not supposed to do that at all, but I can’t practically bring a full prescription bottle for everything I need).

        I believe also it was here last week that somebody posted about going to a new PCP who was reluctant to keep going on somebody’s Ativan prescription from a prior doctor, and I think you might run into that too–if you get habituated, you might not be able to get more when you run out, and that’ll be ugly.

    5. EA*

      Talk to a doctor or psych about xanax.

      I take Ativan as needed (which is a Benzo like Xanax) I think they are officially supposed to be only for short term use during a crisis, but I take mine when I need it and when I have a panic attack. This is about once a month these days cause my anxiety is well managed. I know I won’t get addicted to something I take once a month. It use to be like once a week.

      The issue with Benzos are they are addictive. When I started Ativan my psych had tried a lot of things, and she would only give me a few pills and I sort of build up trust with her. I also don’t have really have an addictive personality. You just have to be careful with these things, but it has worked for me.

      Honestly when I can’t sleep due to jetlag I just take Benadryl. But Ativan would work I just don’t like to take it too often.

      1. Nicole*

        I’m the same way with Xanax. I used to take it whenever I felt anxious or needed help sleeping, but honestly I often feel that way and decided I didn’t want to chance addiction even though I was taking only a quarter to a half milligram each time. Now like you I only take it to stop a panic attack and only if it’s a severe one as I’ve found other ways to calm myself without medication. So I can sometimes go three months without taking a single pill.

    6. INTP*

      I believe you can bring up to a 90-day supply in the original packaging with a doctor’s note written in English (if a prescription is not required in your country). I will post a link in a reply. Without a doctor’s note, the answer is none. However, xanax is very cheap in the US as well and if you have a doctor here willing to prescribe it, it will probably be under $10 for a 30 day supply.

      Be careful, though – benzos are very addictive and come with some side effects like memory issues.

    7. WellRed*

      I agree with everyone about the doctor, but let’s all remember, a large portion of the opioid disaster began under the care of a doctor. It’s still risky.

      1. Natalie*

        Absolutely, I’ve encountered some doctors that are *remarkably* cavalier about benzos in particular. Shout out to the doctor that didn’t know they were addictive!

      2. Thursday Next*

        A good point—when possible (I recognize it’s not always an option), I think seeing a specialist (pain management, sleep specialist, psychiatrist) is better, as they’re up on the latest treatments and risks, and can often do better follow up.

    8. Nicole*

      One thing I found works great for sleeplessness is a product called MidNite. It contains a low dose of melatonin mixed with herbs. I don’t get the same hungover feeling the next day like I did from taking melatonin by itself.

    9. Kuododi*

      I have no information about customs regulations as the last time I went out of the country was back at the dawn of time!!! I can tell you as a mental health clinician with experience in recovery treatment, benzodiazepine are highly addictive and must be detoxed under medical supervision as people have died from quitting cold turkey. If you’re having problems with sleep, I would strongly encourage a consultation with MD and possibly a sleep specialist to rule out issues such as sleep apnea. Best wishes!!!

    10. Ramona Flowers*

      “I’m amused but freaked out at the same time bc I could have bought 50 packets or something and not realized it was an Rx-only pill and gotten arrested.”

      What’s OTC/prescription only (is that what Rx means?) or controlled varies so much between countries I think it’s worth checking anything you are taking with you just to be on the safe side.

      1. Natalie*

        Yep, Rx is a shorthand for prescription only. It comes from an old medieval symbol for “recipe” (or whatever the Latin word for recipe is).

    11. Xanax taker*

      Thanks everyone. I got an Rx from my PCP for the Xanax. He also recommended Ambien. I haven’t taken it yet. In fact, I didn’t take anything last night. I still fell asleep around my normal time and woke up early as normal. I didn’t sleep as deeply as I did on the X. I am scared of getting addicted though. I’m having a tough time personally and at work (parent passed away). I don’t know if this pill was affecting me when I was awake. When awake,I still felt “normal”…just not as sleepy and lethargic as I usually am. I’m going to look for a psychiatrist soon bc I’m grieving and i dont’ want to getaddicted.

      1. neverjaunty*

        Ambien is VERY dangerous stuff. I am surprised your doctor recommended it, honestly!

        And absolutely get to a counselor of some sort ASAP. I’m so sorry for your loss.

      2. Kittymommy*

        Not on Xanax, but I do take Ambien every weekend (I don’t take it sun – thurs because I’m always nervous I’ll sleep through my alarm). It’s been a life saver for me. I’ve had chronic insomnia for a couple of years now and nothing whose has worked.

  11. soz*

    Going to have a bit of a rant – but i’ve Spent the last 24 hours with my boyfriend in peices. How do you deal with it? Cars have been his passion for ever (heMs a mechanical engineer, and he’s just been offered a dream job wiring vintage cars) he’s now decided to sell all his cars and never touch one again.

    I’m having a rubbish day (well it was Friday but needed to wait till today!) we were doing the Monte Carlo rally – starting in Glasgow, Scotland and ending in monaco (south of France)

    Car had a catastrophic failure (fan hit the radiator) we had been blogging about it on Facebook and linked in. Feeling so embarrised! My partner won’t tell anyone as he’s so upset.

    Currently on a train across France having left the car behind. My partner thought he could have fixed the car but due to a slight confusion and the language barrier it’s locked away till Monday as they had to go home – French workers are very strict on what time they will work – Monday is when the rally finishes! This was our first proper rally, we’ve put a lot of money and time into preparing the car so it’s very very sad!

    Sorry for the rant, how do I comfort him? I want to cry. Or do I leave him to calm down?

    1. Don't Blame Me*

      I don’t know that I’ve completely followed the entire situation but it sounds like y’all have experienced a major setback, it’s still pretty fresh, and there’s the added embarrassment of having to tell a lot of people what happened via blog and Facebook. You know your boyfriend best – if it might be better to let him be upset for a while and then talk to him later, I would probably do that. It’s perfectly understandable that he would be really upset by this (and it sounds like you are too) and there’s nothing wrong with feeling those feelings for a little while before you start to talk yourself out of it.

      As for the comforting, I would just say that yes, this completely sucks, but it could have happened to anyone. Cars break down, you can’t predict it, and the language barrier issue would have happened to anyone who wasn’t familiar with the French language and customs. When you share what happened online, there may be a few jerks who want to rub it in, but I’m guessing the vast majority of people will only want to commiserate with you and assure you that these things happen and it isn’t the end of the world. As for him talking about selling off all his cars, that’s just the hurt talking right now and once this blows over, he’ll likely realize that that would be an overreaction.

    2. fposte*

      If you haven’t, you can ask him. But overall I vote for leave him to calm down. This is a shitty thing and he’s going to feel shitty for a while. If he tries to take action on selling the other cars, I’d encourage him to hold off for a few days to make sure he won’t regret it, but I wouldn’t make my goal his feeling better right now.

    3. Aurora Leigh*

      That sounds very frustrating!

      Everyone is different, of course, but when my boyfriend gets frustrated in a feels like the whole world is ending (has happened a couple of times, he has anxiety that plays into this) what helps the most is naming his feelings (it’s frustrating, I understand what this means to you, etc), physical touch (hugs or just holding his hand), and gummy candy because it’s a bit of a joke between us how much he loves gummies and it lightens the mood.

    4. soz*

      Thanks guys – I promise I am literate! Just having a major panic.

      We were meant to be doing the rally, starting in Glasgow on Tuesday then getting to south France Sunday our car is very old – built in 1934. So it was very slow going. We had the oldest car and in hindsight I can see why most people went for much later cars!

      He’s already emailed a car sales specialist to ask about putting them on the market. Anything I say makes him more angry! We are just trying to work out how to get home without a car – no way as far as we can tell to get a hire car till Monday!

      1. Don't Blame Me*

        As hard as it may be to do, I would just stop. If talking to him makes him react in anger, don’t talk. If he wants to go nuclear and sell all his cars while he’s upset, you won’t be able to stop him. He’s a grown man, he can deal with the consequences of his actions when this is all over. It’s not up to you to save him from his feelings or himself. Maybe you could go out on your own for a few hours and let him do whatever he’s going to do. Also, if this is how he reacts to a major stressor, that gives you some important information to think about for the future.

        1. soz*

          Yeah. This has made me worry about us long term. I’m really trying to enjoy being on a French train (they have two floors, how cool is that!) but he is completely adementthat he won’t enjoy anything.

          Also my shoes have given me blisters (I didn’t think we would do this much walking, because, you know, cars) I need to tell someone because I’m not able to say anything to him!

          1. Anonacademic*

            You should not have to walk on eggshells and hide your joy for days because your partner is upset. Imagine him doing this every time something stressful happens. Is that sustainable for you long term?

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I am not a car person but I do know that cars of that era and earlier simply could not handle long distances or higher speeds. It took a while for manufacturers to start cranking out more durable vehicles. You may be able to confirm this by googling.

      Does he have a car buddy who he “looks up to” that he could talk with? This would be someone who could keep up with all the technicalities of the situation and perhaps offer him some ideas.

      My suggestion is to sit and cry with him. However, I am not totally sure it would be safe for you, given the severity of his reaction. You would know best on that one.
      This leaves me with the idea dragging in one or two thinking type people to talk with him about it.
      And echoing others, keep an eye on his reactions to other things, also.

      1. soz*

        Thanks! It’s true – we were pushing the car too hard!

        I also left him with some, what I call, “old car men” who told him some of their horror stories of failures – it was hard getting him to even go into the bar they were in but once he did he slowly got better. It seems to have calmed him down. Oh what a faff!

        It wasn’t something I could fix, and that’s always hard. Someone’s offered to let him drive their 1940’s MG home from France. So that’s cool. I’m still in shock at the severity of his reaction – basically that he couldn’t do anything, he fails at everything from his job to cycling.

        Thanks guys – I’d been sitting on this since Friday afternoon so needed to vent!

        1. LCL*

          The old car guys are the ones that can help his attitude. I know from my motorcycle days, the stories that are told and retold are always about breakdowns and crashes, not perfect trips.

    6. Onnellinen*

      On selling the cars, your boyfriend likely just needs a bit of time to cool off. My partner and I both race bikes, and the house rule is that if you had a bad race on Sunday, the earliest you are allowed to list your bike for sale is Wednesday. It’s normally forgotten by Tuesday, and we haven’t sold a bike yet!

      1. Elizabeth West*

        This is a good rule. I went by something similar when I had setbacks in skating. Sometimes you just have a bad show/practice. I didn’t quit until I had felt unhappy about it for a few months.

  12. Audiophile*

    I’m look for weekend breakfast ideas. While I can cook and have a few pots and pans, I don’t really have the desire to cook. The times I’ve done it, usually when I visit home, I wonder why I bothered by the time I’m done.

    I would love some tips for breakfast that don’t involve cooking. I’m considering picking up protein shakes for the weekday rush. It left me full until lunch time. But don’t really want to drink those 7 days a week.

    1. CatCat*

      – Greek yogurt with berries, drizzled with a high quality honey, and some nuts or granola for crunch.
      – Cottage cheese with salsa and veggies on top.
      – Salad for breakfast! (This is actually my go-to during the weekdays.)

      1. Caro in the UK*

        I would actually combine two of those, because I love cottage cheese with fruit and honey! Maybe with a slice of rye bread toast on the side.

      2. Audiophile*

        These are really good tips!

        I love yogurt and there’s a few Greek yogurts that I like. I will look for a sale this weekend and see what I can get.

        I’m not sure that I would like cottage cheese but I do like salsa. What kind of veggies do you put on top?

        I like salads, so that isn’t a bad idea either.

        1. CatCat*

          You can also put the savory stuff on Greek yogurt. I like chopped up bell peppers, carrots, green onion, and cruciferous greens like kale and cabbage.

        1. Windchime*

          I’m another fan of the toast with peanut butter. It’s what I have almost every morning for breakfast. I can eat it in the car on work mornings, or I can savor it on the sofa on weekends. Always with a nice, hot cup of tea. Mmmmmm.

    2. JJtheDoc*

      Yes, one of my issues as well, complicated by having celiac, which immediately adds another level of difficulty. I’m happy to share what works for me, and of course, YMMV!

      I love the egg muffins from Bon Appetit. The recipe as-is makes 6; they keep in the fridge for several days, and can be reheated in a microwave. Change up the fillings, use whatever cheeses you have on hand, make them with 1 egg if that’s a better fit for your appetite. One 2-egg muffin, plus a couple slices Canadian bacon and a schmear of salsa makes 2 English muffin breakfast sandwiches, and not a lot of effort when you want a low-key weekend morning. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/quick-recipes/article/muffin-tin-eggs-breakfast

      My other go-to is mini waffles. There are several inexpensive mini waffle irons on Amazon; I have a DASH, in bright red that makes me smile. When you make up a batch, wrap the uneaten and cooled waffles in clingfilm, and freeze. They reheat nicely in the toaster, and warm maple syrup and bacon bits makes a very luxurious weekend breakfast indeed!

      Bonus round is that both the egg muffins and the mini waffles are great for brunches, as well as for those days when breakfast for dinner is all you can handle!

    3. Anon Pixie*

      I alternate between protein shakes and a PB&J made with a high protein PB (it’s got 10g protein per 2tbsp) and a sugar-free J.

    4. Kerbs*

      I actually just have a boiled egg for breakfast. They’re full of protein and keep me going until lunch! Plus you just boil them on the weekend and you’ll have a bunch for the week!

      1. Tassie Tiger*

        If you peel them all in one go, do they stay fresh? I’ve found eggs are easier to peel right away, but I worry about them getting a bit stale.

        1. Kerbs*

          I just keep them unpeeled in the fridge and peel them the morning of. I know peeling is a chore. I haven’t tried pre-peeling them and leaving them in the fridge. But I haven’t had a problem with them getting stale if I wait to peel them. It all depends on the age of the egg too, you’re not supposed to boil farm fresh eggs because they won’t peel.

        2. Beatrice*

          I pre-peel them and leave them in a covered bowl in the fridge, and that works for the 3-4 days they usually last me.

            1. IntoTheSarchasm*

              I boiled eggs very rarely so never settled on a time that worked and wrecked/forgot them. But I discovered that I can put two in an electric kettle that shuts off automatically when it reaches a boil, wait 15 minutes, immerse in cold water and they come out perfect every time.

      2. BRR*

        This is my usual breakfast (I’m not a breakfast person). I make a big batch in my instant pot on the weekend and they’re good for the week.

    5. Fiennes*

      My no-cook breakfast standbys are apples and/ or bananas with peanut butter. Fast, filling, nutritious.

    6. D.W.*

      Yes, toast with whatever toppings you like! Peanut butter and apple, avocado and boiled egg, avocado and sun dried tomatoes, butter and jam, variations are endless!

      I also like to have at least 2 pieces of fruit, lately it’s been an orange and a persimmon.

    7. Starley*

      Overnight oats are my go to. It sounded gross when I first heard about them but I’m so glad I tried it. I like that you can easily mix it up so it doesn’t taste the same every day. They sell containers of it pre-made that you just add your liquid to, but I buy things in the bulk section and that makes it a really inexpensive meal, too. Right now I’m into dried cranberry with almond slivers.

      1. soz*

        This does technically include cooking – but I like those frozen pastries that you can get. Pop them in the oven for 10 min. Taste like younger got them from a bakery!

        I personally don’t eat breakfast. I feel much better if I don’t eat till lunch, but that’s just my body.

    8. HannahS*

      I do have homemade protein smoothies a few times a week. But there’s also avocado toast, cottage cheese on toast, beans and toast (heat up baked beans in microwave, put on buttered toast).

    9. Canadian Natasha*

      You could do a turkish* breakfast. My family travelled to Turkey a while ago and they generally had a spread of the following:
      Fresh tomatoes
      Hardboiled eggs
      Sausage slices (something similar to salami)
      Mild white cheese
      Feta type cheese
      Bread and nutella spread
      Fresh juice
      Coffee (technically it was instant coffee- brewed coffee wasn’t really a thing there)
      It was surprisingly satisfying and filling and you only have to cook 1 thing (the eggs), unless you’d also prefer to toast your bread.
      *Or a turkish tourist breakfast. No idea if regular citizens also ate that way.

    10. D.A.R.N.*

      There are ways to make omelettes in the microwave! No links, but you can find so many versions with a Google search!

    11. Agnodike*

      Like, no cooking at all? Or no cooking the morning-of? My mornings are usually some variety of disastrous so I have suggestions for both.

      If you don’t want to cook at all, fruit, cheese if you eat dairy, cured meats if you eat meat, yoghurt or cottage cheese, and/or some kind of bread product if you eat those can be combined in various iterations to make a delicious breakfast. My favourite breakfast is proscuitto and melon, or apple slices with sharp cheddar. You can pre-cut fruit or buy it pre-cut at the grocery store to completely eliminate prep.

      If you don’t mind low-key cooking but don’t want to cook in the mornings, you can large-batch cook on weekends or whenever you have more time and eat throughout the week. I generally make a crustless quiche (six beaten eggs, a bunch of milk, and some veggies and cheese, baked at 350 for 40 minutes) and a big pot of oatmeal on the weekend, and that along with fruit, cheese, etc. will be breakfast for pretty much the whole family for the week. If you have a slow cooker, you can also put in oatmeal or the ingredients for a simple breakfast casserole the night before and wake up to a hot breakfast.

    12. French toast addict*

      As my nickname indicates I do love my French toast but…not all the time. My recent non-cooking breakfast go-to is avocado, mashed up with lemon juice, salt and pepper, spread on grainy toast, with smoked salmon and cucumber. Not my own invention…credit goes to cookbook I got as Xmas gift – Greta Podleski’s “Yum & Yummer”. It has a lot of protein smoothie recipes too. (And no…not paid to promote it or anything, a friend who is an awesome cook / baker occasionally gifts me cookbooks she likes).

    13. Cookie D'oh*

      I buy frozen breakfast sandwiches and mini fritattas in the frozen food aisle. They can be heated in the microwave.

    14. Anono-me*

      I make egg bakes quite often. They reheat well in the microwave for a nice breakfast.

      1 well greased baking pan.
      1 Starch – Choice of bread, cooked rice, cut up potatoes (cooked or raw if small.)
      1 Shredded cheese
      1 Protein (Choice of already cooked meat, poultry, sausage, or raw tofu scramble etc.)
      1 Vegetable (Choice of spinach, asparagus, or broccoli etc.)

      Layer in the order above. Sprinkle a little more cheese on top.

      Mix enough raw eggs with a little bit of milk and salt and pepper to cover the layers and pour it over them. (sometimes I add a can of cream of celery soup if I feel fancy.)

      Bake at 350 or 375 f until done. (The ingredients can vary so much that it is hard to predict the cooking times. But mine usually take about an hour +/- 15 minutes.)

      1. Windchime*

        I do this sometimes for supper. Really quick and easy, and I usually make enough that I can also reheat the leftovers for lunch the next day.

    15. Nic*

      I’m incredibly picky and I work 12 hour shifts, so “breakfast” for me is both on the way out the door and on the way in and to bed. I don’t like to take a lot of time because I’m either waking up and running or trying not to wake up too much before I sleep.

      I find that soups are really good for that. I’ve found some I don’t mind eating cold, and the rest don’t take long in the microwave or on the stove. Sometimes I’ll toss-em in a thermos and set it by my bedside in case I wake up late and need to breakfast REALLY on the way out the door.

    16. LilySparrow*

      If you have a microwave, you can poach or scramble eggs in about one minute. There are also an abundance of recipes for French toast in a mug in the microwave.

      You are applying heat, so it’s not zero-cook, but it’s pretty lightweight and fast.

      I do berry/yogurt/banana/flax smoothies most days of the week.

      One cold breakfast I like is sliced almonds with shredded coconut and raisins. I eat it with milk, like cereal. It’s crunchy and nice.

    17. Jo*

      My usual, easy go-to most mornings before work here is muesli with yogurt and fresh fruit (one of the perks of living in Thailand is definitely the abundance of delicious fruit), or overnight oats.

      Back when I had a kitchen I would sometimes make a frittata or quiche or some other egg bake/fry dish, then cut it up into pieces, stick them in tupperware in the fridge and voila! Breakfast for the next few days, at least. You can either reheat it in the microwave or if you’re in a hurry, it’s still pretty good cold, too.

  13. Grandma Mazur*

    We’re about to remodel and extend our kitchen into a proper kitchen-dining room (not just a kitchen with a table squeezed in). There are so many things wrong with our current kitchen I couldn’t begin to list them all (to give just a couple of examples, the oven door has to be held closed with string, when the washing machine is on you can’t get into the dishwasher because the hose has to come in front of the dishwasher and be tied to the kitchen sink to drain, there’s no heating, and the backdoor doesn’t shut properly!) so we’re very excited and basically just going to be grateful for and pleased with a kitchen that’s warm, dry and has functioning appliances.

    That said, we’re a bit overwhelmed (or have the potential to be) by all of the more detailed choices around storage, cupboards, space usage, etc. We’re employing an architect and she’s been really patient and done lots of iterations of the feasibility drawings, so we have a layout we’re happy with, but what nifty design tricks/storage should we include/make sure we consider? What do you wish you’d thought of/wish you had in your kitchen, and what has made life easier for you?

    Things I’ve already thought of:

    * I want somewhere tall and narrowish I can store baking trays and roasting tins vertically (I’m sick of storing them horizontally and faffing to get at the one at the bottom – it’s always the one at the bottom that I need!).

    * We will have a corner cupboard space that’s difficult to reach. In our current kitchen we have a two-tiered quarter-circle wire rack that pivots out, but it’s a disaster – anything small doesn’t sit flat, if too much weight goes on the upper tier it pulls out of the fixture, and if anything falls off you have to take the whole rack out to get to the back of the cupboard – I honestly think I’d be happier with just a big cupboard that was difficult to reach at the back.

    * I was considering a warming tray for plates but then realised it’s because we currently have no heating and food gets cold really fast – that won’t happen once we have radiators and insulation! But should we still consider it?

    * We’ve tried to make the oven, hob, fridge and sink as close to each other as possible (it’s not the classic triangle but it’s good enough).

    * Should we go for more cupboards or are drawers a better idea (for, e.g., pots and pans, plates, and so on)?

    * What kind of flooring would be most practical? We have two cats and a baby so something easily cleanable is essential – I favour vinyl because I’m clumsy and jars won’t break if they land on it, husband prefers tile which would definitely be more attractive. We’re hoping we can afford underfloor heating.

    Sorry this is so long. Any suggestions gratefully received!

    1. CAA*

      For vertical storage, I use half of the cabinet above my oven. I got some “tray dividers” at The Container Store and installed them myself. Nothing has fallen on my head (from that cabinet anyway) for years now, so I consider them a great success.

      In a previous kitchen, I had a corner cupboard that had a door that was hinged in the middle, so you could open the whole thing and see into the corner. It was great, but this only works if there are cabinets on both sides of the corner. In my case, the two doors that met at the right angle would have been about 8 and 10 inches wide, so hinging them together into one big door worked very well. I had an L-shaped shelf in that cabinet.

      I think cupboards vs drawers are just a matter of personal taste and available space. I have a mix, and even have one big lower cabinet with slide outs on the shelves. With drawers, I am often taking everything out to get to the one on the bottom, where it seems easier to slide things out from a stack on a shelf without having to remove everything on top.

      For flooring, have you looked at cork or laminates? Both are softer than tile and warmer, but a little more up-scale than vinyl.

      1. Grandma Mazur*

        A hinged cupboard door – somehow this idea had not occurred to me, but it would work perfectly in the space – thanks!

    2. fposte*

      I would have look on Houzz for kitchen storage ideas, because there are too many to list and individual taste is important here. (For instance, do you have a dead corner? I’m in love with the special figure-eight pullout shelves that mean you can easily get to the stuff stored there.)

      But I will say that while tile is beautiful, I don’t want to stand on that stuff for any length of time (in addition to your other concerns). It is not forgiving to bodies. So I reluctantly say no to tile in kitchens, unless you’re going to put down so many gel pads that you can’t see the floor anyway.

      1. Natalie*

        I have slate tile in my kitchen and while it looks pretty, I wouldn’t put it in if it hadn’t come with the house. Aside from being hard, it’s also freezing cold in the winter.

        Plus it can be fragile. Ceramic tile breaks if you drop a pot or something on it, and stone tile can spall.

          1. Grandma Mazur*

            These are both really good points (breaking tiles and them being hard to stand on), so I think tile may be ruled out for those reasons.

      2. Southernbelle*

        They make (in the US at least) these really quite nice ‘luxury vinyl plank’ flooring, some if it with interesting textures. It’s softer than tile, extremely durable, waterproof, and very easy to install- I just put some in an entryway/mudroom I was remodeling.

      3. Dead Quote Olympics*

        Yeah, tile is hard on knees, feet, dropped breakable items, and your baby will be a toddler soon, and will be toddling and falling a lot. Cork, vinyl, wood, true linoleum will all be softer, easy to clean, and warmer to little kid skin (when they are sitting on the floor pulling all your pot lids out of your vertical storage and using them for cymbals) if you can’t swing the underfloor heating.

    3. AnotherJill*

      If you are buying your cabinets ready made, they usually have a lot of different types to choose from. For example, I have a tall thin cabinet designed for sheet pans and cooling racks installed right beside the oven. I don’t know what country you are in, but if in the US, there are scads of options.

      I had the same thing with a corner cabinet before remodeling – you had to basically lie on the floor to get to the back of it. Even though it doesn’t use the space totally efficiently, I had a giant two-tiered turntable and the door basically hinges in the middle so the opening into the cabinet is very wide. It’s been great storage.

      I personally like more cabinets than drawers, just because they can easily be subdivided by baskets and are more flexible and easier to find things in them. But I think that is a personal choice. If you have the space for big cabinets, some with pull out trays in them are also helpful. We have one space that was an old broom closet that has four large pull out trays that make it easy to access things.

      We have vinyl flooring, which is nice for spills and things and you don’t have to worry about grout getting stained. But if I did it again, I would look at some of the cork options, which look really cool.

    4. Lcsa99*

      Two things we have in our kitchen that I would recommed for EVERY kitchen:

      1. a corner cabinet with a hinged door and a lazy susan. This let’s you use so much of the space that would be wasted otherwise and you can still see everything so it’s easy to use.

      2. Cabinets with pull out shelves. Let’s you get to everything in the cabinet without having to dig. Keeps everything more organized too.

      1. JustAnotherJen*

        Yes! to the lazy susan in the corner cabinet. We have a biggish corner cabinet with lazy susans on both shelves (they’re round things that rotate? Actually, they’re 3/4 round things that rotate, in this case) and I can keep all the commonly used pots and pans on them IN ORDER OF SIZE! I can’t tell you how stupidly happy this makes me: pots are on the top, sitting side by side on this round skinny-thing with their lids on their tops, rather than stacked and requiring unstacking every time they need to be used. Pans are on the bottom, from the little 1-egg skillet to the huge restaurant-sized skillet required to make “1 pan dinners” for a family with multiple teenagers.

        We use pull-out shelves only for the cabinet holding storage containers (like tuperwares). I’ve also purchased some desktop organizers that hold cutting boards and such upright so they’re also easy to reach.

        I have a huge drawer for spices, and it contains three spring-fit curtain rods, so I can have three rows of spices slightly ajar (top ends raised a bit) smiling up at me. Alphabetized, of course :^).

        I actually had a tall, narrow cabinet with a divider installed next to the stove that holds nothing but baking sheets, the griddle for the stovetop, a wire screen (for covering pans when frying stuff) and the giant cutting board I use for rolling out dough.

        Um, I cook quite a bit, as you may have guessed.

    5. LCL*

      My kitchen has vinyl (or the equivalent synthetic, it came with the house so not sure what it is) in the kitchen and bathroom. Here, that’s considered a cheap finish, but I love it. Easily cleaned, easily sanitized if something happens, and low maintenance. I like the look of tile or stone, but would never deliberately have it installed.

    6. oldbiddy*

      Can you find a kitchen designer who will help you? They think about this stuff all the time and know what works and what doesn’t.
      I had a tiny kitchen in my former house. For the life of me I could not figure out a good way to remodel it. My friends and relatives didn’t have any breakthrough ideas either.
      I happened to talk to a designer at a home and garden show. She gave free consultations and had done a number of small kitchens so I had her come out for a consultation. In a few minutes she had come up with a very good plan. I hired her to do the design and also to help me pick out materials. It was the best decision I ever made for my house. She also helped me pick out appliances, granite, tiles, etc. It took a couple of hours one afternoon and I would’ve wasted so many weekends if I hadn’t done it. All told she cost maybe $750 but I probably saved at least that much.
      I remodelled my bathroom the next year and hired her again.

    7. Nancie*

      I’m hoping to replace my cabinets this spring.

      You can get vertical storage racks online. I have one, it just has rubber feet to keep it from sliding around, and it works great. It is so much nicer to pull things out f it than to deal with a pile!

      I’m leaning toward drawers for the lower, it just seems like it would be so much easier to get things from the very back bottom corners.

      Tile is pretty, but it seems like it gets chillier than vinyl, and personally I never want to deal with flooring with grout again. Though I guess a lot of the new tile floors don’t have visible grout lines? If you’re hoping to get under-floor heat, there are probably floors that work better with that than others. You might want to have that drive your choice.

    8. Nicole*

      If you can get the under floor heating, that would solve the cold tile part. I prefer tile just because it’s easy to clean and doesn’t scratch like vinyl does. We have vinyl in our laundry room and it doesn’t look very good anymore. I really like the tile that looks like hardwood. I definitely want to use that in my next remodel.

    9. LPUK*

      When I redid my kitchen, here are the things that really helped me organise. 1. Narrow pull-out larder unit. This holds a lot of groceries/ sauces/ specialist ingredients and it’s very easy to see and retrieve the item you want as you can check both sides. If I’d had more space I would definitely have had two of these! A friend of mine does – one on either side of her built-in fridge.
      2 wide and deep drawers to store crockery – had these in a rental house and find them so much more accessible. Mine have a sort of pegboard insert at the bottom, into which you can screw thick dowel posts to separate and support dishes/plates.
      3. A hanging pan rack – mine is just a single rail hung over a worktop with several hooks – it’s a much more space-efficient and accessible solution than drawers or cupboards
      4. I had wall cupboards that reached the ceiling ( so dust/grime doesn’t collect there), and being only small, I have a small collapsible step-stool which slides under, and is hidden by one of my cupboard plinths, so it dorsn’t Get in the way when I don’t need it
      5. I do have a warming drawer and find it useful for warming plates and serving bowls when I have people round, but I probably only use it a couple of times a month ( but I do store my stovetop griddle in it as well)
      6. Having had granite and tile floors in Previous houses, I was keen to go for vinyl to increase comfort and warmth, and act as a sound-dampening support ( tile is so noisy in the kitchen). If you go for a more expensive type, such as Karndean or Amtico, you can get vinyl tiles that mimic stone, wood or even tile, which look great and realistic (you can get textures like riven slate or grained wood), are practical and comfortable and have a 30 year guarantee. You can also get custom effects by stripping in complementary colours,textures etc. Installed by their professionals.
      7. I also have a waste-disposal unit which gives me gleeful pleasure when I ‘feed’ it and really cuts down on smelly/messy bins
      8. I second the recommendation of figure 8 pull out shelves ( in UK at least, the proper name is Le Mans units, presumably after the race-track) for corner cupboards
      9. One thing I didn’t get, and regret, was a couple of plinth drawers which pull out of cupboard bases and make good use of wasted space. They would have been great for baking tins!
      If you want to get a better sense of what kitchen cupboard accessories are available, google Hafele, who make the interior fitments that kitchen manufacturers use – I gave a list of item numbers to my kitchen supplier to ensure I got exactly what I wanted

      1. Grandma Mazur*

        Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts (and especially for the list, LPUK) – this has already helped me to narrow things down. LPUK, can I ask how far your pan hanging rack is from your hob, and whether you find the ones that aren’t used daily get greasy/you have to wash them before you cook? I’ve seen the racks and like them but our experience has been that things out in the open get dirty quickly… But that could be because our hob ventilation hood died five years ago (and we didn’t replace it because, you know, “we’re about to start remodelling the kitchen…”!)

        1. LPUK*

          My pan rack is on the opposite wall to the hob, but as it’s quite a compact kitchen that’s only a step away. Because it’s not directly over the hob, it doesn’t pick up grease from cooking and therefore I don’t have to wash the pans before using ( also it’s for the pans in regular use; those I only use occasionally are stored elsewhere)

        2. LPUK*

          Sorry for late response, but I just saw this question. My pan rack is on the wall opposite my hob, but as my kitchen is fairly compact, it’s only a step or two away( about 4 feet) Possibly because of this position, it doesn’t seem to pick up grease in the way things stored near the hob do, and I can use the pans without washing them. Also the pans I keep there are in regular use – ones I use only occasionally are stored elsewhere.

    10. Another Lauren*

      My favorite feature of our remodeled kitchen is a deep drawer that has a utensil crock built in. It’s the freaking best! I’ll link an image in a follow-up comment so you can see.

    11. Not So NewReader*

      Corner cupboard: If you decide simple is best you might want to put seasonal stuff in that cupboard so you only wrestle with it a few times a year. It’s not a bad idea to have a deep storage space some where in the kitchen. I have a cupboard over my fridge, that is so UNhandy. However, I keep stuff there that I might need at some later time.

      I went with vinyl flooring. Tile can be spendy then you have to pay someone to put the tile on for you. That can be really spendy. You want to be sure to get extra tiles so when they break you can get it repaired. I can’t have a tile floor, it’s too hard and it causes my legs to fatigue very quickly. If you guys like tiles, you could do a tile backsplash over the sink and wrap that backsplash around the kitchen as much as you want. I bought a dark vinyl linoleum that looks like hand cut wood. It’s great. It never looks dirty and it’s taking a beating. Plus I can work in the kitchen and be comfy. My friend who does carpentry work put in a tile floor and really regrets it. He says it’s cold all the time even though he heats with wood and his house is toasty.

      Drawers vs shelves. Think about cleaning it. Think about cleaning it decades from now. I love the look and the appeal but I know I will make a big mess and have to clean out each drawer, remove all the drawers and clean underneath. I’d rather just wipe down shelves.

      Plate warmers. When I worked in a restaurant we just used the microwave to warm plates. This worked very well. I like it when appliances can serve more than one purpose. I have limited space and I don’t want to have a bunch of things that break and need repair.

      My suggestions from my own stuff here:
      Put in too many outlets. I had quite a few put in and oh boy, I am enjoying that. Near work surfaces I went with outlets that had four individual outlets rather than the typical two outlets. This is because of the darn adapters they put on stuff. The adapter blocks the ability to plug something else in, but if you have four individual outlets you will end up still being able to plug something in. So I have a cluster of four outlets about every five feet along my counter top. [Happy dance!].

      My other suggestion is to have counter area designated for hot pots or hot ovenware. I bought special tiles that work for this purpose, restaurants use them. They are kind of the color of clay flower pots and you can set anything hot on them. This is great. I am so happy with the one area that I did, when I get around to it I will have another similar area made on the opposite wall. I put the tiles where I do not usually stand and work. That way the hot pot is off to one side away from me.

      While I did not buy top of the line stuff there were a few things I did not skimp on. I bought a faucet that would be good in a kitchen,but I have it in my laundry room. The head of the faucet pulls out so there is a long hose. This is nice for rinsing out garbage pails and other things that do not fit the sink. It switches from regular stream to a wider stream like a shower head. I use that feature all the time. I had already replaced my kitchen faucet or I would have put it in the kitchen.

      1. Grandma Mazur*

        Thank you for the detailed thoughts! You’re right that an annoying cupboard could be used for picnic or camping stuff that we only use occasionally (we haven’t had that luxury to date – everything has been piled in a few cupboards). We’ve already told the architect we want electrical outlets anywhere there’s a space (and I’m tempted to get one or two with the USB socket in, so that phone chargers don’t take up a socket that an appliance could be plugged into).
        With the tiles for putting hot pans on (which husband will love), are they set/grouted into the counter top, or are they loose but you have a lot of them to create a larger area?

        1. Not So NewReader*

          The tiles are grouted and permanently set in. They are set into the counter top, so the top of the tile is level with the counter. Yep. I have a few extra in case I break one, but because I am dealing with hot pot, I am pretty careful anyway. I have had them in for about two years now and they are holding up great.
          I think they are about 3-4 inches square. This is a nice size because you can go as big or little as you want.

    12. Pieforbreakfast*

      Drawers for items like utensils, towels, bags, foil, etc…. Cabinets elsewhere, with pull out trays/shelves for bottom cabinets. I do have one deep drawer that I put the baking things I rarely use because it is a bit of a dig to get them out. I have a skinny cabinet next to the oven that i put sheets and cutting boards in upright and it is handy!
      I added a small, shallow shelf under a cabinet for jarred goods and spices that really helps.

      Our kitchen floor is marmoleum, which is like a nicer linoleum. Warm, comfortable to stand on, easy to maintain. My husband did drip some kind of battery acid on it that ate through the surface. So don’t do that.

    13. Dead Quote Olympics*

      Things in my 2 year old kitchen that I am still delighted with on a regular basis:
      A real stove vent hood that actually vents outside
      A giant one bowl sink instead of a two bowl sink ( that is highly personal though)
      Corner lazy Susan cabinet
      Wood floors

      I have a lot of storage space in the walk-in pantry, so most of my irksome storage issues are about the locations of food/pans/utensils when I need them at hand at the moment.

      Things that I had no control over (new build with menu of options) and will put in later if I can because they irk me on a regular basis:

      Under cabinet LED lighting
      Deep drawers instead of lower cabinets (seriously, I could have had a wine cooler but no option for dish drawers in 2016?)
      Pull outs for garbage and recycling bins
      I’ve got enough outlets, but would have preferred hidden strip plugs. Make sure you think carefully about outlet locations since you have control over it – I have a great long island where I use my laptop but there is only one outlet on the one end – the wet end near the sink/dishwasher/garbage bin. It’s going to cost me a couple of hundred of dollars to add one at the other end so I can work while my husband cooks.

      Good luck!

      1. Grandma Mazur*

        Thanks for the lighting suggestion – I had actually forgotten that one of my big bugbears about our current set-up is that there’s a cabinet right over the sink and its difficult to get any light directly onto the sink when we’re washing up. So that’s going to be essential. The giant sink is on my must-have list (we’re thinking of a Belfast sink, I think they’re called) and the pull-outs are also valuable (we have one for general waste but recycling just piles up by the front door and I take it out on a daily basis, so more of these would be fantastic).

    14. Grandma Mazur*

      Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to help me with my questions, I really appreciate all the comments and everyone’s said something that has made me have new ideas! It’s been so helpful I will definitely be back next week with a question about my cats :-)

    15. Not Australian*

      Re: corner cupboards – we have two, and have a slightly different arrangement in each, although the mechanism is basically the same. It’s not the classic rotating shelf but a pull-out; wire trays in one, solid shelves in the other. When you open the door, one set of shelves comes right out and the other slides across into the space behind. We absolutely love these, and the only slight down side is that the solid ones – where we store all our plates etc. – can lock in position if you pull them out too far, due to the weight. But look around as there are all sorts of pull-out (and drop down) storage arrangements now and the picture is always changing.

      Only two very small things I regret about our kitchen – which is just over two years old and was designed from an empty shell. One is that I wish I’d had an extra electric socket put in on an otherwise blank wall. The other is that I wish we’d let the floor settle a bit longer after the under floor heating was installed, before we had the tiles laid. The tiles look fabulous but have cracked in one place, which I think must be at the edge of the heating zone. So in your case, if you’re having under floor heating, I’d suggest you go for a cheaper temporary solution in the first instance and maybe have ceramic tiles laid at a later date.

    16. Cristina in England*

      I have bookmarked this thread as there are such good suggestions! Since you used the word hob, I’m guessing you’re in the U.K. Do you know where your kitchen units etc are coming from (I.e. Howdens, Ikea, etc) and have you lined up a builder yet? We are hoping to do our kitchen in the next couple of years and are feeling similarly overwhelmed. :-)

      1. Grandma Mazur*

        I am indeed in the UK! Honestly, I’m kind of wondering whether/hoping that we don’t have to use many ready-made kitchen units at all, as I’m not a huge fan of the fronts of any of the ones I’ve seen so far (but that’s not based on a huge amount of in-depth research, admittedly). We have previously bought some furniture from http://www.greenwoodsfurniture.co.uk/ and a plate rack from http://www.theplaterackco.com/ and neither place seemed to charge more for bespoke designs than for the stuff already on their websites, so I was wondering if we could get away with a few key things from there and just one or two Wickes /Howdens type units for (eg) the dead corner/pull-out pantry. We want a fairly deconstructed look anyway so decoration isn’t going to cost much (I hope!). We have to strip all of the plaster off the walls to seal the bricks to stop them leaching salts through, so we may then just put up long shelves instead of upper cabinets. Maybe. Something like http://www.froufrugal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Kitchen-Remodel-After-Exposed-Brick-Wall-with-Plumbing-Pipe-Open-Shelves.jpg

        I have a feeling someone told me Howdens are known for having a big sale for stuff delivered in October, so that may be worth a look.

        We’ve just had a loft conversion done and went with a company who specialise and supposedly take all the stress out of the build but it didn’t really work out that way so for the kitchen we will be using the architect to project-manage and she already has four or five builders that she has worked with. It’s not a cheap option (I think it’s 10% of the build cost + VAT) but we genuinely want piece of mind this time. If we weren’t doing that I would only be going with word of mouth recommendations, even if they were backed-up busy.

    17. AliceBD*

      Haven’t read all the replies so sorry if this is repetitive. I personally rent but my parents majorly redid their kitchen when I was a kid and it was an incredible kitchen with a lot of useful features, so that’s what I’m working off of for ideas. They downsized a few years ago and the kitchen in their new house isn’t nearly as nice.

      For the corners at intersections of counters, where you can’t easily reach, they had a hinged door and a 2 tier lazy Susan with a notch cut out where the door went (there are plenty of pictures if you google “lazy Susan hinged door kitchen”.

      If you can swing it, cabinets/cupboards with drawers instead of shelves are the best of both worlds. They work very very well–hold lots of things but easy to get to all of it.

      The floor was vinyl in a tile pattern, and people who didn’t know thought it was tile. A big advantage of it was how easy it was to clean, as it was a smooth, flat surface instead of having grooves like tile would have where the grout is between tiles.

      I don’t know that you need a full-on warming drawer. One thing both sides of my extended family has always done is just warm up the plates, which keeps the food warm. This is easily accomplished by using a toaster oven, putting the plates on the (turned off) stove if the heat from the oven underneath rises, or using a plate warmer — we all have the kind that is like a long skinny electric blanket (again google to see what I’m talking about). The plate warmer is used with the fancy holiday china that I don’t think is microwave safe.

      A few hidden features my parent’s kitchen had:
      – The trash can was in a sliding drawer, which is fairly normal. The front of it had a notch cut out so you could slide open the drawer with your foot if your hands were full of something, which I don’t think is normal.
      – We had a counter come out from the wall, with the dishwasher and trash can on one side and seating on the other. On the end of it were what looked like just two nice decorative panels. These panels were actually drawers and opened up and there were shallow shelves just the right size to hold canned goods. It was an easy way to store canned goods so you could see them all.
      – One of the lazy Susan cabinets mentioned above was in the counter that stuck out. The opposite side of that cabinet was on the side where people sat. Again there were what looked like decorative panels but were actually doors so you could get to the backside of that lazy Susan cabinet. It was more just a “well, it doesn’t cost very much and is helpful if we need it, so why not?” kind of thing.
      – often underneath the sink there is a narrow panel before you get to the cabinet under the sink; the panel is where the sink is as there isn’t room there for a drawer. You can have the panel be on hinges to hinge outwards so you can store things like dishwashing gloves and sponges there. (looks like the thing to google to see an image is “sink front tip out tray”)

    18. Triplestep*

      Well, you’ve gotten some great advice, but I still have a couple of things to add: First, good for you for using an architect. I used to be a residential architect and so many people opt not to pay for design services, hardly anyone (in the US) can make a living at this anymore. (I joke that it will be my retirement job, and it might be, but I’m designing offices and labs in the meantime.) People watch HGTV and think all those perfectly planned details plan themselves!

      Anyway, at some point it is likely that you’re going to choose a place to purchase semi-custom kitchen cabinets – this is largely how these things are done these days. It might be a building supply company with a kitchen design section, or a stand-alone kitchen/bath designer. It might be a place you choose on your own, or maybe your architect or builder will steer you to a place they like dealing with. But the people there will carry certain brands, and those will be the cabinet line you’ll be choosing from. The differences usually amount to things like quality of construction, but the different cabinet lines might offer slightly different variations on sizes and accessories, too.

      Once you decide on your cabinet line (the designer will help you pick based on your budget typically) I suggest you go online and download the “spec guide” for the cabinets you’ll be purchasing. This guide is really for professionals, and there might be a lot of accessories that aren’t immediately obvious what they’re for. But you’ll get ideas for things like the size and style of the blind corner units folks have mentioned here, or cabinets that have hidden drawers inside, etc. It will give you a thumbnail drawing if you’re having trouble visualizing. If you’re choosing between two cabinet lines, downloading the spec guides might help you decide. One line might have more choices in widths, a door style you like better, etc.

      I would avoid going to a Home Depot or the like for cabinets. There is a high attrition rate in their designers, and you don’t usually get someone with a lot of experience there. That said, feel free to go to Home Depot and the like for cabinet accouterments and hardware. You’ll save money, and it’s often the same items you’d get from a kitchen design showroom.

      Lastly, I always tell people to plan a few electrical outlets *inside* the wall cabinets. I like to have a blender plugged in that lives in my upper cabinet. Some people charge flashlights, and other non-phone rechargeables. Might as well plan a phone charging station somewhere as well, for example if you have a part of the kitchen that’s more for open storage, cookbooks, etc. I also like to use “plug mold” up underneath the wall cabinets out of sight instead of power outlets that interrupt a pretty wall mosaic/backsplash over the counter.

      Good luck! It can be overwhelming, but it’s a fun problem to have!

  14. Fake old Converse shoes*

    Shoutout to the five (!) construction sites near home that start around 7.30. Even Saturdays. Why the hurry, guys? People aren’t desperate to move in. Well, they would be if those apartments weren’t that expensive. Or if they didn’t run only with electricity. Have those architects ever heard of power cuts? Or taken into account the new electricity fares?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      My first apartment had electric heat. The electric bill was the same amount as the rent. My landlord loved me because I always paid on time and in full. So when I wanted to move, he had me look at several of his places. They all had electric heat. No. Thanks. What are people thinking.

    2. Dan*

      Heh. When I was in college, they were doing construction next to my freshman dorm… the jackhammers were starting at 6am every morning… even during finals week.

  15. nep*

    Anyone work in audio and do tape syncs? I used to do radio reporting — been away from it for a long time. I’d like to learn how to do tape syncs and I’m thinking of finding a freelancer in my area who does them (via the great AIR website) and ask if I could shadow.

  16. Wheelyshoes*

    Is anyone else watching the roller derby world cup livestream? I know loads of people who’ve gone in person, and a couple of skaters/coaches/officials/volunteers, so every so often I just go “!!!!” at my laptop.

    1. Casuan*

      No, although now you have me interested to watch some roller derby. It sounds like you’re really enjoying it
      Have fun!!
      …& try not to be too hard on your laptop

      1. Officials' Anonymous*

        I’m here… and officiating the final tonight! Penalty box timing my 11th game of the weekend

  17. Valancy Snaith*

    My new year’s resolution wasn’t necessarily to read more, but to keep track of what I do read by actually writing the titles down (and to write in general). So far it’s making a fairly large difference in how I’m actually recalling the books I’ve read, instead of what normally happens, which is that I consume books like potato chips and don’t recall a ton about them afterwards.

    What are you reading? Any book recommendations? I recently finished The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House and I was honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Tons of details about how the families live and how the household staff handle things like tragedies and the changeover.

    1. soz*

      I use goodreads – their yearly challenge. It’s not worth backtracking what books you read before but I like tracking things – although i’m Not sure what I think of reading reviews – it can ruin a good book! Things like my favorate childhood books have some awful reviews! And i’m Really one who will read a book then a couple of months later go “ooh I should read that” then half way through realise I already have!

      Ooh! And i’ll put that whitehouse book next on my list. I’m mostly a non-fiction person.

      As for advice. Recently i’ve Read “men explain things to me” by Rebecca Solnit, or actually the best feminist book I’ve read for a while was Rober Webb’s “how not to be a boy”

      If feminism isn’t your thing then “the man who mistook his wife for a hat” is a good look at random mental illnesses through anecdotes. Or I love anything by Jon Ronson.

      I’m trying to think of fiction – anything Diana Wynne Jones or Terry pratchett. Such good writers!

    2. PhyllisB*

      Valancy, you might want to join Goodreads. It’s a wonderful website that has reading challenges, contests for books, and if you like, you can write reviews of the books you read. (Look for me if you join!!) The way the reading challenge works is you set a goal for how many books you think you can read in a year. I set 75 for mine because I read fast; but some set them as low as 20. Whatever you feel like. Then you start a book just enter the title and each day you can update your progress, or just enter when you finish. That’s when you can rate your book and add a review if you like. Sometimes I do reviews, but not always. Then the site keeps track of the books you read and you can check anytime to see how you’re doing in your challenge and see what books you’ve read. The last one can be a big help because there a lot of books with similar titles or even the exact same titles. I’ve enjoyed it, and have won a ton of books from them.

      1. K.*

        Thirding Goodreads and the reading challenge – but I always enter those “there’s a new contest for a book you’ve shelved!” contests and I never win! Hmph.

        Goodreads is great for me because many of my friends are readers and are also on Goodreads, so I’ve gotten some great next book ideas from what they’re reading.

        1. PhyllisB*

          Don’t give up, K!! It took me a while to start winning, but once I did I have won a bunch. Aside from the books I’ve shelved, if you look up at the top right hand of the page, you will see all giveaways. Click on that then you can choose ebooks giveaways, print giveaways or all giveaways. You can also narrow it down to only US giveaways (if you live in the US) there are four categories you can enter: Featured, Ending Soon, Most Popular, and Most Recent. Featured is only one page. The other categories can be 100 pages or more. I usually just do three pages of Ending Soon. On weekends I will do three pages of all of them. I don’t enter everyone obviously, just the ones I’m interested in that I know I can’t get at the library. Works great, I’ve been a member for three years now and have won over 50 books. Have already won 10 this year alone.

    3. Lady Jay*

      I already read a lot, around 40 or so books every year. This year I made it my goal to read more minority authors, especially more non-white authors, I just finished a mystery novel by Malla Nunn set in apartheid South Africa, which was enlightening and disturbing (and prompted me to re-watch District 9 last night.) Coming up in the queue I also have an Octavia Butler book, which looks equally unsettling; this will be my first Octavia Butler.

      Other than minority writers? I’ve got a book of political philosophy by Hannah Arendt going (On Revolution) and will likely do a re-read of A Fire Upon the Deep, which is fantastic (Vernor Vinge is terribly underrated as a sci-fi author). I will probably also pick back up Dante’s Divine Comedy as we come into the Easter season.

      I love Goodreads for the way it makes tracking books I want to read and books I have read very easy. If I had to keep track of this in my head, or on a piece of paper, the breadth and quality of books I’d be reading would probably go down a lot. I also find that the Goodreads reviews can give me a fairly good sense of whether I will enjoy any particular book.

      1. Cyclatrol*

        I’d like to respectfully disagree: Vernon Vinge is a great SF writer who is underrated by people who think the best science fiction always includes a character named Darth.

        While on the topic: I trust you’ve read _Inferno_ by Niven and Pournelle? It’s a hoot that is also a surprisingly deep, satisfying read.

        In related news: Netflix released _Altered Carbon_ this past Friday, and it’s like _Bladerunner_ mixed with _The Matrix_ and _Neuromancer_ – except that makes it sound unfairly derivative

        1. Lady Jay*

          Glad to hear a rec for Altered Carbon! I’ve been wondering if it’s worth watching.

          I haven’t read Niven yet, but I’ll check it out. When I say Vinge is underrated, I don’t mean that people seem to (unfairly) dislike his work, only that fewer people know about it. Dune gets talked about a lot, Asimov’s Foundation, etc, and Vinge is overlooked. I’ve only found a handful of people who know about his work, though they love it.

          1. Cyclatrol*

            It’s funny about science fiction: there’s sort’ve a ‘surface layer’ that many people are aware of (which is where you find Asimov, Frank Herbert / _Dune_, Ray Bradbury, maybe Robert Heinlein, etc). And then there’s a really huge mass of writers that are well-known amongst ‘fans’ (and I’m not certain that’s the correct word) and that’s where you see Vinge (and Greg Bear and Greg Egan and Greg Benford and Roger Zelazny and Ted Chiang and Frederik Pohl and Poul Anderson and Larry Niven and I’ll stop now) – but these folks don’t seem to be Household Names. That said, if you like Vinge, I think you have excellent taste :)

            It tickles me that in recent years Hollywood seems to be a lot more aware of these ‘hidden’ writers. For instance, _The Arrival_ was based on a Ted Chiang short story; _Altered Carbon_ is an adaptation of the book by Richard K. Morgan; the upcoming _Annihilation_ is taken from the Jeff VanderMeer novel; _True Blood_ from the novels by Charlaine Harris; _The Magicians_; _Game of Thrones_; I could go on but I’ll spare you. And, happily, we seem to be living in an era where television- and film-makers pay a lot of respect to the original source material. There was a time not so long ago when I’d hear about an upcoming movie adaptation of some work and it would cause me actual physical pain. But in recent years it seems like the entertainment biz usually gets it right. I don’t know *why* – but it makes me very happy.

            (FWIW, I’ve met Vinge and he’s everything you’d expect him to be).

    4. Torrance*

      My resolution was actually to read more. Ugh, I’ve been consuming the majority of my media content digitally lately and, aside from the occasional epic fanfiction, that hasn’t included as much reading as I would want. I’ve been rereading some of my favourites, trying to recapture that old magic that reading used to conjure up. (I like words, I’ve missed words.)

      I’m currently in the middle of House of Leaves (Mark Z. Danielewski). I love how much of a mindfudge it can be at times, especially when you pair it with his sister’s album, Haunted.

    5. PickyD*

      I love books! I track mine a few ways.
      – First, because I have a Kindle, I can easily see which books I’ve read by checking online on Amazon.
      – Second, I have a to-do app (Things 3 holla!) with a folder called “Read this!” I list them like this: “Lastname, Firstname: Title of the Book (Recommending person/site)” and then, if I saw the recommendation online, I copy/paste the description into the Notes field so I don’t forget why I wanted it. When I read it, I check off that book. It isn’t deleted; you can unhide your completed list and see the titles you’ve read easily.
      If you decide not to read the book after all — started and hated it, maybe — THEN you should delete it or, if you’re like me, edit it with “HATED!” before the title, then check it off so you never get tricked into trying that book again.
      You can also drag to reorder the books, which I do a lot as a book makes it way higher in the list. I curate it like a Netflix Queue. Not ever list app can do a manual reorder, so if that’s important for you, check to see that it’s available in the app you choose.
      NOTE: Things 3 is not free.
      – Third, I use eReaderIQ (a website) to keep an eye on all the Kindle books I want to read but which are currently too spendy* for me. The site is a little bit of flux right now, but still works perfectly fine for my purposes. When a Kindle title I’m waiting for reaches $3 or less, I get an email notification.
      Hint: To find a book you want to price-watch, just search for it in the main search bar, then add it to your list. Don’t bother doing it other ways; the current issues on the site makes that difficult, and it’s easier to use the search bar anyway.

      1. PickyD*

        I put an asterisk by “spendy,” which is a terrific word I learned when I moved to Minnesota 15 years ago. I can’t guarantee its precise meaning, but it’s usually used as a non-confrontational (perhaps passive-aggressive?) way to say something is expensive.

        Usage: “The Apple Watch seems a little spendy.” “Oh, Kemps Milk is too spendy for me.” “Isn’t that a spendy neighborhood?”

        Minnesotans, feel free to elaborate because I need this word in my life and want to use it correctly!

        1. Sylvan*


          My Southern family uses this. I don’t know where it came from, but yes, it’s like “too expensive” without implying the thing’s overpriced. Minnesotans, is this a thing for you?

        2. Not So NewReader*

          Not from Minnesota, but that is the way I have used the word. You got it. I never thought of it as passive-aggressive, though. I though of it as a wild understatement.

        3. Ktelzbeth*

          Native Minnesotan here. I think expensive can carry overtones of “not truly worth the price/overpriced,” whereas spendy simply means “I can’t afford it now.” It may also just be a sign of being particularly informal in conversation. I never had a passive-aggressive feeling.

    6. Cruciatus*

      I use Goodreads and also good old fashioned index cards. I use the card as my bookmark and then when I’m done I write the author, title, date, and what I thought of the book (usually things like “meh” or “very good!”) and then a brief description of it (sometimes I fail at this part) and I store them all by author in an index card box.

      Also, if you start reading a lot of series books, I recommend fictfact dot com. You can post the book you’ve read and it’ll tell you what the next book is (if it’s out yet) or they will send you an email about the publication date and title of the next book once it becomes available. So if you’re at the library or book store you can just get your phone out and check that site to see what you need to read next. It’s way more efficient than my previous way of doing it–keeping a list in a notebook and trying to remember to periodically go through to see what the next books were to add to my library hold list.

    7. SpiderLadyCEO*

      I have about 17 ways I keep track of things, for various reasons. I write books/author/date finished in my planner, so when I look through my planner and see what I’ve done, I can see all the books I read. I date and timestamp on Goodreads as part of their reading challenge and my ongoing digital record, and I also write them down on my printout of the Popsugar challenge.

      I do Popsugar every year with a group, and we all argue about what is valid and what is not valid, and it’s all great fun. It gets you to read a variety of books, not just the same types, and it also gets you to think about how your books could fit into other categories!

      For recommendations: I just finished Uprooted by Naomi Novik and A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. Both were brilliant, beautiful, smart fantasies, and I highly recommend. Uprooted is a standalone, and A Conjuring of Light is the third in a trilogy.

    8. kas*

      I can’t keep track of what I read either and often wonder how people can easily suggest books/remember the titles. I read two books last week and I can barely remember the titles or the authors.

    9. Cookie D'oh*

      I’ve been using the Overdrive app to get e-books from the library. It keeps track of what I’ve checked out. Here’s what I’ve recently read and enjoyed:

      The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
      Sourdough – Robin Sloan
      The Secrets She Keeps – Michael Robotham
      Midwives – Chris Bohjalian
      Close Enough To Touch – Colleen Oakley

    10. Tuna Casserole*

      I’ve set a goal to read 100 books in 2018. I read 7 in January, so I’m going to have to step it up a little. Since 2003, I’ve been keeping a reading list on an Excel spreadsheet. It helps me remember what I’ve read (so I don’t read 2 or 3 chapters then realise I’ve read it before) and I can look back and see which authors and genres I’ve enjoyed and then pick out more books.

      I just finished Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. An amazing book. My book club just did Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford which was also very good.

    11. RestlessRenegade*

      Another vote for Goodreads! I M a huge reader and a writer, and it helps with so much–cheese track of everything I have read, books I own, books I want to read. I follow people whose opinions I trust and whose tastes are similar to mine, and their reviews help me narrow down what I can realistically buy and read.

      For recommendations: earlier this month I read Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips, which is a thriller set inside a zoo. It was very hard to put down! I’m currently reading all the Twilight books for the first time ever, which is…interesting.

    12. The Other Dawn*

      Writing down what I’ve read is such a good idea! (Why the heck did I never think of that??) I read a lot and I have the same issue, that I don’t remember if I read a book or not, even after reading the synopsis.

      At the moment I’m trying to finish Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett (Century trilogy) so I can move on to A Column of Fire, also by Ken Follett and also part of a trilogy.

  18. Pollygrammer*

    Well, I sneezed while I was taking a casserole out of the oven and lost my grip. (Genius that I am, I was only using one oven mitt, so I couldn’t use my other hand to assist.) My reflexes decided the important thing was saving the food and not, you know, avoiding bare skin brushing against a 400 degree pan. This is all to say I now have a huge blistery burn on the side of my hand.

    What are your dumbest injuries?

    1. nep*

      Dropped a weight bench on my foot, not realising I was holding on to an adjustable part.
      Hope your burn will heal well and quickly.

    2. Don't Blame Me*

      Oh nooo. I’m always worried I’ll do something like this because I frequently one-hand it while taking things out of the oven.

      When I was in middle school my friend had a skating party at the local rink. I didn’t know how to skate. I tried to explain that to the rink people but their rule was that everyone in there had to wear skates, so I put them on. Then I had to go to the bathroom. There was this short ramp I had to go down to get to it and I thought I’d be fine if I rolled down it. Nope. Busted my butt on the hard floor, broke my tailbone and sprained my wrist. THEN they let me take the stupid skates off.

    3. CatCat*

      I broke my arm when I ran into a wall while playing racquetball. I didn’t slip, or trip, I literally just ran into the wall with my arm out.

      1. Caro in the UK*

        I did something very similar and snapped my wrist. When I explain it to people they always look at me like I’m some sort of loon… “You ran, into a wall? On purpose?” The shame!

      2. Middle School Teacher*

        A boy in my class ran into the wall during dodgeball. Grade 8 phys ed. Broke both his wrists. At the time we all thought it was hilarious (he did too. He was one of those cute popular boys and had girls falling all over themselves carrying his books).

      3. Phlox*

        I managed not to break anything but I did walk straight into a city wall – the old Greek city defense fortress kind that is very big and obvious. Pretty sure I was dehydrated.

    4. fposte*

      I was sitting on the floor with my legs extending under the front edge of a wooden sofa. Got up without pulling my legs out first. I almost broke my shinbone with the upward pressure against the sofa–I had a huge bruise that lasted forever.

    5. Book Lover*

      Ow ow ow! I hope you are ok :(. And I hope the casserole was good, though I assume it still ended up on the floor, actually? Poor you :(

      1. Book Lover*

        Oh, and I put a scalpel through my finger because I needed something sharp and had one handy and couldn’t be bothered to look for something else.

      2. Pollygrammer*

        Oh, the casserole was fine. Shows where my priorities are! :) And it turned out delicious. If I’d burned my hand and the food, I think I might be exclusively eating takeout for the rest of my life.

        1. LPUK*

          I am always burning myself in the kitchen- most recently on a casserole dish where I removed it fro. The oven using oven gloves… and then lifted the lid with my bare hand. Why? Luckily this is so frequent that I keep a bottle of burnjel right next to the oven, so slathered that all over my palm immediately and didn’t even blister. So yes, burnjel if you don’t already have it

    6. jack*

      I was a very clumsy child:

      – in kindergarten, I tripped over my shoelace and broke my chin open

      – I jammed a bike handle into my eye (no idea how)

      – closed my finer in a car door (5 stitches)

      1. Paquita*

        I had my fingers closed in a car door. I was in the back seat holding the edge of the frame talking to the person standing beside the car. They helpfully slammed the door when we finished, not realizing my hand was there. I calmly asked the girl in the front seat to open the door please. She was like ‘why?’ we are leaving. Uh, my hand is stuck! No stitches, just sore.

    7. Totally Minnie*

      I once sneezed so hard that I pulled a muscle in my rib cage. Try explaining that one to your boss when you’re calling in sick.

        1. SaraV*

          Same with throwing out back, but coughing. Luckily there was a Harry Potter marathon on TV that weekend as I laid flat in bed.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I read where sneezes can come out at 100 mph. This means if we try to suppress a sneeze we can break bones in our face/nose area.

    8. Middle School Teacher*

      As a kid I found a wasp on the ground, so being the doofus 11 year old I was, I decided to use a drinking glass (made of glass) to catch it and move it. I was carrying it up the back steps to the kitchen, tripped, dropped the glass (which broke) and fell on the glass. Four stitches in my forearm. Still have the scar.

      Also: the wasp was already dead, so I did all that for nothing.

    9. Overeducated*

      Ouch, I’m sorry! Hope it heals fast!

      I did something similar once. I was baking bread in a hot Dutch oven, had removed the lid and put it on the stove, and it started sliding off. Instead of just letting it fall, I grabbed the handle. I had a perfectly round burn across my palm for a while, and still remember the 2.5 hour drive I had to make right after with a quickly warming ice pack. It was 5 years ago. So I have so much sympathy for you!

      And on a smaller scale, I just tried to swallow Advil with a cup of hot cuffee. NO. BAD IDEA.

      1. Red Reader*

        I took a Dutch oven out of the oven and set it on the stovetop, turned away to do something else, and turned back and grabbed the handle of the ditch oven to hold it steady while I gave it a stir. Blisters all around the outside edge of my palm and across all four fingers, because the oven had been at 450.

    10. Seal*

      I have several:

      Caught my entire finger in a flat iron while straightening my hair. Had a huge, painful blister along the entire length of my finger that didn’t heal for several weeks.

      Cut my finger with scissors badly enough to need stitches – twice. My family jokes that I only get to use kindergarten safety scissors now.

      Stopped for a stop sign while biking on a street that ran alongside a rail line because there was a car coming. The part of the road where the rail line went across the intersection was not made of concrete like the rest of the road and was, as I discovered the hard way, very slippery. When I stopped, I put my biking shoe-clad foot down on the ground next to the rail. The next thing I knew, my bike and I were on the ground. The car I’d stopped for stopped to see if I was OK. Fortunately, nothing was hurt except my pride.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Hahahah, are you me?

        That reminds me of the time I burned my ear on the curling iron and had a big old scab. And the time I was walking down the street and tripped on my feet suddenly and fell on my face. A woman driving by stopped and yelled “ARE YOU ALL RIGHT?” Soooo embarrassing.

        As a kid, I also cut my finger with scissors, and once I walked so hard into my bedroom door I broke my glasses and gave myself a black eye.

    11. I like French braids*

      I gave myself whiplash at a concert. I cut off a chunk of skin on my finger with some not-very-sharp scissors at work. I broke my finger in middle school by getting it wrapped in a friends shirt. As he ran past I tried to grab him and just got tangled up. Just call me Grace!

    12. the gold digger*

      Slicing fennel with a mandoline after a 16-hour flight back from Dubai. After I had taken melatonin. Which apparently does not agree with me.

      So. Slicing fennel. And then slicing off the tip of my little finger.

      And? Then doing it AGAIN sober a few years later.

      I have a bizarre-looking little finger now.

    13. Turtlewings*

      My older sister: dislocated a rib running into a doorframe

      My younger sister: roller-skated into a wall and got a bruise on her chin that looked just like a soul patch

      My friend in kindergarten: ran into a tree and knocked out a tooth

      I: fell off a very tall seesaw (at the age of 18) and got huge black painful bruises all over my legs and hips and butt, could barely walk for a week.

    14. Alston*

      I fell off a pogo stick (at 25) and broke both wrists (8 or 9 bones)

      Healed up surprisingly well, but man it was a tough having both arms out of coming for a while.

    15. TL -*

      I have burned myself on a stove, on a freshly welded gate, on an autoclave, by mixing microwaved gelatin – that one was impressive; it burned my scalp.

      I have no sense of what is too hot to touch and frequently burn myself through carelessness.

    16. Wannabe Disney Princess*

      Sliced my finger open with a serrated knife.

      I use knives to open bags all the time. Well, after the Cubs won the World Series, I was tired the next morning. So. Instead of SMARTLY walking an extra few steps to grab the not serrated knife, I grabbed the serrated one that was right there. Then proceeded to hold the bag with my finger right in the line of fire. I even thought to myself, “Well. This is stupid.”. Sure enough. Knife slipped. BAM. I’m living a mild version of the Knights Who Say Ni.

      Had to get stitches and everything. Now, I’ve lost feeling in that part of my finger.

    17. D.W.*

      I was cooking and I had just turned one of the burners on my gas stovetop off. I mittened my hand to move to the pot onto a towel and took the same mittened hand to remove the burner cover. I removed all other burner covers as well (which were not hot).

      I removed the oven mitt and cleaned the stovetop. I replaced the burner covers, by without an oven mitt, and when I grabbed the hot burner cover and burned my hand. There was a nice cross-cross burn make on my palm for a long time.

    18. NoMoreMrFixit*

      I’ve got a couple of beauties that I laugh about now but were not funny at the time.

      1. Noticed a repair tech left his soldering iron behind after a service call. I picked it up to put behind the counter. Unfortunately I was distracted and picked it up by the tip. While it was still plugged in and had been sitting there for 15 minutes.

      2. Working in the backyard setting patio stones in place. 3×3. Big ones. Heavy. Especially when it slipped out of my hands and came down directly on my big toe. Managed to not break my foot but badly bruised and it was swollen up instantly. Worst part was I was an organist at the time. Trying to play with a smashed toe was an exercise in pain I never want to experience again.

    19. Oh so anon for this one*

      Going anon here because I have friends who read this blog and this story is pretty unique…

      You know how your parents would ask you “if your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?” It’s me. I’m why they ask you that. My friends landed in soft dirt and were all fine, but I happened to land on a large rock and ended up coming down kind of sideways on my ankle. It needed surgery, which I couldn’t afford as a 19 year old fast food worker/college student, so it still gives me trouble to this day almost 20 years later.

    20. Suzy Sunshine*

      I tripped on a branch while running and punched myself in the chin as I fell down. It looked like I had been in a bar fight!

      I once stopped to talk to someone, while I was walking through a door and put my hand on the doorframe, forgetting that the heavy metal door was self-closing. My finger was purple for weeks afterward.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Oh God, I did that doorframe thing at the bowling alley, when our gym class went bowling. It cut the crap out of my finger and I couldn’t bowl! Which was okay with me; I just ate bacon-flavored crisps and played pinball the entire time.

    21. Lily Evans*

      I once rolled my ankle because a marathon of America’s Next Top Model convinced me it would be a good idea to learn to walk in heels and I tripped over a cat toy while I was practicing.

      1. WonderingHowIGotHere*

        I once twisted my ankle during… um… “no clothes fun times” with the hubby. We’re not that adventurous, I just got my foot caught in the duvet in an attempt not to fall out of bed.

        1. Lily Evans*

          Ankles are just so easy to twist wrong. I just remembered another time that I hurt my ankle by falling out of a restaurant booth. It was one of those slightly raised tables, but no alcohol was involved because this was during high school. I limped for weeks (and honestly should have seen a doctor probably).

        2. Stephanie*

          Seconding Lily Evans. I had a sprained for like six weeks…all because I happened to step off a curb incorrectly. You roll it the wrong way and you can be limping forever.

          1. Damn it, Hardison!*

            Yeah, that’s how I ended up in an air cast for 2 months. And how I got together with my husband, so it wasn’t all bad. We were casual acquaintances and I ran into him on the street also in a air cast, and we commiserated.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            Oh hell yes. When I first started skating, I fell and got the heel of my blade caught. I thought I’d broken my ankle. I didn’t–I was back on the ice two weeks later–but it swelled up like a doughnut and turned black. SO GROSS.

          3. Windchime*

            If I remember correctly, this is how Alison broke her ankle a few years ago. Stepping off a curb..

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Falling backwards off a curb in flip flops :)

              Foot, not ankle. It’s still not 100% recovered and probably will never be (it was a particularly bad injury). I swore off flip flops for a while, but now they have crept back in. But I’m more careful around curbs!

        3. Anonymom*

          I broke my husband’s rib during “no clothes fun time.” He is rather slender, and I was very pregnant and sort of leapt upon him. Totally embarrassing for both of us!

    22. Yetanotherjennifer*

      My most recent was I hurt my back jumping on a trampoline at one of those indoor trampoline parks. I thought I was being brave in trying something new and different, but it turns out those trampolines are extra springy and I wrenched something after only a minute of very gentle bouncing. I also have a scar on my thigh from using a box cutter to open a microwave meal while it was on my lap.

    23. many bells down*

      I once slipped on a banana peel. Ass over teakettle, onto concrete. Plus, I nearly gave my best friend a hernia because she laughed so hard at me.

      Once I tripped over a laundry basket I’d left on the floor and fell into it.

      And once I walked face-first into the edge of the open shower door, which gave me a big line on my face and a black eye. And you can’t tell people “no, really, I walked into a door” without them thinking you need an intervention.

      1. Natalie*

        Useless trivia: the cartoon/comedy trope of slipping on a banana peels comes from vaudeville, where it was a trope as well. And the vaudeville trope comes from real life. In the latter half of the 19th century, as imported fruit like bananas became more widely available in big cities like New York, it combined terribly with the standard custom of just throwing your garbage on the ground. Banana peels actually become slippery as they rot, so slipping on a banana peel was a real thing.

        I’ve done it too, although luckily on asphalt so it didn’t slip far.

      2. Southernbelle*

        I once fell off a folding chair (don’t stand on the edge of a folding chair, self!!) and got asked four times by the allergy nurses if I needed to talk to someone about my husband? Did I feel safe? No, really, nurse, I fell off a chair and whacked myself on another chair. Why? Oh, I was trying to hang a gourd in my sukkah…

    24. Nancie*

      Recently, it was standing up very suddenly and seemingly with all my strength, after cleaning the litter boxes. When the litter boxes live under the stairs and have for no less than 12 years.

      I’m pretty sure I managed a minor concussion with that maneuver.

      1. Lore*

        I did that into a cupboard that’s above and next to my desk. Always there yet somehow I stood up into it with such force that I gashed my scalp open. Which I didn’t realize till I looked down and saw the trail of blood. No concussion but blood everywhere!

    25. anon24*

      I was getting into my car and smacked the side of my head into the roof. I saw stars and then everything went black for a second until the door slammed into the other side of my head. A week later I finally went to the ER and found out I had a nice concussion :)

    26. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I tripped over the edge of a rug and gave myself whiplash – go to the emergency room, get a neck stabilizer, and lots of pain killers whiplash. Oh, and last year I put my hand down on my glass stove top (oh, how I loathe it) right where my husband had just been cooking. My fingerprints were seared into the cooktop. After 5 hours with many ice packs I had to go to the emergency room for topical pain relief cream and a bunch of Percocet. Surprisingly, only second degree burns, so no blistering, but the unrelenting pain was horrible. It was a good three days before they stopped stinging.

    27. Mimmy*

      Oooh owwww!!! I hope your burn heals quickly!

      Geez, where do I begin with my dumb injuries?? I am very clumsy, probably due to a lack of depth perception, I am always slipping, tripping, bumping into things or otherwise leaving a mark of some kind on myself. My knees have probably gotten it the most.

      My dumbest injuries, however, are the two times I sprained my ankle in middle school:
      1. Dancing to an MTV music video – I wasn’t even doing anything fancy; I think I’d just landed wrong.

      2. I did the long jump as part of track-and-field, and twisted my ankle just stepping out of the jump pit. No fricken idea how I managed that.

      By the way, ya’ll are making me both cringe and giggle at your stories!

      1. Daisy*

        Ha ha ha! This totally sounds like me :) I also find random bruises all the time and have no idea how they happened.

        My funniest injury has to be the time I was walking through a car park with a friend of mine, got distracted by talking (regular occurrence), slipped on a wet patch (it had been raining) and went face first into the tail light of a parked car. The car was fine, my front tooth was not. I went 3 days with a jagged, half tooth until I could get to the dentist to fix it. The funniest part was the total silence right after it happened when my friend and I just stared at each other until I spat half my tooth into my hand.

    28. Middle School Teacher*

      Also, in September 2016 I burned my arm on the iron. I had a nice triangular burn for a couple of months. Still have the scar for that too!

      1. Damn it, Hardison!*

        That reminds me of the time I burned my arm on an iron, covered it with a large gauze patch and tape, and then a few days later ripped the bandage off, leaving a huge bruise surrounding the burn.

    29. SaraV*

      I was lying on my side on the couch watching TV. Husband was on his way back from picking up food from a drive-thru. In front of the couch, near my feet, was a small, very portable side table we had, and then on top of that was one of our taller drinking glasses. My husband got home and gently kicked at the door to let him in (since he had full hands).

      I start to sit up with my eyes and body still facing the TV, but start lifting my leg up in a way so that I don’t knock the glass or table over…did I mention I’m 6′ with abnormally long thighs?

      I kneed myself in the eye.

      I yelped “Ow!”, and then just started laughing at the absurdity of it all…while my husband stands on the other side of the door, wondering what the heck is going on. I dunno if my husband believed me at first that I had done that to myself.

      I have to admit…I was scared I was going to have a black eye and having to explain how that happened. Luckily, no black eye.

    30. Sylvan*

      Oh no! Those huge burns seem like they would be so painful.

      About once a year, I tap my right wrist on a heated oven rack. Every time, I think I’ll be very careful and never do it again.

      The quarter-sized collection of little burn scars on my wrist says: No, you’ll be careful, and then you’ll get cocky and think you can reach into the oven without playing oven-racks-are-made-of-lava.

    31. Stormy*

      Got stuck in the bedsheet, got angry in my grogginess, yanked the sheet like hell, punched myself in the face.

    32. Notthemomma*

      In college i had a heavy rolling, solid wood closet door that I swung shut and broke my left middle finger. Blood swelled up under the nail too, it was a mess!! So with my two middle fingers taped in bright white bandage tape, I had to hold my hand fingers up to keep it from throbbing.

      Two weeks of giving everyone including professors, boss, coworkers the finger.

    33. anon24*

      I read this list to my husband and he asked that I add his dumb injury. Earlier this week he was using a screwdriver as a pry bar and it slipped and the handle smacked him above his eye and split his eyebrow open.

    34. kas*

      I’m not accident prone so the only scar I think I have involved the oven. I was taking food out of the oven and turned my head to look at something and my arm hit the top of the oven. It’s been about 10 years and I still have the scar.

    35. First time buyer*

      I broke my leg falling over a soccer ball.
      I broke my thumb swimming
      I split my head open getting into bed
      I broke my big toe falling off a bike

    36. First time buyer*

      There was a guy called Brian Harvey from a band called east 17. He ran himself over with his own car while he was driving it.

    37. Cruciatus*

      Some of these are just unlucky accidents, some were dumb accidents.
      -Ski pole through my upper leg when I was 7 (was very lucky).
      -Chipped all my front teeth by kneeling on a skateboard and when it hit the floor of the garage I just went down, teeth first. I had only had my adult teeth for a short while and to this day I wonder what I would look like with my full-sized teeth.
      -Broke my arm when another kid ran over it with a sort of tricycle in preschool. Don’t remember what I was even doing at the time to cause this.
      -Fractured toes in multiple ways. One was “surfing” down a metal slide and I hit the rock/sand stuff the wrong way. Another time I slipped on the tile in the humid downstairs and slide my foot into the weight bench.
      -Had a roommate who for God knows what reason stored baking sheets in the oven. I had preheated the oven and went to put in my thing and realized the sheet was in there and just…grabbed it. Ouch.
      -I have a habit of opening and closing a door with the same hand and some wind must have helped slam the door faster than usual and it slammed on my finger. I then did the same exact thing with the same finger hours later. OMG.
      -Was playing Frisbee in a backyard and fell over the bricks that mark where the stairwell going down to the lower level of the house was. Pretty much fell face first (I guess I must have a pretty tough face with all the trauma I’ve caused it) about 5 feet. But, caught the Frisbee.
      Most of these were when I was younger than 10, but not all. I’ve grown out of the unlucky accident prone stuff a bit, but still have my dumb injuries on occasion. And these are just the highlights.

    38. Stephanie*

      Some (ok, a lot) of alcohol was involved in this: I got home fine, tripped and fell on the floor. I had hardwood floors and my front teeth hit the hardwood. No chips or anything…but one of my front teeth starting turning gray. Yup…I needed a root canal. The root canal ended up not being that bad, but I was kind of self-conscious for a while that my front teeth weren’t the same color. I think it’s just something only I see–I’ve pointed out to people in this big moment of vulnerability like “I’M SO SELF CONSCIOUS ABOUT MY TEETH” and everyone is like “I have no clue what you’re talking about.”

    39. Regular going anon for this...*

      Um, not an injury, per se, but an embarrassing mishap. I was visiting my close friend and his boyfriend and I unexpectedly started my period. Two men living together…there were no feminine products in the house. So I figured I would just make do and make a makeshift tampon out of toilet paper (sigh, you may see where this is going).

      My friend had to go to work, so I was going to hang out with his boyfriend for the afternoon. I’m like “I need to stop by CVS.” I get some replacement tampons and then go to swap out the makeshift one. Well, since it was toilet paper, it ripped and I couldn’t get the other half out. I come out the bathroom like “I need to go to urgent care.” “Um, are you okay? Do you need to go the ER?” I’m like “Ummmm, no. But urgent care sooner rather than later.” I could tell he was getting concerned, so I just gave up and sort of said what happened (high-level). I should point out…we had just met like three days ago. He laughed like “Oh God, I’m sorry. But I’m glad it wasn’t something worse.”

      So we went to urgent care and just kind of hung out and chatted while I waited. In the waiting room, he was like “Well, this is a hilarious origin story to our friendship.”

    40. Lujessmin*

      Slipped on a throw rug as I was racing from my bedroom to my front porch to find out why my cat was screaming (another cat just outside the enclosed front porch). Cracked a bone near my elbow. Hurt like the dickens.

    41. Fiddlesticks*

      Gave myself a HORRENDOUS burn from a big splash of bacon fat while cooking hungover brunch. Had to have my entire left forearm wrapped aggressively, and spent the next few weeks getting pulled aside by various coworkers trying to oh-so-sensitively ask me if everything was okay. I was torn between being touched by their concern and enjoying the mixed embarrassment and you-gotta-laugh feeling from having to say, “Thank you so much for your concern but I just burned the crap outta myself trying to cook bacon.”

    42. Minta*

      Was ironing a complicated piece of clothing that kept wanting to slip off the ironing board. Had to keep ironing tiny folds, which meant picking up the iron, putting it down, moving from one side of the board to the other. Was holding the garment in place with my right hand and reached for the iron with my left without looking. Grabbed the hot plate instead of the handle. :-|

    43. Emily*

      In kindergarten I ran into the jungle gym (just…was not paying enough attention to where I was going) and bruised a tooth.

      Recently, I hit myself in the face with a car door.

      1. Paquita*

        Ooh I hit myself in the face with a hoe handle. Playing in the neighbors yard, stepped on the blade part, handle popped up and whap! Neighbor’s father saw the whole thing and just laughed.

        1. Emily*

          Oh, ouch! That sounds unpleasant (and also a little bit cartoon-ish, like slipping on a banana peel).

    44. Tris Prior*

      At my retail job a few years ago, ran face-first into a display rack and gave myself a nasty black eye (which was actually RED to start with, so that was lovely). I was working alone, DESPERATELY had to pee, but the store was full of customers, so I couldn’t leave. As soon as the last customer left I bolted for the ladies’ without looking where I was going.

      Sprained ankle landing wrong after a cartwheel, as a kid. Sprained same ankle tripping over a curb in my early 20s. Damn ankle STILL gives me trouble.

      Grabbed a canning ring that was sitting on my stove, with bare hands. Didn’t realize that it was hot from being next to the burner. Got blistering burn on my fingers.

      Was hand-washing a glass, with my hand holding the sponge totally inside it. Glass had a crack in it that I didn’t see, and shatters with my hand inside it. I probably should’ve gotten stitches, or at least had it looked at, but I neosporin’ed the hell out of it and wrapped it up. The scar’s finally starting to fade, 20 or so years later…

    45. KayEss*

      Thankfully didn’t result in injury, but the dumbest thing I ever did that conceivably could have killed me was trying to change a lightbulb in an outdoor post light at my parents’ house… the dead bulb broke off when I tried to remove it, and I just kind of stared at the still-socketed base and tried to remember my high school physics lessons about electricity. Looked up and down the deserted suburban street and thought, “Well, what’s the worst that could happen if I just poked the exposed filament to see if it’s getting current?” (Death or serious injury, with no one around to call for aid.)

      Poked it and got a bright little zap. Slunk back inside in shame.

    46. Introverted introvert*

      It was junior high and I was standing with my legs crossed and literally fell over, flat on my face. It was the morning and we were waiting to go inside, so everyone saw it and laughed. I swear someone bumped into me from behind and knocked me over, but I can’t prove it. It hurt and was majorly embarrassing.

    47. Elizabeth West*

      Owwww burns are the worst! :{

      I laid my eyebrow open when the door of a phone booth I was in got stuck and wouldn’t open. The booth was in my college apartment complex parking lot. I pulled on it really hard and it flew off the track and bashed into my face. An elderly couple were in their car outside, and when I staggered all bloody out of the booth, they took off like the Hound of the Baskervilles was on their heels. Thanks for your help, folks!

      I went to my apartment and got a towel and then went to the office to report it. The maintenance man took me to the emergency room to get stitches. The phone booth door had been only semi-operative for weeks, and they’d called the phone company several times, but nobody ever fixed it. I wrote the phone company a letter and they paid my entire ER bill and took the booth out and replaced it with a stand-alone pay phone on a pole.

      Oh yeah, and this was two days before the opening of a play I was in. My director took one look at my bandaged eyebrow and shrieked, “WHY COULD YOU NOT DO THIS AFTER WE CLOSED!?!” LOL

      1. Elizabeth West*

        OH YEAH how could I forget this one?

        Small glass bowl on the floor near the bottom cabinet that we fed the kitties treats in. We’d been told to pick it up. We didn’t.
        Running into the room on a just-mopped linoleum floor to answer the phone.
        Foot slammed the bowl into the side of the cabinet, breaking it, and cut the sole of my foot and between my big and second toes wide open. As in, you could see inside my foot.
        It was my mum on the phone; I grabbed a kitchen towel, wrapped it around, answered the phone, and said, “Come home now, I’m bleeding!”

        Guess who was on crutches for her senior prom and graduation? Yep, this girl.

    48. Mimmy*

      Actually, I just remembered my most recent dumb injury, which actually could’ve been serious:

      Back in early November, I was running to the bathroom, and my pajama bottoms weren’t fully pulled up. Slipped on the floor and fell head first. Instantly got a GIANT goose egg and the resulting bump is still there (much, much smaller and not even visible, but it’s still a bit uncomfortable). I also got horribly black eyes that lasted for a couple of weeks. Amazingly, only a couple of people at work noticed and didn’t make it a big deal – I was waiting for someone to get all panicky and send me home or urge me to get medical attention.

      I did go to my primary doctor when the bump hadn’t gone down after a couple of weeks, but in hindsight, I wish I’d asked for an x-ray–I wouldn’t be surprised if I gave myself a hairline skull fracture.

    49. Ktelzbeth*

      Early in triathlon season, a season I escaped with no other injuries (that year). I broke my pinkie toe kicking the leg of a bench in the gym locker room.

    50. Colette*

      I broke my ankle in 2016, and finally was close to the end of physio – I got the “you’re doing well, let’s go 3 months between visits and then we’ll discharge you”. 12 hours later, I sprained my ankle while standing still. (Some snow collapsed under me and I rolled it.)

    51. blackcat*

      I once did something very similar, but worse. Pan slipped, I GRABBED THE PAN WITH THE PALM OF MY HAND and held tight, neatly placing the pan down before realizing that the burning smell was not the food. It was my flesh.

      I burnt a hole in my hand. I could see the singed tendons, uncovered, surrounded by a ring of blackened flesh. Somehow my fingers escaped mostly unharmed, with second degree burns, but the palm was straight up third degree burnt to the core.

      I have never been in pain like that before. Went to the doctor. Was told that it was just going to hurt like a mofo for weeks. I couldn’t sleep because of the pain. I came to understand why they put patients in burn units in medically induced comas. And changing my bandages made me want to puke, half due to pain and half due to SEEING THE INSIDE OF MY HAND. Ewwwwww. (in retrospect, I am super cranky that my medical care did not involve either pain pills or a follow up. Basically, I was given a sheet on wound care and signs of infection and sent on my way. Oh, and they told me to drink gatorade and a ton of water since burns leak tons of fluid.)

      On the plus side, the healed super well and I barely have a scar (rubbing and stretching the flesh as it heals HURTS but really helps). But damn, that was stupid. And gross. Really gross.

    52. blaise zamboni*

      I used a dolly to move some heavy bags of soil, but I guess forgot how dollies work, so I was kinda bent over the dolly and setting the soil down…yeah, gravity took over and the handle of the dolly smacked me square in the middle of my forehead. My only concussion in adult life, and it left a goose-egg with circular ridges from the handle. Very becoming.

      There was also the time that I tried to drag a boyfriend out of my bed (playfully in the morning, he had ‘pushed’ me out first to make breakfast). It was summer so there was a fan set up on the ground facing the bed, and me squared away in front of it tugging with all of my might. My sweaty hands eventually just slipped right off of him and I crashed ass-first into the fan, and couldn’t sit right for the rest of the day.

      My dumbest, and worst, injury happened while playing a too-competitive round of Slap (aka Egyptian Ratscrew–a card game where slapping the stack of cards can give an advantage). A friend and I both slapped at the same time, so quickly that the actual train of events is fuzzy, but the end result was definitely that ~60% of my middle fingernail bent back over itself. I remember feeling very serene while I pushed the nail back into place and bandaged it, and then I absolutely fell apart. Even now, 8 years later, I can feel little phantom pains when I think of it. That was some of the sharpest pain of my life.

      1. Lady Jay*

        Whoo, I did something like the dolly injury! I was demonstrating the butterfly stroke to my parents in a public pool, brought my arms up and around for a new stroke, and as I came down – bashed my forehead against the concrete side of the pool.

        Somehow it didn’t even break skin, but it hurt so bad.

        I haven’t been very enthusiastic about perfecting the butterfly since then.

    53. Lady Jay*

      I tried to chop green onions on my hand (I guess I thought they were soft enough, like bananas, and I could just stop when I got through? It was not a well thought-through decision!) and sliced into my forefinger. Blood *everywhere* but thankfully the wound wasn’t too deep; a Band-Aid was sufficient.

      I broke my pinkie when my childhood horse ran me under a tree. He spooked (he was afraid of plastic bags and one was bouncing about in his line of sight), darted off suddenly, and ran under the pear tree on our yard; it’s lowest branches are maybe 3ish feet high? I was flattened against his back, over the top of the saddle, and while I didn’t fall off, my nose and pinkie were damaged. We were initially more worried about the nose, but it wasn’t a problem. Yet to this day I cannot fully bend or straighten my right pinkie finger.

    54. S’mores Poptarts Are The Best*

      Burnt my hand karate chopping my pop tart.

      The school nurse really did try not to laugh at me.

    55. Blue Eagle*

      Haven’t read the comments, but the best way to immediately reduce a heat-caused blister is to keep a big jar of pickle juice in your refrigerator and immediately immerse the blistered area in the cold pickle juice for about a half an hour. It works wonders. In high school I worked at a hamburger joint and did something stupid that resulted in a hot grease burn all along my fore-arm. My co-worker immediately got the 5 gallon bucket of sliced pickles out of the back frig and immersed my fore-arm in the bucket. Took it out about 20 minutes later and the blister reduced to nothing – no scar, no evidence of blister, no nothing. Have used pickle juice over the years on various burns for other people too with good results.

      NOTE: room temperature pickle juice does not work, it must be cold.

    56. LAM*

      My phone charger ended up underneath me when I was sitting on the bed. I lifted myself up to pull the cord out, lost my balance and smashed my face into the window sill. Ended up with a black eye and a broken nose. The bruising took almost two weeks to fade. Luckily I was out on PTO for that first week anyways, so when I returned to work it was light enough to cover with make up.

      I also once accidentally set a wooden chopstick on a oven burner that was still on. Instinct said to snatch the chopstick off the burner with my hand, grabbing it in the middle that was on the burner. My thumb turned black on the side.

    57. Ellen Ripley*

      Oh man, so many. When recovering from pneumonia I pulled muscles in my back coughing, and burst the blood vessels in my eyes doing the same. Also got red eye from puking with a particularly bad case of stomach flu (probably norovirus). Burns from the stove, the oven, and hot containers. I always seem to do something ill advised when I do hot water bath canning. When I was in college I took a class in making scientific glassware and scorched the heck out of my fingertips even though I was wearing protective gloves; they’ve never really been the same. When I was a teenager, tore a gash through the inside of my forearm with a nail head that was hanging inside my closet for hanging scarves or something; I still have a visible scar many years later. Caught a window fan that was falling out of a window and opened up the side of my knuckle on my index finger; that scar is still visible too.

      The injury that impacted me the most, and that was completely my own fault, was when I fell during a bootcamp class – we were running in pairs with an exercise band between our torsos, the trailing person trying to slow down the leading person. Somehow I tripped and landed first straight on my knee. No joint damage as it turned out, but so much swelling and bruising that it took me basically a month to get back to normal. I managed to drive home before the swelling got too bad, which was good because it swelled up so much around the knee that I couldn’t bend my leg for the first few days and needed assistance to get up and down the stairs. Then a couple weeks of the most epic bruising I’ve ever seen in my life, all the colors of the rainbow.

    58. C*

      I once broke my ankle getting out of bed in the morning. Literally the first step I took broke my ankle because my ankle had partially dislocated during the night (connective tissue disorder).

    59. Jules the First*

      Well, there was the day I gave myself a second-degree concussion walking into a lamp post (I was trying to identify a duck…)…on my way home from the stables. So I had to do the walk of shame into ER in riding gear, explain that I had hit my head, and then the ER doc insisted on seeing my riding helmet (to see how much damage I might have done). So now I had to confess that my helmet was undamaged because I was nowhere near a horse when the concussion happened. ER doc gave me strict instructions on concussion care, wrote me a note to book me off work for the next few days (I do nothing by halves when it comes to klutzhood), and then handed back my pristine helmet with a deadpan suggestion that I consider wearing it more often.

      Or there’s the day that I broke both big toes in ten minutes by getting them caught in the doors of a city bus at subsequent stops (note to self…when the left hand back door on the bus opens inward, so does the right hand one….)

      Or heck, just this morning, I lost my balance in a yoga class (just a simple downward dog, people!) and dislocated my left thumb. (Plus a few bruises and a smashed nail…)

      Klutzes the world over feel your pain (both physical and humiliational…)

    60. gwar*

      So, I have a scar on my right hand. I told everyone I burned myself on my bedside lamp (repurposed halogen desk lamp) reaching absentmindedly for a bottle of water.
      I was actually waving my arms around pretending to be an underwater model while watching a video on Buzzfeed.

  19. harley*

    Hi everyone! I just wanted to give an update on the whole dog situation, now that Sam’s had a chance to settle in! There were a few hiccups over the last week or so, like getting him used to being crated (the shelter didn’t know if he’d ever been in one before, but I left him gated in the kitchen one day and he basically Tazmanian Deviled it, including ruining a full Costco pack of toilet paper by shredding and dumping the rolls in the water dishes, I was actually a little impressed by how thorough the destruction was) and general pack order stuff. Plus, no, you can’t use my bed as a springboard to tackle your new sister from halfway across the room, she will give you what for and I won’t feel sorry for you. I think he’s a little younger than two, he’s got a lot of puppy behaviors going on and his teeth still have those ridges. But all in all, it continues to be wonderful. :) He’s put on weight and patrols the fenceline alongside Winona (aka Little Miss Neuroses) and it turns out he IS housebroken. He sleeps on the bed now, he’s an aggressively persistent cuddler at night, and I didn’t realize how much I missed having a dog who liked that kind of thing, since Winona’s the kind who’ll give kisses and then settle in at the foot of the mattress, and I haven’t experienced it since my first dog passed. They continue to play all day every day, and Winona has gone from pacing and crying and wailing at everything to generally sounding like a friendly leafblower — I think maybe it’s a German Shepherd thing, but that girl is LOUD. I have pictures, naturally:

    Sam posing like the most refined dog in the land: https://instagram.fsnc1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/vp/26183568_1547801368660939_2615369061579620352_n.jpg

    The two of them sharing my bed: https://instagram.fsnc1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/vp/26264287_2076914619262255_5879954075268677632_n.jpg

    And the two of them sharing WInona’s bed: https://instagram.fsnc1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/vp/26872322_329398394233154_298531168016400384_n.jpg

  20. Rental fun*

    We just moved into our rental house. In the middle of the house is the stairwell to the basement. There’s a door at the bottom, but not at the top, and cold air is rolling up! The doorway opens into a small hallway. Our heating bill is going to be insane! Any ideas on how to ameliorate this?

    1. Pollygrammer*

      De-draft the downstairs door as much as possible. Maybe hanging a thick curtain over the upstairs doorway would help, at least a little? Blackout curtains do wonders for the drafts from my single-pane windows.

      1. Parenthetically*

        Yep, we did a heavy wooly blanket on a tension rod over the doorway when I was a kid. Made an incredible difference. Weather stripping around the lower door, heavy curtain in the upper doorway should do the trick.

    2. Natalie*

      Could you put up a heavy curtain that blocks the doorway? That’s what restaurants without alcoves here do in the winter.

      1. fposte*

        Yes, that’s what I had in my old apartment, too, in a similar stairway situation. You can just put up a tension rod at the top of the stairway if there’s an issue with screwing in brackets.

        1. the gold digger*

          That’s what we used to do in the basement when we watched TV. There is a door at the top of the stairs but not at the bottom. We put a tension rod in the downstairs door and threw a blanket over it so all the heat from the space heater didn’t float away.

          Now I just drape the blanket over the space heater and myself. I stay all toasty and the cats love the spa. Anytime they hear me turn on the TV, they run downstairs and fight over who gets to sit on top of the blanket-covered space heater.

      2. HannahS*

        Yeah, I was just going to say that. In an absolute pinch, you could also just nail a blanket over the doorway.

    3. I like French braids*

      Maybe you can put weather stripping around the door and frame. It’s very cheap at Lowe’s or Home Depot. And a heavy curtain at the top of the stairs.

    4. Lynn*

      Weatherstripping around the basement door, and if it’s just a regular hollow core door, hang an insulating curtain over it too. Then another curtain at the top of the stairs. If that’s still not enough, you can hang tapestries or curtains down the sides of the stairwell (this was the thing that finally helped in one rental where it was an old school uninsulated cellar down there).

    5. Damn it, Hardison!*

      If the cold air seems to be coming from a gap at the bottom of the door, look for a draft protector at a home repair store (like Home Depot or Lowes) or on Amazon. It’s a tube-shaped thing that you put up against the bottom of the door to stop drafts. A rolled up towel can do the trick too.

    6. Stephanie*

      I made a choking noise when I got last month’s heating bill. I flew to Europe from the East Coast for only slightly less. :(

      (I live in a schemdium apartment, btw.)

    7. Windchime*

      I second the idea of the tension rod at the top of the stairs. My old house had partially-finished but unheated basement and there was no door at either end of the staircase. We installed a baseboard heater in the basement, but then we also hung a heavy curtain at the top of the stairs and that made a huge difference.

  21. Overeducated*

    I don’t have the official flu (I assume), but my kid brought home some kind of virus from day care last week and I am STILL sick enough to be missing work and being home by myself while my husband takes the kid somewhere fun. At what point do you go to the doctor to make sure it isn’t turning into some kind of infection? A week? Ten days? Two weeks? (Don’t get me started on how high deductible health insurance plans change that calculation….)

    This is the sickest winter I can remember having in many years. Have others been getting sick repeatedly as well? Is this bad luck or a larger trend?

    1. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

      I usually wait about a week to ten days for things to get better on their own and then consider going to the doctor.

      I don’t know if it’s a larger trend (other than the flu vaccine not aligning well with the flu virus that became prevalent), but I was sick all of October and again for two weeks over December/January, so it’s definitely the sickest I’ve been in years. Ugh.

      1. Overeducated*

        You’ve been hit too and we’re not even in the same country! I’m sorry, hope rest of winter is healthier.

    2. Laura H*

      The Crud (any number of various ick with coughs, noses to blow and sneezes to sneeze) is also rampant.

      I go to the doc as soon as I can, lest the snot monster become something else. Or if I can’t decisively say “cold or allergies”.

      Good luck and rest up.

      1. Overeducated*

        Thanks. There are many varieties of Crud this year, I think. Enough that the only mildly to moderately sick are being told to stay out of doctor’s offices on case they get exposed to worse!

    3. Book Lover*

      There isn’t anything that can be done about a virus except rest, Tylenol, fluids. I would go in if you think you are developing a sinus infection (even then usually wait two weeks as most are viral anyhow) or having trouble with breathing in a way that might suggest bronchitis (again, usually viral but might need an inhaler) or pneumonia.

      1. Overeducated*

        That’s why I am not going yet, I don’t want to drive all the way and pay against my giant deductible just to be told to drink water…but I have been prone to sinus infections in the past, and my head doesn’t feel like it’s clearing up much a week in. I can try to stick it out another week to be sure though. Thank you!

        1. Red Reader*

          See if your insurance has either a nurse hotline (more common on HMOs) or covers video visits – both options for “I don’t know if this is worth going to the doctor and coughing all over the waiting room” situations. Also, the hospital system I work for does video visits that are $49 without insurance and generally lower for people with, once all the processing is done. I did one at one point when I knew I had a tooth infection, I just needed abx to get me through til my dental appt the following week and both my dentist and my regular doc were closed for long weekends. (They both had kids getting married, but not to each other. Hah.) ten minutes on the equivalent of FaceTime or Skype, and my prescription was called into my pharmacist of choice.

    4. fposte*

      Trouble breathing at the chest level would send me in ASAP; I’d go if a sore throat became seriously painful in a strep-like way. Other than that, there’s no real rush because, as Book Lover says, most of these things are self-limiting anyway even if they are bacterial. If I had a really painful earache I might go; I’ve gone in hope of symptomatic relief for nighttime with a horrible cough (codeine was a failure). I’m pretty good at staving off sinus trouble these days.

      I might also call the nurse, rather than going on, just on “this thing’s dragging on for 10 days–are you seeing that around right now?” principles. But I think most of the time it’s just that we’re lucky in usually experiencing viruses that resolve quickly and we’ve finally got one of the kind that just doesn’t.

      1. Overeducated*

        Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it. Fortunately nothing requiring emergency care, just discomfort. I will definitely call the nurse’s line before going in, but I’ll wait until later in the week, it sounds like.

        What are your sinus clearing tips? Hot drinks and spicy food usually help me but they’re having no effect!

        Maybe it is just luck that most viruses don’t last this long. This is the first time one has impacted my work, ability to maintain the house, play with my kid, etc. so much. It has made me reflect on disability and “spoon theory” again, since even a week of not having the energy to do my normal stuff hints at what a huge adjustment it would take to live with as a permanent state. So much of health is luck.

        1. fposte*

          For sinuses, saline rinse/neti pot, Afrin, and NSAID. I’m really prone to them trying to close up so I get in fast; it’s easier to prevent than to undo.

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            Second this. Last week I had a 5-day sinus headache and it was just miserable. I’m on Flonase, which is great and all, but it’s terribly dry here and the Flonase alone didn’t cut it. I’m doing a saline nose spray daily plus I deep-cleaned the humidifier. I hope you feel better!

    5. Ktelzbeth*

      Besides what people have mentioned, the other time I think about going in is if I have definitely started getting better and then get worse again.

    6. FrontRangeOy*

      It’s part of a larger trend, I think. Most of my local friends group has taken to referring to it as the respiratory plague – it’s not the flu, has similar symptoms, takes absolutely forever to get over.

      I got it the 2nd week of December, tried to push it away for two weeks, and then got amazingly remarkably sick during my mid winter off period from what we don’t talk about on weekends ;-) Here we are 7 weeks later, and I still have a grody cough and sound like I’m on the verge of loosing my voice.

    7. LilySparrow*

      This is definitely the sickest winter we’ve had in a long time. None of us had flu, but the kids burned up all their excused absences in first semester, and now they can’t miss without a doctor’s note.

      My personal decision tree on taking myself to the Dr is:
      Fever over 101-102 for over 48 hrs (I run cold, so that’s 1 degree higher for normal people)
      Vomiting +24h or with severe headache+fever.
      Severe pain in ears or throat, streaks of pus in throat.
      Any fever + bright yellow or green snot after midmorning, or with bad sinus headache that the neti pot doesn’t help.
      A head cold that moves into my chest and stops there, cough the same or getting worse after 2-3 days.
      Painful cough, or burning or pressure in my chest.
      Those are pretty reliable signs for me that it’s bacterial or that an opportunistic bacterial infection has joined the party.
      If I’m pretty sure it’s just a crapvirus, I’ll give it 7-10 days if I’m still getting worse, or 2-2.5 weeks if I’m lingering and can’t shake it.

      If I am getting better and then suddenly get dramatically worse, that’s a doctor visit, too.

  22. CatCat*

    On Saturday mornings, I like to sip my coffee on the couch, reconcile my financial accounts, and schedule bill payments. I genuinely enjoy this task. No idea why. It makes me feel calm and in control. But I know some people hate having to go through finances. I think my spouse would rather have his teeth pulled. (Thank goodness he seems to get a similar mental fulfillment from washing dishes because I hate that task!)

    Are there household tasks that you really enjoy and that don’t feel like a chore for you?

    1. nep*

      Washing dishes.
      I also like going through papers and things over coffee on the weekend — not rushed, just taking the time to catch up.

      1. Talvi*

        +1 washing dishes! It’s not unusual for me to wash my dishes… and then do whatever dishes my roommates hadn’t gotten to washing yet as well.

    2. fposte*

      Hey! That’s my Saturday morning too. Update the weekly budget inputs, do the bills, and, if it’s the end of a quarter, update the spreadsheets, all while I enjoy my weekly bottle of frappuccino. I have a nice Pandora station playing or I’m catching up on radio/podcasts. I’m a little wistful at how fast it goes since I trimmed my spending down for a bit, so I really look forward to the end of the quarter.

      I do a lot of weekend work but it’s not allowed Saturday morning.

    3. OperaArt*

      Organizing. Closets, cabinets, drawers, the refrigerator…
      This is proving to be useful as my 83-year-ild mother steadily gets rid of things and we organize the remainder to be more useful for her.
      Probably could have been a professional organizer.

        1. The New Wanderer*

          Me too. I can’t always motivate myself to do it, but when it happens it’s so rewarding!

        2. Anonymom*

          Yep. It’s a reward for me. I should KonMari other people’s houses. Just did the linen closet – all the towels are white, folded the same way, folds facing out. TP stocked. Sheets folded and stacked by bed size. Extra pillows washed and Space Bagged. I made laminated labels for the shelves and thought about instagramming it.

      1. Damn it, Hardison!*

        I’ve convinced my husband to visit my mother-in-law for a week this summer, without me. I’m going to take the same vacation time and do the mother of all purges on my house and then organize every space that’s been bugging me (I’m looking at you, kitchen). I am looking forward to it so very, very much.

    4. Kerbs*

      Grocery shopping! When I was in college I really loved to grocery shop after my last class on Fridays. Planning my weekly menu and then making my grocery list was always fun. I don’t know why but it’s very zen for me.

      1. Overeducated*

        Yes, meal planning for me too – but I think of that more as the “fun” part, the shopping as more of the “work” part. I used to enjoy it more but now time is more limited, it only feels fun when we go to a specialty ethnic store or something.

      2. Myrin*

        Yes, I love me some good grocery shopping! Seriously, I don’t mean “oh, I don’t mind it”, I actively like it and am looking forward to doing it!

      3. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Me too! My grocery routine is so crucial to my week. Every Sunday, I go to the farmer’s market and buy my vegetables and fruit, then I go to the supermarket. I love it. Not a ton of people, the employees all know me. My boyfriend signed up for a class on Sunday mornings and because we only have one car, it seriously messed up my zen. But now I just go to the supermarket at 8:30 am.

        Then I get home and do kitchen things. I hard boil eggs, I put things up to pickle, I organize the kitchen. Feels so good.

      4. Parenthetically*

        Yes yes yes yes yes. I adore meal planning and grocery shopping. So satisfying to fill up an empty fridge knowing all the deliciousness that will come out of it during the week!

    5. Turtlewings*

      I’ve found that as an adult, I really don’t mind most household chores. (Except dishes. Man, I freaking hate dishes.) Laundry, toilet-scrubbing, organizing my stuff, whatever — if I’m doing it because *I* chose to do it, because *I* wanted it to get done, I don’t mind at all. It’s much preferable to living in filth. As a kid, I hated all chores with the fires of hell, so this is a big change!

      And yeah, I’ve always loved fiddling around with my finances! It feels so good to put all the money where it needs putting!

      1. Merci Dee*

        ~sneaks a few loads of my freshly -washed laundry next to your chair as an enticement~

        Putting away laundry is the one chore I hate the most. I’d rather do literally anything else than that one.

          1. Merci Dee*

            I would totally pay you. And then we’d have to share biscuits and tea to celebrate a week’s worth of laundry that’s done and put away.

        1. Aluminosilicate*

          Ug. When I lived alone I stored clean clothes in the dryer a lot. Like others here I do love the finances. I make spreadsheets and graphs, and find it relaxing.

      2. Windchime*

        I actually love my work-at-home days because my laundry gets all caught up. And I love taking the warm laundry out of the dryer and folding it. I used to hate doing that, but now I realize it was because I lived in a house where there was no convenient place to fold things. Now I put it on my bed and fold it, and there is the added bonus that I *must* put it away, because otherwise I won’t be able to go to bed that night.

    6. KR*

      I LOVE budgeting and looking at our finances. I get excited for our next paycheck so I can pay more bills and watch our savings go up. So calming.

      1. Nicole*

        I love it too. On the first of every month I update our account balances. I love watching our net worth climb! It helps me feel more relaxed about our future seeing our retirement balances grow.

      1. Merci Dee*

        I did my taxes this morning. There is something satisfying about moving my stack of forms from the “to-enter” pile to the “done” pile.

    7. Middle School Teacher*

      Laundry. It’s just me, so not a lot of laundry, and I like folding clothes (ah, a remnant from retail haha).

      1. Middle School Teacher*

        Also cooking and meal planning for the week! I like to experiment with new recipes.

    8. Nye*

      Cooking! I find it so relaxing and satisfying. Ditto with cooking for the future – I try to keep the freezer stocked with raw shaped biscuits, cookie dough balls, scones, etc for an easy way to have fresh-baked* treats on a whim.

      *In practice, however, like 90% of the individual portioned frozen cookie dough gets eaten without cooking, because if there’s anything better than raw cookie dough, it’s frozen cookie dough.

    9. LPUK*

      Ironing. There’s only me so the amount is not overwhelming, so I iron practically everything – cotton underwear, tea towels etc. I love to see the wrinkles disappear under my iron and get a stupid amount of pride and pleasure from seeing the stack or crisp, sweet smelling laundry all neatly folded in the basket

    10. oranges & lemons*

      I used to really like hanging my laundry on the clothesline, when I rented a cabin that had a clothesline. It didn’t hurt that it was right on the water, so I pretty much enjoyed any task that could be done on the deck.

    11. Damn it, Hardison!*

      Ok, thanks to this thread I’ve spent the last 3 hours setting financial goals and making spreadsheets. It was so much fun.

      1. fposte*

        Back atcha. Plus you have such a broad range of interests in the world, whether it be global affairs or some new health protocol; you are connected and curious in a way I admire.

        1. PhyllisB*

          Yes, fposte, I am a big fan you also. I just couldn’t think of all the ones I wanted to mention when I read this post earlier.

    1. PhyllisB*

      Wow!! That’s a big challenge!! There are so many commenters that I enjoy reading it’s hard to narrow it to one. I used to enjoy Jamie’s posts, but I don’t see her on here anymore. I also like Elizabeth West’s posts. And Katie The Fed………sorry, can’t do it. I would be better able to mention one I DIDN’T like, but would not do that.

      1. FD*

        I think Jamie stopped commenting a few years ago. IIRC, someone asked Allison about it and she said that Jamie had found that commenting here was eating up too much time and she was going to step back a bit. I couldn’t find the reference for this–I believe it was in an open thread–so it’s possible I’m remembering wrong.

    2. FD*

      I’ll start! Princess Consuela Banana Hammock makes great, well-reasoned comments and is great at talking about complex issues.

      And has a great screen name. XD

      1. fposte*

        And FD, unless you’re a whole nother FD, I felt like I hadn’t seen you for a while and then I was pleased to see you back. You bring some really useful insight about an industry that operates differently, and you very generously shared your kickass cover letter.

        1. FD*

          Thanks! Nope, I’m the same one. I just come and go depending on what’s going on at work. As far as I can piece together, I think I started reading around 2012 or so, since I worked evening shift at a hotel then (FD was for “front desk” because I’m not that creative), and there was a lot of down time.

          1. fposte*

            I figured that was the origin of “FD,” and it still sounded like you. Nice that you’re still around!

    3. nep*

      I will say, I enjoy so many commenters here — they’re the reason I come back each weekend. Openness, honesty, smarts. So many areas of expertise.

      1. fposte*

        I agree with you and with Phyllis–the list is way too long. I mean, “too long” in a good way. Sometimes I go through the archives just because they’re fun to read, and there’ll be great comments by any number of people, some of whom who have moved on, some of whom are still here, some who are occasional so I’m not sure if they’re still reading or not but am happy when they turn up. I’m also really slow sometimes to fix a commenter in my mind, so it’s amusing to go back to see comments by somebody before I “knew” them.

          1. fposte*

            Why isn’t *everyone’s* a fish with a hat?

            I couldn’t find something Cold Comfort Farmish that worked in teeny little thumbnails, so I thought of the picture books I liked and tested out which art would be most distinguishable at that size and satisfying to me. (It’s from Jon Klassen’s wonderful _This Is Not My Hat_.) I liked that this was a face of sorts but not a human face, and it’s dressed respectfully :-).

            1. D.A.R.N.*

              You know for some reason I never saw the fish. I thought it was a bunny with the ears lowered. Whoops!

            2. Reba*

              This is so funny to me because you are so thoughtful and wise and the little fish in the book is…not those things.

    4. Ramona Flowers*

      Junior Dev, who keeps us all going with the mental health thread and who has used a difficult experience of losing a job to help others cope with similar difficulties. Not So New Reader, who always has something wise and kind to say. Snark, who makes me spit my coffee out and needs to write a cookbook already. Elizabeth West, who needs a break already – you hear me universe?

      And everyone who reads and doesn’t comment because they’re shy or worried or don’t think what they say will be valued. Just because you’re here too and that matters.

      1. anonagain*

        “And everyone who reads and doesn’t comment because they’re shy or worried or don’t think what they say will be valued. Just because you’re here too and that matters.”

        And this kind of thing is exactly why I was planning to say that I appreciate Ramona Flowers.

    5. Myrin*

      So many! So, so many! But I’ll try.

      fposte is my favourite, but she’s already covered above. I feel like she’s some quasi-omniscient entity, actually – you can talk about literally anything and she’ll have something thoughtful to say about it which clearly shows that she’s dealt with it before. I wanna be her when I grow up.

      neverjaunty, because of her no-nonsense attitude. I like the confidence that shines through in all of her comments.

      Mike C. I actually don’t agree with him most of the time – mostly because he’s much nicer and more social-minded than I am – but he’s so good at rhetorics, if that makes sense? He always considers others’ points, makes thoughtful commentary, is polite and engaging even if there’s disagreement, and I simply always enjoy reading what he posts.

      And the dear Princess (PCBH) for all of the above, I guess? I just really like reading her stuff.

      1. fposte*

        I feel very siblingesque with many of the commenters, and Mike C. is the one who first made me think of it, because I love his commitment and his beliefs and the cool stuff he knows and feel like even when I disagree with him fairly strongly my regard for him underlies it. In real life it would be the holiday conversation where voices got raised but the conversation would switch on a dime to “Want more potatoes?” or “Hey, want to see that movie?” and nobody’d think twice about the shift.

    6. Ellen*

      Not So New Reader. There have been SO many times when I’ve been tempted to respond to one of her beautifully worded posts to tell her how much her words touched me. NSNR, you have been a huge source of comfort to me. You articulate the thoughts and feelings behind the issue better than I ever could, and the road that you take to arrive at the heart of the matter is paved with your gracious insight. I am so thankful that you’re here.

        1. Natalie*

          I have a very fond memory of when you were commenting for a while as “New Reader” and someone pointed out that they always looked for your comments and you should change your name. I don’t know why I remember that but I do.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            OMG. And you remember that? wow. Yep, that is when the Not So became part of the handle.
            I really don’t like my screen name that much but I am not creative with names. I tend to even let other people name my animals for me.

      1. Anonymous Ampersand*

        All of this. NSNR you have helped me more than I can say.

        I also <3 Ramona Flowers.

        And Alison herself ;)

    7. Annie Mouse*

      There are loads of great commenters here, so many that I really enjoy reading.
      Ramona Flowers, your comments are always ones I look for and appreciate. You’re always so thoughtful and helpful.
      Snark is another one who I always look forward to. I often think ‘The Little Book of Snark Advice’ would make a great best seller!
      That’s just a couple, there are too many to mention indvidually!

      Thank you all of you :)

    8. Torrance*

      Gazebo Slayer is absolutely fantastic. They’ve got a great heart and I really admire their eloquence.

      And Wintermute! I’ve really been appreciating their comments lately too.

    9. KarenT*

      I appreciate most of the regular commenters here, honestly. Fposte and Princess Consuela Banana Hammock are front of mind because there is a kindness there you don’t often see when speaking to strangers on the internet.
      This is one of the few places on the internet where I participate in the comments, and it’s largely because the comments section generally respectful but also helpful. I’ve been participating less as of late because of some of the issues, but this is still a great place on the internet. Alison changes my mind or perspective on issues on a regular basis (I often read the letter, instinctively have my own response, then read Alison’s and think ‘nope, she’s right, not me,’) but the comments do as well. It’s a uniquely wise group!

    10. Alpha Bravo*

      Echoing others, there are too many. Fposte of course, for reasons already detailed. Not So NewReader, who touches my spirit. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock, for reasoned, big-picture yet kind and specific advice. Snark, because humor is so necessary and his brand of humor + realism just works for me. Ramona Flowers and Junior Dev – your kindness and sympathy make this such a good place to be. Mike C., Nep … you know, I’m going to stop there because no matter how many I list I’m going to leave someone out. Thank you ALL!

    11. Mimmy*

      Everyone here is awesome, and I appreciate Alison for fostering such a great community.

      I also appreciate Fposte for her intelligent responses and Not So New Reader for her beautifully-written, often comforting posts.

    12. Vancouver Reader*

      I’d have to say fposte and not So NewReader come to mind immediately. They are always so thoughtful and considerate and even if they disagree with something being said, they voice it in a positive way. I’m also finding I enjoy Natalie’s way of writing; she’s smart and shares a lot of interesting information.

      Pretty much everyone who’s fairly regular here are fabulous and I learn so much from everyone.

    13. Emily*

      So many! But a couple I’ve appreciated recently are Junior Dev and Ramona Flowers, who are both kind and thoughtful and good at talking about mental health stuff.

    14. Maiasaura*

      Snark! As the mom of sons, it warms my heart to see a man who really seems to care about listening to women about the things that affect us—without the creepy patronizing that’s sexist in its own way.