weekend free-for-all – April 21-22, 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 Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer. It’s about friendship, mentorship, activism, and what we want from each other, with characters who are all the more compelling because of their flaws. I loved it.

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

{ 1,369 comments… read them below }

  1. amanda_cake*

    Has anyone had any ITB tendon/muscle group issues? I went to Urgent Care this week and they thought I have snapping hip syndrome, but the orthopedist they referred me to thinks it is the ITB group rubbing against the bone and making it inflamed. He gave me three rounds of steroids and I’m almost done with the first round. It has helped some, but once I get up and going for the day that’s when the pain really kicks in.

      1. amanda_cake*

        Oral steroids. He said his next move would be an injection of cortisone.

        I’ve thought about physical therapy but don’t know how that would work with my schedule… I’m hoping to land a new job and move soon, so the logistics behind all that would complicate getting to regular appointments.

        I missed the last step going downstairs today and fell right on that side, so I’m feeling extra sore tonight.

    1. fposte*

      I’m a little confused–that *is* snapping hip syndrome. (One kind, anyway; the other is the iliopsoas catching against the bone–maybe Urgent Care suggested it was that kind and the orthopedist was disagreeing with that?) I actually have both kinds to some degree, though the iliopsoas is more of a problem for me.

      It’s fine to try a steroid, but if that’s not getting you there physical therapy is the likely next step; if he doesn’t bring it up, you should ask. Massage can also help. You might also Google “self massage for snapping hip”–my bet is that there will be some tennis-ball related self-massage for you.

      Be aware that often the location you’re feeling the pain isn’t necessarily the place that the most change can be made, so physical therapy may focus on stretching and strengthening all kinds of areas on you.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I think the iliopsoas may be what I injured when I fell skating in January 2016. It’s hurt in that area ever since. And it goes around into my back and down my leg, too.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Another vote for physical therapy. I fell a few months back and injured my knee. While I did have a torn meniscus, I learned– with the help of my PT– that most of my problems generated from IT band inflammation. Now that I know where the problem really lies, I can do exercises that mitigate the pain quite a bit. The steroids will get the inflammation down, but PT might be a huge help to get you walking normally again.

    3. Awkward Interviewee*

      I have IT band issues from running. It usually causes outer knee pain for me, but occasionally hip pain. Physical therapy is what helped me. Sometimes it’s caused by muscle imbalances which is why PT is important.

      1. Betsy*

        I have Illiotibial Band Syndrome too and physical therapy is also what mostly fixed it for me (although it does come back on occasion during long walks or when going up and down stairs).

    4. Dame Judi Brunch*

      I had terrible hip pain with the joint catching. The orthopedic surgeon thought it was a snapping psoas tendon or a torn labrum.
      He sent me to physical therapy, but there was no improvement. He ended up sending me for an ultrasound and MRI. It was a torn labrum and I needed surgery. It was arthroscopic surgery and it was pretty low-key.
      Note if you have an MRI done on your hip, make sure you have contrast dye injected. The first MRI done by a crummier doctor did not use it, so I had to pay for a 2nd MRI. I wish I had known going in!
      Good luck!

    5. lapgiraffe*

      I struggle with my IT band and focus a lot on it with my trainer in the form of stretches, rolling, and targeted exercises, but I also get regular massages that include cupping that have been life savers!! It’s a commitment, going in every month for the first few months and then tapering to every 3-4, but I cannot believe my mobility after these sessions – I swear I feel like years are taken off. While I’ve long been a massage and body work proponent, cupping has literally changed my life for the better.

    6. aes_sidhe*

      Tumeric (95% curcuninoids or higher) and magnesium glycinate are excellent for inflammation.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I can vouch for turmeric. I get the Gaia brand, I was told it’s on a par with Motrin 800s. I have heard of people keeping it in the medicine chest and using it the way people use aspirin for random pain.

        1. LS*

          The problem with turmeric is that people’s absorption of it varies greatly – for some people it does great work, for others nothing. Definitely worth trying, but it’s not for everyone.

    7. Edie*

      I have a chronic IT band problem that manifests near my knee, not my hip, and the best solution I’ve found is stretching my hamstrings A LOT (I’ve almost reached my goal of being able to do the front splits) combined with foam rolling my butt and strength training for my hamstrings and abs.

      I’ve found it really doesn’t work to foam roll directly on my IT band, but on the muscles that surround it and especially this muscle that gets tight in my butt. The IT band is supposed to be tight. (disclaimer: not a physical therapist).

      I’m convinced my main problem is caused by adhesions between my IT band and surrounding muscles. Long ago a chiropractor did something called “active release technique” which was basically them putting pressure on the adhesions while I moved my leg. This TOTALLY IMPROVED my leg for a while… but of course the problem came back! I wish I had the money to spend on regular sports massages.

      My favorite stretching trick is to do the side/middle splits (no, not all the way in the splits, I’m not that flexible!) with my feet against an object like a couch because then I’m able to grab the bottom of the couch and pull myself forward into the stretch with my arms instead of forcing myself into the stretch with my back and hips. The couch stops my feet from sliding out of place. A wall would work in a pinch but you can’t grab onto the wall. I hope this makes sense. Stretching my adductors like this really helps my overall flexibility but I do a sport that requires a lot of adductor strength so YMMV.

      1. JSPA*

        Not for acute inflammation, but for tightness and long-term constrictions or bound joints, Rolfing has finally done for me what 10 years of increasingly deep tissue massage only hinted at. It’s painful to the same degree but in a slightly different way than deep tissue massage, and many (most?) practitioners will make you do a standard series of 10 visits covering the whole body (and then move on from there). After my neck released while my tailbone was being worked on, and my foot on cramped while he was working on the mid back ribs on the other side, and my IT band release was completed by work on the psoas… I had a hard time considering this to be any sort of imposition! The effects last for months rather than weeks. (Apologies if this double posts)

  2. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

    Hello weekenders!

    I’m about to start my third week of sick leave due to what I thought was a depression relapse, but that probably just is my body nope-ing out after two incredibly stressful years.

    I’m already feeling a lot better but I’m also starting to be comfortable being home, and the thought of work in a week and a half (getting up in the mornings! Performing! Being sociable!) feels so-so… But I think that’s more nerves rather than me actually needing more time off.

    I’ve finished 4 seasons of the West Wing (I’m in love) and gone bike riding a lot.

    An actual question rather than my ramblings:

    I want to start riding my bike through the fairly busy downtown of my hometown, but I’m chickening out because I’m afraid I’ll get hit by a car and/or hit a pedestrian.

    Any advice for how to get over the fear? There are good bike paths and plenty of bikers here, and it’d cut my commute in half.

    But I’m a small feathery bird when it comes to this!

    1. Hannah*

      Work up to it gradually. Start off at a non-busy time, or in a slightly less busy street, and then gradually increase the level of traffic. You’ll gradually get more comfortable.

      And always remember that if you feel unsafe or overwhelmed, you can just pull over on a sidewalk and walk your bike through scary intersections or around crazy drivers. There are a few intersections that are just too much for me where I just always get off my bike and walk it in the crosswalks.

    2. CAA*

      Start out by riding what will be your regular route at times that are less busy than your commute. This weekend is a good starting point, then try a couple of weekdays around mid-morning, then do one day at the normal time before you go back to work, so it won’t matter if it takes you a bit longer or you decide not to finish the trip.

        1. nep*

          Yes, brave it.
          Good that you’re taking this on.
          It’s one of those things that reminds us that try as we might we can never, ever control what happens. We can only be as careful and cautious as we choose — then control only our reactions to whatever comes our way.
          I hope you’ll brave it and get a lot of joy out of your riding.
          Best

    3. CG*

      Wear something bright. And if you are riding on a road without a bike lane don’t be scared to take the lane like a motorcycle does (following the path the wheel of a car would travel). At least in my downtown area traffic rarely goes 25 mph (people parking, pedestrians, stop lights) so riding in traffic, rather than along side it makes the most sense.

        1. Ella*

          Please don’t bike without hands while looking at your phone! That is definitely not the goal to aspire to. :)

          I was a bike commuter for a number of years, and I’m hoping to get back to it this summer, and besides wearing bright colors and following your local laws, I think the biggest thing is: behave predictably. Ride in a straight line. Signal your turns. Don’t ride on the sidewalk (cars can’t see you/don’t look for you there, especially if there’s parked cars on the curb between you and them). Don’t ride so far to the right of the road that you won’t have any reaction time if someone opens a parked car door or if a pedestrian steps out from between two cars. When you’re at an intersection and there’s a car that could potentially cross in front of you, make eye contact with the driver of the car and confirm that they see you before moving forward. I think a lot of people, when they start biking in the city, feel exposed and vulnerable, and you kinda are. But the flip side of that is that it’s so much easier to be aware of your surroundings on a bike than in a car, because you’re not sealed up in a tiny moving room. Because you’re moving slower and you’re not enclosed, it’s easier to keep track of peds, hear cars behind you, get a sense of an intersection before you venture out into it. Best of luck. Have fun. :)

        2. CG*

          The biking while phoning thing boggles my mind! It took me a while to realize that what felt safe (to me) was actually more dangerous. But I feel badass when I have my cuff turned up and my arm out and cars need to wait for me to make my left turn! Enjoy your rides, you inspired me to do a spring tune-up.

    4. Flinty*

      Maybe see if you can find a bike class to help make you more comfortable? Probably won’t work if you’re rural, but a lot of more urban areas have bicycle clubs and associations that have classes on city biking.

      (for anyone in DC, the Washington Area Bicycle Association has awesome free classes!)

      1. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

        I don’t think there is. There are lots of triathlon clubs and the like, but I’ve never heard of a ”I’m scared of city traffic” one. My country consists of health nuts, and a looot of bikers, so it probably doesnt cross anyone’s mind to start a club like that.

        1. Flinty*

          If you were in the US, I would say that if you are in an urban area and there are a lot of bikers, there probably is some kind of bike club? In my experience, bikers love to recruit everyone to the bike commuting side and and the more serious bikers there are, the more beginner cycling classes there are. But yeah, I guess that may be very country-specific!

        2. Daria from Cleveland*

          Look specifically for a “confident city cycling class” in “[name of your city]”. You got this!

        3. JSPA*

          BikePittsburgh, as well as a lot of online resources has a bike to work day so newer people can ride with a group of experienced commuters. I think they also had some sort of matching service so that at any time of year you had a chance of finding a neighbor with a similar commute who would take you along the first few times. If you have nextdoor or a similar online neighborhood group this wouldn’t be the silliest thing to ask. If you want to make sure that it doesn’t get weird, specify that you would like to do it once or twice.

    5. Zathras*

      Year round bike commuter here (though I do take the train or just WFH if there is snow/ice on the road). One thing to consider – how much bike riding have you done recently? I started bike commuting after several years of regular long recreational rides. I was also scared of commuting in city traffic but one thing that helped was that I was already really comfortable on my bike. You don’t need to be a pro cyclist, but if the last time you rode a bike was many years ago as a teenager, definitely do some riding in low-traffic conditions first. Then, when you start trying out higher traffic situations, you will be more confident in your ability to handle your bicycle. (This may not apply if you already ride your bike regularly!)

      Also look up whether there are any bike to work events coming up where you live – National Bike to Work week/day is in May. Where I live (Boston area) there are group commutes where everyone meets up at one location and then rides into the city together – usually these are specifically targeted at helping people who are new to bike commuting try it out. I’ve also seen events where there is a free breakfast for bike commuters somewhere along a popular bike route. Google “Bike to work day” and your location to see if anything comes up.

      Be willing to experiment with your route. The best bike route is probably not the way you would drive, and it may not be the bike route Google suggests either. Look at the map for lower-traffic streets going the same direction you are and try those out. Anywhere you need to make a left turn, figure out safest intersection to do that on a bicycle. Different routes may work better at different times of year and in different weather conditions – bike paths won’t get salted or warmed by use as much as the roads and may be too icy in winter.

      I like having a mirror for seeing behind me without turning or losing sight of the road in front of me. This might make you feel more comfortable in traffic. Be careful though – even on a bike you still have a blind spot with mirrors, so always actually look over your shoulder before changing lane positions.

      Good bright bike lights are also important – bikes are really hard to see, particularly at night but also dawn/dusk or in overcast conditions. I actually recommend 2 rear lights – one flashing to catch attention, and one steady to help drivers judge your position and speed, which is really hard with a flashing light. (I don’t know if this will help with the fear exactly, but it will do a lot to actually increase your safety.)

      Don’t be tempted to ride on the sidewalk thinking it’s safer – it’s not. Drivers going in and out of driveways/side roads are not expecting anything faster than a pedestrian to come along a sidewalk, so they won’t look far enough down the to spot you approaching before moving across the sidewalk. If there is no bike lane, the best place to be is well out in the road (not hugging the shoulder) because that is where the drivers are looking.

      Long comment, but hopefully some of it is helpful! Good luck! Bike commuting is super fun and great exercise. Once you try it a few times, I bet you will find that it is much less scary than you expect. I was really scared when I first started out but I found that completing the first commute gave me a huge confidence boost. I have been doing it now for about 5 years.

      1. Zathras*

        You totally said right in your comment that you ride your bike a lot already, disregard my first paragraph. :-) Also, it sounds like you are not in the US, so the Bike to Work week events might not be a thing either, but you never know – maybe there is something similar locally, even if it’s not at the same time.

    6. AnonEMoose*

      Besides the good advice already given, please make sure that you wear a good helmet. My DH really likes having a mirror attached to his helmet (a good bike shop will have them); basically, it’s a small mirror on a holder that attaches to the helmet and extends a bit out to the side. It helps you see cars approaching from behind. It might help you feel more comfortable.

    7. N Twello*

      Go to a bike shop and buy (and ask them to install) a small flag that sticks out from your rear hub on the street side (not the curb side). They stick out about a foot and have a fluorescent orange plastic flag. They wobble/bounce when they hit something. Drivers tend to stay far away from bikes with the flag, I think because they think their car will get scratched. (It won’t.) I biked in a huge city for many years, and it got a lot easier after I had one of those.

      When I first started biking in the big city, I had a lot of accidents. I was young and foolish back then, and it took me too long to realize that I needed to SLOW DOWN. Once I realized that, I never had another accident.

      Another tip: the most dangerous time to be on the street is during the evening commute. My guess is that drivers are hungry and impatient to be home. They are their most aggressive and inattentive. Be careful.

      Finally, urban biking can be stressful. Keep a good attitude and have fun! It’s incredibly rewarding.

    8. LemonLyman*

      The first four seasons are THE BEST! It becomes a different show at season 5 since that’s when Aaron Sorkin no longer writes the show. I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s just very different (and not as good). I’ve watched all 7 seasons multiple times but I find it’s best to give people a head’s up that the last three seasons have a very different vibe.

    9. Alice*

      The good news is, biking will make you a better driver. Practice trying to anticipate drivers’ behavior (and pedestrians’ too to a degree). If the car in front of you is slowing down, is the driver about to swing into a parking space without signalling? Or maybe a pedestrian who is hidden from you by traffic is crossing? If someone just passed, is she about to turn across your path?
      If the bike lane is in the door zone, or if you are turning across the oncoming lane, move into a safer position.
      A pannier or bike bag will make you more comfortable when you have to carry things.
      As you get more comfortable intersections that seem scary now will start to feel easier. Have fun!

  3. PlantLady*

    Up at 4:00 this morning so I can be there to help set up our community “pot sale” fundraiser (pottery, not cannabis)

    Not fond of the wake-up time (No, cats…this is not your new breakfast time, so don’t get used to it), but being a volunteer does mean first dibs on the merchandise and since “Spring is sprung” and all that, I have been collecting plants and potting soil and I am ready to get my hands dirty!

    I really hope somebody is bringing caffeine and pastry…

    1. Life is Good*

      Wish I was where you are, Plant Lady! That sale is something I would get up at 4 AM for! Hooray for Spring!

  4. Antagonist Relations*

    Ask a Manager D&D and RPG fans there’s now a groups.io group (link in username).

    Everyone’s welcome; whether you’re completely new to the hobby and looking to try for the first time or you’re an experienced player looking for a new online game or just more people to talk tabletop roleplaying games with.

    Come and chat, find an online game, talk about gaming podcasts, ask for playing or game-mastering advice and delve deeper into the RPG hobby.

  5. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I had turbinate reduction surgery yesterday and I am soooo happy it’s over. I was a ball of anxiety– first time under general anesthesia– but everything went very smoothly. I felt a bit woozy yesterday but I’m mostly fine. I got up a few hours ago feeling great. But now? I’m soooo sleepy and my throat hurts. This is a result of first the anesthesia and second the whole sleeping upright thing (which SUCKS) and all the drainage. I had planned to do nothing this weekend but woke up being all, “Yeah, let’s GO!” and now I’m, “Uh… no, I’m going to lie in the guest bed watching Bake Off.” My boyfriend has been great. He took very good care of me yesterday and even brought me frozen custard (at my request, but I know he hates the custard shop so it was a pain in the butt for him). Looking forward to better breathing and fewer headaches!

    1. fposte*

      Congratulations on being on the other side! I hope soon it’ll be clear that it was worth it and you’ll be able to lie down to sleep again.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Thanks! I feel like these few morning hours have shown me why our doctors tell us to “take it easy” even if we want to ignore them. :) Hoping to sound less stuffy by Tuesday.

    2. DietCokeHead*

      I’m glad the surgery is over! Definitely take it easy this weekend. Surgery can really take a lot out of you, even if you don’t want it to or think it will.

    3. Book Badger*

      I got turbinate reduction surgery last December. Trust me, it’s great! Being able to breathe properly is the weirdest sensation if you haven’t been for years. XD

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I have all of these crazy notions that I will now be able to get a good night’s sleep, my headaches will decrease, and I will be able to sing for more than two measures without breathing. I just have to get through this first week and all of my dreams will come true, right? RIGHT?

        1. Chaordic One*

          Um, well no.

          Having the turbinator reduction surgery (and septoplasty) was one of the best things I ever did for myself, but all of my sinus problems did not go away, unfortunately. Still, there was a significant improvement in my feel it was like a 90% improvement, so it was definitely worth it.

    4. aes_sidhe*

      I had sinus surgery about 2.5 years ago, and my ENT did a turbinate reduction while he was at it. It’s amazing how much of a difference it’s made. I went from very frequent migraines to none. I will say it took longer than I thought it would to get past the being tired all of the time from the anesthesia. Good luck with the recovery!

  6. Annie Moose*

    Happy weekend!

    I’ve been considering adopting a cat. (I volunteer at the local animal shelter and I can’t stand a catless apartment anymore!!) However, I’ve never owned a cat before. AAM cat owners, any advice for a first-timer?

    I’ve been doing a bit of reading, but I’m particularly wondering about things like catproofing my apartment and what sort of things I should be sure to have on hand before bringing a cat home. (aside from the obvious litter box/food/toys etc.) Any other advice will be welcome as well!

    1. TL -*

      I just got a kitty and did almost zero catproofing – just picked things up and put things I didn’t want her touching on the counter she can’t jump on.
      But I’m a grad student and I can spend a lot of time at home, so I was able to watch her and see what kind of trouble she gets into.

    2. Book Lover*

      Lol, just saw this after posting my own comment and question.

      I never cat proofed, we only ever lost one vase to a cat and it was an ugly one, so maybe was on purpose. I do recommend sisal cat scratchers. We had a rescue that was declawed before we got her, but you shouldn’t declaw a cat that hasn’t been and they need to scratch. You can also regularly trim nails but still need something for them to scratch.

      A metal bowl for water, ceramic bowl for food, litter box and a litter that won’t aerosolize too much. Maybe a spray bottle if you want to keep her off tables and so on. A bed if you don’t want her to sleep with you or just want her to also have her own space. A carrier so you can bring her home and to vet.

      Good luck, cats are the best.

      1. Clever Name*

        All of this.

        Also, if you have plants, it can be hard to keep cats out of them, but it is possible. I sprayed the plants with a bitter cat repellant and I squirt kitty with a spray bottle when he messes with one.

        And on the scratching posts, cats prefer different materials. One of mine likes the sisal and the other actually likes the carpet ones (first cat I’ve ever had that prefers the carpeted ones).

        1. Junior Dev*

          I got a product called “cat scat” which is a spiky mesh designed to keep cats out of gardens but you can also use it on large potted plants.

          1. Clever Name*

            I’ve been meaning to collect some pine ones from my yard for just this purpose. :)

        2. epi*

          I highly recommend just getting them their own plants. Mine don’t really care about cat grass but they love ferns– most are fine for them to gnaw on a little and they seem to like the shape. I leave those in areas they know are theirs, like by their food or a favorite sleeping spot, and they mostly ignore other plants.

          Just use the ASPCA toxic plants list to make sure you know what you’re getting. Some varieties, like asparagus fern, aren’t actually ferns and are toxic.

        3. SciDiver*

          Seconding the plants bit–our family cat loves playing with the spider plant in the dining room, and my sister’s cat goes nuts over cat grass. Definitely familiarize yourself with plants that cat’s can’t be around, like day lilies, garlic, onions. Spray bottles work well for keeping cats off counters/tables/places you don’t want them. Some pet stores have cat loungers that are made of corrugated cardboard–those serve both as something to gnaw on and a place to relax. Having some cardboard boxes around or using one to store cat toys is also a good idea, our vet told us years ago that biting the cardboard helps the cat floss their teeth.

          Each cat is different, and you’ll be able to figure out what cat-proofing you need to do once you’ve had them for a while. The only other advice I’d give for a first-time cat owner is stick to the amount of food the vet or shelter tells you. My girlfriend adopted her first cat 2 years ago and gave him what she thought was right based on how vocal he was about being hungry. Took him to the vet 6 months later and he’s 2.5lbs heavier than he should be!

      2. Joie De Vivre*

        Cat carrier – I have one that opens on the top and opens on one end. It is wonderful if you have a cat that fights going in.

    3. Margaret*

      Two cats if you got the room is better than one- they play with each other and keep each other out of trouble. Often you can find siblings. Having owned many cats over the years, it’s amazing how much less catproofing you need to do!

      Because it’s really going to be a practice of trial and error. My first cat immediately ate flowers from vases and clawed any patent leather shoes he could access. My second cat could be counted on to knock stuff off shelves whenever possible, ideally water glasses or fragile ornaments. I had a cat who liked to chase candle flames and would set her whiskers on fire if she was allowed in the room with one. But none of these cats would have had ANY trouble with the other one’s worst behaviours. You just have to wait and see what trouble yours will find.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      Unscented litter. When I got mixed up and bought scent-absorbing, thinking that was what we had–blurgh, opening the door to the house it smelled like cat litter.

      Cats seem to immediately pick up the litter box idea, so that’s a plus.

      Little bippy things. They literally sell strips of plastic like the pull tabs on milk jugs, so good are they to bip.

      Our cats work with the puppy (cat knocks the shampoo off the shelf in the bathroom, puppy chews up the bottle) so I advise not getting a puppy at the same time.

      1. Nic*

        I have had really good luck with a brand called pretty litter. It’s unscented, it desiccates the feces, and it absorbs the urine then lets the water evaporate off. The best part is that it changes color based on the acidity level which gives early warning for things like bladder infections.

        It’s also delivery, and subscription. Which makes it really easy.

    5. greykitty*

      I read Cats for Dummies, before I got my girl. Maybe check your local library – the librarians would probably be happy to point you toward some good basic cat care & health books. I would recommend checking out some vets in your area before you pick up your baby. Mine does a free new pet check, and it was peace of mind even though my shelter was a darn good one for pet health. You’ve probably got this all under control due to being a volunteer at the shelter. Do watch out for any plants you have at home; so many can be harmful to pets eating them – and I had to ditch my decorative baskets because my boy enjoys gnawing at them.

      And, to anyone, please consider adopting an adult. Mine were three when I got them (picked up as strays), and they’re now 15. Kittens are delightful – but with an adult you may have a little more insight into their personality even before you get them home. I’ve been repaid a million times for adopting my ‘mature’ kitties.

      1. Book Lover*

        Yes. Got thre as kittens, one as an adult. She had been abandoned and who knows how long she had been out on the street, but she was the sweetest most loving thing. Kittens you just can’t tell what they will be like. My first was a love, but the two I got together we adored but they were always a struggle.

    6. Hellanon*

      Do it! Cats are the best. You might consider getting a slightly older cat (between one and five years old) or bonded pair-once a cat is past the destructo kitten phase they are a lot easier while still being serious fun. And the older cats/bonded pairs have a harder time finding homes, so you’ll really be doing some good.

      (And I second the advice below. You can’t really cat-proof an apartment beyond eliminating known hazards. Make sure your windows have secure screens, get rid of all lilies and lily relatives, fit cabinets with secure latches, that sort of thing. And then watch them. One of my cats had pica and required all kinds of accommodations, shall we say, while the other two are remarkably easy in comparison.

    7. fposte*

      The best way to catproof a place is to cat-bait a place! Give your cat lots of places she can and will want to go to perch, to curl up, and to scratch, and give her lots of exciting things to do, especially with you, once she settles in.

    8. Turtlewings*

      Before you pick out a cat, check out the cat personality types (link below) and talk to the shelter staff about who is the best match for you. As a volunteer you may already know all about that, but the sad truth is that not every cat is equally suited to every owner! You definitely want a cat who’s going to be a good companion for you specifically and not drive you nuts.

    9. Melody Pond*

      Invest in at least a couple high quality cat scratchers. PetFusion scratchers on Amazon are super expensive, but omg, they’re made out of kitty crack or something, and cats love them. I’ll link the ones we have below, our cats go nuts for them. Experiment with where you place them. Cats will want to use them in the places where they like to hang out the most – sometimes with the best view of the room, or a good view of outside, or right next to the human furniture.

      I actually really like the non-clumping wood pellets as kitty litter. If you buy the kind that’s made for a pellet stove (and not the kind that’s marketed as kitty litter) it’s cheaper than the cheapest crappy clay clumping liter. There are YouTube videos out there to help you learn how to clean that type of litter – it’s not hard. It also smells way, way better than any other cat litter I’ve come across. And because it expands as it’s used, you only use a tiny bit of it in the box. I wouldn’t use more than it would take to cover the litter box floor in about two pellets worth of depth.

      (A caveat to this – if the cat you adopt has never used this kind of litter before, you’ll probably have to go through a slow transition period between their old litter and the new litter. It’s a pain to do the transition, because the mix of clumping and non-clumping litter basically means you have to toss all of it after a certain level of being “dirty”, but once you’ve completed the transition, it’s totally worth it.)

      I like to invest in really high quality, grain-free, filler-free, wet cat food (which we can afford partially because we spend so little money on litter). I buy the frozen raw Primal pellet cat food, but there are other kinds out there. This is another one where you have to transition your cat really slowly, if they’re not used to that kind of food, and it’s best to do it under the advice of a naturopathic/holistic vet (many mainstream veterinarians are solidly against any kind of raw food, but many mainstream veterinarians are also solidly in the pocket of major, giant pet food manufacturers.)

      And finally – if there are certain surfaces where you don’t want your cat to jump up and be on (for me, this is kitchen counters): Scat Mats. Again, they’re expensive, but OMG they work. They work much better than simply spraying a cat with water every time you catch them on the forbidden surface, because they’re effective when you’re not around, and you’re not watching. The cat will also associate the electric shock (very minor – just enough to startle them) with the surface, and not with you.

      Oh, and if you get a cat that needs interactive playtime (which many do) there are a couple of specific cat toys that are just magic.

      Links to follow.

      1. Melody Pond*

        PetFusion Ultimate Lounge Cat Scratcher (just look at the sheer number of positive reviews and the average score, to get a sense of how consistently cats love this one): http://a.co/cRm6qcR

        PetFusion Flip Lounge: http://a.co/fMHD4pG

        PetSafe ScatMat: http://a.co/fJL0jTx

        GoCat Da Bird cat toy: http://a.co/0ljLPFX

        I like to use this wand toy…
        GoCat Teaser Cat Catcher wand toy: http://a.co/0oQ6LL2

        … with these, higher quality mouse “refills” (made of real fur, sewn together – no glue, no metal, no plastic, etc):
        Fun Rat Pack Refill: http://a.co/ixrVDfl

      2. Clever Name*

        I’ve been wondering if pellet stove fuel would work as cat litter. I use feline pine, but would love to find cheaper stuff! You can get it at hardware stores or farm/ranch supply stores?

        1. Melody Pond*

          You sure can! We find it regularly at Lowes/Home Depot. It can be harder to find in the summer, but the bags are so big, that if you stock up on two or three 40 lb bags around April or May, you can probably get through the end of September on that supply (we have two cats, and we can, easily).

    10. Akcipitrokulo*

      If you are able to…. it’s often useful to have two cats because they will keep each other company when you’re out.

      1. Tuxedo Cat*

        If you go the two cat route, I’d suggest a bonded pair. My female cat doesn’t like other cats. I don’t think she even missed when one cat died.

        1. Denise*

          Second that. I had one cat who couldn’t stand other cats and later a cat no other cats could stand.

      2. Grapey*

        +1

        And if you can’t, go for an older cat that is used to being a singleton. We adopted a buddy about a year ago when our other single female cat was on her last legs, and he didn’t care one bit about her. Now that she passed, he loves being king of the house even though we’re gone 8 hours a day. Even when we’re home, 10 am – 4pm is just a big naptime for him.

    11. Tuxedo Cat*

      Make sure your plants aren’t poisonous to the cat. That’s a big one.

      Depending on the cat, you’ll want to keep anything really important away from the cat. Mine have a gift for throwing up on things. Some cats like to knock everything over.

      Make sure they can look out the windows. Mine love that.

    12. The Foreign Octopus*

      I’m so glad you’re adopting a cat! I did this for the first time last year, and as some people know on her, I’ve had quite the adventure with my one.

      Everyone’s advice is really good. I just want to add in mine.

      Even though you volunteer at the shelter, and so you know the general health of the cats, the first thing you should do, before you even take it home, is to take it to the vet.

      Cats are devious little creatures and they hide their aches and pains. A cat can be on death’s door before you know something’s wrong, so take your cat to the vet. They’ll probably already been tested for feline AIDS and feline leukemia (check with the centre and get the proof if you can), but if you can’t get that, get them tested. Also, have their teeth looked at and their nails trimmed (your thighs will thank you for that).

      Also, it’s just a good idea in general to get to know your vet before there is an emergency so that they .pknow the animal as well.

      Good luck with everything, this is really exciting, and let us know how it goes.

    13. Mallows*

      My cat is a wire chewer. Not all cats are, but until you figure yours out, keep your chargers and so forth hidden or high up.

      If your litter box is on carpet, I would suggest getting a linoleum remnant and putting it under the box for any accidents.

    14. Justme, The OG*

      I’ve never not had a cat. We’ve never cat proofed before the cat, instead we moved stuff after. Congrats!

    15. Oxford Coma*

      Getinng cats requires a bit of mental re-set for certain things. Previously I thought nothing of leaving hair elastics everywhere, and my husband shed guitar picks like they grew from his ears. We quickly learned to stop leaving small objects in exposed areas. Embrace the junk drawer!

    16. Manuel*

      I also never did any “catproofing,” per se, but one of the best things I bought was a water fountain. My cat was completely uninterested with a regular bowl of water, but loves his fountain. I also bought a plastic bin with higher sides than a regular litter pan, which keeps all the litter and mess inside the bin – my cat gets a little wild when he’s cleaning up after himself. Hope this helps!

    17. soon 2 be former fed*

      You must have a wand or two! Blue feathered ones are best. Use it liberally each day, and your kitty will purr with contentment.

  7. Book Lover*

    Ok, so last week I posted about needing (wanting) a less allergenic pet. I even visited a chinchilla.

    But when it comes down to it, what we want is a cat. So it doesn’t seem to make sense to get something else :(. So how much of a disaster would it be to get a ‘hypoallergenic’ cat like a Bengal or a Siberian? I understand Bengal cats are absolutely nuts? We would just get one cat, have not had great experiences with two at a time in the past.

    I have tried reaching out (with a great deal of guilt) to breeders but haven’t received much in the way of responses. I guess most of them have waiting lists already and so may not get a response or it may be a long time. I have looked at rescues but there isn’t anything in my area (or within several hours) that would be considered hypoallergenic.

    Another option is a rescue cat that is easygoing and to bathe her weekly. Not sure how much that would help?

    Anyone with experience with breeders and how they work or with experience with coping with allergies or asthma and cats?

    1. Clever Name*

      How bad are your allergies? I’m allergic to cats but I’ve always lived with them. Flonase has changed my life. I try not to touch my face after petting the cats and if they scratch me, I wash it with soap and water immediately.

        1. Ella*

          I lived with a cat and built up something of a tolerance for her. Costco allergy meds and diligently washing my hands (and staying away from her litterbox, that was my roommate’s job) were hugely helpful for me, but it would depend on the severity of your allergies. The cat did aggravate my asthma though.

          1. MysteryFan*

            My BF and I have 3 cats, and he is fine with our cats.. yet, if he pets a strange cat on one of our walks, and touches his face… Ooohhh Noooo. So, my point is, even if you’re allergic, if you can power thru with Zyrtec and Flonase (my drugs of choice) you MAY develop a tolerance to your own cat.

        2. aes_sidhe*

          Immunotherapy works. You just have to be very committed to it for 2-3 years since it’s a once a week shot until your system has quit responding to it. After the weekly shots, it turns into a once a month shot.

      1. I Love Thrawn*

        I’ve got asthma and allergies. I use Flonase – awesome stuff – and my asthma is mild, so I’m ok with the sneezes. It’s worth it to have their company. I have two cats, Toby and Leia. Definitely recommend a short hair though.

    2. Cat Person*

      check with a vet on bathing a cat weekly. They are not like dogs. I would worry about it drying out their skin. Also, I only recall every bathing one of my cats once, and it was not a happy experience. It was necessary as he had escaped the house and gotten filthy. Most cats hate bathing, so you’d probably have to get a kitten and train it to like the water, if the vet says that it would help with your allergies. But I don’t think bathing an animal is the way to go because *you* have a problem.

      1. Book Lover*

        Hmm, I will ask my vet friend, but bathing definitely does not have to be traumatic – many cats actually love water. I definitely will ask about what would be a safe interval. I know for hairless cats it is necessary to wash them weekly, but we decided against a hairless.

        1. aes_sidhe*

          I had to give my cat a flea bath once, and she just sat in the soapy water farting up a storm. I guess that was her way of retaliating against having to sit in water?

        1. fposte*

          For the breeders I’m acquainted with, I would consider email to be like snail mail. If you wrote them in the last week, they’ve barely even gotten it :-).

          By and large, breeders of purebred cats aren’t businesspeople. They’re cat people who have a little surplus sometimes. This is also likely to be kitten season, so they may be busy with the little guys.

          1. Book Lover*

            I am very impatient! Not for the cat itself, since I can’t get one immediately, but I hate uncertainty. That said, I heard back from a Bengal breeder but need to decide if one would be the right choice for us. And two Siberian breeders just emailed me back this morning, so that was exciting – though they don’t have any cats or kittens available hopefully I can be on a waitlist.

            1. fposte*

              I get you on the uncertainty! It sounds like things are rolling along, though, and you might have some enjoyable visits with cats in your future. (BTW, if they’re easily accessible to you there’s a lot to be said for visiting the cattery just to meet them and see what kind of cats they seem to turn out before there’s a specific cat or kitten in mind.)

              1. Book Lover*

                I am only looking at local (within two hours, though most are basically next door), I really wouldn’t want the trauma of a flight to start things off.

    3. Hellanon*

      Don’t get a Bengal unless you also have a farm or a lot of land – they really are wild creatures and need more stimulation than a house can provide. You might look at the hairless cats, but even so, the allergens are proteins in their saliva, not anything specific to the fur, so that may or may not help.

      Could you work with a rescue to foster, and see how it goes?

      1. Book Lover*

        I think that would be ideal, but no hypoallergenic cats available and I imagine they are rare. But we may go into an adoption of a ‘regular’ cat with the understanding it may not work out. Most of the options here would come from foster adopt so would be terrible to give one up after falling in love but wouldn’t mean surrending to a kill shelter.

      2. Kuododi*

        I’ve been owned by orange and one silver tabby over the course of my pet friendly life. I’ve also been owned by one Siamese cat. None of those were particularly hard on my allergies…just kept the pan clean, and the area swept up. ( IOW… routine care and maintenance ). One of my animal hoarding in law’s just “had” to have a hairless cat. The things are freaky IMO but that’s my issue. They aren’t cheap…start up cost alone set this in-law back almost$1000. Also, since they don’t have fur “technically” they need to be bathed regularly to keep skin healthy, will need sweaters if you live in cold weather area. Also they are prone to sunburn so during spring/summer they will need to wear sunscreen. As far as bathing cats goes, I only needed to do that with my silver tabby bc she had trichotillomania and would pull out her hair to the point of bleeding sores. Needless to say she had to have a few medicated baths to keep her from infection. Once the Siamese came to our house, she seemed to have recovered from the hair pulling quite nicely. Ended up with a beautiful silver coat.

      3. curly sue*

        Confirmed. Bengals are very high-energy, high-needs cats. I thought I understood cats, growing up with Burmese and owning a couple of Siamese… but the Bengal boy we had was a *unreal* amount of work to keep happy by comparison. We loved him to bits, he was a wonderful fluffy monster, but I’ll never get a Bengal again. A small townhouse with two working adults just does not provide the space or stimulation they need.

        (Also avoid Burmese – they’re amazing cats, but hyperallergenic. Even people who weren’t allergic to any other cats have been allergic to my mother’s Burmese cats over the years.)

    4. Kyubey*

      I think there other hypoallergenic breeds other than Bengals & Siberians, I had a Russian blue growing up and she never bothered my allergies while other cats did, though mine are mild to begin with. Maybe google hypoallergenic cats for other breeds; I haven’t adopted from a breeder but I wouldn’t recommend bathing, at least not every week.

    5. fposte*

      I would slow your timeframe down a lot here. IME, responsible cat breeders like to build a relationship with a prospective home, and they move at their own pace. Is there a cat show you can go to? That could be a really good chance to get up close with a particular breed and to talk to breeders, and then you can talk about a visit to the cattery later on.

      And yes, while Siberians and Balinese are the lowest secreters of the relevant protein, there are definitely other breeds, ranging from Siamese and their affiliated breeds to Russian Blues to the Rexes, that tend to be less allergenic. And don’t throw the cat out with the bathwater–if you don’t actually *like* the cat much, the fact that it doesn’t make you sneeze isn’t going to be much comfort.

      1. Book Lover*

        I can’t imagine a cat that I don’t like, though some are more challenging than others :).
        But yes, I actually can’t bring a cat home for at least three months, so am starting to look now because I know it may take time. Assuming I can actually get in touch with someone, I don’t mind if it takes a year or two to bring a cat home, but if I can’t actually communicate with someone, then I need to consider alternatives.
        We decided against the hairless, not super excited about Siamese and similar. But we will definitely explore our options. For now, I think a sweet Siberian would be perfect for us, but it may not be possible. I think a Bengal might be great given that we may not live on a farm but we do have a huge house with a lot of vertical space and two very active kids.

    6. Kj*

      Try one of the rexes- Cornish Rex cats are very friendly, while still being cats and are not crazy.

      1. Book Lover*

        They seem to have wonderful personalities! But none available in AZ that I could find. I did email one person but the website is out of date and not sure if they have kittens available or will in the future.

    7. Nesprin*

      Allergies+cats here. 1st do the immunotherapy shots. Theyve changed my life from 5 ed visits per year to 0 over the past two years. Second, hepa filter in the bedroom and no cats in there ever, so at least you have 8hrs per day to be free of allergens. Third, someone else needs to brush the cat, vacuum the house and do litterbox as these are high dander activities. Fyi there are no nonallergenic cats- they all have some dander. Id recommend catsitting for a few days to see if cat ownership will work for you.

      1. Woodswoman*

        Second this. You should assume you’ll be allergic to any cat. A friend allergic to cats has been able to live with a couple cats for years now because he did the allergy shots.

    8. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Don’t get a Bengal. Very few people can handle them – they need a TON of stimulation, and if they don’t get their needs met they will be destructive. So you see a lot of them being surrendered/dumped simply because humans were stupid. The closer to wild breeds in general are MUCH harder to have as pets, because they’re not really pets.

      If you really, really want a cat, it depends on your allergies. If meds will control the reaction, just commit to meds forever. Allergy shots can help too. However, as much as you may want a cat, if you don’t think it’ll work long term (entire life of the cat), do not get a cat. The animal is innocent and doesn’t deserve to suffer because you didn’t think things through.

      Even with allergies, you’ll react differently to different cats. Watch for patterns. For example, I seem to react to black cats the most, followed by long hairs. Black long haired cats are the worst for me. When choosing a cat to adopt, spend time with it. If you’re reacting badly, not a good sign.

      You can do things to help at home too. Keep the cat out of your bedroom. Having the cat on or in your bed will be concentrated allergy exposure, so much worse for you. Vacuum regularly. Brush the cat regularly to help w/shedding.

      Weekly bathing is probably way too frequent. Cats need a certain amount of oils to have a healthy coat, and if you’re washing them out that’s not good for them. If that would be a have to do to cope, then that means you can’t get a cat.

      I’ll be honest, if I was trying to find a cat a home and someone who knows they’re allergic wanted the cat, then I’d probably say no. The risk of you dumping/surrendering the cat is just too high. So before you get one, you need to be REALLY, REALLY sure that you can commit to providing that cat a good life that meets their needs for their entire life – regardless of your allergies.

      1. Book Lover*

        I understand, but would like to say that we have had cats for thirty years and have never surrendered a cat for allergies. So I don’t intend to start now…. I am just looking into the possibility of a cat that may be less allergenic to begin with. And as I mentioned somewhere, also the possibility of a foster adopt rescue situation where if it didn’t work out the cat would still be going to another home.
        We never bathed our cats except for my first, who seemed to enjoy it when it happened (not often), but I understood that the hairless cats had to be bathed weekly and wasn’t sure what would be reasonable and appropriate for cats with fur. I will check into that with the vet.

        1. I'm A Little Teapot*

          Ok. You’re realistic. Your best bet then is going to be spending time with individuals and trying to find one you react to less.

      2. Former Border's Refugee*

        And if you DO get a Bengal, don’t tempt fate, get a pair, and name them Mischief and Mayhem.

    9. neverjaunty*

      Oh noooo, as Alison would say.

      1) no cats are hypoallergenic. Some of them are less allergy-inducing than others, it’s true, but there are no magic allergy free cats.

      2) Bengals are not a starter cat.

      1. Book Lover*

        I have had cats for thirty years – not sure where you got the idea it would be a starter cat :). I am just sadly catless right now.

        Hypo actually means less. So I am aware there are no non-allergenic cats :). But some do have less of the allergenic protein in their saliva and some people with allergies do better with certain species than others.

    10. Book Badger*

      I have a severe cat allergy and asthma. Just as an FYI: when you have allergies, what you’re allergic to is a protein in their spit and skin. There’s no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic cat because all cats, even hairless ones, are going to have that protein, it’s just a matter of amount, and washing isn’t going to help much because they still have spit and skin.

      Immunotherapy can work (I’ve looked into it myself and I know people who went from very allergic to nothing or almost nothing), but it takes years of injections to get that far. If you want a cat NOW, immunotherapy might not work for you.

    11. EN*

      Turkish Vans are also supposedly less allergen inducing, and this has proven to be the case for me. I never noticed cat allergies when we just had the one kitty, who is probably a Turkish Van mix, based on his looks and attitude. (They’re often described as dogs in a cat suit.) I didn’t have issues until we brought home a stray kitten we found on the side of the road. That’s when I got tested and found out about my cat allergy—among many others. Immunotherapy sadly didn’t work for me, but other people have great success with it. Because of all of my other allergy triggers, I take a generic Zyrtec daily and use Flonase and don’t have any issues. If you really want a cat (and it sounds like you do), I’m sure you can find a way to make it work.

      1. Book Lover*

        I seem to remember that they like to swim, also :)

        I will take it slowly, nothing is coming home for at least three months, but I think it is worth continuing to investigate my options.

    12. Courageous cat*

      No experience with hypoallergenic cats but my ex-bf was extremely allergic and once he adjusted to my cat, he was 100% fine living with her. My bff is the same way with her cats. I think you could probably get a regular cat and be fine after an adjustment period.

    13. Windward*

      Bengals are really generally huge commitments. They need a lot more than “domestic” cats. If you’re interested, please contact Bengal rescue groups for info – why do people give up their Bengals, what makes for successful adoptions, & anything else they think you should know. Even some of the rescue folks can’t keep all Bengals.

      Allergies – if you’re up for alternative options, you could check out the NAET website to see if there are practitioners near you. I’ve had good luck with this, & a friend’s cat allergies (something I didn’t need) have fully resolved. You go thru a standard protocol & then do specifics like cats. It’s remarkably simple, & in my experience painless. The MD who created the program is also an acupuncturist.

    14. LilySparrow*

      I have terrible cat allergies, and in most cases it makes it difficult for me to even visit friends with cats.
      One friend also had allergies, but loved cats and had an ordinary shorthair mix. She brushed him daily and wiped him down with a damp washcloth morning and night.

      I never even sniffled at her house.

    15. periwinkle*

      I used to be in the cat fancy, which is such a strange name for it but anyway…

      Serious breeders are highly protective of their cats, and I would not trust a breeder who would sell me a cat without ever talking with me a few times. Litters are usually planned very carefully and generally a good breeder will plan on one litter per year for each breeding queen; breeding careers are just a few years. I’m differentiating them from “backyard breeders” who want to make money off their pet and from the scumbags who run kitten mills, neither of whom give a damn about genetics or health. Despite the inaccurate descriptions on Petfinder – no, that is not a Chartreux and that is not a Turkish Van and that absolutely is not a Maine Coon – there just aren’t that many purebreds and definitely not that many serious breeders in the U.S.

      If you’re emailing a breeder saying you’re allergic and want to buy X breed because of it, the response would be lukewarm at best. There’s no guarantee. Cornish Rex and Devon Rex are thought to be good for those allergic to dander, but both are very rare. Bengals, as noted, are not a beginner cat. They have an active breed rescue because they have no choice – they’re smart and agile and can be a real handful. I’ve only met a few Siberian cats, rare but both lovely and rather nice to be around (mellow and sweet).

      BTW, I’ve known a lot of breeders who are allergic to cats! They just put up with it or find a great allergist. Something you need to consider very seriously is what you will do if you cannot manage your family’s allergies around the cat. What happens to the cat? Serious breeders usually have a take-back clause in the sales contract – you agree to contact them if you need to re-home the cat, and they agree to take the cat back. But… this isn’t always a viable option. The first breed rescue I adopted was given up due to a child’s allergies, but the breeder was deceased. Thankfully the owner persisted and got in touch with the breed rescue contact, who sweet talked me into fostering, which lasted all of about a minute before I decided the kitty was staying with us.

      1. Book Lover*

        I joined a Bengal forum and did a lot of reading and regretfully it doesn’t seem like it would be the best choice for us. Might be great for the kids, but I want a mellower cat that will hang out on my lap sometimes.

        The only reputable local Devon rex breeder did answer my email and sent me a very thoughtful list of questions and we discovered we have some things in common :). He has invited me over to meet him and his wife and the cats and hang out for a while talking and answering questions and seeing how the allergies do. He says he has had good luck placing his kittens with people with allergies and he is very picky and demands close communications with people adopting his kittens, so I feel really good about that. The personality seems like it would be great for us – food for occasional snuggling as well as playing with the kids, but I have to see if I can find it adorable and not weird looking.

        I have had a nice positive communication with a reputable Siberian breeder who is relatively local, and she also invited me over to meet the parents of the next litter to see how it goes. Siberians are absolutely gorgeous, no question.

        We have always managed our allergies – they are annoying but not life threatening. I think a combination of allergy meds (oral and nasal) as well as considering immunotherapy would be reasonable. And keeping the cat out of most of the bedrooms. And definitely regular brushing and then washing as appropriate (I think for the rex is every 3-4 weeks but would discuss with breeder). And we already vacuum regularly, etc. We have never given up a cat due to allergies, but as you noted there is a take back clause for both of these.

        So right now tentatively we will plan on meeting both breeds and just seeing how things go, without making any decisions. No kittens would be coming home until late in the year, so time to talk and think.

        1. fposte*

          Are you for sure focused on kittens? I know sometimes breeders also have older retirees from showing or from breeding that they will rehome. If you’re open to that that’s a good thing to mention to breeders, too.

          1. Book Lover*

            Yes, one Siberian breeder may have a boy later this year, but not sure how males do when they are neutered late? I don’t want spraying issues if I can avoid it…. The Devon rex breeder doesn’t have any adults. I think kittens are cute, but they grow up fast and I don’t feel strongly about a kitten versus an adult.

    16. Not a Mere Device*

      I am slightly allergic to many cats, and strongly allergic to a few. As in, I’ve had a cat or two for most of my adult life, and managed with at most low-level allergy pills, but I’ve also had to leave a friend’s party after about half an hour, because I was allergic to her new kitten.

      What I did, when we were most recently looking to adopt a cat, was make repeated visits to both the local humane society and the adopt-a-cat spaces they had at a pet supply store. The idea was to meet some cats, see if there was one we liked, and then sit for half an hour and make sure I didn’t react badly. It wasn’t a perfect system, since what it told me was “I’m allergic to either this cat I would otherwise like to adopt, or one of the three others in the room with it.” But on the fourth visit, we came home with two cats; after a couple of years unmedicated, I’ve gone back to the allergy pills.

      If you’re working with a breeder, you might be able to do something similar–explain what you’re looking for in a cat, and ask need to spend a little one-on-one time with the possible cat and see whether she triggers a strong allergic reaction.

      This may not work, if you’re strongly allergic to most cats rather than a minority. It worked for me because basic cleaning levels meant I wasn’t being triggered by a cat that had been in the room the previous day, but if you’re allergic to half the kittens in a litter, and they share space, you may not be able to tell which ones are the problem.

    17. Spice for this*

      I came here to share with you that for many years I lived with terrible allergies (during this time due to different reasons I moved from one city to another with climates ranging from humid to extra dry) . I got allergy tested in 2007, found out I have allergies to cats, dogs, trees, grass, etc. I was on an allergy pill and a nasal spray from 2007-2012. Also, got allergy shots from 2008-2012. The entire time, we owned an inside cat (the cat lived outside for the most part from 2004-2007).
      In early 2013 I got tested for food allergies. Results came back and I gave up gluten, dairy, soy and corn. It took about 3-6 months and I was allergy free.
      We still have the cat and she is a healthy 15 years old now.

    18. JSPA*

      I build up tolerance but there are multiple gender types so learning to tolerate one cat does not allow you to tolerate every other. (otherwise it would make sense to hang out with somebody else’s cat until you were ready to tolerate your own). For me, having bedroom and bathroom be cat-free is absolutely essential. I also teach them from when they’re young to come to my feet for petting. That doesn’t mean they don’t also try to Head Bonk my forehead or put their heads under my hand, but it does let me pet them with my feet without them assuming that I’m about to kick.

      Of 3 cats, 2 have been bright enough to learn that they should only rub against my legs if my legs are clothed. Cat Number 3 is …unusually dense.

      We also have a throw with two different colored sides to go on laps, person side down / Cat Side Up.

      Cat wipes help.

      I make sure I have a brand new inhaler prescription if I’m getting a new cat. And I try to do it at a less allergenic time of year.

      Most of the hypoallergenic claims are frankly marketing. Whether or not you’re allergic to a particular cat has a lot more to do with you than any absolute about the cat. I suppose a deeply inbred breed could have only a single allergen type (?) But that sounds like asking for a lot of other problems. Also if there’s any risk at all that you could end up having to give the cat up… it may make extra sense to get one from the pound / animal rescue.

      FWIW, even though her hair goes everywhere and sticks to everything, my long hair happens to give me fewer allergen problems than my short hair does.

      When it’s time for another cat I’ll probably try to scratch myself very gently with the kitten’s claw, and gauge how extreme my reaction is, that way.

  8. selenejmr*

    I’ve got a question about tea. I started drinking hot tea about a year ago, and only liked English breakfast tea or Irish breakfast tea (the rest were too weak), but they seem kind of blah now. Does anybody have any recommendations for robust, good tasting tea? Thanks!

    1. CAA*

      Try a lapsang souchong. It’s got a strong smoky flavor. Also, assam is what gives Irish breakfast tea it’s strong flavor, so you could try an unblended assam. If you’re using teabags, switch to full leaf loose tea and try steeping longer.

      1. Washi*

        Mmmm yes. Smells like bacon to me, which is a little disconcerting, but I love lapsang souchong.

      2. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Lapsang is very much a love it or hate it kind of thing so I would suggest getting a sample size to try before buying a lot.

      3. selenejmr*

        I might be branded a heretic, but I have one of those Contigo autoseals and I just put my tea bag in, pour in hot water, close it up and keep the tea bag in all day.

        1. Lightly-chewed Jimmy*

          seconding Yorkshire, particularly Yorkshire Gold.
          also nthing trying Assam unblended
          Murchie’s Afternoon is quite nice too

    2. Pollygrammer*

      I actually like Constant Comment, which is super cheap. It’s a flavorful black tea with spice and orange.

    3. PX*

      Based on finding the rest too weak, it seems to me like you are into black tea? Or have you tried other types like rooibos (redbush) or green tea? I’m from a tea growing country so I’m spoiled, but it might be interesting for you to know that things like English/Irish breakfast are actually blends, so you might be more interested looking into the pure varieties themselves. A quick internet search on ‘types of black tea’ gave me a few ‘best of’ lists, so that might be fun for you to look into :)

      Happy drinking!

    4. Margaret*

      Some of the oolongs are really nice, and so’s keemun. But they vary so much by shop… best bet is to go to a tea shop and tell them what you like, they’ll hook you up with recs of their best blend for you and samples.

      I’m like you, I drink strong black tea, and I can also be persuaded to drink keemuns and oolongs, or flavoured roiboos where the leaf is ground small enough that you get a rich flavour payoff. The ‘strength’ of tea has a lot more to do with how finely it’s milled than the leaf itself.

    5. SpiderLadyCEO*

      I like English and Irish breakfast a lot, and I have found making a good cup makes a difference. I drink P&G tips for English breakfast. I also really like earl greys that aren’t super floral, and the ones I am drinking now are both Adagio. What I did recently that I think you might want to try is just buy a whole ton of Adagio $5 tins, so you can brew a few cups and see if you like it before buying a whole ton. I’m addicted to their fandom blends, because I like pretty packaging.

    6. miyeritari*

      Is it a weakness thing, or have you tried other types of tea (like green tea, white teas, roobios)? I also love drinking earl grey, which has a pretty distinctive flavor, and I love sencha and jasmine green teas.

      You can brew stronger tea with more than one teabag or more leaves in your strainer, if it’s just a strength thing.

    7. Lau (UK)*

      Assam packs a decent punch, I’m a huge fan of spiced teas, largely chais which I drink black but you need to try a few before finding the right blend for you (i drink masala chai because i don’t do sweet)

    8. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Earl Grey is good. Adagio makes an Earl Grey Lavender that I absolutely love.

      You might want to try some pu’erh teas which are generally more robust and earthy.

    9. Parenthetically*

      Grab a sampler pack of single-origins or black teas from Upton Tea or The English Tea Store to see what you like! Assam, Darjeeling, Yunnan, etc., all have very different qualities. I like Assam for an everyday robust tea, but golden yunnan is gorgeous — it’s much much more expensive, but the flavor is just out of this world.

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          I am a PG Tips fan, and have to have a supply of it at home. I read somewhere that PG Tips is predominantly Darjeeling, but Assam and Ceylon are both quite strong teas as well.

          Once I had afternoon tea in Fortnum and Mason at St Pancras Station and there was a selection of teas (unsurprisingly!) to choose from and there was a house blend, which was quite nice.

          I know loose tea is superior in taste to teabags, but I still stick to the latter for convenience sake.

    10. lapgiraffe*

      Tea lover here, and I would suggest two brands – mighty leaf has lovey teas, and rishi is a new favorite in my premium category, specifically their earl grey which is very citrusy in the best way. Second the suggestion to get a sampler pack. I’ve also been very pleased with David’s Tea “the buzz” which is a mate blend, it has some caffeine and buzz, if you will, while still feeling light and herbal.

    11. Book Badger*

      Orange Pekoe can also be fun! It’s a strong black tea with a different flavor than the breakfast teas.

    12. ThursdaysGeek*

      Dilmah tea is excellent, better than Yorkshire Gold. You can get a nice black tea, but they also have a lot of flavored tea. I really like their blackcurrant. It doesn’t get bitter and tannic if it seeps too long.

      You can get it on Amazon, or order it directly from the grower in Sri Lanka.

    13. Chaordic One*

      I like English and Irish breakfast teas, but when they start to seem a bit too ‘blah’ I break out the Tazo Wild Sweet Orange. (It may be too sweet for some tastes, but it’s not like it is full of sugar.)

    14. Tea Drinker*

      Have you tried loose leaf teas? There’s a pretty big difference in flavor between tea bags and loose leaf, and if you like the taste of a particular blend but want it stronger, loose leaf might be your answer.

      If you’re looking to try different blends, Harney and Sons has a wide variety of excellent teas. You might like their Amba Thieves Tea – it’s a bit strong for my taste, but it might be perfect for you.

      If you’re in the US and you’re interested in Chinese tea, I’d definitely recommend checking out Little Red Cup Tea Co. I drink their tea daily. You might like their Gunpowder Green and Wuyuan Black in particular.

      Masala chai, too, has a pretty strong flavor and is delicious.

      There are a lot of teas out there – hope you find one that works for you!

      (If anyone has some tea-related puns, by the way, feel free to share. I still haven’t come up with a good username.)

    15. TheLiz*

      I can second chai and roiboos/redbush as being really strong, flavourful teas. I also like flavoured teas such as rosebud or jasmine green.

    16. Loopy*

      I’m surprised no one has suggested chai tea (not the chai tea lattes often found in coffee shops but the actual tea). It’s the only tea I’ll drink in the morning. Just me? I find it to be strong/flavorful!

      1. Margo the Destroyer*

        David’s Teas always has tea samplers on sale, esp after a holiday.

        These are loose leaf though which are much better. I am partial to light white teas with floral or citrus flavors.

        1. Margo the Destroyer*

          Also, a good way to sample is to go to a tea room for an afternoon tea. Several around here offer several blends with the tiered food trays.

    17. misspiggy*

      Russian Caravan packs a lovely punch. Assam can be fantastic, but choose your brands carefully – Taylor’s of Harrogate is the best IMO, and although they’re pricey you can get several cups out of one bag.

    18. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)*

      The best I’ve ever had is Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice tea… if you like cinnamon. It’s a black tea.

      Pricey, but really good.

      Unfortunately, I’ve become increasingly caffeine sensitive so I have to be very careful. but I love tea. Luckily for me, I like herbal tea as well, especially ones with lemon and ginger.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        You can actually get the H&S Cinnamon on Amazon. $10 for 50 bags, which is not bad at all. I just sent some to a friend :)

        If you like spicy teas, try David’s Super Ginger. It’s caffeine free.

    19. Engineering consultant*

      Try Assam or Ceylon teas. A lot of the black tea found in your average supermarket is… of poor quality, to say the least. And then the rest of the teas are primarily herbal teas with little to no caffeine content, so maybe that’s why you perceive them as weak.

      If you’re in the US, it’s not going to be easy to find a good selection of un-blended teas unless you live near an urban area that also has a lot of Asian immigrants. I’ve found the best teas from tea shops that source teas from Asia – China, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, etc. where tea is treated like fine wines, not two buck chuck

      1. selenejmr*

        I live in Michigan, but I’m close to Michigan State University so I’m hoping that one of the shops near it will have some good stuff.

    20. Kathenus*

      Tazo has a sweet cinnamon spice tea I really like. Strong cinnamon and anise flavors, if you like those tastes.

    21. -*

      Assam is a good strong-flavoured tea, similar to an English Breakfast. It’s sometimes described as having a ‘malty’ taste but I just think it tastes like a strong tea!

    22. Elan Morin Tedronai*

      Earl Grey and Oolong seem to be a common theme here, and I agree. In addition, I can recommend lapsang souchong, iron buddha (tie guan yin) or pu’er tea. You can also try rooiboos.

      Generally, most black teas will give you a pretty robust flavour and they also seem to be the most forgiving when you overbrew them. I’d avoid green teas because they’re not as robust, and white because they’re far too delicate.

  9. Life is Good*

    Anyone done the Stonehenge tour? How about Kent/White Cliffs of Dover? We will be in London for a few days in July and need suggestions for things to do that we shouldn’t miss. We’ll be there on weekdays. We have a BritRail Pass good for 8 travel days for the month. Thanks for any suggestions.

    1. Book Lover*

      London in and of itself has a lot to do. A train to Stonehenge is a couple of hours each way not counting getting to the station and waiting around and so on. Dover is a bit closer, but still, a lot of time traveling rather than just enjoying being where you are. Not that it isn’t worth it, but just a comment.
      If you want to get out of London and don’t mind the travel time, there is also York.

      But I would suggest you just stick with London if you haven’t been many times and haven’t already ‘seen everything’ – botanical gardens, national gallery, National history museum, British museum and so on.

      1. Book Lover*

        My memory failed me. Stonehenge and Dover are both about the same amount of time by train. Bit over two hours.

      2. Life is Good*

        Thank you for the info! We are also traveling in Scotland two weeks prior to visiting London and have plans to visit Liverpool (Beatles fans) on our way to London. You are right about taking pretty much a whole day to do just one thing, though. We had planned to do “local” sightseeing and we will definitely check out the stuff you suggest – right down our alley, but wondered if those other two were too “touristy” to be enjoyable.

        1. Akcipitrokulo*

          If you’re in Glasgow… look up tchai ovna teashop! Also Burrel collection and Kelvingrove museun/ art gallery and Museum of Modern Art are good!

          The Isle of Arran is definitely worth visiting too.

          And if travelling between london and Scotland, sleeper trains are fun :)

          1. Life is Good*

            We will be in Glasgow for a couple of days! We will check out that tea shop, for sure. My husband loves good tea. Thanks for the suggestion.

            1. Life is Good*

              Also, love to visit museums of modern art wherever we go. Will definitely check that one out.

          2. Tau*

            Seconding Tchai Ovna, I moved away from Glasgow years ago and I still miss it. :( Also seconding Isle of Arran, which I’ve heard called Scotland in miniature.

            Loch Lomond is also pretty and very reachable from Glasgow (it’s actually a really nice cycle ride, but that’s probably more for residents – there’s a train if you don’t have the time or inclination.) And although I didn’t do much sightseeing in Glasgow, I found St. Mungo’s Cathedral and the Necropolis pretty cool.

            1. Akcipitrokulo*

              they had to change their entrance because of developers :( After taking the bit beside the river, they said that the porch was trespassing, so new entrance is just down from bookshop. Still awesome though!

          3. Glasgow-Based Anon*

            The Burrell is currently closed and will be for a few years. Slight correction that doesn’t matter too much, but it’s the Gallery of Modern Art, not the Museum of Modern Art. Don’t want you flicking fruitlessly through your guidebook ;) The Lighthouse has an excellent viewing platform, so I’d recommend that. As for London, I’d definitely agree that if you only have a few days it’s not really worth travelling outside the city. The British Museum alone could eat up a few days.

    2. Tess McGill*

      Go to Bath! You’ll love it! I know Stonehenge is on everyone’s bucket list, but I found it so underwhelming … all six times I saw it (we lived 13 miles from it away for two years and everyone who came to visit wanted to see it, so off we went! Excellent gift shop, however.) If you do the Stonehenge tour it will probably include Old Sarum and Salisbury. Don’t miss the Cathedral. How about a day in Oxford … wonderful city! Head to Seven Sisters in Sussex for a really spectacular view of the cliffs. There is a ton to see in London, however. I used to lead off-the-beaten path photo tours in the city, two Tuesdays a month. The Cotswolds are lovely but once you get there by train you really need a car to see the villages. Do you like castles? Cathedrals? Grand homes?

      1. Tess McGill*

        London Waterloo to Salisbury is about an hour and 22 minutes to an hour and 30 minutes, depending on if you skip stations at Grateley, Whitchurch and Woking. Easy train ride, no changes. Trains run twice an hour. From there you can pick up the bus tour to Stonehenge.

      2. Life is Good*

        We do want to tour the Salisbury Cathedral if only to see the Magna Carta copy there! We think we may get our fill of castles in Scotland. Love cathedrals. Notre Dame was magnificent, but kinda touristy.

        1. Tess McGill*

          The cathedral is wonderful. Salisbury is my favorite “exterior” but Exeter Cathedral is my favorite interior. I also love Wells, Durham, Ely, Lincoln and Winchester cathedrals. Exeter has the most ornate “cathedra” (seat for the bishop) I’ve ever seen. The Minster in York is also spectacular.

        2. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

          British Library has a copy I believe of the Magna Carta, but they also have originals of the Beatles lyrics/songwriting – in the same room even (treasures of the british library gallery), along with a Gutenberg Bible and a lot of other cool stuff. Free entrance – its next to St Pancras/Kings X area.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            The British Library is one of the most wonderful places on earth. I’d love to be given leave to paw through all their treasures. Did you know they have a lock of Lord Byron’s hair? They do. :)

              1. Elizabeth West*

                Their exhibits are cool. Last visit, I was there to do actual research, so I got a reader pass. It’s expired but I refuse to take it out of my wallet. Nerd cred, ya know. ;)

              2. Bagpuss*

                Yes, the ‘Treasures of the British Library’ exhibition is free and includes their copy of Magna Carta, a Gutenberg Bible, manuscripts including the Beatles, Jane Austen, Leonardo da Vinci, Ada Lovelace, plus things like a first folio Shakespeare and lots of stunning illuminated manuscripts including many which are non-european.
                It looks as though they have a free exhibition of Ethiopian manuscripts which will be on during July.

                I personally would pick Westminster Abbey over St Paul’s Cathedral, if you don’t have time for both.
                If you do go to Bath, consider staying overnight. Queues for the Roman Baths get very long, but if you can be there first thing before the coach parties arrive they will be shorter.

      3. AvonLady Barksdale*

        We’ll be spending two nights in Bath when we go for my birthday trip at the end of May. I visited on a day trip from London when I was 15, but looking SO forward to really exploring and enjoying that city.

        1. Tess McGill*

          I loved Bath SO much, especially the Christmas market. It is the BEST city to wander around in. Wander all the way up to The Circus and The Royal Crescent. Tour the Roman baths and Bath Abbey. If you have time, go to the Thermae Bath Spa. There’s also the fashion museum, the Jane Austen Centre, the Victoria Art Gallery and The Holburne Museum. You can do something different like taking an architectural tour or walk the Bath Skyline Walk. Everyone goes to the Pump Room for tea … why not try The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa for tea? Or the Bath Priory (a cozy country house)? The best place for a Bath Bun is Hands Georgian Tearooms (Sally Lunn’s will be PACKED with tourists, but if you love Blue Willow china, you’d better stop in). There’s also No15 Great Pulteney (amazing presentation) and The Regency Tea Room (Jane Austen fans) and the lounge at The Gainsborough Bath Spa (amazing service). If you have the ability, go see Bradford-on-Avon, just 8 miles southeast of Bath. The tiny village is commonly nicknamed “Little Bath”. The architecture is similar, but the town is less touristy. One of the oldest surviving Norman churches in England is there as well. It’s gorgeous! Enjoy and happy birthday!

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            Thank you for the recs! Many of these are already on my agenda. I booked my birthday dinner at the Royal Crescent because I AM FANCY (and it came highly recommended by some friends), but I hadn’t considered the Priory for tea (just dinner, Dower House won out). My partner and I are definitely wanderers, so I’m pleased for the confirmation that I made a good choice. And I will be dragging him to the Jane Austen Centre, and if he doesn’t like it, he can play Pokemon for an hour and leave me to it.

            1. Bagpuss*

              If you go to Bradford on Avon go to the Bridge tea rooms. It’s in a lovely old cottage dating to the start of the 16th C and is full of Victorian kitsch, and they do amazing teas. I’d take it over either Sally Lunns or other places in Bath!

          2. Life is Good*

            Tess, we need you along as a tour guide! I am going to look up all of your recommendations. I guess we’ll just have to plan a longer visit next time as well!

      4. epi*

        A lot of day trips from London seem to combine Stonehenge and Bath. I preferred Bath and that was the reason I didn’t go on my last trip to London– I didn’t see an affordable way without revisiting Stonehenge. (I was joining my husband at the end of a business trip so we were flying by the seat of our pants.) The day trips combining them can be great though if you’ve never done either one before.

      5. Tau*

        I also found Stonehenge pretty underwhelming, although that may have to do with the fact that we had a terrible time getting there and ended up arriving after the ticket shop had closed so we could only look at it from outside the fence. As far as Stone Age remnants go, I actually found the Orkney Isles more imposing – Ring of Brodgar, Standing Stones of Stenneess, Skara Brae, and I passed through when there was an active excavation at the Ness of Brodgar and got to watch the archaeologists at work. Of course, in order to visit those places you first have to get to the Orkney Isles, which is something of a feat.

        1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

          It is indeed real – I have also been there. The water color is GORGEOUS and so beautiful -the cliffside walks were amazing. Actually learned to surf over in that area too. Its a pain to get to and you need a car and knowledge of driving in one-lane hedgerow lanes, but yes, its down in Cornwall.

    3. Tess McGill*

      In London, don’t miss Borough Market. Go early in the morning and sample everything. (“If you didn’t see Borough Market, you didn’t see London.”) If you are a museum person please don’t miss the Victoria & Albert Museum. I am not a Museum person AT ALL and I adore the V&A. Go see St. Paul’s Cathedral and don’t miss the memorial to 28,000 American WWII service members who served in the UK in the very back of the cathedral.

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        Second this – you could easily start at St Pauls, walk across the Millenium Bridge to see the Tate and then head for Borough Market in late morning. The market is going to be heaving for lunch from 12.30 and if its sunny it will be practically impenetrable – the gelato place had a massive line out the door on Friday. If you would prefer to sit down in a sunny area with umbrellas (more for drinks and cheese/meat boards) – try Boro Bistro as its usually overlooked because it is tucked away under the bridge below the Barrowboy and Banker pub.

        From Borough Market, cross London Bridge and take the stairs at the north end to drop down onto the Thames Path and follow it to the Tower (about a mile or so). The giant concrete hotel monstrosity actually has a really nice (and very reasonably priced) outdoor bar area with some nice snacks on hand (small wood fired pizzas are about £7 I think, burgers etc) right under the bridge on the river. Alternatively pass through the hotel to the Dickens Inn in the Docks area, especially if you want a ‘grammable type of photo and a nice outside pub.

      2. Life is Good*

        Victoria and Albert museum is already on the list…..I love the BBC series on PBS. Obsessed, actually.

    4. Lau (UK)*

      I’m biased as all get out but Cambridge is pretty glorious this time of year, especially midweek when it’s less busy. We have colleges, botanical gardens and lots of independent shops, food and drink.

      Also, only an hour on the train from central london.

      1. Tess McGill*

        Lau (UK) can you recommend your favourites in Cambridge? We’ll be there at the end of May. We plan to see King’s College Chapel, but want to see the city as well. Can you recommend local places to see/eat? Less touristy things to see/do? I am very much looking forward to my day in Cambridge. Thanks!

        1. Buu*

          I recommend either branch of Hot Numbers coffee and the Fitzwilliam museum. Near King’s college you can go to a traditional fudge shop and watch them prepare it fresh.
          If you go punting I recommend a guided punt, it’s much safer and many will point out landmarks.
          The computer museum is good if you are at geeky it’s a little out of the way though.

        2. Cambridge Comma*

          It sounds like you have more than a day so you can probably see everything. I would include smaller colleges as well as Kings if they let you in.
          Go to Grantchester (I’d walk rather than punt, it’s not so far walking but feels like a lot of punting if you don’t have the practice). People seem to fall in the river a fair amount so decide if you’re up for that before punting yourself.
          A lot of the pubs have good food, perhaps you can find current recommendation online? Many of the restaurants in the city centre are chains so quite blah; the pubs have more character. Fitzbillies for Chelsea buns (I know they closed, but I think they opened again?)
          I have fond memories of eating at the Van of Life and the Van of Death but that’s probably just nostalgia.

      2. Short and Stout*

        Definitely seconding a midweek visit, otherwise things get very busy here and the main streets in the city centre are crowded.

        You should go punting down The Backs, even if you pay to get punted it’s pretty good value as you’re essentially getting to see the middle of Queens’, Clare, King’s, Trinity and St John’s Colleges, including the most famous sites in the city of King’s Chapel and Trinity’s Wren library.

        If you did want to punt yourself, go in the early morning or late evening when the river’s less busy: it’s actually pretty fun and a lot cheaper. There is a great little picture map you can buy from Heffer’s bookshop on Trinity Street called “Cambridge, The Backs of the Colleges” (for £3.50, so less than $5) that will tell you all you need to know to have a self-guided tour. It includes punting instructions!

        All of the colleges mentioned above have world famous choirs that you can hear for free if you’re here during university term time and go to evensong.

        Two of the university museums have recently reopened after major refurbs:

        (1) Kettle’s Yard is an art gallery in a house, giften to the university in the 1970s by a former curator at the Tate. Very special and unique, and a must-see if you like 20th Century art. Free entry, but you must get a timed ticket for the house.

        (2) The Zoology Museum is now also mostly open, and has been done out very nicely. Great for kids.

        My personal favourite is the museum in the Scott Polar Research Insititute. This covers exploration of the Artic and Antarctic, with a very moving section on Scott’s last voyage. Look out for the ceiling in the atrium!

        Hot Numbers certaintly has some of the best coffee in Cambridge, but service isn’t always especially fast and the branch opposite the Fitzwilliam is quite small if you were looking to eat in.

        Bould Brothers (opposite the Round Church) has excellent coffee too.

        Pub recs for food + drink: The Hopbine (my top pick, best beer and tastiest and best value food), Cambridge Brew House, and The Red Bull (walk to Newnham).

        Recs for just drink and cute British Pub aesthetics or location: The Maypole, St Radegund (smallest pub in Cambridge?), The Old Spring (on Jesus Green by the river, so-so food).

    5. ladyb*

      Brighton is also an easy day out from London by rail. Go to Brighton Pavilion – an Indian themed palace built for Prince George – wander round the Laines (I especially like the North Laines) for individual and quirky shops, and the to the sea front for ice cream or fish and chips.

    6. london*

      I did a day trip bus tour that included Oxford and Stonehenge. I was really happy with it. In each place the guide talked to us a bit (in Oxford we walked a bit with the tour guide), then we had a time on our own. Logistically it worked well and I didn’t have to figure out trip details.

      1. Short and Stout*

        If you do go to Oxford, don’t miss the Treasures of the Bodleian exhibition in the Weston Library. They have a 1217 Magna Carta on display, along with other wondrous things. This summer is the big Tolkien drawings exhibition too.

    7. Lady Russell's Turban*

      You know, some things are “touristy” because the are worth seeing. You can walk past the t-shirt sellers and elephant ear stalls.

      1. Life is Good*

        The crap sellers are the worst, but I guess you’re right that places worth seeing are going to be full of tourists (like us!). ;)

    8. Becky*

      I was in London for two weeks in 2016–my first time visiting. I actually did a tour bus thing that did Windsor castle (really awesome!), Stonehenge, Bath and Lacock. For me it was easier than trying to figure it all out without renting a car. With all that packed into a single day you don’t get a whole ton of time at any one place, but it does give you a nice survey visit. I enjoyed it a lot.

      Word of advice–be wary of packing your schedule too tight! I was planning on going up to the lake district for a few days but had been doing so much before I was too exhausted and ended up taking a day and a half to recuperate. My sister who was traveling with me, did go to the Lake District on her own and then up to Scotland for a bit. Then she needed a rest and couldn’t even move the morning we were supposed to be taking the train to Paris. Because I had rested up I was able to do it but she was in so much pain and was heartbroken that she couldn’t go to Paris.

    9. LilySparrow*

      I did several tours with London Walks when I was there, including Stonehenge, Oxford, Windsor, and the Inns of Court.

      I found them very well-paced, both the in-town walks and the day trips. The guides were interesting and gave a good mix of history, literary references, and pop culture.

      I enjoyed them all thoroughly.

    10. Kathenus*

      I did a day trip bus tour from London to Bath, Lacock, and Stonehenge (at sunset). Paid the extra for the tour that allows you to go up into and touch the stone circle. I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you do go to Stonehenge i think the extra money to go into the circle is well worth it. I don’t think I would have been happy with the trip if I had been back behind the rope.

      I also loved the Tower of London, as a history buff.

    11. Anonymous Educator*

      I don’t know if you like Harry Potter at all, but the HP Studios just outside London (and available by rail to a short shuttle) are pretty amazing to visit. I’d allow four hours there—it’s quite comprehensive.

    12. AnonEMoose*

      If you’re into Tudor history at all, Hampton Court might be worth a visit. I don’t think it’s too far out of London, and it’s supposed to be amazing. It was built by Cardinal Wolsey, and then was gifted to Henry VIII by Wolsey in an attempt (ultimately unsuccessful) to stay in Henry’s favor.

  10. Red Reader*

    In my kitchen remodel (cabinets and countertops only, no like … moving walls or replumbing/wiring or anything), I paid for a measuring/layout design service, because I’m dodgy with measuring and spatial capacity and all that jazz, so let’s get a professional in here for this nonsense, right?

    Well. The installers started on Tuesday, and it was supposed to be a two day job. So far, we have discovered:
    The measurer/designer put 81″ of floor-to-ceiling cabinets on a 72″ wall.
    15″ wide drawer cabinet in a 12″ wide space.
    48″ worth of cabinets (2×24″) in a 36″ space.
    Her design incorporated a 30″ base cabinet for my 33″ sink.
    But surprise, I had to go buy a new sink yesterday anyway because it’s too deep front-to-back to fit into the base cabinets without removing the structural support.
    Oh hey, let’s place a couple of drawers in the cabinets such that the bottom of the drawer is 6′ (yes, that’s six FEET) off the ground. (I’m 5’4″. My housemate is 4’11”. Are you frigging KIDDING me.)
    Her supply list included 2 x 96″ sections of countertop and one 74″ section. Her design plan instructed the installers to cut one 96″ section to 4-foot-whatever to fit side A of the kitchen, the other 96″ section to 74″ to fit side B (presumably because the official 74″ measured section is a little wibbly the same way a 2×4 is never actually 2×4? I dunno), and the 74″ section to two smaller sections for the two smallest bits of the counter. They cut down the two 96″ sections as directed (this was before we realized just how shitty her measuring job was) and then discovered that side B actually needed to be 76″, so we had two 74″ stretches of counter and a 76″ space.
    Above my microwave, the support unit that connects to it – she placed two 15″ cubes. Only — (a), the 15″ cubes were designed for use in bathrooms, not kitchens, so they didn’t have a way to connect to the kitchen rail system and would instead need to be fastened directly to the wall, but (b) they weren’t structurally sound enough to support the microwave anyway. And (c) the space above my microwave is only 10″ without drilling into my tile backsplash. (The installer ended up taking a 20″ tall support, which is the smallest available, and cutting it down quite nicely to customize it into the space.)

    So basically, my two-day kitchen install has now swapped out literally 15 of 19 cabinets, I had to go rage-buy a sink, and it’s not going to be done until AT LEAST the end of day six. All because this “professional” can’t operate a damn tape measure.

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    1. Book Lover*

      Oh, no! Any recourse? At least getting fee returned, and giving polite but honest feedback?

      1. Red Reader*

        I went through Ikea, so there’s actually three companies involved — The actual product came from Ikea, the measuring lady is from a different company, and I think the installer guys are a third company who was contracted by the measuring lady’s company. They’ve been back to Ikea for swaps five times in the last three days (luckily I live like five minutes away :P ), and when I went in to get my sink yesterday I mentioned that I was in because of a measuring debacle and the saleslady was like “Oh no, that’s YOU?” :P Plus I had a chat with the kitchen sales manager while I was there, so they’re aware of the extent of the debacle. He’s going to review the whole thing and talk with the other companies involved and see what’s what from his end. I’m being very clear with everyone that I talk to that while I am pretty darn upset, I am also wanting to be conscientious about not yelling at anyone who didn’t have anything to do with the problem. (But I swear to god, if someone decides it’d be a good idea to send the measuring lady back to my house …. )

        Ikea actually gave me a gift card for the cost of the measuring service when I bought the cabinetry, as part of their standard practice – ironically, they do it that way to encourage you to use the measuring service, and I was very plain that the measuring service is not worthwhile and I’d have been better off to do it myself :P But I still haven’t paid her company half the cost of the install, so before that’s settled up, there will definitely be a come-to-Jesus about how much they’re going to discount me because of the debacle. It’s also not just me, the installer guys were telling me that out of 40 jobs their teams have worked on this year that she measured, at least 3/4 of them have been significantly messed up in similar ways (though mine has been one of the worst) and she’s apparently not allowed to do measuring anymore.

        (Disclaimer: Ikea’s kitchen product has been great, they’ve been very easy to work with on the swapping, I have my own guy in the customer resolutions department who knows me by name :P The takeaway here should not be “Don’t use Ikea for a kitchen!” Rather, “Be very careful before trusting contracted measuring people.” :P )

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      Do you have cats? Cats might really appreciate a drawer 6 feet off the ground.

      1. Red Reader*

        I did comment that I could stuff the cats in there. The cat people in my house did not appreciate that idea. (I am a dog person. We have two cat people in the house, each of whom has two cats, and they’re all either totally invisible or giant pains in my butt. The cats, not the people. Mostly.)

    3. Triplestep*

      I work in the building trades as a designer, but you didn’t need me to tell you the measuring lady made some really rookie mistakes. Wow. While reading, I was expecting you to say you’d gone through a home center (Home Depot, Lowes) since I’ve heard other horror stories about ceiling heights from people who used those services. I hope the planning errors (and the costs involved) are all resolved to your satisfaction.

      On a positive note, did you know that IKEA cabinets are often rated higher in quality than some of the well-known pricier brands like KraftMaid? So there’s that, anyway!

      1. Red Reader*

        Vertically is about the only direction in which she didn’t really massively screw up! (Well, I guess aside from the misplaced drawers, which the guys were like “Uh, did you REALLY want this up here?” before the actually installed them, and we moved them to a much more useful location.)

        I did know that! I generally like Ikea’s aesthetic, but I did want to do some research on quality, since $4k in cabinetry is a far cry from a $59 bookcase, haha. I was really pleased with what I found, and it’s going to be great when it’s done. (If. No. When. WHEN. Haha.)

    4. Mimmy*

      Oh hey, let’s place a couple of drawers in the cabinets such that the bottom of the drawer is 6′ (yes, that’s six FEET) off the ground.

      Sorry, but when I read this, the Stonehenge scene in Spinal Tap came to mind (that’s the scene where the designer made it 18 inches rather than 18 feet). lol.

    5. The New Wanderer*

      It sounds so far off on almost every measurement – is it possible the tape lady mixed up your kitchen info with another house? Otherwise, it sounds like she just made up numbers instead of actually doing her job. I really hope you get a discount because that’s just bad service, she should have been gone after the second complaint of massive incompetence.

      FWIW, we just finished our major house reno, estimated to take 4-5 months total. Ground-breaking was two years ago this month. Sometimes it’s just gonna be a slog.

      1. Red Reader*

        The way I’m hearing it is, she used a laser measuring device instead of a regular measuring tape and she didn’t know how to accurately use the laser thingy. I kinda feel like, after they found out the first three sets of problems that were caused by her failure to accurately laser, they probably should have contacted the next 37 of us and been like “So our measuring lady measured your stuff with a device she didn’t understand, we’re going to redo your measurements and all that jazz.” But that didn’t happen. (Like, she did my measurements in October, I guess they figured out in December that she couldn’t laser, and when I called her up in March and went “Ok, I’m ready to get this going!” nobody said “Soooooooo maybe we should double-check those October measurements first.”)

    6. Red Reader*

      … and in continuing my week’s theme of “I laugh so I don’t cry,” I just discovered that because of a copy/paste error over a month ago, I now have to redo every single scrap of the data analysis for my entire final semester project that is due a week from Monday. (During which I also have to do two exams and ANOTHER class’s written final too.)

      1. Mananana*

        Oh, my condolences on this. I hope you have a good time-off plan after finals to recover from all of this.

        1. Red Reader*

          This is my last semester, so after this, nothing else academic until I start my next program in July! :)

  11. OLD*

    Dating thread! Talk about your woes/current dilemmas/hopes/fears here if you wish.

    Mine currently: to be honest or not to be honest about why I’m not interested in seeing someone anymore.

    Its only been a bit more than a month, and we were both happy to have it as a reasonably low key thing. But then he went and said some vaguely misogynistic/sexist things that just mentally made me nope right out of ever wanting to see him again. I’ve dialled way down on the messaging, so I’m sure he knows whats coming, but I’d like to actually end it officially rather than just slow fading/ghosting. Part of me wants to be brutally honest so he knows exactly why I dont want to see him again, but part of me would rather just keep it vague to avoid any pushback.

    Thoughts?

    Other than that, at the very least my faith that it is possible to meet people you actually click with has been restored! It only took a solid 6 months of shitty first dates and way too many bland profiles/dead end conversations to get there!

    1. Clever Name*

      I don’t think I’d tell him why, but I do think saying you don’t want to see him anymore. “I’ve had a great time, but I don’t think we’re right for each other.” Etc

        1. Indoor Cat*

          Thirding, especially since someone who seems slightly sexist can have hidden depths of serious, scary / violent misogyny, and you’ll never know until you piss that person off!

          It’s not typical, but scary stalking or harassment situations happen often enough that I’d err on the side of safety, “It’s not you, it’s me,” etc. Fighting sexism is nobel, but it’s good to pick your battles. Imo, it’s a battle worth picking if I really do value my relationship with someone and want to stay in their life, and hope they might be open to change. Alternately, it’s a battle worth picking if it seems like someone is going to be in danger if I say nothing.

          It sounds like neither is the case here, though.

    2. annakarina1*

      I last went out on a date in February, and felt depressed from online dating, so I stopped. I have kept myself busy a lot with playing bar trivia and going to kickboxing classes, so it keeps me being social and less lonely. I haven’t felt into asking anyone out, but I generally feel more confident and happier when I am doing things I am good at and meeting like-minded people.

      1. OLD*

        I feel you on this! I regularly take breaks from dating and I’ll probably be on one after I end it with this dude. I’m enjoying time alone/with my friends/taking classes right now :)

    3. Kyoko*

      I recently reconnected with an ex I dated very briefly- less than 2 months a year ago. It still didn’t work out so I’m trying to start over. I’m unfortunately very shy and introverted and bad at being myself around strangers so it’s hard. I’ve been going to meetups and tried online dating but never seem to get anywhere :/ Any advice for a shy lesbian who isn’t completely out is helpful

      1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

        I’m straight, so I don’t know if the same advice applies, but for me…it was time and a lot of it. It took me 7 years on online dating before I found my person.

        I’ve also found that it is very much a numbers game. I was always so quick to write someone off based on their profile (and did so with current BF), but discovered that I often had better connections with the people I originally wrote off than the ones I didn’t. It sounds like you’re challenged by some of the social aspects of dating. I would suggest maybe practicing with friends! Role playing situations over and over can seem boring and silly, but it can help.

      2. SciDiver*

        Keep your chin up! I met my gf while we were in college, she’s also pretty introverted and not totally out (I’ve met her mother and grandparents as a “friend”). Online dating worked okay for her before we met–nothing serious but she went on some interesting dates through Tinder. Dating can be super frustrating, especially when you’re not out and have limited ways of meeting people. If you live in a city with an advocacy or discussion group for queer folks, that’s a place to find your community–connect with other queer people and have them bring you to events, even non-queer events. Friend hosts game night? Go! A couple people want to meet up for ice skating? Join them! If you’re in school there are often events or groups that will have events and resources, and they are usually 100% confidential so there’s no accidental outing. The gay club in my area did 18+ events for things like drag shows, so even if you can’t drink you can still have fun and meet people.

      3. Indoor Cat*

        My main advice is, attend LGBT-centric events and groups. You’re free to be out, and generally I’ve found people respect your wish not to out you outside the group (so, for example, not taking pictures of you that might end up online, for example). LGBT groups are pretty friendly, and even in a medium-sized city (I live in a midwestern town of about 50k, and a nearby city with a population of 101k), an LGBT organization is likely to have more than 100 people. Some will be into activism, some will be into “traditionally” gay things like drag shows or softball or kink workshops, some will be into Dungeons & Dragons or Latin American literature or knitting avant garde sweaters– which is to say, the LGBT community is as diverse as any other community.

        Even if you’re geographically stuck, I found paying to uber or lyft to attend LGBT events and meetup groups was 100% worth the price. Once I started hanging out with groups of friends where being LGBT was the norm rather than the exception, my confidence really boosted. It wasn’t even about dating, it was about feeling safe being open about this part of myself. You may meet some other wlw who are into you! You might not, but even if the only thing that happens is you make a bunch of LGBT friends, that’s still great.

    4. Turtlewings*

      I think you have very little to lose from telling him why. I mean, what’s he gonna do, break up with you? It might be a favor to the next woman he dates. The trick will be to avoid being drawn into an argument about it. You’re not opening a conversation, you’re imparting a fact. I would probably say (or text) something like, “I’ve decided me and you are not working out. I figure you deserve to know why I feel this way; it’s because you said X, Y, and Z things that were really disrespectful toward women. I’m not going to argue with you about what you said and whether you meant it that way; it made me FEEL that way and those feelings are not what I’m looking for in a relationship. I wish you the best, though.” And peace out.

      1. teclatrans*

        What’s he gonna do? Hm, stalk her? Fixate on her? Threaten her? These are things to consider, maybe even especially given the reason she wants to end it is misogynistic/sexist behaviors.

        1. Turtlewings*

          What I meant was that she doesn’t have to worry about preserving the relationship, since she’s ending it. Any time you break up with a guy, there’s the risk he’ll take it badly; I’m not sure if specifying her reasons or not will make a difference in that risk. But yeah, if she thinks calling him on his remarks would tick him off and increase the chance of him acting that way, of course don’t do it.

      2. Clever Name*

        Uhhhh. One guy I opted not to meet asked me why. He was all, “was it this deal breaker or this other deal breaker?” There were soooo many red flags. I picked one and was like “yes, it was this one deal breaker” he tried to argue with me and convince me that it wasn’t a problem (it was). He’s contacted me a few times since then, so I’ve blocked him on all platforms ive come across him on. So explaining why isn’t low-risk by any means. And really, it isn’t your job to make someone else more datable to others in the future. That’s what self help books and therapy is for.

    5. Middle School Teacher*

      I’ve pretty much quit dating. I’m just not motivated at all to meet someone new. I was chatting with a couple of guys online but one casually mentioned he has kids (it wasn’t in his profile or I wouldn’t have started talking with him) and the other one… eh, I just wasn’t that interested in him. I’ve pretty well resigned myself to the fact that I’ll be all Netflix and no chill for the rest of my life.

      1. Anonymous Ampersand*

        Dammit I don’t have Netflix! I’ll be no Netflix and no chill. I’ll have to take up a hobby or something ;p

    6. matcha123*

      I’m kind of trying the whole dating thing for the first time at 34. I dated two men previously, but they were both relationships that formed at work.
      Last year I met someone I felt like I hit it off with, but he ended it. I set up profiles on some sites recently and had a few dates this month. I’ve met one guy twice, but it seems like a struggle to find some common ground. I think both of us are tired from work, too. What do you guys talk about on dates? We’ve talked about our families, work, university days, movies, news…

      1. OLD*

        My best and pretty much only criteria for really being interested in someone is when the conversation flows. If a conversation feels like work then its probably not a good match. For me things I’ve talked about on good dates has flowed from work, to movies, to general philosophies about life, to random interesting things on the internet, to politics, to upbringing, to sports and all the way back to work.

        1. matcha123*

          Ok! Then maybe I’m being a little too sensitive. The two times we’ve met so far we followed dinner with more drinks. Both times we were with each other for about 4+ hours. And we both loosened up a lot after having a bit to drink, too. I don’t want to put in too much work, but I also figure it does take some effort to keep the conversation up…especially after a long day at work.

          1. Red Reader*

            4+ hours is a lot of time to be filling too, if you’re at all introverted. maybe it is if you’re not too, but I am, and I can count on one hand the number of people I can focus on for four hours without getting twitchy :)

            1. matcha123*

              I am introverted. A few months ago someone mentioned vitamins and minerals helped them with their moods, and I’ve found that since taking B vitamins almost daily, I’ve been able to tackle the soul-sucking tiredness I feel after talking with people for a long time. However, I still get pretty tired.
              I guess the good part is that I felt more drained from the large amount of alcohol we consumed.
              Changing the venue to some kind of activity should be the next thing we focus on.

    7. Resigned to my fate*

      I was jilted fairly recently because I saw someone who was not compatible for me. I was physically attracted to him and ignored the warning signs — him talking ALL about himself on the first date, not taking what I wanted to do into consideration, replying messages late (think 3 days to 1 week late). I stupidly trusted him about my mental illness, to which he belittled when he realised I had actual feelings for him (he only wanted a fling, obviously, and someone with more experience, which I didn’t have. That still hurts). This put me off dating for a while because I felt like I wasn’t good enough for him. I know we just weren’t a good match, but it still sucked.

      I have dated two other people who did not look like their profile picture. One of them had a nice picture of him wearing a blazer and looking really slim, but when I met him, he just came across as really frumpy (horribly ill-fitting jeans and he wore a dirty brown t-shirt) and had a beer belly. There isn’t anything wrong with having a bit of chub, but I felt deceived. Another guy was actually shorter and tubbier than his picture as well. Both weren’t interesting at all. It seems like some men think they can get a girlfriend without working on themselves first.

    8. Lady Jay*

      I’ve been experimenting (very lightly!) with online dating over the last year. I met somebody nice, and though we never got serious due to the fact that I’ll be moving away for a doctoral program this fall, we’re still friends, and I’ve enjoyed his company. Other than that, online dating is a bust. I’ve posted here about some of the weird people I’ve interacted with online, but in general, when I’m dating online, I feel as though I’m shopping at a store the day after a really big sale: the stuff left is just not that great. This is probably made worse by the fact that I’m in my 30s. The people I know who met someone online all did that in their late 20s. I have an uncomfortable feeling that by this point, many of the people I’d like to be with are already taken.

      That said, as I get older, I’d increasingly like to find somebody to marry. I’m not close with my one sibling and I’m afraid when my parents pass away (hopefully still decades away) that I’ll be alone, and without real family support. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to make that happen.

      About a year ago, I realized why in Pride & Prejudice Charlotte marries Mr. Collins. While I’m not quite to the level of settling for my own Mr. Collins yet, her choice suddenly starts making a whole lot more sense after a certain point in life.

      1. Lissa*

        I just want to say I totally get what you are saying with the last bit. The idea in our current culture seems to be that anything other than a grand, passionate love who checks all the boxes, satisfies every need is settling and terrible, but I think there’s a lot of other ways to do love/marriage. I’ve got a friend from a culture where arranged marriages are a thing and she’s thinking about it but gets a LOT of judgment about even considering it from her friends even though she’s explained it isn’t at all like it was in the past where there was little choice on the part of people marrying and women were basically property.

        1. Fiennes*

          One of the happiest marriages I know is an arranged one. They were lucky enough to have parents who (a) genuinely knew and understood their kids, and looked for a mate who would complement their personality and goals; and (b) encouraged them to spend time dating before finalizing plans, with the clear understanding that if they didn’t get on, the idea of marriage would be dropped with zero pressure or questions asked. The parents did so well that these people are not only together but genuinely devoted to each other 40 years later.

        2. OLD*

          There was a great article on the Toast called ‘Why I Want An Arranged Marriage’ which I think touches on many of the things you said on how at least modern arranged marriages are. I’ve also been binging on some old Captain Awkward posts and one of them talks about how to meet new people, and matchmaking (as in asking your friends to set you up or just be aware that you are looking to date) is (in my mind) not very different from getting your parents or relatives to ask around/find a potential person for you. Heck, even for me, as someone who has done a lot of online dating and loves/hates going through the process of looking at a bajillion profiles, I’d love to have a matchmaker where I could just tell them what I like and have them find me some candidates. All of which is to say, online dating..so hard! I wish there were more alternatives other than just relying on fate to have you meet the right person…

          1. Lindsay J*

            They do have matchmaking services. I don’t know how expensive they are, however, nor how high quality the actual matches they make are.

            One I’ve seen advertised a lot is “It’s Just Lunch” but I imagine there are more boutique ones as well.

      2. Middle School Teacher*

        I understand 100% too. Plus, reading the rest of your post, I feel like you could be me!

    9. Clever Name*

      I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who doesn’t really enjoy online dating. The dates I’ve been on have been fine, but the looking at profiles and swiping just really effing sucks. I’m not looking for something really serious now, but I’m not into hookups either. I’m recently divorced from a 17 year marriage with an introverted narcissist, and I’ve got a lot of emotional shit to unpack. So for now I’m starting new hobbies and going to meet ups and hoping the stars align for me one day.

    10. Elizabeth West*

      I’m with those who said just say it’s been nice but I don’t think we’re compatible in the long run. A little over a month isn’t all that long. This isn’t like breaking up with someone you’ve been seeing for a year or more.

      I have not had any luck whatsoever with online dating or anything else. The last person I dated I met in an online community; two people there met and got married, as did two others in another online community. My relationship was the huge mistake. :P Never again; it’s like dating at work now.

      It’s been a long dry spell and I am ready for it to be OVER. But there is no one here, and I suspect my person is very far away. How we’ll find each other I have no clue. :\

  12. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

    Anyone else have a relative who obviously loves and care for you but just does it… badly?

    I have a much older half-sister on my dad’s side. She has bipolar disorder, and her husband is on the autism spectrum, as well as their three children. This is relevant because my sisters’s ONLY topic of conversation is neurodiversity. I WISH I was exaggerating but I’m not. She does not talk about anything else. She is a wonderful parent, and knows so much.

    But she also has trouble understanding that just because some people have difficulties, or that some people have special needs, that doesn’t mean everyone does, or that the adjustments needed are the same.

    It sounds odd, I know.

    You see, I have ADHD, diagnosed a few years ago. Since that happened, she has often told me that I should switch jobs (i love my job) or start working parttime and wondering about when ill get so burnt out ill have to quit working altogether.

    I’m now on sick leave for a few weeks and my dad let it slip to my sister. And it started again immediately. I should work less. Work somewhere else. Not work. When I get kids, I’m not going to be able to manage… etc etc etc.

    She cares. She is trying to care. She means well.
    But I’m not a child. I know my own limits. I’m well read about adhd. I’m actually extraordinarily capable. And I HATE that she treats me like I’m just one step away from breaking and that Ill come around and see everything her way. Just because she couldn’t manage something doesn’t automatically mean I wont be able to.

    Advice?

    1. Hellanon*

      Subject change when she starts in. You’re never going to get her to see that you don’t live in her world, in which 100% of the people have XYZ complicated issue, and at least while she’s in the thick of trying to care for all these folks, get her to see that you need something different from her. So when she starts, you say some variation on, “Yes, that’s a thought – now, are you watching GoT/Great British Baking Show/random sportsball team? Isn’t it great this year?” It’s essentially how I handle my parents at certain points in the conversation, and a result, I know more than I ever dreamed possible about the hopes and fears of their dog…. It works, since the ultimate point is maintaining the connection, not the topic per se.

      1. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

        True. I do want to maintain the connection. I just wish it didn’t take quite so much energy to do so.
        We can talk for two hours, and at the end, Ill realize she hasn’t even asked me how I’m doing. (Except for cases like right now, when she does the whole thing I mentioned above.) It’s like the regular ‘I’m actually fine and living my life’ stuff just doesnt fit into her world view.

      2. Thursday Next*

        I think cultivating a shared interest around which to maintain intimacy might be helpful. That way, your subject change doesn’t have to be random. Also, it will be more meaningful than a topic you only raise once or twice. Is there anything that seems like a good possibility?

        What I imagine is this: her life has been disproportionately dominated by issues around atypical neurology, so it makes sense that they dominate her thoughts. She might have seen your ADHD as something to bond over, or a way to show her concern or knowledge. That would have been validating for her. But it’s not validating for you, and you can/should say directly that it’s not the way you want to maintain your connection to her. She might not understand—but could she respect it, especially if you give her something else to talk about?

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Basically, the two of you care about each other. In cases like this, I would try to find the parts I agree with. That could look like this:”Gee, Sis, you may be right. I may have to work less. But for now I want to make a go of it. So that is what I will be doing. Five or ten years from now, I may need to revisit this decision, that could be true. But for the time being this is my decision. I will keep in mind what you said and I know it comes from a caring place.”

      1. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

        We do!
        But it is difficult for me to comprehend that someone who is so smart and cares so much and understands so well that individuals have variations, and still cant see that someone can be differently able in a positive way. Not all is doom and gloom, you know?

          1. Not So NewReader*

            No doubt in my mind that it feels condescending. And I think it’s fine to say that out loud, too.

            One thing I have seen is that people who are struggling to live from one minute to the next get a plan and hold on to it for dear life. This sounds like what your sis is doing. She has a plan and she is hanging everything she has on her plan. And it’s true, people who are struggling this hard do not see that different things work for other people. Or even harder, they do not see the differences in the struggles. For example, she feels that her struggle interferes with her ability to work full time. OTH, you don’t see your concerns as interfering with a 40 hour a week job. Your sis views other people’s problems as all being a five alarm fire. Your concerns might be a three or four alarm fire to YOU. If she had your concerns on top of hers, she would probably think she had a six alarm fire going on.

            It’s hard to gauge the severity of other people’s concerns when our own concerns weigh so heavy.

            Not that this helps you much, but sometimes it’s good to have an idea of what the other person might be thinking. And I see nothing wrong with saying directly, “This feels condescending. It feels more like something a parent would say, rather than a sister. I need you to be my sis, cheer me on, give me tips about day-to-day stuff and that sort of thing [fill in with stuff she does well with]. But when it comes to health, I want to find my own path.”

            Once you have said something like this you can say something shorter the next time. “Remember, Sis, I am finding my own path on this one.”

    3. Lady Russell's Turban*

      Why not be honest? Tell her you love her but the neuro talk gets exhausting for you and you were looking forward to telling her about (whatever). When she veers back into neuro-talk, point it out.

      I had to do this with my sister who became focused on how processed food/big agro is killing us and the cause of all troubles in the world. I still need to remind her and she gets momentarily offended but it has made it better from my side at least.

      1. AnonEMoose*

        I think I would suggest trying this. I don’t have a close relative on the spectrum, but there are a fair number in my extended social circle. And almost invariably, they have told me that what works for them is to be told directly when they overstep a boundary (as your sister is doing with you).

        In a way, you might be doing her a kindness to tell her “Sis, I love you, and I want to spend time with/talk to you. When you tell me I should X, it feels condescending to me, and that is very frustrating and upsetting. Could we just talk, without you offering advice unless I ask for it?” And “Sis, I know that neurodiversity is a huge part of your life, but I do not want to talk about it as much as you do. I would like to talk to you about other things, like what else is happening in your life, and mine, or movies you’ve seen recently, or what’s good on Netflix.” Or whatever language would be normal for your family.

        Being that direct can feel really weird, especially if you were raised in a “hinting” family/culture. But most of the folks on the spectrum that I’ve meant really appreciate being told directly that X is a problem because Y, and could they do Z instead? Like I said, I don’t know if your sister is the same way, but maybe worth a try?

    4. JSPA*

      Search your mind for a subject that you could get a little preachy about (except that you’re well enough socialize not to do that). Something really harmless but really boring or mildly offputting to anyone not equally fascinated the different varieties of dietary fiber? The salutary effect of staring at individual pine needles as a meditation aid? The evolution of insect wings?). When she starts on her riff, start on yours. It’s possible you’ll just have two inane conversations at the same time. But just as likely it’ll flummox her into searching for a third topic. Even if not, she’ll at least realize that you have plenty of time to spend with your other interests (besides work). And don’t ever blame how busy you are / how much work you’re doing for your lack of Interest in her Single Topic. That just gives her an excuse to harp on you being overworked.

  13. The Other Dawn*

    My husband was just diagnosed as a diabetic and has high cholesterol. Understandably, he’s feeling a bit dazed. He’s turning 49 and I think he never thought he’d hit the point where “life” would catch up with him. He’s overweight, eats like crap a lot of the time and doesn’t exercise (although he’s got back issues like I do, and his are worse). Although he will usually eat what I cook (and I’m not good at cooking on consistent schedule…), I can’t control what he eats when I’m not around or he’s at work. He admitted there are frequent after-work-before-dinner trip stops for fast food on his way home from work; he gets home a couple hours before me and is pretty hungry during that time.

    The doctor prescribed a glucose meter and wants him to check his sugar a few times a week, and he prescribed medication for the diabetes and cholesterol. My husband has been good about taking the meds and testing his sugar. He’s also making a real effort to eat better.

    Any tips? Nutrition, support, cookbooks, etc. I got some good tips from my personal trainer as far as nutrition goes, as well as how I can best support him, but I’d love to hear from someone who is diabetic or is close to someone who is.

    (I have to say, I went shopping last night for some healthier food, and it took SO long. I was reading labels to make sure I’m buying whole grains, low sugar, etc. Also, he’s an unadventurous, picky eater, so finding veggies was tough; he’s basically carrots, corn, green beans and peas. And then I realized that all the salad stuff I bought contained romaine lettuce, which is thought to be the cause of the e coli outbreak, so that has to go back to the store today.)

    1. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

      Something as little a 15 minute walk after each meal has a VERY big effect on blood sugar. I cant recall the name of the study now, but it was well sourced.

      I’m also a fan of hiding veggies. I’m not a big veggie fan, so I do my best to hide them ( I swear, my mental age must be 3 y.o.) in dishes I like. I mince carrots, and root veggies and put in tomato based sauces. Eat chicken and rice with a good tasting sauce and then put lots and lots of chopped veggies in the rice when I cook it.
      Basically, Ive noticed that I can build up the veggie rate in the dishes over time as my palette adjusts.

      1. Totally Minnie*

        Hiding vegetables is how my parents got us to eat them when we were kids. My mom put them in the spaghetti sauce, in the rice, in the meatloaf, anywhere she thought we wouldn’t notice. :)

    2. TL -*

      It sounds like he should be packing snacks and lunch at work to help with the fast food snacking.

      Exercise if he can will help just as much as dieting, even just taking a walk a few times a week.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        He takes breakfast and lunch to work, but many times he gets stuck eating lunch early; that’s the nature of shift work. Also, he works 7am to 3pm (leaves at 6am and gets home around 4:30pm), whereas I work until 5pm and get home around 5:30pm. I think he definitely needs some snacks to take with him.

    3. dillydally*

      Fiber. It takes longer to digest, and will reduce cholesterol (your body makes bile salts (to digest fiber) out of the chloresterol)

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      Figure out a diet-friendly thing he’s okay to eat (e.g. turkey on whole wheat with mustard, a salad with some chicken on top) and figure out how to make that an easy thing to eat when he gets home. Low effort is important. You can work with unadventurous and picky by just sticking with a couple of things that he does like.

      For variety, you can try roast carrots. Slice, toss with a little olive oil (like a teaspoon) and sprinkle with salt and whatever seasoning goes with the rest of the meal. (Caraway is good.)

      I also recalled this book; around a group of firefighters who discovered a bunch of them had similar problems to your husband. : https://www.amazon.com/Engine-Diet-Firefighters-Save-Your-Life-Cholesterol/dp/0446506680/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1524318806&sr=8-3&keywords=firefighter+cookbook

      I don’t normally recommend swapping up home assignments, but given that he gets home early and is hungry then, he might want to take on some meal planning and prep. Nibbling on the building blocks of your healthy dinner is better than grabbing a burger.

      1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

        +1 for ease.

        I find that if I have chips/cookies/etc around the house, I will immediately reach for them. I’m trying really hard to not buy those things, and instead keep pre-washed grapes and not-terrible snacks like animal crackers and granola bars around. It makes it easier for me to eat better.

    5. CatCat*

      I’m not diabetic, but I have struggled with food.

      If it’s hunger that is driving the fast food runs, I’ve found having several high protein snacks throughout the day and right before I leave work, really helps curb my own hunger and cravings. I try and eat them at specific times so even if presented treats at work that I might normally cave on, I think, “Oh, but I’m having my snack in 30 mins” or if I need to, I’ll have a snack right then.

      Things that I snack on include Babybel cheese (the little round cheese covered in wax), hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese, smoked herring (kippers), protein water (I like Protein 2O, but it’s kind of pricey, no sugar though), plain greek yogurt with protein powder mixed in (I like the whey protein from Trader Joe’s, but I don’t know how much sugar it may have in it),
      I will often pair with a veggie (usually carrots) or a piece of fruit. I don’t eat meat other than fish, but I bet lean deli slices would also be a good option.

      If it’s not just hunger, but more impulse and lack of portion control, I’ve found going to Weight Watchers meetings very helpful. I’ve found the support and accountability and the “we’re all in this together” vibe of the meeting so helpful. It just really helps to feel like you’re not alone. People are there for all their own personal reasons (health, want to look better, don’t want to feel out of control), but the common theme is we all need to improve our relationship with food, which is easier to do when you have support.

      1. Melody Pond*

        Also not a diabetic, but was worried I was headed that way, and so I’ve recently made a big shift in how I eat.

        I cut out grains and breads entirely. I did this mainly because I found that eating any kind of breads/grains, seems to trigger sugar cravings for me, and that’s where my real problem area/impulse control area is. That’s where I was really overdoing it. I still consume carbs, but more from vegetable sources – yams, parsnips, carrots, etc.

        Also, I actually think I wasn’t getting enough “good” fats before. I’ve increased the amount of fats (e.g., nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut) I’m eating on a day to day basis, and holy crap, I stay full so much longer, on way less food, and it feels like my blood sugar doesn’t spike at all (I don’t feel as “full” but I don’t get hungry for a good long while, either). And even when I get hungry, it’s not the desperate-low-blood-sugar crash where I’ll eat everything in sight as soon as I do get hungry.

        If you’ve got a food processor, you can make nut/seed bars (the recipe calls them protein bars, but I actually think “fat bars” would be a more accurate name), like from this recipe:

        https://wholenewmom.com/recipes/homemade-protein-bars/#_a5y_p=1146806

        I use dates to sweeten (chopped), instead of stevia, and I add a couple tablespoons of carob powder, and use raw cocoa butter instead of coconut oil – makes them taste kinda like brownies! Doing this also seems to make the nut butter unnecessary. And I don’t bother with the topping. You can experiment with your own preferred nuts/seeds/nut butter/oils.

        I make a big batch on the weekends, and take them to work as mid-morning snack items. They’re super filling!

    6. Life is Good*

      Check out his health insurance plan. I know mine has a diabetic/healthy eating counseling benefit that’s free.

    7. greykitty*

      Did doctor send him to ‘diabetes school’? My internist had me signed up for a course offered by the local hospital before I left his office. Covered by insurance, led by certified nutritionist and an RN. Mine was, oh, four Saturday mornings, I believe. It was sort of boot camp for type 2 diabetics. It was very helpful. Exercise (just good old walking will do, if nothing else appeals) and eating, well, moderately of just about anything, portion control, and learning which foods work best for you are key, IMO. I did learn to enjoy whole wheat bread and pasta, incorporated more fiber into my diet, all that good stuff.

      He may find as he gets his numbers under control that his appetite will start decreasing as well. One sign of uncontrolled diabetes truly is hunger – it’s not all just eating past fullness at that point.

      Just thinking – your local pharmacy, as well as the medical practice, could well have a lot of literature, suggestions and programs (many of them free or covered by insurance) available. Type 2 diabetes is pretty much epidemic in much of the world. There’s a lot of info out there for the asking – the hard thing to remember is this is a life long journey with no silver bullet/shot to fix it right now. That said, eating for diabetes is pretty much just eating healthy and exercising moderately. Please, though, if anyone suggests any ‘radical’ food plans, run it by the doctor/nutritionist so they’re in the loop.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        The doctor offered a referral to the class at the local hospital. My husband didn’t take him up on it that day, as he was pretty surprised to actually hear, “You’re diabetic.” But, yes, he does plan to call and ask now that he’s had a few days to digest it.

      2. Addy*

        You should check out One Drop. Subscription plans for blood glucose test strips that are really affordable AND come with a Certified Diabetes Educator available via chat through an app. It’s really great for people who have just been diagnosed, and the clinical outcomes are compelling (lower A1C in a short time for people who use the system).

    8. Meh*

      My father has diabetes and it was quite bad for a while (needing to do insulin injections). But he has it more under control now (just oral pills) and these were the two things that helped most:
      -Low-carb diet. He found substitutes for his favorite carbs, so he doesn’t feel deprived. I recommend shirataki noodles & rice to replace the regular and Nature’s Own makes a high-fiber low(ish)-carb bread. He tries to keep his carb consumption lower than 20g per day.
      -Recently he’s been using a constant blood sugar monitor. You stick it in your arm (and leave it there) and check your blood sugar throughout the day with a sensor. The needle is very thin so it doesn’t hurt and seeing the blood sugar all the time sort of “gamifies” it and he is able to see the real-time successes and failures.
      Good luck! It’s not fun, but it’s manageable. There will be mistakes and failures but there will be successes too. It doesn’t have to be a sentence to food misery.

    9. Not So NewReader*

      My husband was a diabetic. He was pretty cooperative with the program, though.
      Just a few observations.
      They need to drink water. Soda, coffee, tea all contain water but they are not a replacement for plain water. This will help with the blood sugars and the cholesterol to a small degree. Thirst will feel like hunger, he can try a drink of water before he starts grazing to see if that helps with the grazing.

      I believe some diabetic foods are considered freebies, be sure to have one or more in the house. We never know when the munchies will hit. We’d plan the snacks.

      I don’t care for cooking myself, in part because it feels like I never stop cooking. I am always cooking something. My husband’s diet encouraged me to cook simpler. Generally speaking the more ingredients and the more steps in prep then the meal is moving the further and further away from the diet plan. This was actually a relief for me. I’d get a nice roast. make a flavorful rice like basmati rice and cook some veggies and that would be dinner. I tried to double up, so the roast and rice would last 2-3 nights and then I just had to do veggies. The beauty of doubling up is that if I worked late, it was fairly easy for him to make a meal out of stuff sitting in the fridge.

      Someone mentioned taking a short walk each day. You know, I have to say this is just excellent advice for so many reasons. It’s great advice for couples to take walks together, it helps to support the marriage/relationship. It’s quality time with each other. My husband and I would go for walks and take the dog. The dog loved this and his joy made us really smile. So a big thumbs up for walking.

    10. epi*

      Your husband should try to get a referral to a nutritionist. This is exactly the kind of situation in which it should be covered. Your insurance may offer free counseling or general information that would be helpful if your husband has to wait.

      A nutritionist will talk to your husband about his specific barriers to eating healthier, how to make incremental changes, and what healthy foods or habits he already likes that he can step up.

      My husband has been seeing one for about four months and it had made a noticeable difference in his diet, his weight, and even his mood. Where I am helpful is being supportive of him following the nutritionist’s advice, encouraging him to tell her about new barriers he notices to following the plan, and suggesting snacks and meals I like that sound like they would fit with the plan. But IMO it’s a job for a pro to come up with the plan.

      Best of luck! Lifestyle change can be a huge help in managing diabetes and delaying or preventing the need for medication later. I hope it works for your husband, he deserves help to get there.

      1. OtterB*

        Seconding the value of a nutritionist consult on his specific barriers. In my case, I got one through a weight-loss center where I was going anyway (reputable, medical-based, individualized, not of the Here’s The Plan variety) whose nutritionist did diabetes education somewhere else. If the first one he sees makes him feel incompetent or talked down to, try another. Getting advice from someone else will also help you not end up in the role of food police.

        Don’t feel like he has to make all possible changes immediately. Pick the low-hanging fruit (so to speak): identify a few major problem areas, make the changes, see how things go, identify a few more things to work on. It’s important and it needs to be worked on, but since you said his doctor wants him checking his glucose levels a couple of times a week (not a couple of times a day) it doesn’t sound like it’s medically necessary for him to do everything at once, and finding his way to a sustainable plan is so important.

        Think about glycemic impact in addition to carbs. In the end, carbs matter most, but things that are high in simple carbs tend to boost the blood sugar way up and then drop it, while things that have some protein or fat with the carb don’t have the same roller coaster effect. Think a handful of nuts or a cheese stick with the piece of fruit.

        I’ve had good results with suggestions from the “Eat This, Not That” website and cookbooks which suggest substitutions with better nutritional value. I’ve also found useful recipes on paleo and even keto websites (though since you said his cholesterol is high you’ll have to watch the fat content in keto) – you don’t have to buy the whole philosophy but they don’t use processed carbs, so can be a good starting point. I find a lot of diabetic receipes to focus too tightly on portion control (Here’s our recipe for brownies! Your serving size is a one-inch square! Yeah, no.) I personally do better with things where it’s okay to eat until I’m full.

        Seconding the suggestion above to look for shirataki pasta. Here it goes by the brand name of “Pasta Zero” and is in a refrigerator case near the tofu. Almost no flavor in itself, but makes a decent very low carb base for a meat-and-veggie sauce. The nutritionist suggested it and I’d never heard of it. She also suggested “PB2” or other brand names, which is essentially lowfat powdered peanut butter. Stirring a spoonful into oatmeal boosts the protein content without adding much fat, carbs, or calories.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          I eat PB2 myself and love it; that’s a possibility for him to mix into oatmeal.

          As far as changes go, the very first thing we’re doing is to cut down on portion sizes. That in itself will likely result in a few pounds lost. I also switched to whole grain bread. We don’t eat a ton of bread anyway, but at least this will be better than white bread. I also bought some stuff to make salads. He already started all this on his own this week by having salad for lunch at work with a little protein on top; however, I need to encourage him to add more protein to the salad–he said he added about two tablespoons of chicken, which explains why he was hungry quickly!

    11. neverjaunty*

      He should be the one picking out the healthy food he wants to eat – not you having to play Guess the Vegetable. Not only is it unfair to you, it’s important healthwise for him to be aware of and making good decisions about managing his diabetes.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        This was only my first run to the store, and he was working until midnight last night. The plan going forward is to have him go with me once or twice to figure out what he wants.

        1. neverjaunty*

          This is a good plan! I’m sorry if that came across as criticism. Having BTDT, it’ll save a lot of grief for both of you to have him manage his diet rather than having you bear a chunk of the load.

          1. The Other Dawn*

            That’s OK! I definitely don’t want to have to manage his diet for him; however, doing at least some of it will help me, too. I’m supposed to be eating high protein-low card (gastric bypass) and I’ve gotten away from that. But yeah, he needs to take responsibility, which he seems to be doing.

    12. Margo the Destroyer*

      I have found that cooking more on the weekend and then freezing food for the week really helps. Your husband gets home 1st, so he could pop that nights prepared meal in the oven for you.

      Also helpful is using my stores click list so I am not tempted to go in and buy a bunch of crap as I am shopping. If I go in, I will always pass the entemanns section and want donuts. You can buy and put together healthy snacks to pack for on the way home.

    13. Kuododi*

      When I was first diagnosed, I went on the American Diabetic Association website for the start up information. They have good general information about nutritional management as a diabetic. I am also working with my endocrinologist and insurance to get a referral to a good thorough diabetic education course. If that isn’t an option through insurance, MD or local hospital, check your YMCA. I know the ones in my area offer nutrition classes for a nominal fee on top of the monthly registration. Enjoy!!!!best wishes!!!

    14. LilySparrow*

      Look up resources for the DASH diet. It’s very flexible and easy to follow – was developed to lower blood pressure, but has side benefits for weight management and diabetic control.
      It has one of the best long-term compliance rates, because it’s not super restrictive and focused on whole, simple foods.
      The National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute has free recipe booklets you can download. I’ve been making the “family meals” one, and even the picky kids seem to like them.

      Google “Keep the beat recipes NHLBI” and you should find it easily.

    15. JSPA*

      The romaine lettuce thing reminded me that lettuce (especially romaine) is actually a perfectly good cooked green. I suppose the amount of cooking needed to kill off salmonella might be a little too much for your standard salad mix but if you’re going to toss it out anyway give it a try. Dose it with some vinegar, Touch of olive oil, salt, pepper. Caraway if that sounds nice. Served hot or from the fridge. I find I eat a lot more greens if I keep a cooked lettuce “salad,” a fresh-but- wilted arugula and baby greens salad, a simple cucumber salad and a green bean salad in the fridge. Of those the bean salad is the fastest thanks to the microwave in bag green beans: zap, rough cut, dressing, chill. The cucumber salad, due to 5 minutes of cutting cucumber, takes longest. Those four are all fridge stable for ~4 days. Tomato salads, 1 to 2 days for best texture and flavor.

  14. Flinty*

    How do you feel about seeing your in-laws? We live about 20 minutes away from my husband’s parents, have been married for 2 years, together for 9, and have no kids. I think they’d like to see us every week, but we currently see them 1-2 times per month. They’re nice people, but I just find it incredibly…boring. It’s just pure small talk, like seeing a relative you barely know, except we see them what feels like all the time! I feel bad, because I know some people have nightmarish in-laws, but seeing them really feels like a chore to me. It’s not torture, but it’s a boring and unpleasant thing to do regularly. Luckily, my husband doesn’t want to see them every week either, at least not together, but I just feel bad that they send us 3-4 emails per week and invite us to stuff all the time and I’m just not into it.

    Is this normal? Are there strategies for developing more affection for your in-laws?

    1. Ali G*

      That would be annoying. Once a week is too much. Do you even see your good friends once a week? Seriously, no.
      Can you try to set up a regular day each month that you know you have plans with them? Maybe if they know they are on your schedule and don’t have to ask the next time they will see you, they will back off a bit.

      1. Flinty*

        I think this would be awesome if it were just my husband’s parents and us in the area. One set of his grandparents is also here though, and so between the 4 of them, there’s already a holiday (they’re Jewish, lots of holidays!) or birthday already once a month and I’m not really sure I want to add another monthly visit on top of that.

        But I do like the idea of my husband having a monthly date with them, minus me :) I’ll suggest that to him!

    2. Blue Eagle*

      It’s especially bad when your in-laws consistently talk about people who only they and your spouse know and never ask you anything about yourself (i.e. how work is going, how your hobbies are going, etc). My MIL is the best clothing giver (always gives me clothing to my taste) and never interferes in our marriage and is so sweet. But I’m glad that my spouse is good with visiting once a week after work so I don’t have to go along and we don’t usually visit more than once a month.

    3. mountainhighenough*

      I’ve got two sets 0f in laws- and my advice is set up activities. When we visit set 1, there is a chore list that the men handle together (rewiring outlets, installing new hoses on dryer, putting in new light fixture), during which my mil and I will make ice tea, talk about books, set up lunch). Or set up game night, play cards or rummikub. Or meet up a restaurants you’d like to try. You want a purposeful visit, one where you are sharing activities and interests, not just siiting and watching each other.

      1. Flinty*

        I think this is part of the problem – we don’t have any activities in common really, except eating! My in-laws don’t like games, they never want to just watch a movie, and they do go on walks, but my MIL is literally the slowest walker I’ve ever met and the small talk + slow walking kills me.

        But yeah, maybe I’ll try to get us to go out to eat more, which I know they do actually like!

        1. Temperance*

          This is good advice. Honestly, your ILs sound a bit like mine. I love my MIL – she’s actually a lot of fun and is honestly always down to try new things, go places, etc. HOWEVER, her parents live with her, and she was trained from childhood to put them first, so we end up doing what they want on visits, which is sitting around, being bored, and helping with chores.

      2. Book Lover*

        Yes, I was going to say this. Go to the movies and then dinner after so you can talk about the movie. Go to a park, gardens, zoo, whatever.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Scheduled fun is not always fun.
      Keep it at 1-2 times per month. It takes time to find things in common. And sometimes life happens and you suddenly find you share things that you did not share before.
      What kinds of stuff are they inviting you to do? Perhaps you could do one of those activities instead of your regular visits. I have gotten sucked into doing more stuff this way. It’s good to stretch ourselves and it’s good to see things that are different from our norm.
      It could be that this is what there is and it will not change. Maybe you can tell yourself that boring is better than fighting? Or maybe you can set time limits, so you have a set time that you stay. Perhaps plan a treat for yourselves after the visit. Perhaps you can invite them to something you guys actually like doing.

    5. Temperance*

      We live 2.5 hours from my MIL and her parents, and about 3.5 hours from my FIL. My MIL and her parents more or less demanded monthly visits a few years ago (after we told them biweekly and spending “at least” a week of Booth’s PTO up there with them wasn’t going to happen). We see them roughly quarterly, which works for our very busy schedule.

      It was really hard to negotiate, because spending time with my husband’s grandparents is super dull. They don’t have any hobbies or interests besides church, which I don’t care about. (Also, well, they’re Catholic and speak about non-Catholics like we’re trash, so it’s a sore subject.)

    6. Parenthetically*

      Well… first impulse is to go beyond small talk. Ask questions that will encourage intimacy. Ask them to tell you stories about your husband as a child, or about their favorite memories of XYZ. Ask their opinions about things. Cultivate curiosity about them — I find curiosity stimulates affection.

      Good luck!

    7. Blue_eyes*

      I think 1-2 times per month is fine. They’re nice but boring – you should continue to be polite to them and see them occasionally, but you’re not obligated to spend lots of your free time with them if it’s not enjoyable for you. Also feel free to send just your husband to see his parents sometimes while you get some alone time or see friends.

      My husband and I, his parents, and his sister all live within a 10 minute walk of each other. We often see each other multiple times per week (not always all 5 of us together), but we enjoy each other’s company and my in-laws invite us to a lot of plays and concerts so we usually have an activity to do. But we will also get dinner with them last minute at least 2-3 times per month. Every family is different though, and you don’t need to hang out with your in-laws more than you are currently.

    8. Loopy*

      So I have a future mother in law that I adore, we chat easily and I often go see her even without my S/O. That being said, I still don’t feel inclined to see her every week. Usually I will go once every three weeks. So 1-2 times a month is fine and I wouldn’t force yourself to do more.

      There’s only so much time we all have! If I’m only seeing someone I truly get along brilliantly with that often, I’d think more often is just… too much.

    9. Lcsa99*

      I guess I’ve been lucky. My own parents would be the crazy annoying in-laws, but they live across the country so we never see them. My husband’s parents are great. When we were first dating he would see them alone once a month, and once we got married it changed to every three months or so, mostly on holidays. They still talk on the phone once a week or so, and that seems to be enough. They are also great conversationalists, so we never have to worry about what to say. I guess the time between visits helps, too.

      I have a feeling your in laws just miss their son, and that’s why they try to get together with you so often. It also seems (at least from the outside) that it’s probably a good thing they want to include you, rather than making you feel like an interloper. I don’t really have any suggestions on how you might make it a little less boring. Less visits might help, but maybe you just need to plan something to do during their visits. See a show or even do a board game. Anything to give you something to talk about.

    10. It’s all good*

      The only thing my FIL likes to talk about is what he has eaten since we last saw him and updates on people we don’t know. He shows us pictures of food. He never engages his grandkids during visits, never calls between visits to talk to them or see how they are doing. Practically ignores the kids during visits, His new wife just complains about him. Usually only see them during holidays even though they an hour away. It’s sad. And boring. No advice, it’s been this way for decades.

    11. MeMeM*

      You’ll probably start liking them more over time, but until then maybe you could get a hobby like knitting, crocheting or needlepoint. These are all hobbies that people have more or less accepted as “okay” to do in the presence of others without sending them “you’re boring” message – they can be pretty mindless to do, but they give you something to do with your hands and you have a finished project when you’re done. Its possible that your mil either does one or more of them, or would enjoy doing it with you, too, giving you a shared enjoyment. If you live somewhere where you wouldnt wear knitted items, you can knit smaller quick items like hats for chemo patients, or Knitted Knockers for mastectomy patients.

  15. The RO-Cat*

    Yesterday’s talk of cemeteries reminded me that here we have a small town with a “Merry Cemetery” (literal translation from my language). Each and every headstone features a highlight of the deceseased’s life in funy rhymes. Lots of tourist tours include it, even though it’s way up in the north. The link in my user name leads to its Wikipedia Page. Happy reading!

    1. Kuododi*

      That is just delightful!!! I will have to add this to my “bucket list.” ;) Blessings!!!

  16. mountainhighenough*

    Preparing kids for college -what do you wish you had done in high school, wish your parents had done – what do you feel you missed out on?

    1. Julianne*

      I wish I’d gotten more guidance about planning for after college before college. Growing up, I never really fantasized about having a particular career; I knew the kinds of things I liked doing and came to realize my own strengths, but I never really thought about how those things might translate into what kind of work I would do after college. My excellent public high school did not have an excellent guidance department – the student to counselor ratio was, like, 900:1, and the first time I ever met my counselor was the spring of my junior year for the required “are you on track to graduate” meeting – and I feel like the entire community’s attitude was “Of course you’ll attend a four year college, and therefore you will be employable when you graduate.” I wish someone (my parents, a teacher, a counselor, anyone) would have said, “So you like X and Y and you’re good at A and B, let’s talk about how that might translate into careers.” That wasn’t something I even knew to ask for guidance about.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        This. Especially in high school, you don’t know much about the full range of careers out there. There’s so much more than the careers most kids say they want – doctor, lawyer, teacher, firefighter, singer, basketball player, etc. – but it’s hard to find out about other careers because they’re often not visible to people outside of their specific industries. There could be so much more done with high school students to look at their interests, personal qualities, and skills to suggest possible careers.

        Part of the reason I became a teacher was because I knew what a teacher was and more or less understood the job (and I always loved school and learning). But I wasn’t actually well suited to teaching, and I wish I had figured that out sooner. I was always good at school, and was competent in a wide range of disciplines and skills, but I never had one area that really stood out (which might have suggested a career direction). In high school and college I loved stage managing but never wanted to make that a career because of the instability of working in professional theater. Now I have a job that I love that uses many of the same skills as stage managing – I’m the chief of staff and house manager in a private home (my job is basically Carson from Downton Abbey). Being competent at a wide range of things, but not an expert at anything actually works really well for my job, but I never knew this kind of job existed until I sort of lucked into it.

        1. Red Reader*

          I have referred to myself as our house manager before (my household is me, my husband, and two housemates, and I’m the landlord and the one who handles the majority of the day-to-day operations), but I would love to hear more about what one does as a professional house manager, as opposed to my version which is basically the equivalent of everyone’s mom. :P (Do you buttle? /Tim Curry )

          1. Blue_eyes*

            As a professional house manager I pretty much do all the things you do to take care of your own house and life, but I get paid for it. Some of my duties include: schedule all maintenance for heating and cooling and other systems in the house, order supplies and groceries, delegate tasks to the housekeepers and other staff, make medical and other appointments for the family, sign kids up for after school activities, make a schedule of how each kid is getting to school and activities, open mail, pay bills, make travel arrangements, organize and supervise construction and repairs.

            I really enjoy it. I get to have a hand in lots of different kinds of tasks and learn how to handle just about any situation that comes up.

            1. Red Reader*

              That sounds like so much fun. I mean, not to minimize the fact that it’s work, but. :) If you take up AAM’s interest expressed below, I’d love to hear more about it and how you ended up there :)

      2. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)*

        This. The library I work at has something called the Career Cruising database. It has a career matchmaker and comprehensive information about what type of education is needed for each career you are matched with (i.e. what you need to major in). I SO wish I had this when I went to college (before there were databases like this). I had absolutely no clue what I wanted to do and just sort of took my best guess as far as choosing a major. Granted, I might not have taken the suggestions seriously and very well could have floundered around in college anyway, but it might have been a big help.

        Shameless plug: Anyone going to college should visit their local library and see what they have to offer as far as learning about career paths and how that would affect what they study in college.

      3. StrikingFalcon*

        And not just strengths and weakness, but what do you want your life to look like when you graduate? A lot of travel for work? Exactly 40 hours and then you leave work at work? Any busy metropolis? A specific town? There are careers that can be pursued anywhere, but there are also ones that are limited to only one place in the world. Having an idea of this stuff helps a lot in choosing a career, and it wasn’t something I thought about before I graduated.

        Also, high school and college aren’t a series of boxes that if you check them all off perfectly you will get a good job when you graduate, which was the attitude I grew up with. They are experiences, they are time to explore, they require specific skill sets that may or may not be as important after graduating, and there are no guarantees of anything. A greater acceptance of life paths that aren’t “traditional” four year college + job would have been very healthy for me.

    2. Fiennes*

      I wish I’d taken a gap year. IMO, relatively few 18-year-olds have a powerful sense of vocation yet, and I think that for most of us that can’t develop until we have a better sense of ourselves as independent adults. So the first year or two of college gets wasted, academically speaking. In my personal case, I was fairly young and sheltered, and could’ve used a broader worldview than my small town had given me. At the time, I remember looking hungrily at booklets that could set you up with au pair positions, farm work, etc., in other countries. My parents were SO against it that I never went beyond getting that booklet…but I nearly memorized it. In retrospect I think my instincts were correct, and I’d have had a better college experience if I’d done it.

      Not every kid would want this, but I think it merits consideration by many more US families than currently take advantage of that opportunity.

      1. Melody Pond*

        +1 to this. I think if I’d taken some more time between high school and college, and specifically focused that time on doing things like traveling or working in different countries for a while – I would’ve been a lot more well-rounded by the time I got to college, I would’ve known myself better, and I would’ve wasted a lot less of my education trying to figure stuff out.

      2. Pie for Breakfast*

        Agreed that this should at least be part of a conversation about post-grad options. Looking back I should have taken a year but that just wasn’t considered in my house or high school.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I wish that I had better help with finding a career path. It was the 70s, what can I say. Even on into the late 80s I heard, “You are a woman, you can be a nurse, a teacher or a secretary.” I think the adults around me could have done a better job of career guidance than the counselors at school. It did not help that there were well over a thousand books to look at. I wasn’t even sure where to begin and I wasted a lot of time with bad guesses. Finally I settled on something that turned out to be too long a haul. My immediate situation was not good and I ended up not doing the long haul. Practical advice would have suited me, how to get something that I could use for employment within a year or two of graduating.

      1. fposte*

        I remember in second grade that we had to write what we wanted to be when we grew up. And this would have been just at the end of the 1960s, and I remember all the girls wrote nurse or teacher, and I thought surely there had to be other possibilities–but I couldn’t think of any.

        On the bright side, most of us found a lot more variety in our actual choices and fields than we anticipated when we were seven.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I always got a kick out of that survey. They surveyed us each year for a few years. What do you want to be when you grow up? I said, tell me what my options are first, I am six years old how would I know?
          I ended up copying off the paper of the person next to me. One year I wanted to be a firefighter and the next year a teacher and so on.
          Decades later I was telling a family member who was a teacher and the response was “No, kids don’t do that!” Ha! Kids learn very early just put something down on the form and hand it in.

          1. Tau*

            I am pretty sure that my answers to “what do you want to do when you grow up?” went, in order:

            – mathematician, because it’s what my mother is
            – astronomer, because stars are cool
            – entomologist, because insects are cool and you need lots of maths to be an astronomer (the irony of this will become apparent in a few lines)
            – botanist, because plants are cool
            – …mathematician again, because I like maths and am good at it. (And it’s cool.)

            and that’s where it stayed until halfway through my PhD.

            In retrospect the fact that I didn’t seem to realise professions other than some brand of scientist existed is rather funny. (And says a lot about my family.)

    4. Temperance*

      I honestly wish that I had the ability to meet with adults with “professional” careers prior to college. I was the first in my family to go, and my parents pushed me to become a local newspaper reporter. (I did not.) I didn’t really understand how businesses worked.

      I also see how very privileged parents prepare their kids for college, with shadowing, internships, etc., and I wish I could have had that sort of experience.

    5. Anono-me*

      I’m seconding the wish for more practical career planning.

      I found it helpful to take two general requirement classes at a local community college between graduating high school and starting college. It made the transition much easier and I took two classes the required lots of reading and memorization. Usually in the less luxurious dorms, single rooms are not much more than doubles.

      I’m not a big fan of shared bedroom dorm rooms. All you know about the other person is that s/he is the same gender and is going to the same college or university. I know people who were assaulted by a guy the roommate brought home, or someone seeking drugs because the roommate was known for having a large amount, people whose roommates stole, and people whose roommates never did laundry.

      My parents and I took a good self defense class before going away to college. I think it was a good idea.

      1. Anono-me*

        Sorry for the bad paragraph break. The line about single vs double dorm costs should be with the reasons why I think that single rooms are better.

    6. CBE*

      The practical stuff! When my oldest went off to college, there were 6 girls in her suite. My daughter was the ONLY one who knew how to do laundry. She taught lessons to her roommates, and word spread that she could teach you, and she ended up teaching half the dorm.
      Boggled my mind because I make my teens do their own laundry, and thought that was common. My kids learned as soon as they were tall enough to reach down into our top loading washer!
      But I know lots of kids struggle with grocery shopping, bill paying, time management, etc.

    7. Buu*

      If they are managing their workload, encourage them to take on a part time job or work experience. They can develop work experience and build up their resume ready for any college work they want to take on. Don’t pressure them even the odd casual summer work is helpful. I had a hard time getting work in college as I’d done no Summer jobs when younger, when I graduated the lack of even a student job badly impacted me.

      1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)*

        Yes. As someone who works with adult job seekers all the time, I can say that this is so, so important.

    8. Cedrus Libani*

      If I could send a care package to my 14-year-old self, it would contain everything that Cal Newport has ever written. Especially if the kid has any interest in applying to highly selective colleges; his advice is by far the most accurate of anything I’ve seen on the subject. Don’t be well-rounded, pick something and do it well.

      I decided, at age 5, exactly what I was going to be when I grew up – and did it. But I basically had to figure the college thing out for myself, and I got a ton of bad advice.

      I remember making a spreadsheet of various activities, trying to ensure that I was “well-rounded”. That lasted a semester. I am NOT well-rounded in the least – I’m aggressively terrible at sports, music, and arts. But I’m hard-wired for science. So I gave up on the extra fluff, and did science as hard as I could. This was scary; some of the adults around me were convinced I was committing career suicide, since I’d never get into a decent school with my terrible resume. Fortunately for me, the “failed simulation effect” (Cal Newport’s term) kicked in just in time, and I got a bunch of international level recognition for my work. I went to MIT as a “silver bullet” recruit (they used to have a special program for the top few dozen admits, though they’ve stopped doing this, as it’s really not in keeping with the philosophy of the school). There were super-geniuses in that group; I’m not one, I swear, I was just doing my thing.

    9. matcha123*

      I wish I had known about what types of careers were available. My parent and most of my friends parents fell into two job types: public service (teacher, social worker, activist) or professional (university professor, doctor, lawyer). I had no idea what people in other white collar jobs did. Even now I don’t know and I’m starting to ask people about what they do so I can get a better idea of what I could aim for.

      I wish I could have been allowed some down time to relax from working part-time and studying for school. I felt like I was going to fail at life if I didn’t get into the university that my parent wanted me to go to. I was threatened constantly with being kicked out of the house if I didn’t get in.

      Maybe this isn’t as related to college, but in general I wish I’d been taught that my thoughts and opinions had value. I went to a suburban school and most of my classmates came from upper middle-class homes where they were taught how to argue their opinions. I was taught to sit down, shut up, and do what was told of me. That’s really held me back now that I’m an adult and I am working on correcting that line of thinking.

    10. Tipcat*

      1. Everything people have already said about career guidance.

      2. Look at the cultural fit in the colleges you are considering. For example, My family was working class and I was the first to go to college. I got a scholarship to a a school that had mostly upper-middle class kids. I never fit in and the school had no support programs for students like me. Also big/small? Sorority/fraternity culture? Party school? Football factory?

      3.Practical stuff like laundry, cooking, budgeting. “Cooking” includes meal planning, budgeting, nutrition, grocery shopping, actual cooking, and clean-up. House cleaning. Basic auto maintenance. Kids should be doing these things while at home in high school.

      4. Social skills, including but not limited to: Serious and realistic talk about alcohol, weed,and other drugs; privilege, racism, homophobia; rape culture; and peer pressure. For girls especially–social skills like boundaries, saying no, using your words, and not being a pleaser. That is, the stuff Captain Awkward talks about. For boys–I am vaguer here.

    11. Chaordic One*

      I really wish that I had gotten some psychological counseling much earlier in my life in order to deal with anxiety. I think I could have done much better academically and been better prepared for life.

    12. patti mayonnaise*

      I wish I had come to college with more social skills. As a teenager, I was shy, quiet, introverted and socially anxious. My parents reinforced these traits with messaging like “school is your job,” “don’t worry, you’ll never see these people [your classmates] again,” etc. I went to a big state school where I blended in. I did learn how to actually hold a conversation, but now that I work in higher ed, I realize all the opportunities I missed out on by keeping to myself. I didn’t talk with professors outside of class, I didn’t seek out extra help from advisors, and I kept potential friends at arms length. After some personal growth, I realize what I missed out on by not cultivating those relationships. And from a practical standpoint, as a current administrator in higher ed, I realize how many opportunities I lost by just keeping my head down and focusing on grades. College is about so much more than textbooks (although I will always love academic learning). The relationships you build there are important personally and professionally, and it’s important to put effort into them.

      1. Sylvan*

        +1

        I wish I had understood that relationships would be important later professionally. I made a ton of friends in a field that I don’t want to work in, and didn’t network where I did want to work. Why, baby Sylvan, did you do this? :/

    13. Sylvan*

      As an only child whose first roommate was also an only child, I wish I had somehow learned to get along with a roommate earlier. I had never had one for longer than a month before college. We both wanted alone time and we were both bad at compromising on things like room temperature and TV volume.

      1. Eleanor Shellstrop*

        Fellow only child here! I’m lucky that my first roommate was a sweetheart because I was so not prepared to share a tiny room with someone.

      2. Mimmy*

        I’m NOT an only child (youngest of 4) and I hated having a roommate! I’d had a single room during my freshman year; at the end of that year, a friend invited me to be roommates. Long story short, we lasted just one semester. I had a single room again second semester of my sophomore year and never looked back, lol. I just like having my own space.

    14. Loopy*

      Since everyone has already said a lot of my feelings about career prep support I’ll jump on financial aid prep.

      I wish someone had sat me down and translated loan amounts (AND INTEREST) into what that would be in monthly payments. I wish someone had then done that same for salaries in terms of take home pay….and then helped me figure out what each loan level would look like against a rough estimate of take home pay. When I got my first monthly bill with interest… I was so shocked. And I shouldn’t have been.

      Basically, when I was sat down with my financial aid package… it didn’t mean anything concrete to me. Nothing. I just wish I had an inkling of what I was signing.

      1. patti mayonnaise*

        Oh my gosh, yes. This sounds so stupid now, but I worked three part0time jobs all through school, and I never realized I could start paying back my loans before I graduated.

      2. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        Yeah. What a loan costs something other than numbers. If you have a loan for $X,000, and an income of $X0,000, you can pay off your loan at the bargain price of three years of ramen and no nice things. Or you can opt to have disposable income and pay instead with fifteen years of having it hanging over your head.

        For me, its cost me about eight years of half my income. And while I make very little, I didn’t really have big loans in the first place.

        Student debt is a really big commitment.

    15. Oxford Coma*

      I wish I had been better prepared to live with a roommate. I wish I knew that not every adult is an authority figure just because they’re older.

      My roommate came from a super-strict, very religious family and went absolutely nuts with her freedom. Her parents tried to clamp down from afar and manipulate me into being her jailer, and I was nowhere near mature and self-assured enough to tell them to eff off. Her dad called every Saturday and Sunday morning at 6:00 AM to yell at her to get up and go to church, and called around dinner time every night to make sure she was back in the dorm doing her homework. It was always me answering the phone and trying to hide the fact that she constantly went out partying and slept over with guys. I wish I’d pulled the phone out of the wall instead of playing his games.

    16. Elena*

      If you have a sheltered, bookish goody-two-shoes girl prone to low self-esteem – like I was in high school – I’d do what I could to make sure she knew how to make herself look as attractive as she wanted to: her sense of style, how to care for hair, how to dress appropriately and pick out well-fitting clothes (esp. Bras!), basic makeup, eyebrow care, etc. If she doesn’t like her weight, encourage her to work towards what she would like to be.

      This doesn’t mean body-shaming, or forcing her to transform into a cheerleader or something. It requires tact. Proceed with caution.

      HOWEVER: I cannot underestimate how figuring these things out, at a quite simple level, increased my self confidence – and from there improved the kind of relationships I had with guys, how I spoke up in class and made choices, my relationships with friends…. Better all around.

      Unfortunately I only got there halfway through college, and would have liked – in retrospect – to have more support in these areas from my mom, who doesn’t emphasize these things at all – and doesn’t need to in her own life – but is a much more laid back person than me.

      1. LilySparrow*

        Yes, I didn’t really start feeling in charge of my appearance until my late 20’s. I always felt like my hair and clothes were something that just happened to me, or a trick I was failing to pull off.
        Knowing what really suits you, in look and feel, helps you be more comfortable in your own skin.

    17. pleaset*

      More dating. I should have spent more time on that and not been so hesitant.

      But I can’t see parents pushing me on that.

      1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)*

        I second this. I wish I had more of a clue about social norms around dating. I really wish I knew that it was not a good thing to tell someone I loved them after dating them for eight days (!)

    18. BugSwallowersAnonymous*

      I kinda wish someone had warned me (and my parents) that there might be more tension between myself and my folks when I went to college- maybe that wouldn’t have helped, I don’t know! I always got along really well with my parents as a teenager, but once I went to college, it felt we started having all this conflict. Now I realize it’s a normal part of growing up and becoming independent, but it totally floored me at the time.

    19. Detached Elemental*

      I wish I knew how to budget. It took me a long time to realise that monthly bills were, in fact, not a surprise.

    20. Lora*

      What my family did wrong: I was the oldest girl-child in the extended family after my cousin died. I got to be mini-mom to a platoon of kids every holiday, birthday, reunion, weekend etc. It was Middle Of Nowhere, East Cowfk USA and my career options as far as my family was concerned were 1. teacher 2. nurse 3. some kinda artsy thing but really get your MRS degree.

      What my boarding school did right (yay scholarships):
      1. How to distribute your applications so you will get into at least 2-3 decent schools you’ll like.
      2. No study hall. You take extra classes if you have already fulfilled your requirements to the state for graduating with the state diploma. Math and AP classes were suggested first, then the headmistress would suggest something your grades reflected that you were good at, then fine arts. But she always suggested advanced math and AP classes first.
      3. We had a program in the state where you could substitute actual college classwork for high school graduation requirements, and the state would pay your tuition. You just had to pay the registrar fee, which at the time was like $25. I took college level science and advanced language classes as a high schooler. Also this gave us a notion of what real college is like. I think you had to take PSATs or something and get a certain score though.
      4. It was boarding school, so we had roommates and did laundry and all of that. They had teachers who lived in apartments near the dorms who had to mind us, but by and large we had to mind ourselves and be responsible. Your parents couldn’t just call the school when you got in trouble, if you were caught doing something bad or were late for class and not sick, it was all on you. My public school friends often got their parents to weasel them out of stuff, and they were really shocked to find out that they couldn’t just do that in college.
      5. Our social interactions were very…mmmm I guess “scripted” is the best word? Very controlled settings. You will wear XYZ clothing or be sent to your room to change. We had dance lessons, etiquette lessons on which fork to use, small talk conversation lessons, how to introduce yourself and speak to people and shake hands and so forth. This was SUPER helpful for an introvert who basically hated talking to humans ever, because it gave me a straightforward set of rules to follow.
      6. Re: well rounded, this was a thing and it basically meant you had to take at least one fine arts class series like Theater I & Theater II or Photography I & Photography II and also do either a sport or play an instrument. You didn’t have to be good at it but you had to learn enough about art and music to be able to appreciate a decent concert and understand the difference between Warrant and Steve Vai, sort of thing. You had to learn to appreciate the combination of technical mastery and strategy/inspiration that went into something great.
      7. How to use the library card catalog. I suppose the new version would be how to do a proper database search and how to write a good query? How to write a thesis paper. How to write a poem that wasn’t objectively awful.

      After boarding school, college was a piece of cake until midway through junior year – it was like a repeat of high school, except without the uniforms and chapel.

    21. Lindsay J*

      I wish that it hadn’t been treated as an absolute given that I was going to college. Like, there was never a question of it and I was never presented with an opening to even think that maybe I wanted to do something else. It wasn’t “are you planning on going to college?” it was “what colleges have you applied to?”

      There was no option for me to say, “hey, actually I’d like to take a gap year,” or “actually, I think I’d like to go to HVAC school” or “I want to work full-time for a couple years so I don’t have to take out so many loans.”

      Similarly, I wish community college had been presented as a real option for me. It was never treated like that, even though I could have gone for basically free for two years. It was basically intimated that only people who didn’t have any other choices went to community college. When really, going would have been good for me.

      I don’t know if anyone could have convinced me of it at the time, because I was pretty much burned out on schooling as it was at that point. But I wish people had encouraged me to enjoy the college experience more. I was determined to graduate as quickly as possible and get my life started. So I bypassed opportunities like interning in Washington DC, or traveling abroad, because they wouldn’t help me get my courseload done as fast as possible. I wish someone had told me that doing those things would matter more to employers, and also would probably help my life experience be more varied and enjoyable and full, than just grinding away at the max allowable credits each semester. I also wish I had been encouraged to socialize more with classmates – that someone had pointed out that joining clubs and partying and stuff like that wasn’t just fun, but it was building connections with other people that I would likely see again in my career, etc. I very much felt like college was another hurdle to leap over before my “real life” began, and that I was going to blow out of there and never see those people again. And I think that if I treated it like a bridge into life that I was going through with other people.

      Personally, I wish that I hadn’t kept a steady boyfriend though all of college. I missed out on a lot of chances for strong female friendships because I blew off my roommates to spend time with my boyfriend at the time. Who I haven’t seen or spoken to in over a decade now. And it wasn’t even like it was a conscious choice that I was blowing them off, but when they invite you to dinner but you’ve already made plans to go see your boyfriend and hang out in his dorm room, you go with the plans you’ve already made. Except that that was my plan with him every damn day. I don’t know that any adult could have convinced me otherwise, however. At the time I was convinced that he and I were meant to be and were going to be together forever. I also blew off post-graduation options like teaching English in Japan because I didn’t want to be away from him for that long.

      I wish that someone had made the student loan numbers real to me. Like, I’m not dumb. I knew how much I was borrowing per year. And I knew that I was going to have to pay it all back. But to someone who is used to having 100% of their income be disposable, knowing that, and the reality of that are two different things. And it’s like, “Okay, after I graduate, I’ll be making $40,000 a year. And sure, I have $80,000 of loans to pay back, but I have 10 years to pay them. How hard can it be?”

      But that 40,000 is before tax, and has to cover rent or a mortgage, car insurance, car payment, car repairs, cell phone, renters insurance, gasoline to get to and from work, electricity, gas, water, sewer, garbage pickup, work appropriate clothing, food for eating, things like sponges and dish soap and toilet paper, money to eat out if you’re going on dates or ever intend to see your friends, etc. And unless those loans are all subsidized, they’re more than $80,000. And sometimes it barely feels like you’re paying down the principal at all with all the interest each month. Also, I graduated directly into a recession, so that $40,000 job wound up being a pipe dream for me and most of my fellow classmates.

      I wish someone had done a budgeting exercise with me or something to make me realize how thinly I would actually be stretched with those loan payments. I also wish my parents had shared with me a little bit about our household budget growing up starting from when I was young and getting more into depth as I got older so I could see how adulthood actually worked and not my idealized view of what I would do and how I would never get myself into financial issues.

      In high school I wish people had pushed me more towards STEM fields. I was pretty nerdy. I coded my own livejournal layouts. I had a Cybiko extreme which was like an internet connected PDA with near field technology. My test scores and grades in math and science were higher than the kids actually planning on going into math and science. Yet nobody ever took me aside and said, “Hey, I know you like music and all, but instead of going to school for music ed you should think of going for computer science [or bio-engineering, or anything like that]. You can still play in community orchestras and stuff like that, and you’ll have a lot more money to buy instruments, a lot more free time, and a lot more opportunity, if you look into other career fields. You have a lot of potential in this area.” When people did try to push me away from music ed, it was towards things like being an English major. Or an Art History major. I don’t like to think that it’s because I was a girl, but looking back that’s the only reasonable thing I can think of.

      I also wish more attention had been paid to my mental health. This was more a middle school issue than a high school issue, but it was still there in high school. But when your middle school child is coming home and crying at night every night, and cutting herself, and you don’t notice, or if you do notice don’t know what to do so you do nothing instead, it’s setting her up for issues for a long time. When I say “graduated” college, I didn’t really graduate. I failed out without completing all my required courses (despite having more than enough credits) because my depression and social anxiety and ADHD were so bad I couldn’t get to class often enough in a semester to come close to passing. If it had been caught sooner (like in middle school or high school) and I had been offered treatment then I think I would have had a lot better outcome.

      Also, echoing the thoughts about knowing other careers. I still don’t know what people in most “office” type jobs actually do all day, because I’ve never been exposed to those environments. My mom is a teacher and my dad is a restaurant manager. And my career path hasn’t taken me into offices, really. So I knew about direct service positions growing up, basically. Teacher, doctor, social worker, retail clerk, food service worker, lawyer, professor, mechanic, accountant, nurse, amusement park worker, realtor, etc. If you had a more “behind the scenes” job where there weren’t signs advertising what you do, or I didn’t see you when I went to school and about my daily life, I didn’t know that your job role existed.

    22. Mimmy*

      Haven’t finished reading the thread yet but man does this make me feel better about how incredibly naive I was before, during, and after college!! Just about everything you all are talking about–career planning, social skills, practical skills–nobody prepared me really for any of it. I was fortunate that the RA was willing to teach me how to do laundry. But things like basic personal finance and cooking/meal planning are what I wish I’d learned more of back then. Maybe people tried to teach me but I was resistant–I honestly don’t remember.

      My best friend was equally socially awkward–we were practically tied at the hip. Yes it was a big help to us as she and I would’ve probably otherwise had no true friends, but in the long run, I think it was a detriment to my social skills (although I think her practical skills were better than mine).

    23. LilySparrow*

      Learning how to manage a schedule and my living space under my own direction.
      My mom was very structured with the household routine, lists, meal planning, organizing the family activities and Dr appointments, all that kind of thing. It was really overwhelming to leave that structure behind and have zero clue how to create one for myself.

  17. Ali G*

    I’m so annoyed with myself! Yesterday I rolled my ankle in a parking lot. A parking lot I was not supposed to be in because I screwed up an order and I was in the wrong shopping center. By the time I got home I couldn’t walk and I had to cancel on an event I was looking forward to today. I’m just so annoyed with myself because if I hadn’t messed up to begin with I would have never been in that lot and out of my car.
    Now we aren’t even sure if my in-laws can visit next weekend, because IDK if I will be able to clean the house and in general just be a good hostess.
    Nothing you can do – just ARGHHHHHHH!

    1. Hellanon*

      Hmmm… since it’s your in-laws, could your spouse do the cleaning & hosting? (Or are they cheering inwardly at the thought of having an excuse to avoid the visit?)

      1. Ali G*

        Hubs will help out – it’s just bad timing. He works full time (and lots of nights and weekends), and since I am only partially employed I typically do the cleaning/shopping during the week, rather than wasting time on those chores during the weekend. This weekend we were going to try to get our garden and other landscaping stuff done because we hope to be hanging out in the yard. So everything’s all topsy turvey.

    2. CAA*

      Oh no! If it’s not starting to get better by Monday morning, go see a doctor. Rolling an ankle in a parking lot is exactly how I broke my fibula and ended up in a walking boot for six weeks.

      1. OtterB*

        Seconding this. I limped around on my “twisted ankle” for two weeks before I got it checked and found it was broken.

        1. Ali G*

          Oh lordy! Luckily it’s better today than yesterday already, so I think I just need to rest it.

  18. Anona*

    We put down my sweet dog yesterday. Both our vet and the home vet said that the worst thing about this degenerative disease that she had is that other than the symptoms (not being able to walk, progressively worsening things like bowel and bladder control, and various health things as a result, and more recently, anxiety because of her mobility issues), she’s healthy and still sweet.

    So it made it tough. The vet putting her down even teared up a little.

    I adopted her after a miscarriage, and she became kinda a surrogate child for me. As my husband said, we both needed each other.

    I loved her so much, and she me, and my life was made so much richer by her. My heart is broken. Run on, sweet girl. No more suffering for you, only running, loves, and all the good foods you can eat.

    1. nep*

      I’m so sorry. This is heartbreaking. There is no grief quite like it — particularly given the unique role she played in your life. I wish you peace and healing.

    2. Ali G*

      I’m so sorry. Know you did the right thing. I believe as hard as this was, you would feel worse if you had waited too long.

    3. JaneB*

      Oh it hurts so much to lose a good pet! Empathy and virtual hugs if wrlcome from an Internet stranger mourning her Good Cat who had to be put down in March…

    4. SciDiver*

      Saying goodbye is so hard. I’m sure she was happy to have spent her life with you and your husband, and you made her life better in countless ways. Sending comforting feelings your way as you go through this.

    5. Yes and*

      I’m so sorry. We had to PTS our beloved dog a few months ago. Similar to your pup, she was dealing with mounting mobility issues, but mentally she was still 100% there. And being a lab, her appetite never suffered and she rarely showed any pain, so the“usual” signs that It’s Time were unlikely to occur. I still cry regularly for her. Gentle Internet hugs to yo.

    6. Anona*

      Thanks to everyone for their kind comments. So many kind people! Not gonna lie, I teared up reading these. Thanks for being sweet, and saying kind words to an internet stranger.

    7. Kuododi*

      Oh my…..the heart just aches. I have walked that path more than once in the past and anticipate having to do so again in the near future. You are in my heart. Grace and Peace.

      1. IntoTheSarchasm*

        I read this on a dog-centric FB group I belong to. “Every dog I have lost has taken a piece of my heart; every dog I have come to love has given me a piece of their heart. Some day my heart will be entirely made up of dogs hearts and I will be all the better for it.”

  19. dreamy anon*

    AAM, I just had the wildest dream. I was on a cruise ship, and we were all forced to listen to a long speech by a particular person in the charge of a very large country who generally is thought of as not the greatest speech teller. there was a literal armed rebellion on the cruise ship in the middle of the speech. i grabbed my bag and ran. i went to the elevator that was a floating platform, but it took me about 10 stories higher than my room, so I jumped off the platform, back onto the ship, where I ended up in an “internment area” defended by armed guards, where everyone was having to sign papers indicating their loyalty to this person.

    from their my brain thought about pushing this person out of a port window but decided they would be rescued and i would drown so my brain was like ‘you just daydreamed about that in your dream.’

    then we had to sit for like 10 hours in the “internetment area” (which was, if you’ve ever been on a cruise ship, the top deck with all the pool chairs, bars, and beachy decorations, so it was garish.) i had to use the restroom, as one does in 10 hours, but none of the armed guards would let me go. so i literally took one of the loyalty papers, put it on the ground, pulled down my pants and went right there. and when people were mad at me, I was like “i had to pee, and you wouldn’t let me go in to the bathroom, so … not… sure what you thought i was going to do?”

    then, instead of that happening, i actually did manage to make it successfully to my room and hid in the closet. a guard was looking for me, but i was hiding, and when he yanked me out of the closet, i kicked him, and he shot me. then cut to my mom in the internment area going “where’s my kid? where’s my kid?” and starting a rebellion on the ship including people picking up tire irons and beating up the guards.

    anyway. I’M AWAKE NOW. that’s what going on in my brain i guess. Christ. IT’S THE WEEKEND.

    1. Middle School Teacher*

      Hahaha dreams can be so weird and upsetting! If it helps, this morning I dreamt that Brad Pitt went undercover as a porn star to try to catch a serial killer. I think too much Criminal Minds is responsible for the serial killer part, but no idea why Brad Pitt.

          1. Middle School Teacher*

            In my dream he was like, ten years ago Brad Pitt. More rugged than 90s, but less rough-looking than now.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      HAHAHAHA
      I’m laughing because this sounds like one of my dreams. I have these weirdo nightmares about going to a place and not being able to leave–the movie Get Out scared the hell out of me because it triggered all those fears of “get out oh noooo it’s too late you can’t.”

      The most memorable one involved a cultlike house we were all locked into and there was a bomb about to explode and I was trying to get everyone out. Yaaaah!

  20. Nervous Accountant*

    So yay no more tooth pain, the jaw joint still aches a bit but I’ve gone about 3-4 days now with no painkiller (otc or Vicodin).

    But alas, given how my year is going I now have really bad back and leg pain. It radiates to my hips and back now. I had it after my first pregnancy many years ago and it went away on its own. Started again last summer, and I went to a podiatrist. He said i don’t have diabetic foot but just to change shoes. I can’t stand for too long or walk a block without being in pain.

    Pain went away and it’s back again, yay!!! *not*

    1. fposte*

      Sounds like sciatica might be a possibility. Around here, physical therapists will often do a free assessment–might be worth going on for one of those.

  21. no coffee anon*

    Am I in the wrong here? I have a friend who will occasionally come to my city and we’ll go see an event together or she just needs a place to stay while she does her own thing. I have a one bedroom apartment in an east coast city, so there’s not a lot of space. I only have a couch for someone to sleep on (or the floor, I guess).

    I’m getting pretty tired of one friend, Jane, in particular staying over with me. There are several annoyances. The big one right now is that she throws a passive aggressive fit whenever she stays over because I don’t have a coffeemaker. I have limited counter and cabinet space, and I don’t drink coffee. It makes no sense for me to have a coffeemaker for the very small amount of guests I have staying with me each year.

    But Jane does the incredibly grating “I’m a monster in the morning without coffee”. Admittedly, I hate that phrase and the way people use it to justify being a jerk because they haven’t had coffee. The phrase and people who use it are one of my big pet peeves. But aside from that, Jane insists that it’s rude that I don’t have a coffeemaker for people who drink coffee. I’ve bought a small container of a good brand of instant coffee, which I know isn’t the same, and said that there’s a Starbucks and local cafe a block away from my apartment, but she insists she needs it before she leaves the house. I’ve told her that if she really needs it, she can get Postmates.

    I have one other friend who will occasionally stay with me, and she’s never had an issue running down the block to pick up coffee or waiting until we leave for the day. I think Jane’s issue is specific to her since she tends to treat my apartment like a bed and breakfast. She’s gotten upset if I don’t buy specific brands of food or have a bunch of snacks on hand (I don’t eat a lot of sweets, so my cabinets are stocked with ice cream or cookies). She’s also a very picky eater (picking a restaurant to eat is a nightmare, she basically just eats bar food like burgers and mac and cheese and nachos), and I have mostly produce and grains in my cabinets/fridge which she won’t touch so I refuse to try and cook for both of us when she stays.

    She gets passive-aggressive if I ask her to take her shoes off the couch or coffee table or to not leave wet towels on the floor or over the back of the couch. If she stays for one night, she’ll bring three bags and spread all of her stuff all over my apartment, making such a mess. She tends to be a messy eater and even though I’ve never said anything about that habit, I have asked her to eat with me at a table instead of on the couch because she’s stained my couch with food before. She gets annoyed that I don’t have cable TV or that my internet isn’t as fast as she would like (I live in a city apartment, so there are so many wireless networks trying to get connection in the same small area).

    I know I’m at the BEC stage with her and that I’ll probably stop letting her stay with me, even if she’s visiting the city for an event we’re going to together, but I really would like to know if I’m in the wrong about the coffeemaker. If I don’t drink coffee, why should I have a coffeemaker for someone who visits maybe two or three times a year? FWIW, we’re both in our early 30s, and she lives at home in the suburbs with her parents and doesn’t pay rent or have any big expenses.

    1. TL -*

      She sounds like a horrible house guest in many respects – but it’s weird to expect someone to buy a kitchen appliance for you, yes. (Unless it’s your parents. Family should provide caffeine at all costs.)

      Buying a small bag of instant coffee was the good host thing to do.

      1. Nye*

        Agreed. I’m rnot much of a coffee drinker but I’ve always kept a tiny percolator / drip machine since my parents are huge coffee fiends.

        BUT there are 2 key differences from your situation with

    2. miyeritari*

      Wait. You let Jane stay at your *house* for free, and she gets mad at you that you don’t have an appliance you don’t want, in a cramped apartment? She gets made what kind of *cookies* you have? She throws her crap all over your place?

      Jane is a massive jerk and you should stop letting her stay over IMO. The next time she plans this, you could say something like, “I think a hotel might be suited for your needs, as you can customize it with the types of food and coffee that you like, rather than what I have.”

      If this makes her stop being your friend, you have a net gain.

    3. Flinty*

      Do you actually like Jane? Tbh she sounds like a pretty obnoxious guest. Is there a reason that you keep agreeing to host her?

      1. no coffee anon*

        We do have a lot in common, and I’m never annoyed when we hang out and she isn’t staying at my place.

        I tend to host her because almost all my other friends are married with kids and in the suburbs, so they never come into the city or have time to hang out (it’s always expected that I travel out to the suburbs). Jane is my only single friend who comes into the city on occasion, and I’ve had a hard time making new friends as well.

        1. The New Wanderer*

          I think the only way to keep her as a friend is to not let her stay with you anymore. I mean, the easy solution is to say Jane, buy a French press and bring it with you. (They even make camping versions!) But the coffee thing kinda sounds like the last straw. She’s a terrible house guest and it will not get better with more visits. She isn’t going to suddenly learn how to be a good guest.

          I do cringe when I read stories like this though. In my 20s I was the occasional house guest for some of my friends who lived in touristy cities, back when we all had single bedroom apartments or studios, and I’m sure I was uncool about things at times. I’m pretty sure, though, that I was not a slob who tossed my stuff, mistreated my host’s things, and whined about easily solvable problems.

    4. CatCat*

      You’re not in the wrong and Jane is an absolute boor. No need to buy and store an appliance you don’t want to accommodate a guest. A normal guest would be grateful for you hosting and pick up a coffee at a shop if they’re a coffee drinker.

      The Janes of the world can travel with their coffee and coffee maker if they feel that strongly about it.

    5. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize*

      Hey No coffee,your last line sums up your problem. Your friend lives at home with all the perks and none of the responsibilities of an adult and she is bringing her sense of entitlement with her when she visits you. If you don’t want a face to face confrontation (I hate them as well!) send her an email telling her that she seems to be very unhappy staying with you and going forward if she wants a visit she must make her own accommodation arrangements (hotel B&B etc.) If she throws a fit, you will be rid of her. As for the coffee, you can always buy one of those one cup coffee makers that you pour the hot water over the grinds and then plunge the plunger. I can’t remember what they are called, I have one. They are the size of a large coffee cup.

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        Aeropress! Hell, give one to Jane for her birthday/Christmas and maybe she’ll get the hint….

    6. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

      Serious answer: your problem isn’t the coffee maker. It’s that Jane is a bad guest. She knows you don’t drink coffee, you have coffee shops local to you, you’ve actually gotten her instant coffee (which is going out of your way), and she’s not appreciating it. Honestly, why are you letting her still stay at your place? From what you’ve said, she sounds like she’s not worth the effort to host because she’s so high maintenance.

      But no, you don’t have to get a coffee maker. You’re not a hotel.

      Also, about the snacks: next time she comes over, just buy a ton of crackers. Because she actually IS eating whatever snacks you provide like she owns the place. (Don’t actually do this. But if you do, please update us.)

    7. Menacia*

      Jane is a brat, aside from the coffee maker, she seems to be completely inconsiderate of you and your home. Time to nip this in the bud. Tell Jane once and for all that you won’t buy a coffee maker, that she has to go out and get her coffee, and you don’t want to hear any more about it. You can also tell her that if she continues, to bitch about the coffee maker and treat your home like it was a hotel that she can STAY at a hotel. That you have been putting up with this is pretty incredible, since I think a good friend would not make you want to question something like this. I don’t drink coffee, but my husband does, so it’s all on him to buy the coffee, purchase a new one when the old one breaks, and make it when company comes over, and he’s fine with it. Of course there are days when I just want to get up and go, but he has to have his coffee first, and I’m fine with that. Relationships are about compromise but it does not seem like Jane wants to do this at all.

    8. Coffee Person*

      You absolutely are not in the wrong, but if you want to supply coffee for your infrequent guests, you can get these little one cup filters that hang from a plastic rod into the cup. Then all the person has to do is put the right amount of coffee in the filter, boil the water in a kettle or pot, and pour it slowly into the filter. They come about 40 to the packet, and take up almost no room in the cupboard, and are only a couple dollars. Or you could get a Melitta filter set. It’s a plastic filter holder that sits on a cup. It’s a few dollars more, but is actually easier to handle, and only takes up about the space of a cup in the cupboard. But I think you should have a heart to heart with your friend about her attitude, and if there’s no change, stop allowing her to treat you so poorly.

    9. Anonymous Ampersand*

      You’re not wrong.

      There’s ask Vs guess culture, and then there are rude idiots. She’s a rude idiot.

      1. Parenthetically*

        YES. I initially thought this was an ask vs. guess thing, but really it’s just a “demanding jackass” vs. guess thing.

    10. Anona*

      She’s welcome to bring (and take home) a french press or coffee maker if it makes that much of a difference. You’ve provided her with reasonable coffee options. Rest easy!

      1. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize*

        French press! I was going marbles trying to remember what they were called. Thank you!

    11. Glomarization, Esq.*

      I don’t make smoothies or blended drinks, so I don’t have a blender. Should I get one for the occasional houseguest who wants a smoothie or daiquiri? It’s my house, not a bed and breakfast!

    12. fposte*

      As a non-coffee drinker, I’ve encountered this sometimes with coffee-drinking guests myself. But they were mature and polite adults.

      Honestly, I think it’s time to tell Jane that it won’t work to stay at your place. It’s not a fun thing to say, but it seems like you don’t want her there and you’d probably enjoy her more without that.

    13. Thlayli*

      You are not in the wrong. Jane is a selfish brat. Tell her she can’t stay in your place anymore. If she breaks off the friendship over than then she was not a good friend anyway

    14. Red Reader*

      Jane’s a douche.

      I am a non-coffee-drinker, and if I found myself wanting to offer coffee options to my non-douche guests beyond instant, I might, this fall when STOCK THE DORM ROOM season starts, pick up maybe a one-cup Keurig machine, if I had a drawer or high shelf or somewhere out of the way I could set it when I didn’t need it out. The Keurig aisle at Target frequently has sample packs of like, 3 k-cups for a buck. But not gonna lie, if I was for some reason unable to tell Jane that she couldn’t stay at my house, even if I DID have a coffee machine hidden somewhere, you bet your behind it wouldn’t come out of that drawer for her visit, purely on principle. :P

      1. Red Reader*

        (The part of that STOCK THE DORM ROOM part I forgot to elaborate on: When I say “one-cup Keurig machine,” I mean the $10 Mr Coffee brand one, not an actual Keurig machine.)

        1. Temperance*

          I was just about to suggest this! It’s cheap, and small, and you can throw it in a cabinet.

      2. Observer*

        I’d go with the aerobie or Melitta. They are smaller and less expensive.

        That’s assuming that Jane were a halfway decent house guest. But she’s not. She’s obnoxious and I would not want to spend a dollar on her.

      3. bunners*

        I know this is super late but maybe you’ll see it anyway?

        Rather than spending your money and using space on a Keurig (those k-cups are so unbelievably bad for the environment omg) consider getting a pour over thingie? I don’t drink coffee but I do have a pour over, a little box of filters, and a small bag of coffee in the freezer for when my sister stays over (she’s not a crab or anything before her coffee, she just sort of doesn’t function without caffeine. I once saw her almost poke her eyeball out with a toothbrush before coffee….) The whole shebang (including the bag of coffee) was $14.

        I’ve put a link in my name. :D

    15. Jacquelyn*

      Jane is a jerk. Stop hosting Jane.

      I am a coffee lover. I have pretty much every coffee appliance that exists to make filter coffee, drip coffee, Italian-style coffee, etc. because I love experimenting with the different flavors. If I were your guest, I would be more than happy to go one block down the street to get my morning fix. It was very sweet of you to get instant coffee, you are an excellent host and 100% in the right on this one!

    16. Nancie*

      Jane is a jerk. If she’s bringing three bags, she’s got room to bring her own tiny coffee maker if it’s that important. Therefore, it’s not that important— she’s just that entitled.

    17. Not So NewReader*

      She could buy a mini-coffee maker and keep it at your house OR even better bring it to your house. If I were staying with someone who did not do coffee, I would ask if it would be okay to bring my own stuff and make it myself. Someone asks me a question like that as a host, I am relieved. They have what they want and I do not have to figure it out.

      This person is just plain RUDE. I think the coffee maker part of the story is the straw that breaks the camel’s back for you. It’s the tipping point. If it had not been the coffee maker then it would have been something else that made you say, “ENOUGH!” Time to say bye-bye.

    18. Temperance*

      I’m a coffee person, and I have to say that Jane is being an ass here. She has options and refuses to use them. It’s not that hard to go out and grab a coffee in the morning – it’s honestly one of the few things we do at my ILs that I look forward to, lol – and you live in a city where she can get to coffee in 15 minutes.

      I love coffee. I’m one of those people who will drink black coffee all day, happily, if you let me. I am even one of those “I don’t start my day without coffee” people. I would never, ever ask someone to buy a coffeemaker for me to use 3x a year, because that’s ridiculous.

    19. Parenthetically*

      Holy crap, what a terrible houseguest. You just flat out don’t go into someone’s home and take their free accommodation and then bitch at them about not having all the amenities you want.

      “Why don’t you have a coffee pot/cable/high speed internet blah blah blah.”
      “Eh. (Name of nearby hotel) has all that stuff if you want to stay there instead.”

      Jeezy creezy. No you are NOT wrong.

    20. Blue_eyes*

      I agree with everyone else about the coffee – you’ve been more than accommodating.

      I feel like this part is getting lost – SHE PUTS HER SHOES ON YOUR COUCH?!?! And then gets passive-aggressive when you ask her not to? SO RUDE. All of these complaints combined – you should not let Jane stay with you anymore.

      My husband and I have a 1-bedroom apartment in a city, and while we like having guests, it does get cramped and tiring after a few days. And that’s with guests who are reasonably considerate about our space! For instance, I have a friend who has what we call a “drinking problem”, as in, she always spills drinks. So we have a policy that she only gets to drink white wine on our couch, and she can also have a sippy cup for her wine. And she’s fine with that, because she’s a reasonable person who doesn’t want to damage our belongings.

      1. no coffee anon*

        Yes, I think that because it’s a one bed apartment I get more annoyed because the space is already cramped. Even the other rare guest that stays on my couch and is polite and considerate gets annoying after more than a weekend. But I feel rude telling someone to get a hotel since they’re really expensive per night in my city.

        I don’t think I’d be as annoyed about the request for coffee if I had a house or even apartment with a lot more storage space. I literally have three cabinets for all my dishes/appliances/dry food, one closet, and no free storage space. It works for me, but it means I can’t really add anything new without removing something old.

        1. Woodswoman*

          You mentioned that you enjoy your friend’s company outside of having her as the awful houseguest that she clearly is. Since she lives rent-free with her parents–which explains her entitled attitude–she can certainly afford a hotel for a few days.

        2. Enya*

          “But I feel rude telling someone to get a hotel since they’re really expensive per night in my city.”
          This is not your problem or your responsibility. If someone wants to come to the city, let them pay for their own accommodation. I would get damn tired of everyone just assuming they could use my apartment as their “place in the city”, especially a small apartment. Start saying no – especially to Jane, she’s a real piece of…work. I’m a coffee person, but I would never insist you buy a coffee machine for me! I’d go out and buy or make do with the instant you thoughtfully provided. Her messiness and her demands would send her right to my “do not host” list. Stop letting this rude person use you.

        3. Detached Elemental*

          I live in a beachside town that’s really popular with tourists. We don’t have houseguests, ever. We’re happy to point people towards the nearest/cheapest hotels, but we do not have the space or the energy to have people stay at our place. I feel zero guilt over this.

    21. no coffee anon*

      Thanks for all your responses!

      I think a big part of my issue is also that around here it’s Not Polite to ask friends or family to stay at hotels if you have space for them, so I’ve always felt rude not offering my couch if I know no one is using it.

      1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

        Also, we don’t know Jane IRL.

        Actually I just thought of something: have you told Jane about how she is making you feel? Best case scenario is that she sees the light. Worst case is that she blows up on you and ends the friendship – which (again, I don’t know Jane and you do) doesn’t seem like much of a loss. Not only does she repeatedly disrespect your home, she also seems to become hostile when you ask her to not do things that damage your home.

        I’m sure she’s fun in public, and in a lot of places it’s polite to open your home to friends. But it really reads like she’s abusing that privilege. And you also have the right to assert yourself – so please do!

        1. no coffee anon*

          I have, and she usually backs off before starting up again.

          The issues of shoes on furniture and leaving towels on the floor or couch is one where she always complies when I tell her to stop, but it’s always with “we do this at home and it’s not an issue”. Which, fine, if someone wants to put wet towels on their couch or floor in their home, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s rude to assume someone else thinks it’s okay when you’re in their space. I guess I understand the feeling that it’s gross to take your shoes off in someone else’s home, but again, my apartment is small and old and I have downstairs neighbors and walking with shoes sounds like a stampede of elephants.

          With coffee, she just keeps bringing up that she’s a monster without coffee and needs it immediately in the morning or else she’ll get a headache and be grumpy the rest of the day.

          All these posts are making me realize that I weaned myself slowly from traveling with her a few years back, and I think I’m going to have to do the same thing with letting her stay with me. I do enjoy her when we’re not in the same living space, so it might just come down to different personalities in shared spaces.

          1. Aphrodite*

            I’ve never been a coffee or tea drinker because I just never developed a taste for them. However, like everyone else here I encourage you to stop her visits to your apartment. She is a rude person, not just a rude guest because she has the attitude “it’s just the way I am.” That’s a lie designed to get others to back off. Do not fall for it. But since you like her otherwise, let her get a hotel room. She can afford it and even if she can’t or doesn’t want to, that does not put any responsibility on you for catering to her overnight needs.

            Considerate guests take heed of their hosts’ comfort level and go with it. If she gets a headache without morning coffee, then she needs to deal with it. It was in January either of this year or the year before that some editors at Apartment Therapy did a month of going without something or adding something and reporting back. One coffee addict gave it up and was surprised to discover that after . week or two AND substituting two full glasses of water when she first arose that she no longer missed it and indeed ended up permanently cutting way back on her caffeine intake later. It was the dehydration she needed to address, not the lack of caffeine.

            I strongly encourage you to not allow her to stay with you any longer. You will find her friendship will take a dramatic upward turn when you see her only in public.

          2. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

            I feel like I know Jane. (To be honest, I think everyone has a Jane in their life – she’s (or he’s) fun to hang out with, but they’re completely self centered. And if you think everyone is Jane, then I’m sorry – YOU’RE the Jane.)

            I actually thought that the part about her living with her parents was irrelevant until you mentioned that she justifies her behavior by saying it’s all right at her house – has she ever lived outside her parents’ home? I mean, my housekeeping is terrible and even I know that what I do at home is unacceptable at other people’s homes. It sounds like she’s very sheltered from the little bit you’ve posted.

            You also just provided the solution to this issue. If she wants maid service, she should pay for the privilege. It’ll probably be harder to pull away because you can’t just say your couch is always full, but you should find an excuse that works for you and go for it.

          3. Kuododi*

            Oh no…she actually said that!?!?! I am just sorry but she’s simply trying to justify acting like a child. My sister and I were firmly raised that if we were overnighting at a friend or family members.place it was to be left in better condition than when we arrive. Before we leave a place where we were overnight guests, my sister and I will be sure to police all the soiled bathroom linens, wipe down BR counters, strip bed sheets and start a load of wash. Additionally neither one of us would dream of complaining about a lack of coffee on demand. We were also taught to check in with our host about any way we can be helpful in kitchen and make sure to clean up after ourselves. Reading about this “house guest” of yours has caused my head to explode so I must go and clean brains off my walls now. Good luck!!!! There is no excuse for this lady’s behavior!!! :(

          4. Lehigh*

            On the coffee thing, if she needs it immediately in the morning she can throw on a coat and go down the block first thing when she wakes up. Or, for heaven’s sake, she can drink instant coffee to get her through until she does go out.

            It’s enough of a need to pester you, but not enough of a need for her to make it a top priority for HER to see to (using either of two simple fixes you have already provided)? Hmmm.

      2. anonagain*

        Maybe you literally have space for Jane’s physical body in your apartment, but who has space in their life for that kind of behavior?

      3. Lissa*

        I think you’re totally reasonable to say something at this point. If you want to keep hosting her. “Jane, I like having you here, but you always bring up that I don’t have a coffeemaker. That won’t be changing. Can you please stop bringing it up every time I host you? If it bothers you that much I won’t be upset if you decide to stay somewhere else, but I’m not buying an appliance I won’t need and that won’t fit in my kitchen.” Or something better, I suck at scripts, but really tell her to knock it off! That’s if you want her to keep staying with you.

        1. SciDiver*

          This. It’s a weird conversation to have, but I think it’s definitely worth having. If she asks to stay with you, you can be upfront about your reservations: “Jane, I really like getting to spend time with you when you visit, but I noticed the last few times you’ve stayed with me, the way I stock my kitchen has seemed to be a big problem for you. I really don’t intend to invest in a coffee maker I will never use, and I just don’t have the space to keep special items for occasional guests. Since this has been such an issue in the past, maybe you’d be more comfortable staying at a hotel.”

          If she pushes back, you can add “I want us both to have a good time when we meet up. It’s honestly been pretty stressful for me to have theses problems come up again and again when you’re in town. It seems to me that staying somewhere that you can have the accommodations you need is the best way for us to enjoy our time together during your visit.”

      4. Totally Minnie*

        I think that’s a very kind mindset of you to have, but it doesn’t obligate you to host someone when you know it will make both of you uncomfortable and upset. If you want to, you can try having Jane over one last time, but make the boundaries very clear in advance.

        “Jane, the last time you were here, we argued a lot about food and beverages, and about my ‘no shoes on the furniture’ policy. I really value you as a friend and I don’t want us to spend our limited time together arguing. When you come to stay with me next weekend, feel free to bring any coffee supplies or snacks you think you might want.”

        If you don’t want to have her over again, replace that last sentence with “The next time you come to town, I’d be happy to help you research nearby accommodations.”

      5. Not So NewReader*

        The catch here is that she is not a friend.
        Friends don’t treat each other like this.

        It does not say in etiquette books, “If you are a friend of the person all these rules do not apply.” It sounds like she has broken every rule in the book.

      6. Observer*

        Well, you do NOT have space for her – she “needs” a lot of space beyond your couch. She “needs” space for the coffee machine, space for her shoes, space to unpack all her stuff. etc.

        Also, around here it’s considered VERY NOT POLITE to demand that your hosts give you ANYTHING. If she’s going to operate by the “polite” rules, it goes both ways.

    22. matcha123*

      Jane sounds selfish. She’s staying at your place without paying. As a good guest and friend she should be trying to make YOUR life a bit easier (picking up, grabbing food that you like, etc.).
      I generally do not have people over. One, my place is about the size of a dorm room. And, two, not many people visit the country I’m currently in. I can understand how hard it is to tell a friend off…for lack of a better word.

      I would say that if she asks to say with you again, and you are feeling generous, give her some rules to follow up front. Tell her that if she can’t follow your rules in YOUR house, she can’t stay over. Or, the next time she asks to stay over tell her that it causes you too much stress.

      1. Pollygrammer*

        Yep. I would start really, really simply. “You’re not being a good guest. I need you to be a good guest if you’re going to keep staying with me. Being a good guest means keeping my space clean, not putting your feet on the furniture, and bringing any food/beverages you can’t live without with you. Is that all clear?” And then every time she ignores those requests, a repeat: “I need you to be a good guest if you’re going to keeps staying with me.

        Because yeah, she sounds really bratty, but I don’t know if she’s proven herself irredeemable.

    23. Chaordic One*

      You know, it just seems like such an inconvenience that just about anytime that I go any place I stay at a motel. I don’t want to put anyone out. And, believe it or not, some people are offended that I don’t want to stay with them.

    24. Anonerson*

      Jane sounds like a nightmare guest. She might be a lovely friend! But that doesn’t always translate to good houseguest, and the solution might be to tell her that you can’t host her in your apartment, but you’d love to meet up with her when she’s in town.

      Others have suggested getting a French press, and that might be a good option if you do ever decide you want to have a coffeemaker on hand, since there are individual-sized ones available that are about the size of a travel mug. But I don’t think there’s any obligation on your part to provide this.

    25. Sylvan*

      I don’t think you’re in the wrong. She seems kinda spoiled, which is weird in an adult.

    26. KR*

      So when my sister and I moved into a place together my parents insisted on giving us a coffee maker. Both of us, while we list Starbucks and Dunks, do not like drip coffee. But they insisted and said we would need it for when they came over and such, so we bought a thing of coffee and put it in the cabinet. And they never came over. And whenever they did come over they had their own coffee . So eventually we found a friend of ours to donate the coffee too and I think my sister donated the coffee maker when she moved because she doesn’t drink coffee. So my advice is to recommend she buy some instant coffee she can make in a microwave if it means that much to her. But I also recommend just not inviting her over. She sounds rude.

      1. Observer*

        Well, there is a key thing here – the OP actually DOES have coffee available but which Jane refuses to drink!

    27. Elizabeth West*

      You’re not wrong–it’s your house, not hers. It’s not a bed and breakfast. It’s your home. If Jane needs a bed and breakfast, let her pay for one. She doesn’t have any expenses–she can fricking afford it!

      She sounds horrible and I would not let her stay in my house.

    28. Koala dreams*

      No, you don’t have to have a coffee maker for guests. In you case it sounds like she is an annoying guest overall, and you’ll both be better off if she sleeps at a hotel or hostel. Then you can meet up for activities outside. All the fun and none of the arguements!

      For considerate people, you can suggest they bring their own travel sized coffee maker, or even their regular coffee maker if they can fit it in their luggage. They’ll take it back home with them when they leave, of course.

    29. OhBehave*

      I used to keep a small coffee pot but switched to a small Keurig-type machine. None of us drink coffee, but guests often do, so we keep it stowed away until they visit. I can buy a small pack of pods that will be fresh. It’s just something I’ve chosen to do. I consider it part of hosting. It certainly isn’t necessary though.

      BTW – your ‘friend’ is horribly spoiled and annoying. I suggest in the future that you tell her “It’s not a good time for you to stay. Here are a few affordable hotels in the area.”

    30. Observer*

      Stop having her over. You’re both wrong about the coffee maker, imo. At least I would say that if that were the ONLY thing she made a fuss about. But given the whole picture? Why even get hung up about it. She’s an awful guest. And, I wonder how she treats people in general. She sounds like she has an credible sense of entitlement.

      1. Observer*

        I think I need clarify what I mean. Jane is wrong about the coffee maker for the simple reason that when you are a guest you do not make demands, and you DO make do with less desirable options, such as drinking a cup of “cheap” instant coffee. Given the rest of the behavior you describe, though, it seems part of a larger pattern which makes her behavior around the coffee even worse.

        What I meant by you being “wrong” is that if I had someone who really needed that brewed coffee first thing, I’d get something like the Melita filter holder with a few filters or the aerobie and some ground coffee. These items are inexpensive and really small, so you could store them even in a cramped apartment. BUT I would only do that for someone who really has THIS issue, not someone whose REAL issue is that she’s an entitled brat of a house guest.

        1. all aboard the anon train*

          I don’t think anyone is required to have coffee in their house if they don’t drink it and guests do, even for people who say they really need coffee in the morning. If they really need it they can go out and buy it or bring it with them to make.

          1. Observer*

            Requires? No. Gracious and easy? Yes.

            But again, that only applies when the person is acting like a reasonable person. Jane is not, so all of that is moot.

    31. rubyrose*

      I don’t drink coffee. I have a small french press that I keep for visitors to use. But they have to bring their own coffee, make it themselves, clean up after themselves.

      But given everything else going on with her – if she were my friend, she would not spend one more night in my place. If she asks why, when I refused her next request, I would let her know in a concise but honest way. If there was the end of the friendship, so be it.

    32. LilySparrow*

      Not sure I can help, since I can’t imagine letting this person stay in my house twice, much less “a couple of times a year.”

      Of course you don’t need a coffeemaker. You need friends who are grownups and not rude, immature a-holes.

    33. bunners*

      Having read most of the replies, it sounds like you’ve decided to steer Jane towards hotels in the future and that’s GREAT.

      However, if you change your mind, I highly recommend buying her a pour over coffee contraption (link in name) and gifting it to her. It’s very small, it’s plastic, and she can bring it and a filter with her when she visits. If she forgets it, well, that’s on her and the Starbucks is THATAWAY.

  22. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize*

    I am a newbie with ordering online and so I decided to start with Amazon. I tracked my order and the latest info said that it was delivered yesterday. People were home at the time of the delivery and there was no delivery. The physical layout of our front door is such that any package is not visible from the street so if it were just left on the doorstep I don’t suspect theft. I checked the website and it said to wait 36 hours because even if they say it was delivered, it might not have been. Is this normal? What should my next step be? I really want my package!

    1. Rilara*

      It’s annoying but yes it is normal. Sometimes it will be “delivered” but is being held by the post office for some reason. Unless you really need it, I would wait until Monday to see if you get it. If not (and if it’s an Amazon prime product), call Amazon and they’ll resend it for free.

      If it’s not an Amazon prime product get in contact with the seller for a refund.

      1. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize*

        Thanks for the info. I’ll try to be patient. I’ve never shopped online and then I fell down a rabbit hole with everything they have. I want so much. I don’t need it. I want it because it’s cute, useful, cheap, unique etc. I hate shopping so the ability to order whatever I need while in bed and in my pjs is very tempting. Now I’m going to look at pjs. :)

    2. miyeritari*

      about 1 out of 4 packages, amazon tells me my delivery hasn’t arrived when it actually has. so I think waiting 36 hours is a good idea. if you still don’t have it, they do have a way to request a refund because your package isn’t there when it says it’s delivered.

    3. anon24*

      Is it possible that it was delivered to the wrong address? My mom had a package say delivered for a few days when it wasn’t. She noticed a neighbor had a lone package sitting on her porch for several days so she went over to investigate and it was hers. Thanks neighbor, for just abandoning it instead of bringing it over. I live in an apartment complex and over Christmas we had a bunch of packages delivered into my building. I checked to see if they were mine and they weren’t but I didn’t recognize the name as any of my neighbors. Someone posted on the town’s Facebook page that night that their packages were missing and it turned out she lived in my complex in a different building. So I was able to reunite her with her stuff which felt good.

      1. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize*

        Our house number is visible, plus our neighbours are sweethearts and if they got it by mistake I know they would walk it over to the right house. Also, I’ve always gotten my post office packages without a problem. If I knew for sure they were using the postal system I’d go check with the local office. I’m thinking that maybe I will anyway just in case.

      2. Chaordic One*

        Several years I ordered an item from Amazon and after it didn’t show up I checked at the UPS website said it had been delivered and left on the front porch several days previous. I looked all around entry-way into my apartment building and in the hallway and staircase up to my apartment. (I kind of figured that one of my neighbors saw the package sitting there and stole it.) I reported it and they sent a second item which showed up and was fine.

        Then, about a month later, I found the original package. The UPS delivery person had thrown it onto my second floor balcony. I never used the balcony very much and it never occurred to me that someone might leave a package there. I never said anything and kept them both.

    4. Ali G*

      This is not uncommon if you are not a Prime member and you chose the least expensive shipping option. Typically it is “delivered” to the post office and then the PO delivers to you. So the “delivery” is probably to the PO.

    5. BlueWolf*

      Is it prime shipping? I’ve found that for one or two day shipping they use contractors to make final delivery (I think it’s LaserShip) and they are notorious for marking them as delivered and then they don’t actually show up until the next day. I live in an apartment complex though so if you’re in a house I’m not sure if it would be the same issue.

      1. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize*

        It wasn’t Prime shipping. It was the second option, where you can track the package. Originally the tracker said it would be delivered next Tuesday which was perfect because I’m home that day. When I checked the tracker it said that the package had been delivered Friday, it wasn’t. So I will wait until Tuesday, the original delivery date. We have two dog “doorbells” who go off like crazy whenever the doorbell is rung. The doorbell is always answered in our house if only to shut the dogs up. That also makes me think that the package was not delivered at all.

        1. Arjay*

          Unless a signature is required, and even then sometimes, they won’t ring the bell. They just leave the package and are driving away in their truck while the dogs are still barking.

    6. Lily Evans*

      Amazon shipping is consistently the worst shipping out of all the companies I regularly order online from, so that’s unsurprising. You’re next step could be contacting customer service anyhow, they’ll usually at least give you a $5 account credit as a consolation prize for their ineptitude. And then you’ll have a paper trail if it still doesn’t show up.

      1. Quoth the Raven*

        That’s interesting. I’m not in the US, but Amazon has the best shipping out of all the places I buy online from, even when I’m buying something from the States that needs to be imported. They’ve only failed to deliver one package during the two years I’ve been ordering from them on a monthly basis, and that was because Customs didn’t clear it and sent it back to them.

        1. Lily Evans*

          I’m in the US and once upon a time they were reliable and I loved ordering from them but there’s been a serious decline in the past couple years. I think a big part of it is that at least in the States they’ve began to implement their own carrier service that is just terrible when they used to contract out to established shipping companies.

      2. Lindsay J*

        I used to love Amazon, but once they started using contractors to deliver packages rather than like USPS or UPS, the quality went way down.

        I stopped using them for a year when I had several things say they were delivered when they weren’t. I got refunded each time, but the hassle wasn’t worth it, and sometimes when I’m ordering something with one-day shipping it’s because I need it on that specific day, and an “oops” and a refund doesn’t fix the problem caused.

        I finally caved because I they do have a selection of stuff nobody else has. But now I only use the Amazon lockers and that seems to have solved the delivery problem at least.

        Though I did have an issue still. I ordered a specific type of battery for one of my old cameras I have. A silver oxide battery in a specific size. What I was sent was an alkaline battery in a completely different size, though in the packaging for the battery I ordered. I sent it back and they fixed it, but if I got the wrong battery again I was about the be done with them completely.

    7. Margo the Destroyer*

      I do all my shopping online. I get sucked in on amazon and buy so much that I don’t need. It is convenient though because my sister lives across the country so I can send all my gifts straight them. It makes Christmas shopping so much easier as well. Sometimes, I think the post office marks the package delivered because it is on their list, but forget the package sometimes until the next day. I did also have an issue once with a new mail person who didn’t like our porch so left package for us to pick up at post office but forgot to leave us a note saying to pick it up.

      1. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize*

        That’s also a possibility. BUT, I’m finding this so aggravating it’s destroying any incentive I have to shop on-line.

    8. Jen*

      Call Amazon! You can also check your account and at least for me they take a picture of where they dropped it. We have a weird setup and it can be anywhere! We have a front porch, a regular front door, two separate garage doors, and a back deck, all sometimes get packages. And once I couldn’t find it and it ended up being in the mailbox!

    9. OhBehave*

      Amazon’s chat is very helpful. They will often credit a portion of your order or give you an additional month of Prime membership. They’ve done both for me several times. I will say that Amazon has changed their methods in the last few years. While we have Prime, we have to watch what we order. Shipped by date is NOT the expected delivery date.

    10. Letter carrier anon*

      Amazon now is using several different companies for their deliveries. USPS, UPS and FedEx have GPS in the scanners. (I don’t know how their in-house contractor deliveries work.)

      If USPS delivered it, you can call the station, give them the tracking number and they should be able to see what address it was delivered to.

      I’m not sure why Amazon would tell you to wait 36 hours though. Our scanners update every 10 seconds, so if you set up a tracking alert you could have the parcel before I get back to the truck.

    11. Engineering consultant*

      Agreed with others, give it 36 hours before you call Amazon. In my neighborhood Amazon subs out the “last mile” delivery to people’s houses, so these contractors don’t always deliver on the day or they tend to drop if off at 5AM the next business day before they go pick up other deliveries.

  23. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

    Actually getting this in early this time!

    So…did anyone else end up watching the Boston Marathon on Monday? I was…not very productive at work that day. (It was mostly nerves. I was tracking three people in my club at the same time.)

    Did anyone actually run Boston this year? If so: holy cow. I’m also a Northeasterner, and it was bad where I’m at – but Massachusetts looked absolutely insane!

    Aside from that: runners, what do you have coming up? (Me, I’ve got NJ next week, Brooklyn Half May 19, and then a couple of shorter races.)

      1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

        TELL ME ABOUT IT

        I was pacing around my office like a crazy person and checking my second monitor for the last half hour of the women’s race. My team thinks I’m insane. They’re right.

        The men’s race was also bonkers. I (being a newbie) almost thought Kirui was going to run away with it until he blew up and Kawauchi took over.

          1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)*

            I’m in awe of runners who do Boston. First, you have to be a world class runner to do it. Second, the weather is almost ALWAYS awful. That race is plagued either by awful nor’easters or untimely heat waves. Those runners are true warriors.

            1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

              Tell me about it. I mentioned that I was tracking a couple of my friends – one of them ran a 2:55. In Boston. On that day. (I had the site open and he was basically on pace for 2:45 for most of the race.)

              He was wearing basically the club singlet and half-tights when he came across the finish.

      1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

        See you at the start! (And obviously, good luck on all your races.)

        Brooklyn was actually funny – I actually ended up getting an entry after NYC Half since they opened a lottery for some spots. I still need to put in my entry, as a matter of fact.

    1. Red Reader*

      I got my packet for Disney’s Star Wars Virtual Half the other day, but I haven’t decided when I’m going to actually go do the miles this summer.

      1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

        If you do decide to go for it, good luck! And stay safe – when is it?

        1. Red Reader*

          Whenever I want! It’s a virtual race, so there’s no set time, I just have to go do it whenever and however I want :) It’s not quite as high-stakes as a “real” (or formal, I guess) half marathon, haha.

          1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

            …I knew that! (I kind of missed the “virtual” and picked up on the part where you said you got your packet.)

            Still be careful though – but you already knew that. And good luck! When do you have to do it by?

    2. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)*

      Llama Grooming Coordinator, all the best of luck in the NJ Marathon next week, and I’m in awe that you’re going to run a half just three weeks later! I’ve run Brooklyn Half about seven times; it got too crowded and overhyped for me, but it’s still an amazing race and a part of me does wish I was doing it too. I’m doing the NYCRUNS version of the Brooklyn Half (which runs past Brooklyn Museum and down Ocean Parkway, but doesn’t run out to Coney Island) in October.

      I ran the poor man’s version of NJ Marathon today, the Asbury Park Run-a-Palooza Half. What a beautiful course that in part mirrors the second half of the NJ Marathon. I did not run my best time, but I was very pleased with how I felt. My energy level was really strong, even at the end of the race — I felt like there was energy in reserve to run several more miles past the finish. That’s the important thing, because after deliberating about it for a while, including on the AAM open forum a few weeks ago, there is a very real possibility that my sixth marathon is going to come this fall, and this race helped tilt the scales toward “yes”.

      1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

        Oh my god, I forgot you mentioned that last week! (I forgot to check last week’s thread.) Glad it went great, and if/when you go for 6: you got this! I know you’re on the fence, but if you do go for it, do you have any races in mind?

        But yeah, today was basically perfect for a race. This morning was nice and cool, and the skies are clear. I’m hoping it’s the same way next week

        For me – Brooklyn is going to be a little rough, I’m expecting. I wasn’t planning on running it until NYRR offered some spots to NYC Half runners by lottery and I entered on a whim. I was not expecting to actually get a spot. I’m hoping I’ll be fine for it, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

        1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)*

          If I run #6 this year, it’s going to be Philadelphia on November 18. I ran the half marathon in Philly about four years ago; at the time it ran concurrently with the full marathon. I loved it, with the start and finish at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (of Rocky fame), great crowds on the street in the first 7 or so miles (sort of reminiscent of NYC), and a really nice park setting from miles 8-12 or so.

          I think they changed the marathon course since I ran the half, but it looks appealing. The first half of the race is the same as the half I ran in 2014; the second half looks to be largely in a park if I’m reading the course map right.

    3. Red*

      World’s most unprepared new runner here: Just tried to run a 5k before finishing couch to 5k due to some life stuff that came up. It went better than expected!! Who would have thought?! I’m so proud of my legs guys, you have no idea. I have another 5k at the end of May and I can’t wait to see how great it is when I’m actually ready for it :)

      1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

        Congrats, especially since it sounds like it went well! And good luck on your next race – you should do great!

        (And hopefully, this is just the first of many 5ks.)

    4. CheeryO*

      I did a 5K yesterday and came sooo close to a PR (6 seconds!) on a hilly course, so that felt good. I actually somehow came in second for women (small race!).

      I’ve had a lot of ups and downs with training this spring with two long-ish breaks and rebuilds after being sick, so I’m just trying to stay healthy and consistent now. I have a local half in late May and my second NYC Marathon in November!

    5. MotherRunner*

      I didn’t watch Boston, but i wish i had. I’ve been reading all the stories about the runners and the different strategies involved. Some of the stories are pretty amazing!
      I have the OKC half next weekend, then nothing scheduled after. I’m sure I’ll end up doing several more races this year, but I’ll wait and see what seems appealing. I keep getting asked if I’m going to try a marathon, but i don’t have the desire to go further than 13.1, at least right now.

  24. Gaston*

    Is buying a renovation project home crazy when you’re in the market for something already done? I was outbid on a coastal property in an area where stuff doesn’t come up for sale all that often and my budget (compared to the wealthy buyers of holiday homes there) is the lower end of the local market.

    A small property has come up for sale at a good price, some sea views and a good location for the local town. The downside is it’s a total refurb project – it’s not derelict but it’s been uninhabited for a few years and before that hadn’t seen any work done in a long time. It’s not a ‘knock down that wall and paint the kitchen’ job, it’s a full scale renovation with electrics, water, heating, damp issues etc etc.

    I know nothing about renovating anything and I don’t want to end up a re-run of the Money Pit. I have the time and money to do it but wouldn’t know where to start. Would buying it be crazy? Any personal experiences of renovations (and whether you’d do it again) greatly appreciated!

    1. Flinty*

      No reno experience here, but if you want to watch an entire TV show about British people doing amazing and stressful builds/renovations, Grand Designs on Netflix is awesome :)

    2. fposte*

      Frankly? Yes, I think it is unless you either have no job you need to get to or have a crapton of money to throw at it, and even then it’s a bad plan for a first-timer because there is so much risk of being taken advantage of and majorly screwing up. Mountain climbers don’t start with Everest. (And seconding Grand Designs, but also just because it’s amazing.)

    3. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize*

      I would take a hard pass. My friend who knows how to renovate bought an old house that was just a shell inside with an upper floor. He and friends did most of the work but he had to call in pros for the plumbing and electricity. He had to, otherwise he wasn’t able to insure it. I helped him and unless you really enjoy physical labour don’t do it. There was so much detailed work. I now know how to install drywall. My neck was sore for days from strapping and I know more than I ever want about septic tanks. Coordination was key, lining up the electrician to come before the plumber etc. The plumber called and said he was coming a day early, take it or leave it. We rushed into town without changing out of dirty, sweaty work clothes to buy the washer and dryer. Walked into a major store, the salesman took one look at us and turned away. So we went next door to an appliance centre and bought a washer, dryer, fridge and stove on the spot from a salesman who saw how serious we were. In the end it worked out, the house is beautiful but it’s 5 years later and there is still some work to be done.

    4. Lora*

      Be prepared to sacrifice your significant other, your vacation time and a nonzero amount of sanity.

      I joke…a little. How old is the house? And it depends on location how much renovations will cost and how crazy they will make you. I live in an antique house in New England and because all construction labor here is basically union (as opposed to under the table illegal immigrants in, say, Texas), getting renovations done, no matter how simple, costs two or three times what it costs in other regions and takes four times longer. I am not exaggerating in the least. Most of the time it’s just easier for me to take vacation time, order parts online and have them delivered, and watch a few YouTube videos and figure out a DIY project than to hire it done professionally.

      I had to replace the front and side doors last year, a project that in a normal house would cost perhaps $1000/door, installed. I had no time to DIY so I had to hire it done. It cost $4500 and took eight and a half months from “please order and install for me two boring standard not-fancy doors, here is a pile of money” to actually getting the damn things installed on the house (not painted, I did that on a weekend because it would have taken another month or two). During this time there was an actual crack you could see daylight through in the old doors. In winter. I had to cover the doors with space blankets all winter and use the back door. No amount of money could induce anyone to move faster.

      That’s par for the course in this area. I have friends who built new houses and they found plenty of things significantly wrong with the new construction that took several months to repair. You can’t win.

      It has nothing to do with lead time of buying components, it’s just that there aren’t a lot of decent contractors and the ones that won’t completely fk up are usually booked out for ages.

      And then you gotta do a lot of project management riding herd on them. Even if it is something simple where you’re like, “listen, you can see there’s a huge hole in the door, I want the new door that shuts properly and doesn’t have holes” and you don’t actually care what all they need to do to make it happen, they will demand that you show up in person in the middle of the workday to approve the work, every little detail. You can be all, “listen, I hired you because I don’t have time off work to do it myself, I really cannot be there” and it makes no difference – they just will not move forward with the project until you take a half-day to be walked through the thing in person. You end up taking more time off work to approve their details than you would if you sucked it up and DIY’ed it.

      I would advise against it. This sounds like enough work that you will wish you tore it down to the foundation and built new. Which is its own nightmare fuel. It’s fun for about 3/4 of the first project you tackle and then you’re like FML.

      I could rant more, except I can’t because I have to go paint stuff, fix the patio, pour concrete, install solar lights in the garden, trim the hedges…

    5. Anono-me*

      Have a good local contractor give you an estimated cost and timeframe for every thing you want and need. If you comfortably afford to spend double the estimate and wait twice as long to move in. I’d say maybe.

    6. Chaordic One*

      I hope you don’t have to live in it while you’re renovating it. I know of several people who, when they bought fixer-uppers, they basically camped out in their back yards while they were working on their houses. Some lived in tents and the relatively better-off ones lived in nicer motor homes or camping trailers with bathrooms.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        I know of two families that rented small apartments while their major renovation projects were being done (6-12 month jobs). Another friend’s family has been living in their house while tackling one section at a time as DIYers. We were able to live in ours because the reno project was limited to an expansion, space we hadn’t been using anyway, but it was still hard due to noise, dust, and various limitations (stairs to the second floor were gone for a while, power and water out at times, etc).

        Our cost might not have doubled from the estimate, but it’s hard to say b/c the estimate was SO low compared to real costs. The guy didn’t low-ball the bid exactly, it’s like he didn’t understand that prices have gone up since he started his business. And DH did a lot more of the work than he wanted to originally, partly to save costs and partly to just get it done.

        But the time – I mentioned in another thread the job was estimated to take 4-5 months and it’s just now done, exactly two years to the month.

    7. Pam*

      I recommend trying Cranford, by Elizabeth Haskell. Charming, and an enjoyable read. (And relatively short)

    8. Call me St. Vincent*

      We gutted our house and renovated almost every room, but we didn’t end up moving walls (with the exception of a weird wall between a shower and tub in the master, which we removed). I loved it but be prepared for a LOT of work and even more decisions. It’s hard to overstate how much research you have to do and how on top of everything you have to be. I had a unicorn–an honest, trustworthy, highly competent contractor. He wasn’t the most expensive, but definitely not cheap. Even still I had to be on him about stuff a lot and know every detail of what was going on, including being on site every morning before work started to meet the subs to ensure what I wanted was being done. I would say with that much work put in on my and the husband’s part, we still got about 95% of what we wanted, which I consider a huge success. There is just stuff that you notice months later that wasn’t done exactly the way it should have been. If you’re lucky, those things are minor.

      So basically only take on a huge reno project if you vow to be on top of EVERYTHING and you can hire design and construction professionals who are extremely trustworthy and you have a huge contingency budget. Also, remember when you buy a house to save money for mechanicals and don’t spend everything you have on cosmetics because there WILL be issues that you have to pay for (like a new furnace) that don’t add to the beauty of the house, which is the fun part to spend money on.

      Good luck!

    9. Jen Erik*

      My husband is good at practical stuff, as is his family. His first house was a tiny terrace 2 up 2 down – toilet down the garden type of thing – he put a bathroom in, sold it on, bought a semi-detached – hand-made the kitchen for that one – then after we were married bought a large semi-detached that needed the sort of stuff you’re talking about – new electrics, damp proof course, re-rendered, re-roofed.
      We did as much work as was practicable ourselves.

      On the one hand, we doubled the value of the property in about three years. On the other hand, we both had stress dreams about the house for the next twenty years. It would certainly have been easier if we could have paid to have everything done – but even the stuff we did pay to get done – it was hard to find the right people to do it, and – and this may be different in different countries/ parts of the UK – tradespeople seemed to be dreadful for agreeing to come. say, on a Monday – and then just not showing up. So if you’re trying to co-ordinate it yourself, that could be difficult. I think it only worked because I was studying, and my schedule was reasonably flexible.

      And certainly if you’re not experienced, it might be better to contract someone to oversee the project – because you have to do things in the right order, and have people lined up to come when you’ll need them.

      I don’t know about the market wherever you are, so this is only a guess, but if it’s a place where properties sell easily, if it is a sound house, at a good price, and reasonably easy to renovate – I’d expect someone who does that to be doing that already. And if they aren’t, it might indicate that they’ve done their sums and there isn’t a profit there.

      Which, I know, isn’t what you asked. But it might suggest that Cost of House + Cost of Renovation > Cost of similar property in the area – in which case it would be a question of how much you like this particular house.

    10. AcademiaNut*

      Honestly, yes. With no experience, and no particular interest in renovation, you’ll end up in a re-run of the Money Pit.

      Best case – you’ll spend all your free time and money for the next few years, most of which will be living in a construction zone, but you’ll end up with a liveable house and not too unreasonable debt. Worst case, you’ll try it yourself, fail miserably, call in the professionals, find out that it’s a more extensive (and expensive) project that you had thought, spend all your money and free time for the next couple of years living in a construction zone, have contractor problems, and end up in waaay more debt than if you had bought one of the houses you rejected as too expensive, and still not actually have an acceptable liveable house.

    11. Gaston*

      Thanks for all the input – I still don’t know if I’m crazy or not!

      The plan would be to keep the house as a vacation/weekend home initially with a view to moving permanently there in the next few years. It’s in a small coastal village in Ireland (I’m Irish and in Ireland too!) where a lot of property is owned by people overseas who vacation there. Typically they either buy new homes or they build from scratch. A renovation isn’t so much on their radar and the price of this one means I could afford to pay professionals to renovate because my skills are not in construction.

      As for the house it’s a two bedroom small cottage, built in the early 1940s, and internally I wouldn’t say much if anything has been done since the 80s. There’s a good sized garden (one thing I don’t want is acres of land!) and the front of the house overlooks a quiet inlet of the sea. The view isn’t as fancy as some of the other homes in the village, but then neither is the price tag!

      1. Jen Erik*

        I’m from the North. I’m reminded of a holiday we had in the 70s, when my mum booked a cottage by the sea from the Irish Times. We got to Connemara – long trip, in a hot car, four of us squabbling in the back seat – pulled up outside, and my mum instantly said ” Turn the car round, we’re going home.”
        It was a sugar cube of a house – square, flat roof, built of breeze blocks which had been painted bright pink.
        Two minutes down a lane, to a sandy beach no-one else used – and the sun shone nearly all the week. Best holiday ever. We children even enjoyed the thunderstorm when the water ran in under the badly fitted front door, followed the natural downward slope of the property along the corridor that bisected the cottage, and neatly decanted itself outside through the badly fitted back door.

        Equally, I live in a 200 year old cottage – we’ve a few damp problems, but the roof and windows are still sound, and the electrics which date from the 70s, I think, are fine.

        I think you need a surveyor or builder to look at it – if there are major problems like rot, for example, I’d pass – but if they think it’s basically sound, the 1980s isn’t so long ago.

    12. Lindsay J*

      Be realistic about what you will actually do.

      Boyfriend and I brought a house that had been renovated, and just needed some relatively small improvements – the backyard deck redone, outside landscaping done, the fence redone, some small indoor stuff like scraping stickers off of windows and walls, scrubbing crayon off of the fireplace, repainting, etc.

      We lived there for a full year and did absolutely none of it. We’re both worn out from work when we get home. Neither of us are really outdoor people. (Though I do like gardening.) And there was just always something else we could do other than scraping stickers off of windows, etc.

      We sold it a little over a year later in the exact same condition we purchased it in, other than we wound up paying a contractor the fix the fence when we put it on the market because our realtor thought it would help it sell fast.

      I would like to think that if we didn’t wind up moving to a new city and selling so quickly that maybe we would have gotten some of the stuff done that we planned to do, but, honestly, it’s not all that likely that we would have.

    13. JSPA*

      I did that 18 years ago. And am still doing it. (Well, not only same house– ended up doing a largely DIY update on another, and an almost total gut on a tiny third.) But unless you have some real awareness of how houses are put together, are good with your hands, and also get real enjoyment out of learning how things work and using your hands…pass. It’s not really a money saver. It just draws the costs out over years. If you know that there is a large talented labor pool available to you and that it’s easy to pull permits I suppose this answer could change. Maybe. But probably not.

  25. nep*

    Finally finished Middlemarch.
    Well — “finished.” I hereby admit I flipped rather quickly through a few chapters. I’ll likely go back and read it again one day. But the last few hundred pages had me at the edge of my seat in that ‘can’t wait to see what happens but don’t want to finish this book’ kind of way.
    Now I’m enjoying reading a bunch of reviews of the book. (Some people write some amazing and in-depth analyses on goodreads — wow.) And I’m going back and reading the Introduction, which only now I’m able to grasp and enjoy reading.

    1. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize*

      I had to read Middlemarch as part of an English Lit course. I couldn’t skim it because it was going to be on the final exam. It was hard slogging for the first few chapters but once I got into the characters it was very interesting. Human nature stays the same was the lesson I took from it.

      1. nep*

        Yes.
        It’s really enjoyable reading all these reviews, to see what people took from it. The only other English classics I’d read were for school (long time ago), so I’m not a connoisseur. But this is one, based on references I’d heard, that I really wanted to read. I’d like to read at least one more by her — going to look for a copy of The Mill on the Floss.

        1. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize*

          lol, sorry no. But I do have the exam booklet in my storage unit. I saved all of my essays from my school days.

    2. Flinty*

      That’s so funny, I had the exact same experience with Middlemarch! It took me a really long time to get into it, but once I did, it was so worth it.

      1. nep*

        A lot of the reviews I read say the same — that parts of it are a slog and it takes a while for it to become compelling.
        I love books like this (similar to my experience with books by Rebecca West) where you just come across these absolute gems — sentences that take your breath away for their depth and insight.

    3. Nesprin*

      Yep, 1st time i read it, 3/4ths of the way through i was yelling at dorothea to get her act together and marry the guy. 1st time ive ever yelled at a book

      1. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize*

        I found Dorothea to be really smug with her head up her skirt when it came to Old Man Casaubon whom she wanted to marry for intellectual discourse.

      1. nep*

        Oh my word now I want to strangle Celia. Her going on and on to ‘Dodo’ about how she mustn’t be such a downer, and mustn’t go to Lowick…stay here and witness the magnificence of my newborn………UGH it sounds so awful in the radio drama.

    4. nep*

      This is from a review on Goodreads — brilliant:

      “This book left me in awe. In terms of raw command of craft, Eliot’s piloting the Starship Enterprise through wormholes while so many of the rest of us walk around puffed up by our ability to tell the Computer to turn off the lights.”

  26. WellRed*

    I moved into my smaller office corner yesterday. Behind my desk is a big grubby wall riddled with thumbtack holes. Any suggestions on some sort of wall art that won’t break the bank? I’m thinking one piece, 3 foot square ( to give an idea). Even online stuff is really expensive.

    1. Menacia*

      Try Goodwill or something similar, they usually have large pieces that would fit the bill and not break the bank.

      1. anon24*

        There is a thrift store near where my parents live that is run by a charity that gives free counseling to victims of crimes. I bought a huge oil painting of a beach scene for $4.

    2. Quilt Person*

      Must it be paint or photo? because if not, would you consider something like a quilted wall hanging? or some other type of fibre art?

    3. Kj*

      Do you have any pretty scarves at home? Or shawls? You you could hang one there like a tapestry. Or do you have friends with kids? Get them a large sheet of poster board and some markers and have them make you some abstract art.

    4. Blue_eyes*

      Buy some fabric that you like, and wrap it around a cork board (secure it to the back with a staple gun or hot glue). Now it’s pretty and functional as a tack board if desired. If you don’t care about it being a tack board, you can buy cheap canvases on wood frames from Michael’s and then wrap the fabric around and secure it with a staple gun.

      You can sometimes find lengths of fabric at second hand shops, or look for an old scarf, tapestry, or even tablecloth in a color or pattern you like. You can also get cheap fabric by the yard from places like Joann’s Fabric, or online.

    5. Chaordic One*

      I’d say check out the “Clearance” section of AllPosters dot com. There’s a lot of stuff that is cheaper than the shipping. You could easily find something nice for under $20, and probably under $10.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Yes! You beat me to it–I was going to suggest AllPosters. They have really really nice posters. I got a Quidditch poster from there on really nice paper.

    6. FrontRangeOy*

      If you have an art museum in or near your community, contact them and see if they have a loaner program. The arts center/gallery in my community has a “art on your walls” program. You tell them what sorts of things you like, they pick things from their collection and hang them. A year later, you get something new. There are stipulations about about the insurance your company carries but it can be a very affordable way to get art in your office if there are any orgs in your area that do loaner art.

      1. Arjay*

        Also check with your local library system if that interests you. Ours allow you to check out wall art for I think three months at a time.

    7. AnonyAnony*

      I actually found decent enough artwork a Lowes for work for under $50. I was shopping for other stuff for home, but came across a section with artwork and there were several I picked up for my office walls. Nothing spectacular, but good enough to cover messy or plain walls inexpensively.

    8. OhBehave*

      Check Target for wall art such as a large hanging. My daughter bought one a year ago that is really nice. It’s thick paper with a print.

    9. Little Bean*

      Check the gift wrap sheets at Papyrus! They sell them as “wrapping paper” but they’re actually about poster sized and have some beautiful designs. I bought one for a friend that looked like an antique map of Paris and she has had it hanging in her office for years.

  27. Ella*

    If this update already got posted, apologies, I can’t read all the weekend threads–but there was an update to the reddit thread that Fposte posted last week about the Jewish woman who was stuck in a hostile work environment call center. Her coworkers had thrown her an unwanted birthday shower, purposefully told her that non-kosher food was kosher, and tried to get her to take off her headscarf, among other things. There is a happy update. I’m linking to the BestOfLegalAdvice thread since that has way more discussion: https://www.reddit.com/r/bestoflegaladvice/comments/8d13rw/update_for_the_tricked_into_eating_something_i/

    1. FD*

      I’m really impressed with that poster who saw the discriminating a**hat of a manager and then later the employee and guessed it was the same person. That was an impressive intuitive jump and let them put the pieces together to provide the person guidance.

    2. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Wait wait – this is a serious stretch, but reading through that post, apparently one of the comments that the horrible manager made was:

      Random redditor: the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

      Manager: the road to hell is paved with bitches like my co worker who complains about all the nice things I do for her even when she doesn’t want me to do them.

      This made me think of the LW we had here who was mad that their employee didn’t jump all over the amazing maternity benefits she arranged without getting her employee’s input.

    3. Middle School Teacher*

      Holy cow. I just read through the whole thing, including the deleted comments, and wow. I hope there’s another update about how the jerk manager gets fired.

    4. Blue_eyes*

      That’s such great news! That story made me so angry but I’m glad the OP is getting some justice (and a whole lot of $$$ I hope!).

    5. Lawler*

      As someone with a law background who uses to be a moderator on Reddit, I can honestly tell you that over 90% of the stories there are embellished or completely fictional. I’m Jewish and keep kosher and I’m not saying it’s not horrible, but given the background of that place I would tell you not to believe anything there. It’s a haven for trolls and falsehoods.

      1. Sylvan*

        Oh, really? I visit /r/legaladvice about twice a year and had no idea. Well, I guess it’s some comfort to know that maybe nobody was harassed like that.

      2. fposte*

        But…it’s the internet! Everything here is true!

        The possibility of fiction got mentioned in the comments in bestoflegaladvice. I suppose I’d be gladder to know that somebody wasn’t as horrible as the manager, so I’m not that appalled to consider it might be fiction.

      3. Ella*

        Even if it’s fiction, it’s very well executed, since a significant moment in the story is when an unrelated redditor catches on to the connection between the two entries. (And if that was also staged, well, that was very creative of them). Also, as Alison has said about potentially false letters here: Even if that story is embellished, there’s a decent chance that somebody might be going through or looking for information on a similar event in their own lives. So I’m okay with it.

      4. Observer*

        In this case, though, there were two separate threads which actually supported each other. Unless you think that someone actually created two different user names to troll the forums, I’m going to have to say I believe it.

        1. reddit mod*

          I could fill a phone book with the amount of people/accounts I have banned for doing stuff like that. Lots of these accounts were established ones and not throwaways. It is not a rare occurrence.

          I called that situation as fake as soon as I read it. I had someone where I mod do the exact same thing (multiple accounts making supporting threads across reddit) twice this month. Also many of the situations posted in the particular spot mentioned above are trolls or completely fake.

          1. Lindsay J*

            +1. People on Livejournal used to do this all the time. I have no idea how they have the time and energy to dedicate to such things, but they really do. Some people had networks of dozens of sockpuppets they used to support their other sockpuppet accounts.

            And I read the relationship and relationship_advice subreddits, and it’s well known there that a high percentages of the posts there are faked. There used to be a pattern to the usernames, but someone pointed it out in the subreddit and they’ve since started using more varied ones, but the fakes are still obvious.

          2. Sylvan*

            Wow. That’s some old school overinvolved LiveJournal sockpuppetry. For some reason I thought Reddit fakes were more likely to come from throwaway accounts.

    6. Sylvan*

      Well, holy shit.

      There will be a settlement out of court, as they want this resolved quickly with no publicity.

      They don’t want publicity. You don’t say.

    7. Book Lover*

      I think I am a bad reddit reader – where is the positive outcome? I am not sure where I should be looking.

    8. Ann O.*

      Wow! I’m actually shaking from reading the original threads, they were so upsetting. The manager reminds me of so many people I have unfortunately known who think they aren’t anti-Semitic because they’re completely fine with secular Jewish people whose Jewishness doesn’t require any accommodation or change of perspective.

      The whole thing about shock over the Jewish co-worker taking off different days each year… how freaking hard is it to Google Jewish holidays to learn about the lunar calendar?

  28. Anonymous Ampersand*

    I left my ex at the end of last year.

    I still feel like I will never ever ever want another relationship.

    One of my friends who left a bit earlier than me now has a new partner and is really happy.

    Anyone want to predict, based on whatever you like, whether I’ll ever change my mind?

    FWIW I miss the companionship but I do not miss sex At All. I’m wondering whether I’m asexual. I don’t really care all that much. Maybe it doesn’t matter?

    1. Turtlewings*

      It’s been less than a year, I think it’s impossible to predict how you’ll feel in another few months or even a couple years from now. There’s certainly no reason to push yourself into dating when you don’t want to, or feel at all bad about not wanting to date. You basically just survived a plane crash and don’t want to fly again right now. It’s a perfectly understandable way to feel, and if you decide you never want to fly again and are happy that way, then that’s 100% understandable and fine.

      And hey, if you are asexual, there are lots of other aces out there, too. Maybe you can find someone to have companionship with that also wouldn’t care about sex.

    2. Thlayli*

      Ive heard it takes half the length of a relationship to get over the relationship. So if you were with him for 10 years you would be fully over it in 5 years. I have no idea whether that’s true or not, but I do think 5 months is awfully quick to move on from a years-long marriage.

      Right now it doesn’t matter. You focus on you and your child and don’t worry about dating or whether you should be or ever will want to again. If you wake up some day and feel you want to start dating again, you can deal with it then.

    3. Ainomiaka*

      It’s still pretty early. And some people want a new partnership faster than others. You don’t have to want anything just because your friend did.

    4. Fiennes*

      You can’t know yet. You’re still recovering—and that takes different amounts of time for different people. It’s entirely possible you won’t change your mind; it’s also possible that in another six months you’ll be crazy in love. Or anything in between! The only important thing is that you’re leading the life that feels fulfilling and right for you.

    5. Detective Amy Santiago*

      After what you went through, it’s perfectly reasonable that it will take you a while to be potentially interested in dating again. If ever. There’s nothing wrong with that. You deserve to be happy in whatever form that takes for you.

    6. Anonymous Ampersand*

      Thank you all. I feel better now. It just feels like everyone’s moving on from all their relationships except me. But that’s really OK.

      FWIW this is the longest I’ve ever been single since I was 16. I think I’ve got a lot of alone time to make up for.

      1. Totally Minnie*

        It’s important to remember that getting into a new relationship is not the only way of getting over the old one. It sound’s a little hokey, but be your own SO for a while and really get to know and like yourself. Take yourself out to cool places and give yourself the special treatment. If you eventually decide you want to be in a relationship again, cool. Do it. But if you don’t, that is also cool.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I had a subordinate who lost her husband about two years after I lost mine. About four to five years after her loss, I ran into her again. She had remarried.

        Like you are saying here the first thing that happened was I did a self-check. No, it was more like a comparative analysis of my life. Of course comparing ourselves to others seldom goes well. Additionally, marriage or a committed relationship is only ONE way of moving on. There are many, many ways to move on. If that is not enough to mull over, consider this: IF and that is a huge IF you did remarry, you would still have to keep a job, a car and a household. You would still have to raise SC. Marriage is a part of life but not all of life. We can have lives without marrying, without having children, and people have had full lives and never knew their parents, this list goes on and on.

        Personally, I go with, “Yeah, I did that marriage thing. Now I am ready to look at other aspects of life.” Feel free to steal it if you like.;) I have no idea if I will ever marry again or not. I am finding that people around me don’t care either way as long as I seem content, which is very cool.

      3. Lindsay J*

        When I broke up with my ex, it was the same case for me. I was 28, and I had been pretty much continuously in relationships since I was 16. I decided I was going to take a full year off from guys and dating, and it did me a lot of good I think.

        It allowed me to feel more independent and whole, and it allowed me to really think about and decide what was important to me in a relationship and what my deal-breakers were before I jumped into another relationship because the guy was nice and cute. It made it so I could be more intentional about getting into my next relationship, I guess.

        I was also pretty over the previous relationship by the time I actually broke up with him because it had been years in the making in some respects. But I also didn’t really want to put myself into that situation of having to deal with and consider someone else for awhile afterwards. I just wanted to be by myself and do things for me.

    7. N Twello*

      I left a long term relationship many years ago and decided I was done with relationships, sex, romance, dating, roommates, etc. I am so happy I did. I have good strong friendships and a very happy life.

    8. NaoNao*

      On the “not missing sex” I hear ya.
      It certainly *could* be asexuality, or it could be a ton of other things, either on their own or a little of this/little of that.
      It could be that your ex, the most recent lover, wasn’t a very good lover and your memories of sex are “eh”.
      It could be that you’re not ready to commit to anyone and sex and commitment go hand in hand in your mind
      If you’re a woman, it could be that, like many women, the less sex you have, the less you miss it (that’s totally me. If I’m having regular sex, I’m into it and desire it. If I go for, say, 3 months + without it, it’s like I forget what it’s even for and am totally like “eh, I could easily go the rest of my life without it)
      If you’re a woman, it could be that you have worries about pregnancy or STI/D’s or other physical concerns that are in the back of your mind (for me, a new lover almost always means a UTI at some point, ugh) but not really in your “top of mind”.

      For me, a very, very general rule is that you need one week per month that you were with someone. After a year, it jumps to pretty much a year for year deal (with exceptions). For me, after breaking up with a man I was engaged to, it took a year almost to the day to feel I was genuinely ready for dating. I was having casual stuff and got back in touch with a friendly ex after about 4 months or so, so the “week per month” thing was accurate in terms of how soon I felt like male companionship of any kind!

      I think when you’re ready, intimacy, companionship, dating, and