weekend free-for-all – April 28-29, 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: Then She Was Gone, by Lisa Jewell. A woman whose daughter disappeared 10 years ago ends up in a relationship with a man whose daughter looks eerily like her own, and all is not what it seems. I don’t normally read suspense because I find it so stressful, but somehow I started reading this and couldn’t put it down. (And it was stressful! But good.)

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

{ 1,255 comments… read them below }

  1. Language Student*

    Anyone get married young? Advice? I’m 20, recently started planning my wedding, will be 24 by the time I get married and we’ll have been together for 10 years, living together and financially independent for 7. Our view is very much that we’re planning the marriage as much as (actually, more so than) the wedding, so any advice helps!

    1. Life is Good*

      Married at 20 and 22. We met at 17 (me) and 19 (him). After 38 years of marriage we are doing great. I have no sage advice to offer. There will be ups and downs because you are individuals and people change over the years, but I think if you have the same core values, you will be ok. Good luck and congratulations!

    2. BugSwallowersAnonymous*

      I’ve heard really good things about pre-marital counseling! Most people I know who have tried it said it was actually very fun and helpful, because they got to think about things they wouldn’t have considered otherwise, even though they had known their partners for a long time.

      1. LilySparrow*

        Yes, it was helpful to be intentional about discussing things that don’t occur to you to bring up. No great surprises or Revelations, but we all have assumptions about relationships, roles, communication, and what it means to be married. Usually those are so ingrained we can’t even see them. Even when you’ve known each other a long time, there’s always some expectations about marriage that are different. Unpacking them helps you get on the same page and realize there’s not just One Right Way.

      2. Kj*

        Gottman (a very famous researcher in marriages) has some great classes, held all over the country by trained educators. Link in my user name to one example.

      3. Buffy*

        Second pre marital counseling! It was a required thing with our church as a part of pre-Cana, but I found it very helpful. Going back, I’d even find a marriage counselor to see if they offered pre-marital sessions.

      4. Language Student*

        I’ve heard good things about this! We’re planning to get married in the church my partner’s a member of, so it’s mandatory anyway, but we’re considering doing extra or doing pre-marital counseling for longer. Thank you!

    3. the gold digger*

      I did not get married young, but my cousin did. She and her now-husband went to the long (six Saturdays in a row) pre-marital course required by their church. I was really impressed by the topics they covered. They had to talk about whether they would have children and how the children would be cared for. They had to talk about who would take out the trash. They each had to prepare a meal plan for a week using a budget of $3 per meal. They had to talk a lot about how they spend money and save money and view debt. Their class got into the super detailed, nitty-gritty of things. You guys may have already talked about a lot of this, though, as you live together.

      1. The Opening Act*

        The post says they’ll have been living together and finaiclally independent for seven years by the time they get married, in four years.

      2. ValaMalDoran*

        I read it as by the time they get married in four years, they’ll have been living together and financially independent for 7 years.

    4. The Other Dawn*

      I met my husband when I was 15 and he was 21 (yes, 21…). We got married when I was 21 and he was 27. I think what helped us was that we lived together for a couple years before we got married. Those two years were rough for us. We both had a lot of maturing to do: he needed to get used to someone asking him where he’s been when he finally decides to come home at 3 am after a very long night of drinking with the guys and no phone call to say he’d be that late, and I needed to realize that his friends were there before me and he needed to spend time with them (I was very jealous of his friends at the time, or really anything that took time away from ME ME ME) and I needed to spend time with my friends. We got through it and things greatly improved once we moved out of his parents’ house (we lived in the basement). I think because we were no longer forced to live together in a few hundred square feet, and we’d already gotten through the growing pains of living together. We’ve been together for 28 years this month, and married for 22 years.

      I’d say realize that you both are still young and there may be some maturing to do on one or both sides. That can be rough. Realize that one or both of you may feel as though you both have some living to do. Do some of those things together and some of them solo. Alone time is a must so that you don’t feel suffocated. (People are often appalled that my husband and I sometimes take separate vacations, but absence makes the heart grow fonder!) Also, pick your battles. There were things that I (notice I said “I” not “we”) fought about for no apparent reason–stupid things–which was likely tied to my desire to control him back when I was so young. I didn’t know how to let him be himself and I tied my identity to him. I’m way past that now, though.

      Good luck!

    5. It’s All Good*

      Married at 22, together since 16. Celebrating 28 years. – The way you communicate is key. Don’t be stuck resolving conflict at 24 like you did when you were 17. Go to therapy periodically for checkups. Congratulations!

    6. Erin*

      I got engaged at 24 and married at 25. A four year engagement is *long* no matter how old you are, but especially when you’re young. A lot can change, so be prepared for the person you marry in 4 years to be different than the person you got engaged to today. We got engaged and planned the wedding within 10 months (we’d been together 4 years- we met in college).

      Compared to friends that married later, our finances have been joined since we were 24. We paid for our grad programs, first house, etc jointly. Did a lot of our “fun 20s” married- living in the city, weekends at clubs/shows/bars/brunches, etc.

      While we married young, we didn’t have kids until I was 29 (almost 30), and at 34 I’m about to have our 3rd and final kid. Our 10th anniversary is this summer! We are extremely different people than we were a decade ago.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        One of the great NPR stories: Some politician at 50 was mired in an infidelity scandal from when he was 35, and he was arguing that he was a completely different person then. So they interviewed a bunch of 50 year olds and, to a person, they felt they were quite different from 35. Things that barely mattered then were now big, and vice versa. I am almost 50, and find this to hold true of myself as well. Some things I have more patience with, some things less.

        There is no age at which your unchangeable adult personality kicks in.

    7. Lora*

      I’ll be the combo breaker: got married at 22 (he was 25), at which point we had lived together two years and dated for almost a year before moving in together. We had known each other via friends of friends since high school. It was dumb but we were both in a crappy financial position and it really made the most financial sense at the time – we needed health insurance and the state of PA still counted my mother’s income as “expected family contribution” to limit my financial aid for college and grad school – and she hadn’t contributed a dime since I was 17. If anything, I was supporting her on my measly work-study and summer jobs, although she worked full time (I still support her). When I got married, the Expected Family Income = $0 and I could get a lot more financial aid, and he was able to get health insurance via my grad school. We did love each other, it wasn’t totally convenience. I was fresh out of college, and he didn’t have good grades in high school but he had a job in shipping & receiving and was good at it.

      Did I mention it was dumb? I didn’t have a lot of financial options though. We got divorced after 15 years: in that time, he had developed drug and alcohol habits, craigslist hooker habits, and had some serious mental illness problems that he refused to get treated. I had hauled him to rehab and the psych ward multiple times to no avail, he had burned through my savings (mine because god knows he never saved a dime), and he had a side piece who was demanding that he divorce me and make me pay him alimony (ha!). He started coming home wasted, coked-up and turned violent more than once, and when the police had to be called for domestic violence it was like GET OUT NOW. Judge told him he could be deported if he refused to obey a restraining order, and he didn’t want to be deported, so he left but didn’t go far.

      The divorce was nightmare fuel and not amicable: SidePiece pushed hard for him to get alimony (he didn’t), committed insurance fraud on my health insurance, I got a cancer diagnosis literally the day after court, there were a million ridiculous awful things that happened. Had to go to the lawyers frequently because he refused to abide by the financial agreement. It’s emotionally traumatic, really – if he had died (he threatened to commit suicide repeatedly), it would have been very sad, but in many ways easier and cleaner, over with quickly. It’s different when the person you loved and invested so much into turning into a monster vampire beast that sucks money. Best thing about it was, we had no children.

      Prior to getting married I was very focused on school and my career, very driven. It took several years after getting divorced to regain that level of focus and energy, direction.

      1. Red Reader*

        Yeah, I … was divorced once when I was 20 and again when I was 29. But I also made some really dumb mistakes in both cases, knew I was doing so, knew better, and just couldn’t figure out how to get myself out of them. So the only advice I give about young marriage is this: If you have second thoughts or feel at any point that maybe this isn’t the right idea, trust your gut. It’s easier to put on the brakes and wait than to undo it all later.

        (In my case, I knew so hard that my first marriage, at 18, was a huge mistake – he was an alcoholic pothead who couldn’t hold a job, among other things – but I as a clueless-about-life teenager couldn’t figure out how to get out of it without making my friends mad and upsetting my parents, who had paid for the whole thing, so I never said anything to anybody and just kept going because I didn’t know what else to do. Turns out, when I finally told my parents that after the divorce, that they would happily have paid two, three, five times as much or more in lost deposits and nonrefundable charges if it meant I wasn’t marrying him, and that they wouldn’t have been mad at all. And he did get all the friends in the divorce, but in retrospect, that wasn’t really any great loss on my part. :P )

      2. Erin*

        On balance- my sister dated someone she met at 21 for ten years. They got married when they were 32 after living together for several years. He hauled her in and out of rehab (a bit before the marriage, and after). She was a train wreck. But she was no more or less a train wreck than in the 10 years they dated. They divorced after 18 months.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Yeah, anecdotally you can find both people who married young and it didn’t work, and people who married after a decade and it didn’t work. I think age is popular as a point of analysis because, whatever foolish mistakes you made at 37, you’re now 39 so that’s done.

    8. Laurin Kelly*

      We were both 20 when we met and 24 when we got married, a few months after graduating from college. We’ll be married 24 years in September and still love each other to pieces, so I can definitely say that in our case getting married young worked out for the best!

    9. LilySparrow*

      Planning for the marriage is a great perspective.

      Didn’t get married young, but as far as wedding planning, just remember that the goal is a nice party for you and your loved ones to enjoy. Not perfection. Not a referendum on your relationship. A nice party.

      A LOT of people are going to try to make you think the wedding *has* to have this or that, it *has* to be the bestest, mostest, superest thing ever. They all have an agenda, and your happiness isn’t it. They either want to sell you something, or they are unconsciously using you to act out some drama of their own. Shrug it off.

      Make a nice party. Avoid stress. Be kind and thoughtful. Be a team. Enjoy each other.

      1. Buffy*

        Awesome advice, I sent a screenshot to my friends who are getting married in 3 weeks and deeply mired in the getting-married-in-3-weeks stress. :)

      2. Bigglesworth*

        I second this so much! I only had a for month engagement and one of the main reasons was to keep the focus on it being just a party. We didn’t cater a meal, but had chocolate and candy covered apples and coffee (the elixir of life). It was fun and that’s what we wanted it to be. :)

        Fine Note: I actually wanted to elope, but he wanted to have pictures and the whole family there. I’m glad now that we had the ceremony, because several of our older relatives (great-aunts/uncles, grandparents, etc) have passed away since then.

      3. Saucy Minx*

        According to Miss Manners, your wedding should be like any other party you give, only a bit nicer. And according to me, it should not be billed as the happiest day of your life, since that would mean it was all downhill post-wedding.

        I endorse the plan of signing up w/ a therapist who will bring out the assumptions & help you both learn to communicate well w/ each other. If it turns out that one of you wants enough sons for a football team & one of you wants a cat sanctuary, or one of you likes gender-dictated roles & the other one thinks both parties will pitch in on child-rearing, cooking, & cleaning, best to get these notions out in the open & have as many frank discussions as it takes to come to an agreement that works for both.

    10. Chalupa Batman*

      I was 21 and he was 23 when we got married, together about a year. We’ll celebrate 13 years married this year. I really don’t know what the secret sauce is. Some days it’s hard and some days it’s the only thing that gets me through. I think to an extent we lean into that. We know, every day, that sometimes it’s gonna suuuuck. We’re both always changing. We’re not the same people and we don’t have the same marriage we did a decade ago. I guess we’ve gotten better at talking through things and figuring them out, and we’re both committed to doing that work. Marriage is frickin hard. But I still think it gets a bad rap- if anything, marriage is underrated. There’s nothing else like fully trusting and bonding to another person. It changes you as a person.

    11. Lilo*

      Married at 23 here. One thing I would advise is, don’t jump into having kids right away. A lot of people will expect you to, but you’ll have a lot of time to just be married and be the two of you before it becomes an issue. Obviously, if that’s what you want, that’s your choice. But you might get some weird pressure to have kids young as well, and you can feel free to just ignore that.

      1. Language Student*

        Luckily for us, there are only a couple of people who expect us to have kids at all, let alone any time soon – we’re both cis women so if we do choose to have kids, it’s going to have to be planned. Very grateful that our families are mostly respectful and understanding of bodily autonomy and not wanting children!

    12. LemonLyman*

      Not me but my sister. They met freshman year of college but didn’t become a couple for another year or so. They got married at 24 but divorced seven years later. They are still friends and care for each other, but hey acknowledge they got married too young (too young for them). They didn’t know each other truely as adults and it turned out they had different paths in life. They would say that they didn’t know themselves as adults, first. They both were in grad school their first couple years of marriage and then my sister was offered a great job that took her to a different city. He couldn’t come because his doctoral program wasn’t over. He eventually joined her but her job had her traveling a lot.

      I think their advice to most now is just to be aware that your goals will change as you get really into adulthood and into your career. And, as many other mentioned, communication is key. As with most successful marriages, some sacrifice and compromise will be in order. Just make sure it’s not one person who is always doing the compromise and sacrifice!

      I would say that it’s important that you are already talking about the future, kids, where you want to live, goals, how to handle money, etc. For instance, spouse’s family have very different philosophies of how to deal with money than I do. So I made sure to have long talks with my spouse on how we would approach our money, saving (for a home, etc.), spending, etc. We got on the same page before getting engaged but I think it could have been a very contentious thing if we had ended up with two different approaches.

    13. Not So NewReader*

      I got married at 23. I met him when I was 19.
      I love what one of my aunts said, “Couples grow up together.” Yeah, be prepared to watch each other mature and as we mature we change our opinions on things, we change our priorities and sometimes we change what we value. This does not mean the marriage is over. It just means we are progressing through life. A pup used to be very important to me, now health insurance is very important to me. Different ages bring different focuses.
      And the way couple’s express their love changes also, sometimes it matches the needs of the stage of life. Initially, perhaps flowers or going to the movies were important to me. As I went along, I placed a higher value on him coming to the doctor’s with me or getting groceries with me. So his expressions of love shifted accordingly. Love has all kinds of costumes and the way we express love changes. It’s still love, though.

      The best tidbit I heard was love is not an emotion, it’s a commitment. Commitment is what happens on days when we are just. not. feeling. it. And there will be days. I thought about this and I added one more step, it’s best if at least one of you remembers why the two of you are together. You can take turns doing this, but if both people forget at the same time, that’s not so good. I can definitely say there will be times where YOU will carry the two of you, and then there will be times where Other Half will carry the two of you. It’s good to remember that life can be very hard regardless of marital status. In other words, both of you would have struggles even if you did not find each other and just lived on your own. Some struggles are just part of living.

      Last. No spouse provides the comprehensive package. Each of you will need to keep your friendships alive with other people and will need to keep developing your interests and your careers. This part of life we do on pretty much on our own, except for when it comes to making decisions that also impact the spouse, such as moving or taking a pay cut. Keep your friendships and family relationships (the ones you want) active and on-going. Encourage your Other Half to do the same.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I love all of this, but especially the parts about growing together and love being a commitment even when you are not feeling it.

        An example of love that stands out to me–I had been stuck in the snow for a long time, shoveling and spinning and getting nowhere. He came from work, handed me the keys to his car, and told me to take our kid home, get warm, and he would be home when the car was out.

      2. Language Student*

        This is amazing advice, thank you so much! I especially like the bit about commitment and continuing to develop individually, as well. There’s a lot here that I need to think about. Thank you again!

    14. Reba*

      Esther Perel has a concept (or at least she’s spoken about it, IDK if she coined it): Capstone vs. Cornerstone model of relationships. You might enjoy reading about it!

      1. Anonymous Pterodactyl*

        If anyone else is curious about this concept but can’t watch videos at work (and videos are a lot of what come up when you search), I found this short quote:

        “One of the striking features for millennials is what’s come to be called a capstone marriage, as opposed to the cornerstone marriage of the boomers, in which you married early and grew up together. When you marry in your early 20’s, you’re in a relationship that’s going to shape you in the most fundamental ways, but in a capstone marriage, partners come together far more fully formed.

        Many people today approach capstone marriage as if they’re beta testing a website. You have it kind of half-official, and you do it for two years to see if it holds up and you can actually sustain it. “I’m already formed, so what I’m choosing you for is basically the one thing for which I still really need a committed relationship, which typically is the raising of children.””

    15. Chameleon*

      Met my husband at 21 and married at 25. We’ve been married for 17 years and….

      Well, I don’t want to be the buzzkill. I still love him and we are mostly happy together, but I really, *really* regret not spending some years living on my own and being more independent for some of my life. Like, I have never even been on a vacation by myself that lasted longer than a day. And we’ve both changed in some ways that have made things difficult. (Our ideas of how much life outside of marriage is healthy is…let’s just say quite different.)

      I’m not saying don’t do it. But think about spending some of the next few years tending your own garden–you can do it while still being with him and living with him, but don’t put all your eggs in his basket.

      1. Oilpress*

        I love this advice. A 20 year old planning a wedding four years out really does feel like putting all their eggs in one basket.

        Be 20. Live for the now. It’s a great age, and you are missing out if your main focus at 20 is planning for a wedding in four years. If you guys are still together at 23 and want to get married then you crank up the planning.

        1. JaneE*

          Yes indeed. Planning for a wedding that’s four years away – what more when you’re 20 – is to not live in the moment and enjoy what life offers you now. Life is fleeting; what you have today may not be there tomorrow. You don’t want to look back on the life you lived with regrets. My mum married at 16. Me? Call me a commitment phobe, but I have little interest in marriage, and even less in having kids.

        2. Traveling Teacher*

          Yes, this. For right now, I think it’s such a great idea to plan the marriage: do you have the same spending/saving habits and priorities? Probably not. How are you going to raise your kids, and what’s important to you when they do come along? When do you want to have them? Where do you want to live? Figure out what makes you both laugh, and what makes you both cry. Are you able to fully be yourself with your “other half”, or are you hiding parts of yourself? And why?

          I’d never say don’t get married young (I got married at 25), but before you start choosing colors and putting down deposits, wait a couple more years. I think that’s the beauty of an engagement, saying: I think I want to be with you forever, so let’s use this committed time to see if those feelings change or stay the same. If, a couple of years down the line (since you’re four years out), you both still want to say, “I do,” then start planning the wedding. And best wishes, whatever is down the line!

          1. Language Student*

            Planning the marriage is definitely our priority. We’re not getting married for a wedding, we’re getting married for each other! We’re on the same page in terms of values (including financial values) – not so much habits, but we’ve developed ways of counteracting our bad habits and playing up our strengths together. We don’t want kids, and they won’t happen accidentally (we’re both cis women), but we know that might change so we’ve talked about our values there as well, plus things like if we want to buy property together. We’re comfortable with each other – we were best friends before we got together, and being ourselves has never been an issue during our relationship. As we learn more about ourselves, we talk about it.

            Yeah, most our engagement is going to be working on our relationship and saving. The benefit of a four-year engagement is we can save everything we need and then some without sacrificing what we want in a wedding (and without spending everything we have on one day) – as much as I’d love an engagement of a year or two, we want to pay for everything ourselves and something has to give! We figure that if we plan to get married and spend our lives together, we can wait a couple more years before the wedding. We hope to be together either way, after all! And thank you!

        3. Language Student*

          I should note that most of the planning now is talking about the future, working on ourselves and our relationship, and saving. We have a budget, accounted for inflation and in four years’ time we’ll have saved double what we need assuming our income stays the same (we’re paying for everything ourselves and don’t want to spend all our savings on one day). We have an idea of when we’ll start finding vendors and putting deposits down, but we aren’t tying anything down four years in advance. For all we know, the vendors available now will be out of business or have tanked their reputation in that time. Starting to plan and save now means we can afford the wedding we want with plenty to spare so we don’t have to stress if we go over budget or spend everything we have on the wedding. If we end up not getting married, well, we’ll still have a decent amount more than we would’ve.

          I just don’t see being engaged as missing out, or not living for now. I have the life I want already! I’m happy, I’m comfortable alone and with my partner, I have a great relationship with my parents and siblings, I have my own friends and “shared” friends with my partner who I see regularly. I’m doing well at Uni, I have a job I love and we’re financially stable enough to pay all our bills, save and have some spending cash. Sure, I don’t go clubbing or have casual sex, but I don’t want to. My life is great as it is! Planning our wedding isn’t eclipsing the rest of my life, it’s highlighting the parts that are most important.

      2. Future Analyst*

        Just want to note that it’s not too late! You can go on a solo vacation any time of your life, it’s not just for the youths. :) After my husband and I had kids, I started going on solo vacations once a year (usually around my birthday). It’s a chance to do only things I want to do, and rediscover what I like and don’t like. Highly recommend!

    16. Anon.*

      Met at 18/22 married at 21/25, been together for 12 years despite extensive doom and gloom predictions. 12 years is a long time to be with someone, and the only way it’s worked for us is for each of us to maintain separate interests/space so that we can grow as people at the same time we grow as a couple.

    17. Lis*

      I married the person I had been dating since high school when I was 22, our sixth anniversary will be in June. I am an incredible unromantic person, so bearing that in mind:
      1. I used “if”as oppose to “when” language up until we sent out save the dates (if we get married, should we…?) This leaves you with two advantages: if at any point in the next few years you have doubts, you don’t have the pressure of some kind of big promise influencing you to stay, and-when you ARE in the actual wedding countdown, you know you made this decision based on years of little decisions, not one promise made 4 years ago. (This worked well for me. Other people will not need to play this headgame with themselves.)
      2. We have always had separate credit cards and I have given this advice to everyone who has ever asked about marriage. Our finances are relatively pooled (we have bizarre work lives so some of our long-term savings are separate as well) but I can record things in the budget as “gift” or “hobby” or just “credit card purchase” and we never have the stupid conversations we have watched both sets of our parents have about “what is this weird website on the credit card, why were you shopping there, but what is this FOR?” Again YMMV.

    18. Falling Diphthong*

      Married at 22, will be 28 years this summer. Reason for young marriage: met at 18, graduation was the “Am I making life plans with the other person’s needs in mind, maybe trumping my own? or not?” fork in the road.

      I have a statistic! From the CDC. Which is that the age at which growing older before marrying stops making a difference is… 20. Yup. Those who were 18 or 19 have a higher divorce rate (I think in line with those who have divorced once)–and those too young to sign any other binding legal document a still higher one–but on average people who marry for the first time at 20 have the same odds of it lasting as those who marry at 22, or 32, or 42. And as with any statistical argument–you don’t marry a statistical average. Who you two are matters more than anything else.

      Marriage advice–I think the observation that things ebb and flow, and that is normal. Rarely is it 50-50, and that’s okay. Marriage is a vow to keep going even when things are tough–the in sickness, for poorer, for worse side of the vows. Occasionally those times will stomp through (for most of us), and being committed to each other and to the marriage gives you a rock to stand on.

      1. Deeply anonymous*

        Yeah, I was closer to 42 when I married. 10 years later, it’s not working out. Age isn’t a guarantee of anything.

    19. Loopy*

      I was engaged at 22 and it wasn’t age that was the issue- it was really the fact that we had a major life transition that our relationship didn’t survive- and not because we didn’t love each other. We had a very functional, healthy relationship. So, I was in college and suddenly when I was out of school, I kind of abruptly realized I wanted to move far away and live away from our hometown and I wanted to travel at every opportunity and he was a homebody who wanted to live close to his parents.

      It was that when faced with this huge decision, we wanted to go in opposite directions. He actually was willing to sacrifice his wants for mine but here’s what was important to me: he would have done it and not been excited about it. All my excitement and happiness would have been one sided- even though he was 100% willing to follow me. This would have been fine for some, but it wasn’t for me.

      Keep in mind how you feel about that when you two are faced with major life decisions. If one is willing to concede to the other…how does that make the other feel? I wanted someone excited, not just willing. YMMV.

    20. Buzzkill*

      I hate to be a buzzkill and don’t mean to rain on your happiness…

      We met in high school, married at 23 after 8 years together. We went to premarriage counseling and were financially independent and had lived together.

      At 30 we were divorced. Both of us had changed so much in that time we were different people. We went bankrupt before the divorce. We both had affairs. The true love we thought we had was naive on our part. Neither of us had been with anyone else in our lives or had any actual relationship experience.

      Looking back we should have seen the signs. People tried to talk us out of it and we didn’t listen. We changed as people during our (3 year) engagement. We never should have gotten married.

      3 kids and a acrimonious divorce later. We hate each other. There were affairs and bankruptcy. We don’t talk unless it is related to our kids. All of our friend group who married young are in the same boat.

      I would strongly advise against it. You are young. You have time. You both have so much growing up to do. There’s lots of time to get married. I’m not saying you need to break up but you don’t need to be married to be together or be happy.

      I regret getting married young. I missed out on so much. I know my ex does and so do our friend group who were in the same boat. I love my sons but getting married young was a mistake. I am still recovering financially from the divorce, legal fees and bankruptcy. I am cynical and worry about how my sons will be affected by this. I have no time to date. We share custody 50/50 because neither of us can afford child support. My time without them I am working all the hours I can. I live in a small shoebox apartment. Money is tight. My ex is no better off and neither is anyone I know who married young like us.

      I would strongly urge you to wait. If it is right and you are meant for each other waiting won’t hurt. But getting legally entangled so young is a recipe for disaster.

      Sorry to be a buzzkill.

    21. Martine*

      Met at 14. Engaged at 19. Married at 24. Lived together for 6.5 years before marriage. Did pre-marital counseling. Were on own financially and independent. Thought we had the same goals.

      It was a disater. We were too young. Our engagement was too long and we changed too much. We had romanticized the whole idea and had no idea what we were doing. The long and the short of it is that we were far too young. We are divorced and not on speaking terms except for our children. Having kids made the situation worse.

      We were much too young, too dumb and changed as people too much.

    22. sleepwakehopeandthen*

      I got married at 24, and I think it’s young-ish but not super young. Like, at that point, you are definitely an adult. (I think maybe people getting married on the younger end of things like this might want to be careful about taking a little longer before they commit to marriage, as in maybe not get married after a year of dating because you just don’t have the same experience, but you seem to have that covered.) I mean, I also only have 3 years of experience being married, but I think it’s been pretty good so far (so obviously this comes with that caveat that I don’t actually have all that long of an experience being married).

      My recommendations are to take a break before you start seriously planning your wedding, but go on ahead with planning the marriage. I think it’s good that you will have been financially independent for a while before getting married–I think sometimes a lot of the problems with early marriages are when you haven’t had time being an adult and have to learn it on your own. I know that I changed a lot between when I graduated college (22) and got married (24). Also, be aware that your plans and priorities will change and that’s fine.

      I just recommend very many conversations and also potentially one or two times before marriage where you sit down and make sure that you are getting married because you want to and not just because it is the next thing to do. (I did this and came to the conclusion that I was getting married because I wanted to, and that just helps build a better foundation).

      Also A Practical Wedding is an awesome website with lots of stuff about planning the marriage/married life and I highly recommend it.

    23. Book Badger*

      Different perspective: I’m 24, he’s 25. We’ve been dating for 7.5 years. We’re not going to get married for at least another couple of years, mostly because we’ve been long distance due to college/law school for most of that time and we want to live together before getting married.

      I am a very different person now than I was when I was 20; for one thing, I’m almost finished with my law degree, which was just a vague idea when I was 20. When he was 20, he was just starting to realize that he’d signed up for a major in a subject he didn’t like. We were both diagnosed with depression between now and then. I’ve put on fifteen pounds. He’s started losing his hair. A lot can change in only four years.

      Relationships evolve because the people in them evolve. Understand that there’s a possibility that you’ll both grow apart. That’s not bad, that’s not a failure, that’s just something that happens sometimes. I don’t think my boyfriend and I are doing anything special, we’ve just had the good luck to evolve in ways that permit us to stay together.

    24. Falling Diphthong*

      Re time on your own: If you’re planning out an abstract life, you say “I will do this for these years, this for these other years, and then at 29 find a person to marry.” But life doesn’t always follow neat plans. A lot of people get married, not because it’s time according to the plan, but because they met someone they didn’t want to lose. Same with jobs, and other life choices–most of us are not exactly what we pictured at age 7, or 17, or even 37, and that’s not a tragedy–it’s life throwing in curves you didn’t perfectly foresee back then. Most high school romances end, but some lead to long marriages. Same with college romances. And post-college romances. And second weddings in your 70s, to cite an aunt and uncle now in their 90s.

      There’s an advice letter trope that goes “I love this person, but I want to be single and explore, too–can I shrink wrap them, set them on a shelf, and then in five years if I still think they are a great option they will be right there, frozen in time, waiting for me?” These people should not get married. But sometimes the right person does not wait around until the date you had circled for “life mate shows up.” Sometimes they’re there earlier, and you adjust your plans to include them.

    25. Oxford Coma*

      I’m in my 40s, and have been with my husband since I was 14. We stayed together through everyone telling us that high school romances don’t last, we stayed together through everyone telling us that us that long-distance college relationships don’t last, and we stayed together through everyone telling us that young marriages don’t last. At least it was good practice for more than two decades of people telling me I’d change my mind and suddenly want babies.

      Put it this way. Any time I go to a wedding shower and am asked to play that game where you fill out a slip of paper with marriage advice, I write something like this: Don’t take marriage advice from a bunch of random idiots. Nobody here knows you as well as you know yourself or your fiance. Own your flaws and baggage without taking on anyone else’s, by way of their wish-fulfillment “advice”.

      1. soon 2 be former fed*

        “Random idiots” is a bit harsh. Most people are well meaning, not idiotic. I know someone who was married at 16 and just celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary. It happens. I know others who married at 19 and it lasted 23 years, and everything in between. I married for the first time at 50, and was divorced seven years later. So, nothing is guaranteed. It sounds like you and your husband were unusually mature, self-aware, and emotionally stable, and your long union is to be congratulated. But, sadly, the stars don’t align like that for most people , and advice can be useful. Take what resonates and leave the rest, that’s what I say.

        I’m in a wonderful relationship for four years now, and think about if I want to get legally married again. We are both in our sixties, and are married and committed in our hearts, which is where true marriage takes place. Legality does not impart commitment, and many of the rights and privileges afforded legally married couples can be obtained by other means. Whether young, old, or in between, it’s critical to know yourself and be true to yourself. Don’t get legally married because it is social convention. The commitment of both people is indeed the glue that holds thing together during trying times, whether legally married or not. It’s a cliche, but love is not enough.

      2. soon 2 be former fed*

        “Random idiots” is a bit harsh. Most people are well meaning. Take what resonates and is leave the rest, that’s my idiotic advice.

    26. Gilmore67*

      I agree some of the other advise to wait a while. You are still young and yeah will change a lot from 24 to even 30. But a lot of marriages that young are great so who knows !

      Please make sure you are not getting married to run away from something, run to something that seems secure and/or better then options you have now. ( I am just saying this as a general statement not assuming you are). I’ve known many people get married because it is better than ” this”…… or they are not wanting to be alone and so on. So really just know well your reasons to do this.

      Also, accept now, who each other is. Do not, I repeat do not just expect a person to change just because you don’t like whatever they do or don’t do. If they are not as neat as you are, or they leave the cap off the toothpaste
      or whatever it might be, either figure it out now, deal with it or don’t get married.

      Habits don’t just change after marriage. I am not saying not to talk about stuff and work it out, I am just saying don’t try to change a spouse to fit your needs or if you just don’t like it. Of course marriage is compromise and talking. But also accepting them for who they naturally are is just as important.

      If they eat crackers in bed, like to watch TV in bed, wake up to loud music, or whatever and it bothers now you need work it out now. There will be plenty of stuff that will come up in your marriage that will need discussion and compromise, don’t start the marriage out already stuff that bothers you. It is not about right or wrong. It is just about talking about it.

      My hubby takes longer to get ready in the morning. Lets say we are going on a trip. I have learned by the time he gets up ” gets his marbles together” as he puts it, showers, dresses, packs the car, stops for a pop break, checks his phone,, stops for a pop break, I can sleep an hour more, dress, put on a little make-up eat a snack and STILL be ready before him sitting in the car. My dealing with Sir Mister Pokey Joe… was not making him faster and getting mad because I want to get going…., but me just getting more sleep !!

      Good luck !!

      1. Lindsay J*

        Also, accept now, who each other is. Do not, I repeat do not just expect a person to change just because you don’t like whatever they do or don’t do. If they are not as neat as you are, or they leave the cap off the toothpaste
        or whatever it might be, either figure it out now, deal with it or don’t get married.

        Habits don’t just change after marriage. I am not saying not to talk about stuff and work it out, I am just saying don’t try to change a spouse to fit your needs or if you just don’t like it. Of course marriage is compromise and talking. But also accepting them for who they naturally are is just as important.

        I know I’m several days too late, but I agree with all of this 100%.

        Believing in change is something that caused me to stay in a relationship way too long – he kept on telling me he was going to change, and I believed him.

        What finally got me out was imagining sitting there 5 years, 10 years, 50 years in the future and having the same damn argument. And that’s when I realized I just couldn’t do it anymore, and needed to leave, so I did.

        It’s not that people can never change. I’ve become like 1000000 times less messy since getting with my current boyfriend. My spending habits and credit score have improved drastically. My mom went from not liking exercise so much that she wasn’t willing to join my dad and I on mile runs when I was in middle school track to doing triathlons at 55.

        But when they say they’re going to change at some random point in the future, I don’t believe them. Either you’re attempting it and making sustained progress towards it, or I’m assuming it’s not going to happen. And when you’re just expecting that someone else is going to change without ever clearly expressing to them that you want or need them to, you’re just setting yourself up for heartache.

    27. Elkay*

      I got married at 25 to the person I met at university. We’d been together five years when we got married having lived together for a year before the wedding. We’ve been married nine years this year.

      I am very aware of the fact that we were young when we met and therefore we grew into adults together. Our outlooks are very similar because the decisions we’ve made about our adult lives were made together, we didn’t have to try and merge two fully formed adults. I am aware this could go the other way because you might not grow together, I don’t think we did anything special to make that happen. I’m not going to lie and say it’s all been plain sailing, we’ve had blazing rows and three months after we got married one incident made me think I’d made a huge mistake, we still had a lot of growing to do as people. We both learned to read the other one which means we can push at that half truth the other is telling for the easy life. I can hand on heart say though he is my best friend and I enjoy spending time with him more than anyone else.

      My litmus test was when I realised if someone said to me “You just need to go over there and sign some forms and you’ll be married” I would have done it. The wedding was a great day but if someone told me I couldn’t have a wedding but I could have a marriage I would have been fine with that.

    28. Lisa H*

      I got married the first time at 20 and divorced at 25. Married the second time at 27 and still married after 20 some years. Maturity is the issue not age. However, we mature with age. Strongly suggest premarital counseling to strengthen your communication skills. The 2 of you will be different people in 10 years so it is key that you can navigate these changes together and not grow apart.

    29. AnonEMoose*

      I’m not sure there’s a “right age” to get married. I’m now in my late 40s; I met my DH when I was 26 and he was 39, and we’ll celebrate our 20th anniversary this year. It hasn’t always been easy, but we tend to agree on what we consider to be the important things: Bills come first, and we talk to each other before major purchases. We knew from the beginning that we didn’t want kids. We have very overlapping interests and stuff we do together, and we try to be supportive of each others’ separate interests. He gets along with my friends, I get along with his. And I can tell him “I need introvert time,” and he will work with me to make sure I have it.

      But one thing I have learned in life, and in my view, the sooner you can internalize it, the better off you will be: No matter what you do, someone will be right there to tell you that you are doing it wrong.

      Anything from the age you get married, to your job, to having kids (or not), and how many if so, pets, budgeting, hobbies… people will judge you on all of it. So, try to keep a grasp on what is right for you. And by that, I mean you as an individual and you and your partner as a couple. Be kind to yourselves and to each other (which does not mean that you shouldn’t bring up issues – you should, but how you do it matters).

      I should add that most people probably do mean well, but some are definitely going to be pushing their own agenda for their own reasons. Give their input the level of consideration you think it deserves, and make your own decisions (again, as individuals and as a couple). However you decide to move forward, I wish you and your partner the very best!

    30. Diamond*

      If you’ve been dating and living together for such a long period of time I don’t think you necessarily need advice specifically due to being young. Just try not to sweat the small stuff, don’t keep score and appreciate the little things you each do! I got married at 25 to someone I’d been with since I was 18, really my first proper boyfriend.

      I do find 4 years an almost ridiculously long engagement, to the point you don’t need to be planning at all yet. Mine was 1 year and 2 months, and if I did it over again I’d make it shorter. Why so long? Why not wait a few more years for the engagement?

      1. Language Student*

        It’s definitely a long engagement, and a big part of that is wanting to pay for everything ourselves. We know what we want in a wedding and looking at market prices in our area (and adjusting for inflation), it’d take 2 years to save enough by saving 33% of our joint income. We’ve decided we’d rather have a longer engagement and save twice that so we don’t need to worry that we don’t quite have enough for deposits yet, or if something goes wrong (venue burns down, for example) and insurance won’t cover as much as we need we have plenty to cover everything and will still have a decent chunk of savings post-wedding. Our view is that we’re setting ourselves up for marriage as much as planning a wedding, so we want to have some savings left when we get married. We won’t actually start getting details pinned down for a couple of years, but we can still prepare for marriage now, so why wait to get engaged?

  2. The curator*

    So I am recovered from the trip to Japan. I am spending today in service to my marriage and tomorrow curled up on the porch with a galley of a he new Kate Di Camilla.
    Spring has finally sprung!!!!!

    1. Kuododi*

      I have no idea who Kate di Camilla is however your post-Japan recovery plans still sound divine!!!! BTW I’m all kinds of jealous you were able to travel to Japan. That country is on the top of my bucket list!!!! I was only able to take one semester of Japanese during undergraduate. That gave me an introduction to one of the three alphabet systems. I keep looking for an adult Ed class in Japanese but so far no luck. Blessings!!!

      1. The curator*

        Spell check- Kate Di Camillo is a writer of children’s fiction. She is one of our greatest writers as well as having served as the Ambassador for Children’s Literature.

        The trip was amazing and I felt I made good use of my time there.

        Today has become more about cleaning and laundry. But I am grateful to be awake to do that.

  3. Lujessmin*

    I was supposed to walk in my first 5K of the year today, but those damn shingles really did a number on my stamina. Hopefully, I’ll be better in time for my next one at the end of May.

    1. misspiggy*

      So sorry – but you definitely did the right thing listening to your body. It’s eight years since I set myself the goal of being able to walk 10 miles, and it’s only in the last year that I’ve got anywhere near a quarter of that. But progress since then has been exponential.

    2. Pam*

      At one point, before my health fell apart, I did a 5k a month. It was fun, and the goal kept me working out

  4. matcha123*

    Does anyone have simple recipes for a person (me) without an oven, toaster, or microwave?
    I have two pots, one is like a dutch oven? and a frying pan. I don’t have much space in my apartment, thus the lack of microwave. And Japan doesn’t really do ovens like the US does…

    1. Combinatorialist*

      When I was in a similar situation, I used to eat a lot of fried rice. Basically, you take leftover rice, any vegetables and leftover meat you have and stick them in your frying pan. There are recipes online that will give you a sense of what order things should go in but it is really easy when you just have a stove. You can also make as much or as little as you want.

      1. matcha123*

        Thanks! I should have written what I typically make, which includes fried rice :p
        – fried rice
        – sliced pork and kimchi
        – sliced pork (by itself)
        – bibimbap
        – fried eggs/english muffins
        – scrambled eggs
        – Japanese curry rice
        – small slices of chicken breast cooked in the frying pan

        I will probably start making hamburger patties at some point.
        I am interested in soups or maybe deserts? or even any thing I haven’t thought up yet!

        1. Max*

          For frypan desserts, nothing beats fluffy pancakes!
          If you’re not a fan of pancakes and all of their glorious toppings, you could try making a deconstructed apricot crumble?
          Caramelise the fruit in the pan with sugar, butter and brandy (if you’re that way inclined), set the mix aside and toss some oats / broken biscuits / bread crumbs / walnuts with brown sugar, cinnamon and butter in the same pan and then assemble in a mini mason jar. Yum!

        2. MysteryFan*

          Soups are great! Also, I second googling “skillet meals”. You’ll get a lot with pasta, but there are some that lean more on just the meat and veg. Also, I like to make sauteed greens.. any kind with a little onion and some hot sauceish stuff at the end. Also, If you’re from the south, and miss cornbread.. you can make it like pancakes, and it’s just as yummy.. and stores in the fridge in a ziploc bag!

          1. Kimberlee, no longer Esq.*

            Sausages are great for this! I love using some Aidells and frying up with some fresh kale, sliced onion and bell pepper, spinach, potatoes… whatever veggies you happen to have on hand, along with some sofrito or recaito (might be tough to get those in Japan? maybe?) and serving either as-is or over rice.

        3. Yvette*

          Chili, you can use chicken, beef, turkey, or vegetables only. Chicken cacciatore, panini style sandwiches using a skillet and a heavy pot instead of a press. Pasta, you can make a simple sauce/topping with chopped fresh tomatoes, olive oil, olives, and fresh basil. Please forgive my ignorance as to what may or may not be readily available.

    2. Middle School Teacher*

      Soups would be good in this situation, I think. Or one-pot pasta meals? The budget bytes and damn delicious recipe sites have some good options.

        1. Middle School Teacher*

          Enjoy! I love budget bytes, I use it probably once a week. She got me using sriracha and now I love it :)

    3. Etg*

      We do almost all our cooking on the stove, even with a full kitchen. (Though when I only had a stove, I do remember learning I could make toast in a frying pan!) There’s a lot you can do: pasta, soups, braised meats, steaks or fish fillets (not too thick so they cook through, or you can use a lid to cook more evenly). There’s a lot of recipes for “one skillet meals” online. You can defrost things either in salted water (look up “brining meat”) or in a baggie in water. Anything particular you’ve wanted to make but didn’t know how?

      1. matcha123*

        One problem I’m having is that even when I was living in the US, for budget reasons, I basically ate the same few meals for a couple of years (fried rice, curry rice, baked chicken, Jiffy muffins/pancakes), so I don’t really have an idea of what I could make. When I flip through cookbooks, they often have recipes with a bunch of ingredients. And they call for an oven or other cooking tools that I just don’t have.

        1. matcha123*

          I actually have not! I have found a few books in my area, but the recipes don’t seem that appealing or easy to make. I’ll also check out good ‘ole Google :)

    4. Someone*

      How don’t see how that would be so limiting… make some rice/noodles/potatoes in one pot, and some vegetables and/or meat with sauce in the pan. E.g. fry mushroom and onions, then add (sour) cream and spices, plus rice made in the pot. Or noodles in the pot, and some meat with tomato sauce in the pan. You can also put a sieve into the pot so you can cook some vegetables in the steam while cooking something else in the water.

    5. Natalie*

      Noodle dishes seem like they would work – you can cook the noodles in the pot and cook protein and vegetables in the frying pan.

    6. dr_silverware*

      I love the Serious Eats recipe for pasta e fagioli. The basics are, you’ve got your soup pot. First you fry the hell out of some pancetta or other really flavorful meat like bacon (this is optional though). Then take that out and cook your spices and aromatics (onion, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes) together in butter–pretty gently, just sweating the onions until soft. Then you dump in a big can of whole tomatoes (broken open with your fingers so they don’t burst when cooking) with their juice, a couple small cans of kidney beans, and some chicken broth. You bring that to a boil and simmer it for maybe 20 minutes until the flavors have come together, and then dump in some pasta shells and continue cooking for 10 minutes or however long it says to cook the pasta shells on the box. Then season with salt & pepper & parsley and maybe put a bit of extra olive oil in there to finish it.

      This particular recipe makes a lot, but it can be frozen really well, and can be scaled down if you’re using smaller cans of ingredients. I like to leave out the chicken broth and cook the pasta shells separately and treat it more like a sauce. When I do that I put in some of the pasta water at the end to loosen it up and give it some extra starch.

    7. Blue_eyes*

      There’s a cookbook called “Will It Skillet?” that is all recipes you can make in a skillet. Not sure if you can get it in Japan, but there are some recipes from it on various cooking blogs promoting the book, so worth googling.

      Soups are a great idea as they are usually made in just one pot. Stews or braised meats would also be good in your Dutch oven. Curries too. And I second the recommendation for the website Budget Bytes. She has great recipes without too many ingredients and she will note when something can be left out if it’s too expensive/hard to get for you. She does a lot of one pot meals and is good about balancing taste, health, and price.

      1. matcha123*

        Thanks! The recipes on that site look pretty good.
        Ingredients that are cheap and easy to find in the US can be expensive or non-existent here, which adds a bit to my problems. But it looks like a lot of the same spices are used, so that gives me a great place to start.

    8. MuttIsMyCopilot*

      Quesadillas are great for one person/one skillet meals! Heat a little oil. Throw down a flour tortilla, whatever cheese you like, and anything you have on hand to be the filling. Let it get melty on the inside and crispy on the outside. Fold in half, and serve with salsa, avocado or guacamole, sour cream, or whatever you like.

      You can smear a layer of refried beans on one half if you have them, and virtually anything can be used as filling so you don’t get tired of the same stuff. Black beans and spinach with pepper jack. Ham and mushrooms with cheddar and a drizzle of barbecue sauce. Leftover roasted sweet peppers and eggplant with feta and halloumi, dipped in hummus. White beans and tuna with shredded jack and a little parmesan, dipped in marinara. There are endless possibilities!

    9. LilySparrow*

      The Dutch oven is great for soup. I don’t really use recipes for soup, just a kind of formula.

      Saute your aromatics (onions, garlic, carrots, celery or whatever) in a little fat until they smell good. Dry seasonings go in with them. If you’re using meat, cook it with them too.
      Deglaze the pan with wine or broth and get all the flavor/caramelization scraped up. Add your juicy or bulk veggies (tomato, greens, squash, beans, potato, whatever) and the rest of the liquid. Fresh herbs would go in now.
      Put the lid on and simmer until it’s soup (at least a half hour, more is usually better). Anything that would dissolve, like rice or pasta, should go in just long enough to get cooked.

      For a creamy soup, sprinkle flour in with the fat & aromatics to make a roux. Puree with a stick blender after simmering and finish with milk or cream, 5 -10 mins before you serve, and turn the heat off.

      I usually just make soup out of the bits & Bob’s in the fridge before grocery day.

    10. LemonLyman*

      I’m not sure if you can get popcorn kernels at where you are, but I’m case you can (or buying them online isn’t an arm and a leg), stovetop kettle corn can be a nice and simple dessert. It satisfies a sweet tooth but isn’t heavy. Google: How to make kettle corn at home. I’ve used the recipe from thekitchn dot com. You can also make regular stovetop popcorn (non sweet).

      Do you have the ingredients for mac and cheese where you are? I’m a fan of comfort food with real, clean ingredients and cookieandkate dot com has a real ingredient stovetop version of the old school blue box mac and cheese. A nice thing to eat if you want some American comfort food!

      1. matcha123*

        Oh my god, I haven’t had kettle corn in ages! That sounds so good!
        I used to make mac & cheese in my rice cooker. I didn’t even think to use it in the pot!

    11. Chris S*

      Misha Fletcher just did a “cookbook” called ‘Cooking is Terrible’ that’s all about simple dishes that are low-energy to make. I find it delightful, and it’s 90 pages of ideas and recipes! You can find it on Amazon for $5 or Gumroad for name-your-price.

    12. Nesprin*

      Master the omlette/okonomiyaki. Eggs + whatever veg/meat you have in the fridge fried in a pan with or without okonomiyaki mix.

    13. Kuododi*

      When I was a kid, I remember Mom would make Beef Stroganoff in her Dutch oven. For the life of me however, I have no idea where the family recipe has disappeared. I am sure you would be able to find a good one on Google. Have fun!!!

    14. Kimberlee, no longer Esq.*

      You can make some skillet cornbread! That’s probably something you can make all kinds of variants on with 5 ingredients or so.

      I eat a lot of packaged, ready-to-eat Indian food I buy off Amazon (Kitchens of India is a good brand). You can eat it straight out the bag, or heat it up in the frying pan or pour it over heated rice. Super convenient!

    15. Falling Diphthong*


      1 lb ground meat (I use chicken)
      1 bunch chopped green onions
      chopped ginger
      soy and fish sauce
      Combine these and put them inside wonton wrappers. Seal.

      Heat oil (peanut is traditional) in that frying pan. Cook the wontons (single layer panful at a time) until they brown on the bottom, then pour in a good slug of stock, cover, and let them boil and steam. (I turn them over at this point, but not essential.) Uncover, cook down into sauce, transfer to plate.

      Dipping sauce: soy sauce, sesame oil, lime, a few scallion bits, whatever heat you like

    16. Pam*

      Last night, I made a pot of quinoa, stirred in leftover veggies, and ate that. Today, Inreheated it, and threw in a couple of eggs.

    17. DrWombat*

      I have a zucchini rice recipe that works as long as you have a small food processor or a box grater:

      2-3 medium zucchini, shredded in a food processor (easier to do this if you dice them first)
      ~1-1.5 lb ground sausage
      cooked rice (at least 2 cups, cooked)
      cherry tomatoes
      minced garlic and spices of choice
      cooking oil of choice

      Brown sausage in high-sided skillet/dutch oven on stove with spices of choice and a bit of cooking oil if lean sausage
      Once sausage is browned, add zucchini and sautee until translucent and the zucchini starts to get sticky. Add more spices at this stage, or the final product will taste bland
      Then add enough cooked rice, stirring so that the zucchini binds everything together. Get it so the proportions look good to you.
      Let the mixture cook down a bit until less watery and everything starts to bind together more, on med/medium high heat
      If adding cherry tomatoes, place in pan, turn pan up to medium high, and cover pan. Let the tomatoes blister a bit. Serve. Doubles well if the pan is big enough, good to make ahead and eat all week. Fresh basil is good in this too.

    18. AcademiaNut*

      Simple pasta sauce: In frying pan sautee some combination of onions, mushrooms, celery, carrots, garlic. Add diced chicken, or ground meat if you want, and brown slightly. Add a can of diced tomatoes, or pureed tomatoes, or chopped fresh tomatoes and fresh or dried herbs. Simmer for a while. Serve over pasta.

      Stew: Sautee chunks of onion, mushroom, carrot, celery, etc. Add cut up meat and brown. Add a bit of water or broth (stock cubes are okay) and a bay leaf. Cover and simmer until the meat is tender – part way through, you can add diced potatoes and/or green beans or corn. When the meat and potatoes are cooked through, thicken with a bit of flour and water, and a dash of tonkatsu sauce if you need a bit more flavour

      You can use this base (before adding flour) to add Japanese curry or cream stew cubes. Serve with rice if you want, and a side salad.

      Pot Roast: Take a chunk of meat – pork shoulder is good – and trim the fat. Brown in the dutch oven in a bit of oil or lard. Add some liquid (wine is good, it doesn’t need to cover the meat), cover, and simmer on low heat for a couple of hours, adding more liquid if needed and occasionally turning the meat. Serve with bread, and a vegetable side.

      Thai Curry: Buy a package of Thai curry paste (green is good) in the international section, and a can of coconut milk. Sautee the paste in a bit of oil, add the coconut milk and blend. Add cut up chicken, eggplant and onion (or other vegetables of your choice), simmer until tender. Add a squeeze of lime juice at the end, and if you want, some fresh basil and a dash of fish sauce. Serve over rice.

    19. Lightly-chewed Jimmy*

      if you can get hold of James Barber’s ‘Fear of Frying’ it’s all stuff to do in the frying pan :) he’s a got a couple more books like that – one pot stuff with minimal ingredients and space requirements (at least one of the books was from when he was living on a boat, so really minmal space :) )

    20. Hannah*

      Here is a favorite of mine, although I’m not sure if Japan has all these ingredients, so YMMV:

      Some kind of uncured spicy sausage (such as Chorizo or spicy Italian)
      A large amount of baby kale or other baby cooking greens
      Shallots or onions, chopped
      Red bell pepper, chopped (optional)
      Slightly cooked potato, sliced (I microwave for a few minutes, but you could parboil)
      Butter and/or olive oil
      Salt and pepper

      Saute onions in butter or oil. Add sausage and saute until browned. Add potato and cook until potato is soft. Add bell pepper, cook for a few more minutes. Add as much greens as you can put in the pan. I often put them in, then put in more when those have cooked down a bit.

      Take out of the pan and set aside. Add some more butter to the pan if needed and fry one or two eggs for each person. Serve fried egg on top of the greens mixture.

    21. Susan Sto Helit*

      Melt some butter into a pan, add half a tin of black beans (drained and rinsed), diced chorizo and a couple of slices of jalapeno pepper if you like them. Heat all the way through until the peppers are just beginning to break down. Put in a bowl, top with grated cheese, soured cream and guacamole (I just use the stuff in the squeezy bottles you can get in the supermarket). Ta da – Mexican beans. It takes less than 10 minutes to make, and you can scale up as necessary (adding in taco shells or scooping portions into lettuce leaves if you like) if you have guests.

      It’s my go-to whenever I can’t really be bothered to cook – it’s really quick and easy, and it’s all stuff you can stick in the fridge or cupboard and just have waiting until it’s needed.

  5. Chocolate Teapot*

    Ooh, in quite early for once!

    I went shopping today and for some odd reason, almost every shop was having a sale. Which is very nice, but I am trying to be frugal at the moment to pay for my summer holiday. There was a lot of “Do I really need to buy this?”

    Fortunately, I did get a bargain. It was a stainless steel saucepan with matching steamer insert and lid, all for less than half price, with bonus loyalty points and a free Easter Bunny cookie cutter thrown in.

    1. Fiennes*

      I went NUTS clothes shopping this week. I honestly did need a couple of things, but yeesh. The sales get ya.

    2. Laurin Kelly*

      Thredup had a 20% off sale for Earth Day and I also had a credit for a couple of things that didn’t fit. 90% of my Favorites list suddenly jumped into my cart – ooops!

    1. ainomiaka*

      oooh. This sounds like fun. I’d be super interested to hear what you think of the results.

          1. Nana*

            Looks terrific! You might consider saving your pennies for permanent eyeliner (subtle tattoo). Longer lasting and fabulous.

  6. annakarina1*

    I am feeling down about being single. My last relationship was five years ago, and since then, I focused a lot on grad school and work, and dated only occasionally. I stayed busy with social stuff like bar trivia, kickboxing, seeing friends, and writing about films, but I haven’t had the luck of getting into a romantic relationship with anyone. And I will be 35 this fall, and feel as if my peers have advanced past me with marriage and kids and buying homes. I don’t want marriage or kids or to buy a house, but I also don’t want to feel as if I am far behind everyone.

    I got back into online dating last fall, but I didn’t enjoy it. I went out with a few guys, but wasn’t interested in them, and I wouldn’t get message responses from guys I liked online, so I just felt old and past my twenties prime. I casually chat with guys through my hobbies, and it’s nice and fun, but very fleeting. I also have a longtime FWB, but we’ve never been a couple because we don’t share the same relationship interests. Sometimes it felt like he was the closest thing I had to an intimate boyfriend relationship, but I know he isn’t my boyfriend. I would want to date a guy like him, and reached out to similar guys on online dating, but without luck.

    I hate that I feel inadequate to others, or that I’ve been single for way too long while everyone else is happily coupled up. I want to know that it isn’t too late for me, that I didn’t miss an opening by not having a successful relationship earlier.

    1. Kelly AF*

      I had never had a relationship until I met my now-husband when I was 30. I felt the same as you do now. He and I met by chance on a news discussion website – not somewhere I would have imagined meeting a romantic partner!

      I don’t know if this is helpful or depressing, but I genuinely believe it’s luck and good timing.

      1. annakarina1*

        I agree, it is luck and good timing. I only had my first boyfriend in my late twenties. I dated around, but wasn’t emotionally trusting due to my own shyness, so I would either have guy friends or hookups, and there were a couple of guys who potentially could have been boyfriends, but I wasn’t ready back then. Now I do feel more ready after years of being single, but it is harder being in my mid-thirties and, while I think I am nice-looking, I’m not cute in the way I was in my twenties.

    2. NaoNao*

      I’m not sure if this will help but I was in the *same* spot at 35. I was burned out and fed up with a parade of ONS and FWB and I felt over the hill and invisible online.
      I actually had a friend from work who I developed feelings for as did he, and we agreed to try it.
      Even though I had already known him almost a year, there was a *lot* of deal-breaker stuff I didn’t know or was minimizing and it was the *worst* 14 months of my life. The first 3 months were great—he’s handsome, charming, funny, sexy, super helpful around the house, etc. But he was also very damaged and broken and has a severe drinking problem he made zero effort to control. We got engaged after about 2 months together. I was on cloud nine. I had waited so long (10 years without a long term steady guy!) and finally he was there! That feeling kept me in it for about 10 months too long. I also had the story about everyone surpassing me: getting engaged, married, kids, etc. That’s just a harmful story. What’s right for them is not right for you and you never know what’s going on behind closed doors! Maybe they’re happy, maybe they’re miserable. A guy friend from high school married at 22 and had 3 kids, he’s now on wife 2, with 5 kids, and sleeping around. Another guy friend married at 28-ish, spent 8 of 10 years of his marriage in a long term long distance affair!

      I limped away from that with a completely broken heart. I was shattered.

      3 months after the breakup I met a cool coworker at a new job. Almost the same story: friends for about 9 months, then we agreed to try it. Completely different relationship: stable, loving, caring, supportive, and so on. I feel lucky every day to have met him.

      The difference is that with this second guy, who I’ve been with for just over a year now, is that he wasn’t someone I would have picked for myself. He’s younger than me by 8 years, has no college education (although he’s enrolled now), was working in a technical call center, and was a “young for his age” guy in terms of life experience. (Never been outside our country, hadn’t been to a lot of the interesting or cultural spots in town, a lot of housekeeping optional stuff was new to him, etc). A couple years ago, that would have been a hard pass. I wanted an intense, strong, manly, dominant personality guy to “keep up with me”. I wanted romance, intensity, passion, etc.

      What a dum-dum I was. :)

      I’m not sure if I have a point, other than: be really, really open to who might be a good fit. You do NOT have to compromise on having physical chemistry and attraction. But speaking frankly, I don’t have “tear your pants off” chemistry with my now-guy. We have a spark and an ember of consistent mutual attraction, but it’s steady and low key. Looking for “fire” chemistry at the expense of character was a BIG mistake to me.

      1. annakarina1*

        That’s great that you found a wonderful guy!

        I don’t get turned on by most guys. I wondered if I was a lesbian, but I’m not sexually attracted to women, I just find women prettier than men. I had a minor crush on a guy in my field, but was embarrassed when we were matched up on the same dating site, and when I sent a work email to him later and he didn’t respond, I felt as if he thought I wanted a date. So I got off online dating to keep my work life and personal life separated.

        I would just like to find someone who I find interesting and nice and attractive to me in some way.

        1. NaoNao*

          I recently read an interesting article that talks about how sexual desire is actually rarely present in that “organic” or “out of nowhere” way, and how the media and society sort of pretend that it is!
          So looking for what Captain Awkward calls “pantsfeels” for someone you don’t know or on a first date might not be a reliable indicator of how you will feel once you get to know them and like them.
          If you rarely feel attraction “organically”, my advice would be make friends you feel comfortable with and look forward to spending time with, and see if something develops naturally. If it doesn’t—no loss. If it does, great!
          At the age of 35, most men in your age cohort or younger are likely guilty of not making much effort (grooming, style, fitness) or are all the way over on the “Crossfit/IG model” side, and thus likely not a great/realistic match for most of us mortals. So that’s part of why women are prettier: they’re trying harder.
          If “pretty” is what makes you feel attraction or desire, maybe the “compass” needs to be shifted to men who present in a more gender neutral way or have a feminine energy to them. With social shifts recently, this is more and more common (long hair, traditionally “feminine” colors on a guy, tunics or sarongs as loungewear, jewelry for men, higher grooming standards, and so on) and you might find a guy who falls more on that “pretty” side rather than “ruggedly handsome”.

          1. annakarina1*

            I tend to go more for rocker types, like guys with long hair who have a grungy look to them. I just find it sexy, and saw that I had that in a pattern of guys I’ve been attracted to. There have been exceptions, as my ex-boyfriend didn’t look anything like that and I was into him. But while I do have a type, I try to be open-minded to get to know other kind of guys, as I already did have a relationship with someone who didn’t look “my type,” but we shared similar interest in film, martial arts, and senses of humor.

    3. matcha123*

      Hey! It looks like we’re the same age and also single :)
      I also don’t care about marriage, don’t want kids and owning a home seems like a waste of energy to me. I don’t really feel behind my peers in that area, I helped raise my younger sibling and have spent a LOT of time taking care of young children, infants and teens. All of that is kind of “been there, done that” for me.
      I do feel behind in my career. My friends got a lot of support from their families and were able to seek out lucrative jobs and have progressed. I am happy for them and proud of them, however I feel like a loser. I make less than 40k a year, I have no savings and I just paid off my student loans.
      With dating, I am totally behind. I didn’t date in high school or college. When I broke up with my bf of 6 years, I had to remind myself that it was better to be single than to be with someone who was making me depressed/didn’t want to make an effort to be with me.
      I also recently started online dating. I’ve met some men…all younger…and have had a positive response from two. It’s too early to tell. But, I remind myself of the advice given here to people who are interviewing…I’m interviewing them as much as they are interviewing me. I shouldn’t have to completely hide my personality. I shouldn’t feel stress talking with them. And I should try to enjoy what I can. I am an introvert and getting out of my comfort zone to talk to unknown men is nerve-wracking. I’m also trying to fill my schedule studying, quiet time, exercise, etc. and making time to meet friends.
      We only get to see a small part of our friends’ lives, and most of us try to show the best parts…not the fights with partners, stinky farts, etc. I also don’t think too much about my age. 34 is still quite young! We have at least 30 – 40 more long years of life to live. Let’s enjoy what we can!

    4. Fiennes*

      I’d been more than 15 years without a relationship when, greatly to my surprise, I partnered up in my 40s. I definitely felt left behind in many areas: while I couldn’t have children, I would’ve liked to adopt, though didn’t feel my situation was stable enough to do that as a single mom. I hated being the one long-term alone person with all my married friends. I hated not having friends who could be up for a spontaneous movie or restaurant outing.

      But I didn’t hate my life. I sank my teeth into my career—after always thinking I was a person for whom my job could never be my life. I traveled alone, even to foreign countries. I bought a house and made it nice, a home instead of an interim spot. All this meant I was in a good place when my fella finally turned up. What I’m saying is, don’t wait to live. Also: you never know when the right person will come along. It may be a while! But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

      1. annakarina1*

        Thanks! During my single years, I finished grad school, worked various contract jobs, adopted a cat, visited Paris (my first time overseas), am currently in a good job for over a year, excel at bar trivia games, wrote about films, and worked out a lot with Muay Thai. I have been busy, and I am still pushing myself to be more social and to meet new people, with some hope of meeting someone nice to date.

    5. Midwest Engineer*

      I’ve had the same feelings and recently reading the book “All the Single Ladies” by Rebecca Traister really helped my perspective on things. It’s about single women and how the growing population of single women is changing our society. (It is focused on the US.)

    6. neverjaunty*

      I hear you saying that you feel “behind” when people reach milestones you don’t really want yourself?

      1. Fiennes*

        Even when you, personally, don’t want one of the traditional societal milestones (wedding, kids, home ownership), you are *absolutely* treated differently for not having these things after a certain age. You get talked down to. Did you go on a big trip/take a class/something else fun? Don’t worry, at least one of your parent friends will be there to explain that they would love to do something like that if they didn’t have *more important* things to do. (Extra fun: some of them will keep saying this even when they know you really wanted kids but turned out to be infertile!) My family kept seating the unmarried at the thanksgiving “kids’ table” WELL INTO THEIR THIRTIES, no I am not joking, until finally my aunt led a revolt.

        My point is that you can be 100% down with where you are in life, it if you haven’t checked some of these boxes, someone will take the time to make you feel excluded for not doing so. If you *aren’t* 100% with where you are, that exclusion can be anywhere from irritating to deeply painful.

        (As I’ve gotten older, I see more that the married/parents who do this tend to be the ones who actually resent something about their situation—who feel they gave up too much to have kids, whose marriages are less satisfying, etc. They need those “accomplishments” to be all-important, because otherwise they’d have to face their unhappiness. People in good marriages/happy families don’t need to throw that kind of shade, and are a lot more accepting and objective. But there are always enough unhappy people to go around.

        I may be slightly testy about this because I had a couple of friendships go haywire after I found my partner later in life. Suddenly a few people seemed resentful, or became very condescending about my career in a creative field. I didn’t get why this was happening until one of them had the honesty to say: “I kept myself from feeling jealous about your job by reminding myself you were alone.” Because she owned that and got over it, that friendship survived. But some others appear to have changed forever.)

        1. matcha123*

          I’ve noticed this over the past few years. Why would someone older feel the need to look down on me because I’m not married and don’t have kids? That mindset has never made sense to me.

        2. all aboard the anon train*

          Yes. People can be very cruel about it. I’m fine with being single, but I’m not fine with being excluded or treated differently because I am.

          The worst is at events when they seat single people away from everyone else. If I have friends who are sitting elsewhere, why can’t I sit with them? Why do they get to all be at a couples table and I’m regulated to the singles table? It’s unnecessarily cruel.

          Also the “pity” thrown at you when you don’t have the house/kids/partner. I’m so tired of it. I’m happy with my life, so stop insisting that I must be miserable!

          1. Single Person*

            You are seated with the other singles in the hopes that some of you will pair up…

            1. Grapey*

              Organizers that do that are rude IMO. At my wedding, I sat people together that knew each other. If people were single and ready to mingle, that’s what the open bar and dance floor were for.

            2. all aboard the anon train*

              That’s rude because it implies a single person must be so lonely and desperate that they’re looking to pair up with any other person who is single. And it assumes that the people arranging the seating know what’s best for me. It’s condescending and inappropriate, and is making a noticeable attempt to separate me from people I know and could sit with because I’m “different”.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                Agreed. I hate when people assume that because people are single they will pair up automatically, as if that would magically override any disparate interests or worldviews. I’ve had people try to fix me up that way — “You’re both single! Why not give it a try?” Um, because what you’ve told me about the person contains several deal breakers, and if you knew me at all, you wouldn’t have suggested him in the first place?

                1. all aboard the anon train*

                  Ugh yes. It’s also bad when you’re single and queer because people just assume that one queer person will automatically date any other queer person. “Oh, you’re both queer women who are single, of course you’ll get along!”

                  It’s so annoying.

        3. neverjaunty*

          Sure, but literally none of that was in the comment. “I feel like I’m behind” is very different from “my married friends stopped hanging with me”.

          1. Agent Veronica*

            People tend to feel left behind because they’re *made* to feel that way. Otherwise people just feel lonely.

            1. neverjaunty*

              People are never ‘made to feel’ lonely? And never feel left behind because of their own attitudes and feelings, rather than others being unkind to them? That seems rather a broad brush.

        4. Middle School Teacher*

          I straight-up get what you are saying. I had to stop hanging with a friend because she just seemed so determined to fix me up with someone, or was constantly bringing it up. As a teacher, I travel with students a lot. After an international trip, this girl and I got together for a drink. This was the first five minutes:
          Her: how was your trip?
          Me: fabulous! The kids were great, the weather was perfect. I love Europe.
          Her: did you meet anyone?
          Me: well, no… it was with kids, not sure how that would have worked. You know that. (She’s a teacher too.) But every time I go, it’s harder for me to come back home. I think I want to move back to Europe again soon.
          Her: with a man!
          Me (internally): ok, we’re done.

          Like, she took it personally I was single? We had a couple of single guy friends so I let her work on them. One got married last year so she has a couple to hang out with now, and one I think will be a bachelor for life. It’s not that I don’t want a relationship, but I’ll have one on my terms, thanks.

          But there is a reaction from people when they learn you’re single without kids. Like, oh, are you married? And no kids? Ohhhhhh. It’s annoying sometimes.

          1. The Original K.*

            I had to tell a few friends that it really hurt my feelings when they reduced activities I was excited about to places I could meet a man. “I’m really excited, I just signed up for a new cooking class!” “Ooh, maybe you’ll meet a guy there.” “I’m doing my first triathlon in a few months!” “Lots of guys do triathlons!” It would be one thing if I were lamenting being single and saying I wanted to meet a man, but I was just excited about doing a thing I wanted to do. I found it really insulting and said so, which caused a few rifts.

          2. all aboard the anon train*

            Ugh been there. I’ve found the people I know who push this tend to be people who don’t know what to do with themselves if they’re not in relationships.

            1. Middle School Teacher*

              It didn’t help she met her husband in high school. She had literally never been single as an adult. I don’t know how she would have functioned, to be honest.

      2. annakarina1*

        It’s more that I have been single for years and don’t have the milestones of being in a nice long-term relationship, while others have gotten engaged or married, planning kids, buying homes, and just moving onto other stages in their lives as adults. I have my personal milestones of getting my MLS, adopting a cat, and doing well in my job for over a year, but I’ve also lived in the same home for nearly a decade, had one relationship years ago, and can feel behind everyone else who had “graduated” ahead of me. So I don’t want marriage or kids, but I’d like to be in a stable and nice relationship.

        1. Just Jess*

          Adding a late comment here since I feel a connection to the thread. A year and a half ago I started seeing a therapist after a fling got a little messy and did not end the way I wanted it to. It was time to reevaluate a lot of my life trajectory. One of the things the therapist said to me early on as I explored where I was in life (30 and gainfully employed), is that moving out of young adulthood is difficult since there aren’t many guaranteed milestones left to pursue. School was simple; finish the assignment, finish the class, finish the grade level. Then get a job. Then get better jobs until you’re comfortable. Then….????

          A lot of people feel lost because we very fortunately don’t HAVE TO get married and have kids. Being free to find meaningful milestones on our own carries the risk of feeling lost and unfulfilled if we don’t have a strong passion for defining those personal milestones.

          I also want to buy a house very soon. Being single and not having that second income, that roommate to split bills and the cost of a room with, or that partner to bounce ideas off of who is right there with you for every step, are all things that really affect an already emotional and stressful process. But it’s my goal and I know I’ll find a way to achieve it eventually. I have a few advantages as a single person in that I’m looking for a home for me without having to compromise with anyone on neighborhood, housing style, etc. I’m also not trying to start a family so I don’t need a particular type of neighborhood or living situation. So I try to focus on the handful of positives as well.

          1. Anon Chemist*

            I completely understand. I didn’t have my first truly serious relationship until I was 47! I too faced the pressure from certain friends to “find a man”, either at work, or from setups by those friends with totally incompatible men. That feeling of being the third wheel at some social functions wasn’t a pleasant experience, and it took until I was in my late 30’s before I was truly happy as a single woman.
            So, I too agree with the person up-thread who said to live your life now! I bought a house at 33 (a real financial stretch on a single-person salary), struggled through all the decisions associated with that on my own, traveled the world solo and enjoyed it. It was tough the first time, but I thought I’d better just DO IT, no sense “waiting for someone” to make my “real” life start. And then, when I’d settled in to being single all my life, I met a wonderful man online, the last place I thought I would! Here I am several years later, happily married, but I wouldn’t change the past for anything. Having autonomy for the first four decades made me self-confident, successful at my career, and financially comfortable. Having my wonderful husband now is icing on the cake. You never know what is around the corner!

    7. Buttercup*

      I have a great book to recommend for your post: 27 Wrong Reasons You’re Single by Sara Eckel. It dispels the myths people use to explain why women in their 30s are still single (e.g., too picky, too desperate, too immature). When I was in a similar situation, it helped me feel less alone, more at peace with my single status, and hopeful. I’ve bought several copies for my single girlfriends and recommended it to two therapists for their single clients.

    8. Candy*

      It’s not too late! My husband and I were both 36 when we met & married. We met at a cafe and married six months later. It was just like, “oh! You’re the one I’ve been waiting for all my life. Nice to finally meet you” You really have no idea where you will be and who you will meet a year from now. Just keep on building your life they way you want it and one day you’ll meet the person who fits perfectly into it like a puzzle piece

      1. Just Jess*

        Or you won’t meet that person/those people. And that’s OK too. It doens’t mean stop looking if that’s what someone wants, but there are no guarantees in life. That’s also a great reason to go on and pursue dreams today.

    9. Oilpress*

      Stay in reasonable physical shape, and you will always have plenty of dating options. I know that’s incredibly superficial, but for many people, that’s something they can control. Age, on the other hand, is something time controls.

      There may be fewer singles at your age than when you were 25, but that just means you are more in demand yourself.

      1. annakarina1*

        I definitely feel that. I work out a lot to feel in good shape and to look attractive. I am medium-sized, but I know that I look better at a certain weight. I am told that I am pretty and attractive, but I know that I would have better luck with dating at a better shape for myself.

    10. Mananana*

      It’s not too late for you. Not in the slightest. I married at 25 because I saw all my friends doing it, and I felt like I was being left behind. (Of course, at the time I thought it was love, but there were SO many red flag I ignored that there was no good reason to marry him.)

      At 42, I met my now-husband. In between that time span, I went back to school to finish my interrupted bachelor’s degree, then went on to grad school. After grad school, got a job that I loved in the field I studied for. And went on a LOT of dates from an internet dating site. Some good, some meh, some weird. Took breaks when dating wasn’t fun any more. When I met DH, it was the easiest relationship I’d ever had. No games, no pretense.

      So try to be kind to yourself, and remember that what we see are social-masks (made even worse by social media). Those “happily coupled” friends may envy your singleness.

      1. The Original K.*

        I once remarked to my best friend after a bad date that I was going to be single forever. My friend is married and has two kids, and she said ” … Eh. Marriage isn’t so great. And when you come home at the end of the day, you know what your place is going to look like before you open the door. I may never have that again.” I was like, yeah, that IS pretty great.

  7. Emily*

    How far would you drive for a concert?

    An artist I really like is touring this summer and her closest show is 3 hours away from me. At first I was thinking it sounded like too much work, especially since I’d probably be by myself and don’t particularly like driving, but now I’ve mostly changed my mind – if I drove up earlier, I could spend my day doing fun things in the city. (I’d also probably get a hotel or airbnb so that I don’t have to make the drive back right after).

    I’m not really looking for advice at this point, unless you have Really Strongly Held opinions, but I’d be curious to hear other people’s concert stories/traveling for concert stories.

    (If anyone’s curious, it’s Janelle Monae in Toronto.)

    1. librarianish*

      I didn’t love driving until after some really great road trips. Not for music – I used to play roller derby, and we traveled as much as 8 hrs by car to play. And I once drove 7 hrs for a knitting retreat by myself. I’ve driven 2 hrs for concerts before (into Chicago), and it was always worth it for bands I really liked. I don’t go to many live shows anymore, I find the ambient noise plus the concert noise really anxiety-producing, but I’d still drive probably up to 4 hrs for the right band in the right place.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      I’ve driven pretty far for an artist I’ve liked. I don’t think three hours, but maybe more like an 1 hour and a half? Actually, that’s not true! I once drove 8 hours to see an artist I liked. Went from San Francisco to LA, because she never performed outside of the LA area.

      Hope you enjoy the concert!

    3. Etg*

      Great idea! It’s like a nano-vacation. You’ll have a great time.

      A while ago I read about a study that concluded that money doesn’t buy happiness, but people who had lots of life experiences to look back on tended to be happier. I decided that sometimes wild splurging on entertainment or travel is the sensible thing to do. :D

      Hope you have a blast!

    4. nep*

      I’ve made 90-mile, 300-mile, and 600-mile road trips to see a particular artist (whom I also saw once while living overseas — that was just a quick taxi ride, same city).
      Every time, more than worth it. It really is about how much you want to experience the performer live and how much it means to you. For me, also, it depended on the venue; it’s got to be a venue that’s more intimate and where it’s just him and not at a music festival. I can’t think of any other artist for whom I’d do those trips, but for this one, there was never a question.

      1. nep*

        (I should say, for the longer trips I went with family member or friend and they drove. I would have gone alone, though, if no one keen to come along.)

    5. Anna B*

      I don’t drive, but I’ve traveled up to five hours by train (I’m in the UK) for concerts that I really wanted to go to. Three hours, especially if you can get a hotel and stay overnight, seems perfectly normal to me.

      1. Anonymous Ampersand*

        I’ve done 3 hours by train a few times. The only thing I regret is not staying over when we went to see Garbage in Glasgow. Do it!

        1. Cristina in England*

          This is a weird coincidence, but I was just wondering last night what it would be like to see Garbage in Glasgow (a train of thought inspired by a YouTube rabbit hole I was in). How was it?

    6. Temperance*

      3 hours is totally reasonable distance. TBH, we regularly drive 2.5 hours from home for shows. Get yourself a hotel and make it a mini vacation.

    7. The Other Dawn*

      Ah, this is right up my alley!

      I love in Connecticut. My sister and I drove to Canada twice: once was to see Def Leppard in Sarnia on the lake, and the other was to see Bon Jovi in Toronto. I’ve driven to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York (upstate and downstate), Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio. Ohio was the longest at about 8.5 hours. I’ve flown to Las Vegas a couple times, also. Almost all of these shows were Def Leppard (yes, they’re my favorite).

      At the end of the month my sister and I are headed to Cleveland, OH, to see Def Leppard and Journey. I’m picking her up in NY (about 4 hours from me), I’ll stay overnight, and then we’ll drive to Cleveland (about 5.5 hours) and see a friend on the way. We plan to spend a couple days, see the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame while we’re there, and head back.

    8. Hellanon*

      Go! I flew to Dublin from L.A. once for a concert, and to London from Venice to see a play…added on a few days in London both times, sure, but the concert was the point.

    9. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

      I was going to be reasonable, but then you said it was Janelle Monae and now I’m obligated to tell you to steal a car and road trip across Canada if you have to. The police will understand.

      I don’t have any epic stories of concert travel, but…have fun!

    10. Max Kitty*

      We’ve driven 6-8 hours for a concert before. We’ve also flown across the country (more than once) for particular bands. Sometimes we make a weekend out of it, but one time we did just a 24-hour trip and it was loads of fun. One year we planned a road trip home from a family Thanksgiving gathering to hit a concert along the way. So for us, any kind of trip centered around a particular performer is totally logical.

    11. Ugh*

      3 hours if I’m coming home the same night. Anything longer I stay overnight. I don’t have an overall time limit, I regularly base vacations around concerts.

    12. Getting Lit*

      I have road-tripped concerts for years. In my late twenties I was living in Florida and flew to Houston to road trip for a band (Cobra Starship) for their Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio shows. I also drove 4ish hours from near Orlando to near Miami for shows–once I drove to Tampa from Orlando (about an hour and a half) for a tiny secret Fall Out Boy show and it was amazing.

      I highly recommend it! If you have the freedom/can get away/can afford it. It’s fun! I’m probably “too old” to do it now (read: too tired), but I don’t regret any of the times I did go.

      As far as road trips in general go, I’m actually driving with my best friend from Orlando to Seattle in June! She’s moving and we’re going to make a whole week of it.

    13. Stacy*

      I live in Seattle-ish, and have driven to shows in Vancouver BC, Portland, and The Gorge in George, WA multiple times, and it’s generally about 3 hours to each of them. My body feels way too old for shows at the Gorge anymore. There was also the time my brother was driving and we were so near to running out of gas while we were siting in traffic with hundreds of other people out in the middle of nowhere in the pitch black. I may or may not have started contemplating whether disowning a sibling is a thing and also how would we have to do family holidays in the future. That one was a Dave Matthews show, I think. There was also the time my friend thought he lost his ID in Vancouver, BC, and literally as the second car ahead of us started moving forward crossing the border he found it. I feel like both of these stories have a lot to do with why I’m now the ‘get a hotel room and make a mini-vacation out of it’ type.

      Go! Have fun! Let us know how the show is!

      1. Pieforbreakfast*

        In mt experience shows at the the Gorge are less a concert and more an unknown adventure. Beautiful area though.

    14. Mimmy*

      I can’t say I’ve driven as far as the rest who’ve commented thus far, but I’ve had my share of adventures!

      I’m a fan of Kelly Clarkson and used to be very active on a long-running fan site. I’ve seen people who drive/fly all over to see multiple shows in a single tour. My craziest concert adventure is tame by comparison, but about 10 years ago, I’d gone to a show in an unfamiliar city about 1.5 hours away with people I’d only previously interacted with on the fan site. I got to meet many others from the site, many of whom had traveled great distances.

      Another cool trip I took for a concert was our not-even-24-hr trip to Atlantic City (about a 2-2.5 hr drive) to see The Revolution (Prince’s former band from the 1980s) last summer. We drove down Friday afternoon, saw the show, stayed overnight at the hotel, then drove right back home in the morning. All after having had a few adult beverages the previous evening!

      I don’t drive, so if an opportunity ever arose, I’d either go with my husband or make sure that I’d at least be meeting up with people I am full comfortable with. But that’s me–I get easily confused in unfamiliar places, especially if I’m by myself. Your thought of possibly getting overnight accommodations is wise. Also, going up ahead of time for sight-seeing can make the trip feel worthwhile rather than just going to the show and turning right around again, not taking in the new city.


    15. sortaAnon*

      Last year I flew to a remote Bulgarian town from the USA to see my favorite metal artist. So, maybe I’m biased as a traveler but I hope you go!! I LOVE to travel and did what you mention – sightsee and turn it into a vacation. I LOVE planning hotels/itineraries and seeing local sights.

      If there are people you would go with, having people that enjoy the same thing as you can make it even more fun (and you can split up the driving). If money isn’t a problem I find that offering to pay for a ticket/lodging makes people more willing to be your travel buddy.

      1. Emily*

        Hah, I feel like metal fans are super dedicated! (Or maybe it’s just that I’m in the US and a lot of ‘big’ metal bands are from Europe, so some of my friends will move heaven and earth to see their favorite bands when they come nearby.)

        Anyway, an overseas vacation including a concert by a band you really like sounds great! I don’t think there are many artists/performances I would currently do that for, but in theory I like the idea.

    16. Matilda the Hun*

      I drove 6 hours to Miami (well, Sunrise), at night by myself, to see Billy Joel perform for NYE the next evening. Stayed 3 nights, had a wonderful time shopping and relaxing, and had the best concert experience of my life.

      Definitely stay the night- when you’re heading to the show, you’ll find other fans staying near you and you can talk about how you were introduced to her and your favorite songs and stuff! There was a couple at my hotel for Billy that had flown in from Japan for the concert, and were using Google Translate with the front desk staff to sign up for a shuttle bus to the arena. My mom saw Barry Gibb in Miami, and met people from Germany who flew in to see him, since he rarely performs.

    17. The Original K.*

      I would drive 3 hours to a concert (and I would definitely drive 3 hours to see Janelle Monae), especially if it was taking place in a city with lots of other fun things to do. If I were able, I’d spend a day on either side of the concert doing other fun things in that city. Go for it!

    18. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      I once drove about 1,200 miles each way to see Belle and Sebastian. I lived in southern New Mexico and my friend lived in Denver, and the nearest show was in Kansas City. So I drove to pick him up then went to Kansas. Fortunately I have relatives in both places so it was a combination road trip and visit to grandma and grandpa’s.

    19. Elizabeth West*

      Three hours is doable for driving. Any more and I wouldn’t want to, especially if I had to drive alone. I HATE driving alone because it triggers my travel anxiety.

      If I have to fly and I have the money, there is no limit. The farthest I’ve ever gone domestically for a concert is from here to Los Angeles, about 1600 miles. The farthest ever was from here to London, 4200 miles. If I can ever manage it, I plan to travel past that even — there are yearly film music concerts in Prague and Krakow and dammit, all my friends get to go and I want to!

    20. mini cas*

      I wouldn’t drive far for a concert but I would fly. I’m from Toronto and I have considered going to the U.S. to see an artist perform.

      I don’t think Janelle Monae comes here that often so I say go for it.

    21. nr*

      I absolutely went from Chicago to Minneapolis to see Dessa with the Minnesota Orchestra. I worked my Thursday night shift, took Friday off at my other job and got a Megabus, stayed with my friend after the show, and got the bus home in time for my night shift on Saturday. It was a bit ridiculous but an unequivocally excellent decision.

      I’ve also gone 2.5 hours to both of her last Chicago shows – for one I rented a car and drove home in the middle of the night, and for the other I took the train and got a hotel. The drive home and four hours of sleep after the former were rough, but not regret-it rough.

      And yeah, for Janelle Monae? How could you not?

    22. Blue_eyes*

      Do it! It will be worth it! Definitely get a hotel or AirBnB so you don’t have to drive in the dark or feel like you need to leave the concert early.

      – signed, someone-who-just-got-tickets-to-see-Janelle-Monáe-in-NYC*

      *I live in NYC so I don’t have to go far to see the show, but she is so amazing I would totally travel to see her. I saw her once a few years ago at a benefit concert and she is unbelievable live – all of her energy and magnetism carries over even more in person.

    23. Jane of all Trades*

      Ohhh I hope you have a fantastic time! I didn’t travel, but two friends flew across the country and met up with me and another friend in my city to go to a concert. It was a summer, outside concert, we pregamed, found a good spot at the concert, and hung out the next day and it was sooo much fun!

    24. smoke tree*

      I would drive 3 hours for Janelle Monae! I’m going to see her on this tour as well–so excited!!

    25. MissDisplaced*

      Like, a million years ago, I went to Live Aid by myself. But that was only about a 1 hour drive. I did also take the train from Philly to NYC for a U2 concert (staying overnight).
      3 hours isn’t so bad of a drive really, but if the show runs late, you should definitely get a hotel room for the night. GO! It will be an adventure.

    26. Windchime*

      I’m probably not a good person to ask, since I’m flying to Vegas to see Elton John next week. :) It would be a long drive, but just a 2 hour-ish feel from Seattle.

    27. Eve*

      I’ve done it. Can you afford a hotel for the night though? I think at that distance it is a must.

      I bought tickets to her show in Boston this week and I’m so excited. It’s about 2 hours from me but I did it without hesitation. It’s Janelle Monae!

    28. Roja*

      I took some friends and drove three hours each way to see Wicked a few years back. It was a long day, but definitely worth it. We did plan so we could spend a few hours exploring the city (New Orleans) and that was quite fun too.

    29. Emily*

      Update for the curious: A few hours after posting, I purchased a ticket! :D

      Also, I appreciate all the stories you have to share – there’s a few too many for me to reply to all of them individually, but it’s fun to read the things you’ve done to attend exciting events or see your favorite performers.

    30. Nervous Accountant*

      I’m driving 1+ hr to NJ to see Ed Sheeran. This would be my first solo concert and second one ever (late bloomer here). I’m crushing so hard I might just drive 2-3 hours lol.

    31. The Person from the Resume*

      I wondered if it was Janelle Monae because my friend today announced that she’s not coming to our town but she’s willing to make the 500 mile drive to Atlanta for the show.

      I wouldn’t do it but I’m not as much of a music fan as my friend.

    32. Diamond*

      I live in a tiny town 3 hours away from the nearest city, so it would be very normal for me to drive that distance even for something less special than a concert!

    33. geographic*

      I flew to Nashville from Boston in 2006 to see Tom Waits with my mom for her 50th birthday. He rarely tours, and it’s usually only a handful of dates. I bought the concert tickets and we each paid for our own plane ticket. My mom is a huge fan and introduced me to his music when I was very young, so I’m a huge fan, too. It was totally worth it (and we also visited her sister in Chattanooga, so it wasn’t *exclusively* to see a concert). I would definitely drive three hours to see Janelle Monae.

    34. pur8ple*

      Doooo ittttt!!! My boyfriend and I flew to Reno from Massachusetts to see Neutral Milk Hotel because they sold out in like 30 seconds when they toured in our area and it was 100% worth it. Probably my favorite show that I’ve ever been to, everything combined to make it a grand adventure and we still talk about it today, three years later.

  8. Someone*

    What is your inner voice like? As in, how does your inner thought process manifest?

    It’s never really discussed (I think) and I’m dying to know – ever since a few years ago, when I was brushing my teeth while, in my head, telling my father about some stuff I’d learned at university. I veered off a bit, though, and for some reason ended up “telling” my father that I tend to think in a sort of dialogue, where I imagine telling people about the stuff that I’m thinking about. It occurred to me that my father would probably be surprised to hear that…

    I imagine many people might think in a sort of monologue where they basically talk with themselves. I also found some small discussions on the internet, and remember reading about someone who’s inner vice was basically like a narrator.

    Mine, as I said, is a dialogue. Sort of, I don’t actually spend much time imagining what the other person might say. It’s more like running my own thought process against the filter of a different personality – my father, mother, boyfriend, other friends, professors, or sort of “stock personalities” like a doctor or psychologist. I try to explain my opinion or experience to whatever person fits the current situation, while basically listening to my own thoughts with their ears. It’s actually quite useful, though I end up constantly thinking about myself critically, which can be a bit exhausting.

    So, what about you?

    1. NaoNao*

      It’s hard to describe. It’s like an audible book narrator but barely conscious, if that makes sense. I often think in pictures/memories/sensations, but also fully formed sentences. I too have voices: they’re my own voice but critical words from difficult people in my life.

    2. Etg*

      Oh, I dialog all the time. And sometimes i catch myself mouthing the words when I’m alone and i really wonder if I’ve lost my mind ;).

      I remember as a kid I was narrating my life in my head as if it were a series of (extremely boring) books.

    3. dr_silverware*

      It’s changed a lot over the years. I remember clearly that in middle school I’d do a lot of narrating, particularly narrating mundane stuff. “She walks down the stairs with her books.” Now, if I’m in a bad mood, I develop a really mean inner voice telling me things directly, and when I start coming out of the bad mood, I tend to change it to a dialog and talk directly and sternly back.

      Most of the time now, though, I don’t notice an inner voice, or it only comes up when I’m planning, and then it’ll be, like “OK, I’ll do an hour of work and then set a timer for a half hour of relaxation…”

      It’s an interesting question! I think that all these changes in inner voice, for me, have a lot to do with my method of journaling. I don’t know the direction of the causality, but when I was young, I’d write pages and pages of narrative about my day; now I write lists and a couple pages of processing if I need to work through a storm of inscrutable bad mood.

    4. FrontRangeOy*

      Dialogue, like you, with a rotating cast of “stock character types.” (Critical friend, upbeat friend, various neutral 3rd parties.)

      1. Someone*

        Ooh, I should add “upbeat friend” and “critical friend” as stock personalities myself. I’ve only ever used stock personalities when the matter asked for some professional objective opinion. But what you mentioned sounds like a great way to steer your own emotions a bit, which honestly is something I need to work on.

    5. OperaArt*

      Dialog with myself.
      “Don’t forget to take a lunch to work.”
      “Oh, that’s right. Where’s the pear?”
      “Right hand drawer of the fridge.”

    6. Red Reader*

      Depends on what I’ve been watching lately. When I was blowing through all 9 seasons of Forensic Files on Netflix, I started hearing my life narrated by the show’s narrator, complete with some weird phrasing. “After finishing her workday, Ginger went to a department store to purchase some groceries, as well as a bag of chocolate candy and… a DVD movie.” (It was discount post-valentine’s chocolate and Thor: Ragnarok, but the show always makes the most mundane stuff sound hinky :P )

      1. Turtlewings*

        I’m always amused by the way he says “computer,” as if he’s never heard the word before and is mildly suspicious of the concept!

    7. LilySparrow*

      Yes, I nearly always have someone I’m addressing in my mind. The exception would be when I’m having a purely emotional or sensory experience.

      If I’m thinking in words, they are addressed to someone, even if it’s someone imaginary. If I address myself or a thing I’m dealing with (jar lid, recalcitrant computer) like “Well, that was silly,” or “Come on,” or “Yes, good job,” I almost always break into talking out loud.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      I tend to think in pictures. This is fine for sorting things quickly. It’s not fine in most other instances. So fixing lunch for work goes like this:
      “Do I have everything? [Picture yesterday’s lunch. picture myself sitting at my desk with my lunch, wondering where my bottled water is.] I grab the bottled water.
      “Now, do I have everything?” [Notice note on place mat with info for a cohort. Put the note in my handbag.]
      “Am I done yet?” [Decide to put the dog out one last time, while I flip through the pictures in my head to see what else I was supposed to remember.]

      Navigating by car is similar. “Picture turning left by the white house with the blue shutters.” I can navigate most of my county this way and I can do a couple other counties in the same manner. About 15 years ago, I decided I should really start to use maps, going on recall is actually a limiting way to navigate. It’s also draining because I sometimes don’t remember a turn until I am on top of it at 50 mph. grr. I hate that.

      1. Saucy Minx*

        For the most part, I process in images & feelings.

        If I want words then the system slows down while I search for just the right ones. Sometimes I get audible at this point, but I am always alone (& not loud) when rehearsing the phrases.

        Strangely, there is not much sound either in my thoughts or in my dreams, despite my love of music & singing.

    9. Lissa*

      I don’t think in pictures at all, and don’t really have a visual component to my thoughts, so it’s all dialogue. My inner voice is always running, generally pretty loud and distinctive, in my head. Sometimes I will imagine conversations, but it’s also often like narrative might be in a book or something.

    10. Kimberlee, no longer Esq.*

      I’m such a megalomaniac. I do the dialog thing, but I always assume I’m being interviewed by someone on TV or a podcast. It used to be Jon Stewart on the Daily Show almost exclusively, but I’ve branched out since he left the show. I’ve been on Chapo a few times. Other times, I think there’s still an assumption that I’m on TV or on stage, but the interviewer is more a stock “media” character than anyone specific.

      I guess it’s not ALWAYS an interview, I can think of times when I’ve talked to my boss in my head in the past. But usually, it’s an interview.

      1. FrontRangeOy*

        Hah! I do the interview thing sometimes too. For the longest time, NPR and Diane Rehm interviewed me. I am NOT that interesting but made for endlessly entertaining inner dialogue :-P

    11. Grapey*

      My therapist once called my dad my “shoulder devil.” Many lightbulbs went off at that point.

      I’ve learned to stop being critical to myself and letting my dad/shoulder devil babble to himself when things start to get hairy. I just acknowledge it and then consciously repeat something kind to myself.

      e.g. old me: “You’re dumb for breaking that plate, be more careful you dummy!”
      new me: “Next time don’t try to carry 4 things at once! But at the end of that day it was just a mistake. You didn’t like that plate anyway.”

    12. Ex-Academic, Future Accountant*

      I read your post going “omg, are you secretly me?” I do exactly the same thing — not all the time, it’s something I find myself focusing on (e.g. while exercising, going to sleep, washing dishes, or any other non-verbal activity — I also sometimes audiate music instead at such times). But if my thoughts are internally verbalized, that’s generally how.

      The other thing is that I’m a monolingual English speaker, but the language I do this in also depends on the imagined addressee. And not always in a way that conforms to the reality of actual conversations with the person in question: e.g. my advisor in grad school was a native German speaker, and when I was imagining conversations with him, they were in German even though I only ever spoke English with him in real life. Sometimes I’d be in an imagined conversation with “Generic Person I Speak Language X To”, for languages I’d studied in college and was trying to keep up, but didn’t currently have any opportunities to speak them with actual people.

      It sort of helps with devising things like elevator pitches, and “public-facing” explanations of complicated things that are going on in my life, because I’ve already practiced them a bit in my head.

      1. Someone*

        I don’t ALWAYS think in dialogue, only mostly – when I do have an inner voice. But I can also think differently – e.g. when I’m really concentrated on solving a math problem, I talk to myself (aloud, when I’m alone), explaining what I have to do, what is notable, what one could try. I’m also an avid daydreamer, and obviously these daydreams involve the complete set of sensations.

        I also occasionally focus and /or imagine music, but most of the time I lose that focus rather quickly and dialogue again…

        I totally do that foreign language inner voice thing. Only in two languages on the whole, though, English and German, my native tongue. I think it’s usually dependent on how I’d address that person in real life, though for stock personalities it’s nowadays really almost always English.
        I increasingly do my thinking in internet posts nowadays, which is not much different from the dialogue, only the filter is strangers from a specific website.

    13. Alpha Bravo*

      Mostly it’s like being barked at by my inner drill instructor. On the order of “Come on, Bravo, get your shit together.” Although sometimes he’s helpful and walks me through things too.

    14. only acting normal*

      Mostly 3D pictures and highly abstract non-verbal concept, but if I’m arranging a thought to communicate it then it becomes a rehearsal of what to say/write in words. I can also have long (frequently argumentative) dialogue with myself if I’m rehearsing a conversation – often in the bathroom mirror. :D

    15. HannahS*

      I dialogue, but when I talk to myself, it’s in the first person plural. So if I’m telling myself that I need to study more, it’s ‘We really need to work on this.” Apparently, most people will talk to themselves as either “I” or “you,” but as far as I can remember, I think of myself as “we.”

  9. Not the tooth fairy*

    Having a terrible time in the dental department lately. I have two crowns which have held up reasonably well over the past decade or so but seem to have decided to give up in the same week.

    I had to get one of the teeth extracted (it’s gotten to a point where the remaining tooth wasn’t viable anymore), so that was no fun. I haven’t decided whether to get an implant yet (it’s fairly far back and doesn’t affect my bite) but if I do that’ll cost quite a bit.

    Then two days ago I managed to somehow crack in the other crown. The piece that cracked off wasn’t big but quite jagged, so the bit that remains is also sharp and scraping/scratching my tongue constantly. Fairly sure I’ll have to get the whole thing replaced so that’s another hefty expense.

    Sigh. Back to the dentist on Monday.

    One cannot over-emphasis the importance of dental health. Remember to brush your teeth children!

    1. the gold digger*

      If it helps, the oral surgeon who did my five gum grafts told me that I had done things right (brushing and flossing every day, even when I was on the overnight bus from Santa Cruz to Cochabamba, and paying for dental cleanings out of my meager savings when I was in grad school) and that big dental problems like having to have teeth pulled and grafted and root canaled are mostly genetic.

      RE: Implant. Get the implant. Get the implant instead of a bridge. A bridge requires capping the two adjacent teeth, I think, which means grinding and capping healthy teeth. Get the implant. If you are in the US, check to see if there is a dental college near you. I had mine (second to last molar) done at the dental college in Memphis and it cost $600. You can’t let that space go unfilled, either – your teeth will shift, which is not good.

      1. Yetanotherjennifer*

        Also, get the implant now. The bone can deteriorate so much that an implant is no longer possible or very difficult to do.

      2. Enough*

        Agree. The only exception is if it’s the very last molar. Husband has 2 implants and one missing molar.
        Re:genetics Husband was very surprised to find out that you can have a crown without a root canal. All his crowns were the finishing touches on root canals while mine were just the crowns. Have a daughter who the dentist called a “dental patient”. That is lots of dental work in her future. She now has a root canal and a crown and will need to more crowns. Possible TMJ issues and had problems that stretched out her orthodontic work And she’s only 28. Her brother may have a couple of fillings and went through braces in record time. He’s 32.

        1. Not the tooth fairy*

          As it happens it is the last molar (although I have a wisdom tooth behind it) hence why the dentist didn’t insist I go with the implant. They did offer me a consultation so I’ll probably go to that once the site has healed a bit.

          It’s amazing how expensive dental issues can get.

          1. brushandfloss*

            FYI the wisdom tooth is your last molar, you lost a second molar. Since you do have a have your wisdom tooth a bridge is a possibility but that will depend on the state of the wisdom tooth. If you can afford it I think its probably best to do an implant to avoid filling down the adjacent teeth(especially if they are virgin teeth.
            The thing to remember about implants is that they need to be kept clean. They can develop gum problems just like natural teeth(peri-implantitis) and fail.
            RE: Fractured crown. You probably fractured the porcelain. While it should eventually be replaced you can ask you dentist if they can fill it down to avoid to avoid the scratching.
            Best of luck

      3. Lilo*

        I had a back molar pulled this year and I’m going through whether I want it replaced. Losing the tooth was the culmination of years of surgery on the tooth, until they deemed it a total loss.

        Implants cost a lot, but as it’s a back tooth, the only issue is that I will eventually lose its partner above it, if I don’t get it fixed. I’m not decided yet, but I’m going to have the consultation.

      4. Not the tooth fairy*

        Probably true for some people, but in my case it’s definitely down to poor dental practices as a child (typical stuff – had a sweet tooth, was lazy about brushing before bed). It caught up to me when I was at university and I had a really bad toothache, turns out to be a massive cavity, which turned out to need a root canal. I thought once the crown was fitted that’d be the end of it, but 10 years later and I find that’s very much not the case. Sigh.

    2. nep*

      Saw a bumper sticker once: ‘Ignore your teeth and they’ll go away.
      You are so right. Can’t overstate the importance of maintaining healthy teeth. I’ve got just a handful of teeth left, and countless issues. Finally contacted a new dentist (as I don’t want to continue with one I’d been seeing) and I’ll be seeing her soon for some overdue work.
      Best of luck.

    3. Yetanotherjennifer*

      Dental wax, like what people use on their braces, at the drug store might help with that sharp edge.

    4. AnitaJ*

      No advice, just sending good vibes to you. I’m currently on the couch with an ice pack on my face after a tooth extraction. Suuuuuuuucks.

  10. Fiennes*

    I’m in the process of obtaining Italian citizenship, along with a few other family members. We’re definitely eligible, but still assembling documentation. For anyone else who’s done this: do you have to get certified or official copies of census pages?

    1. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      From what I’ve heard Italian citizenship it’s one of the toughest to get because of the high demand. Usually governments ease the process for war and occupation exiled descendants (for example, a passport and death certificate would be enough if official records were destroyed during WWII bombing), but AFAIK Italy barely lowered the bar. I would try to get as much certified documents as possible (birth, baptism, marriage, death, census, passports) to provide proof and contact a descendants local group for guidance.
      (BTW, I’m not sure if you have to resign your own citizenship first, so better check)

  11. Anna*

    How old is too old to be involved in ‘fandom’?

    I started getting into that kind of thing when I was in high school (16-ish, I’m guessing that’s pretty standard), typical stuff like fanfiction, fanart, online forums, some shipping dramas etc. I was aware there were people in the fandom who were in their 20s or even older, and I remember thinking that was ‘old’ but didn’t think it was all that weird (and they tended to be better writers and had more thoughtful discussion etc., so that was nice).

    Now I’m twice the age I was when I started, but I’m aware that most people in fandoms are still in the late-teens/early-20s (often come across posts of people freaking out over turning 25 or something) and I feel like I probably shouldn’t still be interested in that kind of thing. I mean I don’t get involved in fandom dramas, but still enjoy the fanfiction and discussion side of things.

    Just to be clear this doesn’t at all impact on my every day life, it’s very much a thing I do after work or on weekends,(though I certainly wouldn’t talk about it to real-life friends or acquaintances). Still, there’s often a voice in my head that’s telling me this is something I really should’ve grown out of by now.

    1. Fiennes*

      HAHAHAHAHAhahahhahahaha, “too old” for fandom. I’m about 50 and I’m still in. Fandom skews younger mostly bc younger people tend to have more free time. (Obviously there are exceptions—just generally.) People still love what they love. Sometimes, now that fandom is a little more mainstream, you do run into younger fans thinking adult fans are old/strange—but I got in long enough ago that I routinely interacted with fans in their 60s.

      Don’t be ashamed of the things that bring you joy.

      1. AnonEMoose*

        This. I’m in my late 40s, my DH is older than that, and we both volunteer with a local science fiction convention. The attendees range from older than us to infants. Some people will tell you that it’s childish or whatever. Feel free to ignore those people; some seem to think that valuing the imagination and keeping a sense of wonder is somehow “childish.” And you know what? They’re WRONG.

        People never seem to think that someone is “too old” for passionate sports fandom. Sometimes that’s even celebrated. You like a different kind of fandom, and there is NOTHING wrong with that or with you.

    2. Book Lover*

      I couldn’t find the post I was looking for, but perhaps this will help – https://fanlore.org/wiki/Too_Old_for_Fandom%3F

      I’ve been in fandom since the x- files and even then there were many who had been in it so much longer from Star Trek, The Professionals, MUNCLE, and so on. Many of the best writers of fanfic are minimum 30+.

      1. AnonEMoose*

        Some were in it even before that – fandom has been a thing at least since the days of the pulp magazines, it’s just gotten much bigger as more options have become available.

    3. H.Savinien*

      Oh dude, don’t even worry about it. Some of my fandom friends are 50+ and still going strong. Teens and adults have different perspectives on the community, but it’s stronger for all of us. In the Star Trek: TOS fandom there was recently a lot of mourning for Spockslash/Star Trek Grandma/Fandom Grandmoa, one of the Originals, who kept up her fan activity on tumblr until her death this February.

      1. Turtlewings*

        I thought of Spockslash as soon as I saw this question! What a loss to us all. If she wasn’t too old, ain’t nobody too old.

        There’s not a single reason to ever feel “too old” for fandom. Does anyone get too old for knitting? For reading? For watching football? For taking photos? It’s a hobby, it’s something you do for joy, and there’s no age limit on that.

        (I could write an essay on why fandom is only “embarrassing” because it’s largely done by women and anything women enjoy gets crapped on — but suffice to say, OP, remaining defiantly in fandom is a feminist action.)

    4. Sorcha*

      I’m 42, my friends are between 35 and 50, and we’re all in fandom and very happily so. I think that now much of fandom has moved to Tumblr and the like it’s easy to feel that everyone is young (compared with LJ, where it tended to skew a bit older) but it’s not really true of fandom as a whole in my experience.

      I didn’t get into online fandom up until I wasn’t in my late 20’s, and I’ve never seen it as something for young people. One of the first friends I made when I joined fandom was already over 50 and had been in fandom for three decades. Fandom is my hobby and it brings me joy, community and some of the best experiences of my life. I’m not interested in outgrowing those things ;)

    5. Saturday*

      Do you mostly hang on Tumblr? It’s been a thing lately in some circles to act like any woman over the age of 20 is a crusty old hag who needs to drop all her hobbies and devote her life to Womanly Duties. It seems like it’s pretty unique to that site; I’ve never seen that kind of crap on that level anywhere else. They’re out their heads don’t even worry about them.

      Even when I was a kid most fans I knew were adult women with careers and partners and kids. A lot of my fandom friends now are my age (late 20s) or older. You’re never too old to have fun.

    6. Hellanon*

      I got into fandom at 40, happily wrote fic in about 4 fandoms until a few years back, and point to it as one of the defining experiences of my adult life. Thoroughly enjoyed it, learned to write, learned a lot about boundaries and taking myself seriously, even went to Wincon once. And made a few great friendships. Fandom is all about finding your people, and the great thing about online is that in some ways it blurs age enough that interests can become the point of contact. Stay in it until your interests move on – don’t force yourself out of fandom for artificial reasons.

    7. Tris Prior*

      They’ll pry fandom from my cold, dead hands. I am in my 40s and know plenty of people involved in fandom who are my age or older. If you still enjoy it there is no need to quit just because you feel like you should due to your age!

    8. PeakVincent*

      I love fandom! I’m still early 20s, but at the moment, many of my closest friends and favorite writers are early 30s. The idea that fandom is for teens has always confused me—teens are WELCOME, sure, but in my experience it’s adult women who do most of the work to make fandom great. Fan on!

    9. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Kids these days are hanging out on Tumblr for fandom stuff. Us dinosaurs are still on the journal sites/AO3.

      It’s really no different than being into a sport and doing a fantasy league.

    10. Laurin Kelly*

      I’m 47 and have been involved with multiple fandoms since I was in my early 20’s. I have tons of fandom friends my age and older (I think the oldest is in her mid-60’s), and even carved out a fairly successful run as a fanfic author from ages 39 to 45 – I transitioned to original fiction after that, but I still read fanfic.

      There’s no need to age out of something that brings you joy!

    11. LilySparrow*

      There is no age limit. I think the reasons for decreasing participation over time have to do with increased demands on time, energy & money as much as anything. Just like people tend to migrate from sports participation to being a spectator. There’s nothing wrong with being in an upper age division in racing or sports, but people drop out over time because it takes more & more commitment to keep it going as you get older. People just hit their own ceiling at different times.

      I’m over 45 and am not very active in any fandom, but I have written fanfiction within the last couple of years. I do check in and read some fan news, kind of nibble around the edges.

      The main thing I don’t have patience for anymore is the interpersonal drama – cliqueishness, manufactured controversy, etc. There’s always going to be a lot of that when folks are very emotionally invested in something. But I have too many other places to spend my emotional “bucks” now. So I keep my distance.

    12. all aboard the anon train*

      Never too old. It’s unfortunate that a lot of my fandoms hang out in tumblr where the age skews young and they’ve had kids run off adults or say they’ll accuse them of unsavory behavior which is….concerning, to say the least.

      But you’re allowed to keep your hobbies as you age. Honestly, when I see kids complaining about “creepy adults” in fandom or how the content they like is only for people of their age group, I roll my eyes because the original producers of that content are usually older. It’s always adults making the TV shows/movies or writing the books or comics that they love, so I don’t really get the idea that there has to be an age limit.

      I have a lot of fandom friends who are around my age and you know what? I’m 31 and it’s nice to have people who are also in my age group, who stopped caring about drama and just want to have rational discussions and ship what they ship without making the smallest thing into Problematic Discourse. I find a lot of – not all, because there are people who love drama at every age – older fans tend to just avoid the drama and discourse and block what they don’t like and as I’ve gotten older, fandom has still enjoyable, but much less fraught with high emotions the way it was when I was younger.

      It probably also helps that most of my fandoms have a wide age range and aren’t geared specifically towards teens and college kids.

    13. TheLiz*

      You’re totally not too old! In terms of the ages of people around you, it *really* depends where you hang out. I’ve been to London ComiCon, where I think I was on the old end of things at 26, and London Worldcon where I was a wee childling of 25 – grey was definitely the most common hair colour. It’s my experience that the fandoms with older folks are better places, with more acceptance and less drama, but most of all YOU LIKE WHAT YOU LIKE AND THAT’S OKAY. ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE IS BAD AND WRONG AND SHOULD SHUSH. (One of my bugbears, sorry – the Taste Police really annoy me.)

      1. SpiderLadyCEO*

        Being the youngest at a con sounds really lovely and refreshing! All of the people I have gotten along with in fandom are either my classmates or much older then me, and I love hearing the lore passed down from fans who have been around much longer then I have! Stories of old fandom, pre-internet days are our heritage, and I truly love to hear them.

        1. curly sue*

          Go to WorldCon – that one definitely skews older, and was such an affirming experience!

          1. Free Meerkats*

            I have to endorse this. I’m in my 60s and am seldom the oldest one in the room at WorldCons (or any other SF&F con.) I’ll be working in the Fanzine Lounge at WorldCon 76 in San Jose this August, come say Hi.

    14. Kimberlee, no longer Esq.*

      I worry about this sometimes too! I tend to be a fangirl; I get really into stuff and start exploring Reddit or forum options. I don’t hide it, but sometimes I realize it feels sort of weird when I start talking about it. :)

      I’m actually more deeply involved in a fandom now than I have been at almost any other time in my life; Outside Xbox is a Youtube channel, very fun and pretty wholesome, and I just really enjoy what they put out. I’m in the fandom Discord, and I’m actually working on paintings for them (fanart is a new frontier for me!)

      My partner is slightly weirded out by it, but we’re both big nerds (play D&D, video games, watch all the superhero shows, etc) so he also gets it to some degree. He compared it to religion, which tbh I don’t think is off. It’s finding a community of people with shared values and cultural references. In my case, it’s a channel that has 5 people who play (versions of) themselves, and they enjoy engaging with their fans and admiring fanart so that makes the whole experience really rewarding. Paying homage with art definitely feels like what I imagine people who worshipped the Greek gods felt like: you want to make them happy and grant you favor (expressed in modernity via retweet), so you create something for them.

      I’m mature enough to know that they’re not ever gonna be my IRL friends (something I probably knew but didn’t *really* know during my junior-high X-files fandom), and that while people like having fans, it gets uncomfortable when it feels like fans are doing too much or feeling like a fan is obsessive or even stalker-y, as I’m sure happens to most even minorly famous people, so I don’t feel bad about enjoying my fandom. It brings me laughs, lets me meet cool people, and makes my life more enjoyable.

    15. Bagpuss*

      Never too old if you are having fun.
      I came late to any kind of organised fandom, I went to my first Con about ten years ago, when I was in my mid 30s, and I definitely wasn’t even close to being the oldest there.
      And a dear friend of mine, who died this week in her mid 5os, was very much a part of her particular fandom right to the end.

    16. Loopy*

      I relate to this! But not so much as I’m embarrassed but more I wish I could find fandom friends my age- in real life OR online. I also often look for fic and have trouble wading through badly written fics, looking for writers that are more my level. I hope that doesn’t sound snarky and snobbish. I was once a teen writing fics that read badly and Im glad there was a supportive community for helping me grow. But now that I’ve read so widely, I don’t have the patience for bad grammar :( It makes staying involved harder.

      I do love fanfics and fan art.

      1. all aboard the anon train*

        Agree so much!

        The writing and grammar is an issue for me as well, but I also find a lot of the tropes or plots that are popular with younger writers are things that either make me uncomfortable, I find offensive, or just not my cup of tea. Some of it I know is definitely due to lack of life experience about certain things.

      2. SpiderLadyCEO*

        I sort by kudos, and read by recs – that tends to keep things quality! As for friends – go to fannish events! Join groups that have nerdy leanings! And – don’t be surprised by who’s into fandom :) I work in politics, I’m prim and proper and high femme, I don’t look nerdy – and my greatest joy in life is fandom.

        And you know what I’ve noticed? The grown ups, they write the best fic!

        My struggle is fannish friends who are into the same things I am, but thankfully if I let them gush about GOT, they let me ramble on about MCU.

        (I am totally sorry if you didn’t want advice and I just jumped in, haha.)

        1. curly sue*

          MCU all the way over here! Have you seen IW yet? I dragged the better half and our kids to see it yesterday. (I was the one diagramming out all the interrelationships and comic backstories over the table at lunch beforehand, much to the waitress’s glee.)

    17. curly sue*

      You’re more than fine – the over 30 (over 40, over 50…) crowds are still here and kicking. A lot depends on which fandoms you’re in, and which site you’re on the most. Some fandoms skew younger than others, and Tumblr specifically skews young again. But the best writers, the con organizers, the site builders, the keepers of lore (Secret Masters of Fandom and all) are adults. Revel in the things that make you smile!

  12. stitchinthyme*

    Some of you may remember my post a couple weeks ago about my frustration with a friend (“Jane”) who has MS and had been asking for someone to come pick her up and drive her over to our house for game night every time for the last several months…and with my husband, who always volunteered to go get her because he felt bad for her (and because he’s always too nice to everyone). So, here’s an update.

    Yesterday she again requested a ride, and I told my husband to just not respond, and see if she came up with her own way to get here. Meanwhile, my awesome friend “Gina”, who is on the gaming invite list and also knows Jane well, saw the request and decided to say something. She suggested Jane call an Uber or Lyft, and Jane said she couldn’t afford it because she doesn’t have a job. Gina countered that Jane is married and her husband has a decent-paying job, and surely he wouldn’t begrudge his wife a ride-share to get to game night when he can’t make it. Jane then said she doesn’t like to ride in a car with a complete stranger. Which I guess is understandable, but Gina pointed out that expecting us to both host and chauffeur her all the time (as I said, this has been going on for most of this year, as Jane’s husband has been busy almost every gaming night) is unreasonable, and that not wanting to spend her/her husband’s money or ride with a stranger doesn’t mean that others should be obligated to spend THEIR time and money going to get her.

    So the end result was that Jane drove herself to our house (she can drive, but not at night — although she’s working with her ophthalmologists to get a prescription that will fix that), left her car here, and her husband was going to come get her after gaming and they’d pick up the car today. Her husband ended up having some sort of delay so another of our friends drove her home, but either way, my husband and I were not the ones who had to deal with it, she figured out her own solution, and my husband and I were a lot less frustrated in the end. And I’m really glad Gina talked to her and told her what an imposition it is to always be asking for rides…I would not mind it a bit if it was just every now and then, but when it goes on for months, I get more than a little bit irritated. And I was finally able to convince my husband to let Jane work out her own solution, so that’s also progress!

    1. Middle School Teacher*

      Great resolution! I didn’t comment last week, since so many others said what I was thinking, but I remember being frustrated on your behalf.

      1. stitchinthyme*

        Believe me, I told her so when she recounted her conversation with Jane to me! She’s also a “fixer” type, so she did try to help Jane come up with possible solutions (that didn’t involve us or someone else having to go get her), but in the end it was Jane’s husband who had the idea to drive herself over and pick up her car the next day.

        I consider it only a partial victory since another of our friends (who happens to be unemployed and doesn’t have a spouse to support him) had to drive her home, but her husband DID intend to — there was just an accident or something on the highway that caused him to get severely delayed. And the other friend did volunteer (he’s similar to my husband — a really nice guy). And since I’m not married to him, it’s not really my business if he gets taken advantage of, even if I don’t enjoy seeing it.

    2. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

      That’s awesome – and I’m really proud Mr. Stitch held his ground, since I know that was something you were worried about!

      Hopefully Jane doesn’t impose on you guys as much going forward. Although she sounds even more difficult than she did from your original post about her.

      1. stitchinthyme*

        Yeah, I am hoping that now that Gina has pointed out to her the huge sense of entitlement she’s been showing in just assuming someone would give her a ride, she might at least stop and think about how annoying it is. I think it’s very possible that it simply never occurred to her that other people have to spend their time and money to go out and get her, or that she could try to figure it out on her own.

        Anyway, Jane’s husband’s been playing in the pit orchestra of a local theater production that runs through this weekend, so unless he’s got another one coming up, he should be coming to gaming nights again starting next time. But since there will undoubtedly be other ones — he’s done a couple in the last year (his full-time job isn’t music-related, but he enjoys playing in his spare time) — I’m glad Gina said something, because this was getting super-annoying.

        1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

          I’m hoping she does, but from what you said that Gina said that Jane said (which, admittedly, makes it third hand and Through The Internet on my end)…I wouldn’t hold my breath.

          I’m in agreement that Gina is awesome and we all need a Gina in our lives.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Gina is a great friend. Thanks for the update, I am glad there has been change here.

    3. Grapey*

      (I rarely read weekend threads so I missed the previous post – maybe there you mentioned your husband didn’t like giving rides to Gina but that’s not clear in this update.)

      I’m glad the situation is resolved for you, but if someone told me “Your husband makes a lot, make him do it” I’d be pissed. Our household finances aren’t anyone else’s business. If someone can’t give me a ride, just say no and I’ll badger other people or figure something out.

      IMO expressing annoyance at “expecting us to both host and chauffeur her all the time” should have come from your husband, not someone else. If I were Jane I’d be thinking ‘why hasn’t the guy that’s been driving me around said something before? Why is Gina being his mouthpiece? Are they telling Gina something that I’m not aware of? Do they agree with Gina?’ Again, I don’t know what was in the previous post but I feel bad for Jane here.

      1. stitchinthyme*

        People on the original post did point out (correctly) that the real problem was with my husband, who is a really nice person who finds it hard to say no to anyone, and who therefore often gets taken advantage of. This is something he and I have talked often (and argued) about; he really did not want to give Jane rides, but felt so bad for her situation that he kept doing it. Since her requests were never made directly to us (they were made on the gaming invite, which everyone invited could see), I told my husband that if he couldn’t say no directly, he should just not respond — let someone else volunteer, or let Jane figure it out for herself, or stay home. And guess what? She got here on her own.

        Like my husband, I tend to be pretty non-confrontational, so I would never have said those things directly to Jane (although yes, I was thinking them), but really, I’m glad Gina did for the reasons I’ve already stated: a ride here and there would be fine, but doing it every single time gets annoying; and I really don’t think she ever tried to come up with some other solution herself, just immediately asked her friends and assumed that someone would volunteer (probably because it’s always worked before).

        And yes, it was my husband who had to do the actual picking up, but it WAS still annoying to me, not only because I don’t like to see someone I love be taken advantage of, but also because he helps me get the house ready for guests and chats with people when they arrive, freeing me up to get dinner made without feeling like I have to entertain people at the same time. Not to mention that the energy and wear and tear on the car are expenses that I share with my husband (and no, she’s never offered compensation for that).

        Also, the previous post was in a weekend thread, since it’s not job-related. I posted it two weeks ago. There was some other history in there, such as the fact that Jane has a history of asking a lot of favors and being generally irritating. (For example: before she moved to this area, she stayed in our guest room a few times while she was getting ready to move; one of those times she showed up a day earlier than she was supposed to, at dinnertime. And she’s done things like criticize my cooking…which may or may not be valid, but isn’t all that polite when someone’s going to the trouble to cook for you.) 4 months of asking for rides was just the icing on the cake.

        1. OhBehave*

          Bless Gina for being honest with Jane. What happens if she starts asking your husband specifically to pick her up? At some point, you will have to polish your polite spine and speak up. You may have to cut her out of your gatherings if she continues to criticize your cooking in your own home?! (“Feel free to bring your own meal if you don’t like my cooking.”)
          And the game nights sound like fun!

      2. Alice*

        I also missed last week’s post. But if your husband never told Jane “I can’t do this anymore” or “I don’t want to do it so frequently” then she had no way to know that you were getting frustrated.
        Glad it’s worked out now.

  13. here comes the sun oh there it goes again*


    After a week of gorgeous weather in London (got up to 28C at one point!) last week this week we’re back to the rainy/cold/gray setting. It’s like being teased with the prospect of spring (even summer!) and now they’ve snatched it away again.

    I miss wearing shorts *sadface*.

    1. Anonymous Ampersand*

      It’s been ok up north this week but still not exactly spring, too bloody cold. It’s like this year will consist of seven months of winter with an occasional spring week thrown in, then 6 days of summer (probs not consecutive) then autumn for the next THREE YEARS.

      1. here comes the sun oh there it goes again*

        I’ve heard it’s generally colder up north? This is only my second winter in the UK and I don’t remember my first one (2016/17) being this long! Certainly no snow in the city!

        1. only acting normal*

          London is warmer than almost everywhere else in Britain because there’s a heating effect in all cities due to the built environment (roads, buildings, general lack of big green spaces).
          Generally the UK is artificially warm for its latitude because of warming ocean currents.
          And, yes, there is quite a temperature differential between south and north.

          1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

            And between East and West, hence Beast from the East affected Yorkshire far more than Lancashire!

        2. only acting normal*

          IIRC last winter was particularly mild. A couple of years ago two weeks of sun in April was all the “summer” we got – it RAINED solidly for the rest of the year. But that was unusual too.

    2. Tris Prior*

      I just spent a week week there and was flummoxed by the nice weather. I was expecting cold, rainy, and gray, but especially last weekend was lovely! We did get violently hailed on while crossing Westminster Bridge, though. And 15 minutes later it was sunny again, WTF?

      Hey, at least your trees had leaves and blossoms on them. I’m back home in Chicago and our trees are STILL bare sticks. :(

      1. London Calling*

        * I was expecting cold, rainy, and gray, but especially last weekend was lovely! We did get violently hailed on while crossing Westminster Bridge, though. And 15 minutes later it was sunny again, WTF?*

        British weather :))

      2. here comes the sun oh there it goes again*

        My colleagues who are into gardening say that the plants (flowers especially) have been very confused this year because of the sudden weather changes. Apparently it’s more stark than it has been in the past.

        1. London Calling*

          Nope, I can recall lots of springs when the weather has been coming and going and the plants are confused. Sometimes it starts early, sometimes it starts late. This one doesn’t seem much different.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Spring 2015 had lots of lovely flowers but it was a little chilly. I remember standing on a train platform shivering and being extremely happy to discover I’d tucked a pair of gloves into my trench coat.

        2. Tau*

          I’m not sure about confused, but I’ll +1 late over here from Germany. We had crocuses end of March and daffodils start-to-mid-April (in fact, there’s still some blooming here and there), which is over a month later than usual. It’s the first time in ages that the daffodils hadn’t bloomed yet on Easter.

          I’m not sure if it’s necessarily a bad thing, mind you – spring has been moving earlier and earlier over the years, and there is something very bizarre about watching the plants start doing spring in early February. (In fact, we had a few crocuses that started blooming mid-February, got hit by the cold snap, and then made a resurgence in late March).

    3. Kat*

      It’s very sunny up here in Fife just now. Not warm enough for shorts, but then I don’t think the world is ready for my legs yet anyway! I guess we are taking our turn :)

    4. periwinkle*

      Seattle weather is doing the same – earlier this week it was sunny and warm, today it’s gray and chilly. We’ve had just about enough of this weather, thank you very much, give us warmth! I don’t mind the long drizzle-saturated winters but by the beginning of April, you get impatient for it for stop…

    5. Tau*

      Oh yeah, the summer in April thing was amazing, especially after we had solid winter up until the beginning of April. I tell myself this is more normal April weather and we can still have summer when it’s… actually summer… but it’s still sad. Today was nicer, though – let’s hope it stays.

      (I’m in Germany, for what it’s worth, but I figure we had similar weather.)

    6. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Yeah this is pretty darn grim. I went out today to meet a friend for brunch and then to take Other Half suit shopping. Wore my lighter jacket because normally this time of year it can LOOK grey but it’ll be humid and I knew I wanted to walk where I was going. OMG it was chilly! Thank god there wasn’t a wind at least. Im actually making stew tomorrow which is kinda depressing.

      By the way – when did they start doing bag checks to get into St Pauls? I felt (sort of) bad for all the tourists standing out there in the cold drizzle in a rather long line, waiting to have someone check their bag.

      1. Bagpuss*

        I think there are bag checks pretty much everywhere touristy now (and at all the theatres), and have been for at last 2 years.

        1. London Calling*

          There have been bag checks at pretty much all tourist venues in London since the mid 70s. Security is a very lucrative industry.

        2. Tris Prior*

          We had our bags checked at Tower of London and Westminster Abbey. Only walked by St. Paul’s, didn’t go in.

    7. Middle School Teacher*

      Ours is all over the place too. April 20? Snow. Gradual warmup all week until about +20 by Saturday. This past week, mostly in the +16 range. Yesterday? +27. Today? +11. My poor self is confused. Do we shiver? Do we lay on the carbs? Do we drink g+t in the backyard? Socks and shoes, or flip flops? Nobody knows!!

    8. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

      It’s practically a running joke – we’ve had summer, it was a Thursday…

  14. nep*

    Menopause (or perimenopause) headaches…who’s got experience with this?
    Or — getting sinus headaches late in life, having NEVER had one? I know the menopause can make the body do weird things. I guess that could include getting having reaction to changing weather and having sinus infection although I never had before.
    Related — who uses a neti pot? How has it been for you?

    1. the gold digger*

      I tried a neti pot for my headaches. It didn’t work for me. When I finally asked my doctor about my headaches – it had never occurred to me to talk to a doctor about headache because doesn’t everyone get them all the time? – he told me there is no such thing as sinus headache – it’s all migraine and needs migraine treatment. Changing barometric pressure is a migraine trigger for me. (As is glare, dehydration, not enough sleep, low blood sugar and apparently everything that would make life fun, like staying up really late and then going to the beach.)

      (And I asked him about it only because a friend heard me complaining about a headache that wouldn’t go away and gave me some imitrex. The imitrex worked and I asked my doc for an RX.)

      As far as menopause – I have friends whose headaches have stopped with menopause, so I guess they could start at menopause as well.

      1. Fiennes*

        Oh, there are totally such things as sinus headaches. They’re massively over-diagnosed (if that’s what you call it when people rather than doctors make the call), and migraines are massively under-diagnosed, but sinus headaches straight up exist. (Of course, I’m a person with super-finicky sinuses—have already had to have sinus surgery once—so I get that I’m an outlier. And I’m glad more people are getting appropriate diagnoses and treatment now! But the sinus headache can happen.)

        1. nep*

          This is what I hear from family members, who are quite susceptible to sinus problems. Huge sinus headaches.

        2. LilySparrow*

          Oh, yeah. I’ve had both kinds.

          If I have a visual aura and/or nausea, it’s not a sinus headache.

          If decongestants and/or washing huge clumps of gunk out with the Neti make the headache go away, it wasn’t a migraine.

      2. nep*

        I’ve also read that the headaches generally come in perimenopause and settle down once one is completely into menopause. Hormone fluctuations causing the headaches. I don’t know. Reckon different for everyone as every body is different.

    2. fposte*

      I think it’s not uncommon for sinus problems to have later onset–your body reacts differently to allergens and irritants, your drainage may narrow, etc. After all, you don’t even *get* some sinuses until you’ve been out in the world for a few years. You can also have sinus headaches/blocked sinuses without having a sinus infection; they can be painful and inflamed without microorganisms causing the trouble (though that condition may lead to an infection). That’s how mine work.

      So I have kind of a two-pronged approach for prevention/early intervention. When I come in from gardening in spring, I neti pot in addition to changing clothes and showering (or at least washing hands); when I feel congestion and pain coming on (usually connected to wet weather), I take an NSAID and use Afrin to fight the inflammation enough to make sure the sinus (I have one main offender) keeps draining. If I’m home, I’ll also throw in a neti pot but the anti-inflammatory approach is much more key. It generally works within 12-24 hours and it much less problematic in the mean time.

      1. Lindsay J*

        Yeah, I don’t know whether I can blame age, or just this entire region of the country.

        But I never worried about my sinuses until I was in my very late 20s/early 30s (which coincides with when I moved from NJ to Texas).

        But now mine are terrible. I pretty much constantly have blocked sinuses, and OTC stuff only does so much.

        1. LilySparrow*

          The pollen and mold have been so bad since last fall that I’m now on daily maintenance antihistamine.

      2. Chaordic One*

        My migraines became much less frequent when I quit smoking. Also, I used to get migraines on smoggy days when I lived in Los Angeles, that was a significant thing.

    3. LilySparrow*

      Neti pots are awesome. Wierd at first, but very effective. The crucial thing for me was getting the right concentration of salt – too much or too little and it burns, just right and it feels fine.

      I had a hormonal migraine maybe twice in my life before age 40. Then, starting around age 42 I had one for 3 days every_dang_month. More aura than pain, I could usually work through it (not very effectively, but enough to keep my job). That lasted a couple of years and seems to have slacked off. I only have them a couple times a year now.
      Still not in menopause, but I assume I’ll be there within about 5 years.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        You couldn’t pay me to use a neti pot. Bleah. I would just puke. For sinus headaches, if I’m really stuffed up and can tell it’s from allergies, I take Alka Seltzer Plus Cold (the generic) and that will knock it right out. If it doesn’t work, I know it’s a migraine.

        I get one every fecking month when I’m about to get a visit from Aunt Flo. Usually it’s the day before but a few months ago, it lasted for a couple of days and that suuuuuucked.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I’ve had plenty of sinus headaches unrelated to menopause. I found that willow bark worked super good for getting the sinuses to drain and eliminating the headache. I get reliable results each time. Oddly aspirin did not work as well for me. YMMV, of course.

    5. Joie De Vivre*

      I have friends who use a neti pot & love it. For one friend it has made a huge difference in the amount and severity of her headaches.

      I tried it and found out after the fact that if you have blocked ears (or if you are susceptible to benign positional vertigo) you shouldn’t use one. By using the neti pot I ended up with one of the worst bouts of vertigo that I’d ever had. So I can’t use a neti even though I’d like to.

      Good luck with finding something for your headaches.

      1. fposte*

        Oh, interesting; I’ve got BPV sometimes but have never had problem doing a nasal rinse. Maybe my otoliths get shaken up by different positions than yours.

    6. Nerdgal*

      I had terrible ones and only found relief from HRT. Took then for about 4 years, then tapered off very gradually. I have very few headaches now.

  15. Rachel*

    Extremely mundane survey question: after doing the dishes, do you dry and put them away or leave them to dry on a dish rack?

    I’ve always let them air dry on the dish rack, but my new flatmate insists on drying them and putting them away straight away because he doesn’t like the sight of the dish rack.

    1. Marzipan*

      I leave them to dry, because I can’t be chuffed doing an extra thing that was going to happen anyway if I just left them alone.

    2. It’s All Good*

      Air dry. The few time I’ve helped dry as a guest I can’t seem to get them completely dry.

    3. Cruciatus*

      I let them air dry on the dish rack (unless, of course, it was something I was just about to use again). Our dish rack is always out (it sits in the left side of the sink) whether there are dishes in there or not. Unless space is a huge issue, it seems a bit of an imposition to put it away and get it out again every time you need to wash something.

    4. Dish Person*

      Let them dry. 1-because I live alone and am lazy, and 2-“they” say it’s more sanitary, so I go with it. ha!

    5. nep*

      Set them on a drainer pad/towel on the counter to dry. For me dishes are a lot cleaner if left to dry after a hot rinse rather than being wiped dry.

    6. Epsilon Delta*

      Depends on how much time I have. About half the time I leave them to air dry and the other half I put them away (that’s the way I was taught as a kid). Plus we have limited counter space.

    7. fposte*

      Air dry, totally. However, if somebody else was willing to do the hand-drying and putting away, I’d happily let her. (I hate putting away. Why is it so tedious?)

      1. Reba*

        I always have to coach myself into putting away. Come on, you know it really doesn’t take that long! It’s nice to have things in their places! Let’s go!

    8. MRK*

      Air dry, though I’ll often hand dry large pots/frying pans/mixing bowls since they tend to take up too much space in the dish rack

    9. KarenK*

      I do both, depending on how many dishes I have to wash. Prefer to air dry, also due to laziness.

    10. Red Reader*

      I hand-wash few enough dishes that I just dry them and put them away right away because I don’t want to have a dish rack taking up counter space. One of my housemates used to put wet dishes on the stove to dry out, but I put the kibosh on that right quick. *scowl*

      1. Red Reader*

        If I’m somewhere else though that a dish rack is already there and handwashing is required, I air-dry in the rack out of laziness. :P

    11. Lilo*

      When I was a kid, one person would wash and the other would dry. But as an adult, that’s a lot. Sometimes if my spouse and I are washing up together, we’ll dry at the same time, but when you’re by yourself, it’s a pain.

    12. Not So NewReader*

      When I last did any kitchen type work, NY health code said air dry is best, I believe. (This is going back years.) I leave mine to air dry because it saves me time. I can do something else and put them away in the morning while I am waiting for the coffee to drop down.

    13. Dopameanie*

      I asked my mom about that when I was like, 8, after helping dry dishes at a sleepover at my friends house.

      My mom looked at me with one raised eyebrow and said:
      My darling, if God Himself wants to help me with my chore list, who am I to deny Him the opportunity? He certainly allows me the chance to do all the rest of the heavy lifting.

      For whatever reason that has always stuck with me.

    14. I'm A Little Teapot*

      If your roommate doesn’t like to see them drying on the dish rack, then they’ve signed themselves up to do dishes. Permanently.

      I have a dishwasher, thank goodness. whatever needs to be handwashed just air dries unless I need it.

      1. Nye*

        Yeah, this is how I feel. Dishwasher as top choice, air-drying for most things that have to be hand-washed, and a select few items get hand-washed and immediately dried and put away (mostly things with blades and/or wood). If Roommate wants everything immediately dried and put away, they can do it themselves. I wouldn’t change my dish-washing protocol.

    15. Bagpuss*

      air dry unless there is a lot to do and i need to put some away. I do dry delicate things like wine glasses to avoid breakages.

    16. TootsNYC*

      I put them away wet! They dry out in the cabinet, and I have plastic liners where it matters.

    17. Well-mannered Frivolity*

      I am completely in the minority here, but I almost always dry and put them away. To me, the water spots on the utensils are pure grease, and I need to polish them before they go in the drawer (so I might as well do it all at once). I’ve always done it this way, but when my in-laws lived with us for a year, and never dried their dishes, I realized how much I hate air-dried, and un-put-away dishes. I have now made a small concession, and purchased a narrow, slotted rubber mat to leave our daily glasses & coffee mugs (upside down, of course) to dry, post-rinsing, until tomorrow. Everything else goes in the dishwasher or is fully washed, dried and put away.

    18. Oxford Coma*

      Ongoing household argument. Spouse wants everything to air-dry because he says that even clean towels make the dishes “smell funny”. I think leaving dishes outside cabinets is unsanitary with dust and cat hair flying about, so I want to hand-dry.

    19. Cristina in England*

      My husband and in laws, when they are finished with any dish, wash it, dry it, and put it away. Even TEA CUPS! So if you have tea every hour or two, you have to go through the whole thing every time. We spend so much time on the dishes when we are there visiting. I call it the Scottish Tea Ceremony.

    20. HannahS*

      I leave them to air-dry, but now that I’m in an apartment with no room, I’ll probably have to dry + put away. But I hate drying dishes. I can never get them dry enough once the first one’s been dried, because now the towel is wet! So they’re going to partially air dry anyway.

    21. matcha123*

      I dry them as I wash them and then leave them out until I have time to put them away. Or, since I use the same dishes, wash and dry them at night and leave them out to grab and use for the next night and repeat until the weekend.

    22. N Twello*

      If your question is truly about air drying, then you would put the dishes away within an hour, when they are air dried. If I am correct in my suspicion that you wash the dishes and leave them in the rack for a day or more, then this is not about air drying: it’s about not liking to bother putting away the dishes.

      1. Traveling Teacher*

        Ooh, that really depends on where you live, timing-wise! I now live in a humid place, and the dishes do actually take hours to dry.

        1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

          ^ Agreed. My dishes certainly don’t air-dry within the hour! Usually I leave them overnight and then put them away.

    23. D.W.*

      I dry and put away. I, too, hate the sight of the dish rack and can’t stand having things sitting on my counter unless they have to be there.

  16. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

    …wish me luck, guys. About to run my first marathon tomorrow – if you haven’t picked up from the weekly threads I’ve been posting on the free-for-all posts! (Shooting for 2:50-2:55. NBD.)

    Thanks to everyone who’s checked in over the past month or thereabouts! Seriously, you guys (especially regs like The Librarian) have really been great to hear from and talk with. And to everyone else who’s racing this weekend, good luck – and most importantly, the time on the clock doesn’t matter as much as the miles in between. The most important thing is having the best race you can have.

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

      Was just coming on here to wish you luck! All the best of luck to you tomorrow. Please update us if you have any energy afterward!

      It looks like you’re going to get perfect weather for running. You’re going to just miss an early May heatwave.

      I was running this morning and randomly thought of the time I reached mile 21 of the NYC Marathon and was so gassed that I thought a high school marching band playing along the course was playing the theme from Rocky when they were actually playing the theme from Shaft. Good times. Have a blast tomorrow!

      1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

        I’m expecting to either be dead, drunk, or both afterwards! (There’s a beer tent, apparently. That’s going to be my motivation if the wheels come off.) I might be able to post, depending on when I get my phone back, and hopefully it’ll be an awesome update.

        But seriously – thank you for always giving awesome advice and insight. It’s really helped me keep perspective on everything for the past month.

    2. Ruth (UK)*

      I’m a bit late commenting but good luck! You may have finished by now in which case well done!

      1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

        The funny thing was – I finished about 10 minutes after you posted (since it shows that you posted 10:18 AM my time and I finished at 10:28 or 10:29 my time)!

  17. Hellanon*

    Fluffy Kitty gets her summer ‘do this morning, and I think we are all looking forward to the drop in household cat hair volume. Plus, I have them leave the little ball on the end of her tail, and it’s like an extra toy.

        1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

          I love suede kitty! Dame Flufflepants is getting a bit old to be shaved at home — her skin is more fragile and less elastic, so it’s much easier to end up with nicks/cuts — but I’m hoping to find a good groomer who can take her on.

  18. Laura H*

    Hope y’all have a great weekend.

    I’m enjoying my new computer a lot. My next major task is transferring files from my old (but not dead yet-plug power still works) computer to my external hard drive. Then wipe the faithful device of 6 years and dispose of it properly.

    What is the best way to do the last two (wipe and safe disposal) things on that list?

    Thanks and I hope y’all have a restful weekend.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      What is the best way to do the last two (wipe and safe disposal) things on that list?

      Was your hard drive encrypted? If your hard drive was encrypted, just erase it, and that should be fine. The data won’t be recoverable. If you’re extremely paranoid, wipe it and then physically destroy it.

      That said, you don’t necessarily have to ditch the old drive just because you’re ditching your old computer. Take the drive out, buy an external enclosure for it (not expensive), and you now have another external hard drive.

      1. Lindsay J*

        Yeah, I was amazed how not expensive it was. Like $10. And it was easy to take out the hard drive and put it in the casing.

    2. The RO-Cat*

      For the hard drive, a “low-level format with a hammer” is the best thing if you realy don’t like the ghost of your data surviving. Otherwise there are some programs that will “shred” it (multiple passes of 1s or 0s) quite safely.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        If it’s a solid state drive, the multiple passes don’t really do much except wear down the life of the drive.

        There’s also a good case to be made that the Gutmann Method is overkill and one pass of zeros is fine enough, unless you have spy-level-desirable data on your drive.

        But, yes, to be absolutely sure, destroy completely physically.

    3. Gatomon*

      Download DBAN to wipe the drive. For fun, you can also dissemble it and use the platters as coasters! (Assuming it’s a HDD.)

      If you can find an electronics recycler, that’s the best way to dispose of it.

    4. Max*

      Depending on how not-dead it is, think about donating it to someone who might need it? After you’ve reformatted and wiped your HD of course.

      1. Laura H*

        Thing is that it’s not really functional as a laptop- I think I over discharged the battery- and thus it only runs on the plug in. And it’s slow, and showing it’s age. It’s done it’s job and I really don’t want to pass on my problems to someone else.

  19. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

    Fuck. Fuck everything. I was away at a spa with my mom this weekend and we’d been having such a nice time. And then she ruined it. Just before leaving today, we were out on a walk. And she said what is probably the most insulting thing she has ever said to me:

    “I need to say something, and it’s important. I really think you should lose weight. I feel sorry for you as you are now. “

    I spoke up then and told her that wasn’t something she could say.

    But I’m home again and though we’re supposed to go to a concert I really don’t want to.
    I want to make it very clear she crossed a line. I just.. don’t want to talk to her or see her for a while.

    1. NYC Redhead*

      Oh, I am so sorry. That’s really, really crummy. Really crummy. I think you’re justified in cancelling on the concert.

    2. Alice Ulf*

      UGH. I’m so, so sorry that she had to wreck everything like that with her entirely unsolicited and unhelpful opinion. Distancing yourself for a while is probably the best thing.

    3. It’s all good*

      Smh. I can’t believe she meant to hurt you purposely but she does need to realize how much she has. I would cancel the concert and hopefully she figures it out on her own ASAP . But if not, please tell her how you feel.

        1. MysteryFan*

          I understand how hurt you must feel, and I recall a similar incident with my Mom, when I really HAD gained about 40 “extra” pounds. She sighed, and said, “Oh, Honey, I wish you could get your figure back..”. It stung.. no doubt, but like you say, I know she didn’t mean to hurt me. I hope you and your Mom can work out a way to communicate around this issue.. and that she can figure out how not to say clumsy stuff!

          Sorry about your day..

    4. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Ooof. I am so sorry.

      I think canceling the concert is a good idea. Text her and tell her that she can give your ticket to someone else.

    5. LilySparrow*

      I would hate for you to miss the concert if it’s something you’d otherwise like. That’s like punishing yourself for her mean words.

      And I can’t imagine why she thought it was so important to tell you that. You’re a grown person. How infantilizing and intrusive.

      Would it work for you to arrive separately and leave separately? Could you still enjoy the concert, or would it be spoiled by tension?

      I’m sorry you have to deal with that and I hope y’all can re-establish a better balance soon.

    6. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

      I talked to her and it went horribly. She apologized for how she phrased it but not the sentiment. She didn’t get it. I got angry, we both cried, I’m still crying. My brother called and yelled at me with tears in his voice that didn’t I realize how much I’d hurt her?

      I feel awful and everything is awful

      She’s so fragile after all the stuff with the trials. I shouldn’t have done this to hee

      1. dr_silverware*

        That’s so difficult to deal with, and I’m sorry. Please know that even if she’s hurting she doesn’t get to hurt you, and no one is so fragile that they can’t be told “that hurt me, please apologize.” It sounds like you’re panicking right now and I understand why: someone who loves you and who is supposed to take care of you hurt you.

        This will be a really hard day for you and probably a hard week going forward. It is totally ok for you to not talk about it with your family right now.

        Do you have a partner or a friend you can call on to take care of you right now, even if you don’t want to tell them the details of what happened? Even just turning your phone off and wrapping yourself in an extremely fluffy blanket to read a comfort novel or watch a comfort movie?

        If you can’t do that, it’s ok. Drink a lot of water. This is a storm of hurt but you weren’t the one dealing it out. Best wishes in what I know will be a dark day.

      2. London Calling*

        *My brother called and yelled at me with tears in his voice that didn’t I realize how much I’d hurt her?*

        Did he realise how much she’d hurt you, or did that not register with him?

          1. London Calling*

            She feels bad, she won’t admit it, so she’s venting to brother and turning it round to being your fault.

      3. Mananana*

        I’m just so sorry to hear this. My mom would totally say something like this, then be horribly hurt if I were to point out how crappy it was. So I get it.

        As far as the concert, which feeling is stronger? The desire to avoid mom, or the desire to see the artist in question? If you think you may regret missing the show, then don’t punish yourself by not going. However, you can make it clear to your mom that you do NOT want to re-hash the issue, and simply want to enjoy the show.

        Whatever you decide, I hope you treat yourself kindly the rest of the day.

      4. DoctorateStrange*

        It’s not your fault. It’s her problem. If anything, it’s best to keep your distance to both your brother and mother.

        I have had to give the silent treatment to close relatives. It wasn’t easy. It never is. But the silent treatment had them apologizing to me, even we’ve had to “agree to disagree” with the topic that caused the strife in the first place. When the topic approached again, I gave them the silent treatment/distance again. I actually had to do it on two occasions before they altogether stopped discussing the issue with me and our relationship is normal again.

        I’m saying this to say that giving your family distance is not going to be easy the first time, but the more practice you do it, each time they cross boundaries, the less difficult it will get, especially as they learn what not to say to you.

      5. Detective Amy Santiago*

        You didn’t do anything to her.

        Take care of yourself right now. Make a cup of tea. Watch your favorite movie. Talk to someone who is 1000% Team You. Ignore anyone in your family right now until everyone has times to let their feelings settle.

      6. TootsNYC*

        “didn’t I realize how much I’d hurt her?”

        Woah, wait a minute–when do YOUR feelings get to matter? Why doesn’t SHE realize how much she hurt YOU?

        If your brother wants to help your mom feel better, he can pour oil on troubled waters and assure her that this will blow over, instead of lashing out and making MORE angst.

        1. AnonEMoose*

          This. What your brother did is not ok. And as TootsNYC said, what about the hurt your mother inflicted on you? Why does that not matter to either your brother or your mother? It might be worth thinking about whether this is a pattern with your mother – does she say nasty stuff and then make it all about her feelings when someone objects?

          It might be worth taking a bit of a break from both of them, if that’s something you want to do, and thinking about the patterns of your interactions with them. And whether you’re ok with how things are between the three of you in general. It’s ok for you to put your own mental and emotional health first.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      “Mom, I need to say something and it’s important. I can drop the weight and my problem is solved. YOU will still be a person who cannot accept people as they are and your problem will remain UNsolved. I feel sorry for you because of that, it will cost you relationships.”

      I know her remark stings, but sometimes we just have to hand it right back to them especially on things like weight. As a teen, I decided to lose weight. I was overweight at a time when everyone looked like pencils (at least to me). So I put a chart on my closet wall and kept track of how I was doing. I never mentioned it to my parents because… parents! One day, my father blurts out, “So when are you gonna drop that weight?” Without missing a beat, I said, “I have lost 25 pounds how many pounds have you lost?”
      He never, ever mentioned my weight again. He never lost his weight either. In the end, I think it was a contributing factor in his death, as he had a substantial fluid build up. I never said one word to him about his weight.

      I know that thinking of comebacks in situations with the parents is not easy. Remember this old standby, “Parent, I do not speak to you like that, because I do not expect to be spoken to like that!” This is a statement that fits a lot of different types of situations. We can’t help what other people say to us, but we can set boundaries with them.

    8. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Maybe visit Reddit’s JustNoMIL page. Mothers count.

      You don’t have to go to the concert. Just because someone is related to you doesn’t mean they get a pass to be nasty.

    9. Kathy*

      She’s your mother, who would you accept concerns about your health if not her? Have you considered whether she has a point? Why does this have to be such an issue?

      1. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

        Nope, the only people who have any say about my body and health; me and my doctor.

        Does she have a point? None of your business.

        What gives you the right to speculate about my health?

        Since you don’t understand the issue, I’d appreciate if you didn’t comment anymore.

        1. Kathy*

          I wasn’t speculating about your health, I was asking whether your mother has reasons to worry about you.

      2. Mananana*

        Kathy, just because she gave birth to SSMC doesn’t give her the right to try to control SSMC’s body. It was NONE of mom’s business. At all. And it’s an issue because it is terribly rude to comment about someone’s body. End of sentence. No “unless you’re family” or “concerned about your health” exceptions nor exemptions. And to try to excuse mom’s behavior and minimize SSMC’s hurt is incredibly tone-deaf.

      3. Detective Amy Santiago*

        People can be healthy even if they are overweight. I am at least 50 lbs heavier than my mom, but I don’t have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

      4. Dan*

        It has to be an issue because Americans are full of shit when they veil concerns about someones appearance as a health issue.

        We’re all allowed to live life on our terms, our health choices are no one’s business but our own.

        If SSMC’s mother had standing to raise the issue, there would be an “organic” time to do it, and also a diplomatic way of doing so.

        1. Kathy*

          Here’s the thing though, I /don’t/ care about SSMC’s health, much like I don’t care about the health of most people I don’t know (and have never met). And given it is the US I don’t even have to care whether they’d be a burden on a public health system. So no, I don’t care about your weight, or your health. But her mother probably does, and that was what I was trying to point out. But if it’s easier to just assume the worst of everyone then you do you.

      5. TootsNYC*

        it doesn’t effing matter whether she has a point.

        Believe me, if SSMC is overweight, SSMC KNOWS THIS.

        And if SSMC needs motivation to care for her health in the matter of weight, the benefit to herself is the most powerful.

        Pointing out to someone that they’re overweight is NOT motivating. It’s NOT helpful.

        I’m not even sure that it’s correct to say, “she didn’t mean to hurt you.”

        1. TootsNYC*

          I just wanted to say–I have been the person who finally went to the doctor when someone said to me, “I’m worried about your symptom–have you seen a doctor? This can’t be good for you.”

          And so there are many instances where I *would* say to someone, “I’m worried about you about this health issue; please, please, take care of yourself.”

          But not weight.

          Just…not weight.

          IF IF weight is a problem, believe me, people know it. And it’s a fraught topic.

        2. ThatGirl*

          My MIL liked to harass her son (BIL) about his weight. She never said anything to me but I’m overweight too and I finally said to her, nobody needs to be told they’re overweight. It has never motivated anyone, and if someone could benefit from losing weight, they know it. (With an implied, so can it.) she sputtered a bit but never brought it up, at least around me, since.

    10. Be the Change*

      I remember once reading in a Miss Manners column, someone wrote, “What is a polite way to tell someone they need to lose weight?” Queen Judith wrote back, “What is a polite reason to say that at all?”

      So sorry, SSMC. That was a really crummy thing for anyone to say to you, let alone a family member.

      1. London Calling*

        Does this need to be said?
        Does this need to be said by me?
        Does this need to be said by me now to this person?

    11. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I’m sorry. I have this sort of relationship with my mom and I don’t entirely trust that my brother would see my side of things. I tend not to bring it up. So I just want to say good for you for speaking up! It’s something I have not learned how to do. I admire that in you. Hold firm. You are worth kind words, always.

    12. TootsNYC*

      why do people do this? Do they think someone doesn’t know what they weigh–whether they’re skinny or overweight?

      If someone is truly overweight, and it’s damaging to them, BELIEVE ME, THEY KNOW!

      I think you’re totally entitled to simply not speak to her anymore on this trip. Say, “I’m not going to the concert–that was the most insulting thing you’ve ever said to me, and I don’t want to talk to you or see you for a while.”

      Call her on the phone and say it, and then hang up. And seriously, literally, don’t talk to her. Pick a time–like, maybe a month. And the rule is, no talking to mom for a month. At the end of that month, see how you feel.

      1. TootsNYC*

        And i see that you’ve spoken to her. Sorry, I posted this quickly.

        But I do think that taking a time out–just…be busy with other things–would be really good for you.

    13. I can commiserate*

      That really sucks. No one has the right to comment on your weight except *maybe* your doctor.

      Others have given good advice, so I’ll just commiserate about going to a concert after a nasty comment. One time, my MIL said to me and my then-fiance that she didn’t want us to get married (because I wasn’t the same religion as him). She said this over dinner and then she and I were supposed to go to a Bonnie Raitt concert together. I made it through the opening act, then “went to the bathroom” at the set break and texted her that I didn’t feel well and had to go home. I was so angry and just needed to cry and not be sitting next to her pretending everything was fine. (She came around eventually and supported our wedding, but it took years. I also converted to his religion a few years after the wedding.)

      1. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

        Update: (and seriously. Thank you for all the support yesterday. THANK YOU!)

        I slept ok, and woke up and was still sad. I also did feel bad for having gotten so angry with mom, even though I was right. I said some things that weren’t ok to her.

        I called and apologized for that, and she apologized for having said what she said. She didn’t quite manage it (she was just concerned for my health, yknow.)

        I’m not entirely satisfied with that conversation but my dad came over shortly after to talk.

        And we had one of the best convos we’ve ever had.
        He reminded me that she is hung up on weight and not rational about it. And validated me and my feelings, and did it without any fat shaming (which is something he has never managed.)

        He told me he’s reminded mom that 1) I’m in charge of my health 2) I know what I’m doing and I know more than they about health stuff and 3) she knows I’m on meds that make me gain weight and therefore it was absolutely pointless to bring it up.

        I’m ok with that. She was still out of line. Hopefully, she’s learned something

  20. The Other Dawn*

    Any suggestions for a lingering stomach bug?

    I had gastric bypass about 4.5 years ago. Ever since then, I don’t vomit when I get a stomach bug. It’s basically a couple days of misery and diarrhea. It’s nice on the one hand to not be puking constantly, but on the other I feel like it hangs on longer than it used to. This time it started on Tuesday and Wednesday was the worst of it. Thursday was alternating periods of nausea, feeling like maybe I’m hungry, feeling empty, and feeling OK. A little better yesterday, but still feeling a little off in the stomach. And today I still feel it a bit. I just wish I’d feel normal again!

    1. periwinkle*

      Been there, done that, ugh. Lemon-ginger tea settles things down for both the nausea and that weird phantom hunger. Twinings and Stash both have excellent lemon-ginger teas.

    2. LilySparrow*

      Oh, that’s wretched! So exhausting.

      Scads of probiotics help, as does ginger. If you can’t stand yogurt yet (I don’t want dairy when I have the collywobbles), see if you can get your hands on some naturally fermented ginger beer – it has probiotics in it and the ginger, of course. I see it sometimes in stores that carry specialty cocktail mixers, though sometimes you can find it with natural sodas.

      Kombucha has them, too – but I can’t stand the smell when I’m healthy, much less with a dicey tummy.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I have a ton of yogurt in the fridge, and I didn’t even think about that. I’m actually OK to eat for the most part, but get that weird hungry/empty/icky feeling every once in awhile.

    3. Kuododi*

      I have gastroparesis which means chronic nausea and vomiting. I have found Won Ton soup or that tacky cheap ramen noodle soup to be helpful when things are getting ugly. Something about the salt and carbs in the soup I find soothing on my distressed tummy. Feel better soon!!!

    4. ..Kat..*

      So, I don’t have any suggestions for how you feel now. I recommend trying to prevent stomach bugs in the future. Before preparing food or eating it, wash your hands really well with soap and water. You tend to get these bugs by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your eyes, nose, mouth. I say use soap and water because many gastrointestinal illnesses are not killed by waterless hand gels. With soap and water (and scrub for 20 seconds) you are washing the germs down the drain. Dry your hands on a paper towel (or a fresh towel) and use the towel to turn off the faucet.

      Sorry for your misery now.

  21. cat advice?*

    I’ve had my cat for about a year and a half, adopted her from a shelter where she was listed as “high arousal.” She had fairly short fur at the time, but it turns out she’s got medium-to-long hair, and it gets matted like crazy. Obviously she’s pretty uncomfortable, and Does Not Like anyone manipulating the mats. She’s a terror at the vet’s and when we got some groomers to come to the house, they left cause she was not groomable–which I completely respect.

    She trusts my partner and me, in part because we respect her boundaries. She trusts us enough to let us trim her claws, but the mats are still a no-go with combs and stuff. We have some calming drugs from the vet for appointments.

    Would it be a terrible idea to try & trim her fur ourselves? Would all the mats have to come out before using an electric trimmer?

    1. The Other Dawn*

      I had a persian who matted very badly and easily. We trimmed him ourselves with electric clippers specifically for animals. You can do the mats with them, too. Just make sure you start with the attachment that doesn’t cut close to the skin and then go from there. Even though my cat was very docile and actually used to enjoy us running a Dust Buster over him (he was a special snowflake LOL) it was still a two person job. Might be better with three people if your kitty is that hard to control. You might try having the vet do it. They’ll put them under anesthesia to do it. The other persian had to get his lions cut don’t that way because he fights it. We only get that done when he’s very matted and really needs it and brushing hasn’t done the job.

      1. cat advice?*

        Thank you! I’m hoping I don’t have to go to the vet for it; she’d have to have it done under anesthesia for sure. I think me and my partner should be able to work with her, but I’m definitely worried about accidentally hurting her–never had a longish-haired cat before, all my previous ones were short-haired and neat :)

        Do you have a brand recommendation for the clippers?

        1. The Other Dawn*

          Yes, be very careful you don’t accidentally cut her skin. I don’t know what kind of cat it is, but some have very thin skin that cuts very easily. Persians have paper-thin skin, so we always used the blade/setting (can’t remember which it was) that would leave the hair a bit longer. Also, you should use the comb attachment. What it does is it combs through the hair while cutting, which can help get through the mats and lift the fur for easier cutting.

          The brand I have is Andis. I don’t know if there are better ones, since this is the only ones we’ve ever bought.

          If you want to try getting the mats out without clippers or the vet and you have someone to hold her down, you can try the Furminator brush. It’s a little pricey ($20-$30 i think), but it’s awesome at getting through mats and removing loose hair in general. You can get it at someplace like Petco or Pet Smart.

        2. Close Bracket*

          General anesthesia has some risks, so that is not the greatest solution. When I remove mats, it can take several go rounds with a single mat. I start by cutting *through* the mat and keep cutting bits off until I am at the skin. Once you have cut most of the mat off, the remainder kind of works itself out so you don’t have to tug at the skin. It’s easier if you run your fingers through the fur (or use a brush, but it feels so good to run your fingers through their fur) regularly, you can catch the mats when they are very small and easy to cut out.

    2. Coral*

      I have 2 cats with really long, thick fur and matting is a problem for them as well. I’ve usually been able to cut out most of the matting myself, either with scissors or with their nail trimmer (which, believe it or not, is easier). You of course have to be really careful to not cut their skin, and only attempt this when your cat is calm and not moving around. Make sure there’s enough space between the mats and the skin for you to cut it out, too.

      Once you get the mats out, you can give your cat a good brushing and keep up with the brushing to prevent more matting going forward. Consistent brushing really is the most important part. I have one of those brushes that looks more like a metal rake, and my cats LOVE being brushed with it as long as I’m gentle and don’t dig in too much. I have never used an electric trimmer though. I think my cats would be way too scared of the sound to remain still, so I would personally caution against it if your cat is the same.

      Does your vet do grooming? We always take our cats to the vet to be groomed, since they’re generally better equipped to deal with stressed out cats, whereas mobile groomers will usually not bother if the cat is difficult to control. The vet might also be able to sedate them before grooming. Good luck!

      1. cat advice?*

        Thank you! The nail clippers to cut out mats is a really good idea. I’m still trying to find a good brush for her–the one she likes best now is actually a brush that I’ve used, which is pretty funny :)

        1. Schmitt*

          I use the rake-looking comb to put between the skin and the matted fur before I use the scissors on it, so that I don’t accidentally nick the skin. Admittedly, it takes a certain amount of finesse if you’re doing it alone.

          It took a good while for our cat to get used to brushing and to be patient with me when getting mats out. Small but consistent was the key – I would brush her for a couple minutes then turn her loose and give her treats. Or cut just one mat out and then turn her loose and give her treats.

    3. Melody Pond*

      My 15 year old cat is prone to nipping and biting when she’s handled in ways she doesn’t like. She doesn’t get mats that often, but I couldn’t try to tackle them, or even trimming her claws, without drugs. (She isn’t able to keep her nails trimmed enough, and last year, when I finally got an up-close look at her paws, I was horrified to discover that her nails had grown into the pads of her toes!)

      Luckily, I got our vet’s blessing to drug her up with an appropriate dose of gabapentin once every 1-2 months, to keep her nails trimmed, and to take care of the mats that tend to accumulate on her belly. She turns into a little ragdoll, and I kind of feel bad about it – but there’s just no other way we can take care of her basic grooming needs.

      I would ask your vet about using something similar (or even the same thing? I think we use 50 mg of gabapentin, and you have to wait a couple hours for it to really kick in), and ask for your vet’s blessing to use it at home every so often to take care of grooming her properly. Then just be as gentle as you can, while tackling the mats, of course.

      Good luck!

      1. cat advice?*

        We do have some gabapentin, yeah. We’ve used it a couple times for vet appointments (unfortunately messed up the timing) and some urgent nail clipping, though now she’s used to being burritoed so we can clip her nails while she’s toweled up. We’ve got the vet’s blessing to use it but I’ll definitely confirm that we’re using it responsibly and with enough space in between.

    4. Bagpuss*

      I’d say give it a go and see what she will tolerate.
      We used to have a cat who had long hair, and who didn’t tolerate grooming. When she was young she groomed herself but when she got old and stiff she couldn’t, and would not let us do it.
      We found we could cut out any mats using scissors. She looked awful and patchy, but was comfortable and un-stressed, so it worked (and unlike clippers, no noise, vibration or anything, so much less intrusive / stressful for the cat)

    5. Oxford Coma*

      We have a Wahl just for the cats. I am super careful to avoid skin nicks by using both a blade attachment AND holding a plastic comb against the skin while running the blade above the comb.

      Success with a trimmer depends on how close the mats are to the skin. If they’ve formed deep down, you may not be able to get under them with the head of a trimmer. If you need to go in manually, definitely use the comb-against-the-skin trick. Working the comb in at the roots helps to loosen the knots a bit, while also protecting them. Their skin is like paper, FFS.

      Also, I much prefer the corded trimmer we have to a battery-operated one. It keeps a steady level of power and speed at all times. The old one we used would start to slow down, and we ended up yanking the fur a few times before we realized the batteries needed changing.

  22. It’s All Good*

    My brother is flying alone internationally tomorrow so he needs to get to the airport early. He suffers from PTSD and general anxiety around crowds and is nervous about the wait before boarding. He can’t have anyone with him, as you know, beyond the gate. The last time he flew it was international 5 years ago. A lot of us plan on having a text fest with him during his wait to engage him. Any coping ideas for him while he is waiting and on the plane (the last time he flew he said he would never do it again). Thank you.

    1. nep*

      I find EFT tapping quite calming. Has he ever tried it? I reckon one would want to get in a private, quiet spot but hell, I’d do it anywhere now.
      Best wishes to your brother–it’s a lot to take on. May all go well.

    2. PeakVincent*

      Does he find music or podcasts comforting? I hate flying (but love going places, so you do what you gotta do!) and I tend to go to the airport with my phone fully stocked with music, podcasts, audiobooks, and ebooks so I can completely focus on that, and have lots of options to choose from if something isn’t working. I tend to find traveling stressful as I move through the airport but less so once I’m at the gate—it may seem counterintuitive, or not make sense for him, but maybe getting there EARLY would help, so he can stake out a seat near an outlet close to his gate, put his bag on the seat next to him to ensure a little bit of crowd control for as long as possible, and then all he has to do is kill some time. I wish him the best of luck and happy travels!

      1. It’s all good*

        Thank you. He is using an old cell home to text only. Not sure if it’s a smartphone I will check.

    3. fposte*

      Is he in any kind of treatment for managing the anxiety? Usually they give you focusing techniques for higher stress situations. Controlled breathing is a big one–in through the nose for 5 seconds, out through the mouth for 7, for instance. I would also encourage him to give himself tasks and missions. Gamifying-type tasks that involve him being up and moving around (the terminals are usually pretty substantial) can be really good, because walking is often better than sitting and a goal focuses the mind. Walk the terminal and count the shops. How many non-black rollaboards can he tally? How many languages can he hear? It’s also worth seeing if there’s somebody he can be helpful to–is there somebody with a few kids and their hands full whose stuff he could hold or help carry?

      1. It’s all good*

        Thank you. I will share with him.

        I read about the 4-7-8 breathing technique on another AAM post. I will send him a link.

      2. It’s all good*

        Thank you for your time. I’m an anxious flyer (I quit for over a decade) but with taking care of the kids it’s usually an enough distraction. If not, hubby always knows what to do to to ground me (not sure what, those episodes are a blur) so I haven’t any specific suggestions for him.

        1. It’s all good*

          ^ was supposed to be a reply to my post, so it’s out of order sorry for confusion, if any.

    4. PapiDoc*

      Most decent sized airports have a chapel. Whether he is religious or not, in my experience there are rarely people there, and it’s a nice, quiet place to relax and read before the flight begins to board.

      1. Reba*

        Ooh that’s a good idea. I was also going to suggest looking into a day pass for the airline lounge — though in busy airports, those can also get full — and downloading an engrossing movie or show onto his device.

    5. Coral*

      I can’t speak to the PTSD aspect of it as I have no experience with it, but I travel a lot and find that reading, eating, and playing games (i.e. brain teasers, sudoku, crosswords) really help me kill the time. Maybe he could pack lots of snacks, put some headphones on and read or solve puzzles. For the waiting part, if you get to the gate earlier, it’s usually less crowded and easier to find a seat in the corner by yourself. You can set your bags down on the chair next to you so that nobody sits there, and 99% of the time people will leave you alone.

      Once he’s on the plane, international flights always have those small personal TVs in the seat-back, with lots of shows/movies to choose from (I’m assuming it’s a long flight and not a short journey from the US to Canada, for example). Aisle seats are always less confining than middle or window seats, and you can get up at any time without having to talk to anyone and ask them to move, though he might get asked to move himself, so there’s that. Also, if it is a long flight (8+ hours) he could do what my sister does, which is pop a sleeping pill and pass out the whole trip! lol

      Good luck to him!

      1. It’s all good*

        Thank you. It’s the waiting part until he boards that is the worst for him. He does watch movies and has a drink or two once he is flying for distraction (13 hour flight).

    6. NYC Redhead*

      My noise-cancelling headphones make waiting and flying much more pleasant. I often just listen to the white noise.

    7. Lindsay J*

      Is is possible for him to pay for a day pass for a lounge?

      Or if he has an American Express Card, some (all?) of them give you access to the American Express Centurion lounges.

      They’re generally less crowded than hanging out at the boarding areas. (Though depending on the lounge and the location they are still crowded).

      Similarly, some airports have little spa areas with private rooms you can pay for.

      Also, there are sit down restaurants – some with table service, some that are cafe style where you order at a counter and get a number and they bring you the food. Some are crowded, some are really not. If I’m not traveling with my boyfriend and using his lounge access, this is what I generally do – go to an uncrowded restaurant, get breakfast or lunch, and then sit on my laptop and nurse a beer or coffee until it’s close to my flight time.

      For on the plane, possibly check to see what the price is to upgrade to economy plus or whatever that specific airline calls it. You get more leg room and generally less narrow seats, which helps with not feeling like people are right on top of you.

      If it’s a long flight, maybe some zzquil or similar drug to knock him out so he can sleep most of the flight?

      1. It’s all good*

        Thank you. He is financially restricted but otherwise those are helpful suggestions

    8. Dopameanie*

      Not gonna lie, I scored 3 Xanax off a bartender and zombied my way through my last international flight.

      Pro: easiest solution EVER

      Con: illegal

      Can highly recommend.

      1. Red*

        This works for me every time, but I do have a prescription. If illegality is a deterrent, have him ask his doctor! My mom’s doc was perfectly willing to give her a few Valium for flying.

    9. Courageous cat*

      I have panic attacks and need Klonopin to fly so I always recommend that, but past that, there’s a cell phone game called Osmos that I play whenever I fly that has very calming ambient music and is relatively slow-paced and meditative. I think I may have read he’s using an old cell phone – but if he has access to a smart phone, I recommend it so so much for anxiety. It’s enough to keep you engaged without stressing you out.

    10. Mallows*

      Apparently there is a thing called an escort pass that you can ask for at the ticket counter, if you’re with a disabled person. Maybe that is possible? Link in next comment.

    11. Tim Tam Girl*

      It may be too late for this flight, but I can highly recommend the VALK anxiety app if he has a smartphone or iPad. It’s specifically geared toward fear of flying but I find it very helpful in many situations as it talks you through coping with stress, anxiety and fear, including exercises you can do subtly and in confined spaces. It also has a ‘panic button’ that will start a guided meditation/exercise.

      It’s been very helpful for me since I developed my flying anxiety because it’s based on the idea that fears are not facts and it gives you practical tools as opposed to abstract soothing. It directly addresses a number of common flight/travel fears with calmly-stated factual information, which works brilliantly for me; and it’s divided into pre-flight, take-off and in-air sections that give you information and suggestions specific to each period. As I said, it’s been so helpful that I’ve used it in non-travel situations as well.

      I think it costs US$4 but there are no in-app purchases, and I think you could gift it (or the cost of it) to him via iTunes.

  23. PeakVincent*

    I’m visiting Nashville for the first time this weekend! Any must-sees or local favorites?

    Less specifically, what’s your favorite US city to visit?

    1. Cookie Monster*

      Yessss my city. For BBQ, go to Martin’s, do not go to Edley’s. Hatch Show Print downtown is really incredible, great art. I love the Olive & Sinclair tour over in East Nashville, they’re only on Saturdays but you may still be able to book one today – they’re a local bean-to-bar chocolate company. City House is incredible, go for the belly ham pizza with the egg. Frothy Monkey and Bongo Java / Fido are good local coffee places. If you want a cute neighborhood to walk around in that’s not 12th South or the Gulch, Hillsboro Village is lovely.

      1. Cookie Monster*

        Oh as an addendum to this, if you’re downtown, the Nashville Public Library has an amazing exhibit upstairs on the sit-ins in Nashville and the civil rights movement here. (Rep. John Lewis went to high school here!)

        1. Dryroasted*

          Another nashvillian here. Those are all good suggestions! I love martin’s barbecue. Edley’s is fine. Not bad, but martin’s is better. I like taking people to loveless cafe which is very touristy but also good. Arnold’s is a pretty famous meat and three. If you like spicy food, you should try some hot chicken! Prince’s is the original.

    2. Star Nursery*

      I enjoyed going to Joe’s Crab shack when I was there. Depends if you like seafood options though!

    3. The Original K.*

      I love New Orleans. It has an energy unlike any other city I’ve visited or lived in.

    4. Bluebell*

      I loved the Parthenon with the painted Athena. Totally wasn’t expecting something like that in Nashville. Cheekwood was also nice to visit. Plus the Johnny Cash museum. Enjoy!

  24. Loopy*

    Who is good at decor? I just scored a badly needed solid dining room/kitchen table with six chairs at Goodwill for 90 dollars (!!!!!) But it has some obvious scratches on the top. It’s so sturdy that I’m determined to work around those for the price. Should I go with a table cloth, table runner, or placemats? Can one do both a runner and placemats? I’m not feeling a tablecloth and can’t pinpoint why. Help, AAM friends!!

    1. Coral*

      Yes, you can do a runner and placemats! Also, depending on how “fancy” you want it to look, beaded tablecloths are really nice — you can cover up any blemishes without that boring look that fabric tablecloths can sometimes have. Have you considered sanding down the tabletop and refinishing it? You could also get one of those wood markers if the scratches aren’t too deep — might help make them somewhat less noticeable.

      1. Loopy*

        It’s kind of too country looking to go the fancy route and it’s a light wood so I was thinking maybe a light blue. What do rural country kitchens look like???

        I’m terrible/have no interest in any DIY measures so I think covering it up will suite me better. We dont have company often, so I’m not bothered, haha..

    2. Fiennes*

      Maybe get an *awesome* tablecloth? I don’t like plain ones, but I have 5 from Saffron Marigold (Indian textiles) that I love. It’s worth checking out the site, really—

      1. Loopy*

        That site is awesome! I just spent 425 dollars on tires today though so I’ll have to bookmark it for later. Thanks for sharing, I never would have found that otherwise!

    3. FrontRangeOy*

      I have a family history with furniture repair. My favorite quick fix is danish oil. It comes in a range of standard wood finish colors so pick the one matches closest. The directions are all on the back of the can but basically, you rub it in with a soft clot and let it dry. Generally, 2 or 3 coats, about 24 hours apart, will reduce scratches or make them invisible.

      1. Loopy*

        I’ll have to come back to this. My dad asked me what kind of the wood the table is and I couldn’t even guess. I’m awful at matching any shades/colors so I’d need assistance but it would be a good project to come back to when I can drag my fiance along to the store! For now I’ll settle for a quick fix!

    4. Chocolate Teapot*

      Runner and table mats could work. How about a patterned runner with plain table mats in one of the colours?

      As for scratches, is there a way for them to be polished out? I know you can have furniture “dipped and stripped” to remove old varnish etc, but I suspect it will be more expensive than what the table cost. Or I have seen there are special wax fillers (brown crayons basically) which can be used to cover up the scratches.

      1. Loopy*

        I’ve been told furniture polish will help to some extent. I’m going to get some basic stuff and see if it does *anything*. I think I’ll go with covering up for now and maybe ome back around to directly dealing with the scratches later.

    5. TootsNYC*

      I did once find a furniture refinisher who specialized in repairs, and he refinishing only the top of my buffet. I remember it not being terribly expensive (“not terribly expensive” is such an amorphous concept; I tend to be kind of cheap, but I also am not in any financial bind, so…).

      That might be worth looking into.

      But meanwhile, covering them up is nice as well.

      What shape is the table, and where are the scratches?

      (I personally would probably just live with the scratches, bcs my table is covered with junk except for mealtimes.)

      1. Loopy*

        I don’t think the table is worth any more effort than covered just because it’s clearly had a few previous lives. I think I’ll have to settle for a mix of covering and getting over the scratches.

    6. Loopy*

      Update: Went out and got some basic polish/cleaner for the table and a 14 dollar runner. I was dismayed that once I really got to cleaning the table the imperfections were more extensive than I had realized and I’m not sure why, but I’m taking it hard. It’s scratched and scuffed way more than I realized.

      In hindsight, for a used 90 dollar table, it’s honestly still fine. I’m trying super hard to gain perspective: it’s solid word and sturdy. It has a leaf included and can seat six. It’s a light wood color that goes really well with the room and unless you’re sitting at it, it looks *perfect*. It has a super cool drawer I adore. This is a *super* expensive year for us so really, it wouldn’t have been a good idea to spend any more and our previous set’s chairs were literally falling to pieces. When we had guests we only had two out of four seats that were fit for anyone to use, so we’d take the awful chairs. For now, it’s an improvement.

      But I am still sad to see my original assessment wasn’t so great. Also I got a runner and seemingly forgot I hate stripes. The runner is stripey. I don’t know what I was thinking, but it does cover the most obvious scratches well. Despite doing it’s job… stripes :(

      This table has consumed my entire Saturday….

      1. Loopy*

        Also for perspective when I say table for 90 dollars I actually mean the table and all six chairs was 90. I mean 90 dollars for a full *actual wood* wood dining set?! Why am I so bummed that’s it’s scratched and scuffed? New dining table sets costs at least 500.

      2. DrWombat*

        You could maybe get some fabric from Spoonflower and make a custom runner or tablecloth, if you have access to a sewing machine you can hem it with! Or wait for JoAnns to have a big sale and do similar.

    7. Talvi*

      How deep are the scratches, and how much time and effort are you willing to put in? If they’re not too deep, you could try stripping the varnish and sanding down the scratches (then re-staining and re-finishing it, of course).

      1. Loopy*

        I get very anxious around DIY, unfortunately- and I’m pretty consistently bad at it! I’m trying to reframe how I see the table. It’s had previous lives and that’s actually kind of cool. I wonder how old it is and where it’s lived before me. I’m trying to re-categorize them as character, rather than terrible flaws to be fussed over.

    8. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      I had a crazy scratched and faded set of drawers in a furnished apartment that drove me nuts. I found some colorless shoe polish and used that on it, which made a surprisingly big difference!

      Also $90 is a pretty good price. Maybe decide that one of these days you’ll renovate the table some more and put the damage out of your mind for now?

  25. Coral*

    Anyone have any recommendations for candles or diffusers that have a strong scent that fills the room? I feel like no matter how much I spend, all the candles and diffusers I buy are never that fragrant :( With diffusers especially, they never seem to produce any fragrance unless I’m like 2 feet away. I like fruity/citrusy scents, like mango, orange, etc. – any recommendations would be appreciated! Thank you!

    1. nep*

      I’ll be interested in responses here. I used to use incense but don’t like the effects of the smoke on walls and fixtures over time. I love the scent of some candles but I cannot stand the odor when you blow out a candle — ruins the entire thing for me, that lingering smell of the extinguished wick.
      I’ve been putting tea tree oil on a cotton ball in bathroom instead of using incense. So far I like it.

      1. ainomiaka*

        I get candles in a jar with a lid to deal with that scent. It seems to be much less in that case.

          1. Courageous cat*

            And not only that, but don’t even blow it out and then cap it – just cap it while the flame is still going strong. The flame will extinguish almost immediately and you won’t smell ANYTHING.

    2. PeakVincent*

      I like Bath & Body Works 3-wicks! I can’t vouch for their fruity ones, but I’ve found they fill up the space quite well, especially if you’re willing to light all 3 wicks at once. And when you catch them on sale, they’re not too pricey!

      1. Kuododi*

        Speaking as a former BBW employee….(just one of those pt jobs to keep extra $$$ coming in the house.)…. I would highly recommend their candles over other products. The candles are vegetable oil with soy wicks so there isn’t such a problem with soot and smoky residue. Also on a personal note, I find their scents to be less overwhelming and more long lasting. (I’m one of those people with a hypersensitive nose. For me, scents need to be subtle.). DH sz I have a “bionic nose.” But again…that’s my issue. Best wishes.

        1. DrWombat*

          Any suggestions for a soyfree kind? I don’t keep soy products in the house due to health reasons, and it seems like all the candles I find are soy-based. And I admit, even changing my clothes as soon as I get home, my apartment still smells like cow ><

          1. Kuododi*

            Oh no my apologies…. I haven’t been at the store in a couple of years. I was always pleased with the BBW products and didn’t do any personal comparison beyond their stuff. Best wishes!!!

              1. Kuododi*

                Cool…have a wonderful week!!! Hope you are having wonderful weather in your little corner of the planet!!! Blessings!!!

    3. soupmonger*

      I’m in the UK and the best scented candles I’ve discovered are Lily-Flame. The candles throw off a strong scent, and the scents are clean. My favourite is ‘citrus’, a lovely clear orange scent, and ‘fresh linen’ which smells like clean washing. They do a lot of flowery scents which aren’t for me but if you like florals, I can imagine they’d be lovely.

    4. Reba*

      I have the diffuser with sticks from Williams Sonoma — a relative gives me one every couple years as a gift — I think it is the white floral or something scent? Gardenia, jasmine, a little citrus. I actually use about half the sticks it’s packaged with because I find it pretty strong!

    5. Nicole76*

      Yankee Candles are much stronger than most brands I’ve tried – even their tealights seem to fill a decent-sized room in my experience. I like trying the smaller ones before committing to a larger size. They have a large selection of scents to choose from so I’m sure you’d find something you like.

    6. Ermintrude Mulholland*

      Have you considered buying an actual plug in diffuser and a bottle of your favourite essential oil? Fills the room with scent, no smoke marks.

    7. LilySparrow*

      I’m actually pretty averse to incense and most “smelly stuff”, but I’ve had good experiences with kitchen candles from Williams-Sonoma and Mrs Meyers. Their lemon or lemon & basil scents made the whole kitchen smell fresh, even out into the next room, without being an overwhelming cloud.

      Apologies if you’re already taking this into account, but have you checked for sensory saturation? You lose the ability to smell even a very strong aroma pretty quickly because your brain blocks it out. I used to live downwind of a paper mill (an absolutely choking pong), and nobody in town could smell it unless you went on vacation and then returned.

      I’ll often visit folks who have many layers of scent in their house that seem quite strong to me. But they’ll light a candle or something, because they can’t perceive what’s already there.

      Have you tried clearing your palate after the candle’s been going a while? Going outside for a while or smelling something like coffee beans can reset your nose.

    8. Fellow Traveller*

      We used a Lampe Berger to combat our cat odors throughout our basement. It is kind of a diffuser, but you burn the wick for two minutes to activate it. There is a neutral scent option, too. Or you can mix the neutral scent with the other scents to make them less strong.

    9. Courageous cat*

      Bath and Body Works will definitely do it for you. If you want to spend more money, Diptyque.

  26. aarti*

    I wrote in two weeks ago about a late period, possible pregnancy and feeling generally frustrated with the situation. I got such great internet love/advice and it really felt so good. Thank you to everyone who commented!

    Quick update: I got my period (18 days late!!). My partner and I ended up talking quite a bit after this, good conversations about when we want to have kids.

    I also wanted to thank the lovely human who recommended the Period Repair Manual (https://www.amazon.in/Period-Repair-Manual-Treatment-Hormones-ebook/dp/B00SCIVMCM) I’m sorry I don’t remember who it was!! This book has seriously blown my mind. I’ve learned so much about period healthy that I am almost embarrassed to say at 30 years old I did not know. So I’m sharing the link here again for anyone interested.

    Love and menstrual health y’all

    1. ggg*

      This must be good, because at your link the Kindle edition is $449 and the paperback is $1600. :)

      Amazon pricing algorithms are super fun.

      1. ggg*

        Never mind, I am just now seeing that it is in a different currency.

        Recently I was looking for a used book for my kids and the first link listed the price upwards of $1000. But I was able to get it for 99 cents from another seller.

  27. Ms. Gullible*

    I reluctantly agreed to letting my ex have the kids for the other weekend with the strict stipulation it would not be overnight and his girlfriend was not to be there. Saturday they were only there for couple of hours when he asked m to come get them as he didn’t have anything for them. Neither of them had been changed in nearly 5 hours by the time I got them home and my baby had went the entire time without a bottle. Stupidly, I agreed to let them go back the next day as he stated he would get what they needed. He did not get our baby formula and said his sister would get. When I called around baby’s bottle time, I found out his girlfriend got the formula and was over. So I’ve been furious. We had discussed before this incident them coming this weekend to spend time but I said absolutely not since he completely disregarded our agreement. Now I’m a s***** person and a $2 w****(I had put on makeup for once when I picked them up. I was sooooooo bored without my kids.).

    I wish this court process moved faster.

    1. Tuna Casserole*

      I’m sorry you are having to deal with this. All I can say is document everything.

    2. Nesprin*

      Document document document. This is a solid reason to never let him have custody again.
      An observation: people are at their most viciously self righteous when they know they’re in the wrong. So it may help to rephrase his obnoxiously horrible insults as admissions that he knows he funked up and is trying to push your buttons so you’d bring yourself down to his level. I find ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’ is the most highhanded way to avoid drama.

      1. Thlayli*

        Agree – keep notes and records of everything especially the texts and so on. Not giving a baby a bottle or changing them for 5 hours is neglect.

        1. Phrasing*

          **five house**’ wow. Even a toddler or someone that on the upper edge of diapers needs one more than that!

          Our state mandate for childcare is every 2 hours OR a poop/noticeably wet diaper, whichever is first. My just turned 2 y/o probably has an occasional stint where she has andry diaper for 5 hours but 9/10 times she needs one every 2-3. Complete neglect.

      2. TootsNYC*

        Document document document. This is a solid reason to never let him have custody again.
        An observation: people are at their most viciously self righteous when they know they’re in the wrong. So it may help to rephrase his obnoxiously horrible insults as admissions that he knows he funked up and is trying to push your buttons so you’d bring yourself down to his level.

        I agree so much! When he lashes out like that, remind yourself that it’s because he KNOWS he was wrong.

    3. only acting normal*

      You’re not at s***** person. You are a normal person who cannot FATHOM how a parent could allow their own infant child to go without food, and to sit in a wet and/or dirty diaper needlessly, because they couldn’t prepare some very basic supplies in advance of a pre-arranged visit. You’ve learned that you can’t apply normal standards of behaviour to him wrt your children (you probably already knew this wrt yourself, or he wouldn’t be ex).
      As others have said, this was neglectful, he is not to be trusted, document, document, document.

  28. Detective Amy Santiago*

    I need to do some serious purging of my apartment. Has anyone ever rented a dumpster for residential use? I looked into it a little and was just wondering what was reasonable cost wise.

    1. fposte*

      I haven’t, but I’m impressed at your commitment level! I’m definitely a sprinter when it comes to weeding.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Well, I’m really lazy and I’m thinking that if I spend the money to rent one, it’ll make me actually do something.

        1. TootsNYC*

          I think like you!

          I’ve been known to ask someone to help me declutter, because if they give up their time to come over on a Saturday, I know I have to stick with it.

    2. OperaArt*

      I have. I don’t remember the price, but there was some advice given to me I’d like to share.
      Have all your junk ready to go before the dumpster arrives. As soon as it’s delivered, fill it up with your discards. If you don’t, you might find it starting to be filled with other people’s trash.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Totally agree with making sure you have a bunch of stuff to throw in right away. It’s amazing the things that show up in your dumpster when it’s out on the street. People think it’s an invitation to toss all their junk in and they don’t have to pay. At the current house our driveway is big enough so we didn’t have that problem this time around.

    3. Merci Dee*

      Never rented a dumpster or anything. But I had seen lots of commercials over the years for Bagsters, through Waste Management. You go to a local home improvement store, but as many of the Bagsters as you need. Fill them at your leisure, then schedule pick-up with Waste Management. They hold up to 3,300 pounds each, and cost about $150 to haul away. They’ve got a website with more info — thebagster (dot) com. They may or may not service your area, but you can check from the website.

    4. The Other Dawn*

      Depends on how much stuff you have. We rented a 20 yard dumpster for something around 350.00 I think. It was a good size. You can get a 30 yard for more but make sure you have enough room for it.

    5. Middle School Teacher*

      I had to, to clean out my rental unit when some tenants peaced out in the middle of the night and left EVERYTHING. It was about $200, including delivery and pickup, as I recall.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Somebody in my neighborhood needs to do this. All the rubbish is piled all over the lawn near the street and up by the house, and it’s blowing all over people’s yards. It’s not on my street, but I do walk by it every time I take my walks, and it’s GROSS. The city tagged it and nobody has done anything yet.

        1. Middle School Teacher*

          It might depend on the laws. There is a house in my city that is essentially used as a boarding house, and the alley behind is FULL of garbage, to the extent it made the news, neighbours interviewed, the whole thing. The mayor does a monthly phone-in on a local radio station and three people called and emailed in. I guess the process is, file complaint —> city issues a ticket and tells homeowner to clean it —> city issues a fine —> city picks it up and bills homeowner via property taxes. Your person might still be on step one.

    6. Lora*

      Yeah, think I paid $300-500 depending on size. Did a major clean-out of old furniture that was too dog-destroyed for Goodwill, half-empty dried out paint cans, sort of thing.

    7. Twisted Knickers*

      Another option you might want to consider is a service like 1-800-GOT-JUNK. They come with a big truck and load everything into the truck for you and take it away. Some of them also try to recycle items if they can. I used them once when I moved, and so did my sister-in-law – we were both really happy with the service.

      1. Lillie Lane*

        +1 on the 1800GotJunk truck. My husband set up the pickup and he was very pleased. You pay for the amount of space in the back of the truck. They can also help with loading. We recommended it to people like my in-laws who are in poor health and can’t easily lift heavy furniture, etc.
        We also used a Bagster and that was good for a clean out over time (throw stuff in there as you clean) but if you don’t have a yard to put it in, it would be a more difficult option.

    8. Traveling Teacher*

      Depending on what you’re getting rid of, there might be charities who will come and help you take it away, as well. I was going to bite the bullet and hire someone to remove an old washing machine (that still technically worked, but only on the wool cycle) :/ ), plus random bits like broken knives and a few truly broken small appliances (like the handed down family microwave from 1982, thing is a behemoth!). Don’t have a car, so it’d been accumulating in my basement space.

      I googled, though, and I found a charity nearby that, for a relatively small fee, will come and help you take away all of your large-ticket, possibly repairable items, plus metal stuff and CDs / DVDs for recycling. My fee was only around 70 euros total, and they even removed the two big items out of the basement for me, all for about the same the cost it would have been to rent a van to drive it all to the dump myself (yikes!). And, it helps support a local charity that does free job training.

      I totally get that sometimes it’s a thousand percent easier to just throw it all away, though!

  29. Forking Great Username*

    My four year old was diagnosed with autism this week. I’m reeling and trying to figure out what this all means and kind of grieving the “normal” childhood I’d hoped he would get to have. I’m also already pissed off with some of the family members I have told who are majorly in denial and insisting that he doesn’t seem autistic, it’s just normal kid stuff, etc. Nevermind the fact that they’re not the ones who are with him daily seeing his struggles, apparently they know better than psychologists and autism specialists. I understand the impulse to not want anything to be “wrong” with him, and I understand he blends in fairly easily since he’s high functioning. But the denial mindset is just so unhelpful, and I know exactly where it will lead – to the idea that if I just gave him more discipline and didn’t put up with it, his challenging behaviors would magically disappear.

    I’m finally graduating this weekend, and it feels selfish, but honestly I wish the official diagnosis had come next week – I’m trying to not let this loom over my head while trying to celebrate this degree I’ve worked so hard for.

    1. Turtlewings*

      I don’t have any advice to offer but if it helps, please know that I have multiple friends who are autistic, and although a lot of things in their lives will never be “normal” per se, they are still living happy, successful, fulfilling lives. Romantic partners, successful careers, good educations, devoted friendships — all of these things are still on the table for your son, I’ve seen it happen.

      I’m sorry your family is being difficult. Reminding them that they don’t see him all day every day like you do, and they don’t have the training and knowledge that the experts have, may actually help. Also reminding them that autism isn’t an insult or accusation they need to defend him from, and pretending his mind works differently than it does won’t be a favor to him.

      Best of luck with it all, and congratulations on your degree!

    2. Lilo*

      The good news is, you got an early diagnosis, so there are a lot of early interventions that will stave off issues. The thing is, this doesn’t have to mean he doesn’t have a full childhood. As you mentioned, he’s high functioning. Keep an open line of communication with your doctor, and speech therapy and reading help him.

      I had a friend in college who was high functioning autism – he was a little awkward, it was always obvious he’d rehearsed his social conversations, but he was genuine about caring and was a massively popular guy for that reason.

      Support him, listen to your doctors, but don’t despair. With proper support, a high functioning kid will be just fine.

    3. LilySparrow*

      Congrats on the degree!

      I’m sorry your relatives are being unhelpful. I suppose it’s normal that you’re further along in the process than they are, but I hope you have some good resources to get the support you need that they aren’t ready to give.

      I know you’re reeling, but it can be such a relief and help to know what’s really going on and have access to real, practical help. I hope the diagnosis opens the right doors for you and your precious little one.


    4. Tuna Casserole*

      It’s normal, and endlessly frustrating, for friends and family to downplay a diagnosis. They are trying to make you, and themselves, feel better. But it really doesn’t help. Getting that diagnosis can be a real kick in the gut. Give yourself time to grieve, read up about autism, take time to enjoy your child. Also, the best thing that helped me was finding a group of autism parents to get advice from and share all of the ups and downs with. If its a real life group or and online group, just knowing that other people support you and are going through the same thing can keep you going through the tough times.

      Congrats on getting your degree!

    5. It’s all good*

      A lot of good advice here. I will add another congratulations! Going to school when you are a parent is challenging, pat yourself on the back and enjoy the celebration you deserve.

    6. Kj*

      I work with kids with ASD and I hear first-hand how much parents have to do. Your son can have a normal childhood- it will be different in a few ways, but most kids with ASD have mostly normal childhoods.

      Some starting points to consider:
      1. Contact your health insurance, ask what services are covered. Is ABA an option? Is it covered?
      2. Contact local ChildFind through your school district and see if they have any intervention preschools your son could attend.
      3. Contact your state’s department of disability and find out what they offer and cover. Some stuff you may not need, but it is nice to know.
      4. Find yourself a community of parens of kids with ASD. You need to bounce ideas off of others and have people who get it.
      5. Buy Neurotribes and read it. It is seriously an amazing history of ASD and it will give you hope.
      6. Celebrate your graduation. This is change to your life’s plan, but it isn’t a bad thing, just a different thing.

      I’m the last to say having a kid on the spectrum is easy (I see struggling parents ALL the time), but I also see the joy and many parents I work with report having so much joy in their kids. It is hard because the diagnosis focuses on what your son can’t do. But ASD comes with limitations and special abilities. We hear less about the special abilities, but they are there and are amazing. You sound like a really caring and on-top-of-it parent. Your son is lucky to have you.

    7. Tau*

      Congrats on your degree!

      Also… so I’m an autistic adult! First off, I think it’s great that you have the DX and are not going to be in denial about it. Just knowing what’s going on gives you so many more tools for handling things going forward. I can understand that this has come as a shock, but maybe it’ll help to remind yourself that the alternative to the DX wasn’t your son being neurotypical – the alternative to the DX was your son being autistic and you both not knowing. I’ve been there (I worked out I was on the spectrum at 18 and got my diagnosis at 23) and I have to say I wouldn’t recommend it. This way, you know why.

      Something I would recommend pretty strongly is to read material written by autistic adults. For one, it’ll hopefully help show you all the various amazing directions autistic kids can go in. For another, I think the perspectives of people who’ve been in your kid’s shoes can be really important to have.

      And – agreeing with Kj that there’s nothing saying your child can’t still have a pretty normal childhood. I’d say my childhood was pretty normal. And, for the record, I’m very happy with myself and my life right now and wouldn’t change it for the world. :)

      1. Blue_eyes*

        “remind yourself that the alternative to the DX wasn’t your son being neurotypical – the alternative to the DX was your son being autistic and you both not knowing.” THIS.

        As a former teacher, you are already doing the right things by seeing doctors and specialists to find a diagnosis – now you are better equipped to help him because you know what’s going on. When I taught elementary school there were parents who were in denial and wouldn’t let their kids be tested for autism or other differences and it was sooo frustrating because their kids needed help whether or not they wanted it to be that way. The diagnosis will help him qualify for services through the local school district –
        I would highly recommend looking into that when you have time. Even if he’s not old enough for kindergarten yet, there are often preschool programs and summer programs for students with special needs. He can still have the full life you’ve envisioned for him, he’ll just need extra support in certain areas. You sound like a great parent!

        PS – congrats on your graduation!!

    8. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

      First of all, that sounds like…a LOT to take on at once. I’m really hoping that everything works out (and by the way, congratulations on graduating!)

      That said – don’t worry about your son not having a normal childhood! First of all, it sounds like he’d have been diagnosed as having Aspergers pre-DSM V, from what you said. (I think the diagnosis now would be ASD level 1.) Speaking from first-hand experience, I had issues and meltdowns, but…I also had friends, I played sports, and I was pretty well liked by most people in school. (My prom date was a disaster, but that’s a story for another open thread.)

      I don’t expect to know how your son will grow up. But just because your son is autistic doesn’t mean that he’ll be doomed to be a certain way.

    9. Detached Elemental*

      My little one was diagnosed with Austism aged 3, so I get what you’re going through, even down to the family who don’t get it.

      And I’m not going to lie or sugar coat it, it can be tough.

      But, given the behaviour we were seeing, I’d rather have a diagnosis than not, because it’s opening up doors for us to get funding and therapies before my child starts school.

      And, as other posters have pointed out, it’s not necessarily a limiting diagnosis. I have a colleague who has autism and a PhD. He’s brilliant and a nice guy.

    10. DrWombat*

      Best of luck! I hope you are able to get the support you need and that your kid is too. There are a lot of autistic adults out there blogging about what would have helped them as kids, and having supportive parents is key. I have a lot of friends on the spectrum and they’ve spoken a lot about how frustrating it was to be bullied by teachers/other students so be prepared to fight for your child there too. It sounds like you are really trying hard and that is awesome and I hope things go well.

      Also remember that if a therapist offers ABA, investigate the heck out of it, because a lot of ABA-type interventions are really harmful in the long term (there have been a lot of autistic adults speaking out about this). It is important to find a therapist who will respect your kid’s bodily autonomy and treat them like a -person-. But there are a lot of guides out there written by autistic people (and autistic parents of autistic kids as well!) that can help direct you to resources that are best long-term. I have heard a lot of good things about Lydia X.Z. Brown’s work and what I’ve read of her stuff is pretty awesome. Ari Ne’eman is also a big name in the neurodiversity movement.

      Congrats on graduating and best of luck!

    11. M*

      I have a very high functioning ASD 5-year old and I just wanted to say hi and hugs. For me the hardest part was just absorbing the sheer volume of information about intervention and diagnosis and a million possible outcomes. My in laws were exactly as you describe. It took them over a year to stop saying ‘that’s just what boys are like’ and ‘when he is with us we just tell him no’. It was so frustrating. But they finally came around and now they have become those annoying people who go to every fundraiser and bother all of their friends with random information about ASD. They are all autism pride these days. It took some work on our part with making them read some books about sensory integration, which is my son’s biggest challenge. But they came around.

      We have a fantastic OT and that has made such a huge difference. Our life is so so much better now. My son Loves it and to me it feels like magic. Before OT, I spent 2+ years basically being beaten up by a small child. And from the outside that sounds funny, it is not. It’s emotionally exhausting to have patience with someone who is constantly punching and kicking and pinching and hair pulling. This behavior was completely eliminated after only a few weeks in OT. It felt like I got my kid back. He still has plenty of challenges but he also has more tools to deal with them. And the community of parents in the waiting room during OT has been essential support for me. Just feeling like other people understand the challenges and also the triumphs— my son went to bed without me sitting in his room for 3 hours!!- that other people just don’t.

      Congratulations on your graduation! Although it is hard and a lot to process, for us the diagnosis is what led us to getting treatment that has improved our quality of life so significantly that I will always feel it was a blessing. Best of luck to you!

    12. Kuododi*

      I am going to hold off on commenting on your kiddos new diagnosis bc other posters have done a fantastic job covering those concerns. I wanted to just tell you it is not selfish to rejoice in a hard-earned goal. It hurts beyond words to realize someone precious to your heart is struggling. It is also critically important for you to take good care of yourself in order to be able to give the best to your child. If not, it is the same as trying to draw water from an empty well. The well has to be replenished from time to time. I wish you and your precious child grace and peace as you both adjust to your changing definition of normal.

    13. Jean (just Jean)*

      Congratulations on finishing your degree! That is an awesome achievement. As others have said take time to relish your accomplishment even if you’ve got this other business going on with your child.

      Re the diagnosis, +1 to all of the good suggestions and supportive comments. The good news is that there is a metric ton of information out there about autism and Aspergers: Books, magazines, websites, and professional and parental organizations. Good wishes in finding a community of other parents and professionals. Take care of yourself as well as your kiddo. He _is_ lucky to have you and vice versa, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.

      It’s late so my mind is foggy but here’s a starting point: Partnership for Extraordinar Minds at http://www.xminds.org . This organization was started by parents of kids on the autism spectrum. The focus is mostly but not entirely on one particular public school district in the state of Maryland, USA— but there are also rback issues of their online newsletter, and both the newsletter and the website mention resources beyond these geographic limits.

      Sorry not to be more abundant in listing options here— i’ve been sidelined by other responsibilities but wanted to give you at least some place to browse. Again good luck. you are not alone on your journey .

    14. Close Bracket*

      Your son is very lucky. I am mildly autistic, and I wish I had learned this at four instead of 45. You found out early enough to get him coaching, and you won’t have a life time of both of you being frustrated because you think he is weird on purpose.

    15. Public Health Nerd*

      Congratulations on graduation!
      If your family/friends are being ridiculous about oversharing information/prayers/fake science crap that you don’t want, and is making you angry, here’s how you do it (shared from a friend who had a cancer diagnosis):
      1. Create a gmail account.
      2. Choose a good friend/relative who isn’t being ridiculous and wants to help, and give them the username/password.
      3. Tell family/friends to email advice, prayers, support offers, etc to the gmail.
      4. Your friend’s job is to check that account, delete the stupid stuff, and forward stuff which is actually helpful.
      5. Gleefully luxuriate in not seeing posts about how positive thinking/special water filters/spiritual healing would have prevented the diagnosis, and happily get on with your life.

  30. FrontRangeOy*

    I had the odd experience this week of being listened to in a way I’m not used to. The situation has caused some negative thinking errors or a bit of cognitive dissonance or maybe a bit of both.

    In short form, I sit on a non profit board. We release an annual document that summarizes our economic impact on the community and this year’s document included a lovely quote about the benefit of our type of mission in a community. Something about it felt wrong though so I did some reading about the person who said it, found out some very unsavory things about this person, and ended up writing an email to the ED. The background included covering up Jewish pogroms after WWI. I’m Jewish, in a city that has between 10 and 20 active Jewish families. After a bit of back and forth with the ED, the org decided to remove the quote from the document.


    I’m not used to feeling heard enough so that people change the content of a document. I’m looking forward to our board meeting next week. There’s a lot to do. I’ve noticed our ED can get weird about personal matters sometimes; I’m hoping that they approach this little back and forth falls more on the side of professional – we-don’t-need-to-discuss-this-again than personal and weird.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Nice catch on that. If that had gone public someone would have called the board out on it.

      It’s odd how we can do the right thing, and have a win and still feel bad. Breathe. It sounds like you should be okay here. It sounds more like you gave an intelligent explanation with follow up back and forth, as opposed to arguing. If so this is good.

      I think you can set the tone by carrying the attitude, “Hey, thanks for reviewing what I said and thanks for removing that quote.” Here you would be using a preemptive strike, before they have a chance to turn it into personal matters, you can use gratitude and team work concepts to direct conversation to be about important things.

      1. FrontRangeOy*

        In our emails, I actually did note that in a city with a larger Jewish community, this particular individual’s quote would never have been considered. It’s just, something like 95% of our city is Christian of one denomination or another (the sort of place where “diversity” means “Catholics, Lutherans, and people from historically black and hispanic churches all get along) and those of who aren’t usually hear some version of “oh but nobody’s ever complained before!”

        I think I will set the tone and initiate a brief contact, rather than waiting for the ED to start and possibly have the conversation turn weird.

  31. Stacy*

    SOS: A new physical therapist messed up my neck something fierce the other day, so it looks like my weekend is going to mainly consist of muscle relaxers, snacks, and streaming movies/tv. What are your favorite recommendations from Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu lately? If it’s British I’ve probably seen (and loved) it. I just caught up on Homeland this week, and before that I watched series 2 of The Tunnel. I’ve been on a dark and intense track lately, so maybe something more along the lines of decent action movies or dramedies that are actually funny. I typically recommend Sherlock, Last Tango In Halifax, and Imagine Me and You, but the old favorites aren’t distracting me from the pain.

    I wonder if Amazon Fresh has decent snack food options…

    1. Red Reader*

      Your mention of Homeland makes me think, I watched the first half of season 1 of Designated Survivor (on Hulu, I think?) and enjoyed it, finishing it up is on my list for when school’s done. (I haven’t seen Homeland though, to be fair, so the leap from Homeland to Designated Survivor might only be logical in my head.)

    2. LilySparrow*

      Since you like the British stuff you may have done these already, but I’ve recently enjoyed The Detectorists, W1A, and the gardening shows Big Dreams Small Spaces and Love Your Garden.

    3. Nesprin*

      Netflix rec: Charite- is about life in a hospital in 1880s when medicine was just starting up. Has drama/romance/enough accurate science to learn something/ whole lots of thank god medicine has progressed from those days.

    4. Sylvan*

      Wild Wild Country. It’s a documentary series, actually, but it has what you’re looking for.

      1. It’s all good*

        Love the series. I might watch from scratch soon. As someone that grew up in LA I think it does a great job of capturing it’s essence.

    5. Foreign Octopus*

      I’ve recently finished watching both Lost in Space and the Alienist. Both were good, solid series. Nothing hugely spectacular but the Alienist did have me wanting to get to the next episode as quickly as possible – good cast, great costumes, and an interesting concept with the occasional dash of humor.

    6. Blue_eyes*

      If you want dark and intense, watch seasons 1 and 2 of Jessica Jones (on Netflix). I’m enjoying Riverdale right now, it’s kind of dark, but also campy teen drama. I assume you’ve seen Broadchurch?

    7. Windchime*

      I just noticed that all three seasons of Better Call Saul are up on Netflix, so if you haven’t seen that one, it’s a good time to catch up.

      1. curly sue*

        Midsomer Murders are up on Canadian Netflix, and that’s great fun — a British cop show that tries for older cozy mystery feelings with salacious ridiculousness in the body count. I adore it.

    8. DrWombat*

      I am really loving Aggressive Retsuko on Netflix, but I also admit to Gordon Ramsey’s Hells Kitchen as a guilty pleasure. Hoping you feel better soon!

      1. MysteryFan*

        I second the Bosch series, and also Shetland, a series with three seasons available on Netflix (all 4 seasons available on BritBox) based on novels by Anne Cleeves. She’s a good writer, the scenery on shetland Island is amazing, and the actors are quite good as well.

    9. Traveling Teacher*

      A little late for this weekend, but: Alias Grace!

      Only six episodes, and based on a Margaret Atwood novel. It’s the story of a (real-life) woman who was convicted for murder in the 1800s in Canada but 15 years later has the possibility of being released based on a doctor’s testimony. Very dark and beautiful to watch.

  32. Red Reader*

    So my two-day kitchen remodel that I posted about in last week’s thread finally finished up after day seven! We ended up swapping out all but five of the 19 cabinets that were ordered, and by the time all the exchanges were totted up … I now have almost TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS in Ikea return credit. I don’t even know what I’m going to do with that. Probably most of my Christmas shopping. :P I don’t yet know how the “so we could have avoided a lot of hassle if y’all had checked the measuring once you knew she was doing it wrong” talk is going to go, but that company hasn’t asked me to pay them the other half of the installation charge yet either, so. Hah. I’m sure we’ll get to that bridge this week.

    On the plus side, it’s absolutely gorgeous :) I painted the kitchen “Peacock Teal” and all the cabinets are white, with light wood counters and handle pulls shaped like branches, and we added a butler’s pantry type set of cabinets and counter to one wall. The space is much better used now than it was previously and I have a small kitchen cart in my basement that, for a summer project, I’m going to repaint and possibly re-surface with a piece of the matching countertop (instead of its current red color and stainless steel top) to match the rest of the kitchen. Also planning to make new curtains and swap out some lighting to finish the job. The next week’s project though, once I finish my last grad school paper ever (due Monday night), is to finish getting all the dishes washed and put back away, which is going to entail some organizational purchases for drawer dividers and the like. (Hey, good thing I have an Ikea gift card! Hah.)

    1. fposte*

      Oh, those are exactly the kind of colors I like. Glad you love them, especially after all that grief.

      1. Red Reader*

        It’s gorgeous, all bright and open :) I keep running into my kitchen and dancing around, haha. My mom is crafting me some inventory labels for the drawers on the butler’s pantry so I can keep track of what I have in there, and I’m thinking related tropical colors for the curtains — maybe something white, with orange and yellow patterning? to jazz it all up a bit.

        If it works, I put a link to a picture in my username!

        1. caledonia*

          Ohhhh, I have kitchen envy now! It looks lovely! I like the handles, it makes a bit quirky. I might steal this idea for my own kitchen…

          1. Red Reader*

            I got them on Amazon! There was an Etsy seller or twelve who had similar ones, but also one-point branch knobs and longer versions of the same thing as well – I just didn’t want to wait for shipping on the slow boat from China. (Literally.)

        2. periwinkle*

          That looks fantastic! We’re planning to do an IKEA kitchen; my husband is set on high gloss white cabinets and I want soapstone counters. A color like that peacock teal would really pop. I’ve also been considering making one side of this galley kitchen all cabinets except a small work area – and you’ve done just that! Are both of the tall cabinets filled with pull-out drawers or is the right one empty for storage?

          Thanks for sharing the photos with us. So envious of the outcome, although not so much of the process. Lesson learned: spot-check the measurements…

          1. Red Reader*

            The two tall cabinets are mirrored :) I’m going to add a couple more shelves in there to better use the vertical space.

        3. Windchime*

          I love that teal paint color! What is the brand of paint? It looks gorgeous with the white cabinets.

    2. Mananana*

      It’s lovely! The paint color looks amazing with the white cabs; you did a great job pulling it all together.

  33. Wintermute*

    I was pondering the other day, I think it would be really funny to have an AAM-style blog that answers “questions” posed from say, a Dark Fantasy world where paranatural creatures (you know, all the things that chased Abbott and Costello: mummies, werewolves, vampires, zombies, ghosts) exist and are publicly known. Think like True Blood or the Anita Blake series. Things like “the anniversary of my co-worker’s death is coming up, should I do something for him for it?” or “my very religious employee wears a cross, she’s sufficiently faithful it means our new intern could be hurt, he walked into the same conference room and he started smoldering, and I’m pretty sure if she walked into the elevator without realizing he was there, he’d burst into flames. Would asking her to cover it up be religious discrimination? I don’t want our new intern consumed by hellfire, but I don’t want to make her uncomfortable about her faith either!”

    That or a similar idea with a dystopian cyberpunk world (think Neuromancer, or Shadowrun) of extraterritorial megacorporations. “I had to have an employee assassinated, would it be tacky to attend their funeral? I don’t think anyone knows I did it but they probably suspect something…” , “Is it REALLY necessary to get neural interface plugs drilled into my head to get a good job?” (answer: for most companies not being willing or able to go chrome is a dealbreaker, but most good corporations will work with a good, highly-qualified candidate to get them cybered appropriately, and the higher the demand the more you can push back, but that applies more for highly-specialized and intrusive ‘ware like drone control rigs or sensory recorders, not ubiquitous plug-jacks which are increasingly seen as a life necessity. Unless it’s for medical reasons you’d look out-of-touch with business norms to push back on basic interface jacks), or even “I just found out my co-worker is a member of an AI rights organization, do I have a duty to tell my boss? We work at a remote office so she doesn’t have access to the physical AI node to do something crazy, but, we all know how those radical AI abolitionists are, what if she does something? what if she encourages our office AI to do something?!

    1. Lissa*

      Oh man, I absolutely love this sort of thing – taking real-world dilemmas and thinking about how they’d manifest in supernatural etc. settings. I always get such a kick out of it. “My employee is a vampire, so she can only work when the sun is down. Unfortunately, we have to shorten our night hours due to lack of customer volume…what’s the fairest way to go about this.” “I’m a werewolf. I can’t work during the full moon due to my condition. However, my coworker is also a werewolf and CAN work during the full moon – how do I explain this isn’t an option for me?”

    2. Dragonista*

      Have you heard of the podcast ‘Solutions to problems’ ? It’s a Dear Prudence style advice podcast set on a space station. With aliens, time travel paradoxes and transporter accidents…

      It’s very funny and I’m hoping there will be a second series

    3. heckofabecca*

      This sounds AWESOME!!! If someone does go through with it, I’d love to see!

      If you’re into this kind of stuff, the game Ghost Court might be of interest… Roleplaying in a courthouse setting about incidents involving ghosts :)

    4. Loopy*

      Please someone start this!!! I actually love books that put the paranormal or fantasy up against our world and tackle these issues throughout. I’m reading a series where the author posted about what the world’s Starbucks logo would be is mythical creatures existed and people actually were at odds with them (so it obviously wouldn’t be a mermaid).

      I’m reading a book now titled “The modern fae’s guide to surviving humanity”

        1. Loopy*

          The first that comes to mind is The Arcadia Series by Mishell Baker: basically it supposes that a majority of human progress/inspiration/creativity comes from partnerships between the fae and humans- so all of the greatest human artists/inventors had a fae muse (of sorts). What’s neat is that the Arcadia Project is a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from the parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales. So it’s a very bureaucratic and “human” way to manage immigration from a fairy realm and it involves handling/mitigating a lot of issues from fae’s involvement in the human world as we know it.

          The second is The Sentinels of New Orleans Series by Suzanne Johnson. The premise is that Hurricane Katrina damaged the barrier between our world and the otherworld (can’t remember the term for it the book uses) and all of the suddenly beings can cross over much easier and love frolicking among the humans in our world.

          I probably have more if this is what you were looking for!

          1. Teapot Reader*

            There’s a couple of great books along these lines by an author called Kit Whitfield. Bareback is about what law enforcement would be like in a world where 90% of people are werewolves, and In Great Waters is an alternative Tudor England with mermaids acting as mercenary armies.

      1. DrWombat*

        FWIW you’d probably like everything by Seanan McGuire then ^^ The Toby Daye books involve a half-fae detective solving mysteries in San Francisco, Incryptid is about a family of cryptozoologists working to protect cryptids from monster hunters, Indexing is about a secret agency working to stop fairytales from overwriting our world, and Velveteen vs is an excellent take on the superhero genre. The Wayward Children series is basically a take on portal fantasy – what happens when the kids come back? How do they adjust? It’s great ^^
        All of her stuff is also really excellent re queer rep, which I love, and her characters are vivid and amazing.

        I also love love LOVE the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane, because it has magic coexisting with our world in secret but also aliens and talking dogs and a relentless optimism I love (plus we are having our third Young Wizards convention in Montreal next year!)

        1. Binky*

          I’ve got a bunch of Seanan McGuire, particularly the Incryptids – although I have to admit I’ve never been much into the Fae stories, so didn’t get into Toby Daye. And I thought Velveteen was great – but I can’t seem to find all the volumes for some reason.

          I’ll totally take a look at Young Wizards.

          What I’d really like to see more of are books where it’s our world, and werewolves/vampires/witches are just an acknowledged part of it. Particularly with a lighthearted tone. That’s what I have a hard time finding. The Rivers of London series is close, in that it’s very recognizably our world, but they’re still keeping magic a secret (I mean, it’s an amazing series, just not quite what I’m looking for).

          1. DrWombat*

            Velveteen just has 3 volumes out, and Borderlands Books in San Francisco could probably help you track down copies if you’d like! They might have them in stock even.

            Re: Young Wizards, the author has edited the books to fix some timeline issues, add more queer rep, update some tech, etc, and they are available on her ebooksdirect site as the New Milennium Editions. Totally awesome. And if you like the books, we have a Slack chat for fans of the books! Just search for CrossingsCon ^^ Let me know what you think!

        2. Becky*

          I somehow never heard of Young Wizards until it was announced on Mark Reads, and then of course I devoured all of them while he was still on So You Want to Be a Wizard.

          If you’re going to read Diane Duane’s Young Wizards–get the New Millennium editions, I think they are only available in eBook, not print. These have been updated with more accurate continuity, technology, and a lot of changes having to do with an autistic character whose original writing left something to be desired.

          (DrWombat–were you at the Young Wizards con in Long Beach last year? It was the first con I had ever been too-small group but it was fun!)

          1. DrWombat*

            I was in fact at the convention in Long Beach last year! Well met on the common journey, cousin! I’m convention treasurer, actually ^^ And also one of the people who found Mark after a reading waaay back in 2014 and asked him if he’d be open to reading Young Wizards in the first place ^^ Mark is such an awesome person isn’t he? We do have a Slack chat available for fans of the series as well, linked on the convention website ^^

            Hopefully you’ve seen the announcement re CrossingsCon 3 in 2019 – we have Diane Duane as our GoH and it will be in Canada, which should be fun! Have a wonderful week!

  34. Margo the Destroyer*

    Any recommendations on things to do in Cincinnati? I know the standards (zoo,art museum etc). But anything a little less well known in or around the area? Getting tired of sitting around all weekend bc the only thing to do is shop. Alsi do you know any quirky little shopping areas like obrienville or yellow springs?

    1. Reba*

      Walk around Over the Rhine — largest extant group of 19th c residential architecture! Interesting neighborhood undergoing transformation. Go to the bar/brewery inside a converted church there — Taft’s Ale House. The neighborhood around University of Cincinnati is also cool and has somewhat artsy businesses IIRC.
      Do NOT miss 21 C museum/hotel! Pretty good bar/restaurant as well. They will let you go up to the upper floors to see the hallway art, even if you are not staying there.
      If you like art and are ok with a little drive, consider Pyramid Hill sculpture park in Hamilton.

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