weekend free-for-all – April 7-8, 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: A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle. I just re-read this for a podcast I was on (more on that later) and I’d forgotten how good it is. Dark and funny and suspenseful and fun.

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

{ 1,374 comments… read them below }

    1. Nicole76*

      I think the bracelets can be really pretty, but between the bulkiness/weight (I have small wrists) and the cost, they don’t really appeal to me. I have found I rarely wear any of the bracelets I do own as it is, so I’ve stopped buying them altogether. I didn’t realize Pandora made anything else.

    2. Forking Great Username*

      I like them! Not all the styles, of course, but the majority of them suit my tastes pretty well. I have a ring from them, which is small, pretty, and mostly understated but with a bit of sparkle. And a charm bracelet, which I don’t wear everyday or anything but I do like it. Lots of options.

    3. Peggy*

      Honest answer, hate them. No offense to anyone who likes them, I’m sure I wear stuff that people don’t like too. :) I just don’t like the style at all – my mom gave me one a number of years ago and gave me some charms on different holidays and I was like… “please. no more. mom, i mean it!”

      1. Lindsay J*

        My ex mentioned wanting to give me one on a few occasions and it just cemented to me that he really didn’t care about what I liked, just what he thought women should like, because they were sooo not my style, and I told him that the first time he mentioned it and yet he continued to bring the idea up.

    4. Fiona*

      Don’t get the appeal of them really. The charms themselves are pretty when looked at close-up, but string them all on a bracelet and it just looks like a cluttered bunch of metal beads. (But I do know people who love them, which makes gift giving easier lol.)

    5. Safetykats*

      I’m also not crazy about them, but I don’t really wear costume jewelry (metal allergy). As a result, the jewelry I can afford (gold or rhodium plated) tends to be pretty understated. After so many years of that kind of stuff, the Pandora feels kind of clunky and ostentatious to me.

      I do have friends who love it, but their style tends to be much more flamboyant, so it works a well for them. So while I don’t like it at all, I can appreciate it on others.

    6. fposte*

      I got a gift coupon to them once. The bracelets weren’t my thing but I actually found a nice summery ring that I enjoy. I don’t think I’d go there on my own, but I do like my ring.

    7. Marzipan*

      I am always in awe of the sheer brass balls of companies that charge like thirty, forty, fifty quid for a single bead. I find it completely fascinating that people will pay – and even queue up for them! At Christmas they have to put up barriers!

    8. STOP! It's Panda Time*

      For me? I don’t like them. For my family and friends? I love when they like them because it can make gift-giving easier.

    9. Ann O’Nemity*

      I have a Pandora bracelet. It’s silver and all the charms are the blingy white crystal style. It makes holidays easy for my husband – just get me another charm in the same style.

    10. Mrs. Fenris*

      I have a Pandora bracelet that is not a charm bracelet. It’s a very slim silver bangle with teal on one side. I like it, and it’s meaningful to me…it was a goodbye gift from my old boss. :-) Sometimes I wear it to remind myself of her confidence in me.

    11. Menacia*

      Too much of a fad for me, and in fact two women in my office were “competing” against one another who had the most charms…seriously? I don’t see either one of them wearing them now, they wearing different fad bracelets. I’ll stick to gold and diamonds. ;)

    12. Stars*

      So yesterday. They seemed like a fad that was big 5 years ago. Haven’t people moved onto the next new shiny thing?

    13. Wrench Turner*

      I’m not a fan, aesthetically. Beyond that it’s the world’s most expensive charm bracelet. If you really like that style of thing, I guarantee your local artist community has someone that can make it better and way, way cheaper.

    14. MissDissplaced*

      I don’t really get the seemingly wild appeal of them. But, other than my watch, I don’t wear bracelets.

    15. Beatrice*

      I don’t like the charm bracelets, they’re too clunky. Some of their other jewelry is pretty, but I find it all overpriced.

    16. Windchime*

      So I actually like Pandora bracelets. I have two different ones; one is my Family bracelet and it has charms related to my kids, pets, etc. The other is my Travel bracelet and has charms that I have collected on trips. They are kind of heavy and make a noise when I type so I don’t wear them to work every day, but I do wear them at other times.

    17. Bagpuss*

      They don’t appeal to me personally but they do make buying presents easy if you have friends or family who like them!

    18. OP (how do you work at home with cats)*

      They look nice but I can’t justify the expense. There are much cuter, less expensive charm bracket on etsy.

  1. Incantanto*

    Has anybody else seen the film Blockers? I wasn’t expecting much going in, but it was really enjoyable. Genuinely funny, a proper coming of age type film. Smashed a few sterotypes and was really positive. A bit mushy in places but I really liked it.

    1. annakarina1*

      I wasn’t interested because it looked terrible to me, but I listened to a podcast interview with the director, who I was surprised was a woman, and she wanted to make an R-rated sex comedy that was sex-positive for girls. So I might see it after all.

      1. Cringing 24/7*

        I’m suddenly far more intrigued to watch it now that I know it was directed by a woman – it would be nice to see a popular comedy from that perspective. Thanks for sharing, annakarina1!

      2. Triplestep*

        I also was not interested as it seemed terrible, but I heard the NPR review, and was surprised at how positive it was. That made me more interested.

        1. Amaterasu*

          The NPR review made me interested, too! Sometimes I think they give away too much information in their reviews but this time it actually helped sway my decision to see it.

      3. Incantanto*

        It is really sex-positive for women, actually. Obviously very silly but very good fun!

      4. JamieS*

        Hmm. I actually wasn’t interested in it because a movie about parents trying to keep their daughters from having sex seemed incredibly sex-negative and furthered the double standard it’s bad for girls to have sex. I mean I don’t recall any movies about parents going out of their way to try to keep their sons pure.

        1. Incantanto*

          Tbh, pretty much the entire point of the movie is getting the parents to agree with you!

        2. Detective Amy Santiago*

          That was my impression from the preview I saw too and I thought it looked pretty gross.

        3. The Original K.*

          They expressly call this out in the movie. It was much better than I was expecting (and I had heard that it was more girls-sex-positive than expected, which is why I was on board to see it in the first place).

        4. Mr McGregor's Gardener*

          Apparently one of the Dads doesn’t want his daughter to have sex with a boy because she’s actually a lesbian, and he doesn’t want her to be pressured by heteronormativity. Which is refreshing. The review on The Mary Sue was very positive.

      5. Another person*

        That is interesting because that is the exact opposite impression I got from any of the previews that I have seen for it.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I’ll probably wait for it to be available via a streaming service or HBO, but I have a big soft spot for John Cena (not a crush– a weird appreciation), so I’m glad to know it’s worth it beyond him!

    3. Totally Minnie*

      I had written the movie off based on the trailer, but people here have convinced me to put it on my watch list.

      I think whoever cut the trailer might have done the film a disservice. If watching the trailer makes people think the movie is the opposite of what it actually is, that’s not a good trailer.

  2. Antagonist Relations*

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

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

    1. nep*

      Kinda familiar with the term D&D only because I’ve heard a nephew talk about it. RPG makes me think rocket-propelled grenade. I’m so out of it. Sounds like a great idea. Enjoy!

          1. Zzz*

            Yep, and World of Warcraft is an example of a MMORPG: massively mutliplayer online role playing game.

    2. SineNomine*

      Damn! I’ve been considering finding an online DnD group for a while now, but the timing kills me. I have surgery coming up pretty soon which will knock me out of commission for a while =(. This sucks. Have fun guys!

      1. Antagonist Relations*

        Hopefully your surgery goes well and when you’re back in commission the group will still be around and there’ll be a chance for you to join a D&D group through it if you’re still interested then.

  3. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

    I wrote in last weekend’s thread about how I figured out I’m having a depression relapse.
    Im happy to report things are improving.

    I spoke to my boss, project manager and grand boss on Tuesday and they all took it extremely well, and have been incredibly supportive.
    My boss has been texting to check on me every few days, and said I could call any time if I wanted to talk, work hours or not.
    (She’s battling burnout now, and is actually going on leave for a few months to travel and recover.)
    Grandboss was briefer but thanked me for being open and asked if I wanted to schedule a meeting to discuss what she can do to help me.

    In a stroke of luck, we need to reduce staffing on my project for a few weeks, which means I can be gone and no one will ask any questions. I’m not ashamed but it’s a relief to not have to explain over and over.

    Now I just have to deal with the boredom.
    I’ve been on sick leave before and even when you need it, it gets mindnumbingly boring.
    I’m very glad I’ll get around 85% of my salary in sick pay though. (Thank you government and employer)

    I’m planning on doing lots of knitting and walking. I’ve even considered going someplace warm for a long weekend and just lay by a pool and soak up sun.

    1. nep*

      So glad to hear things are improving. Great that you talked with boss, etc, and that they’re all being supportive!
      Enjoy and keep being good to yourself.
      Peace.

    2. Thursday Next*

      That’s wonderful that your workplace has been so supportive. Good for you for taking the issue to them!

      I hope things continue to improve. Your plan of knitting and walking sounds GREAT. A warm place to lie by the pool also sounds great.

    3. Safetykats*

      Knitting is very therapeutic for me. And when you’re done, you have (hopefully) something nice that you or someone else can use, so that feels nice.

      I hope you have someone to talk to a bit, maybe on the phone if you don’t feel up to talking in person. Or maybe there is a knitting group you can find. Our local library has a nice, sunny room where a few knitters gather. I suggest that only because sometimes it’s helpful not to feel too isolated. (Of course, sometimes it’s lovely to jus watch reruns of Bones and knit an entire blanket.)

    4. Parenthetically*

      I’m so so glad to hear this, Some Sort!! Great news. Hoping things continue to head in this positive direction. :)

    5. Elizabeth West*

      Getting warm sun and relaxing sounds like great self-care. :)

      I wish I could go somewhere right now–I REALLY need to get out of here for a while. Even if it’s cold–just so it’s different!

    6. Kisses*

      I’m happy you are doing well. I’m in a depressive phase of manic/depressive disorder and it’s really hard. I like hearing when people come out of it. Sorry. Im in a dark spot myself.
      I’m glad for you.

  4. Pine tree*

    I’m moving! There’s been a wonderful abundance of packing tips in recent threads, which I’ve copied and am referencing, and now I’d love your actual how-to for long distance moves.

    Hire a company or do it myself with a uhaul? Do a pod? Any particular suggestions on actual companies?

    I’m moving from Virginia to North Carolina, about 4 hours away, and have around a month lead time. Thank you!!

    1. Some Sort of Management Consultant*

      If you can afford to hire a company (with people who lift the heavy stuff in and out, including any stairs), I’d definitely do that. Moving is exhausting to begin with, I tend to not want to make it worse.

      I hope your move goes well!

      1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

        +1

        I used a pod for a move halfway across the country. While it was fine for budgetary reasons, and we appreciated the service, I used a professional moving company for a more recent move…worth every single penny, dime, what have you.

        I packed, they moved. While I could have done a better job packing stuff up, I did nothing, and it was amazing. I just stood there, which was absolutely crazy to me. I’ll definitely only use movers from here on out. Worth every penny!

      2. Moving sucks*

        +1
        I’m normally a hardcore do-it-yourself person, but moving is the one thing I don’t hesitate to throw money at. For my last move, I packed my boxes and the company I hired loaded them and my furniture, and unloaded at the new house. Well worth the $600 (120/hr, IIRC).

    2. Turtlewings*

      When I moved across several states about three years ago, we got a Budget truck. It was definitely the cheapest and we were pleased with the truck and service. There was nothing fancy, very bare-bones, but we figured it would be. Nothing broke down and no one tried to cheat us; that was all we asked for, for that price.

      (That said, if you can afford to hire movers, definitely hire movers!!!)

    3. neverjaunty*

      Do not rent from U-Haul for long distance moves.

      If you can afford movers and have references to a reputable company, absolutely hire movers! It’s about 300% less stressful.

      1. Hmmm*

        I’ve personally had perfectly fine experiences with uhaul, as have others I know, so ymmv I guess.

        1. De Minimis*

          I’ve never had problems with U-Haul either, and have used it to move cross country multiple times.

          Think my wife and I are to the point where we may try movers from now on, though, it takes a lot out of you.

      2. A Worker Bee*

        I second the do not use Uhaul. Really bad experience and afterwords I heard people say there’s were worse.

        1. Nisie*

          I’ve had uhaul try to stiff me for added expenses after the move and I will not use again

    4. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Seconding the movers — I’ve only used a U-Haul for a 4 hour trip once, when moving from our first apartment to our second apartment. We were young and poor, and most of our stuff was crap, so we did it all with the help of some friends. But if you’re trying to pinch every penny and you’re moving out of an apartment, a truck or a pod aren’t necessarily bad ideas.

      But do a LOT of research if you use a moving company! I’ve heard a lot of horror stories of people being charged 2-3x the estimate or more, and only being told of the increase once the truck was loaded and in transit. Make sure you get the estimate in writing.

      1. MMM*

        Seconding the research part! Check Yelp reviews etc, and get everything in writing. Also definitely try to get quotes from a few options to price compare, different places will have different methods of calculating the cost (by mileage, by time, in state vs out of state etc)

        1. Life is Good*

          Thirding the research part! Back in the late 80’s, my husband’s company hired movers for us every time they moved us (practically once a year!). We really didn’t have much say on who did it. They used national companies and I remember opening boxes of stuff with so much paper wrapped around non-breakables that simply filled up tons more boxes than necessary. They may have been paid by the number of boxes they packed? Anyway, unpacking at the new place was crazy. I opened several boxes that had a bunch of spice cans each wrapped in a basketball sized wad of paper. Another time, the driver (big national company – name like wallflower) brought a guy along to help unloading who was obviously hungover. He reeked and complained about how crappy he felt the whole time.

      2. Natalie*

        Interstate moves are also federally regulated, so there are good resources on what your rights are wrt estimates, payments, etc.

    5. Lazy Cat*

      Obviously this depends on how much stuff you have! I moved across the country using Amtrak shipping, and drove anything fragile /too big /electronic /etc in my car as I drove. (Straight out of grad school).

      That said, the last time I moved was a half mile down the road, and we hired movers (2 men and a truck) just to deal with the big furniture, since we were moving into a 2 story place with an awkward staircase. We moved all the small stuff in our cars. Best money we spent.

      1. Windchime*

        My sister recently just hired the same company (2 men and a truck). The person who did the walk-through to make the packing list “forgot” to write down her sofa and two love seats, so the truck that was sent wasn’t big enough. The guys who did the actual loading were excellent, though, and managed to make almost everything fit. We had three SUVs packed to the gills with things that wouldn’t fit, but at least Sis got the move done. So be sure to really look over the estimate list; make sure they put everything on it. I think the money she paid was really worth it, and they did a great job of wrapping and protecting her furniture. (She packed the boxes herself).

    6. periwinkle*

      How much stuff are you moving? If you don’t have a lot, a pod is an inexpensive option.

      We’ve moved twice since 2014. The first time was cross-country but we didn’t bring a lot of stuff with us (no furniture). We rented a pod, did our own packing and loading, hired a local company at the destination to unload, and did our own unpacking. The second time was across town, by which time we had bought new furniture. We packed everything except the furniture, hired that same company to pack the furniture and load/move/unload/reassemble furniture. My husband and cats would prefer that we not have a third move anytime soon…

    7. Reba*

      I have done the pod thing (U-Pack) and I think it would be expensive for what you’re doing. It was a good deal when there was also storage involved in between. And if you like packing puzzles, it’s great for that!

      My most recent move we with did with a rented truck (Penske). Rented and purchased moving blankets and used lots of the stretch cling wrap for the furniture. Took two days, with two of us plus my handy brother, to pack the 16′ truck. It was stressful at times to drive but I actually enjoyed it overall. Then we hired movers for the day upon arrival. That was VERY worth it, and only about $200 before tip in a large metro area. We just called a local company listed on the Penske rental site. It was a very small business, i.e. just two burly dudes, but they were great! (One of them got stuck in the elevator for a while; we tipped well.) I’d recommend this setup. I wish we had done it on our moves before!

      I have never used a full-service moving thing mainly because my moves, once out of the “stuff everything in your car” phase, have tended to be very long distances, and have delicate timing where I wanted to be in charge of my stuff, not waiting for it to arrive.

      Good luck!

    8. C*

      I’ve done the move myself and move with full service packers and movers, and agree that if you can swing it financially, full service movers are worth every penny. They can handlw your dishware well, and you basically go from living your life one day to fully packed the next. Do some calling around for quotes and don’t forget to purchase additional insurance for the move!

    9. Cheryl the Retired*

      You can also do a pod but hire movers to unpack it at your new place. Not sure about how that pricing compares to hiring movers for everything, but I know it is an option and know folks who’ve done it.

    10. The Person from the Resume*

      Pay people to pack and move you. I hired movers to pack and load the truck and unload. I had my dad drive the Penske rental truck but I won’t do that again since I witnessed him have a near accident in my rear view mirror when he switched several lanes at once in front of a large truck. He was driving b/c I’m uncomfortable driving anything that large. He was fine except scared the hell out of me.

    11. Quika*

      If you have parking space on each end and not alot of bulky furniture try abf.. key is to pack well so maximize use of space as pay by foot.
      Just did full move where we had 1 day to prep and 1 day to pack truck ( divorce situation) and paying extra was so worth it. The team had furniture and boxes out of the house in a few hours
      Prenegotiate and get in writing what have to pay if have more stuff… .our extra cost was way more then estimate but that was because we ended up with way more stuff on truck then planned. But would have had to pay double if did not preset price when the company was trying to get my business haed to bargain when stuff on the truck…

    12. Frequent mover*

      We have moved 15th times, so it’s something I’m really familiar with. The best moves were those for which we hired movers but it’s still an exhausting event. The best tip I’ve learned over all those moves is to set up and make up the beds very first thing – sheets, pillows, etc. When you are finally ready to go to bed, you’ll be glad the beds are ready.

    13. Earthwalker*

      If you go with a rental truck remember that if the last guy doesn’t get the truck back in time it really messes up your plans. We rented once. We had friends waiting to help pack up on moving day but we didn’t get the truck until 11:00 pm. Our friends staged the furniture in the garage but we were on our own to pack the truck the next morning. When we reached our destination the rental company immediately wanted the truck back before we could get it unpacked. They seemed to think that 11:00 to midnight on that first day still counted as our first day’s rental and we owed them more rent and a late fee for being a day behind on our moving plans. Of course, since we were a day behind, I imagine the next renter had the same problem.

    14. AliceBD*

      I did a similar opposite move last summer, going about 6 hours away. I called several moving companies and went with the company that quoted me $1000 less than the other ones. It was the local Allied Moving affiliate, and they did a fantastic job. Came when they said they would to pack up and drop off, and none of my stuff was hurt. I did the packing into boxes, but I ran out of tape to finish closing the boxes, and that wasn’t a problem as they happily closed all my boxes up for me. They put everything into the room it was going to go in and reassembled my bed (they had disassembled it). Cost me ~$2500 for a one-bedroom apartment plus tips/water and I would absolutely use professional movers again. They packed up my stuff on Tuesday, I got the keys to my new place on Wednesday, internet was set up on Thursday (I had packed in my car a folding chair, like the parents use at kids soccer games or you use car camping, and I would highly recommend it as it let me sit comfortably in my new empty place before the movers came), and they deposited my stuff on Friday.

  5. Wannabe Disney Princess*

    First weekend in a while that I haven’t had to do anything. Taking advantage of it! Made scrambled eggs in muffin tins, so breakfast for the week is set. Probably make pulled chicken in the crock pot so I’ll have dinner for the week.

    Only thing I’m NOT looking forward to is cleaning the chinchilla cage. Maybe I’ll bribe myself with a trip to the library…

    What is everyone else up to this weekend?

    1. Nicole76*

      I’ve tried the egg muffins before and mine came out so dry I didn’t want to eat them. What’s the secret to keeping them moist?

      How are chinchillas as pets? I’ve never known anyone who had one.

      Not much planned for the weekend. Probably a trip to the pet store for dog food and a few small projects around the house. Yesterday I went through our kitchen cabinets and filled a box of cups, mugs, and bakeware I haven’t used in years and plan to donate. It feels good to reduce the amount of stuff we have!

      1. Wannabe Disney Princess*

        I add buttermilk to mine! Unfortunately, I just eye it so I don’t have a measurement. Maybe a tablespoon – tablespoon and a half per egg?

        I love having a chinchilla! Her name is Norma Jeane. They have wonderful little personalities. Mine is very social but stubborn, but it’s part of her charm. They’re also very intelligent little animals. Plus…… low maintenance. As an apartment dweller, she’s the perfect pet for me.

        I did that with my closet a few years ago! It was a great feeling clearing it all out. And an equally (possibly better) feeling donating it all!

        1. kc89*

          My childhood chinchilla was friendly and social except she didn’t like to be touched with the exception of having her chin scratched, she loved that

          Mostly she was fun to watch eat things, the way she would use her little hands

        2. Nicole76*

          Do you use liquid buttermilk or powdered? I bought the latter once thinking I’d get more opportunity to use it before it went bad and I still didn’t. Maybe I’m missing opportunities to use buttermilk in general.

          1. Kimberlee, no longer Esq.*

            The best buttermilk thing is fry sauce! Nobody on the East Coast seems to know the wonders of it, but I presume all AAM fans west of like Colorado or so are familiar. Lots of people know it’s a combo of ketchup and mayonnaise, and that’s fine, but the real secret ingredient is a bit of buttermilk.

            1. Nicole76*

              Why didn’t I think of this? I freeze everything else (pesto, lime/lemon juice, tomato paste, carrots, peppers, etc). Thanks for the suggestion. Now I can try it in other recipes!

          2. Bullwinkle*

            If you’re a meat eater, it makes a good marinade/brine for roasted chicken. The recipe I have used is Smitten Kitchen buttermilk roast chicken. The recipe uses about half the container of the size they sell at my store, so I’ll get extra chicken, double the recipe and freeze half the marinade with chicken in a ziploc. As long as you remember to thaw it out in time, it makes for an easy dinner- just throw it in the oven.

          3. sharon*

            Buttermilk is already soured. You can use it long after the date on the carton.

      2. sharon*

        Try chewy.com they have a lot of dog foods and orders over 50 bucks they ship for free. We get dog food and flea dope. Hits the 50 dollar mark and it’s delivered to your front door. All I have to do is lug the 30lbs of dog food in the front door. Much easier on me.

    2. Handy nickname*

      Aww chinchillas are my favorite!! I have a friend who has some, and I invite myself over every couple months just so I can hang out with them.

      1. Wannabe Disney Princess*

        I’m pretty sure my best friend comes o er just for the chinchilla. She’ll great me with a hello, but my pet gets, “NORMA JEANE!!! HELLLOOOO BABY HOW ARE YOU???”

        I’ve learned to adjust. ;-)

    3. Laura H*

      I have that which we don’t discuss on weekends, but I wasn’t scheduled Sun- fri so I’m ready to get outta the house.

        1. nep*

          One of those indoor playground places. Her mom’s renting it for a couple hours. This should be fun. Four years old.

    4. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Not much today (except a couple of trips to the horse barn; one for a lesson, one for a team practice), but tomorrow we’re all going to the US Science and Engineering Festival in DC!! Can’t wait! :D

      Anyone else going to be there?

    5. Jess R.*

      This weekend I’m in Oregon for my sister’s wedding, which means I just woke up without an alarm for the second day in a row and I am DELIGHTED. I can’t remember the last time I got to wake up naturally two days in a row.

      It’s real good to have some real down time.

    6. Jen RO*

      I’m in Paris! I had to travel here for work and return tickets were super expensive on a Friday, so I got to stay over the weekend and the weather is amaaaazing.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I have been monitoring the French railway strikes, which have thwarted my plans for a weekend later in the month. Still, it turns out that a place I wanted to visit is currently closed for renovation work, so I need to go later anyway.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Aaahh! Cool! I don’t care that much about the Mona Lisa, but the Louvre has been on my museum nerd bucket list for ages.
        I knew the weather had improved a bit — my Twitter crush went to Eastern Europe and posted a video where he was outside in a t-shirt. I’m jealous because it’s butt-clenching cold again here.

    7. AvonLady Barksdale*

      It’s really rainy and yucky today, but we need the rain so I’m ok with that. I started cleaning at 8:30 and got inspired enough to dust the whole place, so all is really nice now. My dog refuses to walk in the rain (he peed briefly in the front yard), so we have a day of naps planned before a dress rehearsal this evening. Concert tomorrow. Not very exciting, but certainly productive!

    8. Caro in the UK*

      I’m trying surfing for the first time tomorrow… I’m woefully lacking in any sort of balance, so it should be fun!

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        I did surfing down in Cornwall two summers ago and it was just so much fun. We went to Trebarwith Sands – they have a surf coach down there who was awesome. In August it was cold but very beautiful. I got up on my knees a few times, but I definitely wasn’t in the shape I am now. A few days of more lessons in Portugal is on my list for this year.

        Youll have a blast – the sensation is like nothing else!

    9. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Resting – the place I go to during the week has turned into absolutely frustrating and stressful hell the last week or two and while I have to Do Things tomorrow, I figured I was due for both sleep and a mental break.

      It was supposed to be nicer today so we totally intended to do the First Grill of the season, but it clouded over. Oh well, still grilled and our kitchen smells like summer! Also – top tip, Tsardust Memories spice mix from Penzeys is the absolute BOMB on grilled pork loin. Finally opened the jar we had bought two years ago to give it a try and it was a great decision.

      Will watch some of the Masters with the Mister tonight since he’s been traveling for work, and then catch up on tv later while he nerds out on the golf the rest of the night.

    10. Slartibartfast*

      Today I cleaned up a winter’s worth of dog poo from the yard, disgusting but it feels good to have it done! Cleared some debris from the flower beds. We deep cleaned the kids rooms last weekend, trying to goad my husband into cleaning out the closet. It’s about 95% his uniforms, about 75% of those either don’t fit properly, are worn out in places, or are the “old” style, but they all look the same to me. He also owns 15 pairs of identical-looking boots that are apparently all different somehow…

    11. Elizabeth West*

      FREEZING.
      I had to knock snow off the car to get to meditation this morning and now it’s all gone. But it’s gotten cold again. Tomorrow I’ll give the house a clean.

  6. Myrin*

    Oooh, what a lovely little video! I’m still cracking up at Things name just being “Thing”. I’d like to pretend that I coined the term but I actually only had the idea to point it out in the first place because that one picture’s caption was something like “Lucy on thing” and I found that utterly hilarious. It seems like the cats really like it? Is there one toy or “furniture” that all of them like best?

    1. fposte*

      My friends call that “the curl.”

      I like the lesson of the video–if you do not listen to the tail, you will get the paw.

      1. Windchime*

        Me too. I liked that Eve was cool with the licking and affection until it became clear that Olive wanted the Thing–then Eve bopped her! LOL.

  7. New Kitty to the Mix*

    I just adopted a new 2 year old kitty after not having one for a few years. The girl I got her from said she was raised with dogs. I wouldn’t have taken the kitty otherwise as I have two dogs. The kitty is very sweet and affectionate but is still very uncomfortable around the dogs. She hasn’t seen them yet, she just hears them sniffing thru the door. Is this normal? She is doing this low gutteral growl. Please any tips on successful introductions would be appreciated.

    1. Rosie M. Banks*

      Pretty normal, especially right at first. Cats, in general, are not super good with change. Keeping them in separate rooms for a few days is probably a good idea. Do you have a kennel for the dogs? When you introduce them for real for the first, time, I’d recommend keeping the dogs in their kennel, so the kitty can explore (and probably run away and hide) without feeling threatened.

      1. New Kitty to the Mix*

        Hi Rosie, I have her in a guest room right now. I guess I feel guilty that she doesn’t have free run of the house or more time with me/hubby like the dogs do. We are putting up baby gates today (no dog kennels) and building her a kitty tower.

        1. Rosie M. Banks*

          You are probably already doing this, but when I had a new kitty in a similar situation, I just made sure to spend as much time as I could in the room with him. We might play a little, but often I’d just hang out and read a book. Sometimes he’d want to be petted, and sometimes he’d look at me distrustfully from across the room. Either way, I figured he was adjusting to the new place and learning that he was safe there and someone would take care of him.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            Seconding sitting on the bed in that room reading a book or typing on a laptop, letting the cat get used to you. We let the dog briefly into the room a few times as the kittens got used to the sounds and smells of the house. Our dog had been thoroughly mindwashed by the 20 year old cat we had when she was a puppy, and gave the new cats lots of space, so a lot of supervision wasn’t needed–if yours are more inclined to chase the Small New Thing I’d supervise closely, with immediate deep voice response for anything too aggressive.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            I kept my cats in the guest room initially, too.

            I let my dog see me holding the cat in my lap. The visual was not lost on him, “this is something we protect and take care of”. In a similar vein, the cats could sit in my lap and look around to familiarize themselves with their new environment. “the dog is over there and my new mom will keep me safe”.

            One adult cat I adopted went from being terrorized by the previous dogs to eating out of my dog’s dish WHILE he was eating. (He simply started eating faster. Being a 60 pound dog he could shovel the food in and this was discouraging to her.)
            Let her know that YOU support her. And she will evolve. Talk to her a lot, this is part of how they acclimate. The two cats I kept in the guest room learned to open the door themselves and ventured out into the house on their own. It takes time to build that confidence. One took over a year to be confident enough to go into any room in the house, but she kept working on over-coming her fears.
            They all seemed to need about 6-8 weeks to shift gears away from total fear. Then it became a mix of fear and curiosity.

        2. Kuododi*

          There is nothing to feel guilty about. Cats/Kitty’s do not have the same emotional needs for other humans as dogs and humans do. Sounds like y’all are doing well with the adjustments. I adopted a small silver tabby who got separated from her mother long time ago. She had quite a bit of trouble adjusting to the change from her foster home. At the time DH and I were living in a small condo in SE USA so there were not alot of options for rooms to keep her in while she delt with the transition. I set up her things in the guest bathroom and spent time with her every day. She did well but was never a “lovey-dovey” cat. As far as my cat was concerned I was her only human. The funny thing was that even when she was elderly…her safe space wherever we lived was behind the nearest toilet!!!! All because of her early time in the bathroom of that small condo!!

          1. TootsNYC*

            My aloof kitty has only ever sat on lap (or now, cuddled with a foot) in the bathroom. I assume this is because she was “acclimated” by the rescue using the “corral the cat in the bathroom” thing.

            1. Kuododi*

              Ha ha!!! My dear kitty would come flirt and love all over me but only if she was positive we we’re alone in the house. Otherwise… I was out of luck. She tolerated the existence of DH only bc she knew he would keep the food dish full and the cat pan clean if I happened to be out of town. She truly believed in the philosophy of “cats own the house… humans just pay the bills!!!”

    2. fposte*

      I would say “comfortable with dogs” doesn’t mean “comfortable with all dogs” and it certainly doesn’t mean “comfortable with strange dogs,” so this doesn’t sound all that terrible for a new kitty in the house. It sounds like you’re wisely keeping her in her own enclosed space as she gets settled; I would say that growling through the door isn’t all that uncommon a reaction to The Thing On The Other Side Of The Door in that situation (I know a cat that does that to her beloved sister). I would say the important thing is to make sure she has lots of high perches that she can get to safely in rooms where she shares space with the dogs, and that the dogs can’t make her feel blocked from the litterbox.

      I’d be inclined to keep the introductions staged: if she hasn’t been in the larger space, allow her to explore it and its perches with the dogs excluded from the area first; give her a chance to meet each dog individually face to face, with the dog on a leash, until the cat loses some of her novelty; then two on leashes; then with the chillest dog unleashed; then both. Reward the dogs amply for being cool with the cat, too, since this is a training process. Watch everybody to make sure there’s reasonable comfort before moving on to the next step.

      1. New Kitty to the Mix*

        I have taken her to the larger space (living room / dining room) when I have the dogs locked in the master bedroom. She just runs back into the guest room. I bring her treats, laser, fuzzy toy to try to coax her to stay, explore. I leave the guest room door open so she can explore (all while the dogs are locked up) I’m not sure if she is exploring or not. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic. I only adopted her on Thursday. I just want her to be comfortable and happy.

        1. fposte*

          If she’s only been home two days, it sounds pretty par for the course. As Rosie says, cats aren’t quick on change. I wouldn’t take her into the larger space if she doesn’t choose it on her own yet, since she’s going to feel more secure with an enclosed space that functions as her safe territory; just leave the guest room door open when you can.

          I think sometimes one of the hardest things to do as a parent or pet owner is understand that they need some time to be unhappy before they can be happy. No matter how loving the new home, change is a wrench and adaptation can take time, whether you’re talking a foster child or a new kitty.

          And definitely build the kitty tower; also clear her some ledges, shelves, etc. that it’s okay for her to be up on, and maybe put down towels or cushions to really mark those spots out. She’s probably going to go there anyway, and she needs more than one high space, so might as well direct her to the spots that are best for you.

        2. Drop Bear*

          I wouldn’t worry about her running back to the guest room. After I moved recently my cat spent about a week under the bed – only came out for quick food and toilet breaks then back under she went – some cats take a while to settle in new places even if the people/dogs aren’t new.

        3. Not So NewReader*

          Two day is a very short time in their minds. Very short. She will become comfy and happy, she will just do it on her time frame and no one else’s. ha! She will be okay you are a good pet parent.

    3. periwinkle*

      Normal. New people, new smells, new furry creatures – everything is new, and the kitty needs time to adjust. If she’s only been with you since Thursday, this is perfectly normal! If she keeps running back into the guest room, great, that means she now feels comfortable and safe there. Gradually she’ll feel comfortable elsewhere. It sounds like you’re doing it right.

      1. New Kitty to the Mix*

        Thank you. I thought maybe that was the case but I just wanted to make sure.

    4. epi*

      Very normal. I adopted a 2 year old cat in January and I think it was late February or early March before he could be out with my (very tiny, not particularly aggressive) other cat all the time. It really paid off and now they play together and both sleep in our bed. Even many only cats aren’t ready for full time free run of the house yet a few days after getting a new family– they actually need the security of their own space for a while.

      If you search for introducing cats to dogs, you should find lots of suggested sequences and advice on how to know your pets are ready to get closer. In general, it helps to praise and treat your cat any time she gets a little closer to the dogs or the door to their area. Try feeding her near the door, having supervised baby gate time where she gets treats and praise with no pressure to actually interact with the dogs, and slowly increasing the time they are exposed to one another. It can also help to do this stuff after mealtimes and walks so everyone is calmer and a little tired.

  8. Persephone Mulberry*

    Best tips for getting your rental application considered (chosen!) when your credit is not great?

    The leasing process is being managed by Renters Warehouse. The property is hot – they have it priced way below market for some reason. Do application cover letters actually get considered? I even found a reference to a “rental resume” on one website. Is it worth even applying or am I throwing away good money?

    1. Hellanon*

      We like to talk to people’s references – prior landlords can speak to how careful people are about paying their rent & being generally good tenants better than a credit report. Having said that, when we meet with someone, if they swing straight at the problems on their credit report, tell us up front they know what the report will say, it’s a big point in their favor. Anyone can have one-off issues – medical problems, periods of unemployment, divorces can all impact credit. What we look at is a) are they honest about it? b) is it a one-time kind of thing or a pattern? and c) did the rent get paid regardless.

      1. Fiennes*

        I got trapped in a renter’s nightmare once—was sent an eviction notice for unpaid rent when I’d paid, called in a panic to no response, then learned almost everyone in my building was in the same boat. We then got sheepish phone calls informing us that actually the previous manager had taken off with the last few months of rent. New management seemed okay—but wouldn’t talk about the previous incident. Even when you were trying to get a new place, and got turned down due to the old notice of eviction. They wouldn’t offer written proof. I think they didn’t want to admit how badly they’d screwed up, or wanted to cement their tenants in for life.

        And yes, the way I got out was by being upfront and personal. I found a landlord who was personally renting a unit, as opposed to a large property management company. I met with him. I offered to sign a two-year lease. I brought my credit report and even references. He appreciated the info and the honesty. (While of course my old company wouldn’t confirm anything, he said they were so evasive and weird he could tell something really was up. I don’t know if he’d have bothered pressing that issue if I hadn’t already made a good impression.) Honesty helps.

        1. Mildred*

          I didn’t know that I might need to be concerned about this sort of thing. I sued my last landlord because she didn’t follow the law regarding my security deposit. We settled a few days before the trial (she gave me the entire amount plus a little more to avoid possibly having to pay treble damages). I’ve already been in my new apartment for almost 2 years, so I hope the dispute with the previous landlord doesn’t cause me trouble in the future.

          1. Mildred*

            And in response to the original question, I think a personal letter couldn’t hurt, and it could really help. And I agree with the other suggestions about discussing your credit report beforehand.

      2. Persephone Mulberry*

        I have what I think is a solid rental history? – four years in my current place and three years at the place before that. My credit is screwed up because my revolving utilization is high and I bungled my student loans within the past two years.

        1. Mananana*

          We just had tenants move in to our rental home today who had problematic credit. However, they both had good work histories, sufficient income, AND they wrote a letter explaining what happened to their credit (in their case, it was a “surprise, you have a kid you didn’t know about and now you must pay child support!”).

          They let some credit card payments go late while they were getting this figured out. But they always paid their rent. Between that, and their offer to do a 2-year lease, we are giving them a chance.

    2. I Love Thrawn*

      In my case, the property mgment firm did pull credit but cared only about eviction records. Thankfully for me, as I had none of those, but the rest of it…

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        That’s how we got into my current place – big commercial complex, as far as I can tell they take anyone who meets the income guidelines and has a clean eviction record. We got rejected by three or four places due to credit history before we got in with this one.

    3. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      My parents are landlords, and are currently looking for a new tenant. They had a woman apply, and on the credit report they get there’s a “grade” – like A, B, C, etc. This woman had an “F”. It was REALLY bad, and a lot of it was little stuff. Not like she was late, but multiple multiple charge offs and vehicle repossessions. And a lot of these were for a couple hundred dollars (while her income is in the $70k range). They turned her down. My parents have rented to people with not great credit before, but this was too much.

      Moral of the story is, if you’ve got not great credit, do what you can to address it. That may not be much depending on the issue, sometimes you just have to let it age off. But if you’ve got a bunch of stuff in collections or behind on payments, cut your expenses to the bone and take care of them if you can. If there are errors, get those addressed. And get a system in place to make sure you pay your bills timely, every month. Educate yourself on budgeting and general financial stuff – it’s not going to hurt you, and the general level of financial literacy in the US is in the toilet.

    4. Can't Sit Still*

      My credit wasn’t great and I made less than the required 3x monthly rent, but I provided a letter with detailed explanations about everything, and lots of proof to back everything up and got the apartment. The most important part was that I had a history of on-time rent payments and no evictions, though. I was totally honest throughout the process. This was with a mid-size property management company.

  9. Bluebell*

    New Orleans travel tips? I’m going in a few weeks. Looking for some culture suggestions as well as delicious food (I’m a pescetarian, no shellfish) and excellent cocktails (quality over quantity). Thanks!

    1. cat socks*

      My recommendations for cocktails:

      Latitude 29 for all things tiki. The Missionary’s Downfall is my favorite.
      Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel
      Arnaud’s French 75. Hard to believe this classy place is so close to the craziness of Bourbon Street
      Compere Lapin for excellent food and drinks
      Bar Tonique is a great low-key place with for drinks
      Cane and Table. Went there for brunch and cocktails.
      Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone

      I have heard good things about Cure, but haven’t tried it yet.

      Killer Poboys. I went to the location that’s in the back of the Erin Rose bar.

      Have fun! New Orleans is one of my favorite cities.

    2. Fiennes*

      Welcome! You’ll love it.

      Food: although we have a lot of shellfish in New Orleans cooking, there’s no problem working around it. Consider getting a fried catfish poboy at Parkway Bakery or Domelise’s. If you get a chance to splurge on a meal at Commanders Palace or Bayona, take it.

      Cocktails: check out Cure, and maybe pay a visit to Napoleon House. And of course you’ll want a Sazerac. (The real city cocktails are the Sazerac, the Pimms Cup and the French 75. Hurricanes are primarily for tourists. But hey, if you want one, enjoy.) I also enjoy Oak, which is a little off the beaten path, but serves nice cocktails.

      Cultural notes: for the love of all that’s holy, do not spend your whole trip in the French Quarter. Yes, it’s picturesque and fun—and much more interesting off Bourbon Street—but there’s more to see. Take a Lyft to the Garden District, or to a fun stretch of Magazine Street. Take the streetcar to City Park and have beignets at Morning Call. (If you want to go to Cafe du Monde in the FG, consider getting up early to arrive before 9–that’s the only time when more locals than tourists are present, and the pace/vibe is different.) While you can catch a cab in the Quarter, it’s very difficult to get one anywhere else, and local taxi services are very hit and miss about sending cars in a timely fashion. So you’ll probably have to lean on Lyft, the streetcar, buses (including the hop-on hop-off), or some combination of them. I don’t recommend driving here as an out of towner.

      Music: Snug Harbor usually has a good jazz show each night, one at 8 and one at 10. The Maple Leaf Bar uptown has regular zydeco. Some of the big hotels like the Windsor Court actually have very good jazz or cabaret acts every Friday and Saturday. But you’ll find interesting music throughout the Quarter and the Marigny, through to the Bywater.

      Have fun!

      1. Bluebell*

        Thanks for all this. We are actually staying in the garden district. Any suggestions that are art related?

    3. chi type*

      Try to walk in a second line parade! They have them most Sundays (although maybe only certain times of year?). It’s like a parade/walking tour/mobile dance party. Amazing.

      1. Bluebell*

        I’ll look for one, thanks! We are going before jazz fest so I’m not sure if there will be a lull in music.

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

    How do you get rid of an urge that doesn’t make any logical sense? In my case, it’s running a marathon.

    I’ve run five marathons. My first marathon in 2007 was one of the biggest thrills of my life and I ran a great race. 2008 was a letdown. 2012 was terrific. But the 2010 race was agony and I almost didn’t finish in 2014 — my quadriceps quit on me both times with eight miles still to go. After both of those races, I swore I would never do another marathon.

    I didn’t get the urge again until I moved late last year. I now live near a beautiful stretch of waterfront where I could pretty easily do 18 to 20 mile training runs if I wanted to. And now the marathon bug is coming back, even though the 11-12 mile runs I’ve been doing lately in prep for a half marathon have felt like plenty.

    After four years of “just” doing half-marathons, I’m not in much shape to run a marathon. I need to lose some weight and somehow strengthen my body if I have any hope of not running out of gas at mile 18 again. I’m not particularly interested in doing that work, to be honest, though I do want to do the long training runs. Three times I’ve run this distance only to swear I’d never do it again. So why is this weird part of me tempted to give it one more go?

    1. runner girl*

      I have a theory, and feel free to disregard if I’m totally off base. Maybe it’s because for one reason or another you need a goal. Maybe a marathon is a good goal to set for yourself, or maybe it’s just sort of your mental go-to because you’ve done it before.

      I’m taking a college course that’s a bit of a stretch right now. 16 weeks of working my ass off, just for the challenge. Not dissimilar to a marathon training plan. I’ve done several marathons and know that training for one right now isn’t something I want to do- I’ve trained for “finish and have a good time” and know that I don’t have the time and structure to train for speed, which is what I want to do if I run another marathon. So I chose a different goal.

      Tl;dr, is it a marathon you want to do, or do you want the challenge and structure of working towards a goal in whatever form that takes?

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

        This makes a lot of sense. I was kind of wondering if I wanted to run a marathon as a distraction from other problems in other areas of my life. I’m facing frustrations at work that I don’t know how to solve, and on a personal level I’m just sort of…in a rut. It doesn’t make much sense that torturing my body to pretty much its limit would be an answer, but the mind works in weird ways when you’re a runner.

        1. runner girl*

          You’ve just perfectly described a not-insignificant percentage of folks who enter Ironman events. (in my wholly unqualified armchair anthropologist opinion as someone who has been around endurance sports for a while now).

        2. Not So NewReader*

          It sounds like exercise would actually be beneficial right now. The only caution I have is don’t abandon work problems entirely. If you do decide to go back to running, allot time each week for resolving issues at work.

          Maybe this could work into something that looks like this: Put x amount of time in on head-banging work problem, the reward yourself with y amount of time running.

          Exercise does cause the organs (including the brain) to function better, with better blood flow, nutrients and so on. Expect yourself to start noticing things that got by you before and expect yourself to find new ideas to old issues.

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

            I like the way you think, Not So New Reader. To be clear, I still am running. I would just be running quite a bit more if I trained for a marathon!

    2. OK*

      Sounds like a part of you feels like there is unfinished business. And it is always more satisfying to go out with a win whatever that means to you for a given situation.

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

        That also makes sense. I need to ask myself, though, why I still feel like I would feel I need a “win”… I finished an extremely challenging distance five times.

        I always wanted to run a marathon in under four hours. I achieved that goal in 2012, though arguably not by enough (I kind of wanted to smash through the four hour wall with something like 3:45:00, and ended up with 3:58:45, which is kind of like the equivalent of a baseball player having a home run glance off an outfielder’s glove and fall over the wall. It’s still a home run, but…). That being said, I definitely wouldn’t be running marathon #6 with the expectation of smashing through a personal record.

        It’s possible the “win” at this point would be simply to finish the race without my body breaking down. When I ran my last marathon, my bitter disappointment was not that I badly missed my time goal — it was that I could barely walk, let alone run, by the time I got to mile 26.

    3. Ruth (UK)*

      I think based on some of your replies here, running a marathon probably isn’t the right decision for you now, and I agree with runner girl that it might just be that you need a goal, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be a marathon. So I’m not going to suggest the way to get rid of the urge is to run the marathon.

      Maybe you could try to find something else that could become your focus? I’m not sure what but it sounds like you might enjoy having some sort of ‘project’ to work on, like maybe a craft project, or working towards fluency in another language or something? I guess it might be important to find something with some sort of clear milestones, or ‘end’.

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

        Thank you. This is definitely something to think about.

    4. Cedrus Libani*

      I’ve had that happen to me before. For me, it’s a signal that I need to take a look at my life and see what’s missing. Do I want the structure? Do I want a distraction from something else? Am I just bored and in a rut, and want to shake things up?

      Some years ago, I found myself eyeing the Olympics. I daydreamed of training for hours a day before work; the bug wouldn’t go away. Mind you, this made very little sense; I was a fat nerd with the athletic talent of a tree stump. But I took inventory of my life…and ended up going for a PhD.

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

        Thanks, Cedrus Libani. I’m in a fairly decent position here because I think I know what’s missing: I’ve basically hit a wall professionally, which is making me feel like my whole life is in a rut. There’s just a part of me that would rather run away from that problem (quite literally) than face it head on. :-)

    5. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

      Runners high. It’s a hell of a drug. (And dude, you’re a five time marathoner. It’s not that crazy that you want to go for #6.)

      I think the advice you gave me a couple of weeks ago was to just enjoy the race and not put that much of an emphasis on performance – and I thought it was REALLY good advice! But also – I’m just curious: what happened with your 2010 and 2014 races that was different from 2007 and 2012? Like, was it hotter than usual those days, for example? If you really want to go for it, I’d say try to figure out what happened to cause things to go off the rails that didn’t happen during your good races. (It’s a little harder since they’re from 4-11 years ago.)

      Also, I’m going to be the “bad” angel and say go for it. You’re already a consistent runner and have a base; I don’t think it’d be that hard to step back up. And you have a ton of great waterfront. Don’t let it go to waste.

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

        Thanks, Llama Grooming Coordinator, I appreciate the kind words.

        In 2010, it’s probably easy to figure out what happened. Four weeks before the NYC Marathon, I ran a half marathon and absolutely went crazy with my time. At that point, I normally ran half marathons in the 1:50:00 range. I ran that one in 1:45:05. After that, for the rest of my training runs, I just had nothing left in the tank.

        I’m not so sure what happened in 2014. I followed the same training plan as I did in 2012. When I started running on race day, I just… didn’t really have it. It happens sometimes. I was nervous before the race started that I wasn’t going to do well, and maybe that carried over into the race. It was the only time to date that I’ve ever been nervous before running a race.

        In 2012, the year I set my PR, for what it’s worth, my quadriceps also gave up the ghost, but at mile 23 instead of mile 18. By that point, I was already so far ahead of the game that I was able to gut through pretty easily to the finish.

        1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

          No problem!

          I actually posted without reading the other comments first. I still stand by my end conclusion, but it also seems like you have a lot going on already in your life. If you actually think you can set aside the time and manage everything else, go for it. It’s not an either/or situation after all. (I mean, you’re already a half runner. I imagine you already do some serious mileage per week, and marathon training isn’t necessarily that much more.) At any rate – from the running end of things, it seems like you already know what the issues were on the “bad” races, and they sound fixable or even like one offs (like 2014).

          Also, I mentioned your comment from a couple of open threads back not only because I thought it was useful when I read it, but also because your OP read a little like you were concerned about getting everything right as opposed to enjoying the experience. (Correct me if I’m wrong though!) At the end of the day, it’s just a race (probably a very expensive race, but just a race nonetheless). I don’t think anyone is going to judge if you don’t run as well or aren’t as in good shape as in 2012.

    6. Junior Dev*

      So I don’t run anymore since I injured myself doing it, but one thing I’m struggling with right now is moderation in exercise. I stopped lifting weights in favor of biking and kickboxing, and I think those two are way better for me because I’m not tempted to push myself past the point of exhaustion or injury.

      Other people are saying you need a goal–maybe you could make it your goal to exercise regularly, but in moderation. Could be running or something else.

    7. Kuododi*

      I am completely spitballing here but if I had to guess I’d say there is a need for goal setting as well as looking at feelings of accomplishment. That’s why I have such a hard time with treadmills… they simply involve running or walking with no goal or purpose. In my case I was heavily involved in martial arts during my thirties and early forties. For me working toward those belt achievements and finally earning black belt was the ultimate goal in my mind. (Particularly coming from my background as a non-exercising bookworm….black belt was an unbelievable goal for my life!). Hope you are able to get back to marathoning as soon as it is medically reasonable!!!! Blessings and enjoy the lovely running route!!!!

    8. CheeryO*

      Why not just enjoy some long runs on the nice waterfront and see what happens? You could very easily be in great shape by the fall if you’re already doing 12 milers regularly, and there’s no need to commit yourself to any particular race at this point. It sounds to me like you’re craving the challenge, or maybe you’re just ready to get revenge on those last two marathons.

      Playing a bit of devil’s advocate here, you really don’t need to lose weight or do any strength training, especially if you just want to finish feeling strong. It sounds like you enjoy the long runs, so you could just work your way up to 18-20 miles and do those until you feel like you could do them in your sleep. Add in some decent miles during the week and you’re in great shape. I’m sure I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but I bet you’re closer than you think to being in marathon shape.

  11. Lucy*

    A few months ago there was talk of a Salt Lake City meetup. Anyone still interested? I’m newish to town and would love to meet more people and broaden my social circle.

    Anyone have any ideas? Weekend brunch? After work coffee?

  12. Knoxville*

    Anybody live in Knoxville? I need to decide this week whether I want to move down there next year to start a PhD program. I’m excited about the program but will not have a chance to visit Knoxville due to short notice/work responsibilities and would love to hear your experiences with it.

    1. epi*

      Have you looked at the Grad Cafe forums? They have threads discussing tops for living in most major American cities and college towns. This is right around the time those get active while everyone prepares to move.

    2. NDR*

      I grew up in Knoxville, and while I don’t live there anymore, I go back every 2-3 months.

      It’s a small city, with a college town vibe around the campus. While it’s not going to compete with any major city in terms of culture/food scene, it has been growing and making strides lately. The symphony, art museum, and opera are small but pretty good; the theater scene is also fairly good. Big Ears Festival is becoming well-known as a high quality music festival, and it is based downtown. The downtown itself is thriving and busy through the weekends. There is a downtown farmers market, regular outdoor shows, and lots of shops/restaurants. There are other areas with great restaurants, bars/breweries, music venues that are both established and up-and-coming that are quite close to the university. You won’t find a ton of options for international cuisines, but generally the food scene is good and varied.

      The cost of living is pretty low still and job opportunities are pretty available. If you are in a STEM field, the Oak Ridge National Laboratories are in your backyard and offer prestigious fellowships and internships to different UT programs.

      Knoxville is about an hour from the Great Smoky Mountain National park, and the entire area is peppered with lakes and rivers, so it’s great for outdoors activities. It does get hot and humid in the summers, so be prepared for that.

      It’s also only 3 hours to Atlanta and just under 3 hours to Nashville, which are both easy weekend road trips and offer more variety in terms of shopping, culture, etc. You’d also only be 2 hours from Asheville, NC and Chattanooga, which are also small cities with lots of outdoor offerings and are just fun places to visit.

      As a grad student, I’d recommend living in one of the areas just outside of the campus area , as it seems that campus and it’s surrounding 1/2 mile or so (Fort Sanders neighborhood) is mostly populated by undergraduates. Downtown, the Bearden area, or the Fourth and Gill area would be places I’d be most likely check out for living space.

      The only other thing I’d factor into my consideration is your tolerance for big time college football. From September-late November home games dominate a big fraction of the city and the culture, especially around campus. Of course, you can escape it fairly easily, but it can be a little much to someone who isn’t used to it. And if you need to be on campus/use the library/tend an experiment/etc., you’ll need to factor that into travel time and parking.

      All in all, it’s a nice town and has gotten so much more interesting and diverse since I grew up there (20+ years ago). Feel free to email me at pizzad119 @ gmail, and I can follow up on any questions you might have.

  13. DietCokeHead*

    Well, yesterday I had my kidney stone removal procedure and it did not go as smoothly as I had hoped. The doctor couldn’t get up in my kidney to get the stone, so he placed a ureteral stent and I’ll come back later for a second try. The stent is making me pretty darn uncomfortable. Hopefully I get used to it I guess.

    1. zora*

      Darn, I’m sorry to hear that!! I had to wait some time before they could do my surgery, too, and it was frustrating. You might get used to the stent, but just try to give yourself a lot of time to rest and try to distract yourself from thinking about it. I listened to a lot of podcasts, but maybe movies, tv shows?

      I hope you can get your procedure soon, good luck!!

      1. DietCokeHead*

        Thank you! I have to have the stent in a minimum of two weeks before they try again but it also could be longer.

        I have tickets to an event in Kentucky at the end of April and I’m worried that this all will prevent me from going.

        Ugh, this all is really not enjoyable. I’ve definitely been doing a lot of dozing today and watching HGTV.

        1. zora*

          Lame, I’m sorry!!!
          I had tickets to an opera I was super excited about that I had to miss and I was so bummed!! I hope things go as fast as possible and you can make your event!

          The silver lining: my pain tolerance is WAYY up after my kidney thing, and just in general my patience with feeling crappy. I hurt my back and I was like “Shrug” I’ll be fine, this is no where CLOSE to that kidney pain! So, that’s kind of a bonus??? haha, not really but just trying to put a positive spin on it.

          1. DietCokeHead*

            Thanks, I’m going think positive that we can still make it down to Kentucky. I’m sorry you missed your opera.

            An improved pain tolerance…I guess that will be a plus at the end of all this. :) Plus I get to put my health insurance through its paces.

    2. MsChanandlerBong*

      I had a ureteral stent a few years ago. I feel for you! It was supposed to come out in 30 days, but my urologist ended up in the hospital, so it was in for five months. Getting it out was easy, though, and I am glad to be rid of it.

      1. DietCokeHead*

        Five months?!?! I think I would go crazy. Although I’m assuming a person eventually gets somewhat used to the stent.

        1. MsChanandlerBong*

          It didn’t bother me all the time, but let’s just say that every time I had to pee, there were problems. I guess putting in the stent opened up the urinary highway–I had a major problem with urgency that would leave me on my knees in the hallway outside of the bathroom because it hurt so much.

    3. Jenny Next*

      I’m sorry to read this!

      Did they give you that orange stuff (Azo)? That and ibuprofen helped me with irritation in a similar situation. (I had a prescription, but you can get it over the counter.)

      1. DietCokeHead*

        I’ve taken those orange pills before and when the doctor called today to follow up, I asked about trying them. He said it would be fine and actually called them in as a prescription for me, so that insurance would cover the cost. I’ll definitely be taking ibuprofen too, thank you for the advice!

    4. Fish girl*

      I might be too late for you to see this, but I needed a stent for about a month for the exact same issue (doc couldn’t get the stone out). And it was incredible painful for me every time I peed. What he didn’t tell me until much later (he wasn’t a great doctor) was that peeing more often was the solution. I was holding it for longer and longer, because the pain was so bad, it made me almost pass out. But once I started trying to pee, even a little, once an hour, the pain was much less.

    1. Can't Sit Still*

      It’s Bite Your Brother day here, too! Also Bop Your Brother and Hold Your Brother Down for Vigorous Grooming.

    2. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      I’ve got the Submissive One is antsy and keeps trying to get the Dominant One to play, which ALWAYS results in the Dominant One swatting the Submissive One and hissing. Then the Human yells to cut it out. Note: Submissive One is 10, Dominant one is 18. Play time is rare.

      Next weekend its supposed to be 60. I fully intend on putting Submissive One outside. There’s a mole in the backyard she can hunt (and not find, she hasn’t figured out how to get them yet). I’ve already put her outside for a bit today, but it’s not really warm enough for her liking.

    3. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      It is in our house – girl kitty pulled Chomp on Your Brother’s Neck and His Boy Equipment while boy kitty retaliated this morning with Flatten Your Sister.

      Is it a full moon or something? All week we’ve been reprimanding biting and crankiness. Hopefully the four hours of outside time today helped the boredom a bit.

  14. kc89*

    I just read a wrinkle in time for the first time a couple of years ago

    I enjoyed it, I liked that it was a quick read, I think I read it in one sitting lol

    Didn’t care for the precocious little brother

    1. Aealias*

      Pretty sure no-one’s meant to like Charles Wallace. L’Engle often writes with sympathy for the oldest child! I vaguely recall that he eventually becomes not-awful in some of her latest books. Maybe when he’s Awesome Uncle to Meg’s kids?

  15. DoctorateStrange*

    I read Cuckoo’s Calling by Rowling. I enjoyed it. She is a fine fantasy writer but even back when she wrote solely HP, I could tell she had a marvelous knack for writing mysteries. Although the times I did cringe was when a character was a rapper and the other characters would recite his lyrics and…well, they’re rap lyrics written by JK Rowling, you can imagine how they sound.

    Also, I just finished the second-to-last volume of Wet Moon. I am so sad to these comics almost finished. The body diversity was amazing, the representation of queer women and/or women of color, the gothic atmosphere, so beautiful.

    1. Fiennes*

      Personally I think the next two Cormoran Strike novels are even better! She defied my expectations in many ways with these books, most of them good—and I went in optimistic!

      1. Pharmgirl88*

        For some reason, I actually preferred the first one! The last two just seemed so much darker to me, especially the 3rd. Whereas the first seemed like a traditional mystery, and I guess I just prefer those. But apparently there’s a BBC show coming out sometime? I’m really excited for that!

        1. DoctorateStrange*

          Yes, I am excited for the BBC one although I feel like the Cormoran Strike in my head was a touch bulkier, rougher, and hairier, and all-around messier in my head than this on-screen version—of course, the actor seems like he will do a brilliant job, nonetheless.

        2. Delphine*

          It’s already out, they just wrapped the episodes for the third book a few weeks back.

            1. Jemima Bond*

              I saw them and really liked them fwiw! Really enjoyed all three books and sets of tv programmes.

        3. Delphine*

          Also, I think the reason you like the first most is the reason it was my least favorite (third is my most favorite)—it was traditional, but it also seemed a bit dated and derivative.

      2. DoctorateStrange*

        They certainly sound even more ambitious than the first one, so I look forward to those!

    2. Gertrude*

      Oh my gosh. How did I not connect that these were written by JK Rowling?? All this ebook reading means I only glance at titles before I download! I read all of them and actually really liked them. No wonder I’d get the sense of something vaguely familiar at times.

    1. miyeritari*

      Here is your hug! Hug!

      I hope things are better soon. Remember you are loved and cared about by other people.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      One more hug plus my dog volunteers to lean against your leg in a comforting gesture if you like leaning dogs.

    3. Hrovitnir*

      Another internet hug! You can have an annoying wiggly one from my dog too if you like. :D

  16. Engineering consultant*

    Has anyone bought a travel deal off Groupon/LivingSocial? If so, were you upcharged for anything that wasn’t explicitly spelled out ahead of time? How did you manage the double occupancy thing? Did you have to email the travel agency about the hotel rooms/who you’re traveling with? TIA if you can offer any advice!

    A friend and I are thinking of going to Europe for about a week later this year, around September. The deals generally include airfare and hotels, which is good, because I’m not fond of AirBnbs (had some questionable experiences with them in the last year or so). We’re in our early 30s with professional careers, and have done plenty of international travel in Asia.

  17. Ruth (UK)*

    So, I’ve got a half marathon next Sunday, which I have barely trained for at all. There may be a couple people here who might remember I trained for and ran a half marathon the same time last year (the same event). I trained quite properly for it, running 5 or 6 times a week for several months leading up to it, though had never done running before Jan that year (but was in fairly good shape overall), and finished in 2 hours and 1 minute.

    This year I have basically done no training apart from parkrun (5k) about once every other week. The last time I was ‘seriously’ running was probably about May last year.

    However, I’m still in fairly good shape overall. I ran 6 miles this morning which I think is probably sort of like ‘cramming’ the night before an exam when you realise you didn’t do any proper revising. It didn’t go well and I picked up a big blister in the arch of my foot, which I feel is especially bad luck as I don’t even normally get blisters from running.

    I guess I need to sort of relax about my time and accept I will be slower, and not burn myself out chasing a time I’m never going to achieve. I just want to finish, really. I’m a bit frustrated at myself at how poorly prepared I am, and over how badly I realise I am likely to do…

    Not to talk too much about work on the non-work thread, but I job-searched from last summer, and started a new job in December, and to be honest, this is one of the reasons my running has sort of fallen to the side.

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

      It sounds like your goal should be just to finish the race. There’s no shame in not being so well trained; life happens. But be realistic. It definitely does not sound advisable to have a time goal. If you’re in fairly good shape, adrenaline is likely to carry you through, especially if it’s a race with strong crowd support. But don’t be ashamed if you need to stop and walk – that (in my opinion) awful book about marathon running by Haruki Murakami has led a lot of people to believe that stopping indicates failure. In any case, good luck to you next week!

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        Basically, I’m well prepared physically to complete a long-distance event, but not necessarily by running. I have active hobbies multiple times a week, and cover around 70-80 miles per week in cycle commuting. I also not-uncommonly have days where I am on my feet all day with very little sitting down or resting.

        So, I do find it likely that I will finish. I don’t feel that stopping indicates failure, and feel it’s important to stop when necessary (eg. to avoid injury), but I know I’ll still feel rubbish if I end up having to stop. So I realise how careful I need to be to keep to a pace I’ll be able to maintain.

        I sort of feel like a failure to myself anyway, as I signed up to this event feeling enthusiastic and optimistic that I’d train to beat my previous time. I feel as though I’m already embarrassed by whatever result I’m going to get, and I don’t even know what it is yet.

        1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

          Running a half or more is just as much mental prep as physical prep. Can you reframe (as noted above) your mental approach to this race? Maybe not heap so much angst about training and expectations, but go to have fun, enjoy the day, and get some exercise? You could be surprised!

    2. Grumpy*

      Do you have any idea how many of us are showing up at the starting line of spring halfs hopelessly under-trained this year?
      Don’t cram too hard, you’ll get injured which is no fun at all. Relax, have fun, high-five the kids, get the fun swag, and wave at the volunteers. And then plan to PR in the fall. What else can you do, really. But you’re not the only one, that’s for sure.

    3. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

      First of all, good luck with your new Place We Don’t Talk About On Weekends! I can imagine that would be a little stressful.

      With the race – since you’re going for it, don’t kill yourself. Definitely take it slower (so don’t worry about breaking 2) and walk if you have to during the race. And don’t try to play catch-up with the training, since you’re not going to make it up in one week.

      Also, while I was about to say that doubling your long run was the cause of the blister…I’d also look into your shoes! Is that the first time that’s happened? (I mean, I’ve gotten a blister with shoes and socks I never had problems with before or since, so it might just be coincidence or something else entirely.)

      But basically, if you’re going to do it, take it easy and don’t chase a time. For this race, anyway.

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        The blister is quite a new thing for me and came as a bit of a shock. I’m incredibly un-prone to them. I have never really picked up blisters before (including when I trained for and did the half marathon last year), and I also don’t tend to get them on my hands, even when I do things that might normally cause them (eg. wood chopping, gardening/digging etc). My shoes are wearing through quite badly though so I guess I need to decide whether to use them (despite knowing they’re in poor condition and gave me a blister) or wearing a new pair (that is not yet broken in) for the race next week…

        1. Llama Grooming Coordinator*

          REPLACE YOUR SHOES YESTERDAY. If they’re wearing badly, that means they’re already past the point they should be replaced. (The guideline is about 300-500 miles, or 500-800 km.) I’d do at least a couple of runs before the race, just to get used to them, but I would definitely recommend replacing your current as soon as possible.

          If you have any running stores local to you, I’d really suggest getting fitted if you haven’t already. Their suggestions aren’t always perfect (every salesperson I’ve seen suggests stability models and I tend to prefer lighter models), but it is usually useful input.

        2. CheeryO*

          Running shoes don’t really need much breaking in – I would absolutely buy a new pair now and do one or two short runs in them this week.

          And good luck! I’ve definitely been there. My last straw for deciding to take training more seriously was a really disappointing time in a half marathon a few years ago when I was slacking off. I’ve taken 20 minutes off my time since then and hope to cut off another five this spring.

  18. CatCat*

    I’ve been doing exercise videos for over a month and I love them. It’s called HASfit and they have a ton of free videos on their site and YouTube.

    Turns out I love doing strength training with weights. Stuff I’ve tried in the past has been really cardio-focused so I’m excited to discover the strength training options. I’ve been just been using 3 lb dumbbells or water bottles (about l lb each), but my strength has noticeably improved and now I’m going to get a couple 5 lb weights.

    I still do cardio, but the weights are my favorite and I think having those exercises in the mix have really improved my physical well-being.

    Almost everything is free. They have a few pay programs through their app, but everything on the site is free. They have a donation platform mainly and I donated so they can keep offering so many free videos. Highly recommend!

    1. C*

      For anyone else also looking for a good variety of training videos, I’ve found the Popsugar ones to be pretty great. They cover a lot of different workouts and are available for free through YouTube. They often feature celeb trainers which I don’t really follow but the workouts are tough and it’s a good way to get a good variety or check out what you like if you’re beginning to workout.

    2. annakarina1*

      I do Hasfit too! It has been really great for building strength, especially doing moves that work multiple body parts at once instead of being too stationery, and I like that the Kozaks are fantastic at encouraging a supportive attitude, they get tired doing the workouts too, and they seem like nice and easygoing people. Their cardio workout really pushed me a lot, especially with the random burpee sets!

    3. cat socks*

      Thanks for the recommendation! I use videos from Fitness Blender and Popsugar Fitness, so I like having something new to check out.

    4. ajaner*

      Have you found any yoga or core training videos you like?

      Or has anyone?

      I really need to build up some strength before I launch into cardio and more vigorous kinds of exercise. There are lots of great yoga studios and even cheap classes on campus, but my schedule doesn’t align with most of the classes unfortunately.
      And I’m so out of shape I’d rather do the base work on my own, haha!

      1. CatCat*

        HASfit has beginner abs and back workout routines that should help build core strength.

        Yoga With Adriene on YouTube is great for yoga! Highly recommend.

        1. SouthernLadybug*

          I second the Yoga with Adrienne suggestion. I started based on a suggestion from another open bread whenshe was doing the TRUE series.

      2. Jax*

        I second Adriene and also Tara Stiles. I do her beginner yoga core and it is a challenge but definitely doable. I haven’t tried any of her intermediate or advanced core yet. I also take core at a studio so I use Tara’s videos once or twice a week only.

    5. ajaner*

      All of these recommendations from the three of you are very helpful to me, thank you!!!

    6. Elizabeth West*

      Oh, cool, I’ve been meaning to get into some strength training. I have to be careful because of a rotator cuff issue, but I’ll check these out. Thanks!

    7. Roja*

      I’ll have to check out the HASfit suggestion; I get bored easily and can always use more workout videos! It’s been about three years now since I started lifting weights on and off… I started barely being able to lift 5lb, and now I can do 15 and 20. I’m used to setting physical goals, but weight lifting has been satisfying like nothing else. My upper body has always been my weakest part, so it’s super exciting to be able to do things like lift heavy bags easier and stuff. Have fun… it’s such a great process!

    1. Reba*

      I was so passionate about all those books growing up!

      I reread Wrinkle in Time in preparation to see the new movie — did you catch it?

      It was…not that great, but I was prepared for that and was still charmed by parts of it. I thought the young actors did so well, which is fitting, since it’s a story about how the adults can’t save you.

      1. ThatLibraryChick*

        Many Waters is my favorite of the whole series! It’s actually one of my top favorite books of all time and thus it makes me really sad

        *SPOILERS*

        *SPOILERS*

        *SPOILERS*

        that Sandy and Dennys are not in the new movie at all.

        1. Reba*

          Yeah, I understand why they wrote out the twins for simplicity’s sake. I guess it’s also an admission that further films are not planned :)

          But I don’t agree with rewriting mama Murray as co-author, rather than different field (Victoria, Please’s comment below). I mean, again for simplicity, sure, but also Gugu Mbatha-Raw is like criminally underused in everything I’ve seen her in!

      2. Victoria, Please*

        I did see it, thought it was a gallant effort. I wished she had stayed more true to the ladies’ characters, that was the problem for me. Also Dr. Mrs. Murray was not her husband’s physics sidekick ITB (in the book), she was a microbiologist! I was kind of surprised at that mistake.

    2. Al Lo*

      I’m re-reading my L’Engle library right now. I’ve finished the Time Quintet/Murry/O’Keefe books, and am working through the Austin family books. I love Wrinkle, but it’s lower on my list of L’Engle faves; I’m such a fan of some of her adult fiction and theological musings.

    3. Kj*

      I think Wind in the Door is the best of the series. Although I retain my love for An Acceptable Time as well. I had forgotten how religious the books are though. They weren’t unreadable because of that, but it was weird at points too.

      1. Birch*

        I had this exact reaction. I just reread them all, remembering that Many Waters was my favorite. But wooooowwww are the religious overtones heavy. And not in a ‘here’s a book where the CHARACTERS believe in this stuff’ way, but as if it’s just truth. Really gave me a weird feeling.

    4. zora*

      I loved that series and reread it a couple of years ago and still thought it was wonderful.
      I have been OBSESSED about the movie coming out for months, because of Ava DuVernay and the casting and I loved everything about it!!

      My boyfriend thought the story was weak and thought it was too slow, but I didn’t care at all. I would have LOVED this movie when I was a kid, the young girl hero, the visuals, the Mrs’s and their costumes. I would have watched it over and over.

      And now I want to go back and read the whole series again! ;)

      1. Reba*

        I didn’t think it was slow, although I agree the pacing was a bit off. I felt like a lot of things happened too rapidly, but then we spend like half an hour watching a character turn into a leaf, why???

        I watched on IMAX which was worth it for the effects.

        I cried. The overall message really came through and was beautiful.

        1. zora*

          I cried all of the tears. But I am a sucker, I cry at everything. I am so happy they made this movie, I will definitely watch it again.

          1. The New Wanderer*

            I haven’t seen it yet, but I cried when I saw the first trailer. I knew what movie it was almost immediately (the ball bouncing scene) and I didn’t even know they were making it. I had a friend who passed away a year ago and she would have loved to see it, so that made it extra emotional.

    5. Kathenus*

      Big L’Engle fan, and A Wrinkle in Time is still one of my top two favorite books of all time. I read the not-so-great movie reviews before seeing it, so think my expectation was tamped down which ended up being a good thing. It exceeded the lower expectations I had and I was able to really enjoy it, more I think. What was there I mostly thought was pretty well done, I just wish more had been included and not mashed together at times just to put things in without giving them their due. But overall, a very enjoyable movie experience. And definitely has me interested in re-reading all of my L’Engle books.

    6. Emily*

      As a kid I liked all of them but remember especially appreciating Many Waters; now I think my favorites are A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door (which feel the most tonally similar to me).

      I read A Swiftly Tilting Planet, but at least at the time didn’t like it as much as the others – I think maybe I preferred the protagonists as kids? It would be interesting to do a reread now, though – aside from A Wrinkle in Time, which I read a bunch because I actually owned a copy, I don’t think I’ve touched the other books in years.

  19. Jen RO*

    Any recommendations for something to do in Paris tomorrow morning? I’ve seen most of the touristy stuff already and I’m looking for something to fill a couple of hours. I am staying close to Gare du Nord and I probably have to be back at my hotel around noon to catch the train to the airport.

    1. caledonia*

      Well, if the marathon is in the morning, go cheer on some runners? (My former manager is running it for a co-worker)

      Shakespeare and Company (bookshop/cafe) is usually my go see in Paris.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Hit up Shakespeare & Co. (if it’s open), then find a cafe and watch some people. I haven’t been to Paris in a reallllly long time, but it’s an ideal place for sitting outside with a coffee and something indulgent while you take it all in.

        1. caledonia*

          well, now Shakespeare and Co have a cafe so no need to go elsewhere for that people watching :)

        2. Jen RO*

          I’ve been to Shakespeare and Co a couple of times now, but the last time it was just too crowded for my taste.

    2. Chocolate Teapot*

      Will you have time for a museum? Rodin? Cluny? Carnavallet?

      Or just sit in one of the cafes with a Cafe-Noisette until it’s time to go to the airport? Galeries Lafayette is open on a Sunday but not until 11.00am and I am not sure about Printemps (but would guess it is the same)

      1. Jen RO*

        I had a coffee (plus associated breakfast) for just 7 EUR at a cafe next to Gare d’Austerlitz and it was lovely, despite the less-than-impressive view. It had the distinct advantage of being deserted, and after 3 intense days at work it was perfect for my introverted self.

    3. Reba*

      You could go by the African market in Chateau Rouge for a look-around. From Gare du Nord area you can walk there. I’d do an early morning to Sacre Coeur to try to avoid crowds (if you haven’t already visited) then stroll back down through CR and Goutte D’or neighborhoods. There is a pretty good Senegalese restaurant, Le Dibi, and a several north African bakery type places including le Rose de Tunis.

      Other ideas: a walk along the canals or a canal boat ride
      OR
      a visit to Jardin des Plantes complemented by a tea and snack in the courtyard of the Grand Mosque. They also have guided tours.

      1. Jen RO*

        Thank you! I ended up visiting the Jardin des Plantes and the Mosque and had a great morning :)

        1. Jen RO*

          Oh, and I will remember the African restaurants for next time I am in Paris. I had something absolutely delicious at a Tunisian (?) restaurant years ago and I am still pissed off that I can’t remember what it was!

    4. Lily Evans*

      Have you been to Montmartre at all yet? It was my favorite neighborhood when I visited. There are some great places for photos around the Place Dalida with great views of Sacre Coeur. If the weather’s nice there’s some cafes with great patio areas for people watching around there too.

      1. Middle School Teacher*

        I also loved Monmartre. It’s so cool and has a great vibe.

        I would recommend the Tour de Montparnasse, if you haven’t seen it yet. Higher and cheaper than the Eiffel Tower.

        1. Jen RO*

          I’ve been to Montmartre several times. I got close to the Tour Montparnasse (I had to take a train from Montparnasse station), but I didn’t have time to go up. Maybe next time!

    5. annakarina1*

      Belleville is a nice area, very big and culturally diverse.

      When I visited two years ago, my favorite areas were Montmartre, the Marais, and Belleville. There is also a famous Jewish and Arabic neighborhood with great food, but I forget its name.

      The Cinematheque Francaise museum was cool to visit, if you’re into film history.

      1. Jen RO*

        I’d never heard of Belleville, but it does look cool! It’s going on the list for next time.

    6. Candy*

      OMG I can’t imagine needing recommendations for things to do Paris. I was there for six months and never once ran out of things to do. I think I would need at least two years before that happened. But I can also happily waste an entire day just sitting in a cafe watching people…

      Have you been to the antique markets at Porte de Clignancourt yet? It’s not far from Gare du Nord.

      1. Reba*

        I mean, I think the reason Jen RO is asking is because there *is* so much to choose from…
        but then again not that much open on a Sunday morning!

        Clignancourt is indeed cool.

      2. Jen RO*

        Well, I know there are a lot of things to see, but I’ve been to Paris 5-6 times already and have seen all the super-famous ones (except the museums, because I’m not really into art). I was looking for some of the lesser-known sights… and trying to avoid 2 hours of searching on TripAdvisor. It worked out great in the end, Jardin des Plantes was gorgeous, the weather was perfect and I managed to get there before it got crowded. The mosque was an added bonus – it’s in Andalusian style, which I looooove.

    7. Kathenus*

      You may have already done it, but the short boat trip on the Seine I took when I was there years back was one of my favorites.

      1. Jen RO*

        I’ve already done it and I was considering going again, but I ended up going to dinner with a coworker.

    8. Jen RO*

      Thank you all for the recommendations!

      And I will add mine as well: I went on a great bike tour with Bike About Tours. We avoided most of the crowded areas, it wasn’t tiring, the bikes worked well, the guide was great and the price was reasonable (39 EUR). It was my first bike tour but I will now be on the lookout for them in other cities as well!

  20. Sled dog mama*

    Best Saturday ever! The older of my younger brothers is getting married this afternoon and my daughter is the flower girl and is behaving beautifully. I just spent an hour holding my sleeping baby nephew (other brothers kid).

  21. Be the Change*

    Is there such a person as, like, an advocate you can hire if you are having health problems and getting short shrift from the “system”? I have a friend who is going to have permanent nerve damage if he doesn’t get some care soon, and the docs are Not Calling Back. He’s also a terrible self advocate, stubborn and prideful AF, and terrified…he’s a musician and could lose the use of his hand!

    1. WellRed*

      Is he using some sort of hospital or health system? They often have social workers though I suppose there could be a waiting list. Maybe also google patient health advocate. Finally, if there isn’t someone professional to hire, does he have a smart, unafraid friend to help?

    2. Ann Nonymous*

      Yes, there are such people. I’m not entirely sure how to find them, but Google terms like Medical or Health Advocate and your city or zip and see what comes up. You could also ask at local hospitals or medical centers. Find local or online patient groups for whatever the medical issue is and they’d likely know as well.

    3. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      I assume by your remarks he has some sort of cervical radiculopathy and he’s looking for a decompressive neck surgery like an ACDF?

      First step, he’s likely to get more aggressive attention from an orthopedist than a primary care provider. So if he needs surgery, he should work on getting a referral (if needed) and an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon.

      You don’t mention if he has insurance or if he has “bad” insurance like Medicaid so that could be hindering his access. If you live near a teaching hospital (like associated with a university or medical school), he’s more likely to be able to get an appointment with them than a private practice. Most places have phone numbers for new patient registration where you talk to a patient care coordinator and get a medical record number that you have to do first. Should be on their website. Then he can ask them to transfer him for a new patient appointment with an orthopedist.

      You weren’t too explicit about where the difficulty he’s having is so hope that helps.

    4. AJ*

      If your friend belongs to a church, most churches have a “parish nurse” that can help with communicating to the medical System.

    5. Be the Change*

      Is there someone who can help him get into the system?

      Once he’s a patient, he’ll get an advocate. He’s apparently having a hard time becoming a patient.

      His pcp did refer him to a surgeon; waiting for the surgeon to call and start the process is where he’s at, and not getting the call. IMO he should call that office every damn day until he gets an answer – I’m wondering if there’s an official person who can help with that.

      I’m 3000 miles away. And like I said, he’s stubborn and prideful, if something he needs isn’t offered, he won’t ask again.

      If he can’t play music, he will die. That’s the equation. If he can’t play because a surgeon’s office dragged their feet calling back…

      1. misspiggy*

        At this point you’re looking at calling for him, if you can get his permission to do so; or alerting his closest family (assuming you’ve tried telling him he needs to call every day).

      2. Natalie*

        When my husband was scheduling a surgery there was a care coordinator who was in charge of getting everything scheduled – insurance preapproval, anesthesia, etc. Do they have something like that and is that who he’s calling?

    6. ..Kat..*

      Does his insurance offer case workers? These are often nurses who navigate patients through the health care system.

    7. Lindsay J*

      Yes there are.

      When I worked at a speech pathology office, one of the parents had one who dealt with the insurance nonsense. She worked with us to find out what codes we were billing and why, and worked with the insurance to ensure that they were covered. She did other stuff with other doctors and professionals as well – I’m not sure the entire scope of her job.

      She was just called a patient advocate or a client advocate. She was hired privately by the family, not assigned through a health system or publicly.

  22. Not posting under my usual &*

    YOU GUYS.
    I mentioned last week that the ex has a new girlfriend and that he was introducing her to Small Child this week.

    WELL. For various reasons I didn’t put up any objections to him introducing her as a friend, and they met on Monday. Small Child seems to like her and her own Slightly Older Child.

    On Wednesday night, when the ex was looking after Small Child, the girlfriend STAYED OVER WITH THEM.

    I only know because Small Child disregarded the instruction not to mention it to me and told me anyway on the phone that she stayed “in daddy’s bed!!!!”.

    I cannot believe that I need to explicitly say ‘no sleepovers when Small Child is present’ but apparently I do, and have now said so. I have requested a return to mediation to hash out the details so it’s all explicit for the future.

    I was furious but now I’m mostly incredulous. He’s kept saying all along that SC is his main and only priority. This is pretty good proof that that’s not the case, because how is having his girlfriend sleep over in SC’s best interests? It’s really, really not.

      1. Thursday Next*

        This is the worst part, for me. How will Not Posting underMy Usual be able to trust someone who tells their child to withhold information? One parent should not be asking their child to keep secrets from the other parent.

        Not Posting: I’m totally with you.

        1. Not posting under my usual &*

          I cannot say how glad I am that SC was able to tell me. Ex knows he said; he was there when we were talking on the phone. I said to him that neither of us should be asking him to keep any secrets. I mean, seriously, if you need to ask your kid to keep something a secret and it’s not, say, a surprise birthday party, MAYBE DON’T DO WHATEVER IT IS.

          1. Yetanotherjennifer*

            Ugh! I’m sorry! The only positive, is this is a great teachable moment. I remember telling my child at this age (meaning the age where they lack the ability to keep secrets) about the difference between secrets and surprises and that it’s ok to not tell about a surprise when the reveal is coming soon and the recipient will be happy, but secrets should always be reported.

          2. Parenthetically*

            Phew, so glad SC told you!!

            I think the conversation about “surprises” (we’ll tell the person eventually and they will be happy and excited) vs. “secrets” (we won’t tell the person because we think they would be angry, sad, or upset) is such an important one for about a million reasons, but this is definitely one of them. “We don’t keep secrets in our family, and if anyone asks you to keep something secret from me, no matter what, it’s important that you tell me right away.”

    1. Elkay*

      Because he doesn’t want the work of actually looking after his child. He wants to be able to say “Oh SC loves girlfriend” to justify her always being around. I’d bet she’s the one who gets up if SC needs anything in the night.

      1. not posting under my usual &*

        I really hope not but I suspect that might be true in future at least. *shudder* The kid should be able to know their own parent is the one taking care of them.

    2. Ann Nonymous*

      Does it really matter if gf stays over? You really can’t control your ex, so letting lots of extremely irritating things go will give you peace.

      1. not posting under my usual &*

        I don’t give a shit personally but where it interacts with the best interests of Small Child, it absolutely does matter to me and is my business. He can do whatever the hell he wants 5 nights a week when SC isn’t there. But seeing as she’s only been introduced as a ‘friend’, and SC has been very upset about the whole situation, letting a girlfriend sleep over *in the same bed as Ex* is absolutely not in the child’s best interests. For the record, if she’d slept on the sofa, I would have been unhappy about it but at least that would preserve the illusion that they are ‘just friends’. He’s a small child, he’s not stupid.

        I have however moved from absolutely furious about it to amused incredulity…. now he’s agreed to no more sleepovers until we’ve had a chance to discuss new relationships in mediation.

        1. Not sure*

          I totally agree that it was unacceptable for your ex to ask your child to lie, and you were right to call him out on it.

          However, I’m confused as to why you want your child to believe this person is just a friend. Isn’t that just keeping another secret from your child? Like you said, child is smart and not likely to be fooled for very long, even if they tried to keep it under wraps.

          I’m trying to say this in the least snarky way possible, but there’s an irony in the fact that you’re mad at your spouse for a secret, yet you want him to keep an even bigger secret from your child.

          1. Not posting under my usual &*

            Fair point. I’ll have a think about that.

            It’s partly because I think the small child will be absolutely gutted. But yeah, something else we need to discuss in mediation.

            1. Not sure*

              I appreciate you taking this is the manner in which I intended it. Good luck! You sound like a caring, thoughtful parent.

              1. Not posting under my usual &*

                I think it’s partly about age appropriateness. If SC was a baby or toddler it would royally piss me off but they wouldn’t understand. The age SC is right now is old enough to put things together and young enough to be devastated. For a girl the ex has been seeing only 6 weeks, it seems rather soon to tell SC. I only left at the end of October. It’s all still very fresh.

          2. PNWflowers*

            It’s really common to have some ground rules in introducing “parental figures” to small children, it can be incredibly damaging to small children to have a revolving door of “parent #3”. There’s a difference between asking a child to lie about who’s sleeping in the house, as opposed to asking an adult to exercise discretion in how they introduce a third party into the family. I have a family member who moves his current girlfriend into his house within months of dating, it’s all “our family!!” Until they break up (ALWAYS within a year) and the cycle repeats within weeks. His poor kid has had at least 10 mom figures. That’s really hard on children.
            Mom is well within her rights and (common sense!) to ask dad to be discrete. I’m honestly horrified she’s getting any pushback on this at all. Non-related partners can be huge threats to children (don’t even come at me with “not all stepparents”, I’m aware). Maintaining some distance when he only has the child 2 nights a week is a safety measure for the child’s emotional and physical well-being, and shouldn’t be that difficult for dad to adhere too.

              1. PNWflowers*

                Yeah, 6 weeks is nothing. And it’s the first relationship post split? The odds of it going the distance are… low. His priority needs to be on his son, and you’re well within your rights to have that be a mediated element of your co-parenting agreement.

      2. Not posting under my usual &*

        For context, it’s only a relatively new split. If we had split up, say, over a year ago and he was moving slowly through the stages of introducing SC to GF over a few months and only having a sleepover while SC is there once SC had known her a while and knew she was a girlfriend not just a friend-friend, that wouldn’t be raising alarms in this way.

    3. Triplestep*

      I raised two children with a co-parent who made stupid choices like this, and continues to (even though our kids are grown.)

      I know this seems like a long way off, but Small Child will eventually figure it all out as he grows to be a teen and adult. He already is. (He knew it was weird that this lady he barely knows slept over, and he knew it was weird that she was in daddy’s bed, and he knew it was wrong that he was asked to keep it a secret.) I know you don’t want him put in that position, so keep on doing what you’re doing – address the issues with the ex, and go back to mediation.

      But also keep in the back of your mind that you are providing stability to your son, and this WILL influence how he “turns out”. My kids have a relationship with their dad, but they call him out when they see something questionable. Like recently when my son realized that Dad’s GF’s teen daughter was staying at his house when her mom did, sleeping on the couch while her mom was sleeping in dad’s bed. (As I said, still makes poor choices.)

      1. Not posting under my usual &*

        Thank you. That really helps. I’m doing the best I can to be a grown up about it and remember that my job is to make good choices.

        But holy smokes, it was SO HARD not to react when SC told me on the phone. I don’t *think* SC picked up that I was furious that their dad would put them in this position but it was hard not to ask to talk to my ex immediately and scream WHAT THE MERRY HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!

        Also good to know that my ex isn’t the only one out there making bad choices. I mean, not *good*, but nice to know I’m not the only one dealing with this! I’m so glad to hear your kids can call out his bad choices.

        1. Triplestep*

          It’s really hard, and it’s harder for you because you than it was for me because you have social media and e-mail and the ability to text. I started this process in 1999, when I had e-mail, but ex did not, and I carried a pager! :-). If I was going through this now, I’d have to physically sit on my hands so as not to type scathing e-mail or text and hitting “send” before I could talk myself down.

          Unfortunately, there are tons of parents making really poor choices – and you intimately know two (the GF as well). Take all the support you can from friends who acknowledge you’re making good choices, and try to find some support in other places if you can. It’s really easy to find other people who just want to bash their exes and yours (and why not? sometimes they deserve it) but try to find some positive support for what YOU do rather than only gut checks that he is behaving poorly. I don’t know if that comes in the form of online forums, IRL parenting groups, or what. But it’s probably out there – there are so many parents in your position – so try to find it.

          1. Not posting under my usual &*

            Just this past few days I’ve met a couple of other single parents locally which really helps. Before that I hadn’t really known any single parents so I’m having to figure out the path for myself. It’s hard!

            I am amazed and honestly touched by all the support I’ve found since I left. I felt like all my friends were at arm’s length before I left ex. I have much better friendships now.

      2. Erika22*

        As someone who was the child of divorce with this exact situation (primarily lived with mom, who, when the split was still fresh, forbade my dad to have his then gf/now wife around during our visits) I can say that the only thing those stipulations enforced were “mom and dad fight a lot about things that don’t seem to matter”. As an adult, of course I understand that those stipulations were more about my mom’s hurt and fear that we’d be “turned against her” and less that we, idk, needed protections from a random gf?

        And not saying at all that this will happen, but I will say that my relationship with both parents is …not great because they were so adversarial towards each other, and whenever they (mostly my mother) felt like we were defending the other or leaning towards the other parent more, they’d badmouth the other parent a lot. Your ex definitely shouldn’t be having your kid lie to you, but you should also be careful to not put your kid in a position to “tattle” and become involved in a mom vs dad mentality.

        Internet hugs because I know this is a difficult situation and you’re doing your best for yourself and your kid!

        1. Not posting under my usual &*

          Thanks for that, it’s useful perspective.

          I don’t *want* the new gf round my son but I’m not going to fight about it. I just don’t want her sleeping over when he’s looking after SC yet.

          The ex and I are very civil. Weirdly so. There has been no fighting since I left (and there wasn’t any fighting before, really) with the child around or not. SC has requested that at our weekend drop offs we have a cup of tea together and, while it’s not something I’d choose to do (and I’m sure ex wouldn’t choose it either) it’s not too bad and it clearly means the world to small child.

        2. Not posting under my usual &*

          And I never badmouth my ex in front of SC. I try to ensure SC knows he can talk normally about their dad in front of me. This week while he’s with me he’s going to make his dad a card for a life event, my idea but he’s really excited to do it.

          But I do veeeeery carefully try to explain about boundaries and how sometimes his dad says mean things and That’s Not Ok. Because I don’t want him to be subject to the emotional abuse I was without the tools to recognise it or the words to talk about it.

          It’s a hard line. And it’s made harder because I’m 100% sure that he and his family and friends talk shit about me when SC is round. But there’s no point in getting mad about the bits I can’t control, eh?

          (It was SO HARD not to react when SC said this. SO HARD. But I did it yay.)

    4. Persephone Mulberry*

      My kids are slightly older (almost 11 and almost 18) and I need to pick my battles with Ex, so who he introduces them to isn’t the hill I choose to die on. But I have to share this story. Once last summer I dropped The Kid off with Ex for the weekend, and for whatever reason, Ex decided it was important that I know that The Kid was having a sleepover that weekend with the kid of a friend of his, but no worries because he, Ex, would be there too. Yeaaahhh, literally everyone can see through the “kid sleepover” story that it’s just an excuse for you and your “friend” to hook up. Classy.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I think this is a great opening for you to start talking about relationships. How to pick people. How to define what type of a relationship he wants when he grows older. Go to the general concepts. If he circles back to Dad, then say, “Yes, X is true. Some people do X, too.” Then move back to “Generally speaking….”

      I was in my twenties and married and I worked with people who were 17. I got questions. “How do you know when to marry someone?” “How do I know when I am in love?” These people knew all about sex, they had no questions on that. Their questions were about love and marriage and we had some interesting conversations. This really made a big impression in my mind to listen more closely and not to be surprised about the nature of the question.

      I hope I can encourage you here that while this is a huge negative in the short run, it’s also a great opening to get some life lessons in. And most of this can be done without running down Dad by talking in general terms about relationships.

      It won’t be long and he will figure things out. It might blow your mind how on target he is. I am thinking of a person “Dad” who had serial girlfriends. His oldest children watched this parade. Once in a while there would be a new baby. Then girlfriend and baby would leave and someone else would come along. After several children, the oldest children reacted to the next baby announcement this way: “Dad, haven’t you figured out what causes that yet?”

      I think that one sentence captures everything about the way they felt about their dad.

      Time is on your side. In time SC’s lack of respect for his father will leak out. You can warn his father of this fact OR you can settle back and wait. Because it does come back around. These “kids” I am talking about here are now young adults with adult type responsibilities. They don’t see Dad much. At all. They do seek out the established adults who took care of them when they were children.

      1. Not posting under my usual &*

        I wish SC had a better father.

        I wish he had some self-awareness. I have thought a lot about what happened and what I could’ve done differently. I’m pretty sure he thinks everything was my fault and there’s literally nothing he could have done differently.

        But, hey, we are where we are, and yes , I’m all in favour of using this as a springboard for age-appropriate conversations about relationships in the future.

        Thank you as ever NSNR.

        1. Espeon*

          “I wish SC had a better father.”

          Exactly how my mum has always felt. I just want to reassure you, like NSNR said, that time is with you here. My mum used to sit with her doctor crying for me (as in, her perception of what I was losing/that he wasn’t a good man etc) when my parents finally split up (she left him, twice), and the doctor told her not to worry, one day I would recognise the truth of him for myself – and I most certainly did.

          My maternal grandfather was a wonderful, gentle, loyal soul, so she felt something missing for me, from what she’d had – but I had my grandad too, and I didn’t know any differently regarding having a father of my own, I’ve never felt the loss like she imagines I must, it’s honestly more painful for her than me, still.

          The older I got the more apparent my father’s inherent awfulness became, I have him countless chances in my twenties (all failed, of course), then I got engaged at age 30 and he went into Selfish Delusional Misogynist Overdrive. I thought, “That’s it; my dreams are coming true and it’s still all about him, I’m starting a new phase in life and family of my own – it’s over for him” – I formally thanked him for making my choice easy, and cut him out of my life. Over the last decade he’s alienated half of his entire family also.

          I learned what a good relationship/marriage was from observing my grandparents, and I now have an adorable father in law.

          Tl;dr – Please don’t worry too much. Things always come right in the end.

    6. MRK*

      Yup, the two glaring things here are
      1. HE ASKED SMALL CHILD TO LIE. And not ohhhhh don’t let mommy know we had icecream for breakfast but trying to get the kid to hide something he (probably) knows was wrong.

      2. On one of two overnight stays he has with SC per week, it was more important to have his new girlfriend stay over. Even if she was nice and played with SC and they had a great time, that’s important time with dad for SC currently.

      My only offhand thought is, since it sounds like she also had a small child, does she have a similar custody agreement and Wednesday night is an “off” night for her? Since it sounds like SC didn’t indicate other child was there as well. Doesn’t excuse the situation but if it’s one of the only evenings/nights she has child free your ex may just be… a putz? and tried to work with it. However this would be something to discuss and sort out, not at all how he handled it.

      1. Not posting under my usual &*

        Yeah her child wasn’t there. That’s a really good point. Again something to discuss in mediation. If this is a regular thing and not just a change for the Easter hols, I’m actually more willing to give him a tiny bit more benefit of the doubt. A tiny bit.

    7. Observer*

      The others have mentioned that asking the child to lie about it is NOT ok.

      This is something you should REALLY, REALLY lean on. There is no excuse for asking a child to lie / keep secrets from the other parent. If these really is a risk to the child if the child “tells” then you need to get into court and make some changes that will stick.

      1. Observer*

        Just to be clear, I don’t think that it was ok to have NEW GF over, either, but even there, the lie makes it much worse because it proves he was acting in bad faith. It’s just that although you might be able to mitigate how inappropriate it was, asking the child to LIE is just inexcusable no matter how you contort yourself.

        1. Not posting under my usual &*

          I suspect that subconsciously ex was testing to see if he could get away with it, and SC has demonstrated no, he can’t.

          I told him that neither of us should be asking SC to lie. I will reinforce this in mediation but yeah, if it happens again, No More Ms Nice &.

  23. Nervous Accountant*

    Why is it next to impossible to find medium toothbrushes anymore? I’m at target and all I see are soft heads.

    1. fposte*

      I think it’s because most dentists don’t recommend them. Has yours? If this isn’t a dental recommendation, it might be an opportunity for you to try to adjust to a softer toothbrush in order to preserve your enamel better.

    2. Myrin*

      That’s the craziest coincidence because I happened to restock toothbrushes at my part-time job today and they were almost only medium. Like, really, there were some softs, very, very few hards (like two) and the whole rest of them were all medium. Yet another unexpected cultural difference?!

        1. Jules the First*

          Yes – cleaning grout in bathrooms and kitchens. :)
          Stick to soft for your teeth….

    3. Lcsa99*

      I have had better luck than usual at Duane Reede lately (Walgreens outside of ny), but yeah, it’s always been difficult. I usually just buy them on Amazon and pray I don’t hate the color

    4. ThisIsNotWhoYouThinkItIs*

      If you are in the US, try Target or the Dollar Store for medium, though I think I usually only find them in the manual toothbrushes.

      For automatic toothbrushes, I’ve given up and ordered on Amazon.

      I don’t use soft toothbrushes anymore, and once I quit I was amazed at how I could only find “soft” or “very soft”. Annoying.

  24. Tris Prior*

    It is TWENTY FIVE degrees out right now. This is the worst spring ever. I want to garden this weekend but clearly that’s not possible.

    1. fposte*

      Yes, this is just weird. I have plants coming to go into the ground in two weeks. For all I know I’ll have to dig through snow.

    2. DietCokeHead*

      It’s only in the 20s here too and it snowed this week! The saying is April showers bring May flowers, not April snow brings sadness. I also can’t wait to get started on the gardening but that’s not looking promising anytime soon.

      1. Tris Prior*

        We got snow here too! It didn’t stay around long, but I should not have to be navigating icy sidewalks to get to the train in the morning in APRIL.

        Our growing season is so short as it is. :(

    3. Fiona*

      Almost commented that 25 degrees seemed like the perfect weather for gardening, but then realised you mean Fahrenheit and had to do a conversion and…yikes!

      (Winter here has been ridiculously long too, but at least we’re moving into double-digits (degree C) this past week…)

      1. Middle School Teacher*

        Ugh so jealous. It’s -9 here now, hopefully +3 on Monday, but more snow for three days next week. I am DONE with winter.

    4. Dopameanie*

      Agreed!! I have sets to plant but I never thought I’d need snow boots on to do it!

      Awful.

    5. Epsilon Delta*

      I’m in Wisconsin. This is the way every spring is for us. Actually this one has been quite mild, we only got snow once so far and it is mostly melted.

      We go straight from winter to summer. I laugh when people try to lump us in with “places that have four seasons”.

    6. Former Employee*

      I’m in SoCal and it’s in the lower 70’s today. Forecast is for upper 70’s tomorrow and 90 on Monday – yikes!

      Lately, we have had a number of predictions for spikes that have not come to be, so maybe the Monday one will be off, too. By Tuesday, it’s supposed to be down to the mid 80’s and by Wed, the mid 70’s.

      It’s like that here when we are transitioning between our winter weather and summer.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      I am so pissed–I need to have a garage sale soon and I can’t even spend any length of time in the garage sorting stuff because it’s freezing. And no one would show up anyway in the rain and/or snow.

    8. chi type*

      This is my least favorite time of year. The eternal recurrence of winter interspersed with sinus headaches from allergies.

  25. Sylvan*

    Thoughts on dating people who are in open relationships?

    It doesn’t seem like a big deal in theory, because I’ve known people in open relationships (and poly people) for a pretty long time and it’s not really a new or crazy idea, but I don’t know. I’ve never actually done it before.

    1. Not So Little My*

      I’m assuming you mean they are in a primary LTR or are married. Consider it a FWB arrangement and, if you grow to like them as a friend, scale back the intimacy to friends-only if you find yourself catching feelings. This worked for me and I’m still good friends with the person 15 years later.

    2. Melody Pond*

      My suggestion: be really clear about what it is you’re hoping to get out of dating said poly person, and ask the poly person to be very clear about what they will be able to provide you, versus what they will be limited on, due to obligations to their other partners. Sit down and think this out/write it out for yourself ahead of time, before talking about it.

      Of course the specifics will depend upon this particular poly person and how they do non-monogamy – but generally speaking, I’d say if you’re comfortable openly discussing your feelings/expectations about poly person’s other partners/activities, and if this poly person is also good at open discussion of feelings/desires/expectations/negotiations, there’s a good chance it will work out. Just take it very slow and don’t sweep anything under the rug.

    3. regular commenter in an open relationship*

      I have been in an open relationship for about 9 years (not always open). I would say you very much need to figure out what you want this relationship to be to you, where you’d fit in their life/where you want to fit into a serious partners life, what else is going on in your life/what else is going on with their life and how are you going to say no if something doesn’t work for you.
      I personally do hierarchical relationships-my husband gets more priority and importance than boyfriends and they get more than short term flings. And I expect the same from partners. Some people find that absolutely unfair-they don’t think there should ever be hard limits that they will run into set from a relationship they aren’t in. They aren’t morally wrong, but they aren’t compatible with me. The most off the rails I see poly go is when either one person doesn’t really want poly but does it because they have to if they are going to be with the other person, and when a person feels like they can’t say no in a significant relationship. I have also seen some really really toxic crap about jealousy from the poly community-the idea jealousy is only one person’s problem and not something that anyone else in the relationship needs to deal with is absolute bunk and used for so much abuse and needs to die in a fire.
      I personally haven’t seen a lot of good experiences with one person being poly/open the other not unless there is some other extenuating circumstance that takes up a lot of mono person’s time and energy-but some people swear it works. I wouldn’t do that set up unless I was only looking for a pretty casual relationship(and if that’s your goal, that’s fine).

    4. Lissa*

      Depends on what you want in the relationship, I think. If you’re looking for something short term or casual it can work really well. Beyond that, well, there’s a lot more negotiating that needs to happen in my experience, some of the posters above illustrated this well. If you’re the sort of person who will want the relationship to escalate in seriousness and you will become the priority, well, that can cause a lot of hurt feelings. Again in my experience, the third person coming in is often the emotional loser when things get messy. Not always, but often.

    5. LCL*

      Make sure they truly have an open relationship. There’s a lot of people that claim to have open relationships but their partner never agreed to it.

      1. Triple Anon*

        Right. That would be the main concern for me. Do they really have a consensually open relationship?

        If they do, I say do what you feel like doing. If you like the person, get to know them as a friend, take things slowly, and do what you feel comfortable with. It’s a new type of relationship set-up so act as though it’s your first time dating someone – one step at a time, open communication, all of that good stuff.

        1. Sylvan*

          They definitely do.

          I’m just kind of reading advice and not making a decision at the moment, but I think this is a good plan.

  26. Anonymous Ampersand*

    I’m moving back to my own place soon (yay!) and I really want a cat.

    I’ve never had one before. I’m out in the office three days a week, WFH two days and weekends in and out. I have a small child in the 5-8 age range who is mostly with me.

    I don’t know anything about looking after them really. What do I need to consider to decide whether this is a good idea or not? I’m probably thinking of getting a teenaged or older cat from the local shelter.

    I also want a dog, but I don’t think I’m in a position to look after one right now.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. SineNomine*

      My only real recommendation here is that if you get a cat, get two cats! Two isn’t really a much larger imposition than one, and it means they always have each other to interact with in times where you are away or don’t feel like feeding them attention (Note: They will steal that attention anyway, they are cats).

    2. Not So NewReader*

      If you are away from home over night, you may want to have a plan for your cat. If you get a dog, you have to have a plan.

      That would be my starting point for looking at this, how many nights a year are you away from home?

      The next thing I would look at is where I live. Renting can be hard with animals, it can limit your choices. If you have your own home it’s much easier.

      Animals can surprise us with big bills. Does your budget have wiggle room for say, a $300 vet bill?

      These are the things I would look at first. Here’s why. If you are stressed about the animal then it could pick up on your stress. This is going to make the relationship less enjoyable for the two of you. This is my go-to, make sure you have a solid foundation first before bringing the pet home.

    3. Kj*

      A cat will be fine being left along for 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week. Older cats will do better with it. You need a place for a litter box and food and water, but cats are really easy. Some cats want affection, some don’t. The shelter should be able to direct you to a cat that suits you. I do recommend getting 2 cats if you are getting youngish cats. We got a pair of year old cats from the shelter and they are happier because they are together and bonded and we are happier because they keep each other in shape.

    4. Best Cat in the World*

      I got a cat from a local shelter nearly a year ago and she is fantastic. She was 3 and a half and is more than happy to be left for the length of my shifts, 13+ hours some days. As long as she’s got plenty food and water, she’s been fine left once or twice for 24 hours if I’ve been away overnight but she goes in a cattery if it’s longer than that. She is such a happy little soul and so perfect.

      Without wanting to cause you any concern, if I remember from a long while ago, I’m possibly in the same general area of the UK as you (I usually use a different name to post) and I went to several different shelters and had a terrible experience at one and a fantastic experience at the second. I’ve attached an email address to this, I don’t know if it’s possible but if you’d like it to see if I can be of use with recommending cat stuff and Alison can pass the email on to you, I’m more than happy for her to. If you not then good luck with getting a cat (and everything else) and I’ll see if I can think of any more generic cat advice for you :)

      1. Anonymous Ampersand*

        Ooh thank you! I will email Alison and see if she can put us in touch :)

    5. Natalie*

      Plenty of cats are very low key and perfectly happy sleeping and birdwatching most of the day. Ours doesn’t even really like toys, she mainly likes to watch birds and squirrels out the window and (I assume) craft elaborate murder plans. Her second favorite activity is sitting perfectly still on someone’s lap.

      A good shelter/rescue should help you pick a cat with the temperament and energy level that best matches your lifestyle.

    6. Emilie*

      I got my cat second hand when she was around a year old (she’s 7 now). She does fine with being alone during the day, and we’ve left her alone for up to 48 hours without problems (but wouldn’t leave her for more than that). Having a cat doesn’t really impact my life, besides all the lovely things she adds to it.
      Cats are of course very different, but my personal experience is that it’s easier for me to take care of my cat, than some of the plants in my appartment.

    7. Vet-in-training (lots of training)*

      You sound like a totally conscientious and awesome potential pet owner which is great! And interested in teenage and older cats which is super great! Cats are the best and it’s worth taking your time with them and getting to know their personality and giving them lots of time to come out of their shell and learn to love you. They are all really different and wonderful in their own ways :)

      I would actually be wary of getting more than one cat UNLESS they are already bonded or you’re prepared to have two separate animal clans in your house (with ideally separate feeding and pooping areas). An awesome animal behaviouralist was telling me how a lot of people think they have say, three cats, but when you pay attention to their interactions you’ll find they’ve got one cat and two bonded cats, or one cat and one cat and one cat, each needing their own space in the house. That’s not to say multiple cats can’t be great (I think everyone should have as many cats as they can fit in a house).

      And agreed on the shelter thing – I hope Best Cat in the World has good tips on a local place because I’ve found UK shelters can be really tough to adopt from, for dogs or cats. They often require all cats to have access to the outside world, which I personally think is something that should be considered on a case by case basis.

      As mentioned, keep in mind that vet bills pop up and are really necessary. You’ll need vaccines and checkups and probably a dental at some point when they’re older. They may end up developing a condition that requires medication at some point which in many cases can be given pretty simply via food. These are all just parts that come with having an awesome furry companion. Pet insurance may be worth it in some cases especially if you get them young but that can really vary – the best advice I’ve heard was to calculate how much your pet insurance would cost and then put that money into a bank account every month as a medical fund for kitty.

      And food! If you’re in the UK (or even if you’re not) you can check out the Pet Food Manufacturing Association’s website which is not biased towards any one company and has great information on pet food. For cats, just please don’t make them vegan and don’t freak out too much about carbs/grains, as long as they’re not obese you’re mostly fine with any complete pet food.

      Key points: Cats are the best. You should get all of them. But actually maybe only one.

      1. Anonymous Ampersand*

        All of the advice I’ve got here is useful but this particularly so :) thank you so much!

  27. WellRed*

    Is Denver a good place to visit for a long weekend with a friend? Might be a stupid question, but we can get super cheap flights, just not familiar with the city, how people get around, etc. (East coaster, here).

    1. CatCat*

      Yes!! I went to Denver for the first time last year and I loved it. The art museum is ammmmmaaaazzzing. One of the best I’ve ever been to. There’s also a wonderful natural history museum. I was solo and had a great time. Good place for geocaching too if you’re into that.

    2. DietCokeHead*

      I think it would be! I spent part of a day in Denver once and visited the mint, where they make coins. That was really interesting.

    3. Lore*

      Denver itself is weirdly far from its airport. They may have opened a train line since I was there (it was under construction at the time). Once you’re in the city, I found it pretty tourist friendly. There’s a (I think free?) bus/trolley downtown and definitely transit routes throughout the city. We also walked a lot. It was beautiful!

    4. Max Kitty*

      You can take a train from the airport to downtown. If you want to stay downtown, there’s lots of bars and restaurants, and you’ll be close to the Colorado Capitol, Coors Field (baseball), Pepsi Center (hockey and basketball), Denver Center for Performing Arts, Denver Art Museum, Clyfford Still Museum, History Colorado, Museum of Contemporary Art, U.S. Mint, Downtown Aquarium, and the Molly Brown House.

      There’s a free bus shuttle along 16th Street that will get you from one end of downtown to the other and a (not free) share-bike program called B-cycle that you could use to get around as well.

      Just a short cab/Uber/Lyft ride away from downtown is Denver City Park, where there is Denver Zoo and Denver Museum of Nature & Science, or the Denver Botanic Gardens, or the Cherry Creek shopping district. A bit longer ride to Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum.

      You can take a bus to Boulder from Denver’s Union Station and walk around downtown Boulder.

      If you rent a car, you can get to Red Rocks Amphitheatre (they have nice walking trails around the theatre, and the theatre itself is open to the public during the day, though it closes early on days when there’s going to be a concert), Golden (home to Coors Brewery), and the mountains.

    5. Parenthetically*

      Yes yes yes!! Denver is an amazing city, especially in late spring/summer. If you’re on social media, check out Bon Appetit’s instagram right now — one of their writers is doing a weekend in Denver and highlighting the great food and beer there.

      There’s decent public transport including light rail. There’s a train from the airport into the city center. If you stay centrally, you shouldn’t need a car unless you want to Uber/Lyft your way out to one of the cool neighborhoods.

    6. rubyrose*

      Through May 20 there is a Degas exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. Dead Sea Scrolls are at the Museum of Nature and Science through September 3, but be sure you get tickets in advance.

      I’m prejudiced; I live here. It’s great place.

      1. rubyrose*

        Oh yeah, Colorado has a lot of craft beer brewers, so if you are into beer, check that out before you come.

  28. Spring Has Sprung*

    Where do you meet new people? I moved to a new city a while ago and so far I haven’t been very social. It doesn’t help that I’m often tired after work and don’t feel like going out – but even if I did feel like it, there aren’t many opportunities! It’s getting lonely.

    1. Ann Nonymous*

      See if there are Chamber mixers right after work. If you go home first and sit down, you’ll never get back up and get out. Look in your local paper and see what the big social or philanthropic groups are and get in contact with them. Also, is there a community center or something similar where you can take fun classes (dance, ceramics, art)?

    2. Yetanotherjennifer*

      Check and see if the city has a newcomer’s club. If there’s a university or a teaching hospital you can check and see if they have any groups. Also look for social groups around a common interest. I once belonged to an outdoors club that had a good variety of people and activities. Community ed classes can also be a great place to meet people with common interests. And you can always just create what you need. I have a friend who moved to the area and promptly created a play group, book club, and supper club and easily found people to join in.

    3. Loopy*

      I work M-F and hate doing anything after work. I volunteer Saturday mornings. Sometimes it’s hard to get up to an alarm one more day but I usually reward myself with a nap in the afternoon. It’s been really positive socially for me and I feel like it definitely fills my social needs. I usually do errands on my way home and then can rest for the remainder of the weekend.

    4. Thlayli*

      When I moved to a new country I put in loads of effort and after a year I had I pretty good circle of friends. It took a LOT of effort though. Places I met people:
      1 shared accommodation. I moved in with 5 other people in a big house. There was a lot of bad things about living with others but it means a pretty expanded social circle pretty quickly.
      2 people I worked with and people they know
      3 I went out every single weekend.
      4 I went on first dates with pretty much any guy who asked. Didn’t go on many second dates.

    5. Anna Moose*

      Check out Meetup! It takes some experimenting to find a group that you click with, but now that it’s spring a lot of groups will be hosting more events as people start to feel more social. People organize all kinds of events there from outdoor activities, getting a group together to see a local show, or just socializing at a local happy hour. The bigger cities tend to have groups specifically for new arrivals, so you can find other friends to explore the city with.

  29. Mimmy*

    I think I’ve gotten myself into a bit of a pickle:

    I registered for a conference in Pittsburgh that’ll take place in mid-June (I’ve mentioned this in previous weekend threads). I will be going by myself–while I have traveled alone before, it was always where I was visiting a family member who would meet me at the destination airport or train station. This time, I’ll be fending for myself, which is beginning to make me nervous. Adding to that is the fact that I have slight vision and hearing impairments plus some sensory processing issues. Yeahhhh, I’m just a tad crazy, lol.

    I know there are options for assistance and transportation. I just don’t know how much I can trust that I’ll get appropriate help or that I won’t get flustered trying to get said help.

    A friend who happens to be a presenter at this conference said I could stay with her, but that was months ago and she’s been out of touch and I don’t want to bug her. The conference takes place at a hotel–hopefully there are still rooms available but gahh they are EXPENSIVE!!!

    What’s more, I’ll be going straight from another out-of-state event (a family thing)!

    I really hope I didn’t bite off more than I can chew :(

    1. Ann Nonymous*

      Mimmy, you’ve got this. Take a deep breath, break the obstacles down into discrete tasks, make a plan for dealing with each micro-part and you can totally get this done. And think how proud you’re going to be when you succeed.

    2. KR*

      Something that really helps me is having my whole travel plan written down on a physical piece of paper that I can keep in my pocket. That way I’m not worrying about my phone dying or something. I write down flight times, durations, gates, confirm codes, addresses, whether I’m going to Uber or Lyft, ect. It might help you to have a plan to refer to, like ok when I land I’m going to go get my baggage and then go to this drop off point and then call an Uber and so on.

    3. nep*

      You’ve got this. Agree with Ann about breaking things down to doable, non-overwhelming tasks.
      I recall how great you felt about stepping out of your comfort zone and planning to go to this conference solo. I know that spirit is still there.
      What’s the worst that can happen/what’s the best that can happen?
      Wishing you all the best. We’re all rooting for you.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Find out if anyone who you know in your arena is going to Pittsburgh. Offer to meet them for coffee or something. Like you are saying here, we need a sense of being connected to other people. You may not need a huge connection, just one or two people who agree to having lunch or grabbing a coffee while you both are there.

      When my husband traveled alone, we had a set time that he would call me. His whole day was built around that phone call. Connecting to home or to a special family member at the end of the day can give a sense of feeling anchored because there is that set time for the phone call. Pick someone who understands that this is a big deal for you and who will understand your wins when you describe how something went well. I understood when my husband found an exercise bike and found parts for his motorcycle he was having a great time. Not everyone would be able to follow the significance of these things.

    5. Overeducated*

      Bug the friend! I bet it will make you feel so much better to just have an anchor person there.

    6. Grits McGee*

      I went to grad school in Pittsburgh, and I found that Pittsburgers (also known by their scientific name, Yinzers) are, for the most part, very friendly and helpful. People won’t bother you if you don’t want them to, but I never had anyone be rude when I’ve asked for help or directions. The bus system is a little weird, so the drivers are very used to riders being confused and needing help figuring out where they’re going.

      Do you have any specific concerns about using transit in Pittsburgh? It’s been a couple years since I’ve lived there, but I’d be happy to answer questions. Pittsburgh is pretty much where I learned how to use public transportation, so I definitely feel you on the transit anxiety!

    7. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I’m in Pittsburgh so if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know :)

    8. nep*

      (You sound in your post as if you’re still willing to take this on — that is fantastic. Just to say, do give yourself permission not to if it is more a burden than a positive experience. But I sense that you’re still game and I know if you follow through, you’ll smash it. Others have given great suggestions and insights here (go, yinzers) — and even a local ready to help! All the best.)

    9. MissDissplaced*

      Does the freind know about the health issues? If so, tell her when you’re arriving and staying and ask her to ‘check in’ with you.
      I travel alone often for work. I find it best to print out everything and highlight flight times. If you need assistance at airport, pre-arrange with the airline (the have gate assistance).
      I recommend Uber for airport-to-hotel transfers, and you can also pre- arrange your departure ride. In your case, it would be best to get a room at the conference venue hotel, even if it costs more. It will alleviate a lot of stress to be in same facility and get around, and you’ll actually enjoy the event much more.
      I’m actually at a conference today! LOL! Unfortunately, the main hotel was booked and I had to lug my bag up the hill to my hotel a block away which was a real PIA. Trust me, you wouldn’t want that. I don’t mind a walk, but my suitcase was not meant to roll along city streets and sidewalks!

      1. Mimmy*

        I’ve only met my friend a couple of times in person (I met her when we graduated from a certificate program together 2 years ago), but I think she knows of my disabilities. I’ll be sure to clarify everything though so that she is aware.

        It turns out my friend is staying at the hotel as well – I thought she was going to commute from her home each day. I may be able to room with her; if not, I’m hoping there are still rooms available. There are overflow hotels, but I agree that it’ll be much easier to stay in the same hotel as the conference itself.

        *happy dance*

    10. Mimmy*

      I love you guys!!

      Good news: My friend finally wrote me back! She’d been off FB for awhile so she just now saw my PM’s. She’s going to be staying at the hotel too, it turns out, and may even be able to let me room with her. Even if that’s not an option (hopefully there are still rooms available!), just knowing that my friend is okay and is ready to welcome me to this unfamiliar city makes me feel better.

      nep – Oh I’m definitely still game! This conference is a dream for me – yeah, it’ll be a very new experience, but it’ll also be a really great opportunity for networking and learning.

      Detective Amy Santiago – I’ll be waving to you when I arrive :)

  30. Ann Nonymous*

    I got a 20% raise out of the blue yesterday! Super yay! Boss is a bit of an odd bird, but she loves my work and wants me to put in more hours (this is a very part-time job)….no worries there…I can totally be bribed!

  31. Gigi*

    My baby chicks arrive in the mail in just over a week! I am so excited! I kept a small flock as a teenager and always wanted to do it again as an adult. It’s easier now because of the “urban chicken” trend, particularly in the Bay Area where I live. I’m getting three Orpingtons and two Australorps and they’re going to be pets with benefits (fresh eggs!).

    I’m debating between naming them after characters from 30 Rock (Liz, Jenna, Cherie, Angie…), The Office (Pam, Kelly, Angela, Phyllis…) or Game of Thrones.

    Any other poultry keepers here? What do you enjoy about your birds?

    1. Ann Nonymous*

      Just don’t kiss them! CDC has been warning of many people getting salmonella from doing just that.

    2. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      We’ve got chickens and love them, though ours are mostly not pets. The eggs are amazing. We’ve had a few Orpingtons and Australorps. Nice breeds.

      They can mail just five chicks now? When we last did mail-order chicks, the minimum was more like 25, so they can keep each other warm.

      I will warn you, every time we’ve bought chicks as sexed pullets, there’s been at least one cockerel. Not a big deal for us, cause we make chicken soup, but might be more difficult for you to deal with. Also, with mail-order, we’ve had several that were weak. We babied them along extravagantly, but they all died in days. So prepare your heart if you’ve got one that isn’t thriving.

      But on a more cheerful note, they are the cutest ever! And they grow so fast, enjoy them while they’re babies. I love the soft ‘beep beep’ sound of a batch of chicks. And how they quiet down when you talk to them. And their itty bitty new feathers coming in. And even that fugly stage they get when they don’t have all their feathers in but they’ve outgrown their down.

      1. Gigi*

        Thank you for the advice! It was the same when I was younger – you had to split an order with a neighbor or find a feed store with chicks if you only wanted a few. There’s a hatchery now called My Pet Chicken that sells all kinds of poultry with a minimum order of 3-4. They use heat packs to ship them. They also sell sexed bantams – the only place I’ve ever seen that does that. From talking to other chicken owners and researching online they are legit. I really commend them for filling that niche in the market.

        To be honest I only really want 4 hens, but we ordered five in case of fatalities and/or cockerels. We’ll see how it goes. If all five turn out to be healthy happy hens then we’ve got room.

        So looking forward to the little peepers! :)

    3. Another person*

      I love how chirpy they are and when they come when you scatter food on the ground and also how easy of pets they are. (So easy to leave when you travel—just make sure you fill up the feeder and waterer and they’ll be fine for a day not like my needy needy dog).

  32. Phoenix Programmer*

    Discussion time! Mass Effect Andromeda was the best mass effect game.

    Fun fast paced combat. World altering decisions you can see impact unlike 1,2, and 3. Improved dialogue options. Expanded romance options. And great character building discussions while driving around the planets.

    I thought the enemies and political conflicts really worked too.

    1. Kimberlee, no longer Esq.*

      Never played Mass Effect so I don’t have a ton to add, other than that if you’re into YouTube at all there’s a channel called Outside Xbox (and their companion channel Outside Xtra) that bring me a lot of joy, they do video game videos and whatnot, and Jane’s favorites are Mass Effect games. :) Highly recommend!

      1. Phoenix Programmer*

        Thanks!

        Lots of fans ofass effect hated Andromeda so I was curious of it would spark debate or not.

    2. miyeritari*

      I”m glad that you enjoyed it, but I though it was fine, at best. Maybe like 6.5/10.

      It felt really unpolished to me. Maybe that’s because I have a pretty weak computer. It also rung to me as a game that clearly had a planned sequel – especially the choice you make based on army size at the end of the game – and because there’s no sequel, it wasn’t meaningful. Sure, you do have different allies, and the amount of allies you fight is different but it’s so empty without the sequel having wide-scale changes.

      I actually felt they could have done so much with finding the Angara. There fact that you show up, they sort of *give* you Jaal (who i love, by the way), and all you get with them is vague distrust. I wish there had been a lot more cultural shock/disconnect. That was probably the biggest disappointment for me.

      I wish the loyalty missions would have more effects on the story, like they did in the first ME Trilogy.

  33. Fernweh*

    I’d love to move abroad for a little while. I’ve never had the opportunity while I was a student and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m in my early thirties though and probably not at a point in my career where that’s an easy or particularly beneficial thing to do!

    Any experiences with moving abroad (for a shorter period of time) as an adult?

    1. Fiona*

      Yup. I wanted to live in London for a while, and (after much deliberation and planning) finally decided to go for it. Original plan was going to be 9 months, then a year, and it’s closing on two years now and I’m still here…^^;;;

      1. Fernweh*

        That sounds amazing, congratulations! London is a beautiful city.

        What was the biggest challenge for you? Was the transition easy, workwise?

    2. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

      Yep, done it twice, once for work (Asia, being vague to keep from identifying myself)) and once (now) for grad school (London).

    3. Candy*

      I took a year leave from my jobs to travel abroad when I was 35. I worked every day for one year and saved enough money that it wasn’t until six months into my trip that I ran out. I got a work visa through a gov’t program for Canadians age 18-35 that provides work permits/visas for a few dozen countries around the world so that I would be able to work if/when I wanted (but I never ended up working that year). I didn’t use them, but there’s also agencies like SWAP working holidays that help you find work, accommodation, etc. If you’re American, maybe the gov’t has a similar program?

      I left when I was 35, so I just made the cut-off for the work visa, and had a great experience even though I did end up coming back to Canada and my jobs after a year. I would definitely recommend it, and would not worry about travelling/moving abroad as an adult. I would not have had half the experiences I had while travelling if I’d done the same trip when I was an insecure, inexperienced twenty-something.

    4. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Three times – London in 99-00, Sweden in 2006, and now London again from 2014.

      I will say that its gotten tougher as I have gotten older, especially when you want to start to feel settled at some point. Long term (more than two years) you start to feel neither here nor there too, I’ve found, and you can still have tough days/weeks/months. If you are looking for something short more for the experience, you may want to look up some of the tech nomad sites as those folks tend to know the best cities to set up shop fro six months in terms of visas, finding a lease, etc.

    5. Birch*

      I’ve been living abroad for the past 7 years. London, then Helsinki, now Reading, UK. In my experience you either love it or you hate it–there isn’t really a middle point, and you can’t know unless you try. There is a HUGE difference between visiting and actually *living* abroad that people don’t understand. It’s incredibly expensive, and all the day-to-day logistics are twice as hard because you’re foreign. Immigration, registration, housing, transportation, bank accounts, taxation, employment, medical care, even things like where to buy curtains are all much harder. If it’s somewhere you don’t speak the local language, it’s 3x harder. There’s culture shock, there’s days when you feel like you can’t do anything right, days when you’re furious at this country for not being what you thought it would be, days when people hate you for no reason just because you’re foreign, and a lot of days when you question whether you made the right decision. If you plan on going back, you have to deal with this feeling of being temporary, and whether you want to get close to people. It’s very difficult to make new friends, and you might lose some of the friends you had. If you consider not going back, you have to balance assimilation with keeping your identity as a citizen of your home country. Sometimes you have to choose between them.

      I moved abroad to go to a graduate program and stayed because it’s the most exciting, interesting, fulfilling thing I’ve done. It’s 100% worth it.

      My advice: do it. If it’s not for you, go back and resume life in your home country without shame–be proud you found the place you belong. And don’t hang out with expats. All they do is complain about how their home country is better. Hang out with locals and permanent immigrants. Good luck!

      1. Fernweh*

        This is such an insightful comment, thank you! It’s also very motivating. You’re exactly right – I could go back any time, so there is little to lose and much to gain.

  34. Melody Pond*

    Prenup help!!! So I’ve been working on a draft of a prenup for Mr. Pond and myself. (I originally posted about this… probably a few months ago?)

    I gotta say, one thing that completely stumps me, is the whole equitable vs. equal division of marital property. I really have no idea. I lean towards choosing “equal” because at least we know what exactly that would look like. I have no idea what equitable would look like in the future, because it would depend on our circumstances at the time, right? And either we, or a judge would have to figure it out at the time?

    I live in a common law state that defaults to equitable division of marital property, if I’ve understood my research correctly (Oregon), so I know that if we want equal division of marital property, we definitely want to spell that out in the prenup.

    Also – another thing that stumps me… We don’t have kids, so, if either one of us were to die unexpectedly, we would want the deceased spouse’s retirement benefit accounts to go to the survivor (I know we need to make a will, too). But if we divorce, we would want those assets to be separate property, in the name of the person who earned them. In the prenup, there are paragraphs that deals with designating pre- and post-marital retirement benefit accounts as either separate property or marital property. I’d thought at first, that we want those to be considered separate property, but the book’s example language for choosing to designate them as separate property, includes a piece where you’re saying that each spouse is waiving all future legal claims to those retirement benefits. And I don’t want us to be waiving the ability to inherit them, if/when one of us dies.

    Later on, in a paragraph for provisions applicable to divorce, there’s a clause on retirement benefits that specifies that in the event of a divorce, all retirement benefits will remain the sole property of the spouse who earned them or in whose name they are vested. That seems like a clause that we do want – but then, to be able to inherit the retirement property, do I want to go back and designate the pre- and post-marital retirement benefits as marital property, in the earlier paragraphs of the prenup that touch on that subject?

    By the way, we are each going to have a lawyer review the draft for each of us, but the affordable service I was looking at is a fixed fee, 30 minute phone call to discuss it, and I have lots of questions, so I’m trying to do any research I can on my own, beforehand. Thought it was worth throwing this out there.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who has even a little familiarity with this subject!

    1. OK*

      I would leave the retirement as non marital property. And as regarding inheritance in case of death the designated beneficiary on the retirement I believe overrides almost anything. And has the benefit of being outside of probate.
      But remember the pre-nup is not carved in stone, it can be changed in the future.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        This is what I wanted to say. I know nothing about prenups, but unfortunately I know a lot about estates and probate for a layperson, and retirement accounts generally just have a beneficiary (or more than one, and you can specify percentages), and they will go to whomever you specify as beneficiary(s) without having to worry about an estate or will or anything.

        My only thought about equal vs. equitable is that if one partner has a fairly large net worth and the other does not, I can see that they might want to say equitable. I believe some states generally allow someone to keep property that was owned solely by one party before the two were married anyway, unless they used it all the time as a couple, like a house or a car. If both partners have about the same worth before the marriage, then I would think it would be easier to just say equal rather than equitable. But as I said, I have no experience with these, just my thoughts after dealing with estates and such.

    2. King Friday XIII*

      With something like retirement benefits, don’t those usually have a listed beneficiary? So maybe you can say in the prenup that neither of you is entitled to them as a benefit of marriage but you can separately choose to list each other as the beneficiary.

      1. No regular name*

        I think retirement benefits such as pensions & 401k plans are covered by a separate law that the spouse must be the primary beneficiary unless they sign away that right. This is not true for IRAs where anyone can be named a beneficiary. In the event of divorce, the pensions or 401ks of both spouses become part of your divorce agreement on how to be split.

    3. Loopy*

      I am getting a prenup done too. One thing we considered is handling some things in a Will, where it makes more sense to address there. So, we will treat the prenup as divorce scenario only and then address a deceased spouse via a Will. We will probably get Wills done by a year after we marry.

      I also wanted to mention we were warned that writing it up ourselves initially without a lawyers input can mean a more lengthly/expensive review if it’s very far off their template or what they advise. We ultimately decided that could cause us to have to really go back to the drawing board if the lawyer looks at what we came up with and tells us nope- this is not going to work for me at all.

      But I don’t want to sound condescending as you are clearly putting a LOT of thought and research into this. I just thought it might be helpful to pass on what we were told if you can consider that option. Also so sorry to be a debbie downer.

      The route we went was to have a lawyer draft it up for a flat fee (which we were thrilled to know exists) and then a second lawyer will just have to do the review only which is cheaper. It’s still expensive…we really really didn’t want to pay lawyers fees for this but in the end I have to say I recommend it if it’s a route you can consider.

      1. SineNomine*

        I want to second this. The more you do without a lawyer for each party, the greater the chance that the document becomes effectively meaningless. Mind you, it matters a lot less when you are going for a simple equal distribution (Assuming it’s also equal in respect to things beyond just property), but without each side having independent counsel there are a lot of ways for it to be unenforceable. In cases where one side claims it was done under duress or without full knowledge, even if it wasn’t at this time (Which, while unlikely, you need to prepare for given that divorces get ugly), the court is going to err on the side of ignoring it and deciding for themselves how best things should be split up to be fair to all parties. Having a template goes a LONG way to making sure the prenup is strong and secure.

      2. Melody Pond*

        Yeah, we’re not able to have lawyers do it from start to finish. Not an option for us right now.

        But we do plan to review it every three years, and my thought was that maybe once our finances have a little more wiggle room in the future, we could have attorneys do more re-writes/edits.

        1. Dan*

          I did my own divorce paperwork, and didn’t bother with a prenup. I wouldn’t want to take the chance that I screwed stuff up and it would be meaningless. Besides, we didn’t have much in the first place.

          If you can’t afford a lawyer, is the prenup even worth the trouble?

          1. Melody Pond*

            I can see your thinking, but even though there’s not a lot to our finances right now, I do like the idea of having a basic plan written down – to decide what will and won’t be marital property subject to division in a divorce.

            Plus, while it’s my first marriage, it’s Mr. Pond’s second marriage. I think he wound up feeling taken advantage of, financially, in his first divorce, so having a basic plan in place and knowing what to expect ahead of time, is helpful for him. And even though I don’t have the same triggers in place from a previous divorce, it’s still helpful for me in much the same way – knowing roughly what to expect and having a plan in place.

        2. Loopy*

          I’ve heard of a post-nup. I don’t know if it’s an option to have that done from scratch with a lawyer when it’s feasible and supersede the pre-nup but it might be something to also look into. I know that can be a little more complicated, but it might be an option to have a document done with lawyers from start to finish that you can do when affordable.

          IANAL, but I would hope the lawyer could write in that it supercedes the earlier pre-nup if you so choose.

          1. Melody Pond*

            Yeah, that definitely seems to be a thing. I’ve been using the boilerplate language supplied by the book, throughout the DIY version I’ve been writing, and literally everywhere, there are sentences that say things like, “This agreement may be modified only by a subsequent written agreement signed by both of us.” So yeah, you can definitely change things later.

    4. Glomarization, Esq.*

      In a world where women tend to make less money overall during their careers (for reasons of inequity and also tending to take unpaid months or years off for childrearing), a woman entering into her first marriage should be very, very wary of agreeing to pre-nup conditions that vary from what your state provides in its divorce code, and what federal law provides for Social Security payments.

      You really, really should spend the money now to discuss all this with a lawyer. Think of it as spending a thousand dollars now (probably a lot less!) to protect your right to hundreds of thousands of dollars in the future. Don’t be penny-wise, pound-foolish here.

      1. Glomarization, Esq.*

        and by “a lawyer” I mean “your own lawyer, not one working for both you and your fiance”

  35. Kat*

    My plans for a productive Saturday went out of the window when I was woken in the night with the most painful monthly cramps I’ve had for a while, and things are still sore despite my usual strong painkillers. I managed to go out, but only to the shops for a few boring things. I couldn’t make it out for a run like I’d hoped, and I’m now too tired to do much except slump on the sofa and read or watch a TV programme.

    I’m not very good at letting myself off the hook when things like this happen and I feel I’ve ‘wasted’ a day. Does this happen to anyone else? I’m trying to make myself feel better by reminding myself next weekend I’ll be in Berlin, and able to do plenty of fun things!

    1. Nicole76*

      I know how you feel – just waking up later than usual makes me feel like I’ve wasted my day. I just forced myself to work out on my elliptical machine for a half hour so I’d have at least one productive thing under my belt. Also did a load of laundry so I guess make that two things. I wish the weather would warm up so we could take the dog for a walk. I can’t deal with the cold unless it’s over 60 degrees so my husband has been walking the dog.

      I hope your pain medication kicks in and you feel better!

      1. Kat*

        Yes! And I’m usually up fairly early, but today I couldn’t get out of bed till about 12 because I was just so sore. I did read some of a book I’m enjoying, but other than that… nothing productive.

        I feel a bit better now, thanks!

    2. Thursday Next*

      You’re under no obligation to be “productive” all the time! And rest + recovery should be priorities—they’re what enable you to be productive at other times. Would it help you to consider self care as task category, where there are specific things you need to “accomplish”?

    3. Sereknitty*

      I hear you. It’s the first sunny and warm weekend here and I had plans. Well i got sick Friday evening still feeling pretty crappy today. I am so annoyed that I got sick and all my plans were trashed.
      I used to be be sick twice a year and then usually only 1 day but since October I missed almost every month a few days of work.

    4. Belle di Vedremo*

      Really glad this happened at home and not on your trip!

      Have a great time in Berlin and tell us about it, please. I’ve never been to Berlin.

    5. Lurking...But Not In A Creepy Way*

      Yep. Cramps rarely, headaches (really eyestrain) more frequently. Actually just happened yesterday, so I couldn’t do any productive coding like I wanted to.

      I’ve learned to not push it, because I can ramp my headache from a 3 (annoying but can still do stuff) to a 7 or an 8 (holey Toledo I thought I took drugs who stabbed me in the eye and why do they hate me) pretty quickly. I just started accepting that sometimes it’ll happen, and as long as whatever I’m doing wasn’t earth-shatteringly urgent, work on a different project if I can or just relax and try to sleep the pain away. :) Hope you feel better and enjoy your weekend in Berlin!

  36. Can't Sit Still*

    Last week, I talked about hoping for a renewed relationship with my estranged brother. I had truly forgotten how much drama my family can bring. So, we talked on the phone and texted for a few days. I convinced him to get an inhaler for his asthma (my family is mostly Christian Scientist with some Jehovah’s Witnesses, so this was no small thing), and then everything went sideways, at least from my perspective. My brother ranted and raved a bit, then went silent. I figured he was bored with trying to get money and a place to stay out of me.

    Yesterday, my mother called me. I’ve been estranged from her for almost as long as my brother, so I was not happy to hear from her. My brother had disappeared the night before, after going over to his ex’s house, telling his daughter he loved her and that he was going away to die. My mother and I had a stiff, uncomfortable conversation where she proceeded to be a drama queen about everything, and went on and on how sorry she was for everything. I told her she was always sorry, and she instantly calmed down and said “that’s what your brother always says.” My mother is her own personal, walking soap opera, so I was halfway convinced that I was being played now.

    But I wasn’t sure, so I called another family member, who filled me in on what my brother had been up to the past couple of days. Y’all, this happened in like, 4 days. So our Cousin and Spouse took in Brother after he got his inhaler, and Brother proceeded to destroy both the house and the relationship overnight and was kicked out the next morning. Brother has also been banned from every bar within walking and skateboard distance from anywhere he lives, something he conveniently neglected to tell me. His roommate is furious with him, too.

    I got a text from Family Member early yesterday afternoon, saying that Brother showed up and he was being mean to Mother, with a cheery “keep in touch!” Since Brother seems determined to follow in Father’s footsteps, I expect this will repeat another 30 or 40 times, unless and until he either gets help or completes suicide. My poor niece!

    My therapist is on vacation for a month right now, because of course she is, so I called EAP (my school EAP line goes directly to a counselor, with no gatekeeper, which is nice) last night to vent and get it all out. The very nice therapist, after hearing my story, asked me if this kind of drama is the reason we are estranged. Yes. This kind of drama, all the time, nonstop, forever and ever without end, amen. I am impressed with my brother’s ability to burn bridges so hard he sets the river on fire, though. He’s got some mad skillz there.

    I’m exhausted from all of it and it was only a week. I can’t believe I used to deal with this all the time and it seemed normal! I’m feeling OK overall, just a little annoyed at getting drawn back in again. So we’re estranged again, and now I know for certain that I made the right decision.

    1. Ginger ale for all*

      Oh my goodness! You made the right decision to step back. Best wishes for remaining estranged.

    2. Kathenus*

      I’m so sorry. I’ve had my share of family drama, some similar although not as intense as what you describe. You sound like you’ve got a great head on your shoulders though so keep taking care of yourself, decide what you will and won’t be drawn into, and best of luck.

    3. Windchime*

      Oh, I am so sorry about all of this but yes, it does sound like you made the right decision. I am estranged from one of my sisters. She is drama, drama, drama all the time and sounds very much like your brother. She once got kicked out of the local auto parts store for behaving strangely and then throwing a giant fit (crying, ranting, etc) when they asked her to leave. Multiple suicide attempts, etc. When she finally came unglued at Christmas a couple of years ago (complete with physical threats to family members and finally having the police come and escort her out), I decided I was done. It had been over 20 years of this crap and I was just done. I haven’t spoken with her for about 15 months and my life is about 200% calmer. It’s a really hard thing to do but, as one of my kids said, “Mom, if she didn’t cross the line at Christmas, then where is the line? *Is* there even a line with her?” I realized he was right. I miss her but I can’t do it anymore.

    4. Observer*

      Keep that piece of conversation with Nice Therapist in mind if / when anyone tries to tell you that you need to stay close to family.

      Why on earth did Family Member text you about Brother? But, that’s the kind of person I had in mind above.

    5. ThisIsNotWhoYouThinkItIs*

      Healthy boundaries are great. I’m glad you’ve got them and that you are in a good place with it.

      Also, can I just say I admire your turn of phrase? “…burn bridges so hard he sets the river on fire” is pretty epic.

  37. Dopameanie*

    Controversial Opinion Corner:

    Breakfast cereals, ordered objectively by deliciousness –

    1. Lucky Charms
    2. Fruit Loops
    3. Cinnamon Toast Crunch
    4. Alpha-bits (with marshmallows)
    4.5 Alpha-bits (without marshmallows)
    5. Frosted Flakes
    6. Honey Nut Cheerios
    7. Frosted Mini-Wheats
    8. Fruity Pebbles
    9. Captain Crunch
    10. Reese’s puffs

    11-99. Bleh Choices
    100. Literal Sawdust
    101. Applejacks
    102. Cookie Crisp

    (This list does not include limited time or regional varieties due to a limit number of meals available to devote to cereal.)

    FIGHT ME!!!

      1. Dopameanie*

        And I don’t understand how you could be so blind to the joy of the additional flavor dimensions marshmallows add. You obviously hate all childlike glee. You probably also tell toddlers Santa isn’t real.

        1. Dopameanie*

          They make those. They are called candy cigarettes and they are actual shards of sugar chalk. I’m certain you just got those two mixed up in your mind, that’s fine. Happens all the time. I accept your apology for speaking ill of the delightful.

      2. Chameleon*

        I used to pull all the marshmallows out of my Lucky Charms. Then threw the nasty oat crap away and ate only big bowls of only marshmallows. They are delicious.

          1. Dopameanie*

            I’ve actually been given a 2lb bag as a gift before! After having a bowl ‘o sugar for breakfast, I recommend using the marshmallows as a substitute for some of the rice Krispys in rice Krispy treats. Delish!

        1. Dopameanie*

          Cocoa Puffs are, admittedly, top 20 material. Points are deducted, however, due to the cocoa color and flavor abandoning the cereal it belongs on like women contestants who end up winning on The Bachelor.

      1. Dopameanie*

        Pebbles of all varieties make the bleh list because the surface area is too great to sustain any crunch past the first 30 seconds. UNACCEPTABLE!

        1. Loopy*

          Truth. I detest fruity pebbles. It was the mystery Oreo flavor and we threw the entire box out.

      2. Emily*

        Chocolate flavored cereals are bad!!!!

        If I wanted chocolate for breakfast, I would eat a pain au chocolat. Not weird cereal that turns my milk into diluted cocoa-water. It’s kind of like eating a tootsie roll when you could be having the real deal.

    1. Sylvan*

      1. Corn Flakes
      2. Cheerios
      3. Special K

      Also, it is best dry. Mixing something crispy with a liquid is a sin. People who do this have been led astray by milk, which in its liquid form ruins things.

      Cereal and yogurt is acceptable.

      1. Dopameanie*

        See now, DRY cereal is a whole other thing. Totally different ranking structure. To be clear; you are still WRONG but for different reasons.

        Also, milk is the basis for everything deliciously rich: cheese, cream, and (indirectly) meat.

        Why do you disparage the origin of richness itself? I know why: poverty of the tastebuds.

        1. Sylvan*

          Also, milk is the basis for everything gross: cheese, cream, and (indirectly) meat.

          Why do you disparage the origin of barf itself? I know why: wealth of the tastebuds.

          FTFY

          1. Dopameanie*

            Look, I did not claw my way to the top of the food chain to eat vegetables. I did it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers. While eating Lucky Charms. Like a civilized human!!!!

            1. Sylvan*

              You didn’t claw your way to the top to drink cow baby food, either.

              /lactose intolerant

              1. Dopameanie*

                Aaahhh HA! I should’ve known you were sour-grapes-ing! When you can get things as delicious (and varied) as ice cream and cream based soup and steak and you DON’T, then there’s a reason. Cow squeezin’s are worth it for the rest of us. YOU are just being a Bitter Buttermilk Biscuit.

              2. Sylvan*

                It’s not sour grapes! You all have Stockholm syndrome because you were made to drink milk over and over when you were kids, and now you can’t admit it’s gross.

                Are you in the US? If so, did you know that we have a legal limit on the amount of pus that can be in milk? The amount is not zero.

                Almond milk and cashew milk might be made of like three nuts, a lot of water, and thickeners like carrageenan, but NOT THAT.

                1. Dopameanie*

                  This comment makes me want to find you a bottle, because you are whining like a BABY.

                  My spoiled millennial cat drinks water straight from the toilet and you’re too good for a little bovine pus? Well lah-tee-dah.

        2. Spritely*

          Milk with other stuff is great. Ice cream is the food of heaven. Cheese is one of my favorite things.

          Plain milk is disgusting. It does not taste right. Pouring it all over delicious cereal is a sin.

      2. KR*

        Love dry cereal. I’ve tried doing milk in cereal and it grosses me out. Now ignoring sugar content which is apalling enough that it makes me avoid any cereal now, I love 1. Cinnamon Toast Crunch, 2. Apple Jacks, 3. Special K with the Strawberries, 4. Frosted Mini Wheats, 5. Raisin Bran

        1. Birch*

          KB has it. Ugh, I loved all those cereals made from other stuff. Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Golden Grahams, Cookie Crisp, Oreo O’s! There was another one that was shaped like toast and had kind of a mapley flavor, I don’t remember the name! Oh and Waffle Crisp! I also loved Grape Nuts. I was a weird child.

            1. Dopameanie*

              So surveying this comment section on a Monday always reminds me of surveying a slumber party on a Monday. You can see where Big Fun and Drama were had, but everything is oddly quiet.

        2. Dopameanie*

          Wait a second….are you telling me you eat mini wheats DRY? That…that’s…are you secretly a horse? How can you choke down all that dry wheat?

          1. Slartibartfast*

            Oh no, flavored frosted Mini Wheats eaten dry are like a guilt free Pop Tart. Especially the chocolate ones.

          2. Sylvan*

            How do you choke down wet wheat? Are you a goose eating what people have thrown into the water?

            1. Dopameanie*

              That would be preferable, but luckily I am a person with access to delicious MILK.

          3. Spritely*

            I eat Oatmeal Squares dry. My mouth seems to be able to produce enough saliva to ease the wheat right on down.

            But then again I also eat salad with no dressing and rarely put condiments on sandwiches or burgers. I’ve been dry eatin’ my whole life.

        3. Sylvan*

          Those are all pretty good.

          Vanilla almond Special K is better than the one with strawberries, though.

        4. Tau*

          Now ignoring sugar content which is apalling enough that it makes me avoid any cereal now

          It sounds like you, too, know the pain of attempting to find a breakfast cereal composed of, preferably, no more than 10% sugar.

          (I’m irked about this because I thought I’d found a good one and then I realised I’d misread the label and it had twice as much sugar as I thought. :/)

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      First, I agree with Fiona, so we’re going to tag-team you here. Your top 5 choices are only good for compost, except for Fruit Loops.

      Second, you left off the #1 best cereal of all time, Honey Smacks.

      LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLLLLLLLLLLLLE! ;)

      1. Dopameanie*

        Honey Smacks are, like, #85 on that list. They are medium terrible. Weird mouthfeel, sticky in an artificial way, mediocre flavor, they disgrace the cow whose milk was used to make the meal.
        Awful.

    3. Mimmy*

      Hey now, I like Apple Jacks!!

      But totally with you on Lucky Charms – I was addicted to that stuff when I was little. Now, it’s probably way too sweet for me. A local burger place had a special on a Lucky Charms shake (I think they just mixed together a bunch of the green marshmallows), so hubby and I tried it–no bueno!

      1. Dopameanie*

        Also, applejacks taste like a cinnamon stick was dipped in turpentine and rolled around on the floor of an old lady’s house until enough dust had built up to make the O shape.

        Terrible cereal, with a dishonest marketing campaign. No apple taste at all! Shady behavior.

      2. Slartibartfast*

        Fun fact: Lucky Charms and cat food use the same shapes. And Lucky Charms tastes like cat food with marshmallows.
        I had a bottle fed orphan kitty that only recognized two things on this planet as edible: flat pancake shaped dry cat food, and Lucky charms marshmallows.

      3. Dara*

        Oh, we had that shake at BK, too. Ours was full-on cereal mixed into the shake. The marshmallows got stuck in the straw, and the cereal pieces turned into soggy mush from being mixed with the soft serve (that also got stuck in the straw).

    4. nep*

      When I ate cereals —
      I used to LOVE Grape Nuts — they’d have to have soaked a bit for softening, though. Otherwise, felt like they’d crack my teeth.

      1. Dopameanie*

        That’s why I don’t care for them myself-not enough patience. I mean, if food is too hot you can blow on it! But there’s nothing you can do with grape nuts except sit on your hands and wait for them to become edible.

    5. OK*

      Trix before they went whole grain and when they had different shapes.
      In fact almost anything was better before they went to whole grain.

      1. Dopameanie*

        Trix aren’t horrible, but they get soggy too fast. It’s a surface area issue.

    6. Can't Sit Still*

      Oreo-Os are the best cereal ever! I was so happy when they came back to the US. Second best is puffed rice, followed by regular Cheerios, then Honey Nut Cheerios. I like the giant Shredded Wheat that comes in individual sealed packages inside the box, too (do they even make that anymore?)

      Cinnamon Toast Crunch seems like it should taste good, but it feels greasy to me. I used to like Lucky Charms, but they’re kind of eh to me now. Fruit Loops and Captain Crunch cut my mouth up too much to eat.

      1. Dopameanie*

        So Oreo O’s would score better except the milk is not a suitable stand in for the cream. It reminds me a bit of eating a vegan hot dog: I mean, sure, go ahead, it doesn’t taste bad. But even as you chew you know it is a pale imitation of the real thing.

    7. Ann O’Nemity*

      Kid Me liked (1) Fruit Loops, (2) Cocoa Puffs, and (3) Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

      Healthy option I actually eat now: Cascadian Farms Oats and Honey Granola with fresh berries and Greek yogurt.

    8. Loopy*

      Lucky Charms is overrated and I am ready to fight that it got placed over the sacred Cinnamon Toast Crunch. SHAME ON YOU. How. Dare. You.

      And what even is Alpha-bits?

      …and your list is missing some worthy choices.

        1. Dopameanie*

          Hanging out somewhere around #50. That’s where. Thoroughly mediocre cereal. At a free continental breakfast I would skip over the GGs and just eat a banana.

      1. Dopameanie*

        No lie, I went back and forth a couple times on 1st and 2nd place. LC finally broke the tie by having marshmallows. I kinda think milk choice can flip it tho. Whole milk is better paired with CTC than LC. Skim is the reverse.

        Alpha-bits are delicious nutritional AND educational. Homerun breakfast choice.

        And my list omits NOTHING. Your choice that didn’t make the breakfast varsity league can just cool it’s heels in JV, where it’s second rate flavor belongs.

        1. Loopy*

          The urge to fight it out online has never been more real.

          I’m still not going to write an essay on the virtues and superiority of my cereal choices, but the struggle was real for about 30 seconds!

            1. Loopy*

              Well then, I shall return with “The Most Proper Cereal Ranking, As Nature Intended: A Manifesto”

    9. LCL*

      1 Apple Jacks
      2 Apple Jacks
      3 Apple Jacks
      4 Apple Jacks
      5 Apple Jacks
      6 Apple Jacks
      7 Apple Jacks
      8 Apple Jacks
      9 captain crunch
      10 Froot Loops
      Never in a million years: lucky charms.

    10. SaraV*

      As a kid, for sugary cereals, Lucky Charms was my #1 choice. Alas, my parents weren’t keen about sugary cereals, so having Lucky Charms was a treat.

      I will no longer eat Honey Nut Cheerios. That was the “acceptable” sweet cereal in my family, and I’ve eaten way too much of it. Regular Cheerios I will still eat.

      I don’t know if I have an absolute favorite cereal. Depends on what mood I’m in or what’s on sale. So, roll the 5-sided die on Raisin Bran, Kix, Cheerios, Rice Chex, and if I do want sugary…Golden Grahams.

    11. Parenthetically*

      No sorry, if you don’t put Honey Bunches of Oats as #1, you are Objectively, Tragically, Comprehensively Wrong.

      ;)

      1. Dopameanie*

        HBoO is top 20, sure, but I don’t like the milk-to-cereal ratio you’re stuck with due to the size of the Bunches.

        Therefore they are SCIENTIFICALLY INFERIOR CEREAL!

        1. Parenthetically*

          But you HAVE to weight it more heavily due to those cinnamon sparkle flakes, which are God’s Own Flakes.

          1. Dopameanie*

            The sparkles are what brought it up so high in the first place! You can’t win the championship with only one fantastic team member. Michael Jordan carried the Wizards a long way, but they fell short in the end. Same happened here.

    12. CatCat*

      Your top three are solid, but you are wrong on Applejacks. They belong up in the top 10 and fruity pebbles should be out.

      Cinnamon Toast Crunch is my #1. Like everything else is distant on the list after that one. It’s the entire reason I don’t buy cereal because I would just eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch for every single meal. I’ve done that before.

      1. Dopameanie*

        I am never wrong. I tell my husband so all the time.

        I am Not To Be Trusted with 1-4 in my house. I’ll forego supper to eat 3 breakfasts a day.

    13. Middle School Teacher*

      One of my supreme pleasures in life is, on weekdays I’m not at work (like over spring break), I watch Price is Right and have Lucky Charms. I get the 80-year-old and 6-year-old sides of my personalities satisfied at the same time.

      1. Mananana*

        I haven’t had LCs in YEARS…. but I now must buy some for my next day off. And I will eat by big ol’ bowl of LCs whilst watching The Price is Right. In my pajamas. Thank you for the inspiration.

    14. what's my name again?*

      1. Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
      2. Honey Bunches of Oats.
      3. Apple Jacks.
      4. Cracklin’ Oat Bran (expensive so never get it).

      If none of these are available, I’ll get something else.
      As a kid, I loved Cap’n Crunch.
      French Toast Crunch is too sweet.
      Sugar Crisp or Honey Crisp or whatever they call it now was always too sticky.

      Never liked Lucky Charms or Alpha Bits, mainly because without the marshmallows, it seemed like I was eating dog or cat food. Which reminds me, Grape Nuts in my world equates to fish-tank gravel, same as Fruity Pebbles.

    15. Dr. KMnO4*

      1. Cheerios, dry, with a glass of orange juice on the side
      There is nothing else that is even worthy of making the list. XP

      1. Dopameanie*

        Ok, first of all, is your arch nemesis dissolved manganese in municipal water systems?
        Second, the type/flavor of Cheerios you’re eating matters quite a bit in how Judgy I’m gonna be about your list.

        1. Dr. KMnO4*

          I’m a chemist, and KMnO4 (aka Potassium Permanganate) is my favorite chemical. It makes a beautiful deep purple solution. And Manganese is a very cool element in general.

          I only eat regular Cheerios. As far as I am concerned there are no other Cheerios. They are all pretenders.

          The day Cheerios went gluten free I was ecstatic, and I might have hugged the box all throughout the grocery store.

          1. Chameleon*

            I used to have to use KMnO4 as a tissue stain in grad school. Everytime I used it I thought it was the geekiest way to wish someone a Merry Christmas (because…no L).

          2. Dopameanie*

            Huh. I never knew it had any other uses besides treating drinking water for excessive manganese. Interesting !

            1. Dr. KMnO4*

              It does some cool reactions. It’s a good oxidizer. KMnO4 plus oxalic acid is neat; it reacts well with Fe2+ as well.

    16. Why does it have to be a fight?*

      I don’t care about cereal. I just want to mention how off-putting it is to see these comments most every week that scream “FIGHT ME!!” at the end. Plenty of people respond, so I guess a lot of people like to fight. But I personally find it off-putting and not in the spirit of collegial discussion (which is what I usually enjoy about this comment section.)

      1. Dopameanie*

        Then, I mean…there’s a whole rest of the comment section? I don’t pick fights in other comment threads. Everyone in this thread is opting in. This comment is the equivalent of attending a boxing match and complaining that the boxers aren’t getting along.

        1. Corrupted by Coffee*

          I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your weekly fights, and read them aloud to my husband.

          1. Dopameanie*

            Aw! Thank you! I enjoy it immensely. You can come over for a bowl of Lucky Charms anytime. (Because I always have some available)

      2. Oxford Coma*

        “Fight me” is a meme used when discussing silly, inconsequential things that people tend to Strongly Opine about. There is context and history there, it isn’t actually the OP baying for (written) blood.

      3. Thursday Next*

        Tone can be hard to gauge from online all caps. But I don’t think anyone on this thread is fighting—just welcoming the chance for some silliness. :=)

        1. Why does it have to be a fight?*

          “I don’t think anyone on this thread is fighting”
          Dopameanie’s response to me had a rather confrontation tone – questioning why I even responded to this thread. Clearly, not welcoming a difference of opinion, but rather interested in a fight (which was my point).

          1. Dopameanie*

            Ok then. I encourage you to glare disapprovingly at your screen every Saturday when you see my username, and then click the “collapse thread” button while scrolling. For the record, I personally find jazz music off putting. So I don’t frequent jazz clubs.

          2. Slartibartfast*

            This isn’t fighting so much as sparring, and some of us enjoy it. Particularly when your job involves having to be nice to really stupid people, it’s a nice stress relief. If it’s not for you, then post on another thread. I mean no disrespect and I saw nothing confrontational in Dopameanies response.

            1. Why does it have to be a fight?*

              Fighting and sparring are two different things. Sparring is something that is done for sport and generally, the two shake hands (or bow) afterwards out of respect for each other. Dopameanie specifically used a boxing reference and said the two people hate each other. In sparring, the two people don’t hate each other. That was my point in my original post where I said that fighting (two boxers hating each other) is not in the spirit of collegial debate that this comment section is known for.

              It seems to me that neither you nor Dopameanie are interested in sparring (which in the verbal sense, I would define as respectful disagreement, but we all go home friends. In other words, collegial debate)*. You both basically told me to take my toys and go home. Help me understand how telling me to quit reading/commenting is in the spirit of a good spar. I mean that as a sincere inquiry.

              *I did not get that impression from other commenters who disagreed with me. Other commenters disagreed – some with supporting evidence, others without. But either way, it was basically, “I respect your opinion, but here is my opinion.” As opposed to, “Here’s my opinion. If you disagree, quit reading and commenting.”

              1. Slartibartfast*

                This is a public space, so you’re welcome to comment, or not, as you wish. But I find it rather disrespectful that you come here and try to derail a thread that many of us enjoy. If this isn’t for you, fine. But let the rest of us have our fun, please.

                1. Why does it have to be a fight?*

                  I apologize for being disrespectful. That was not my intent at all. In fact, I have specifically tried to remain respectful. In the initial post, Dopemeanie said, “FIGHT ME!” In other words, DOPAMEANIE SPECIFICALLY ASKED FOR DISAGREEMENT. But now you are saying that by disagreeing, I am being disrespectful.

                  I genuinely don’t understand how my disagreement, on a thread of serial fighters (pun intended), is ruining your fun. The thread solicited disagreement. I disagreed. Several have acknowledged that they ENJOY fighting. Now disagreement is ruining your fun?

              2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                I’m going to step in here before this gets too derailing. Not every thread here will be for everyone, and that’s okay! (And unavoidable, with a big commenting community.)

                If other people are enjoying the topic and it’s not hateful in some way (or about politics, which lately can be the same thing), it’s allowed here. The best thing to do if it’s not for you is to skip it, collapse the thread, etc.

                1. Why does it have to be a fight?*

                  With all due respect, Alison, fighting is, by definition, hateful. The OP of this thread said it was similar to two boxers hating each other.
                  I don’t have a problem with bantering back and forth – I enjoy it myself sometimes. My original comment was related to the word choice of fighting, as opposed to something else (like maybe bantering). I did not believe this was a hateful thread until OP responded to tell me that this was in fact a thread about people hating each other (reference boxer comment), and the only reason I didn’t understand it was because two fighters hate each other and I’m questioning why they hate each other. That seems like a lot of hate for something that is consider not hateful.

                2. Why does it have to be a fight?*

                  Can you clarify the commenting rules for me, please? If someone tells a joke that I don’t find funny, in fact based on the climate of the world I find it distasteful, can I politely point that out?

                3. Why does it have to be a fight?*

                  What is legitimately offensive? I mean, if one person is offended but others aren’t, does that mean it’s not legitimately offensive? Or does it just depend if you aren’t offend (since it’s your blog)? I’m just trying get a grasp on it.
                  I mean, there have been some issues that offend other people and I roll my eyes at it but I respect that it’s offensive to them so I leave it alone. (Which is what I expected would happen in this cause).
                  We all come from different backgrounds, countries, generations, etc. It sounds like you are saying that this is not a legitimate thing to be offended about just because it’s not something you would be offended about.
                  If that’s the threshold for offensive (whether Alison would take offense to it), that’s fine. I’m just trying to get a handle it.

                4. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  I’m referring to sexist, racist, homophobic, or other commonly recognized categories of hate speech. But yes, ultimately someone has to be the arbiter of what flies here, and since it’s my site, that means it’s me.

                  That doesn’t mean that I’m the final arbiter of what’s offensive; you get to be offended by anything you want! But I might ask you to move on if I judge that it’s derailing the comment section.

                5. Thursday Next*

                  With respect, and at the risk of derailing (and turning serious) this thread, “fighting” need not be hateful by definition. When we speak of people “fighting for their rights,” we are talking about *challenges* to what is hateful. Sometimes these “fights” are more peaceful than the regimes they resist (think Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr.).

                  We also use the word “bout” in place of “fight” to refer to boxing—it’s clear, then, that what is being discussed is sport, not animosity. (I don’t like boxing, but I also dislike American football. Still, I recognize that both are sports, not true battles.)

                  This thread is sport! It’s all in jest, tongue in cheek. You’re welcome to join in the fun, or refrain; it’s your call.

                6. Why does it have to be a fight?*

                  Thursday Next,
                  You are correct that when people are “fighting for their rights” or similar use of the word fighting, it is not always hateful. Do you agree that it is angry? People don’t “fight” when they are happy. Nor do people “Fight for their rights” for the sport of it. They do it because it something that matters deeply to them. If this is a jestful sport, why are we using all caps commands about fighting (which is a very strong word)?

                  “You’re welcome to join in the fun, or refrain; it’s your call.”
                  I’ve joined in, in case you haven’t realized that.

                  I agree with you that boxing is a sport. Dopameanie suggested that this was like a boxing match where the two opponents hate each other. That is not my experience with any sport, including martial arts, that I’ve participated in.

                  I believe this level of hate and fighting is one of the huge problems we have in our society, which is why I find the phrase problematic. People die from fighting. People die from hateful actions. People don’t generally die (or even get hurt) from jestful banter. What I found off-putting in the beginning is the words we are using, not the activity that is going on.

          3. Forrest*

            I don’t see where this “confrontation tone” is, unless responding at all was enough to count.

            I mean, what were you expecting her to say? It was a clearly a joke, everyone else took it as a joke, and, well, if you don’t like it, keep scrolling really is your only solution.

            1. Why does it have to be a fight?*

              Thank you for asking. I’m happy to oblige…
              “Ok then. I encourage you to glare disapprovingly at your screen every Saturday when you see my username, and then click the “collapse thread” button while scrolling.”
              Sarcasm is confrontational.

              Several people (including Dopameanie and you, I might add) suggested I should quit reading and commenting. That’s not exactly playing nice (which is a commenting rule, BTW)

              And no, I don’t consider “commenting at all” to be confrontational. There were several who disagreed with me, and I’m fine with that. The tone was sort like, “I think this. You think that. We disagree, but we move on.” That’s perfectly fine (and what I expected from everyone who disagreed).

              “Clearly it was a joke”
              Clearly, I didn’t think it was funny. Just because everyone else thinks it’s funny, doesn’t mean I have to.

              “If you don’t like it, keep scrolling really is your only solution.”
              Dopameanie was seeking disagreement. I disagreed. If everyone who disagreed with her kept scrolling, the thread would have lost it’s point.

              Does that answer your question?

              1. Forrest*

                “Sarcasm is confrontational.”

                No it’s not. I mean, maybe to you that is but it’s an outside the norm opinion. I think you’re just looking for things that aren’t there.

                Another of you looking for things that aren’t there is imagining us saying you should stop reading and commenting. Neither of us said that. We said you didn’t have to respond to this particular comment.

                And oh come off that. She was seeking disagreement on cereal, not if you like the “fight me” joke. You didn’t comment on the topic she was seeking disagreement on! In fact, disregarding her whole comment – you said you didn’t even care about the topic she was seeking disagreement on – just to nitpick on something harmless *is confrontational.* At least much more so than her response to you.

                1. Why does it have to be a fight?*

                  Sarcasm is disguised anger. In psychology, they call it a defense mechanism. If you google, “sarcasm defense mechanism,” you can learn more about it and find that this is not outside the norm opinion, but rather is highly accepted.
                  You are correct that no one specifically said, “Don’t read this.” But people said I should avoid this thread, keep scrolling, etc. That is what I’m talking about. Rather than saying, “I respect your opinion, but disagree,” the response was, “If you don’t like it, quit commenting.” Big difference in terms of confrontation level.
                  Slatibart specifically said, “Post on another thread,” But then later said, “You’re welcome to comment or not.” I think her change of attitude is noteworthy and I do want to acknowledge that.
                  You are correct that I said I didn’t want to discuss cereal. I’ll let you read upthread to see why I thought “FIGHT ME!” was problematic. I did not mean to nitpick wording. I have seen hundreds of time on this blog over the year, where people say things like, “That seems a little harsh in this case.” Or “___ is no longer an acceptable term for that group of people.” I think fighting fits in that category. I think fighting today, specifically cyber-fighting, is different than it was 10-20 years ago. And I expected that this would be perceived similar to those comments (some people agree, some don’t, but no one gets too twisted up about it). Clearly, I was wrong on that regard.
                  I would disagree that my original comment was confrontational. I respect that you perceived it that way, but it was not my intent at all. However, I would agree that you could find certain aspects of later comments that were confrontational. But remember that was after I had been told that the people on this thread ENJOY arguing and that this thread is fighting as a sport. At this point, I figure there is at least a 50-50 chance you are responding to me, not because you truly disagree, but because you enjoy a good fight and are looking for sport. (I would not say that about other threads on AAM)

                2. Forrest*

                  Oh for fuck sake.

                  I do appreciate you dropped the “she asked for disagreement” excuse though.

                  I’ll leave on this: if sarcasm is a defense mechanism, that means you came off agressive and confrontational to her. Something I would agree with.

                3. Why does it have to be a fight?*

                  I respect your request until Forrest asked a very specific question that was addressed to me. She asked that after your request, BTW. I felt it would’ve been rude not to address it. It was not a general comment – it was a specific question of me. Hence, my response after your request.

      4. MotherRunner*

        Pretty sure this is all in jest. Mostly because if dopameanie was serious with this list, Cinnamon Toast Crunch would be number 1.

        1. Dopameanie*

          Captain Crunch’s Battalion has WAY more recruits than I was expecting.

          I do find it telling, though, that not a SINGLE person has come to the defense of Cookie Crisp. We can all rally against THAT flag.

      1. Dopameanie*

        Nah. Honeycomb is a rip-off. Doesn’t taste like honey, and you are paying for the holes! That’s how they get you.

    17. Slartibartfast*

      When I was a child, I thought Grape-nuts were toasted grape seeds.
      Adult me remains unconvinced that child me was wrong.

    18. Chameleon*

      1. Cinnamon Life as long as you eat it within the first 2 minutes of adding in milk
      2. Corn Pops
      3. Lucky Charms separated so you only have to eat the marshmallow part
      4. Regular Life with the same stipulation as above
      5. Quaker Oat Squares
      6. Kellogg’s Raisin Bran (but not that Post crap)
      .
      .
      .
      9999. Life Cereal after the milk has been in it for 2 minutes and one second

      1. Dopameanie*

        Life could’ve been a contender if it hadn’t been for the Sogginess Quotient.

        UNRELATED: I knew a kid once who thought he was *not allowed* to eat cinnamon life because he was white, and black people weren’t allowed to eat regular life. Because the people on the cinnamon box were black and the people on the regular box were white. In his defense, this was kindergarten. Little kids are WEIRD.

        1. TL -*

          This is why representation matters!
          (I mean, not the best examples, I get that, but kids absolutely absorb these messages.)

    19. Moose Javian*

      I was shocked when I saw Cinnamon Toast Crunch was #3 on your list, and then I was appalled when others (more than one!) said CTC should be #1. Where are your taste buds, people?!?!
      [All other original rankings are pretty fair, actually. Although I’d sneak a Corn Pops somewhere in the top 15.]

      1. Dopameanie*

        So I seriously underestimated the Captain Crunch Battalion this week. You people are INTENSE. I respect that. Not enough to turn down a bowl of LC to eat a bowl of CTC (because I have my priorities straight) but I would be willing to get you another spoon if you dropped yours.

    20. Roja*

      I will totally take on this fight!!

      1. Captain Crunch
      2. Cinnamon Life
      3. Frosted Mini-Wheats
      4. Honey Nut Cheerios
      5. Cocoa Krispies

      6-100 everything else
      101 Literal Sawdust
      102 Lucky Charms

      1. Dopameanie*

        Imma come over there on a Red Balloon and shove a spoonful of Magic Horseshoes into your blasphemous face, until a Rainbow shoots out the other end.

        This Insult Shall Not Stand!!

        1. Roja*

          Ha! I’d like to see you try!

          Actually, it was rather funny when I was a kid since most kids I knew went snake over Lucky Charms and I always hated them. We didn’t do cereal in my family for the most part, unless it was vacation, in which case we got PB Captain Crunch. I will always adore it… and its healthier counterpart, PB Puffins, which are also delicious.

    21. Canadian Natasha*

      Well, milk in its standard form is blech unless it’s used to make a latte so that makes cereal only so-so in general. But I gonna have to nix all the cereals on your list anyway because they suck. The proper list should read:
      1. Corn Pops
      2. Crispix
      3. Quaker Oat Squares
      That is all.
      ;)

      1. Dopameanie*

        You’re gonna @ me with some lame-o CRISPIX? You are bringing a toaster to a gunfight here. I’ll be charitable and assume your tastebuds were burned off in a tragic pop-tart accident and that’s why your priorities are so out of touch with reality.

        1. Canadian Natasha*

          Anything involving pop tarts is tragic by definition. The next fight-me topic could be whether pop tarts count as actual food or just chemical flavoured grossness. Just sayin’.

          Also Crispix are essential in any nuts and bolts party mix worth its salt. Are you going to stick your lame cardboard marshmallow cereal in that? No way.
          :P

          1. Dopameanie*

            First of all, I can’t do a fight-me over pop-tarts because I’d have to research all the different flavors and I’m not willing to put my mouth through that.

            Second, you aren’t talking about a bowl of cereal with crispix then, you’re talking about an ingredient. You’re most likely still WRONG, but the list will look different if it is ranking ingredients rather than meals.

            Third, I am totally willing to take fight-me suggestions.

      2. Emily*

        Oatmeal squares are one of my favorites! I am solidly in the grandpa cereals camp (my other favorite is Great Grains), but when it comes to junky sugar cereals, Lucky Charms are near the top.

    22. TL -*

      1. 2 – no more, no less- – gluten free Weetbix with honey and milk (2% and whole are both acceptable).
      2. See #1
      3. Before I had food allergies, Grape-Nuts with honey and milk (again, 2% or whole.) The addition of a sliced banana is permissible but frowned upon.

      1. Dopameanie*

        If you are adding honey to your cereal, you are leading a wildly different lifestyle than me. I suppose your socks always match and you hold opinions on different brands of Egyptian cotton. Perhaps you have fresh cut flowers on your breakfast-eating table as well, and know how to pronounce endive. This is not my cereal experience. I cannot comment on your choice, but I can aspire to it.

        Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to wash a single dirty spoon because I don’t wanna do the dishes before breakfast.

        1. TL -*

          My socks never match because I simply haven’t the time to worry about such trivialities.

          As for the dirty spoon, simply ask your maid to do his job and wash the dishes in a more timely manner.

      1. TL -*

        I don’t know where you are but gluten free weetbix is far superior to anything else I’ve tried, if you can get your hands on it. It has actual texture and good taste.

      2. Dopameanie*

        I’m sorry! Truly, the gluten sensitivity robs its victims of the best stuff you can shove in your mouth :(

          1. Dopameanie*

            Well if it’s got shallots then you automatically know it’s not worth shoving.

      1. Dopameanie*

        OH MAN I had that chocolat au pain thing recently! It was incredible. It struck me as more of a lunch food tho. If anywhere close to me sold them fresh from the oven, you would probably see my nose-print on the glass window of the store front.

    23. The RO-Cat*

      I don’t eat cereals at all, but I enjoyed this week’s fight quite a bunch. Nice to sit some fights out and just applaud the skilled fighters!

    24. JamieS*

      Honey nut cheerios and frosted flakes are revolting, Cinnamon Toast Crunch is good, and I have no opinion on the rest other than saying that reading that list gave me a toothache.

      1. Dopameanie*

        HBoO was addressed up thread by Parenthetically (sp?) but to summarize, the honey, bunches, and oats are all coasting on their Star Player of cinnamon sparkle flakes. These flakes are indeed a treat for the tastebuds but cannot overcome the mediocrity of the rest of the team. Top 20 cereal, award winning cereal of the JV team, even. Scientifically proven inferior to the top 10 tho.

  38. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    I have to check “my” Germans because of that truck attack. My mom still has close colleagues there even though she is now retired, and I also know people from my exchange trips.

    But when I was little, my mom would take me to Germany with her when she would go in summers to run a high school exchange, and we would stay with and meet many of her German counterparts, who were really cool people. They’d call on holidays, send gifts to my parents, brother, and I, and always be talking to my parents by email. Like having a bunch of uncles.

    I do hope everyone is all right. Of course the odds are vanishingly small, but they might be pretty upset anyway.

    1. Fernweh*

      Oh wow, I didn’t even know there had been an attack until I read your comment! Today was the first real day of spring here and where I live, the whole city was full of people – all the street cafés were full, lots of families and students were in the parks, everyone was just out and about and enjoying the sunlight… the good mood was tangible. The thought that something could happen crossed my mind though, just because of the dense crowds. I’m very sad that attack happened in Münster.

      1. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

        Can I just say I want your weather? It is about 21F (maybe -5 C) and snow in Minnesota today!

      2. Tau*

        Same! I was visiting relatives in Hanover this weekend and did some cycling to enjoy the sunshine (we do seem to be heading straight from winter into summer right now). I had no idea something had happened… my thoughts are with the people in Münster. :(

  39. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    The kittens chewed on my headphone wires. Still attached but the electrical part is exposed. And it’s hard to work out without working music!

    It’s a good thing they’re so cute! My tuxedo kitty especially. She is such a happy little girl- constantly purring any time she’s awake unless she’s super upset or hiding under the bed.

    1. Nicole76*

      Do they still work? If so, try wrapping electrical tape around the exposed wires. I did that after my dog chewed my iPhone cord and it’s been working fine since.

    2. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      Ha! reminds me of my older kitty when she was little – she chewed on cords. We tried everything to get her to stop and nothing worked. What did work was one day I was listening to music in my room with speakers, and she was under the bed (where cords were). Next thing I knew, I heard a sharp unhappy meow, she came streaking out from under the bed to run to mom, and my speakers weren’t working right. I inspected the speaker cord and found toothmarks. She’d chewed the speaker cord and shocked herself! She’s 18 now and hasn’t chewed a cord since.

    3. Damn it, Hardison!*

      One of my cats chewed on cords when she was a kitten. My manager recommended coating the cords with Vick’s Vapo-Rub. Worked like a charm!

      1. Merci Dee*

        Every once in a while, I have to doctor a couple of my cords with tea tree oil to keep my mouthy cat at bay.

      2. Kuododi*

        Ive had good luck in the past with using.cayenne pepper to keep kitties off areas/things that are not feline appropriate. DS (Dear Sister) has used paper towels soaked in either white vinegar or vodka to keep little furballs away from electrical cords. ;)

      3. Windchime*

        Oh wow, I wish I had known this when Kitty was little. He chewed on cords like crazy. I had been told about bitter apple spray and I tried that, but it didn’t really deter him at all. Fortunately, he outgrew it. But he’s 5 years old now and I caught him chewing on Christmas tree lights in December, so……

    4. Rynn*

      My cat who loves chewing cords also loves chewing plastic drinking straws and catgrass, and that keeps him from going after the cords quite so much. He is also very calm and cuddly, so at least the bad habit seems to come with a good temperament!

    5. Just a Concerned Third Party*

      If they don’t still work, do you think it would be worth trying to fix them? If they’re a good pair of headphones and only the cable is damaged, a basic soldering iron and repair kit (solder, heat-shrink) can take you a long way on a small amount of money.

  40. Sami*

    Have tickets for Book of Mormon tonight!

    Being hearing about it for so long and all the reviews seem to rave about it, hopefully my expectations haven’t been raised too high!

    1. Thursday Next*

      Enjoy! I had so much fun. When I went to see Book of Mormon, it was my first outing after a particularly difficult few weeks, and it really lifted me up.

    2. Jen RO*

      I saw it 2 weeks ago in London and, while the actor playing Elder Cunnigham was not my cup of tea, I laughed my ass off for the whole night. Enjoy!

    3. Teach*

      It’s SO NAUGHTY but so well done. Crazy offensive, but when you see the bigger message, what they are satirizing is pretty offensive, too. I’ve never had the “extra-loud involuntary guffaw in public” reaction in any other Broadway show…

    4. Jemima Bond*

      I really enjoyed it and I have a fairly low tolerance for musicals – all that over-emoting and jazz hands….ugh. TBOM was hilarious enough to override this.

  41. nep*

    Anyone paying attention to the Commonwealth Games?
    Bravo t0 Maude Charron, Jack Oliver, Zoe Smith (gold, silver, silver in weightlifting) and all other weightlifters.
    Rooting for Sarah Davies, Pip Malone…all of them. Their hard work is infinitely inspiring.

    1. Monroe*

      I want to watch the weightlifting when I get a moment. Do you know if there’s video of the full competition uploaded anywhere? There’s nothing on the Commonwealth Games YouTube channel though I can find clips elsewhere.

      1. nep*

        I’ve not found that yet. I can see on the schedule page there is a clickable ‘Weightlifting Live Now’. But because of the hours I’m also looking for somewhere to watch vids of the past few days’ events. Looking forward to the women’s 69kg but I’ll be in bed when that’s live.

    2. nep*

      If anyone’s interested, the great Michaela Breeze has vids of some of the lifts (including GOLD medalist Emily Godley) on her Instagram, as she’s one of the commentators/announcers at the games.

  42. Al Lo*

    Ugh, today. I’m not personally affected by the hockey player bus crash in Saskatchewan, but I have many friends and acquaintances with deep hockey backgrounds, and even more with bus travel experiences, with performing groups, church groups, other sports teams; and I know people who are connected to that team.

    And then, my sister texted me this morning to tell me that her husband’s (26-year-old) brother was killed in a snowmobile accident yesterday.

    And it’s snowing again. Still.

    I’m at some good, fun, productive work meetings today, but it still feels like an “off” day.

    1. Damn it, Hardison!*

      What a horrific accident, my heart goes out to the families, friends and communities. I imagine this hits a lot of Canadians hard. My sympathy on the loss of your brother in law. I hope you can take some time to be kind to yourself this weekend.

    2. nep*

      So sorry for your and your loved ones’ grief.
      Given the wreckage of that bus/truck crash, it is really astounding anyone survived. Heaven help those families.

  43. Thursday Next*

    How old is too old to experience Imposter Syndrome? I think I’m too old…

    I’m having a resurgence of it right now. Im the kind of person who feels IS at certain cocktail parties and will prepare for them beforehand—or feel inadequate during.

    I don’t want to talk about The Thing We Don’t Talk about on Weekends per se. Just wondering if anyone has any tips for checking their IS at the door.

    1. OK*

      No tips. But I don’t think imposter syndrome knows any age. There will always be situations that we get nervous about and think we aren’t as good, as pretty, as interesting as everyone else and everyone will “know we don’t really belong there”.

    2. nep*

      I don’t think there’s an upper age limit to that.
      I think it’s common for a lot of humans. I’m up there in years and I sure have waves of it, too. What helps me is to focus on people I admire who have grace, do their thing, and just don’t give a F* what anyone thinks.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Never too old. My boss even told me about how his father wanted to quit a brand-new job after three weeks because he “felt like a fraud”. Boss’s dad is in his 70s.

    4. fposte*

      I don’t know that that’s imposter syndrome so much as just not feeling socially comfortable, and I think that’s pretty common even among older age groups. However, I do think there’s a wry irony in your first sentence, where you feel like an imposter for having imposter syndrome.

      I think the key with social situations is intentionality. Since the worst part is feeling like you don’t know what to do, give yourself specific things to do. Don’t hover at an edge hoping for something to happen–either stand proudly alone with your hummus and enjoy some quiet time while you look out the window, or walk up to people in lively conversation and say “Hey, it sounds like you’ve seen Wrinkle in Time. Did you like it? Should I go?” Stick to groups of three or more unless you already know the people well. Also go ahead and introduce yourself to people you don’t know. “Hi, I’m Thursday, and I know the host from underwater water polo.” Keep conversations short if they’re not really taking off, and BYO exit lines–you don’t have to stand there if you’ve walked into the wrong conversation or if one peters out. “I promised I’d help in the kitchen/I think a teammate just arrived/I can’t believe I missed the shrimp–nice talking to you!”