weekend free-for-all – July 14-15, 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: Less, by Andrew Sean Greer. Desperate to be away when his ex-boyfriend gets married (and not thrilled about his impending 50th birthday), a novelist decides to accept every invitation to out-of-town literary events that come his way. Beautifully written, smart, and funny.

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

{ 1,327 comments… read them below }

  1. Unbelievable*

    I will take any prayers or happy thoughts. I haven’t been able to work because I’m taking care of my dad who has dementia and cancer, he needs full time care. I am only child, no one else to take care of him. Because of no income we might lose our home and kid’s college tuition is in jeopardy. Ran through emergency savings. Kid is home from college, realized all four tires are bad, need replacing tomorrow. And we just discovered a water bubble on our ceiling. Based on measurements it’s our toilet. We will be calling our homeowners insurance in the morning. Can’t bring myself to see what are deductible is. I’m afraid to even think what else can happen. Tomorrow I’m going to dance like no one is looking, that always helps! – I hope things are better for you in your part of the world!

    1. No Tribble At All*

      :C hope the insurance covers the whole thing, the tires are on discount, your kid gets a full ride, and your dad has better days. That’s a lot to deal with!! Hugs and best wishes <3

      1. Unbelievable*

        Thank you! The area around the water bubble on the ceiling is rather weak so it appears the moisture has spread. Let’s hope it’s not a bigger isssue than it looks. – Found a no name brand with good reviews at half the price of the current bad ones. And my dad is having good results so the treatment is working. It’s the dementia that’s the issue :-(

    2. ScountFinch*

      I am so sorry. What challenges you are facing! When things got bad, my mom used to say “Well, they can’t cut us up & eat us!” – which I didn’t really understand, but it made me giggle.

      Don’t know if you are in the US, but if you are & haven’t done so already, you may want to check out the caregiver section of cancer dot org . There may be some ideas there that may help you.

      Sending good juju your way. Hoping you have little victories every day.

      1. Unbelievable*

        Thank you! I will take small victories. I reached out to a local Alzheimers support group, they called back a few days ago. Now that it’s the weekend my husband will be able to watch him so I can get away to return the call. I’m also getting a book called “36 Hours” that was recommended for dementia caregivers. It comes today.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Please call someone to help with your dad, is there an Office of the Aging in your county? What about Hospice? Does his doc have any recommendations? This is impossible to do alone, I know, I am that only child also. Even with not working there are still not enough hours in the day. And yeah this is how it goes. It so sucks. I am so very sorry.

      If you have an active church near you then they may have a group of people who help out in situations like this. They might have someone who would come help with the toilet, if your insurance does not agree to pay.

      1. Unbelievable*

        Thank you! I’ve applied for state services for my dad to help with caregiving but was told it could take a few months before a Case Manager visits to determine what kind of benefits he qualifies for. Hopefully it’s the light at the end of the tunnel. Of course it’s just getting there financially that’s the struggle.

        1. WellRed*

          Can you qualify for some sort of caregiver payment in the meantime? It varies by state.

          1. Unbelievable*

            Thank you, unfortunately in our state there are no temp benefits. You need to apply and go through the whole qualification process and wait your turn like we are doing.

    4. Thlayli*

      I’ve said a prayer for you all. I second the idea to look for help. I’m assuming you’re in the US. I know there’s not much of a social welfare system but it’s not entirely non-existent. Research it as much as you can. Your dad might be entitled to some sort of disability or sickness payment. You might be entitled to some sort of payment for being a full time carer of an ill relative. You should be entitled to food stamps if you have absolutely no income. Your kid might be entitled to some help with tuition now that you are a low-income family. Find out everything you are entitled to and apply for it. Also contact your church and / or other relevant charities who could help.

      Consider things like taking in a lodger, selling anything you can sell etc. If your kid is home for the whole summer then you can probably take turns with the elder care and work. If you could earn enough to pay a carer you could go back to work. There are a few options – look into them all.

      Good luck.

      1. Unbelievable*

        Thank you for the prayer! We are waiting to hear from the state in regards to what he qualifies for but it might take a few months. We did appeal the FA department and they gave some aid but we still have a 5K balance. My husband works, just not enough to fully support us, so we don’t qualify for any need based help. Our college kid has two PT jobs and going to local Summer school so she is unable to help with caregiving. We only have a three bedroom, the kids are sharing one room as it is once my dad moved in, so no room for a lodger. I have been selling things on local FB sites but of course it doesn’t take the place of my salary. But it does help.

        1. Cat Herder*

          Have your daughter contact the financial aid office to explain that your financial situation had changed drastically. They may be able to refigure her aid, and many schools have emergency funds. Also many schools have food pantries…. She should talk with her advisor and with her instructors, who may be able to help her get her books cheap or free. Our program always has extras to give to students in need, and when I was teaching full time I used to get a desk copy of the textbooks every year, even if I was using the same books as previous years, just so I had some to give away.
          For sure this fall get that Fafsa in and next year will be better for her financially.
          Possibly she can go to the community college for a year and then return to her four year school once the financial aid improves?? She needs to make sure this would work, but worth looking into.

          1. unbelivable*

            Thank you! Yes, they adjust FAFSA to give us more aid, but we still have a balance. – That is a great idea about the books, I will have her contact her professors and see if they have extra copies lying around. – This is her Jr. year and her schedule is all upper division classes, so CC will not help, but thank you for the suggestion.

          2. unbelievable*

            and I am signing in from a different computer and just realize there is a typo in my name lol

    5. Minta*

      I’m sorry about your dad and all of the problems that are stacking up. It sounds frustrating and scary.

      Others have suggested some good ideas so far, and I’m positive you’ll receive more. Does your city or town have a crisis assistance Organization? If so, maybe it could connect you with helpful resources or assist you in paying some, say, utility bills, which might allow you to dedicate that money to something else at a particular time.

      1. Unbelievable*

        Thank you, good idea. I will research later today to see if there is any country resources. I did go to the individual utilities but since my dad only lives with us half the month (remember we stay at his place the other half), I was told we don’t qualify.

    6. TL -*

      Your kid should talk to the university and to their department if they’ve declared a major. Most universities have emergency money and options if finances change and the department might have scholarship money separate from the financial aid office. And there will definitely be a deferment option if it comes to that, but your kid will have to talk to people in order to get things organized.

      Best of luck and I’m so sorry to hear this. :( Is your dad on/eligible for Medicare? There’s generally some care options available from that, if I remember correctly. Professional help will be hugely beneficial if you can get it, both for you and your dad.

      1. Unbelievable*

        Thank you! He does have a Medicare based HMO. We met with the HMO’s social worker and she said they have no caregiving benefits, that we need to apply for state services which we already have. And we did appeal to FA and the gave us additional aid, but we still have a balance. I’ve also explained the situation to our mortgage company. They gave us a form to fill out, we are waiting to hear if we can get temporary relief.

        1. Artemesia*

          Would medicaid cover nursing home care for him? It should be based on his wealth and resources and not yours.

          1. Thursday Next*

            So this is my question as well. Medicaid might cover more than Medicare. He might have to do a spenddown—tax-free generation-skipping gifts might be an option. Is there someone an an office of aging or a nursing home social worker who could talk you through this process?

            You may also find local Facebook or Google groups for children of aging parents, who will be able to give you this information as well as other resources.

            Sending you good thoughts and prayers.

            1. Unbelievable*

              I called a local elder care law office I was referred to and left a message yesterday, as they closed early I guess. I will try again on Monday. The social worker I met with before seemed to think MediCal (in CA) is our only option for getting help with care.

            2. unbelievable*

              heard from the law firm, they only help with Medicare, not MediCal, application and question help. And I have to pay full for help with guardianship.

      2. Amadeo*

        Agreed with talking to financial services. Lots of departments have their own endowed scholarships that someone has left them, or gives them yearly for certain degrees and there can be several. They may ‘only’ be $500-$1000, but applying for several of them, and every year if possible adds up quickly! There are also usually institution-specific scholarships, in addition to the state scholarships/aid. The university I work at has just revamped their own system. 70% of our students next year will get *something*, but it has to be applied for.

        Has your student also filled out the FAFSA? If they haven’t, they need to and quickly. If they have, they should also go to the Financial Services office to find out how to qualify for the need-based grants you get for meeting specific criteria. If you have NO income, maybe SFS can walk them through filling out the form for that.

        1. Unbelievable*

          Thank you! Yes, they adjusted our FAFSA down so we could get state grants. Grateful but we still have a balance.

    7. Long Time Fed*

      Toilet leaks are often due to a bad seal and can be repaired cheaply yourself. I’d take a look before calling your insurance company.

      I’m sorry you’re going through so much.

      1. Unbelievable*

        Thank you! My husband was thinking the same (he’s pretty handy) but we are concerned about the ceiling area that appears weak. Even if he stops the leak there is still water damage. Since my dad is immune compromised and we all have allergies we can’t risk it getting moldy.

        1. misspiggy*

          Where I am we can hire a dehumidifier for not much money – perhaps worth a try to minimize damage?

        2. Gatomon*

          You can pop and drain the water bubble (no point in letting it sit there, right?) and then cut out any damaged sections of drywall and let the area ventilate until the leak is fixed. It will be fine as long as it dries out. You would need some serious water damage to compromise the floor joists.

          1. unbelievable*

            our plumber friend agrees with you and said said we caught it in time to not be a major issue, thank goodness.

    8. MamaCat*

      We had to sell my mom’s home to get enough money to get her into a memory care facility; that has helped tide us over while we get all our ducks in a row with social security (she was too young when she was diagnosed), retirement, and everything. Fingers crossed for you!

      1. Unbelievable*

        The selling of the home is a whole other issue. It a small property (1,300 sq feet home) that has been in the family almost a century. My dad and all of his siblings weee born there. It’s where we have a very crowded family reunion yearly. My dad wants to die there and can not fanthom selling it. I know my remaining aunts and uncle understand if it needs to get sold. It’s my dad that is firmly against it, kind of like “it will be sold over my dead body”. I understand where he is coming from. He has been retired for almost 25 years and really put in a lot in landscaping, etc to make it his “castle”. I love his little home too but if he has to move in with us (if the state help isn’t enough to safely take care of him) we would have to sell it to add on to our little home so he has a ground floor bedroom. And I think selling his home would affect his health more than the cancer. :-(

        1. MamaCat*

          Is there someone in the family (or family friend) who can rent it? You can put it forth as “helping someone out,” which is what we had to do with my mom’s car. Be super careful with renting, though; my aunt had to deal with some major issues when she let some friends stay in my grandparents house. Or you could move to your dad’s house and rent/sell yours. Either way, you have major assets going for you.

          1. Temperance*

            I definitely do not recommend selling the family home. Caregiving shouldn’t destroy someone’s financial future.

            1. MamaCat*

              Then she should get it taken out of his name; at least in our case, we were required to go through a percentage of my mom’s assets before we could get some of the aid we needed. And sometimes you have to sell to get through.

              1. Temperance*

                Oh, I meant that OP shouldn’t sell her own house, because it will ruin her own life.

                The only way to keep a house in the family is to transfer assets years before any care is needed. My great-grandmother had the foresight to title her house to my great-uncle years before she needed care, and he thankfully still has their home.

          2. Unbelievable*

            My dad has a reverse mortgage on his home. He can not rent it because of that. It has to be owner occupied.

          3. Unbelievable*

            And we live over 100 miles away so selling our home and moving to his home is not doable due to hubbys work and kids schools

        2. Green Kangaroo*

          I work in a related field so I have some thoughts on the funding piece of this. I would determine very soon what the long-term plan looks like. While your dad will likely qualify for some assistance, it may likely not cover round-the-clock supervision or nursing care. Even if it does, these positions are extremely hard to fill and there is a lot of turnover in the field. You could be training a new staff on your dad’s needs every few weeks. If he does move into your home, how will you provide for his care? Even if he is stable health-wise, the heartbreak of dementia is that individuals can become extremely unpredictable…they may become non-compliant with medications, combative, or at risk for wandering away or starting fires, just as some examples I have seen. If there are no other health complications, adults with Alzheimer’s disease live, on average, eight years post-diagnosis. I am not trying to discourage or frighten you, but I have seen so many families trying to get things sorted out day-by-day, until it all falls apart at once. Even if finding a residential placement for your father is something you’re all set against right now, I recommend at least looking into it in the event the situation presents itself where you can’t care for your father as a family anymore. Good luck, I’m keeping good thoughts for you.

          1. Unbelievable*

            Thank you for the warnings. If I could have my way I would sell his home ASAP, build a room for him and take care of him as long as we can. His dad and sister have died from ALZ, his other brother and sister are affected by it now, both about 7 years now? The ones that died survived for about 10 years with it. My aunt that died had to move into a home the last 3 years. She was non communicative and needed tube feeding. Seeing what my family has gone through, I know what I’m getting us into. I want to take care of him as long as we can.

    9. Unbelievable*

      Thanks all for your recommendations and support. Sorry I didn’t go into more detail earlier about what I’ve tried so far, I was just awake way past bedtime needing to vent. It was too late to text my friends for support with the latest issues (the tires and water leak) :-) – I do see a therapist, you know it’s bad when even she admits there is nothing left to try and she can only say “take care of yourself”. I have friends that have offered to sit with my dad, but he thinks he has no issues and doesn’t like being treated like a “baby” and needs “watching” (he constantly voices his disapproval that he needs me or our family 24/7 and I don’t want to put any of my friends through dealing with that). Tomorrow my friend is taking me to dinner where they have live music, so looking forward to that! I’m grateful my hubby and oldest are all in and so what they can to support me with relief when they are able.

      1. MamaCat*

        It’s all about how you spin it. You have some friends who need company during the day, and would your dad be cool with helping you out? Or is there anything he can “help” a one of those friends with, like gardening or something? Doesn’t matter if he doesn’t end up doing much, as long as he feels helpful.

        1. Thursday Next*

          Or your friend wants to watch X movie (at home or in a theater) and wants someone to watch with them so they’ll have someone to talk about it with.

          Or your friend needs your dad’s opinion on a lasagna they just made.

          Or your friend wants company for a shopping trip to the hardware store/nursery/supermarket.

          Etc. Spin it as your dad helping your friend in some way.

        2. TardyTardis*

          Or you have friends who desperately want to play cards and need someone. I have a son with mental issues, and he was too old for a babysitter, so a friend of mine came over to play video games with him, on the grounds that we had a better set of games than she did, on New Year’s Eve, so we could go out for once. Have the friend come over, start the cards, and then say, ‘hey gotta run to the store, be back in just a bit!’. I know someone who was her husband’s caretaker and came down to the library once every couple of weeks–the only time she could get away–and we were all relieved when she finally outlived him, because the betting was the other way.

    10. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I’m so sorry! Sending happy thoughts and my hope that this all works out soon!

      1. Unbelievable*

        Thank you! My friends Plumber husband came and fixed it for free. We will pay that forward as soon as we can (hubby will take care of the ceiling). Heard from the mortgage reduction program we applied for, they approved it but our mortgage lender would not accept the grant because “we weren’t behind at all” with our payments (this will soon change sadly). And I’m at at the tire place now. Had to get a 6 months no interest CC to pay for it. Usually don’t do CC’s but sometimes you got to do what you got to do to get by. And last but not least this morning my therapist made me realize that I need to take care of myself and give myself a break. And see a dr and get a physical this week (I’m going to do this). So I’m not going to take my dad home this week. He will be mad about this, especially re: his plants that might die, but my therapist said “better dead plants than a sick you”. I’m feeling better although we still have major problems . Why is it things seem worse at night?

        1. Minocho*

          I think it’s because there’s less to distract us from our unsolved problems. It’s when I’m trying to sleep, and I don’t have anything to distract myself with (even if it’s pointless)…so my brain does that stupid thing where it whirs at super sonic speeds, like a hamster on speed on a hamster wheel.

          I’m glad to hear the toilet is handled and the tires are replaced! Small victories, but victories nonetheless! It sounds like, as hard as things are, you have a wonderful and supportive family. I hope things turn up for you soon!

          1. unbelievable*

            yes, small victories are great. I am so grateful for my family and friends, we hold each other up.

    11. Temperance*

      Is your father on Medicaid in addition to Medicare? Is he already in your home?

      If he’s *not* already in your home, you can get more urgent assistance dealing with his needs. The system will push you to take him in/take care of him, but there are resources for elders who don’t have anyone who can provide care.

      I’m thinking of you. This sounds like a really terrible situation.

      1. Unbelievable*

        Thank you, his application for MediCal is in process. We split the month between his home (cancer dr visits and related) and my home. He is with me or my immediate family 24/7.

    12. LilySparrow*

      Hugs & prayers!

      If you haven’t tried calling the United Way at 2-1-1 yet, they can recommend local community/non-profit groups that may be able to help with crisis assistance, respite care, or other practical ways.

    13. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Just want to send an internet hug. I’m mercifully able to work from home 100% of the time right now (husband dying of stage 4 liver cancer – metastasized from elsewhere and probably lots of other places). Not quite the double whammy you have, of the dementia, but my heart goes out to you.
      No good suggestions (I’ve read the threads and there are many sound resources mentioned). Just wanted to let you know that you can spin it – come play checkers Dad, and while you do that with I’m going to the store….
      And yes, we’ve been selling lots that isn’t nailed down. Do what you have to do. Also, do the advanced directive and make sure family members have copies (so they know exactly what will – and won’t- be done). I keep a copy on the frig, in my purse, and on file at every medical facility in the radius. Just was reading ‘how doctors die’ and it is true – we are choosing a simple path. Get his wishes down and shared so you can honor them.

      1. Unbelievable*

        I’m sorry to hear about your husband. I carry my Durable Power of Attorney and Medical POA with me at all times. His geriatric dr, oncologist and his hospitals all have copies. My dad is divorced and I am the only child so I don’t have to worry about others (but also don’t have that support from others :-( )

    14. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

      I don’t know where you are, but definitely reach out to local organizations for assistance. Do NOT be ashamed to use food pantries and other non-profits to help you get by. It is hard to ask for help, but everyone needs it sometimes.

      I would definitely suggest contacting 2-1-1. Also, if you’re willing to share your general area, I am sure people might be able to provide more specific resources to where you are. If not, just search “assistance in *mycity*”. That should give you a good start!

      1. unbelievable*

        thank you for the suggestions. I’ve reached out to so many programs I can’t count. Many we don’t qualify for because my husband has a job so we don’t fall into the income guidelines.

    15. Gaia*

      I don’t know if it has been recommended already, but have you looked into financial assistance for your child’s tuition? There are a lot of grants, scholarships and, as a last resort, loans that can help tide over until things are better. The college should have a Financial Aid office, if your kid (and you if your child is legally “dependent” for financial aid) explain the situation and fill out some paperwork there may be help available. If not, there may be payment plans available.

      1. unbelievable*

        Our only option is Parent Plus loan, which I don’t mind doing, but if we don’t get a payment deferment I don’t know what would happen. We can not afford another monthly payment now unfortunately, we can’t meet our obligations we already have. I have an email with these questions to the school’s FA office.

    16. Saskia*

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I have a suggestion for another book which my family found invaluable when my grandmother developed dementia. Although you don’t have much spare time, maybe other family members might read this and pass on the key ideas to you?

      Contented Dementia by Oliver James.
      You may find the website for Contented Dementia Trust has some useful information too, even though it’s based in the UK.

      1. unbelievable*

        thank you for the book suggestion, I will look into it after I “finish” the 36 hour book. If it’s a small book I will see if a friend can read it for me (my immediate family is swamped)

    17. Unbelievable*

      I’m missing comments so if this pop up and this is a repeat please forgive. I have to sign off in a minute but just wanted to say I’m overwhelmed by the support given here. What a great community! – the ceiling is fixed by a friend (I hope to pay that forward soon), got tires (had to apply for a CC, not CC person but you do what you have to do) amfhad a good therapy session today. I will finish answering replies tonight. I just have to say that I am a PM by trade and my friends say I’m the most resourceful person they know and I have managed large teams, but this is by far the hardest “project” I’ve worked on!

    18. Belle di Vedremo*

      Wow, this is a huge undertaking and I am impressed at all you are managing.
      Glad to hear that your ceiling is taken care of, and that you were able to get tires for immediate transportation safety. Glad you heard your therapist’s admonition to take care of yourself, too.
      Hugs to you and yours as you take this journey. May the resources come together in ways that give you the best long term support.

      1. unbelievable*

        Yes, I made a dr. appointment for tomorrow. And I will take the hugs! Just got feedback from my inquiries, looks like more major roadblocks. But today I am going to keep on truckin’! Thank you!

  2. No Tribble At All*

    Is it socially acceptable to take a nap in a public library? Landlord arranged for some fairly intense maintenance work to be done in our apartment next week on a day I’ll come home from night shift. They’ll be in every room, so I won’t be able to sleep. My plan is to loiter at the library until I get the all-clear. (Good news is I have 3 days off & go back to day shift then, so I won’t be messed up for the next shifts).

    1. Buu*

      Depends on the library? You could also look for a youth hostel in the area. You’d have to pay a few $ ( but often not that much) and you’d have a bed. But I guess there would be less reason for other customers to keep quiet.

    2. Thlayli*

      Can you get your landlord to reschedule or to pay for a hotel? He should have arranged it with you not just landed it on you when you’d already got your schedule planned.

      I suspect you would be kicked out of any library around here if you fell asleep in it.

      1. No Tribble At All*

        I live in an apartment complex, so it cracked me up thinking I could ask them to reschedule. They’re doing it building-by-building, so I have no say in the matter.

        1. TL -*

          Depending on where you live, you might actually have standing to ask him to pay for a hotel. That being said, it might be more trouble than it’s worth.
          Hostels are generally pretty quiet during the day, or your friends might not mind letting you crash. I know I would be okay changing my sheets for a friend, even one that I wasn’t super besties with.

        2. No Tribble At All*

          I can usually stay up til about 2 pm or 3pm when I get off a night shift, so I’m hoping I can keep myself awake reading in the library. But if I haaaaaaappened to fall alseep

          1. Minta*

            People fall asleep in the library all the time. I think you might be able to get at least a little shut-eye if you–like you alluded to–fall asleep accidentally (and look like it was accidental) and don’t look as if you planned it.

            Of course, library personnel aren’t going to allow someone to traipse in with a pillow and blanket. If you’re in a somewhat inconspicuous location, got an open book on your lap, and you happen to be out like a light, they may let it slide for a while.

            I worked 3rd for a while. The sleepiness the next day was intense. It was like a deep hunger.

          2. TardyTardis*

            When I worked at the library, we never bothered people who snoozed–we had three rules for homeless people, ‘don’t smell, don’t bug people, and don’t sit near the kids’ section’. Pick something like the Wall Street Journal to snooze over, hardly anyone manages to make it through that one awake anyway.

    3. Thankful for AAM*

      Depends on the library, at mine we will wake you up and ask you to leave if you keep sleeping. We had a patron almost die when we thought he was sleeping so we wake everyone!

      1. Julianne (also a teacher)*

        This would be my concern as a patron if I saw someone sleeping in the library. It wouldn’t bother me if someone was napping, but I’d worry that they were having a medical emergency (like an opoid overdose) and would inform staff about it so they could check on the person.

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

      Weirdly, this is the one rule my library system strictly enforces. Our peace officers will let patrons have loud cell phone conversations in the readinv rooms, curse at other patrons, eat full meals at the tables…but you can’t fall asleep. Ever. Hopefully your mileage will vary.

    5. SemiRetired*

      Weighing in for the librarians here to say no, you can’t sleep in the library. I’ve never seen a library that didn’t have ‘no sleeping” among its patron conduct rules. Otherwise the only people using the library would be sleeping homeless people. In the situation you describe, you would be one of them. I suggest a friend’s couch or get a hotel room. Or maybe you could sleep at your own workplace. (In case of people wondering other things along these lines, you can’t take a bath in our restrooms, and you can’t drop off your young child unsupervised for hours for us to watch, you can’t take off your shoes (or your shirt or pants)… in short, we’re happy you feel at home in the library but we prefer you to remain aware that you are not at home. (PS this is in regard to public libraries. I recall in college days there were areas you could get away with this in a big academic library, like in a private study carrell. A friend developed what he called the UGLi two-chair method for napping in the undergrad library and I think he always got away with it.)

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

        Oddly, I have zero problem with patrons sleeping. At least they aren’t causing any trouble! But I totally hear you.

        1. BunnyWatsonToo*

          We’d let you sleep in my library, too, unless you’re stretched out on the floor somewhere. A little nap in a chair doesn’t bother us.

      2. OhNo*

        Yeah, every public library system I’ve ever known has had rules against sleeping in the library. How well they’re enforced seems to depend on the size of the homeless population in the area, honestly – the downtown library here is absolutely rigid about that rule, but the suburban locations are more lax.

        If there’s a college close by, though, their libraries tend to be more lax about people napping. If you think you’d be able to pass as a student, you might give that a try.

      3. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

        This is somewhat off topic, but what’s the reason for the shoe thing? All the other things you mentioned make sense because they may cause some kind of harm/problem to someone else, but if someone chooses to walk without shoes in a place where other people wear shoes, I think the only harm comes to themself (as the floor can be dirty, wet, cold etc). But, it’s their feet and their socks so it’s their business. I don’t see any reason to ban it. (Of course it’s a different story if someone wears their wet and dirty outside shoes in a place where people generally take their shoes off!)

        1. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

          It’s liability for us.

          If someone gets injured, we could get sued. And it doesn’t matter if they would win or not, because the legal fees would be expensive. So, we take the necessary precautions.

          Also, you never know if someone has an open wound, and then bleeds or gets body fluids on the floor/furniture, then it’s a bloodborne pathogen cleanup…etc.

      4. Sparrow*

        The academic medical center where I work frequently has students, staff, and sometimes homeless people sleeping in its library. They’ve got some big cushy armchairs that practically invite it. I think the staff have more sympathy for sleeping patrons than at other libraries because they know many are coming off of long shifts or night shifts at demanding jobs.

      5. Ginger ale for all*

        We let students sleep in our academic library. We are so dead right now that I think we might even turn a blind eye to the Marco Polo game in our stacks.

      6. CorruptedbyCoffee*

        This may differ from system to system. I work at a public library and patrons are allowed to sleep, as long as they dont snort. They are also allowed to remove shoes while sitting, as long as they dont smell. Basically, dont bother other people (and dont attempt to cook potatoes in our study rooms) and you’ll be good to go.

    6. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      Depending on the weather where you live, you might be able to sleep outside in a park or something. On an old blanket or even in a tent.

    7. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Do you have a friend whose home you can sleep in? When I lived in NYC, I had a friend come by a couple of times so she could nap between appointments or meetings or whatever because my place was more convenient. I also wouldn’t think twice about letting a friend come in and hang out while I’m at work. That might be your best– and most comfortable– bet.

    8. Justme, The OG*

      Can you reserve a room at the library? When I was in college I would often nap in one of the study rooms.

    9. Denise*

      You’d probably have better luck in a college or university library—just slip into a little study carrel in the stacks somewhere. Students fall asleep in the library ALL THE TIME.

      1. Snazzy Hat*

        Heck, when I was a college student, sometimes I would take naps in the couched sections of the campus libraries.

    10. Chaordic One*

      When I was in a similar situation I ended up sleeping in my car parked in a quiet place with the windows rolled down. (It was in the summertime.) Now that I think about it, I’m not sure it was the safest thing to do.

    11. It’s all good*

      Not a librarian but noticed for the first time when I was at our local one yesterday they had security constantly walking around checking out what people where doing. Based on the bikes and carts outside the entrance there was homeless people inside. I didn’t notice any disruptions nor anyone sleeping. I hope you find somewhere safe to snooze.

    12. Temperance*

      The libraries near me have bans on sleeping because of the homeless issue near us. I wouldn’t do it.

    13. JKP*

      When I worked 3rd shift and my apt complex was doing construction, I talked to the manager and they were able to arrange for me to access the model apartment unit and sleep in the bed there (in a different building) until they finished with my building.

    14. Rachel B.*

      Our libraries do have a number of homeless persons who occupy seats there regularly. (USA, far south geographically.) I have never noticed any conflict, though I do notice that there is a courteous not-using-too-much-space on the side of the presumed homeless persons, and a correspondingly courteous non-harassment of the persons staying all day on the side of the librarians. Some of the patrons appear to be dozing, though I couldn’t say how restful the sleep is.

      The homeless, and other persons who aren’t in control of their home space (students?), really DO need a cool indoor place to be during the daylight high-heat hours. A/C is not a luxury here; people can and do die.

      I’d say, go for it. I wish you luck!

    15. LadyCop*

      I would say in a public library (vs say a student at their college library) no. And honestly, even if it is…that doesn’t mean they can’t/won’t ask you to not sleep there or leave.

      Not that anyone would assume you’re homeless or something…but I’d be lying if I said it never happened.

    16. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      I think you might need a longer nap than you can get in the library, but I for one have had multiple naps in public and university libraries in three countries! Usually I put my head down on a table on top of my book/notebook, or else “accidentally” fall asleep in the comfy reading chairs.

      YMMV with your library, of course…

    17. MatKnifeNinja*

      My library has such a problem with the local homeless population, the minute the security guard sees you actively sleeping, you get woken up and told 1) wake up and do something or 2) leave.

      Depends on your library. I used to sleep in the study cubes in the university library and no one hassled me.

    18. Lilivati*

      I worked in a library for years. Many have a reading room or a magazine/newspaper room. Staff didn’t even go back there except at open and close, or if it was an incredibly slow day. And we wouldn’t have minded if we found someone sleeping. (That said, some libraries have a real “issue”- that is, perceived politically as an issue- with homeless using them for the same purpose, and may have stricter policies.)

    19. Belle di Vedremo*

      Sorry, but no. I’d ask the landlord to help with finding you an alternative for the day, or subsidizing a hotel room. Good luck. Hope that the maintenance work provides nice upgrades for you.

  3. Julia*

    Ugh, after walking on an intermittently painful ankle for a year, I finally went to see a doctor and am… not happy. The x-rays didn’t show anything, so he did a blood test and may order an MRI depending on the results.
    When I asked about the next appointment, a nurse who hadn’t even been in the room came to tell me that I needed to think about “living with the pain” and “stopping things that made it hurt” – like walking? How could she tell me to “live with the pain” if the doctor hadn’t even found out what it was or if it could be cured? And my husband just stood there and let her talk in that super condescending way (this is Japan, his home country)…

      1. Julia*

        Thank you! I asked her how she expected me to live my life, which caused quite a scene because Japanese clinics have zero privacy, but oh well, not my problem.

        1. Belle di Vedremo*

          Excellent question for the nurse, good for you. You *have* been living with the pain, so you’re ahead of her on multiple fronts. Hope you get better care from others.

          1. Julia*

            Thank you! I guess it made me pretty angry how condescending she was when, as you say, I *have* been living with the pain and came there because I didn’t want to do that anymore.

    1. Triplestep*

      Had you sprained it? Sprains take a lot longer to heal that many people realize; often people will re-sprain after putting weight on it too soon after the initial sprain, and then repeat the pattern. Could this have happened to you?

      I’m sorry the nurse was so obnoxious!

      1. Julia*

        I really don’t know, the pain started suddenly last year. I am prone to ankle injuries, but this time have no recollection of anything that could have hurt it.
        Thank you, though! I feel much better with everyone telling me that nurse was in the wrong.

        1. Middle School Teacher*

          I hate that. I’m rehabbing a hip flexor injury and I have no idea how it happened either. Could have been in a car accident in 2016? Could have been in yoga? It’s a mystery, but it sure hurts. It’s annoying when something just suddenly hurts.

    2. Alston*

      Do you have supportive shoes? I had intermittent ankle pain for years. Sprained an ankle badly. Doctor made me start wearing better shoes instead of cute flats. Holy cow. Who knew I needed arch support. My feet feel better, ankles too. I ended dup with some Reef Shoes and they changed my life.

      Hope you feel better!

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        Hopefully, this is the kind of advice the doctor can give, once Julia gets past the obnoxious nurse.

        Hope you feel better soon!

        1. Julia*

          Thank you both! I do think my shoes may be a problem, but yeah, I’ll wait for a specialist to tell me how exactly to fix them. Maybe inlays could work, my mother has them.

          1. Bobbin Ufgood*

            supportive insoles can be a solution for many types of ankle pain. If your ankles roll in (pronate) there are even some over-the-counter ones you can try until you meet with the doctor. Best of luck! at least wear supportive shoes in the meantime!

            1. Bobbin Ufgood*

              mine roll the other way (out/ “under-pronate”) and now that I’m middle aged I have started having ankle/inside-my-foot pain and needed to get custom inserts (they don’t make over-the-counter ones if your feet roll out because that’s not as common). The inserts (and switching to Birkenstocks for supportive shoes from the unsupported flats I was wearing) along with adding in some ankle stretches essentially fixed my pain

          2. Minocho*

            I found buying clothes in Japan to be so difficult. I ended up having to wear men’s shoes, or ship things from the US.

    3. Queenie*

      That’s pretty messed up, and it’s even worse that it’s coming from a nurse. Nurses (and other health care professionals) are there to help you figure out what the problem is and fix it. It’s their job! Why on earth would she tell you to just live with it and essentially tell you to restrict your life around not using your ankle?

      1. Julia*

        Thank you! I’m used to little empathy from health care providers (it’s no joke that on average, women need to wait nine years for an endometriosis diagnosis), but still! The results weren’t even there yet! And it’s my freaking foot, how am I supposed to get anywhere like work??

    4. Corky's Wife Bonnie*

      You may have a tendon or ligament problem, which is worse than a break. Hang in there, and go see an orthopedist. In the meantime, try and get a brace or air cast to keep it stable. Good luck!

      1. Julia*

        I suspect the same. The orthopedist I saw may order an MRI if the blood test doesn’t show results for arthritis or whatever he suspected, but no one gave me anything more supportive than an ankle band. Health care in Japan is cheap, but it’s also pretty quick-I-have-more-patients and often, the doctors don’t really listen. I might try another doc when I go back to Europe next month.

        Thank you for your encouragement!

    5. It’s all good*

      I had a fracture at the top of my foot and it was painful! My podiatrist said if I didn’t wear a boot for a year, it would not get fully healed. I only wore it for about a month. About once a year I will reinjure it and the boot comes out. – I hope you figure out soon what your issue is so you can get relief.

      1. It’s all good*

        And the fracture was so small it didn’t show up on any test. He diagnosed by using a tuning fork! He said it is what they used before X-rays and scans lol.

        1. Julia*

          O_O I don’t think I did anything to fracture my foot, and it does seem like a tendon or ligament issue to me, but I’ll keep your story in mind. Are you better now??

          1. Bibliovore*

            If it is a tendon or ligament/ sprain. Ice. Elevating. And I know this sounds nuts but it worked for me. Hiking boots for all walking. My orthopedic specialist prefers these to braces. You can get light weight ones.

            1. Julia*

              Ice hasn’t helped so far, and I’m afraid that after a year, probably won’t suddenly start helping. (Or can it?)
              I don’t think I can wear boots in this weather unless I absolutely have to.

              1. Rainy*

                I have a persistent ankle injury (I really should go to the doctor, but my suspicion is they’ll just tell me to treat the symptoms and “stay off it”–I walk and bike everywhere, like THAT’S gonna happen) and I got a couple of sets of compression sleeves on Amazon for my ankles and they are just amazing. I wear them whenever I’m going to be walking a bunch or when the weather makes my joints act up. They might at least help address the symptoms while you figure out what’s up.

                1. Julia*

                  Thank you!
                  I actually have some sort of bandage thing and also had a compression sleeve, but somehow the pain gets worse with them on? I’m afraid this really is a case for a thorough examination by a doctor.
                  I hope your ankle gets better, too! It really sucks when you can’t live your life the way you need to – there’s no not using your feet, after all!

    6. Kathenus*

      My brother had a recurring foot/ankle issue and it turned out to be a stress fracture and gout. I don’t know much about gout, but tossing it out in case it’s something they didn’t think to check for. And I know a few people, including my brother, who got stress or hairline fractures without any known injury. Good luck!

        1. WS*

          You’re unlikely to have gout if you’re a woman under 55 without a strong family history of it, and not an alcoholic or someone who eats a lot of organ meats regularly.

      1. Julia*

        I’ve been in Japan for a pretty long time, and even here, people expect doctors to help them with the issues we pay them for before giving up. My Japanese (female) friends complain about doctors dismissing them just as much as my German friends, so it’s not an acceptable Japanese thing, just a bad doctor thing.

    7. Gaia*

      That is so rude! And unacceptable from a medical professional. Telling someone to just “live with pain” everytime they walk is ridiculous ESPECIALLY when it isn’t yet known what caused the pain.

      1. Julia*

        Thank you! I was really surprised when she suddenly started lecturing me like that, when all I wanted was to know when the results would be in. I guess bad medical personnel exists in every country…

    8. Star Nursery*

      The nurse was rude and wrong. It’s l almost like she was shaming you for looking for a medical answer for your pain and for wanting relief from the pain. What’s with her? Anyways, it’s not just you, those comments would have irked me a lot!

      I have one flat foot and one with an arch. The flat foot/ankle hurts or aches most off the time (at a tolerable low pain level) and then occasionally it’s at a higher pain level at times. If I go hiking or wear the wrong shoes is worse. I have been prone to twisting my ankle because I wear one pair of shoes but my feet are also not the same size. I’m not going to be able to afford to buy two pairs of shoes at two sizes every time. The flat foot is longer due to no arch.(Which makes it 2.5 shoe sizes bigger than my arched foot). Lol

      Not sure if any of this helps for your situation but I would try shoes with good support and keep seeing a doctor to find out what is causing your pain. Don’t listen to Grumpy nurse. If you need something summer wear, Teva has sporty casual sandals- might be a little pricey, but very stable, supportive and comfortable! I love mine. Not sure supportive dressy sandals/shoes but I’m sure that someone must sell them.

      1. Julia*

        Thank you for your comment!

        Weird, my “problem” foot is also the bigger one, although I’d say the difference is pretty minimal. And my pain is very similar to what you describe, mostly tolerable, but sometimes much worse.

        Not sure I can get Teva here (or about supportive shoes in Japan in general), but once I’m back in Germany, there’s a booming market for supportive shoes waiting for me lol. And hopefully a better doctor…

    9. Minocho*

      Oh, god, Japanese doctors. Such horrible experiences.

      If I were in the United States, I could have sues for soooo much money. As a gaijin woman in Japan? ::snort:: No chance.

      Let’s just say that the female nurses restrained me physically and stripped me to allow the doctor to do what he wanted. In front of a female coworker who accompanied me to help with translation. The only response? The female coworker said “That wasn’t right.” after we left.

      He was the only English speaking doctor in the area. Every time I had to get medical care after that, I specifically wore difficult to remove clothing. I did have to fight off the nurses trying to restrain me again, but as I’m large, and I was thereafter prepared, they weren’t willing to force the issue with an altercation.

      I found out later from other gaijin women that he did the same with them, so I made sure to warn the community at large about him before I came back to the States.

      Freezing when shocked and scared sucks.

  4. Not So NewReader*

    This is kind of a work question, I posted yesterday but I was late. I am hoping the question is general enough that it is okay for today. If you have to delete it, Alison, I understand.

    A friend has a Flicker account that she needs to transfer to someone else. There is a huge amount of work to do to replace the account, if we had to go that route. Flicker won’t let her change the account over to someone else.
    Has anyone had any good luck trying to do this?

    1. Buu*

      Just give them the log in and they should be able to rename it. Or is it synced to something else like a yahoo account?

      1. Not So NewReader*

        It’s synced to a Yahoo account. Soo… set up a new yahoo account? Which I think has been tried and it would not go. sigh.

        1. Buu*

          You’d probably have to give up the yahoo account along with it. I had flickr lock me out of mine as my yahoo account was tied with my ISP. When the ISP ditched yahoo they shut all the accounts with no warning ;/

          1. Jules the 3rd*

            wow. That is not good.

            I think your friend needs to find a long-term solution, such as a work-controlled email account that can be handed down easily.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            Holy crap. Oh noooo.
            This is much more serious than I thought.

            It looks like all that work will just need to be redone and the flickr account just gets abandoned. It’s not worth the chain effect of having other accounts shut down also.

            Thank you to both of you for answering here.

    2. CAA*

      Is it urgent, or can you wait a while? Verizon/Yahoo just recently sold Flickr, so even though they say nothing will change, it seems likely that they will eventually decouple the login from Yahoo.

      If you can’t wait, then I believe the only solution is to download all the content from the account and upload it to a new account, which is hopefully a generic one that can be passed around, and not somebody’s personal Yahoo email address.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        The longest that it can go is just under two weeks. So I am thinking that is not long enough?

        Thanks for answering here!

    3. Manderley*

      Look into adding another email inside Flickr’s user settings, make that one the primary email, then delete the friend’s email. I’m unsure about changing names, urls, etc but you should be able to change the login to another Yahoo address.

      They were recently purchased by Smugmug (if I recall correctly) so hopefully the yahoo login requirement will go away soon. Good luck!

  5. TL -*

    I’m studying abroad in New Zealand and while I was at the uni’s international food festival, I met someone from Texas, which is my home state. Asked where she was from and she said the town my parents work in! (About 15 minutes from my hometown.)

    I have never met anyone from that area and I’ve only met about 5 people who know where that particular town is – they were all either truck drivers or Navy. I am beyond flabbergasted but incredibly psyched! I’m hoping we can talk a bit about being from the Rio Grande Valley and living in a totally different place now.

    1. Jules the 3rd*

      It’s a small world in a lot of ways. Some friends of mine were bumped off a flight, Paris -> US. They joked about playing a card game (Spades) all night, ‘like high school again’. Another bumped couple overheard, said, ‘we did that too!’ Turns out, they’re all from the same residential high school, a few years apart – I knew both couples.

      They spent the night at the airport playing Spades.

    2. Foreign Octopus*

      The world is a surprisingly small place.

      Ibn Battutah, a Moroccan traveler in the 14th century, once came across someone in a rural town in China who grew up in the town closest to his in Morocco. I remember reading that and thinking that no matter how far you go, there’s always someone you know just around the corner.

      1. TardyTardis*

        My husband is forever running into former students all over the country, just about. Up at Oregon Health & Sciences when he was getting a scan for lymphoma, the tech was one of his chemistry students.

    3. the gold digger*

      The summer before I started grad school, I quit my job in July and drove from Texas to Seattle, stopping along the way.

      I was in the Seattle Space Needle and thought, “Man. That guy sure looks like my high-school boyfriend.”

      I went to high school in the Panama Canal Zone and it had been ten years since I had seen the guy. We had not kept in touch.

      I kept looking and thought, “JUST like him.”

      So I said hi. And it was he, now a pilot and stationed somewhere around there. With his parents, who were visiting him from Austin. Which was where I lived.

      They took me out to dinner and we had a lovely time.

      (We lost touch again, but then found each other on FB a few years ago, which was when he told me he was gay, which explained why he had never wanted to kiss me in high school, which was so much better than the explanation I had formed for myself, which was I was so unattractive that even my own boyfriend didn’t want to touch me.)

    4. Red Reader*

      I once met someone on a remote hilltop in Ireland – like, we had to hike across a cow pasture to get there levels of off the beaten path – who recognized me from my Livejournal userpic. I lived in Seattle at the time, she lived in Michigan where I grew up, and we had mutual friends. So imagine my surprise when someone hollers – not my actual name, but my LJ username – at me across the hill.

      1. Woodswoman*

        That is amazing. Years ago, my boyfriend and I lived in California and did a long road trip around the western US and Canada. Three times in remote locations, we ran into someone he knew–in the woods outside a tiny town in British Columbia, on a backpacking trip on Vancouver Island, and taking our boat of the river at the end of a rafting trip in Utah.

        1. Rainy*

          My bff and I were lurking round the back way into the V&A in London once waiting for the doors to open and avoiding the line at the front and ran into one of our professors, also waiting to go in. Our discipline isn’t decorative arts and design, and the V&A anyway is far too late for us, so it wouldn’t be a natural stopping point, and all three of us were living in British Columbia at the time. It was extremely amusing.

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      I’ve shared this here before, but we were on top of the Aguille du Midi in the French Alps, waiting to go out on the glass-bottom observation deck, and discovered we were behind a kid from my son’s school (and grade) at home in New England.

    6. An Elephant Never Baguettes*

      I LOVE how small the world can be!

      On the flight from Frankfurt to New York at the start of my high school year in the US I was seated next to a lovely older American couple who asked me where exactly I was going – and it turned out the husband had grown up in the city which would be my home for the next year, Roswell, GA! He promptly corrected my pronunciation because I had been saying Rose-well.

    7. Jaid_Diah*

      I was on my way home from a conference in Texas when I encountered my girlfriend’s cousin at the airport. We got to hang out while waiting for the same flight home.

    8. EvilQueenRegina*

      I had a friend in my halls of residence who lived about 5 miles away from where my mum grew up. And this is a tiny village that most people never heard of, yet he had.

      A few years later another guy from our hall also moved there.

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        On a similar note, in my last year at uni I lived in a houseshare with a guy whose mum had gone to school with my mum. We didn’t find out until our graduation when my mum saw my housemate’s name in the programme.

    9. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      I have two, both involving my partner’s friends.

      Our first flat in London overlooked a high street and one day he was getting some milk out of the fridge and happend to look down on the sidewalk and recognized a girl he went to elementary school with (in a very small village of a few hundred in rural Sweden) – turns out she lived three streets over from us.

      At the 2006 World Cup we traveled around Germany and our final stop was Munich. Took the subway somewhere and I happened to turn around on the escalator and recognized, about halfway down, someone who looked very much like a person I had seen in many of partner’s photos from university. It was a close friend of his he had gone to high school with who we had no idea was also in Germany at the time. We took a picture at the top of the escalator :) and I believe that was the last time anyone has seen Anton (hes off working in South America somewhere as a human shield or something)

    10. Woodswoman*

      When I was in college in Michigan, I once introduced my college friend to a friend from high school. Years later, they ended up at the same hostel in China and mailed me a postcard.

      A couple years ago, I went on a spring camping trip in Death Valley National Park. My cousin in Minnesota had friends who were also planning a trip there, so she showed them a photo of me from my blog in case they ran into me. The park is more than 5,000 square miles. After I parked my car by the side of the road one day, I heard someone call my name. Sure enough, it was that couple. The husband told me about another connection. Years before he met his wife (my cousin’s friend), he had a professor in college who turned out to be my uncle, my cousin’s dad. You can’t make this stuff up.

    11. Aardvark*

      I once ran into an ex boyfriend in a Dennys on the California/Arizona border. (This is less coincidental than it sounds, because he was driving to school early and a friend and I were heading from school to pick up a mutual friend from his hometown, but still!)
      I was also involved with a (different) guy who was from small town X. I was chatting with my mom a little while after he and I got together, and told her where he was from. She started laughing, because about 2 weeks before I started dating the guy, my aunt and uncle had moved to that same town!

    12. Bigglesworth*

      That’s so cool! I studied abroad in Austria and met a couple who were from the town in Oklahoma were my parents were living at the time. Small small world!

      Out of curiosity, what are you studying in NZ?

    13. Kim, Ranavain*

      Ooooh, I love these. I live in DC but am from Idaho, and am usually the first Idahoan any given person here has met. The exceptions? Mormon Missionaries, who are very often from Idaho or Utah, or if they’re not, they always seem to have family in SE Idaho and have actually heard of my hometown.

      But my favorite story like this is when, at an old job (in DC), we hired an intern who had been roommates with a friend of mine from junior high (in Idaho) when they were both living abroad (in Chile).

    14. Windchime*

      I once got stuck in the airport in Boston, trying to get back to Seattle. The plane was delayed, and as I cooled my heels, I saw a guy across the gate waiting area that looked like my old neighbor from my home town. Sure enough, it was him. He was in Boston trying to get back to our home town (which he had to get to via Seattle). We had lived 4 houses apart in my old town.

  6. Sled dog mama*

    So my girl had her surgery Thursday, she’s doing well, sore and unhappy about being a cone head for a few days but otherwise doing well. We won’t get the pathology back until sometime next week but the vet said that she’s really thinking it’s benign since the mass wasn’t adhering to anything.
    Girl was hilarious when hubby went to pick her up Thursday evening. She refused to leave the vet’s office. Apparently they had made her so comfortable that she was refusing to even leave her crate. Hubby tried to coax her out of the crate and she looked at him, gave him the “Nope” look and snuggled back into her blankets. So she got to spend the night at the vet’s office.
    Right now she’s stretched out in front of her fan sound asleep and twitching, I got up at my normal time to walk her and couldn’t bear to wake her up.

    1. Gaia*

      Oh I’m so glad she’s doing well and I’m sending good vibes for great results on the mass!

    2. Anne (with an “e”)*

      I’m so glad she’s doing well. I’m also glad that she was so comfortable at the vet’s. My Puggie always wants to leave the vet’s as soon as he arrives.

  7. AlligatorSky*

    I saw the new Purge movie last night and it got me thinking. If the Purge was real, would you take part in it?

    I’d like to think I would, but knowing me, I’d probably go outside and kick a bin over, before going back inside. That would be enough madness for me.

          1. Dopameanie*

            So. I was in the armed forces, helping America dig a big ol’ hole in the desert and fill it up with money and blood. We needed to convoy to a different base. We were, however, totally out of oil for our vehicles. For the record: I NEVER changed the oil in any military vehicle overseas. Because they all leaked like a sieve. It was like they were constantly being flushed. ANYWAY. We can’t go anywhere until we are supplied with more oil. So we go to the local transportation unit on base and ask nicely. No dice. They are low too. Stuck.

            A HEIST IS BORN!

          2. Dopameanie*

            So I need you guys to understand: I am a lady-person. The ratio is roughly 1 female to 20 males on most military bases whilst deployed. I am a YOUNG THIN lady person. I was…noticed easily. So. I am presented with a voluntary mission. I will be disavowed if caught. Imma steal all their oil. And their transmission fluid, since…yknow….in for a penny in for a pound.

          3. Dopameanie*

            So we change my name tapes, my unit patches, my rank, I find makeup, we can’t find lipstick so I use the red kool-aid powder from an old MRE as a lip stain, grab the biggest assault pack my unit can find, and go find my patsy.

            I adopted the blank wide-eyes gullible stare that certain young women adopt when they think men are repulsed by intelligence. And I chatted up this guy who was left behind as the rest of his unit went on whatever transport mission. I listened to him brag about how good a shot he was, how much he could bench press, how good he was at…something, I don’t remember. I stared with rapt admiration as he talked about what it was like outside “the wire”. Why, I could NEVER! I would be TOO SCARED! (I was outside the wire 3x a week) I mentioned that it was SOOOOOO hot, do you have a fridge with cold water? Mine is hot :’( GOSH it is craaaazy hot isn’t it?! (It actually was. Deserts kinda blow you guys) and then POWER MOVE: I let my hair down and shook it out.

          4. Dopameanie*

            So, you know how, in the movies, the girl does something hot in slow motion and all the guys’ jaws drop? I always rolled my eyes at that. But….that one time? It was EXACTLY LIKE THAT. So he scurried off to find me some cold water and I am STUFFING this assault pack as fast as I can as soon as he can’t see me. I took literally every. Last. Quart. I fill it up until I can barely zip it back up and hoist it back on my shoulders as this guy comes back, out of breath (really guy?) asking me about what unit I’m with. I make some lame excuse I don’t actually remember now and SPEED WALK back to my unit, the triumphant hero. I had to have chow delivered to me until we left, because ol boy was LOOKING for me after that. But you know what?

            Worth it.

            Post script: my platoon called me ‘honeypot’ for, like, a solid 2 months after that.

              1. Dopameanie*

                It is not my favorite or best service-connected story, but it is easily top 20.

                The military has a saying: there is only one thief in the entirety of the armed forces. Everyone else is just trying to get his **** back.
                (This saying is wildly untrue, but I <3 it anyways)

    1. Loopy*

      I’m only vaguely familiar with the concept of those movies and I can say with confidence I would hide in my house and want zero part of it. Heck, I don’t even go out on holidays. The traffic! The drunk people! The noise!

      *least interesting answer*

      1. nep*

        Me. Home, home, home. I would absolutely definitely hide in the house. (Same as you on holidays–why oh why would I want to go out there and deal with all that.)

      2. The Original K.*

        I would barricade myself in my home with my laptop and hack and steal a bunch of money. (I’d have to learn how to do that first.) I never understood why the emphasis is always on violent crime in those movies – aren’t there people who, like, want to steal a Lamborghini and go joy-riding?

        After I stole a bunch of money and paid my debt and bought the stuff I wanted to buy and socked away a healthy amount, I’d bow out and spend every subsequent Purge Day abroad.

        1. Anonymosity*

          I’d probably do this or something like it.

          We did a heist in college–we sneaked out one night and stole all these real estate signs out of yards– we were going to put them in someone’s dorm room. I don’t know if that ever happened. We also grabbed potted plants at Walmart and ran. It was so stupid and we nearly got busted while nicking the signs. I don’t think I want to be a looter.

          If I had the wherewithal and the resources, I’d overthrow the government that night and fix everything.

          1. Bigglesworth*

            There’s actually a plant nursery near me that recently lost over $3,000 in stolen plants and gardening goods last week (3 separate heists). As a gardener, I felt so bad for them.

            1. Anonymosity*

              The difference between being a kid and being a grown-up. I feel pretty bad about what we did and that was years and years ago.

    2. PB*

      Oh, heck no. The only “purge” I’d want to take any part of would involve large boxes of donations to Goodwill.

    3. Lcsa99*

      I appear to live under a rock because I had never heard of these films, but I just looked up the synopsis on wiki and … yeah, no. I think I will happily stay under my rock. I can’t think of any crimes I would want to do except maybe graffiti some signs that we’ve joked about changing, and I wouldn’t want to do that badly enough to go out in government sanctioned anarchy and rioting. No thanks!

      1. the gold digger*

        I want to zap the people who wait until the last second to change lanes. Or who tailgate me when I am GOING THE SPEED LIMIT on the local road where there are always cops. Or who don’t leave enough room for another car to park when they could.

        So yeah – I want to have absolute power of life and death over everyone else. I promise I would use my power for good.

        1. nep*

          AND changing lanes without using the blinker, or flicking on the blinker after changing lanes at the last minute. I invariably yell out in the car: ‘There’s this nifty thing called the blinker, people. It’s how we communicate here!’
          SO often I get people tailgating me on local streets where cops often hover. I just take my time (even, sometimes, slow down ever so slightly). Betcha y’ain’t gonna pay my speeding ticket, are ya, man? So chill out.

      2. TardyTardis*

        Our block would all hang out with each other and sell drugs to everyone, while the people with guns would make sure things went smoothly and everyone got their fair cut. (and I know who does that already, but they really are great neighbors, I just don’t bug them on Saturday nights).

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

      Hard no. I’d be hiding under the bed at home for those twelve hours.

    5. The Other Dawn*

      Since I hadn’t seen the previews (big DVR user here), I just watched the trailer. Hmm. I believe I would, although it wouldn’t be anything to physically harm other people. I can see myself doing things like stealing and vandalizing things. However. I’d be petrified of being hurt or killed, which would very likely cause me to hide in my basement. Since I’d have to leave my basement to steal and vandalize, I’m guessing a Purge would be a bust for me.

    6. Foreign Octopus*

      I would steal a large truck and raid the nearest book shop. I would make sure to do it early in the night so that I’m lost in the confusion but that’s what I’d do. I’d also make sure it was a corporate book shop and not one of the independent ones.

      I’d probably also grab a pizza on the way as well.

    7. Mimmy*

      Had to look this up and…. noooooooo thank you!! lol. As much as I’d love to let off some steam or grab merchandise I want from time to time, I’d be hiding in my closet instead.

        1. Temperance*

          Okay I realize that we’re talking about a hypothetical crime spree, and I just said that I’d burn down my neighbor’s yard and shed, but stealing from a LIBRARY is a step too far. lol

          1. Mimmy*

            Ha! Actually, I’d more likely steal from my university’s library – I am a huge nerd and could probably spend hours just perusing texts and other books in my areas of interest.

            1. Chaordic One*

              With my luck, I’d end up like that character played by Burgess Meredith in the classic “Twilight Zone” episode, “Time Enough at Last.”

                1. TardyTardis*

                  But he lived right next to a sporting goods shop–he probably could have found some safety lenses that would have worked for him (if only an adapted telescope).

        2. chi type*

          You guys know everything at the library is already free right? No dystopian scenario required!!

    8. Alex the Alchemist*

      I’d probably just go to Sephora and take a bunch of makeup that I wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. I’d also go around stealing animals from abusers/puppy mills and finding them loving homes.

    9. Temperance*

      Honestly, probably. I’d probably do something boring like loot a Best Buy, though.

      Or light the neighbor’s lawn and shed on fire, because that jerk “likes” the invasive bamboo that he’s been growing, not caring that it’s an invasive species and is infecting all of our yards …

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I have seen bamboo push right up through several inches of black top parking lot. It was quite a few feet away from the main group of bamboo plants. It’s almost scary to see.

        1. Temperance*

          It’s horrible! We paid to have a backhoe dig out the roots from our yard last year and put in a physical barrier to keep them out, and the jerk who likes the “privacy” of it has become our mutual enemy.

    10. RestlessRenegade*

      I’ve thought about this a lot because I saw the first Purge film in theaters and I loved the concept (but I didn’t care much for the first movie and I’ve heard the others are all even worse.) It drives me crazy how much potential the concept has and how disappointing the films are!

      The thing is, even if hypothetically I wanted to, say, go to all the pet stores in town and free the animals, or steal a lifetime’s supply of Hersey’s kisses, you’d have to contend with the super expensive and maxed out security systems that most stores would have. Ditto for any people that you have a grudge against. So, assuming that I could afford a modest security system myself, if I were to ever participate, the only thing I would try is stealing an older, less-desirable car and crashing it on purpose. I hate the idea of stealing anyone’s car, so maybe I could find an abandoned car or maybe I could even buy a cheap one off Craigslist first. I have a lot of anxiety about driving so crashing a car on purpose (safely) sounds like a huge thrill ride.

      1. Anonymosity*

        Well, if they let people do whatever that night with no consequences, then you could just physically break in. No need to circumvent alarms.

        However, you’re right about the grudges—what if someone had a grudge against YOU? And they used that night to come after you? Though you could probably defend yourself mightily with no repercussions.

        1. RestlessRenegade*

          Exactly! I would probably just hole up for the night. I guess my thought on ransacking was that Target would be able to afford better security than I would be able to afford ways to penetrate that security…and heck, it would be a bad PR move, but they could just hire a force of armed guard to keep people out of the stores. I feel like most business won’t just be like, “Oh well, we have Purge Insurance, let them take whatever they want!” Having said that, being a Purge Insurance broker would be the best option!

    11. Marion Ravenwood*

      I’d like to say yes but it would be something small, like the book shop robbery as mentioned above. However, I think I’d actually just lock myself (and my husband and cats) in the house, turn off all the lights and wait for it to pass – I’d be too afraid of getting caught up in it if I went outside.

    12. Nash*

      All “crime” is legal? I’d erase the records for as much student and medical debt in the US as I and my coterie of amazing hackers could.

    13. gmg22*

      Um, wow. Did I watch a different version of one of these films than everyone else did? I get that it’s fun to think about going off the chain a bit, playing Robin Hood, etc. But I definitely didn’t get the impression that theft, robbery, or even vandalism were things most of the Purger characters wasted a whole lot of their time doing — except when they could multitask while they were spending 12 hours killing every defenseless person they could find in the most gruesome ways they could think of just for kicks. Funhouse horror stuff, like a peek down an alley where people were being guillotined. There is also a definite undertone/message/critique by the filmmakers about the poor and minorities being subject to this (or basically that they have been turned on each other in a fight to the death) while the wealthy can afford security or to leave the country during the Purge day.

      Hard pass on that. But since we seem to be talking about a fantasy Purge that doesn’t bear any resemblance to the one in the films, I’ll ride along if I can get a no-homicide guarantee! Let’s steal all Elon Musk’s cars and make him cry. ;-)

      1. TardyTardis*

        Except that Musk probably has trackers in all of them, and will come to collect them the next day. (sighs)

    1. Kuododi*

      Reminds me of a toddler saying “Look at me Mommy!!!”….. with her best wide eyed innocent expression yet reigning down chaos in her wake!!!

  8. Loopy*

    Dental questions!!!

    A while back I switched to an electric toothbrush (I think I asked for advice here actually!) and I LOVE it! I’m thinking of a waterpik as my next step- I’m awful at flossing but really want to kick that bad habit.

    Then on an episode of the new Queer Eye on Netflix I saw one of the people using one and it looked kind of messy and awkward. Anyone here have one? Can it be done without getting water everywhere? Is it as effective as flossing?

    I also tried crest white strips and my first go round didn’t work at all, I’m bummed but it was the express box of four 1 hour treatments. Has anyone had better luck with the longer 14 day treatment?

    1. Cristina in England*

      I used to have a regular corded water flosser and I don’t remember it being messy, though, You can now get a cordless waterpik (don’t know if it’s that brand or a sonicare/OralB). You can use it in the shower, keeping any errant water from becoming a problem.

    2. Lcsa99*

      As a kid, I had one of those corded ones with like a well that you filled with water, and as an adult for about five minutes I had one that you hooked up to the faucet, and both were messy. I can’t imagine how you could get one that’s NOT messy. It’s high pressure water you’re spraying into your mouth. Its gotta go somewhere! Using it in the shower like suggested above is the only way that I can think of to avoid that.

    3. shawtydubs*

      I had a waterpik and I found it a pain more than anything. And I don’t know if it worked well enough for the effort. I eventually got rid of it and switched to using floss piks. Have you tried those? It makes flossing so much easier! I’ve tried a few different brands and the only brand I like is Plackers. You can get them on Amazon if you can’t find them in the store.

      1. Merci Dee*

        Second the Plackers suggestion. I have teeth that are ridiculously close together, and Plackers are the only flossers I can use without shredding the floss. The mint-flavored ones are very nice for a mid-day breath freshening if you can’t brush for some reason. Two thumbs up!

    4. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      I have a Waterpik and I love it. The water does come back out of your mouth but I can purse my lips somewhat and it all goes into the bowl of a standard bathroom sink. The first couple times I did get some water around the sink but it’s not really that bad.

      I find it removes particles in the back of your mouth (my molars are partially erupted so hard to floss) very well. And my last dental appointment I was told I had problem spots in my gums (receding and inflammation) and my gum scores all improved using this.

      1. Dr. Vanessa Poseidon*

        Seconding this. I use the same technique and once you get the hang of it, the only real mess is a bit of residual spray around the sink. Also, just shut the waterpik off when switching from one side of your mouth to the other.

        Whether it’s worth it really depends on you and your teeth. My molars are fairly crowded, and using regular floss, an electric toothbrush, and mouthwash still wasn’t enough to really keep my gums healthy; adding the waterpik has definitely been an improvement. Plus, you kinda get addicted to seeing all the food particles that get stuck in the back of your mouth.

    5. Ricky*

      So, I’ve had similar problems. After talking with my dentist I seem to be SOL in regards to whitening – mine seems to be based on demineralization, so whitening anything won’t work. Definitely something to talk with a pro about, if you haven’t already.

      As for flossing, I’ve tried the waterpik and it was pretty so so. The best thing, for me, was putting a bag of those little floss pick things in my car. Making it really really easy is the best thing for me so far.

    6. Queenie*

      I used the white strip 14 day treatment immediately after getting my braces removed as a teen. It was a while ago, but I remember being happy with the results. Kept them in for the half hour while I was showering, getting dressed, drying my hair, etc. so I wouldn’t be moving my mouth much. I think it would have been harder to keep them in my mouth for a whole hour.

    7. I'm A Little Teapot*

      I have a waterpik, and while there’s is some spray, it’s not too bad. Lean down really close to the sink and most of the water will land in the sink. Then just quickly wipe down the counter. If your bathroom is anything like mine, it always needs a quick wipe, so not too bad!

      1. Star Nursery*

        I have a waterproof and I do this too. It took me a little while to get the hang of it and I think at first I got too much water spraying everywhere but I’ve got it down to a method now and it works great!

        Sometimes I floss first and then use the water pik. I’ve tried in both order to see whether there is more food bits still to come out of my mouth or if either one will get everything. I have one molar in the back that food tends to get stuck in a hole and flossing doesn’t get it out

        Make sure you have the pik in your mouth and that you are leaning over the sink with mouth facing to the sink before you turn it on! I lean over the sink kind of shape lips and let the water and food bits out into the sink.

        I think that it’s possible the actors in the show hadn’t used one before.

    8. msroboto*

      I use a waterpik I don’t find it messy. I did find a youtube video by a dentist that showed how to use it properly and I think that helped.

    9. brushandfloss*

      IMO water flossing is not as effective as regular flossing but if you’re not going to floss at all, it’s better than not doing anything. There is a bit of a learning curve but a lot of many patients like using it. I’ve been told by many people the cordless models are not as powerful as the corded ones.

      If you want you can try using floss sticks before getting a water flosser. The important thing about flossing is the technique. The floss should be pressed against the tooth and you want to scrape the sides of the tooth in an up and down motion making sure you go under the gumline. FYI some people notice more bleeding when they begin flossing but that’s expected after not flossing for awhile and should resolve with continued flossing.

      Staining- it depends on different factors. What is causing the staining/discoloration? There is some stains that won’t respond to whitening especially if you have different materials in your mouth(porcelain, veneers , composites).

      1. Star Nursery*

        Yep, agree the corded one works better but the cordless one is fine for keeping a second one at work or traveling imo.

    10. Marion Ravenwood*

      Re: waterpik, a friend of mine who’s a dental nurse basically recommended using it in the shower. I think that would be the only way to avoid the mess.

    11. Chaordic One*

      When you buy a cordless one, how does the battery hold up? It seems to me that any time I’ve bought a cordless appliance it is rechargeable (think shavers or razors), and after about 6 months to a year, the battery poops out and it doesn’t seem to want to hold a charge. I worry that cordless water flosser or toothbrush would be the same.

    12. NMFTG*

      I have a Philips Sonicare airfloss and I love it – for me it’s not a replacement but a supplement for flossing and toothpicks. I have naturally straight and naturally “properly alligned” teeth, which gives me room for both expanding floss and slim toothpicks, but I know people who has had braces often often have “tight” teeth with no room for either. I love the airfloss, it gives a lovely and different cleaning, compared to floss/picks. It’s better, in my experience, for avoiding plaque, but of course YMMW.

      It’s only messy if you don’t close your mouth around it.

      If you keep your mouth open while you put a tiny water spraying device into your mouth – yes, it will spray everywhere. :D If you keep your mouth shut around it, it’s not messy.

      1. Saskia*

        Seconding the recommendation for Philips Sonicare airfloss.

        It’s cordless, and the bursts of air/water are controlled by pressing a button, which is very easy to manage compared with a continuous stream of water.

        I can use the Philips between all but two teeth, so it’s really made a difference to how much regular floss I use.

    13. Hamburke*

      Growing up, we had a corded waterpik and now I have a cordless one. I actually like the corded one better. I stand over the sink and use it letting water dribble out of my mouth – it doesn’t really go allover the place unless you turn it on outside of your mouth. It works almost as well as floss at getting stuff out from between them and does better than floss at helping your gums.

    14. Zing a Ling*

      I was a lazy flosser, and switched to a Water Pik. I love it! I just bend far enough over the sink so that everything goes right down the drain. I love how my mouth feels, too.

    15. periwinkle*

      As an Invisalign patient who also has periodontal issues, let me wax poetic about my love for my Waterpik… Well, I won’t do that, but here’s how I avoid the mess.

      1. Start the Waterpik with the tip pointing into the sink. Press the pause button before you try putting it into your mouth!
      2. Keep your lips closed most of the time.

      It’s kind of a pulsing thing – I keep my lips closed for 10-15 second, open and close them quickly to release the trapped water, repeat until done. No mess, clean gums, it’s wonderful. I use tepid or warm water as my teeth are sensitive to cold.

    16. Loopy*

      Wow I’m surprised at how many people have used waterpiks. I have to admit I’m probably more indecisive now than I was before but I appreciate all the feedback. The only thing I didn’t realize is most people are saying it’s not a replacement for flossing, which changes things for me. I was thinking that I wouldn’t have to worry about traditional flossing with it.

      Thanks for the feedback everyone.

      1. Star Nursery*

        I was previously not a regular flosser and have gotten finally made a habit in the last couple years of regularly flossing and using the waterpik most evenings. Yay. I just brush my teeth in the morning and sometimes after lunch I do and sometimes I don’t.

        I think if I could go back and tell my younger self some life tips that flossing/waterpik would be in my short list of top three items I’d advise myself to do! Ha. The other to have to do with not stressing over meeting the “one” and the other one would be related to finances.

        Depending on your teeth, correct, it might not totally replace flossing… But that said, I’d still recommend it. If you aren’t flossing and you pick up waterflossing you will still be experiencing most of the benefits! Like being 95% closer to your goal than 0%, if that makes sense.

        It is so satisfying to see all the bits of food come out of my mouth into the sink. YMMV.

        I used to be terrible at flossing regularly and I think the reason I couldn’t get into a habit was for me it seemed like flossing was so time consuming to add to brushing and all the other routine. I would floss s-l-o-w-l-y going between my teeth with a lot of floss. I like fast routines and now I floss at a fast pace, I find I’m flossing now as a habit. I do slow down or recheck teeth if I had something really sticky like chicken though. Chicken really sticks between teeth.

        Hope this helps and good luck!

    17. TardyTardis*

      I use the Reach flosser because I would never get the back ones or the reallytighttogether ones without it.

  9. LGC*

    Quick prompt: If you’re training for a fall race (or fall races), how’s that going so far? (I know it’s super early in the game, but stuff is coming up soon!)

    I…might actually have a fall marathon planned, and it’s 90% definite at this point. (I just need to get confirmation and I’ve been checking my e-mail like a madman.)

      1. LGC*

        New York, and actually bypassing the lottery (which is good because the lottery was in February).

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

      So far, so good for me. I did my first double digit run in training for the Philadelphia Marathon when I was off work Monday. It went very well. I’m starting early because I have a crazy schedule later in the fall and will probably have to miss or combine some long run weeks (this is just as well, this will give my body extra rest).

      Good luck with getting into your marathon, LGC? Is this NYC that you’re waiting for?

      1. LGC*

        …you got it! Although not in the way I’d been talking about. I haven’t gotten confirmation YET because it’s on NYRR to hit me up (and I’m a n00b and haven’t done this before). But I might actually be running it for real this fall.

        (Which is bananas for multiple reasons.)

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

          I hope it happens! I’ve run NYC three times and it’s an amazing (though super crowded) race. If you do get in, I can provide a number of tips and insight, even though you’re in a way different league speed-wise than me.

          1. LGC*

            Definitely hoping it comes through soon! The exact situation, which I’ve been kind of vague about so far, is that apparently if you’re fast enough and you’re local enough – I think within 60 miles and AQ – you can apply for locally competitive status. My half marathon time makes the cut, and I’m from North Jersey and run for a North Jersey club.

            And definitely I’d love to have tips! It’s funny because I Vaguebooked about this because I was paranoid about jinxing it (because I am a crazy person), and everyone was like “CONGRATULATIONS I can provide tips about X”

    2. BeenThere*

      Hubs started training in July for his October marathon a couple years ago. He logged about 500 miles total in his preparation. Checked that one off the bucket list!

    3. Justin*

      Going well. Made it up to 68 then 70 the last two weeks, stepback this week, 72 next week, followed by a short race, then a 73 week with my first 20 mile run.

      Haven’t felt this good in a training season in 3 years, back when I was at my fastest. Hoping it’s a good sign.

      1. LGC*

        Good luck, man! Glad everything’s going well – and I’m a little in awe that you’re already up to the 70s! (Like, I looked back and my weekly average was in the 40s right now – and I think even when I hit my peak weeks in September/October I should be up to probably the 70s/low 80s mileage-wise?)

        1. Justin*

          I’m not going too much higher, only really going to touch 80s. I just like to really hit a rhythm in overall enudurance. Have many short races later in training so I focus a bit more on speed towards the end.

          1. LGC*

            Yeah, you’re a little bit different than me – I’m doing the more traditional ramp-up since May and June were kind of intense and my mileage slipped a bit because of it. (But even then, I think I capped out at 66 in April – which was probably a bit low for what I wanted to do, but I survived.)

    4. CheeryO*

      Good! I have a couple more weeks of base building in the low 40s mpw, then a 14 week intermediate Hansons plan for NYC. I ran it in 2016 and can’t wait to do it again. It really is an incredible experience. I’d be happy to give you my two cents as well if there’s anything you need advice on!

      Also, I ran a half yesterday with a friend, and it was so warm and humid, it was disgusting. My PR is 1:47, and we did 2:30. I could have gone a bit faster if I was really racing, but not by much! It was pretty humbling.

      1. LGC*

        Good luck!

        And I hear you on yesterday. I made the mistake of trying to keep up with the fastest guys in my club on our long run. (I actually did!) I looked like I’d taken a shower in my clothes after I was done. The run itself didn’t feel too terrible, but I think part of that is that I feel the effects of heat on a delay. (Unlike the first short answer LW from Wednesday, I’m PERFECTLY FINE with 90+ temps and high humidity…until I’m not and everything goes south really fast.)

        But yeah, it was not great yesterday – and we started at 7 AM. I would not have been able to do it at all mid-day.

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

      I feel like I really dodged a bullet this morning. I was going to get in my long run early this morning, but overslept and woke up at 8 am. (It was so worth it.) The radar forecast looked ominous about an hour into the run, but I decided to give it a go anyway and planned it so the second half of my run would be alongside a bus line back to my neighborhood if I needed sudden shelter. I got in my entire 11 mile run, with a little bit of light, cooling rain along the way. Two minutes after I finished, I heard the first crack of thunder, and the rain is now absolutely going insane right outside our windows. :-)

  10. Lcsa99*

    I need some ideas for costumes. We need them for both myself and my husband, though it doesn’t necessarily have to be a “couples” costume, we’d like to just have them both along the same lines. 

    The last one we did that we loved was music themed: we were “the devil went down to Georgia” (devil horns, u of Georgia tshirt and a toy violin we spray painted gold) and “the devil in the blue dress” (self explanatory, though I made awesome blue-black horns).

    My husband is a huge music fan, so something music themed again would be great, but we’re just devoid of ideas. Neither of us would be comfortable with anything really revealing or sexy, but I’ve done bustiers and we’re both good with wigs, wings or prosthetic/latex appliances.  Any other themes would work too. I can’t do more than very basic sewing, but I am crafty, so I can put together stuff to make a costume work if I can just get some inspiration!

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

        I’ll bite. How does one dress up as a heartbreak hotel? :-)

        1. Lcsa99*

          Too bad we tossed our old scooby door costume. We might have been able to adapt that for a hound dog.

          1. Jules the 3rd*

            My closets are waaaaay too full of costumes. But the kid’s Lickitung costume comes from a grown-person size base, so there’s years of wear in it…

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

      Maybe you guys can dress up as characters from David Bowie songs. There are a number of male options: Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke. Where I’m a bit stuck, maybe because it’s 7:56 am and I’m not quite awake yet, is on female characters. I can only think of China Girl.

        1. Lcsa99*

          I like this theme. David Bowie is awesome. If I could find the right clothing I could probably do Jareth with a Tina Turner wig. Anyone have ideas of the clothing for that?

          A Suffragette might be fun too. Hmmm…

      1. only acting normal*

        Don’t need to limit to “female” characters; he did push the androgyny limits. Gillian Anderson made a good Bowie in American Gods.

      2. Marion Ravenwood*

        It might be a bit generic but I’d go with a teen movie ‘rebellious’ character look (leather jackets, lots of eyeliner, fake tattoos etc). That’s pretty easy to do both male and female versions of.

    2. Denise*

      Death and taxes. One of you wears a hooded black robe and the other wears a couple of tax forms, sandwich board style.

      1. Lcsa99*

        Part of me really likes this idea. And my father-in-law is an accountant, so we can actually get forms easily. :)

    3. Jules the 3rd*

      Octopus with garden (which is, at least according to legend, shiny stones) and Blackbird
      Rocky Racoon and Nancy/Lil/Magill
      Mr. Postman and a Signed, Sealed, Delivered package
      SO MANY choices from The Way You Do The Things You Do (Candle, Broom, Crook/School Book)
      So many choices from Peter Gabriel’s So album, especially Sledgehammer, but Big Time’s pretty visual too
      The drawn couple from A-Ha’s Take On Me
      Rock Lobster by the B52s (Lobster, Lifeguard, Manta Ray, all the fishes…)

      I’m costuming a 10yo mostly, which gives easy inspiration – Minecraft, Pokemon… We did a good family Despicable Me, though I really need to work on bald caps.

      Rolling Stone’s top 100 Country songs of all time in the link, it’s an area I don’t know as well as 60s and 80s pop.

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        History and biology or science book and French? (The latter might be easier.)

    4. NMFTG*

      Ring of Fire?

      I’m just guessing that it might be similar – one as the ring (hoolahoop, angel head band thingy, ridiculous amounts of toy rings on body) and one as the fire (flame-ish clothes, fake gasoline handbag, tool belt with “fire” tools).

    5. Toonsesthecat*

      (Bread) Roll over, Beethoven
      Baby, love
      Crocodile, rock (Dwayne Johnson)
      Sexual, healing

  11. Waiting for the Sun (Formerly Sugarplum*

    Hi! Longtime lurker, occasional replies; first comment:
    Saw “Sorry to Bother You” last night and recommend it. Funny, surreal, and lots to think about.

    1. annakarina1*

      I really liked it a lot. It was strange and dark while having a lot of really good social commentary on racism, unions, and indentured servitude for corporations.

    1. Rae*

      Eww no. That’s gross.

      I filtered by religion, age, inclined towards rural areas and someone fluent in my primary language. Even that seems like a lot.

      1. Waiting for the Sun*

        Those don’t seem like excessive filters, if that’s the type you want. Shows you’ve put some thought into your profile. I’m leery of guys in their fifties who supposedly want to date women ages 18-99. Really? Makes them sound desperate, slapdash, and/or creepy.

      2. neverjaunty*

        I could see someone of a minority ethnic group deciding they get enough crap from majority ethnic groups in daily life and don’t need it in their dating life. But otherwise, what’s wrong with people?

      3. LadyCop*

        I haven’t done online dating…but I also don’t see why it’s explicitly wrong.

        Afterall, I have dated men who are not the same race or color as me…but I also do not find myself universally attracted to all men. While I don’t think I would inherently use a filter, (afterall you never know ;) ) I don’t blame people for trying to find someone they might be more physically/culturally/whateverlly attracted to with a simple filter…

      4. Thursday Next*

        I could see wanting someone who,shared your language or religion, or non-majority experience.

        I guess it’s the difference between saying I’m looking for someone who’s Indian/Hindi-speaking like me, vs. I don’t want someone X or Y or Z.

        (My husband and I are different races & religions, and our only common language is English. But I definitely understand wanting to be with someone as a life partner who shared important practices.)

    2. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

      I don’t think there’s an option for that on the dating site I used pre-boyfriend, but I wouldn’t have if it had been an option.

      I think if you want to marry within your religion and your religion/sect is heavily concentrated with people from a certain ethnicity, then it’s a little more understandable. But since my religious preference is “generally secular,” that wouldn’t have been a factor for me.

      1. Waiting for the Sun*

        OkCupid, at least the paid option, has filters and ways to search by interests.

    3. Clever Name*

      I don’t. I went on a date with a guy from India and had one scheduled with a guy who listed himself as “Latin” (but didn’t show up). I have noticed I haven’t been swiping right on Asian guys or black guys, and I’m not sure what to think about that. :(

      1. Zona the Great*

        Eh, I don’t think there’s much to think about that. People are attracted to whom they’re attracted to. I’m white and Jewish and I’ve only dated one white guy and I would rarely swipe right on them either. Ain’t no thang. Worry when you wouldn’t “swipe right” on a potential employee, neighbor or friend who is a PoC.

    4. Little Bean*

      No. Of course, most people probably do some mental filtering after they see a picture, but would never put a blanket ban on an entire ethnicity.

    5. HannahS*

      No, never. I don’t find it’s a factor in who I find attractive. I filter by a lot of other things–including some things that I’ve gotten flack for–but not ethnicity. I filter by religion, which does wind up being majority Ashkenazi guys, but even the Jewish dating pool is more diverse than people think.

    6. Triplestep*

      Are we talking about filtering FOR certain ethnicities or filtering OUT certain ethnicities ? Judging by the answers so far, it looks like people are taking this both ways – sometimes in the same response!

      I am Jewish – moderately observant and definitely culturally Jewish. I used dating sites when they were in their infancy and I was between marriages; I was OK meeting guys who were Jewish or nothing, but did not want to meet a man who had a non-Jewish religion he was practicing or was raising kids in. (I was a single parent, as were a lot of the men I was meeting.) The filtering would not return accurate results for this; it may have improved by now. Still, I did not want to date/fall for someone whose life would not mesh well with mine/my kids. Nothing “gross” about that!

    7. Anonymosity*

      I never used it that way. But I absolutely filtered by religion. I figured that if church were important to him, we probably wouldn’t get along. Because I am not religious and did not want future children to be raised with a rigid mindset the way I was. That is true for any faith– I wouldn’t want to be with a judgy Buddhist any more than I would want to be with a judgy Christian.

      Of course, it didn’t really work for me; I never found anyone while using any dating sites, so YMMV. I think that’s because of where I am, however, not the actual services themselves.

  12. nep*

    There’s a nice piece in the Guardian about the Thai cave rescue–one of the divers saying, basically, we really don’t know how this worked. But they felt it was the only decent shot they had.
    (Crazy how things collapsed in there just after the last person came out.)

    1. The Other Dawn*

      My DVR recorded a 20/20 episode about the cave rescue. I didn’t watch it yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing it this weekend. So glad they all got out.

    2. BeenThere*

      So glad they were all successfully rescued! I would start to get mini panic attacks every time I read about the process!

    3. Mimmy*

      It is such a miracle that they all got out safely–just before things collapsed!–and that they are in relatively good condition. I think I heard this morning that everyone will be going home to their families soon.

      I am slightly irked that they’re already talking about making this into a movie. Very opportunistic if you ask me.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        If the money goes to either the boys or to the rescuers, I’d be okay with it.

    4. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I was obsessively following the story all week and I almost cried when they confirmed that all 13 were out. It was exactly the spot of good news and hope that the world needs.

      1. Mimmy*

        I got teary-eyed watching the story about it on the evening news. I was very pleased to see that the top story that day was one of hope rather than sadness or hate.

        What I found interesting was that there were several “miracle” stories that day: 1) all passengers on a small plane survived after crashing into a mountain (in Alaska I think?) and 2) an infant found alive and in good condition after being abandoned in the woods for, I believe, 9 hours.

        1. Thursday Next*

          That infant story was intense.

          I’m so glad the boys and coach got out of the cave, though sad that an ex-SEAL died prior to the rescue.

    5. Temperance*

      I honestly have been super busy at work so I haven’t been able to figure out how the kids got into that cave in the first place. I’m glad they were recovered, sad for the man who lost his life helping.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        It was dry when they went in. The monsoon season usually doesn’t start until July, but there was an unexpected heavy downpour that flooded their path.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yep. I read they took out so much water that they flooded out the fields of near by farmers. The government is compensating those farmers. One woman declined the compensation. I guess she wanted the government to put it towards something for someone else. Amazing.

        2. jojobeans*

          I live nearby (one province over) and…that’s not quite accurate. Just when the rainy season has officially begun is subject to much debate. Officially it sort-of began in late May. However, the really excessive humidity didn’t kick in until about a week or two ago. Before that we would have about a week of daily rain, then a week of sun and dry skies. Now we’re back to daily rain again that seems to be here to stay.

          So really, rainy season was far enough into effect by then that going into a cave like that probably wasn’t the brightest decision. However, they were kids, they live here, and while rain that particular afternoon was likely, it wasn’t guaranteed. Honestly, I’ve discovered that most weather reports are, at best, 50/50. So…make of all that what you will.

          Also, can I say that living locally I had been following this story since the day after they disappeared and by the point they were discovered, I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that they were going to find bodies.

          It was an INCREDIBLE moment when they announced that all 13 had been located, alive and in decent health for what they had undergone.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I think the whole world cried tears of joy. It could be one of us or one of ours in that cave. And we all needed to see the power of everyone pulling in the same direction.

      2. Mimmy*

        I posted about their rescue on Facebook, and a relative made a comment that the coach should be arrested for child endangerment. I too was wondering if he should be held accountable, but as Detective Amy Santiago points out, it sounds like they were not expecting the heavy rains to occur when they did.

        1. Thursday Next*

          He also did an incredible job of keeping the kids’ morale up. Reports said the coach was the weakest upon discovery because he’d been giving the kids all the food.

        2. Engineer Girl*

          It’s always disappointing to hear judgements of this type from people who haven’t bothered to research the details.

          First off, kids are given a lot more responsibility and freedom in many countries. They aren’t bubble wrapped like they are in the US. The children knew these caves systems already. They went there as part of a birthday trip.

          Yes, the cave floods. But the sign said to stay out from July forward. It was June when they went in and there was no expectation of flooding. Weather stations are farther apart in that area and there are microclimates. It’s much harder to predict weather and flooding at any one specific location.

          As stated, the coach gave away his own food and taught the kids to meditate. This kept them calm so that they were still alive when found. Remember, the coach kept them alive for over a week -‘a remarkable feat.

          Somebody died. The coach will carry that with him for the rest of his life. Will arrest punish him more? I doubt it.

          Most people involved with caving and cave rescue recognize that this was one of those bad luck situations. The coach wasn’t some irresponsible jerk that blew past the warning signs. Sometimes accidents happen. Sometimes people die. Trying to hold someone accountable under those conditions ignores the fact that “there but for the grace of god go I”

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I read one article that said the kids went in the cave and the parents asked the coach to go in and find them. In other words he went to get them out, he did not lead them in there. Kids are often know to blow past signs. So do adults. I know I have.
            He was the last one out also. So he put everyone else before himself. Granted we expect him to do that, but that does not lessen the risk he bore. He did everything people could expect given his givens.

  13. Kate Daniels*

    Best website/app for planning vacations and travel? I have not traveled internationally for about a decade, but recently it’s all I can think about doing. I am planning on setting aside a certain amount of my salary a month (TBD) for a travel budget so I can take 1-2 trips a year.

    1. Prufrock*

      I highly recommend TripAdvisor. We take 2-3 vacations a year and use this site/app regularaly to help decide what to see and what tours/restaurants etc. are recommended.

    2. AMillonStreetlights*

      Citymapper currently has around 40 cities on its app, and makes using public transport in a strange city really easy.

      They are adding new cities too.
      Also second TripAdvisor :-)

    3. Jules the 3rd*

      I researched a ton of different sites for a trip to Paris last year
      * 3 generations of family, different interests / arrival dates / schedules / hotels
      * Trip Adviser was good for food, but didn’t always match what my local sources told me
      * Wikipedia was a great place to start for sites of interest beyond museums (gardens, for my family)
      * Google Maps to pin eat site and get directions (see map in link)
      * Spreadsheet to compile site hours and reservations

      Google Maps guided us through Paris transit like a *dream*. The spreadsheet meant we knew which days we had reservations (Eiffel was 1hr-ish in lines instead of 4 – 6 without reservations; Statue of Liberty can not be climbed without reservations months in advance), and we also could get up in the morning and see what museums were open that day – they’re all on different schedules. Doing the research ahead of time let us focus on *doing* instead of *deciding*, or worse yet, heading out to a museum only to find it closed!

    4. Jules the 3rd*

      I guess moderation ate a couple of posts… will try one last time without the Google Maps link.

      Family Paris trip, last summer:
      * 3 generations, different interests
      * Trip Adviser good for food, though locals told me many of the recommendations were tourist cr*p
      * Wikipedia for sites of interest beyond museums (eg, Gardens)
      * Google Maps, saved map, with sites of interest pinned, shared to the family
      * Spreadsheet with museum hours / reservations (Eiffel saved hours of waiting in line; NYC’s Statue of Liberty can’t be climbed without reservation)

      The saved Google map meant when we decided where we wanted to go, we could just hit the pin on our cell phones and get directions. Google had excellent links to Paris public transport.

    5. An Elephant Never Baguettes*

      Second all of the above and would also add that once you have a rough plan for accommodation/specific sights, Instagram is a great resource for getting a closer look. If I’m waffling between two accommodation options I always try to find recent Instagram posts to see pictures.

      Also, I really like Roadtrippers for, you guessed it, roadtrips. In the planning stages I tend to use the website to map it all out and then on the trip I use the app for reference.

    6. Almost Violet Miller*

      In addition to what other commenters listed, there’s Google Trips.
      If you use Gmail (dunno if it works with other e-mail providers), it collects your reservations so you have easy acces to them.
      The app offers itineraries and links the Google ratingss/reviews of sites and restaurants etc.
      You can save these addresses on a map under different categories.
      I use this app to summarize what I have found on TripAdvisor and other apps.

    7. It happens*

      Depending in how you like to travel I would also recommend lonely planet’s thorn tree threads for general and specific info on different places. Everything from best time of year to go somewhere to what the must see and no one ever sees (so you totally should) to how to get from a to b. I also like starting with books…

    8. CurrentlyLooking*

      I’ve only used this domestically, but I like Open Table for restaurants when traveling. There are good descriptions and reviews and you can easily pick a restaurant that has availability that same evening.

    9. Jessi*

      Sky scanner for flights – it looks at all the flights and then you can choose The cheapest one I always go to the airlines website and book directly though.

      I use booking (dot) com to find accommodation. Depending on where you are going Airbnb or vrbo might also be options.

      I use google, and trip advisor to figure out what I want to do and see

      Trip advisor

    10. CAA*

      I like Rick Steves’ books for Europe. Also, Frommer’s, Fodor’s, and Lonely Planet for anywhere. When we pick a place to go, I like to check out as many e-books from the library as I can about the place and read a little and look at their suggested itineraries. Then I pick and choose to put together a rough itinerary that addresses our interests. Once I’ve done that, then I post it in the TripAdvisor forums and/or the Rick Steves forums and usually get some great feedback and suggestions. I find it a little overwhelming to just start reading at TripAdvisor without having a rough itinerary first. That’s just too much scattershot info for me, but YMMV.

      Once I know where we’re going, then flights are the next thing I look for. Lately I like Google Flights the best. One trick I use is to have a list of airports that we can get to relatively cheaply and would be willing to start a long-haul from. For example, we can fly to SFO on Southwest and stay with family the night before a trip and will usually find flights out of there or OAK that are much cheaper than our home airport (SAN), even accounting for the extra cost to get to SF. I’d also be willing to spend a night near LAS, PHX, or LAX if it was worth it financially. So what I do to find flights, is go to Google flights and click on the From box to expand it and then use the + sign to add all my airports. Then I put in the destination country and pick flexible dates so it will search all the airports at both ends. Right now, I can see that the cheapest two-week round trip ticket to Spain in October is $455 from LAX to MAD. It only costs us $75 to get back and forth to LAX, and the cheapest flight from SAN is over $600 more, so it’s definitely worth it to fly out of LA for this trip.

      After I find flights and make any needed adjustments to the itinerary, then I book hotels. I usually use a combo of hotels.com and booking.com. I haven’t found AirBnB or VRBO to be useful for us, because city hotels that include breakfast and are close to public transit are usually a better deal and we prefer them. My BIL and SIL like to stay out of town and rent cars and do their own shopping and cooking, so they use VRBO all the time and really love it. It totally depends on your own preference, so think about your own travel style and book accordingly.

    11. Marion Ravenwood*

      I tend to use Lonely Planet or blogs. I follow quite a few travel bloggers on Twitter and at least one of them has usually been to the destination I want to visit.

    12. Engineer Girl*

      I use multiple tools for planning and execution.

      I usually go to Trip Advisor when trying to figure out attractions and special restaurants. I create a list of must-see Vs. nice to see. Next I cluster the must-sees geographically. From there I create a list of activities on a day by day basis.

      Next is transportation between points. Can I get away with public transportation? Is it better to rent a car or hire a driver?

      During this time I create a spread sheet in Excel. I list my daily activities. Then I try to find lodging for the end of each day. I try to arrange my lodging directly with the hotel, but Booking.com is good too. This also goes into the excel sheet. I have fields for all websites (activities, hotels) and phone numbers.

      Now I buy my plane tickets. I like Google Flights, Hipmunk, Skyscanner. After that I buy hotel and where possible, attraction reservations. Bonus points if they have e-tickets that go on my phone.

      The next tool I use is Tripit. I enter everything into Tripit and it syncs with the Tripit app on my phone. Now everything is in one place with an easy way to look at it. (This is slightly redundant with the Excel sheet)

      I also print out my Excel spread sheet and put that in the front pocket of my luggage. Just in case we get separated (unlikely, I’m carry on only). I also put a copy on my phone.

      I like GoodReader for storing my documents. It is encrypted and password protected. I make PDF copies of all my reservations. I also download the contract of carriage for my airlines.

      My App summary:
      GoodReader (off line document storage)
      Tripit (trip organization)
      Apps for each of my banking institutions
      Apps for each airline I’m flying
      Kindle (for books)
      iXpand Drive (offline storage of photos – syncs with a thumb drive)
      Flight Update (gives Real Time updates of your flight status – syncs with Tripit)
      Airport Maps (which terminal has what services)
      Flight Stats (gives arrive/departure/status for your flights. Gives average delays for your flights. some flights are WAY worse than others One panel shows equipment changes etc.)
      Packing (packing lists that you generate)
      Google Maps (great for finding public transportation routes)

      I’d also recommend a T-Mobile plan for traveling overseas. They have free unlimited data roaming. You must have been a customer for more than the length of your trip.

    13. NMFTG*

      Combine. There’s not one website.

      You want one website to compare flight prices (my country’s one is irrelevant for you, sorry), and chose between different routes. Of course, if you use a bonus program (for Europe, both Star Alliance and One World e.g.) to search, and you might want to use that. For Europe, if you can’t find anything else cross airlines, Trivago might do.

      A different website for hotels – for Europe I would recommend both booking.com and tripadvisor. You get a good idea of the price range, if you’re in the planning stage.

      For sights etc. I would get a cheap lonely planet book (or similar) to get “highlights” and google a bit for the rest. Newspaper highlights might be good, let’s say you want to go to Edinburgh, a UK newpaper article of “the best new restaurants in Edinburgh” will give you great places. And different places than an international guide, and more current (and non-touristy) than tripadvisor.

      When you’re planning your flight – seatguru.com is INDISPENSABLE. It will let you find info on the different seats (assuming you care, you might not!) on the different airlines’ planes on your potential flight, including pros and cons, and help you decide what you want to PAY for, and what you don’t care about. I’m NOT willing to pay extra for a seat that will turn out to be next to the infant bassinet for a long haul, for example, but you might not mind at all! :-)

    14. Hamburke*

      I’m using TripIt to organize this year’s Vaca. I email it my confirmations and add anything that doesn’t have a confirmation email (like our national park passes) Hubby and I can both add things to the trip, kids can view it, we can upload our travel documents in case something gets lost, it alerts when flights are delayed. It doesn’t help with actual to-do items and I like that bc it’s streamlined with what I input.

      1. Engineer Girl*

        Tripit saved me when I accidentally folded my phone in my aunts hide-a-bed. I just logged in via my aunts computer and printed out my flight information that way.

    15. Kate Daniels*

      Thank you all for these great suggestions! I’m looking forward to starting to plot out a few trips.

    16. A username for this site*

      Trip Advisor got busted last year for forcing crime victims to take down their negative reviews of hotels, hospitals, etc., warning others about the potential for being harmed when visiting those locations.

      They claim they have fixed this and included a warning about locations that have been garnering negative reviews due to crime, but you can’t be too careful.

  14. The Other Dawn*

    I’m looking for suggestions for meals I can batch cook and then freeze. I know I can Google these things, but I like hearing from others what works for them.

    My husband recently got switched to second shift (3 pm-11 pm) after being on first for 10+ years. We’re hoping it’s temporary; supposedly it is, but we’ll see. These first two weeks…have not gone well. It’s been a rough two weeks getting used to a new sleep schedule (him), figuring out what to do with ourselves since we’re both alone all week and don’t see each other until the weekend, and not having dinner together. We’re both back to eating like crap. I wasn’t very motivated to cook when we ate dinner together, and I’m even less so now that it’s just me. I realize I can cook a meal and leave a plate for him in the fridge, but I just can’t seem to get myself to do it. I find that I get home from work, feed the cats, scoop the litter (if he hasn’t already), then plop down on the couch to watch TV until bedtime. My dinner is whatever I can find or feel like eating (or impulse buys at the grocery store since I’m hungry), and that has NOT been good for me. And it’s not good for my husband because he’s doing the same thing when he gets home at midnight. I didn’t cook, so he’s grabbing whatever most nights. We’ve also had some takeout in the fridge, which kind of justified (in my mind) me not cooking. This has to stop.

    I’m prepared: Last week I bought a whole bunch of Pyrex storage containers that I can freeze and microwave. I got the two-cup size and he gets the four-cup size. I also bought some of their three-cup rectangle containers (have to say, though, the lids do not fit tightly at all on these). And I have various Zip Loc and Rubbermaid disposable storage containers. So, I’ve got lots of containers I can fill with decent food, whether it be stews, chili, casserole, meat, etc. I’m also armed with an Instant Pot, so I can pressure cook and slow cook. I have a freezer full of meat (chicken breast, a turkey (?), whole chickens, ground beef and turkey, pork, I think a ham, stew meat, Italian sausage–both pork and turkey, and a few other odds and ends). I have a cabinet full of rice; various grains like bulgar and wheat berries; pasta, including cous cous; and some other things.

    I’m looking for meals that aren’t all pasta, though some is fine. I don’t eat it anymore (weight loss surgery, plus it’s just not my thing) and my husband needs to limit it (diabetes, newly diagnosed). Probably not soups, because it’s just not filling. I’m up for anything, whereas my husband has a pretty simple palette and isn’t very adventurous. He leaves around 1:45 pm and I get home around 5:30 pm. He can do some prep before work before he leaves, but probably not much–yet! I’m thinking of grilling some meats that I can use later as an ingredient for other dishes. Maybe I can precook some ground beef and turkey, too.

    (Before anyone says my husband needs to take responsibility for his own diet and feeding himself, he’s working on that: he picks his own healthy snacks and actually eats them; he takes his own blood readings [his dad wouldn’t do that for himself for the first five-odd years he was diabetic, or give himself insulin shots, or prepare anything–even a sandwich!–for himself]; and he will cook his own breakfast or something very simple if he’s eating lunch at home [his mom HATES to cook and burns everything, so he never had any kind of role model in that department]. It’s a work in progress.)

    1. Red Reader*

      I’ve had good luck with throwing a bunch of boneless chicken parts in a crockpot with a jar of (bean and corn for me, but whatever type you like best) salsa, shredding it when it’s cooked and using that as a meal base, and I would think it would freeze fine – then once you thaw a serving, goes well on chips, wrapped in a tortilla, mixed with rice.

      Chili – two big and one regular can of diced tomatoes, two cans of beans, one bag of frozen corn, and protein of choice all together in a crockpot, seasoned to taste. Freezes great.

      Simmer sauces, all good for crockpot meals that freeze fine:
      sweet and sour, good for chicken or pork or meatballs – mix one bottle of Russian or catalina salad dressing, one jar of apricot preserves (works with sugar-free preserves too), and one box (both packets) of onion soup mix.
      Honey garlic: mix equal parts (1/3 cup?) ketchup, soy sauce and honey, plus minced garlic (I buy it jarred, so I use two heaping spoonfuls). This one is good on chicken, pork and fish, though I’m not sure how you’d go about freezing/reheating it with fish in a non-obnoxious manner. Hah.

      My go to when I’m feeling lazy of a morning is to throw a packet of chicken drumsticks into the crockpot with a big glug of something – bbq sauce, Italian dressing, or just by itself and I can sauce it later if I’m indecisive.

      1. only acting normal*

        Seconding chilli. Also lasagne and bolognese sauce both freeze and reheat well (the freezing softens cooked beef mince really nicely).

        1. Marion Ravenwood*

          Yes to lasagne and bolognese! I tend to make a ‘base’ bolognese sauce (which can also be used for lasagne) without the herbs – I add those when I reheat it – and then tweak it for chilli by adding spices, kidney beans etc.

      2. Red Reader*

        My husband does batch cooking for his work lunches – he does a batch of chicken parts or a whole pork tenderloin plus a couple pounds of potatoes in his sous vide cooker and portions it out every morning to take, along with part of a bag of frozen veg. I wouldn’t freeze the potatoes, but they last in the fridge for a week, apparently. (He cooks Sundays and eats it M-F.) But the meat would be fine either to freeze or put in the fridge for a few days – He’s done pork tenderloins with applesauce, lemon pepper, Tex-mex seasonings, bbq, I don’t know what-all else.

        1. Red Reader*

          Meat loaf? (I’m supposed to be working. Procrastination with other people’s meal plans is way more fun. :-P ) Form it into patties like burgers, rather than the traditional loaf shape. You can freeze it in portions way easier that way, plus it’s already a good shape for a meatloaf sandwich.

          1. Detective Amy Santiago*

            I’ve seen the suggestion to do meatloaf in muffin tins for individual servings.

            1. Red Reader*

              That works too. We do patties and then bake it on a grill pan so the extra grease drains off :)

          2. SpellingBee*

            This is brilliant! I’ve heard of the muffin tin idea but patties would indeed be easier for sandwiches, and will cook faster. Have you ever tried grilling them like hamburgers? I’ve done meatloaf in a smoker, which is delicious – if I fire the smoker up I put several things in to make the most of the time and effort.

            1. Red Reader*

              I “oven-grilled” them the same way I do hamburgers during the winter, and they came out great! We haven’t tried grilling them on the actual grill yet.

      3. Detective Amy Santiago*

        I’ll second the salsa chicken. It does freeze well and you can use it to make burrito bowls, tacos, nachos, quesadillas, etc.

        Word of advice: don’t use a salsa that is very high in sugar content. It does not go well.

    2. Red Sky*

      I use this as a base for several meals throughout the week. Tacos, salads, nachos, enchilada casserole etc.
      Mexican Shredded Chicken-
      Dump 4 chicken breasts in the crock pot with your favorite salsa or sauce, cook until done then shred and refrigerate or freeze.

      Black Bean & Corn Salsa-
      Combine 1 can black beans, one can Mexicorn or regular canned corn, 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa, juice from half a lime, some chopped cilantro, some chopped onions and chilli powder to taste depending on your heat tolerance.

      I also make sure to have a big box of lettuce/salad Spring Mix, cherry tomatoes and bagged shredded carrots in my fridge at all times so it’s super easy to put together a quick salad without having to do a lot of prep.

      1. WellRed*

        I like the way you eat. And think. Seconding pre shredded salad stuff. For the crockpot chicken, do you cook it on high? For about how long. Serious question. Those of us who don’t cook really need more specific info ; )

        1. Red Sky*

          Thanks! I usually cook it on high for about 3-4 hrs I think. I know it’s done when it starts to break apart if you try to pick it up with a fork.

        2. Red Reader*

          Low for 4 hours or high for 2 should do the trick, unless you have seriously monster thick pieces of chicken. (I prefer lower for longer myself.) You can actually crockpot roast a whole chicken too, put some carrots on the bottom so it doesn’t stick and put it on low for about 4-6 hours.

    3. MuttIsMyCopilot*

      Frozen burritos? I’ve made regular bean burritos and breakfasty ones with eggs and stuff. It takes a little trial and error to figure out how long to microwave them, but they’re super easy to grab when you don’t want to cook and you can make them decently healthy with added veggies and stuff.

      1. WellRed*

        How do you keep the tortillas from being mushy when you thaw them? I can’t even make one the day before for lunch without it being a bit mushy.

        1. MuttIsMyCopilot*

          I don’t know! I haven’t run into that issue before. I always let my filling cool before assembling them, and then microwave straight from frozen. Actually, if I don’t remember to cover them with a bowl or damp paper towel in the microwave the edges of the tortillas get a little too dry and hard. Maybe your filling is too moist?

          1. Kuododi*

            My dear sister does the breakfast burritos for her family and sz the trick for her is making certain the scrambled eggs and potatoes are cooled down before she and the kids.set up an assembly line to put the burritos together with cheese and wrap with foil for freezing.

            Something I will do for dinner occasionally is chop a couple of heads of cauliflower and mix in a pan with a pound, pound and a half of link sausage chopped in bite size pieces. I will saute the cauliflower/sausage mix with olive oil, curry powder, basil and season salt to taste. Sometimes I will add a light dusting of cayenne pepper if the spirit moves me!!!! DH loves that stuff and will eat it by the washtub full. I’m not sure if it would take well to freezing. Never had enough left for that to be an issue.

    4. ket*

      As a Minnesotan, the classic answer is casseroles… but they’re so big & annoying to reheat…. Picking up on your idea of precooking meats to use as ingredients later, I think it’s great: batch cook a bunch of ground meat with taco seasoning and chopped onions and etc, batch cook some veggies, batch cook the shredded chicken, and then during the week you can take a chunk of taco meat and some veggies and add some fresh cheese/fresh lettuce or peppers/fresh tortilla and you have taco night. Even beans and rice freeze. Having all the components ready to go makes things easier. Meatballs are great for this too — homemade meatballs are so tasty, and you can just pick 3-5 out of the freezer bag and have enough for a meal.

      One approach I really liked & used for a while was Melissa Joulwan’s cook-up Sunday. I put a link in my username to one discussion. When I was living alone & had a very predictable schedule, it worked very well to just take 2 hours on Sunday night and cook two kinds of meat, prep 4 kinds of veggies, and make one fun thing (a sauce or something) and just eat that for the next 5 days: a bowl of meat/veggie 1/veggie 2/sauce or seasoning. With the mix & match, it was easier to avoid boredom.

    5. Meal prep aficionado*

      Literally all I eat every day for lunch (and it’s my fav meal of the day):
      -ground beef or turkey, cook in pan with cumin and onion and Goya adobo seasoning (in the “latín” aísle)
      -veggies: I do broccoli, boil a bit then sautéed (?) with some red pepper flakes and salt
      -rice in rice cooker in the background.
      -mixed veggies: kidney beans, carrots, corn. I use canned but tryna switch to frozen.

      I can get 6-8 lunches done in an hour, only takes 2 pans to cook (one big pot to boil broccoli then sauté in it, and one for meat and then veggies after).

      To be healthier I do only a little rice for each Tupperware, then heavy on the rest.

    6. OhNo*

      How do you feel about soups and stews? About every other month, I make a crockpot’s worth each of beef and barley stew, beef and potato stew, split pea soup with ham, chicken and rice soup, and minestrone. Then I freeze it in two-cup servings in mason jars, and bring it to work for lunch and eat it whenever I can’t be bothered to cook.

      I personally make soups because it’s only about half an hour of chopping veggies that are used in all the recipes, then putting all the slow cookers on and getting to relax. You could do something similar with other recipes that all use the same ingredients, where you just add a different protein to each one.

    7. Madeye*

      Check out the Domestic Geek youtube channel. She has several mealprep playlists. If you’re interested in 5 minute microwave mug meals check out the Gemma Stafford channel. The recipes are pretty healthy.

    8. Hannah*

      I find you can freeze almost anything. It doesn’t have to be just chili/sauces stuff.

      Right now, I have chicken curry over rice with sides of lentils and cooked spinach made into frozen dinners in my freezer. I’ve also done stir frys, chicken divan, eggplant rollatini, and even simple roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and roasted vegetables.

      I mean, I wouldn’t try a steak dinner, or an assembled taco, or a green salad. But so much stuff can be made and frozen.

      My motto is if Lean Cuisine can do it, so can I!

    9. CAA*

      Look on SeriousEats.com for their Instant Pot Chile Verde recipe. It is super easy and so good. It would be easy to freeze in portions, microwave it from frozen or thawed, and then just grab a couple of flour tortillas to eat with it.

    10. LCL*

      When I worked second shift, I worked out of a vehicle and never packed a lunch. I always stopped at the grocery stores that had good salad bars and good deli selections. Obviously this only works if there are any suitable grocery stores on his way to work. You can eat healthy this way, if the logistics work for you.

      1. Nines*

        A coworker just shared her brilliance with me. She buys bagged lettuce and fills a container with it before work. Then on her way to work she stops at a Whole Foods type place and fills a small box with whatever toppings she’s in the mood for that day! I was blown away by how easy and smart this was. Why hadn’t I ever thought of that! I’m going to give it a shot soon.

      2. The Other Dawn*

        Unfortunately there really aren’t any easily accessible stores on the way into work. He could stop, but it’s out of his way and it’s already almost an hour commute. I like the Whole Foods idea for myself, though. Although, I’ve really have my lifetime fill of salad, so I don’t know how often I’d actually do it.

    11. Jules the 3rd*

      Egg dishes in muffin pans.
      * If it’s egg straight into the cup, use the baking spray or the egg sticks horribly
      * I’ve done 1 egg to 1/2 milk, 1/2 bisquik, 1/2 cheese as a base and had it freeze well; I throw in broccoli for me, ham for my kid.
      * Vegetables get a little damp and need extra cook time, or roast before putting them in

      I’m trying ham n egg cups this weekend, just from a googled recipe. I usually try something per a recipe then play around with other ingredients – I really love broccoli/egg dishes.

    12. Thursday Next*

      In the summer, I like to prep lots of salad ingredients, including proteins like chickpeas or white beans, hard boiled eggs, shredded cheeses, and grains. DH adds chunks of rotisserie chicken. Wild rice and quinoa are probably better bets than pasta for diabetes management (I’ve been pre-diabetic).

      Then assemble as the mood strikes! I’m much better at eating salads when I don’t have to put in the prep work at the time of eating.

      I also use this for sandwiches—I like lots of veggies on my sandwiches, so having sliced cucumbers, bell peppers, olives, and tomatoes ready to go fills out the sandwich.

    13. Thlayli*

      I cook and freeze all the time. Non-pasta based stuff i freeze includes:
      1 Stir fries. If you have enough sauce and the meat is cut up they freeze really well after being cooked.
      2 mashed potato – surprisingly this freezes really well. Has to be mashed though
      3 stew – again once potatoes and meat are cut up small it freezes well

    14. L-cJ*

      shepherd’s pie (or technically cottage pie I guess, if you use something other than lamb) if you’re good with potato. Once you’ve cooked it, it freezes and re-heats really well (I usually freeze into portions for lunches) and you can stuff all sorts of veg in with the meat and it just makes more flavour :)

    15. NMFTG*

      For a non stew/curry/soup (which are all excellent) one:

      Quinoa salad/bowl: boiled quinoa (cold), with hummus or guacamole or olive oil as “sauce”, with roasted vegetables (roast beetroots or other root vegetables), boiled eggs (or tuna, salad meats, pulses), fresh salad greens, fresh colourful greeens/herbs, something red (tomatoe, pepper), something onion etc.

      Muffin frittata: oven baked frittata , aka Italian omelet with egg over something. It might be, carbs like potato etc, protein (bacon, blue cheese etc), greens (scallions, broccoli, spinach, kale etc), reds (peppers, tomatoes, baked beetroot)) etc. Do an egg mixture: eggs, cream/milk if you want, corn or potato flour if you want (thickening), seasoning over something tasty that will thicken in the oven in muffin tins (or a big thingy, just use a knife to divide when thickened), put in a hot oven until stiffened.

      Generally, I would like to recommend budgetbytes.com. Shes does do a lot of carbs (espeically in the super frugal days), but if you ignore those, there are loads of lunch friendly make-ahead/left-over recipes that are very lovely. And any pasta dish you can swop to wholemeal/pea/chickpea etc. more to your taste pasta, and any rice for brown rice/quinoa/califlower rice etc.

    16. Ron McDon*

      Pinch of Nom is a UK website (so I appreciate may have some strange ingredients / terms for those in the US) which I have recently discovered and love!

      They have lots of low-fat/low calorie/low carb meals, and lots of casserole/one pot meals. For the one pot meals they usually give instructions for both Instant Pot and slow cooker methods.

      I have made several of their beef casseroles and the baked spaghetti, and my family loved them all!

    17. Observer*

      Actually, soups can be very filling – it depends on what you put in them.

      One thing I used to do a lot was make a soup with chicken, ground vegetables and then a mix of brown rice, lentils and split peas. If I was putting in ground potato (not to often, as it’s finicky to make sure you don’t get lumps), I’d go very low on the rice. If I was low on rice, or wanted to thicken the soup, oatmeal went in.

      When the cooking was done, I’d serve the chicken and soup the first time. Then I’d grind up the chicken (which was very very soft at that point) and mix it back into the soup, and that’s how I’d freeze it.

    18. The Other Dawn*

      Thanks, everyone! Lots of great ideas here. I plan to batch cook some chicken breast, ground beef, and taco beef today to get myself started. I have some single-portion chili in the freezer already, so I can work on this throughout the week and we’ll still have food in the meantime.

      I’m not super creative in this department, so I appreciate all the different suggestions. It just never occurs to me to make up meal bowls, taco/burrito ingredients and things like that. I’m always thinking: meat, starch, veggie, rinse and repeat, with an occasional meatloaf or Shepherd’s pie thrown in. I guess I need to think a little more creatively.

      Someone mentioned egg/fritatta muffins. Yes, I made those quite often, but just kind of stopped for whatever reason. I think I need to start again.

      1. Lemonworld*

        I’m a little late to the thread, but I’d be a big advocate for a nice daal, which is a lentil-based meal that’s very filling and the spiciness of it can definitely be adapted.

        I eat this one for breakfast every morning and absolutely love it:

        I also swear by batch-cooking and then storing in individual portion sizes. I’m 98% vegan-for-health-reasons but my husband and son are not, so all my meals get batch-cooked and then I cook a meal for them each evening. The deep freezer is my favourite appliance!

      2. Essess*

        I make sausage gravy and portion into individual freezer bags. Same thing with chili. And bbq shredded pork that I can nuke and toss onto a bun. Rice freezes well too, so I can make individual portions and freeze it then nuke with another other frozen baggie of food to top it for a meal.

    19. An.on.y*

      I recommend the Budget Bytes blog, there’s some great recipes and she put together some meal plans also.

    20. TardyTardis*

      Spanish rice made with hamburger or thinly-cut steak. Spaghetti. Chili. Anything that can be made in a roaster in the Legion size batches.

  15. Birthday girl*

    My birthday is coming up soon, and I don’t do much to celebrate, but I like to treat myself to a birthday dinner. I was looking up the menus at a few local restaurants (there’s not much around here besides fast food) and one said, “Come in on your birthday and get a free entree!” There’s no fine print, at least on the web site.

    The entree that looks the best to me is one of the most expensive things on the menu. I know restaurants that offer free birthday meals do it with the idea that there will probably be other people in the party who will pay full price, but I’ll be alone. I rarely go out to eat, so I probably won’t be patronizing this restaurant again any time soon. Would it be wrong for me to take advantage of the free birthday meal? Would it be wrong for me to order one of the most expensive entrees? (Of course, I would tip generously on the full price of the meal).

    1. Turtlewings*

      I agree about calling first. But yeah, if it’s legit, then go for it. They know what they’re offering, and just because they’re gambling on making money despite it doesn’t make an obligation on your part. Besides, who knows — you might end up recommending that restaurant to someone else, writing a good yelp review, etc.

    2. HannahS*

      I think it’s fine, but personally I’d order salad or a dessert or something as well.

    3. Pam*

      If it does work, and you like them, return for a paid meal at other times, and praise them to friends

    4. Star Nursery*

      Happy Birthday! I agree with others to call first to check if their are any restrictions and be sure to tip based on what full price would have been.

  16. Cherry*

    Had a few drinks at happy hour, drank lotsa water, ate carbs went to the bathroom 5x all night and I am still soooo nauseous ugh. It’s been 12+ hours! I’d like to throw up but it’s not happening. This will get better right? I’ve never had nausea last this long. What do I do OML.

    1. nep*

      Sometimes time is the only thing. (Might it be something you ate? Did you eat anything from a new place or something you normally don’t?)
      Hope you’re better soon.
      Keep drinking the water.
      Peppermint oil is magical, if you’re inclined to try it. If you’re not allergic or it doesn’t irritate, rub it on neck, temples…(even if the ailment isn’t a headache, somehow it just helps).

      1. nep*

        (In fact, if I recall correctly, I think someone on here suggested ingesting peppermint oil for stomach upset.)

        1. only acting normal*

          I wouldn’t ingest the oil (a drop on a tissue that you sniff is good for passing nausea). But peppermint tea is good.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          Spirit of peppermint is what I am used to. I think that is different than oil. You can get it in larger drug stores if you look for a long time or ask for help. It comes in a little bottle of a mere few ounces. You only use a few drops in a glass of water.

          And I think someone did say peppermint oil. I looked into the whole thing about not ingesting the oils and I was told by a professional that it probably matters which brand. My dog licks his lavender oil off of himself and my hands. He has been doing this for years and he has not had a problem. YMMV of course and extra caution is always wise. And yes, I now make sure the lavender oil is between his shoulder blades where it’s too hard to reach because he loves the stuff.

    2. FaintlyMacabre*

      Ginger ale (with real ginger if you can find it)

      Dill- made into tea or just sprigs on a cracker help me

    3. Zona the Great*

      Original Alka-seltzer is a miracle treatment for many things from a broken heart to a hangover in my family.

    4. Kuododi*

      If you’re desperate and have nothing else available… make yourself a glass of baking soda water (approximately 2 tbsp to 8 oz H20).

    5. TardyTardis*

      If you do this again, take five monster capsules of evening primrose oil (the 1300’s) before you go to bed. I have field-tested this on New Year’s Eve and at SF conventions.

  17. Nervous Accountant*

    Any tips on making it easy to draw blood? I’ve always had an issue w/ my veins and being diabetic hasn’t helped. At my most recent appt they wasted 1 bottle and went in my hand which still aches and we’re not able to take any more blood.

    1. Red Reader*

      I am a terrible terrible stick. No matter how hydrated I am. I go in and say, I am a terrible stick, give me your best pediatric vampire with a butterfly needle. They go, oh yeah, we hear that all the time, you’ll be fine. Then they try several times, words like “deep” and “rolly” and “Jesus Christ it got away again” come out, and they send in the pediatric vampire with a butterfly needle like I suggested and it works better. Still not perfect, but better.

      So I’d say, make sure you’re super hydrated when you go in, ask for a phlebotomist (I call them vampires because I can’t spell it, thank god for autocorrect) who’s really good with pediatric draws, and ask them if they’ll use a butterfly needle.

      1. CBE*

        I get so annoyed by people who draw blood but WILL NOT LISTEN to people who tell them what works best for them.
        LISTEN TO PATIENTS. BELIEVE THEM. It’s not that hard.

        1. Red Reader*

          Right? I mean, I try to keep in mind that everyone under the SUN comes in there and caterwauls about how terrible a stick they are, and 4 times out of 5 it’s cake, so they’re used to people exaggerating the problem, but no, really, I PROMISE, just bring me a pediatric vampire and a butterfly needle and we’ll all feel much better afterwards, I SWEAR.

          1. OhNo*

            I do wish the folks who draw blood would listen a little better when patients say there’s going to be problems with the blood draw. I know issues aren’t common, but those of us who have them really do know our own situation best.

            I’m at the point now where I don’t even bother trying to explain my circumstances. I just ask what hospital they’re associated with, and tell them to send the order to the lab there, so I can get it drawn from my leg by a professional. If they still try to insist, usually sharing the story of the time I had a panic attack and threw up on two nurses (one right after the other, no less) is enough to dissuade them.

        2. only acting normal*

          I’ve got easy to find and stick veins *except* the one they always go for if I don’t warn them off (and sometimes even if I do warn them off). It looks great, but it’s a weird one that bruises like a mofo.

        3. Hamburke*

          I tell them that if they pull out anything but a butterfly, I’m walking out bc I’m tired of not being listened to and being stuck several times. They look, say I can stick you, pull out a regular needle and I stand up to collect my things and remove the tournecut. I don’t play games.

        4. Anne (with an “e”)*

          You are so right.
          I never will forget the time I had to have blood work done and I told the lady who was drawing the blood that I needed to lie down or I would get sick. Instead, she insisted that I sit in a chair despite my protests. She began to draw blood from my arm. Then, I proceeded to throw up all over her before I passed out.

          Since then they’ve allowed me to lie down while someone draws my blood.

      2. Lora*

        Yes, this. There’s one PA in my doctor’s office who can stick me, first try. He is magic. Everyone else, go get the pediatric butterfly kit.

        Flip side is, everything takes longer if they need to get IV fluids and drugs into you. They can’t just shove it in and give you instant relief. Presumably we would take longer to hemmorhage to death in the wild with our teeny tiny blood vessels?

      3. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

        Bear in mind butterflies are a type of needle not a size of needle. The size is based on the diameter not the length. Butterfly needles come in sizes 18-27 with 18 being bigger and 27 being smallest. So getting stuck with an 18 or 21 gauge butterfly is not going to be less painful or easier than a straight needle of the same size.

      4. Marion Ravenwood*

        I need to try this next time I donate blood. I’m on my third strike (apparently my veins are ‘too small’ for me to donate), but I’m O- so I want to keep donating if I can. Not sure how well it’ll work but it’s worth a shot (no pun intended).

      5. Everdene*

        I could have typed this exact thing. I’ve had district nurses call back ups to my house because they wouldn’t listen that What works for me is a butterfly needle in the wrist. When you have had a procedure many times the patient as expert model is really very accurate.

    2. Red Sky*

      Seconding the butterfly needle, it takes longer but it’s worth it to avoid all the sticks. Also, drink lots of water and ask for a heat pad to hold over your arm/veins prior to being poked. The super cool AC in most medical labs constricts your blood vessels which is the opposite of what you want when your trying to draw blood.

      1. Paquita*

        The heat! When I had my hysterectomy last year I was more scared of getting the IV than being cut. The pre-op nurse wrapped a warm towel around my arm for 20 minutes. Then got the vein on the first try no problem. I have those small deep rolly veins. My doctor office has good vampires now too for just a blood draw.

    3. Corky's Wife Bonnie*

      I’m just like Red Reader. If you drink alcohol, don’t have any for at least two days beforehand. Then, double your water intake, and have a big glass before you leave for your test. This isn’t a magic fix, but it helps a bit. Good luck!!

    4. Kathenus*

      A warm washcloth placed over the vein area for the stick can sometimes help make the veins more accessible.

    5. Almost Academic*

      We used to do pediatric sticks in our research lab. We always made sure the kids drank a full bottle of water about an hour before the stick, kept the blood draw room warm, and for the ones that had tiny veins had them hold a heating pad / hand warmer in their hands for a few minutes and during the blood draw.

      Also we had a really good pediatric phlebotomist and some really tiny butterfly needles on hand, so second making those requests if you can.

    6. Soupspoon McGee*

      I have tiny veins, so this is what helped me:
      -Several hours before a blood draw, I eat something salty and drink Gatorade. Salt retains water, which plumps your veins.
      -I drink lots of water and cut back on caffeine.
      -I schedule them for afternoons, when I’m likely to be warmer.
      -Right before, I drink something hot. Then I warm up my hands and arms by running them under really warm water. Those little warming packs help, but aren’t enough.

    7. Nervous Accountant*

      Wow thanks everyone. I’ll try all of these. I just always feel so ashamed every time that it’s the diabetes. Comforting to know that others have the same problem.

      1. tangerineRose*

        I know you’ve written about your mother saying you “ruined yourself” by not taking care of yourself when you were younger, but you were a kid, or teenager, or young adult, right? That’s time a lot of people have done stuff they regret. I think you need to forgive yourself.

      2. WellRed*

        Please don’t be ashamed of the diabetes. It’s a complicated disease with lots of causes and factors and frankly, it’s not exactly rare and unusual.

      3. Not a Mere Device*

        Even if it’s the diabetes rather than random variation, diabetes is a common medical condition that doctors, nurses, and phlebotomists should be familiar with and able to handle.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yep, quit blaming the patient when they are the ones not paying attention.
          Decades ago, we used to talk about a man here, who was not a medical person, but he could get blood out of anyone. He decided he was going to learn how to draw blood and he did. (This was part of his work.) People came from all over the area just to see him because he had such a good rep for knowing what to do.

      4. Denise*

        Don’t be ashamed. You deserve good care. Tell them you’re a hard stick AND YOU’RE SCARED and ask who’s really good. We have a couple of really good techs in our clinic and some people just have a gift for it.

      5. Go for it*

        Behave normally?

        I have shit veins (skinny, small blue veins that don’t show it there’s an actual emergency) that are tricky to find for the inexperienced. Being cold-blooded doesn’t help. Oh, you mean there’s a shade of pink there that means blood? Yeah, whatever, haha, is how I feel.

        I’ve realised that as long as I stay positive, (okay, I admit) slighly overly perky and doing a “Yes! that’s so difficult to find!” and being positively surprised at their skill, everybody mostly stays calm and if they need to poke more than three times, as blood whisperer will come. For me being dressed for warm (cold = no blood), being upfront and telling it might be a problem, especially if they need to put things in and might want to do a thingy in the hand if, a “same line” ??), and being game to be poked quite unnecessarily, everybody will be more prepared.

        But yeah, possibly, saying, “yeah, I’m a bit cold-blooded and my veins are shy, sorry”, is different than saying OMG IM A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE AND YOU ARE NOT COMPETENT, and you get different responses.

        1. Nervous Accountant*

          I don’t think anyone here is being a special snowflake? Normally I’m OK but that day I was freaking out already over the appointment itself.
          My previous PCP was actually really good with drawing blood and I would only have him do it (pretty much one of the rare tings he was good for).

        2. Nervous Accountant*

          I am not sure that anyone here is acting like a special snowflake. Yes professionals are professionals, but sometime we also know our bodies?

    8. Kuododi*

      My veins are kinda “rolly” but I find they have the best luck in my left arm. (Of course, I have to make sure and stay hydrated.). Additionally I tend to deal better with getting stuck if I can watch the entire process including inserting the needle. When I go to the lab, I just explain what tends to work best regarding blood work. So far I haven’t run into any serious problems with my blood draws. (Knock wood)

    9. Nash*

      I am a hard stick from a family of hard sticks. One tip I’ve got is eat salt and drink more water than you think you need. I usually eat beef jerky, since it’s super salty, but I will lick salt off my hand if I have to.

      Second tip is learn your spots. My elbows and mid-forearms are no-go zones. The backs of my hand are choice. The veins in my wrists are second. Being able to confidently identify my historical good spots drives home that I’m not exaggerating.

      I also set boundaries. They get one try at my elbows, if I know the tech or they have worked oncology. After that, we do the hand with a syringe.

    10. Belle di Vedremo*

      Thanks so much, for asking! The replies are informative. Last time I went for a blood draw she could get to the vein but could get just enough out to show that she got there. And I’m an adverse reaction stick – phlebotomists are always pleased when we’re done to say “see, you didn’t faint” – right before I do…

      Glad to have some things to try, as I’m supposed to schedule my next attempt for the first part of the week.

    1. nep*

      Reckon I should at least give an indication–This made me smile this morning. Caring, conscientious humans.

  18. AvonLady Barksdale*

    My partner and I had a bad (yet short) fight this week that strikes me as a harbinger of things to come. Not in a, we’re-going-to-separate-over-this way, but in a, I-need-to-learn-how-to-handle-this way. He is going into his fifth and, hopefully, final year of his PhD. By next spring, we will be in high-stress crunch time and I am not looking forward to it. He has never been great at managing his stress, and I have never been great at letting things roll off my back. (He doesn’t insult me, he isn’t outright cruel, but he does get snippy and extra sarcastic when he’s very stressed.) I could use some commiseration and advice from people who have been there! Right now, my plan is to just take care of everything and not expect him to do much, but I can’t help but feel like I’m looking down a very dark tunnel. Any ideas? Beyond booking a week for myself at a faraway spa (wouldn’t that be nice)?

    1. TL -*

      I think you should set a minimal level of expectation for him; it’s not realistic for you to do everything for more than a short while – a few weeks to a month. If it’s going to be longer than that, you need to set some bare minimums of how he needs to be contributing, even if it’s just a load of laundry and sweeping once a week.

      As for his stress levels, I learned to treat other people’s stress as their problems, not mine. Just because someone is snippy and sarcastic doesn’t mean I can’t be in a good mood. At worst, I can always just pleasantly excuse myself and go elsewhere. I don’t think this works for everyone, but it actually works really well for me. I just think to myself “So-and-so is moody and that’s not my problem. I’m having a really good day and enjoying the heck out of my ice cream right now.” Then I enjoy my ice cream.

      1. Red Reader*

        Yep – and maybe the two of you find a chance to sit down and talk about it while it’s not an immediate issue. (That is, while you’re not in the middle of having an argument or otherwise unpleasant discussion on the spot.) I have friends who have a code word – when one of them feels like the other is getting snappy at them for unrelated reasons, they say “Well, okay, I’m going to go get a banana split” which basically means “we talked about this and I feel like you’re taking your stress about something else out on me, so I’m gonna go find someplace else to be for a bit and you can be stressy at not-me, let me know when you’ve got it under control and can be respectful to me.” And they both do it, and it seems to work for them. (I just tell my husband that he’s taking his stress out on me and please take himself to his office until he can stop, without the code word, but different strokes for different folks.)

        1. RestlessRenegade*

          I love both of these comments! It’s not on you to manage his feelings, and it might help to just not be in the same space when he’s stressed.

    2. BRR*

      My husband finished his PhD while he was working full time in retail and I was working full time. I had blocked that memory until now haha. We had a couple things that helped: 1) he would leave the apartment to work. I was working at a university at the time and he was able to use it. 2) he would go work in another room and I would pretend I was home alone basically 3) we established that our lives were not going to revolve around his dissertation. Eamsier said that done. Good luck!

    3. Libervermis*

      I am going into the final year of my Ph.D, so I feel where your husband is coming from stress-wise, but it’s *my* job to handle my stress. It’s your husband’s job to learn how to handle his stress without taking it out on you. If you’re in the US he probably gets health insurance through the university – could he go see a therapist for a few sessions tailored around stress management? Does he have any interests, especially physical ones like exercise, crafts, etc that he can prioritize time for as a stress outlet? Can he develop such an interest for the next 9 months at least?

      It may very well be that what’s best for you as a couple is for you to handle everything while he’s in diss/job search mode for a few months. But it’s totally okay to put boundaries around that, to expect him to acknowledge and be demonstrably grateful (in whatever your gratitude language is) for the work you’re doing, and for you to expect that he won’t snap at you because he’s stressed. And I echo other commentators that saying something like “I’m going to leave while you decompress” and walking away (which sounds like something you could practice) is completely acceptable too.

      I think it’s great that you’re looking ahead at a stress point in the future and proactively figuring out how to handle it in a healthy way!

    4. Soupspoon McGee*

      1) You can accept that he will be under stress and decide what role you want to play in alleviating it or helping him manage it.
      2) It’s fair for you to set boundaries with your partner on what behaviors are acceptable.

      I’m in PA school right now, and my partner is an enormous support. When I get stressed, snippy, or overwhelmed, he does not take it personally. He does tell me I seem stressed and then reminds me to drink water, eat something, take a walk, take a break, or whatever other strategies work. Sometimes I need another human to give me permission to get my head out of the books (when I’m that overwhelmed, I’m not retaining much anyway).

      He also calls me on bad behavior — if I’m being sarcastic or short-tempered AT him, he points it out nicely. There’s a huge difference between being generally snarky and directing it a person. I might get defensive, but in the long run, I need to hear it, and I CAN manage it.

    5. Jules the 3rd*

      Sit down one weekend and plan all the chores likely to come up over the stressful period (6 – 8mo, ish, I”d guess), like car oil changes and how often you want to clean the bathroom.
      Budget for some help with these chores if you can – like pre-prepped food, pet sitting, etc, so that he can focus on only PhD and you don’t feel overwhelmed. Maybe look into TaskRabbit for stuff like car oil changes, etc, or find someone who will barter something you like to do for something else.
      Schedule activities for you, without him, so that you aren’t bored or lonely, and so that you’re around less for him to get snippy or sarcastic to.

      When I was in my crunch semester of grad school (which was no where near as bad as any PhD I’ve heard about…), Mr. Jules just left me in our spare bedroom to study and went to do his own thing. He let me know what he was doing, generally, and was open to me catching up with people half-way through dinner or leaving early, without ever giving me attitude. His expectation was that I needed to work and any time we got to hang out was a bonus. It was awesome.

      He also cooked for himself, shared if I liked it, and kept the kitchen mostly clean. We didn’t worry a lot about the rest of it until after finals.

    6. Traveling Teacher*

      Create a task board for him/both of you. (Nerd alert!) Might sound silly, but it has helped my own marriage through a rough patch of me working mostly nights, him days, both of us parenting while the other is working, though I get the lion’s share of parenting during the week.

      This is my own experience, if it’s helpful:

      I used a similar setup to our tech-y work task boards using a free app, though a friend of mine is a recent convert and does an analog system with post-its. The setup that works for us currently is: “To Do” column, any relevant dates noted on the task, “Doing” for things in process, and “Done” for all of the tasks that have been accomplished. We’re beta-testing a “To Be Assigned” column, and we also have a backlog set up for home-renovation projects.

      Once my husband started glancing at my “done” column and realizing just how much laundry/dishes/random cleaning tasks I do, he began to tell me how much he appreciated what I was doing and started stealing my tasks. (Because sometimes, it still looks like I did zero things at the end of the day… because toddler + obscenely tiny kitchen). He also started respecting my need for alone time better once he saw that one of my repeat tasks is: “Sit quietly for 10 minutes, relax.”

      For my part, I can “see” all of the budget balancing, email communication for events, and random tax crap he deals with (which, to me, looks like “sitting still and playing on the computer”). I can also see that I clean as I go, whereas he’ll take 4-5 hours to clean everything, both of which are needed but also cause friction.

      We sometimes track time spent, but only for ourselves (like: let’s see if I can get the bathroom clean in 30 mins instead of the avg 45). And, if one of us deals with a random shit-show at home (like, literally. Did I mention we have a toddler?) then we throw it on the board with the label “unexpected crap.”

      Most of the small problems (me doing household stuff when he hadn’t because it would embarrass me when people would come over if the place was cluttered or dishes not done; him ignoring small things I’d asked him to do differently to save cleaning time for me or not telling me when he had planned to do his next grand-clean so interrupting my plans for the day) escalated greatly once we had a kid.

      Also, imo it’s actually really healthy to have some expectations for him. No one can sit and stare at a page/screen 16 hours per day without it driving them bonkers (I know because I have done it… Not sustainable!). A set of small, ongoing tasks (water the plants, take out the recycling, change the sheets and towels) could actually be little respites for him and give him the mental breaks he needs as he takes small breaks during the day while still accomplishing something.

    7. New Phone Who Dis?*

      I made myself very scarce during the serious patches. Picked up extra work hours, joined a hobby group. It even made me exercise.

      I’m fairly high stress myself, So I put tons of effort into doing what I needed to be chill. I couldn’t do a damn thing about his school work, so I took the role of light hearted, happy go lucky, partner, or kept busy.

      This was much easier given I was broke as hell right out of college in ‘09. Give me Alllllll the hours.

      I also insisted on having fun with him. The work will still be there after a day of site seeing/bar hopping/hiking/shopping what have you. But all pleasant experiences can’t stop for months at a time and not have pretty serious consequences.

    8. TardyTardis*

      I suppose a Thorazine dart gun is right out? (sighs). I know, you wouldn’t know where to aim it.

  19. Queenie*

    I would appreciate suggestions for books similar to The Gift of Fear if anyone can think of any.

    I’ve dealt with a lot of deceitful, backstabbing, greedy, creepy, harrass-y, etc. people in my life and find it hard to trust anyone new now. Would like to read some books to help me be able to tell when someone’s a bad person so I can stop assuming everyone is.

    1. Penguin*

      These aren’t how-to guides, but both “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft and “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” by Karyl McBride cover behaviors by people (angry/controlling men, and narcissistic mothers/parents, respectively) that I’ve found helpful to understand and be warned about.

    2. Jackie*

      I recommend these books: Narcissism in the Workplace by Dr. Samuel Grier; Survive Bullying at Work by Lorenza Clifford; and The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout.

    3. Mephyle*

      The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense and related books by Suzette Haden Elgin. That book is the first one, and she later wrote others in the same vein, such as More on the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense, How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable, and The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense At Work.

    4. Ginger ale for all*

      I listen to Dave Ramsey and the one book he recommends almost as much as the ones he wrote himself for dealing with difficult people is titled Boundaries. I haven’t read it myself though.

    5. Sami*

      Life skills for Adult Children by Janet Woititz. It’s written for adult children of alcoholics, but it’s helpful for anyone. Carolyn Hax recommends it often.

    6. Patchwork*

      Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t
      by Henry Cloud, John Townsend

    7. Queenie*

      Thank you everyone! I’m going to see if I can get these at the library or from Amazon. I appreciate the help! :)

  20. Myrin*

    YOU GUYS, I’m so happy to be on here again!

    I’ve had only very, very spotty internet for a whole week (the last two days of which where basically “no internet at all”). Lots of calling and waiting and calling and talking to an electrician who didn’t know much more than I do, either, more calling, all the calling and jingle-listening, until it turned out to be the problem I’ve said it was all along: our router broke and had to be replaced.

    The new baby is working like a charm so far (a whole 24 hours now), so fingers crossed!

    1. Libervermis*

      Hooray! I’m sorry you had to spend so much of your life listening to jingles, but I hope the new router continues doing well for you.

  21. I Am Still Furious!!*

    Sighs. Divorce update. Sorry for how long and rambling this is!!

    House is a disaster. My bathroom looked like a family of raccoons had been living in it, kitchen looked like an episode of “Hoarders”, flea infestation, the poor cats’ flea meds were found unused on top of the fridge. Basement looks like recycling was just tossed to take itself to the recycling center. My electric stove was grease saturated, the oven element was burned off (!!!!) and the microwave was beyond help. Thankfully the fridge isn’t too bad. Today I’m going to take everything out of the fridge and freezer sections, and take it to the almost empty deep freeze downstairs to wait for garbage day (Garbage pickup is Wednesday AM very early, and we have bears in the neighborhood). Then I’m sanitizing it. The floor is gross and I swept it and mopped it once but it just needs to be replaced or covered or something. The cabinets and walls need to be scrubbed down to get rid of the thick greasy dirty film covering everything. I wish I could just use a pressure washer.

    I was surprised and not surprised at the same time. I photographed before and after pictures of the kitchen and bathroom, and just started tossing and cleaning. 2 days later, I have a functioning bathroom and a totally cleaned out kitchen, except the fridge and table. And even the table legs are somehow wobbly and I’m going to have to either fix it or toss it.

    He left a lot of clothes in a large pile in the living room, upstairs is a mess too, things strewn about, so I consolidated all the clothes in garbage bags. Found the divorce paperwork I served him, medical paperwork for a scheduled surgery (had no idea), letters from the DMV about moving violations, collection notices, but some of it I just tossed. I also bagged up all his tax stuff from year 2015. He never filed. I guess he might need it. I felt like throwing it away, but wanted to be the better person.

    Arranging for a dumpster, and making a pile for said dumpster, hoping the neighbors don’t hate me. I am throwing away almost everything, donating things to the thrift store, and keeping very little. I’m going to get all new curtains first, and going to tear up the carpet. Gotta deal with the flea infestation too, cats are treated but I have to look at options, like bombs or exterminator, or something. Ugh, I am so upset about all of this.

    Of course my wheelbarrow tire was flat, so I’m taking my bicycle tire pump with me today to pump it up, so I can use it to move things more easily to the dumpster pile. When I did laundry, started to wash towels, sheets, etc., I went outside to hang them up, only to find my clothespins had been scattered all over the back porch, mixed up with leaves and all sorts of junk.

    The yard was mowed once, and only part of it, so there are weeds better than waist high. Good thing there’s no weed ordinance. Again, the neighbors must hate me, but I have to get the house livable before I can tackle the yard.

    So, I have almost everything out of the first floor now, either in the back yard or in the dumpster pile. 2 of my friends came through with a new (to me) stove and microwave, free of charge! I’ll have a functioning kitchen soon. I got a very nice 30″ sink top with fixtures free for pickup yesterday, now on the hunt for a vanity, and I’m going to replace the delapidated vanity/sink in the bathroom. So there are bright spots. I need a toaster, so will keep an eye out. I’ve found if you just tell people hey, I’m looking for X, if you see it keep me in mind, it’s surprisingly easy to find things that way.

    And to top it all off, he informed me he has a girlfriend! I don’t even care. In fact, I wish her good luck. I almost want to send her a Facebook message with pictures of the bathroom and kitchen and advise her not to let her new boyfriend in charge of housekeeping.

    I’m going to tell my attorney about all of it. I hope I have some legal recourse or can get money knocked off the second half of the settlement. This is just ridiculous. It’s going to take days to get this back to livable condition. I took Thursday and Friday off work, going out today and tomorrow, then am going to take half days in the afternoons and spending evenings tossing, organizing, then finally cleaning.

    All in all, I guess it could be worse somehow. I’m not putting money into the house. It’s old and in crappy shape anyway, its worth to me is a free place to live (aside from taxes, electricity, and internet). And that reminds me…he probably didn’t pay the taxes…grrr… I don’t plan to stay in the area long term, but if I can get it livable and stay for a year or so, that would be great. Going to let the neighbors on both sides know it’s for sale. I’m hoping they may each want half so they don’t have a crappy house between them :)

    Thanks for letting me go on. It feels good to share all of this. I’m off for another day of cleaning and tossing!

    1. WellRed*

      I bet you the neighbors already know what a piece of work he is and are glad to see someone is now taking care of things. Toss his stuff if you haven’t already and by all means, see if you can reduce the settlement.

      1. tangerineRose*

        I’m sure your neighbors are happy you’re back and cleaning up. He sounds like a terrible person to have as a neighbor.

        1. tangerineRose*

          Maybe hand any of his papers over to your lawyer? Then you’re doing the right thing, he’s looking bad, you’re looking good.

      2. MatKnifeNinja*

        If the house looks like an episode of Hoarders Lite, I bet your neighbors want to kiss you on the lips when they saw the dumpster show up.

        Your STBX doesn’t have a girlfriend. Just a a maid with benefits. Yuck.

    2. neverjaunty*

      I hope your lawyer can make hay out of this. How great that he’s about to be Not Your Problem anymore!

    3. Red Reader*

      If you think the neighbors would have a problem with the dumpster and if you might have spare room, maybe asking them if they have anything they need to chuck in when you’re done might help with that?

    4. Clever Name*

      Wow. I’m speechless. When you noted that he said he had a girlfriend, I just had to laugh because there’s no way she’s ever been to his place.

      1. WellRed*

        Of course not! He probably instantly mooched onto her and mooched into her house because he is incapable of taking care of himself.

    5. Reba*

      I was glad to get to the mention of friends in there. Hope you are getting help, support, and commiseration as needed. Hang in there.

    6. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Re the fleas – yes, there are flea bombs. Get the crap out of the house, you and cats vacate for however long, and let it do its thing. However, assuming you’re using an effective flea treatment that will kill on contact, fleas will be (slowly) naturally killed. So it will start improving naturally even before you can bomb. Between the 2, you’ll be in good shape.

      1. Turtlewings*

        Viva la flea bombs. I’ve lived in situations, though, where even the flea bombs didn’t work, and we had to call in professionals. THAT finally worked.

        Also, if there’s going to be a delay before you can bomb: borax powder will help keep them out of your bed (feels like sleeping in sand, but at least sand doesn’t bite), and I’ve heard that diatomaceous earth can do great things.

      2. Ali G*

        If you want another option to flea bombs you can get diotomaceous earth at almost any hardware store. It kills bugs by desiccating their bodies but is completely non-toxic to pets and humans. Just sprinkle it everywhere, leave it for a day or 2 then vacuum. Repeat as necessary.

        1. Sam I Am*

          Seconding this. Get the “food grade DE” at the hardware or farm store. I had to make sure I cleaned the vacuum in the middle of the cleanup; I found info on how to do that on youtube, it was easy. The DE is a fine powder which can overwork your vacuum if it starts collecting in all the hoses. Non toxic to humans and pets, but it can dry out the skin it comes into contact with. I used dish washing gloves when I was spreading it, kept shoes on while it was spread on the carpet. It can be time consuming but it doesn’t leave any (potentially) toxic residue all over your stuff.

          1. Hamburke*

            DE can cause respritory issues if you inhale it tho (usually with people who already have respiratory issues like asthma).

        2. I Am Still Furious!!*

          I have a 5 lb bag of DE, ready to go! Just clearing stuff off the carpeting and getting things out for the dumpster. My plan is to sprinkle, vacuum, sprinkle, vacuum, and keep the flea traps going (a light above a dish of soapy water). And the cats are treated. And I found that spraying a high concentration Deet bug spray on my lower legs has deterred then from getting on me.

          1. June*

            You can put a flea collar or moth balls (keep them away from kitties – they are poison) inside your vacuum bag and vacuum daily. That should also help kill the fleas. Good luck!

    7. RestlessRenegade*

      Reading this was so cathartic. Your ex reminds me of my ex–totally incapable of doing basically anything. This sounds like what he’d leave behind if he lived somewhere by himself. More importantly, I *love* cleaning, decluttering, organizing, trashing stuff, so while I know it’s a lot of work and likely not fun, it was so rewarding to read about!
      Sounds you’re doing an awesome job. I’d be surprised if the neighbors didn’t know who was responsible for the mess and who’s cleaning it up now. Keep being awesome!

      1. I Am Still Furious!!*

        My neighbors are thrilled that I’m back, and came right out and said they knew I was the one always doing everything while he did nothing. I apologized for the state of things, and they said they understood and were glad to see me.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      Please excuse me if you have already hopped on this one. Those taxes from 2015, maybe consider filing them yourself? I say this because my friend had the same thing happen and years after the divorce the IRS went after HER. So even if she digs herself out she still has a lawyer bill because of it.

      This is not one to let float by. You can save yourself torment in the future.

      My second thought is maybe you can hire some lawn care people to clean up and deduct that from what you owe him. Your lawyer should know the answer here. I am saying this because it would be good if you could get the fleas outside under control as well as the inside fleas. We tend to bring them in with us, or they ease through open doors with us, whatever.

      1. I Am Still Furious!!*

        I filed myself for 2015 taxes, as married filing separately. I’m not worried about it, not my problem. I paid my taxes, plus nearly $1K more because I didn’t get the deductions. Grrr….if the IRS comes after me for taxes he failed to file, I’ll tell them to pound sand. They have my money.

    9. Observer*

      This unfortunately is totally not surprising. But, still infuriating. I hope you can get something knocked off the settlement, but I’d say not to expect too much.

      VERY smart of you to take pictures.

      I think the thing that irks me the most is the cats. I get that he is an inept idiot and he also was probably trying to leave you as much trouble as he could, which is nasty but par for the course. But that cats really are just innocent creatures caught in the cross fire. (And I’m not even a cat person. Bu still!)

      So glad he’s not your problem any more!

  22. Nervous Accountant*

    I went to the gastroenterologist appt and I am sure glad I did. Up until halfway through the consultation w the dr I was skeptical and felt it was a waste of time. Well, I had/have fatty liver which if untreated, leads to cirrhosis. They did an U/S and the dr warned me that if my scar tissue was above a # a biopsy would be needed and it’s super serious etc etc. So, yeah, I was freaking out. Thankfully it was low enough that he said it can be reversed with diet & exercise and minimum 10-20% weight loss. I was kicking myself bc right before the appt I had texted a friend jokingly saying “for all the time & effort & money spent on this stupid appt they better find something wrong and not just send me away with ‘lose weight.’”……. mmmm never been more relieved to hear that though.

    1. nep*

      Oh my goodness. Great that you went. Glad your current condition can be addressed with diet and exercise.
      Thanks for the update. All the best.

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        Yes, easier said than done, given my struggles with diet & exercise. But a huge relief.

        1. Observer*

          Yeah, it sounds so simple and it’s never that easy.

          Would it help to find a GOOD dietician who can help you with developing a meal / food plan that works for you. Sometime just figuring out a realistic plan can make a huge difference with the diet part.

    2. RestlessRenegade*

      I’m glad you received mostly good news and that you don’t need the biopsy!
      I just had an upper endoscopy this week. It went really well, but the doc didn’t find anything to explain my outrageous GERD. Says to just keep taking OTC meds. Oh well!

      1. Observer*

        Try “Dropping Acid” by Jamie A. Koufman, Jordan Stern, and Marc Michel Bauer, if you haven’t yet. For a LOT of people, their diet is the key to getting this stuff under control. And the good thing is that what they propose is generally safe. They are also mostly not extreme, although, how far you will need to go depends on how bad your GERD is.

        My husband had really bad GERD and has been able to mostly drop his medication since radically changing his diet, and even when he needs something TUMS is sufficient.

        1. RestlessRenegade*

          Thanks, I’ll look into it! My diet is not great for GERD; I like spicy stuff and eat fried food more than I should. Although, my GERD is so bad that I literally get heartburn in the morning after only drinking water. Even if I fast, drinking water will set it off. So my diet changes might need to be really, really extreme!

          1. Observer*

            What happened for my husband was that he had to go on a crazy limited diet for about 6 weeks, just to get to a point of healing. Then he was able to expand his diet, but it’s still quite limited – which surprises no one who knows his history. He’s had gerd for years. At first he wouldn’t make ANY diet changes although his diet incorporated some of the worst foods for GERD, and even when he finally started making changes, they were baby steps. So, aside from the underlying issues, we’re pretty sure he’s done some permanent damage.

  23. Anon for this*

    Mentions work but not work-related.

    I’m getting married in a few months and, for visa reasons, I can’t work now and won’t be able to work for a few months after we’re married. The money situation isn’t great, but we think we can make it work. And I plan to work on skills that’ll make me more marketable when I can apply for jobs.

    But how do I get over feeling useless for not contributing? For now we’ve agreed I’ll do a greater share of the housework (which I think is fair, so no arguing that point) and he’s okay with me not working for now (I mean, he has to be because I don’t want to get deported), but I still feel really guilty that I almost certainly won’t be able to work until 2019.

    1. LDN Layabout*

      Do you own where you’re living? Housework is one thing, but if there’s a house/flat project you could do or even project manage that’s priceless.

    2. NicoleK*

      Do you like gardening? Growing some herbs and produce can help your financial situation and you’ll feel like you’re contributing to the household.

    3. Confused Publisher*

      You’re not contributing *money* at this point, not not contributing *at all*. In your lives together, at some future time, there may come a day when the roles are reversed.
      I can relate to how you’re feeling because, thanks to illness, I’ve been there. My husband still talks about how he appreciated me taking care of the non-physical errands and taking on all the planning that was involved in getting by with less money coming in, and neither of us now thinks I wasn’t pulling my weight in the relationship just because I couldn’t bring in income at that time.

    4. Reba*

      I know you are asking about contributing in your relationship/household, but what about volunteering? That might fall under “working on skills,” but I’ve been in slightly similar situations (minus the immigration so much less stressful), one where I worked from home on an amorphous longterm project, and another where I was still working on same but also volunteering my time and going to an office on the regular. Having regular work hours and interacting with colleagues made a big difference to my feeling like a productive person.

      If I were in your partner’s shoes, I would think that taking on the burden of planning–home stuff, trips, whatever–would be as big as some of the menial tasks themselves. And yes, as others said, don’t give all the weight to money as the important stuff you bring in.

      Good luck and best wishes with your paperwork. My sib and their spouse recently went through this. It can be a very long process! Be kind to each other and reach out to friends.

      1. Anona*

        Seconding volunteering. When I had a period of joblessness, this helped give me a schedule and made me feel useful. It got really boring/lonely at home before I did this. It also was something I could add to my resume so it didn’t feel like wasted time.

    5. Temperance*

      Can you take care of the house, errands, etc.? Are you able to volunteer to build skills and meet people?

    6. LilySparrow*

      Working for money is not the only way to contribute to your joint quality of life. There are a lot of personal investments of time and care that can’t be replaced with money.

      Look for practical things you can do, both day to day or as projects, to make both of your lives better.

      Some of them might be traditional homemaker stuff like cooking or housework. Others could be big-picture thinking, research, planning, investing, or an element of creativity that you wouldn’t have time for if you were working.

    7. Apollo Warbucks*

      It doesn’t sound like there’s anything to feel guilty about, some times in relationships some person carries slightly more of the load than the other and it should balance out over time.

      It sounds like a nice compromise to take on more of the house work for the time being, maybe you could look into volunteering opportunities, assuming that wouldn’t mess with your visa.

      18 months is maybe to early to start prepping for your job search but you should be able to start in good time so you e got something lined up to start as soon as you’re able to.

    8. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      The other thing you can do, is beef up your skills, network, participate in community activities, and own learning new things in general – life skills. Think about the people you admire outside of work,a and why – and which of their qualities you can learn, practice, and emulate. It’s super valuable to have a period in your life where you are growing you as a person, and that strengthens the relationship, too.
      Second on the volunteering. It’s a way of doing a lot of the above personality work, networking, skill building, and more.

    9. Not So NewReader*

      It’s six months. The time will fly.
      Get your resume beefed up.
      Clip coupons, catch sales and check out garage sales to keep things humming along.
      If you are crafty maybe you can make a few gifts for people’s occasions or holidays and reduce the gift giving budget by some amount.
      Organize life things- maybe you can put your budget on the computer so that it’s really quick each month to manage your money. Think about how you will need to have things streamlined and manageable when you both are working. Get some of those helpful things in place now.
      It’s a little late in the growing season to do a lot, but maybe in a short bit you can plant some cool weather crops like broccoli, cauliflower or maybe some lettuce.
      Take a look at your bills. Is there any way you can reduce any of them? I thought I couldn’t then I went in for a closer look. I was able to reduce my most of my bills by at least 40%. When I saw this decided to make it a life habit to rotate through the bills and look for ways to reduce each one. And, no, I did not make it painful, I used easy and logical things to cut costs. This will be helpful when you get back to work also because there is that
      period of playing catch up after having a reduced income for a period of time.

    10. Thlayli*

      A guy I know was in your situation. He set himself a goal of reading and reviewing a book a day while he waited for his visa. He had a blog of the book reviews and the instant he got a visa he was hired for a magazine on the strength of his blog.

      Maybe consider doing some unpaid work in your field to make it easy for you to get a job once your visa comes through?

    11. Hamburke*

      It’s such a hard transition. I did it after having kids (it didn’t really hit until babies were about 5-6 months). You need to reframe your thinking on contributing. I wish I could find this great article I found some years ago that takes about this – what capital can you bring to the partnership now? I was able to bring social and community relations capital to my family. I got the chores out of the way while hubby worked so he could really relax on weekends or we could go do something social without worries about getting stuff done. I planned meals based on the sales flyers and clipped coupons so we could save money. I made friends with the neighbors, I helped out with community/neighborhood events, I participated in babysitting coops. When the kids went to school, I volunteered at their school. All this has an impact on how you relate to your surroundings.

      I know you can’t work but is there something that you can volunteer?

    12. Cuddles Chatterji*

      Hi there, a few more bits of advice since my husband is in this situation right now, too. :)
      – IANAL, but if you’ll be temporarily unauthorized to work in the USA, know that volunteering should be true volunteering without any tangible benefits (reimbursement, housing, etc.) to you. Also, working in a job without pay under the guise of volunteering is still work. So just educate yourself on those kinds of things to be sure.
      – Agree that working on skills in the meantime is a great choice. Training, practicing, learning new things are all good. Also, I believe you can make inventory to sell *after* you get employment authorization.
      – VisaJourney is a great website for all things US-immigration related, in case that applies. They have many threads on how to adjust in such circumstances, including staying busy (legally) while waiting for employment authorization.

  24. Foreign Octopus*

    Book thread!

    What’s everyone reading this week?

    I’ve just finished And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini and I was impressed by it. It reminded me of David Mitchell’s Ghostwritten in the way it was structured – more of a collection of loosely related short stories than one big continuous one.

    1. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

      Secrets by Daniel Ellsberg. I started it ages ago but got sidetracked by reading I needed to do for grad school. Back to it now, and I really wish I’d been able to read it all at once. I’m still finding it really interesting, but I wish I remembered more of the parts I read a few months ago (but not badly enough to start again from the beginning, lol).

      Also reading The Story of Egypt by Joann Fletcher, which is interesting on a big-picture level, but I’m definitely going to be seeking out more detailed books on Egypt after I finish it.

    2. AMillonStreetlights*

      Just finished Dark Deeds, the last in a space heist / rogue traders type series by Mike Brooks. Impossible not to draw some comparisons with Firefly, but its immensely entertaining and the series has got better and better as its gone on. Really recommend it if anyone is looking for some fun sci-fi.

    3. Book Lover*

      Rereading Rivers of London. Loving it even more now that I have all the knowledge of the characters from the later books. And able to just snuggle down and read slowly, enjoying the details, rather than rushing for plot.

      Finished Elantris. Eh, so so. Maybe worth reread at some point.

        1. Gatomon*

          I enjoy Brandon Sanderson’s work, but Elantris doesn’t stand out to me looking back. I really prefer his series (Mistborn, The Stormlight Archive) to his stand-alone books.

      1. Lib Lady*

        Love love love Rivers of London. I listen to it on audio book. I love the narrator and the accents and looking up London locations. I just finished Dear Mrs Bird, set in WWII London and some of the characters were involved in the Café de Paris bombing, which tied into a Rivers book, and I just imagined those events in Rivers playing out in Dear Mrs Bird. No spoilers incase you haven’t read either.

        1. Book Lover*

          Oh, I have read all the books many times. They are a cozy reread. Right now I am rereading Broken Homes and remembering the horrendous traffic around Elephant and Castle :).

    4. nep*

      I recently finished Rebecca Mead’s My Life in Middlemarch (after I read Middlemarch). Liked Mead’s book. Before I dive into another novel or narrative non-fiction, going to read Ry Cooder’s short stories. (Big fan of his music for decades–only last year learned he’d put out a book.)

    5. Lady Jay*

      Just finished Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End, a near-future sci-fi novel which gets its forward thrust from the rise of mind-control technologies and AI. (Vinge, interestingly, is a computer scientist who worked as USCD for years and is one of people who came up with the idea of the Singularity.) Also, Vinge’s characters are consistently ethnically diverse. He’s always worth a read.

      Right now I’m reading Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo, about a Mumbai slum.

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        He’s the best. Everything he’s written has been nominated for a Hugo, and most have won. For *very* good reason. Software Archaeologists, indeed.

    6. Rogue*

      I’m reading “Will I Ever Be Free of You?” By Karyl McBride. It’s about leaving narcissistic marriages/relationships and healing.

    7. HashtagUsername*

      I’m The Daughters of Palatine Hill by Phyllis T. Smith. It’s a historical set in Ancient Rome during Augustus’s reign and focuses on his wife, Livia; his daughter, Julia; and his hostage/prisoner/but not really, Cleopatra Selene (the daughter of Mark Antony and Cleopatra). I’m really enjoying it so far.

    8. Writing Passion*

      I started The Hills Have Spies by Mercedes Lackey on Thursday! I’m really excited because I love her Heralds of Valdemar books and this is the newest one!

      1. Finny*

        Great book! I love all her Valdemar books so much, so much so that back in 2012 I won a charity auction to get a character based on me in one of her books–Herald-Trainee Finny, in Redoubt–then got to meet her and Larry Dixon at World Fantasy later that year. Incredibly nice people, the both of them.

        I hope you enjoy the book–I know I sure did!

    9. Justin*

      Mentioned separately below, but I just finished “Bad Blood,” about the rise and fall of startup Theranos and its terrifying owner, Elizabeth Holmes, who was blessedly just indicted. It will be a movie written/directed by Adam McKay (The Big Short) and starring, appropriately, JLaw, next year.

      What a story. Well worth checking out.

      1. MsChandandlerBong*

        Thanks for the recommendation! I just put a hold on the e-book. There are 20 people ahead of me, but by the time I finish my current loans and get a few other books I have on hold, it should work out fine.

    10. Aurora Leigh*

      Furyborn by Claire Legrand.

      Just starting, but it’s really good so far. Great fantasy worldbuilding and I’m already invested in the characters.

      1. Ginger ale for all*

        Ah! I know Claire! She is so wonderful. I am so happy that ahe is finding success as an author.

    11. HannahS*

      I just finished A Reaper at the Gates, which is the third book in a series by Sabaa Tahir. I’ve been trying to read fantasy that’s different from the usual search-for-the-mcguffin-in-feudal-Europe and she delivered. It’s a warriors-versus-scholars story set in what feels like North Africa during the Roman Empire, with djinns and ghosts and a personal look at what it’s like to be a Charon-type character.

    12. RestlessRenegade*

      Khaled Hosseini spoke at my university a few years ago. He was an excellent speaker and I’ve been meaning to read one of his books–Mountains sounds great!

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        Okay, now I’m jealous! I listened to one of his audio books, as he does the audio himself, and he has such a lovely voice.

        This was the second one of his that I read, the first being The Kite Runner, which I felt was more strikingly emotional. This one just hurt a little at the end.

    13. Libervermis*

      I’m finishing the last book in an eight-book fantasy series called Temeraire by Naomi Novik. Historical fantasy about the Napoleonic Wars if dragons existed. Some heavier moments occasionally but most a delightful adventure full of dragons with very well-developed personalities.

      1. Book Lover*

        I noped out at the plague :(. I keep meaning to try again as I love everything fanfic and published that she writes. I have spinning silver on order.

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

      I attempted to read Space Opera by Catherine Valente, recommended by quite a number of people I know (and I believe by posters here as well). I’ll admit to not being the biggest sci-fi fan, but I’m a sucker for any heavily music-themed book. It took three months to get it from my library and I was quite disappointed when I finally got it. The writing style was so ponderous; it seemed like the author was being paid both by the word and the pop culture reference. I couldn’t get through it and honestly I felt bad about quitting on it, though I know I shouldn’t.

      1. acmx*

        I gave up on Space Opera at about chapter three. I kept re-reading so many sentences due to her overuse of adjectivees and run in sentences.

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

          I’m glad I’m not the only one. I really, really tried to get through it. Actually made it to about page 100. But it was just requiring so much mental energy to figure out what she was trying to say with all the run-on sentences.

      2. Gingerblue*

        I love Valente’s writing, but her style is pretty distinctive, and I’m trying to imagine how it translates to space Eurovision. I adored her “Orphan’s Tales” duology, which her ornateness fit really well, but I haven’t tackled Space Opera yet. She seems like one of those authors who’s sometimes better off finding a topic which fits their prose style than trying to fit style to topic. (Patricia McKillip is another fantasy author who strikes me that way.)

      3. Rainy*

        I don’t like her prose, which I learnt back in my LiveJournal days. :) Most people are not as critical of writing style as I am, though.

    15. MsChandandlerBong*

      I re-read “The Butterfly Garden” by Dot Hutchison yesterday. Finished “Cross ” and “Double Cross” by James Patterson earlier in the week. I am currently going back and forth between “Cross Country” (James Patterson) and “Grim Rising” by Amanda M. Lee (book # 7 in a series about a family of grim reapers). “Cross Country” hasn’t grabbed me like the other books in the Alex Cross series, so I am not plowing through it like I normally would.

    16. DrWombat*

      The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal – an alternate story of the space race. A meteor hits off the US coast and devastates the eastern seaboard, spurring a faster space race and moon colonies in the 50’s and 60’s. I love her work in general but it’s also nice to see more Jewish protagonists in SF, and a diverse cast in general. If you liked Hidden Figures you’ll probably like this – and the sequel, The Fated Sky, comes out soon! Set in the same universe as The Lady Astronaut of Mars and I adore it! The audiobook is read by Mary herself and she’s a fantastic narrator.

    17. Marion Ravenwood*

      I’m about a third of the way through Battle Royale (in translation) for one of my book clubs. Am not really warming to it much so far; the violence feels a bit over-the-top and oddly detached, though I suspect that’s the point (or maybe I’m just desensitised to such things), and some parts of it are almost a bit laughable. Yes Shuya’s a star athlete and musician, but does *every* girl in the class have to fancy him? And some of the action scenes (I’m thinking of one particular fight which leads to a fairly big plot point) are just ‘Really? Really??’ But it’s well-paced and interesting enough to keep reading, and I like that the narrative jumps around and you get to spend time with all the characters rather than just focusing on one person or group, although there are obviously lead characters in there who you’re spending more time with than others.

      I’m also re-reading the Harry Potter books this year. I finished Order of the Phoenix this morning (not my favourite due to SHOUTY ANGSTY HARRY WHO ONLY SPEAKS IN CAPITALS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS! The re-read only confirmed this, although I’m still sad about certain people dying – I knew it was coming but it was still a shock) and will start Half-Blood Prince before bed tonight.

    18. Aphrodite*

      I am just starting a reread of an old book from 2002, Beyond the Deep: The Deadly Descent into the World’s Most Treacherous Cave. It will be immediately followed by Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Cave on Earth.

      I loved these books (as well as ones about deep water diving, wreck driving, cave diving, and other extreme ventures). The huge irony for me is that I have a genuine fear of being trapped and small spaces. I once was put on Leave of Absence because my department at work was eliminated and the transfer was to the theatre department where the small office, composed of large cement blocks, was going to be underground. I freaked. So for 18 months I was unemployed there, though I eventually got back. But I love, love, love reading about these things I am very unlikely to ever try.

    19. Middle School Teacher*

      Calypso, by David Sedaris. I’m enjoying it, although it’s not as funny as some of his other books.

    20. Gingerblue*

      I’m about to start Ruthanna Emrys’ Deep Roots, the second book in her Innsmouth Legacy series. For lack of a better description, it’s basically a feminist, anti-colonialist take on Lovecraft.

      I’m also re-reading Andrea Host’s Stray/Lab Rat One/Caszandra trilogy, which is something of a fluffy comfort re-read for me. Australian girl wanders through portal into another world. Fantasy but with more SFnal, high-tech atmosphere. The first one’s free on Kindle if anyone is interested in well-realized psychic soldiers fighting extra-dimensional nightmare monsters, with bonus archaeology, paperwork, and romance. I find the viewpoint character’s levelheadedness soothing.

    21. Gatomon*

      Finally finished Lord of the Rings. I give it… 2.5/5 stars? I probably won’t reread it, it just isn’t much my style. I do have a better grasp of all the Lord of the Rings phrases/memes that have entered the common vernacular though. Will check out the movies at some point.

      I’m now reading Whirlwind by James Clavell. I’ve read Shogun, Taipan, King-Rat and Gai-Jin, and parts of Noble House (it was a loner and I didn’t have enough time to finish!). He does a really great job of structuring his writing to create a sense of urgency or excitement or fear, more than any other author I can think of.

    22. Lemonworld*

      I just finished two books – Homesick And Happy by Michael Thompson, which I read in preparation for sending my 7 yr old to sleep away camp for the first time later this month, and Skeleton Hill by Peter Lovesey, which is a police procedural that’s part of a series featuring the same protagonist, Peter Diamond. I used to love the Peter Diamond books, but this one felt flat and boring. Not sure if I’ve changed or the books have.

      The other book was interesting to read although now I know about all these super-cool sleep away camps that I’d love to send my kid to but yowsers they are spendy!

  25. Jane of all Trades*

    I’m looking for ideas of things that will keep cats entertained by themselves. I just started a new career that is requiring me, and will continue to require me, to spend most of the day outside of the house (think leaving at 8 am, back at 10pm or so). I have 2 cats, and even though the apartment is big compared to the other shoeboxes in the city, it’s not that big. I have put a feeder outside of the window to attract birds, it only seems to attract pigeons, and so I don’t keep it filled all that often because I don’t want to be the person feeding the pigeons. I’ve tried cat movies on tv, and I usually put their kibble into little containers that they have to look for and then swat at to get at their food, but generally they are still bored.
    One of the ideas I’m toying with is those wall mounted cat furniture things (like catastrophic creations offers) or maybe even an aquarium with a lid. Would love to hear people’s ideas, tips & experiences!

    1. Cat Foster Mama Drama*

      HAHAHAHA! I’m right above you and I just posted a cat thing! Are your kits acting out? It sounds like you’re doing all the right things. But, if you’re willing to spend a little money, what about hirng a cat sitter to visit in the middle of the day to play with them for an hour. If your cats are relatively well mannered, maybe there’s a local teenager who loves cats who would do it for cheap. (I actually did this for my neighbors with a dog when I was a teenager.)

      1. Jane of all Trades*

        Ah – there’s your post :)
        They’re acting up in that they seem more restless than usual, and one whines more and appears to be a little jealous when I pet the other. That is a good idea. I may look into it. They are both very sweet, maybe a little shy, and we have a bunch of universities around, maybe there is a college student that wants to earn 20 bucks to hang out with my cats every so often, haha.

        1. Handy Nickname*

          When I was a student, I would have LOVED having a quiet place to go and study for a couple hours during the day with kitty playtime mixed in as a break, plus some extra cash a couple times a week.

          Honestly that still sounds heavenly

      2. Star Nursery*

        -Wall mounted cat tree sounds great
        -Do you already have a cat tree?
        Chewy.com has pretty good deals on cat trees and cat enrichment toys that will ship free in about 2 days if you spend over a certain amount
        -there is a cat subscription box similar to Barkbox but for cats
        -If you aren’t sure where to find a cat person to stop by you could put an add at a local highschool or college, otherwise, I have used Rover.com to book for petsitters and have had mostly great sitters, you could schedule drop-in visits for cats.

    2. Saskia*

      Search for ‘enrichment toys’ for cats to find other ideas for entertaining yours during the day. There are so many cool toys that even if your cats are very finicky, you’ll find something that appeals to them.

  26. Cat Foster Mama Drama*

    I’m fostering a 1-year old cat. Who is adorable and a floof monster. (His tail is AWESOME) I haven’t had a kitten (ish) since I was a teenager and his play needs are wearing me out! (Doesn’t help that I’m in a studio apartment) I want to drain his energy and curb his desire to nip at me. (He’s a gentle nipper, except when he’s excited – so 50% of the time) I’ve tried a bunch of different toys, feliway spray (on his favorite places and mine) . I’ve spritzed him with water, yipped, clapped my hands, thrown toys across the room for distraction when he gets too frisky with me – but it only works temporarily, he doesn’t seem to be learning the lesson.

    When he’s calm, he’s lovely. I think I just wasn’t prepared for the intensity of his kitten-ish. Kind of venting, kind of asking for advice, kind of hoping someone here wants to adopt him. :)

    1. Jane of all Trades*

      Hey! Now I get to respond to your post – any chance of adding a second foster? I used to foster kittens a lot before moving into the new city and tiny apartment. Usually when there’s more than one they can just wear each other out, because they have crazy energy. With all of those cats and kittens I usually would just keep my hands very steady if they tried to play by biting it, so that it’s a less inviting toy, and try to say “no” in a calm manner. Maybe that helped, maybe it helped that there were cats and kittens around that were more interesting..
      I think kittens really love to have a toy that they can bite on while kicking at it with their hind legs – which maybe your kitten is using you for right now? Can you add some of those toys (the kind that comes up when you look for kitten kicker toy on amazon or the like – like an elongated shape so they can bite one side and kick the other). Other than that, I would keep a lot of balls and crinkly toys around that are inviting to the little guy.

      1. Cat Foster Mama Drama*

        I do think he would benefit from a friend, though I don’t know how he is with other cats. He gets very interested — unclear if it’s good or bad — when he spots himself in the mirror. But, I have no means to separate them and do a proper introduction in a studio apt.

        I actually made a kicker toy out of an old sock stuffed with paper bags. He ignores it until I show it to him and then he’s scared of it. I’ve seen him kick it once after he accidentally jumped on it while playing with a wand toy. Normally I’d put some catnip on it to get him interested. But he turns wild on catnip. It amps up his play aggression.

        He has one fuzzy mouse that came with him that he’s rediscovered and seems to do the trick to get him to play appropriately and well. I’m planning to get more of them today. Fingers crossed!

        In the end, I probably wasn’t the best person to foster him, given my work schedule and the fact that I tend to work with older cats. I think I’m just feeling like a failure and guilty that I’m not able to teach him the way I want.

        1. Jane of all Trades*

          You definitely shouldn’t feel that way! You’re taking in a homeless animal and providing a safe space & love until he finds his permanent spot. My cats used to entertain themselves with a lot of stuff (and still do, but they’re a little older and calmer now), which included: chasing the plastic ring from around a milk bottle, chasing balls of crumpled up paper, swatting at a transparent Tupperware container under which I placed some treats, chasing ping pong balls, fishing kibble out of the bath tub (one of mine really likes water – YMMV), chasing hair ties that I shoot across the room. If you’re comfortable with having your space a little messy, you can even crumple up an old newspaper into a bunch of paper balls, and place them in a cardboard box. Throw some kibble or treats in there, maybe also some toys, and let him dig for the food. If you are looking to invest in toys, I think you’d get the most milage out of a laser pointer he can chase, or this one particular cat toy which I have literally not seen a single cat resist. It is called “Go Cat Teaser Cat Catcher Wand Cat Toy”. He can totally wear himself out chasing this. Just be careful to pack it away when you’re done playing because the wire can be dangerous, and if your cat is as weird as mine he may eat the little mouse, which may be dangerous.
          Let us know your progress!

    2. RestlessRenegade*

      I’m really interested in responses to this. I work at home, so I adopted about two months ago. She’s a sweetheart but she has a TON of energy, likes to fight, LOVES to go where she’s not allowed (I only have three rules! Stay off the table, stay off the counters, and don’t eat my phone charger!) and loves garbage. She needs so much attention. I can’t really adopt a second one right now because it’s too expensive (I have to pay a pet deposit). She also loves to climb…maybe I can construct some sort of cat ladder??

  27. Jean (just Jean) who is very, very tired*

    Shoutout to others who’ve had a bad week or two. I’m looking for energy and inspiration. Without going into overwhelming detail, the past two weeks have included multiple nights of staying late for [noun redacted], travel (including last-minute packing and leaving the kitchen dirty), balancing various kettles of stress involving family and/or that-which-we-don’t-discuss-on-this-thread, and having some uplifting moments of personal connection among family and friends. Oh yes, and after a week at w*rk with no weekend to recharge, our entire abode (thankfully small) is messy! How do I recharge myself this weekend? And/or stop blaming myself for making bad decisions that increased the workload for myself and others?

    On the bright side, for once I’m leaving for religious services before 10:00 a.m. and I may actually be able to catch the rabbi’s sermon. This is a _major_ accomplishment.

    Take care, y’all. Maybe mine will turn out to be one of the outliers in the Bad (Two) Week(s) Sweepstakes. Certainly it’s not as drastic as the current circumstances of Unbelievable or I Am Still Furious! Internet hugs and/or fistbumps to those two and anyone else who wants them.

    1. Hellanon*

      I got to the end of the week feeling both accomplished (work stuff, including a *very* promising new assistant) and dead exhausted (the news, mostly, plus long hours at the remains of a heat wave. “Monsoonal moisture”, they say; wtf, weather, we are not supposed to have monsoons here.)

      Like you, I am addressing the built-up mess & chaos, and doing a it of patio gardening. Relax, enjoy your services, and even work may look different on Monday…

  28. Lemon*

    Advice, thoughts, or just commiseration on finding housing in Washington DC? I’m moving there in the fall, and just started looking for housing, only to discover it might be harder than I thought. I’m probably going to need a roommate since I can’t afford a place by myself, but I really don’t want to live in a house with six other people! (I’m a woman in my late 20s.) There’s also the crime factor in some neighborhoods, which also isn’t easy to figure out for someone who’s never lived there before. Help! Should I be in panic mode by now? Any tips?

    1. Lemon*

      To clarify a bit, it seems like demand way outstrips supply, not-great housing is still expensive and goes really quick—but maybe I’m wrong?

    2. Washi*

      I live in DC, and it’s going to be really hard to find housing remotely. Demand definitely outstrips supply, and for a roommate situation, there are often full-on interviews, so you’ll be at a disadvantage to local “candidates.” What I did, and what I would recommend, is find something temporary for a few months from AirBnb and then you’ll be better able to search for housing and know more about what/where you want.

      And a word about crime – I’ve found that people tend to exaggerate crime risks in DC from a combination of racism and remembering what the city was like during the crack epidemic 20 years ago, which doesn’t hold up today.

      1. Washi*

        Also if you want to leave a note about your factors/priorities, I might have some pointers on neighborhoods that would be a good fit! My last job involved a lot of community outreach and I think I’ve been to literally every metro stop and I’ve been in most parts of the city itself both during the day and at night :)

      2. hermit crab*

        100% agree with Washi.

        Depending on your commute and other factors, you might consider looking at neighborhoods that are well-served by bus routes but right not on the Metro — Columbia Pike in Arlington, for example. There’s a big cost premium on Metro-adjacent locations but tbh Metro kinda sucks right now and bus service is great in a lot of places.

        1. Washi*

          Definitely a good point. When I first moved here, I thought I HAD to be right near the metro because I didn’t have a car, but buses in DC are quite good, and there are a lot of places like Columbia Pike or Petworth where you’re not near a station but still close to plenty of good transit to downtown.

          1. hermit crab*

            Yep, Petworth was going to be my other recommendation! A couple of my friends bought a house there recently and they take the bus (or bike) everywhere. When I first moved to the area, I lived in Westover in Arlington; it’s more suburban and has a little less going on but it’s still close to things and comparatively super affordable. I think my rent was $900 for a true one-bedroom (including off-street parking!) in 2011 .

          2. Kim, Ranavain*

            I live in Petworth! Love it. I’m close to the metro tho. But anything in Brightwood along 14th or 16th street is going to be super bus accessible and much cheaper than living in Petworth, which is itself cheaper than Columbia Heights, but all those neighborhoods theoretically have some fairly cheap housing.

        2. Detective Amy Santiago*

          The buses are a lot cheaper and more direct.

          Are you moving for work or school or for some other reason?

          1. Lemon*

            I had no idea! Very good to know. I’m moving for work (office is near the Capitol, on the NW side) so a decent commute will be key!

            1. Detective Amy Santiago*

              Honestly, I’d look at the bus routes that go directly there and track those to discover an affordable neighborhood.

              1. hermit crab*

                Yes, this! Personally, I’d choose a direct bus commute any day over a Metro commute where you have to transfer.

                1. Kim, Ranavain*

                  I felt this way for a long time (living in Petworth, commuting to Farragut/downtown). Then I had my first winter with that commute and switched to Metro daily, and never switched back. Metro has issues but it was rare for my commute to be more than 40 minutes, even if I missed a train or whatever. My bus trip *could* be 35 minutes, on a good day, but sometimes I’d be standing there waiting for a bus for 20 minutes, making the whole commute closer to 50 minutes, and if it snowed? Well, let’s just say that I switched to metro after waiting 45 minutes for a bus, and that bus went right past the stop because it was too full.

      3. Reba*

        Seconding this suggestion of the Airbnb or other temporary arrangement. The other benefit of that is that it will give you a little time to get a feel for neighborhoods and see what kind of commutes are possible, to figure out how to target your search. It is tough so you’ll have an easier time if you have some buffer.

        We actually did not follow that advice and moved into a place we rented over the internet! NOT RECOMMENDED although it has worked out extremely well. We had had a chance to visit about 3-4 weeks before intended move, but for lack of a job offer as proof of income, couldn’t actually do anything about any of the apt’s I looked at then. They were all gone two weeks later when we had that proof. I had at least seen the exterior of the building we ended up in! It’s just a giant apartment building. We picked mainly by distance to partner’s work (which OF COURSE moved offices after a few months) but we love the neighborhood, too. Columbia Heights/Reed-Cooke.

        Other folks I know who have moved here recently did things like signing a short lease term for an apartment to start, then moving into a shared house situation (rent there <1000). Others found roommates on craigslist and through friends of friends and have found apartments in townhomes. English-basement apartments are ubiquitous here and may be the affordable-ish way into more desirable areas. People I know are moving into NE (Brookland) and Petworth as more affordable, only-slowly-gentrifying areas.

        For my family, we want to be in the city itself and close-ish to our regular activities, and are willing to pay a premium for that (and boy, do we!). But you might feel that a little bit longer commute is worth having a bit more space, or whatever. Obviously, lots of people do!

        Good luck!

        1. Reba*

          Oh, I want to add to familiarize yourself with the DC housing regulations and tenant protections!

    3. Ali G*

      This area is super tough/expensive. It took my husband and me 2 years to buy a house. Do you know anyone who knows anyone around here? Also, do you have to be downtown? My advice would be to try to find some sort of connection here – when I moved here (way back in 2003) a friend from grad school had a friend who owned a place and he rented me a room until I got settled. But places go FAST, especially in the more desirable neighborhoods and people who have a place and looking for a roommate can and will be super picky.
      Sorry I’m not more helpful, but your instincts are right. If you can plan a trip to look at places and put applications in I would suggest that. The one apt I got on my own I got because I happened to see the ad the second it came up on Craigslist, got in the car drove over there, filled out an application, date and time stamped it, and dropped it off along with a deposit check. This was after I showed up for scheduled showings for other places only to find out they had been rented already (yeah people won’t even let you know not to show up).

      1. Kim, Ranavain*

        Saaaame on so many things. It’s really important to know that apartments will get snapped up very quickly. One time, we asked if we could give them an answer later that evening, which they said was fine, and then when I contacted them just a few hours later the place was already claimed. Got my current place in much the same way you did: saw it the second it went up on Craigslist, filled out an application on the spot, and came into that apartment ready to be decisive. It drives my partner nuts, cause he’s the type that wants to look at 10 different places, build a comparison spreadsheet, etc, but you simply can’t do that in DC. If you want an apartment, you gotta claim it and get the deposit in ASAP.

    4. Lemon*

      Thanks for all the replies so far! Super helpful to know. I was considering doing a temp place/Airbnb to start and that sounds like the right idea. I’ll be working near the Capitol (on the NW side) and don’t have a car, so I’m hoping to keep the public transit commute to around 30-40 min (or less!). But I’d rather live in a quieter area (with lots of trees!) that’s still fairly convenient to downtown.

      Also, any sense if it would be easier (or harder) for me to rent an entire apartment first and then find roommates to fill it?

      1. Washi*

        You might like Bloomingdale/Eckington then! Lots of trees and fairly quiet. Trinidad is another close and more low-budget option with trees, and if you do want to be near a metro, the area around Stadium-Armory is pretty affordable, also pretty leafy and quiet. (DC in general has a pretty good tree canopy, so you’re in luck there!)

        You’ll have an easier time filling an apartment if you have a bit of a network in DC – for example, my alma mater has a FB group where people post housing options, or if you think people through your new job might be able to help. There’s always CL in a pinch, of course, but I wouldn’t do that without being able to meet people in person.

        1. Lemon*

          Awesome, thanks so much! To clarify, I was thinking of finding roommates once I’m already there—definitely wouldn’t sign up to live with CL randos without meeting them first! The income requirement could be tricky though… my salary will be around $100K, though I do have substantial savings. Or maybe I could ask a parent to co-sign, if that’s a thing…

          1. Kim, Ranavain*

            Oh, if you’re making $100k, you’re fine. Where are you looking for apartments at (like, what sites)? At $100k you should be easily able to live by yourself. I don’t wanna make too many assumptions about your personal economic situation but it sure seems like you should be able to afford $2k a month, which will get you a 1 bedroom or studio virtually anywhere in the city! Or a niiice 2 bedroom in a lot of other places.

            1. Lemon*

              Oh, I wish! The crazy thing is that I have to pay $1600/month in student loans, so while I could technically afford my own 1-bed on my salary, I wouldn’t have much left over to go toward paying down the loans faster and/or building up my savings, which I need to prioritize. Fortunately I like living with roommates, so it’s fine. :)

      2. Reba*

        The difficulty with that plan will be income requirements. Will you earn 40x the rent on a multi-bedroom place? I can’t speak to the finding and vetting roommates process.

    5. Collie*

      Is a suburb an option? I live in one of the Virginia suburbs in an apartment complex that is partially subsidized and commute into DC for work (Southwest quadrant). Takes 15 minutes w/o traffic and ~35 with (an hour if there’s a crash or something) — Metro would take me longer, but I’d have to switch lines. I Metroed to my last job and it took around 20 minutes if the Metro wasn’t broken that day (ha). There are a lot of apartments in construction around me at the moment. It’s expensive, too, but cheaper than most DC options. We pay $1851/mo for a 2-BR with w/d in unit and 2 parking spaces. Two Metro stations within walking distance (or plenty of buses just a block down that take you to the Metro and elsewhere). So, I don’t know that housing is scarce, but it is one of the more expensive places to live in the U.S. (Income taxes are lower in VA than DC and MD, though!)

      1. Lemon*

        Wow, that sounds great! I’m definitely open to a suburb—would you mind sharing any more details about what area you’re in and your building? No worries if you’d rather not, though!

        1. Ali G*

          My suggestions for you would be South Arlington – the neighborhoods of Crystal City, Pentagon City, Colombia Pike and the surrounding areas are getting a lot of new apt buildings. There are lots of bus/metro options and since 395 is right there (and now HOV only during peak times) your commute by bus wouldn’t be too bad. Definitely check it out when you get here! I really wanted to buy a house in Columbia Pike, but it didn’t work out. Arlington, while technically a “suburb” is pretty urban itself. You don’t need to be in DC to have access to places to eat, do things, etc.

          1. Washi*

            Definitely true! Lots of amazing restaurants, and I love Arlington Cinema on Columbia Pike and their $2 movie nights. I will note that in my experience, young transplant professional DC is kind of divided into Virginia suburbs + Capitol Hill, and Maryland suburbs + Columbia Heights/Admo etc. I happen to be in the latter group, and whenever I meet someone from the former, I have to REALLY like them to make it worth the “long distance” and I think it often happens that friend groups tend to be concentrated in one or the other. You might want to not get too attached to whatever first place you live, in case it turns out all your favorite peeps live in Takoma or something, which would be a hike from Arlington.

        2. Collie*

          Sure! I’m like, two blocks over the line on the north side. South Arlington is definitely cheaper, and I second Alison’s advice re: Columbia Pike (all hail Bob & Edith’s and Lost Dog!). Columbia Pike is also convenient for commuting (aside from all the traffic lights), because you’d be pretty close to 395, which takes you right into the city.

          But more about my location: I’m a few blocks from the Ballston Mall, which is currently being rebuilt and expected to open in September. As a result, there’ve been a lot of new complexes coming up in the area. We’re waiting to see if our rent will also rise, and the neighborhood is definitely moving toward the yuppie-er end of things as the mall is almost finished and new business move in that are higher scale than what previously existed. There are great restaurants in walking distance like Ravi Kabob and Cheesetique. You can also walk to the Harris Teeter grocery store and a small, mom-and-pop grocery store from our place (though we generally prefer Giant, of which there are at least four in reasonable driving distance from us), and there’s a CVS, Dunkin Donuts, and McDonald’s all within about 1/4 a mile of each other (and us). (And a few other nearish restaurants/areas of note: Pupatella, Eden Center [mostly Vietnamese food in a shopping center], &Pizza, Cava, and Dogfish Head Ale House.)

          My building is part of several buildings in the area owned by AHC Inc (and they have other complexes in the DMV as well). The company is…okay. There was a lot of hassle around getting income re-certification (they kick you out if you make too much according to some law or other, which makes sense, but it was just a huge pain when we had to go through it). No pets, though I have an ESA. There are a good number of immigrants (and immigrant families — so lots of kids running around) in the area; many of which are limited English (which I only mention because it’s sometimes difficult to communicate with neighbors or, if you don’t speak Spanish, make friends in your neighborhood) — so if you speak Spanish, that will serve you well. Maintenance is usually pretty responsive in my experience, but there have been exceptions. We had a cockroach problem for quite a while, but it seems to have finally gone away. We’ve also been treated for (but never saw evidence of) bed bugs. Neighbors did see evidence, though, so that’s something to consider.

          Oh! Another great thing about my neighborhood is that you’re within a mile from the Central library, and most of the other branches (there are 8 total) are easy to get to. The high school is also nearby — just a few blocks from the library — if that’s relevant to you.

          There’s an elementary school around the corner from us, which is also where they’re hosting the new farmer’s market. It’s been going for a few weeks now (Saturdays 8 -12), and despite how new it is, it’s one of my favorite things about where we live now. There’s a coffee company called La Coop that sets up there, and it’s seriously the best iced coffee I’ve ever had and the booth runners are super friendly. Near this, you’ll also find a playground/park, and a park/amphitheater.

          I’m roughly 10 minutes from Target, more grocery stores, Barnes & Noble, Home Depot, and a handful of other day-to-day stores. The nearest Walmart is a bit of a hike, but we find it’s not an issue.

          I think that about covers the main stuff. I’ll try and check back in later if you have more questions!

    6. Anona*

      My bro lives in downtown DC, walking distance from the Mall. It seems expensive and his apartment is ok but not super nice. There have definitely been issues, like the building blasts the heat most of the year so it’s boiling a lot. He found a roommate on Craigslist I think. He loves the location- nearby multiple metro stops. He bikes and walks and metros everywhere. They each have their own bathroom and I think rent is “cheap” for the area since it’s kinda a crappy apartment, but he loves the area & saving money. I can’t remember how much he pays. I want to say $1100 or something, because I remember it being close to our mortgage! It’s the Capitol Park Tower at 301 G Street, SW.

  29. Caro in the UK*

    I need to vent about how raging I am that Wimbledon have delayed the women’s FINAL so that the men can finish their semi! Way to make your sexism really, blatantly clear Wimbledon!

    It angers me, because there’s so many other ways that they could have done this. They could have had the men start earlier today. The ladies final was scheduled for 2pm, but they only put the men on at 1pm, which is nowhere near enough time. Or they could have put the men on AFTER the ladies, which would be somewhere around 4-5pm. Or they could have put the men on court no.1 (the second show court) and had them playing at the same time. Or, on seeing how long the Isner/Anderson semi was going yesterday, they could have put Nadal and Djokovic on court no. 1 yesterday afternoon.

    There was absolutely no need to mess around the women’s final like this, and I find it really, really disrespectful. Especially in light of the fact that they refused to move the men’s final, even though it clashes with the world cup final. Their response to that was that the men’s final is ALWAYS at 2pm and they would not be changing it. I’m so angry!

    1. LDN Layabout*

      The problem is, you can’t move courts mid-match. Really they should have got them onto Court One yesterday, you really can’t have them playing after the women and I assume they don’t have the staff for an early start (I know people who work Wimbledon every summer)

      1. Caro in the UK*

        I know that all of the alternative options have issues.

        But Wimbledon is arguable the biggest tennis tournament in the world. Two long men’s semi-finals are not common, but not out of the question. So they really, really should have had some sort of plan for this, beyond just pushing the ladies back.

      2. Jemima Bond*

        Also you couldn’t put them after women as there was a doubles final then; it wouldn’t be any better to delay their match than the women’s one. My oh is working it. He didn’t get home until midnight as it was and they have to be there uniformed and ready at 0930.
        I thought maybe they should have started the semi on court one when it became clear that the other semi was going on a long time, but then of course there are other matches being played on court one and you can’t move people halfway through.
        I understand why you’re annoyed but I genuinely can’t think of a good alternative. And matches get delayed/put back all the time, not just women’s ones. It’s how they work it.

    2. caledonia*

      They couldn’t start the men’s match again earlier due to the need of “suitable” rest, given they finished a little after 11 pm last night (when you include a warm down/physio, food as well and everything that players do post match, it must be well after midnight before they go to bed)

      1. caledonia*

        PS – I don’t disagree that the women, particularly given the respective players, have been shafted.

  30. Foreign Octopus*

    I’ve just baked banana bread to use up some old eggs and I had three kind of large squares of it. I’m now feeling fat and happy. I’m trying not to fall asleep in the sun like my cat. I’m also loving the smell that’s lingering from it – banana and cinnamon = winning combination.

    Anyone else baking this weekend?

    1. Red Reader*

      Oh yes. Yesterday I made lemon blondies with blueberry glaze. Today I’m making raspberry jam and probably lemon mini-bundt cake. Tomorrow, lemon cookies. (Lemon is my favorite summertime flavor. Hah.)

      Next week is a friend’s baby shower and I volunteered to make the lemony desserts she wanted for it – hence the experimentation – and last I heard, she wanted some sort of finger-food lemon cakes, so I’m going to do the mini bundts (they’re about 1.5” in diameter, maybe?) and top them with a swirl of cream cheese frosting and a slice of fresh strawberry. (But I’m not making those til next Saturday – want them to be fresh!) If the mini bundts don’t work out, I’ll do regular cupcakes and decorate them the same way. Just depends on whether I can successfully fill the bundts, without overfilling them so they end up weirdly shaped, and then turn them out of the tin.

    2. foolofgrace*

      Not this weekend, but a few weeks ago I made a pear upside-down cake and was thrilled with how it came out, and the very next episode of the British Baking Show was doing upside-down fruit cakes and some people had problems. And mine worked, first time!

    3. PB*

      I’m making a plum tart! I’m starting the crust today and will assemble and bake tomorrow. It’s a new recipe, and I’m hoping it’s as good as it looks. I’ll link the recipe in a reply.

    4. ThatGirl*

      I baked blueberry muffins (smitten kitchen) on Thursday and lemon cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream on Saturday. Both ostensibly for houseguests, but none of them ate the muffins. They did enjoy the cupcakes though!

  31. Anon for this*

    *warning mentions child abuse*

    My friend and her husband emotionally abuse their son. They leave him with her parents while taking out their other kids to fun events. They have told him he is too dark and ugly. They meet his basic physical needs and don’t hit him but they don’t talk to him much and make it clear through their behaviour he is unwanted and annoying. They don’t hug him – he’s so starved for affection he misbehaves just for some attention. They have even asked relatives to adopt him. It’s heartbreaking.

    I don’t know what to do. Do I report this? Is there even any point? I’m also worried she will know it’s me who did the reporting and stop letting me babysit him. (I invite him over to play with my kids and basically shower him with affection while he’s here.) It feels wrong not doing anything but I am worried I will inflict greater damag