{ 1,405 comments… read them below }

      1. A*

        All three books are fun! I’m hoping to see the movie next weekend when it opens here in Hong Kong.

          1. Snarky Librarian*

            China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems. Such a great series! Librarian recommended :)

      2. Marion Ravenwood*

        I just ordered the book for my holiday and am far too excited to read it! The film isn’t out in the UK yet (it comes out here next month), but I’m definitely going to see it when it does.

    1. Valancy Snaith*

      I loved the books and am super psyched to see it in the theatres! I hope they’ve stuck as closely as possible to the book, but I get the impression it’s been very carefully written and translated to film, so I have very high hopes.

      1. CRA*

        Finished reading it last week and saw it today – it was VERY different. Loved them both but I was caught up in all the differences.

    2. Bluebell*

      Really looking forward to it but is there anything they do to give you the amazing info from the footnotes? That was one of my favorite parts of the books.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        No footnotes in the movie… it’s rather fast-paced and fun, but not terribly deep.

    3. ssshh*

      Can any of you who have seen the movie comment on how appropriate (or not) it may be for a 11 year old boy? I’ve read and enjoyed all 3 books and don’t remember there being anything inappropriate but also not sure he would enjoy it. Thanks!

    4. BRR*

      I saw it last night and loved it. I can’t remember the last rom com I saw that I enjoyed this much. I can’t get enough Constance Wu.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      She is very brave to have white rugs with multiple cats in the house! I have multiple cats and basically there’s nothing black/brown or white because I’d be cleaning cat hair forever.

      1. Marzipan*

        I painted my floor grey just to hide the cat hairs. (Tabby/white cat so I get a bit of everything.)

        1. The Other Dawn*

          Yeah I have a mix of cat colors (tortie, black, black/white, orange stripes, all white, and gray/white, oh and an orange Persian) so I’m quite thankful for the cheap, neutral berber-type carpeting the previous owners installed. I can scrub the hell out of it and it survives, or a quick vacuum and the whole house looks like I spent days cleaning. But I get by with cheap couch covers and never wearing all black. Or white.

        2. Glowcat*

          I used to have a gray floor in my bathroom. Now, in my new house, it’s white…. and I just realized how much *I* shed.

        3. Gatomon*

          I bought a brown couch to match my brown tabby! Unfortunately his undercoat is white so those hairs still show up. :(

          1. Marion Ravenwood*

            I’m owned by two mini panthers, and I can confirm the black cat hair still shows up on black clothes…

      2. Tessa Karlov*

        I hate the vacuum as much as, if not more than, my pets, so everything in my space is similarly pet hair camouflage.

      3. Ali G*

        My husband had a white not-quite shag, but definitely shag-like carpet in his bedroom when we started dating. It did not last long after the dog and I moved in. My dog’s favorite thing to do when he woke up in the morning was to rub his face all over the carpet. It was like the dog version of washing your face in the morning.

      4. A username for this site*

        I’m impressed at how clean that bathroom is! Even right after scrubbing it, it’s not clean enough to be on the internet with my name attached.

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

    Most ridiculous misheard song lyrics!

    A game show played the song “Together Forever” by Rick Astley recently. My mind was blown when I learned that the actual lyrics to the song are, “And don’t you know I would move heaven and earth / To be together forever with you.” I always heard it as “And don’t you know I would be ever a nerd / To be together forever with you.” (His lyrics make much more sense, but I liked mine better!)

    Billy Joel, “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” — I always heard the lyric in the middle part of the song as “Brenda Rinetti,” not “Brenda and Eddie.” It makes SO much more sense with two people! (And don’t even get me started on “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”)

    “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by the Eurythmics — When I was little, I always heard one of the song lines as “Everybody’s looking for Bufferin” and I drove my siblings CRAZY singing it that way. (It’s “Everybody’s looking for something”)

    Also when I was little, that Kenny Loggins-Stevie Nicks duet was “Whenever I Call You Fran.” The real lyric (“Whenever I Call You Friend”) makes so much more sense.

    Speaking of Stevie Nicks, I still hear “Stand Back” as “Stan Beck.” I even changed the song name in my iTunes.

    And finally, there’s the Golden Girls theme song. For so many years I heard one of the lines as, “Your heart is true / You’re a bed and a comforter.” Of course, it’s “You’re a pal and a confidante,” and I got ribbed mercilessly by friends when I revealed this.

    I’ll stop now. What are YOUR favorite misheard lyrics?

    1. Lady Jay*

      Hahahaha! When I was a kid, I always heard the lyrics of “Feliz Navidad” as “Release Mommy Dodd.” I thought for sure that it was a song about somebody who wanted his mother released from prison in time to celebrate Christmas with everybody else.

      FWIW (you may know this) the actual name for these is “Mondegreen:” There is apparently a song where the lyrics are “laid him on the green,” which are easily misheard as “Lady Mondegreen,” hence the name.

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

        I LOVE your interpretation of Feliz Navidad. That is absolutely hysterical.

    2. PB*

      For years, my husband thought that Van Halen’s “Panama” was called “Cannonball.” I honestly like it that way better.

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

        I also like “Cannonball”! Some others have heard it as “Padded Bra,” which would make sense given that it’s Van Halen.

    3. Tess McGill*

      A friend in high school misheard the Police lyrics “spirits in the material world” as “I dropped my eye in my cereal bowl”. I never understood how he made that leap but I still laugh about it 30 years later.

    4. Glowcat*

      I remember during a holiday with my friends a couple of years ago, we would misspell the lyrics of a popular song on purpose, to tease two of the girls who were obsessed with it (and try to survive hearing it all day long…). Unfortunately, the song is in Spanish and we mispelled it in Italian, so I can’t write what we were singing.

    5. Anonymous Educator*

      I thought Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out” was “Stamp It Out.”

      Also, not a song lyric, but I didn’t know what any of the words in the pledge of allegiance were, so I thought “Witchit stands” was a thing.

      1. Somebody*

        One of the little kids in the neighborhood used to say “I pray jolly giants” instead of “I pledge allegiance”

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

        I also heard “Witchit Stands” when I was in grade school. Glad I’m not the only one… and I always wondered what the heck that meant.

        While we’re on the theme of patriotic songs, and we’re probably both going to be put on a watch-list somewhere for saying this, I always thought the lyric in “God Bless America” was “Stand beside her, and guide her, through the night with the light from a bulb.”

        1. Free now (and forever)*

          Okay. Laughing out loud at the thought of Kate Smith belting out “God Bless America” with those lyrics. Why didn’t Irving Berlin think of that?

      3. LJay*

        That reminds me of something I read somewhere on the internet (maybe hyperbole and a half? Maybe a comment here or on Reddit?)

        They thought the words in the Star Spangled Banner was “Donzerlee light” instead of “Dawn’s early light”.

    6. Lcsa99*

      Ha I have two favorites. Wham! “Bad Boys” I keep thinking it sounds like “Good Guys they play foosball” but it’s actually “they made rules for fools, so get wise.”

      And Steely Dan “Reeling in the Years” I always sang it as “are you gathering up the cheese? Have you had enough wine?” When it should be “Are you gatherin’ up the tears? Have you had enough of mine?”… I guess in my version they are finishing up a picnic?

      I like both my versions much better :)

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

        Your interpretation of Steely Dan is making me wish I were at a winery. Instead, I’m at the place we can’t mention on weekends, and I can sure use some of that wine.

      2. CM*

        Speaking of Wham! I have one from George Michael — when he sings in Careless Whisper about “the wasted chance that I’ve been given,” I thought it was “the wasted checks that I’ve been givin'” and that he had betrayed the person he loved by writing bad checks to her.

    7. The Other Dawn*

      Since I’m a huge Def Leppard fan…

      Fractured Love: “Iron fist in a velvet glove” I heard as “I pissed in a velvet glove.” (Apparently I’m not alone in this!)
      Foolin’: “The flame has died and the fire has gone” I heard as “two ladies died and the fire is gone.”

    8. Violaine*

      Massive Attack, “Teardrop” – “feathers on my breath” instead of “fearless on my breath”. Yeah, I dunno.

      I did mishear one around my daughter, who started watching the My Little Pony cartoon reboot as a teenager. There’s a song that the ponies sing when all their jobs are jumbled up (at least, that’s my understanding of it), and one of the ponies sang about fixing a “busted water chute” but I heard it as “I cannot fix this b*stard water chute!” I gave a raised eyebrow. Kid laughed so hard, and she now refuses to sing it any other way.

      Prince, “Raspberry Beret”. This is a common one. I swore he was singing “she wore a red, spherical ring”. You know, the kind you find in a secondhand store. Clearly.

      I’m sure if I think about it, I’ve got loads of misheard lyrics. My personal favorite was always “kiss this guy” instead of “kiss the sky”, a la Hendrix.

      1. Turtlewings*

        I maintain that it IS “feathers on my breath” — you know, like in cold weather your breath plumes? That makes a crap ton more sense to me. What is “fearless on my breath” supposed to mean.

    9. matcha123*

      I always heard “you make me feel like a natural woman” as “you make me feel like a man, you’re a woman.”
      Until I learned the correct lyrics, I really didn’t get what they meant.

    10. MamaCat*

      My son, then 2, would sing Rolf Harris’s “Tie me Kangaroo Down, Sport” as “Tiny Kangeroo Down, Foot!” I still sing it that way to my husband. :D

    11. London Calling*

      In 1968 a reggae group called Desmond Dekker and the Aces released a single called The Israelites – about the captivity in Babylon (no, I have no idea why anyone thought that was a hip ‘n groovy theme for a pop song, but oddly enough, it wasn’t the only record based on that story.) The chorus was ‘Poor me, the Israelite,’ which was pretty universally misheard as ‘Poor me, me ears are alight.’

      1. Iain C*

        By The River Of Babylon *was* a hip groovy song on the same topic. It even paused for a prayer part way through.

    12. Becky*

      One of my misheard lyrics as a kid is apparently a classic mondegreen: from “Bad Moon Rising” –“There’s a bathroom on the right” instead of “There’s a bad moon on the rise.”

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

        I honestly thought it was “There’s a bathroom on the right” until I was about 33 years old. No kidding.

      2. Temperance*

        I once saw a shitty cover band actually use that line. It was at a beer festival, and yeah, I started a chant of other people booing the band. No regrets, though.

        I may or may not have started yelling “no one disrespects CCR in Philly!”

      3. WS*

        I couldn’t work out why I’d never heard that (so many people had) but then I realised that in my accent “bad” and “bath” have different vowel sounds!

      4. Iain C*

        This is the band that rhymed Turning with Boiling. Or should I say “toining”…
        I told my Mrs about Bathroom on the Right, and now she can’t unhear it. I also took a long time to know the “right” lyrics.

      5. PhyllisB*

        There was a book on mis-understood song lyrics and two I remember where There’s a Bathroom on the Right” (CCR) and “Excuse Me While I Kiss this Guy” (Jimi Hendrix.)

    13. Mimmy*

      Here’s one my husband pointed out that I think is funny

      Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”
      -Correct lyric: The kid is not my son
      -Misheard lyric: The chair is not my son

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        New Kids on the Block (remember them?) which dates me and the superbly 90s (I just found it on Youtube) Call it what you want Baby.

        Call it what you want Darling.
        Which I always thought was Call it what you want Amen

        I can still hear my friends laughing.

      2. Kat*

        I can’t not hear chair, but only the first time he says it per chorus. I tend to point it out to everyone I hear the song with and now most of my friends can’t not hear it too!

    14. WellRed*

      I can’t be the only one who wondered why Manfred Mann was singing about douche in Blinded by the Light.

        1. Swordspoint*

          I know the correct lyrics but I CANNOT train my brain/ears to hear it any other way.

          Also: my daughter, when she was very little, used to sing the line of Canada’s national anthem that goes “in all thy sons command” as “and all the suns come out”. I was a little sad when she learned the correct lyrics.

          (And now that would never have happened, because they’ve changed it to the gender-neutral “in all of us command”.)

      1. The Automotive Expert*

        When I saw this topic brought up, I figured that there was a good chance that this song would come up. Prepare to be enlightened.

        In the original Bruce Springsteen version of the song the actual lyric is, “Cut loose like a deuce, another runner in the night.” In Manfred Mann’s version the lyric is, “Revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night.”

        “Deuce,” of course, is a slang term that refers to the number, “two.” In this case it more specifically refers to a 1932 Ford, which is known as a “Deuce,” in hot-rodding circles. The same reference to a 1932 Ford is made in the Beach Boys’ song, “Little Deuce Coupe.”

        I could bore you all with the historical significance of the 1932 Ford. The condensed version is that it was the first lower-priced car available for sale with a V-8 engine. In standard form, it had performance that was comparable to its main rival, the 6-cylinder Chevrolet. Unlike the Chevy, though, Ford’s V-8 engine could be fairly easily tuned and hot-rodded to increase its performance.

        Aside from the availability of the V-8 engine, the 1932 Ford was only slightly revised from the 1931 Ford Model A. (A 4-cylinder version of the 1932 Ford was sold as the “Model B.”) In 1933, the Ford was heavily redesigned and became longer, lower and wider, as well as heavier. The 1932 model is preferred by hot rodders because of its smaller size and lower weight which give it performance edge when compared to the later models.

        1. AdAgencyChick*

          I’ve been wondering how you wrap up a douche all these years. Obviously I knew that was wrong, but never bothered to look up the real lyrics. Thanks for the explanation!

    15. Julia*

      A friend once got me to loudly sing REM’s Losing My Religion in the mondegreen version with her in the middle of Berlin. It went, “let’s pee in the corner, let’s pee on the spot”, and we laughed our butts off the entire time.

      1. Ginger Sheep*

        So my ex isn’t the only one? He also sang “that was just a tree, just a tree” at the end!
        Another of his Mondegreens was “I can see clearly now the reggae storm” by Jimmy Cliff. (I suggested, in jest, that the song was actually about a lady blocking the view at a concert leaving her place : “I can see clearly now Lorraine is gone”!)

        1. Julia*

          Ooooh, “that was just a tree” makes the peeing much better. Although maybe in Paris, people wouldn’t be too amused right now…

    16. nd*

      Elton John’s “Benny and the Jets”: The real lyric is “… she’s got electric boots …” As a small kid in the 70s I always heard it as “… she’s got electric boobs …”

      1. Cindy B*

        Billy Joel’s “You May be Right” has the lyrics “You may be right, I may be crazy, But it just might be a lunatic you’re looking for, Turn out the light…” That last sentence has always sounded so wrong that I forget that I haven’t made it up when I sing it.
        But I end it with “‘Cause I’m too lazy” and then add, “And while you’re at it, could you please shut the door?”
        I usually sing this when someone is saying goodnight to me. Unless it happens to be on the radio.

      2. Ginger Sheep*

        You mean it’s NOT electrics boobs?? I’m quite disappointed. At least I’ll go to bed smarter tonight.

    17. Cruciatus*

      The first one I can think of is also Rick Astley. It wasn’t until I saw the actual name of the song I realized I had been singing it wrong for…forever. I thought he was saying “Then I’m gonna give you up, then I’m gonna let you down, then I’m gonna run around and desert you.” I thought it was a revenge song! Then I saw it written–I don’t even remember where (Napster?) and saw the title “Never Gonna Give You Up”. Oh.

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

        That also made me laugh out loud, and I’m working at the reference desk in a very quiet public library room right now. I LOVE the idea of that as a break-up song.

    18. Lore*

      One of my friends though the chorus in Journey’s “Open Arms” was “I come to you with velvet arms” and she always thought it was super romantic that he wore a velvet shirt for his lady

    19. ArtsNerd*

      Before i was born, but my sister famously asked my dad to play the “ants song.” Y’know:
      “The ants are my friends; they’re blowin’ in the wind.” That Bob Dylan song about friendly, airborne ants.

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

        I’m never going to hear that song the same way again! That is awesome.

    20. Aardvark*

      Not a lyric mis-hearing, but somehow my Bach’s Coffee Cantata aria neurons got mixed in with those for a local boat show jingle that was constantly on the radio when I was a kid. I can’t hear the aria (“Coffee! Coffee! Co-oo-oo-oo-oo-off-eee”) without completing it with boat show lyrics (“whatever you need to float your boat is there for you and me”).

    21. LemonLyman*

      When I was a kid my dad would listen to a cassette of Kenny Rogers. In the song “Lucille,” he sings, You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille, with four hungry children and a crop in the field.” But I would hear it as, “…with four hundred children and a crop in the field.”

      I was young and didn’t think about how it made no sense. Then one day I thought about it and realized how silly it was.

    22. LuJessMin*

      “Come Sail Away” by Styx. I used to think the line was “A gathering of mainsails appeared above my head”. It makes much more sense when it’s “A gathering of ANGELS”!

      1. Ginger Sheep*

        Half the population of France is convinced that the song “Sail away, sail away” by Enya (apparently?) il a Christmas song saying “C’est Noël, c’est Noël”. I’ve given up trying to correct people.

      2. Earthwalker*

        Wow. This is the first time I heard that it wasn’t gathering of angels. Here and I’d imagined them something like St Elmo’s fire on a mast.

    23. GermanGirl*

      I have two in the same song. It’s Another Brick In The Wall by Pink Floyd.
      I always heard “we don’t need no tough control” when really it was “we don’t need no thought control”.

      And then there’s the children’s choir singing “all in all it’s just an”-other brick in the wall, which is how I first understood this.

      But as a native German speaker you can also hear “hol ihn hol ihn unters Dach”-other brick in the wall. And now I can’t un-hear it.

      The translation of the German part of the verse is “fetch him fetch him to the attic” and there are quite a few urban legends about this mishearable part.

      Now slightly creepy story ahead:

      One urban legend is that there was a German sound technician involved in the mixing of the children’s choir part, who had been abused in the attic by one of his boarding school teachers, and after he mixed this verse in he went and took his life in the attic of the sound studio.

      Now the most creepy part of this is that it was our creepy 7th grade music teacher who introduced us to this urban legend.

    24. Polyhymnia O'Keefe*

      I was an adult when this song came out, so I knew it wasn’t correct, but for years, my brain just would not stop hearing “Like a virgin, you’re Madonna” in Train’s “Hey Soul Sister” as “Like a bird in your vagina.”

      Yup.

    25. Woodswoman*

      I love reading about people’s experiences of misheard lyrics, which cracks me up every time. There’s a whole website of these that is hilarious–Kiss This Guy, named for the misheard version of the Jimi Hendrix line “kiss the sky.”

    26. Merci Dee*

      I’m dying laughing at these.

      I can’t remember any in particular that I misheard, but I know that listening to Sirius XM’s 80s on 8 has cleared up a =lot= of song lyrics that I either misunderstood or just didn’t remember from my childhood. And has also made me wonder how in the world my parents let me walk around the house at 5, 6, 7 years old and actually sing some of the songs that were on the radio at the time. Goodness gracious!

    27. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

      From Everclear- “They have never been poor, they have never known the joy of a welfare Christmas,” my sister heard “they have never known the joy of a one beer Christmas” which amuses me greatly.

    28. ECHM*

      Fake: Won’t you take me to Hockeytown
      Real: Won’t you take me to Funkytown

      Fake: [can’t understand] to the post office / the post-doc
      Real: Keep on with the force don’t stop

      Fake: In the Garden of Eden
      Real: In-a-gadda-da-vida

      I know I had another one but I can’t think of the song right now.

    29. Enya*

      I have loved Toto’s “Africa” since it first came out. I must have listened to it thousands of times over the years. I always thought the line was “Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like a lepress above the Serengeti.” So I was SHOCKED when a few months ago I found out that is it’s “rises like OLYMPUS”, not “a lepress”! In fact, a female leopard is a “leopardess”! A “lepress” is a female with leprosy!! I still can’t get over this. And I still hear “a lepress”!!

      1. Cruciatus*

        This reminds me — there is a meme that goes around on Facebook every so often with the lyric “miss the rains down in Africa” (I forget what it’s even about) and when I mention in the post that it’s actually “bless the rains” people are like “Whaaaaat!?” This has happened a couple of times now and each time a few people are surprised to discover they’ve been singing it wrong this whole time-so there’s a whole lot to mishear with this song! I know I misheard the Serengeti part but I can’t remember what I used to think they were saying instead. I suppose that’s a blessing.

        1. Merci Dee*

          Oh, that song was one of the ones I had to look up! For a while, I thought the words were, “rises like Mount Everest above the Serengeti.” Which still at least makes some sense, I suppose. I have to be conscious about the Olympus part when I’m singing along in the car.

        2. Greyjoyous*

          I used to think one of the lines was “there’s nothing that a hundred men on Mars could ever do” so most parts of this song are unclear to some people!

          1. Femme D'Afrique*

            I never liked that song, but the “hundred men on Mars” line has made me ridiculously happy. Thank you!

          2. Isotopes*

            I also believed this (hundred men on Mars) and I forget how old I was when I was singing in the car and my Dad looked over at me and just started laughing. He still talks about it, and says he laughs whenever he hears that song and thinks of how I misheard it.

      2. Sack of Benevolent Trash Marsupials*

        I totally also heard ‘lepress’ and thought ‘female leopard.’ I also thought the lyric was “I guess it rains, down in Africa.” I only recently (this year! I am 50!) realized that lepress could not possibly be leopardess and that I might conceivably have those lyrics wrong. I realize this is so late no one will ever see it, but this is so validating I just have to share into the void.

    30. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      When I was a kid, I got “her head of golden hair” wrong as “her Patagonian hair” in an old Irish love song.

    31. who'sawake?metoo*

      For the longest time when I was younger I thought that the band Five for Fighting were singing “I’m only a man with forty red sheep.” Since there are other lyrics about flying I had a whole mental image of this guy raising his herd of forty red sheep up on a big cloud.

      Turns out they’re saying “I’m only a man in a funny red sheet” as in… a cape, because the song is called “Superman”. Oops.

      My husband likes to dance according to the lyrics of songs. He was dancing to “Edge of Seventeen” by flapping one arm and kind of going around in circles. What was he doing? “Being the one-winged dove!” (It’s white-winged dove.)

      1. acmx*

        To quote Parentheticaly above, I was today years old before I knew the words are white winged dove.

    32. Jemima Bond*

      My mum loves to mess with lyrics and as a child I didn’t always appreciate this. So I was in my late teens when I realised that the opening line of Abba’s Super Trouper is, “I was sick and tired of everything/when I called you last night from Glasgow” and not “when I called you last night from Tesco”.
      Tesco being a standard British supermarket, so it would have been like “when I called you last night from Walmart”. Never thought to wonder why a Swedish band would be name checking an English supermarket.

    33. FD*

      There’s a church song my parents’ church often use which has the line “Blessed are the persecuted // in their holy lives”; one of my sisters famously thought it was “Blessed are the percolated“.

    34. Gladys Ylvisaker*

      The Monkees song Sometime in the Morning has this line: “You’ll see the beauty there, you’ll know it was always there, and you’ll need no longer wear a disguise”. Back in college, I convinced a friend that the last part was “and you’ll need no underwear for tonight!”

    35. Amy Farrah Fowler*

      Personal favorite wasn’t my own mishearing, but a friend in middle school who would always sing Chumbawumbas tubthumping as “I get knocked down by an elephant” instead of “I get knocked down, but I get up again”. I still sing it the wrong way if I hear it in my car because it makes me laugh.

    36. The Other Dawn*

      This isn’t misheard lyrics, but rather my husband (before I met him) and his friends making up lyrics.

      Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself.” Rather than singing the correct lyrics: “If I had the chance I’d ask the world to dance, And I’ll be dancin’ with myself,” he sings (even after 30+ years!): “If I had the chance I’d pull down my pants, And I’ll be playing with myself.” He does it anytime I play the song and it drives me nuts.

    37. Femme D'Afrique*

      Totally outing myself here (because all my friends know this) but when I was a child the version of “Away in a manger” we sang had a line, “Bless all the dear children in thy tender care.” I heard it as “Bless all the dear children in Thytenderkare,” which I had convinced myself was a place in India. I figured if they were being mentioned in a hymn then they must have been in dire need of prayer. I prayed feverishly for the children of Thytenderkare for YEARS.

      My niece – aged about 5 – loved Lauryn Hill’s “(Doo wop) That thing” song. Instead of singing, “Girls you know you better watch out/ Some guys, some guys are only about/That thing, that thing, that thing” she would belt out, “Some guys, some guys are only about/ Nothing, nothing, nothing.” I never corrected her. It sounded about right… ;)

      1. I'd Rather not Say*

        Back in the 80’s at a Peter Gabriel concert, the 2 young women behind us were were singing at the top of their lungs, oblivious to the line in the chorus of Games Without Frontiers that was in French (jeux sans frontieres)

        1. CM*

          I had friends who would swear up and down that the lyrics were “She’s so funky, yeah” instead of “jeux sans frontieres.” And they would sign their version very loudly.

    38. Earthwalker*

      Madonna, Isla Bonita: “Last night I dreamed of some bagels. Nazareth, Love Hurts: “Love Earth. Love stars. Love moon and Mars.”

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

        YES!! That’s always the way I sung “La Isla Bonita”! Once I even went into a bagel store when I was little and the bagel store staff went crazy when that song came on.

    39. the gold digger*

      I like the line in one of the Ramona and Beezus books where Ramona is so proud of learning a new word and wants to show off. It’s getting dark so she tells her dad to turn on the daunzerly.

      “The what?” he asks.

      “The daunzerly!” she answers.

      “What is a daunzerly?”

      Ramona points to the lamp. “The DAUNZERLY! You know – ‘Oh say can we see by the daunzerley’s light!'”

      1. MindoverMoneyChick*

        Ok, just to be pedantic Ramona actually thought it was a ”daunzer” that gave a “lee light”as opposed to a daunzerly. I read that book way too many times as a kid :)

          1. CM*

            I felt so bad for Ramona in that one! I could see myself doing the same thing so easily.

            There was also the time that she was told to leave for school at a quarter past 7. She was ready right at 7:00 but patiently waited until 7:25 before leaving for school, and then sat on a bench outside all morning because she couldn’t find her class who had already gone inside.

      2. LJay*

        That’s where it’s from! I remembered this and posted about it above, but couldn’t properly attribute it in my mind.

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

      I want to thank everyone for giving me some REALLY good laughs, especially yesterday when I was at work and needed it.

      I realized I forgot one:

      “Caribbean Queen” by Billy Ocean — That song came out when I was in first grade, and the teacher who taught in the classroom next door was named Mrs. Green. I always heard the lyric as “Caribou Queen/Now we’re sharing Mrs. Green” instead of “Caribbean Queen/Now we’re sharing the SAME DREAM.” When I was little I didn’t know HOW the heck the guy on the radio in Caribou, Maine knew Mrs. Green in New York. Now my interpretation just seems… dirty.

      1. sing it loud and proud*

        “Big old Jed had a light on…don’t carry me too far away!” – obviously a song about a creepy old man carrying a lantern in the dark, and a meddling kid thrown over his shoulder (from my 1970’s young, Scooby Doo-influenced imagination)…Big Old Jet Airliner, Steve Miller Band…my kids even sang it that way.

    41. Harvey P. Carr*

      I’ve got some! Quite a few, actually…

      Song: “The Age Of Aquarius” by the 5th Dimension

      Actual lyrics (with the line I misinterpreted underlined):
      Harmony and understanding
      Sympathy and trust abounding
      No more falsehoods or derisions
      Golden living dreams of visions
      Mystic crystal revelation
      And the mind’s true liberation
      Aquarius! Aquarius!

      What I thought they were singing:
      And the mice through liveration

      I had no idea what that meant, but it must have had something to do with mice eating liver.

      Two for the price of one: from Billy Joel’s “Big Shot”…

      The actual lyrics:
      And they were all impressed with your Halston dress, and the people that you knew at Elaine’s
      And the story of your latest success, you kept ’em so entertained

      What I thought he was singing:
      And they were all impressed with your Halston dress, and the people that you knew at the lanes
      And the story of the latest sex, you kept ’em so entertained

      From “Sussudio” by Phil Collins:

      The actual lyrics:
      Now I don’t even know her name, but I think she likes me just the same,

      What I thought he was singing:
      Now I don’t even know her name, but if she asks me just the same,

      From the theme to the “Josie and the Pussycats” cartoon show:

      The actual lyrics:
      Josie and the Pussycats – long tails, and ears for hats

      What I thought they were singing:
      Josie and the Pussycats – long tales, and here’s the hat

      Here’s one from a TV commercial for “Pink Panther Flakes” cereal, circa 1973

      The actual lyrics, according to The Cereal Project at MrBreakfast.com:
      Pink Panther Flakes – are pink – As sweet as you can (inaudible), the color of pink

      What I thought they were singing:
      So pass the flakes – of pink – they’re sweet as you can tell, so pass the pink

      1. Harvey P. Carr*

        Apparently you can’t underline text within an already italicized block of text, because when I had put underline codes before and after “And the mind’s true liberation.”

        I so wish there was a “preview post” option here… and I know I’m not the only one.

    42. Nana*

      There’s a series of books with misheard lyrics. My personal favorite is the old spiritual, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Pants”

    43. Extra Vitamins*

      Billy’s Squire’s early 80s hit “ My Candelabra” (My Kinda Lover). A friend sang it that way once years ago, and now those are they lyrics.

    44. PhyllisB*

      This is not a song lyric, but today I was scanning my junk mail folder because sometimes things go in there I need to see. There was a message with the subject line: Iraq elections. My first quick scan thought it said IraqERECTIONS. I thought, “Great!! Now I’m getting porn form Iraq!!”

      1. PhyllisB*

        *From Iraq. Not only can’t I proofread junk mail, obviously I can’t even proofread my own. I used to be on a school newspaper. My advisor would be so disappointed in me.

    45. Cruciatus*

      I just thought of another one–Sia’s Chandelier. I heard “I wanna swim in the Champs-Elysee, in the Champs-Elysees!” It was weird but I figured poetic license. I mean, is it any weirder than wanting to swing from the chandelier?

      And in the song Alexander Hamilton from the musical, I thought towards the end when they say
      We fought with him
      Me, I died for him
      Me, I trusted him
      Me, I loved him

      I thought the “fought” was, well, “f*cked”. It didn’t fit the tone of the musical but when I first started listening to it I wasn’t sure who was singing what part so I went with it.

    46. tra la la*

      I always heard the Rolling Stones’ “Heartbreaker (Doo Doo Doo…)” as

      Heartbreaker, with your .44
      I wanna show you where to park

      when it’s really “I wanna tear your world apart.” “I wanna show you where to park” always seemed kind of anticlimactic (unless it’s to park IN HELL??)

      Not too many years ago I heard “Every Day Is Like Sunday” for the first time and because I misheard several key lyrics, I imagined an entirely different narrative where the narrator was visiting a beach town post-apocalypse and remembering being there with a partner pre-apocalypse. I like my version better :)

      1. tra la la*

        Also, when I was a kid, my mom asked me what a b-square was, was it some kind of drug slang? I had no idea what she was talking about. She said that there was a song on the radio where a guy was singing, very enthusiastically, “now HIT THE B SQUARE!!!!!!” and she just wondered what the B square was.

        (Of course, it was Huey Lewis’ “Hip to Be Square” but I still have trouble remembering that that’s the actual title. Mom’s was funnier.)

    47. MsCende*

      My brothers, when they were very little, would cheerfully listen to my dad’s surfing music. They especially enjoyed singing along with Jan & Dean – Ride, ride, ride the wild smurf!

      I’m not entirely sure how old they were when they figured out it was surf, but I still can’t hear that one properly.

    48. Alice Ulf*

      Late to this party! Good Charlotte’s “Makeshift Love”:
      What I heard: “If I could get this right / If I could get away from Naomi”
      Correct: “If I could get this right / If I could get away from the old me”

      Me: …who the heck is Naomi

    49. Marion Ravenwood*

      This is one I now can’t un-hear rather than one I originally misheard, but there’s a British comedian called Peter Kay who used to do a gag about misheard lyrics in his set. It involved changing the lyrics of Dancing Queen by ABBA to ‘Dancing queen, feel the meat and the tangerine! Dancing queen, eating Chinese with Mr Bean, oh yeah…’ Now, whenever I hear Dancing Queen I want to sing the Peter Kay made-up lyrics and not the real ones!

      I also heard the line ‘Lynchburg or Bordeaux, France’ in Brad Paisley’s song Alcohol as ‘Lynchburg or Port-au-Prince’ for AGES. I just thought Haiti must have really good rum or something…

    50. Lcsa99*

      Probably way too late for anyone to see this, but I just remembered one I thought was funny. The Ramones “Now I want to sniff some glue, Now I want to have sex with you. All the kids want to sniff some glue, all the kids want have sex with you.” It should be “something to do”….but I guess that would be something to do and I just can’t hear it the right way :)

  2. Dopameanie*

    Controversial Opinion Corner:

    Oversized hoodies with the warm fuzzy lining > warm fuzzy pajama pants

    Both are valuable, one is the MVP

    FIGHT ME!!!

    1. WellRed*

      The hoodie because you gotta be mysterious. However, it is soooo hot and humid for like forever that this northern flower is wilting at the thought of either.

      1. Monty's Mom*

        Agreed! On both. Hoodies forever, and dangit, when is the hot/humid gonna end?! If I wanted that, I’d move south!

    2. The Grammarian*

      I’m pro-giant hoodie with warm fuzzy lining. Add an electric blanket on top and then you’re really cookin’!

    3. Laura H.*

      Hoodie- because it’d fit my petite, shortness!

      If I could find a decent size pj pants, my answer would change.

        1. hermit crab*

          If the hoodie is big enough, it can be both a top and a bottom! It’s harder to do that with pants.

    4. Middle School Teacher*

      Fuzzy pyjama onesie with a hood! I put mine on every day after work in the winter. It’s a full-body fuzzy hug.

      (But today it will be +25C here. No fleece here today.)

      1. Mimmy*

        Oooooh I have one of those! Nothing beats putting one of these on on a super-cold day or after shoveling in the snow.

    5. Ranon*

      Agree, because polyester fleece fuzzy pajama pants are sweaty non-breathable garbage. Tougher call if the pajama bottoms are a super soft worn in flannel.

    6. Mimmy*

      Warm fuzzy pajama pants all the way!!!!!

      Though, as I mentioned in a reply to Middle School Teacher, I have a onesie with a hood and detachable feet – the whole nine yards!! I love wearing it when it is especially cold, although I do get hot pretty quickly, lol.

    7. nd*

      I live in an area of southern California that never gets cold (seriously, winter days might drop as low as 70F), so neither.

    8. Canadian Natasha*

      1). PJs all the way because pajamas are just the best.
      2). Since I’m from Saskatchewan I must correct your wording: it’s a Bunnyhug not a Hoodie. ;)

  3. WellRed*

    Yesterday there was a thread about strangest job candidates and somone posted about one in drugs. I had a roommate candidate: drove 4 hours from…somewhere (couldn’t or wouldn’t say where), was late, hemmed and hawed over meeting, so great was her concern about lead. Sweaty, scratchy and spacy. My roommate finally said, “you seem to be having a reaction to something, maybe we have lead.” She agreed and we dodged a bullet. Anyone else have any special roommates or wannabe roommate?

    1. danr*

      I had a roommate in college who became violent on pot. We finally convinced him to stick with beer since it was much safer for him and us.

      1. neverjaunty*

        I will never understand the mentality of people like that. “Oh hey, I become violent when I do X. I think I’ll continue to do X.”

        1. Girl friday*

          Because in some people, the self-medication creates the symptoms. Doesn’t even have to be a substance problem, it’s impossible to fix from the inside. Or your friend got sold a bad batch of something? They have to decide for themselves.

    2. Triplestep*

      As an undergrad in the days before the internet, I was using flyers with pull-off tabs to look for an established house with roommates in place, but I was also considering finding a roommate with whom I could rent an available apartment. I had spoken to a woman about the latter, and arranged a time to meet.

      Later that same day I went back to campus to see if any new flyers had shown up, and encountered this same woman I was supposed to meet later, also perusing the board. We had not met in person yet, but I was sure it was her because of her distinctive voice and slight accent. But there was something else I could not have detected over the phone – her personal hygiene. She looked like she’d been dipped in grease, her long hair completely slicked with it, and yes – there was a smell about her.

      I didn’t let on who I was, but later I called an cancelled our appointment to meet. She immediately half-sobbed “Why does everyone do this? Why can’t I find a roommate?” I felt terrible. If I’d had more courage – and frankly more worldliness – I would have tried to clue her in. Years later a friend of mine who taught a summer program for teachers visiting from overseas started with a lesson about American standards of hygiene, presenting it in a way that focused on how obsessive Americans are with all our products and scents, etc – that WE are the weird ones. These teachers were going to finish the program and then teach in all parts of the US for a year, so it was done to prepare them for that. Having a conversation like this with the sobbing would-be roommate probably would have been a kindness, but I was too young to get it.

      This was over thirty years ago, and I have not forgotten it. I wish I’d have handled this better.

      1. Thursday Next*

        That’s a tough one. It might have been harder on her if you’d met her, then rejected her, so perhaps you didn’t do so badly after all?

      2. Yvette*

        When I was in college, decades ago, I had a friend who went to Switzerland to visit relatives. When she came back she said how all relatives thought she was some kind of clean freak (as in bordering on the territory of some sort of disorder) because she took a shower in the mornings and if she worked out, took one after that, so *gasp*, two in one day!!!!!

        1. GermanGirl*

          Yeah, of course it depends a bit on the people you hang out with but most Germans I know would skip the shower in the morning if they knew they were going to work out and shower later anyway.

          And you don’t even have to shower every day as long as you don’t smell from skipping it. Really, from a German perspective you Americans are obsessed with showering.

          That said, showering every day has become more common in recent decades as American trends arrive over here.

        1. AcademiaNut*

          Yeah, but a lot of Japanese have those amazing genes that mean their armpits don’t stink. (Literally – there’s a single gene that determines whether your armpits have that BO sweat, 98% of caucasians have it, most East Asians don’t).

          1. WS*

            Though most of my Japanese classmates showered at least twice a day – some of them three times – which was a bit of a shock to every-second-day-unless-it’s-really-hot Australian me!

          2. Mad Baggins*

            I’ve seen this floating around the internet. Where are these magical Japanese people, because I am in Japan and everyone around me smells after a hot summer day.

    3. Thursday Next*

      I shared a house with four roommates; all of us were vegetarian or vegan. One of them left for the summer, and sublet her room.

      One day after the sublettor moved in, I opened the freezer to put my ice cream in, and it was filled to capacity with gigantic packages of bacon. Just bacon; no other meat. I was thinking, Girl, summer’s only three months—how’re you going to eat all that bacon?

      Somehow, she did!

        1. Thursday Next*

          My boyfriend and I were able to polish off the pint between us; no need for the freezer after all. ;)

    4. MissGirl*

      I had a guy who answered my roommate ad on behalf of his ex-wife who didn’t speak much English. He also went on about how she could use good influences in her life (I have a non-smoking, non-alcohol home).

      It felt all sorts of controlling. I figured if she wanted to, she could reach out. The tone of the email didn’t me think she’d asked him to contact.

    5. dorothy zbornak*

      Okay so I had a roommate once who was SO TERRIBLE. She picked up a guy in front of a 7-11 at 4am and he ended up staying at our apartment for like three days. Even worse was that it was the middle of the summer and one night our AC went out and she invited me to go with them to her parents’ condo, which I actually did b/c it was so miserably hot I was willing to risk death by psycho to sleep in the comfort of AC. So glad to be rid of her.

      1. Lyman for President*

        This was like my roommate my freshman year of college. She started out pretty normal (we were placed together without knowing each other), but she had some serious self esteem issues that manifested itself in really fucked up behavior with dudes. She picked up two dudes in front of a 7/11 and brought them back to our dorm, and tried to have a threesome with them on the top bunk. She also lied to a dude about getting pregnant, and went so far as to make him take her to Planned Parenthood, made him give her money for an abortion, but made him wait in the car…..she apparently just went in an sat in the waiting room for a while and then went back out. She was never pregnant.

        In the end, she literally disappeared between classes. I went to my 10am class, came back around 3pm and she was gone. Just up and dropped out of school, and moved back home. About six months later, I was meeting up with a mutual friend during an internship over the summer, and they brought her along. It was super awkward.

        I never had a roommate again.

    6. ElspethGC*

      I (currently a uni student) share a house with three other people – one I met via my degree course, the other two were people she shared a flat with in first year who were looking for a fourth housemate. We’re all pretty good, no complaints there.

      One of their housemates last year, on the other hand… Apparently he did everything at about 3am. Vacuum, shower, cook (clattering pots in the process), play the guitar very loudly, and listen to very loud rock music. The latter was generally done alongside the others. Every night, even when he had lectures or tests first thing in the morning, he was doing something at 3-4am. One of my housemates was between him and the bathroom, the other was on the other side of him, and the third was next to the kitchen. They all loathe him with the burning passion of a thousand fiery suns.

      1. BethJacobs*

        Ah, I love how a previous horrible roommate makes you look perfect in comparison. I share my flat with just one flatmate, we’ve been close friends for a while now. And since her previous roommate was a pig, she thinks I’m the cleanest, best behaved person ever (I’m not – I just pick up after myself and know how to use a sponge :D ).

        1. frystavirki*

          My roommate last semester made me, a person with an incredibly messy room normally, look like a clean freak. She’d make food on the stove like a pot of pasta and then just…leave it. For like three days. I was too busy to clean up after her so I just didn’t, but I did move her thawed frozen meat into the fridge if I hadn’t seen her for a few hours and I couldn’t tell how long it’d been there. That was my one concession. She was used to rooming with her sister, I guess? It was still super gross though.

    7. Free Meerkats*

      When I was at Naval Nuclear Prototype training in Idaho Falls, I had one who would eat anything not locked up. That’s when I learned about fridge lockers. He also regularly picked up and brought home women; his type was loud and pregnant. We were in different shifts, so interrupted sleep was the norm.

    8. Gatomon*

      At this time in my life, I was stuck in limbo between college graduation the hopeless dream of a “real” job. So I was part-timing in retail. My awesome roommate was moving back home, and our apartment was a mold hole so I decided to move instead of finding a replacement.

      One of my coworkers was busted for a DUI and had to serve his time, so he needed someone to sublet for 6 months. The price and location were right, and I didn’t have to provide a deposit that I didn’t have. So I said sure, briefly met the roommate (he was going to the local college still) and agreed to live there.

      One of the odd things I noticed when I moved in was that there were two of those U-shaped toilet rugs stacked on top of each other in the one bathroom. I wasn’t sure what the point of that was initially (even if you wanted to rotate why put them both out?), but my purpose there was to use the toilet and get out, so I did. The toilet was always very clean, though it was obvious the shower hadn’t been scrubbed in years. It was gray with mildew. I scrubbed it a few times while I lived there and moved on — if they didn’t care, I didn’t care.

      Well, turns out the roommate had a bit of a drinking problem as well. (He did not have a car though.) Now I can and will sleep through anything, so whatever he did at night drunk didn’t disturb me at all. Sometimes I’d wake up and find his food left out, so I’d put it away. Sometimes I’d wake up and find both of those toilet rugs in the wash mysteriously, toilet freshly cleaned. It finally occurred to me that he was probably going to the bathroom drunk and missing horribly, so the toilet rugs would catch it… then he’d toss them in the washing machine and scrub up the toilet to fix things. D:

      Thankfully about 2 months into this nightmare I finally got a full time job and was able to save up a deposit to move into my own place when my sublet was up. When my old coworker returned he booted the roommate so he could work on staying sober. (Last I heard of him, he was doing much better.)

    9. Julianne (also a teacher)*

      One of my college roommates (in an off-campus apartment) didn’t know you needed to put a stamp on mail in order to send it, a discovery we all made when she volunteered to write the check for some household bill (can’t remember if it was electric or gas or what) and we got hit with a late fee. She also did not understand the principle of cleaning spilled food off of stove burners and caused several small fires. Other roommate’s mom bought us fire extinguishers. I am thankful that this woman was my worst ever roommate.

    10. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

      Oh boy. I was looking for a room to rent, contacted a person and the place sounded good. Nice location, reasonable rent and she said she was an artist and slept in her workplace a lot, so she wouldn’t be in the house very often. Jackpot! We arrange to meet at a nearby cafe to talk and walk over to look at the house. And that’s where things got weird.

      We get there and she realizes that she doesn’t have her house keys. I say I can come back later, no problem. Rather than reschedule, she … breaks a window. So here I am, with this person, a prospective roommate who nonchalantly smashes a pane of glass when she locks herself out of the house.

      And not only that, but she breaks the top pane of glass rather than the bottom pane, so she very awkwardly climbs through broken glass, cuts herself, opens the door for me, we take care of the bleeding, and she gives me a tour of the house. And then she asks me, since I have a car, if I will go to the hardware store and get a replacement pane of glass for her.

      Given that she knows exactly how much a pane of glass costs and the aisle where the glass lives, I am thinking maybe it’s not the first time this has happened? But sure. I get the glass, bring it back, ask her if she needs help, she doesn’t, and I get the heck out of there. And thank my lucky stars that I found out about her tendency to break windows before I moved in with her.

    11. Anonymosity*

      I’ve had terrible luck with roommates. Just terrible. That’s one reason I’m so gung-ho about finding a job that pays enough so I won’t have to. Barring a cool roommate in my freshman dorm with whom I got along well, it’s been like this:

      –First dormmate was too homesick to be at college, period; she cried all the time and was gone in two weeks.

      –Lived with three other girls in a rented house; they wanted to move another friend in and made up a reason to kick me out. (My parents were pissed.)

      –Moved to Delaware and ended up in a house with a random assortment of people who were very into weed. One of them was dealing and the landlord/roommate was a bully who would freak out if you left a dish in the sink for two seconds.

      –Living in a one-room studio in CA with two other people in an apartment strip where we were the only non-Hispanic people (that part was actually cool). My roommates, though nice, were VERY messy and threw their stuff everywhere so you couldn’t even see the floor. We had roaches so incredibly bad, and I don’t know if it was because of their mess or that the landlord didn’t give a shit. I would hang out downtown after work and only go home to sleep. I’m really lucky I didn’t take roaches with me when I moved.

      Also, the motel across the parking lot from us was kind of scary and there were these scary people going in and out who we thought might be drug dealers or pimps, and one night we were sitting out smoking and my friend’s sister flicked a cigarette on this dude’s pristine sports car and it left an ash and we thought we were gonna die.

      –A Vietnam vet who played D&D with his friends (cool) and was one of my best friends. But he also watched so much porn that we’d get our pay-per-view suspended on a regular basis, and eventually stopped paying his share of the rent, so we got kicked out (I could have stayed if I could have afforded the apartment alone or found another roomie, but I couldn’t).

      –The ex I thought I would marry but didn’t. :P

      After that, I gave up, LOL.

    12. Jane of all Trades*

      I’ll play! I have fond memories of most of my roommates, but my first roommate was special for sure. We were in the same high school graduating class in a smallish town and both were planning on moving to a big city after graduation, so we decided to move together.
      She had a hard time adjusting to life in the city, which I don’t blame her for at all, we both were in difficult situations. But – 4 months after we moved in, she apparently decided she couldn’t do it anymore. She waited for the one week she knew I was out of town due to family commitments, and moved all of her stuff out of the apartment, and back to our hometown. I came home late at night, opened the apartment door, and noticed that a bunch of things were missing, and thought that we had been robbed. Then I realized that only her stuff was gone, and that her room was completely empty. Then I found a note she had left on the kitchen table, reimbursing me $2 because she had “eaten my butter”. Open the fridge, come to find she had eaten all of my food before leaving. Never found out why specifically she reimbursed me for the butter, but not the other stuff? As a last hurrah, the window in her room was broken, which I then had to take care of, and she also refused to find somebody to take over her lease. During the entire period from when she left until when I found a new renter, her mother would periodically call me, and yell at me about not getting the window fixed fast enough (I was a 1st year college student. I had no money for that stuff), so that I could find a new roommate.

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          It was the classic case of moving in with somebody and them turning into a monster. Somebody on my course was looking for a room and the family I was living with had a spare room to rent. Thinking it would be nice to have a friend in the same boat, I suggested it to them and they agreed.

          Then they moved in and it turned out they enjoyed lots of little petty jokes such as hogging the bathroom in the morning so you would be late for your lecture, changing the TV channel when you were watching it in the kitchen and making comments about your food. They took over the small freezer with all their frozen stuff, making it difficult to squash in one small packet of frozen peas, then complained when the family we lived with made a joke about how many boxes were in the freezer. I suggested offering a slice of apple pie the next time they baked one and got my head bitten off since they were not going to share their food.

        2. Jane of all Trades*

          Yes. She has a history of being rather verbally abusive toward her own children, so it’s not atypical for her. While I feel so bad for the kids, they had a lot to deal with, it made it very difficult for me, because I was also just a 17 year old in a city I didn’t know. Shoulda fixed that stupid window by herself.

    13. Mariella*

      Having to explain to my autistic housemate that it wasnt ok when you had an accident in your pants to then take off your pants and underwear, and walk down 3 flights of stairs with nothing but a t shirt on and into the kitchen to throw away the soiled clothes while i happened to be washing up..

    14. Marion Ravenwood*

      The one who comes to mind is the girl who lived next door to me in university halls who would hoover her room at 6 in the morning.

  4. Glowcat*

    Speaking of cute office supplies: I just bought a sloth notebook :D If the OP of the related question is still reading, she can tell her father that this is a scientist’s notebook!
    As a side note, there were also a lot of llama-themed supplies; how could I not think about AAM?

  5. Violaine*

    I am struggling with being next of kin for an aging grandparent (no siblings, parent is deceased), and living hundreds of miles away, to boot. Grandparent lives alone and is mostly independent but declining. I feel completely lost in the sauce and I don’t know where to go for resources, support, anything. Moving home isn’t an option right now and I’m dealing with a huge amount of guilt over that, too. Does anyone have a good resource to share?

    1. WellRed*

      Others will have more ideas, but can you start with local ( in grandparent area) aging resource organization for guidance?

    2. Triplestep*

      Do you work for a company with an Employee Assistance Program? They often have suggestions for resources for helping elderly relatives. They can help you find organizations in your grandparent’s area.

    3. OperaArt*

      I understand. My 84-year-old mother lives alone on a limited income, and is doing well, but she’s over 1000 miles away.

      Look for local (to your grandparent) and regional resources. If you’re in the US, that could mean city, county, and state. Also, there may be quasi government resources, nonprofits, and religious organizations. Also look for new ones every few months as programs come and go.

      My very proactive mother has benefited from several programs in her home state such as a partial grant to help pay for a walk-in tub, another program to replace her furnace and insulation, a low cost house cleaner who shows up every 2 weeks, a monthly visit from a resource expert who makes sure my mother knows every program out there and how to apply for them…

      My city’s recreation and park district has an extremely active program for seniors to help with legal questions, foot care, navigating Medicare, etc.

      Help is out there.

    4. Washi*

      Does your grandparent have the money to hire a geriatric care manager? A care manager’s job is basically to do the kinds of things you are probably doing, but they are local and are experts on the resources in the area. If your grandparent is lower-income, they may be able to get that kind of help through the local health department or a social service agency for a reduced fee.

      I work in the care management field in Maryland, so if you happen to be in that area, I would have more specific suggestions!

    5. Nervous Nellie*

      Hello Violaine! That’s really tough. And it’s really kind of you to help with it. Have a look at the AARP website – on the main page go to the search tab behind the magnifying glass and enter “caregiver resources”. You’ll get a huge directory of guides & calculators & suggestions. Some of the links require a membership to read, but not all.

      Being a caregiver for a senior (especially from a distance!) can be really hard work. Remember to look after yourself while you are looking after your grandparent. Cheering for you!

      1. Nervous Nellie*

        Forgot to add – if you are in the US, also check out eldercare dot gov – it has a zip code lookup for dozens of service providers in various categories. If you’re not in the US, there are still good generic ideas there, just like AARP.

    6. Hannah*

      Seconding finding her local town’s council on the aging, or some similar thing. There are often services available either for free (Staffed by volunteers) or for a fee, if income is high enough. I myself volunteer with one of these organizations, and I can tell you there are ways to get an elderly person help with meals, housework, transportation, and even administration stuff like figuring out bills, taxes, signing up for medical insurance, etc. In my area at least, these services are intertwined, so if a meals person is clued in to the fact that maybe the housework needs some help, they will go and tell the agency and they will try to get that started with the client. So getting your grandparent into just one of these services can lead to help in other areas, if needed either now or down the road.

    7. CAA*

      In addition to the other suggestions for resources, make sure the other people in your grandparent’s life know how to contact you in case they get concerned or there is an emergency. Next time you visit, get in touch with neighbors and friends. If they attend church, leave your info with the pastor. If your grandparent will allow it, reach out to their primary care physician and ask to be notified if there’s a hospitalization or serious decline.

      Also, would your grandparent consider moving to be with you? And is that something you could handle? If not living with you, maybe they’d move to a CCRC near their current location or near you (CCRC is a progressive arrangement where you can start out living independently and get more support as you age while staying in the same community). It’s very hard to accept a physical and mental decline and loss of the ability to live independently, so this may be something that requires multiple conversations over a few years and it might be best to start feeling your way into that now while the situation is not urgent.

      1. Washi*

        Yes, definitely to having many conversations. It’s tough to talk about these things, but it’s much better to do so now before a crisis.

        Some things to think about:
        Becoming the healthcare and/or financial power of attorney for your grandparent
        Putting together a will
        Funeral and burial/cremation preferences
        Getting an advance directive (these days it’s much more than just whether there’s a DNR)
        Agreeing at a point/age when your grandparent would get a driving assessment
        Discussing living arrangements, and how to pay for them

    8. Pieismyreligion*

      Are you in the US? See if there’s a Neighborhood Village group going in your area. They help seniors live independently in their home by organizing volunteers in the neighborhood for help with house maintenance, errands, isolation, etc…

    9. LNLN*

      If your grandparent is in the US, Google their county, state, and Area Agency on Aging. The AAA has staff that can tell you about all the services for seniors in the area (Meals on Wheels, senior transportation, friendly visitor programs, volunteer chore programs, etc.). They sometimes also have geriatric care managers on staff. And connect with caregiver support groups in your area (through the AAA in your county). You are a caregiver for your grandparent, even though you do not live near them. Good luck!

    10. Anono-me*

      In the USA (and I think in lots of other places), the postal service has a official program where if a registered mailbox holder stops picking up the mail, the mail carrier notifies a designated contact and or calls emergency services. Even if your postal service doesn’t have an official program, I recommend offering your phone number to your grandmother’s mail carrier, and asking for a call if something seems off.

      Also, please have a professional evaluate your grandmother’s home for safety and comfort. Lever door handles are much easier than round ones for arthritic hands. Stuff like adding automatic nightlights, and safety railings, along with getting rid of slippery throw rugs can make a big difference.

      (Your grandmother would need to be on board with this. )

    11. Anon Pixie*

      There is also such a thing as Elder Law– basically, a lawyer who checks in on elderly people and pays the bills and handles small scale emergencies and comes to you with reports. I read a recent post about this on reddit, and honestly it sounds like what I will do when my parents get to the point of needing this sort of care.

    12. Violaine*

      I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to everyone that responded here, over the weekend. My husband is in the US Navy and his ship was home this past weekend, so I didn’t make it back to the forums to read the comments. There’s a lot of great advice here that I genuinely appreciate – some of these things I have done recently on my last visit home (contacting people from her church, friends, setting up a phone with large phone numbers/high volume/speed dial), document preparation (will and power of attorney), some I have not. I have a pretty good list to work with here, and I thank you all – I honestly didn’t know about the county resources, to be honest, and I’m learning quite a bit. Thank you all, again. I appreciate it.

  6. That's Not My Job*

    Staying with my parents this week for a family member’s wedding. I got to see my brother for the first time in a long time and hear about his new girlfriend. Yay! And witness my mother ask my brother if his Latina girlfriend’s in a “crime family” after he mentioned they have an aggressive dog. Yay. Anyone else wake up the next day with all the things you should’ve said to combat racism in the moment suddenly crystal clear? Obviously I need more practice.

    1. Augusta Sugarbean*

      In the moment might not be the best time to address it. Maybe talk with your brother first (and his girlfriend if you got to know her well enough). It sounds like she was meeting everyone for the first time and she might not have a wanted a big deal made about it, you know? Obviously I don’t know your mother but I could easily see a conversation going “Mom, that’s not okay to say” then “Why? What’s wrong with it? [Girlfriend], does this bother you?” And then the girlfriend is on the spot to either deny the problem or criticize her boyfriend’s mom and potentially future MIL.

    2. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Oh mom.

      How did your brother react to the question? I think it could be beneficial for you to pull mom aside at some point (after the wedding) and say “hey, that really wasn’t cool”.

    3. Girl friday*

      I think it is important to physically react, stand up, sit down, take a step back, etc… Silent protest is best for me.

    4. Nines*

      Yes. I have absolutely thought of all the ways I could have pushed back on subtle and not so subtle racist comments and/or behaviors. It’s a shitty feeling. But I just tried to tell myself that feeling shitty and thinking through what I would have said will help me in being a better ally next time.

      1. CM*

        Yes, absolutely! In this case, it sounds like the girlfriend wasn’t there. Consider this practice. If you think through what you could have said, next time it will help you actually say it.

  7. Distant Friends*

    How do you all stay in touch with long distance friends? I had a few friendships fizzle out after college because people moved away. Recently a married couple friends of mine moved away, but only for a couple years, and they hope to come back to this area. I don’t want to lose touch with them, but I find I’m already having trouble keeping in touch with them since they’re so far away. I’m not so great at casual conversations on the phone, or even through social media. I am better at face-to-face interactions, and that’s how I keep my friendships alive. I think that’s why I have a hard time maintaining long-distance friendships. I don’t want to lose these guys’ friendships, especially since they’ll be moving back in a few years, and I would like things to hopefully return to normal. Any tips on how to stay in touch?

    And yes I do know things can change and I may not be able to have the same friendship with them as I once did, but I would like to do my best to maintain the friendship with this temporary distance between us. I’m hoping to take a trip up to visit them at some point, and they hope to be back in the area for the big holidays, but that still doesn’t feel like enough.

    1. Wannabe Disney Princess*

      Snapchat.

      My best friend and I live several hours apart. We’ll send snaps back and forth whenever we think or see something funny that reminds us of the other. We’ll text, too. But being able to see and hear each other helps A LOT.

      1. Handy Nickname*

        I love Snapchat for this, because I tend to text only if I have something to say, whereas I see things that remind me of people or things or places I’d like to share with them all the time. Plus, it doesn’t really require a response – more of ongoing sharing, so there’s not the concern with worrying about texting back or feeling like each other isn’t responsive.

    2. CarefreeRunner*

      >. I’m not so great at casual conversations on the phone, or even through social media. I am better at face-to-face interactions, and that’s how I keep my friendships alive.

      You just need to do it, honestly, there’s no tricks. Long-distance friendships won’t stay very alive if you don’t keep in touch with people via computer or phone. Once you get in the habit, it’s really easy to call people a lot. Talk on the phone while you clean your house, walk, water your garden, while you drive (with safe devices!), etc. Messaging is easily accessible these days, I know friends who do Skype beers, if you’re a gamer sort you could setup gaming together, etc.

      Not to be mean (I mean it!) but I AM good at phone/social media keeping in touch, and it always hurts my feelings (or is at least annoying) when someone says “oh I’m just not good at keeping in touch.” Because to me, that says “I can’t take a few seconds out of my day and talk to you or put in effort, cause I don’t care.” I’m not saying that IS you, but while to you that might seem like a reasonable excuse, to someone else it might seem like you don’t care (and well, to be fair, my friend clearly doesn’t care in other ways).

      But you really can visit people even if you haven’t been keeping in touch too! I’ve got some friends I only see occasionally when I visit, and honestly, it’s fine.

    3. Lady Alys*

      I’m on the other side of that – I’m the one who recently moved. Luckily I’m close enough that visits several times a year are possible, but I sure do miss the day-to-day interactions. Text messages help, and I’m thinking about breaking out my stationery collection and actually *writing letters* now. Facebook does not help – I see what I’m missing and am sad…

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        to expand on that – watching things together on netflix is always nice. you don’t have to maintain a constant conversation and you have something to talk about.

    4. The Other Dawn*

      For me, I hate the phone and in-person is fine, but I prefer text or Facebook, even for friends/family who are close by. The long distance friends I have I generally keep in touch by Facebook or text. Unless you’re going to Skype, Snapchat, email, text or call, I don’t see any other way to keep in touch long distance. I don’t know how far away they are, but I assume it’s not convenient to just drive there every time you want to talk.

    5. matcha123*

      I might be unusual in that probably the majority of my friendships are long-distance ones. It’s been this way since I was in elementary school. Before college, I was admittedly crap at keeping in contact with people.
      Unlike you, using the internet is a lot easier for me. I love meeting in person, but I have friends I’ve met online and didn’t meet in real life until years later.
      Anyways, I find that shooting them a message at least once or twice a month is key. Especially if you didn’t communicate much before separating. Doing video chats are another big thing for some of my friends.
      To be honest, a lot also depends on them, too. I have friends that I can catch up with easily after little to no contact for months. Others, I chat with almost every day.

    6. Lady Kelvin*

      I will admit that I am not great at keeping in touch with my long distance friends, but we use Skype a lot for this. Regular chats are really important to keep the habit, so I have a virtual book club with the 5 other girls I was friends with in college. We meet about every 2 months and spend maybe 15 minutes talking about the book and 2 hours catching up on our lives. Reading the book also isn’t really a requirement. It’s mostly just an excuse to get together.

    7. nd*

      I have a couple of long-distance friends and we’ve maintained our relationships for over 20 years and 13 years. I am not a Facebook person, though the 13-year friend is very active. How we maintain our relationships is through occasional phone calls and, much more fun, traveling somewhere and spending time together! The 20-year friend and I try to do this every year, more often if possible. The 13-year friend and I just started this a little over a year ago. It’s definitely not the same as a friend you can see on a regular basis, but if you make sure to nurture the relationship, it can last and be wonderful.

    8. SparklingStars*

      I have two long distance friends that I consider to be my best friends. Unfortunately I don’t stay in touch with either one of them very well. Part of this is because they are both very busy people and they don’t have much free time for friendships, and part of this is because I’m just not great at keeping in touch with people. However, with both of these friends, on the rare occasions that we do talk or meet up in person, it’s like no time has passed since we last saw each other, and we pick right up where we left off.

      (I’m also not that great at keeping in touch with my friends that live nearby, honestly. I seem to go through phases where my social calendar is pretty full for a few weeks, and then everyone gets busy and I don’t talk to or see any friends for a while until one of us makes an effort to reach out. But like I said, I’m really not great at keeping in touch with others).

    9. Fellow Traveler*

      I have one friend that is far away and we text a lot, and she calls me on her commute. It’s long enough to get the news, but not so long that I feel the itch to get off the phone. Also remembering birthdays and other special anniversaries is nice- a lot of folks get flooded on Facebook for their birthday, so I like to call or send a small present.
      Also, consider- many friendships can endure long distances and reunions. I have friends that I never speak to, but when they are in town, we pick up right where we left off. If they are coming back, you guys might be able to do the same.

    10. Hannah*

      My best friend is a long distance friend. Here are some things that are not just “Call to say hi” things that we do:

      We have “cooking” dates, where we take FaceTime into the kitchen while we each are cooking dinner so we can cook dinner together. This is something we used to like to do together when we were short-distance friends. Similarly, sometimes we will eat breakfast together over FaceTime. (Yes, our friendship is kind of food-themed!)

      We’ll watch our favorite sports team play and text each other about happenings in the game during it.

      We set certain goals together (work out X times per week, accomplish X or Y) and act as accountability for each other in reaching these goals.

      Post ridiculous things on each other’s social media.

      Read a book together and discuss it.

      And of course, we set aside time a couple of times a year to actually see each other in person, either in one of our respective cities or to go on a trip together someplace else.

    11. Panda Bandit*

      Social media is how I keep in contact with friends in Europe. Facebook, Twitter, internet forums. I’m awkward on the phone and I feel like there’s a lot less pressure with social media. I have more time to think up responses and I process stuff visually so it works for me.

  8. Less embarrassed*

    I was in the Friday open thread asking about working from home to get stuff done around the house, and the comments confirmed what I already thought, that there’s basically no way I could ask for this. So I’ll ask here about a non-work solution.

    My husband and I have a child about 1.5 years old. She is EXTREMELY active. She’s go go go all the time. (Multiple daycare workers have remarked on it.) We cannot get anything done around the house. During the week, it’s literally impossible. If I’m lucky in the morning, I can get ready before she wakes up. I get her ready and take her to daycare (it’s near my work). I sit at my desk alone for 8 hours a day, not working a lot of that time. I pick her up and take her home with me. I struggle to do a few essential things like feed the dogs and get her cloth diapers in the wash. And even then, she’s getting into everything while I’m trying to get that stuff done. My husband comes home later, and he’ll take her for a little bit, but he does most of our cooking, so I’m usually watching her while he does that as well. We eat dinner together and put her to bed. By this point, it’s 7:30/8:00. I usually start getting ready for bed around 9 because I am exhausted. On the weekends, we’ll run some errands together and use her naptime (usually a good 2-3 hours) to rush around and get some stuff done around the house without her. This is when we’re able to vacuum, fold laundry, clean the bathroom, etc., though there isn’t always enough time to do all of it. The rest of the time, sometimes one of us will take her, but we do want to actually do stuff together as well, either in the house or out of it. We have family over for dinner most Sundays, but a lot of that is my husband cooking and me chasing my daughter around.

    We moved into our house a year ago and there are a bunch of things I want to do and organize that I haven’t been able to do. There are some things we could do that, if we had the time to do it, would make our lives easier, but we don’t have time to do any of these tasks, just barely enough time to do the basic maintenance ones. I love my daughter very much, but I get depressed and overwhelmed and frustrated that I have no time to get anything done around the house. This doesn’t stress my husband as much as it stresses me. I have depression and social anxiety, and I talk to my therapist about this (among other things), but we haven’t come up with any solutions. How do other people do it?

    1. WellRed*

      Not a parent, although your daughter sounds pretty typical and will (is she getting enough stimulation at daycare?). Can you afford a mother’s helper a few hours a week to wrangle her while you do chores? What chores can wait? Or get done less frequently? Are cloth diapers necessary (no judgment on your choices-i actually applaud this- but they are more work). Or, is there a diaper service in your area? Is having Sunday dinner at your house every work worth it? Also, take heart. tough as it is now, it gets easier. And. Sure you and partner want to do things together but that might not be possible right now. Again, it’s not forever.

      1. Less embarrassed*

        We did look into a diaper service, but you have to have a lot more diapers, because they take them for several days.

        Unfortunately I can’t afford regular help.

      2. Less embarrassed*

        By doing things together, I mean the 3 of us. We never do anything together just the 2 of us.

    2. WG*

      Can you afford to hire help? Someone to come in and clean while you’re at work or a teenager to come play with your child for a bit on the weekend while you can devote time to housework?

      1. Triplestep*

        I was going to suggest the teen as well – my daughter started her baby-sitting “career” playing with the then-toddler next door while his parents DIY’d a renovation on another floor of the house. You don’t have to pay an eleven year-old Mother’s Helper the same as you would a baby sitter!

      2. Thursday Next*

        Echoing the teen mother’s helper. I’ve found it’s also nice for the little ones to have an energetic playmate, not just Tired Mommy.

      3. Less embarrassed*

        We had a friend’s teenage son for a little while, but he was unreliable.

        My husband’s mentioned maybe getting a housekeeper…we could maybe afford it, but Im more worried that I wouldn’t have the house neat enough that a housekeeper could come in and clean.

        1. Ali G*

          Could you have someone come just to clean the important places like the bathroom(s) and kitchen? I’d say those are the most time consuming and easiest to put things away in for the cleaner.
          Do you have friends or neighbors with kids about the same age as your daughter? My sister has a “sitting club” with a few friends – once a month another couple hosts kids at their house so the other parents have kid-free time, date night, or whatever (now that they are older they do sleepovers). Is that an option?

        2. Lyman for President*

          If you go directly to housekeepers (like via Task Rabbit), you can usually find someone who does more than the agencies do. There is no “prep work” with my cleaning lady – she comes in and does everything: picking things up, dishes, gathering up dirty laundry, bathrooms, etc. So, that might be an option for you.

    3. Ranon*

      I have a go go go little one a bit older than yours. My first suggestion would be more childproofing – especially around the key areas that you spend the most time defending or redirecting. Even if it means certain basic chores don’t get done one week, this will more than save you the time in the following week or two. Or hire it out if you can. My second would be adding some gross motor friendly spaces to your interior if you don’t have any- we have a climbing triangle and a climbing friendly couch and they absorb a lot of the energy. My third suggestion is to think of your child as a border collie puppy that needs lots of exercise and stimulation and try to find opportunities to run her hard until she’s really worn out at least once a day. Daycare ought to be doing that the days she’s in care, but on the weekends getting outside first thing can help a bunch- especially if you can make it water play, which really seems to wear them out. The behaviour and getting into things is sooooo much better when our kiddo is getting enough exercise (even if I do joke that we’re not wearing him out, just increasing his endurance)

      1. Ranon*

        Oh- and my kiddo’s actually gotten to be a pretty good little laundry helper! Or at least having him help is less work than supervising separately while I try to do it myself. 18 months is about when they start to really want to help, channeling that can be really good for both of you.

          1. Mallory*

            Mine gets to “fold” dish towels and wash cloths. Keeps her entertained while I do the rest. They do eventually get better- my almost 5 y/o folds all her own clothes, plus towels, DH’s undershirts and boxers, baby’s onesies, pairs socks etc. we have 3 kids, no way am I folding 5 people’s laundry!

      2. WellRed*

        Water play is the best! I also have plenty of friends who had no shame in intentionally running slightly older children around (how many times can you run up that big hill?)

    4. Triplestep*

      I remember these days! We (and some of our friends) used to clean and cook with our kids in baby back-packs – the frame kind you wear on your back like a hiking pack. (Not the front kind for infants). The kids loved it! Is your daughter too big for one of these?

      Also, when you’re not working during your eight hours, can you quietly use that time to do anything that would help your home life? Can you grocery shop at a store that provides pick up service, for example?

      One trade off at home would be to feed and get your daughter to bed while your husband is making dinner for two of you. I think she is still young enough that there are diminishing returns on family dinner together – save that for when she’s a little older and can do more for herself. You’ll be less exhausted and you’ll all get more out of the family time. I think the trade-off will be worth it.

      1. Less embarrassed*

        She’s a bit big for me to carry like that, but generally she just loves running around.

        I do pay bills and stiff when we work. We’ve talked about doing the grocery pick up thing, but it’s not super cheap, and won’t save a ton of time. Might be worth looking into again though.

        We feed her what we eat for dinner, so it would be hard to feed her first.

        1. Triplestep*

          My kids also ate the same food we did. You can save some as leftovers for her to eat the next night.

          I do see the benefit of family dinner, but there is less benefit for an 18 month old than for, say, a three year old who is able to get more out of conversing. If having her eat your previous night’s leftovers while you’re reading to her at the table feels like a terrible sacrifice compared to family dinner, you’re probably not looking at alternatives to the status quo seriously enough to change much.

          1. King Friday XIII*

            My kid is four and we still feed her leftovers when we get home from daycare. She just gets hangry if she doesn’t eat right out and then we all end up eating less well. We talk while she eats, usually one of us sorts mail or tidies a bit and the other starts dinner, but if we need to decompress we can do that without worrying about it.

          2. Parenthetically*

            We absolutely do this and it’s a lifesaver. He gets leftovers from the night before and then we sit down to dinner once he’s in bed (which is VERY early, like 6:30).

      2. LightFixture*

        I second babywearing for getting things done! You don’t necessarily need a frame back pack – there are tons of options for soft structured carriers (SSC) that are made for toddlers. Tula, Kinderpack, and Lenny Lamb are some popular ones. (You can wear them on your front or back).

    5. Photographer*

      It can help to change your standards, which I know is tough for some people. Perhaps you quit cloth diapers and reclaim the time washing, drying, etc. Perhaps you eat more ready-made or frozen meals for a time. Perhaps you park the kid in front of Daniel Tiger to buy yourself 20 minutes of uninterrupted time. This is a phase, but a difficult one. You may have another year and a half before she stops being so into everything and can do an activity like color at the table while you do chores. It’s a lot, but it’s not forever. Please understand that you are not alone but you can reframe how much roll this takes on your life. Best of luck.

      1. matcha123*

        I agree with the cloth diapers. My mom did that for me, and I appreciate that there are a variety of reasons, but if you need more time in the morning/day, that’s one place to start.

      2. Overeducated*

        Yup. My kid was like that. He is now almost 4 and still very much like that, in that he wants to play or be told stories 100% of the time, but it is easier than it was.

        Our strategy was, and is, divide and conquer. One parent doing stuff, the other with kid. Lower standards for organization (not cleanliness, that’s still important), not cooking from scratch or experimenting with new recipes several times a week, and house projects…basically just don’t get done. It’s not perfect but after work and comnuting I value time with my kid more than the house stuff, so I don’t hire help just so i can spend more time sorting and decorating and the like.

        Dunno how it works with 2 kids though. How do you divie and conquer when the kids are doing that to you?

    6. Yvette*

      When my son was that age, I had a section of hallway off the kitchen with no outlets and doorknobs beyond his reach. I closed the doors, put a kiddie gate at the end and essentially had a huge playpen. He could literally run (or what passes for running as a toddler) bounce off the walls and play with large toys (little tykes slide etc.)

      1. Less embarrassed*

        We had a little baby containment area, but she just screamed when she was in there. We tried it for a while. :(

        1. Ranon*

          We put the stuff in the pens instead of the kiddo- it’s been surprisingly effective. Expect for the part where they keep getting taller and can reach things all of the sudden.

          1. King Friday XIII*

            Same, we fenced off the shelves that weren’t safe and just… made most of the living room child safe. She’s not a big chewer so it wasn’t too hard.

        2. Melody Pond*

          This may be an indelicate question (for which I apologize) but… for how long (minutes? hours?) did you let her stand around and scream? I can’t imagine it would go on forever, and I’d have to imagine it would eventually end, and she’d tire herself out. Especially if you kept it up, day after day. Kids can adjust to new routines, right? Just because they might not like it doesn’t mean it’s bad for them.

          I don’t know, I guess my approach would be… that’s fine, you can stand around and scream for a while. I’ve still got other work to do, and your basic needs for physical safety are still met.

          1. Less embarrassed*

            That’s a fair question. I don’t remember exactly, but it was a while. It was in our living room for a few months, but she really never too to it.

          2. LilySparrow*

            If the point is to reduce Mom’s stress, anxiety,
            and depression, this would be counterproductive.

    7. Fulana del tal*

      Play yards/playpens. Put a rug and make sure its far away from anything dangerous. She won’t like it at first but it will allow you to do chores while she is safe.

    8. Call me St. Vincent*

      I”m in the same boat. We had to hire some help. We have a cleaning service every two weeks and we pay someone to mow the lawn also. We’re still crazy all the time (we have a newborn now as well as an almost 3 year old). You just have to unfortunately get as much help as you can afford and ride the wave. I’m a super Type A person and I had to lower some of my standards. I’m still working on that.

    9. Nerdgal*

      Could you take a day of PTO to get a good luck in on your projects? Still take daughter to daycare?

      1. Less embarrassed*

        Yes, and I need to do it again. I’ve done it twice…once she got sick and had to stay home, so I got nothing done. *Sigh*

    10. Sarah*

      This is my life, except he’s two and a half now. I’ve just lowered my standards and do what I can and try to let the rest go. All our clean clothes never get put away, sweeping floors doesn’t happen as often as it should, etc. It’s getting slightly easier as the kid gets older, but he’s never been one that you can leave in a play pen or room by himself without him screaming, so I’ve just adjusted. Once every couple of months my husband will take him out for a couple of hours and I’ll go crazy cleaning.

    11. Mallory*

      I have 3 kids under 5. One is 2. It’s a rough age. Here’s what we do:

      1. gym with childcare. One parent brings kid to gym, drops kid off, works out, showers, gets a coffee and chills out until the 2 hours of free childcare is up. Other parent tackles a specific project.

      2. Make good use of naptime. 1-3 is prime Get Stuff Done time.

      3. Make good use of bedtime. One parent is on point after dinner for play/bath/bedtime, the other parent uses 6-8pm to Get Stuff Done (in our case it’s nurse the baby and nap but hey…)

      4. Lower your standards.

      5. Involve your kid. Gotta organize or sort? Find a job for her. My 4 y/o helped when we were painting- we let her do the inside of the closet. My 2 y/o helped rip down wallpaper and was given scraps of wood to “paint” with kid paint.

      You could also send your kiddo to Grandmas for a weekend and knock out projects, take a day off of work and work through your lunch list while kid is in her normal daycare/out with nanny.

      1. Mallory*

        And generally, we try to do little things all week so the weekend isn’t consumed with chores. I do a few loads of wash during the week, fold it while watching TV at night, and leave it in the guest room. We put it away on weekends.

        I make lunches the night before and do dinner prep then too. When we do it, meal planning is hugely helpful. I also EITHER take the kids grocery shopping as a time consuming activity so DH can Get Stuff Done, or I get up and go grocery shopping at like 7am. When I get back, kids are up and fed/eating. I can get it done in 45 min solo or 1-2 hours with kids in tow ;).

    12. Ann O.*

      A miscellany of suggestions, but first, the reassurance that this phase–like all phases–won’t last. She’ll get more independent and more respectful of staying in a confined space (like her room) playing while you all do things in other spaces.

      Suggestion 1: Have family come and watch your daughter (or bring your daughter to stay with family, if she’s personality-compatible with that) to give you some free space to do long-term home organization.

      Suggestion 2: Incorporate your daughter into chores by giving her pretend tasks or kid toys to mimick. Of course at this age, she won’t really help and it will make things less efficient, but it may make them possible. (examples: giving her measuring cups to bang together or pretend pour things into while cooking, letting her “fold” some clothes–that you will re-fold correctly at the end–while you put away laundry, letting her help load clothes into the washer/dryer (at 1.5 she may actually be able to do this one!)).

      Suggestion 3: If you have an outdoor space or indoor play space, hire a tween/teen to supervise your daughter running around in that space while the adults get stuff done elsewhere. Tweens at my synagogue are constantly looking for this type of parent helper work. I personally wouldn’t be comfortable having a tween do sole babysitting (even though I did it. But I can’t believe people trusted me with their babies and houses when I was 11!), but playing with my kid while I’m nearby? Sure!

      Suggestion 4: Outsource key tasks like cleaning the bathroom (we have a cleaning service come once-a-month for kitchen/bathroom, which has decreased a lot of the in-between labor) or maybe change to disposables for the remaining pre-potty time.

      Suggestion 5: Delay the long term until your daughter is older, but work with your spouse to develop a concrete long-term plan (with target dates!) for it. I don’t know if that will work for you, but for me, I am a lot less anxious/mental energy consumed when I have a specific plan than when I have free-floating wants and tasks.

    13. Nita*

      I’m really struck by the fact that you have family over for dinner most Sundays. So, you host, cook, clean, and probably don’t even get to eat with them because toddler. They better start returning the favor by offering some weekend child care, or hosting one of you while the other one decompresses at home. I don’t know the best way to start that conversation – depends on your relationship with them – but it’s a conversation that needs to happen.

      1. Less embarrassed*

        Yeah, BIL keeps saying he’s going to host sometime. Though it is easier to host because we can out her to bed and still hang out and have dessert. If we had it at his place, we’d have to just leave early.

        My husband enjoys cooking, and this is his one day to do a longer, more involved recipe. (In theory anyway. Sometimes he does more involved stiff during the week than I’d like him to, but he’s not always receptive to my suggestions to do something easier.)

        1. Just an idea*

          This may be down thread, but can you ask family to show up early for dinner and entertain the child/set up for dinner while you get other tasks done? Another family member can stay late while you clean up etc.

          1. Less embarrassed*

            It’s just my BIL and his girlfriend. Every other Sunday we play D&D in the afternoon before dinner (during which time we do have a babysitter). They usually do dishes between dinner and dessert (and also they bring dessert).

        2. AvonLady Barksdale*

          It sounds like your husband uses cooking to decompress and relax, which I completely get because I do too. The advantage here is that it’s a household chore– I mean, you gotta eat, right?– so his decompression doesn’t add to the housework load. However, you don’t get the same benefit. Is there something you want to do to decompress? Someone suggested taking advantage of childcare at the gym, and that actually sounds like a great idea. You don’t even have to work out all the time; most gyms have some kind of area where you can take a mat and meditate (or nap!) if you need to.

          Or… can he wrangle the toddler while you do the dishes? Washing dishes is work, sure, but you can put on some headphones and get a break from chasing her everywhere.

    14. Jessica*

      I think 18 months is one of the hardest ages to deal with as a parent. In just a few months she will probably be more interested in watching TV for 30 mins or so, and also be more helpful with household chores. I just vacuumed and washed the entire upstairs floors of our house this morning, with the “help” of my 28-month old. (And honestly, he did help! He liked pushing the vacuum around and using a wet rag to wash the floor.) Same with cooking — it’s often hard to involve kids in the kitchen, I know, but she might be able to stand on a chair and stir stuff. My kid is fascinated by peeling onions (really!), or standing at the sink “washing” dishes while I cook.
      In the meantime, more child-proof areas of the house really help, as well as lowering your cleaning standards. And maybe trying to do a little more in the evenings — one load of laundry per day?

    15. LibbyG*

      Some good ideas in this thread! I want to circle back to your question: How do other people do it? One answer is, they don’t! Bathrooms get grubby, landscaping gets a bit unkempt, clean daily clothes are selected from a laundry basket rather than from a drawer. The other answer might be, the same way you’re doing it. There’s no magic stable balance to find; it’s really just continually spinning plates. It gets A LOT easier, but with a 7 yo and a 4 yo, I’m not sure it ever really gets dialed in.

      1. Amey*

        I agree, I think a lot of other people don’t manage it! My 17 month old is similar and we have a 3 year old as well – we get stuff done by taking turns and we do all of our cleaning after 9pm and on the weekend. On the weekdays, we just focus on the essentials – dishes, getting loads of laundry through, and we catch up on the weekend. I was doing more in the 9pm slot but I’ve started working out and having a bath instead – this is a much better choice when the rest is a bit of a constant struggle.

        I promise this is temporary. It won’t be long before you’ll be able to put the TV on for half an hour and leave her pretty safely watching it for example. I can have a shower while my 3 year old watches something and not worry about him. I can get on with housework while he plays sometimes. 3 is a difficult stage in a completely different way, but with my 17 month old I spend a lot of my time with her trying to stop her from killing herself. That definitely passes. Good luck!

    16. Less embarrassed*

      Thanks everyone for the suggestions and commiseration. I really appreciate it. I’m not trying to shoot down everyone’s suggestions. It’s just all hard. I’m struggling and already feeling pretty bad about myself for not being able to handle things better

      1. CM*

        This is, IMO, the absolute hardest time in your family life — when your child is a young toddler, needs constant attention, and just makes everything more difficult (delightful as she may be!) I also remember feeling extremely overwhelmed and exhausted at this stage. It does get better!

        A few things I did:
        – Trade off babysitting with friends and neighbors. You have their kid at your house one weekend morning, they keep your kid the next.
        – Wake up extra-early at least once or twice a week to try to get things done while they were still asleep.
        – Make sure spouse is pulling his weight and doing fully 50%! Alternate bathtime and bedtime so that only ONE of you is dealing with the kid while the other is either doing stuff around the house OR just relaxing — don’t forget that it’s important to take care of yourself too!
        – If possible, change your schedule just one day a week — see if you can work from 10-6 instead of 8-4, for instance. That will buy you a little time.

        Even if none of these things help, please don’t feel bad about yourself! We’ve all been there and you just need to get through it. There is nothing wrong with you or what you’re doing. You’re just dealing with something difficult and it doesn’t help that you’re constantly told you’re supposed to treasure every moment of this time in your life.

    17. LilySparrow*

      I understand where you’re coming from! My first was a little easier/more chill, but my second was a maniac who started walking at 9mos, climbing on tables at 10mos, and somewhere around 11mos managed to unlock the front door and escape down the driveway (caught her 2 feet from the street.) She gave up napping at 18 months. We had a play yard in the living room — she picked it up and moved it from inside. We baby proofed everything we could think of, and she ate the rocks out of the fireplace. I just…I get it. People who haven’t had one of these kids can’t know. The only way I could have had downtime in the day would have been to duct-tape her to a chair, and ya know, Social Services frowns on that. (LOL!)

      I realized at some point that I basically had 3 options:

      1) Try to fight it and assert how my house “should” look and how my kid “should” behave and dress, and where my kid “should” be when I’m cooking or cleaning, and I would fail plus make us all miserable.

      2) I could let her do her thing (because she’s going to anyhow), consider myself a failure as a mom, as a housekeeper, and as a woman. She’d be happy but I’d be miserable.

      3) Say “screw it” and try to make as much of our days as possible into playing and having fun. Sometimes that meant disguising chores as games. Sometimes that meant juice pops in the bathtub. Sometimes that meant they spent the afternoon naked and covered in mud in the backyard. Sometimes that meant choosing my work clothes by the sniff test. As long as everyone was healthy, happy, kind, and clean enough not to catch something, we all win.

      I’d recommend “Heaven on Earth” by Sharifa Oppenheimer and “Rhythm of Family” by Amanda Blake Soule.

      They are extremely crunchy-granola and more than a little bit woo, but there’s some good ideas about managing little ones’ energy, doing the necessary tasks of life together instead of segregating the kids from what you’re doing, and creating a family culture and home environment that make you happy.

      Best of luck to you! Long days, short years is right.

    18. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      If there’s a parents group in your area or you have friends with kids of a similar age, you might be able to trade babysitting with them. You watch their kid plus yours for 4 hours one day, they do the same the next weekend or whatever arrangement works for you. Sure wrangling 2 kids might be a bit harder but probably not twice as hard and you get a kid free span of time for you and your husband later. I understand you just moved to the area which is why Facebook or other parent groups would be a good option if you feel you don’t know anybody.

    19. Ender*

      At that age you can start getting her to “help” with housework. Rule of thumb – it takes about 2-3 times as long to get something done WITH a toddlers help than on your own. But that means you can still get a little bit done, even if it takes a good while. Once she turns 2 it will be very different – they really start to get the ability to play independently at that stage.

      1. LilySparrow*

        Good point about the multiple of time. But the upside is that they aren’t destroying something else or getting into danger behind your back.

    20. ICU_RN*

      I started this comment over the weekend then got distracted from finishing- 2 under 2 over here, and I’m healthcare. Was full time, now I work 24 hours a week :) I hope you see this

      First things first- no one, absolutely no one is doing it “all”. It’s really freaking hard to parent & work. It just is. So you have to prioritize. If you want to give work your all, your kid gets less of you. If your kid gets your all, then work gets less of you. You have to decide for you, where your attention & energy is going to go. It sounds like D&D, family dinners etc is your priority right now. Cool! So accept that everything is going to slide/be second string for this season.

      In the meantime-
      Cook food for your toddler ahead of time -maybe Sunday dinner, you multiple the recipe so Monday dinner is done for your kid. I tend to keep shredded chicken I’ve cooked up on hand so I can always easily access protein/carbs/veggie meals for my kid. Substitute your own meal basics here- hard boiled eggs, quinoa, whatever.

      Include your toddler where you can- mine loves “helping” do laundry ie: shoving (sorted) clothes into the front loader and closing the soap drawer to see “the bubbles”. I make my 2 yo clean up after their meals, so tossed food into the garbage and the floor wiped. It’s not always pretty but it helps cut down on the fun of tossing food off the tray.

      Also- get screened for postpartum depression. There’s no shame in it, baby blues connection is a great place to start for resources.

      Finally- it gets better. Your toddler will grow & mature fast. So if for right now you need to circle your wagons and own the fact that your priorities are family dinners, D&D and full time work and everything else takes a back seat, that’s ok. There’s no mom Olympics. Find what works for your family and to hell with the rest. You can always change your mind. I started with cloth diapers, went to disposable bc I didn’t have time and wasn’t willing to give up something else to make the time. I felt really bad my home wasn’t spotless the time, decided that wasn’t what I wanted to spend my time so now my house is clean, but not as clean as I’d like and I’m ok with it. Maybe you start doing more slow cooker meals, or doubling the recipe so you have dinner made for 2 nights. We bought baby gates and babyproofed the living room (we can see into from the kitchen) so the toddler can roam and play while the kitchen is tidied or I can ran & clean a bathroom. Ditto for the bedrooms being safe. Letting your kid be bored and able to play without you is a great skill to cultivate. Little hacks like this can help alleviate the pressure enough to breathe. But don’t feel like you’re failing, you’re not. It’s just really this hard when they’re young. You’re doing a great job.

      1. ICU_RN*

        I just reread that- it’s so scattered and rambling and I repeat myself a hundred times. Sorry! I get a little passionate about wanting other women to see through the facade that everyone else has figured it out and we are the only one who hasn’t. It’s just not true. You’ve got this and you’re a great mom. It’s ok if your house projects wait a bit or the bathroom isn’t quite as clean as you’d like.

  9. gecko*

    Hey AAM runners! I’m looking for some advice–even if that advice is just “check out this other forum instead of here” :) Especially from people who remember being at my level relatively recently.

    I’m a beginning regular exerciser & a beginning runner–basically, in ~February I started a couch-to-5k app, and I finished that a couple months ago. I’ve gone from not being able to jog more than a few minutes to being able to jog at a really slow pace for a good while (really slow like, a 14 minute mile to stay conversational).

    So my question is basically…where do I go from here? I’d love to get faster, and eventually to be able to manage a half-marathon distance–there are, however, so many bits of advice online that I have no idea what’s reasonable for me to do & how fast results happen. How do I sift through all that to figure out what I should be doing & do you have advice on measuring progress so it feels satisfying?

    1. CarefreeRunner*

      An uneducated runner here… I’ve never used them myself, but the Hal Higdon guides always looked good. Personally I just run for as long as I feel like and increase distance… but I’ve gone from none to ~12 miles a day over 3 months. A lot of this stuff is reallllly variable on the person. The important thing is to listen to your body – if you HURT, like really hurt, not just the normal soreness – stop and reevaluate.

      I can’t talk about measuring progress so it’s satisfying because I don’t! So on that note, all I can recommend is enjoying the running itself – a good podcast or album makes running the highlight of my day.

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

        When you feel comfortable doing so, sign up for a 10K. That was my gateway drug to longer distances.

        That said, to avoid injury or burnout, don’t expand your mileage too quickly. You don’t want to add more than a mile to your longest run each week. And definitely take “rest” weeks if you need them, where you don’t expand your mileage. Also, every runner is different. I personally thrive on taking multiple rest days per week. If I attempt to run more than four days a week, I reach a point of diminishing returns. But others thrive on running every single day. It’s going to take some trial and error.

        As far as improving speed, chances are it’s going to come naturally at first as you run more and run farther, and your body adapts and gets stronger. In my first year of running half marathons, my time improved from 2:11 and change to 1:52 and change, then to the 1:48 range in another year, without dramatically changing my routine in any way. But then you plateau, and the question that I’m not equipped to answer (but maybe the faster runners on this forum can) is how to break through *that* wall. But that’s a ways off for you!

        Also, I’ve read a lot of running books and I don’t like them all, but I’ll second Hal Higdon, I’ve found his books very helpful.

        1. LGC*

          So to answer your last point: speed work and cross training. And even after that you’ll still hit plateaus.

          Basically, you have to run at race speed or faster to get faster. So my weekly routine is usually at least one day where I’m running on the track (I usually end up doing 2-3 miles’ worth of running at between my mile pace and my 5k pace) and one day where I’m running tempo (so around my half marathon pace) for 40-90 minutes total. (In my case, that’s roughly 6 1/2 to 15 miles.)

          I’m a speed demon, so I usually end up doing the long tempo individually and then a shorter tempo workout with my club. (With about 12 hours between. I’m crazy, I know.) I also used to drop in on my club’s Wednesday night track workouts after doing the Tuesday morning ones. (Hey, we’re based out of my town and have practices at the town HS track. It was like a 15 minute jog.)

          I’ve reeled it back in a bit to make sure I don’t kill myself, but I’ve improved a LOT since adding speed work in – I ended up cutting almost a full minute off my 5k PR this year (so ~17:50 to ~16:50). I’m NOT expecting to run 15:50 any time soon, though. Or maybe even ever.

          1. LGC*

            (For everyone else reading this: I’m 1) a crazy person 2) training for a marathon. So if you do decide to hit the track, start small – like maybe 10×200 (or 1/2 lap on a standard outdoor track) once a week or something similar. I figured I should add that disclaimer in.)

        2. gecko*

          I think that’s really good advice. I’ve joked that I’m too competitive to race…but I think it might just be necessary so I have that kind of goal.

          Also it sounds like you saw that kind of improvement in your half marathon time over the course of a couple years? I’m also trying to just figure out what my expectations should be :p

        1. CarefreeRunner*

          Maybe, maybe not! I am relatively average looking, but I actually just really lucked out with an athletic body-type (not even the way I look necessarily, I just seem to take well to exercise). I don’t run fast, which is probably a big part of it, as well. I enjoy running for the runners high, I’m never motivated to run fast haha. But you never know how you can do till you try! I guess that’s all I’m getting at – If you don’t *need* a program to stay motivated, it’s perfectly fine to just do whatever you feel like :)

          And thanks for the thanks, I feel like my advice is kinda useless, but do check out the Hal Higdon marathon guides. They always looked reasonable to me, and there’s different levels of difficulties for how much you care about your time (versus just finishing the marathon).

    2. Fezzes*

      Check the local running stores – they have groups to run with and usually have training programs to help you get ready to run a certain distance. The one in my town has one in the beginning of the year for a March race and one starting soon for a half marathon on Thanksgiving day.

    3. LGC*

      First of all, congratulations!

      So, first of all, you did the hard part – you got up and started. And you also have a end goal – to run a half marathon. So you’re already in good shape.

      I’d suggest training for a 10k next, and THEN a half. So basically, this fall aim to complete a 10k (usually it’s about 2 months or so of consistent training to a 10k) and then a half in the spring (~3 months). A lot of Couch to 5k apps provide more advanced training plans as well.

      (I didn’t mention getting faster – I think you’re at the point where you’ll see a lot of improvement as long as you’re consistently training. So the getting faster part will happen automatically.)

      Finally, this might not be for everyone but it worked really well for me: find a training group! Go to your local running store – a lot of them have group runs, and some have affiliated clubs. Look at races for clubs that seem interesting and in your area.

    4. Ann O.*

      If you really want to get faster, the best thing will be to join a training group that includes track workouts. You need to train for speed as well as endurance. Every adult training group that I’ve seen will have many people at your current level as well as faster runners.

      If you’re more about keeping the momentum/increasing endurance and base fitness, you may be fine using an online training program. IMHO, the key is to pick a target race and a program that seems doable to you and stick with it through the target race (barring injury… always respect injury!). If the program ends up not being a great fit for your style/body’s needs, you can then switch. The key is to have consistency through the defined period, so you’re not constantly switching your approach.

      You can also check if there are 5K/10K race series in your city. Those can be a great way to have a focus and track progress. There may even be one that culminates in a half-marathon.

    5. Ron McDon*

      Hi,

      I wonder if you checked out the ‘health unlocked’ community whilst you were doing C25k? It’s a UK based site, where you can post questions/comments for advice/celebration/commiseration.

      https://healthunlocked.com/couchto5k

      They have a plan which you can follow after graduating C25k, called Bridge to 10k. There are lots of very active members on there, who are very quick to give advice and support when someone asks a question.

      https://healthunlocked.com/couchto5k/posts/138192723/10-is-the-magic-number-10k-plan

      I’m lovingC25k – i’m just about to start Week 7, which means in 6 weeks I’ve gone from not being able to run for a minute easily, to running for 25 minutes straight!

    6. Jane of all Trades*

      I have found the “Nike Run Club” app to be super helpful in this situation. This is what has worked for me & why:
      I picked a longer race (10k) that I wanted to run 4 months after my first 5k. The app personalizes a training plan for you, based on your current level of fitness, how often you want to run, and the distance of your next race (the feature is called running coach).
      This worked for me because (i) I had a tangible goal that was ambitious for me, given my lack of running experience/ability; (ii) the runs are different – sometimes its a long run, sometimes interval training, and so on. This keeps training more interesting, and made me a faster runner and helped me progress a faster and more easily than I had on my own when preparing for the 5k. The other thing the app did is that it tracked my stats. To me, this was motivating. Some days I would set a personal record for speed, or length of run, or for having a streak of running regularly for one month, then two, and so on. It also has social media features, but I haven’t used them. It also has guided runs if you enjoy that. I think the app works best if you have a tangible goal (like running a 10k in a few months), and if you like competing against yourself or tracking your progress.
      Hope this helps!

    7. A bit of a saga*

      I do a combo of some of the other things people have already mentioned: an app that tracks my stats with a defined programme for a certain goal, a running group where we do speed/interval/strength training, longer runs on my own and then I do some test runs – I just did a 10k a couple of days ago. I’m not a fast runner but I managed to shave off 2 min from my previous best so happy with that. My own running journey was pretty much zero to 1/2 marathon in just shy of 4 months, now I’m keeping in shape for a 3rd half 1/2 marathon this season. Also: there’s a running thread here almost weekly, it’s been really motivating for me to share my progress here on AAM.

    8. MollyJ*

      One of the things I did after finishing Couch to 5k when I didn’t have the time to run longer and really just wanted to run faster was restart the Couch to 5k program and use it like an interval trainer. So I would do the Run parts at a sprint, then do the walk sections at a walk to recover. I got a lot faster very quickly. Now I can run a 10k easily in under and hour. The other thing we added was hill sprints. Google that for instructions

  10. The Other Dawn*

    I’m trying a different brand of CBD oil (CBDPure 600) this week and I’m slightly optimistic, as I think it takes the edge off the pain. I’m going to give it a good amount of time and see what happens. But OMG the taste! Unfortunately they don’t sell it flavored like some other companies.

    Anyone have other brands they would recommend? I tried Charlotte’s Web already and it didn’t seem to have any effect.

    1. CarefreeRunner*

      I’ve heard that some people buy the crystals/isolate and just put it in candies and so on themselves. It’s supposedly cheaper, and you could make it taste however you want!

        1. CarefreeRunner*

          Sure! Not recommending this store in particular at all, but just to clarify this is the sort of thing I’m referring to:

          https://www.thecbdistillery.com/product/99-cbd-isolate-powder-from-hemp/

          I’ve just heard of this from others who use it for their pain, so I can’t vouch for it. You might be able to search around to determine what would taste best. There is also a CBD subreddit that would probably know a lot more than me, since I don’t use any of this stuff personally. Good luck!

    2. Not So Little My*

      Modern Medicinals has a taste that’s very true to the original flower, so sorry if that’s what you don’t like, but it is organic and botanically pure so you know it doesn’t have any adulterants. I know the lady who owns the company and she’s a long-time botanical geek so I trust the product.

    3. Shrunken Hippo*

      I know what you mean. I’m in Canada so I got mine from a company that specializes in medical products and the oil tastes awful!! Sadly, I don’t think it’s helping with my pain at all. My best suggestion to get the taste out of your mouth is to put the oil under your tongue to absorb and have a piece of chocolate melting on top of your tongue. It really lessens the taste and smell and will let you use what you have until you find a new brand.

    4. Sammy Sam*

      Care By Design. It’s a mixture of CBD and Coconut oil–so it tastes like nothing. I use the 18:1 blend. I live in California, so I get it my local Medical Marijuana Store.

    5. Kuododi*

      I admit to knowing absolutely nothing about CBD oil so I am just spitballing here. Is this the kind of product you could mix with something agreeable to the tastebuds…(pudding cup, applesauce, spoon of honey…). As long as this doesn’t negatively affect the efficacy of the product I’d say it’s worth a try. Good luck!!!!

    6. misspiggy*

      Love CBD Dutch CBD Oil is what I use. It works well for me with frequent use, although I avoid it in the evening because I get a diuretic effect.

      Taste is bad, but I’m happy to have it as an option.

  11. matcha123*

    Last month I accidentally fell into the planner “community.” And by “community” I mean watching YouTube videos.
    Are any of you planners? Do you do that really complicated one where you do everything by scratch? Do you take a planner and mix and match refills and have keychains hanging off of it?
    Are you a Filofax, Leuchtturm, or designer planner person?
    I actually bought two used designer planners. One which is very tiny, but looks nice and has almost no options for refills, since it is so small. And the other was an LV planner in the MM size that I bought for about $27. It’s pretty rough, but I’d like to see how I like the size before going for a more expensive used one.
    I have a love for planners and have been using Moleskin and now Leuchtturm until now…

      1. matcha123*

        That was the name I was trying to remember!
        How is it? It seems pretty complicated. How long did it take you to get the hang of it?

        1. wingmaster*

          I really like it. I think I’m gonna re-do the journal though..now that I know what my priorities are in my post-grad life. I got used to it pretty fast.

          My first bullet journal had daily/monthly spreads, birthdays, Spending Log, “Places to go,” “Movies to watch,” etc. Tbh, I haven’t been using the last two, so I think I’m going to do something fitness related.

          Also, I did it all in black ink. I think this time, I will use multiple colors.

          1. matcha123*

            I was flipping through a magazine about bullet journaling the other day, and there were some truly gorgeous designs they showcased.

        2. Ender*

          It seems really complicated when you watch YouTube videos because some people spend ages making them complicated and pretty. But the whole point of them bullet journal system is that you can make it as simple or as complicated, as plain or as pretty as you like. I have a work bullet journal which is really plain. And a personal bullet journal which is a bit prettier. I’d recommend checking out the original bullet journal website (bullet journal dot something) to see how plain and simple the original one is.

          1. Ender*

            Also both mine are really simple I just have weekly spreads with integrated to-do list for week and then take notes on the other pages of whatever i need to write down – in work it would be notes from a meeting or research or whatever, for personal it’s abything from planning my kids bday party or calculating which service provider to go with for the cheapest bill to journal ramblings. I found weekly spread worked better for me than daily or monthly but I can always change up if I want that’s the beauty of it!

          2. Ender*

            Sorry – last post I swear! The main benefit of it is the system itself – transferring to-do items between lists, different types of bullets for notes versus actions versus appointments, threading of pages and use of index to make it easy to find notes for a specific project or activity scattered through the notebook.

      2. Thursday Next*

        I bullet journaled before I knew there was a name for it, using regular spiral notebooks. I bought a Leuchturm this year and I’m finding I get a little squeamish about just scribbling things down as I go. They have to be neat! In this month’s colors! So it hasn’t been useful as a daily planner.

        Also I don’t want to carry it around with me.
        It feels too visibly personal.

        As a repository of themed lists, it’s been great—wish lists, travel plans, home improvement ideas, books read…

    1. King Friday XIII*

      I too was doing something very much like bullet journaling before that was a thing, originally in Moleskines and now mostly in Leuchtturm notebooks. I scribble lists, write fiction and poetry, sketch, whatever I need. I also have a 5.5×8.5″ Franklin Covey I use for roleplaying, where I keep character notes, printouts of pages I refer to often, index cards with spells on and the like. I’ve seen some truly gorgeous Filofaxes and the like, but the FCs from Goodwill are more my price range. ;)

      1. matcha123*

        I was also pretty surprised at the prices, but I guess since many of them are leather, it is to be expected!

    2. Aphrodite*

      I use Filofax and have for years. When I began looking at them I naturally checked out DayTimer at first. But I prefer Filofax because, well, it’s prettier and not so rigid (like preferring Mac, as I do, to Windows). I still have the original beat-up red one but it still works well. I switched to a wall calendar a couple of years ago but didn’t like it so I went back to the day-on-two-pages Filofax one. Since I don’t carry a purse and don’t have a cell phone it works like a small wallet with everything I need.

    3. Bujo Lover*

      I love my bullet journal – I’ve been using the system since May 2016 though I’ve adapted the original system significantly. I’ve used the Leuchtturm 1917 A5 the whole time. The thing is that I use printables for most pages because I have zero artistic ability and not as much time as I would like.

      Pros:
      – It’s flexible and can be as elaborate or minimalist as you want. Plus you can change it up every week or month until you find a system that works for you.
      – The blank page in a bujo is a lot more forgiving if you miss a day, a week, or a month than a pre-printed planner.
      – You can use it to track anything and everything. I have monthly, weekly, and daily spreads, but I also use it to track gratitude, finances, what media I’m ingesting, my Weight Watchers journey, blog/business tasks, habits, and pretty much everything else that I find I need help tracking.
      – Printables are great if you don’t have the ability or time to spend on lavish threads and they are available for free through newsletter subscriptions on blogs or I buy them on Etsy. I’ve also been known to use other planners’ stuff and incorporate it into my bujo. I also learned how to make my own once I realized that no one else’s daily, weekly, or monthly spread was working for me.

      Cons:
      – It’s super overwhelming to fall into the YouTube trap because it’s too much watching other people’s elaborate spreads.
      – It does take a little time to set up and maintain even if you pick a minimalist path.

      I would suggest that you stick to the main bullet journal website by Ryder Carroll to start with if you’re interested because that explains the main system which is really simple and straightforward (and the best way to start). After that, check out Boho Berry’s site as Kara has a lot of terrific blog posts (and a YouTube channel) for beginners.

      My main supplies:
      Journal: Leuchtturm A5
      Pens: Staedtler markers and fine tips pens, Sharpie Pens – fine (not the markers), and occasionally the Tombow markers
      Adhesive: Lots of people use washi tape, but I really like the Tombow Adhesive Dot roller (with refills)

      1. matcha123*

        Thanks! Making my own does appeal to my artistic side. I’ve been using regular daily planners since at least high school…or college. They kind of double as journals or time capsules, since I can look back and see what I was doing over the year.
        I prefer to write things down, rather than type them into an app. Binders and journals are now my current obsession, help! lol

    4. TL -*

      I use an Erin Condren horizontal and I love it. It works really well for me – it’s pretty and colorful so I like using/seeing it. Plus my cover is a collage of photos of family/friends/adventures I had last year.

      I don’t have something to write in every day, but most days a week I use and/or reference it. The monthly view is also really helpful because I have a tendency to overschedule myself and that keeps me realistic about everything that is going on (ie, if I have a whole bunch of appointments or due dates, seeing in monthly format reminds me I’m probably going to need a day off or I’ll crash.)

    5. EmilyG*

      I was never a planner or journal person at all until I met someone at a conference with a Hobonichi Techo, which I became so obsessed with that I’ve written/drawn in mine every day for four years!

      1. ..Kat..*

        What attracts you to Burkina Faso? All I know is that it is a very impoverished and hot country that has gone through prolonged hardships.

    1. Glowcat*

      I’m lucky enough to have already moved to my dream country, which is Norway. Now the next challenge is remaining here, since so far I have a temp contract…

    2. Monty's Mom*

      That’s makes me boring, but I love where I currently live (Wisconsin), so I’d stay here!

      1. bassclefchick*

        I’m in Wisconsin, too! I love it! However, if I could live anywhere else, I’d choose Scotland.

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

      North Fork of Long Island. So peaceful and so beautiful, yet it’s 80 miles from NYC, which I live in now and can’t imagine leaving for a long time. I hope global warming doesn’t wash it away before we have the chance to retire there.

    4. CAA*

      I am living in my dream location, and very happy here. If I had to move, I think Kauai would be my second choice.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        I want to live in Maui or Kauai. I also like the Bahamas and the Florida Keys, so basically a tropical island somewhere.

    5. Julianne (also a teacher)*

      My first instinct is to say Cape Town or San Francisco, but I have only vacationed in those places…so I guess what I mean when I say “I want to live there” is “I want to live on vacation, please.” I think the west coast of Michigan is my more reality-based answer.

    6. Victoria, Please*

      Someplace that doesn’t burn down for 8 months of the year, and has enough water for the foreseeable future… (currently living in SoCal.)

  12. AnonForThis*

    I’m a little worried about my flatmate. We both work part time while going to uni. I moved in this June (though we’ve known each other for three years) and since it’s summer, neither of us is going to classes, but we do have some September exams we need to be studying for.

    Anyways, she’s exhibiting some signs that have got me a bit worried she’s depressed: she’s been sleeping during the day a lot and she has occasionally postponed our social plans to take a mid-day nap. She also lets dirty dishes and clothes pile up in her room for weeks (though she then has a few days of cleaning frenzy and the common areas are fine, so I don’t have anything to complain about). And she said she’s not feeling up to sitting the exams in September, so she’ll move them to the next semester (this is especially worrying to me, because she’s now on the 7th year of her 5 year degree, if she postpones them, that means it will take her 8 years to finish – I started the same programme three years after her, yet am expecting to graduate before her). She also has a history of depression, I know she was in treatment for it two years back, but don’t know if she’s still on meds or in therapy now, it seems prying to ask. On the other hand, she’s usually quite cheerful and afaik she’s doing just fine at work, so maybe I’m just interpreting normal college student behaviour as depression?

    I’m thinking of talking to her about it, but a) am struggling to find the right words b) don’t want to be making a big deal about completely normal behaviour.

    1. Glowcat*

      People suffering from depression don’t always understand what’s happening or why, so asking her directly could be useless; and even if she knows (as you said she has a history) she may still don’t want to talk about it. I would talk to her about her studies, because it is also possible that she realized they are not what she wanted to do and she struggles to finish but it’s too late to drop them; then see where the conversation leads you.
      As an aside, it’s normal for depressed people to be cheerful or even happy at times; they are not constantly gloomy, but they can turn to deep sadness for no reason. Try also to see if she doesn’t enjoy things she used to love, as this is a major flag. I have been through it, so if she is really depressed I feel for her and I understand it’s going to be a hard period. I wish her all the best and I thank you, AnonForThis, for staying close to her and wanting to help: not all my friends did, so I think you are a good one.

      1. Luna123*

        Yeah, depression has a habit of sneaking up on you, and it can be really hard to realize exactly how depressed you were until it’s passed.

        I don’t think it would hurt to raise the topic with your flatmate, but I’m not sure how you would go about that / don’t have a script handy

      2. Ender*

        Both times i had depression I didn’t recognise it in myself. And both times people I was living with were the ones that convinced me to see a doctor. I’m glad they did. However, the first time it was my mother and the second time my husband. I don’t know if I would have appreciated a flat mate telling me; it depends on your relationship. Is she a friend as well as a flat mate? If so talk to her I advise. You know she had depression before and presumably in college you have access to some sort of healthcare (we had a free doctor and free counsellor as part of our university). I think the best way to approach it is to remind her that she already told you about her depression, tell her you’re worried she doesn’t seem her usual self and you think she has some symptoms, stress that you know you’re not a doctor but ask her if she would go to the doctor to discuss, and offer to go with her. If she refuses then there’s not much else you can do, though maybe calling a dedicated helpline to ask for their advice might have some other ideas.

    2. anon for thiiiiiiis*

      Honestly, I’d say to leave it alone. It’s not really your concern if she moves her exams back or graduates late (as much as you care for her!) and if she’s doing well at work and seems cheerful I don’t think her possible depression is at such an alarming point where you need to say something.

      One of the reasons I’m terrified to have roommates is because I don’t need people commenting on my mental health. I have bipolar and have been stable and symptom from for close to a decade, but there are some habits from when my illness was active that I just haven’t been able to break, specifically my clothes being in a pile on the floor and my doing the dishes procrastination. I know that it’d be ideal to not do those things but it’s more effort to change those habits than it’s worth right now. If my roommate wanted to have a talk with me about my mental health over those things or my decisions about what’s best for my schooling, I’d be really annoyed.

      Keep an eye on things for sure and if her life starts falling by the wayside in other ways, I could see talking to her. But otherwise, I think it’d be best to leave it be.

    3. Gatomon*

      I think you should say something. Even if she is depressed and knows it and is taking steps, sometimes having another person express concern can be beneficial. She may not realize how bad things have gotten. Depression may be telling her no one cares, but you saying something shows that you do.

      If she’s depressed and not aware of it, or how bad it’s gotten, it might be a good wake-up call that things are starting to seriously affect her life and that it’s time to take action — whatever that may be for her.

      If she doesn’t want to talk about it or discuss it with you, I’d leave it be at that point. But I think simply asking the question, without any pressure, is always worth it. For example: “Hey, are you okay? You seem a bit down lately. I’m worried about you.”

      1. Yep!*

        ^^^This. My depression brain weasels tell me in no uncertain terms that nobody gives a crap about me. The times when someone said exactly Gatomon’s last sentence have meant the world to me. Of course, your roommate may be an entirely different personality, but you know her best.

    4. LGC*

      So…I think you have a crack of an opening because you know she was depressed fairly recently. I’d probably bring up anything that’s changed recently – if she was normally neat, or if she was excited to take her exams, for example, or her sleeping habits. (So maybe like, “Hey, Flatmate, I’ve noticed you’ve been sleeping a lot during the day lately. Is everything all right?”)

      All of that CAN BE normal behavior, but the question is – is it HER normal? Are there other reasons that she might be acting this way – like is she busy at work or working nights? I don’t think you’re the right person to answer these questions (you’re her roommate, not her psychiatrist), but you can at least signal that you see something.

      And this might not go well at first. But…as Glowcat said, you’re awesome for wanting to check in on her, so even if it goes sideways, you haven’t done anything wrong!

  13. Bluesboy*

    We are on our way to pick up our two new kittens! They are Devon Rex, so short curly hair, almost hypoallergenic, and think basically like dogs! They are the ones with massive ears that basically look like a cross between aliens and gremlins.

    If anyone is curious, have a look at the Facebook page ‘La Loggia dei Quattro’ (the breeder). We are coming home with Concord Dawn and Corellia – Concord is exaggeratedly confident, friendly with everyone and almost certainly will climb up on the wardrobe and get stuck, and Corellia is the little shy one who is frightened to do anything but likes snuggling.

    Wish us luck, haven’t had a pet in twenty years!

    1. The Other Dawn*

      OMG they’re so cute!! Many people say that the Devon Rex, Oriental Short hair and Sphyx are ugly, because they have extremely short hair and are very lanky, but I think they’re adorable. Good luck!

      (And yes, the description of a cross between and alien and a gremlin is very accurate!)

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Oh my, the baby pics are ADORABLE. The EARS. The ears are too much cute in one place.

      Have fun! Let us know how they are doing.

    3. Kj*

      I love Rexes! We used to stay in a BnB that had Cornish Rexes. I’ve thought about getting one to train as a therapy cat for work (I’m a child therapist).

    4. Ali G*

      Oh you are in for it (in a good way)! My petsitter has a Cornish Rex and he is awesome, but very sneaky and is a total troublemaker.

    5. Book Lover*

      We almost got one and went for a Siberian instead :). They are cute and warm and soft, for sure. Enjoy!

    6. MsChandandlerBong*

      I am jealous. They are SOOOOOOO cute! I had a cat that was a Cornish Rex mix, so I have wanted a Cornish Rex or Devon Rex forever.

    7. WS*

      It’s great that you’re getting two – one can be pretty destructive, two means there’s someone to play with!

  14. WG*

    Ten years ago I had a falling out with several of my siblings while planning a milestone birthday party for our mother. Since then, I’m civil to them when I see them at family functions, but otherwise avoid them. It’s now time for the next milestone birthday and one of them mentioned we should plan another party together. They seem to think that because I don’t make a big issue of the past that I’m over it and will help with the next party. I just haven’t made an issue of the past because it’s not worth my mental energy. I haven’t forgotten or forgiven, and I’d be stupid to put myself in the same situation to be treated as poorly as I was last time.

    I’ve tried to leave our mother out of this situation, as it wasn’t her doing. But my siblings will use her to try to influence me. And then she’ll lay in the guilt because she thinks all of us kids should get along all the time. My feeling is that blood doesn’t excuse people from treating each other horribly. I’m not going to allow unacceptable behavior from someone just because we’re related.

    Anyone have good wording for getting across that I don’t want to rehash or repeat the past? And that there’s absolutely no way I’m helping with this party? I just know my mother and siblings will try to pressure me by saying I should do it for my mother’s sake.

    1. WellRed*

      Parents always think their children should be best friends. Not always possible. Can you flatter the sibs into planning party without you, or beg off in some other way instead of rehashing past? “Oh, you guys are so goid with that sort of thing.” “Work committments.”

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        Oh my god, this.

        My mum is of the opinion that I should be the best of friends with my older brother who treats me like shit because he’s family. She once came over to my flat and did the thing that parents do where they tell you what’s going to happen in that particularly tone of voice that broked no argument when you were a kid.

        I had to tell her that I’m nearly 30 and in charge of my relationships and would she like a slice of cake?

        WG, WellRed is right to suggest finding a way to beg off – time commitments are the best way. Just keep saying – I’m sorry, I don’t have the time, but I know you’ll do great at it.

    2. Julia*

      I’ve read somewhere that when siblings don’t get along, the parents aren’t always as blameless as they want to think. I know my mother always asks why I don’t get along with everyone, and it’s because she’s enabled bad behavior towards me.

      Anyway, could you make up a work commitment or pretend you’ve sprained your ankle or anything?

      1. Thursday Next*

        This is interesting. I think it’s possible for parents to drive wedges between siblings even absent obviously bad practices (that sounds terrible, btw, Julia), by putting their kids into “boxes” (“Kid 1 is like me, butKid 2 is so different”).

        These kinds of things seem benign, but I think they shape siblings’ attitudes toward each other.

        1. Julia*

          I can’t speak for other families and I don’t know enough of the research to make an absolute statement, but what you’re saying makes sense to me.

          In my case, my mother was raised to value boys over girls, and although she vehemently denies it every time I bring it up (because I got the same education as my brothers), it is definitely true and her biggest blind spot that my brothers got away with everything, even cruelty against me, while I got away with nothing or even got punished for their behavior toward me. Luckily, my youngest brother seems to finally turn into an adult with some empathy, and I live far away from my parents which means we get along better, but I can definitely see how some parents just cannot understand why their kids don’t get along. And I didn’t mean to derail OP’s post, sorry!!

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I think it’s best that I leave the planning up to you guys.

      “WG, we think you should pick the restaurant.”
      I think that we all have learned it’s better if you guys pick the restaurant.
      OR
      Sorry, will not be able to do that. Let me know what you guys have decided. [Notice how you do not give any explanations here. Explanations are just in-roads for arguments. Just say no and do not offer a reason.]

      “WG, we have decided on the expenses for mom’s b-day and your share is $230.”
      I have budgeted $120 for mom. I can either give that to you guys toward the kitty or I can just go on my own an do something myself. That way you guys can go ahead with your plans. Let me know what you decide.
      OR
      That is beyond my budget right now. You guys go ahead and have a good time.

      A friend had an instance where the sibs decided on a joint gift. Sibs never bothered to mention this to Friend, until the bill was due. “Your share is $75.” This was something that Friend was totally unaware of and had absolutely no participation in the entire process. So Friend just refused to pay the $75.
      What happened next was NO more joint gifts. Part of what worked well for my friend was using as few words as possible. “What gift? Well, I don’t know anything about that. It’s not in the budget for me and I will not be able to pay you.”
      Whatever your reason is, use as few words as possible. Say it in a serious tone that indicates there is no conversation that will change your answer. “Sorry, I will not be available that day.” OR “I have other commitments and I am not able to put any time into planning mom’s party.” Don’t expand on these statements. No means no, it does not mean argue with me for three weeks and I will change my mind.

      If they say you should do it for your mother’s sake, tell them you are doing your own thing for her and you are fine, “thanks for thinking of me and have a great time.”

      1. Thursday Next*

        “Explanations are just inroads for arguments.” Quoted for truth.

        My question for you, WG, is would you be willing (or able) to go to the party if you don’t have a hand in planning it? Because that could affect what you say. “I’ll leave the planning to you, but I’ve budgeted $X for my share of the cost and look forward to seeing you all there.”

        1. WG*

          Last time I did attend the event, for the sake of the guest of honor. No reason she should suffer negative consequences of a situation she wasn’t involved in (it was a surprise party). I will attend again this time, for the same reason.

      2. WG*

        My mother has been known in the past to purchase her own gift and the let each child know their share. She figured she was getting what she wanted and saving us the time of shopping .

        I do like the idea of setting my financial limit and sticking to that. Last time I did pay my equal share because I made the commitment to do so before all heck broke loose. But that doesn’t mean I have to commit to that level this time.

        1. ..Kat..*

          Let them know your budget ahead of time, so that they aren’t counting on more. Then, if they go over, they can pay the additional amount.

    4. Aphrodite*

      Oh boy, can I relate to your story in all its aspects except for the party. Let me just say that I think you have made the right decision. Stick to it. I suggest not JADEing (J=justify; A=argue; D=defend; E=explain) your decision, just say “I’m sorry; it’s just not possible” to everyone any time it is brought up. Do not give reasons even to your mother. If you are willing to attend the party then say that but do not back down on not helping.

      You are right; unacceptable behavior is never acceptable. It does’t matter who is asking. Someone once wrote that “givers must have boundaries because takers don’t have any.” Have them, live them. And never justify them. If anyone hates or resents you because of that then they have a problem. Do not make it yours too.

    5. Blue Eagle*

      It took me years and years but I finally figured out what my sister always does. Instead of saying “no, I won’t do that”, which she knows will result in other siblings or mom saying “why not” or “would you please do it”, she just says “yes” – then at the last minute something always comes up so she doesn’t do it (e.g. can’t come because of last minute work, or can’t do it because kid is sick, etc, etc)

      So now I’m the same way. First respond with positive enthusiasm “that sounds like a great idea and it would be fun to participate”. Then say your qualifier “it might not work out with my new work schedule/finances don’t allow it” etc, etc.

      In any event, do not let yourself get sucked in. Why is it that moms always want the agreeable children to take the s**t that the drama children dish out rather than confronting the drama children and asking THEM to play nice?

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        This is me. (Except the drama ‘children’ are my brothers-in-law, and it’s me and husband taking the c**p.) I’ve had to start using the ‘sounds great! Might depend on work though’ line in relation to a family holiday the last couple of years, and then closer to the time being like ‘yeah, I’m really sorry and sad not to see you all, but we just couldn’t make it fit with work’. I still haven’t quite absolved myself of the guilt for not going, but it’s getting easier as time goes on.

  15. nep*

    Do you tell white lies (‘we’ve got plans’) when it’s easier than saying ‘not up to it’/’don’t feel like it’? Is it more polite in the end?

    1. WellRed*

      Yep. Example: I have friend who needs to schedule herself to the minute (brunch with this friend! Movie with that friend! Stop by park on drive home from wedding for [picnic!. Then feed everyone dinner!) Sometimes for me, even just getting together to watch a DVD on Saturday is more than I want to do that particular day, but she doesn’t always understand. I once said, “oh, I was planning to make a vision board tonight. (Not true). Her response: “I’ve been wanting to update mine! Let’s do it together!” I hung up the phone and said. “Welp, guess I’m doing a vision board tonight” and hunted out glue stix and scissors.
      And wine. Lots of wine.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        Oo, no!

        I had a friend like that as well. I mentioned that I was doing something in passing and she would always invite herself along to it. It was awful. I just want to sit in the cinema and eat popcorn by myself. Or I want to do my grocery shopping alone.

        It was really stressful talking to her at times.

        1. Zona the Great*

          I broke up with that friend two years ago. 15 years of her not even being able to order her own meal without knowing what I ordered first.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Depends on who it is. With some friends, I can say, “Nah, just not feeling it” or “I need a break”. With acquaintances, I usually say we have plans. I don’t think either is rude, per se, but I do think there’s a weighing of kindness. I don’t want someone I barely know to think that I simply don’t want to hang out with them (my friends are pretty aware that it’s not them, it’s just that I need some downtime). I also usually offer a counter-plan if I really do want to get to know the acquaintance better and I just don’t want to go out.

      1. nep*

        Well said. I almost added to my post: Does it depend on the person(s) involved?
        I’m the same–with some I have zero problem saying ‘Nah, not up for that.’

      2. Julia*

        Instead of “I need a break”, I sometimes say I’ve been really busy and need to rest, or I’m feeling worn out and wouldn’t be much fun.

        1. Windchime*

          Yeah, this is what I say. “I think I just need some downtime this weekend.” It’s hard for anyone to argue with that.

    3. buttercup*

      I used to do this, except I have got this one friend who will actually follow up with a question about my other plans! (She has trouble reading social cues.) I have actually since learned that there is nothing wrong with just saying you’re not feeling it.

    4. BRR*

      Yup. Alison’s “sitting on the couch and watching Netflix can be your plans” absolved me of any guilt.

      1. nep*

        Reminds me of the day my mom and I attended a dear friend’s wedding ceremony and left the reception early. We were keen to share her special day, but didn’t want a late evening. On the way home I said: ‘Little do they know our prior engagement is with our sweats and t-shirts.’

    5. blargity blarg*

      I’ve established myself as a committed introvert, so when I say no, people aren’t offended. Maybe give excuses that make it clear you don’t have plans but also don’t want to?

      “Work is eating my life, I need alone time.”
      “My couch misses me.”
      “I’m rewatching The West Wing for the 37th time.”
      “If I don’t clean the apartment and deal with the litter box, the cats are going to move out.”

      Don’t feel guilty for saying no. You’re allowed to not want to always engage with others. Not having “plans” doesn’t mean you must make yourself available.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      The hardest time is when it’s people I really like. I think what used to bother me is that I wondered if people believed me with “I’m not up to it, how about a raincheck?”

      Aging has helped some. More and more people are saying, “Hey I am feeling pretty beat. How about next week?” So that lifts some weight off of my shoulders.

      I almost never say, “I don’t feel like it” because that could be read wrong. But there are exceptions there, too. “Hey, let’s go to the car wash the high school is doing to raise funds.” Nope, don’t feel like it, too far out of my way or whatever.

      Depending on the activity and the area I may say that I don’t want to drive that particular road after dark. This too has become more acceptable with age. In past years, I would lie. “Gee, that is past my bedtime, gotta go to work tomorrow.” I just did not want to drive that road as my vision gets dimmer with increased fatigue. At 35, I was not prepared to hear myself say, “I can’t see good at night”. Now I realize fatigue is a factor and plenty of other people have a similar concern. Sometimes our lies are to spare ourselves, not others. sigh!

    7. Foreign Octopus*

      Yep. All the time.

      “I’ve got a doctor’s appointment” = I’m staying in to watch Doctor Who.

      “I’m working” = I’m probably not going to shower this weekend and just surf the Internet

      “I’m sick” = I’m tired of speaking with people and so I’m going to lock myself away from the world

      “My cat’s sick” = I know we agreed to plans but I really, really don’t want to do it and I know you can’t argue with this because my cat is actually the sickest cat ever

      I think white lies are politer. Possibly because I never actually feel up to socialising with anyone. I’m super happy on my own and making plans is always such an exhausting thing for me so if I kept saying I don’t feel like it, I probably would have zero friends. I have a policy of seeing my friends once every three months and even that feels like a lot to me.

    8. Overeducated*

      No, 99% of the time “sorry I can’t that day!” is enough. When I was in high school I do think friends would question it sometimes but as an adult, nobody cares, everyone is busy and excuses are not necessary.

      1. LilySparrow*

        Yep, this. There are lots of things you can say that are neither lies nor explicitly saying every thought in your head.

        That’s not going to work for me, sorry.

        Not this week, maybe next time.

        I’m not going to make it, but y’all have fun!

        I’m not available for that, thanks anyway.

        Thanks for thinking of me, but no.

        I try very hard not to tell lies because I found in was having a bad effect on me in several ways. And when I acknowledge that I don’t need to lie, it makes me more confident and in charge of my own choices.

    9. Lissa*

      Yes, and tbh I’m ok with people doing similar. I have a friend who has done things like, I’ll ask him if he wants to hang out and he’ll say “Nope, I don’t feel like it” or will cancel plans by “I woke up today and realized I’d rather just play video games, so I won’t be making it out.” Intellectually, I get it, but emotionally? Yeah, I wish he would just say “Sorry, I’m busy!” in the first example or cancel by saying “I woke up and really don’t feel that great, can we postpone dinner.” Radical honesty is great and all, but a bit of social smoothing honestly goes a long way. Makes me think a bit about that letter a couple days ago – I thought Alison’s examples to make emails sound less abrupt were great.

      1. Washi*

        Agree with all this. I’m an introvert with anxiety, and I would still be pretty offended if a friend turned down an offer to hang out/flaked with only “no, I don’t feel like it.” Standing alone like that, it’s just too close to “you and your feelings are not important to me.”

        That said, I will happily accept pretty much any kind of no if it’s followed by a counteroffer. “Ugh, sorry, I’ve had such a crazy week and I just need to recharge that night. But there’s an awesome event happening on the 25th, want to go?” = totally fine

        1. Washi*

          (I should add that I’m fine with people saying no to me in general! I’m just talking about the nos where the person technically could come but doesn’t want to.)

      2. CM*

        I think canceling is different and wrong, unless you really need to for your own well-being or some other reason that is unexpected and not typical. Just because you’re an introvert doesn’t mean you get to disappoint people to whom you’ve already made a commitment. If it turns out you’re both not feeling it, show up anyway and you can mutually decide to cut it short.

        Also, “I don’t feel like it” is harsh when someone is asking to spend time with you.

        It’s nicer, but not a white lie, to say, “I need some time to myself,” or “I can’t that night,” and MUCH nicer to follow that up with “but I’d love to see you sometime soon, how about next week?”

    10. fposte*

      Definitely depends on the person, but I’ve been inspired by a dear friend who’s also a colleague who simply says she’s blocked that time out for herself. I like the way that it puts the responsibility on the schedule rather than personal, either about her or the other person.

    11. Sylvan*

      Usually, no, but I did recently tell a friend I was busy when I was, in fact, going to take a nap… Can’t say I regret it.

    12. Traffic_Spiral*

      Nah. Lies are generally disrespectful and people know that you’re bullshitting them. Just “I feel like crap so I’m gonna nap,” “I’m peopled-out for the week – gonna hermit for a bit,” or “in the middle of a good book and want to see how it ends,” “trying to learn Parcheesi in order to impress a hottie” are all fine reasons and don’t offend people.

    13. ..Kat..*

      Well, my plan might be to have a glass of wine, eat chocolate, and go to bed early. Or my plan might be to do nothing. So, it is not a white lie (or any other color of lie). I have plans. You could also just say “I can not make it this time. Maybe next time. Thank you for inviting me.”

    14. matcha123*

      It depends on the dynamic I have with the friend in question.
      More of my friends seem fine being upfront about being too tired to go out or whatever. But since I know they aren’t just trying to avoid me, I feel fine doing the same when I’m not feeling the event or am too tired to go.

    15. Lady Kelvin*

      It depends, I have some friends where I can just say, “Nothing personal, I just don’t want to talk to anyone right now.” and they get it and we hang out some other time. I have others who never get it so I’m always busy. Case in point, I just got home from 2 weeks in Korea on Friday. As you can imagine my hubby and I just wanted to hang out together all day. Another coworker/acquaintance who really wants to be friends and was on that trip with me texted me (which I ignored) then texted my husband about going out for beers. When my husband answered, “Um I’m hanging out with my wife who has been gone for 2 weeks” his response was “Oh, I figured she would be asleep so we could hang out.” Uh no. He just gets white lies.

    16. Kuododi*

      Typically I will excuse myself with…” I’m sorry but I have other commitments.”. Now noone knows that my commitment might be to stay home and watch trashy Dr Phil reruns! Hope that helps!!!

    17. Marion Ravenwood*

      I used to. Now, not so much – I’m finding that ‘sorry, I can’t that day. Hope you have fun though!’ is enough 99 times out of 100.

  16. wingmaster*

    This past week, I realized it’s hard to have a social life after college and working 40 hours/wk. Moving back home, I only have my boyfriend. Everyone at work is super cool, but I’m waay younger than most of them. I recently downloaded the Bumble BFF and Meetup app. Hopefully I’ll have some luck. Maybe I’ll sign up for a fun class or get a gym membership. But yeah, I’m struggling to meet new people.

    1. Justin*

      Would say, gym, any social sports things (like zogsports) if you enjoy any such things (all are co-ed). Plan some outdoor festival/fair things, and also, just…. invite some folks?

      It’s easy for me to say now, 11 years later. I finished college and had no job/friends/things to do, so I up and left the hemisphere.

    2. Little Bean*

      This is so true. I’m not the kind of person who makes friends quickly and easily – I have to be thrown together with someone multiple times to slowly build the relationship before it really develops. The ONLY way I have ever made new friends since graduating college is: at work, in grad school, and my partner’s friends’ girlfriends/wives. So I agree that getting involved in regular activities is probably the easiest way to continually run into the same people until you work up the nerve to ask them to do something outside of said activity.

    3. Lissa*

      Let me know how Bumble BFF works for you! I have been considering trying it – I really miss having a female friend my age in the city. I do have a few people I see regularly but they are all dudes and/or quite a bit younger which is great! But there’s some things it’s just easier to talk to a woman who’s also seen some shit about.

      1. wingmaster*

        I’ve had about 8 matches so far. Talking to maybe 3 so far. I hope I can just at least meet 1 in person in the next month haha.

    4. The Person from the Resume*

      Meet-up worked for me. One group I joined made me two new friends at the one activity I went to. But I took initiative and friended them on FB before I left that meet up. Then I invited them to things.

      Another book club meetup yielded some new friends but once again I got contact info and invited them to things outside our monthly book club meeting.

      Meet-up or not I think you have to treat it like dating in asking for contact info if someone you like and putting yourself out there inviting g th to things and risking rejection. Once you’re no longer in school thrown together with people your age and with common activities (classes, clubs) you have to work harder to make friends.

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        I agree. I’ve been on Meetup for almost three years and it’s only since January that I’ve met people I consider ‘proper’ friends through it. Granted part of that’s been me asking people to do stuff, which I don’t normally like to do because of the fear of rejection, but I think sometimes it just takes a few goes to find the people you truly click with and move past just being acquaintances.

  17. seems to the weekend for kittens*

    So I raised a litter of orphan kittens (feral mama had them in an old window well, which then flooded. I heard them crying & pulled them out). I’m actually sortof proud that I managed to not only keep everyone alive & healthy, they didn’t develop any of the bad habits common in bottle fed kittens. They groom themselves, are 100% solid on litterbox, don’t try to nurse or chew on people or other pets, etc

    So what’s the problem?

    Biggest glut of homeless cats & kittens ever here. The shelters are completely overwhelmed & literally having trouble giving away animals. I already had 2 dogs & a cat. Adding 5 more cats seems insane. I have a big house but live in a part of town where it is definitely not safe for them to go outside. I’ve had this many cats in the past, but it was always when I lived out in the country & had a pet door so they spent more time outside than in.

    Ugh!

    1. Ali G*

      It’s called Kitten Season for a reason! Thanks for taking them in. Do you have a NextDoor or other community online site you can post them? Rescues are definitely not going to take them so your best bet is to find them homes yourself. What happened to momma?

      1. Kittens*

        yeah…this year’s kitten season produced at least triple what they’ve ever seen on kitten season before. I won’t place them through a relatively anonymous method like craigslist or nextdoor….people are WAY too prone to lying on there. If I can’t do it through a rescue, my vet, or someone I know I’ll keep them. The rescues will take them…they just are quite likely to live more or less indefinitely in the shelter and I won’t do that to them.

        Mama is one of the most trap-smart feral cats I’ve ever seen. She’s still around outside and I’m sure I’ll get her eventually. I’ve been working to TNR all the ferals around my house but it’s slow going. Easier in the winter when they have fewer options for food and are more willing to risk entering the traps. When I first started, I was using the time-proven technique of feeding them in dummy traps for weeks before actually setting them but then I found out that the neighbor up the road traps them & then drowns them so I don’t want them to be relaxed about entering traps. (Yes, I’ve reported the neighbor. No, it didn’t change anything except him being sneakier about it and putting out more poison. Yes, I think he’s an evil human being.)

        1. Ali G*

          Wow that’s crazy! I hope you can get her fixed. It’s a never ending battle. Your neighbor is a jerk, but you knew that.
          One other thing – have you tried offering to foster them for a rescue? They can list them and do the screening for you and then if some time goes by and they aren’t adopted you can adopt them? That might help offset the spay/neuter and other costs you would have to pay for otherwise.

        2. Melody Pond*

          OMG, terrible, awful neighbor! Also, not-that-smart neighbor – clearly he doesn’t know that TNR is proven to be the most effective method for reducing the feral cat population. Doing what he’s doing just clears up space for new, still-fertile cats to move into the same spaces and continue using the food in the area for more population growth. :-/

    2. Trixie*

      Thank you for taking them in. Would be great if local outfit could help with spay/neutering. There is a great Twitter feed, @ParisZarcilla, who more recently chronicles his life since a stray cat had kittens under his bed. He’s a writer to boot so it’s pretty damn funny. #CatDad

    3. nonegiven*

      I had luck with Craigslist. I had people call or text from as far as an hour and a half drive away, then come and pick up. Pictures help.

    4. Persimmons*

      Contact a rescue anyway, but explain that you’re willing to foster. That will take some pressure off them (to find room) but will give you access to their contacts/resources and they can post the kittens to their site/Petfinder.

      I’ve done this several times, and even sweetened the pot by covering the vet care myself. The group was very glad to help, because I did all the work and absorbed the costs while they kept the adoption fees.

      1. nep*

        A few things. Celery is said to have a lot of good nutrients. I don’t like celery enough to make it a regular part of my diet; juicing it gets me those nutrients. (I eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits, so it’s just celery I’m juicing.)
        My digestive system seems to be working better. I feel leaner.
        Mood swings tend to be easing…I’m calmer, more even keel–though a bit early to say whether it’s due to the juice.
        And if nothing else, just the habit of drinking celery juice first thing on an empty stomach and waiting to eat or drink anything else has been really good for me; it’s helped me get rid of a couple of bad habits I had.

    1. Trixie*

      I’m tempting to try juicing but the juicers look to be an investment. May I ask what branch you use and like? I also wonder if I would diligent about using pulp in baked goods or soups.

      1. nep*

        You can also use a blender–just pour through a strainer. (I’ve also seen it strained using a nut-milk bag.) I’ve not made it w the blender but from what I’ve read/seen, comes out just fine.
        A relative gave us a Jack LaLanne centrifugal juicer ages ago, and it was collecting dust on the shelf. So it’s not the latest, top-of-the-line model but it does the job.
        I’ve used the pulp a few times, trying crackers and once made a sort of frittata. I don’t bake, but I can see how the pulp could be useful in baked goods. Also fine to compost.

    2. WS*

      A health note for anyone considering theis: celery is a diuretic and also contains coumarin, so if you have any heart or kidney issues, or take blood thinners, or have low blood pressure, check with your doctor before consuming more than small amounts of celery.

  18. StrikingFalcon*

    I’ve developed a stricture (narrowing due to swelling) in my small intestine. I’m looking for suggestions for easy recipes I can make while it heals, especially high protein ones. Since there’s a risk of it getting blocked, I’m not allowed nuts (but nut butter is ok), seeds, kernels, whole beans/corn/peas (puréed or flour made from those ok), raw foods, or crunchy foods. I’ve also not been able to tolerate meat. I fortunately have no trouble with dairy or gluten. Thanks!

    1. Utoh!*

      How about paleo shakes? I’ve been having them to lose weight but they may fit your needs. You can just Google the infinite number of recipes.

      1. nd*

        Yep, use a high-quality protein powder to make sure you get your protein needs met. I like Pure Paleo by Designs for Health.

    2. Princess of Pure Reason*

      I like to make creamy polenta with a poached egg on top. You can always adjust the texture of the polenta to be more or less firm, if you add cheese to it there’s some protein along with the egg, and it’s versatile – polenta can be used many ways, and made savory or sweet, so you’re not stuck eating the same thing over and over, it’s a good base for additions.

    3. Ranon*

      Refried beans, pureed bean & lentil based soups & stress (split pea soup, a lot of dals are or can be pureed, hummus? Maybe frittatas/ quiche/ other egg things if you’re careful with fillings?

      1. Middle School Teacher*

        Budget Bytes has some great lentil soup recipes. The coconut lentil soup is awesome. I think there’s another one with pumpkin.

    4. Hannah*

      Can you eat eggs? A cheese/spinach omelet or quiche?

      Pureed bean soups, peanut butter and banana smoothies. A homemade macaroni and cheese.

      What about something like a broccoli and cheese casserole? (The kind of thing made with rice, cheese, broccoli that gets very well cooked, and usually some kind of Cream of Something soup or cream soup substitute).

      And if all else fails…milkshakes!

    5. MuttIsMyCopilot*

      What about pasta salad with cooked/chilled veggies? Not sure if you could do canned tuna since you said no meat, but maybe marinated tofu for protein? Or flour tortilla wraps with hummus, roasted red peppers, and a higher protein cheese like halloumi?

    6. Camellia*

      When I was having some extensive dental work done over a period of months and would often go two or more weeks unable to chew pretty much anything, my pharmacist recommended Ensure. There are several formulas and flavors. I always chose the ones high in protein. I tried all the flavors and the only one I could tolerate was the strawberry and it had to be very cold, but it did the trick. Of course, my mouth and jaws were so painful that I had no appetite and was able to get by on these and pretty much nothing else, but I ended this period at a better weight and actually much healthier than before, so yay!

      Weird side note: Even though the strawberry looked and smelled kind of like plastic, my cats were insane for it! They would literally grab and pull at my arm, trying to get at it! So I tried pouring a tiny bit into the cap and offered it to the most insistent one and she lapped it up and clawed me trying to get more. When I would crank open a bottle of it, they would come running.

  19. Ann Furthermore*

    I’d just like to thank everyone for their kind words last weekend. I posted about having to say goodbye to our sweet old-lady dog Sadie.

    I took her on Saturday, and spent some time with her beforehand. I wasn’t able to be with her when it happened, which I was upset about. The only place that was able to do it was the humane society, and they are not set up for you to be with your pet during the procedure. Our regular vet didn’t have any appointments available until today, and we just didn’t want to wait that long because poor Sadie was in a pretty bad way and we didn’t want to prolong her suffering. I asked my husband to make the appointment because I work in a completely open office and I knew I’d get emotional if I called. He called a few places, and that was the only option, other than the animal clinic we used a few years ago when we had to put our other dog to sleep, and the vet there completely messed up the procedure, so it was pretty awful. We didn’t want to go back there. I was able to spend a few minutes with her afterwards and say my last goodbyes, so that was something.

    Anyway, last weekend was rough, but I’m thankful that Sadie is at peace now and no longer in any pain. And thanks again to everyone for all the kind thoughts. It helped.

    1. nep*

      Oh, Ann. So sorry for your loss, and that you weren’t able to work it out where you could be with her in the moment. But it’s yet another beautiful sacrifice you made for her, seeking out a place so she wouldn’t have to suffer anymore.
      Big hug and be kind to yourself.

    2. Monty's Mom*

      I’m so sorry for your loss! I went through that in April and it sucked, even though it was the right thing because she was suffering. I’ll be thinking of you, and sending a prayer your way.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      So very sorry. Sometimes the most loving gesture there is the willingness to let go. It can be the highest form of love.
      Take care of you.

    4. Kuododi*

      My dear…you, Ms Sadie and all your beloveds are in my heart. May the Holy One bless, preserve and keep you all from this time forth and always.

    5. Bibliovore*

      I am so sorry for your loss. It is the hardest. We are thinking of you. I have an old lady dog and I know that everyone here understands when the time comes.

  20. Augusta Sugarbean*

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a microphone and wind muff for an iPhone? When we go on vacation, I like to make recordings of outdoor white noise (rivers, crickets, frogs, birds, etc.) This is strictly amateur and just for my own entertainment so I don’t want to spend a huge amount of money but maybe $100? I’m in the US if that matters. Thank you!

    1. Mimmy*

      I would be forever grateful to whoever invented this. That sound when the wind goes over the microphone drives me batty!

    2. WS*

      It’s really cheap and easy to make your own! Get a piece of fake fur (off an old stuffed toy is good), put blu-tack or similar around but not on the mike, and stick it on. It looks silly (and is called a “dead cat”!) but it works.

      1. Augusta Sugarbean*

        Thanks for the suggestion. I have actually started going through my fabric stash to see if I have something to make something close enough to suffice. I don’t have fake fur but I’m stitched up a piece of polar fleece type material to see if that would work. I’ll swing by the fabric store and see if they have any fake fur in their scrap bins. Cheers!

  21. Jessen*

    Oh hey look my work unblocked askamanager finally!

    They seem to have generally decided that allowing us to access blogs is pretty harmless.

  22. Jessen*

    Anyway, now that I can get here from work…what’s the biggest adulting tip you’d want to give to your younger self? Not necessarily big fancy revelations, just small tips. (This is outgrowing from my talk about organizing and realizing if 3 trash cans and a shoe mat by the door keeps things under control, that’s just fine.)

    1. Laura H.*

      More money related but periodically taking stock of your obligations and either having them “split” between your pay periods, or paying it all the moment you can and being flexible about that month to month as needed has been incredibly helpful for me.

      But definitely check your obligated spending periodically. It helps avoid sticker shock as it were.

      1. Jessen*

        Yeah, I’ve been struggling with the “time=money” – or really “energy=money” thing. I have a giant list of things to do to save money and I’m realizing that working a full time job, going to college, cooking every meal at home, hemming and mending my own clothes, handwashing things at home…you get the idea. I ran out of energy.

    2. StrikingFalcon*

      Clean a little everyday, rather than everything all at once. If you get something half put away a little one day and a little the next day, you’ll get more done than if you wait until you have time/energy/motivation to do it all in one go. Also, make it easier on yourself to do things! If I’m more likely to wipe down the bathroom sinks if there’s a bottle of cleaner under every sink, rather than having to get one out of the closet upstairs, then that’s a small change to make to have clean sinks.

      1. Jessen*

        Oh yeah I think that was what I was doing with the trash cans. I now have 2 in the bathroom, 1 in the kitchen, and 1 at my desk/table (a proper latching kitchen style one that can take food without it being accessible to naughty little paws). Good idea about the cleaners – I’ve been using plain white vinegar for most tasks so I could probably just stick bottles of that everywhere. And maybe some more paper towel holders.

      2. Roja*

        Or, if I can counterpoint to this–not as contradicting you, StrikingFalcon, but to provide another perspective–don’t feel bad if you set one time to clean and then just do it. Cleaning every day does NOT work for me, because I feel like it’s a never-ending to-do list item that I never complete. So I set one day a week to tidy, vacuum, and clean the bathroom (~30 minutes for me). Kitchen stuff is done as needed, and other deeper cleaning chores are on a rotating schedule. It works because the house is pretty well decluttered and there’s a few systems in place to keep tidy what would otherwise be messy (mail, books).

        Basically, get yourself on a schedule of some kind and stick to it. If you’re like me, wanting things done but never “finding the time,” put everything you want done on a written rotating schedule (I have monthly, quarterly, and yearly sections) and DO IT. It winds up going pretty fast because you get in a routine. I have a dozen tasks on my monthly list and it takes me only two hours–so that’s two hours of deep cleaning per month, and everything stays very clean and very organized.

    3. Be the Change*

      Heh. If he (or she) needs more than six months to make up his mind, walk away. Your number may vary, the point is don’t be strung along.

      1. Jessen*

        I’ve never had the sort of traditional problems people have with money. All the times I’ve had problems with money, it’s been a case of “rent+food+medicine>paycheck.” Which is…not really something most financial literacy really addresses. I get frustrated with most of the stuff that’s supposed to teach people financial literacy, because it seems to just assume you can definitely clear all your basic needs and have decent amount of money left over, and if you don’t meet that you can just go out and get a second job or something. And I’ve often not found that to be true in life.

        1. Melody Pond*

          Actually, I think that IS becoming a more traditional personal finance problem. This is why I liked Elizabeth Warren’s personal finance book, “All Your Worth”. It provided advice for how to deal with that kind of problem. She understood that putting her advice into action might be difficult or really uncomfortable/painful to pull off – but she still urged following the advice, because the other option is basically drowning in debt.

      1. Candy*

        How would you buy plane tickets and rent cars and book hotels and set up a hydro bill in a new apartment without a credit card?

          1. REAR mech*

            Not always practical since hotels and car rentals will put $200-$500+ hold on your bank account until the rental has ended, if not longer. You need a large balance in your checking account to use debit. I’ve also seen crazy extra requirements for renting cars with debit – multiple proofs of address, etc

            1. LJay*

              Yeah, hotels and everything else I’ve always been fine on, but rental cars are a royal pain in the ass with debit.

      2. Washi*

        Is it difficult to build credit without a credit card? As someone in their late 20s whose only other credit activity is paying off student loans, I always thought I had to have a credit card to have a decent credit score.

        1. Melody Pond*

          You only need a credit score if you’re planning on buying things on credit.

          Which, admittedly, you might want to be able to buy a house someday. But other than a house, there’s nothing I’d ever borrow money to buy.

          I don’t currently have any credit cards (Mr. Pond bought a condo, which was largely possible through the VA loan, so no urgent need for credit building), but if I were going to get one again, I would absolutely never use it outside of the program Mvelopes. Mvelopes connects to credit card accounts and checking accounts in such a way, that when you spend money on your credit card, Mvelopes makes you treat it like you paid for it with your checking account/debit card. So that when the bill comes, you have exactly the right amount of money available for the bill.

          1. REAR mech*

            most people who urgently need a reliable car are going to have to spend 8-15k.. I think financing part or all of the car cost is safer and more financially responsible than obliterating your liquid savings. If you have 25k in savings yeah sure drop 10k for a car.

          2. Jessen*

            I’ve usually had my credit checked when I had to rent an apartment or getting services set up there.

          3. Gaia*

            No, sorry. Every place I’ve ever rented has pulled my credit and back when I had no credit it was near impossible to get approved to rent.

          4. Courageous cat*

            Hmm… I’ve had my credit score checked for a number of things that didn’t involve buying on credit. Renting apartments comes to mind?

        2. Lily Evans*

          Credit cards aren’t inherently evil, you just have to be smart about how you use them and what kind of card you get. Read all of the information about the card first, know how they charge fees, know the interest rate, and shop around for a card that fits your life and has a good rewards system. My parents taught me to only spend money I actually have and that’s always worked for me. If you only spend the amount you can pay off each month and don’t go overboard you’ll be fine. Plus it helps build your credit to make payments consistently every month and some cards have really good money back or travel rewards.

          1. ThatGirl*

            I’ve successfully used credit cards since age 20, have had car loans, store cards, have a mortgage and a spotless credit score. Because we pay our cards in full each month and don’t overspend. It’s a tool, and not one everyone wants to use or can use responsibly. Which is fine, but I’d never say “don’t use credit” as a blanket rule.

          2. Falling Diphthong*

            *sigh* I got a credit card (probably college?) which I paid off in full every month. After that, when we were young and poor, we occasionally floated a balance for 2 months or so, e.g. family vacation or the time a company went out of business without paying me. I enthused to my mom how useful it was as a tool for things like ordering online, and so she got one. For my parents, not a good idea.

            Encouraged oldest child to get a credit card midway through college to start to build a credit score for the things cited here, renting apartments and car loans. Will encourage youngest similarly.

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              Adding: When daughter was getting a card I looked at a lot of card reward systems, and outside of Discover’s cash back (which is what she ultimately went with) things like the great travel offers had requirements like spending $8000 in the first 1 or 2 months to trigger the rewards. If I had that much in savings and it was targeted to, say, refurnishing the house or a big trip, maybe I could hit that level of spending, but it would take a concentrated, deliberate effort.

              1. Lily Evans*

                Yeah, some of the better rewards cards also require you to already have a good credit score. It’s really great that you helped her with researching that type of thing! I’ve known a lot of people my age who just sign up for cards that sound great without reading the fine print and end up being charged ridiculous fees.

            2. Book Lover*

              Yes, I got one with my mother when I was 16, so I could get gas for the car. It was also what I used in university to buy books and food. I never spent too much, never carried a balance, and got my own card once I finished university and had a regular salary. I plan to do the same with my son. I have always bought cars with cash, but I had a mortgage on my first two houses and couldn’t have done that without a credit history.

              Personally, I find a credit card much safer than a debit card – I have had to cancel multiple cards in the past due to someone getting the number and making purchases and I would much rather that money not come out of my bank account – it can take ages for the bank to refund it, I have been told by friends who use debit cards.

              1. Lily Evans*

                Your second paragraph is a big reason I use my credit card significantly more often than my debit card.

                1. Washi*

                  Yeah, this is why I ended up getting a credit card a year ago, despite being nervous about it. When my debit card was stolen and had hundreds of dollars of fraudulent charges that was…not good.

                  But yeah, I just treat it like a debit card and don’t spend money I don’t have, so I appreciate everyone’s perspectives on the utility of doing that!

        3. Marion Ravenwood*

          I’d say it depends. I’m in the UK so things might be different elsewhere, but when we were buying our house the fact my husband didn’t have a credit card meant his credit score was a little lower than mine. He got one, which he doesn’t use very often, but it did meant we had more potential options for our mortgage once he did.

          I agree that it’s about sensible spending on them though. I was brought up with the attitude that credit cards are the work of the devil, and I have had some sticky issues with them in the past. The one I have is recommended for spending abroad, so now I hide it in my ‘holiday purse’ (basically that card and my EHIC) and only get said purse out when we go away. I also have the card set up to pay in full every month which helps.

      3. Gaia*

        I don’t think this is really necessary or practical if you want to have access to credit (to like…buy a house one day or hell even rent an apartment or get a job). I tend to recommend you never charge something on a credit card you can’t immediately pay in full (and then do so the day it posts). This way you get the benefit of the card (rewards, good credit rating, etc) without ever paying interest.

      4. The New Wanderer*

        Alternately, get only a few credit cards and make sure if there’s a fee that the benefits you use outweigh the fee. (Benefits sound great but if you don’t end up using the frequent flyer miles or whatever, it’s lost money.)

        Also, watch the limits and interest rates if you have to carry any debt – card promotions aimed at college students might have a nifty $50 bonus for signing up, but if the interest rate is 30% (or otherwise super-high), you’re going to do poorly in the long run.

      5. Courageous cat*

        I would change this to get a credit card and use it responsibly. If you can’t use it responsibly, make a couple purchases on it, pay them off, then cut them up. Leave that line of credit open.

        How are you going to build your credit without a credit card?

      6. ccs*

        Horrendous advice for adults! Building credit is so important. Also there’s nothing inherently bad about credit cards – don’t spend money you don’t have. I put every penny I spend on credit cards and reap amazing benefits in the form of free flights, cash back rewards, and other perks.

        1. Gaia*

          It takes a lot of discipline to do this, so I don’t typically recommend it for everyone (at least not when they are first starting out). But if you can do it, it is a great way to save some real money!

      7. Nye*

        Most rental car agencies now require a credit card to rent a car – they will not accept a debit card even if it has a Visa / etc logo. This is why I finally got a CC. However, I’ve found it really useful in other ways. I don’t use it for credit per se, since I pay it off every month, but it’s great for keeping all my purchase records in one place and I get rewards.

        Having a credit card makes life easier (car rentals, hotels, unexpected expenses, building credit, etc). We live in a world that assumes adults have at least one CC. They’re only a problem if you let them be.

    4. Washi*

      Sometimes it can save you money to get the nicer versions of things. I used to get the cheapest version of everything, but now (partly because I have more of a financial cushion) I spend a little more on shoes and pans and other things that get a lot of wear, and they last so much longer!

    5. Doloris Van Cartier*

      I think the one smallish tip I could tell my younger self is that you are your best advocate in life, even with the small stuff. You can say no to friends if you don’t want to go out that evening, if you need a second opinion from a doctor you can get one and you don’t have to worry about hurt feelings, you can (nicely) stand up for yourself with people even on the small stuff like with your internet provider.

      1. Jessen*

        The “nicely” is hard for me. I’m kind of used to an environment where standing up for yourself is considered impolite no matter what. So it’s hard to judge how to stand up for yourself nicely, because the standard I learned for nice is “nice people don’t ever imply that someone else might possibly be wrong about anything ever.”

        1. Doloris Van Cartier*

          I struggle with that as well. If someone tells me no, I just want to run away at that moment but I’ve found that being willing to stick it out and figure out a solution can lead to results. Not everytime but enough that I’m willing to keep trying.

    6. matcha123*

      – Don’t be afraid to tell friends and others that you don’t have the budget for (insert thing here)
      – Make a secret bank account for yourself
      – Learn how to date
      – Your voice also has value, be willing to speak up and out when needed.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Or go with a more loose definition of dating: If you promise yourself something, FOLLOW UP. This could be a trip, a soak in a warm tub or a weekend with friends. Make a commitment (a date) for putting enjoyable things in your life.

          1. Jessen*

            Oh goodness I like that. And it reminds me I have a friend date or two (that needs to be a phrase) to schedule. Enough of “sometime”!

        2. matcha123*

          I know that feeling. I think you’ve mentioned you identify as aesexual. I thought that might apply to me for a bit, but I also feel like labels are more of a burden to me. Other people find them freeing?
          Since I would like to have someone, a long-term boyfriend at least, learning how to navigate dating has been incredibly hard for me. I wasn’t allowed to date in school or to have much contact with boys. The whole, “touching a stranger sexually soon after meeting them” is a huge turn-off for me. And shouting “I have a bf!!” from the rooftops also makes me very uncomfortable.

          But, I think that learning how to navigate various situations (whether it be dating or making new friends or chatting with strangers/coworkers) is a valuable experience. And I am still pushing myself to find what works for me. I enjoy my alone time, but I don’t want to just be in my little apartment forever, if you catch my drift?

          1. Jessen*

            I don’t know how much I particularly like the label, but I guess I find it an easy shorthand. I feel like people’s default assumption is that if you don’t want to date/marry it’s because there’s some sort of problem in your life. I find saying “I’m asexual” easier than “I don’t want to date or get married, no I don’t have social anxiety, no I don’t think this is an after-effect of trauma, no I don’t think I just haven’t met the right one, and for goodness’s sake NO I AM NOT GOING TO JUST GIVE YOU A CHANCE!”

            1. Jessen*

              (That last bit is aimed at a certain sector of the male population I tend to have issues with. I’ve had too many cases of some guy trying to talk me into “giving him a chance” because he’s a nice guy and I don’t know what I’m missing out on and all that, and it gets tiring and frequently turns nasty when I don’t give in.)

              1. Someone Else*

                Literally, if I could give my younger self one piece of advice, it’s when you run into that person who is expressing interest in you and you are not and they say “give it a chance”, RUN. Run like fucking hell and do not even consider it or stick around for seconds. Go very far away from any person who thinks that’s a good tack.

        3. caledonia*

          @ jessen – I thought this thread was for what advice we would give our younger selves…not just you?

          1. Jessen*

            Blah, yeah, that’s been a confusion. I guess where I am that’s sort of an idiomatic way of someone asking for advice, so it’s usually just understood “advice you’d give your younger self” isn’t actually literally just advice you’d give your younger self. That apparently did not come across here.

            1. caledonia*

              Would this be a non-English country because it doesn’t make sense for an English speaking one.

      1. Jessen*

        I definitely struggle with the last one though. I’ve had a lot in my life of, if you speak up it means you’re nasty or you’re just being entitled or something. It’s hard to judge when I should because I’m used to any time I speak up being labelled as nasty and vicious.

        1. ..Kat..*

          Well, AAM and other advice sites (like Ask Amy) have good scripts for how to politely/professionally/reasonably stand up for yourself. These scripts have helped me immensely. Captain Awkward, too. And then, if people want to have feelings about this, let them. Just acknowledge that they have feelings, don’t let their feelings manipulate you into capitulating, and move on.

          1. ..Kat..*

            “I am sorry you feel that way” is my good go to response for when people call me names like nasty and viscous. Calling me names is their move to try and manipulate me.

            1. WS*

              Yes, I work in healthcare and often have to deal with people who are (quite reasonably) emotional and anxious. This works well as an acknowledgement without giving in to anything, especially if what they want is actually illegal or impossible.

        2. matcha123*

          Yep. I have always tried to be the “good girl.” I don’t want my friends to feel like I am entitled, but I think that that has led to some of them feeling entitled to my attention, and then ignoring me when I need theirs. I try to remind myself that if I have a meh or bad interaction with someone every once and a while, but overall we have positive interactions, I should feel fine with that.
          And if someone is going to get angry at me for saying, “Actually, I prefer to keep my Friday off and not switch with Joe,” then, well…let them be angry.

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

      Think I’ve posted this before, always bears repeating:
      Some things from movies don’t translate to real life. Don’t tell a love interest “I love you” after knowing them for eight days, even though they do it in movies after an hour and 36 minutes. It’s a surefire way to freak someone out!

      1. Jessen*

        …I think I need a giant “asexual” sign here. :)

        Seriously, usually my struggle has been the opposite. I’m single, but I don’t really consider myself available. And I often feel like I’m living in a society where the default assumption is that your needs for companionship are to be fulfilled by a romantic partner, and anyone over 25 who doesn’t have a romantic partner must be in immediate want of one.

        1. kc89*

          well you didn’t ask what would you tell Jessen you asked what would you tell your younger self, so you can just skip the comments that don’t make sense for you as an asexual

          1. Jessen*

            I know, I know. Still, I find it useful to mention sometimes because it does change things – and I think the “what would you tell your younger self” is a pretty common linguistic convention for someone younger asking older people what would be useful for said younger person to know, rather than a strictly literal question. I like to mention when something doesn’t necessarily apply because a lot of people like to build off of what other people say.

            Internet tone is hard.

              1. Jessen*

                The idiom I’m used to is kind of both? So it would be things that you wish you knew when you were younger, but it also carries the idea of things that you think would be useful to the person you’re talking to. It’s looking like the idiom is rather more localized than I realized.

                1. nep*

                  Yeah–I’ve never heard of an idiom like this. While there will be some common threads, most responses will be individual by definition because everyone’s childhood and growing-up experience is unique.

          2. Jessen*

            In retrospect, the linguistic convention appears to have not been as common as I thought.

            Around where I’m used to, “what you would tell your younger self” is an idomatic way of asking “what advice would you have for the younger person you are speaking to that you didn’t learn until you were older.” That is apparently a less commonly understood meaning than I thought, and I apologize.

            1. Tau*

              Personally, I think the idiom only makes sense if it’s clear that you are a young person who is seeking advice. So if you’d said, for example, “Hey, I’m eighteen and heading to college this fall where I’m going to be living on my own for the first time. What advice would you give your younger self if you could?” it’s going to be tacitly understood that you’re looking for advice that would be useful to you, and the answers will be aimed that way. The way you phrased it makes it sound like a general “what did you learn during your adulthood which you wish you’d known to start?” question, which is going to get much more personal answers. Compounding this: I think the AAM commentariat tends older – I know my default age assumption tends to be mid-late twenties or upwards – so if people are to know you’re on the younger side you need to make that explicit.

              1. Jessen*

                Fair. I really wish this side had an “edit comment” button right about now.

                I am probably older than most asking, but I feel like I’ve spent most of my adulthood kind of in a bubble and then went to dealing with major medical issues where I basically couldn’t do anything but deal with them. And I’m realizing in the last 6 months that my model of adulthood is pretty much entirely based off of my mother’s teaching, and that my mother is an incredibly toxic person and the idea of adult I learned has absorbed a massive amount of toxicity. So I’m kind of giving myself a fresh start on adulting, if that makes sense, because I’m realizing the way I’ve been doing it has been pretty much all about trying to meet other people’s expectations and that hasn’t done me any favors.

          1. Jessen*

            That was sort of the idea? Maybe that’s just a local thing – the places I’ve hung out usually “tips for your younger self” doesn’t usually literally mean “tips for your younger self”, it means something along the lines of “things you learned later that would have been useful to you or others you know if you’d known them when younger, and that you think would be useful to the younger person you’re speaking to.” That may not be as universal a thing as I thought, it seems.

            1. Lissa*

              It just seems like you’re responding to the tips about dating as though the person shouldn’t be suggesting them, because you personally are asexual, but the original post was framed more as “things you’d tell your own younger self” so it’ll be stuff that might apply to them personally – nothing is really universal to everyone, so people are going to reply with what they would’ve personally found useful. At least, that’s certainly how I would take the question.

              1. Jessen*

                Huh. I guess where I am it’s more…I’m not sure how to explain it exactly, but it’s one of those conventions where the way it’s literally framed isn’t how you’re supposed to understand it. It’s not quite an idiom but something very similar, more of a common sort of social framing for giving/receiving advice. I guess it’s not as common a way of putting it as I thought!

              2. Falling Diphthong*

                This. If you wanted advice that would only fit certain narrow specific circumstances unique to you, then “what advice would you give your younger self” isn’t the way to elicit it.

                1. Jessen*

                  Kind of wish I could edit the post now. I’m used to “what advice would you give your younger self” being an idiomatic way of asking for advice for the speaker – where I am it’s not really the kind of thing that people would interpret as asking a literal question. I’m realizing now that’s apparently not a universal thing and I didn’t realize how it would come across.

        2. ..Kat..*

          People are becoming more open and accepting of lgbtq issues and people. Maybe asexuality will be next. I hope so.

          1. Tau*

            It’s already changed significantly since I was a teenager, and a lot of it for the better. (Back then, asexuality was basically entirely unknown and stating you were asexual was bound to get you lots of “huh? that’s not possible. Asexuality doesn’t exist. You’re repressing/a late bloomer/gay and in the closet/haven’t found the right person yet/etc.”) Here’s hoping the trend continues.

          2. Les G*

            I hope so too, but let’s push back on the idea that the dating advice folks are sharing wouldn’t work for an asexual person. Clearly, they don’t work for the OP, but plenty of asexuals do date and get married. OP is doing that thing a lot of us probably did when we were her age, where she thinks her own experience is the only one that counts. By the way, not doing that would be my advice to my younger self (both in the real sense and in the OP’s known-only-to-her idiomatic sense)

            1. Jessen*

              I’ve always had a lot of trouble thinking of things that could be relevant for other people to know when I’m talking about my own situations – like, I know on some level that these things are true, but my brain fails at bringing up the relevant bits of information at the right time. I’ve never really found a good way of dealing with that; it’s almost impossible for me to figure out what someone else would consider the relevant info without some form of dialogue where I say something and then they respond and then I respond back with the info that would have been relevant but didn’t cross my mind at the time. And I think that can be hard to do in internet tone sometimes without coming across as being difficult.

              The whole sexuality thing in this thread’s kind of been that way – like, I literally didn’t think about it when I posted, but the first time someone else mentioned it I realized, well of course that would be a big thing to other people, I should probably add that in. Same thing now that one or two other people mentioned that some asexual people do date and get married – now that you say that I realize that of course I knew that was true, I just didn’t think of it when I was posting because I was trying to explain something about myself and my brain failed to connect that bit of information.

    8. Foreign Octopus*

      That you can handle whatever comes your way if you just solve one problem at a time.

      I would get overwhelmed by everything and it would drive me to tears and sleepless nights but then I read The Martian by Andy Weir (that classic self-help book) and the character in it talked about solving one problem at a time. Honestly – revolutionary for me. It’s really changed my approach to life.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Don’t underestimate the value of fiction for giving people clues about what something looks like in practice. (It’s like the flip side of Librarian’s advice, which I think is also valuable.)

    9. Falling Diphthong*

      Go outside your comfort zone. Try it. You can always retreat back into your comfort zone if it doesn’t work.

      Example: People who had a lot of social anxiety when young who, around college age, forced themselves to go endure social gatherings as they arose. In their 30s, when this stuff came up–like an SO’s best friend’s wedding, or a work event–they could find it somewhere between fun and a useful adult skill they could deploy as needed. Like driving.

      Or to paraphrase some dating advice columnists: To become interesting, you need to go out there and do some things.

      1. Jessen*

        Ehh…I’ve honestly never struggled with social anxiety that much. My main problem with social life seems to be more that it seems like the only people at my age who are trying for a social life are those that are desperately trying to find a date, and I don’t like being in environments where there’s a heavy emphasis on people pairing or being paired up. I also can have some problems with being a people pleaser and feeling like people will hate me if I ever say no, or conversely if they tell me no on something that it means they hate me forever.

        Maybe there’s other stuff, but I’ve really only heard “comfort zone” type talk deployed in terms of social anxiety sort of stuff. I tend to be more on the extroverted side and the main struggle I’ve had is managing to find social outlets for those between college and retired ages that aren’t either primarily about kids or primarily about dating.

        1. Photographer*

          People are giving themselves advice, which is what you asked for. You’re coming across as a bit disagreeable when chanllenging people’s goodwilled responses.

          1. Jessen*

            I’m sorry, I guess there’s been a miscommunication.

            Where I am, “advice you’d give to your younger self” is an idomatic way of asking for advice for yourself, rather than a literal request for advice the speaker would have given to themselves. I thought other people would interpret it that way as well, so in that context it would make sense to be more detailed in response to advice about why certain things would/wouldn’t work for you personally.

            I’m realizing now that idiom didn’t come across to everyone, and my apologies!

            1. Dear liza dear liza*

              So you want people to give advice to your younger self? I’m not sure that’s possible. We have no way of knowing what you know now.

              Not trying to be negative, just explaining why some of us are confused.

              1. Jessen*

                Essentially. I guess the way I’m seeing it is, I’m looking for things that you think might be useful. Some might not end up being useful, and I’ll mention that so people have more background information, because I’m not very good at thinking up in advance what people might find relevant. I’ll try to respond to useful stuff as well and mention maybe what I’m thinking or how it might work.

                As far as the asexuality thing, I’m not at all upset that people brought up dating advice! Y’all don’t know everything about me and it’s perfectly reasonable, and that might not have been a bad thing to include in the original post but I totally didn’t think of it then, so all I can do is post followup comments.

            2. ThatGirl*

              Plus, not to pick on you, but until you announced it nobody would’ve known you were ace, or that you didn’t date, since some ace people do still have romantic relationship. Generally people default to their own experiences and base advice on that. Nobody meant to give you advice that didn’t apply.

              1. Lily Evans*

                Yeah, if you want advice applicable to your current situation it’s helpful to actually give people some background on your current situation up front.

                1. Jessen*

                  The trouble for me is I literally don’t think “this is a thing people would find it useful to know” until someone mentions something relevant. I didn’t even think of the topic of dating as at all relevant when I posted this, even though in retrospect it’s obviously something many people would find relevant. So when people started posting I was trying to go back and add the information that I don’t date, and I kind of feel like there’s no good way to do that always?

                2. Lily Evans*

                  I mean even without the dating advice and if you had asked the question specifically for you, you’re always going to get a mix of advice that is just on point and advice that won’t work for you. For the most part people give advice from a place of kindness, so unless it’s dangerous there’s no reason to challenge it. Just say thank you and carry on. Especially since this isn’t a thread that only you will read, plenty of other people will find the dating advice relevant to their lives.

              2. Jessen*

                Oh I certainly don’t think anyone meant to give me advice that didn’t apply! It’s just that it didn’t occur to me that that would be a relevant thing to mention until people started giving me advice on it, so I wanted to kind of add in that that’s a thing that’s not relevant once it started coming up.

                I’m really not very good at thinking in advance about what details other people might find relevant, so I tend to more put updates like that in afterwards when someone points things out. And AAM doesn’t let you edit the original post.

        2. Lily Evans*

          Part of being friends with people is that sometimes you’re forced to listen to them talk about things you’re not particularly interested in talking about (and vice versa). Expecting everyone you hang out with to never talk about their dating lives just feels like overkill. Most people who are nice and who want to stay friends with you will back off when you say that you’re not personally interested in sex or dating, but dating is a big part of people’s lives and it’s a normal thing for friends to talk about.

          1. Jessen*

            I’m thinking more that I’m finding that when I’m looking for friends, I’m finding that other people my own age are evaluating me as a potential dating partner and aren’t interested in making friends. And it can be kind of fraught rejecting people; I’ve found that “I just don’t want to date” is often not very well accepted and it can be very fraught being a woman turning down romantic overtures when you’re known to be single. Even outside of that, I’ve found most people around me see the cure for loneliness or wanting more social engagement to be dating and marriage, and not wanting to date is usually seen as a sign of anxiety or trauma or some other problem that you just need to get out there and overcome.

            I don’t mind at all if people want to talk about their dating lives! I just don’t want to be dropped the minute someone finds out I’m not going to date them, or only be of interest when someone’s between partners. In combination with that I feel like a lot of social activity also takes place around children’s activities or childcare where it wouldn’t really be appropriate for a single person to show up.

            1. PookieLou*

              Here is where my advice comes in. It’s something I’m finally starting to make peace with. Relationships come in all shapes and sizes. That is normal and okay.

              I went through the same people-dropping-off-if-I-didn’t-want-to-date-them experience so many times. And I’m heterosexual. Same for my husband. I think this kind of thing is pretty universal.

              Every relationship has its purpose. Speaking of just platonic friendships, I have:
              -hit it off with people I never saw again after that one time
              -had friends who I never saw outside work/class
              -had friends get an S.O. and lose touch
              -had to walk away from a close friendship of 11 years
              -been utterly uninterested in any of the people I had to spend most of my time with
              -been childless, surrounded by families with small children

              I don’t know how many of those relate to your experience, but I would wager that just about everyone has awful relationship experiences similar to yours. Everyone has different goals/paths, and it’s it’s not all that personal if those differences get in the way. It’s just life.

              I wish I would have been more true to my inner voice and branched out more, instead of trying to find sustaining friendships in the wrong people and places. I wish I had joined more clubs in college. I wish I had paid more attention to events going on in my community (because I promise that there are so many cool things to do, even if you don’t have kids. And people who think once you get married/have kids, you can only be close friends with couples/other parents are missing out. I say this because I have seen it a lot.) I am not friends anymore with most people I’ve met as an adult. I used to think I was bad at making friends, but it just took me a long time to find my groove and find my people (and yeah, social awkwardness is part of it too.) Maybe if I’d been better at looking around, I’d have more friendships from the first year of my 20s in the last year of my 20s.

              Do your thing, but have the courage and curiosity to branch out, is the best way I can think of to make real friendships.

              1. Jessen*

                Thanks! Yeah, I have had a lot of that sort of experiences. There’s also a particular sort of nastiness that women who don’t want to date tend to get – I have had the unfortunate experience of having to deal with men who seem to think that it’s some sort of insult against their gender or something. That last one’s my biggest aversion to super dating oriented stuff; I do find it stressful to deal with that sort of reaction. Mind, I think a certain amount of that is just a cost of being female.

                1. Sparrow*

                  I find this very interesting because I’ve had a totally opposite experience. I’m a woman in my mid-20s, very active with a fairly wide social circle, and I’ve never felt like dating concerns have interfered with my regular socializing and friend-making. I’ve never had a “meet-cute,” none of my friends have had crushes on me even though I have plenty of male friends, etc. I think I just give off some sort of vibe that deters sexual/romantic attention–I am a more focused, serious person and it takes me a while to warm up to new people and share my sense of humor.
                  And this was quite frustrating to me, because I’m not asexual/aromantic and I was seeing all of these relationships form within my friend group and feeling very left out. With time I learned how to use dating apps, so it’s not a problem anymore, and I love my very dynamic friend groups that are free of relationship drama. Anyway, I wish I could teach you my “secret” but I can’t even explain what it is. It’s just funny how people can have such a wide diversity of very different and yet very valid experiences, and it’s interesting to wonder why and how that is so.

    10. King Friday XIII*

      Dishes Math!

      1 day of dishes = easy to deal with
      2 days of dishes = three times as long to deal with
      3 days of dishes = INSURMOUNTABLE AND WHY DON’T WE JUST THROW THEM OUT AND ORDER PIZZA

      Well, maybe that last one is just me. But knowing that things are DEMONSTRABLY easier if I do them now makes it easier for me to do them now.

      1. Gatomon*

        Not just you, I’ve been to Day 3, done that many times… then the pizza boxes start to stack up!!!!

        I wish I could give my dishwasher a hug. I’ve learned that I can’t live successfully in an apartment without a dishwasher and washer-dryer. Dishes and clothes simply will not get done otherwise.

      2. Jessen*

        Hah, I sympathize. I finally bought one set of “just for me” dishes. One singular place setting. If it’s dirty, wash it before dinner. And no more than 2 pots/pans per meal.

      3. Owler*

        3 days of dishes = set up AAM Podcast in kitchen and start washing! Cleaning tasks go faster for me with a podcast…

    11. Jaid_Diah*

      Learn how to plan meals. I’m not that great at it now, either, but I’m trying.

      Also, to use the Sennheiser Wireless TV headphones much sooner.

    12. LilySparrow*

      I’d say, “No, you don’t have to stick to a daily schedule/routine just because Mom says so. But she’s right. It will make you feel better.”

    13. Dr. Anonymous*

      Read The Simple Dollar Blog, which is mostly about frugality, but Trent’s posts also offer a healthy helping of Adulting. His frugal posts, and those of Donna Freedman, are detailed enough to help with those times when food+rent>income.

      For what it’s worth, I am as confused as you by the people who are answering your question with advice that is not relevant to you and then quibbling with your use of the phrase “your younger self” as if you were obviously inviting us all to have introverted conversations with our younger selves, in which case my advice is, “Don’t marry him.”

      1. Jessen*

        …I think I know a lot of people who would have that as their advice to their younger selves.

        I’ll take a look at the Simple Dollar blog. I’m realizing I really need to sift through my frugal tips to figure out which ones work for me and how to maximize dollars saved per time unit. Because if I try to do all the frugal tips I have I end up running out of energy and that’s really not an improvement, especially since then I usually end up paying extra in medical costs instead.

    14. SemiRetired*

      I don’t identify as asexual but my romantic history has not been conventional and I have preferred to remain single over the years. Based on that, and the perspective age provides, I would advise not to look too much to friends when planning your future and what your household/family might come to be. I have some good, close, old friends, but with few exceptions, they all met and married someone else who is their primary person and went off and created families of their own. In my 20s I stayed in my college town for some years after college partly because “all my friends were there.” But all those friends eventually left… it is the way of the world. So unless you find another friend who wants to “adult” in the same way as you and is not inclined to pair-bond with someone else, I recommend to plan on being independent and single. Don’t worry, it has its advantages! Avoiding entanglement of your finances with someone else’s the primary one.
      Also standard old people wisdom:
      Take care of your teeth
      Take care of your body. If possible do the wild physical stuff you always wanted to do while you’re still young, whether that is snowboarding, swinging from the chandeliers, or giving birth…it’s all easier when you’re younger. You might be able to hike the Appalachian trail in your sixties, but then again, your knees might be bad by then, or, you could not even live that long. (Has happened to friends of mine.)
      Enjoy nature as much as you can. (Yours might be the last generation that has some enjoyable nature.)
      Do something creative, sing, dance, write, whatever suits your nature.
      A late friend’s advice, don’t spend all your time on the Internet, live your life irl.
      And the old Girl Scout song…. make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold! (Now sing it in a round, with your friends.)

  23. Kate Daniels*

    I use my library all the time to check out books and e-books, but I’ve never really paid attention to the events. Out of curiosity, I was just browsing through their events calendar, I can’t believe I’ve never taken advantage of some of the things they have to offer: free Spanish classes, book discussion groups, and Toastmasters! I’m going to have to put some of these things on my schedule because I’m hoping it’ll be a good way to meet people outside of work.

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

      Thank you :-) The public library (at least in many locales) is an absolute treasure trove of programs and resources. And yet we constantly have to defend our existence to… pretty much everyone who doesn’t read.

      1. nep*

        (In yesterday’s thread I gave a shout-out to librarians and all those who make the magic happen.)
        Kate–agree. It’s really great the local libraries offer so much.

      2. Kate Daniels*

        I am going through the schedule as we speak and marking things down on my own calendar! I am really excited about some of the book talks and discussion groups because I’d really like to start reading more widely/outside of my comfort zone.

    2. Roja*

      I wish my small town library had more things going on. Everything is kids-oriented, which is all great, but I don’t have any kids! And I’m not really in a place to start something right now either, unfortunately.

    3. Temperance*

      I’m so jealous! My library has some great offerings, but most of their programming is geared towards kids/teens and senior citizens. If they have something interesting, it’s during the day when most people are at work, so then it’s poorly attended, and they don’t do it again.

      1. Canadian Natasha*

        That’s the same at my location. Nothing is set in the evening when I’d actually be able to attend. :C It’s too bad because otherwise I’d love to go.

    4. OyVey*

      My library system just won 2 major awards (one popularity, one industry) in part because of the events programing. Language practice groups and knitting/crochet circles are my favorites :-)

    5. Wulfgar*

      My library has a wine tasting every autumn. An expert sommelier and his wife prepare three courses and add appropriate wine. He provides interesting details about wine production, history, etc. I’m in PA., and all the wines he uses are available in the state store. It’s a fun evening.

      1. Loves Libraries*

        I’d love that at our library. Maybe I’ll suggest it. They do have a fundraiser called Wine Women and Shoes. It a combination of local boutiques coming to the library and a fashion show along with information about what the library does in our community.

    6. Isotopes*

      Thank you so much for this comment! I just found out that my local library offers all KINDS of cool programs. TEDx discussion groups, financial wellness seminars, legal information sessions…this is so neat! I had no idea that all of these things were available at no charge through the library. Yay!

  24. WellRed*

    Help with PayPal. Need to set up so people can pay me rent. Downloaded app, set up general profile. Next steps? Does it link to my checking account? Do I have to send rent request every month?

    1. Trixie*

      Yes, once you are in Paypal I think you can email tenants to join as well. If I remember correctly, PP does a test transfer of a like a penny and returns everything. I send money to mom everything month and once I email her, it’s available for her to transfer within 2-3 days.
      I’m setting this up now with current hair salon. Tips cannot be added to bill which drives me crazy because I don’t carry cash, don’t use checks, and this place charges enough that they should be able to cover the fees. I want to tip but stylists will have to be open to electronic transfers.

    2. Lollygagger*

      If you are a landlord or acting as the financial person for things, Cozy dot co (spelled out to avoid link going to moderation, and yes that’s co, not com) might work better. You set up a receiving account and your tenants/roommates set up their payment. No fees (they make money on credit checks and such if you choose those services – we didn’t). Only issue is about a week between when they pay and you get the money.

    3. StudentA*

      If you invoice your tennants, they do not have to have their own PayPal account. You can just bill them through PayPal. You’ll get dinged a couple of dollars or a percentage – PayPal is not completely free.

      You can also go through your bank, as some banks offer a similar service. I don’t know if there’s a fee. You don’t both need to bank at the same place, or at least that’s the way it is with my bank.

  25. Be the Change*

    Love of the week?

    Mine is my little sister whose birthday was yesterday. Although she is little, she is ferocious! She’s a leader in the most macho of men’s worlds, the military, and she does it with painstaking integrity. She’s adventurous and homeloving, smart and kind, funny and serious. She’s my hero.

    1. Jessen*

      This is somewhat bittersweet, but…looking back, I had one priest as a young adult who told me to stop and listen to the stories I told about my childhood. In retrospect, the validation that they weren’t normal and I wasn’t just making a big deal out of nothing has meant a lot to me.

    2. Merci Dee*

      I have absolutely fallen in love with Barkeeper’s Friend, the scrubbing powder that’s been around for years. I recently bought some to use on my kitchen sink because the porcelain had been marked and discolored by a smaller dishpan that I keep in one side. A splash of water, a sprinkle of Barkeeper’s Friend, and the sink was absolutely spotless after just a few scrubs. I also used the powder to scrub down my tub because of the hard water in my area, and just a few minutes of scrubbing got all the buildup off. I’d used a number other cleansers, but they couldn’t completely get rid of the residue. I absolutely love this stuff.

      1. Ali G*

        I went on a Barkeepers Friend Bathroom Bender. Let me just say if you have dingy looking tile and grout, that stuff will change your life! And also gross you out about how dirty things actually are…but mostly change your life! Just don’t use it on glass or other tile that can etch.

        1. Sylvan*

          Seriously? I’ve only thought to use it in the kitchen. I have a thing of it in the kitchen and some ugly tile in the bathroom. Yay!

        2. Merci Dee*

          I think I’m going to buy a cheapo electric toothbrush to keep on hand just for using this stuff on my shower grout. The tile is in great shape, but there are a few places my regular scrubbing pad has trouble reaching. Looks like I have a scrubbing date with the shower soon!

        1. Merci Dee*

          I was gushing to my mom about how well it cleaned my sink, and she got some for scrubbing her oven door. She’d run the self-cleaning cycle and gotten the metal surfaces clean, but she said the glass panel on the door was still dingy, and she always had to scrub it with steel wool to clean it. She was amazed at how easy the Barkeeper’s Friend got rid of the crud.

    3. Thursday Next*

      Mine is what you wrote about your sister, Be the Change. It’s so loving and evocative.

      1. Be the Change*

        How kind of you! We fought when we were little like two weasels in a bag, and I sure didn’t believe it when my aunt (our mother’s sister) told me that one day I would think she was the most amazing woman ever. Aunt was right, when I was about 25 I realized OMG my sister is *really something*, I’m so lucky.

  26. buttercup*

    Random sort of petty rant (and probably on the controversial side), but as a progressive WoC, I get sort of annoyed with some of my liberal friends (who are white!) for criticizing any media-for-consumption (like YouTube videos or podcasts) that are created by “white cis males”. I recently had a (white!) friend completely dismiss one of my favorite podcasts because “it is run by a white cis male so I don’t think I will like it”. I guess it’s your life, your choice, but am I supposed to feel victimized by all white cis males now? I find this attitude very bizarre.

    And FTR, I’m very pro diversity in media, and consume a lot of media hosted by minorities, but I don’t feel the need to boycott all media run by white/male people.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      That’s… interesting. Like, if I boycotted everything created by white men, I would miss out on a lot of interesting discussions. (Does Marc Maron count? Because I love WTF and while Marc grates on me sometimes, I can’t just throw him aside because he’s a dude.) Among some, there is a tendency towards some kind of Super Wokeness and Over Liberalism that I find really grating. I try to judge things– and people!– on an individual basis as much as I possibly can; all of this “all white guys are awful” shtick just takes people backwards. It sounds to me like your white friends are trying to impress you and other POC with their wokeicity, and that sounds so tiresome.

    2. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I think those people are just trying to Prove They Are Woke. I mean, yeah, white cishet men are generally the worst, but there are a few that aren’t completely terrible and I think it’s good for us to support those who are true allies and actually lift up the voices of women, POC, LGBTQ, etc.

      1. buttercup*

        …I dunno. I come from a culture that’s uber partriarchial and heteronormative – I actually find white men to be more liberal and open-minded in comparison. When I’ve dated white men, I felt *less* pressure to be this demure, submissive female. (I mean, I’m mostly dating the urban type of white male, not those rifle-wielders from the backwoods of Alabama.)

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          For me it’s not as much about individual relationships as it is their views on society at large.

          You can treat me as nice as you want, but if you vote for politicians who want to restrict my rights, that’s still actively harming me. A lot of people will hold certain individuals they know well to a different standard than a general group and that hypocrisy makes me angrier than people who are blatantly bigoted.

          1. buttercup*

            Yeah I agree. It’s definitely important for me to date guys on the same political spectrum as me (regardless of cultural bg or race)

        2. Merci Dee*

          I promise, those rifle-weilders live in backwoods places other than Alabama, too.

          – signed, someone from Alabama

          1. Gaia*

            Also some are definitely not even in backwoods and sometimes look like those nice, progressive urban dwellers until their rifle-wielding side comes out.

    3. matcha123*

      I totally understand where you are coming from. I do not hate white people for being white. I don’t hate men for being men. I actually get tired of always having to be “on” or expected to be “on.”
      I appreciate the feeling, but honestly…minorities don’t have secret meetings where we just hate on white people.

      1. Gaia*

        Just don’t tell them about the meeting of All The Women To Bring Down All The Men. Remember, it is our secret.

    4. Lissa*

      Yes, there seems to be a trend for white people to go on about how terrible white people are. Even in cases where it doesn’t really make sense or it’s willfully ignoring other stuff. For example, some people’s responses to MeToo has been “I believe most powerful straight white men are evil!” But…. plenty of people who’ve been outed as abusers/harassers have been not straight, or not white. Lots. Even a woman here and there, though the common denominator is “men”.

      Also, white women insulting “stuff white women do” often has this weird internalized misogyny to it, like it’s OK to insult women so long as they append “white” to it.

      I mean, if someone decides to not personally consume any media by white men right now because they are trying to increase their diversity in media, awesome! But that’s a deliberate move to do something political, not a “it’s a white man so I won’t like it!”

      1. Gaia*

        Yes on the weird internalized misogyny! It gets old so damn quick. Like how about you focus on the problematic actions of a person regardless of gender/race/sexuality? These acts are trash no matter who they come from (although it is worth remembering that the same action committed by different socio groups can have a different impact. That doesn’t make one less trash than the other. It just means society reacts differently).

      2. Tau*

        Also, white women insulting “stuff white women do” often has this weird internalized misogyny to it, like it’s OK to insult women so long as they append “white” to it.

        100% agreed.

        I also think the “cis men” thing can get transphobic quicker than people think, because you’re drawing a distinction that puts cis men on one side while it lumps trans men and women together on the other. Sometimes that division makes sense, but if you’re not careful it’s easy for that to slide into implying that trans men aren’t men in the same way that cis men are.

      3. buttercup*

        I’m guilty of liking a lot of the “stuff white women like” and am not sure if I’m supposed to take it personally when people criticize it.

      4. Sparkly Lady*

        I think the “stuff white women do” has weird internalized misogyny when it’s WoC as well. “Pumpkin spice lattes” are not a tool of structural inequity. Mocking liking them is not dismantling racism or other hierarchies in any way shape or form. (also, they’re delicious, so whatever people…)

        Heck, even something like 50 Shades of Gray–which can be argued is a tool of patriarchy–is usually mocked in a way that’s about establishing superiority rather than seriously engaging with why so many women like the stories. It’s all very Cool Girl, IMHO.

    5. Sparkly Lady*

      You are not alone. Lately, I’ve been feeling like a lot of social justice-identified-people are not interested in actually dismantling structural inequity so much as flipping the hierarchy of oppression so that they’re on top. I’m just not on board with sweeping dismissals of people on the basis of race/gender identity (or the dismissiveness of class as an important axis of privilege/lack of privilege, but that’s a different discussion).

      1. Woodswoman*

        I think this is spot on, unfortunately. There’s a difference between institutional, societal privilege based on race and gender, and dismissing individual people whose creative work you enjoy based solely on these factors.

      2. buttercup*

        You took the words right out of my mouth! Though I’m technically non-white, people don’t seem to understand that I am technically still privileged, having grown up middle class. (Or rather, I have to explain it to people and then they get it.)

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          I’ll tell you a story along those lines: I once introduced my mother to a friend of my partner’s. Got them both tickets to a concert I was in and sat them together. Our friend is Black. He grew up in a fancy neighborhood in New York and met my partner in grad school. His brother is a plastic surgeon in Florida, and since my mom is a retired physician who lives in Florida, I figured the brother would come up at some point. Later when she and I were recapping the evening, she said something along the lines of, “There’s so much pro bono reconstruction surgery being done down there for poor people, [Friend’s Brother] must stay very busy!” I side-eyed her and said, “Ma. [Friend’s Brother] does boobs and butts. From what I hear, he’s doing extremely well and is practically ready to retire.”

          You know what they say when we assume…

      3. Merci Dee*

        “The oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors.”

        — Paulo Freire

      4. Ender*

        Yup. This is spot on. I see it on here all the time – there’s even an example above of someone saying a group of people defined by gender and race are “literally the worst”.

        That statement is both racism and sexism. But hey, that’s ok because prejudice against men and white people is ok now yay we won we can treat them as bad as they treated us!

        It’s pretty gross.

        And don’t even get me started on the whole “it’s not possible to be racist against white people” crap. If you think that’s true, please buy an actual dictionary not an online urban lingo dictionary and look up the definitions of racism and oppression. They are two different words with two different meanings and this whole idea that racism is the same thing as oppression is just factually incorrect. Racism is prejudice on the basis of race. For example, saying that all members of a race are “the worst”. That’s racism, pure as simple.

    6. Gaia*

      I’m really with you on this. I think it is important to understand the biases we all have based on our experiences inherent in race, gender identity, sexuality, etc…however no combination of those automatically = X. I’ve met some really trash fire people who fall into minority category on every level and I’ve met some really great people who are in the majority of every category on every level. It really comes down to the person.

    7. The New Wanderer*

      It’s like saying “all white cis-het males share the same viewpoint, which is different from mine in a way I don’t appreciate.” Which, no, they don’t.

      However, it does get complicated when it seems like in order to be woke, we need to check everyone against a checklist of Potential Issues to figure out whether or not we can enjoy the things they create. Did X say racist or bigoted things, sexually harass anyone, insult someone, use foul language, lie repeatedly under oath, sing the national anthem poorly, or whatever crosses our own moral lines? But the line shouldn’t be “exists as part of a specific race and gender.”

      1. Socks*

        Like, while that’s true (that not all white cis het guys have the exact same viewpoint), they do share several common elements, because, you know… all white people don’t have the same set of shared experiences, but we DO all have the experience of being treated as white people, and we DO all lack the experience of systemic racism. Cis people can have all sorts of different experiences with gender, but all of those experiences will ultimately share the theme of “my gender is congruent with the one assigned to me at birth” and none of them will have the theme of “being trans”.

        That leads to some heavily recurring themes that I think it’s perfectly legit to be bored of. What I mean is that, even if two straight white cis dudes have totally different perspectives on a topic (maybe one is super progressive and a major ally to marginalized groups, and the other is, like, a huge homophobe), they’re still BOTH going to address certain topics from the same perspective; in the case of, for example, queer issues, that perspective will *almost always* be “one day, despite always being attracted to women and never to men, I realized/was informed that some people are gay” and then the different opinions will have formed from there. That is a viewpoint that, barring some exceptions I’m sure must exist somewhere, every straight person shares. And that viewpoint gets so, so much more airtime than “one day, I realized I was attracted to people the same gender as me”, and it absolutely leads to a common thread in how (almost) every straight person talks about… well, everything, to be honest. It might seem like a straight person and a queer one could theoretically have the same opinions on like, romantic comedies, but in practice, as a trend, they tend not to, because they relate to the characters, themes, and plot differently. And not every straight person will relate to the romantic comedy in an identical way, but none of them will relate to it in ways OTHER than “being straight and forming opinions from there”. That is a legit phenomenon.

        It’s not that straight white cis men are immoral for existing, or even for sharing about their own unique experiences! I’m just, you know… bored. I’ve heard a million different people talking about their lives from the perspective of a person who has not been affected personally by racism (/sexism/homophobia/transphobia/ableism/health problems/poverty/etc), and now at this point I want to hear about the varied different perspectives from people who have. I think that that is a valid preference to have.

        It’s weird and performative to tell your POC friend that their podcast recommendation is too white for you, though. That part is just a straight up bizarre thing to do.

        1. Sparkly Lady*

          I agree that identities can be very relevant on identity-based topics. I’m pretty over hearing men–straight or otherwise–talk about women’s issues. But if we’re talking about topics like historical murders or industrial sewage or mythological creatures or the science of glasses, I’m not going to dismiss someone because he’s a straight cis man.

        2. TL -*

          “I’ve heard a million different people talking about their lives from the perspective of a person who has not been affected personally by racism (/sexism/homophobia/transphobia/ableism/health problems/poverty/etc)”

          The assumption that everyone who has been through X has the same class of worldviews and opinions and interpretations is hugely problematic, *especially* when you include easily hidden things like health issues, poverty, and ableism. You cannot look at someone’s worldview and know what their life has been like. Heck, for a lot of that stuff, you could know their socially-presentable life story and still not know what they’ve been through.

          I don’t advertise the things I’ve been through because it’s not anyone’s business but believe me, it’s particularly annoying to have people assume and *act on* their assumptions of what your life is, including telling you your interpretations of your own experiences is “wrong”. “You’d agree with me if you’d experienced what I’d experienced” invalidates a whole heck of a lot of people’s experiences.

          1. Socks*

            But I’m not saying that people who share an axis of oppression all have identical worldviews; I AM saying that every single person who is queer shares the experience of being queer just by definition, and almost every single one has had at least passingly similar experiences in terms of having experienced any degree of negative social reaction towards this fact. (And obviously the same is true of other identities). Not every single one, but close enough to every single one.

            A white dude can have gone through the worst horrors imaginable, but none of those horrors will have been caused by the experience of being black. Just, by definition. They might even hypothetically be worse, which is why I never made a claim that, like, experiencing one type of oppression is worse than another. I’m just saying that if I listen to ten people speak, and all ten of them have only experienced life as a white person, I am necessarily not getting to hear any perspectives OTHER than ones that white people form. And even with all the many myriad experiences white people can have, that’s still necessarily cutting out, like, half of the total perspectives I could be hearing.

            And that wouldn’t inherently be a problem if our culture hadn’t been prioritizing the voices of straight white cis dudes for basically ever! I’m not saying that straight white cis male perspectives are BAD, just that I have now heard so disproportionately more of them that I am bored of the similarities, which do exist.

            I’m certainly not trying to say “You’d agree with me if you’d experienced what I’d experienced” or that by looking at someone’s skin color or gender you can know everything about their lives, which is why I mentioned that two straight white cis dudes could come to completely different opinions on topics like homophobia or racism or whatever. But no straight white cis dude has come to those opinions through any experience other than being straight, white, cis, and male. If you listen to a hundred people talk about their life experiences, but all of them are straight, white, cis men, you will hear a hundred different stories… but all of them will include the experiences of being straight, white, cis, and male. They could differ in infinite other ways, including how their experiences of straight white cisgender maleness have impacted them personally! But none of them will differ in having had those basic experiences to begin with. And I’m sorry, but that does lead to some degree of similarity in worldview. On an individual level, comparing two random people, that’s not such a big deal. But looking at, like, the entirety of English-language media produced from history into the modern day, then the patterns become more visible and relevant.

            If you’r arguing that there is no set of experiences shared by any two people who share an element of their identity, then… I don’t know what to say to that, besides that I disagree. If you don’t think that, and instead we’re disagreeing about the degree to which that leads to having similar opinions, I mean I guess that makes more sense. I think it has more of an effect than you do. But I absolutely never said anything like “if you’d experienced the same things as me, you would agree with me” or “I can tell exactly what someone’s entire worldview is based solely on looking at them”, because those are, indeed, ridiculous things to say.

            1. TL -*

              I agree, there are a lot of straight white cis male stories out there and I’ve gotten to the point where I’m like, I’m interested if it’s really good/a story I love/special interest, but other than that, I’m at my saturation point.

              But you included a lot of things in your list that you cannot tell about a person unless they choose to share with you, (up to and including queerness – we’ve still got people coming out and surprising us), so you’re assuming a lot about who is telling the millions of stories about poverty, health issues, disabilities, ect…. It’s really easy to tell with race, can be easy to tell with gender, and is becoming increasingly easier to tell with sexual orientation. But the other things – they’re often very well hidden from the social version of someone’s life story. Maybe it’s just the media I’ve happened to consume, but a lot of times when I dig (particularly for novels) I find there’s a connection for the storyteller.

              1. Socks*

                Ah, I apologize, I didn’t realize that that’s what you meant (“But you included a lot of things in your list that you cannot tell about a person unless they choose to share with you”). You’re right in that you can’t necessarily see every facet of a person’s identity when they might be hiding some of it; that definitely does address the original situation, in which the friend rejected a podcast because the creator was a cis white man. How’d she know he was cis unless the podcast was all about, like, that particular thing? What if he’s not white, but actually a member of an ethnic minority who only happens to look white, like that’s a thing that happens. They’re reasonable criticisms.

                I was more referring to the broader fact that even if a person doesn’t tell you something about themselves, you can often tell based on the things that they’re saying. For an easy example, you can almost always tell if someone grew up poor or wealthy just by hearing them mention (or not mention) certain events, like being bought a car for their 16th birthday; an economically privileged person might talk about that like it’s a common, if not universal experience, while you will basically almost never hear that story told by someone who grew up poor (and middle class, I think, can maybe go either way; if I had been driving as a teen, I’m sure my parents would have helped me buy an old junker or handed me down their own if they were thinking about maybe getting a newer one for themselves around that time, but it never would have even occurred to me to consider them straight-up buying me a new car). I actually just recently had a conversation with a friend of mine where we were all discussing a TV show we’d watched when we were younger, forgetting that this is not a universal experience for people our age; my friend grew up poor and did not have the channel it aired on. We weren’t even discussing anything directly related to finances, but our experiences still showed through our casual discussion about TV, and we all just collectively forgot that it was possible someone might not have had access to that show that “everyone” has seen. Some people might try to specifically compensate for these “tells” if they’re really, really trying to hide their identity, but most people wouldn’t even know where to begin; this is stuff that is very deeply-ingrained and hard to even notice yourself doing, unless there’s something to draw your attention to it.

                And healthy, able-bodied, economically well-off people have more opportunities and resources to have their stories told, which means that they’re still perspectives that saturate the market, so if a story has been made available to you, it is not an unsafe assumption (absent evidence to the contrary) that the author will fit into all or most of those categories. And it’s valid to prefer to avoid such media in favor of people who ARE visibly ill/disabled/of a disadvantaged background. It would be wrong to necessarily make that assumption about a real live person with whom you are personally interacting, because that erasure has tangible consequences. But it’s not hurting people with invisible disabilities to personally decide not to listen to a podcast because the guy running it looks generally able-bodied and has not mentioned anything to the contrary. Maybe in a very broad and abstract sense, since it technically contributes to erasure of invisible disabilities whenever you assume someone must not have one, but I feel like that’s such a drop in the bucket compared to, like… discriminatory hiring practices or gatekeeping of resources. But otherwise, I don’t think it’s particularly harmful to personally decide you’re not interested in a podcast because the creator is white, while forgetting that he might also secretly be queer.

                1. TL -*

                  I grew up in a very poor region of the USA and the majority of my friends had cars (bought for them or by them or provided at a low cost by family members), even though they were all working class or poor – and I mean family of 7 in a single-wide trailer, college completely covered by federal grants, 90% of our school was on free or reduced lunch (myself included) poor. Most of my classmates had cable, regardless of income; I did not. My high school boyfriend’s family saved up for and took big vacations every 2-3 years; my family took one modestly-priced vacation before I was 18 and we saved up it for 8 years. Our parents were in roughly the same socioeconomic level.
                  Abusive, dysfunctional, and/or broken/blended families were by far the norm – exactly one of my friends had 2 supportive loving parents in their first marriage, raising their kids together, with no underlying issues. When I got to my (private, liberal) university and realized that there was a whole world out there that looked nothing like my hometown, it was the biggest culture shock I’ve ever experienced (and I currently live internationally.)

                  I code as upper middle class, white picket fence, suburbia, loving and close family (zero of that is true) – I have had people ask me which Major City Suburb I grew up in when I say I’m from Texas, after knowing me for not-insignificant periods of time. I tell very carefully selected stories about my upbringing. The only people who have ever had any inkling of what my childhood is like without me specifically deciding to trust them with the information are two people who grew up in the exact same area I did – and that was because they’d lived the same lives.
                  A lot of my friends are the exact same way – they code different than either their upbringing or a significant portion of their upbringing. You’d be surprised exactly how easy it to hide things – I don’t tell people my parents couldn’t afford cable, I either say they didn’t believe in TV or I never got into whatever TV show, but I really liked X.

                  Believe me, if someone doesn’t want you to tell, you won’t be able to. The idea you have that it’s “obvious” what people’s childhoods were like is absolutely false and I would argue plays a lot into normalizing code-switching to hide backgrounds that differ from upper middle class/middle class white healthy suburban families.

                  That being said, sure to your point about choosing which media to engage with. You have limited time and you’re going to make the decisions with the information you have, not the information that might be.

    8. Anonymous Educator*

      Sounds as if they don’t want to do the work to dismantle patriarchy and/or racism, so they take the low-hanging fruit of just bashing legitimate media from white cis males.

      There is definitely overrepresentation of white cis males in media, but that doesn’t mean any time someone consumes or recommends something by a white cis male, that you have to criticize it.

    9. Mobuy*

      Classic identity politics. I hate the idea of prejudging based on what you are and what someone else is.

  27. Doloris Van Cartier*

    Just a positive update from my post last week about how to evaluate a new therapist. I had a second session last night with her and I felt like I could make some progress with her based on our conversation which was positive. I’m going to try and start journaling to see if that will help me catch my obsessive thoughts before they spiral so I think this could be a good first step. Thanks for the support and reminder that I don’t really need (or want) to be her best friend, I just need to find someone who can help me find some solutions to my issues.

  28. Julia*

    I’m really frustrated with my life right now. Husband and I were planning to move to my home country for a while (we’re currently in his, on a different continent) because I wanted to be closer to my grandma (she won’t be around forever, she’s almost 100), but then he couldn’t get a job there in his super narrow field, and can’t work other jobs because he never bothered to learn the language despite promising to when we got married.

    So now we’re staying in his country and he’s already signed a job contract and will get paid quite nicely, but I’m still job hunting. Vacation time here is terrible, ten days a year if you even get to take it (this is Japan), so not a lot of time to go to Europe to visit grandma, plus I’m getting rejected for being a married woman around 30 a lot, but that’s another issue.

    I thought since we’re staying, I’d finally make our apartment a little nicer, add a sofa, a work area, wardrobe etc. so it feels more like a home. Suddenly, husband tells me he needs a really big desk to do research on. We live in a 40m² apartment with a super weird layout (lots of corners, tiny extra room etc.) and I’m already struggling to find somewhere to put a sofa so it could face a TV. I wrote my entire thesis on the corner of the dining table next to his crap, and he already uses the tiny spare room and table there – to play video games. I’m sure people have all kinds of odd needs that I just can’t understand, and some people need to spread all their books out to study, but he says he needs the big desk so he can put a printer on it, because somehow putting the printer on a shelf next to the desk doesn’t work for him??

    I’m already so frustrated that I couldn’t move where I wanted to, now this whole apartment needs to be taken up by his desk that he’ll just use to play games on anyway? Now he says he’ll give up doing research forever (and they say women are dramatic), and of course I’ll forever be the evil woman who kept that poor promising man from making a big discovery. He didn’t say that last part, but I think that’s how it would end if I don’t give in here. Ugh.

    1. blargity blarg*

      You aren’t working right now. You’re annoyed with your partner (rightfully so). Go home for a month or two. Go see your grandma. If you’re able to stay with family, you can keep expenses low. Take the trip. He doesn’t have to go with you!

      1. Not All Who Wander*

        +1

        This. And trying not be be paranoid, but please make absolutely, positively 100% sure your birth control is under your control and can’t be sabotaged. There are all sorts of yellow-flags and while heaven knows sometimes it truly is just venting about bad circumstances when big picture everything is fine, sometimes it’s really not.

        Go home, see your family. See how you feel after a long break and see if you guys can hit re-set on things or if this is just the beginning of a downward slide where your lives are 100% about him and you always come in second.

          1. Kj*

            It is a worthwhile concern- anytime a marriage isn’t going well, it behooves people involved to make sure no one gets pregnant. Having a kid never improves a marriage. And BC sabotage is more common than you think….

            1. AcademiaNut*

              I wouldn’t necessarily be wary about sabotage, but would second being really wary about having a baby. An international marriage breaking up can be messy. An international marriage with kids breaking up can be devastating to everyone involved.

              But I second (third) all the comments that say to take an extended trip back home (months, if you have people to stay with), to get some distance from the problem. And take any important documents or personal possessions along with you, just in case.

              Living in a foreign country is hard. Living in a foreign country when your spouse is a local and doesn’t care about your happiness is terrible. Someone who will punish you forever because you wanted a sofa instead of a dedicated printer table isn’t likely to devote much effort to your happiness.

        1. Julia*

          Holy moly, thanks for the concern, but my husband is the nicest, non-malicious guy ever, he’s just super clueless. And doesn’t want children right now or possibly ever.

          I was thinking of going home, but I need to send some paper applications and possibly go to interviews, plus my husband doesn’t start work for a month and I want to take a nice vacation together before he has to work a lot again. I love the guy, I’m just kind of frustrated right now and obviously devastated about this turn of events.

        2. Les G*

          This is really out of line. It might behoove you to check out the conversation folks are having in the work-related open thread about how very unhelpful the speculation on this site can get. Someone specifically mentions that she avoids posting about her relationship because no matter what she says someone will speculate that it’s abusive.

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            That’s exactly what I thought of, yesterday’s thread. Julia is annoyed with her husband and a bit homesick. This sounds so normal to me! Jumping to divorce? Abuse? Controlling? Sigh, no. She doesn’t need catastrophising, she needs a glass of wine (if that’s her thing) and a venting session.

            1. Julia*

              I love this comment section, even if I don’t love every single comment. And people were just looking out for me. I clarified, and people stopped going there. All’s good.

            2. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Plenty of people like the comment section. Some don’t! That’s okay. If you’re looking for a perfectly curated experience, it won’t be this one. Hang out if you like it. Don’t if you don’t. Nothing will be everyone’s cup of tea. Like I said yesterday, I’m aware it’s imperfect and am looking for doable ways to improve it but plenty of people enjoy it as is. (I know you flagged this comment for me yesterday; I didn’t think it rose to the level of me needing to intervene and continue to think that but everyone makes different judgement calls.)

            3. Not a backseat driver*

              ?? What an odd thing to say. This site has one of the largest, most engaged comment sections I know of. Clearly a lot of people like it. Unless someone has successfully run a popular comment section, I wish they would stop with the backseat driving.

      2. WellRed*

        Please go visit grandma! And, take a step back and gain some perspective on the lopsided marriage. He sounds quite like a manchild.

      3. Detective Amy Santiago*

        I agree with this. Go spend time with your family. It’s okay if you and your husband have some time away from each other.

    2. matcha123*

      Are you guys committed to your place? Would you be willing to move to a larger place?
      I’m in 20m2 place and 40m2 would be great for a single, but a large desk… He can put the printer on the floor under the desk and get a slightly smaller one?

      As to the language part, if your husband is Japanese I think you have to force him overseas. It’s too easy to be a man here and gaikoku is so scary because you have to use English…as if it’s not hard being a woman here.
      10 vacation days seems pretty common in private companies here. I remember being asked about marriage and children. It was and is sooo annoying!

      1. Julia*

        We were thinking of moving, but as you know, it’s super expensive in Japan and I like our current place because it doesn’t have any upstairs or surrounding neighbors, which was super hard to find. (I hate noise.)

        My husband actually wanted to work abroad, he has extensive experience overseas and speaks English fluently, plus he’s pretty atypical for a Japanese man, but things just didn’t work out this time. The only thing he could have done differently was to learn my stupid language like he promised (he actually used to be pretty good, but lapsed), but he also worked a lot, so I’m more annoyed that he promised something he knew he couldn’t keep than him not actually doing it…

        1. matcha123*

          I think you should talk some more to him about how you feel and if you are disappointed. My ex was also Japanese and fluent in English and told me he’d like to work abroad, but never really put the effort into it. But it seems your husband is at least trying?
          Maybe he can put his desk on the balcony, plenty of space when clothes aren’t drying :p

          1. Julia*

            Ha, our balcony is tiny, unfortunately, and paper might fly away. I really want to give him a desk to work on, but it also doesn’t seem to make sense because he’d be at work most of the time, whereas I’m at home trying to get an article published and write a novel so that being home alone and job searching doesn’t depress me too much, so if anyone should get a desk, it’s me.
            He said he doesn’t need one anymore, but it’s in that dejected “I give up, you win” kind of tone that lets me know he’s not being genuine about it and that upsets me.

            1. Owler*

              I used to do that tone like your husband. Can you be direct and call it out? My husband would explain that it was unfair to say one thing but expect him to read into my tone and “heroically” read my mind and not try to keep me to do what I said. He’s pushing the emotional work to you.

              It’s ok to be disappointed, but it’s not ok to guilt a partner like that. I was able to grow and change (with time). I hope you can point it out and he can do the same.

              1. Julia*

                Thank you. I absolutely tell him that he sounds insincere, but he usually just doubles down. Maybe I’m really scary?

    3. PaulaNoGoodAdvice*

      I don’t have helpful advice, I would probably just move home and get a job there, and spend lots of time with grandma, and worry about the marriage later.

    4. Buu*

      It’s a bit odd, you can also get wifi printers which could be put literally anywhere in the apartment. So unless he’s doing a lot of scanning, it’s just weird. Most people don’t have printers on their desks at work.

      Why on earth can’t the video games room just be his study?

      1. Julia*

        I don’t know. He deals with my bouts of anxiety and depression, so I figure I should probably deal with his weirdness as well, but yeah, he’s really all or nothing about some things and the desk needs to be super big or he won’t do it.

    5. King Friday XIII*

      Another vote for going to visit family now while you’re not working anyway, go without him, get some space. Figure out if you miss him. ;) You’ll resent him pretty much forever if you don’t get to see your Grandma anyway, and it sounds like you could use some perspective on your relationship.

    6. Ann O.*

      Your husband is not being reasonable in ways that raise a lot of red flags. You are compromising so much of your plans/needs, and he’s not even willing to compromise on a desk?

      What is holding you back from taking an extended, lengthy trip to your home country to visit your grandmother? Do you have a job but are looking for a better one?

      It seems like some space to think about what you truly need out of life and marriage would be good for you. Maybe for your husband, too, since the strong attachment to the idea of the desk suggests he may have some non-communicated anxieties as well.

      1. valentine*

        Your husband is also turning things around on you as though you are the unreasonable one. He has a playroom and the dining room table. Do you have any space that’s just yours? If you took over the dining room table or the small room/table, would he move your stuff/refuse to be inconvenienced? If he’s not planning to leave, he’s planning to stay. The large desk is part of that. The next time you mention Europe, will he say shipping his desk isn’t feasible and he can’t possibly leave it? Stephen King 86ed his massive desk and turned his writing room into a family room with a corner desk: https://zenpencils.com/comic/king/. Is your husband willing to learn any language or work any job he could do in a European country closer to Grandma? What if you prioritize living near her, look at what you/your husband would have to do to make that work for x years (to begin, in case you end up wanting to stay indefinitely), and get started, with or without him?

        1. Julia*

          I have a feeling my husband comes across really badly because I wrote my post when I was super annoyed, but he’s actually very sweet, just super stubborn sometimes.

          The reason why I’m not just going back now, other than job searching as mentioned above, is that I’d have to live with my family for that time, and while I love my grandma, the rest of them drive me nuts after a while, plus I would probably just feel super sad if I went back without a plan. It’s hard to explain, but I tend to get bouts of severe anxiety and depression when I visit home while things are undecided, so for now I’m planning to stay here for a bit longer and job search.

    7. Kj*

      He’s not interested in compromise, which is a bad sign. I recommend couples’ counseling if at all possible. I’m concerned for you.

    8. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Red flags. Really really listen to the other folks on here… much good advice. I started out small and found all my needs slowly marginalized. (The boiling frog is a fable describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death…. that was my life with mr control. Slowly removing my choices and boxing me in… Sometimes just because he could).

    9. anonagain*

      I am certain you know this, but I want to say it anyway. It is not your fault if your husband gives up his research, even if he finds it easier to blame you than own up to the fact that he doesn’t actually want to do it, that he lacks the ability, etc.

      It isn’t right that you should be the only one to compromise. You matter too.

    10. Traffic_Spiral*

      Feels like dog-piling at this point, but he’s already broken a major marital promise (language, and by extension moving, so 2 promises) and when you’re expressing frustration, he just takes himself hostage (“fine, I’ll just give up EVERYTHING then – is that what you want?”).

      Seems like now he considers you a done deal, he’s reneging his bit. I agree to take some time off (hey, you have the time) and see your grandma. Maybe he’ll decide that he misses you and should fire up that duolingo ap. Maybe you both decide that you don’t miss each other that much. Either way, your grandma won’t be around forever.

      1. Ender*

        This. If you don’t go see your grandma now, and then in a few years you break up, you will regret it forever.

        You’re not working, your husband is annoying the hell out of you, go home for a while and see your family. Then go back and start again.

    11. The New Wanderer*

      The tiny room IS his work room – if he wants a desk in there, he has to figure out a way to make it work. You’re not prohibiting him from doing his work, you are putting a reasonable suggestion into play. If he rejects that suggestion… I don’t think that bodes well, when combined with not learning your language (no small feat but some attempt was warranted) and not moving as planned. It’s like it’s his apartment and you just live there occupying as little space as possible. That’s not really a long-term attitude.

      And I nth the suggestion to visit your home country for an extended vacation!

      1. Julia*

        I think I was a little unfair when I wrote my post, and I apologize to everyone who gave me advice based on my venting.

        He does have the room for now, but I also use that room for entertaining a few times a year, which means his table has to move and so do his books. He also said he needed uninterrupted time to do research, which I understand. I’ve probably been a little too needy when he’s at home because he used to work so much (stupid Japanese jobs), and right now I’m always asking him to correct my job applications etc. (I also go out with friends, though, and it’s not like he does research then…)

        I love him and if I have to choose between my family and him, then he’s the one who’s always on my side even if it doesn’t feel like that right now. There’s a lot of history I omitted, and in fact he said he would move to Europe even if only I found a job there for now, but my career path isn’t as well-paying as his and things would be very difficult. I think a part of me also hates change and is really torn between just staying here where all my friends are and moving back “just” for my grandma, and he can tell I’m torn and it’s hard for both of us.

        Anyway, thank you everyone for your kind words and for letting me vent. I promise he’s actually a very good husband, just super clueless and sometimes weird, and he tolerates just as much of my weirdness.

        I’ll do some thinking about my future career options, but that’s not for this thread.

        1. TL -*

          There’s a lot of “he’s bad about X but I’m super difficult so it’s okay!” minimising in your comments. He can be great and put up with a lot from you BUT you still get to have boundaries and wants and needs. He doesn’t feel the need to minimize his needs and wants for you in this area, so why you should minimize yours for him? Instead, find a compromise that takes into account both of y’all’s needs, even if that compromise is “when we next move, we will look for an apartment that has room for your desk. That will be a priority.”

          Your husband should respect your boundaries without making it seem like they’re a burden for him to bear or that they’re preventing him from doing something very important. “Gratitude-driven sacrifices” aren’t a great relationship feature (special guest star, sure, but not a regular feature) and neither is an inability to compromise on his part.

          On that note, what makes a person difficult to be married to depends mostly on their spouse, not the person themselves.
          Ex: I am incredibly annoyed by habitually late people. My friend genuinely does not care if people are late to meet her. It is a great sacrifice for me to put with habitually late people. For her, it’s barely a blip on her radar. She also has anxiety and sometimes needs to talk her anxieties out extensively. She sometimes apologies for what a burden this must be for me, but it is not a burden at all – I genuinely don’t care if we need to spend thirty minutes every day for a week talking about an anxiety issue. I’m super extroverted and I love talking to her. (And if I said, hey not this week, I’m sorry, I know she would respect that and use another strategy, which means that it never feels like an obligation to me.)

          1. Julia*

            Thank you, that’s very insightful! I do think our relationship is generally much better than it comes across right now, but I’ll think about what you said!

    12. Nines*

      That sounds so frustrating! I will say I hear you on the “I guess I just won’t do research anymore” thing. My husband definitely throws tantrums as well. I feel like I’m slowly picking up the various reasons why he throws tantrums. And it’s never the reason he’s throwing a fit. He’s sensitive. So, you aren’t alone, and, the stuff with being so far from your family sounds really invalidating and frustrating. If it’s possible to visit Gma like other commenters have suggested, that may be the best choice here. And when my husband and I are at BEC levels with each other, a vacation from each other can be quite helpful!

      1. Julia*

        Thank you. Actually, I’m much more prone to tantrums than he is, especially lately because I just can’t seem to get what I want out of life and it frustrates me, whereas he’s just “all or nothing, so if I can’t get all, it’s nothing I guess, sad face”, which frustrates me as well.

        I don’t want to leave while I’m annoyed, though, because I always worry that I’d regret it if something were to happen to him. Plus my family (other than grandma) annoys me even more…

        1. blargity blarg*

          Be kind to yourself. You’re living abroad, in a country not known for being super open to foreigners, don’t have a job, in cramped quarters with a husband who you love but can be super frustrating, AND your grandma is unwell in another country. That’s hard! I’m glad you can vent here and hope that somethings fall into place for you soon.

          1. Julia*

            Thank you, you’re so kind!
            Luckily my grandma isn’t actually unwell, just really old, and both she and I are sad about this. I know I mostly brought this situation unto myself due to my life choices, but it still sucks.

    13. Dr. Anonymous*

      If he “needs” the big desk, can you have the spare room? He can research play video games at his big desk and you will have a workspace. It’s so important for the one who is stuck at home to have dedicated space.

      1. Julia*

        That would be great, but it’s a Japanese style room which means floor seating, and I have an injury that doesn’t allow that for longer stretches of time right now.

        It was me who picked this apartment, because it was the only top-floor one we could afford in the area we wanted to live in, so that’s not on him.

    14. LilySparrow*

      I find that nice but oblivious people (as you describe him) usually respond really well to having the facts laid out and then asking them what they think is reasonable or fair.

      So measure the square footage he’s taking up with the spare room and all his other takeover spaces, plus the desk. Then ask him how much space he thinks it’s fair for you to have for the things you want to enjoy or accomplish.

      Make him give you a number. How much of the apartment should be for his stuff, how much for your stuff, and how much for shared stuff?

      My husband isn’t like this about space, but he is sometimes overly optimistic about “making it all work,” and can’t see how it’s impacting me.

      Giving up the spare room in exchange for the desk seems like a reasonable trade-off, at minimum. But it will probably make more sense to him if you present it as a problem you’re solving together (we don’t have enough space for all the things we want), instead of an adversarial situation (you are taking my space).

      1. Julia*

        Thank you for your advice. Right now, he says I can do whatever I want with this apartment, and if he can’t do research because the desk is too small, it’s not my fault. I’m really trying to incorporate the desk for him, but now he’s also trying to have important conversations right before bedtime (it’s 1 am here) and acting really put out when I ask why he didn’t bring things up sooner.

        I guess we’re just in a really bad place right now where I’m angry because he gets what he wanted and I don’t get to move home again, and then he says I’m always angry at him…

        1. LilySparrow*

          Hang in there. Every marriage has periods like this. You have legit reasons to be upset. He has legit reasons to be stressed. You both feel like the situation is unfair.

          Don’t let it get between you. It’s not about the desk, or the space, or the move. It’s about feeling valued & supported as equal partners.

          Work on getting your stress level down & enough sleep so you can talk stuff out without being exhausted. A date night often helps. And then you can both come at the situation, get your needs and your wants on the table, and strategize how to make the best of it for everybody.

        2. Traffic_Spiral*

          “he says I can do whatever I want with this apartment, and if he can’t do research because the desk is too small, it’s not my fault.”

          Yes, do whatever you want, but if you don’t give him the desk there’s nothing he can do to make do, and therefore he can’t do his research because you were selfish, but it’s not your fault. He’s still being a dick about things, he’s just being passive-aggressive and making you the bad guy instead of taking the initiative to make it work for both of you.

          Maybe he should be taking active steps to make things better (learning the language, finding ways to do his research without taking all the apartment, having talks at a reasonable hour) instead of setting things up where the only options are you take the shit yet again, or you’re responsible for sabotaging everything.

          1. Julia*

            That would be nice.

            I have a feeling he feels just as stuck as I am right now, because he knows that he has to be the provider right now, and that means not taking his dream internship in a different country for almost no pay. I get it, it sucks, and if he didn’t have me, he’d probably take it, but he brought me here, and he’s my family here right now, so what am I supposed to do?

            1. CM*

              Julia, in your comments I hear you being incredibly understanding and accommodating both of your husband, who is making the common mistake of assuming that his needs are more important than yours, and commenters who are also making all kinds of assumptions about your situation.

              Your needs and wants are important. Your needs and wants are worthy of being taken into consideration. And one thing I hear you saying is that you need some space and time of your own, whether that means physical space that’s just yours or the ability to make your own decisions without feeling you have to compromise. I encourage you to find that space and claim it, without feeling bad about it.

  29. not a chicklet*

    Yesterday after work I went for my regular 6 week color/haircut. I have a pixie that I get dyed blonde (natural color is a plan mousy dark brown). If you Google ‘Michelle Williams AFI fest’, that’s the cut and color I get. My regular stylist was sick so someone else took over for her. I have been going to this salon for years. She showed me examples of other cuts she did, and my color is listed in my file and just to be safe we looked in the color book.

    My hair came out white. White like a chicklet. No hint of blonde. White as the background of this site. The cut is good but the color is stark white. I went back today to see my regular stylist because I didn’t want the one who messed up to try to fix it. My regular stylist who I trust dearly said I need to wait 4 weeks because coloring it again now will fry it. So for the next 4 weeks I have to walk around with white hair. I’m thankful I have no social events in that time and that at work we have no client meetings because of the summer and that my boss is off for the next 4 weeks. He is a great boss but white hair wouldn’t fly in this environment.

    I realize this is a first world problem. I have a great family and friend group, my health and a good job. But my hair sucks and I hate it. I can’t even stand to look at it and my stomach is in knots just thinking of it. Thanks for listening to me complain.

    1. WellRed*

      First world, sure but that doesn’t make it unimportant. Sympathy! Lay low and treat yourself if you can.

    2. Jessen*

      In the meantime, would putting pretty things in it help? I have short hair and I have a lot of headbands and wraps and hats and all sorts of other things that go on my head.

    3. CAA*

      Ugh, that’s awful. Would you be able to use a temp color that stays more on the surface and lasts through a few shampoos, like Redken’s Color Rebel (they actually have a blonde shade in addition to the purple or red stuff, so not entirely rebellious). There are also a couple of things I’ve seen at Sephora that you use in the shower and are intended to prolong the time between colorings. If there’s one near you, you might have a chat with someone there and see if they have any recommendations that you could run by your regular stylist for approval.

      Also, I hope they refunded your money for the bad color/cut.

    4. FutureLibrarianNoMore*

      Have you considered buying a wig? I had a friend who used to do wigs all the time because she liked to change her hair up.

      You can buy them pretty cheap on Amazon, they’re not human hair, but it might help you feel better until you can get it changed!

      1. Anonymosity*

        I think so too. I went to a small sci-fi/fantasy con at the library today and there was a woman there with long white hair (she was older). Like, pure white. It was GORGEOUS.

        If you hate it, thought, then it’s not so gorgeous. I second the temporary color idea, but not a chicklet, I’d be careful what you use in case the bleached hair is very porous.

    5. Detective Amy Santiago*

      This sounds incredibly frustrating. Can you wear hats/headwraps? What about hair chalk or something so it’s not just stark white?

    6. Girl friday*

      Try lowlighting at home! Ellebangs has a good video on Youtube. It is equivalent to 6 foils.

    7. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      There are temporary rinses (Roux?) at places like sally’s. You want temporary. No ammonia, no processing. You may have to wash in the color with every shampoo (so scarves and use a satin pillow case to extend as needed).
      She completely over-processed you! So you must not try to add any “semi” or regular color that has chemical.
      The white haired ladies that add blonde do it all the time. However, also remember that with the over processing, your hair is dry and damaged, and will suck up any color quickly. You will also want to condition it weekly (deep condition) so that you CAN have a decent result in the next hair-rehab.
      Sorry!!

      1. Chaordic One*

        I was thinking similarly, that even you do or don’t attempt any new coloring, you’ll probably want to try some deep conditioning, although I’m not really sure what would be good.

    8. Close Bracket*

      > I need to wait 4 weeks because coloring it again now will fry it

      Weeelllll, maybe. It depends on what kind of processing she is thinking of. Using more bleach will definitely fry it, but that is not necessary. Using a typical ammonia-based dye will damage it. But a light toner should be ok. A toner is like a regular dye, but with much, much less ammonia. It deposits color with no lift. There are also glossing treatments, which are actually conditioning. They deposit a little bit of color.

      I would ask for a second opinion, although I understand if you are not willing to try another unknown stylist at this point.

    9. Daphne*

      I’m sorry Not A Chicklet! But at least things like your boss being off will work in your favour until it can get fixed properly. In the meantime I’d just pretend to be Storm from the Xmen

    10. Julia*

      I’m sorry. If you could get in trouble at work over something, it’s definitely not a first-world problem in my book. Luckily, it seems like you’re covered there, and people had some good suggestions.

      I recently did some research on hair dyes and maybe the temporary ones won’t take well or look uneven, so I guess you’d have to consider which possibility is worse in your eyes, but the other posters seem to know their stuff.

    11. Ender*

      You can still put in a non-damaging dye like henna or a temporary dye.

      Definitely nothing ammonia-based or your hair WILL fall out.

      1. Julia*

        Don’t mix henna with commercial dyes! It might go horribly wrong, and the new color you want from your stylist next month may not take anymore.

  30. Doloris Van Cartier*

    This may be a little too complicated/medically but I figure everyone is so thoughtful here so why not try! I’m want to start improving my diet as I have a rare disease that affects major organs (brain, kidney, and heart) and I don’t want to add additional strain because of my weight and food choices. I have a history with an eating disorder so I’m not wanting to do anything extreme but make small changes. The problem I’m finding is with my condition I have a lot of stomach issues which makes a lot of healthier choices not great for me as they cause a lot of nausea and pain. I’m still working with a GI doctor to figure out what things I can and cannot eat but it’s getting pretty frustrating. I also have a lot of pain and fatigue and I don’t sweat properly so working out is never easy. I have a gym membership but usually, I feel so awful by the end of the day, it just seems too much to go and work out. I’m trying to sort out excuses I make because dieting is hard and kind of scary for me verse what is really not good for me or my body. I’d love to do something like yoga more but between lots of doctors bills and a non-profit salary, that’s out of my price range. If anyone has any tips or suggestions of where to start or plans that have worked for you in the past, I would so appreciate it. Thank you!!

    1. Temperance*

      Does your gym have classes included? You might be able to do yoga that way, for no additional cost. Good luck!

      1. Doloris Van Cartier*

        Unfortneltly, it does not. I may look into the cost of a gym in my area that does have classes as I’m not really using my membership at this point.

    2. Not All Who Wander*

      Have you tried swimming for exercise? The Y often has really affordable lap swim or even water aerobics-type classes. I have issues with overheating and aquatics are definitely the easiest on me.

      Food is so specific to each person even without medical issues I don’t have much to suggest there. (For example, I don’t tolerate dairy or many animal fats well.) I do a lot of little things like making my own salad dressings so I can use more vinegar & less oil, use lemon juice instead of mayo or cheese on my morning muffin/egg sandwich, switched completely to basic seltzer water instead of soda or juice, etc.

      Good luck!

      1. Doloris Van Cartier*

        I have in the past but if they are heated pools, it can be too humid and my vertigo kicks in. My body can be a bit of a diva at times! I think I tend to eat the same healthy things when I’ve dieted in the past so being a little more flexible and creative is probably what I need to do now to figure out how to balance it with my stomach issues.

        1. WS*

          I also have issues with vertigo and overheating (thanks thyroid!) and I have found that swimming at a slow, regular pace for longer, alternating between freestyle and backstroke, works a lot better for me.

          1. Julia*

            May I ask how you discovered the connection between your overheating and your thyroid? I have temperature regulation issues (I basically can’t stand artificial heat as much as most other people) and some vertigo, but doctors usually dismiss me.

    3. nd*

      I also suggest looking at your gym to see if they offer yoga classes. If not, you can find yoga videos on YouTube or even purchase DVDs at a reasonable price so you can do yoga at home. It’s not quite the same as having an instructor in person, but definitely better than doing nothing! Also, can you walk? Maybe you could start out with easy movement such as walking and yoga, then gradually build up to more intense work, such as body weight exercises, then eventually weights. Continue walking; it’s so good for you. As you get stronger and feel better, you can add cardio machines at the gym, or even running.

      The diet part can be tough with a medical condition. Not knowing what your limits are, I might suggest, for example, cooked vegetables instead of raw. A lot of people with GI problems cannot tolerate raw vegetables, but do well with cooked. In the winter, I make soups with a lot of vegetables, then blend them- makes them even easier to digest! But that will be up to you and your doctor to decide. Nuts and seeds, while healthy, can also be hard on the digestive system, but some people can consume them in nut or seed butter form. Same with beans and other legumes- eating them whole can cause GI issues, but 1) making sure to soak them well before cooking and 2) mashing them up before eating them seems to help a lot.

      Good luck.

      1. Doloris Van Cartier*

        Unfortunately no yoga classes at the gym but I use to follow a yoga youtuber so it’s a good reminder to start it up again. Once it cools down, I’ll be able to walk again so it’s just getting my mind ready to do that. It’s just pushing past the fatigue to figure out when I can do that. I tend to eat a lot of raw food so that’s a good idea to try the more processed verisons to see if that will help with processing those items.

        1. Bluebell*

          Try Yoga with Adriene. I first heard about her YouTube channel on a weekend thread here, and now I’m a definite fan.

    4. Detective Amy Santiago*

      if you have Amazon Prime, there is at least one yoga video on there that you could try. also, Audible is now partnering with Aaptiv(?) and offering audio workouts for members.

    5. Ali G*

      Do you have community centers near you? Where I live you can join the community gym for like $150 and year and use it whenever. If classes are extra, they are like $2-5. That might be a cheaper option?

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Since you are working to find out what is wrong, now is an excellent time to check the basics. How’s your water intake each day? Do you get a set amount of rest each night? You could soak in a hot tub with Epsom salts. You can also look around and see what other basics jump at you as needing some attention. I went through a point in my life where I couldn’t get out of bed. So this is how I started handling things. Some of the stuff I changed was unique to my setting and some of my changes were personal preferences. For example, I noticed my laundry detergent made me sneeze and get congested. I switched out my detergent for something tamer. Not a big change, but why make myself go through that discomfort on top of other discomforts. I kept going like this. I got shoe inserts for support, to help my feet and my over all structure. I bought a luffa sponge to help my skin. You see the idea here- nothing big just a long series of well considered little changes to my normal routines. Those specific examples may not be of value given your givens, but you might find parallel ideas.

      You might want to investigate homemade soups made in a blender. There are also cold soups that you might like. Cooking like this takes energy, so you could think of it as your exercise also. Because soups are liquid the nutrition can get absorbed into the body quicker and it’s less apt to tax your system. My teeth are not aligned well at all. I don’t really chew, I pretty much swallow things whole, which really makes my digestive track work HARD. I know I feel better when I go on a soup binge. OTH, you may prefer just to blow some bucks on some organic soups pre-packaged.

      This last one is just my own experience. I have fought with vertigo for decades. My latest thing that has been a major help is giving up gluten. I cannot believe the difference it has made. This is just to say, if you keep trying you will find some amazing ideas.

      1. Doloris Van Cartier*

        Definitely some good things to think about. I know stress and sleep are two things I need to work on as I know that those are both struggles and can majority impact your health but I should probably start in small changes.

        That’s super interesting about the vertigo and gluten. I may have to give it a try!

    7. fposte*

      Speaking for myself, I’d say small steps are fine steps, and you don’t have to commit money. I’m a big non-gym person myself. You can do yoga at home from YouTube for 10 minutes in your underwear; it can be the first 10 minutes of an hour routine, even. If you like it, you can go longer, and if you want to upgrade you can buy a $15 mat. If you don’t, you wash the underwear and move on :-). If there are poses that are risky for you, you don’t have to do them–you can do another pose instead.

      Guts are all different, but with my Crohn’s, which also means I have low fiber tolerance, I’ve found restricting the eating *hours* to be really helpful, so start later and no food after dinner; it’s settled a few other digestive disturbances as well.

      1. Doloris Van Cartier*

        Very good reminder that I don’t need to be doing headstands on my first try. I tend to be a bit of an all or nothing thinker so I need to remember 10 minutes is better than nothing!

    8. MuttIsMyCopilot*

      You may be able to find free beginner-level classes like yoga or pilates hosted at libraries and farmers’ markets. But it’s also worth it to just do little things throughout the day that take a little more effort. Park further away from the store. Carry a hand-basket instead of pushing a cart. Send your documents to the printer farthest away from your desk. Take the stairs if it’s just one or two floors. It all adds up, but taking on a little extra here and there may keep you from reaching the point where you’ve overexerted yourself and feel terrible.

      Food is harder since you’re already dealing with mysterious GI issues, but the same principal could be applied. I’m a big fan of forgoing Major! Dietary! Overhaul! in favor of small sustainable tweaks. I generally aim for less processed foods and more vegetable, but that depends on what’s working for you and what you think your intolerances might be. For example, instead of cutting out bread I’ll have open-faced sandwiches on a single slice. If I want a burrito bowl I’ll eat a burrito bowl, but sub avocado for guacamole and plain black beans with a scoop of spicy fresh salsa for seasoned canned black beans with tons of added sodium. Maybe brown rice instead of white rice. Maybe even some sauteed garlicky greens instead of 1/3 of the rice. That way there were steps in the right direction, but I still feel like I got to have what I wanted.

      1. ronda*

        i take yoga at the library… my favorite instructor does classes at several different libraries.

        For pools stuff you just need to test what each place does. my Y pool is cool, but the one up by my moms house was warm. I didn’t like the warm water for the water aerobics. and the Y near my sister only has outdoor pool. apparently they cover it in the winter, but I went in the summer, so I did get sunshine on me.

  31. Little Bean*

    Does anyone here want a committed relationship but never want to get married, or know anyone who feels that way? I’ve been in multiple long-term relationships and never felt an urge to get married but I always figured that would change when I got older or met the right person. Well, I’m in my mid-30s, in a 2.5 year relationship with someone I love, we own a house together, I see us having kids and raising them together. I feel like any normal person would say those are all the conditions under which to get married. He wants to. I’m just… not sure. I’m not sure I don’t, but I’m not sure I do and I feel like it’s the kind of thing you really shouldn’t do unless you’re absolutely sure. It’s making me question whether this isn’t the right person for me… but maybe marriage just isn’t for me?

    1. matcha123*

      I’m ambivalent towards marriage. If it happens, it happens. That feeling doesn’t seem to be shared by many people. They seem to assume that most people, women in particular, have been eagerly awaiting their wedding day…

    2. tired of dating*

      I’ve never wanted to get married, I just wanted to be in long-term relationships. Marriage to me just felt too final, and divorce would be too expensive to me. I’d rather just live with a partner instead of marrying him.

    3. Ranon*

      Marriage is a legal contract. Particularly if you are planning on having children and particularly particularly if that process will result in a temporary or longer term loss or reduction in income for one partner, I would look very closely at the legal rights that marriage confers and consider whether you need them and whether marriage or another legal route is the best way to obtain them.

      I don’t know if pregnancy is a path that you would go down to bring children into your family, but I absolutely would not go into a pregnancy without a healthcare power of attorney and will in place.

      1. King Friday XIII*

        Yeah, this. As someone who had to wait for the ability to get married, and worried a lot during health scares because of it, I think your best bet is to look at the benefits marriage confers and whether you’d be advantaged by them. You mention owning a house together – how would that be handled if something happened to one of you while you’re not married vs if you are? Who is your next of kin? Do you already have a will? Have you gotten other contractual paperwork done up? What’s the time/expense of having a courthouse wedding vs getting all of this stuff handled individually?

      2. fposte*

        Yes. The irony for those who dismiss marriage as “just a piece of paper” (not that anybody here has said that) is that it takes a whole lot of other pieces of paper to protect what you want if you don’t have that paper.

        1. MysteryFan*

          Exactly This… the legal status of marriage just “automagically” takes care of all kinds of issues, that would require a lawyer and a fair amount of wrangling to confer on a ‘partner” relationship.

      3. Melody Pond*

        Second this. You could go down to the courthouse just to get the legal protections of marriage and literally not even tell anyone that you actually got married. Just tell everyone else you’re still just in a long-term committed relationship.

        I started pushing for marriage 5.5 years into my relationship with Mr. Pond, after he wound up in the ER and I wasn’t sure whether I’d have any rights/access to him if things got worse. We got married in May, and we did make it a small ceremony with close friends and family, but now that I’ve done it, the courthouse would’ve been plenty sufficient. We also made a pretty thorough prenup, to make sure we knew how we would split things up, if/when our relationship ends (because, let’s face it – the only other way this relationship ends is one of us dying. Makes sense to plan for a breakup).

      4. WS*

        Yes, this can be very important depending where you live. Where I live (Australia) marriage is equal to de facto, so unless you want to travel overseas or adopt from overseas, it’s not a big deal at all: insurance, healthcare, next of kin rights etc. are legally prohibited from discriminating on the basis of marriage. Where my brother lives (England) it is a huge deal legally and he recently got married in part because he and his partner wanted to buy a house.

    4. Lissa*

      Yeah, I’m in a long-term relationship, living with my partner, but don’t want kids. I have a really hard time feeling like marriage would…do anything? If it were ever financially/practically better, sure! And honestly I’m ambivalent enough I’d probably do it if my partner wanted to particularly. But it’s just…in my own experiences, getting married doesn’t ensure anything any more than a big party. It doesn’t mean forever, but there’s this pretense that it does, so I’m kinda like…why? If people talked about marriage more like “it’s a legal contract meaning that the two of you plan on doing X and Y” I think I’d feel less cynicism about it but it feels so weirdly disingenuous for the mindset around a couple being married to be “together forever!” when that isn’t the reality for so many (and IMO shouldn’t even be!)

      1. annakarina1*

        Yeah, I can’t get into the vows of “till death do us part,” I can’t see myself married to someone until one of us dies. I attended a wedding where the priest said something like “when two souls join as one,” and I had to hold back from laughing out loud, I can’t get into that kind of emotion towards marriage.

        1. Reba*

          In our vows we promised “to the end of our lives together” figuring that should work whether the end game is death or just a breakup. ;) I agree that a lot of the shmoopy stuff about weddings, while meaningful to some people, is Too Much for me and has little to do with my everyday marriage. But the wedding wasn’t purely a practical thing, either. Writing our own ceremony was critical.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Buying a house with a person is a pretty big commitment. Thinking about kids together is a life-long commitment as the kids will be the perpetual tie between the two of you.

      I don’t think there is such a thing as being absolutely sure. I do think there is a thing about having the determination to work at a relationship for the rest of our days, as in “I promise to make you my priority just as you promise to make me your priority.” Just my opinion, but couples start to lose each other when they no longer see each other as a gift in life. But then again, many types of relationships sour when we and/or they fail to remember what is precious about the relationship. It takes determination to remember why we chose our person.

    6. Washi*

      Is this a dealbreaker for him? And if not, what’s to stop you from just continuing the life you love and be open to marriage if your needs/feelings change?

      I dated my now-husband for 6 years (cohabitating for 3) before I felt any desire to get married. He was ready years before I was, but it just took me a while for marriage to be something I wanted, rather than just something I was willing to do for him.

    7. Wishing You Well*

      Who is completely sure about their relationships? I think having some doubts is normal. Maybe you could find a qualified person to air your doubts to and learn more about yourself. That said, marriage has MANY legal rights and privileges that living together doesn’t. (Does your state recognize common-law relationships? Some don’t and some might, but only after a certain number of years together.) It’s okay to not marry – just be informed on your state law.
      For example: you own a house together. What happens if one of you becomes incapacitated or dies? Unless you both have current wills, you’re probably not the next-of-kin for each other. Could the legal next-of-kin swoop in and cause trouble?
      You don’t have to be married to put together some basic legal rights, but you must see a lawyer in your state and get some paperwork going, especially when you own real estate together and are planning kids. Again, it’s fine to marry/not marry as long as you know where you stand legally on the big issues.
      Whatever you decide, be well and have a wonderful life!

    8. Penguin*

      I know several people who look at marriage this way. For that matter, I know several people who span the whole range from “partnership but not marriage” (like you describe) to “you’re awesome and I love the relationship we have, but I don’t want to run a house with you” (luckily for the latter, her partner is of the same mind).

      I suspect I lean towards your description myself; there are lots of legal reasons to get legally married, and I might marry a partner for the benefits marriage affords, but my emotional connection and commitment to someone are unaffected by a piece of paper saying I have legally tied myself to another person.

      You might find the book “Stepping off the Relationship Escalator” by Amy Gahran helpful in sorting out what you’re feeling, or at least in providing a perspective on relationships/marriage outside of some of the invisible cultural pressure many of us feel.

    9. Sylvan*

      Yeah, I feel pretty ambivalent about marriage. I grew up knowing there was a strong possibility it wouldn’t be legally possible, so I didn’t assume it was a given, and now… IDK.

      There are plenty of people in happy, committed relationships who aren’t married. Do what works for you and your SO.

    10. Reader*

      I was also ambivalent about marriage. I still am, really, but I am married now. We were together 6 years before we got married and didn’t/don’t plan to have kids; more significantly, though, I was dead set against having a wedding (the idea of planning and actually having one sent my anxiety through the roof), and the “married” label just was not important to me. In the end, the reason we got married was because we bought a house – easier to go through the legal aspects of that process as a married couple. Personally, I don’t feel our lives are one bit different since getting married, which is fine, because our life together is great!

    11. Traffic_Spiral*

      If you’re gonna have kids together you really should intend a permanent connection to this guy, because he’s a part of your life for as long as the kids are around.

    12. Gaia*

      I do not feel any need to get married whatsoever. I am not religious so that side of things doesn’t come into play. And I don’t really feel like I would need to register my relationship with the government. My family would all be well aware that I was committed to this person. And I’ve never been fond of mixing finances. With living wills, advanced directives, power of attorney, etc….I just don’t see a need. If my partner felt strongly, I would do it because I’m not opposed. I’m just kind of…..meh?

      1. Gaia*

        I will say thought that while I would get married if my partner felt strongly I would *not* have a wedding. I have absolutely zero interest in a wedding ceremony. It would be the courthouse, with a justice, just us. No real vows. Sign the paper and let’s go.

    13. Julia*

      My sister doesn’t even live with her partner of more than a decade; they don’t have kids, though, and I think in her case, it’s because she was married before and didn’t want that anymore.

      I agree with the posters below that marriage makes sense from a legal point of view if you want kids. In my case, I also ended up in the ER once and thought my now-husband should have access and the right to decide if something terrible were to happen to me.

    14. Cambridge Comma*

      I’m not very bothered about marriage, and I have to constantly remind myself that we did actually get married because it’s so unimportant to either of us and we didn’t have a wedding, just signed some forms. To be honest, not caring made it easier, not harder for us to do it. It has been so much more convenient to be married than I expected in terms of bureaucracy and tax breaks. Once you’ve been with someone for a certain length of time, I don’t see that a break up gets any easier because it isn’t a divorce.
      People can go on about ’til death do us part’ as much as they like but the infidelity and divorce statistics tell you how that often works out.

    15. Lora*

      The bottom line legally is how do you feel about your next of kin? Whoever that is will get your property when you die, your insurance payouts, and will make decisions for you when you’re too ill to make your own.

      If you love that person and they will make good decisions on your behalf, cool. No urgent reason to get married.

      If your next of kin is a giant asshole, maybe think about how to handle that from a legal standpoint.

      My mother was (and is) a giant asshole but is now no longer competent to make decisions; however my ex-husband became a giant asshole as time goes on too, so. Now my brother is my next of kin for legal purposes and he’s great.

      You can set up a lot of paperwork designating someone else to be a healthcare proxy and whatnot, but family members hell-bent on assholery can fight them in court and succeed. If you have a family member who is sane but may be not technically next of kin, it’s sometimes easier to protect yourself from a legal standpoint if you designate that person your beneficiary, healthcare proxy, etc because they can claim they are family too, plus they know more realistically why you are choosing them over your actual next of kin and may be more motivated to fight for you – lots of people tend to cave and tell themselves, “but faaaaaaaamily” if they don’t have a long and intimate acquaintance with the depths of evil

    16. aarti*

      My partner and I are getting married for visa reasons as we are from two different countries. Neither of us were big on the idea of marriage so we we’re doing a City Hall type thing and then no wedding. We want the legal protections (and want to have kids) but didn’t want a wedding. Everyone was so shocked like how could we get married without even a party. But it’s not required!

    17. Ender*

      here’s my story: i had a baby with my boyfriend and one on the way. We each owned houses we had before we moved in together, we separately owned cars etc. We went to see a solicitor about sorting out wills etc and she basically asked us why on earth we didn’t just get married (though she was a bit politer about it). Where I live there are lots of reasons getting married improves things when it comes to Tax, estate planning, social welfare, etc. when we looked at all the actual benefits, the reasons we had not to do it just seemed a bit silly. A few weeks later we got engaged.

      Now laws vary widely on this so there may not be any good legal reason for you to get married, but look into things like Tax and estate planning (wills etc) and if it is actually beneficial take that into consideration in your decision.

  32. Foreign Octopus*

    I need some advice to help manage my tiredness.

    I’m working as an online teacher (relevant as it’s to do with screen time) and in between my lessons, I’m also in front of my computer working on my first novel. I’ve nearly finished (oh my god, I can’t believe I’ve actually written what I have – I didn’t think it was possible) but I’m finding that I get really, really tired at about three in the afternoon. Not just normal tired but it feels as though my brain turns to mush and I can’t focus. I’ve taken to having naps in the middle of the day when I can but there’s got to be a better solution that will let me keep writing as I enjoy it and I want to finish my novel by the end of the month but that means I’m also not napping for a couple of hours every day.

    For what it’s worth, I do sleep during the night about eight-nine hours, which is normally fine but because I’m in front of the computer for longer, I’m getting wrecked.

    Any advice?

    1. Buu*

      Are you taking proper breaks too? Get up and walk around even if it’s just to but the garbage out. Also make sure you drink enough, and eat something small like some fruit or nuts. I get super tired around 3 too but will perk right up if I talk a walk to the office kitchen and grab a snack.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        I’m actually not taking proper breaks.

        I tend to teach at my desk, then between lessons I move downstairs so that I can type outside, and then it’s back to my desk for more lessons.

        Proper breaks might really help here. Thanks.

    2. Overeducated*

      Midafternoon is a tough time. I sometimes self medicate with caffeine and/or sugar or take a break around 3, but since I got a standing desk a few months ago i haven’t been struggling as much on a daily basis. If that’s not an option, maybe a quick walk break followed by a cup of tea would help revive you?

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        I do have a can of diet pepsi around 2-3pm that generally gives me a little bump. I’m not sure how much caffeine is in it though. It might just be the placebo effect.

        1. GermanGirl*

          Actually, there is not that much caffeine in Pepsi. If you want caffeine, drip coffee is your best bet (it has even more caffeine than espresso does, but espresso or almost any other type of coffee works as well).

          Also, caffeine takes a while to kick in, so drinking it at 2 might wake you up at 4. Try drinking your caffeine earlier. Maybe the Pepsi already has enough caffeine for your needs but you have to drink it at lunch in order for it to kick in at 3pm.

          I used to have really bad bouts of tiredness after lunch and would then start drinking coffee, which didn’t help much apart from the placebo effect, so I drank more and more until my stomach started a rebellion. I went without coffee for a while (I had tea instead, the after lunch tiredness wasn’t any different) and then I read an article about caffeine and that it takes 2-4 hours until it really kicks in, so since about two years ago I drink one cup of coffee some time before lunch and my after lunch tiredness is pretty much gone.

    3. Thursday Next*

      What is your most productive time of day for writing? Is there a way to structure your schedule so you can be writing during that time, and doing something less taxing when you’re tired?

      For me, it’s not always about having more time, but about being more deliberate in how I allocate it.

      (Also—mid-afternoon is a really common time to be fatigued.)

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        Honestly, I think it’s between 1-4pm with an extra burst in the evening if I need to get something done, which is why the mid-afternoon fatigue is very frustrating.

        I remember I used to get like it when I worked in an office in front of a computer but I put that down to boredom and the fact I really disliked my job.

        1. Thursday Next*

          It’s my most productive time, too. I work for 50 minutes out of the hour, and set a timer. The next ten minutes I stretch away from my desk and walk around the apartment. I think physical activity is really helpful, as many people here are saying.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      You might get benefit from a drink with electrolytes in it, minerals for the brain to keep it up and running.
      I know my brain works better if I eat chicken or salmon for dinner. If I run low on my veggie or water intake, my brain will fall asleep way too often.
      You may just need to move around more. Can you get a walking partner, someone who will nag you to go? Even a dog can fill this slot for you. They are good at deciding to go for walks and nagging us.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        I hadn’t considered a drink with electrolytes. This sounds like a very good idea, thank you.

        And I do have a dog. I know he would like more walks – then again, he’d be happy just walking all day – so maybe a quick 10 minute one might be good.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        That’s an excellent question, WellRed. There is no physical activity. I walk the dog for 20 minutes twice a day but, other than that, my life is pretty sedentary, which I know is not healthy. I’ve been thinking of skipping rope in the garage for ten minutes here and there to add a bit of physicality to my day – going to a gym isn’t an option at the moment because of where I live but I could definitely do with more movement.

    5. LowOnVitD*

      Get your vitamin D checked. Mine was horribly low but of course I had to complain to 3 different doctors before they would test for it. Fuckers. But yes, now it is better, like 40. Before it was 5, which is critically low. You may need prescription vitamin D (pills) if it is very low. Which is prob another uphill battle with the doctors but keep pushing.

      1. only acting normal*

        Similar advice, but for me it was low iron.
        Basically get some bloodwork done to check for deficiencies.

      2. Foreign Octopus*

        This is slightly concerning but thanks for raising it as it’s not something I’d considered.

        1. Julia*

          A LOT of people are low in vitamin D (I know I am), but it’s not dangerous if you get your levels up soonish.
          If you burn like me, or take any medication that makes you sensitive to the sun, supplements are the way to go. Take them with something oily (I take them with my omega 3 capsules) and, if you can, some magnesium for better absorption. (Apparently, the body needs magnesium to absorb vitamin D, but I’m not a doctor.)

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        I didn’t even know you could dictate a novel!

        I’m not sure I’d enjoy the process as my novel is sort of unfolding with very little planning from me. It’s sort of was like a seed and now it’s growing and I’m getting really surprised by the colours and the depth of it all so maybe dictation won’t be good for me but I’m fascinated by the idea of it.

        1. Wishing You Well*

          Yep, dictation! I bought Dragon for my computer and it’s amazing and fast! You’ll have to proofread later, but for letting the words flow when you’re inspired…I hope you’ll try it! Even though Dragon is not very expensive, see if someone has a set you could borrow for a trial run.
          Best of Luck on your novel! I’m excited for you!

    6. Cambridge Comma*

      Did it start before the summer? Could it be this heatwave?
      For the writing, is there a cafe or library you could go to that would keep you more alert?
      Otherwise, eye test, or maybe those coloured glaases that reduced computer related eyestrain?

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        You know, it might be the heatwave. I’m in Spain right now and it’s been unbearable for the last two weeks and I don’t have air conditioning.

        I live in the middle of nowhere – my closer neighbours are a field of judgemental cows – so going somewhere else to write and also teach isn’t an option right now.

        I do worry about eyestrain – I like the idea of those coloured glasses.

        1. Not me*

          See your eye doctor! I noticed a huge difference in my energy levels late in the day when I started wearing appropriate glasses for computer viewing.

        2. Julia*

          I just got glasses that cut blue light, and they do seem to make a difference. Plus, my eyes got a little worse, so the new prescription probably helps as well.

    7. WS*

      Are you getting overheated or in a stuffy room by that time of day? Are you getting up at least every 30 minutes? Are you using eyedrops to help your eyes stay hydrated with all that screen time?

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        I’m not too overheated as I seat right in the cross-section of two open windows that give me the illusion of a breeze. I’m not getting up every 30 minutes and I’m not using eyedrops (didn’t know that was a thing) but these are all good ideas. Thank you.

    8. LilySparrow*

      Lots of good ideas here.

      Did anyone mention sugar crashes? If you eat a carb-heavy lunch or have sugary snacks during the day, it can make the afternoon dip worse.

      If you don’t see significant improvement from the adjustments here, you might want to look at sleep quality. Total hours don’t help that much if it’s not good sleep. If you snore, thrash around a lot, etc, a sleep study could be in order.

    9. Miss H*

      Not about tiredness, but…

      Please make sure you have file backups for your novel! At least one that is in your home but not physically attached to your computer (external hard drive or USB stick that you leave unplugged) and one offsite (on the cloud or a USB stick at a family member or close friend’s house).

      You mention how close to the end of writing you are and how you never thought you could do it, and all I can see is trope movie cop saying he has one last shift before retirement.

    10. Annie Moose*

      Another possible medical thing–my mom has hypothyroidism (where the thyroid under-produces hormones–more common in women than men), and before it was diagnosed, she would just crash in the late afternoon. I’d come home from school and she’d be basically passed out in bed. Once she was diagnosed and got on medication to control it, things got so much better.

      In particular, if you know of anyone in your family who has it (it can be genetic) or if you have high cholesterol (it can cause this), it might be worth getting checked out.

    11. Marion Ravenwood*

      No advice, because I am also terrible for this, but I’d just like to say thank you for asking the question and to all those who replied with their suggestions. I’ll definitely be putting some of those into practice.

      Also, well done on your novel!

  33. He be ge be*

    Fun Question! Now that fall is a soon approaching us; What are your favorite activities to do during this season and Why?

    1. JaneB*

      Going outside in full daylight without melting! Breathing properly in the crisp low pollen air! I loooove Autumn

    2. Mimmy*

      Not an activity, but I kinda like seeing people in costume on Halloween, especially the really young kids.

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

      Bake pumpkin muffins, run in weather that’s actually refreshing to run in, take car or train rides to enjoy the fall foliage, and fondly remember the days that we actually started getting fall weather in September in NYC (as opposed to early November).

    4. MuttIsMyCopilot*

      Go for a walk early in the morning, while the air is still crisp and cold, and watch the sun come up. I love not having to get up at 4AM to watch the sunrise!

      Line drying towels and linens. I don’t have a fireplace but some of my neighbors do, so in the fall and winter my line dried things smell like campfire.

    5. Merci Dee*

      There are a couple of TV stations that play Halloween movies every night in October, and I always look forward to that. Some are scary, some are goofy and cheesy, but they’re all great. Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I love an excuse to celebrate for an entire month!

    6. Nicole76*

      Photographing the fall foliage, decorating the house with pumpkins and leaves, all the awesome festivals in the area, sweater weather, and Halloween related events. It’s my favorite time of year!

    7. Ali G*

      Thanksgiving!!! My favorite holiday and I get to host :)
      I love making the big meal and having family around (these days we host my in-laws but they are all awesome).

    8. Trixie*

      I find fall temps easier to dress in with variety and flexibility between layers, boots, etc. Easier to find richer colors and fewer of the prints that are inescapable during summer. Also, the house reaches that perfect temperature that does not require a/c or heat. More soups and roasted veggies from Farmer’s Market.

    9. Ellie*

      Here on the coast of Texas, my favorite fall activity is to be Not Hot. That’s it. Just not hot.

    10. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I LOVE FALL. However, I now live in the south, where there is no fall. Well, ok, maybe for about a week in November, but that sucks. I miss apple picking with my friends and then baking pies and making applesauce. I miss hot cider. I miss wearing cute jackets. I have not purchased a cute jacket in four years.

    11. Marion Ravenwood*

      Going for long country walks on those days when it’s clear and cold and crisp and all the leaves are turning, and then finishing up at a pub with a roaring fire for a roast dinner.

  34. Cat*

    I know “making friends” is a common topic here, and I’m not exactly looking for advice, but I’ve realized something about myself that makes post-college (and I am WAY post-college) friendmaking really hard for me.

    I’m an introvert who is only really interested in being friends with other introverts. This has led to my current situation of really wanting to make this new friend. I’ve already met her! We’ve actually already established (I think?) that we want to be friends! You’d think that would be it, right?

    Except we are both so socially awkward and introverted that our attempts to make plans together end up as one of us will say “We should hang out sometime soon!” or “Text me if you want to hang out this weekend” but then immediately run out of the room/text conversation with something like “I gotta go now” before actual plans have been made. We are BOTH guilty of this. And the result is that we actually haven’t successfully gotten together in months.

    It is kind of comical, although I really wish I could figure out a way to comfortably get past this mountain of introversion and get to know her better!

    1. Lily Evans*

      Pick a day and time and find something you’d like to do with her and just present it as an already made plan you’re inviting her along to. Like “I’m planning on checking out this new art exhibit on Saturday afternoon, would you like to join me?” Having a very specific plan from the beginning makes it easier because you don’t get caught in the limbo of “we should…” that it sounds like you’re in right now.

      1. Reba*

        Yes! And then if she can’t come, you can still go to the thing, and then you will have gotten out and done a thing, and you still get some social credit for trying!

        1. Marion Ravenwood*

          Thirding this. It’s worked really well for me as a ‘step up’ from meeting people via Meetup to then actually developing friendships.

    2. Nita*

      I had a friend once who’s also an introvert… we emailed each other a lot, and made plans by email too because we’re not big fans of unexpected phone calls. We found a couple activities we both enjoy (hiking and concerts) and did a lot of that. It was a good friendship, even though it didn’t weather us ending up in different places in life…

    3. fposte*

      I think this may be leaning more toward shyness and maybe social anxiety than introversion–you’re both nervous about making yourself vulnerable by explicitly suggesting a thing so you’re trying to leave space for the other person to do it. It’s just as easy to say “Brunch at Grossouts this weekend?” as it is “Text me if you want to hang out.” So I’d say that’s how you get past it–by being direct about what you want to have happen.

  35. Falling Diphthong*

    Legion, Seasons 1 and 2:

    When you’re telling a visual story, you can set up odd things up so that they are mysteries the viewer expects to have explained. Or so that they read as ambience that the viewer understands are just color, and you will never get an explanation as to exactly how Weird Thing works.

    For me, Season 1 hit that balance perfectly–weird, trippy, but things that were bizarre at the start of the episode (who is this guy? where is he? why does he talk like this? why did his drink freeze?) would be clear if you watched a second time, with the context given by the entire episode. Sometimes the context came in later episodes, but mostly the mysteries were self-contained to that episode.

    This led me to give Season 2 a lot of leeway to explain things–okay, this was weird, but they’ve built trust with the first season so viewers know that if we stick around, these actions will all make sense. And then it dragged on and on and the questions just lay there, like “Does it matter why he did this, if it looked cool and weird?” And yes, yes it does. It matters a lot. I could get into the jaw-droppingly stupid choices made by characters in the last few episodes–it was like the opposite of competence porn–but I think the baseline difference was in setting up weird things and then providing the kaleidoscope shift through which those things would seem rational.

    1. soupmonger*

      I ageee completely. I re-watched S1 and was blown away by it; it was truly adventurous storytelling. And there was a good story to tell. S2 seemed to be deliberately quirky, with weird things going on which made little sense and didn’t add much to the narrative. I think the writer had a brilliant and clear idea of S1, and then it was a hit, additional seasons got funded but the ideas weren’t there.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Completely agree re season 1. Episode 1 alone is a wonderful, self-contained origin story that trusts the viewer to put things together. Truly beautiful.

        In S2 Ep1 I loved the danceoff! It was so beautifully choreographed, with Cary’s unexpected solo as a delightful bonus–and I waited to find out what it was a metaphor for. And waited, and waited, and at the end of S2 I still don’t know. Maybe the orb held onto David for a year, then spit him into a dance club where he and Oliver just literally had a dance-off because they couldn’t think of anything else to do.

    2. Not My Money*

      The show runner for Legion has publicly stated that he’s more interested in evoking a mood than furthering the plot. Which is why I don’t bother. I like a story to maybe, I don’t know, do both.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        *sigh* Yeah, I don’t see why you wouldn’t do both.

        There’s a children’s book by the guy who does the very elaborate alphabet pages, that is intended to be suggestions of stories. Each spread is one intricate illustration with a lot of elements that might suggest the image is a frame from a complete story, but it doesn’t tell you what the story is. The next spread is completely different. It should read as a prompt to the imagination, but instead just feels like someone had a scattering of ideas and didn’t bother to flesh any of them out.

        In writing, it’s usually easy to come up with ideas. Crafting them through to a satisfying resolution is the hard part. “Tell me a story” hits something very deep in humans and what we need; rambling about with mood and no plot is the very definition of a frustrating thing people try to head off whenever Uncle Benny starts to tell the bear story.

  36. Kristin*

    think my body processes sodium more quickly than average, but I’m not totally sure what’s going on.

    Essentially, I discovered I need to eat large amounts of sodium (via broth, usually). Without supplementing sodium on a REST day, I get irritable, tired, slow, develop shortness of breath, and sleep poorly. On a workout day without supplementing sodium, I feel all of the above symptoms, plus headaches, extreme difficulty sleeping, and extreme discomfort, like all my muscles fibers are inflamed.

    I thought it was a problem with not eating enough protein, but upping intake didn’t help.

    Eating salty broth relaxes me so much. It’s like my body can function again. I can think. I can feel happy. My muscles relax.

    I’ve never heard of this being such a huge issue. My sodium levels are normal on the blood tests. I’m not a marathon runner. I work out 1-3 hours a day, 5 days a week, a combination of yoga, dance, strength training, and bicycling. (Usually closer to the 1-hour mark.) Heck, the people I know who ARE marathon runners don’t seem to have this issue. I have to have an entire bowl of soup with every meal just to feel normal. Even in the morning. Is this normal? Is there something I should get checked???

    tldr: I have to eat a ton of sodium to feel normal. Underlying issue?

    1. A username for this site*

      Yes, get it checked, you probably have another health issue or vitamin deficiency going. Sodium and potassium are used heavily in your muscular and neurological system, so it’s worth getting a proper evaluation to make sure you have all of the vitamins and nutrients you need to be healthy.

      My second question would be how is your hydration? If you have issues with hydration and electrolytes, that could be why you need sodium (an electrolyte) to feel better.

      Either way, check with the doctor.

      1. Kristin*

        I drink a lot of water. I pee a lot. It seems more frequently than most. I don’t know. Nothing has come back in my blood work really.

    2. CAA*

      One of my SIL’s has a condition that requires her to take sodium supplements. I’ve forgotten the name of it, but it’s hormone related. I do know she has to have regular blood tests to check her levels of sodium and a few other things because there’s concern that over-correcting for low sodium can cause other health issues. Anyway, that’s just to say that yes, I think you should discuss this with your doctor.

    3. Someone Else*

      There are some genetic conditions that make one a “salt waster”. Most of those I’m aware of are also life-threatening tho, so you’d probably know if you had one. But I’m not a doctor so there may be other less scary conditions associated with salt wasting. I guess my point is: that is a thing.

    4. It’s all good*

      My daughter craved salt growing up, we usually didn’t let her give into it. It wasn’t until her teens we discovered she has POTS, Postural Orthostatic Tacycardia Syndrome. Her body need