weekend free-for-all – September 22-23, 2018

This comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. (This one is truly no work and no school.)

Book recommendation of the week: Room, by Emma Donoghue. It’s told through the eyes of a boy who has been held captive with his mother in a small room for years … and then they’re not. Obviously disturbing, but it will grab you and keep you up all night reading it.

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

{ 1,031 comments… read them below }

  1. June*

    First time going to San Francisco (union square) with my husband – anyone have any favorite things to do/see/eat in the area? Fun artsy areas are particularly welcome! I’d also take coffee shop recs (it’s a work trip).

    1. StellaBella*

      Head up to 826 Valencia – the pirate store and some cool other secrets in there (books, etc)…it is a 90 minute walk up, or can get a bus/taxi. Go to Ritual coffee there, too. From the waterfront side of things …. wander the area, go to the Marina District, do the Maritime Museum. Have fun! I miss SF.

      1. Competent Commenter*

        Seconded. Also check out Borderlands Books, incredible horror/sci fi/fantasy store same block, the bone store (Paxton Gate) a few doors down, and used bookstore on the corner (forgetting my cross street). And on 18th Street between Valencia and Guerrero there’s an incredible mural on The Women’s Building, more murals in a nearby alley off Valencia, and Community Thrift Store. Lots to do there! It’s sadly gentrified a lot since I moved but there’s still great stuff there.

      2. Competent Commenter*

        My heart goes out to you.

        I’ve done my own divorce twice (second time no child). I did all my own paperwork, even for the custody hearing. It’s been a while but I seem to recall that the free clinic at the courthouse, while having scant and erratic hours, was open to anyone regardless of income.

        I used that, but what helped more was hiring a lawyer on a different model—there was a dial-a-lawyer service, advertised through Nolo Press (get their book on doing your own divorce/custody regardless), where you could be charged by the minute for your phone call. Nice people, I used the same attorney with both divorces and spent very little money. I’d do my paperwork as much as possible, then batch up my key questions, send my paperwork over ahead of time to her, and then spend 20 minutes on the phone asking, “why did my paperwork get rejected and now what do I do?” or “I really don’t want to pay spousal support to this ne’er do well, do I have to?” and spent maybe $100-$200 total on that with each divorce. She gave me very, very helpful advice. In the second divorce, her suggestion about offering to pay off my ex’s credit card debt, which was in my name because we’d transferred it to my low-interest card, rather than paying ongoing spousal support, saved me a ton of money. I was stuck with that debt regardless. That ex was not a bad guy and he felt guilty about the debt, so this was face-saving for him all around and he jumped at it.

        It helps that I’m good at paperwork and a tenacious person. It also helped that both spouses were really passive, the co-parenting one passive-aggressive, yes, but he backed down pretty quickly in front of the judge. I will never forget going to family court because my ex would not agree to having a schedule for visitation. Any schedule. Any schedule would cramp his style, I guess. We spent maybe 10 minutes in front of the judge. Ex: “I don’t think we need a schedule.” Judge: “Your 6-year-old and everyone in her life needs to know where she’s supposed to be each day.” Me: “Here’s my proposed schedule.” DONE. BOOM. It was so gratifying, after nearly a year of disgusting, stressful crap from my ex, who’d been an emotionally abusive controlling whackjob, that I actually looked into getting a transcript of the proceedings as a souvenir.

        I got back a lot of my dignity, self-respect and confidence through doing my own divorce. After all those years of trauma with my first ex, I rescued myself, inch by inch. With my second, at least I didn’t have to spend a ton of money releasing myself from a nice, dysfunctional guy who had already cost me a ton. I don’t think by any means that my experience with self-representation is universally true, but I do think at least I’m in a good position to say: you may be able to finish your case without an attorney.

        Good luck. I’m rooting for you.

        1. Competent Commenter*

          Clearly when my browser window refreshed on its own I lost where I was posting this. Sorry about that!

      3. Nines*

        Yes! 826 Valencia!!!
        Just a super cool store but also a front for an even cooler non-profit that teaches children from low SES the power of writing.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      Muir Woods, a chance to see the giant redwoods quite close to SF. It’s on the edge of Tamalpais State Park, which has some beautiful clifftop walks–I remember watching seals surf through crashing waves at the base of a rocky cliff, and determining that I did not have what it took to be a seal.

      Maritime Museum–a really cool chance to clamber around a bunch of old boats. Below Ghirardelli Square.

      Musee Mecanique at Fisherman’s Wharf has antique arcade games (like if you’d wandered into a 1910 state fair). You can play the games–it’s a really interesting spot.

      1. blackcat*

        The entire area from the Marin Headlands up to Stinson Beach are gorgeous if you like being outdoors and are willing to rent a car. A long-ish but great hike is between Muir Woods and Stinson Beach. You can park at either and do it as an out and back. If it’s warm, I recommend parking at Stinson early in the day and then going for a quick swim if you’ve gotten warm and sweaty while hiking.

    3. RT*

      There is a lot to see in SF. Save yourself the time and effort and get a metro pass and make use of the public transportation. It can be crowded but well worth saving your feet from those steep hills.

    4. Anonymous Educator*

      I’d actually recommend you go outside the area. But to start with, here are some things nearby I’d recommend:
      * SOMA has a great special exhibit on René Magritte. This is just a few blocks’ walk south of Union Square.
      * Saturday mornings, there’s a Ferry Building farmers market that’s excellent. Treat yourself to chilaquiles (they do half-portions, too, if you ask) at Primavera outside in the back, and some bomboloni (Italian doughnuts) inside. Lots of great coffee places around there, too. And your usual local fruits and things. Frog Hollow Farms has some great fruit.
      * A bit of a special treat (i.e., expensive) but if it’s in your budget (or if your company’s paying for it), have a dinner out at Nico’s, a short walk north of Union Square.

      If you’re without a car, but willing to take a bus ride out, here are some other things I’d recommend:
      * Take the N-Judah out toward the Ocean. Stop at 9th and Judah. Eat breakfast or lunch at Art’s Cafe, and then walk up 9th Ave into Golden Gate Park. There are botanical gardens, a conservatory of flowers, Stow Lake (beautiful to walk around), and a bison paddock (much further out).
      * Perhaps on another day, take the 38R out to the V.A. Hospital, and keep walking out west on the roads (past the parking garage). You’ll get some amazing views, and then when you get to the super large parking lot, turn right and walk down the stairs to get a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, and the ocean, and then walk back around to see the Sutro Baths. The food isn’t amazing (it’s okay), but if you can eat dinner at Louie’s when the sun is setting over the Sutro Baths, the view is priceless (but still cheaper than the view from the Cliff House!).
      * Another 38R day is worth going out to Fillmore and exploring Japantown. They have lots of excellent stuff there, but in particular I’d recommend Udon Mugizo.

      If you must do anything touristy at all, do Alcatraz (and book your tickets as early as you can—they sell out fast).

      Lots of touristy stuff you should avoid, though:
      * Avoid Pier 39
      * Avoid Ghirardelli Square
      * Avoid Union Square (apart from having to stay there for work)
      * Avoid the “crooked” part of Lombard Street

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        If you have a car, consider going to the Marin Headlands (and Kirby Cove specifically), Twin Peaks, and Fort Funston. You’ll get some incredible views from each of those spots.

        Also, if you’re into dim sum, I highly recommend Hong Kong Lounge and Dragon Beaux, both in the Outer Richmond, which you can get to on the 38R (get off at Park Presidio for Hong Kong Lounge or 20th Ave for Dragon Beaux).

        A walk down Clement St. afterwards is quite a little treat. Lots of cute shops (including Green Apple Books). Maybe grab an almond croissant at Arsicault Bakery (at Arguello and Clement) before heading back to your hotel.

      2. PhyllisB*

        Well, I guess I’m “that” tourist because I have been to SF twice, and on the second visit we did Fisher’s Wharf, Ghiradelli Square, and Lombard Street. We loved them all. (I understand what you’re saying, but if you know you probably won’t get to go again, it’s fun to spend a little time seeing these things.) We had a great cab driver and he helped us have a great time.

        1. PhyllisB*

          Having said all that; we have a restaurant in our town that is world-famous, but it’s changed owners, and is nothing like it was back “in the day.” If anyone asked me, I would tell them it wasn’t worth it. Plus there is an attraction at our local park that is also world-famous, but it has become a very dangerous area to visit, so again, if anyone asked my opinion, I would probably advise against it.

        2. Anonymous Educator*

          I definitely don’t want to yuck anyone’s yum. Millions of tourists have come through SF doing all the touristy things and have had a good time. Those just aren’t what I’d recommend.

    5. pancakes*

      Also recommend the ferry building for exceptionally good food. I stayed in the Union Square area too and it’s an easy walk straight down Market St. If you like porchetta, get a sandwich from Roli Roti, which has a stand at the market there on Saturdays. (They’re at other farmers markets in the area on other days, too). If you like whisky, Hard Water is also there in the embarcadero and has a huge selection.

      Bi-Rite Market in the Mission is a great place to pick up snacks & wine, and has an ice cream stand diagonally across the street.

    6. AdAgencyChick*

      Great food town! I love just walking from one end of the Ferry Building to the other and basically eating everything I see.

      Also, if you like tapas: had a spectacular* meal at Coqueta the last time I was there. YUM.

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        No idea how that asterisk snuck in there. Makes it look like I’m diminishing my rating somehow. I’m not!

      1. annuity*

        Fun things to do in the area: explore ferry building / walk or run along Embarcadero. There are some “urban trails” in the downtown / Nob hill area, check out the staircase near the Levi’s HQ. The trail goes all the way to Coit Tower and has fantastic views. The Civic Center is also walkable from downtown – it’s very nice inside, only open on weekdays.

        1. Anonymous Educator*

          The Civic Center is also walkable from downtown

          And if you’re too tired to walk back, you can BART it back to Powell.

          If you’re in that Civic Center area, cross over Van Ness and pop over to Chantal Guillon for some excellent macarons.

    7. CatCat*

      SFMOMA is phenomenal if you like modern art. You’ll need a whole day for it though!

      You can walk to Chinatown from Union Square. Get off the touristy main drags and there are a lot of cool little shops and restaurants. If you like history, the Cable Car Museum is a free and a short walk from Chinatown. Highly recommend. Ride a cable car. You’ll wait in a long line for it if you’re there on the weekend, so go early. It’s just a quintessential San Francisco thing (it’s the only city in the world still operating a cable car system) and it’s super neat to do after going to the Cable Car Museum since you’ll understand how the cable cars work.

    8. Traffic_Spiral*

      Cioppino is a Italian/SF seafood stew that is pretty stunning – find a good place to do that. Sotto Mare was pretty good last I was there, but that was many moons ago. Generally get seafood – it’s all pretty fresh and good.

      1. rogue axolotl*

        I went to Sotto Mare just a month ago–still good! It had the most reasonably priced cioppino that I could track down, and it was great.

    9. OperaArt*

      The San Francisco Gourmet Chocolate Tour. It’s a 3 hour guided walking tour ending around Union Square. Amazing and surprisingly educational.

    10. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Beach Blanket Babylon. Check out the website and there’s also deals on the tickets (goldstar, half price tickets) sometimes day of show. I always take guests there once. It’s local and national in politics and fun scope, and it changes regularly.
      On the Embarcadero – the hotel at the foot of market has a rotating restaurant (get coffee/dessert if you must budget), and/or go to the “top of the Mark” for drinks.
      If you are here long enough, and have a free day, it’s not a bad idea to sign up for one of the bus/van tours – professional guide, a lot of ground covered in a short amount of time. OR they have self-guided tours with little rental electric rides, (near Ghiaradelli square) so you can guide yourself. (including electric bikes).
      Coit Tower, Lombard street – take a look at the classic post card views and see if you can replicate them. Chinatown, the North Beach area (great pasta and some very established restaurants…)
      The only mistake you can make is staying inside. I’ve had family that volunteered to be bumped from SFO flights, took BART into the city, played all day, and then flew redeye home – richer in experience and travel coupons. LOL.

    11. Sarah G*

      I second the recommendation for SFMOMA, but disagree that you need a whole day. I think you can get a lot out of spending 2-3 hours there, plus add an hour if you want to see the special exhibit of Magritte. But it’s worth planning a half-day there so you don’t feel rushed.
      The Richard Serra walk-through sculpture, and space that houses it, are stunning. (The sculpture is called “Sequence” if you want to look it up.) The Calder mobiles are a don’t miss, and there is an oddly compelling exhibit of spider sculptures right now that I actually kind of loved. Not to mention the Magritte exhibit, which I’ve heard so much about that I might just check it out even though I’ve never been much of a Magritte fan.
      They also have some gorgeous Matisse’s on permanent display, plus plenty of beautiful by works by others …Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera come to mind. And Yerba Buena Gardens is right across the street.

    12. ZarinC*

      I’m an SF native and you’ve gotten a lot of good recs here already.

      I second Beach Blanket Babylon (do lunch/dinner at Original Joe’s on Washington Square before or after the show), SF MOMA, Ferry Building, and the quirky shops on Valencia. If you’re looking for an authentic Mission taqueria, my favorite is El Toro but Pancho Villa is excellent as well.

      This is a fun list, with suggestions all over the city https://www.atlasobscura.com/things-to-do/san-francisco-california/places

      The only places I avoid like the plague are Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, and Chinatown. Cable cars are cool, but honestly not worth the wait in most cases.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        The only places I avoid like the plague are Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, and Chinatown. Cable cars are cool, but honestly not worth the wait in most cases.

        +1 to all of this!

      2. all the candycorn*

        For cable cars, the line that runs east-west on California Street is far less crowded than the two North/South lines on Powell Street. Also, the cable car museum where you can see the big cables at work is free and has a rare public restroom.

    13. ArtK*

      I wish I could help you more with stuff close to Union Square; if it’s a work trip, you probably won’t have much time to go very far afield. One restaurant we like is The Stinking Rose at 325 Columbus. That’s not too far from Union Square and the public transportation is good. This one isn’t for the faint-of-heart, though. Their primary ingredient is garlic (the “stinking rose”.)

      Once you fall in love with San Francisco (as many visitors do), you’ll want to come back. If you’re a Disney fan, you cannot miss the Walt Disney Family Museum. Plan on a full day there. It’s in the Presidio at the north end of the peninsula, right by the Golden Gate Bridge. There’s a great view of the Bay and a nice space for a picnic (there is a good on-site restaurant.) I drove the last time and that wasn’t bad at all. Check the museum’s web site for public transportation directions.

      The current exhibition is “Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men: Masters of Animation”

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        June, if you end up getting a MUNI Passport, you can take the PresidiGo Shuttle from the Embarcadero BART station directly to the Presidio Transit Center, which is very close to the Walt Disney Family Museum. Alternatively, you can take the 38R to the Presidio and then take the 43 into the Presidio. Or, if you don’t mind a bit of a (beautiful but involving a major uphill) walk, you can take the 38R to Arguello and walk up Arguello. You will get an amazing view of the Bay, the Palace of Fine Arts, and Alcatraz on your way down to the main area where the Disney Family Museum is.

        You can also walk down, after visiting the museum, to Crissy Field, and walk past the Warming Hut all the way to Fort Point. Right before you get there you can see the spot that Jimmy Stewart supposedly fished Kim Novak out of the water from (it was a set and a bad matte painting, I believe) in Vertigo, and then you can get an interesting view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Hopper’s Hands.

        1. Anonymous Educator*

          Sorry. That should say Alternatively, you can take the 38R to Presidio Ave (at Geary and Presidio) and then take the 43 (toward Fort Mason) to the Presidio Transit Center.

    14. NB*

      I really like the Exploratorium museum. Also, there’s a lot to see in Golden Gate Park. One of my favorite places to eat in SF is Yank Sing–excellent dim sum.

      I agree with everyone who recommended Marin Headlands and Muir Woods. Beautiful!

    15. Anonymous Educator*

      One last thing, if you can make it out to the Legion of Honor, it’s a beautiful museum (the building itself is amazing) with equally beautiful surroundings. From there you can see the entire downtown, a sprawling golf course, the Bay, and the Golden Gate Bridge. The paintings in there are fantastic, and the special exhibit downstairs is usually well curated. And every Saturday afternoon, there’s an organ recital.

      This is also where the end of the first Tales of the City series takes place.

      And if you get a ticket for Legion of Honor, you get same-day admission to the De Young Museum.

    16. Another Academic Librarian*

      I highly recommend the Samovar Teahouse Cafe at Yerba Buena Gardens. It’s not cheap, but it has a great ambience with a HUGE tea menu and a variety of food–a friend and I split a platter with a variety of pastries, fruit, cheese, etc and each selected our own variety of tea. We sat outside overlooking the gardens.

      Other than that and the recs you’ve already gotten, Alcatraz is worth the trip and has a built-in ferry ride. I also enjoyed my trip to Coit Tower (took the bus there and walked back downtown via North Beach, with ample opportunity to stop for some Italian food or gelato). I didn’t get to check out Golden Gate Park, but if I go back I will.

    17. Lavender Menace*

      There’s a soul food restaurant at the nexus of Union Square & the Tenderloin called farmerbrown…it’s absolutely delicious. The shrimp and grits are fantastic. The brunch is reportedly good but I never ate there for lunch.

    18. M M*

      If you like meat, Tommy’s Joynt has great pastrami and roast beef – looks like a dive, was on Guy Fiere’s show – been twice and it was so good!

      If you go to Cow Hollow, Le Boulangerie de San Fransisco was great for breakfast – lots of pasteries and breakfast items, not your everyday selection.

      Beacon Coffee and Pantry had great coffee – is on Columbus Street, but not near downtown. Note – Columbus is the least hilly street to walk from downtown to Fishermans Wharf and back.

      Blue Bottle Coffee at 115 Sansome Street was better than the Ferry Building (according to my spouse), though ferry building was fun experience. Had good lunch at Crepes and Curry embarcadero across from ferry building – takeout and est at one of the tables outside – not fancy, paoer plates, but our food was good.

  2. StellaBella*

    Hi everyone! Happy weekend! I have had a couple of weeks of many ups and a few downs – lots of good things: turned in my thesis, on flood risk, health and well-being (yay!), got to speak for incoming students at their induction to give tips on the MSc programme and met some great new students, started reading for pleasure again (Mary Beard, “Women & Power” was my morning read today, cleaned out my gmail inbox after a year, starting to get the cat to eat treats and enjoy toys inside her travel crate for our end-November move, excited to see a close friend next weekend for 6 days, and am on the mend from a cold. Downside is the weather, as it is cold, rainy and this week we had 4 days of winds over 35mph…no fun…
    Hope everyone is having a good weekend! I’ll be making soup and doing some more reading and chilling out this afternoon, and am making a list of things to do before I have to move. :)

  3. Jessen*

    Cat pathing rearrangement is so far a limited success! I have a l-shaped setup so I can get to 2 laptops. I rearranged so there’s a spot specifically for the cat on the corner between the two for her “I’m conveniently lying in petting range” moments. And enough room for her to jump up and go behind the laptop to get there or to get to the shelf she likes to perch on.

    So far it somewhat works. I’m reinforcing the behavior by making a big fuss and telling her what a great kitty she is and rubbing her ears whenever she goes around.

    1. Cat Foster Mama*

      I’m currently training my foster cat not to sit on my laptop (while I’m using it). He’s stubborn so he gets riled up when he’s told not to do something. I’ve tempered it a bit by playing with him away from the computer when he gets feisty as well as giving him treats when he sits on a big book I put next to the laptop. He still does it, but he’s (ever so slightly) less persistent about it.

      Good luck!

    2. Laika*

      Nice! I just bought two window-mounted seats for our kitties off Amazon for a similar reason. We originally wanted to put them beside the dining table so they wouldn’t jump to next to us while we were eating, but ended up putting them in the living room window where they have a much better view of the trees and birds. We also had to make a big fuss for them the first few times they used them – it took about a week, but now they love napping in the window, and tend to bother us less at the table, so it’s a win/win!

      1. Jessen*

        Oddly mine isn’t actually that fond of boxes. A small platform would probably be more to her liking. But the key for her is she wants to sit somewhere where she can be loved and petted and fussed over. Especially when I get home from work, she’s very much “love me now.” (Whoever said cats were aloof? I literally get greeted at the door every day.)

        1. Sadie*

          My cats have always done this> current kitty waits at the top of the stairs for me and follows me around till I pick him up and give him loves EVERY DAY. I think people with aloof cats treat their cats like they think “cats” want to be treated, and in return get an aloof cat.

  4. The Other Dawn*

    Anyone have suggestions for olive oils that are good for making herb-infused oils? I’m going to make some in the next couple weeks since I have a lot of herbs left in my garden. I’ll be making rosemary oil and possibly sage oil. I also have thyme in my garden. I’m also thinking I’ll make some compound butter and freeze it. I just hate to see the herbs go to waste, and there’s only so much chicken stock I can make and actually use.

    On another note, I made blackberry jalapeno jelly last week and it came out delicious! Thanks to the person who suggested it awhile back. I’ve finally used up all my jalapenos from the garden.

    1. StellaBella*

      In the past, I have just used regular virgin olive oil – only have done this a couple of times tho. What I did when I had a garden tho, was either freeze or dry the herbs for things like sauces in winter…you can also chop them and place into ice cube trays with white wine, water, or even olive oil and freeze to later use in soups, etc.

    2. Parenthetically*

      I’m sure you know this but just in case someone sees this and wants to branch out, you have to be VERY careful with infusing oils because of the risk of botulism. Link in my name to a good guide to doing it safely!

    3. Extra Vitamins*

      You can freeze herbs too. I made frozen mixed-herb cubes last year (basically different Pestos) and they kept their flavor really well. Also sage rosemary and thyme are evergreens here.

    4. MindOverMoneyChick*

      Try Goya – I know it’s a standard supermarket brand, but I heard that spanish olive oil is fruitier and less acrid than Italian. So I tried Goya just because it was easy to find and I was sold. The smell alone it worth it. I’m all about Spanish olive oil now.

    5. Slartibartfast*

      I’ve diced and frozen herbs in water in ice cube trays, and just count the cubes towards whatever water is in the recipe. Also I freeze tomatoes, right from the garden to the freezer. Once frozen, the peels fall right off when you dunk them in warm water. After peeling, thaw and use like you would stewed tomatoes.

    6. It happens*

      Don’t forget the rosemary sage salt- excellent for veggies, eggs, pork, chicken and whatever you want to put it on.

    7. Smarty Boots*

      If you have a middle eastern or Mediterranean grocery nearby, I suggest buying a big bottle or can of extra virgin olive oil. It’s a lot cheaper than in the grocery store. I usually get a Lebanese brand that’s a pretty deep green. I use olive oil a lot, though.

      You can feeeze pesto btw. I put it in baby food jars or other small jars, with a layer of olive oil on top before sealing it. There’s always a sad day in March when we use the last of it and then have to wait for the summer to make more!

    8. The Other Dawn*

      Thanks for the ideas! I have a lot, so I probably have enough to do all these things. Even though these herbs will grow back every year, I feel like I’m wasting them if I don’t use them up before they die off for the winter. I’m thinking, too, that maybe I can make a basic stuffing mix, throw it in the vacuum sealer and then freeze it.

  5. Not A Lawyer*

    I’m in the middle of custody battle with my ex (we never married). I lost my attorney because without him paying support, I couldn’t keep my retainer full. I filed to have a hearing for the support but we’re going to trial soon and I don’t have a lawyer. I have already borrowed from friends and family for just basic expenses due to his failure not to pay. I’ve used all my savings and retirement in this and day to day living. He will not agree to an agreement even if he proposed it. I don’t qualify for any legal assistance but can’t afford to retain another lawyer. I’m too rich to be poor and too poor to be rich.

    I mostly needed to vent as this is weighing heavily on me. Any advice, consideration, or internet hugs welcome.

    1. StellaBella*

      I am so sorry. Depending on where you live, and I am assuming you are a woman, have you looked at WomensLaw dot Org? Or depending on your county, there may be a free legal advice office? Big hugs and I hope you can find someone to take this on to assist you.

    2. Kj*

      I’m sorry. That sucks. If he has been abusive (mentally, physically or otherwise) try a local domestic violence agency. Many have legal resources for folks in your spot. Also, internet hugs.

    3. anon today*

      lots of hugs, and sorry you are going through this. I hope you can do something nice for yourself this weekend, it sounds like you are under a lot of stress from this.

    4. Indie*

      I read Art of War during my divorce on the advice of a friend and found it surprisingly helpful. Advice like; not letting it drag on and cost money unless the price is necessary for the gain or on how the best victories involve no fighting at all, was surprisingly relevent. My favourite bits were a) how you must know the other side’s objective and methods before doing anything and b) when weak appear strong, when strong appear weak.

    5. Drop Bear*

      The Family Court of Australia has tips for parents representing themselves on their website – just a few broad ones – so perhaps the court(s) where you live does too. INAL but based on seeing what my lawyer did during my family law case , and some things that help me when I have to represent my employer at employment tribunals. some suggestions might be
      1. document everything – a time line of all that’s happened with supporting documents where available – and organise your docs into a logical order (chronological within sub-categories for example) with a summary table at the front (the court might have asked you to do that already of course) – this will help you get your thoughts in order, help make sure you ask the right questions, have ‘evidence’ if your ex lies/mis-remembers
      2. read through your ex’s documents as soon as you get them and write down the things you want to ask him about
      3. you don’t have to rush – it’s ok to take time to collect your thoughts in court
      4. when questioning your ex take deep breaths to calm yourself if you feel you’re rushing/getting anxious but it’s ok to get upset – this is emotional stuff and nobody expects you to not react.
      5. if you don’t think he’s answered fully you can ask him more about it
      6. if you think he’s not being honest try to use your documentation to prove it if possible.
      Good luck and internet hugs if you want them :)

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Can you call the court and ask for an adjournment because of the support hearing and you not being able to afford a lawyer? Just say you are hoping that goes in your favor and soon you will be able to pay for an attorney.

      Any judge worth their weight should be able to see the manipulation going on here. He is withholding support so you will be at a disadvantage against his attorney.

    7. Sandman*

      Did you happen to see the comment on a thread above yours? It looks like it was accidentally put in the wrong place, but had a lot of good info, I thought. It was by Competent Commenter on the very first comment – just wanted to make sure you saw it!

      1. Competent Commenter*

        Ha, yes, Competent Commenter feeling less competent today! I’ll post it here:

        My heart goes out to you.

        I’ve done my own divorce twice (second time no child). I did all my own paperwork, even for the custody hearing. It’s been a while but I seem to recall that the free clinic at the courthouse, while having scant and erratic hours, was open to anyone regardless of income.

        I used that, but what helped more was hiring a lawyer on a different model—there was a dial-a-lawyer service, advertised through Nolo Press (get their book on doing your own divorce/custody regardless), where you could be charged by the minute for your phone call. Nice people, I used the same attorney with both divorces and spent very little money. I’d do my paperwork as much as possible, then batch up my key questions, send my paperwork over ahead of time to her, and then spend 20 minutes on the phone asking, “why did my paperwork get rejected and now what do I do?” or “I really don’t want to pay spousal support to this ne’er do well, do I have to?” and spent maybe $100-$200 total on that with each divorce. She gave me very, very helpful advice. In the second divorce, her suggestion about offering to pay off my ex’s credit card debt, which was in my name because we’d transferred it to my low-interest card, rather than paying ongoing spousal support, saved me a ton of money. I was stuck with that debt regardless. That ex was not a bad guy and he felt guilty about the debt, so this was face-saving for him all around and he jumped at it.

        It helps that I’m good at paperwork and a tenacious person. It also helped that both spouses were really passive, the co-parenting one passive-aggressive, yes, but he backed down pretty quickly in front of the judge. I will never forget going to family court because my ex would not agree to having a schedule for visitation. Any schedule. Any schedule would cramp his style, I guess. We spent maybe 10 minutes in front of the judge. Ex: “I don’t think we need a schedule.” Judge: “Your 6-year-old and everyone in her life needs to know where she’s supposed to be each day.” Me: “Here’s my proposed schedule.” DONE. BOOM. It was so gratifying, after nearly a year of disgusting, stressful crap from my ex, who’d been an emotionally abusive controlling whackjob, that I actually looked into getting a transcript of the proceedings as a souvenir.

        I got back a lot of my dignity, self-respect and confidence through doing my own divorce. After all those years of trauma with my first ex, I rescued myself, inch by inch. With my second, at least I didn’t have to spend a ton of money releasing myself from a nice, dysfunctional guy who had already cost me a ton. I don’t think by any means that my experience with self-representation is universally true, but I do think at least I’m in a good position to say: you may be able to finish your case without an attorney.

        Good luck. I’m rooting for you.

    8. StudentA*

      I’m so sorry. Hugs if they’re welcome.

      I just found out yesterday that lawyers lending their clients money is a thing. It’s for when you’re working on a case in which you’d get paid. I know of people who got retroactive child support. I honestly don’t see how a judge wouldn’t award you. So try to let that thought encourage you. I know it’s easier said than done.

      I don’t know if you’ve got home basics covered, but just a quick idea. You can try posting something on Craigslist in the Wanted section. Things like kids’ clothes, toiletries, etc. And check out the Free section.

      1. Mallory*

        At least in my area we have Facebook groups for “curb alerts” and “ISO” for our town. Several people and charities have furnished almost entire homes through those two groups.

    9. Em*

      I’ve heard that family court is the one place where they are used to seeing a lot of people represent themselves. So if you do end up having to represent yourself, you are not the only one and the family court system should have more institutional patience (for lack of a better expression) with you than they would with an actual lawyer.

      Good luck. I’m struggling financially right now as well and borrowing from a relative to make basic needs, so I feel for you having to figure that out and on top of that, having to deal with a contentious custody battle.

    10. Newbie*

      I feel you on the “too rich to be poor, not poor enough to be rich” front! Through out all of my custody issues, I have found a great transcriber is amaizballs! The judge wouldnt even hear my case until I had a transcriber write it in legalise, but for 70 bucks she was worth it! Another piece of advice is to live without the support, ie: dont plan on that income at all and be extra generous on giving up time. The judge will see that you are invested in time over money and will be much more committed to helping you. It is absolutely terrifying to take care of kids all alone, but the rewards of knowing you are doing right by them longterm are worth it. I have given my ex as much leeway as humanely possible, and while he has thrown that in the trash over and over again, my kids will be adults one day and see which parent kept them in mind with every decision. Your kids will see that too someday, even if it means being the bad guy because you cant pay for horseback riding lessons today. Love your babies, and let your ex fail all on his own. That is hard advice to hear! But I can assure you, as someone a decade in, it really is worth it to wait out the revenge instead of sticking it to the ex today!

    11. Indie*

      Oh I almost forgot my best tip: it sounds like your ex’s weapons of choice are manipulation and inaction. There’s a great way to block head games while getting his actions (or lack of) and words logged in writing. Useful evidence.
      So first, you cut off phone or in person contact and say you want all correspondence done by email. Only respond to these once a day; dont get into back and forths. Any nastiness he tries is preserved for all to see. If he’s particularly upsetting have a friend receive the emails (special account set up forhim) and she can spam filter the nastiness out before sending on
      the facts. After you’ve secured yourself from harassment you can impose a typical schedule (If you’re the primary carer) through this medium, by saying child is free at x time on x days every week but needs to be home by y for their other commitments. You need to run it past your lawyer but the aim is to show in writing that you tried to give them visitation/give the child a routine while your ex was all pouting inactivity and ego. If they try to show up on non visitation days, you’re not home.

  6. Loopy*

    This is really difficult for me to talk about but I really could use advice and perspective from anyone who has dealt with this. Warning: this is gross/squicky.

    Yesterday I was diagnosed with scabies. And it got bad really quick (like 2-3 days). To be frank, I’m not handling it well.

    I’ve done to prescribed treatment and I’m currently washing everything but it’s gotten to the point of near constant panic about getting re-infested. I constantly worry if I miss one single thing, I’ll be reinfested. I can’t feel safe or clean anywhere in my home. I’ve vacuumed the furniture and carpets. All the bedding is being washed, all my clothes. But I can’t figure out where to draw the line…

    What about my purse? What about my office chair? What about the driver’s seat of my car?

    And what about how I got infected? The only thing I can point to it the gym. I don’t have anyone who would bring into the home, haven’t traveled, work in a cubicle… but I’ve only used their towels to cover the display on the machines so I don’t focus on the calories. I’ve never showered there.

    Was it the mats used in the exercise class? Do I get my own mat? Never go to a gym again? I’m so paranoid about getting re-infected (the treatment was last night so I still have awful sores everywhere…)

    I’m spiraling really badly because I’m so disturbed by this experience. I don’t know how to possibly clean enough. And I’ve read you should treat the whole household but the doctor just said to keep an eye on my fiance. What if he’s infested and after I get everything clean he starts showing signs? I need a prescription to treat him and she didn’t give me enough for anyone but myself.

    I can’t even look at my own body. I’m sick over it. Has anyone gone through this?

    1. Libsy*

      I’m sorry! It might be worth mentioning it to the gym. Or maybe your doctor’s office could notify them? I know you feel awful about this but it is not your fault.

      1. Loopy*

        This is a massive chain gym so I doubt it would go anywhere or anything would be implemented enough to make me feel comfortable (plus it’s just speculation on my part). There’s just so much traffic in and out.

        I’m just not feeling comfortable anywhere public and I don’t know how to get past that. I know tens of thousands of people use ellipticals all over the country just fine, but I can’t ever bring myself to touch one today (and generally I think the concern is shared linens…. but everything in the whole world suddenly seems suspect).

        1. Courageous cat*

          I think it will probably get better as time goes on. This seems to happen to a lot of people I knew who have gotten bed bugs: they go from being totally normal to almost exhibiting serious OCD symptoms, practically overnight, due to the fear of it not going away or reoccurring, once it does. I guess my thought here is that it may be worth looking at treating psychologically in addition to everything else in order to keep it from devolving into a full-blown phobia, because none of these things you’re concerned about should realistically be concerns. Just something to keep an eye on I guess.

    2. Ender*

      I had scabies when I was a teenager or was awful and took months to get rid of. Then main thing was the doctor prescribed some cream that wasn’t strong enough – I had to go to three different doctors to get something that actually worked! Once I got that and boil washed everything it was easy enough. So if the doc gave you something that worked properly first time and you’ve washed everything in 60C or higher you’re probably fine. Good luck

      1. Loopy*

        I really hope the cream works! From what I read, it’s the strongest thing they can prescribe and the most common. I’m washing everything in hot water followed by high heat drying so hopefully that will do it. I’m just so worried about this not being OVER.

    3. June*

      I am so sorry! I definitely understand not wanting to touch anything right now. Scabies occurs worldwide in all ages, genders, races, economic groups, etc, so know at least that you’re not alone.

      Some things that may be helpful:

      Scabies transmission/acquisition generally requires close body contact. While yes, hot water cleansing of items that have prolonged contact with the skin is essential, scabies generally die quickly when off the skin for more than 2-3 days. So things like chairs and car sheets that generally are in contact with fabric, not skin, I wouldn’t worry about having a high potential for reinfection. Smaller items like purses you could set aside in a large baggy for a week and then feel confident that any potential mites are dead.

      For first infection, the usual incubation time is 3-6 weeks, so if you went on any recent trips during that time you could already be far away from the initial source!

      Co-treatment IS generally recommended for all household/sexual contacts (due to the likelihood of skin-to-skin contact and transmission). Did that doctor examine your fiance as well? Perhaps he examined the area of your infection and thought skin-to-skin contact with that area was unlikely (and the good news is that he almost certainly has ruled out the most aggressive form of scabies). I would note though, that it could take up to 2 months before your fiance display symptoms even if he is infected. If worrying about your fiance having scabies for 2 months sounds like a nightmare to you, it may be worth requesting treatment for him for your piece of mind.

      Just try to be kind to yourself – you are doing everything that is recommended ad that is all you have control over. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

      1. Loopy*

        Thanks, this comment was super helpful. Unfortunately, I’m between doctors after changing insurance and couldn’t get in with my new one, who is on a mission trip. I went to a walk-in clinic and saw a nurse practitioner, so I’m not 100% confident I got the best advice re: my partner.

        I haven’t traveled anywhere in many months so sadly, the source has to be somewhere in my very routine daily life. I want to go back to the gym and exercise but even then, I’m very self conscious of my arms and wouldn’t want to worry other gym go-ers. I guess I’ll play it safe since I can’t know for sure if the treatment has been effective.

    4. Dr. Anonymous*

      It’s just a weird thing. Maybe shared linens. Maybe wipe off the mat at the gym and be careful where you put your clothes in the locker room. Scabies don’t live very long off of humans so it’s not like you will get reinfested if you forgot to wash a sock and you wear it a couple of weeks from now. Your fiancé could certainly call his doctor and say you have scabies and may well be given his own prescription for your peace of mind. Try to think that the worst case scenario is that you’ll itch again and get more of the miticide and get rid of it right fast. And please accept my sympathies. The itching from scabies is purely maddening and could well be half the reason you feel so panicked. It’s torture.

      1. Loopy*

        Thanks. I think the mental is worse than the physical for me actually. I noticed the first marks Tuesday/Wednesday, got concerned Thursday night when more appeared and was at the doctor by Friday afternoon, so I didn’t actually suffer much until now- today the itching is finally getting to me. Doctor recommended benedryl but goodness I’ll be unconscious all day!

    5. Book Lover*

      Are you able to do some cognitive restructuring on this? One thing is being miserably itchy and frustrated by the work required with an infestation, another is being embarrassed and feeling dirty.
      You don’t get lice or scabies because you are unclean, it is just something that happens, like getting a mosquito bite. If you can tell yourself that every time you start getting stressed out you are not clean enough, maybe it will help?

      1. Loopy*

        I absolutely need to work on the mental component of this. I think my issue actually isn’t the unclean feeling, but the being contagious issue. I feel diseased. I’m worried that even after treatment, I can’t be absolutely sure I’m good to go myself at least until some time passes and I see no new bites.

        I was trying to work up the nerve to go to them gym and realized it probably not a good idea since I just did the treatment last night and can’t confirm it took. How awful would I feel if I then went and potentially risked others???

        I also am dealing with the paranoia now- I was looking forward to a super awesome craft/thrift fair tomorrow and now thrift anything scares the bejeesus out of me!

        But this really did hit the nail on the head on what I need to work on.

    6. Notapirate*

      Ive not had scabies but ive felt the exact things youre feeling with poison ivy multiple times now. Im super allergic to. The itching isnt the worst its tge paranoia of omg its somewhere it’s everywhere it’s following me. I had to throw out multiple pairs of shoes.

      1. Loopy*

        I got poison ivy on my face and it blew up like a balloon. I had to get steroids it was so ridiculous! I feel your pain on that, I was very wary of it afterwards.

    7. Slartibartfast*

      Hugs. I have limited experience with human cases, but as a vet tech I have seen lots of scabies (even with precautions, I caught them once). Like lice, these mites are really contagious. I think if your fiance was going to get it, you’d know by now. Unfortunately (assuming USA) your doctor can’t give you meds for the fiance by law, he’d have to call his own doctor and ask them. Vacuuming with a bagless and emptying it outside, put everything you can in the dryer on high, and park your car in the sun. They cause a lot of irritation so if you have them, you’ll have symptoms, and they don’t last long in the environment without a host, so it’s not as bad as fleas or bedbugs to get rid of them. The psychological ick factor is huge, I get that, but they’re relatively easy to kill and they don’t come back. So if nobody has symptoms in your house, the house is safe :) As far as where they came from, the gym is possible if someone else had them and was there at the same time or used a machine right before you did, but it also could be wildlife in your yard or any animals you have been in contact with. Gym seats are usually vinyl, I would think their towels are dried on high heat. But yeah it’s soft fabric surfaces in public that would be the concern (for most things, not just scabies). With it being fall, maybe you could drape a scarf over any public seats before you sit down? Might help you feel safer. Be kind to yourself, give it time. This isn’t your fault and it doesn’t mean you aren’t clean. It just happens.

      1. Loopy*

        Thanks so much. It’s irritation because I don’t ever do, well, anything in public. I dont take public transit, I don’t go out to events or even *restaurants*. So it’s making me crazy to think of how I picked them up. The yuck factor is massive for me.

        I’m a little heartened to know they die pretty quickly without contact. I’ve washed about 5 loads of laundry and will probably do a sixth and vacuumed well so most obvious things have been addressed. I just really hate waiting to see/confirm if it all goes away. I really want to know it’s gone now!

      2. runner girl*

        Yup, I totally Mitaban -ed myself once back in the day (don’t try this at home). Those little beasties suck.
        FWIW, picking them up isn’t a reflection of you or your hygiene. If you’re immune-supressed, please bring that up with your medical provider, because that’s the one of the biggest risk factor for them getting a good hold on a person.

    8. LilySparrow*

      Not with scabies, but my kids’ school goes through waves of headlice every year, and we’ve had them a couple of times.

      The first time, I panicked, chopped my hair off to a couple of inches, spent a load of money taking the kids to one of those lice-combout places, took every piece of clothing & linens to the laundromat, vacuum-bagged all the toys for a month, tore apart the couch cushions…you name it.

      Later, I learned more about what makes a difference and what doesn’t. Knowing for sure what to do and how much work it would (or wouldn’t) be, really helped. So if you read up on it, check your sources and make sure you’re getting evidence-based information.

      My youngest recently caught pinkeye, and it really did hurt her feelings that we had to be so careful about contagion for a couple of days – not sharing towels, changing her pillowcase every day, etc. It helped her when I temporarily switched to paper towels in the kitchen and bathroom for handwashing. She felt less worried and less isolated because we were all doing it. Maybe there’s some temporary measures, like putting a clean sheet over the sofa or using disposables, that will make you feel better until the intense feelings pass.

      That’s the thing about intense emotional reactions – they do fade out in time. You don’t have to fight them every step of the way, and sometimes fighting it just makes it worse. It’s totally okay to make some short-term choices while you ride it out, as long as they’re not hurting you in another way.

      Have you talked to your fiance? Is there any chance he was the one to pick them up? People don’t always get the same severity of outbreak, it at the same speed. If his skin is less sensitive, or if he has other conditions that cause itching (like chronic allergies) he might not realize he had them.

      I’m glad you got treatment so quickly and hope you feel better soon.

      1. Loopy*

        I definitely get the first time being the absolute worst. I do hope there is only a first time for me though!

        I thought about covering the couch and maybe i should have but I dont know how effective it is to just layer something over furniture.

        One thing I am thrilled about was that I went to a walk in Friday. That way I can handle this over the weekend and it didn’t get any worse. It’ll definitely make me less resitant to going in in the future (I’ve been skeptical of how useful walk-in places are in the past and well, cheap).

    9. Loopy*

      I FIGURED IT OUT. Or I think I did. I feel both much better and worse. I brought home a computer chair from Goodwill and was too lazy to clean it the day I brought it home and I threw a blanket over it. And then… I just forgot (which was easier because it’s not in a room I see everyday and the blanket covered it nicely). We got it on such a whim and I never buy secondhand furniture, so while I absolutely *knew* it needed a cleaning and meant to…

      It was so easy to forget and I did.

      PSA to the world: clean it right away (or don’t risk buying secondhand if you’re nervous about these types of things). I feel so angry at myself and foolish but better because it’s more likely the secondhand chair than the gym. So relieved/angry!

      1. LilySparrow*

        Oh, I’m so glad you figured it out! What a relief!

        I once got a horrible cockroach infestation when my roommate brought home a Cuisinart that she trash-picked off the street. Talk about learning the hard way!

        1. Loopy*

          Yeah I feel a bit sheepish now. I was able to be indignant until I realized… it was my own fault. Still, better that then to fear gyms forever.

    10. School Psych*

      I have not been personally affected, but a school in one of the districts I worked in had an investation and 2 of my coworkers got it. They can live on furniture even if there is no fabric, so yes you do need to disinfect your office chair and car. Your fiancé should get his own prescription and get treated. You should also inform the gym you had it, so they can disinfect. I’m so sorry this happened to you. From what coworkers said it is quite a pain to get rid of and the worrying about get reinfected lasts a while.

    11. EN*

      I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this! I had scabies a couple years ago. I figure it had to be from trying on clothes in a store. My doctor wasn’t initially willing to diagnose as scabies and put me on a steroid for a week first, which only prolonged the ordeal. I’m still pretty paranoid about catching it again, but once I got the right treatment, it definitely made a difference. Like someone said above, the mites can’t live long off a human, so the cleaning you’ve done is probably plenty. That said, my doctor had me do two treatments ten days apart bevause it’s not effective on the mite eggs. The second treatment kills any remaining newly hatched mites. I made my husband do it too and thoroughly laundered/cleaned everything the day after both treatments. Goodlu k!

    12. Em*

      We had that in our house when I was a kid. It was so long ago I don’t really have any useful advice about how to deal with it BUT it’s one of those things that is part of being a mammal and while it’s frustrating and takes a lot of effort to deal with, it shouldn’t be shameful.

    13. Close Bracket*

      I’m sorry you are going through this. In addition to the medicine and cleaning, I recommend dusting surfaces, including your sheets and that chair, with food grade diatomaceous earth. Yes, it is nasty to sleep and sit in dust. But since scabies are arthropods, the diatomaceous earth should be effective at killing any mites that crawl off you. Besides, bodies can be showered, sheets can be washed, and furniture and floors can be vacuumed. Make sure it is food grade! And use a very light dusting. Insects just walk about piles. You want a light amount that they will walk through. When it coats them, it makes cuts in their exoskeleton, and they dehydrate.

    14. TardyTardis*

      Look at your furniture and your curtains, especially. Macramé curtains can definitely hold eggs of a lot of different insects (including lice, to my sorrow) and washing them in hot water and putting them in the dryer will make them shrink, but will also get rid of the problem.

      If your fiancé is infested, then he needs to go to the clinic and get treated on his own (public health clinic if need be). Or you could go back and complain that you’ve got it again–because if he’s infested, you will get it again–and explain the situation with the fiancé.

      You have my *deepest* sympathy. And be happy you’re not allergic to the scabies stuff (snip sad tale of woe with lice shampoo until I started using my allergy stuff at the same time).

  7. Washi*

    Has anyone here succeeded at training themselves to become more chatty? I’m pretty good at small talk with strangers and at drawing others out in conversation, but when things turn over to me, I get really awkward and can’t seem to spit out more than a sentence or two at a time before feeling super self-conscious about what I’m saying and how the other person is just looking at me talking, even with close friends. This wasn’t ever that important to me before, but recently I’ve been realizing that I’d like to be more open with my friends but I don’t know how to begin.

    1. Parenthetically*

      Yes! I basically spent a lot of time studying other people who I considered good conversationalists, and then imitated them. It’s a lot of active listening, asking questions out of genuine interest, mirroring, and asking follow-up questions. I find when I have a goal I’m less self-conscious about talking.

      1. Washi*

        I’m good at questions! But having experienced it from the other side, it gets weird when someone is only asking questions and never sharing about themselves, and that’s what I struggle with.

        1. Parenthetically*

          Ahhh, I see! That’s trickier! I think with your close friends, acknowledging aloud to them that you want to be more open, and that it’s hard for you, can be a good first step.

    2. June*

      Would practicing sharing more while doing some sort of game or activity help? If you’re friends aren’t 100% laser-focused on your face/what you saying (because they are also looking at their hand of cards, trying to put together a puzzle, etc) you may feel less self-conscious.

    3. Ainomiaka*

      The best thing that I ever heard was actually here-front perching. Have some things that are your default shares because they are not emotionally high stakes for you. For me pets and watching baking shows are examples. To start, you don’t have to share anything about anything else if you don’t want to. You already have some stuff to share which makes not sharing everything else seem much less harsh.

    4. Personally*

      I have always been chatty, but I did a lot of traveling alone and became even more so. I think the main thing is to not take it personally how other people react – some people are less chatty, it doesn’t mean you’re in the wrong by talking to them – and in fact, they might be enjoying your company regardless of how little they talk!

      My two tricks – compliments (which are a habit to me, at this point, it’s not hard to be genuine with the right attitude :) ) and questions. Just being nice and having a genuine interest in people does a lot!

    5. Close Bracket*

      Yup. I observed others. I saw that they shared the most inane shit that I couldn’t even imagine why they thought anyone else would be interested in and started doing the same. It’s a skill, and eventually I practiced enough to be good at it.

      I also practiced making small talk with strangers in the grocery store. It’s all part of the same skill set of discussing inane topics. The key is not to overcome the discomfort. It’s to keep talking through the discomfort. That’s also a skill that you can master with practice.

    6. BetsCounts*

      A few books that helped me (more for networking, but I think it’s also been applicable to friends):

      This book was useful just for general ideas about being more comfortable talking to people- I think the idea of counting blinks to train yourself to look into peoples eye’s alone was worth the price. Talking the Winner’s Way: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Business and Personal Relationships by Leil Lowndes

      How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships by Leil Lowndes

      This book was helpful in for when you want to chat but can’t bear to say ‘some weather we’re having!’ one more time. What to Talk About: On a Plane, at a Cocktail Party, in a Tiny Elevator with Your Boss’s Boss by Chris Colin (Author), Rob Baedeker (Author), Tony Millionaire (Illustrator)

      Make Your Contacts Count: Networking Know-How for Business and Career Success
      by Anne Baber (Author), Lynne Waymon (Author)

  8. Comms Girl*

    Unpacking after my business trip to India, doing laundry, groceries, doting on the cat, napping… and bracing myself for the super busy week ahead.

    “Room” is a fascinating book. I finished “Mudbound” on the way to Delhi – well-written and super engrossing!

  9. KLChica*

    Hello! I posted a few weeks ago asking for advice about having my first baby at the hospital. I wanted to say thanks to everyone. BUT….still no baby! I’m 5 days past my due date (I know it is not uncommon for a first time mom). But the doctors are pushing to induce and I really don’t want to do that. It’s giving me so much anxiety that I haven’t been sleeping. But I remember you all telling me to try to relax and be calm. Any encouragement would help! Thank you! Oh, and if you want to tell our baby it’s time to come out now, that would be fine too. :)

    1. KLChica*

      Oh, and we are scheduled for non-stress tests/ultrasound scan on Monday. Of course my biggest concern is the baby. Thanks

      1. SAHM*

        I’d recommend not inducing without a medical reason, there’s too much statistical data that shows most women who get induced end up with a C-section. If you haven’t had your membranes stripped, you can do that, walks, and of course lots of sex! Good luck!

        1. SAHM*

          Forgot to add, Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, Balsamic Vinegar (although that didn’t work for #4), and pregnancy pizza (it never worked for me but it was a fun experience).

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          Just noting: I was induced 10 days late, and eventually had a C-section, with what turned out to be a 9.5 pound baby with a very large head. (They’d guessed smaller on both based on ultrasound just before.) I don’t think I was having a vaginal birth no matter what I or anyone else did, and the C-section was not a failure on my or anyone else’s part. It was what was needed for a safe delivery in that circumstance.

          1. The New Wanderer*

            Same story here – induced 10 days after my due date, they gave it all day to work, and baby didn’t budge at all. Baby was already larger than anyone expected (9 lb 2 oz) and I have a small frame, so vaginal might have been a real challenge if the induction had worked, much less if it had taken additional days (at several oz of weight gain per day!) before she was born. I hadn’t been mentally prepared for a C-section but it all turned out just fine.

        3. Vic tower*

          Sorry to disagree but actually, there’s now quite a lot of evidence that induction reduces the chance of needing Cs. Even if done as routine at 39 weeks. Not that we want to be intervening all over the place but it’s reassuring that induction doesn’t =Cs as many people fear.
          (I’m an obs/gynae)

          1. Parenthetically*

            I’d love to see that research. The cascade of interventions is real, and in the US anyway, too many women are still pressured into inductions that they don’t medically need.

          2. Observer*

            I’m not going to argue, but cumulative evidence is that induction (outside of some fairly narrow circumstances) doesn’t reduce the chances of a c-section, and that in general, the cascade phenomenon is real.

            The issue is also not just about c-sections. Again, the cumulative evidence points to the conclusion that inductions based simply on supposedly being s few days past the due date does not lead to better outcomes – especially in the long term. Especially since the methods for calculating due dates are not always all that accurate (even the really early sonograms…)

            1. Ender*

              Exactly – the issue isn’t a section or not, it’s whether there is a medical reason for intervention or not. Conclusion of paper above: “Induction of labor at 39 weeks in low-risk nulliparous women did not result in a significantly lower frequency of a composite adverse perinatal outcome” which in laywoman’s terms means there’s no evidence to support the idea that induction at 39 weeks reduces risks. The study found that both groups in the study (those induced at 39 weeks and those who laboured naturally) had similar rates of serious complications / stillbirth.

              Of course its easier for women to deliver smaller babies, so if that was the only concern you would just induce everyone at 37 weeks coz the smaller the baby the easier delivery is. But the woman’s health is not the only concern. it’s bad for babies to be delivered before they are ready. The paper above didn’t consider any negative effects on the baby whatsoever other than stillbirth.

              My youngest had to be induced at 37 weeks for actual medical reasons and needed to be fed every 2 hours round the clock for weeks because he was so small. Best practice is to Let babies stay in till they are ready to come out naturally, unless there is a reason to induce. “it’s not going to kill the baby and it slightly reduces the risk of a section” is NOT a good reason to induce early.

              1. Observer*

                Well, for decades the idea was that the smaller the baby was the better. That’s where most of the (scientifically unfounded) ideas about the need to restrict weight gain in pregnancy came from. It wasn’t until a study a major hospital in Boston showed that restricting weight gain really didn’t do much for women or babies.

            2. Vic tower*

              Thanks for not arguing!
              Perhaps you can provide data to back up your assertions too? Mine is based on both experience and data.
              All the best for your labour and delivery KLchica. Hopefully you go in to labour spontaneously very soon and all discussions of induction are moot!

              1. Observer*

                I’m not going to bother for a pair simple reasons. Firstly, an abstract of a single study doesn’t mean that the data supports you. You’re also ignoring the fundamental issue which is not c-section rate but overall outcome. And even this abstract which you are indicating proves that early inductions are good, indicates that when you look at the entire picture, there is not a benefit.

                1. Lavender Menace*

                  But the original question was about whether it reduced c-sections, not about the overall outcome.

                2. TL -*

                  Well, the paper actually does suggest there may be a benefit to inducing at full-term but that it a) would need further investigation and b) is unlikely to be a large enough benefit – with the exception of reducing unplanned c-sections by 20%, which is worth serious consideration – to make a huge difference in healthcare protocols.

            3. TL -*

              Just to clarify the paper – I pulled and read most of it (it’s 1 am here so not up for indepth stats reading) – they did control fairly well for gestational age.
              They also looked at whole host of outcomes, not just perinatal death or severe neonatal complications, including less severe outcomes for both baby and mom. Their main conclusion was no significant difference in risk, but decreased risk of c-section, between induced labor and expectant management (not induced labor and spontaneous labor).
              The study wasn’t well-powered enough to confidently assess super rare adverse events, though, which are usually the most serious ones.

            4. Lavender Menace*

              I found this article that discusses the peer reviewed research in the area:


              It appears that a lot of the prior research that was done were retrospective studies, and many of the new studies being done were RCTs or cohort studies.

              Here’s another meta-analysis of 157 research studies that show that the risk of a c-section is actually lower with induction (for term and post-term babies).


          3. bunniferous*

            Had all my babies naturally, and they were all about two weeks late. They were larger than expected, so you are not wrong…..and my last one was induced. But avoiding medical intervention if possible is safest. (I said if possible.Not always possible.)

        4. Spero*

          Please remember that a c section is not a failure or by any means the worst outcome possible. The worst outcome is a stillbirth, which becomes more likely the more induction is delayed. If you are certain of your dates and know you’re at term, and the various tricks aren’t working, go for induction. It’s better safe than sorry.

          1. Observer*

            That’s pure scaremongering.

            I don’t think that a c-section is the worst possible outcome. Nor do most reasonable people. But the idea that at 5 days past due date there is a significant risk of still birth, absent any other indicators, is just totally not based on any facts.

            1. Ender*

              Yeah that’s ridiculous. Keep counting your kicks and if baby’s movements change go straight to hospital. But until about 12 days overdue there is no more risk of stillbirth than at any time in pregnancy. Telling someone that they are at a higher risk of stillbirth at 5 days over is blatantly untrue.

          2. TL -*

            Or maternal death, which also happens.

            Humans are not exceptionally good at giving birth. We are adequate enough to assure continuation of the species…but we’re not very good at it, really. Medicine is what has made it possible for us to get really, really good at it.

            1. Ender*

              I don’t know if you intended this, but it seems like you are saying KLChica should succumb to the pressure to have an induction she doesn’t want at 5 days over because otherwise she’s risking death. If that is what you are saying that’s just ridiculous. There’s zero evidence that induction this early reduces maternal death rates.

              1. TL -*

                Not at all! Just that the worst outcome is not only a stillbirth and also agreeing that any form of birth that ends up with a healthy baby and a healthy mom (or the healthiest baby and mom possible, depending on risk factors going into the birthing process) is a successful birth. Having a c-section or an induction is not a failure if that’s what ends up happening.

                1. Kat in VA*

                  Agreed. I’ve had four c-sections, the first one a whip-fast emergency due to a rare complication (heavily prolapsed cord). If the end result is healthy baby + healthy mom, there shouldn’t be any shaming over how said healthy baby got into the world.

                  Still, some people insist shaming C-section mothers, or stating things like “Oh, you took the easy way out, huh?” Nah, I didn’t want my kid to wind up dead or severely brain-damaged due to lack of oxygen, and myself with a possible uterine inversion because so much of the cord was piled on top of his head, but thanks for that comment about my supposed laziness.

                  People can get so freakin’ judgy about birth (don’t get me started on breastfeeding, whether you do/don’t, how often, how long, supplement or not…I’m still angry and my youngest is NINE.)

      2. JJ Winch*

        I was recently induced at 37 weeks due to IUGR. Nothing went the way I hoped: I had to be induced, the baby was born early, my doctor wasn’t available, we had to supplement with formula right from the start, etc.
        And none of it matters now! My baby is beautiful, growing, healthy and strong. I love her dearly. Whatever happens, induction or no, you have something wonderful ahead of you.

    2. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Have you tried the sex, spicy food, walking, etc to induce naturally?

      In the meantime, try to sleep now because once the baby comes, I hear it’s a precious commodity. Just remember that you have the right to make your own decisions and as long as there isn’t any danger to you or the baby, you don’t have to induce.

      Sending you all the positive vibes for an easy delivery.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      We told our baby that it was fine to come out, the snow was done, but she didn’t believe us. We drove to the hospital to the inducement appointment in mid-April through heavy snow.

      (Induction… I wouldn’t do it for entertainment, but with all this stuff–at the end you have a baby! And incredible hormones that affect your short-term memory so, like, you’re aware in the abstract that it wasn’t much fun, but the emotional tags on the experience aren’t really there so it’s more a remote knowledge. And there’s a baby! I had meningitis a few years later and it did NOT feature an adorable infant or memory suppressing hormones.)

      1. Parenthetically*

        “the emotional tags on the experience aren’t really there so it’s more a remote knowledge”

        Yeah, this is really not universally true at all. I have good friends who are still dealing with deep emotional trauma years later because of difficult labors/inductions/unwanted C-sections.

    4. Lunar Rainbow*

      For what it’s worth, I’ve had 3 babies and not a single one of them arrived on time. My first was nearly two weeks past, my second was around 10 days past, and my last was 7 days past. It’s really common, so try not to worry! And if they do have to induce, it’s not as scary as you might be thinking. My second was induced and, aside from progressing more quickly than my first delivery, there really wasn’t much of a difference. And, at least for me, it was reassuring to have so many nurses keeping an eye on both me and the baby throughout labor and delivery. So do your best to relax, keep busy (if you can), and enjoy this time before your little one arrives.

      1. Mallory*

        My first came at 41+5 the morning I was scheduled to be induced.

        My second was induced at 41+6 and once she got the message it was time to leave, she was out in less than an hour. Great experience.

        My third was 3 days early. I was shocked. Like, we didn’t have a name finalized and I had so much stuff to do because I thought I had 2 more weeks!

        I’d say put the induction off as long as you can (for healthy pregnancies seems to be no later than 42 weeks) assuming you’re feeling good. And every day it’s more likely baby will come! At least you know one way or the other next week you’ll have a baby!

    5. Ender*

      In most countries they won’t induce until 10 days over unless there’s a medical reason. Just being 5 days over with no complications is not by itself reason to induce.

      However try not to worry – I was induced on my second and no complications in fact it was way easier than my first!

      If you’re not already doing it start perineal massage it reduces the risk of a tear

      1. NewMom*

        In the US, they frequently induce right at 40 weeks, and many doctors do elective inductions starting at 39 weeks.

          1. The New Wanderer*

            US, and my first wasn’t recommended to be induced until 10 days after the due date. I did have a scheduled C-section with my second a week before the due date (clinic policy did not allow for VBAC), but not an induction.

        1. Observer*

          This is common – and based on no evidence whatsoever. In fact, all of the evidence we have indicates that this is a really stupid idea.

          1. TL -*

            Looking at the paper posted above, it’s actually kind of a net neutral – c-sections go up if you wait to induce, by a small but significant percentage, but inducing early doesn’t have any negative effects on outcomes otherwise.

            1. Ender*

              It actually doesn’t say it doesn’t have any negative consequences. It just says it doesn’t increase the risk of stillbirth or “serious maternal complications”. They didn’t consider any of the other negative consequences that can happen.

              The reason early induction reduces C-section risk is simple: the smaller a baby is the less likely you are to need a section. But low birthweight babies have lots of other problems other than stillbirth which the study didn’t even bother investigating.

              1. TL -*

                I pulled the paper and they looked at a whole host of primary outcomes (serious neonatal and perinatal complications) as well as secondary outcomes that included less serious baby/mother complications; this aim was not included in the abstract.
                Babies in the induction group had less respiratory complications and shorter hospital stays. Women who were induced had less hypertensive disorders and were less likely to have extensions of uterine incisions during c-section (but that is probably tied to having larger babies in the non-induced group.) These, however, were small differences; the largest difference was in the c-section rate.
                Overall, the relative risk was 20% lower for the induction group but their main conclusion was that there was likely to be no difference in risk (and a decrease in c-sections) for induction compared to expectant management. (but not induction versus spontaneous labor.)
                However, the study wasn’t well-powered enough to really look at rare (generally the most serious) outcomes. It was well-powered enough to look at the less serious, secondary outcomes, where it did find no increase in risk.

                1. TL -*

                  KLChica – this isn’t evidence arguing that you should pick one way or the other; just clarifying the study!
                  You should make the medical decisions you and your doctor are comfortable with.

                2. Ender*

                  Thanks for clarification its good to know it doesn’t increase risks of labour significantly. I would point out that lower birth weight can cause various problems that don’t show up till well after birth also.

                3. Observer*

                  The other thing is that it’s a short term study – what’s been overlooked for years is the longer term effects, like how often do kids who were born early need interventions etc. that kids born at full term. And the studies that are finally being done are sobering. Not that early birth means “OMG baby is going to be handicapped all their lives!!!” or anything crazy like that. But, yes, there really is a difference. Not enough to not do it if there is a real medical reason! But, enough that it’s just a good idea to avoid it if there is no real medical reason to do it.

                4. TL -*

                  There was no indication these babies were at risk from being born ‘early’ – they were all carried to full term, then induced, and nothing suggested they had low birth weight (which is increasingly uncommon in USA for full term babies.)

            2. Newmom*

              FWIW, I think that study lumps together first time moms with moms on births 2+. It’s my understanding inductions are rougher for FTMs in general b/c the body hasn’t been through that before. Everyone I know who has been induced with a first had it take 24+ hours and was pretty miserable, even if all other outcomes were good. And even if total labor duration is similar for induction vs natural labor for a first time mom, if you wait longer and go into labor on your own, you at least get to labor at home for a while.

              Natural labor generally seems easier on the body and has fewer side effects. There was a lot that was suboptimal about my labor, but once it was over and done with, I was totally alert, able to walk, etc, because I had had zero drugs. I only know 2 women who were able to go through an induction with zero pain meds, and I think a lot of that has to do with just the extra length of time/extra stress of being in the hospital for so long.

              1. TL -*

                They didn’t control for already having a kid (or ask at all, interestingly), but they did ask about labor pain and the expectant management group (the non-induced group) had slightly but significantly labor worse pain by rating it on a 1-10 scale.

                1. Newmom*

                  Oh, I’m totes sure that I’d rate labor pain higher than many women, induced or not. Baby high to baby in arms in ~15 minutes does… damage. But I would think the longer duration of pain–and inductions are longer for first time moms–would mean more drugs. Even if I *had* wanted drugs, they weren’t an option. I stayed home too long. But if things had kept up as they were? You bet your ass I would have gotten drugs, commitment to “natural birth” be damned.

                  FWIW, I gave birth at a Harvard affiliated teaching hospital that specifically avoids inducing first time moms before 41.5 weeks without a medical indication because they have determined that it leads to a higher rate of complications. Second time moms? You can sign right up at 39 weeks! No difference in outcomes for induction vs natural onset according to them. Now this just may be their internal data. They did offer to me at 40 weeks b/c my prodromal labor was putting significant stress on me (and presumably the baby), but they really didn’t push it. More like a “There are pros and cons to each. It’s up to you.” sorta thing. But I’m also sure I would have gotten a difference response from OBs vs the midwives group I was seeing (one midwife legit recommended wine to help with the prodromal labor).

                2. TL -*

                  Well, pain drugs aren’t a negative outcome for a birth, so they didn’t measure that.

                  But they had over 3000 women in each arm of the study (3000 induced and 3000 expectant management) and they were randomly assigned, so each side should have gotten the same number of first time versus 2+ moms, which means that any differences should have been cancelled out, pain or otherwise.

                  And yes, the studies that they cited, which looked at spontaneous labor versus induction, showed that spontaneous labor was safer*. Here, they were specifically looking at women who went past their due date being managed by expectant watching versus women who were induced at term. It should probably be repeated with first time moms only if there’s a significant difference already in safety/birthing profiles for them, but I don’t know.

                  *the main study they cited was a UK one that had design and outcome flaws that made its findings not as relevant to the USA.

    6. Enough*

      Children 2&3 were induced. Liked this as I got to schedule it and to sleep the night before and labor was about 8 hrs versus 24 hrs for #1. And all my children were big so waiting for them to get bigger was not appealing.

    7. Bou*

      My second baby was born 16 days after my due date. I’m in Canada (so free health care) and I had a check on heart rate and fluid around the baby every few days after the 1-week past mark. There was lots of fluids and good heart rate (key factors in my comfort to keep waiting) and the doctor was amazing about providing information, and not pressuring to induce (there simply isn’t a lot of data on births at the “late” end of the gestation-length-bell-curve, but as a scientist I was very comfortable with a week or more “late” being well within the bell curve of normal- at two weeks you’re at the tail end. Length of gestation simply varies! Anyway I went into natural labour about 1 am and daughter born by 7 am, and she had no signs of being “in too long” (and I knew when she was conceived so it was ~42 weeks gestation. (This is in stark contrast to my oldest and son: I was in labour many hours, he was stuck, and I was medicated from my small town to have an unplanned c-section). This is to encourage you. If you’re comfortable with things, being 5 days “late” is only late compared to average of what is actually a range of very normal numbers!! Good luck. Try to get rest, that will become In shorter supply over the next couple years!

    8. NewMom*

      Keep holding out! Unless you have medical complications, there’s no medical reason to induce before 42 weeks. Median length of a healthy pregnancy (that doesn’t end in induction) for a FTM is 40 weeks, 6 days. I delivered at a teaching hospital that was totally happy to let me go to 42 weeks even though I had one complication (marginal cord insertion, but growth was always fine, so no evidence that it caused any problems).

      I went to 41 weeks with my stubborn little dude. I had an “aggressive” membrane sweep at 41 weeks on the dot and had the baby in my arms almost exactly 12 hours later. Ask if they’ll do a sweep. Risks are low and it has a ~50% chance of causing labor within 24 hours.

      Get out and walk, walk, and walk some more! Even if it doesn’t help with bringing the baby any faster, it’ll be good for stress.

      And the lack of sleep is normal! I was a special case (prodromal labor is the worst thing ever) but as soon as the baby was on the outside, I was actually sleeping better/more. I did not follow recommendations and introduced a bottle early (2 weeks) so that I could sleep a longer stretch and my husband could feed the baby. It caused zero problems with breastfeeding (in fact, the little stinker went through a bottle-refusing phase shortly before I went back to work).

    9. Arya Parya*

      My daughter was born 1 week past the due date. There was a little talk of induction, but in my country they only induce if the baby is more than two weeks late (unless there is a medical reason to induce earlier). I know someone who had the induction planned, but the birth started naturally the night before. So relax, there’s still plenty of time for the baby to come out without inducing.

    10. Ranon*

      Late first baby solidarity! Mine hung out in there an extra week. My doctor joked that scheduling an induction tended to encourage the baby to come out before that deadline (which is clearly nonsense, but it’s sure a nicer way of looking at it!). Scheduling doesn’t mean you’ll definitely have an induction, it just means if the show’s not on the road by that day then that’s your next path forward. If you prefer to wait as long as possible, have the conversation about how long they’re willing to wait and then get that date on the calendar so it’s not a topic of discussion anymore. If you’re worried about induction I’d suggest taking through with your doctor how the process will go and get all the details you need to feel more comfortable.

      Ultimately babies come as they come, there are loads of people out there that have had wonderfully successful inductions and wonderfully successful spontaneous labors and great scheduled c-sections and great unscheduled c-sections (personally I’m a pretty great fan of mine, it was a very positive experience as those things go). Now is a great time to black out all the negative stories and just focus on what you can control – which sad to say isn’t much! But no matter what, you’re definitely not going to be pregnant for too much longer! (I hear people get excited about the baby part, too, but not being pregnant any more was a real highlight of the birth experience for me)

      There’s so much messaging out there that puts the burden of the birth process and experience on the mother, but honestly so so much of what happens is up to the universe. Which sucks, but it is what it is, there’s no changing it through force of will or personal actions. You’re doing great, and I hope everything goes well!

    11. dawbs*

      IF you do induce, don’t panic.
      It will be fine. (I was induced at just a day shy of 42 weeks–and mine was a ‘convenience’ induction, in a way–it was a holiday weekend and I didn’t want to be stuck with whoever was on call [ie, the doc in the practice I liked least] that weekend, and my mom was mid-chemo when we had the baby affected her ability to actually meet and HOLD said baby).
      My L&D was…picture perfect?
      I mean, not painless, but It wasn’t especially painful (yes, I was medicated/epidural-ed and not going natural–I like good drugs when needed).–I had been warned how much worse pico could make labor–and it may be true, but it didn’t make mine super miserable.

      It was not especially short or long, average. And baby and I were fine–no complications, natural delivery, and a bit ‘excessive tearing’ (FTR, I kinda think all tearing is excessive :P) was the only ‘bad’ outcome–and that *might* be more common with induction than not, but, I could deal.

      You have good medical care. You have a good plan. ANd no matter how this works, you’ll leave with a baby. Even if it’s not exactly what you wanted. Which, I know doesn’t make the stress any less, because perspective is hard when you’re staring it down. But it will be OK.

    12. LilySparrow*

      My first was induced at about 5 days past EDD because the U/S showed my amniotic fluid was low. I was already in very early labor, apparently, but with the fluid being low they needed to accelerate it.

      We started with IV fluids, walking, and prostaglandins overnight and got things well underway. But again, not quite fast enough for my midwife to be happy about the fluid situation. They started Pitocin at 11am and she was born at 5:30. I did hypnobirthing and was able to go without an epidural, but I did take a hit of Demerol right at the end to take the edge off transition.

      Happy healthy baby. Tired but happy healthy mom. Win-win.

      That’s your goal. Birthing isn’t about ideological purity or doing it “right.” Healthy baby, healthy mom = win.

      If you trust your doctor, listen to their advice. And I’d certainly hope you had the choice of a doctor you trust. Normal, imperfect, healthy birth stories are the vast majority. You’ll be fine.

      Drink water, eat some extra-hot spicy food and have all the walking and sex you can manage. (Sounds like a pretty good weekend, actually).

    13. Sandman*

      All three of my babies were born around 41 weeks. My first was a pretty normal 7 1/2 lbs.; the second two were 9 lbs. even and just shy of 10 lbs., respectively – the bigger babies were actually easier to birth, strangely enough. This might sound a little crazy, but acupuncture and moxibustion (a heat treatment on acupuncture points) might help if you have a place near you. My doctor in Japan recommended it to help turn my breech baby and it worked very quickly, and recommended it to prepare for birth as well. You could tell he felt a little weird suggesting it to me and said he didn’t know why it worked, but had found it very effective. I’ve also had my membranes stripped to get things going. (I did both things for my latest baby and had labor start that day, but couldn’t tell you which, if either, it was that got things going!) Good luck and sending you baby-now vibes!

    14. Anonymosity*


      Let me know if that helped, LOL.

    15. Double A*

      Just wanna say hi and good luck! My due date is next Friday. I have no signs of things getting moving. I just kind of assume I’ll be pregnant forever and I keep planning things to do. At some point I’ll have to cancel my plans and hopefully I’ll be like, “what, already!?!” Even though it’s 42 weeks or something.

      Also I’m just watching tons of movies and TV.

    16. DrTheLiz*

      I am serenely confident that the baby will be fine: I was C-sectioned at three weeks post-term. (They didn’t want to induce because I was face-down and Mother had a slightly awkwardly-placed coccyx). I was a little thin, but otherwise just fine – the biggest annoyance is that if I’d come out at term I’d be a week older than my cousin instead of two weeks younger!

    17. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      Eviction notice: come out and meet your family, wee baby!

      I had my membranes swept (SO UNCOMFORTABLE) the day before I was due and the doc scheduled my induction for the next week because she said I was not open for business at all. My water broke that night! I still needed induction meds because I didn’t have contractions like I needed to after water breaking though.

      I’ve heard tons of stories with and without induction and experiences vary so much. Best of luck when your little one decides to start the proceedings.

    18. Observer*

      I do want to reiterate one thing: Neither an induction nor a c-section are a “failure”.

      It’s good to avoid both in most cases, because it tends to be better for mother and baby. But, if there turns out to be a medical need? Go for it without a second thought. Treating it like a “failure” is like calling a migraine a “failure.” I, for one, am perturbed at the number of unnecessary c-sections done in the US but at the same time, I am HUGELY grateful for the accessibility of c-sections for when they are necessary.

      1. TL -*

        If I recall correctly – and I haven’t looked this up recently so feel free to correct me if you’ve got the data – C-sections are actually a slightly safer form of birth for the baby but a less safe one for the mom (it being major surgery and all that), all other factors controlled for.

        1. Observer*

          I don’t have the data – it’s been a long time since I looked. But it turns out that the risks of vaginal delivery (assuming appropriately skilled medical professionals) are not as high vs c-section as thought in low risk healthy pregnancies.

          1. Newmom*

            IIRC, it’s different risks for the baby. Breathing issues w/ c-section vs things like shoulder dystocia with vaginal.

            The additional risks for the mom for a c-section are really quite significant, and I recall reading some data that basically argued that what difference is seen in the first few months between c-section and vaginal birth babies may be due in part to things related to the easier recovery from vaginal births (ex: having a c-section reduces the likelihood of breast feeding)

          2. TL -*

            I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say that a c-section is always presumed safer than a vaginal delivery, especially for a low risk healthy mom. Any way you slice it, c-sections are major surgery for the mom; that is a significant risk factor.
            There are definitely individual cases where they are far safer than vaginal births (my mom, for instance, couldn’t give birth naturally) and they’re not so much more risky that elective c-sections are a bad idea. But when you actually start breaking down the risk profiles of vaginal versus c-section, it’s not as simple as “one is far superior to the other.”

        2. Lilysparrow*

          We’re also just starting to explore the effects of vaginal birth on the micro-biome, and its relationship to long term health. There are indications that it’s actively beneficial for the baby in many ways to have a vaginal birth, if possible.

          But that’s parenting, isn’t it? There are many layers of risks & benefits, and you navigate them as best you can in your personal circumstances.

          1. TL -*

            Yeah, I thought about including that but there’s just so much we don’t know there that I don’t think we’re at a point where we can actually say it affects the risks for the baby.

    19. pcake*

      My doctor let me go a full 30 days late, tried to induce, and 8 hours later I was in the hospital having a C-section, which was much easier for me than my first child. The attempt to induce didn’t hurt my daughter at all – she’s 41 (whoa – how can that be?!), and she was a big, although not huge, baby.

      I’m not sure why doctors are so often in a rush to induce. My first baby, my son, was also a full month late, and my labor with him started on its own.

    20. NotANewMomma*

      Yay for a new baby!! My first was due to be induced 2 weeks late at 5 am. She chose to break my water at 3am, and come at just after 10am with only an epidural. My last (5th pregnancy, 4th live birth) I self induced w a crochet hook by breaking the sack in the shower. This IS risky, I dont tell it because I think its reasonable AT ALL. But for me and dumpling, it was the best possible choice when our doctor couldnt do anything because of medical guidelines. Research what you choose! And know that doctors know whats what, even if they dont acknowledge it because GUIDELINES!

    21. BetsCounts*

      My first was induced promptly at 41 weeks because I had gestational diabetes and the dr’s didn’t want her to get any bigger. I was super nervous when we went in for the appointment but I went home with a beautiful little girl who is now almost 8! Time flies! The end result is what is important- try not to feel too anxious about how it happens. Good luck!!!

  10. roach issue*

    Sorry if this is gross, but I’m having a bit of a roach problem. I’m taking care of it but one weak point is that I have cats and typically I leave their food out. I tried to remove all food for a night but the cats woke me up because they were hungry. I also don’t think I can not leave food all day as I am out long hours on some days. I looked into some automatic feeders but I don’t think they’re sealed enough for a roach. Any suggestions?

    1. HannahS*

      When I had roaches in my last apartment (and apparently have them in my new one, ugh) the only thing that worked was the gel/dust treatment that was applied by professionals. It’s this toxic stuff that goes in the corners of cabinets, and it poisons the roaches. Since roaches are wee nasty cannibals, the poison spreads. Over the course of maybe 2-3 months, I saw a huge difference–from multiple roaches nearly daily, to maybe one every few days. Then I moved, so I don’t know if it would have eradicated them entirely. I tried spraying with stuff from the store and it did absolutely nothing; I don’t recommend it.

      1. Jessen*

        The only question is whether it’s cat safe. I know that your average feline will happily snack on any roaches they can catch. Also gross, but that’s cats.

    2. MuttIsMyCopilot*

      Can you create a barrier that the cats can cross, but will prevent roaches from reaching the food? Maybe set their dish on a short table (with enough room for the cats to jump up and sit on while they eat) and put each table leg in a dish of water or slather them with vaseline to keep roaches from climbing up. I’ve had to do that with dogfood and bird cages to keep ants away.

      1. tangerineRose*

        When I had ants, I would put the kitty food bowls on a small tray filled with water. The tray was small enough that the cats had no problem eating, but the ants couldn’t get to the food because the water was in the way. Would that work for roaches?

      2. Slartibartfast*

        Military housing is full of them, and unless it’s a stinging insect or black widows, bugs are a ‘nuisance’ and families just had to deal with it. Ceramic dishes in a shallow pan filled with water was what I had to do. Still had bugs but they would drown before reaching the food bowl.

    3. PB*

      I used to live in one of the ten most roach-infested cities in the country. Roaches were inevitable. I hated it! I found the most effective thing is roach baits. The poison is hidden in a little container, small enough for roaches (even big ones) to get into, but safely out of reach of pets. It’s not 100%, of course. A cat could interpret the trap as a toy and start batting it around. The Combat site has some suggestions for mitigating this.

      Good luck, and I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this.

    4. LilySparrow*

      Diatomaceous earth kills ants, spiders, and roaches but is harmless to mammals. It’s not poison, it erodes the exoskeleton. You wouldn’t want to get it in your eyes because it’s gritty and irritating, but it’s harmless (though unpleasant) to eat.

      You can also wrap the legs of a small stepstool in Teflon tape to prevent them climbing. Not sure if water would be a barrier. They seek water.

      If you Google “cockroach assassin” there’s a website with a lot of free info.

      1. Sabine the Very Mean*

        Seconding diatomaceous earth but if it’s really bad, Google green exterminators in your area. They use a compound made of chrysanthemum. It’s safe for cats and you won’t alter the DNA of the roaches and possibly mutate an entire species with poison.

    5. nonegiven*

      Zap-a-roach from Amazon.

      We’d had MIL’s house professionally treated and retreated multiple times and the roaches never went away, even after the house was empty and all food and trash cleaned out, until we went over the entire kitchen with the powder.

      1. LilySparrow*

        That’s boric acid. It’s less toxic than some pesticides, but its safety for cats is questionable.

    6. Star Nursery*

      From what I’ve read roaches are interested in water sources so you’ll probably see more near bathrooms and kitchen. We moved into a new home and saw some roaches. We had gotten rid of roaches by putting out a roach bait from the grocery store. Also I keep the dishes cleaned up in case they were enticed by food bits in dirty plates.
      The roach bait box explains where to put the poison baits but basically it’s something like 10 baits that you put under the sinks, under counters, behind toilets, etc. Put each roach bait in spots that kitty cannot get to so that kitty doesn’t get into the poison. We have pets so we do put the bait out of their reach. You’ll want to replace all the bait every so many months. I think it was something like 6 months before we saw any more roaches so we replaced all the baits again.

      1. Star Nursery*

        Also, meant to add I haven’t noticed roaches by the cat food dish. We haven’t seen any roaches since winter so I think the roach bait poison from the grocery store is doing the trick. We do keep dry cat food available all the time on top of a side table to keep it out of the reach of our dog. Good luck!

    7. Close Bracket*

      Advion or Abathor gel. They are both magic, but you do have to reapply every 1-1.5 months. I have the most disgusting infestation at my place, and it’s been there ever since I moved in. I think my stuff got infested on the moving van. The Advion really, really helped. I combined it with boric acid tablets in places the cats can’t reach and Gentrol growth inhibitor. I went from seeing 1-3 roaches per day to 1 per month. It comes in baits, too. The gel smells f*cking gross.

      You can dust *lightly* with boric acid powder, but it will harm your cat if it ingests it. It coats the roaches legs, and they take it back inside the walls where other roaches ingest it and die (roaches are cannibals). If you use diatomaceous earth, you also need a light dusting. It works by cutting the carapace of the roaches, which then die of dehydration. If you use food grade diatomaceous earth, you can spread it in more places without harming your cat. You could dust the floors and counter tops at night, for example. The regular stuff will harm your cat (and you) if it ingests it.

      Effing roaches. I hate them.

  11. Detective Amy Santiago*

    I’m in the US and my person is in Canada. We’re making plans to get married so she can move here. Any tips, tricks, personal stories, etc would be very much appreciated.

    1. Kat A.*

      Why move to the US? Does your significant other want to lose their healthcare? Work for low wages and benefits so the 1% can get a fourth private jet? Be promised a pension only to have that promise broken?

      Go to Canada. Learn to ski. If you break a leg, at least you’ll have healthcare. /snark

      1. Courageous cat*

        So edgy. And not at all useful in this context so maybe a different thread would be nice if you want to continue.

    2. Secret Keeper*

      I got a fiancé visa for my husband in 1996. We were married secretly in a courthouse ceremony because it would have killed his parents if he’d married me at that time. (They already felt they were losing him to immigration and they didn’t like me at the time.)

      We kept our wedding a secret, moved to a different city, and set up a totally normal life as a married couple – everyone in city #2 knew we were married, very few people from our hometowns knew. We passed the interviews with no problem and he got a green card.

      We were married in a church ceremony in 2004, with all of our friends and family in attendance, a some of whom thought we were getting married for the first time and some of whom knew the truth.

      My point is – it’s okay to be creative and pragmatic – have a legal wedding to expedite the paperwork and legal stuff – have the big ol’ fun celebration whenever you want.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        We are likely gonna do the private legal ceremony with a big celebration later thing just to make things easier. With a fiancee visa, you have 90 days from the time it’s granted to get married which means you’re either taking a risk or planning in haste.

    3. pancakes*

      Get married in a state that will protect the legality of your marriage at the state constitutional level if the Supreme Court reverses Obergefell v. Hodges.

    4. Cookie Monster*

      Document all aspects of your relationships for when she applies for her spouse-based green card. Save receipts from plane tickets back and forth, collect photos with each other (ideally both shots of just you as a couple, and group shots, make sure you’re wearing different clothes in them and they show passage of time), basically anything to prove you’re a couple. Also start brainstorming family and friends who can testify to your relationship and say nice things about how great you are together. This will be super helpful when you’re applying for her. Also, note that if you apply within two years of getting married, her green card will be conditional for two years and then you’ll need to re-apply for removal of conditions. (Source: not a lawyer but did work in immigration law for awhile.)

    5. Moose Javian*

      Get married in the U.S. if you both want to live in the U.S. – this way, you can apply for the K1 visa now (or in the foreseeable future) while they’re in Canada, and once they move down to the States for the wedding, they get to stay in the States while awaiting the green card. The process is not fast – I did it in 2004 and it took 9 months to get the visa – but it’s still faster than getting married outside the States and then applying for the spousal visa, which is taking a year or longer right now.
      Personally, we got married in Vegas, as it was easy to plan with less than a month’s notice – as soon as we had the interview scheduled at the consulate, we booked a ceremony – and our friends and family were happy to meet us halfway between my home and my partner’s.

    6. Parenthetically*

      My husband just got his green card last year, so this is all very fresh. The regulations have changed a lot in the last ten years. We spent about $2500 for the forms/fees and our attorney.

      Fiance visas take a LONG time (~18 months, last I heard). Once the visa comes through, your S.O. would enter the country and you’d have something like 30 days to get married. You’d obviously do the planning during the visa processing period. She could visit in that time. Your other option is for her to come for a visit and, during that visit, you decide to get married, whereupon you can apply for what’s called and “adjustment of status” from a visa waiver to a spouse visa. This is in some ways an easier and quicker option, but you cannot technically plan to get married prior to the visit, lest you be seen to be trying to circumvent the normal processes — no matter how byzantine, expensive, and frustrating the “right way” is, it’s technically fraud to try to get around it.

      My honest advice: negotiate a flat rate with an immigration attorney up front to help with all the paperwork. I don’t know how we would have done it without ours. She was able to advocate for us during an incredibly frustrating snafu with medical paperwork, and as stressful as it all was, I know it would have been 100 times more stressful without her. The amount and variety of forms, fees, and requirements were so overwhelming. I know plenty of people navigate it without help, but if you have the money, it’s absolutely worth it to have someone walking you through the process.

      Immigration processing is federal government bureaucracy on steroids, and I wish you the best of luck navigating it. I’m happy to answer questions if you have any.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Legal assistance is a benefit I can get at my job and I was thinking about using it for this.

        She’s coming out in November and we’re going to be figuring out stuff, so I’m sure we’ll have more questions then :)

        1. Parenthetically*

          Absolutely take advantage of any legal assistance you can get. My husband and I are both white, English-speaking, middle-class, and college-educated, thus least likely to face discrimination in the process — and spouse visas are about the easiest version of a visa — but we still found the process incredibly stressful.

          1. Detective Amy Santiago*

            We’re both white, she’s Canadian, but we’re both women, so I’m not sure if that will be an issue or not.

    7. Traffic_Spiral*

      Check, double-check, and triple-check the immigration paperwork. It’s a PITA, but better than messing something up.

    8. CU person*

      I recommend Visajourney forums, everything you need to do is spelled out there in their guides (no need for lawyers).
      They also have a comparison between K (finance) and CR (spusal) visa and personal accounts of people who went through them (Many K-holders are saying in retrospect they wold have gone for a spousal visa, superior in many ways (and cheaper in the long run). Wishing you luck, my sister came on a spousal visa, I got here by winning Diversity lottery.

    9. Cristina in England*

      You will need to be very careful about her visiting the US while all of this is pending. Make sure you check with your lawyer about whether she is not allowed to enter US during certain stages in the process, as there are restrictions on movement while it is all going through.

    10. Mary Ann*

      I would consult an attorney who specializes in immigration law. Immigration, even as a spouse, is getting more different these days.

      Best of luck to you!

      PS not sure where you are going but come to the Capital District of NY. We have a large progressive community. Not to mention a rich history, beautiful scenery and easy access to the rest of the world.

  12. Relationship Anon*

    Going anon because that I’m unclear or have forgotten the norms feels embarrassing.

    In a dating relationship of some seriousness (a year plus, expressed love to another) and allowing that each is unique, how often do you typically see your SO? Daily, 2x/week, etc? When you do see one another, is it for long periods of time or just a meal and chat? Is there anything I’ve forgotten that you find important about time spent together?

    1. alex*

      I think in a “dating relationship of some seriousness,” daily communication is expected.
      Contact (ie being in the same space)– that just entirely depends on the scenario. What’s the spacial arrangement?

    2. Perpetua*

      As you say, people are unique and have different needs, so I think this is really something to be figured out between the people in the relationship.

      I’ve had three adult(-ish) relationships so far, aged 19-21; 24-26; and I’m in my current one since I was 27 (I’m 30 now). All three of them were fairly intense from the beginning (no casual dating), so we saw each other 4-6x a week, usually for a couple of hours after school/work. In my current one, he moved in with me after less than two months, so that might be less common.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      General rule: If the two people in the relationship (romantic or otherwise) are happy with those things, then it doesn’t matter if it looks like anyone else’s.

      On long periods of time together–I think if you want the relationship to become more (and that’s not a requirement) then stretches of time where you are just together in a mundane, getting things done over the weekend way are useful. The opposite of the long distance relationship where your time together is a special remove from everyday life, unfettered by practical issues like calling an electrician about the light switch that gets warm.

    4. Ender*

      After a year I’ve always been in daily (or almost daily) communication. Depending on how far apart we lived I would have seen them once a week to 3+ times a week, and I think with one partner we were living together already at that stage. We would have moved past the going out on big dates stage and mostly just hanging out at home

    5. The Person from the Resume*

      My expectations at this time frame is daily communication and seeing each around 5-7 days a week. I’d expect to sleep together overnight at least a couple of days a week.

      That said distance between home, compatibility of work schedules, etc play a big factor in what makes sense for you.

      But after a year and declarations of love I expect your partner to be your primary relationship (other than children) and you’d want to spend most your free time with them and want to share many experiences together. And if there are kids after a year and declarations of love your getting to the point where you should have met them and be spending time with the kids as a couple.

      * as long as you’re not in a long distance relationship.

    6. Not a Mere Device*

      It depends on the individuals. I’m an outlier here, I know, but one of mine is at “weekly overnight date nights, text a little most days.” You might find that you like spending most weekends together, plus two or three lunch or dinner dates during the week. Geography does matter: if it’s five minutes from your house to theirs, just dropping in for an hour makes sense in a way that it doesn’t when it takes an hour each way, MBTA permitting.

      Two perhaps contradictory things that have been important to me: do let each other into your daily lives, including things like grocery shopping, but make sure you have time to pay attention to each other (so not just chores, or even just chores, sex, and sleep).

    7. Aurora Leigh*

      At the year mark, I was staying over 2-3 nights a week, and on nights I didn’t come over we talked on the phone for about an hour.

      I moved in at about the 18 month mark.

      It’s weird, because I never pictured wanting to spend so much time with another person (I loved my independence when I finally moved out of my parents house) but now I miss him so much if a day goes by where we barely see each other.

    8. Kalico*

      At 2 yrs with my SO. We are both “mature” and own our own homes. We do overnights on weekends, usually at my place but increasingly his, and try to see each other at least one evening during the week. Sometimes he comes over for dinner (I like to cook), sometimes we meet up at the gym and have dinner together after. We are always constantly communicating throughout each day via text. I’m getting to the point where I would like to share a day-to-day life with him.

    9. Anonymosity*

      Okay, obviously, each relationship is different. Ideally, I would expect to talk to him every day. I would expect to see him at least a few times a week and spend most of our weekends together, if we weren’t cohabiting (I won’t do that again unless I’m engaged, for reasons). Generally weeknights would at least be a meal and TV (or a social activity if applicable). If one of us had a huge work thing the next day, sleeping at home is fine. Staying over is also fine; by a year, we’d likely have a few things at each other’s places and maybe even a key exchange.

      I don’t need to know where my partner is every second he’s not with me. But at a year, if someone asked me “Where’s Fergus?” I should be able to answer the question, like “He’s at work today,” or “He’s helping his mum clear out the garage this weekend.” (I’d expect familiarity with his schedule by six months, to be honest.) He should know the same about me and we should be responsive to each other’s attempts at contact. If I never knew where he was or could never get hold of him, that would be a gigantic red flag.

      My next Fergus could have a busy job and we only see each other on weekends. Who knows? But the regular contact is a must.

      My last relationship was long distance (1200 miles). We talked almost every day, but we only saw each other every three months. I hated that–it wasn’t much different from being single. I’d rather not have a long-distance thing with anyone again unless we can get together WAY more often. So either he’d better be rich or I need to be, LOL.

    10. LilySparrow*

      My DH and I moved pretty fast (engaged in 6 months, married in a year). But before we were engaged, seeing him daily was just too much for me, with my other activities and commitments. I’d say in the period after “I love you” and during early engagement, we were in touch daily (by email or phone, texting wasn’t really a thing at the time). We probably saw each other 3-4 times a week for a meal or date, sometimes more. And sometimes it wasn’t a long dedicated activity, but we’d meet after work to ride the train home together, or we’d go run errands together on the weekend, stuff like that.

      By the engagement stage, we were blending our social groups, too. So our “together time” wasn’t necessarily time alone together – we were socializing together a lot (but also saw friends separately sometimes).

    11. a non non*

      Hmm, before I got married, I would generally see my boyfriend/fiance about once a week, usually for an all-day hangout, with occasional overnights (more frequently once I stopped having roommates). It wasn’t long distance, but it was about 1 hour between where we were living, and he was working fairly long hours, which is part of why we mostly saw each other on weekends. We would talk or text most days, though. I would have preferred to hang out more during the week, but logistically it was too difficult to really spend more time together.

    12. LizB*

      When my SO and I were around the point you describe, we spent pretty much every weekend together (Friday night – Sunday night) plus a miscellaneous weeknight hangout every once in a while. There were some factors relating to location, roommates, and transportation that influenced that pattern. We also communicated daily via text. We moved in together after about 2.5 years of dating.

    13. Gloucesterina*

      I moved to a different state from my SO in the first few years of my graduate program, after living together for a couple years. While long-distance, we talked perhaps every two days, so about 3-4x per week, and probably less during exceptionally busy times. That quotient obviously changed when SO moved to my state and we resumed cohabitating.

      In short, a lot of things can change of the course of a relationship that influence a person’s choice of how often and how to spend time together (or not) :)

    14. Lavender Menace*

      It totally depends on you. I dated my husband for 11 years before I we got married; about half of that was long-distance. During the local periods, we saw each other probably 4-7x a week. Sometimes it was just for a meal and a chat and sometimes it was the whole day. It just really depends on what you’re comfortable with and what feels right for the two of you.

  13. something*

    Received a collection robocall purportedly from a well-known healthcare service provider but I’ve never been treated by them before. Suspecting a scam, I googled the number they’d left. It was the Patient Financial Services number shown on that provider’s website so it was a legit collection call. Fearing my ID had been used for stealing/guaranteeing medical services, I called them with some trepidation. They told me my ID hadn’t been used but my phone number was “linked” to another person and they deleted it. Dodged a bullet.
    Has your ID been hacked? Mine has, multiple times, from last employer, Blue Cross Blue Shield (twice!), OPM, Equifax and probably others, and why that robocall rattled me. The OPM hack was the most damaging one; they got everything including family SSNs and DOBs, and my finger- and palm prints. I froze my credit files then. Cost me $10 per credit bureau (Experian was the worst to deal with btw). FYI a new law became effective yesterday 09/21. You can now freeze/unfreeze credit files for free. Please spread the word. Read about it here https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2018/06/free-credit-freezes-are-coming-soon-0

    1. Simonkitty*

      Ours was stolen from the IRS and I’ve been on alert ever since. Thank you for the news about the freeze/unfreeze credit files. My son was affected by the OPM theft.

    2. Anonymosity*

      That damn Equifax one last year got me–I received a warning about it. I froze everything until after tax season. I figured if someone got my info, one of the first things they’d do was file a fraudulent return. Everything was fine, so I unfroze it and haven’t had any problems, thank goodness.

      Also, that Target Black Friday one nailed me a few years ago. The ONE time I went, in the afternoon, to buy a present for a baby! My bank caught that one and mailed me a new debit card, so all was well.

    3. Persimmons*

      I was part of the IRS, Equifax, Target, and Exactis breaches, and those are just off the top of my head. There are more. We constantly get fradulent calls. My husband called my work and demanded that they pull me out of a meeting because he was hysterical over a call that included being threatened with jail for not paying our taxes. I was furious with him, and really embarrassed at his gullibility.

      I recommend signing up for Have I Been Pwned. I find it useful.

    4. Cedrus Libani*

      I recently got a big-company job with a 401K, for the first time in my life, and was less than amused to realize that my identity had three other 401Ks with that provider. (I presume these were all undocumented workers with purchased papers.) Fortunately, there was no money involved, and the bank dealt with the paperwork for me.

      I also had someone give my parents’ number to a healthcare provider. Might have been a typo, don’t know. But this person had my (very common) first name. So, my parents got a surprise phone call, notifying them that it was time to pick up Cedrus from surgery…much freaking out commenced.

  14. Perpetua*

    What are your strategies for dealing with both change and waiting?

    We need to move out of our lovely apartment (thankfully, we have another option right away, so we skipped the stressful apartment search), but it won’t happen for another 2 months. I’m sad about leaving this place and I feel like I can’t even appreciate it in the time left, since I need to let go of it. The new place has some advantages and some drawbacks, and I’m excited about the advantages, but I can’t focus on them either since they still seem so far away, and I don’t want to wish 2 months of my life away.

    Feeling the feelings, is that really all I can do?! :)

    1. WellRed*

      Start slowly packing? It might be fun to “shop” for the new place even if you don’t buu anything. Like, check out Pottery Barn or Wayfairer or new bed linens or ehatever and fantasize.

    2. Not A Manager*

      Remember that Marie Kondo book that was so popular a while back? I’ve found that some of her techniques for letting go of physical objects work for experiences/events/regrets as well.

      Maybe spend some time in your apartment, alone or with your partner, actively thinking about your experiences there, how you’ve changed and grown during the time, etc. Thank your apartment for giving you those experiences and for being the backdrop to your growth. Then say goodbye to the physical space, knowing that you take the growth and the experiences with you.

      I know that sounds kind of silly and woo-woo, but it really has worked for me.

    3. Nobody Special*

      Try wading “on moving: a writer’s reflection on new houses, old haunts and finding home again”. Full of stories about famous writer’s and their moves, entertaining ad well as a road to reflection.

  15. Jayne*

    Several weeks ago one of you lovely people recommended the book Bad Blood. I finally got my hands on it and really enjoyed it, so thank you internet friend!

    Similarly, the movie Wind River was also recommended a few weeks ago, and it is such a good movie. I never want to see it again, but it was so well done. Thanks to you too, movie recommending friend!

    1. WellRed*

      Yes! I finished Bad Blood this morning, probably off that same recommendation you did. How were all these savvy intelligent people so blimd? Took ages to get it from library and I will return it today so it goes to next person on list.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        I just got it from the library, but of course the other two books I had on hold ALSO became available this week, so now I have to speed read through three books before they leave my Kindle!

          1. MsChanandlerBong*

            It is, but it always seems to happen that way. No matter when I put on the hold, or how many people are ahead of me in line, they all become available at the same time!

    2. esra*

      I feel the same way about Wind River. In addition to being a solid film, there were a lot of little things that reminded me of my childhood in small town (and frankly, poor) Ontario, whoever did the set and costume design did an amazing job. There’s one point where Renner’s character is in this worn hoodie under a pair of brown work overalls, and oh my goodness that took me back to my dad + uncles working while my brother and I played at the compound (which like, holy crap why were they letting kids play around sharp, rusted out car parts?!).

  16. Grey beyond*

    So, I’m in a relationship and we’ve started talking about marriage. He’s great (obviously) and super generous and has a good job but not a lot of savings in this country. He’s probably less of a saver than me. He does have property in his home country.
    I have quite a lot of money and am just about to buy a house. At this stage we don’t live together but moving in and engagement are both likely in the next 3-6 months.
    I read an article recently about pre-nups and although I never previously thought about having one, I know intellectually it makes sense. He’s already said he doesn’t mind if I want to get one (he really is so lovely and amazing and of course I don’t believe we’d ever use it)
    But… Well, that’s what everyone thinks, right?
    So does anyone have any experience with this/advice? I’m open to all thoughts. Also, how do you arrange it? Is there a specific type of lawyer you should see?

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      Family law–the same person who would draw up your will or a trust for minor children. You call someone else for criminal defense.

      No personal experience (married when we were both young and poor) but if he’s amenable it might be worth looking for some recs on a family lawyer now, and if you get engaged asking them for a consult. You’re hiring an expert to tell you whether this makes sense, what it can and can’t do, and how to do it properly. (For example, I know any division of chores is not enforceable–but real estate owned before the marriage, which you will have on both sides, is exactly what you might want to wall off.)

      1. stellaaaaa*

        Would also suggest consulting a divorce lawyer, and an estate / financial /tax type of person or attorney. Divorce lawyers/family court judges don’t necessarily understand the tax ramifications of some of the decisions they make regarding how to legally allocate HSA money when the children are dependents of the other parent or over 18, who gets to claim the children as dependents, who pays the taxes on alimony etc.

        1. Ainomiaka*

          My understanding is that a bunch of stuff about kids is actually unenforceable-you can’t give up someone else’s rights and judges will always have to determine their best interests. Is that not true?

          1. Sadie*

            It’s true. It doesn’t really matter what you put in about kids. That can/will get changed. For example, mine had a set amount of child support in it. Ex husband decided he didn’t want to pay that much and went through the state, they modified it to match the state guidelines, contract be damned.

    2. Not A Manager*

      Marriage is, among other things, a contract. If you don’t determine your own terms, the state will impose its terms on you. A pre-nup is simply a way of establishing your own contractual terms that work for your situation, rather than relying on a “one size fits all” state contract. So don’t feel unromantic or ashamed of wanting to customize your own marriage contract.

      If you decide that you want a pre-nup, you will both need separate representation. Look for a family law attorney. I would suggest that you each meet once with your own attorneys to get a sense of what the law is in your state, and what your options are to each protect yourself. Then, and I can’t emphasize this enough, try to work out between yourselves what you think is fair and what your needs are. If you let your attorneys do the initial negotiating, they will turn it into an adversarial process where each one is trying to get the very best deal for her client. It will cost a fortune, and you’ll both feel yucky and adversarial.

      Once you and your partner have an in-principal sense of what’s fair and reasonable for your relationship, bring that back to your respective lawyers and let them negotiate the finer points.

      Negotiating a pre-nup can be important, but it can also bring up a lot of feelings. You might want to consider seeing a therapist or relationship counselor for a few sessions either before you negotiate the pre-nup, or during the process. It’s less to help you mediate the actual agreement, and more to talk about the feelings that can arise while you do that negotiating.

      1. Loopy*

        Dang, I was going to post but this reply does it wonderfully. I am engaged and got a pre-nup and a lot of people were surprised and subtly negative around it. But truthfully, it’s just setting your own terms in the case divorce happens. I’d rather control it goes and have it be at least a little less traumatic/messy/prolonged. I don’t plan on getting divorced, but if it happens, I’d like to thing I’ve done future-Loopy a favor.

        Also, this was a good way to talk about concrete financial situations in a really detailed manner. We always had a good general sense of each other’s situation/savings but seeing the numbers was reallypositive for me to feel like I knew exactly where we both stood.

        I’m a big fan of them. I’m a planner. Plus, it went really smoothly for me. Happy to answer any specific questions (not covered by the wonderful commenters above!) as I just went through it a few months ago.

    3. anon today*

      I don’t have a prenup and have been married for almost 20 years. I wish we did have one though, as I think that the process of figuring one out would have opened up conversations that we should have had at the beginnings of our relationship but didn’t. And tbh, financial arguments now are causing a lot of strife within our marriage and could even be part of what ultimately brings it down.

      So – I say yes, get one, or at the very least have some deep and thorough conversations about money because it is a huge and weird topic for many of us.

    4. HannahS*

      I kind of talked myself into getting one–not that I have one; I’m so very single–by extrapolating something my cousin did in her home country. There’s an unjust law about divorce there that negatively impacts women. She and her husband signed a kind of pre-nup that makes it prohibitively expensive for her husband to take advantage of that law. She didn’t think she’d ever get divorced, and knowing her husband, he would never be that cruel. But they want to live in a society where no one takes advantage of it, and one way of protesting it is to encourage all marrying couples to sign this document that makes it nigh-impossible. A happily marrying couple who in love and in a stable situation signing these kinds of agreements makes a statement and normalizes it, you know? So I come at a pre-nup from that perspective. Everyone who gets married should have a basic understanding of what marriage is, legally, and everyone should be making arrangements to protect themselves because some people don’t and they get royally screwed over. Like, sure, objectively I get that I could marry someone who screws me over later, but deep down I trust myself to pick a good person. However, I don’t trust the judgement of one of my good friends with regard to men. I want HER to sign a pre-nup! But how can I say that to her? “I didn’t, but you should, because my judgement is better than yours.” Much better to be able to say, “I signed one, and so should pretty much everyone.” It sets an example for her, for my future kids, etc.

    5. PB*

      I have a pre-nup, and definitely advise others to at least consider it. As my lawyer explained it, in a way, everyone has a pre-nup, it’s just, for most people, the “pre-nup” is the law. Having a pre-nup lets you do things your way. Honestly, our pre-nup allows us more freedom in managing our assets. It also protects my assets in the event of divorce, but to me, that’s more secondary.

      A lot of family law attorneys will do a consult before you commit, so you might want to look into it. As a word of warning, one lawyer can’t represent both you and your partner. You’ll each need your own. I hired an attorney to write up the agreement, and my spouse took it to his own for feedback and advice before signing.

    6. stellaaaaa*

      I was very against the idea of prenups before I got married. I didn’t get one, never thought of getting one, thought getting one meant you weren’t fully into marrying the other person.

      Now I’m divorced (got nothing) and would never even think of getting remarried without a prenup. Something I read somewhere explained a prenup as deciding how to split your assets while your love for each other is the greatest it will be, while you are both willing to be fair and kind. Divorce typically brings out the worst in everyone and deciding how to split debts and assets during that time is going to be a bitter, terrible process.

      Just make sure to use a lawyer and take into account state laws and try to think of as many scenarios as possible – what if one of you gets a chronic disease? What if one of you racks up all the debt? What if only one of you is the wage earner while married? What if one of you buys the house with a family inheritance but the other eventually goes on the title? What if you have kids and one of them needs constant care, etc? Does the length of the marriage before you divorced affect what you think the other should get? What if one of you refuses to get a divorce but the other wants to – how are you calculating length of marriage and what the other deserves? What if one of you or both of you have affairs? Go into it with the idea that you are both good people but anything can happen over the years. What will the two of you today, in love, wishing for the best and thinking well of each other, want the other to have even if the worst happens? (By “the worst,” I don’t mean divorce. Sometimes it is better for both people and the kids if there is a divorce. I mean the worst in that the person you married turns out to be someone you can’t even imagine today. Because it happens.)

      1. Isotopes*

        I am a person who didn’t get a prenup because I was marrying the love of my life, we would never, ever get divorced, and what was the point? Even though they made some strategic omissions about the state of their finances before we got married, which they did come clean about…right before the wedding. Just in case I wanted to call it off.

        But still, you go into it with the best intentions, right? Except that I am also one of those people who ended up with someone who, when I married them, did turn out to be someone I couldn’t have possibly imagined when we first got married.

        And now I’m in a position where I’m going to be starting back from the beginning, despite working so hard my whole life to make things stable. To feel secure. I wish I’d gotten the prenup. Best-case scenario, it’s a good opportunity to talk about expectations. Worst-case scenario, you lock everything down when things are still good, rather than waiting until all the shit has hit the fan.

        My partner made all kinds of claims throughout our relationship about how I would be protected and they’d never dream of taking anything from me…and it turns out that when it actually comes down to it? I’m not going to be very protected at all.

    7. Glomarization, Esq.*

      Didn’t have one for my first marriage; it didn’t really matter. We did one for my second (current) marriage, though, because we entered into the relationship from very different financial situations.

      When you’re both really close in age and/or don’t have a lot of assets (and especially if nobody is bringing a child along with them), then a prenup isn’t so necessary. But if on party is bringing in a huge pile of assets, or one party’s earning power is exceedingly higher than the other, or especially if one party is already parent, then a prenup can be critical. These are considerations that come just off the top of my head, and I’m not even a full-time family law practitioner.

      Finally, note that a prenup doesn’t come into effect only if there’s a divorce. It can be integrated with your will as well. Depending on the state, there are rules preventing completely disinheriting a spouse. But if there is this proof, in the prenup, that a surviving spouse knew and agreed to the deceased’s plan to, say, leave everything to a child or a charity rather than the spouse, then it’ll be harder to break the will.

    8. ..Kat..*

      Definitely have the money discussion – who earns it, who spends it, who saves it. How much discretionary money are each of you allowed to spend per month without consulting the other?

    9. Persimmons*

      Already a lot of great advice here, but to paraphrase a quote about pre-nups that I found enlightening:

      “I want a prenup because I love you enough to make sure that if I’m ever angry and irrational, you will still be treated fairly.”

      That’s pretty romantic!

  17. Seasonal Affective Disorder Sufferer*

    Yay it’s…first day of autumn. :(

    Anyone else starting to have seasonal affective disorder symptoms? I started about a week ago. Wanting to cry at work for no reason, everything feeling really dark, negative thoughts. I increased my Wellbutrin dose about a month ago in preparation, since year 1 of Wellbutrin was amazingly good, but year 2 I had breakthrough symptoms in January and February and it was just heart-breaking to have it come back. Hoping for a better season this time.

    1. Sammie*

      I am so sorry. I had that for years in my home country. It would last October to March but I would crash and burn in January and February, as the symptoms got too much for me. Each year I tried something different with varying degrees of success. I was never prescribed medication so I treated myself by having as many affordable things to look forward to as possible (to keep my motivation to go through the daily routines of life up) and one year I used a special SAD lamp in my very dark apartment, which I found pretty good. Mostly, I just muddled through, which doesn’t sound very fun to outsiders but which I tell myself is a testament to my strength. Then I moved to a country with more light and my symptoms disappeared. Eventually, I’m going to have to move home and will face this again. For me, it was like my blood had been replaced with lead for five months of the year. Every season where it didn’t take me too far down a dark hole, I considered a win. I hope this season will go okay for you. Be kind to yourself. The struggle is so real.

      1. Competent Commenter*

        Your description of how it feels was beautiful and actually so comforting. Thank you for sharing.

        This winter if medication isn’t enough I will supplement with my light box. That’s what I used the first two years after my diagnosis, before I started medication, and it made a big difference but was not enough. And because of my work schedule and being a parent of a small child, finding time to sit for 20 or 30 minutes in front of it every morning was really difficult. If I had a bigger kitchen counter, or kitchen island, I could’ve put this big thing there and eat my breakfast and prep lunches etc. in front of it. I even tried a light visor a doctor recommended and it was way more convenient but totally useless. Glad it was a refundable purchase because it was expensive!

        Good luck to all of us SAD sufferers this fall and winter!

        1. Sammie*

          Finding time to sit at the box is definitely challenging – and I had no kids AND I worked from home! I liked that it lit up my very dull living space, however, and found just that to be helpful: a reprieve from the darkness closing in before the day had even really started (I’m from Northern Europe originally). Best of luck to all of us indeed. I take great solace in using the bit of knowledge I have to help people in my current city understand that they are not ‘crazy’ for finding some seasons harder than others. Yes, this place has lots of light for me but it’s very relative and suffering in silence never helped anyone.

        2. Bethany D*

          I read about one person who put their lightbox on their desk between their computer screen & chair, since spending 20 minutes responding to emails was easier to fit into their morning routine. When we have a larger place I hope to get a lightbox to see if it helps my insomnia.

    2. blackcat*

      I have generally been able to ward them off with a pretty high (4000iu/day) dose of vitamin D. I discussed this with a doctor first (it was actually suggested by a doctor). Is that something you have explored? It made ALL the difference for me. Well, not all, but it did enough to improve my symptoms to where I could motivate myself to exercise which did the rest. Could just be a placebo effect, but I’ll take it.

      (And apologies if you didn’t want suggestions. But this is what worked for me.)

      1. Seasonal Affective Disorder Sufferer*

        I’d love any tips from other people, so thanks! I already take 2,000 IU of Vitamin D per day because of chronic extremely low levels otherwise (had to take 100,000 IU per week for a while), but when I go above 2,000 a day regularly my calcium levels go up, which is not a good thing. So 2,000 is my compromise. But I should check and see if the period I was on 4,000 was the winter when my medication seemed to give me full coverage. I could probably take a higher dose for a few months. Definitely worth looking into! Thanks!

    3. DataGirl*

      Yep. Stocked up on D3 and Omega 3 today, and my psychiatrist added Folic Acid to my regimen last week. We’re going to see what that does after a month then maybe raise my Wellbutrin dose. Once my kids are done with school I swear I’m going to go live on a tropical beach for the rest of my life.

    4. Nobody Special*

      Try reading “on moving: a writer’s reflection on new houses, old haunts and finding home again”. By louise desalvo. Full of stories about famous writers and their moves, entertaining as well as a road to reflection. And goodbyes.

    5. Mr. Bob Dobalina*

      I’m not experiencing it yet–too early, and I actually go outside more in the fall. But by January, I will be in the dumps. I take a minimum 2000 iu Vitamin D year-round, and in the winter, I bump up the dose when I start to feel exhausted. I live in New England and my doctor said that many people in this region become vitamin D deficient in winter and don’t even realize it.

  18. SpiderLadyCEO*

    I’m heading to Chicago in a week! I’m beyond thrilled, but I would love to know if you guys have recommendations for things I should check out – I particularly need ideas for what to do on Monday night – the weirdest night to travel, haha.

    Also, I’m flying out Wednesday evening, but of course I’m checking out of my hotel in the morning – does anyone have tips for what to do with luggage once you’ve checked out, but aren’t heading to the airport yet?

        1. SpiderLadyCEO*

          I genuinely did not know this was a thing you could do! Thank you so much for letting me know, seriously. I haven’t done a lot of traveling without a vehicle, so I’m learning lots.

          1. ..Kat..*

            Since you have never done this, just a reminder to tip when you pick up your bags. Usually $1 per bag with a $3 minimum. More if they call you a cab and put the bags in the car for you.

                1. ..Kat..*

                  I generally keep a stash of $5 and $1 bills in my purse for tips on the fly. Don’t forget to tip the housekeepers daily at the hotel. Cheaper hotels – $2 to $3 a night. Nicer hotels, I leave $5 a night. And put in in a envelope labeled “tip for housekeeping,” otherwise they don’t know if it is a tip or not. You can get envelopes at the front desk of the hotel.

    1. ThatGirl*

      Where are you staying? This is a great time of year to be in Chicago. So pretty and not so hot. Millennium Park is cool, I love Rick Bayless’ restaurants, there are tons of breweries and museums and festivals.

      1. SpiderLadyCEO*

        I’m staying in the Loop, so pretty central! I’m there Monday-Wednesday, so I don’t know that there will be festivals, but I will definitely have to check out the breweries and museums.

        1. ThatGirl*

          Definitely the park and lakefront, then. Museum of Science and Industry is a bit further south but worth the trip; the Field Museum is closer and walkable.

          Tons of breweries; Off Color is my favorite. Goose Island is big. The CAF tour may only be on weekends, but it’s great.

          1. Aurora Leigh*

            Science and Industry is way cooler than your average museum! I found Fields kind of stuffy in comparison. And Shedd Aquarium was great too!

    2. Two Dog Night*

      Definitely a boat tour if the weather is nice and you’ve got time while it’s daylight. The official Chicago Architecture Foundation tours are faascinating, but they stay on the river. Wendella’s tours talk about the architecture quite a bit, but they’re a bit more touristy, and they go on the lake, so you can get a good view of the skyline.

      In the evening, you could always check out a blues club–Buddy Guy’s Legends is close to downtown, or Kingston Mines and BLUES are a few miles north on Halsted. Think about theater tickets, too–there probably aren’t many shows on Monday, but Chicago has a fantastic theater scene. Goodman, Steppenwolf, and Chicago Shakespeare probably all have something playing, plus there’s a ton of smaller theaters.

      This is sacreligious, but I think deep-dish pizza is overrated. If you do want to try one, get up to Pequod’s.

    3. the gold digger*

      I keep wanting to get to the American Writers Museum downtown. Everything they post on facebook looks so interesting.

      Eataly (a big Italian grocery store/collection of restaurants) is really fun.

      And I had to go to the U of Chicago for work last week. Once we were done with their amazing library, I went to the Oriental Institute (on campus) with my archaeologist coworker (who is now a program manager with us).

      Thirding the CAF tours. The walking tours are great and the boat tour is amazing and worth the money.

      1. Bluebell*

        A friend of mine recently raved about the writers museum. I also liked the Historical society and echo the recc for the architecture tour.

    4. a non non*

      Hancock tower for drinks or coffee is a great way to get an awesome view of the city for much cheaper than the Sear’s Tower observation deck. (Also then you get some drinks/coffee/desserts out of it). Architecture boat tour is awesome, 100% recommend.

      1. SpiderLadyCEO*

        Ahhhhh yes! If I’m going to have a view, I want a snack ;) that’s the most important part of the day. It looks like I will def have to get on the architecture boat tour, since all of you are recommending it!

    5. Your Weird Uncle*

      My husband and I went to Stephanie Izard’s The Girl and the Goat restaurant last year and we loved it! It’s a great atmosphere and her food is seriously amazing, with a lot of interesting combinations that you wouldn’t necessarily think go together (but they do, oooooh, how they do). You take a look at the menu and order everything up front – they’re basically sharing plates – and the servers bring it out in the progression they think goes best, building up flavors one on top of the other. If you can’t get a reservation, they take walk-ins. She has a few other restaurants in Chicago, and I’ve heard great things about them, too.

      We had a cauliflower mint dish and still talk about it, one year later! We didn’t even think we’d like it that much, out of the other dishes we ordered, but it was hands down our favorite dish of the night.

      Have fun! Chicago is a great city and you’ll find lots of midwest hospitality waiting for you.

    6. DataGirl*

      When we were last there this summer we did a Ghost Tour (walking, but they have bus ones too) and it was the most fun ever and cheap. https://freetoursbyfoot.com/chicago-ghost-tours/

      For the luggage, any decent hotel will hold your luggage for you after you’ve checked out. In Chicago I found the porters expected a tip both when I dropped it off and picked it up, which is a bit cheeky, but eh, that’s the city I guess.

      1. SpiderLadyCEO*

        Ohh, perfect! Since I will be there for the first few days of October, that will definitely be nice and seasonal!

        1. KMaggs*

          The Art Institute is also great. (If you go, make sure to hit the Thorne Miniature Rooms!)

          Pizza recommendations- Pequods in general (in Lincoln Park and sort of hard to get to via transit but SO worth it!) And Art of Pizza for traditional style Chicago deep dish. The restaurant isn’t much to look at but the pizza is on point.

          I second Off Color for local breweries – the Mousetrap is a lovely taproom. Revolution is also fantastic. Also second the drinks/coffee/dessert at the Hancock Signature Lounge – it’s a little pricey of course but still cheaper than a Sky Deck ticket.

          I’ve never done the architecture tours but heard nothing but good things. I have done a wine river tour through City Winery that was great. They did some of the architecture stuff and a wine tasting on the boat.

          Also theatre! Most places are dark on Mondays unfortunately, but there should be some Tuesday shows. Although if you’re interested and willing to do some digging, some of the smaller theatres sometimes have shows on Monday – they call it industry night and it’s a great way to see some smaller, off-the-beaten-path theatres.

          If you’re interested in shopping, some non-downtown options worth looking at are off the Armitage and Southport brown line stations.

          Enjoy your trip!

    7. DataGirl*

      Regarding museums: Most close early, like 4 or 5pm. There is usually one day of the week that all/most stay open late- I’m not sure what that day is in Chicago. I just looked at the Field Museum which is my favorite and it always closes at 5pm. So if you are working during the day museums might not work for you. The theater district is downtown, and there are tons of shows all the time, so if that is interesting to you. This site has pretty much all the theaters and currently playing shows. https://www.theatreinchicago.com/nowplaying.php

      If you want an amazing meal, this is our favorite restaurant, it’s across the street from the Field Museum. https://russianteatime.com/ They have an afternoon tea that is to die for. Have fun! We love Chicago so much!

    8. Bluebell*

      One restaurant recommendation – Bohemian House. They do incredibly delicious things with Eastern European cuisine. The best beets I’ve ever had!

    9. NB*

      Many people on here aren’t thrilled with the Field Museum, but it’s actually one of my favorites in the city. Just the building alone is beautiful. But the Art Institute is not to be missed! I also really like the Driehaus Museum. I’m not sure what exhibits they will have when you’re here, but I saw the Downton Abbey costumes and an amazing collection of Tiffany glass work. Definitely take the Chicago Architecure Foundation boat tour on the river. It’s excellent! Also, look around for wonderful outdoor art: Alexander Calder’s Flamingo, Marc Chagall’s Four Seasons, The Picasso, and of course Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate (AKA, “The Bean”). If you’re going up only one tall building, I recommend the Hancock over the Willis (SEARS!) Tower. The views are better. It’s also fun to explore some of the ethnic neighborhoods: Greektown, Devon Avenue, Chinatown, etc.

      I second all the love for Rick Bayless’s restaurants (I ate at Xoco yesterday–YUM!). We also have lots of wonderful ethnic restaurants. Some of my favorites are Indian Garden and Reza’s (Persian). For Chicago-style deep dish pizza, my favorite is Giordano’s but a lot of people suggest the supposed birthplace of Chicago-style pizza: Pizzaria Uno (the real Uno’s is not like the chain restaurants you find in the ‘burbs). If you’re a meat eater, Portillo’s is my favorite place for the other two Chicago classics: Italian beef and hotdogs. There’s a McDonald’s in the loop that serves foods from international McDonald’s restaurants. I haven’t been there yet, but sounds like fun. If you just want a snack, try Garrett’s for popcorn.

      Walk around the Loop at night–especially cross the river. It’s a beautiful city, and you get some nice views of it from the bridges.

      Welcome to Chicago, in advance! I hope you have a wonderful time!

    10. SpiderLadyCEO*

      A sincere thank you to everyone who made suggestions, I’m seriously looking forward to sitting down and mapping out my trip!

  19. Mimmy*

    My Safari web browser did a major update this week, which wiped out my AdBlock Plus!! >:( If anyone else has gotten the upgrade, can you recommend a good ad blocker? There is an option to choose an extension, but I want to be sure that I choose the best one.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      You can get it back! Temporarily. (There’s a new thing, but it crashed my computer when I tried to download–so I am going to use the temp solution while they work out a few more bugs.)

      Safari->Preferences->Extensions->first adblock option, click it

    2. NoMoreMrFixit*

      Not sure if uBlock is available for Safari but that’s what I use in Chrome. Found that it’s far better for me.

    3. OperaArt*

      I had to turn AdBlock Plus and Ghostery back on in the Extensions preferences. My plan is to keep using them until the dust settles from Safari’s latest changes. The extension makers might need a couple of weeks to catch up.

    4. Mimmy*

      I installed the newest AdBlock Plus and, so far, it seems to be working. Time will tell. I had to uncheck “allow acceptable ads” though.

  20. Alice*

    I want to celebrate that a family member of mine is now independent after a series of medical crises. :)))))
    I also want to thank people in this chat for sharing advice and encouragement.
    I marked his return home by making a donation to the local volunteer firefighters (who provide EMT services). What a wonderful part of our community.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      That’s great, on both the independence and the choice of tribute.

      I am on the opposite end of that (family member is only going to get worse) but definitely appreciate those in emergency services and what they do for the community.

  21. insurance*

    I’m a single person with no dependents. Apart from health insurance (which I have via job), do I need insurance? what kind? I get these ads for term insurance but I am not leaving anyone in a lurch if I die. I’m very confused by all that I read.

    1. Kj*

      Likely you need short-term and long-term disability. Life insurance won’t be useful, but if you were to be out of work for some time, disability insurance kicks in and helps you stay in housing and food. Some jobs provide these- check to see- but it is worth having them. They aren’t expensive generally.

    2. Cat Foster Mama*

      Your work may actually provide life insurance, so you should check that. Perhaps renters / homeowners insurance. Renters insurance can protect not only the stuff in your apartment, but occasionally things like having your iPhone stolen or some such.

    3. WellRed*

      If you die, is there money to cover your burial/cremation? Not sure how old you are. Do you have any outstanding co-signed loan debt?

      1. LilySparrow*

        This. Somebody will have to pay to bury you. If your assets wouldn’t cover it, or if you want your beneficiaries to have all your assets, a small life policy is a good thing, and shouldn’t be very expensive at all.

        An alternative would be to prepay your final expenses directly with a provider – many of them offer advance contracts.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      Consider term life insurance to cover costs like a funeral and related settling of the estate expenses. (I am thinking someone has to move things out of your apartment, etc, and how much of a burden it is on whoever is tasked with that–for some parents finances make that a minor aspect, for others it’s one more thing to figure out when their budget has no margins.)

      The disability insurance is also a good thought–check if you have that now through your employer.

    5. Ainomiaka*

      Concur on renters insurance and disability. Those protect you-get them. I always accepted free life insurance through work but wouldn’t pay for it until I was married with a mortgage. Though I didn’t have any parent support responsibilities. That might make life insurance valuable for you, depending on the situation.

    6. FD*

      I have been carrying a small term life insurance policy for years, with the lowest possible limit (e.g. the minimum amount they’d insure me for). I just carry it so that if I died suddenly, my family wouldn’t be out all the funeral/burial/whatever expenses.

      1. Zinnia Bee*

        I am worth way more dead than alive— I have no legal dependents (thought I do have a foster daughter and a disabled sister), BUT the key for me getting life insurance now is that I CAN— because I’m healthy, I qualify. I may not always be dependent-less, and I may not always be healthy, so getting set up with life insurance now (well, several years ago), seemed wise.

        1. the gold digger*

          Exactly. You don’t have dependents now, but if you ever do, you will want life insurance. And what if you get sick between now and then?

          It’s not that expensive – like $16/month for $250K. If someone you love ever needs it, it will have been worth every penny not to leave that person in financial distress when you die.

    7. Not A Manager*

      Renters/homeowners insurance, disability insurance, long-term care insurance if you can find it. If you have significant assets, consider an excess liability (“umbrella”) policy.

      1. Competent Commenter*

        Agreed. Renters insurance is crucial and cheap. If your apartment floods or there’s a fire, you’ve out of luck. Even if you don’t think you own much, replacing a laptop, bed, couch, toiletries…it would be $1,000 and more.

        And make sure you have some kind of disability insurance. My self-employed father let his lapse, then had a major stroke and lived another year. Even if you’re single, you need to be able to afford to stay in a skilled nursing facility, pay your rent at home, etc.

        Life insurance…eh, I don’t think you need it if you don’t have anyone to leave it to, as long as you’re leaving behind enough money to bury/cremate you.

        And while I’m thinking about that: everyone get your advanced directives and at least a simple will done! And at minimum write down what you’d want done with your body after you die. Just had to clean this up for my FIL when my MIL died having said nothing about whether she wanted burial and where, or cremation and where…even though she’d had cancer twice, had it again, and was entering the hospital for emergency brain surgery in her late 70s!

        1. Epiphyta*

          Adding on to this: find out what your state’s requirements are for preauthorizing disposal of remains. When I started my paperwork, I learned that if the individual hasn’t left signed and witnessed instructions agreeing to cremation and there’s not a spouse to sign off, the person handling it has to obtain signed consent from a fair number of relatives (in my case, my son, my parents, and both of my siblings). I do not want my son to have to deal with his grandfather being difficult in the midst of grieving me; he has notarized copies from me and my spouse.

    8. Double A*

      When I was single and living with a roommate who was also a very good friend, I put her as a 50% beneficiary on my life insurance that my job provided at no cost to me. My parents were the other beneficiary. I figured my roommate might be pretty screwed in terms of rent and whatnot if I suddenly died, plus she’d probably be the one to keep my cats.

    9. Tau*

      Is liability insurance (not quite sure this is the right translation) a thing in the US? Basically, if you are found to be at fault for something and have to pay damages, the insurance will cover it. It’s extremely common in Germany and pretty cheap (I pay something like 40 euros/year for coverage up to a few million euros) if you’ve never claimed on liability insurance before.

      1. Not A Manager*

        Yes. I’m not an insurance expert, but I think that what you’re referring to is called excess liability insurance, or umbrella coverage. Basically, your homeowners insurance will cover up to, say, a million dollars if a guest is injured on your property. Or your car insurance will cover up to, say, two million dollars if you hit and injure someone. But if (God forbid) someone suffers life-changing injuries that will require medical care and support for the rest of their life, that could easily exceed your primary insurance coverage.

        If you have significant assets, OR if you are a good earner and have/will have a significant income stream, you could be on the hook for that liability in excess of what your primary insurance covers. That’s why you buy additional insurance, to protect your personal assets from liability in excess of your primary coverage.

    10. Nervous Nellie*

      Hi insurance!
      I would suggest that life insurance can be useful. If you passed away with unpaid bills (credit card, medical, etc), the executor of your estate would have that life insurance money to put towards them. You might not be leaving anyone in the lurch, as you say, but you can’t predict what bills will be outstanding if you’re suddenly gone.

      I am single and have homeowners/car/liability umbrella/life insurance. I am looking into short/longterm care insurance as well, as I am, ahem, of an age…..:)

      1. Nervous Nellie*

        And I would add, I don’t have significant assets to justify the liability umbrella, but have it instead as a backup of additional coverage in case the limits on my auto/homeowners’ policies didn’t cover enough of any legal issues/lawsuits that might arise.

  22. Wannabe Builder*

    Do store like Home Depot and Loews cut PVC pipe that you purchase in there stores?

    After 20 minutes of asking at least five different employees for help cutting my pipes, a manager said they didn’t do that in the store. When I said other stores had done it previously, he said they went out of their way to help me but it wasn’t a service in the store.

    So I left and called every other Home Depot and Loews in the surrounding area and they all said yes they would cut PVC pipes. But looking online, other people have run into similar refusals. Seems weird there’s not a blanket policy across all the stores.

    1. Rick Tq*

      Why not get a cutter so you can fit the pipe sections on site? They aren’t at all expensive and will let you fit the lengths more exactly.

    2. Aurora Leigh*

      It’s probably just a matter of who is working at that time. I know I’ve gone to Walmart to get pictures printed and if they can’t get someone to come in that’s been trained to to work back there, I’m just out of luck.

    3. Competent Commenter*

      PVC is easy to cut. We bought the $20 tool, like a giant pair of scissors but more complicated, but it’s hard on my small hands. In retrospect, a hacksaw would probably have been fine and had more uses.

    4. MissMia*

      I’m not sure my store cuts PVC pipe. I know we do wood, and blinds. Our plumbing section does not have a cutter in it, so it may be a matter of some stores do, some don’t, like how some of our stores still rent out equipment and trucks but ours does not anymore. I don’t think we can cut it on the wood cutter but I could be wrong. And who’s on staff because it’s something we have to be “trained” on. I’m going to ask about that next time I work.

      1. Dzhymm*

        I think it’s one of those things for which there is no corporate-wide policy one way or the other, so each store kinda wings it.

  23. I Love Thrawn*

    One of the cat bloggers I follow, at 15 and Meowing, has written a cute book about how one of her cats arrived at her home one Christmas. It is a Christian-based kid’s book, called “Prancie’s Prayer” by Ellen J. Pilch. If you are looking for a gift for a young person, might be good to add to your shopping list! Trust me when I say the author is probably the most devoted cat person I’ve ever encountered (online). Can be found at the usual places, Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

  24. Cat Foster Mama*

    I’ve been fostering a big, plush, rambunctious 1 year old cat for the past 3+ months. I’m pretty experienced with adult cats, but this kitten-ish stage is a bit beyond me and I’ve had some rough patches due to his energy level and my tiny studio apartment. I’ve mentioned multiple times to the animal shelter that asked me to foster him that it’s probably best he go to a home that has someone with more kitten experienced, another cat to play with, and (quite frankly) a room with a door. Earlier this week we had an incident where he jumped on me in bed (he wanted to play) and promptly stabbed my chin with a claw, which then got stuck. (I had to hold him down to remove his claw or risk him splitting my chin open). After that, I sent another note to the animal shelter telling them they really needed to find a better home for him. They asked if I wanted to bring him back to the shelter or wait until they found another foster. I told them he could stay with me until then.

    Fast forward to last night/this morning. I knew I had to do something to curb his energy and biting tendencies. So literally every time he tried to play/bite me I got up and got a wand toy. This resulted in literally 90 minutes of play time off and on for about 3 hours. But around 4am I woke up briefly and found him sleeping along my leg and then this morning he came up to the head of the bed for a little bit of nuzzling (which he’s only done once before and super briefly). So now, of course, I’m conflicted. He’s a little conundrum wrapped in a lovely long-haired ball and I adore him and want to help him find a good home, but I’m still not sure that’s my home. I can’t possibly sustain playing with him every day off and on for hours. But I also don’t want to give him up to another foster where he might regress.

    Stupid cats know just all the right buttons to push.

      1. Cat Foster Mama*

        The last kitten I had was when I was a teenager. As an adult I’ve only ever adopted adults (one at 2.5 years and a 7 year old a few years later — when they both passed, I decided to foster for a little while). I have never had any desire to adopt (and train) a kitten and always was of the mindset that the elders needed me more than a kitten. I still don’t want a kitten and this was supposed to be a temporary placement, which then turned into something a bit longer term. And…. well… he’s wrapped himself around my heart. Little *#$@&.

      2. Cruciatus*

        Oh man, this thread is making me nervous! I’ve just committed to adopting the kitten my friends found in their woods (their area is a dumping ground). He’s gotten a clean bill of health, but…he’s a kitten. Oh boy. We have another cat that’s 9 and she’s not going to be thrilled. When the current cat was a kitten I remember her being annoying and climbing everything, but eventually chilled out. Just have to hope the kitten isn’t too wild for too long!

    1. fposte*

      This sounds like what the Way of Cats blog would term an Alpha cat. Link to more description and advice in followup.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Some of these animals have been passed around so much that alone makes them anxious/hyper. This guy sounds like a dog I heard about who was on his fourth home by age one.

      Feed him some turkey daily, see if that slows him down You can put some lavender oil where he can’t reach- like between his shoulders. I don’t know if they are still available but there used to be caps you can put on their nails. Maybe someone else will know how that works or IF that works.

      Give him something different to play with every few days, such as a cardboard box or a small paper bag, maybe some small balls. When he starts to use you has his play toy redirect his attention to his own stuff. “Where’s your toy???”

      1. Trixie*

        I was thinking this too. On the the Tiny Kittens live web cam (which by itself is awesome fun to watch), they have a ton of toys and things for kittens to chase or claw.
        The anxious/hyper think from moving sounds like thekittythecat on instagram. Four homes too and basically because he was a kitten.
        I do enjoy the kitten phase because it’s such short window, but also have soft spot for seniors. (As my 15-year old enjoys his cat nip plant.)

      2. Persimmons*

        Agreed with this. My sweetest, most cuddly cat was so nuts from the upheaval when we first adopted her that she swiped at my husband’s face in his sleep and almost took out his eye. And she was 7, so definitely not a kitten. After about six months, she gentled and became a living hug.

        Tips: routine, routine, routine. Do the same things at the same times, leave things in the same places. Set playtimes at regular intervals, so you aren’t playing only as a reaction to his spaz attacks.

      3. I Speak for the Cats*

        Essential oil is dangerous for cats, and, according to the ASPCA, lavender oil is toxic to them! Please do not put any oil on him. And I hope things work out!

    3. Double A*

      I think it’s totally ok to want him to go to better suited foster! Someone who has other cats and a bigger place sounds ideal. You could also see if you could get him a mechanical toy.

      I’ve also heard it takes another also about 4 months for the stress hormones from being in the shelter to fully dissipate so he could chill out later. But he sounds like he would do well with a buddy, and there are so many cats that need to be only cats that you really might be a better setting for a different foster, maybe communicate that to the shelter. Who knows, maybe they’ve got someone else who’s fostering several cats and one might be better solo.

    4. WS*

      If you’re in a tiny studio apartment, more space might actually be good for him – he can get his energy out without it having to be on a single person. And he sounds like he’d really appreciate high-energy kids to play with, too. I have two high-energy cats and moving to a bigger house (not for them as such!) was great for them.

      1. TL -*

        Yup, I’m in a small flat but it has stairs and when my kitty is particularly rambunctious, I take a wand toy and we do laps up and down the stairs until she’s panting.

    5. Cat Foster Mama*

      Hi All – Many thanks for all your comments and advice. We’re on day two of lots and lots of playtime when he tries to play too roughly and getting a great response. Once again the fluff ball slept calmly on the bed early this morning and when he saw I was up, he came up for some cuddling. We did have a couple of love bites, but manageable.

      I would love to get him on a playtime schedule, but I’m really beginning to think, he’s never been played with properly because he rarely plays for an extended period of time. He’s almost like an old car in winter. You’ve got to start the engine before you drive it. So he needs breaks between play or he stalls out.

      I’m a little nervous for when I go back to work tomorrow. But we shall see what happens.

      1. Cat wrangler*

        We adopted a kitten last year but as we already had a 6kg adult cat, they were both bought cat pens which hold their beds, food and water trays plus toys. When the kitten tried biting us, she went back in for ‘timeout’ and she slept in the zipped up pen overnight. Now she’s an adult cat, it’s useful when we need to separate the two cats for whatever reason. Might be worth thinking about as a safe place for the kitten to go when you need to do something.

    6. AlsoCatFoster*

      So, I’ve fostered somewhere around 25 cats and kittens over the last year and a half. Are you using a water bottle to correct his behavior? It’s been very effective for me and I’ve had everything from sweet and cuddly to semi-feral/feral. Just a suggestion as it helps them understand that the little spritz of water means No! :) My adopting families have appreciated it as well as they incorporate the little ones into their homes with new/different rules, etc.

  25. Red faced*

    Ya’ll, I think I might have rosacea. :(

    What do I do? I’ve always flushed easily but this last week I’ve turned bright red and hot around 2 pm every day at work. I’m 30’s female and pale/blue eyes. I’m still feeling like my face is warm and hasn’t gone back to normal since yesterday afternoon. I’m so done with health issues- I already have a very limited diet for health reasons and don’t know how I’ll deal with more limitations from my preliminary reading about rosacea. Literally wailing over here and I know there are so many worse things.

    1. Myrin*

      First things first – is there anything else you can think of that might cause this? I’m asking because my mum has rosacea (diagnosed by a doctor, not just guesswork on her part) and even when it started, it has never been of the “turned bright red and hot [daily]” and then ebbed away again you describe but it was just… there. A constant thing that appeared one day and then actually never went away again. I only know a little about it so there might be different kinds I’m not familiar with but at first glance, I’d actually guess these are hot flashes of some kind, not rosacea. Is that in any way possible?

    2. HannahS*

      When mine gets worse, it’s usually related to things like sunlight, heat, and exertion. Most often sunlight. I saw a dermatologist and use Rosiver, which is an prescription ivermectin cream. That with daily strong sunscreen and hats have really worked wonders for me–I don’t usually look like I have it at all. I also use a very gentle facewash (spectro jel) and unscented moisturizer. I’m a pale person and when it’s there IT’S THERE so the change was really impressive. I you don’t feel like doing the rigmarole of trying to manage it through diet/lifestyle (I didn’t; I didn’t feel like it would make enough of a difference as I already don’t drink or smoke or drink coffee or wear makeup) then I say go ahead and jump to a seeing a dermatologist. If it’s not rosacea, they’ll know what it is, and if it is they’ll be able to help.

    3. OperaArt*

      I have had rosacea for decades. There have been no limitations whatsoever. The doctor prescribed a topical gel I use every morning, and that’s it.
      But hot and flushing are not symptoms I’ve encountered because of rosacea, and there’s no time dependence. The slight redness is a steady, permanent thing.

    4. dawbs*

      there are some weird causes of flushing issues–My doctor has currently assigned me to go down the rabbit hole of researching ‘mast cell activation disorders’, to see if that’s part of the cause of mine.
      It can also link to migraines and cluster headaches.
      Some of my meds make it more common. (and certain supplements–its’ Niacin? I think? that triggers).
      There’s a name I can’t remember (helpful, I know. sorry) for it just being a ‘thing’.

        1. dawbs*

          there’s that, but there’s one that’s flushing specific, which is bugging the HELL out of me not to remember.
          I’ve worn out my google-fu trying to figure it out. There was an NPR piece that made it into my brain w/ it, but apparently not far enough :P

          But idiopathic is close enough–I”m dealing w/ a pain-issue right now, and I swear I blush if you look at me funny, becaue the ‘turn red w/ pain’ thing is *just* below the surface all the time.

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

      I’ve been dealing with rosacea for the last ten years of my life. The dermatologist suggested several creams, but all of them are not covered by my medical insurance, since they are catalogued as cosmetics instead of medicine ( tell that to people with psoriasis and eccema ). In the end I resorted to exfoliating face washes and sun block (FPS 30 minimum). Make up is strictly forbidden for me, so I use BB cream for those occasions.

    6. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      Ugh so sorry to hear. I was recently diagnosed too and have that hot flushing face intermittently thing along with permanently red parts of my cheeks annnd itchy bumps. it’s so annoying. My doc prescribed metronidazole cream which seemed to half the progression and I asked for more treatment because it wasn’t getting better other than not getting worse so she put me on a course of doxycycline pills for a couple months. It’s helping a little but she also said I had to avoid things that make me flush naturally like heat and spicy foods and ALWAYS wear sunblock and protect my face from the sun. All of these things combined seem to help a little but I do struggle with glaring at the remaining redness that just won’t go away

      I haven’t done additional dietary changes (went gluten free this year) for this specifically and hoping I don’t need to because I already have other more serious issues to address with diet.

      There’s some decent info here: https://www.rosacea.org/

      Good luck!

    7. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      Any chance you’re doing something at the same time every day that is triggering a reaction? Like maybe taking a vitamin with niacin in it at lunch time, or having a particular new snack? Your symptoms remind me of the sensation I get if I take a niacin tablet.

  26. Perpetua*

    Berlin recommendations?

    We’re going there for 5 days at the beginning of October. I’m not looking for “big thing” recommendations, I’ll do some more research on my own, I’d rather get recs for some less common things, a nice cafe to visit, a lovely artisan shop or something like that. :)

    1. Lady Jay*

      I was in Berlin maybe 12 years ago at this point. I loved the city. Make sure to get a doener kebab or two on the sidewalk–Turkish street food from the immigrants in the city, and really the best.

      1. Lady Jay*

        Oh, just remembered–have pizza at Zwoelf Aposteln (Twelve Apostles)–it’s near the Museum Insel and makes some of the very best pizza. Each pizza is named after one of the twelve apostles. I particularly enjoyed the Judas, which had lots of spicy peppers on it. :D

    2. Villanelle*

      I was there in October 2017. I had one of the best burgers ever at Burgermeister. Do go into the random street photobooths that are in many places around the city. I also highly recommend the Jewish Museum. There are many museums on Museum Island. Enjoy! It’s a great city.

    3. Sunny*

      Scheer’s Schnitzel is an amazing food place right by the East Side Gallery S-Bahn stop! I don’t remember if they have any vegetarian options so you’d need to check that out if you’re vegetarian/vegan.

      I second the Döner kebabs as well!

    4. Middle School Teacher*

      I was in Berlin in March. There was a cool market that’s all connected. Some neat clothes shops, waffle place, I think a cinema in there? Let me see if I can find a link for you.

    5. Arya Parya*

      I’ve been to Berlin a few times. I can second the Burgermeister recommendation. The neighbourhood its in, is where the students hang out. Lots of cool bars of you’re into that. My SO and I just wandered on a friday night and found plenty of nice places to get a drink.

      Sunday brunch is a thing, lots of restaurants have brunch buffets. I went to Café Butter. It’s good but busy, do there can be a wait.

    6. StellaBella*

      Go to the Pergamon Museum it is amazing. Like, really, amazing. Wiki says: “The Pergamon Museum is situated on the Museum Island in Berlin. The building was designed by Alfred Messel and Ludwig Hoffmann and was constructed over a period of twenty years, from 1910 to 1930. The Pergamon Museum houses monumental buildings such as the Pergamon Altar, the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, the Market Gate of Miletus reconstructed from the ruins found in Anatolia, as well as the Mshatta Facade. The museum is subdivided into the antiquity collection, the Middle East museum, and the museum of Islamic art.” It is truly amazing.

    7. DrTheLiz*

      Word of warning: the Pergamon is currently being rebuilt and is only about half open. Recommended: the Turkish Market.

      Also if you like pretty things, Park Sanssouci in Potsdam is a huge park with three gorgeous palaces in it and it just on the edge of the Berlin C transport zone.

  27. LGC*

    Runners! Cyclists! Swimmers! (Crazy people who do all three in one event!) How’s this week been?

    Actually, on triathlons: I’ve been thinking about trying one just for the hell of it, but I’m a little intimidated by the cost of it all! (Both time and money.) For the AAM tri crew, how’d you guys get into it?

    Back on the regularly scheduled programming: holy cow, Berlin, guys. (Even a week on.) It’s absolutely mindblowing that Kipchoge:

    1) crushed the WR by 78 seconds
    2) did so after losing his pacers for the second half, and
    3) STILL MANAGED TO NEGATIVE SPLIT. (I’ve negative split once. That was a PR, but also that was on Brooklyn where all the hills were front loaded.)

    I missed it because I’d have had to have been up at 3 AM, but now I kind of regret it.

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

      I should follow professional running much more than I do. Most of those athletes are so awe-inspiring.

      I’m basically in awe of anyone, amateur or professional, who can run a negative split over a full marathon. I’ve done it almost every time in a half or 10K (I’m a natural slow starter, it seems) but I absolutely can’t fathom how people can run the second half of the marathon faster than the first. Closest I ever came was running the second half about seven minutes slower than the first — and I was beyond ecstatic to do so.

      Looking forward to my long run tomorrow. 18 miles in weather that promises to be in the low-60s and overcast — perfect for running, except for a pesky threat of some showers. I struggled big time on Monday and Wednesday when it was muggy out, but felt so much better yesterday, when it was 63 degrees and clear at 6 am.

      1. LGC*

        I think a huge part of it is that a lot of elite runners…often just don’t hit the wall. (After Newport, we were discussing one of our friends (…okay, she’s an acquaintance to me) who’s an elite runner, and she doesn’t really hit the wall herself.) For them, mile 20 happens at mile 26.2 or later.

        In my particular case, I’m pretty resigned to at least somewhat hitting the wall, no matter what. (I’m a really tall guy, so that works against me. Plus, I don’t have the greatest endurance, which is a weird thing to say for a guy who’s run several half marathons and a full marathon in the past year.) So I couldn’t see MYSELF doing it…without a LOT of work!

        (But then again, that’s the same for everyone.)

    2. LuJessMin*

      Walked the Corn Dog Classic 5K in Tulsa this morning and it was a beautiful morning for a race. My fears for my stamina were for naught as I finished the race 5 seconds faster than last year. Then I came home showered, changed, and headed to Monarchs On The Mountain to help out a friend. Was there from 10 until 2:30. I’m pooped.

    3. The New Wanderer*

      I’ve done one sprint triathlon (.75k swim, 12k bike, 5k run), so by no means an expert. I basically did it as a couch-to-tri thing starting in January for a June race. The hardest thing for me was that I was so out of shape when I started, and I’m not a natural runner. You know how some people can just say, hmm I’ll train for a marathon and then they do it? In the same amount of training time, I could barely manage a 5k without walking. So the running part took the longest by far. Then I added the swimming about 2-3 months before the race because I could only swim on weekends. I love swimming, prefer it to running, but I always lose count of laps after 15 or so because it’s so repetitive!

      Last thing I added was the biking, and I hadn’t been on a bike in maybe 15 years at that point. You may not forget how to ride a bike, but it was hard to be confident about making sharp turns or dodging around other people. Fortunately our neighborhood has some hills to train on because the race course had a 6 deg incline for about 200-300m that was repeated for 4 laps. I only cared about being able to finish, not about my speed, so only did maybe 2 months of weekend rides (on non-swimming days) before the race.

      When I finally practiced putting the pieces together, the bike to running transition was the hardest for me. First time I did that, I almost fell over when I started to jog. It was also really challenging to figure out my pace because running after biking felt so weird and my muscles were already fatigued. I never practiced peeling off the wetsuit and putting on shoes so at the actual race, I took way longer than I should have (may have momentarily forgotten that in a non-competitive race, each piece is not individually timed!).

      I enjoyed it and the sense of accomplishment was huge! I always said I would do it again… but it’s been 10 years and hasn’t been a priority. However, there were a lot of 40+, 50+, 60+, and a few 70+ people running the one I was in (and doing it faster than 33 yr old me!), so maybe someday.

      1. LGC*

        Oh man – thanks so much for your (really) thorough response! It’s actually interesting that you said swimming was your favorite/strongest event – from what I’ve heard, most triathletes start out in cycling. (Okay, maybe not most, but at least the plurality?)

        The transition from bike to run actually meshes with what I’ve heard – since running and biking are really different leg movements, it seems like it’s difficult to be strong in both, and going directly from one to the other seems REALLY hard. Plus, you basically have to change as quickly as possible if you’re competing, right? (I…probably wouldn’t do it strictly for the time, but I know myself well enough that I’d start thinking about time at least partway through!)

    4. runner*

      I got into tris the way many people do…I needed to find some cross-training because of my achilles issues in running. But I loved, loved, loved, training for the 3 disciplines, instead of running all the time. It got me fit in a different way and I really liked how I felt. I knew how to swim so that was more about building fitness since I had not been swimming for ever, but I had never really biked and that was hard to me, to get back on it, get used to speed, to skills like eating on the bike. And I’d say that is still my weakest sport. I’ve done 2 Olympics so far (1,500 meters swim, 40K bike, 10K run). The open water was also challenging, so different than a pool, and everyone so close to each others. Another thing that is really quite remarkable is that it is not as taxing to my body as running a longer race because you are using different muscles, even if you’re out there for longer. Issues are definitively cost and logistically coordinating the workouts can be challenging, especially for training outdoors for the bike which you really need for bike skills.

      1. LGC*


        Coordinating is probably the biggest challenge for me. I already have issues fitting training into my current schedule, so even swapping out an easy day for a bike ride or a swim seems like a challenge! (Because that takes a bit more preparation.)

        I can definitely see how it’s not as strenuous overall, though – which seems like a plus. (Or a double-edged sword in my case – I’d need to remember that I can’t run 60-70 miles a week AND bike AND swim AND have a full-time job.)

        1. runner*

          It’s a plus because as you age you need more time to recover and here’s an active recovery option. For example, on Sundays I would usually do a long bike or run but then on Monday, I’d go swim, usually something that was more about longer sets, lower speeds, and I would feel really refreshed after doing that (OK, before jumping in sometimes it felt daunting LOL). Also, I didn’t mean to say it was not strenuous, it is, but your body is not as broken – like having trouble going down the stairs was always hard for me after a half and longer, even for those where my training went really well.

          1. runner*

            Another thing that was interesting about tris is that one is often placed by age/gender, not pace. So you are really much more competing with yourself, unless you are competitive enough to start at the front. You will start with people of varying fitness levels and then people get spread out because maybe someone is better at the swim, but someone else at the bike.

          2. LGC*

            Nah, I just used the wrong word! I guess…lower impact is a better term?

            Like, a half Ironman is way more work than a full marathon, I’d think. But I’d imagine that I might be in somewhat less pain than after a marathon just because the stress is spread out over different systems.

            (On the other hand, I had issues running for two weeks after my first marathon.)

    5. LGC*

      Also, the part where I talk about myself for a hot minute:

      + Registered for Boston 2019! I will be 34 according to BAA. (I am turning 35 two weeks afterwards. I’m slightly salty about this, but hey, I’m in regardless, and the next time I deal with that age group stupidity is for the 2024 race.) It was a little delayed because it didn’t automatically verify my time – I’m not sure what caused it to not verify, but I was a little tense last weekend. (I shouldn’t have been, but I’m pretty neurotic!)
      – I mentioned in passing that my last race didn’t go so hot – basically, I ran a sub-18:30 5k to start and blew up afterwards. (So I started out aiming for 1:18 – my PR is just under 1:20. I finished in about 1:23.) On one hand, I feel like a bit of an idiot for trying to go so hard on a tough day to begin with – a lot of people faded mid-way through. But on the other hand…eh, it happened, I tried to be aggressive, I still finished, life goes on.

  28. Anonysaurus*

    Could use some life advice from everyone, as my parents asked me to move back in with them when my lease is up, and I’m not sure what to do.

    Some background: I’m a 27 yr old woman who has been in my current job for 3 years. I absolutely love my job (more than some people, actually…) but a combo of nonprofit wages + sky high COL area meant I didn’t move out from my parents house until about six months ago. Since then I’ve admittedly been living paycheck to paycheck – even with a roommmate things have been tight and a little anxiety inducing, which is just to be expected in this area, sadly.

    I visited my parents this past week and had a frank conversation with my mom about how hard it’s been for them since I left. Both of my parents are disabled in some major way, and neither can work. Driving is difficult for both of them. I’m an only child, and they had me fairly late in their lives. My mom straight up asked me to move back home, rent free, for a few more years.

    And I can’t say it isn’t extremely tempting: the chance to build my savings back up is huge. I might even be able to afford going to grad school without taking out more loans. And I worry a lot about my parents – they’re the only family I have.

    And yet – I just moved out! I’m closer to 30 than not! I don’t really believe in the stigma myself of living at home but it still stings to feel like I couldn’t hack it in the real world. I’m also afraid of never being able to leave – it’s not like their health will improve from here on out. I’m just not sure what to do.

    1. Kj*

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with living with parents. That said, some are much more accommodating to adult kids than others. Can you stay out late without your parents treating you like an errant teen? Do you feel like you can date if you want (and spend the night with your date if you wanted)? Do your parents track where you are and who you are with? Those are factors I would consider before moving home. Also, if their health doesn’t improve, what are long-term options, other than you? Nursing home? Adult family home? Those are things you need to think about before you make this choice. There are pros and cons to life with parents.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      When I was in my 20s (and living with my spouse) I knew a few guys who moved back home, and it was always in the context that their dad had died and they were moving in to help mom with expenses and practical stuff (like lifting heavy things) for a few years until everyone was ready for something else.

      You can look at this as your parents living with you, in a house they happen to already own so thank heaven you don’t have to go find an appropriate new place. It doesn’t seem like boundary issues are a problem–if framing it as “I’m moving in to help my parents as they slow down in old age” feels right to you, then I think is might make sense to do it. If that thought gives you sinking knots in your stomach, look for other solutions.

      1. the gold digger*

        Yes! Being your parents’ roommate is completely different from living with them because you don’t have other options and you don’t do anything to contribute.

        A mutually-beneficial housing situation? Do it.

    3. kc89*

      the fear of never leaving is real, I would have another frank conversation and say you’ll stay with them until you’re thirty unless something happens like a move for a job or a marriage, but at that time you will absolutely be moving out so they need to find alternative options.

      But not having to pay rent is a true blessing so take advantage while you can.

    4. Alice*

      I also moved out as an adult (for a bit longer than you), then moved back in. Later I moved out again, and recently my dad moved in with me for two months, and now we’re living separately again.
      If you and your parents have a relationship where you respect and enjoy each other as people (not just as relatives), it can work really well.
      I struggled for a while to distinguish myself from some layabout relatives who fulfilled every aspect of the grown children playing video games in the basement – but that was only my self-perception, not anyone else’s take. In fact, recently my dad told me his friends (of his generation) criticised him for accepting rent from me.!!!!
      So, if it works for you to share a home with your parents, do it!
      But, I suggest you also think about care responsibilities. You can do a lot, but not everything and not all the time. Have regular check-ins with yourself. Are your caregiving responsibilities preventing you from achieving professional or personal goals? Preventing self-care like exercise? Is there a backup plan for when you go on vacation? What will be the inflection points that, when you reach them, will trigger the three of you to set up a different system (involving paid help perhaps)?
      Also, if there are other siblings or relatives involved, you don’t necessarily have to share the responsibilitiesother equally, but you should communicate about it. Sometimes the sibling in a different city doesn’t realize how much of the burden is falling on the person at home, as the care recipients gradually need more help. Then the out of town folks might get snippy about the “extra” things (like free housing) that the stay-at-home sibling receives. Make sure everyone is on the same page.
      Good luck to you and your parents, whatever you decide.

    5. KayEss*

      Keep in mind that it sounds like essentially what they are asking is for you to move back in and work for them as a part-time care assistant. That’s not a bad thing, and it could certainly be an arrangement that works for you–but that’s a job, that people do professionally and have professional boundaries about. I strongly suggest that if you choose to go that route, all of you get together and lay out a contract-like agreement of what the expectations are for what duties you will perform and when you will be “on call” for helping vs. when you are unavailable (just because you live in their house does not mean you need to be 24/7 ready to drop everything every time someone wants a ride to the grocery store). Having everything hashed out clearly (and ideally written down!) can prevent a lot of misunderstandings and resentment from building up.

    6. Indie*

      Caring for two disabled people is about as real world as it gets. I currently have a very cushy gig living low cost with my able bodied mother and I’m just as grown up as I was living alone. It’s a myth.

      I think the real concern is whether you want to be pegged as their carer long term. This will boil down to what their long term plan is. Are they saving up for care?

      1. fposte*

        Yes, that’s my immediate thought–this is great long-term, but I wouldn’t go in without planning, and ideally agreeing on, indicators of when too much is too much to save you from it creeping up on you. There’s saving-money-while-helping-out living with parents, but there’s also sacrificing-your-own-life living with parents.

        1. HannahS*

          Seconded. Thirded? I agree, basically. It will require a lot of honest conversation and financial self-discipline for everyone to make sure you’re not sliding into a situation where the parents are dependent on you for care, and other situations seem increasingly impossible. Remind yourself and them often that you’re leaving at age X or when you’ve saved $Y or get married.

          1. Be the Change*

            HONEST conversation, yes! Lots of it.

            My husband’s aunt lived with her parents their whole lives, and because they *never talked about anything*, they thought that they were helping her because she couldn’t get married although they wished she would, and she thought she was helping them so she didn’t seek getting married although she wanted to.

    7. Jackie*

      If you and your parents have a good relationship I think moving back can be a win win for both of you. I moved back home after being out of the house for 8 years. My dad had passed away and my apartment was having heating problems so my mom was delighted to have me move back. I paid rent and enjoyed having meals made for me after working all day. I drove her wherever she wanted to go. It was fun. I was able to save money and take vacations as my rent was low. I say go for it.

    8. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I agree that this could be beneficial for both of you but you need to have an agreement in place, similar to a lease, that spells out what you’ll do for them and what type of autonomy you’ll have. Can you help them hire help or do they expect you to provide hands-on care during your free time? It’s one thing to share household chores and a trip to the grocery store and another to serving as a home health aide when you’re not at work. What happens if they need a ride on Saturday and you have plans? Will you be allowed to veg in front of the tv on a day off with no guilt? How much personal space and time will you have? How long will the terms of the “lease” be, how does it get renewed or ended, and who pays for what? All these questions you have can be discussed and agreed upon in advance and you can then decide if it will work for you.

      The rest is really down to attitude. If you believe you’re making this move from a position of companionship and helpfulness then that’s what you’ll communicate. In that story, the savings is a bonus. And having the terms spelled out will make it feel more like a responsible choice than a sign of your failure to “make it.” And when you think about it, it’s always men you hear about being lazy, unemployed sponges. Not to say that men automatically are, but in this case the stereotype works in your favor. The ones that don’t are the one where it’s always the daughter who gives up her outside life and even her job to care for her parents and that she is obligated to do so. None of these stereotypes hold up well to the lives of real people. My cousin lived with his parents for years while living an independent life with a busy full-time job with lots of travel. It suited them both for him to live at home. Once he decided to open his own business, the house was too small for 3 adults at home all the time and he bought a house close by and continued to help out. At some point he hired in-home help for them and after his father died he moved his mom in with him and continued to hire full-time help.

    9. Thursday Next*

      You have been hacking it in the real world—it’s okay to decide to move back in with your parents if that suits your current goals.

      It’s also not a classic “boomerang” situation because you’d be offering your parents something of value in return for free rent.

      It would be good for all of you to determine what the parameters of the living arrangement will be before you move in.

      Also, this is a great time for the three of you to collaborate on researching options for further down the road, when you do move out. If you have a local office on aging and/or disability, perhaps that can be a resource for getting started. It’s kind of similar to a comment I saw about prenups in a thread above: the time to make plans for the future is when things are at their best.

    10. CatCat*

      You can clearly hack it in the real world! Having a **mutually beneficial** living situation with family doesn’t mean you can’t hack it!

    11. Foreign Octopus*

      I’m in a sort of similar situation.

      I’m 28 and living in my parents home, although they’re not here. They’re off travelling the world and having the adventures they couldn’t have when they were young, poor, and weighed down by three kids (they’re currently motorcycling around New Zealand). They were kind enough to offer me to live in their home rent and bill free in exchange for looking after their pets and even though they’re not here – and I would have been an idiot to turn them down – I do feel that I’ve taken a step back. I’m quickly approaching thirty and my finances are barely there because of low salary, paycheck to paycheck necessity whilst living by myself, and I feel a bit like a failure that I’m having to have my parents support me like this – although I didn’t ask for it, they offered out of the blue and told me to think about it.

      I would say that you should take advantage of what they’re offering you. The way I tell myself is that this won’t be forever and the likelihood of me never having to pay rent/mortgage/bills again is slim to none and it’s giving me the opportunity to save, save, save.

      Look on it like that but be aware that some people (assholes) will judge. I deal with that by asking them what they would do if they were offered somewhere to live rent free for two years. It generally shuts them up.

      1. Bethany D*

        Another way of looking at it is that plenty of people work as house sitters – or get paid to be pet sitters! If you did it as a side hustle for strangers, it would be a totally legit part-time job; you just happen to have a very close connection with your current employers.

    12. Not So NewReader*

      Not a popular answer here.
      Let me start with Know Your Family. Really Know them.

      I am an only child too.
      By age 21 I had one very sick parent and one dying parent. I was expected to do Everything. Take care of them, maintain the house and yard etc. I launched my life instead or tried to. Even with not living with them the demands on my time where over the top.
      The parents were kind of naive but that was not as big a problem as the family around us who felt I was a bad daughter for not taking care of them . (Interesting point, this judgey stuff came from mostly women.) Because I did not live in the area the family did jump in. But when I came home on weekends they stopped, cold hard stop. I did not go to bed because there was so much to do.
      The money was gone there was no way to hire people to help.

      It was while I was laying on a gurney in the ER that I started thinking about “I am only one person.”

      It starts innocently enough, with “Sure, I will help with this or that.” Then it goes into mowing the lawn, writing out checks, getting food. And all the fn doctors, appointments, tests and hospitals. omg, I used charts for all the medications. It was incredible.

      I don’t see any problem with moving home to take care of the parents. I see a huge problem in losing your own ability to live life, have a career and do all those things that we do to launch our adult lives. Think long and hard and carefully. In the situation I had there was no way I could have banked money. There was no way I could even work full time because the needs were that large.

      Really think about this.
      What will you do when you have to leave for work and one is sick and the other can’t handle the situation?
      Who will do all the heavy work around the house? What if there is a 3 foot snow storm, is it up to you to figure out how to handle the mess?
      Suppose the furnace breaks in the middle of the snow storm and there is no money to fix it because all the spare cash has been spent on getting plowed out?
      What if one of them has to go to the hospital and you are the only person who can explain what is going on but you have to be at work?

      Your parents might be better off downsizing now to contain the scope of problems they will have in the future.
      Having tried to help my parents, I can see where I prevented other help from getting in to the situation sooner.

      YMMV of course. I had poor family support and there were no other people who were in a position to play a supportive role. And the money really ran out when the medical bills started coming in at the rate of $5k t0 $7k per week. (now that would be 10-14k, per week) Just my opinion but you are better off not hitching your wagon to their wagon. You made the jump once, why go back and have to make an even larger financial jump later? And check it out, the reason here has absolutely nothing to do with being ashamed of living at home as an adult. That is the very least of your worries in this question, the very least. The biggest problem here is failing to launch or getting a poor launch to your life because of drowning in their problems.

    13. ..Kat..*

      If you have good boundaries with your parents and they treat you like an adult, living with them can be a win/win. Just remember, if caring for them and home upkeep become too much for you, you can out source tasks such as lawn care, housekeeping, etc. Also keep in mind that as their physical caregiving needs increase, they may qualify for professional caregiving services that are paid for (at least partially) through insurance. In fact, (depending on care needs) Medicare/Medicaid could pay you for providing care for your parents.

    14. valentine*

      Keep moving forward. Don’t lose momentum. Maybe have 2+roommates. But caregiving for your parents in their house while living there wouldn’t work even if you were a professional caregiver. Living where you work with others is too blended for you to have a separate rest and a separate life. Any time limit or other boundaries you try to set, including whether you could save, versus taking on their debts, are at the mercy of your parent-child relationship and everyone’s health. Let them see what senior services are available. Proceed as though you live too far away to return and focus on how you’d prop and bulk up your finances then.

    15. Anonysaurus*

      Thank you to everyone for commenting! It’s really given me something to think about and some concrete things to bring up in conversation with my parents. We’ve already had a bit of a talk that this wouldn’t be a super long term solution, so while nothing’s set in stone yet, I think you’ve all given me a lot of great advice! Thank you!

  29. kc89*

    is anyone else awful at giving recommendations for your city?

    I tell them to just get the citypass so they can hit all the touristy things that most people want to do when visiting the city, but I don’t have any cool local~ advice lol

    this was inspired by an excellent san francisco advice comment posted earlier and how I deff can’t do the same for my city

    1. The Person from the Resume*


      I feel like I have weird tastes compared to what people come to my city far. I’m not a foodie and don’t like trying to fight the lack of parking in the touristy part of town so I don’t frequent there.

      I things in my town I live but I don’t think I can give good advice to tourist.

    2. Loopy*

      Meeeee. My city loves food and eating and I don’t eat out because I’m pretty cheap. I can name tourist attractions but not that hidden cozy cafe only the locals know.

    3. Tau*

      There’s the Berlin advice post upthread and there are loads of recommendations from people who, like, visited once, and I moved here a year ago and I have no idea what to suggest, seriously. /o\ I am terrible at city recommendations. I also lived in Edinburgh for four years and similar SHRUG when it came to anything even remotely touristy.

    4. Nervous Accountant*

      Yes, me. I’m in NYC and I can’t suggest much aside from regular touristy stuff. It’s also bc the only visitors to NY have been my inlaws who like th normal touristy stuff.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        Yes, there are lots of nice (looking) restaurants where I live, but I can’t afford to eat out very often, and when I do, it’s when I am somewhere else!

  30. BeeBeeAte*

    Yesterday I found a lump the size of a pea in my thigh. I can’t see it, but I can clearly feel it under the skin. It’s the kind of thing that if I found it in my breast or armpit I would immediately call my doctor, but for upper leg I have no idea if it’s worth rushing in to get it checked out. It’s not tender or red–the only reason I found it was because I was putting on lotion.

    1. kc89*

      I don’t have any advice but hopefully it’s just an ingrown hair or a zit or something! they can feel like that before they surface

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      Probably a cyst, probably okay, I am not a doctor (or llama)–I advise you call your doc Monday and ask if it’s something they want to check out.

      Also, check your insurance–ours often has a nurse’s line you can call for exactly this sort of “Is this a problem? Is it a go-to-the-ER problem, or a call-your-primary-next-week problem?” which I greatly appreciated with kids who believed 6 pm Friday was the time to develop a weird new symptom.

    3. fposte*

      Probably a cyst or a lipoma. The older we get, the lumpier we get in general. Get it checked out just in case, and you can also ask for guidance on what should send you to the doctor in future if you find something like that in case there’s something in your history that would make them advise a particular course.

    4. Chameleon*

      Where in the thigh? If it is near the groin, it could be a lymph node, which should be checked out. If it’s lower down the leg it may be just a lipoma or cyst (which could probably also be checked out just to be safe).

      1. BeeBeeAte*

        About middle, on top. If it were closer to the groin I’d head to the doctor right away, but it’s more leg than groin.

    5. Ender*

      Anything new is always worth getting checked out. I have loads of lumps all over my glands which have been cleared by a doc but if a new one appeared I would definitely get it checked.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      My father had a lump in the middle of his back. It was a cyst. The doc said to use a bath brush to be sure to reach his back and wash it. He had to have the cyst removed first.
      That is when I got into louffa (luffa- how ever you spell it) sponges. (Luffas are a squash type thing that have been dried out.) Luffas do a good job of pulling crap off the skin. The first week I missed my wash cloth so much and I put the luffa away. The second week I noticed that my skin did not feel right. The luffa did pull off dead skin, helped removed old soap and I just felt like my skin could breathe. I went back to a luffa and never changed again.
      I found articles that said using a luffa helps to stimulate small blood vessels, which in turn prevent eruptions on the skin. This brings me back to the back brush the doc recommended, the back brush does the same thing it gets the skin cleaned and stimulates circulation in small vessels. Later friends told me their dermatologist was saying to use bath brushes.

      As far as lipomas, I have used enzymes on lipomas and had great luck. You can find enzymes in health food stores.
      I am not a doc. Your best bet is to find out what that is first then decide a course of action. You can check with a dermatologist.

      1. LilySparrow*

        You can grow loofas if you live in a zone where you can grow cucumbers. Word of caution – the vines are very vigorous climbers and need a lot of space. And you can practically get a lifetime supply of loofas from one plant.

        The real downside is that after they mature and get all fibrous, you have to clean out the seeds and boil them before you dry them. They smell horrific when boiling.

        1. AcademiaNut*

          The young ones are delicious – they’re called “silk melon” in Chinese because of the texture.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          Am grinning, I tried growing loofas once. Vigorous does not fully describe. The vines were at least 30 feet long. And they managed to attach themselves to the VINYL siding on the house. I am at least zone 4 but I pick plants that are for zone 3. The poor vines did not have a long enough growing season. I would have to use a greenhouse or start them indoors. They ended up with these little cucumber looking things and then the frost hit.
          It was a fun project even though it did not go well for me.

    7. EmmaBird*

      As a cancer survivor I am very much on team “call the doctor and just ask” when in doubt. Though I can say from experience that the concern is usually whether or not a growth is growing more than anything. So if they don’t seem concerned when you call and don’t feel like they need to see you I’d just keep track of it’s size and insist on having it checked out if it gets bigger.

  31. Nessun*

    Looking for any and all insight on making a first time cruise a good experience for an introvert travelling alone! I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone, and I may have bit off more than I can chew… it’s a 7 day cruise in the Caribbean, and I’m meeting about a dozen folks I know only online from gaming for a few years. I’m single and female, but the other singles going are all guys, which is also a little unnerving (terrible at dating/getting to know people and also body image issues). There are a few couples going too. It embarks in a week and I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve lost my mind. Anyone got any words of wisdom or mantras I can keep in mind? It’s gonna happen, and I just don’t want to be wound up the whole time, or hiding in my windowless cabin.

    1. anon today*

      That sounds great! I’ll bet you have a wonderful time. Did you book dinners already with the people you are going with? That will be one time you will be out and about. And otherwise maybe just commit to one or two scheduled activities a day so you don’t feel like you are hiding in your cabin. But if being in your cabin is what you want to do and it makes you happy, do it!

      One thing I enjoyed on the one cruise I took was sitting on deck in a lounge chair and reading and napping for hours – out among people, but I didn’t have to interact with them. Perfect for this introvert. :)

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      It’s a week. You can get through anything for a week. Tell yourself that as needed. (There is a psychological time limit at which it becomes your life and the mantra doesn’t work–that’s three months. You can do anything for a week.)

      Balance: Build in some time to be alone. (Typed as a fellow introvert.) You may be hugely refreshed if halfway through most of the group goes paragliding while you chill with a book and a great view–sincerely, some of my fondest memories of recent trips are when my husband took the kids off to do something I physically couldn’t manage, and I didn’t have to do anything but enjoy the view from the patio. (Or living room, if it’s cold.)

      The ship probably has a ton of activity offerings, so pick a few you like, and some you’re on the edge about, repeating that “I can do anything for an hour/afternoon” mantra. I spent a birthday rappelling down waterfalls–not something I plan to do again, but I was really glad I tried it once. I am now really big on experiences when we travel–paying the extra $ for the memory of trying something new and different and not usually available to me is what has paid off over time.

      1. Nessun*

        Thank you – I will keep that in mind! Knowing I can go back to my comfort zone is perhaps the piece I’d ignored in thinking I should try new things. I’m not afraid of doing something new, but as the date gets closer this looks like a larger “new” thing than I’ve ever done. I’ll look for some things to try, and I’ll keep in mind that the room is there if I need it. I’m looking forward to the excursions I’ve booked (I like the tours of ruins or cultural learning that comes with them); it will be worth it in the end, I just need a few deep breaths!

    3. OBMD*

      I have been on many cruises and love them. Don’t hide in your cabin. If you need alone time, find a secluded spot on deck (usually far forward or far aft on a deck that does not have a pool) and relax in a lounge chair. Read a book, check out the internet , or just relax and nap. Being out and about by yourself can be wonderful. If you want to have some superficial interactions with other people, try an activity like a trivia game, cooking class, exercise class or something like else that lasts 30-60 minutes. Make sure your reservation is linked with the group you are meeting , for dinners. That way you can eat with people you know, instead of winding up with total strangers at dinner ( which is I assume the worst nightmare possible for an introvert). Relax and have a wonderful time.

      1. Nessun*

        My group is linked for dinner (though I’m not sure exactly how that works) and we’re on the same deck for the most part. I will definitely scope out the secluded areas – perhaps I will find some good quiet spots to take some pictures!

    4. MostCake*

      I envy you! Cruises are my favorite vacation and the only times when I don’t feel stressed about having an agenda. I am an introvert and don’t enjoy a lot of typical cruise highlights, but I still have the best time ever. The thing about a cruise is you don’t have to do anything. If you don’t have a plan for the next meal or just don’t want to change clothes, there’s always food somewhere on offer somewhere on the ship. I never bring formal wear for the dining room because I really prefer the buffet or even PB&J sandwiches from room service now and then. I have never once used the outdoor pools because I am self-conscious, but sometimes enjoy the indoor spa pools (less of a beauty contest, in my opinion) and I’ve discovered I love snorkeling shore excursions.

      I’ve experienced various shore excursions – all pretty tame – and some of them will stay with me forever. Stingray City in Grand Cayman, the zoo in Belize… and of course snorkeling. But I usually only book one or two shore excursions on a cruise – the other times I just disembark and go walking about to see the people and the sights. Usually it is very tourist-centric, but that’s okay, in the gorgeous weather and sunshine I can’t help but feel happy.

      I usually bring a couple hundred bucks casino money because I enjoy video poker (I’ve never lost it all). I check out the daily bulletin of activities that comes under your cabin door each morning and go to all the fun free stuff like make your own bath products classes and trivia competitions, and I also like the daily bingo and wine tasting gatherings that are under $20. Every day at the gift shop there is a crazy sale, like all watches are only $10 – so I check that out. Every day there are usually movies in the ship theater to watch, and in the evenings there are shows. Sometimes they are really corny, but so what, I’m on vacation!

      The ocean is my favorite thing in the world. I like to go to the cocktail lounge at the top of the ship when it’s nearly empty and drink wine and relax and watch the waves. The best cruise I ever had was when I was inexplicably upgraded to an ocean balcony room and that was heaven.

      Sigh. . I need to save up so I can afford to go on a cruise again. I really hope you have a wonderful and fun time.

      1. Nessun*

        Thank you so much for the information!! I will have to check out the indoor spa pools versus the outdoor ones – I like swimming, but I’m not fussy about doing it outside, so I’ll compare which is quieter; I didn’t realize there might be a difference!

        Okay, the image of a quiet table in a lounge, nearly empty, watching the waves with a drink? Now that sounds absolutely lovely. I’m going to do that for sure. (Except maybe with a scotch!) Thanks for giving me some quiet-type things to look forward to. Now I can try to focus on packing!

    5. Double A*

      Read David Foster Wallace’s “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.” It’s not exactly pro-cruise, but it’s extremely entertaining and might give you some ideas

      In a related suggestion, bring a lot of books. Vacation is for reading in my opinion. Anything else you get done is just gravy.

  32. Marguerite*

    I was telling my Mom about a guy that I have a crush on and she then asked me, “Has he seen you without your glasses?” I said yes, and he wears glasses sometimes as well… But now that I think about it, what are wrong with glasses? I don’t think that I look bad in mine. People compliment them. Plus, if he does have an issue, or is judging me on them, I don’t want to be with someone like that.

    1. Plant Lady*

      There’s nothing wrong with glasses at all. Sure, everyone has personal preferences, but the whole “boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses” is pretty much beyond archaic. Maybe Mom just had a bit of a brain cramp? If the guy made an anti-you-wearing-glasses comment, that would be something else…like a big ol’ red flag.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      It’s very possible that he may actually like you equally or better with your glasses on compared to with them off. What does it matter?

      1. KayEss*

        This! I like my husband better with his glasses on, partly because he wears them all the time so that’s how I’m used to seeing him, and partly because otherwise he can only see about six inches in front of his face so without them he looks perpetually confused and squinty.

    3. Alpha Bravo*

      Do you think it’s possible this is a sideways attempt by mom to find out how intimate this relationship is? There are certain *ahem* activities where one might be more likely to remove one’s glasses.

    4. The Person from the Resume*

      There’s nothing wrong with glasses. Actually they can be a fashionable accessory.

      IDK your mom’s comment (if I’m reading the implication right and it’s not as Alpha Bravo suggests) is shocking superficial. People/you don’t look attractive in glasses!! This man is attracted to you for your looks but not how you look in glasses!! Just ugh.

    5. Forrest Rhodes*

      To me, glasses make a person look more intriguing, more mysterious—what, I wonder, is going on in the mind that’s behind those peepers? Clark Kent was always more interesting than Superman because of those glasses!

    6. HannahS*

      I….what? That’s so weird! Listen, I happen to have quite lovely eyes–like, remarked upon by strangers level lovely–and I look much more beautiful without glasses. But I wear my glasses daily, because I find contacts uncomfortable and I don’t want surgery. And I prioritize my need to see over being beautiful! These are not a style accessory! They are as critical to my functioning as hearing aids are for others. I choose nice frames that I think look good, and anyone who thinks I shouldn’t wear them can pretty much f— right off. And I happen to find glasses on others pretty darn charming.

      1. Marguerite*

        I should have, but didn’t. If I went back and asked her, I don’t think she would tell me what she was really thinking. (She would probably just make something up.) Like posters above noted, I think it has to do with vanity, etc.

        1. KEWLM0M*

          It may be her way to compliment you! Since she, as your mom, is in a unique position to know how lovely you are, she wanted to make sure that he saw how lovely you are as well! :)

  33. Fellow Traveler*

    Anyone have any useful tips/ strategies/ reframing for not reverting to teenage sullenness around one’s parents? I’m 40 years old, and they are visiting this week and I find myself trying really hard not to be being petulant and contrary whenever my mom offers advice or my dad starts expressing his political views. I try to remind myself that I’m an adult and I’m grateful to my parents for all they’ve done for me, but I just feel really unhappy when they are here. I look around and see people having great grown up relationship with their parents and I feel jealous that this is one part of adulting I’m really not getting.

    1. It's all temporary*

      For the political stuff, would you be able to agree up front just not to talk about it? “Dad, I want to enjoy this visit. Let’s agree to disagree on politics and talk about fun stuff. How’s /hobby he’s into/ or what about them /sports team/?” As my brother says – changing the subject is ALWAYS an option.

      For your mom….that’s trickier. But try to remember that she’s coming from a good place. She loves you and wants what’s best for you. Also, she’s not going to live forever and some day, you are going to miss all the annoying things she did that drove you crazy.

      My mom used to say, after I’d mention something I was going to do, “Can you DO that????” and I would always hear it as an insult or an undermining – like she didn’t believe I was mature enough to do something. It took me years and it wasn’t until after I moved to another country that I realised what she was really saying “I couldn’t do that. I am amazed that you can do that. You amaze me.”

      My mom died a couple of years ago – we had our moments, both good and bad. I would give anything to be able to talk to her again, even though I know I would get annoyed when she mentioned my weight or asked me what my husband thought of whatever the latest thing she didn’t approve of was. She worried about me and she loved me more than she knew how to say.

    2. Aurora Leigh*

      I have a way better visit with my parents when they visit me. Granted, this happens rarely, but I like them being able see that I am doing fine on my own.

      Things like treating them to a meal also makes me feel like a competent adult.

      But we still have a long way to go on the them accepting me as adult front, so . . .

    3. Ender*

      OMG I’m the same. I actually had a frank conversation with my mother about it a couple years ago and pointed out that every single thing she said to me was either an instruction or a criticism. She hadn’t realised that. She took it on board and agreed to stop. It’s not perfect but we have a much more equal and mature relationship now – though she still has her moments of bossiness and I still have my moments of petulance. But nowhere as bad as it was.

      1. blackcat*

        I only seem to revert to petulant teen when my parents start treating me like a kid. I have become pro very strong boundaries and the problem is better. If they start treating me like a child, I leave if I am visiting them. If they are visiting me, I kick them out of my house (I don’t let them stay in my own).

        It pisses them off to no end that when they give me shit I go hang out with my BFF’s parents. They were a second set of parents to me growing up, and I love them dearly. So if I’m in town and my parents (or brother, who also lives at home) are being difficult, I just go stay there. BFF’s parents have treated me with respect since I was a kid, and I now have a lovely grown up to grown up relationship with them.

  34. Kate Daniels*

    What is your favorite type of apple? Mine is honeycrisp, but at $3.99/lb here, I’m looking for a cheaper type that is crunchy and sweet. I also like fuji, but I want to explore other varieties!

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      Honey crisps are also my favorite. Not sure if this counts as an apple, but apple pears are excellent!

    2. Not a Mere Device*

      If you like Honeycrisp and Fuji, try Gala.

      I’m also fond of Macintosh and Macoun, and a lot of less common apples that you’re unlikely to find except at a farmers market or farmstand, like Esopus Spitzenberg.

      1. fposte*

        I run toward tarter apples, and heirloom orchards and places like that are the best to get them–I love Esopus Spitzenberg (it’s a parent of Jonathan), Ashmead’s Kernel, and Northern Spy.

        1. Tau*

          Oooh. I am the sort of person who eats Granny Smiths by preference, so these suggestions are all very relevant to my interests.

          Although judging by the names being thrown around, I’m not actually sure how much crossover there is between US and European apple types.

          1. fposte*

            I love apples, and I geek out about them a little the way other people geek out about wine.

            Yes, apples are very variable from region to region. A Cox’s Orange Pippin is a weird outlier you’d only find at specialty locations in the U.S., for instance, and it doesn’t tend to bear well here, apparently, but it’s still a regularly found apple in the UK. Also there are have been robust apple development programs in a lot of U.S. university ag programs that produce really interesting apples that probably never make it outside the country because they’re strictly licensed.

            IIRC you’re in Germany, so it looks like some of your popular apples are ones we don’t get much of (Belle de Boskoop turns up in a specialty orchard or two but isn’t common), and I see a couple mentioned that sound nice (Topaz and Delbarestivale) that I’ve never seen in the U.S.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I just bought Kanzi apples, which are apparently a cross between a Gala and a Braeburn, and used them in an apple cake. SO good. Kind of tart, which I like. I’m also a fan of Mutsu Crispins, Jonathans, and Galas.

      The one thing I absolutely hate about living in the South is that our apples are awful. You can only get really good ones if you go to the mountains in the west. I used to pick apples in New York every fall and had the most delicious varieties. My farmer’s market brings in the best they can, but it’s just not the same. I don’t love buying from the supermarket, but sometimes I cave just to get a halfway decent crunchy apple.

    4. Thursday Next*

      Pink Lady, Fuji, and Gala are my favorites.

      Depending on where you live, fall = peak apple season and cheaper prices…this is the time of year I get my apple on!

    5. HannahS*

      Honeycrisp, for sure! I think I spent 10$ on just apples last week. I buy pink lady or cripp’s pink as a budget-ish option. Asian pears are very crisp, and there’s a brown-skinned variety that’s sweeter than the pale yellow one.
      Granny smiths are crisp and not-sweet, but I like to eat them in a sandwich (hear me out) with goat cheese and craisins. Super delicious.

    6. Mephyle*

      Mutsu. Like Golden Delicious but even better.
      Or Macintosh – but only when fresh, otherwise it is ordinary. The time to eat them is in the fall when you get the new harvest, recently picked.

    7. Trixie*

      My teammates will often have afternoon break at work with apples and various cheeses. I’m inspired to try this myself with all these favorites.

    8. SpellingBee*

      Hands down my favorite apple is Opal. When fresh they’re very crisp and sweet with just enough tartness to keep them interesting. They do lose the crispness after they’ve been in storage for awhile, so I only buy them when they first come into the stores. Last year I found Kanzi apples, which someone else recommended, and they’re marvelous also and seem to retain their texture better. I love trying different apple varieties!

    9. Nessun*

      Definitely going with the Gala crowd on this – they’re my fave! I’m also quite fond of Spartans myself, but those can be harder to find.

    10. Kate Daniels*

      Sounds like I am definitely going to have to give Pink Lady apples a try! I really appreciate all of your recs. I’m sad that the cool weather has arrived (where I live, it’s not going to be warm again until May), but I’m trying to make the best of it, and trying out new varieties of apples during the fall is one such method!

    11. Dear liza dear liza*

      I like Honeycrisps. I run into texture issues with a lot of others. If the mouth feel is at all mealy, I’m out.

    12. No Tribble At All*

      At Costco last year, we found this type called Ruby Frost — they’re delicious! Big, crispy, juicy… now I want an apple.

    13. Earthwalker*

      I mostly get the reasonable inexpensive Galas that are available at our grocery for much of the year. They’re a nice mix of sweet and tart and stay crisp a long time. Pink Lady and Jonagold are a bit spendier and more seasonal but as eating apples I think they’re better yet. For applesauce (chunky, tart, and seasoned with cinnamon and honey and maybe a grating of lemon) my favorites are Jonagold alone or with Rome or Honeycrisp. None of those is very expensive when bought by the carton from the fruit stand right at the peak of their brief season.

    14. Engineering consultant*

      My favorite is GoldRush, but I’ve only seen them at the local farm stands/markets in November thru December . My second favorite is Opal, which I’ve seen in Trader Joe’s usually around December into February. For the supermarket varieties, I like Ambrosia, Pink Lady (comes into season about November in the eastern US), and if nothing else, I’ll go for Fuji. I find Honeycrisp kind of bland… there’s a lot of juice and but it’s just mildly sweet and not as crispy as I like my apples.

      I tried an Empire apples yesterday and was pleasantly surprised by it’s crispiness. It’s a descendant of McIntosh but, so it has that sweet-tart-winey flavor, but none of the McIntosh softness.

      If you want to learn about many varieties of apples there are and how they taste, I *highly* recommend browsing the Adam’s Apples blog.

      Finally, if you can, get yourself to a local farmer’s market for fall apples! More varieties and cheaper than the stores!

      1. Kate Daniels*

        Thank you so much for the apple blog recommendation! And yes, I am going to try to get them from farmers’ markets… this apple taste test thing is my “project” this fall to help me not feel so sad about the warm weather going away and not returning again until May!

    15. SS Express*

      Obviously Granny Smith. Pink Lady is okay if you get a really good one. I always thought Golden Delicious was an ironic nickname.

    16. Garland not Andrews*

      I’m late to the party, but my favorite is the Jonagold.
      If you like the tart apples and can find them Winesap apples are delicious. They are an heirloom variety, the apples are very tiny, and super super flavorful. My granddad always said this was his favorite.

  35. MsChanandlerBong*

    Any tips for being more motivated? I am EXHAUSTED after work, so I basically just cook dinner, faff about for a couple of hours, and then go to bed early on weeknights. I keep saying I am going to do stuff on the weekends–work on my own writing projects, do stuff around the house, etc., but I just…don’t. It’s stuff I WANT to do. I just find it more fun to sit here and play Dynomite Deluxe (these dinosaur eggs aren’t going to hatch themselves, you know). I’m not depressed or anything like that. I’ve just always been pretty unmotivated. I clean during the week, so it’s not like things are piling up and the house is a disaster, but I’m holding myself back by not just buckling down and doing the stuff I want to do. For example, I have a lot of ideas for things I could do to earn extra money on weekends, yet I just sit here.

    1. Kate Daniels*

      I could’ve written the exact same post! I feel like I always have all these great plans for the weekends, but then when they finally roll around, I don’t have the energy to do much beyond run some errands. I have found that with regard to having more energy during the workweek, it helps to do some “me” stuff (e.g., writing, practice foreign language) in the morning before work so at least I feel accomplished for the day instead of upset at myself when I get home and don’t want to do it. I also have discovered that if I go somewhere else (e.g., library) instead of straight home after work, it helps me not waste that evening time.

    2. Chameleon*

      This may not be applicable at ALL, but…I have had the same issue pretty much my whole life, where I’d make all these plans about what I could do when I had the spare time, but then just couldn’t bring myself to do them. It turns out that is a common symptom of atypical ADHD (particularly in women).

      Maybe it is simply a problem with energy, but if you find that the reason you can’t get started is because it seems like a huge task and you can’t figure out how to possibly start it…you may want to look up other symptoms and see if they seem familiar. ADHD is *severely* underdiagnosed in women (I didn’t get treatment until I was 38).

      1. Competent Commenter*

        Fellow ADHD sufferer here. Yeah, I feel you. Also female, diagnosed in late 40s.

        I found the openness of weekend time to be really stressful and was often depressed when I woke up Saturday mornings. Another female friend with ADHD has the same thing. My current system is to stop writing huge, unachievable to-do lists and instead to think of my weekend time as a healthy plate of dinner food–lots of different colors of vegetables, different food groups, to make a balanced meal. So I want to choose activities from: work on house, do chores, prep for week cooking/shopping, personal paperwork/email answering, spend time exercising outdoors (crucial for me), and doing something completely pointless and relaxing that is free-range brain time, like doing a jigsaw puzzle while I listen to a podcast. If I do something from each area, even if some are just 10 minutes, I feel great at the end of the weekend. I’ve accomplished things, my anxiety is lower, I relaxed, I’m ready for the week. Also, I avoid doing things like spending three weekends in a row doing home paperwork, like when I scanned about 6 bankers’ boxes’ worth of old files. Great project, worth the effort, but I got really depressed doing that. I need a more balanced range of activities.

        My other tip: my spouse is getting up really early now for a new job and I get up too and do crazy stuff like buy groceries at 6 am (great time! no lines, well stocked shelves), cook dinner, work for 45 minutes in my garden (moved a huge project along over the course of one week that way), take a walk while it’s cool out, etc. Previously I would just sit in bed and endlessly read crap online and then think, why did I spend an hour doing that? It wasn’t fun and sapped all my energy. Getting stuff done early instead gets me going and more energized and makes my evenings much more relaxing, in turn reducing pressure on the weekends. I’m more of an evening person than morning so it’s not without its drawbacks, like when I just can’t fall asleep at 10 pm when my spouse does, but overall it’s been a game-changer for the last four months.

    3. The Person from the Resume*


      I planned to ride my bike this morning. I was half dressed and realized I really didn’t want to brave to ridiculous heat we’re having here.

      One trick that works for me is making plans with someone. Once committed I don’t back out. I don’t know how that works with writing time – maybe meeting someone in a coffee shop for you bothto work on your own stuff.

      Inviting people to your house in a few weeks so you finish your house stuff before they visit.

      I can’t motivate well from self imposed deadlines. I need the external commitment. Maybe it’s as simple as telling someone you’ll do something and having them check in after the weekend.

    4. Ender*

      I read this book recently that was recommended here called 168 hours. It points out that we all have 168 hours in a week which is loads of time and it has a process to help you make the most of your time. The first step is to track for a week what you actually spend your time doing. Then you identify where you are wasting time. Sounds like you already know where you are wasting your time.

      Next step is to make a list of things you want to do and figure out first step for each. Then figure out which of these steps can be done in an hour, a half hour, ten mins. Put in place what you need to make to easy to take those steps when you have the time. Then book it in to your plan. Then follow through.

      1. Rylla*

        168 Hours is by Laura Vanderkam – she’s written several books about time/task management that are interesting reads. I still haven’t read her newest, Off the Clock, but it sounds good too.

        Another one I read recently and liked was Randi Zuckerberg’s “Pick Three.” She’s arguing that most tasks/goals break down into five categories – Work, Sleep, Fitness, Family, Friends – and that on a daily basis we can probably manage doing 3 of those 5 excellently, so give yourself permission to alter priorities to suit what’s going on in your life. I think the categories will probably be different based on individual people, but the overall idea really resonated with me.

    5. Parenthetically*

      Oh man, I hear you!

      I have to trick myself into doing stuff. “I’ll set a timer for TEN MINUTES and do the thing for TEN MINUTES and then go back to burying myself in social media.” And then lots of times I’ve found the motivation in that ten minutes and can keep going. Breaking out of the rut is the thing that takes the most mental energy for me, so if I start (put on my workout clothes/walk into the kitchen/get the book off the shelf/whatever), I’m infinitely more likely to continue.

    6. Overeducated*

      I am like that too but…is that bad? If we devote most of our time and energy during the week to being productive in our primary jobs, why feel pressure to be productive in different ways on our days off? Be gentle with yourself. Maybe your brain needs to rest.

      1. Bethany D*

        Reasonable expectations of ourselves help a lot. When I’m feeling so overwhelmed I shut down & don’t get anything done, there’s at least a 50% chance it was because I was trying to bite off more than I could chew. But when I prune my ToDo list down to a few priorities, I’m far more likely to actually get something done.

    7. LilySparrow*

      Another adult ADHD’er here. I need external structure to get me going, so one trick that works well for me is to make a standing appointment for a Thing I do on the weekends, that I like, that gets me out of the house with other people. Or maybe two things.

      Nothing strenuous or emotionally taxing, just something that is a fixed point in my week. Then a) I can piggyback other out-of-the-house things (like taking my laptop to the library to write) before or after it, and b) I have to fit in my other weekend projects around it, which gives them some small sense of urgency and prevents that “all the time in the world” drifting feeling where it all just evaporates into nothing. Like, “Well, if I’m going to do [project] I’d better do it this morning, because I have Thing in the afternoon.”

  36. Anxiety advice needed*

    My husband, who is in his 40s, has just recently started experiencing anxiety attacks – at least four this month. Today is the most recent one.

    I’m working with him to help him understand that he needs to see a professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, which he’s a bit resistant to but now is being forced to admit is necessary. My hope is that he’ll call to make an appointment (he’s with Kaiser) on Monday, but I suspect he’s going to be slow to take action – which means that I’ll be in the position of needing to push and prod.

    So I guess I’m asking for advice on: helping someone who is reticent seek help, getting a clear diagnosis/understanding of what’s going on and anything else I should be thinking of. Thanks all.

    1. Aurora Leigh*

      Mh bf has some of the same issues. Haven’t pushed the anxiety issue yet his are not that frequent).

      But did convince him to make an appt to talk about his migraines after a similiar string of incidents. What seemed to help the most was telling (not asking) him, and laying out what likely to happen (i.e. tell the dr your syptoms, she’ll ask questions, she’ll write a prescription, it might not work so then you’ll talk to her again . . .) and saying outloud how unlikely worst case scenarios are (she’s not going to tell you it’s brain cancer).

      On the telling instead of asking that’s something he asked me to do early on if I thought a medical issue was getting out of hand , may not work for your spouse.

      1. BRR*

        Can you set up the appointment for him (with his permission)? For me, my mental health conditions (depression and anxiety) make the process of seething up an appointment, especially a first appointment, difficult?

    2. BRR*

      Can you set up the appointment for him (with his permission)? For me, my mental health conditions (depression and anxiety) make the process of seething up an appointment, especially a first appointment, difficult?

      1. LilySparrow*

        I was going to suggest this. If you make it, will he go? Would it be easier if you went with him?

        This is what finally worked for my father-in-law. He knew he wasn’t doing well, but he was at the point that just deciding what to eat for lunch was paralyzing. The process of making the appointment, getting there, what to say to the doctor, what might the doctor do – ignore him? Laugh at him? Lock him up? It was all just like staring into the unknown abyss and he couldn’t.

        His wife and son arranged the whole thing and went with him and took notes, and that made it doable.

    3. Jackie*

      I think seeing a doctor would be good but is has to be a doctor that really listens and not one who just prescribes pills. Diet and exercise should be looked at as well. I had a doctor who never asked me about what was going on in my life when I had experienced anxiety and prescribed 3 different pills ! Also, look on line if you are going to take any medications as most doctors never explain side effects.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      I think phrasing it as fairness to you–or to any kids, or to anyone like employees who depend on him–can help with a lot of people. “I wouldn’t do it for myself, but I’d do it for them.”

    5. My Cat Posted This For Me*

      Oof that’s tough. Been there with spouse and ex. And Kaiser, which I have also, is terrible about their mental health care. We have many locations within 25-45 minutes of our home (although not in our town!) and the difference in mental health care among them is striking. If you have options, ask around about which are better.

      Also, I’m a big fan of medication for anxiety, and unlike with an ex of mine, often they prescribe what I think of as antidepressants rather than straight anxiety meds, which I think is great. My ex was just handed Ativan, essentially, even though he had a history of substance abuse, and was given no counseling.

      So that leads me to counseling. Kaiser doesn’t offer much, around here it used to be 3 weeks between sessions, 5-6 weeks before your first one, and they would tell you that that’s really standard and ideal, which is utter BS. I mean seriously, if you don’t have enough clinicians, just say so. I’ve seen many, many therapists over the years, and none said, don’t come more than once every three weeks, it’s better that way. If you have a mental health plan like Optum or Beacon added to your Kaiser, use that to get counseling. Look for CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, so he can understand the triggers. Or see if Kaiser has a CBT anxiety group–they’re big on pushing the groups rather than individual counseling and those can be super helpful.

      As far as motivating him…that’s really hard. If things go badly/get worse, look into the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) family to family support groups. It’s a multiweek education group that absolutely rocks. You don’t need it now, but if his panic attacks worsen and he won’t get treatment or treatment isn’t helping, get to NAMI early on to get more info/learn to cope. Untreated panic attacks lead to agoraphobia. I’ve seen it in my dad and my ex. It’s rough. Try to get him to nip it in the bud. Good luck.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      The most powerful thing someone said to me was, “Problem X looks like a real problem. It’s a quality of life issue. What do you think you would like to do to help yourself? You deserve a better quality of life.”

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        NSNR, Thank you for your phrasing! Is it okay if I repeat you, word for word, to myself and others?

    7. medsanon*

      With Kaiser Psychiatry they won’t make an appointment for you on your first visit, you have to do a walk-in. I wasn’t there on a busy day, so I ended up waiting less than an hour. If you’re thinking he will drag his feet on going in, can you help him pick a day to just do it? Like, take a half-day from work and request it in advance and have that be the plan for the day that he can’t back out of? I dragged my feet for weeks because “just drop in” was more intimidating than calling to make an appointment.

      Kaiser has its drawbacks, but I was very impressed with how integrated everything was. I saw a therapist first, who confirmed that meds would be helpful, so he went to find a psychiatrist for me right then and there. She took over, prescribed initial meds, but with a followup to check in right away. Then she set me up with an appointment for my permanent therapist (different from the triage one) and information on drop-in group therapy. I needed phone consults several times due to travel for work while I was trying to get meds dialed in and she was very responsive and helpful for that.

  37. Junior Dev*

    Mental health thread! How are you doing? What are you struggling with? What are you proud of?

    I’m having really bad anxiety this week for reasons I’m not supposed to talk about on the weekend. Also, reading the news has been really triggering lately.

    But I have plans with people today and i did exercise a couple times a week. I’m trying to be really gentle with myself.

    How are you doing?

    1. Alpha Bravo*

      It sounds like you’ve been doing exactly what you need to do, Junior Dev. Go you!

      This has been a much better week. The constant crying for no reason has let up. The materials for my new barn came in, so I’ve been dealing with contractors to get the site prep done. Being busy is very helpful. And tonight is family Netflix Night at my mom’s. I’m bringing subs.

    2. Red*

      I’m doing fairly wonderfully! I have a new job lined up which will take some stress off my plate (it’s only part-time), my classes are actually quite fun, and things are going well. I’m a bit anxious and sad at leaving my current job and all the people I work with, but it’s for the best, and most of them will keep in touch. I think I’m just relieved to have free time again so I can exercise, have hobbies, and be a normal human being. It’s going to be so good for my mental health, y’all.

    3. Jenna Maroney*

      mixed bag. didn’t get to barre class as often as i wanted and my spending is never great. but i also feel good about my workouts and telling off my jerk ex.

    4. Sammie*

      Thank you for checking in. Even if I’m more comfortable sometimes writing lists and dealing with stuff on my own, I love the reminder that it is a good thing to take this time to check in with myself.

    5. Jessen*

      Been really anxious this week, but I’m also getting a lot better at recognizing external factors. I’ve been staying up way too late getting stuff done (prep for that-which-we-do-not-discuss) and I’ve been telling myself that I’m probably anxious because caffeine is not a substitute for sleep.

      Oddly, I’ve found that a good rant on something truly trivial helps me when I’m in that mode. Like the lack of good modern haberdashery, or the difficulty in finding my preferred flavor of hot sauce.

    6. Nisie*

      Better, maybe. I broke one of my cycles by pulling into petsmart and looking at the kittens.

      Work is stressing me out but I’m seeing the benefits of going part time. For this year, it’s perfect.

    7. Mimmy*

      Doing okay lately. I’m proud of how well I’ve been handling significant and unpopular changes at the place we don’t discuss on weekends. I don’t like it one bit and continue to drive myself batty about my future. However, the fact that I didn’t have one major breakdown in the midst of the chaos is a big plus for me.

      I am dreading the fall, however, because it means that my birthday and the holidays are coming up, and having to think about all of that on top of everything else has me a little twitchy.

    8. Jean (just Jean)*

      Trying to staying calm despite mountains of unfinished tasks at home, some monumental home-computer related aggravation, and more unfinished tasks at The Place We Don’t Discuss on This Thread. By “calm” I mean my average emotional temperature as computed across all of today’s encounters with accomplishment, overwhelm-ment (if that’s not a word, well, it should be!), procrastination, uneasiness, denial, re-determination, re-energizing for the next task, completing the next task, and back to accomplishment. Et cetera.

      I’m thankful for my blessings even though I’m quick to count my many grievances and challenges. Sometimes, this life is a peculiar business.

    9. Kat in VA*

      I am struggling with Imposter Syndrome at the Place Not Named On This Thread, struggling with household tasks – the quality of which have dropped off immensely since I started a New Place Not Named Today on the 10th, and struggling with spending time with kids who are feeling the pinch of “Mom Who Used To Stay At Home” who is now “Mom Who is Gone Nearly 12 Hours A Day”. Husband is feeling it, too. 5:00 dinners are a thing of the past – kids and husband are picking up the slack but I feel like I’m dropping the ball, household chores aren’t getting done (kids are still in “We have to be told to vacuum”), and overall I’m just overwhelmed.

      Add to that one less hour of sleep (I was sticking to an 06:30 schedule while between positions but now it’s 05:30 wakeup) and feeling like I’m getting buried with anxiety because I’m under a mountain of undone things (including two – two! – credit cards I paid late because I forgot to enter the pay date into my calendar) and yeah, I’m feeling it. Thank you for asking. Just typing it all out made me feel a bit better.

    10. Arjay*

      I am with you on the news. I usually have my social media curated to not be upsetting, but over the weekend two people I genuinely like reposted articles where the visible comments were just filled with ugliness, hate, and misogyny. I don’t mind if they disagree with me, but I feel that by sharing those articles, they’re also sharing those comments, and I’m not interested. They both got unfollowed on facebook for my peace of mind, but as of today it’s still troubling me.

    11. BabyBear’s Mom*

      Doing pretty well here (anyone else truly surprised when you sit back and realize that your mentality has strengthened and you didn’t even know it?).

      My little boy has started to accept that I can’t pick him up all the time- one, because we needed to do more “tummy time” and two, because I got a new position working from home. Less crying throughout the day! I was so worried i had changed his sweet personality because I’m now working.

      Trying not to think of the changes that’ll come at The Place We Don’t Mention In This Thread as my contract expires end of October. Whatever happens, will happen has been the motto to help me recently. A complete change from my normal mental subscription.

      Everyone out there who hasn’t left a comment but feels down and out, you’re wonderful in every little way. Things sometimes take a downturn, but remember that you’ve overcome difficult times in the past (even if it’s something as simple as cleaning the dirty dishes that piled up way back when). Take the day one step at a time, we’ve got this :)

  38. Notapirate*

    Anyone have a good link for bike repair tutorials? My back wheel is wobbling and im not sure how to fix. Google results where overwhelming and a lot of them seem to be selling something. I think i just need to tighten like opposite spokes? My gear shaft is also out of alignment, have to hold the shifter down to stay in gear. I dont have a car and the only bike shops in walking distance seem to be high end racing specialty ones…

    1. LCL*

      Start with Sheldon Brown’s website. Good explanation of terminology and techniques and the why behind what you are doing. His page is kind of like the Chiltons manuals, in that you are expected to know how to use tools. Once you know what you are looking at, you should be able to find the you tube tutorials that will help you.

      I just checked, his website is still up @SheldonBrown.com. And there was a page on derailleur adjustment, and on truing wheels. Did you hit something hard with the rear wheel or derailleur? By gear shaft, do you mean the shifter piece you move with your hand, or the rear axle? Did the wobble and shift difficulties start at the same time? If you have a quick release rear wheel, have you tried resetting it and lubing the chain? The website has instructions on the right way to use a quick release, it’s not as intuitive as it looks.

    2. Earthwalker*

      You can check if the wheel is true by spinning it on the bike and seeing if it stays neatly between the brake pads or if it drags first on the left brake pad and then on the right (out of true.) Or you can take the wheel off the bike, line your nose up with the tire, and spin it. If you see the tire waver back and forth, it needs to be trued by tightening/loosening the right spokes. I’ve done that job by eyeballing it and it’s not as easy as it sounds. Just when I think I’ve finally got it right, I’ve made it worse instead. Any more I take it to the bike shop and have them do the job on a truing jig. It’s generally a pretty cheap fix.

    3. DrTheLiz*

      Wobble is, uny experience, one of two things: uneven rim (fix by tightening some of the spokes, but go *very gently* as it’s super easy to overdo – think 1/4 turn of a spike key as a *lot* in one go) or a problem with the ball bearings around the axle (you can fix this by replacing them but I’m not sure it’s worthwhile in terms of effort).

  39. Sunny*

    I’m looking to get out more (possibly meet new people although my goal is just to get out more), does anyone have any recommendation for cool places to go in the DC area, either with friends or alone?

    1. Fellow Traveler*

      Two things I’ve liked:
      1) Alexandria Clay Co-op has these “Try It” classes where you can try one session of throwing pottery.
      2) Volunteering. There are a lot of places in DC that have evening and weekend volunteer hours. I’ve enjoyed Casey Trees and the DC Diaper Bank- they are both very well organized and with purpose.

      1. BabyBear’s Mom*

        Question- with escape rooms, is there a restroom that you can use during the puzzle time? Always wondered and it’s held me back from going to one

  40. It’s all good*

    I wish there was a patch to eliminate sugar addiction. Addiction, I’m not sure it’s the right word for me, but it feels like it. I don’t binge sweets, but I can’t walk away from a cookie or donut or a slice of cake or a scoop of ice cream. With kids in the house, there is always piñata candy or treats given to us by others (the kids only have sweets 1-2 a week, they are good about self-policing if they already have had sweets earlier in the week). When at clients I can’t walk past the goodie table without grabbing one. Back in May I went without sweets and I lost 4 lbs each for two weeks. I’ve done the true sugar fast (hard, sugar is everywhere) for a week (twice) and I felt great! No hunger cravings and I slept better. – I know I can do it but I just don’t want to. Now with health issues I have to eliminate most sweets. Any suggestions on how you built your will power?

    1. fposte*

      I haven’t. I’ve instead built my strategies.

      Clients are harder, though you can try 1) to avoid the goodie table and 2) bring something like nuts that you can have your mouth full with when you walk by. But at home, there’s no reason you have to keep stuff around, kids or no. There can be a single-day rule where you pull out enough to treat people for the day and then trash the rest of it. Alternatively, pack it the hell up, and in a way where you can’t see it–plastic wrapped, then in foil wrap, then in Tupperware, then in the cabinet over the fridge or the back of the freezer. And segment that wrapping up so you don’t have the “as long as it’s open” mowing down of innocent sweets.

      1. Thursday Next*

        The layers of wrapping is brilliant.

        Also, in terms of what I keep around to begin with, I’ve chosen to stock things that my kids like, but I don’t. My son loves Skittles, I wouldn’t eat them. My daughter and I both love chocolate, so that’s harder, so we just get the kind of M&Ms she likes but I don’t, or graham crackers (which the kids eat but I don’t).

      2. it's all good*

        Thank you. We used to have a treat bowl on our counter. It’s been in the pantry for at least 6 months. So I don’t do drive-by’s but I know where to find it if I’m craving something sweet. I bought baby carrots to munch on, sometimes that helps. I also have mini choc chips, I will take a spoonful to settle the chocolate urge monthly. – I routinely purge the candy and either throw it out or give to my nephew (not the chocolate though lol).

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      Echoing FPoste that will power regarding food is largely a myth–it’s more a question of structuring things so the easy option is the healthy option for you. (And it varies by person–for example, there are people for whom having candy around and readily available means it’s not forbidden and, like your kids, they self-regulate because it doesn’t trigger “we killed a wildebeest! get your calories while you can!” For lots of people, it’s the reverse–they will grab candy that’s right there, but if it requires effort they don’t bother.)

      With kids, can you get stuff they like and you’re meh on?

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Oh, for clients, lots of tooth-brushing–if you brush just before you meet the doughnut, and your mouth is still toothpastey, you probably don’t want to add a doughnut in there.

        They sell single use toothbrushes designed for use on the go (I checked Amazon), without needing a sink and bathroom. So you park, brush your teeth for 30 s in the car, and then walk into the client’s with a just-toothpasted tongue.

        1. it's all good*

          I do use that strategy at home at times, I will brush my teeth before “dessert” time if anyone is currently baking (but not other times). However, I had not thought of that at clients, I will look for those single use toothbrushes, thanks!

      2. it's all good*

        Thank you. I rarely buy treats, it’s always around from party goodie bags. My family is chocolate and sour candy….I can do with out the sour. All like to bake, so now that I think about it, that is my downfall, as they stay covered on the counter. Although when I tell my family “do not ask me if I want any sweets”, they are good about honoring that request. I don’t want to tell them the baked goods need to be out of my sight.

    3. Lunar Rainbow*

      I feel you on this one, as I also struggle to resist sweets. I actually had limited success during the spring when I tried to stick to a low carb diet. Unfortunately, some health problems arose (unrelated to the diet change) and I slipped back into my old habit of using sugar to combat the stress. Is there any chance you could have your partner/kids purge excess sweets from the house? My husband went through the kitchen for me when I went low-carb and he hid anything that he didn’t want thrown out, which was really helpful for me. Obviously not everything can just be tossed, but even putting them away out of sight could be helpful. Out of sight, out of mind…hopefully!

    4. Melody Pond*

      This is hard to do, but I’ve found that my sugar cravings almost disappear when I cut out most grains from my diet (wheat, rice, couscous, quinoa). I don’t really have the willpower to stay away from sweets, so the solution that worked for me was changing my whole diet around. I guess you could describe what I try to do, as loose Whole 30 or Paleo. I’m trying to eat mostly meat and vegetables. And I make some DIY trailmix stuff, with nuts and a little dried fruit/berries.

      Because I still love chocolate, I do have a once/week thing where Mr. Pond and I have a friend or two over, and we indulge in fancy cheese & chocolate bars (mostly dark chocolate bars). But it’s much easier to limit it to one night per week, when I’m not eating breads/rice/noodles otherwise.

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        Absolutely this about grains – if I go grain/sugar free then in about three days everything seems to reset and I don’t miss either at all? It doesn’t even require a lot of willpower at that point I just don’t want either. And I feel amazing by that point too – although inevitably I am undone by a pizza.

        In getting to the third day I try and cut myself a smidge of slack – I do a banana and some peanut butter as a treat at night, and I do trail mix with a few dark chocolate chips too. I also cut out cheese because its really easy to overindulge in that too. I also make sure I have plenty of easy stuff to grab for lunch/dinner – precoooked chicken, a casserole made, salad stuff.

        Also – chickpea flour is a lifesaver. I will whip up some batter (equal parts chickpea flour with water + salt + any herbs or other veg to fold in) and cook them up like a pancake, then top with things like avocado and tomato or anything else laying about. So its a good crutch for a few days if you are missing that flour mouth feel and also something that works as a base to make a filling meal out of other stuff.

        1. it's all good*

          love the chickpea pancake suggestion, thank you! yes, it does help when i have go-to healthy snacks available. I need to make the time.

      2. it's all good*

        Interesting! I will work on that. I admin my other weakness is anything white – rice, potatoes, bread, pasta. I do eat a lot of trail mix. – When I was in my 20’s it was so much easier to eat healthy and have one “cheat” meal that satisfied all my cravings.

    5. Persimmons*

      “Everything in moderation” just does not work for me with sugar. If I allow myself one candy or one bite of cake, I fall down a rabbit hole of sweets. Sugar is truly addicting.

      What helped me was holding out for as long as I could and learning how it changed my body and mouth. I went without any sweet treats for about six months at a shot, and not only did I feel completely different by the end but my tastes changed drastically. When I tried sweets again in small servings, cake was now cloying and sticky to me, while soda tasted like sweetened vinegar. Repeated servings made everything taste better and better, making me want more and more. Discovering that made me realize how much like drugs sugar truly is.

      1. it's all good*

        I use to have a mini calendar on the fridge and I’d write “NS” at the end of each day that I did not have any sweets. That was my focus and before I knew it my jeans were falling down when I ran up the stairs. Also, like you, sweets did not taste as good as before (except freshly baked goods). But it didn’t take long for me to get back into have something sweet daily.

    6. LilySparrow*

      This sounds silly because it’s so obvious, which is why it took me so long to try it. It reminded me of my aunt’s diet advice back in the 70’s, along with “switch to margarine” and “drink Tab.” But it really did help:

      I started sucking on sugarless mints a lot. Strong peppermint flavor works best. It’s very appetite killing, it’s socially acceptable because you can always crunch it up and swallow it after you’re past the sweets table, and it’s never a bad thing to have minty breath when you’re meeting clients. And “thanks, I just had a mint” is an easily-accepted excuse when people offer you sweets. No diet talk necessary with all its potential pitfalls of sounding judgy or negative.

      1. it's all good*

        My hubby is addicted to Peppermint Life Savers so they are always around. I need to check if they have sugar, if not I will find some. Thank you!

    7. Kuododi*

      I long ago quit trying to”build my will power” or any of that other stuff. I have been working with a nutritionist and she has me concentrating on small goals between sessions. (ie-adding more fruits and vegetables at each meal, checking labels on packaged food to choose the lowest sugar option). The nutritionist explained to me that each person only needs 25 grams of sugar daily for healthy function….after that one gets into trouble. For me, the more I have concentrated on those incremental changes, the better I have been feeling and the less difficulty I have had with making reasonable choices regarding sweets, carbs etc. Best wishes.

      1. it's all good*

        Good for you, keep up the good work! I wish I could afford a cook, so they could calculate and cook what’s balanced and good for me.

    8. Fellow Traveler*

      Echoing the teeth brushing and mint suggestion– I find if I sip mint tea, it will also give me the mouth fresh taste of toothpaste and dissuade me from wanting to snack or eat sweets.
      I wish I had the will power to just throw the candy out, but there is a part of me that abhors food waste and I can’t do it- even the gross goody bag candy that my kids being home, or the free chocolate that we get at work.

      1. it's all good*

        Yes, me too. I grew up dirt poor so for that reason I don’t like “wasting” candy. – When going to clients, I will get a mint tea with one spoonful of sugar. Many times I don’t make it to taste the sugar at the bottom, although many times I would add more water or ice and drink it as ice tea. Not sure if it dissuades me from th snack table though :-)

    9. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      My friend recently tackled a true sugar addiction and with a lot of research on it changed her diet completely in small steps so that it doesn’t take any willpower at all to avoid the sugar, she just doesn’t want it. I haven’t absorbed a lot of the info unfortunately, or I’d be glad to share but it may be very worth doing some searching on the subject. My key simplified takeaways in talking about it with her were to decrease carbs and increase vegetables and protein. Even with just those minor adjustments to our diet to follow hers a little more I have noticed a huge drop in my cravings or even desire for any sugary treats, even when it’s right in front of me, so I’m pretty sure it’s effective. I have a rice crispy treat still sitting on the counter that I suppose I’ll get around to at some point but eh. Don’t really care. Before our minor adjustments, that thing wouldn’t have made it home.

      1. it's all good*

        That’s great, I’m glad you found something that works for you. Carbs is another thing I need to work on, I agree it’s probably related.

    10. tab*

      My brother died of complications due to diabetes. That was my wake up call! When my blood sugar numbers started going up, I just cut most sugar out of my life. I allow myself a half desert once a week (I split it with my husband.), and three dark chocolate almonds every other night. It’s not much sugar, but it’s enough to keep away from candy, cookies, and all the other sweets around. I miss baking, but I’d rather be alive and healthy….

  41. Gas Hole*

    Random car question time!

    I drive an 10 year old car that uses regular (87 octane) gasoline. A few days ago, I stopped at a full service gas station and the attendant accidentally gave me premium (93 octane). I discovered her mistake after the tank was already half full, and just decided to eat the extra money and go with it.

    Since the fill-up on premium, my car has a bit more get up and go when accelerating from a dead stop. Otherwise, its behavior is exactly the same. My question is, will I mess things up when I go back to the cheaper regular gas on my next fill-up? I don’t mind losing the extra pickup, which I didn’t really need anyway, but I know modern engines have sensors that tell what kind of gas you’re using, and in a car that’s starting to get old I’m a bit fearful of something going kablooey by going from 87 octane to 93 and back. Do I need to worry? Thanks!

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      No. You should use higher octane gas if your engine has knock at your current octane. Your car will easily use its regular gas again.

    2. Slartibartfast*

      Actually, if your car was designed for 87 octane, then using 93 can cause damage (over time, one tank won’t matter). This is according to Dad, millwright at GM nearly 40 years. That extra power puts extra stress on your gaskets and seals, he says.

    1. BeeBeeAte*

      I just binged both seasons! I had to look away from parts of the second seasons because it was too gross but otherwise I loved it

    2. Ace*

      Loved first season, just started second. Struggling a bit with the gross our factor of the first two episodes though.

    3. StudentA*

      Just wanted to say thank you for the recommendation. Watching it now! I saw the first season last year. I love a good docu-series. Gimme more recommendations if you have them!

    4. Ann O.*

      I just binged the first season and loved it. I was very impressed at how the show called out the actual ethical issues of the real docudrama shows. I also thought the acting and writing were great.

      I haven’t started the second season, though, because it just sounds too gross for me.

  42. Palm Reading*

    Has anyone gotten their palms/cards read? What was your experience like? I’m not sure I believe in that sort of thing, but I’m curious.

    1. Jackie*

      I taught myself to read palms. It was a hoot ! Some people actually believed it and others took it as fun entertainment. Get a book from the library and teach yourself.

    2. Chameleon*

      I don’t believe in it per se (I don’t think anything supernatural is happening), but I’ve found that tarot cards tend to be a good…sort of Rorschach test? That is, the things the card reader tells you helps organize your thoughts about a subject and can be actually pretty helpful. Avoid anyone who says they can tell the future, but people who say they can “help answer a question you have” may be interesting.

    3. Lily Evans*

      I read tarot cards, which is kind of ironic because I’m actually a pretty skeptical person by nature. Feel free to ask me any questions you have!

    4. Ender*

      I also taught myself to read palms from a book as a bit of a joke and don’t really believe in it. I had it done professionally once and it was rubbish. But that person was really cheap – I just did it for a laugh. I have friends who went to a renowned professional and thought she was amazing – really convincing. However years later it seems most of what she said did not come true.

    5. Claire*

      I taught myself to read tarot cards when I was at university, and used to do a bunch of reading for people. These days I mostly use them to read for myself, though I occasionally do online readings for friends who need advice. I can’t tell the future! But I use them to explore a question and identify options, suggest themes and patterns, and reflect on issues. I find it helpful to get out of my head a bit and let the pictures tell the story.

      I’ve had my cards read by other people at various times and it’s varied from obviously nonsensical fortune-telling to insightful and useful advice. It really depends on the reader.

    6. LilySparrow*

      I went with a friend one time. It was very unpleasant. It was at the reader’s smoke-filled double-wide trailer, and the whole place was like something out of a bad mockumentary about rednecks.

      The reader was doing all the classic “cold reading” techniques, quite badly. The interruptions where she kept screaming profanities at her kids really got in the way of her patter. And she was obviously trying to sucker my friend into some kind of ongoing emotionally dependent relationship that would involve large recurring payments.

      Thankfully, she did not succeed.

    7. Sadie*

      I read tarot cards. People tell me I’m pretty accurate.

      I don’t have a life line, so the couple of times I’ve tried to get my palm read the readers freak out and won’t read me.

      I mean, I’m not undead, so….


    8. Nita*

      I had my palms read once on a date. It was surprisingly accurate. I do feel a little bad for the guy – if that stuff really works, it must be weird to know so much about someone as soon as you meet them. And maybe, know things you’d rather not know.

      Also, a shout-out because sometimes it’s a surprisingly small world. To the palm-reading guy – thank you. You gave me hope. I hope you’re happy.

  43. Held Hostage by Abusive Ex*

    Tl;dr: Does the mortgage company have to honor a court order allowing me to dispose of the marital home(sell, Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure, etc.) on my marital home without my ex’s signature?

    I was divorced 8 years ago. My abusive ex got the house, but for many reasons, he was not required to buy me out. Very long story short, my name is on the mortgage, but not on the title. He made several half-hearted attempts to assume the mortgage or refinance.

    During one of those attempts, the mortgage company told me the only way to finalize the assumption was for me to do a quit-claim deed. There was a lot of pressure to get it done and a holiday weekend time crunch involved. Seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, under pressure by the bank to complete it on a deadline, and seeing no alternative that would protect my interests, I signed the Quit Claim Deed.
    Six years ago, we went back to court because he was not paying the mortgage and for unrelated issues with our children. The judge ordered that he must bring the mortgage current (which he did at the time), and that if he defaulted again, I could sell the house, even thought I had signed the QC deed.
    Fast forward to today. He has missed three payments, there is a demand letter, and foreclosure is now looming. I filed papers yesterday for the court to order him to Quit Claim back to me so that I can get it out of my name. I met with an attorney who seemed to think I had a strong case. He didn’t offer to represent me (my case is not covered as part of my pre-paid legal benefit with my employer – I cannot afford an attorney on my own.) He implied that I would be able to DIY it with little problem.
    When I went to draw up the court petition, I hit two major snags: 1) My ex most likely won’t show up to court, so would not be able to execute a Quit Claim Deed. 2) The mortgage company initially told me they WOULD honor a court order so that I could act independently without his signature. Then yesterday they told me they would NEVER honor a court order and his signature is absolutely required.
    My ex will most likely get charged with contempt, but he has zero money of his own, so a monetary sanction is going to be worthless to me. I don’t think the courts are keen to impose jail time, but even so, he would rather go to jail in order to ruin my credit.
    I can’t understand how the bank can simultaneously hold me responsible and powerless to change my fate. Is there anyone out there with a success story? Help me AAM Readers! You’re my only hope.

    1. Ender*

      I really think you need to borrow the money and get a lawyer. Sorry that’s all I have to offer. Maybe you can get someone to do it pro bono?

    2. Yetanotherjennifer*

      I’m sorry, that’s really hard but typical of the financial industry. You got bad advice from the bank who did not have your interests in mind. Now it’s as if you co-signed the loan. Check with your local battered spouse services. Sometimes they offer access to legal help. I know you’re not with him now, but this could be considered financial abuse. Do you use a different bank from the one that holds the mortgage? You could meet with a mortgage officer at your bank to get an unbiased explanation of your situation and advice. Depending on your financial situation, it may be best to let it go to foreclosure and take the credit hit. You can plan ahead and arrange your finances such that you hopefully don’t suffer too much. It would also be helpful for you to talk to a credit counselor. Your bank or the battered spouse agency can help you find one. Good luck! I hope this works out for you.

      1. Held Hostage by Abusive Ex*

        I like the idea about talking to my own bank’s mortgage officers. I actually had an offer on a house in August that would have closed in September (except when they did the final review, it may not have gone through). I withdrew the offer, but may pursue it again at the end of my lease. The foreclosure would prevent that. Ulp!

        I’m intrigued the by mention of financial abuse. Could he be charged in a criminal court for this? If I had that judgement against him, I could possibly use it to dispute the hit on my credit.

        Thank you for the advice!
        (I accidentally posted this a reply to something else. Apologies for the confusion down below).

        1. The Mayor*

          I am a bank mortgage loan officer, 30 years in the business. Every lender I have ever worked with would absolve you of any payment delinquencies on that old mortgage if you have a court order & a quit claim deed.

        2. Yetanotherjennifer*

          Reposting here for continuity.

          I don’t think this type of financial abuse would be actionable. I mentioned it more to say that even though you haven’t been together for a while, he was abusive and his behavior could fit into that pattern and so consulting a domestic abuse service would make sense.

          I’d make sure where you live is secure before letting the house go to foreclosure. That’s your biggest vulnerability. And it could be that your name on the mortgage would make it difficult to buy anything right now anyway. Talk to as many people as you can. You’re in a tricky legal and financial situation and there’s a lot at stake. Confirm what people tell you and be extra cautious when people give you a deadline.

          1. Held Hostage by Abusive Ex*

            Fortunately, my housing and income are stable.

            In July and August, when I was working with my bank, I was very transparent about my name being on my ex’s mortgage. I sent a copy of the divorce decree and they could see that the payments were up to date at the time. My bank seemed understanding and I was pre-approved for a reasonable amount.
            The closing date would have been mid-September. The demand letter went out from the other mortgage company on September 1st, so I still don’t know if this would have impacted the closing.

            I’ve been talking to anyone I think will help. Everyone agrees what’s happening is not right, but I’m finding very little legal clout to do anything about it. Perhaps I should see about getting some legislation drafted.

        3. Anon for this*

          Financial abuse is a recognised form of abuse in a relationship. You could use it to eg help you get a Barring order. But I don’t think it would affect your credit in a good way. Probably the opposite if anything – a bank would be less likely to lend you money if they think someone will be actively preventing you from paying it back.

          However since it is a recognised form of abuse most womens aid helplines would be happy to give you advice.

          Call the women’s aid helpline in your area and tell them your ex was abusive and now is continuing with financial abuse (such a common scenario unfortunately) and ask for their advice.

      2. Bagpuss*

        Are there any provisions in your jurisdiction to allow someone else to sign instead of your ex ? Where I am, it is possible to get a court order which basically allows a Judge to execute deeds or sign documents instead of and on behalf of a party involved in the case, if that persona fails to comply with a court order to do it themselves. It’s similar to having someone with power of attorney sign, bu the reason is that they have disobeyed court orders, not that they lack mental capacity.
        The court also has the power to commit someone to prison for contempt of court if they don’t obey a court order, and that can also be effective if the Judge is telling him “in order to purge your contempt and get released, you need to sign here.
        It might be worth seeing whether you can afford a consultation with a lawyer to ask whether there are any similar provisions which you could use, where you are .

        1. Held Hostage by Abusive Ex*

          I’ve been wondering about jail time for contempt. Sadly, I think he would rather go to jail and take me down with him. Also, if he doesn’t show up to court, he can’t physically sign. If no one knows where he is, they can’t catch him (he’s a long distance truck driver. I have no idea what company he works for).
          So, I am going to see if the judge can execute it on his behalf. Thank you. I hope to come back soon with a good update!

    3. Glomarization, Esq.*

      The mortgage company is not on your side. Their interest and your interest are not aligned. You need to find a lawyer. Call your county or state bar association for a referral; or look to see if a law school near you has a low-income housing clinic; or look to see if your local Community Legal Services can help you.

      1. Held Hostage by Abusive Ex*

        I had been working with a pro-bono agency a few years ago, but because he was current, they said I had no recourse. Attempts to reach that agency other community service agencies have not been fruitful so far. I’ll keep trying. Thank you for your advice!

        1. MsChanandlerBong*

          What state are you in? My best friend is an attorney, and I would be happy to give you her contact info. She will typically look at a case and offer some advice for no charge. However, she’s only admitted to the bar in two states, so you’d have to be in one of them for her to give you advice.

    4. LilySparrow*

      This is an eye-opener for me. It would never have occurred to me that a financial company could get away with ignoring a court order.

      1. WS*

        They really can’t – if you are able to pursue it further. But because they’re bigger and better financed, they’re counting on being able to do whatever they want in order to get their money back.

        1. Yetanotherjennifer*

          Yes. I suspect that since Held Hostage is just asking in advance as a person the bank is saying no with the hope that they’ll just quietly accept their fate and find a way to pay to avoid their credit being ruined. If they were to show up with knowledge of the rules and the court order and maybe a lawyer, the bank would likely be more accommodating.

          Held Hostage, this is why you need to seek out disinterested third parties and paid professionals for advice. The bank that holds the mortgage is not on your side. Hopefully they wouldn’t do anything illegal, but they’ve already shown themselves willing to take advantage of your situation.

          1. Held Hostage by Abusive Ex*

            I have actually considered paying the three months behind in order to buy some time while I try to figure this out, so yes, I think the bank is counting on this. Based on my history with this case, I think I would gain absolutely nothing by this, so it’s not a viable option.

    5. Yetanotherjennifer*

      Thinking about this some more…I think you could have some power in this situation by being calmly resigned to letting the house go to foreclosure and taking the credit hit. I’m not saying don’t try to prevent it. But do your research so you know your situation and the consequences. The bank has already shown their willingness to take advantage of your stress and lack of knowledge. So if you are informed and accepting about all possible outcomes, that would at the least be unexpected and might encourage them to be more accommodating. If not, it’s fun to flummox people who are trying to make a power play.

  44. Scout*

    Looking for a book recommendation – something fun, light, “beach read”ish. Grad school is getting overwhelming and I had a big fight with my boyfriend last night, so looking for a bit of an escape today. Nothing on Netflix is catching my eye.

    1. kc89*

      I enjoyed-

      My Not So Perfect Life-Sophie Kinsella. Or just about anything by Kinsella.
      Super simple plot summary is that the main character is doing what a lot of millenials do and posting about her wonderful life on instagram while actually being unhappy with a lot of things in her life. I like reading novels about young women trying to improve their career and this book has some of that as well.

      Modern Lovers-Emma Staub
      It’s about a group of middle aged friends who met during college and were in a band before the singer went solo and had one huge solo hit. The singer dies and that death affects all of the friends lives. That’s not a huge spoiler by the way it’s within the first chapter or two.

      1. Jen Erik*

        ‘How do you like me now?’ by Holly Bourne has a similar plot – successful self-help author has a relationship that her readership are invested in, but which has lost the initial spark. So you see what she posts, and how she feels about what her friends post, and how it also compares with their actual lives.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      If you like cozy mysteries, someone on here put me onto Donna Andrews’ Meg Langslow mysteries, and they are sheer delight. Meg is a blacksmith, and very organized, and has a very large and very wacky family.

      As a small piece: realistic use of cell phones. It’s a pet peeve of mine, and Meg and her family get and use cell phones concordant with norms for the publication dates. She’s also just generally extremely sensible, avoiding all kinds of “there will be no story if I do the sensible thing here” cliches. I so appreciate a writer who has the ability to see those coming and work out a way to create stakes despite the character’s sensible response to events.

    3. HannahS*

      Clean Sweep is a fun fantasy book by Ilona Andrews. A magical innkeeper (on Earth) with a psychic link to her inn just wants to get a good rating darnit, but there’s all these different alien species coming and clashing with each other, and there seems to be a cute local werewolf hanging about. Kate Daniels (on this thread) actually rec’d it to me a couple of weeks ago, and I really enjoyed it. Gobbled up the whole series.

    4. catsaway*

      I just finished grad school and am now a post-doc and when I want a lighter read I sometimes go for good young adult books.
      Do you like fantasy or sci-fi? In that category, some YA novels I like include “The strange case of the alchemists daughter” and “The black witch.” For adult book, Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness mystery series is light but not too cozy.

    5. UndercoverLibrarian*

      *puts on Reader’s Advisory hat*

      If you’re looking for something a little silly and sweet, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is an option. It’s recently been turned into a dreadful film on Netflix, but the original novel is a lovely quick read. It’s also an epistolary novel – written in a series of letter and in this case, telegrams – which is a form I don’t see often, and it makes for an interesting read. Keeping with the pastoral theme, anything by James Herriot is good, whether you need a good laugh or a good cry.

      If you’re looking for really silly and you don’t mind laughing out loud when you read – and you don’t mind a little profanity or a crass moment here and there – you can’t do better than Christopher Moore. I’m particularly fond of Fool, a retelling of King Lear from the Fool’s perspective, and Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, which is exactly what it says on the tin.

      What other books do you really love, and what do you love about them?

    6. Middle School Teacher*

      I just read “When Life Gives You Lululemons”, it’s another book in the Devil Wears Prada series. It features Miranda Priestly’s assistant Emily, who has left Runway and now manages celeb crises. It’s pretty light and fluffy.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        Thank you for the rec! I didn’t know she had published another book in the series. I just added myself to the library wait list. I’m number 22 in line, so I’ll probably get to read it around Thanksgiving.

    7. Bluebell*

      Mary Kay Andrews and Katie Fforde are two of my favorite authors for that. As a bonus, most of the Mary Kay Andrews books have a beach setting.

  45. Villanelle*

    What to write to refuse a wedding invitation? I don’t have a reason for not going other than…I don’t want to.

    1. kc89*

      You can be really vague

      Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it, but I wish you both a beautiful wedding day and will be thinking of you!

      or something like that

    2. Aurora Leigh*

      So sorry, I won’t be able to make it! Best wishes for a wonderful wedding and marriage!

      Just keep it short and simple. :)

    3. fposte*

      Declining an invitation shouldn’t come with a reason anyway. Depending on the level of formality, you can go with either a version of their own wording (“Villanelle regrets she will be unable to accept the exceedingly kind invitation of Mrs. Astor”) or “Oh, how wonderful! I’m so sorry that I won’t be able to come, but I look forward to seeing you again at the Mud Wrestling Fest in spring.” And realize this is likely to be a pretty small thing to them–they’ll mostly be pleased somebody actually RSVPed at all.

    4. Parenthetically*

      Yep, short and simple is best for all involved — the bride/MOTB will likely open the envelope, skim it, and put it in the “no” pile without giving it a second thought.

      Dear Susan and Tom,
      Congratulations! Unfortunately I’m unable to be at your wedding to wish you well in person, but all the best for the big day and many happy years to come.

  46. Nervous Accountant*

    GOING TO MY FIRST BIG CONCERT TONIGHT! So excited!!!!!! Had a nightmare last night that it was 7 pm and I was still at home.

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        I’ve never liked an artist so much as much as I’ve loved Ed Sheeran. Seriously, last time I was such a fangirl was when I was literally a little girl, worshipping Hanson in the 1990s. I think 12 year old me would be so proud. Lol

  47. BookPony*

    My upstairs neighbor has a dog that cries all the time. At first the dog was a puppy, so me and sis assumed they were crying because the owner was out and they were lonely. (We would have offered to watch the dog, but our allergies are very severe for all animals with fur/feathers. Like, bunnies give me a scaly rash, and I love bun buns)

    But now the puppy is a dog, and when they’re not crying, they’re howling, and when they’re not howling, they’re knocking over things and scrabbling on the hardwood floors above us.

    I would just go to talk to the neighbor, but I’ve heard him screaming up there and as a petite woman, I really do not want to have to fight someone just because I asked them to do something about their dog.

    I used to be able to scold the dog from my floor, but that doesn’t work anymore. I made a formal complaint to my apartment complex, and the dog quieted down for a good while (although my sis says the noise just moved to their side so idk). I could complain again, but our lease does say if you get too many noise complaints you get evicted, and I don’t want to kick someone out just because their dog won’t stop being naughty. But at the same time, this same neighbor has their dog howling past midnight (quiet hours start at 10pm iirc) and now that I’m remembering, this is the same neighbor that tried to play loud music/have a raucous party at 2AM (I called security on them then and they quieted down).

    Does anyone have any suggestions, or do I just need to call my complex about the dog again?

    1. fposte*

      This sounds like something they’ve been able to remediate when pressed to do so, so I would press them to do so. The dog isn’t being naughty–it’s not been trained and equipped properly to be at home on its own. If they want to stay in the apartment, they can crate train their dog.

      1. BookPony*

        So you’re saying I should contact my complex again? My sister just said the dog barks all night now. I don’t hear it from my side other than when the dog howls or cries, but the dog didn’t used to make this much noise.

        1. WellRed*

          Please do. Dogs barking all night is ridiculous. It’s probably stressed in some way. You could also leave the ol anonymous note and see if that helps.

  48. AvonLady Barksdale*

    There is an old historic site two lots down from my house and the parks department is throwing a festival there today. I was both interested and skeptical, as festivals tend to be OMG SUPER LOUD. We just walked over and it’s really lovely; storytellers, barbershop music, historical society tables set up, etc. Not super loud at all. One of our favorite restaurants made bbq (for FREE) and it’s yummy. I ran into a woman I know whose grandson is performing in a few minutes, and what’s extra awesome is that I can use my own bathroom and walk back over.

    However, I keep wanting to warn people not to walk around barefoot, as the site is where everyone in the neighborhood– us included– takes their dogs to pee.

  49. Cherry*

    Drank way too much yesterday and purged a few times. Not hungover now but last night after throwing up, the area behind my eye was aching. Is that normal? It’s not as bad now but still a little tender.

    1. BookPony*

      I wanna say that’s due to the increase of inter-cranial pressure from vomiting, but I can still count on one hand the amount of times I’ve vomited, so I don’t quite remember.

      I do know that when my mom’s head pressure is up, she does get pain behind her eyes (as do I) so that might be why?

      1. Cherry*

        I think you’re right. Ive thrown up like 3x in the last decade, 2x from drinking. I had to force myself to do it last night so I think that’s why the pain. It’s lessened and almost gone now (knock on wood).

    2. Fellow Hurler*

      Vomiting creates a large amount of pressure in your head. I caught a norovirus last winter, and I actually burst a few blood vessels in my eye from throwing up. It should go away soon, but if it lasts more than a day or so you might want to get it checked out.

    3. NewMom*

      Normal. If it doesn’t go away by Monday, call the nurses line at your doctor’s office/for your health insurance.

      -signed, someone who puked 5x/day for three months and so this damn headache never. went. away.

    4. SS Express*

      I get that every time I throw up, always better within a couple of days. It sometimes happens if I’ve had a really bad cough for a long time too. I think it’s just from the way your body strains when it’s trying to expel something.

  50. Canadian Natasha*

    Alison’s book recommendation is great! One thing I especially appreciated about Room was the lack of focus on the bad guy. The book was really about the survivors and didn’t describe the awful bits in a titillating manner (the way a lot of books with this kind of topic seem to). Also, it is a hope-full book and not one that makes you feel sad or depressed at the end. I really hate stories where awful things happen to people and then it ends in a bad place. I wouldn’t say it was unfealistically cheerful either; the author did a good job of addressing some of the struggles that you’d expect in the situation.
    If you prefer movies, they did make one for this book a couple of years ago and it is also good (though not quite as good as the book imo).

    1. Canadian Natasha*

      *Make that *unrealistically* cheerful. I thought I caught all the dumb touchscreen typos but missed that one.

    2. kc89*

      the movie is also on netflix at least in the U.S, so that should make it available to a lot of people. And the actress won the best actress oscar that year, I recommend the movie!

    3. Foreign Octopus*

      I loved this book too although what the little boy kept doing with his mum’s tooth made me feel sick (spoiler alert – he kept putting it in his mouth and I just couldn’t get onboard with that).

  51. Nervous Accountant*

    Ok need quick advice.

    Initially my husband was going to take me to NJ for the concert cz he’s worried about me driving so far and for so long. I also get tired at 10 pm so I didn’t feel comfortable driving so late. He said he’d hang around in the neighborhood and pick me up.

    Now he said if I’m comfortable I can drive myself. I honestly am not. Honestly if I had known before I would drive on my own I’d mentally prepare myself and be comfortable.

    If I do go alone, I don’t even know what to expect. I have no problem with tolls/parking expenses. Just nervous af now.

    1. Nervous Accountant*

      I reread the comments on my last weeks post about being in the stadium and that was super helpful. I’m more worried now about the driving & parking part. Still excited!!!

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      He said “if” you feel comfortable, so why not just tell him you don’t feel comfortable and ask to stick to the original plan?

          1. Nervous Accountant*

            I am here @ the stadium waiting to go in. Floor seats. So so soooo excited. Husband drove me here. Didn’t take as long as I thought it would.

    3. Nervous Accountant*

      Concert was amazing!!! I felt so giddy going in. Sat through the opening acts and then the man himself came out. So exhilarating watching you favorite artist live in person. I had floor seats so that was amazing.

      Most stressful thing ever though was leaving. I waited 1.5+ hours for my husband bc he couldn’t get back in to the stadium and I couldn’t find a place to get picked up. Couldn’t get a cab either. My phone was literally on 1%. My portable charger didn’t work (I charged it before leaving so idk what happened). All in all, Super stressful, I cried and thought I’d fall in to a panic attack. And then on the way home we fight bc of the gps.

      My first instinct to go by myself and pay for parking was the right one. Could’ve saved a lot of frustration and stress this way. I had no problem paying for parking or tolls but, oh well. Not like I’ll be going back there again anytime soon.

      Next time I go—drive myself. Seriously, worth the $$ To Park. And make sure my charger works.

        1. Nervous Accountant*

          Honestly, 24 hours later I don’t even remember the frustration of getting out. Just holding on to the good memories and moments. He’s just so beautiful

  52. The Other Dawn*

    Any Big E goers? How did you like it?

    I went during the week since we can’t be bothered with the huge crowds on the weekends and OMG the food! I’m not typically a huge Big E fan since it’s mainly shopping (we don’t bother with the midway) and it always seems to feel like the hottest day of the year, but something happens to me when I walk in and smell all that food. We got there around 10:30 am and first on the list was poutine with BBQ pulled pork, which was fresh and delicious. I also had a few bites of my husband’s fried cheesecake, which was way better than I thought it would be; a few bites of his funnel cake; a bite of his corn dog; and lots of beef jerky. It might not sound like a lot, but my stomach is tiny (bypass) so it was a lot for me and it was SO worth it! I really wanted loaded tater tots on the way out, but decided to get dinner on the way home.

    I bought some stuff I wanted, like a Vermont Flannel hooded pullover (love their stuff), a back support for my work chair, beef jerky, some flavored olive oils, and a couple t-shirts that I now regret since they’re dark and will be a cat hair magnet.

    The weather was good in that it wasn’t humid and it stayed in the 70s, but it still felt hot in the sun at times. We walked almost non-stop for about 6 hours and boy did we feel that later!

    1. Loopy*

      I am from New England and moved away and I miss the Big E every single year without fail. I love the super fresh state-food you get in the state halls. I miss fresh apple doughnuts and cider and all sorts of other state speciality foods they have in those halls (honey! cheeses! other things I can’t recall right now!), which tends to be better than the mass produced fair food at other fair type places.

      I generally mostly love the state halls. Never did rides, or cared for the entertainment, but I always kind of liked the hustle and bustle of it because I went when I was a teen and young adult. Now it makes me so nostalgic for NE fall.

      I haven’t been in probably… 7 years. Still gush about it.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        The state halls are my least favorite of the things we see. Probably because they’re SO crowded, even early in the day. It’s just hard to really look at anything and it gets really hot in there. I mean, I enjoy seeing all the different things inside, especially the Vermont Flannel booth, but it’s not as enjoyable as it could be.

        I like International Plaza since they have lots of different items to buy. I get a little annoyed with the ones that are in your face about trying their products, though. And of course I love seeing all the animals, especially watching the chickens hatch. (I was so excited to be able to pet a one-day-old chick–so soft!) I also went to the petting zoo while my husband waited outside. His penalty for not coming with me was that he had to hold all the bags. LOL. I had fun feeding the goats, and the llamas stared me down for a bit.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        It looks exactly like this (and of course now I see it’s half the price online…). Go to simplygoodstuff dot com and search “back saver.” It’s the first item that comes up.

        I know several people that have one and they love it. It’s not necessarily a good fit on my office chair because it has a type of material that makes it slip, but it works great on most chairs.

        And now I’m annoyed that I spent twice as much, when stuff at this particular is often cheaper.

  53. HannahS*

    Gimme your fantasy book recs, and here are some of mine. Or anything in the realm of fantasy, romance, historical lady-detective, etc. I’ve gotten really good recommendations from you guys before and I’d love to get more. I’m in the mood for something that’s not really epic or dark. I can’t handle a huge story right now, and I like YA. I like non-Western settings, too.
    I’ve recently read and enjoyed:
    Kate Daniels (thanks to Kate Daniels here for the rec!) and the Innkeeper series by Ilona Andrews
    Kingmaker Chronicles by Amanda Bouchet
    Dark Gifts by Vic James
    An Ember in the Ashes (and its sequels) by Sabaa Tahir
    Uprooted by Naomi Novik
    Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourne
    The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
    Lady Sherlock by Sherry Thomas
    Silent Hall (and its sequels) by N.S. Dolkart
    In terms of romance, I’ll read anything Eloisa James and Tessa Dare write. Rose Lerner’s fun, too.
    Tamora Pierce–her recent book about Numair is SO GOOD.

    1. Kage*

      The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Only a couple books in the series are out, but it’s so good. They seem long but the stories really pull you in.

    2. BookPony*

      The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix (also Shade’s Children by him is good and not too long)
      -Although I suppose necromancers/necromancy might be too dark? Idk my meter is kinda skewed lol
      Anything from Rick Riordan is a good bet
      The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

      1. Rosemary*

        I love Garth Nix! Also I think ‘dark’ usually refers to, like, emotionally dark, like Game of Thrones Everyone You Love Was Murdered dark.
        The Sabriel series was a middling-light amount of dark for me. Enough that it mattered, but not so much that I felt any of the characters needed therapy by the end of the books.

    3. Aurora Leigh*

      Connie Willis!

      Her newest (last year) is a romcom with mind reading. And To Say Nothibg of the Dog should be a classic. Check out her short stories too.

      Doomsday Book made me cry, though.

    4. catsaway*

      New(ish) YA fantasy I’ve read recently: The Strange Case of the Alchemists’s Daughter (and sequel) by Theodora Gross and The Black Witch (reading sequel right now) by Laurie Forest.
      I also like Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness mystery series for historical lady-detective novels.

    5. Loopy*

      The Shades of Magic series by V.E Schwab is amazing.

      The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor (don’t be dissuaded if you usually avoid YA!!!)

      Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

      If you liked Uprooted, you should absolutely read Spinning Silver if you haven’t already. I also loved her Temeraire Series (slightly less traditional fantasy but SO AMAZING).

      The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

      If your open to a more modern, urban fantasy the Arcadia Project series is really unique and refreshing.

      1. Book Lover*

        I crashed to a halt somewhere halfway through the second book of Arcadia. Really interesting ideas but I just couldn’t cope any more.

        1. Loopy*

          Yeah, it can be a difficult read at times. I almost didn’t make it through the first book but I really appreciated the element of mental illness represented in fantasy so much. I usually recommend just because it’s so different! In the end it did win me over.

    6. Pam.*

      The Penric novellas by Lois McMaster Bujold, and the novel The Curse of Chalion.

      Also Catherynne Valente’s Fairyland series.

      1. Earthwalker*

        The audiobook of Curse of Chalion is fantastic. I loved the paper book but the reader adds a whole new dimension.

    7. Canadian Natasha*

      Some recommendations:
      Sherwood Smith’s Crown Duel and Court Duel
      Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword and Hero and the Crown
      Rachel Aaron’s Heartstrikers series (1st book Nice Dragons Finish Last) is a fun series but now that I think about it, it may be a bit dark.
      Dianne Wynne Jones’ Land of Ingary trilogy (Howl’s Moving Castle is the 1st)
      Off Leash by Daniel Potter was an easy read I got as a free ebook off amazon. Guy wakes up after being turned into a cougar and is told he has to become a mage’s familiar.

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        I love all of Robin McKinley’s work — especially her Robin Hiod retelling.

        I’m still mad/sad she never finished the Pegasus books though.

    8. Epiphyta*

      Tales of the Raksura series and the Ile-Rien novels, Martha Wells
      The Steerswoman trilogy, Rosemary Kirstein
      Strange Practice, Vivian Shaw
      The Bone Universe novels, Fran Wilde
      The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
      The Innsmouth Legacy series, Ruthanna Emrys (grabs the Lovecraft Mythos by the ankles, turns it upside down, shakes it until the racism/anti-Semitism/misogyny/homophobia/ableism falls onto the ground, names it, doesn’t pretend it isn’t there, clearly says “this is not acceptable”)
      The Memoirs of Lady Trent series, Marie Brennan
      Anything by Courtney Milan

      If you’re not reading the reviews section at the Tor website, you might have a look around there.

    9. Book Lover*

      These all fit under fantasy and some romance in a few.

      Finish up Ilona Andrews with Hidden Legacy and the Edge series, both short series, Edge has a bit of body horror in the third that I found upsetting but otherwise not too dark, romantic and full of interesting people. There are also a few short stories and a couple more books, but these would be her major series.

      Definitely read Spinning Silver. It was so very beautiful. And then go read everything by Astolat at AO3 (feel free to avoid the slash if you like, but she is amazing).

      Seanan McGuire, I prefer her Toby Daye series but she is always very readable.

      The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson is YA but really good.

      The Rook, Daniel O’Malley – weird but I don’t think excessively dark and I gobbled it and the sequel up.

      I will always recommend Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch, perhaps a bit longer than what you are looking for.

      The Curse of Chalion was so wonderful I don’t think I have stopped thinking about it since reading it, Lois McMaster Bujold. I hear all her books are wonderful but have been hesitating just because Chalion struck me so., but I need to check out her other major series. Chalion by itself is not too dark or long.

      Terry Pratchett is always a delight, especially the Moist and Guards books.

      Oh, The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison

      1. FD*

        Brandon Sanderson is EXCELLENT. Really top-shelf author. The Rithmatist is probably his book that most fits with what you want right now but he’s very prolific.

    10. Dear liza dear liza*

      Historical lady-detective: Elizabeth Peters’ AMELIA PEABODY series is very much in the same vein as Veronica Speedwell, which I just started.

    11. StrayLagomorph*

      I always recommend Patricia Briggs! Her older fantasy stuff is relatively light and fun to read, and her current urban fantasy series are really really good.

    12. dawbs*

      Because you said not dark, and not big story, Peter Haining is the editor of a series of fantasy short story books that are….funny. Not necessarily Terry Prachett funny (although some are), but, funny.
      “The Knights of Madness” and “Flying SOrcerers” and “the wizards of odd”

    13. DataGirl*

      I’m currently working on the Bekka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce, it’s light and definitely YA. It’s kind of a prequil to the Alanna books.

      Anything in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett will be light and funny, and you don’t have to read them in order. Anything by Jim Butcher is AMAZING, but they do get dark. I second the person who said Patrick Rothfuss, although they are not light. It’s a bit frustrating though because he’s only written 2 books (and one short story) and it’s been YEARS that we’re waiting on the 3rd book in the trilogy, and no one knows if/when he’ll ever finish it.

    14. GoryDetails*

      I enjoyed Gail Carriger’s “Parasol Protectorate” books; the prequel and sequel books are fun too, but I prefer the original series.

      I really liked Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On, kinda-sorta “Harry Potter fan-fic” but with its own entertaining sensibility.

      And I’ll second Terry Pratchett; good starting points are Witches Abroad or Guards! Guards!, but they’re all fun.

      1. Nita*

        I’ll third! I love so many of Terry Pratchett’s books. Not the ones about the wizards, Rincewind kind of gets on my nerves. But the others are funny and touching, and I can’t put them down. I’m glad I still haven’t gotten to many of his books… will be sad when I’ve read the last one.

    15. Jen Erik*

      Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton is fun – dragon story in a regency-ish world. (I suppose I’m saying regency-ish because the female dragons have to be careful of their person, and marrying well is a thing.) I was sceptical, but enjoyed it.

    16. AcademiaNut*

      Try some Tanya Huff – good pacing, entertaining characters and a good sense of humour. On the fantasy end, the Keeper Chronicles and the Gale Family books are urban fantasy with a good sense of humour, the Blood Books and Shadow books are a bit darker, but still have a sense of humour, The Silvered has werewolves in a sort-of steampunk environment, and the Quarters books are high fantasy. She’s also got a military science fiction series, the Valor books.

      I’ve worked my way through the Chronicles of St Mary’s recently and enjoyed it. Disaster prone time travelling historians, and generally a quick paced, light read, in spite of some of the truly dire things that happen to the protagonists.

      For fun YA fantasy, try Patricia Wrede. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles is a take on fairy tale tropes, while the two Mairelon books and the three Cecilia and Kate books are Regency era with magic and the Frontier Magic books are more 19th century frontier US.

    17. Engineering consultant*

      – Seanan McGuire’s Toby Daye or InCryptid series. InCryptid is pretty light-hearted all the way through, while Toby Daye has gotten a bit dark here and there.
      – Raine Benares series by Lisa Shearin, set in your usual fantasy world but lighthearted and not epic or dark.
      – SPI Files by Lisa Shearin, but this is set in modern day NYC.

      Romance, if you like Tessa Dare, here are some other authors have recommended her:
      – Caroline Linden
      – Courtney Milan – she also has historical romances with POC main characters
      – Jeannie Lin – most of her stories are set in Imperial China
      – Eva Leigh
      – Julia Quinn

    18. DrTheLiz*

      Dragonsbane and Dragon Search, both by Patricia C Wrede – a silly, self-aware pair of books about a very bored princess who gets herself kidnapped by a dragon.

      1. FD*

        Why did they re-title those, I wonder?

        (For those who don’t know, Dragonsbane = Dealing with Dragons, and Dragon Search = Searching for Dragons)

    19. FD*

      Blue Sword and its prequel, Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

      Seer and the Sword / Healer’s Keep by Victoria Hanley

      Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede

      Anything by Gail Carson Levine, but my favorites are Two Princesses of Bamarre and Ella Enchanted. Ever is very good too, though a bit more serious

      Enchantress from the Stars–sort of sci fi and fantasy at the same time depending on the POV you’re reading

    20. Londoncallingbutafterhourswhenratesarecheaper*

      The Legend of Eli Monpress – Rachel Aaronson
      Skuldugerry Pleasan – Derek Landy

    21. BabyBear’s Mom*

      The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb! She has expanded off this series, but you don’t have to read those. You’ll get sucked it, and they weren’t too stressful of reads. Love the way she writes as well- descriptive without being boring, interesting storylines and characters you fall in love with

  54. StudentA*

    Is this kitten ok? I just got him a week ago. He is now 9 weeks old, according to the shelter. I have not had a kitten since I was 10. My older cat seemed lonely, so I thought I’d get him a pal. Within a day or so, the kitten was all over me. Does he think I’m his mom? I honestly wondered if he was looking for a nipple. He keeps climbing up and down my body, follows me everywhere and purrs like a truck. I’m used to affectionate cats. My older guy is very affectionate, though he’s now rightfully stand-offish. He stopped hissing at the little guy a couple of days ago, so that made me happy.

    It would be one thing if the kitten just wants to cuddle, but…that doesn’t seem to satisfy him. He just keeps climbing on me back and forth. I can’t get any work done on the laptop when he does this, or talk on the phone (which I at times have to do for work). I don’t have a vet appointment until 2 weeks from now (they didn’t have anything available before then that worked with my schedule).

    Don’t get me wrong, I love that he’s sweet. I just want to make sure he’s not sad. And I need to get my work done.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      He sounds normal and happy to me! He just wants to climb on you :)

      Kittens are just crazy energetic. You might need to tire him out with really active play for a while. Also, it’s okay to put him in his own room for a few hours while you work (with plenty of food, water, litter box, toys, and somewhere to curl up).

    2. Ellie*

      He’s just fine! I took in a pair of kittens who acted just like that- they had each other and my older cats, so they weren’t lonely- they just liked me A LOT. 9 years later, they still love me that much- they show it by getting right next to me no matter where I am.

    3. Pack Mule*

      He’s fine, he’s just a kitten. He needs tiring out with a really energetic playtime a couple of times a day, and lots of attention.

    4. Book Lover*

      Nine weeks is really young. We got ours at 5 months and she still needs a lot of cuddling and playtime. We do playtime every night to tire her out so she isn’t waking me overnight.

    5. Sadie*

      Yes, he thinks you’re his mom. Cats think humans are giant hairless cats who are really bad at hunting. Try putting him in a shirt in your lap like a kangaroo pouch. (they actually sell kitty pouch sweatshirts for this very purpose.)Also he needs to play. 9 weeks old is really young, ideally they stay with momma cat till 12-16 weeks. He’s a baby. Snuggle him.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I was going to say the same thing, that nine weeks is really young. The rescue I volunteer with doesn’t let them be adopted out until they’re at least four months old. He thinks you’re mommy, or is missing his mommy. Snuggle with him and play with him as much as you can. Maybe get him some automated toys to wear him out a bit.

  55. CatCat*

    Has anyone else been loving the non-English speaking international TV show offerings that Netflix has available now? I feel like the variety has exploded over the past several months.

    I am a historical drama addict (like early 20th century and earlier), but I’ve primarily watched British and American programs, and it’s great to suddenly have more options from all over the world! It has also made me educate myself more about the history of countries that aren’t the U.S. or Great Britain.

    1. kc89*

      I haven’t explored any tv shows, but a couple years ago I went to the lgbt section and saw that a lot of the movies were not in english and instead had subtitles, I watched several of them and loved them. It definitely showed me that I need to be more open minded with what I watch.

    2. Thursday Next*

      I think I’ve watched all their French series, and a couple of the Hindi ones. I’m so pleased with the increase in international offerings.

    3. Canadian Natasha*

      Definitely. Of course I’m a bit of a K-Drama addict so that’s one reason. ;)
      I am also loving the variety in more serious international shows/films.

    4. Buu*

      Yes I love high-concept east Asian dramas. I recommend Boys over flowers and Good Morning Kiss for romantic comedies

    5. Red Reader*

      In theory, I really enjoy it. In practice, I usually Netflix while working or knitting, so having to follow subtitles means I pretty much can’t watch, which bums me out. I don’t really have the free time to watch stuff without also multitasking these days. I do put them on my list for the time down the road if/when that changes though.

  56. Be the Change*

    Love of the week?

    Mine’s *local* politics! I went to a forum for our city council candidates last night, and my friends, this is what democracy SHOULD look like: The very large audience listened carefully, followed directions, and were courteous. The candidates followed the format, never said anything nasty, and answered directly. Good information, enough to let me know who I wanted. Good times.

    1. Waiting for the Sun*

      I had a good experience with local politics, too. Spoke to a door-to-door volunteer last Saturday and told him I was interested in volunteering. Monday, I got a call from an organizer and an invite to a meeting. It was of coutpartisan, but upbeat and very well organized. Not just griping about the opposition.
      I signed up to go door-to-door myself. Outside my comfort zone, but there’s a tight Senate race in my state and I’m really motivated.
      Don’t want to get into partisan politics on the free-for-all, just happy to hopfully make a positive difference.

    2. Loopy*

      Finding vegan “creamy” soup recipes. I am so ready for fall weather (I’m in the south) and it’s still hitting high 80s here, but I’m going to make soup anyway, dangit.

    3. OyHiOh*

      Local politics for me too. At this level it’s smart and respectful, none of the nastiness we get at higher levels

    4. LilySparrow*

      Re: local politics, I love the fact that our city elections are strictly nonpartisan. Candidates can register to vote for any party they want of course, but candidates can’t declare any party affiliation or take party endorsements. It’s usually pretty obvious who is appealing to a conservative or liberal base, but having that rule takes so much of the tension and gamesmanship out of it. You can really vote for policies instead of having all the emotional baggage.

    5. The Other Dawn*

      The hooded pullover I bought from Vermont Flannel at the Big E (annual fair in the Northeast). It’s not cool enough to wear it yet, but it’s ready to go when it is! Also, getting to pet a day-old chicken at the fair. It was so soft. :)

    6. Aurora Leigh*

      The weather this weekend! It finally feels fallish — 70F and sunny!

      Took the dog for a long walk around town.

  57. SAHM*

    Kittens. In a moment of weakness about two/three months ago I saw kittens at petco and adopted two. I am the anti-animal person of the household (since I am the only pooper scooper), and I have absolutely no idea what came over me besides the fact that the Calico kitten was a…well, a calico. Which I’ve always wanted. And of course I had to get her brother bc they were together in the crate and I couldn’t separate them. Now I’m kinda nuts bc we had two older cats (~3yrs), two dogs, five fish, and four tiny humans. The tiniest human is 5 months now, so she was roughly 3 months at the time of kitten adoption.
    These kittens have been amazing. Cali the California Calico adores my eldest, who the minute he comes home from school, drops his bag, and disappears upstairs reappearing with Cali draped over his shoulder, then he goes off to make legos or do homework or have a snack etc and she stays on his shoulder for HOURS. I make him put her down for dinner, chores, etc. but by bedtime she is tucked into the top bunk with him impersonating ET amongst his massive stuffed animal collection and purring away so loudly I can hear her from the doorway. She typically gets down after he’s asleep and attacks my feet at 2am. I have the scratches to prove it.
    Dexter, her brother, who I solely got bc he was in the same crate as her, is my love bug. He cuddles everything purring loudly, he is gray & white and FLUFFY. Omg. Sooooo fluffy. He is my weekday savior, he adores my two year old and every morning after school drop off comes trotting out from wherever he hid overnight to be mauled by my toddler. She carries him everywhere in the house, sits him next to her on the couch to watch Mickey Mouse, puts him in her pink Minnie Mouse shopping cart and pushes him around. The one thing we’ve impressed on her is that she is to not hold him by the neck (she didn’t really, it was a mis-grab on her part and we freaked out so much she’s been very careful about how she holds him), but the “do not sit on the cat” hasn’t really sunk in. She sits and rolls around on the couch with him and he puts up with it, but he doesn’t like it. He has never once clawed, scratched, or bitten her, he always is super gentle. When we make her put him down he just sits there and purrs waiting for her to pick him up again.
    Like, dude, these kittens are amazing, I love Dex’s bedtime snuggles, he’ll come in whenever I’m nursing baby and purr at me. The other night I woke up to him sleeping curled up under the baby (like he was her fluffy pillow) he licks the baby’s ears and head, and lets her grab his face, ears, and tail since now she’s gotten to the “I can hold things” stage.
    So, I just wanted to share my good fortune with my kittens to ya’ll since everyone I know thinks I’m nuts for adding yet more living things to my menagerie and AAM commentariat have an adoration of kittens.
    (For the record I’m kinda hoping they eat the fish, I’ve caught them “fishing” on top of the fish tank more than once and I’d really love to get rid of the fish.)

    1. Aurora Leigh*

      Aww they sound adorable!!

      My bf and I have 3 cats (2 mine, 1 his) and a big dog (ours, but always lived with him). When I told my landlady I wouldn’t be renewing the lease because I was moving in with him and mentioned his pets, she said we were like the Brady Bunch except with animals!

      I’m always a sucker and would love to have more, but he’s instuted a 16 paw rule for our 1000 sq ft house . . . lol

      1. SAHM*

        I 100% feel you, I told my hubs that if he wanted more animals we’d need a farm, before we got the kittens. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I really have no idea what came over me and I was really worrying I’d regret it, but they’ve turned into the best thing to happen to our family. It’s nuts. In a good way.

        1. Aurora Leigh*

          I would LOVE a little farm with rabbits and goats and a donkey! Bf and I both grew up in the country, so he reminds me “no city water, bad internet” on a regular basis. We shall see . . .

    2. Book Lover*

      That’s so lovely! My son adores our kitten also :). She is pretty patient but not as much as yours, I think!

    3. The Other Dawn*

      You seriously lucked out with those kittens! That doesn’t happen very often.

      And yeah, when I lived at home the cat liked to “fish” in the tank, too. Every once in a while one would go missing. When I moved out on my own I tried having a fish tank and cats, and then decided that fish tanks are a PITA so I got rid of it. I waited until the last fish died (of natural causes!) and then took it apart and gave it away. Cats were disappointed that they no longer had a “TV” to watch, but it made my life easier.

  58. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

    How do I get my cats to a) eat less and b) stop whining/begging?

    My cats have turned into full blown Kibble Addicts and they are driving me nuts! We used to free feed when they were younger and NO PROBLEM. We slept in, they ate when they needed, no big deal. Then they lived with partners parents for three years who a) fed them all the time, just mounds of food piled up in a bowl and b) fed them from the table rich foods like fish roe and liver pate on a finger and c) kitty grandma was buying them fresh herring at the store! Their dry food changed at this time as well and they found a brand they REALLY like. REALLY REALLY like.

    They moved back with us and while we had a system that was kind of working, after this summer’s heat wave when we were feeding wet in the morning as well, and then got an automatic kibble feeder, now its incessant. Girl Kitty has always been a pig and I think its because she was a runt and had some food insecurity (abandoned very young and was very tiny when we got her) but now its in overdrive. I get woken up in the morning at 5.45 for kibble (after the feeder has gone at 530, since her brother ate everything), then more meowing before leaving for work at 8 (no they dont get more), demanding wet food as soon as I walk in the door at 5.30 at night, and then the meowing and harassment starts up again at 7.30 even though they get a bit of kibble at 8.30 from the feeder.

    They each get about a half cup of high quality kibble a day (split into two feeding sessions) and share a packet of wet at night. Not many treats. I do put some kibble in their puzzle feeder for during the day. They both drink plenty of water. Vet said they were both chunky, but especially her, and suggested diet kibble, which we tried and now they both want to eat that all the time! Where is Susan Powter when you need her! They are indoor with outdoor privileges, but definitely not fully outdoor which most kitties are around here – so ours look like tubs compared to those sleek machines. Ours are also 7 years old, so getting up there to Senior Kitty level.

    What do we do? I just want a morning to sleep in and not be meowed at until I get up and feed them (more) kibble. Are we feeding too little? I tried feeding a little less today and damnit if that cat didn’t know and start begging partner for food at noon. Do we go back to free feeding?

    (Note: we don’t feed from the table at all, and once in a while they will get fresh chicken. I blame partner’s father for ruining the cats, to which he heartily agrees :))

    1. fposte*

      I would consider moving away from kibble entirely. Look online for descriptions of the “Catkins” diet. There’s some suggestion that cats on kibble whine more because they’re genuinely hungrier.

      1. annakarina1*

        Wow, I didn’t know that. My cat whines at night, but he didn’t seem hungry, just wanting attention. I give him a mix of dry and wet food, and he seems fine with it. He just whines when he wants cuddles and wakes me up. But I can try giving him more wet food to see if he stops whining as much.

        1. fposte*

          I don’t think that’s the miracle road to total cat silence :-). It’s just that if you’re trying to cut a cat’s weight back it’s helpful to find ways to satiate them as much as possible.

    2. Close Bracket*

      I had to deal with this when I put my chubbo kitty on a diet. You need to find the balance between feeding them enough to fill them up so they don’t whine but not feeding them so much that they can’t lose weight. It was a lot of trial and error, but one thing that helped was setting alarms. I refused to get out of bed in the morning, even if the brat was poking her paw in my face, until my alarm went off. Then I would get up and immediately feed her. I would typically go right back to bed, but making that association with alarm=food really helped. I didn’t have to feed her much to get her to leave me alone. The amount and the time of the alarm are something for you to fine tune.

      I work from home, and I had to learn when she would get hungry during the day and set an alarm for around then. Again, no matter how bratty she got, I did not feed her until the alarm went off. There had to be some compromise, though, in setting the alarm before she got hungry to head off the bratty behavior. Avoiding triggers is a big part of breaking cats of unwanted behavior. If you aren’t home during the day, you could try buying the kind of automated feeder that contains a set amount and opens up at a set time. That way they have something to associate food with and won’t bug you on days when you are home.

      There was another alarm for the evening, but she wasn’t as bratty by then bc she had already had three regular meals during the day.

      I fed her a total of four very small meals a day, combined wet and dry. She got a little bit of dry food when the morning alarm went off. Then she got a quarter 5.5 oz can of wet food followed by a little bit of dry food when I got up for real (there was no alarm for that). The mid-day meal was the same. The evening meal was all dry food. I was feeding her Royal Cannin CC High Protein, which is the lowest calorie food on the market. It allowed me to feed her more volumewise so she wasn’t as hungry. It took fortitude on my part, but eventually she lost weight and stopped being bratty.

      Several years later, she is used to eating smaller amounts and doesn’t get bratty, except sometimes in the morning. I free feed a set amount of dry food daily, and twice a day she gets a little bit of canned food. I don’t have to set alarms anymore.

  59. Foreign Octopus*

    Language thread!

    Since I’m banging my head against a wall to try and learn the goddamn Spanish subjunctive (why? just why?), I decided to procrastinate and find out how many of the AAM-ers speak more than their native language. I know that there are a number of non-native English speakers on here so I’d love to find out what your native language is and what other languages (if any) you speak, and if you’re a native English speaker, whether you speak a second or third language as well.

    For me, I’m a native English speaker and I speak moderately competent Spanish depending on my level of alertness (B2 on a good day, baby talk on a bad day).

    1. Middle School Teacher*

      I am a native English and French speaker, and I have enough Spanish, German, Italian, and Polish to read menus, ask for directions, and buy transit tickets.

    2. Ender*

      English is my native tongue. I also did two other languages in school (I’m in Europe) and was fluent in one at school and fluent in the other more recently (lived and worked there about 20 years ago). But I have fallen out of practice with both now. Sure I could pick them up again quickly enough. From traveling I’ve picked up tourist level competence in about 3 other languages.

    3. The RO-Cat*

      My native language is a Romance one (Romanian), I speak English well enough to deliver training classes and my French, though rusty, is still at a decent level. Any major Romance language (Italian mostly, which is closest to Romanian, but also Spanish or Portuguese), I get the gist of the discussion (and sometimes even respond), but that’s somewhat natural. I can also swear in Hungarian and Russian.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        Lol – I can swear in a number of languages thanks to my students who like to teach me them. My favourite is to swear in Chinese as they’re delightfully inventive.

        1. Lady Jay*

          That’s very Firefly of you. :)

          When I was learning German for college, I recall being particularly taken by the sound of a word; it just sounded kinda cool. I repeated several times, to the growing horror of my classmates. Yeah . . . turned out it was basically the German version of sh*t.

      2. Ender*

        I had a Romanian taxi driver a few weeks ago who told me that he speaks 6 languages and his kids speak 7! He said all the romance languages are basically the same just different pronunciation.

    4. Canadian Natasha*

      English is my first language. I know enough (Mexican) Spanish to muddle through most simple written communication but can’t speak it well enough to be understood (learnt from a book/tape series as a teen without any actual Spanish speakers to practice with). I’m also learning French as an adult with a tutor and can now have a painfully slow simple conversation (and can read and comprehend at intermediate level).

    5. Best cat in the world*

      I’m a native English speaker, can speak French to a reasonable level although my grammar is atrocious! I find I do quite well with immersion and pick French back up again quickly when I’m actually there.
      I know basic BSL and odd words in various other languages. My current aim is to learn a bit more Italian for when I go there next and really, really basic Arabic and a couple of other languages for work.

    6. Washi*

      I’m a native English speaker but do most of my work in Russian currently. I can read French well enough tonread the newspaper without a dictionary but don’t speak it very well anymore.

      I’m always so impressed with the non-native speakers on AAM, whose comments are usually grammatically and idiomatically (is that a word?) perfect!

    7. Kuododi*

      I am a native English speaker. I also speak “Redneck” and fluent Spanish. I have studied Japanese, Hebrew, and Greek. (As far as those languages go, there’s really nothing left I might have retained up there in the synapses.) Best wishes…

    8. HannahS*

      English speaker from Canada, with enough French to tour in Paris without speaking English (i.e. basic functional fluency, but I’d struggle hard to write an essay). I got that from French immersion until high school, and then a few random French courses in high school and university. And very, very basic Hebrew. I used to be at B1, but I’m probably not anymore. It makes me sad. One of my parents is a native Hebrew speaker and didn’t speak it at home.

    9. Jean (just Jean)*

      OMG to everybody else on this thread! I’m a native (and skillful) speaker of American English but wish I could claim fluency in other languages. I’m thrilled that nowadays folks who emigrate to the USA seems to be retain their original (non-English) language(s). Maybe in a few generations we’ll be jolted out of our English-only bubble.

    10. Ann O.*

      Native English but also speak Moroccan Arabic at an advanced conversational (but not fluent!) level. Or I did speak it at advanced conversational level–I haven’t had an opportunity to speak it in a decade, so lord knows, what’s left at this point.

      I have some Spanish and French–enough to be pretty comfortable touring but not enough to be able to hold a conversation without a LOT of effort. I also have some Modern Standard Arabic, although at this point, mostly just enough to be able to talk about the differences between its grammar and Moroccan Arabic’s grammar. I used to have a lot more MSA, but my Moroccan Arabic seemed to take its place in my brain.

    11. Square Root Of Minus One*

      I’m a native French speaker.
      I speak English (C2).
      For the rest… I just counted the languages in my “language bookshelf” book. It appears there are 15 other languages for which I’m somewhere between “I have yet to start studying” (Arabic, Hebrew) and “B2 on a good day but I need to practice” (German, Italian).
      I think I’m a language nerd without enough time on her hands.
      (If my request is accepted I’m going part-time in January. I might make progress then.)

      I don’t know about Spanish but many native French speakers don’t master the proper use of subjunctive in their own language. So really don’t beat yourself up :D
      FYI : the rules are different in French, Spanish and Italian for subjunctive. It’s almost as funny for me as it is for you.