weekend free-for-all – September 29-30, 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: Conversations with Friends, by Sally Rooney. Two 20somethings befriend a slightly older couple, and things get messy but the banter is superb.

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

{ 1,151 comments… read them below }

  1. DoctorateStrange*

    Is there any advice columns that also feature updates from the letter-writers. I feel like AskAManager has spoiled me and while I still enjoy advice columns, I wish I could find more that had follow-ups!

    1. Loose Seal*

      Captain Awkward occasionally has follow ups but you’re right, it’s really a rare thing.

      I’d love it if Alison shared how she keeps all of her content and questions straight and knows who to ask for follow ups. Is it just really good email sorting?

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I can answer that! Sometimes I know I’m going to want an update and so I move a letter into a “request update” email folder right away. But I hardly ever remember to do that. Mostly, every November I go through every post from the whole year and flag the ones where I especially would like an update and email those people (as part of that process, I’m also looking for candidates for “worst boss of the year” and any other end-of year lists I’m going to do). I also usually do a post around that time calling for updates, and as part of that ask people which letters they’d like me to request updates on, and then I send requests to those letter writers too. And on top of all that, a lot of people just send in updates on their own (I think all the updates printed so far this year were ones people sent in without being asked).

        1. Loose Seal*

          So do you just save and organize all your emails? I just have visions of your inbox being very organized.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Yep — I have a separate email account just for AAM letters, and I just use lots and lots of labels and folders. My inbox is a mess (right now it has 159 messages in it that I still need to do something with, 32 of which are marked to be used for future short answer posts, and the rest of which I’m considering for standalone posts) but everything else is neatly in folders.

    2. CTT*

      Carolyn Hax doesn’t publish updates as part of her regular column, but usually someone submits one in her weekly chats hosted by the Washington Post.

    3. Ginger ale for all*

      I was reading old columns of the Moneyeist (sp?) and he had an update in a column with two different dad’s asking about money advice with their adult kids.

  2. matcha123*

    I have maybe two friends who probably consider themselves a lot smarter than their peers, and maybe that was the case in high school. But now, I find that they tend to jump to the wrong conclusions about people and events because they don’t slow down to listen through the whole conversation.
    They then go off based on a misunderstanding of someone and let it sit for months or years. Instead of admitting they were wrong, they will accuse the other person of not speaking clearly. When from my perspective, it’s clear that they took in a small portion of the story and veered wildly off.
    My question is, if you are someone that considers yourself a fast thinker, someone that quickly forms opinions of people, someone that is certain they have the gist of the direction a conversation is headed in after the other person says a few words….Why can’t you wait until you’ve heard all of the details before jumping to a conclusion? Moreover, how do YOU want people to talk to you? And finally, why are you so sure that you’ve drawn the right conclusion?

    1. I’m tired*

      Some people take forever to get to the point or, even worse, constantly repeat themselves in the same conversation. Sometimes, people aren’t as interesting as they think they are and the listener just wants to speed the conversation along.

      1. matcha123*

        It’s true that some people ramble on, but that’s not what I have observed here. In these instances, a new topic has just been broached when the other party latches onto one word or phrase and has made a decision based on that without hearing the conversation to the end.
        As in, within the first 30 seconds or so. Not 25 minutes into a neverending conversation.

        An example scenario would be:
        John: “Don’t you think people that give their kids weird names are stupid?”
        Kirk: “Well, it’s not really any of my business what other people name their kids, but—”
        John: “Oh, so you think those names are fine. Well, that’s to be expected of someone like you.”
        * A different day *
        John to Sarah: “Can you believe that Kirk thinks that parents should give their kids weird names? Those names will totally ruin their future, but Kirk thinks that’s fine!”

        It seems that the only acceptable answer for someone like John would be an immediate “Yes” or “No” and anything that doesn’t start with an agreement of his observation is filed in his mind as a “No”, regardless of whether Kirk was actually going to be agreeing with John.

        1. Ender*

          In that case it sounds like Kirk does think it’s ok for people to give their kids weird names though – so I don’t really see why youre saying johns initial interpretation was wrong? Anyone who says “it’s not my business” about something is basically saying “they can do that if they want”.

          John should not have extrapolated from Kirk thinking it’s ok to Kirk thinking that it SHOULD happen, but the extrapolation from “it’s not any of my business” to “I’m ok with that” is valid IMO.

          1. ket*

            But the sentence could easily be, “Well, it’s not really any of my business what other people name their kids, but yes, they’re incredibly stupid, and I can tell you 120938 stories of children whose lives were RUINED by their weird names!”

            “It’s not my business” to “I’m ok with that” isn’t quite valid. For instance, headship marriages — I’m not ok with that but it’s also not my business. Certain kinks — I’m really not ok with them but I’m also not interested in policing peoples’ bedrooms if they’re consenting adults. The lousy business practices of a competitor — I think they’re terrible, actually, but will use them to the fullest extent possible to get the affected customers for my own! I won’t interfere in the competitor’s business!

            1. matcha123*

              This is generally how I use the phrase and how I would interpret it. I’ve been the Kirk in this scenario and I’ve had John(s) tell me about their Kirk(s).
              Using my example above, you state that you are not in any position to change how the party you are about to talk about thinks. Then you state your well-balanced (hopefully) reason why you disagree with their decision.
              If the sentence was, “It’s not any of my business. Period.”, then the meaning would be that Kirk really doesn’t care.

          2. MatKnifeNinja*

            Welp…This for me would be filed under, “What other people think of you is none of your concern.”

            Part of it sounds like John wasn’t interested in talking about non traditional names, and then gossiped to Sarah for something to do.

            John is a gossipy twit. How does this sort of petty nonsense gets back you?

          3. Ender*

            Maybe it’s a cultural thing but I’ve honestly never heard anyone say “it’s none of my business but I disagree with it” . I’ve only ever heard people use it in the way I’ve mentioned above – if it’s none of your business then you are OK with it. That’s just how the phrase is used where I live. I was just commenting on the OPs opinion that John is bad at interpreting other people’s opinions, since that seemed to be the point of the post.

            I agree John is rude, both for interrupting (unless kirk is a sssllloowww talker), and also for the “that’s to be expected from you” comment. It also seems like he really dislikes kirk and possibly looks for reasons to disagree with him?

            rudeness and being disagreeable to people you dislike are certainly not traits specific to people who think theyre smart though! They are actually very widespread among people of all levels of intelligence and are a separate issue to OPs original comment.

            1. Lissa*

              I feel like I hear it’s none of my business as a way to make it clear you disagree but without people actually wanting to say it. Maybe because they know it’s not a nice opinion or, they don’t like it but don’t care very strongly.

            2. matcha123*

              I’ve always used it that way. I don’t know if it’s because of where I’m from in the midwest, if it’s my own personal quirk, or what.
              Another example would be, “While I can’t stop John from cheating on his wife, that doesn’t mean that I would knowingly help him cheat on her.”
              The other way I’ve heard “It’s none of my business” used is when someone just doesn’t want to comment either way. I’ve always interpreted it as a neutral phrase…depending on context, of course.

              1. Ender*

                Depends on how slow and if they have a reason for talking so slowly like a speech impediment or they just choose to drag everything out. If it’s the latter that’s so infuriating that only a saint could wait.

            3. Close Bracket*

              I’ve honestly never heard anyone say “it’s none of my business but I disagree with it” .

              I say similar things all the time. Maybe now that you know some people use it that way, you can open to hearing that phrase differently than what you assume. What you’re hearing isn’t always what people are saying.

            4. Observer*

              Well, as you can see from the responses to your first comment, that’s totally not universal.

              As I said, my experience is that it’s used in many different ways, but mostly with disagreement that doesn’t reach “This MUST be STOPPED!” levels.

          4. Observer*

            Actually, it really doesn’t sound like he’s ok with it – BUT is a very telling word here. But the real problem is that there is no way to know what he really thinks. Or rather, we know that he probably doesn’t think that it should be made illegal, and that’s about the size of it.

          5. Julia*

            Not really. We don’t even know which names John considers “stupid” – everything non-WASPY? In that case, Kirk’s response could have been trying to gently call him out.

        2. neverjaunty*

          The problem is not that your friends are “fast thinkers”, then. The problem is that they’re assholes.

          I mean really – ‘that’s to be expected of someone like you’? Cutting people off in mid-sentence and then accusing them of being bad communicators?

          1. matcha123*

            That’s what strikes me as hard to understand. When I have either been in the position of Kirk or heard about a Kirk from a John, it has been very clear that John didn’t bother to get the full picture. And John would even say that they stop listening when Kirk talks, but then assumes wrong information and months later I will hear from John that “actually, that time with Kirk they were talking about ABC, and I thought they meant XYZ, they need to be clearer.”

            1. Not So NewReader*

              These friends are rude people. Gently suggesting that this is hard to understand because you are over-thinking this one. They keep doing this because no one has ever told them not to do this or to stop OR they are choosing to ignore those warnings. Look at this way, suppose you met a new person today, just got introduced to them this morning. Suppose by this afternoon you noticed the exact same behavior you are talking about here. It’s very clear, right? This new person is rude.

              I will go one step further here, this is NOT how friends treat friends. I don’t just find the behavior questionable, I would be questioning if there is any real friendship there at all. There is not much going on here in terms of basic respect.

        3. a1*

          Jumping to conclusions is not the same as being a fast thinking. What a weird confluence. Neither is interrupting people mid-sentence and being rude. However, I will agree with others that if someone is slowly talking and rambling and taking 20 minutes to say something they could with one sentence (if they ever got to the point) that would get very trying and I could understand interruptions.

      2. misspiggy*

        I think there are two overlapping personality types here – quick thinkers and talkers who find it hard to listen (shades of ADHD), it me – and entitled idiots who constantly want the hit of Being Right.

        I fall into both camps naturally (or because I grew up in a family that loved a pointless knock-down argument), and it took a while to realise I was being a dick. Didn’t help that in school the behaviour is rewarded by teachers who love a student that can get to some kind of a point quickly. I’ve tried to stop the not listening and jumping to conclusions thing, even though it feels like nails on a chalkboard with someone who takes a while to put their opinions together.

        Short answer – people doing what you describe are being dicks, and a bit of social correction may make them rethink themselves. Or they may just go and hang out with more dicks.

      3. MatKnifeNinja*

        Oh dear dog. THANK YOU. I have relatives and cowrkers who hold my ears hostage with a 15+ minute monologs.

        OP maybe this isn’t you, and your friends are jerks. I hve found when people have complained, “I’m not letting them give/tell all the information.”, the person has monologed for well over 5 plus minutes. They also bunny hoppy on tangents. I have a relative that can talk about a dog food recall and dragged the GDP of China plus Boliva into the mix. And the use of Segways.

        People have the attention span of gnats. From load the information you want made clear, and let people do some give and take. You have about 5 minutes of really active listening before the other party starts shutting down if not allowed to talk/ask a question. This is in causal conversations. My Aspie cousin actually had to learn this. He info dumps up to 20 minutes before the person can say anything.

        He feels you need to know ALL this information before the conversation can start. By the point, people have drifted off and already made their decision. Also, if people know you have a tendency to monolog/info dump, you’ll be cut off much faster in the conversation.

        I think people draw their conclusions early on, and the rest is just fine tuning/justifying why they picked it. There has to be some big revelation into a 10 minute pitch for me to change my initial position from 3 to 5 minutes ago.

        Sorry your friends are twits. True friends would not let stuff fester for months or years. Who has the energy to keep that up?

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      It sounds like their sense of identity hangs on being smarter than everyone else. I went to school where there were a couple of really brilliant kids, at least one of whom got perfect scores on the SATs. Those uber-smart kids also had some glaring shortcomings in certain areas, but they were as a whole *much* smarter than I am, and I’m well above average by any measure. Knowing people like that, I figured out early that a person’s worth isn’t based on what they know.

      1. Reba*

        I agree, my instinct is that it’s not a speed issue, it’s the “must be smarter than” that’s the hangup.

    3. LGC*

      I’m probably a “moderate speed” thinker. (I guess by American standards? I’m a little slower than average for my area, but also I live in New Jersey. People are pretty fast here.) I’ve had friends (and e*******s) who are…pretty slow in getting their words out. And often I find myself getting a little impatient when they’re taking five minutes to say that they saw a movie this weekend with their sister.

      On the flip side, I get bulldozed a LOT by one of my neighbors who talks really fast and constantly. (I’m convinced she thinks that she’ll die if no one is talking for longer than five seconds.) What doesn’t help is that I’m naturally soft spoken and she is LOUD.

      I guess my advice is twofold:
      1) frontload! Try to put the most important information first.
      2) this is harder but don’t be afraid to interrupt back.

      Also, your friends sound like jerks. I’d elaborate further on everything but I can’t right now.

    4. ronda*

      you can speculate on why they are doing this, or you can ask them.

      best to ask in the moment when you see it happen, but you can also ask about it later when they tell you about someone elses’ opinion….. you can tell them it is hard to believe them when you have seen them misrepresent others opinions before.

    5. chi type*

      I think your friends might be my boss (sorry to bring up the B word on this thread!)!
      She will also not listen carefully to an entire statement, seem to remember only one minor detail from said statement, and then twist the shit out of that detail until it doesn’t even correspond to the original MINOR detail that wasn’t even the point.
      Incredibly frustrating.
      As for why, I think your right. She thinks she’s smarter than everyone and already knows everything, with a side of having pre-judged and twisting the answer to fit that judgement.
      For solutions- all we have come up with is very carefully crafting what we say to her. Which doesn’t really help in a social setting! So I guess I have nothing to give you but sympathy!

    6. Nervous Accountant*

      I feel like I might have done that in the last. It was major insecurity about seeming too dumb/stupid. So I would cut in with something to show “hey I know stuff and things!” But yeah that’s super annoying. I’m still a little insecure but I listen more.

    7. Lissa*

      I’ve got a friend who will sometimes interrupt with an assumption and get all high dudgeon about whatever he assumed I was going to say – it’s like he wants to have a tumblr moment where he tells off someone for saying a Problematic Thing, but like…I wasn’t even going to say what he thinks I was going to. I just straight up tell him “uh yeah buddy, I wasn’t going to say that, but nice soapbox.” or something. My friend wants to be the Wokest White Dude though and this is just part of his overall attempt.

    8. The Original Stellaaaaa*

      Are your friends factually wrong about certain things, or do they just develop opinions more quickly and negatively than you’d prefer?

  3. Aphrodite*

    For the last three weeks or so I have been enjoying watching The Rockford Files on the computer. (I don’t own a television nor do I subscribe to Netflix or any other service so it’s mostly YouTube for me.) I was a fan of that show when it originally aired, and rewatching it again now brings back memories and feelings. This has to have been one of the best shows ever made. James Garner was a friend of my uncle’s though sadly I never had the opportunity to meet him. But I never ceased to admire him, and am enjoying this like crazy.

    Also fascinating are all his fellow cast mates: Stuart Margolin as Angel, Gretchen Corbett as Beth, Joe Santos and Becker, James Luisi as Chapman and especially Noah Beery Jr. as Rocky.

    1. HLK1219HLK*

      Love this! I sometimes go on secret binges of series from the 70’s & 80’s Bob Newhart, a Columbo here and there, V (ok that was a miniseries). The most schlocky of them all, of course, is The Love Boat.

    2. Waiting for the Sun*

      Yes to all the comments. 1970s crime shows were not as dark as today, and had more humor sprinkled in.

      1. Former Employee*

        I think that “Harry O” with David Janssen was a darker show in the 70’s. Big fan of Garner’s (His movies are really worth checking out, too.), but I also liked Janssen/Harry O.

    3. Lcsa99*

      I loved the series and my husband and I occasionally catch episodes on cable. I think James Garner was awesome, and the fact that he did all his driving himself – stunts and all – just makes him that much cooler. I would definitely hire him if I needed a private investigator. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. And you can’t beat his rates!

    4. Elizabeth W.*

      My parents used to watch that but I never did.

      I did get to re-watch Emergency! when it was on Netflix. That was a show my siblings and I particularly enjoyed. It came out right around the time paramedics were becoming a thing. They had real-life firefighters as advisers, so the show was really realistic in the way the characters did things. It held up pretty well, too. :)

    5. Triplestep*

      I loved this show AND James Garner. I can’t bring a single episode to mind, but I remember I really liked it and I watched it by myself since no one else in my family shared my opinion of it. Sadly this will probably be the case if I decide to binge-watch it now, haha!

      1. Aphrodite*

        My favorite episode was from season 1. Titled “Profit and Loss,” it starred Ned Beatty as a wonderfully evil CEO. I keep re-watching it though I could probably quote it from heart. Almost as fabulous is a season 5 episode called “Never Send a Boy King to Do a Man’s Job,” which had Dennis Dugan, Kim Hunter and the always, again, a wonderfully evil Robert Webber.

        But I can’t think of any episodes I don’t like. Well, maybe a couple from season 5 when Garner was apparently missing due to surgery and recovery where he played only very small roles. Just put “rockford files” in quotes in both google (and tell it to look for videos), on YouTube, and even on Dailymotion (even though there are numerous commercial breaks on that one).

    6. Nancie*

      Thank you! I’ve been wanting to watch Rockford Files and didn’t think to look for it on YouTube. (Last time I checked it’s not on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.)

  4. Loose Seal*

    Cars: Buy or lease? I’d like pros and cons as to whether leasing is a good option for a car just to drive to work and around town, probably put 20-30 miles a day on it. It would be personally owned, not a company car. Thanks!

    1. Chylleh*

      Just went through this thought process with my partner on his car and we asked ourselves a lot of these questions, to which there is no right or wrong answer. What do you think is the likelihood that your job might move further away? Or that you might change jobs and your commute mileage might go up? Do you like the option of having new tech options in your car every few years, where leasing would keep your car up to date with trends?

      Do you like to customize your car, which would be rough with with a leased vehicle? Is budget an issue, which is where leased vehicles shine?

      One thing we found or that surprised us happened when the dealer have us detailed financing for leasing and buying. If we leased, the car had the option of being bought out after the lease was over but the buyout price was ridiculously high, even with the difference between the monthly lease payments vs more expensive loan payments. We ended up buying, partially due to that but also because my partner’s office is planning to move within the year so we have no idea how much his commute would change.

      Good luck with whichever you choose!

    2. Loopy*

      I’ve gone through the thought process quite a few times. Leasing sounds appealing but I’ve always been put off by lack of flexibility when it comes to mileage. I don’t drive much, but if I suddenly had a road trip opportunity or had to move or had any life change, I’d hate to add the stress of worrying about it. Plus any tiny minor damage, etc.

      I’ve always been swayed to buy also just by the sheer amount of people with leasing horror stories. No one ever pops up to tell me they did it and it was great!

    3. BeenThere*

      My experience is limited to how it has impacted friends. Unless they could use it as a business expense, they all wished they’d never leased. They get more car for their money initially but all of them ended up buying out the lease in the end because of wear and tear charges the dealer wanted to assess, and essentially paid a lot more for it in the long run. Personally, I’m not a fan but it’s anecdotal evidence, I’m not a financial counselor.

    4. ronda*

      i had a lease and the buy out at the end was large. and i did come close to the milage or over it, so that would be a charge too. I didnt really like the feeling of that and all other cars have been purchase new.

      it does seem like the best financial way is to buy used, but I want a new car, so I buy new.

      I keep a car for about 10 years. I had a friend who switched to leasing cause her husband wanted to change cars every 1 or 2 years and she felt they lost lots of money on selling them (he was also probably expensing them for business). A lease might make sense if you want to change cars often.

      Another friend had went for an electric or hybrid car early in the advent of those and went with a lease cause she felt like this was an experiment and if it didnt work out she had not invested as much money in the car.

    5. CheeryO*

      I looked into it last time I was in the market for a car, and I ended up buying a lightly used car instead. I haven’t had a car payment in four years, which is really nice. The downside is that I’m driving an older vehicle without the fancy features that come standard on all newer cars.

      Cars are built pretty well these days, so even my cheapo Kia has only needed a few repairs beyond the basic maintenance items, and I’m closing in on 100K. But if you’re not someone who wants to drive the same car for a decade, it’s not a bad option. Just make sure you won’t blow the mileage limit.

    6. foolofgrace*

      In the not-too-distant past, Consumer Reports visited this issue and recommended buying over leasing, I think mainly due to the often-high cost at the end of the lease.

    7. Anonymous Educator*

      Leasing sounds appealing, but the mileage limitations (or the costs for going over) weren’t going to work for me and my spouse. It’s true that an owned car continually loses (resale) value over time, but cars are lasting 10-15 (or even 20) years sometimes, so if you buy a used car that’s only a year or two old, it’s very good value, even if you take into account repairs further down the (metaphorical) road.

    8. kerlin*

      Never, ever lease. It costs you FAR more by every single metric except *maybe* if you absolutely have a really profoundly deep-seated need to be the person driving a fancy new car at all times. They just don’t make sense. You pay a down payment, then monthly car payments, run the risk of penalties, are still paying for gas for…absolutely nothing after three years. You have to start all over from scratch.

      If you’re looking for something with that low mileage and that kind of driving, maybe look at a hybrid? They get their best mileage in exactly that scenario – stop and go driving, low mileage per day.

      1. ThatGirl*

        My inlaws lease because they always want a new car and don’t want to do any upkeep or maintenance beyond oil changes. Honestly it drives me a little nuts but it’s their money…

    9. Someone Else*

      It’s pretty much always going to come down to the math. Is your choice about leasing car A or buying car B? Or between buying/leasing the same car? You sound like you’ll have pretty low annual mileage (assuming your estimate is right) so that leaves leasing on the table. Most leases have mileage limits and pretty hefty fees for going over, so if you drive a lot it makes no sense to lease. Keep that in mind in case your situation might change while you have the car. Beyond that, do you like to switch out cars frequently? Always want to be driving something under warranty? Then leasing probably makes sense because you can have the car for 2-3 years and then get something newer. If you’re more the type to get a car you like and drive it til it dies, buying is going to cost you a lot less in the long term. Basically, the shorter you plan to have the car (and the less you drive it) the more leasing makes more sense. The longer you plan to drive the car, buying will win in the end.

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

      The two advantages of leasing are that you essentially get a new car every few years, and often there are good lease deals on expensive cars you wouldn’t be able to afford to buy. My middle class neighborhood is full of BMW 320i’s that are probably low mileage leases.

      My parents have leased for years and have had a mixed experience. They always go over mileage. The inspections at the end for damage have sometimes been really picky and other times have been surprisingly lenient. The asking price to buy at the end has really been ridiculous. But they really want a new car every three years and leasing is the easiest way for that to happen.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Some people believe that if you keep a car more than a few years, it starts nickling and diming you to death. Since they sincerely believe this, then leasing would probably appeal to them. Given that most car loans can go out beyond a few years, the math might work out to be cheaper to lease and still get the new vehicle they want at a set interval.

        1. Observer*

          Making financial decisions that way is a really bad idea.

          Some cars are likely to start nickle and diming you after 3 years, some after 5 and others after 10.

          Our first “new new” car lasted us 5 years, and the last year it was a bit of a time and money sink. When we went to buy our next car, we decided that we wanted a car that would last at least 5 years. And we decided that the year the car went over $x (I think we started at $1k) in non routine maintenance / repairs would be the year we replace the car. We had that car for 11 years, and I don’t think we spent more than that over the entire life of the car. The highest we ever went was $450. (That’s when I started researching cars again.) We decided to replace the car because the transmission went, and the mechanic told us that even a used transmission would be $1,500. He told my husband (who is the driver) that it makes no sense to put that kind of money into an 11 year old car.

    11. Chaordic One*

      I think it really comes down to how much you can afford and feel comfortable spending. Owning is certainly cheaper, especially if you keep your car for a long time. Most new cars can easily go over 100,000 miles with not needing any major repairs and it is not unusual to get more than 200,000 miles on many.

      On the other hand, if you want a new car every few years and don’t put a lot of miles on them, and if you can afford it, then you might consider leasing.

    12. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      When you are doing your cost calculations, don’t forget your car insurance costs and license/registration fees. I looked at moving up from my CRV to a newer (2 year old) SUV, and the huge leap in car insurance costs on TOP of the monthly payment and (state of CA) fees, and I was better off driving another year in the existing very utilitarian CRV.

      Last year, we did upgrade the radio/stereo system in it, and added bluetooth/Sirius and a quiet kit (not dynamat, but comparable), and had it touched up (and new bumper). All in, less than the change in registration fee and insurance for a couple months. I was a lot more interested in how it drove and sounded (I do some work calls during my commute) than in how it looked to others in the parking lot. I also live in an area where every car is a theft target – I always look at mine in the row and think “if I had 30 seconds to break and enter, would I pick the 12 year old CRV or the 1 year old BMW for the radio and goodies?”

      (disclaimer, in the past 25 years – and next year I will – buy used Toyota/Honda after their 3 year age, and drive them to around 200K/10 years). Other than a very few expected repairs at the 125K mark, I’ve never had anything the first 100-125K miles except tires, wiper blades and routine maintenance.

      Also, I do recommend taking 6 months to drive your existing, save up the amount of the car payment + fees + insurance, and bank it… and see if your budget really can take the hit without pain. It also gives you a better downpayment when you do take the plunge.

      And, +1 for consumer reports.

    13. Colette*

      Think about potential damage as well – not just accidents, but dents in the door or scratches. If you buy it, you can shrug and decide to live with it, but with a lease it will cost you.

      1. Triplestep*

        Ugh, my daughter made a slight damage to a leased car while driving my car, and the other party had to have it fixed by the dealer which cost a ton. ‘Course my daughter (age 18 at the time) covered the cost after I pleaded with the other party not to go through insurance. But I was so pissed that had to pay for someone else’s choice to lease a car – cars get dings. It happens!

    14. Triplestep*

      Years ago (decades, actually) we used cash on an old used car and started putting money away monthly towards the next car. So it felt like having a car payment without having one. We now pay cash for our cars, drive them into the ground, and continue to put money way monthly.

      With this in mind, I cannot imagine leasing a car – paying every month and then having to either give it back (and having nothing to show for it) or paying a ton to own it. I guess there are people who want to change cars every other year, but unless they are fabulously wealthy, that’s probably not advisable. And if they are NOT fabulously wealthy, then probably they should be more frugal about their vehicles!

      If I didn’t have the cash for a car today, I’d’ get a car loan but still drive the car for ten years. And I’d start saving for the new car after the 4 or 5 years car loan was paid.

    15. June*

      If you want value, buy a newer used car. Leasing is for those who car hop. And so many ways to fall into a trap that would not be to your advantage.

  5. Anna*

    Six months ago husband and I tentatively decided I’d get off birth control in the fall before our age could become an issue. Fall is here and I’m overcome with doubts. Do I really want to do this, CAN I do this? Pregnancy is terifying and babies too. I’m not sure I want one! I’ll break it! Who here is a mom who was on the fence?

    1. PurpleMonster*

      I think everyone is on the fence to some degree – it’s a huge decision and you can’t undo it! But I framed it as asking myself, if I didn’t, would I regret it? and decided that yes, probably. And it’s mostly been worth it – the reduced sleep certainly sucks, but I love that weird, cheeky little creature with all my heart. Even at 3am.

      1. Ann Non*

        Seconding all of this! “You can’t undo it” is pretty scary, plus I’ve never heard of someone saying that they got pregnant at a convenient time. I’m pregnant now and of course I’m terrified of breaking the kid once it arrives.

        Maybe it helps to think about which parts of parenthood you (Anna) are excited about?

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          It is the sine qua non of things you can’t undo. Like just after you step off the bungee jump.

          How does your husband feel? I ask because I have known couples where one person wanted kids, and one person was like “okay, if this is a big deal for you kids are fine” and the latter are wonderful, involved, doting parents. Having a kid is a 0/100, yes/no proposition, but wanting one can be all over and that’s normal.

          1. Slartibartfast*

            I knew I wanted kids. My husband was terrified, but jumped because he knew how much it meant to me. I think he’s the more devoted parent now, those kids are his everything. I think some people feel a hard yes and others feel a hard no on the subject of kids, but there’s also lots of people in the middle. For me personally, I knew I would regret it if I didn’t. Watching these two creatures turn into full fledged humans has been so worth it to me, and the ways they’re like me or like him or like neither one of us is just fascinating.

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              Agree on the fascinating.

              I don’t think feeling middley on kids gets enough acknowledgement as a boringly routine possibility experienced by many.

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              In that case–so long as you’re worried that you aren’t feeling 100% gung ho, rather than thinking that actually you don’t want to ever have kids–I think you’ll be fine.

              I wasn’t a mom on the fence, but I’ve known those who were, dads too, and–just like people who had all sorts of life plans that got upended by becoming guardian to a young person who hadn’t even appeared on their carefully made life chart–they became good parents who loved their kids and were thrilled to have them.

              Also, the species is set up so that most kids, provided average parenting, turn out fine. It’s not some narrow shining path where if you ever slip to the side even once your child is doomed to grow demon horns and a tail.

            2. NewMom*

              I’d recommend sitting down and talking a lot about expectations, then.

              My husband 100% has always wanted kids. I used to be certain (I was when we married 6 years ago), then ended up on the fence. But I got to the point of feeing like it was a now or never thing. And so we went for it.

              It has been very, very hard not to resent my husband for not stepping up more to care for the baby or me when I was pregnant. Pregnancy was very, very hard on me, and he did not do more around the house when I was hypotensive and hypoglycemic (and therefore prone to fainting). My body didn’t heal right, and I’m waiting until I have accrued enough sick time/PTO to schedule surgery. I do nights alone, even though we both work full time (baby still wakes up 2x a night at 8 months old). He can sleep through the baby screaming, so I’ve had to turn down a lot of work travel that is important to my career. He also has strong feelings about breastfeeding, and every time I bring up dropping a pumping session at work and then giving the baby 1 formula bottle a day, I get the worst guilt trip.

              I love my son. But it is very hard not to be angry at my husband for persuading me to have a kid with him, and then having him abdicate so much responsibility for the tiny human. It would be easier, I think, if I had really wanted to have a child, if I would have made the choice to reproduce on my own. Instead, at times it feels like I had a baby *for* my husband. Through pregnancy and now breastfeeding, my body is not my own. That is difficult to deal with.

              This happens often with men who claim to want to raise children equally. My husband does fewer chores around the house now than before the baby came (because he’s “tired”). He has always wanted a second and I have put my foot down. I’m not doing it again unless I see real, significant improvements. So far, he has not stepped up.

              1. ten-four*

                I think you SHOULD be angry at your husband – I’M angry at your husband just reading this. His behavior is unconscionable – guilting you over formula? Not taking care of you? Not taking ANY night wake-ups? Absolutely not, my dude. I have an under-one baby and an older kid, and I can’t imagine trying to do it with such spotty and lame partner support.

                I strongly, strongly suggest you get yourselves into couples therapy stat, because his selfish behavior and your valiant efforts to not hate him have to be chipping away at your marriage. He’s got to step up, and a good therapist might help you figure out ways to manage this.

                1. Falling Diphthong*

                  Seconding both parts of this. My husband wanted kids–since we both did, we didn’t discuss how much relative to each other–but I drove the timing, and he absolutely looked after me and the kids. Including as infants, even if he is personally more interested in the points where you can make train sets.

                  I developed some health problems later on (e.g. I can’t mow because of asthma), and he also steps up to handle those things. That’s my basis for what marriage is supposed to look like–maybe not what you pictured when it was all future abstraction (we met at 18) but you both step up to deal with the pitches life hurls across your mutual plate.

              2. Bobbin Ufgood*

                I agree — BE ANGRY! don’t fight it!

                He is NOT pulling his weight! my husband didn’t hear the kids either. So when it was his turn, I kicked him until he got up. Yes, you still have to be awake to kick him, but if you are consistent, eventually, he starts hearing the kid (and he also realizes how much the kid is keeping you awake)

                Also — GO ON THE TRIP — he’ll figure it out. AND DON’T PREP ALL THE MEALS, either. DON’T HELP HIM — JUST GO!
                The best thing ever for lazy dads is experiencing what it actually takes to care for their child for more than just a Saturday afternoon.

                He doesn’t get ANY SAY anymore on whether you breastfeed — he could weigh in if he were helping, but even then, he’d only be allowed to express an opinion. YOU DECIDE! they are YOUR BREASTS, for goodness’s sake! Do whatever you want starting NOW!

                I agree with counseling, but I wonder if you should go alone first — you need some support realizing that you are putting up with a lot from him — he shouldn’t get to tell his “side” at this point!

              3. Anna*

                I’m so sorry your husband is letting you down! I agree with the other commenters you might need to make him step up whether he wants to or not. Pump some breastmilk and go on a work trip! I would not consider parenthood if I thought I would lack a true coparent.

              4. mrs__peel*

                “He also has strong feelings about breastfeeding, and every time I bring up dropping a pumping session at work and then giving the baby 1 formula bottle a day, I get the worst guilt trip. ”

                This is 100% ABSOLUTELY NOT OKAY!! I would seriously recommend counseling because this is a serious issue, and you have every right to feel angry about it.

        2. NewMom*

          I still look at my almost 8 month old and think “OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE I CAN’T UNDO THIS?!”
          It’s fleeting, but I’m pretty sure it’s normal.

          I had a terrible pregnancy and a colic-y newborn, and somehow I’ve still found the existential weirdness of it all to be the dominant experience.

    2. Ender*

      If you don’t really want a baby I don’t think you should have one. It’s not fair on the kid. Just make sure you aren’t going to change your mind later or you will increase the risk of death or disability for future kids, which also isn’t fair.

      1. TL -*

        That’s a really unfair stance to take – Anna has every right to wait to have kids if that’s what she wants. The risks do increase, but not by that much, and it’s not unfair to the kids if the parents are on the older side.

        1. LDN Layabout*

          Yup, life will happen whether the parents are older or younger.

          In my case? Young parents didn’t stop my mum getting a terminal illness when I was a toddler. My half-brother has a much easier childhood than I did, with parents who were 40+ when he was born.

          I also have cousins who were second marriage babies and lost their parents in a two year span as teens.

          It’s just /life/.

        2. Ender*

          A few more months won’t make a difference, but once you get over 35 every year you wait increases the risk of infertility, miscarriage and disability. Statistics don’t care about your rights. I’ve lost two babies and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.

          If you want to have kids ever, and you are in a position where your relationship, living situation and career can handle it, don’t hang about. If you don’t want to have kids then don’t. But far too many people keep putting the decision off again and again without acknowledging that doing so is a decision in itself.

          1. Courageous cat*

            Yeah but rights don’t care about statistics either. A woman’s reproductive rights are no business but her own, and that doesn’t just apply to abortion.

            1. Lissa*

              Sure, but nobody is talking about legally restricting someone’s rights here! I think talking about the practicalities of the situation in a thread where someone specifically asked for opinions is hardly the same thing as taking away someone’s ability to make a decision they don’t agree with.

            2. Ender*

              I don’t get wtf you are dragging abortion into this for. Op asked for opinion, I’m not standing outside her house with a placard insisting she get pregnant now or else. My point is valid. I’ve been to lots of miscarriage association meetings and they are mostly women in their mid to late thirties. Some of whom have had 3 miscarriages and are devastated coz they will probably be childless forever.

              So yeah, it is absolutely everyone’s “right” to wait until they are too old to successfully carry to term, but when someone actually asks my opinion I will always tell them that waiting is a choice and they should be conscious of that when they make it, not just drift into permanent involuntary childlessness by constantly pushing the decision further and further down the road.

              I don’t randomly walk up to 35 year olds and tell them to get knocked up, I only say this when someone actually asks. Like just happened here.

              So get off your prochoice soap box because abortion wasn’t even part of this discussion till you shoehorned it in.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                Hey, this is too heated for this site. Please rein it in. (That said, I agree that it was clear you weren’t talking about rights and that was an odd turn for things to take. But I don’t see anyone on a “pro-choice soapbox” here, just a commenter making a comparison.)

                1. Ender*

                  Fair enough I got a bit annoyed there but I thought her comment was waaaay out of line.

                  I’m a bit annoyed with all these people assuming I’m trying to police other people’s choices or that I’m ablist because I answered a question asking for advice. It’s not like I came on here and said “every woman should have a baby at 35, fight me”. I was responding to a request for help with a decision with my opinion on a very important thing to consider when making such a decision and I’m getting dogpiled. It’s way out of order.

                  If op didn’t want people commenting on her repoductive decisions she wouldn’t have posted the question in the first place.

                2. JamieS*

                  You’re not looking hard enough if you don’t see an issue with other comments and/or don’t see Ender has been provoked numerous times in this thread. Anna asked for advice on trying for a child and Ender said that if Anna and her husband are sure they want kids then it’s better to have kids younger than older because it’s lower risk which is true.

                  In response to that reasonable post others have responded as though Ender said disabled people are worthless and all women’s reproductive rights should be revoked. She made a point about age being a factor in pregnancy risk she didn’t advocate burning down Planned Parenthood or putting all disabled people on a train out of town and some posters are behaving like she did.

          2. Chameleon*

            It increases the risk, but the risk still remains fairly low. Most women over 35 have perfectly healthy children (incuding me, at 36!)

      2. PNW_Flowers*

        Also, this is a super discriminatory stance. To tell someone to not parent because their child *might* have a disability is hugely insulting to both the letter writer and people with disabilities who, news flash! Have meaningful and wonderful lives. Furthermore, here’s a fun fact: typical children get cancer, have traumatic accidents, get to college and suffer a psychotic break- the lack of a disability is not a free pass to a perfect or healthy life. This is a disgusting attitude. It’s like telling someone “don’t have a baby, you might have a girl/gay kid/darker skinned then you want”. So gross. You need to do some self-reflection.

        1. Green*

          To be fair, it’s not just risks for the baby that go up with mother’s age, it’s risks to the mother as well – more miscarriages, pregnancy complications, stillbirths.

        2. Ender*

          My brother has a severe disability and I am very in favour of disabled people’s rights. I am not in favour of people doing things that increase the risk of their child having a disability because disability is a horrible thing to experience. If someone came on here and said “I’m thinking of getting pregnant, should I keep smoking?” I would reply “no you should give up smoking because it’s not fair to intentionally risk giving your baby a serious illness or disability”. That doesn’t mean I think people with disabilities are lesser human beings, it means I think people who intentionally risk giving their kids disabilities are selfish.

          I have no problem with people waiting until they are ready to have babies, I didn’t have my first pregnancy till I was 33 and my last one I was 37. But it sounds like OP is as ready as she will ever be, given that she already made the decision to do so with her husband, so at this stage waiting is pointless and will not make her “more ready” it will just increase the risks with no benefit. The time has come to decide yes or no.

          Op asked for advice to help her make the decision, I gave her my advice. She can choose to ignore it if she wants. But please don’t accuse me of being ablist just because I think it is selfish to take a risk of causing another person to have a disability, when there is no good reason to take that risk.

    3. Loopy*

      I’ve always been on the fence. I do agree with those that say if you aren’t sure, don’t do it. But that’s coming from someone who is not bothered by adopting if I change my mind when it’s too late to have/carry my own. Which helps me not feel the need to decide NOW. I do respect that others feel very strongly about having their own biological child/experiencing pregnancy.

      Since that’s not as important to me, I figure I’ll just wait until I’m off the fence, if that ever happens. Hopefully it doesn’t happen way past the age where you can even adopt though. I do still worry a little about regrets much later in life.

      1. Ender*

        If your backup plan is adoption make sure you know how that works where you live. Hopefully you already have done your research but lots of people say “oh we can always adopt” and don’t realise how long the waiting lists are or how much it costs.

      2. Valancy Snaith*

        In many places if it’s too late to carry your own it’s too late to adopt as well. Rules and regulations about adopting (and the most attractive potential adoptive families) have tightened things so much that it’s become extremely difficult to adopt, is terribly expensive, and can take several years.

        1. Susan Ryan*

          Not true. If you want a perfect white baby then you have to wait. If you are willing to broaden your search-surprise-you have many babies to choose from. In Nevada, the mother wants baby returned wait is 72 hours. After the court papers are signed at 72 hours, birth mother and father cannot repossess. Once you have adopted the first child, hold on because the agency will be calling you soon with a second and third offer. Not cheap but doable

      3. Loopy*

        Thanks to both replies. I did know it was expensive due to some friends adopting, and had some idea age mattered (from TV…er…) but I always thought I’d have until around late 30s before the age thing was an obstacle. Better look into that more closely though….

        1. Someone Else*

          It really depends. Many private adoption agencies have age restrictions. The most common one I’m familiar with is the combined age of parents can’t exceed 100. So yeah, if you’re talking late 30s, unless you have a significantly older partner, I’d expect you to be fine. Also if you consider adopting out of foster care, it’s significantly less expensive and the age restrictions are usually less. But you’d need to open to a child who has experienced trauma, which not everyone is up to, but it is an option. It still often takes 1-2 years to complete the process, but the more open you are criteria-wise, generally the faster it can happen.

          1. Loopy*

            I’m so glad I commented in this thread. Thank you for these considerations. I’d always thought of it in such vague terms but in the next 1-2 years I’ll have to sit down and do some real research. I’m 30 now so in the past decade I’ve never had to think long and hard about it but the time seems quite near now.

          2. Ender*

            Also even foster care isn’t a given. In my country uou can’t foster anyone who is more than 40 years younger than you so if your partner was 45 you would only be able to foster a 5+ year old for example. Also you need to have a full time stay at home parent to foster here so one of you would have to quit your job.

            Also rules on adoption and fostering take all sorts of health conditions into account like if you’ve ever had depression or cancer for example.

            1. mrs__peel*

              A full-time stay at home parent is not required in most states for foster parenting. Generally, the rules are just that you have to be able to financially support yourself without the foster care stipend.

              Where I live (upstate NY), full-time daycare is provided for foster parents who work outside the home. I think that’s also fairly common.

    4. Vin Packer*

      I always advise people mulling the “should I have kids” question to think behind babies.

      When you see a mom and her goofy 7-year-old out and about, does your heart feel like it wants that? What a mom and her awkward and strangely groomed preteen?

      Babies are a LOT (and also ridiculously adorable, like human puppies), but parenting is only about babies for a short time. I think putting babies and pregnancy in perspective of the big picture can help with the decision either way. Good luck!

        1. Bumpjumper*

          This is good insight. I had 4 babies in 6 years and while in the trenches it felt like the baby years were going to last forever. Then I turned around and suddenly everyone is an actual person with opinions, capable of buckling themselves into the car. We are in a completely different stage of parenting now and I’ve finally figured out that this is temporary, so I’d better enjoy the good parts before we fly to the next stage. Good luck with your decision—I never felt on the fence so I cannot speak to that aspect, but I admire your thoughtfulness—if you decide to go for it, the just fact that you were so mindful in your decision speaks volumes in your ability to parent.

          1. Vin Packer*

            Ha, buckling themselves in the car is always my go-to example too! Something about leaving the house without having to secure a million straps feels so luxurious :-D

      1. Parenthetically*

        Yes, absolutely this! Babies in general were not and are still not my jam. I absolutely love love love 4 and 5 year olds, and then 13+. But in general, you gotta get through the baby years to get to the “big kid” years, so we went for it. I’m surprised at how much fun I’ve had in the midst of the hard first year getting to know this tiny blue-eyed nutcase, and at how much I’m looking forward to another itty bitty one (hopefully) in the next year.

        I know the saying “the days are long, but the years are short” is seriously threadbare, but there’s some truth to it. The first night feels like it lasts forever, but also here we are more than a year later with a toddler all of a sudden?! Parenting littles is INTENSE, but it really is a short season.

        1. Armchair Expert*

          This is the first time I’ve ever read/heard someone saying that the primary school years weren’t their favourite! My kids are 7 and 10, and everyone says these are the golden years, because they can get their own breakfast and entertain themselves but the hormones haven’t kicked in yet.

          Would you humour me and tell me why you prefer 13+? It would be nice to not dread it!

          1. Parenthetically*

            Absolutely! I HATED being a teenager, particularly a young teenager, so I come from a place of a lot of empathy for the awkwardness, the mood swings, the hormones, the burgeoning adulthood + lingering childlikeness. I love feeling like I can help guide kids through a genuinely hard season with strength and kindness, and provide some ballast to their lives. Also, you can have the most fun conversations with kids that age! Deep, philosophical stuff as well as completely silly what-ifs. I think 13+ is when they really learn how to be themselves, and with guidance and kindness and empathy and boundaries and a willingness to sit with hard emotions, it can be a time of JOYFUL exploration and growth.

    5. ronda*

      if you dont want to … dont (I am not cause I dont want to)

      but I will say, most people seem pretty crazy about their kids and they figure out how to deal with them. I am sure you will be able to figure it out if you do decide to do it.

    6. absolutely anon for this*

      One thing to think about is – you are not just having a baby. You are having a one year old, a toddler, a kindergartner, a teenager. The baby stage is fleeting and the little person you’ve brought into the world keeps growing and changing and goes through many different phases. Some of them will be difficult.

      My kids are 15 and 17 now. I’ll be honest, it has not been easy. It’s been expensive and often times draining and has really tested our partnership. We started later in life and my husband will be 60 when our first starts college.

      Would I have done it again? Absolutely. Would my husband? Honestly, I am not sure.

    7. Ranon*

      Honestly, we went for it not when we wanted a baby, but when we were pretty sure we wanted a five year old in five years. The baby phase is pretty short and their needs are pretty simple even if they are intense. I agree with the other commenters- figure out if you want a child, at all the ages you’ll have a child for, not if you want a baby. You’ll get through the baby phase no matter what, but after that they’re toddlers and little kids and big kids and tweens and teenagers and adults!

      1. NewMom*

        I am super looking forward to having a 5+ year old. I love teenagers. Getting to the 5+ range is going to be a long slog, but we’ll get there.

        1. King Friday XIII*

          Everyone told us we’d want the infant years back and… no way. Tuesday is WAY more fun as a four year old than as a pooping, crying football.

        2. Windchime*

          The baby years were OK for me, except for the screaming, colicky newborn part. But the teenage years were amazingly fun (as well as frustrating). My house was full of kids and I made a lot of spaghetti and brownies. There were lots of activities at their school and it was just a really busy, fun time.

    8. Enough*

      Have 3. Had all these feelings at one time or another before and during each pregnancy. That includes the one of the three where we had to actively try to get pregnant, as in thankfully relatively minor medical assistance. The unknown is always scary.

    9. PNW_Flowers*

      I wasn’t on the fence (I’ve wanted kids since I was about 6) but once I got pregnant with my first I had an “oh my gosh what did we do! We can’t undo this!!” And yes, it’s much much harder then I ever anticipated but it’s so good. And in the hard parts I look forward to my thanksgiving table 25 years from now, and all the lovely parts in between. It won’t be sleep deprivation forever.

      1. Anna*

        Thank you for the link! This part really speaks to me: “If a magic baby fairy had come to me when I was childless and 34 and promised to grant me another ten years of fertility and good knees so I could live a while longer in the serene, feline-focused, fabulously unfettered life I had, I’d have taken it in a flash. I, too, had spent my adult years assuming that someday, when it came to becoming a mother, I’d “just know.” I, too, placed myself on the leave-me-the-fuck-alone end on the “grand gradient of the human condition.” I decided to become pregnant when I did because I was nearing the final years of my fertility and because my desire to do this thing that everyone said was so profound was just barely stronger than my doubts about it were.”

    10. Caity Megs*

      I think having reservations is actually a sign that you’ll be a good parent. You’re looking at the pros and cons realistically, and not just painting a rosy picture of “having a kid will make everything perfect!”. Your life WILL change drastically, so it’s good to ask yourself the hard questions while you are making your decisions. Are you okay with not being able to do things as freely as you can now? How will you and your partner handle added stress and less focus on your own relationship? How will a child impact you financially?

      Don’t worry about “breaking” the baby though :) I had never even changed a diaper when I had my first baby, and I was nervous about even holding her! As soon as she arrived, all of those little things went out the window and we have figured out the day-to-day stuff as we go along. Our kids are our greatest source of joy now, and it’s so fun navigating life through their eyes. Things aren’t always easy, and there are plenty of gross moments, but I know with each passing year that I’ll look back fondly at raising them and helping them grow. Whatever you decide, you may have regrets from time to time, but try to make the best of whatever situation you choose. Good luck!

      1. no name this time*

        I agree with this SO MUCH! If this whole parenthood thing doesn’t make you nervous, you are not paying attention :)

        I also really appreciate all the people on this thread reminding everyone that you aren’t having a baby, you’re having a person, with all the different stages, with all that entails.

        Also, I always wanted kids, babysat, was a camp counselor, had a younger sibling, and eventually became a licensed pediatrician before I had my first kid, and I was so sure I would break her when I got home! that part is normal

    11. Gloucesterina*

      Anna – I don’t have any experience with intentional pregnancy–my son started off as a ‘surprise’ as they say, when we’d previously planned on being a family of two employed and literate adults (my son is neither, although that could change over time). It does sound super freaky and weird! I am sending you warm thoughts as you navigate this crazy thing that I literally have no conception of, in all senses of the phrase.

    12. Anne-non*

      We’ve just started trying for our first child and I totally feel where you’re at. We’ve talked for years about wanting children (we both definitely want them), and yet it still feels terrifying! What are we doing? What if it doesn’t work? What if it works right away and we have a baby in like less than a year from now?! I think for me a lot of the issue is that I tend to be a somewhat anxious person and a planner. And there’s no amount of planning that will take a away the unpredictability and uncertainty of pregnancy and child birth. So I’m trying to let go and go with the flow…but it’s hard.

      Would you by any chance also be prone to anxiety about new/unknown things? Think about other times when you have had doubts about something. In those instances, were the doubts an over-reaction coming from anxiety, or were they your gut telling you that something wasn’t the right choice? It’s normal to be a bit scared because this is a BIG. NEW. THING. you are about to try!

      1. Anna*

        Yep I am a rather anxious person. I consider every way things can go wrong, which is a rather long list with pregnancy/kids. I probably just need to jump off the cliff but it’s so scary!

    13. Kms1025*

      Children are wonderful, and scary, and fill your heart, and break your heart. I am so glad I have them, but it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And, absolutely the most rewarding. Don’t look at it for any magical payout at the end of some period of time. You’ll work to get there and it’s almost never a Hallmark or Norman Rockwell moment. But it’s yours, and it’s theirs, and it will be what it will be. Becoming a parent helped me to understand my own parents. Becoming a parent helped me to learn to look at the world from outside of myself and not to have such a narrow (and I’ll admit it, selfish and self centered) point of view. I highly recommend becoming a parent, fears and love and all : )

    14. Anon for this*

      I was on the fence but decided I wanted them, and my kids are now 4 and 5. And honestly? If I could go back in time, I might choose to stay childfree. I realize that is the kind of thought that is generally supposed to stay inside your head, but hey, it’s the internet so I can have some anonymity here. Obviously I knew that having kids would be a ton of work and that there would be sacrifices…but actually living with it every day has been much more overwhelming than I had ever imagined. I miss spontaneity. Randomly deciding to go out to eat, see a movie, visit friends, etc. Sleeping in. Just sitting around doing absolutely nothing on my days off work. Don’t get me wrong – I love my kids. They can be heartwarming and hilarious and now that they are here I would 100% give my life for them if it came down to it. But it’s not uncommon for me to find myself thinking about how much less stressful my life would be if we had stayed childfree. Because right now I am just constantly exhausted.

      I’m hoping this will change as they get older. I’m admittedly not a baby/little kid person; my job has me working with teens because that is my favorite age group. And obviously once they’re teens it will be no big deal to not watch cartoons all day, leave them home alone for a couple of hours if we need a date night, they’ll probably want to sleep in too, etc. Or maybe not – one of my kids has a disability, and until we see how that progresses I can’t be sure that my future looks too much different from right now.

      1. Anna*

        Thank you for your honesty. I admit that this is one of my fears, that some years down the road I will be overwhelmed and regretful. But I’ll have two sets of grandparents in the area and this would be their first grandchild so I’m hoping they can help mitigate the overwhelmed part.

        1. Grapey*

          As a corollary to the poster you replied to, and as a childfree person, I never find myself thinking about the ‘alternate choice’ of “how nice a baby might be” so try to conciously remember where your thoughts lead you on a daily basis. Maybe it’s society or your parents or (worse) your partner that is hoping your thoughts go one way vs another.

          If you’re content TODAY not having kids, you might not actually need them. If you want to play a special role to a younger person, you could always mentor. That way you get to be around the age range you actually like instead of bemoaning “oh this was a terrible age” like some people are doing here. I LOVE 10-13 year old girls and I get to mentor a fresh batch of them every year through a local organization while going home to sleep and wake in peace and quiet.

      2. mrs__peel*

        I really appreciate your honesty! I’m in my late 30s, also kind of on the fence, and really love sleeping and having time to myself.

        I’d bet that the feelings you’re describing are actually pretty common, but many people don’t feel like they can openly talk about them. (A lot of people came forward and said similar things when Ann Landers opened up an anonymous forum about it years ago). A fair number of people have probably had kids because it was the expected thing or because they lacked access to birth control, and not necessarily because they really wanted to. It’s good that there’s a bit less pressure these days and that (hopefully) people feel like they can talk about it honestly.

    15. Ree*

      Are you me?
      Because my husband and I also decided early this year that in fall I would go off birth control(for the second time, we tried last fall for 4 months, found out I have endometriosis(which like, I’ve been on continuous birth control since I was 16 and had NO IDEA I have this incredibly painful disease) and after 4 months of trying I went back on birth control to like, readjust and heal. Endometriosis is…awful. It’s made me afraid to try again because of the pain and discomfort I experienced last year.
      Anyway. I stopped the birth control two weeks ago and I’m using ovulation test strips because I want to get pregnant FAST because of it takes more than about 6 months I’m not sure I can push through the endometriosis pain for longer than that.
      I’m also afraid of:
      I won’t get pregnant
      I will get pregnant
      I’ll ruin our lives
      We’ll ruin our lives
      This might be a mistake
      What if our child is awful
      What if our child is great
      I/We might really regret this

      So, I’m feeling all the things. I turn 30 in February and we’ll probably reevaluate them if I(we) keep trying or look into other options(adoption, getting another puppy, keep trying)
      Basically, I don’t know what I’m supposed to be feeling right now, but I’m right there with you, Anna

      1. no name this time*

        for what it’s worth, sometimes having a pregnancy can really improve endometriosis — not that that’s a reason to get pregnant, but still

        Also, for what it’s worth, the only time I regret having kids is when I fall into the competitive parenting trap and let other people tell me what I’m SUPPOSED to be doing with/for my kids, or how I am CERTAINLY going to mess them up if I do ABC or don’t XYZ.

        If you bottle feed and let them watch TV, they will actually still be okay, I promise!

      2. Anna*

        Hi there, other me! I would not be surprised to find out I have endo since I have the kind of cramps that require taking motrin round the clock. I’ll be hitting the doctor’s office if going off the pill doesn’t go well.

    16. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I had the “OMG what have I done” thoughts both when I got pregnant with the first (accident), and when I stopped birth control to have the second. Also when we got a dog. Ended up really enjoying all three of those additions to my family, I’m just the kind of person that needs a lot of time to adjust to a major change.

      1. Aussie Teacher*

        Aaaand the West Coast Eagles won in a tense finish over Collingwood, Australia’s most hated team! Woohoo!!!

      2. Marion Ravenwood*

        Such a tense finish! Both teams would have been worthy winners though. (I’m a Richmond fan, so I didn’t really have a dog in the fight, but from a neutral’s perspective it was very entertaining to watch!)

        1. Parenthetically*

          Oh, condolences on not getting into the Grand Final like literally everyone thought you would! (I’m a Geelong supporter and our post-season was… not impressive.)

          1. Marion Ravenwood*

            I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic (apologies if you’re not and I’m misreading tone!), but I do think I was the only person who kept thinking we were going to lose at every single stage of the finals. I’ve learnt from following other sports teams (like my Premiership football team in the UK, who haven’t won the league in over 20 years) that getting your hopes up in these situations rarely ends well…

            1. Parenthetically*

              I really really am not being sarcastic! I have a lot of time for the Tiges. Such an awesome team culture.

    1. TheNotoriousMCG*

      I’m in grad school and one of our international students hosted a watch party for it! I didn’t understand any single moment of it – how do they keep track of each other?! How do they not get totally disoriented? It was very entertaining, especially at 1am after a long rehearsal

    2. Parenthetically*

      Oh my GOODNESS, what a stunner! We got up in the middle of the night to watch and were super depressed for the first half that Collingwood were going to win.

  6. T3k*

    Anyone have moving advice? We’re not moving far (30 mins. away at most) but this will be the first time as an adult for me so I have no clue what to do (and I don’t think throwing things into boxes and calling it packed will suffice). Also depending on factors we may only have half a day to actually move out and into the new place (though we’re working on trying to have more time).

    1. Loose Seal*

      Pack one box with everything you need to get at right away. I actually usually use a spare suitcase for this but if you use a box, mark it well and pack it last so it’s first off the truck in your new place.

      Here’s what you want in it:

      A roll of toilet paper
      Any medicines you have to take that evening and next morning
      Sheets / blankets for all the beds
      Shower curtain (if your new place doesn’t have shower doors)
      Stuff for showering (soap, loofahs, towels, washcloths, etc)
      Stuff to eat and drink on moving day (water glasses for tap water and/or bottled water, protein bars, fruit, etc.)
      Pet food and bowls, if necessary
      Toys and/or iPad to keep young kids entertained and out of the way, if necessary

      When you get to the new place, immediately set up the beds and put on the sheets and blankets. Then hang the shower curtain and put out the shower stuff. Put your food and water in the kitchen where it’s easily found (I love to use the oven for this because you aren’t likely to be using it for anything else that day). Put out water for your pets. Make sure your medicines are where you can find them later.

      Then, and only then, start unpacking everything else. When you are exhausted at the end of the day, you will be glad to run through a quick shower and go to sleep in your fresh bed.

      (Ask me how many times I moved BEFORE it occurred to me to put the bedsheets somewhere I could find them)

      1. Jo0*

        This. I moved a few months ago. Label all your boxes and do a little inventory list for each one. Pack things within things. Use the opportunity to have a good clear out – rubbish, charity shops, recycle/upcycle/repair. Pack all the things you don’t need/don’t use regularly now – ornaments, pictures, spare room. Try and clean a little as you go along then it’s not a huge job before you actually move. Try and run down your cupboards/fridge/freezer. We had some strange meal combinations before we moved!

      2. Slartibartfast*

        Yup. And the things you want to get at First go on the truck Last. Half a day doesn’t seem like enough time, it’s going to be tight for a one bedroom apartment. Anything bigger seems unlikely to be done in that timeframe. It always amazes me how much “stuff” there is when you move it.

      3. Aphrodite*

        Good list. I would also add bar soap for washing hands and for showering, laundry soap and dishwashing soap (both for hand washing dishes and if you have it a dishwasher). Have a small box for each room that is labeled specially to be unpacked first. The kitchen one would have some silverware and dishes and glasses. The living room room one and the bedroom one would each have lightbulbs and maybe one lamp. The den or office one would have your essential paperwork and some pens.

        If you can take things over a few days beforehand make one trip per day after work and take over these essentials plus food in the refrigerator and freezer. Make sure some of that food can be microwaved so you don’t need to cook lunch and dinner for the first two or three days. Lay out the stuff you take over so it’s put away neatly waiting for you.

        1. Marthooh*

          Lamps and lightbulbs are essentials I wouldn’t have thought of!

          Lamp, lightbulb, book, comfy chair…

      4. londonedit*

        The British version of the ‘box of moving essentials’ has a kettle, mugs and tea bags top of the list. You’ve got to be able to make a cup of tea when you arrive!

    2. Bagpuss*

      Declutter. try ot to move anything you don’t actually want, donate or toss it instead.
      Start packing ahead of time, begin wth the things you don’t need very often, those you can pack over days or weeks before the move so you are not too rushed.
      Label your boxes!! Write on them the room the stuff in them and roughly what is in the box (e.g. “Kitchen – baking trays and mixing bowls”) You might find it handy to have different colours of packing tape for each room, too.
      Think about how heavy stuff is. Pack heavy things (books etc ) in small boxes.
      If you are moving furniture that needs to be taken to pieces, put any screws etc into a bag and tape it to the bit of furniture it belongs to. ( and if you don’t still have the instructions, consider taking pictures of each stage as you dismantle it, to remind you how it fits together when you come to reassemble it)
      Consider buying proper hanging boxes to move clothes – the box comes with a rail so you can simply put clothes in the box on their hangers and move them that way. I had these last time I moved as I paid a real removal company, and it made life so much easier! If that isn’t an option,then borrowing suitases from your friends to move your clothes may be useful.
      Pack a bag each with enough clothes etc for a few days, and keep that separate. Thast way, you have the essentials to hand without having to unpack everything.
      As Loose Seal says, pack a box with essentials – toilet roll, food, drink (and any cutlery or crockery you are likely to need), cleaning products as you may well find you need to do a bit of cleaning in the new place before you unpack, (and maybe lightbulbs. I once moved house to find the previous owners had removed and taken with them every single light bulb in the place!)
      Make the beds FIRST when you move in. That way, when you are exhausted and need to stop unpacking for the night, you have somewhere to crash.(also put up curtains or blinds for the bedroom)
      Be realistic about how much and how fast you can move stuff. Rent a van if you need to. Does your area have people offering ‘man and van’ type services? – often much cheaper then actual removal companies but can give you a lot of extra muscle at low cost!
      If yu are having friends help you move, feed them well and often.
      If you can, try to move on a Thursday or Friday so you have the weekend to get everything straight (if you work Mon-Fri). Thirsday can be better than Fri as it is less popular, so if you are hiring anything it may be cheaper, and if there is anything last minute in terms of admin or legalities, you can fix it before eveyone disappears for the weekend!

      1. Loose Seal*

        Last time we rented a U-Haul for a local move, they had a link to local people who you could hire locally for four hour increments. It was so cheap and they all came with reviews! I think we got 3 men for like $50 for 4 hours. We tipped them each a huge amount because that worked out to like 4 bucks an hour for them. But even with a monstrous tip, it was cheaper than using real movers. Caveat: These guys weren’t real movers so they didn’t know how to move the big things as well. I was worried someone would hurt themselves.

        1. Reba*

          We did a similar thing through a different rental company. It was definitely a low budget business but the guys were awesome! I strongly recommend this if you can afford it. (We also tipped heavily, in part because one of the guys got stuck in the fritzy freight elevator for a while :| )

          My other piece of advice I always give (I have moved across the country 5 times plus numerous local moves) might be less critical for an in-town move. But it’s not to try to save money on boxes. Just get good quality (U-Haul) boxes. Most U-haul rental places that also sell supplies have an area where people bring back once-used boxes, so look for that.

        2. Auntie Social*

          If you’re redecorating for the new place—-we had the upholsterer pick up the sofas to be re-covered before the move, then they delivered them to the new house. Saved a lot of room in the truck and could save you moving costs.

    3. acmx*

      For local moves, I leave clothes in the drawers and just remove the drawers before moving the base and reinsert once in the truck. Clothes on hangars i would just pull off the rod and put them into a box still on the hangar (formal wear etc I wouldn’t do this with).

      I use towels, t shirts, pillow cases to wrap fragile items or as a cushion on the bottom of the box.

      I use suitcases and other bags to pack in.

      Keep track of your box cutter!

      Consider movers. I paid less than $300 for 3 hours (min charge). Of course this is area dependent. This was for a small move (30 boxes [lots of books!] and furniture).

    4. BeenThere*

      What Loose Seal said but also make sure there is a coffee maker and coffee in that box too if you’re a coffee drinker!! We learned that lesson the hard way the first (of many) time we moved!

    5. Dear liza dear liza*

      Wardrobe boxes are the best. Great for anything on a hangar, plus you can throw all your shoes in the bottom.

      If you’re in the US, there’s a site called Hire A Helper that will book local professional movers for you in 2 hour increments. You provide and drive the truck, they load and unload. Much cheaper than a full on move, but the labor is still professional. I’m a satisfied customer.

      Oh, and don’t worry when you hit the “let’s just throw everything in a dumpster and start over” wall; we’ve all been there. Packing and unpacking is the pits.

    6. Perpetua*

      I’ll be moving in 2 months, so I feel you!

      Others already gave some great advice, and one tip that helped me in the last move: pack books (or other similar heavy things) in suitcases.

    7. WellRed*

      Hire people, most places have small local companies that aren’t expensive. My days of trying to bribe friends with beer and pizza are ovah!

      1. No Tribble At All*

        Seconded!! If you only have half a day, that could be a crunch depending on how much stuff you have. I had friends help me move a one-bedroom apt with a 24 hour deadline, and we literally got the last stuff out at the 23rd hour. (They are good friends. I owe them a million). Pay people who know how to help you move.

    8. No Tribble At All*

      See if there are any self-storage places near new!place that have deals on first month’s rent. I did that when I moved out of college because I knew where my job would be but didn’t have the apartment yet. That way I could move most of my stuff to the new town ahead of time. We found a storage place that had $1 first month’s rent (but you still have to pay for insurance and some other fees, so it was maybe $50-$100 total?). This way you can move books, winter clothes, decorations, and other non-critical boxes to the new area ahead of time. Gives you more time for the big day! :)

    9. Dr. Anonymous*

      Try to measure the new place and draw out a floor plan of where every piece of furniture will go. It makes moving in faster. Definitely declutter a LOT. Try to pack like things with like things. Label by room and roughly by content. Do not empty dressers except to wrap fragile things. Buy clean newsprint to wrap your dishes so you don’t have to wash them to put them away. Pack your pictures separately. You don’t have to hang those for DAYS. The things you don’t need right away, like books and knickknacks can be packed right now…and anything that can be packed right now because you don’t need it may be something you can just get rid of.

    10. Lcsa99*

      Great responses above! The only other thing I would add is to label all the cables for electronics at both ends of whatever they are plugged into and take pictures before you unhook things. It makes setting everything up again so much easier!

    11. Seal*

      I just moved halfway across the country 3 months ago, so all of this is fresh in my mind. In addition to all of the above, it would add/emphasize:

      Take anything valuable with you rather than in the moving van. This includes things like birth certificates, passports, jewelry, laptops, cameras, etc.

      Start decluttering and getting rid of things NOW, if you’ve not already done so. The less you have to move the easier it is.

      I mostly used newsprint paper to pack my breakable/fragile items and it worked great. You can order a bundle on Amazon (I would have used regular newspaper but I only get the online version these days – can’t use that for packing material!). Wrapping larger things in towels works well, too.

      Packing and unpacking take longer than you think. Give yourself more time than you think you need on the front and and take your time unpacking once you get to your place.

      Good luck with your move!

    12. kc89*

      if you haven’t already, start decluttering and packing TODAY

      it’s so much easier when you start early instead of waiting until the week before like so many people do

      be ruthless, those things that you don’t really use but feel like you should hold onto just in case? get rid of them

    13. KR*

      Check with your local grocery store for boxes! A lot of times they will be willing to hold onto their boxes for a day or so and you can pick up a ton of them at once. My favorite are the boxes the cereal comes in – they’re a good size and they smell sugary. Also good are the boxes plastic bags come in. They’re small and built well since plastic bags are very heavy. They’re good for books and other heavy things.

        1. Liza*

          And if you leave the cardboard bottle dividers in the boxes, they’re great for breakable items such as stemware and vases.

      1. Earthwalker*

        Someone told me to check Craigslist for free boxes from people who just moved. I’d already scrounged mine from behind the second hand store, the Halloween pop-up, and the vacuum repair place, but I Craigslisted my leftovers and thought that was a handy way to recycle.

        1. KR*

          Oh this too. I live in a community where people move very often. There are always people willing to get rid of boxes. When I have too many for the work dumpster I make a Facebook post on our community page and people come.

      2. mrs__peel*

        The best ones are the egg boxes from the dairy department (which are long with good handles).

    14. Caity Megs*

      Start packing the things you don’t need as soon as possible. Packing WILL take longer than you expect.

      Start getting rid of things you don’t use. There’s nothing more annoying than moving stuff that you never unbox or get rid of after the move!

      We got a big set of label stickers on Amazom that were color coded with room names on them. It made it really easy to slap on while boxing, then tell the movers “all red stickers go here, green here, etc.”

      Hire help if you can! Moving is exhausting.

      Leave your clothes on hangers and just pull a big trash bag over them (from the bottom so the hangars are poking out the hole). Way better than folding/unpacking all your clothes. Just a hang and take off the trash bag! But maybe get trash bags that are a different color than real trash (and definitely get unscented).

    15. The Person from the Resume*

      Unless you have very few things, half a day doesn’t sound do-able.

      Of course you can pack everything in boxes beforehand and you can even get the truck for two days and pack it the day before the actual move.

      Hire professionals. Also you’ll probably need more boxes, packing material, and space than you expect. Luckily you can return extra boxes, etc, to the Uhaul store or other place you bought them.

    16. Fellow Traveler*

      Buy a huge pack of Sharpies. Always have one on hand.
      We rented reusable boxes. Because we knew we had to return them two days after we moved, we were really motivated to unpack quickly.

    17. Mananana*

      Our last move was local, we did the packing ourselves but hired movers to move the boxes/big stuff.

      I used packing tape of different colors (yellow for kitchen, blue for 1st bedroom, red for 2nd, etc). Slapped appropriately-colored tape on the boxes, then a corresponding piece of tape on the door of that room. Even made a big poster board with arrows (blue to the right, yellow to the left, etc). This system saved us SO much time. We didn’t have to stop and figure out what room a box went in; a quick glance at the colored-tape was all we needed.

    18. mrs__peel*

      Useful thing I found out last time I moved: You can order empty boxes off the internet and have them shipped directly to you, rather than having to beg them from grocery stores or people you know.

      I would highly recommend hiring movers if you have any substantial amount of furniture, books, etc. (Especially books!) For an interstate move, I found it was cheapest to hire my own U-Haul truck and hire movers at both ends just for the loading and unloading. It’s worth paying for Angie’s List or something similar to see if the movers have good reviews.

  7. Pink Sprite*

    Any advice on how to be successful in therapy?
    I’m starting this week and really want it to go well and establish a good relationship with her. I’ve tried therapy several times in the past, but nothing really worked up. It’s VERY difficult for me to open up to someone.
    Any advice, ideas, books, websites, or personal anecdotes would be great. Thanks.

    1. HLK1219HLK*

      Listen to your gut and don’t be afraid to switch to another therapist if you just aren’t clicking with the first therapist. Everyone has different styles that work well in helping people for (x) but not (y). You deserve and are owed value for having the bravery to open up to another person, so don’t spend any time worrying about telling them you just don’t feel like you’re able to be as open as you want if their style doesn’t meet your needs.

      The best results I’ve been able to achieve are with those who get me out of only seeing things one way (and being a lifelong depressive, it’s not a good point of view) and help me try to look at my life or actions with a different lens. They should let you vent, get the emotions out – the cathartic moments are huge in getting over past trauma or hurts. However, it can’t JUST be venting because that cements me into a frame of mind that makes me think, “man, maybe I AM that Sad/Horrible/Etc”. They should help you through the purging of old problems by identifying, or helping you identify, potential solutions based on what will work for you.

      For example, I had a therapist and his solution was always “learn to eat bealthy foods and lose weight through at least 1-2 hours of exercise a day.” Oh, ok, sure, I’ll take 30+ years of failed diets & just suddenly become a gym rat, run a few marathons, take up yoga, and become skinny. Wow, thank you for that brilliant idea nobody oyher than EVERY FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER has ever told me.” My next therapist who better understood encouragsd me to only change one thing, and not stress about changing everything at once, because she knew once I did that one thing (walk for 15 minutes before dinner), and kept at it, it was a crack in the bad habits shell that could be widened to introduce other better habits over time.

      (Assuming you meant mental health therapy – just realized I made a big assumption).

      1. Harvey P. Carr*

        I love this post so much that I cut-and-pasted it and I’m going to keep it as inspiration to help me as I search for a new therapist. Talk therapy hasn’t worked for me but maybe that’s been because with all the therapists I’ve seen it’s basically just been me talking about whatever’s been going on with me lately and not really working on any problems.

        “For example, I had a therapist and his solution was always ‘learn to eat healthy foods and lose weight through at least 1-2 hours of exercise a day.’ Oh, ok, sure, I’ll take 30+ years of failed diets & just suddenly become a gym rat, run a few marathons, take up yoga, and become skinny.”

        And even if you did decide to take his advice… what was it, just “learn to eat healthy” and leave you at that? No advice and guidance on how to do it?


      2. Not So NewReader*

        I am a big fan of the change one thing at a time approach. This allows a person to focus and do that one change to the best of their ability. And it allows the person to clearly identify the results of that change.

        As someone who has totally changed her diet to better foods, I cannot imagine trying to go to the gym on a regular basis PLUS change my diet (while working a 4o hour week with 2 hours of drive time and running a household). That is horrible advice. In my opinion the person is being set up to fail as they struggle to plan good meals and race to the gym X times per week. It’s pretty intense changing a poor diet to a good diet and that can use up a lot of time and brain space. And the money drain, oh my. The person is just grabbing at decisions because of not enough time to think the decision through, ends up with decisions that don’t work for them plus they are out all the money they sunk into the hasty decisions.

        My vote is always for incremental but steady changes. Once I figure out my life was better without milk, I could completely ditch milk and move on to considering what I would like to tweak next. I knew I felt better without milk because that was the only change I had made during that time frame, I felt confident about attributing my the improvements I was seeing in my health to eliminating milk from my diet. This motivated me to stay on course with the non-dairy milks, in a way that nothing else could. A doc telling me not to drink milk and a list of 99 other things would not have motivated me as strongly as seeing the difference first hand.

        With one change at a time we can see what is working and what is not working.

    2. Cedrus Libani*

      A therapist recommended “Feeling Good” by Dr. David Burns. It’s a good introduction to CBT, which is good therapy for practical-minded people who don’t like sitting around and talking about their feelings. No squishy stuff, no woo, just real-world strategies for dealing with maladaptive thoughts.

      Also, try to think of the therapist as a coach. You’re learning to wrestle brain weasels, and it’s hard to figure out what you’re doing wrong when you’re distracted by angry weasels. It helps to have a wrestling coach who can check your form, make corrections, and prescribe exercises to build up your weak points.

      1. foolofgrace*

        I second this book suggestion. If it’s the one I’m thinking of, I worked thru this book and it was immensely helpful — real-life Things To Do about maladaptive thoughts and especially that nasty inner negative critic, which was one of my problems. I still use the suggestions to this day when my inner negative critic comes out of hiding. It helps you to see the thoughts for what they actually are saying and deal with them.

      2. NoMoreMrFixit*

        I will add my recommendation for this book as well. I used it, went thru it cover to cover, then gave it away to someone who needed it. Bought a new copy a couple of years later to have as a reference when my depression flared up again. And gave that copy to another person who needed it more than I did again. Last I heard the folks I’d gifted them to had used them heavily and one person gave it to yet another needful soul. Nice to see a useful gift that keeps on being regifted.

    3. TL -*

      Some of it is just about fit with the therapist – the first time I went, I made myself basically tell my story and that was helpful (especially since it was privileged information and I knew he couldn’t tell anyone) but I just never clicked with him and the benefits were limited beyond that. Also, what I was dealing with was way out of his league in terms of what he usually saw students for (it was at my university.) But still positive, overall.

      The second one, it was a lot better – could’ve been different stages of life, too, but I was almost instantly more comfortable with him. Part of it was that I asked for someone who specialized in X and so even going in, I was like, there’s no way my stuff is the craziest stuff he’s ever heard. And he just handled it a lot better, too, right from the start.

      In terms of practical advice, I think just remembering they can’t share anything, they’ve definitely heard weirder stuff than you’re about to tell them, and coming in with a solid idea of what you want to discuss – for instance, just telling yourself before an appointment that your goal is to talk about your anxiety around ant bites and then forcing the first sentence out of your mouth “The though of getting an ant bite makes me have a panic attack” will help a lot. Just the first sentence; don’t worry about getting the whole thing out.

    4. sajohnso*

      Have an open mind. Personally, the first time I tried therapy I went without really wanting to listen to what the therapist had to say. Also, for me I said upfront I didn’t want meds. Just to talk through my issues and not worrying about meds really helped my outlook on therapy.

      You don’t have to agree with everything the therapist says about you. Pick one or two of the most poignant things and work on them.

      Dr. Beverly Engel has written many good therapy books mainly around abuse and emotionally abusive relationships. Her book helped me out as well. Good luck!

      1. A different anonymous today*

        Thank you for this recommendation. I, too, am going to start therapy for an emotionally abusive relationship this month (goal), and the book looks very helpful. Appreciate it. You never know who is reading these and gains from your sharing….

    5. Reba*

      I would tell the therapist this. “I’ve tried therapy several times, but I’ve found it is very difficult for me to open up to someone.”

      And a follow up questions from me. Is there something different about this time for you? Why do you think it is difficult to open up, and what do you need to be able to do that?

      At times when I have done therapy, I have come to session with written notes to share stuff that I just struggled to say out loud to someone in front of me–but I could write them when I was alone, then share and that would break the wall a little bit.

    6. Almost Academic*

      Lay things out on the table as much as possible – this doesn’t mean that you have to be open with everything, but therapy will go a lot smoother (and be more helpful) if you can at least admit that you are uncomfortable / don’t want to talk about that / aren’t sure what to say / etc. It really helps to get both you and the therapist on the same page.

      Also, remember the therapist is there to help you – this means working collaboratively together to trouble shoot any issues that come up. The clients I find easiest to work with show up to appointments consistently, do their homework (or collaboratively and proactively work with me to figure out why they might not be able to, and how we can make it easier) and are very upfront about what they do and don’t want from the therapeutic relationship and what they do/don’t/are ambivalent about changing. Therapists aren’t magic mind-readers, although it can feel like it sometimes. Saying what you do and don’t like or don’t understand about the way something is working in treatment is helpful for troubleshooting and staying engaged.

    7. RegrettableProtests*

      I emailed my therapist in advance to ask her what plans she had for people with issues similar to mine, what experience, etc. I always ask for homework – give me ways to keep working on improving myself!

      I’ve never had trouble opening up to people, but I’d suggest telling your therapist that – it’s probably not the first time she’s seen it, and she might have advice!

    8. Nina*

      IMO, mental health workers differ slightly from other healthcare workers in that you’re baring your soul to them and looking for their guidance, in a way we don’t do with a typical doctor. Years ago, my mistake was thinking that if it wasn’t working or I wasn’t comfortable, the issue was with ME, because all therapists were the same right? Yeah, not the case. They’re people, too, and some methods just may not work for you, or their type of therapy doesn’t work. Sometimes you have to shop.

      I spent a long time going to a therapist who talked more about her kids and family than my own issues, and waited way too long to switch. She was nice, but we weren’t making any progress and I knew it.

      1. Wishing You Well*

        Yes, therapists vary – a lot!
        Please find an article of what therapists should and should NOT do and what therapy should feel like. There’s a lot of potential for boundary violations. Some therapists don’t work out and it’s best to move on promptly. There’s a great analogy comparing therapists to shoes in another advice column today. It’s worth reading.

    9. Not A Manager*

      If it’s VERY difficult for you to open up to someone, it’s possible that you have A Thing that’s on your mind but is hard to bring up. It’s easy to fritter away your therapy time talking about your daily life and other little things, and to avoid bringing up The Thing(s).

      What has worked for me is to find a one-sentence way to just put it on the table. One time I actually wrote the sentence on a notecard. Mostly I’ll say, “This is really hard for me to talk about, and I don’t want to talk about it now. All I want to do is to say it. We’ll talk about it another time.” Then I say the one sentence.

      Once that’s out there, and the world didn’t end and my head didn’t explode, it’s easier to circle around The Thing next time. You STILL don’t have to talk about It, but you can talk about how you feel with the therapist, why it’s hard to talk about, etc.

      In my personal experience, part of the reason The Thing is hard to talk about is that it was very meaningful/damaging to me, and I’m afraid that the other person will shame me for thinking that it was important at all.

    10. Wishing You Well*

      There’s a great comparison between therapists and shoes in another advice column today (Sunday). It’s worth reading. Good Luck!

  8. Sami*

    Does anyone have a SleepNumber bed? I have chronic pain so the idea of being able to regulate the mattress sounds good. Pros? Cons?

    1. Loose Seal*

      I do. We’ve had it for about 16 months and I love it. I have back and hip pain which make it so I don’t move much at night. So sleeping on regular mattresses was making pressure bruises on my side. (I cannot sleep except on my side.)

      I have probably the lowest Sleep Number of anyone I’ve ever talked to. It’s like 30. (High numbers are firmer and lower numbers are squishier.) But I really need the mattress to practically fall away from the pressure points but still support a good sleeping position. And it works great for that. In the store, they had us lay on a variety of beds and set different numbers so we could see what we were getting.

      Our bed came with a massage feature that we tend to forget about and a light under the bed that we also tend to forget about. (I hear the newest model has the underbed light come on automatically when you get up, which sounds very useful.) We got two remotes but we usually use the phone app if we want to raise the bed for reading or whatever.

      It comes with a setting called ‘Snore,’ which is a slight angle at the head of the bed. Even though neither of us were big snorers, we sleep with it that position all the time. It’s probably all in my head but I think it makes me less stuffy in the morning. (Ha! All in my head! Do you see what I did there? Sorry, it’s late and I’m punchy.)

      You do not have to buy their bed surrounds/headboards. Any furniture store will sell you a headboard, etc. if you just tell them you need it to fit an adjustable bed. This will be a lot cheaper and you will have more choices. Not every bedframe will work with an adjustable bed but in the furniture stores we looked in, the sales staff all knew right away which will work.


      They aren’t cheap. You’re really getting a glorified air mattress so it’s a little hard to stomach the price. Take a lot of time in the store to see if it really helps your body. I think they had a return policy if you didn’t like it within so many days but I can’t remember the specifics.

      You pretty much have to buy the branded sheets if you want to use the different bed positions. Those sheets are very expensive and I usually buy really good quality sheets. I actually gasped when I saw the price of the SleepNumber sheets. But regular sheets pop right off the corners and nothing I could find would make them stay on. The SleepNumber sheets are good quality sheets but are limited in color and style. If someone else posts that they find suitable sheets somewhere else more cheaply, I guarantee you I’ll probably order some today!

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I have a triangular pillow which you can fold into being a sloped support, and it is a huge help when I have a cold–I don’t think the sinus thing is just in your head.

      2. foolofgrace*

        1) I have a TempurPedic bed that changes position, and what I did was to sew lengths of elastic at the two top corners so I could use regular sheets. Actually I had to add some belts to the foot of the bed and run them up to the corners where I attach the sheets; it sounds more complicated than it is.

        2) I have a friend whose Sleep Number bed was clawed to death by her cats. Not sure if those mattresses still have that frailty.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          I have 11 cats and have had no issues with clawing at all. The air chambers are encased in mattress material, so they can’t actually get to those unless they somehow get through the mattress material, foam and whatever else is in there. I forget what else is in there, as we opened it once, but it would be pretty hard for a cat to destroy it. Maybe it was an older or lower model, though.

    2. The Other Dawn*

      I have a Sleep Number and I love it. I got it in March of last year. I have chronic lower back pain from two bulging discs and I just couldn’t get comfortable in my old bed anymore; I was tossing and turning from maybe 3 am and on because the pain would set in (didn’t know at the time I had bulging discs). Also, my husband likes a firm mattress and mine needs to be softer, so this was the perfect solution for us.

      Cons: Price, definitely! Ours doesn’t have the adjustable base, but has the separate air chambers so my husband can sleep on 100 (AKA sleeping on concrete) and I can sleep on 50 (soft, but with good support). Even without the adjustable base, I paid almost 4,000.00 total at a President’s Day sale. That included the mattress, one remote, the base, base cover, mattress cover, and the legs. Since mine isn’t adjustable, I use regular sheets. The return policy is 100 days on the mattress…and the base isn’t returnable. I have no idea why that is, but it is.

      Pros: It’s very light to move. I can move it (king-sized) by myself. My husband said it’s also super easy to assemble. The delivery guys did it in like 15 minutes. (It comes deflated, in a box) I can change the setting whenever I feel like I need more or less softness depending on how my back feels. This has been really great for me. (What’s also nice is you can change the number to 100 before you get up, and that will help you get out of bed easier if you’re someone who sometimes has a hard time getting out of bed. That helped me a lot after surgery last year.) I like the Sleep IQ app, which tells me how I slept the night before.

    3. Slartibartfast*

      My sleep number bed is over ten years old, and I still love it. I am thinking of getting a new one, the raise-the-head feature seems nice. I have chronic pain too, I love being able to adjust the firmness based on what hurts the most that particular night, but I like soft 25-40 because pressure points do keep you up at night! Hubs has his side 80-90, it was this or twin beds. You can see his side is 4 inches higher than mine! The only issue we’ve had is you can’t see the numbers on the remote on hubby’s side anymore. Other than that, it’s as good as the day we bought it.

      1. Slartibartfast*

        Also I toss and turn a lot. Since it’s just air, it doesn’t transfer motion like a regular mattress would.

      2. MsCende*

        Ours is about that old, too, and we’re looking at a new one. Our controller screen dies, and now we sort of guess what number we’re setting.

        I’ve got chronic pain, and being able to adjust the firmness has been helpful over the years.

        Just don’t move it fully inflated. The movers we had decided it would be “easier” than taking it al, down. I don’t know about “easier” – the whole system is pretty simple – but it certainly picked up a leak for the first time.

    4. HLK1219HLK*

      I was traveling for work & the hotel we were at that week had Sleep Number beds. I was excited to try it out…until I actually tried to sleep. Regardless of the setting, at least 1-2 times per night it would activate to put more air in the bed to get back to the right number. Every time it kicked in, the noise woke me up, and I was a zombie the whole week. Regardless of whether all SN beds are like that or whether I had a faulty bed, I don’t think I could/would buy one for my home after that.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Yeah, that’s definitely never happened with mine. It’s always at the same number and never adds more air while we’re in it or otherwise. I do change the number once in awhile just to make sure it’s where it should be (checking for leaks). Wonder if it’s something specific to the model at that hotel maybe? I know in the past people have mentioned in their reviews that their bed loses air, but I haven’t had that happen yet.

      2. CBE*

        I had this EXACT same experience! A relative is a hotel manager, and when they put these beds in the room he invited a hole bunch of family members to try them out. It was *brand new* and couldn’t stay inflated without buzzing and reinflating in the night.
        Relative did not get the positive testimonials he’d hoped for out of inviting us. Which was awkward…

      3. Loose Seal*

        One of the newer models is supposed to analyze your sleep and change your number on the fly to supposedly help you sleep better. I wonder if that’s what they had? If so, it didn’t work, did it?

    5. Free Meerkats*

      We replaced a waterbed with one several years ago. Since we already had a solid base, all we bought was the basic mattress. The big money buying one is the adjustable options. The simple mattress was cost comparable with high end standard mattresses. My wife has some chronic pain problems and she loves it.

      The compressor has never come on without command, if it does, somebody did something wrong.

    6. Phoenix Programmer*

      An ex of mine had one. This was over 10 years ago mind you so maybe they improved.

      It felt like sleeping on an airmattres with a foam cover on it. On the “soft” setting you could feel the hard frame underneath. I found the firm setting more comfortable. I could also feel the line between the two sides which was very uncomfortable (this was a standard size bed).

      All in all I was not immpressed. It was as uncomfortable as pushing two twin xl beds together in college to sleep with your partner.

    7. ThursdaysGeek*

      We finally replaced ours, because for the last 10 years I’ve hated it.

      He liked it. It caused backaches, no matter what setting I had. But what I mostly didn’t like was that it doesn’t work at all if you have a partner and cuddle but you don’t have the same setting. He liked it soft, which meant that if I had it any harder, it was slopey, and I was falling onto his side. After 10 years it was slopey and slumpy, and I always had to choose between a backache or sleeping on a hill (or usually both).

      It didn’t reinflate during the night, so that was never an issue. His side did have a very slow leak, so it would be nearly flat after several months (which he didn’t mind).

  9. Kuododi*

    Well, I made it!!! Carpal Tunnel surgery on my right hand was yesterday. Can definitely tell an improvement in overall pain and numbness. Obviously post-op pain … different story;). I’m doing a strange hunt and peck with my phone. Also… I am very right hand dominant so recovery is very…. awkward this time. ;). Needless to say, I am very appreciative of DH at times like this. Will touch base later when I get another burst of energy.

    1. Seal*

      I had surgery on my right shoulder to repair a torn cuff earlier this year and am also very right handed. I’m still surprised at how quickly I became adept at doing things with just my left hand – not well, mind you, but good enough to feed myself without making a mess and get dressed and do my hair so I looked reasonably presentable in public.

      Best of luck with your recovery.

    2. No more numbness*

      I had carpal tunnel release surgery on my right hand this summer. I hope to have my left done before the end of the year. I felt immediate relief but the post surgery pain sucked for the first few days. Make sure you do the exercises, even if they’re uncomfortable at first, and keep your hand elevated as much as possible. Once you have the sutures out, be diligent about using vitamin E oil or scar cream on your incision. I wasn’t and now my scar is more noticeable than I would like.

  10. PurpleMonster*

    People following the UN General Assembly: I’m from New Zealand. The way you’d read about it in the media here, people are bowing at the feet of our Prime Minister and Stephen Colbert wants to have her babies.

    My question is, does anyone outside NZ really, actually give a damn about the Prime Minister of a small Pacific Island nation bringing her baby to some work meetings?

    (For context, the NZ media here practically has wall to wall coverage every time a celebrity mentions it in a tweet. Small country syndrome.)

    1. Bagpuss*

      Yes, up to a point. I’m in the UK and it has been in the news here. It’s not major headline news, but the fact that she has given birth while in office and is carrying out her role as PM as a new mother is newsworthy, and the coverage is mainly positive .
      It’s something I was aware of (that she was at the UN and had her daughter with her in the chamber) before you asked the question, .

        1. MatKnifeNinja*

          I live in the Midwest USA, it was and still is heavily talked about.

          It’s a big, and a nice distraction from the tire fire by the Potomac.

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          In the US, and saw the news about a baby appearing in Parliament for the first time, or along those lines. So it’s definitely making headlines far away.

          1. TL -*

            She’s also been making a lot of statements pretty directly aimed at Trump and some of his policies, which have been getting a lot of attention from the NZ media which was mostly what I was thinking of.

            1. Reba*

              Re: the pres comments, there is SO MUCH ELSE flooding ceaselessly through our news media in the US right at the moment, I don’t think this is breaking through much here.

              She did appear on Stephen Colbert’s show and talked briefly about that.

        3. Reba*

          In the US. We also have a senator, Tammy Duckworth, who has brought her baby to the chambers a few times, so comparisons are made.

          I think Jacinda seems amazing! I think I’ve probably sought out news about her more than the average news reading person. I was also reading about how she intends for the child to be bilingual–it looks like she is really walking the walk.

          1. AngelicGamer, the visually impaired peep*

            That’s my senator and I was going to comment on how she did it. To me and close friends from the area, we’re like “oh, cool” and then go back to talking about other things. We’re a ton more interested in Mr Trudeau and missing President Obama.

    2. Twinkle*

      I’m an Aussie – I know we’re so close so may not count, but here’s my 2 cents anyway. It’s big news here. Considering the nonsense we’ve been going through with a revolving door of PMs, not to mention the lack of integrity they’re all showing, we’re all wanting to move over the ditch :) She sounds totally awesome

    3. TL -*

      It’s all over my Kiwi’s friends facebooks and not all apparent on my USA friends’ facebooks – I’m pretty sure none of my American friends have anything but the vaguest idea of who Jacinda is, much less what she’s doing at the UN. (They would have talked to me about if it was a Thing; they’re pretty politically aware and I’m currently living in NZ right now, so anytime anything pops up they talk to me about it.)

      That being said, the USA has its own media focus right now so maybe it would have made more of an impact on a different year.

      1. Loose Seal*

        I saw it and it was a brief flicker of happiness in this horrible, horrible week (in the U.S.).

        I’m actually glad to be reminded of it again now that the media circus here is hopefully taking a break for the weekend.

      2. Lady Jay*

        So, I’m American, and as you note, we definitelyheard about Jacinda giving birth in office. There was also a lot of coverage of her plans to return to office once the baby was born, and a lot of people looked up to her as demonstrating how “being a woman/mom” and “being good at her career” fit together.

        We haven’t heard anything about bringing her baby to UN meetings, but that’s because our own political leader has literally made himself a laughingstock. Media has covered that instead.

        1. TL -*

          Yeah, I forgot about the birth thing at first but my friends and I definitely talked about it – there was a nursing strike that happened while Jacinda was on maternity leave so it ended up being a more involved discussion than normal.

    4. Foreign Octopus*

      I’m British and I have a passing interest in this because she’s young and energetic and a refreshing counterpoint to the other politicians about. I also think there’s the novelty aspect of her bringing the baby with her and the set-up that she has with her partner that also interests me.

      So, yeah, I’m interested but not overly so.

    5. Ann Non*

      I saw one news story about this the other day in my local paper. It was shown as a positive example and contrasted with local government where a mother was prevented from bringing her child into the assembly room, thus preventing the mother from voting!

    6. Notapirate*

      I’m American and it made the online news here (I dont own a tv). Mostly the focus was on how cool it was that they made a little security ID card for the baby. Some comments about how the kid is going to have 20+ years experience in gov work for their entry level job lol.

      I also saw it blowing up on reddit, people liked it. Some hilarious comments by new parents about their own abilities at that stage versus your PM being a well put together BAMF. (Reddit is more global depending on what sub platforms your on within it).

    7. First-time Commenter*

      Yes, lots of us in other places are quite enjoying seeing your PM’s baby for what she represents. I just visited NZ recently and was so impressed — and heartened — by how progressive it was. We had an amazing rundown on NZ history and politics from a tour bus driver on the way to Hobbiton, as well as at the Waitangi Treaty grounds. Reminders that it’s possible for countries to make progress toward truly inclusive societies are very welcome in these times when it looks more bleak elsewhere.

      1. Doc in a Box*

        Agree! I visited NZ about six months ago and was really impressed by the baked-in inclusivity. I’d move there in a heartbeat if there were job openings in my subfield (and believe me, I’ve been checking!)

        1. TL -*

          There are absolutely some policies and decisions in NZ that are really admirable – but if you start actually looking at outcomes and stats, they’ve got a lot more problems than meet the eye.

          1. Lissa*

            Is there any country where that isn’t true? Serious question – I’m Canadian and this comes up a LOT here similarly – Canada has a lot of deep-rooted issues as well as some legitimately good stuff going on.

            1. TL -*

              Not that I’ve found! And certainly, America has our serious big deal issues and things that we do well too.
              It’s just that the social progressiveness of NZ often gets told to me in a “we’re so much better than the USA; why can’t you just do what we do” kind of way and that, paired with the fact that any kind of actual nuanced discussion of racial and/or social inequality in NZ tends to get shut down immediately with “oh, we’re not as bad as the USA” (the disparities are pretty close in terms of measurable impact) or “well, it’s the government’s problem and they’re sorting it*”, tends to get really frustrating. Especially since I don’t start these conversations – people are frequently starting them with me and then getting annoyed and stopping having them.

              *that’s frustrating attitude for an American in general, but there are actual cultural differences in expectations of government in play here.

    8. Marion Ravenwood*

      I’m in the UK, and I’ve been following it, but I used to work on workplace gender equality campaigns as part of my job so must confess to having a vested interest beforehand…

    9. ket*

      I read that first as Stephen Colbert wants her to have babies and I was like, “Didn’t that already happen? Wasn’t that the point?”

      It’s coming up a bit — nice pictures, some fawning coverage.

      Yes, people do care about a Prime Minister bringing her baby to a work meeting! It’s nice news and we’re envious!

    10. Square Root Of Minus One*

      From France : it was on the info channels, I don’t know about the main ones. It appeared in infotainment shows for sure, because it’s just awesome gossip fodder for these TV people who have open their mouths about basically anything – and some of these shows are very popular…
      Not really a headline, but it caught attention. Superficially and to be forgotten by next week for the man on the street here, but it did.

    11. CBE*

      I think a lot of working women struggle with trying to juggle everything, so seeing a woman be in charge AND a new mom and sometimes both at once seems like a dream come true. Especially since we have zero paid maternity leave and a pretty parenthood unfriendly culture.

    12. Juliecatharine*

      It’s a small light of hope that the whole world doesn’t actually despise, disregard, and belittle women. This has been a tough week in the US on that front.

    13. I'm A Little Teapot*

      US here. I’m sorry, but the extent of my interest in New Zealand is related to the fact that it was the shooting location for the Lord of the Rings movies. I’ve heard bits and snatches of events in your country, specifically that your PM is female and had a baby. Mostly because of the contrast to some of the events in the US right now. Realistically, NZ is so small and far away, it just doesn’t impact me or my country at all. That said, I like having relatively peaceful, decently governed countries in the world.
      Also, remember that US politics are unsettled. It’s hard to get ANYTHING else on our news stations right now.

    14. Fellow Traveler*

      I live in a suburb of DC, and I care about your Prime Minister and the attention paid to her baby. I care because, even acknowledging that she is coming from a position of great privilege, the thought that having babies and including them in your work life as needed is kind of foreign, revolutionary, and inspiring to me. The idea that we should support working mothers, and that we should acknowledge that having children is a very prominent part of many people’s lives gives me hope that I don’t have to feel apologetic for being a mom. It is probably idealistic of me to think that there is some kind of trickle down effect when people who have the means and resources manage to work and have kids, but I hope that at least the conversation can get started as to how we can help those of us without such resources to encourage workplaces and society to be more family friendly- not just for those of us with babies, but also those of us with elderly parents, with special needs children or siblings.

  11. Flexible in mind only*

    I need to gain some flexibility and core strength. Pilates classes here aren’t compatible with my schedule. Any favorite YouTube suggestions for beginners?

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      Look up Barre 3–they have some sample workouts on YouTube. A mix of dance, pilates, and yoga.

      Inspired me to get a membership (basic so I can stream workouts; I don’t care about the other stuff) and I really like that the regular workouts have an instructor plus two people–one going turbo, one modifying. I am typing this with ice wrapped around my elbow, and knowing that I can still do a workout that hits the other parts of my body, and switch it up based on what that arm can and can’t do, is very motivating.

    2. Dr. Anonymous*

      Fitness blender videos. On their website, you can search by type of workout. My core has never been so strong!

    3. anonona*

      If you’re interested in yoga, Yoga with Adriene has great at-home yoga practice videos. She has many videos focused on improving core strength and she does a good job sharing modifications for all fitness/flexibility levels.

    1. Ann Non*

      Nooooooooo I think I would stop reading the comments if that happened! The pages look so clean now! What’s wrong with using :-) if you want to express an emoji?
      (I also think that gifs make knee-jerk reactions easier and well-thought-out responses less likely, which doesn’t seem to be in the spirit of this site? Like, it doesn’t help OP if 10 people post OMG-cat. They want advice on what to do.)

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I do wish there was a “Like” or “+1” button sometimes, as for some comments there’s not much more to say, but I REALLY appreciate what the person had to say, and I wish I could express my agreement/support, even though I don’t have anything substantial to add. Embedded images would be interesting, but probably more distracting than useful. I find animated GIFs extremely annoying, as I feel like my eye is pulled to any movement, and so I usually have them blocked by AdBlock.

      1. Harvey P. Carr*

        I agree with this. As a reader, it doesn’t make for interesting reading to see a post that’s just “+1” or “Agree” or a one-word answer. I’d rather have a Facebook-like option to “like” or “dislike,” or maybe “agree” or “disagree,” or even a “neutral” the post.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Well, Facebook has never had a dislike option, and there’s a reason lots of other sites have only a way to upvote, not downvote. I’d say a like or upvote would be enough, downvotes can be discouraging to commenters. Then, instead of clicking “dislike” on your post, I will engage with you and tell you (we hope in a civil and kind way) why I disagree. :)

  12. MsChanandlerBong*

    I’m in the ER with chest pain again. I think I’m okay; I can just never be sure if it’s just angina or it’s another heart attack, and my sublingual nitroglycerin didn’t help. Whatever these people make, it’s not enough. Between the Friday-night bar crowd and the plethora of people brought in by the police, it’s a zoo! I’m reading old AAM posts to entertain myself. My first troponin came back normal, which is good, but they have to test it two more times to be sure I didn’t sustain any more heart damage, so I sent my husband home and told him he can pick me up in the morning. I am glad I have the AAM archives handy!

    1. MattKnifeNinja*

      Hugs! The Friday/Saturday night ER free floor show is something else.

      Are they setting you up for 2D echo/treadmill test? Waiting for those labs are the worse.

      Hope the can come up with something so you don’t have to keep coming back.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        No, I just had a stress test on August 17, so they don’t think it’s necessary now. The cardiology resident just came down to see me; he’s going to present my case to the attending and then come back. I really hope they don’t admit me. He said they might adjust some of my meds and see how I do. I already have a follow-up appt. scheduled with my regular cardiologist for Thursday, so if they do that, I will be able to follow up quickly.

    2. Former Employee*

      Best wishes for a speedy resolution. Hope all of your results came back negative and you were able to go home and rest. The hospital is definitely not the place for that! You were 100% right about going to the ER; when in doubt, people need to go, especially given your history.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        Thank you! The doc said the same thing. I waited for about six hours before they brought me back, but I was able to get a little sleep while I waited for the doctor to come see me.

    3. MsChanandlerBong*

      They’re going to increase the dosages of two medications: my beta blocker and my vasodilator. I already have an appointment with my cardiologist on Thursday, so they don’t think it’s necessary to admit me. One of the fellows who came in this morning took care of me a few weeks ago, and she remembered a lot about my case, so it was nice to get her opinion. She thinks it could just be residual angina due to the blockage in my right coronary artery. It’s totally blocked, so my other arteries are doing extra work to make sure the heart gets the blood/oxygen it needs. I also have an 80% blockage of the LAD, but it’s too distal for them to stent it. We are hoping that meds and exercise will help prevent it from becoming totally occluded.

      1. fposte*

        Ugh. Your poor body is going through a lot these days. I’m glad at least they’re not going to keep you and it sounds like it might not be anything new, but sheesh. Hope that you get to go home and get some sleep.

        1. MsChanandlerBong*

          I got home around 2:30, so other than closing my eyes for a few minutes in the ER, I’d been awake since 5:30 a.m. on Friday. I went right to bed and slept until 10:30 p.m. Now I’m wide awake, lol.

    4. Bluebell*

      Hi MCB- I just took a book called “Heart: A history” out of the library. If it’s any good, I’ll let you know.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        Sounds great! I’ve always loved to read–probably because reading was something I could do when I was in the hospital as a kid. Whatever you do, I highly recommend you don’t read Robin Cook’s “Coma” the night before you have surgery. Young Ms. Bong borrowed it from the Ronald McDonald House reading room and didn’t realize what she was getting into!

        1. Bluebell*

          I think I read Coma long ago and not near any of my surgeries. I’m about halfway through the book and it’s definitely recommended. Two takeaways:
          1 – we’ve come a LONG way in cardiology in the past 100 years
          2- WOW some of those cardio pioneers were brilliant but not the most patient and balanced.
          Will report in again next weekend after I finish it. I also have an echo and a cardiologist appointment this week.

    5. Elizabeth W.*

      Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery. Sending good vibes!


    6. Mimmy*

      I always look in the weekend threads to see how you are doing…sorry you had to go to the ER again, but glad to hear that one of the fellows remembered you. Having that familiarity can really be helpful.

      Hopefully by now you’ve gotten home and are getting some rest. Good luck with your appointment on Thursday.

  13. PDXCats*

    Does anyone have experience with large consumer debt/medical expenses and going to college as an adult? With my last layoff, it’s become increasingly clear that I can’t afford rent in Portland (or find somewhere in my budget that will take my 2 cats), and I think I’ve been grossly underpaid and overworked due to my high capabilities and lack of degree. But trying to figure out how to pay for college is frustrating, as my husband and I barely make enough to make ends met (paycheck to paycheck due to our outrageous rent), with other emergency expenses ending up on credit. It’s not a great place to be. Despite this, we don’t qualify for much aid, though I need to reach out to the financial aid office regarding a professional judgment, due to my employment status…
    Any advice/input? I’m about a year or so out of an engineering degree.

    1. tab*

      If you’re getting an engineering degree, it’s worth it to take loans. Your starting salary will be high enough to pay back the loans. You can check out the list of engineering starting salaries by NACE to see what you can expect to earn. Also, you should check out scholarships. Some are based on financial needs.

    2. Luisa*

      Are you thinking that your existing debt makes loans an infeasible or unattractive option? My gut reaction is to agree with Tab above and say that a year’s worth of loans might very well be a good investment if it improves your job prospects by helping you complete your degree, but I can see where more debt is at best a scary proposition, and at worst wholly unworkable.

      When I was exploring grad school options, I found the financial aid office at my college (the School of Education one, not the big university one) to be very helpful, so if you haven’t already gone that route, that would be my suggestion. If loans (or other forms of financial aid) are a possibility, it’s good to know the options.

      Sorry I don’t have any good advice on the consumer debt side, but hopefully ither commenters will chime in.

      1. PDXCats*

        Yea, I’m concerned that my existing debt payments, car payments and insurance, not including rent, utilities, or food, are in the order of $700 a month. Not sure how to manage that without working full time, and the school that offers my major would require a move far enough away that my husband and I would be essentially renting 2 places like we did when dating. We’ve never really unified our financial life, but he covers like, 80% of shared expenses due to his higher income, though I do more groceries. He doesn’t want to be involved in a student loan at all, as no debt is a good or reasonable debt to him…I was shocked at how much the FAFSA thought we could afford, however. Rent for a decent, but in no way nice, apartment accounts for 40% of his take home pay, then utilities take up the other 10%…why doesn’t the FAFSA take that into account? Or medical debt? Or…like, cost of living in general?

        1. Jessica*

          Are you female? I’m part of an organization that offers scholarships to women in exactly your situation — someone who has taken 2+ years off of school but needs a degree for a better job. Google P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education for more info. (Not a scam, I promise.)

        2. a non non*

          Have you also spoken directly to the financial aid office? When I was in undergrad, one of my friends was able to get the school to essentially see a lower expected contribution than FAFSA said by going to the financial aid office and telling them about the extenuating circumstances that were not reflected by the questions the FAFSA gave. The success of this will probably depend on how much freedom the school has with it’s budget, but it may be worth a try.

    3. Jessejane*

      Hello from a fellow Oregonian struggling to afford to live here! I left PDX 6 years ago for the dry side of the mountains, but it is just as expensive over here:(
      I suggest you look into EOU- they have online programs and low tuition costs. And they know how to work with adults! I went back at 38 and finished my BS. I did take out loans but they were minimal. I was able to work part time, volunteer at my kids school, and take 15-18 credits per term. Going back as an adult was much easier than I expecyed- I knew how to work smarter, not harder.
      Good luck!

  14. Square Root Of Minus One*

    Funny, I thought that too! My partner has a cat who is just a slightly-more-burnt version of this one.
    (By that I mean no whites, more blacks, are darker reds. No misteatments there of course.)

        1. No Tribble At All*

          Allison’s cats are soooo pretty! My cats are all black, so I’m fascinated by cats with the color variations in their coats. (My cats are super pretty too :P) I feel like we should organize the cat comments into a thread lol. I almost was going to post “weekly appreciation for cat pictures”

    1. ElspethGC*

      That is *completely* not how I read this. Why the passive-aggressiveness?

      I too would be really pissed off at a relative if I found out said relative had been lying to people all about how I was in dire straits and on the verge of dehydration, because that’s weird and attention-seeking. Even if I knew that people bringing things had their hearts in the right places, the interruptions would be frustrating, *especially* if I lost money over it. That’s a pretty normal point of view.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        Thanks, Elspeth. My brother’s a slightly toxic presence in my life at the moment so we only communicate via texts about inconsequential things. I don’t know what all this was about but it was frustrating – it would have been amusing if I’d not lost money over it, like you said.

      2. Fort Night*

        Not having water sounds pretty dire to me, and she’s the one who complained about it to him. It seems pretty unfair to me to then be mad at him for trying to help! He didn’t just make this up, she contacted him. I think it’s a real stretch to impute negative intentions to his actions.

        If your relationship with your brother is so bad, why bother texting him about this? Below you say only text him about inconsequential things – this doesn’t seem inconsequential to me at all, and to probably didn’t to him either. To me it sounds like you whined at him about a problem, he tried to help, and then you decided this was wholly unreasonable of him. Could your negative feelings towards your brother be coloring your view of his actions?

        1. Foreign Octopus*

          It is inconsequential because the water always comes back in a few hours. I complained about not having a drink of water after a run, not that I was without water for two days as he later told our friends.

          My feelings aren’t colouring my view of his actions. He exaggerated about the situation for reasons unbeknownst to me and made a brief situation into something that got far too many people involved and cost money.

          Help isn’t help if it’s unwanted. Then it’s just an inconvenience and, in this case, a costly one.

        2. A.N. O'Nyme*

          OP didn’t have water for a few HOURS, which really isn’t all that bad. Brother claimed it was two DAYS. That’s not trying to help at all. At best that’s an annoying prank. And I’m assuming the OP has a lifetime of experience with their brother to know whether it not he’s toxic, you only have this one (misread) post.

    2. Ender*

      She’s not complaining about the people who were kind enough to bring her water. She’s complaining about the person who lied and spread untrue rumours about her.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        Exactly this.

        I even said I would have appreciated it if I needed it and I like knowing I can count on them if something does happen but this was just an out of the blue situation that created more drama and fuss than I needed on a Friday morning.

      2. The Other Dawn*

        I read it the same way. Brother exaggerated and caused Foreign Octopus to be interrupted multiple times and to lose money because of it. That’s really annoying when people do things like that.

  15. Loopy*

    Posting etiquette question: when you reply to a weekend thread post, are you ever annoyed when/if an OP never comes back to post/reply/discuss?

    I try not to disappear but some weekends I unexpectly get busy and don’t have time to go back and read replies until late Sunday. Last week this happened with my second post and I was quite worried people would think I simply never saw their replies!


    1. Kate Daniels*

      I do not feel annoyed, but I do really enjoy when people come back to interact! Because this site doesn’t have an option for people to receive an email if someone replies to their particular comment, I understand that especially if it is the next day or very late, posters may think it is futile to reply because their comment won’t be seen by the other user. If there was a way for you to get notified whenever someone replies to you, that might help encourage more back-and-forth.

      1. Loopy*

        Glad to hear it. I love this community and felt very self conscious/guilty. I do like the email notification but I also would want it to be optional because in sure some thread notifications would be overwhelming!

    2. Waiting for the Sun*

      I love the weekend free-for-all , and often am busy on weekends. I try to check in throughout the weekend. Sunday evening is a good time for me, and I hope other AAM-era are onsite then too.

    3. LGC*

      I…do this all the time! I think people just expect it from me by now.

      So my position is it’s fine. It’s AAM, not a job – people get busy. It’s not a big deal if people don’t respond to me…ever, really. But if it’s something important to me, I’ll usually acknowledge it in the next week’s free for all.

    4. HannahS*

      I don’t feel annoyed at all, although I do check back to see if they’ve replied. If I’ve asked a question, I try to thank commenters, but I think it’s also kind of annoying to have me say “Great recommendation, thanks!” on a thread asking for book recs, you know? So if I’m asking something more significant I try to be around more.

    5. Trixie*

      I often wait until most of the replies my question/post are in then reply to all the same time in one final post. (Versus answering each reply individually.)

    6. Not So NewReader*

      I have noticed a few people thanking everyone who answered them the previous week. That is always nice, but I don’t expect it. I think of it as a bonus when OPs answer. When they don’t answer, I tend to think they are busy, they are mulling things over OR they have picked someone’s advice and ran right out to do that thing. (It varies with the type of question.)

      My rule of thumb is that if someone puts the time in to post, they will at some point they put the time in later to check back to see if they had answers. It could be Wednesday by the time they check but I tend to believe they do come back to check.

    7. Loopy*

      Thanks to everyone for putting me at ease! I’ll have to do a group thanks because I’ve injured my hands via hot pepper (more on that in a post below) and am not quite up to much typing! Good thing I asked because I double I’ll be replying much (fingers and hands hurt just enough to not want to type much more than this).

  16. Kate Daniels*

    I am super bummed this week because I just found out my one of my closest friends (and the only one who lives nearby) is moving across the country in a few months. Part of the reason this is hitting me so hard is that I am extremely introverted, but getting together with her on weekends forced me to be social, and I am worried that I am going to become a complete recluse. I also feel sad because she is very extroverted and already has a good network of people in the city where she is moving, but I do not really have anyone else here, so I feel like she means more to me than I mean to her and already feel lonely. Has anyone else gone through a similar experience? What helped you cope?

    1. Waiting for the Sun*

      You may be a quality vs quantity friend to her – someone with whom she can have more interesting or deeper conversations than some of the people in her wider circle.

      You probably already know the usual ideas for meeting people, such as Meetup, a spiritual community, volunteering.

      When feeling socially isolated I’ve found it helpful to push myself to chat a little with various people I interact with such as clerks. It’s good practice and helps me feel more connected to my community.

      1. Kate Daniels*

        I definitely need to try starting to interact with others more when running errands. The cashier as Trader Joe’s this morning was super friendly, so I had a good back-and-forth with him! I also will try to look into volunteer opportunities. I am hoping to find one-time things because it’s a bit hard to commit to once a week with my job that often takes up a lot of additional hours beyond the typical 40 hr week.

    2. Notapirate*

      My friend who was like that moved 2 years ago. We send eachother old fashioned letters. Its a fun way to keep in touch and it feels more special. We also will watch the same tv show at the same time and text.

      As for making new friends, I made an effort to say yes more often. Volunteers need? Yes I’ll be there. Random get together with people I sort of know? Sure I’ll go for an hour. Free yoga class in the park? Ok. Pay what you wish admission? Sure. Things you may not normally do. It was a good way to meet people and I was surprised by how much stuff there still was to do, even without my buddy.

      Virtual hugs from tthis internet stranger, moving friends is rough.

      1. Kate Daniels*

        Thank you! I suppose the reason I’m feeling this so hard is that most of my friends are “online friends” and it’s difficult when your one IRL friend moves away. But I definitely need to say yes more often to things instead of indulging my introverted nature of always coming up with an excuse not to go.

    3. gecko*

      It took a long time. What helped was to fill the time that I’d spent with that friend. He was a friend who I’d have really long, lowkey hangouts with—having him over for dinner and a bunch of movies…closest I’ve ever come to having a friend like they have in sitcoms where they’re just always at each other’s houses for some reason.

      So it was kinda painful when he moved for med school. But I tried to fill the time, and I also got a lot more serious with my boyfriend. It was different. It made me sad, but it was (just) a life change in the end, and dealing with life changes is a matter of acknowledgment and patience.

      1. Kate Daniels*

        Life changes are so hard. I’ve moved around a lot in the last few years (for school and work), and I suppose another reason this feels so tough is because I’m not the one moving this time!

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Not the exact same thing, but I have had stuff come up where I realized I was too limited in some manner and I needed to branch out with what I was doing. When a situation forces us to look at what we are doing it gets so much harder because now there is no choice. We have to change what we have been doing. I call this having a learning experience. Not snark, I promise. I number my learning experiences, it seems to help me keep some humor in my head because life can be pretty tough.

      So this is kind of general because it will fit more than one type of situation. What are you doing that you would actually like to change? What modest change is actually doable for you? Would you be interested in taking a class in something you always wanted to learn more about? Someone mentioned volunteer work, does that appeal to you?

      I do have to comment on the “she means more to me than I mean to her”. This is an apples to oranges comparison, I hope you know that it’s just a feeling not a legit comparison. We don’t get to decide what we mean to other people. We only get to decide what they mean to us. And just because she has an army of friends does not mean you do not add value to her life. Her actions, by maintaining the friendship with you, show you that you do add something to her life. Just because we don’t know for sure what that is, does not prove there is no value there. It only proves that we dunno for sure why she values her relationship with you.

      So let’s pretend for a minute that you do value her more than she values you. This happens often enough and if we are totally honest with ourselves most of us have or had someone in our lives who thought we walked on water and we never even remembered their name. It’s a two way street. We can value people more than they value us and visa versa. A cohort passed away recently. I cried. I know he would not have cried if I died. I am pretty sure he couldn’t even get my last name right. Life is full of uneven things and that is just life. What matters the most is that we ourselves be sincere. There is no doubt in my mind that you are a sincere person. Hold on to that thought. Think of yourself as a good person who is sincere. Yes, this affirmation matters, by affirming your value you give yourself permission to move forward.

      1. Kate Daniels*

        Thank you so much for taking the time to type out this detailed, kind response. This was incredibly helpful and thought provoking. I will look into volunteering on weekends as a way to branch out and meet others. Your comments about value were also really insightful and comforting. I really appreciate everything you said!

  17. Waiting for the Sun*


    Mine is Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja! Someone who heard her gorgeous voice “blind” – no introduction, no visual – would be blown away when they saw her sweet self.

    1. Dear liza dear liza*

      I hadn’t seen the video- thank you for pointing me to it! What a voice in a tiny package.

      My love: season premiere of THE GOOD PLACE. Still as funny and sweet as ever.

      1. Waiting for the Sun*

        Thanks. The Good Place sounds good. I’m looking for entertainment that’s not dark but not sappy either.

        1. Forking great username*

          Yes to The Good Place! I’ve been so down with everything going on this week with the news and bringing back old trauma crap…so the show coming back this week was pretty great timing.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      I am reading the new Flavia de Luce novel. Daughter came home and convinced spouse we should start in on Season 2 of The Good Place (I watched when it aired, but had been holding off on rewatch) and that was a lovely Friday night. I look forward to catching S3.

      1. Waiting for the Sun*

        Doesn’t she, though?!? When I ran across the video I thought, “OK, cute little kid singing the anthem, that’s nice.” Then…mind blown. Made me want to be an A&R staffer for a record label.

  18. LGC*

    Morning guys! Getting an early start on the running thread this morning! (Tri (gender neutral) guys and cyclists also welcome.)

    I probably should have posted this last week, but…I’ve been thinking a fair amount about shoes lately. I’m just curious – what’s your preference? I’ve found I’m more partial to a softer midsole, for example.

    Other than that, the big news this week was BAA dropping the BQ again for 2020. (Apparently, you had to be 4:52 under this year, which is nuts. Iirc, 2018 was ~3:20 under and 2016 was ~2 under.) On one hand, I’m annoyed because I age up for 2020, and this keeps my standard the same until 2024.

    On the other, the outrage about this on my social media feeds kind of took over the other news yesterday, so I guess that’s a positive.

    1. A bit of a saga*

      I haven’t done any running – boo! Last week I got a strong pain on both sides of my inner ankle and google, my friend and my running coach all told me to take a break and rest. It’s vey frustrating because I’ve got a race coming up less than a month for now. Physio booked for next week (as he was on holiday this week). I’m still really sore but also don’t just want to sit here. Advice? Do I just need to wait it out as they all say?

      1. LGC*

        I’m…terrible with dealing with injuries, but I’m in agreement with everyone that you shouldn’t run. Especially since it’s a sharp pain, which usually means an actual injury! The amount of fitness you lose in a week isn’t anywhere near as bad as the potential damage you can do from continuing to train and possibly making it worse.

        If you can, I’d say do something low impact (like swimming or elliptical, but whatever works for you). Generally, cross training is a good idea to begin with, and now is a good time to start.

        Hopefully, it’s nothing serious and you’re able to race!

        1. A bit of a saga*

          Thanks! Yes, I know I should cross-train and there’s no time like the present so will get going ASAP on that!

    2. CheeryO*

      I’m still hanging out in the 50 mpw range. A few more big weeks and then it’s taper time! I took about 40 seconds off my 5K PR last weekend, which is a big confidence boost.

      I’m mildly bummed about the Boston standards, only because I think people will still aim for BQ-5 and will just rise to the challenge of the new standards. I’m still so far from a BQ, though, since I need a 3:30 and I’m looking at 3:45 to 3:50 for NYC. Someday.

      As for shoes, I think the Adidas Boston Boost is going to be my marathon shoe. I’ve really liked them for my longer tempos recently. I like the Adios for shorter distance races. For training, I like lightweight neutral shoes like the Launch, Kinvara, and Zante.

      1. LGC*

        Runner’s World just wrote an article about the craziness behind BQs and time standards in general! Apparently, times actually DO cluster around set reference points – the example they used was that you’d see a bump of people around 3:59 compared to 4:01.

        On that note, I think a lot of people already knew you had to go about 5 under the 2013-2018 standards – from the NJ Marathon this year, their pacer profiles listed them by BQ-5. I think you’re partly right that people will just run faster, but that’s because there was already massive amounts of creep (2019’s official standard is basically 2018’s effective standard minus 8 seconds). Plus, it’s harder to run a 3 flat than a 3:05, and harder still to run a 2:55. (Adjust as necessary.)

      2. LGC*

        Oh yeah – a few more things (I meant to write this earlier, so whoops):

        -Good luck, and congrats on knocking that much off your PR! That’s really huge!

        -From what I’ve heard (and what I’ve seen), NY is…difficult. I’m actually training to run 5-10 minutes faster than what I expect to run, just because I’m expecting to go that much slower. (So, I’ve been in the 2:47 range, and I’m expecting to do about 2:55.)

        -Shoes: I’m preferential to neutral as well, although apparently I pronate a lot so I “should” wear stability. My go-to for speedwork (and for racing) has been the Kinvara – funny enough, I just bought replacements this week and I got questioned about them twice already.

        …in their defense, I got the red and orange colorway this time, and my old pair were black. So they were pretty noticeable.

        1. CheeryO*

          The Kinvara holds a very special place in my heart! I’ve run in every iteration since they came out 6 or 7 years ago.

          As for the NYC course, I’m on the fence. It’s objectively not a fast course, but I think the hills are overblown (and this coming from someone who has to drive 30 minutes to find hills). Mentally adding some time is probably smart, but you might be pleasantly surprised on race day.

          1. LGC*

            I think you’re probably right in that people tend to blow the bridges out of proportion somewhat – they’re something that can catch you off guard if you don’t prepare for them, but they’re not like mountains! It feels a bit like the NYC Half – I know a lot of people were apprehensive about the new course for 2018, but the elevation changes weren’t as bad as I thought they’d be. Plus, in my personal experience weather tends to matter more than elevation change for the most part. (On the other hand, I’ve got hills for days right outside my door – I just got back from a 20-miler with a BRUTAL climb in the middle.)

    3. Lady Jay*

      The weather has cooled down a little bit right now, so I thoroughly enjoyed my run this morning. 5 miles, beautiful mist rising off of the rivers.

    4. Lady Jay*

      Who’s done an ultra? I’m in graduate school right now (PhD program) and I’m attracted by the idea of a challenge that’s more physical than mental, that’s in my control, and that has a definite, observable payoff. Toying with a 50K in late March/early April next year.

      1. LGC*

        First of all – glad your run went well! Hopefully fall is actually here now for real.

        It’s funny you mentioned an ultra – it’s something I used to just look at from afar, but I’m a little less…intimidated by ultra distances now? (My best friend asked me if I’d ever considered doing an ultra a few months ago. I think I said “no” before he even finished the sentence. Now though, like – I might just do one to say I did it…)

        What’s the longest distance you’ve done previously? Also, would you be doing more of a road or a trail race?

        1. Lady Jay*

          I did a marathon maybe four years ago? It went well, sub-4, though I don’t think I took sufficient care of my nutrition during the training. I’ve done half-marathon distances since then, but nothing further.

          For an ultra, I’d have my eyes set on more of a trail race; there’s a couple within a reasonable drive (1.5-4 hours or so) from me. Trails are just so much prettier, especially if you’re running that long!

      1. LGC*


        Good luck, and holy cow. (I’m questioning my life choices for doing ONE this fall.) How’ve you been?

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

          You won’t be questioning the NYC Marathon once you do it. It’s amazing, and you’re going to kill it. Just make sure you don’t start too fast and conserve some energy for those bridges and Central Park — the bridges indeed aren’t mountains, but the Queensboro is nothing to sneeze at. Figuring you’re going to run it 10 minutes slower than a normal marathon is smart (in addition to the level of difficulty, it’s also going to be crowded).

          1. LGC*

            It’s not the race, it’s the time commitment! Like, I’m right in the middle of my peak mileage and it’s just mentally hard to run an hour and a half on a Thursday night. (It doesn’t help that I’m working a ton of hours, but I’m trying to back off a little on that.)

            And thanks for the tips – I’ll definitely need them!

    5. Nacho*

      I’ve got a cyst that stops me from doing any real running, but I’ve been trying to run in place lately for some cardio. Apparently you still need shoes for that though (who knew), which is why my feet have been killing me lately. So, I just walked over to the mall and bought a new pair of running shoes for $55.

      1. LGC*

        I swore I replied to this! I’m really sorry about that!

        But…yeah, depending on what the issue is, I’d almost suggest not running in any form. I’m not a doctor or a PT (I’m just an office drone that runs fast), but a huge issue with running is the force your body takes when you land (and that’s on any surface, or even whether you’re doing “real” running). Obviously, you know yourself better than I do, but that’s my take.

        Hoping your health improves so you CAN run normally!

  19. Butter Makes Things Better*

    Liet-Kinda, should you be at all up for the story behind your new name, I’m all eyes. (Ew.)

  20. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread!
    What’s your favourite line you’ve written recently (because it funny/full of feels/nicely composed/…)? Mine is “My grandma’s hat-pin-and-brooch skills were legendary”.

    1. Laura H.*

      I’m just glad I’ve written something…. oh how I long for a brief return of my younger zeal when I could update daily… it’ll come back eventually.

    2. Gloucesterina*

      I love your line, A.N. O’Nyme, and this question! I do just school-related writing, and tend towards clunky prose overall, but I’m happy to have arrived this sentence because it finally conveys the information I wanted it to:

      The two interlinked goals of the Dawes Act–and of later acts that extended allotment to tribal nations not yet covered under the Dawes Act, including the Osage Nation–were to open more land for non-Native settlement and, in doing so, to dismantle Indigenous forms of collective life.

    3. Elizabeth W.*

      Ugh, I have been so busy not-writing. But in my head I’m doing things.

      Here’s one from my book I particularly like: “The future lurked ominously ahead, a grey, murky form like a diseased elephant, hiding just out of sight, waiting to trample him.”

    1. PB*

      I highly recommend a used Toyota. My first was a Corolla. It was 7 years old when I could it, and drove it for 11 years. Super safe, super affordable, easy to maintain, great gas mileage.

        1. ECHM*

          Hoping to replace my 2005 Toyota this coming spring. When I looked at the odometer this morning it was 294,001.

      1. curly sue*

        Absolutely. We’re still driving my 1999 Corolla and she’s chugging along smoothly. We had to have the brake lines redone last summer and the electrical system two years before that, but that’s it for major repairs. (The car is the same age as my relationship. I’m perversely proud of that.)

      2. Windchime*

        Seconding the used Corolla. I bought a 2-year-old Corolla in 1997. I drove it until 2004 and then Youngest Son drove it until 2015 or 16. It looked like crap by then (he had rolled it once in high school) but that car was the best purchase I’d ever made.

        Now Oldest Son and his wife both are driving used Corollas. Oldest Son is over 6’4″ and barely fits, but it’s a great commuting car and he loves it.

    2. Red Reader*

      Hondas last forever if decently maintained and are easy to work on. I still regularly see CR-Vs of a body style that was discontinued like…. fifteen years ago? Tooling around in great shape, and the Civic is practically indestructible. Very easy to find an older model that’s still in good shape, and my housemate’s dad’s Civic is at 240k miles on its original engine still.

      1. Seal*

        My 2007 Honda Civic just hit 100,o00 miles over Labor Day weekend and is still in fabulous shape. I drove it halfway across the country earlier this summer when I moved for a new job with no issues beyond a broken trunk latch (not sure what happened there but it was a relatively simple fix). Since I moved to a much colder area I plan to get an engine block heater installed the next time I bring it in for maintenance. I love that little car!

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

        Second this. Hondas are bulletproof. You could get a significantly used one if you are on a tight budget and probably still be fine. Just check/change the oil and fluids as recommended.

      3. Sh’Dynasty*

        I adore my Honda Fit! While I got it new, there are used ones out there. Perfect for DC driving/parking with good gas mileage. Before this I’ve had Acura and Honda (in the family) and they last for years on end. Completely comfortable in it, and I got the base model. Now that I have a kid, too, there is still room in the passenger side with a car seat in the back. Even if you don’t have kids/pets in the future, it’s great to know that if something unexpected happens you’ll be set with safety and space.

      4. The New Wanderer*

        I am the exception to the Honda legacy, but I still got 8+ years out of my Civic before the transmission needed major fixing. That’s probably due to circumstances specific to me (I drive hard, and the car came with me on 4 cross country moves to very different climates). I loved that car. Traded it in on a CRV that I also loved, then 10 years later traded that in on an Acura (guess how I feel about that one <3).

        1. Windchime*

          I’m now driving an Acura and I love it. They are spendy, but a relative had his for close to 400k miles with a transmission replacement as his only major repair. I hope to drive mine for many, many years.

    3. Engineering consultant*

      A slightly older Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla. Both of those cars are reliable, great gas mileage, and basically run for years and years if you keep up with the maintenance. My first car was a 2002 Honda Civic that I bought used in 2011 and I only upgraded to a SUV last year because of family reasons.

    4. Finn*

      I’ve driven two Camrys and I currently drive a Corolla. All bought used, all great cars and have never given me any trouble. I doubt I’ll ever buy a non-Toyota.

    5. Chaordic One*

      My main ride is a 2004 Honda Civic that I bought new and that now has 95,000 miles on it. I’m hoping to keep it for at least 5 more years and 50,000 miles. Before this one, I had a 1986 Honda Civic (also bought new) that had 205,000 miles on it when I traded it for the 2004.

    6. Raia*

      I have 2007 Prius that I got for $5K, rounding on my first year and I’ve had no issues whatsoever! My family rountinely keeps their Hondas for 15-20 years with minimal issues.

    7. Melody Pond*

      I LOVED my 2 door Toyota Echo. I got one in 2010 that was a year 2000 model, and it only had about 59K miles on it. It was the best car ever! It got insanely good gas mileage. Also, it was a stick shift, practically everything in it was manual (no power windows or seats, etc.), so it was very reliable. And I really liked the fact that the speedometer and all that stuff was actually in the center of the dashboard, and not directly behind my steering wheel – it seemed to reduce eye strain at night.

      I think the only downside to that car is that it had a high injury index rating (if that’s the correct term). Because it was so lightweight, if I were to have gotten in a bad wreck, the chances of injury would’ve been high.

      1. Anonymous Celebrity*

        Same experience here. I have a 2002 Toyota Echo, five-speed manual tranny, crank windows, two-door. It gets 43 mpg highway. I’m still driving it, and it has decent pickup and always passes the CA smog test. In all the years I’ve owned it, I’ve had to spend about $500 to fix the air conditioning unit. That’s been it for repairs. Regular maintenance, of course, chief of which is oil changes. It’s cheap to insure, too. And nobody wants to steal my car…it’s as far from “sexy” as you can get. Unfortunately, Echos are no longer made. I’ve got about 185,000 miles on the original engine. When it goes – I’m thinking in maybe another five to ten years – I’ll replace it with either a hybrid or an all-electric (depending on what the max range is between charges by the time I’m in the market to buy my next car). BTW, I paid $12,345 for the Echo, cash, brand new, with taxes, license, the whole nine yards, back in 2002. I LOVE that car.

      1. mrs__peel*

        I love my Kia Rio (the first ever car that I bought new)! It’s compact but feels very roomy when you’re sitting in the front, and you can fit a fair amount in the hatchback model. Going on 4 years with no problems whatsoever.

        Bonus: If you’re looking for a new car, it’s about the cheapest that you can get new.

    8. Blue_eyes*

      Honda Fit is a reliable small car with good gas milage. And the seats fold down in multiple ways for when you need to fit (ha!) more in the back. I had one right after college and now my parents have it (I moved to NYC and didn’t need a car). Look at Honda certified used ones if a new one is not in your budget. Hondas are usually pretty reliable and last for ages.

      1. T. Boone Pickens*

        I’ll echo a lot of other posters as I have a soft spot for Honda with my first car being an ’85 Accord (for reference I got my DL in ’96). It was the perfect first car, reliable as all get out and could get around in the snow which is a must if you live in the Midwest. Plus, it was a stick shift which is one of those random skills that you never think you need until you go to rent a car and all they have is manuals. I’ll also give a tip of the hat to Hyundais. My brother has owned 2 Hyundais (Santa Fe, Elentra) and I’ve owned 2 as well (Santa Fe, Tiburon) and we can probably count the number of non driver error problems we had with them on one hand.

        GL with whatever you decide to go with. One other tip, find yourself a good local mechanic that you can trust if you don’t plan on doing your own maintenance. They’re worth their weight in gold.

    9. Lady Alys*

      Check car complaints dot com to see whether a particular model year is known for any big spendy problems, e.g. 2003 Honda Accords with widespread transmission failure at around 100,000 miles.

  21. Butter Makes Things Better*

    On another ew note, any advice on how to gently and kindly tell my brother-in-law to stop talking to me like I’m one of his preteen kids or troubled students? His manner seems helpful and considerate at first blush, but the content is condescending and it comes off as if I need to be instructed. (We’re both in our late 40s.) I’ve been just politely ignoring him over the years, but my resentment is building. He doesn’t do it to his other brother’s wife, so it’s
    probably some combo of size-ism (I’m short, they’re both very tall), sexism and older brotherness (I’m his younger brother’s wife). I’m thinking of going with a calmly and AAM-approved emotionlessly delivered “When you say this, I feel some type of way” construction, a la “When you speak to me like that, I feel infantilized,” because he can’t argue with how I feel. But I can’t help the sense that I’m missing something more empowering. Thanks in advance!

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      Can you give some examples of the types of things he says? It’s a little hard to give specific suggestions without the context.

      Although, there was a letter recently about the boss who was speaking to her employee in a really infantilising sort of way due to her height – https://www.askamanager.org/2018/09/can-public-support-of-a-fired-employee-hurt-them-my-boss-talks-to-me-like-im-a-baby-and-more.html

      But I think you can just ask him to cut it out as in “BIL, it really bothers me when you speak to me like this, can you stop?” or “Hey, why do you speak to me like that? It’s really weird.”

      It depends on your relationship with him.

      1. Butter Makes Things Better*

        A recent example: We were waiting in a air-conditioned room before a tour in the 90-degree tropics and I was wearing a sweater because I was cold. We were given identifying stickers so the tour guides outside would know which groups were together. He said, “Where’s your sticker?” I had it on my tee shirt underneath. He said, “You should put it on your sweater so they can see it.”

        Well, duh, of course they need to see the sticker; I wasn’t going to wear my sweater outside. Alone, the incident is eye-roll-and-move-along, but the cumulative effect of his unsolicited “guidance” is wearisome. I’ve managed to adult without his help for decades, so why is he acting like it’s his job to usher me along? Ugh.

        1. Foreign Octopus*

          Eugh. That’s annoying.

          In that situation, I’d tell him “I’ve got it under control, thanks” and then ignore him but if you really want to sit down and have a proper conversation with him, I’d start by saying “I need to talk to you about something that’s bothering me. I don’t know if you realise it but when you speak to me you can be a bit patronising. I’d really like you to stop that, can you do that?”

          1. Butter Makes Things Better*

            “I’ve got it under control, thanks” is a perfect script. I’m trying to avoid turning it into a convo since I’ve never told him he’s bothering me before. Many thanks!

          2. neverjaunty*

            “I’ve got it under control, thanks” works particularly well if you first stare at him just a little too long to be comfortable, then speak in a very slow, enunciated tone. The impression you want to convey is that you can’t believe anyone would be such an ass but you’re too polite to come right out and say so.

        2. the gold digger*

          I would have actually said to him, “Well, duh, of course they need to see the sticker; I wasn’t going to wear my sweater outside” and maybe added, “Do you think I’m stupid?”

          I wouldn’t even calmly tell him his tone is condescending and that it makes me feel X because – a lot of people just wouldn’t care. I would snark back to every condescending thing he says and try to make him feel uncomfortable.

          And yes, I am totally thinking of my obnoxious BIL, for whom I never think of the proper response in time but have all kinds of zingy comebacks stockpiled at 2:00 a.m. At least with Ted, I have the happiness of knowing that I am the beneficiary of Sly’s IRA, not him. He was furious when Sly died and disinherited him and Primo. Primo got Sly’s IRA because Sly hadn’t updated the beneficiary after Doris died. Primo was the secondary beneficiary. Ted thought Primo should make Ted the beneficiary when Primo dies, but – Primo said nope. Ha. So I win.

            1. Khlovia*

              And if you ever decide you’re done with being too polite to come out and say so:

              “Y’know, Fred, for fifteen years I’ve been racking my brain to try to figure out what I ever did or said to you to cause you to believe I have an IQ of 82; but since in fact I have an IQ of 129, you wanna maybe knock that the hell off starting immediately?”

              I’m all grrrrr on your behalf.

    2. TL -*

      Can you tell him he’s got his parenting voice on?
      My best friend is a teacher and we *definitely* had a conversation or two where I ended up saying, “It’s really insulting when you talk to me with your teacher voice. I’m not a student. You need to stop.”

      I said it flatly, not heatedly, but I was pretty serious and it got my point across.

      Then again, I had to tell another student in my department that she was being condescending (also trained as a teacher, also using her teacher voice on me) and she didn’t get it at all. She was so incredibly out of line, though, that I’m not sure she had any idea how to talk to a colleague appropriately.

      1. Double A*

        I definitely sometimes use my teacher voice on my husband and apologize for it as soon as I realize I’m doing it.

        There was also awhile where I worked with autistic kids, so my habit was to be really explicit about each step of a process because many of them can’t infer the subtext of your request. Turns out you can sound really insulting to neurotypical adults when you do this to them, and I’d have to be like, “I’m sorry, I’m in autism mode.”

        1. Langerhan*

          As an undercover autistic adult, I’m always super keen on explicit instructions and it seems very odd to me that anyone would prefer to be instructed subtextually.

          1. TL -*

            If you can fill in the steps yourself, it can be incredibly frustrating (and also come off as condescending) to have someone point out the obvious to you over and over again – it also strains my attention span. Just depends on the audience – usually self-aware people will try to course correct towards more or less explicit steps as they get to know a person better and understand their background knowledge and preferences.

            1. Langerhan*

              That’s interesting, thanks for responding.

              I suppose it depends on how explicit and how repetitive the person is being – for instance, I would much rather be told “fill in these particular forms about teapot reallocation and give them to Cersei” than be told “make sure Cersei’s got what she needs for the teapot reallocation project”, because to me the latter would leave too much open. (Does she need other forms as well? What forms does she already have? Do I need to talk to her about this? What if there are forms she doesn’t know she needs?) Being told how to fill in the forms step-by-step would grate on me if I’d done it a hundred times before, but Double A just said she was getting rid of subtext inference, not repeating herself. It sounds like Double A is aware of what she’s doing, though, and course-corrects pretty well.

              1. TL -*

                Whereas I would generally rather be told “make sure she’s got what she’s need”, assuming it’s a task I have some familiarity with. I’m generally pretty good at figuring out the most likely situation and working from there. Plus, I definitely prefer a more independent environment where I can reach out for more support if I need it but am not getting it uploaded upfront.

                Different strokes for different folks!

          2. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

            If I may make an analogy:

            I copied a cake recipe last night. The recipe said for one step, “2 Beat egg yolks with sugar: Beat egg yolks with the granulated sugar until they are thick and pale yellow and form a ribbon when they fall from the beater, about 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed of an electric hand mixer.”

            I wrote that down as, “Egg yolks, sugar> beat till ribbon.” Since I’m an experienced baker, I already know the rest of the stuff. And its easier and faster for me to read the short version when I’m glancing at the recipe to see what to do next.

            Same with conversation. If I already know the rest of the stuff, why do I need to be told?

    3. Ender*

      There are 4 teachers in my family and I used to be a lecturer. It’s definitely a thing. When teachers explain things they automatically slip into their teacher voice. I’ve done it myself.

      It’s weird that he doesn’t do it to his other sister in law – have you seen him explaining things to her? In my experience teachers do it all the time to everyone they are explaining things to.

      1. Butter Makes Things Better*

        No, but I think it’s because he’s not explaining concepts, he’s handling me like I’m a cat to be herded. (This, even though I don’t cause them to be late, I don’t get lost, I don’t walk around in a daze, etc.) Sister-in-law is a Type A, Excel spreadsheet-organized mom, so she just vibes “I got this.” I could try to exude that same vibe, but I’m usually in relaxation mode and playing board games with the kids when we visit. Hmm, maybe it’s because I don’t have kids … ?

    4. chi chan*

      “I don’t like your tone.” and “Don’t patronize me.” or even “Feels like you are patronizing me”. Say it in a bored sort of voice and if possible aside from other people. He will say some stuff but hopefully in the future he will make an effort to avoid it when talking to you.

      1. Butter Makes Things Better*

        Thanks! “I feel like you’re patronizing me” will be great to have on tap if he doesn’t quit it after I tell him I’ve got it.

    5. LilySparrow*

      Of course, it depends on your family culture and your relationship with your brother in law. But I find that careful, formal wording just emphasizes the disparity. It doesn’t make people see me as an equal.

      I’ve had far more success with blunt, casual wording like, “Dude, how old do you think I am?” Or “Thanks, mommy.”

      1. Butter Makes Things Better*

        Interesting! My impression is that he’ll take me less seriously if I’m casual or sarcastic, but I’ll keep these in my quiver too.

        1. LilySparrow*

          Like I said, it depends on the person. Most of the people I’ve had to push back on about things are somewhat bro-ish, and a good whack with the metaphorical rolled-up newspaper is easiest for them to absorb.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I was thinking I’d go with “Thanks, mom”. But I would use it over and over and over until a light bulb went on.

    6. HannahS*

      Depending on your relationship, a wry smile and, “Don’t you worry about it, John. I’m not one of your kids” or, “John, I’m a grown-up” or “I’m short, John, but I’m not one of your children/students” in an “I’ve got this” voice can work.

    7. chi type*

      It’s also often said in advice columns that the blood relation (or family-of-origin relation) should be in charge of handling obnoxious family.
      So your husband could go to his brother and say “hey do you think you could lay off the condescending tone with Spouse?” Sometimes it works better for him to deal with his family…

    8. valentine*

      I would broken-record “You wanna make something of it?” Tell him to stop, but don’t tell him you feel x, because he’ll just tell you you shouldn’t feel that way or derail on intention.

  22. JaneB*

    Terrible week at the place we don’t talk about, but I have a new furry housemate who is currently well hidden under a chair and occasionally complaining about… somethzing. Collected him from the shelter this morning. Yay for second hand cats! (He’s black, fluffy, middle aged and has a I’m Done With This World Let Me Get Off expression which is oh so relatable. Pics may follow if he decides I’m trustworthy today. Letting him take as long as it takes…

    1. Hellanon*

      Yep, I’ve gotten several of my cats used & it’s been great. Enjoy your new fuzzball & I’m sure curiosity will overcome trepidation at some point soon – when my current tortie arrived from the rescue 12 years ago, I spent a couple hours just sitting on the floor with a book waiting for her to venture out. Which she did, eventually. You’ll get there…

    2. A.N. O'Nyme*

      Mine is a former stray who one day decided our garden was his home now. He’s starting to come inside more and more (and sleeps inside near my feet at night) – bribing him with food definitely helps :) . He’s such a sweet boy. Enjoy your new addition to the family!

    3. No Tribble At All*

      Congrats on your new fluffy roommate! I have a furry black mushroom sitting on my hip as a type this. :)

      1. JaneB*

        He’s still in a very hidden corner, but he’s eaten the snack I left out for him so he’s not completely terrified… I’ll spend a few hours tonight in his room with a book, let him get used to me…

          1. JaneB*

            An hour into my sitting and reading, and he butted my leg… he is a total love bug for ear scritchies it turns out! Awww!!

            1. Khlovia*

              Congratulations on acquisition of excellent recipient of all your future spare skritchies you need to unload!

  23. Foreign Octopus*

    You know what? This entire thing is getting way too toxic for the weekend open thread – people are being passive aggressive and just rude (myself included) and this is not the right place or forum for it.

    Alison, I apologise for bringing this onto the open thread. I meant to have a vent about a situation that frustrated me and people are reacting weirdly to it and not at all how I intended. Would it be possible for you to delete this part of the thread to avoid further toxicity?

    I think we’ve all had enough this week and I don’t want AAM to be full of it as well.

  24. I am still Furious!!*

    Weekly Divorce Update :) Not so furious any longer…but keeping the name in case anyone wants to search out prior posts…

    Having trouble typing this, but for a good reason. 2 of my 3 cats are with me, and are doing well. So far, so good, no problems! They are now out of hiding and acclimating well. The reason I’m having trouble is because one of them loves to headbutt my hands as I type, so he sits on the computer desk and reaches down to bat my hands or headbutt while I’m typing on the keyboard in the slide out tray. It’s either that, or he sits on the floor, and reaches up with both front legs to wrap around one of my arms and just dangle there. He’s a hoot. He and his half sister curl up with me at night, and it’s so good to be with them again.

    I got rid of the major appliances at the house, and the few things I need to get out are too heavy for me to move, so the man buying the house is going to help me this weekend. We drew up an article of agreement, signed it yesterday, so the house isn’t my problem. He’s already started gutting it and I’m happy that it’s not my problem any longer, I’ll get enough money to pay off the second part of the divorce settlement, and I’m free of the memories. Plus, there was no way I could have afforded to make all the improvements and repairs necessary. The insurance company is working with us, so there will be insurance. They decided not to drop it, and they’re taking off STBEXH’s name and adding the names (man and wife) who are buying it. So all of that is done too.

    So now, I’m at my Mom’s. I need to go through all the stuff I brought here and decide what to keep and what to get rid of. I hope to get that done this Fall. Cable is all hooked up, my HD TV is up and running, and I’m getting into a routine.

    STBEXH picked up more of his stuff, and asked me when his health insurance ended, so I told him, on November 1, or whenever the final paperwork is signed, so please remember you have an appointment with your attorney that day to sign the paper. He said he already signed it, and his attorney was waiting to file it on Nov 1 (which is what I want, so I don’t have to pay COBRA rates to cover his insurance through Oct 31). I didn’t react, just said, OK, but remember – he said that he wanted to go back and revisit all of this, that he thought he should have gone for more money, he wasn’t going to sign, etc. I had sent an email to my attorney about all of it and I had been worried that this whole mess would get reopened, but…I worried for nothing. On Nov 1, the paperwork will go to the courthouse and this will be over.

    Learning to navigate around Mom, she stresses about EVERYTHING. Every time she complains, I remind her of the blessings in our lives, and leave it at that.

    So, all is well for now. 2 of my cats are with me. Other cat is with the neighbors. People buying my house like him, too, and will also watch out for him. House is gone. Stuff is mostly gone. Just gotta get through October.

    32 Days!!

    1. Ender*

      Glad to hear thinks are continuing to move along apace. I think it was either you or nervous accountant (or both?) who said that your mom thinks the world is really bad now and sees the negative in everything. So I have a book recommendation for your mom! It’s called “factfulness” and it’s all about how the world is actually getting significantly better not worse. I saw it recommended on here actually and I bought it and it’s great.

    2. OperaArt*

      I look for your posts each weekend. You have the courage of persistence even when emotions and circumstances are trying to pile into a mountain on top if you.
      I hope that you will continue to check in once in awhile even after the papers are filed.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Same from me.
        IASF, I am enjoying “seeing” the progress you have made, your writing voice is getting stronger each week now.
        You are so making this come together and making it work. You have come such a very long way.

    3. Ali G*

      You are amazing! Hopefully you and your mom and work into a routine and she will relax. I am really glad you figured out the cat situation. Having them with you will help you through the next 32 days.
      I look forward to counting down the weeks!

    4. Woodswoman*

      This is all such great news. It’s great to hear that you’ve got your two cats and that the third is in a good place since you could only have two with you. It seems like you’re past the lots-to-do stage and instead at the wrapping-things-up stage. You’ve moved mountains both in all that has had to be done as well as emotionally. I look forward to your updates on the weekends—-you continue to impress the heck out of me!

      1. I am still Furious!!*

        Thank you! And thanks to everyone who comments! I really feel like everything is winding down, now. I went out to my old house today to pick up a few more things – the new owners are SUPER great and not only helping the neighbors with my cat, they’re not rushing me for those last few things. I see kindness all around me, and it continues to surprise me and it’s great to know that there are good people out there.

        I have to admit, I’m scared. I’ve never not had a permanent home before. I went from my parent’s, to college, back to my parents, to my own apartment, got married, and now here we are. But I know that I’m in a much better place than I was over a year ago.

        Now to get through October!

    5. ThursdaysGeek*

      Thank you for keeping your name – I look for you and your updates each week. If and when you decide to change, just refer to ‘furious’ when you do, and make is something searchable.

    6. Isotopes*

      I look forward to these updates every single week. I’m at the start of my divorce journey right now and it SUCKS, so following your progress through things has really been uplifting. I’m so happy for you! And so proud of all the hard work you’ve done.

      Reading your posts has actually been a great source of strength for me over the past couple months, especially, because it’s been helping me to realize that I made the right decision and this is going to be good for me. It might be difficult, but there’s hope at the end. So…thank you.

  25. WellRed*

    Going to see a truly classic rock band tonight: Three Dog Night. Downside: we couldnt gwt seats and will have to stand. I remember when that wasn’t a problem : /

    1. the gold digger*

      You would have had to stand anyhow! We saw Ringo Starr recently and I was really excited thinking this was an old-persons’ concert and they will sit so I can sit and see.


      They stood.

      Honestly. What’s the point of paying for a seat if you’re going to stand anyhow?

    2. Waiting for the Sun*

      I had so much adrenaline at my last concert, someone who’s iconic to me, that I stood near the stage the entire time even though I’m 59-plus and not petite. Wear comfortable shoes and enjoy. :-)

    3. Kathenus*

      Oooh, I’m jealous. I’ve seen them a couple of times, years back. One of the best was Three Dog Night and America double bill. Have a great time!

    4. Mimmy*

      I hear ya there. Standing for long periods is getting harder and harder for me. When it’s a favorite artist / band, the adrenaline helps, but I remember the last time I saw my favorite artist in 2012, I was hurting upon leaving the venue. My husband’s legs were sore too.


    5. NoMoreMrFixit*

      I saw them live back in the mid 80s. They were AWESOME! Outdoor concert in Toronto at the Ontario Place Forum. Caught the afternoon show and hung around for the evening show. Those guys put on a fantastic show. Easily one of the top 10 acts I’ve ever seen live.

    6. WellRed*

      Awesome show tonite! Such fun, they sound great, looked like they were having fun and played all my faves. Feet are killing me.

  26. nep*

    Doing transcribing (this is not about work, though), I hear so many females ASKING every statement. There’s a lot to that, I think.
    I suppose some people can pick up habits from others around them and for some there’s nothing to read into it. But this almost inability or unwillingness to make a statement, make a declarative statement without turning it up at the end like a question. Own it. There is something to this asking everything, as in, am I allowed to say this? Will the listener approve? Do I have permission?

    1. nep*

      (I know it’s not only females who do this. I don’t know if I’m reading too much into it, or this week I’m just really hyper sensitive because of recent events. Just disturbing sometimes to hear women sounding like they don’t want to just state something without turning everything into questions.)

    2. FD*

      No I agree with you. I do think it’s more than just habit–I think it is conditioned behavior and I think it’s also a tough balance to follow. A woman who speaks as firmly as a man often gets punished for it, and it’s often perceived as ‘arrogant’ or ‘bossy’, and is likely to get you tarred as a b***h, which is still a slur with a lot of power. Using a questioning tone softens statements and makes that less likely…but then you have trouble being taken seriously, and people don’t see you as having enough presence.

      It’s frustrating for sure, because I don’t think it’s as simple as ‘retrain yourself to not use rising intonation at the end of sentences’; it’s more a matter of ‘finding the balance that works for me in the specific context wherein I’m working to be seen as sufficiently authoritative without alienating people.’

      Which is BS. But I do feel like that’s the juggling act we seem to be stuck with ATM.

    3. Foreign Octopus*

      I think this week has made us all a little hypersensitive and I’m speaking as a non-American when I say that but I would agree that the uncertainty of making a statement is more often found in women. I know I’ve been guilty of it in the past. Even whilst teaching this morning, I corrected a student – he said “they costed” and I told him cost is an irregular verb so it’s cost – cost – cost and he was certain that he’d heard costed somewhere before and my definitive statement immediately softened and I started questioning myself.

      I think it’s very much the feeling of – am I qualified enough to say this?

      I’m working on being more confident (because who wants a teacher who’s not sure of themselves?) but it’s hard to break ingrained habits, which I think definitely stems from our cultural environment.

      1. nep*

        Ah, yes. I’m sure that’s often the case. It’s certainly not always a ‘do I have permission to say this’ thing, I’m sure.

        1. Hellanon*

          From a functional linguistics perspective that’s more likely what’s going on – ‘checking understanding’ is a better frame for that vocal behavior than ‘asking permission to speak’ and fits in more generally with what women typically tend to do in conversation, which is establish shared knowledge. I watch my students do this (the uptalk, yes, but also the way they come at their points from multiple directions) and it makes sense, beyond the formal literature on socialized variations in men’s and women’s speech.

    4. Lissa*

      There are a few podcasts that I listen to, and there are a couple with male and female speakers – I notice in a couple that often the female speaker, especially if she’s the only woman, will often start sentences with “Can I say something?” or similar. Once I started noticing I can’t unhear it…

    5. fposte*

      I think this is more complicated than this, because the notion that upturned endings are weaker is itself a bit of a gendered construct, and region and generation are huge here (the whole of Australia loves uptalk). It’s also tremendously contagious–I was just reading one of the first pieces to ever use the term “uptalk,” from around 2005, and it was by a professor who noted that he quickly started uptalking in response to his students.

      I’m a big fan of code-switching and controlling your presentation, so I think it’s definitely worth people being conscious about their intonation and its effect. But I think the way we *read* uptalk is, interestingly, as culturally specific as uptalk itself.

      1. nep*

        Sure. It’s clear that if 50 people are doing, there might be 50 ‘reasons’ (conditioning, culture, simply a style one has picked up, asking, checking for comprehension…)

      2. Gloucesterina*

        Yes, I think there’s been research that shows that both men and women use uptalk (and I think especially men and women in positions of authority talking to people lower in the hierarchy, so it has something to do with softening commands or ensuring compliance). But uptalk is less likely to be remarked upon and/or perceived as diminishing the speaker’s authority when it’s used by men.

    6. Close Bracket*

      It’s called upspeak. Yes, it’s highly gendered, and your response to it falls right in with gendered assumptions. As others have pointed out, it’s fairly linguistically complex. Do a little research on women’s (not female’s, they aren’t cattle) speech patterns.

      1. Triplestep*

        Are you saying that acknowledging upspeak is annoying and makes the speaker sound unsure is sexist because it’s more common in girls and women? (I assume it’s OK to say “girl” – a word I use to describe someone if she’s under the age of about 18.)

        If that’s what you’re saying – that the RESPONSE is the problem and we shouldn’t encourage women to sound more confident – I could not disagree more. And I don’t need to do research, thanks – I am a 55 year old woman with more than 30 years of workplace experience who has seen how irritating and contagious upspeak is, and how men aren’t penalized for using it.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          No, the issue is that studies have shown that both men and women do it, but by and large people only say it makes women sound unsure/lacking in confidence. They’re mostly fine with it when men do it. That’s the sexism.

          Please don’t be snide to people here.

          1. Triplestep*

            Yes, see my second paragraph. I can see that men are not penalized for using upspeak which to me is all the more reason to acknowledge that women are doing themselves a disservice by using it. I *wish* I had some way of telling my 23 year-old niece – who is wonderful and brilliant – to cut it out with the upspeak! But perhaps I’m not a good representation of the general population because I think it makes men sound ridiculous and annoying as well.

            On the question of being snide, are you referring to my “girl” remark? I was not being sarcastic. I did not know it wasn’t OK to say “female”. Might be a generational thing – my parents did not understand why I bristled at being called a “girl” after I left home for college.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Whoops, sorry, no, I mixed up your comment with the really unkind one above that I removed and left a note about. I’m sorry about that! (But yeah, “females” is considered to be dehumanizing; you rarely hear people use “males” as a noun when they’re talking about human men. That said, plenty of people don’t realize that and should be more of a “politely educate” thing than a scolding thing.)

              1. nep*

                Original user of ‘females’ here. Just to note I use ‘males’ quite often, but your point well taken.
                (‘They’re not cattle,’ on the other hand…a bit much.)

              2. Triplestep*

                Well, good thing I hardly ever use the word “female”! Seemed OK in the OP though, because we don’t know the age of the people for whom nep is transcribing.

              3. JamieS*

                I use males and/or females in speech because unlike most I differentiate between sex and gender so will use males/female to indicate I’m referring to members of a biological sex as opposed to groups of a gender in which case I’ll use man/woman. I don’t know why others use female but people also use males as well and it’s not inherently dehumanizing unless you go out of your way to find it to be so. If the entirety of someone’s message is insulting, demeaning, or otherwise inappropriate then call it out but this whole trying to control other people’s language because you’ve decided you don’t like a word that isn’t inherently insulting or a slur is ridiculous.

                1. nep*

                  Currently transcribing really inspiring and positive remarks by a women in southern Africa. She uses ‘female’ throughout to refer to women and young girls. So, yeah, any hangups there also a cultural thing, it seems.

                2. Grapey*

                  Agreed, as someone that works in the biological sciences it’s pretty easy to see when someone is using ‘female’ as a perjorative vs a factual way.

              4. LCL*

                Link in post, needs moderation.

                This is Alison’s blog and Alison’s rules and I am working hard at following them. I understand the objections to the females/men description, and to the males/females description. You will still run into the females/males useage in military, law enforcement, and the trades. Check out the article published in the New York Times last Thursday. Great read about Debbie Manzano, the new boss of Ford’s F-150 production. The Times, and Debbie Manzano, use men/women/males/females without any consistency, from either party. Personally I’m more offended by the Times’ slightly breathless awestruck tone of the trappings of production work, but that’s how the Times has always done it. Link below.


    7. Kat in VA*

      I was a transcriptionist for a while and yes, women do tend to engage in uptalk more than men. It was a trait of younger women, predominantly.

  27. Finn*

    I JUST bought that book yesterday and I’m so excited to read it! I’ve heard her new one is also excellent.

  28. WellRed*

    So, i learned my brother is spending a month detoxing (heroin? Not sure) at mom’s. They cooked tjis idea up because apparently getting him away from bad influences and home cooking is enough. She lives 4 hours away and he got pulled over for DUI on his drive down. She and a friend had to drive up, bail him out and bring back him and his car. When I asked her where his keys were, oh, they are on the table. He’s not allowed to drive, so he won’t. Clueless. Clueless. My brother us in his late 4os and refuses professional help.

    1. MattKnifeNinja*

      Addicts and codependency what a fun combination.

      Sending you strength for when mom calls about how horrible your brother is because he did x, y and z. Or when she hits you up for more bail money.

      I guess bad influences were he couldn’t game his friends any more for money/drugs and booze/three hots and a cot. He’s not stupid. He can game mom.

      Good luck. Went through a similar thing in my family.

    2. Mallory*

      Oh man, this would have been my mom & brother except fortunately/unfortunately my brother wrecked his car and landed in the Hosptial after his 3rd DUI so no car. And then he went to court and got mandatory jail time (did 27 days). Now he’s 5 years out and at least has wisened up and while he no longer has to check in with parole, he has kept his ignition lock breathalyzer to keep him from driving drunk. Suppose that’s a step in the right direction. He’s 32.

      1. Observer*

        Sure it’s a step in the right direction! At least he won’t kill someone else.

        It’s a shame he can’t go the next step though.

  29. Slartibartfast*

    I have had Paul McCartney’s new album Egypt Station on repeat all week. When I really like a song I have to play it on repeat until it’s memorized or my brain will play it on a loop trying to fill in the holes. I’m doing it with the whole album!!! So good!!!

    What new music is everyone else listening to?

    1. Forking great username*

      My husband is also super into the new Paul McCartney. My musical tastes still think I’m a pop-punk-emo teen in the early to mid 2000s, so I have been listening to the new Good Charlotte album. Seeing/meeting them in November as well – so excited!

    2. Elizabeth W.*

      Just new soundtracks on my soundtrack station. I forget which new ones they added recently—Solo: A Star Wars Story was one, and a bunch of video game soundtracks.

      I got the Infinity War soundtrack and I’ve been listening to that. Alan Silvestri really outdid himself. D’:

    3. Catherine*

      I have gotten really into Sarah and the Safe Word lately! If you’re into Panic! at the Disco or Dresden Dolls, it’s a similar vibe, very theatrical.

  30. poetry writing*

    I participated in an open mic this past week for the first time ever, reading 2 of my poems. I am so glad I did it, it was brave of me I think, even though there were some things that threw me off. In particular it was a bit weird that the host or no one really commented on my reading. I don’t think I was expecting praise necessarily but a “thank you for sharing” would have been nice. It seems I was the only one without a friend or several, and the host clearly didn’t remember ever seeing me (based on her questions when I signed up to speak) and never said anything to me after my reading or later (and of course, I noticed she did go talk to others she seemed to know). This was a tiny event, maybe 5 of us reading. So it was hard to share something that felt really personal and not get any acknowledgment but overall I am glad I did it for myself and proud of it.

    1. Triplestep*

      I think it was brave of you, too!

      I’m sorry no one really acknowledged your reading, but it does sound like they might be kind of an insular bunch. I hope you do it again, and that it will feel more comfortable and less foreign. If you keep going, you’ll surely remember to acknowledge the newbies who might feel the way you did on your first night.

  31. National park*

    I’m planning a wedding, but my partner and I are already legally married. We signed marriage liscenses last year to get on the same health insurance while moving and job searching. We’re not traditional in the slightest, but still want to throw a fun wedding weekend to celebrate with all of our friends. I’ve only been to weddings that had an aisle and I do’s, but that doesn’t seem necessary for us. We’re also very private people and don’t love the idea of reciting vows. Has anyone had or attended a ceremony alternative that went over well?

    1. Enough*

      Why does it have to be a ‘wedding’? Why not just have a party to celebrate. Do all the reception things, have a few speeches and mingle with your friends.

      1. National park*

        Good point- for a while we were referring to the event as “the party” but started using wedding to ease the conversation I guess? The speeches and mingling will be a focus though!

        1. Reba*

          Yeah, we went to a really fun, super casual, post-courthouse-wedding party in a local park a few years back. It was catered, had bubbles and games for kids and a beautiful afternoon of chatting and eating for guests. The couple seemed to be just as married for having done the legal bit privately ;)

        2. Close Bracket*

          My dream wedding, in as much as I have one, involves walking down the aisle with my partner at my side. The walking down the aisle part does serve a purpose-it directs attention to the couple and the ceremony about to begin. Maybe you could make a temporary aisle-like area, just a clear space for the two you to walk to the head of the room/table/area where the officiant or MC is, make the speeches, which don’t have to include vows, and then start/continue the mingling.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I was going to recommend this.

        I had two friends who had family concentrated in Europe and US west coast, with lots of (young and poor) friends on the east coast where they had met. They got married in one of those locales and then had reception-type parties afterward in the other two.

        1. so many weddings*

          That’s what we did for our wedding: got married by ourselves (only parents present) and had one party each on the continents where our families live. We asked the officiant from the official wedding for a copy of her speech and then asked a friend to read it at the North American party to make it seem more like a “real wedding” — otherwise there would have been upset elders, and this was a good compromise for us. The European party was just a big party, but people wore fancy clothes.

      3. Triplestep*

        I agree with this – I would go back to calling it “the party” and don’t put any pressure on yourselves to do anything that feels uncomfortable just because it is traditionally wedding-related.

        Congrats on your marriage (belated) and have fun at your party!

    2. Almost Academic*

      There’s plenty of people that throw a “reception-only” wedding bash. I love attending these. I’ve been to ones that are board game parties, brunch, held in a favorite restaurant, circus tent, etc. Usually there are a few toasts to the happy couple thrown in, and some wedding traditions, but really it can be as casual as you want. They’re my favorite kinds of weddings to attend! The offbeatbride archives might have some suggestions of non-traditional weddings for you to draw inspiration from as well.


      1. National park*

        Thank you! I suppose just thinking of it as a weekend of partying to celebrate the relationship makes sense. I’ll check out Offbeatbride as well!

      2. Old Biddy*

        We got married at the courthouse and had a BBQ party/reception two days later. It was a wonderful party and no one seemed bothered by the lack of a ceremony.

        1. Green*

          Yes, when I attend weddings, the ceremony part is always the boring part, I’m just waiting for the party part :)

    3. UnderOrange*

      Oh hey, this is exactly what I’ll be doing! We aren’t married yet but it’s just a matter of paperwork. As for the party, we’re thinking of hosting a murder mystery wedding, lol.

      We’ve just decided it’s not a secret that we’ll be married a few years before the party, but we’re both naturally kinda private so I doubt it’ll come up much.

      Sorry I can’t offer stories since none of it has happened yet, but hey you’re definitely not the only one doing this.

      1. National park*

        The camaraderie is appreciated! Most of our friends and our entire families know about it, it’s just been interesting finding a party idea that works for us. Murder mystery wedding sounds fabulous!

        1. UnderOrange*

          My mom wants it to be 20s theme and I had to be like omg I can barely get people to show up to things if you think I can tell them to dress up like flappers I have unfortunate news, lol.

          Luckily everyone’s being pretty chill about giving us time to plan, so right now we’re still in daydreaming mode.

    4. Penguin*

      Friends of mine are getting married (ceremonially) soon. While they are having an officiant and some kind of “I do”-type exchange, that’s mostly just a place for them to say “I feel this way about you” to each other before they have a party for the rest of the day.

      I also know a couple acquaintances who called a bunch of friends together for a party, then at the party said “By the way, we’re getting married” had a minister friend stand up and say “I witness this” and then went on with the party.

      Your wedding is for you. Others will have their own thoughts and feelings, but you are not required to cater to those. (Caveat: I recognize that human relationships can be fraught and there are times when placating someone is worth the cost.) If you don’t want to recite vows (as another very private person, I totally hear you on this!) then don’t! YOU are the ones getting married; not your parents/relations/Bob’s second cousin/Great Aunt Gertrude- you. If someone doesn’t like the fact that your wedding doesn’t fit their idea of what a wedding “should” look like… wait, who’s wedding is this? Who arranged it? Who’s paying for it? Oh right, NOT THEM. You are.

      Your wedding should look like how you want it to look. If you want a cathedral and organ music and processions, go you. If you want a kiss under a tree where you read poetry to each other, go you! If you want a pun competition where a handful of your friends vote and the winner gets a pie to the face… well, you get the idea. Maybe instead of thinking “What should our wedding look like?” think “What do we want to do to celebrate a fun and good thing?” and go from there? Best of luck!!

      1. Penguin*

        Addendum to add: I will be attending a costumed wedding (sort of like a masquerade ball) soon. So there’s that for a crazy idea!

    5. Red*

      My husband and I had a private courthouse wedding and then had a big anniversary party where we invited all our family and friends to meet each other, share some food, and celebrate. It was perfect and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat

    6. June*

      My friends had what I thought was the most lovely wedding.

      They invited only a handful of people, and made a little ceremony where the officiant made a little speech about what she discovered about each of them when talking to them in preparation for the event. Then she had them recite a list they had made of things that they valued in each other. Then some friends read some poems/readings that the couple chose, and they played their favorite song on a boom box. All very non-traditional, but still about them.

      The whole thing was about 20 minutes and very sweet. Then we went out to a nice restaurant for drinks and a nice meal.

      1. Inspector Gadget*

        Agreed! They have many many weddings you can browse through that are similar to what it sounds like you want.

    7. Woodswoman*

      Here are two weddings events that were enjoyable and low-key, both the weddings of siblings.

      My brother and his wife had a large yard. We all formed a circle, with those who could stand doing so and chairs provided for those who needed to sit. My brother has always been the comedian of our family, and the informal ceremony made us all laugh. It was a potluck and afterward we all got together at tables on their enclosed back porch to eat and chat. I think there were about 30 people.

      My sister and her husband got married on a scenic patio of a nature center outside of town. The ceremony was brief, and then we headed inside the nature center’s hall for food. My sister loves to cook and she and her friends made all the food. Another relaxed wedding.

      For the ceremonies, I got to sing at the first and play an instrument for the second. Lucky me.

    8. Interrodroid3000*

      So my spouse & I also did not want to recite vows or do any of the western-style ceremony stuff. So we basically turned it into a party weekend, with a picnic in the afternoon & a drunken tour of the city in the evening (we live in a city where you can drink in public, and we were also tour guides when we met.)

      At each stop on the tour, we picked someone to say something about the place. Some people turned it into a comedy routine, some people used it as an excuse to say nice things about us, some people actually talked about the history.

    9. Greymalk*

      We did a Halloween murder mystery party… where the wedding was part of the murder mystery! It was great, a friend wrote the general character list specific for our 25 guests and the general outline and clues… and we had drinks and appetizers from the start, dinner was stuff made by my family, and the officiant was an acquaintance who played along and had a great time. It was at my cousins house who had a great room that led into a perfect backyard with tables and chairs, and a central spot for the ceremony… no aisle, but we walked there together (my dad passed away a few years before so this was designed to not be so painful for us); we aren’t big dancers so continuing on with dinner and the muder mystery was a fun way to continue the evening…

  32. The Babiest Babyface*

    I’m in what I perceive as conflict with a (relatively new- it’s still the first semester!) friend, and it has me feeling suffocated. But, I know she doesn’t see it as an issue and is completely apathetic to it. Can I get some advice as to how let go of my own feelings in this situation? I know this is a really vague description, but I’m not trying to blast other people’s business all over workplace advice columns

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Would it be easier if you thought of her as an acquaintance? To me acquaintance status helps me to dial back any need I might have to work through an issue.
          Can you compare this setting to a similar setting in the past where you had a person who was incompatible but you both hammered out a superficial relationship?

          Sometimes snark helps me:
          Acquaintance says ridiculous thing.
          I think to myself, “Let me know how that goes for you.”
          The subtly here is that I force myself to think along the lines of “Your life. Live it.”

          Other times I can just chant the word, “detach, detach” over and over to myself.

    1. ronda*

      What do you want to happen?

      If it is something she is doing and you dont think she will stop, avoid is probably the answer.

      If conflict is in the past and you have continuing feelings about it, but she does not, then what will help you to stop having feelings about it? avoiding can help in this case too. But maybe you need to talk it over with her or someone to help resolve your feelings.

      I had someone tell me that your thoughts create your feelings, so you need to change how you think about things to change your feelings. So examine what you are thinking about this and think of other ways to think about it and see if that helps.

    2. Not A Manager*

      This is very vague, but I’m getting the idea that maybe the friendship is over, but you are still feeling a certain way – angry? hurt? – and she is not engaging with you about it? If that’s the case, I suggest avoiding interactions with her as much as possible. Don’t put yourself in a position where her “apathy” can hurt your feelings.

      You, on the other hand, get to feel your feelings. Write them down, tell a sympathetic friend, go to your college counseling if that feels right to you. I think it’s easier to “let it go” after you’ve honored your feelings, rather than just trying to talk yourself out of them.

  33. Need energy bar recommedations*

    Energy bar, protein bar, whatever you call them — can anyone recommend bars that don’t have nuts? At the store I go to that section and I swear there are like 50 different bars and I’ve tried reading all the labels but it’s exhausting. I am not allergic to nuts, nut butters are fine; I broke my bottom denture and can’t chew things like nuts. I’ve tried making them a couple of times but they were just Not Good. Thanks in advance for any recommendations.

    1. National park*

      Clif Nut Butter bars are great. They have a soft and chewy texture so they’re easy to break apart, but the inside is just nut butter so there’s generally no whole nut chunks. I love the coconut almond butter flavor. Safeway generally has good prices, otherwise Amazon has the next best deal.

      1. Nina*

        Second these. The Clif NB bars are delicious, and the butter is smooth, not chunky or grainy. The chocolate hazelnut and coconut almond flavors are good.

    2. nep*

      Some of the protein plus bars might have nuts as an ingredient, but the inside is like a blend, no nuts to be chewed. The vanilla one and chocolate peanut butter come to mind.

    3. kerlin*

      Luna protein bars. Easy to chew, delicious taste, high in protein. I like the chocolate chip cookie dough flavor best.

    4. LilySparrow*

      If you have a Costco membership, we’ve started getting the Kirkland brand. They are sweetened with stevia, so much lower sugar content. Very chewy and there are bits – some facsimile of chocolate chips, I think – but nothing hard like nuts. They are quite tasty.

    5. The New Wanderer*

      I can’t think of any that are particularly soft that haven’t been mentioned yet. But wanted to recommend avoiding Kind bars – I love them personally but they are super chewy and brittle.

    6. June*

      This isn’t exactly an energy bar, but have you tried those soft baked squares they have now in the granola bar aisle? They are very tasty and soft, and could probably serve the same purpose. I think a couple brands have copied each other…I think quaker makes them, and also nature valley.

    7. Triplestep*

      I order bars from Nashua Nutrition dot com – do a search for the word “crispy” and you’ll get lots of results for protein bars that are made with crisped rice and some kind of added protein. They provide surprisingly long-lasting results – I feel alert and not hungry for hours afterwards when I eat one on my commute home. (Long enough to let me make a healthy dinner, haha! Otherwise I’d just put my face in the fridge and graze!)

  34. Anon for chronic body stuff*

    I’ve been dealing with an undiagnosed chronic health issue for the last 3 years, on top of a diagnosed chronic health issue I’ve had for 20 years. A specialist recently told me might be the diagnosed one might be something different than I was originally told. Not sure why no other doctor has mentioned the possibility ever. I was also a child when diagnosed, so the memories of the original diagnosis conversation are hazy. On top of those two health issues, I am doing physical therapy for neck pain right now, which is where my actual question comes in. I am having a really hard time motivating myself to do the daily exercises PT recommends, as well as more general exercising, and I’m not sure why. I don’t generally have issues with motivation. My therapist asked if it’s possible I might be angry at my body & that’s what’s causing the block. I think it’s a definite possibility but not sure what to do with that information. Does anyone with chronic health issues have advice on dealing with the emotions surrounding it? I feel like most of the medical professionals I talk to have no concept of there being an emotional component to chronic health issues & any insight any of you have would be most helpful.

    1. Slartibartfast*

      Oh man. Definitely huge emotional components. And PT… It’s a huge mental weight. Some of the same tricks people use to motivate a workout help me. Saying just five minutes and I’ll stop if I want to. I usually keep going once I get started, but sometimes it’s just a “meh not feeling it” day. Which is fine for one day but keeping that from going two days, three days, a week without PT, there’s the hard part. And it’s such a long tedious process when things change and you need more tests, the waiting abd the mental anguish that goes with it. I don’t know if you’re the same, but I avoid going to the doctor at all costs because I don’t want to end up on that ride again. Right now I’m dealing with a new doctor thanks to an insurance change and thinking of firing him because he just doesn’t listen to what MY priorities are re: treatment. But it’s such a long tedious process… I’m currently trying to figure out what to bribe myself with to do that. I do a lot of self bribery, like a new album to reward myself for finding a job :)

      1. Anon for chronic body stuff*

        Yeah I’ve definitely become very cynical about doctors just because I’ve had so many crappy ones. The number of doctors that look at you like an alien if you get upset in their offices is mind boggling. Like- I’m upset because I’m in pain/my body isn’t behaving the way I want it to/I don’t know what’s going on with me. It’s not a mystery.

        I like the 5 minutes idea, it works for me for other things, just haven’t tried it for this yet.

    2. LilySparrow*

      Do the exercises hurt? It’s really normal to avoid/procrastinate things that are unpleasant, so if the neck pain and exercises are relatively new, learning to deal with that hurdle could just be a new challenge rather than a deep-seated problem with motivation.

      I find that emotions absolutely get in the way of self-care, but it’s not usually anything particularly mysterious. For me, it’s feelings like “Oh God, this is never going to get better, is it? What is the point, after all? I fight so hard and feel better for like, a day, and then it all goes to hell again. I guess it doesn’t make a difference anyway, so I might as well just sit here and watch Netflix and eat tortilla chips because at least they taste good and I don’t have to think about it.”

      If you’re processing the idea that either a) the thing you’ve been dealing with for 20 years may have been misdiagnosed, so maybe you weren’t even on the right treatment all this time, and/or b) now you have a new thing to deal with, too — I mean, I’d be surprised if you *weren’t* facing some discouragement and lack of motivation! You’re not a robot.

      The thing that helps me get through those unhelpful discouraging thoughts and feelings is to just keep reiterating what I know to be true: “I know this feels bad now, but I also know doing this will make me feel better – it always has. This discouraging feeling isn’t reality – it’s a normal side effect of my problem, so I can ignore it. I know this therapy/exercise works, because it always works. I want to feel better, and I can, so I am going to do this.”

      Hope that’s helpful!

      1. Anon for chronic body stuff*

        Ooooo, I’m stealing that mantra! & you’re totally on the money that it’s a lot to deal with & it makes sense that it’s hard emotionally. I tend toward perfectionism so the letting go part isn’t easy.

    3. Doloris Van Cartier*

      I think it’s great that you have a therapist as that’s a great place to be able to vent and talk about your frustration and anger about the situation. For myself, I feel both drained and angry about what’s happening in my body and that I don’t seem to have any control over any of it. A couple of things that I’ve found helpful are giving myself space to just be cranky or pissed. Sometimes it’s through music, journaling, throwing ice cubes, or whatever helps you get out stress. On the opposite end of that, I think self-care is really important when you’re dealing with chronic illness. You spend a lot of time in doctors offices, treatments, other medical things but I find that can make me feel even more drained. You need to give yourself a little more TLC at the moment to help ride through the negative feelings. There are lots of great support networks online for people with chronic illnesses so they can also be helpful to reach out to. Just to know you are not alone and other people understand helps me get rid of some of those negative feelings as being sick can feel isolating. Good luck and sending you lots of postive thoughts your way.

      1. Anon for chronic body stuff*

        Thanks so much! Are there online groups you specifically like? I think the only one I’ve heard of is chronic babe.

    4. abbvies*

      Thanks for bringing this up, as I don’t think that it’s often addressed or publicized at all.

      For me, what helped what just forming a habit loop and not “dealing with the emotions around it”, because there aren’t any emotions around it that you can really fix. The fix would be for the health issue to go away, and that’s not possible.

      There is no way to get around the fact that chronic health issues make everything harder for you. Acknowledge and accept that it’s hard, and do it anyway.

      Make exercise into a daily habit, like brushing your teeth and do it on autopilot. I have found this works for me rather than trying to analyze my emotions to death. I think when you boil down to it, it’s just a delay tactic doing what you know you have to do anyway – exercise. “Can’t exercise now because I don’t feel like it, so I must analyze why I don’t feel like it! Then I’ll do it.”

      To get into habit formation, I found Charles Duhigg’s book, “The Power of Habit” really helpful. Also, Mel Robbins’s 5 Second Rule to force yourself to do it. If you’re interested, check her out on Youtube, because her book isn’t really worth reading; she says everything and more in her Youtube channel and the book is mostly testimonials).

    5. Mephyle*

      Seconding the habit loop suggestion. Likening it to tooth-brushing is a good way to explain it. We don’t (or shouldn’t) brush our teeth only when we can work up enough motivation to do it, rather, we make it a non-optional part of our routine, and we brush our teeth regardless of how we feel about it.
      In short, the idea is to disconnect working on the emotions from actually doing it, and to do it regardless of whether you’re motivated or not.

      1. LilySparrow*

        Also, we don’t have any emotional stakes attached to the act of teeth brushing, you know? Like, we do it because it’s necessary for long-term maintenance, but we don’t expect any immediate payoff and we don’t feel disappointed if we don’t feel different afterwards.

        It’s just this neutral action – doesn’t hurt, doesn’t feel particularly good, it’s just there like, meh.

        I think the culture of “rah-rah” emotional motivation for things like wellness is counterproductive a lot of the time. There’s a real mythos around how exercise is supposed to be this emotionally uplifting or spiritually fulfilling experience. I mean, sure, endorphins are nice when they happen. But sometimes it’s just meh.

        In reality, a meh exercise experience does you just as much good as an awesome, meaningful one. But it’s hard to remember that.

    6. Quandong*

      I definitely have emotional responses to bodywork, both during treatment/exercise sessions and afterwards, in addition to my feelings about my health issues.

      For me it’s essential to acknowledge and plan for having emotional reactions, and to strategize how to be consistent with therapeutic work at home.

      Making the therapeutic work at home into a habit is the only way I’ve been able to manage my resistance to doing it.

      For exercise, the keys to establishing a long-term habit for me were a) only taking part in exercise that I like or feel neutral about rather than actively dislike and crucially b) doing it with another person at an appointed time – i.e. a paid strength trainer/pilates instructor/pilates reformer class, or an exercise friend to meet for walking or swimming.

      These are the only reasons I’ve made progress regarding exercise and why I now identify as a person who likes exercising. If you can afford the time and effort to make appointments for exercise, I highly recommend trying this as a way to tackle lack of motivation. After I established my routine exercising with others outside my home, it was easier to extend that to add sessions at home on my own.

      I practiced musical instruments regularly for more than 20 years: forming exercise habits is the same kind of thing – select the best time of day, set alarms, keep it short, don’t wait for when one ‘feels like’ starting the task, minimize the likelihood of interruptions, create the best environment for getting the task done, keep on tweaking the routine as necessary to make it work for changing circumstances e.g. energy levels, seasonal changes.

      I’m sorry the medical professionals you talk to are so clueless about the emotional aspect of chronic health issues and the ongoing work of managing them. Best wishes with encountering more educated professionals in future.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Angry at your body? Uh, who wouldn’t be? Some people mystify me, “So you are telling me this will be a chronic probably life long problem and you think I am going to do a happy dance? No. This is a ball and chain I must drag through life. NO happy dances here.”

      Learn about grief, learn the importance of crying. Grief is not just for funerals.Tears cause a chemical reaction in the brain that help the brain to stay healthy.
      Watch your bowels. Nothing like some constipation to block our ability to process emotions AND lock up our muscles in serious ways. Organic apple juice not from concentrate can be of help. I cut in half with water, it makes the product last longer and I really don’t want all that sugar.

      Drink water, hydrate regularly each day. This forces your organs to work properly and once that’s happening the stinkin’ thinkin’ can taper.
      Learn to use affirmations. A half-baked, half-hearted attempt will give you some level of results. I like Louise Hay for her book of recommendations for affirmations.

      Stupid question: Neck pain? Are your teeth okay? Sometimes infected teeth can literally be a pain in the neck. I have had to learn this…sigh.

    8. anonagain*

      PT sucks. That’s why I never keep up with the exercises long term.

      I do the exercises while I am actively going to PT. One thing that helps me is to talk about doing treatment instead of exercise. Exercise has too much baggage. I’ve been sitting through painful, boring, or otherwise un-fun medical treatments my whole life. Treatment is something I know will probably suck but I have to do it anyway.

      When I am in PT for longer periods of time, I do what I can to make it better. I always ask the therapist which exercise I should prioritize if I am only going to do one. I also ask which exercises I should do on days I am struggling. It’s also a good opportunity to find out how to safely do stuff I actually like. I would rather do a barre video than the fiddly and annoying PT exercises and my last therapist okayed that for me.

      She also incorporated more barre type exercises and gave me exercises that would help me with other activities I like. I can see a benefit as I get better at those activities.

      PT has never improved my pain so I find it important to have other goals and metrics. That provides motivation, but also helps me figure out when I should be done in PT (or try a different therapist).

      In my situation moving my body is way more important than doing any specific, prescribed movement. If I feel that PT is putting me off of moving in general, I scrap it.

      Aside from being boring and fiddly, PT sometimes makes me feel more vulnerable and disabled. The really good therapists take an approach that makes me feel safe, strong, and capable. My last therapist did that, even though I was housebound and struggled to walk a whole block. When I had therapists who were always harping about all the crap that’s wrong with my body and giving me extremely cautious exercise advice, it reinforced my fear of injury. It’s all but impossible to move your body when you are that afraid of injury. I was doing exercises that were so safe, I was basically rehearsing the movement patterns of someone way more disabled than I was at the time. Eventually that became how I moved all the time.

      The more I feel that my body is resilient and that I can move safely and endure pain, the more manageable my pain has become and the more I can do.

  35. Shiny Happy(?) Person*

    I turned 30 a few months ago and, I guess, I’ve been reflecting on it and… yikes. I need to make some changes. Particularly where it comes to my social life, which is barely there. I think I’ve put so much energy into my “career” since graduating from university 8 years that all the other aspects of my life have been pretty ignored. I’m in my last year of grad school for a professional program and I’ve had such a hard time connecting with many of the other students in the program. I’ve put almost no effort into making new friendships, in general (okay, also due to some anxiety/depression) and it’s glaringly obvious that this is what I am missing. I also “broke up” with my best friend earlier this year, so I’m feeling super alone in that way. I have formed some great connections with some of my coworkers, so most of my socialization is done with them (I’m going to a film festival with one of my coworkers today, for example).

    Anyway, I know I need to “put myself out there” to date/make friends, but I just never manage to find the momentum. I can’t even think of a good “social” activity that would be a good start. I used to do more volunteering and never understood how people have made friends that way, I was too busy doing the volunteer work to make friends!

    Has anyone else ever found themselves in a situation like this? How did you get out of it and build a social life after 30??

    1. The Grammarian*

      I’m following for ideas. I recently moved, am in my 30s, and work remotely. I’m trying Bumble BFF and seeing how it goes.

    2. Reba*

      Re: the volunteering — ask if people want to get drink/coffee/meal after the shift or event.

      I have done meetups for gaming and hiking. It helps to do something where you see the same folks repeatedly. It takes a lot of time. I really appreciated people who came to these things and said frankly, “I’m looking to make friends! What do you like to do? Can I get your email?”

    3. Michaela Westen*

      I had a hard time with this also. I have a bad family and the people skills I learned there were not good. I had to teach myself good people skills as an adult.
      I also was so anxious and afraid of getting close to people.
      A few things:
      1. There are always lonely people out there who would love a friend. I found most of these people had issues that would cause them to push me away after a few months, or behave in unacceptable ways… you are not the only one with issues. :) So if you make a new friend and then find it’s not working out, it’s probably not just you.
      2. I love a certain music genre and I got involved in our music scene and made an effort to get to know the people. For the first few years I was so anxious I could only talk to people for a few minutes at a time. I made mistakes and a few people were put off. But I persisted and worked on my social skills and ended up with lots of friends and a good social life. Loving the music and dancing helped, it gave me reason to keep going even if friends had disappointed me.
      Having an activity you enjoy is very helpful! If there’s anything you’ve always wanted to do, get involved in it and you’ll meet people who also like it. That’s a good start.

      1. Square Root Of Minus One*

        I could have written most of your post. Same age and same conundrum. I’m not out of it yet exactly, but I have ideas…
        Having activities is a good start and I made a few connections. Meeting people, it’s not that hard for me, though I consider broadening my circles when I go part time and get more time for myself. Making them friends however… To most of them I’m mostly acquaintances and that’s it. Some of them are very nice with me, but none is going to be a close friend. My greatest connections here so far are with people at my workplace, like you.
        What I want to try is group outings : we have a website here where people post “hey, there’s this outing, wanna come?” and people will register to come and they’ll meet as a group. There’s a lot of interests covered so if you have something like that it might be good to check it out.

        1. Michaela Westen*

          Meetup.com is like that. Try looking at meetups in your area. There are language clubs and every activity you can think of, as well as culture and politics. :)

    4. rogue axolotl*

      This might not be the most practical advice (and might seem obvious), but I find the easiest way to get to know people beyond the surface level is to be forced to spend a fair amount of concentrated time alone together, preferably in an unfamiliar environment or situation. I think this is why it’s sometimes easier to make friends while travelling–there’s something about the disruption to routine and having no other options that tends to make people open up more easily. With a more time-limited activity, like a weekly class, it’s usually much slower to make a connection since there isn’t much pressure. I made a lot of my close friends when I moved to a really remote area, but a more practical option could be to volunteer for an event or join a workshop or something where you’ll be around a group of like-minded people, focused on some activity, for a while.

    5. mrs__peel*

      Most of my current local friends are people who started out as internet pals, and then we met up and got to know each other better.

      I think starting online (in groups for shared interests, on Twitter, etc.) is often a good way to get to know people, if you’re at all shy or have social anxiety issues. It also takes some pressure off if you can meet up with a few people all in a group, rather than one-on-one immediately.

    6. Jackie*

      I have been where you are and I put myself out there to make new friends. At work, if there was another person that I knew was also single, I would approach them and say “I’m looking for someone to hang with that is single like me, do you want to go to (local amusement park, play, concert) this weekend ?” I was usually greeted with a positive response. Years later a friend I made this way told me how she was always impressed that I just came into her office and started a conversation… Good luck. Things do get better.

  36. Be the Change*

    Love of the week?

    Mine’s modern OTC cold medications for ob – obvs – o – ACHOO!!! wipe. Sniff. Obvious reasons.

    1. Lcsa99*

      My love of the week is my love of most weeks. WINE. My husband and I went to two wineries today that both gave very generous pours so now we don’t have a care in the world. Yay!

    2. That's Not My Job*

      Smartwool socks. I didn’t know what I was missing, it’s amazing to have socks I actually want to wear and can wear overnight without leaving painful indentations when I take them off.

    3. Earthwalker*

      Peaches by the carton from the fruit stand. Can ’em, freeze ’em, let ’em sit on the counter and get fragrant and then eat ’em, yum.

    4. FD*

      It’s a bit late but pumpkin bread! Just made up a batch and baked them in mini-muffin tins. Now I’ll have something sweet for months (freeze them in portions and take out a week’s worth every week :) ).

      Next weekend, maybe we should do a fall recipe recs post!

  37. A different Julia*

    Hi, I’d love some input on a project I’m doing.
    I’ve written an essay about the emotional motivations of the followers of the Christian Right. It’s not harsh or judging – I grew up in a fundamentalist area and understand how it is.
    My essay is trying to help everyone, both fundamentalists and non-fundamentalists, understand what’s going on emotionally.
    What do you all think about where I can publish it to reach conservative and fundamentalist readers? If I publish in a place like Salon, I doubt it would reach this audience.
    Thanks very much for any suggestions! :)

    1. Lady Jay*

      Have you considered publishing in well-known Christian publications, such as Christianity Today or Sojourners? My impression is that the major publications are open to self-reflection in this way, and may be more interested in it than a place like Salon. You might also look up pieces that have been published along these lines (e.g. historian John Fea, who writes about what he calls “court evangelicals”), see where they’ve been published, and target those publications.

      That said, I do think there’s increasingly interest in Christian/evangelical/fundamentalist subcultures, especially where we are politically. A place like Salon may be more interested than you think, especially if you (like me) are exvangelical.

      1. A different Julia*

        Thanks so much! I’m non-religious and don’t know the Christian and religious publications. I’ll check these out!
        Salon might publish it, but I doubt it would reach the audience I’m trying for.

    2. LilySparrow*

      Check out Relevant magazine, First Things, Touchstone, and Today’s Christian Woman.

      You could also google Tim Keller. He’s doing publicity for a new book release, so I’m sure he’s got pieces out in a lot of places right now. He’s well-known enough that mainstream media is carrying his articles, but he has major credibility with conservative evangelicals as well, so you might find some good outlets that way.