Thanksgiving free-for-all – November 22, 2018

This comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers. (In the spirit of the holiday, this one is no work and no school. If you have a work question, you can email it to me or post it in the work-related open thread on Fridays.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

{ 598 comments… read them below }

  1. Labradoodle Daddy*

    My parents are really cruel and condescending to one of my cousins and are just SHOCKED that my uncle doesn’t bring his family to big events that often. Maybe because you don’t bother to conceal your contempt for a child with Asperger’s who is behaving like a child with Asperger’s?

    1. Lance*

      Urgh, people like that. I’m sorry I’m not ‘normal’, I’m sorry I have some compulsions against specks of dust/crumbs and toward things looking even (though I tend to hold it when at other people’s houses), I’m sorry I have no earthly clue how to be ‘social’ like most people.

      Oh wait, I’m not.

      1. Labradoodle Daddy*

        Well OBVIOUSLY you deserve to be reminded of the fact that you are a BURDEN on the NORMALS around you and be treated accordingly.

        1. Lanon*

          The best thing is when you try really hard to be put together and calm / normal at events, and some complete jerk who knows about your condition comes up behind and startles / touches / pushes you and then blames you for the ensuing panic attack, should have stayed home if you’re that much of a miscreant, I suppose.

          Source: A specific family member loves to keep doing this to me.

          1. Karen from Finance*

            Lanon, in this situation, what is the best thing for third parties to do, do you think? What can we do to help you?

            1. Lanon*

              Can only speak for myself, but the best thing to do is not add to it, not join in the ensuing laughter and maybe let the person know that what they’re doing is BS later.

          2. Me (I think)*

            This was my daughter’s hell in school. The other kids would walk past and poke her, and she would explode. Then the teacher would punish her (including at one point evacuating the classroom so the school police officer could come in and threaten to take her out in handcuffs.) Lots of fun for the other kids in the class.

            1. char*

              This reminds me of the time that my professor called campus security on me after I had a (brief, not particularly disruptive) anxiety attack in class. And then security cornered me, repeatedly misgendered me despite me correcting them, talked to each other about me while ignoring everything I said as if I was incapable of understanding anything, and then threatened to call an ambulance on me when I tried to leave so I could calm down on my own. And all this happened in front of the rest of the class as they were leaving. Because, you know, being cornered and humiliated is a great treatment for anxiety attacks…

    2. Karen from Finance*

      I’m sorry. This sucks.

      Maybe you can be extra kind to your cousin when he does come around your house to hopefully make it suck less for him? I know it’s not on you to make up for your close-minded dad but just to make it easier on him? Because I’m assuming talking sense into your father isn’t really on the table, right?

      Honestly it sounds like your uncle’s family are better off this way.

    3. MommaCat*

      My grandparents, never terribly tactful people, were apparently pretty vocally judgmental about my cousins (on different places of the spectrum, though high functioning). My mom actually sat them down and made them watch Rainman right after it came out, and it helped them understand some of the *whys* behind the actions they were so judgmental of, and they really toned it down afterwards. I’m pretty proud for my mom for having done that. In any case, would something like that work for your folks?

      1. Labradoodle Daddy*

        “It’s just our opinion!!!! You’re the rude one for pointing out our bad behavior and not just letting us do it!!!!”

        1. MommaCat*

          Ugh, that’s annoying. Our case was helped in that we think at least one of my grandparents was on the spectrum (definitely fulfilled some of those engineer stereotypes), and my mom had a gift for explaining things to them without making them dig in their heels.

      2. Free now (and forever)*

        I remember a great aunt, who at one Thanksgiving dinner, said that the world was going to hell because of children like my son. You know, the four-year-old on the spectrum with ADHD, who was running around the dining table in my parent’s house. He’s 25 years old now. This morning he vacuumed the downstairs and cleaned the downstairs bathroom. Yup! He’s sure causing the end of the world as we know it!

    4. MatKnifeNinja*

      Le sigh…

      Welp, my Aspie cousin has parents and sibs that can’t stand him.

      He’s swinging by my place today, because no one else invited him for Thanksgiving. He had 4 sibs.

      It’s one think to have relatives not care for you. It’s a real boot to the head when your own family excludes you except for things they absolutely can’t get away with, like a funeral or wedding.

      His 58. Didn’t get diagnosed until he wound up inpatient for psychiatric care.

      His family’s excuse is there are so many kids and grand kids, my cousin can’t cope. Well, no one makes ANY concessions, so yeah it’s sensory overload to the max.

      Family can be worse than strangers.

      Yes they know his diagnosis.

      Their big b*tch is him acting like an Aspie kid growning made their lives hell growing up. “He’s a self centered obnoxious human. F*ck him.”

      Right now he’s applying for disability again, which the family considers terrible.

      Glad your BIL has his son’s back.

      1. Nita*

        Sometimes it’s easier to be kind to people you don’t have a personal history with. I don’t know your cousin, but I have an Aspie sibling (with a couple mental health diagnoses added as a teen) who abused his immediate family emotionally, and sometimes physically, for years. I can’t be in the same room with him without feeling on edge and nauseous. My husband, on the other hand, has a perfectly decent relationship with him. I see that dynamic in extended family, too – people who have almost zero relationships with children or ex-spouses, for very good reasons in the past, but have the support of extended family who weren’t directly involved and so don’t feel a need to take sides. People are complicated.

      2. restingbutchface*

        That’s so sad. He’s been told that literally he was too much. I can’t think of a crueller thing to say to your own child. I’m sure raising a kid on the spectrum 50 years ago was super hard. But probably not as hard as being that kid.

        I hope you two have an excellent Thanksgiving, leave the toxic people to stew in their own toxic waste.

    5. Kit M. Harding*

      Your uncle is doing good parenting! I wish my parents had understood I was an autistic child and not brought me around relatives who were going to be all condescending and critical at me for acting like an autistic childhood. (Even escaping with the pack of other child cousins didn’t help, because while they never treated me *badly*, I didn’t know how to integrate with them and the adults weren’t about to help.)

    6. Anon Anon Anon*

      That’s awful. I’m sorry you and your family, and eapscially your cousin, have to deal with that.

    7. restingbutchface*

      I, for one, am shocked.

      Same with my family. Every interaction with them is hurtful and yet they complain if I don’t keep in touch. WHY, WHEN YOU OBVIOUSLY FIND IT SO DIFFICULT TO BE NEAR ME?

  2. Delta Delta*

    My favorite pies, in order:

    Key lime
    Strawberry rhubarb
    The Cream Pies (in order: coconut, banana, lemon chocolate)
    The Nut Pies (walnut, Derby, pecan, etc)

    Happy Thanksgiving! Eat pie!

      1. Delta Delta*

        I think so. I think of The Cream Pies as a separate category with their own rankings. Sort of like the rare earth elements on the periodic table. But of pie.

        1. sheworkshardforthemoney*

          Mincemeat tarts, not pie. It’s a better ratio of rich mincemeat to pastry, plus you can take it down in two bites without a plate. :)

      2. Diana Barry*

        Ok, as a big fan of pies I have never heard of French silk…pls explain it :) It may be my next dessert obsession :)

        1. Lance*

          It is, basically, pure, smooth chocolate, usually along with whipped cream. To me, at least, it’s the absolute best (but then I have a giant sweet tooth, especially for chocolate…)

    1. pugs for all*

      Yesterday I had my very fist chocolate-peanut butter pie (i.e. a giant reese’s peanut butter cup) and am now moving that my my Number One slot!

      1. Earthwalker*

        I remember exactly where I was the day I discovered there was such a thing as peanut butter pie. That stuff is heavenly!

    2. Lcsa99*

      I gotta know if there should have been a comma in the list of cream pies cause if not, lemon chocolate sounds…fascinating :)

        1. PB*

          I admit, I’m intrigued by the idea. Would you be able to taste the lemon? Or would the chocolate overwhelm it? Would the filling taste like slightly sour chocolate? So many questions!

          1. Lance*

            I assume it might not be so different from chocolate oranges (given that they’re also a, albeit less strong-tasting, citrus fruit); the chocolate’s the ‘main dish’, as it were, but the lemon would accentuate it.

            1. otterbaby*

              I’ve had lemon chocolate! It was made with white chocolate and it was amazing. Not bitter like a lemon, just very flavorful.

      1. curly sue*

        My better half’s favourite cake is lemon with chocolate frosting – it goes together surprisingly well!

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

      For me, chocolate is #1. Apple is a distant #2. The other ones don’t even rank (not even pumpkin)!

    4. Llellayena*

      I am ALL for the apple pie, but I’m picky about it. Not your garden variety store bought, noooo. Joy of Cooking recipe (crust and filling) using Staymen Winesap apples, mmmmm. Mom told me I’ve exceeded her baking skills on that one! :)

    5. PB*

      I was about to ask about chess pies, but if you’ve never lived in the south, you probably would have no idea what I’m talking about.

      1. Delta Delta*

        I’m a total northerner and I’ve never had a chess pie. But I’m a pie enthusiast, and I’d definitely try it.

      2. GoryDetails*

        I named my new cat “Chess”, in part for the pies – not that I plan to eat him, but he does stick his nose in anything I’m trying to make! Lemon Chess is great, and there’s a lovely Buttermilk Chess recipe out there too…

      3. Chameleon*

        Made an Eggnog Chess Pie for tonight. (And I’m a Westerner).

        For me:
        1. Cherry
        2. Another cherry
        3. Montana cherry
        4. Lemon Meringue
        5. Mince
        6. Apple

        I used to really love pumpkin but my husband bought about five pies in a row from Costco and right now I feel like I could happily never eat another pumpkin pie in the world.

    6. Loopy*

      Pecan forever!!!! I only have it once a year and adore it. Followed by Apple then meh on all the other things.

      HOWEVER, I moved to the southern US five years ago… and have never had a chess pie which someone above mentioned. How…how did I miss this pie entirely?

      1. Free now (and forever)*

        No pies here, as I’m gluten free, and no gluten free crust compares to a good, homemade regular crust. But I did bake pecan pie bars with a shortbread base and my famous chocolate cake with fudge frosting.

    7. CAA*

      I think if you try Stella Parks’ Double-Chocolate Cream Pie with marshmallow meringue (the recipe is on seriouseats) then cream pies, especially chocolate cream, will move way up your list! I made it for early Thanksgiving last weekend and it was sublime.

      For actual Thanksgiving today, I made a Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. It smelled really good while baking.

      1. Lissa*

        I want to try sweet potato pie so much, but have never seen it anywhere or heard of anyone making it (Canada.)

      2. Lavender Menace*

        I’m black and we definitely eat apple pie and key lime pie (and peach cobbler, not pie) in my family. Pumpkin pie I admittedly did discover after leaving home, but I prefer it to sweet potato pie.

    8. Lcsa99*

      For me, it’s chocolate, always and forever. And you can leave the rest off the table and I won’t even notice.

    9. Merci Dee*

      See, I just can’t do the fruit pies. I don’t know what it is. Maybe the juicy part of the filling squooshing out everywhere when you cut and serve it? All I know is my dislike of fruit pies started with that strawberry pie that Shoney’s used to be so famous for.

      I’m all about the pies with more solid fillings. Coconut cream and custard, egg custard, chess, shoo-fly, pecan, etc. Stuff that stays relatively neat when you cut it.

      Cripes. My OCD is directing my dessert choices, and I just realized it.

      1. Emily*

        One of my friends is grossed out by cooked fruit (I assume the Shoney’s strawberry pie would be okay, but most other fruit pies are out). I think for her, though, it’s more that the smell reminds her of rotting fruit in some way.

    10. Diana Barry*

      My #1 is strawberry rhubarb and #2 is peach…very dangerous when they’re in the fridge and I have a fork in my hand hehe

      1. Mongrel*

        Try Rhubarb, Ginger & Orange, it all goes together well (apparently, I dislike rhubarb).
        My personal favorite is Lemon & Lime meringue pie, I use the Alton Brown recipe as a base; but I use 1 lemon then replace the rest with lime (zest & juice), pretty much halve the sugar as US recipes are always far too sweet for most UK palettes – and what’s the point of using a tasty sour ingredient then masking it? Also I slow bake the meringue, set oven on lowest and let it gently cook\dry over hours so you get the crunchy outside & chewy middle rather than just the foamy texture you get with a 20 minute browning

    11. GoryDetails*

      My very favorite pie is the Maple Syrup pie I had at Aux Anciens Canadiens in Quebec City a couple of years back – very sweet, obviously, but sooooo delicious! Even allowing for the bonus points for being in Quebec City in a lovely and historic building from 1675, the pie was mouthwatering and memorable!

      Other favorites include lemon meringue – though I’m very picky about the style, as the filling has to be a softer lemon-curd-type, not the stiff gelatin-thickened version that seems too common. A good coconut cream is another favorite. Chess pies (lemon or buttermilk), blueberry or apple fruit pies, pecan pies… it’s hard to even rank them as I enjoy them all.

      Oh, just remembered another one – White Christmas Pie, which I found in an Amish romance novel of all things. (All the more unusual as I seldom read romances.) It’s a gelatin-based pie flavored with vanilla and almond, with coconut on top, and is quite sweet – goes well with some very strong coffee {wry grin}.

    12. sheworkshardforthemoney*

      Pumpkin pie tip. Put a thin layer of mincemeat on the bottom of the pie shell before baking the pie. The mincemeat goes really with the pumpkin which can be a little bland.

    13. Kit M. Harding*

      Pecan pie is my specialty, especially since I found a delightful recipe that is lacking in corn syrup–it’s based on the older recipes from before corn syrup was invented, so it’s got a little more flavor beyond “SUGAR!” (What did I do yesterday? Baked pies. Many pies. Also praline so the gluten-free people can still have some pecans. Believe it or not, I’m from the Northeast– cranberry cobbler is another specialty of mine.)

        1. Kit M. Harding*

          That first one! But I modify it somewhat at times, mostly based on instinct– I’ve been known to replace some of the water and sugar with maple syrup, for example, or molasses. I can’t give you exact amounts because the mods are always different.

    14. The Other Dawn*

      Oooh, this is really tough. I’d say cherry and blueberry are tied for #1, followed by chocolate, pumpkin, coconut, and then apple. I’m a real snob about chocolate pie, though. I don’t like whipped cream on it (I’m the odd one out in my family for that one) and now that I’ve learned to make the pudding from scratch I don’t care much for the way my family makes it anymore, which is either Jello cooked or instant pudding.

    15. Extra Vitamins*

      Pear tarts!
      Then cherry, peach, apple
      Nut pies are great but have to be in the mood for them and I find them harder to cook right.

    16. Ceiswyn*

      Aren’t quite a lot of those tarts, rather than pies?

      In which case, I feel very strongly that treacle tart and Bakewell tart should be on that list. High up :)

    17. Courageous cat*

      Sweet potato pie/pumpkin pie is up at the top for me.

      Then cherry, blueberry, apple, and pecan are the only ones I really like – HOWEVER, the apple pie must have sharp cheddar on it.

    18. Clawfoot*

      I really only like savory pies (mince, steak & cheese, etc.), and for dessert I’m much more of a cake person.

      I don’t really see the point of desserts that don’t include icing.

      All the more pie for you guys!

    19. CurrentlyLooking*

      Just made a Triple Berry pie (raspberries, blackberries and blueberries) for the first time. It was fun and easy and hopefully will taste as good as it smells

    20. Emily*

      My favorite pie is the cranberry pie on Smitten Kitchen – I really like the sweet/tart balance. I assume I’d like sour cherry pie, too, but I’ve never had it!

      Other types of fruit pie are okay, but I prefer crumbles/crisps/cobblers over actual pie. (Maybe I am having a moment of self-discovery – I like crumble/streusel topping better than upper pie crust. :O Even the aforementioned cranberry pie has a pecan/oat crumble!) Pecan and pumpkin pies I like, but am happy to have only once or twice a year around the fall/winter holidays. Chocolate pie in most forms is delicious.

    21. Bluebell*

      My favorite is pecan, and I just don’t have the cream pie gene. Our every year tradition is Laurie Colwin’s Nantucket Cranberry pie. It’s delicious and the top is more like rich cake.

  3. The Cosmic Avenger*

    Safe travels to all who are on the road…and safe eating to everyone! Look out for the ground turkey, romaine, and cake mix!

      1. Red Reader*

        Those three items all have certain variants that have been recalled for salmonella or e.coli contamination.

    1. Laura H.*

      Boy am I glad I didn’t buy the Chicken Caesar Salads while shopping Tuesday… got spinach ones instead.

      1. Overeducated*

        My mom and I both wound up throwing out huge, mostly full containers of mixed greens…so yeah, good move.

          1. Rainy*

            I’m wondering if this goes on–if our venue is going to have to substitute another salad for our wedding meal. :( We chose the Caesar for a reason!

    2. Weekend Warrior*

      Sounds like an episode of Chopped! Apparently cooking romaine can kill the e.coli but I don’t know if I’d chance it.

  4. Anna the Accounting Grad*

    I like thanksgiving. I get paid to hang out with a couple of really sweet cats I know.

  5. Red Reader*

    My big feast is on Saturday so last night and today are a baking fest for me – end total will be three pumpkin pies, four key lime, two cheesecakes, two chocolate bourbon pecan, plus chocolate-chip-cookie-brownies and an apple spice crunch cake. Also a batch of cornbread to stale for the dressing, and a triple batch of garlic herb biscuits.

    1. Loopy*

      Wow, that is an impressive list! I don’t think I could do that in two days. I want to be at your feast!

      1. Red Reader*

        I do all the cooking, so everyone else in my house gets to do the before and after cleaning and I have plenty of work time, haha. Plus at this point I have a routine, so I can just assembly-line them out!

        1. LilySparrow*

          Just FYI, you can swap maple syrup or molasses (or a combination) for corn syrup. They are veeeery nice with bourbon & chocolate. Doesn’t hurt the consistency at all.

  6. Daphne Moon*

    It’s my first thanksgiving without my dad. I’m doing surprisingly OK so far but I think I’ll have a big moment today where it hits. Anyone else having their first Turkey Day after a loss?

    1. Justme, The OG*

      I am too. My dad and I were estranged (some weird family dynamics and other stuff at play). So we wouldn’t have spent the holiday together but it’s still weird thinking that I’m enjoying the holiday and he isn’t. Hugs to you if you want them.

    2. Forking great username*

      My uncle died on Tuesday, so it’s extra hard because it’s so fresh and raw. Most of my dad’s family has no contact with us – they cut us out after I came forward about a member of the family abusing me as a child. This uncle and his wife were the only ones from that side of the family who stood by me, so he was really important to me. And he was my dad’s only connection to his family. It just sucks and I’m dealing with grief and guilt and all that while trying to not put a damper on Thanksgiving for my own children. My uncle’s wife will be coming for dinner, and I’m hoping that we can be some support for her. While I’m having a hard time, I know it pales in comparison to what she is going through.

      Also my in laws are pissy because it’s “their year” to see us, but nope, sorry. Extenuating circumstances mean that while we’ll still stop by for a bit, my family is the priority this year.

      1. Damn it, Hardison!*

        I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope that you and your aunt can remember some of the good memories of past holidays with your uncle.

    3. The Cosmic Avenger*

      This is my third, but it’s still hard, because when my partner and I first got together we’d always go see my parents for an extended weekend and see a lot of my friends, and then eventually he would come to our house every TG. I remember about 6 months after he passed, so March, I told my partner that I had no idea what we did for the holidays, if anything, as it was all a blur. I hope you have people around to support you, and you can find a food or tradition that he liked that you can enjoy in his memory.

    4. MatKnifeNinja*

      This is my second year without my Dad and 12th year without my mom.

      Actually the first year wasn’t was bad as the second. The second seemed to really hammer home the fact your parents are gone.

      I didn’t even have a great relationship with them. It must be hell with people who actually got along with their parents.

      1. Clawfoot*

        I always found the second year to be much harder than the first after a loss. The first year, you just think “put your head down and get through it,” but it’s the second year where it really sinks in that this is the new normal, that they’re not here and they never will be again, and you can’t just keep ploughing through it. You have to start building new traditions around the absences, and it’s hard.

        Kind thoughts to everyone dealing with loss this holiday, recent or no. It can be so hard.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I think the idea of the loss being permanent hits harder in subsequent years. In poor relationships, it can be like we lost them twice, once in life and again in their actual passing. The only reply I have ever found to these types of griefs is to make sure our own needs are met. I am not talking about wants rather I do mean needs. We can look at our current life and assess what need is not being met or could use some beefing up. Then build a plan to get that need remedied or get that need more supported.
        My sympathies go out to you and anyone who feels a hole in their life story. May you all find contentment.

    5. Me (I think)*

      I’m at my dad’s right now. It’s sad in a couple of ways, we lost mom almost two years ago, and now dad is terminally ill with cancer and he’s stopping treatment. He’s still living independently and doing ok, but he (and all of us) know that it won’t last. Maybe a couple more months on his own.

    6. otterbaby*

      I’m sorry for your loss. My grandmother died 3 years ago, and the anniversary of her passing landed on Thanksgiving this year. That’s a bit rough.

      I hope being around your family today makes it a little less sad.

    7. Writerboy*

      I’m sorry for your loss. I know it’s a shock no matter what age your father was.

      My dad died two days before (Canadian) Thanksgiving in 2010 at the age of 81. It was not unexpected, as he had been in a coma and taken off life support after a series of strokes. In fact, I had written my eulogy before he died, because we knew there would be a funeral very soon.

      We had Thanksgiving dinner at my sister’s place and even though my dad’s absence left an unfillable void, at least we were all together (five kids plus our kids and spouses, plus my mom) and it was an opportunity to reminisce in a supportive and safe atmosphere.

      I can’t offer any advice other than to keep busy and surround yourself with people who love you.

    8. QueenBee*

      I’m de-lurking for this one. My Dad passed two years ago somewhat suddenly. We learned a lot of things that first Thanksgiving without him. Like that they met when Mom and her friends picked up my Dad and his buddies because they had a car. That car was an ambulance that was retired to a hearse and then retired to my Dad at 16 who put a mattress in the back. Yes, my Dad drove a literal Shagg’n Wagon! This is something we could never have known while he was alive!
      Also, add more friends to the table and switch things up a bit. It helps if not everything is exactly the same with a blank spot.
      We all still miss him but also we all have really horrible humour so we can laugh at a lot that other people might not. You will deal with loss in your own way and your own time, there is no “wrong way”. Cry if you need to, laugh if you want to.

    9. A Teacher*

      My daughter is adopted and her birthday falls around Thanksgiving-this year the day after, she loves her family but major days like his are hard because she doesn’t see her bio family.

    10. KarenK*

      This is my first after my dad’s death, too. He usually did the blessing. Today, my SIL read the blessing my father wrote last year. It was quite moving.

    11. Mrs. Fenris*

      Since last year, I’ve lost a cousin very unexpectedly, just a few months after her brother. And our family farmland. My dad died right before Halloween several years ago and the holidays get worse every year without him. (Also I have SAD and also this is a stressful time of year in my job. I kind of want to crawl in a hole until New Year’s.)

    12. Ginger ale for all*

      A friend’s father passed away a few hours ago. She missed it by five minutes. She had seen him earlier today while he was in hospice care.

      1. Nana*

        Ginger ale, if it’s any comfort for your friend…sometimes people in hospice seem to ‘wait’ until a loved one leaves the room. I’ve heard this kind of story several times.

    13. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I am speaking from the other end of the pain. I lost mom in 2016, moved to the long-anctipated new house in early 2017… and yesterday I was finally able to finish unpacking & washing the good china to use. At the end of cleanup, I even was able to arrange the things on the display shelves with nostalgia instead of tears.
      Hang in there. At some point you find yourself remembering the love, not the loss.

  7. away from it all*

    My company sponsored an art contest yesterday with the prize, a extra day of PTO. Entries were hung up anonymously and voted on by the entire staff. And one of the owners, who of course has unlimited PTO, won. Grrr. Oh well, at least I have today off!

    1. Freelance Everything*

      Yeah I think the prize should have reverted to 2nd place or the people with unlimited PTO should not be allowed to enter.

    2. Trouble*

      That’s rubbish. There was a raffle at my husband’s Christmas do one year and as it was for charity the CEO bought about 10 strips of tickets. He then gave each strip to those of us on his table with him as ‘it wouldn’t do for me to win a prize tonight as the CEO but I still want to support our charity.’ I won a free two night stay in a posh hotel on the strip of tickets he gave me. He’s left the other half’s company now and isn’t even the CEO anymore and I still remember him kindly because not only did he think it was important to support the charity if he was asking his staff to, he also knew the optics would be terrible if he won anything so he made sure he wouldn’t, to the benefit of some of his staff. Being assigned to his table was random, my husband certainly wasn’t high in the company at all. The owners should have put their art at the top and asked to be excused from judging. That wasn’t well done of them at all.

    3. CAA*

      I think it’s o.k. to say something to HR or the CFO or someone like that if you don’t want to talk to the owner directly. Just say that you were surprised they didn’t announce that the prize was being passed along to the top scoring employee because it really looked as if the owner was intending to keep it, and the optics of that are not good.

      1. Liane*

        Except the only Optics that kind of owner cares about is “Everyone Sees That I Am The Most Important.”

        1. CAA*

          Or he just never thought about how it looks to everyone else. Some people are surprisingly oblivious, and will be horrified and fix things once they are told.

          1. Away from it all*

            Yes, I think that’s it exactly – oblivious. I probably won’t say anything though. I’ve mentioned a few other things of this ilk and fear I will be labeled a complainer.

    4. GhostWriter*

      I agree that the prize should have gone to the next place winner who didn’t have unlimited PTO. That’s really demoralizing that the prize would go to someone it didn’t matter to.

      I think the owner should still be able to participate though. An art context that the whole staff votes on sounds fun, and having higher-ups participate could help make them more approachable. (Though if there is a ton of people with unlimited PTO then maybe there should be two separate contests.)

  8. Terrified*

    I drove into my neighborhood yesterday and I believe I saw one of my ex’s family member’s exiting out. It looked similar to the person and the vehicle to what they drive. I know they still drive the same vehicle but I haven’t seen them in a year. I honestly do not know what to do as we are in the middle of a nasty court battle. It scares me if this person is driving through my neighborhood.

    1. Basia, also a Fed*

      I would send an email to my lawyer documenting it. I would say that I don’t believe any action is required right now, but I would want a record of it in case it becomes a pattern.

    2. AyBeeCee*

      I’m sorry you feel scared in your own neighborhood. Would calling the non-emergency police line and asking for them to drive by periodically help at all?

      1. Observer*

        Highly unlikely. It’s a one time event, it’s a neighborhood not a specific house or block and it’s not the ex themself, AND the OP is not even 100% it’s the relative. The police are not going to be able to act on something that nebulous.

        Documenting it is a good idea, though. Because then you can see if it’s a pattern.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Ask the police if they can send random patrols through your neighborhood. Tell them the name of this person, they can probably get the car info from DMV.

  9. Lady Jay*

    Furthest travel competition!!

    How many hours did you drive/fly? I drove 13.5 hours (in one day)–can anybody beat that? :)

    Also! Audiobook recommendation: Tara Westover’s Educatedis fantastic; I couldn’t turn it off! (Link to book description in my username)

    1. Louisiana Legend*

      My daughter drove 16 hours from North Carolina to Louisiana. She plans to drive to Dallas to see friends, come back here and then go back to Carolina. That’s dedication.

      1. Pippa*

        Oh, sympathies! We do the SYD flight about yearly bc we have family in Oz, and while it’s definitely worth it, it is just so…flipping…long.

      2. CoffeeOnMyMind*

        +1 I’ve done that flight as well, plus two other flights from the east coast for a total of 21 hours in one day (not including layovers).

    2. Karen from Finance*

      I don’t drive. But I’ve done, in one day, 3 flights, totalling about 16 hours in the air and a full day of travel (which was less than that due to time zones).

    3. Bigglesworth*

      I can’t beat your record this Thanksgiving, but I have a few hairy stories from previous holidays.

      This year, our drive was only supposed to be 9ish hours (4.5 hours for each leg of the drive), but it took us two hours just to get out of the city limits because of a major car crash (two sedans and a semi). We thought we could make up time on the road, but most people were driving under the speed limit. This meant the first leg of our trip took around 8 hours to complete. The second leg took us 5.5 hours.

      All told, our 9 hour drive ended up taking us 13.5 hours over two days.

    4. CanadianUniversityReader*

      I’ve driven 24 hours in a day. It was from where I live in Ontario to Galifax, Nova Scotia.

      1. I should be working ...*

        Lol … Galifax … fellow Ontarian here … I would totally love to visit Galifax. ;)

    5. Valancy Snaith*

      My husband and I split the driving and did 17.5 hours in one day once across the prairies and most of Ontario. It was horrid and I hope to never repeat it. 12 is our usual holiday run.

    6. Feliz*

      24hr bus rides in South America, particularly Argentina. They do stop for 10min here and there, some food is provided & there is a toilet on board but it’s a loooooooong time. However it’s much easier than long distance flying for some reason. We always bought the most expensive seats which were like lazyboys.

      I’ve flown a few times NZ-London so 12hrs to Singapore/LA, short layover then 12hrs to London

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

    In the true spirit of Thanksgiving, please help me settle a friendly disagreement between me and my wife.

    The Ace chain of hardware stores has a very catchy jingle that many American readers here might know. My question is, is there supposed to be a comma in the slogan they sing in the jingle? In other words, it it supposed to be:

    “Ace is the place with the helpful hardware folks”
    “Ace is the place with the helpful hardware, folks!”

    My wife thinks it’s the former. I strongly feel it’s the latter.
    What say you, AAM readers?

    1. PB*

      I’ve always assumed the former, as in, “Our hardware folks are helpful and will help you find the tools you need.” Presumably, every hardware store would have helpful hardware. Admittedly, however, I’d never really thought about it!

      1. Louisiana Legend*

        Since the original jingle was “Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man,” which was updated to be gender-inclusive, it’s easy to discern there is no comma.

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

          Ah! I never heard the original version of the jingle, or I agree, it would have been obvious.
          Too bad! I liked my interpretation better :-)

        2. MeM*

          And if I remember correctly, in the tv commercial they would zoom in on the smiling Ace hardware man at the end of the jingle – so picture of man and jingle saying man at same time.

    2. runner girl*

      I’m pretty sure it’s the first version. The Hardware Folks (ie, employees) are helpful, rather than the hardware itself.

    3. fposte*

      Sorry, L., I’m with your wife on this. The original version was “Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man,” and then they finally abandoned the sexism to make it “hardware folks.” It’s selling the service, not the ironware.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Yep, that’s the version I remember, so I came here to make the same argument. It’s about the people (men/folks) employed by Ace who are helpful. It’s more awkward and ambiguous since they changed it to folks, though, so the confusion is understandable, but “people” does have one syllable too many, so I guess it was the best choice.

        1. fposte*

          I genuinely spent a fair number of years seething about that stupid sexist jingle; they kept it way after such things got dropped by most companies (and for a long time it involved Suzanne Somers purring about the wonderful service provided her by the hardware man, so it wasn’t just a terminology thing). I can’t imagine the female employees liked it much either.

        2. Loose Seal*

          It took them a remarkably long time to change that jingle to include more than a helpful man (1989). I feel comfortable calling it sexism.

          I spent my life up to age 19 hearing the first jingle. Stuff like that defines your life every time you hear it. (I’m a woman.) It also helps to define institutional sexism.

    4. Amy Farrah Fowler*

      I think it’s the first one. Their whole campaign is (and has been) about how helpful their employees are. If you dont get everything you need in one trip, they’ll deliver it to you, etc. Also, I don’t understand how hardware can be helpful. People (in this case folks) can, but not hardware by itself.

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

        Well, without the hardware, you can’t really do the job, so it is helpful, no?

        But it looks like this is an argument I’ve clearly lost :-)

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

            Haha, yes! And the thing is, my wife is the handy one among the two of us.

    5. Akcipitrokulo*

      Depends what they mean!

      If they mean that their staff are “friendly hardware folks” the first one.

      If they are telling people that their hardware is helpful, the second!

    6. Cruciatus*

      It’s definitely the first one. The folks at Ace are helpful.

      Though it’s like when I found out the jingle is “Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee!”. I thought it was “Nobody does it like Sara Lee!”

      1. fposte*

        I kind of liked that jingle as a kid because it was a bit of a logic problem. “Everybody doesn’t like something, but nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee.” It may be my first tacit encounter with Venn diagrams.

      2. The New Wanderer*

        “Nobody does it like” is way, way better (and also what I assumed too)! Never use a double negative, grr.

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

        I like “Nobody does it like Sara Lee” SO much more! BTW, the actual interpretation is factually wrong; I don’t like Sara Lee (I bake from scratch and to me their stuff is like eating cardboard)

      4. Cheshire Cat*

        I had an aunt named Sarah Lee. When I was a kid I was convinced it was her company, even with the Sara/Sarah discrepancy. My aunt also, to my knowledge, never baked anything herself.

      5. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Mind blown. I’m the daughter of an old-time advertising guy. And I have had that wrong in my head for all of my 52 years.

    7. Observer*

      According to Ace, it’s the former.

      From a press release where they announced a new publicity campaign around the jingle: The campaign, created by Chicago advertising agency O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul, leverages the signature “Ace is the place with the helpful hardware folks” jingle,

      Google “ace hardware jingle”

    8. Lizabeth*

      It’s time to take a walk hand in hand outside and tell each other that you love them rather than talk about the placement of a comma….

    9. Parenthetically*

      It’s 100% the former. The latter makes no sense. What the heck is a “place with the helpful hardware”? :D

    10. Loose Seal*

      Well, the previous jingle was “Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man” so I’m assuming they eventually woke up to the fact that women worked there and just changed the last word to reflect that.

  11. laura*

    It’s so funny being a Canadian looking in on American thanksgiving. We had ours 6-ish weeks ago, so I keep forgetting your big holiday is this weekend. All the specials on tv tend to be a good reminder!

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

      Your Thanksgiving holiday (with all due respect to the pilgrims and American history) makes a lot more logical sense. It falls on a Monday. Ours falls on a Thursday and we still haven’t made the Friday an official holiday, leading to a battle royale at work every year to actually get the long weekend that it logically should be. So in that regard, score one for the Canadians?

      1. Colette*

        It’s nowhere near the importance of American Thanksgiving, as well. I spent Thanksgiving weekend re-roofing my porch after the tornado a couple of weeks earlier, but even as a child, it was more “long weekend” than “important holiday”.

        1. Typhon Worker Bee*

          As an immigrant to Canada, I love Thanksgiving because I had absolutely no preconceptions about what Thanksgiving “should” be like, so everything my in-laws do just seems normal. In contrast to Christmas, which is always great with my in-laws, but the differences between their traditions and my family’s traditions can make me feel a bit homesick at times. Thanksgiving is just a nice meal and a day off.

      2. laura*

        Yes, between being so close to Christmas, and the logistical issues, I’m a big fan of our early October Thanksgiving.

        1. Steve*

          Mid-October is also a good time of year to do outdoor chores – cleaning up gutters, raking leaves, putting up winter lights, etc. This time of year is waaaaaay too cold, and snowy.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            That depends on your latitude. I grew up on Long Island and November was fine! The Gulf Stream helps too.

      3. Kat in VA*

        Yep, so many people have to burn a PTO day to get the Friday after off. Maybe just move it to Friday so people can have a three day weekend (which we definitely need after all the cooking and cleanup).

        I’ve got it off; the husband does not. :(

    2. londonedit*

      Here in the UK we don’t have Thanksgiving at all. Of course we’ve all grown up with American TV programmes and films so we know what it’s all about, but it’s definitely not a thing anyone really does unless they happen to have American family or friends. Christmas is the big one here!

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        Maybe it’s jus me but Thanksgiving does seem to be becoming more of a thing here though, at least in London – lots of the barbecue/American-themed restaurants here seem to have been doing Thanksgiving menus this week, for instance. And to be fair, the one time I had Thanksgiving dinner (a friend was dating an American girl so we did Thanksgiving dinner for her) the food was pretty good…

        Plus we have Black Friday now, but to be honest I see that as a good excuse to start getting ready for Christmas. I might even put my tree up this weekend!

    3. Typhon Worker Bee*

      Yes, that moment when you come home from work feeling tired and wanting to unwind in front of the TV, then realize that none of your shows are on because of the American holiday! The horror! (Same for March Madness, when a bunch of my shows take a break). At least we have Netflix now.

      Happy Thanksgiving, neighbours!

    4. Ihmmy*

      right? A bunch of my online friends are American so they’re all wishing people happy thanksgiving, or aren’t on our game today. It’s entertaining. I do have Friday off for unrelated reasons though, so I can sort of celebrate?

      I like that Canadian Thanksgiving can be as low key as you want, or as intensive as you desire. I think this year I was invited to three different Thanksgiving feasts but only made it to one of them (which was potluck so no super traditional thanksgiving foods, save for the turkey the host prepared)

    5. Asenath*

      I forget American Thanksgiving too – and I grew up in Canada in a Canadian/American household, so we celebrated both holidays with big dinners. One year, my Canadian mother made a pumpkin pie – my American father seemed appreciative, but us kids weren’t impressed by this American tradition. We much preferred blueberry or rhubarb pie. Technically speaking, the Canadian holiday has its roots in assorted peoples’ harvest celebrations – eg the British harvest homes, I think they were called, although of course any culture in a northern climate has some kind of party at the end of the growing season. But our big neighbour to the south has had lots of influence, hence we often get decorations with pilgrims who are completely irrelevant to our holiday. And, if one’s mother is feeling adventurous, pumpkin pie.

      1. Typhon Worker Bee*

        I grew up in England, so I’d read about pumpkin pie in American books, but had never actually tasted one. I managed to find a recipe when I was about 15 and made one from scratch – making the pastry, steaming the pumpkin and all. It took forever, and I was so excited to try the finished pie. But it was so gross that I assumed I’d done something terribly wrong somewhere in the process. No-one else in the family would eat it either, so we threw it out.

        Fast forward many years to my first Canadian thanksgiving dinner, to which my brother-in-law brought a store-made pumpkin pie. Once again I was super excited to try it, but… it was so gross! At which point I realised that I hadn’t made a mistake – in fact I’d made a perfect pumpkin pie on my first attempt – but rather I just really really really don’t like pumpkin pie.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I’d agree and I am in the US. The concept of pumpkin pie is lost on me. No one talks about squash pie so why do we put pumpkin in a pie crust and ooo and ahhh over it? I don’t get it. I am not really a big pie lover myself so that might be part of the problem.

    6. Weekend Warrior*

      But it is Grey Cup weekend! For those not in the know, it’s the Canadian football championship. Will be played outside in Edmonton where it will be quite a balmy -2C and sunny on Sunday. No blizzard this year! We’re going to friends to watch the game, drink rye and ginger and ear chili.

      1. Nessun*

        Yesss!!! Fantastic weather and lots of stuff to see and do. So no turkey weekend, here but it’s gonna be great!

      2. Asenath*

        I’m the person who, as a child, shocked my male cousins when I confused the Grey Cup and the Stanley Cup.

        1. Rainy*

          I lived in Canada for a while, and in my second year there I dated a Canadian guy. He was very into introducing me to Cancon, so we watched Greatest Canadians and that sort of thing, and part of that was that we went to the film Seven Days.

          When the scene came up where the Stanley Cup is in a little rink somewhere in the prairies (forget where), the audience exhaled a profound, simultaneous sigh of awe, and I leaned over to my boyfriend and whispered “What’s that?”

          Everyone for two rows (I SWEAR, I hadn’t been that loud!) turned and looked at me and my boyfriend made a “calm down gesture” and said “She’s American, guys, we’re working on it”.

      3. FaintlyMacabre*

        Misread that as the “Earl Grey Cup” which is a tournament I could enjoy!

        And also, what is ear chili?

    7. Tau*

      Also funny to be German, since we don’t do Thanksgiving at all! For me, it’s more of a reminder that Advent is just around the corner and I need to sort out a calendar and a wreath, and consider starting the baking season this weekend.

    8. Nervous Accountant*

      This is a nice post cz I’m visiting Canada right now. I like the life here, but I really miss American Thanksgiving. My husband and I have been coming here for the last few years, since I always have that Friday off, so this way I burn 2.5 PTO days, not a full 5 as I would for a regular vacation.

  12. Lcsa99*

    So I am curious what non-pie desserts are people making today? We always have to do turkey shaped (vegan) sugar cookies for the kids in our lives, but somehow I also convinced my husband that we should make a wonderful brownie concoction – brownies, with a layer of homemade chocolate nougat, covered with chocolate chips and mini marshmallows, drizzled with more chocolate. My dentist wouldn’t approve but it might be worth skipping dinner for these monsters!

    1. Sled dog mama*

      My hubby loves baked custards so I made a big batch of salted caramel custard yesterday, he’s also requested chocolate cupcakes for his birthday so I’ll be making those in a few hours.

    2. Birch*

      I have made Nordic style twisted sweet buns (google “kanelbullar or kanelisolmu” for pictures of the really beautiful twists, or I’ll do a mini couronne shape). If you add some jam to the filling they come out with these gorgeous ruby stripes and taste like mulled wine. Really festive!

      1. Lcsa99*

        Just googled and those look beautiful! We made chocolate rugelach last weekend and I thought that was a lot of work. I can’t imagine how much work those things would be!

        1. Birch*

          I love them! They’re actually not difficult at all–the filling is sandwiched between two sheets of dough which is cut into strips, and you make the twists by wrapping a strip around two fingers, kind of like making a knot in sewing thread. With practice you can get really fast with it. Rugelach is still on my list of baked things I haven’t made but chocolate has to be the best flavor!

          1. Lcsa99*

            When you’re ready to try rugelach, you should check out Smitten Kitchen’s recipes cause she makes it pretty easy. I was just so surprised the dough was so soft that I was worried I messed it up.

            Your kanelbullar sounds like it would be a lot like chocolate babka, just smaller. That’s awesome.

    3. Forking great username*

      These amazing brownies that all super rich. Somehow both fudgy and cakey with chocolate chips on top. Sooooo delicious.

    4. Ashloo*

      My dad is making 4 or 5 desserts for… 5 people. He’s going a little overboard! I know of chocolate mousse, apple cake, and pumpkin pie for sure, but he says there is still a surprise.

      1. Red Reader*

        Haha, my list above will give me about one pie for every two people at my feast, PLUS the brownies and cake. But I send extra desserts home with folks :)

    5. CrazyPlantLady*

      Cranberry cake is my favorite. I’ve made Smitten Kitchen’s upside down cranberry cake in the past, but this year I’m making King Arthur’s Nantucket Cranberry Cake. Plus I like to make homemade cinnamon ice cream to top the pies and cakes and other desserts.

    6. Merci Dee*

      I’ve got a peach cobbler in the oven as we speak. My daughter and I are known for our pumpkin pies, but we decided to mix it up this year.

    7. Partly Cloudy*

      We (boyfriend and I) are bringing a mack daddy of a chocolate cake to our friend’s house who is hosting a Friendsgiving. No special meal is complete without chocolate, IMO.

    8. irene adler*

      We have pumpkin pudding since no one likes pie crust.

      Or is that too similar that it is considered same as pie?

    9. Liane*

      I am trying to decide if I want to bake cookies. And if I dare drag daughter out of her room to help since she SAID she wants to bake. If we do, it will be gingersnaps and possibly chocolate drop sugar cookies. Google the latter, it’s a cake-like cookie and very yummy.

      I wouldn’t hesitate to demand she help, except I have a soft spot for someone who has been dealing with Thanksgiving week grocery customers. Who, she was predicting yesterday, would also be blaming her for the romaine lettuce recall. (Her brother, who works at the same store & had just gotten off, told her he didn’t want to hear it since his job that morning had been disposing of the romaine. And that was our family holiday argument LOL.)

      1. Liane*

        I did make the gingersnaps. Also made up a gluten-free* brownie mix Daughter picked up for my husband. I made the latter with olive oil because it was the only cooking oil in the house, & I refuse to ask Young People Who Work in a Grocery Store to go shopping on Thanksgiving unless there’s a Real Emergency. It sure smelled tasty & from what he said it was good.

        * we don’t have to do the near-aseptic technique since he doesn’t have celiac disease. Hid doctors wanted him to try G/F for a while to see if it helped some of his other medical issues. So far, it hasn’t, but he’s committed to the trial.

    10. Banana Pancakes*

      I made a mandarin, honeycrisp, and pomegranate fruit salad this year because I’m a monster, but in the past I’ve done triple ginger cookies, homemade thin-mints, and a sweet cherry and balsamic vinegar crumble.

      TBH, I just didn’t feel up to it this year. Everything needs to be gluten free, since about five of us are allergic to wheat and baking GF can be super annoying.

      I think I’m going to make GF Twix bars for Christmas though.

    11. LGC*

      Cheesecake! Haven’t done one in a long time, but I realized I had a bunch of eggs and a springform pan.

      We also have a birthday cake – my cousin’s birthday is tonight (or yesterday), and my grandma’s is a week from tomorrow.

  13. Sled dog mama*

    Hubby has suddenly grown a spine! His mother called on Tuesday has a terrible cold and something going on with her eye. He actually told her not to come to Thanksgiving because we don’t want to get whatever she’s got, she argued he held firm.
    Two hours later his sister in law called, she and her kids have pinkeye (she’s the worst boundary stomper in the family) and just wanted to warn us. He canceled thanksgiving dinner plans with his family. We also found out yesterday his mom has a viral eye infection so she’s contagious until Sunday.
    I’m so proud!

    1. Lance*

      Good on him; getting sick around the holidays is the worst, especially when it’s caused by family who should’ve just stayed away.

    2. londonedit*

      Well done to your husband! Standing up to family can be so difficult.

      Bizarrely, I seem to have been suffering from exactly the same thing as your mother-in-law – I had an eye infection over last weekend which was then immediately followed by a nasty run-over-by-a-truck sort of general bug. So I am actually not at work today, because I’m taking a sick day to get better. As we don’t have Thanksgiving I’m not missing out on anything except work!

  14. debonairess*

    Non-American here (UK). I know Thanksgiving for most people involves a big meal involving turkey and cranberries (similar to Christmas dinner but with extra pies for dessert??) and that people try to get together with their families. So in my head its like a reallllly late harvest festival where you say thanks for the harvest??
    Are there other traditions as well?
    Or even just traditions for your particular family / friendship group?

    1. Lance*

      It’s mostly that, yes. Plus football. But then most American holidays seem to involve some sort of ‘big sports game’; I guess we’re just like that.

        1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

          I live in an area of little towns and villages and we have loads of Club Days (at least four off the top of my head), all in the summer, with Rose Queens and floats and parades and a fun fair. I’m not sure I’d like a winter parade quite as much as it’s a lot of standing about getting cold!

          1. Loose Seal*

            Remember a lot of the U.S. is southern to the U.K. It’s not really cold in much of the U.S. today. I walked around in a sleeveless dress today at my in laws’ In Tennessee. (Or, as I prefer to be accurate in my description, in Hell.)

          2. Marion Ravenwood*

            Rose Queens/May Queens and accompanying parades were definitely a thing in the bit of north-west England I grew up in. In primary school we’d always have a themed float (memorable ones include the National Lottery and King Arthur – not together) that various parents would spend weeks building. Then all the local schools/community groups etc would get dressed up in their costumes or uniforms and parade through our tiny town, and the Rose Queens from all the other towns would come as well. It was a massive thing that the whole town came out for – pretty much everyone who wasn’t involved in the parade would be lining the route somewhere. We all ended up in the biggest park, where there’d be a fun fair and various competitions (fancy dress, dog shows, baking/vegetable competitions, a mini football tournament etc). It was brilliant and in an odd way I miss it.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Consider a November vacation to NYC some year. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is huge…with massive character-shaped shaped balloons that each take dozens of people to maneuver. Sometimes the wind wins and cartoon characters tangle either lamposts or buildings.
          Native New Yorker secret — late the night before there’s a dress rehearsal outside Macy’s Herald Square, for at least the professional performers.
          The last float is Santa…at which point it’s Christmas. ;)

          Of course you’d have to plan that day carefully because so much is closed. And the weather is supremely unpredictable. But if you love parades, it’s one of the biggies.

    2. Amy Farrah Fowler*

      It sounds silly, but my traditions are television related. There are always parades and I love watching those. The end of the parade is usually a float with Santa on it, so it’s like today (officially unofficially) kicks off the Christmas season.

      1. debonairess*

        I have SO MANY tv related traditions for Christmas (The snowman, Muppets Christmas Carol, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas etc etc). Love a TV tradition.

        1. londonedit*

          In my family we have to watch Muppet Christmas Carol while we put the tree up, and The Snowman is a must for Christmas Eve afternoon!

        2. Marion Ravenwood*

          Our weird Christmas film tradition is an 80s/early 90s British comedy called Bernard and the Genie. For those who’ve never seen it, it stars Alan Cumming as Bernard, who loses his job and gets dumped by his girlfriend on Christmas Eve. He finds a magic lamp, rubs it, and out pops Josephus the genie (played by British comedian Lenny Henry). Hilarity ensues. It was a staple of my sisters’ childhoods but then we lost it in a house move, so spent years searching for it to buy anywhere before my mum found a copy on eBay. It’s basically the only reason my parents still own a VCR.

          I also love It’s A Wonderful Life, Muppet Christmas Carol, and Miss Marple at Christmas – something about the latter reminds me of the bit between Christmas and New Year, with me and my sister sitting on the sofa drinking loads of tea and eating all the Christmas chocolate. It has to be the Joan Higson Miss Marple though, no other version will do!

      2. Middle School Teacher*

        I also love a tv tradition. For me it’s not Christmas until I watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

    3. PB*

      There’s also a big parade and football, but that’s about it. It’s mainly about family and eating.

      In our family, we also have a tradition of playing games together between dinner and dessert. My mother will tell you that it’s traditional for her to tell jokes to the whole family. The rest of the family doesn’t see it that way.

    4. Delta Delta*

      My family often runs in a local 5k Turkey Trot race as part of our tradition. We’re skipping that this year because it’s very cold. It’s a popular thing that lots of people do!

      1. debonairess*

        Oh that sounds great! In the small UK town where I grew up there was a tradition where everyone would go on a full-family walk before lunch and everyone wore their new Christmas jumpers/ hats and if you had a dog you had to put tinsel round its collar. Now I live in a City so you don’t see that as much, but I miss it. There are lots of 5k park runs on Christmas day and I think they are some of the most popular – great idea to pre-emptively burn off some calories!

      2. Boo Hoo*

        I read a funny tweet the other day that said “what’s your biggest fear!”? The reply was “marrying into a family that runs 5ks on thanksgiving”. Hehe

    5. Llellayena*

      Starting tomorrow, I can sing Christmas carols around my mom. I was the kid who would sing them year-round so mom had a “no carols before thanksgiving” rule! I looked forward to thanksgiving for that reason alone! (And the pie…)

    6. Anon From Here*

      You know, I don’t even know. Both my parents are immigrants to the U.S., without any extended family in the U.S., so our Thanksgivings have always been this spread of a ridiculous amount of food that you are Supposed To Have On Thanksgiving, but in practice it wasn’t ever terribly different from an ordinary dinner, really.

      Now I’m in my 40s, and Mr. Anon From Here and I have been spending most of our Thanksgivings together (about 10 years now) with friends around the country. I shared custody of my son with his dad until he left for university a couple of years ago, so we took him to my family Thanksgiving when he didn’t go to his dad’s family gathering. But otherwise, West Coast one year, Midwest the next, maybe take the year after that one off and just hang out at home. I love it. “Friendsgiving” FTW!

    7. Sled dog mama*

      My family has a tradition of inviting anyone we know who doesn’t have family nearby, we also have a college in my town and usually invite any students we know who are not traveling home. This usually means that I’m related to less than half of the people at my “family “ thanksgiving.

      1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

        That’s a loveley tradition!
        I’m very much in favour of the extra chair offering (usually extended to old folks not students), especially when it’s cold and dark outside and some company and warmth would be welcomed.

    8. CAA*

      Thanksgiving dinner is not really the same as Christmas dinner for my family. Thanksgiving is definitely turkey and all the traditional sides, but Christmas is usually prime rib or maybe ham with varying side dishes.

    9. Traffic_Spiral*

      It’s also the holiday that you visit whatever side of the family you probably won’t be seeing for Christmas, to make sure everyone gets at least one christmas visit.

      1. Traffic_Spiral*

        Oh, and afterwards we go out and fistfight strangers in a Walmart parking lot for Black Friday.

        Kidding. (sort of).

    10. Gaia*

      It is, in fact, a late harvest festival. There’s a whole story about Pilgrims and Native Americans (but we don’t talk about that much these days because the ending isn’t a happy one for the Native Americans….) but it really is no different than any of the other cultural harvest celebrations from agricultural societies. It has just taken on monumental cultural importance here (I think because of our cultural affinity for a “we survived against the odds and thrived – let’s celebrate” storyline).

      1. Gaia*

        One thing that a lot of folks who aren’t very familiar with this holiday miss picking up on is it isn’t strictly family. There is a strong tradition of inviting “stray” people to your table (sometimes complete strangers) when they cannot be near their family or close friends for the holiday. It is seen as almost an honor to ensure no one eats alone. As someone who doesn’t tend to spend Thanksgiving with my family every other year (I alternate Christmas and Thanksgiving trips back home), I am usually invited to a few events (coworkers, friends, neighbors, literal strangers in the grocery store once).

        There is even a whole concept of “Friendsgiving” which is Thanksgiving but exclusively among friends.

        1. debonairess*

          Friendsgiving sounds lovely.
          We have friends who live in the same city as us and yet its not uncommon for us to go 6 months without seeing them. Maybe I should start an unoffiicial thanksgiving where we all meet up and reconnect before the Christmas rush! The list of pies in this comments section does sound delicious.

        2. Traffic_Spiral*

          Yup. I work abroad and all us expats are doing a friendsgiving. Everyone is invited to stuff themselves – as is proper for the season.

        3. Kit M. Harding*

          One of my friends with a large house hosts an annual Thanksgiving gathering for “people who have nowhere to go or who don’t want to go there.” I’m more in the “don’t want to go there” camp, so it’s nice to be able to tell my parents “I am busy doing the thing with my friends!”

      2. LizB*

        To add on to this history, it was made a federal holiday during the Civil War in an effort to give the country a unifying origin story/mythology to rally around. (It was celebrated before then sporadically, depending on whether each president felt like declaring it.)

    11. Anon Anon Anon*

      The main thing is eating turkey with your family. Or a large group of people if you can’t be with your family. Usually, cranberries and pies are part of it. Pumpkin pie and apple pie are the main ones. Sometimes pecan pie is included too. Candied yams, mashed sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and vegetables are popular side dishes. Usually, you put the turkey at the center of the table and surround it with dishes of other things. You pass around the dishes throughout the meal. Social norms about how much is ok to eat are cast aside. You’re supposed to eat a lot.

      My family is old fashioned and Christian. We lit candles and said a prayer before the meal. On my mother’s side, people went for walks after the meal, and it wasn’t ok to eat as much. On my father’s side, the Midwestern side, the men watched football, and there were extra snacks involving cheese and nuts.

      But it’s been years since I’ve celebrated it. I usually just enjoy having a quiet day to do whatever I want.

    12. MissDisplaced*

      I always think of Thanksgiving as a day to celebrate fall, even though it’s rather late for the actual harvest. But, as some noted, a good portion of the US is still quite warm this time of year. Other than that, it’s really just a big family dinner with TURKEY and all the sides. Yum! Tomorrow kicks off the Christmas season, so Thanksgiving gets a bit of a short shift nowadays. I actually enjoy Thanksgiving more so, because I find it less commercial and there’s no pressure of presents and all that.

    13. Not So NewReader*

      Well, we are supposed to be giving thanks for everything , but I think that has gotten to be secondary. It’s a lot of eating and when you can’t eat any more, you eat more anyway. I think we have definitely lost our connection to the harvest as so many small farms are just collapsing and there is food available everywhere. Collectively we don’t have much of a sense of a particular food being harvested at a particular time of year anymore.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Yes! As a food-history buff, I was bemused at the horror over the Romaine lettuce recall. Lord knows there were no spring greens at the first one. Dandelion and other gathered herbs maybe, but no Romaine!

  15. Birch*

    Anyone else working today and/or living somewhere american thanksgiving isn’t celebrated? Are you doing anything for yourself? I’m way too busy and exhausted this week with work to really cook until the weekend, but I made homemade bread yesterday and am planning to make pumpkin soup tonight inside some adorable tiny pumpkins. And this weekend I’m making cassoulet instead of turkey or my usual roast chicken. Haven’t been able to find green beans this year, so my Ohioan heart is breaking a little at the idea of not having green bean casserole. Over the past several years living abroad and with family kind of falling apart I’ve realized it’s too difficult to try to hold on to the feeling of holidays past, and instead it’s important to focus on building your holidays into what you need them to be for the future. It’s still a bit sad, but it doesn’t cause as much stress and resentment.

    1. Nervous Accountant*

      I’m visiting my in-laws in Canada and while there’s BF sales, there’s no thanksgiving meal. Kind of sad about missing that.

    2. Karen from Finance*

      I’m not American but I have a close relative who does live in the US, so she’s taking the Thanksgiving break to come visit. It’s funny because she’s on holidays and the rest of us are going through life as normal.

    3. What's with Today, today?*

      I’m in Texas, but in I’m in the radio business so I’m at work. It’s an easier day. My schedule doesn’t change (on air personality), but the office is closed so I came to work my pajamas. We get off Christmas Day, but that’s the only guaranteed holiday for air personnel. In fact, it’s spelled out in our handbook not to even think about requesting a holiday off. LOL. I’m used to it, and knew this would be the case before getting in to radio, so it’s cool by me.

    4. Flying Fish*

      I went to university in Canada. Once we were living in apartments, my American friends and I would have Thanksgiving dinner. None of us knew how to bake a turkey, so we had turkey sandwiches with all the other usual Thanksgiving sides and desserts.

    5. Traffic_Spiral*

      I’m living abroad and the other Americans and I are putting together a proper thanksgiving tomorrow (Friday is a day off). I’m on the turkey. Wish me luck.

      1. Gaia*

        I did this last year when I was in the UK! It was kind of amazing. I actually find myself a little sad to not be doing it again this year. I didn’t have other Americans to celebrate with, but my British (and Spanish and German) coworkers really stepped up to put together a whole dinner on Friday with all the fixings for me! It really made me feel at home!

      2. Interrodroid3000*

        Some of my american friends have been doing this for a few years now. To cut down on the work, we do it potluck style. The price of being invited is that you have to say what you’re thankful for, which is a new & scary concept to our french friends.

    6. Amy the Rev*

      I’m working today- my church hosts a free Thanksgiving dinner for anyone in the community, and we usually get about 200 people. It’s a big sit-down affair, with tablecloths and china and real silverware, and we get a mix of members of the congregation who have made this their tradition, homeless folks, people who are new to the area and don’t know anyone yet or can’t afford to travel home, and elderly folks with no family nearby. So my job will be to just go around the tables and chat with people, welcome them, and help fill in as a server where needed.

      My family is coming up to have dinner here at the church, which is great because that means no cooking for my mom (when she cooks big meals she gets stressed and when she gets stressed she takes it out on me), and then I get to take a comp day sometime in the next couple weeks to make up for working on Thanksgiving, so it’s a win-win!

      I am sad that my sister isn’t coming home for thanksgiving this year bc flights were too expensive, but I’m hoping that working at this MASSIVE meal will help distract me from the fact that she’s not here

    7. Best cat in the world*

      I’m in the UK and we don’t celebrate it here (although Black Friday is becoming a thing here!). I’ve been in uni all day for work and next week is exam week so it’s a bit stressful at the moment. Off out to a dance class shortly though so I’m looking forward to that :)

    8. Traveling Teacher*

      Did some Black Friday shopping…Tuesday. It makes absolutely no sense, but there are “Black Week” sales all over my city in France. Nothing fancy, just half-off a ton of boxes of baby formula.

      Also having a big semi-traditional meal with international and local friends on Sunday when everyone has the day off :)

    9. This Daydreamer*

      I had to work until 9am, so I slept through most of the day. I haven’t had a traditional Thanksgiving for years. The day my sister unexpectedly died was the day before Thanksgiving 2005 and that completely ruined the holiday for me.

      If course, I don’t entirely miss sitting at a table with my dad and the stepfamily for four freaking hours making awkward conversation. I do miss the food.

    10. TL -*

      I am a student abroad and cooked an open invite dinner for my (small) department. Managed to set off the fire alarm and get the whole building evacuated but other than that, it went really well!

    11. anon24*

      I worked a 12 today. Some co-workers who didn’t work cooked a huge Thanksgiving feast for all of us who did, and our supervisor allowed us all time to go get food, so that was super sweet (and delicious!)

      Because I worked my SO went to a co-worker’s home for Thanksgiving. Co-worker’s lovely wife (who has never met him or me before) felt bad that I worked and sent home an entire meal for me, complete with desert.

      So 2 Thanksgiving dinners. Yay food! Hope you all had a great day!

    12. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      We haven’t done Thanksgiving in the last four years since we moved to the UK and frankly I sort of forget about it now. Most of the time I only remember what day it is when someone at work asks if I am doing something special. The Christmas season in the UK is nuts with a lot of work parties that are defacto Christmas dinners, so having yet another mound of turkey to deal with really isn’t appealing.

      This year after travelling in Asia for the last two weeks for vacation and my parents coming to London to cat sit, we will be meeting up with them in Stockholm later today to visit my partners family. Sunday we are all going to a proper Swedish Christmas buffet at a manor house , so we figure that will cover Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner with both families, since we don’t travel at Christmas.

      Yesterday my parents went to the Mayflower pub, supposedly the pub where the Mayflower was moored before it left, for their Thanksgiving dinner, while we had chicken biriyani and green salad at a traditional Qatari place here in Doha.

  16. Cat Meow*

    First comment ever
    I couldn’t resist with those precious cats in turkey pictures!!!
    My favorite part of this website besides the amazing advice is the amazing cat pics that I eager look forward to each week
    -Cat Meow

    1. Trouble*

      I’m not sure if I take Alison’s one extra cat from my count as a comfort or a challenge though. It’s a dangerous question should it be answered the latter.

  17. Audiophile*

    Got a nice surprise this morning, my bank posted my paycheck early. Company must have processed it yesterday, so it would go in for Friday and bank made it available today.

    I can do some Black Friday shopping and pay some bills early.

    1. Kat in VA*

      Paycheck twins! Mine isn’t due until tomorrow, but since my org gives the Friday after Thanksgiving as a holiday, I guess they opted to pay us…today? Also on a holiday? Works for me!

  18. What's with Today, today?*

    Just a normal week in the radio business, setting in my studio. I am looking forward to Dallas Cowboys football lately.

  19. Nervous Accountant*

    I posted this on the weekend threads so wanted to give a little update—

    In Canada for the week. Driving is fine. Luckily there’s a lot of plazas with more empty spots so parking has not been an issue.

    Staying in a house with a cat while allergic—surprisingly not so bad. I LOVE the kitten. Haven’t had any serious reactions, Benadryl & reactine are doing the trick. *knock on wood*

    Our cars got totaled so we got rentals-my husband returned 1 of the rentals before leaving and they charged him $75. No idea why. Insurance is paying for it all, it was barely driven, and he returned it with a full tank. I believe we can dispute this w/ the CC company if we disagree with the answer from the rental company… right?

    1. CAA*

      Talk to your insurance claims adjuster and the rental company rather than disputing the charge with your credit card. If the insurance should have paid for the whole thing, send the rental car bill in as part of your claim and get them to reimburse you.

      A CC dispute should always be an absolute last resort. Even if you win with your credit card, the merchant can still send the debt to collections and damage your credit rating. In this case you’d probably lose with the CC anyway as they have your signatures on the rental agreements, and that’s enough to show that you agreed to the charges.

    2. Steve*

      “Luckily there’s a lot of plazas with more empty spots so parking has not been an issue”

      Is this normally a problem? I’ve not typically ever had problems with parking, so find this comment to be curious.

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        Steve, I posted over the weekend asking for advice on how to drive/park without a rear view camera; my rental doesn’t have a camera and my current car (which is under repair) did have one so I got very used to driving with one and was worried about driving in an unknown city.

        Im from NYC so I’m very used to parallel parking but I haven’t had to come across that here so far. It helps that 1. I haven’t gone very far, 2. Go out during school/work hours, so avoid the heavy traffic.

  20. Ruth (UK)*

    I’m a UK-born, UK-based half-American (American mother, English father) so we celebrate Thanksgiving – I’ve taken tomorrow as leave from work and we’re having our Thanksgiving meal then. We always celebrate together with a family who emigrated from South Africa not long after my parents moved here and we’ve always been close family friends. So I’m looking forward to that.

    I work [administratively] at a university where we have academic staff in my department from many different places (including Romania, Russia, Italy, China, etc) and including 6 from the USA (one who only moved here about a month ago). We do a Thanksgiving-inspired pot-luck (which is actually next week..) for staff and post-grad students which I think is quite nice. The university contributes towards funding it (basically, we can alcohol for it from the faculty budget).

    1. Ruth (UK)*

      Also, oops, I only realised/remembered immediately after posting this (and can’t edit or delete) that this is no work… I was just thinking about the thanksgiving meal bit…

  21. Lost but not alone*

    My husband announced last Friday that he was moving out and wanted a divorce. He’s giving me full custody of our toddler and isn’t asking for much other than his stuff, but I feel like my life just got turned upside down. I’ve already got a lawyer to make sure I’m not missing anything legally, but what can I do to make sure my daughter stays connected to his side of the family when he isn’t really involved in her life and they don’t live close by? I don’t want her to grow up missing half her family. Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving doing whatever makes you happiest!

    1. Not Today*

      So sorry this happened to you. You already know that he is an ass. Unfortunately, you can’t make his side of the family stay connected to your child, especially when they don’t live nearby. You may need to give up that dream and focus on building connections where you are. Blood connections are not always he strongest or best connections. Your toddler may very well not miss what they did not have. Best of luck to you.

      1. Lost but not alone*

        Thanks. Luckily I have a decent support system here who all dote on her so we will just work on building up our own little family.

    2. debonairess*

      I just wanted to send you a hug. That sounds tough.
      My dad took off when we were young and I think all you can do is offer him the opportunity to be involved in e.g. visits through the year/ birthday parties/ christmas etc. You can’t control what he accepts or does not accept but (in my experience) she will know and respect and love you all the more for everything you tried.
      re. his wider family, would a week’s holiday with grandparents on that side be feasible e.g. over the summer? Also skype calls, photo exchanges, inviting them to yours for certain holidays if that feels appropriate?

    3. debonairess*

      To add though – we ended up with no contact at all with anyone on my dad’s side (combination of distance and other factors) I turned out pretty close to normal :p
      So if it doesn’t happen that way, it doesn’t happen, and remember that it should be a two way street with effort made by them as well as you.
      I wish you a peaceful thanks giving with your wonderful daughter. Tonight I will raise a toast in thanks to all the incredible people out there raising children in difficult circumstances. May your days be filled with love and laughter. And pie.

      1. Lost but not alone*

        Thank you for your thoughts. We do Skype periodically but I do plan on increasing it. They would probably love the vacation time and would totally welcome us. Thanks for the great idea!

    4. Smarty Boots*

      I’m so sorry — however you felt/feel about your marriage, it’s still tough! I hope you have a nice holiday with your daughter.

      Re the family: get a calendar and put in birthdays for the people you’d like your daughter to keep in contact with. Then have her make a card or draw a picture for birthdays, holidays, mother’s day, Father’s Day, and send those off. You can also send school photos once she is in school. They may or may not respond — I don’t know if they are nice people or not, but even nice people may not know how to act in this situation — they may feel loyal to him, for instance.

      1. Lost but not alone*

        A calendar is an awesome idea! I will definitely do that. It’s low maintainenence for me, but they would love it. Thanks for the idea!

    5. Traffic_Spiral*

      “but what can I do to make sure my daughter stays connected to his side of the family when he isn’t really involved in her life and they don’t live close by? ”

      1. Accept that you can’t control his or his family’s behavior, and maybe you’ll just have to settle for being a good mom and keeping her connected to your side of the family.

      2. Remember to help her send Christmas cards to the relatives and always prompt thank you cards for any present.

    6. Observer*

      What the others said. Make the effort. Don’t get bitter if they don’t respond.

      That’s really the best you can do for your child. It gives her the best chance of staying connected, makes it less damaging if they drop the ball – and if they do it gives her a chance for a second try if she wants to try when she’s older. She may not want to, of course, but it will be less fraught for her.

    7. Gaia*

      It is quite possible that even if he doesn’t want to stay connected, they will. She is young, but reach out and tell them you want them in her life. If they are decent, loving, people they will be worried about you not wanting them around and will be glad to hear you do. You can use Skype, etc, for now while she is young so she can see and hear them. And perhaps phone calls/emails/occasional visits as she gets older.

      I’m sorry you are going through this. It will not be easy and I am sure it was a great shock. But you sound like you’re taking all the right steps and you and your kiddo are going to be just great. Take a deep breath and enjoy the holiday today. Everything else can wait.

      1. TechWorker*

        I was older when my parents separated (13, though that makes my youngest sister 6 at the time). My dad didn’t live close and tbh he made way more of an effort after my parents split up than when they were together. I think he basically realised he had to actually organise things to see us rather than just being in the house and sleeping half the day (he did have a ridiculous commute at the time, to be fair). So – obviously you know better than me whether he’s going to make an effort to be around, but sometimes small amounts of quality time is better than lots of low effort/bad quality time, if that makes any sense. Wishing you luck.

    8. NicoleK*

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. My husband’s parents divorced when he was young. His Dad just disappeared and so did his side of the family. He grew up not knowing that side of the family at all. He connected with his Dad in adulthood but doesn’t have much interactions with the extended family.

    9. restingbutchface*

      I am so sorry. You’re not alone, look at these strangers who have your back!

      If you got the news last Friday (and it sounds like a shock), a week is really fast to start worrying about future relationships with his family. You’ll work it out over time but let the wounds heal a little bit.

      Sending you all the best for a peaceful holiday.

  22. Loopy*

    On day 2 of sickness (head cold/sore throat type thing) and I mentioned to my future MIL that I wouldn’t be able to bake something as planned and… she suggested I stay home in bed. Which, I get that it’s mostly older folks who don’t want to catch my germs and get sick (which is of course fair! I mention age because she has specifically said she’s more germophobic now that getting sick is harder at her age) but… am also feeling awkward and sad. Fiance is working so it’s just me joining them so I’d be sitting home alone all day.

    I basically said I don’t mind coming out but if they are worried about getting sick I can stay home. Waiting on her reply. I don’t… really know how I should have replied?

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I think you need to stay home. I’m sorry. I know it’s lonely and not the way you want to spend your Thanksgiving, but that sounds like an illness you don’t want to give to anyone. And I don’t know about you, but when I’m that kind of sick, I don’t enjoy sitting upright and I’m not very good company, so it turns into just leaving the house for the sake of leaving the house without getting any actual enjoyment from it. Can your fiance stop by her place after work to at least pick you up some leftovers or something?

      1. Loopy*

        I decided to stay home. She definitely made it sound more like she just didn’t want me to drag myself out out of obligation.

        It made me super sad because it’s just her and her two SILs going to Cracker Barrel so I hated to bail on them, it’s already such a small gathering. But it would be something like 30 minutes of driving all together and then being out as a crowded restaurant and with me being obviously sick it just felt rude to put them in proximity with me.

    2. londonedit*

      Ugh, this is a difficult one! Do you think she meant it as ‘Oh poor you, please stay at home and get better, don’t drag yourself out of the house for us’? Even if she did, I know it’s easy to immediately interpret it as ‘Fine, whatever, don’t come then’. Especially if you’re not feeling great as it is! It’s always so disappointing when you have to miss out on something because of illness. Can you and your fiancé do something to celebrate over the weekend, or when you’re feeling better?

      1. Loopy*

        She definitely meant it that way and meant well. I mentioned above it’s already a very small gathering just out to a Cracker Barrel and I hated to make it even smaller. Thanksgiving is kind of…lacking for our little group and it just makes me feel sad she doesn’t get the big, happy family gathering due to family issues (none are her fault, she’s sweet). She’d never be upset that I didn’t join in a million years, but the whole holiday is making me kind of sad that I couldn’t help bring some cheer to their little dinner.

        1. londonedit*

          Ah, I see. I totally understand why you feel sad that you can’t join them. Maybe you could go and visit another time and bring your baking.

    3. Loopy*

      UPDATE: apparently with the full disclosure that I’m sick they are all in agreement that they are fine with me joining them and future MIL seems to want me to come now that she’s maybe sensed that I wanted to go and it was only worry about them being exposed to sickness was keeping me.

      It’s been a very weird exchange with lots of flip flopping all around. I want t be considerate but also want to join. I was hoping they’d more or less make the decision for me and… it’s all gone every which way. Oy. The holidays.

    4. CoffeeOnMyMind*

      I’m in a similar situation: I had to cancel going to my grandparents’ for thanksgiving because I got a cold on Monday. My grandpa is on chemo, and so I could get him sick. The rest of my family already had plans, and my friends have young children. I’m still contagious and I didn’t want to get anyone sick. It’s not fun being home alone on the holiday but at least I can still FaceTime everyone. Unfortunately you can’t control when you get sick, and this time it just happened to be near a holiday.

  23. Alston*

    Has anyone here read the “Debt: A Love Story” money diary by Kate and Tom? I’ll link to it. But good gravy, my jaw kept dropping lower and lower in horror as I read.

    I can’t really don’t justice, but from what I remember

    They make like 160k a year together. They kept their student loans mostly in forberence for 20 years instead of paying them. They have more than 10 credit cards (niether of them knew how many) and at least 8 are maxed out. They cashed out a 401k, paid off some credit cards, blew the rest on Christmas (didn’t realize how bad the tax penalty was going to be) and then had to put the tax penalty back on a credit.card.
    They have all three kids in private school (which they took out a loan to pay for, so all their money isn’t even going to tuition)

    1. KatieKate*

      I just googled the story and… WOW. I have no sympathy for them. This isn’t a family that got wrecked with a hospital bill. They are living WAY above their means and aren’t doing anything to stop it. They get family help and then waste it. I’m just sitting here shocked

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, these are the people who get trotted out to make it sound like debt is always the fault of the debtor. They make everybody look bad.

        Did anybody else used to watch Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s various money makeover shows? She specialized in easy targets to some extent, but she could slice up a couple’s budget cleaner than the sushi chef they couldn’t afford anymore.

        1. The Original K.*

          I love Gail Vaz-Oxlade. She had such a no-nonsense way about her. People would be like “You’re mean!” and she’d say straight up that she didn’t care what they thought of her and what they needed to do was sell the truck that was costing them a grand a month.

        2. Clawfoot*

          I loved her shows, and fully admit that I mostly watched them to make myself feel better about my own life choices. :)

        3. Isotopes*

          Her shows were so amazing! Her blog was awesome as well. I miss Gail!

          I remember the most shocking episode of TDDUP was one in which the couple, who had no kids, made a combined $110K or something, and were going into thousands of dollars of debt every single month. Thousands.

          I supported two people on less than half of that (ex didn’t really work) while STILL putting away at least 10% of my income, so I was just flabbergasted. But they seemed to really take all the lessons to heart and got the full $5000 at the end of the episode, and were already putting a bunch of plans into action. It was awesome to watch.

    2. Anon From Here*

      That story is bananas.

      Folks, you can’t live a middle-class life right out of university or professional school. There are so many places just in that short summary where they could have made much, much better choices. Wow.

      1. Observer*

        If this summary is accurate, this is not about living a middle class life on a low salary. Even with private school for the kids, you can live a decent life on $160K. But, when you live with ZERO accountability to yourself, of COURSE you are going to run into trouble. And, when it’s ALL EVERYONE ELSE’S FAULT, that doesn’t help.

        Like, how do you even manage to max out *8* credit cards – and they are not even ALL of your cards!?! How do you not even KNOW how many you have?! How do you cash out your 401k without asking your accountant what the tax penalty is going to be?!

        This has ZERO to do with “the system”. There is NO system that is abuse proof.

        1. Anon From Here*

          I should clarify, no, they weren’t starting out on a low salary. But (IMO) you can’t start your professional life in a middle-class lifestyle, even if you start it with a middle-class salary. Unless you’re starting out debt-free, you have some obligations to take care of before you sink your take-home pay into middle-class trappings.

          As a lawyer, I’m also thinking this is a bit of an indictment of her law school, where she didn’t learn enough about federal taxation and bankruptcy. They mention considering bankruptcy, but it’s pretty much impossible to get rid of student loans that way. That’s kind of Bankruptcy 101.

          1. fposte*

            There are three categories: Live Below Your Means, Live at Your Means, and Live According to Your Potential Means, in descending order of ideal to disastrous. They opted for the last.

            I do think they need some psychological counseling, though, not just financial; they just seemed more hopeful about dying than about finding a way to deal.

            1. Anon From Here*

              Yeah, the comments about life insurance were a little hard to read, came across in a “joking not joking” kind of way.

              I’m also feeling a little bit “there but for the grace of god go I,” because I put Anon From Here, Jr., through prep school. That cost me in the low 6 figures by the time we were done, so even though I’m debt-free now (luck, mostly), I’m several years behind what would be ideal for my age. But if I hadn’t had that windfall a few years back to lead me to being debt-free? I wonder how many credit cards or other repeated loan forbearances or whatever I’d be juggling right now.

            2. Alston*

              It sounds like the husband at least doesn’t even want to see a financial counselor because he thinks the guy will push him toward bankruptcy.

              But yeah I think they need some sort of financial and general counseling. And I sort of hope their parents somehow see the article, and connect the dots and figure out it’s the kids they bailed out? Like maybe the parents finding out could help shake them into making some changes.

              Also one kid is 18. College any day now.

              1. Anon From Here*

                College any day now.

                It’s not “nice,” but parents can totally opt out of paying for their kids’ college.

                I’ve actually done this. I helped Anon From Here, Jr., for a couple of semesters but now he’s on his own. It’s hard, and you want to do so much for your kids all the time; but it’s not responsible to borrow from your own retirement to pay for their education. While (ideally) they will be able to repay the loans with future income, you can’t so easily replace what you take out of your own savings once you’re the age at which your kids are in college.

                1. Asenath*

                  That sort of arrangement always seemed perfectly normal to me. My family wasn’t poor, but there were four of us, and I was the oldest. There was no question – we were going to get some kind of post-secondary education (in the end, we all got university degrees). But equally certainly my parents couldn’t pay all my university expenses. They paid for first year. Next year, they contributed, and I got some student loans and started working part-time as well as in the summer. I was on my own financially pretty early – and my next sibling was partway through the same process, with #3 on her heels. And I took it for granted. None of my new university friends came from families who paid their entire way. They got by with some money from their families, loans, and work. Some left for a year or two to work and build up their resources a bit.

                2. The Cosmic Avenger*

                  You certainly shouldn’t mortgage your retirement to pay for college, as you’re just exchanging one burden on your kids (student debt) for another (caring for you when you’re old and broke). But we’re fortunate enough to be able to live below our means, and so we’re going to try to pay for all of our minion’s college, either outright or by paying off loans for them immediately after taking them out. One of the big reasons people have trouble saving, for a down payment on a house and for retirement and everything else, is because they’re burdened with student loans, which financially weighs you down from that point on.

              2. Asenath*

                Oh, yes, the parents can afford to pay for university without risking their own financial future, it’s a great gift. But it’s a mistake to, as you say , mortgage your retirement. And then there’s student loans – ideally, of course, they should be kept to a minimum, but what happens on graduation? The couple in the story have never paid them off! Just let them sit there, accumulating interest. When I finally graduated, I did spend three years not paying my loans – I was on a volunteer program that paid the interest – but when I completed that and got my first decent-paying job, my first priority was repaying my student loans – long before I bought a house or any other luxuries. I don’t mean to boast – I did screw up royally with my finances at a later point – but just putting off student loan repayment in favour of living expensively?? That shocks me more than the private school and the “Need money? Get another credit card and run it up to the limit” idea.

            1. Asenath*

              That’s where a proper non-profit credit counselling service comes in handy. They might eventually advise bankruptcy, but before they get there, the client gets opportunities to learn discipline – setting up a budget, an advisor to help them stay on track, and so on. Of course, some people won’t learn – well, the first time – and some won’t learn at all. But there are resources out there to help people with financial problems, and lots of their clients do learn.

          2. Bagpuss*

            Out of interest, can you continue to work as a lawyer if you go bankrupt? I’m a lawyer in the UK and here, if you go bankrupt it means your practising certificate (licence to practice, I guess?) is automatically suspended. You can apply to the regulator to be allowed to continue to practice but it isn’t guaranteed (although I think that they would normally permit it, subect to conditions such s not handling client money).

            1. Anon From Here*

              The federal bankruptcy law specifically prohibits the denial of a professional license to someone solely on the basis of their having filed for bankruptcy. (See link in handle.) The public policy behind that, I’m guessing, is that it doesn’t do much good for a lawyer not to be able to ever work as a lawyer again after they’re bankrupt.

              Having filed for bankruptcy before you get your law license in the first place can be a negative factor when your state licensure authority considers your “character and fitness” for admission to the profession. But if it’s the only negative thing on your application, it shouldn’t automatically result in a denial of your shiny new license. Again, it would just deny someone a tool for their livelihood.

            2. anonagain*

              I’ve lost track of the nesting here, so maybe you’re replying to something else. I didn’t think either of the people in the article was working as a lawyer?

          3. Observer*

            I hear what you are saying, but I think you’re kind of missing the point. And also don’t get blaming their law school. Yes, they should have known better than thinking they could get rid of their student debt this way. But they missed SOOO many basic things that they HAD to have been told about that it sounds more like a matter of filtering out anything they don’t like rather “never learned X”.

            I couldn’t even finish reading this because of the stupidity. And, no, their debt amount is NOT insurmountable – even with three kids in private school. Although, yes, the COULD move. But that aren’t going to. They aren’t going to do any of the things they COULD do, except complain.

            They are not living a “middle class life”. And cry me a river over the fact that they “have to” grow their own vegetables.

        2. fposte*

          There are some clues in there about problems with functioning, though, and I think it’s common that once something is $x of debt/x days late/x numbers off of your recommended blood pressure/cholesterol you stop counting because you don’t want to know.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Unfortunately, they are using spending to mask over other problems. It kind of tugged on my heart strings when they were talking about their neighbors and how they don’t belong/fit in.

            I remember when I was in kindergarten, I’d watch the “big boys and girls” go to a different section of the building. I wondered how they did that, I wondered how I would fit in “over there”. They seemed to have it all going for them, would that happen to me also?
            This is the adult version of that type of thing. “I want to fit in with the big boys and girls, but I don’t know how to do that.”
            It’s sad. They are buying “sophisticated things” and hoping to become “sophisticated”. But then they are not even sure if they want to be sophisticated and hang out with other sophisticated people. There’s many layers here.

        3. blackcat*

          “Even with private school for the kids, you can live a decent life on $160K”

          Depends on COL. In big cities, private school tuition can set you back 30+k per kid. I worked at a (quite good) private school in the south and it was around 20k. 3 kids in private school can be not so expensive, or it can be 100k/year.

    3. debonairess*

      Oh my goodness. I have been poor and I know how hard it can be to manage money and how the system is set up to make it harder to manager money the less of it you have, but this…. I don’t know whether to be angry or just sad. I guess sad. The worst bit is the parents having paid it off only for them to carry only living in exactly the same way. I remember the money worries and this is making feel stressed again retrospectively. Arghhhh.

      1. Asenath*

        I don’t think its the system that makes it harder to manage money the less you have. I think that’s just a result of the fact that if you have little money, you have far less of a margin of error for mistakes, so you need really good management skills. If you have a big salary coming in, and perhaps the kind of steady high-paying job that makes banks want to lend you lots of money, you can make lots and lots of very expensive money management mistakes before everyone cuts you off. If you’re on minimum wage, a tiny mistake in managing your money might see you out on the street – but you won’t have the chance to build up tens or hundreds of thousands in debt.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Oh, it’s not just that, it’s that it is literally more expensive to be poor. When something we like is on sale that’s not perishable, I will buy a lot of it, and put it in the basement, because we have enough money to both have storage space and disposable income. And if the car needs to be fixed, I don’t need to miss work or even risk losing my job to have it fixed because we’re privileged enough to have two cars, lots of PTO, and white collar jobs where we can work from home. Plus we have emergency savings, so we don’t need to put expenses on a credit card, or worse, a predatory payday loan.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Right on. If you only have enough money to buy 50 gallons of oil then the companies tack on a $50 delivery charge here. Now that is understandable. But the result is that poor people pay more per gallon of oil than other people. And most things go this way.
            If you are poor and you cannot afford to get your car repaired because of cost, then you walk. That is all there is to it. Hopefully, your job is near by. But in rural America, it’s probably not.

    4. Baby Fishmouth*

      Yeah I saw that and I couldn’t BELIEVE how atrociously they spent their money. They also don’t really seem to be taking any sort of real responsibility for it (they talk as if this just happened to them one day), and they are taking no true steps toward paying anything off. I just can’t believe there are people like that out there.

      1. NewNameForThisComment*

        I can. I have a colleague like this.
        She recently disclosed that they have well over £50,000 in debt (not including their mortgage), and that pretty much the whole of her income goes on servicing their debt, while they live off her husband’s salary.
        I don’t know exact figures, but their combined income (after tax) will certainly be over £80,000 ($103 ,000), and probably closer to £100,000 ($128,000). We’re not in a particularly high COL area

    5. AvonLady Barksdale*

      You know what? I read that after reading your description, and… honestly, I feel a whole lot better about my life and my choices. Even about my debt, which I hate having but is managed very well. Sheesh.

      Not knowing about 401(k) penalties makes my head spin. Every single time I have switched plans or signed up or whatever, I have been told over and over about the penalties. When I explored cashing out a pension fund a few years ago, the representative was explicit about the penalties. I don’t even see how one could go through with the cash-out without knowing about them.

      1. Anon From Here*

        I can’t think of a non-snarky way to put it, but where is this couple from that they have never heard, by the time they’re in their 40s, the phrase “substantial penalty for early withdrawal”?

        They’re in this perfect storm of financial illiteracy, irresponsible spending, and never having actually endured a concrete consequence (foreclosure/repo, zero access to credit, homelessness, etc., not that I wish any of this on them) for their behavior.

          1. Marthooh*

            They knew there would be a penalty, but didn’t bother to find out what the actual amount would be before they cashed in and paid the money away.

    6. esk*

      I read that the other day when it was linked on the Billfold. It makes me so anxious just reading it. But also I think I could easily be either of them, just making terrible decision after terrible decision until I’m in a sort of state of paralysis. They can list all their mistakes but they can’t stop making them – that’s how I feel a lot of the time

      1. Alston*

        Yeah, I was trying to figure out how I would even begin to start dealing with it. Counseling first, then take the kids out of private school. Then what?

        1. Anon From Here*

          I’d bet their day-to-day spending eclipses the private school fees. They need to understand what they’re actually spending their money on and rein in their costs. Groceries, gas (insert “was this trip really necessary” messaging from WWII, urging people to save gas and tires), eating out, charitable giving, cut the cable TV to only internet, slash the number of cell phones, jigger the thermostat to a lower temp in winter and higher in summer — ax it all, then ax it some more. Full-on Little House on the Prairie hand-made Christmas, or no Christmas. Same for birthdays. Note that this isn’t nearly as rough on the kids as the misery evident in the house right now.

          Then use some strategy to pay the credit cards: snowball or highest-rate or whichever. Get on the phone and make the really uncomfortable phone calls asking creditors to forgive some of the debt.

          This is the stuff that comes to mind just off the top of my head. The bottom line, so to speak, is that they need to learn what things constitute actual basic necessities of life and quit spending beyond the necessities. They’ve never done that and they’ve never endured real-life consequences.

    7. Holy heck anon for this*

      I can totally see how this happened, because I am living it right now. We make great money, but my spouse spends everything we have and more. I am frugal (as heck) by nature (child of a couple of accountants) but it’s like sticking my finger in dike.

      A few thoughts on how someone could get here:

      1) My spouse comes from money. There is very much a sense of entitlement– this is what a life is supposed to look like — and a deep sense of resentment if that’s not actually what happens. Good luck trying to set down a budget or dole out an allowance, because then you are the bad guy that is keeping him from the life he truly deserves (ugh).

      2) With that comes a lack of skills. Sewing a button, sweeping the floor, raking the yard — all things the rest of us learned at home, all something that was handled by somebody else when he was growing up. He has no desire to learn it, partly because it’s “beneath him” but mostly because he truly doesn’t believe that these skills are something you CAN learn if you aren’t “naturally” good at them [those two are very closely tied together]. Getting a second (or third, or fourth, job) falls into the same category for him.

      3) Growing up, it looked to him like money just “appeared”. There was always more than enough money, so of course things will just magically “work themselves out” now.

      4) Trouble is, money didn’t just “appear” when he was growing up. Both parents worked high-paying jobs, and they banked one entire salary while living on the other. Trouble is, they never actually talked about this with their kids. Neither of their kids knew this until they were in their 40s, after I asked the question. The Magical Money Fairy habit was well entrenched by then.

      5) Given all of that, there really isn’t a concept of working through things slowly, putting money away in savings, paying off something month by month. Everything is a hunt for a get rich quick scheme/Magical Money Fairy to make the problem go away.

      6) The latter point is THE major contributing factor to the debt going up every month. We don’t have a boat or an RV, he doesn’t have a drug or a gambling problem, we don’t send our kid to public school or live in a McMansion. But there is absolutely NO forward forward planning. As an example, I added up his credit card charges one month. He spent 800 dollars one month on Uber alone. Why? Because he hadn’t planned ahead for daycare closing time and needed to Uber there to make it before closing– almost EVERY DAY. In his mind it was justified, because otherwise he would owe the daycare 10 bucks a minute or something. In my mind, this is insanity. The daycare closes at the same time every day, you plan your day ahead to make sure you can make it.

      I do not spell this out to get sympathy in any way — hell, even I don’t have sympathy for it. But it is the story of how otherwise wealthy, privileged people get themselves into these messes, and how the habits you start with your kids when they are young stick.

      1. debonairess*

        Thanks for this comment. I think it’s this sort of reflection that was entirely missing from the article – your comment above goes some way to explaining why that might be.
        I hope you’re doing okay and not too frustrated in your own situation.
        On the off-chance you haven’t already read it, I have a love-hate relationship with FrugalWoods but if you put “how-do-you-convince-your-husband-or-wife-to-be-frugal” into the search engine of your choice, there are some interesting reader comments.

      2. Dan*

        Some people are bad with math / don’t think quantitatively.

        My ex grew up in Ohio where things were cheap. We moved out to suburban Washington DC. I made a six figure income working 50 to 60 hours a week.

        Ex thought six figures was a lot of money, so she could spend what she wanted.


        What I can’t figure out is how much of that was a math problem and how much of that was an entitlement problem. Don’t get me wrong, a good chunk of that was an entitlement problem. She wouldn’t or couldn’t do math either.

        1. Overeducated*

          This is a big thing, I think. My husband and I are in a similar position, in that we moved to the DC area and doubled our income at the same time (we were funded grad students before, so we’re not talking crazy money). At the same time, the costs of rent and child care alone, and home prices now that we’re thinking about staying long term, are SO high that we aren’t left with more disposable income. I can easily see how people sign up for too-high student loans and mortgages, basically because all these numbers make it sound like monopoly money and less like real math is involved, and it scares me that even I am tempted to think that way. If someone thought “hey with a six figure income we should at least be able to go out more, get nice clothes, etc.” that would compound the problem, literally.

        2. Marthooh*

          Moving from a place with low COL to high COL is like the opposite problem of very old people who are shocked to see the price of a gallon of milk these days. When you’re used to thinking of six figures as mad wild riches, it’s hard to spend carefully.

      3. Equestrian Attorney*

        My spouse is from money too, and SO MUCH THIS. It can be incredibly frustrating to lay this out for him. I don’t come from poverty but my parents worked hard and taught me about money early. My husband always seems confused that our bank accounts are not magically full.

    8. Ruth (UK)*

      well, this sort of boggles my mind. I make £17k (just under $22k in USD) and feel like I have quite a lot of money (I previously made £14.5k for a few years and prior to that, worked min wage in various kitchens etc). (ps. I do not live in an especially expensive area of the country though. I couldn’t survive on this in, say, London). When I was growing up, my dad was a teacher and my mother worked part time. The numbers being talked about in this article just seem unreal to me…

      1. GhostWriter*

        I’m not going to read it because I think it’ll just upset me. I will never ever make anywhere near half of their $160k, but if I did it would be so wonderful (no more worrying about paying for health insurance!). I can’t imagine wasting it and going into debt spending so much money unnecessarily. I’d be frugal and save what I could for emergencies and retirement.

      2. TechWorker*

        I will say that once you’re earning large amounts of money it’s all too easy to spend it! I lived in London on just above minimum wage (and managed to save, because I was flat sharing and spent barely anything on food..) but now I earn over twice what my mum does (who’s also very qualified!!) and although I spend a lot more per month I still don’t feel like I’m rolling in it by any means. (The difference is I guess that I’ve saved and managed to get on the housing ladder, which if you’re in the south means basically having a large income or rich parents. Someone with 2/3 of my income could have the same lifestyle if they were happy to rent).

      3. Traveling Teacher*

        So much this. I make a similar amount of money and have managed to pay off nearly the total of my 30K in US student loans while living within my means. I will never, ever be rich, but I’ll also never be in this sort of debt-fueled situation of my own careless volition and complete financial illiteracy, no matter how much or little I make.

        (and also, it bears mentioning: I didn’t feel the same way while living in the US and excluded from buying health insurance on the basis of a “preexisting condition” in the pre-ACA days after my graduation. We can feel secure on that salary because countries like the UK and France have strong social medicine and other assistance programs that will fill in the gaps if, heaven forbid, you or I ever have a life-altering accident/cancer/etc…).

    9. AvonLady Barksdale*

      One thing that gets me, the more I think about it– they seem to keep opening the wrong credit cards for the wrong reasons. They’re not (or they don’t seem to be) opening, say, a card that gives them zero interest on balance transfers for 18 months or whatever. I’ve done that a couple of times when a big bill has come along unexpectedly (maybe I’m particularly fortunate to be able to do that, I don’t know– I have good credit). These folks just keep opening store cards or something. The lack of thought that goes into it baffles me. They’re living their lives in an unending hole of interest.

      1. The Original K.*

        That struck me too. Post-recession, I opened a card with 0% APR for the first year and did a balance transfer. I had gotten a new job and done a new budget and knew I could pay off the recession credit card debt I’d accumulated within the 0% time frame. And I did, in 10 months. These folks are opening more and more cards to float their lives. Their goal isn’t to pay off the cards, it’s to allow them to keep spending. They’re treating their credit cards like income, which means they’re doomed to stay mired in debt.

        1. Overeducated*

          Yeah, I actually winced when one of them said “and they just give us $7000, it boggles the mind!” about credit card offers.

          1. Marthooh*

            And Tom boasts about how good he is at paying the bills — it’s like a puzzle! He’s not paying anything off, of course, just robbing Peter to pay Paul, so they can keep juggling all their various debts for another month.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            But they didn’t “give” it to them, though… the disconnects this couple has here are astounding.

      2. WellRed*

        Does that transferring to a new card work well? I should look imto it, barring a windfall ; l my debt has gotten out of control this year due to my spending. I feel serious and determined to tackle it but it’s overwhelming where to start.

        1. Bagpuss*

          It can work if you are disciplined – you need to close the card you transfer *from*, and not use the one you transfer to, and that way, you can pay down the debt faster because you are not paying huge amounts of interest on the debt.
          I think where it goes wrong for a lot of people is that they make the transfer,but carry on spending on the card or cards, and then you can wind up with more debt.

        2. AvonLady Barksdale*

          I’ve had great luck with it, but I do it with a payment plan. Recently I opened one to pay off a car repair, and I make sure to put at least $100 towards it every month. I have always used credit cards more as consolidation tools and a way to simply spread out payments.

    10. Koala dreams*

      Thanks for the recommendation! That was a fun read, and yet depressing how little money magagement skills some people have. Of course, a story has a narrative to follow, in real life people are usually more complicated. I watch a tv show about people in debt, and in the tv show, the family starts out wasting money on everything, then they get couched by the show hosts, and end up happily following a budget and paying off their loans. I know it’s just a tv show but it’s interesting all the same.

    11. Kuododi*

      I know DH and I went through our times when we were starting out when we committed credit card foolishness and other bad financial decisions. Thankfully however I grew up with a parent in the banking industry so DH and I were able to get good advice about avoiding the really biggie financial mistakes. ( ie No matter what kind of predicament we find ourselves in…never pull out $$ from 401K. Sell blood, stuff on eBay… anything else). Those folks in the essay however …..they had no desire for positive change and were the definition of insanity. (” Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.”)

    12. Ginger ale for all*

      I think this also shows the need to teach people money management skills in high school because we all have the one friend who is like this.

      I knew in my mid twenties that I needed to start my retirement savings at an early age. I had taken a part time job as a telephone survey taker and I had to occasionally ask questions at the end so we would know if we had gotten an accurate sampling and I had an elderly woman tell me that she only got around $440 a month to live on. She was in her mid 80’s living in a church members apartment above their garage for free to try and get by. And so when I read this story, my jaw just dropped. Listening to Dave Ramsey also reinforced this need to take money management as a big deal because one day, your life will almost certainly depend on it.

    13. restingbutchface*

      I did read that and broke out into a cold sweat. I have a horrific relationship with money and the subsequent stress has caused me to avoid thibking about it as much as possible. I literally have no idea how much money I have in my account right now.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not and wasn’t spoilt but I grew up poor and the only conversation about money was – we don’t have any. A good day was when a card worked in the ATM. Now I have an okay wage but I’m still ignoring the issue entirely, even though I have debts and responsibilities.

      Does anyone have any recommendations on where to go to start developing a healthy relationship with money?

      1. Ginger ale for all*

        Go to your local library and ask the librarian where the Dave Ramsey and Size Orman books are located. There should be other personal finance books in that section. Pull out the ones that appeal to you and flip through them to see which one is the right read for you. I prefer Dave Ramsey because he has local classes, a radio show, and books. I don’t think his website is all that strong though. I have heard good things about a website called ‘You Need a Budget’.

  24. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    So, I can’t visit my parents in the Gulf Coast for Thanksgiving because of lack of time off. That’s ok with me, actually, since even though I have lost about 25% of my body weight my mom still acts like the food police and I don’t like to deal with that.

    Wife and I were planning on a quiet Thanksgiving alone. Then, a few days ago, my aunt (not really I guess, but she and my mom and others have been friends for 45 years since college and get together each summer at her cabin with families), invited us to the cabin for Turkey Day! I am pretty overjoyed at not cooking/cleaning up everything and going to one of my favorite places.

    I just hope for a lack of political arguments (we are all on the same side but the older generation is less socially aware), or weight comments. My wife is bigger than I am but has lost 10 pounds since September just by being aware of portions and letting me fix her lunches.

    Today though? Those mashed potatoes are doomed!

    1. Gaia*

      First, great job on the healthy focus! I am on my own weight loss journey (down 65lbs so far – a long way to go but I’m feeling great!). For me, I am giving myself Thanksgiving. I will have small portions of all my favorites so I don’t feel like I “missed out” and end up devouring everything later.

      Most importantly – enjoy the time with your loved ones! And keep up the great work :)

    2. Gaia*

      Also, if anyone makes weight comments don’t hesitate to shut it down. Even “positive” comments are really unwelcome with me because I don’t like the focus on my weight. I usually reply by saying something like “oh thanks, but I don’t really like talking about it. Anyway….{insert change of subject}” if it is positive and “are you seriously saying that” with a blank stare of shock if it is anything even remotely negative. That might feel rude especially with loved ones but remember: they were rude first you’re simply defending boundaries.

    3. WellRed*

      Wonderful, local paper editorial today said, eat the food, eat the mashed potatoes (it made fun of “cauliflower” potatoes), one day of not counting calories, etc etc. Eat, drink and be merry all!

    4. restingbutchface*

      I feel that your user name is calling me out. But that could be the over caffeinated paranoia. *twitch*

  25. Concepta*

    Ugh, phone calls. As in, talking audio-only on the phone. I’ve hated doing it all my life and I’m so glad that outside of professional contexts it’s mostly unnecessary nowadays (and luckily in my profession I almost never have to make or take phone calls – in fact it would be very weird to do so).

    I enjoy a (planned! scheduled!) social phone call with a family member or close friend from time to time, and am of course able to make or take phone calls if necessary, like if I need to talk to the tax office or something. (Though I have definitely chosen service providers before based on the fact that they let you make online appointments and their competitor did not.) But unnecessary, unexpected calls or vague voicemails when a text message would clear everything up are just the worst.

    I’ve got a vague, out-of-the blue voicemail from someone I sort of know burning a hole in my inbox and I’m finding myself 1. assuming someone’s died (unlikely given our relationship, but why else would you call someone on the phone out of the blue except to inform them of a death?), 2. getting a little cross with this person for placing the burden of making a phone call on me without giving me info to prepare myself, 3. wondering if tomorrow me will feel more like making a goddamn phone call (nope!), and 4. wondering if it would be okay to text back instead of call (we aren’t in the US so it’s just a normal day here).

    Anyone else a phone-hater? It’s okay to text back, right? It’s nearly 2019 and we have the technology.

    1. GhostWriter*

      I abhor phones.

      I think a text is okay because: 1) They left a vague message. When people do that I figure that if they couldn’t leave any specific details to motivate you to call then it can’t be that important and thus doesn’t warrant a phone call. 2) It’s someone you sort of know. Outside of close friends and family, it doesn’t seem worth calling people unless you’re accomplishing something (like scheduling an appointment or getting information). Why bother getting stressed out over a sort-of-know person when you have no idea what the phone call is about? 3) If you text them and ask what’s up, they’ll likely just text you back about it. If it genuinely is something they need to talk about over the phone, then they can tell you so (and you could even ask that they tell you what the phone call is about first so you can “prepare”).

    2. Best cat in the world*

      It’s really weird. I hate talking on the phone to anyone who isn’t a close friend or family member (I’ll happily speak to them any time). But I put things off because I don’t like the phone. However, I have a volunteer role that involves the phone and radio, fine, absolutely no problem. And using the phone and radio at work is second nature most of the time and I’ll happily talk to anyone and everyone!

      1. Concepta*

        Yes, I’m very similar! I’ve had to use the phone a lot in past jobs, and especially if I was answering the phone it was no problem. But if it’s a phone call I have to make that’s not in my normal routine, it really is a big mental load and I will procrastinate. Who knows why?

  26. Apple*

    I’m a woman married to another woman. We have one kid toddler aged who my wife carried. I have been finding myself annoyed lately at how much my wife’s family comments on Kid’s resemblance to my wife and her family. Her family is one of those with a very strong family resemblance across generations, it’s kind of a thing with them. I just feel a bit sensitive about it, like they think Kid belongs to their family more than mine. We have a good relationship and I know they don’t mean anything by it, it’s just an extremely common topic with kids. And Kid does look like her! I feel silly about it. Any advice for getting past this and being ok with these comments?

    1. KR*

      Could you think of/bring up all the ways toddler is like you in personality? If it isn’t showing up now I’m sure it will as soon as you get older. Sorry to hear you’re getting frustrated!!! That’s a tough situation.

      1. Equestrian Attorney*

        I know this happened to my mother when I was a kid – people would be yapping on about how I looked just like my dad, and I definitely have my dad’s coloring and basic facial structure. But once I was older, I really took on both her facial expressions and a lot of her personality traits. One time we were at a school event and a teacher walked up to her and said “you must be Equestrian’s mother! You look so much like her!” and she was really pleased. So it will get better! But I’m sorry, that must be hard.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Oh, I can see how that would be rough! My stepbrother and sister-in-law have a baby who is biologically his but not hers (donor egg), and we sometimes comment on how he has the family ears. Being on the other side, I would be mortified to know I was hurting someone with those comments– you’re probably right, they don’t mean what you think they mean (I certainly don’t, though I can’t speak for my stepfather), but that doesn’t mean you’re being silly. It sounds like a pretty understandable reaction. I don’t know if I have any advice, just sympathy. Though I will say that I would bet the Kid will start picking up some of your mannerisms and start to resemble you as the Kid grows, even if not physically.

    3. Avis*

      I think this is the sort of thing that’s much harder with a toddler. It will only be a couple of years and then you’ll start to see more of you in your daughter – her body language and mannerisms, particular ways of phrasing things, interests she’s picked up from you. The physical features are a very small part of resemblance with a properly formed human.

    4. fposte*

      IME this happens to some couples no matter how the kid came along, so I suspect that this isn’t about the kid’s origin but about the in-laws’ way of connecting to Kid. I think it’s pretty common for grandparents to think of the kid as belonging to their family and to not expend much thought on the other side. If it gets obnoxious in denying the toddler something important, like “Oh, look, she’s all Slobovian,” you can say “She’s Foreignian too, don’t forget; that gives her some of the best parts that I know you love!” But otherwise I’d just shrug it off as grandparental stuff.

    5. CAA*

      If it’s any consolation, when Kid gets a little older, they will be really annoyed by the constant commentary on the resemblance. I know this because people have been calling me by my mother’s name for my entire life, and I’ve watched my daughter when people say she’s my mini-me. It’s not a problem now that we’re all adults with our own accomplishments, but as a child I wanted to be seen as my own person rather than a remake of someone else.

    6. Apple*

      Thanks for all these thoughtful replies! I definitely believe they see me as a equal parent and they’re just excited about their grandkid. THey also get along well with my parents. It probably doesn’t help that my in laws live an hour away, and my family is on the opposite coast, so I’m generally a bit sad that my kid won’t see my family as much. But it is helpful to hear some different perspectives.

      1. Cambridge Comma*

        Posted too soon.
        I was going to say: genetic half siblings, so we get three varieties of comparison. I am trying to convince people to give it a rest, because of course they need to feel that they belong equally to both sides of the family, but it is really not working.

        1. Apple*

          Oh interesting. We used a friend as our donor so that comparison has come up, but much less. I’m now trying to get pregnant, if successful it will be interesting to see how that plays out. I hope it works out for your family!

    7. I should be working ...*

      That feeling sucks. I’m not in the same boat but feel some of your pain. My husband (asian) and I (caucasian) had a little girl together. From about 3 months until 3 years, I looked at her and all I saw was my FIL, SIL or my husband. I knew she was mine, I was there for all of it(!) but I couldn’t see “me” in her face at all. Now that she is 3.5 years old, I still don’t see “me” but I sure hear “me” when she’s talking.

      Until your child starts talking/showing her own personality, people are going to comment on what they can see because it’s easiest. Just wait, the first time your little one says “they love you/they missed you/mommy (running with arms open wide)” it won’t matter what your in-laws said. The only thing that will matter is how much love you see in those little eyes.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        I have a daughter that everyone (relatives, friend, neighbors, teachers) swears is my mini-me. I don’t really see it, except at the very superficial level (same coloring, similar hair). Ditto my son, who is apparently my husband’s mini-him. Oddly I can totally see strong family resemblances in other people’s kids, just not in my own. Maybe because I “see” their personalities?

        I never say anything but personally I find that a bit constraining for them, to always hear how much they look like mom or dad. What if they don’t actually like that comparison? (I always felt I was a fairly plain child and my daughter is beautiful.) What will they hear when they don’t resemble us so much?

      2. Gerta*

        I’m in the same situation – by daughter is biracial (I’m white, her Dad is not) and she looks much more like his side of the family than mine. In fact, she is nearly the spitting image of my MIL (everyone, including me, sees it) and really looks nothing like me. Obviously I knew when my husband and I decided to have kids that they wouldn’t look like me, but it’s actually a bit harder than I expected. When she was born she didn’t really feel like mine even though she was, of course. However, the older she gets the more I see myself in her – certain facial expressions, personality traits, mannerisms, etc. It’s fun to see how they turn out!

    8. Maya Elena*

      You might have to carry the other one to settle the score!

      This reminds me of “The Left Hand of Darkness” by Ursula Leguin, in which the alien race was asexual except for mating time, when one in a couple would turn male and one female, but it varied; and any resulting child took on the last name of the member of the couple who carried the pregnancy.

    9. Not So NewReader*

      People do pick at the kiddo’s looks like they are picking at turkey bones. “Yes, the eyes are the same color as Cousin Harry but the eye LIDS are definitely Aunt Sue’s. ” Eye lids, really???? who cares. What about the left nostril is it Grandpa Joe or is it Great Aunt Marge? sigh.

      I hope you can chuckle: My family member, Jane, was adopted. We had many open discussions about her adoption and it was not a secret or forbidden topic. (This is back when people did not talk about adoption.) Jane would end up laughing so hard because acquaintances would say how much she looked like her mother or aunt or whomever. She really did not want to explain that they were imagining it, because she did not want them feeling bad. But at the same time, it did drive home the point that people see what they want to see.

      I do think that Jane grew to “look” like us because she was surrounded by us with our voice inflections, gestures, word choices and other things that families have in common. People see the common threads and they look for more, real or imagined and either one (the real ones or the imagined ones) equally satisfies them.

    10. Gay in the city*

      My partner carried our kids and I also remember one particularly awful visit where mother in law went through what felt like hundreds of childhood photos of partner pointing out similarities with the then toddler. It’s tough because while they might not mean anything bad with it I am keenly aware. But people also see what they want to see. I’ve been stopped by old ladies on the bus before who just wanted to tell me how much my kids look like me. They also forget: many people ask if the youngest inherited her curly hair from my side of the family even though they know I’m not blood related to her. In other words: no real advice but I sympathize!

    11. Bluesboy*

      As a stepdad, obviously I have no biological connection to the little’un. But he’s 10 now, and his personality is more ‘me’ than anybody else in the family, so suddenly I am the one who gets the comments on similarities.

      (Even if his gran on his biological Dad’s side insists it is because we’re both Virgos and nothing to be with my spending more time with him than her son does…)

      Anyway, I’m just weighing in to say that what everyone else is saying – that with time the little one will pick up your traits too – is totally true!

      In the meantime it seems that you get they don’t mean any harm. Must be frustrating. But my experience is that it gets easier!

  27. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I’m making a few things for a very small Thanksgiving (including three separate cranberry dishes because it is my favorite berry). My partner and I (and our doggy) are going to his dad’s place, where dinner will be just the three of us. I’m mildly irritated by this– we had an invitation from a lovely friend and another from a cousin, and his dad did something recently that pissed me off– but his dad is going through a divorce and my partner didn’t want him to be alone on Thanksgiving. I’m taking some comfort in the fact that the soon-to-be-ex will not be there, as she had a habit of making holidays miserable for me and my partner. Also, she was a terrible cook.

    Just please send good vibes for his turkey. A few years ago, he made the driest turkey I have ever tasted. Even the dog could barely get it down. I can’t cook a turkey in our dairy Kosher kitchen, so I am at the mercy of someone who barely uses seasoning and doesn’t baste.

    1. Earthwalker*

      A cranberry lover wants to know about your three cranberry dishes. I have several favorites but always want more. My go-to is to grind a bag of cranberries and a whole orange in the meat grinder and warm it just enough to distribute a tiny bit of honey in it. My other favorite is ground apple and cranberry with honey and a touch of almond flavoring. But when the season peaks I’ll buy bags and bags, grind them up, and put them up in the freezer with a touch of maple syrup and a little spice. What do you do?

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I made a cranberry curd tart, based on the one on the NY Times cooking website. I make a bunch of modifications– I make a Biscoff cookie crust and I use apple cider and lemon instead of orange juice, then I don’t strain the juice because I like it chunky– but it’s soooo yummy. I also made regular cranberry sauce (sugar, water, some grated ginger, cooked down for a while) and Mama Stamberg’s cranberry relish. I had a really good cranberry relish the other night with honey and pistachio, must get the recipe for that.

        1. Parenthetically*

          Cranberry curd!! Glorious. Curd tarts (and curd pavlovas) are just heavenly and now you’ve given me the idea to try a cranberry curd for our Christmas pavlova!

          We did a cranberry relish, similar to my grandmother’s — cranberries, clementines or tangerines, a meyer lemon, sugar, and toasted pecans. It’s perfect.

        2. Lore*

          I think it’s Melissa Clark’s recipe from the NYTimes thanksgiving section last week. I made it too and it’s delicious and super simple.

      2. CAA*

        I love the Persimmon Cranberry Sauce from Epicurious. It uses fuyu persimmons that are firm rather than mushy and you stir them in at the last minute so you have this beautiful red and gold color, with the sweet and tart flavors. If you like cranberry with apple, I highly recommend trying this one. Even people who say they don’t like persimmons have liked this dish.

    2. Anono-me*

      Sounds like cranberry yum
      I hope the turkey was better than expected.

      Could you give dad in law an electric roaster for his next birthday? They keep the meet really moist.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        It came out much better than expected! Just a breast this time. We won’t get him a roaster, but his ex took all the kitchen stuff, so maybe an Instant Pot.

        1. msroboto*

          Glad to hear it worked out.
          The most important thing I use for consistent Turkey (or chicken or roasts or anything like that) is a good thermometer. I have gotten into one that has multiple probes and a phone app. That might be more than he can handle. They have just simple probes set the temperature and it will tell you when it’s ready. Turkey especially will be fine basted not basted as long as it gets to the right temp.

  28. Red*

    I’m going to surprise the crud out of my family today – I’m coloring my hair pink before dinner! I’m so excited :)

      1. Red*

        It turned out gloriously! I look great :) I did consider changing my name on here, but I don’t think anyone would recognize me if I did, because I don’t have Gravatar

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      Not going anywhere, and I’m making everything. But that’s okay because I like to cook.

      We usually have a crowd of about 20, but for various reasons it will just be 7 or 8 of us this year. I’m making smaller versions of what I usually make. But I didn’t skimp on our favorites so we’ll still have plenty of leftovers.

      The biggest favorite are my pumpkin pie truffles. I made them yesterday and my daughter helped me dip them in white chocolate.

    2. LizB*

      Going to a family friend’s house, taking homemade dinner rolls and a made-from-scratch green bean casserole. (Well technically I’m taking the components of the casserole and assembling/baking it there.)

    3. WellRed*

      Going to a nice restaurant here on the Cape. Just bringing ourselves, our appetites and a generous tip.

    4. Parenthetically*

      I’m at home, with husband and kid, and my folks came for the holiday this year! We did Thanksgiving Top Ten: turkey, mash, gravy, dressing, brussels sprouts, rolls, cranberry relish, pumpkin pie, maple bourbon pecan pie, bourbon whipped cream.

    5. Kuododi*

      Just got back from dinner at my parents house with my sister doing the cooking. We had all the immediate family plus a couple of friends who had no local people to join for the afternoon. It’s our family tradition to keep room at the table for friends who can’t get home for their own holiday. I brought gluten free chocolate-chunk cookies for my sister’s kids. It was my first time baking gluten-free but according to the kids they were a roaring success.

  29. OperaArt*

    As of yesterday we finally have clean air in the San Francisco Bay area after almost two weeks of some of the worst air in the world. The rains cames and washed it clean.
    More importantly, I’ve heard (second hand) that the rain is helping fight the big fire in Butte County. The mud is causing some problems.

    On this Thanksgiving Day, I’m thankful for my home and for firefighters who are out there for days on end to protect people and property.

    1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

      I was writing something very similar at the same time you were! Hello, fellow San Franciscan.

      I read that, along with the risk of mud/ash flows making it hard for people to get around, the rain may make it harder to identify human remains in the ashes. That fact has been sticking with me and making me so sad.

      1. OperaArt*

        That is truly something to cause sorrow. The family members who have submitted DNA samples, waiting…

        I posted a couple of weeks ago that a friend of a friend had been trying to locate her daughter and son-in-law for four days after the fire. Good news! They were found in a shelter.

        1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

          I read that yesterday the number of missing people dropped by about 300 all in one day, from around 900 to around 600. That is something to be very thankful for. I’m glad for your friend’s friend’s family!

    2. GhostWriter*

      I’m on the East Coast and our air was hazy from the smoke earlier this week. Not sure if it was from the smoke remnants, but my throat was irritated. I can’t imagine how bad the air quality must have been in California and the surrounding states.

      1. Elizabeth the Ginger*

        Yes, the air currents carried it all the way across the country. The other day Philadelphia’s air quality was in the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range because of California fires.

  30. Elizabeth the Ginger*

    I’m so thankful for the rain that cleared away our smoky skies yesterday in the Bay Area. It had been a week and a half since I went outside for longer than the walk from a building to my car. Schools were closed. I had headaches most days and the smoke stung my eyes and throat. Having fresh air again is such a deep relief.

    I know I had it easy compared to the victims of the Camp Fire itself, though, and they’re never out of my thoughts. I hope they too are finding some relief and that more will come. Also, if any other commenters are able and so moved, I’ll post a reply comment with a link to some places to donate to help those victims.

  31. GhostWriter*

    I have a chronic health condition and expensive health insurance, so decided to meet with an insurance agent this week to see if there were better options. Apparently the insurance company I already use is the only one available for individuals in my state, and the agent was useless (didn’t understand my insurance needs and wanted me to get unnecessary supplemental insurance). I have two questions though:

    1) I’m not going with the agent’s suggestions and don’t want to pay her company’s “application fee” to sign up for something I chose on my own. If she contacts me about signing up, what should I say? (At the meeting, I asked her a question she didn’t know the answer to and she called my insurance company to ask, but ended up putting me on the phone. The insurance company renewed my current health insurance even though I told them not to. Should I say they renewed it and I decided to just keep it as an excuse?)

    2) She was convinced I could get a subsidy through the health insurance marketplace even though I’m unemployed (they base the subsidy on your expected income). I submitted documentation from my previous company and the unemployment office to show how much money I made this year as my guess for next year. Has anyone ever done that before? I feel like it’s not going to work.

    1. fposte*

      On #1, say “Thanks, but we’re going another way.” You’re a shopper; you’ve decided not to buy something. You don’t owe an explanation. (Not sure on #2.)

      1. GhostWriter*

        Looking at it from the point of view of being a shopper is a good idea! I think I feel guilty because it took up a lot of her time (some of which was her fault…she was at the meeting place 1/2 hour early, her computer wasn’t working well, she wanted to make the phone call to my insurance company), and she was supposed to be “helping” me. But if I went to a car dealer and the salesman showed me a bunch of cars that didn’t fit my needs, I wouldn’t feel guilty about “wasting his time” and not buying anything.

    2. CAA*

      For 1, you just have to say “thanks for following up, but I’ve decided to do it myself so I won’t need your services”. You have to be firm and say no. Also, you can still cancel the renewal with your current insurance provider.

      For 2, you probably can get a subsidy. You first need to know if your state is one that has “expanded medicaid” so google this. If you live in a state that does have expanded medicaid, then you will need to have an expected income of $16,753 to get a marketplace plan. In a state without expanded medicaid, the minimum expected income is $12,140. If you will earn below these minimums, then you qualify for medicaid instead of ACA. The maximum income for getting a subsidy is $48,560. (Numbers are for a single person not living in Alaska or Hawaii.) If your income is in this range, then apply through or your state’s exchange if there is one. Make sure to apply for a Silver plan so you get the maximum cost sharing subsidy that’s available to you. The Bronze plan may look cheaper at first, but the cost sharing reduction is only available on Silver plans.

      1. GhostWriter*

        1) That’s a good script–thank you! :)

        2) The problem is I have no idea what I will earn next year since I don’t have a job yet, and I’m not sure that a few months pay from my previous employer and 6 months of unemployment can be used to guess my income since I won’t be getting those again next year. :/ (If I use them to determine my expected income, then my income is over $17k but way below $48k though.) I believe I’m not eligible for medicade since I have too much money in a savings account (I can’t find what the actual limit is, but I know I had to apply for medicade after graduating college while I was unemployed and I ended up paying full price for normal health insurance.)

        1. CrazyPlantLady*

          A few years ago I was unemployed when signing up for health insurance. Estimate low because you can just pay the subsidy back on your taxes next year. Once you do get a job, you can go in and adjust your income which will lower your subsidy immediately, giving you less to pay back on your taxes.

          1. GhostWriter*

            So you can do it when you’re unemployed? Because that would be awesome. :D

            When you got a job, did you also report that the job offered “minimum coverage/affordable” health insurance and lose the subsidy? I’ve never gotten a subsidy before because my jobs offered minimum coverage/affordable health insurance (which I didn’t use because they were either crappy for people with chronic conditions or I couldn’t find out if they’d cover my one super expensive medication). The insurance agent said that they’d never check if my new job offered health insurance, but that sounds kind of shady.

        2. CAA*

          When ACA passed, it changed the rules about Medicaid, so you probably are eligible, though this could vary by state. In any case, your last year’s income is your best guess for this year. That *is* the number the government expects you to use, and if you want to use something else it’s actually much harder to convince them to go with that. Use that number to apply and get your insurance rate established, then when you get a new job, you will either cancel because you’re getting insurance through work, or you login and adjust your expected income.

          Here is an article about the subsidies. It’s long, but this is the best explanation I’ve seen:

          1. GhostWriter*

            Thank you for taking the time to type out your explanation of the income amounts and for linking to an article about the subsidies (going to read it now!). I really appreciate the help since this is something I have to figure out on my own (everyone I know just gets health insurance via work), and it’s hard to think about it logically since I’m so stressed out about it. I think I have undiagnosed anxiety issues or something.

            1. Seeking Second Childhood*

              It’s a rough time of year to be unemployed, it’s really hard to commit to paying health insurance bills too, and insurance rules are so.convoluted that even people IN the industry can get confused.
              Sometimes anxiety is simply being smart enough to see the bad situation. You’ll get through this, so hang on!

  32. Ihmmy*

    I’m talking again to an ex who broke up with me in October… I’m hopeful we get back together. They’ve been going through a lot (a big separation from a partner they lived with, which started a couple months after we began dating) (oh hi polyamorous person here). I really, really miss having them in my life. But. I don’t want to push things too hard either.

    Feeling a bit distant from my local partner, but I’m seeing them Friday evening so hopefully we can have a good evening together and reconnect fairly well.

    My grandma was in the hospital for about a month for a fairly serious issue, and I’m just so appreciative of Canadian healthcare whenever I read American stories of how things shake out there.

  33. Junior Dev*

    I’m about to get up and finish my two dishes for today. Poached pear salad for the family event and green bean casserole for the friendsgiving.

    Family event has some drama wrapped up in it. Not sure if my parents are coming or not. My mom would like to suck me into the drama vortex but i am doing my best to keep respsonses neutral.

    After that I’m picking up my friend and taking him to a friend event, which i hope will be more relaxed.

  34. ATX Language Learner*

    Happy Thanksgiving all! I need some advice from those who have taken advanced language exams (preferably Spanish but my question is related to learning in general).

    I’ve been studying Spanish as a pastime hobby for the last 2 years and would like to spend the next few months preparing to take the advanced exam. I don’t have a specific reason to take it other than it will be a great achievement and I’ll be able to confidentially say that I am an advanced speaker/reader/listener/writer.

    For anyone who’s familiar with the Spanish language exams, I’ll likely be taking the SIELE as I feel it’s more modern than the DELE as well as more comprehensive and less of an exam on “how to take an exam.”

    I would love a few tips on how you advanced your language learning! The exams will have a portion on listening comprehension. Aside from being able to understand what’s going on, you really have to focus and not let your brain wonder for 3-5 minutes. What did you do to improve this skill? What types of people did you listen to for practicing? What reading material did you use? I do love to read but find that the fiction books I choose and enjoy reading are much more poetic and descriptive than a text from an exam and might not be as useful.

    1. Lena Clare*

      A lot of the stuff that wasn’t available when I was studying Catalan (I studied Spanish too) I can now make use of such as listening to Catalan radio online. I also visited a local languages centre because they have Spanish-speaking people who attended for social events and I asked the organiser if they could put me in contact with any Catalan speakers which she did do. I ended up meeting a woman who was a fluent Catalan speaker a couple of times a week for a few months for a coffee as a language exchange – 1 hour would be Catalan speaking, 1 hour would be English speaking.

      When I was studying and I didn’t have the internet, I ordered a Spanish newspaper and got it delivered to my local newsagent once a week (It was late but that didn’t matter), so I regularly read.

      Anything that you can do to expose yourself to the language as much as possible is going to be good preparation, and luckily Spanish is phonetic so writing shouldn’t be too difficult :)

      Buena suerte

      1. yams*

        I second the newspaper idea, they are all online now and you can get exposed to a ton of different writing styles and topics you wouldn’t normally see in novels.

      2. ATX Language Learner*

        ¡Hola! Me encanta la idea de recibir una suscripción de un periódico – hay tantos recursos en el internet, pero realmente prefiero leer algo físico para que pueda tomar notas o resaltar las palabras y frases (un libro real en lugar de un libro de Kindle, por ejemplo).

        ¡Gracias al mundo español es un idioma fonético! ¡Es chistosa, ahora que he estado estudiando español por un par de años, mi inglés escrito se ha vuelto terrible!

        ¡Muchas gracias por la recomendación!

    2. yams*

      I took the DELF (for French!) and I did a ton of watching French stuff in Netflix (no dubbings, the translations are weird) with subtitles on (in French) so I could make sure I was listening more or less correctly. Netflix has a lot of really good shows from Mexico that you might enjoy, like La Casa de las Flores, Club de Cuervos or la Casa de Papel. For reading, I honestly jus read a ton of fiction and plays, since it is what I enjoy a lot so it didn’t feel like that much of a chore. I found that this was very, very useful even though the texts on the exam were pretty boring–but not more so than something you’d find in the SAT.

      1. Lena Clare*

        Oh yeah Netflix! I can only do that with Spanish but I sometimes watch it dubbed in Spanish with the English subtitles at the bottom!

        1. Sparrow*

          Oh, Netflix is good as well! I watch Chicas de la Cable with the Spanish subtitles on–it’s a good resource for Spain Spanish grammar and accent, and the costumes and scenery are gorgeous too

      2. Traveling Teacher*

        @yams: DELF buddies!

        Yes, definitely get that language in context as much as possible. Don’t use the subtitles while watching, though. You will get better and better as you watch the programs and get to know the characters/how each one talks. Also, make sure you watch a variety of types of programming–documentaries are going to use much more formal language than tv, and so on.

        I enjoyed The Cable Girls on Netflix, which is produced in Spain with–I’m assuming–Catalan?

        Also, do anything you regularly do for fun exclusively in Spanish. If you like to read the news, read Spanish newspapers exclusively. If you like youtube, watch youtube vlogs in Spanish. If you like podcasts, listen to Spanish-language podcasts. Also, radio/podcasts are a great way to test your listening skills–so much less visual context, so it’s more fatiguing but the rewards are greater! I believe the BBC even has world service (free!) in Spanish. A mix of different real-world language sources is the best, really!

        1. ATX Language Learner*

          Thank you so much for the tips! I just discovered that BBC has a Spanish version. Will definitely be using that as a resource :)

        2. Bluesboy*

          +1 to doing things you already like, like following the news – that turns it into something you do every day without even feeling like you’re studying.

          I would also, whenever you use the internet, do it in Spanish whenever possible. So if you want to check a fact, do it in Spanish, Spanish Wikipedia, everything. It’s all about making it a daily part of your life.

          Good luck to OP with the exam!

    3. Sparrow*

      Radio Ambulante is a Spanish language podcast from NPR that I use to keep my listening skills up to date! The episodes are 30-45 minutes but you could listen to a 5-min chunk and then try to summarize it in a few sentences to practice your focus. They also have people from a variety of countries with a variety of accents which I found interesting and helpful as well.

    4. Undine*

      I haven’t found a podcast I like, but there are plenty out there, including ones for language learners. The most important thing is to find a subject that interests you.

      Netflix is good, but if you rely on subtitles, especially English subtitles, then your listening skills are not really being exercised. There are multiple shows available online specifically for Spanish language learners. Some of them may be too basic for you, but if you just go for the listening, they might still be helpful. Destinos or Extra (Extr@) are the ones I can find the names for. You can also watch cartoons or anime dubbed into Spanish — the Spanish version of Coco is very good, and is more than just a dub.

      If you are willing to play with technology a little, there is a program, Subs2SRS, that lets you take a video file and a subtitles file and split it up into Anki flashcards with picture, audio clip, and text. I find that helps because then I am concentrating on hearing a sentence or two exactly, and I force myself to play it over and over until I understand it. When I began, I couldn’t really hear the words in most of the sentences, even with the text in Spanish right in front of me. I’ve gotten much better, just listening a few sentences at a time. (Although there are still sentences that go by so fast that I can’t match the spoken word to the subtitles in front of me.)

      You can also find extensions for your browser that let you slow down videos, which can be helpful because Spanish is so fast. And some podcast players also have speed control.

    5. TL -*

      If you’re in ATX, there’s a little cultural center/dance studio called Esquina Tango that is full of native Spanish speakers from all over central or South America. They also have (had?) regular movie nights of Spanish films (usually really excellent documentaries or socially driven cinema) and conversational Spanish classes for practicing.

      And the people there are fantastic.

      1. ATX Language Learner*

        I do love Esquina Tango!! I’ve only been once but it’s always on my list of top things to do.

  35. Free Meerkats*

    Anyone else celebrating Wolfenoot tomorrow? I’m still doing the Thanksgiving dinner today, but doing a roast tomorrow. Then not eating for the rest of the weekend…

    And I’m going to curmudgeon here: Macy’s Parade coverage used to show the parade. Now it’s just Broadway show after Broadway show lip syncing.

    1. Anon Anon Anon*

      I had to Google Wolfenoot and I’m glad I did! That’s so cool! I’m in a one dog, one human house and we’ll be celebrating! Maybe not with the food and gifts, but just the spirit of it.

  36. Turandot*

    I did a thing! I finally bit the bullet, and called my company’s EAP and talked to someone and got a referral to a therapist! I had my first appointment yesterday and I pretty much bawled through the whole thing (which I figured I would and have no shame in doing), but it was SUCH a great first step. I am almost excited that I’m doing this for myself – and I’m definitely hopeful about what will come next. There’s a lot to unpack, going all the way back to my childhood, but I’m hoping to improve my self-esteem and learn self-care, and that in turn can help my emotional eating. It’s going to be a long process, but my God am I ever glad I finally just made the call.

  37. WellRed*

    Right? The more I read, the more ridiculous it was. What was he thinking? That he was gonna be a modern day anthropologist single handledly bridging what he perceived to be a cultural divide? With footballs and fish?

    1. Labradoodle Daddy*

      Like bro, if you don’t want to die, DON’T REVISIT THE PEOPLE WHO SHOT AT YOU WITH ARROWS.

  38. Anon Anon*

    Warming my heart right now:

    My father-in-law is the CEO of a large scientific organization that puts on dozens of conferences a year. As we speak, he is complaining to my husband about new expectations in the field around providing protection from.abise st these conferences. He’s saying things like “I already have a full time job and now they expect me to be responsible for this too??” and “We can hire a contractor to triage complaints and manage that process but it costs $25,000. Conferences are already too expensive.

    … and my husband is pushing back with a delightfully baffled tone. “I don’t understand what you’re saying. Are you saying that you shouldn’t protect people from harassment?” And “Aren’t there 5,000 attendees at this conference? Are you saying it’s not worth $5/attendee to protect women from harrassment?”

    1. Labradoodle Daddy*

      Sometimes the innocently confused routine can work wonders on those….from different generations.

  39. Thanks For Nothing*

    On a positive note, we’re having a turkey tacos feast in a couple hours. There will be roast turkey, tortillas, rice, beans, pico, gauc, sour cream, and cheese sauce. Let the mayhem begin. And a pecan pie and ice cream for dessert because my spouse is more “southern” than “southwestern” and can’t imagine Turkey Day without the pie.

    Less positively, it’s just our own little family of five having Turkey Day thousands of miles from our extended families . . . . . and we’ve already had a spectacular fight that ended with me stomping out the door and walking for awhile. We don’t fight about money, religion, or family but our fights about politics are spectacular and may be the death of the marriage in the long run.

    1. Overeducated*

      The meal sounds delightful. I’d much prefer turkey tacos to the standard northern spread.

      Sorry about the fight though. I hope your differences are of the reconcilable variety.

  40. sagegreen*

    Well, I just found something more depressing than having nowhere to go on Thanksgiving….lining up with other people who don’t have anyplace to go, at Bob Evans to pick up our individual dinners. Btw…their turkey today is not good.

    1. Wishing You Well*

      I wish everyone could have the Thanksgiving they want. Or enjoy parts of the day, at least.
      “Nowhere to go on Thanksgiving” is ideal for me. I understand some or most people want to get together today, but I LOVE staying home and not doing anything. It’s like a vacation day. I feel privileged and grateful for the choice, given that many Americans have been flooded, burned and lava-ed out of their homes recently.
      (Yeesh, what a year!)

    2. Basia, also a Fed*

      I’m sorry that you were alone and that their turkey wasn’t good. Their food is usually pretty good where I live, so that must have been disappointing. Wishing you a less depressing weekend.

      1. sagegreen*

        Thank you Basia, also a Fed. This is the second year since my mom died and while she lived in another state, it’s harder this year. I have a hard time normally through the holidays anyway, but this year so far has been worse. I don’t really have any family left and all my friends spend time with their families so it’s hard being alone every year. Anyway, thank you again for the compassion.

  41. StellaBella*

    I did not use those words but had a similar discussion with a friend today on this American guy. To me, it seemed it was a shining example of privilege – he’d already been in the area once on a Scout (?) camping adventure or something like that – and wanted to bring them gifts and the Gospel. Just so blindly colonialist and privileged and well, just so dumb to not respect these people. These folks have said GTFO for decades and the Indian Government has said, “it is illegal to land here and we respect the Sentinelese and will not bother them and will keep all others away too.” So as is usual with people who are blind to their imposing their beliefs on others … this is really the best way this could have ended. I just hope his family doesn’t try to pursue any jackassery with this or the government etc.

    1. Labradoodle Daddy*

      Not to mention he could have killed all of them. BUT AT LEAST HE COULD HAVE SAVED THEM ALL FIRST!!!!

  42. Undine*

    Although I agree it was the missionary equivalent of sexual selfies at Ankor Wat, I don’t think it’s a laughing matter. It’s tragic for all the survivors — the people who helped him, his family, the tribe. It won’t necessarily prevent other people from trying the same stunt, because now it’s on people’s radar, it’s likely there will be some other young man who will take this as a challenge and an opportunity to show Gumption. Much better if he had been humiliated in some way and lived to (perhaps) learn from it.

    1. Labradoodle Daddy*

      If you are told not to go to an island because you could literally kill everyone there with a cough and you go anyway, you deserve whatever is coming to you. Don’t be arrogant when it comes to your fake god and you won’t die. Simple.

      1. GhostWriter*

        I agree. It’s not something I’d laugh over, but I feel absolutely no sympathy. I read that he was writing things in his journal about how he hoped he wouldn’t die and he didn’t want to die, so he was obviously aware that the tribe kills all outsiders who invade their island. Unless he had some sort of mental issue that clouded his thinking, there’s no excuse for his actions.

    2. tangerineRose*

      “It’s tragic for all the survivors — the people who helped him, his family, the tribe.” This.

  43. Maria*

    Kinda bummed out today because I just cut out a toxicfriend and feeling guilty about it. Anyone else ever do this?

    1. Anon Anon Anon*

      Yeah. It’s never easy. I miss some of the people I’ve cut ties with. I wish I could appreciate the good side of them and avoid all the problems. I wish cutting ties wasn’t necessary.

    2. GhostWriter*

      I had a really close, wonderful friend for a few years who gradually started acting in ways that made me uncomfortable/unsure about them, and then they did something bad enough that it made me immediately end the friendship. I felt a bunch of horrible feelings over it initially (I guess because I was mourning what the friendship had been before things started going downhill), but looking back, cutting them off was definitely the right thing to do.

      If you’re describing the friendship as “toxic,” I’m sure you did the right thing too. It might feel bad now, but you’ll be relieved and glad you did it later on.

    3. Red Reader*

      Yep. I’d been telling him for literally years that his behavior (and I was specific) was majorly damaging my ability to maintain a friendship with him, and that if he didn’t change his ways I was not going to be able to stay friends with him, and I finally cut him off three years ago. Last I heard through the grapevine, he still “has absolutely no idea” why I’ve blocked him everywhere I can and refuse to have anything to do with him. This is the first year that he hasn’t (to my knowledge) tried to get one of my friends to bring him to my Thanksgiving dinner “as a surprise” for me. (Luckily my actual friends know better.)

    4. Wishing You Well*

      Yes, I’ve dropped a “used-to-be-a friend, but now is too toxic to be around”. Even though it’s the right thing to do, it still feels bad. Time will help.

    5. Zona the Great*

      Yes. Just after Pulse Nightclub Tragedy and the breakup was related to that. Guilty was never the right word for how I felt about it but I’ve only recently made peace with how I did it.

    6. The Other Dawn*

      I’ve done it, too. It was a lifelong friendship and I just couldn’t take it anymore. She had mental health problems and didn’t want to do anything to help herself. At all. Everything was everyone else’s fault, all men were terrible, etc. It got to a point where we just had nothing in common anymore and she wouldn’t help herself. Even almost 20 years later I still wonder if I should contact her. I miss our talks, but that doesn’t outweigh all bad stuff.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Part of being a good person is questioning what we are doing and why. If you were a jerk, you could say “bye-bye” and not think twice about it.

    8. Marion Ravenwood*

      Not so much the toxic friend herself, but I definitely miss some of the friends I had to cut out to get rid of the toxic friend and who I would have liked to stay friends with (which I tried to do when I went to university, but toxic friend found me through them, so I had to lose them all).

  44. Anon Anon Anon*

    My dog did something cute and weird the other day. He snuggled up and then nibbled on me like he was trying to nurse! He’s almost three. I rescued him when he was about eleven months. I’m wondering if he was weaned too early and that’s why he’s so whiny and clingy. He’s very sweet, but he’s kind of puppy-like for a dog his age.

    1. Tris Prior*

      My 5-month-old kitten just did this the other day – he got into bed with me to cuddle and just started nomming on my bare arm. Not hard, not maliciously, not really playfully, just sort of in a “hmmm, this tastes good” sort of way. But those little teeth are still sharp! His littermate has shown no interest in that, and I assume they were weaned at the same time since they were dropped off in a box at animal control with no sign of mom cat. So, I don’t know what was up with him!

      1. Marthooh*

        With cats, I think kneading is the usual “nursing” behavior. Nomming probably just means you taste good.

        1. Anon Anon Anon*

          I think it’s more common in cats than dogs. This was the first time an adult dog has tried to nurse on me.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I have a 9.5 year old dog who still nurses. He sucks on his blanket, his toys…. MY comforter….
      He would make the nursing/kneading gestures when he was a pup. Someone said that some dogs never out grow it. And he hasn’t.
      He is a very hyper dog. I do help him with all that energy he has, but I think he needs to nurse to comfort himself.
      Other than making things soggy, he really doesn’t hurt anything. So life goes on.

  45. Anon Anon Anon*

    Ok, I’m going to annoyingly double post with the excuse being that I’m alone for Thanksgiving.

    Dating. I know a lot of people. But there’s a constant mismatch between who I’m attracted to and who seems to be attracted to me. I get asked out by a lot of people who I don’t feel that kind of connection with – men and women, most of them nice with a lot going for them, but just not a fit relationship-wise. And the people I feel attracted to don’t usually seem to feel the same way in return. And often, those people who ask me out and who I have to turn down, they turn out to have the wrong idea about me anyway, like they thought I was a different age or a different type of person in certain fundamental ways.

    So I probably need to be more clear about who I am. It’s not easy. I’m just not inclined to post a lot of personal stuff online anywhere. But I need to be less repressed and more open so people who like me for who I am will be attracted to me. So I’m working on that. And trying to find other genderqueer people in my area, especially people close to my age – fewer of us are open about it. I’m working on that too.

    I suddenly had a dream about someone I’ve felt attracted to for a long time but haven’t seen recently. In the dream, we ran into each other in a public place and started hugging and walking around with our arms around each other, and I felt a strong romantic kind of connection. He wasn’t single the last time I ran into him, but I’m going to try to find him and say, “Hi! How’s it going?” because he’s nice, and he could be single, or poly, or it could be a sign that we should be friends. Who knows. Anyway, I’m feeling hopeful that if I keep working on myself and becoming a better person, that side of life will sort itself out.

    1. Autumn Anon*

      Just prefacing this with the information that I’m agender, aro/ace, and polyam, so I kind of know what I’m talking about but also kind of don’t.

      I have no idea how connected you are to the LGBTQ+ community nor whether you consider yourself trans (because I know some non-binary people don’t and some do), but if you’re not very connected, I’d recommend getting more involved, especially trans/non-binary specific groups. Even if everyone there is a different age to you, it might help you feel more comfortable being and acting like yourself. At the very least, friends who understand you are important. If you are fairly well-connected, it might be worth asking the people you know in the community for their advice. Age differences may colour some of that advice, but, speaking generally, a lot of the queer/trans people I know are fairly level-headed about relationships (I swear we’re constantly talking about the importance of clear communication, for example), and they might be able to offer a different perspective that helps you.

      1. Anon Anon Anon*

        I’m working on getting connected. I don’t have many friends in that community yet, but I’m getting out and meeting people.

    1. Thanks For Nothing*

      He was likely raised on tales of men (always men) like Jim Elliot who “valiantly gave up their lives so that others might know.” I believe it’s an appalling world view but if everyone believed exactly like me, the world would be a pretty boring place so . . .

    2. Wishing You Well*

      His belief system was driving him, not empirical thinking. I’m sorry he died and I wish he hadn’t endangered a very vulnerable population.

    3. Marthooh*

      “Since I mean well, this doesn’t really count as breaking the law and being reckless with other people’s safety. And if I behave in a sufficiently heroic way, God will notice and reward me with a miracle!”

    4. Otter box*

      There’s this pervasive and insidious belief among missions-oriented Christians that the end times can’t come until every person in every land has had the gospel preached to them, so that they can either accept or reject Christ before the rapture and/or judgment day, depending on your flavor of evangelicalism.

      Following the great commission – Jesus’ final order to “go and make disciples of all nations” – was a major tenet of the mainstream evangelical Christianity I was raised in (and happily left a decade ago). Chau was from my hometown, and I could list off dozens more people I knew growing up whom I could see doing this. I used to idolize Elisabeth Elliot (google if you’re not familiar) because I thought her decision to stay and convert the natives that killed her husband was selfless and Christlike. I’ve been on several overseas missions trips. My former church (a very large and prominent one in the area) sends people to remote islands every year to preach Jesus.

      Chau just took all that teaching and brainwashing to its logical conclusion and paid for it. He thought he’d have divine protection, and he didn’t. It was a foolish choice, but I’ve seen that sausage get made, and I understand exactly where he was coming from.

    5. Anon Anon Anon*

      Certain kinds of churches and other religious organizations are partially to blame. They promote a version of reality where what he did seems good and reasonable. The ones that are more profit-oriented. Because their main goal is to increase membership and giving to the church (which is why they focus on the end times being near – people will spend more if they don’t think they need to save for the future). This does not apply to all Evangelical or missionary Christians. That movement doesn’t deserve blame. Just individual church leaders whose priorities are a little off.

  46. Not Australian*

    I notice the Sentinelese people aren’t falling over themselves trying to evangelise the rest of us with whatever they believe in; they just want to be left alone, and who can blame them?

  47. MotherRunner*

    I really wish people would stop commenting on other people’s food choices. I’ve lost a large amount of weight over the past several years (am a healthy weight now) by counting calories and exercising regularly. People constantly comment on what I’m eating, either directly to me or about me while I’m in the room. (“Oh, MotherRunner isn’t eating that. She is watching her weight. But she could have it this one day…”) It is so incredibly rude and intrusive to monitor someone else’s food intake. I hate the feeling of being under a microscope when i am eating. Not really a question, just a vent.
    Oh, and happy thanksgiving to all those that are celebrating today.

    1. This Daydreamer*

      Wow. That really sounds like the Thanksgiving from hell. I’m so sorry you have to deal with that.

  48. This Daydreamer*

    Okay, now feeling a little bit of holiday spirit.

    I just found out that Macy’s San Francisco decorates their windows with adoptable kittens and puppies for the season, and they’ve been doing it for years. Best. Window. Display. Ever.

  49. Elizabeth West*

    Happy Turkey and Pie Day!

    We’re doing the big thing at Christmas this year, and my nephew’s family was going to have something but my mum couldn’t make it. So Nephew texted me to ask if I wanted to join them and my dad at the Golden Corral Buffet about an hour from where I live (closer to where they do). I wasn’t very enthusiastic about GC, but their two oldest kids are ah-fooking-dorable, and I still hadn’t met their youngest, so I went.

    Traffic was really light, and I saw a deer in a hayfield, but no turkeys. I guess they were all hiding today, haha. We met at ten when they opened, and the line was already somewhat long. By the time we came out, the line was ten times as long. Never underestimate the number of people who don’t want to cook/clean on a holiday!

    The baby, who’s about a year and a half or so, sat in his high chair and just stared at me as if I were from another planet, like “Who are youuuuuuuuu.” His mother said “Oh, it takes about three meetings for him to get used to people.” CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. I just kept talking to him. Then we moved on to him patting my hand. Once I shared my banana pudding, it was more like “Friends for liiiiiiiiiiiife.” He even let me hold him, although he was very wiggly.

    I am the Baby Whisperer. >:)

  50. Jaid_Diah*

    My folks and I went to see Fantastic Beasts. Then we got home to discover that the turkey from Boston Market had to be cooked further in the oven for about seventy minutes….and it was already seven pm.
    I ended up making a plate to take home and cook myself tomorrow. My real dinner was a ham and cheese sandwich.
    But watching the movie with my folks was fun and I still spent time with Mom to chat, so it’s still a win.

    1. Middle School Teacher*

      How did you like the movie? I saw it last weekend and I’m a bit on the fence. I definitely enjoyed the first one more.

      1. Jaid_Diah*

        Honestly, I’d watch it again for the scenery. The plot was boggy. And the ending in the mountains… was like. Wait. WUT? Oh come ON, Rowling!

  51. Laura H.*

    Feeling really stupid for scheduling my Lyft at 8:15 am tomorrow for a ride to the w word… I’m on dog med duty and I don’t know how I’ll get showered, get my lunch, get the dogs medicated AND catch my ride. Waking up at 5:30am will hopefully allow for it.

    Please be kind to the retail workers tomorrow and stay safe!

  52. Logiclady*

    I work in retail and had a co-worker go off on a rant about how black friday was a celebration of selling slaves. I tried to reason with her, but just went on and on. It was super inappropriate and the crazy thing is, this is the second time she has done this to me. I told management last time, and I told both a direct supervisor and a higher up this time, but they kind of did the “every one is entitled to their opinion” thing that made think that they didn’t see it as a big deal. Am I overreacting?

    1. Laura H.*

      Yes and no.

      Yes you kinda are overreacting because this is a little banana crackers but not really your problem to solve.

      No you aren’t overreacting because this isn’t the first time it’s happened.

      Also Oi thats so factually wrong it hurts. Your management has the wrong idea here…

      Good luck.

    2. Kuododi*

      In my family I have always been known as the person to go to for “oddball facts and random trivia.”. Ive gotta say that your coworkers “opinions” about retail Black Friday have caused my mental circuits to overload dangerously!!! ;)

  53. Liane*

    Assorted notes from the hioliday
    1–Hooray for my son, the provider of our Feast!
    Daughter & I were really NOT into Thanksgiving this year. (I don’t deal well with it most years For Reasons.) So yesterday Son orders and picks up the feast from our favorite local Mediterranean restaurant–lamb, Greek & pasta salads, roasted veggies, pita, humus with veggies, & roasted potatoes. Once he got it home he put the items that would need reheated in roasting pan before refrigerating everything. This afternoon, he heated things up. And cut up this half personal watermelon I’d bought. And found a recipe for gluten-free cheddar-garlic biscuits to bake. MMM.
    2–Good thing Son had appointed himself Lord of the Food, as I spent the afternoon with a short-lived but vicious migraine. Yes, a real one–mine tend to be 24 hour or less (for which I am thankful), moderate to very light-sensitive, no auras, but lots of nausea and pain. Am functional now and was able to eat dinner.
    3–Even counting that @#$% migraine, I know 2 of my friends had worse ones. Friend A’s grandfather passed away about a month ago, from cancer. Friend works at a missionary school for his church, several states away from home, and had to stay there for this holiday. Couldn’t afford another plane trip. He did dinner and football watching with friends, but I know he wanted to be with family. Friend B, who has serious anxiety problems, lives with his elderly parents. Yesterday his mom was hospitalized and they still don’t know what’s wrong with her. He told me via chat that he had fries and hotdogs today because, understandably, neither he nor his dad, felt like cooking. Both A & B live hours away from me, so nothing I can do besides think & pray, and chat when they want/need to.

  54. Mimi Me*

    So…my mom sent me a birthday card over a month ago into which she had taped a photo of the current US president. Around this she’d written some of the rude things he’s said (in bubbles like a comic). This was sent to me after a conversation we’d had where I told her I hated him with the fire of a thousand suns. I stopped talking to her for a while. Last week I weakened and called her (upcoming holidays, personal stress, and her birthday were all factors). During the call she insulted me and when I called her on it, she accused me of being sensitive lately. It was clear that this re-connection wasn’t going to work, I told her so, and she ended the call. Fast forward to yesterday when she sent a text to my kids (ages 13 and 12) that said she loved them despite how selfish her oldest child is being (me). I AM FURIOUS! I know that the best course of action is to ignore this. I’ve blocked her and my sisters (her fervent followers!) from my social media. I have no intention of calling her anytime soon. My kids are pissed on my behalf, especially since they see how she treats me. But yeah…it put a real damper on my holiday yesterday.
    Add to this that my husband and I are planning on breaking our lease this week and moving out of town. Our current landlord and her boyfriend are creepy AF and have made the last 7 months we’ve lived there a nightmare. We found a place in the town we want to be in and at less money than what we’re paying right now. We feel awful to break the lease – we’ve never done anything like this before, but the stress of living there is ramping up our anxiety in the worst ways.
    It’s times like these I wish I had a cat or dog to snuggle.

  55. Why oh Why?*

    I made up a holiday last year. I am not Christian but I wanted an excuse to have the whole family who come to town for the Christian one to come over and share a meal and hang out. Yesterday a relative announced that the made-up holiday would be at their house this year. What? They are Christian. They already have a holiday. Why do they need mine?

    1. Anon Anon Anon*

      I’m curious about your holiday. It must be good if they want to copy it. You could reply, “Oh, a trade! Thanks for Christmas!” Then mention you’ll be modifying it because you’re not Christian.

  56. Sparkly Librarian*

    Thanksgiving is the start of the Christmas season in my family of origin. So far I have decorated four trees, and am contemplating the blank canvas of number five…

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