weekend free-for-all – January 19-20, 2019

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

Book recommendation of the week: Educated, by Tara Westover. I read this under duress because people kept telling me to, but I found I couldn’t put it down. It’s a memoir about being raised in a isolated, survivalist home in rural Idaho, being allowed neither school nor doctors, with a family in denial about her violent brother, and eventually choosing a different life, including earning a doctorate from Cambridge.

{ 1,315 comments… read them below }

  1. Kate Daniels*

    Anyone else snowed in this weekend? We have barely gotten any snow so far this winter, so I’m super excited to spend this long weekend curled up with a stack of library books, my cat, and hot chocolate. I plan to try a new cookie or cake recipe, too! I always feel like the weekends where you have no plans and can just relax are truly the best.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      It’s supposed to start in CT later this evening. I’m really disappointed we’re having a storm, because this weekend is supposed to be my family’s Christmas. My sister in NY decided not to come, because she has to drive through the mountains and worries about the drive home Monday with the flash freeze we’re supposed to have. She would have had her two grand kids and two of her teens in the car, so I don’t blame her. Another sister is coming with her family, and my other sister may or may not come. She’s coming from out of state (closer), but worries about the drive home tonight. We’re still having dinner, but it won’t be the big blowout weekend we planned. But at least my house is squeaky clean–no easy feat with 11 cats!–and I have a ton of food in the house, so let it snow! (And I do get to see some family, too.)

        1. The Other Dawn*

          Yeah, deep cleaning the house for a holiday takes awhile due to cat hair and all that fun stuff. The cats don’t get in the way when people are over, though. They all scatter and I don’t see them for hours. Although, I do have a few brave souls that hang around for petting.

      1. Ewesername*

        No extra snow. Just ducking cold. We’re talking minus 30c as the HIGH today. Not going outside. Groceries were delivered, movies are picked out, tea made. Going to knit and enjoy the forced relaxation.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          -30°C?! That’s -22°F. Where are you, if you don’t mind me asking. I thought last year’s stretch of 5°F was brutal, and that’s “just” -15°C!

          Here’s hoping your region is prepared for that level of cold!

          1. Ewesername*

            Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. It’s a wee bit chilly up here right now. We’re mostly used to it but I’d really rather it warmed up a bit.

            1. Seeking Second Childhood*

              It makes me feel less cold with tonight’s 3°F forecast. Still doesn’t help with the sheet of ice I’m going to have on my hill though… we started the day with 2″ of snow, then rain, and now the temps are dropping.
              And it’s still cloudy so boo hiss, not much chance for seeing our lunar eclipse.

          2. esra*

            They’re calling for -23c/-37c windchill tomorrow in Toronto, and it’s usually a bit warmer here so…

            I went out to the corner store earlier and am still filled with regret as I try to warm up. I’m not looking forward to tomorrow’s commute.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Hi neighbor… for us the weather made us cancel a trip up to Salem MA for the Forbidden City exhibit. So instead we made eggs benedict.
        I ate enough butter that I feel insulated against anything mother nature throws at us. And our dual-fuel generator arrived a couple of weeks ago so we’re prepared to lose power…which probably means we won’t.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          How’s the weather in your area? We’re central CT and have about three inches of snow, but it’s sleeting now, which is packing the snow and it’s also very icy out. We’re intermittently losing power, which is fin because I’m trying to cook a breakfast casserole.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            I was offline most of the day…just gave the weather report above. I had such wet snow by the time I got up the second time that I didn’t attempt the snow blower.
            I did shovel a path from the gutter output down to the lower edge of our driveway where it goes downhill…but it didn’t melt&drain much before the temps started dropping. We had a few flickers of power but it came back on. By the Theory of Conservation of Aggravation (Cornell Daily Sun circa 1986), the fact that we are prepared* should mean power stays on.
            *recently bought a generator, cut trees overhanging power lines, and brought in firewood.

    2. PB*

      No snow here yet, but we’re forecast to get a foot by tomorrow. I’m going to make a lasagna later. Good cold weather food, which will last us a few days.

    3. Marthooh*

      We’re supposed to get freezing rain and snow tonight, followed by a couple of days of sub-freezing temperatures. I plan to bake many foods.

    4. ThatGirl*

      It’s still snowing here but should be clearing by mid day. Thankfully Chicagoland can deal pretty well, so I expect to be able to leave the house later :)

      1. Texan In Exile*

        It’s still snowing, but my neighbors are already shoveling. I am watching them shovel. And, as I watch, I see my across the street neighbor come over and blow our sidewalk!

        Which is fabulous! Because that’s the part you get fined for not shoveling! So now I can really take my time! (Marido is out of town for work, so it’s all on me for this one.)

    5. LondonBridges*

      Probably gonna be snowed in here too, but my plans are a little less relaxing. Hurray for starting a semester with several writing assignments!

    6. Rebecca*

      Just waiting for the snowpocalypse here in Central PA, 8-12″ or 12-18″ + depending on the forecast model you look at for my neighborhood. I’m hoping to walk down into town tomorrow and help to clear fire hydrants if people need help.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      Not snowed in exactly, but it’s very cold, snowing, blustery, and now it’s starting to stick to the road. I was going to march today but decided against it. (I did march at night in the snow when the Protect Mueller thing was triggered, but it wasn’t windy or really cold). I didn’t even go to meditation group this morning.

      I’m further south than the main part of the storm so I doubt we’ll get much in the way of accumulation. Still, I’m thinking today will be a soup and Netflix day, as well as getting some book work done.

    8. StellaBella*

      To all in the snow – stay safe and warm!

      This weekend I am resting. I’ve been very busy looking for w**k and still sorting papers, life, clothes, stuff, etc from my move in December. It’s been an emotional week too – lots of good things…like discovering *both* of the really mean women (both over 50 years old) who were engaged in a lot of manipulation and gaslighting of me and my ex-boyfriend when I last lived here (2017) have both left this town I am in! It was serendipity – I had a meeting with some folks who worked with one of them years ago….so I looked online at these connections and discovered one is in Australia now and one is in the USA (I am in continental Europe). I was so thrilled to learn that they have both moved! (if you’ve been in toxic personal relationships you will understand the weight being off my shoulders!)

      I’ve made some food (sliced roasted sweet potatoes, soup, and roasted veg mix for lunches). I played with my cat in the sunshine (it is cold but sunny here). I planted some cat grass seeds, watered house plants. I want to go to the grocery to get hot cocoa and mint schnapps but am cutting way back on my drinking habits, and am just feeling like I want to stay in this sunbeam in my chair for a while still. And I plan to go to bed early.

      For the normal “mental health thread” by Junior Dev – I’d say it’s been a good but tiring week. Hoping everyone else is a-ok, too.

      1. Cruciatus*

        I’m 2 hours south. So far just waiting…waiting…waiting… I have enjoyed the lack of snow so far this winter for being able to get out and about but I’m actually really looking forward to a good snow this weekend! I hope it happens.

        1. Windward*

          How are you folks today? We got off comparatively easy, only about 6″ instead of the 2′ predicted. We often win the Golden Snowball, so its great to be on the easier side this time.

          1. Cruciatus*

            Yes, we also often win the Golden Snowball! But honestly this storm wasn’t anything too unusual for us (probably not for you either) but I guess it made news because of how widespread it was. We did get a lot of snow (about 8″) but it’ll be the drifting that is the main problem today. Looking outside now the snow is lighter than last night but it’s definitely blowing sideways!

            1. Windward*

              We made up for it by getting about a foot more today. Tucked in and hoping the plows do a thorough job tomorrow. I’d rather have the snow than the ice others are dealing with. Still think we’re behind in the Golden Snowball race this year, that’s ok by me.

              1. Cruciatus*

                Agreed! I’m so good not winning this year. In the end it looks like we had over a foot by Sunday afternoon but then the sun came out and it was a calm (but cold) day, but that gave plows time to dig us out just in time for work Monday (at least for me). Here’s hoping neither of us win snowiest city this year!

    9. Aurora Leigh*

      Not this weekend, thankfully! We got over a foot of snow last weekend! (Central IL) Woke up to just a couple additional inches of snow on the car. Really strong winds, so I’ll probably stay in most of the day.

      Boyfriend is working a 16 hour day, so I have the house to myself and will be watching Miss Fisher and cleaning.

      1. A Teacher*

        Hey fellow central IL person! It is SO cold out. Luckily less snow than last weekend but the wind is definitely colder.

    10. Two Dog Night*

      West of Chicago–we’ve got about 7 inches so far, and it’s supposed to keep snowing for a couple more hours, but it’s slowing down. It’s light and fluffy and looks gorgeous, and cleaning it should be reasonably easy, so yay snow!

    11. Penguin*

      Not snowed in yet, but it’s sure coming down. I expect to be running the snowblower several times over the next 24 hours.

    12. ECHM*

      We have 4-5 inches in southwest Michigan. The roads are quite slick. Thankfully we don’t have to go anywhere today, so we will be relaxing and staying inside. Enjoy your hot chocolate! My favorite drink!

      1. Forking great username*

        About the same in southeast MI, and it’s still coming down! I have a ton to get done this weekend and am fine with not leaving the house, but am not sure when I’ll find time to shovel. And I wish it could’ve waited a few days to get us an extra day off work/school, haha.

        1. lammmm*

          The freeways in the metro area are a hot mess… at least they were around noon when I was last out.

      2. Slartibartfast*

        Down here by the Ohio border we’ve got a foot of snow. It’s a balmy 9°F. I have a cup of hot tea and a snoring Boston. It’s rough :)

    13. SaaSyPaaS*

      Our winter storm advisory was just lifted. I have a book on hold for me at the library, but they delayed opening for another hour. My plan is to make a big pot of soup, read, maybe finish a small project, and that’s about it.

    14. Loopy*

      I’m jealous! I know snow is a hassle but I need a reason/excuse to have a weekend in to rest! It’s sunny and almost 70 F where I am so I feel guilty staying in and taking an afternoon nap. Also snow and cold is the *best* time for baking comfort foods. Just doesn’t feel right in the warm sunny weather.

      1. Forking great username*

        It’s only until you have to go shovel half a foot of snow off your driveway and sidewalk – don’t be too jealous, haha!

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I’m ok shovelling. …but we had slush that was too much for our snowblower. And by tomorrow that’ll be 2″ of solid ice. :(

    15. Emily*

      Yeah! I started a new video game last night (Stardew Valley) and have plans to make eggnog cinnamon rolls from a recipe I saw online.

      I actually think it would be really fun to go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, but it’s really cold and windy this weekend in addition to the snow, and I’d have to drive somewhere for rentals (I don’t own any of the equipment), so it probably won’t happen.

    16. I'm A Little Teapot*

      I’ve currently got 5-6 inches, though it’s been drifting quite a bit. Don’t need to go anywhere until Monday.

    17. Madge*

      Not yet, but soon. I’m excited to see how much we get as we’re in the band with the most snow, but we’re low altitude so we won’t get as much as other towns nearby. Usually it’s like we’re in some sort of bubble and hardly get anything relative to the storm. I’m following a new weather forecaster and I’ll be interested to see how accurate she is. She’s independent so the forecast is more general and less focused on one region. We’re too small to get our own forecast so we have to pick from the larger cities nearby and the forecasts just seem off. I did my bread and milk trip on Wednesday but stopped into the store on Friday for a few things and it was predictably crazy. I had planned to replace the hard drive on my laptop this weekend but I didn’t realize I needed a SATA cable and no one locally carries it, so I’ll be working on other things.

    18. Jess the Kat*

      No snow yet in the Boston area. Expecting it later tonight. Too bad it had to happen on a 3 day weekend, also my birthday weekend! A friend and her two little ones were driving down this weekend from a few hours away but had to cancel for safety reasons. So it’s my DH and I, with a big birthday cake. Yum!

    19. Not So NewReader*

      Upstate NY here. We are expecting at least two feet. It’s almost 4 pm now, they said it would start around now. But nothing yet. The grocery stores are just hopping.

    20. CastIrony*

      I barely have any snow on the ground. In my area, it’ll be 40 degrees F today.
      Five hours east, my best friend will have a high of 45 degrees F!
      It’s so wrong! I want snow! I want cold where the highs are in the lower to mid thirties at most! It’s too warm, and by now, my area should have had a couple of days where it was -10 to -20 degrees F and like 5 as the high or something!
      (end rant)

    21. Lost in the Woods*

      About 5,” with a delightful turn to freezing rain in the morning with a flash-freeze expected early afternoon, just to put an ice crust on that snow pie. Monday, our high is in the single digits F with windchill expected to go well below 0. Our semester starts on Tuesday, so loads of people are trying to figure out if it’s better to drive today or wait until tomorrow. I’m so glad I flew in to school a few days early.

    22. Damn it, Hardison!*

      Maybe 3 inches just south of Boston. However, it’s now raining/sleeting, so the snow is wet and heavy. Just finished shoveling the driveway and sidewalk – ouch!

      1. Bluebell*

        Almost 6 inches North of Boston and the temp has dropped 5 degrees in the last half hour. Fortunately someone else is doing the shoveling. I’ll be making soup later today.

    23. Overeducated*

      I stupidly drove through 300+ miles of the storm very, very slowly with a family member last night to get home before Monday night (funerals and weather don’t happen at convenient time). We made it safely, it just took 9 hours, but we admitted to each other about halfway that we probably should not have done it.

      It’s very weird that the last couple hours it was just rain, so after all that we wound up in a place with no snow. I’m a little jealous! Stay warm and enjoy!

    24. KR*

      The desert got a huge amount of rain last week which I suppose was our “snow” but I did get to go to Colorado for work so I’m really happy about seeing some white stuff this winter.

  2. Table for One*

    This is a question for people who like to go out to solo dinners at restaurants, though perhaps food service people might advise too. I like to take myself out to a solo dinner with my book once a week. It can get noisy in my house that makes it difficult to engage in my book so I like the dull roar of a restaurant where my roommates aren’t trying to talk to me about their crappy work days or family difficulties. I know cafes/coffee shops are more ideal for sitting and reading but I go to actual restaurants (Applebee’s and Greene Turtle are my usual go-to’s) because I like to get dinner and an alcoholic beverage.

    My question comes down to how long should I be lingering with my book at the table. Normal dinner turnaround to put in an order, eat the food, and pay the check is about 45 minutes but if I’m reading, I’d prefer to stay longer, usually an hour and a half if I can. I go early in the week, not a Friday or a Saturday when I know it’s busy, so it’s never that there’s a line at the door. And I do keep ordering, either another beverage or a to-go dish that I can eat for lunch the next day. I always leave a generous tip for my server, like 25%, because I know they’re not making as much off of me as they would if a family of four was at their table.

    Is there a length of time where I’m being really obnoxious in lingering over my book at the table, even if I’m still ordering? The last time I was out, the server brought my check the moment my plate was empty, even though I was intending to ask for another drink and a refill of chips. I asked for my additions and he seemed in good spirits about it, but I still felt like that was a ‘please hurry along’ move, even though the restaurant was only half full. It was a rare case where the restaurant bar was quiet so I took myself over to the bar area because I felt like my server wanted me to leave (probably reading too much into that situation but it got my anxiety going). I never really think about taking too long at a table if I’m in a group with other people and our conversation runs longer than the food but when I’m solo, when the server might see me as too much effort for too tiny a tip, I start second-guessing my plans.

    So basically, how long can a solo diner reading a book over her meal take up a table during a non-busy time of day because they’re considered obnoxious and need to get out?

    1. WellRed*

      Solo book reading diner here with the caveat I eat at the bar. You’re fine, totally fine! Maybe they aren’t making as much off you, but it’s probably really close and I assume you are easy to serve and pleasant and a regular. They love you. If there’s a line out the door, sure wrap it up a bit earlier.

      1. Table for One*

        I don’t normally go for the bar unless it’s quiet. The bars in the restaurants I go to sometimes get loud sports fans because there’s always a game of some kind going on. I’d love to go in there because it is less pressure if you’re lingerjng but it’s often too loud for me.

        But thanks for the reassurance!

    2. Not All*

      I dine solo a lot. If I want to hang out, I usually sit at the end of the bar…bartenders care less about flipping space. If I don’t want to sit at the bar, I go to places like local breweries known for their good food where people are expected to hang out & socialize for longer periods. A lot of them have 2 person tables that aren’t as big of a deal to tie up as a 4-person booth. Doing that, I’ve never felt like I was getting “finish already” looks even at a couple hours.

      Not sure what part of the country you’re in, but coming from the PNW, 20% is a standard tip & 25% is for slightly-above-average service with no exceptional requests so depending on your time/order amount, you may not be tipping quite as well as you think.

      1. ..Kat..*

        That is a huge tip! That said, if you are a regular that they recognize, they probably are delighted to have you stay for an hour and a half. More than an hour and a half would probably be too much. I would also recommend not going at a peak time.

        Myself, I usually do this at the bar, but sit at the end (gives me some personal space). The bars that I do this at have sports on TV, but the sound off.

    3. Weegie*

      I tend to take an hour. If I want to keep reading, I’ll usually go to a coffee shop, bar area, or whatever. Depends on the restaurant, though, and how busy it is.

    4. Buona Forchetta*

      I also like to dine solo with a book. My go-tos are either at a diner over breakfast on a non-busy weekday morning or in the late afternoon/early evening at a pub or restaurant. I usually sit at the bar, but if that’s not an option I tell the server upfront that I plan to linger and to let me know if they need to flip the table. I’ve never had an issue that way and I tip well to make up the difference.

    5. Kathenus*

      I handle it a lot like you described. I only linger if it’s not busy, and tip heavily (probably more like the 30-35% that other commenters mentioned). That said, there’s sometimes a bit of ‘reading the room’ involved (no pun intended). If the particular server seems to be hurrying me out, depending on the situation (like overall business) and my mood, I might not linger and tip more normally; or I might engage the server a bit, with something like ‘let me know if I’m blocking a table for someone else, or you need me to settle up if you’re ending your shift’. I’m with you that a leisurely meal out with a book or reading on my tablet is a guilty pleasure of mine as well.

    6. Venus*

      I don’t understand why a server would be annoyed by you staying longer if there isn’t a line of customers – you aren’t preventing them from having more customers! If you tip more than average then even better, so from a logical view you are being a very good customer. But I know not everyone thinks logically, so I like Kathenus’s suggestion where you offer to give up your table if they get busy, or to settle up if they are changing shift.

      In fact my guess is that the server may have wanted to wrap up at the end of a shift. In those cases (this has happened a couple times where I was with a group of friends, but the concept still works) I have chatted with the server and we’ve paid the bill and then stayed for another hour to finish our meals and drinks. The server just wanted the bill and tip paid out to them, and were more than happy if we’d stayed until closing.

      It probably varies by region, but I’ve had no problems here in eating by myself, or with friends, and if I have an exception for timing (either I need to eat quickly or want to stay and linger) then I mention it to the server and tell them to get me the bill whenever they have a moment, so that I can pay promptly. I have never had a problem with them pushing me out after I have paid, especially when they know that I’ve tipped well!

      1. Forking great username*

        It probably does mean fewer customers for that server! Typically restaurants split up the tables/sections between servers. So if a server already has four people in her section and someone else has three, the other server gets that new group coming in – the restaurants’ system there isn’t meant to account for a single diner that is spending twice as long as normal on their meal. I definitely think tipping over 25% is appropriate here. 20% is standard in many areas, and an extra 5% isn’t enough for this.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Agreed. And the server does have to keep checking back to make sure you don’t need anything. This drags on as management watches to make sure they check. Not the customer’s fault management micromanages like that but it can wear pretty thin pretty fast. If I am done eating, I finish my coffee/beverage and leave. I don’t know what goes on now, but the saying used to be, “This is a restaurant not a reading room.”

        2. Thrown into the fire new manager*

          When i waited tables, the tables were usually rotated evenly among the waitstaff. As long as there is an open table in the section, the server will get another table seated in the rotation. It becomes a problem when it is busy. I actually never paid attention too much to how long people were staying on slow nights.

    7. LuJessMin*

      I usually stay about an hour, maybe a bit more if it’s not busy. I’m a good tipper, so most of my usual places know that and let me hang out a bit longer.

    8. Annie Moose*

      A fellow solo restaurant patron! I also feel awkward sometimes, so I’m reading the responses with interest. I will say that one benefit of dining alone is you can almost always get a seat, even at a busy restaurant. Was in Chicago a couple months ago, went to a couple of restaurants with a line out the door… and got seated immediately because I was the only person in line who was eating by myself, so they could tuck me into the corner without difficulty! So there are some benefits. (like you, I always try to be generous with the tip too)

      An additional wrinkle for me is that I don’t drink, so I can’t really go sit at the bar–I mean I’m sure I could, but it seems a bit silly to sit at the bar when I’m just there for food.

      1. ThatGirl*

        You can, but I understand that it may feel awkward. The bartender is unlikely to judge you, though!

    9. Llellayena*

      I am also a solo, book reading diner and I see no problem with how you’re handling your visits. I’m in a small town with no chain restaurants so my usual is to ask for a smaller table or a seat at the bar (the bar at my favorite sushi place is great). If you have some non-chain restaurants around they tend to have more 2 person tables, chains tend to have mostly 4 person tables. Non-chain restaurants can also be quieter. Enjoy your reading!

    10. Undine*

      If the restaurant looks busy, I will actually say, “Let me know if you need the table.” No one’s ever taken me up on it, but I also don’t linger as long as it sounds like you do.

    11. nslhn*

      I love reading alone at restaurants! And in proper cozy seats, not at the bar. So I always tell the waiter from the start that my plan is to sit and read and drink a while, so they should please alert me if they really need my table for new customers, or if their shift is ending and it would be best for them if I settle the tab before they leave, then order new drinks (or not) from the person replacing them, on a new tab. No one has ever asked me to pay up and go for the first reason, but countless times people HAVE told me that their shift is ending and yes please if I could pay my bill before they leave and hand my table off to other staff, it would be great for them. Communication is everything!

      1. Loopy*

        Not to single you out- a lot of previous posters have mentioned doing this same thing, but I know at least where my partner works he could never tell a customer to leave because they need the table- many times even if they do. In an age of online reviews, some places may just let the server suffer not getting another table and have the customer feel happy, welcome and un-rushed. It’s great for the restaurant and customer but it may hurt a server trying to make tips (since in the US, that’s what they rely on to pay bills, not in US, this probably doesn’t apply). I just am posting so people are aware, not to guilt trip anyone.

        1. Table for One*

          I was going to say this same thing. Because I have actually said to servers ‘tell me if you need me to leave’, and no one has actually asked me to pack up. But I don’t know who is being honest and who is just being polite when they really want me to move along.

        2. nslhan*

          Well, since I offer sincerely to vacate the table, I trust I’ll get an honest reply. If a waiter told me out of nowhere that they wanted my table for someone else, yeah, I’d maybe be peeved, but if I’m the one directly asking them myself, why would their answer upset me? It was an ex of mine who waited tables who encouraged me to take this approach. I think I communicate my sincerity with tone, body language, etc etc But yes of course, all people and all restaurants are different!! And I have oceans of sympathy for restaurant staff dealing with difficult customers.

          1. Loopy*

            Well you trust you get an honest reply but I’m not sure that’s realistic. That server answers to their boss who cares more about a happy customer than the server’s paycheck is all I’m pointing out and that server can’t put their paycheck before their bosses wishes. So, I just wanted people to keep in mind it’s a tip reliant position where servers can’t actually do as much as they may need/want to to ensure table turn over- which is what’s going to help them get more tips (which they rely on). Their hands may be tied by different priorities between their boss and their needs.

            Not saying everyone who lingers is doing a huge disservice, but trying to point out a very invisible issue/dilemma if people wanted to be aware/keep it in mind and act on it. Really this is directed at the larger discussion, not just your comment and maybe nesting wasn’t super wise of me- I definitely hope it’m not coming across as attacking at all.

    12. Loopy*

      I am not a server but I am in a relationship with one. Many folks are saying if it isn’t busy, you don’t need to worry but from what I’ve heard/seen in his experience that might not always be true. At least where he works, each server is assigned a specific section of tables. If folks are lingering at tables of his section it looks like he’s busy, and hostesses divert incoming people to another server’s sections and he watches his coworkers get the business. Sometimes he’ll have half his section lingering and not get any new people sat in his section.

      This might be bad hostesses-ing at his place and/or not apply, but it seems a little more complex. Of course no one should be rushed out, but so many nights he’s come home bummed because he had several lingering tables in his section just by weird luck and made much, much less than coworkers in sections where people ate and left in a normal timeframe.

      That being said, it sounds like you are aware and trying to make sure your server gets extra tip and you order t least something else. But to many others, just be aware that small bills+lingering can really cause a poor server’s check to suffer (not saying don’t go out solo, but if you do maybe ALSO lingering is more problematic than a lot of people realize).

      1. Table for One*

        That’s exactly my worry. I don’t want to be that person lingering forever and frustrating my server but I also want to enjoy my time out. Maybe I can make more of an effort to move to the bar after the meal for one more drink if I want to stay a little longer.

        Any tips from your partner to make my outting as easy as possible for my server would be much appreciated!

        1. Hi*

          Honestly I wouldn’t worry about it that much! I’ve waited tables for years and if you are nice and tip you’re doing nothing wrong. I don’t think you need to tip over 25% just because you’re alone and I don’t think you need to worry so much about the server. Some servers especially at more casual places are just young and unprofessional. Plus if you’re ordering extra drinks and togo food and tipping on it, its like there’s multiple people there anyway! Servers are bothered by people things like people who use a $100 gift card for $99 of food and tip nothing, or people who are so drunk they’re throwing up into their dinner. Trust me. Nice people eating alone are the least of their worries. If the restaurant is filling up to the top, move to the bar. And FWIW if a person told me kick me out if you need to, I probably would! In a nice way of course. You’re a paying customer that’s tipping over 20%. You don’t need to self flagellate to this point, you are so beyond fine doing this!

        2. Loopy*

          I’m definitely coming from one single person’s perspective- as Hi’s comment shows. My partner is not a young college kid working for spare cash, he’s supporting a mortgage. So it’s hard to judge how much of an impact it’ll have on a server if you as a single person linger. Looking back on my comment, I am probably pretty biased. The restaurant is there to serve people, regardless of how many people are at a table. I don’t think you should feel bad, I was more trying to make people aware to say avoid lingering at a table for an extra hour nursing a drink. But it doesn’t mean you should feel terrible about a little lingering and being a solo diner. I probably come off as being on the far end of the spectrum and biased. I would say a good tip and ordering a sizable meal and not just an appetizer means you’re just as entitled to enjoy your time at the table as long as it’s not excessive.

        3. Lissa*

          I think as long as you’re polite and tip well, you’re fine. You’re doing all you can to mitigate issues, but realistically there are going to be way worse issues than this – large tables not tipping at all, absolute jerks of customers, etc. Not every table is going to be that ideal leaves quickly, tips well, is polite etc – when you work in customer services there’s a variance and it sounds like you’re doing what you can not to be a jerk. When I worked in restaurants this would be like, last on my list of things to be annoyed with. It’s nice to be considerate but the fact that there are systemic issues in the service industry is going to be there regardless – I don’t think it’s up to people to never do anything even mildly inconvenient so long as they’re mindful, which you are.

      2. anon needs a new name*

        Honestly, I think this is why a lot of people hate dining solo or get anxious doing it. Because they know waiters are probably upset they’re making less money and feel like they’re going to get rushed out.

        I stopped dining solo for a long time because I always felt like I was a nuisance to the waiter and there was visible annoyance if I took time to enjoy a drink with my meal instead of gulping it all down and leaving immediately.

        1. Loopy*

          I feel badly about this (because I’ve seen it from both sides) and really the issue is that having an industry that’s *almost* 100% tip reliant is the issue here. My dad hates being rushed from a table and I love finding places he’s comfortable enough to linger because its SO rare for him to get to eat a relaxed, non-rushed meal. On the other side of things, I see my partner who is reliant on tips and indirect customer behavior sadly has a huge impact on his pay, which is ridiculous!

          It’s weirdly no-win for anyone who isn’t the typical dining table.

          1. anon needs a new name*

            I’ve gotten the stink eye or some passive aggressiveness enough for daring to ask for a table when I’m dining solo that I’ve just given up on it. I hate eating at the bar because people tend to try and talk to me even if I’m reading and sometimes I want a nice chair and table instead of the bar.

            I’m always conscious of lingering, but I’ve been made to feel guilty one too many times. The worst was a birthday dinner years ago where I was treating myself and splurging on some very expensive wine and courses (at least four courses) and the waiter dropped each course off almost immediately and cleared the dishes immediately and basically made me feel like I had to rush so they could flip the table. In a half empty restaurant. If I’m spending $150-$200 as a solo diner, you damn well better believe I want to linger and not feel rushed.

            I feel bad that servers are so tip dependent, and that should change, but it’s also pretty shitty when they make people feel bad for dining solo.

    13. Hi*

      If its not busy and people aren’t waiting you are 100% fine. Some servers may just be waiting on you to pay so they can go home, but its a little rude to just drop the check right away. They could have invited you to switch over to the bar or transfer the check to the bar. Applebees is pretty casual though so maybe they figured you weren’t there to hang. When I go out alone I sit at the bar FWIW I think that seems to be the standard, but its not at all weird if you sit at a table. I just like the bar and see other people doing that so I do that too.

    14. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      You shouldn’t feel bad about taking up space unless there’s a line out front and people aren’t able to get a table for their dinner! Which isn’t the case here since you are mindful of going on a slow time. You’re a dream of a customer because you’re eating a meal and drinking a couple of high margin beverages :) You’re not just sitting there drinking a water and taking up real estate.

      Most waiters drop the check because that finishes their work, so unless you were aiming to get another drink, which they should have made sure of first, it isn’t necessarily a sign that you need to scoot! I would just make it clear to folks that I’ll be lingering and that if they’d rather you sit in the bar, you don’t mind moving there, etc. Be open, kind and show them that you understand that they are running a business there, that’s my go-to.

      Lots of times my servers will say “please stay as long as you’d like, I’m just dropping this off for whenever you’re ready for it so I don’t forget or you don’t have to ask” [in less words than that of course]. So I think that was just a misstep that some may forget if they’re on auto-pilot closing out a ticket.

      And if you go to the same places, they’re going to know you’re there and will linger, they will also know you tip 35% and adore you.

    15. NonnyNon*

      Why don’t you go to a library or a park to read?
      As a former server, I wouldn’t be thrilled if you were regularly taking tables for long periods and I was losing out on new customers.

      1. Rebeck*

        Because in a library you often can’t eat and certainly can’t drink alcohol while reading (same restriction with alcohol in a park.)

        1. Lissa*

          There are a few coffee shops in my city now that offer decent-ish food and even alcohol and I *love it* for this reason! Don’t feel self-conscious about being solo, not making anyone lose out, and get to enjoy a book/game while eating and drinking. Perfect.

          1. valentine*

            It doesn’t sound like there’s a stream of customers the server’s losing out on. The only thing worse than this judgment is sitting at the bar. I do not want to scale a barstool, especially if it has no back.

      2. The Gollux (Not a Mere Device)*

        I’m answering this on a snowy night with a winter storm warning–but even in good weather I’m not going to a park to read at night. There’s plenty of weather I’d call “good” because it’s fine for walking around in, but not for sitting on a bench for an hour.

    16. Screenwriter mom*

      Solo diner here too. It really depends on the culture of the restaurant and the time of day (going early or late is a really good idea). I’d say if there isn’t anyone waiting for a table, you can linger–I often just let the waiter know I’d like to sit for a bit and maybe enjoy another drink “if it’s okay,” just to relieve my own anxiety. My other trick is to tip really really well– as though there were two people there, basically. Often it’s just a few extra dollars (on top of the 25% you leave)–just a few bucks to me, but it makes ALL the difference. Again, I also do this because it reduces my own anxiety and makes the experience more pleasant all round. (And by the way, if you get into this habit, and return to the same places, you’ll find that they are very happy to see you and you may feel even more comfortable lingering over your book.)

    17. Marion Ravenwood*

      Caveat to this: I’m in the UK, where wait staff depend less on tips than in the US or some other countries, so that might affect my answer.

      I’d probably stay about an hour in that situation. Like others here, I only tend to do that for breakfast (mostly on weekdays, but sometimes I’ll go somewhere on a weekend and be there for the doors opening) or as an early dinner (around 5pm) early in the week. If there’s a bar, I’ll try and eat there so I’m not taking up a table someone else could be using, and I normally tip a bit extra (say 15-20% where the norm is 12.5%).

      The issue I find is that when I actually do want to leave, it’s nigh on impossible to get someone to bring me the bill, which I’ve never got – surely it’s in their interest to get rid of me sooner rather than later so they can put (at least) two people on the table I’m taking up by myself? I do try to get around it by asking for the bill as soon as my food comes, but then that makes me feel like I can’t stay after I’ve eaten so end up dragging out my coffee/drink in order to hold on to my spot.

    18. Elder Dog*

      So… why don’t you ask the manager at the restaurant? That’s the person who would know if you were being seen as obnoxious or not, or if it would be nic of you to move to the bar or even to eat your meal and toddle along to the library.
      All anybody here can do is guess. Ask the person who can actually help you with this. They may have a manager’s table that is always filled last where they can seat you and no server gets shorted. They may not, but you’ll never know if you don’t ask at the restaurant you’re using.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        I found myself far more engaged when I got to Part 2 and she was actually in college and learning about the world.

      2. Emily*

        I was also surprised about how much it ended up being about abuse – it was an engaging book, but not the one I was expecting to read. Some parts were very stressful, that’s for sure.

      3. Sarah*

        Honestly, I was traumatized by this book. Once I started it, I couldn’t *not* finish it, but I wish I’d never read it. I cannot think of a single other book I would say that about, despite being a very avid reader who has read thousands of books in my lifetime.
        I laud the author for the courage to tell her story, and moreover the courage to live it, but I cannot recommend the book to everyone. It stuck with me and not in a good way. If you have trauma and violence in your own past, as do I, you may want to skip it.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          That’s sounds like how I felt about The Kite Runner. I empathize with the people on the pages a little too much for my own good. I may file this one under “as bad for my nightmares as true crime” and skip it.

        2. hayling*

          I also am finding it so traumatic! I am about halfway through, right when she is about to go to college. It’s marketed as her being from a religious-extremist, isolationist family, but it’s really about being from an extremely violent and reckless family. I had heard her interview on Fresh Air last year and recommended it to my book club and now I am regretting it!

    1. Jackie*

      This was the best book I read last year. You never know what goes on behind closed doors in families.

    2. OtterB*

      I read this recently because I kept seeing it recommended everywhere, and also found it hard to put down. It is harrowing in many respects. I expected to enjoy it as a story of achievement, and it certainly is that, but what I found compelling was the peek into a completely different world and different mindset from my own. Her family and neighbors are not caricature rural survivalists, they are real people whose decisions you may disagree with (boy howdy, are you likely to disagree with some of them) but that grow naturally out of their perspective.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        So far what’s frustrated me the most is her making excuses for her father and brother’s behavior. It’s a fascinating look at how normalized abuse is for the victims.

        1. OtterB*

          I saw it not as the adult-her making excuses for her father and brother but giving you the point of view of younger-her, who didn’t recognize those things as abuse. In that sense it’s like some of the letters here from people in first jobs who don’t have the experience to know how far outside the norm their situation is.

      2. A no-name mouse*

        I found it fascinating just cavalier the father was about the well-being of everyone. I’d think something like a car accident or brain damage would force him to reconsider his views on safety. But no! The descriptions of these kinds of situations and Tara working on the scrapyard made my hair stand up. The book was amazing, and I couldn’t put it down but it was a rough read.

        1. Rune*

          The car accidents and her dad’s reaction to them were crazy. Especially the second one when his relatives even said why are you leaving now after what happened during the last one. How little her dad seemed to grasp (or care?, I couldn’t tell) all the dangers of in the scrapyard and everything else.

    3. LCL*

      It was rough for me. At the end of it I was thinking about getting a gun and paying a visit to her brother.

    4. ..Kat..*

      I don’t think I can read this book. Through my job, I see children who are isolated and abused like this, and “home schooling” is a key parental weapon in the parents’ arsenal. Sometimes I think of how much more awful my life would have been if I had been home schooled. The isolation from home schooling teaches these children that there is no other life but this, no other way to live or think or be. And when it is a religious sect, it also teaches that you will be damned if you even think of getting out. F*. I can’t even type this without crying.

      1. LCL*

        Home schooling to keep children isolated and abused is an all too common news story here, unfortunately. I’m frustrated my state makes it easy to do and doesn’t check up on these kids properly so they drop off the map, to be found dead or badly damaged. Or go missing. The one instance of home schooling I knew about personally led to me talking to the friends, relatives and assorted hangers on. I seriously considered calling child services, but was talked out of it because it wasn’t an abuse case. It was a keep the oldest child home watching the younger siblings deal. There wasn’t any religious component to the household, just basic dirtbag hedonism.

    5. Rune*

      When I wrote a review for the book. That’s exactly what I said: “This book is rough” I still finished it about a day and a half because I really needed to know what happened.

  3. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going?
    I’ve just come to the conclusion that I’m gonna need to change the ending of the project I’m currently working on. Although “need to” probably isn’t the write phrasing: the original ending could still work but I feel like this new idea I have makes more sense given the nature of my sort-of antagonist.

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      I think I’m coming to the end of the first draft, which is great, as I’m excited to start digging into it and making it work properly.

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Woo, congrats! I’m still at first draft/loose scenes/workspace-looks-like-I’m-a-weird-mix-between-a-conspiracy-theorist-and-a-serial-killer-stage myself.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      I had an “OMG why do I even botherrrr” moment yesterday and damn near deleted every damn thing. A conversation on the work open thread triggered it–how this genre is dead, etc., blah blah self-pub it, no sales, agents won’t try, yadda yadda yadda. I got so frustrated I logged off and went to clean the house.

      While I was cleaning, I listened to the latest episode of Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa’s podcast Gaslit Nation. At the end, Andrea was talking about how a screenplay she’d been working on for fifteen years had finally been made into a film. She said, “Don’t give up!”

      I really needed to hear that. Though I’d kind of like things to move a little FASTER, universe! *poke poke*

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Oh yeah, I feel you. I honestly have no idea what genre I should even classify this project as XD. That’s gonna make me look good if I decide to go the traditional publishing route.
        If it helps, you could look up Ranganathan’s five laws of library science (specifically the second and third one) for some encouragement :).
        And…Well, most successful writers had to go through countless rejections too, and some which are considered classics today published through “vanity presses” so…
        Also, if my local bookstore is any indication urban fantasy isn’t dead. At all.
        I also came across a blog about debut author lessons recently (I think someone posted the link on facebook?) which is kinda old at this point but might still have some good tips so I’ll post the link in a reply.

            1. A.N. O'Nyme*

              I hadn’t heard of her before seeing this link but now I’ve added her to my ever-growing to-read list :). Her books sound interesting.

    3. Should it be a screenplay?*

      I sort of fell into something that I’m really enjoying writing, and I’m about 10k words into prose. But it’s not my usual style and I feel like it ought to be a screenplay rather than a novel(etta) because of the pacing and action. I wouldn’t be writing it to sell, but if I do create something I’d like to put it under the nose of a screenwriter I know who is very encouraging of my writing.

      Thing is, I know approximately chuff all about how you actually write a screenplay. Do you think I can ask him for a sample of his work so I can see how it works? For example an episode of his that I’ve actually watched on tv? Do we think that would be ok?

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        There’s this saying that I really like: “You’ve already got a no (because you didn’t ask), you could get a yes”. I would ask him, but don’t be disappointed if he can’t/won’t. Maybe when you ask him for a screenplay add that you’d also be happy with some good online resources/examples.

        1. Should it be a screenplay?*

          That’s a great suggestion, thanks. Also I love the “when you ask him” instead of “if you ask him”. At this point frankly two or three pages would be hugely helpful.

          I’ll be brave.

    4. Akcipitrokulo*

      Going to get back into it this week – I know that writing (almost) every day is the way forward, but then start spodding as soon as I open a laptop…

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        I…have no idea what spodding means in this context. Google gives me carp fishing?
        I’m guessing it has to do with being distracted? If that is what you meant, it’s one of the many reasons I now write first drafts by hand on paper.

    5. Torrance*

      I’ve started working on what I hope will eventually become a visual novel. It’s a story I’ve been trying to write since the early aughts but always struggled with for one reason or another– I think I’ve finally found the medium that’ll work. :D

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Yeah, finding the right medium is sometimes a bigger battle than people would think. Congrats!

    6. curator*

      My writing is crap right now. I had been trying to carve out time, an hour from 5:30 to 6:30 am because I ‘just can’t” after work. I am in revision after peer review. Presenting at a conference in June so there IS a deadline. On the other hand there is Monday.

    7. Liane*

      Finally getting back into writing/editing for the games blog, after our 2 week holiday break. My 200th piece is publishing this Monday.
      I do one article per week, and try to stay several weeks ahead. Not just in case of illness or writer’s block, but because I do all the proofreading and copy editing.
      Today, I finished about 90% of a roleplaying game character (stats and background) plus planned out several other articles of various types. In addition to original characters, I review games, discuss game mechanics, and sometimes interview game developers.

    8. misspiggy*

      Pretty good for January, thanks for asking! I’m dealing with my body wanting to eat all the sugar and fat by…giving in and having fun to an extent, but not having fun foods near my bed, which is when I end up finishing the packet. And doing more exercise, which I’m so happy to be able to do thanks to wonderful physio.

  4. Sam Sepiol*

    Looking for ideas for what I can say if this happens again.

    I was in the pub last night waiting to be served at the bar. A man at the bar seemed to looking at me and I made the mistake of acknowledging his look, basically just with a friendly nod. I wouldn’t usually have done so, but a friend’s husband was in the bar, and I thought this man might be a friend of the husband.

    I have my hair dyed an unnatural colour and Man At The Bar (MATB for short) basically said “just couldn’t stop looking at your hair, it’s awesome!” Which was fine, but then he came up to me and put his arm round me and kissed my cheek. I felt his fingers curl round my side in a way that felt very deliberate and as he dropped his hand it brushed my bum.

    I know it was deliberate. I know that if I’d said something he would have denied. I also found that the actual kiss on my cheek was more disturbing to me than the rest.

    I wasn’t *bothered* by all this as such, but I’d have liked to say something in the moment that low-key let him know that I knew what he was doing. Because I did know exactly what he was doing, even in the moment, I just couldn’t think of appropriate words. Any suggestions?

    1. Myrin*

      Eww, that sounds unsettling, I’m sorry!

      I don’t know if this works in English but in my language, you can just say “Hello?!?!” in the same tone you’d say “What the hell?!?!”. It’s a pretty standard kinda-vague-but-appropriately-harsh reaction, but I’m not sure if it fits with your definition of “low-key”. (I personally think you can actually be pretty high-key in a situation like this because who the eff just comes up to random people and kisses their cheeks, but that’s neither here nor there.)

      1. Lissa*

        My version of this is to go “DUDE!” I’ve never had to deploy it on a stranger, but I have on acquaintance/friends who misjudge a joke and go way too far.

      2. Gaia*

        Oh yes, that works in English well. I’ve used it a few times. It is “polite” for “WTF are you thinking!?”

    2. MechanicalPencil*

      First, ew. You can compliment without getting handsy and overly familiar. I would maybe have gone the route of something like a chill stare and “uh excuse me?”. I’m sure if I think about this more I’ll have a better retort. I’m just too flabbergasted on your behalf right now.

    3. ThatGirl*

      If I had the presence of mind I’d probably recoil dramatically and say “what are you doing?!” loudly, but I totally understand being too taken aback to know what to say.

      1. Texan In Exile*

        Yes, exactly! I think of the perfect response at 2 a.m.!

        A complete stranger touching you without your permission? That’s pretty bad. I can see why you were stunned into silence. He broke so many social norms (and probably some laws). What a jerk.

      2. Marion Ravenwood*

        Yep – whenever stuff like this has happened to me before, I’ve just ignored it because I don’t want things to escalate. Now I’m older and wiser I like to think I’d say ‘what do you think you’re doing?!’ in an incredulous tone, but I’m not entirely sure that I would have the presence of mind to do that in the moment, as so often by the time I’ve computed the shock of ‘wait, what just happened?!’ whoever it was is gone.

        OP, I’m so sorry this happened to you, and agree with everyone else’s very sensible suggestions for what to respond with. (Apart from maybe the biting…)

    4. Call me St. Vincent*

      Strange dude putting his arm around me and kissing me? Umm NFW. You say you weren’t bothered by it, but I am truly not sure why? A strange dude puts his mouth on you? I’m not trying to be unsupportive in any way, but it’s worth thinking about why you weren’t bothered by this, or why you felt you needed to state that in your question. Are you worried that you are overreacting? I can tell you that you are definitely not overreacting! It’s totally okay to be bothered by this and in fact, I would venture to say you totally should be! This is in the NOT okay category!

      I do understand your position though. This has happened to me in the past and I know unfortunately I freeze in these situations, so this is Monday morning quarterbacking. In your shoes in the past, I have just not said anything and felt totally violated afterwards. In the moment though, I wish I would have said things like “get off me!” or “don’t touch me!” or “stop touching me!’ or a “stop it” or “never touch me again.” All of these would have been more than appropriate. What this guy did is GROSS and NOT okay. I would also maybe have informed the bartender in case he’s doing it to other women.

      1. Sam Sepiol*

        I’ve lived through emotional abuse. This was extremely minor in comparison – as much as anything because I knew what was happening straight away. I didn’t realise the ex husband was emotionally abusive until 17 years after we started going out :-//

      2. Sam Sepiol*

        But yeah, fair point. Alas, where I live, most people would see this as a “compliment”. Sexism dies very slowly round here.

        Also I think there’s a part of my brain that thinks I should have been way more upset than I was? Maybe?

        1. Workerbee*

          I am sorry your ex husband was emotionally abusive to you. That can be so sneakily pervasive and I’m glad you did realize it and that he became an ex.

          I see how your brain would classify the bar guy as small potatoes compared to what you’ve already lived through. I am not an anything that is qualified to give the advice I’m about to give, which is that it could be worth digging into this with a qualified person (if you haven’t already been) so that your brain can start getting you to act against harassment/abuse on any part of the continuum.

          I’m not saying this to make you worry about getting yourself upset over this, as I don’t think that would be healthy either; I just don’t want it to happen to you again, either with that soul-dead a$$hile or anyone else.

          In case it’s not clear, you didn’t do a damn thing wrong. Those types of people count on the rest of us to Not Want to Make a Fuss in Public, to Be Nice and Polite, and Don’t Make It Awkward. Even though they’re the ones already making it awkward, NOT being nice or polite, and performing nonconsensual acts at you like it’s their right.

          As for saying something in the moment, well, I practice things in my head and out loud when I’m alone because I too have frozen/laughed it off/pretended it wasn’t happening/etc. It takes time and effort to go against societal norms even without having lived with it.

          So I envision myself saying things in a loud, strong voice, like: “WHY ARE YOU TOUCHING ME? STOP IT RIGHT NOW. DON’T EVER TOUCH ME AGAIN” and “WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S OKAY TO TOUCH MY *whatever body part it is*?” Naming things can have a very shaming effect on the very person who is counting on you feeling too shamed to speak up.

          Of course, feeling/staying safe outweighs everything. If putting on a fake smile until you can sidle away from a jackhole is what you need to do to de-escalate the situation before it gets worse, then do it.

      3. Myrin*

        I mean, I totally get where you’re coming from but at the same time, some people just aren’t as bothered by some things – even things others would find downright terrifying! – or are bothered for only a small amount of time. For example, I’m not bothered by shouting/yelling/screaming. I mean, depending on the situation I’m probably bothered by the noise but I don’t find it frightening or demeaning or scary or anything like that (the only reactions I’ve ever had to yelling were annoyance and/or anger). There’s no particular reason for it, that’s just how I’m wired.

      4. Kms1025*

        Quickly standing and spinning away with a WTF! is always effective. But sadly, in the moment we’re too shocked at such crude behavior to react.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Yes, I think the ideal is when he reaches for you flinch away. A clear negative to the physical overture as soon as it happens, and if he escalates after that you respond in kind at most once, then escalate yourself. (Bullies tend to count on an unwritten rule that their targets can respond in kind not push things to a greater level of fuss.) But I think few people have honed that instinct to override the go-along-to-get-along-in-our-ape-group instinct in the moment–freezing is a common human response and you shouldn’t beat yourself up for it.

      5. Marion Ravenwood*

        Just on the bar staff note – I’m not sure if there’s anything similar elsewhere, but in London quite a few pubs have ‘Ask for Angela’ posters in the ladies’ loos. Basically if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable on a date or night out, you can go to the bar and ask for Angela, and the staff will either escort you out the back entrance (if you want to leave) or take you to a safe private room in the back so you can talk about what’s happened and they can then deal with the issue. I’ve thankfully never had to use it myself but it’s potentially quite a good option if people feel they can’t say something directly.

    5. Table for One*

      I think it would have been perfectly fine to push him away and say ‘please don’t touch me’. Even if it’s a friend-of-a-friend, this is a guy you don’t know. Even the arm around the shoulders, if he hadn’t kissed you and touched your butt, would have been too much. ‘Hands off, sir!’

    6. Sammie*

      He had no right going into your space like that. That was all very deliberate and icky. A cute woman at a bar looks in my direction, I don’t go over and put my hands on her or anywhere near her.

      You’re completely justified in not letting someone in your space, so it’s okay to stop them before they get even close. I have put up a hand when someone has gotten a little too close and said ‘Woa, little close there’ and kept my hand up (just at chest height say) if need be. It creates a barrier. Yes, the people who want to get too close and take advantage of polite people will think it’s rude. They may even shout at you and call you rotten names. It used to bother me. But the problem is THEM not me.

      Some people still manage to get into my space. It happens. If they touch me and I don’t want them to, I’ll give a shout or a yelp almost like I’ve been burned or something. I’ve also straight up told people that’s not okay and, if they try to weasel out of it, told them it’s their responsibility to watch their body parts. Again, with the type of people who do this, you’ll get pushback. But they’re breaking the social contract, not you, and they’re just pissed you’re not letting them away with it. I may sound tougher than I am. My female friends and I have just had a lot of practice.

      Long story short: it’s okay to create barriers to metaphorically push someone away and it’s okay to use your voice. Do whatever seems safe in the moment.

      1. Canadian Natasha*

        “I’ve also straight up told people that’s not okay and, if they try to weasel out of it, told them it’s their responsibility to watch their body parts.”

        I love this and am keeping it for future (hopefully unnecessary) reference.

    7. Lilysparrow*

      Of course it was deliberate. And you didn’t cause it or do anything wrong by making eye contact with someone. You were acting completely normally in a civilized public space, and he chose to target and creep on you. Acknowledging another person’s existence is not an invitation to get felt up.

      As far a a response…Well, it depends how fast your reflexes are. I completely understand being unsure, surprised, or taken off guard. We just can’t always respond in the moment in the way we’d like to. And creepy people absolutely use that surprise and uncertainty to get away with stuff.

      But if a strange man in a public place like a bar got close enough to kiss me or tried to put his arm around me, my instinctive response would be to recoil and say “Excuse me!” Or “No!” in the louder range of my talking voice. And if necessary, a stiff-arm to physically get him away.

      Any further contact would get a “back off” or “get away from me!” At that point, you are not in a quasi-social situation anymore. It’s time to escalate.

      The caveat of course is that I’m taller than average and have rarely been physically intimidated by a man. If I felt nervous about my safety my answer would be different.

    8. Marthooh*

      Well, the hug-and-kiss business was definitely deliberate! I guess what you want to say is “Back off, I won’t let you get away with that” but a bit less direct. Trying to be too subltle about will only prolong the conversation.

      “Looks like you’ve had more than enough — better sit down again. No, not next to me, thanks.” And maybe get the bartender to put him back where he belongs.

    9. Kathenus*

      While I wouldn’t make a total scene, I would definitely react overtly in a way to call the guy out publicly. Whether a serious recoil and a harsh look, a ‘don’t touch me’ or ‘what do you think you’re doing’. And for me, whether or not he touched my butt intentionally or not would not be the issue – putting his arm around me and kissing my cheek – hard NO. Obviously everyone needs to do what works for them, but whenever any of us can call out inappropriate behavior (sexist, racist, whatever) I think we should. It’s along the lines of that saying, and apologies if I get it wrong, that we need to be the change we want to see in the world.

    10. sourgold*

      Ah, something almost exactly like that happened to me once — kiss on the cheek, hand on the back of my neck nopenopenoooope. I ended up, um, biting him.

      I do not recommend doing that. This guy, thankfully, turned out relatively non-violent. In retrospect, what I wish I had done is turned to face him and firmly said “do not touch me again; do not talk to me again; do not approach me again” and walked off. Instead, nope, I went straight for the jugular. (I blame my cat — this is her customary response when she doesn’t want a cuddle.)

      1. Red Sky*

        This is amazing! I vote we all just start biting, with maybe a bit of a warning growl, when creepy men get handsy.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            There’s a Mad Men episode where Sally does this–creep keeps creeping on her, she turns him down a few times, each time he backs off in the moment but comes back with a new tactic. Then she escalates, telling the guy in the next room that creeper attacked her. He didn’t–whether things were headed toward a physical attack or mere verbal “you’re frigid” tongue lashing is ambiguous. But you can tell that creeper is thinking “Wait, who said girls could escalate? I escalate! They respond. This is unfair!” which was a very valuable life lesson for him.

            I am certain that this is a deliberate theme of the episode because over in the B plot Roger is having his own version–at a party he bests his rival in witty drunken repartee, so the rival punches him in the dick and leaves with the girl.

      2. Nita*

        Yeah, I can see doing that. Pretty sure my first response would be to acquaint whatever part of the creep is touching me with my (sharp) nails. I might apologize for the damage once I cool down, but, yeah… Maybe that’s not a smart response, but I grew up in an environment where you had to defend yourself first, and think later. I’m still trying to stop responding like that when it’s not called for (but in this case, it might be?)

    11. OhNo*

      I’ve found that you mostly don’t have to say any words at all. If your goal is just to let him know that you know what he’s doing, a stony look might be enough. Unless he’s drunk/high/otherwise impaired – in my experience, that usually equates to being immune to a Look.

      If you’re specifically interested in a verbal component, I’ve had luck with asking some innocuous question with a cold, flat tone. An example for the specific situation you described might be, “Why are you touching me?” When they try to deflect, I just keep the same tone and repeat, maybe slightly louder if I’m hoping for someone to intervene. Using a general question keeps it low-key and (usually) non-confrontational, but the tone and repetition are signs that you are not buying any of his BS.

    12. Venus*

      I really hate this stuff.

      I have had it happen often enough that I naturally keep myself facing the other person, so they wouldn’t be able to put their arm around me. If they approach too close I smile and stick out my hand with an “I’m more of a handshake kind of person”.

      I know it doesn’t address your situation quite in the right way, and I know it’s not for everyone (and I had many years where I did exactly what you did), but I really hate people in my space so I’m quite defensive about it now.

    13. rj*

      ugh ban this man. You made eye contact. Which is a normal part of the human experience. This man is gross and was using plausible deniability of “oh she didn’t say no” to the kiss on the cheek to make himself feel like the rest was ok. None of it was ok.

      I usually freeze, but I’ve been working on a few pat answers for comments that are the “safe” side of disgusting. Like, “oh I don’t do hugs” (to a stranger at church) or “you’re standing awfully close to me can I grab something for you” (to people in a lot of places like… an old lady in a grocery store check-out line… and creating easy distance) or “my body isn’t up for discussion” (useful in a lot of situations). These are in line with things I would actually say in normal conversation – so it makes it easier for me.

    14. Notthemomma*

      Something similar happened to me, unasked for touch and kiss and without thought, I yelled ‘stranger danger!’ Which of course got weird attention as I was at a bar and everyone there was well over drinking age. But it had the desired effect of putting him on notice and alerting all potential targets of his ‘affection’ that he was a 100% creep. He left within 20 minutes of getting serious side eye from most of the other patrons.

      And upon reflection, it was a perfect response. He was a stranger. He put me in danger.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          As preschool curriculum I hate stranger danger. (Most children are assaulted or kidnapped by people they know; if that happens, the people around to help are likely to be strangers.)

          But as a thing to yell at a creep? Perfection! Especially as to bystanders, it’s relevant whether this is someone you know and tolerate and have an ongoing relationship with, or some random person trying to snuggle you.

    15. Joanne’s Daughter*

      i had a friend that worked in a bar. When customers would put their hands on her in any way she would loudly exclaim “I am NOT a piece of meat! Take your hands off me!” Worked really well.

    16. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I usually don’t even say anything, I just move myself away and give them a “WTF” look. That usually gets the message across. My next move is to say “you’re way to close for my comfort right now, please stop.”

      Nodding at someone is not an invitation to touch you, no no no no no. What a creeper.

    17. ..Kat..*

      Accidentally spill your drink on him, elbow him the gut, knee him it the crotch.

      Seriously, pick a few of the responses here that you like. Practise saying them outloud at home. Next time something like this happens, you will be better prepared to react.

      I think that whatever you say, say it very loudly. Asshole boundary violators like this count on women being ‘nice,’ quiet, not willing to make scene.

    18. AnotherObjectifiedFemale*

      Take his picture. And if he reacts like an infant distribute it widely. Also, decent bartenders want all customers to feel safe, so say something.

    19. TootsNYC*

      this made me think of the restaurateur in NYC who has banned solo women from eating at the bar because he thinks it looks as though they’re escorts.

      Maybe he was making assumptions.

      Doesn’t help you with how to handle it, though. Sorry.

  5. LondonBridges*

    I’m a current college student, and next year I’ll be moving into apartment style housing on campus. I’ll have my own room and a fair sized kitchen, and I’m wondering: what are y’all’s suggestions for some simple kitchen and household items that would be useful? I’m getting a set of plates and bowls from my parents, and an old George Foreman from my grandmother, but other then that I have very few ideas.

    1. ThatGirl*

      A few pots and pans, basic cooking utensils (spatula, ladle, spoons), storage/microwave containers maybe. Can opener. Toaster, if it’s not there already. Trying to think what else I had in my shared kitchen in college… oh, cleaning stuff and towels/dishrags.

    2. Katie the Fed*

      – Get a decent set of pots and pans. Stainless steel stock pot (with a strainer insert so you don’t need a colander), two saucepans (2 and 3 quart), one stainless steel skillet and one non-stick skillet for omelets. That’s a good starter set. You can order some basic sets on Amazon.

      – Wooden cooking utensils to extend the life of your pots

      – a basic set of measuring cups and spoons

      – A few decent knives. Don’t go ultra cheap here and keep them sharp. You need one Chef’s knife (go good on that one), a few smaller knives, and one serrated one for breads

      – I’d personally recommend an Instant Pot but it’s not necessary. I love mine

      – A crock pot

      – two cookie sheets

      That should cover you for most of the basics! enjoy! it’s such a great time of life.

      1. All Hail Queen Sally*

        I love my crock pot so much that I would write poetry to it if I knew how to write poetry. It is a smaller one and makes about three servings of whatever. It is wonderful to come home to a nice hot dinner.

    3. Handy Nickname*

      The stuff I’ve used the most since I moved out:

      Wooden spoon

      Spatula

      Decent set of knives- I got a 5-pc Kai USA set from amazon for around $50 I think? plus an $8 paring knife from target

      Pots/pans- skillet (like a frypan with tall sides, I think that’s the right name?), small and medium pot

      More silverware then you think (menards and amazon have decent cheap options. I just bought extra forks & spoons instead of whole sets)

      Glass storage containers (like Pyrex or anchor)- oven to fridge to microwave to dishwasher all in the same dish, and they don’t stain or hold smells as much as plastic so they look nicer and last longer.

      Pizzazz- totally optional, but it’s basically a spinning, open top pizza oven and I make everything on there except like casserole or pasta. Pizza, chicken nuggets, cookies, toast. No reheating, way faster than an oven, and everything turns out so well. It also doesn’t turn my small apartment into a sauna, and takes up less counter space then I expected. I bought mine for $50 at Fleet Farm, but they also sell them on amazon.

      Good luck! Living alone is pretty awesome :)

      1. Handy Nickname*

        Oh! Also, I bought all of my pots and pans at Goodwill. Saved a TON of money (like <$10 a pot vs ~$80). If you go that route, look for pots and pans that are very heavy- usually the heavier the metal, the better the quality- and then ones that look like they’re in decent shape- not all scratched up inside. Put them on a flat shelf or the floor and make sure they sit flat and aren’t warped or your food won’t cook evenly. I found 4-5 of the same brand that I google while I was standing in the store and found that they ran around $40-$80 a piece, and I got them for $5-$10 a pot. Also also scored a couple decent forks. :)

        1. Parenthetically*

          I was just coming here to say this! Thrift stores are GREAT places to source kitchen necessities, and all your advice about finding good ones gets a big +1 from me! (If there are non-Goodwill options around, I always go there first — I find St. Vincent de Paul near me has better prices and it’s actually a nonprofit that does a lot of good in our community. If a homeless shelter or other charity near you has a thrift shop, I’d say always opt for that over Goodwill.)

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Freecycle and BuyNothing are also wonderful…also a good way to meet neighbors..

      2. Minerva McGonagall*

        I have a Pizzazz and I LOVE it. Great for so much-pizza, wings, bagels/toast. I like the way it cooks frozen pizza much better than the oven.

    4. Canonical23*

      If you have a dishwasher and plan on using it – buy dishwasher safe ceramic pots and pans. I cannot tell you how often I’d find the apartment pots and pans piled high in the sink because they couldn’t be thrown in the dishwasher.

      List off everything you like to cook and think of the small utensils that are required, then buy two of each. I kept forgetting to buy a pastry brush for homemade bread in college. Our apartment didn’t have tongs or a spatula. Smaller utensils can wander off halfway through the school year.

      Crock pot or instant pot. Instant pot cooks more stuff (I love the rice cooker function) but you can usually find a functioning crock pot at a thrift store for under 5$.

      Tupperware. Tupperware that comes with it’s own organizer. There will be a cabinet in your apartment that is filled with tupperware that is unorganized and doesn’t match. It will all be tossed when you all move on. Get yourself some nice tupperware so you can avoid that issue.

      1. Lucy*

        Silicon or nylon tongs can be used for everything, and they cost next to nothing. I have four (three standard and one long-handled) and they are the most used items in my utensil drawer. Pasta, stir fry, any tray bake or shallow frying, and that’s before you’ve turned the oven on.

    5. StellaBella*

      Cheese grater
      veggie/potato peeler
      Colander/strainer
      Dish rack
      Kitchen towels
      Hot pads
      bottle opener and can opener
      mugs, french press or coffee maker or tea pot, kettle
      to clean with if you don’t want to use a lot of store-bought harsh stuff, white vinegar, bicarbonate baking soda, dish soap, and sponges
      broom, dustpan, and mop

    6. Rilara*

      I just started my first full time job out of college this week, so I was in this exact situation a few years back. I have some ideas based mainly on my current kitchen.

      For basic cooking in my opinion, you’ll definitely need mixing bowls, cutlery, utensils like a spatula, whisk, sieve, wooden spoons, etc., a couple of frying pans, a couple of pots (that vary in size), some baking pans, and a can opener. I’d also get a microwave, toaster, and a blender.

      You can get a lot of these for relatively cheap new at Walmart or Target. If you use Facebook, I would definitely suggest looking at the Free and For Sale groups on there that are connected to your university as well. If you don’t mind used appliances or cooking equipment, you can get a ton of things for a very low price. Those groups are also a great place to get cheap furniture if you’ll need it for your apartment.

      Don’t worry too much about not having everything you need when you first move in though! When I first moved out of my dorm I didn’t realize all the things I needed until I needed it for something.

      Good luck!

    7. Ranon*

      I wouldn’t worry about kitting everything out right away unless you have a sense of what your actual cooking habits will be- don’t need a stock pot if you’re only ever making skillet meals, for example.

      You might ask your parents to put the word out with their friends to see if they’ve got kitchen gear overstocks- I’m pretty sure my mom could kit out at least three new apartments with the extras she’s accumulated her house and I know she’s been happy to set up kids of friends with stuff. And steal your parents’ duplicate spices if they have any, those get pricey to accumulate right off.

    8. buttrue???*

      A can colander. Walmart has this. It covers a can opening so you can drain it. But for my purposes it fits inside a tuna can so I can squeeze out the liquid.
      All your favorite recipes especially those that are easy/cheap to make.
      Loaf pan for making meat loaf. Bed bath and Beyond actually has some small ones that hold about a pound of ground beef.

      1. CrazyPlantLady*

        My can colander is my favorite kitchen item. Amazon has a ton of options for under $5. I even got my mom one for mother’s day last year because it’s so wonderful and was actually a kitchen gadget she doesn’t have.

      2. hayling*

        Wait what? I have never heard of this “can colander” miracle tool!!!

        I also just learned last week that you can buy “cake testers” instead of using up all your toothpicks…

    9. irene adler*

      If the kitchen has a freezer, then suggest procuring storage items (Tupperware or freezer grade ziplock bags). You can make a large recipe and then divide into individual portions. Then freeze for future meals.

    10. Llellayena*

      My best kitchen items from my grad school apartment were a rice cooker and an electric teapot. You can make more than just plain rice in the rice cooker (instant pot didn’t exist for me) and I’m a tea drinker, substitute a coffee maker of your choice if that’s better for you. And you can never have too much storage space: shelves, under bed boxes, storage ottomans, side tables with cabinets…

    11. Annie Moose*

      My opinion, if you plan to cook a variety of things:
      – large pot (large soups, pasta, rice), small saucepan (single can of soup, veggies for one, etc.) (optional if you have a big pot already, but the big pot makes it easier), and 1-2 skillets (you can do with one, but if you’re cooking a bit, it’s convenient to have two so you can switch off or use both at once) (get nonstick for all of your pans, it’s so easy to clean and is usually cheaper than stainless steel)
      – at least 1-2 each of wooden spoons, ladles, spatula/flipper/turner/whatever you call the thing you turn things over with, and tongs (don’t use metal! your nonstick pans will not survive)
      – a decent paring knife and a decent chef’s knife. A serrated knife is also handy but I never use mine as much as the other two. (you can survive with just a paring knife–I did it for longer than I care to admit–but it’s really annoying)
      – at least 1 large mixing bowl (but not so large it doesn’t fit in your cupboards!)
      – a handful of storage containers for leftovers or meal prep (if you buy lunch meat and want to save a little money, lunch meat often comes in reusable containers that are pretty durable)
      – if you plan to use your oven, then 1-2 cookie sheets and at least one casserole dish (Pyrex and Corningware have nice sets that will last forever)
      – a couple of hotpads/oven mitts
      – if there isn’t already one, optionally a microwave

      And that’s it. Especially if you’re on a tight budget, don’t go running around buying a huge amount of appliances and utensils you don’t know if you’ll use. Start off small, figure out what sort of things you want to bake or cook, and expand one or two pieces at a time. You may decide down the road that you’d like a rice cooker, or a blender, or a crockpot, but I would NOT advise starting off with these unless you can get one very cheaply or free. There’s no value in having a kitchen full of random items if you’re not going to actually use them!

    12. Jack Russell Terrier*

      If you like to make soup and immersion blender – I use them for so many things. But really – everyone else has this covered.

      1. Bluebell*

        +1 for the immersion blender. A friend was debating whether to get one about a month ago and now raves about it.

      2. LizB*

        I love my immersion blender – and it’s actually great for making milkshakes as well as soup! (Well, and sauces, but it gets the most use as a single-serve milkshake maker.)

    13. Jane*

      Coordinate with your roommates! No need for duplicates on lots of things. But otherwise, it depends on what you like to cook and eat!

      When I was a college student, I didn’t make too many complicated things. A lot of pasta, a lot of plain grilled meat, frozen chicken fingers, frozen pizza, frozen vegetables, etc. Now that I’m more grown up I do more fancy cooking. Not sure where you fall on the spectrum of things.

      I’d make sure that between you and your roommates, you have at least the following:
      a small nonstick fry pan
      a large pot
      a small pot
      a larger skillet with a lid
      a strainer or colander of some sort
      a cookie sheet
      a baking pan, like a pyrex dish or something similar
      a way to make coffee, if you drink coffee (automatic maker, french press, etc.)
      a tea kettle, either stove top or electric
      a set of kitchen utensils (you can get a nice silicone set on Amazon for about $10, that has spatulas, spoons, whisks, tongs, ladles, etc.)
      a cutting board
      a chopping knife
      a large mixing/serving bowl (2 if you can!)
      glasses, plates, bowls, mugs, silverware
      steak knives
      a set of measuring cups
      a set of measuring spoons
      at least two potholders
      dish towels
      a set of food storage containers
      can opener
      microwave if it isn’t already there

      nice to have:
      slow cooker or instant pot
      blender of some sort (either immersion or regular)
      toaster
      grill
      extra cutting boards, mixing bowls, knives
      an extra pot
      kitchen scissors
      vegetable peeler
      kitchen scale (I use mine ALL THE TIME, I don’t know how I lived without it so long. So many recipes say “1lb this” and it is so much more accurate than using measuring cups.

    14. Temperance*

      If you’re a student, I highly recommend a rice cooker, crock pot, or Instant Pot (the Instant Pot has functions of the other 2!). I lived off of pasta and veggie burgers in college, but would have probably eaten better with a crock pot.

    15. Marion Ravenwood*

      As others have said, I think a lot of it will depend on what you like to cook/eat, so I’d stick with basics initially. No sense bringing things you won’t use (if you decide ‘actually, I do want X’ a few weeks in you can always pick it up cheaply somewhere). Also agree about checking what’s provided in the kitchens (or what your housemates are bringing) and whether you’re allowed any small appliances in your room. I’m very glad I brought a kettle and toaster to university because when I got to my halls our kitchens were still being refurbished, and being able to make tea and toast in my room was a lifesaver in those first couple of weeks.

      All that said, here’s what I found useful during my time at university:
      – Three pans – two non-stick saucepans (one large, one small – for pasta/rice and sauce) and a non-stick frying pan (if you get one with slightly deeper sides it can also be used as a wok)
      – Chopping boards
      – Two knives – one large, one small. I’d recommend a knife sharpener as well but aware they’re not cheap
      – Medium microwaveable dish (ideally one that can go in the oven as well)
      – Kitchen scissors
      – Tin opener
      – Wooden spoon (useful to have two if you’re doing pasta/rice and sauce)
      – Spatula/fish slice
      – Cheese grater (I like the box-style ones)
      – Sieve/colander
      – Baking sheets (silicone ones are easy to store if you’re limited on space)
      – Mixing bowl (if you’re into baking, or for use as a salad bowl)
      – Stick/handheld blender (not vital but quite good for making sauces)

      Also various boring-but-useful kitchen bits: foil, cling film (I think this is saran wrap?), kitchen towels, oven gloves, washing up liquid and scouring pads/washing up brush (assuming you don’t have a dishwasher), tea towels/dishcloths, cleaning products etc. Cutlery (knives, forks, spoons, teaspoons) and glasses/mugs as well.

    16. i'll stop lurking when i think of a good username*

      Muffin tin! I use mine all the time for basically everything.
      Also, make sure you’ve got toilet paper first thing. I forgot it this fall, and texting “hey can buy some tp” to my brand-new roommate from the bathroom was not the way I had intended to start that relationship.

    17. Observer*

      You’ve gotten excellent advice. Some additional thoughts.

      Don’t stress about this too much. Even if you miss something REALLY big, you’re not moving to the Serengeti. You’re in a college town where you will be able to either buy anything you forgot locally, or order it on-line with reasonably quick delivery.

      Good cutting boards are great, but I really don’t like wood – VERY problematic for stuff like fish and meant and often not so great to clean even with vegetables. So, I got some leftover ceramic or porcelain floor times (never used, just samples or irregulars that the store couldn’t sell) and use those. I’ve had them for years, and if I had to I’d pay to replace them because they work so well.

      Don’t rush out to buy a full set of knives unless you can get a good set at a low price. For instance, I’ve never used a chef’s knife. If you but only sliced bread or small loves (like rolls), you don’t really need a bread knife (a smaller serrated knife works quite well at that point.) My point is that the kinds of knives you need really depend on what you are cooking and what quantities. So, start with a small set of decent knives.

      If your apartment doesn’t have a decent oven, get a good toaster / oven / broiler unit. One with a decent length timer is REALLY useful. I actually have a full oven and I love the toaster oven. You don’t need a high end unit, although if your budget allows it, some of them have really nice features. Even if you have a full oven, a small toaster oven can be useful. If you want to warm up some leftovers, or heat up a single portion of something (eg a couple of slices of pizza) this is faster and more energy efficient than the oven.

      Backing stuff – unless you are a baker or are going to cook for a lot of people I haven’t seen a lot of use for cookie sheets. You may ant to use disposable baking tins till you decide what sizes and shapes really work for your foods. If not, I’d say start with a set of smaller bakeware – Pyrex or Corniware are nice because they can go oven -> table -> fridge. In my experience, stainless steel is good if you don’t care about that. Enamel and aluminum are a bear to clean. Although lining your baking pans with parchment paper or the like is probably a good idea, regardless of what bake-ware you use.

      It’s surprising how useful a whisk can be. It’s one of those things that are easy to overlook, and you probably will be able to handle all of your basic needs without one. But even a lot of basic items are easier to do with one.

    18. SquirrelWriter*

      Oooh, kitchen supplies. Here’s my list of what I rely on most:

      * Crock pot or stainless steel pot (1 and 1/2 gallon capacity)
      * Pyrex (four 3-cup containers, freezer-safe)
      * Chopping or chef’s knife
      * Cutting board
      * Vegetable peeler
      * Forks, spoons, butter knives (~4+ each)
      * Big stirring spoon
      * Frying pan or wok
      * Spatula (w/ frying pan) or shovel spoon (w/ wok)
      * Saucepan (1-quart capacity)
      * Baking pan
      * Can opener
      * Steam basket (the kind you can insert in a pot)
      * Colander

      But if that list is too long for your liking, I personally would narrow it to:
      * Stainless steel pot
      * Pyrex
      * Chopping knife
      * Cutting board
      * Forks, spoons, knives
      * Small saucepan
      * Can opener… or Swiss army knife with a can opener attachment

      A crock pot, slow cooker, or multicooker is a convenient tool for preparing chilis, stews, and other hearty dishes. You can just dump the ingredients in and leave them to simmer while you go off to class or to the library and study. Otherwise, if you don’t want to splurge on a slow cooker, just get a nice, stainless steel pot, one and a half to two gallons, and cook chilis and soups the old-fashioned way with that. Chilis are great because they’re generally flexible and forgiving, and you can cook huge batches and live on easily reheated leftovers for a while.

      A frying pan and a spatula are handy for making eggs, omelets, stir fry, and other pan dishes that cook fast. Alternatively, you could get a wok and a shovel spoon. Woks are awesome.

      Pyrex is more resilient than Tupperware, and there’s Pyrex specifically marketed as oven-safe or freezer-safe. You can stick all your leftovers inside and stick some of them in the fridge, some in the freezer. Thaw and reheat for easy dinner. There are also some Pyrex casserole dishes that you can bake in, if you like casseroles.

      I have a full knife set, but I almost exclusively use my chopping knife. In college, I only had a cheap chef’s knife.

      I recommend the little saucepan because I do not have a microwave, and I reheat basically all my food in the 1-quart saucepan. It’s also nice if I want to make myself some oatmeal, or if I want to make a smallish quantity of sauce to go with pasta. If none of this applies to you, you might want to skip it.

      For reference, this is the perspective of a vegetarian who subsists on her own cooking and prefers simpler, more economical dishes. You might not use some of these as much as I would, or conversely, you might value certain tools that I would have no use for–like a steak knife.

    19. Koala dreams*

      Is it your own kitchen or a shared one? If it’s a shared kitchen, do find out if it’s the kind of place where people leave things behind when they move. I’ve lived with a shared kitchen where people took their favourite possessions with them when they moved, but left quite a few general kitchen items such as pots and pans. Also, for things like coffee pots, tea kettles, toasters and similar, there was a limited space and limited electric outlets, so usually people shared.

      If there are second hand stores that sell kitchen items in the area, it might be a good idea to get a few things in the beginning and then stock up on the rest from the store when you need it. Scissors are especially good to buy second hand, since they usually have annoying packaging when they are new, but are sold without any packaging in second hand stores. Sometimes you can also buy from students moving out.

    20. Seeking Second Childhood*

      My bare minimum list: a castiron skillet for frying, a 4qt pot for boiling, a plastic cutting boards, a good cooking knife, a can opener, and a corkscrew with bottle opener. A flexible egg flipper, a large spoon, and a mixing bowl. Add a few plates & bowls & mugs & cheap silverware, and you’re golden. Add a baking pan when you’re ready to bake something.
      All the rest is gravy, so to speak.

    21. LondonBridges*

      Thanks so much everyone! Bookmarked the comment, and I’ll be back when it comes time to do some shopping.

    22. hayling*

      Definitely coordinate with your roommates! And you don’t have to get everything at once. And while you don’t want to get total junk, don’t get anything too expensive, because at least one of your roommates *will* ruin at least one of your items, and “letting go” will be a great personal accomplishment.

  6. Katie the Fed*

    I know several people here love a good epic scam story as much as I do, and I HIGHLY recommend the new Netflix documentary on Fyre Festival. It’s…something. Really well done. I hated pretty much everyone except the Bahamians

    1. New Year, New Me*

      Been meaning to watch the Hulu documentary, I didn’t realize there was a Netflix one too. Thanks!

    2. Merci Dee*

      I’ve heard about this, and will probably catch it some time this weekend.

      Nice to see you back around the comments, by the way. :)

      1. Katie the Fed*

        Thank you! I’ve been swamped! That baby is kicking my ass and we’ve got another one coming!

        1. New Bee*

          Congratulations! I also have a second on the way, and I feel like our firsts might be around the same age (mine’s 26 mo)?

          I spent a lot more time on AAM back then and feel like there were a ton of fellow pregnant folks, ha.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          I KNOW!!! When he said that thing about taking a shower, I didn’t expect the next part AT ALL.

        2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          JESUS CHRIST I DON’T EVEN WHAT.

          (Also, the people in the Hulu documentary are even more loathsome.)

        3. Plain Jane*

          That was so cringey. I thought the Hulu doc customs story was bad (they bought 2 million dollars in booze not realizing they’d have to pay almost a million in duties) but that story was next level.

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            Yeah. I put down my knitting and literally put both hands over my hanging-open mouth.

        4. gecko*

          Oh my god, yeah, that poor guy. That interview with him in particular was just like—the way the doc told it, he was the one guy who could have pulled the plug but instead he was so deep in it that he was basically going let himself be prostituted out.

          I’m glad they let the Bahamian restaurant owner have one of the last words, though; otherwise honestly I would have been totally like, oh, some of the organizers are showing remorse, they got scammed too; and they did get scammed, but they still all just seem…completely thoughtless about their impact on the Bahamians.

        5. Katie the Fed*

          I would really love Alison to take on that water story as an AAM question:

          “My boss asked me, as a gay man, to fellate a customs official because we’d fraudulently spent all the money that we needed to pay for it. What do I do?”

    3. catsaway*

      Yes, my husband and I watched it last night, and we both really enjoyed it. The whole story is so nuts. It’s about 90 minutes so not too long either.

    4. CAA*

      That whole thing was like a train wreck that you just can’t look away from! And now we have Netflix vs Hulu! I liked the review Linda Holmes’ posted at Monkey See this week, where she said: “So to review: Two competing documentaries, both of which were made with at least one breach of normal journalistic practice. Paying for interviews, generally, is Not Done. Likewise, having the subject of a piece participate as a producer is Not Done.”

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, I saw somebody else’s piece outlining the same problems, and anticipating that we will get documentaries down the line about the competing documentaries.

    5. Plain Jane*

      I watched both and thought the Hulu doc did a better job showing how they were trying to make the Ponzi scheme work money wise up until the festival but it also had annoying parts, like the robot narrator.

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      A magazine piece from someone who worked there for about a week had an AAM relevant anecdote I keep coming back to–at the end of the week she had a meeting with the people running it, and she and some other peons pointed out, that, wow, absolutely nothing you need to pull this off is in place. And one of the guys responded along the lines, “Yeah, but can’t we just pull it all off anyhow, and then be heroes?”

      Which is what fiction teaches us to believe–with enough gumption, the festival will come together! While real life teaches lessons like “You need some people with institutional knowledge who understand what all the parts are, how long they take, and what needs to already be in place for the next step to happen.”

      1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        I remember that magazine piece and how it was written by someone with a lot of experience in setting up and running an event like that and that whole line was her “thats it, im out” breaking point.

        I wonder how much the guy who took the sandwich photo has made in royalties!

    7. anon needs a new name*

      I remember when twitter blew up about Fyre and it was the most entertaining Twitter had been in years. I feel guilty, but I find a lot of schadenfreude in watching things like this….mostly because it blows my mind that people would spend all that money just because of FOMO (and I don’t think this is a purely generational thing either, I think variations of it existed in previous generations too, just maybe in different ways).

      Also, I work in marketing and I really, really hate influencer culture and how much people buy into it, and I hate that it’s so important to my industry. It feels manipulative, but I guess at the same time, there are people out there willing to buy anything an influencer promotes so they’re the ones to blame for buying into it? IDK, I just find it really weird as someone who has never bought anything because a celeb promoted it (this is also why I find the idea that people will vote for a candidate/bill just because a celeb promotes it bizarre because it’s so…dirty?)

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

      What happened there should be thought at schools as What Not To Do 101. For real.

      I don’t feel bad for those outside management that spoke for any of those documentaries. Like, if I was paid 30% of my fee or worked my ass off for nothing I would seriously consider giving an interview to get some money. And then join the lawsuits and hope for the best, because my professional reputation would be destroyed forever.

    9. Lucy*

      I loved this. And I was tweeting as I was going, and someone featured on the show replied to my tweets. That was amazing.

      The whole situation shows how good some salespeople can be, how they can bewitch people even against the evidence of their own eyes and experiences and expertise.

    10. fposte*

      I just watched this tonight, and it was fascinating for both the right and the wrong reasons. One thing that struck me was that I found McFarland really offputting even when he was supposed to be charming people, and I wondered if actually his manic/coked-up–style demeanor was common in high-level entrepreneurship and therefore didn’t stand out so much in that milieu the way it did to me. I mean sure, some of that’s the beauty of hindsight and the footage chosen, but they really wanted to make him seem like the credible guy who sucked other people in, and I thought he seemed like a particularly well-dressed used car dealer. So maybe I just would recoil from all NY entrepreneurs, I dunno.

  7. Regular Going Anon*

    It’s been a rough few weeks. My 11-y.o. told his therapist he was planning to end his life, then refused to promise not to hurt himself in the next few days, so we were looking at hospitalization. He finally relented and promised not to hurt himself until his next therapist visit.

    I hid all medications, ropes, and cleaners. The first several days were rough, but we visited the therapist frequently and things seem to be going better for him. I have of course been paying a lot of attention to him, not talking about serious things necessarily, but playing games and giving lots of cuddles.

    But all the lack of sleep and stress has caused me to have a lupus flare of a severity I haven’t had since before he was born. I’m using voice recognition for all of this; I can barely curl my hands to hold objects, let alone type. I’m getting through everything and doing everything that needs to be done, but wow, I am in so much pain.

    I have my own therapist, as well as a good support network beyond that. My husband has been leaving work much earlier to spend more time with all of us as well. I’m on the next level up of medication from what I usually take to maintain the lupus remission. I may not be doing everything I can to take care of myself – hello, comfort food! But I’m not isolated or without resources to call upon.

    No question here, unless maybe some of you have dealt with suicidal ideation in children this young, either as a parent or as a child yourself.

    Other than that, any Internet good wishes would be very, very welcome.

    1. Sammie*

      Nothing but the best of wishes here. You and your family sound like you are doing everything possible right now to be loving and helpful to one another and yourselves.

    2. CAA*

      I am so sorry your family is going through this. I have no experience in this area, but you and your son will be in my thoughts this week, and you have all my warmest and most healing wishes that things will get better soon.

    3. Parenthetically*

      You’ve got all my best wishes, for sure. So sorry you’re dealing with such a terribly difficult time and hoping it gets a whole lot better really soon.

    4. Zona the Great*

      Yes, I was a suicidal child though I didn’t attempt anything beyond begging God to give me the strength to end it, which I did daily. What I would have needed at that time if my parents had even noticed was essentially an overhaul of our lives. Now that I’m an adult in therapy, I know the answer would have been for my parents to divorce and to not see my father anymore. I needed a whole new life that I knew my parents could not or would not provide. Your child, from the limited amount you’ve shared here, seems more clinically depressed than situationally depressed like I was.

      You’ve got some major things to celebrate here; he’s in therapy and is very honest with you. Any possibility your health is related to his suicidal thoughts?

      1. Regular Going Anon*

        I’m so sorry that you had such a difficult experience in childhood. Thank you for sharing it with me, It’s so hard to have parents who are actively causing distress. My depression was first diagnosed when I was in my teens, and my parents were actively unhelpful (and stigmatized mental health care to the point that I didn’t get treatment for 10 years). I’m glad you’re currently in therapy, and hope that it’s been a healing experience for you.

        You pose an interesting question about the impact of my health on my son’s mental health. I honestly hadn’t considered it, because usually my own illnesses are very well managed. This most recent flare didn’t start until about a week after he declared his intent to his therapist, so I don’t think it’s what triggered him this time. Going forward I will certainly be careful about managing flares in such a way that he doesn’t feel afraid or responsible for my care.

    5. Rhymes with Mitochondria*

      Oh goodness, that’s so hard. My children have mental health issues as well and it is such a mental and emotional load. You’re doing the right things. I hope and pray that he starts feeling better and he gets whatever help he needs. And that YOU are well supported through this as well. I am so sorry you’re dealing with this.

    6. Forking great username*

      I’m so sorry you’re all going through this. I was a suicidal pre/teen and teen and self harmed frequently. My parents did take me to a therapist, but it took me years to finally open up about what was really going on. Do you have any idea what this is all stemming from? Honestly, I wish my parents had me pushed me harder on that and been more explicit about asking if anyone had been hurting me/touching me in ways they shouldn’t have been/if I was keeping any secrets I was afraid to tell them (with encouragement/reassurance that they would protect me and believe me, whatever it is), etc. I think they were scared to do that – I’m sure I seemed super fragile, and I know I lashed out with an, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me!” when they did ask – and then they would quickly back off.

      One of my best friends sat me down after years and basically said that she wasn’t leaving until I told her what was going on, and pushed through all of my vague, angry answers.

      You know your kid, of course. But if my mom had done this, I think I would have eventually caved and told her. (I was being sexually abused by a family member – it had started as a young child but got worse as I got older.) Maybe you already know where this is coming from and then this whole comment is a moot point anyways. But I’m throwing out there in case it can help your child or someone else’s. There are a lot more children in this situation than people imagine.

      1. Regular Going Anon*

        I’m so sorry you were abused, and that you suffered years of depression and self-harm.

        I am afraid of something like this, because he’s been saying that there’s a specific incident that happened at school, but won’t disclose what it is and gets frantic when pressed. I talked to the school about a couple of people he’s mentioned, and they’re keeping them separated.

        We’re kind of backing off and circling in slowly to see if he’ll tell us more.

        1. Anononon*

          If he’s struggling and stressed with telling you something is it worth suggesting he writes it down? I’ve never near suicidal but I do remember being desperately unhappy and finding it very difficult to articulate, I could chat to strangers on the internet but there’s no way I would have confided in my parents. (Though unlike you they were probably mostly unaware anything was wrong). Best wishes.

          1. Regular Going Anon*

            Good idea! I’ll ask his therapist about this.

            He’s also been seeing a music therapist for two years and one thing they work on is expressing feelings, so I’ll give the music therapist a heads up as well.

    7. OyHiOh*

      Good wishes, thoughts, whatever sort of hope in the universe you prefer :-)

      I posted elsewhere about my own exciting medical weekend. My children are not handling their other parent’s ICU visit well and I’m expecting I’ll need to call them into their behavioral health clinic for walk in resources Monday morning. Notifying the school counselor too so she can make contact with them and coordinate with teachers

      1. Regular Going Anon*

        I saw that—I hope your spouse is better soon, for all of your sakes. Sending you good thoughts as well!

    8. Epiphyta*

      My son was also suicidal at 11; that moment when his therapist said “He’s given me permission to disclose this to you” still hurts, 20 years later. Eventually he told his therapist that he was being physically abused by his father and stepmother: after a CPS investigation, his father suspended all contact for five years.

      It was hard, but we got through it. The best advice I have is to make space for him to talk about what’s going on with him, and that it’s okay if that person is his therapist rather than you: my son was actively afraid of what I would do to them if I found out. Be as gentle with everyone, especially yourself, as you can be at present. If you can hire someone in to handle things like cleaning and laundry right now, do that; if you have community support that handles things like meal trains, let them help.

      You have all of this Internet stranger’s good wishes, and those of her now thirty-one-year-old son, who graciously gave his permission to share this.

      1. Regular Going Anon*

        Thank you, and please convey my thanks to your son. I’m glad to hear things got so much better for him!

        I’m totally fine with my son telling his therapist things he won’t tell me. The therapist has told him that the only things he’ll share with me without my son’s permission are if he thinks my son won’t be safe.

        I originally convinced him to go to the therapist for weekly sessions by explaining that this would be a trusted adult on Team Him. I’m glad we had that in place before all this happened.

    9. The PhD Is Purely Decorative*

      I’m sorry you & your son are experiencing this. I began feeling suicidal when I was 8-9. My family was unsupportive of treatment, so I muddled through surviving without it until adulthood. I applaud your decision to approach your son’s situation with openness and honesty. I still have clinical depression, but it’s a lot better with medicine and therapy.

      I have MS, and like you, my health often suffers when I need to step up my game for a kiddo. It’s a tough, exhausting balancing act!
      Hang in there, my very best well wishes to you and your family, and may you have enough spoons to bathe with semi-regularity :’)

      1. Regular Going Anon*

        It breaks my heart to hear of parents who denied their child necessary treatment. Mine were like that, too. I’m glad you found your way through it.

        It’s hard to take care of everyone, isn’t it? I usually muddle through but this is a worse phase than I’ve had in a long time.

        Thanks for your good wishes. Funny story: for some reason, spoons are the utensils that disappear from our kitchen. I think people accidentally throw them away. One night some months ago, I had a dream that I found all the missing spoons. If only life were that easy. ;)

        1. Owler*

          The Spoon Theory is a great way to think about chronic illness and managing one’s energy. Perhaps your subconscious was trying to find energy for your future self?

          It sounds like you and your partner are able to work together to support your son. Hugs from another internet stranger. I wish the best for all three of you.

    10. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      My cousins oldest started having suicidal thoughts around that age, it’s gut wrenching. The best thing I can say is that she made it through it and is still with us and treatment has helped her in the long run, she’s now in her twenties.

      Sending you love and good thoughts.

    11. Not So NewReader*

      You and yours are in my thoughts.
      Others have given examples of trauma from abuse. I pray not, but if something is going on in his life and he needs to tell you, I hope he finds a way to tell you very soon.

    12. A different anonymous today*

      Giant internet hug. As someone (changed my regular user name) whose brother did commit suicide and didn’t tell anyone in advance, I’m so glad your son reached out and talked about this… and completely holding you in my thoughts. Hug and I’ll keep a light on for you all tonight…..

    13. Marion Ravenwood*

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Sending love and best wishes to you and your family.

    14. anon today for this*

      Ohhh…. I am so sorry. It’s a terrible thing to go through – my daughter went through this at age 13 (so a bit older and different gender, but still… terrible). She had suicidal ideation as well as was self harming (cutting, arms and thighs) and anorexia (lost 25 lbs over a few months).

      I have no additional advice, except to say (beyond all the worry and stress ) I just remember how lonely it was during that time. I am glad you have a therapist and someone to talk to. I wanted to talk to friends but when I sort of gingerly tried, I could see it was just too much for them. They’d pull away. So I just felt like I had this giant terrible thing at the center of my life, and no one to commiserate with. So if you are feeling this, I hope you know there are others out there going through this, and it seems to me that you’ve found a lovely bit of support here in this corner of the internet.

      I’d like to give a huge thank you to everyone who went through this as a child and shared their experiences here. It has been extremely illuminating to see it from your perspective.

      My daughter is now 17 and applying to colleges, holding down a p/t job and has freinds. She is in such a better place that I can’t believe it was only 3-4 years ago she/we were going through this. I am sending lots of love to your family.

      1. not handstands*

        thanks for writing this, and all the commenters in this thread. My daughter just admitted to self-harm and suicidal ideation last weekend. it’s been a rough week. I’m glad the future is brighter for you daughter.

      2. Regular Going Anon*

        I’m so glad she’s turned it around. It’s so great to hear about kids who’ve gotten through periods of depression.

    15. Forkeater*

      So sorry you’re going through this, I had a suicide attempt at age 13 and sadly did not get the treatment I needed. My mom sat in on my therapy sessions. That was not great.

      It sounds like you are doing all the right things. Just one thought, if it seems there was an incident at school, would you be able to keep him home till you figure out exactly what it is and how to handle it? School caused me so much unending misery.

      1. Regular Going Anon*

        I’m so sorry that your mom did that. I feel for younger you.

        I try to respect my son’s privacy as much as possible, and his therapist does as well. I don’t think my son would talk to him otherwise.

        I had a talk with the therapist about keeping him home from school, but the therapist said to keep the routine as normal as possible. He’s been able to see his friends, which is good.

        School was misery for me as well and I almost didn’t graduate because I had so many “I just can’t deal with this shit” absences my senior year. But my son seems to be able to identify things he likes as well as things he doesn’t about school, so that makes me feel better.

    16. Observer*

      That’s rough!

      Unless you have reason to question whether the therapist is the right match, you are doing everything you can it sounds like. You are very clearly on Team Son. I hope that he REALLY knows it, not just in his head but in his get.

    17. KR*

      Hi, my depression flared up majorly when I was 12-13, a little older than your son. I know one thing that really held me back from wanting to talk about my feelings was the fear that if I mentioned it it would be “blown out of proportion”. I know self-harm and suicidal ideation is a situation that should be acted upon immediately and taken very seriously, but I was scared that if I mentioned something to my parents or school counselor that it would become This Big Thing and I would have to put forth a bunch of energy trying to console my parents that I was okay. So I would just make it easy for your son to ask for help and receive it (which it sounds like you have been) because if it becomes this huge deal for you and him and he sees you expelling a lot of energy worrying about him he might feel less willing to speak out if he doesn’t immediately get better and goes through more stages of depression.

      1. Regular Going Anon*

        Thank you for sharing this. It’s definitely something that I’m concerned about. Right now I think his feelings are bigger than his ability to express them, and that combined with his black and white thinking is something I have to take into consideration. I don’t want to make this about reassuring me, for sure.

    18. Sleepless*

      I’m so sorry. We had a SI scare with my daughter a few weeks ago. It was thankfully pretty minor and she’s doing well in therapy, but it was a terrifying few days.

    19. Jean (just Jean)*

      Coming here late to send you good thoughts. Depression really can be horrible. I hope your son can see by your actions just how much you love and care about him. Good on you and your husband and your son’s therapist for all you are doing. May you find the way forward together. Life can be hard and cold but we can warm ourselves and others with love and respect and attention and hugs.

    20. Public Health Nerd*

      I’m so sorry to hear about how difficult things have been. I had SI when I was about 13 after being molested. My mom also has a chronic illness, which was poorly controlled at the time. Totally agree with the suggestions here – the only thing I would add is that I had a very distorted view of how much help my mom needed from me. I didn’t understand that she was asking me for help with things because I was around, not really because I was some magical unicorn who was The Only One who was able to help. Much later, my dad had the conversation with me that they had concrete plans for helping my mom – that they weren’t planning to just rely on me forever. It was super helpful to hear it out loud.

      Otherwise, it sounds like something upsetting happened at school. You could ask your/ your kid’s therapist if it would be helpful to normalize that a bit. In the moment, it feels like everyone else is having a blissful time in middle school, when in reality, many middle schoolers are assholes and almost everyone is struggling.

  8. WellRed*

    Cooking 101. A small crockpot, a large chicken breast. How long do I cook? Should I add broth or water? Will that change the cook time? I plan to shred and season after (mmm, chipolte street sauce). I just never seem to get the timing right and overcook it.

      1. lapgiraffe*

        I second this, if you’re looking for easy cooking you could poach. I put the breast in a pot with some onion, garlic, salt, bay leaf, and a little olive oil, cover with water, bring to a boil, put a lid on it and turn off the heat and done in ~20 minutes. Then it can be sauced, chopped up and turned into chicken salad, used plain on salads or just for snacking, and it is usually rather moist. Also, breasts still on the bone cook best this way, but I know it means more work and some people hate dealing with the bones, but it really makes a world of difference in terms of moisture and texture.

        Crockpot is better for things that need a low, slow cook time, tougher cuts of meat that also have a little fat, which is the complete opposite of a chicken breast.

      2. Slartibartfast*

        I do large batches of chicken breast in the crock pot and it’s fine, but I do use bone-in, skin-on breasts. Enough water to cover, boullion, garlic, onion, cilantro, and a can of Chipotle peppers. Low heat, 10 hrs. Freeze it in batches for a variety of easy weeknight Mexican dinners.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      You definitely need to add some sort of liquid or it will get all dried out. Why not just add the street sauce to the crockpot? I like to do chicken tacos with salsa that way.

      1. WellRed*

        I’ve done that with bbq and buffalo sauce. The flavor is all washed out and I have to season it again anyway.

    2. Ali G*

      Google “pulled chicken.” I would add some crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic, herbs and a little stock. Low for 4-6 hours.

        1. Dan*

          Crockpots are for cooking tough cuts of meat that need “low and slow” cooking. You’d also use them for dishes where there are lots of flavors that need time to come together.

          Some recipes do not scale up/scale down well. I can’t imagine trying to cook one chicken breast in a crockpot.

          1. Temperance*

            Crockpots aren’t just for those dishes, but mostly for people who want a hot meal and don’t have a ton of time/energy to cook anything healthy. I’ve done it with a single largeish chicken breast, although I typically do taco seasoning + chicken stock for mine.

    3. Rebecca*

      I haven’t had a lot of luck with meats in my slow cooker the last few years. It seems like they’re all injected with extra fluid, which is irritating because I am paying a decent price per pound and having “up to 15% added liquid” isn’t really what I want. Chicken seems to be especially bad – I’ve really given up on chicken dishes in my slow cooker because I always seem to end up with it swimming in a lot of liquid, even when I don’t add water.

      I’d check to see the package to see if it’s been injected with any extra liquid before adding anything extra, cook on low for 4 hours or so, check it, and then proceed in 1/2 hour increments. Hope that helps!!

      1. Dan*

        This is where organic is your friend. I am by no means an organic freak, but these days I only cook with organic chicken (and scallops too). Organic chicken and scallops by definition cannot have any injected liquid in them. When I compare organic chicken to the normal stuff, it’s so bizarre how small the organic pieces are compared to the injected stuff. As one professional cook put it to me: Yeah, the price per ounce of the organic stuff is more, but with the cheap stuff, you’re buying more and basically paying for salt water.

        1. Rebecca*

          Good idea, thank you! Will look for that, and I’m in a rural area, so I actually toyed with the idea of asking around to see if any farmers sell slaughtered whole chickens as well. I too am not happy with paying for salt water!

      2. Slartibartfast*

        Check the sodium content in the nutrition information on the package. More than 2 or 3%, there’s ‘flavoring solution’ added.

    4. Aurora Leigh*

      I cook frozen chicken breasts in my crockpot with about an inch of water in the bottom. I think frozen I cook maybe 3-4 hours on low. I’ve never overcooked one, but of you’re starting with a fresh (not frozen) chicken breast that might be the difference.

      1. Annie Moose*

        Chicken broth is an alternative to water, although to be honest I don’t think I can actually taste the difference.

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      Why are you cooking in a crock pot? Is this your only pot, e.g. basement apartment kitchen? Are you trying to have something hot when you get home from work? If you’re not constrained to the crock pot, I’d go with poaching or broiling. Neither take that long, and it’s easier to check for doneness.

    6. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I would do chicken thighs instead only because breast dries out really fast. But when I do pulled chicken, it’s 4 hrs in the crockpot. Side eyeing all the chicken in a crockpot shade that’s going on in this thread, we make a ton of chicken dishes in the crockpot.

      I use broth so that you get a good flavor, water is fine but it does turn out bland of course.

      1. WellRed*

        Thanks, Becky I agree. And everyone else, thanks as well. I don’t like cooking in general and meat in particular, hence the crock. I have had excellent luck with stews, etc in the pot. The plain old breast stumped me. However, I am heartened to know it is not just me. I plan to get my poaching pan out ; )

    7. AcademiaNut*

      Chicken breast, particularly boneless and skinless, is almost impossible to not overcook in a slow cooker. By the time the crockpot is at full temperature, your chicken will be pretty close to done (if not ready to eat), so any extra time after that is just drying it out.

      I’d poach in a pot on the stove, in enough water to cover it. It doesn’t take long, so you can cook the chicken while assembling the rest of the meal. When it’s cooked through, drain, put back in the pan, shred with a fork, and add your sauce and heat through.

    8. NewWorkingMama*

      Put the sauce on the chicken breast in the crockpot. Cook four hours on high. Boom. Shredded chicken. (This is my go to food source though I usually use salsa or a combination of cream of chicken and cream of brocolli chedder.)

  9. Overwhelmed*

    I am furloughed and having a rough time and could use some reassurance.

    Found out at my appointment this week that kiddo is breech. I am seeing a chiropractor to try to give him room to flip and doing breech tilts but given that I am a couple weeks from my due date and how big he is, the odds aren’t great. I am trying to stay positive but the reality is that I have just felt really depressed recently. The tiniest things (like not being able to get into my normal exercise class because I forgot to register early enough) have triggered crying.

    Of course trying all this extra stuff costs money and since I am not getting paid due to the furlough that is another source of stress. Is this all just a fool’s errand?

    I know a c section isn’t the end of the world but it is just the fact that I feel like I have no control over my life right now. I know I should be grateful I have a working spouse and an otherwise healthy fetus. But it is just so hard. Having these two things come on top of each other is just too much.

    1. Katie the Fed*

      I’m sorry – my husband was furloughed and now is excepted but not getting paid and it’s SUPER stressful. It just rocks your sense of normal, plus not having the routine of your job is really hard (warning: I struggled with that on maternity leave too).

      I would try to reconcile yourself that you may end up with a c-section. FWIW, I REALLY liked mine. It was after a night of labor and we ended in an emergency C because boy genius was choking on his meconium, but then it was over quickly and I had this delightful baby and I could not care less how he got here. All the things we think matter when pregnant really fade once that baby is your arms. I’m doing a scheduled C for #2 this summer and I’m happy about it – I can plan ahead for my parents to be here to watch my son, I can make sure I’m rested enough before it, etc.

      Some furlough advice – any projects you can do now to prep for the baby will be SO worth it. There will come a time very, very, VERY soon when you marvel at the idea that you ever had this much unstructured free time! I know it’s really stressful now though – I was climbing the walls the first few weeks of maternity leave. If you have the money, I’d recommend going to Costco now and stocking up on basics like toilet paper, laundry detergent, frozen foods, etc so you don’t have to go shopping for a while when the baby comes. Also do some cooking to stock the freezer – I made a bunch of flax/peanut butter energy bites (you can look up the recipe) and froze them. Plus a few lasagnas, a ton of breakfast burritos (BEST THING EVER), some shepherd’s pies, etc. Stock that freezer now! Anything you can do now to prep will probably help with the stress.

      Are you in the DC area? If you are I can recommend a really good therapist who specializes in post-partum and antenatal issues – she helped me a lot after my son came and I had bad postpartum anxiety. She’s in Falls Church and takes BCBS.

      1. Overwhelmed*

        I’m hoping I’ll feel better when this is all over, but yeah, the name of your therapist would be great in case I need it.

        I’ve talked to some friends and there’s a certain aspect of the C section that I don’t mind – waking up, going in, and having him out by noon does sound way less stressful.

        1. Thursday Next*

          I like your positive spin on this, and I think it’s that kind of spin, applied in little ways, that’s going to help to get you through this.

          Someone down thread said, basically, that the baby is going to do what the baby is going to do. They come when they want to, and if their chosen route is less than ideal, we have all kinds of medical assistance to help them arrive into the world.

          Think of it this way: you’re in this for the long haul. I know a C-section is not something to look forward to, but when you think about it over your entire parenting timeline, it’s eventually going to recede into the background. The delivery Experience is super prominent in your mind right now, as it should be. But eventually, it will not loom so large. None of my friends who had C-sections were thrilled to get them; none of them care now about having had C-sections.

          Anything you can do now to make life with the baby easier would be helpful. Even if you don’t have a C-section, you’re not supposed to carry anything heavier than the baby for the first six weeks, so make sure your baby changing/feeding area is set up so that you don’t have to do a lot of lifting. If you do have a C-section, you will be recovering from surgery, so see if you can get additional on what can make your life easier. Not having to do stairs is one of those things.

          Wishing you all the best!

        2. Katie the Fed*

          You can even have your hair and makeup done so you don’t look like death warmed over for those newborn pictures! :)

          1. Swingbattabatta*

            I’m very excited for this aspect with my second (also due this summer)! I had an emergency c-section after 48 hours of labor and I’m virtually unrecognizable in my first photos with my first born.

      2. Texan In Exile*

        I just visited a co-worker who had her baby two weeks ago. (Yes, I took food and no, I did not stay long. :) )

        She had a C-section after two days of labor. The hardest part about it for her (other than why didn’t they figure out that her pelvis was too small before labor started?) was that she and her husband had set the house up assuming she would be able to take the stairs and carry things – that is, the baby’s changing table and cradle were all upstairs. Her husband spent their first day home completely re-arranging the house so Clara could live on the first floor for a while.

        So – I hope you don’t have to have a C-section, but if you do and if you have a two-story house, maybe you could rearrange things now.

        BTW, she is fine. The baby is fine. And he has a beautiful round head. :)

        1. Rhymes with Mitochondria*

          Babies’ heads change shape and mold, the pelvis shifts to create more room. None of those happen before labor and so can’t be measured or predicted.

      3. Swingbattabatta*

        Just chiming in to say that I appreciate my c-section a lot more when my friends talk about inadvertently peeing a little bit when they run/jump/cough…. it’s the small things :)

    2. Katie the Fed*

      I just typed up a REALLY long answer to this and don’t see it. Alison – is it lost in moderation?

    3. Ltrim Press Club*

      I’m sorry that everything is piled on right now. You’re going to get through this, you’re going to be okay.

      How best can I say on the internet – fetus does what fetus wants – and that even our best laid plans can get a detour.

      I do suggest mentioning to spouse and to doctor that you’ve been more down than normal. It’s not personal, just biological, and they should be looking out for you.

      Good luck!

    4. catsaway*

      I’m sorry this is happening to you, it’s all very stressful.
      My advisor just had a baby who was originally breached and I know she went to her doctor to get it flipped. It took two trips but it worked.

      1. Asenath*

        My mother was born breech. She was perfectly healthy, as was her mother, who went on to have four more children. You don’t need to start planning for four more children, but try not to worry too much about the breech birth!

        I’ve found personally that if I’m stressed in one area of my life, I start catastrophizing about everything else, and I need to deal with whatever the original cause of the stress is.

    5. CoveredInBees*

      Do all the exercises and see people you think will help. Not because I have a particular opinion on them one way or another, but you’ll know you did what you could. I am saying this because I had a lot of rough feelings about myself (and received so rude judgement from others) about having an emergency and have, at times, blamed myself for not doing more to stretch out my hips (my son’s head was simply too huge). I don’t think doing those stretches would have made any actual difference but would have changed how I felt about the experience. I’m sure you’ve heard this already, but just keep moving around. If you can find a place or treadmill to do lots and lots of brisk walking, it will help keep your body in a good place to heal regardless of how you give birth. The first two days after my csection were rough but pretty good after that, some recoveries from c-s can be easier than others. I know they’re not always medically appropriate, but have you talked to your care provider at all about ECV?

      1. t.i.a.s.p.*

        CoveredInBees you did NOTHING WRONG! Shame on anyone who had the nerve to be judgmental towards you.

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      I am weighing in on the C-section part because that’s the one where I have relevant, personal experience: I had a C-section after a long induced labor that went nowhere, and the C-section was fine. I was fine, baby was fine, the hormones that cause your memories of childbirth to be very fuzzy kicked in.

      I truly empathize with feeling that everything is out of your control and wanting something that is within it, and it feels like your own body should be that. I am now later in life, dealing with some health and mobility conditions that don’t respond to “Well, if you just do the proper things–eat, exercise, rest–then your body will work in the optimal manner. It’s all in your control.” Some alleviation is within my control, but a lot of it is just getting dealt a certain hand and there is only so much you can do around the edges of that hand. For pregnancy and childbirth, I think there was an old extreme of women feeling haplessly at the mercy of hospitals, not consulted about what they wanted. And that swung to a different extreme, not just that your doctor should listen to you but that your body should too, and having a plan for how the pregnancy and childbirth should go would be enough to get your body to cooperate. Biology often doesn’t care about our careful plan for how cause and effect is going to work.

    7. Anona*

      I’m so sorry! Those last couple of weeks of pregnancy are super rough, even without the extra stress you have.

      I’m the mom of an almost 5 month old. Co-signing what Katie the fed said about stocking up now, if you can. Toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, and especially frozen food (either stuff you make yourself or buy), and handheld snacks (cheese sticks, granola bars and the like).

      If you’re not able to do that it’s understandable. But stuff you can eat, especially one handed, is helpful. I got some frozen Jamaican beef patties from Costco that I could do in the microwave in 3 min that were tasty.

      But even if you can’t do any of this, there’s always mail order later, or having other people pick stuff up. You’ll figure it out. It’s just simpler pre-infant. Hang in there!

    8. pcake*

      I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through all of this :(

      For what it’s worth, years ago when I had a c section, it was 1000% easier for me than my non-c section first child. Healing was fast, too. So if you do have to get a c section, don’t worry – for some of us, it was actually the better option.

    9. Jessi*

      I want to chime in and say its very normal to be upset and disappointed that you may end up having a c-section especially if you had chosen and settled on a different type of birth in your head and its ok to mourn the birth you wanted.

      while the birthing part feels really huge you’ll be this baby’s mother forever, no matter what kind of birth you have.
      Can you go through all of the baby’s things and get them washed and folded and put away? That would help me to feel organised and in a better frame of mind :)

    10. Lunar Rainbow*

      I’m so very sorry that you have so much happening all at once. I don’t have any experience with being furloughed, but, for what it’s worth, my youngest (who is now 1.5 years old) was breech position right up until a few days before they were born. I, too, panicked and worried constantly about ending up with a C-section because my other babies were all delivered naturally.

      As for how I handled it, well, I researched (a lot) and I asked questions. I read about C-sections, I spoke with family members who had had the procedure, and I read all I could about what I could do to (safely) coax a baby to turn. I spoke to the obstetricians in the office and they assured me that, even if I did have to schedule a C-section, they would monitor the baby right up until I had to go into the OR. If the baby turned head down at any point during that time, they would not go through with the C-section. This may vary depending on the doctor, though.

      Ultimately, my 9 lb. baby turned a few days before I went into labor. I did do breech tilts 3x per day for a little under two weeks, but there is no telling if that was what helped or if baby just decided it was time to turn around and get ready to make their grand entrance into the world.

      Whatever happens, though, do what you can to ease your stress and relax. I know it’s hard, but even small moments throughout the day can make all the difference in the world. Before you know it, you’ll be holding that precious little baby in your arms. :-)

    11. DorthVader*

      Hi! I’m really sorry you’re dealing with all this! My now-2 month old was breech (long story, the midwives told me he’d flipped but then the head of the practice checked me out at 38 weeks and he hadn’t, ended up with an unplanned c-section 8 hours before we were going to turn him) so here’s what I’ve got:
      The lack of control SUCKS. I’m very seriously considering a few sessions with a therapist because, between infertility and this nonsense, I feel a major lack of control over my life. So no advice there, but your feelings are 100% valid.
      Spinning Babies has helped some people. I never tried it because it was so late in the game when it was confirmed he hadn’t flipped, but I have friends who swear by it.
      Sometimes they flip on their own! Not frequently, but I know of one person who was going in for an ECV and her kiddo had flipped so they just induced her.
      Kick counts are SUPER important!! The night before I was scheduled to go into the hospital I stopped feeling my LO move. Tried everything to get him going, but after about an hour of poking and ice packs and caffeine (it’d been about 2 since I first noticed how quiet he was) I called my midwife who told me to go in to L&D. He was in mild distress so unplanned section it was. Because we caught things early he didn’t need any NICU time or serious interventions. My midwife still mentions how proud she is of my instinct to call that night so we could get everyone through safely.
      Wishing you the best! Hopefully the hospital you deliver in has great food. It was one of my few joys those first days PP.

    12. Observer*

      I don’t know if you have discussed this with your practice, but there are some practices that will try to deliver a singleton breech baby naturally. A lot depends on the practice and how the baby is. In those cases they will have you in the OR so they can move to a c-section if necessary, but it can work.

      Definitely talk to your doctor about ECV (External Cephalic Version) – the sooner the better. It’s usually not done are 38 weeks.

    13. Babel Fish*

      If it helps you feel better, my spouse is an obgyn, and all of their pregnant obgyn co-workers havevelected to get C-sections. So it’s what even doctors choose for themselves!

    14. It's a fish, Al*

      Pregnancy is a wild ride. You know it ends at some point, but there’s never any guarantee what the dismount is going to look like. Adding on additional stress like finances is super awful.

      I had two breech births (kids are 9 and 11 now). In both cases they were vertex and flipped late in the third trimester. Thanks, kids. I did deliver more or less normally – my planned OB wasn’t trained in breech deliveries, but he was happy to refer me elsewhere. Delivery was fine but high stress, because the risk of progressing to c section is quite high, and the whole surgical team is there watching you push (waiting for things to go wrong and otherwise looking really bored).

      I mention normal delivery to you because it’s an option that was not at all discussed with me by my doctor. I had to feel out for two weeks, then at my next appointment say “what if I try to push?” and be told “oh. I guess you can do that instead. Here’s a referral.” In the end, it was as easy as a last minute change in birth plan could be, and nobody at the specialist’s office thought it was a big deal at all. My second delivery the doc thought I was having a VBAC with a breech kid (unusual) and was all pumped about it. After I reminded him I’d pushed the last one out too, there was no excitement at all- business as usual.

      I wish you a complications-free delivery and a wonderful recovery from whatever delivery method you and your health care provider agree on.

    15. It’s all good*

      It is disappointing and it sucks when everything is out of control. I was so looking forward to a natural childbirth but around 36 weeks she measured off the charts in her shoulders and tummy. So a C section was scheduled. The positives – you get to pick the birth date (for both of mine I was given a five day range). Cute round heads. You go in and know 3 hours later your baby will be in your arms. Recovery was not that bad at all for me. – best wishes for uneventful delivery and congratulations!

  10. kittymommy*

    Well this weekend is off to an awesome start. After I made dinner last night I went to go do the dishes and it seems my kitchen sink is clogged. I used a wet vac to get the excess water out, and am trying the baking soda and vinegar fix now. I’m not entirely sure it’s working. The boiling water is in the sink but bubbling so made the soda/vinegar is still down there doing it’s job?? Hopefully. Next up will be drano. I though about doing an auger, but I live in an older mobile home so the pipes don’t bend into the wall, instead they go straight down. To make matters worse, I’m scheduled to go on a cruise that’s been booked for a while now and I leave in a couple of days. And due to a few unexpected expenses, I don’t really have the money right now for anything more expensive than this. Ugh!!

    1. Kathenus*

      They make really inexpensive plastic gizmos that can help clear clogs, I just got some for a slow draining bathroom sink. Go to a hardware/building supply store and ask for the plastic wand-type clog removers. If the clog isn’t too far down it can be an easy, inexpensive, and non-chemical way to deal with it.

      1. Amy*

        We have used a plunger on our kitchen sink. If you have a double sink put rags in the other side and then use the plunger.

        1. Triplestep*

          Yes, a plunger worked for me the last time this happened.

          Lots of people (including my husband until recently) use a plunger incorrectly. The idea is to press it down to get a seal around the rubber perimeter, then pull up really hard and allow the suction to dislodge the clog. Lots of people think the idea is to push down only, and that that motion will push the clog down. If you’re unsure, I bet there are youtube videos to show you how to use a plunger correctly.

      2. Kittymommy*

        I have one of those long plastic things with a scrubber or the end to use in the bathroom. Clears out hair. That didn’t work. Honestly, I think it’s grease.

      3. tangerineRose*

        The plastic wand-type clog removers work wonders for me! Better than Draino. Then again, I have long hair which somehow seems to wind up in the drain, even on sinks.

      1. Kittymommy*

        Not a single plunger, no that’s one of the things I’m going to go get today as well. The soda and vinegar *may* be working, fingers crossed. When I checked it a little bit ago it seemed to have gone down some. Don’t another round of it.

        1. Venus*

          I bought one last weekend for $4. Worked great! Good luck.

          (Sinks need the flat plungers, different from toilet ones, which you probably know but thought I’d mention just in case).

        2. StellaBella*

          If you have a wire hanger, straighten it, then make one end into a small, 1/2 inch, close together hook. Gently guide into the drain, and gently turn counter clockwise. It will hook the hairball or stuff and loosen it. Then pull it up or twirl a bit to loosen it. Plungers help too after this kind of fishing with the hanger tool.

    2. Parenthetically*

      The disgustingly-named Green Gobbler drain clearer works AMAZINGLY well and — bonus — won’t corrode or damage pipes.

    3. Texan In Exile*

      Apologies if you have already done this, but – have you removed the curved pipe under the sink to clear it out? I have discovered that our disposal will not grind and clear the peelings from two pounds of carrots in one minute. Sure, it grinds them – but then they get stuck in a mass in that J-joint or elbow joint or whatever you call it.

      BTW – I – ummm – have done this more than once. You would think I would learn but apparently I do not.

      PS Make sure you have the seal in the proper place when you replace the pipe! Or else the pipe will leak! Also something I have verified through research.

      1. Kittymommy*

        No curved pipe, just straight down from the sink. I would honestly try if it was curved but I’m not quite confident doing it myself with the way it’s set up.

    4. Madge*

      Before draino, try an enzyme based drain cleaner like Earthworm. I get it at a co-op food store, but you might be able to find it in a regular grocery store. It works better and is much gentler on your pipes. You’ll have to leave it in overnight.

    5. Kittymommy*

      Ok so it’s late and I have no idea if anyone will end up reading this but thank you, thank you, thank you!! I now have an unclogged drain!!? Between the right plunger and a wire hanger (and possibly more baking soda than I’ve used in a year) I do not have to wash another glass or dish in my bathroom! Thank you to all of you!!!! (And no Drano ended up being used)

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Hurrah!!
        For future prep, think about getting a plumber’s snake. It’s a coil of wire with more wire coil around that, and you use a crank to send it down into the pipes. Ours is 10 ft long. Plumbers have them several times longer and power-driven. They work really well! (My only grump is there’s no easy way to feel clean around it later LOL!)

  11. Ali G*

    Folks with fine hair! What’s your go-to product for more volume? I have fine hair, and I just cut it in an A-line, so it’s at the nape of my neck in the back and just past my shoulders in the front. I’d love to get more fullness out of the new layers, but everything I try just ends up falling flat in a few hours.
    Anyone have any must have hair products for more volume (that lasts)??

    1. Hair Tips*

      I have fine hair cut the same as yours but maybe slightly shorter. It is also sensitive to heat. I actually use rollers – they have a velcro-ish feel. I put them in for about 20-30 minutes, then finish with a hairdryer. I use Biolage hair products, including mousse, as I find they don’t dry or weight my hair.

        1. Faith*

          I also use Velcro rollers. I blow dry my hair upside down. Then I put in the rollers and blast them with the blow dryer. Then let them sit for awhile.

        2. Hair Tips*

          I typically out mousse in and turn my head upside down and blow for just a minute to get some lift. Rollers go in wet. Have coffee and breakfast, read morning emails, then take the rollers out. It’s mostly dry by that point, so just a couple more minutes with hairdryer and round brush. A little bit of hairpsray. It really does hold its shape all day, and it doesn’t take much of my time.

    2. Aloe Vera*

      I have naturally fine, thin hair that falls out easily. I use Roots by Lush once a week to thicken my hair. I’ve used it for a year, and now I am getting compliments for how thick my hair is.

    3. SaaSyPaaS*

      I have my hair cut shoulder length with long layers. I use a large round hot brush and use a light hold hair spray (lately Pantene Airspray).

    4. cat socks*

      Try a powder like Osis Dust It or Redken Powder Grip. I used to have hair in that style and after styling I would lift up the top layer of hair and sprinkle the powder. A little goes a long say! Then rub it in a bit and it gives lift to the top layer of your hair. You “reactivate” it during the day by rubbing it again.

      You may also want to try a dry shampoo.

      If you search for “small things blog volume” it links to a post with some product reccomendations.

    5. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Use a good shampoo first – one that doesn’t have a lot of junk that can weigh down the hair. I use one of Aveda’s volumizing shampoos

      I have used Phomollient in the past but now I tend to blow dry just to about dry, toss in some sort of powder hair thickener (akin to dry shampoo). Then I use a paste to style – there is one by Aveda that is pretty good.

      Honestly I have a ton of hair that is just really fine, so in the end I went with my hairstylists “vision” last summer (hes a rather effusive Italian) and chopped it all off in christ, no idea, some sort of pixie but not really, its supposed to stick up in the back but be straight in the front and swept to the side. Its worked FAR better than when I had an A-line and I still had to put it in a headband to get any sort of volume because it would be flat by noon.

    6. Wishing You Well*

      The shorter your hair, the more volume you can get. I can get my fine hair to stand straight up(!) with Fiber Cream/Solutions by Great Clips or the evening news.

    7. Call me St. Vincent*

      I agree with the comment above to use a good volumizing shampoo and conditioner. I use Kerastase Bain Densité Shampoo and Conditioner and it has really changed my hair so much for the better. SO much more volume!

      1. Ali G*

        I was just looking at Big Sexy Hair! I’m leaning towards that line.
        So many good tips in here. I am going to have fun next time I go t Ulta :)

    8. MysteryFan*

      The name of this stuff sounds completely stupid, but it works for me to give me volume . It’s called Root Plus Pump, by Big Sexy Hair. (Available at the drugstore in a very tall red can) While wet, I part the hair in several places on the crown, spray on a SMALL amount of product and rub it in gently. then blow dry warm upside down, and use a round brush to finish. It doesn’t leave a sticky feel at all, and makes a big difference. Bonus, it even helps disguise the cowlick in the back of my short bob!

    9. Ed*

      I have a long bob with fine hair. If I want volume I need to dry it after a shower. I use a heat protecting spray with hair oil. I have the Revlon brush hair dryer. I use that to get my hair half dried. It helps drying it upside down. Then I put in a thinking hair spray and finish drying. They important stuff for me is to dry in layers and small sections like the hair dresser does. If my hair looks to greasy or you want more volume put spray with dry shampoo. I do sometimes finish it off with some hair shine spray with gold flakes. The last part gives it a really nice sparkle at times. It sounds like a lot but it doesn’t that that much a time as I have been doing this for years. Mind you for everyday my hair is in a ponytail due to worm.

    10. MissDisplaced*

      I don’t usually plug products, but this dryer has changed my life and gives my shoulder length, fine stick-straight hair lift.

      Amazon:
      BANGMENG One Step Dryer & Styler Hot Air Paddle Brush

      It’s much more controled than a blow dryer and you’re drying from the roots so hello volume!

      I also use shampoo with bamboo fibers for texture, and I love the CHI line of stylers for volume (purple cans). The CHI line is kinda pricey, but you can often find them on sale at Marshalls ir TJX. It’s a big can of hairspray and lasts a long time, so I’d rather spend $5 more than drugstore brands that are crap and I toss.

      The other thing about fine hair is getting layers and regular trims to keep them no matter what your length. Otherwise, fine hair droops flat.

    11. rogue axolotl*

      I’m not sure how useful my advice will be, because my hair is a bit weird–very fine and straight with zero volume, but incredibly thick. I keep it really short because that is the only option. That said, I really like the KMS California volume products, particularly the messing cream.

    1. Issabekka*

      Eve sitting up in that box looks so adorable. With the tissue paper in front it almost looks like she is playing hide & seek.

  12. Foreign Octopus*

    Has anyone else watched Travellers on Netflix?

    I feel like my parents and I are the only ones who have seen it and I’m dying to talk about it with someone else.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        Finally!!

        I know, it was so good! I binge watched the season and wish I’d taken my time with it as I wanted it to last longer.

    1. Novocastriart*

      I loved travellers so much!! My husband won’t watch it, and no one else I know has, but it was gripping!!

  13. Aurora Leigh*

    I’m curious if anyone on here has built a new home? Or can reccomend any books or blogs about people who have?

    My boyfriend and I are currently thinking about building and I love to find out more about people who have actually done it.

    We’re working on remodeling our current house (he bought it for $40k shortly before we met) and while I love many things about this house, it’s rather small and the layout is a little strange. It’s fine for the two of us (plus 4 pets) but it would be really cramped to raise a family in. It’s also right in the middle of town.

    We’d like to have a bigger house and we’d like to raise kids in a more rural area (the way we grew up). His parents have offered to give/sell at a big discount (not sure of the details on this yet) to us a section of their land for housebuilding.

    It would be a huge undertaking — we’d need to clear trees, get power and water run to the site, etc.

    But they do have city water and fiber internet! (Those are bf’s absolute musts for a property lol) other properties in our area seem to be going for $150k or better (depending on how much land of course).

    We’re looking at the Mendards house kits to get an idea of material cost for the sort of house we want, and I know we need to get quotes for labor on the things we can’t do ourselves . . .

    If anyone has tips for this sort of thing, I’d love to read them! I’ll include a link in the reply to the sort of house we’re looking at.

    1. Not All*

      I never actually went through with building but have run the numbers on specific plots of land quite a few times…every time it’s come out cheaper by a LOT to buy & do major remodel.

      Things that I’ve seen people not factor in:
      -Building/inspection permits…depending on the jurisdictions I’ve seen them run into the tens of thousands of dollars on a $200k home
      -Running the utilities…one jurisdiction was $100/ft for power alone!
      -From friends who are home builders/general contractors, always assume a minimum 25% overrun on predicted costs/contracts AND time
      -Driveways can be ungodly expensive to put in, even just gravel…you still need to do the base properly & drainage right or you’ll regret it for decades
      -if you are clearing trees, you’re going to need to test the compaction on the back fill or you’ll have issues with your foundation down the road. You need to make sure that anyone you hire to do that does it right and gets ALL the rootwads out or you’ll have problems with sinking when they eventually rot
      -if you are going to need septic put in, make sure in advance that you aren’t going to run into any issues with nearby streams, drainages, distances from existing dwellings, soil type, etc…the rules in most jurisdictions are much more stringent for new construction than they were even 30 years ago.
      -don’t forget to factor in an free-standing structures and/or landscaping…that can add up quickly!
      -if you are converting land that was in a timber/farm property tax deferral status, you may need to pay back taxes on the deferred years…again, every jurisdiction handles this differently

      Not to say that it isn’t still the right call for you…my last move that ended up falling through I *had* decided to do a build…just that the house itself can be less than half your actual expenses (assuming you aren’t going for a fancy-schmancy house :) ).

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        Ooh thank you for all the things to think about! We’re still very much in the running the numbers stage — any move would be 2-3 years out.

        The tree roots especially is something I hadn’t thought about.

        And we don’t want anything super fancy — just space lol. Our current home is right around 1000 sq ft and with 3 cats and an 80 lb dog some days we are tripping over each other.

        We really want a full basement (this is tornado country) and a guest room for friends and family.

      2. Annie Moose*

        Yes yes yes to the minimum +25% to whatever you think it’ll cost ahead of time! My parents have built themselves three houses and remodeled a few others, and they always factor in at least this much extra for unexpected costs. There’s always something you forget to add in up front, or weather makes things take longer than expected, or you discover you have to truck in all sorts of fill because the backyard is a swamp, or it turns out the tile you want is way pricier than expected, or…

    2. Ranon*

      Assume no matter what number you come up with that you’ll need an extra 10% in stuff that’s absolutely necessary that you didn’t know about and another 10% in stuff you didn’t realize you really, really wanted.

      But yeah, probably 150k min if that’s what developed properties go for- labor equal to material costs and another 50k in site development since it’s not developed at all would honestly be extraordinarily low on our area

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        Thanks!

        Yeah, we’re thinking 150k as ballpark figure, we’ll have to contact some local contractors, and utility companies to get a closer figure.

        I know the costs are low compared to lot of of other places, we’re very lucky to live here and both have full time employment — above minium wage jobs are not easy to come by around here.

    3. buttrue???*

      No real information for the big things. We did have our house built but it was in a subdivision so there was already a builder. But little things you don’t think of. When they have framed but before they’ve done the wiring mark where you want outlets. Based on the plans where would you put lamps, TVs, office set ups, etc. Make sure that the various outlets are convenient for your needs. Especially for TVs mounted on walls.

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        Good tip! We’re adding outlets in current home right now — it’s so annoying to only be able to charge one phone at a time lol

        1. Not So NewReader*

          A big yes to taking pictures. Take pictures of the under ground water and sewer lines. Take pictures of the foundation going in. Take pictures of everything. You can narrow down the collection later, but if you haven’t got it you can’t pull it out of thin air. Unfairly, years later our memories get murky and where was that line buried? who knows.

    4. Venus*

      I know someone who had a contractor build it from a kit (this made it much easier to do the design as they chose between options rather than starting from scratch, and it was built quickly). In their case I think it was about balanced on price (similar to buying an already built home), but they were able to get it built on a bigger-than-average plot of land, and they are really picky, so new-build worked for them. In their case it was a lot of extra work and stress, as they had to do a lot more research and deal with every step along the way, so they wouldn’t do it again or recommend it to others (it doesn’t help that they have anxiety – I told them at the start it was a bad option for them, and I’ve carefully not pointed out that I was right – so their stress may not be the same for everyone). They were quite happy with the result, thankfully.

      I bought an old house and know that I have to refinish almost everything. The foundation is sturdy, yet the inside is badly laid out and is falling apart. I’m really undecided on what to do, as ideally I would strip everything out (especially since there is a chance of asbestos, lead paint, etc) and rearrange the layout, but I don’t have the funds now. Do I patch for a while and then do a big reno, or do parts every couple years? I don’t yet know! (although I did renovate the washroom when the drywall decided to fall apart) Thankfully it is functional, so either option will work – I’m not ignoring or postponing structural issues.

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        I’m glad they were happy with their house from a kit, even if it did turn out to be anxiety inducing.

        We’re not super picky, but I would drown in all the tiny decisions, which is one reason I like the kits.

        A lot of our interest in building has more to do with the land than getting exactly the perfect house. We do not see many properties with a 3 or 4 acre lot come up for sale.

    5. Annie Moose*

      When looking at house plans, be sure to factor in all the extras like columns on the porch, fancy windows, custom cabinets, and especially landscaping. A lot of people forget to add in the cost of landscaping and you see this lovely house with two scraggly little bushes dying out front because they spent all the money on something else! And when it comes to fancy little extras in a house plan, remember that all of those will cost additional money. A big wraparound porch, a custom shower, custom cabinetry in your kitchen, a specific type of front door or window style, all of these add up–and you’re not likely to find deals on them, because they’re rare.

      Another factor to consider, heating/cooling/electrical bills! For example, a sprawling floorplan might work great in the South, but if you live in a place with winter, it’ll be a nightmare to heat. (big floorplans can also be pricier to build because they have a bigger foundation, a bigger basement, etc., as opposed to a two-story house where the footprint is much smaller)

      It’s easy to fall in love with a house when you see it in a magazine, with beautiful landscaping and a nice sunny sky, but no matter how pretty it looks, if it’s not going to fit your property/climate/budget, don’t give it your heart!

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        Agreed! And even though we’re only in our late 20s/early 30s, I’m trying to keep a practical eye on things that will allow to age in place — a bedroom, bathroom, and washer dryer on the main floor, for instance.

    6. Llellayena*

      From the way you write, are you planning on doing the construction yourself or hire a general contractor? If yourself, there are some things that really should be done professionally. My list would be foundation and grading near it, plumbing/gas, electric and hvac and anything that requires cranes. If you’re getting a GC, research is your key. Solid background where you see finished projects and can talk to previous clients. Good luck!

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        We’re up for doing all the painting, flooring, cabinents, and interior things along that nature, but we plan to get a contractor for the rest.

        We’re learning a lot remodeling current house (boyfriend and his dad have rewired 50% of the house) but we’re not up to building from scratch!

    7. Falling Diphthong*

      I really liked The Not So Big House (title of first book and series; I find the first 2 books the most useful) by Sarah Susanka, which your library probably has. It’s helpful for putting names to patterns that make a room appealing and not appealing, which for a lot of us is a gut thing that’s hard to explain.

      So for me, light on two sides of a room is huge. Also lining up views. I’ve been watching Extraordinary Homes on Netflix, and it’s amazing how much these two things contribute to how much I like a space, independent of its size and fanciness. And a circuit–so there’s two ways for traffic to flow. Some patterns I can see but they’re eh, like varying ceiling height. But this book series really helped me to get my evaluation of a house or design out of “I don’t like it but can’t explain why, or what would be better.”

    8. TL -*

      My dad built my grandma’s house when she needed to move closer (about 50 yards away) to my parents. He’s got lots of building experience and knew what he had to leave to the experts. It took longer than if it had just been a contractor, but was cheaper and same quality of work.

      One big advantage is that dad was really able to customize for the region/person. My parents live in hot, hot south Texas and my grandma’s electricity bill was about $80/month in the summer (months of 90-100℉ weather) and she kept her 3 bedroom house at 65℉.
      The house was built with potential mobility issues in mind (ie, a seat in the shower + several jets at different heights and wide doorways). After she passed, it was rented to a husband and wife. The wife has MS so the ease of cooling and mobility-friendly design are a big plus.

    9. Katerina*

      We built. We found a model we really liked, and had the builder replicate it. I suppose the biggest surprises were financing- in particular, we had to get a construction loan that then turned into a mortgage, and construction loans have a much higher interest rate. So I’d recommend making sure you know all the hidden costs, like permit fees, and confirm any loans can be used for building.

    10. Jessi*

      I want to pop in and say that I’d have to really, really, really like my Bf’s parents to consider living on the same property as them! Are they good with boundaries?

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        I hear you! I would never again live on the same property as my parents if I could help it . . . my mom does not get boundaries and I’m very glad she’s 3 hours away now.

        But bf’s parents are very kind and also very introverted and concerned about bothering us –we’re 20 minutes away right now and they never visit without calling first.

        So I think they’d be great neighbors :)

    11. Not So NewReader*

      Building a house is one of the top five most stressful things a person can do in life.
      I watched my father build from a kit house and it’s mind bending what goes on.
      I looked at your kit that you are thinking about. It only includes rough electrical. Find out what that actually means. They probably run a wire to a room and then you pay for the wire to go around the room and you pay for the outlets and switches.
      I think the thing that concerns me the most is foundation or basement are not included in the kit. I think this is pretty normal but it’s also a big item to add in. My father’s kit did not include a basement or a roof. I thought that was ridiculous, you can’t skip having a roof.
      I think an advantage would be that since it is a kit you shouldn’t have to have someone draw up a blue print for code enforcement to get a permit to build. But may you will, not sure.
      Code enforcement will be over OFTEN. Workers cannot proceed until the inspection is done so this ends up being more costs. Code enforcement needs to check wiring, water lines, insulation and a number of other things.

      Look into mortgages on new builds. Last I knew there was staging, you got x amount to build a foundation. Once that was in then you got more money and so on. Finance people will be over to inspect. And so will insurance people.

      One good contractor will lead you to more good people. Use references to find the general contractor. Be picky. Expensive is not always better. Ask the references WHY they liked the contractor. Once you get this person go with the people they say they ordinarily work with. This way you are hiring people who like each other and work in harmony with each other. They are also accountable to each other. If one does a bad job it tarnishes the other one’s reputation.

      Crap happens. Stuff breaks, things get stolen, etc. In my father’s case things caught fire, things got flooded etc, crap happens. The key seems to be how do the two of you cope when something bad happens? Going into meltdowns, either on your part or the contractor’s part makes everything ten times harder.

      Start early in the year. Back to crap happens. With my father’s house, the house arrived by train and got unloaded. (The last ten miles cost double the price of shipping it across country because of unloading by hand.)
      Then the contractor failed to show up. Time dragged on, my father got sick, more time went on. Pretty soon it was August and we still needed a contractor. Meanwhile there are house parts (like Lincoln Logs) piled up everywhere, available for anyone to steal. So the next contractor started. OF COURSE the guy was allergic to cedar and the house was mostly cedar. sigh. The roof went on just before the first snow storm.
      Start early in the year, so the house is capped off before fall/winter.

      This is all to say this is pretty normal stuff. Anyone who has built a house has a story or ten. Pay attention to detail each step of the way. Make sure the soil drains well before you complete the foundation. Top off the foundation and make sure that everything is straight as you go up. Take an interest in what the contractors are working on today. Ask questions. Things like paint, wall paper, landscaping are all aesthetics and not essential to getting a certificate of occupancy. You want that CO so you can live in the house, so that becomes the goal.

      Plan your vacation time from work around building your house. This way you will be available to talk with the contractors and handle matters that come up.

    12. LCL*

      I know one couple that used a builder, with a lot of input from them. They had to go to marriage counseling during the process, but they stayed together and love their house.

      The first thing you should do is go to the permit office/building department of the municipality having jurisdiction and find out what and even if you are allowed to build there. A lot of rural areas have laws regarding subdividing your property. Also follow their guidance on what you have to do for sewer-water and power are easy by comparison.

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        Yes, I think a trip to city hall will be order, to get some more numbers to play with.

        Sewer is good to think about. I’m pretty sure his parents have a septic tank, but I’m not 100% sure.

    13. Brandy*

      We have bulls and we have also reno’d but in a very HCOL area so my data won’t help you. Just know that you need a reputable builder, a GM/plan to manage the project, a lot of patience and a slush fund for when things go wrong. You definately want someone who has built in your town before and knows the rules.

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        Thanks for the tips! His uncle is a contracter, and while we couldn’t afford to hire his uncle, I know he’d give us pointers on who to work with and who to stay away from.

  14. OyHiOh*

    My spouse was admitted to ICU last night. We could turn this into a referendum on how evidence based practice is not necessarily best for every single patient and the atrocious state of U.S. health care but the long and short of it is, my spouse had one lobe resected a decade and a half ago (traumatic injury) and the resultant scar tissue makes them far more susceptible to lunch issues than average person of their age (under 60/not eligible for pneumonia vaccination although that will probably change after this hospital adventure). URI’s tend to turn into bronchitis for my spouse and bronchitis turns into pneumonia more often and more easily than normal.

    We’ve been down the URI > bronchitis > pneumonia twice before, both times, caught early and treated at home with antibiotics.

    This time though, spouse was told a week ago it was just bronchitis, sent home with an inhaler. Four days later, in ICU on BiPAP because not only does spouse now have pneumonia, they have a systemic (septic) infection.

    We have three children who still vividly remember the last time spouse was hospitalized and this one is far, far worse. I’m getting ready to go see spouse. Told kids I’d take a photo (with permission from spouse) so they can decide for themselves if they want to go see parent or not.

    1. sympathies*

      I’m so sorry! Septic infections are scary. Best wishes for a speedy recovery and internet hugs if you want them.

    2. Mimmy*

      My husband’s sister just went through this. She’s home now slowly recovering. Best wishes for a good recovery for your spouse.

    3. fposte*

      Oh, wow, that is a hard knock. I hope he bounces back soon and he’s approved for the pneumonia vax.

      If he’s not, can you just pay out of pocket? It looks like Walgreens has Pneumovax for $125 and Prevnar 13 for $225. Not cheap, and ridiculous that you’d have to pay, but may be worth a thought.

      1. OyHiOh*

        I’m sure we’ll decide to pay out of pocket if we can’t get insurance to pick it up. Ridiculous, yes, but not worth going through this every three or four years.

    4. Anona*

      I’m so sorry about your spouse. I hope they recover soon.

      I’ve read some things about a possibly promising treatment for sepsis that involves vitamin c. It looks like there are many studira in progress at the moment.

      Anyways, I really hope your spouse recovers quickly.

    5. Ktelzbeth*

      I’m sorry about your husband and I hope he gets better soon. Since you’ve been through this before, you may know everything I’m going to say next, but I want to put it out there in case.

      In many forms of chronic pulmonary disease, pneumonia vaccine is recommended regardless of age. After this hospital adventure you might try pushing really hard on this.

      1. OyHiOh*

        In general, yes we are aware of those recommendations. Good reminders for all readers. One of the best ways to avoid sepsis is to get flu vaccinations and peumonia vaccination if eligible

        In our specific case, A) Medicaid (even our state’s quite good expanded Medicaid that we were on for four years) really doesn’t want to pay out for pnuemonia vaccination under 65. Beats me why but is what it is. We changed to a new insurance plan in December so spouse may be able to get it covered; otherwise we’ll pay ourselves. This isn’t worth not having the shot. B) Spouse doesn’t have COPD/other chronic pulmonary disease. Spouse has scar tissue and a partial lung from combat injury. Which is part of why Medicaid was so oddly resistant to pneumonia vaccination in this case: Spouse doesn’t have the “normal” risk factors.

        1. Ktelzbeth*

          I figured you’d tried all the angles, but wanted to be sure. I do hope that things turn around soon and that your new insurance considers a partial lung, scar tissue, and a propensity for pneumonia to be an appropriate problem.

        2. WellRed*

          I am well under 65 and have had the vax 2 or 3x because of a chronic condition. I can’t imagine someone with his history won’t get approved. Good luck!

          1. Hola!*

            In CA, it’s state law that people be offered the pneumonia vaccine once at 18 (or their first adult visit in the state) and once again at 65. I was 29? When I qualified for it based on that law.

            So for anyone in this situation in CA, it’s covered by law.

    6. Teeth Grinder*

      Don’t just assume pneumonia vaccine isn’t an option. I used to get bronchitis or worse every busy season (CPA here), and my doctor gave it to me at ~50.
      The vaccine isn’t lifetime protection anyway. Just like tetanus and whooping cough, you need a booster at least every ten years. But it’s totally worth it.
      Under your circumstances, the insurance company shouldn’t object, and the doctor can argue for you if necessary.

    7. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Big internet hug. DH having pneumonia and my sleeping in the ICU on 2 chairs (with the trash can between, padded with blankets to make me a cot)…. was my first week of February last year. I am sending you every warm wish….

    8. Marion Ravenwood*

      I’m really sorry. Hope your spouse recovers quickly and sending good vibes to you and your family.

    9. ..Kat..*

      Best wishes.

      A suggestion for when your spouse is feeling better but still in the hospital. Talk to the respiratory therapists who are treating your spouse. Ask about pulmonary exercises/treatments that spouse can do at home to prevent URIs from being so serious. Things like PEP (I think this stands for positive expiratory pressure. Spouse can do these at home daily. These help ward off serious URIs. Ask the RTs if there are any meds/neb treatments/etc that your husband should start doing if he starts to get a URI at home. Write this stuff down because it is hard to remember when you are stressed.

      Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

      And make sure that everyone who comes into the room cleans their hands.

    10. Observer*

      I hope your spouse recovers quickly.

      I do want to say that what you experienced was NOT evidence based, despite the insurance company claiming it is (they would – they are trying to save money and they were being stupid.) Because All good evidence based practice allows for the presence of outliers. And all truly evidenced based practice identifies risk factors that separate people from the “norm” or the “typical population”. A competent doctor should have recognized that your spouse’s history means that the standard guidelines don’t actually apply to him, because the EVIDENCE doesn’t really apply to him.

      I know that this isn’t something that makes you feel any better right now. But hopefully once this is over, you’ll have a better argument to use with doctors who won’t use some common sense.

  15. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

    The mom wants us to pick up a fancy robot vacuum she gifted us. Hubs told me to text I’m busy bc he knows my stomach clamps up every minute I’m near her. Texted her tersely I was busy Mon and hubs would pick it up. Then she texted asking if Sun/tomorrow would work bc she wanted to see our faces.

    Me: puts down phone, treats self to uninterrupted 11 hrs of sleep, after having recovered from bug/cold/urgent care 2 weeks ago and super busy week. And hubs says I don’t have to justify wanting free time.

    Readers, I love this guy.

    1. Less Bread More Taxes*

      Good guy. You’re lucky to have him. There’s nothing worse than watching your partner go through stressful situations, and it’s awesome that he just gets it.

  16. The Babiest Babyface*

    Mom died yesterday. For a while, Dad and I were talking about having me take this semester off of school so I could better take care of her, but she absolutely forbade it. I guess she really knew what was best, considering we’re only a week into the semester right now.

    I don’t know how to talk to any of my siblings about it. Do I call? Text? It would be so much easier if I could be there with them, but I’m eight hours away at school. They’re all together to process it, but I’m just. Here.

    I know that everything is different, but it all feels exactly the same right now. Has it not really hit? Or have I just been preparing for this so long that I got all the angry, bargaining parts of grief out of my system?

    I just don’t know how to be in this situation.

    1. WellRed*

      First, I am so sorry. It hasn’t hit you yet, that’s why you feel like this, probably exacerbated by the fact you aren’t there. Call, dont text, to talk. Are you able to fly home?

    2. The other April Ludgate*

      Aww, sending you lots of hugs, that’s so so hard. It may not have hit yet, as your Mom passed away yesterday. I suspect you have a funeral/some kind of service to plan and go through and perhaps help in sorting her things, dealing with her estate, will etc. I went through what I called “delayed grief” when my maternal grandmother passed away. Big crying came out in a grief support group that the funeral home ran, about a year after the fact. Everyone’s different, my mom went through a lot of anger, and sadness right afterwards. My grandmother lived a long good life, and the six weeks before she passed she was very sick and we knew this was the end and in a way once she passed I saw it as relief for her once she passed so she could stop suffering, I felt bad for her. I obviously don’t know your full situation, but since you are away at school, that school likely has student counseling services covered by your tuition. My school has this and has many support groups, including a grief support group. Strongly recommend this for whenever you’re ready, the counselors at my school are excellent and help process all kinds of situations, whether in one-on-one sessions or in group. All the best to you and your family, hang in there as best as you can and take care of yourself, your health is most important.

    3. sympathies*

      I’m so sorry for your loss! You are in what I think of as the fog of loss where everything seems unreal, it will help you get through the next few days. Is there any way you can go home for a bit? Whatever you decide to do, please be kind to yourself, do whatever self-care works best for you. Internet hugs if you want them.

    4. lapgiraffe*

      My father died three months before I started college, and it was in a tragic accident so 100% unexpected. Even having those three months to grieve beforehand, honestly it was quite challenging that first semester, and I was only 1.5 hours from home.

      Taking a semester to be home with your family is not only not the worst thing (college will still be there, most universities will work with you in times like these), because there’s so much to do after someone dies. Your father could probably use some help, both in cleaning out things and just emotionally being there for him, cooking dinner, laundry, doing all the grunt work that is so tedious and terrible when you’re grieving (This is also imagining that he has a job that he will need to get back to as well). Not to mention being there as a support to your siblings, my own little sister acted out big time post dad’s death and I felt a lot of guilt that it was because I wasn’t there to guide and support and love her when she needed it the most. You’re also in a unique position of not having the kind of responsibility that usually complicates these situations, namely a job and a lease/mortgage, kids, etc.

      All that to say, it is definitely NOT your duty to perform that role, it’s exhausting and not immediately rewarding or rewarded, and it’s ok to be “selfish” and continue on with your studies. But don’t let pressure to stay in school, even if your mom wanted that, keep you from taking the break if you need it. Because I’m sure your mother wanted you to succeed in college, and taking a semester off to grieve and process might be better for your entire college experience than sticking it out, struggling with grades and coursework and being far from your support system.

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this, it’s incredibly hard to lose a parent at that age, I send you love and hope you find peace and comfort in time.

    5. Lilysparrow*

      I’m so sorry for your loss.

      Shock is a normal and helpful reaction. It is a filter that helps you deal with a big emotional situation gradually.

      The big enemy in grief is “supposed to.” There is no supposed to. You have to just take it as it comes. Every person is different, and every loss is different. Just be as kind as you can to yourself and others, and allow yourself to discover what you feel, what you need, and what helps.

      I’d encourage you to talk to your siblings, but you don’t have to know what to say. There is no “right thing” to say, and no wrong thing as long as it’s true and kind to them.

      When my mom died, my sibling and I spent a lot of time silent, and a lot of time talking about irrelevant things, or about how wierd the whole process was.

      When another close relative died, we spent a lot of time alternately discussing religion and making dark, twisted jokes that shocked the hospital staff.

      You may have trouble concentrating. You may find strange things funny, or overreact and get angry or cry over trivial stuff. You may find ordinary life stuff frustrating or overwhelming. Or you may feel better when you are engrossed in work.

      It’s all okay. You will get through it. Get support and go easy on yourself. If you have a spiritual practice, there may be some aspects that feel incongruous. Don’t fake anything, but just come to it authentically and trust that the comfort will catch up to you soon.

      Sending hugs and best wishes.

    6. Kathenus*

      I’m so very sorry. I’ve been there with my mom’s passing. As to how to talk to siblings, do whatever works for you – call, text, email, or not. Don’t worry about what you think you should do, just handle it however feels right in that moment.

      Agree with others that it hasn’t fully hit yet – and that’s OK. With me it hit in spurts, sometimes in expected times and ways sometimes not. It’s now a number of years past and the oddest thing will bring her to mind – in positive ways and sometimes with fresh sadness.

      My best advice is to take care of yourself, however you want or need to, and know that your feelings will vary and that there’s no right or wrong way to feel, or as you note ‘to be’ in this situation.

    7. fposte*

      I’m so sorry. And yes, when it’s been coming for a while, it takes a while for it to hit–it’s like you build up layers and then they slowly peel back.

      I think calling is better for this because emotions are audible, but that’s a really personal decision; if you and your sibs have long, intimate text conversations all the time maybe text would work too. If you’re the youngest, I might share with whatever sib you’re closest that you’re sad to be so distant and that you’d love some help on being included. If you’re the oldest, I’d say that it’s hard to be so far away and you really want to be in touch as much as possible while you’re all going through this.

    8. Asenath*

      You’re probably still in shock – it takes time to grieve, and people go through it differently. There’s a reason many cultures advise that it takes months or even a year to grieve, so don’t expect to be over it quickly. Contact your siblings now by whichever method you find most comfortable. Many people find such contact, and services or memorials helpful, although they seem difficult at the time.

      And please accept my sympathy.

    9. Plain Jane*

      I’ve been through this, too and I’m so sorry. There’s no “right” reaction right now, or really as you go through the coming weeks and months.

      I had all kinds of reactions as did my siblings, but we didn’t judge each other. I remember the day after my mom died, I was sitting in front of my apartment building, watching people walk their dogs and waiting at the bus stop. I couldn’t believe these strangers were going about their everyday lives when my world was turned upside down. I talked to a friend whose mom had died and she said she experienced the exact same thing.

      My other suggestion, based on my experience, is that if you need to purchase new clothes for the funeral or service, bring a friend or family member with you. Even though buying a dress is pretty straightforward, I felt overwhelmed enough that having my best friend help made it much easier.

      Another thing I wasn’t prepared for is making plans I was looking forward to but right before not feeling up to it, if that happens to you, realize it’s not a big deal and your friends will understand.

      Also, don’t feel like because you are coping “well enough” that you don’t need to seek some kind of counseling. That’s what I did and everything blew up on me later.

    10. tangerineRose*

      Most colleges have free counseling services. Getting counseling at a tough time like this would be helpful. Can you spend more time calling your family and just talking, sometimes about your mom, sometimes about other things?

    11. Loopy*

      I’m so sorry. I lost my mom while I was in college and while I can’t speak to the sibling part I can speak to being away at school. It’s hard when everyone else is going about their daily lives and handling their courseloads and responsibilities while you’re trying to process this enormous loss. It can make it feel like you need to rush it, or put it off.

      I dropped honors program and two classes (so I was at a 3/5 courseload) and to this day I think it was the best thing I did for myself. Your situation may not allow it or it might not be necessary but I know that in hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t feel the need to be the exact same student I was the previous semester/year/etc.

      Please be kind to yourself and patient. It took me months to really process it. Everyone’s different, but for about a year it really was part of my life. And that’s okay, I made room for it (easier said than done). I hope you have a good support system. A few friends and one professor who knew made a huge difference for me.

    12. Falling Diphthong*

      I know that everything is different, but it all feels exactly the same right now.

      That is a very common reaction, one someone close to me wrote a poem about when their 20-something child died unexpectedly. She would do a thing, spouse would do a thing, it was all normal and routine, and then she would remember that it wasn’t actually the same any more. She had all these inputs that things were normal, and then she’d stumble into some reminder that things would never be really the same again. And it can be both ways at the same time.

      Also, if a death is long expected it can sometimes come as one final peaceful step, and your grieving and anger and bargaining were gotten out of the way during the illness.

    13. Llellayena*

      I’m so sorry for your loss. Definitely call, emotion doesn’t translate well by text. Take advantage of the campus counseling services, even if you’re not quite feeling it yet. And I’d recommend telling each of your professors (separately and in person) so they have an early heads up if it suddenly hits you mid semester. Don’t rule out taking a semester sabbatical, your school should have a process for that that won’t affect your degree path.

    14. Anatexis*

      I am so sorry and it’s ok to not know how to be (in fact, I think that’s a really eloquent way of stating this feeling).

      If you are thinking about continuing this semester (and I have no idea if that is best for you), please, please, please contact your college/university’s Dean of Students. Let them know and let them handle notifying your professors. Don’t try to just handle it on your own. They are there to help you.

      Best wishes from a college professor.

    15. Nita*

      I’m really sorry. Your college probably has a counseling office… It may help to talk to them.

      And it’s normal to feel confused right now. You’ve probably already grieved to an extent. And once you process that this is it… you will probably grieve again. I don’t know which kind of grief is worse – when the loss is sudden and you feel a hole in your life every day, or when you’ve sort of grieved the person’s absence long before they were gone. But the second is definitely more confusing. I still can’t figure out when I “should” start grieving, or how.

    16. DrTheLiz*

      This sounds absolutely awful. On a purely pragmatic note, have you told your university that this has happened? Even if you don’t wind up taking much (or any) time off, having told them that this is happening means that they’re far, far more likely to be understanding if you blow a deadline or flunk an exam. In the UK there are formal procedures, but I don’t know what your institution has.

      Wishing you and your family peace at this awful time.

    17. Not So NewReader*

      How to “be” in this situation is exactly what you are doing. We ask a bunch of questions, ponder the meaning of life, pinch ourselves because clarity is gone, all of that.

      Talk to your sibs by saying, “hey, whatcha doing?” That’s a great conversation opener. Sometimes they will say, “nothing right now” and other times you will get a flood of a story of what just happened today.
      If you have one sib that you are especially close to maybe you can text that sib randomly to get update reports of how the funeral arrangements are going and how everyone is doing.
      Maybe you can use Skype or Facetime to help feel more connected to what they are seeing.

      You are eight hours away. If you do not plan or have means to get home, tell them upfront so they don’t wonder. Or so they can help build a plan for you to come home if you want.

    18. Kittymommy*

      I’ve been there. More than once. You’re likely still in shock. Even a year later I would still be somewhere and think I need to tell my mom this, and then I’d remember I couldn’t. It all feels so normal until it doesn’t.
      Call your siblings. Don’t worry about what to say, they don’t know either. There is nothing to say right now, just be there for each other.
      I left in the middle of the semester when my mom got sick, she is away about a month later in November and the semester was over mid December. I tried to do as much as I could long distance (it was grad school and a few States away) but after that I couldn’t. The school was amazing. Instead of retaking everything that let me finish where I left off at, each of my professors tutored me outside of class or let me sit in ones they we’re currently teaching. And definitely check in to see if your school has any sort of counseling programs you can take advantage of.
      I am so sorry you are having to go through this.

    19. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Wonderful advice here. Just wanted to extend my sympathy. I’ve gone through the grief group (mine was at our church) and everyone processes at their own speed. It’s not linear, there’s really sequence or checklist for “you” – the experience is your own. Even your siblings will process differently. BIG hug, and my heart goes out to you. (Lost my father, stepfather, all grandparents, both brothers, and now husband most recently…).
      I did find that journaling was helpful to me, which I didn’t see mentioned.

    20. Marion Ravenwood*

      I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending internet hugs (if you want them).

      Do you have a supervisor or any kind of pastoral care person at your university you can talk to? They can possibly help with any reassurance about taking time off from college (which is definitely something I’d consider doing, even if it’s not for very long) or dropping classes, if that’s what you want to do. As others have said you might also consider a counselling session, if your university offers it.

      If you want to call or text, I’d contact the sibling you’re closest to. But ultimately I think that grief is so personal and everyone handles it in different ways, and you should do what you feel is best for you, not necessarily what you ‘should do’. Sending love to you and your family.

    21. Thursday Next*

      My condolences and sympathies. I’m so very sorry.

      Of course you don’t know “how to be” in this very new, very difficult situation. That makes absolute sense, and I think it’s OK to let yourself learn how to be as you go along.

      As a university instructor, I heartily recommend that you contact your school’s counseling services. I think having a trained third party to talk about everything with Will be helpful.

      Also, I think you should contact your advisor, if you have one, to let them know that your mom has just passed away. If that’s the kind of system your university has, your advisor can serve as the point person for all your professors. If you don’t have that kind of system at your school, reach out to your professors individually to let them know about your situation. I always try to work with my students to accommodate challenges posed by illness or bereavement.

      My heart goes out to you.

    22. Jean (just Jean)*

      Condolences. Sympathies. Be kind to yourself and your sibs and Dad. People sometimes process grief in unexpected ways. May you have supportive people with you on your journey. You don’t need to tell everyone everything, but don’t keep everything bottled up inside you either.
      I don’t know if you are hesitant to talk to your siblings because you are the oldest? The advice I got as a parent when we lost a grandparent was don’t tell your child anything you don’t believe yourself. Whatever you believe is the right thing to share if you say it kindly and give the other person the room to accept or to question without feeling like either is wrong. Do loved ones live on in our memories, in the residue of their kind deeds, in the lessons we learned from them, in heaven, with the Divine, or…? It’s a mystery. If we loved them and they loved us and and we now miss them, that’s some comfort even in the midst of grief. Sorry if I’m intruding. I don’t mean any disrespect, whether you have strong beliefs or many questions.

  17. Elizabeth West*

    Anyone ever tried to sell a crappy house? I really don’t want to sink any money into it (and can’t, since I have none). Not sure what I’m going to do if I can’t find work here, but this market is so dead. At most, I could slap some cheap paint on the walls and that’s it. It has weather-related siding damage I could never fix so it would be as-is, most likely. And the bathroom needs a major overhaul, again, which I cannot afford.

    Loud dog neighbor had expressed some interest in buying me out so she could expand. However, since she won’t even talk to me now about the dog situation (it’s slightly better, though they still bark like mad things whenever they’re out–and I can hear the parrot shrieking as well), I can’t imagine we could come to any agreement there. I had the realtor she used come out to look at it, but she said she’s in between gigs and then she never got back to me.

    I don’t know where I’d go. I doubt I could get enough for it to move anywhere good, especially with no job. Uggggggghhhh.

    1. NaoNao*

      Are you in an area with the “We buy ugly houses!!” flyers/billboards? Maybe that group could help?

      Any chance you could engage a lawyer to draft a nice letter formally offering to sell the property to your neighbor so that “you” wouldn’t be the face of the sale?

      1. Elizabeth West*

        My mum said she knows two people who did that ugly house thing (there is only one legitimate company that does it) and they made out okay, but I have no idea what their houses were like. My entire house would fit in her living room and kitchen, so I’m guessing her standard for ugly is better than my actual house. :P

        I have no money for a lawyer. I’d have to make enough money to move. Breaking even isn’t going to cut it. On the good side, I have a big lot with a good-sized front yard and a huge backyard–plenty of room for expansion.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I think the theory on most of those, where legitimate, is to flip the house. It might be worth checking–I would imagine something like “We come to your house, we make you an offer, then you know.”

          The company might offer you less than a regular buyer who wanted to do a big remodel, but those latter are more common if you live in an area that’s very desirable. The company is catering to people who just want out, and are willing to sell the house and get some money rather than go down the fanciful “you know with $50,000 in renovations, this could really sell…” path.

        2. bunniferous*

          I sell foreclosures. Trust me your house is pristine next to some of the things I have sold.

          What you do is find an agent and have them put it on the market as *as is, NO REPAIRS*…. now you may not get as much for it that way as you would if you could fix up BUT investors -at least in my area-are desperate to buy fixer uppers. Basically if you price it right it will sell. I would call around and find out who sells VA or HUD foreclosures in your area and talk to them about your house. The main thing you want to make sure is if you would make more off the sale of it than you owe. They could tell you that. Should not cost you anything to talk to them, and if they did sell it for you their pay would come out of the proceeds.

        3. ..Kat..*

          I recommend an appraiser. Usually buyers hire one. When my husband and I sold a house, we decided to spring for one (a couple hundred dollars if I remember correctly). This gave us the piece of mind of knowing what it was worth (a lot more than we – or our agent – thought). I know your finances are tight. If this is not an option, a realtor (who is paid a percentage of the sale) might be an option for you.

          Good luck. I am rooting for you.

    2. Not All*

      Having sold 5 houses in the last 12 years, all of them very ‘quirky’, I can say that paint and staging make a HUGE difference. Having the house clean & staged makes a bigger difference than anything I’ve seen both buying & selling. Also, all those “flipper” shows have really improved the market for homes with issues…everyone thinks they’re going to make a mint flipping (they’re mostly wrong).

      I’d suggest going on a site like zillow & pulling up the “sold” houses that look most similar to yours in terms of size & condition, then reach out to those realtors to come give you an estimate & assessment. Never list without talking to at least 3 realtors IME. Once you have some estimates, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision.

      And I totally sympathize! My current home was built in 1902 and simply will not meet VA loan rules for buyers…which normally is a non-issue but there are a bajillion vets around here & they all want to use it. I’m going to have to be really careful when I list it to make it clear that I require pre-approval letters from non-VA lenders before I will accept an offer. It’s going definitely reduce the price I get unfortunately.

      1. Thursday Next*

        I second the importance of paint and staging, particularly decluttering, from a buyer’s viewpoint.

        When we were actively looking, cluttered homes were the ones I liked the least, because I felt like they were showing me how easily the space could be “outgrown.” I guess I always had the expectation that a home, particularly an older one, would likely need some kind of work.

        To me, at least, the cleanliness of a bathroom or kitchen mattered more than how new the cabinetry or tiling was. And fresh paint goes a long way in making a place look cared for and cared about.

        1. irene adler*

          Third on the paint. That can make a great difference to a potential buyer.
          You can still sell – might make it clear in the listing “seller will make no repairs”.

      2. tangerineRose*

        Real estate agents seem to want the house as uncluttered and basic as possible and then to add vases with fake flowers here and there and attractive paintings on the wall. If there’s a dollar store nearby, that’s a good place for flowers and vases. Well, the vases might be iffy – I have kitties, so I make a point to get plastic vases, even if they weren’t really intended to be vases but are about the right size.

    3. Aurora Leigh*

      Well even crappy houses in tiny towns do sell . . . especially ones that aren’t literally falling down or full of junk.

      My boyfriend’s parents sold an elderly relative’s house to a guy who was getting divorced and looking for a cheap place to live. I think it was on the market for maybe 6 months? And the relative was a heavy smoker and the houses around it were literally caving in.

      So in a dead market, I think you might have better luck with a cheap house than a nice one. The nice ones in my under 1000 people town have been on the market for a year or better because no one has that kind of money.

    4. Asenath*

      My situation was a bit different because I had a job, so I had a regular income. I’d got to the point where I’d have to raise enough money to do really major work on the old house – stuff much bigger that what I’d previously carried out, maybe requiring a temporary rental for me and the cats while structural work was done. Or I could try taking what money I could get, buying something that needed less maintenance, and finding someone to buy the old house. I took my time thinking it over, and finally decided to look for alternatives and have a couple agents look at the old place. I found an updated condo faster than I expected (I really wanted to stay in more or less the same neighborhood, and prices had been rising, so I expected my hunt for a new affordable place to be prolonged), made an offer and put the old place on the market through an agent “as is”. I accepted an offer that was a good bit less than the official evaluation, but fair enough considering the work needed and enough to provide extra money to put into the new place. The new owner flipped the old house – I suspect he must have done a lot of the work himself and not hired contractors, given how much appeared to have been done and the comparatively low price he put it on the market for later. I was immensely relieved to no longer have the responsibility when the roof leaked or the plumbing froze or the neighbouring developers did something outrageous yet again.

      For me, the stress that would have been caused by taking on the major parts of the reno – something I have no skills in – and the projected costs of hiring the work done were the deciding factors. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to sell it at all, which is why I hired an agent. That worked for me.

    5. Teach*

      Clean, clean clean that house. Like toothbrush to the grout kind of clean. Carpets too. Take a Magic Eraser to everything – wall dings, light switch covers, etc. Declutter every single possible thing you can – fridge magnets, toiletries, knick knacks. That makes a huge difference. We were looking for a starter home, and a very clean 70’s harvest gold kitchen was way more appealing than a greasy-dirty cluttered 80’s golden oak kitchen.
      The other trick I’ve heard is to go to the paint store and ask what color the contractors are using as a “neutral” wall color in upscale new construction and use that as your neutral wall color anywhere you need to repaint.

    6. Madge*

      My aunt sold her house to a builder as a tear-down. She’s known for years that she’d be selling the house “as is” because of it’s condition, so when she was ready she started calling builders. Tear-downs are common in her neighborhood.

      Your house’s problems sound mostly cosmetic, (aside from the neighbor) so you might be surprised. Keep looking for a realtor and get opinions. If the market is stagnant then getting out with what you can might be worth the financial hit. You could also look for a job elsewhere and move and then sell your house, or rent it out until you’ve saved enough to sell it.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Oh no they’re not cosmetic. All the windows are single pane; it needs new windows. There is no ductwork–the house was built in 1952 and was never upgraded. It’s nice and cute, but in the end, it’s a cardboard post-war tract house. A tear-down might be worth looking into. The lot is big, so it’s got that going for it.

        If I move, it will be OUT of this town and renting is out of the question. I don’t want to be a landlord. That’s a straight ride to Nopetown on the I-Don’t-Think-So train.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Small old house on a big lot is a great match for people who either want to tear down or heavily renovate. What you don’t want is to already be bigger and/or fancier than all the other houses around.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            There is one very nice house right next to me and then another down the block, and a smaller, older house that the people in it keep absolutely pristine. The rest are meh. This is a crappy old neighborhood but there is a primary school right around the corner, within walking distance.

    7. nonegiven*

      There used to be a contractor here that would buy houses, use his crew to fix them up, and then rent them out. This is a small town so there is probably a decent chance that there are real estate investors that do that type of thing where you are.

    8. irene adler*

      When you look to hire a real estate agent, you’ll most likely want to interview 3 or 4. In fact, you can do this now. Just let them know your situation-not going to make repairs beyond paint. If an agent is not responsive to your inquiry – as the one you describe- move on to another one. It’s good you learned now that she’s not interested in working with you. There are lots of others out there who are. You just have to make the initial contact with them.

      The RE agent will draw up a sales plan which will include comps and their plan for how to sell your place- warts and all. An experienced agent will know how to sell a house that needs some repairs or where the seller needs a certain price. Believe me, they’ve seen it all and have strategies for handling everything. NOTE: the sales plan is free to you. If you don’t like the plan they propose, move on to the next agent.

      The comps will give you an idea of what your home is worth. You can also go to Zillow- but be sure to look at the actual sold prices and not the “zestimate”. I find Zillow to be a bit over blown on their comps prices. You can also sign up for Redfin and do same.

      There are many buyers out there that would relish a house like yours- big on land, in need of cosmetics. And hey, mid-century houses have ‘good bones’. The wood they used back then is the type that was allowed to grow for a long time. Makes it extra sturdy. Not like the wood used in houses built in the late 1980’s and newer. What a find you have! To be honest, replacing siding, renovating bathrooms is not a challenge. Been there, done that.

  18. The other April Ludgate*

    Hi everyone – this is a “what would you do ?” question. I share the bedroom wall with my next door neighbors – a couple in their late 20s, guy and girl. The guy is an absolute horror – he screams at her on average every other week, sometimes once a week; they had a period of one week when he screamed at her daily, usually early morning, with lots of profanities. She just seems to take it from what I can hear or sometimes shouts back. I once overheard him lose his mind as I was waiting for the elevator (their door faces the elevator) because a bag of something fell off their washing machine and he was livid that she placed the bag there, nonsense. So last night, I woke up at 2:30am for whatever reason and heard him rip into her again for about 10mins, then it stopped. No idea if there is physical abuse, she has no visible bruises, but given his ugly temper it could be a matter of time, then again, what do I know. To paint the picture, this is generally a calm, well taken care of building, a condominium with 24h security, in a good neighborhood. The previous neighbors were quiet. The other complicating factor is that I am their only neighbor sharing a wall, they do not have neighbors on the other side of their apartment. So if I were to ever report it, they would know it was me. Do I have any obligation to call security? or do I just get earplugs or sound isolating headphones suitable for sleeping (both options are ridiculous but so are they) ? I feel bad for the girl, but I wouldn’t want to experience his wrath either. It’s also super disrespectful of them/him to get into it in the middle of the night knowing full well I am on the other side. Thoughts? I am good if you just want to commiserate with me.

    1. KR*

      Commiserating. Had a similar situation with ex-neighbors of mine. We couldn’t hear in as much detail but the man would yell all the time at his wife, slam cabinets, and looking back we never heard from *her*, she was determined not to talk to us. It was always him that was the face of the relationship. They were neglectful to their dog too. Police came round to ask if I ever heard them fighting or any violence, and eventually the wife moved and the husband came to pick up some things with a police escort. Looking back we realized that she wasn’t unfriendly, she was probably in an awful marriage and dealing with abuse. It’s sad but there wasn’t anything we could do and I don’t think there is anything you can do in this case unless the woman reaches out.

    2. Parenthetically*

      I had neighbors like this. I called the cops on them a lot. They knew it was me. They maintained a facade of not knowing it was me when I saw them in public. You could also call the non-emergency line for your local police and speak to one of their community liaisons (or whatever they call them in your area). I’ve done this as well — called just to say, “Hey, hypothetically, if my neighbors were having scary loud fights at all hours and I was worried for the well-being of the girlfriend, what would you recommend that I do?”

      1. Kathenus*

        This is a great suggestion, to reach out to the non-emergency police contact for advice. Maybe if there’s a domestic violence shelter in your area they could offer advice as well.

      2. Ainomiaka*

        Be very careful about nuisance laws before you do this-in some places two cop calls for whatever reason is automatically grounds for eviction. Don’t make her situation worse. I’d really always advise trying to work with her rather than jumping to call cops.

        1. Observer*

          The wife is not talking to the OP, so that’s not really a viable suggestion.

          Sure, OP should check out the nuisance laws, but a blanket discouragement of calling the police is the kind of thing that allows abuse to fester. I’d say this. While obviously getting someone evicted is not a good thing, sometimes it’s better than the alternatives.

          1. Ainomiaka*

            And I think that letting them be evicted is waaay more likely to help the isolation that allows abuse to fester. Yes, it feels good to say “I have taken a stand!!!!”, but that is often at the abused person’s expense. Because what do you think will happen when the cops show up? “Oh no officer, everything is fine. ” and now she’s on record saying that and it’s harder to get help/a restraining order in the future.
            The DV hotlines may have other options, but almost all agencies that actually work with victims do not recommend forcing the police in if the victim doesn’t want that/isn’t prepared to do that.

    3. Red Sky*

      You could try calling a domestic violence hotline and see what they advise. Also, you’re entitled to a good night sleep in your own home and it doesn’t sound like you have a positive relationship with them to ruin, so who cares if they knew it was you who reported.

      1. Hi*

        Because unhinged people who scream at their spouses and slam things dont take kindly to being reported? And he might retaliate?

        1. Red Sky*

          Yes, you’re right, of course. I was coming from the perspective of not caring if it ruined any type of ‘good neighbor’ relationship which he’s already violating in the first place.

    4. LilySparrow*

      I once had a downstairs neighbor who had a loudly verbally abusive partner. One night I was woken up by a thundering crash with broken glass sounds, as if someone had turned over a large sideboard full of china or a very large flatscreen TV. Followed by more shouting and cursing from the abuser, including the phrase “look what you made me do.”

      I don’t know if it’s the right thing or not, but I went downstairs and knocked on the door. The abused partner answered and I asked if he was okay (they were both guys). He said he was fine and had no visible marks. I asked if he wanted me to call anybody and he said no. I told him if he ever needed anything, to come knock on my door day or night, or put a note under my door if I wasn’t home.

      When I got back upstairs, I heard the abuser storm out and a car peel away. I heard him less and less after that and after a month or so he seemed to be gone permanently.

      I have no idea if my offer made any difference. I’d be surprised if nobody else called the police – that crash shook the floor. But maybe it helped my neighbor to know he had options.

      1. tangerineRose*

        I’d be afraid to knock on the door when the abuser was angry. Glad it worked out for you.

        1. LilySparrow*

          Actually, I was seriously pissed off and intended to just go tell them to shut up and what the hell, it was oh-my-god-o’clock. The neighbor was noisy and a bad neighbor generally even before these two got together. I’d had to ask him to be quiet before, and he had a really obnoxious attitude about it.

          But he looked so scared and pitiful when he answered the door, I just gasped “are you okay?” and kind of went with it from there.

        2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          A lot of abusers are cowards when it comes to people they cannot emotionally manipulate like a partner or spouse. This is why so many people find out So and So is an abusive a**hole and you get the “oh my goodness what nooooo he’s soooooo niiiiiice and chilllllll” crud.

          That’s not telling you to enter a situation that makes you uncomfortable but yeah, there’s the subset of people who are violent and will hurt anyone in their way but that’s not actually the norm.

    5. Venus*

      I like the idea of contacting a DV charity, to see if they have suggestions.

      If the condo has security then could you start there? I would be tempted to call them up every time, and just say that you could hear yelling from the hallway (even if it’s also through the walls) as that doesn’t automatically mean that it’s you.

      I once lived in a place where my neighbour made a lot of noise, and I mentioned it to the caretaker (he lived in the building, did minor repairs and collected rent), and he said not to worry as he would take care of it. Things were much more quiet after that, and he did it in such a way that I didn’t get any grief from the neighbour.

      1. MattKnifeNinja*

        Sometimes people have no clue how sound travels, especially if they are used to living in a detached home. They aren’t deliberately being awful, just clueless.

        1. Steve*

          In my case the neighbour was quite sketchy – I suspect the caretaker pointed out that they probably didn’t want added scrutiny…

    6. Dan*

      I think reaching out to the victim has merit. The thing is, since abuse victims get isolated, there’s a real sense of “nobody is going to believe me, and if he finds out I told, I’m just going to make it worse”. If you reach out to let the victim know that somebody else “knows” and can vouch for their story if needed, there’s something to be said for that.

      1. WellRed*

        Yep. I read that, for an abused child, even if it made the abuser angrier, it meant something to the child to know that someone saw, and said its not OK.

        1. anon for this*

          what it would have meant to me as a child would have been more beatings from an even more enraged parent. The increased severity and number of beatings would not have been worth it. I would have wondered why this new adult had reached out (however briefly) and then abandoned me to my worsening fate. And I would have felt even more isolated.

          Please be very careful if you decide to do this. Really think about the long term consequences for the child. Better yet, consult experienced domestic violence professionals before doing something like this.

          And ask yourself, are you doing it to make yourself feel better? Because you won’t be the one alone with the abuser later. The abuser who now blames the child for making them look bad.

    7. moql*

      If you do anything, call a domestic violence hotline first, not the police. In some areas that might both be arrested, or she can be vulnerable to eviction.

      However, if you are at all worried for your own safety please do not feel like you have to do anything. It really sucks, and it’s hard not to feel guilty, but you have to take care of yourself first.

    8. MattKnifeNinja*

      I’ve rented for 30 years, and lived all over the place.

      What I do…

      A letter stating

      Heads up, when you are verbally loud in (whatever room is the sharing wall), I hear all your business like I am sitting in the room with you. At 3 am when you both get loud, it wakes up up from sleep. Tape the letter to the door.

      I don’t say fighting or arguing, because I’ve had people slap back it wasn’t fighting. Okay, I’m not going to critique the content of the verbal exchange, but it is LOUD and has to STOP.

      80% of the time, just the note tamps down the crazy. If that doesn’t, I go to management. If the guy is a belligerent meat head, I’m not talking face to face.

      If the note and management doesn’t help, I call the cops. Especially if it’s a 3 am screaming wake up call. I say there’s fighting/screaming next door for (X) amount of time. It’s loud enough it woke me up. Let the police sort it out. No one like police rollers flashing in front of their home.

      I understand the point about DV. Where I live the shelters tell you to call the police. The most I can do is give the person the phone number to the shelter. My city’s non emergency number absolutely would not handle this situation.

      Focus on the decibels, not that the guy is a potential abusive jerk. You don’t know why it’s messy over there. Drugs, alcohol, mental illness…the list is long. You are not griping on their life style choices, only that it’s too damn loud.

      1. MattKnifeNinja*

        ETA: I don’t call the police right away. Usually it’s after three notes from me, and harassing the management to handle it. It’s around the 6 month mark I start seriously start thinking about calling.

        Also, if it’s that loud, record it on your phone for proof. I’ve had landlords try to blow me off because of “it’s not that loud/bad.”

    9. The other April Ludgate*

      Hi Everyone – THANK YOU SO MUCH for the plethora of compassionate and practical advice, and commiseration, really really appreciate it. Even greater appreciation for calling my idiot neighbor a dangerous meathead – it made me laugh but it’s also so true, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I should clarify – the couple thankfully do not have children yet (and I secretly hope they never will and if they do, they move out), it’s just them two. They’ve been my neighbors since this summer – first two months were ok and then bam! drama started in the fall.

      Your solid advice led me to finding the police community liaison phone number for my neighborhood (it exists!), I called and spoke to a police officer. He said more or less what others have said – that any scary shouting situation I overhear should be reported to them through me or building security, as someone could legitimately be in trouble. The police will show up and will not disclose who called them and they wouldn’t knock on my door. So that gave me some comfort. Not 100% sure I would call them, because I still think the neighbors would know it was me, and they guy has an ugly temper, but at least knowing this avenue is available is good. And, following on the advice of others, I realized friend of a friend used to work at a women’s domestic violence shelter, so I got in touch with said friend and will hopefully have a chat and hear their perspective this week. I admire the bravery of people who have confronted such neighbors themselves, whether personally or via letters, it takes real guts and good instincts, I am really happy it addressed the situation for you, but I just don’t have it in me. Again lots and lots of gratitude for all your replies. The neighbors were quiet last night, and hopefully will remain that way for at least another week. Have a good Sunday :)

  19. Lady Jay*

    I’m gonna start the running thread this week! :)

    Snuck in a run (in the rain, through the woods) this morning. The mists among the trees and the dark pines were so lovely! Went 7.9 miles.

    But it was also SO VERY MUDDY. Squish, squish, squish. My part of the country has had a lot of rain, and it’s due to rain all day today, so I wanted to get out before the trails became essentially unrunable for a while. I even fell at one point. No damage done beyond muddy tights.

    1. gecko*

      That sounds lovely!!! I haven’t done any trail running, really, since I live in the city, but I recently went on some paths by my local river and it was a delight :) The woods in the morning sound amazing :)

      It’s coming up on a year since I started running and while I’m still hitting new milestones, the last few weeks have been pretty rough as it gets colder. I do think it’s just lack of perspective…like if I’d been running for a couple years I’d find it easier to forgive myself for a couple low activity weeks & get back into the groove, but my habits have definitely been interrupted by winter. So, working on that :) and trying to keep identifying milestones.

      1. A bit of a saga*

        Yes I know that feeling! I started running in earnest one year ago, too. I did 6 km this morning which I was happy with, considering the cold. I have a half marathon coming up in 3 weeks though so I also really can’t lose motivation now (even though I have a bit)

    2. Valancy Snaith*

      As much as I would love to be running, it’s been so extremely cold here I haven’t been able to. (It’s -31 today!) So instead I’ve been focusing on strength training and doing legs with the intention of getting back to it once it warms up a bit! But the last time I was out was so soggy and terrible from the poorly-cleared sidewalks, I was bogging down constantly and couldn’t deal.

      1. Ktelzbeth*

        I hear you on the sidewalks! The last time I was out I ended up doing laps around the really large block containing both the VA hospital and a big city park, because both those institutions actually shoveled and salted. Not scenic, but runnable.

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

      Good going! I ran almost exactly the same distance, minus the mud :-)

      The run was kind of a struggle, to be honest. But at least my knee, which stopped me from running a marathon last year after completing 17 of 18 weeks of training, was fine even though it was my first long run since my last one for the marathon – so I consider that a win.

    4. Ktelzbeth*

      6.5 miles on the treadmill yesterday watching Star Trek Voyager. It was a blizzard outside. I bought some new tights today. One pair of fleece lined for cold and one standard pair because I have now lost enough weight that my current pair was literally falling off. Today was swimming morning, fortunately in an indoor pool, because we started the day at about -10F. Running outside even with mud sounds lovely.

      1. Ktelzbeth*

        On the subject of the weight loss and the new tights, I went on a shopping spree today. I’ve never bought much for nice/fun workout clothes, making do with a few things and repurposing old regular clothes, but decided passing my initial weight loss goal and being well on my way to my stretch goal deserved some nice stuff. Please help me convince myself–I’m having buyer’s remorse!

        The spur was an article about how much bikers will pay to get the next lightest thing for their bike, saving a few ounces to try to go faster, when some could look at lightening themselves for an increased weight savings. I’m still a healthy weight for my height, even if (when!) I make the stretch goal.

        1. Marion Ravenwood*

          Congrats on passing your initial goal!

          Personally I’m a big fan of having good workout clothes (not necessarily expensive, but just fun or colourful designs). Something about wearing a bright purple T shirt and leopard print tights just makes me feel good and makes exercise something to look forward to, rather than a chore. So I’d say definitely keep your nice new stuff!

    5. Lady Jay*

      Following up to say that when I shared a picture of my running location on social media, which included an abandoned airstream near the trail, *two people* commented about my safety: a guy friend, with a sometimes crush on me, and my grandparents.

      Y’all ever field concerns about your safety? How do you deal with them? I’ve made the choice that I’m going to run where I want to run, when I want to run; I’d rather be in a rural area with a weird abandoned Airstream than in the city, breathing in exhaust . . . but one can’t say that to one’s grandmother.

      1. Ktelzbeth*

        I run where I want to run. A few people have asked me if I worry, but left me alone when I said I don’t. I also don’t post pictures (not for safety reasons, just not my thing), so no one knows enough about where I’m going to be able to bother themselves worrying.

      2. Marion Ravenwood*

        Honestly, no. I think it helps that most of my running is done as part of parkrun so I’m technically with a group, and I only really run by myself in the daytime. I also tend not to post photos either, unless it’s after a race (I’ll post my miles managed to my social media, but not a route map or anything like that, just because I don’t think that’s tremendously interesting.)

        But I think the big factor is that my dad is also a runner, in a far more rural area than the one I live in. I think if he didn’t do that, and has always come back safely, my mum would worry about me far more. Dad doing it and being fine somehow demonstrates to her that it’s a safe activity, if that makes sense.

    6. Marion Ravenwood*

      I did parkrun this week – I’m trying to do a home run, volunteer and my NENDY (nearest event not done yet, for those who don’t have the parkrun Challenges plugin) on a cycle every week. This week was NENDY week, at the park that may well become my home run if/when we move house. It was a lot muddier than my usual one and a lot more hilly (not huge hills but just quite steep and slippy), so I didn’t make a fantastic time and was slower than two weeks ago, but was still under my target time and got a new letter for the alphabet challenge and a time for stopwatch bingo, so every cloud and all that.

      I also bought some new running gloves and a headband last week, and tested them out yesterday. The gloves were a bit of a misfire – they did keep my hands warm but didn’t work fantastically well with my phone, and I ended up taking them off halfway round as my hands got too hot. The headband though was great; kept my fringe off my face and my ears warm, as well as holding my headphones in. (Both from Decathlon, in case anyone’s interested.) That said, I think having warm ears made me focus on how cold my nose was, and now I’m wondering if I need some sort of scarf…

  20. Toe Woes*

    Warning: Post may be gross.

    I had a Matrixectomy done several weeks ago (partial toenail removal with the matrix cells killed so that portion of the nail won’t grow back). For anyone who’s had this done, how long did it take for the “black scabs” to fall off and for you to stop feeling any pain/sensitivity? I can’t find any timelines online. I know I should ask my doctor, but whenever I call doctors with questions they tell me to make an appointment. I already had 12 appointments to deal with this and would like to avoid more.

    1. Mimmy*

      No experience but yikes, that sounds like a painful procedure! Hopefully someone with experience will come along.

      This is one thing I don’t like about the U.S. healthcare system: No good way to communicate with your doctor without having to make an appointment. Some doctor’s offices have a dedicated line to contact a nurse, but I don’t think it’s all that helpful. Even online patient portals aren’t that great.

      Apologies for the rant, especially if you’re not in the U.S.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Check with your healthcare system–mine has moved to an online portal where you can send your doctor messages, like emails but not using email. You have to create an account and log in, and you get a notification in your email when you’ve received a response. It’s meant to ask questions like this. You still have to call them to make an actual appointment; it’s not set up for that.

        YMMV but it’s worth looking into.

      2. Toe Woes*

        I’m in the US. :) I agree that the lack of communication options besides appointments suck. I’ve tried patient portals before and never get a response unless I’m requesting a prescription refill. I guess doctors are just too over-scheduled to deal with minor questions in between appointments. I don’t blame the doctors, but it’s very frustrating.

        Once I needed a prescription for a flare up of a chronic medical condition on a Friday night, and when I called my doctor’s office to leave a message they had me talk to a resident instead. They didn’t want to prescribe the medication because they didn’t know me, and said if I wanted it to go to the ER. Because it totally makes sense to go to the ER, where I’ll wait 10 hours and get a huge bill, for a non-emergency that only requires a $5 prescription. I bet doctor offices telling people to go to the ER contributes to ERs getting so many non-emergency patients.

    2. JKP*

      I had that done when I was a kid 30+ years ago. I don’t remember how long it took exactly for my toe to heal up because that’s how we discovered that I was allergic to local anesthetic, so I pretty much forgot about my toe and had a longer recovery because of that. But after it healed up, the toe looked totally normally and I never had any more problems with ingrown toenails and no one would ever know I ever had that procedure. But yes, I do remember that it was extremely painful for a while after it was done. I would imagine that the procedure has improved in the last 30 years, so you should hopefully recover faster.

    3. Episkey*

      I had this done to both my big toenails years ago…I’m sorry, I don’t remember how long it took to heal, but it’s great now! I never get ingrown toenails anymore and don’t have the resulting pain/etc. Just know it’s worth it!

    4. Kuododi*

      If you have access to patient portal it would be worth looking into whether or not you would also have access to a telemedicine feature. That would give you fast access to a Dr where all that would be needed is the ability to video call. That way all you need to do is let the Dr look at the problem and make recommendation. They would also be able to phone in any perscriptions if needed. Good luck!

    5. WS*

      It took forever for the black scabs to completely go – maybe 3 months? – but the pain was gone after about 2 weeks or so. If it’s still painful I think it’s probably worth checking out.

    6. LCL*

      I’ve had that for both big toes. It healed really fast, certainly was done by a week. I followed the doctor’s instructions to the letter. They included washing with saline, putting wound care salve on, then covering with a pad and tape.

    7. Liza*

      I had it done a couple of years ago. I don’t remember any scabs, just applying antibiotic ointment twice a day and covering with a band-aid for a few weeks. I didn’t have much pain after and haven’t had any trouble with ingrowns since then. Hope you’re healed soon.

  21. valentine*

    How do I stop Firefox loading a basic version of this site, with the comments (including blank ones) numbered and nested comments starting again at 1? The missing formatting makes it really confusing to read.

  22. Anon anony*

    I’ll be in Seattle for 4 days for a conference, but is there anything that I must go see or visit? Any recommendations?

    1. BRR*

      It might be too cold if you’re going soon but I did a boat tour and loved it. The Chihuly Garden is amazing. Pike Place market is fun to walk around. The museum of flight was interesting but I wouldn’t say it’s a must see.

    2. Jackie*

      Pike Place Fish Market is a must see for the fish throwing. Of course, make a visit to the Space Needle. And take a walk in Freeway Park.

    3. many bells down*

      I will shill MoPOP since if you’re gonna go see the Space Needle it’s right there. If you’re into science fiction, rock music, and superheroes you’ll love it.

      1. LondonBridges*

        Seconding MoPOP! The fantasy exhibit was one of the coolest things I have ever seen, and the Star Trek area as well.

        1. many bells down*

          Star Trek sadly ended its run in May last year. The gallery is housing a Pearl Jam exhibit now. Star Trek is apparently traveling to a childrens’ museum in, I think, Baltimore.

    4. Bibliovore*

      I will be in Seattle for a conference too. I love Ramen and sushi. Is there a restaurant I shouldn’t miss? Also I was looking to book a massage. Any recommendations?

        1. EmilyG*

          I am also going to the library conference, and I used to live in Seattle! Be sure to visit the public library which is right near the convention center.
          For Japanese food, maybe try Suika. I’ve never been to the one in SEattle because it opened after I moved away, but it is famous in Vancouver and I enjoyed the one there.
          Other ramen: https://seattle.eater.com/maps/best-seattle-ramen-restaurants-japanese-noodles
          Seattle is a great food town. When I return my agenda is basically entirely food-driven.

          1. ..Kat..*

            Be sure to admire the earthquake safety modifications to the library!
            Seattle Art Museum. And across the street is Fran’s Chocolates – best chocolate ever.
            The Aquarium.
            Check out visitor’s passes – if you are doing enough things, they are worth it.

            Bring a rain coat. Umbrellas are difficult on crowded sidewalks.

        2. curator*

          yup. To ALA midwinter I go! I have Thursday afternoon to myself and Friday Morning. I like to shop and have breakfast in my room super early, even if I have “business breakfast” I like to pack fresh fruit and cheese for lunches on the show floor. Emily G. thanks for the food suggestions. I am on my own for Thursday and Friday lunch before the meeting marathons start.

      1. CoffeeOnMyMind*

        Billy Beach Sushi in Ballard is my favorite. Downtown has Japonessa, but it’s a bit pricey. Amazon Go recently started selling sushi, and when I went there Friday around noon the sushi was all sold out! I hope that means it’s good … but you should stop by one of the Amazon Go stores while you’re in town. No cashiers – you just scan the Amazon Go app to enter the store, take your items, and leave. You get the receipt a few minutes after you leave the store. It’s very cool.

      2. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        I haven’t been to Seattle in a few years, but Purple cafe/wine bar (by the Art Museum) was really good (get the salted caramels at the very least) and Serious Pie, nearish the Space Needle, was some of the best pizza I have ever had. I am also a big fan of the fresh crumpet shop in Pikes Place market.

      3. EmilyG*

        How did I miss the massage question? I used to be a regular at The Massage Sanctuary, 705 Broadway E, Seattle, WA 98102.

    5. Traffic_Spiral*

      https://www.thestranger.com/

      Dig around that site. Oh, and pot’s legal if you like that, and there are excellent breweries and wineries. Definitely ramble around pike place, including all the lower levels. Oh, and eat some teriyaki – seattle teriyaki is special.

    6. Epiphyta*

      Do the Underground Tour!

      The Seattle Art Museum is worth a look if you’ve decided you’re going to Pike Place Market; if one of your free afternoons is sunny, you might try the Harbor Cruise (get fish and chips from the walk-up at Ivar’s, a little further down the waterfront).

      Thirding MoPOP, but give yourself plenty of time: there’s a lot to see, and if you’re running from section to section it’s not worth the money. Go up the Space Needle, the views are spectacular (all right, the cranes NSM, but).

      Beyond that, open the Stranger’s “Things To Do” page and see what grabs you!

      1. Treecat*

        The Underground Tour is definitely worth a look, and if you’re up for a later night outing the 21+ Underworld Tour is the adults only version of the Underground Tour, same physical tour, includes all the racy history about sex work and drug trafficking in early Seattle, and the price includes a cocktail. It runs Friday and Saturday nights, so definitely an option for Midwinter goers. Don’t be late to an Underground/Underworld tour–they WILL leave without you and you will not be refunded.

        I’m kinda sad Midwinter is at the Convention Center (but where ELSE would it be, sigh) because imo all the best food in Seattle is in other neighborhoods. That being said, Serious Pie is indeed a good pizza place (confirmed by my Manhattan-dwelling family members!) and there are two relatively convenient locations, one in the heart of downtown Seattle on Virginia St and one near the Amazon campus at the north end of Westlake Avenue (you can take the Westlake Streetcar to get down there quickly). Bravehorse Tavern is also down by the Amazon campus, and it’s a good upscale brewpub type spot, though it can get VERY noisy.

        The light rail will take you from downtown to Capitol Hill, and a lot of Seattle’s hottest restaurants are in Capitol Hill. Ada’s Technical Books is one I’d personally recommend–a super nerdy bookshop plus cafe that has really good food. Also in Capitol Hill is Oddfellow’s, a fun bar/restaurant which is also right next to Elliott Bay Books, a great independent bookstore. (Look, may as well harp on the bookstores for my fellow librarians–also, Odfellow’s/Elliott Bay are quite close to the light rail stop.) The light rail also goes to UW. If you want to go all the way to UW, Agua Verde is a fun Mexican restaurant that’s right on the canal with good food and great views.

        The rapid line E bus will take you to the Fremont area from downtown. Joule in Fremont is fantastic, as is the Fremont Sunday Market if you don’t have too much conferencing to do on Sunday (and there’s a GREAT Raclette food truck that is pretty much always at the Fremont Sunday Market). The rapid line D bus will take you to Ballard from downtown, and Ballard also has a lot of great restaurants. If you like oysters, there are a lot of great oyster bars all over Seattle, do a search on The Stranger for oyster bars and pick what looks best to you.

        See you at Midwinter! :)

    7. Aly_b*

      I always recommend the underground tour. It is touristy but really good. They take you through the underground tunnels that resulted from when downtown Seattle was built up (the streets and building entrances were literally raised up a storey). They talk about a lot of history and tell some fun stories about the city.

    8. CoffeeOnMyMind*

      Just FYI right now Seattle is going through major traffic jams due to the closure of the Alaska Way viaduct. Expect delays while traveling, and give yourself an extra 30-60 minutes to get to your conference.

      Must-sees: Pike Place Market; Amazon Go (there are 4 in the city); the Underground Seattle Tour. The Space Needle has a see-through floor, just FYI in case that’s not your thing. If it’s rainy, don’t go to the Space Needle because you won’t see much.

      Must-eats: Portage Bay Cafe has literally the best breakfast anywhere; Pike Place Chowder; Ivar’s (although I personally think Spud’s in Alki is better); Molly Moon Ice Cream; Cupcake Royale

      1. curator*

        Thank you so much. This is exactly what I need.

        Are you talking about the trip from the airport. The convention center is right next to my hotel. I have learned my lesson about “commuting” more than a mile from the meetings.

        1. CoffeeOnMyMind*

          Traffic is super crazy in Seattle until February 4, when the new tunnel opens up. Until then, traffic in and out of Seattle is very bad. The locals news is calling it the Seattle Squeeze. So expect delays for any travel into and around the city, especially during high volume commute times (6-9am; 4-6pm).

          While you’re in the city, check out WSDOT Seattle traffic to keep tabs on roads and estimated commute time. If you’re staying close to the convention location you should be fine. It’s just the trips to/from the airport that may take extra time.

          The light rail runs directly from the airport to downtown, if you want an option to avoid traffic. Take the light rail to Westlake Center if you’re staying downtown; it drops you off at 4th Street and Pine. To return, get on at Westlake and head south to SeaTac. You get off right at the airport. It takes about 45 minutes to and from downtown on the light rail. You can get tickets, or an Orca card, at the SeaTac and Westlake stations.

          I recommend the Orca card if you’re planning on using public transit to get around town while you’re here. It costs $5 to get a card and you can add money to it at any station.

        2. Swingbattabatta*

          Go to Il Corvo downtown for lunch! Handmade pasta, tiny menu with 2 new items every day, only open Mon-Fri for lunch from 11-3. If you get there early or late, the line is usually manageable. We went once around 12:30 and waited for an hour and a half. Sooooo good (I dream of that focaccia).

          1. Treecat*

            YES to Il Corvo! And also Salumi if you’re down in the Pioneer Square area and interested in small, incredible Italian restaurants with potentially ludicrous wait times. ;)

      2. Owler*

        Food at Pike Place Market: along with the chowder at Pike Place Chowder, if you are interested in a buffet of delights, here are some more ideas. Grab a pint of ginger beer at Rachel’s Ginger Beer, a grilled cheese (or a container of Mac&cheese) from Beecher’s Cheese shop, and mini donuts from the donut robot (only if they are hot out of the oil and tossed with cinnamon sugar) near the fish toss inside the market.

    9. Just a Visitor*

      I visited previously for a conference and found a Malaysian restaurant called Kedai Makan and it was amazing! I had the Chili Pan Mee and still think about it two years later. They are closed Mondays and Tuesdays though.

    10. LCL*

      The conference will be in the convention center. You will be really close to the International District. Go there for a long lunch, and check out the Pinball museum. Go where all the tourists and locals go, the grocery Uwajimaya. (Wajjuh my uh).

      In cyberspace, check out the SeattleWA subreddit.

      If you knew what area of town you will be staying in, people may have more suggestions. Will you have access to a car/driver, or strictly on foot?

      1. EmilyG*

        I’m a regular attendee of this conference, and we are almost always clustered in hotels near the convention center of whatever city it is. The Light Rail tip is definitely a good one because almost everyone is staying in hotels right by Westlake or University St. stations. I don’t know anyone who rents a car for these conferences, and the events can be really packed–I have events from 7am to 9pm some days. I’ve been talking to a lot of people about it since I used to live there, and sticking to walkable recs in the Belltown – waterfront – Pioneer Sq. – Capital Hill up to Broadway general area because I’m not sure it’s worth people taking Lyfts to other areas unless they have some hole in their schedule (but some people are indeed saying they have an extra afternoon or whatever).

        The same event was in Seattle in 2014, so if you remember the city being overrun by librarians, well, we’ll be back.

    11. Temperance*

      Not sure if you drink at all, but Pike Place Brewing is my favorite place in the world. One of the rooms is a craft beer museum, with all sorts of cool stuff. If you can get Octopus Ink Black IPA, even better! They have a barleywine occasionally that is great.

      I tasted coffee at just about every place I found, which I highly recommend. Booth and I also pigged out on Top Pot Donuts.

  23. LDR*

    i come here for advice because i’ve come for that in the past and you have all been so kind and helpful.

    my long distance boyfriend came to visit me last wed, after 6 months apart. he lives in the northern hemisphere and me in the southern and we had a 2 weeks trip planned to different cities in my home country. around christmas, i had started telling him that maybe this trip wasn’t the best idea as i didn’t feel sure bc i wanted to break up after it (not bc of a specific problem or bc of lack of love but bc the impossibility of close the distance in the near or even far future). He insisted on coming, he said he’d come no matter what whether i was going to travel w him or not.. and in a moment of weakness and bc it made me feel horrible to just say ok don’t come i said i’d try to be happy and we’d travel and try to be normal.

    well, the first day he came we already fought twice and so he went to the first part of the trip on his own (he insisted for me to come but i said no i didn’t want to, i asked him to get together in person and talk about stuff -as he’s staying in hotel not w me- and he said he didn’t want to talk and if i wasn’t going then he had to decide what to do for himself,. and im home alone, crying all the time, i can’t leave my bed… he’s there alone and isn’t having a good time ,and we still have more trips ahead.. my sadness isn’t bc of the fact that we’re not together anymore as a couple but bc he’s alone here, i can’t plan other things to do bc – apart that i feel too depressed to do anything -, i think it’s wrong for me to try to have “fun” while he’s having a bad time…

    now… my question is….. has anyone ever gone through something similar? i feel like once he’s back home i’ll be able to get better, but right now that’s too far away still and i don’t know if i should join him later. i don’t want to spend more time together but if i don’t go i’m leaving him alone again..

    1. Kathenus*

      I’m sorry. I haven’t been through it, but I wanted to comment to say that in my opinion you have been handling this very well. Being honest with yourself that the distance was an issue and suggesting he not come. Him coming and trying to make you do something you don’t want to (go on the first part of his trip versus talk in person) and you holding firm to what was best for you. You’re grieving the possible end of the relationship, and that’s OK. It’s hard, it sucks, but I think you’re handling things in a healthy way. Take care.

      1. valentine*

        Somebody has sold you a bridge. You broke up, yet you feel obliged to accompany him? Look for other signs of enmeshment and the root of this guilt and obligation. Consider ceasing contact, even if it’s just for six months or so. Don’t look at his social media and cut people off if they try to tell you about him. You can do what you want and should absolutely be looking to have fun with zero guilt.

    2. WellRed*

      He’s a grown man who ignored you when you told him you didn’t think the trip was a good idea. When you have to “try to be happy” in a relationship, it’s time to pull the plug and move on for both your sakes.

      1. fposte*

        Yup. Additionally, unlink your plans with his and tell him you’re doing it. “You said you’d be okay with coming even if we didn’t do things together, and I think that’s how we have to go. So I’ll say goodbye now and wish you a safe trip home, whenever you choose to go.”

        Then go have fun and do what you want. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t–what would it help for you to be miserable?

        1. Quandong*

          I agree. You were very clear with him and he chose to visit, knowing full well that the plans were really different from when the trip was organized.

          It’s truly not your responsibility to manage this guy’s feelings about your breakup and the visit. Please take care of yourself first. He will be okay doing things alone! You don’t need to add to your suffering by forcing yourself to accompany him.

          Best wishes.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          Yep. It’s nice that you are concerned for him but he has much less concern for you. It’s okay to let go like fposte says. He is an adult, you told him not to come and only relented when he pushed. You have every right not to join him on his trips, don’t let him make you think your rights are gone here.

    3. Loopy*

      So, this situation sucks but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s YOUR fault it sucks. You expressed reservations about it and so the responsibility for him still coming, despite that- is on him. It’s still not fun or easy to be in this situation but please be kind to yourself. Sometimes things don’t work out for people. He will survive a trip that didn’t go as planned.

      I’ve had it happen with friendships and in relationships. I took on a lot of stress and guilt that it wasn’t the trip they planned/wanted and I wish I hadn’t. Even IF it were your fault- things happen! Emotions happen! Plans dont go exactly as we envisioned them and its on US how we react to that. If he’s sulking in his hotel, he has a large part to play in how this trip is panning out for him!

    4. Dan*

      Your (ex?) BF can suck it. I’m wrapping up a month long trip that I took by myself. Granted, I’m an introvert and I learned how to fend for myself at a young age, but along with that came figuring out that I’m also responsible for my own happiness — nobody else is.

      He can travel by himself (which he has every right to do) but whether he enjoys it or not is strictly up to him and has nothing to do with you.

    5. ..Kat..*

      You tried to be honest with your boyfriend. He insisted on coming to visit. Said he would be okay on his own. And then he was not. LDR, this was not your fault. Be kind to yourself. Can you reach out to a friend and go do something fun? A lot of smart people have made some very good suggestions here. Take care of yourself.

  24. SoCal Kate*

    I am looking for a few Pokemon Go friends (I particularly want eggs not from the SoCal region). My Pokemon Go name is CalicoKate1776, and my code is 8420 1347 1518

    1. greenthumb*

      Sent you an invite from the mid Pacific. :-)

      I popped by to post a thanks for all the great Pokémon Go postcards my new and very faithful PoGo AAM friends have been sending from all over the place since I posted my trainer ID a few weeks ago.) It’s fun to open them and click to make the images full screen. The munchlaxes, mantyke and sparkly elekid are much appreciated, too. Changing my name to show part of my trainer name. Hoping all of you are doing all right with the Hoenn tasks.

      1. many bells down*

        My friend and I went to the mall when they were having that Totodile event, and it was PACKED with people catching Pokemon. I saw a lady outside, probably in her mid-50’s, wearing a Magikarp hat. I was in LOVE.

        1. greenthumb*

          We were on a mainland vacation in 2018 and happened to be at Balboa Park for charmander day. Crazy! Now I see why urban people hit level 40 so quickly.

    2. Hapenny*

      Just sent you an invite. Look out for Hapenny!

      I’m in Australia so if anyone else would like some long distance eggs, feel free to add me 5083 6025 8351 :)

    3. MimosaJones*

      I’ve been meaning to sign-up and just did as MimosaJones. I’m in New England and would love to trade id codes with people. Where do I find mine?

      1. greenthumb*

        Click on your avatar in the bottom left of game screen > click on Friends label in upper right > hit green Add Friend button > see your own code and add someone else’s on the resulting page. Here’s one to start from Hawaii ;-) 1730 8753 4940

    4. SoCal Kate*

      Thanks everyone! I have so many new friends. :)

      It may take me a while to send gifts back, as I seem to have a shortage of gifts at the moment.

    5. MinotJ*

      I’m a long-time AAM lurker who already friended a few of you a few weeks ago from the Pokemon thread. Thank you for all the gifts! My code is 3210 6336 0653. I always have extra gifts to send.

    6. MattKnifeNinja*

      Sent you an invite!

      I wish my post cards would be of interesting/cool places, but stuck in suburbia helping with my niece.

      My code
      6458 2729 7105

    7. Caitlin*

      Late to the party, but I added some of you :) Feel free to add me if anyone’s looking for some NYC postcards!
      8970 9628 3654

    8. Mayflower Metalsmith*

      Hi y’all. I’ve sent friend requests to everyone upthread. I’m in Atlanta. I play as Zeomom, my number is 4456 4882 1813.

    9. Clodagh*

      I’ve belatedly sent requests to everyone who listed their IDs in their thread, just in case any of you wonder how EzriPop got your details :)

  25. Aarti*

    Looking for some advice/suggestions/thoughts. I actually sent this question into two different advice columnists and never heard back, so I’d thought I put it out here. Also FYI, I live on the other side of the world from the USA so it’s almost bed time for me. I’ll definitely respond to comments just probably not until evening time or later. Thanks in advance for any help people can offer.

    I was born in the US and am married to a man from a pretty conservative culture. We’re currently living in his home country, helping his sister to raise her kids. I recently discovered that my 10 year old nephew was looking up porn on my laptop, not exclusively and not every day but definitely enough to make me think it’s not an accident or a pop-up. I felt like an idiot for this not occurring to me as a possibility and quickly installed a “safe search” software on my computer. But I know this is a band-aid over a much larger problem, kids can figure out ways around this and my nephew also has pretty unrestricted access to his mom’s phone and tablet when she’s not using them.

    My husband and I are torn on what to do next. Although I have a close relationship with my nephew and we’ve talked about some serious topics like bullying, illness, death etc. I’m not super comfortable talking to him about porn. My husband travels a lot for work and right now I definitely have a better relationship with the nephew, so my husband thinks I should talk to him about it. I am sure that if I tell the boy’s mother, she will scold, shame and likely hit him.

    I known this kid since he was a baby and I love him! Any advice on how to handle this?

    1. irene adler*

      He’s 10. Puberty is at hand. He’s curious and probably doesn’t feel that he can ask the adults about sex, what he’s feeling, bodily changes, etc.
      This is going to be more than one conversation. In fact, it should be an on-going non-shameful discussion with all the relevant adults included-you, your husband and his mother. And the adults need to be on the same page with this.
      What do you want him to know about sex, puberty, dating, relationships, body changes, moral values, dealing with sexual feelings, who he might talk to about these things, etc.? He’ll need a ‘line of communication’ to someone who won’t judge him or punish him for his feelings.
      There are probably books you can consult to help guide you on broaching all this with him. Might also ask the nephew’s doctor about how you might approach the topics.
      Good luck!

    2. Venus*

      I am not a parent and don’t deal much with children, so I fully admit that this advice is based on advice columns…

      There are some good resources online. They might be directed toward slightly older kids (Scarleteen is mainly 13+ I think?) but if he’s looking at porn… I don’t think these supportive websites would be problematic. I wouldn’t recommend that you direct him to Savage Love, however I’m pretty sure Dan Savage has done a number of posts where he invites experts to provide recommendations on resources for parents. There are definitely some good resources for you and for him – good luck!

    3. LilySparrow*

      If there wasn’t a concern about being hit, I’d say to tell his mom immediately. He’s ten.

      I don’t think looking at porn is innocuous at that age. He’s not going to get good, accurate info or anything that will guide him positively through his sexual development. There’s also a lot of garbage out there that could be violent or traumatizing to a young kid. And predators who may try to contact him.

      I’m also concerned about the possibility, particularly in a conservative culture where there’s a lot of secrecy, that he may have initially been exposed to porn by someone grooming him for abuse. Ten year olds don’t just magically know that such a thing exists or where to find it.

      So I’d approach the conversation from the mindset of safety, not good/bad. I’d tell him that it’s normal to be curious about sex and bodies. But this is not a safe activity for him because of the reasons above.

      I’d tell him you’ve put blockers on your laptop, and that you’re concerned about him doing these things on other computers. He needs to know about online safety. And he needs a good, healthy source of true info about his body. But you can’t undertake sex ed for someone else’s child without their parent’s consent. So that is a conversation you or your husband need to have with your SIL – that nephew is at an age where he’s showing curiosity about sex, and somebody (maybe your husband) needs to have The Series of Age-Appropriate Talks with him.

      But I am really concerned about the grooming aspect. Maybe when you talk to him, he’ll volunteer how he discovered porn in the first place – from a friend, or by accident, or (god forbid) from an older kid or adult authority figure. If it’s the latter or if he doesn’t tell you, I think you have to talk to your SIL about it. If porn would be a hot-button topic, maybe there’s a way to avoid mentioning it specifically. But she needs to know if someone in his circle is unsafe to be around, or if he needs help.

      1. Aarti*

        Thanks for these tips. This is all really helpful to think about.

        I think the piece I’m feeling most uncomfortable about is having the sex-ed talk with someone else’s kid. Sex-ed is basically non-existent in the country I’m living in. The closest thing is schools do reproductive biology in 8th or 9th grade but only talk about it in general terms, not as even relates to humans. To give you a better sense, I have friends in this country who, until they were in college, thought that kissing a boy could make them pregnant!

        The grooming part definitely occurred to me and it’s something I want to ask him about.

        1. Observer*

          Don’t just tell him that you put blockers -DO it.

          Also, I get why you are hesitant to talk to the kid. But, under the circumstances, I don’t think you have a choice. If you could trust his parents to handle it, I most definitely take that rout, but you can’t. You have also apparently been much more involved in raising him than typical, so you have more standing than most.

          Both the grooming and this damage that porn itself can do, especially in a kid this young, means that you need to do something. This sounds like your most promising starting point.

    4. fposte*

      Will his mom flip out if you give him safe, age-appropriate ways to find information about sex? For that matter, will she be upset if you talk to him about porn in context?

      My inclination is to take one for the team of humanity and try to have the conversation with him. If you Google “talking to kids about porn” you’ll find a lot of guidance, and I’d absolutely draw on that. It’s okay if this is embarrassing for both of you (and that might even help slow him down a bit). I’d go in with an idea of what main points I wanted to hit and give him an opportunity to ask questions, which I’m guessing he’ll be too embarrassed to do; if possible, that’s when you point him to appropriate resources.

      1. Aarti*

        It’s hard to know how Mom will react. I’ve actually been trying to think about ways to bring it up with her in such a way that she doesn’t get embarrassed.

        Nephew and I have actually talked about the internet and how a lot of things on it aren’t real. He loves watching prank videos and people doing stunts (jumping off things, skateboarding, etc) so we’ve had a lot of conversations about how some things can look real but aren’t. So a conversation about porn could sort of fit into that same theme as well.

        1. irene adler*

          Wow. Was Mom expecting her son to stay a child forever? Would she rather he learn about ‘the birds and bees’ from the streets or from her?
          Yeah, it’s embarrassing to talk about this with one’s kids. But she’s got to find a way to work through this.
          You are being a wonderful Aunt by wanting to tackle this issue. I hope nephew appreciates you!

    5. The Gollux (Not a Mere Device)*

      As Irene Adler said, curiosity is natural. You or your husband might want to point your nephew at the Scarleteen website, which is all about giving teens and young adults information about sex, answering their questions, and doing it in a way that promotes respect for the readers and their partners, and talks about the importance of consent. (googling that name will find it, I’m trying to stay out of the spam filter so you’ll see this quickly.)

    6. ElspethGC*

      Another +1 for Scarleteen. This twenty-year-old is still learning stuff from the things that are on there. It’s a rabbit-hole.

      Even just a “Hey, I’ve noticed a few websites popping up on my laptop’s history, I want you to be careful because a) viruses and b) *incredibly* inaccurate ideas, if you’re starting to be more interested in this stuff and would feel awkward talking to me about it I understand, but please take a look at Scarleteen if you have any questions that you don’t want to ask me, because I really want to make sure that you’re getting accurate and useful information about these things.”

      If he’s in a pretty conservative culture, he’s probably not going to get great sex-ed at school? Something like Scarleteen is invaluable.

    7. Quandong*

      I think your husband should step up and take on the task of speaking with his nephew about this.
      Particularly since your husband was raised in this conservative culture, he has a better understanding about the way sex and sex education is approached in his country.

      In addition, I strongly believe that men need to take on more of these ongoing tasks with regards to speaking with boys and menfolk about respect for women, consent, relationships, and sex. Talking about porn and why it is problematic for children to access is a part of this conversation.

      Even though you are helping your sister in law to raise her children, this is not your responsibility to handle. Especially if you feel uncomfortable about discussing porn with your nephew. There are lots of other areas in which you can help but don’t feel obligated to tackle this because your husband travels a lot for work or makes excuses why he can’t do this.

      1. LilySparrow*

        I think the guiding principle should not be what is going to be most comfortable for LW or her husband, but what is going to be most helpful to the nephew. He is the child who needs protecting.

        If LW believes that Nephew is going to be more likely to open up or to listen to her constructively, then that’s the best choice. And if husband is physically gone for long periods of time, or can’t be trusted to follow through, it’s not in Nephew’s best interest to delay this.

        I mean, a pubescent boy looking at teh boobiez is not the worst-case scenario here. Worst case scenario (and a very real one) is that Nephew or one of his ten-year-old friends is IN one of these videos. Worst-worst case would be that Nephew is in it, and law enforcement finds copies on LW’s computer.

        Kids + unfettered access to internet porn + keeping secrets from parents = predator’s unHoly Grail.

    8. NosilyCurious*

      Everyone has made excellent points on how to deal with this, and I would also add an additional safety aspect, given that you’re in a conservative country, which is internet monitoring and censorship. Having grown up overseas in a very conservative country, it’s not an immediate but is a very real concern if he’s trying to access censored sites repeatedly.

      I think he’s lucky to have you

      1. Aarti*

        Thankfully that’s not a problem here! The government sporadically blocks sites deemed inappropriate (often porn sites but other ones too) but people don’t get arrested or in trouble for trying to access them. But a good thing to keep in mind.

    9. Bob*

      I’m with fposte that you probably need to take one for team humanity here and have the conversation with him yourself. I’ve heard good things about Scarleteen but I’ve never used it.

      I definitely think the conservative culture is an important aspect of this, and probably *why* it will have to be you to have this conversation. The mother probably doesnt know *how* to have the conversation and would likely feel like she needs to foist it off to a man (or as you say, default to non-ideal behaviour that is what she knows). Ideally your husband would do this, but if you/he thinks the relationship isnt close enough, nephew might just ignore it.

      So I suggest finding some good resources. And given that sex-ed isnt a thing where you are, approach it not just as ‘you were looking at porn’ but the whole picture of ‘consent, relationships, safe sex etc’ would be best. Also because if you have this conversation with him starting now, chances are that he will be prepared for it when it comes up with *his* friends – and you can basically influence more than just 1 person! Because kids will absolutely talk about all these kinds of things as puberty hits.

      So I’m not sure if this is what you want, but it could end up cementing you as ‘cool aunt’ to him and his friends when they need to talk to someone about these things but dont know who to go to….

      1. Aarti*

        Thank you! I think I need to do some reading and try to craft a good general sex ed talk. I agree that porn is part of it but only a small part of a larger conversation that needs to be had.

    10. Aarti*

      Thank you for all the suggestions. I admit, there was a lot more advice around sexual abuse and grooming than I was expecting. It’s something that occurred to me, although given our particular situation I think it unlikely. It is something I’ll keep in mind.

      To everyone who suggested resources and gave advice on having the conversation. Thank you! It’s clearly something I need to do and now to just figure out the best way to do it.

    11. E*

      Please consider legal implications of not telling the boy’s mom. If he continues to have access to look up things on her phone/tablet, it has the potential to get either of them in trouble with the law. Blocking the searches on your equipment is helpful, but talking to him about the issue even in just an approach that this isn’t safe for him would be helpful too.

  26. Kali*

    I’m having the worst time. :(. Accidentally left my keys inside. My boyfriend and I went to breakfast and my keys are attached to my headphones. I decided I didn’t need the headphones, but forgot about the keys!

    My landlady is at her mum’s, which is apparently a 20 min drive away. Her partner keeps shabbat and she doesn’t drive, so they can’t let me in before 6pm (11am when I got locked out, 5pm now). However, she can send her mum over with the key at 3pm. Great! It was 12:30pm after breakfast, so went to bf’s place and caught up on Netflix, bringing us up to 2:30. Landlady then said closer to 4pm, so we went to the supermarket, had a drink in a cafe, then I got the bus here for 4:30. While on the bus, landlady said her mum will actually be here for 6pm. I’ m absolutely freezing, really don’t have any money to spend for the week, and there isn’t much within walking distance. If she hadn’t mentioned her mum I could have gone into uni to prepare for my exam on Monday. There’s not a lot I can do without pens, index cards, and earbuds to listen to lecture podcasts, but I maybe could have justified the expense for 5 hours, not for 1. Plus, by the time I got there, I might as well come straight back. I don’t want to risk being let in either, because landlady plans on spending the whole weekend at her mums.

    Oh well, at least typing this has made another 10 mins pass. 5:26pm now.

        1. Kali*

          Yes, thanks! I’ve only written three flashcards though, so I’ve kind of given up on getting a high grade in the exam. :(. This semester is mostly coursework based, and that all went in a month ago, so I hope that saves my average.

  27. Arya Parya*

    Our 7-month old is finally getting her first teeth. Does anyone have any advice on how to help with the pain? We have some toys she can bite on and we have painkillers for babies we can give her three times a day. But sometimes this doesn’t seem to be enough. Seeing as we still got quite a few teeth to go, I was hoping to get a few tips.

    1. MamaMade*

      We found the best thing was any type of chewable that you freeze. The Matchstick Monkey was a particular favorite of Littlest. But we had about eight different freezer safe chewables and rotated through them so there was always a fresh cold one available.

    2. LilySparrow*

      A cold wet washcloth is good to chew on, or an ice cube in a washcloth. One of my kids also liked frozen chunks of fruits or veggies, like a hunk of butternut squash. You do want to make sure it’s either large enough or small enough not to present a choking hazard. A frozen banana half might be good, if messy.

      Unfortunately nothing really “fixes” it. The main thing is that it usually only takes a day or two to break through, and then it stops hurting.

    3. Joie De Vivre*

      Im the US their is a product named Oragel. (Orajel ??). Don’t remember if you can use it for babies, but I used it when I lost a crown on a back molar. Holy cow that was painful. The Oragel worked really well for me.

      1. legalchef*

        They specifically say NOT to use this for babies. I think thereve been studies that it can be dangerous.

      2. Lilysparrow*

        I don’t think you can use the regular version, but there used to be a similar baby product.

        IIRC, my pediatrician recommended against it. So you’d want to check with your own doc before using it.

    4. legalchef*

      When he first started cutting teeth my son didn’t like the frozen things. He’d just chew on whatever regular toy was around. Now he just pokes at/presses the gum with his finger.

    5. Nita*

      Camilia drops may take the edge off. They seemed to help one of my kids. Didn’t help the other one, but she’s generally prone to winding herself up if she’s in pain…

      Also some toys are better than others once the back teeth start coming in. Most teethers just don’t reach back there. We’ve used a bristle-less baby toothbrush as a teether for those.

    6. Jessi*

      So baby painkillers all have an active ingredient – like calpol’s active ingredient is paracetamol. So if you pick up another sort of painkiller with a different active ingredient- nurofen for babies is ibprofen, and then you can use them together. So if you gave one at 7am and she’s upset again at 10, but you can’t use the same medication for another 3 hours use the different painkiller to bridge the gap

    7. Teeth Grinder*

      My parents rubbed whiskey on the affected gum. And then drank the rest of the glass. (I don’t remember it, myself , but I do prefer a good whiskey to gin or vodka.)
      For my daughter, I used a frozen teething ring. It was a soft plastic, probably loaded with nasty chemicals, but she survived. There are probably better ones now. The main idea is something that doesn’t get brittle when frozen, because the cold is what soothes the pain.

    8. Ginger ale for all*

      I am in my 50’s so this advice may be extremely dated but my mom swore by zwiebeck (sp?) when I was teething.

    9. Anono-me*

      I can not recall the name, but there are things that look like a pacifier with a little mesh bag attached. You can put things like little chunks of frozen melon in it and the baby gets to gum it.

    10. Arya Parya*

      Thanks for all the advice. I will try frozen things. She doesn’t have a pacifier, never liked any of them, but she does like chewing stuff.

    11. Slartibartfast*

      My kids liked frozen peas, and having their gums massaged with an adult finger. Be prepared to get bitten though.

    12. E*

      I used homeopathic teething tablets for my son, they dissolve and seemed to help him with no side effects at all.

  28. Cat*

    I know other women here were going through IVF. I thought I’d give an update on mine. I had my egg retrieval last Wednesday. They retrieved 11 eggs, 8 of which were mature, and 7 of which fertilized. I find out on Tuesday how many make it to freeze and genetic testing. Obviously, I’d feel more comfortable with a few more but I’m rooting for my little embabies!

    1. Valancy Snaith*

      Congratulations! I hope they continue to grow and make it to freeze for you. I had an FET yesterday, so I’ll be anxiously waiting another week or so until I can test.

    2. Vanellope*

      Good luck! My younger daughter is IVF (secondary infertility) and I know all of the “waiting to find out” is hard! Fingers crossed everything goes as planned.

  29. Kms1025*

    Binge watching first season of Discovery of Witches. It’s not a documentary, it’s a great UK production of historical and current drama revolving around magical beings (witches, vampires, demons). Loving it, not as dark as I’m making the description sound.

    1. Perpetua*

      I watched it in a short amount of time as well. It had sort of a “Twilight for adults” vibe for me, and at times it made me roll my eyes, but at the same time, I was hooked enough to watch all of it, so… :)

    2. WS*

      I didn’t like the books much, but I really enjoyed the series! Beautifully made, great cast who were obviously having a terrific time, super fun and fast plot. I’m looking forward to next season a lot!

    3. NosilyCurious*

      I received the first book as a gift and loved the whole series though it wasn’t something I would have picked up myself (having learned that lesson with Twilight).

      So happy it’s been adapted to television! And by the BBC! Definitely going on the watchlist!

  30. Red Sky*

    This might be a little TMI to some readers, but I need some advice. I’ve noticed within the last few years I’ve been getting a lot of skin tags and am wondering if anyone else has dealt with this and what do you do to remove them at home. I can’t justify the cost of going to the dermatologist every couple months to have them frozen off when they’re not a medical issue, just annoying. They’re showing up in places that chafe like underboob and underarms, creases in thighs. I’ve never had this many before and I’m sure it must have something to due with aging and perhaps some middle age weight gain.

    1. fposte*

      Skin tag ligation can be done at home (though you may need help in getting at the spot to do it properly, since they’re often awkwardly located), and one NHS site suggests that doctors might approve cutting them with sterile scissors (I think they’re wildly optimistic about people’s sterilization of their scissors, tbh). You’ve seen a dermatologist already, right? I wouldn’t dive in until I’d seen a doctor for the general issue.

      1. Red Sky*

        Yeah, I’ve had a few frozen off by my dermatologist and she says they’re just normal skin tags. I do have a history of basal cell skin cancer so get regular check ups for that. With the way these skin tags seem to keep popping up I’d be going pretty regularly to get them removed. which for something not medically necessary gets expensive. Just another one of the joys of growing old that nobody tells you about, I guess.

        1. fposte*

          I’ve done the ligation–it’s weird but it worked. You just need to be able to tie really tight.

    2. Joanne’s Daughter*

      My dermatologist uses scissors to cut them off and told me i could do that myself. You can buy a disinfectant like Barbicide or Marvicide af Sally’s or Walmart. Make sure it is diluted correctly and then wash them with soap and water, rinse, dry then soak the scissors (I would use cuticle scissors) for 10 minutes, rinse, dry with paper towel and they will ge ready to use.

      1. valentine*

        Doesn’t it hurt? Twist it as tight as possible and hold it down with a circle Band-Aid. Take a gander in a week or so. Hopefully, it’ll be detached and stuck to the Band-Aid.

    3. Pie is my Religion*

      I cut my small tags off with fingernail clippers that I’ve washed and cleaned with rubbing alcohol, scissors would probably work. Never had an issue. I had a large one I tied off with dental floss (ligation I guess), it was uncomfortable for a couple days but fell off at some point. I’m a nurse, I’m not that squeamish.
      I’ve skin tags can be correlated with a metabolic disorder, and PCOS too. Maybe get your labs done.

      1. Red Sky*

        Interesting, considering I’ve been having some health issues and bloodwork/testing with no real answers, so that’s a whole new rabbit hole for me to go down this weekend and talk to my doc about. Thanks!

    4. Approval is optional*

      I’ve started getting some – age gets to us all in the end! I’ve had a couple taken off by my GP (Universal Health care so the cost isn’t an issue), but I have seen a product in the pharmacy that claims to remove them: I have no idea how it works, or if it works, but might be worth googling.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I have one stupid tag.
      I read about using luffa sponges years ago, and I started using them. I never developed more tags, however the one did not go a way. I googled and found that people were using apple cider vinegar on them. It takes about two months? So that is what I decided to try. No results yet.
      I do think the luffa helped me to contain them.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        Apple cider vinegar did not work for me. I tried it on a few skin tags as well as some spider veins (another internet-claimed use) for weeks and zero effect on either. My guess is it’s an old wives’ tale that lives on on the internet in the form of “50 thousand uses for common household items” stories.

        My dermatologist also recommended the sharp scissors at-home method. I’ve done it a few times and it works great. There’s a slight pinching pain and a dot or two of blood, but then it’s just gone and none have ever reappeared.

      1. Extra vitamins*

        So squeamish I got my username wrong. Weirdly ligation of tags with thread doesn’t bother me, I’ve even done it and it works. I was told by a dermatologist that any mole-like that has a sort of thin “neck” and no sensation is pretty safe to remove yourself. But not to try to freeze it or use wart remover if it’s a sensitive area.

    6. MsChanandlerBong*

      I’ve only had one, but I tied it off with dental floss. You tie the floss around it and leave it there until the skin tag turns black and falls off (the floss starves it of its blood supply). It’s not ideal, but it worked at a time when I didn’t have insurance.

  31. Spring in Amsterdam*

    Hey!

    My girlfriend and I are heading to Amsterdam at the end of April/beginning of May for three nights. We have reserved a hotel just on the outskirts of the centrum area with good transport links.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for cool things we could do or see in Amsterdam? It’s my girlfriend’s birthday on our second day there, so restaurant recommendations would also be much appreciated. We are two women in our late twenties.

    Thanks! :)

    1. Arya Parya*

      What kind of things are you looking for? Cultural things, pubs, clubs? And what kind of restaurants? I’m from The Netherlands, don’t live in Amsterdam, but do know my way around. There’s a ton of stuff to do, from really touristy stuff like the Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank House (both of which are great) to smaller, lesser know things. I’m guessing you won’t be there April 27th?

      1. Spring in Amsterdam*

        Apologies! I probably should have given some more clues about what we’re into.

        My girlfriend smokes so we will probably be hitting a few 420 places. Ideally we will see a couple of museums or galleries. We’d like to visit some markets and maybe check out some LGBT+ spots. I’m a coffee lover so I’d love to sample some nice coffee shops if possible.

        We’re very open to suggestions at the moment so nothing is set in stone rigidly. We will pretty much eat anything! We arrive on 29th April and head home on 2nd May.

        Thanks for your reply!

        1. Arya Parya*

          The Albert Cuyp is the most famous market. It’s open monday through saturday.

          The museums and galeries are mentioned in the other comments already.

          For the LGBT spots, there are loads. The Regulierstdwarsstraat is the street to be when it comes to that. You might also want to check out VivelaVie and ‘t Mandje.

          I don’t smoke myself, but there are a lot of places around to do that. You’ll run into those easily.

          As to food, dutch food itself isn’t that great of special. We do have wonderful Indian and Indonesian restaurants. Chinese food here isn’t the same as Chinese food in the US, so fair warning there. If you like pancakes, definitely go to Pancakes Amsterdam.

    2. Venus*

      I don’t know if the timing will work out, or if plants are your thing, but I did a day trip to Keukenhoff garden (Haarlem) and the tulips were incredible (both during the train trip as the fields are endless tulips, and at the gardens).

    3. hope is hopeful*

      My recs:
      – The A’Dam tower and swing (has a skytop bar, great view of the city!)
      – the ice bar
      – walking tour (I used Sandemans)

    4. Dan*

      To do: red light distict, visit a coffee shop

      Eat: You’ll likely find most choices to be international in nature. Dutch food is very meat-and-potatoes-y, and the tast time I was there, the hotel concierge ran down a list of typical Western European places to eat, none of which were Dutch.

    5. Forget T-Bone Steak, Let's Eat T-Rex Steak*

      I was there in October and did a boat tour with Those Dam Boat Guys that was really fun. If you are into beer, Brouwerij ‘t IJ is a brewery with a beer garden under a windmill.

    6. Piano Girl*

      I love the canal tour. It’s a good way to see alot of Amsterdam’s unique homes. Also love the Anne Frank house.

      Foodwise, we ended up at a little crepe place that was absolutely delicious on a cold, rainy night.

    7. Pippa*

      The Rijksmuseum is an obvious suggestion, I know, but it really is wonderful. I’d also recommend the Tropenmuseum, an ethnographic museum that has interesting stuff and an appropriately critical take on colonial history.

    8. Lore*

      The Stedelijk (modern art museum) was a peak lifetime museum experience the first time I went. It depends on what exhibit they have of course but it seems less popular than the Van Gogh museum so you can see more of the art. Amsterdam also has amazing Indonesian food. If you’re not familiar with it and don’t know dishes you like, rijstaffel is sort of like a tasting menu of a lot of small dishes.

    9. PX*

      If you go to the Rijksmuseum, I say skip the old stuff (it all looks the same after a while) and head to the new section. Along the way is one of my absolute favourite pieces of art ever which is a light installation by Studio Drift. I could happily stand there watching it for at least half an hour :)

      Thirding the recommendation for Indonesian food. Not sure where you are travelling from, but its one of the cuisines which doesnt seem to have made it to many places in Europe so take advantage of it. Do as Lore suggested and get a rijsttafel which is a kind of tasting menu with many small dishes. Be very full and happy after.

      If you want to get a good feel of the place, try and get out of the centre and perhaps go to Vondelpark/Westerpark. Just walk around and enjoy not being surrounded by loud tourists. De Pijp is a nice area to check out as well although thats also rapidly becoming very popular. Or cross the river and check out EYE which is a film museum and is supposed to have great views from their bar. Noord is also likely to be less busy so again, would recommend for general meandering (can you tell I get tired of being surrounded by tourists whenever I’m there!)

    10. Alice*

      When stolid and traditional food is getting you down, have rijsttafel! Indonesian-style rice and lots of other dishes.
      Also, herring is very traditional.

    11. Bagpuss*

      For me, the Van Gogh museum is a must see. Prebook and go wen it first opens, which helps avoid some of the coach trips and overcrowding.

  32. lapgiraffe*

    Does anyone else feel like they have to “be busy” or “do some work” while tradespeople are in your house? At home with the electrician doing a laundry list of things I haven’t had the time to deal with. It’s a new house for me, but it’s old and needed some work, so every few weeks have had someone else in here fixing one thing or another.

    What I *want* to do is watch this crazy Fyre Festival doc snuggled on the sofa, but what I’ve actually been doing is some kitchen cleaning/organizing, some laundry, some work work, basically I feel (irrationally!) that if someone else is in here working, then I too must find something to busy myself as well. I guess the good news is I went through the cupboard and ditched long expired cans and condiments…

    1. CurrentlyLooking*

      Yes! I also feel super awkward when people are working in my house. I want to hide in my bedroom and read but instead I busy myself doing random things in my kitchen

    2. Penguin*

      Yup! I’m much the same way. I’d feel REALLY awkward about, say, watching a movie while there’s a plumber in the basement. However, I have managed to convince myself that it’s ok to do something quiet that doesn’t scream “you’re interrupting my leisure time” (like reading a book or sketching) quite so loudly; I just try to make whatever I’m doing be something that I can pause if they need me for something.

    3. Venus*

      It could be worse! You could be like me and hang around to ask questions about their work.

      In all seriousness, I ask questions because I’m curious and am careful about checking in with them first and asking in moderation. I’m surprised by how many are excited to share their expertise! I haven’t yet met someone who had a problem with my questions, my doing busy work (because I totally do that as well), or quietly sitting to the side with a book or videos. From my chats with them, they are happiest if they are working in a comfy place (not too hot, cold, or rainy; no hoarding; not harassed by pets; space big enough to move around and stand) with someone who is happy with their work. But yes, I know that feeling of wanting to be busy because I feel guilty!

      1. Wishing You Well*

        Yup, I do the same: hang around, ask questions and be pleasant. If it’s warranty work and it’s free for me, I hand them a little box of candy to take home. Be good to people who repair your stuff.

    4. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Hey, I do major projects, like rip out the walls in the utility room, paint entire rooms, etc. I wish I could just rearrange the cupboard!

    5. Lilysparrow*

      Yes, because relaxing at home is private time. I can’t be private if there’s a worker here. Just like I wouldn’t take a shower or a nap.

    6. Reba*

      I once attended a conference where the keynote speaker delivered her lecture over Skype while workers worked in her home. Occasionally they crossed onto the screen as they passed behind her desk, or she would look up or look around at what they were doing. (She couldn’t attend the conference due to her house being flooded or something). She carried on bravely and it was pretty funny.

    7. Nita*

      Yes. I can’t sit around and relax when a stranger is working in the same room. And can’t work on a computer and ignore them as if they’re not there. And chatting at them while they work is awkward. So I putter around straightening up stuff that doesn’t need tidying, washing dishes, and otherwise being obviously busy.

  33. Anon for this*

    We talked earlier this week about the woman who was in denial about her weight and needing a bigger chair. We mentioned “ostrich in the sand” effect.

    I think I’m in denial about changes to my health situation. Any advice for seeing things that you’re in denial about? I can tell I’m not thinking logically but I can’t seem to straighten myself out.

    1. fposte*

      It’s hard to say without knowing specifics, but some denial doesn’t really matter much. I’m prone to hand RSIs and I also have arthritis in my hands. I attribute *everything* to RSIs, because they’re less scary. It doesn’t change anything long-term. On the other hand, if you’re hitting 200 on your blood pressure on a regular basis but you dismiss those instances as outliers and take no action, you’re putting yourself at risk.

      So maybe ask yourself these questions: if it turns out it’s the other thing, what would I do, and am I losing something by not responding to it now?

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I’m in denial about my reflux. I know it will get better if I make some changes to my diet, but I love spicy food! Peppers make everything better! Indian food is so delicious! Mexican is my favorite! Salsa is good for you!

      The only thing that has helped, honestly, was making a change and realizing how much better it was. In my case, I cut back on the spice and some other things for a week, told myself it would only be a week, and enjoyed a week completely free of my worst symptoms. So when I brought back the peppers, I just felt kind of miserable. I’m now in a state where I feel more in control because I know that I can live through a week–and more– of dialing it back. I also did it because I decided to, not because my doctor or anyone else insisted. Made it kind of a private game.

      1. Anon for this*

        This is pretty close to my problem in a few senses.

        It’s a chronic autoimmune problem. I feel better when I eat a very strict diet. I desperately don’t want to do that. So I rebel and hurt myself.

        Essentially I lie to myself about what hurts me because there are few clear reactions. I think there are trends but I lie to myself. Writing down what I eat triggers worse rebellion.

        If results were consistent and clear I’d have less denial, but as is, I keep blaming other factors because I don’t WANT it to be related to food.

        1. fposte*

          Maybe it’s because I’m there with you, but I think that’s not just simply denial–that’s understandable frustration at facing a limitation of something you enjoy, especially if your illness means you’ve already encountered limitations and you’re talking a vague correlation that doesn’t hit your brain the way, say, a bout of food poisoning does. It’s kind of like being told “Some people find it helps sleeping standing upright in a brightly lit gymnasium”–okay, but I really, really don’t want to do that, and it doesn’t sound like it’s guaranteed to help.

          I will say that, depending on what you’re dealing with, you may be able to find ways to tolerably move beyond the restrictions once you’ve explored them. A friend and I have different chronic autoimmune stuff that’s helped by diet, and we both have found that when things are settled we can dabble in the tricky foods; we just can’t eat them all the time. I’m also a lot better at seeing the early stages of “You better stop that now” before I get really sick.

          1. Anon for this*

            YES. Phrased perfectly, thank you.

            I am frustrated to tears most of the time. Maybe that’s the real issue.

            Do you suffer depressive bouts where you just don’t care, and start sliding? Of cputsey depression is under treatment but I haven’t had much luck stopping depressive flares like this.

            1. fposte*

              Not so much depressive bouts as just getting too overwhelmed to self-police; it’s a lot harder to walk the straight and narrow under stress. That’s why I try to proof my environment as much as possible, making it harder to cave, and I have Very Clear Rules. I’m much better keeping to objective rules like “You can eat this thing on Saturdays only” or “payday only” than I am at “You can eat this thing now and then if things are going well.” It’s not perfect, but it gives me more healthy room without leaving me to feel like I’ll never be able to eat stuff I really like again, and I enjoy looking forward to the days where I get a treat.

    3. Teach*

      Are you in denial because you are worried about the outcome? Or that the health stuff might be serious? I had MAJOR dental phobia – like, had not had a cleaning for over 5 years and had some aches and pains that could have been sinuses or could have been dental issues.
      My therapist suggested just making an informational visit to get an exam and x-rays and nothing else. She uses the phrase a lot “Talk yourself into it, not out of it.” In other words, instead of horrible-izing how bad it was going to be to go to the dentist, I coached myself into thinking about how relieved I would be to know for sure what was going on and not be wondering about it all the time. And shaming myself for being an adult who is scared of the dentist.
      So, can you go to a GP and get a full physical and just see what’s going on? Preferably one who is really into preventative care but has a good bedside manner?

      1. Pippa*

        Seconding this! I avoided dental care for many years out of fear. Then I cracked a tooth and there was no more avoiding possible. I went to a friend’s dentist, trembling with fright, and told them frankly about my fear and avoidance. And it turned out that the dentist, hygienist, everyone at the practice – they are all SO KIND. The dentist basically said “look, lots of people have anxiety about this, and it’s part of my job to make sure you feel comfortable enough to come in for care. And that’s all you have to do: come in, sit in the chair, and I’ll take care of the rest.” That reframing (plus their patience and gentleness) was revolutionary for me. I’ve had all the necessary work done, I get regular care now, and my fear is almost gone.

        Next I’ll work on my fear of GP visits. :-)

    4. StellaBella*

      Well, yeah. In mid-2017, after 2 major gall bladder attacks, I ended up in hospital with gall bladder surgery and a second surgery to remove stones from part of my pancreas, too. I was a mess. Stress-related but also major diet issues: I was drinking way too much and eating too many fatty foods and well… after surgery I had to go on a no alcohol, no oil/fat/dairy/take out diet – for 7 months. It was an eye opener. I have now come to terms with my enjoyment of red wine – it’s a thing of the past. I can have a glass of white wine, or a beer, or even a cocktail, but only one, and if more I feel like death the next day. So, yeah, I hear you on denial about health issues. try the game idea that Avon Lady Barksdale notes and try it for a week or two. See what happens. You may embrace this positive change for your specific issue and shift it in your mind for the better.

    5. Dan*

      I donno… if you’re aware of and acknowledge whatever “it” is, can it really be denial? I know I need to cut back on how much I drink for health reasons. Whether I do or not is a different matter, but I don’t think doing self destructive things and being well aware of the consequences is actually denial. Denial IMHO is this “it won’t happen to me” or “I know that, but…”

    6. Wishing You Well*

      You have to talk to someone else about your situation – preferably an expert in whatever area you’re having trouble with. It’s incredibly helpful to get another’s perspective on personal issues, provided that person is neutral and objective. Oh, and discreet.

    7. J*

      I’d recommend talking to a therapist about whatever it is. Not something that’s likely to be sorted in a single session, but therapists are really, really good at guiding us to realize things we don’t want to realize. Another option might be writing about it. This doesn’t have to be in a journal — I always use the “notes” app on my phone — but write out all the stomach-clenching details of what you’re afraid of. Explore all the possibilities. That sort of thing usually brings me greater clarity, and I feel a bit better, too.

      As a final suggestion: is this something research could help? I know it’s possible it might make you feel worse, but I find that when something terrifies me, it helps to feel like I’m armed with as much knowlege as possible.

      Good luck! You asking for advice her is a really good step.

      1. Anon for this*

        Research is full of pitfalls where I have to sort between science, nonsense, and unproven truth. It’s a damn hard emotional journey.

        How do I find a therapist that’s really good at this particular topic? The last one I tried thought part of my health problem was that I wasn’t busy enough. Yeah, because exhaustion is part of my issue. As it’s progressed, I’m not sure I could hold a regular job anymore (she thought I should make myself do that).

        1. TL -*

          You can definitely look for someone with experience with people with disabilities – my friend has early stage MS and she made that one of three criteria (woman, POC, disability experience) for finding a therapist. She’s not disabled but the exhaustion is real for her and she needed someone who could understand limitations. It can take a few different ones to find a good match.

          Also diet changes are hard. I have mild food allergies and get very bad pain pretty much immediately if I eat the wrong foods, but I still find it really difficult some days. It does get better the longer you stick to a diet, however.

    8. J*

      Oh, I forgot to say: any time I’ve been in denial, I ultimately felt better for acknowledging the thing instead of suffocating under it. (For instance: when I was a poor fit for my job, or when I wanted a divorce.)

  34. fposte*

    Curmudgeon rant of the day:

    Why, when you order something, do they even bother to have the checkbox about signing up for email notifications? No matter what you check, they are going to send email notifications and tell you you signed up for them, whether you did or not. Maybe it’s just the template and vendors never bother to change it, but they really lose a lot of my goodwill by spamming me and telling me I’ve asked for it after I’ve opted out.

    Stop cutting across my lawn, online vendors! *shakes cane*

    1. Rhymes with Mitochondria*

      I’m with you. I would TOTALLY donate to non profits more often if there was a “don’t pester me asking for more” option that WORKED.

    2. Thursday Next*

      This is totally rant-worthy. I further resent when I check that opt-out box, and not only continue to get mail from the original place, but from places they have obviously sold my information to.

      (Although I credit this practice for receiving, on the same day, two hilariously conflicting pieces of mail: an Enfamil infant formula brochure and coupon for my husband, and a cemetery pamphlet urging me to buy my plot now.)

    3. Detective Amy Santiago*

      One of the things I’ve been doing to simplify my life this year is unsubscribing from all the email lists I’ve ended up on. My inbox is already so much leaner.

    4. Someone Else*

      I’m not positive I’m interpreting your rant/question correctly, so I apologize if this is besides the point. In the US at least, the CAN-SPAM act basically says it’s OK to email people if you have an established business relationship with them, even if they didn’t double-opt-in to your emails. So in the example you gave, the checkboxfor email notifications is basically about getting permission to send you marketing emails. You tick the box, that’s a single opt-in. That triggers an email that says “you really wanted emails, right?” If you subscribe via a yes link in that email, now you’ve double-opted in, and now they can email you about whatevs. If you don’t tick the box, they’ll still send you email notifications about that order you just placed, but in theory, should not suddenly be sending you random emails about other things. If they’re following best practice.
      If you don’t tick the box and they still send you that “hey you wanted emails right?” email, they may be trying to backdoor their way into getting the single-opt-in you declined by not ticking the box. After which, in theory, if you did “yes” the email, you’d still need to get ANOTHER email asking you to confirm, because they are supposed to get a double opt-in from you.
      If you’re unticking the box but the email you get is acting like you did and it’s the second opt, not the first, then they suck.(some orgs are exempt from this rule but if they don’t follow it anyway they still kinda suck)

      1. fposte*

        It’s the last. (Or, with some, it’s ticking the box saying “I don’t want email,” because they suck even worse and require an initial opt-out that they hope you’ll misread.)

        And honestly, I don’t hugely care if what they do abides by CAN-SPAM or not. It’s a sucky way to treat people, it makes them look either meretricious or inept, and it makes me less likely to spend money or give them money.

  35. many bells down*

    Hi 2019 is off to a BANNER start for me already. I still have 2 weeks of restrictions from my surgery in December, and last week my husband fell badly and broke his shoulder. Now neither of us can lift anything or drive, and the teenager chose now to have a meltdown and refuse to do any chores, go to school, or even take a shower so our older daughter has had to do everything around the house for the last week.

    I need a vacation. But. Uh. The spouse has burned through all his PTO with my surgery followed by the broken shoulder so the cruise we’d been planning for this summer is now off the table. Whomp whomp.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      holy crap.
      I hope this means you are getting the crap out of the way early this year and you win the lottery or something later on.
      I hope you guys feel better very soon.

    2. Observer*

      This does indeed sound like rough start to the year. Please take comfort in your older daughter.

      Two things – tell her to NOT do ANYTHING for teenager – she’s got enough on her shoulders and should not have to cater to someone who is old enough to help out, much less take care of himself. Also, tell her VERY explicitly how much you appreciate her doing the right thing.

      Also, is there any way you can manage to pay to have some of the housework taken care of?

      After things settle down a bit, see if you can do something nice for her. I’m sure she’s doing what she’s doing because it’s the right thing to do. But concrete acknowledgement makes a HUGE difference.

  36. Free Meerkats*

    Update on the friend who just got a stem cell transplant. She got the infusion of stem cells on Tuesday. On Wednesday evening she spiked a fever of 103.6, so into the ambulance and off to the hospital.

    They thought it was transplant reaction and normal, but every time they let the Ibuprofen wear off, her fever would spike, at one point to 106. She has C diff…

    Plus they need to put in a new port, the current one is good for infusion, but it’s too short and they can’t draw blood through it.

    I plan on going to see her tomorrow, how she’s up for it. Plus her husband’s dad had surgery the same day she did for a severely broken leg, and husband is taking care of him at home. Luckily, his work is allowing him to work from home for a long as it takes.

    1. Tara R.*

      Oh, how terrible. I’m sure she’ll be happy to have some company if she’s up to it, especially with her husband otherwise occupied– what horrible timing!

    2. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      sending internet hug for her… how awful. C.Diff is tough, and on top of what she’s already going through….

    3. Free Meerkats*

      I went to see her today. Her temp has been below 99 since last night. She was able to take a shower today. And when I left, her husband, stepson, and son were there; so she was getting good family time. If the temp stays down, she’ll probably be released tomorrow.
      Things aren’t great, but they’re a whole lot better.

  37. AvonLady Barksdale*

    A question about Las Vegas and food! In a few weeks, I will be in Vegas for a work trip, and I have a delightful conundrum. I’ll arrive several hours earlier than my teammate and in plenty of time to treat myself to a decadent dinner of my choosing. In my hotel, which is on the Strip but kind of on the edge, there is a restaurant helmed by a chef whose food I absolutely love, so my first thought was that I would go there. There is also a very good chance my client will take us to dinner at that same restaurant the following evening, so I figured it might be my opportunity to go off the Strip to Lotus of Siam, a restaurant I have heard nothing but great things about (I’ve read in multiple sources that it’s the best Thai food in the US). It’s not super far but definitely not walkable. I will not have a car, and the last time I was in Vegas I stayed in the Encore and walked to other nearby properties, so I’m not sure how great or convenient Uber is in Vegas. Can anyone provide any tips?

    (If it turns out to be not worth it to go off the Strip, then I may just have to go to the hotel restaurant twice but OH WELL.)

    1. tangerineRose*

      I’ve only been to Las Vegas once, but when I was there, I took a taxi to get to some places that were too far to conveniently walk.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Were they on the Strip or in town? That’s part of my conundrum; if I go somewhere else on the Strip, getting a taxi back is pretty easy at any of the hotels, but going off strip I’d probably feel more comfortable getting an Uber rather than calling a cab company. (Unless the law has changed, which it may well have, you can’t hail taxis on the street in LV.)

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Vegas is actually the only place I take regular taxis, personally. They’re (in my experience) very clean, friendly drivers, very easy to find.

    3. Thursday Next*

      Uber is everywhere in Vegas, though their designated pickup points at hotels aren’t always convenient, when compared to taxi stands. IME last summer, Uber dropped me off where I wanted, but I had to walk to farther locations for pickup.

    4. Free Meerkats*

      Absolutely go to Lotus of Siam.

      Taxis in Vegas are going to be more difficult soon. Frias Transportation is selling their taxi business mid-March, if they don’t find a buyer offering enough, they will close. That means 5 taxi companies (ACE, ANLV, Union, Vegas Western, and Virgin Valley) and ~1500 taxi medallions will be gone.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Wouldn’t it be ironic if I went to Lotus and the client decided to take us THERE for dinner? :) I have no problem with that.

        Any dishes I should definitely try? I’m partial to duck and I like things I can’t get everywhere. There’s a restaurant where I live that has a wonderful larb made with gizzards and liver, to give you an idea of what I’m up for. I am also not averse to spice and plan to enjoy at least one glass of wine to cut the heat.

    5. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Yeah – Lotus of Siam is delicious. Also, depending on what end of the edge of the Strip you are staying at (suspect its the southern end for some reason) look up Marrakech Mediterranean Restaurant, which is down a smidge off the Strip behind the MGM Grand. If you go, wear pants with stretch! They do require reservations, just to note, but its also entertainment (bellydancing) and a few hours of your night. Its a set menu, you don’t order, they just bring it to the table, but its also six courses so you should be able to find something to eat :). I went with work colleagues and it was a bunch of fun and very tasty.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        We’ll be closer to the northern end, actually, but not a bad guess! :)

        If it turns out our client doesn’t want to do dinner with us, Marrakech sounds like a good option for me and my teammate. I enjoy his company but he’s been very stressed out and would probably enjoy the bellydancers (and I wouldn’t have to listen to too much of his venting). Thanks for the rec!

    6. CoffeeOnMyMind*

      There’s also the monorail, which runs from the MGM Grand to Sahara Ave. Its an option if you’re in that part of the strip and you want to avoid ground traffic.

  38. TNbound*

    I’m headed to the Knoxville TN area in July. Any suggestions for things to see/do? Specifically interested in bookstores, aquariums, indoor things since it will likely be hot, places that serve gluten free food and info about the Smoky Mountain National Park are appreciated. Sevierville and Pigeon Forge will also be on our agenda so you can include places in these cities as well. Thanks!

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I hope you’re going to Dollywood! I haven’t been but am trying to plan a trip with some girlfriends.

      1. TNbound*

        I don’t think we’re going to Dollywood. I’m not really into rides and we’re going to a family reunion so won’t have a ton of extra time. I hear Bryson City NC is a nice place and only a few hrs away, so that’s a possibility too.

    2. Thursday Next*

      Mellow Mushroom is a mini chain of pizza places that has GF crusts. The Great Smoky Wheel is a huge Ferris wheel with awesome views.

      There are several different Smoky Mtn park driving routes, based on time you have available. Each route includes places to stop. There’s an amazing amount of buildings in the park, including homes and churches.

    3. Jaid_Diah*

      Oddly enough, Jewelry Television is based in Knoxville and has their brick store in the area. It might be worth popping in.

    4. Miss Fisher*

      In pigeon forge, there are some fun dinner shows like the dixie stampede. If you venture into Gatlinburg, there is the Ripley’s Aquarium which is really cool. Also you will want to eat at the Old Mill and Apple Barn in Pigeon Forge. I doubt you would find many gluten free options there though, just really good southern food.

      1. CoffeeOnMyMind*

        Definitely have some pork bbq while you’re in NC – it’s practically a religion there, and each part of the state has its own version. There is even a Wikipedia page about NC bbq (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbecue_in_North_Carolina).

        In the mountains, the bbq has a ketchup based sauce and the pork is from the shoulder only. I grew up on the NC coast, where they serve bbq with a vinegar based sauce and they cook the whole hog (yum). Either way, NC bbq is something you should not miss.

        And Duplin Wine is the best – made from scuppernog and muscadine grapes in Duplin County (near the coast, outside of Wilmington). My favorites are Carolina Red and Magnolia. Lots of wineries in the mountains, so take advantage of some local wine while you’re there.

    5. Merci Dee*

      There’s a little town on the other side of the mountain from Knoxville/Sevierville called Townsend. A quaint little town, and there’s an awesome swimming hole in the stream just outside of town. You can rent some tubes to go up and down the creek for the day. There’s kind of a large lagoon area just near the bridge that crosses the creek, and that’s usually where people picnic and put in with their tubes.

      I have a pic of me standing in that creek near the bridge when I was about 3, and then another pic from when I was in college. :)

    6. MsChanandlerBong*

      I LOVE Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. The Ripley’s aquarium in Gatlinburg is literally the BEST aquarium I’ve ever visited. I don’t even bother going to other aquariums now because they’re such a disappointment after going to the one in Gatlinburg. The only other aquarium that is somewhat comparable is the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. I went to an aquarium in San Francisco, and I thought it would be awesome because of its location, but it stunk! Dollywood doesn’t do anything for me, as I don’t go on many rides, and the food is all overpriced junk, but they do have good live entertainment if you enjoy that. Dixie Stampede (which I think was renamed due to the connotations of “Dixie”) is awesome. The meal usually includes a biscuit, a piece of chicken, a small potato wedge, and an apple turnover, all of which you eat with your hands. You also get a little thing of soup (but they give you a spoon for that). It’s a lot of fun. Smoky Mountain Opry is my favorite show–it’s a mix of Broadway-style music, pop music, and other acts. Country Tonite is also good, if you like country music. If you go to the park, I would recommend hiking up to Clingman’s Dome–you can get some great photos up there. My mom and I are headed to Pigeon Forge in May, but I won’t be doing Clingman’s Dome this time because of my recent heart attack.

    7. ValaMalDoran*

      McKay’s Used Books and CDs. So fun to wander in.

      Smokey Mountain Knife Works, which is about 25 miles from Knoxville, is really cool, and has much more than sharp pointy things.

    8. Buffay the Vampire Layer*

      Hopefully it’s still there, since the last time I was in Knoxville was 2013, but the Peter Kern Library (a speakeasy style bar) inside The Oliver hotel is seriously one of the best bars I’ve ever been to. Very interesting and unique drinks, which can be easily made into virgin drinks, and the whole thing is book-themed. The cocktails are named after literary characters, the room is small with tons of interesting old books on the walls, and the menus are inside books as well.
      And if you’re in that downtown area, there is often something going on in the big plaza next door. When we were there over Memorial Day they had set up a little karaoke machine and people were taking turns singing. It was really cute and a lot of fun.

    1. Ali G*

      Good Dog Cafe
      Rouge
      Anything in Reading Terminal (Dinicks – get the pork with provolone)
      Dandelion
      Royal Tavern

    2. ThatGirl*

      Seconding Reading Terminal Market.
      Monks Cafe
      Tria Taproom had food and is right on the square
      Franklin Fountain and Mac’s Tavern on Market St
      Lots of good stuff, honestly :)

    3. EmilyG*

      Yay, food threads. Seconding Parc, Dandelion (was there earlier today in fact…), Tria for more snack-like food. Also Dizengoff (maybe lunch only?), Friday Saturday Sunday, and Pumpkin (BYOB).

    4. P*

      Amma’s South Indian Cuisine (recently opened, very authentic delicious southern Indian), Tria (great wine bar), Alma de Cuba (very tasty Cuban), Village Whiskey (awesome burgers & cocktails), Gran Caffe L’Aquila (excellent Italian food & desserts esp. the tiramisu), Zama (great sushi).

  39. Loopy*

    AAM! I need advice/sympathy from this wonderful community (again).

    I am five weeks away from my wedding. We had a 14 month engagement with a pretty traditional wedding. I have done 85-90% of everything because A) I wanted the wedding art more than fiance B) Fiance gets easily overwhelmed and C) in Dec, fiance’s dad went into ICU.

    This was naive of me to think this would be super *~fine~* but now here we are and I’m burnt out. I always joked about throwing up my hands and letting fiance take on more at the end when I was just DONE with it all, but due to immediate family in serious hospitalization, that (admittedly quite crappy) plan is out. Note, my family and friends are long distance and can’t practically take much on to help and my closest friend is about to be a first time mom (in like a month!!) and is focusing on that. His family is close in proximity but not in that I feel comfy asking them for help.

    How do I chug through to the end of this to-do list without being in my current mindset of UGH JUST LET IT BE OVER? Is there a way to channel at least some of the energetic I-love (tolerate)-wedding-planning me of 14 months ago? Because right now I am realizing I’ve never planned anything over such a long period and I’m just so sick of this one thing dominating my life! Is there any equivalent out there of such long term planning for a single event? How do people do it?

    (Also, how does such a basic event have so much to do?!?! We are doing the super most basic version of a traditional wedding. It feels like I should be getting a full production/cirque du soleil style show from my level of effort, not just like… bouquets, a dress and some food o.O)

    1. Ali G*

      Congratulations! Is this a problem you can throw some money at? There are “30-60-90 day out” wedding planners you can hire to take care of all the last minute coordination. You basically pay them to run the logistics, coordinate vendors, herd cats day-of, etc.. I paid like $1100 for mine, but they could be less depending on what you need from them.

      1. Loopy*

        Ah I so wish but I’ve uh, already gone above budget just because of things going awry/not being as low as they could have, minor already throwing money at things to fix them!

      2. A*

        Seconding a good day-of coordinator if you can afford it. It takes a lot of the end-stage details planning off your plate.

    2. Lcsa99*

      I think you probably need a day (or even a week) off. Just do nothing wedding planning related for however long you can afford (depending on how much you have left to do) and let your brain reset. If you let yourself just be normal for a while instead of wedding planner you should be able to jump back into the fun of it again.

      1. Jersey's mom*

        For me, I’d need to list all the to-dos first along with dates. Then I could relax for a day or two.

        1. Lcsa99*

          True. I am assuming everyone works like I did for my wedding and had a long list of everything that needed to be done. Actually I had several lists but, yeah. :)

      2. Loopy*

        So…. this is great advice but… I took all of December off for holiday YAY. It was GREAT. And the issue is I was feeling okay jumping back in (it really was an amazing break!) but then life punched me in the face (neglected to mention my own dad got taken to the hospital by ambulance this Thursday and work blew up multiple times over this week). Alas, so I can’t actually really afford to take much more time away for things to go smoothly (vendors have deadlines for info/decisions, appointments have been in place for moths for fittings and trials, etc.).

    3. Wishing You Well*

      Consider asking the fiance’s family for specific, well-defined help. Depending on the personalities, your requests could strengthen your relationship with them. Whatever you choose to do, I hope it goes very well.
      P.S. Even bridal planners tell brides not to expect a “perfect” wedding.
      P.S.S. Bridal burnout at this stage is not rare.

      1. Loopy*

        Thanks I think I’ll call his mom tonight. I’ve definitely taken on too much myself- hopefully it goes well!

    4. Jen Erik*

      I pretty much felt this about planning my own (tiny) wedding & I think my daughter did too. I suspect it’s a thing that happens. We both enjoyed the day when we finally got there.
      It all turns out fine. (In that things go wrong but, to quote Shakespeare in Love, “Strangely enough, it all turns out well.”)

      I agree with Lcsa99 – if you can take a break, and do something you haven’t had a chance to enjoy for a bit, it might be a nice change.

      (And I have no idea why there is so much to organise, or how it ever ends up costing as much as it does. It makes no sense.)

    5. Lilysparrow*

      I think wedding planning is one of those things that expands to fill the time allotted. And has many moving parts that each seem all, but add up to death by a thousand cuts.

      Look at what you can cut or simplify. There are probably a lot of things that would be nice to have but you’ll still be married if it doesn’t happen. If you haven’t already paid for it, cut it.

      1. Amy Farrah Fowler*

        I agree with this 1000%

        Go through your to do lists and see what can be cut or simplified. At 5 weeks out, there shouldn’t be a ton of huge decision making left. Most major decisions (venue, dress, food, etc) have likely been made. So probably what you are working on now are tons of little projects, with a few last minute meetings thrown in.

        I was in a really bad car accident about 5 weeks before my own wedding and it really helped put things in perspective for me. No one but you will know if things didnt go exactly according to plan, and my mantra became “as long as neither of us runs away screaming during the ceremony, then everything is going according to plan.”

        We’ve been married 5 1/2 yrs now.

        Congrats on getting married! Spend time with your fiance and family. Enjoy this and keep in mind that the marriage is more important than the wedding

      2. Observer*

        I totally agree with “if you haven’t paid for it, cut it.”

        The only things you absolutely NEED are the officiant and the paperwork. The only things that are important are having the venue and appropriate caterer. EVERYTHING else is extra. Seating cards, favors, playlist etc. All icing on the cake. Even the musician (if you were planning to have one) is really not THAT important, and I’m betting that’s already booked.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      I think that wedding planning is harder than marriage. Perhaps that is why weddings are the way they are to test the couple? I wish I was joking but I am not.

      A good rule of thumb is that things morph into way more energy than they should be AND things go wrong at the worst possible time.

      My friend does weddings. She reminds her people that NO MATTER how the day goes, at the end of the day you will STILL be married. Mission accomplished. The rest is really small potatoes as it has zero impact on the ceremony itself. If the flowers aren’t perfect you will still be legally married. If the family is fighting with each other you will still be married. If it rains you will still be married. If everyone hates the food, you will still be married. Stay focused on the main goal and realize that most of this stuff is just not that important.

      1. Paquita*

        I was asked to sub with a handbell group for a wedding several years ago. Outdoor venue at a historic site, hot chocolate stations(not winter, but cool idea!), a well known local group for the rest of the music, all very posh. Well, here came the rain! The bells absolutely cannot get wet, nor could the other musicians instruments. So the couple and most of the guests just went to the indoor reception area across the street and had a short ceremony. The rest of us packed up and went home. Lot of money spent with nothing to show for it. But they were still married at the end of the day! (We didn’t personally get paid, the fee went to the volunteer semi-professional handbell ensemble. They run on donations.)

    7. The Gollux (Not a Mere Device)*

      This is more sympathy than advice, but to paraphrase Captain Awkward, if the couple are married at the end of the day, the wedding was a success. It’s more important to still like each other, and the people you invited because you care about them, than it is to have a fancy cake, or any particular clothing. If you’re being really traditional, the basics can be a church/synagogue/temple/etc. and someone to officiate–that’s the ceremony–and you can just serve wedding cake and punch afterwards.

      I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy a new dress, or get a florist to make you a bouquet in your favorite colors, or serve a full meal to your guests. But if you think of it as adding those to the necessary basics, that might reduce stress.

    8. ..Kat..*

      Just remember, a lot of things can fall through or go wrong, and in the end you will still be successfully married. For example, due to my not knowing how things worked at weddings, my reception ended up with no table clothes, no center pieces! Just bare tables! Well, the food on the tables was delicious! I just shrugged and said “oh well. Nothing I can do to change it now.” Still have the husband (he is terrific). And in hindsight, we saved a few hundred dollars. Ha ha.

      That said, is there anything you can just not do to make your life simpler? Even if you loose the deposit?

      Best wishes. And remember, if you get the husband correct, you win. Even the rings don’t matter. Trust me, I have lost three wedding rings.

    9. Bluebell*

      Wedding planning is also a great way to bring your friends in. some people are much happier helping with the planning, more than doing the bridesmaid thing. I had specific friends who helped me with various things when I was planning my wedding and didn’t live in the same town as most of my close family. Good luck!

    10. SciDiver*

      Even if your family and friends are long-distance, there are things they can do to help! My sister got married in October and everyone involved was thousands of miles away until the week of the wedding. I really love planning and scheduling, so my sister sent me a list of things that had to happen over 3 days and I put together a time table. Each event we had to travel for, my partner and I organized carpools, uber rides, etc., the groom’s sister and I coordinated all events for the day before so they could have a stress-free day, we made decisions about activities and meals so bride + groom didn’t have to get bogged down in more choice fatigue. I know you’ve done 85-90% of the work, so outsource any other details you possibly can to family and friends! Does someone need to call the venue to confirm timing the day before? Does the cake need to be picked up? Do you have place cards that just need to be assembled/folded/finished? Extra hands to haul in flowers so it doesn’t take you hours to do it along? Most people love feeling helpful and like they contributed personally to your special day–take advantage of that and use all the help you can get in these last few weeks. Congratulations on the wedding and best wishes for the future!

  40. Beth the Tall*

    My husband is a dreamer and I am very practical. For the whole 10 years I’ve known him, he has announced various plans that he intends to pursue – this hobby, this project, this job, this side business, this craft. In the beginning, I took it seriously and had long conversations with him about what he was planning and got emotionally invested. Over time, I realized that he makes lots of these types of plans but almost never sees them through. He gets really excited and does things like buy books to read on the topic to help him, contacts people who might help, stays up late night after night working on the thing. And then I realize months have gone by and I’ve never heard about the thing again.

    This is fine. It doesn’t really impact me and he’s not spending large amounts of money on any of this. It was originally hard for me to understand because I’m an action person-if I plan something, I nearly always follow through. But I’ve come to understand we’re different in this way.

    The problem, and my question, is that I no longer take his plans very seriously when he mentions them. He tells me about an idea for some side work that he’s really excited about and I just cannot muster up the enthusiasm I used to. I don’t want to say ‘you’re never going to do that’ because that’s mean … but he’s probably never going to do it, and I feel uncomfortable pretending otherwise. I don’t mind that he does this! I just don’t know how to respond when he brings these things up now because he’s looking for enthusiasm from me and I just cannot fake that at this point.

    Any advice on how to respond when this happens would be great. I want to be kind and loving and supportive but also not live in a fantasy world or spend an hour discussing plans that aren’t likely to lead anywhere.

    1. Finding Neverland*

      Do you know why these plans fall through? Could you encourage him to keep going on one of them? If he actually saw something through to the end, you could be a lot more involved and engaged with it. Do you want to help him get to the final goal on a project or just survive the talk of something that you don’t think will happen?

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with engaging in a discussion even if you don’t think it will happen, but if you’re frustrated by what looks like a pointless conversation, I’d try to get him to keep going after that initial talk, rather than shut down all conversation forever.

      1. Beth the Tall*

        I definitely do not want to be the person helping him get to the final goal anymore. I used to do that and got really invested and spent time helping him and it would go nowhere and I would feel frustrated. It’s bad for our relationship. Again, it’s ok that he does this. I just want to be realistic about how it plays out but not be unkind.

        1. Beth the Tall*

          To answer your questions about why the plans fall through- he seems to just stop pursuing them and then eventually he moves on to another interest. I think it’s just his way. He has ADHD and moves from one interest to another and it seems to bring him pleasure. I’ve never asked if he’s disappointed that these plans never seem to come to fruition because he can be sensitive and I think would feel either criticized or disappointed in himself. I don’t want him to feel bad-I love him! I just don’t want to be asked to engage in enthusiastic conversations about plans that are really unlikely to go anywhere, after I’ve put years into doing that previously.

          1. fposte*

            I can see that you’ve felt you’ve invested when you shouldn’t have and feel your energy was misplaced. But is there a possibility that conversation doesn’t have to mean investment or momentum? It sounds like something that could be a pretty enjoyable discussion, and it can be fun to dream together; you don’t have to start setting aside money for the topic du jour or even pretend you’re going to.

          2. Ainomiaka*

            I think starting with a “how much does it bother you that these don’t happen?” conversation when you aren’t in the thick of it with high emotions is the best start. Have you asked what he actually wants you to do? He might be way less worried about it than you think.

    2. Trixie*

      I would an open conversation helpful. Not to bring up past non-starters but to honestly his many previous passions. Sounds like he enjoys the research and strategic planning more than actual implementation. Maybe he just enjoys the learning process more than anything. It’s not like you’re telling him ‘This will never happen.” I’d be hard-pressed to muster enthusiasm too. Frankly, I’d find the role of cheerleader exhausting if progress was never made.

    3. IhearYA*

      No advice, but I am in the same kind of situation. My boyfriend mentions plans to me, that involve me as well (they are not just his own projects) and I start planning and getting excited. Then I learned that he doesn’t go through with most of his plans. My main concern is that my attitude then becomes “I don’t believe anything you say because it never happens” and I don’t like having that attitude about him. But it’s true. These are not super complicated plans either, it’s usually a short road trip (that would take only 1 day) or a plan to have my parents over to his place for dinner. I feel like he thinks he gets points for the offer but I’m much more of a “actions speak louder than words” person. It’s frustrating.

    4. Loopy*

      So I am one of those people who has phases. I also pick things up and abandon them. It doesn’t sound like to the extent of your husband but for a long time I felt so guilty /embarrassed that I just couldn’t stick with things or ever have anything to show for them. I never told anyone so they never knew but it was awful watching other people become great at things or known for things or have some finished product to show off. So that being said, I appreciate that you don’t bother him about the many things he’s not followed through with.

      What helped me was to see it as dabbling into a lot of what the world has to offer. To delve into many different things is to explore the world- even if you dont ever stick with it, finish it, you’re trying out new things and in that sense it’s wonderful. Could you maybe ask a few initial questions- even if you’re not excited about the Thing and know The Thing will be gone soon- in the mindset of, oh this is something I would never have learned about otherwise? It’s not enthusiasm but it’s some level of interest and that might be enough.

      Like, sometimes I’ll ask my partner about things he’s interested that I’m not just because hey- now I know a few things I wouldn’t have otherwise. I don’t think it hurts that I’m not as enthusiastic and excited about whatever it is, as long as my questions are coming from a respectful place and I have the right mindset of, what could it hurt learning a few new things and then politely going bout what I was doing? I will say that it’s an art to find balance and ask a few things and then go about what you were doing.

    5. JKP*

      It sounds like he enjoys the planning and reading part of the process. Maybe you can see that as the activity by itself rather than expect he has to actually follow through. Think of it like if his hobby was learning about history, he doesn’t have to attend a historical reenactment, but he still gets fulfillment from learning and connecting with other people who are more involved. Like my family loves to talk about what they’ll do if they win the lottery. No one thinks they actually will win, but it’s fun to plan and think about what you would do. Some people just enjoy the planning part more than the activity itself.

      1. Traffic_Spiral*

        I agree with this. Re-work “I’m going to do X” in your head into “I want to talk about planning to do X” and tolerate it as much as if he had just gotten into a new TV show or hobby – something you’re not personally interested in, but you know he’s having fun talking about it right now, so you pay some attention, but don’t dive into.

      2. fposte*

        This is what I was thinking. It sounds like you’re having a hard time finding the difference between helping him plan and telling him it’s never going to happen, but what if you treated it like a television show he’s enjoying rather than something actionable? “Sounds cool–what’s your favorite bit?” is a reasonable response to pretty much anything if you want to be engaged, but it doesn’t require you take any action, just let him enjoy prattling.

      3. Beth the Tall*

        That is good advice. Where it gets hard is when he says things like ‘in the future I could turn this into my own business’ and talks seriously about that happening and I’m thinking ‘look, you need a business plan, a plan for marketing this and finding customers, money for overhead’ and on and on but feel like that’s throwing water on him.

        1. fposte*

          I’m laughing, as a fellow planner. But also I think it’s worth thinking for a moment of what do you think would happen if you *didn’t* say that. There’s that conversational catechism of “Does this need to be said, does this need to be said right now, and does this need to be said by me?” It’s also worth remembering, for those of us who like to plan, that it’s not necessarily that we’re right and non-planners are wrong and that we must get in there to avert disaster; non-planners usually end up pretty okay and care less than we do about the difference between optimal and suboptimal.

          But mostly I think this may be a bit of a language difference and you’re falling prey to “false friends.” When he says this to you, it doesn’t mean the same as if you said it to him. It means “I’m enjoying thinking about this–come have fun with me.”

          1. valentine*

            Are you excited that he’s excited? What if you make it about that?

            Him: I’m going to buy a ton of stuff (that will linger in the garage until we trash it)!
            You: Sounds like fun.

            Him: This could be a business.
            You: You’d enjoy that.

        2. WellRed*

          But if it’s never gonna come to fruition, no need to get all serious on him. Just smile along. I realize this frustrating. We finally dismantled this year the dollhouse my dad started when I was 8 and never finished. Im 48 and he died 3 years ago.

    6. Lilysparrow*

      Hello, doppelganger!

      I’ve been happily married for 15 years to a guy who does this constantly. The thing that saved my sanity was realizing that he doesn’t actually need my full buy-in or a detailed discussion.

      He just needs a warm, accepting audience while he talks it out.

      So I say “hey, that sounds cool!” And I don’t really listen most of the time. That sounds kind of mean or dismissive, but it’s necessary. When he gets on one of these jags, it’s a torrent that can go on until I literally leave the house or tell him, “I’m going to sleep now. NOW.”

      The stuff that sticks around or comes up more often, I listen closer.

    7. Jessi*

      Maybe you could ask questions? like “why do you find this interesting, how did you get interested in this ect, tell me more about x” to show enthusisam or at least interest in what he is doing?

      When he’s off on wild plans mabye you could interject with things like “how will you make that happen? whats your first step/ next step, how do you see that working ect” You are showing interest in his projects

      Or even just simple comments like “I love seeing how happy you are when you have a new project! You really come alive when you are working on a plan” maybe a combination of showing enthusiasm quickly and then asking HIm what the plan is will head it off?

    8. ..Kat..*

      He enjoys the part of the projects that he does. He does not need to complete the projects, he just needs to do the part he enjoys. Consider the part that he does IS the entire project for him.

      Can you just share the joy that he has in starting something new? and then dropping it? Don’t invest as much of your time and energy in it, but listen enthusiastically as he talks about it? After all, you could spend the rest of your life talking about the weather instead.