weekend free-for-all – February 23-24, 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: The Banker’s Wife, by Cristina Alger. A banker’s plane goes down under suspicious circumstances on its way to Geneva, and his wife is left trying unravel what happened. You will stay up late reading this.

{ 1,267 comments… read them below }

  1. Saturday Wonderings

    I want to discuss the dreaded ‘did I not get invited to this wedding or did an invitation go missing’ question. For reference, I am a girl and all my friends I’m referencing are also girls.

    I’m in the post-college age where many friends are getting married; there has been a wedding or two every year for at least four years running now. I don’t usually get hung up on whether I’m invited to a wedding, especially of a college friend who I don’t see all the time. The last two weddings were for people I see once every few months and I was surprised/touched to receive an invite. I was talking with college friends I do see on the regular about upcoming weddings. Two who hadn’t been invited to the last two weddings expressed hurt at the lack of invite. One said she’d reached out to one of the brides on Facebook to ask if her invitation had gone astray but never heard back. I tried to soothe them with ‘the venues were small and the guest list quite shrunk’ but I’m not sure it helped. It’s not my battle, it’s between them and the bride, but I felt bad.

    As I said, I don’t usually get hung on a whether I’m invited to a wedding or not but… now I am. I was visiting a friend and noticed a save the date card on her fridge. It’s for an old high school friend of the both us. What’s unique about this is that I know myself and my invited friend had lost touch with the bride for a number of years and only recently saw regained contact at the same time last year (a death in the bride’s family). My invited friend and I both talked about how sad it was to be reunited with her over these trying times, so I know our amount of contact was roughly the same. It was a few months after that the bride announced her engagement on Facebook, and I was happy for her but not expecting an invitation because, despite my being there for her in the difficult time, we weren’t super close anymore as we’d been years ago.

    But now, seeing my invited friend who had a similar staying in-touch experience with the bride, now I am a little hurt. And my first thought was ‘maybe mine got lost in the mail; I’ve moved since we last saw each other, maybe she doesn’t have my new address’ but then she would have reached out to me on social to double check my address. My invited friend said she’d take me as her plus-one if she doesn’t have a date but that feels rude; if the bride wanted me there, she would have invited me. I’m tempted to do what my one friend did and ask the bride of Facebook but that feels… manipulative? It feels like not the right solution.

    Honestly, though I’m a little sad right now, it’s not the end of the world. I won’t harbor a deep grudge against the bride or anything like that, only a wonder or a question. So I guess my question is more of a reality check: is there any circumstance where it’s appropriate to ask if an invite is incoming or do I need to get over it?

    1. Lena Clare

      No don’t ask if you have an invite coming, that isn’t appropriate and would put the bride in an awkward position! Sorry, but this is just one of those things that you have to accept. You don’t really know for sure if your mutual friend had more contact with the bride after you all reconnected, or it could be simply that the bride gets on more with your friend than with you…but she gets to invite who she wants and if the invite is lost she will chase it up to find out what your RSVP is and if she doesn’t then there wasn’t an invite.

      1. Saturday Wonderings

        Yeah, that’s what I’m leaning towards; I think I just needed a reality check.

        When my one friend said she’d asked the bride, I thought that not a great choice, so I was surprised when it floated through my own head when I was in a similar situation.

        Thank you!

        1. CJ

          Is she doesn’t have your address, shell ask you for it through Facebook or whatever. If the save-the-date card got lost in the mail despite a correct address, you should still get the invitation. I’d wait till then and see what happens. It’s not anything you can ask her about without it being awkward, IMO.

          1. CJ

            Also, you said you wouldn’t hold a deep grudge. Please don’t have hold any grudge at all.

            We still have people upset with us because we didn’t invite them to our wedding over 26 years ago. We only had 30 people at our wedding – parents, the one sibling and her family, the one living grandparent, and each of us invited our best friend who stood up for us, and the BFs SOs.

            A co-worker was like, “well another one of your high school friends was there, not just your best friend”. That friend was married to my husband’s best friend who was the best man.

            People got to get over, and get a life. The invite list has to end somewhere.

        2. catwoman2965

          I’m older than you are, but I had a similar situation a few years back. I have a group of friends, and one who is not as close as some of the others, as in we don’t call each other directly etc. to make plans, but will be at the same gatherings and so on.

          When she got married, I was invited to both the shower and wedding, as were my other friends, and her baby shower, again, as were my other friends, who are a bit closer to her. But they were invited to her son’s christening, and I was not. I actually wasn’t too upset about it, for various reasons, but still kind of wondered why, since I HAD been invited to all her other “life events”

          Sometimes it just happens. Did my invite get lost in the mail? Maybe, but i’d like to think she would have contacted me when I didn’t RSVP. Was it an oversight? maybe. Or did she make the choice not to invite me? again, who knows.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood

        It can simply be another connection in the family– bride knows that friend gets along with GreatAunt Intimidatious (a.k.a. she who must be invited).

        1. the corner ficus

          Yes, this so much!!! I would have invited my friend Erin to my wedding regardlss (she was one of my bridesmaids) but I will fully admit that I loved having her there because she has this uncanny ability to talk kindly to horrible people. She acted as a buffer between me and my husband’s grandmother in a way I will never stop appreciating.

    2. Overeducated

      It’s not ok to ask, if the invite got lost in the mail the bride will follow up because your RSVP will be missing. But it is ok to be sad.

      One thing I’ve realized, in being past the age of most of my friends’ first weddings, is that it really is just one day. It hurts now, but what will make the difference in your friendships long term is whether you keep making the effort. This isn’t a permanent verdict on your friendship, ten years from now what will matter id who kept in touch the decade AFTER thr wedding. This doesn’t help now, i know, but just have hope that there will be a later.

      1. Saturday Wonderings

        Thank you, I really appreciate this comment. I think you’re exactly right about it being one day. In one wedding I was a bridesmaid for, the event was a bit crazy and the bride was so overwhelmed, to the point that myself and the other bridesmaid had to strip her out of her wedding dress and wrapped her in blankets by a fire because she was shaking so bad. She remembers the ceremony in perfect detail because that was calm but the reception is a haze because she was tired and overwhelmed so she honestly didn’t care whose was there.

        You’re completely right; I’ll be a little upset for now but I’d rather work on improving my relationship because I want to be friends with this person, not awkwardly ask why I wasn’t invited to her wedding and feel like I’m bullying an invitation out of her.

        1. PhyllisB

          This is late, but hope you read this. I understand how you feel. My grand-son’s dad was getting married, (he and my daughter never married, but we all get along very well, and I’m crazy about his wife!!) He told us we were getting an invitation to the wedding….and we didn’t.
          To be certain there wasn’t a mistake, I called his mother when it was getting close to be certain because we would have had to make hotel reservations, ect. She and I are friends and I knew she wouldn’t mind and would be straight with me. She told me she thought they just had to decide to cut some names because their guest list ended up with over 200 people!! That was fine, at least I knew somebody wasn’t worrying about where our RSVP was. Was I disappointed? A little, but I certainly understood.

    3. Amy

      I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. I would be hurt too. But I agree with the others that you shouldn’t ask the bride about your invitation. If somehow it was lost in the mail she’ll contact you when RSVPs are due and she hasn’t received yours. But I think this is an unlikely scenario.

      When I was getting married in my 20’s I was on the other side of this situation, in that we did not invite extended family and had one of them contact my dad about why she was not invited. She was an older lady, a distant cousin once removed who I had seen only a handful of times in my life that I could remember. However, it became a Big Deal and was horribly awkward and uncomfortable for me and my fiance. We ended up just inviting her late to stop the drama, she came, all was well, but I still don’t look at her the same way.

      1. Snazzy Hat

        Wow. And I thought my awkward “these family members are huge jerks, but we have to invite them because they’re petty” followed by them getting upset for not being invited even though they were invited was loaded with drama! Before mailing, we actually considered hand-delivering the invitation with a video recording, to prove that we gave them an invitation and they either accepted it or refused it.

        I’m guessing your distant cousin is from the Southern US. My mother insisted that we invite everyone on her side of the family because we just had to.

    4. Snazzy Hat

      I had a group of friends in middle and high school. Looking back on the group, I was the (let’s be nice here) unambitious one. They took all advanced courses, I took a few. They went on to amazing tracks & careers like aerospace, medical, & Yale law; I went through multiple majors and got my B.A. after eight years, which earned me jobs that had nothing to do with my field. We had our own lives, but I thought we kept in touch through FB and whatnot.

      Anyway, out of the five of us, I married first and invited the other four, who all attended. Anne was a bridesmaid of mine, and years later she invited me to her wedding. I was okay when I didn’t get an invitation to Brigid’s wedding, since I was pretty sure it was a small event and an eight-hour drive away. Cindy’s lack of an invitation had me a little disappointed, even though the wedding was out-of-state, because I knew a lot of our mutual friends & old classmates were being invited. Diana’s decision to not invite me really upset me, because it was in our hometown — I was the only one who still lived there — and I didn’t even know she was engaged until I saw the wedding photos being posted by her and our friends. To make matters worse, her father & my father see each other more frequently, and they aren’t even that close.

      I actually talked to my counselor about this a few months ago — we were on the topic of friendship and feeling like a jerk when I don’t want to hang out with people I see every week or two — and she basically replied that it’s normal to have friendships part ways or to not be as strong as they used to be, especially when I have other friends with whom I can have a long absence but keep a strong connection. Your comment of “we weren’t super close anymore as we’d been years ago” is a great reality check in itself. It sucks, but in the end it’s okay.

    5. Karen from Finance

      I agree you shouldn’t ask, and I empathize with the situation as well. I’ve been in a similar situation before and it’s not nice.

    6. MatKnifeNinja

      Friendships change and die. It happens. Life gets busy. People get new jobs, new interests and “outgrow” friendships.

      You think it’s bad now, wait until the babies start coming, and kid travel sports weekend.

      Sometimes YOU value the relationship more than the other person.

      I would not ever ask. Weddings are weird beast. In my family a decent gaggle of BFFs are rarely invited because family (huge) and business relations get invited. There is no way 8 friends plus 1+ would be invited. Those spots go to others.

      Don’t fire up the crazy train. It maybe totally out of the bride’s control or you’ll find out soon enough if you went from BFF to *meh*.

      Life can really stink sometimes. Would you feel better with a pity invite? I wouldn’t. No fun getting a pity invite and dumped at table #9.

      1. MatKnifeNinja

        A suggestion. The New York Times online has an article, “When Weddings Ruin Friendships”. It was published 2/6/2019. It talks about all the things you are going through with your friends.

    7. Marion Ravenwood

      First of all, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. I’ve had similar things happen to me, and this is currently happening to a friend of my husband’s over a mutual friend’s wedding, so I know how horrible it is.

      I agree with those saying not to say anything. If your invite did get lost in the post, the bride should follow up if she doesn’t hear from you when she expects to. Speaking from experience, it’s often an incredibly hard decision who to invite and sometimes you do have to say no due to space/budget etc, even though it sucks for both sides in that scenario. But ultimately it’s the couple’s decision, and as Overeducated wisely says it is just one day in the grand scheme of things – the important thing is what happens after the wedding.

    8. Lilysparrow

      General life tip: never ask a question if you aren’t willing to hear a true answer. Would you want the bride to have to say out loud, “Actually no, we didn’t invite you.” Would it be better to know she decided not to invite you, or that it never crossed her mind?

      Neither, right? Those would both be horrible to hear, and a crappy thing to put on someone you apparently like!

      I know it stinks to feel left out. But on a purely practical level, you aren’t close with the bride and haven’t been for years. You never expected an invitation, because you don’t consider her a close friend.

      The fact that another mutual friend got invited doesn’t change anything about the reality of your situation.

      Mourning a loss is weird and unpredictable. Maybe the invitee said or did something around the funeral, or in the time afterward, that was very touching or meaningful to the bride. Or that hit her on a day when she was sensitive to it, while your condolences maybe didn’t register in quite the same way. Not because you did anything wrong or less sincere, but just in the idiosyncrasies of personal grief.

      Or maybe the bride is one of those who scattershots save-the-dates and then doesn’t send actual invites to everyone.

      But ultimately, it boils down to the truth that friendship is not a competitive sport, and the exact degree of closeness between two people who are not you, is really none of your beeswax.

      Try, if you can, to pretend you never saw the SavetheDate im the first place. It’s not a commentary on your youth, nor on your value as a friend or a person.

      It has nothing to do with you at all.

    9. Sara(h)

      “It was a few months after that the bride announced her engagement on Facebook, and I was happy for her but not expecting an invitation because, despite my being there for her in the difficult time, we weren’t super close anymore as we’d been years ago.”
      This is the key — you didn’t expect to be invited! It wasn’t until you learned that your mutual friend was invited that your feelings got hurt. I get it, and I’m sure I would have a wince of hurt myself, but the then I would remind myself it’s no big deal, that we’re not close, it’s nothing personal, etc. You could drive yourself crazy trying to pick apart the reasons. Perhaps Bride just feels a deeper connection with the mutual friend, and that’s okay!
      And speaking of it being nothing personal, if your friend invites you as her +1, you should go if you want, if you can enjoy being a part of the occasion to celebrate your friend’s happy day without any resentment. It’s not like the bride dislikes you and would be unhappy to have you there. Like most weddings, she probably had to limit the number of guests and draw the line somewhere. Putting myself in Bride’s shoes, if an invited friend brought another non-invited friend to my wedding, I would be pleased to see them and wouldn’t think twice about it. Besides, it’s her big day, she’ll likely have too much going on to even really notice let alone give it any thought.

    10. Thea

      I was once in a similar situation. I wasn’t really close to the couple getting married, but all of our mutual friends got an invite, and I didn’t. I was a little bit hurt, and a little bit confused, but didn’t reach out because I figured it was really up to them who they wanted to invite.

      The day after the wedding, a friend called me and said that my name had been on the seating chart. My invite had apparently really gotten lost… Oups?

        1. Thea

          Unless they have the wrong address, which was probably the case with my missing invite. But honestly, even though I had a wedding invite go missing, I still wouldn’t ask about an missing invite. There are all sort of reasons why you can’t invite everyone to a wedding, and it’s not that easy to set the guest list. It’s up to the bride and groom to check if the invite arrived if they don’t get an RSVP.

          1. Jasnah

            Yeah that’s really on the bride and groom to follow up if they only get radio silence after sending you an invite. That’s really weird that they sent both, heard nothing, and assumed you were coming without attempting to contact you by phone/email/social media….

    11. MissDisplaced

      I think with these sorts of things is don’t take it personal. There could be so many reasons why you weren’t invited, and probably nothing that’s ill-intentioned.
      If you miss her friendship, why not send her a wedding card post-wedding date wishing the happy couple well.

    12. WoodswomanWrites

      Friendships flow and wane, and you can’t predict how things will go. An additional factor for many couples is that they can’t afford to invite everyone they’d like to have there.

      1. WoodswomanWrites

        Hit send too soon. I recently officiated a wedding for a friend who’s part of a circle of people that all used to work together. We are still in touch to various degrees. In this case, our friend invited just me and one other former colleague and her husband, largely because they had a pretty small wedding and couldn’t afford to invite more people.

    13. MommyMD

      Assume you are not invited and do not ask the bride. Between save the date, the shower and the wedding, you will surely know if you are invited. All three will not be lost in the mail. Bride may feel closer to other friend. Just put it out of your mind. Also don’t go as a plus one.

    14. ..Kat..

      Don’t ask. But, you can send an email saying “I heard from mutual-friend that you are getting married. Congratulations! I am so happy for you!” If she sent you an invite, she will realize that you did not get it. If she did not send you an invite, you a wonderful, non-pushy friend who is not stressing her out.

      And you are right – don’t take it personally. Perhaps she could send one last invite, and your mutual friend had talked with her more recently than you did. Perhaps mutual friend wore a blue dress the last time the bride talked with her – and the bride’s favorite color is blue.

      Think of the money that you are saving! Attending weddings is a huge expense for people in your age bracket. Use some of that money to treat yourself instead.

      1. Doc in a Box

        Wedding invitations can be subject to weird rules. I didn’t get an invitation to my own cousin’s wedding recently, which was hurtful — and then it turned out that my aunt and uncle assumed I was included in my parents’ invitation, like a bizarre “buy 2 get 1 free” deal. I am in my 30s and live in a different state from my parents, but I’m unmarried myself, so socially, my extended family treats me like an adolescent.

        1. Cafe au Lait

          My brother did this for his wedding. “Of course cousins are invited. It says Name + Family!”

          It doesn’t work that way, Bro. If they’re paying for the majority of their expenses on their own they get their own invite.

        2. Bethany D

          I was in my mid-20s & married with a baby when a cousin had a wedding – and until less than 24 hours beforehand I didn’t know that the wedding invitation sent to my parents was intended to include me/my family & all my grown siblings too! Later I regetted not attending, but in that moment I just felt too overwhelmed to try to make last-minute plans to attend.

    15. Indie

      Be the friend who gives her the gift of not quizzing her about her guest list? For all you know your friend was drafted in as a spare buffer in an impossible seating chart situation. Or to make up a table.
      I don’t know any bride who hasn’t had this question and however gently put, it is always awkward and weird. My own good friend made what I thought were really weird choices of bridesmaid which excluded me; but by not asking, and by observing, I became her go-to support and became really grateful I was separate from the bridesmaids drama. I am still friends with people whose wedding I didnt get an invite to/didn’t invite to mine. Weddings really are meaningless in that sense.
      Invite her to brunch post-wedding and you’ll get more face time than you’d ever get at a wedding. Check in to see how she is actually doing. You will be far more of a support to a new marriage than a mere witness.
      If this is about your worth as a person? You’re worth spending the guest expenses on yourself. Worth spending the day on yourself. Enjoy that!

      1. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD

        Re: weird bridesmaid choices: I made those too. I went through crazy (debating whether narcissist mom and enabler dad should be invited) then figuring out who was mentally stubborn enough and had enough free time as bridesmaids to handle them both from start of engagement to day of marriage. I didn’t ask one friend I’d known the longest because she’d had her own family drama, plus was working 3 jobs (ie. One being graveyard shifts as a teapot mortician) and said every time we met previously that she had no free time to herself, and she brought her work phone and got pages during baby showers. So I invited her as a guest, and I think she had a wonderful time. And given I’d needed reinforcements from bridesmaids, my aunt, schoolfriend’s mom who’d known my mom 16 years, 3 female cousins, an aunt-in-law, and 2 wedding coordinators (1 manager and 1 assistant) I think I made the right choice for us all.

        1. Indie

          Yeah bridesmaids are often just bouncers in the same way that guests are very often a bunch of social obligations.

    16. Loopy

      So, I’m a bride who had a somewhat similar situation to this! I had a very close friend A who introduced me to friend B. Over the years I actually became closer to friend B and honestly just naturally kind of became more distant acquaintances with friend A even though we originally had been very very close years ago.

      Well I had a wedding the was 90-95% family. After family had been invited there was so little room in the venue space and budget that I just couldn’t have everyone I wanted. A LOT of people I wanted, truly wanted to invite and had every reason to expect an invite, did not get one. This was so hard for me to risk relationships but I had no choice. So yes, friend B got invited and friend A didn’t and it was incredibly hard for friend A. But I never ever meant to hurt her or rank the friendship. Had I had the space, I’d have been thrilled to have both.

      Please try not to see your friendship through the lens of a wedding. So many factors go into it that have nothing to do with the brides honest desire to invite you! I have true regrets about not being able invite people I wanted there from day one. I’d hate to have our relationship suffer for a choice I never wanted to make.

    17. LynnP

      If you want to keep this friendship wait until the wedding is over to send a (small) gift and congratulations. It shows you value the relationship and aren’t salty about the wedding. I have done with with friends, children of friends, and my kids now do it. When I got married in the 1980s having 250+ was usual, the last weddings I’ve gone to have been much smaller.

      1. Olive Hornby

        I’m not sure about sending a gift–to me, it risks reading a little passive-aggressive, even if the giver doesn’t intend it that way. Children of friends is a different situation–we received a few lovely small gifts (think a nice bottle of wine) from friends and colleagues of my in-laws who we didn’t know well enough to invite–but I’d have been a little weirded out if a school friend who wasn’t invited to the wedding sent a gift. (This may also vary regionally–we’re in the northeast US.) But I agree on the note.

        Re: asking the bride about a missing invitation, I’ve actually done this once, but the circumstances were really specific: 1) The bride had reached out to ask for our address 2) we were having a problem with our mail delivery and/or possible mail theft 3) the wedding was in another country, and it wasn’t financially feasible for us to wait for the actual invitation to make travel plans. We ended up responding to the bride’s email asking for our address with something terribly awkward like, “If you sent us something in the mail, we didn’t receive it, but if you didn’t, it’s totally okay, no hard feelings, etc.!” (In our case, she had indeed sent us a save the date that we never received, so she was able to tell us we were invited and let us know about travel stuff.) But I don’t advise doing this unless you have a very strong indication that you were meant to be invited.

    18. Kali

      I always find it weird to see people classify friendships in terms of hours. The bride’s friendship with your invited friend is a totally different relationship to yours with the bride, and those relationships aren’t based on the literal time spent together. Maybe the bride just feels like she has something more in common with the invited friend, or there’s a specific memory they share that’s arbitrarily important to the bride. You’ll probably never know because you’re not in that relationship.

      I hope that’s not come out too harsh. I’ve seen a distant friend of mine go through the exact same struggle, right down to listing social events, and I’ve been wanting to spell that out to her for ages. All relationships are different, and you can’t know someone else’s friendship from the outside.

  2. Overeducated

    Hi all! Has anyone here moved with small kids? How disruptive was it for them? We might have found a house to buy (!!!), but it’s on the other side of our metro area, closer to spouse’s job, so would mean completely uprooting our preschooler from friends and teachers who’ve been part of each other’s lives for years. And we expect spouse will get another new job in the next 2-4 years, which could change the commuting equation (but the current commute is truly brutal, 1.5-2.5 hours in car, and the move would cut that in half while adding 25 min to my commute).

    So I am really interested in hearing frim people who moved with preschool or elementary aged kids, and how hard it was on them. Also, things you wish you’d known or considered more before buyinf a home. My family is against giving opinions on major life decisions because of an extreme fear of butting in, so I turn to you, good people of AAM!

    1. I Am Groot

      I think it’s better to go when they’re smaller than when they’re older. We moved from one city to another when I was in preschool-early elementary school and I found new friends really quickly. If it had happened a few years later, in middle school when I had more established friends, I don’t think I would have handled it as well.

      The possibility of having to move again in 2-4 years does make me paused because even young kids might not like the frequent moves but it can’t be helped if your spouse is in a field with frequent career changes.

      1. Overeducated

        Yeah, that is what gives me pause too. We could keep renting throughout this job and wait to settle, but who knows if the next will be a “forever” job? I don’t even want to be in MY job in 3 years, but there is a lot of opportunity for me in my current city, which is not the case for spouse, whose only option was the term limited job with the extreme commute.

        1. Overeducated

          I should also note my eagerness to settle down comes from having moved every two years for the last decade…I want that to be over, but it’s not necessarily the house that’s going to magically make that possible, you know?

      2. pcake

        I guess I have a different take. We moved fairly frequently when I was a kid as my father’s changed jobs. I wasn’t the best at blending with other kids because even in kindergarten I was used to talking with adults about adult stuff, so it took me a while to find a way to get along with classmates. And each time I finally developed friends, we moved again. Honestly those moves formed me.

        I disagree that it’s better to move when kids are younger. I think when kids are younger, they’re still developing socially, and a feeling of security and being with the same school, teachers and friends, helps develop a feeling of security. You learn to create deeper friendships.

        That being said, the world isn’t perfect. If you can create a loving, secure family unit, that probably helps a lot in moves. The more secure you are in those moves, the more secure your kids will feel about them. Best of luck to you.

    2. Drew

      Don’t have kids but I moved AS a smallish kid (9) and it worked out OK. My dad got a new job several states away in the spring and he and my mom decided not to move the family until the school year was over so my sib and I didn’t have to uproot right in the middle of the year. That made it a lot easier.

      In your case, can you reach out to the parents of your kids’ friends and set up some playdates after the move?

      1. Overeducated

        Definitely, I was thinking about that! We’d also be slightly closer to family friends with kids who are scattered around the even-more-distant suburbs, though we don’t know anyone in the actual neighborbood.

      2. Marion Ravenwood

        Similar thing happened to me as a kid – when I was six my dad got a job three hours’ drive away, but it was smack in the middle of my sister’s GCSE exam year and would have been really disruptive to move her to a new school. So he worked away in the week for a year until she’d taken her exams, and then we moved that summer. I think it helped because it gave us time to settle in to the new house/town without the added pressure of getting used to a new school and making friends etc (my mum was a teacher so moving in the summer also meant she could spend time with us before starting her new job), although I know my sister found it difficult because her friendships were much more established than mine.

        I agree the playdates are a good idea. I was put into a summer activity club two days a week when we moved, partly to get me out of the house but also to help me make new friends, and it definitely helped. The move also meant we lived a lot closer to my cousins, who I was quite close to anyway but reducing the distance between our houses by two hours meant we spent a lot more time together.

    3. Rhymes with Mitochondria

      Earlier is better than later. Moving teens is HARD and when you have teens that are in a good, supportive, not cliquey, backstabbing or cruel, not drug using or drinking every weekend friend group, you REALLY want to avoid screwing that up.

    4. CoffeeforLife

      There was a similar question posted this month to Slate’s Care and Feeding. I moved often as a kid (9 times) and it taught me to be adaptable and flexible. You are only moving across town not to a whole new region or country. Do what is best for your family as a whole: moving means less commuting = more family time, less stress.

      I believe the needs of the adults are primary (yes, I know this is going to anger some but that is predicated on the children’s needs being met above the basic level e.g affection, being heard, etc. ) and you sometimes make tough decisions that your kids won’t love. I moved 4 times in HS (2 in my senior year). I didn’t love it, but it didn’t stunt me as an adult. Now kids have digital ways to stay connected – so they don’t have to lose friendships.

    5. Not All

      I don’t have kids, but WAS the kid that moved. Several times in preschool that I don’t even remember & apparently didn’t have an issue with, summer of 3rd/4th grade, and junior high. (and an average of every 3 yrs since high school but that’s another story!) The only one I had an issue with was the jr high move & that really had more to do with going from a small city to an incredibly rural, insular town where I was quite literally the only person in my grade not at least second cousins with someone else. Graduating classes of less than 20 were normal. That was awful…but it was because the people there were heinous to “outsiders”, not because of the move itself.

      Your kids will be fine, especially if you can do it during the summer break when classes typically are broken up anyway.

    6. G

      We moved with kids who were 6, 4, and almost 2. (Moved the summer between K and 1st for the oldest.)

      It was fine. Kids that young make new friends quickly. Thise kids are now 19, 17, and 14. The youngest barely remembers the “old house “; the oldest has vivid (fond) memories of kindergarten that he suspects are strengthened by it having been his only year at that school. None of them remember the move being difficult in any way.

      However, we haven’t moved since, so I don’t know if that changes things.

    7. Not So NewReader

      FWIW, I was just less that 5 when we moved to a house my parents bought. I remember my dad walking with me all over the house and yard. “This is the attic, this is the basement, this will be your bedroom and this will be mine and your mother’s bedroom… these are the property lines..” I don’t remember if I had questions but I am sure if I did he answered me.
      It did not take long to do this little orientation and I just settled right in. Even now, decades later, I do think that walk around was very helpful.

    8. King Friday XIII

      We moved when Prince Tuesday was three, similarly across the metro area. She didn’t change daycares until a few months later, since we’d previously had one near Queen Sara’s office, but she didn’t seem to have any problems making the switch. I think the only part of the process that really unnerved her was going back to the old, empty place when we were cleaning it, but we worked pretty hard to make sure her room was set up right away and she knew what was going on through the whole process.

    9. I don’t post often

      We just moved with a three year old. Honestly she has taken it a lot better than me (we moved for husband’s job). But she does pick up on my moods if I’m starting to grow bitter. Daughter is very sensitive to that sort of thing, but I think that’s normal? Something we did that was helpful- walked around our yard and said goodbye to all the things, neighborhood animals, etc. Said goodbye to close friends explaining we wouldn’t see them as often. Then during the actual house closing and moving part she stayed with my parents. When she arrived at new house her room was set up with all her things. (The rest of the House was still a walking maze of boxes!). I encouraged a lot of talk and didn’t discourage any negative feelings. She did fine the first month and then suddenly broke into a tantrum one night of all the things she missed (and we were amazed at the many things she remembered). We are about four months in and she still mentions missing old house/ school/ teacher/church/ library and we encourage her to talk but also point out it’s ok to be happy and like our friends here at the same time. There is a Daniel tiger episode about a family that just moved in. Highlights magazine (high five for toddlers) has a couple of good moving stories. I found that prep was helpful and then having things be stable the first few weeks was helpful. One thing- my daughter potty trained about four months before the move. Then a month before, during the move and about a month after she would “have an accident” in the car seat…. on purpose. I talked to a few parents/ teachers about it and we all sort of agreed that it was one of the very few things she could control. But she’s totally fine now. So you might expect some acting out behavior.

    10. Lilysparrow

      We moved several times in my kids’ toddler and preschool years. It was short-term disruptive in that it changed their daily routine and physical surroundings, but only on the same level as a long vacation or a bad case of flu.

      Long-term emotional impact? Nil. They didn’t really care for more than a couple of weeks, if that long.

      Preschoolers just aren’t that attached to people outside their house, and they have an unbelievably short attention span & memory.

      Elementary aged kids are going to be slightly more invested in friends and teachers, but honestly they fight & break up & are besties & totally forget about each other multiple times during a school year. I’m in a bit of a quandry right now because my tween begged to be in her best friend’s dance class in September, and now they can’t stand to look at each other, much less dance together. (Nonrefundable recital costume. Bleah.)

      As long as home and immediate family are stable, they don’t start getting significant emotional support from friends until somewhere around middle-high school.

      Truly, you will be shocked at how little they care right now.

    11. Sled dog mama

      My almost 5 year old has moved 4 times, the first at five months blessedly she completely slept through that one.
      She’s expressed missing previous houses but adapts really well. In our last two moves we made certain that a few of her favorite toys were in the last on/first off box and we set aside one room that our movers didn’t put anything in for her to play out of the way.

    12. HannahS

      It depends on the kid and on how you handle it. I moved about an hour away to a different city at eight and found it traumatic, because I was (….I say “was” to flatter myself…) a rigid, anxious person who didn’t deal well with change.

      I think a lot of advice givers would say that involving your kids is a good thing, but in retrospect, I don’t think it was the right choice for our family. Accompanying my parents to go look at houses was awful. Listening to them talk about it was awful. Every weekend, I’d be reminded that we were leaving everything that was familiar to me, and I’d have to try to imagine myself living in this new strange place that smelled weird and was filled with other people’s stuff, while some person I didn’t know droned on about the place with words I didn’t understand. I’d want to know how close it was to our old neighbourhood, and as the search went on, the houses got farther and farther away, so it went from “Yes, if we buy this house, you’ll be living down the street from your friend and attending the same school and playing in the same parks” to “We’ll come visit, sometimes.” My memory of the whole period is that it felt like a betrayal that I was expected to cry about less. For myself aged seven, I think it would have been better to know that my parents were looking for a house to move to but that all other details were unknown, not have it discussed around me for the months that it took to find a place, then be shown the house once it was purchasing it was underway.

      Some things that were helpful:
      Seeing the house we’d be in once it was bought, knowing which room would be mine and what the backyard looked like.
      My parents gave my brother and I a disposable camera and let us take pictures of the rooms before we started packing.
      My parents brilliantly arranged for me to spend a few hours at the school that I’d be attending in June, and it meant that when I showed up in September, I recognized some of the kids.
      On the night that the people who were buying ours were over signing documents, I was exiled to the backyard with my older brother. He sat with me while I cried and helped me memorize the layout of the backyard. I can still tell you exactly what it looked like on a night in July.

    13. Llellayena

      I was the small kid when we moved. I was in kindergarten and barely remember it. I apparently had chicken pox during the move so you’d think the memories would stick more. Basically it might be a temporary upset, but probably not a long term problem. No tips for making it easier, unfortunately, since I don’t remember the move.

    14. NforKnowledge

      A preschooler I’d expect to adapt quickly to a new situation.
      In general, I can chime in with my own experience of 4 transatlantic relocations over 5 years starting when I was 9 and my youngest sibling 3: we all adapted fast to new house/new school/new friends/new language/etc. Moving during high school would have been harder, I think, because the details of the education system are much more important at that stage.

    15. The New Wanderer

      I was a military brat, so moves every 2 years were just how things were. Middle to late elementary school moves were more memorable – not in a bad way, just I remember them more clearly, but earlier moves barely made an impression.

      Long term effects might include the desire to move every couple of years far into adulthood…

    16. ..Kat..

      Disruptive, but kids can benefit from a parent having a shorter commute, a better job, etc. “Daddy’s new commute means he can spend a special hour a week with you doing something special.” Of course, don’t say this if you don’t think Daddy will follow through. Give the children something that they can control – perhaps they get to decide on the wall color of their new room. As kids get older, they can keep in touch electronically with old friends.

    17. LCL

      Here’s a different perspective. We never moved. Mom was an army brat, and she told us moving was fun as a little kid but the move she did in her senior year of high school was miserable. Her dad made her throw away her stack of Analog/Astounding magazines because he said he wasn’t going to move that mess one more time. And she wanted to stay and graduate with her classmates of two years. She said moving little kids is easy, and when they are preschool and elementary they adapt really well.

      1. Texan In Exile

        Also military brat. Ten schools before I graduated from high school. I never got to keep books either, but it was because the air force had a weight limit of what it would move and books are heavy.

    18. Moray all the Way

      I think it totally depends on your child’s temperament. We moved to another state with our 3 year old 1.5 years ago. We thought she took the change really well at first, but she still asks me why we had to leave her “old home,” and she feels sad about leaving her friends. She loves her new friends and everything, but she’s an anxious kid in general so I think it was harder on her.

      A couple of suggestions though. When you get to the new place, try to keep your kid’s space as “old” as possible. We gave our daughter a new bed in the new house, so she got worried that her old bed was gone forever. I also encouraged her to put some toys in a box to donate before we left which somehow led her to believe that we had gotten rid of most of her toys and books (not true!). Looking back, I wish we had made those changes gradually after getting settled in the new place.

      I’d also encourage talking with your kids about how they’re feeling and being as honest as possible about the move. If they ask about seeing friend x, but realistically you’re never going to see friend x again because they went to the old preschool.. then don’t tell your kid that you “might” see friend x. You’d think they’d forget and move on, but it’s not always the case.

    19. Sick Civil Servant

      I movedto the suburbs when my daughter was 4 & about to start junior kindergarten. She left the daycare she had been attending for 2 years. She’s also adopted, which I only add because it added another layer of stress. We left a small 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom condo, for a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathrooms townhouse with a finished basement. I was use to announcing my movements (“going to the bathroom,” “going to the kitchen”) even though the condo was small. In the end, my daughter was fine. She adjusted fine. Her concern was me & my where abouts. And the cats. We were members of a playgroup that continued after we moved which probably helped. Little kids are resistant. It’s as they get older & have solid friendships at school that it gets harder. Good luck!

      1. AdhdAnon

        We moved a six hour drive away with a 3.5 yo. He was fine. Couple of things we did:

        Get some kids picture books about moving – top of my head – Tims Big Move, Bearenstein (sp?) Bears Moving Day.

        I made a suitcase with the stuff of his that was traveling with us – his most favorite animals, books, toys. Then we ‘decorated’ a special box with markers – mostly scribbles – we packed it together. He was able to find it in the massive number of boxes because it was decorated and really enjoyed pulling his stuff out.

    20. Cherry Sours

      As a military wife, we moved 7 times in 16 years…certainly easier when the kids are young.
      All 4 of our kids did better with it when they were younger. During the final move we had one in high school, one in junior high and two in elementry school…definitely felt a bit of pushback from the older ones.
      Frame it as an adventure…search your prospective neighborhood/city online or in person for parks, museums, festivals, activities, and so forth, print out or take photos of places you would like to visit, and put them in an album for your child(ren).
      Remaining in the same metro area, it looks like you could possibly arrange to get together with friends (s)he misses, and always able to Skype and/or send each other notes, photos and trinkets in the mail. Also, consider putting together an album of photos of your child with their favorite people.
      Once our kids hit elementry school, we would buy a disposable camera and address book for each child to take to school…never had a problem with this as long as we gave the teacher a head’s up.
      Best of luck with your move and getting settled, and know that our children are more adaptable than we ever give them credit for.

    21. Bethany D

      Oooo, what an exciting opportunity for you! 3 months ago we made the switch from renting an apartment to owning a house across town. Our kids are 9, 7, & just-turned-5 and we had lived in our previous apartment since our oldest was a baby, plus we were friends with the family next door. So, lots of feelings. It helped to be honest when any of us were feeling sad about what we’d say goodbye to, but we also spent a lot of time talking about all the good new things we’d get to have/do. A cat! A backyard! They could pick any color they wanted to PAINT their bedroom!!! We committed to setting up some playdates with their old friends and spoke hopefully about meeting new ones.

      Logistics of moving with kids: purge first. Declutter like crazy. Once you know for sure you will be moving, start packing things like Christmas ornaments and to-grow-into clothes in boxes and keep a master list of what kind of thing is in which box. I used a letter for the room it goes to and a number to track how many boxes had been packed so far (like “K-1 baking pans & cooling racks”, “G-3 sports equipment”, “B-2 toiletries”). Having kids take care of packing a backpack of favorite things gives them something to do and means not all the toys get buried. Taking them to an off-site babysitter on the main moving day will totally help your sanity (& their safety).

      Homeownership with kids: be realistic about how home repair & grounds upkeep will eat into your valuable free time (I miss our apartment complexes’ landscape & maintenance crews!) Try to involve the kids whenever you can; it’s educational, it’s good for their character, and it means you spend that time together.

      1. Overeducated

        Maybe too late for further discussion…but did the friends next door leave a big hole in your kids’ lives? That’s honestly my biggest concern right now, my kid plays with the downstairs neighbors a few times a week, no planning required, and who knows if there are even little kids on the same street in a new place.

        1. Bethany D

          Having more livingspace means we can host playdates more often – but you’re right, it can’t be the frequent spontaneous playtimes like we used to do. We miss them and it takes more planning work on my end. But, we all LOVE having a house. I don’t think it’s an insurmountable difference as long as the kids have school or extracurriculars or some other social outlet.

    22. Nana

      There are age-appropriate books on the subject. Please don’t worry now about what might happen in 2 – 4 years.

    23. CJ

      I’ve never moved with kids that age, but I was the kid that moved. We moved when I was nine and going into fourth grade I make friends easily, and did at that school.

      My issue, and it was a horrible one from my point of view, was that we moved from a farm where we had horses and cats and a dog, and I missed that terribly.

      I really think it depends on the kid and how easily made they made friends, but I do think the younger the better.

      1. CJ

        Oh, yeah. I got chest pains and was short of breath, and my mom and dad thought I had something wrong with my heart. I saw several different doctors for work ups, and everything looked fine.

        Shortly before my mom died decades later, this somehow came up, and I mentioned that the move had caused me to have panic attacks. She said we were so worried about you, why didn’t you say that’s what was happening? And I’m like Mom, I was nine, I didn’t know what the time that they were panic attacks.

        So watch for physical signs of distress.

  3. Lena Clare

    Oof I’ve had a challenging week – crappy interview I had to withdraw from with no new job prospects at the minute on the horizon, date with a guy who had B.O., and my co-worker has been sick all week and has made me ill AGAIN.
    Have you got any funny things that have happened to you this week? Or maybe you too have had a difficult week and you want to vent?!
    Fire away!

    1. Snazzy Hat

      Since wednesday, we’ve had a full dishwasher and no water in the kitchen. Every time I’ve attempted to fix a part of my faucet, something went wrong. First it was that I bought a piece in the wrong size. Then I got the correct size, and also an O-ring to fix a problem I had earlier involving water dripping/pouring out from the base of the faucet. (My stopgap solution involved a rubber band and a rag.) The O-ring didn’t help at all. A model-specific set of O-rings & replacement bushing (where the water flows from the supply line to the faucet spout) should be arriving today. Hopefully they come with instructions so I know exactly where the O-rings go on the bushing. Then I’ll be able to run my dishwasher twice, on account of the dishes we’ve used in the meantime.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood

        My husband’s go-to is plumber’s tape (aka Teflon tape) , which gets wrapped loosely on a threaded join so it compresses and stops any less there. Not sure if it would work for you but figured it was worth mentioning.

        1. Snazzy Hat

          I did put plumber’s tape on the threading for the repair that worked. The sprayer is busted, and I’m tired of replacing it (at least four replacements) so I just capped off the part where the sprayer attaches to the faucet. Good advice, though; it’s not common knowledge that you need to add a few layers of leak-proofing to something designed for handling high water pressure.

          Unfortunately, the base of the faucet appears to have too many variables and too much space to warrant the tape. Oh, and now my banded rag is causing a pressure drop. I’ll report back when the new parts come in.

          1. Snazzy Hat

            The faucet works again! It’s not leaking anywhere! The spout filter was so clogged with mineral deposits that water wouldn’t even come out, so I took that off & soaked it in vinegar for a half-hour, vigorously scrubbed with an old toothbrush, went back and forth between a vinegar soak and an isopropanol soak. Now the dishwasher is finally running!

            My s.o. & I are convinced that the clog was resulting in pressure backup so severe it damaged the rings and the sprayer. So the next time your faucet is causing you ANY kind of trouble, check the spout filter first!

    2. Seeking Second Childhood

      My daughter dragged me rollerskating on Presidents Day. I used to ice & roller skate a lot…but I stopped 20 years & a few dress sizes ago. Different center of gravity. Every time I felt muscle memory start coming back, I lost my balance because my muscles were expecting an active skinny kid instead of a 50yo with a desk job.
      Apparently my fall was spectacular because the “lifeguard” really really wanted to give me an ice pack. I took a bandaid for the elbow scrape and went back out. My 7th grader kept passing me saying “on your left!” because we just watched Winter Soldier. So I started calling her Cap. I did manage to skate backwards a gain by the end…just VERY slowly.

      1. My Dear Wormwood

        Aaah, I remember going ice-skating once and losing my balance yet still managing to stay up and flail about 10m further before finally landing on my face. My friends got a laugh anyway.

    3. My Dear Wormwood

      I thought I’d have lunch in the garden under my office this week. It’s lovely down there and there is a very handsome water dragon who has grown from a tiny 10cm baby too scared to come out when people were around, to a half-meter long confident fellow. So confident, in fact, that for the first time ever he approached me, instead of me going up to admire him. So confident that he…jumped into my lap and tried to steal my pie! Of course I went “Aaargh!” and knocked him off, but I also dropped some pie, so his tactic worked!

    4. Loopy

      I got married yesterday and being practical, I decided to minimize fussing about centerpieces. I couldn’t remember a single one from a wedding I had gone to. So I grabbed some plastic bowls from Dollar tree, put some beads in the bottom, filled with water and some cheap floating candles, and ta daaa all done.

      The poor venue staff had to rush around blowing out all the candles they had painstakingly lit halfway through dinner because they were melting the cheap Dollar tree plastic bowls. I was so proud of myself for being budget savvy and practical and it never occurred to me cheap plastic and flame are a bad combo.

      I was amused because I had been so sure no one would remember the centerpieces that I didn’t give them nearly any thought and congratulated myself on it. Turns out, everyone’ll remember mine because they all started melting!

      1. Mrs. Fenris

        Congratulations on your wedding! I’ve heard quite a few “almost set something on fire” wedding stories. Weddings do seem to involve a lot of open flames and a lot of stuff people just bought. :-)

    5. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy

      I had a whole list of things to do today. Only, while I was at Menards getting supplies, the power went out because we’re having 60mph wind gusts. *facepalm* on the plus side, the new garage door opener I had installed on Tuesday has a battery backup, which works great, so I was able to get back in the garage when I got home at least.

    6. SharedDriveUser

      Late to the comments, still want to share:

      I was rear-ended at a stoplight by a young woman who told me she was ‘so sorry – I was dipping my chip in guacamole and didn’t see how close you were!’ WTF – who eats chips and dip while driving? Fortunately no one was injured; my SUV had over $2000 damage for which her insurance company paid, and now all is, hopefully well!

  4. KatieKate

    I’m going on apartment tours today, My dad offered to come along as a second set of eyes and I agreed because that can be helpful. I mentioned the apartment tours to a coworker/new friend yesterday and she offered to come along to help. Then when finishing details with my dad, I learned my mom had decided to come too.

    And then I spent all of last night trying to figure out if I’m projecting some kind of helplessness. This isn’t my first apartment–I’ve lived in this city for the past 6 years and have lived in 4 different places. I’ve already gone on a few tours by myself and it was fine. This is my first time looking for a place on my own, but it’s starting to feel like a production. Am I overreacting? Are people just trying to be helpful?

    1. Overeducated

      Wow! In the absence of other information, I think it’s just really sweet that they all care enough to give up a weekend day. But you don’t have to say yes to everyone…it’s not that complicated a decision, I say as someone in her fifth apartment, all of which have been OK.

    2. Reba

      Maybe they like spending time with you and are either mildly interested in seeing what’s going on in real estate in your city, or wanting to show interest in your life.

      I also know in my own family that “help with moving” is a big way that my mom shows love. Doesn’t matter if we need it or not (or if it makes things more complicated because some people, *cough*DAD can’t listen to instructions!) it’s what they do.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale

      I don’t think it’s about helplessness, at least not from what you’re telling me. First, I love looking at apartments, better still if it’s someone else’s money. :) Second, my friends often come to me for opinions because I tend to be really straight with them. So my guess would be it’s more out of curiosity on their parts than you seeming like you’re incapable.

      But yes, you can always say no. Especially when your mom decided to come too. That’s a whole lot of opinions to deal with! In your place, I would call your friend and say that since your mom decided to come, it’s become a complicated family thing (it would in my family, don’t know about yours) and ask if you can do drinks/dinner instead. However, if you think everyone would get along and it would add to the fun, then no harm, no foul.

    4. Anon Accountant

      Sometime it helps to have other people with you because they may think to ask questions that you may not have thought of. Enjoy the afternoon and good luck!

    5. Drew

      When I was looking at my current house, my parents and I were over at my grandmother’s place looking at listings. Not only did my parents go “oooh” at the same house I did, it turned out they were having an open house RIGHT THEN. So I showed up at the open house with my parents and grandmother in tow because no one wanted to miss out. They mostly stayed quiet and let me ask the questions, but then we went to dinner and all they could say was “If you need help to make this work, let us know, because we LOVE that house.”

      We also drove past another listing that I was at least somewhat interested in, and all four of us pretty much simultaneously said, “Nah, never mind.” The house itself would have been fine, I think, but the neighborhood was clearly not planned well. This house was so close to its neighbors (on a corner) that all three houses shared the same driveway entrance.

    6. knitter

      I love going apartment hunting with friends because I love to see other people’s houses =)

      When we were in the process of buying our house, my in-laws threw a fit because they thought the house was in dangerous disrepair and suggested we weren’t capable of making this decision on our own. The problem was that our house isn’t a new build (1920) and was in the city (thus, dangerous). So if you think your crew will express opinions based in some sort of bias, then be clear about what kind of feedback you’re looking for. Think through your likes, dislikes and potential compromises before so that you can stand your ground, if needed.

      Have fun!

    7. I'm A Little Teapot

      Realistically, whatever their motivation – if you don’t want such a crowd, you can say no.

    8. fposte

      I see two parts to this question. “Is this a production?” and “Am I projecting helplessness?” If it’s too many people, you absolutely can ask somebody to hold off. Did you say yes to the new friend or did she just say she was coming? If you said yes, do you regret it? Or is this about your mom’s appearance, since you apparently weren’t aware about her joining you?

      If you’re fine with everybody being there, I wouldn’t worry a lick about projecting anything at all. It doesn’t really matter what an apartment manager thinks of you as long as they don’t think of you as needing eviction. This isn’t a date–you’re a customer here. As long as the people you’re bringing treat the places respectfully and don’t get in the way, bring whomever you want.

      1. fposte

        And I have belatedly realized that I’ve misunderstood, and that you’re wondering if people are asking to come along because they think you’re helpless. And I will add my voice to many on this thread to say I will find any excuse to look at houses or apartments when it’s not me who has to move into them :-).

    9. I’m actually a squid

      Honestly, I’d offer to go apartment hunting with a friend not because I think they’re helpless but because it should like a lot of fun for me. All the enjoyment of seeing new living spaces and dreaming about how to decorate without the stress of paying for it or moving myself.

    10. Karen from Finance

      I don’t think you’re projecting helplessness, I think they’re all individually offering because it’s always helpful to have a second set of eyes. You can always say “oh, so-and-so is already coming, but you can come next time” or something.

    11. MRK

      I think some people see it as a group activity, or that a second set of eyes would be helpful. Also based on one of the threads in yesterday’s open post, have a buddy with you may just be a good idea in general for safety, no matter who you are.

      Fun story: when my first apartment was being shown for rental, I had a realtor seem to no show (was told something like between 3-5pm) Around 5:30 I decided to go shower, and when I hopped out I opened the bathroom door to find the realtor with no less than 6 frat bros in the living room. Of a tiny 2 bedroom apartment. No way they would all be living there. They were very nice and apologetic but that was pretty awkward

    12. That Girl From Quinn's House

      Are the people who’ve asked to go the type to like to enjoy getting to go on tours of apartments and houses? There’s a reason House Hunters is such a popular HGTV show, and it’s because people are intrinsically nosy about what’s inside other people’s homes.

    13. Wishing You Well

      Some people LOVE to see inside others’ homes. It’s almost a hobby. I’m not interested in it unless I’m house-hunting myself, but – to each their own.

    14. KatieKate

      Hi everyone! Thank you for the lovely words of encouragement. The tours went fine and I was 100% overreacting. It was nice to have other people there to ask questions I hadn’t thought of.

    15. Autumnheart

      I’m another one who would go along on various house-hunting, furnishing, etc. trips because I love doing that stuff. Blame my parents, who dragged us kids along to Parade of Homes so much that when we grew up, we actually enjoyed it. I also like looking at everyone’s home remodeling pictures on FB.

      1. Canadian

        100% Safety. I don’t go into other people’s houses without a buddy, and I always volunteer to go with people if they don’t have anyone. I also really enjoy looking at other people’s homes.

    16. Cherry Sours

      People are curious, but also want to help. It was extremely helpful to have a friend along when I was house hunting…I was looking at the overall structure, etc, while friend pointed out, in different homes…one with electrical issues, a bedroom that was too small to handle the queen size bed I intended to put there without one side being up against a wall, and something off about a connection in the laundry room. Invite them along (perhaps one or two at a time), and enjoy the extra set(s) of eyes.

  5. I Am Groot

    Cosplay/costume ramble incoming!

    I love to cosplay; it is one of my very favorite hobbies. One thing I’ve always wanted to do is join a charity group that visits kids in hospitals and does other fundraising activities in costume. The problem is that none of my cosplays are child-friendly; I prefer more monster and creepy costumes, or characters that are simply not known to children/the general public. Most charity cosplay groups I see are made up of superheroes and Disney princesses, with a few others mixed in.

    I think the character I would most want to cosplay for charity would be Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. He would be mostly fabrication and less fabric, which would satisfy my love of more monstrous cosplays, and he only says ‘I Am Groot’, which would allow me easier interaction with kids by less chance of saying something out of character (one of my fears of doing a ‘face exposed’ character like a princess). Groot is also my favorite superhero, aside from Rocket Raccoon.

    So there you go, Groot is my ideal project… except I think he’s currently out of my skill range. Not impossible but I think that charity cosplayers should be at slightly higher standards than someone cosplaying a con just for fun since they have to impress the kids. And I worry that my current skills are not at the level I’d like them to be for Groot. But here’s a recent development: in speaking with my mother, a fellow geek and cosplayer, she asked if I’d thought of commissioning a Groot cosplay from someone online. She even said that she’d contribute a portion of the money as a birthday gift to me.

    Commissioning cosplays is something I haven’t thought about. I love making my own cosplays by hand; even if it’s not at an all-star level that would win costume contests, I take such pride is saying ‘I made this myself’. I sometimes get frustrated when friends with more advanced skill sets have helped me because, though I appreciate their assistance, I don’t like the control of the project taken from my hands. I worry I’d feel the same way if I dropped a significant amount of money on a Groot cosplay by someone else; I wouldn’t feel as attached to the cosplay or excited by because I didn’t make it myself.

    Now I wonder how I would feel if I was able to make the body myself and just commission the head. I might be able to get the body to the point I like it, if I practice in advance and take my time, but making a realistic head is what I’m truly worried about. If I commissioned just a head, I’d be spending significantly less money on the commission, I’d still have the body that I’d be proud of, and I’d feel less bad parting with just a head a few years down the road if I’m able to make one for myself than if I ditched a whole cosplay.

    I plan on doing a test of the materials and method that I’ve planned for Groot’s body in the next couple weeks. I think that will really tell me what to do. If it comes out how I like, I can make the body and even attempt the head before deciding if I’d rather commission that part. If I can’t make it, then I have to decide if I want to commission an entire cosplay or if I’d rather take another few years to practice my skills and get to a point where I could make it myself.

    1. Liza

      This sounds awesome!! I was a charity cosplayer for a number of years and it’s the most amazing feeling in the world to see kids light up when they recognise their favourite character.

      If you have the time and money, take some time to experiment with different materials and techniques. You may surprise yourself after a little practice!

      Best of luck with your project! It sounds like a lot of fun!

      1. I Am Groot

        Oh that’s awesome! Can I ask was character/s you cosplayed for charity and kind of events you did? I’d love any tip for getting involved with charity cosplay!

        1. Liza

          I mostly did Dr Who and other science fiction but I did dabble in the Disney side of things as well. Mostly I worked kids events, family fun days in all sorts of venues (libraries, museums, community centres), plus a few conventions. Did a lot of fundraising. I was involved in doing short skits and plays for the kids, interactive adventures, that sort of thing. We had a big team of people with some awesome equipment, while I was more involved in the writing/acting side.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood

      First, I *LOVE* your Groot idea and wish you luck.
      Second, would Monsters Inc give you amything scary enough but still huggable? Mike & Sully rock.

      1. I Am Groot

        Monsters Inc might be fun but I don’t love that movie as much as I do Guardians of the Galaxy. Plus I think that much fur would be a nightmare to work with. Now Baymax, big inflatable adorable robot, he might be doable! Plus perfect cosplay for childrens hospitals and the like.

        Thanks for the thoughts and encouragement!

          1. I Am Groot

            Haha very true! I absolutely love dressing up as a zombie; it is my favorite cosplay to get in-character with. Last year, I volunteered at a local zombie-run that was considered family friendly because the zombie sections were secluded and optional. A lot of parents came up to the sections with their kids to look inside and see if they wanted to do it. I was able to get the position closest to the door so I was the first zombie the runners saw. Cannot tell you how hard it is to not break character when you see these wide-eyed kids back-pedaling as fast as they can away from me. We had many come through our section just fine, or were forced through screaming by parents, but I loved the horrified looks on the faces of those who wouldn’t come through even more.

            I’m tempted to reach out to the charity group to see if the zombie would be welcomed but I think other than an actual Halloween event in the fall, zombies wouldn’t be wanted year-round.

    3. Liane

      I’ve done Star Wars cosplay for years and am a minor officer in one of the major groups. I don’t think Groot would be too scary, especially for older kids–have you checked with the superhero clubs?
      Another thing to be aware of is that you might have to remove your headgear during the visit. One children’s hospital where I often arranged visits required that our characters who had full-face masks or helmets remove them before entering kids’ rooms, where they could put them on. The reasoning is that children can get scared by even their favorite characters in person if they can’t see that there’s a real person under it. (AFAIK, it isn’t a requirement of every hospital.) It’s nota big deal for cosplayers I work with–but it’s something you may want to take into consideration in the design if you go for Groot, or even Baymax, as I see he was mentioned.

      At Liza: Yes it is amazing. It’s how I give back for all the time my (grown up & healthy) son spent in a hospital as a baby. And it’s also fun to watch staffers who didn’t know about the visit–and discover they are sharing an elevator with Darth Vader! (Wasn’t me, I’m a Jedi.) Yes, it IS anatomically possible for a human’s eyes to temporarily bug out like in cartoons.

    4. Penguin

      What you mean by “out of your skill range?”
      I ask because I had a similar conversation with a friend recently, and discovered that I meant “will take longer than I want to spend because I will have to substitute time and care for skill” rather than “don’t know how to do it” and that changed how I approached the project.

      So, what does “outside of my skill range” mean to you?

      1. I Am Groot

        To me, out of my skill range means it won’t turn out to be something I’d consider quality for a public charity event.

        Last fall, I put my all into a new cosplay that did not turn out like I’d hoped. It had been a while since I’d had a cosplay go so off the rails. Combing the exhaustion I was feeling from days spent putting it together and the frustration I felt that it looked horrible to me, I ended up on the phone with my geek mother, crying about how horrible the cosplay turned out. Like outright sobbing. But, all that said, I still wore the costume to my con and got a ton of recognition for it (it was a character from a very nostalgic game that was getting a reboot so, despite that I thought it looked awful, other fans came running up to me very excited to see my cosplay).

        So I do worry that Groot would be out of my skills range and I’d end up frustrated and not happy with him. The first Groot cosplay tutorial I saw online talked about running foam through molds, definitely things I can’t do. But I saw others about gluing foam tubing and carving foam mats that look just as good as the custom foam mold cosplay. So I’ll do the test and see how it comes out.

        1. Penguin

          Ah, ok, gotcha. Yeah, I know that didn’t-live-up-to-my-own-expectations feelings myself… I hope your test works well! Best of luck!

    5. Free Meerkats

      I wasn’t online this weekend, so just getting to this thread now.

      I understand the “I made it myself” vibe, I’m embarking on a cosplay project that I expect to take me at least a year, possibly two, to put together. Luckily I’m targeting Worldcon 2021 in DC. Both of my cosplay competition costume so far have forced me to learn things I never did before. But – and this is a big but – the hall costume I had was commissioned from a friend who sews for a living. For some reason it’s difficult to find a high-vis yellow three piece suit with a high-vis orange vest.

      If you look at the Groot costume as a uniform for entertaining the kids instead of a cosplay, it might change how you feel on the self-made thing. This isn’t a competition costume, so you don’t need to make it yourself. I support trying the body part yourself and seeing how it goes. If you commission a head, you’ll get a good look at how it was done and maybe get ideas on how to do it yourself.

      Just remember, the main reasons to mold things is to make many of an item. To make a mold you need to carve the piece to make a positive. Since you aren’t going to be making many of them, why not carve it from foam and wear it?

    6. Encouraging Anon

      Hi! I know I’m late to respond, but I thought I’d still try :D

      For making a Groot costume to participate in the charity group, there’s not a fixed deadline, like there may be for other con-focused cosplay. (Rush deadlines have always played a part in my cosplay disappointments…) Maybe you could just truly take your time working on the sculpting/texture/painting methods, doing lots of small test patches, and working on the body first. It may give you the confidence that you’ve developed the sculpting methods to tackle the head, which you can also take your time on. Maybe you can join the charity cosplay group now, telling that you are working on a Groot costume, and they can give you advice and maybe even loan you tools.

      Which is to say, I think you should go for creating your own costume and allow yourself to take as much time as you need! It may take a while but if part of the joy for you is having made the costume yourself, I think it’s worth a shot at doing it yourself! (And, if you do the body first and the head just doesn’t work out, you can always commission just the head.)

      Good luck with your cosplay!

    1. Snazzy Hat

      Congratulations on giving Spectrum the steel-toed boot! We can’t wait to do the same! (Fiber optics aren’t available in my city, through Google or Verizon.)

    2. noahwynn

      I have fiber through a local company in Minneapolis. 1 gigabyte(bit? not sure) both up and down. $70 per month. It is amazingly fast and during a recent outage they gave us access to their municipal WiFi network which is much slower but still nice to have if it’s that or nothing.

  6. ThatGirl

    We spent most of the week in Orlando/at Disney for my brother in law’s wedding and some Disney time. Everything went pretty well but it reinforced that I do not like being at WDW with my inlaws, my MIL is very… hard to please, passive aggressive, snipes at people, and it’s amplified there. Stresses my husband out. They expect him to plan things and then get mad if it doesn’t all go perfectly or he doesn’t read their mind. Plus they moved to Florida last year and she hates it so they’re fighting over that.

    But, the wedding was lovely and despite flying Southwest we only had delays, no cancellations.

    1. L’il Sebastian

      I’m glad the wedding was nice! We love WDW and I dread the day my in laws ask to go with us. Our vacation styles just aren’t compatible! Plus my husband’s mom also does the passive aggressive thing. Sorry they made the trip less fun.

    2. Karen from Finance

      I think dealing with family is the hardest part of Disney vacations. There’s so much to do, there’s time constraints, lines, and dealing with different generations of people who have different wants and needs… It’s all quite difficult. I went by myself which is an unusual thing to do, but I’m very happy I did.

      I’m glad you had a nice time at the wedding.

      1. ThatGirl

        Yeah, it’s our third trip there with them and I said never again after the last one (this was special circumstance though). My husband and I have a great method that works for us, but they are pretty inflexible. Blergh. Anyway, you’re definitely right.

  7. Lost but not alone

    Just an update that my divorce was finalized this week and I’m hoping things will settle down somewhat soon. My inlaws have been very supportive and we have a plan so they continue to build a relationship with my daughter. My ex-husband is already on his third girlfriend in 6 months and told me after court that she might be the one. Of course, ‘it’ll depend on if she gets divorced or not’ so I’m just glad I’m off the roller coaster of his life. Hope everyone is staying safe all this crazy weather and thanks for all the kind comments on my previous post.

    1. Anon Accountant

      Best wishes and things will settle for you. It sounds like you’re being level headed with your decisions. Keep moving forward and things will get better.

    2. Rebecca

      Good luck, and I’m glad your daughter will be able to have a relationship with her grandparents. For me, it was a good feeling to finally have that piece of paper in my hand.

    3. King Friday XIII

      Congrats! I’m glad your in-laws (are they out-laws now?) are supportive and want to stay in your daughter’s life!

    4. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

      I’m so glad you came back and posted a good update. You are right to be well out of it….. (internet hug)

    5. Observer

      3rd girlfriend in 6 months? I hope he keeps all his women out of your daughter’s life!

      I’m so glad for you that your life is moving on and that your in-laws are being reasonable. It’s so much better for a kid when they have loving and REASONABLY STABLE adult presence in their lives.

      1. Lost but not alone

        I’ve got full custody and he’s only been by to see her once in the last 2 weeks so she has no clue. Luckily she’s only two and has always been a mama’s girl. Our lives will both be more stable without his ups and downs.

        1. the corner ficus

          I have to imagine that you’re right about the better stability. He sounds absolutely volatile with his constant stream of girlfriends. What you’re doing for your daughter is freeing her of so much stress. You’re a great mother.

    1. coffee cup

      I like the stability, but I am so utterly bored and frustrated. My general mental health is becoming worse because of how I feel. I will stay in my job until I find a better one, but it isn’t something I can keep on with for too much longer.

      I have looked at volunteering locally, but abroad isn’t possible. I live in the UK and I don’t have PTO. I can’t just take a month off, either, my work would never allow it. Private sector, micromanaging nonsense. I just see how I spent my early 30s feeling trapped and I don’t want to spend the rest of them feeling the same way. But the first step is hard to see.

  8. Anon Accountant

    I’m angry. This morning when I was in the shower my phone was on the kitchen table. My phone screen showed photos and was back on phots taken in June. Those haven’t been viewed in a looooong time so there’s no reason those were up.

    Before my mom has commented on texts I’ve sent or received and I never said anything to ANYONE about the content. She has huge boundary issues. I’m 35 and focusing on paying off debt and minimizing purchases to move out ASAP. So angry right now.

    1. Not A Manager

      Lock your phone? Don’t leave it around?

      This will TOTALLY not solve the boundary issues. She will find other ways to suck you in/not mind her business. But in my experience, taking control of the things you CAN control is hugely satisfying.

      Also, she sounds like she tries to keep her snooping on the DL, so if you physically keep your phone away from her, or aggressively lock the screen, it will drive her batty but she won’t be able to say anything about it.

      1. all the leaves are brown

        Yes, came here to say this too: setting up a password on your phone would be a great first step.

      2. Anon Accountant

        I did add a passcode. Hard part will be me remembering it! Agree- it’ll drive her batty. I feel like I almost have to glue my phone to me so she can’t snoop in that.

        All my bills and bank statements are paperless and no login info is anywhere. So frustrated.

        1. ElspethGC

          Try setting it as the PIN for a card (or an old card). Mine is the PIN I had for a card a couple of years ago, so muscle memory is a big help there. Do you have any meaningful dates that you could use that have absolutely no meaning to her? For example, I’ve used my cat’s birthday before – literally no-one else but me cares enough to remember the birthday of my cat, so it’s easy for me to remember but nearly impossible for anyone else to guess.

          1. blackcat

            Mine is the constant e. A few other people I know have pi, avagadro’s number, etc.
            Probably not super secure, but google-able if you forget, LOL.

          2. Beatrice

            I do a 6-digit number, but I’ve done consecutive digits of my SSN, 6 digits of my childhood phone number, an old 4-digit ATM pin with the last 2 digits repeated, an old employee ID that I used to have to punch into a timeclock multiple times a day, several non-obvious dates, and several zip codes with an extra digit.

            I originally just set a PIN. My snooper figured out the number and had the poor judgement to tell me, even though setting the PIN originally happened after I flipped out about snooping. So I change it. My work cell requires a 6-digit PIN that changes every 90 days, so I just change my personal cell PIN to the same code at the same time. I don’t have much difficulty remembering the number and my phone is secure.

        2. King Friday XIII

          I’d be tempted to turn on the option to take a picture of someone who fails to unlock your phone just to get some really unflattering shots…

        3. The Man, Becky Lynch

          My phone locks with a pattern, so barring her being so boundary crossing enough to scope out your pattern, that should work as well. Less complicated than using some kind of password. It’s not the most secure but it’s better than nothing. Most people won’t go so far so to unlock your phone even if it’s somewhat simple!

        4. Observer

          Also register your fingerprint / face id (depends on what you phone uses.)

          But, yes, your mother has boundary issues. The best thing you can do for yourself till you get out of there, is to lock everything down.

    2. I'm A Little Teapot

      What would happen if you told your mom to stop snooping? Call her out on her behavior? Because she’s out of line. Regardless, put a password on your phone thwart her. If she wants to complain about it, she’d also have to fess up to snooping.

      Otherwise, stay focused on getting your finances in order so you can move out.

    3. Rebecca

      I heartily second pass coding your phone. I just have a 4 digit number that’s easy for me to remember, and it keeps prying eyes away. There are other things you can do, too – like in settings, you can set messages to say “content hidden”. That way, if it’s laying there, and someone texts, my Android phone just says “messages” and “content hidden”. Before it would come up as a message from “Jane” and the first words of the message right on the lock screen.

    4. Folkie

      I think you can get things that take a photo and email it to you if someone guesses yout password incorrectly a few times.

  9. Alex

    Any recs for biodegradable sunscreen that doesn’t make a total sticky mess? I tried some from Alba and it was horrible–and also didn’t work at all (I got burned). It was hard to put on, impossible to wash off, and all of my belongings got covered with it. I completely ruined a book because I was reading it on the beach wearing that sunscreen. I could not wipe this stuff off the cover!

    I’m looking at Blue Lizard, but it is so expensive I don’t want to buy a whole bottle and then find it too is a total mess. I’d really like to use biodegradable stuff but I’m not willing to spend my vacation feeling like I need to bathe in goo gone.

    1. CoffeeforLife

      I’m from Hawaii and all of our sunscreen has to be reef safe now (yay). I copied this list:

      Here is a list of sunscreens considered to be reef safe. Made in Hawaii sunscreens are marked with an *asterisks

      *Mama Kuleana Waterproof SPF 30 Reef-safe Sunscreen
      *Kokua Sun Care Hawaiian SPF 50 Natural Zinc Sunscreen
      *Little Hands Hawaii SPF 35+ All-natural and Organic Sunscreen
      Manda Organic SPF 50 Sun Paste
      *Raw Love SPF 35 All-natural Mineral Sunscreen
      Thinksport SPF 50 Sunscreen
      All Good SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen Lotion
      Babo Botanicals SPF 30 Clear Zinc Lotion
      Suntegrity Natural Mineral Sunscreen
      Badger SPF 30 Unscented Sunscreen Cream
      Raw Elements SPF 30 Certified Natural Sunscreen
      Stream2Sea SPF 30 Mineral Sunblock
      Loving Naturals Clear Body SPF 30+ All-natural Sunscreen
      Reef Safe Oxybenzone Free Biodegradable SPF 50 Sunscreen
      Banana Boat Simply Protect SPF 50+ Sunscreen (spray, not lotion)

      1. Alex

        Thanks! Have you used any of these, and are they overly sticky? (None of those brands look familiar to me so I’ll have to do some hunting).

        1. zyx

          From this list, I have used only Thinksport, and I found it to be effective and not too sticky. It does leave a white cast on my skin, though, and I’m already pretty pale (though with olive undertones). But I’ve yet to encounter a mineral-based sunscreen that doesn’t make me look like the Ghost of Zyx.

      2. Arya Parya

        I’ve used Bandana Boat when I was vacationing in Hawaii a few years ago and liked it. It was not sticky and rubbed in well. I didn’t get sunburnt, but I don’t get sunburnt very easily, so not sure how effective it is on a different skin type.

    2. Jess

      I had good luck with Australian Gold reef safe sunscreen while I was in Hawaii. It rubbed in well, wasn’t difficult to wash off, and I didn’t burn (at least when I remembered to apply it!). It wasn’t super expensive, they had it at the grocer/drugstore.

    3. Gerald

      I know Blue Lizard is the ideal option for people who get sunburnt easily. If you aren’t extremely pale then you can probably choose something else that is cheaper, although I don’t know what to recommend (I prefer to avoid the sun by wearing wide hats and long sleeves)

    4. Patty Mayonnaise

      Not sure if you are still around, but Blue Lizard is amazing – definitely the least sticky and messy sunscreen I’ve ever used (though I have typically used unnatural sunscreen in the past)

      1. Alex

        Thanks! I think I’ll get a bottle of that and also one of the ones on the list above if I can find them.

  10. Perpetua

    How to “soften” and lighten up a kitchen with almost everything black, without major renovations?

    In our relatively new rental apartment, we have a kitchen with black cabinets (both upper and lower), black tile flooring, black floor-to-ceiling cupboards, even black small tile backsplash that extends into a whole black wall in the small dining area! The only thing not black is the white countertop. It’s also a fairly small kitchen, and while I know that dark colors can sometimes work in small spaces, I think this is not one of them.

    Aside from painting the cabinets or wrapping them with vinyl (which I’m pretty hesitant to do, because the black is high-gloss and I don’t want to ruin the cabinets), is there anything else we can do to make the space more cozy?

    If you’ve had similar issues in rental apartments, I’d love to hear your hacks! :)

      1. Perpetua

        The wall is small black tile (which I even kind of like on its own, if only there wasn’t so much black altogether), the oven is black with silver details (all the cabinet pulls are silver as well), and the rest of the appliances are hidden behind the same black high-gloss panels as the cabinets.

        Basically, everything is black! :P

    1. Not A Manager

      Wow, that’s a very… particular… design scheme. I wonder what they were thinking.

      I’d try natural materials. Get some wood cutting boards and a big wood salad bowl, and see what happens when you leave them on the counter. Get some of those natural fiber, undyed tea towels and hang them over the stove handle. If you have a hanging pan rack, see what happens if you get, say, a copper pan, or use the brushed stainless ones. Try a copper bowl on top of the cabinets.

      My partner really likes having small throw rugs or walk-off mats by the sink and back door. They come in all kinds of “natural” colors/fabrics/weaves.

      Even something like a bundle of dried herbs hanging on the side of a cabinet, or a string or dried garlic or peppers, might help.

      1. Perpetua

        Yes, particular is one way of putting it. :D

        The owner is actually a friend of ours and his story is that his girlfriend at the time (an architect just like him) really wanted it that way. But, since she’s not around anymore, no way to check that story… :P

        I’ve added a photo below, there’s not a lot of counter space, so we try to keep it mostly free in order to be able to use it for actual cooking. But yes, at the very least I can step up our tea towel game!

        1. tangerineRose

          If you like mystery books, well, this reminds me so much of the book “Swan for the money” by Donna Andrews. One main character liked black and white so much that she tried to make everything in black and white only in the house, etc.

      2. Rosaline Montague

        At the holidays I tape a vertical ribbon on each cabinet door and then tape on holiday cards. Maybe just the ribbons would look pretty and break up the black ?! Also Spoonflower and a few other sources have high quality removable wallpaper and I have seen it look super cute on refrigerators on Pinterest.

    2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

      Light runners or throw rugs, decorative accents out on the counters (rather than practical things — think bowls of fruit, etc.).

      Lighting — can you change the bulbs, add a decorate lamp or two, or put under-cabinet lights in (you can do this without damaging the cabinets)?

      Could you remove the fronts of the cabinets and put up temporary wallpaper inside them? (See link for example.)

        1. Perpetua

          Unfortunately, the cabinets are too deep for the wallpaper to have any impact :/

          But yeah, lightning is a big issue, we put some LEDs inside the cabinets and we’re still trying to figure out what we can do in the space itself.

    3. BRR

      Things on the counter top like something to hold utensils. A kitchen towel on the oven door. Is there any wall space to hang some art?

        1. fposte

          Oh, I *love* those. Some of the best kitchen money I’ve spent. I’d cover the whole floor with those if I could.

          1. AvonLady Barksdale

            I worked in a kitchen store for a hot minute and got one as my holiday gift! I think the total amount of money I earned working there was about half the cost of the mat, but still– such a great thing to have.

    4. LibbyG

      Well, it seems like the floor might be the biggest black surface you can easily address. Is there some kitchen-worthy rug that could brighten or warm up the space?

      Maybe it would look good to take a couple of the upper cabinet doors clean off and display your prettiest dishes there? Break up the giant expanse of black?

      Or maybe some natural wood elements would make the whole room look less clinical?

    5. Overeducated

      Glittery or reflective star magnets? LED candles on a surface for a warm glow? A row of cookbooks with colorful spines, if there is shelf space? Clearly I have the design sense of an eight year old, but I’m wondering if there’s a way you could roll with it instead of working against it.

      1. Parenthetically

        Looking at the pic, absolutely agreed with the recommendations for natural wood/cork textures and bright colors. What about some soft, bright, lightweight curtains on the windows, wooden cutting boards/trays/trivets/bowls, wooden drying rack for your dishes, natural bristle dish brushes, a sisal rug with some colorful or painted sections — basically whatever accessories you can find that are the opposite of sleek, shiny, and dark.

        You could even do some of those 3M damage-proof hangers and HANG some accessories on the tile wall or the side of that tall cupboard. Driftwood, or pretty carved bowls, or a rack for nice wooden rolling pins.

        Oh and what about some plants? Hang a trailing plant high in that window or in the corner in the picture, in a sisal-wrapped pot and let the leaves drape down.

      2. Elizabeth West

        Oooh. I kind of like it, but that IS a lot of black.
        Of course, my response would be to put a lot of silly Halloween-y stuff in there and call it The Kitchen of Doom, but I like the suggestion of natural materials. That might soften the hard edges too.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood

        Now that I’ve seen it, the hardest thing for me would be distinguishing the change from floor to wall. Seriously I’d trip. If that’s you too, could you do something along the baseboards? Maybe change those to contrasting color, or have a string of tube lights just under the cabinet lip.

      4. Not So NewReader

        I would do something that plays on the black color thing such as penguins or old time movie still shots. If you enjoy chess or checkers there might be some way to use it. Pictures of old Model A’s might make sense.

        I don’t think it would take a lot to make sense out of the use of the color, “Oh the kitchen is black which makes sense with the penguins/old still shots/ car pics.
        (This coming from a person who has a picture of lounging polar bears in their bedroom.)

      5. Teach

        Oooof, that’s a lot of black! My thoughts:
        1. A rug that covers a good amount of floor. Mostly light colors but hints of black. There are loads of cheap ones that are plastic and washable/hosable, but nice.
        2. Command hooks: hang something, anything on the side of the cabinet. Ditto the tile wall. Cutting boards, bowls, trays, etc.
        3. What’s the light like? Can you do hanging plants?
        4. I’ve seen some beautiful linen that has black/natural/ silver threads. I think something like that could bridge the gaps here.

    6. Kathenus

      Obviously depends on your taste, but I’d do a combination of natural wood and very bright colored things to accent and give a punch to the place. For me, natural wood somehow feels relaxing and soothing, and bright colors (in moderation) make me smile, so find the combination of things you like and you’ll hopefully find yourself smiling when you go there from the great accents you’ve added instead of focusing on the black which you had no choice in.

    7. Epsilon Delta

      Wow that is a lot of black! Actually I think I would like that design haha!

      I would pick one or two bright or light accent colors and use those for your towels, a rug, maybe a decorative vase or similar. They also make small appliances in a range of colors now so that could be an option if you need a coffee maker or something like that.

      For accent colors I personally like bright colors so I would look for something like red or a light blue/purple, or light green. The browns/neutral colors others suggested would look nice as well if that’s more your style.

      1. Lilith

        Yep it might be fun to decide that one color will be your accent then when things need replacing go with that. It’s really striking.

      2. Washi

        Yeah, or peel and stick tiles? We covered the hideous teal linoleum in our kitchen with a checkerboard of black and white temporary tiles that we got from home depot for like $40. Could work on the backsplash and/or floor!

      3. Seeking Second Childhood

        There’s a wide variety. Appliance stickers from cartoons to simple color-change. My co-worker & I have “windows” onto beach & forest. A friend has a planter she never needs to water. And I’ve been considering them for a space that gets bumped too often for photos: https://smile.amazon.com/N-SunForest-Decals-Nursery-Forest-Stickers/dp/B017D6MZHO/ref=mp_s_a_1_84?crid=1LB04ANXAZI6W&keywords=wall%2Bdecals&qid=1550955697&s=gateway&sprefix=wall%2Bdec&sr=8-84&th=1&psc=1

        https://smile.amazon.com/Nisha-Magic-Removable-Sticker-Ancient/dp/B06XWZF3KF/ref=sxbs_sxwds-stvp?keywords=removable+decals&pd_rd_i=B06XWZF3KF&pd_rd_r=465aa46b-2802-4a5a-94eb-9f160e92e6d0&pd_rd_w=2IQqI&pd_rd_wg=cIU1Z&pf_rd_p=53606735-0421-4e69-9b3b-c6f554b47a4f&pf_rd_r=QSFMC0JS8FRCK2FJ4NVH&qid=1550956574&s=gateway

        https://smile.amazon.com/VViViD-Architectural-Adhesive-Metallic-Stainless/dp/B0748VH4M6/ref=mp_s_a_1_15?crid=1EMA7HOOJ4BRE&keywords=appliance+decals&qid=1550956698&s=gateway&sprefix=applian+decals&sr=8-15

      4. Chaordic One

        Some kind of artwork for the walls or even on the actual cupboards? Maybe something like plastic laminated posters in bright and light colors that you could easily wipe clean if they got dirty or something with a thin plastic cover and thin frames that could be held to the wall using poster tape. I’ve seen some people put up laminated place mats that had artwork on them.

      5. Kathenus

        Yes! I was going to suggest wall murals. They make them in both stick, and cling varieties – the cling ones can be taken off or moved easily. And you can pick out almost anything you want, and customize the size. I got some for a couple rooms in my house with nature scenes. Google wall murals and you’ll find some great companies.

    8. Not A Manager

      It’s not as horrible as I imagined. You can try to soften it, or you can embrace it. Get one or two bright red accent pieces, and otherwise use kitchen fabrics/mats that are cream or off-gray. Pewter would work well, like a cheese board or serving plate.

    9. YouwantmetodoWHAT?!

      There are ‘skins’ that you can buy for large appliances – like the refrigerator. Look for appliance art, refrigerator (and fridge) skins etc.
      You can paint them as well, but honestly that’s a pain and quite time consuming.

    10. Slartibartfast

      I inherited a manly kitchen with black appliances, white counters, dark cabinetry. I added under cabinet task lights (battery stick-on LED) and bright red accessories (vase for bamboo cooking utensils, red coffee pot and tea kettle, hand towels, rug, salt and pepper shakers, wall art, etc). It’s still a little harsh for my tastes and I am considering replacing the grotty white counter with butcher block, so I agree with the instinct for natural finishes, but maybe throw some bright accessories in your favorite color. It’s a neutral base at least.

    11. Electric Sheep

      Can you put a pot plant in? You can get a stand and have it off the counters. Even if you had that in the dining room maybe, next to the kitchen. I recently got one and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable I’m finding having it in my room.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood

        So now I’m wondering… is that a typo for “potted” plant, a regionalism that means it, or are you in a state that lets you grow what you typed? ((GRIN))

        1. londonedit

          Massively late and not even Electric Sheep, but ‘pot plant’ is a pretty common term in the UK, just meaning ‘potted plant’. The double meaning also works here, but people’s first thought would be ‘plant in a pot’ rather than cannabis!

        2. Electric Sheep

          Lololol I’m Australian and that’s what we call an indoor plant in a pot. I guess if you were high maybe you’d stop caring about the decor but I was thinking more like a philodendron!

    12. Susan Ryan

      You can adhere light fabric with liquid starch. You can buy it at Walmart or any general store. I have used it to adhere lace fabric to windows with ugly view or fabric to walls or cupboards. To remove just peel a corner and pull off and then sponge off with a wet sponge.

    13. CJ

      Oh, yeah. I got chest pains and was short of breath, and my mom and dad thought I had something wrong with my heart. I saw several different doctors for work ups, and everything looked fine.

      Shortly before my mom died decades later, this somehow came up, and I mentioned that the move had caused me to have panic attacks. She said we were so worried about you, why didn’t you say that’s what was happening? And I’m like Mom, I was nine, I didn’t know what the time that they were panic attacks.

      So watch for physical signs of distress.

  11. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

    Probably absurd question: Is there any way to change the way I walk?

    I’ve been experiencing some discomfort (not severe, but annoying) in my left heel lately. I’ve noticed that on the boots I wear most often during winter, the wear on the outside of the left heel (and to a lesser extent, the outside of the right heel) is noticeably uneven compared with the rest of the sole. I’ve noticed the same pattern develop on every pair of non-running shoes I’ve had over the past few years, but didn’t think anything of it until my heel started to hurt. I’ve also picked up on the fact that the soles are getting warped faster and faster, even though I’m buying the same (name brand, not inexpensive) brand of shoes.

    Most of what I’ve read online has said the course of this is underpronation when I walk, and the only solution is to “properly re-align my body”. But I’ve seen no suggestions on how to do this other than doing yoga and hoping for the best, and to be honest, I *really* don’t want to do yoga.

    Since there seems to be less of a problem when I run or wear running shoes, I think I’m first going to try to just wear running shoes all the time and deal with my feet turning to ice in cold weather, and see if that helps, but I’m curious to hear any other thoughts from folks who may have had the same problem.

    (I’m fully aware that the obvious answer here is to see a podiatrist, and I probably will, but I’m waiting to do so until after I survive a major race next month.) :-)

    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      Yup, orthotics. So a podiatrist is your best bet. I’ve had some luck with OTC orthotics; you can search for “orthotics for underpronation” and that should help a bit. I might caution you to wait until after the race, though, because you don’t want to deal with foot/gait changes right now.

      My body is weirdly aligned (I have one leg that’s almost an inch longer than the other), and orthotics have been the only help. Yoga is great and all, but it’s not perfect. I think machine-based Pilates (as opposed to mat) might be even better, but I haven’t tried it.

      1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

        I think everyone in my family has had orthotics at some point, so in my mind, that’s what I was kind of thinking, but I’m definitely not a medical professional. I will definitely wait until after my race to see a podiatrist (who knows, it could be something else).

    2. Drastically unhip

      I looked at this a few years ago and am happy to share what I found. Sadly, the answer seemed to be that without real, professional help from a PT, trying to change your gait does more harm than good. You can try to strengthen overall, though, which helps stop you overloading any one joint. The key there is to get a real, qualified, good teacher so you learn good form and to do full-body workouts with body weight or free weights, not weight machines.

      1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

        Thanks very much – and that’s an interesting thought. I’ve never lifted a weight in my life, against the advice of pretty much every running professional out there. It could be coming back to haunt me now.

    3. Not A Manager

      My DIL changed some small things about her posture/gait after a few Pilates classes. The instructor gave her some pointers. She said that the small changes made her much more comfortable in her daily activities.

      She also really likes the Pilates class, which might be more congenial to you than yoga.

    4. cat socks

      When you mentioned heel pain, my first thought was plantar fasciitis. I think I’ve just recently started to develop it myself, so not a lot of advice. It seems like there are videos on YouTube which show stretching exercises.

      1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

        I’m praying that’s not it. My wife had plantar fasciitis most of last year, and so I’ve become very familiar with it. Most of what I’m feeling so far is not consistent with plantar fasciitis (I don’t wake up in the morning feeling like my foot is going to mutiny against the rest of my body), but I know it starts mild and develops into a monster if not treated. I’ve also learned that if you stretch incorrectly or do the wrong stretches, you can make things a hundred times worse.

        1. CupcakeCounter

          Look into a treatment for IASTM for plantar fasciitis – worked amazingly well for me. I compare it to a foot massage with a shrimp deveiner so not pleasant but very effective.

    5. fposte

      I wouldn’t start with a podiatrist. The fact that the problem is showing in your heel doesn’t mean that’s the source of the problem–that’s just where the rubber literally meets the road. To be honest, I’d also resist starting out with an orthotic–if this is from something in, say, the knee or hip, which is pretty common, you could just be shoving the problem elsewhere. But “body alignment” is a complicated concept too–if your left leg is a little longer than the right, for instance, what’s being aligned there and what isn’t? (I wouldn’t put too much thought into the sole-warping–“same brand” doesn’t mean “same sole,” as production usually shifts around the globe at lightning speed and materials change.)

      What I’d do first is find a PT or trainer in your area who works with runners and get an assessment. If they’re good, they’ll look at everything, and if they’re smart, they’ll understand that the thing that’s weird isn’t necessarily the thing that’s a problem–that sometimes what looks like the problem is an adaptation necessitated by something else.

      In the meantime, go for the when-in-doubt strengthening–glutes, especially medius and minimus, which can get neglected in running. (I like side bridges the best.) And have a look at thegaitguys dot com for more delicious geekery about gait and running than you ever thought could exist in one place.

      1. Buffay the Vampire Layer

        This is it. Start with PT and work on how your muscles fire. Getting orthotics alone will just throw you off.

    6. Hold My Cosmo

      This is what my shoes looked like before I got PT for my bad knees. The exercises concentrated on strengthening my inner thigh muscles: inner leg lifts, plie squats, side lunges, and crossover extensions. The way it was explained to me was that my outer leg muscles were stronger and tighter, so they were pulling things out of alignment. Getting the inner leg muscles equally strong realigned everything properly.

      I am always going to be prone to this, though, and I was advised to stick to low- and no-impact exercise. I bought an elliptical, and was also told to swim. Running is a no-no.

    7. CW

      Outside of a PT, if you have a major hospital in the area they might also have sports medicine doctors who can also provide a more comprehensive check on the legs to see if something is triggering the heel pain. Most insurance will cover that appt as a specialty appt, vs potentially you paying out of pocket for a PT or needing a referral to see a PT.

    8. That Girl From Quinn's House

      I think you should try PT also, I’m currently in it for posture problems that have been giving me bad back pain and headaches. It’s been really helpful.

      Also, if you get pain in the back of your heels, that can be sciatic nerve pain from something in your back pinching your sciatic nerve. I get this too (piriformis syndrome), proper posture, targeted stretching, and core exercises helps.

    9. Not So NewReader

      I walked over on my shoes like that, but I did it with both shoes. It turned out to be heart rate thing, my heart was slow and I had a series of other issues dominoing from that. I got some vitamin B into me and I started staying on top of my shoes. I haven’t ruined a pair of shoes by walking over since then. YMMV, of course.

      Not for everyone, but I would suggest a chiropractor who also works with nutrition.

    10. Wishing You Well

      Please don’t delay getting your heel pain diagnosed. I know two men with limps they ignored for months. Both of them lost several inches in thigh muscle diameter compared to the non-painful leg.
      DIY therapy could actually hurt you, if you do the wrong thing. I hope you post again, telling us you’re doing much better.

    11. Anonymous from IL

      I found relief through Katy Bowman’s website and her book: Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief. Instead of orthotics, she encourages barefoot walking and minimalist footwear, and helps you work on overall body posture and walking style. Some of her ideas are too extreme for me, but that book in particular was very helpful when I had heel and foot pain.

    12. Natalie

      I’ll put in another plug for PT. I just finished a round for an ankle problem (sprained it as a kid, never healed propey, sprained it approximately 1 million times after that), and we worked on gait and posture issues as well. My therapist taught me some exercises I’m still doing now, even though my official sessions are over.

    13. Lilysparrow

      Check out the Alexander Technique. It’s a system of learning ergonomic movement and releasing habitual tension/bad posture that’s used in a lot of drama schools. Helped me immensely, and I do a refresher periodically when I feel myself getting into bad ways again.

      You may find classes at a local college with a theater or dance department, and there are some useful books out there as well.

      Not a replacement for proper PT, but it can tide you over and will help make the PT stick.

    14. Sam Foster

      A good Physical Therapist will be able to work with you to identify the problem and work with you to correct it.

  12. Handy Nickname

    I need something to look forward to.

    I’ve gone through a lot of major life changes the last five-ish years, and now the last year or so everything has settled. My job’s not changing anytime soon, my living situation isn’t changing, my relationship status isn’t changing. I go to work and come home, make supper, clean my house, play with my animals, and go to bed. It’s just… meh. I really don’t have extra money right now (my dream is to drive to the airport and get on the first flight out for a week).

    And of course it’s cold and dark all the time, so I don’t want to leave the house after 5pm and plans with friends fall through frequently because of weather, plus the biggest city near me is about 50 miles away. I keep telling myself it will be better once spring hits.

    What do you do when you’re in a rut and want to shake things up?

    1. Earthwalker

      My favorite thing in winter is to plan the gardens and plan vacations. When there’s not much money there are a lot of mini-vacations – local things to see, nearby camping or hiking trips, city events – that I can look forward to.

      1. L’il Sebastian

        Plan vacations is also my go to! It doesn’t have to be happening soon – I frequently start planning mine a year in advance so I have time to save the money but still enjoy planning.

    2. Drastically unhip

      Let yourself be bored? In all seriousness, maybe think of it differently, as recharging your creativity, hibernating to emerge in the (metaphorical or literal) springtime.

      1. Forrest Rhodes

        +1 to this. Had an interesting time yesterday talking with my 17-year-old about the benefits of being bored every now and then, of letting his mind wander where it will without external (i.e., electronic, mostly) input, of the surprising things that float to the mental surface when one simply sits and watches the sky, the local fauna, etc.
        He didn’t buy it. I am, however, nothing if not persistent and will try again another time.

      2. Blinded by the Gaslight

        I was just reading something about this recently–that we’ve been programmed to be BUSY ACCOMPLISHING THINGS ALL THE TIME, and if we’re not, then we’re lazy, boring, wasting time, etc. But there is real value in just letting yourself . . . be. I feel like we’ve lost the art (and permission? from who, I don’t know, but it feels like that sometimes) of just sitting around around and . . . thinking. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with coming home from work and NOT turning on the tv or music, and prepping dinner or doing chores in silence. I’ve been kind of amazed at how peaceful and not-boring that is, to just give my brain time without any additional input to do what it will do, think what it will think. Maybe find a way to work something like this in that works for you–take a walk without music, sit outside and just look at nature and listen to your own breath. Or, on the flip side, if you really need something to do, maybe develop a new hobby or volunteer? Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try but never have been able to? Learn an instrument, learn to dance, write . . . ? If you feel like you’re not creative (but want to be), I highly recommend “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. It’s a pretty amazing tool for rekindling (or freshly sparking) a creative spirit!

    3. kneadmeseymour

      It may seem obvious, but I usually start a new craft project, enroll in a class or sign up for some volunteer work. Particularly in the winter, when I tend to get sick a lot and like to distract myself with indoor activities.

    4. Skylight

      I try to change up little things within my routine. For example, maybe I’m in a cooking rut, so I look to see which old favorite recipes I haven’t made in years or I try out some new ones. Doesn’t really take any extra time but helps with the meh feeling.

      Also I just heard an interview with Ross Gay, author of the Book of Delights. He spent a year writing an essay a day on little things that were unexpected delights. It really changed the way he viewed his life. Maybe this book might provide an escape from the boredom?

    5. Lilysparrow

      Rearrange the furniture, chop my hair off, plan the garden, try to learn a new DIY skill like making my own cleaners or video editing.

    6. Not So NewReader

      Clean a closet or an especially disorganized drawer.
      Check out what is going on at the library.
      Teach the animals a new trick or two.
      Catch up with old and dear relationships- friends or family.
      Get the extra rest you have been promising yourself.
      Sort though your clothes to see if there is anything to donate.
      Make a list of things you have always wanted to google and learn more about, then google those things.

    7. Misquoted

      I try to learn something new — playing pool, baking new things, and most recently, crocheting. These are things that I found I really enjoy and continue to do (and aren’t too expensive). I’ve also tried other things that didn’t pan out for me. I took a cake decorating class with my daughters a few years ago, but decided I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. I’ve recently tried several media of art (watercolor, fused glass, ceramic, etc.) at an art studio and found I liked some, didn’t much like others. But I enjoyed trying them and using a part of my brain that I don’t often use (my job is not a creative one).

  13. all the leaves are brown

    Anyone want to weigh in on what we should do? DH and I keep going in decision-circles and I am curious to hear what the community here thinks.

    Here’s the situation: our family of four (me, DH and 2 daughters) live in an affluent town on the east coast of the US. We moved here about 15 years ago with our first child, choosing this town because the school system is so good. However, over the past few years, DH’s career has been in a slump, with no real signs of getting any better. He is a creative in advertising, where salaries and budgets have dropped tremendously. Also, he is older, just turned 60. So he now makes about 1/4 of what he used to, and it’s all freelance, so very unpredictable. And no real prospects for making more, though he is trying to bring in more work.

    I have a full time job, but don’t make a lot due to a career change a few years ago, combined with re-entering the workforce after being home with kids and only working p/t for a long time. So my salary is stable, but low.

    We basically cannot afford to live here anymore, especially as our taxes are high (18k per year). We have been dipping into savings to pay for living expenses for the past year and a half. One daughter is a senior and is going off to college in the fall. Don’t know where yet. We do have a fair amount saved in a 529 for her. The other is a sophomore.

    We are struggling with what to do. We have had the dream of moving to CA to be closer to family, and could sell the house here (our main asset) and move cross country, buying a cheaper house and lowering costs that way. We probably wouldn’t need a mortgage and taxes would be lower. Or we can stay here for the next 2 years until Daughter #2 finishes HS and keep spending down our savings, hoping that DH gets more work and I get a better paying job. (Daughter #2 is up for moving to CA btw)

    Do we:
    1. move to CA as soon as Daughter #1 goes off to college?
    2. stay and let Daughter #2 finish HS here, and keep spending our savings, then move, to CA (or somewhere else)
    3. some other option that I can’t see?

    (It was actually very illuminating for me to write this, may have gotten some clarity…. ! Also I will be on the road today but can respond to comments (if any) tonight.)

    1. Not A Manager

      I also wondered about selling the house and seriously downsizing for 2 years in your current location.

      Moving during HS can be hard, but it’s not the end of the world. I don’t think you should jeopardize your own future safety just to keep your daughter in her current school, and I don’t think you’d really be doing her any favors to do so.

      If you can find a way to stay in your same location without drawing down your savings, that’s worth considering. Otherwise move. She’ll be fine.

      ALSO – California has some excellent junior colleges that will accept high performing high school students who test in. An option would be for her to move to CA with you and go to a local junior college for two years while living at home, then transfer into a four-year state school.

      1. MatKnifeNinja

        If your daughter has a friend she is close with (like cousin/relative close), she could stay with them during the school year, and come back home during summer/vacation.

        A relative had to make that decision. Moved to Arkansas from NYC. They let their son finish up high school, though he only had one more year.

    2. rmw1982

      How does your younger daughter feel about moving in the middle of high school? Assuming she wants to finish high school where she is currently at, and you and DH are willing to stay until she graduates, can you realistically afford to postpone a move for another two years? And given that moving is not cheap, would you still have money for a cross-country move after two years?

      1. matcha123

        Does it really matter what the daughter thinks? Unless she’s paying bills, she doesn’t really get a say in anything. If anything it looks great on college apps. She can talk about the hardship of moving to a different state with a different culture, how she had to adjust and find herself and how it changed her.
        If the daughter is interested in a college in that state, she’ll be eligible for in-state tuition.

        I’d say the most important thing for her would be to tell her early on what their expenses are like, why they are moving and then give her time to sort things out in her mind. It sounds like the parents are taking care of all of the household expenses, so unless the daughter is looking to work and chip in somehow she’s up a creek without a paddle.

        1. Saturday Wonderings

          Gotta disagree with not giving the kids a say. Not saying the decision should live and die by the daughter’s word but I think it’s worth talking to the kids. I was already moved out, and my younger brother and sister in college but still at home for the summers, when our parents announced they’d bought a new house and were putting this one on the market. It was a shock to all of us that they didn’t talk to us about it, didn’t even give us a head’s up they were looking; it caused a bit of a rift between us kids and our parents because we didn’t feel included in something as important as selling our childhood home.

          Obviously, we would not have said ‘You’re not allowed to sell the house’, but we still would have liked to know they were thinking about it and had started looking. Afterwards, we understood the why (wanted to downsize, parents getting older and can’t keep up with the large property upkeep) but being included in discussions keeps a family connected.

          1. rmw1982

            That was my thought. As a sophomore, I think she’s old enough to have her opinion considered about a major life change. Now, consideration doesn’t mean abiding by the wants of a 15-16 year old…there are definitely other factors at play here. But from all the leaves brown’s post, it does sound like moving their daughter in the middle of high school was a consideration. And not necessarily a bad one.

          2. matcha123

            I read “giving a say” as having vetoing power. Which is why I said they should tell her early on, so I think we’re on the same page! The earlier the HS student knows about what’s going on, the more time she has to prepare. But, if the parents are bleeding cash and spending X number of extra years there isn’t feasible, I don’t think they can really say “Cathy doesn’t want to move, so we’ll go in to debt to keep the house here.”

        2. BRR

          You gotta do what you gotta do sometimes but I moved between sophomore and junior year and it was AWFUL. It’s terribly insensitive to not consider the daughter at all since she’s not supporting the household financially. Of course she’s not the primary bill payer, she’s in HS.

          1. ArtsNerd

            I moved halfway through junior year. It was totally fine? Still extremely close with some of the folks I met in those three semesters.

            I know uprooting kids for no reason isn’t ideal but I’m surprised by how strong the reaction against it can be. Living in multiple places was actually really good and fun for me. I guess it’s different if you really really struggle to make friends, but I was at least as socially awkward as any other regular teen (probably significantly more so) and found my people quickly enough through shared interests.

            1. BRR

              Oh yeah I’m not saying it’s automatically bad. And it’s moot for OP since their daughter is ok with it.

            2. The Man, Becky Lynch

              It varies so greatly, you just never know with how a kid will react!

              Moving in junior high did a lot of damage to me and it wasn’t that far away. I don’t blame my parents at all or think we shouldn’t have done it, given my ability to see it with adult eyes now. But it really screwed me up because the school district we moved to refused to take my certifications from my previous school, dumped me into standard classes instead of my old advanced track. So I tanked and stopped caring about school quickly. I can see that being an issue for a high schooler even more so when grades are even more important than ever.

              It’s just like a divorce as well to be honest. Some kids are devastated and others take it fine enough. Life changes in childhood have a lot of consequences in the end. It’s important to always take the idea into consideration at the very least.

        3. Glomarization, Esq.

          Not taking the teenager’s feelings into consideration would open the family up to 2 years of misery, I think. No, the kid doesn’t make the final decision. But if they’re blindsided with the news (at worst), or if they’re given no meaningful voice in the decision-making process, then the family risks having a move that’s more fraught than it needed to be, and a really unhappy time while the teen is still at home before leaving for post-secondary education. Could be traumatic for everybody, not merely good fodder for personal statement essays.

      2. all the leaves are brown

        I imagine it would be tougher for my daughter to downsize here, than to just leave. But I will discuss this with her. This is a very status conscious town, full of investment bankers/VC people where all of a sudden people move to 2-3 million dollar+ houses. This has happened to a number of our friends. We all started out in similar value houses, but now many have moved up, while we are struggling to even stay in our “starter home”.

        I realize I am saying this as much about my daughter as myself…. hate to admit it, but it does affect me. My closest friends are on both sides of the economic spectrum, as are my daughters’, but it is not easy to be in a HS where the “haves” have so much. Where I grew up, there were differences in income levels, but the bell curve was much much larger in the middle. S0 say 10% upper, 80% middle and 10% lower where I grew up, vs the 70% upper, 25% middle, 5 % lower incomes in this town. Though this might just be economic life now, the shrinking of the middle class, as writ in my own life!

    3. Saturday Wonderings

      Is it possible to downsize where you are for the next two years and not move until both kids are at college? From what I’ve seen of my cousins, though never experienced myself, moving during high school is really hard. College is far easier because the kids are ready to start transitioning but in high school, it’s not ideal. Of course, do what you gotta do to keep yourself afloat but I worry Daughter #2 would struggle to be moved halfway through high school.

    4. Book Lover

      I would be cautious about continuing to spend from savings, but it sounds like you have significant equity and are in a better position than most. In a few years your husband can be on Medicare and getting social security if absolutely necessary so that is helpful.

      It sounds also like second daughter is open to moving. Given uncertainty in the housing market, I would be inclined to sell now, and you can be looking at reasonable options for a job in California versus renting locally for a while.

      But I am very risk averse.

    5. Kathenus

      Since daughter 2 is up for the CA move, what about #3 being start job hunting in CA now, and let that help dictate the timing of the move? If you get a job soon, more sooner. If you don’t, wait until she graduates and if desired move then possibly w/o the job(s) lined up. And depending on how much you’re dipping into your savings now considering the suggestions below of possibly downsizing/renting in current location until the move. I’m a big proponent that moving can help kids develop great life skills, but also know that moving in HS can be rough. If it wasn’t for the fact that daughter 2 is supportive I’d suggest trying to find a way to stay until she graduates since the timing of the move is somewhat flexible so you do have the benefit of timing it around her schooling if desired.

      1. KR

        Just adding some flavor – high school for me was very tough and I wanted to move. I knew my dad could not afford our house and was totally up for moving to a different town (no affordable apartment housing in our town) and he didn’t because he had some wierd idea that is was Imperative I stay in the same school growing up. I hated my school! I had almost no friends! I actively wanted to move! And now my dad has almost no savings because he drew them all down to stay in a house he couldn’t afford to keep me in a specific school and I would much rather have him have a nest egg so I don’t have to worry about him (and have this guilt that he is in bad financial shape because of me). Brown leaves, your daughter may not be crazy about her school or may be yearning for a new adventure or maybe just would rather have you guys be in good financial shape. Don’t beat yourself up over not keeping her in the same school unless you see signs she’s feeling the same way.

    6. fposte

      You mention taxes being an issue, and then you talk about moving to CA. That could be a frying-pan-to-fire move on taxes, since CA has some of the highest taxes in the nation. Have you costed out the different income taxes and state taxes as well as the property taxes? If you’re currently in a state that doesn’t tax retirement payouts, have you factored in that California *does* tax retirement income outside of Social Security? If younger daughter is going to be in the state system for college (you don’t say but I assume it’s a possibility because it usually is), how will she fare in CA compared to where you are now–will her options be as good? If you guys don’t make more money in CA, will you be okay? Will there be increased cost in ferrying older daughter home from college on breaks and has that been factored in?

      To be clear, I think moving could well work for you–moving to be near family is often worth doing, and the fact that the younger daughter is on board is a key element that’s in your favor. I’m just putting out some specific money questions that I think you should be able to answer for yourself in making the decision. Good luck to you, whatever you choose!

      1. BRR

        Yeah I was a little puzzled by this as well. Obviously I can’t say anything definitively because I don’t know all of the details but I’m confused at moving to CA for lower COL. Even places far outside the big cities can be quite expensive.

        1. Buffay the Vampire Layer

          It sounds like she’s in Jersey or Connecticut now. That’s pretty comparable to a lot of CA in terms of cost of living. Bay area will be a little more expensive, Sac, SD, inland empire a little less expensive, and the 99 corridor even less expensive.

          1. fposte

            Yeah, I focused on taxes because while you could get lower COL in CA than, say, Westchester County, you can also give away COL advantages in increased taxes. So run all the complex numbers.

      2. MRK

        Also, it may be worth checking various state colleges/universities rules on “in state residents” if you’re daughters are looking at state schools. Some need a minimum time lived in state before you are considered a resident, moving there for college typically doesn’t count. Getting that in state resident status can make a huge difference in cost

        1. MRK

          Just checked my alma mater since it was a state school. Current tuition and fees are:
          $13,000 in state resident
          $28,000 regional resident
          $36,500 all other students

        2. Reba

          Yes, this could be another thing in favor of moving younger child to CA now, so she can have in-state tuition or take advantage of the CC-4-year transfer track, which is common and works well there.

          1. That Girl From Quinn's House

            A lot of the CA schools are impacted, so it’s hard to get into them and even harder to graduate on time. If OP’s kid wants a “traditional” college experience, that may be out of the question in the CSU/UC system.

        3. I Go OnAnonAnonAnon

          But also know that there’s a program out here called WUE, Western Undergraduate Exchange, which is a reciprocal agreement among certain schools in 13 Western states (incl. CA) to charge students who apply with neither in- nor out-of-state tuition, but instead with tuition at 150% of in-state rate. https://www.wiche.edu/wue

      3. all the leaves are brown

        Thanks, fposte and everyone else in this branch. Great questions to consider. And some we hadn’t fully thought out, so I have some work to do.

        We would move to the town my brother lives in, in Ventura county. We could even stay with him for a few months while we look for a place to rent or buy.

        I think it is 3 years residency to qualify for in-state tuition, so for Daughter #2, we would be close, and she could do a gap year or community college for a year and then transfer.

        DH would have a fair shot at getting the same amount of work as he has contacts out there, and for me, well, again since I don’t make a ton and am fairly entry level, I think I would be able to get a job.

    7. Glomarization, Esq.

      A few thoughts from spending most of my “top-earning” years un- and under-employed:

      One, I wonder how the math would compare if you downsized out of your house, sold it, and rented a smaller home in your current location for a couple of years. Along those same lines, why be so certain to buy a home in California if/when you get there? There’s a good argument to be made that property taxes, upkeep, and other risks/responsibilities of home ownership are for suckers, outweighed by the flexibility you’d have as renters.

      And two, beyond what’s in the 529, keep in mind that you don’t actually have to pay for your kids’ post-secondary educations. It’s not “nice” but it’s the reality that we’ve been in since my own child’s 529 money ran out. I’m not in a position to dip into my own savings or liquidate any assets. They can get their own loans and grants, or take extra time to earn their degrees, if they need to. I hope you’re not planning to pay for their educations with your own retirement.

      1. all the leaves are brown

        Yes, 529s for their college – not our retirement funds! In 100% agreement about that.

    8. MindOverMoneyChick

      Love the screen name :) Also I work with clients in situation like this to help them make clear decisions. It helps a lot to lay out all of the numbers and see the long term consequences of both choices. Here’s what that would look like if I were doing it for a client:
      1. Run their cash flow and see how much they were overspending every month/year. Also trim any part of the spending plan to minimize the losses.
      2. Make sure we know what their long terms goals were (college education and retirement most likely for you). How much does spending your saving impact that?
      3.Now look at the results. Does staying where you are mean sacrificing some important goals (retiring 10 years later, not being able to contribute to college, seriously erode your saving to the point where you don’t have a safety new). If not – you clear to stay. If yes, you then have a clear sense of what the trade-offs are and if they are worth it for you.

      This is a pretty high level summary of course; there’s lots of smaller steps you may need to take to get through items 1 and 2, if you aren’t already working with a plan. But the overall point is it’s so much easier to make these decisions when you know what the numbers really say rather than going with a vague sense of what the trade-off are.

      If you want a little more guidance you can email me (see link in name)

      1. all the leaves are brown

        Thank you so much for this. It really helps to have some clear-eyed perspective. I didn’t see a link to your email, but your post confirms that we need professional help (probably in more ways than one :) ) to figure this out, especially the financial ramifications.

        This is of course about more than money – it has been difficult for DH to accept that this is his reality (unwanted semi-retirement). He keeps hoping things will get better, but we have to deal with the current reality. Which sucks in some ways, but in others – we have options and are certainly not destitute. I want to plan for this next phase of our lives and not be forced into making decisions we wouldn’t have made had we had the time/foresight.

        I am actually visiting my parents this weekend and going over wills and financial stuff with them. I am so happy that they are so proactive in all this, plus it is nice to spend some time with them.

        1. fposte

          If you search her username in the search box, some of her prior posts have the link in the name, so you can get there that way.

    9. Paris-Berlin-Seoul Express

      Option No. 3, move somewhere with a much lower cost of living. I’m not sure that moving to California will solve your problems unless your planning on living in Central California. Anything else sounds like going from the frying pan into the fire. Also, what about employment? Will both of you be able to easily find work wherever you’re planning on moving? Have you actually sat down and planned out the different options and their opportunity costs? In any event, good luck. Hope things work out.

    10. all the leaves are brown

      Honestly, this is the best site on the internet. Thank you all for the thoughtful and insightful advice!

      I think job one once I am home again is to seriously run the numbers and get a true sense of where we are and where we think we would be if we did The Move.

      Yes, moving to CA is about both quality of life as well as COL. It would certainly not be anywhere near the top of our list for lowering COL, but the fact we have family there is why
      we would go there. The COL is less than here, but certainly not a ton.

    11. Chi chan

      Would it be possible to rent out the house you own ? CA is a competitive job market especially for someone at 60 so my suggestion is apply other places as well and then follow the money. Can your daughter graduate early

    12. ..Kat..

      Whatever you choose, you need a certified financial adviser or some such. Living above your means is toxic to your retirement (not blaming, I know you are in a rough spot. But if this does not stop, you and DH may not be able to retire). Also, stress to daughters that your resources are limited, so your assistance to them in college is limited. There are plenty of good, but cheaper schools out there.

      With daughter #2 being good with moving, move. But, make sure that you realistically understand what living in California means money-wise. It may be more expensive than you realize. I recommend buying small. Like 2 bedroom. When older daughter comes home for summers/college breaks, stress that daughters will be sharing a room. I say this because I am really concerned about your being able to retire in retirement. Also, what about moving to a cheaper state that is California-adjacent? Closer to family, but without the California prices?

      One thing to start now – clearing out your current house. You, DH, and daughters go through your possessions. This is a pretty time consuming activity. So the sooner you start, the better. Sell/donate what you no longer use. Paying to move this unnecessary stuff is expensive.

      Can you do anything to cut expenses or raise money now? Rent a room in your house?

      Good luck.

      1. all the leaves are brown

        Yes, I am clearing out the house, albeit very slowly. Selling stuff via facebook and donating what I can’t sell. I shredded years and years of old papers. We sold 750 (!) cds last month to a used record/cd store. It is slow but we are making progress.

    13. Traffic_Spiral

      CA’s the size of a small country, and some of it is very expensive. Where are you thinking of?

    14. Cherry Sours

      Have you checked out real estate prices in California? See if they are actually cheaper than you are currently…Zillow might be a good place to start.

  14. Drastically unhip

    I am going to start jogging next week after a 15-year break after having kids. I have a nice walk/run plan. What I don’t have is clothing. I have a jog bra, shoes, and socks, but no athletic wear. What do people wear that’s not leggings or pricy technical gear? I can’t afford anything fancy, and I don’t want anything tight or that makes me out to be a serious runner when I’ll just be trying to shuffle and wheeze my way to a 5k.

    1. all the leaves are brown

      Old Navy is a great resource for reasonably priced – and in my opinion stylish – work out gear. Target too.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        I was just going to say Old Navy. All of my workout clothes come from them and they’re great.

      2. That Girl From Quinn's House

        I get yoga pants, leggings, and sports bras at Old Navy and shirts and running jackets from C9 at Target.

      3. ALM20

        Another vote for Old Navy. I Crossfit 5-6 days per week for two years and I swear by Old Navy leggings. They’ve held up through a lot of wearing, washing, and drying.

    2. Lena Clare

      Have you got any tracksuit bottoms/drawstring jersey pants? In UK we have Primark which do them quite cheaply, oh at ASDA too – if you’re in the US would Walmart do them? That and a t-shirt used to do me.

      1. Liza

        Same here. I own “proper” running gear but prefer trackies (sweatpants in the US) especially in colder weather. And a cotton t-shirt is just as breathable as any athletic wear. I find these are perfectly comfortable up to about an hour, then I might want to switch up to something more specialised to prevent chafing. The bra, shoes and socks are really the most important.

        Also, never wear anything new on a long distance run. Test purchases on shorter stints first. There’s nothing worse than finding out your new shorts rub at the crotch when you’re five miles out from home and knowing you have to get back.

        1. coffee cup

          I’m going to gently disagree that a cotton t-shirt is as breathable. It usually isn’t, and if it rains or you’re really sweaty and it gets windy, it will be more uncomfortable. It’s possible to get really cheap running tops from Decathlon or somewhere.

          I agree on the testing stuff out, though! I only recently managed to buy leggings that don’t start slipping down half-way round a short run, but I find it very hard to test that out at home.

    3. rmw1982

      I buy my clothes from Thred Up (online consignment store). They have cute workout clothes at decent prices.

    4. Alex

      Thirding Old Navy. They have a large athletic wear collection and have a ton of different shapes, styles, and fabrics.

    5. Extra Vitamins

      Hanes makes inexpensive track/sweatpants. Target usually has them. Try the men’s section if you can’t find loose ones in the women’s – at their price point they aren’t cut all that much differently, no matter what the sign says.

    6. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

      Longtime runner here. Kohls, believe it or not, is really useful for affordable running clothing, and constantly runs sales. I’ve found that Old Navy’s clothing has gone sharply downhill in fit and quality, but it does have the virtue of being inexpensive.

      I don’t think great quality pants are particularly important and you don’t need super expensive running shoes if you’re running short distances; I’ve found that the $60 shoes work every bit as well as the $140 ones, but every body (literally) is different.
      One thing I’d try not to pass up is a technical running shirt — a regular cotton T-shirt doesn’t wick sweat well or at all, and will make you feel sweaty and miserable (and increase the risk of frostbite in cold weather). I think you can get one for under $20 from Kohls; a plain Asics shirt on Amazon runs about $25. Good luck!

    7. Epsilon Delta

      Athletic clothes from Target or Kohls. Also old t-shirts and hooded sweaters, with regular leggings (not the ones from the athletic section). I personally don’t notice a big difference between the tech gear and regular cotton unless it’s very hot outside, but other people swear by tech material.

    8. Seeking Second Childhood

      Believe it or not, BJ’s has some great gear at low prices. I’d assume Costco would be similar. That said, I’m no fashionista when I’m exercising, as long as my clothes fit and my jacket is visible in current conditions I’m a happy camper.
      (Bicycle & swimming for me…ru,ers may have issues I don’t get.)

    9. kneadmeseymour

      I bought pretty much all of my workout gear from sports stores on clearance. There is also a good discount sports store where I live that sells athletic clothes and other sports equipment at a steep discount. I think it’s definitely worth investing in a couple of those lightweight, breathable shirts, which are much more pleasant to run in than a regular t-shirt, and can be bought pretty cheaply if you’re not too picky about what they look like.

    10. epi

      Like most other people in the thread, Old Navy and Target are my go-tos. I find ON’s stuff a little better made, Target’s more trendy and fun. Target also has a better sports bra selection. Both are pretty similar though.

      I recommend getting a few pieces of real workout clothing because it can be really comfortable and flattering, and I always find it motivates me to work out so I can wear it. It will also be easier to hand wash and hang dry than regular clothing that’s simply old, so you won’t need to own as much. I have gradually increased my collection as a reward for working out often enough that I actually need it.

      Leggings are extremely popular right now for people doing any sport. If you haven’t run in a while, you may be surprised by how nice the newer ones can be– and even cheap ones will now usually pass the squat test. I’d recommend at least trying some on. Don’t get them if you don’t enjoy wearing them, but wearing proper gear won’t imply to anyone that you are a serious athlete– it’s just normal and functional. Especially if you just get the cheap stuff. :)

    11. Lilysparrow

      When it’s cool enough for long pants, I wear yoga pants or sweats.

      When it’s hot, I have some straight-leg Capri pants, one in a poly mesh and one that’s more of a stretch cotton. When it’s super hot I wear bike shorts or an “active skirt” that’s sort of like a tennis skirt.

      None of them were expensive – Walmart/target or Salvation Army.

    12. LGC

      I’ve actually found that the AmazonBasics athletic gear has worked well for me. (They have a LOT of stuff.) Yeah, it’s Amazon, but they have good prices and pretty good quality. The shirts I got have held up well with heavy use and I don’t think they look TOO technical.

    13. YouwantmetodoWHAT?!

      I just wear super comfy clothes – other than my Under Armor bra, that is! I’ve got DDs and I need a great bra!
      I was never a runner. I’m not a natural – at.all. Some years ago a friend got me to try it out using the C25K app (couch to 5k). This app is fantastic!
      Due to health issues now resolved (can I get a huzzah for modern science & surgery?), I’m looking forward to starting again.
      FYI, I was in my late 40s early 50s when I started!

    14. Marion Ravenwood

      Maybe Target? From what I’ve heard/seen on TV their clothing selection looks pretty similar to those in UK supermarkets, so I imagine it might include tracksuit bottoms and T-shirts/vests. I like Decathlon as well for more ‘technical’ stuff or when I want to try things out but don’t want to spend a lot of money. TK Maxx might be worth a look too, though it can be hit and miss. For ‘fun’ stuff, it’s a little more expensive (although they constantly have offers on), but I *love* the nerdy workout tops at Lookhuman.

      The other thing I haven’t seen mentioned is getting your gait analysed. I know you said you have shoes, but if you decide you like running it’s definitely worth going to a proper running shoe store and getting your gait analysed so you can get shoes which help balance you out.

      And FWIW, no-one worth their salt will judge you for having ‘proper’ running gear however fast or slow you are. I am by no means a speedy runner, but I personally like to have things like colourful fitted (but not tight) tops and leggings when I work out because it makes me feel good about myself, and no-one has ever said anything to me about it. At my parkrun people wear everything from loose T shirts and tracksuit bottoms to tight shorts and vests and anything in between, regardless of shape, size or speed, so don’t feel you can’t wear ‘technical’ or more fitted stuff if you want to!

      1. Three Pines Visitor

        Check out your local Goodwill’s activewear section, especially just after a season ends. I’ve found amazing Danskin and Fila tops for less than $5 each.

  15. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

    Tl;dr: Should I offer constructive feedback about my frustrating experience to a group I’m volunteering with, even though I don’t have much experience and they’ve probably already thought about the problems or ideas I’d offer?

    Full version: I’m currently fostering puppies through a local rescue. I haven’t had a great experience and I’d like to offer the rescue some critical feedback on their application/adoption/foster communication process — but I realize that I’m relatively inexperienced and don’t know the ins and outs of their processes or the reasons for the various systems they’ve created.

    My feedback is primarily about the systems they use to receive, review, and accept applications and how they communicate with fosters about the applications they receive. It’s really inefficient and makes the process really slow, which means that adopters move on to other dogs and fosters don’t know what’s going on with a given application.

    The main problem seems to be that there isn’t a central tracking/application storage system; several times I’ve asked a question about an application and the person with access to the email inbox didn’t have access to the application so there was a 24 hour (or longer) delay while information was passed back and forth.

    Should I offer feedback based on my experience as a foster, or is it unhelpful given that I likely just don’t know why they do a bunch of things the way they do them?

    I’d also like to recommend that the rescue offer or require implicit bias training to the people who make decisions about dog placements (the folks that review applications or do interviews with applicants, and the fosters themselves, who typically have the final say). I’ve been surprised at the amount my own biases are affecting me in this process (I’ve identified that I have a clear vision of the kind of adopter I want, and it’s pretty clearly “someone like me.”) I’m someone who has done a lot of deep work to understand my own cultural lenses and deconstruct my biases and have a lot of experience in this area — so if I’m struggling with this I know it must be an issue for others.

    1. Fluffy

      I have volunteered for animal rescue orgs in the South and Midwest. All their money and time is goes to care for the rescues, and the ppl running the org are deluged with calls about new rescues. They are so used to the current system that they just deal with it.

      So before giving them feedback, why don’t you look at other rescue orgs in the country and find out what system they use. Try to get an estimate of cost to set up and maintain. Then find a tech savvy animal lover in your area who would be willing to volunteer time. If you present an affordable solution with your feedback, they’ll be much more likely to act.

      It’s possible the org is dysfunctional; run by an inflexible control freak who is overstressed and burnt out. Then you may just need to be patient and wait until they step down. Animal rescue is a heartbreaking business

      As for the bias, again, I think you need to get involved with the screening process before giving feedback. People in foster orgs have to make quick decisions on whether someone will be a loyal and responsible pet owner. The stakes are high. Of course bias can creep in. But there may be other factors (job security, renting apt) that make a potential adopter less attractive. Your best bet is to get more involved in the nuts and bolts of the operation.

    2. stellaaaaa

      Maybe 10+ years ago, I fostered dogs for a bunch of different rescue groups. They do great work, but I found that rescue people are pretty strange. Everyone has certain biases and specific ways of doing things, no one has time to do everything or try to improve, and I never really got enough information to do better at what I was doing. Also it was weird how many rescue groups had strong and mostly negative feelings about other local rescue groups. People were always in fights with each other! Eventually I simply gave up volunteering with rescue groups, and instead volunteered at an extremely well run shelter with a dedicated volunteer coordinator and a long-standing volunteer program.

      Some rescue groups would be grateful to have a volunteer with knowledge and experience in improving their systems, if it’s something the group has already thought of but didn’t have the expertise themselves to set up. But it sounds like the feedback you’d like to give them is not only about major changes/additions (not small changes) to their process, but that you’re also looking for them to take it over and implement, not help them implement. You can certainly offer feedback, but I honestly think that the average volunteer-run rescue group is not going to be able to act on large suggestions like these unless they have a volunteer also willing to put them in place. If not having these in place is negatively impacting your experience but you still want to volunteer, there is nothing wrong with volunteering for larger organizations with actual processes and guidelines, etc. which might be better equipped to take suggestions and act on them.

      1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

        I’d be happy to help actually set up a new system, if they were game for it, and it definitely wouldn’t need to be complex to be vastly better than what they have now. Like, a Google spreadsheet, or even just consolidating to one email inbox with a robust folders structure (rather than a different email account for applications vs. foster communications, etc.)

        I also should have mentioned that I’m pretty involved with the org. I’ve been volunteering for two years (mostly as an adoption advisor, who does interviews with potential adopters). This is my third batch of fosters, but the first time I’ve really had to work with the adoption system — the others were adopted through one of our adoption events, which are a well-oiled machine. My current pups just haven’t been as popular and they weren’t snapped up at a M&G (yet), so I’m dealing now with our online app system that is the source of my problems.

        For example: a friend wanted to adopt one of my pups. She put in an application and got an email response asking for clarification about one of her answers. She responded and then never heard back from them. She texted me to ask what was going on, so I checked with the rescue and (after five days of back and forth because the foster communication people didn’t have access to the adoption email inbox and just kept insisting that there was nothing they could do until the application was forwarded to them) the rescue insisted that she hadn’t responded. It finally emerged that they just weren’t getting her emails, but if I hadn’t been following up on everything nobody would ever have known and her application would never have gone through (which was great, and she did adopt the pup).

        Technical glitches happen. But it was frustrating that there was no person who could tell me the status of her application.

        1. LLG612

          I run a nonprofit that, while not a technical rescue, uses fosters for some of our younger dogs until they’re ready for foundation training (service dogs). Fostering is HARD, from both the foster perspective and the org perspective. Foster programs are often dysfunctional no matter how hard the org or fosters try. I’d say call around and ask other similar groups how their system is handled to give you some credibility. I’m also happy to talk to you about it though I don’t know my experience will be relevant.

        2. blaise zamboni

          If you’ve volunteered regularly with them for several years, I think you’re actually a perfect person to bring this up.

          If you aren’t already familiar with the application and approval process, maybe you can open the conversation by asking for a step-by-step explanation of that, just to make sure you’re not reading the situation wrong? If you’re already familiar or the explanation confirms what you’re seeing, then hell yeah, let them know. The process as-is sounds ripe for losing potential adopters, who will go to other organizations with a more streamlined process. So I would politely tell them that until they address it. As a foster parent you’re very invested in finding great homes for these pups, and the system is preventing you from doing that. And since you only have so much space to offer, if you aren’t able to process applications and adopt out the dogs, you probably aren’t able to take in any other dogs that need foster homes.

          I know you already know all of that, I’m just so baffled. Your concerns are valid and this system has likely already hurt their mission. If you’re able to set up a better system for them, all the better, but even if you had no solution for them I think it would warrant speaking up. Good luck when you talk to them, and I hope the other pups find awesome homes soon!

    3. Gerald

      My experience is that all rescues take up a lot of time, so only offer suggestions if you are willing to do some work.

      I think the next step would be to ask if they want help. No point in you spending a lot of time preparing options if they think everything is currently fine.

  16. AvonLady Barksdale

    We started our dog on CBD treats last week. He’s getting older (he’s 8) and his anxiety has come back a bit. Recently it’s been pretty bad; we have some neighbors who do loud things at 2 or 3am and the dog sleeps in the front bedroom so he hears all of the doors slamming and people talking, plus we’re pretty sure there’s a possum living under the house. So there was a lot of middle-of-the-night barking. I made it worse by lying down with him, so then the barking increased because he just wanted his mama.

    The CBD has been awesome. We give him 2-3 treats a day, 2 mg of CBD each, so not even that much (he weighs about 67 lbs). He’s calmer and less bark-y. However, he has now taken to sprawling out on the carpet and it’s HILARIOUS. He has a dog bed, full use of the sofa and the guest bed (which is right off the living room), yet his new thing is to go into the guest room and let it all hang out while he snores. Intellectually, I am fully aware that there is nothing in those treats could be making him all blissed out, but still, we’ve had a good time making fun of him. My partner called him “Cheech” yesterday. I am a meanie.

    1. Call me St. Vincent

      Please tell me more! My dog is on Prozac and is still anxious and does not like strangers at ALL. What is this stuff that you are using and where do you get it? Did you ask the vet first? I would try almost anything to get my doggo to feel better and less stressed (he is a rescue).

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        I didn’t ask the vet, but because my buddy isn’t on any other meds except Cytopoint (and he handles changes to his food/medicine really well), I was pretty confident he would be ok. I bought beef-flavored treats from a local company– we had a sample at an event at his doggy daycare– but people from my rescue group recommended Treatibles, which I’ll link to in a reply. If you have a dog store near you that features “natural” or “holistic” food, I highly recommend going there and seeing if they sell CBD oil or treats and getting a sample. They’re not really cheap.

        When we adopted our bud, he was very anxious but also very stoic. He loves people (stranger rubs are his favorite things in the whole wide world), but going out on the street meant encountering all kinds of dangers, like banners and plastic bags. We lived in Manhattan at the time– can you imagine? We now live in the south and he has a porch and a front yard and a back yard, and he has much improved, but he also has a WHOLE HOUSE to protect ALL BY HIMSELF. I’m convinced that apartment living was great for him because he had a whole team of other buds around.

        Anyway. Since your buddy is on Prozac, ask the vet about CBD. Some vets are a little reluctant to recommend them because OMG MARY JANE, but others think it’s a great option.

        Also, unsolicited advice… have you tried doggy daycare? Our bud goes once a week but it does wonders for his anxiety. I’m a big advocate.

        1. Call me St. Vincent

          Thanks! Yes he has been going To doggy day care for several years now. It’s weird because he loves everyone there and even when they get new people he does well with them. He only seems to have problems with the new people who come to house.

          1. AvonLady Barksdale

            Ah, he’s guarding his space! Poor dude. Sadly, I have no advice, as my bud believes everyone who comes to his home is here to see him and give him rubs and should be greeted with tail wags and occasional bonks.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy

      Is this something that has to build up a level, or could it be used as needed? My whippet mix gets super anxious about car trips, which just makes her vet visit even harder than it already is, and the med the vet prescribed for her last time didn’t really make much difference.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        I’m told dogs do best if the treats/oil are given regularly. Have you tried Benadryl for her car trips? Some friends do that and it seems to do the trick. Doesn’t knock them out like it does humans but does help keep them calmer.

    3. Wishing You Well

      You might be able to decrease the CBD treats now. (A maintenance dose might be much smaller than the starting dose.)
      Also, get rid of the possum! The middle-of-the-night barking isn’t helping your quality of sleep!
      Other ideas: Remember the Thundershirt? There’s also a sound-muffling kennel that’s probably pricey, but you could use a regular kennel with a heavy quilt over it to make a nice hidey-hole for your dog.
      Your dog sounds adorable, BTW.

  17. Raia

    Alteryx, how do I get experience without spending for the license and only able to use my personal time to learn it (having no license or business need to have it at work)? If I go through a course/online tutorial series, will it really help without having the software? Any suggestions on nonprofits that use it where I can volunteer and learn the ropes? Let me be clear that I cannot obtain the experience through my workplace, which is why this post is on the weekend thread, so please focus suggestions on outside work arenas. Thanks!

    1. AndersonDarling

      I can’t recommend any tutorials or anything, but I can tell you that if you have a good understanding of relational databases, then you can learn it incredibly fast. I watched all the tutorials on the Alteryx website and was building complex flows in a day.
      If you can download the 14 day free trial, you can gt really far just by playing around, and there are tutorials built into Alteryx to help you as you go.

      1. Raia

        Thanks for this! I’ve heard knowing R and working through SQL is super helpful, but I’m just not there yet. I appreciate this, since people have made Alteryx seem intimidating to work with.

  18. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

    There was a thread a few weeks ago that involved a concert at the Barclays Center (Brooklyn), so I’m hoping maybe some AAMer out there will know: Is it realistic to get a taxi/car service there after a major concert?

    We’re seeing a show at Barclays next week that I anticipate will end around 11 pm, about the hour that mass transit in NYC becomes essentially useless.

    Are there taxis waiting after the concert? Is it easy to do an Uber/Lyft there (I’ve never done either)? Will they do crazy surge pricing for a major event? If I do a non-Uber cab waiting on the street, will they try to rip me off? I’m trying to figure out if I should:

    (1) risk a taxi, when I’ve never taken one outside Manhattan;

    (2) park in a lot for $50 (!!) and risk not being able to get out of the lot for an hour due to crazy post-event traffic, and then probably not be able to park within ten blocks of home due to the late hour, but at least have the comfort of our own car;

    (3) take the subway, which involves a 15-minute walk at a late hour once I reach my stop–when we’ll also be exhausted–and hope for the best.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      A green “Boro” taxi– one that can only be hailed outside of certain boundaries in Manhattan– won’t rip you off (at least, not any more than a taxi in Manhattan would). They’re metered. I can’t imagine there wouldn’t be a line of them waiting outside the Barclays Center after an event.

      Not sure about Uber/Lyft options from there; the last time I was at the Barclays Center was a while ago, but I just got on the train at Atlantic and went home.

      1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

        Thanks – I’m hoping for a green taxi, but I’ve never been in the Barclays area that late and have no idea if it’s realistic to get one. During the daytime, I usually just see black cabs (Lincoln Town Cars driven by private taxi services) by the supermarket across the street.

      2. Thursday Next

        There’s a designated Lyft pickup point outside Barclay Center. It’ll probably be crowded after an event, but you’ll get a ride.

        1. Thursday Next

          Also, parking in the neighborhood has gotten really scarce over the last several years, so I wouldn’t risk driving and not being able to park in the garage when there’s an event that will be drawing a big crowd.

    2. Drastically unhip

      Ubers come out to Brooklyn. Out to Queens, even. But honestly I would just take the train. Way easier, and they run all night.

      1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

        I live in Brooklyn. I’m well aware that Ubers run everywhere. I just don’t particularly like the way they conduct their business, and so I don’t use them.

    3. Not A Manager

      Is it possible to take the subway to your stop, and THEN go inside a 24 hour store and call an Uber for the 15 min walk home?

      1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

        To clarify what I wrote above, safety is not our worry – it’s the fact that we’d be exhausted. We’re morning people to an almost ridiculous extreme, but this show was too good to pass up.
        If we took the train home, we’d probably just suck it up and walk.

        1. ..Kat..

          But, safety is an important consideration. Will you be traveling alone, or will you be with at least one other person?

    4. Mimmy

      As Drastically unhip says, the trains run pretty late–I know NJ Transit does–so you might be able to take a subway from Brooklyn and get a train home. Uber and/or Lyft probably would do surge pricing if a lot of people use them to leave the event (Barclays is an arena, right?)

      Have fun!!

        1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

          No worries! Although the way our particular train runs, it might as well be NJ Transit!

    5. CW

      Since it’ll be an event there will be a fair number of cabs around. I suspect that it’ll be pretty difficult to flag one down though since everyone is going to want to take one of them o avoid surge pricing. If you’re ok with paying a few extra dollars, I highly recommend reserving a black cat ahead of time. I used to use Dial7 and they are incredibly reliable and seamless with pickups. You can Google it for the site and do online reservation or call 18007777777 (so catchy I still remember this years later). There are also a lot of Dial7 coupons floating around if you Google for it, ranging from 5 to 10 off. I continue to use them for airport pickups etc to avoid surge pricing and have never had a bad experience.

    6. Death sucks

      I live a few blocks away, and here’s my two cents.
      1)Definitely don’t drive. There is so much other construction within a few blocks that traffic is even worse than usual.
      2) even with crowds, the green cabs are pretty plentiful. If there isn’t one right at the stadium you might walk a few blocks up Flatbush toward manhattan—City Point/Fulton Mall usually has them.
      3) the MTA subway and bus time apps are pretty accurate these days and since you’re literally on top of the station you can get a pretty good instant sense of whether the subway is worth it.
      4) if you want to preschedule a car service, I recommend Arecibo. They’re a few blocks away, their prices are super reasonable (last time I took them was to jfk at 4:30 am and it was half the price Lyft was quoting), and they’ve upped their scheduling game a lot to compete with Uber etc. I’ve almost never had to wait more than 5-7 minutes; if you called when you left your seat they’d likely be waiting, but you can also prebook if you know what time.
      5) you may be able to get a better deal/wait time w/Lyft if you pick an address a few blocks away—use a restaurant in the right direction of travel, say, and meet them there.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        All of my friends in Brooklyn LOVE Arecibo. They’re apparently very good with pets and car seats.

      2. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

        Thank you. Exactly what I was looking for, this is really helpful.

        Typing this out caused me to instantly eliminate driving as an option.
        What I could do is park near my home station, but we might do a cab of some sort and hope for the best.

    7. The Other Dawn

      That was me asking about transportation and driving within Brooklyn. We’re going to the HOF induction ceremony on March 29. We plan to drive to the hotel (from CT and downstate NY), which is six miles from the Barclay’s Center, and then take the subway to and from the venue.

      Good luck! And please check in afterwards to let us (me!) know how it went.

    8. ..Kat..

      I use Lyft and Uber a lot when I travel. I agree with you about the business model. I recommend using them – there will be a surge price, but the convenience will be worth it, especially when you are exhausted. If you are not sure, put both the apps on your phone now and set them up with a credit card, that way you have the option if you change your mind. A safety feature that I like on Lyft and Uber is that you get a license plate number and a picture of the driver. (Verify these before you get in a car.) I have found Lyft (my preferred, since (I hope) they have not treated women and minorities as poorly as Uber) to be a good value for the price. You can also reserve a ride the day before =)

      I cannot comment on the cab stuff – just don’t have the experience.

      Personally, I would not drive and pay for parking. Hate the price, hate the traffic, hate the hunt for parking.

      Good luck, have fun, be safe (stay sexy and don’t get murdered…)

      1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

        It’s reassuring to hear that Uber/Lyft send a license plate number; on top of the safety aspect, I was wondering how we we would find our Uber in a sea of Ubers. (I definitely live under a rock.)
        I’m definitely NOT driving my own vehicle. Thanks for the info!

        1. Hazelthyme

          In addition to the license plate #, the app shows you a map where you can track where your Lyft is and how soon it’s arriving in real time. While I’ve found the “10 minutes away/ 5 minutes away” estimates are usually wildly optimistic, by the time it gets to 2 & 1 minutes away, your ride probably is just about there, so that’s when you start scanning the sea of rideshare vehicles for your red Kia & the license plate. In places where there’s truly a mob scene of people & cars (looking at you, ORD), I’ve also been known to text the driver with a few descriptive details (curly hair, grey jacket, big red suitcase, standing right in front of Door 4).

        2. Gingerblue

          The last Uber I took also had an LED sign in the window. It glowed purple, and the Uber app turned purple to match. Since I was at the airport and there was a large crowd of Uber pickups, this was really helpful for finding mine. It was the first time I’d seen this, though; I don’t know if it’s only certain cars or if they’re rolling it out in select cities or if it’s a new feature everywhere.

    9. mreasy

      Taxi demand will be high, but you may be able to snag one. If not, walk a few blocks away to a quieter area and call an Uber/Lyft. Unless you’re convenient to one of the subway lines that runs there, in which case it would probably be your best bet! (I don’t so I always do a taxi/car.)

  19. ElspethGC

    Has anyone ever had a time in their life when they think back to an advice column letter and just see themselves reflected?

    I’m currently sat in my university library – not on a silent floor, I like lots of quiet background conversations as white noise – and I’m getting some serious flashbacks to that one AAM letter from the OP who wanted to know what to do about the complaints from their coworker about OP’s burping and farting.

    *So much sympathy* to that one coworker right now. The guy sat a couple of seats over from me has spent the last three hours sniffing every three seconds or so, interspersed with burping every ten minutes. I. Am. So. Done. I can’t listen to music because my phone is dead and I forgot to bring my laptop charger so don’t want to run the battery down faster than necessary, but this is incredibly frustrating and distracting. I can’t imagine having to work in these conditions day in, day out.

    Seriously. The sniffing. Just blow your nose. Except he won’t, and I think he thinks he’s being polite because I’m pretty sure he’s an exchange student from our Chinese campus, where sniffing is apparently more polite than blowing your nose. Polite, maybe. But oh my god, I’m going to stab someone before this day is out.

    1. Lena Clare

      I guess the advice would be – say something to him! But I totally sympathise and probably would try to move somewhere else where I couldn’t hear :/

      1. ElspethGC

        Oh no, I’m far too British to actually want to say something to a stranger! Much easier to suffer in silence. (No, really. It would be mortifying.)

        I’m going to grab a coffee in a second, so I’m going to scout out other potential seating options on the way. I have weird proportions and a bunch of tables are too high to be ergonomic for my long arms/short torso combo, so there are only a few specific tables I can sit at for any length of time without getting a bad back. Time to see if one of the others has come free in the last few hours. Either that, or I’m going to steal an adjustable desk chair from the other side of the library and wheel it across to an available too-high table.

        1. ElspethGC

          Update: I have hot chocolate, and I’ve found one of the much-coveted padded booths that are actually the right height for me to type comfortably! And no more sniffling. Joy of joys.

          I wonder, in countries where sniffing is the culturally accepted way to do things, is it a less annoying and distracting sound? How much of it is my brain going “This is not something that is acceptable to do in public”, and how much of it is that it’s just a really annoying noise?

            1. ElspethGC

              The librarians get involved if people are being a nuisance on the silent floors (there’s an anonymous ‘helpline’ where you can give the seat number of the offender and they’ll come up and tell them to be quiet) but this was the floor where you don’t need to be quiet. People have fairly loud conversations – if I told a librarian that I wanted them to tell someone to stop sniffing, I think they’d be pretty annoyed with me. I don’t need complete silence or anything, which is why I’m fine being on that floor; it’s just *that* specific noise, two seats over, repeatedly, was very much not fun. Not really the librarians’ business.

    2. rmw1982

      I sympathize. I was oncr on a long-haul flight from Taiwan to Seattle and seated next to a sniffer. Ear plugs plus earbuds kept me from committing murder at 35,000 feet.

      1. Texan In Exile

        I went straight to handing a tissue to the sniffer behind me on the plane. We hadn’t even taken off but it was that or commit murder. Which, I think, would be OK because no jury in the world would convict someone for acting in extreme self defense, but I didn’t want to go through all that.

    3. matcha123

      I’m American and a sniffer and I’ve spent my life being told to just use a tissue.
      Yes, that would be a great option…if I could actually blow snot out of my nose. Guess what? When I blow my nose when it’s stuffed up, nothing comes out! In order for something to come out, I have to push one nostril closed, take a deep breath and blow until my ears pop. And then I have to spend time literally digging snot out of my nasal cavity.
      Sorry if that is too graphic of an image for you, but sniffing is really my best and quickest option. I also don’t care if people sniff around me. I do care if people sneeze into their hands because that spreads germs and is disgusting. Sneeze into your elbows, heathens! /s

      1. WellRed

        I just came from the grocery store where I watched someone sneeze loudly into their hand. Full on cringe.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood

        27 months after a minor rotator cuff tear, I’m finally mostly recovered from the resulting frozen shoulder. For many months I could hardly wash my hair, let alone move my arm far enough to sneeze onto my sleeve.
        Sorry to anyone I inadvertently offended.

        1. blaise zamboni

          I’m sorry to hear about your injury. But…unless you’re missing your other arm, just sneeze into the other elbow? And if you are missing your other arm, sneeze into your (non-injured) shoulder, or sneeze into a tissue. Basically any contained surface that isn’t your hand, especially the palm of your hand, especially your dominant hand. It’s not really about offending people, it’s about limiting the spread of bacteria in public spaces.

          Glad your injury is recovering alright, if slowly. Shoulder injuries are gnarly. Best wishes that you continue to heal and strengthen!

      3. Beatrice

        Sounds like a lot of your congestion is actually swelling. A saline nasal spray might help break up the mucus so it’s easier to get out…that helps my son tremendously.

    4. kneadmeseymour

      Ugh. Sniffing is one of those sounds that really bother me too. I once watched a community theatre production of Les Miserables next to a guy who seemed to be competing with himself to see how loudly and obnoxiously he could sniff, every couple seconds or so. And then in the second act he decided to build on the performance with some weirdly loud stubble and armpit scratching. All of this for three hours, and I swear he drowned out even the big group numbers. Why didn’t I just leave at intermission, I ask myself.

    5. That Girl From Quinn's House

      I have BAD dust allergies. My college’s library was a big trigger for me. Sniff sniff achoo.

    6. Paris-Berlin-Seoul Express

      I currently live in South Korea and it’s totally impolite to blow your nose in public.

  20. RMNPgirl

    Did anyone see the trailer for HBO’s documentary on Elizabeth Holmes? I can’t wait for it. I read John Carreyrou’s book Bad Blood and could not put it down. It was jaw-dropping what she was able to get away with for so long! I’m a medical lab scientist and everyone I know in the field was questioning what she was claiming from the beginning. When you don’t have any scientists on your board and the few people trying to raise questions are pushed aside; I guess you can keep the ruse going for a lot longer than you should have been able to.

    1. WellRed

      Think I also saw mention that there would be something on like, Dateline soon? Been reading this week about her telling everyone her untrained husky was a wolf.

      1. fposte

        Oh, God, that was the part that pushed me over the edge. Apparently I can deal better with people committing millions of dollars worth of fraud than vanity misrepresenting your dog and putting him at risk thereby.

        It reminds me a lot of the Dan Mallory thing, though; sell yourself as a posh and attractive white person and apparently you can get lots of people ready to climb on board.

    2. Book Lover

      The book is absolutely insane. And this from someone who thought that is was a scam from the beginning, pretty much (I am in the medical field and had an illuminating chat with our lab director). The podcast is interesting because you hear her voice, which is described in the book but you don’t realize how strange it is until you hear it. I will certainly watch the documentary.

      1. fposte

        Ooh, I’m fascinated by the notion that others in the field were just waiting to see when people would figure out that Theranos had no clothes.

        The voice thing doesn’t bug me that much, but maybe if I hear more of it I’d have a different take. I get some conflicted feelings around parts of the narrative that seem to be about gender rather than fraud.

        1. Book Lover

          I think the point with the voice is that it was a put on, though. She had a different voice and purposefully changed it. I can see your point, though.

          If you look at the board, you see there weren’t high level medical people involved. A bunch of politicians and military, basically. Someone I know who says he was headhunted asked for info before agreeing to a position because he didn’t think what they were saying was technically feasible and didn’t agree to proceed because they wouldn’t follow through with any details.

          1. ElspethGC

            Deliberately changing your voice to be taken more seriously isn’t uncommon, though. Margaret Thatcher, of all people, had vocal training and adopted a completely different voice after being mocked in the Commons and media for being ‘screechy’. She probably would never have made it to PM if it wasn’t for that.

        2. Lemonwhirl

          Yeah, the Bad Blood book made such a big deal about her voice and never outright said it but the implication is “oh look, we should’ve known she was a fake because look at how she trickily changed something as fundamental as her voice.” That completely pinged my gender radar and annoyed me even though I really enjoyed and was impressed by the book.

          In the podcast, it’s fascinating to hear all the voices of the people involved and although there is a lot of commentary on her voice, someone at least says “she probably worked on it to be taken seriously in the male-dominated world.”

    3. Mashed potato

      I was watching fyre island YouTube videos And she popped up on my recommendation. You know it’s fishy when you don’t have anyone with medical industry on board and no FDA approval?!

      Also there was the she wasn’t using her normal voice thing, and other stuff her employees have talked about on those YouTube videos I watched.

    4. Elizabeth West

      Ha, someone here recommended I read more about her when I was re-editing my book. I ended up basing some of my villain’s mess on her mess. :)

      I’d love to see this, but I don’t have cable or HBO’s app, so I’m hoping it will end up on Amazon or Hulu or somewhere I can actually watch it.

    5. Mazzy

      Didn’t see the trailer, but this must be so juicy from your perspective since you’re a scientist! I binge watched interviews with her last month. I never paid any attention to her, so watched a few years of her developing. I went from anger to feeling sorry for her, because she seemed so invested in that persona of a turtle-neck wearing multi-millionaire who spoke slow and paused often to add emphasis, but there wasn’t substance behind it. I also saw a clip where her voice skipped up to what must be her real voice, and that made it weirder.

    6. Lemonwhirl

      I am so obsessed by this story. I listened to the audiobook recently and am listening to the podcast. (I wondered would I be bored by the podcast, but I’m not. It’s fascinating to hear the actual people talking.)

      The willingness of people to believe things, especially things they think will make them a lot of money is fascinating. I also wonder if maybe there were some good ideas in there, somewhere, and if they’d been incubated differently with a focus on discovery and real invention rather than on making a billion dollars, that the story would be completely different.

      So many different themes and threads of interest in it – I look forward to the documentary.

  21. Negative Nancy

    Does anyone have advice on how to generally be less negative?

    I’ve been under a lot of stress the last couple months and I’ve noticed that I “release” it by verbally complaining and being negative about everything. All the time!

    Every week I tell myself I am going to start focusing on positive things and if I catch myself complaining I’ll just stop and redirect, but it doesn’t seem to work. As soon as I start complaining I just get more and more worked up and complain about more and more things.

    I’m worried I’m turning into a toxic personality. I’ve noticed others who are close to me complaining more frequently now as well, probably because I’m making the space for it and encouraging it.

    Any strategies that might work?

    1. Overeducated

      I attempted to give complaining up for Lent once. I didn’t succeed entirely but I think it helped.

    2. knitter

      I hear you–My husband just told me that when a friend asks how things are going, I always start with the terrible things.
      There has been a lot of crappy stuff happening and I’m having difficulty problem solving. I’m thinking about the bad stuff a lot so it’s the first thing I think to share.
      After a few fails of starting with the negative right away, I made myself think about all the things that are going well. So maybe instead of focusing on not saying negative things, in the times you’re by yourself, focus on thinking about the non-stressful things. Train your brain then. Also, if you do say something negative and catch yourself–It’s totally fine to say something to whoever you’re talking to-eg-“I’ve noticed I’ve been super negative recently, and I’m trying to work on it” . Sometimes naming it at the time will help you head it off earlier in future conversations.

    3. WellRed

      I think even just recognizing you do this could help you pause in that moment before giving vent to a complaint.

    4. Helpful

      Definitely a gratitude practice or journal would help. List three things in the morning and the evening.

      When you catch yourself complaining, think of something related you’re grateful for. “I hate work ——> I’m grateful I have a job to pay my bills.”

    5. Rhymes with Mitochondria

      Maybe finding a good place to release and talk it out is a good thing.
      I’m a little baffled by our society’s insistence on positivity. I have a long time friend who is going through a really rough time. In the last three years, she had cancer and surgery, chemo and radiation along with it. Those treatments have left her with chronic pain. Her husband left her partway through her treatment. She finished treatment, her twins went off to college, and her dog died. Then she lost her job and eventually her home. She moved in with her parents at the age of 48. In the last 6 months, both her parents passed away, her siblings made her move out so they could sell the home, her cancer came back and her new dog died.
      And a couple days ago on FB she was talking about how hopeless she feels and how she’s struggling to find the strength to go on and start another round of treatment without her parents, a spouse or her adult kids nearby, and some glassbowl chided her for not being positive, saying FB needs more positivity. He them tagged her in a post challenging her to post a beautiful photo to FB every day for 30 days.
      Sometimes life *is* hard. Why is it “bad” to talk about hard stuff? IMO there’s nothing wrong with releasing by venting or complaining, and a compassionate empathetic listener can really help in a way no gratitude journal or stuffing “negativity” can.

      1. fposte

        I agree with you on the emphasis on positivity being overdone (I know Barbara Ehrenreich is in hot water right now, but I still like Bright Sided), and nobody should tell somebody else to be more positive. But there is a lot of good research about complaining being worse for your worldview and mental health overall rather than better. It’s not bad to talk about hard stuff. It’s not good for you to default to talking about bad things and talking badly about things. I think there’s a middle ground between the two.

          1. fposte

            She did a dumb weird tweet about Marie Kondo and speaking English that got worse each time she tried to improve it. I’m really baffled by it.

            1. Washi

              I found that tweet fascinating – it seems to really hit on the head what some people seem to find so unsettling about her. That she can seem so “other” to white Americans (because she is non-English speaking, philosophy very influenced by Shintoism, anti-consumerist, etc) and yet be so popular makes us re-evaluate our own cultural dominance and wonder if maybe we are or will soon be the other, the minority. And white people aren’t used to thinking like that.

              1. fposte

                Except I think that there’s some skeevy Orientalism involved in her popularity, too. There’s an interesting piece by a philosophy prof focused on East Asia that articulates some of my discomfort there. I’ll post it in followup.

                1. Not So NewReader

                  Loved the link , thanks.

                  We will latch on to any good idea in our quest to find the real meaning of life. Just because an idea is good, does not mean we will find the meaning of life. No single magic bullet answers.

                2. Elizabeth West

                  I like her ideas because they’re easy, not because they’re exotic or mystic in any way. I found I was already doing some of the things she suggested, which made it easier to try the things I hadn’t.

                  Plus, anyone who can fold a fitted sheet like that is a damn genius no matter what her culture.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood

        There is a time when you have legitimate reasons to be sad. Your friend has reasons in spades!

      3. The Man, Becky Lynch

        Holy…woah. I hope that facebook dude had no idea what she was going through because I’m floored someone could be so grossly horrible to someone in such a horrible maze of bad moments :( But part of me knows that there are nonsense humans out there who despite knowing your life is shattering around you they try to pull some “life is good, why you hefta be so negative!!” nonsense.

        When my dad was in treatments, I was unnaturally positive on my own time because it got me through the whole thing. It’s my default and it helped pull him out of the darkness he experienced from fighting cancer. I cannot imagine a person going through it all alone which is what it sounds like for your friend. Woah woah woah.

        There are legitimate reasons to be negative and sad and in the dumps, as a positive person you need to be there to catch a person, not just kick them and chastise them…that’s not positive either. It’s not positive to say “hey post some happy pics instead of talking about your sadness!” That’s just frigging deflecting and it’s grosssssss and doesn’t work. ARGH!!! My heart is broken for your friend.

    6. fposte

      NN, this may seem counterintuitive, but one thing that lifts me when I’m feeling crabby is to do something kind for somebody else. It can be as simple as letting somebody in the traffic stream when I’m driving or telling somebody they dropped something, or, at work, telling somebody thanks or, if somebody’s been really good, letting their boss know that. Often complaining is about feeling powerless, and taking even a small positive action makes me feel like I have some agency in the world.

      Oh, and get up and go for a walk, if you can; even up and down the stairs or around the block. Moving the body is one of the best things you can do for yourself in any situation. And again, your body feels less like prey and more like you have control when you’re up and moving.

    7. Mimmy

      I’ve been noticing the same thing about myself lately, both at work and at home. My husband teases me saying “so full of hate!”. I’m always telling my students to not be so hard on themselves or to reframe some of their negative self-talk; yet, I don’t always practice what I preach.

      I do occasionally find the motivation to soak in a simple pleasure, like a warm, sunny day or a nice hot shower. It’s more of a mood-lifter, but improving the mood can certainly help fend off negative thoughts.

      I will keep my eye on this thread for other ideas.

    8. AndersonDarling

      If there is something that is causing the negativity, like work or family, then schedule decompression time after you are exposed to it. My hubby’s therapist recommended this for him, so new he comes home and spends an hour doing a hobby/listening to music before reconnecting with his home life. It’s like going through a mental airlock.

    9. Buffay the Vampire Layer

      Focus on finding something good in every bad situation. Even if it’s small or stupid and you’re just saying it’s good for the sake of this exercise. E.g. I was in a car accident and my car’s in the shop for a month, but now I know a good auto body guy if I need work done in the future.
      When I first started doing this about 10 years ago I felt like a big, Pollyanna dork. Even though it was just to myself. But after making that effort over and over it became second nature. To the point where I’m really a genuinely optimistic person now. It’s a much more pleasant way to experience life.

    10. Reba

      A friend (this is second hand so I can’t report on how well it actually worked) tried a thing where they limited their complaining strictly, and actually wrote the things down in a list. So each day she only got three complaints, for example, then she had to stop. Sorry, used up all the complaints for the day, talk about something else.

      You might also look for some cognitive behavioral therapy resources on retraining thought patterns. If you search for “retraining thoughts” and “challenging negative thoughts” you’ll find a lot of articles and worksheets. It’s basically the redirecting that you are trying, but you might have to do it in a way that is much stronger, stricter, and perhaps feels more contrived (like the list idea above). And you have to not just turn away the thoughts but replace them.

      (Also, if it is possible for you, more physical exercise or a new hobby.)

      It can take a long time to reshape mental habits. It’s great that you have recognized this in your thinking, that’s the start. Good luck!

    11. kneadmeseymour

      This might not be your thing, but I found mindfulness was a good way to redirect unhelpful thinking patterns. It might sound a bit new-agey, but it’s really all about learning to step back and review your mental habits from a more emotionally neutral place, so that you can have more agency rather than letting them drive you, if that makes sense. Although I’m sure some people have more success with it than others. Rather than trying to stamp out negativity (or whatever your issue may be) it lets you observe when negative thoughts arise and acknowledge them, but not feed them.

    12. HeatherB

      Have you ever heard of a movie called “What the Bleep do We Know?” It’s a little hard to explain but it’s about quantum physics (in a very understandable way). It talks about negativity and what you attract in life. I realize it might not be for everyone but it made me really take a look at the way I talk to myself and the way I view myself. You can probably find it free to stream somewhere.

    13. Koala dreams

      Keep a complaining journal, and write down all you complaints in the journal. That way you have an outlet that isn’t people around you.

      Some people find it to be helpful to start the day with positive thoughts. Say three positive things to yourself in the mirror, or similar. Maybe try that?

    14. lapgiraffe

      I found myself feeling very negative a few years ago, had a sort of out of body experience while I was with a newish friend, its like I could see myself and I didn’t like what I saw. On one hand, it was the moment I started to move in a direction of understanding my depressive nature, and getting treatment for that has been very helpful. But that might not be the case at all for you, so the practical things that started to help were:

      1) I started to walk. I would make a plan for a nice walk every single day. I’m in a large enough city so some days it would just be a random loop in my neighborhood, other days I would pick out a path I’d always driven by or heard about and finally go walk it, or go to a different part of the city and make a loop. I would shoot for 30min minimum, sometimes I’d listen to music or podcasts, other times I’d do it in silence. And I made a point to look around more, notice what was around me, see things I hadn’t seen before when I’m either walking past with a purpose just to get somewhere or driving around and not being able to focus on the little things. I’m not one for the sitting quietly kind of meditation, but the walking became its own meditation. And I found when I was focusing outward, I could find a bit more peace and have more control over feeling so terrible inwardly, and thus having less reason to vomit out negativity into the world.

      2) Tap into something like a podcast, a book, a tv show – anything that, again, takes your brain away from whatever frustrating things are happening in your life and onto something new and interesting and enriching. And with that, it offers you something to talk to your friends about that are not your frustrations of the day. So many of my friends are in my general line of work, so it’s so easy to get caught up in talking shop all the time, so this was helpful not only in banishing the negative but in also helping my friendships to be more holistic and satisfying.

      3) All that said, I do find that sometimes you just need to have a vent sesh. Something I’ve been playing with the last few months is thinking about who would be the most helpful person to vent with on whatever is frustrating me, whether it’s someone who is experiencing or has experienced something similar, someone who gives great advice, or someone who’s going to “get it” for whatever reason. And once I’ve expressed whatever annoyance I’m having to the specific person I’ve chosen and hashed it out with them, then that’s it, I’ve put it out there, I’ve released it, and now there is no reason to bring it up with anyone else. But it does require some extra care to not dump all your problems on the same person over and over, and also to bring something positive to the friendship on a regular basis as well to balance out the negative.

      Those are some things that have worked for me, but it does require work. My bestie is in AA and I get so much out of it just by having conversations with him about his meetings, and I’m reminded of one of their sayings, “it works if you work it.” Find something that works for you and then put the work into it.

    15. Natalie

      Something my husband and I are doing is sharing something “non-negative” rather than specifically positive. Maybe I’m just overly pedantic, but when we tried to stick with positive stuff I never felt like I had anything to say, but if it just has to not be complaints it feels easier for me to think of something funny or interesting or notable somehow. We also put time limits on each other’s complaining (by agreement).

    16. Paris-Berlin-Seoul Express

      Frankly, I think our society’s emphasis on having to be positive all the time is causing a lot of unneeded guilt and anxiety. Bad things happen to people. All the time. It’s okay to be bummed out and sad and vocalize that and not be chastized for it.

    17. HannahS

      In terms of verbal complaining, can you collapse some of your complaints together? I feel pretty suffocated if I say that things are fine when they’re not, but sometimes instead of going into a lot of detail, I find just saying something like, “School is particularly stressful at the moment, but I’m glad to have a day off from it today” get me a nice sympathetic comment from whoever I’m talking to without me ranting at them for ten minutes about how demeaned I feel and how angry I am about it.
      In practice, sometimes this means that I don’t talk much about the details of my own life, and instead ask a lot of questions about how my friend is doing. Or I talk about things I’ve seen and would like to do myself, with a focus on “this activity is so cool, can’t wait to try it” instead of “I have no time for it and it makes me sad.”

    18. Aphrodite

      Do you watch or listen to a lot of news or read blogs or websites that feature primarily negative things? Do you watch movies, television or Youtube stuff that is focused primarily on the negative (like Judge Judy)? I can’t say much about social media because I have nothing to do with it but that too may be encouraging negativism. If so, that’s where a lot of input may be coming from that you don’t recognize. The titillation and thus audience factor that drives negative media is so pervasive we can often go without seeing its impact on our thinking, our emotions and our lives.

      If you suspect this might be it, start by dropping all news. I found when I did so about 28 years ago (pre-Internet) that my life got not just richer but much less negative. I lost any depression I had over events I had no control over and stopped feeling helpless. (I now make a real difference in my own corner of the world where I do have some control.) One of the changes that most amazed me was how my conversations changed. I am not “up to date” on news events; I often don’t know about them so I cannot get depressed over how awful things are–because they are not.

    19. Not So NewReader

      How’s your self-care doing? Are you eating good meals regularly? Rest? Hydration? What do you read or watch on tv/internet? Regular walks are simple, cheap and effective at blowing out cobwebs in the mind.

      All these things can contribute to mindset. A nourished and rested body means the brain is going to be healthier and probably happier. Thinking tends to become lighter when the body which supports the mind feels taken care of.
      And start looking at the people surrounding you. There might be one or two people who serious ratchet up the negative inside you. Take a step back from those people for a week, see what you observe about yourself.

    20. ..Kat..

      With a lot of practise, I trained myself to take a slow, deep breath before complaining. While breathing, I would ask myself:
      -would my complaining do something good? Alert people to a problem that they should avoid? Prevent a serious problem from occurring? Prevent harm?
      -am I just venting? If so, will venting help me and others around me feel better? Or will I just feel the same or worse afterwards?
      -is there work I could do instead?
      Sometimes I need a second or third breath. But, in general, I complain less. What I was complaining about was well known. Could not be changed. Now, I feel less negative. My job (same job, same problems) is more pleasant.

      I am not putting my head in the sand. I am not glossing over problems. But I feel better at the end of the day. An added positive effect: I have found that people have more positive, higher opinions of me now!

  22. Seeking Second Childhood

    Looking for general guidance from people who have navigated–or avoided–the mine field of being the neutral party near someone else’s family split.
    Cousins of my husband had a falling out. Short version? Different parental rules, grandparents who wouldn’t follow them, escalating insults aimed at that parent including nastiness about their ‘ego’ from being the first person in the family to graduate college, and a complete break after another relative threatened to beat them up. I liked that cousin-in-law and spouse. But they blocked me & my husband when they blocked their closer family.
    It’s been years, another elder is dying, and on a hunch I googled the grandchildren. One looks so much like my daughter. From there I found their parents on FB.
    I probably have one shot to get a message through. What I want? My husband to get to catch up with his cousin he liked so much, all of us to find out if we still have a lot in common, and…the hard part… my other inlaws/cousininlaws NOT to blow a fuse because we’re consorting with enemies. My MIL is close with the broken-away-from cousins. She has upset my husband & me enough that were seeing her less frequently than before –but I I don’t want to alienate her. I would like to make sure cousin has a chance to introduce the grandchildren to the last remaining grandparent, but I don’t care if they choose it or don’t. (Truly, some unforgettable insults were exchanged. )
    Is there a way to walk this tightrope?

    1. L’il Sebastian

      I don’t think there is. Enough happened that these people decided the healthiest option for them was to cut off a part of their family. 1. This cousin realizes that people get old and that the grandparents will eventually pass away, yet they’ve chosen to remain not in contact. That is their decision and I think you need to respect that. 2. You see concerned enough about not upsetting the family members who treated this cousin badly that I don’t think they would welcome contact with you.

      I’ve been on the cousin’s end of this – well, sort of. I’ve cut off family who were horrible to me. And it’s really not fun hanging out with people who I know are still in touch with the ones who were horrible to me. That’s also a tight rope, and I generally don’t consider it to be worth it. Occasionally I see people within the family who are in your situation, but our relationship is superficial at best. It’s just too exhausting worrying about if anything I say will go back to the other relatives, anticipating guilt trips whenever someone I cut off is sick or dying (you may say you don’t care – but again, they know people are getting older. So you making sure they know a death may be coming soon will absolutely come across as a guilt trip.) It’s just not fun. And furthermore, if anyone wanted to establish contact, it should be your husband – he was the one with the past close relationship, so I don’t think it makes sense for you, the spouse, to reach out anyways.

      1. rmw1982

        +1

        I cut out some toxic relatives a few years ago. It’s very frustrating when another relative gets upset that I won’t forgive and forget and pretend nothing ever happened because they wish to maintain the illusion (delusion?) we’re all one big happy family. Since this is your husband’s family, if there is a desire to reach out, then let him do it. But don’t be surprised if it is rebuffed.

    2. I'm A Little Teapot

      Send one message. Remind who you are (you never know), say that you’ve missed them, and would love to reconnect if they’re open to it. Acknowledge that there was a lot of family crap in the past, you didn’t agree with it but have chosen to stay out of it and won’t be mentioning that you’ve reached out to them unless they’re ok with it. If they don’t want to chat, you understand and you wish them well.

      Then, wait. Don’t say anything to the rest of the family.

        1. I'm A Little Teapot

          I have family that I’ve pretty much cut out of my life for crap like that. That’s the type of message I might respond to.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood

        This is pretty much what I’m thinking. My MIL is not directly involved, ‘just’ our linear connection to the hard-heads. (Both sides of the bad relationship.)
        I’d hate to have anyone put her in the middle if my husband &I reach out to the cousin who broke off contact.
        For the record I do not care if he stays incommunicado… just wondered if it were worth passing info in case he’d thought about building bridges. Consensus here seems to be don’t touch that with a 10-foot pole. (OR an 11-foot Czech for that matter.)
        The husband’s in agreement with me– when we married, we invited both halves of a recent family divorce to the wedding. We just know his mom could get caught in the crossfire if there is any.
        Thanks all.

        PS the phrase “boundary stomping pieces of work” made me snicker because it’s more true than I feel comfortable admitting even here.

    3. fposte

      What does your husband want to do? I’d leave it to him, and if he didn’t take action, I’d read that as that being the decision. But these are people who’ve known how to make contact if they’ve wanted to, and they haven’t.

    4. Red Sky

      I think it would be ok to reach out, but you would need to make it abundantly clear you respect their choice to be no contact with MIL and cousins. That means no trying to get them to reconcile with or sharing information with MIL or cousins (who all sound like boundary stomping pieces of work). Forget about trying to reunite grandkid and grandma, the parents have clearly made their decisions about what’s in the best interest of their child and you need to respect that as well.

      As far as your concern about alienating MIL, you’re kind of in between a rock and a hard place, but she’s the one putting you there. You might want to check out r/justnomil

      1. L’il Sebastian

        Yeah, r/justnomil and all the flying monkeys over there probably colors my view on this a bit (knowing that it’s not just me, that the in the middle relatives often act a certain way, etc.)

    5. Not So NewReader

      Some of this was a bit difficult for me to follow- it could be I am off base, if so, please ignore.

      Rule number one is never negotiate a peace treaty between two people. They will end up liking each other and ditching you.
      This means think about what you and your hubby want here for your OWN relationships and go first person to get that result. Let everyone else sort themselves out.

      It sounds like you both would like to reconnect with one of the cousins? First find out if the two of you are on the same page here. Next, send them a text/short email that says, “We miss you guys. Can we reconnect?”
      Then wait, respectfully, for as long as is needed.

      In my family a chart was needed to remember who was on speaking terms with whom. Generations are a wonderful thing. The next generation does not care about the disagreements of the previous generation. First cousins can abandon the arguments of their parents. First cousins can see that they want their children to be connected even if they are not themselves, additionally.

      Aging is another wonderful thing. Our elders lose their power to make us miserable and they lose their power to control us as we gain wisdom, physical assets and our own identity. Also as their bodies and minds grow weaker, the next generation (us) are growing stronger.

      In short, nothing stays the same, ever.

      Last step. Expect nothing to change. This works well because it lowers the disappointment rate substantially. And it can be a preemptive way of dealing with hurt/rejection. Instead of focusing on Current Hurt, you can just say, “I knew that asking to reconnect was not without some risks. At least I can live with myself because I know I sincerely tried.” We are not responsible for others’ poor reactions to our sincere gestures.

      If you do reconnect and others cut you off this is no surprise. They have already showed you that they think love is similar to a water faucet and they can turn it on and off at will. They use their love to manipulate others. Uh, this isn’t love, not even close.

  23. Lauren

    There’s a guy, “Mark”, who seemed into me when I first met him. Mark really laid it on thick- very flirty, would joke around. This was in front of others, but one-on-one, Mark seemed sort of shy and awkward. I thought he hated me then because he would brush me off when I tried to talk to him or be dismissive.

    A mutual friend said that they went golfing and he said that Mark was really bad, so he didn’t play. The friend asked if I wanted to join and I said that I was bad and would make Mark look like Tiger Woods. Well, I think the mutual friend told Mark and the next time Mark came around, he mentioned loudly how he was going golfing. I was just trying to make a lame joke. I wasn’t trying to insult Mark. I feel bad and like I said something wrong.

    A few months passed and it seemed like Mark was into me. He would come around me, but never say anything. I tried to talk to him, but he seemed nervous. Our friends started to tease us and Mark seemed uncomfortable and seemed flustered. It was awkward.

    Mark still looks at me, but never starts a conversation. I heard that he’s dating another woman and he’ll talk loudly about other women.

    I’m still confused because Mark still tenses up around me and I catch him staring at me when he thinks I’m not looking.

    What is going on? It’s so confusing and I feel like it’s one big head game or something. Does he think I’m not good enough to date? Has anyone been in this scenario before? How did you handle it? It’s making me crazy- both physically and emotionally. I don’t understand the guy!

    1. valentine

      He’s a weirdo creep and, even if you were into each other, he’s way too much work and too aggressive/loud. This sounds like middle school.

      1. The New Wanderer

        Totally my reaction too. I think you’re giving this way too much thought and it’s not and never will be worth it. Whatever weirdness you may be perceiving, it kind of doesn’t matter. Best response if you catch yourself wondering what Mark is up to is to say to yourself “Huh that’s weird,” shrug it off, and go talk to someone interesting.

    2. Not A Manager

      I’ve read your post twice and I LITERALLY don’t see anything about how you feel about Mark. Just about how you feel about how Mark maybe feels about you.

      Honestly, this guy sounds like an exhausting pile of work. If you did start dating, he wouldn’t magically be any better at communicating or any more proactive. I think you’re lucky not to be involved with him.

      However, if you actually like him and want to try dating him, why don’t you ask him sometime about this lady he keeps talking about and whether he’s involved? That seems fairly low-stakes to me.

    3. WellRed

      Move on from whatever it is you think this is. He’s not worth it and, I mean this kindly, women often read more into men then what’s actually really there. I highly recommend “he’s just not that into you,” for this and all future “does he like me” scenarios. I wish I’d had it when I was in my 20s.

      1. Turtlewings

        Yup, came here to recommend “He’s Just Not That Into You.” If Mark wanted to ask you out, he would ask you out. He hasn’t, ergo he doesn’t. Stop playing exhausting head games with yourself, literally no one is worth this kind of overanalysis and guesswork.

    4. fposte

      I can’t tell if you’ve posted about this before or if it’s just a common enough situation that a previous post sounds a lot like this.

      But you’re not dating Mark. You’re not planning to ask Mark for a date. You don’t give any indication that you even like Mark. I think it’s time you ejected him from your headspace–he’s not an important person. If you liked Mark and he liked you, it wouldn’t matter if you made a perfectly fine golfing joke, and honestly, I’m not convinced he knows you even made the joke. I also think you’re overreading some of his behaviors, like talking about the women he dates, as being something he’s doing for your benefit, when they sound like stuff people do for all kinds of reasons, including not caring about the opinion of other people present.

      You ask what’s going on–what’s going on is that you’re overfocused on a guy who has no potential for you. It doesn’t matter what’s going on, because it’s clear what’s going on isn’t “We like each other and are going to spend time together.” Find other, more rewarding people to spend time with and think about. Prioritize those who treat you kindly and act like they like you. You’re worth it.

      1. Reba

        Yes to all of this!

        I find a really clarifying question in situations like this is, do you think this person is spending as much time worrying about you/the situation as you are spending on them?

      2. Lissa

        I was going to say this too! Some of the comments above say he’s a jerk, and he may well be, but it could also be that everything described is subjective and not about you, more “Mark was having a bad day” or “Mark was feeling more extroverted the next day.” I see a lot of “he seemed…” but not a lot of concrete actions that happened except for the golfing thing, which could well be a miscommunication. It doesn’t sound like you ever told him you were into him or asked him out, right? So he might not even realize you are/were interested, especially if he’s shy and/or awkward.

        1. WellRed

          No. No. Sure, he may have had a bad day or whatever, but more likely he ain’t interested. We women make far too many excuses for their behavior when He’s Just Not Interested.

          1. Lissa

            Why “no no”? My point wasn’t that he’s interested, but more that since it doesn’t sound like OP ever asked, it could be that all of his behaviour isn’t about her at all and he isn’t even aware that SHE is interested, rather than that he’s being a jerk. It sounds like everything that’s happened has been unspoken or reading the tea leaves a bit. I can’t tell if there’s ever been a conversation between the two of them stating potential interest which would then make the following behaviour more potentially jerk-like, as opposed to just, he sees her as a friend and isn’t aware of anything else.

      3. Not So NewReader

        Yeah, this story feels very familiar to me, also.

        This person is a Loser with a capital L. Move away from this waste of time. He is all about the chase and the head games and he has nothing else to offer. He’s a drama llama. With the size of his ego there won’t be much room for you in the relationship. You deserve better than this.

        We said about the same thing to a similar post a while ago.

    5. Lilysparrow

      Please go over to Captain Awkward and look up “Firthing.”

      If Mark were worth spending a passing thought on, he would Use His Words and ask you out. He is not interested enough to do that.

      He is not interested in you enough to walk across a room and ask you on a date. That is a pretty low bar for a grown man.

      So what on Earth is so interesting about him?

      Get busy with something that adds fun and awesomeness to your own life, and put your thoughts on that.

      Your attention is gold. Don’t let some random dude lackadaisically collect it like toe jam. Any man worth thinking this much about will be happy to compete for your attention.

      1. Cheesesteak in Paradise

        Or if she is interested in Mark, she could say “hey wanna have coffee or a drink sometime?” I’m a woman and I did this plenty of times back when I was dating. They sometimes said no. Or they said yes but the date was a failure. Either way stings for a second but is better than being on a brain hamster wheel about Mark for what sounds like a long period of time.

        1. ..Kat..

          If she is interested in Mark, I think this is a great idea. Give it a shot. If it does not work, you tried. No shame. And that can make it easier to move on.

    6. Traffic_Spiral

      I think you’re reading a lot more into it. Mark’s just some guy that’s in your vicinity, who once, a long time ago, made some jokingly flirty comments. Ignore it, and be reasonably polite to him when you do interact.

  24. Claire

    Has anyone ever read an advice column and recognized that the writer is your friend Jo Smith? It happened to me once in the 1980s. I read Dear Abby one morning in the local paper and KNEW it was my brother. When I called him, he laughed and said I wasn’t the first one to spot it. Turns out my mom (RIP) had sent him a column from Dear Abby about being nicer to your mom. So he wrote back to Abby and described the situation. Major boundary issues. She printed it and supported his call to set boundaries. Lol. I dug it up in the archives a few years ago; file is somewhere in my computer.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      Ha, no, but I’ve always wanted that to be the case for some reason!

      A few months ago a friend forwarded me an advice column and seriously asked if it was me; the letter writer signed her name, which is the same as mine, she referred to her boyfriend by his name, which is also my boyfriend’s name (and an unusual one at that), there was a dog involved… It was kind of kooky.

  25. Looking for a name

    Hi wonderful commentators,

    I’m expecting a baby boy and searching for a middle name for him.
    Since his first and last name are already set in stone and both have only one syllable, I want the middle name to have at least two syllables. Also, from speaking several combinations out loud I already know that it can’t start with an F, R or T and can’t end with an S or D. And I don’t like names which are obviously biblical.

    I’d love to hear any suggestions you might have.

    1. Rick Tq

      Just free-associating your requirements:
      Albert, Benjamin, Charleston, Darrell, Gregory, Harrison.

      We were concerned about initials, and how the full name sounded when naming our daughter.

      Congratulations and good luck!

    2. Foreign Octopus

      I don’t know what culture you’re from so I’ll just give you two from mine: Henry and Phillip.

    3. Boy names

      Here’s names I like and considered for our son. Some may be biblical, but I’ll throw them out anyways.

      Owen, Julian, Eli, Jacob, Caleb, Oliver

    4. Roberta Plant

      Spencer! (Kidding, you will find something and it will be perfect –) I had the same syllable situation (except for the consonants – I wasn’t as specific as you are because I knew the first and surname – I just didn’t want a word, so the middle name could not begin with a vowel) and this was our choice. I am a total names person — love thinking about them, and selection was very important and well-considered. Good luck!

    5. Foster Cat Mama Drama

      I always liked the name Aaron. But here are a few other that spring to mind from folks I know: Arthur, Parker, Martin, Michael, Anthony, William, Milo, Declan

    6. hermit crab

      How about Quentin? I think having Q as your middle initial gives you an extra cool factor. :)

      Some other names from my friends & family that meet your criteria are Simon, Jonathan, Nathan (or Nathaniel), Leo, Matthew, Micah (which I think is lovely but might be too biblical-sounding for your taste), and Jeremy.

    7. Grandma Mazur

      Oliver (sorry, that’s three syllables. So is Dominic).
      Leo
      August
      Johann
      Dylan
      Elliot
      Luka
      Noam
      Mika

    8. Seeking Second Childhood

      I’m one who tends to like names picked for more than sound. My grandfather’s middle name was that of his mother’s deceased friend.
      Friends took their child’s middle name out of their geneology research –the oldest one that they’d found.
      Other have picked family names that would have faded out because there were no daughters, or because of an adoption.
      And remember…whatever you pick, the child will hate it in 4th grade.

    9. Not So NewReader

      Grandmother’s maiden name
      Your maiden name
      Favorite male relative’s name
      Part of great-grandparent’s names
      Name of good friend from school years
      Very respected individual in your community or church
      Very respected individual in history
      Alison’s husband’s name

    10. ..Kat..

      This can be a great way to honor someone in you or significant other’s family. Use their first name as a middle name. Or use their last name as a middle name.

    11. Traffic_Spiral

      How about you don’t give him a middle name and tell him he can pick his own at 18 or save it for marriage? My parents did that with some of my younger sibs – they seemed to appreciate it. One picked a last name from another branch of our family, one picked his wife’s last name when they married. They also had lots of fun as kids thinking about what they wanted.

    12. Looking for a name

      Thank you very much for all your suggestions. We found a name thanks to inspiration from reading this thread.

  26. OyHiOh

    Got through the first week post-funeral service reasonably intact. Kids are back to school – I keep hearing from the school counselor that one or the other is having a bad day and I’m thinking “well isn’t that part of your actual job? I can’t swoop in and rescue them every time it’s hard – they have lots of trusted adults in that school and they need to figure it out” but it’s not easy. We went to the kabbalat Shabbat service at our Temple last night, which should have felt safe and familiar but ended up feeling other worldly. There’s a specific blessing that’s said to a family in mourning the first time they attend services and I’ve heard it said many times in the past but last night didn’t realize what our rabbi was saying until she looked us dead in the eye on the closing words. During the kaddash (mourner’s prayer), my legs started shaking again and hasn’t really stopped yet this morning.

    Friends from a community organization swooped in on Monday and did a whole house makeover. It’s lovely to have a visual clean start but hard on our youngest, who woke up Tuesday morning sobbing because she couldn’t find her daddy anywhere in the house. He’s still here – there was just too much new stuff for her to easily identify what belonged to him. So we’re muddling along as best we can, relying on friendships to keep us on our feet. I keep saying that I know this is real, I know it’s really happening, but it doesn’t **feel** real yet.

    “All beginnings are hard . . . . Especially a beginning you make for yourself. That is the hardest beginning of all.” ~~ Chaim Potok, In the Beginning

    1. fposte

      It sounds like you all are doing the hard work as bravely as you can; my best wishes for kindness and healing to you and your family.

    2. Alpha Bravo

      I’m so glad you have a community of people who care for you and your children and are trying to ease your paths as much as they can. For me, that feeling of unreality was kind of like Novocain after a tooth is pulled. It protected me as I absorbed the shock of losing a part of myself. One foot in front of the other. You’ve got this.

    3. MatKnifeNinja

      My heart breaks for you.

      A whole house makeover sounds great, when you aren’t the one with the deceased loved one. I understand how your littles feel. My relatives came in a did a big clean/purge after my mom died. My father and I were sort of stunned. I went into the bedroom and just sob. They didn’t toss big deal thing, but who would have thought a tossed head scarf would derail me. A week after was way too soon for me.

      The school needs to step up their game. The counselors at my elementary school make a little kit. It had whatever the kid felt she needed when those waves of sad/grief come on. One little bag had mom’s favorite flavored chapstick (new so the kid could use it) a little bracelet, picture, M&Ms (moms favorite snack) paper pad and crayons, squishy toy, and fuzzy socks. The kid would burn through all those levels BEFORE the counselor would fire up the phone. All communication wasn’t negative. “Beezle had to draw mom a picture and used some chapstick. ” You know your littles are having a hard time. Hearing “bad day” isn’t helpful. Makes you feel like trash.

      For me, the first year of my mom’s death was an absolute blur.

      Sending you love to you and your Littles

      1. OyHiOh

        The makeover was something the group asked about. It wasn’t just decided on. They came and asked, they talked with all of us about what we liked and wanted, and I was here the whole day to answer questions and make sure that significant things either stayed in the living spaces or went to the basement until I’m ready to deal with them. The other piece of that makeover was that we’d moved into this house a week before my spouse became ill and had originally planned to do a big IKEA shopping trip at the end of the month so we hadn’t moved most of our old furniture. So this house was basically empty and we could start more or less from scratch. In context, given our circumstances, it was a lovely and helpful thing for them to do.

        Those school counselors sound fantastic. Ours mean well and do the absolute best they can but we’re an underfunded school in an underfunded district and unfortunately, good intentions only go so far if there isn’t the money to back up the intentions.

        1. Thursday Next

          Can you help them implement the idea? Perhaps by assembling the kits and asking the counselors (or classroom teacher) to give them to your kids in a “quiet corner”? Especially your youngest; so heartrending to read she is looking for her daddy and can’t find him. Are there small things of his that she could have in the kit?

          You are doing the best you can and I’m so glad you have a supportive community that is present for you. Hugs if they’d be welcome.

          1. OyHiOh

            I’ve got several plans in progress to help youngest child in particular but all of them. Spouse and I collected watches – the kids are picking out their favorites and I’ll be getting them engraved for the kids to wear (most are vintage Timex and other durable brands).

            There are stuffed animals being made out of his shirts, one for each of the kids, that will arrive over the next few months.

            And several other similar projects. Youngest child has also been sleeping wrapped up in one of his winter jackets, that helps too.

    4. Epsilon Delta

      I am so sorry for your loss, I cannot begin to imagine. I have been following your updates and hoping it would have a different outcome. I hope you and your family are able to find the support you need.

    5. Mimmy

      Your post brought tears to my eyes. Sending up prayers and healing hugs for you and your family, including your little ones.

      I too am disheartened at how the school counselor is handling this.

    6. Not So NewReader

      It wasn’t lost on me that the illness, funeral/loss and grief were only a part of the story, then *I* got to figure out what the heck to do with my life now. So, yes, beginnings we make for ourselves are very hard. I often thought it was unfair that I had to figure out my life on top of everything else.

      For now, if you manage to plan out your current day, give yourself a big A plus. If you don’t manage to plan out your current day, tell yourself, “it’s okay” and let the day go on as is. Because it is indeed okay.

      And yes, the mind does flip back and for between current and past. I agree that in some ways that not feeling real does protect us. I’d be most concerned if your responses to daily life were not fitting the situations, however, this is not what you show here at all. You are very much aware of daily stuff. So the feelings are just that, feelings. You are keeping you and the kids safe, fed, taken care and that is good.

      Sometimes it can be our little routines that save us. I marveled at how comforting it was to do dishes. It was so ordinary, so simple and so unlike the rest of the things in my life at that point. Let the familiarity of your routines give you a moment of relief in some small way. Likewise, allow yourself to feel comforted when you see a familiar, friendly face. It’s okay to see the world as being upside down and it’s okay to be searching for that new normal, that new consistency. It’s there and you will find it, piece by piece.

      1. OyHiOh

        Funny you should mention dishes: They are the chore I used to hate. Capital letters hated doing dishes. Now I find them oddly comforting.

        There’s a scene in a sci fi series my spouse loved, Babylon 5, in which a character is asked how she can be so calm in the chaos of everything that’s happening. And she’s got a highly dramatic story involving her father and jumping out of a burning building but she summarizes as “you figure out how to survive the next 30 seconds, and once you do that, you figure out how to survive the next 30 seconds. Show is corny and ridiculous but that piece of advice is gold. I doubt I would have gotten through the past few weeks without being able to break “how do I do this” down to “figure out the next hour. Don’t worry about the hours after that until you figure out this one.”

        1. Not So NewReader

          Oh my, YES!
          I remember when my mother died. Her doc wrote my father a letter. In the letter the doc mentioned “reweaving the fabric of your life”. It’s been decades and I have not forgotten the doc’s word choice here.

          So picturing someone at a weaving loom, passing the shuttle through the threads… yeah, this is something that is going to take a while. This is something that is labor intensive and requires forethought/planning. So what does the weaver do? The weaver just works on the section of cloth in front of her today and she does that part. As the weeks and months go on, the fabric starts to take shape. The fabric starts to look like something the weaver can use to do something else, such as reupholster a chair or make a suit. But day-to-day progress does not look like much, “I did 2 inches of fabric today. PEACH! 45 more FEET to go! sigh.”

          Our SO’s forever change our lives when they enter our lives and they forever change our lives when they exit. But in between their entrance and exit, we changed, we grew because of them. And we get to keep that part.

      2. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

        sending you a hug, OyHiOh…. you are doing a great job, and I can’t imagine trying to walk this path with little ones to shepherd at the same time.
        Thank you for posting the update – I think of you regularly. There is little I can add except my “this is the new normal” mantra. Your “figure-out-the-next-30-seconds” is so appropriate (and special because of your connection to husband through it).
        One who has recently been there….

    7. chi chan

      Sending you good wishes and strength. Maybe reddit, the forum for widows and widowers might help in venting to people who have been there.

    8. all the leaves are brown

      Sending you warm internet hugs/thoughts. I’ve been following your story and thank you for the updates. Wish I had more to offer but I appreciate your honesty and bravery in sharing all this.

    9. all the leaves are brown

      Sending you warm internet hugs/thoughts. I’ve been following your story and thank you for the updates. I appreciate your honesty and bravery in sharing all this.

    10. Bluebell

      Thank you for sharing this update. Wishing you comfort among the mourners of Zion. I hope however much you decide to say Kaddish, it is healing for you. It sounds like there is so much caring all around you and I hope it continues.

      1. OyHiOh

        I’m not a hugely traditional person myself (blame a secular family, etc etc and so forth) but I’ve noticed that our children find tremendous reassurance in tradition and ritual so I’m finding myself doing the traditions to help them. Right now we’re saying Kaddish as a family in the evening, after pajamas and before bedtime Shema. I have no idea if that will last the full 11 months but it’s working for them and for me right now.

  27. Valancy Snaith

    Does anyone have experience with genomic testing for cancer and how it affected the treatment plan? My mom has cancer (masses found on the lungs and liver) and her oncologists sent samples for genomic testing to determine the origin with the thought that it will impact her treatment. She had about 2L of fluid drained from pleural effusion last week which is also being tested for malignancy, and she is a 25-year survivor of breast cancer already. I’m not sure whether it will make a huge impact on the treatment plan, but my mom’s team seem to think it will. Does anyone have any experience with this?

    1. I'm A Little Teapot

      My mom had breast cancer and they tested it. Really, it just helped them pick between different options. If you have 6 medications you could pick from, but you know that the cancer is type X and there’s 2 meds that work really well on type X, you shortcut the trial and error and just start with those 2 meds.

      Good luck to her!

    2. Karen from Finance

      I haven’t, but I suggest you search Facebook for closed/private groups for cancer patients. “breast cancer support”, “breast cancer awareness” “breast cancer family”, different variations of that. When I had Hodgkin’s a couple of years ago I found some Facebook groups that were great for connecting with other patients and/or their families, and exchanging information like this.

      Good luck.

    3. CancerSister

      I’m sorry about your mom and know first-hand how such a diagnosis affects family members, too. My sister, who survived childhood cancer nearly 50 years ago, was diagnosed in October with angiosarcoma in her liver and lung/pleural cavity. She also had a pleural effusion roughly the size of your mother’s. My sister’s disease is believed to have been caused by the radiation therapy she had as a child. Re: genomic testing. It can help some patients. By identifying mutations, it allows for targeted therapies as one of the treatment options for consideration. It can also identify whether a cancer is one that might be heritable and potentially affect other family members. There’s a short blog post on the Dana Farber site (blog dot dana-farber dot org) called “What is Genomic Testing” that gives greater (and likely more accurate) detail. I wish you, your mom, and your family strength, and hope that she has access to good medical care and has a treatment team she trusts.

    4. Asenath

      I agreed to the oncotype test for breast cancer. It basically confirmed my oncologist’s recommendations regarding treatment, so in my case, I might have had the same treatment anyway – but I knew it was scientifically confirmed by a test, which made me feel better. I think the test basically provides evidence as to which of the many treatment options are best.

      This isn’t the same as testing for a BRCA mutation.

      1. Valancy Snaith

        Thank you–I know it’s a different test from the BRCA. My mom has held off on testing for BRCA, because she didn’t want me to be saddled with the preexisting condition label, but since I now live in a country with universal healthcare it’s not something I need to worry about, so she will probably get that done while undergoing chemo and whatever other treatments need to take place. It’s reassuring to know that the test can dial in a more specific type of treatment that may be more effective.

    5. TL -

      It can make a huge difference – a lot of treatments are based on the genetics of cancers, and it will allow the team to better screen for new and/or experimental treatments if that ends up being an avenue y’all need to explore.

      Basically, some mutations lead to physical changes in the cancer cell. We have drugs that target specifically these changes, so you get less side effects (because few normal cells have those changes) and more cancer cells killed.

      They can also keep your mom from getting treated with treatments they know will be ineffective and they may test for eligibility for a particular type of immunotherapy.

    6. WS

      Yes! Do it! Even a few years ago the testing was more to help identify cancer risk in relatives, but now it strongly affects which treatment they choose – and, even more importantly, which ones they don’t choose. Instead of throwing everything at the cancer and seeing what works, they can tailor treatment much more closely. The science of cancer genomics has advanced astonishingly fast, and your mother should absolutely take advantage of that.

      There are also a lot of stories about how people got their cancer tested and then had minimal treatment and specific antibodies made to fight it, and didn’t have to have much or any chemo. That’s a great thing for those people, but not a hugely common outcome – most people are still having to have chemo and/or radiation and/or surgery at this point, so if you’re reading about genomic testing, remember that those cases are the best outcomes and thus over-represented in the media.

      1. Valancy Snaith

        She already has. As I mentioned, the samples have been at the lab for a couple weeks and results should be back soon. Thank you.

  28. What to do about persistant request for review?

    I can’t decide what to do.

    This fall, I discovered that two of my bay windows were literally rotting off the house. On inspection, I ended up have 6 VERY large windows replaced, to the tune of nearly $14k (ouch!). I got multiple bids but the company I went with because they had some features & install options that truly made them the best option was VERY high pressure in a way I would have walked away from if they didn’t genuinely have some things that made them a better choice. There ended up being a lot of things I wasn’t happy with like they told me the windows would be installed within 4 weeks (had to be custom fabricated) and it ended up being 10 weeks because apparently the order wasn’t finalized. The outside color is correct; the inside color is not what I thought I had ordered, but since halfway through they had emailed me to confirm without the color swatches & I said yes, because I was focused on a different correction & didn’t think to check the colors since that wasn’t where the ordering confusion had been originally. The actual installation was very very well done but frankly I loathe the interior color & it means I’m going to have to change from my beautiful oak interior trim to regular painted trim. But they did do some really nice bonus work at no charge like installing a door I had bought someplace else.

    My issue is that they literally call every 3 days for the past nearly 1.5 months trying to get me to review them, but also make a big deal that it has to be all top scores or they get dinged. I’m so far refusing to review, but I’m starting to get pissed. I cannot honestly give them 10s…I’m not happy with the entire sales experience but I know it was company-policy issues, not a problem with the individual salesman. I just want them to stop calling. (I did consider blocking the number but it’s several numbers depending on which line they call out on.)

    I can’t decide if I should just give them an honest rating, which I feel horribly guilty doing knowing how retail/sales treat anything less than perfect the same as a horrible score. Or if I should just continue ignoring and hope they eventually give up.

    Ugh.

    1. fposte

      Is there a middle ground where you tell them you’re not going to give them a review, the review you’d give isn’t the one they’re pushing for, and that they should stop calling? That’s what I’d do. I might add that if they don’t stop calling I’d definitely review and include the information that they refuse to stop calling when asked.

    2. MuttIsMyCopilot

      I’d give them an honest review, personally, but if you’re not comfortable doing so they’ll probably stop asking if you tell them that that’s what they’d get. “I’m actually not happy with my experience and am trying to be kind by simply declining to give a review. The next time you call I’ll give one, but it’ll be honest.”

    3. Foreign Octopus

      How about option c?

      On their next phone call you say “honestly, I haven’t been happy with the whole experience because of x, y, and z, and I’m finding these constant calls to review you extremely annoying and pushy. I’d like them to stop now and for you not to call me again. Thank you.”

      Then, if they keep calling you, leave them a bad review.

    4. BRR

      I’m not sure how to do it in this situation but I’ve sometimes left reviews where I cite company policy being the issue.

    5. Not All

      I should have said I told them the first time they called I wasn’t comfortable reviewing but I guess I will try one more time a little more forcefully.

      It’s too bad…the actual windows are a great product for this particular climate and the install crew did a beautiful job. It was just the sales process & the measure guy I had issues with.

    6. Middle School Teacher

      I know where you’re coming from. I don’t respond to the hard sell at all.

      I agree with Mutt. I might also leave a review (day, 7/10) and be honest about what you did like, but say clearly you’re knocking off a few points because of X Y and Z.

      Otherwise I would block their multiple numbers.

    7. Not All

      I guess I could out them to as a heads up to others…

      The company is Renewal by Andersen. I really, really needed a composite-type window on this house. Wood wasn’t an option because the height of the second story makes upkeep (paint, etc) pretty impossible unless you hire a professional and I’ve never seen vinyl that weren’t crap. This climate is hard on wood…super hot, humid, & horizontal rain storms all summer and lots of freeze/thaw and horizontal freezing rain/snow in winter. But we started off on the wrong foot when they didn’t give me a heads up that there is a substantial discount (in my case almost $1500) if you buy the first time you meet with the salesman. I’d still over all recommend the windows if anyone is looking in a similar situation, but I’d make sure they were the LAST bid you get and that you make them leave color samples with you. Also, take a photo of the order sheet because you don’t get an electronic copy mailed to you (which I had expected since they do 95% of the process on a little iPad).

    8. kc89

      I was put off at a restaurant a while ago when the server told us up front that at the end of the meal there would be a digital survey and to please give top remarks because anything below 10 hurts her

      I don’t blame the server but instead the restaurant that is pushing servers hard enough to say things like that. Don’t they realize it’s awful customer service and just makes me not want to go back? Again, not blaming the server, but the people in charge who make the server feel like that’s necessary

    9. Dr. Anonymous

      Honestly, I’d give a review with the good and the bad and go on with my beautiful life. It’s genuinely helpful to the people who may or may not want to do business with them and it’s not your job to make them all happy with a 10.

    10. Not So NewReader

      I have never liked that company for [reasons] and now I see not much has changed.

      Email corporate.
      Tell them their employee gets 10s and they get 4s.
      OR
      Tell them that if they call you one more time you are going to tell everyone you know not to buy their product because the company is super aggressive to the point of obnoxious.
      OR
      Tell them you will find a place to write an online review and part of that review will be listing off all the times and dates they have called you so far.

      One place wanted me to buy their product. I finally told them that each time they called they added another year to the time BEFORE I would make a decision on the product. They stopped calling.

    11. Marigold

      I gave a mixed review on a high-end product purchase, and the salesman called me back saying, “I don’t get my commission unless you give us all 10s, why you gotta do me like that Marigold?” It was Seriously Awkward, and made sure I never bought anything from that place again. Ugh.

  29. Hold My Cosmo

    My husband was his usual hyper-friendly, insanely social self to the JWs that came around last month and now they will NOT GO AWAY. I’ve been polite, I’ve been stern, and now I’ve started to get bitchy. It isn’t helping.

    They come flying up our steep, curving, difficult driveway and then try to back down, and always get stuck. It’s lined with sculpted hedges, and today marks the second time they effed them up majorly by backing into them. I’m wondering if I should be pursuing legal recourse at this point, because it will cost hundred of dollars to replace them. Landscaping is hella expensive.

    I used to think my older family was a bunch of nutty rednecks for posting “No Trespassing” signs everywhere. Apparently I have aged into a nutty redneck.

    1. Not All

      I would ABSOLUTELY go up to them and ask for their insurance information, cell phone in hand, letting them know you need both their insurance and driver’s license info for filing a claim with your insurance. I don’t think they’ll actually give it to you, but especially if you obviously take photos of their license plate I think it will at least be the last time they bother you.

      (Though I personally dislike them enough I probably WOULD file a claim if my agent said it wouldn’t affect my own rates)

      1. valentine

        Email the local place of worship (maybe you can find an outreach coordinator) about this. They should want to know these two are poor representatives.

    2. Reba

      I wouldn’t go after them for money. But I would get my spouse to call them and say, “You have caused several hundred dollars’ worth of damage to our property. We wish you the best, but DO NOT come here again.”

      1. Chip

        I wouldn’t put the “We wish you the best” part in. I’d just tell them they caused significant damage to my property and order them not to return.

    3. Rebecca

      I was able to get them to leave me alone. They used to come to my house, and once followed me around while I was doing yard work! I said, look, I’m a United Methodist. I believe what I believe, I’m not going to convert, I appreciate your efforts, so you can follow me around the yard all you want, but it’s not going to change anything. They never came back! No more tracts in the door, nothing.

      In your case, they’re damaging your property. You have every right to tell them no, do not come here!

      1. Not All

        lol

        They gave up on me after I happened to be carrying around one of my snakes (he’s only about 6′ so not terribly intimidating but a lovely iridescent black who also happens to hiss at anyone he doesn’t know) when I answered the door and firmly told them I was an atheist who thought they needed mental help. I also offered to walk them through all the blatant logical inconsistencies with their faith. I think I scared them because they cross to the other side of the street when they do my neighborhood now!

        1. Elizabeth West

          Bahahahahaha! I haven’t had anyone bother me since I put up a sign I had professionally made that says:
          No Soliciting
          No Proselytizing
          No Leaflets
          Now Get Off My Lawn

          Aww, iridescent snakeys are the prettiest things. <3

    4. Wishing You Well

      Once you tell someone not to enter your property, that’s a trespass warning. Next time, you can get the police involved and have them ticketed. Probably not the way to go here, but keep it in the back of your mind.
      The “No Trespassing” sign is good, but a preemptive message telling them not to show up again is the best idea. Email or text would be better than a phone call. You might need proof later that you told them not to trespass. I’m hoping you can tell them once and be done with this.
      Best of luck.

    5. Lilysparrow

      I once got rid of JW’s permanently by answering the door in my underwear.

      It wasn’t even on purpose, it was just hella early on Saturday morning and I was half-asleep.

      In your position, I wouldn’t wait for them to come back. I’d look up the nearest Kingdom Hall and call them to complain. If you know the folks’ individual names, all the better. But they are bound to have some idea of who is working which neighborhoods.

      Tell them these people have returned several times after being directly told to leave, that they’ve damaged your property for $xxx, and that if you see them again you are calling the cops.

      1. Blinded by the Gaslight

        I did the same thing (opened the door in my underwear), but it was on purpose. This was after weeks of them literally banging on my door at 8am like it was an emergency, and me trying all the normal, polite, then increasingly firm ways of declining. They never came back! :D

    6. Kuododi

      DH and I got snatched out of bed by the JWs on one of the rare Saturdays when neither of us was on call at our respective places of employment. (We were not pleased!!!). At the time we had two large rescue dogs that barked and howled like a pack of about 50 wild animals. I opened the door and was holding a dog back with a hand on their collars. (The effect was quite intimidating as each dog was wrestling to get away from me and fly out the door to chew off body parts on the JWs). I think we now must be on some JW national “do not visit” list. Since that one incident, we’ve had no additional problems from religious solicitation. (We’ve moved multiple times since that happened.). Best wishes!!!

    7. NeverNicky

      My parents no longer received visits from JW evangelists after placing “Be nice to me, I gave blood today” and other promotional stickers from the NHS blood service in their porch window. Mutual respect/acknowledgement of immovable positions!

  30. matcha123

    Ok, this is a weird question but is there something weird about people who come from low-income backgrounds succeeding?
    Is there something weird about being a single woman and not depending on family and men to get by?
    I ask because a few times I’ve had other women assume that I am like them: from a stable middle-class family. And because of that they assume that I don’t know what it’s like to work for a living or to have a family. In fact, I’ve worked quite hard and have taken care of my immediate family, no kids of my own and don’t want them, however.
    When that comes out, I get this attitude like…I lied? to them? That as someone who is from a low-income background, I must have somehow tricked my way into university or a job and I really don’t deserve to be where I am now. Or that it’s my fault that I don’t have a better income.
    I’ve lived alone in a foreign country for over a decade and some of the local guys seem turned off by that (living alone). Like, me finding my own apartment and paying my own bills is somehow offensive to them. I’d love to have a long-term partner to live with! I’m really struggling to understand this thought process. Why would someone who has been given everything they need feel the need to put down someone who has had to fight for everything they have?
    For the guys, why do some guys feel offended by a woman who doesn’t want kids or who is just barely getting by on her own? Sorry for the ramble…

    1. Foreign Octopus

      From my own point of view, there’s nothing weird about any of your situation. It’s laudable what you’ve achieved and the fact that you’ve taken care of your family on top of that is amazing.

      I have encountered similar attitudes to people having a bit of a “hmmm” moment when they realise I’m single by choice and don’t want children. There’s an expectation that women want the husband and children and the white picket fence (and good on you if you do) and so when people veer from that expected course, others don’t know how to react or what to think.

      My last relationship ended eight years ago because he thought it was strange that I didn’t want to marry or have children (bear in mind, when he spoke about it, I was always the one at home raising said kids). I was 20 at the time at it was enough to scare me out of that relationship. I view it as some people finding independence scary: people like to be counted on and some men and women like the idea of being a knight in shining whatever and when you’re financially, physically, and emotionally independent, they don’t know what to do with that.

      A lot of it could also be the culture you’re living in. I’m in Spain and whilst there are ‘enlightened’ Spanish men, the prevailing culture is women = babies + home.

      1. valentine

        It’s weird to them because they thought they’d weeded you out. Like when people say, “Are you going home for Holiday,” as though orphans and aged-out foster kids don’t exist.

      2. aa

        I don’t know when in Spain you’re living, but I’m Spanish, live in Madrid, and that’s absolutely not what I see around me. Most Spanish women work, because it’s really hard to afford being a stay-at-home parent, and many couples rely on grandparents for childminding. I really don’t know who thinks that women = babies + home.

        Also, I’m unmarried and don’t have or want children, and I’ve never had any problems with that in Spain – if anything, it was people in England and the US that found it odd and questionable.

    2. Liza

      No need to apologise. This must feel very frustrating. As much as we like to kid ourselves, I don’t think for one minute we live in a classless society, and that goes for pretty much everywhere. If memory serves, socio-economic status of parents/family remains a significant factor in one’s success. Some people, like yourself, defy that statistic, but there are people out there who resent and mistrust those who excel/succeed beyond their perceived “station” (to quote my great aunt Betty). Maybe they see your success as a result of positive discrimination, or maybe they feel intimated by the realisation that you had to work that much harder than they did, and that makes them uncomfortable?

      I’ve also found that people can be very blinkered to the lives, experiences and turmoil of others. If their circumstances and those of their friends are all similar, they will be more likely to assume other people they come across will match up. And the more this is proven correct, the more confused (and possibly lacking in empathy) they will be when they meet a person who defies that bias by being different.

      I had a similar experience to yourself in my 20s, only the other way around. I came from a middle class background but struggled to find work, wound up in a minimum wage job for five years, and then out of work entirely for seven due to mental health problems and caring for my ailing mother. I lived in a poor area, worked with working class people, and generally hung out with a similar crowd. At best they thought I was a bit weird (talked funny, had strange hobbies, had a useless arts degree while the only two people in the social circle who made decent money had both left school at 16 and worked their way up). People were nice, but found me quirky and eccentric. At worst, I was regarded as the “poor little rich girl”, had to be reminded that my education was worth nothing here, told that my aspirations to get out of shift work/retail hell and into an office were deluded because “9 to 5 office jobs don’t exist any more”, and basically told to suck it up and get used to being poor because this is what life is like and I was an entitled brat to think I could do any better. There are people of all backgrounds who view their experience as universal, and some can feel threatened by those who defy the rule.

      As for the guys you are meeting, it’s tempting to just put “sexism” and call it a day, but to delve a little deeper… If these guys are used to women who come from wealthy homes, who only work for extra pocket money or depend on family for cash, it could be that they are thrown by your apparent self-reliance. Even in today’s supposedly enlightened times, there are men who are threatened by successful women. Maybe they expect to be the primary breadwinner, effectively taking over the role of the parents/family in supporting their wife financially, and if you’re supporting yourself, then that throws a spanner into their (really quite paternalistic) plan. You might be able to leave at any time! Shudder GASP! You may expect more from them than simply paying the bills and buying you clothes! The HORROR! But, if it’s any consolation, you can probably consider this an effective screening against these sorts of guys, because would you really want to be with anybody like that anyway? I wish I could offer advice, but all I have is an attempt at an explanation! Wishing you well!

      1. matcha123

        The more I think about it, the more it seems to be a kind of cultural mismatch.
        Being raised by a single parent or being an independent woman isn’t uncommon in my one parent’s background. Women aren’t raised to look for a man to take care of them, they are raised to do what they can to take care of themselves and their families. In the US, the majority paints these kind of women as ignorant if they are low-income and rabid, man-hating “feminists” if they are part of the college-educated majority.

    3. Asenath

      There’s nothing weird about being a single independent woman or from a low-income background. Some people might think so, and some subset of those will get annoyed with you – why? Maybe they’re uncomfortable with someone who shows that their assumptions about people might be based on inaccurate assumptions. Who knows? Not your problem, really. It just part of the tapestry of life – there’s lots of people out there, most of them will be different from you, and some of them will have ideas that offend you. You don’t have to take them all that seriously.

      And sometimes they put their own feet in their mouths. When I was starting out, I managed to get a job before I found a place to live, which was quite a struggle given my income and the local rental situation. So one day I came to work, and jubilantly announced that I’d found a place to rent. A co-worker asked where, and when I told her, she was horrified. It was a terrible street to live on! I might as well live in…in.. X Street, obviously the worst location she could think of. It also happened to be where the husband of another co-worker, who was part of the conversation, grew up and where his family still lived. He was currently in medical school. We laughed about it, although not in her hearing, since she was basically well-intentioned even if she was unduly alarmist about living in the poorer neighbourhoods.

    4. Lora

      I don’t even know and I’ve been doing this crap for decades. Even before I got divorced I was the breadwinner in the house and people had a problem with that. I used to get regular lectures from presumably well meaning people that I was emasculating my then husband. I always wondered if they thought we should live without insurance, starving, on his income (less than half of mine) or what? Like, where do they reckon money comes from, exactly?

      I don’t know. It’s very mysterious to me, how such people think. I can only tell you that the overwhelming majority of my male colleagues have either stay at home wives or wives who work only part time at a not-well-paid job in service type of roles.

      According to my mom and some friends from more traditional cultures, if you aren’t married and relying on a man, it’s because you are a Leftover Woman and there’s something inherently Wrong with you. So they’re trying to figure out what it is, that is your problem, and if only you fix this fault you will get your very own man to make sandwiches for, and then you can just shut up and conform to their notion of happiness and quit disturbing their retrograde, quaint ideas about how the world works.

      1. matcha123

        I agree. I can kind of understand why a guy or person would feel down making significantly less than their spouse, but…would they rather be homeless?! Sometimes I feel like some people want to blame women for being smart because in the past average men could get by being average. Nowadays they need to be more.
        I don’t know, but glad to know I’m not completely crazy here.

      1. matcha123

        I am! Some of this is related to being here, but I am from the US and have gotten this attitude? from some people back home.
        Unfortunately…imo.

        1. Thursday Next

          In my long-ago experience living in Japan, there was still an expectation that a woman would quit working after having a baby, which charts a pretty direct course of marriage+baby-work.

          But I’ve been thinking about your question, and I think people tend to assume that the people they’re talking to or associating with are very much like themselves, so the revelation of differences can be surprising. Maybe it’s naïveté, or coming from a homogeneous town, or even incuriosity about other people.

          My immigrant parents socialized with other immigrants who were largely doctors and engineers, and my high school cohort’s parents were all white-collar, so it wasn’t until I got to college that I met first-generation college students. I can’t remember if I had any expectations of what that meant; it was long ago. But if it was any kind of surprise to me then, it was a really positive one. I admire my friends who weren’t just doing something because that’s what their (rigid! immigrant!) parents wanted them to do, who earned scholarships and worked their way through school.

          I’m surprised and sorry that people are reacting to you this way. It’s small-minded and says a lot about them.

          1. matcha123

            That expectation is still there, despite stagnant wages and the more present threat of being laid off. Of course there are men and women who are challenging those ingrained ideals, but many still conform to them. I can understand the cultural difference, but it does grate on my nerves. At the moment, I’m getting the “grr single woman with no kids!!” vibe from some locals and a “ugh, what do you mean you don’t come from an upper-middle class family like me?!” vibe from some other Americans living here.

            I can’t just blame it on Japan because my first-generation college grad parent experienced similar reactions.

            For what it’s worth, I grew up in a similar high-pressure home and had many immigrant friends, most? of whom had parents with degrees. It has been interesting to see how “average” white Americans are reacting to changes in schools where higher grades are becoming more important. I think once we have more third and later immigrant kids in school and diversity in general, we’ll start to see families being more relaxed about grades. For now, education is one of the few ways to have doors cracked open for groups that aren’t a part of the majority.

            1. Thursday Next

              Expat culture can be weird. We knew lots of people on JET, but also people whose companies transferred them from their home countries, and they had a very different lifestyle. I wonder if that’s part of it?

              I’m stumped as to the assumptions of upper middle class status. Although, come to think of it, I’ve had a couple of conversations with parents this week where each parent assumed I was like them, economically, and the reality was that I was right smack in the middle. But these assumptions did shape the direction of the conversations, and I’m always uncomfortable when that happens.

              I hear you on education. It is a path to mobility, for sure. FWIW, I tell my son that sleeping is more important than homework—a betrayal of my parents’ immigrant values. ;)

              1. matcha123

                Actually, you kind of hit on something with your example. I am almost always in a conversation with someone new when they pull the conversation in a direction that is “us *wink, wink*” and even though I can understand their references, I feel it’s closer to growing up watching people at a dinner party through a window and then talking to them about it a few days later. Do I tell them I was out in the cold while they were popping champagne bottles? Or do I talk about how funny it was when the cork got stuck in the chandelier?

                My friends with kids that experienced that high-pressure growing up all seem to have put that aside. They achieved the stability needed for a more balanced life. You’re definitely not alone there!

    5. Not So NewReader

      After reading through here, I feel like my thoughts are very simplistic.

      I think that anyone who raises above their circumstance is heroic. It’s not our fault if we get a rocky launch in life, but knowing that does NOT make it easier. And that is because we still have to deal with our circumstances.

      So, yeah, I tend to think that we have heroes all around us and we can find inspiration through other people’s choices and actions on a regular basis.

      This is all to say, I think you are inspiring. I’d be willing to bet there is a couple other people who think so, too.

      Do you have anyone who inspires you?

      1. matcha123

        I have been quite impressed by what a number of my peers are doing. You are right about finding inspiration in your surroundings! I would much prefer to focus good energy towards friends who are doing good for the world.

    6. Traveling Teacher

      Not at all weird! You’re amazing!

      Some people just don’t understand independence. Hold out for someone who deserves you! I can assure you that it’s worth waiting for either:

      a) someone who values your hard-earned independence and sees you as the pearl you are–who doesn’t want a partner who knows how to earn her own money and budget well?!–and sees the value of money in a similar way to you.

      b) and /or someone who has a similar background and trajectory (my case). The lack of financial arguments is great for us as a couple because we have the same perspective on why and how we save and spend money!

      Consider these men’s scornful attitude towards your background a fair warning! I have friends from back home who now have to contend with their spouse’s extravagant tastes and a general lack of understanding of the basic principle that money earned should be greater than money spent…the majority of such spouses come from moneyed backgrounds.

  31. Pumpkin Pie Spice

    I live in a diverse low income neighborhood. I’ve discovered that a neighbor is running a 24×7 no barrier drop in center for addicts and the homeless out of their home. The city I live in has many programs to help people and they are well advertised, so I’m not sure what gap this is filling. Our neighborhood has scores of abandoned buildings, a high amount of litter, and numerous panhandlers. I’m not sure these people are aware of the issues this can cause a neighborhood that is already struggling and shouldering other burdens. I literally had a panhandler knock on my door this week telling me he just got out of jail. We’ve also had many of these vacant builds burn down lately due to squarters. How do not sound like an a- hole NIMBY when confronting this situation? I’m finding it’s easy for people who don’t live in the area to minimize the situation, and say that I’m selfish for not wanting this.

    1. Middle School Teacher

      Honestly I think you need to call the police and/or your city. From a city perspective your neighbour is probably not zoned for this (they’re a residence, but basically running a business). I also live adjacent to a diverse low-income area, and there are signs all over the place telling people not to give to panhandlers (some become aggressive) and with the local phone number for services for the homeless. Does your city have services like this that you can call?

      If you are fearing for your safety I think you need to call the police, maybe not 911 but just to make them aware of the situation.

      It’s laudable your neighbour wants to help (I’m assuming their goal is to help) but this is not the way.

    2. Buffay the Vampire Layer

      Report your neighbor to 311. That’s completely crazy, dangerous, and there’s no way she’s got whatever permits and zoning or whatever necessary.

    3. fposte

      Is this an under-the-radar thing? In my area there’d be legal restriction on such a program, including zoning law (and he’s probably in breach of his lease if he’s renting). I might consult with the best-known local homelessness org to get their take on it; depending on how your city works I could see talking to the non-emergency police number for their take as well.

      One reason I would suggest the homelessness org is that it could be possible he’s not drawing new people to the area but making those already present safer in both directions–people under supervision in a house are less likely to burn something down than people in a squat. But I don’t know what kind of tradeoffs play out in a facility like the one you describe in general and they’re probably different from area to area, so somebody who knows the population there are probably best informed and most reliable if the advice is, say, “call the cops now.”

    4. Pumpkin Pie Spice

      I’ve made the city zoning department aware of the place. Zoning is definitely a resolution I’m going to pursue. These people have a large social media following that are sympathetic to their work, and have the ear of our community policing program. A drop in center a few blocks from them that has formalized programs also has their support. To top if off, they have small children in the home . It is bewildering that people can overlook how things can go wrong and the impact on neighbors, because, hey look at all the good we do. I don’t think they realize that they can’t control what people do outside of their supervision, and that some of these people are calibrating their behavior for them. Picking up liquor bottles/cans is a daily thing.

      1. Natalie

        Have you talked to them at all about the actual livability issues – the cans, the panhandling, etc? If they want to be able to keep doing this kind of community work, they may well be motivated to solve those problems.

        1. Pumpkin Pie Spice

          I monitor the social media account. On a post when I mentioned the trash situation it was stated that I should pitch in and organize a clean up in my area. They said they pick up their block, so they were doing their part, and I should do mine. I pick up trash every day when I walk my dog, and I supervised juveniles sentenced to community service picking up trash almost every Saturday this summer in the area. Guess what, every day there is more trash. I started saving the 24oz beer cans to sell, so I was getting something out of it. When I mentioned the house fires, the response is we don’t encourage people to squat. Honestly, I’m hoping between building code/zoning violations I reported and donor fatigue, it will die on the vine.

          1. fposte

            Oh, I think I misunderstood–all these problems started *after* the drop-in center was opened? Crap. Then it really is drawing stuff to the neighborhood. And it sounds like you’re already putting in a lot more work than most people when it comes to your neighborhood.

            1. Pumpkin Pie Spice

              I’ve lived in the area for four years. Can I say everything negative that happens is attributed to them? Maybe not. But the panhandling started escalating last spring, as well as the fires, and open encampments. Not to judge, but what really puzzles me is that nobody questions the presence of her children at this place. Like 24×7 because they homeschooled. There’s all kinds of “successes” that don’t add up, like sending a person with cancer to another state to live on short notice. OK, so you have a person who has challenges to find new doctors, change insurance, and transfer medical records. Or….maybe the cancer is self reported and they got duped. Then there was the premi newborn dropped off by the new mom while she needed some time, and the mom had some kind of barrier to going to the newborn support center a few blocks away.

                1. valentine

                  I wouldn’t mess with their housing and closing the place down is just going to lead to more squatters.

          2. Jaid

            Dump the trash on their doorstep and explain that its from their “customers”. Tell the supporters online that these folks are unlicensed and do not have a neighborhood buy-in. Tell them that their customers are begging from the neighbors. It’s sweet that this family wants to help people, but there’s a place and means for doing it and this. This ain’t it.

            Kidding, but jeeze.

      2. WellRed

        In addition to zoning how is your city on fire and safety inspections? That could be an adjacent angle to go at the problem. Someone will eventually get hurt or worse. Seen it happen.

    5. LCL

      First, stop worrying about sounding like a NIMBY. That word in my city has become a slur used against anyone who doesn’t support massive overdevelopment and massive restrictions on free mobility. Stop talking to people who think you are being selfish. If they don’t live next door to this stuff they have no clue. The climate and atmosphere of many areas in my city has been destroyed by the free ranging feral druggies.

      Use the machinery of the city to fight this. That’s what you pay taxes for. Anytime there is something that looks like a violation of the law, report it. Don’t be vindictive or petty in what you report. But you can certainly call CPS about the kids, call the code enforcement people about junk, call the cops about obvious lawbreaking. And put some no trespassing signs up on your property. Yes, the people that you are seeing are seriously messed up human beings. We all deserve compassion. Compassion doesn’t mean putting up with carprowls and discarded used needles and sh12 on the sidewalk and in the bushes and yelling empty eyed people picking fights. FWIW, the things I mentioned aren’t exaggerations, in my city.

      1. ..Kat..

        I think this is good advice. However, I wonder if the No Trespassing signs might put a target on OP’s back. One other thing I would do is make sure my house is secure – good locks on door and windows.

        1. LCL

          In my city, you can’t get someone removed from your property or have them charged with anything if they are prowling but haven’t stolen something yet unless you have the property posted no trespassing. That’s one of they way squatters select their targets-by looking for places that aren’t posted. Then evicting them can become much more arduous. A no trespassing sign is a standard urban accessory in some areas.

    6. LGC

      I’ve discovered that a neighbor is running a 24×7 no barrier drop in center for addicts and the homeless out of their home.

      Wait, what?!

      So, my first suggestion would be to send this to every advice columnist you can think of because I want to see their reactions to this. (I imagine the phrase “life is a rich tapestry” will come up fairly often in response.)

      On a more serious note…so I read the further details, and wow. This is why these things are regulated – it’s not that the client base doesn’t need the service, it’s just that the way they’re going around providing the service is actively harming the community they’re in. And the fact that they told you, “well just organize a neighborhood cleanup ¯\_(ツ)_/¯” is…galling.

      I’d definitely report at this point. They’re creating a public nuisance, and it might be the case that they’re not set up properly as well (you mentioned donations, and I’d think they would have to register as a charity at that point).

      (One more note: It’s not the “addicts and homeless” that are the real problem here – at least in my view. It’s that they’re not taking care of the neighborhood, and neither is your neighbor.)

  32. Lady Jay

    Anybody else getting flooding right now? My area of the country has received 3-4 times the usual amount of rain for February, it’s been raining since yesterday at around noon, and the water has started to cover the roads in many places around town. It’s insane, y’all. :(

    That said, SHOUTOUT to whoever recommended a couple of weeks ago that I go swimming to deal with cold, grey, wet days. I’m usually a runner, but I’ve been swimming for the last two days, and it is *wonderful* on rainy days.

    1. Lost but not alone

      Yes! It’s been raining in my area since Tuesday. The creeks are all flooded and roads are closed because of it. I’m ready for some sunshine or at least a day with absolutely no rain. Stay dry!

    2. Liane

      Sorry you’re dealing with that. We had a flood watch from Wed to this evening, but it seems to have been cancelled early.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale

      We’re not flooding too much yet, but we’re close. It’s been raining intermittently all week and got really bad yesterday. The ground is completely saturated. It’s supposed to keep raining throughout the week.

      My dog, who refuses to walk in the rain, asked to go out during the lightest rain of the day and managed to stay out with me for about 45 minutes. If he’s that desperate, it means this stuff will keep coming for a while.

    4. Elizabeth West

      The sun just came out here after a rainy week. The forecast looks dry this week for the first time in a while–if it wasn’t rain, it was ice and snow.

      But with it, the loud dogs. Ugh.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood

      I’m jealous about the swimming… I haven’t been able to make the town pool lap swim for oh geez a couple of weeks.

  33. Foster Cat Mama Drama

    I’ve been fostering a 9 year floofy cat whose owner recently passed away. He’s been with me about 3 weeks. I’ve fostered about 5 cat since my last boy passed away 2 years ago and I think I’m close to ready to adopt. I thought perhaps this guy would be mine. Thing is although he’s friendly and playful, he’s not super affectionate. My previous boy was all about me, though his brother was slightly feral and was equally friendly, but scared of too much attention. That was fine with me, because I had the lovebug.

    Anyway, foster cat was/is acclimating ok. We’ve had some good moments. He will let me pick him up for about 30 seconds and petting isn’t a problem. So the other day, I tested trying to cuddle him and he FREAKED out. Bit me my finger ridiculously hard, and punctured it. (I’m currently typing with 9 fingers as my index finger is bandaged and swathed in neosporin.) I absolutely realize I pushed him too far and he is not traumatized or frightened of me. So, things seem mostly back to normal. He’s a little tentative about sitting on the loveseat where I attempted this. But, I’m now on the fence about adoption. If I could get another more affectionate cat I know that would help. But I live in a studio and it’s really just not possible to do a safe and appropriate introduction. Also, he’s still new to the apartment and it seems very unfair to introduce a new element to a new living situation.

    I dunno what I want to do. I don’t really have to make a decision now. I guess I’m just disappointed.

    1. fposte

      Ouch! That’s not good for either of you; I’m sorry. Can you say what you mean by “cuddle him”? I could see that fitting a lot of different actions.

      I think it’s okay for this not to be the cat for you, and it sounds like his job may have been to teach you that you’re ready to adopt a cat again even if it’s not him. I wouldn’t overfocus on the “if only I could get a second cat” thing, either; it’s possible what you’d get are a pair of cats that get their cuddle needs from each other and not you anyway. It sounds like maybe you like a really mellow, lapsitty kind of cat (that’s my favorite kind too), and perhaps it’s time for you to be more active in searching for the cat you really want.

      1. Foster Cat Mama Drama

        We were on the loveseat and he was being purry and headbutty. So I wrapped my arm around him and scooched him towards me. It was too much. I know it was too much. We have a perfectly congenial relationship at the moment, but I can’t say he completely trusts me yet.

        1. fposte

          Ah, yes, the scooch–I know it well! I do think that it’s not even simply a question of trust, though–I’ve known very loving and lapsitty cats (and dogs) who really want to retain their bodily autonomy, and will happily come curl up with or on people but don’t like being physically relocated there when that wasn’t their plan. (And fair enough–I’d be like that as a pet too.) So I think it’s possible that even had you waited longer, this wasn’t going to be the cat you were looking for. I wish that point had been made somewhat less drastically, though!

          1. Gerald

            I have fostered so many cats, and I agree with fposte – it sounds like you aren’t the best match.

            I have worked with semi-ferals (cats who are young enough to have a hope of being rehabilitated) and know what it is like to work with an animal that can change. But ‘love me, pet me, but don’t pick me up’ types are different.

            This may become your cat, but I think you will be happier if you find this one a home and then ask the rescue to find you a cuddly foster. There are so many cats who need homes, so you should find the right one.

            I had a friend who wanted a very specific personality of cat. The rescue was happy to send her a few suggestions and she fell in love with their top pick. Cat rescues are usually keen to help their fosters!

    2. Animal worker

      If having an affectionate cat that you can hold and cuddle is important to you, then the best thing you can do for both of you is probably to not adopt this one and get another. As someone who has and works with animals, the most successful relationships come when we accept each animal on their own personalities and qualities. When we want them to fit a certain mold, unless by luck it so happens that they have those characteristics naturally, it’s usually a recipe for disappointment which isn’t the best situation for animal or human. So appreciate that you are thinking this through as to whether or not this is the cat for you. He’s shown you that either he’s not the type of affectionate cuddler you’re hoping for, or that he hasn’t reached that with you. Hopefully with that information from him, you can make an informed decision about moving forward, and respect his wishes and not push the issue. Good luck to you both.

    3. Not All

      There are SO many cats needing homes, I think you both would be happier if you stick with fostering this one until he can go to home with people who prefer a cat who isn’t into being held and then look for a long term cat who loves physical attention.

      I’ve fostered more cats than I can count and they are all different. Think of it like dating…just because someone is a good person doesn’t mean the 2 of you are a good match and that you wouldn’t be happier with someone else. Same thing with pets…my parents dogs are very nice but they drive me NUTS and would never own them by choice (yappy). My very dignified and mellow rottie/mastiff wasn’t their cup of tea at all because he was too big to take a lot of places and wasn’t a hunting dog.

      1. Foster Cat Mama Drama

        I used to work in animal welfare, so I’ve worked with animals of all kinds. (that sounds snarky, it’s not meant to be, just providing background) I think I was trying too hard to advance the relationship/test boundaries when he wasn’t quite there and I’m disappointed in myself. There’s the added coincidence that I received the cat on the anniversary of my last cat’s death and he was here for my birthday. I thought fate could be making a play and so I’m a tad oversensitive about him.

        I have to try and remember what it was like when I first adopted my other two. I did feel a bit conflicted when I first brought each of them home. So, I’m kind of not being fair to myself or the cat. The bite is just a constant temporary reminder about being conflicted.

        But, I appreciate all the words of support, wisdom and advice!

        1. Animal worker

          This is great background. I have a friend who fosters dogs who has been going through the same thing right now working with a challenging dog, trying to get the timing right to move things forward without triggering him, which is a challenging balance to find. She went through the same neosporin and bandage stage as you are with him recently. Sounds like you’re a great pet owner, and I’m sure you’ll end at the right place for you and the cat, whatever that ends up being. Best of luck.

    4. Fang’s Mom

      I took in a compulsive biter and was at my wits end until my vet prescribed 10mg Elavil twice a day. She calls the script into pharmacy. The pills are tiny, coating hides bitter taste, and they fit easily into those greenie pill pockets. There is a side effect of drowsiness but for a cat that’s a feature not a bug. Total game changer. He’s even chill enough to let me start re-socializing him.

      1. Foster Cat Mama Drama

        He’s not really a biter. Though that would have been handy with the hyper 1 year old I was fostering who was quite the nipper. (After 4 months, he ended up going to a different foster who was experienced with kittens) The one other time he used his mouth was about 2 weeks ago when he playfully nipped my ankle from under the bed, it was so gentle it almost tickled and it was evident he was wanting to play. What happened the other day was definitely a scared-WTF are you doing? bite.

    5. The New Wanderer

      We adopted a 5.5 mo old who seemed like he would never come out from hiding, never not panic at any loud noise or sudden movement, and definitely never be affectionate beyond tolerating being briefly held. Two months later I have to shoo him off my lap, where he insists on being any time that I am seated. He is a nibbler (does that ever go away??) and still does panic at loud sudden sounds or movements, leaving scratches behind. But I have his trust and he totally seeks me out for company. But, he is a kitten and although his early kitten-hood was tough (feral colony rescue, briefly socialized in a foster situation, transferred across the state, and kept somewhat in isolation for a week before we adopted him), he doesn’t have years of history that would affect his needs and behavior.

      Your cat is older, so may not be as likely to change much even after being with you for more time. However, three weeks is still early, relatively. Our guy didn’t come out of the room we kept him in for at least that long. If you’re not under any time pressure to decide and you’re willing to foster him a bit longer, I say keep the status quo and see how he adapts.

    6. gecko

      Ah, bummer. It always feels so bad to test a cat’s boundary a bit and be like “oh no that was way further than I thought.”

      I know it feels disappointing, but you’re still at the beginning of your relationship. I wonder if it would help to work with him really intentionally on reading his other signals—like stop petting him exactly when his tail gets a little twitchy and work up from there—so he gets reassured that he doesn’t have to use his last resort.

      Plus that could bond you a bit :)

  34. A.N. O'Nyme

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going.
    The deadline for a writing competition I’m gonna be doing is tomorrow. I’m nervous as shit.

    1. Foreign Octopus

      After what felt like weeks of being stuck on one chapter and only writing 100 words a day, I’ve finally broken through and I’ve been writing much more easily now so I’m getting through the first draft a little quicker than before.

      Good luck with the competition.

    2. Liane

      Finally got over the 2 roadblocks on one of my blog writeups. First was a backstory to go with the stats for a D&D character & the second was finishing the character portrait. I finally got both done! Now onto the next! I am still a month ahead, but I work better when I stay way ahead. I also have several April publishing dates I prioritized, because I was going to be busy with other things when those would be due–and I have them in varying stages.

    3. Elizabeth West

      I finished the phonology on my conlang and have now begun morphology. Blergh. I’ve forgotten all the grammatical terms I learned in college, so I dug out my English grammar book so I can re-learn them. This shit is HARD! WHAT AM I DOING LOL! I did start using root words when I was just making shit up, without really thinking about it. Taking French in college long ago is making it easier to construct idiomatic expressions. And, I was also gratified to learn that when working on the phonology, I’d unwittingly allowed for linguistic drift as well. Tolkien I’m not, but this is kind of fun.

      I decided to base it loosely on Welsh, since the words look a little bit like a weird version of it anyway. And when I speak it according to my phonology, it sounds a lot like someone speaking Welsh with a Scottish accent. Think Edinburgh with a tapped [r] but never trilled.

      I’m spending too much time on this–the damn thing won’t even come into its full use until Book 3. I really need to write something else because I’ve nearly convinced myself no one will ever want any of these. :P

    4. The Other Dawn

      The only writing I do nowadays is my blog, but, man, I do not feel like writing posts. They’re getting few and far between, maybe twice a month. I just don’t feel like it and I’m considering shutting it down. I don’t know. A lot of it stems from my back pain issues, that I don’t like to sit for long at my desk. Some of it is just not having anything interesting to write about. I mean, it’s just my own personal blog, but I still don’t know what to write about sometimes. I get tired writing about how my back still hurts, or posting food I made that I really don’t need to be eating.

  35. Foreign Octopus

    Oh my god.

    I think I’m about to die from second hand embarrassment.

    I’m sitting outside a café in my local town (there’s a weird festival going on that I have no idea what it is about but it’s bright, colourful, and the children look adorable in their local outfits) and this guy just got everyone’s attention so that he could propose to his girlfriend in the middle of it all. She said no and ran away. I’m cringing so hard over here.

    Why? Why publicly propose, hombre? Just why?!

    1. Thursday Next

      Poor guy. I don’t know how public proposals became romanticized, but it’s really unfortunate. Ideally, the proposal should be a formality, not the first time marriage is under discussion!

      She was really brave to say no—public pressure is intense.

      1. Wishing You Well

        Yes to this.
        The proposer must be sure they’re going to get a yes before they propose in public. This includes prom invites, too. Let’s go back to private proposals. We can’t top what’s already on YouTube.

      2. blackcat

        I feel so much worse for the woman! She probably thought she was going to have a nice lunch, and now has the worst embarrassing moment of her life.

    2. Sherm

      Yup, public proposals are just not a good idea. I would feel second-hand embarrassment even if she said yes. Keep it private, folks. Your rejection could be viewed by millions of people on Youtube — and I’m not exaggerating there.

      Oh well, I guess this hombre doesn’t need convincing of that anymore!

    3. Karen from Finance

      Agreed, I don’t understand the idea of a public proposal even when it just means “in a public environment where everyone can see”. But asking for everyone’s attention for it? Not having discussed the idea of marriage previously (and thus not being 1000% sure the answer would be yes)?

      At best, it’s very… presumptuous, isn’t it?

      I feel sorry for both of them, but mostly for the lady. Yikes.

    4. AvonLady Barksdale

      I tell my partner quite often that if he ever does that to me, I will not only say no, I will leave him immediately. I’m only half joking. He can propose to me in public if he wants, but more along the lines of sitting at a bar and saying, “Hey, let’s do this on April 17th. Oh, here’s a ring.”

      Poor woman!

    5. Athousandeyesandone

      If someone publicly proposed to me, I would question whether they knew me at all. I do not like being being put on the spot lol.

    6. Lissa

      oh god this is my nightmare too! Witnessing it even. Nooooo! I can’t help but wonder how long they were together and the situation, because I’m nosy – every public proposal I’ve seen/heard of has either been done with the knowledge that the answer will be “yes” and that the person receiving it will be into it (in which case great! not for me but awesome for you) or has been pretty early in the relationship, often before the other person had even realized marriage was “on the table” and shows one person is WAY more intense than the other. Oh, or a last ditch “fix the relationship after I messed up” thing.

    7. Luisa

      Allow me (in my capacity as a fan) to plug Jasmine Guillory’s excellent novel The Proposal, which opens with a scene much like this!

    8. Marion Ravenwood

      I was at a gig/club night a few months back where a guy got on stage to propose to his girlfriend of a few years (there were pictures of their relationship on the back screen and everything), she said yes, and then when I saw him a couple of weeks ago (at the same event) they’d split up. So I can imagine there’s a *lot* of pressure to say yes, and fair play to the girl in your situation for being brave enough to say no there and then. I do feel sorry for both of them though.

      I’ve got nothing against being proposed to in a public place with no-one else around (though admittedly I’m biased because that’s how my husband proposed to me), but the idea of an involves-people-other-than-the-couple public proposal actually makes me cringe. I think you’ve *really* got to know the person will a) say yes and b) like that sort of thing before even remotely considering it.

      1. Rusty Shackelford

        I think a private proposal in a public place is lovely, but the whole “look at me, look at us, watch me propose” show is distasteful to me.

  36. Mighty Bullfrog

    I’ve read a lot of threads on the weekend post about finding new hobbies and/or meeting people. I have the reverse of this question, and I think you all would have some good thoughts.

    I help run a community band. We desperately need more folks who play certain instruments, and would love to have more people involved in our group playing all instruments in general. What are your suggestions or ideas for connecting with more folks and getting them involved with our band?

    We have a facebook and a meetup page. I’m thinking of posting flyers in local music stores.

    How have you connected with local community groups that you are now involved in, especially if they are the kind that meet once a week in person?

    1. fposte

      A few things come to mind. I think participation in such groups is declining generally (I suspect longer work hours and more kid obligations are the factors there); I’ve been in a chorus that was born and died within two years and a long-term chorus whose numbers are much less than they used to be. So I think the struggle is universal.

      I would say that the high cost on the doomed chorus was a big barrier, so anything you can do to minimize the cost factor will help. I’d think about expanding the flyers beyond music stores to coffee shops and artsy venues, and also reach out to local colleges and community colleges, and, if you can include minors, high schools.

      (It’s oboes, isn’t it? Never enough oboes.)

      1. Mighty Bullfrog

        Its actually drummers, if you’d believe it.

        Thanks for the suggestions! We’re pretty low cost, beside getting the instrument. We carpool to competitions, and most of the uniform is provided.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood

          Is there a local FB community group you could post on? Would you take kids who love music but not the school bands? (Discipline, cost, time required, or simply social cliques.)
          Would you help teach people who can’t read music? Or who can read chorus music not percussion notation?
          And don’t underestimate the power of recruiting at parades–have an open house or two shortly after the parade and give out fliers.
          Consider having some practices at different times in case you’re up against someone’s hard commitment.
          I really wish I could do my local town band…a big reason I’m starting to think about a new job is to free up 90+ minutes a day in drive time.
          (And I used to play cymbals in college marching band.)

          1. Mighty Bullfrog

            A local community FB group is a good idea – thank you!

            We would take kids who love music but not school bands. Our kind of band often gets home schooled kids. And we often do take people who don’t read music, regular or percussion.

            We probably wouldn’t change our time. We already have a solid 40+ people who have this time blocked out on their weekly calendars.

          2. Mighty Bullfrog

            Also the parade idea is a good one – we are just about to order a bunch of business cards that we can hand out at parades. They say “Interested in joining [Band Name]? + Contact info” and images of us performing in the past.

            90 mins of driving a day is a lot!

            1. Seeking Second Childhood

              Yup… I have not had time to oplay any instrument regularly in years. At least knitting can go to work…Lots quieter than even my recorder.
              Also think about piano players for your percussion section… we learn xylophone fast. And then I got asked to hold cymbals for the snare… and then it was time for the Alma Mater and oooh I got to be LOUD! LOL.

    2. AndersonDarling

      I know lots of people who see band flyers and think “They probably want someone really committed and will practice every night. I can’t commit to that.” And then the opposite, “I’m tired of bands that aren’t serious, I bet they just want to jam when they feel like it.”
      So I’d make it clear what kind of band it is, how often you practice, what level of skill you are looking for, and how often you perform. It sounds kinda like a job ad, but if you put it out there, it gives strangers the confidence that you have thought it through and are serious. Good luck!

      1. Mighty Bullfrog

        Thanks! I have to think about how we would phrase this. We have two levels of bands, so you generally come in at the more beginner level, and if you practice a lot, end up moving into the higher level band.

        So we are looking for absolute beginner level of skill, but also that people even at the beginner level take it somewhat seriously. There are other bands in town that are more music + drinking club, where we are a little more focused on technical stuff and improving. I’ll have to think about how to phrase that for poster/facebook purposes.

    3. Natalie

      Are there any music schools in your area? I take lessons at a school that serves mostly kids but also has quite a lot of adult students.

      1. Mighty Bullfrog

        Putting posters up at music schools is a good idea. We play un-traditional music (if I specified it would easily out us I think), so we might get folks who have done concert/symphony instruments would like to try our kind of instruments that way.

    4. HannahS

      Is there a college near you? You might be able to post flyers around to attract young people, especially if there’s a music department.

      1. Mighty Bullfrog

        We’re actually partly associated with a college, and we do a decent job of going to the ‘organization fair’ at the beginning of the year, posting flying on campus, and recruiting students. Its the community members at large that we have more trouble with. Also, the students take a while to learn the instrument (most haven’t played our before) and leave once they graduate.

    5. louise

      I’m part of a community chorus that’s only active for 2-3 months each year. This year we made a concerted effort to recruit new members by highlighting in a letter how short term a commitment it is and by sending those letters to area teachers and church choir directors. Would it be possible to do something short term, where folks just need to attend x number of rehearsals before the gig on 0/0/19? A “no strings attached” kind of thing might get more people to try it and see if it’s for them than would come out if they thought they needed to make a bigger commitment.

      1. louise

        And now I see the note about an unusual instrument that can take awhile to learn…so maybe a demonstration concert/open house where people can touch the instruments and get a feel for them?

        1. Mighty Bullfrog

          Thanks for the ideas! We did do a spaghetti dinner for the community (free/pay what you can) with instrument demos for about 3 years. We didn’t recruit any folks through it and it was a lot of work to put on, so we stopped.

    6. Marion Ravenwood

      My initial thoughts:

      – Get Twitter and Instagram as well as Facebook. Maybe a website/blog as well (if you don’t have these already)
      – I’d go wider with the flyers – not just music stores and coffee shops, but also libraries, community centres etc. Sometimes supermarkets and post offices have bulletin boards where people put up flyers too. Music teachers as well maybe (particularly for the instruments you’re looking for). Basically, the more people you can get it in front of, the more likely it is the person you’re looking for will see it (or hear about it).
      – Are there any community groups for your town/area on Facebook/Twitter etc who could share your group’s details?
      – Word of mouth! Do announcements to the group after practice saying you’re looking for more people, or send emails regularly (again, if you’re not doing this already). It might help nudge people into thinking of people they know who might want to come along.
      – Can you incorporate the group info into your uniforms somehow? Even just name and social handles could work.

  37. hermit crab

    Hi everyone! My husband and I are currently renters, but we’re in the process of buying a place. We’ve had an offer accepted and closing is scheduled for a few weeks out. This whole process is kind of ridiculous but there is one silly question I haven’t been able to resolve: when do you give notice to your landlord and, like, start putting your stuff in boxes??

    Obviously nothing is final until closing so I don’t want to be premature if it doesn’t work out. On the other hand, it seems weird to wait until closing to do all the logistical stuff associated with moving, finding a subletter, etc. What am I missing here? (We aren’t under any fixed deadlines to move out of our current place into the new one but we’d of course prefer to not be paying rent longer than necessary.)

    1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

      We started to pack and gave notice when we got a firm closing date. At that point, it should be pretty safe, although of course everyone’s mileage will vary. Good luck!

    2. Liane

      Your lease should have a clause as to how much notice you have to give without being liable for additional rent or fees. That is the minimum you should give. If not, I’d say 2 weeks or a month, which should be enough to box up, move, and clean. Take time off work if you can, it will go faster if you can devote full days to moving.
      You also want to have at least 2 weeks’ overlap (more is better if you can afford it) of when you start moving into your new home and when you have to be out of the rental. Also don’t forget to have the utilities in your name and ON at the house for this overlap time–you will want to be able to see, use the bathroom, have coffee, etc. there–as well as at the rental. All the utility companies I’ve dealt with can do this easily.

      1. hermit crab

        Sorry, I should have phrased that better – I know that we have to give 30 days’ notice per our lease, but I’m wondering when those 30 days should start (if that makes sense). It would be the least risky to wait until after closing to give notice, but that would mean paying rent for a full month after that point. I’ve moved a few times within this neighborhood in the past (the new place is like a 10-minute walk from our current place), and I know that we don’t need an entire month to move.

        1. Christy

          Wait until after closing. What if something goes wrong and then you have to move anyway?! An extra month rent is less than an extra move would cost.

    3. Lcsa99

      I think my husband and I started doing a little bit of the packing once we knew we were accepted by the board, and went full swing into it when we had a firm closing date. (So we gave ourselves about a month to pack a one bedroom apartment).

      As for when to let your landlord know -we had been talking to them for most of the time we were looking, so they knew it was coming and they told us several times that they would be flexible. They let us know we didn’t have to worry about finishing out the lease or anything so once all the documents were signed and we had a moving date we let them know. If you haven’t talked to your current landlord yet … I don’t know. I would look at your lease to see if it says anything. If there aren’t any sort of rules or guidelines I think I would talk to them as soon as the closing is done.

      1. Lo Flo

        Talk to your landlord now and ask what you can work out. If one my tenants was moving to buy a house, I would totally support them. You also might want to offer that your landlord can market the unit before you move out. This will reduce any income interruption for the landlord.

    4. Rick Tq

      Your lease agreement will have the terms for notice, etc. but don’t jump the gun.. An empty house is easy to work in so any flooring or other interior upgrades you can afford to do now you can handle before move in. Those projects may not (probably *will* not) run as scheduled.

      We had the ‘popcorn’ ceilings removed in our house and the interior repainted before we moved in and the project took a lot longer than expected. The contractor didn’t test the treatment before giving us a quote assuming it was spray-up material that would fall down as soon as it was got wet. Turns out it was textured plaster that took forever to knock down and skim coat. We spent at least an extra week in our rental.

      I strongly suggest hiring movers to help with the final transfer, even if everything is boxed first. Having other people lift the furniture and only making one trip between sites is priceless.

      1. hermit crab

        That is a great point. At this point we are not planning any upgrades before we move in (but the home inspection is in an hour so that may change haha). And yes, I’ve used movers for my past few moves and I’m never going back!!

        1. Lcsa99

          At an absolute minimum I am sure you’ll want everything painted, and that’s so much easier in an empty place.

    5. Margaret

      Personally, I wouldn’t officially give notice until you’ve closed. You never know what can fall through! Or at the very minimum, wait until you’ve done the inspection and any resulting negotiation. If there’s anything you’re relying on the seller to do – wait! There are just more variables than you realize that could change things.

      We moved out of a rental and bought our first place a couple years ago, and while I think we probably mentioned to the on-site managers (we lived just a couple units down from them and saw in passing frequently) that we were looking, we didn’t officially give our 30 days notice until closing, and thank goodness. We started looking in April, initially were supposed to close May 31, and ended up closing July 15. We negotiated some repairs on the house after inspection, and they just never happened (we eventually re-negotiated last minute, part of the repairs were from a tree falling in a storm while the house was on the market so seller’s insurance was involved). We signed the paperwork the day before we finally closed, literally not even sure if the seller would be signing and if it would go through. (And at that point we’d had enough and were going to walk away if he didn’t sign.)

    6. Wishing You Well

      Great advice from others above. One side thought: do a walkthrough of the house you’re buying 24 hours before closing. This is standard in my area. It would have saved me some disappointments had I done this. The seller had unscrewed and un-nailed many items from the house, despite laws against this. I could have renegotiated at the closing for the missing things – or not. Just wish I had known.

      1. The Other Dawn

        Yes! We did a walk-through of our current house a few hours before closing, only to find out that the barn, the shed and the garage were FULL of crap: old lawn furniture, wiring, doors, trim, power tools (!), a work bench, metal tubing, lawn tools, etc. Oh, and the garbage and recycling bins were still there, completely full. My realtor was pretty upset. She called the seller’s realtor and told the woman that the place wasn’t “broom clean” as it was supposed to be, and that the sellers had to do something about it. We ended up getting a check for $500.00 at the closing to cover the cost of a dumpster. We had to clean out the buildings, but we didn’t have to pay for the dumpster. What was awesome was that, as we were cleaning them out a week later, two scrap metal guys drove by. They stopped and asked if they could look around. We said “sure!” They went through the buildings and took all sorts of stuff with them. It made a nice dent in our cleaning and they got some items to scrap or sell. Also, we ended up keeping the lawn furniture. :)

  38. Junior Dev

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

    I’m having a rough week, really bad anxiety. On Monday I had planned to go skating but I encountered something really triggering while out grocery shopping and it messed up my whole evening and the next day I felt depressed and empty. I ended up crying in the bathroom at work after a relatively normal text from my friend sent me into a spiral of bad feelings. I ended up leaving work to to work out, and it made me feel better enough that I was just sad and tired, not panicking. I continued to exercise Wednesday and Thursday, though on Thursday I went running for the first time in a few months and it hurt my leg again.

    Yesterday I had an appointment with a person at my doctor’s office who helped me figure out all the referrals I had gotten from my PCP and make the calls I needed to set up appointments. It was really stressful but at least I got it done. I spent the rest of the day at work feeling incredibly tense and having difficulty concentrating.

    I ended up having a few drinks in the evening, I started out at a bar with my friend to talk about living together, but ended up drinking more after I got home. I realize that’s really not a great way to deal with stress, and I’m trying to figure out how I can care for myself better rather than beating myself up over it.

    I’m just at a weird point in my life where a lot of stuff feels scary and overwhelming, but also I have a lot more energy to deal with individual things than I did a couple months ago. I wanna fix everything; but everything is hard.

    How are you doing?

    1. Christy

      I’m afraid of needles. I’ve gotten by with getting my flu shots and bloodwork by not looking—I don’t like it but I can deal.

      Yesterday I had to get a shot in my belly that theoretically I’m supposed to administer myself. So I went to the doctor and had them do it but watched. And I was FREAKING OUT. But I watched the whole time (except the exact moment of insertion out of reflex) and it didn’t hurt at all and I didn’t cry! So that was a really big win for me.

    2. 653-CXK

      Except for Sunday (always been a good rest day) and Thursday (laundry and scraping up all the snow/ice) I was able to get away each and every day this week (including today, where I headed out for a few hours and just came back).

      Yesterday, I had an interview about a mile away from where my ExJob was. It was a fairly straightforward interview; they’ve just started interviewing so I won’t know anything until later on. I’m still waiting to hear back from an interview I had the beginning of the month. I haven’t gotten the Letter of Nope yet, so I’m assuming they’re doing their due diligence. I also read they’re very thorough, so perhaps biding my time is the best thing to do.

      It’s nice that sunsets are now at 5:30 here (my SIL is in Buffalo and their sunsets aren’t until 6!), which has improved my mood somewhat. Two weeks from now, sunsets will be at 6:46pm.

      Sorry to hear about your tribulations. If it makes you feel better, I never thought in 21-ish years I’d have to start all over again looking for a job after being let go. I’ve been doing looking for 9+ months and I haven’t been able to moor my boat to the dock. The Letters of Nope I can take; the incessant ghosting and not contacting me back drive me nuts. I’m always asking myself “when is it going to be my turn?” but then I think back to ExJob and all the nastiness and pettiness that went on (subtle and not-so-subtle) and come to the conclusion that what I have isn’t so bad.

      Funny you should mention drinking – I only have drinks on special occasions (does five years ago count?), and the think that prevents me from drinking is a little incident on a junior year trip where someone brought Southern Comfort and fruit juice in a bottle and drunk himself into alcohol poisoning. That one incident scared me enough never to drink to excess.

    3. Thursday Nex

      It sounds like you’ve had a hard—but also productive—week. It’s great that you feel ready to tackle more challenges. I sometimes think it’s important to acknowledge that’s what you’re facing is indeed difficult, *and* you’re up to the task, hard as it may be.

      I’ve had a tough week physically, and I’ve been ill for six weeks now, which is taking an emotional toll. I don’t feel like I’m capable of very much right now; going through all the mail I hadn’t opened for a month (!) felt like a huge accomplishment today. I did get through a bunch of medical paperwork this week, which was good. And I feel good that I reached out to two friends today, and shared some health details with one, and wished the other good luck at a big event tomorrow without referencing my health.

    4. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

      I thought I was doing really well, but had a couple of zingers… and a small financial surprise (not a good one).

      The surprise to me was how depressed – mood deflating – financial distress made me. I guess I had so much other chaos in my life before (when I was super depressed… I cry more readily now, but I think I am fundamentally less “Stuck” than I was… so I feel less overall depressed than I Used to?).

      I had assumed during the years of being broke, that finances had little to do with my depression. Now that some of the other issues (which I know contributed to the depression) are being handled, I can see that apparently, yes, for me, financial stability and even a small measure of control in that arena, does matter. There’s a lot of other variables to my depression, still (It is super complex, grief, anger, physically worn out; layers of things making life a struggle “part” of the time). But the shock for me was finding out that I could be tilted completely off balance by something that I had thought was not important. Who knew….

      1. Not So NewReader

        From what I have seen financial stability is a huge factor in our mental and physical well-being.
        My friend just lost her hubby. He left massive debt. Her son is helping her and Son is doing a FANTASTIC job. As the pieces of this story are getting resolved, my friend is doing better. Yes, she still feels grief but some of the side issues are being fixed. For example, she now knows she can stay in her house for as long as she chooses. This is HUGE and it has been supportive/healing to figure this part out.
        Bad finances seem to be a baseball bat to the knees for most people, just my observations.

        1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

          Hope you see this. THANK YOU. The “baseball bat to the knees” is exactly the feeling that it is. You have a great knack for words, and I appreciate you!

    5. ..Kat..

      I hope this helps. I admire your bravery, Junior Dev. Also, your perseverance. And how you manage to have worked out or done some exercise (biking to work, I think) during the week. And how you encourage others, even though you are struggling.

      I am glad you got the appointments set up. I struggle with this as well.

      Best wishes.

    6. chi chan

      The best is simply talking to people who care about me and remind me of what I have accomplished.
      The worst is a panic attack that I got yesterday. Sometimes I feel as if I am not moving forward at all.

    7. StellaBella

      Good afternoon Junior Dev, thanks for this, as usual. Well done on the appointments! I hear you on the drinking – I was out yesterday with friends, and had 4 drinks, unusual to say the least, for me. Stuff can be overwhelming for sure – but you are making progress as you note.

      I am ok – oddly still calm – at a point of ref checks for a job, and am not freaking out as much as I thought I would be at this point. So am managing my anxiety a lot better than usual, on this front.

      But on another front I am struggling. A dear, dear friend of mine has cancer – it was, years ago, breast cancer, she got that sorted, had a mastectomy, was 5 years cancer free – all the good things. 2 years ago tho the cancer returned and she’s been in the hospital now since 21 January and is having to deal with a lot of bad stuff. I see her as much as is allowed – she’s had surgeries and kidney failure and infections and all kinds of treatments, so not as often as I would like to see her. But her family and hubby are great care givers as are our other friends. But it is hard. Many of our friends are in la-la-land that she will be fine and well, I have doubts. Like a lot of doubts. My mom had cancer and died from kidney failure in the end. I am as positive for my friend as I can be, getting her stuff she may need, bringing raspberries to her room as she asks, and sending texts etc to help her spirits. But I am afraid to lose her. She’s only 59.

    8. Dr. KMnO4

      I finally buckled down and found a therapist. I live in rural America, so the main issue is that there is only one provider in my town. It’s a mental health center that has psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, etc. That’s fine, but their initial screening appointment process leaves a lot to be desired. They only accept new patients if you:
      1. Show up between 12 pm and 2:30 pm on Monday through Thursday (?!?!?!?)
      2. Fill out a bunch of paperwork (okay, that’s normal)
      3. Have proof of insurance (okay, that’s normal)
      4. Have proof of residency (okay, that’s pretty normal)
      5. Have proof of income for all members of your household (?!?!?)

      When I first moved to the area this summer I had accepted a job offer but my job hadn’t started yet so I didn’t have proof of income or insurance. I had time but I didn’t have the other pieces necessary to get an appointment. Once I started working I had proof of income and insurance but not time. This 12-2:30 pm Monday through Thursday thing is a PITA. I’m a professor, so I can’t take a day off of work, or a couple of hours off of work, just to sit in a waiting room and hopefully get seen that day. I teach Monday through Thursday, so the fact that they don’t do initial appointments on Fridays is extremely irritating. Thankfully they were open on President’s Day, which I had off, so I got it taken care of then. My therapist seems very nice and has Friday appointments so I think I’m set now, but it’s just really frustrating to not have any other options for treatment unless I drive 30+ minutes to the nearest city.

  39. A.N. O'Nyme

    Anyone computer savvy on here who can tell me if a back-up of your computer only backs up the files or the OS too? Because I’m looking into backing up my files and programs (don’t want to redownload all my games) and doing a clean install because my PC is being a bit bonkers.

    1. Anonymous Educator

      It depends on the kind of backup software you’re using. For Macs, Time Machine will actually back up the OS state as well as user files. I think for Windows if you use something like Acronis, it will also back up your system and not just your personal files. I’ve had good luck with imaging and restoring a Windows installation using CloneZilla.

      What program are you using to back up your stuff?

      1. A.N. O'Nyme

        None for the moment, really. Frankly the software side of computers is a bit of a mystery to me. Thing is, i haven’t been able to do updates to the OS for quite some time (it downloads fine, but when installing it suddenly stops at around 30% and then reverts back to the previous version) so I’m not entirely sure I want to back up my OS?
        I…Still need to do more research on this.

        1. AcademiaNut

          What is your OS?

          There are different levels of files – there’s the OS itself (like you’d get with a clean install). There are the programs and apps you’ve installed. There are settings files – saved passwords, activation codes for software, preferences. And there are user files (your documents, music, mail, etc). So you can back up at various levels. What you probably want to do is backup up everything but the OS itself.

          If you’re using time machine on a mac, I think you can choose what you restore after a clean install – so don’t choose “Restore from Time Machine Backup”when you go into time machine and deselect “System” when restoring files. That would restore your personal files and preferences and applications, but keep the system stuff clean. Anything more complicated than that would involve more advanced computer skills.

          The simple way of backing up files is just to copy important files to a second hard drive. What backup software gives you is double checking to make sure the files copied correctly, knowing where the non-obvious files are that you might need to restore (like preferences and passwords), and the ability to do multiple backups (like daily or weekly) without taking up tons of disk space by recopying everything.

          If you’re on a mac and don’t have time machine it’s easy to set up, but you need a dedicated external drive (ie, buy a new one), and the first backup can take a *long* time.

          Also – it’s generally a really, really, really good idea to back up important files *before* any major OS update or re-installation. If things go wrong half-way through installing the OS you need pretty advanced skills (or to pay for advanced skills) to get the files back.

          1. Anonymous Educator

            Most of the time when people say PC, they don’t mean personal computer that could be running Windows, Linux, or macOS (though I wish they did). It’s commonly used as shorthand for “Windows computer,” but, yes, it’s probably good to just get clarification instead of working on an assumption.

            A.N. O’Nyme, are you on Windows, macOS, something else?

              1. Anonymous Educator

                Apparently, Windows 10 has built-in backup tools for both cases (system files and user files). For system files, check out Backup and Restore. For user files, check out File History.

                I’d also invest in an offsite Cloud backup, too, because you never know if something might happen (theft, fire, other physical damage) on site at your home—something like Spider Oak or Backblaze.

  40. C Average

    This is quasi-work-related but also quasi-current-events, so I’m gonna put it here.

    I’ve been reading the stories about how Senator Amy Klobuchar treats her staff with a lot of interest. Some people feel that it’s not relevant to how she would perform as a leader, and that she’s being singled out for criticism that’s politically motivated and even sexist.

    Leaving aside my own political affiliations and preferences, I wouldn’t vote for someone who’s treated her staff as the credibly reported stories describe. After reading this column and after reading “The No-Asshole Rule” and similar books, and after working for some certifiable assholes myself, I think how you treat your staff really matters, and I feel strongly enough about it to vote accordingly.

    Thoughts? Agree or disagree?

    1. Faith

      This is something I’m struggling with. The fact that she really promotes the perception that she is “Minnesotan nice” makes it even more icky to me.

      1. That Girl From Quinn's House

        “Minnesota nice” reads as “passive aggressive hypocrite” to people who aren’t Midwestern, though, so she is not lying.

    2. Paris-Berlin-Seoul Express

      It depends. In principle, I totally agree with you. I’ve worked for jerks like her and I don’t think anything eccuses this type of behavior. However, if she ends up being the only thing standing between a working democracy or a repressive dictatorship, I will vote for her. Not ideal, but sometimes you have to go with the lesser of two evils especially when there is much at stake.

    3. Junior Dev

      Worker rights–and the rights of people who are lacking in power more generally–are pretty key to my moral and political values. I can’t see someone who abuses people she has power over as a person who would advocate effectively for oppressed people generally. It’s not like some personal foibles I’m willing to overlook in a politician; unless she acknowledges what she did was wrong and takes steps to make it right, she’s not a person I would want to give even more power to.

    4. Lissa

      Not sure. I’m not American so not super familiar with her (I have heard the name) but in general – I think it is possible to be absolutely horrible in one aspect of your personal life, but still good in others, and perhaps overall good for the country. I’d vote for someone believed in what I did with a questionable personal life over a lovely person who believed in things I thought were wrong. and it’s definitely true that the same behaviour can be read as a hardass who gets what he wants on a man but a mean harpy when it’s a woman.

      But, not being able to retain good staff seems like it’d be a huuuuge problem in a high office position. I would like to see this person addressing the reports in some way. I do think it’s a very different world going forward – things that were covered up totally or inconsequential before are now not. I remember being totally shocked on finding out some of LBJ’s inappropriate behaviour that I’d never heard of and there’s definitely others. I hope that it means people clean up their acts and treat people with respect, and not just that every single person is not good enough though.

    5. Mazzy

      I would like to think we could use that information as part of our decision to vote, but now I’m recalling examples from the past where every time it was said that working for so and so politician was hell, and that they treat people like crap behind closed doors, it was called a conspiracy theory or a lie. In other words, it is just too hard to tell from the outside whether a particular politician is indeed hell to work for or not.

    6. LGC

      So, if I were seriously considering supporting her bid…yeah, this would give me serious pause. And it would be concerning if she behaved that way as a man.

      Also, I think that if there is sexism, it’s not that we’re not okay with this because she’s a woman. It’s that we’re more okay with this from men (so let’s say if Beto O’Rourke was accused of this, it wouldn’t be as big of a deal).

    7. Ask a Manager Post author

      A reminder that this blog is politics-free! I removed a couple of comments here that were getting into opinions about political candidates (as opposed to the question C Average was asking).

    8. Beatrice

      I wouldn’t vote for someone who treated their staff as described, if I had an alternate candidate to vote for who was less terrible. So many elections these days seem like a choice between two nauseating people, but this makes a pretty big swing in my awful meter.

      I read the Times article. Honestly, the most damning quote for me was from the one named former staffer who supported her, citing an example of the time the Senator snapped at her, and how the way the Senator expressed regret afterward “made her feel valued”. It didn’t even sound like an actual apology, and the person being quoted sounded like she had a little Stockholm syndrome.

    9. Even Steven

      I am with C Average. I am appalled by the stories of Klobuchar’s ‘s conduct. A good manager shows professionalism, maturity, tact and self-restraint. A good manager does not have tantrums about not getting a fork for salad, and takes pride in maltreating people and calling herself “tough”. We need a solid, calm, mature individual in charge, not someone who reacts childishly to minor things. I absolutely would not vote for her, but don’t expect that she will end up as a finalist anyway.

    10. overcaffeinatedandqueer

      I don’t really care. Frankly I am a Minnesota resident and she has always been an effective and sane politician in a time when they’re so rare.

      If true, I would like her to behave better. But, it’s not criminal unlike things many politicians have been accused of, and I feel a lot of the attacks on Dem politicians are coming from the right so it can seize more power, or from a place of call-out culture which can definitely be toxic. I am not saying to tolerate sexual assault or conflicts of interest, but at some point I think the left needs to take who is “good enough” and focus more on the ends rather than…fielding the perfect person.

      I feel she would be most effective and able to work with all sorts of people, and handle the pressure. She’s done bad things. But, she isn’t too old or too radical unlike a lot of the rest of the primary field.

  41. Tara R.

    Running thread? I am signed up for a 10k run at the end of April! My mom wanted me to do it with her so I said yes, although I’m not much of a runner, have never run a race, and haven’t ever run much further than 5k. I have no idea what my goal should be. I’m 21, in reasonable shape, walk a lot, and can probably manage to run three times a week. I want to shoot for < 60 minutes, but I don't know if that's a bit too ambitious or not.

    1. Junior Dev

      I like the Cool Runnings couch to 5k app. If you buy the paid version you can get access to the Couch to 10k workout plan (double check that I’m right about that before buying, there may be a separate thing you buy for the 10k version but I think it’s the same).

    2. LGC

      Right now, I wouldn’t set a hard time goal (like, the race is a success if you run sub 60). There’s a lot that goes into it, and it sounds like you’re just starting out. You’ll probably know where you are and what you can do by mid April.

      But to answer your question – it’s reasonable! You’d be running roughly 9:39 per mile (on average, with walk breaks) for 6.22 miles (or…you’d be doing 6:00/km 10 times over). You’re young, so with some commitment to training you could probably do that. What gives me a little pause is that while you’re fairly active, you describe yourself as not a runner – a big hump I had to get over was taking the physical pounding.

    3. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

      Good luck! I agree with LGC, do not set a time goal for your first race. Everyone is different. Work on building yourself up to cover the distance; speed comes later. You might naturally break an hour without trying, or not. Either is acceptable! Just make sure you don’t jump from running three miles straight to 6.2 miles; add a little bit to your longest run each week.

    4. coffee cup

      Your goal, in my opinion (and it’s just my opinion!), is to finish the race. Really, that’s an achievement in itself without piling on extra pressure with times. I’ve been running for a couple of years and I was nowhere near under an hour when I ran a 10k last year, but I was super proud of myself for doing the thing in the first place. Especially because of ALL THE HILLS. That’s Edinburgh for you.

      1. LGC

        I’ll just jump in here – that’s a really good point about the course! On road running, you’re going to get a lot of variation from outside conditions – like how hilly the course is, road conditions, the time of year, even the time of day. So you might be able to run an hour flat on a flat route, but if there are lots of hills you should add on a couple of minutes. Or if your regular routes are hilly and you feel like running 10-minute miles are easy on them, you might do better on race day.

        1. Tara R.

          Yes hills are a good point! I live in BC (Canada), so the terrain is pretty up and down no matter where I run. According to my mom who has done this race before, it’s pretty similar to the area around her house, where I’ve done a fair bit of running– but I’m a lot closer to 7min/km than 6min/km, so it’s probably a good idea to not fuss too much about times haha.

    5. Marion Ravenwood

      Good luck with your 10k! I know there are a few ‘couch to 10k’ programs/apps out there (the NHS might have one I think, and Zombies, Run! has a beginners’ 10k program for those who’ve run 5ks before) which might help with your training. If you’re more of a printables person, Runners Need has some good ones depending how much time you have and how often you can train.

      In terms of goals, I agree with not setting a hard time goal. I’m running my first 10k in September, and my goals is literally ‘get round’. In an ideal world, I’d love to get under an hour, but I’ll happily settle for not coming last. Plus it’ll then give me a time goal for 10k number 2!

  42. Alaska Roll

    I posted yesterday in the work thread about telling my boss about a possible miscarriage so I thought I’d give an update today on the medical side of things.

    My hormone levels aren’t rising fast enough so it looks like I am starting to have a miscarriage. The good news is that the doctor thinks it is unlikely to be ectopic (stuck in my fallopian tube) based on my symptoms and reviewing the ultrasound again. She was able to identify some structures in the uterus but not as much as what should be there at this point. I will have to have another test late next week to determine whether the miscarriage is happening/complete or if they need to “intervene.”

    I am mostly feeling relief right now to know that I don’t need to be very concerned about an ectopic pregnancy. A little sad, but overall ok. If the physical symptoms are not too bad I think I will feel better going to work next week and not telling my boss, but it was a huge relief to know that was/is an option.

    Thanks all for your support yesterday.

  43. Kj

    So my 4 month old just got a provisional diagnosis of ocular albinism. It means he might never have normal vision. I have to admit, I was ok with the idea of his getting baby glasses (I knew he had vision problems going into the appointment), but I was not prepared to hear his vision wouldn’t be correctable. It could be as good at 20/40 or as bad as his being legally blind. Anyone have experience with low vision? Or parenting a child with low vision? We have a referral for a specialist, but the doc seemed fairly sure the diagnosis was accurate, but he couldn’t treat it. I am a visual person (artist) so this is really weird for me to imagine these limitations.

    1. Wishing You Well

      Yup, my spouse has low vision, but that didn’t hold him back one bit in education or career (engineering). There’s at least 4 groups on Facebook for ocular albinism. They can be a GREAT help. There are low-vision specialists like The Low Vision Center in Indiana – eyeassociates dot com. There are exciting new treatments being developed for low vision (gene therapy, etc.)! You just need information.
      You’re doing a GREAT JOB for your baby and God Speed!

      1. Kj

        Good to know. Thanks. I’ve been trying to read the latest research. It is clear they have a bunch of treatment options now, but it is very confusing and we don’t see the specialist for another couple months. My son is darling and I love him, but I’m definitely wondering how this effects his life- I’m glad to know folk with low vision are as successful as your spouse. I’ll look for the FB groups.

        1. Wishing You Well

          Hubby wants to add: if your baby has nystagmus (uncontrolled eye movement), there are at least 3 different possible genetic causes. So you’ll want to get a blood test to confirm a diagnosis. Oregon Health and Sciences University/Casey Eye Institute, for example, offers genetic testing for a wide variety of eye conditions. There’s Carver Institute at U. of Iowa, etc. It’s best to see the specialist first to minimize the number of tests needed, though.
          Hubby’s brothers with the same eye condition hold college degrees and had professional careers, also. All college was free, paid for by organizations for the legally blind. There are also special U.S. and state government help for the legally blind. Many nonprofit and private organizations help, too.
          So there’s lots of hope, lots of help.

          1. Kj

            He has nystagmus and lack of pigment in his eyes. We saw one opthalmologist, he told us it was likely ocular albinism and we have a referral to the local children hospital, which has a specialty clinic. Sadly, it is a long wait to get in, so we may not know for a while. I am glad there is so much support though!

    2. The New Wanderer

      No personal experience but I have a relative who was also diagnosed as a baby. I’m sure it was an adjustment getting used to the glasses and finding out about accommodations for school. But he was able to get a driver’s license and just graduated college with honors in a very challenging scientific field – I think the only limitation he ended up having was getting support with reading material (I want to say he had someone accompany him to classes to take notes but I might be misremembering). In any case, I know it has never held him back.

        1. AcademiaNut

          I have a friend with congenital eye issues, severe enough that he can’t get a license. He’s also in a challenging scientific field – his main restriction is that he needs to live somewhere with good public transit.

          1. Kj

            Thanks God we are in a city. And maybe in 20 years, self driving cars will be a real thing that everyone access. Thanks for sharing, this is helpful!

    3. Anon PWA (Person With Albinism)

      I would recommend the Albinism Community on Facebook.

      I have the condition – feel free to ask me questions here, but know that the Facebook group is very active (it has a few weird posts as the membership is varied, and there are some really militant parents who think that you *have* to see 50 specialists and get every accommodation possible).

      Often the hardest is if someone lives in a rural place, as many of us can’t drive. But I live in a city with public transit and fit right in (having albinism is much harder for those living in more homogeneous areas with darker skin, like some parts of Africa or Asia, whereas I live in a multicultural city and don’t seem unusual).

      Be careful with the sun, and otherwise enjoy your little one. It has been said by others, but enjoy him now and don’t worry too much about his future. We are graphic artists, electricians, bankers, scientists, photographers, nurses, scientists, teachers, activists… we may not be pilots or uber drivers, but I think we can be almost anything else.

      1. Anon PWA (Person With Albinism)

        I will try to find his link, but suggest you look up Lex Pix on Facebook. As a visual artist you might appreciate the photography skills.

    4. not Lynn Davis

      When things have settled a bit, you might want to check with your local school district about their special education department’s Infant and Toddler Program…what services do they provide, at what age could it start, etc

      1. Luisa

        Yes! I have two students with low vision (because of other conditions, not ocular albinism), and I admit that I don’t know enough about any of the conditions to know how they are similar or different. However! I can say that they are both thriving in school with the supports available. They are both late elementary-aged and have learned to advocate for themselves. One has much more severe vision loss and is learning Braille (and in her second language!), and she’s picking it up very well! Definitely, definitely investigate the services your child is entitled to!

    5. Ginger Sheep

      My mother is blind in one eye and has low vision in the other. You wouldn’t notice it if you didn’t know it. She is a chemical engineer, and has no major limitations except being unable to drive by night or in low-light conditions. And can’t distinguish colors in low lights, which made for fun trolling when we were kids! But honestly, most people that know her aren’t even aware of it.

    6. blackcat

      I taught a student with pretty severe vision impairment due to albinism. He used screen readers and magnifying tools for everything. It didn’t seem to impede him in the slightest–he did excellently and is well on his way to being a good engineer. As others have said, the big issue is not driving, but living in a city with good public transit makes a big difference.
      On the much more mild side, I am “profoundly myopic.” I’m correctable to 20/20, but no one realized the extent of my vision impairment until I started kindergarten. As a young child, having extremely poor vision didn’t bother me in the slightest. I didn’t know any better! I am still to this day very good at recognizing people by voices and the sounds of their walk. I couldn’t see people’s faces unless they were within a foot or two of mine, but I didn’t realize that wasn’t normal. I think for a kid, as long as you treat it as no big deal, they’ll be fine. It was absolutely mind-blowing to get my first pair of glasses and see “normally.”

    7. 00ff00Claire

      While can’t share from the parenting perspective, I have worked with some (pretty amazing!) young children with visual impairments / very low vision. The kids I’ve known have been only somewhat limited in their daily lives by their vision and get along just fine with accommodations and support. They find their way, even when they are young!

      If you are in the US, you can start looking into early intervention. Even if you aren’t sure he will qualify with only a provisional diagnosis, it might be worth gathering info or even starting to pursue, as the process for qualifying usually takes some time. EI includes services such as occupational therapy where you can get support on things like self feeding, etc. School districts start serving kids at 3, so birth-3 is a separate agency that varies by state. Googling your state + any combo of: “idea part c”, “infant toddler program”, “early intervention”, or “child find” should help get you to the right agency. Your pediatrician should also know who to refer you to.

      Unrelated to my own experiences, but maybe an interesting insight into how flexible the brain can be in regards to our senses – there was a fascinating episode on the Invisibilia podcast about a man who is blind and how his brain interpreted sound. The episode is called How to Become Batman, and there is a follow-up episode called Falling Off a Cliff.

      Finally – I’m sure it’s been hard on you to hear the diagnosis – and it’s OK to feel a lot of emotions around that. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself to feel what you feel without judging. I hope you have been able to find some encouragement from hearing how well others have thrived alongside similar diagnoses, and I wish you the best as you and your son navigate this new path!

    8. Seeking Second Childhood

      My only direct experience was having a legally blind friend in middle school. Her father worked for one of those companies that transferred people around a lot, so she was only in our area for a year or two. I hope it helps you to know she made many friends, blind doesn’t stop a force of nature like she was.
      Also consider trying to find an old book from the 70s “If you could see what I hear.” It’s a memoir of someone who grew up without vision… I read it so long ago details have faded, but not the general idea of not letting blindness stop him.

  44. Lissa

    I was thinking about this when getting involved in Internet debates – I was telling a friend how I try not to do it too often because I feel like rarely do people ever change their minds especially on major issues where they get kind of “dug in” to one side or the other. It made me think. Has anyone ever really changed their mind about a big issue? If so, what made you do so? Did someone make a really good point you hadn’t heard before, or maybe experience something? or more of an incremental thing?

    I think the only thing I kind of changed my mind on due to hearing arguments from others online was the dog-friendly office thing. The first time there was a letter about it I was more on the side of “if someone has allergies they shouldn’t apply to that job” but then reading comments here and thinking about it more, the next time I was more on the side of the person with allergies. I can still see both sides of that one. This wasn’t an issue I had really intense feelings about, it was more of a “gut reaction” and then rethinking it over time.

    1. Washi

      I thought the idea of “fat acceptance” was literally laughable maybe 5 years ago, but then as I started reading and thinking about it, I did a complete 180 and am now all aboard the HAES/fat acceptance/body positive train. I didn’t change my mind through someone debating me on the internet though, it was more through reading activists’ blogs. But actually what sparked my interest was a piece by a news anchor responding to all the fatphobic bullying she experienced online, so it did involve me reading an internet debate.

      I think if someone thinks a certain way not because they’ve thought it through really carefully, but because it’s what they grew up with or had a gut reaction to, there’s more room for change. Even maybe from an internet debate!

    2. Karen from Finance

      I have changed my mind a lot over the years. I was brought up as a Catholic conservative, and was very actively both of those things up to my early 2o’s, and now I’m an agnostic progressive, so there you go. For me, it was definitely an incremental thing, and it was very much due to people debating me both irl and online.

      I remember arguing politics and reaching the point in the argument where I went “huh, I guess I just made the argument for the position that’s opposite of the one I started with. Okay, that settles it”.

      For women’s rights, it definitely was that I run out of arguments. Through a lot of separate discussions I realized that the arguments I had were, from a purely logical standpoint, less and less valid, and that the feminist points were more and more valid. And one day I was watching a youtube video and they gave me the one argument that made me go “that’s it, I’m convinced”. And that sent me into an entirely different ideological track in life.

      It happens, so I really value the worth of Internet debating. Of course not all mediums are the best, there’s a lot of trolls out there, there’s a lot of people who don’t really care for debate, but good comment sections really are out there. I’ve seen interesting and balanced discussions in these comment sections, in the ones for some youtube channels, and some other blogs. Facebook and Twitter are more of a gamble.

      I think debate works best when you’re not just trying to convince the other person of your point of view, you’re also trying to convince yourself, and to find a better/stronger truth. That way, it’s not painful to change your mind if you have to, it’s empowering. And if at the end of the debate you don’t, you might have learnt something about your point of view and of the other that you hadn’t considered before.

    3. Foreign Octopus

      Yes, I did!

      Ages and ages ago when I worked at McDonalds, I got frustrated by women breastfeeding and I made a comment on Facebook about how it shouldn’t be allowed in public. The sheer volume of responses I got from that comment made me re-evaluate my position and realise that I was being stupid for it and I changed my mind completely on the issue.

      An old school friend, who had just had a baby at that time, reached out to me in a private chat and told me why she found my viewpoint concerning and spoke about her own issues with breastfeeding. Her simple statement of facts and the why she was calm and polite about it was a huge turning point for me, but also seeing how many people were against my statement made me realise that I was in the wrong.

      I did some extra research and now, years later, I can’t believe I ever thought breastfeeding in public was something to be banned.

    4. Epsilon Delta

      People change their minds slowly. I have changed stances on several issues (religion, politics, and so on) but it was never one single thing that made me do it. It was seeing points argued from both sides in different formats over a long period of time. An online debate can be one of those formats, although I generally find it to be the least convincing one because it quickly gets overtaken with vitriol in place of substance.

    5. Parenthetically

      I believe a LOT of different things compared to even five years ago, in large part thanks to being an observer of online debates and watching the most sensible voices kind of rise to the top. The things I grew up thinking about politics just didn’t make sense after seeing intelligent people talk about them.

      Online debates are absolutely not just for the debaters — I think they’re more effective for bystanders. If you or your friend can stay cool, present facts dispassionately, not get riled up by trolls, and know when to step back (and understand the principle of not casting pearls before swine), observers will see that.

    6. Traffic_Spiral

      Well, always be willing to fact-check fake news. Other than that… meh, if you can make a concise and clear argument, and have the time, why not?

    7. Not So NewReader

      Before the internet, I had a humbling lesson happen to me.
      I was at work and I made a statement of something to the effect of “Never, never, XYZ.”

      Oh my.

      I got rained on. Everyone jumped on me. “You need to get with modern thinking, you need to read up…”.
      As others are saying here because a number of people said the same things, I realized I needed to look in to this subject and update myself.

      Looking back, I can’t believe I let myself get so stupid, so ill-informed. And I learned never to push a point that hard again, but rather, I resolved to listen instead. This was actually a several part problem and I aimed to address each part. I decided that I needed to make sure I was not THAT person who made people want to drop a concrete block on my head in order to communicate with me.

      What worked with me is that people were upset with me but they stayed on topic and made their points. While their frustration showed, they were not insulting me or raging at me pointlessly. I could clearly see I created the upset myself with my own narrow thinking.

    8. Beatrice

      I have!
      I was raised in a super-conservative, very right-leaning home. I first got online in the late 90’s, and one of the first internet communities I belonged to was a feminist forum that I wandered to. I hadn’t had a lot of exposure, at the time, to people who believed differently than my parents. I didn’t actually engage in too many debates myself in that community, but I read voraciously, and the smart, well-spoken ladies in that forum gave me a lot to think about. A few years later, I was lucky enough to belong to another, more blended internet community, that had a section where people could debate real-world ideas, with some pretty solid moderation and rules against personal attacks and flame-warring. I participated in some of those discussions, with people I liked and respected but didn’t necessarily agree with. I was fortunate that a lot of those conversations happened while I was figuring out the world, my place in it, and the kind of person I wanted to be, and so many of them were very formative for me. I changed my mind in a lot of areas, and even more importantly, learned to think critically, state my beliefs and my reasons for them thoughtfully, and listen and respond respectfully to people with differing viewpoints. It was invaluable.

  45. Anonymous DNA

    So I’d like some thoughts on how to approach a problem.

    I had a DNA test a year ago. I recently received a match from someone that I did not know. It appears that one of my cousins fathered a child out of wedlock. I am not sure which cousin it is, although I have narrowed it down to 2 potentials. I’m trying to find a way to approach the one cousin about this.

    Relevant facts:
    • I am not super close to this cousin. We see each other once every 20 years or so.
    • The cousin may not know he is a father. The mother took the secret to her grave. She had multiple sex partners. It’s possible She never knew who the father was.
    • We do not know if the father was married at the time of the affair. One cousin got divorced around that time or slightly later. The other cousin is still married.
    • Both cousins have other children that are alive. It would be a shock to them that their father had an affair.
    • The ex-wife of one of the cousins died recently of cancer. It’s possible that emotions are running high.
    • One cousin (the most likely father) recently had a major heart attack. I’m scared about approaching him about such major life changing news.

    Any thoughts on how to approach the cousins for a DNA test? How do I let them know that they may have another child?

    1. Lcsa99

      I am not sure this is yours to tell them. You aren’t sure which cousin, and you aren’t even close to them. I can understand that this feels like such a big deal, and of course the father has a right to know, but this isn’t your secret to tell and it sounds like it could upset a lot of people if you’re wrong.

      Since you’re not close with them, you don’t even know for a fact that he doesn’t know. What if the mother did tell him and he just chose not to do anything about it? You could be opening old wounds.

    2. Enough

      Why do you need to say anything at all? Especially as you are not close. And what basis do you have for thinking it’s a particular person? Especially as the common thread would seem to be your grandfather is the unknown relative’s great grand parent. That leaves a lot of other options.

    3. Alex

      I think you are better off just keeping it to yourself.

      While you signed up for having this information by going and taking a DNA test, your cousins did not. They may not appreciate having their life disrupted in this way when they did not go looking for trouble.

    4. Namey McNameface

      I wouldn’t say anything. You’re not close. You’re unsure of who the father is. What would you achieve from disclosing?

    5. Anonymous DNA

      Additional info
      The son (the DNA match ) has been searching for his dad for years and years. He grew up without a father in his life. Other potientials have failed paternity tests. His mom was an alchoholic. Somehow, he’s turned out OK.
      The son desperately wants to find his dad and he knows that it is one of my family members since there is a DNA match.

    6. Wishing You Well

      One thought: this might be news to you, but it might be very old news to your cousin. Maybe he paid child support for 18 years. You don’t know.
      Chances are high no one will thank you for spreading the news.

    7. Turtlewings

      I don’t mean to scold you when I say this, but I’m not sure you should be involved in this at all. Why do you need to approach your cousin about this? Did the cousin’s child ask you to? This is between the two of them. You’re not even close to this cousin. I think this is a really fantastic opportunity to exercise restraint and stay out of it.

      1. Anonymous DNA

        The new cousin did ask for help. None of the other cousins had DNA tests done so he wouldn’t know who to approach. He doesn’t even know the family name. All he knows is that he and I are cousins.

        1. Turtlewings

          Okay, it does make a difference that he asked you to help. I still think you should leave it to him, though, to do the approaching. Tell him who you think the two “candidates” are and their phone numbers, or addresses to send a letter. Let them work it out.

          1. Lilysparrow

            Oh God no, please don’t give out your cousin’s contact info to a total stranger who found you on the Internet. Who is “desperate” to connect and pumping you for personal info about your family?

            As above, you don’t actually know whether your cousin is the father. Your grandparent could have had an unknown child who was this guy’s bio dad.

            They didn’t suddenly invent affairs or unplanned pregancies one generation ago.

            1. Turtlewings

              Okay, the strength of your reaction is making me rethink what I said. But at the same time, I feel like this guy does have the right to try to find his father. He has the right to know who his parents are and where he came from. How is he supposed to get any information? I’m genuinely wondering what else he should do.

              1. AcademiaNut

                If you do contact anybody, you have to contact your cousins *first*, let them know the situation and let them decide if you want to pass their contact information on to the third party. You simply don’t ever pass people’s contact information to random people you met on the internet without their permission, no matter how much they want something! Sharing DNA with them does not make it okay.

                I really don’t think you’re close enough to the people involved to be butting in, though. If your cousins or their children were on the DNA site and wanted to pursue the information that would be different, but you’re talking about cousins you see maybe once in twenty years, and you know it’s *a* cousin, but are guessing as to which cousin, which means you are guaranteed to toss a bomb in the middle of a family that has nothing to do with the situation. You’re also not close to the guy on the internet – you know he’s related, but you have no real idea what sort of person he is.

            2. Anonymous DNA

              The amount of DNA sharing shows he is without question a first cousin once removed.
              He did send me his picture and he is almost a clone of another cousin.
              He also shared info with me that convinces me he is not random.

              1. Approval is optional

                I’m not sure how they can say it’s without question. Autosomal DNA matching isn’t definitive, because DNA inheritance is random and is affected by a number of things, for example whether you are from an endogamous population (if you are your parents will likely share some DNA). So there is an overlap between the ranges of shared DNA of each ‘level’. Also, as someone else mentioned, there is more than one way to get a first cousin once removed even if they could be definite about that, so his father may be not a cousin but a great-uncle (who may or may not be known to the family).

              2. Lilysparrow

                I share DNA and a family resemblance with plenty of people I wouldn’t want to come home & find in my driveway. So do lots of other people.

          2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy

            oh, god, no, don’t go giving out your relatives’ contact information to complete strangers.

          3. Approval is optional

            I’m not sure about giving the details – seems invasive of the privacy of the potential fathers. I don’t know how the contact after testing happens – I’m guessing he only knows you exist, not your name etc as you say he doesn’t know the family name. So I suppose you can give him your details so he can use them to search further without breaching anyone’s privacy – whether you should or not is a different matter. I think what I’d do is sit down and decide where my ‘loyalty’ lay – with the known relatives or with the unknown one.

        2. Lcsa99

          I understand I understand that you want to help this person but because you aren’t close, and because you aren’t even sure which one, I honestly think the most you can do is tell your cousins how fascinating you found your results and suggest they do it themselves. This isn’t your secret.

          But! If you want to help this person you can start treating him like family. Talk to him and get to know him.

        3. ..Kat..

          Could you just tell each of these cousins privately that you had a DNA test and that you found a new cousin? (Don’t say anything about you thinking he might be the father.) Ask if they would like to learn about this new cousin or have his contact info? Ask if they think that you should tell others in the family?

    8. Lilysparrow

      You don’t. This is none of your business.

      Your match-ee is a complete stranger who has won your sympathy with a sob story about his hard childhood. Do you have any idea if it’s even true?

      You have no idea which relative he’s actually connected to (if any, DNA tests are hardly infallable).

      You are not close with these cousins, so you don’t have the personal intimacy, knowledge, or relational standing to ask these kinds of questions.

      And if you try, they are as likely as not to tell you it’s none of your business and just never speak to you again.

      Your match-ee appears to have very unrealistic expectations. Even if he found his bio father, it’s not going to make up for the past, and it’s unlikely to give him a real sense of belonging.

      If you were close with your cousins, you might be able to broach this in a private conversation. But you’re not.

      Genetic privacy is an important personal right. Your cousins and their other kids have not chosen to do DNA testing. If they do, they will find this match on their own. If they don’t, you haven’t got the right to make that choice for them.

      1. Anonymous DNA

        DNA tests are quite accurate for family matching.

        They’re not so good at country of origin or traits (red hair, long toes, etc.)

      2. Texan In Exile

        Genetic privacy is an important personal right.

        I have to disagree with this. If you have fathered (or mothered) a child, that child deserves information.

        A good friend of mine is adopted. At the age of 55, she has tracked down her biological parents. She wrote to her bio mom asking for medical information. Not a relationship, not money, just medical history. My friend explained that her life has turned out very well and she’s happy and her adoptive parents were wonderful. All she is asking for is a medical history.

        The bio mom has not answered a single letter.

        The bio dad initially denied the relationship, but – my friend is almost a clone of her bio dad. She looks more like him than any of his other five children. He finally admitted to knowing the bio mom and is now corresponding with my friend.

        A person deserves to know who her parents are. That right trumps the right of the man and woman who created that person.

        1. Southern anon

          That’s an interesting viewpoint. In college, my friend got pregnant and for religious reasons went through the pregnancy and birth. It was a really difficult year, and she had to get permission to delay a semester.She didn’t want to see the baby and gave it up for adoption. She’s great now, with a career and a husband, no kids.

          If that first kid ever tracked her down she would be a wreck. I remember when she was recovering, she said something along the lines of ‘I didn’t want this baby, I hope it’s happy because I don’t want to see it ever.

          People on both sides have their own emotions, which can be incredibly complicated. I don’t think anyone on either side is “owed” anything.

        2. Enough

          No the child does not have a right to know who the bio parents are. And as far as medical info goes most of it’s a waste. Unless there is a genetic disease like Huntington’s disease most information isn’t necessary. Living a healthy lifestyle takes care of most issues. My grandmother had breast cancer. This information means nothing to the women in the family because it was radiation induced. No one else has ever had breast cancer in the 3 generations since.

      3. Anonymous DNA

        LillySparrow

        I’ve noticed that you have made several passionate posts on this subject. Each has focused on how horrible the reunion could be.
        You said that it may not be a cousin
        You claimed that my cousin gave me a “sob story”
        You have stated how awful it would be to have certain family at your house.
        You have claimed that my cousins could never speak to me again.
        You make claims of “genetic privacy” (it doesn’t exist)
        You claim tests are “hardly infallible” (they’re fairly accurate)
        You claim he was pumping me for personal info (no, not at any time!)

        I’m wondering what’s going on here? What’s behind this passion? Why the extreme arguments? Why the false statements?

        I must admit that if you create another human being that you have certain obligations toward it. You don’t get off without consequences!!!

        So what is behind your argument? I’m having a hard time looking past the extremism.

    9. Weegie

      It would probably be a good idea to speak to a counsellor experienced in adoption issues: they would be familiar with untangling similar situations.

    10. Red Sky

      It seems I’m in the minority, but I think the kid has a right to now more about his dad and if he’s asked you for help you should do it. You could-

      1) Give the cousins/possible dads a gift of a DNA test kit to the same company and let them find out on their own.
      2) Offer to forward the contact info of the kid/match to the potential dads and step back.
      3) I’ve heard a lot of these DNA testing companies (23 & Me was on the news recently for this, if I’m remembering correctly) now offer staff specifically trained to provide support for these specific types of issues. Can you contact the DNA testing company to see what advice they may have?

      1. Approval is optional

        I agree the new cousin has the right to know more about his father, but I don’t think that gives the OP the right to disclose private information, (such as addressed, phone numbers), about her ‘old’ family to, in effect, a stranger. If he is provided with the OP’s details (and she/he is quite within her/his rights to disclose that information of course), he can then use them to search for other family information. The outcome might be the same, but the OP has respected everyone’s rights and not overstepped hers/his.

    11. Koala dreams

      You could spread the news that you have a new-to-you cousin without specifically asking somebody for a DNA test. If they are interested, they can ask you about it. If they don’t care, well, there you have your answer. Also, maybe you could focus more on the joy of getting a new cousin and strengthen your relationship as cousins, as opposed to focus on the father issue. It’s kind of you to want to help your cousin, but maybe it’s better to let others take the iniative for that.

      1. LibbyG

        Huh. I don’t see any reason to be so indirect. The cousins are adults. I think Anon can just call or email each tell them about the match and ask, did you ever know a woman named Persephone Lucatelli? Cousin can choose whether to engage or not. If they choose not, Anon reports back to new cousin and drops it. The distance Anon has from these cousins makes them a great person to reach out, because you don’t see each other four times a year at holidays.

        1. Anonymous DNA

          I was actually thinking of this course.

          If cousin responds with a DNA test then we have an answer
          If cousin chooses not to respond we have an answer.

    12. Southern anon

      Rereading your question, it appears you intend to tell one or more cousins about this person who may or may not be their child. You’re looking for the “best”way to tell them. Someone upthread mentioned talking to an adoption or similar type of counselor first.

      I agree. You currently possess a huge information bomb that you want to toss to your cousin(s). This may be a fairy tale ending. It also may blow up in your face and cause huge family ramification’s – and not only between you and your cousin, but the rest of the family. Some family members may agree with you, others may disagree. A horrible example, but what if you tell cousin and he has another heart attack?

      I understand you want to help this potential family member, but it’d be awful if it resulted in part of your family being furious with you. Please talk to a therapist who has some background with this type of family issue before you take action. It doesn’t appear that there’s a reason this must be rushed and done immediately.

  46. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD

    We got a new mattress (returned the 100% 12 inch memory foam). New mattress has mostly box spring with 2 inches memory foam, arrived yesterday. I opened windows and jumped on the bed, turned on the fan, left baking soda and apples in little bowls near the bed to absorb the odor. Slept in a different room day 1. Tonight is day 2–was debating sleeping on floor next to new mattress—if I don’t get I’ll from the fumes, maybe I’ll sleep on the mattress day 3. Does this sound feasible? (I think the reason I got a migraine/dizzy last time was bc the mattress was 12 inches of memory foam, not aired out). This time it’s just 2 inches memory foam. Hopefully I’ll be ok this time…right?

    On a separate note, was corresponding with friend/single mother of toddler whose ex says toddler can’t leave their country unless he gets $50k collateral(??!) He wooed her with sushi and flowers 3 years ago and now they’re separated. And her court battle is very expensive. Hubs and I might get to visit her hopefully this summer if we can finagle a flight there.

    On a diff and cheerier note, hubs and I are going to a free music concert and date night tonight (assuming the midol kicks in/Aunt flo day 1–TMI)….all of the things that happened around me made me realize I’m so lucky he is in my life.

  47. Washi

    Fpostes comment upthread reminded me of something I’ve been mulling over: what exactly does it mean to get engaged? There was a somewhat recent post on Captain Awkward and a very similar (maybe the same?) letter to Prudence by women who had told their boyfriends that they wanted them to propose, but nothing had happened. But…if they had a discussion that was like “I imagine us getting married and I really want to be engaged soon” and the guy agrees, aren’t they already kind of engaged? Like they’ve both agreed they want to be married to each other at some point, so what is the purpose of a Proposal? By saying “I really want to marry you, do you want to marry me?” hasn’t the woman just proposed?

    I’m not judging, just genuinely confused! My husband was ready to be married much more quickly than I was, so when I was ready, as we were driving somewhere I said “I really want to be married to you. Can we get married soon?” And that was that.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy

      To me, any phase of a relationship is defined as “whatever the people who are in it want it to be called,” really. If they both agree that they’re engaged, then regardless of who’s said what to whom in front of whoever, they’re engaged — conversely, if they have a “let’s get married someday” conversation and haven’t agreed that this means they’re formally engaged, they’re not formally engaged. So what it means is entirely up to the people who are directly involved, personally. (Legal status is a bit more cut-and-dried, but being engaged – at least in the US – doesn’t offer any changes in legal status the way marriage would.)

      1. Marion Ravenwood

        I’d probably agree with this. My husband and I had lots of ‘I’d like to get married to you someday’ conversations before he actually proposed, but we weren’t officially ‘engaged’ (i.e. seriously thinking about planning a wedding – we’d had conversations about what we wanted, but hadn’t seriously looked at venues/dates etc, if that makes sense) until after the proposal. But if one of those conversations had ended with ‘so are we engaged now?’ ‘I suppose so’ – or words to that effect – then to me at least we would have been engaged from there on out, even if one of us had formally proposed further down the line.

    2. Lcsa99

      I am sure it’s different for everyone, but for me I think the difference between having the marriage conversation and having a proposal is just that the conversation feels more theoretical while the proposal makes it more of a definite, immediate thing.

    3. Almost married

      ” By saying “I really want to marry you, do you want to marry me?” hasn’t the woman just proposed?”
      Well, yes.
      I mean, you could argue that you need a wedding date or at least a firm cutoff (we’ll be married within 12 months, and we’re actually doing stuff to make it happen) to be properly engaged, but when a couple gets to the point where they’re lawyering about what counts as ‘real’ commitment, someone isn’t being honest. Either that or they’re just not a good fit (which doesn’t mean anyone’s necessarily bad, but they’re not good for each other). And those types are over represented in advice columns.

      Engagement is to me pretty much when you’re picturing yourselves together for the long haul, so you don’t hesitate to make plans for in ten years’ time when the kids will be in school (if you want kids), your SO’s nephews/nieces become yours too, you start planning your careers around each other etc.

      Now, some people like the idea of the act of proposing being a beautiful memory. And that’s great, rituals have their place. But if you’re really not sure whether your boyfriend/girlfriend wants to marry you before you present them with the ring (or before they give you a ring), something isn’t right.

      Anyway, when people write advice columnists about guys (it’s almost always guys) who profess their love but hem and haw at marriage despite their girlfriend explicitely begging for it, it’s clear there’s a problem. Those men don’t want to break up but they don’t mind their SO being miserable, so clearly something important is holding them back. And the ladies don’t want to break up because they refuse to believe the hemming and hawing is actually a no. It’s like the “when will they change their minds about kids?” questions.

    4. Christy

      Exactly the same for me and my wife, actually! I think for some people it’s “okay this is us saying this is forever but we have no official plans for marriage” and for some it’s “okay now it’s the public announcement that we intend to get married, though we’ve known for a while privately” and for some it’s “it’s go time, let’s get married within a year”. That last one was true for me and my wife too.

    5. Turtlewings

      I have always wondered exactly the same thing. “We plan to get married” = engaged. That’s… what the word means. Even if it’s not an immediate, tangible plan — I think that’s the difference for some people, but in my humble opinion it shouldn’t be. There’s no actual difference.

      I had a friend in college who wore a “promise ring” from her boyfriend because they knew they wanted to get married but not until after college, so they wouldn’t get formally engaged “because they didn’t want to have a super long engagement.” I never could wrap my mind around it at all. The four years until you graduate will remain four years, whether you’re wearing a diamond ring or not. Not being engaged will not make the time any shorter. I’m still baffled by it.

      1. L’il Sebastian

        To me, promise ring/discussing when a future engagement could happen basically means “we would like to be married to each other someday.”
        Whereas being engaged is more “we’re actively planning our wedding/marriage.”

        I’m kind of the opposite in that to me I think it’s weird when a couple has been engaged for many years and still aren’t married.

        1. Washi

          Yeah, that’s where it gets confusing for me, I don’t really get the difference between having a long engagement where there’s no active wedding planning, and the stage where you’ve said you want to marry each other but are not “engaged.” They both seem engaged to me.

          But it sounds like for some people it’s not “real” until there’s a proposal, and I can kind of see that. Plus in a lot of heterosexual relationships, the wedding planning ends up being done mainly by the woman, and so if the guy isn’t willing to buy a ring and propose, it would feel like he won’t make even a small effort for the relationship? Idk, maybe I’m off base with that hypothesis.

    6. Wishing You Well

      I vote for clarity in relationships with whatever technique gets you there. Those women could propose to their reluctant boyfriends, but I suspect they’re not sure they’d get a yes. Whatever your goals in life are (and some people don’t need or want to be married), try not to prolong a state of limbo.
      Good luck to us all in achieving our goals.

    7. HannahS

      I don’t know! Culturally for me, if someone says, “We’re engaged,” it means they’ve decided to actively plan the wedding which will probably be within the next six months to a year. But I also know couples that have gotten engaged years before marriage, in order of affirm the seriousness of the relationship while waiting to finish school/be able to live in the same place. So to me, being engaged means saying “I really want to marry you, do you want to marry me…at this specific point in time.” The difference to me between being in a serious relationship and being engaged is that you’ve decided to make the marriage happen.

    8. Cheesesteak in Paradise

      Being engaged = planning, as in logistics, to get married. Not to have a wedding. Not to have a ring. A defined plan to complete legal paperwork with the state.

      Being married is a legal situation. Just the same way the IRS doesn’t accept that you plan to pay your taxes someday definitely when you are ready.

      So if a woman who wants to be married says to her partner, “babe I want to marry you.” And he responds, “of course I want to marry you too.” And she says, “great how about the 3rd weekend of September 202o (or whenever)?” And he responds “no babe someday not then…” That’s not engaged. That’s gaslighting on his part. The ring is irrelevant.

      1. Cheesesteak in Paradise

        Now plenty of people don’t want to get married and call each other fiancé or fiancée to indicate to others that it’s a long term relationship. That’s fine and up to them.

        But if one person wants it that way and the other wants to book a church or city hall or whatever, then they aren’t engaged – they are in a dysfunctional relationship and should probably break up.

      2. Lissa

        I mean…I know the sort of situation you mean, but I don’t think it’s “gaslighting” if a man doesn’t immediately agree to a date when a woman suggests one. There are ways in which he could be, but I think there’s a lot of space in there for other interpretations.

      3. Traffic_Spiral

        I agree. “We’re going to get married at some undefined time” isn’t engaged. “We aren’t going to get married but we want a word that makes us sound more committed” isn’t engaged. I mean, there’s no law that says you can’t call each other whatever you like (“fiance,” “shmoopie-pie,” “asshole”) but you’re not actually engaged unless you have a clear date and you’re actively planning to get married.

      4. Glomarization, Esq.

        “Gaslighting” is a very strong word here. Gaslighting would be dude answering, “I never said I want to marry you.” Your example is just dude failing to commit to a date.

    9. ThatGirl

      I understand the idea, but I think for a lot of couples, the formal asking and ring is what makes it real. Like, I knew I was going to be offered a job, but it wasn’t real until hr said we’d like to offer you this job. I knew my husband was going to propose but we weren’t officially engaged until he asked.

      That said, not everyone needs that formal asking, and I don’t think there’s one universal rule.

      1. Washi

        Another genuine question: if he hadn’t asked, after a certain point, would you have been fine with proposing to him, and with an enthusiastic yes from him, felt good about that outcome?

        1. Epsilon Delta

          I know you didn’t ask me, but that is exactly how I framed this discussion with Mr. Delta before we got engaged. We agreed that we wanted to be life partners but he did not want to get married because “reasons… mumble mumble… wedding… piece of paper… mumble.” So I told him that if we were going to be life partners I wanted the legal paperwork to make that easier. He is very traditional and felt that if we were going to get married it was important that he (the male) propose to me (the female), so I let him. If he had not proposed I would have proposed to him and felt fine (if a little awkward) doing so.

        2. ThatGirl

          Yes, I would have, but we had discussed marriage and engagement extensively so I knew that he wanted to be just old fashioned enough to propose with a ring.

          1. Washi

            So it seems like when this happens successfully, there’s a good amount of prior conversation and that you’re on the same page on how you want the path to engagement to unfold; it’s a process more than just one conversation.

            And the LWs’ dilemmas make a bit more sense to me in that context. It’s not clear from the letter, but if their dude said he wanted to be the one to propose, and then never made that happen, the question isn’t so much “why won’t he propose so we can finally be engaged” (to which my answer would be to propose yourself!) but “what should I make of the fact that my partner won’t do something he claims he wants very much and that he knows is important to me” even if the letters don’t really frame it that way.

            1. ThatGirl

              Yeah, I think anyone who doesn’t talk about it beforehand is setting themselves up for disappointment or failure. My guess is a combo of gender expectations and the idea that engagement only happens with a formal proposal, plus guy dragging his feet for whatever reason, leads to the LW situation.

    10. Koala dreams

      I’m confused with you! I also think that an engagement is agreeing to get married. However it seems like for some people it’s more like an event that takes places after the agreement. The relation between proposal and engagement seems to be more like the relation between the wedding and the honeymoon.

      As for the women who write to advice sites, the problem seems to be that their boyfriends just turned them down, and they don’t know what to do. If an engagement is agreeing to get married (or even an event celebrating the agreement), then your boyfriend telling you they don’t want an engagement or don’t want a proposal must mean that your boyfriend don’t want to get married. That they disagree, so to speak. And of course that’s a very sad thing to hear for those women.

    11. gecko

      I had both—“do you want to get engaged soon?” and we talked about how it’d happen—and then a full-on proposal. I definitely knew we were functionally engaged from that first conversation, but I was still super happy at the “second” proposal and it felt different. Probably the weight of tradition :)

    12. Honeycrisp

      For me, it was a ring and a date. I worked in an office once with a number of women who had children with live-in boyfriends whom they called “fiancés”, but while more children followed, weddings never did. I became a (possibly self-righteous) stickler about what being engaged meant.

    1. fposte

      Yes. They suck.

      I have what’s called in the Midwest a Cape Cod house; it’s got a steep roof over the smaller second floor down to the top of the first floor, so there’s not much insulation and a lot of temperature variation. That’s been perfect to warm snow up enough to melt it until it hits the colder edge and freezes again, which then melts back into my house. I’ve only really had one once, but I found it so dismaying that I bought a snow broom (basically a lightweight shovel with a long handle) and I go out after a big snow if it’s going to be significantly below freezing for a while and sweep a few feet off of my roof. I’ve also done a lot of house insulating since then, which might be enough to preclude them, but I’m not taking chances.

      1. Faith

        Any advice on brands for the snow broom? We’ll have to hire a company to remove the one on our roof, but we then plan on getting a snow broom and getting more insulation in the attic.

        1. fposte

          I think I just got whatever was available at Home Depot. When I look at stuff online now, it looks like “roof rake” is the term of art, since a lot of snow brooms are just for clearing the tops of cars; make sure one that brags it’s telescoping doesn’t just extend to being four feet long. There’s one called a “roof rake” on the Home Depot site that looks a lot like the one I have but nicer and it says it telescopes up to 17 feet. I probably only use 10 feet of mine.

          I don’t love having to do it, but it’s not that big a deal on my house since it’s just one main area–I just put boots on over my pajamas and it takes maybe 5 minutes, total, to pull the snow down. (Mostly the annoyance is dumping the snow on my head.) In my climate there’s usually only one snow per winter where I do it, since we don’t get a big snow/big cold combination that often.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood

            Use the longer pole setting and the snow doesn’t dump on you.

            Go gentle with the rake, if it’s already really iced and you pull too hard you can damage the shingles.

            If you have any vintage outdoor Christmas lights in your attic–the incandescent ones that heat up–maybe put them on the the ice to start melting it from the outside.
            Ice melt might be bad for your gutters and gardens.
            Do the melting from the downhill side first, because the way water gets in is when it goes backwards.

            1. Not So NewReader

              Please be extremely careful with the use of lighting to heat the ice. You could end up get electrical shocks or setting your house on fire.

              Roof rakes. I bought one years ago, it was about $30 and it has lasted me two decades. I bought one with a plastic head. I am not sure maybe next time I will get a metal head. But it has worked fine for me all these years. The trick is to routinely roof rake. Don’t skip storms, because build up happens each time. I like to get out on warmer days, too because I can get more stuff off then.
              These are not the same thing as a snow broom for the car. The car snow brooms are made out of a softer material so as not to scratch the car’s finish and the pole is much, much shorter. I like those a lot also.

              In the end, I decided I needed a longer term plan.
              I pay my guardian angel friend to help with stuff around here. He recommended that I put a metal roof on the lower roof of my house. The snow comes off the upper slate roof, slides on to the metal roof of the newer addition and it just keeps sliding. I don’t need to roof rake as much as I did before.
              As fposte says, he insulated the attic all over. And before he put down the sheet metal roof he put down a thing called snow and ice shield. This also helps. Where the addition abuts the main house, he put flashing in to keep the water from going down between the house and the addition.

              And finally, he went all round the house with strips of metal sheets at the edge of the roof. The metal does not hang onto snow and ice well, so the edges tend to clear themselves off. This means less icicles and in turn less ice dams.

              I think I have roof raked once or twice in the three years after he did all this. If you are thinking this sounds a bit spendy, you can probably do this in stages and eventually complete the project. I found insulation at good prices by going to building supply clearance places that extra step of seeking out clearance stores paid off well for me as I went back to get more supplies for other projects.

    2. Lora

      Yes. If you can insulate the holy heck out of your house, it helps. I’m in an old old house in New England and I had to put R19 in the walls whenever I did a big renovation, and stuffed the attic to R40 and went around with spray foam in corners. And I still have those zigzag wire melt things on my roof to make sure I don’t end up with water coming in the edges.