{ 1,276 comments… read them below }

  1. Nena*

    I was talking to my friend tonight about things we love doing now that we never would have expected to like so much back in our younger days: going to sleep at 9 pm, for example, or getting a really solid bargain on plumbing work. In other words, the joys and satisfactions of adult life that our younger selves wouldn’t have been able to relate to (and maybe would have been horrified by). What are yours?

    1. Sc@rlettNZ*

      Staying at home on a Friday night with a glass of wine and the cats (oh, and my partner lol). Once upon a time having no plans on a Friday night would have been inconceivable, now I love it!

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I joked at one point that adulthood is when you CAN eat chocolate cake for dinner every night, but you really don’t want to.

      My husband fusses every gifting occasion that my wishlist is full of kitchen gear and, quote, “things that sitcoms tell me I should never buy my wife as gifts.” But that’s the stuff I want :)

      1. Sleepless*

        Right? I had to really convince my husband that I WANTED stuff for the kitchen for gifts. I was over the moon when he got me a set of Calphalon pans for Valentine’s Day once.

      2. Emily*

        Kitchen stuff is the best! I have a lot of fairly simple kitchen things (nice metal mixing bowls, Williams-Sonoma 8×8 pan, etc.) that bring me joy to own and use.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          My son gave me new baking sheets for Xmas a couple of years ago. Good quality, heavy, not warped, no old burned on bits, no scratches… I loved them so much I requested a couple more this year.

      3. AnonEMoose*

        I love getting kitchen stuff as gifts, and my husband is good about making sure he’s getting stuff I want. We also do a lot of gift shopping for each other at our local comics/gaming shop.

      4. The Cosmic Avenger*

        My rules are, I only get my wife “domestic” presents when she asks for them, and even then I always make sure to give her something fun/non-domestic, too. But IMO things like cookware, cutlery, small appliances, etc. should just be things you buy when you need them. One of the few times I broke that rule was when I bought her a wireless meat thermometer, because she loves to grill. (It’s also good for inside, of course, so you don’t have to go to the kitchen to check the meat temp, but it’s *really* convenient for grilling!)

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          My explanation to him is, I’m super picky about clothes and hobby gear, I don’t wear jewelry, and I have expensive taste in electronics. So if he buys me the nice kitchen upgrades, then I both get the practical stuff I want AND still have my own money to spend on fun stuff (our finances are separated), PLUS I like shopping for the fun stuff and he doesn’t. Wins all around. But yes, anything that’s a legit need, I get when it’s needed.

      5. Parenthetically*

        My mother’s three favorite birthday gifts have been: a vacuum, a set of matching dishes to replace her old half-broken mismatched ones, and (twenty years later) another set of dishes. My dad looooooves buying her stereotypically romantic gifts — perfume, jewelry, flowers — but has finally gotten that she doesn’t really like any of those things and would far rather have practical gifts.

      6. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I found a welder who will repair my husband’s favorite steel spatula for $5. And there was joy in Mudville.

      7. Marion Ravenwood*

        You’ve reminded me of when I first moved into university halls, and our kitchens weren’t ready (they were remodelling them, but the halls had been used as accommodation for conference guests over the summer, so obviously they couldn’t do any building work while they were there) so we got meal vouchers for the canteen instead. As someone who grew up in a family where everything was made from scratch, frozen food was a luxury and the only potato products we ate at home were boiled, roasted or (occasionally) mashed, I was *very* excited about the prospects of chips with every meal. By the third day I was heartily sick of it and longing for something green already!

      8. Professional Merchandiser*

        I have shared this story before, but doing merchandising work entails a lot of bending, sitting and climbing. I mentioned to my husband that I had seen some other merchandisers using tool boxes that you could use as a stool to stand on or sit on and how much easier it made their jobs. Well, within a week he came home and presented me with the PERFECT toolbox!! I was so thrilled and thanked him and thanked him. I told him he couldn’t have given me anything; flowers, jewelry or furs that would have made me more happy. He couldn’t believe my excitement over a toolbox. But not only did it make my work easier, it showed that he was listening and was trying to do something to make life a little more pleasant for me.

      9. D.W.*

        Same! I’m an avid cook and I love getting kitchen stuff and in general, practical gifts. Things that I will use not just look at.

        I’m currently in the market for the perfect wooden spoon. Thin but sturdy. Long handle. Finished wood. If anyone has any favorites, please let me know! I can’t seem to find what I’m looking for.

      10. Dust Bunny*

        I have always really, really, loved Brussels sprouts but you can’t admit that while you’re a kid.

        BUT I CAN NOW!

    3. Loopy*

      Having a less full social plate and circle. Younger me would have been sad to hear about how few plans I have and a the number of close friends…but me now really *cannot* handle having plans more than every other weekend *at most*.

      I need so much more unplanned/empty time to recharge and also thoroughly enjoy looking forward to a weekend with nothing planned to fill as little or as much as I chose.

      1. Sam Sepiol*

        I accidentally planned to be out Saturday night and all day Sunday last weekend. I enjoyed everything I did, but I was SO EXHAUSTED by Monday. Lesson learned!

        1. Loopy*

          That’s how I feel! Even fun stuff exhausts me without an off day to rest and relax! I used to just be able to go go go. Now I’m like ugh, can we plan a nap break?!

      2. SheLooksFamiliar*

        Same here! I have a hair appointment today, a couple of errands to run…and that’s it. Fine with me, I need alone time and can’t get it during the week. Younger me needed alone time, too, but was too immature to know it. All those packed weekends took their toll.

        Fortunately, my friends feel the same way about their free time. We get together when we want to, and no one gets a guilt trip if they decline an invitation. We understand!

      3. Coffeelover*

        This. It actualy took me a while to realize I don’t WANT weekend plans. I kept forcing myself to have plans and then kind of wishing I didn’t have plans. Now I actively embrace the lack of plans. Nothing better than a weekend spent with my cats, my plants and my SO.

      4. Beatrice*

        My husband still likes to have plans on the weekend. It has taken years, but I’ve finally gotten him to understand that “no plans” needs to be the plan once in a while, and that it’s okay for me to duck out of a lot of his plans.

      5. catwoman2965*

        This is so me! i am perfectly happy to spend my weekend doing what I need to do, or not. A couple of weeks ago, on a Saturday when the weather was kind of nasty, i spent the ENTIRE day on my couch, watching tv, and then finished up by watching Bohemian Rhapsody. It was wonderful!

        I’m kind of solitary by nature anyway, and I love nothing more than a weekend where I have NO plans

      6. jclaar*

        Same here. My partners and I have a routine on the weekends and I really don’t like to break it for other people. We love just hanging out at home. And I’m a huge fan of reading and catching up on a lot of stuff on tv.

    4. FD*

      Going to bed at 8 and getting up at 4. Younger me would have considered that hell on earth. (You know how they say that some people’s body clocks switch as they get to their 30s? This is apparently true for some people.)

      1. SebbyGrrl*

        ;) current me still thinks that’s hell on earth.

        But every once in a while when I know I can nap later, it’s kind of magical.

        It feels like no one else in the world is awake and you are alone with the universe just listening and observing.

      2. Hold My Cosmo*

        I remain the night owl I always was (even since infancy, to hear my mother tell it) and yet I find myself in jobs that require pre-dawn starting times. My younger self would be appalled.

          1. Radical Edward*

            That was me as a teenager. (Partly because polarfleece ‘sandal socks’ had just hit the market…) Now I ask for Gold Toes and get excited about new colours.

      1. Shayland*

        I got the most amazing socks this Christmas! I’ve always just bought a cheap pack from Target and didn’t know there were better socks out there. I actually went to the same company my mom bought the socks from and replaced the rest of the socks I own with them.
        They’re a wool blend and they hug my feet without being too squeeze-y on my arch. And they have wonderful patterns! And they’re so thick!
        I want socks and PJs every Christmas!
        We also did puzzles this year and I really enjoyed having my morning tea and putting the puzzle together with my mom and dad.

      2. Ranon*

        After this Christmas I officially own enough nice wool socks to only wear nice wool socks all winter and it is wonderful.

      3. GoryDetails*

        Oh, yes, definitely – I’ve developed a great fondness for Wheelhouse Designs socks, especially the bird-themed ones, and have put them on my wishlist for holiday gifts. My 10-year-old self would NOT be impressed about that – though she might have wanted the horse-themed ones…

      4. Emily*

        I actually asked for socks this past Christmas! Preferably fun ones, but I would have been okay with uninteresting-but-comfortable too. The me of 5 or 10 years ago would never have done that.

      5. epi*

        Yes! I think that is one of the only things I asked for. I got amazing wool ones and I’m actually a little sad it is now too nice out to keep wearing them. I got my family Heattech ones from Uniqlo, which are so nice I’ve had family members come back asking where I got them so they can buy more for themselves.

        My uncle was known for getting everyone socks, among other things, and he passed away on Christmas 2017. Everyone on my family, independently, got each other socks this year. They are actually a really nice gift.

        1. mrs__peel*

          Those Uniqlo Heattech socks ARE the best! I’m genuinely excited about them and I bought 10 pairs!

      6. only acting normal*

        My mother always buys me socks for Xmas. Then for a couple of years she didn’t; I was quite shocked to have to buy my own! :D
        Luckily normal service has been resumed since.

        1. PhyllisB*

          I always put together a gift bag with socks, underwear (and white t shirts for the guys) and PJ pants for all the kids/grandkids. Not to mention the stockings I fill for everybody. Well, a couple of years ago for some reason I didn’t do the extra gift bag, and they were all SO disappointed. I was really surprised; I thought maybe they were tired of getting socks and underwear for Christmas. So I did it for Easter to go with their Easter baskets. And for those of you paying attention, yes my children are all adults, but they still like to have Christmas stockings and Easter baskets. At least now they are old enough to do these things for me, too. (Not that that’s why I do it course, but it is nice that they want to reciprocate!!)

      7. pentamom*

        Never. I like buying myself some pretty nice socks when I need them, but I will never be thrilled about them as a gift.

        One year my mother-in-law got me some hand-knitted ones, and I did like those (wore them every time they were clean until they fell apart, which was unfortunately a lot faster than machine made ones would have), but I thought of those as more of a luxury than, you know, just socks.

    5. Washi*

      The fact that I thought buying a shoe rack for my friend was a good birthday present, and the fact that she was genuinely thrilled!

    6. Overeducated*

      Having a clean house. I still hate the cleaning part but I have such a strong sense of calm and enjoyment when it’s done and I get to enjoy the results.

      1. Loopy*

        Omg a clean house is amazing for my mental and emotional state. I never would have been able to fathom just how great it is for my wellbeing!

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I’m sitting in my usual chair in the living room after wiping down all the surfaces, collecting all the liberated fluff from chewy bunnies, and sweeping, and it is SO NICE.

          1. D.W.*

            My husband and I did some major cleaning today and I’m finally sitting down and just enjoying the cleanliness.

        2. catwoman2965*

          I am the same way. Whether its doing the dusting and vacuuming or simply just decluttering. I am SO much calmer when things are in order. Same with errands and anything else I might need to do. I actually took a day and a half off last week (partially for an appt. with my mom) and ran errands and got a bunch of stuff done. This week i’m still a bit anxious as I’m dog sitting a bit further from work, so my commute is longer, and i don’t know the dog’s routine etc. I think after a few days it will be ok, but I like order rather than chaos.

    7. LibbyG*

      What comes to my mind is self care. Young adult me thought of cooking, exercising, and flossing as regrettable chores. Now in my 40s, I really appreciate things like that. Maybe I don’t LOVE flossing as an activity, but it’s a daily reminder of the good luck (healthwise) I’ve had so far and the privileges denied to many. Puts my rinky dink problems in perspective.

      1. CoffeeforLife*

        I gave myself a daily flossing challenge and started checking it off to hold myself accountable :) I’m happy to say it’s finally a habit. The things that make you excited as an adult!

    8. Karen from Finance*

      Walking the dogs on a Saturday night past the people who are going to the clubs.

      1. Karen from Finance*

        Also my favorite thing is that I’m not apologetic about my tastes anymore. I used to make a lot of excuses for the things I like, which are often popular and “mainstream” and uncool (think Taylor Swift). Yes I realize it’s not going to change humanity, Janet, but I enjoy it.

        Not worrying about being cool has been the single most joyous thing adulthood has given me.

        1. Sam Sepiol*

          I can do that since I left my ex who I’d been with for 17 years. Now I just like what I like without him judging me and being horrible about it. It’s so freeing!

        2. Ali G*

          Yes! I like what I like. I don’t need to be “in” everything that goes on. In fact I’d rather not be.

        3. I Work on a Hellmouth*

          This is a big one for my boyfriend! He talks about how he no longer cares about hiding his nerdery or tamping down his personality all of the time, and wears his Captain Marvel t-shirts to work on dress down days now. It’s awesome.

    9. Foreign Octopus*

      Being by myself.

      I was never really an extroverted kid but there was always something to do at school and during the summer so I never really spent long periods of time by myself but now that I’m an adult, I love it. I get really upset if I have to interrupt my solitude for life stuff.

    10. StellaBella*

      Going to bed at 9pm on any night but esp a Friday night and sleeping in past 8 a.m. with my cat, coffee in bed while reading the news etc. Lazy days. Sitting on the balcony, with a cup of coffee in the sun.

    11. MintHartkeLavendar*

      Decorating! The ability I have to make my space truly my own, from rugs to furniture to art. I don’t have a ton to spend but I’m comfortably middle class (finally) and really enjoying this part.

    12. Marion Ravenwood*

      Another vote for early nights, or just nights at home not doing anything. When I was younger, that was the sign of failure; now it’s absolutely blissful relaxation.

      Also, shopping for house and/or garden stuff. Something like a trip to IKEA is my happy place, whereas as a teenager I found that type of thing deathly boring.

      1. London Calling*

        Another vote for going to bed early. Usually it’s 9pm with tea, biscuits and a good book, but I have been known to tell myself 8.30 is nearly 9 anyway so why not go now and get the extra half an hour in.

    13. Earthwalker*

      Cooking what I want. I hated cooking as a kid and expected Mom to do it all. Now I love cooking something good to eat, especially from vegetables from the garden.

    14. MissDisplaced*

      Oh God, SLEEP!
      When I was in my 20’s I worked graveyard shift yet still found time to party. I must’ve subsisted on 4 hours of sleep or less at times. Now, I can barely stay up until midnight, and can’t wait to climb in bed for sleep instead of sex. Wahhhhh!

      1. catwoman2965*

        Oh me too! It’s gotten to teh point that when I know I’ll be out late on a work night, i have taken the next day off. Usually concerts. I used to be able to roll in around 1-2am, get a few hours sleep, adn get up for work. Now? Nope. i am TOOO old for that.

    15. KR*

      This is well timed. We don’t have one of those sprayers on our sink and last night I told my husband it would be really dope if we had one. He said, that’s how you know you’re an adult when you call a sink faucet dope.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        I managed to so badly misread the comments of MissDisplaced and KR that I thought someone was discussing sex in the kitchen sink while using the sprayer. Huh? Is this a new venue for the Duck Club?*

        * In a past comment, someone wrote in about working in a sex-crazed office where people used “Quack” as a password/greeting between members in the club of People Being Highly Irresponsible At Work.

        I will show myself out.

    16. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

      I love my new cordless vacuum cleaner so much. Younger me is not impressed. But omigod, the places it can reach! So much excitement.

      1. Lcsa99*

        Hey, considering the terrible, awkward, HEAVY vacuum we had when that was one of my chores as a kid I think I would have loved a cordless then too!

      2. londonedit*

        I got a cordless vacuum for Christmas (why yes, I am 37) and I love it. My flat has never been so clean, and I actually do the hoovering when I should because it’s so easy and quick!

        Other favourite Christmas presents last year were two fine-knit jumpers and a beautiful turquoise enamel casserole dish. So pleased with them all!

    17. Kathenus*

      I always joke that by the time you wish you could take a nap during the day you no longer can. So the occasional couch nap on a day off is wonderful.

    18. Middle School Teacher*

      Getting something like a vacuum for Christmas or my birthday. And spending Friday night in the tub with a glass of wine, watching Netflix.

    19. Justin*

      When I moved from F(ear)OMO to J(oy)OMO.

      I still do a lot out of the house. But not feeling required to be out late.

    20. I Work on a Hellmouth*

      Drinking coffee, putting money in my savings account, and actually doing meal prep for the week (it does not always happen, but when it does I am filled with a deep satisfaction… and also usually roasted veggies).

      1. Coffeelover*

        Yes to meal prep! I love when I have the time to do a proper meal prep for the week. It feels like my whole week (and life) is running smoother. It’s so satisfying.

      2. Gingerblue*

        Meal prep is just the best. My ideal is to plan Thursday, grocery shop Friday, and do most cooking or prep work on Saturday. I don’t manage it as often as I’d like, but there’s nothing like a fridge full of leftovers ready for dinner to make the week more relaxing.

    21. New Bee*

      I texted my sisters that I knew I was officially “old” when I got multiple-emojis-excited to buy 5lbs of chicken breast for $1.29 with my coupon. (I’m barely 30.)

    22. Woman of a Certain Age*

      As a kid, the absolute worst present that I could get was new underwear. Now, as I near retirement age, if my now elderly mother buys me new underwear it is a great present. Really.

      1. Iron Chef Boyardee*

        I hate the word “staycation” because it makes it sound like you really want to take a VAcation but you can’t so you’re trying to feel better about it by calling it a STAYcation.

        Semantics aside, I understand what you’re saying and there’s certainly nothing wrong with… uh… doing what you said.

        1. Nicole76*

          I don’t think of it that way at all. In my mind it’s doing touristy things in your own neck of the words. When I’ve taken staycations, it wasn’t because I wanted to go on vacation but couldn’t, but because I wanted a week off from work and also wanted to go to the local zoo or museum during the week when it wasn’t as busy.

        2. dumblewald*

          I’ve never taken a vacation or staycation, but I love the idea of staycations! They are essentially cheap vacations (no plane ticket necessary). One of these days if I can afford it, I’m literally booking a hotel and spa somewhere a few miles away and staying there.

    23. Formerly known as...*

      Does leaving a spouse count?

      I would have been horrified, HORRIFIED, to hear that I would leave a marriage. But I did and I am happy that I did and it was the right decision. 500 days tomorrow!

      1. Vancouver Reader*

        Yay you! I totally think this counts because you have to be mature and strong enough to leave, rather than stick your head in the sand and pretend things are better than they actually are.

      2. Cherry Sours*

        Go you, and by the way, welcome to the Newly Single Again Club! Took me longer than I care to admit before taking the big step, but so incredibly happy I did, and I’m thriving like never before. Just about the best days of my life.

    24. CatCat*

      – Going to a party to tonight. Spouse and I agree, we’re getting out of there by 9:00 because we want to go to bed by 10:00.

      – A lot of emotion goes into what is in stock and out of stock at Trader Joe’s.

      1. Kathenus*

        Your second one made me laugh. I get so frustrated when they are out of one of my favorites. Due to the location of my TJ’s I go occasionally and stock up on certain things (looking at you Garlic Chipotle Salsa), and if they’re out it is so disappointing.

      2. Gingerblue*

        My local TJ’s is weird and doesn’t have a couple of things which are normal staples in any other TJ’s I’ve lived near. (Croissants! Their basic selzer cans! English muffins, for gods’ sake!) I understand that they don’t have wine because the local laws are stupid but WHERE ARE MY CROISSANTS.

    25. Aphrodite*

      Not shopping. When I was young(er) I loved to spend a day or more wandering various stores and browsing and buying “stuff.” Not any more. I get plenty of emails from various home places like Frontgate, Wayfair, Pottery Barn and many more but they are mostly trashed unread. Come around the holidays though and I’ll read them sometimes going to the sites to see what they have. But it’s mostly a quick browse now. Buys are rare. And even just sitting in my easy chair and browsing online I find my patience limited. Now I want to find it fast and get out. A day at the mall? I’d rather be stretched on the rack.

      1. Overeducated*

        I’m with you there! Shopping is a chore and not fun now. Perhaps because instead of being all wants and few needs, my spending is now almost entirely needs and grocery-store-level small impulse buys.

    26. Nicole76*

      Finding good deals on things I want/need, cooking my own meals, organizing and cleaning my house. All those things bring me joy and sound lame to my younger self.

      1. Radical Edward*

        Yes! Buying things that make one’s space tidier and more efficient, that’s my favourite pastime. When I was little I dreamed of living in a giant house with an enormous garden and a million rooms. Now my dream space is a three-room apartment with a big balcony for plants.

        I am very pleased with myself this weekend as I just received the final delivery in a parade of closet-organisers, new rubbish bins, blackout curtains, and under-bed storage. It was SO satisfying to finally put all my clothes away in drawers according to type and season! And the sun didn’t wake me up at 6am by shining directly into my face!

        1. Nicole76*

          Yay to all that stuff but especially the blackout curtains. It irks me when a bedroom has a bunch of windows because I want it as dark as possible in there. Living areas can be nice and bright.

    27. OtterB*

      Getting up early, especially on weekends. Teenage me thought my father was nuts for his summer 6:30 am tee-off time. I don’t play golf, but it’s nice to be up before there’s much going on and (weather permitting) sit quietly on the deck with a cup of coffee.

      Reading romance novels. Younger me looked down my nose at them. Now I realize that, like any other kind of books, some are good and some are not, some are to my taste and some are not. But ones that are both good and to my taste can be excellent.

    28. Elizabeth West*

      Getting excited over appliances, LOL.

      This might not make much sense, but also knowing I can buy whatever I want and simultaneously knowing that I don’t have to have whatever I want. Because when you’re a kid and you want something, you neeeeeeeeeeeeed it! When you’re an adult, you know that isn’t true and there will be other things you want more. Or other ways to get the thing you want. So you can still desire the thing, but it’s not quite so urgent–and even enjoy the anticipation, which when you’re a kid, just about kills you, haha.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          A square waffle iron! Not the giant round ones. I can make extra square waffles and freeze them and stick them in the toaster!

          I also like my George Foreman grill a lot.

    29. Star Nursery*

      It’s the odd things like satisfaction in replacing a furnace filter or yard work. I would never thought I’d find joy in mundane house chores. And I like relaxing evenings and weekends. Younger me would have thought I’d want to go out and have lots to do. I like to cook now as an adult and that would have surprised younger me.

  2. Marion Q*

    Anyone here has experience taking lorazepam/ativan?

    My doctor began prescribing it on December to help me sleep. At first the dosage was 0.25 mg, then on January it was doubled to 0.5 mg, and last February it was doubled again to 1 mg. I’m allowed to take more if my anxiety is especially severe, so occasionally I do.

    The problem is, I feel like I’m building a tolerance. 0.5 used to be enough to knock me out, now to get the same effect I need to take 3 mg. I don’t know whether I should be worried or if it’s normal. I’m on an NHS-like service is my country, and I can’t meet my doctor before at least 20 days have passed after my last visit. I’m running out of the meds and it makes me anxious when I see the dwindling tablets. I can buy them on this pharmacy that never asks for prescription, but I’m not sure if I should. I’m starting a new job on Monday and I’m worried I won’t be able to sleep without the meds, which makes me even more anxious.

    Thoughts?

    1. WS*

      [not medical advice!] Unfortunately, people do typically build tolerance to benzodiazepines , so you should definitely be planning to discuss this with your doctor when you can see them. Count out what you’ve got now, and plan your next few days accordingly, so you’re not constantly anxious over the number of tablets and can focus on other things like preparing for work!

      1. Marion Q*

        Thank you! I did look up the info when I first got the meds, so I knew tolerance was a risk. I just didn’t think it’d be this soon, you know?

        1. just a random teacher*

          You could also try pre-portioning the number of pills you are going to take each day into one of those day-of-the-week pill containers so they’re already spaced out and you don’t have to think about how many you are supposed to take each day every time you take a pill. You can get ones that just have one spot per day or ones that have a whole grid of spots if you need to track morning/noon/evening/bed meds. It might be a good way to keep dosages from creeping up without you noticing it, since you’d have your pills all planned out in advance rather than in one spot, so you’d have to make a more complicated and deliberate choice (getting a pill from somewhere else) rather than an easier choice (grabbing x rather than y number of pills from a common container) if you decided to up your dose in the moment.

          This is definitely something your doctor should know about, though. Most meds aren’t prescibed with the intent that you should just up your dose as needed beyond some ceiling, and it sounds like this one is a med particularly likely to get into this kind of spiral so you’ll want their help in getting back out of this.

          1. Marion Q*

            I know those containers! Thank you, I’ll definitely talk to my doctor on my next appointment.

        2. WS*

          There’s genetic differences that make some people much more tolerant than others – it doesn’t mean you’re a weak person or prone to addiction, just that your body adjusts to this medication quickly!

    2. Kuododi*

      Unfortunately Ativan which is in the Benzodiazapine category of medication is one of those meds that must be weaned off under a Dr supervision. Otherwise, there are potentially grave consequences from a medical perspective. I completely understand and appreciate your concerns about long term use of this medicine. I will tell you what I have told every client I have treated in the past. Never…Never…Never stop medication without consulting your Dr and do so only under her/his supervision. (Standard disclaimer applies. I am not an MD however as a mental health counselor I have experience from a counseling perspective. ). I wish you the very best in addressing these issues to better your health. You are in my heart.

      1. Marion Q*

        Thank you so much; this means a lot to me! I looked up the info when I first got Ativan, so I knew addiction was a risk. I actually went to counseling for two years before finally seeing a psychiatrist, it was my counselor who finally took me to the ER. I won’t stop taking it without supervision, I promise!

    3. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      I was put on diazepam 2mg as a muscle relaxer as I went through my awful back problems – as a way to get the muscles to relax and get me to sleep. I still keep some around in case I am having a particularly anxious period (almost like a treat, which kind of a terrible way to think about it). I too was worried about getting hooked on them, so they are only for Special Occasions now, when nothing else will work. I didn’t want to get dependent on them.

      Re: stopping meds tho – thirding this. Same time they put me on amitriptyline for chronic nerve pain which holy moly, I tried to stop that cold turkey, since I had only been on it for a few months. Its a tricyclic antidepressant. I was never so nauseous in my life. I realized what was up and went back and reduced slowly, but definitely be careful and aware.

      1. Marion Q*

        I actually was prescribed amitriptyline alongside lorazepam, but it made me sleepy during the day, so the doctor stopped it and increasing my lorazepam dosage instead. And I know what you mean about it being a treat; that’s how I started to feel about my meds, which makes me worried.

    4. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      You really shouldn’t be tripling your dose and buying from a non-approved source without your doctor’s approval. That’s really not okay or healthy.

      Lorazepam hits the same receptors in your brain as alcohol. If a friend said to you, “I used to be able to sleep after one glass of wine but now I drink 6 for the same effect.” How would you advise your friend?

      But yes, tolerance is a thing. I would see your doctor as soon as possible, don’t keep taking 3 mg, and ask your doctor about alternatives for sleep including maybe non medication like therapy or relaxation techniques.

      1. Marion Q*

        If a friend said to you, “I used to be able to sleep after one glass of wine but now I drink 6 for the same effect.” How would you advise your friend?

        That’s a great way to look at it, thank you! I’ll keep this in mind. (And I never drink, because I know deep down that once I start drinking I’ll love it too much to stop, so I guess the tendency is already there.)

    5. chi chan*

      Do you have any other plans for dealing with anxiety? Keep the option to take the high dose as a last resort. There are online forums devoted to anxiety where you can post. If you are alone try to be around someone or if you are anxious around people go to an empty place. If nothing works take more but try other things first. ASMR videos help some people sleep. There are guided muscle relaxation videos and people narrating boring stories in low voices to help people sleep.

      1. Marion Q*

        Going to a psychiatrist is actually the last resort. Before I’d been seeing a psychologist for 2 years, and in fact it was she who took me to the ER to finally get meds, because before I always refused. I had tried relaxation, yoga, white noise – nothing worked.

    6. Gerald*

      The advice so far has been good, and I will add that there are other meds so talk with your doctor about options.

    7. Book Lover*

      It is addictive, I don’t give it to people for sleep or for anxiety outside of very acute cases (a sudden loss, episodic panic attacks, while getting people started on a good non addictive medication). You need to talk to your doctor ASAP.

      1. Marion Q*

        I looked it up when I first got prescribed, so I knew addiction was a risk. I just never thought it’d be this soon, you know? (I do have episodic panic attacks). It’s not the only medication prescribed, but I don’t have the same craving for the other meds, so I guess the others aren’t addictive.

    8. Zephy*

      +1 suggestion to talk to your doctor ASAP about other treatment methods. I’m not a doctor, but it seems like if you’re getting anxious about the pills themselves, the solution isn’t going to be more pills. Ask about your options for talk therapy – CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) or DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) may help by giving you non-pharmaceutical tools to manage your anxiety.

      1. Marion Q*

        I’ve replied to your comment but it’s not showing up – and I can’t resend the comment since the page says it’s a duplicate comment?

        1. Marion Q*

          I did see a therapist for two years before finally seeing a psychiatrist. It was actually my therapist who dragged me to the ER – and she was initially against me taking meds, so I guess that’s how bad my condition was/is. Breathing techniques and other tools help in certain situations (like interview) but not for the general anxiety I feel.

    9. cat pillow*

      i agree with other advice, but especially benzos are the only psych med withdrawal that can be deadly, so pls don’t stop cold turkey.

      are you able to phone your doctor’s office and leave a message or talk to a nurse about the situation since you can’t go back sooner?

      additionally, can you ask for a different medication for anxiety and/or sleep? ideally, this would be via the nurse line when asking about weaning yourself down in dose, but could be at your next appt. benzos are good for panic attacks and occasional sleep issues, but if you have chronic anxiety or chronic sleep issues, the tolerance issue inherent with benzos makes them a poor choice.

      i keep a variety of apps on my phone, both of the anti-anxiety type as well as the relaxation/sleep noise type. some are better than others, even just week to week, for me, so i keep any that help even a bit in case of emergency. Pacifica, Headspace, and SAMe are probably the top 3 for anxiety and myNoise and SleepGenius are my preferred ones for sound.

      another thing that helped lately was realizing like all of bob ross’ painting show was on youtube. cue a few of those up and he’s just…..positive and flowly and relaxing.

      please take care. i hope you’re able to find some better working solutions for your sleep and anxiety issues soon.

      1. Marion Q*

        The most I can do is calling the hospital, but there’s no guarantee they’d connect me to the doctor. I’ve tried it before, and the hospital told me to go to the ER, which I didn’t want to do for various reasons. I’ll definitely bring it up on my next appointment!

        I tried apps before, but they didn’t help much. But I guess another try won’t hurt. Thank you so much, it means a lot to me!

    10. Dr. Anonymous*

      Is there a way for you to call your doctor to leave a message? I think you should let them know what’s going on.

      1. Marion Q*

        I can call the hospital, but that’s it. I’ll definitely talk about this on my next appointment though!

    11. Shayland*

      I was on lorazepam and was prescribed it to help me sleep.
      I used to get very angry and paranoid when my bedtime rolled around and I would resist going to sleep. I thought someone would break into my house or that some random person in the world I didn’t know would die because I fell asleep. (Similar to that button pushing meme where it’s like, some random person you don’t now will die, but the button makes a super satisfying clunk-clunk sound.)
      I was prescribed the medication and the low dose was to assist with the anxiety and paranoia and was not to affect sleep. That was very important to my doctor.
      I also started practicing sleep hygiene very intensely. No caffeine after 2 pm. No naps. No falling asleep on my sofa or the sofa in my art studio. No lying in my bed while reading / writing / drawing. The bed is for sleeping, nothing else. And no where else is for sleeping. I put orange light filters on all my devices and set alarms to remind me of the time and help me turn in early.
      I also set about suring up my evening routine, shower, brush teeth, take dog out one last time, meditate for 25 minutes, every single night at near the same time in the same order.
      Another important note was that if I wasn’t asleep 20 minutes after getting in bed I was supposed to get up and do something else for 10-20 minutes. Something that didn’t involve screens. I set a soft meditation bell to ring so I didn’t check the clock and the bell didn’t wake me if I was alseep.
      The medication helped a lot with the nightmares and that’s one thing I miss about it. Doing this last thing though, I found that mostly I dreamed about not being able to fall asleep. Still frustrating, but not at all horrible. So.
      Anyway, that was my experience on the medication. I needed one refill on my bottle and I still have most of that refill left. I’m cleared by my doctor to use that medication on bad nights. Like recently I was nearly attacked by a drunk man who followed and harassed me at noon that day. That night I had horrible nightmares about it and I was kind of messed up about it for a few days afterward. Very triggering. I should have taken the medication that first night, it would have helped a lot.
      But live and learn. And take benzos very sparingly as part of a wider treatment plan.

      1. Marion Q*

        I’m sorry to hear about the drunk man. Dreams are definitely a part of why I like lorazepam so much – it ensures deep dreamless sleep. Thank you for sharing your experience and for the advice!

    12. Shayland*

      I can’t think what about my comment would have gotten it caught in the filter. But I hope that’s what happened instead of it just getting eaten on my end. :/

    13. SebbyGrrl*

      Marion Q I’ve read the whole thread.
      May I compliment you on listening, hearing and giving well considered responses when that might not be the easiest thing for you to do, Kudos.

      I’m not a treatment professional, I am someone who has been dealing with sleep, anxiety, anxiety because of sleep, depression, PTSD for quite awhile.

      It sounds like thus far you’ve made mostly really good decisions – ;) we’re different people for me I don’t quite understand your previous impetus not to go to the hospital/ER,etc. when you needed the help only that level of care/intervention could provide? (Not asking for an explanation more of an inquiry to reflect on).

      So questions to reason around the problem.

      You have free floating anxiety that can occur at any time, that leads to poor sleep and then also anxiety around poor sleep and functioning the next day?

      I’m a veteran (female) and the VA often does very different kind of off label things with meds that you don’t find in other treatment arenas.

      Something that has worked really well for me across all the above aspects of anxiety is Clonidine in a .1 miligram patch that stays on for 7 days.

      Were it me, in this instance I would ask to maintain the Lorazepam, supervision in reducing the dose ( this is where the Clonidine can hel[ diminish the frequency and high notes of anxiety).

      Clonidine has a lot of other implications but maybe at least a jumping off point for discussing options with you treatment team.

      And if you need to hear it, where you are is completely normal for all facets of your issues. You haven’t done anything reprehensible or so out of line that disclosing to your prescribing Dr. should arouse negative feedback or uncomfortable repercussions.

      Good luck :)

      1. Lilysparrow*

        I have no experience with anti-anxiety meds, but I have ADHD and was having increasing trouble sleeping. My doc started me on Clonidine last week, just a quarter of a tablet at bedtime, and the difference in my sleep quality is dramatic. I’m also far more calm and emotionally resilient during the day.

        Possibly placebo effect, since it’s only been a week? But both my ADHD doc and my GP thought it was a low-risk option.

      2. Marion Q*

        Thank you so much, it means a lot to me!

        You have free floating anxiety that can occur at any time, that leads to poor sleep and then also anxiety around poor sleep and functioning the next day?

        Yes. I spend nights lying awake feeling anxious over many things, and when I realise how long I’ve been lying on the bed without falling asleep, I begin to get anxious about not getting enough sleep to function the next day. I get headache when I don’t sleep enough, and also become very cranky and easily irritated. I’m prone to lashing out, but the meds helps dealing it down.

        And I know you didn’t ask for explanation about ER, but I thought I’ll share anyway. I’ve gone to ER once before, and they made it extremely clear that they can’t treat me without informing my family, who is. . . not supportive, to put it mildly. This despite the fact that I’m legally an adult and have been for a few years. I’ve offered to provide other emergency contacts – close friends who know about my condition and are supportive – but no can do, has to be family members.

        Thank you for sharing your experience. I’ll ask about Clonidine on my next appointment.

        1. SebbyGrrl*

          Outstanding communication, again thanks and Kudos and so glad Lilysparrow added her experience.

          I’m sorry about the ER/Family stuff, my goodness that is both awful, must feel even worse AND adds to your anxiety. That just sucks.

          So yes, we have been traveling in the same crazy netherworld of sleep issues.

          Lilysparrow’s post reinforces what I have experienced with the clonidine patch.

          Another benefit is that it is working 24-7 and that’s extremely supportive and helpful to diminish the free floating anxiety during the day – and gives you more ability to use your personal tools more effectively (anxiety brain lies and exhausts us).

          It didn’t solve all my sleep stuff as I’m dealing with PTSD also. but given what you have described thus far I think it could be very helpful if you have access.

          Also HIGLY encourage you, if you haven’t already to go read Captain Awkward’s columns or search:

          Captain Awkward Angry Bees (or House of Angry Bees I think there are more than 3 results for that)

          Captain Awkward Jerk Brain

          Spoon Theory

          These have all been foundational thoughts, teaching and tools that helped me start to beat back Anxiety depression thinking and reclaim my rational thoughts – that then allows me to function and sleep better.

          1. Lilysparrow*

            Specifically about sleep, my doc said that the Clonidine increases the depth and duration of the sleep phase where the body and brain repair themselves (can’t remember if that’s REM or the deep phase before REM.)

            When you’re not getting enough repair time, your brain becomes increasingly stressed and “fried.” So the resulting calmness is not so much a sedative effect, as a restoration of your natural brain-healing process.

            I’m sure it’s far more complex than that, especially if you’re on continuous-release. But that was the explanation for the bedtime-only plan.

          2. Marion Q*

            Thank you, both of you! Your comments are really helpful. And I’m sorry for just replying – I started my first job this week and it’s been hectic.

            I’ve seen Captain Awkward mentioned a lot in the AAM comment section, but haven’t actually checked out the site yet. I’ll definitely check out the posts SebbyGrrl recced.

    14. Sleepy*

      I’m surprised they’re giving you so much. This has become a super controlled substance in the US. I used to be able to get a refill easily for jet lag, now I have to jump through hoops. It can really be addictive. Please be careful. I have sleep problems and anxiety so I know how much it sucks, but nothing is worth becoming addicted. If you find yourself becoming physically or psychologically dependent, talk to your doctor right away about finding other solutions.

      1. Marion Q*

        nothing is worth becoming addicted.

        Thank you for the reminder. I’ll bring up my concerns on my next appointment.

    15. Weeping Willow*

      I take lorazepam for occasional anxiety. I went through a really rough period last November (long story) and needed something to help me function (like not sitting at home crying all day). My doctor prescribed lorazepam but told me very clearly I couldn’t take it long term. It is apparently, very addictive. I used it daily for a few weeks (1mg twice a day) and then began to taper off to 1mg once per day, and then .5 mg once per day. Since then, I’ve only used it on really rough days. 1 mg per day for one or two days. Then I won’t take it again for a week or two. Honestly, it’s been a godsend for me. It’s really helped me through probably the worst period of my life. But I am well aware of the addictive properties and treat it with great respect. When my doctor was telling me about the addictive properties, I said, “oh that’s not me. I’m not a pill person.” She responded, “that’s what they all say.” Nobody chooses to get addicted.

      1. Kuododi*

        I had a dentist who would perscribe a one time dose of Valium before any of the procedures more intense than a routine cleaning/check up. Being a moderate needle phobic I was thankful for the help.

        I remember after the first time I took the Valium before a root canal, the feeling I had was a massive case of “I don’t care- itis”. By that I mean to say that the dentist could have given me a root canal or yanked all the teeth from my mouth. I was beyond caring.

        After the procedure was done I told DH that the Valium gave me a small window into why people get addicted to those types of meds. That warm feeling of having not a care in the world was mighty tempting. (No stress, anxiety or worry for a brief moment in time). ;).

        1. Marion Q*

          For me it’s the instant sleepiness and the guarantee of deep dreamless sleep. Without lorazepam I get around 2 hours of deep sleep and then I get light sleep plagued with dreams the rest of the night. I wake up tired and annoyed.

        2. blackcat*

          It is both a blessing and a curse that Valium (and related drugs, I assume) do not have the intended effect on me.
          Instead, it’s like all of the paranoia of WAY too much weed + 10 cups of coffee.
          How did I discover this? Shortly before a medical procedure. And then I realized why my doc had prescribe 2: he had wanted me to test it out first.

        3. catwoman2965*

          I take xanax when I fly. I generally have some very very mild anxiety about certain things, but nothing that requires medication, and that I can’t deal with. Like today; watching a friend’s dog and halfway to work i was like did i shut the garage door? i am pretty sure i did, since i recall holding the remote, but irrational me says “what if you didn’t?????”

          BUT even mention flying on a plane, and my anxiety ramps up tenfold. to the point I make myself sick with worry. But with the Xanax? Totally “i don’t-care-itis” the funny thing is, once the plane takes off, I’m fine. its just everything leading up to it, waiting, boarding, taxiing, and the actual lift off. But even a day or two before my flight and I’m a bundle of nerves.

    16. Chicago Anon*

      What helped me was combining Xanax with meditation and white noise, so that I associate the latter two with the feeling of relaxation that came with the drug. It took time, but did work. Good luck!

  3. Lena Clare*

    Hi all! How are you?
    I’m feeling a bit down.

    Have you got something nice /self-carey going on this weekend?
    I’m gonna buy some books and also read other books.
    My TBR pile is taking over my life. Grins.

    And I’m going to eat regular meals and try to get some exercise in.

    1. Loopy*

      I have two urgent disasters to handle before Monday but… I also really want to try my planned baking that I was set on doing before said disasters struck. For me baking projects are purely me time and an indulgence so it feels like self care.

      And with the week/weekend I’m having, I need some of that (I just have no idea how I’ll fit it in).

      1. Lena Clare*

        Oh I’m sorry about that! I hope you manage to get the baking in, and all works out well.

    2. A.N. O'Nyme*

      I swear, my cause of death Will be “crushed under a pile of books she meant to read and games she meant to play”
      That said, going to see a Cirque du Soleil performance this Sunday, so I’m hyped up for that.

    3. Teapot Translator*

      I’m baking cookies this morning with my niece, so that will be nice, but I am feeling exhausted and I have a lot of things to get done this week-end. Thing is, when I have fewer plans over a week-end, I spend it mostly sleeping. I get nothing done if I don’t have deadlines. I need to work on that.

    4. Laura H.*

      Having a cousin over for lunch today, corned beef and cabbage with grandma tomorrow, and Monday having lunch with a lovely friend.

    5. Beaded Librarian*

      Unfortunately at least some of my planned self care went out the window due to natural disasters. And I’m not sure about the rest. Planning on getting at least one workout in this weekend at the Y is open albeit crowded as it is serving as an emergency shelter.

      1. Lena Clare*

        Oh my gosh! I hope you are ok. It sounds like you’re looking after yourself the best you can.

        1. Beaded Librarian*

          Doing okay, my apartment in I’m a mandatory evacuation area for flooding but it’s unclear if it will actually flood or access just won’t be there. The uncertainty is hard but I’m glad to have a good place to stay for a few days a coworker is willing and able to house me for a little bit.

    6. Laika*

      I’m feeling down, too. I’ve had a lot of change recently (much of it good, even) and our news lately seems even more upsetting than usual (both local and national…). But I had a nice time with some co-workers last night who needed cheering up, and scheduled time this weekend to work on a project. I even got back into a book I had sort of stopped reading. So things are okay – but I’m going to try to be extra kind and mindful this weekend. :)

    7. Anne (with an “e”)*

      I’m getting a mani-pedi. That will be relaxing and make me feel pampered. ;)

      1. Zephy*

        I currently have bright, lime-green gel polish on my fingernails. :) Are you going to get any color?

    8. I Work on a Hellmouth*

      I’m getting exercise in, am planning at least one fancy bath, have an audio book on deck for said fancy bath, and pile of reading and sewing projects at the ready. Also planning to make myself do some housework because I know I’ll feel better with a tidy space. But I’m probably most looking forward to the reading and the sewing.

      1. Zephy*

        I so look forward to the day when I once again live in a place with a bathtub and can take fancy baths.

        1. I Work on a Hellmouth*

          When you are a fancy bath devotee, being tubless is HARD. Have you tried shower bombs? They’re pretty awesome, and fancy showers should totally be a thing.

          1. Zephy*

            I have never heard of shower bombs, but now I think I need to swing by my local Lush and get me one, after looking them up!

    9. Falling Diphthong*

      Cleaning. Not exciting, but work has been hectic the last few weeks and I am going to sweep up the remains of all the chewy bunnies and their special carrot home that my dog has been slowly dismembering.

    10. Thursday Next*

      Regular meals and exercise can be very restorative! I find videos of baby elephants to be helpful as well.

      We’ve got a babysitter coming over so my husband and I can have some time together. We hardly see each other during the week since he’s been working so late. The kids are excited because it’s their favorite sitter, and she is so much more fun (and ener) than I am. So maybe the babysitter is giving all of us the chance to recharge!

    11. Lucy*

      I just watched the entire new season of Queer Eye – hours and hours of being totally on board with self care.

      … it was only released on Netflix yesterday.

            1. Lucy*

              What Curly Sue said. It’s indefatigably positive even when they are addressing distressing or gritty topics. They are lovely to themselves, each other and everyone else. Very restorative.

    12. Forget T-Bone Steak, Let's Eat T-Rex Steak*

      My long-time boyfriend and I broke up this week. We didn’t live together, but my house is still feeling a bit haunted. Debating whether I want to go stay at my parents’ for the weekend or embark on major cleaning of my entire home. I also want to go for a run at some point.

      1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

        Think of your bent – will channeling your sadness/anger/ feelings into a healthy bout of active cleaning, help you work off the edge of the feelings (and get the house reminders of him “ghostbusted?”)… if you feel like this is a good way to channel and use the energy, rather than sitting, use the opportunity.
        If you feel wounded and need comfort, go to where you are guaranteed to have it.
        Sending hug.

        1. Forget T-Bone Steak, Let's Eat T-Rex Steak*

          I wanted to thank you for this framing. I ended up splitting the difference and did some ghostbustering on Saturday and spent Sunday at my parents’.

    13. curly sue*

      We’re very slowly Konmari-ing the house. We tackled three more kitchen cabinets while the kids had friends over this afternoon, and it feels so good. We apparently had a sippy-cup graveyard formed in the far back of one of the shelves, and my youngest kid is now almost eight. It’s amazing how much space we actually have in there once we get rid of all the stuff we don’t actually use.

    14. Never*

      I went to see the new How To Train Your Dragon movie, which was amazing, but then on the way back some awful person almost crashed into me by turning into the wrong lane, so that self-care kind of backfired…

      1. Lena Clare*

        Ugh, sorry to hear that. Hope you’re safe at home now. Near misses can be so stressful.

    15. Elizabeth West*

      Blergh, tried to post and everything went awry.

      First, *HUG*

      Second, I had dharma group, study after, and a friend Snack/Game Day (Cards Against Humanity!) and am now home resting my stupid hamstring, which didn’t like any of the chairs. Or would be resting, if those dogs would shut up.
      I also ate four slices of lemon loaf cake, urp lol. But it was delicious!

      1. Lena Clare*

        Thank you!

        That sounds like a really great day to me! What’s dharma group?

        Did many people have mentioned Cards Against Humanity I’m going to have to check it out.
        Is it like what Scruples used to be like? We played that once at a family dinner and ALL HELL broke loose.

        Someone mentioned I Love Hue in another thread – I can’t remember who or which one! – but I’ve downloaded it and it’s so much fun!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I never played Scruples. Cards Against Humanity is a game where everyone draws a bunch of pre-printed white cards and picks one to fill in the blanks of a phrase read from a black card. The funniest/most shocking one wins the round. Here’s one we did today from a nerd pack: https://i.imgur.com/7bMGCem.jpg

          You need to be careful who you play CaH with because it will bring out the worst in some folks LOL. There’s a reason they call it a game for terrible people. Our group is pretty nice and tends to avoid the more controversial ones. We love the naughty or gross ones, however, haha.

          My dharma group, or sangha, is my Buddhist group that meets for meditation and study every Saturday. It’s what I do now instead of church. :)

          1. Lena Clare*

            Your djarma group sounds amazing, I wish there was something like that around here.
            I’ll have a look on meetup…and I think I’ll give CaH a miss then lol!

        2. Dr. Anonymous*

          I think Cards Against Humanity is more offensive, but less personal. The problem with Scruples is that you pick a moral position and someone challenges you because they think they know you and there you are baring your soul and people vote on whether you’re lying about yourself or not, and it’s just awfully hard not to take it seriously even if you were sure you weren’t going to. I’ve played two or three times and someone’s feelings always get hurt. My resolution is that if someone breaks out Scruples, it’s time for me to go deep into the kitchen and wash the dishes very, very well. Even if it’s not my kitchen.

          1. Lena Clare*

            Omg you’ve hit the nail on the head with that! I was only a (young) teenager when it was played and I was not participating with the adults but I still remember it to this day. My cousin and her partner had an almighty rift, they broke up soon after.
            It never seemed like a ‘safe’ game to play!

    16. Nita*

      Had some dental work done Monday, which resulted in the disappearance of a nagging headache in the back of my head, and the appearance of a nagging headache in the front of my head. Still managed to get through a very hectic week. This morning I got up and immediately sketched a felt sewing project I’ve been planning for months. Interesting, I didn’t expect inspiration to strike now, but there it is. Hopefully I’ll get to relax by working on that project when everyone is in bed.

  4. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

    We had a massive terrorist attack yesterday. Someone went on a killing spree at two mosques during afternoon prayers. 49 dead.

    This kind of violence doesn’t happen here. Except it clearly does. I’m horrified and heartbroken.

    1. Sc@rlettNZ*

      Same here. I can’t believe something like this could happen here ….. I guess the real world finally caught up with NZ :-(

    2. Marion Q*

      I’m so sorry. I stumbled upon the news last night and I couldn’t believe it at first. NZ had always seemed like a safe country.

    3. Namey McNameface*

      I’m in NZ too. I couldn’t believe it either. Kia Kaha Christchurch and our Muslim community.

    4. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      The world is such a scary place. I pray for those who fear so much that they can think of nothing but lashing out on the innocent because tackling the pain within and the pain without is too overwhelming.
      And I pray for the innocent, the bystanders, and the ones who are further traumatized by the lashings out, large and small.
      This infection of hate and loss of empathy can not be ignored, and cannot be fought with more hate and more isolation.
      Hugs to all who have been lost, and damaged, and who have to keep going on.

    5. Quandong*

      I’m so, so sorry. This Aussie is thinking of you and all Kiwis at this intensely hard time.

    6. Samsoo*

      This was so horrible to hear about in your wonderful country. I am so sorry that you have now experienced this kind of violence. Not a club I want anyone to be a part of.

    7. https://thespinoff.co.nz/news/16-03-2019/christchurch-terror-attack-how-to-support-nzs-muslim-communities/*

      Links to how to support the Muslim community in NZ in my username, via stuff.co.nz

    8. TL -*

      This one – the livestreaming of the massacre was just a whole new layer of awful. I can’t imagine what the NZ Muslim community is going through.

      My flatmate works for the call center for the ACC (the NZ department that helps people who need medical care/social services due to accidents, ect.) My Muslim friends gave him a few phrases he could use in his job to indicate comfort and support. And I’m heading to the reopening of the local mosque to support.
      But nothing is enough, really.

    9. Not So NewReader*

      That’s the first thing I said, “This stuff doesn’t happen in NZ.” Well, I guess that’s not true.

      Profound sorrow and sympathy to those involved and those whose lives were impacted by this event.

      It’s a tough world out there, we need to give each other a little more care than we used to do.

    10. Karen from Finance*

      I am so very sorry.

      I have a lot of love for New Zealand. Though I’ve never been I have a few friends who have lived there for a while, and my high school liked to host NZ rugby teams. Your country is absolutely beautiful, and this kind of violence has no place there. I have faith that you will recover from this, and will not let them win by creating division. But it hurts so much that it happened.

      I’m so sorry. Hugs from the other end of the world (Argentina), you’re in my mind.

    11. Foreign Octopus*

      I’ve been following this story from Spain and I’m absolutely horrified. I said to someone that if it had happened in Australia or America (for example) I would still be horrified but less surprised than I am now because we don’t hear of these things happening in New Zealand.

    12. StellaBella*

      Internet hugs to you and all the other commenters in NZ if you want them. I have 4 friends in ChCh and while they are safe, this has shattered the local community. Your PM Ms Ardern is amazing, tho, and her kind words were shared by many on social media here in Europe. I am so sorry.

    13. Hellanon*

      This is absolutely awful. My condolences to all of you, and to the Muslim community (and really all of the rest of us, worldwide).

    14. SheLooksFamiliar*

      I’m so sorry, MJ. Sending hugs and healing thoughts to you and all of NZ from here in Chicago.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        Sending the same from near DC. (Also emailed condolences to the NZ Embassy, although I feel badly for the embassy employee who reads that IN box. )

    15. Kathenus*

      I’m so sorry for you and your country. I’ve been to and love NZ, and it’s horrible how desensed the world can become to these events. I second the comment above about your PM. One of the first headlines I saw in the US news this morning was her saying that ‘I can tell you one thing right now. Our gun laws will change’.

      I respect so much what Australia did on this front years back after a mass shooting and hope for your country you can do the same. If I could turn back time 200+ years I wish the US could write the 2nd amendment much more deliberately to where we aren’t at the point we are in our country with guns now.

      Many positive thoughts to you and your country today.

      1. Lucy*

        Tighter gun control already promised within 24 hours – the administration very firmly saying “Never Again”.

    16. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I read something that said based on population percentage, the attack killing 49 in New Zealand would be equivalent to an attack in the US killing 3300+ people (more than 9/11). That somehow makes it even more horrifying.

      The world has gone mad and it’s scary that things like this are becoming so commonplace.

      1. Justin*

        I was about to make this comment. I work near the 9/11 memorial so that comparison was resonant to me to understand the enormity of it.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          Same. I was initially comparing it to Pulse on an impact scale (which was also horrific), but reading that was just… eye opening.

          I’ve honestly been avoiding a lot of the news coverage because I just can’t. It hasn’t even been six months since my city went through this. It feels like society is breaking down a little bit more every day and it terrifies me.

      2. ThursdaysGeek*

        I’m so sorry for all the Kiwis too. I have family that lives on the North Island, and I was in Christchurch on holiday just a bit over a year ago.

        I know statistics can be used to mislead, but another way of looking at it is: the number of homicides in NZ is well under 100, and in 2017 was 48. For the entire country. Compare that to the US, at over 17K. The horror could be compared to if someone managed to kill the equivalent of our annual rate, all at once. That is another way to see how it is much greater than our 9/11.

    17. Beaded Librarian*

      I was so heart broken to see about this yesterday. It feels like so much crazy stuff is happening. Natural disasters are bad enough, why do people have to do such awful things?

    18. Lucy*

      I have been soothed by how people all over the world have talked about “US” and standing vigil at Friday prayers in later time zones. It is loving defiance and it’s the opposite of politicking and the blame game.

    19. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Sending a hug to all the Kiwi’s on the thread. My heart breaks. It may not help much, but know that we are in shock and trying to find the right words of comfort… and trying to stand alongside you to support.

    20. Vancouver Reader*

      My heart goes out to you and your fellow New Zealanders. We never think of New Zealand as the type of place that has horrific events like this happen to it. I hope that in time, the hurt will dissipate, but the memories of those who died will stay in the hearts of everyone.

    21. Lurker delurked*

      I work not far from the Linwood mosque and we spent the whole of Friday afternoon in lockdown in a back office at work, listening to the sirens and following the news on our phones. It was terrifying, and more distressing than I can describe to know what was happening to other members of our community. And I’m not ok. I mean, I will be, but it’s going to take some time. I’m looking forward to work on Monday so I can get back into my normal routine.

    22. Nervous Accountant*

      :( I’ve been reading this nonstop since Friday morning. As a Muslim, as a person, this just horrifies and angers me, everything about it.

  5. Jessi*

    This week I fed an elephant bananas, it slobbered on me and I put my ear on a pregnant elephants belly to listen for the baby (couldn’t hear).

    It was amazing! Elephants are so massive and gracious and we humans don’t deserve them. It’s very sad that there are so few of them left

      1. Jessi*

        They think between 18 and 20 months (of a 24 month term) the people who care for her say they aren’t 100% sure when she snuck over to the next camp.

        When you looked at her you could tell she was very pregnant

        1. Not So NewReader*

          oh, my. How precious.

          Will you be able to go back and see her baby after it’s born?

          The babies must be pretty big. I am thinking of a 5 day old horse that I met and at 5 days it was almost shoulder high on me. I was not prepared to see something so large. “THAT came out of that?” Yes, I know the legs fold up…. hahaha

    1. MintHartkeLavendar*

      Actually, take heart: there are some places in Africa where elephants are not only thriving, but actually overpopulating! There’s one country that’s actually selling herds to other countries to spread them back out again from their previously hunted-down numbers. They’re, well, they’re really big and can be (unintentionally) destructive when in giant herds. So, progress!

      1. Jessi*

        Hey that’s super awesome! I guess if I had to eat 18 hours a day to sustain my body weight I might be distructive too in my quest to feed myself

        Hope for the Elephants after all

    2. Thursday Next*

      That sounds awesome! Elephants consistently bring me out of a funk when I’m down.

    3. Weeping Willow*

      I need to know where you fed an elephant bananas because I need to go to that place immediately!

      1. Alas rainy today*

        If you can afford the trip, Pairi Daiza in Belgium organizes daily feeding of their animals by the visitors, including the elephant herd (currently a dozen or so). I’ll send the link in a separate answer.

        1. Alas rainy today*

          The promised link to Pairi Daiza: http://www.pairidaiza.eu/en
          As shown on their photo gallery, Pairi Daiza is even more of an exotic garden than a zoo. Definitely worth a visit by any animal lover, garden lover, Stone lover, cultural artifacts lover and all combinations on the above. No, I am not related to the organisation, just an enthusiastic recurrent visitor.

      2. Jessi*

        I am in Thailand! Northern Thailand – Chiang Mai. An amazing place to visit. Thai people are lovely and friendly, the food is amazing, it’s pretty easy to travel here and of course -Elephants. Your overseas dollars will go far in Thai Baht too

  6. Namey McNameface*

    I hope this is not considered to be a work question as it’s more of a Linkedin technical question. I know LI allows you to see who has seen your profile. What if you click onto someone’s profile without having a LI profile yourself?

    I don’t have LI but sometimes stalk, er, check out other people’s profiles. Just wonder what my stalking/checking out shows up as.

    1. Buu*

      Nothing really, on Linkedin you can set it to show you who is looking ( in return for people being shown when you look), or set to not show in which case you may get vaguer stuff like job title or company. If you don’t have an account it has nowhere to pull data from.

    2. Karen from Finance*

      I think it just shows up as “1 person has seen your profile”, because I’ve gotten a few of those.

  7. Sam Sepiol*

    This week I told one of my friends that I needed a break from messages and that I couldn’t hear all her traumas in real time any more. She took it surprisingly well and I met her for a quick drink after work one evening, so she knows it doesn’t mean I don’t want to be friends any more.

    Anyone else done anything scary to make their life better this week? How did it go?

    I’ll link the captain awkward post I read that helped set the boundary in a reply to this.

    1. Lena Clare*

      I love Captain Awkward for boundary setting! I set some boundaries with someone in my family and it went well. I felt good about it but it was hard.

      I also made a connection between overreacting to comments online in a forum I participate in (not this one) where I was absolutely sobbing my heart out completely disproportionately to what was said, and I realised I was reacting to something that happened in my past and not what was happening *then*. That was a revelation and has been quite freeing.

      1. Sam Sepiol*

        Sounds like a good week – hard work but good outcomes?

        I love reading Captain awkward but other than leaving my husband (!!!) I often struggle to actually put the boundary setting into practice. This felt a bit like I’ve levelled up :)

        1. Lena Clare*

          Yes! It is difficult isn’t it, especially with someone close who you do still want to be (in contact) with.

          There was a good CA post recently about how to maintain relationships with people you didn’t want to cut out of your life but needed to set boundaries for.

          Have you read anything about attachment theory? There’s a great book called Attached: the new science of adult attachment… which I found very helpful in understanding my own and other people’s behaviours in relationships, and how to set boundaries around that.

    2. Loopy*

      It’s so nice to hear when something like this goes well. It makes me feel braver about doing something similar if I need to. Thrilled for you and appreciate you sharing!

      This week I definitely dropped the ball on scary things to make life better but this weekend I’m at least handling/facing very bad work related news I got…so that’s scary and hopefully will make my life better?

      1. Sam Sepiol*

        It took me about an hour to write the message – it was hard work but I was dreading picking up my phone and I’m not now, thank goodness.
        Sorry about the scary news; I hope you can handle it with aplomb!

    3. Karen from Finance*

      I missed my friend. Last time I saw her I said something about her partner that I regret a lot. I don’t think she was mad but we didn’t see each other for weeks after that (which is not uncommon due to our schedules).

      So I finally made plans to see her. I did it the coward way, by making it a group thing, but then I did see her. I didn’t get to apologise because she brought the partner, but she made it clear that we’re good so I’m happy.

    4. Zephy*

      I got back in the gym and back under a bar for the first time in probably three months? My legs weren’t happy about it, I think I tried to squat a little too heavy for the first day back, but they remembered their purpose when I deloaded a bit. I’m much less stiff and sore today, and I feel pretty good about the new schedule/routine I’ve worked out. I started the year with a plan that involved floor work and cardio that I could do at home, anticipating a too-crowded gym for the first 6-8 weeks because resolutioners (no disrespect, there’s just a finite amount of equipment and space at the gym and time in my schedule). I got to week six or so before I was just bored to tears with it and fell off the wagon. Maybe it’s just the novelty of a new routine, but I feel more excited about this plan that involves more picking up heavy things and less noodling around on the floor.

    5. Laika*

      What a nice thing! I have had someone compliment me on my boundaries recently, which is wonderful for me since it’s something I struggle with a lot. I’m glad to hear it’s worked well for you, too!

      A very minor example I’ve done recently when I’m getting on transit and see someone I know – I’ll chat for a quick moment, then deliberately move away to find another seat. I’m very friendly, but value my private commute time. Younger me would have felt obligated to sit/stay and talk, especially if the other person is really chatty! It’s so small but feels very big. :)

      1. What the What*

        Those “little” victories are so important, freeing, and an important piece of self care.

    6. JenRN*

      Not me but I just got back from shopping with one of my partners on the Main Street of my in-law’s neighbourhood. We’d had a late brunch and another couple had just been turned away as the kitchen was turning around for dinner service. I told them they should come back for dinner as the food was great. They said that they couldn’t as they were from out of town. So my partner said “ah well it’s worth trying next time you’re in town. Safe travels!” As we were walking away I was like “but what are some other restaurant recommendations for the neighbourhood?” And she, admirably setting her introvert boundaries and being mindful of needed quiet time before family dinner said “they can figure it out, I don’t want to get involved”.

      So extroverts: care for your introverts!

    7. Star Nursery*

      Years ago I had to take a break from talking to certain relatives for a period of time. Every time I talked to them I got off the phone feeling uber anxiety and stressed. I found their conversations about family drama that I couldn’t do anything to help very stressful and I had to let them know it was stressing me out too much to talk with them and that I needed a break so I was not going to call as often. My chest was feeling tight and I felt like I was taking shallow breaths. I was too stressed and it was showing up in my body. Sometimes you have to decide to take care of yourself and limit the amount of time with people.

  8. Washi*

    I’m curious on other people’s thoughts on marrying across social classes. I grew up with a very middle class lifestyle – modest ranch house, no cleaner, went on 3 vacations before the age of 18, ate in restaurants 3-4 times per year. My husband grew up upper class – vacations every year, nice house, fancy private schools, eating out several times a week, had a house cleaner, etc.

    I expected this difference to come out in our day to day life, but it really hasn’t – we’re both naturally thrifty and diligent about chores, and never fight about money. Where I really see it is what feels like cultural differences – when I hear about people our age (late 20s) subsidized by their parents not because they are struggling to make a living, but because they deliberately choose low or even no paying jobs (like writing or acting) I react negatively, but to Mr. Washi it’s normal. Same with having parents pay the full cost for grad school. And we’ve talked about how when we have kids, he thinks it’s important to set aside time and money to travel with them regularly, and while it’s not like I hate that idea, it’s just not a priority for me. To me, travelling is fun and expensive but not essential, like going an amusement park. I don’t see being a tourist as an essential life experience the way he does.

    I’m wondering if this is anyone else’s experience? How have you navigated it, especially when it comes to raising kids?

    1. Sammie*

      I probably grew up upper class I’d say, by the terms you describe, although culturally in Ireland it looked a bit different back then. My wife had a very different background with a lot of financial insecurity and this being America she didn’t even have state backup, like free university education. So, in ways far beyond class, I came to the relationship with far more privilege.

      We have similar attitudes to the saving, spending, and earning of money. The differences show up in other ways. I’ve never known financial insecurity. For a long time, although I still wanted to earn enough to support myself, I didn’t prioritise compensation because I had never known what it was like to not have a safety net beneath me. I was able to take risks in my life that she could not.

      The other difference is that I have an old school view of debt; it’s not even that common in Ireland anymore. You don’t do it. Mortgage and car payments – that’s it. You do not carry a balance on your credit card if you can ever avoid it. Payment plans will cost you more money so try and avoid those too. This is both about my good fortune and also about American capitalism. My wife is a lot more comfortable with the idea of everyday debt.

      Finally, my parents came from wildly different classes – again, one American and one Irish. And my Mum is very insecure about money because she’s still not sure what to do with it, after a very poor childhood. So she tends to overspend it and then feel guilty and then she spends some more, due to the guilt. It actually helped me eventually be more sensible with money and not ever again rely on the family coffers – if I could earn enough of my own (and then some) I wouldn’t have to get caught up in those dynamics.

      I’ve been in other significant relationships with a smaller class difference but wider difference in attitudes and I think the key is that my wife and I were mature enough to be very open about our thoughts on money and the impact it has had on our lives.

      1. Sammie*

        I was half asleep when I wrote that and did not answer your main question at all. Due to my work, I actually see people talking (and arguing) about how to provide for their kids. The conversation seems to happen way too late: I’d start now. Figure out for each of you whst’s Really key that you want your kids to have/know and see what’s possible to achieve with your means. The only thing I’d add is that sometimes people who grew up with a lot will have so many complex feelings about not giving or not being able to give their kids the exact same. It can take the other partner to say (more than once usually) ‘I was perfectly fine without that particular luxury and they will be too.’

        1. Washi*

          Interestingly, I think I’m having complex feelings about what we will likely be able to give our kids. I’ll never be very well paid due to my field, but my husband will be, and probably as a family we would end up somewhere between our sets of parents. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but the idea of raising kids the way my husband grew up makes me a bit nervous. My husband is not an entitled person, but he does see certain things as a norm that I see as extras to be cherished, and raising kids with expectations more in line with his just feels so foreign to me.

          (I know that I am in a very privileged position to be even having these complicated feelings! I’m obviously very grateful that due to my husband’s job and his parents’ wealth, we have an incredible safety net and so much to be thankful for.)

          1. My Family House is a Golf Retreat Now*

            Spouse is probably lower class than I am; additionally my family is wealthier than his. We’re British so those things aren’t necessarily linked. Usually we don’t notice, but there are little things like when he was preparing our children’s family tree and while most of his side live within ten miles, he completed my side by clicking through on Wikipedia. And major celebrations can be complicated by differing expectations.

            We are not currently in the financial position to offer our children all that we had as children, partly because we started our family younger than previous generations. Yes it does sometimes sting and sometimes we do feel like we aren’t doing right by them.

            However, recognising our own privilege is an important first step, as is reassessing our ideas of what “good enough” looks like and what money is for. It sounds like that’s similar for you: working out what your family will think of as normal and what you choose to find important.

            I had an epiphany a year or two after realising we wouldn’t be able to send the children to the expensive and prestigious (high) schools I attended. I realised that I don’t want them to go there where I was unhappy and where some of the unhealthy opinions and prejudices I don’t like in myself come from. Things aren’t necessarily better for you just because they’re what you know, or because they’re expensive, or because other people esteem them.

          2. matcha123*

            This maybe isn’t all that helpful, but the points you bring up are one of the many reasons why I don’t want kids. I guess if I married, the guy would probably come from a more stable family than my own. And while there is something appealing about raising kids who never had to suffer the same way I did, at the same time it means that they wouldn’t be able to identify with something I feel is a core part of my identity.

            I think that people who grow up in very stable situations with everything given to them have a harder time relating to people who didn’t grow up that way. Some people from those backgrounds are able to try to relate, but if you don’t experience the sweat and hard work that goes into getting a vacation or whatever, it’s harder to appreciate it.

            It might be good to talk with your partner about ways you’d want future kids to relate to and understand those that are less fortunate. I agree with your feelings about the travel. Many people from the upper middle class see travel in the way you described it and can look down on people for not having a passport. It might be good to explain to kids why someone might not have the same opportunities, etc.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I think this is something where two kids raised in the same family can be having different experiences and drawing different lessons.

    2. Teapot Translator*

      Putting aside the question of money for a second, maybe he has very good memories of travelling with his family growing up and wants that for your children?

      1. TL -*

        There’s definitely a class thing about international travel really broadening your horizons and making you understand how other people live that is often fairly elitist (and not representative of what most tourist trips are like anyways.)
        The ‘lessons’ tend to be things one could learn from paying attention in most major cities anyways, and quite a few less urban areas.

        1. Washi*

          Yeah, that’s what I was getting at. Wealthier people often frame international travel for kids as somehow the optimal way to experience how other people live, but I feel like that is just completely inaccurate on a lot of levels. I think sometimes rich people say that as a way to elevate trips that are mainly just fun into something loftier (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I do love to travel, I just don’t believe that it makes me a better person somehow.)

          It was just another example for me of a difference in our perspectives – I see travel as an expensive hobby and my husband is more inclined to view it as a key life experience. And in his experience, it’s just a Thing You Do, like of course your kids should get to experience Paris and London!

          1. Sam Sepiol*

            Haha, I grew up in the UK and have lived here my whole life and I wouldn’t exactly say I’ve “experienced” London! I don’t think we ever visited until I was 17/18 abs even then we stayed in unoccupied halls of residence.

          2. JenRN*

            Travel doesn’t have to be fancy international excursions. Maybe there is room for compromise?

            I grew up solidly middle class (dad a travelling salesman and mum took care of me). Travel was very important but involved road trips in Canada and the US. Only one intercontinental trip as a child/adolescent. My parents took what is now a very Airbnb type approach and we often stayed in motels or short term rentals in neighbourhoods not in the tourist parts of town. We took public transit in cities just for kicks (and cheap tours!) and shopped at local groceries and markets and cooked at home rather than always eating out. There are lots of multicultural differences between Montreal/Quebec City and the rest of North America for example or in Toronto/NY vs other cities. The regions of Canada and the US are quite varied (environment, culture, history) so make the point of diversity (or not depending).

            The other thing was I was put into sports that involved regional and later national travel. This meant that even though I was the youngest in my family at sports I might be the oldest in my dorm or hotel room and therefore in charge. I was also often in charge of younger team mates at the airport or bus station and these
            formed the ground work for how to travel and manage people and gear.

            Both of these experiences also drove home that travelling isn’t go to a resort and “oh look a local… bringing us drinks and changing our sheets”.

            Oh! Also one of my partners grew up camping and never really travelled outside the region. But she has had all sorts of experiences and built all sorts of travel worthy skills that we’ve needed in adult trips.

            1. JenRN*

              Oh also my parents involved me in planning and explained why we were doing what we were doing.
              Eg: our daily budget is this. We just spent this at the market. We could go to the museum today or instead we could go to the theatre within an hour of how time and see if there are cheap tickets available and go to the free night at the museum tomorrow. If you decide to use your spending money to buy that cheap souvenir then we can only do one of those things either way.

          3. Coffeelover*

            I agree with you in the sense that international travel doesn’t really teach you the kind of lessons people think/say it does. But I do think it opens your eyes to the possibilities of a “global” future.

            My family immigrated to canada and in my life we moved from financial insecurity to upper middle class. Every 3 years my parents would save enough for us to do some international travel. I think it’s for this reason I chose to do a semester abroad in Asia, to work in Africa and to move to Europe (and why I don’t see my future as limited to one country). That’s not to say someone who didn’t travel internationally as a child couldn’t do the same, but I can see this reflected in my friends. I have friends who never travelled internationally growing up and friends who did (from different socioeconomic backgrounds). Many of the friends who travelled have now worked abroad while the others have not. That’s not to say you have to leave the country to be happy, but I really appreciate the freedom I have to consider other options (and yes I realize how incredibly privileged I am to be able to say that).

            1. TL -*

              Whereas all of my friend group in the States had traveled internationally growing up/in college while I had not (except for Mexico’s border cities) and I am the only one who has lived abroad.

              I agree it gets easier after the first time moving abroad but I’m not sure traveling like vacations leads to more living abroad

          4. TL -*

            Well, recently, I’ve done two weeks in China, two months in Australia, and going on two years in New Zealand. China and Australia were amazing – had a blast, learned a lot about the countries, made epic memories. I am super lucky to have done that.

            But the only one that has really deeply impacted my world view is New Zealand, and that’s because I’ve been here for long enough to really understand the culture as a living thing, not a collection of facts I learned in a very short period of time. And I don’t think it’s a type of learning that I needed to have to be a fully formed adult – it’s an amazing opportunity that’s helped shape me, but at the same time my friends back home are having other experiences that are helping them grow as people in different but equally important ways.

          5. only acting normal*

            A friend’s ex-girlfriend was from a wealthy background and was genuinely shocked to realise he had friends who had never been on a foreign holiday because they couldn’t afford it. Which makes your point perfectly!
            And, yes, money/class was a factor in their break-up.

        2. Book Lover*

          Hmm. I guess I feel that way. And definitely if you are based in the US, going to another US city doesn’t show you how other people view bodies as natural – that might sound minor, but to me it was a big deal for the kids to see women casually top less and little kids playing naked and not acting like it was sexual.

          Anyhow, travel might not be high on a list of priorities compared with food on the table and shelter but I do think it has value.

        3. Ann O.*

          I don’t agree with this. I think there are ways to do tourism that are very insulated, but those are relatively rare. International travel is going to expose people to all sorts of small and large cultural differences no matter how touristy a city is. You will not get that traveling within country, at least not within the US.

          1. I Took A Mint*

            I agree. Domestic travel is fun and there are many different lifestyles/cultures within one country, but it’s not nearly as different as something from the other side of the world. I don’t think international perspective is required to become a well-rounded, kind, functional adult, but it often helps.

        4. Grapey*

          I hear that kids that get dragged around the world don’t appreciate it, and kids that didn’t vacation much or vacationed locally (like me) appreciate international travel a lot more as an adult if they can afford it.

    3. Jenny*

      I grew up upper middle class and my spouse more mixed (very poor when he was young but better when he was older). My Dad and mom were similar, he was the son of an attorney in a nice town, she grew up poor in an inner city.

      However, my parents were really big on boundaries and independence, as were my grandparents. So my Dad did sports and joined the military to pay for medical school and my parents paid part of my college but I paid for my own grad school with loans and worked (I never took money from them beyond that, which made me unusual in school).

      The parallels between my mom and spouse are weirdly consistent. Both have trouble with their teeth due to poor dental care when they were young. Both left left college for a semester and came back (their high schools had some holes rhat became a problem, first in their family college students often don’t take advantage of programs to help in college, instead feeling like they don’t belong). Both ended up doing very well when they came back and took advantage of tutoring and mentoring programs (why first generation college students need these so badly).

      I wouldn’t that my parents’ push for financial independence did ease any cultural differences, as I have worked all manner of crappy jobs and lived frugally. My friends who were subsidized don’t have those experiences and would sometimes be bad about money (no, I don’t have a grand to go to your bachelorette and no, so will not just get it from my parents).

      There are some sad things. My dad is a terrific swimmer, my mom never learned until she was an adult. My mom had high school classmates die in Vietnam, my Dad didn’t know a single person who went. My spouse says I know how to talk the code rich people use, he has had to learn it.

    4. Overeducated*

      My husband and I both come from a middle class background like yours, but now we live in a very expensive area where inequality is very visible (e.g. we live in an older apartment complex where around half my neighbors are immigrants who speak little English and the kids go to public school, but the street behind us has million dollar homes and a fancy looking private school). I grew up in a small town where the differences were much less stark and our lifestyles were pretty homogenous up until “are you going to college” and “will your parents help pay” became big questions. I do wonder how you give kids a sense of responsibility and abundance when conparisons are so visible. I’m curious to read about what people learned from their parents and how that has impacted them as adults.

    5. Hopeful Trainee*

      I wouldn’t say these things necessarily come down to class differences so much as, like you say, different priorities. I was raised in a middle class household but by parents with working class roots. I had some of the trappings of a richer lifestyle – cleaner, parent funded university, trust funds, and an allowance (some of the financial aspects are due to long term unemployment and ill health, but that’s a whole other story) – but we were also very “mend and make do”. No expensive clothes, none of the latest electronics, and we only went on holiday abroad once. Meanwhile, I had a working class friend who went on foreign holidays every year, had a tv in every room, and owned several items of designer clothing. The family had less money, but saved up for the things they really wanted to buy and do and treated themselves. Meanwhile, my dad spent four years agonising over the idea of buying himself a second hand sports car because he saw it as a frivolous purchase even though he had always wanted one and he had plenty of money.

      If it comes down to finances, sometimes the conversation has to be a case of “it’s this OR that, we have to agree on one, or find a compromise”. If it’s holidays or a college fund, maybe start having conversations as a family and see how people feel.

      If you have money for all of these things, but things like holidays feel wasteful, it could be you are of the same school of thought as my dad, where the money is THERE but you grew up with it NOT being there and the idea of spending it on something non essential is uncomfortable because what if you need it? If you give it some thought, you may be able to identify and address your concerns with your husband. What else might you like to be doing with that money? Or do you just want to save? If so, at what point would you feel secure enough to siphon money off for travelling? Or maybe you just don’t feel foreign holidays are good value for money, in which case perhaps you could look at domestic holidays instead as a way to have those fun experiences without the expense of flights.

      1. Parenthetically*

        I really can’t cosign hard enough on this comment! I think it’s just a priorities issue. We had friends who made far less money who went on beach vacations or to Disney twice a year or whatever, always had designer jeans, etc., but we prioritized differently. Your last paragraph really nails it. Washi, what experiences do you think your kids are going to miss out on by having things paid for? How can you and your husband nail down your priorities so you can ensure your kids aren’t being coddled or spoiled or (your concerns here), while your husband ensures your kids get the experiences he wants them to have? One of my friends from school was from a really wealthy family, but they lived in their nice-but-ordinary brick ranch in our small town, drove old cars, wore high-quality but not flashy clothes, and, yes, did a bit of international travel, to places they were passionate about and loved learning about. I think they did so much right. Their kids didn’t grow up assuming everything was just going to be given to them, but they also didn’t live some weird life pretending they didn’t have money or never taking advantage of their advantages.

    6. Llellayena*

      I grew up solidly middle class, pretty much like you except we did take regular vacations (only child, not as expensive that way). I think the vacations can be important, but it depends on how you use them. A week at Disney or the beach, nice but not life changing. A week including the Air and Space Museum or seeking out factory tours or introducing kids to a new culture; that’s worth prioritizing. Basically, discuss WHY to take the vacations, don’t just take them because ‘oh we go every year.’

    7. Ltrim Press Club*

      Mr. Club and I are mostly the same social status, big picture – maybe I was upper lower because I had more than one pair of shoes.

      Travel for us is local, as in camping. We dream of maybe someday going to Hawaii.

      It’s a challenge in that the children in school have a mix of social class levels, making it difficult to explain why we don’t get to go to Mexico/Disney/somewhere for spring break.

      That would be my thoughts – Be mindful of expectations and plan accordingly.

    8. Reba*

      I would say my spouse and I have a similar pairing of economic backgrounds (though genders reversed, presuming you’re a woman, sorry if wrong!). And our experience is that the life priorities thing doesn’t necessarily map onto the class thing in the way it does for you guys. We both feel travel is essential! We’re not looking at having kids, though, so your conversation has different dimensions for sure.

      My spouse, whose growing up was modest–they got brand name cereal as a birthday treat–didn’t take childhood vacations regularly but his family really values travel and cross cultural experiences. A while ago my MIL was kindof fretting that they had never gone on beach vacations, did her kids miss out??? But the traveling they did really reflected their priorities: visiting family several states away and infrequent but significant overseas travel (I realize this is exceptional, they lived abroad at times for work).

      Both his parents and mine wisely encouraged us to choose the least expensive college option we had, because that would allow us to spend money on traveling and study abroad.

      And the other thing is that there are many different ways to travel and different goals for travel experiences. Obviously it’s not *necessary*, but it can be a LOT more enriching than an amusement park! And I don’t think it has to be, like, to a different country or a world culture capital (e.g. Paris) to be educational; it’s about seeing different ways of doing something, different food traditions, festive traditions, histories, etc. etc. etc. And not to be discounted, the ways it can help you grow because it can be hard and frustrating! Having new experiences together is a great way to bond.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Man was my husband ecstatic to discover Navajo fry bread. I’d read about it, but he doesn’t read food-themed lit so it’s existence was a complete gastronomic surprise.

        1. Parenthetically*

          So funny you should say that, because since we had Navajo tacos in New Mexico my husband’s been dropping hints that we should try to make them at home. So gooooood!

    9. Falling Diphthong*

      I’d argue that if (family travel, other noun) is important to one person and the other is eh on it, then you should do it. That’s supporting each other.

      Anecdatum: we did a big family trip when our daughter was three (because that’s when my husband finished grad school and we had time) and it was great, and she remembered an astonishing amount. We’re planning a trip to return to somewhere we visited about a decade ago, which my son has remembered all that time and wanted to see again even though he was about 7. Family travel is one of those things that is not essential, but if you can swing it is often really appreciated by everyone.

    10. Nacho*

      No personal experience, but I can pretty easily see how growing up in vastly different social classes would be as much of a difference as growing up in different countries or religions. I’d recommend taking it the same was as those differences: with a lot of talking and compromises.

    11. Dan*

      I grew up lower middle class but have moved up the class scale a bit as an adult. It’s sort of hard trying to balance the life I grew up with with the life I have now. For one thing, I never traveled as a kid. I do it regularly as an adult.

      If I have kids (none yet, none planned) taking them overseas in their younger years isn’t really something I consider a “must”. TBH, as a tourist, one is always going to get the tourist view of the world, and most of the time it’s kind of limiting – doubly so if you travel with organized groups. So I’m with you for the most part.

      The only real exception is if the kids start learning a foreign language with some level of competency. I learned German as a kid, but never had a chance to use it in ways that really mattered. Caveat: In most big cities across the world, English is becoming more widely spoken. So lots of people will respond to you in English if they think you’re struggling with their language. As an adult, I travel to Germany when I can, and I remember enough of my HS German to try and use it. As mentioned, sometimes it works, but more often people respond in English.

      One memorable experience I had was traveling with my dad in Spain on a cruise ship. I’ve picked up some basic Spanish phrases here and there (and google translate can help). On one of the port stops, my dad and I managed to get far enough away from the touristy restaurants near the port and found a good not-so-touristy restaurant far enough away. It was dead when we went in there, and the waiter spoke no English. Dad and I had fun picking through the menu, and managing with the little Spanish we knew. A half hour later, a tour group walked in, the tour guide did all of the ordering, and the people just got the food and ate it. I guarantee we had two very different experiences.

      TL;DR: I’m with you on the importance of dragging your kids overseas.

      1. dumblewald*

        As someone who traveled overseas a lot as a kid because my dad had a job that required traveling, plus I had family overseas…traveling is something most kids don’t appreciate until at least in their teens. I remember spending my time in Thailand and China simply wishing I could be back home playing barbies or whatever with my friends bc parents are boring. As a grad student, I ended up traveling for research and LOVED learning about different cultures, philosophies, art, etc. But I like to think my tastes have developed somewhat since I was 8.

        An exception could be traveling that involves fun activities, like camping and hiking. But hopefully you can access camping sites by car rather than have to buy expensive plane tickets.

      2. blackcat*

        Yes, this.
        I have only once traveled internationally with a parent, and that was as an adult.
        As a teen/college student, I did several exchange-type travel experiences (staying with families), in France and several South American countries. Those experiences are what means I’m competent in two other languages, which I have found invaluable.
        My husband has found traveling with me to be very different than with his parents (who only speak English), since I sort of boldly wander around and happily enter places where people speak no English. I basically haven’t done any traveling outside of romance-language territories, so I can always get by. His international travel as a kid was restricted to touristy stuff. It’s different.

    12. Not A Manager*

      My first long-term partner relationship was with someone who already had children from a previous marriage. Later we had more children of our own. After my first partner passed away, I established a relationship with someone who had no children of his own, but we formed a blended family with both my children and my existing step-children.

      My experience has been that people ALWAYS have different expectations of how to manage money, how to run a household, how to raise children, what’s “normal” and what’s a treat/excessive/spoiling/smothering. This last applies not only to spending money on kids, but also to how much attention you give them, how much you supervise/intervene in their school work and friendships, etc.

      THEREFORE… I think the fact that you are both aware of reasons for possible disagreements/different expectations, and you’re talking about these things now, is wonderful and super important. I think you’re in a much better place than people who marry someone from a similar background, and so they ASS-U-ME that they will have the same instincts about everything, especially their kids. Pro tip: They will not, and the fact that they both expected to can lead to a lot of “you’re not following the rules” – “no you” – “this is obvious” – “this is ridiculous” etc.

      So long as you and your partner have similar values, which it sounds like you do, I think you will be able to discuss and negotiate these issues. Remember that whatever you decide on beforehand, you’ll still need to explicitly discuss and revisit throughout your kids’ childhood.

      1. Not A Manager*

        I would urge you to reconsider the travel issue, TBH. “Travel” isn’t synonymous with “expensive vacation,” and if you look at the state of our world, a lot of people with the narrowest world-views also happen to be people who have never left their home country.

        If you and your husband can agree on what would be the goal of foreign travel (including having a fun vacation, but not limited to that), maybe you’ll think of ways to reach those goals without spoiling your kids. I’m biased because I took my kids on several international trips that they, as adults, still remember as being amazing but also as life-changing in terms of their sense of their own place in a larger world.

        1. TL -*

          I’ve met a lot of people with narrow world-views who have left their home country and some who have traveled quite extensively.

          If you aim to teach your kids to listen to other people and value others’ voices and viewpoints, they’ll find ways to experience how other people see the world, regardless of whether or not they leave the country.

    13. ThatGirl*

      I grew up fairly working class/lower middle class, though in a somewhat intentional sort of way. My dad was a pastor and my mom did a variety of administrative jobs. We never went hungry, but no new cars or expensive vacations or anything.

      My husband is naturally pretty frugal but his parents are upper middle class. He and I don’t have many conflicts over it, but I do clash a little with my inlaws. They live in a huge expensive house, lease new cars, vacation multiple times a year… it’s their money but man do they spend it willynilly. And yet don’t seem to realize how privileged they are.

      But. My husband gets it. He is fairly frugal. And it drives him a little nuts too.

      1. ThatGirl*

        One funny thing, we did travel a fair amount growing up, it was just to things like family reunions and church conferences. So I’ve seen the country from that viewpoint; my husband’s trips were primarily cruises and Disney World.

    14. Not So NewReader*

      I think writing a budget is a good idea for reasons like this. What does your budget allow, how can you get the most benefit for dollars spent and so on.

      Oddly, the kid(s) may not even like travel that much. They may get more out of a high quality musical instrument to practice on. Kids can be funny/odd that way.

      I think you are looking at a blend of things to find your answers. Not just finances but the kids’ interests, how much energy the two of you have for travel and so on. If you do end up traveling, try to find things that would be of interest to you, also. It’s your vacation, too, keep that in mind. It doesn’t have to be totally about the kids.

    15. Kj*

      My husband and I are not widely different classes(my parents were more white collar and his more blue, but income-wise they were close), but I see this play out a lot in my community. There is a certain type of upper class person that sees travel as essential. I struggle with this- we took vacations as a kid, but to national parks to camp and hike, because my parents liked the outdoors. But we didn’t do European holidays or Disney or cruises. People in my area are shocked when I haven’t been to Europe, despite that I love history and art. People look down on me somewhat. It is strange to me, since despite many of them having traveled more than me, they know less about the places they have been, because they don’t read as much. I’d like to travel, but for me, paying off my house and saving for my son’s education is more important than trips. I don’t think people prioritizing travel are wrong, but I wish they’d stop judging me for not having traveled widely. Traveling alone doesn’t make one educated.

    16. Pieismyreligion*

      I’m in my 40’s and grew up middle class in a large family. The summer traveling we did absolutely shaped mine and my sibling’s lives as adults. It was 90% road trips, often to family in other states, lots of camping since that was affordable (we had a pull along trailer and a big tent). But we made it to Canada a couple times.
      I believe traveling with kids really helps them see and understand differences in culture, even if it is just Denver vs NYC, and opens up their thinking about what is possible in their future. Traveling as a family also provided us with stories we still bring up today, like when my brother was accidentally left at a gas station or the word game my sister invented during the long boring drive through the depths of Nevada. I don’t have kids, my siblings travel wide and often and my nieces and nephew and are some of the most interesting and empathetic young people I know.
      I will say I remember the hotel pool better than Disneyland when we went there at age 8, and the Corn Palace was a much bigger deal in my memory than when I saw it as an adult.

    17. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Just going to address the travel (which should probably be it’s own thread! LOL). It isn’t so much about international… for me, it was about exposure to new things and learning.
      We grew up poor, even in comparison to most relatives. But my mom was a reader and history buff, and my dad had been in the navy. We didn’t travel overseas, but we traveled for 2+ weeks every year (camping, staying with friends and relatives in their yard, PB&J sandwiches in the car for lunch, frugal 4 kids/station wagon/popup camper travel).
      We saw every single major monument, the white house, attended congress, met senators, the Smithsonian, every museum humanly possible, presidential birthplace and library, and all the major national parks. Black hills, Devil’s Monument, Zion. Body surfed in SCAL, crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay, Detroit to Texas. We are from a flyover state with too many vowels, but every year, hit the road and mom read from the guide books and we toured. By the time I got to 8th grade Civics class, I had enough depth of background to understand the branches of government and had seen them in action. I’d waded in all the oceans and great lakes, and my sense of geography and culture was pretty good.
      I had friends who had never been outside the one or two states that bordered ours, and I always felt badly for them. It meant that my dad drove his old truck for 20 years, and we never ever bought a car newer than 4 years old… but all of us, to this day (for the ones still alive), are readers, and love to learn.
      It helped me be less of an introvert when I went to college – while I had a bit of a struggle, the fact that I’d been to almost every state (HI and AK excluded, can’t drive there in 2-3 weeks easily from my state and we couldn’t fly the whole group)… meant I had context for how they grew up and often had been to their state capital and major attractions.
      So it wasn’t about lavish vacations – we spent the money on the fuel and the entrance fees. It was about the shared experiences and the family bonding. (this was in the days before phones and tablets – we got to talk in the car).
      Sending a hug… I think travel is one of the best things you can do.
      How much of that is the upbringing? I don’t know – but I do know that my father and mother were still loving sight-seeing until they couldn’t get out of the car any longer. (Mom still uses her cane and goes out to the pier to do whale watching… Bless her curiosity and learning).
      But I do know my heart and understanding of others was greatly expanded by the exposure.

      1. Lucyloo*

        Your childhood travels would have made young me so very happy.

        We never traveled when I was a kid, and I’ve never been able to afford it as an adult. I’ve been to a handful of states (8? 10?) and Canada for work, and that’s it. My kids are 12 and 14 and I would dearly love to take them places. But that’s just me; different people have different priorities.

    18. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I guess my partner and I are the same social class (US, “middle class” is very broad), but we had very different upbringings. Their parents were stationed overseas for a few years during their childhood, and they did a lot of international travel before, during, and after that. My family mostly went camping upstate for vacation; we managed a trip to Disney World once, and as a teenager we did spend a few days in Montreal and even went on a short cruise to Bermuda, which was as fancy as we ever got in my family of origin. My partner graduated without student loans, I had to take out the maximum every year (same school). However, we’re both quite frugal, so we’re fairly well-matched, and we’re probably living about how their parents were but saving more, so I’ve been able to gradually adjust my expectations upwards. Although I’m still kind of stunned that I could just decide to fly out to see a childhood friend for his milestone birthday a few years ago; flying was a very special thing for us when I was growing up. We’ve also done some international travel in the last 10 years, but that was thoroughly budgeted and planned, whereas the visit for my friend’s birthday was planned the day his spouse invited me. I’m also still kind of stunned when I realize we own a horse, because my only exposure to horses growing up was the hansom cabs in Central Park and NYPD mounted police! :D

  9. Jonah*

    Do y’all think $400 for a 2 hour, in-person, hands-on introduction class to learn a software like Tableau from a certified professional is reasonable?

    I’ve never taken a class like that before, and I’m hesitant to lay down the money, even though I really would love to learn how to use the program. The class is relatively new, and I don’t personally know of anyone who’s already taken it. However, I’m acquainted with the guy who’s going to be teaching it through work, so I could potentially reach out to him directly with any further questions. I don’t want to undervalue his time and knowledge, but $400 is also a lot of money for me right now!

    1. LibbyG*

      For that kind of money, I’d much rather have print and video materials I could access again and again. I don’t know Tableau, but it’s hard to imagine really learning any software in one sitting.

    2. MintHartkeLavendar*

      I think that sounds pretty reasonable (especially if, as LibbyG notes, it has materials you can reference later). If it were your last $400 I would say maybe not, but 2 hours is enough to build a pretty good foundation and you can always keep a separate doc of notes to remind yourself how to do certain things later. Given that it’s pretty complex data analysis software, I think having the benefit of a well-guided curriculum that you’re working through would at least give you a solid foundation to supplement with like Youtube videos and self-guided practice over time.

    3. Hellanon*

      I’d look into free/nearly free resources, like what used to be Lynda.com on LinkedIn, or Udemy, first. If you are going to spend that kind of money I wouldn’t want to waste it being taught things like how to open or save a file.

    4. Ltrim Press Club*

      Mixed thoughts!

      Tableau has a lot of online tutorials plus a lot of content available on Lynda. But then nothing replaces the impact of a great in person session.

      I agree with you on the cost. I’d love to pursue the certification for Tableau, but it’s a burden as a personal expense.

    5. MissDisplaced*

      It seems pretty reasonable for an in-person and hands on training. Two hours is a bit short though, I’d maybe expect a half-day for that, but it depends on the software and how good the instructor is.

      For context, I paid $2000 for a 3-day course for a web CMS training. It was 3 full days of about 6-7 hours hands-on each day. We did receive book/files/materials to take home as part of the fee.

    6. Forkeater*

      The price seems reasonable but I wouldn’t start with a class. Can you download a trial version and work through some online tutorials first? Tableau has a ton of videos and tutorials (on the company website) and I think you would learn more doing that than in two hours.

      I was introduced to tableau at a two day training provided by my company but didn’t use the software for a year after that and retained nothing. When tableau became pretty much my full time job later I got up to speed quickly using the online resources.

      1. Dan*

        I’m getting a kick out of the number of posts that say the price seems reasonable, but then provide ways of learning the material at a much cheaper cost :D

        I don’t think the price is reasonable for an entry-level course. Advanced stuff, perhaps, but how to connect to data and do basic stuff? As you indicate, there’s a google search for that.

    7. Dan*

      Aha!

      Something I know something about :D I use Tableau almost daily at the place we don’t talk about on weekends. It’s funny, it’s really a supplement to what I do and not the main focus, but I’ve found it indispensable. And when I get public recognition at the place we don’t talk about on the weekends, they almost always say something about my ability to communicate my work with effective visualizations. The weird thing is, I do/did them for my own edification and to help myself; they just sort of stuck.

      First things first, if you work with data, learn Tableau. (Or something like it.) In this day and age, I’d call it the one thing every data analyst should know.

      Ok, next quesetion is how. That’s tricky. My company paid for me to take a four-day course from a consulting firm (they came and taught a group class) and at the time, I had very little experience with Tableau. The first two days were advertised as “beginner” and was ok in my book, but I was still struggling with the basics such that the second two days (billed as “advanced”) lost me.

      Over time, though, I can say that I’m not a big fan of in-person structured, curriculum based learning. I’m far enough along in my career at this point that “generic” technical training (be it software, data analysis, or whatever) isn’t well suited to the technical tasks I will have to accomplish in the next 6 months. So I spend a lot of time in those courses learning stuff I’m just going to forget, and the stuff I will need to do often isn’t covered.

      For learning technical material, I’ve found it’s easier to have a real problem to solve/chunk of data to analyze, figure out what information you want out of it, and then pull up Mr. Google and some reference books or whatever and go to two.

      And… now I’m going to say I’m not a fan of the way most introductory technical courses are taught/structured. Case in point: A Tableau class is going to walk you through an example, and say “we’re going to build a viz that will show X information from Y data.” Ok fine. But the early stuff is going to focus on the actual mechanics of clicking A and dragging B over to C spot. And presto! But I find it short on the fundamentals — the understanding of WHY something is doing what it’s doing. In Tableau terms, it’s really kind of important to understand the basics of the data types — dimensions, measures, attributes, discrete, and continuous variables. Pop quiz: What’s the difference between a discrete date and a continuous date/time in Tableau? When would you want to use one and not the other? (Hint: Times are times, the choice here is something you get to pick, not something you’re stuck with.)

      Thinking like that is not usually covered in a short/intro course, yet, when you connect to your own data for the first time, you’ll get a blank screen, and then have to decide what you want to do with all of the data fields. So you kinda need to know what your choices are, and not just how to recreate the sample problem from scratch.

      Your knowledge being what it is (starting from scratch), two hours being what it is (not much time), and $400 being what it is (a lot of money), I can’t see paying $400 unless your time is very, very valuable. You’ll probably learn more with a random data set, a Saturday afternoon, and a glass or two of wine then you will in two hours of somebody telling you to click stuff. You’ll be $400 richer too. Quite frankly, for intro level material, I’d say $50/hr is probably a more appropriate price to pay out of your own pocket. For really in depth, complicated stuff, I’d pay more for it, but the basic stuff doesn’t warrant the price tag you quoted.

      1. Camellia*

        I work in IT and agree with Dan 100% on everything he says here. Well put; fantastic approach for learning.

    8. Nacho*

      That sounds like a lot of money for something like that. Ideally, any decently made program should have a combination of simple UIs and well written manuals and FAQs that should be all you need to use it. Worst case, You Tube tutorials like these: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=tableau+training+for+beginners should be enough to teach you anything you can learn in two hours, even from a “certified professional”. And I’m putting certified professional in quotations marks because usually the certifications for something like this are themselves only a few hours long.

    9. Someone Else*

      That’s very reasonable. I’d expect consultants (and that’s really what you’re getting here, a consultant) to be right around $200 an hour. You could probably find some for a little less, and others who charge a bit more. Still for a 2-hour session, that’s well within market range.
      Whether it’s worth it from this particular source is up to your own research, but they’re not charging ridiculous prices if this is a hands-on in-person thing.
      If you just want to learn in general there are likely many free resources you could choose.

    10. Sam Foster*

      It sounds unreasonable to me. The free online tutorials Tableau provides will provide you a good foundation and then 2 hours won’t be enough to get anything more advanced accomplished.

    11. ExoticButters*

      I have spent the last 4 days desperately wrestling with a Tableau dashboard at the place we don’t discuss on weekends. :) I would have happily paid $400 out of my own pocket to have the issue solved on the first day. But it was an advanced, technical, picky issue that even our Tableau contact didn’t immediately pick up on — not at all the same thing as an intro 2-hour course.

      I’d save your money for when you’re farther along and totally stuck, and there’s nothing on the internet to help because your case is so unusual.

    12. Jonah*

      Thanks, everyone! I’ve decided against the intro level class for now. I’m familiar with turning data into visual reports in more point and click software, so I’m not sure that it would be worth it for 2 hours of intro-level work which could very easily be in-depth explanations of the difference between a metric and a dimension. I think I’ll try out the free trial of Tableau paired with some of the great no-/low-cost learning options you all have recommended. I’d feel more comfortable putting $400 into an intermediate class once I already have a good understanding of the basic mechanics. Thanks again, I really appreciate it!

  10. Loopy*

    I am having an embarrassing problem. I woke up with both my hands positively *covered* in bites. I haven’t the slightest clue if they are flea bites, bed bug bites, or scabies (normally unlikely but I somehow got them just 6 months ago and treated them successfully).

    I had just a tiny two areas with a few bites I was suspicious about last weekend and so went to an urgent care and got a script for scabies (doctor wasn’t convinced but gave me one just in case) and then *absolutely nothing* happened all week. I never filled the script and had a little relieved laugh at myself for being paranoid just last night.

    Then my hand exploded over night. Also, I can’t discuss the ins and outs of this part because it’s the weekend thread, but I found out I’m losing my job yesterday in a situation where I have to reapply and compete for my own position (through 100% no fault of my own) so I need to give that a LOT of attention this weekend. I only mention it to stress that I have a bit on my plate and am feeling overwhelmed as to what I should do about waking up with a rather diseased looking hand and possible infestation of my person, dog, or house.

    With limited time, should I treat for the scabies and possibly treat my dog for fleas? He itches a bit but not overwhelmingly so. Do I just give the house a decent cleaning, treat me and the dog just in case? Any advice for how to do *something* when having no clue what the exact issue is? I cant seem to find any indication either treatment will harm me or the dog if I’m off about what’s wrong.

    1. Lcsa99*

      Without knowing the side effects for the scabies medication (and I would google it, along with maybe something like “taking x when not needed”), since you are short on time I would go ahead and treat both your dog and yourself.

      Honestly I don’t think its fleas. From what I remember from having a dog as a kid, most of the time when we got bit it was on the legs. But I don’t think it’ll hurt to give your dog a flea bath or something similar just in case. But as soon as you do have more time I would look into it more thoroughly.

      1. Loopy*

        I googled it but since the doctor prescribed it without any concerns since she wasn’t convinced I feel mostly okay. My walk in doctors have… well I dont want to bash doctors but I have had some very meh experiences at those places so *hopefully* she was aware enough not to prescribe something with serious issues so casually on an ‘if you feel you need it’ basis!!!

    2. Gerald*

      I know you have limited time, but a bit of research moght help:
      – bed bugs can show up around the bed. I would suggest searching online for how they look, and then check your bed
      – fleas can be searched for on your dog. I would suggest that you check them all over (most importantly by the ears and face, armpits and groin). Ideally you can get a little flea comb (they are often $1-2). There are plenty of youtube videos which explain how to do this, but essentially you search for flea ‘dirt’, and put it on a moist paper towel to see if it turns red.

      A search for bugs won’t guarantee that you find them, but it might be easier to start with a search rather than treatments.

      1. Loopy*

        I dont know if this makes any difference but my husband woke up without a bite on him. I really don’t have the time or mental/emotional bandwidth to handle looking for/thinking about bedbugs. I know I’d HAVE to and it’s not really optional but I can’t even think about it right now (I’m just in such a bad state when this is hitting, couldn’t be worse timing).

        Will ask husband to check dog tonight.

        1. Zephy*

          I think this is one more point in favor of this not being bug bites, if your hubs doesn’t have anything on him. Might be an allergic reaction, might be something autoimmune like eczema. IDK how much that helps, since if it is autoimmune those are usually exacerbated by stress…

        2. Bedbugs are bad*

          We had bedbugs years ago, and my husband was waking up with no bites but I was covered in them.

          The trick to identifying bedbugs is that the bites will be in 90 degree angles to each other, so they’ll make squared-off shapes or zigzags when you play connect the dots with them. They can swell up like mosquito bites if you’re allergic. Fleas are usually smaller bites, like an inflamed pinprick almost (we’ve had those, too.)

          Typically bugs (any kind of bug) only bite your exposed skin, so getting bites just on your hands isn’t that weird. For treating the bites, try some Benadryl. I like the skin cream, it usually gets the bite down in a day with continuous application.

          Good luck!

          1. Loopy*

            Well I can’t find many 90 degree angles, which is good! What’s oddest with mind is they are consistent. Someone mentioned hives or skin issues, which Maybe it’s that? I’ll treat for scabies since it’s a one time lotion and I have it now, but I’ll keep in mind it could be a skin issue.

          2. only acting normal*

            Bedbugs are picky about who they bite; given a choice they’ll head for whoever smells tasty to them.

        3. Gerald*

          I agree that it’s unusual for bugs to bite your hands, which is why if husband can check the dog and bed tonight then it might be an easy way to get some confidence that it isn’t bedbugs or fleas.

          Bugs are mighty, but they are also relatively small and weak. Hands are some of the toughest skin on our bodies, so it would be unusual for them to bite there and nowhere else.

          Which makes me inclined to agree with others that it is likely a stress reaction. I get a rash on my hands, which is mostly based on the weather but stress makes it worse. I use hydrocortisone – it’s $5 and gives me relief within the day, so maybe it’s an option for you to try?

          Good luck!

          1. Bulbasaur*

            I have a similar problem that pops up rarely and has been known to trigger if I’m particularly stressed. It looks like a rash/hives and affects mostly the hands. Sometimes I get it on other parts of my body as well but it’s much less severe. The hands will also swell up and get quite painful, so I’m not able to bend the fingers all the way down for example.

            I still don’t know for sure what it is, but it seems to be allergy related as antihistamines help with it. I suspect it might require a combination of factors since it happens so rarely, but when it does happen it’s quick and severe (like yours).

            You could try an over the counter antihistamine like loratadine and see if it helps. It usually takes a week or two for mine to clear up, but you should start seeing improvement in a few days if it’s immune related. Keep them clean, dry and cool and try to avoid anything that would aggravate the problem, like hot water or abrasion. Think of anything that might be triggering the problem (perhaps you wore an old pair of gloves? Any changes in diet?) and eliminate it. Mine used to get really itchy and I found wrapping an icepack in a towel to hold was helpful. Topical creams can help sometimes, but I’ve never found them all that useful for mine – it’s sufficiently serious that nothing really helps much, and just the act of rubbing the ointment in can send the itch into overdrive for hours.

    3. LibbyG*

      Ack! What a drag! Is it worth it to get seen again? Maybe get a prescription cream to tamp down the inflammation so that you can focus on your urgent tasks? I hope this turns around soon!

      1. Loopy*

        Unfortunately, I mentioned below I don’t have the money or honestly, the will to go back in. I have severe medical cost anxiety that I’ve never been able to find a workable system on (I’ve tried EVERYTHING to get costs up front and it’s always a disaster. I hate my insurance and medical billing/coding).

    4. Knope*

      If you had scabies six months ago, it’s HIGHLY likely that this is scabies again. Fill the script, wash your bedding, wash any blankets on the couch, wash as many of your clothes as you can… basically they thrive in cloth surfaces. They have probably been hanging out since the last time. You can machine wash your pillows, or just get new ones. Good luck!!

      1. Loopy*

        This distresses me to no end. I really spend an entire weekend cleaning the house. It was exhausting and I did EVERYTHING thoroughly. I didn’t cut corners. If it didn’t work then, I can’t even think of doing it again to no avail. I’m near sobbing thinking about going through that process again if it didn’t even work last time. At this point, I need to curl in a ball and cry (sleep deprived, stressed, etc.) before I can even think about starting that. I do appreciate the comment, I’m just… not really okay in a very general sense so I can’t handle reality it seems.

        Burning everything and starting over sounds tempting.

        1. only acting normal*

          Your cleaning may have been perfect, but you may be picking it up from somewhere else and bringing it home with you. (Happened to a coworker, he picked it up at a friend’s house when he crashed on their sofa.)

    5. Ranon*

      Is it possible they aren’t bites but something like dyshidrotic eczema or stress hives or something? Since it’s confined to one part of your body it just seems unlikely that insects are the culprit.

      1. Loopy*

        It isn’t impossible but I cant go back into the doctors. I’m so baffled by it, truthfully. I’d love to throw five different treatments at it and hope one works at this point. This is just really, really impossibly timing for me to approach this rationally (admittedly).

        1. curly sue*

          I’ve had stress hives before at various times, always the worst times — mine show up across my stomach, and I was sure the first time that they were spider bites. Not fun. I’ve had good luck with cortate cream (over the counter hydrocortizone) to bring the inflammation down. I’m sorry you’re so overwhelmed — it seems like that’s always when this sort of thing happens, just to rub salt into the wound. I hope something here helps!

          1. Loopy*

            I’ve never had stress hives, but there sure is some serious stress and I am clearly feelin’ it. How long do your stress hives usually last, if you dont mind me asking?

            1. curly sue*

              A few days? I’m trying to think back to the most recent one. The bulk of them faded within two days and one hung on for another couple. It was on my stomach so it wasn’t visible when I was dressed, which doesn’t help you at all.

              Your descriptions of what they look like really made me think they might be similar. After we figured out that they weren’t spider bites I thought bedbugs, except there was no evidence on the mattress or sheets of anything of the kind, and no-one else was getting bitten. I’ve had them twice more in the past ten years, and now that I know what they are it’s a lot easier to cope.

    6. Marion Ravenwood*

      I would treat yourself and the dog. From what you’ve said, it doesn’t sound like fleas (when I’ve had flea bites from my cats, there have only been two or three in a cluster at most, but I don’t know if dog fleas are different), but I still think regular flea treatment is worth it. You might want to talk to the vet about treatments though as in some areas fleas have become resistant to the over-the-counter stuff.

    7. Zephy*

      Oof, sorry about that job situation, that sounds awful.

      About the bites: hands are a strange place for scabies or flea bites. If you’re able, I would consult a doctor – at least drop by the local doc-in-a-box/urgent care, if you’re not able to make an appointment with a dermatologist.

      1. Lilith*

        Vacuum your mattress when all your linens are off. I’m puzzled by the “bites” or whatever just being on your hands.

      2. Loopy*

        Alas, I’ve posted above and below with more detail but doctor is not an option right now. I would love for it to be a skin condition rather than an infestation though. Scabies really freaked me out and I truly live in fear of them. What misery.

        1. Zephy*

          I have also had scabies, so believe me, I GET IT. Because the bites are on your hands, though, that makes me think it’s not that – IME they tend to like the more…moist zones of the body. Sorry.

          1. Loopy*

            I’m really hoping it’s not scabies, right now emotionally that would be the worst thing to face. I had them previously and they were more spread on the body for sure. I’m kind of just grasping at straws.

            1. EN*

              I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this! I had scabies once, and it made me super paranoid too. The hands are actually a very common place for bites to cluster. That was what made my doctor recognize my itch/rash as scabies in the first place. The good news is the mites can only live for 3 days when they’re not on a human host. My doctor had me (and my husband, since he could have picked them up in our bed without showing symptoms yet) do the whole body treatment twice, ten days apart to make sure any newly hatched mites were killed before they could reproduce. After treatments we cleaned EVERYTHING in the washer/dryer on hot. No reoccurrences, even though I never did figure out how I got them in the first place.

    8. Nita*

      Oh no, I’m sorry! I’ve never seen a scabies rash, but if it helps… my dog had fleas twice and I never got bitten. I don’t think they like to attack humans when there’s a dog around. As for bedbugs, the rash tends to be in clusters of straight lines, and many people get welts at the bite locations.

      1. Loopy*

        I have clusters of bites like a little family of bugs was all having dinner together in the same area but…. some are in a line and some are completely on their own. I have literally every variant, so I’m baffled by online pictures. It could easily be any of the three options from my observation.

        1. Nita*

          Do you garden by any chance? I wonder if you might have stuck your hand into something that caused an allergic reaction. I hope it’s some silly one-time thing like that.

          1. valentine*

            And have you used a new lotion/soap/cleaner? Do you have new clothing/fabrics or a pillow/-case? Where have your hands been that your husband’s haven’t?

    9. Canonical23*

      Couple suggestions:

      – if you don’t want to take any prescriptions until you can get to a doctor, I suggest buying some tea tree oil. Cut it with water and dab it on the areas of your hand that are bitten. I’m not going to comment on its effectiveness in stopping bugs or healing scabies – that’s debatable, but its my go-to to relieve itchiness and redness.
      – Flea medicine found at a pet store won’t hurt your dog if he doesn’t have fleas and will prevent any future cases for 3 months after.
      – If you have the means, go to urgent care or a walk-in clinic. I have dyshidrotic eczema on only my hands and when it blisters up, it very much looks like bug bites. In addition, it flares up every time I go through any significant amount of stress. I’m not armchair diagnosing by any means – just saying that there are a variety of other explanations for what is going on with your hands and getting a doctor or nurse practitioner’s opinion is going to make a world of difference.

      1. Loopy*

        thanks. I have no issues slateribg myself in meds, truthfully. I just want to throw everything at the problem because I’m too exhausted to approach it reasonably!

        I do very much wish I could go back into the doctors but I went last weekend and can’t afford to go again. I have serious serious anxiety around medical costs due to utter misery in the past. I’ve tried everything, including talking to the doctor about getting costs up front. Somehow billing/insurance always shocks me no matter what I do to communicate up front and turns into a billing/coding nightmare and I pay big costs even for routine visits like this, WITH insurance. I get sick thinking about it as it’s been so terrible in the past. I spend months contesting bills, exhausting myself to absolutely no avail. Alas.

        1. valentine*

          Take a picture of your hand and post it on Reddit?

          Can your husband deal with medical bills for you? You should only have to pay a copay for an office visit. You could ask your insurance what they cover as far as skin treatment. Do you have a nurse advice line you can call? (I really think someone has to see your hand, though.)

          Isn’t a medical visit the least labor-intensive/horrible? You don’t want to unnecessarily wash everything (and, what, wrap your hand? I don’t know if it would recontaminate everything; husband should do the washing), treat your dog for fleas (husband should do this), or use the scabies medication (which, for all you know, could be contraindicated for what you have). One thing at a time. Address your hand issue. If you can clear it up in the next few days, you might feel better about taking on the next crisis.

    10. Oof!*

      For what it’s worth, I’ve had something similar (the doc thought it might be scabies, but it had been awhile and my husband hadn’t picked it up). For me, it’s a form of dermatitis and is treated with a steroid cream. They flare up when I’m stressed or when I travel. They primarily turn up on my hands and feet.

      1. Loopy*

        This could be possible! I’ve never had it exactly like this but I’ve had another type of eczema. I have some cream perscribed by the urgent care doctor if it was posion ivy so I threw some of that on. I think it might be a steroid cream or similar?

        1. AcademiaNut*

          If you’re trying to figure out what’s going on, you can always treat one hand with the steroid cream and not the other. If it clear ups with the steroid cream but not the other hand, then that gives you a clue.

          FWIW, eczema can definitely be stress triggered, and can appear on the hands. OTC steroid creams will often calm it down, but it’s REALLY important not to use it long term without careful doctor oversight – a week or two following instructions on the package but not longer. Steroids have some nasty side effects if you use them too long. Typically, you use the cream to calm down the outbreak and then take extra care – use warm water to wash, moisturized carefully with a non-perfumed moisturizer, use gloves when doing things like scrubbing the toilet or washing dishes.

          I’ve also had allergic reactions on my skin, and that manifests itself as waking up with a raised, red, itchy rash. In that case, I treat it with cold clothes and patience, and it disappears in about a week.

    11. SunshineOnMyShoulder*

      We had a family member with si liar symptoms, and they kept coming back. It turns out he had an infestation of carpet beetles, not scabies.

    12. Red*

      Any chance it could be hives? If your husband woke up with nothing, and there are no signs of insects, it might be stress hives. I get them and it’s annoying as heck, because then you’re stressing out about the hives, too. Benadryl helps. You can even get it in a topical cream, if taking the tablets makes you drowsy. Basically, my reccomendation is to check for common signs of insects (fleas on the dog, bugs in the corners of your mattress, etc) and if you don’t see anything, get some Benadryl. It’s available OTC and cheap, so it’s not going to be anywhere near as expensive as going back to urgent care.

      1. LilySparrow*

        If it’s hives, any OTC antihistamine pill should help. Ones like Claritin and Allegra don’t usually cause as much drowsiness as Benadryl, and the generics are cheap if cost is an issue.

        Actually, if the itching is over a large area and driving you crazy, an OTC antihistamine is probably going to help with bites as well.

    13. Call me St. Vincent*

      I don’t know if someone already said this because there’s so many other replies already, but I had a problem with getting bitten at night and it turned out to be bird or squirrel mites. There was vegetation (tree limbs) touching my window sill and they were coming in from there. It turns out that only some people are allergic to their bites and I am. My husband is not so he didn’t get any. As soon we cut the tree limbs down that were touching the window sills, they stopped and the bites went away. That was after bed bug dog tracking and all kinds of talks with the state agriculture department, flea treatments, etc.

  11. Lcsa99*

    So my husband and I chickened out on the B&B when we found a cabin we could rent for this particular trip. So we’re pretty excited! But since we’ve never done something like this we’re hoping someone that has rented a cabin before can give us an idea of what we can expect. From the inventory list they’ve shared, it seems like the cabin is pretty thoroughly stocked but I am sure there is a lot that won’t even occur to us. It’ll be in late June so we have a lot of time to plan. Any insight or suggestions (or anecdotes!) are welcome!

    1. StellaBella*

      Well no idea where this cabin is, but here are some questions to reflect on:
      How is it heated and how does the heating work? Is there electricity?
      Can you drink the tap water?
      How do the toilets work (as in, are there compostable toilets – no water…or normal toilets hooked to sewer or septic?)
      What about trash – do you need to worry about putting out the trash because of wild animals? How does the trash get removed? And food storage, is it a case that this place is remote so there are bears or raccoons etc? Are there safety protocols the owner needs to tell you about (fire extinguisher etc)?
      If remote enough and you have clear skies go out to look at stars, the International Space Station if it flies over when you are there, meteor showers if they are happening at the time, etc.
      Bring your camera. Bring bug repellent. Check the area for ticks (search online health department for the area). If you need cell phone coverage maybe bring an extra battery/charger thingy in case. Bring a first aid kit.
      Hard to say what you will need overall. Bring snacks you like. Enjoy it. :)

      1. Lcsa99*

        So it’s not quite that rustic. There is electricity, flush toilets, even cable via satellite. Now that you mentioned the stars I am hoping it is remote enough that we can get a good view of them (I have very warm memories of the first time my city slicker husband saw the night sky in all her glory). But the garbage situation is a good question!

        We will be in the finger lakes area, so I am not sure about bears but I would be surprised if there weren’t at least raccoons we’d have to worry about getting into the garbage!

    2. Ranon*

      Basic pantry supplies (oil, salt, sugar, etc.) are nice to bring from home if you’re coming at all, those are the easy things to forget.

      1. Lcsa99*

        This is a good thought. They have the cabin super well stocked with pots and pans and stuff (even baking supplies!) and we usually bring salt/pepper/condiments on vacation for take out, but I don’t think it would have occurred to us to bring more. When we think of the menu for the week we’ll plan that part carefully.

        1. AVP*

          If you’re planning to cook a lot and are driving there, considering bringing your own kitchen knife! For whatever reason those are absolutely dull and hard to use in every cabin I’ve rented.

    3. alex b*

      Last summer my friend group did a “rustic cabin” getaway, and I was by far the least experienced/prepared. I remembered to bring coffee grounds for myself (others don’t drink it), but then there wasn’t a coffee maker (duh). I ended up figuring out how to make it over the stove-top flame and felt SO pioneer lol.

      Also if you have dogs– get the flea/tick prevention drops. I hate that chemical stuff and don’t need it here in nyc, but I’m glad I used it on my dogs for that trip.

      I was also glad to have brought: water shoes along with hiking boots and indoor slip-ons, bug repellent, extra towels, bandages/first aid stuff, sweatshirts and sweatpants, lots of socks, those cleansing cloth things, granola bars, bear spray, a lifestraw, and a library book on wilderness survival. Obviously I over-packed and am ridiculous (I’m really not a prima donna; this trip was just out of my comfort zone), but I felt more comfortable having this stuff just in case.

      The first time we canoed on the lake and looked around, I thought, “OK, so, this is where I’ll be murdered.”

      BUT then I saw a real beaver swimming, and it slapped its tail, and I was childishly amused. Gorgeous herons and eagles, too– the wildlife sold me (sort off… saw a snake the next day and was less amused). I’d never seen stars like that or experienced that kind of quiet. My dogs LOVED it out there, and that was so fun to see.

      I never really got over the “this is where psycho killers come to stalk and chop up unwitting visitors” feeling. But overall I think fondly of the trip.

      1. Lcsa99*

        Ha, I’ve actually camped in places like that as a kid, so I definitely know the feeling you’re talking about! Since this isnt quite that deserted, I don’t think it’ll be like that for this trip (again, my husband is a city slicker!)

        I am hoping that we will get a chance to play on the lake a little. The owners post in multiple places about guests of the cabin being welcome to use their lake access and kayaks, but its across the road from the cabin itself and also on their property, so it might be weird. We will see how we feel!

    4. Loves Libraries*

      We rented a cabin for a long weekend last weekend for my husband’s birthday. His brother and sister in law came too. Since it’s June you might want to ask about air conditioning. We saw a fireplace in the photos and asked if we needed to bring our own wood (yes). I would be surprised if there was not a coffee maker but you might want to ask what kind it is. Don’t forget cooking supplies like foil, Pam,and coffee condiments. Also ask where the closest grocery store is.
      We took our dog and since there wasn’t a fence, we also brought a tie out for her.
      Have fun.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      That region can still be pretty cold at night even in June. Bring layers.

      I hate saying this but my family got screwed over one time by staying in a place that turned the heat off on X date, NO MATTER WHAT. And they would not turn the heat back on for ANY reason. Ask if the heat is turned on at the end of June. My DOG was so cold at night she woke me up with her chattering teeth. I got up, put on my regular heavy clothes and took the blankets off my own bed to wrap her up.

      I have never found cabins that comfy. Perhaps they are better now. The dishes and pans were nothing I would consider using. And the beds seemed worn out. If you can see pictures online that might be helpful. Sorry to be a negative Nancy here. OTH, maybe you can find online reviews.

      And assume there are bears. And moose.

      1. Lcsa99*

        Considering my husband works in a public library, we know what its like to have “dated” heat and air. Hopefully that won’t be an issue! From the little contact we’ve had with the owners they seem like reasonable people, and they dont live too far from the cabin so we’re hopeful. We also did find several reviews and they were all glowing.

        1. FLADK*

          OK – Finger Lakes Region of New York? Black bears are rare and not food acclimated the same way they are in the Catskills or even the Adirondacks. Foxes and Coyotes are much more common in the region, but not typically on the shoreline as most of the finger lakes are steep sides and do not provide easy access for drinking water. However it is important to be aware of your surroundings while also not putting wildlife at risk by callous handling of food, garbage, or pets. This is not a particularly rural area (esp. compared to other parts of NYS), so every inevitability does not have to be planned for. There will be grocery stores, gas stations, etc.

          Depending on which lake, the water will still be VERY cold (around 60-63 degrees F). Whether the lake is warm or not, make sure you wear PFDs at all times while using motor boats, canoes, etc. I’m not trying to worry you, you see like a nervous traveler to begin with, but accidents and other situations outside your skill set can happen very quickly when outside one’s comfort zone.

          This is a vacation, talk to the owners, use their equipment even if its a little awkward, relax a little, know that you can’t plan everything and that things will inevitably go wrong. That is all part of life and growing as an adult and a couple. Have fun with it and enjoy the beauty of the region, the stars and the time together exploring a new place!

    6. Jules the First*

      Salt, pepper, sugar, olive oil. A cooking spoon and spatula (the ones in rentals never seem to be any good), a pair of tongs, one of those universal lids (for some reason, rentals only ever seem to have one pot lid). A little bottle of dish soap and a couple of dish towels.

      Plus a pack of cards and one of your favourite board games. And have fun!

      1. Lcsa99*

        They actually do say they have board games in the cabin, so we’re kinda excited to see what they offer.

        Plus we just found these totally dorky but totally engrossing paint-by-sticker books, so we’re bringing those :)

  12. Ariadni*

    I a texted a friend yesterday on fb that I have Monday off and if they would like to catch a movie. They haven’t replied yet though I have received notifications from facebook that they have posted pictures. I might be petty but I have no intention to reply when they ever get back to me. I am going to be off fb too. I know people are busy. I am myself but I hate when people are not replying even to say they are busy. I was planning to have a holiday with said friend but not anymore.

    1. Washi*

      Does this friend often blow you off? I ask because I sometimes take a day or so to reply to invitations, while I check my calendar and nail down other plans for the week. I would hate to think that someone would think I didn’t want to hang out because I didn’t respond in a certain time frame. (I realize part of the frustration is seeing that they have posted pictures, but that is mindless task that is different from responding to an invitation and I don’t think it necessarily means they are deliberately ignoring you.)

      1. Ariadni*

        It is quite normal for them and I am getting fed up. They are also often late so, it is probably pilling up.

        1. Colette*

          Since you know this is how they are, do you want to continue the friendship?

          If so, is there a way you can change what you’re doing to make yourself happier? For example, invite them to things that your going to do either way, so it’s a gift if they show up but not a problem if they don’t.

    2. TL -*

      That seems really extreme for a fairly normal occurance – you see a message when you can’t respond, it doesn’t seem urgent, and you forget to follow up. If it’s not a pattern, I’d let it go, personally.

      1. Ariadni*

        It is quite normal for them and I am getting fed up. They are also often late so, it is probably pilling up. I am the opposite. Always on time and getting back to people fast.

        1. Nicole76*

          I’m like that too so other people’s delay grinds on my nerves. I understand that they might not know right away but I think it would be better to state that, like “hey, thanks for the invite. I need to check my calendar and I’ll get back to you”, instead of silence. You don’t know what that means and whether to make other plans. I totally sympathize.

    3. Hazelthyme*

      I’ve had friends like this, and it drives me batty, too. I assume it may take a day or so to see texts/messages, but if I can see that you’ve been online, I’d appreciate at least a quick “Maybe, let me check my work schedule” or “Can’t this week, sorry!”

      Eventually, I learned when extending an invitation by text or email to make it detailed enough for the recipient to know if they were interested and available, but vague enough that they’d need to get back to me to finalize details. For example, I might say “Would you like to come for dinner on Sunday?” or “Do you want to see Captain Marvel Friday night?” but not specify a time or theater right then. If I don’t hear back in a few days, that frees me up to make other plans without the original friend texting me 20 min. before the movie asking where I am.

    4. Kathenus*

      Different people communicate differently. I concur with TL, for me it’s not uncommon to see a message at a time I can’t easily respond and then to have it slip off my radar. How about you call on the phone to try to talk directly? If you decide that this friendship isn’t working for you, no problem, that’s your choice. But if the main issue right now is this unanswered message I’d try another method of communication, and since you said this is a pattern maybe ask what works best for them in case it improves things if their style or preferred communication is different.

    5. kc89*

      people try so hard to excuse it, but honestly in this day and age it’s really rude to ignore a text but be publicly posting on other social media

      1. Lilysparrow*

        No. If you want to make up “rules” so you can get offended over something, knock yourself out. But that is not standard in any commonly recognized system of etiquette.

        Sending someone a message means they get to reply when they have something to say. The fact that it’s delivered instantly doesn’t give you the right to demand their instant attention.

        It’s extremely rude to think other people owe you attention on your terms whenever you want it.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I’d lean toward “speak when spoken to” as more of a rule. But there are exceptions to that also.
        People post their breakfast online, some folks have to have their lives online. I know of some people who live as if what is happening online is more important than what is happening in real life.
        I don’t really think it matters what the method of connection is, if a person doesn’t answer then that’s the answer right there. Especially if this is their habit. I would not be surprised if other friends are having the same problem you are, OP.

      3. Catherine*

        Posting stuff and actually, like, interacting with people are completely different energies for me. Sometimes I am only capable of screaming into the void but can’t do a conversation. If someone got on my case about “you’re retweeting stuff but not answering your LINE messages” I would kind of side-eye that.

      4. Colette*

        So if I get a text that I can’t answer at that moment (because I have to check my schedule or with someone else first), I can’t use social media until I reply?

      5. TechWorker*

        Yeah definitely not with you on this. It’s like saying ‘it’s rude to not respond to an email and use the internet in the meantime’. I don’t think it’s healthy to get angry with someone for not responding within a couple of days.

    6. Not A Manager*

      It sounds like you’re at the bitch eating crackers point with this person. Captain Awkward recently had a post about how to engage less (with family, but it applies to friends also) without completely ending the relationship. You might want to think about ways to back away for a bit, before you get to the point of blowing up the entire friendship.

    7. Lilysparrow*

      I don’t think 24 hours to check your schedule and make up your mind about planning an outing is unreasonable. Many people wait to reply to messages until they have an answer, rather than just sending back pointless “Hi I saw this but don’t know if I have to do X or can rearrange Y, so I’ll have to let you know after I hear back from Fergus about the thing.”

      But it sounds like you feel generally annoyed with your friend’s communication style anyhow. So maybe y’all aren’t really compatible as friends anyway.

      But if you think she’s supposed to reply to messages in a certain time frame, being passive-aggressive in not answering isn’t going to make you feel any better. If she’s more scattered, she probably won’t even notice and you’ll wind up with that much more to stew about.

      If you want to rescind the invitation, be an adult and say so.

      1. Nicole76*

        I agree that 24 hours isn’t necessarily unreasonable (depending on how far in advance the invitation is being extended). However, I disagree that it’s pointless to tell someone you’re looking at your schedule and need to get back to them. At least then the person knows your intention. Otherwise they don’t know whether the silence means you’ve forgotten, aren’t interested, or are interested but haven’t said that yet. It gives the person extending the invitation some context, and courtesy, so they know whether to keep holding that spot open on their calendar or to schedule something else. Honestly, I find it interesting when people think it’s quite ok to take days to get back to someone when most people wouldn’t like that being done to them. Do unto others and all that jazz.

        Now, this may depend on how your phone is set up, but on mine I can usually see the first few lines of a text/FB message pop up without going into the app to read it. So, if I know I’m too busy to reply for awhile, I won’t even “read” it until I’m able to respond. That way it doesn’t look like I’m just ignoring my friends and leaving them hanging.

        1. Colette*

          The person who texted you probably won’t know whether you read the message or not.

          But ultimately, it’s not reasonable to assume everyone is ready and willing to reply immediately. People are allowed to have priorities other than replying to a text message from a friend (or anyone else).

          1. Nicole76*

            They will know if they use Facebook messenger. and nowhere did I say, nor imply, I expected a reply immediately.

    8. Zona the Great*

      So, you made a plan of someone else’s time without telling them and then were upset that it didn’t work out? It’s fine to feel ignored and be bummed but what are you going to say to friend? That you’re mad they missed plans you made without their knowledge? Would you have been just as mad if s/he said “no thanks” without explanation as to why?

    9. legalchef*

      Do you often message them on Facebook to make plans? I don’t have the messenger app on my phone, so if i get a message through Facebook I often dont check it for a day or 2, even if I am otherwise making posts etc.

      1. Batgirl*

        If someone messaged me on Facebook I’d never get back to them because messenger is so awkward to check. So I never, ever do. Plus messaging someone this way seems to suggest ‘no hurry’ as you’d go direct to their phone if immediacy was important wouldn’t you? If I need an answer I call, if I’d like an answer I’ll text and if it’s idle blueskying I go to the social media. But that may be just me and my oldness.

    10. Seeking Second Childhood*

      FWIW it’s possible to post to FB via text msg without reading it. Without even having internet access for Messenger. Call or text her phone directly before you decide on a final reaction.

  13. The Other Dawn*

    I’m trying to sell my old house, which is currently rented out to friends of a friend (I’ve known them for many years, but I wouldn’t say they’re friends). It’s not in a great neighborhood and I want it gone, so we recently slashed the price by 20k to hopefully get more showings and it seems we finally are.

    The problem is my tenants are being PITAs about showings lately. At first it was fine, but there were some no-shows and I realize that’s frustrating for them (for me, too!). They share a car, have a pitbull, work a lot and they don’t get home until after 6 PM. They won’t crate the dog all day so showings have to be 6:30 PM or later and they need at least 24 hours’ notice so they can arrange to crate the dog before the realtor gets there, make sure they’ll be home, etc. Again, I know it’s a PITA for them–the no-shows caused one of them to lose pay because she had to leave work early to get home and crate the dog.

    I got a call from my realtor the other night and she’s very frustrated with them, but is infinitely patient so the fact that she called me about it says something. Apparently they’re now telling her that showings have to be 7 PM or later, the tenant texts her a novel about all the reasons why this is a pain (she does the same thing to me about rent issues…), and I’m pretty sure she’s now inventing excuses: she had to go to a funeral last week so no showings, and this weekend there can’t be any showings at all because they’re going out of town to spread the boyfriend’s dead grandmother’s ashes and they’re leaving the dog home and she’d have to arrange with the dog sitter to come over and crate the dog. I found out that neither of them have had living grandparents in many years and they’re not going out of town this weekend (my friend told me). She also told the realtor that they’re “moving very soon”, which is news to me.

    Anyway, this is getting long. The real question is, if I give them notice that the lease is terminated and they leave, does anyone know of anyone, in terms of a profession, that would come by the check the house several times a week to make sure it’s OK? I mentioned to my realtor my hesitation in asking them to move and leaving the house vacant. It’s not a good neighborhood and we’re 45 minutes away. I asked about a property manager, but she said they don’t do that. I guess I could have nearby relatives check on it for us.

    I think it would be so much easier if they left since showings could happen anytime, and they’re still behind on the rent so I wouldn’t feel bad about it. We’ve been absorbing the second mortgage so I know we can manage it for awhile, and it’s not worth it to get new renters when the house is going to be sold soon–I hope!!

    1. The Other Dawn*

      There’s obviously much more to this that I did mention that adds to my sense that they’re just jerking the realtor around now, so it’s not a matter my being annoyed at this one thing.

    2. Gerald*

      Places often sell faster if the renters leave, so I think that would be a good thing for you.

      I’m sure there are options, for example pet-sitters go to houses to check that everything is ok. It might be more than you want to spend (a 30-minute visit here is $25) but maybe they can give you a better rate if you only need 5 minutes? If they insist on pets then maybe put a plant or a pet rock?

    3. Lemonwhirl*

      If they moved out, would the house be empty? (So your concern is then about vandals/squatters vs theft?)

      Would you maybe just get a cheap security system installed and then maybe check the house once a week or something? The security system is then a selling point, especially if it’s a bad neighbourhood.

      It definitely sounds like it would be a relief to have the tenants out and also possibly make it easier to sell the house.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Yes, it would be empty. One-family house. And yes, there’s a security system, although we disconnected it a long time ago. Equipment is still there, though, and I could get one of those lawn signs for the front yard.

    4. bunniferous*

      The realtor should check it once a week.You can also let the police know it is vacant. And I would have family check too.

    5. Ali G*

      There is insurance you can buy for an unoccupied dwelling. It’s just for the structure (fire) and things like appliances, etc. I did this when I moved out of my condo before fixing it up and selling it. You could also get a Ring doorbell or the like so you can keep an eye on things. If you, your realtor and your family each check it once per week, that should be enough activity to keep people away.

      1. Lilysparrow*

        Yes, and please do this!

        We had to do an emergency relocation a few years ago and put our condo on the market. We thought we might be back & forth frequently until it sold and still had our things there, and kept it as our legal permanent address. But the way the situation fell out, it wound up sitting empty for a number of months. The management and our realtor knew it was vacant and had access, and security wasn’t a concern.

        But we didn’t know we were supposed to change over our insurance to a “nonresident owner” policy. The upstairs neighbor flooded the place.

        Our insurance company did cover the damage, but they put a bad report on our record. We had a very hard time getting homeowner’s insurance on our next place.

      2. Gerald*

        I was lucky. My insurance company told me to turn off the water and drain the pipes, and provided someone (my neighbour) had a look at the place every week they were happy to continue my current insurance. But not everyone is this lucky, so it’s important to check!

    6. Jean (just Jean)*

      Maybe one of those “let us do it for you” services? I just did a Google search on a related term and came up with “Errand Runners” and Taskrabbit.
      Or a new tenant with whom you’re acquainted/connected who is both responsible (won’t throw a party for zillions of people) and flexible (willing to keep the place ready for realtor showings, able to move out on an indeterminate date/at short notice)? This might be a case of you accept their services in exchange for waiving the rent. Hopefully it won’t be for longer than a month or two. I’m thinking of a unicorn, I know.
      Caveat: I’ve never bought or sold a home. I’m just sitting in my own residence & thinking outside the box.
      Best wishes.

    7. Alex*

      I would definitely try to incentivize them to leave. It is really hard to sell a house with tenants in it unless someone is looking for an investment property and wants tenants in it.

      It is understandable that they are frustrated with constant showings that disrupt their lives, especially since there is no benefit to them of these showings and is just a reminder that they have to leave. Three or four times is one thing, but months of that is a real PITA.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about leaving the house vacant, especially if it is getting shown regularly.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Realtor said showings are no more than once a week, if that. More like once every two weeks. It hasn’t had a lot of interest unfortunately.

        1. bunniferous*

          It is way easier to show a vacant house. I am thinking you may get more showings once the tenant is out.

          1. Cat*

            Yeah, when I was househunting, I was doing it from a distance and needed to schedule showings when I was in town. This probably would have been impossible for me to arrange. And probably hard for people who have young kids, etc.

          2. AvonLady Barksdale*

            Agree with this. When our landlord was trying to sell our house, not a single showing generated any interest. I imagine it was because we were here with all of our stuff (and our dog), but he also made the mistake of trying to sell a house with tenants in place for 18 more months. You don’t have the second issue, sounds like, so it’s worth it to remedy the first.

    8. Kathenus*

      Do you have a friend who lives close enough that you could pay them to check the house a few times a week? If they are a friend and you can trust that they’ll do what they say, it might be a positive for them to earn a little pocket cash for an easy job, and give you the peace of mind to have someone keeping an eye on the place.

      If the renters end up staying for some reason, a strategy I did many years ago was to offer a rebate on a portion of the rent if the tenants kept the place in good condition and worked well with the realtors for showings – so they got a financial incentive for facilitating the sale.

      1. Wishing You Well*

        This is a good idea.
        You also need to think about giving your renters notice and dropping the price a little more to get more showings. It’s not good to have a property for sale for a long time. People start wondering what’s wrong with it.
        I hope you find a solution or two that works for you.

    9. WakeUp!*

      As for the showings, all I have to say is wow. Most states require landlords to give *at least* 24 hours of notice before entering except in emergencies. You’re not above the law just because you rent to friends in a “not-great” neighborhood.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Yes, they DO get at least 24 hours notice, and most of the time it’s 48 hours notice. In one case it was four days’ notice. There was only one time that the buyer’s realtor asked for a showing the same day. Not sure why you think that I think myself above the law.

        1. WakeUp!*

          Because you specifically complained about them needing 24 hours to get ready, as though that was some special imposition on you and not…the law.

    10. Nacho*

      It sounds like you’re going to have to give them notice and kick them out before you get serious with showings. When I was house hunting, I would never have agreed to a 6:30 showing, to say nothing of everything else they’re doing. Any money you lose in lost rent (assuming they would have paid it in the first place) will be more than made up for by selling the house in a timely manner.

    11. Batgirl*

      I would have gone for this gig when I was a student teacher. Somewhere quiet to study! Student teachers also have to have passed CRB checks. Maybe police academy or law student types?

      You could also ask a neighbourhood kid’s parents (someone you trust to tell its empty) if they can mow the lawn or water outside plants and just generally be very ‘visible’ to anyone scoping the place. That plus live feed cameras ought to do it. Tell anyone you hire about cameras though.

      When I was in your shoes I used timer lights (Philips hub lets you put on lights remotely; we’re in the future!) and made a habit of stopping by randomly to dust and replace flowers. (Hire some cleaners?)

    12. just a random teacher*

      Did your realtor have any suggestions about people who could check in on the house? I’ve never been in your situation, but when I was buying a house it seemed like my realtor always had a list of people who could be hired for various house-related things and that her office was willing to track down related service providers.

      Looking for people who offer vacation/housesitting/pet-sitting services seems logical. This sounds like you want something that’s less involved than having someone come by each day to get the mail and water the plants, but the people who deal with mail-getting and plant-watering as their job are probably willing to come up with a dollar amount they’re willing to do this for based on how often you want them to stop by. Back when I was petsitting I would have been happy to pick up this sort of low-stress, non-time-sensitive “bonus”client. Dogs need to go out at certain times of the day, and I specialized in dogs that also needed things like meds on a schedule, so my days would often be booked up in ways that made it hard to work for multiple clients at once since I only had certain gaps free (and I specialized in the kind of petsitting where you live at their home, anyway, which obviously you can only do at one house at a time). I could sometimes pick up “bonus” clients who had cats that weren’t picky and just needed a no-particular-time-but-once-a-day short visit, but those were pretty rare since a lot of people just get their neighbors to do that (I charged those people a lot less than the ones getting live-in dogsitting with a dog that needed scheduled meds, obviously). Someone who just wanted me to go over at random times a couple of times a week, turn on a few lights, look for signs of break-ins, maybe run the shower every couple of weeks to keep the p-trap charged, and generally notice if the house was still there would have been easy to fit in since I could always shift them to another time of day as various dogs needed walks/meds/etc. in their previous slot.

      I suppose you could also hire a housecleaning service, since they certainly are willing to come over to houses on a schedule, but that sounds like a really expensive way to solve this problem.

      If there are rental-house neighbors you trust, this would also be a thing you could ask them to help with. My stepfather tries to keep on good terms with the neighbors of his rental houses and makes sure that a trusted subset of them have his phone number and can call him if they notice any issues. Most people would rather not live near a rental causing issues and are pretty willing to call a landlord and let them know if there is anything going on at the rental house that seems fishy or annoying.

    13. acmx*

      Try open houses on the weekend? Sure, the tenants won’t like it but they’re not working with you now. They’re probably going to continue to be a pain until the end of their lease and/or move out.

      But also, they’re behind in rent. I might start the eviction process. Check your tenant laws.

      People may not want to buy your house if there are tenants and new owners have to assume the lease.

      When I sold my other house, I had the same problem with my tenant trying to show (pit dog included) and didn’t bother showing it until she moved out. Once I decided to sell, I sent her a letter saying I was not renewing the lease (which was actually perfect timing). She wasn’t going to be helpful anyways.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Yes, the dog is a pit bull. I know that the way they behave is the way they’re trained, and she works with a rescue so the dog is well-behaved, but realtors won’t enter a house with a dog loose, especially a pit.

        It’s a month-to-month lease, so we’re OK there.

        1. Gerald*

          There’s probably an irony in the fact that I once viewed a home with a cat in it. The cat was in a room, with no indication that we shouldn’t enter it, but when I did the cat attacked me. I didn’t see it at first, and it just came straight for me, biting, scratching at my legs, and not moving away. I ended up pushing it away long enough to get through the door (I would have opened the bedroom door to give myself more of a chance except I worried for my realtor), and wasn’t too badly injured, but I had some deep gashes and it was quite a shock. My realtor definitely told the owners, and I suddenly had no interest in the place. I have cats, know many cats, and am very comfortable around cats except for this one. I think that some animals definitely are not well behaved, but it does prove that it’s not about size (cats are almost always fine, and some larger dogs are too excited or territorial, but wow do those little dogs tend to be a problem!)

    14. AvonLady Barksdale*

      A small suggestion to try to make things easier… When our landlord was trying to sell our house, we took the dog to daycare when the realtor wanted to show it. Is that an option for your tenants, and would you be willing to pay for it? In our situation, our dog went regularly once a week, so it was basically, “He’ll be out of the house on Wednesdays so you can show it then, but please give us notice just in case” and we didn’t ask for money, but if interest had ramped up and we needed to do more than one day in a week, I would have asked to be compensated.

      Granted, they’re lying to you about other things so this is kind of a non-issue, but it might be something to try.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        No, it’s not. Because then they’d have to get the dog there, which is hard when they work all day and share a car. I already know that’s what I’ll be told.

    15. The Other Dawn*

      I did it. I gave them notice today via text, which will be followed up via a letter in the mail. And…it wasn’t received well, even though they’ve offered to move out previously and have said how much of a hassle showings are. I was very matter-of-fact and mentioned that I’d continue to waive the late fees on their rent (I even lowered the rent considerably in the last several months due to certain issues, when I was already charging less than market). What I got back was a novel with all sorts of interesting things, saying my realtor isn’t being honest with me (I saw exactly what she’s been telling the realtor–I saw the texts), that they’ve done so much in the house (all of which we offered to do ourselves or have someone do, and some we didn’t even need that they asked if they could do), among other things. The takeaway is that they’ll be leaving way before April 30 because they can’t pay rent, bills and have a deposit for a place. OK, whatever. I replied, again with the facts, and said to just let me know when they’re ready to leave. I’m not going to engage. Tenant is lifelong friends with my lifelong friend, so that should be interesting in the future.

      1. Gerald*

        Good for you!

        I have had tenants, and while it was tolerable… I would not seek out that stress again. I know it works well for some people, but I wasn’t making any money (it was a way to delay selling the place) and I didn’t enjoy that type of relationship. Yet I was lucky to have a good tenant, so I can only imagine your stresses! Best of luck to you.

        1. valentine*

          The Other Dawn: You’re letting them have the floor. Why would they want to leave when you’ve waived fees, lowered the rent, and read their novels? My understanding is that tenants have to follow the rules and clean up and clear out for showings, not that they can argue and set, much less disrupt, the schedule. What if you hire a dogwalker to crate the dog for the Realtor and charge the cost to the tenants, then say you will discount it if they pass the walk-through and are out by x date? (Assuming this is legal. I don’t know what rights evicted tenants have.)

          Can your friend-in-common mediate?

          Has the Realtor sent you pictures? Is the place a damaged, hoarded sty?

          When it’s empty, hire a housesitter to either stay there or to look in at random times.

          1. The Other Dawn*

            House is in perfect condition and they always keep it clean. It’s just trying to get people in for a showing because of their schedules and the dog. But I’ve given them notice that the lease won’t be renewed (it’s month to month thankfully!) so it won’t be an issue soon. And no, I don’t want to put my friend in the position to mediate. It’s not her circus and there’s no reason she needs to be involved.

        2. The Other Dawn*

          Gerald: yes, this is why we have tenants, too. It’s just a way to delay selling since we were underwater at the time. I hate being a landlord and it’s stressful even without problems, which is why we made a plan to sell this year, even if we take a loss. Hate the stress. Even though they’ve been good tenants when it comes to keeping things clean and all that, rent has always been around the 15th and never the 1st when it’s actually due. But they did pay (unlike the first tenant that had to be evicted). It’s just the last three months where they haven’t been able to pay due to certain things (government shutdown, issues with mail, all of which I know are not lies). I got most of it, but they’re still behind.

    16. Kuododi*

      My parents own a small condo in another part of the city where my late grandmother lived. Due to various issues with tenants/ getting timely rent payment etc they made the decision to engage the services of a real estate manager. ( pretty sure that’s the correct term). Anyhoo, the manager is now the front line for addressing rent concerns, routine care/ maintenance, checking in on the tenants etc. I would suggest contacting your realtor and inquiring if they have that type of service available for their clients. Alternative being they might know of a real estate manager they could put you in contact with….Best wishes, I do not envy your current situation. :(

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

    NYC Half Marathon is tomorrow! I’m very excited, although given how my long training runs went, it feels a bit like I’m about to take a test I didn’t study enough for. But there were days when I’ve taken tests that the material suddenly came to me, so hopefully tomorrow will be one of those days. :-) I’ll update tomorrow after the race.

    1. Lcsa99*

      A race on St Patrick’s day! Good luck! May the road rise up to meet you.
      May the wind be always at your back. 
      May the sun shine warm upon your face

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

        I always loved that saying. Although hot sun beating down on your face is probably not the best thing as a runner. :-)

      1. LGC*

        And to hijack – a lot of my friends are doing that race. (I’m not.) Since we are pretty much all type A racing guys (one of my teammates just did the Tokyo Marathon two weeks ago and now she’s running this, and then she’s running Boston next month and I am exhausted just from typing that sentence), we’ve been discussing the course, and it seems like…it’s more PR-friendly this year. Scenery-wise, they kept in most of the major points of interest, but more Prospect Park and less Central Park. (I’m okay with this. I got enough Central Park after Lebow.)

        Also, to be quite honest – I know the feeling about training! I’ve fallen a bit off course myself – I need to squeeze in a 20-miler this weekend (but the guys who aren’t racing are running long on Sunday and I’ll be in a wedding then), and last weekend I didn’t run long at all (this was not my intention).

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

          Good luck with your 20 miler! Phew, I feel tired just thinking about running that far.

          I’m not crazy about the course change for this year, on paper, but we’ll see tomorrow. Either way, a PR will definitely not be in the cards. I’m mentally figuring on finishing somewhere between 2:05:00 and 2:10:00 but I’m kind of throwing the clock out the window for this one and planning to just enjoy the incredible scenery.

    2. I Work on a Hellmouth*

      Good luck! You’re going to do great! If your knees are anything like mine, maybe preemptively take some Aleve before you start and ice your knees after. Have fun!

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

      Update: The luck of the Irish was with me today, I think. I ran a consistent race, and felt strong from start to finish. My time was 2:02:30. Not fast enough for me to qualify for discounted life insurance, but faster than a 9:30 mile and quite a bit better than my performance in my recent long runs led me to believe I’d do!

      Great course. There was a lot less running in Prospect Park than I thought. One of these days I’ll learn how to read a map! As for the park though, it was so beautiful first thing in the morning, and the Manhattan Bridge and FDR Drive were spectacular to run on. I haven’t been much of a fan of New York Road Runners large-scale races, but they really did good with this one.

      I hope all the runners on AAM also enjoy your runs this weekend!

      1. LGC*

        Congrats! I was wondering how you would do!

        From what I heard, it looked like a fast course, so I’m not surprised you did better than you thought you would.

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

          The course was a lot faster than I thought it would be. The Manhattan Bridge going up was a bear… but then again, it also goes down, and that was the last major uphill of the race. I kind of liked that the worst incline of the race was in the first seven-tenths of a mile (Prospect Park), before anyone knew what was going on.

  15. Lena Clare*

    Alison, that picture of Wallace in bed looking over his shoulder like *may I HELP you?* is an absolute hoot!

  16. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How is everyone’s writing going!
    Mine is going pretty well now that I killed a teenage girl. Didn’t want to do it, but it had to happen.
    (Yes, I am fully embracing the “writers sounding like murderers” thing here)

    1. Shayland*

      I’m taking a poetry class and I’m behind. We are doing full class feedback / crits now. And I though I’d reuse a page of poems I used for our first small group feedback sessions because I wasn’t given a lot of insight despite prodding.
      Well that turns out to not be acceptable, so I’m trying to take a draft that’s half prose, half poetry, about the two times I almost died in my sleep do to a medication allergic reaction and it’s just not going well. I was supposed to have this turned in Thursday for my feedback session a week from then.
      I’m really enjoying the class but I do find it challenging due to my health.

      I also went to the writing center at my school for the first time and got some really amazing feedback on a prose piece. I’m ready to start submitting it to lit mags now. So nervous making!

      When it comes to art, applications relating to my health, or writing submissions, ect. I’m trying to get 100 rejections. I’ll throw myself a little party when I hit that milestone. It makes the rejections a lot easier to handle.

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Oh, that sucks. Hope your health gets better soon! Glad the writing centre went well!
        Also, that 100 rejections thing is
        actually quite brilliant.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Haha, I read somewhere that 100 is the number to hit before you give up on something. I’m a little over halfway there so it’s not time to give up yet. :P

      2. Shayland*

        Finished the new poetry packet! And I really think that I’ll get a lot of good feedback.
        I’m trying to write a pair of poems about the two times I almost died from new drug allergic reactions. And there’s a couple wider things I want to “do” with the pair. The first poem is 6 pages long (lots of short lines) and so I’m hoping the feedback I get will help me with the next one and better refine my goals for the first one. And just make it a better poem.
        It was so difficult to pull this one out from being tangled up inside of me and put it on the page. And I know it can (and will be!) better. But right now, all draft 1 has to do is exist. Go me!

    2. Claire*

      I finished my copyedits by the deadline! I’m now back to wrestling with the draft for the sequel. It’s fighting me tooth and nail, unfortunately. I know how the novel starts and how it ends. The middle….the middle is murky.

        1. Claire*

          Oh dear. My link got my comment in moderation. Let’s try this a different way.

          At least by this point, I know it’s a phase I always go through. Have you seen Maureen McHugh’s graph of writing a novel? Just google: maureen mchugh dark night of the soul

    3. ShrunkenHippo*

      I’ve made a lot of progress in my world building and I have about half of the major plot points plotted out. I wish I could do more but I keep wanting to do all my hobbies so my time shrinks. I have also been looking after a couple of dogs every weekday which leaves me tired because of my stupid chronic pain and fatigue, but I can’t really complain because I’m getting paid to cuddle dogs. Next week I’m going to try to reserve some time for writing and hopefully not get distracted too much. Then again I’m supposed to help look after a puppy which is a majorly cute distraction so we’l see how that goes.

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Ah yes, my cat is also very helpful when writing *cough*.
        Also I’m just gonna sit here and giggle at the beauty of this comment and the username below.

    4. pugs for all*

      hope this isn’t a highjack, but it seems like a good place to ask – I’ve decided I need a kick in the butt to get writing more/better. Do you have any online writing classes recommend? Or think in person is better?

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        No problem! Things like this are Linda why I started doing these threads.
        On YouTube I’m very fond of Jenna Moreci (author, also has a Skillshare class on how to build an author platform), Ellen Brock (copy editor who you can also hier) and, slightly more comedic, Terrible Writing Advice (exactly what it says on the tin, also done by An author (JP Beaubien)). Both Jenna Moreci and TWA partner with Skillshare and probably have links for a free premium trial. I’d say maybe look around there. Never took An in-person class, but from what I hear they van be pretty hit-or-miss (as in, taught by lit snobs who industriële you write Real Literatuur instead of the romance/fantasy/Scifi/detective/whatever you want to write).

        1. pugs for all*

          Thanks – this is great info. I will check them out, and I appreciate you for taking the time to compile!

          I am afraid of both pretension and amateurism in an in-person writing class (both of which might well be embodied in yours truly), plus of course there is the cost factor. So online seems like a better baby steps start.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      I had to step back from falling down the worldbuilding rabbit hole–most of it is solid and I won’t need it until later–and focus on structure. I’m using the index card method to make sure everything is where it needs to be. Still in Atomic Scribbler, where it’s easier to move things around. Once I have all scenes and chapters where I need them to be, I’ll export and format / edit in Word.

  17. annakarina1*

    I watched all of Shrill last night. I thought it was decent, but had room for improvement. I really liked the friendship between Annie and Fran, it was warm with good chemistry, and I enjoyed the charismatic performances of Aidy Bryant and Lolly Adefope. I’ve known of Lindy West for ages, so it was clear to see what was adapted from her life in the show.

    I did skip the jerk boyfriend stuff because I just found it boring, and sometimes the dialogue could be too on-the-nose in a preaching to the choir kind of way, and the ending was an abrupt thud to me. But I think it has potential to be better if it gets a second season, and it’s nice to see a show about fat women feeling beautiful and happy.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      I like Aidy Bryant. I find her much more relatable than say, Amy Schumer, though both women are very talented and funny.
      It’s good to see Aidy break out of her supporting roles.

      1. annakarina1*

        Aidy has a very sweet and kind-looking face, and I did like her a lot on the show. Even though I felt like the writing could be improved, I still enjoyed her performance at the center of the show, she brought a lot of heart to her role.

        I don’t watch SNL save for occasional clips, so I’m not that familiar with her characters, but I did really like her and Kate McKinnon in the Dyke and Fats sketch. They had great chemistry as buddies, and I loved how fervent their defense of each other was whenever an outsider called them by those names.

  18. Jenny*

    I am trying to buy a house and it is pretty scary. The idea of owing so much money (which is weird because I just signed my student loans without a second thought).
    We keep losing to insane bids we would never be able to match. People who waive inspections or have all cash offers. This is really a tough process.

    1. Overeducated*

      Yeah it’s nerve wracking. I’m finding it so hard to stick to my budget since it feels like “just an extra $x/month” would give me much nicer options, and I wouldn’t feel the pinch for a long time because the impact would be to my savings rate (as a millennial, retirement savings sometimes feels like tossing money into a big pit someone else is going to vacuum or burn up before I get a chance). The amounts are so big it almost doesn’t feel like real money in these competitive markets.

      1. Luisa*

        We ended up going WAY over our “initial budget,” primarily because our initial budget was based largely on my husband dreaming about the amount he wanted to pay for a house. (He has many excellent qualities, but realistic expectations about real estate are not among them.) I definitely agree that in a way, it doesn’t feel like real money because the total amount is a larger chunk of money than I have ever even considered at one time. Feels more real when I look at our bank account balances though!

    2. Luisa*

      Buying a house is one of the least fun things I’ve done in the last few years, for sure! The market where we live is super competitive, although the area we focused our search is not quite as cutthroat as you describe. (Part of our decision to focus on this area was that we knew we couldn’t compete with cash buyers or folks who could take on the risk of waived inspections.)

      I wish I had advice, but we did everything one is “supposed to do,” and having our offer accepted on the house we now own (and love!) was as much a matter of being in the right place at the right time as anything.

    3. Goose Lavel*

      Tough to do, but worth it in the long run. I bought my home in a highly competitive market and with higher interest rates than today. I also prequalified to know max mortage I could get.
      After months of looking, bought my house at the max mortage I could get (simple 3 bdrm, 2 bath, 1350 sq ft, 25 years old, for $212,000) in a not great, but ok neighborhood.
      Struggled to make the monthly payments for the first 5 years, then did a no cash out refinance to lower the interest rate and payment (which I’ve done twice more over the years). As my salary increased over the years, the payment became less of a struggle.
      Now after 26 years of home ownership, my payment now is much less than 1/3 the current monthly rental rate ($3500) for similar homes in my now desirable neighborhood.
      I feel lucky I bought when I did and where I did as I could not afford to buy my home now, currently valued at $1.15 million. I also feel blessed to have weathered multiple layoffs over the years while still making my house payment.
      Yep, I live in the SF bay area and have no intentions of moving anytime soon.

      1. Reba*

        I mean, the situation you’re in is good, scratch that awesome, but verrrry different from what would-be homebuyers are looking at these days! Few places are going to go up up up the way the Bay Area has done in the past few decades. It was worth buying the affordable ish place 26 years ago — It could very well be *not* worth it to buy a more costly house today.

        Solidarity, Jenny, it is hard to make it make sense!

    4. Dan*

      I live in a market where entry level housing is something near a half million dollars. Made my $100k in student loan debt look like amateur hour.

      You can’t do anything about all cash offers. They are what they are, and if you ain’t got it, you ain’t got it. However, wrt the inspection: Unless fixing REAL problems around the house is your primary occupation, DO NOT waive the inspection. Presumably, this housing purchase is going to push your budget close to its limits; you likely can’t afford major repairs if things aren’t up to speed and you don’t know it. People waiving inspection are either 1) Stupid or 2) Know what they’re doing, can assume the risk financially, and/or can do a lot of repairs on the cheap.

      1. Jenny*

        There’s a reason I described it as insane. My aunt once discovered a faulty roof and damage in an inspection. The owner paid to get it fixed but the cost was in the realm of 50k. No way. Never waive an inspection.

      2. Rainy days*

        Maybe this varies from market to market, but where I live “waive the inspection” means people have inspected *before* making the offer. When I bought a house I “waived the inspection” because I had already hired an inspector. What I waived, then, was the chance to withdraw my bid based on the results of the inspection, not the inspection itself. This is basically a must in my city, anyone not pre-inspecting has no chance of winning a bidding war.

        Definitely agree that unless you have the expertise to diagnose and fix problems on your own, you do need to inspect.

        1. Pommette!*

          This is what my spouse and I did when we bought our house, and it’s the only reason we were able to buy it.
          The market in our town was, and remains, awful (absurd prices + lots of bidding wars + all-cash, unconditional offers are common). We could only afford the very, very cheapest of houses for sale in our city, and those typically went to investors/renovators who could afford to make unconditional offers and didn’t care about the house’s liveability because they were planning on renting it out. (Our rental market is also horrible).
          After losing out on a few bids, our agent recommended that we get the inspection done before bidding on the house, in order to remove that condition from our offers. It feels weird (and wasteful) to get a house inspection before knowing whether your bid will even be accepted, but it worked for us.

          1. Rainy days*

            Exactly. It’s the same where I live. I think that is actually what is happening most of them time when you hear “they waived the inspection”–people are inspecting beforehand. It’s a crucial strategy when you live in a tight market. We also had a lender who went through extra dilligence and was willing to guarantee us a loan (going further than just pre-approval), so we waived the financing contingency even though we weren’t offering cash.

          2. Cruciatus*

            I still don’t understand I guess (and I’m the person from a few weeks ago who said I lost out on another house when the other people ‘waived the inspection’. How are you and an inspector allowed on the property before you’re under contract? Do you have permission from the home owners? Do they understand if you get the inspection now you’re waiving it for later?

            1. current buyer*

              We are searching in a market that is becoming quite competitive. When we knew that we were very interested in a house (based on the listing photos and information), we hired an inspector to go with us to the showing. He did a fairly basic inspection-looking at the roof, foundation, mechanicals like furnace and boiler, looking in the attic and basement for signs of water damage, etc. Our agent was with us and walked through the house with us like a typical showing while the inspector did his thing. That way the offer we made was taking in to consideration things that would need repair. Our agent told us that we didn’t need any additional permission from the homeowners- prospective buyers bring contractors and inspectors all the time to help them make an informed decision about whether or not to bid on the house.

    5. Sleepy*

      It totally sucks, but the best advice I can give you is to be realistic. In a tough market, don’t bid if you can’t bid above asking price—unless there is something unattractive about the property (repairs, weird layout, noisy street) that you are willing to tolerate and other homebuyers are not. If your realtor is encouraging you to make offers that consistently lose, I would question your realtor’s judgment. A good realtor will tell you if a property may be purposefully underpriced to encourage a bidding war or attract more offers. A good realtor will advise you on what bid you realistically need to make to win. I’d rather have someone who was honest with me than who encouraged me to waste time on places I had no chance of buying.

    6. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      I hear you. I tried to buy the house I rent – it’s almost doubled in value in the 4 years I’ve been renting. (ARGH). And between PMI and taxes, the mortgage and costs on it would be double my current rent. I’ve been number crunching but I think I’m simply going to have to buy in an area far, far away with no water access and snow… or wind… or desert. those are not bad things, just reality when all my friends and support network (and counselor) live here.
      But I hear you. It is scary, scary, scary in some markets. And it turns out the one I “thought” I could afford, was listed below what they wanted so they could bid it up to over asking… just flew up with insane offers (squatters had removed the copper pipe and wiring, etc… this was a true fixer).
      I stopped looking here for mental health reasons for awhile. I’m doing my taxes and downsizing and preparing my life to be in order, so that I can make a better decision when I’m not so crazed. Did not take on a car loan. Paid off student loans. Paid off all debt. And I’m saving the extra amount every month in my savings account, that I “would” have been paying had I bought this place. So that I know how hard it will be financially when I “do” buy, if I pay this much.
      Solidarity!

    7. Ali G*

      It took us 2 years to buy a house! Never waive your inspection. We lost a few on that too. But would do it again in a heartbeat.

    8. just a random teacher*

      Yeah, I went through the same thing. It’s nuts out there. I eventually found a place, but it took a lot of time and disruption because things in my area tended to only stay on the market for a day or two before the buyers would accept an offer, so I’d have to drop whatever I was doing to go look at a house that particular day. I had to get outbid on a lot of houses before I finally got one, and it was a miserable process since I’m usually a really slow-moving and deliberate buyer of things and I just didn’t cope well with my largest purchase ever being something I’d need to buy same-day with no specific research. I spend more wait/think time than that on buying a bookcase! Or socks!

      The one I ended up buying the owner didn’t want to deal with staging and showing a house, just wanted to move out and get on with her life, so it reeked of dog pee inside her obviously-lived-in-rather-than-staged house the day it went on the market and I was one of three people to look at it that first day. I’m used to dogs and felt confident in my ability to get rid of that smell from past experience (I was right – it was a house with all hardwood, linoleum, and tile floors, and luckily the dog pee smell was mostly on her area rugs that she took with her, so a thorough cleaning and airing out was all it needed), so I was one of two people to offer on it. She never even got around to putting up a for sale sign in her yard since she accepted my offer so fast (neighbors didn’t even realize the house had been for sale, which was a little awkward at first). I know she could have gotten a lot more money for the house if she’d rented a storage unit for some of her stuff, hired cleaners, and boarded her elderly, mildly incontinent dog somewhere where it coudn’t piddle on things while hosting an open house, but I assume her realtor told her that and she wanted to avoid that hassle more than get the extra money it would bring. (Needless to say, she also wasn’t interested in doing any home repairs prior to sale, so I told the inspector to look for deal-breaking structural things and then also make me a list of suggested non-dealibreaker repairs for me to be working on later but that we wouldn’t be bothering the seller about.)

    9. Weegie*

      I hear ya. I’ve just started looking further out because of the situation you describe – where I am right now, the good houses sell within a few days for way over the asking price and the bad houses sit on the market forever. Today I viewed a property in a town with not great amenities further out than I intended to live – but it’s a nice house and affordable, so I’m considering it, mainly so I can stop endlessly looking and being disappointed.

    10. Lissajous*

      On budget – stick to it. Work out what you can afford for repayments – not maxed out, include contingency, you still need to be putting some savings away – and stick to it. For me this meant not looking at house ads just that oh-so-tempting one price bracket up (conversely, checking out the ones one bracket down made me feel much better!)

      I bought a little over a year ago, as a first time buyer, on my own. Took about twelve months of looking, studying the market in the areas I wanted, working out what my deal breakers* were, putting everything in a spreadsheet to track it,** but I got there.
      Work just got put on to 4 day weeks with the commensurate 20% pay cut due to a few projects being on hold. And you know what? I’m ok. The amount I’m putting into savings each week will take a hit, as will lifestyle, but I’m looking at the budget this week to see if I can still swing putting some aside; what I’m not looking at is withdrawing from savings to cover the mortgage payments.
      Stick to the budget. It is so, so worth it.

      *Turned out a bath tub was one. I wasn’t expecting that, but “has a bathtub” generally meant “not everything squished in with barely room to breathe” with the size places I was looking for.
      **It was a much less volatile market for me than what it sounds like you’re in, but f you’ve been tracking long enough, you can even start to build data comparing what certain agents tend to list a property at vs what they sell at. Why yes, I did get to this point and the house I got did happen to be listed by an agent I knew that for. I saw it at the first home open (refused to to give a verbal number to the agent despite his coaxing), went home and popped the data in my spreadsheet, noted that what I thought it was worth and that typical agent’s sell value ratio matched, made the offer that night, had it accepted next morning.

    11. Star Nursery*

      It is a long process and a commitment but can be worth it. I like having my own place that I can decide what to do with it and where I live it’s less money for the mortgage per month than it is for renting plus we have a lot more space and don’t share walls with noisy or creepy neighbors. We did have to put a down payment though so that’s a bit harder to save up than renting… And yay no pet restrictions now. Where we are there were a lot of competition for buying homes but we bought a bit further out in a less desirable area but got a lot bigger lot and features that we liked.

  19. AlligatorSkyy*

    What’s everyone watching on Netflix? Recently I’ve been on a documentary binge and watched Abducted In Plain Sight, Dirty John and Fyre. Un-documentary related, I started American Horror Story recently. Not entirely sure if I’m into it, it seems a little wacky for my taste, but I’ll give it a few more episodes.

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      I’m keeping up with Star Trek Discovery at the moment, and I’ve got season three of Queer Eye waiting for me when I have time, which I’m excited about. I need those guys back in my life.

      1. AlligatorSkyy*

        Ahh Queer Eye!! People keep telling me to watch it. What’s it about? I’ve heard about but I’m not entirely sure what the synopsis/plot is (fully aware it’s a reality show!)

        1. curly sue*

          It’s a makeover show, where friends or family submit someone for a life-redo. The cast is five men, each one with a different speciality (cooking, interior design, grooming, clothes and “culture,” though Karamo’s actually a social worker and does a lot of self-reflection with the people they’re helping.) They come in, hang out with the episode’s subject, and teach their individual life skills. It’s a wonderfully charming, super-affirming, unabashedly feel-good show.

          1. Foreign Octopus*

            Exactly this.

            It is a make up show but it does so much more for the people involved. The five men come in and helps them with their area of expertise but they also help the recipients become stronger, face past traumas, learn to embrace parts of themselves that they might not like. It’s just wonderfully positive and such a balm in a time when we’ve got hatred spewing at us.

            1. Marion Ravenwood*

              The cast refer to it as a ‘make better’ show rather than a ‘make over’ show, which I think is the perfect description. I also love that it shows all their different life experiences and that they’re not stereotypical gay men, and that they learn from spending time with the ‘heroes’ too (I’m thinking of things like the episode where the hero was a trans man, for instance, and the social issues raised in the episode with the cop).

              1. AlligatorSkyy*

                Oh man, that sounds cool. Sounds different from your usual reality shows. I really like the sound of this, I’m going to watch the first episode today. Thanks guys! :)

    2. Lemonwhirl*

      I watched “Dumplin'” yesterday and enjoyed it even though it made me weep. (Hello, body image issues that were complicated by my mother.)

      My husband and I are working “Umbrella Academy”. We’re only two episodes in and I will stick with it, if only for Robert Sheehan (Claus), whom I loved in “Love/Hate”.

      1. AlligatorSkyy*

        Ooh, Netflix keeps recommending Dumplin to me. I’ve added it to my list!

        I keep seeing ads for Umbrella Academy, seems like everyone on social media is watching! I’ve watched the trailer and I’m half and half on it. Seems like a really cool concept, but I’m not really into superheroey stuff. Might give it a go though!

        1. Karen from Finance*

          It’s not your typical superhero-ey type stuff, though, and I think they played that aspect up in the trailers at all. Definitely give it a chance.

          1. AlligatorSkyy*

            Thanks! I’ll give it a chance! Plus I’m a huge Ellen Page fan, so I’ll give it a shot tonight!

          2. I Work on a Hellmouth*

            I really liked Umbrella Academy, but I looooved the comics way more—they were way more fast paced and had more whimsy. I hope that (if there’s a second season) they pick the pacing up a little.

      2. Overeducated*

        I’m sort of enjoying Umbrella Academy, though I really don’t like the more violent subplot. The first episode hooked me with the music, which cracked me up and made me think “someone who was 15 at the same time I was is responsible for this.”

        1. AlligatorSkyy*

          Yeah, I’ve heard it’s pretty violent at times. I’m not much of a violence fan.. yet most of the stuff I watch seems to include violence. Guess I just can’t win, hahah.

      3. Marion Ravenwood*

        If you’re a Robert Sheehan fan, I really recommend Misfits (originally broadcast on Channel 4; it’s on 4oD in the UK but not sure if it’s on Netflix or similar elsewhere). He plays Nathan, one of a group of six teenagers doing community service who get hit by an electrical storm that gives them superpowers. Also stars a younger Iwan Rheon, AKA Ramsay Bolton from Game of Thrones (though his Misfits character is *completely* different!).

        1. coffee cup*

          Ah I loved Misfits! At least the series before they changed some of the cast. I was never as into it after that, but the first three (?) series are great.

          1. AlligatorSkyy*

            Heard lots of good things about Misfits! Every time I’m on the Channel 4oD app it recommends it to me! Shall get round to it someday.. after I finish watching my 1million other shows I’m behind on.

        2. Lemonwhirl*

          Ah yes, I knew he’d been in something else years ago. I bought the S1 DVDs on Amazon back in the day, because it was the only way to watch it. I must check it out again.

      4. only acting normal*

        If you like Robert Sheehan (and assuming you aren’t easily offended) check out Misfits.

    3. Dr. Anonymous*

      I binged on The Great British Baking Show, which has the same sweet vibe of contestants occasionally helping each other as The Great British Sewing Bee, which sadly cannot legally be watched outside the UK. I love the kinder, gentler variety of reality show. It’s the only kind I can stand.

      1. Lena Clare*

        Absolutely agree that these are the only 2 realIty TV shows worth watching!

        If you’re not in the UK, I don’t know if you can watch the Celebrity Stand Up To Cancer Bake Off? John Lithgow was on last week and he was absolutely hilarious.

        1. fposte*

          Oh, he was adorable! I find Russell Brand irritating but was able to cope.

          Then this week was James Acaster *and* Russell Tovey. I was very happy.

      2. AlligatorSkyy*

        I love watching that! I’m not usually into baking/cooking shows, but something about this one captures my attention. I think my mother hopes it’ll make me find a love for baking. Hahahaha nope.

      3. LilySparrow*

        The Great Interior Design Challenge has a kind of similar vibe. They are a little bit more competitive (partly because each contestant mostly works on their own project, separate from the others).

        It’s slightly less chummy, but just as cordial and positive. No snark or meanness.

    4. Shayland*

      Not Netflix related but all of Animal Cops Huston is on Youtube!

      I watched that all the time in middle school and I love it. Yay for saving the animals!

      There’s a lot of Youtube videos of a similar theme I follow. But I wish more of the surgery footage was shared, just kind of across the board. Vet Clinic Gambia shows the most and it’s really neat because they explain it too. But the other veterinarian channels, not so much. It’s still heart warming to see the kind of things dogs bounce back from. I love the follow up with them wagging and romping around.

      1. AlligatorSkyy*

        I love Animal Cops Houston!! I actually went and bought a tv package that included Animal Planet, for the sole purpose of watching it. I love it so much. Breaks my heart when dogs are included; I just wanna hug my dog watching it!

    5. Lena Clare*

      I just finished DS9 this week and I had a really bad reaction to the ending. I just hate the whole “woman sacrifices herself/ bad things happen to the woman” to further the spiritual development of the male characters’ story arc thing.

      It came out of the blue too! I really enjoyed the Dominion storyline and then bam, nope, ending you were not expecting.

      …so much so it’s kind of opened my eyes to the inherent misogyny in all the other series, and I’m sad about that because I was gonna watch Voyager again and now I don’t want to in case my new realisation spoils a show I previously REALLY enjoyed.

      Sooo, not quite what you asked sorry!

      I’m not really watching anything on Netflix atm. Might rewatch Line of Duty ready for series 5 this April.

      And I’m into Shetland, Baptiste, and Fleabag (god I love Fleabag like LOVE IT) on BBC though. Oh, and that Icelandic drama “Trapped” too, that’s quite good.

      1. AlligatorSkyy*

        I know that we don’t know each other, but you get ALL THE BONUS POINTS for Fleabag. I fell in love with season 1 and I’m so excited to start season 2. I saw Phoebe Waller-Bridge at the Edinburgh TV Festival in 2017, talking about the second season and it so hyped me up!! She’s hilarious in person too :)

        1. Lena Clare*

          I am so envious of her, and that you got to see her in person too! Second season is even better than the first of possible.

        2. londonedit*

          I’m only on series 1 episode 3 of Fleabag but I love it. Late coming to it as for some reason I presumed it wouldn’t be my thing, but so many people recommended it to me that I had to check it out, and I’m so glad I did!

          1. AlligatorSkyy*

            My 3 favourite quotes from Fleabag (in no particular order) are:

            – “I’ll buy you pants! I’ll buy you SEXY pants!”
            – “I have two degrees, a husband and a Burberry coat.”
            – “It’s a bit of a hassle, but at the end of the day, it’s nice to be touched.”

    6. Lily Evans*

      If you like horror themed shows, but AHS was a bit much you should give The Haunting of Hill House a shot. I’m not even much of a horror lover, but that was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a really long time. Everything from the cinematography to the character work was just fantastic.

      1. Lena Clare*

        I really hate horror but watched A Quiet Place (is that a horror?) and thought it was one of the best films I’ve ever seen. It stayed with me for ages.

        Then there’s the Doctor Who (decidedly NOT a horror show) episode called Blink – anyone remember that? – and that scared the bejesus out of me. I had to walk around with my back to the wall for days afterwards.

        1. Marion Ravenwood*

          Yes! The Weeping Angels are still one of the greatest New Who monsters in my view. (And it is one of the best episodes Stephen Moffatt ever wrote, although I still personally prefer The Girl in the Fireplace.)

            1. Kuododi*

              Oh sweet baby Jesus!!! The Weeping Angels still flip me out!!!

              DH periodically offers to get me a yard art concrete angel under the premise it might be a Weeping Angel. (The man has a twisted sense of humor!!!)

              1. AlligatorSkyy*

                It’s been years since I’ve watched Doctor Who, but the Weeping Angels still freak me out!!

          1. LilySparrow*

            The Weeping Angels and the kid in the gas mask in “The Empty Child.” **shudders**

            1. AlligatorSkyy*

              I saw The Empty Child when I was 11 (It was released just after my birthday, I believe). “Are you my Mummy?” has haunted me ever since.

            2. Lena Clare*

              Omg THANKS for reminding me of that one too, which I thought I’d erased from my memory >.< LOL

        2. AlligatorSkyy*

          I saw A Quiet Place in the cinema last year. Oh my LOOORD. I was on edge the whole time and so tense. I jumped every single time something scary happened. Loved it though; the cinematography and soundtrack are so beautiful. The ending broke me though.

      2. AlligatorSkyy*

        Thank you for the recommendation! Have added The Haunting of Hill House to my list :) I have enough on my list now to last me until next year, hahaha.

      3. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        Can agree with Haunting of Hill House – there is that one 20 minute consistent take or whatever it was that was pretty amazing. Set design too. Was a bit too “look at this family have unfinished family drama!” for me, but I enjoyed it for what it was.

        I will admit to being American Horror Story fan – especially the first three seasons. It got a bit out of hand after that, but Roanoke was a interesting twist/comment on format, and while lots of people really hate Hotel, I thought it was beautiful on many levels, not to mention Liz Taylor.

        1. AlligatorSkyy*

          Is Haunting of Hill House scary? As in jump scare scary / psychologically scary?

          I’m only 3 episodes into AHS, I think I’m on Murder House right now? I love Violet, I can see parts of myself in her. I’m really excited to start Freak Show, I’ve heard that’s pretty good. Also excited to start Hotel.. mainly cause I’m a MASSIVE Gaga fan and from the scenes I’ve watched, her character seems intense.

          Also, I’m not 100% sure I’m, grasping the whole AHS plot thing.. Is it a different story every season, with the same cast but as different characters? I’m so confused with it, haha.

          1. ThatGirl*

            Hill House is scary but more atmospheric. There are a few jump scares. It’s also sad and lovely and a family drama.

          2. EvilQueenRegina*

            Yeah, that’s about right with AHS. I would recommend watching the seasons in order though as without saying too much, the seasons will turn out to be connected. Definitely don’t watch Apocalypse without seeing Coven.

    7. Jenny*

      I watched Umbrella Academy. It was okay. The style and editing were fun, ad were some of the characters, but the plot was predictable and a bit plodding and I just couldn’t get into the main characters. It wasn’t a waste of time but it did feel like wasted potential.

      1. AlligatorSkyy*

        Ugh I hate it when shows are predictable. That’s why I lost a lot of love for Pretty Little Liars. It got so predictable after a while and I sorta gave up.

    8. Marion Ravenwood*

      New Queer Eye! I love it sooo much and am so glad it’s back.

      Also American Idol, which was my guilty pleasure when it was on ITV2 in the UK back in the day – it’s a big part of how I got into country music too – so I’m enjoying that as something a bit lighter and fluffier.

      1. AlligatorSkyy*

        Okay I really NEED to start watching Queer Eye. I think I’ll start it tonight!

        My family watch American Idol, I don’t usually pay attention when it’s on in the background, but sometimes I’ll look up if I hear a voice I like. There was a guy called Walker(?) I believe, and omggg his voice!!! I’m in love.

    9. Anon anony*

      I just finished watching season 2 of “Secret City” and am currently watching “Quantico”. (Though I find it annoying that they keep flashing back and forth, so I fast forward a lot.)

    10. Nacho*

      I’m half way through Fate/Apocrypha, trying to finish it before I move onto Umbrella Academy.

      1. AlligatorSkyy*

        Ooh, what’s your opinions on it so far? Saw some people talking about it on Twitter recently.

        1. Nacho*

          Just finished episode 14, and so far it’s pretty similar in tone to the first two Fate shows. It’s violent, bloody, action packed, and full of betrayals. Kind of like Game of Thrones, but with more magic.

    11. Quake Johnson*

      Ooh also, if you like cooking/baking shows (or even if you don’t and would prefer to see a skewered version) I highly recommend Nailed It. It’s entertaining watching the failures but also very charming and lighthearted.

      1. Middle School Teacher*

        I’ve been watching Nailed It Mexico, which is just delightful. I love the host!

          1. Lemonwhirl*

            My 8 year old runs around the house saying “If you’re going to steal, steal big” while carting off something to hide. Sylvia’s got a lot to answer for. :)

            We tried Nailed It Mexico, but missed Nicole too much.

    12. LilySparrow*

      Fake or Fortune – tracking down artworks to try to authenticate them, so it’s like a reality-art history-detective show. Very cool topic, though I must say they are working VERY hard to fit it into a really rigid format, so there are a lot of repetitive recaps-after-commercial-break, which is a bit annoying.

      The best one was a religious painting in a small country church. The congregation loved it and had no intention of ever selling it, but they weren’t sure where it came from or exactly how it got there. It turned out to be a wild ride.

      Dirty Money was also a wonderful documentary series, about several different cases where businesses were caught operating in very shady and sometimes outright illegal ways. And comeupppance was dealt.

    13. Elizabeth West*

      I just started watching Black Butler and I love it but they only have one season and I can’t find the rest anywhere. Also waiting for Dark to come back.

      I’m seriously pissed off at them for canceling One Day at a Time, an excellent, EXCELLENT show, and spending money to keep Friends reruns instead. Friends was never that great anyway and its time is over. Let it go already.

    14. Kuododi*

      DH and I binged the new Idris Elba series “Turn Up Charlie.” I confess to a case of celebrity crush regarding Idris. He’s still…..let’s say “delightful.”. ;)

      It was a good series and was enjoyable to see Idris doing something silly for a change. Couple of issues I had, the language was pretty salty including the 11 yr old Charlie dropping F bombs. Additionally, there was one episode somewhere in the middle of the series which was so gross we opted to fast forward through the worst scene. ( Think “side effects from hell of the morning after the party”). Don’t get me wrong, salty language and visually “gross” scenes typically don’t slow me down. ( I have worked Level One trauma centers so I have seen and heard quite a bit of stuff. Even I have limits.). ;)

  20. Foreign Octopus*

    I’ve just this week discovered the TV show Hell on Wheels and I am obsessed with it. I apparently have a thing for dirty Southerners with questionable morals (Cullen Bohannon) but I think I’m okay with that. I’m really happy I found it as I was drawn to it because Anson Mount, who plays Pike in Star Trek, is in it and I like his work in ST so my weekend is bingeing season three.

  21. CoffeeforLife*

    I gave myself a daily flossing challenge and started checking it off to hold myself accountable :) I’m happy to say it’s finally a habit. The things that make you excited as an adult!

    1. CoffeeforLife*

      Ugh this was supposed to nest in the adulting thread under someone who mentioned flossing.

    2. Nicole76*

      I recently started flossing daily also. It started right after my most recent dental cleaning. Something about the dentist complimenting me on my teeth made me want to take care of them even more than I had been, so now I floss nightly and use the ACT mouth rinse after brushing.

      When do you floss? My friend said he flosses in the morning and I told him that seems to defeat the purpose since the food from the previous day sits between your teeth all night. Ideally I’d floss after every meal but I figure if I can manage to make myself do it at least once a day, I’m going to do it before bed.

      1. Blue Eagle*

        Congratulations to you both! Unfortunately for me, I experienced the downside of not flossing daily. I ended up with gum disease and had to have surgery to remove the plaque that was below the gumline (which includes cutting the gum, scraping the plaque off your teeth and then stitching the gums back together). The surgery was lengthy and unpleasant and I wasn’t allowed to talk once they started to prevent any possible infection. Daily flossing before bed is definitely the way to go.

        1. Nicole76*

          I’m sorry you had to go through that. I read your comment to my husband, who doesn’t floss and is starting to get plaque under his gums. Maybe I can scare him into flossing.

    3. Flossing*

      I set daily flossing as a goal for myself for 2019 and set up a chart to track it. I’m pleased to say I’ve flossed every day this year so far and it finally feels like a habit. I definitely get (& share) the excitement!

  22. IntoTheSarchasm*

    Need some insight and definitions from the hive mind. We have been undergoing a never-ending remodel. I could type a book about it but here are the quick notes: Contract signed 3/1/18, work to start first thing in the spring (Michigan), delays occurred, pretty sure primarily due to builder fails, broke ground on a two-story additions with 1.5 baths and a new kitchen on 8/25/18 when basement excavation began. Now in mid-March 2019, working on plumbing, heating, still need insulation, drywall, paint, finish work, etc. Contract states will be “substantially complete” within six months of “commencement.” Looking for some definitions of those terms. Is it fair to say commencement is when digging began and substantially complete is not yet been achieved? Work quality is great, focus on getting done is not; we have been living in very limited and uncomfortable circumstances for the duration and are mulling our options and words to throw down some possible consequences, contractor is aware of our dissatisfaction and seems to think we are high maintenance in some way when we ask for updates. Draws have been requested and paid routinely. They have had some issues with finding subs contractors but that is not the whole of the story by any means and is, after all, their responsibility. Any perspective appreciated!

    1. Ranon*

      Commencement is usually the date you signed a contract for work unless you call out a different date in writing somewhere. Certainly would be considered to have happened before the first draw I would think. Substantially complete usually means you can occupy it but they’re still wrapping up little things like paint touch-up, landscaping, etc.

      Unless you have liquidated damages in your contact you’re unlikely to have a whole lot of leverage to get things done more quickly, beyond what you’re doing now- asking for schedule updates, monitoring when subs are on site & calling when they aren’t, etc. The contractor being annoyed is part of the deal with this approach, unfortunately. I’m sorry, it’s frustrating when projects drag out like this! Sounds like you’re dried in so hopefully if the staff the project well and inspections go quickly you’ll be done soon!

    2. Llellayena*

      Commencement can be either “spades in the ground” or “got the construction permit,” it’s worth checking (building department maybe?), though I’d lean toward spades in the ground. But either way, you’re past 6 months and NOT substantially complete. That definition means “can be lived in.” If they’re still doing plumbing and mechanical work, that’s not it. Paint, trim, the occasional drywall repair, those don’t count toward substantially complete, but you need working plumbing and heat. Anything that still needs a final inspection, definitely.

    3. Wishing You Well*

      Your contractor must explain what the problems are AND how they’re going to be resolved. Your contract is broken. It could be time for a renegotiation or a firing. I prefer actual end dates on contracts. Even so, it’s clear your contract is broken.
      You might talk to a lawyer experienced in construction issues. You need to know why this is way past your contract deadline. The builder might be going broke. It’s happened to friends of mine. If the builder is not paying his subs, you could pay twice to get it finished. Liens can be put on your house by creditors who weren’t paid. Were all the permits paid for? If not, that’ll be another problem.
      Call your governing agency and see if this guy still has his contractor’s license and if he has complaints against him. Start calling his other customers to see if they’re having the same problems.
      I hope you can work something out.

    4. Not A Manager*

      The problem with having a contract is that it might say what everyone’s obligations are, but unless it provides a clear remedy for violations, that’s not much help to you.

      The previous poster might be right that the “contract is broken,” but all that means is that you have the right to refuse to allow the GC to perform additional work. You still have to pay them for what they’ve done, and you’ll still need to find someone else to complete the work. For obvious reasons, that can be very difficult.

      I think you’re stuck. Contractors almost never finish on time, especially for private clients. Do keep nagging him – his resistance and calling you high maintenance is just part of the dance. Your part of the dance is to keep nagging him.

      WARNING: Research what your state requires in terms of notice from sub-contractors that they are working on your property and that they have a right to file a workman’s lien if the GC doesn’t pay them. If you’re in a state where the subs have an obligation to notify YOU that they are working on your property, that’s better than if you have an obligation to find out on your own. Sometimes you can get around this by posting a notice to all subcontractors. But do look into it.

      THEN be sure that your GC is giving you whatever proof you’re entitled to, that he is paying his subcontractors. Usually this is in the form of a partial lien release every time he pays them. I speak on this topic from bitter experience.

    5. IntoTheSarchasm*

      Thank you all for the great input and information, it was very helpful and has helped us with not feeling we are being unreasonable. We have only done one other building project and faced nothing like this. What seems to gall the most is that they have never admitted or apologized in any way for the delays that are clearly their fault. We are living in our garage but it is not as bad as it sounds; electric heat and full bath upstairs and we put a improvised living room/kitchen downstairs, which is unheated although the whole garage is insulated. We live in northern Michigan so it has been very cold downstairs even with heaters running, not to mention an almost 700.00 electric bill. We chose the garage route as we have 3 dogs and didn’t have much success finding a short-term rental. If they had started on time (spring) or even moved it along, we wouldn’t have frozen out here all winter. They are aware of this and still can’t be bothered. Thanks for the vent and advice!

  23. Beaded Librarian*

    Anyone in Nebraska? How’s everyone doing with the flooding? Had to evacuate to a coworkers house as a precaution and my boss may or may not have a house anymore. She has no way of knowing yet. But the thing that upset me the most is I didn’t get to go to a concert last night because we are all traps in our town.

    1. The Diamond's Sparkle*

      I live in an area in Omaha that’s not been affected. However, my normal commute changed due to a major part being closed. We have family just outside of Omaha that had to be evacuated due their town flooding. Their house is flooded but they are safe.

      1. Beaded Librarian*

        Glad to hear everyone is safe. I think many people’s commutes are going to be messed up and with so many bridges compromised I wonder how some people are going to get to work even if things are otherwise okay.

    2. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      sending you hug. Mom safely here from a neighboring state, but things are underwater for parts of her town. (Have not mentioned concerns I have about her basement… what is, is at this point).

      I feel terrible for the ongoing issues – the fields, road, bridges and infrastructure. Heart breaking.

      1. Beaded Librarian*

        Thank you it’s hard to be isolated in town even for a few days but in some ways I feel worse for two of my coworkers. They are stuck outside of town and feel helpless.

  24. Loves Libraries*

    My daughter is coming home today from college for spring break. I think she’s gay and I’m okay with it but she will need to talk with her dad. It’ll be a shock but he loves her first and foremost. This is all coming out since the United Methodist Church voted to not allow ministers to marry same sex couples. I’m sure she will no longer be comfortable in the church she has been a member of since birth. Wish us luck as a family.

    1. cat pillow*

      as a very gay child raised in the UMC who came out to my parents about a decade ago on spring break and felt a really similar struggle (figured ma would be okay, wasn’t so sure about pa), just make sure she knows you love her every chance you get. she might not be comfortable going back to her home church, but she’ll hopefully find a path to do what’s ultimately most healthy for her.

      it might be difficult, but strongly consider offering to try other denominations (or even just more explicitly welcoming congregations who disagree with the ruling) with her. it would have meant the world to me if my parents had been able to do the same for me.

    2. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      Interesting question. Same issue in my own household. My husband was raised Methodist but we are very liberal. I went to Sunday School as a Presbyterian but then nothing after that. My parents aren’t particularly religious and didn’t like getting up on Sundays. I’m an agnostic towards maybe atheist.

      I used to go with my husband to our progressive local Methodist church but now I don’t want to. He likes the church community but it’s not even in our current town (20 mins away) and he’s only been going for about 6 years not all his life.

      My point is I would happily accompany him to a progressive episcopal or Presbyterian church in our town. He says we could go to the local Methodist but then same problem. I don’t want to be associated.

      So TLDR to me the beliefs of different Protestant churches aren’t all that different. So why is he so set on Methodist when he disagrees with the values of the church governing body?

      Maybe you should think about switching to support your daughter too.

    3. Kathenus*

      Hopefully you can be an advocate for her with her dad as well. My brother is gay and I love him and my brother-in-law dearly. My only concern when he came out to me was his health, as it was when HIV/AIDS was still more of a death sentence than a chronic illness.

      I’d suggest let her decide on the church herself, with support from you in whatever choice she makes but without you or others making it an issue or big decision she has to make now. Let it happen naturally when/if she wants to address it. It’s still your daughter, she hasn’t changed at all, she is the same daughter that you have loved all her life. If you embrace this new knowledge about her and just move on with treating her with the same love and respect you’ve always had versus having it define your relationship in a new way, hopefully you will all be happy and at peace.

    4. Loves Libraries*

      Thanks for your kind words. I talked to my husband and he wasn’t surprised. We have 2 friends who have had children in their 20’s die in the past year so it’s not that big of a deal. He doesn’t agree with the Methodist vote and thinks it will change eventually. I grew up Episcopalian and asked my brother about our church. It’s more progressive and I want to try there. We will see what our daughter says when she gets home.

    5. just a random teacher*

      If you think she’s gay but she hasn’t told you that she is (it’s just a suspicion you have for whatever reason), you might also use the recent church vote as an opportunity to let her know your likely reactions/opinions on the church issue as kind of a proxy for whether or not you are safe people to come out to. If you and her father are both frustrated and disappointed in the vote and feel it’s the wrong direction for the church to be going in, well, that would be a really reassuring thing for a Methodist kid thinking of coming out to their parents to hear right now.

      As a side note, you should also be prepared that you might have misread the situation in some way and she’s not gay but rather bi, or asexual, or any number of other similar “not the default assumption of hetronormativity” things instead. Or that it’s some different thing entirely you’ve been misreading cues about. (This is based on that fact that you said that you think she’s gay rather than that she’s said that she is, or that she thinks she is but isn’t quite sure about everything yet and is still working out the details. Obviously, if she’s told you she’s gay, that’s what you should go ahead and assume she is.)

  25. Too modest*

    I’m a woman in my thirties, and in January I started exercising by swimming at a local aquatic center. (Since this post is going to bring up modesty issues, I should mention that I am in the US.) This center has three large locker rooms: men’s, women’s, and family. The women’s locker room is laid out in an open plan, without a lot of privacy. There is nowhere private to change after swimming, unless you wanted to try to change in a bathroom stall. The family locker room, by contrast, has several individual large cubicles with toilet, sink, and shower, so parents can take their kids into one room where they can shower, change, etc. Despite this setup, I find that women with little kids often bring their kids into the women’s locker room. I’m not the world’s most modest person, and I don’t mind changing in front of other women in an open locker room, but I really don’t feel comfortable stripping out of my swimsuit in front of someone’s five-year-old boy. (All the more so since adults generally know to avert their eyes in locker rooms, but little kids don’t.) So, should I get over myself and change in front of kids (which feels icky), change in a stall (awkward), talk to the parent (possibly confrontational, and it seems to be several women who do this, so not a one-off conversation), talk to the staff (not sure what they could do) or what? If winter ever ends, I can go home and shower, but it is way too cold to go outside in a wet swimsuit right now.

    1. Beaded Librarian*

      Find out what the policy is for children in the women’s bathrooms. Many don’t allow boys older than 3 if they have a family bathroom. If they don’t allow boys over a certain age I’d start with the staff.

    2. NotaPirate*

      Change in the stalls or use the family change rooms. It’s not awkward to want privacy and almost no one will notice. If they do notice that’s their problem, not yours. When people change in bathroom stall over locker room Id assume period related rather than privacy anyway.

      Do not talk to the parents or staff about forcing mom’s to take kids only into the family room. I am also from US and this is very normal. Talking will come off aggressive and judgemental even if that’s not how you intend it.

      Actually you could ask the staff if it’s okay for you to use the family rooms when not crowded as you’d prefer more privacy. But you would also be okay to just start using them.

      One further option, do you have the nice tall wall mounted hairdryers? Shower and dry your hair while in the swimsuit and see if that dries your suit too. Also, consider your swimwear option. In puberty I learned from older girls how to take the straps off but leave the suit covering everything, loosely wrap a towel then shimmy the suit off and underwear on. You could try that at home and see if it works for you. Tank-ini and other 2 pieces way easier to do that change with.

    3. Zephy*

      Is there anything stopping you from using one of the private cubicles in the family locker room? Like, do they have a doorman detaining people that aren’t accompanied by a spouse and/or child from entering?

      I wouldn’t confront the parents about simply bringing their small kids into the locker room with them; that’s not doing anything wrong.* Letting those small kids wander around and get into other people’s space and business would be something you could raise, but if the kids are just sitting quietly and happen to be looking in your direction, that’s not a crime. I agree that changing in a toilet stall is less than ideal. If you can’t use the family locker room, you might just need to get over yourself and ignore the kids. You’re presumably not prancing around the locker room in all your glory or anything, right? Seeing a bare bottom for a second, or catching a glimpse of a boob or whatever isn’t going to hurt a kid. You’re not changing AT them. If anything, going about your business as if it’s not a big deal is modeling appropriate behavior.

      (* Unless the membership contract stipulates that parents with small kids in tow MUST only use the family locker room, in which case, you might have a case here – but then, I’d take that up with the management and let them enforce their policies.)

      1. LCL*

        Get over yourself? They aren’t changing at you? Your attitude is way too harsh towards OP. Her concern isn’t hurting the kids by a glimpse of her body. Her concern is how uncomfortable she is made by strange kids looking at her. Once most boys are past a certain age, which varies with the child, they are going to get really curious and want to look. That is normal and natural, and hella uncomfortable for anyone unrelated to the boy. As long as the place has family changing rooms, push the management to clarify and enforce the rules.

    4. bunniferous*

      Our gym does not allow young children in the adult locker rooms for that reason. They MUST use family area.

    5. Alex*

      My gym has a policy of no children of the opposite sex over age 5. I’d find out what your gym’s policy is. If the parents are behaving within the parameters of the gym’s policy, I don’t think you have much standing to say something to them. It’s possible that during swim class times, those family rooms are all full.

      If you see a family acting contrary to the gym’s policy, it’s totally OK to mention something either to the parents or to the gym’s staff.

    6. epi*

      I would probably just use the family changing room myself in that situation.

      I usually assume the family bathroom is also the everybody bathroom for people of any gender, or who can’t or don’t want to use the gendered bathroom for any reason. I’d make the same assumption about a family changing room, unless actual families are waiting.

      I totally agree with you that five year old boys should not be in the women’s changing room. But if multiple people are doing it, it may be more effort than it is worth to say something or get the staff to say something every time.

      1. valentine*

        Use the family room. You’re not displacing anyone, as there are families in the women’s room. I don’t understand wanting to gender-police children or kick women out of women’s spaces because they brought their children.

    7. Not A Manager*

      For personal reasons, I don’t like a stranger of any age or gender to see my genitals. A while ago I bought a terrycloth beach coverup that is simply a long poncho. I put that on in the locker room, slip off my suit and slip on my underwear, before removing the poncho.

      Yes, it’s a bit of a pain, but I prefer that to hoping that I can get into a shower stall or into the handicapped toilet stall in order to change. Sometimes they’re not available, and frequently they’re not very clean.

        1. Not A Manager*

          I’ve always wondered – if the handicapped stall is available, is it okay to use it for a reasonable amount of time? Not like camping out in it, but to use the toilet or quickly change clothes?

          If there’s a line, do you need to not go into the empty handicapped stall in order to keep it empty for someone who needs it, or is it okay to rotate into that stall like any other stall?

          1. just a random teacher*

            Quick toilet trips in case of a line seem fine to me, but if that’s the next open stall I also always yell out to the entire line behind me to see if anyone is waiting for that stall specifically since it’s open. I don’t see other people doing checking with the rest of the line before going in if it’s the next open stall (it’s just first come, first served), but it’s something I’d like to see become a thing and I don’t mind being loud and noticeable in public spaces (school teacher, previous camp counselor, pretty much used to announcing rules and procedures to groups of people) so I figure I’ll see if I can make it a thing.

            I’d avoid changing clothes or anything else that takes longer than a regular bathroom visit, since that’s not what the space is for. Exceptions for a situations where there are multiple accessible stalls and no other bathroom users since it’s an off-peak time or something, since then you’re not using something someone else might be waiting for. It’s particularly obnoxious at conventions when someone is trying to get into a complicated costume in the only accessible stall and will clearly be there a while.

          2. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

            Technically the handicapped stall just has to be available for use for people with disabilities, not for their exclusive use. That being said some people with disabilities need quicker bathroom access for medical reasons or logistics reasons (eg more difficulty rearranging clothing), and they already have slower access if it’s busy since that’s the ONLY stall they can use. So if I see someone in line who looks like they need it, I would defer to that person. I would also never pick it if there’s a regular stall available or change clothes in there. A quick pee break if it’s the only stall and there’s a line is completely fine…

    8. That Redshirt.*

      It’s normal to want privacy. Maybe changing in a stall works best for that purpose? Also, check into the policy of your gym regarding the age of children in opposite sex change rooms. Children can be in the opposite sex change room of my local gym if they’re under the age of eight. I’m not sure how big your family change room is, but that could be an option. Mine is the size of a largish bathroom, and could be used by one person if they wanted privacy.

    9. Owler*

      Which are you bothered by? (A) changing in front of children who don’t know to avert their gaze or (B) child seeing adult bodies (including yours)? Because in my experience, there is often going to be a child who doesn’t know norms in the changing rooms of a public/community pool.
      So if (A) is your issue, figure out what changes in your behavior you want to make to create your own privacy. The other posters have some great suggestions.
      And for (B)? I think you have to let it go. I keep my eyes down, change quickly, and know that kids have short attention spans. Some moms will push the age limit for their sons, so you can always mention the family bathrooms (or ask staff to support it), but the line for those is usually crowded if several families leave at the same time.

    10. Batgirl*

      There are lots of zip up towel dresses or Velcro fasten underarm gym towels that will stay put while you change underneath them. In fact some of the towel hoodie dresses you could just go home in! The easiest costumes to slip off underneath are the ones with a tie on halter or tie on two pieces.

      I also don’t see any reason why you can’t just use a stall in the family room.

    11. HannahS*

      Yeah, I’m not a fan of that, although I’d usually face the wall and change quickly. My old community centre had a rule of “no boys over 3” (I think it was three–it might have been four or five) in the women’s change room, and the same for the men’s and little girls. There was a family change room and people were welcome to use that. It was a Jewish community centre with a lot of Orthodox people, so this rule was generally followed. You can mention it to the staff, and ask if there’s an age limit that they can post on the door. The purpose of a family change room is so that parents don’t have to segregate by gender with their kids, and it’s meant to be used!

    12. Lilysparrow*

      Ask the staff about policy. Our gym has a “no opposite-sex children over age 4” or something. (It’s posted but not relevant to me so I don’t remember the exact age).

      If there is a policy, let them know about the issue and ask them to post it or issue reminders.

      If there isn’t a policy, you can always use the cubicles in the family room yourself.

      Or what about the shower itself? Is it open-plan too? Ours has curtains on the shower stalls and plenty of hooks. I’d pick that over a toilet stall.

      But I have also ducked into a locker bay and done the shimmy-under-a-towel thing if there is a very staring child of either sex. I don’t mind changing with little ones there generally, but the wide-eyed “oh my gosh what IS that?” look isn’t very pleasant.

    13. Too modest*

      Thanks for all the good suggestions, everyone! I am going to go for a velcro towel wrap and just change under that. And I’m so glad I posted, because I didn’t even know that such things existed!

    14. That Girl From Quinn's House*

      I’ve worked in fitness/community rec centers. You should ask the front desk what the rule is, and then make reports whenever you see people breaking it.

      The rule will vary based on facility: I’ve seen locker rooms allow opposite sex kids up to age 5, but then I’ve also seen places that have the non-family locker rooms designated 13+ or 18+.

      And don’t feel bad going to the desk and reporting it. Some moms are real trolls about it, I’ve had to kick ten year old boys out of the ladies’ room while mom screams. The staff are used to it: the kid can’t be in there.

    15. Blue Eagle*

      Sorry about the situation that causes this problem. Haven’t read all the comments, but just watched last week’s Shark Tank and there is a product called Shower Toga that might be an answer to your problem. I haven’t ordered one yet, but am thinking about it. Sorry I don’t have a better answer.

    16. Elizabeth B*

      You are not too modest. At my previous gym I had to regularly point out the policy to moms who allowed boys well over the 6 year old limit to wander around the women’s locker room while they got another child changed.
      My favorite interaction was asking a mom why her clearly middle school age son was in the locker room while she was helping a younger child change. She said he couldn’t wait outside because someone might kidnap him! Initially I rationally pointed out that children were rarely kidnapped by strangers. Then I added that her son didn’t look that desirable anyway ;-)
      But since you can’t force people to use common sense and think of others, you will have to adapt and use some of the great suggestions here. I recommend an oversize towel as a toga and getting dressed underneath it.

      1. Lilysparrow*

        I mean, I know stuff happens, and maybe there was a nasty custody situation going on, but really?

        How are you going to kidnap a middle-school boy from a populated gym in the middle of the day without anyone noticing or stopping you?

        They aren’t exactly compliant, even with their own parents or teachers.

    17. Farnolia*

      I swear the US is getting weirder every minute. A 5 year old boy being around when she is naked sends a grown woman into panic

  26. Karen from Finance*

    It’s my sister’s best friend’s (so by extension my like-a-sister’s I guess) wedding today. The wedding is a town over and mid-afternoon. I have a very big cold, I’ve been coughing like crazy since yesterday.

    I might just pump myself up with over-the-counter cold medications and hope for the best. This sucks, though.

  27. coffee cup*

    I was in Morocco in Jan (I may have droned on about this before…) and while there I had a small fling with a guy. We still keep in touch on text. Last night we had a video chat. He’s a nice, sweet guy and I enjoy talking to him. (I’m not a silly person who believes in holiday romances and things like that and I’m not naive either.) It’s just a shame we live in different countries. If he lived here, I think we’d be dating. Oh well. Typical I have to visit another continent to find a guy I connect with!

    1. Not a cat*

      Well, that’s great news! I have a very colorful past with long distance relationships, across the country, and across the world. It sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders, so enjoy it!

  28. MissDisplaced*

    Is it wrong to wear ethnic prints? Someone made a comment to me that I was “appropriating” because I wore a blouse with an ethnically-inspired print.

    This was a silk blouse from Citron Santa Monica, which are definitely Asian inspired. But I typically wear it with plain black slacks and black shoes or sandals. I’m not making any attempt to dress “in costume” or anything here, I just think these blouses feel and look lovey. Are such prints now off-limits?

    1. Asenath*

      Not to me, but then I think any cultures that interact, which means essentially all of them today, always exchange all aspects of their culture, from fabric to clothing to music to views on the philosophical beliefs that underpin culture. So all I see is normal human interactions when someone from one group is inspired by something from another group. It’s part of the normal human give and take that makes all cultures evolve and change.

      1. MissDisplaced*

        I can see a comment like that if I was wearing a full cheongsam or sari or something, but these are blouses made for a western market. But I never considered the prints alone might be construed as offensive that way. I didn’t argue with the person, but now I feel sort of uncomfortable to wear it.

        1. fposte*

          Oh, those look really pretty.

          I think the relationship of international exchange to art and commerce is too complicated to be reduced to “You’re wrong to wear this shirt,” and I think that somebody’s deciding to unsolicitedly tell you so is a dubious action that undermines their argument. I also think there’s an irony here: where does this person think the silk was woven? Where does she think the shirt was made? Why is that less significant than the pictures on the fabric?

          TBH I’m less bothered by global influences on visual patterns than I am about some of the customary terminology employed in fashion (“tribal” especially makes me cringe). It also depends on what the visuals actually are. Religious symbols? Not cool. Well-known artistic techniques or idioms from economically thriving cultures? Generally cool by me.

        2. Vancouver Reader*

          I was at a wedding once where I wore a cheongsam (I’m Chinese) and there was a white woman wearing a cheongsam as well. I don’t see that as cultural appropriation (I’m not saying that you are either Miss Dispalced), but rather someone really liking the style and cut of the dress and therefore is wearing it to a happy occasion.

          1. Batgirl*

            I agree. Mocking or fetishisizing or turning a culture into a cute costume or joke is appropriation to me. Being inspired or respectful of an item’s purpose really seems fine.

            Such paranoia really just seems a good way to keep global artisans down.

      2. Gerald*

        There was a comment about this which I found quite funny, made by a comedian (they mentioned they were a person of colour from Africa, as part of their act). They were talking about appropriation, and had a weird interaction where someone complimented them on their ethnic clothing. She said that she’d bought it from a very western store, so was she guilty of cultural appropriation? I think this just highlights how silly the concept can be, if it is applied universally and without thought.

        I have clothes which I have bought while travelling, and I happily wear them. Context, as mentioned, is key. I love the clothes, respect the culture, and know they were made by someone local whom I paid relatively well.

    2. Zephy*

      I think the line is somewhere around 1) what is the cultural significance of the thing that you’re wearing/doing/eating/etc, and 2) how respectful are you being about that context?

      Wearing a pretty blouse is not inherently cultural appropriation just because it has pictures of cranes or the Great Wave off Kanagawa on it. Liking art made by people who don’t look like you is okay. Buying art made by people who don’t look like you is okay. What is not okay is taking elements of someone else’s culture without regard to the larger context that those elements came from. If you were to refer to your Citron blouse as “my geisha girl shirt,” or started singing “Turning Japanese” while wearing it, or something along those lines, that would be a problem.

    3. Reba*

      I really like the tops, too! I think that comment was over the top and you can disregard.

      To me the important appropriation question is not so much “am I allowed to wear” but rather a question about power: “who is getting paid/ who is benefiting from this or who is harmed?”

      Other thoughts:
      California is like a prototypically culturally hybrid place, and California style (s) reflect that. I read that the owner of the boutique is from South Africa, another place with super problematic, yet amazingly productive, meeting of cultures.

      Wearing things from other places because they are lovely or offer something not available in your area/culture is really pretty fundamental to the human experience worldwide. I have a PhD in this!

      Finally, it is an interesting irony of our times that virtually all our “western” clothes are made in Asia, but here things that actually “look” “Asian” (have some kind of relationship with the art history of the region) are uncomfortable…?

    4. Lora*

      This is probably a dumb question but how would anyone know it wasn’t a travel souvenir? Last time I went to various parts of Asia they had lots of things similar to those jackets and blouses in shops around the museums and tourist areas. They seemed happy to sell them to white ladies. And they were very clear on Our Cultural Heritage means “put it in a museum, have a history lesson for children,” same as Americans do when we talk about Pilgrims and such.

      It’s one thing to be making a silly costume or be an A-hole about Halloween or be disrespectful of what something means religiously (e.g wearing a feather headdress), but wearing regular clothes that people wear? You do you.

      Disclaimer: My dad’s family is Old Order Amish. There’s definitely a Thing where conservative Christians fetishize the Amish and try to dress sorta Mennonite-ish style despite being like, Methodist or Lutheran or whatever, and while my cousins and I look on it as a bit weird, eh, whatever, it’s their clothing and if they want to play Little House on the prairie, god bless. I may be more acclimated to thoughtless weird bullshit than others, is what I’m saying.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Hey there, just wanted to say I’d be fascinated to talk with you more. I grew up mainstream/urban Mennonite (pastors kid) but spent a couple summers in Michiana and worked in Shipshewana. Definitely saw some fetishizing of the Amish and it’s always bugged me.

        1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

          My great grandmother was Old Order German Brethren (western PA), no zippers etc, bonnet, the whole works. My mom still talks about her. Great grands met at the edge of the church parking (for buggies at the time) from two different German Brethern churches – one more conservative than the other. Great Gramps less conservative. Interesting family background on that side. I’ve been to the family house (we don’t own it any more) – stood for over 200 years. Just… hi!

          1. ThatGirl*

            Hi! :) Ah, the German Brethren, one of those groups nobody knows about. Them and the Hutterites. AFAIK all my family history is mainstream Menno or COB but I’ve had exposure to lots of those groups.

        2. All Hail Queen Sally*

          Oh goodness! I grew up in a town just east of Shipshewana and bought all my fabric for my home ec classes at Yoder’s. Many fond memories of the area, but it was all before “Amish Tourism” became popular.

          1. ThatGirl*

            East of Shipshe…. so, what, La Grange? I had to cover the La Grange Co fair one summer for the Goshen News :) but yeah I worked there in 2002 so it was very touristy by then. I do miss Wana Cup sometimes.

    5. Sam Sepiol*

      I’m curious to know who made the comment – were they (did they appear to be) white, or BAME? was it someone you know?

      I’m inclined to say you’re fine, though.

    6. Wishing You Well*

      You’re fine.
      SOME of this “appropriating” talk is sounding like bullying – especially of women. I wouldn’t criticize someone unless cultural disrespect was obvious and intentional.
      By the way, I declare phones, jeans and cars to be the exclusive cultural heritage of the United States and, therefore, off limits outside the U.S. Oh, and also light bulbs! ;)

    7. Lilysparrow*

      If she couldn’t explain to you the significance of the print and why it mattered that nobody of a different ethnicity should wear it, then she was talking out the side of her head. Ignore her.

      Did she even know anything about what culture you were supposed to be appropriating it from? Or was she just fixated on the fact that your shirt looked Asian and you don’t?

      Because I have some serious side-eye for anyone calling out appropriation if they think “Asian” is one monolithic culture.

    8. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’m not giving up my Norwegian sweaters ok? I figure they raided my Irish&English ancestors enough… we may as well get something colorful out of that history. (Wink)
      I have a black friend who grew up studying Japanese and spent time there and had a kimono made for her…and now she’s worried about wearing it. Which is really sad!

  29. Llellayena*

    As a continuation of my “I feel miserable” thread from yesterday, does anyone have recommendations for dealing with a combination of possible mild food poisoning and gut based reaction to antibiotics?

    I started antibiotics Wednesday, got what I think was mild food poisoning Thursday night (everything annoyed but no real results), spent Friday miserable and barely eating anything because nausea. In among this I had to eat enough to be able to take my antibiotics, which was tough when I was nauseous. Today I’m STARVING but when I eat I’m nauseous again. I think the antibiotics are contributing to the nausea but I’m stuck with them until tomorrow. My next step is mint tea but I’d welcome other ideas…

    1. fposte*

      Unless people who ate with you are reporting the same symptoms, odds are high that what you had wasn’t food poisoning but a response to the antibiotics. Some, like erythromycin, bactrim and amoxicillin, are particularly inclined to that.

      It often levels off after a few days. The usual advice is to eat light and avoid fatty foods but don’t take the med on an empty stomach, and to try to take a dose right before bed so you can sleep through some of the nausea. If you really can’t eat or drink enough you might want to hit an urgent care and ask about an anti-nausea medication; those are pretty low impact so it’s NBD to take one for a few days.

      1. Llellayena*

        The reason I thought food poisoning was my mom had food poisoning earlier in the week (worse) from food that had pesto as an ingredient, the same pesto I think I reacted to. I do tend to have a nausea reaction when my system is out of whack, so the rest makes sense.

    2. My Brain is Exploding*

      Anything ginger. Ginger snaps, ginger ale, ginger tea, candied ginger. Hope you feel better soon! Also FLAT cola. Coke syrup (like from an old time place where they make fountain drinks) used to be used all the time and you may find some bottled at a drugstore. If you can get out to a drugstore they may also have suppositories for nausea.

    3. StrikingFalcon*

      There’s an over the counter nausea medicine that looks like cough syrup that works pretty well. It doesn’t last too long, but might help you get food down with your meds.

    4. Pam*

      With some antibiotics, I automatically start taking Prilosec- and of course, eating yogurt and other light foods to reduce the strain

    5. just a random teacher*

      When I had a gut thing the advice nurse suggested I try benedryl, and it really does seem to settle my stomach down (in addition to making me sleepy, which also let me sleep away more of the time I felt nasty as a side benefit). Also, if you have health insurance it’s possible that it includes a free nurse advice line (most of mine have, since it’s something that cuts down on unneeded urgent care visits so it pencils out for them cost-wise), and if so they’re a great source of suggestions for home care in situations like this.

      I also second the suggestion for ginger. I’d eat candied ginger (which is something you can find in the bulk bins at natural foods stores) whenever I felt queasy during lectures in grad school, and it seemed to help. You could also try eating foods with ginger as a spice in them since you’re hungry – oatmeal with lots of ginger and some cinnamon on it sounds like it would probably be pretty tasty but easy on the stomach.

    6. cat pillow*

      as someone who gets nauseated on a regular basis, i’d second/third ginger.

      i also tend to keep nutritional shakes on hand for when it goes on for more than a few days. that way, i can get calories and nutrients, but it’s much less of a struggle to get/keep down. you can find them in the health and beauty section of your local grocery store.

    7. LilySparrow*

      Don’t take the antibio’s on an empty stomach, have at least a couple of saltines on your stomach first. Eat bland stuff like Saltines, ginger ale or ginger tea, rice or ramen noodles, broth, and be sure you’re taking probiotics morning and evening.

      Sucking on a peppermint, ice cubes, or crystalized ginger can help during a nausea attack. So does a cold washcloth on the back of your neck.

    8. Seeking Second Childhood*

      My family’s go-to is ginger ale made with sugar not corn syrup. We keep a 6pack from Whole Paycheck and if it’s not needed in a few months we drink it & replace it. If you get to the point where water makes you queasy, try dilute Gatorade.
      Avoid milk except yoghurt for now, and feed yourself things with live cultures– a variety of brands of yogurt & kefir & kombucha & kimchee. Some drs also recommend probiotic tabs but I’ve not tried them.

    9. LCL*

      Over the counter acidophilus always worked for me. I would take them when I woke up, before a meal, and a half hour after any antibiotics. And I would try to snack on crackers or something similarly bland and carb filled all day.

      If you are having the unpleasant symptoms that have you camped in the bathroom, you have got to replace the lost water and electrolytes. Gator aid or homemade or pedialyte, whatever works. Or, this wonderful new electrolyte and supplement fizzy tablets you add to a glass of water, called Nuun. Read the labels carefully, so you can get a variety with caffeine if that is your jam, and skip coffee for a day or two.

  30. Off-Kilter Kitchen*

    Thanks to everyone who chimed in about last week’s backsplash question. Here’s this week’s dilemma: the kitchen island, which is in a kitchen that isn’t perfectly square. My contractor lined up the island with the back sink cabinets. As a result it is not lined up with the floorboards (1/4″ difference) and so looks off kilter when I come into the house from the front door, and look into my lovely new kitchen Contractor says I won’t notice when barstools are in place and counter is there, and that this is also somewhat of an optical illusion due to the beadboard on the side of the island. He’s very professional and will do what I want but is strongly advising against shifting it. Any advice gratefully appreciated!!

    1. fposte*

      On the one hand, I lean toward indulging my eye rather than measurements; it doesn’t help me that things are “officially” right if it looks wrong to me.

      On the other hand, you’re talking about one perspective. How does the kitchen look to you from other angles, within it and without it? I think there’s a risk that you’ll pay to shift it and it’ll look out of kilter to you elsewhere because of not lining up with the back cabinets. What sometimes helps me in a situation like that is to mentally own the quirkiness of my house as a feature, not a bug. Yup, things are cunningly staggered, because my house can’t be contained by mere alignment, like those square (in both senses of the word) houses elsewhere.

      1. Off-Kilter Kitchen*

        Thanks for chiming in, fposte! What I’m struggling with is the fact that when I’m at the sink I probably won’t notice the offkilter from close up. Conversely, I come in the front door every day and will be looking at from that vantage point. A good friend of mine is coming over this weekend and will give her opinion too.

        1. fposte*

          The part that I’d want to check is whether you might notice a new off-kilter if the island is moved and you notice it’s not aligning with the cabinets. If you think the answer is no, I’d move that sucker, but I’d check that possibility out thoroughly first.

          If you’re Photoshop competent, you can even take pictures and do some trimming around the edges to see how the new alignment would work from other angles.

      2. What the What*

        I’m pretty OCD about that stuff and it would bug me too. Could a runner/rug provide some coverage to that area? Barstools might help to “confuse” the eye so it’s not so noticeable and provide some coverage, too. The issue probably won’t be noticeable when finished and you’ll probably be the only person who sees it because you know it’s there. Congrats on your new kitchen. :)

        1. Off-Kilter Kitchen*

          Nope, kitchen is too small. I think this is why the previous owners painted the kitchen floor!

    2. Lcsa99*

      Can you get the barstools to place them and take a quick look at it before he finishes? Might be worth it.

      1. Off-Kilter Kitchen*

        Yes- I put down some chairs yesterday, and a good friend is bringing barstools this weekend so I can see how I feel about it!

    3. Not So NewReader*

      It’s surprising how much “optical illusion” is a factor not only in decorating but also in construction.

      I am trying to picture your situation. I got to wondering if you can split the difference, have it be off by 1/8 inch on the floor and 1/8 inch with the counter.

      I tend toward the idea of lining it up with the floor boards and hoping that the stools interfere with the lines going against the counter (optical illusion). I’d notice the floor in a heartbeat and I would notice it every single time I walked in the room. Tile ceilings do the same thing to me, I instantly notice the lines are off. But going from surface to surface such as counters I am less apt to notice.

      I think once your friend comes over and you can actually see it, then you will know your answer.

      1. Off-Kilter Kitchen*

        Thanks NSNR! I didn’t propose that to the contractor but I thought about it. I also have thought about just adjusting the countertop when it is installed because the island is nailed down & will not be easy to move. But that could make everything worse!

    4. Not A Manager*

      Your contractor is correct. Line it up with the counters and not the floorboards. Once the top is in and the stools are placed, you won’t notice.

  31. Goose Lavel*

    I’m really worried that the current State of Affairs happening in New Zealand will continue to spread worldwide and especially in the United States.
    AAM commenters please chime in

    1. Asenath*

      Mass murders, including mass murders targeting Muslims, have already happened around the world; it doesn’t need to spread there from New Zealand. All that can really be done is to punish the offenders – and treat them publicly like the criminals they are, so they don’t become heroes or martyrs in the public eye.

    2. Alex*

      It’s already happened in the US. I feel like the fact that it’s happened in New Zealand means it can happen anywhere–the US has the highest level of gun violence of any developed, non-war-zone country and I think probably is most in danger of this kind of thing given the availability of weapons + political climate. It’s already happened and will happen again.

    3. Jean (just Jean)*

      Worldwide, we can work to counteract the hate that fuels these beliefs and behaviors. It doesn’t all have to be massive monetary donations or hours and hours of public activity. Quiet one-on-one interactions can also help. The basic idea is that we’re all equally human beings. This is what hate-mongers refuse to acknowledge.

      I’m not getting specific due to limited time (mine) plus I don’t want to devolve into politics, foreign or domestic.

      TL,DR: The NZ events are horrible but we’re not *yet* at WWII threat levels (e.g. massive tide of hatred sufficiently politically & militarily organized to overwhelm entire nations). Let’s keep it that way. Any anger in my comment is directed at hatred, not at you or other AAM commenters!

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yep, we can decide not to let our fears guide us and rule or day-to-day interactions.

        This may sound like it’s off the subject of the tread, but something like AAM is the very thing this world needs more of. We can role model what TO DO. We can live it as we role model it.

        It would be nice if the media did more articles on people doing the RIGHT thing. That would probably inspire others to step up to the plate more often.

      2. Grapey*

        “Quiet one-on-one interactions can also help.” and are the key if you’re not part of the targeted group, actually. Too many people have anxiety about confronting their loud racist uncles – they’re not to be avoided, they’re to be educated. That should not a job for the groups of people our racist family members rail against.

    4. MatKnifeNinja*

      It’s happened in the US enough, that after two months (?), it’s not an event in the news.

      And that just the house of worship mayhem, not including work place and school stuff.

      Only difference is the shooters didn’t live stream it.

    5. StellaBella*

      Are you in NZ, Goose? If so, it is understandable to be afraid – but as others here have said, this is not new sadly anywhere in the world. White nationalism is not new esp to people of colour. :(

      Here are my thoughts tho. There is much each of us can do, even from far away, and also in our communities. We can…
      Donate to the emergency appeals for support.
      Attend vigils in solidarity.
      Reach out to our friends.
      Speak up against, and speak back to, those spreading hate.
      Open our doors and our hearts.
      Condemn racism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia.
      Actively dismantle systems oppressing people.
      Volunteer to help people in our own community.
      Vote.
      Teach respect.
      Smile at people in the street, in the train station, in the mall.
      Get news from many sources.

    6. Hrovitnir*

      Um, OK so bearing in mind that this is the first mass shooting in NZ in 12 years, and the US had 323 in 2018. So I don’t really think there’s any spreading to happen from NZ to the US.

      It was, however, a horrifically effective attack that is IMO a continuation of the current international climate of Islamophobia and xenophobia, and I am very scared that it has effectively “broken the seal” for that kind of large-scale violence in our country (I’m a NZer). There are a lot of scary implications, on that I certainly agree.

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        That was my understanding (I’m based in USA) that its spreading from here to other countries. I recall shootings happening in 1999 (Columbine) but didn’t hear about it happening so often again until 2012. Even still, there are deniers. I had no idea about the livestream, that’s terrifying. Save for this forum/community here, I’m seeing a lot of anger and hatred towards the victims that they caused or deserved it.

  32. Lcsa99*

    So I have an odd question. Should a kitchen sink have some kind of sealer around it (like a tub has silicone sealer)? I noticed the other day that we missed some gunk when cleaning, and it might be from stuff that got pushed under the edge. I don’t know if that’s intentional, but since we’ve come across other projects the previous owner obviously cut corners on, I thought it was worth asking.

    And if it should be sealed, can I just use the same stuff I’d use for a tub? It’s a stainless steel sink if that matters.

    1. CAA*

      Yes, there should be some sealant between the sink and counter, whether it’s an undermount or drop-in sink. If you google for kitchen sink sealant repair, you’ll find lots of instructional articles and videos.

    2. Gerald*

      Yes, although the main difference tends to be that washroom sealant tends to be white, whereas kitchen tends to be clear.

      1. Lcsa99*

        Thank you! For whatever reason, we bought a double pack of clear when we needed for the tub, which is why I asked. So we likely have the supplies and will just have to google method. Thanks, both of you!

        1. Gerald*

          Washrooms tend to be white, and kitchen counters and sinks almost never are, so that’s the reason for the difference. There are piles of methods, but I have had a lot of success with a damp finger (not as a professional, but I did learn about it from a professional).

  33. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

    I had noticed that I wasn’t getting as much hot water in the shower and arranged to have the hot water heater flushed. After the flush, I heard pinging sounds and looked it up, and I think it was sediment settling. The flush was on Wednesday and I still think I’m not getting as much hot water as I should be. Should I give it more time? Getting time off for the flush in the first place was an ordeal. I’d really rather not have to call a plumber out again.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Do you know what temp your hot water heater is set at?

      I had mine set too low because I thought that was the thing to do. I got it set higher and now my hot water is great.

    2. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Maybe obvious, but you mentioned hot water – is the cold water flow strong but the hot not? Or the water flow in general? If there is any chance there is a buildup of lime in the shower head…. have you removed the shower head and soaked it in vinegar? And flushing it could have knocked some sediment into the pipes now lodged in the shower head. Just thinking, not a professional at all. (But used to have well water and lime was a problem everywhere in the system.)

      1. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

        I have hard water, so it’s possible. Cleaning the shower head is a good idea.

        1. Enough*

          Hard water can clog the pipes and slow the flow. Consider getting a softener. I have one and without it the flow will reduce and I notice it first in the bathroom that is the farthest away from the source.

  34. Marion Ravenwood*

    Two questions for the AAM hive mind this week (Alison please let me know if you’d rather these were split into separate posts though):

    #1: What books do people recommend for a one-year-old girl? She has most classics for that age group, and I’d ideally like something not too ‘pink’ and ‘princessy’ if possible. Thanks in advance!

    #2: For the creative AAMers, what do you do when your creative juices stop flowing? How do you get them back?

    Background: I have a bunch of friends who I met through a Harry Potter Meetup group, but who are all into nerd/geek culture to varying degrees. A few of them want to do a YouTube series set in a Hogwarts-esque world but with an original story, and there is a brainstorming meeting for what this will look like in a couple of weeks. I have offered to help with this but literally don’t feel like I’m up to it – whenever I try to think of stuff in the group chat about it, my mind goes completely blank and I can’t come up with anything at all. (I’m happy to write it and do all the technical behind-the-scenes stuff, but the ideas part is just a huge mental block for me.)

    The same group is also having a Game of Thrones watch party next month, and now someone has come up with the idea to do our own house names and sigils, which again just made my brain go ‘nope nope nope, literally no idea for that, can’t think of anything at all right now’, to the extent I’m considering bailing on the party because I won’t come up with anything remotely decent if indeed I think of anything at all.

    It’s partly that the others in the group are really creative; they’re writing books, they’re involved in cosplay etc, and a lot of them already know what they want to do, so I feel like anything I put up will suck by comparison. But I also just don’t feel I have the brainpower for anything creative like that right now, and I don’t know if I will again, and I miss it. I was a super-creative kid and teenager (made up stories, dreamed of being a novelist etc) and then when I went to university I just didn’t have time any more and it’s massively fallen off the wagon in the decade or more since. I just feel really unoriginal and useless and boring, and I hate it. So any advice on how to get that creativity back would be very much appreciated.

    1. BRR*

      I’ve gifted a couple one-year-olds in my life a please and thank you pull and play book. They all love the sliding part of it.

    2. Ranon*

      For question 1, I like Behowl the Moon and Wild Waves Whist- they’re both beautifully illustrated board books with small excerpts of Shakespeare and as the grown-up doing reading it’s delightful to have some more challenging language, but with the right breaks for animal sounds and illustrations to keep the kiddo engaged

      1. Lena Clare*

        And would indeed be great names for houses and sigils! House of the Behowling Moon, sigil wolf :D

    3. fposte*

      For that age, board books are often a good plan; they’re a little under the traditional picture-book age and won’t necessarily get on board for those plots. Leslie Patricelli is a good author to look for there.

    4. Lena Clare*

      Creativity doesn’t come when I need it, that’s the thing. When iwas writing every day it came suddenly and more often. I also write in a notebook when I think of anything that might turn into a more developed idea later on, and I write down dreams etc as I go along.

      If you’re desperate for inspiration right now though, you might try a mindfulness meditation to clear your mind and see what comes in when you’re actively trying to not get involved in your thoughts?

    5. Koala dreams*

      1: I think those books with different textures or different shapes inside could be quite nice for a one-year old. At that age the children are experimenting with different objects and want to touch and bite things. Other popular books are books with everyday themes, such as morning or evening rituals or going to daycare stories. Do you or the parents/other caretakers have some hobbies or interests? The most important things in a children’s book for the small children is usually that it isn’t too boring for the one reading the book for the child. Maybe one of those books about historical women?

    6. Fellow Traveler*

      I have two little ones and I really like board books with real pictures, rather than drawn pictures. Bright Baby has a series of First Word books that are great- bold simple pictures of things. DK also makes a series of flap books that get a lot of use.
      For actually reading, some of our favorites are:
      Caps for Sale
      Baby Haiku
      Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes (I like because the babies in the books are all different races)

    7. Zephy*

      I can definitely commiserate with wondering where your muse went. I was also an intensely creative kid and teenager, and I also don’t know what happened or why I can’t tap into that creative energy so easily anymore. I also suspect that college and all the adulting that came after had a lot to do with it.

      I haven’t fully gotten my mojo back, but I think an important part of doing so is making time to consume art for pleasure. I stopped reading for pleasure in college, because I had so much reading to do for class, despite being a voracious reader in childhood (I got the nickname “reader rabbit” at summer camp once, spent the whole week with my nose in a Babysitter’s Club book). It took a while for me to realize that, if I am the boss of how I spend my time, then I need to set aside time for fun and actively seek out novels to read, films to watch, podcasts to listen to. It seems to me that it’s also important to have a creative outlet as well; I play D&D and Pathfinder. You might write, or make podcasts or films, or draw or paint or whatever. I play less consistently at this moment in time than I have been in recent months, but even if I’m not currently running or playing a game, I engage with the community in places like Reddit and laugh at the memes and jokes.

    8. Max Kitty*

      I bought my new nephew a book called Penguin and Pinecone that was just the sweetest thing ever.

    9. Not A Manager*

      I looooove children’s books. The nice thing about a one-year-old is that you basically get to choose whatever you enjoy and just read it to them.

      Guess How Much I Love You
      Is Your Mama A Llama?
      Pat The Bunny
      The Little Fur Family
      The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
      Any of the Richard Scarry “first word” or “Busytown” books. Try to get ones actually authored by him, and not just published under the Busytown name.

    10. Hold My Cosmo*

      Creativity is the peak of Maslow’s pyramid. If I’m run down, or have way too much on my plate at work, or dealing with family drama, I can’t find the mental energy to be creative. I have to find ways to cut back on life problems before I can even begin to think about creativity. Rest, nutritious meals, and blocking calls from my “bottomless pit of need” relatives are a good start.

    11. just a random teacher*

      My usual book to give as a gift is “The Big Orange Splot”. One of the reasons I like it, beyond the basic storyline and fun vocabulary, is because the illustrations look very much like something a kid could accomplish themselves, and I like the idea of kids seeing non-perfect art/music/etc. as still valuable and something they can participate in.

    12. Anona*

      I have a 6 month old. For a one year old, anything by Sandra Boynton, the Pout Pout Fish, Little Blue Truck, No Matter What ( by Debi Gliori) are all great and gender neutral.

      Also No No Yes Yes, I like myself, and A is for Activist.

      I’ve also heard rave reviews of Dinosaurs Love Tacos.

      And “Wherever you are my love will find you” always makes me cry.

      Good luck! How fun :)

    13. Theodoric of York*

      Question 2 is really interesting. I’ve had to be creative throughout my career and I don’t know where the ideas come from, or whether the process will work on the next problem. I find that (1) The problem has to be interesting enough to keep in mind all the time. That doesn’t mean I’m actively thinking about the problem, but my thoughts keep returning to it; and (2) I seem to get ideas when I walk or run (no headphones, just alone with my thoughts).

    14. WS*

      It’s very likely that everyone else in the group has, at some time in their lives, experienced something similar to what you are experiencing now. Tell them! Big pressure to live up to everyone else’s creativity won’t help at all, but joining in (in a smaller way to start with!) and having fun in those worlds is a good way to shake loose the block. Editing is creative. Doing the technical parts is creative. Making some flags for people to put their house sigils on is creative. Helping organise the party is creative. Wrangling opposing ideas into something workable is creative. You can’t jump from zero to 100% in one go, but you can crank up the creativity by participating!

    15. Batgirl*

      For 2) it sounds Like the tasks being specified are ultra defined which might work against your usual process which sounds a bit more day dreamy and ‘see where we end up’. This is really common when creative people have to write to a brief and if you’re the first to say ‘I’m more blocked than a successful game of Tetris’ you’ll be the bravest person in the room.

      For me, I always start with character. Cross a page into four sections and title them ‘strengths’ ‘weaknesses’ ‘loves’ ‘hates’ – often the weaknesses will give you your story and the strengths a resolution. Another thing I like to do is list what the character has in their pockets. It always helps somehow. Doing this as a group may be more productive than doing it alone.

      1. Anona*

        Seuss gives me the icks now. I used to read him as a kid, but I’ve read about his racism and some of the inspiration for his books recently. There are some good articles out there- I think the one I read recently was by the Atlantic. It unfortunately convinced me.

        1. Traffic_Spiral*

          Huh? He was pretty strongly anti-nazi and also wrote that ‘The Sneetches’ book about how it was stupid to say you’re better than someone just because of small variations in physical appearances, but… ok?

          1. Anona*

            Google it– it’s pretty alarming. There was apparently a study that came out on it a month or two ago about racism in his books. Lots of anti blackness and anti Asian stuff. The study is out of St Catherine’s University.

        2. Star Nursery*

          Yeah I’d think that describing his books would be the opposite of racism. Dr Seuss books are pretty inclusive of appreciation of difference

    16. only acting normal*

      Wonky Donkey was a big hit with everyone when I gave it to my baby neice this Xmas.

    17. Bewildered Lately*

      Mo Willem “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” or “Knufflebunny”. So so good. Lauren Child “That Pesky Rat”. Great for doing voices, if her parents enjoy that.

    18. Amey*

      For books, I’d definitely go for board books – my 2 year old is still mainly read board books and loves to sit and play with and look at them herself, and my 4 year old is still happy to be read the more advanced obtained. Favourites here are most things by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. The visuals and the rhythm are appealing to little ones but the stories and language are complex underneath which gives them long lasting appeal. We also particularly liked Peepo and Each Peach Pear Plum at that age.

  35. Sunny*

    My friends and I have talked about a trip to Japan for a long while. The problem is getting anyone to agree on a date far enough in advance to save up money. We always figured we would need at least a year or two to plan and save up money since a trip to Japan from the United States can be very expensive. I love my friends, but it can be very difficult to get them to agree to any trip details. So I kind of figured that Japan might not actually come to be.

    Last week one of my friends said she was planning a group to Japan with a different group of friends for this year August but some of her friends might be dropping out and they are looking to bulk up the group for bigger discounts. I was iffy about joining for the sudden turn around and traveling with friends of a friend that I don’t know, but two of my friends are jumping onto this idea. So now I’m trying to figure out if I can afford a Japan trip in just a few months. The group needs an answer in just two weeks.

    Though the quick turnaround is stressful, I kind of want to go for it because now two friends (plus the one from the initial group) are ready to put down money, which is more than I’ve ever gotten to agree to a date and finances before. Plus the itinerary is already planned out which is a big stress relief (I don’t have any specific places I want to go to Japan, I’m down for anywhere). I hope I can make it work!

    1. Marion Ravenwood*

      Sounds exciting! I know a few people who’ve been to Japan and they all absolutely loved it. It’s one of the places still on my bucket list, but I think I’d have to go on my own as my husband wouldn’t want to so it probably won’t be for at least five years. I really hope you get to go! And if you do, please come back here and tell us all about it :)

    2. Reba*

      I’d pass on traveling with a group I didn’t know well. This is a big trip, and an investment as you are very aware! I wouldn’t want to spend the money and time and then find myself with incompatible travelers that would cramp my style.

      1. Sunny*

        That was my first thought when I heard about the trip but, now that two-three of my friends are onboard with going, I’m More inclined to go because we could break up the group if we each have different things we want to do that day. And I do know these other people from encounters when our mutual friend is hosting things, so they’re not complete strangers. All of our likes are similar (art, anime, gaming) so I don’t think there would be too much conflict. But thanks for the feedback!

        1. Reba*

          Just another thought, travel compatibility is about much more than shared interests! What time do people get up in the morning, do they need big meals or snacks, do people like to travel hard or have a leisurely experience, etc. etc. etc. I am a curmudgeon, though, so I might be more sensitive to this stuff or less go-with-the-flow than others.

          1. Lemonwhirl*

            Yeah….although if the group can break up into smaller groups and then come back together for dinner or whatever, it might work. If you’re all using the group to get deals and have general transportation/lodging together and all plan to do your own things or small group things, that’s a much different situation than being cramped up in a tour bus on a set tour for a set number of days without any control over the itinerary.

            I had the amazing opportunity last year to work for a month in another country with a diverse team of people. We had some structure (work days, work subteams) and ideals (like meeting every night for dinner, everyone who was able for it) but we also had ample time for doing our own thing alone or in small groups. It worked out, because we had that latitude to be apart and then be together.

            Learning how to accommodate other people’s travel styles (or styles/personalities in general) is a skill that can be learned. I’m a morning lark planner who is married to a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants night owl. I would plan these trips and he would refuse to participate in the planning (because his brain just doesn’t work that way) and then we’d be in the middle of the trip and he’d say “Hey, why don’t we do X?” where X was a big extension/different direction from the planned trip. Over the years, I’ve learned how to build in time for his “How about X?” moments and he’s learned to pay attention and speak up during the planning phase.

    3. Dan*

      I’ve traveled Japan a bit, and want to do more of it next year (preferably not around the Olympics.)

      On the whole, I’m not surprised the original plan fizzled. Americans seem to not like to plan things too far in advance, if at all. It’s also not hard to envision a situation where people think they can save the money, and end up not being able to, so people drop out and the trip falls apart. If you really wanted to do the trip, my advice to you would have been to save the money and have it set aside, so when the right (unforeseen) opportunity arose, you’d be ready.

      But life is life and hindsight is hindsight.

      Here’s what I’d do: Get a cost estimate from your friends. If you’re willing to travel on your own, figure out what “your” trip would cost you. Figure out what you can afford — if your own thing is financially not practical, or you’re not willing to travel by yourself, try harder to make the group work.

      There’s always a danger in taking “somebody else’s” trip, especially if you don’t know them well, as Reba alludes to. If going with this group is the only feasible way, then it is what it is. If going by yourself is feasible, consider waiting until it’s not as big of a stretch.

    4. Rainy days*

      I personally find travel with others very tricky, even very close friends, because travel style is kind of its own thing, not necessarily related to your relationships as friends or family or acquaintances in normal life. For example, I travel primarily to see a new place and experience new things. When I travel, I get up early, plan detailed outings, research everything and spend very little time relaxing. I read multiple books about the history of the destination beforehand and I like to see historical places others may find boring. Other people I’ve traveled with have felt offended or irritated by this travel style because their goal for the travel was either to relax and recharge from work, or to spend time together as friends/family. Even just choosing a restaurant is a source of conflict: I want to eat local because part of my goal was to try new things, but they want to eat at American-friendly restaurants because they prefer the relaxation and comfort of the familiar. I also like to bike and hike in new places, but they see a vacation as time to relax by the pool. There’s nothing wrong with their travel goals, but they are very different from mine, and this causes friction when we travel together even though we get along great in other contexts.

      For these reasons, it’s worth talking with the whole group first about everyone’s personal travel style and what each person want to get out of it beforehand.

    5. Awful Annie*

      I’m writing this from vacation in Japan, and having a great time. I’d suggest that, if you’re a confident traveller, you could simply go on your own or with one or two other friends. I haven’t seen many opportunities to save money by travelling as a group, and there are times when actually it costs more, because you’re compromising on what you want to do / spend.

      Our itinerary – Osaka, Kyoto, Himeji, Okayama + day trips, Hiroshima + day trips, Nara, Osaka

    6. All Hail Queen Sally*

      About saving for a vacation:. I had a friend who traveled all over the world. She never worried about saving up. Instead, she would charge everything and have a great time on the trip. Then after she was back, she would do what she could to get it paid off as soon as possible: overtime, part time jobs, etc. She didn’t mind all the extra work because she was energized from her trip. Then when it was all paid off, she would dash off to the next destination. She said she did it this way so if anything ever happened to her, at least she got her trip. She didn’t care if she died in debt.

  36. Ali G*

    You guys I am so excited! Hubs and I finally pulled the trigger and we are hiring an interior designer to help us figure out our house!!! We moved in 2 years ago and we have been unsuccessful on agreeing on a plan, so we decided we need help. I can’t wait to come home to a house that makes me happy and comfortable.
    We met one already and are meeting another today. We hope to make a decision and get started soon! By summer I should have a newly decorated living room, dining room, and master bedroom + new paint, and if I am lucky, a new walk in pantry and half bath.

    1. Damn it, Hardison!*

      Congratulations! It’s so nice to come home to a house you really love and feels like you. If you don’t mind my asking, how did you find your designer? I’m hoping to redo our living room, but I’m at a loss (it’s very small and I can’t think past the current arrangement).

  37. embarrassed strawberry without seeds*

    I took sleeping pill last night and it’s been 12 hours now. My head is a little heavy and I have a headache and sore throat but if i have a small cup of coffee I should be fine? All google says is don’t drive right after. It’s been 12 for me though.

    1. fposte*

      Do you mean “fine to drive”? I wouldn’t if it’s the first time on this pill for you and you feel at all foggy. Coffee doesn’t counteract the effects of a sleeping pill.

      Otherwise, drink non-caffeinated fluids for a bit–could be you have a virus coming but could also just be the sore throat and headache means you could use some liquid.

    2. Wishing You Well*

      If you took an antihistamine-based OTC “sleeping” pill, you might just be dehydrated, as stated above. Drink up!
      You might be very sensitive to your sleeping pill or have a virus. You could try a fraction of a dose.
      Melatonin might help, too. Hope you have sound sleeping!

  38. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    Cat people: how do you get your cats to stop following you everywhere or meowing at closed doors? I literally cannot go to the bathroom by myself without a cat either coming with or messing with the closed door! This also applies to, um, special spousal alone time.

    My tuxedo cat is also fascinated by water and will stand in between the shower curtains on the edge of the tub to watch the droplets. But I feel like she is judging me!

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      Let me know when you find the answer. My spouse and I have had three cats so far, and we just deal with it. They hate closed doors!

        1. valentine*

          They’re not weird. They want to hang out and don’t understand why you’re excluding them. They’re experiencing you as a hot-and-cold mean girl.

    2. Zephy*

      As far as I can tell, the best thing to do is just go about your business. You can give strategic head scritchies when they’re being good and just observing quietly, to reward that behavior. Creeper kitties gonna creep. If you’re not paying attention to the cat, she’ll eventually get bored of watching you do whatever and go occupy herself elsewhere, especially if there’s a convenient perch near a window where she can take in some quality Cat TV.

    3. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      We got a motion-activated “spray” can with compressed air that we set by the bedroom door on “no cat” nights. Can isn’t always on, but man are they wary of that thing now when they see it! But I am struggling with stress and insomnia right now and absolutely need nights where I have a good shot at 7 hours uninterrupted by paws to the face, a furry hat for part of the night, or inability to move my legs due to cat interference. You can get them on Amazon – a buddy told us about it because his wife needed similar sleep and they had similar cat issues with the bedroom door – scratching and meowing. They don’t even turn Can on that much anymore – maybe once every few weeks.

      Unfortuantely the smart cat realized pretty quickly she needed to hide somewhere in the room at bedtime and folds herself into a drawer under the bed that we can’t access :/ I gotta hand it to her, that’s some higher level logic. But she only starts to complain about food at 5 am when she comes out of her drawer, which is fine, I can hang with that :)

    4. Hold My Cosmo*

      Consistency. They don’t understand why Saturday morning bed cuddles are okay, but Saturday night private time means ‘stay out’. Our cats are not allowed in the bedroom ever, and if they sneak past our legs when we open the door, they are chased out with a spray bottle. Over months, they came to learn that constantly-closed doors (bedroom, basement, garage) are not their concern.

      Occasionally closed doors, like bathrooms, are more complicated. Haven’t figured that out yet.

    5. Tris Prior*

      Our cats HATE closed doors, one more so than the other. If we want to have, uh, “quality grown up time,” we have to shut them in the bathroom, because they can pop the bedroom door open, and we have to have the fan on high to drown out the meowing.

      One thing that seems to help when they’re upset that they cannot join me in the shower is, after I take off the T-shirt I was sleeping in, I put it just inside the bathroom door. So they can play with it and paw at it (and often drag it entirely into the hallway!). That seems to keep them occupied and there’s less howling.

    6. Daphne*

      I was too soft and just gave in. I found ginger cats have an obsession with the bathroom…my most recent one loved the fluffy bath mat and would roll around on it.

      1. Daphne*

        Also, I kept a doorstop next to any door that you would normally keep closed but could afford to crack open a cat-sized amount, saved the door paint getting pawed at any longer and she could come and go as she pleased.

    7. Marion Ravenwood*

      For the door, the only thing we have found that worked was the biggest, heaviest doorstop we could find. One of our cats likes to throw himself at the door handle to try and get into our bedroom (and he’s pretty heavy so is essentially like a furry battering ram), and whilst the doorstop doesn’t necessarily stop him getting in entirely, it does buy us enough time to do the necessary.

  39. Free Meerkats*

    Off to my day 2 at Emerald City Comic Con. Yesterday was The Safety Monitor costume, today Gandalf the Pink comes out.

    I have been taking pictures of kids in costume, IG hashtag #KidsOfECCC. Unfortunately, somehow my phone ate about half of what I took yesterday. I always ask the child if I may take their photo, most people ask the parents. Since data is so overwhelmed there, I don’t upload until I get home, so look again this evening.

    As usual with a con of this type, the panels are underwhelming, but the dealer room is rocking. And Artist Alley is amazeballs.

    1. alex b*

      It sounds fun! To be honest, I think you should ask first the parent and, if yes, then the child (an important step, indeed!), and present it as taking photo in order to post to social media. Otherwise, it seems problematic.

      1. L’il Sebastian*

        This. If you’re bypassing asking the parents, that’s a mistake – there’s a reason schools have to get parent permission before posting pictures of students online.

      2. Free Meerkats*

        I always involve the parents by telling them the hashtag, and I have had a couple request that I don’t post. So I take the picture and let the parent see me delete it. But the kids love that I’m respecting their agency and getting their consent. If the parent says yes, but the kiddo says no, I thank them and don’t take a photo.

        There’s a fresh photo dump under that hashtag from today.

  40. rubyrose*

    Who knew there was pet food that is kosher for Passover? Just discovered it this week. Evanger’s.

    1. Jean (just Jean)*

      Amazing. I am flabbergasted. And thanks, I think, ;-), for the reminder to start preparing for the holiday.

    2. Bluebell*

      We got some for our dog one year but it caused very messy accidents to happen. We decided not to persevere!

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      That is so interesting! Last year I read that you’re supposed to consider your dog chametz and “sell” him for the week along with your other stuff. Absolutely not, of course, but I had never heard of that before. :) I’m pretty strict about what I eat during Pesach, but the dog’s food will not be changing. I just say he’s Sephardic.

  41. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    Also, update re: my seeing a dietitian and getting a medication for binge eating. The meeting went well, but as I am already in constant motion, she didn’t want to give me any kind of stimulant. And I took the advice and turned down Topamax, so I am now starting on some bupropion instead.

    So far, probably just the placebo effect, but I don’t have the all-consuming OMG FOOD interest in my head. I have still overeaten a bit, but not to the point of erasing all my loss for the week. And I was able to stop before I either ran out of the food or felt sick!

    1. Amber Rose*

      It might be placebo effect but I find bupropion to be an effective med. It just kind of grounds me, so I’m not constantly flipping to one extreme or another.

      I’m glad to hear you’re doing a lot better. :)

    2. NewNameJustForThisBecause*

      good for you! Just changed my name (I commented last week, so glad to hear from you). I’m on it too, not for that reason but for depression… and it was the only anti-depressant that did not make me gain and DID help in that regard. It is a tool, so working on the rest of the brain and thought patterns and life, will help with your new found momentum. BIG high five!

  42. Amber Rose*

    I bought a lunchbox steamer. You put food in the different compartments, water in the base, turn it on and it cooks lunch. I successfully steamed some frozen veggies that tasted atrocious. Do all frozen veggies have a weird aftertaste? I’ve never eaten a carrot I thought was gross like that.

    Also, thoughts on what to make? I’m sort of thinking like stir fry, with rice and veggies and some sort of protein. But apparently I can make soup and stuff too. Not that I know how.

    1. fposte*

      I’ve never heard of that! I’ll have to have a look–I’m intrigued.

      I eat a lot of frozen veg, and I find brand can matter, and age of package really matters. If it’s been sitting around in my freezer for awhile, I’ll sure know it, and I bet it’s the same for the store freezer.

      1. Amber Rose*

        Mine is called an Itaki Box. But there are other ones.

        Maybe I’ll try freezing my own veggies then.

        1. fposte*

          I actually think decent commercial frozen veg will be better than anything you can do at home–they’ll be getting the vegetables much fresher and freezing them more effectively and quickly. I might test them against microwaving the steam-in-bag kind and see if you find off flavors in both, just in case it’s the process somehow. (Have you ever cooked fresh carrots with a bit of age on them that made them sour? Was the off taste anything like that?)

          The Itaki Box is absolutely adorable.

    2. Nacho*

      Yes, all frozen veggies have a weird aftertaste. If you have to use them, it needs to be in a recipe with tons of sauce, like curry.

      1. Colette*

        That hasn’t been my experience. Frozen peas, in particular, are almost as good as fresh ones.

    3. Koala dreams*

      I think frozen veggies taste great, but you usually don’t need to really cook them, just thaw them and eat, or cook much shorter time than fresh vegetables. Carrots especially easily get overcooked. Maybe you can try fresh vegetables instead?

    4. MRK*

      It’s going to sound silly, but I always feel like individual frozen veggies (corn, peas, etc) have much better texture and taste than the medley or mixed bags.

    5. LilySparrow*

      Carrots do not freeze well at all. They get mushy and it changes the taste. Same with peppers and some other things you might find in a mixed-veggie or stir-fry bag.

      To me, broccoli, green beans, peas, snap peas, cauliflower, & brussels sprouts hold up to freezing the best and turn out fine when steamed. Corn is passable. Spinach & kale are okay frozen but not steamed – I’d saute them.

  43. Anon anony*

    I was getting ready for bed on Sunday night and just as I was putting away my laptop, this huge spider crawled into my room. My sister was over, so I screamed for her. She tried to get it, but the thing was too quick. She’s usually pretty calm about bugs, but even she was freaked out and jumped in the air. I’ve been sleeping in my guest room all week because I’m afraid it’s still in my room and I don’t want to go to sleep with that huge thing in there.

    Are there any good sprays or bug vacuums that anyone can recommend? What do you do if/when this happens? I live by myself, so this stuff really freaks me out, but I want to be able to handle things on my own.

    1. This is Me, Too*

      Oh, I get it! I would have slept in another room, too! I am fine with snakes, I have lived in an apartment with cockroaches, but I freak out at spiders! Plus I HATE killing the big ones (to me that’s anything bigger than tiny) because, squash. I have been known to trap a GIANT (truly) spider under a glass on the kitchen floor and wait til spouse with combat boots came home and stomped it. (I know there are people who will say that spiders are “good” and will pick them up by a leg and carefully take them outside. Sorry. That is Not Me.) Anyway, I don’t have much to offer except a lot of sympathy and possibly a consult with a pest-control company.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        PICK THEM UP BY A LEG WHO DOES THAT

        I sometimes trap them in a cup with a piece of card and throw them outside. I even did that with a centipede in the tub. But I don’t want to touch them!

        I did squish the one I found in my bed. Sorry, little bug-eating buddy, but that’s too close for comfort.

    2. Not A Manager*

      It’s not in your room anymore. It has moved on to a place that has more bugs in it. To be extra certain, get a spray spider killer and spray it around your room. That way it won’t even think about coming back.

      1. Blue Eagle*

        No, don’t spray bug spray in your house. Bug spray is poison and if you spray it in your house, you will be inhaling poison into your lungs. It won’t kill you, but inhaling poison is never a good thing.

        Just get a big magazine, roll it up and give the spider a whack. We get spiders in our house every now and then and that is what we do (unless they are the fragile daddy-long legs type, in which case I catch it in a kleenex and dump it outside the house).

    3. Damn it, Hardison!*

      In college I discovered that hairspray can be used to kill spiders in a pinch. I lived in an area with brown recluse spiders and they freaked me out (so did the huge cockroaches).

      1. Alpha Bravo*

        We have a can of hairspray in the downstairs closet specifically for the purpose of immobilizing large arachnids so they can be more easily dispatched. Those suckers are fast!

      2. Ali G*

        Really any chemical spray will work. I’ve used 409 and other cleaning supplies. While screaming of course :)

      3. Elizabeth West*

        Hairspray works great for wasps. Spray them when they’re flying and it gums up their wings. They drop to the floor and then you can smash them. And you’re not spraying poison all over. I went out and got a can when we had a wasp issue at OldExjob and the first time I did this, everyone thought I was a genius. :)

      4. only acting normal*

        Spiders breathe through their skin so spraying them probably suffocates them.

    4. LilySparrow*

      If you have any ordinary bagless vacuum, you can suck it up in that and take it outside to empty the canister. Open carefully, though – they sometimes survive the trip.

      If you can stand to look at pictures to identify the type of spider, that might give you a clue of where to check for it. But a thorough dust/swiffer/vaccuum of the room, under the bed, shaking out the curtains and changing the bed, etc – it ought to either flush the thing out or make it inhospitable for it to return.

      Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic natural, physical pesticide that kills bugs by drying them out and is harmless (though irritating) to humans and pets. You can get big bags of it cheap in the garden section of any big-box or home-improvement store. It’s a white powder that you wouldn’t want to scatter everywhere, but you can put a line of it behind the big pieces of furniture, or in nooks and crannies.

    5. Earthwalker*

      A wonderful Australian zookeeper explained to us visitors how to capture a deadly funnel web spider if you happen to have found one hiding under your laundry (in Australia, that is; we in the US don’t have those.) He explained and demonstrated how to pop a jar over it and then take a piece of stiff paper/cardboard and slide it carefully under the jar’s opening so that it holds the spider in, and then carefully carry it far away from the house. Be careful, he said, not to let the cardboard bend, which he said he did once while focusing on his presentation rather than on his hands, allowing the deadly spider (he was showing the real thing) to escape and bite him.

  44. Detective Amy Santiago*

    What’s everyone reading?

    I just finished Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus which was really good! I think I read One of Us is Lying (her debut novel) based on the recommendation of someone here.

    1. Marion Ravenwood*

      I’ve got two books on the go at the moment:

      – Make Or Break by Catherine Bennetto (about a woman who leaves her responsibilities for caring for her family behind to go to her friend’s wedding in South Africa with her boyfriend, only to find him rethinking their relationship). It’s not my usual thing but I feel like I need something a bit less intense at the moment, and it’s working well for that.
      – Graceling by Kristin Cashore (set in a fantasy land that may or may not be Britain, where people are born with Graces – essentially enhanced powers or abilities, such as speed, agility, mind reading etc). The plot is a little predictable, but it’s well paced and I like the world building of it.

      And still War and Peace, which I’m reading a chapter a day of with the aim to finish it by the end of the year.

        1. Marion Ravenwood*

          I haven’t, but having looked up the description on Amazon it sounds really interesting – definitely adding that to my reading list. Thanks for the suggestion!

    2. Zephy*

      I’m most of the way through A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson. I love his writing style, it’s like a slightly more polished version of Tumblr-style history, if you think those kinds of posts are funny (and I do).

    3. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I started rereading The Handmaid’s Tale (ebook) before I got sick, and now I’m going to be trying to finish it this weekend, since it will disappear from my Kindle at the end of this week whether I’m finished or not! And The Last Colony, the third book in John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War, came up on my Holds list this week (also ebook), so I had to check it out or go back to the back of the line. But I should be able to finish that quickly.

      I had only remembered the amazing story and social implications of THT, I had completely forgotten that Atwood writes some of the best prose I have ever laid my eyes on!

      We wait, the clock in the hall ticks, Serena lights another cigarette, I get into the car. It’s a Saturday morning, it’s a September, we still have a car. Other people have had to sell theirs. My name isn’t Offred, I have another name, which nobody uses now because it’s forbidden. I tell myself it doesn’t matter, your name is like your telephone number, useful only to others; but what I tell myself is wrong, it does matter. I keep the knowledge of this name like something hidden, some treasure I’ll come back to dig up, one day. I think of this name as buried. This name has an aura around it, like an amulet, some charm that’s survived from an unimaginably distant past. I lie in my single bed at night, with my eyes closed, and the name floats there behind my eyes, not quite within reach, shining in the dark.

    4. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Ive been working through Bad Blood, which was recommended a few weeks ago. Absolutely enjoying the story although I feel like the writing is a bit off. Probably going to have self care time in the tub shortly and read some more!

    5. Cruciatus*

      I’m currently reading The Golem and the Jinni (a few years behind everyone else, it seems). I like it but am not quite sure where it’s going. Chava just got married to Michael and I don’t know how I feel about that.

      I’m also listening in the car to the Protector of the Small series. I’m on book 1, First Test. It’s a young adult novel about a 10-year-old girl who is accepted to knight school, but on a probationary status because she’s a girl. This irritates her and, as you might expect, and many of the other boys are asshats to her, trying to get her to quit. I’m definitely curious to see where this goes. I’m almost done with book 1–it went by really fast for me, and I don’t yet have book 2 ready (can’t find it on CD at the local libraries) so I’m bummed I may not get to continue the story right away!

      1. AcademiaNut*

        I quite like Tamora Pierce’s stuff; I’ve been reading it since I was a teenager, and she writes a good story with strong and varied young women protagonists.

        I just read Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher and quite enjoyed them. The flavour of the book makes me think of a D&D campaign where the players are more interested in character building than optimizing, but not in a RPG spin off book (or badly disguised campaign write up) way. It’s also nice to have a self-contained story in two fairly short books, rather than it being the first two books of an indefinitely length series.

    6. Lady Alys*

      Still working on “The Isles” (Great Britain and Ireland) – the Romans are gone and the Danes and the Norsemen are running around. Still baffled by Brexit though…

    7. Elizabeth West*

      I got John Grisham’s latest, The Reckoning, at the library (fast track–I can only keep it a week) and am about to start that. I’ve been re-reading Harry Potter, but that can wait until I finish this one.

    8. MsChanandlerBong*

      Almost finished with The Sopranos Sessions. I’ll probably start The Wizard of Lies next.

    9. Tort-ally HareBrained*

      I just finished Dust and Shadow by Lyndsay Faye, a take on Sherlock Holmes trying to solve the Jack the Ripper crimes. Just the right mix of gritty suspense but not gore or horror that I love.

  45. ALM20*

    Need some advice from fellow cat owners.

    I had a cat for 11 years and unfortunately had to put her down in October. It was the hardest decision of my life. I’m feeling very pressured by everyone around me to adopt another cat. I don’t have any pets now. I submitted a pre-approval application with a local rescue, but now I’m not sure. How do I politely say this isn’t the cat for me without being a terrible person?

    1. Glomarization, Esq.*

      I’d try “My household circumstances have changed and I’m no longer available to adopt a cat. I apologize for any inconvenience,” and maybe also donate some cash above and beyond whatever I’d already paid for the adoption process.

      1. valentine*

        They will understand. Ask your friends to back off. I’ve never understood the rush to get a new animal. There’s no vacuum to fill. One needs to mourn.

    2. Reba*

      I think if you said “it turns out I’m not ready for a new cat yet,” the rescue people should understand! Sorry about your cat.

      1. LilySparrow*

        Yeah, “I thought I was ready after my first cat died, but I realize I’m actually not” doesn’t make you a terrible person at all. If anyone should understand, it would be the animal lovers who do rescue!

    3. Sam Sepiol*

      I’m sorry for your loss.

      I’d personally say you’ve thought about it and you thought you were ready for another cat, but you’re not. I can’t imagine anyone reasonable reacting badly to that.

    4. tangerineRose*

      If this is a specific cat that doesn’t feel right, maybe just say this doesn’t seem like the right cat for me although he/she is a lovely cat. And then stick to it. Animal adoption places can be pushy. If you get a new kitty, find one you really want. And if the people at the kitty adoption place are sensible, they’ll understand that this is a long term commitment, and you want to find the right kitty for you.

      Other than that, don’t adopt another cat unless you want to. I’ve found it has helped me to adopt a new kitty a few months after a kitty has passed away, but that doesn’t mean it will help you.

    5. Kathenus*

      Foster groups/shelters want animals placed in the right situations, so many (hopefully most) will be happy that you’ve put enough thought into this to make a decision that’s best for all involved. You are not a terrible person! Getting an animal that you don’t really want is not good for the animal involved either, so you are doing a very good thing to make this decision before getting the cat.

      1. Gerald*

        This exactly. Good rescues will actually be pleased to hear that you understand your situation, even if that means you aren’t yet ready.

        Different people take different amounts of time to recover from the loss of a pet. Some want another animal immediately, and others wait months or years. There is no right or wrong, provided it is best for you. Try not to let others influence you in this decision.

        1. JaneB*

          I went back to the rescue about four times to meet different kitties they thought were right for me, and ended up adopting a total doofus who only met one of my criteria (adult cat) – it’s worth waiting & if the cat place don’t get that they’re not a good shelter…

          1. Gerald*

            That’s funny! I knew someone who was looking for a cat, but was new to pets and had no idea what to say, so we chatted for a bit and I wrote up a note for the rescue. The rescue sent a list with a few options, they met the top choice, and several years later they continue to love her deeply.

      2. The Other Dawn*

        Exactly. I volunteer with a rescue, although I don’t handle adoptions. But yes, we wants cats to be a good match with the new owners. If someone isn’t feeling it, we want to know. It’s better to wait for the right owner to come along than to adopt the cat out just to make space for another cat. That cat then ends up getting returned to us, or maybe neglected or even put outside in the hopes the cat will find another home (Yes, this happened once many years ago when the rescue first started–I wasn’t volunteering at that point yet. Adopter decided after a couple months that they no longer wanted the cat so rather than returning it they put it outside and wouldn’t let it in. When it wouldn’t go away, they dropped it off a few streets over. Cat came back so they dropped it off in another neighborhood. Cat came back again so they finally returned it to us.)

  46. Jean (just Jean)*

    Very cool. At different times in their lives my spouse and child have both expressed interest in learning Japanese.
    Today I was browsing online re washi tape and fell across this site which looks like an window into Japanese life and culture: www (dot) tofugu (com) com. I didn’t get very far into the site but there’s an article on how to get tickets to the Ghibli Museum. If you don’t know about Studio Ghibli, get hold of a DVD for “My Neighbor Totoro” or some of the other animated films by Hayao Miyazaki.

    Going to Japan is nowhere near happening for me so I will live vicariously through you :-) (No complaints–I have good reasons to stay where I am.) If you get to go, enjoy and enjoy!

  47. The Cosmic Avenger*

    Adulting thread! Successes, failures, to-do?

    I’ve got one of each this week, both to do with our taxes: I finally got the tax document for that investment that’s always late, as it involves a tiny amount of gas/oil royalties, and I entered it, so our taxes should be done. Should, because I forgot my partner overcontributed to their Roth IRA again, and I can’t file until the overcontribution is recharacterized (at which point they’ll also roll it back to the Roth, but that is not required for our taxes) or we pay a penalty, so of course we’re doing the former. Or, I have to get them to do it.

    I had that horrible creeping crud (possibly the flu) all last week, and this week I’ve had no fever, but also no energy. Today I am going to go start exercising again for the first time in almost two weeks. I’m just going to do a full session, but at my warm up/cool down pace. I usually do two sessions, so I’ll see how I feel after this one, assuming I complete it.

    Did I mention last week that I use Google Tasks, in the sidebar in Gmail? I love checking things off there. Sometimes when I do something that’s not on the list, I add it and immediately check it off.

    1. Nacho*

      I started looking into buying patio furniture for my not-quite-patio. The set I want would be about $600 for a chair, a matching ottoman, and a decent end table. Or I could spend about $100 on a decent fold-up lawn chair and $20 on a crappy end table. I know I can afford the more expensive option, but I’m having trouble deciding how much I’d really use it, and if that’s the best use of my money. Or maybe I should compromise and spend $300 on the chair, but skip the matching $150 ottoman and stick with a mid-range end table for $50?

      I miss being able to just take whatever furniture I wanted from my parents house.

    2. fposte*

      Also working on money things. Taxes are calculated; since I owe I need to put payment date for this year and estimated payments for next year in my calendar. IDing which of my accounts don’t have beneficiaries on them (the ones where you have to mail stuff in, basically, and why???) and getting those done. And going back to chip away at the forms for the will.

    3. Daphne*

      Failures – Work related unfortunately. Just feel like I can’t win at whatever I do in that job.

      Successes – played the role of fun Auntie and made a tunnel for year old nephew to run through. At full pelt and loads of giggles.

    4. Sandra Dee*

      I finally purchased a couch for my rec room, which kept getting put off because of other unplanned expenses: new hot water heater, water leak in kitchen, which resulted in new kitchen flooring. And in the process of purchasing, I did my research, went to a local store that had the same couch as a chain store, but the chain store was a less expensive. I was hoping they would price match. They did better than price matching, and reduced the delivery fee. I am still in shock I negotiated for new furniture.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Wow! That’s a lot of adulting! But at least that’s all fairly rewarding, too…at least, it is to me. Even replacing things like the water heater feels good, because it feels like I don’t have to worry about a breakdown for years now, and I’m probably saving at least a little money on fuel costs.

    5. Sparkly Librarian*

      I bought a sofa today! A two-piece sectional and ottoman. It’s the first new furniture I’ve ever purchased that was not from Ikea. I even negotiated a lower price and got free delivery.

    6. Trixie*

      Continuing to tackle some spring cleaning and purging. Taking items to local thrift store feels wonderful. In a couple weeks, we have a neighborhood bulk pickup. Deciding now which items can go curbside. Taxes are done. Plus some batch cooking today includes grains and soups. Good start to the week.

  48. seeking comfort*

    How do you comfort yourself? I used to get comfort from food but that was not healthy and it doesn’t work any more but I am not really sure how to do it. The NZ attack (I’m not in NZ) brought out a lot of anxiety and old experiences, and while intellectually I know I am ok, I really wish there was someone around to hold me.

    1. Washi*

      This is probably super individual, but when I’m really anxious, I need to go through the following steps:

      1. Recognize that I am anxious (tbh this is sometimes the hardest step for me, since often I’ll go through several cycles of freaking out about some tiny thing and being convinced that it is completely reasonable to be this upset)
      2. Let myself fully feel the feelings by journaling or talking to a friend
      3. Distract and relax

      Sometimes I jump straight to the “distract and relax” step with TV or food, and there isn’t inherently a problem with either of those things, they just can’t replace steps 1-2. As far as feeling comforted goes, it’s steps 1-2 that really give me that safe, grounded feeling.

      BUT if you are just asking for alternative strategies for #3, I also will go for a walk/run, do a craft, play an instrument, or write a letter. Anything that has a chance of getting me into the “flow” state to give my brain a chance to relax after panicking.

    2. Goose Lavel*

      I like Ben & Jerry’s Phish food ice cream for comfort. Also turning off the news for a day or two helps as well.

    3. anon24*

      -Wrap up in my favorite blanket
      -drink hot tea
      -hug my cat
      – light a bunch of candles and take a bubble bath
      -read a Stephen King book to get out of my head
      – put in headphones and go for a walk
      -while on said walk sit on a bench and just be
      -get in my car and drive around aimlessly on country roads

    4. fposte*

      I like music (carefully chosen lest I hit sad wallowy tunes) and comedy–radio, television, streaming, YouTube, whatever. If the weather is decent, get up and go for a walk; if you can, do something nice for somebody–something small like holding a door for a stranger is perfect, because it connects you to others in a good way and makes you feel like you have some agency over kindness.

    5. Kathenus*

      Reading has always been my go-to when I need to get out of my head for any reason, back to my childhood when my mom was dealing with a lot of health issues and I’d get shipped off to stay with neighbors I barely knew at times when she was in the hospital and my dad was at work. Books, and now reading online, are still my way to de-stress and just get a mental break from things going on when needed. Positive vibes to you and a virtual hug for what it’s worth.

    6. Lena Clare*

      A very self soothing thing to do is notice where the anxiety is in your body and place your hand there. This is good even when youre out and about because people don’t notice a hand on the chest or stomach just resting there, but it is soothing.

    7. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      I have been working on reducing the sugar for comfort. I have gotten a good sampler of flavored teas / mint/ cider/ cocoa/ teas without caffeine. I make it a point to reach for and have a soothing cup of tea the minute the urge comes. (I do add local honey).
      I sit and wrap my fingers around the mug, and inhale, relax, and enjoy it. Repeat as needed until calm (or I have to use the bathroom, whichever comes first).
      Alternatively, if not raining/ possible, I go for a nice walk in the prettiest spot I can walk to. (If more energy, I drive to a more formal garden with gazebos, bridges, and interesting nooks). I relish the beauty, and sing/hum my favorite songs from childhood (music on the phone would be good, too).
      Then, if I want to have it, I will have “one” of my favorite treats. (I thaw a cookie from the freezer and heat in the microwave so the choc chips just melt).
      I’ve been known to take a hot, indulgent soaking bath, too. With a book. And candle and tunes. And the tea.
      It’s about ritual – I figured out I had a bad habit. I need soothing.

      Summary – I make a list of options for soothing, and I go down that list and try various ones.
      And I don’t say I “can’t” have a treat, but I am mindful that it is a treat, and not a soothing mechanism. I try to get past the anxious urgency of needing to be soothed, so that I can truly enjoy the truffle or chocolate square or cc cookie. It’s taken me a long time, though, to get really mindful. It does work with practice. Just keep trying until you find your mix!