weekend free-for-all – April 20-21, 2019

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

Book recommendation of the week: Normal People, by Sally Rooney. I’ve been dying for this to come out because I loved her first book so much,  and I devoured it as soon as it was released this week. It’s the story of an on-again, off-again relationship that starts in high school and continues into college, taking different forms as the two people themselves do. I actually think Conversations with Friends was better, but I will read anything Sally Rooney writes from this day until the end of days.

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

{ 1,077 comments… read them below }

  1. PX*

    Happy weekend everyone!

    Can someone recommend a brand of work trousers (preferably easily available in the UK) that are either extremely durable or are a comfortable synthetic fabric (polyester/nylon etc)? I cycle to work and have realised anything natural or ‘soft’ (ie cotton, rayon etc) will basically wear through in the crotch area extremely quickly.

    At the moment the only trousers that have survived more than a year of constant use are from Uniqlo (Nylon/Polyester blend). I would happily buy more, but unfortunately they only seem to do a crop length trouser style in this fabric and I’d much prefer to get full length trousers this time around.

    (And no, I dont want to cycle in something else and then change at work).

    1. Randomly Generated*

      I generally wear skirts/dresses because of this reason – with synthetic shorts underneath. You can layer tights under the shorts if it’s cold. Would that work for you?

    2. aa*

      Esprit trousers have worked well for me. You can buy them online, and they have very reliable sizing (on the small size – check the size table).

        1. rider on the storm*

          Still around in mainland Europe. I know some John Lewis stores had their concessions; not sure they still do.

    3. Kathenus*

      I have a pair of Kelsey knit trousers from Liverpool, and I believe they have both US and UK operations. They are crazy comfortable and look really sharp.

    4. onnellinen*

      No trouser suggestions, but I really appreciate how you are cycling in regular clothes, and helping it be seen as a regular activity instead of a sport that one must get changed to do.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        Yes, I was in Esprit yesterday afternoon, and the price tags include GBP next to the Euros and other currencies.

        Another thought. If the Uniqlo trousers are only available in a cropped length at the moment, perhaps a full length leg will be available in the autumn/winter?

    5. alex b*

      Betabrand!! Look like dress pants, feel like yoga pants; tons of options for color and fit.

    6. Andrew Farrell*

      If you are willing to spend more money, then Ministry of Supply are great. They are very comfortable, look fantastic, and wick away sweat. The CEO held the world record for fastest half-marathon in a suit for a while.

  2. Tau*

    So…… has anyone ever lived in Singapore?

    My surprise from work this week: they will offer the possibility of working from a new Singapore office for 6 months or even longer. I wouldn’t want a long-term move – I’m just getting settled back into Germany – but I’m really thinking about doing the 6 month stint, especially if I can time it to be over European winter (which is always an absolutely miserable time for me.) That said, it’s definitely waaay different from anywhere I’ve ever lived and anything I’ve ever done before (I’ve never been to Asia at all, bar one evening crossing over to the Asian side in Istanbul) so I’d appreciate any experiences or advice people have to share.

    This especially goes for LGBT experiences. I’m queer and am somewhat worried by the prospect of living in a country where sex between men is criminalized (even if that’s apparently not enforced) and positive depictions of same-sex relationships can’t be shown on TV or radio. I’m not as directly affected as I could be since I’m single and not planning to change that in the very near future (also: not male), but it’s still fairly concerning.

    1. Emmie*

      I did, for a couple of years. I really liked it there. So much good food – and some of it is really cheap, if you know where to go. Their transportation system is incredibly efficient, and not really that difficult ti navigate. Almost everyone speaks English, so it’s easy to get around.
      If you don’t mind me asking – is work going to cover your housing expenses? Because one thing that I do remember is that rent there can rival the most expensive cities in the world.

      1. Tau*

        Thanks! That is good to hear :)

        And yes, I’m definitely going to ask work if they’re going to handle housing. I don’t want to give up my flat in Germany (the housing market is super tight where I live, and I want an escape route in case I realise a few months in that I’m desperately unhappy), I’m 99% certain I can’t sublease, and from the sounds of it rent just for Singapore would already be tough on my salary – I couldn’t handle two!

    2. Traffic_Spiral*

      Your worst problem will be that tinder and bumble are full of straight girls trying to set up threesomes for their douchebag boyfriends.

    3. Little Bean*

      So I’ve never lived in Singapore, but I lived in Asia for many years, been to Singapore several times and had a couple of work friends who lived there and liked it. My overall impression was it was a very nice/easy place to live. Safe, clean, good food, good transportation. Almost everyone speaks English. Great location for traveling and seeing other countries in Asia – a lot of people took opportunities on weekends to travel to places like Bali, Vietnam, Thailand, etc. At my company there were actually so many people who wanted to transfer to Singapore the company had to basically start saying no and tell people that they had to select other offices in Asia.

      I can’t speak to the LGBT experience at all unfortunately.

    4. Lora*

      Yes. Company asked me repeatedly to go back for three months and just nah.

      The transit system is wonderful, everyone should get one just like it. Food is just okay from my perspective: everything is shipped there, so everything is a few days old. Lots of noodles. Many many noodles. I didn’t eat noodles for months after I got home. If you like Indian food, they have excellent Indian cuisine. Very safe, very clean. Companies normally provide a bus service to get from the nearest transit station to the work site, but then you’re stuck there and if the work site is in Tuas (industrial work district) you’re stuck with cafeteria food which can be legitimately awful.

      You definitely want the company to pay for housing. Housing will be the tiniest little studio with no kitchen you’ve ever seen, regardless, and there may be a waiting list even for that. It will cost whatever you earn plus a kidney, so if they want you to pay your own housing tell them absolutely no. There’s just nowhere to live that doesn’t cost a fortune. You know how people have retirement accounts and pensions? In Singapore they have accounts that can be used for retirement OR buying an apartment OR buying a car because those things are all hideously expensive and regular people can’t afford all three.

      The LGBT aspect: this is definitely a Thing. Touching other people in any way is illegal, although it is normal for women friends and relatives to hold hands/walk with their arms around each other and it’s not considered sexual, so women friends may take your hand/arm and they really do not mean anything by it. Offending someone in public is illegal, so most ways that Westerners normally flirt is not at all well received (saw this in the tourist area); on the other hand if you don’t want to be flirted with, absolutely nobody will do that, which I found kinda nice. Dude says he wants to go get coffee and talk about work, he means bring your PowerPoints. Vibrators, any personal sex toys – also illegal and they do check your luggage at the airport. So even traveling as a single “I don’t like people but women are okay if they give good backrubs”-sexual was a problem for me. But the things I do like were also unavailable: Staying out after 10pm in a club that is open to the public? Illegal. Staying out in a restaurant with groups of friends after 9:45? Illegal outside of the expensive tourist district. You can’t even get room service to eat after 9:30 pm even in a big hotel chain. That was really crazy making to me. There’s a lot of weird performative heterosexuality that I found oddly hilarious, like women radio announcers advertising an event and saying, “lots of handsome men will be there ladies, mmmmmm it’s coming up on wedding season!”

      Other thing that was problematic for me was clothing – in American sizes, I’m Medium or size 4/6, and I have large breasts. In Singapore sizes I’m L/XL or “we don’t have those sizes in stock” huge. Forget about buying underpants or a bra if you’re more than a western Small or bigger than a B cup.

      Other random inadvertently funny things are mostly to do with racism, but… it’s weird (I’m white). They were astonished every day, over and over, that I could use chopsticks and eat various local foods – no matter what I said, until a Singaporean confirmed that she had seen me eat spicy food with chopsticks, then they’d believe her. The word for white people is actually “tomato” both because we sometimes have red hair and because we turn red in the sun. There is a shop in the Plaza Singapura on Orchard Road called Hot Tomato and they sell Western food. The cafeteria at work had a daily special called Western Delights, and uh. One day it was listed as “surf and turf” which turned out to be chicken strips and fishsticks. Like, frozen out of a box and microwaved, with fries. People offered me cheese a lot. Like, a LOT, I’d walk into a restaurant and order mutton curry, lime juice (limeade) and naan and they’d volunteer, “anything else? We have cheese!” They were also astonished at my capacity for alcohol, as nobody would serve me a second drink and I got some horrified stares when I asked. Not sure if it was a sexism thing or just that few Singaporeans drink much at all. There’s a whole hierarchy of racism amongst the various nearby countries which is depressing and is helpful to know for work purposes – I was trying to plan a facility modification and the Singaporean idea of “managing logistics with operations planning” was actually “hire a bunch of Indians and a few Malaysian engineers and yell at them”. They really did not understand why Westerners consider that unacceptable.

      Weather: in monsoon season you need a Singaporean umbrella. Theirs have a coating on the inside that makes it much better than Western umbrellas. Western raincoats cannot withstand their thunderstorms, which happen daily, always during your commute. It’s hot and sticky all the time.

      That’s all I can think of for now.

      1. Tau*

        Thank you!! This is all hugely helpful information and just the sort of thing I was hoping for. Thankfully I’m not a flirty person, or someone who goes out much, but the time restrictions still sound like they could get very annoying very quickly – and I’ll definitely need to prep for compulsory heterosexuality, as well as defending my chopstick skillz.

        I was actually vaguely hopeful about clothing sizes because I’m a shorty mcshort who is German size 36-38 and has started having trouble finding stuff that’s small enough… but from what you say it sounds like the difference may be so huge that I’m still an XL by Singaporean standards? (Sorry, having trouble with the size conversions here, all the things the internet is spitting out seem slightly off to me.) Shall endeavour to pack well for hot and humid weather so I can manage without needing to go shopping just in case.

        1. Fey*

          Speaking as a Singaporean, the time restrictions are a myth. :) The heterosexuality is not though, sorry. :/

          Clothing wise, you’d be an L here, not XL, but you wouldn’t want to shop in Singapore anyway (expensive). Get your shopping done before you come. And it may be hot and humid here but your office will be freezing. We all definitely still wear long sleeves and long pants and keep a cardigan handy in the office.

      2. Fey*

        As a Singaporean, I would like confirm or clarify a few things –

        Transit system good; housing for expats bad. There used to be a thing called the “expat package” where your company would pay for your housing and even pay for your kids’ education, but I never hear of it anymore. :)

        If you ate a lot of noodles, you probably didn’t look for rice, which I think is more ubiquitous and we eat a lot more of than noodles (and I am saying that as all three main cuisines combined – Chinese, Malay and Indian, not just Chinese). I don’t eat at hawker centres much, but you could always pay more for better quality (and non-Asian and non-fries) especially if you work in the CBD.

        I’ve actually never heard anyone refer to Westerners as “tomato”. “Ang mo” is more common and it literally means red hair. It’s a term from Hokkien that has become part of the Singaporean lingo and it’s not derogatory. It’s just that Singaporeans have long had a bad habit of using race/skin colour as an identifier. Not cool, I know.

        You’ll have to forgive the cheese thing. Oftentimes the folks who work in such places have a very simple idea of Westerners and their food preferences. They just think white people = cheese. Locals who don’t interact with Westerners except as customers, tend to treat Westerners with kid gloves. Best response is to break the barrier and be their ‘friend’ and say, “I want to eat like a Singaporean. Tell me what a Singaporean would order.” I guarantee they will lose the act immediately and give recommendations as they would to a local.

        The LGBT thing…yeah, as a whole, Singaporeans are still very conservative and publicly everything is kept heterosexual. I don’t see this changing in my lifetime because the state perpetuates heterosexuality and lots of things are state-owned. :)

        Shopping for clothes can be hard for bigger people, which is annoying because not everyone here is slim. But there’s always online shopping, which is my go-to. Bras: I’m an E cup, and I got my bras locally. Triumph is great for big busts. I always make sure I get measured.

        I don’t go to clubs but I have many friends who do and have no issues staying out till 3am or even 5am. And staying out at restaurants after 9:45pm is definitely done even outside of the tourist district! I’m curious if you actually tried these things and were denied or you only heard it was illegal? Because it’s really not.

        Fyi, I’m not offended by anything you wrote and neither am I defensive, just really amused!

        1. Lora*

          Tried and denied – when it started getting around 9:45, the hostess would make a point to ask if we needed anything else, if there was a private gathering we were going to nearby… nicely trying to kick us out. This happened a few times. The Singaporeans assigned to be my…not exactly handlers? Who were nominally the project engineers, also made a point of GOTTA GO IT’S LATE. I was staying at the Hilton for a while and you’d think they’d have room service after 10pm but nope. Until I figured out how to get to a Cold Storage I was hungry.

          Yes, did make a point of “no I want to try the local food…no really, I mean it!” And after a while that did sink in when people remembered me, but anyplace new that I tried: we have cheese! It was actually funny, just weird. Like… should I ask them to change the music to Beyonce too? I ate in a lot of Eating Houses, where my options were some kind of soup (hit and miss, I didn’t care for Bak Kut Teh) vs Chicken/Duck Rice vs Hokkien noodles. Went to Chomp Chomp, more noodles. Work cafeteria – more noodles. Don’t know why, I had expected more rice too.

          No worries, there are many horrible surprises in America too. We have Singaporean folks come over for training and one year it was in the middle of winter. That did NOT go over well, apparently I live in an icy land of frost giants and daily murder…

          1. Fey*

            That’s really strange about the hostess kicking you out. That’s never happened to me or my non-local friends/colleagues before. I know they regularly stay out late and are successful at it. And I think those project engineers (colleagues?) just really wanted to get home, not because it was the rules or something. Lol.

            I’m beginning to think the cheese thing is an inside joke among the restaurant workers rather than an actual belief that Westerners = cheese. I don’t know though. It is quite funny the act some people put on with Westerners vs locals. As a local I don’t get any crap…but there are also places that treat Westerners much better than locals. :)

            Daily murder made me laugh. Yeah, we’d definitely not do well in American winters!

            I hope you managed to travel to nearby countries during your stint here at the very least! When I’m asked by overseas friends what’s my favourite place in Singapore, I always say “the airport” cuz I get to leave. :) It’s clean and safe here, I know this place well, my family lives here, but it’s pretty boring here!

            1. Lora*

              Japan did the cheese thing too, so I don’t know.

              Well, our crime rate is indeed terrible, but you’re only likely to be murdered in certain areas of big cities. And then it’s mainly accidental via drive by shooting. Just have to avoid those areas, but the boundaries change frequently and it’s not always obvious.

              We get big storms that knock out the power at least yearly. Everyone including Europeans are shocked by them – in Europe the power lines are buried and never go out. Locals have backup power or a fireplace or something to keep warm until the power comes back on, but if you aren’t prepared it’s a nasty shock to be confined to your cold house and hope the pipes don’t burst. So yeah, the Singaporeans weren’t wrong. Icy frost giants.

        2. Tau*

          Thanks for the tips from a native!! This is all extremely useful information. Especially about how to avoid being bombarded with cheese when you go out for a meal ;)

          At this point, I’m basically decided that as long as my company is willing to take care of the logistics (especially accommodation) and I can start around October/November at the earliest, I’m willing to give it a shot. Wish me luck!

          1. Fey*

            Good luck!

            You’ll do fine – Singapore is often described as “Asia lite” because of how ultra modern and high tech it is and how it doesn’t at all resemble the mental image one might get when one thinks of Asia (rice fields, unpaved roads, crazy traffic jams, motorbikes and bicycles galore, nobody speaking English, food eaten only with chopsticks). Think Munich or London, but heaps cleaner and safer, with a much better transportation system, (would you believe it) taller buildings, everybody speaking English (the accent isn’t easy for a newcomer though – just don’t be afraid to tell people to speak slower cuz Singaporean English is spoken fast and is poorly enunciated), and a mixture of chopsticks, forks and spoons, and the right hand (only the right!) used as eating utensils.

            Make friends with your local colleagues – and not just the Singaporean Chinese but the oft-forgotten Malays and Indians as well. Most will be eager to show you a thing or two. Join a yoga class. Ask if you can attend a colleague’s relative’s wedding or religious celebrations – they will be happy to have you come if you weren’t already invited. (Chinese weddings are invite-only but Malay and Indian weddings are free for all. And religious celebrations are open to all.) Volunteer with local organisations. Just get to know us. Most expats hang out only with other expats and never venture out of the CBD or their condominiums. As a result they never leave their privileged expat bubble and can live here for five years or more and would have never seen the neighbourhoods where locals live. I have expat friends like this and I regularly half-jokingly give them crap for it.

            Not to sound like a jerk, but do that assimilation thing that Westerners often cite the lack thereof when it comes to expats/immigrants from other countries into the west. Six months may not be long but it’s enough time to immerse yourself in the various cultures and make the most out of your time here. Have fun!

    5. 404_FoxNotFound*

      Spent 4.5 or so years in Singapore as a younger teen in the early y2k, so although I don’t have the experience of a working adult to throw in there, I can attest to earlier comments about hot and sticky (30-35C + 100% humidity) and monsoon season weather: make use of the underpasses whenever possible! Connected buildings are amazing for both AC and staying more dry, Seconding the good umbrella comment. Pack something collapsible w a bag to put it in when wet. Also seconding the (local-to-s. e. Asia) food being phenomenal. I highly recommend trying out whatever from your local hawker centers. Eating local (esp soups, lots of hydration, etc) will do your body a lot more good than trying to eat daily like you’re living not on the equator.

      Definitely make sure your company does at least something towards your rent – the place will be small and very expensive. Not a huge issue since you’d be there 6mo and thus probably not planning to accumulate a ton. Do make sure you end up living near convenient public transit- we did not and with a family of 5 that never figured out pub transit, it got unfun real quick. Public transit def tends to be fast, clean, and convenient. I recommend the “granny cart” to get groceries back home if you have to go longer distances. (speaking of groceries: do not leave food out. It’ll either spoil v fast or you’ll attract pests pretty much immediately)

      Take advantage of being near a bunch of really cool other countries to go to in SEA that are much harder to get to from Germany.

      Take a look at the country’s laws beyond LGBT/queer things: there are a bunch and some are actually enforced strictly. If that’s not your thing, pass. As a queer person I’m really not a fan of a lot of the built in anti-LGBT things there even if at the time I wasn’t out.

      Pack clothing suitable for yourself. Unless something unexpected happens you will most likely not need to replace or acquire much in the way of clothing in 6mo, but as others have mentioned, if you’re larger a certain size, regardless of the clothing item you’re going to have a hell of a time finding anything to fit. As a slightly chubby 11 year old I needed to be shopping in the older women clothing/underclothing sections (or wait until I was traveling to other countries with clothing available for larger/fatter people) and I found it embarrassing and demoralizing. To give you an idea, I was 160cm, 40-42 EUR size shoe, had a large chest, and the local XL sizes frequently didn’t cut it.
      I never did get around to doing a much more thorough search of what good shops would be for that, so YMMV/things may have changed/the internet now might have good resources, but yikes. I was not that big.

    1. Lena Clare*

      I don’t enjoy the warm bank holidays, too many people and noise so I’ll stay in and spring clean ny house and do some cheesy romance reading! Just discovered Mina Carter, this’ll be great :) I can lose myself for days in good books.

      I’ll try to get swimming, hopefully the pool won’t be busy. And tomorrow my mum’s taking me out for lunch!

      1. PX*

        I’m loving the warm bank holiday, but wow. There are definitely a lot of people out and about! Luckily my local park is small and apparently too far away from the centre to get busy.

        My intention had been to clean my flat, but uh. All the sunshine is making that seem extremely unlikely :D

        1. Lena Clare*

          Wow. Already! They’re getting an early start then!

          Best laid plans….I’m currently listening to music and reading cookbooks. I always think there are a million and one things to do instead of the cleaning. Enjoy the sunshine. :)

    2. PossiblyEnoughDetailToBeIdentified*

      Happy long weekend! (even if you don’t enjoy the heat!)
      It’s our wedding anniversary this weekend – so we’re celebrating it next month instead, when (hopefully) it’ll be a bit quieter! :-D
      We live in a “popular” coastal town – so we tend to go inland on bank holidays. It’s always interesting seeing the heavy line of traffic going in the other direction as we head out on nearly empty roads, and then the same again as we come home!

    3. Loopy*

      I feel like every weekend my answer to this will be in some form: baking. Ha! But well, that’s still the answer and I’m still very pleased with it!

      1. Lucy*

        Me too! I have a bara brith and a chocolate brownie cooling, and a poppyseed loaf in the oven baking. It’s carb time …

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yum! I tried bara brith when I was in Cardiff and liked it a lot. I also liked Welsh cakes so much I learned to make them. Think I might try bara brith next.

          1. Lucy*

            The recipe I have is super easy, and is also dairy free (or vegan with one substitution, noted below) so useful for sharing. It’s recommended for a 2lb loaf tin but I use a greased bundt pan and it comes out very cleanly.

            Soak 450g dried fruit and 250g brown sugar in 450ml black tea overnight.

            Preheat oven to 170°C/325°F/GM3.

            Sift together 450g self raising flour and 2tsp mixed spice. Add the fruit/sugar/tea mixture and combine thoroughly. Add EITHER one beaten egg OR one mashed banana and mix in completely.

            Spoon into your chosen tin and bake for around 80 minutes until firm, when a skewer comes out clean.

            Cool in the tin for ten minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

            Best eaten the day after, with a thin spreading of salted butter. Travels well.

              1. Lena Clare*

                Mixed spices is sold ready made here. It’s typically something like:

                1 tbs ground allspice
                1 tbs ground cinnamon
                1 tbs ground nutmeg
                2 tsp ground mace
                1 tsp ground cloves
                1 tsp ground coriander
                1 tsp ground ginger
                Blend all spices together, and store in a sealed jar away from light.

              2. Lucy*

                Oops, didn’t realise that wasn’t universal (though why would it be?). If you can’t get it then whatever spices you use for apple pie would be fine.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Sweet! I’ll save this, thanks!

              I know about mixed spice–I have some I made for the Welsh cakes recipe. Found a recipe for it online. :)

          2. London Calling*

            Welsh cakes are ace. I went to a Welsh university in a town that had a Saturday market, and that market had a stall with home-made Welsh cakes. I used to stock up for late night essay writing in the week ahead.

            Also Caerphilly cheese and Felinfoel beer (which I am DELIGHTED to see is available online!) Laver on the other hand….:(

      2. Sally Forth*

        I made chunky chocolate cookies. Somewhere in the translation between measuring cup and weigh scale I think I put in too much chopped up chocolate. Imagine huge messy piles of chocolate held together by bits of flour, sugar, and egg. Certainly NOT good enough to take to Easter dinner. I will need to keep them here and do quality analysis, one by one, until I have identified the issue.

        1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

          You know, warmed in the microwave with ice cream on top, each of those little catastrophes will bring a mouthful of decadent joy. They will freeze well and you will have months of yum…. (grin)

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Pretty good week, aye! Today’s to-do includes a grocery run, a post office run, and probably re-dyeing half my hair some combination of purple, blue and green :) and either today or tomorrow, making a batch of strawberry lemonade concentrate.

      (Six cups berry purée, six cups sugar, four cups lemon juice. Heat in a non Teflon pot until sugar is dissolved, to about 190F. Strain and pour into jars. Reconstitutes about 1 part concentrate to 2.5 parts something else – water, usually, but also good with sprite or ginger ale. Keep refrigerated unless you hot-water can it in your jars. Works well with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, combination. This summer I want to try peach too. )

    5. Tan*

      FWIW a while back Alison said she’d rather these threads be used for real questions and not these ‘role call’ type ‘how are you’ questions. I don’t know if she still feels that way but figured I would mention it.

      1. Lena Clare*

        I didn’t see that, and I’m sure Alison will delete this is it’s deemed off-topic. Although, really, what constitutes a ‘real question’ in a thread open to any questions?

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I have indeed asked that and haven’t been able to figure out how to enforce it so it’s no surprise that most people don’t realize that. (My reasoning is that these threads get so many comments already that a lot of people see the high comment count and pass them by, so I’d rather keep them focused on requests for input/advice/etc.)

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Some are kind of like survey questions. Questions that ask how everyone is doing has a — I dunno– pub / coffee shop feel, “hey, sit down and chat a minute!” I think, “oh I need a cuppa tea to go with this.” It’s a good feeling thing.

          This, as opposed to pure survey questions like “Which is better apple pie or blueberry pie?”

          I think the difference goes to what is gained in the end. Often someone will start a reading thread- what is everyone reading? There’s a gain there, we see books that we want to check out. I am not sure what the gain is in knowing people’s preferences between apple pie and blueberry pie…

          In a similar vein, I might skim the “how is everyone doing thread” if I am in a hurry. But I might remember a person from last week/last month who was not having an easy time of things and I might skim just looking for that person to come back again.

          ugh. I am not even sure if this distinction of how a question adds to the community helps or not. I do think that some folks enjoy starting a conversation, so there is that. I tend to lean toward following the conversations that come up. I really value all. the. different. things that people think of to talk about here.

    6. Apoch*

      It’s Easter weekend which means four days off work. I’m camping on the south coast of England and enjoying the sun and cider.

    7. WellRed*

      Spent the week in Vegas for work. Now, happy to grocery shop and putter around the house. Tomorrow will be super quiet due to Easter, which I have no plans for due to travel. It was heavenly to wake in my own bed.

    8. NotAPirate*

      I am struggling to decorate a cake! Partner’s birthday inconviently timed with easter, so much baking to do. It’s a rainbow layer cake, recipe was like yellow cake dyed colors but i foolishly decided to bean overachiever and did different flavorings…

    9. Lilysparrow*

      Unfortunately I’m spending the weekend getting ready to host family coming in town for a funeral. I’m not in the Inner Ring of grief, so it’s not emotionally charged, but it is sad & upsets the happy holiday plans we’d intended.

      But there will be egg-dyeing with the children this afternoon, so that’s good!

      1. Lucy*

        I’m sorry to hear of your loss.

        Are you doing natural colourings or artificial? Onion skins and red cabbage are good fun, but there’s nothing to beat an eye-watering chemical blue /grin/

    10. The Other Dawn*

      I woke up at 4:30 am because it was warm and humid in the bedroom and my back hurt so couldn’t sleep. I then volunteered with the cat rescue this morning, ran come errands and now I’m home relaxing. Now I’m trying to get up the motivation to pull out some boxes I set aside for the rescue’s semi-annual tag sale next weekend. I need to go through and price the items, and see what else I can stick in the boxes. I’m sure I have lots of stuff hanging around that I either don’t want or don’t need anymore.

    11. JunieB*

      I’m experimenting with new recipes for body scrub cubes, shower melts, and lotion bars. My kitchen smells AMAZING!

      1. Teapot Librarian*

        I have oil, raw sugar and essential oils. I want to make a sugar scrub but can’t find one on line that I like that seems to have the proportions that I remember making before. Do you have a good recipe for something like this?

        1. JunieB*

          I use the ratio from the sugar scrub recipe on Bulk Apothecary Blog (1.5 c raw sugar, .75 c granulated sugar, 1 c oil) because I like the texture of raw and granulated sugar combined.

    12. Cherry Sours*

      Had a good week, thanks! Can now put some (25%) weight on the broken leg, and and had a glorious 1 mile, 45 minute walk to my physical therapist appointment, much to his chagrin!

      Making and eating brownies this weekend as I email a collection of dna matches.

    13. Marion Ravenwood*

      Hello!

      This weekend has been kind of busy for me – I had an opticians appointment and driving lesson Friday, then baked for my Game of Thrones watch party with friends last night (I made ‘Red Wedding’ velvet cupcakes with raspberry coulis centres so basically they oozed ‘blood’ when you bit into them, and a ‘Frey pie’ with sausage and celery). Yesterday I had parkrun and the party, then today another driving lesson before dinner and a Harry Potter marathon with friends.

      This week has been… difficult and emotional, for various reasons, but the weekend has been good. And next week I have lots to look forward to, so I feel pretty happy right now.

  3. BeanCat*

    I hope everyone is well hydrated and well rested this weekend (if you’re reading this go drink some water)! I am at my favorite anime convention and am…possibly one of those things. I promise I’m actually good at taking care of myself.

    (And for those who are curious, fiancé and I have our wedding planned! It is suuuper small – just us getting married on a cruise ship. We’ll be visiting people throughout the year following so everyone gets their moments with us. I think it was the best of what we both wanted.)

    1. PossiblyEnoughDetailToBeIdentified*

      Oh wow, what a lovely wedding idea! Congratulations!

      (and I’m just going for a glass of water now!)

      1. PhyllisB*

        Wedding sounds wonderful!! And I’m still drinking coffee now, but will get water later.

          1. PhyllisB*

            Never got to the water!! Live-in-grandson had me toting him and his friends all over today. I thought my days of being Mom’s Taxi were over. They are, now it’s Gram’s Taxi. I can’t really complain though, he wanted me to pick up his friends and take them out to our local water park so they could throw a football. At least he was outdoors and off the XBox. But you would think in all my running around I could have either remembered my insulated cup or stopped to buy a bottle of water!! I’m making up for it now with iced tea. (No sugar.)

    2. Mamie*

      How special a wedding that will be.Love the truly small wedding. I wish you both the best.

    3. Happy Lurker*

      Congrats! We were also married while on a cruise. Our original plan was to be married on the ship, but instead got off in St. Thomas and were married at a local hotel’s beach. It was very small (just my parents and sister) and perfect. Yours will be as well. Enjoy.

    4. CastIrony*

      I took a sip of my water cup. That, and I don’t even want to get married, but I want to do this so much!

    5. Marion Ravenwood*

      Congratulations! Sounds like a lovely wedding :) And glad you’re enjoying the convention.

  4. Myrin*

    Medical stuff ahead if anyone wants to avert their eyes!

    So for anyone following along at home: the gallbladder has successfully left the body on Thursday of last week (so, not the day before yesterday but one week before that).

    Every doctor who saw me was quick to exclaim about my “enormous gallbladder” (I had had a very palpable hydrops so this wasn’t in any way a surprise to me) which resulted in one of the wounds being a bit bigger than normal. I also apparently have one part of the aorta in an “atypical position” but that seems to have been no big deal; in the letter I had to take from the hospital to my GP it says the vein had been “sorgsam geschont” (“carefully spared”, which, well, I’d hope so!) but apparently that was it?

    I’m doing fine, generally. Two of the four wounds still hurt a bit and I’m low-key salty, as the cool kids say, that I can’t do any gardening work yet in this fine spring weather because ducking and stretching are a literal pain but my flatulence and cramping problems have basically vanished and I’m just eternally thankful for not having that little ball hanging around my stomach area anymore.

    1. fposte*

      Many congratulations on evicting the problem tenant. I’m glad they didn’t heedlessly plow through your aorta, even if they had to congratulate themselves for not doing so.

      1. Myrin*

        Anyone ever told you that you have a way with words? ;)
        Yeah, I had a good chuckle at the phrasing myself. The operating surgeon explained this to me the day after surgery (without mentioning this was the aorta we’re speaking about!) and said that it basically doesn’t matter to me at all but he wanted to mention it so that I’m not alarmed when I read the letter. It’s apparently one of those things which is important for an expert actually working on it but which is entirely negligible for any layperson.

    2. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      So glad for the good update!!! Glad to hear you are recovering well. I remember the postings and good to have you back!

    3. Lissa*

      Now we are no gallbladder twins too!! I had mine out a couple years ago. I recovered really quickly, like was working from home within a few days and back to work full time in a week, and haven’t had many problems with food, barring some acid reflux sometimes if I eat anything too fatty.

      Glad you are doing well for the most part!!

      1. Myrin*

        Yay, no-gallbladder-twinsies! Even our situations sound like they’re basically the same! :D

    4. Chi chan*

      Best wishes for your recovery. I would have said ” Thanks, I made it myself. ” when people exclaimed about the gallbladder.

  5. Marina Magdalena*

    Splurged while online shopping. By “splurged” I mean “spent about $175 on things I consider wardrobe basics, about ten items total”.

    I need to remember that I am going to be able to use these items in many ways, and also that if I’m not wearing what’s currently in my closet, maybe it needs to go to a better home. So I also emailed my pastor and asked if we could stage a four-church tag sale for charity, because why not? Price it low enough and some of our community’s needy might actually be able to choose for once, instead of taking what is (often begrudgingly) given.

    But mostly I need to absolve myself of the spending guilt. Humans spend that much on one or two pieces all the time. I’m getting ten. Okay, nine. Nine, though! That’s a bargain, considering what I could have paid for some of it! Aaagh, I’m full of rationalisations.

    1. Loopy*

      I totally relate to this! I usually start feeling better once I’m actually wearing and using said items and come to love them and consider them staples of my wardrobe/life.

    2. SherBert*

      I hear you! It took me a year or more to talk myself into buying the purse I wanted because it was way more money than I had ever spent on a purse. I make enough money to easily afford stuff, but that wasn’t always the case and i guess I just learned to be frugal. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes you have to do something for yourself. I’m glad you did!

      1. valentine*

        Someone said, “If you buy a $300 purse and use it daily, it’s a dollar-a-day purse.” Like Marina Magdalena, think of the wear and lifetime use you’ll get out of the items. Your happiness is also worth it and I think you’ll get there, especially after you clear out stuff you’ve mentally filtered out and are looking at a selection of wanted items.

        1. Competent Commenter*

          I too can feel very guilty and uncomfortable spending “too much” money, whatever my brain decides is too much, anyway. And yes, I do this same math, and it helps a lot.

      2. Tau*

        I have this problem with clothes and food myself. I’m earning pretty well these days, but although I’m now willing to splurge on certain things (e.g.: sewing machine, Spanish course) food and clothing take me right back to my student days. I’m still working on convincing myself that yes, I can buy the more expensive pasta with the cool shapes not available in the cheapest kind, or the gorgeous jacket.

    3. Ms. Taylor Sailor*

      Omg I relate to this so hard, but honestly, if they’re good quality items AND multipurpose, $175 isn’t bad at all! That’s an average of $19.45 per item! I generally limit myself to a high of $20 a single item (sometimes $30 if it’s super nice or I need a specific item for something), so props for finding stuff at a good price!

      Also, I’m the type that fears buyer’s remorse, so if they’re returnable, keep the tags on them as long as possible if you don’t need to wear them immediately. That way if you change your mind, you’re good to return them! I’ve accepted that sometimes I feel so desperate to get something that I’ll buy it, but then return it pretty quickly, which satiates my desire to buy the thing to see whether or not I really want it. But definitely double-check the return policy first before doing something like that!

      I’m also with you on getting rid of things you don’t need. I’m trying to do that now and am struggling a lot. I usually go to two consignment stores near me first before donating them. I never get a lot, but I’m more than happy to get something.

      1. Marina Magdalena*

        I went high on a pair of boots and a skirt, but low on a couple of pairs of tights, so that balances. Everything else came in between about $15-$20. The boots were a SheIn steal, considering comparables, and they had options in both my sizes — I can stretch to a size 5 US but I’m actually more of a 4-4.5 (35-36 EUR).

        Probably tags on things will come off as soon as I wear them; I see uses for all of this right away. Honestly, I would have stretched out my buying if I didn’t feel the need to get some different clothes on my body! :) The worst case I can imagine is that something’s too big and needs altering, and I have the number of a great seamstress — and some experience constructing garments myself, so I can see where they’d deconstruct and be able to speak her language as to what I need. Also, I can understand what alterations can and can’t be made. I’d do them myself, but for some reason, sewing machines hate me. (Yes, this means that when my hobby demanded it, I hand-sewed clothing, but it was all quite neat and mathematical in terms of pattern!)

        But yes, all of this is multi-outfit and some of it bounces between casual and office attire. Some of it will even help me make pieces work that didn’t before. I feel much better today than I did in the small hours.

    4. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      It’s not a splurge (hug). I think a splurge is for something unnecessary.

      When you are replacing things that are worn out, buying something to help you look like “you” (fresh color, happy feeling, sharp), making an outfit more versatile… it’s an activity like stocking your pantry.

      I think of it as an esteem issue. I will wear things run down at the heels, faded, or way past it’s prime – because it is still serviceable. No, I make enough and am at a level where I need to be presentable. I deserve to have a pretty color top (I can donate the ugly orange one I got at the rummage sale which makes me look ill); I need to not wear puce (I can pass on to someone else that shade of purple which makes my skin look ghastly). I do not have to keep the shirt with the pit stains that I can “only” wear under a cardigan (this is not something they’d sell at a second hand store – that is my cue to make it into cleaning rags).

      Look at your closet with fresh eyes. Do the items you have to wear, reflect the beauty your friends see shining from within you? If you need a blunt, honest friend to come over and help you evaluate, or a loving friend, ask them. (You can trade this service to each other in kindness).

      When I first lost so much weight, I had to replace my entire wardrobe quickly and very cheaply (think sometimes, the bag sale at the end of the rummage sale – all you can stuff in the bag for $3, say). Now, some of those things can go… it’s way past time.

      And you are able to wear those colors, and things that fit you better, to reflect your inner self and confidence.
      Hug. (I hear my frugal mother’s voice and years of super-penny pinching, top ramen days when I shop sometimes, and I have to consider it an investment)….

      1. Marina Magdalena*

        Hugs so gratefully returned with interest!

        I still live at home, so sometimes I feel guilty because I don’t think they’d want me to spend — and yet, telling them, they were like “Oh, that looks nice, you haven’t really spent on yourself in awhile, have you?” So that was huge. Mum promised to help me with my existing closet and determine what needs altered and what can just go; we’ll set that lot aside in case the ecumenical tag sale actually happens. I do have some good pieces that are an awkward fit because I lost weight, too, albeit not terribly much — just eight pounds, but on a 4’11” frame! And I have a pair of boots that I love that got a terrible scuff in them when I fell down some steps, and Mum promised to ask her work friend what cobbler she uses. When I love something, I looooove it. If it’s really a good piece I will try my hardest to make it last.

        Of course, it helped that we went together to the mall to see if I could actually source the pieces without going on Amazon. Turns out a) nope, not for the prices I wanted and b) nope, the only skirt we found ran ginormous. A size 0 fit like it was a size 4. I am not even joking, I am a 26″ waist, a 0 should not be drooping to my hips. So we saw how ridiculous it all was, and one piece for maybe $40? If we went online for it and used a code? No. Way.

        Everyone is so good and kind here on AAM, I am just overwhelmed. I’ll think of you all so fondly when it comes time to assess the literal business end of this wardrobe!

    5. Formerly Frustrated Optimist*

      My mother gave me this advice growing up: When you’re out shopping and having a good run, go ahead and buy it. Because there are plenty of days when you go shopping and find *nothing.* (Isn’t that the truth?!)

      Signed,
      Someone who just spend about $100 last weekend on two outfits total.

  6. Annalise*

    London going through a short spell of warm weather this long weekend. I’ve dug out my warm-weather clothing to confirm…yup, definitely have gained weight. Not a lot (clothes still fit but more snug than I’d like) but still not nothing.

    Given this is the UK, it’ll be a while before it /actually/ gets warm, so I can hide under the layers for a bit longer. Still a warning/reminder for myself to cut out all my stress/boredom-induced snacking (seriously, I never thought it was possible to be stressed and bored at the same time but it’s definitely possible and absolutely sucks)!

    1. rmw1982*

      Yep, things are a bit more snug than I would like after this winter. Need to be eating more fruits and vegetables and less candy. Starting tomorrow. ;-)

      1. PhyllisB*

        Not tomorrow!! Got to eat your share of chocolate bunnies/eggs!! Don’t leave them all for me!! I’m starting Monday. :-)

    2. Overeducated*

      I feel your pain! My scale broke last year but by the fit of my clothes, I have expanded. I think as I age my metabolism can’t keep up with the same eating habits.

  7. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going?
    I’ve recently discovered a café nearby is doing a scifi/fantasy short story Competitieonderdelen, so I’ve been working on that. Also fairly certain I didn’t win in that other Competitieonderdelen earlier this year, but oh Well.

    1. PhyllisB*

      I’m not a writer (yet) but has been my dream for years. Not novels, short articles/essays is what I would like to write. If I decide to pursue this, where would I find a market for this kind of submissions?

        1. PhyllisB*

          Maybe someone will enlighten us. I would also like to do short humor articles. But first, I’ve got to get this stuff out of my head and on paper.

          1. Claire*

            You might find some markets and/or topics about freelance writing over on Absolutewrite in their Freelance Writing subforum.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        If you are just starting to write, I wouldn’t even worry about submissions at this point. Get used to actually doing it. Very little you write at the beginning will be publishable anyway, because you’re learning.

        Read a lot of the kind of essays and articles you want to write. You can keep those markets in mind for later if you want. Practice and practice some more. Try different things—structures, ideas, etc. Find your voice. Above all, learn to edit. Writing is rewriting.

        One of the best editing books I’ve read so far is Write Tight: Say Exactly What You Mean with Precision and Power, by William Brohaugh. You can get it on Amazon. Everything he says is applicable to all kinds of writing.

        1. PhyllisB*

          Thank you, Elizabeth, That’s very good advice!! Of course, deep down I knew this. When I used to write papers for high school/college I would just write whatever (this was in the days of longhand or typewriter. I did better with hand-written.) I would write down pretty much everything that occurred to me and then go back shape it into something suitable. I still do better with pen and paper than on computer. I tend to edit myself too much and it slows down the creativity. I also appreciate the resources. All of us future authors thank you!!
          Right now this is still a hazy dream for me, but if I do get this far, my AAM friends will be the first to know!!

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Ha, editing WHILE you write is a very bad habit that will kill your productivity. Don’t ask me how I know! :P

            First drafts will always suck. That’s just a fact.

            1. Claire*

              Editing while you write is not always a bad habit. Not everyone writes the same way. It’s like saying everyone must outline, or must not outline. We each find out what process works best for us, and for the particular project. (Because sometimes different project require a new-to-you approach.)

              That said, the thing to watch out for is the urge to write and rewrite your opening over and over, and never making progress beyond that.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        “Writer’s Market 2019”, fromWriters Digest. Writersdigestshop dot com if u ou u want to order your own, but many libraries kee it in their non-circulating refer er nce collection.
        (Updated annually, change year as needed.)

    2. Ginger Sheep*

      What is a Competitieonderdelen? I’ve looked it up online, but found nothing… Is it a special type of competition? Thanks!

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        No, sorry that’s supposed to be “competition”. Autocorrect got me and I didn’t see it before submitting. Such Fun writing in a different language than your autocorrect -_-. How I miss the days when autocorrect was easily turned off…
        (For the record: Competitieonderdelen is a Dutch word meaning “Parts of a competition”)

    3. Claire*

      I had to rewrite the ending of Chapter From Hell, but it now has all the plot points and emotional layers. After that, I managed to breeze through an interstitial segment and half the next real chapter. This weekend, the goal is to finish Next Real Chapter.

    4. Laura H.*

      *points to layer of dust on chapter*

      Still:

      Good: I have two more sections to go and then I can post a chapter for a fic in major need of an update.

      Bad: Neither of those two remaining sections are warm and fuzzy.

      Ugly: I know all progress made in the relationship development HAS to go down the proverbial toilet but it’s a dumpster fire that I’m (hopefully understandably) dragging my feet on.

      Taking another stab at it by Monday…. bless my fic coauthor for not chewing me out on how darn long it’s taking!

    5. Public Facing Librarian*

      Spending the weekend revising. Copyeditor notes electronically bleeding down the digital page. Pretty excited. The end is in sight. Home for the next two days to make the editors’ production deadline Wednesday. Selecting photos t illustrate tomorrow and final revisions and final bibliographic proof read. whew. I’m a little giddy. PS yes regular work still dealing with unfortunate issues but have been able to put that stuff aside due to publishing deadline.

  8. Jaid*

    Happy Passover!

    Thursday I went over to my parents house to help them change over the kitchen. Fortunately, Mom was low-key about it and I didn’t have to take the fridge and oven apart to clean them (shelves, arggghhh). We took our time and took plenty of breaks. Mind you, if the house had been 10 degrees cooler and Mom was healthier, it might have taken less time (at least for me, if she had been better able to direct operations, as it were). It is what it is, though.

    Yesterday, I went over and Mom asked me to make the charoset (apple, nut, honey mix in our household, others do apple, wine, cinnamon). I discovered that they didn’t take out the box that had the mixing bowls, knives, and other kitchen utensils. Cue Dad going back to the closet to drag out ALL the boxes and getting frustrated. Cue me using paper plate and plastic knife for the apple cutting.
    Anyway, they eventually find what they need and leave the boxes out to go thru and gift/goodwill what they won’t be using anymore. And Mom wants me to create a list of what they actually need to keep/use for next year.

    For dinner, Mom makes matzo brie (think French toast, but with motzo). We use a new Haggadah, one that has just the basics, like the famous Maxwell House one…except with woke language. Dad drank wine with the matzo brie! Mom drinks wine with the matzo brie, but she mixes the Manachevitz with Franks Black Cherry Whishnak soda and she usually does that. I figure Dad just…had enough and was taking the edge off.

    All in all, one of the best First Seders I’ve had. Bonus points for no Second Seder at the synagouge tonight like I thought, but a Wednesday evening buffet on the 24th. I don’t have to be with anyone today!

    1. OyHiOh*

      Chag samech!

      I “went” to a community 1st night seder.

      By “went,” I mean “sat in the lobby and sobbed my eyeballs out” and ended up leaving about 45 minutes into the night. Took my son home, girls stayed, in the capable hands of good friends and found the afikomen so they’re pretty proud of themselves.

      1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

        Hug to you. Sometimes …I just cry during music at our church. Not quite the same thing but it is somehow one of the bastions of comfort and release for me.

  9. Marion*

    The aftermath of the fire at Notre Dame has been so…predictable. Never mind all the conspiracy theories and racist remarks (that’s indicative of a much bigger problem), but also the mocking of people’s genuine distress at the whole thing.

    Why do people feel the need to be ‘edgy’ or whatever it is they’re trying to be? Yes, it’s ‘just’ a building, like a lot of what we’d consider history/art/culture – they’re just ‘things’, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth preserving. Everyone has possessions that they attach enormous sentimental value to, and would be devastated to lose even if it has no material impact on their day-to-day. Notre Dame carries over 800 years of sentimental value.

    Then there are all the comments on the cost of renovations and the size of donations pouring in. Of course, that money could make a huge difference to a whole host of other causes. That money could save countless number of lives, and yet it’s being used to repair ‘some old church’.

    But what’s the alternative? Restoration is going to cost an obscene amount of money, it has to come from somewhere. There are people/companies with obscene amounts of money who are willing to throw it in that direction, how is that a bad thing? Sure, people ask why the Catholic church (and the Vatican) with all its riches isn’t taking responsibility for this, but that’s not on the donors. And yes, there are tax breaks/good PR etc. motivations, and you can be cynical about that all you want. You don’t have to laude them for what they’re doing, but to scoff at it achieves nothing either.

    Ultimately, trying to drag other issues into this is pointless. There are people who think the money shouldn’t be spend on Notre Dame at all. So then what’s the point of spending money on preserving art of history or culture at all? Did they think all existing monuments and galleries and museums don’t cost money to maintain? All of these are just ‘things’ in the end, but they mean so much to so many people, and to mock that is just disrespectful.

    It /is/ possible to care about the plight of the poor and suffering and still want ‘that old church’ to be restored. It’s not an either/or scenario. Even though I’ve never understood why people romanticised Paris as much as they do, it’d be ignorant to declare it shouldn’t matter at all.

    Apologies for the rambling. It’s been a long week.

    1. RandomFrog*

      Some people are a**hats and the internet amplifies their voices.
      But for many French people (I am one, I read both French and US/UK media), a lot of the (more moderate) cynicism I see in French media is a call for transparency.
      As in : Stop saying donations will fund the rebuilding when taxbreaks on donations (from French donors) is 66%, which means hundreds of millions in taxpayer’s money will be assigned to Notre Dame anyway (in some cases, like Bernard Arnault, there isn’t this 66% taxbreak, so it’s not an issue).
      It’s dishonest (I’m not saying ND isn’t worth it, or that the donors aren’t been generous, just that taxpayers will still pay for a lot of it). Most people aren’t against rebuilding Notre Dame (on the contrary), what they’re upset about is how it shows that the Government CAN make decisions and find money when they choose to.
      So all this talk about ‘we can’t/our hands are tied’ is in truth ‘this isn’t our priority, but we don’t want to bother having a real discussion about priorities’.

      Unfortunately, asking calmly doesn’t work so well, so people strike / protest and piggy back on big sensational events. I’m not sure how well that works either TBH.

      1. coffee cup*

        Exactly this. Although many people do try to be ‘edgy’ or whatever, I don’t think that’s behind the reaction of everyone who isn’t devastated. Of course it’s terrible, and of course art is important, and of course I hope they manage to restore it. I felt that about Glasgow School of Art, too. But the thing that bothers me is the speed with which money is found when a building is destroyed, compared with when people’s lives are being destroyed. I have no doubt that the two things can and should both be tackled. But this kind of thing sometimes just casts into sharp relief the fact that, unfortunately, often that isn’t the case.

      2. bunniferous*

        I guess what was disturbing to me was the very rich immediately promising very large sums when all along that money could go to help people-that said I understand Notre Dame is most assuredly a cultural treasure and I do not begrudge people wanting to take care of it. Any other opinions I might have? Well, NOW IS NOT THE TIME. Which is why this here is probably the first and probably the only time I will mention it online.

        1. Artemesia*

          If these billionaires had been properly taxed there might have been enough money to properly maintain the Cathedral and it might not have burned. I am getting sick of people whining that the Catholic church is rich and so donations should not be made. The church doesn’t own Notre Dame; it is a cultural treasure owned by the French government which has to maintain hundreds of monuments. It needs every cent they have pledged — doubt it will be restorable for a billion even. The Brazil museum fire is not slightly comparable. The art is gone. Money doesn’t fix that. The Cathedral can be rebuilt; the art lost in Brazil is beyond recapture.

    2. Washi*

      As a Catholic, some of my frustration is that there’s not been this kind of grief, either in modern or colonial times, when ancient non-Christian/non-European places are destroyed. Catholic colonizers were themselves the cause of so much death and destruction all over the world, particularly in South/Central America and Africa. So when everyone is so upset, it’s like “oh really, does it suck to see irreplaceable historical treasures destroyed, no kidding.”

      Not trying to be edgy or mock people who are upset, I just have kind of a complicated reaction to the whole thing.

      1. Loopy*

        While this isn’t what I think you’re talking about directly, someone made the point in how differently people reacted to the national museum fire in Brazil and the difference in how hard they had to work for donations. I thought it was a very important point to be made. It certainly forced me to think about it.

        1. rider on the storm*

          The reality is though, that the Brazil museum fire was appalling and a huge loss of culture and value, Notre Dame has been in books, films, its an iconic part of the “romance of Paris” and many, many people (inc. myself) have been there and have an emotional tie to it.

          1. fposte*

            Which is true, and I also feel that about Notre Dame. But the reasons why that’s true are not politically uninflected. She was basically the cultural-loss equivalent of the missing blonde white girl; it’s understandable that those that love her are sad and desperate, but it’s also understandable that those with other less noted losses are unhappy with the disparity.

            (Interesting tidbit about the Great Chicago Fire: there was a massive, much more destructive fire in Wisconsin the same day, called the Peshtigo fire–it killed well over a thousand people to Chicago’s three hundred or so. Not only has it been overshadowed by the Chicago fire in historical memory, it was so overshadowed at the time that officials in Wisconsin begged Wisconsin residents not to send donations to Chicago but to their own state. Who wins the news cycle is an old problem.)

        2. Ann O.*

          But who is “people”? Brazilians? Or are Americans/Western Europeans generalizing off of the writings of other Americans/Western Europeans and failing to account for cultural context?

          Because the latter is what I’m seeing, and IMHO, it’s an unrealistic expectation to expect all people to react to all tragedies regardless of degrees of closeness. Human beings feel more strongly about things we have a personal connection to.

          Notre Dame was also much older then the National Museum of Brazil, so they don’t seem like an apples to apples comparison. (I also don’t think it makes sense to compare like that anyway. One tragedy getting overlooked doesn’t invalidate the tragic nature of another tragedy.)

          1. de Pizan*

            Notre Dame may have been older than the physical building of the National Museum of Brazil, but some of the things housed in the museum were much much older–for instance, they had the largest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts in the Americas, also one of the largest collections of Greek and Roman empire materials in the Americas, and had a huge collection of pre-contact indigenous materials going back to the Nazca in the first century BCE, as well as Andean mummies that were 3000-7000 years old. Their collection relating to indigenous languages going back to the first European contact was completely lost in the fire–many of those languages are now extinct and in some cases the tribes themselves were subsequently wiped out.
            I’m of the mind that they are both tragic losses and there is no need to downplay one to build up the other. However, I think the loss of indigenous history and language is heartbreaking and that it wasn’t more widely reported is lamentable, especially given that authorities and priests in Central/South America during the first few hundreds years after contact deliberately destroyed indigenous artifacts and tried to erase all records and languages and so there is already far far less that survives today than there should be.

      2. Parenthetically*

        Yeah, this one.

        I’ve seen and participated in some complicated conversations about this kind of stuff with my Australian friends especially — like, yes! This is awful! AND ALSO the Aus government is currently in the process of plowing through a bunch of Aboriginal sacred sites to make a highway. I think there’s the “whatever, this dumb building doesn’t matter, what about these OTHER tragedies” reaction, which is stupid and callous, but then there’s the “this building does matter, and these other sacred sites also really matter, why can’t we mourn them all/protect them all equally?” reaction, which I think is really fine and ok.

        1. Alpha Bravo*

          Exactly. I’m sick about this tragedy. And enraged at the destruction of sacred sites as well as the threat to critical infrastructure (water supply) in order to lay pipelines to transport fracked oil to an export point to be sold to foreign countries. All sacred sites are clearly not equal.

    3. Loopy*

      Yes, I definitely got people thinking that I was probably reacting too strongly to this incident. One person said, well no one got hurt, as if that should make the other terrible losses not devastating. Which I do certainly appreciate that no human life got hurt (if it’s true, haven’t fact checked that!).

      I was also told that it wasn’t as bad because it brought countries together to work alongside each other in a positive way.

      Basically a lot of people reacted to my feelinsg with a “well X” or a “but x” as if I shuld start feeling less saddened by it right away or my dismay wasn’t justified.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Just another perspective: If no one cared, I would find that the most scary thing. If no one made donations, that would be scary. If no one argued that those donations could be put to better use that would be scary.
      Apathy/silence is worse than disagreement, in my opinion. (I am thinking of stories my uncle told about growing up in Nazi Germany.)

      Running concurrently, we have internet platforms that make money on discord. If people are arguing with each other then that platform is watching the bucks roll in. That IS their business model, “Keep them arguing so they keep using Our Platform.” In some cases pushing back from the computer and doing something for our own community might be the best response there is.

    5. Ayla*

      it’s really not “edgy” to point out the difference in the response toward this vs. countless far more serious human tragedies. in many ways it’s appalling and demoralizing.

    6. Miss Astoria Platenclear*

      I agree. Companies like L’Oreal, Disney, etc, have the right to spend their money as they want.

      1. Ayla*

        no one is saying they don’t? but the public gets to comment on those decisions and to point out when their priorities are a problem, as many people think they are here.

      2. tamarack & fireweed*

        I think the controversy is about the people at own substantial parts of them, and as the French government literally just abolished the wealth tax on them, it’s to me completely understandable that there are bad feelings about these contributions right now. For my own French friends, the ones that are a little polemic about contributions to the rebuilding are at the same time deeply affected by the fire.

        Personally, I was heartbroken (and *very* relieved that an even worse outcome was narrowly avoided), but I think that I can, and ethically should, also be reflective about what the story says about what we value as a society. The latter is necessarily uncomfortable.

    7. Rosie M. Banks*

      I cried for Notre Dame, and I think my feelings were perfectly legitimate. It was a very old and very beautiful place, with tremendous religious, national, historical, and architectural significance. I was there for Good Friday and Easter some years ago, and I will never forget the experience.
      My grief for Notre Dame doesn’t mean that I’m unaware or uncaring of other terrible situations, and I try to do what I can to volunteer, and vote responsibly, and donate to causes that I think are trying to make the world a better place. But I think of it like this: many thousands of people presumably died on the same day that my father died, but I wasn’t equally wracked with grief for all of them. I cried for my father, and other people cried for their beloved friends and relatives, and all of us were right to do so.
      Notre Dame was a place of great significance to millions of people, for many reasons. They have every right to grieve. If someone had told me after my father died, “People die every day. Get over it.” I would have wondered how they could dismiss someone’s deep emotions so easily, just because they didn’t share my grief.

      1. WellRed*

        This is well said. I am sorry for your loss. I cried too over Notre Dame and even woke up on Tuesday feeling a little hollow.

      2. Snazzy Hat*

        Rosie, you make an excellent point about valid grief.

        It seriously bothers me whenever I see posts on social media that begin “why is no one reporting on this?!” for something horrible that happened in a community. a) Well obviously *someone* is reporting on it, otherwise Wakeen wouldn’t have an article to post about it. b) Am I supposed to apologize for getting my news from local sources, or should I shame the BBC or CBC for not printing an article about an event that they actually did cover but not to the degree Wakeen deems acceptable? c) It comes off immediately as shaming me and other readers for lack of awareness. I’d rather not remain friends with a person who scoffs at me for not being glued to twenty news sites while I’m at work.

        And I need to get this off my chest: the first knowledge I had of the Notre Dame fire was entirely inaccurate. The person went on a rant to the tune of “stop destroying history & culture” (such as the Library of Alexandria), and I honestly thought there was no more Notre Dame Cathedral. I pictured pieces of charred brick, melted/broken glass, and no walls. Thanks, buddy, for adding to the hysteria. Bonus: on that post, one of the person’s friends got heavy on the bigotry. The best exchange was, “you guys, he’s trolling”-“no I’m not, I’m totally serious”. And that, folks, is how you find out people’s true nature.

    8. Lady Jay*

      I noticed these takes as well, though I’m not sure I’d call them “edgy”. Maybe “woke”? Or just plain “pushback”?

      On the one hand, I appreciated the way that such takes called attention to other important crises in the world. Apparently, in the aftermath of the Notre Dame fire, the historic black churches that were destroyed by arson in Louisiana received a lot of funding to rebuild. So that’s great, and I think it happened in part because people said, “Oh, you’re sad about Notre Dame? You should be sad about these other churches too.”

      But at the same time, these takes came up so quickly, within 24 hours after Notre Dame burned, long before some of us had time to really come to terms with what happened. It felt as though grieving weren’t allowed, that we had to put aside the shock and sadness of watching Notre Dame burn (I couldn’t look away all afternoon) and sort through those feelings critically–which is probably an important thing to do at some point, just maybe not that soon after the fire.

      I am not Catholic and I preferred St Paul’s in London to Notre Dame. But the cathedral was a peaceful, beautiful place in the heart of Paris and had stood for hundreds of years. Its partial loss is such a tragedy.

      1. Overeducated*

        I think this is spot on. It’s true that the concern for Notre Dame overshadowing so many other tragedies and losses of irreplaceable heritage says something disturbing about power and worth in our world. But it’s also true that people weren’t crying based on a comparative analysis. There’s something just insensitive about saying “your FEELING is wrong.”

        I think, in the best case, this can be a symbol and example to remind people how precious other people’s endangered cultural sites are, too. We shouldn’t have to reduce how much we care about one place to avoid elevating it above others, we could choose to expand our circles of care instead. I would have a lot of critical takes on calling other places “the Notre Dame of X,” but at the same time, I think enough people felt this deeply that the comparison might help increase empathy and understanding.

      2. Ann O.*

        Yes, this! When those types of responses happen so quickly, it comes across as being about callousness or cruelty rather than being about working towards compassion.

        And even with the Louisiana churches, I do have to wonder why my friends could find time to share the GoFundMe accompanied to a critique of caring about Notre Dame but not before. I am glad the donations happened, and I think “let’s also care about this” is the best form of this type of critique. But there was a ton of unacknowledged performativity and hypocrisy going on in how that “let’s also care about this” happened. It’s not like they were actually out there caring about the Louisiana churches any more or less than anyone else.

    9. Agnodike*

      I mean, part of the pushback is that there’s a big wealth equality movement in France right now and the response of many of the companies donating huge sums to restore Notre-Dame has been that it’s simply unaffordable to pay people more, provide social benefits, etc. So yeah, a lot of people are justifiably pissed that these companies scan spend huge sums on a donation to the restoration of a landmark but dismiss the idea of increasing their operating budget to decrease massive wealth inequities. Also, much as Notre-Dame is a cultural and historic symbol, it’s also a symbol of the Catholic Church, which has a fraught history that inspires strong negative feelings in many.

      Yes, it’s foolish and kind of gross to just write off a cultural landmark wholesale and to be dismissive of anyone who’s emotionally affected by its being damaged, but there’s a wider context here.

      1. Square Root Of Minus One*

        Thank you for pointing that out. I think it’s a big factor to take into account here.

    10. dumblewald*

      Yep I expected this, too. All the people that would be like “Why are people so sad over a building blah blah blah”. You can care about multiple things. Not caring about the Notre Dame doesn’t mean you are automatically curing world hunger.

      The first time I visted the Notre Dame during a mass was one of the most memorable moments of my life, and I loved the architecture. It was shocking that, in a half a day, it was mostly gone.

    11. buttrue???*

      A lot of people will benefit. A lot of the money that will go to the restoration will go to pay for the people who produce the material and do the actual restoration work. This will be good long term work preserving skills that becoming sorely lacking.

    12. Nacho*

      Not trying to be edgy or anything, but the alternative would be to not restore the building. I understand you’re probably a fan of Notre Dame/historical monuments in general, but I don’t see a downside to at least having a discussion over whether or not the reconstruction is worth all the money they’re spending on it. Maybe this could be part of a larger discussion over whether we’re spending too much money on preserving art/cultural landmarks that we don’t really need anymore.

      1. fposte*

        Though “we” and “need” are complicated words in that sentence. There’s a morale impact on and political cost to any decision to let something go rather than to restore it; then there’s the fact that tourist revenue is enormously important to Paris. That doesn’t make reconstruction an automatic yes (and a partially destroyed Notre Dame probably has some special macabre tourist value in its own right), but value is not the same thing as utility.

        There’s nothing like Notre Dame near me, but people still get hugely invested in the fate of old buildings. Mostly it’s big old privately owned houses, which are easier calls, because nobody wants to buy the things except to raze them and it’s only the occasional outlier who believes the municipality should reasonably buy an ancient money pit (especially since, as in France, there are contemporary human claims on government need); we don’t have enough of a tourist economy for the expenses of renovation to be recouped commercially, and they’re rarely worth it privately. But it’s still a political issue in election season and woe betide the politician who looks at it only as ledger numbers.

      2. Parenthetically*

        “preserving art/cultural landmarks that we don’t really need anymore.”

        I don’t think this is a good takeaway at all.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        Well yeah, we do need stuff like this. We need beauty in the world. We need to be reminded that humans are capable of creating it. We need to be able to look at something as immensely awesome (and I mean that in the original “extremely impressive” sense of the word, not as in “cool, bro”) as Notre Dame or the Pyramids of Giza and think about all the things we’ve done and what we can do.

        1. Nacho*

          We need stuff like this, but do we need this specific thing, which might cost upwards of a billion dollars to rebuild? Or would that money be better spent creating beauty elsewhere? A billion dollars is a lot of grants and scholarships for young artists, for instance.

          1. EinJungerLudendorff*

            Part of the problem is that much of this money doesn’t directly come from the state. And if you can convince massive corporations, the uber-rich, and the Vatican to donate large sums of money to support the poor and needy, then i’m listening.

            Which is another part of the current backlash of course, because it displays the massive wealth inequality, and the callousness of the rich.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            Once again, as I said downthread, it’s possible to care about more than one thing at a time. Anyway, this is France’s decision, not ours.

          3. JamieS*

            In today’s world, things are created to last maybe 50 years and anything that’s created something better is created a week later. With that in mind, what’s the likelihood someone today is going to create beauty that lasts almost 700 years?

            Also, restoring old buildings isn’t just preserving beauty but preserving history which is far more important.

      4. W*

        I mean, if you want to suggest to the French people that ND is no longer needed then be my guest.

    13. Anon Anon Anon*

      With respect to all sides of this, people aren’t always being “woke” or trying to be “edgy.” It hits home for a lot of people on a personal level. People who’ve been through serious hardships and no one was there for them and there were no funds available anywhere. It’s not an abstract intellectual issue. It’s a basic reality.

      It’s also true that it’s a beautiful historic church and people are right to be upset. That can be acknowledged while also acknowledging that it’s hard for some people, given their circumstances, to see so much money being donated to that particular cause. Considering that it is a church, there should be some kind of middle ground or a compromise. I’m not sure what that would look like. Just throwing the idea out there.

    14. Lilysparrow*

      It being Easter, and Notre Dame being a church, I think it’s relevant to point out that there’s a Bible story about a woman bringing a very expensive jar of perfume (a pint of pure nard) and breaking it over Jesus’ head to anoint him at a dinner, in the days leading up to his death.

      The disciple who was the treasurer of the group complained that the perfume and the costly jar should have been sold & the money given to the poor.

      Jesus told him to leave her alone, for she had done a beautiful thing. And there would be ample opportunity to help the poor, before and after this one gesture.

      The text also specifies that the complainer was Judas. And he didn’t do anything for the poor himself. He wanted more money in the group kitty because he regularly helped himself to it.

      Haters gonna hate.

      1. Katefish*

        +1. I’ve always found it interesting to think of that when people are saying “This money should have been used for x.” Which is not at all to say x doesn’t deserve funding, of course.

      2. EinJungerLudendorff*

        That does seem like poisoning the well a bit.
        Instead of really engaging with the complaint, they basically tell us to ignore it this time, and also the complainer is actually evil so it’s fine?

    15. Elizabeth West*

      When people say stuff like this to me, I like to remind them that it’s possible to care about more than one thing at a time.

    16. Belle di Vedremo*

      I try to remind myself of the dynamic tension between values, and to see the contrarians are voicing the dynamics of that tension. I value art, history, culture, achievement highly; I also value life, individual humans having what they need, the planet, etc. At any given time it’s hard as a culture to have all of what we could use in any one area. It’s good to be reminded of those tensions by those in a different place than I am at any given time. I’ve spent time in Notre Dame, and watching her aflame felt personal in ways I didn’t expect. Loved seeing photos of “la foret” – tree trunks that have been there in many (most?) cases for centuries. What a reminder of human genius, passion, and persistence that cathedral is, even for those of us not deliberately part of that faith tradition. What a symbol of a city, of a time, of a faith, of the triumphs of the human spirit. Wading through the “live” page on Le Monde in my poor French was a way to feel connected to the questions people were asking from all over.

      How do we make room for those things that touch individuals so deeply, in the face of things that touch others deeply but less publicly? How do we find a counter balance for those things that don’t get the front page attention, those chronic and sporadic pains that exist or surface more on the sidelines? So much steady, often unseen effort goes into causes we probably all support on some level – food for all, a planet we can continue to live on, safety for individual humans, critters, etc. Just as so much unseen effort has gone into making Notre Dame a public place, for anyone to enter, with huge costs for upkeep yet providing something less tangible to those who enter, who climb the towers, who survey the city and the gargoyles, those who kneel at the altars to pray and light candles for those who need safety, food, art, etc.

      I don’t know a means of balancing the larger and the individual, the “cultural” and “practical” that doesn’t teeter back and forth, helping us see from different sides at different times. I do wish that we could be kinder to each other as we learn where we stand for each issue that rises for our attention, and recognize that we need the multiplicity to be whole. I have learned so much from those on the other side – whatever it currently is – over my lifetime, and am grateful for their faithfulness in showing me the next balancing act I’m/we’re engaged in. We don’t get forests without trees, and without forests we often don’t have very many trees. Think of the long range planning that goes into forests, and the work of the foresters tending trees planted for use generations after the foresters themselves are gone. How can we treat our own work and concerns with a similar long view – tending the forest daily but keeping the view of the future while we do it? My conversations with others seem less heated when we can look at the daily in the context of time. I’m grateful for those who teach rather than chastise as we move forward together.

      Salut a la France, et a Notre Dame.

    17. PookieLou*

      An acquaintance on fb ranted about people making such a huge deal over the fire, as if someone had died. She said there are much more important things we should be focused on instead.

      To which I replied (in my head because I can’t handle confrontation) Doesn’t it follow that there are more important things to focus on, than ranting about people’s fb posts about Notre Dame?

    18. Ms.Vader*

      The Catholic Church is one of the richest corporations in the world. They don’t pay taxes but can tax others which generates a large income and massive amounts of donations get sent to the church daily. They have the funds to replace this themselves. If you don’t pay taxes for the land it sits, then the city shouldn’t be responsible for its restoration.

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

    In our apartment, we somehow ended up with a nail sticking up out of our wood floor. We’ve tried to hammer it down, only to have it pop right back up, like a weird game of Whack-a-Nail. As you can imagine, it’s irritating to always be tripping over a nail, and bad for our socks. Any other ideas on how to solve this problem besides hammering it back down? Thanks!

    1. Chi chan*

      What is it holding? Can you pull it out and secure the area with something else like carpenter glue?

    2. Laura H.*

      I don’t have any advice, but I think I’d buy a pair of durable, house-friendly shoes for the time being, and ensure the tetanus shots are up to date until you get it fixed.

      Ask your apartment maintenance?

      1. Sparky McDragon*

        This Old House says you should either step thr nail size up one or put some polyurethane glue and water in the hole before sending the nail back in.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      There’s a reason why the nail is popping up. It could be there is another unseen nail under it somehow? It could be the boards are weak, the hole is too big and every time you walk on it the nail works its way out again.

      I would remove the nail and see if I could get a flat headed screw in there instead. I would also consider just removing the nail and doing nothing further. You can watch to see if there are other problems with the floor. It could be that it’s just that one nail or it could be that your floor is warping for some reason. I have a lot of water on my property, my house basically floats. Floors shift, door ways shift, cupboard doors shift. I have a larger problem than just one board on one floor. This is the type of thing to be aware of, but don’t worry over it, just keep an eye to see if anything else is going on.

    4. Competent Commenter*

      I was intrigued and googled this and it’s a thing. Google “nail in wood floor keeps popping up” and you’ll see lots of advice.

      My assumption was to replace it with a screw, and my hot take of search results suggests that’s about right.

    5. Llellayena*

      I agree with checking internet searches for specifics, but it’s helpful to understand what kinds of floors you’re talking about. I have heavily detailed, inlaid wood floors with the inlay held in by finishing nails. I’ve got nails that pop up regularly and I just use a dap and hammer to get them back down. I don’t have the option of using a screw instead because of the floor detail. But a standard wood floor? Yep, I’d use a screw.

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

      Thanks, everyone, for the really helpful comments! As for the floor warping… it’s possible. There was a flooding incident here at some point before we bought the apartment.

    7. Snazzy Hat*

      Thank you for asking this question! My house turns 100 next year, and I’m 100% convinced the floors are original. I have the same problem throughout. Additional thanks to those who answered.

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

    In other news, I went to the doctor yesterday for an annual physical, and strangely, this was the first physical where they’ve ever taken my height (this year we tried a different doctor). For years, I’ve told people that I’m 5′ 10″. I never really knew my height for sure. Turns out I’m 5′ 8″. Is it weird that I’m weirded out by this and feel oddly guilty for exaggerating my height for so many years?

    Luckily, I’ve been married for nearly a decade now and my wife couldn’t care less that I put in my online dating profile that I was two inches taller than I really am!

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      My doc this year – same one I’ve been seeing for five years – measured me at 5’7” for the first time after four years of 5’5”. I’m skeptical. Heh.

    2. CoffeeforLife*

      It’s possible you’ve shrunk some. Also time of day impacts height and so does years of poor posture -all possibilities that make you not a liar!
      I figured out long ago that men lie about their height and will challenge any tall woman that she must be taller than she claims. I’ve been accused of really being 6’0 by men who say they are 5’9. So you probably saved yourself grief from the height insecure on the dating sites.

      I’m 5’9 but have scoliosis so I figure I’m really 5’11 and my tummy would be flat if my back was as straight

      1. Slewp*

        This happens to me a lot (as a 6′ tall lady). If I had a dollar for every man who told me I must be at least 6’4″ . . . . :)

      2. CooKoo*

        OMG, I just saw this after commenting about my ex’s insistence that he’s 6′ despite actually being 5’10”. I’d forgotten that when we went on our first date HE ASKED ME IF I’D LIED ABOUT MY HEIGHT! He was implying that I had deliberately made myself seem shorter! (Ugh, that should have been my first clue…)

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      You could have shrunk over time. (Or just during the day–my husband is tall enough to be taller in the mornings.)

      About 6 months ago I had a deep tissue massage that was extended to two hours and I had to move my head up in the cradle several times. When I got home I checked (measured by my cynical scientist husband) and I was 5’4″, after a lifetime of being 5’3″.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Likewise, I had a chiropractic adjustment and I got told that I seemed taller.

        Eh, you thought you were 5’10”, now you know differently. So just change what you say from here forward and let the rest go. Not too many people are thinking about it.

    4. Ree*

      Don’t know how old you are, but my mom started shrinking around 45 and it became noticeable around 50, but she still insists she’s 5’8” – she was but now she’s closer to 5’4”(age 58), because we literally see eye to eye now(clearly I am destined to one day shrink to about 5’ tall haha!)
      My grandmother also shrunk but don’t know when it started, at her shortest she was a smidge under 5’, and I believe she was 5’4” or 5’5” when younger.

      1. PhyllisB*

        For years my mother was 5′ 1/2″ (and woe be to you if you forgot that half inch!!) Now at 88 she’s 4’10” I spent years thinking I was 5’4 3/4″ tall (I just said 5’5″ on my driver’s license.) Then I got measured at my doctor’s office a few years ago and I measured 5’3/4″. Doctor started getting upset thinking I was shrinking but I remembered when I was 18 I measured at 5’3 3/4″ but the last time I was measured was at a WW meeting and for some reason they would but a hand on top of your head and measure that way so that would account for an extra inch. Never understood why they did that.

    5. Roja*

      I wouldn’t be so sure it was accurate. When I went in for a physical they said I was 4’8″, which it’s obvious that I’m not (5’1″ in real life). 4’8″ is reeeeeally short and it would be painfully obvious that I was that much shorter than other adults! It took them three or four tries before they even got a 5’0″ reading, and each reading was different. It didn’t exactly inspire confidence about their ability to measure, I have to say.

    6. LGC*

      I actually have that in the opposite direction! My ID says I’m 6’4″. I’ve been measured at 6’5″ (and this was in the afternoon). I just figure that no one is going to care about the difference.

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

        I don’t think people generally shrink before they turn 40. Maybe I’m wrong though. My wife pointed out to me my not-so-good posture; it’s probably a combination of that and just thinking I was taller than I actually was. I’ve enjoyed reading the responses!

    7. Lost in suburbia*

      I met a friend-of-a-friend in college who claimed to be 6′ tall. This was plainly untrue. I was 5’9″ and he was no taller than me. I didn’t push it, but some of our other friends ridiculed him about it until somebody finally measured him. Sure enough, he was 5’9″. I will never know where he got the idea he was 6′, but after reading these posts I guess it does happen. I felt kind of bad for him. He was crushed to find out he was 3 inches shorter than he thought.

      Meanwhile, even though I told people I was 5’9″, I knew I was technically 5’8 3/4″. I knew I was exaggerating a bit, but no point in getting so hung up on detail. I’m over 50 now and I’ve shrunk to 5′ 81/2″. Saying I’m 5’9″ seems like an exaggeration now, so officially I’m 5’8″. Pity. I kind of liked being 5’9″.

    8. Oldster*

      I actually watched as a nurse measured my daughter incorrectly. They had a setup on the wall. The true measurement was at the backline in the middle. She used the bottom of the gauge which was at least a h a of inch short.

    9. CooKoo*

      I know the feeling! I used to say I was 5′ 8 and 3/4″ (I’m a woman) and when I was recently measured at my doctor’s office I was 1.5 inches shorter. When they said 5’7″ I asked them to do it again trying to make myself as tall as possible. I think it’s due to aging. We all get shorter with age. By the way, I’ve found many men on dating sites have overestimated their height by about 2″. My ex talked many times about being 6′ tall although he was actually 5’10” and a fraction.

    10. Nana*

      Men lie about their height…women lie about their weight. Well, that’s what we used to say in the olden, un-woke days.

  12. Loopy*

    Thinking of buying a kitchenaid mixer since one is one sale. I’m super excited (by now I think most people know I bake!). But I have this weird guilt because I got an instantpot I wanted and *never* use it. I know I’ll use the kitchen aid for baking weekly but I was thinking I should make more of an effort to use the instantpot… as if it justifies the kitchen aid o.O

    To the point: does anyone have very easy vegetarian instantpot recipes or a site for them? I see sooooooo much meat on instantpot instagrams I was getting discouraged and kind of just stuck it in a cabinet for a while. It seems way more useful for meat recipes and i was feeling like maybe I misjudged how much I can use it.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I have found it’s really easy to overcook a lot of veg in the instant pot. Like, two minutes was too much for asparagus, and Brussels sprouts didn’t come out well either. But it’s supposed to be great for beans without needing to presoak, and I had good luck doing mashed potatoes in mine. That’s not very specific, sorry :(

      1. Ada*

        I think it’s better for tougher veggies that typically take longer to cook (potatoes, carrots, corn on the cob, parsnips, etc.). If you can fully cook a veggie in a pan on the stove in a few minutes, the instant pot is probably going to be overkill.

        1. Square Root Of Minus One*

          Seconded. And you can add to this list all kind of peas, lentils, beans if you buy them dry. KitchenAid is very helpful with those.
          But similarly I’d never cook something like spinach in my KitchenAid.

    2. SherBert*

      Vegetarian-wise, I mostly use my instant pot for soups. You’re right, it is really useful for meats because those are the things that take a while so the instant pot makes a difference when you don’t have the time. Having said that, I wish my comment was more helpful!

    3. SherBert*

      Part 2: I use the heck out of my KitchenAid! I used to bake a lot more and it is a lifesaver! I bake less now, but use it for mixing up just about anything and when I need it, it’s still my workhorse.

      1. PhyllisB*

        Get that KitchenAid!! It will make life so much easier. I burned up/splayed the beaters on three different mixers before my husband got me one. I’ve had to replace one of the beaters because the coating started flaking on it but that’s it. Also, if you are so inclined you can buy attachments to use with it. Pasta, sausage making, ect. My husband expressed an interest in learning to make sausage, so I bought that attachment, and six years later it’s still on the shelf unopened. Oh well, I got it on clearance for like $25.00 or so. Not a huge investment.

        1. Dan*

          I wanted to make sausage too, and it turns out if you’re a novice, it’s a pain in the ass. Stuff sausage links and doing it right and getting all the air bubbles out without breaking the casing takes practice, and I’m not sure it’s worth it.

          That said… the meat grinder attachment is pretty good. I use it to grind chicken and beef, and I’m satisfied with it. If you *really* want to learn to make sausage (I’m guessing you don’t, hah) I’d suggest starting with bulk sausage — grinding stuff and getting the seasoning right. Then, and only then, if you’re satisfied with your creation, would I bother with the stuffer. Heck, just figure out a recipe for the bulk sausage. It’ll save yourself some misery.

          1. PhyllisB*

            Dan, I believe you’re right; and after my husband did some on-line research he decided not to. He grew up on a farm and they butchered their own animals so I thought he had learned to make sausage, but guess they had it made at the processing plant. Like I said, it wasn’t a big investment.

            1. Seeking Second Childhood*

              Strange…it worked well for us. But then we’ve done it before, and we had incentive: it’s hard to find low-to-no sodium sausage, and there’s medical reasons for that for some family members.

    4. CoffeeforLife*

      No specific sites but I second the beans! So making chili, soups, and meatless stews area easy. I did a big cabbage, potato, carrot soup I it. You can also use the other functions like slow cook (a lot of slow cooker recipes can be adapted for the instant pot), rice cooker, yogurt (I’ve been lazy but want to make coconut milk yogurt in it) etc.

      And a kitchen aid is so pretty!

    5. GoryDetails*

      I have to laugh – maybe there’s a syndrome of “The Newest Appliance That I Will File Away and Forget”? But if you bake regularly the KitchenAid will become invaluable, whether or not you use the Instantpot.

      As others have mentioned, the Instantpot is *awesome* for beans; if that was all I ever used it for it’d be worth it. It’ll take dried beans to cooked within an hour, start to finish, no pre-soaking needed. I also like to use it to hardboil eggs, and it seems to me that the shells come off more easily after the Instantpot steaming than they do via the regular method. There are other things I’ve used it for with success – cereals like oatmeal or grits among them – but I don’t normally use it for vegetables; either I microwave them or oven-roast them.

      1. PhyllisB*

        Yep. My husband got me one for Christmas and it’s still sitting on the counter unused. Also I thought I just HAD to have a pannini maker so he got me one with about 8 different plates with it (waffle, griddle, ect.) It’s still on the shelf. I don’t know what I was thinking; these days he does 90% of the cooking. I only make desserts for Wednesday night church dinners and cupcakes for the grands. So the KitchenAid gets used a lot. Maybe if I ever retire I’ll get in touch with my inner Martha Stewart again.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          For me, I tend to feel like these gadgets will somehow motivate me to cook more. And they…don’t. I feel so inspired when I buy them, but it very quickly fizzles out. Although I do use my Instant Pot, but it tends to be for things like big batches of seasoned rice and hard-cooked eggs for the most part.

      2. Dan*

        Good to know about the beans, thanks. I need to get more lentils and beans in my diet, and the preplanning for soaking beans is somewhat offputting. Makes me spend more money on the soaked stuff, but not everything comes ready-to-use.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Lentils cook quickly, but garbanzo? This thing takes them to hummus-ready in a snap.

    6. fposte*

      Dude. You are a baker. The stand mixer will change your life. Screw the instant pot. (I’ve monitored a friend’s use, and I realized the one thing it really changes–cooking time–isn’t something I care about.)

    7. Erin*

      There are a lot of great vegetarian recipes for Indian food in the instant pot – I don’t have just one go-to site but have found a lot that have worked out by just googling around a bit.

    8. Ranon*

      We eat vegetarian at home and use our instant pot constantly, but almost entirely for making dried beans- so much faster than stovetop and cheaper than cans. The chart for bean cook times is probably the most used “recipe” in our house. It’s also absolutely wonderful for steaming artichokes and doing hard “boiled” eggs.

      You can make killer vegetarian American style tacos with lentils, onion, garlic, and 1.5x the amount of seasoning per pound of dried lentils that one would use for ground beef (Alton Brown has a seasoning recipe called “Taco Potion #9 if you want to mix your own). Or “refried” black bean tacos with black beans, garlic, cumin, and chipotle in adobo, cooked and mashed in the pot.

      The other big bonus is even if it doesn’t save a ton of time, the instant pot significantly reduces the amount of heat that gets thrown into your house while cooking, so it’s great in the summer when you want something long cooking but don’t want to throw steam into your house for hours on end.

    9. Ada*

      Check out the website pipingpotcurry (dot) com. They have a vegetarian instant pot meal plan for a month. (Also, not sure if you saw bc I posted it fairly late, bit I did post my recipe for mung dal on your thread 2 weeks ago, so that’s another option. I’ll see if I can find it and repost.)

      1. Ada*

        Here’s my recipe:

        125 grams dried mung dal (washed)
        1/4 tsp turmeric
        1 Tbsp cooking fat of choice (I use butter, but feel free to sub in oil or something else)
        1 1/2 tsp ginger paste
        1/4 tsp garam masala
        1/2 onion
        Salt

        1. Combine dal and turmeric in Instant Pot, along with enough water to cover the dal. Cook on manual for 20 minutes. When it’s done, let the pressure release naturally.

        2. While the dal is cooking, heat a pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Add your cooking fat, and when it’s nice and hot, add the ginger paste and garam masala and stir to combine. Then add the onions and saute until caramelized. Put aside until the dal is done cooking.

        3. Once the pressure on the Instant Pot has released, check the amount of liquid leftover. This is up to personal preference – some like it thicker while others like it soupier. If you feel there’s too much feel free to drain some off. Once you’re happy with the amount of liquid, you can take a potato masher, stick blender, etc. and mash up the dal. Again, it’s to your preference just how smooth you want this.

        4. Mix in the onions and add salt to taste. Serve with rice or flatbread.

        That will get you about 3 servings, but you can multiply as needed. If you multiply, the pressure cooking time remains the same.

    10. M*

      I will chime in as well- we eat meat but do 1 week of vegetarian every month. I will agree with everyone else here that the best thing is beans! I don’t think it ends up saving all that much time but the ability to make a bean soup or some black beans without soaking makes a huge difference for me- I never remember to soak! So I’ve saved money using dried instead of canned beans.

      This black bean soup was awesome: https://frommybowl.com/instant-pot-black-bean-soup/

      And as I mentioned in another comment recently, I love to make a big instant pot of chickpeas and then use them for different recipes all week. General Tso’s chickpeas is a family favorite. Anything I can take the cooked beans and then transform them very quickly.

    11. CJ*

      I just made super easy hard boiled eggs in my instant pot last night and was pretty impressed!

      Hard boiled eggs:
      Put a cup of water in the bottom and put the eggs on the rack that comes with it. Close the vent, hit “pressure cook” and change the time to 5 minutes. Once it comes to pressure, then cooks and beeps, set a timer for another 5 minutes while they natural vent, then release the vent manually (use a wooden spoon or something so your fingers don’t get steamed) when the timer goes off. Open once the pressure knob goes down and transfer the eggs (careful, they will be hot!) to an ice water bath for another five minutes. After that, they were cool enough to peel AND the shells came off really easily.

      I’ve also had cheesecake made in an instant pot that was delicious and I’ve heard good things about making yogurt. There are even some risotto recipes I’ve seen (although I’m a bit skeptical that they are really risotto!). Hope that gives you some ideas to get some better use out of it :)

      1. AnonEMoose*

        I’ve had really good luck making yogurt in the Instant Pot. A couple of tips: I have a sealing ring for it that I use exclusively for yogurt, so that the yogurt doesn’t pick up flavors from other stuff. I also use half and half, rather than milk, because I like thicker yogurt.

        There are also a lot of Facebook groups for Instant Pot users – if you do Facebook, it can be a good place to look for recipes and tips.

    12. it happens*

      Get the KitchenAid- you’ll use it.
      I use my instant pot for hummus (Melissa Clark recipe), carrot ginger soup, squash soup, black bean soup, apple cinnamon oatmeal, ricotta cheese (using the yogurt function, then use the liquid to cook the noodles for Italian Mac and cheese,) Indian curries, cheesecake, and non-veg chicken soup. I’m less interested in time saving than that it’s one pot, no need to watch the stove for simmer or boil over. But if you really don’t use it, put it on Craig’s list and sell it, you tried it and didn’t like it. That’s ok.

    13. Nye*

      Get the KitchenAid! They are AMAZING for bakers. Try to find room on your counter for it, so you don’t have to drag it out of a cabinet or something to use it. You’ll use it more if it’s easy to access and in view.

      And it’s a totally different type of appliance than an Instant Pot, so please don’t feel like you need to “justify” your IP purchase before you get a KA. The IP may not be a great fit for your life & cooking habits (it’s true they particularly shine for meat recipes) – if not, then sell it or give it away if it’s making you feel guilty. If you love to bake, you will use the KitchenAid and you’ll love it. (I bought mine at the factory 15 years ago and it is my hands-down favorite kitchen appliance.)

    14. bunniferous*

      I have an instantpot and I found that YouTube has a bazillion recipes for it-and apparently the thing is an absolute gem for cooking Indian food so if you like that you should be able to find a ton of recipes. Also there is a very easy recipe for making caramel out of a can of sweetened condensed milk that looks like the absolute jam. I have a roast in mine right this minute so I am not much help to you on that front…..

    15. Ginger Sheep*

      I don’t even know what an instantpot is, so can’t help you on that, but go for the KitchenAid if there is a good sale! I held out one year on my baking journey before buying one, because these things are insanely expensive (at least in my country!). I initially felt really guilty about indulging, but I use it at least weekly and it’s been such an improvement on my hand-held mixer that it is worth it!

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        The InstantPot is a combined pressure cooker/slow-cooker that can also sautee. It’s electric and has enough buttons to thrill an engineer. It’s sometimes an Amazon special…we got ours on Prime Day in 2016. Right before a heat wave, so took it outside to cook dinner. 2 years later we haven’t begin to test all the possibilities.

    16. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Get the kitchen aid. I’m from a long line of bakers (G-mom supported the entire family through the depression and into the 50s baking pies and rolls for all the cafes and coffee shops in town)… and the whole family got me one as my wedding gift.

      I took a hard pass on the insta pot as I already have a very good electric pressure cooker and 3 crock pots. ROFLOL. (I use them).

      Second, get the slightly stronger one with the bowl lifter, if you can. My only regret is that mine is the entry level, and I sometimes get concerned with super heavy dough that I’m hard on it. But… over 25 years and it is just starting to show it’s age. (You can shop around and maybe even find this as a new-in-box second hand purchase from someone who got it as a wedding/ Christmas / mother’s day gift and knows they will never use it…)

    17. Dan*

      KitchenAid is a high quality product with a sturdy motor. They also don’t go on sale much, so if you find one at a price you don’t regret, pick it up. I don’t use mine often, but it’s a good thing to have when I want it.

    18. EggEgg*

      Definitely second the need to find counter space for it–out of sight, out of mind! But they’re so pretty, and you’ll definitely use it :)

      Actually, through a weird series of events, I ended up with TWO kitchenaids for about a year before giving one away. To be clear, I am not a baker by any stretch. There were still multiple occasions during that year where I used them both. At the same time.

      It’s just a game changer!

    19. Nicole P*

      The instant pot is also really good for grains. I made grits for my husband’s birthday and they came out amazing! I’ve also heard great things about risotto (no stirring!) I’m planning on trying that next.

    20. Overeducated*

      I have never met anyone who regretted getting a Kitchenaid. I was going to say i don’t use mine as much as I used to (life got in the way), but I’m literally posting while waiting for it to finish kneading my bagel dough, so….

      I do think the Instant Pot is more useful if you eat meat. Sure it’s good for beans, and I use it most frequently for them, but I don’t need a large expensive appliance just for beans….

      1. Parenthetically*

        I love my Kitchenaid even though I use it infrequently. I have space to store it when it’s not in use, but it does so many things that a hand mixer just can’t do. Invaluable for holidays as well.

    21. Tau*

      I am a person who bought a slow cooker and then gave it away because I never ever used it, but I’m so delighted I got a stand mixer for Christmas last year! My parents had one growing up and I then had to do without as an adult. It’s freaking invaluable for baking, and it’s also great for certain other things. (Super-easy carrot salad: grate carrot and apple via mixer attachment, add a bit of orange juice, stir, done.)

      Although FWIW, I got a Bosch MUM instead of a KitchenAid, at around a third of the price. Apparently (my mum says) the person in the store was very skeptical and said the KitchenAid was much longer lived but… I got basically the same model as my parents have. The model which is almost as old as me and still going strong. What, is he worried I won’t be able to pass it down to my grandchildren?

      1. Parenthetically*

        I will say, though, that even within some brands, quality has declined a ton. My mother has a Sunbeam stand mixer she got as a wedding gift almost 45 years ago and that sucker gets used constantly and still runs like new, attachments and all. I wouldn’t voluntarily own a Sunbeam appliance now if there were any other options — they’re crap. Plastic moving parts, will last a few years at best.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          The story of Sunbeam is sad …one greedy top exec ruined it. They used to make a one cup coffee maker that was phenomenally the best coffee I had ever had. Spider Robinson the science fiction author even had it talked up on his website at one point.

        2. Liz*

          yes! My mom had the Sunbeam “chrome rocket” mixmaster mixer. which I was always sorry she got rid of. HOWEVER, i recently found a slightly newer, although still vintage, think 1970’s model, Sunbeam Mixmaster in a thrift store, with beaters, cord, and both bowls and the little plastic stand thingy the bowls sit on. All for the HUGE price of $12. And while it needs to be cleaned, so i ahven’t used it yet, the motor purrs like a kitten!

          now, if i could find a slightly older one for not too mucy money, i’d be set.

    22. The Other Dawn*

      I love my Kitchen Aid. I’m not really a regular baker, but I do occasionally make cupcakes or cakes from scratch. I find it most useful for making real buttercream frosting, the kind where you boil sugar and corn syrup, beat in egg yolks and then beat in the butter. It takes quite a while to beat the syrup and yolks until completely cooled, so it’s great to be able to set the mixer and walk away for a bit. I also like it for making whipped cream. Really anything that needs a long mixing time is a good use for the Kitchen Aid.

    23. AlsoAnonymous*

      I got a stand mixer for Christmas after years of wanting one, and both my husband and I have been baking a LOT, and making homemade pasta (got attachments). Very much do not regret it.

      We ended up with the Smeg, because in the end it was lighter weight and just too cool.

      1. AlsoAnonymous*

        Also, I looked into the IP but since we have a selection of good pressure cookers in different sizes (that I use all the time) didn’t seem worth the space.

        And a KitchenAid (or Smeg) looks really nice on the counter even when not in use — I can’t really think of any other appliance that does :)

    24. Lady Kelvin*

      I love my kitchenaid (I bake lots too) and probably use it 1-2 times a week, minimum. My trick is that it is the only appliance that gets valuable countertop space permanently. That way it isn’t such a hassle to get it out to use (its heavy!) and I’m more likely to use it for even the smallest job. I got a pretty cover for it and it looks like it belongs in my kitchen.

    25. Aealias*

      This curry recipe is good: https://www.carveyourcraving.com/instant-pot-chickpeas-curry-spinach-chana-masala-vegan-gluten-free/

      And I make this risotto (note, no protein, but I’ve thrown in a cup of slivered almonds with good results): https://instantpoteats.com/instant-pot-risotto-pea-celery/

      Basically, the instant pot makes risotto SO easy! I adapt that second link’s method to basically any risotto. Otherwise, I honestly mostly use it as a passable slow-cooker. But that does keep it busy one or two nights a week.

    26. Three Pines Visitor*

      Another vote for getting the KitchenAid. I bought 30 years ago. The only thing I’ve had to replace is a paddle for the reason cited above — white coating started to come off — and the feet, because rubber dries out after a while if you don’t take care of it.

      You get what you pay for. They are built like tanks. About 20 years ago I wasn’t paying attention when kneading dough (and the rubber feet just might have had kitchen build-up on them) and the thing walked off the counter and fell on the floor.
      The ceramic tiles did not come off so well. The KitchenAid still works just fine.

      Also, buy a second bowl (or ask for one for your birthday). Having a spare is invaluable for those recipes when you need to whip egg whites for your recipe!

    27. Seeking Second Childhood*

      It’s super for brown rice –20 minutes on multigrain (high) plus cool down and it’s perfect.
      Also the sautee setting. And we love it when its hot outside — just take it to the patio and no extra inside heat.
      My husband &I both tend to cook without recipes, he’s doing all sorts of soups in it, including bean and posole. They don’t taste like they were cooked fast. India-inspired curries, saags, etc also work.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        And before I forget, it’s also supposed to be convenient for steamed puddings. My family’s classic is a chocolate one, but when looking for that just now I found this and I’m so going to try it. https://www.everynookandcranny.net/instant-pot-steamed-syrup-sponge-pudding/
        (My own cooking equipment debate is whether to buy metric measuring cups&spoons, because I’m perfectly capable of converting but it would be SO nice to not have to. Especially because sometimes I’m already trying to read a recipe in my 2nd language.)

    28. Lemonwhirl*

      Get the Kitchenaid, if you can. It’s a remarkable piece of machinery and it will bring you so many hours of joy that it will more than make up for any other unused kitchen gadgets that have gone unused.

    29. LaurenB*

      I use my instant pot for ingredients, not so much dishes. I find that vegetarian stews cook just as fast on the stove top so I never bother with that kind of one-pot meal. But I use it regularly for beans (I only buy dried now!), rice and other grains. One of my favourite uses is putting steel cut oats in, hopping in the shower, and having oatmeal ready for breakfast by the time I’m dressed.

      I probably wouldn’t have bought a rice/bean/oatmeal cooker (or egg boiler) but it was a gift, and I still find I use it quite frequently just for those things.

  13. Washi*

    How quiet should museums be? I often like to go to museums on off-peak hours for some quiet time, and tend to moderate my voice to library-ish levels when I do speak. I don’t literally whisper, but I do speak softly.

    I was at a museum yesterday where a couple different groups of people were having conversations at full volume (not about the art) and it felt really disruptive. But then it also feels like a sort of elitist mentality to think of museums as these hallowed places where you should speak as softly as possible, and maybe I should reset my expectations that a museum outing = quiet time.

    1. TL -*

      I think it depends on the exhibit – some museums or exhibitions are really sobering and it would seem disrespectful to be loud. But others encourage noise or normal volumes (though often large museums have such acoustics that sounds don’t travel anywhere but up.)

    2. Minta*

      I agree with you, have the same expectations, and tend to follow the same approach you take with your visits to museums. I’m there for the exhibits, which means I’m reading, studying, absorbing, and considering how each piece affects my emotions. For that, I expect reasonable amounts of quiet.

      Full-volume, off-topic conversations are what the museum café and gift shop are for.

      Of course you can’t expect much quiet if you’re at a large facility that is an internationally-known tourist destination–especially near a big draw, like The (a) Mona Lisa or a controversial artwork. That’s a different excursion to a museum.

      Also, it’s fine when a museum-led or even school-led tour passes through. The leader is talking about the art and the museum and has to project their voice to the group. They’re mobile, and I might give them a head-start at moving on to the next area.

    3. Teapot Translator*

      I have the same expectations, with some caveats (science museums for example). But no idea if we’re right about it.

    4. Overeducated*

      I think the volume people use in most normal public spaces is ok for museums. I don’t think they are strictly for quiet contemplation, they can also be social and family friendly spaces. I also think from a relevance and survival perspective it’s important for museums to not make people feel that they’re only welcome if they know a certain cultural code.

      But maybe since you tried to go off-peak to enjoy a quieter time, you were partially irritated because it wasn’t a big enough crowd? I feel like when there is a constant buzz of noise it’s a lot easier to tune out than just one external conversation. Like hearing just a single one-sided phone conversation is the worst kind of noise in a cube farm.

      1. Arjay*

        The relevance and survival aspects are also changing the expected volume levels at libraries too. As they evolve to be more welcoming community spaces, the volume goes up. They may have designated reading (quiet) rooms as opposed to the whole space being a quiet place. My library also checks out sporting equipment during the summer – footballs, frisbees, and jump ropes are all available.

    5. KP*

      Oh. It never occurred to me that museums are supposed to be quiet places. Though, I live in DC — museums are often ear-shattering in the amount of noise bouncing and echoing off the walls with thousands of humans visiting.

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        Londoner here, and same. I think certain museums/galleries/times of day are particularly bad though – for example, I love the Natural History Museum, but I won’t go anywhere near the dinosaur or mammal galleries on weekends because they are SO loud. Some of the major museums here now have ‘lates’ on the last Friday of the month where the museum stays open late and is adults-only; these are usually a lot quieter and I find it much easier to take in an exhibition when I go to them. (Also, in a slightly selfish way, if I go to the NHM or the Science Museum it means I get to play with all the fun interactive stuff without feeling like I’m getting in a kid’s way.)

        That said, I can deal with noise a lot better than with people disobeying ‘no taking photographs’ rules…

    6. AnonEMoose*

      I think what a lot of people don’t think about is that museums can echo…a lot…which tends to amplify noise. Mostly, I’m just happy if people aren’t letting small children run around and shriek…

    7. MintLavendar*

      I agree with TL that if it’s a sober exhibit, it’s respectful to be quiet, but it’s kind of silly to think that people hanging out in a room enjoying art should be quiet!

    8. Lissa*

      IMO, normal volume conversations are fine – no need to whisper or speak softly. But screaming, yelling etc. isn’t something I think is great. Keep things relatively calm but no need to treat them as (as you say) hallowed places.

  14. Lettuce Mutton Tomato*

    Any tips on going back to school in your late 30s? I have (reluctantly and with extreme bitterness!) realized that I need a bachelor’s degree in order to get a decent job. I’d hoped that my associate’s degree and 19 years of experience would do the trick, but it’s clear from job searching and applying for jobs that employers don’t think I’m qualified to do the exact same work I’m currently doing at their company. So back to school I go.

    I’m freaking out a bit because I’m someone who needs a good work/life balance and routine in order to stay sane and enjoy life. I can’t figure out how I’m going to have time to add 1-2 classes to my already full routine. They will all be online so at least I won’t be tied to a specific class schedule. I’m trying to lose weight, which is nearly impossible at my age, and that takes a few hours every day between exercising, grocery shopping, cooking, and prepping lunches for the next day. I worry I won’t have the time or energy to keep up with that. Not to mention the housekeeping! My husband is great and has already offered to pitch in more, but he’s got a super long commute so his time is limited too. Will I be a 400-lb woman living in a filthy house by the time I’m done with this?!

    Then there’s the financial aspect. I have never gone into debt for anything other than a mortgage. I’m sure financial aid isn’t an option due to our income, if it’s even an option for someone going back to school at a mature age. Do I just clean out savings to do this? Take out loans and pay interest?

    I feel like my life is being put on hold for the next 3-5 years and I’m so sad about it. Any advice or experience would be appreciated!

    1. Ree*

      I highly, highly, recommend Western Governors University. I enrolled in October 2016 with 12 transfer credits and completed my degree(122credits including the transfer credits) in July 2018.
      Best decision I ever made and the setup of WGU and it’s classes is ideal for someone who has been away from college or new to college – you’re assigned a program mentor who you speak with weekly about progress, struggles, successes and making a plan AND you’re encouraged to work one class at a time, so that you can focus and accelerate your program to finish faster.
      Also, every term)6 month terms) is a set amount, i.e. $3000, and that’s for 4 classes. If you accelerate and take 5, or 8, or whatever number, your semester total is still $3000 AND every class you accelerate into they send you a new total cost, and you can see your cost per credit go down. It’s very satisfying and encouraging.
      I also didn’t want to HAVE to go back to school to check the box on a Bachelors Degree. But I did it and I’m glad I did – I know having the degree is beneficial in my career, both short and long term.

      1. Ree*

        Also, many thanks to AAMers – AAM is where I learned about WGU and people’s successes in their programs andnill be forever grateful to this community for making me believe in the value and viability of the school and it’s degree programs.

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Yep – I’m in WGU currently, getting a tick-the-box bachelor degree. (Mine’s required for a certification exam, literally cannot sit the exam without this specific exact degree. :P ) Their four-classes-a-term plan had me in for three years, my goal is to finish in a year and a half, so I’m doing eight classes a term.

      3. Lettuce Mutton Tomato*

        This sounds ideal! Thanks for the tip. I’ll definitely check it out. How is the workload? Is it really possible to take four classes while working full time and having a life? I was thinking I’d take 1-2 classes each semester so I’m a little surprised to hear people do twice that.

        1. Persephone Mulberry*

          It sounds like they operate on a different model than a traditional in person campus: 6-month terms (no built in summer breaks) with four short (6 week?) consecutive classes per term rather than concurrent longer ones.

        2. Ree*

          So you actually are assigned 4 classes per term(6 month term) but you can/should do one class at a time, so you can go much much faster. Also it’s competency based, so each class is either a final test or a final project based – learn the material, take a pre-test, pass, take the final test=class finished. Similar for project based classes: learn the material, do the research paper/book reports/PowerPoint, tune in, get graded and pass the class.

      4. Gatomon*

        Yes, WGU is awesome if they offer your degree. My acceleration plans fell apart due to various life problems, but I graduated in 4 years and have the job I wanted and the income to pay off all my new and old loans. The nice part about it is tuition is pretty much all-inclusive, aside from a PC and internet connection.

        If your family can’t pick up some of the tasks you were doing Lettuce Mutton Tomato, would you be able to swing a housekeeper occasionally, or one of those meal subscription boxes to make cooking easier? I did have to let my standards go down for healthy meals and housekeeping because I live alone, but it’s not like I’ve turned into a slob. I also found the pomodoro method balanced with exercise or a quick chore during breaks to be SUPER effective.

        You should qualify for federal loans at least. The FAFSA should give you an idea of where you stand for aid. I would opt for student loans over draining savings/retirement or refinancing your home unless you are sitting on a ton of cash with no other purpose. Life can still happen while you’re in school. Student loans stink but last I checked the Stafford interests were still fairly reasonable.

    2. Justme, The OG*

      Me! I went back to get my Masters at 36, all online classes. My program skews older but there have been times when I’ve felt really old in classes.

    3. Asenath*

      Have you considered doing it part-time or part-time combined with accelerated courses over holidays and weekends? It takes longer, but is easier to finance. I finally got my master’s that way. It sounds like you know what field the degree should be in to help you out in the job market, but also ensure you pick a university with a good reputation – there are one that don’t, and they advertise widely. I liked the convenience of doing most of my courses online – and nowadays many good universities with ‘real’ campuses also offer online options.

    4. Anonyme*

      For the exercise portion, A lot of my textbooks had audio included. Or download relted podcasts to listen to. Also, from experience, the sit down/recumbent bikes are decent for reading at the same time. Treadmills can involve your book falling, knocking you off your feet, and falling off the treadmill……

      1. Lettuce Mutton Tomato*

        Uh oh, sounds like you speak from experience about the treadmill. These are great tips! It gives me a little hope. Thanks!

        1. Librarian of SHIELD*

          I was on a book award committee one year and read over 250 books. I definitely recommend doing your reading on a treadmill or an exercise bike. I find it’s easiest to do with an audio book or an eBook where you’ve upped the print size. You have to turn pages faster, but it’s much easier to read while you’re moving.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          We got an exercise bike with a built-in writing desk. Not something I’d put a latop on but keyboard & mouse yes, so we set the laptop & a big monitor on the basement bar next to it. (Came with the house, we turned it into the home office lol…perfect standing height for me.)
          It’s my preferred video game & webs urging spot.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Websurfing. My autoINcorrect is in cahoots with Verizon trying to force me to upgrade my phone.

      2. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

        Have read on the treadmill. You can just walk more slowly, and they make treadmill desks for the lower speed walking. Mom did an hour a day and read book after book…. so it is about the right equipment and speed. I think I’ve read, as well, that it helps with brain function… so you might find that balance is worth the extra effort.

    5. WellRed*

      Yes, maybe your house will be a bit dirtier. We can’t add hours to the day. It’s ok to let a few things take less priority (or throw $ at it, if you csn afford to).

      1. Luisa*

        THIS. I am not in your situation, OP, but I am also finding that housekeeping is perpetually at the bottom of my priority list (or that it only manages to emerge at the top at 8 PM on Sunday night), and I am exploring options for paying for some portion of it to be done by someone else.

        As pointed out, maybe not an ideal option for all people, but it could be worth exploring.

      2. Lettuce Mutton Tomato*

        Thank you. I’m going to have a hard time letting go of things that I currently handle (I am very much a creature of routine) so I’ll try to remind myself that I can’t add hours to the day. That will become my new mantra/excuse.

        1. Cindy Featherbottom*

          Yes, please let housekeeping fall a little further down your list. I am in my 30’s and went back to get my doctorate and it was SOOO stressful acknowledging that I cannot do it all. I wish I had let the little things go a lot sooner. I would have been stressed out a LOT less.
          I am also a creature of routine so I can assure you that once you find your rhythm with school, you’ll be fine. There might be a few stressful weeks getting into a new groove, but I promise it can be done. I’m about done with my degree so I’m going to have to make the switch back out of studying all the time mode. Let your husband help where he can and do your best to not look at the dust on your furniture.
          One little tip though, I actually use cleaning as a study break. Cleaning is fairly mindless (at least for me anyway), so if I was having a rough time with an assignment or just needed to walk away from the material for a bit, I’d find a quick chore to do to mentally reset. Its kind of a two for one: the house is a little cleaner and my mind gets a decent break. It made me feel a lot better

      3. M*

        Yes. And- it never occurred to me until this year that I can hire someone to clean just part of my house. We couldn’t afford weekly whole-house cleaning. When I realized I could have someone come every week to clean just my kitchen and 3 bathrooms, it changed my life! I can manage to keep other stuff relatively clean and give the bedrooms a once-over every month or so on my own. Yes, my house is not as hotel-like as it would be. But this way I can stretch my $ and still know that no matter bow busy I get, the kitchen and bathrooms will be clean.

      1. fposte*

        I believe that’s a hyperbolic statement about the future. But even if it weren’t, it’s generally discouraged to ask people questions about their bodies unless they’ve invited them.

        1. Wake up !*

          It also should be generally discouraged to use people’s actual weights as a hyperbolic worst-case scenario.

          1. Lilysparrow*

            Hey, wow – simultaneously dismissing someone’s concerns about their own health, and policing their vocabulary. That was an impressive manouver. You must get a lot of practice.

        2. Ain’t Miss Behavin’*

          @fposte, you are a class act. What I wouldn’t give to express myself like you do.

          1. fposte*

            Bringing it up isn’t the same thing as inviting questions about your body, though; the inviting has to be explicit. This is a pretty important rule; I realize not everybody’s heard it, so I think it’s worth explaining. Even if your boss says, “I have to take off early for chemo,” that’s not an opening to say, “What kind of cancer do you have? What did you do to get it?” If your interviewer says, “Please don’t worry about my facial stitches,” you don’t say, “What did you get done?” It doesn’t matter what kind of curiosity we harbor about somebody’s body; it’s not okay to ask somebody who isn’t a personal intimate to satisfy it.

    6. Glomarization, Esq.*

      It’s totally doable: I went to law school in my 30s. With a tween at home, it was all about the calendar management. My first year, I drew up a schedule that laid out time for classes, studying, commuting — and grocery shopping and housework. I mean I literally had a block on Saturday for dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning the bathroom, and a block on Sunday for groceries.

      Weekday suppers got drastically scaled down. We had a lot of pasta, crockpot stews, and casseroles made from pasta and crockpot stew leftovers. To save money, I packed a sack lunch every day (prepped while I was making supper the night before); I kept in my mind the idea that the $5 I might spend on a food truck sandwich and drink would be more like $8 by the time I paid off the loan that bought it!

      Another thought regarding money, assuming you’re in the U.S., consider looking up the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifelong Learning Credit to see if they will help you reduce your tax liability next year.

      I’m currently doing an online certification course a couple of evenings per week, and the time commitment is so much easier! Not just because the childcare challenges are done (the tween is out of the house now), but also I don’t have to commute to a physical location for the classes

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

      I can’t offer advice on the financial part since our education system is way too different from yours (“free, public and no cost”, with several footnotes), but as another “old” student I can say teachers are relieved to see someone who’s there to learn and doesn’t need to be told what to do and how to behave. Good luck!

    8. AnonEMoose*

      For the cooking stuff, there are several approaches you could take. For example, if you have the storage available, you could spend an afternoon cooking up several larger batches of things (soup, spaghetti sauce, chili, taco meat, pulled pork or chicken, hard boiled eggs, salad fixings…). And then during the week stuff just needs to be heated, or just boil pasta, or whatever.

      An Instant Pot and/or a crockpot can also be your friends in a situation like this. Because with either, you can start a meal and walk away from it, giving you time to do other stuff.

      1. M&M*

        I started postgraduate studies last September. I am in my 30s and it was a long time goal but I was still scared that I will have a disadvantage keeping up with younger and not working students. So I took only 2 classes at first. I managed and took 4 afterwards. My school has traditional teaching with some blended distance learning courses too. Well turns out my working experience and the need to keep working and succeed on my studies helped be a better organized than the younger students. I have emailed teachers informing them I cannot attend their classes because of work and so far we made it work with me working remotely.
        Best of luck to you!

    9. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      I went back at that age for my masters, and I can say that I simplified and let go. “This too shall pass…” and learned to just do a lick and a promise for cleaning. I did get someone every other week to come in and do the bathroom and floors, kitchen. (Basically, spruce up the public areas of the house). Sing the frozen theme song “let it go…”
      I also did bulk cook. I have a deep freeze, and I’d make a batch of meal fixings, on a weekend day, eat one, freeze the rest, and after about 4 weeks, you have a whole bevy of heatable things. (I’d brown up meat and seasonings ready to pop into tacos; a bag browned with the stuff for spaghetti; etc…). I also had a menu board, so I’d draft out the week – and pull the items from the freezer a couple days before so they’d be thawed the night I wanted to serve them. DH can heat the meat and tortillas, set out the fixings and toss the salad, and done.
      Your crock pot is your friend, too… did a lot of veggie/meat soups with a side of fresh crunchy bread, fruit on the side (peel and eat).
      I just tried egg muffin cups – bake on weekend, heat for breakfast – this week, and it’s been great, too. Brain needs nutrition and protein.
      You can do this!

    10. PhyllisB*

      A story, an observation, and then some advice. First, the story. I went back to school in my forties, and one day a young lady in our class came up to me and said, “You older ladies make it hard for us young girls.” (I was 44.) I asked her “How so?” She said, “All y’all want to do is study. We still like to have fun.” I told her, “Us older ladies have learned to get our work done first, THEN have fun.” Later that day I was sharing this story with the instructor, and she told me the reason she said that is, we had been given an assignment due on Monday. We were told there would be no late entries accepted, (I’m sure a real emergency would have been different.) and anyone not following this directive would be given an F. Well, guess who partied over the weekend and thought she could talk her way out of it? I had completed mine on Friday, slid it under the teacher’s door and was free to enjoy my weekend. Of course, your idea of “fun” is different when you’re 44 with three children than it is at 18, but still… now for the observation. You say your life will be on hold for 3-5 years. Look at it this way. The 3-5 years will pass school or no school. You could be that far down the road and have your degree, or you could still be wishing you had the degree. It’s the same about losing weight. I have heard people say, “It will take me two years to lose all this weight!!” So? You can either be two years older and slimmer/healthier or you can still be bemoaning that you need to lose weight. (I’m not directing that at you, I’m just talking about things we want to accomplish that we put off because we think it will “take too long.” )
      Now for the advice: I don’t know your entire life situation so feel free to use/discard whatever works for you. As I said, I went back to school in my forties and was married and had three teen/tween/elementary age children at the time. This is the things that helped me. I realize you’re doing on-line classes which were not an option for me (early 90’s) so YMMV. First thing I did was get a backpack to keep all my supplies/books in. I warned my children on pain of death (or no allowance. Same thing at that age.) that Mom’s school things were OFF LIMITS to them. If they needed something they must ASK and I MIGHT let them borrow. The second thing is I made a rule that we got to come home, have a snack, relax for up to an hour, then EVERYONE got started on homework, Mom included. I think it gave them a good incentive seeing me hitting the books with them. Must have; two of them made the Honor Roll, I made the President’s List. :-) I don’t know if you will be going on-campus any, but if you do, I would suggest doing a lot of your research/writing papers there. As far as exercise went, I like to walk, so I would take my Walkman and hit the bricks. Now with phones making it easier, perhaps you can listen to things related to your area of study while you walk/use the treadmill/ride the spin trainer. As far as food/housework try to do food prep ahead of time as much as possible. Do any washing/chopping ahead of time so either you or your husband can put a meal together quickly.. This is when a crock pot/Instant Pot is your friend. If you have children and they are old enough to help, enlist their aid Same with the housework. If they’re old enough to help, make sure room is straight, dirty clothes in hamper and breakfast dishes are in the sink or dishwasher. Set out backpacks/school clothes,ect. the night before. This includes you. We would do our main cleaning on the weekend. Surprisingly, they liked to clean the bathroom(!!!) We just got it done on Saturday morning then we could play the rest of the weekend. Another option is perhaps hiring someone once a week/twice a month to come do the heavy cleaning? When it got to finals time and my husband was working overtime I had a lady come once a week and mop, change beds, do the laundry, ect. It was a life-saver. And having to only pay for three hours a week not very expensive. We couldn’t have had a meal out as cheap. Also, get lunches together the night before. I discovered I ate a lot healthier when I took food from home than when I ate out. With that and my walking, I lost 40 pounds. About the financial aspect; does your place of employment offer tuition reimbursement? A lot of places do, especially if it’s something that will help you at your job. Mine did and it didn’t even have to apply to our job. Also colleges like to recruit non-traditional students, and it’s possible there is some help in that direction. Never hurts to ask. I haven’t read the comments to this thread yet, so if I’m repeating, forgive me. Also apologize for the length. As you can see, this is an area dear to my heart.

      1. M&M*

        I second that too. Being a mature student is your benefit. I have seen so many students sending their papers literally on the last minute. It is fun to watch when it doesn’t affect me but boy when we have obligatory group papers they drive me nuts!

    11. Dan*

      My biggest concern is whether your old credits have expired, and how much of that is relevant to a new degree. Talk to an advisor and see what’s up.

      Other than that, go for it.

      1. PhyllisB*

        Dan, your reply at 1:45. Is that a response to my question this morning? That is something I am concerned about (expired credits) I plan to try to talk to someone soon. I would love to walk the stage while my hubby is still teaching. He wouldn’t have anything to do with awarding my degree, but I’ve never got to see him gowned up for graduation and it would be even better to see if it was also MY graduation!! :-)

    12. Dan*

      Financial aid I think isn’t really based much on age but whether you’re considered “dependent” or “independent”. As an adult, you’re certainly independent. The real issue with that classification is whether your rich parents should be expected to contribute to your college education. Unlikely in your case. Be careful though with the term “financial aid”. That’s an umbrella for grants and scholarships (which you don’t pay back) and certain federally subsidized loans (which you do pay back). In that sense, you’re likely eligible for a financial aid package… consisting solely of loans that you have to pay back.

      As far as the rest, if you don’t get scholarships, then sucking it up (either up front drain-the-bank or loan + interest) is your only real option.

    13. Angwyshaunce*

      Dealing with a few rough years now may very well benefit you greatly in the long run. If this is something you truly want, you could totally make it work.

      For what it’s worth, I’m 37 and have been casually considering going back to school for my masters. Your thread is inspiring me to give this more serious thought!

    14. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Are you going back fulltime or continuing to work? If your current job isn’t too toxic to stay at, it’s worth asking if they would at least consider partial contribution to your education. My office will do it as a reimbursement if you get a certain grade at the end of the semester… As long as it’s a company approved degree program.

    15. Utoh!*

      I finally finished my Bachelor’s at age 53 after many starts and stops. Took me 5 years taking 4-5 classes a year. This was purely for me wanting to complete this goal and it felt great to be done and I gained a crazy amount of confidence from the experience. Go for it!

  15. fposte*

    I don’t know if she still reads here, but hat-tip and apologies to gold digger. She’s the one who mentioned her doctor’s saying that most sinus headaches are actually migraines. And I said “Haha, not my sinus headaches, that’s so not true.” And that conversation stuck in my head (like it didn’t have enough going on) with a recent bad bout, and I did some more research digging and tried a different medication, and whaddya know–looks like those are migraines.

    They’re not particularly bad, as migraines go, and generally NSAIDS deal with them. But I probably wouldn’t have pulled out of this week’s cycle without that exchange making me think deeper.

    1. Questioner*

      Thank you for posting this. My partner has sinus issues and gets (what seems to me to be) abnormally frequent headaches. What is the migraine medication that worked for you? And is it more effective than NSAIDs?

      1. fposte*

        I had Imitrex (prescription) for another reason, and from what I can see it’s a plausible first step after NSAIDs. If your partner can tolerate caffeine (I can’t very often) that’s also often helpful–that’s why the ibuprofen/caffeine pills can be useful. Generally the advice is take something early rather than late, so if your partner is currently a try-to-tough-it-out-first person that might mean a change of approach.

      2. Laika*

        My $.02 on this: I get regular migraines too – anywhere from 2-4 month, depending on the season when I’m not on medication. Daily beta blockers (Propranolol) and as-needed preventative medication (Eletriptan, I’ll take one when I get an aura) has been a game changer.

        I’m actually off the beta blockers at the moment (unrelated reasons) and my pharmacist noticed how much more frequently I was filling my second prescription, and recommended I go back on them – so it’s a noticeable difference, apparently!

        1. Laika*

          Oh, I forgot to add – I also had ridiculous numbers of ear infections/sinus stuff while I was a kid, and am still susceptible to them as an adult! I’d never made the connection, either.

    2. Lore*

      Likewise! The shift to thinking about sinus triggers for migraine was super helpful. I knew many headaches were migraines because I get auras but keeping on top of my allergy meds has reduced the migraine frequency drastically—which is all good. And also, I’ve found that when I haven’t been able to dose early (usually because they start when I’m asleep), using one of those bead filled eye/neck pillow things to equalize sinus pressure in my face helps a lot in the bearability of the window before drugs kick in.

    3. Llellayena*

      Huh. That’s pretty useful to know. I get sinus headaches that I can usually tie to barometric pressure changes (I know when it will rain, yay). I use excedrin to tackle them (only partially effective today, arg). I don’t think i’ve ever mentioned them to my doc though. Hmm.

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, weather is a big trigger for me too. You could consider asking your doctor about Imitrex or something to see if it helps more when the excedrin doesn’t cut it–I figure it doesn’t really matter if it’s a migraine or sinus as long as it goes away :-).

      2. Texan in Exile aka golddigger*

        It had never occurred to me that you would go to a doctor for headache. Someone gave me an imitrex and it worked. I had to go to my doc for more. I was 40. Who knew?

    4. Elf*

      Yeah, same here – although I got it from a particularly good NP. I thought I’d only had one or two migraines in my life, because I’d only had one or two that had me unable to get out of bed or function in any way, but it turns out that I was having LOTS of migraines, and taking meds early/being aware of triggers has made a huge difference. Early on I found that extra strength Tylenol plus a cup of caffeinated tea worked great (much better than the pills with caffeine, I think it was because the absorption from a liquid was quite different), but since the end of my second pregnancy I have found that my reaction to caffeine has changed dramatically, so now I use Tylenol alone.

      One thing that is important to note is that even if the meds kill some or all of your migraine symptoms, the migraine is generally still there. Lots of people have some level of mood difficulty after, and I found that while pregnant I was pretty incapacitated by nausea even if the meds killed the headache completely (nausea was not much of a pregnancy issue for me otherwise).

    5. Librarian of SHIELD*

      This just caused me to do some google research. I’m a frequent “sinus headache” sufferer, and this is making a lot of sense to me. This might be a game changer.

      1. L. S. Cooper*

        Same! I had always assumed it was just sinuses/pressure, because, while the headaches can be debilitating, they rarely “pulse” the way migraines are talked about.

    6. Texan in Exile aka golddigger*

      Hi! I am here. I hope you find the right drugs. Even more, I wish you a life without headaches. :)

      Btw – imitrex users – I have found a weird imitrex side effect. It now appears to irritate my bladder and make me think I have a UTI. Lovely.

      1. fposte*

        Oh, hi there! I’m already prone to bladder irritability, so that’s good to know. And thanks for the original tip!

        As it happens, a medication I’m usually on is apparently a decent preventative most of the time, and my problems this week came from the fact that I’d lowered the dose for a few weeks. So back up to the usual for that, then.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I had bad side effect #1 and never took a second tablet. Heart palpitations. ..totally scary.
        I’d followed it development too, having been working at a university when the underlying biological discovery was made– there’s a cell type in brain that also appears in our stomach. It was so unexpected that researcher who spotted it first thought she’d mixed up samples from the two projects she was supporting. Nope…major discovery that opened up a whole new approach of what to target.
        But I haven’t had the nerve to try that family of medication again!

    7. Oldster*

      I will have to mention this to my son. He’s been getting what he thinks are sinus headaches which he thinks is related to his allergies. And as h u s sister gets migraines maybe he does too.

    8. Liz*

      that’s interesting as I have often wondered if what I thought were sinus headaches are actually migranes too! Normally when I get one, i’ll take Advil, and if really bad and i feel particularly congested, a decongestant on top of that. most of the time it works, sometimes not.

  16. coffee cup*

    Running! How’s it all going?

    I was up early this morning so I went out early and did about 8k on a forest trail. Lots of butterflies and birds, it was lovely (once the first 10 mins had passed, I hate those!). Hoping it’ll get my brain going for the other stuff I have to do this weekend.

    1. Teapot Translator*

      I have a question about running! Whenever I try to run seriously (as in training, not just running to catch my bus), I get pain in my shins that prevents me from progressing or enjoying the activity. Has anyone had that problem and can it be overcome?

      1. Apoch*

        That might be something called a shin splint. Maybe that’s something you could look up online as a starting point, but I’ll add I’m not a doctor so bare that in mind.

        1. Teapot Translator*

          Oh, I went to see a physiotherapist and everything at the time, and it was just really complicated. I had to run at a pace of 180-190 bpm (not referring to heatbeat here, but to “rhythm”).
          I just wondering if anyone who had the same problem were able to overcome it.

      2. LGC*

        It’s really common, as Apoch mentioned! So you’re probably going to want to back off a bit, and look into getting fitted for different shoes (or fitted period). One thing I can think of is that you might need a little bit more padding where you land (either heel or forefoot).

        It might also be a question of how long you’re running. If it happens 2 miles into a 3 mile run…try running 1 1/2 miles, taking a break, and then running another 1 1/2.

        And of course, if you can, get checked out by your doctor.

      3. Amber Rose*

        I solved all my leg and foot pain by switching to “barefoot” running. I have shoes that have so little support it’s like not wearing shoes.

        Look into it, there’s some interesting science behind it.

      4. gecko*

        I had that problem when I first started. I’m still a beginner btw but I’m past the shin splints all the time stage.

        The high level of what I read (and what worked for me) is that when you’re distance running, you’re not just doing cardio and strengthening muscles, you need to strengthen your tendons & non-muscular tissues. Those are the things hurting you.

        To strengthen them you’ve got to use them, but very carefully. This is one place where the warnings to increase your distance by very small amounts come in. Your muscles and lungs might feel ready to run, say, three miles way before your connective tissue does.

        Concrete advice…follow a couch to 5k kind of program, increase your distance agonizingly slowly, take time to recover if you’re getting shin pain even if it slows your program progress, AND make sure you have very comfortable shoes.

      5. Librarian of SHIELD*

        I’ve had some success with compression socks/calf sleeves. If I’ve got the right support for my lower leg muscles while I work out, I’m less likely to experience shin splints or calf cramps.

      6. Marion Ravenwood*

        Sounds like shin splints to me as well. My recommendations would be to get fitted for proper running shoes – go to a specialist running shop who should be able to analyse your gait and recommend some options to you – and, if you’re running on tarmac paths, try running on a softer surface. I got really bad shin splints when I first started out and I found switching from running on tarmac to running on the grass alongside made a big difference.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I used to get them when iceskating. Never solved it…had to give up the (really tiny) jumps that made it so much fun.

    2. LGC*

      Did Boston.

      Did NOT break 2:50. Or even 3.

      DID finish, which is what really matters.

      Spent my morning finally doing a huge blogpost on Strava about it that no one will bother reading.

      Other than that: Somehow, I managed to actually run a mile the next day, then 3 the day after. Kept the streak going – I’ve been trying to run every day this year just to prove I can, and so far I’ve been on track!

      Looking forward to pacing next weekend, which I’m a little nervous about (my back is still a little sore, but I think I’ll be fine by next weekend), and then Brooklyn next month.

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

        Congrats LGC! No matter what your finish time was, now you can tell people you ran BOSTON, and no one can take that away from you. And good luck with running every day. I definitely don’t have the durability to do that!

        1. LGC*

          I definitely don’t have the durability to do that!

          …to be honest, neither do I, but that hasn’t stopped me!

          Two of my friends are “streakers” – I haven’t kept track, but I think they’re at 9 and 18 years or something like that. It’s interesting to try to do it, even for a short time, since it takes a LOT of planning or a bit of improv!

      2. Marion Ravenwood*

        Well done on finishing LGC! Still a huge achievement. And good luck for pacing/Brooklyn :)

        1. LGC*

          Thanks – and congrats on your PR!

          Your director’s comments are…interesting, actually. I’m speaking from my own personal experience, but my PR at 5k was in ~85F/30C temps! It’s not impossible to run well in warm weather, but it gets much more difficult the longer you go – as I happened to find out Monday.

          (And it wasn’t that warm – but apparently it topped out around 70F/20C, which is a bit warm for mid-April in New England. It’s not unheard of, but I think a lot of people (myself included) were caught off-guard.)

    3. Lilysparrow*

      I stupidly strained my back a couple of weeks ago, and it’s on-again off-again being able to run without shrieking pain. But I had a lovely long walk this morning and feel much better for it.

    4. Marion Ravenwood*

      I got a new PB at parkrun yesterday! 32:36 (previous PB was 33:15). No idea how I knocked that much time off, especially given it was a hard run – I had to take a couple of walk breaks and at one point thought I was going to have to quit due to the heat. So I’m really proud I stuck with it :)

      (Ironically, I was saying to our run director when I was doing pre-event setup that my aim for the YEAR was to get to a sub-33 time and he said ‘oh I don’t think anyone’ll be getting PBs today’. Shows what we know I guess!)

  17. Public Service Announcement*

    Buried in the comments on the post about embarrassing moments at work as well as the post about wetting your pants at work were several recommendations for pelvic floor physical therapy. It is remarkable! FYI your pelvic floor can be too tight, too loose, or both! Kegels are bad for some people! A lot of doctors don’t evaluate if you are doing Kegels correctly! A great book on the subject is Pelvic Liberation by Leslie Howard. (I’m not Leslie Howard or a PFPT, just a newish anon-for-this commenter who has had success with PFPT and wants to spread the news.)

    1. Kuododi*

      I also can’t say enough good things about Pelvic floor therapy! (TMI-I’m being treated for chronic pain which had escalated to where I couldn’t tolerate a routine GYN exam). I actually had no idea this was even an option until my therapist suggested the possibility. I am fortunate that the young lady working with me has a kind, friendly, low pressure approach to these services. She very much lets me lead as far as my pain tolerance and what I can physically/emotionally manage at any given time. I’d be happy to answer any questions from my perspective about Pelvic floor therapy.

      1. SerialHobbyist*

        Do you live in NYC, by any chance? I’m in a similar situation and would love to find a therapist in BK or MN – recommendations very welcome!

  18. PhyllisB*

    This is school-related, but I hope Alison will allow it because by the time I could get to the Friday thread there were over a thousand posts.
    Okay, here goes: I went to college twice and never completed my degree. The first time in the seventies it was referred to as Secretarial Science. When I went back in the nineties it was called Business and Office Technology. Now the degree awarded is Applied Science. I got all but six hours to complete my A.A. degree but never finished because 1. I couldn’t meet the typing requirement. For a certificate it had to be 35 WPM with less than five errors. For the A.A. 55 WPM with less than five errors. I never could get over 32 WPM. Also at that time a semester of accounting and algebra were required. I am hopeless at math so I didn’t try it. Well, now requirements have changed and none of these are required anymore. I actually have enough credits to get my A.A. but figure at the least I would have to take some more computer credits (when I went last, we were learning Lotus 123 and WordPerfect 5.1.) I would be willing to take more classes because the more computer skills we have the better, BUT here’s the thing. I’m 68 years old and it’s extremely doubtful I will ever use it professionally. My husband thinks I’m nuts to want to return to school at 68 for a degree I will never use, but I have always had a sense of failure because I didn’t try to finish. I realize it’s only an A.A. degree but I would love to say I DID IT!!! What say y’all? Give me your opinions. Good or bad I want to hear.

    1. anonagain*

      I love this idea! Doing something for your own sense of achievement and fulfillment isn’t nuts at all; it makes perfect sense. If you have the chance to work toward this goal now, that’s exciting and I hope you’re able to take advantage of the opportunity.

      1. MKM*

        agree! Checking off a life-long dream is not nothing! Not to mention, learning new things helps keep you young!

    2. Ranon*

      Lots of schools are making a point lately of helping people like you wrap up these sorts of things, where you were maybe a requirement short or whatever – certainly worth reaching out to find out where you stand.

      I’m taking stats through the local community college this summer strictly for the heck of it (I don’t need it at all for my job and I have all the degrees I need), I certainly wouldn’t discourage someone from learning more skills! Why not?

    3. Not A Manager*

      ABSOLUTELY!!

      You’ll still be 68 years old with or without your degree, so why shouldn’t you have the degree if you want it? This has been bugging you for a long time, and now it doesn’t have to bug you anymore.

    4. Competent Commenter*

      Oh gosh yes, DO IT! If you said you wanted to train to be a museum docent, which is a retiree kind of thing, I’d bet your husband wouldn’t say you’re nuts. Same if you picked up a new hobby. This is “just” a new hobby that comes with a degree and a huge sense of satisfaction and completion. Go for it. :)

    5. My Brain is Exploding*

      If you want to do it… Go for it!! I am a firm believer that no education is ever wasted. Even if you never use it professionally, you are stimulating your brain, meeting new people, shaking it up. While I don’t think you should consider yourself a failure for not completing the degree earlier, I think that if this will give you a sense of accomplishment and a sort of closure, that’s wonderful. Go forth and conquer!

    6. Grace*

      I’ve tried to hunt down this quote I read from someone whose grandmother was in her 70s and trying to decide whether to finish her degree (started at 18 but forced to drop out before finishing after becoming pregnant at 20, I believe). I can’t find the exact story I read, but basically, she was fretting about how it would take two years to finish the degree she’d started and she would be 73 by the time she finished. Her husband told her “In two years you can either be 73 without a degree, or 73 *with* a degree. It’s not a waste of time just because you’re in your 70s.”

      So. You can be 68, or you can be 68 and also have a degree! So what if you never use it professionally? It’s something you want to do, that you’re willing to spend time on, and I think that’s what really matters.

    7. Kuododi*

      Oh my yes. The school where I did my undergraduate had a fund to fully pay for any student 65 or older to take the occasional class for funsies or do a full degree. I took one of my Spanish classes with a delightful 85 yes old gentleman doing a BA in Spanish. By all means…if you find this to be important in your life go forth and conquer!!!! One is never too old to take on a new challenge!!! Best wishes.

    8. tamarack & fireweed*

      You’ll be nowhere near the oldest to finish up your degree. It’s immensely satisfying for many, so sure, do it! (Plus, you’re clearly actually engaging with the material if you think of taking more modern classes that you don’t strictly speaking require for the shortest path to a piece of paper with a stamp on it. I think that’s great. And some of the skills are still likely to serve you! Who knows, you might want to go into a side business as a part-time something-or-other with what you learn.)

    9. Forrest Rhodes*

      Absolutely yes, do it.
      My first day of college was a few weeks after my 40th birthday, and I definitely related to some of your concerns.
      One friend pointed out, “Yeah, but if you start now you won’t graduate til you’re 44!”
      I said, “Okay … so … you mean if I don’t go to college, in four years I WON’T be 44?”
      For the record: It did take me five years to get my BA: two in community college, one at a scientific/technical institute, and two at a university (plus one year of post-grad, but that’s another story).
      But all that aside, you go for it. No matter how long you spend in school, it will open doors to interests, challenges, possibilities, and—who knows?—adventures that you haven’t even imagined yet. Right now, I’d return to college in a New York minute if it were possible, and I’m older than you are.
      Sorry about the rambling. Just wanted to wish you all the best, and add my voice to those saying yes, please do it.

    10. Thursday Next*

      Regardless of age, it feels really good to complete a project (in this case, a degree) that you feel like you “failed” at the first time around. It’s been on your mind—clearly, it’s important to you. Shouldn’t we all tackle projects that have significance?

      More crudely, it feels good to kick the ass of something that kicked you in the ass the first time around!

    11. Anon the Third*

      You should definitely go back, you don’t need to have the justification of professional advancement. My grandmother went back and got her GED when she was in her seventies, long after she was retired

    12. Not So NewReader*

      Six hours is all you have left??? DO IT!!

      My question is will all your credits transfer so you only have to take two courses? Perhaps you are going back to the same school, so this is a moot question.

      If you have to pick between schools, pick the school with student population that has the widest diversity in age.
      My best college experience was at a community college. There were as many returning students as there were first time college students. The profs worked so hard, the classes were great. And I made a bunch of friends of all different backgrounds. It was a very cool experience.

      If you really can’t decide, why not see if you can audit a course? For a few bucks you get to sit and just watch. Then you can decide later.

    13. NewNameTemporarily*

      Absolutely do it. Adding another reason besides completing the goal. (I’m closing in on your chapter of life, fyi). Learning more/ taking classes/ pushing the boundaries helps stave off later dementia and increases neuroplasticity. (Sorry I don’t have the citation). It will be helpful. (That’s my logic in taking on new learning and I’m less than a decade behind you).

      And, there are lots of folks who take additional classes beyond that to keep introducing them selves to new material. Who wants to sit at home? Some of us have brains where learning new things is the juice, the fun thing we crave. Go for it.

    14. Lilysparrow*

      -You want to.
      -It’s a positive thing that harms nobody.
      -It will make you happy & give you a sense of accomplishment.
      -It removes a lingering regret.

      What are you planning to do with the time if you didn’t do it? I mean, if you’re going to give up stopping runaway trains or curing cancer in order to do the classwork, maybe think twice.

      If it’s just going to cut into your hobbies, there’s no loss, right?

    15. Angwyshaunce*

      When I was in college, there was an older gentleman in my classes. He was well versed in the field from Navy training in the 70s, though he had no degree. Since his kids were going to college at the time, he figured he’d enroll as well, just to make it official.

      I love your idea.

    16. All Hail Queen Sally*

      Oh, do it!! I am 61 years old waiting for 65 so I can finish my bachelor’s. My local university and the junior college both offer a tuition rate of $5 per credit hour for senior citizens. I will never use my degree, but I want it. I was 45 when I started the degree (in classes with teenagers) until I ran out of money. You will feel so much better with it. Check to see if your college has a special rate!

    17. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      Has anybody gotten lasik after having blepharitis, multiple corneal scratches, and red eye due to computer vision syndrome/eye strain? Would any of the above be disqualifying factors?

      A family member is pressuring me to get lasik but I told them unless I have 1 full year free of the above, nobody is coming for my eyes.

    18. PhyllisB*

      WOW!! I love all these kind, encouraging responses. I can’t help but laugh at the ones who say some version of I can be 68 with a degree or 68 without. I gave a version of this advice to Lettuce Mutton Tomatoes this afternoon. (This was a thread about a reader in her 30’s trying to decide to go back to school.) I also included one of the stories about my experience with a younger student. Most of them were great and I made some good friends, but you know you’re not going to be besties with everybody.
      I will update as soon as I get info and make a decision.

    19. CastIrony*

      It’s never too late! As long as you can do it, do it, but make sure you have the money first!

    20. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I say give it a go. If nothing else, what an inspiration to any young members of the family who might be struggling with something hard.

    21. Trixie*

      Go for it! Between bucket list and simple personal growth, continued learning is a gift. My mother (73) recently renewed her nursing license and is now pursuing a BSN for nursing. While this is more required for future employment, she is tempted to pursue a Master’s as well.
      I just returned to taking online classes after a 20 year break. At 47, most likely a degree will not change my employment prospects but who knows. I made the move to return after qualifying for tuition assistance and saw this would not impact my income/savings.

  19. Teapot Translator*

    Can anyone point me to good introduction resources to learn about computing? I watched Algorithms on Netflix. It was interesting but left me with a lot of questions.
    Eventually I’d like to learn more about how machine translation works and how it’s going to affect my profession, but for the moment I want to understand the basic stuff, too.

    1. fposte*

      Code dot org is a great place to play with code (IMHO, you’ve got to play with it to really get it), and it’s got free signup.

    2. Laika*

      I bought a code/bundle to Zenva Academy and found it… Meh, not great. But recently I discovered that my public library provides free access to Lynda.com, which has plentiful intro videos and material – maybe worth checking out?

      1. CastIrony*

        I think I had a Lynda.com account. I had to have it for a class for like, eight dollars to learn Adobe Animate and things like that.

    3. gecko*

      Hmm, I’d do two things. One is take a short online course to get the barest familiarity with code, if you don’t have it. Places like code dot org as fposte mentioned, or khanacademy.

      Since you’re interested in algorithms, as your next step you’ll want to look at computer science, rather than programming, courses. You’d want to do this anyway—programming courses are terrifically bad at teaching the foundations of computing.

      Khanacademy again has some computer science videos/courses; MIT has its open courseware program, and that should have some good computer science courses and videos, but may be a bit heavier. Harvard open courseware also looks like it has an intro video of the type you’re looking for.

      It’s actually really hard to find good resources on this stuff just by googling around. Another resource would be computer science textbooks if you learn better by reading than by watching. Mine was Data Structures & Algorithms, by Goodrich, Tamassia, & Mount—mine is for the programming language C++ but you can find ones for other languages. Any would do, especially if paired with a lecture series.

      Good luck, it’s a lot of fun!

    4. Dan*

      You’ve asked a super general question, to which I don’t have a clear answer. At the highest of high levels, there’s a difference in knowing how to build a wheel, and simply going to the store and buying. Much about the “algorithms” side is the later — knowing which wheel to buy for your car. “Basic computing” might be about building the wheel from the ground up… and then you figuring out you should have just gone to the store and bought one.

      Before you get started on all of that (and worry about the robots taking over your job)… fancy-pants algorithms aren’t the be-all, end-all. What’s really important is to know how to apply the appropriate parts of the theory to your job. It’s not usually as simple as, “here’s an algorithm, throw some data at it, here’s an answer, and oh BTW, we just automated somebody’s job away.”

      I’m doing some cutting edge work in my field, in an area where a lot of smart people have applied some really fancy algorithms and not really gotten anywhere. Mostly it’s because people use the wrong data. Me, I decided I was going to use better data, and it turned out all I really needed was a super basic algorithm. In case that’s confusing, think about a steak. How much about a steak’s taste and flavor comes from what a big name chef does to it, vs what kind of cow you got the beef from and how fresh it is? Chicken, OTOH, requires some skill and expertise to develop a truly great dish.

    5. Banana*

      I was intrigued by this comment so I tried to find “algorithms” on Netflix but could find it. Are you in the US? I would really like to watch this too!

        1. Banana*

          Ah ok thanks. I actually go to Canada frequently so I will try to remember to watch it next time I am there!

  20. WellRed*

    Ladies, talk to me about night sweats. (Cold sweats, and not hot flashes). Yes, I am in my 40s. I’ve had them very ocassionally since early 30s. I do have a couple endocrine issues, including thyroid. But they’ve ramped up. Advice? Commiseration?

    1. Competent Commenter*

      I’m in my fifties and will commiserate all day with you on issues related to sleep.

      How do you know they’re cold sweats? Are you experiencing them from start to finish? Or are you waking up in a cold sweat? Because if you’re having hot flashes that make you really sweaty, and then you’re throwing off the blankets (or don’t use a lot of them), and then you wake up when you’re cold and sweaty, that might explain it.

      My hot flashes seemed to be triggered by my waking up just a little, maybe to roll over or because I was shifting sleep phases. Within a few seconds the hot flash would start and really wake me up. I’d throw off the blankets, wait to cool off, then suddenly be in a cold sweat when I did cool down, put the blankets back on, and then try not to think about work, other upsetting things, etc. so I could go back to sleep. I hypothesize that the waking up triggered the hot flashes because when I woke up in the morning I’d have about a minute and then I’d feel a hot flash coming on. Such a crappy way to greet the day.

      I started hormone replacement therapy last year in part to get more restful sleep. I wouldn’t have done it just for daytime hot flashes because they were not a big deal. My hot flashes stopped within four days, have not returned, and my sleep is so. much. better.

      I may be way off base, just offering my two cents.

      1. WellRed*

        To your point, I don’t know for sure. But, I am not throwing blankets off and am naturally already pretty intolerant to heat. Also, this was an issue in early 30s as well. But I am also having a much harder time sleeping through the night, which sounds like it’s related. Sigh.

    2. fposte*

      What’s your caffeine consumption like? Can you try cutting it down if the answer is more than “none”?

      1. WellRed*

        Damn, I do like caffeine though I try to limit it. With summer in sight, maybe I can go without that hot mug of goodness in the afternoons.

        1. Grace*

          A hot mug of decaffeinated goodness? Or start drinking hot chocolate if you feel the urge for a cozy hot drink in winter?

          1. WellRed*

            I do drink decaf tea in the evenings but decaf coffee or tea at work is not doing it for me.

        2. fposte*

          It’s annoying, because I can’t promise that it will help, and it might take several days without to even see. But there’s a lot of correlation between caffeine intake and hot-flash type stuff, so that’s a fairly sensible thing to try.

          1. Grace*

            Dairy is also strongly correlated with hot flushes and similar. I know a few women with menopausal symptoms who were told to limit their dairy intake.

    3. Bluebell*

      I had them in my late 40s/early 50s for a few years. They seem to be in my rear view mirror now, thank goodness. I found that lighter blankets helped a little, switching out pillows, and I love Cooljam nightgowns (a bit pricey but worth it. )

    4. Sylvan*

      It’s a PMS thing for me. I’ll follow the thread since I’m not sure how normal it is (or isn’t?).

    5. All monkeys are French*

      I get them and I also have thyroid issues. Do you take supplemental thyroid hormone? I find that the sweats are worse if I’ve been inconsistent about when I take my synthroid, or if my alcohol consumption goes up.

      1. WellRed*

        I do take synthroid, though I am fairly consistent, especially recently. Alcohol is another thing I am consciously cutting back on, for a host of reasons.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I was going to say, I got them when hypothyroidism first hit me, before I was diagnosed.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      I tightened up what I was eating, I stayed with simple foods. I had to watch red meats and I had to be religious about drinking water.
      And I stuck my feet out from under the covers. That seemed to really help control temperature swings.
      This did lessen the sweats.
      When my period finally stopped so did the sweats.

    7. Pieismyreligion*

      My ob/gyn recently recommended acupuncture for this problem, she said it has been helpful for her personally. I will be checking it out this week.

    8. deesse877*

      Night sweats are in some cases an early sign of cancer. If you are having other symptoms such as low fever that persists, unexplained weight loss, unusual fatigue or skin itching without obvious inflammation, get checked out.

      If it’s just perimenopause, I recommend a Coolmax mattress pad.

  21. Ann*

    Laser eye surgery! Should I do it? How bad is it? I know next to nothing about it but it’s becoming increasingly appealing to me. I’ve worn contacts since I was a pre-teen (nearly 20 years) and it would be nice to be free of them, particularly since I’m soon entering my clinical year of veterinary school and will be working around the clock. If it makes a difference, I’m -4.50 in both eyes.

    I’m just nervous about the process, recovery, and cost. Thanks in advance for any advice or experiences!

    1. Amber Rose*

      I had my eyes lasered January 2018. I was much worse, around -9.75 in both eyes. I have basically 20/20 in one eye, the other is slightly blurrier.

      The cost was about $3500 total for both eyes. There are financing options usually. Its steep, not gonna lie.

      The process is scary. It doesn’t hurt. It lasts maybe two minutes on each eye. But its uncomfortable and lots of stuff goes on around your eyes. They gave me stress balls.

      You’ll have to sleep in sunglasses or goggles the first 24 hours, keep your eyes closed for 24 hours and you won’t be allowed to shower or touch the area around your eyes for a couple days. You also can’t do high impact stuff like sports for two-ish weeks.

      You’ll have to put in lots of drops. Anti inflammatory, antibiotic, and lubricating, every couple hours for a few days. Theres a good chance you’ll have very dry eyes and starbursts/halos around lights for a while. Both things improve with time.

      The first day kinda sucked. My eyes itched and felt like they were full of sand. I couldn’t read or watch TV. But I had the laser on Thursday and was driving to work by Monday. Recovery time is short and only a bit uncomfortable.

      1. CastIrony*

        That’s a lot like my mom. Bending down is a no-no for like five days, but the surgery wasn’t too bad for her.
        However, after her being nearsighted for as long as I can remember, she is now FARSIGHTED. It took us a few days to find that out.

        Just be prepared for that, and take a while off if you can, like a month. They did one eye a week for two weeks for my mom.

    2. Middle School Teacher*

      I loved it. I got mine in 2006 and I was, if I recall, about -2.5 in each eye? I’d have to pull out my prescription to check. The whole process was very fast, and I remember I spent my recovery hour in the dark room wondering why I had wasted so much time freaking out. I got it done on a Saturday, had my follow up on the Sunday, back at work Monday. Mine was very uncomplicated so YMMV depending on how yours goes. It was so nice to not have to wear contacts, bring my glasses and supplies etc when I travelled. I did have to get a weak glasses prescription (-0.25) about five years ago but I only wear them if I use my computer a lot and my eyes are really tired.

    3. Lirael*

      I got it done three years ago (today actually!) and it’s been amazing. The procedure only took about 10 minutes, and recovery wasn’t bad, I think I was back at work either the next day or maybe the day after. Cost was about $2 k per eye, and I think prescription can influence the cost. My prescription was -5.5 in one eye and -6.5 in the other.

      You need to have a stable prescription, and with soft lenses, you need to take then out and wear glasses for a week before hand. With hard contacts, it’s about a week per year that you’ve worn them, so I was in glasses for a very long time, lol. As with any medical procedure, there are risks of complications, so make sure you feel really comfortable with these doctor. That said, I had no issues, and I know a bunch of people who’ve done it with no issues.

    4. CJ*

      Highly recommend! I had mine about 8 or 9 years ago and the process was fast and easy. You pretty much just stare at a little light for a few minutes, feel some coolness in your eye, and it’s over. My husband watched the surgery from a video in another room (I don’t even know why this is a thing) and said it was really gross to watch, but as the patient, it’s painless and some deep breathing will help you through.

      The recovery was also pretty painless. I was back at work the next day with no problem (just can’t wear any eye makeup for a week). The upkeep was just an eye mask at night for a week or two and lots of (very expensive) eye drops for a bit.

      As for cost, I justified it as avoiding the cost of several years of contacts/glasses. I’m sure it has saved me money in the long run, although I paid with it from savings and didn’t have to finance. I have absolutely no regrets. Waking up in the morning and being able to see is amazing. Not worrying about losing a contact while out (or getting it stuck in my eye – ouch!) is amazing. Not panicking because I misplaced my glasses is amazing :) I will say that I think my vision is currently getting worse due to lots of phone/computer use, but it is very minimal compared to what my vision was before and probably won’t be an issue for a few more years, and I think it’s not related to the surgery. Even ten years of no contacts/glasses makes it worth it to me.

    5. Nicki Name*

      My partner had this done a couple years ago. It was about $4500.

      The actual surgery, as others have said, took only a few minutes. The clinic he went to gives a mild sedative to help people deal with the weirdness and discomfort of it.

      The medication schedule was 3 kinds of eyedrops 4 times a day for the first month, eventually scaling back to just sterile saline as needed. The first couple days, he could barely open his eyes at all. After that, it took a week or two to slowly get back to normal screen usage.

      As uncomfortable and expensive as it was, he’s now 20/20 in both eyes and doesn’t regret having it done at all.

    6. Tennie*

      It’s been about 10 years ago for me and it’s been great. Mostly, my reason was so I could see in an emergency! Here’s why. Staying in a hotel, forgot to pack the backup glasses, had my contacts out, and of course the fire alarm goes off. All I could see was a red blur, about where the (best-guess) location of the emergency exit sign was. Fortunately, best-guess was right, and it was a false alarm, but that scared me enough to go for the surgery.

    7. Llellayena*

      Anyone have insight into long term effects? I knew someone who did NOT do laser surgery because they wouldn’t be able to fly after (or maybe it was just for a period of time?) due to the pressure changes (granted they were getting their pilot’s license). Are there limiting longer term downsides? Thanks!

    8. Elf*

      Highly recommend. I had it done six years ago, I was -3.75 in my worse eye, and I have better than 20/20 vision now. I never saw this well with glasses.

      I specifically recommend going to TLC Laser centers. They get better results than other people, which is mostly because they are choosier about who to do the procedure on, and they have a free consultation. They also have a lifetime guarantee. I advise you to at least get the free consultation there, because if they say you are a good candidate you can trust them on that.

      You will want someone around to help you after, because you will basically have to lie in bed for a day, but you will be able to see by that second day. The drops are a pain, you need antibiotics and steroids for a week or two, and artificial tears for longer. The reason for the artificial tears is that nerves grow very slowly, and the incision severs the tips of the nerves on your cornea, so your eye doesn’t get the signal to make tears and your eyes get dry. For most people, the dry eye goes away after the nerves grow back, which takes a couple of months.

      For a few days after, you will feel like there is something in your eye all the time. That feeling went away in one eye within 48 hours for me, but the other eye took about a week, which is a bit longer than normal.

      I don’t know the cost really, because it was a very generous grad school graduation gift from my parents.

    9. Ginger Sheep*

      Do it! It’s wonderful! A real life changer! I had it in 2003, the summer I graduated college, and spent my two first real-job paychecks on it. I never regretted it. The procedure is quick (about 15 minutes per eye), painless (though quite unnerving!), and 24 hours later you wake up in the morning and you can actually see! The intervention is followed by very mild ocular inconfort and having to wear sunglasses for a week, but that’s all. I went back to work 48 h after the surgery. The only inconvenient was that it impacted my night vision for quite some time : for six months or so, I couldn’t drive by night because all lights appeared too bright and very blurry. It slowly receded, but was a bit annoying at the time.
      I’m now fifteen years later, and still have perfect vision in both my eyes.
      I love it!

      1. Ginger Sheep*

        Edit : I meant 15 minutes altogether, not per eye! And I was -3,50 in one eye and -4,25 in the other. As for cost, at the time I paid 1000$/eye out of pocket, but that was over 15 years ago.

    10. M&M*

      I had it last November. My partner too. We are in Europe but from what others replied the cost is similar.
      There are 3 main types of surgeries they do. One includes a cut in the eyelids and is cheaper. The main difference for you is the cost as the doctor said that all 3 have the same recovery time. Not everybody is a good candidate for it so go have an evaluation. I wore the night googles for 5 days and used cortisone and antibiotic drops for 3 weeks plus hydrating drops that I still use when I feel my eyes are dry. Bf had his surgery 2 weeks before me and looks like he recovered faster. My eyes are still dryer. I was nervous about the operation too. They offered me an anti-anxiety pill and I accepted. Bf said he wish he had accepted it too. Arrange for somebody to pick you up because your vision the day of the operation is blurry and unpleasant. I arranged it on a Friday so I would have 3 days to recover. Also you will not be able to use a computer or other devices the day of the operation and for the first few days using them for a long time would feel unpleasant.
      Finally getting pregnant for 6 months postop is not advised.
      It is totally worthy it.

      1. M&M*

        Oh I forgot about the lenses. Depending on the type of lenses you use you need to be off them for a number of days before the evaluation and before the surgery. Washing your face is allowed the day after the operation and sweaty physical activities, and swimming not allowed for a week.

    11. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      I looked into it. Summary – absolutely do not pick your procedure/ surgeon based on price, even if good references. Pick based upon the number of procedures per year – over 100 minimum. And number of years experience.

      When I was looking into it, I read an excellent study in one of the medical journals (Opthamology? maybe?) that said that there is a 2-10% failure rate. But there is an inverse correlation… the high failure rate was newer folks (just started leasing the equipment, newly trained); the 2% rate was the high experience level. 2% is the body’s natural failure rate (I’m paraphrasing poorly). In other words, there will be some risk of scar tissue, issues, something, no matter how experienced your surgeon. But you reduce that risk significantly by carefully researching the outcomes and rates of the surgeons.

      I asked my retina doctor and others who they would recommend, and got a consult from the two that came at the top of both of their lists. Turns out I have a cataract, so not a candidate. But while it was going to be higher than what others are quoted here, I went through the workup with the guy who tests the lasers for their certification in the US (at the time, he was at Stanford; he may have retired) and a top cornea surgeon that did also do Lasix. You also want a doctor that is good enough that they can tell you if Lasix or RK is the better procedure for you. I have very dry eyes as well, and that can have an impact. You want someone who will not encourage you to have a procedure because they do it (and have a quota/ need to make the lease payment on that equipment), but rather, what is the best procedure for you.

      You might be using “Lasix” as a generic name for vision correction, but check out the details. I’ve some super serious vision corrections (detached retina, buckle, internal lasers), and having nearly lost my vision once, I’m super nervous about my only set of eyes.

      And one of my coworkers wound up with haloing… debilitating for driving at night. She was under 30. That was part of why I researched so much.

      1. Auntie Social*

        You’re right about going by price. My dumb-A husband chose a cheap place he heard about ON THE RADIO and decided he’d do it. They hustled him out at the end of the day even tho he said he had a sharp, sharp not-gritty pain. In agony a few hours later, he went to the ER and found that in their haste they’d put in a torn lens! The eye doctor on call told us to file a complaint with the state medical board, the care didn’t even come up to slipshod.

    12. My cat is a unicorn*

      Do it! I Had lasik two years ago, and now i sometimes forget I even used to wear contacts or glasses.
      Here are a few things to know:
      1.I was given a Groupon for mine, so my surgery, with TLC, was under $2000. My prescription going In Was -3.75 and now I am better than 20/20. TLC gives out coupons of ranging value to eye doctors throughout the year, so my eye doctor had recommended waiting until the $800 coupon was released. The groupon was basically do one eye get the other, so a better deal, but if that is no longer available ask you doctor about the coupons.
      2. I have pretty severe anxiety and they do not allow you to take anything ahead of time. They used to give Xanax but too many people had trouble concentrating on the laser, so now the only medication is numbing drops and something they give that makes you sleep after the procedure. For my anxiety they piled x-ray vests on my chest and gave me stress balls.
      3. You feel nothing, it is over so fast but you are awake and can see people touching your eye, especially when they are smoothing the flap down
      4. I did have a complication. I see a prism of rainbows in my right eye when looking at white light. It is caused by the laser cut being so precise it refracts the light. It is very rare and to get rid of it I would have to under go another procedure.
      5. Recovery was a cinch. Slept the first day, as recommended. Next day could see fine. Third day cleared to drive.
      6. PRK is sometimes used interchangeably but it is different. Instead of cutting a flap the laser removes the top layers. Recovery is twice as long. Results are the same. You can only do lasik once, any touch ups will be PRK.

    13. J3nn*

      I work at an optometry practice, and have also worked at a combined optometry/ophthalmology practice (totalling 17 years experience). I would recommend having a full eye exam with your trusted eyecare professional first, and asking them their recommendation on your candidacy as patient for which procedure (there are a few types) – just like with contact lenses not everyone is a good candidate. A couple of reasons:
      • dry eyes
      • unstable corneas
      • various eye diseases.

      As others have mentioned, you really want to go with a surgeon who has lots of experience. But you don’t want a place that’s practically a factory! You will need to follow all pre and post procedure instructions, and if you can’t stay in the area where you got the procedure done the you need to arrange follow up visits with your local doctor. Dont make this a spur of the moment decision: planning is necessary!!! (No one does the procedure in my country, so everyone here goes away for a few days to a week to get it done. Trust me when I say springing your need for follow ups on a fully scheduled practice doesn’t always go well…..especially if your local doctor is on vacation!)

      My father had it several years ago, and several patients besides him. I personally only know of one person who had a not-great outcome (in a small population). The main complications are due to the aging process:
      • over time your cornea can change shape (it’s why they may offer “tune ups”)
      • hormonal changes affect all of your body, including your tear production
      • everyone who lives long enough will find their near vision changes around age 45, laser or not
      • everyone who lives long enough will find they develop cataracts, laser or not
      • there has been a little bit of learning curve as how to accomodate natural lens replacement in cataract surgery for those who’ve had vision correction surgery like laser surgery, but it seems to be normalized now

      If I weren’t such a fraidy-cat I’d have had it done by now (I’m 36)….but I see 20/15 with my glasses and 20/20 to 20/25 with my contacts. And I get discounts on both through work. *shrug* But I am interested in refractive lens exchange: if I’m likely to live long enough to need cataract surgery why not head it off sooner? The thing holding me back is that the implants are not yet as close to natural near vision as I currently enjoy (I’m only 36!) so maybe in the next 10-15 years. But by then stem cells might be able to do wonders (for eyes AND teeth I hope!!)

    14. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      Is lasik not recommended for those with corneal scratches, blepharitis, computer vision syndrome? I’ve had all of the above and someone recommended I get lasik but I thought the above were disqualifying(?)

    15. Anonymouse for this*

      Hi
      I had LASIK done about 15 years ago. Am very happy I had it done but it’s not without its downsides.

      As mentioned by other commenters you need to go to a surgeon who does these 100s of times a year. I went to a Lasik center – no problems. Coworker went to optician who did a handful a month and she had nothing but problems.

      I had -5 vision and after the surgery I was 20/20 which settled down to 40/40.

      Mine regressed twice – I had lifetime guarantee so had it redone the first time it regressed but not the second as made me nervous to have 3rd eye surgery.

      I see starbursts at night from other car headlights so I have trouble with night driving.

      I think you’re too young for this but you may want to see about getting lens implant. Friend in her early 50s went to get Lasik but due to her age her doctor recommended lens implant and she’s thrilled at the results.

    16. Goose Lavel*

      I knew that most people here would recomend Lasik, but why risk the surgical complications just for convenience?

      I was a medical device engineer for 30 years and research was a large part of my job. I would always research medical history to see the what, how and why things have been done before in the performance of my job. After looking into Lasik for myself, I decided against it.
      The lasik complication rate and large of number of surgeries performed yields tens of thousands of altered lives each year. Side effects include intense eye pain, constant dry eyes (eye drops every two hours 24/7) and poor vision.

      These comlications have caused altered lives and many suicides; recently a young mother of two and successful news channel personality killed herself post Lasik.

      Due to side effects mention above, she had to go on leave from her job, could not care for her childern and became depressed. She struggled for many months and then ended her life, forever changing her life and that of her loved ones for the convenience of not using glasses or contacts. She used a highly skilled surgeon with thousands of operations under their belt but still had her life destroyed by her own choices.

      You may likely go on to have a successful surgery and then go on to promote this procedure to family, friends, coworkers and people on the internet and they may likely will do the same. You should do your own research to educate yourself prior to any medical procedure or taking a new drug so you know what you are risking.

      I recommend staying with corrective lenses and not risk it. Or you can go with the recommendations you read here and roll the dice.

      1. Lore*

        For me, it was more than convenience. I was so nearsighted that I could not function even around the house without glasses—couldn’t see the alarm clock lying in bed. I stopped being able to wear the contacts available at the time (2000) due to allergies and oxygen issues. With glasses, I had incredibly poor peripheral vision, plus the lenses got extremely expensive and were only going to get worse once I needed bifocals. But honestly the biggest factor for me was that swimming, especially in the ocean, is one of my great life pleasures and it had become unsafe. The surgery was a major major improvement on my quality of life! I actually ended up starting to develop cataracts 5 or 6 years post surgery and needed glasses again but the difference between a -2 correction and a -9 is extreme. Up until right before cataract surgery—and now after—I wear glasses to drive and see a movie. That’s convenience. -9 was a whole other thing.

        1. Goose Lavel*

          Excellent! You’re one of the lucky 98% that the surgery works for without complications.

  22. CatCat*

    My sweet kitty passed away yesterday after a sudden severe illness. My spouse and I are a wreck and miss him so much. He was our best cat friend.

    1. It's a fish, Al*

      I’m so sorry to hear this. We lost our boy on Tuesday. It was a shock and we are definitely still not used to the house without him.

      I told my kids at lunch on Tuesday, because I didn’t think the time they were told the cat was dying was on the way to say goodbye. My youngest spent the afternoon in the principal’s office crying and eating gummy worms. I’m very grateful for the caring shown by the larger community when something crummy happens.

    2. Competent Commenter*

      Oh I’m so sorry! I always thought I’d cope well with pet deaths for all the reasons people usually say that…and then I did not when it was my time to face it. It’s so incredibly sad. Hugs and condolences to you both. :(

    3. Thursday Next*

      I’m so sorry. They really are family, aren’t they? It’s sad to lose them.

      One of ours died a week ago. It sucks.

    4. Venus*

      I’m sorry for your loss.

      Mine is old, and not doing well… I don’t want to lose him, but I also don’t want him to suffer, and the worry is almost the worst part of it right now. I might be wrong (I hope that I am), but I’ll be surprised if he lasts a couple more weeks.

    5. CatCat*

      Thank you all for your kind sympathies. I wish I would stop randomly crying. Grief blows.

      1. MayLou*

        I lost my cat a week before Christmas 2017 and it took months before I stopped crying. I still feel sad sometimes thinking about saying goodbye to her. The grief is an expression of the love given and received. I’m sorry for your loss.

    6. Goose Lavel*

      I understand your loss. Our precious cat, Silly, who passed away over 10 years ago and we still feel the loss, especially my wife, who Silly was most close to.
      I was able to move on and understand that the love Silly gave us was greater than the grief we experienced at her passing, my wife, who is disabled, does not work and is at home most of the time, was never able to get beyond the loss until we got a new kitten.
      I describe Silly’s passing as a deep wound to our hearts and that our new cat Skouby as a Band-Aid the covers that wound and makes the loss less noticeable as time goes by.
      For us, time doesn’t heal all wounds as the painful scar still remains, but is less noticeable with Skouby’s love covering it.

  23. Pinkle*

    This is mainly a vent, but maybe someone has some advice:

    My husband’s grandmother has some similar personality traits to Catherine de Bourgh (the imperious great aunt of Mr. Darcy.) She is hard of hearing, so of course when we talk to her, we make an effort to speak louder and more clearly. The problem comes with large family dinners of 8+, where usually there will be multiple sub-conversations going on at different sections of the table. If she notices someone at the other end of the table laughing, she immediately interrupts to ask what the joke was, because she didn’t hear it. But no one, hearing impaired or not, could have heard it! Even a person with bat ears could not follow all the conversations happening at the table. And when the joke or story plus necessary context is repeated to her, she never finds it funny, plus it disrupts the other conversations, including the one she herself was participating in.

    We can never think of a way to decline repeating the whole joke without sounding churlish, so we usually just repeat it for her. Anyone else have this issue or have any suggestions?

    1. Not A Manager*

      I love the Catherine de Bourgh comparison!

      Could you kindly say, “Auntie, I can’t repeat it now, but after dinner I will come over and tell you the whole story.” That way, she knows she’ll get your undivided attention later.

      Since stories come and stories go, I’d think that you could be very sure to follow up quickly the first time you say this, but after that 1 out of 3 follow-ups would probably work.

    2. WellRed*

      So frustrating! I have known people that do this, and while I sympathize with the hearing loss, none if us have the right or the ability to be in on every joke or convo. Has anyone tried, “oh, I was just talking to Cousin Marbella, Aunt Plumb. I love your broach!”

    3. Wishing You Well*

      Hmm. I know some people would do this to get the attention of the entire table. They want everyone’s eyes focused on them. Claiming to not hear something at the far end of the table is very effective for this.
      But, back to your issue – I’d reply “tell you later, Grandmother” in a loving tone and continue as you were.
      Her hearing is a separate issue. I hope someone will encourage her to try hearing aids. Aids aren’t perfect, but deafness is associated with cognitive decline and social isolation. Optimizing one’s hearing is a must for everyone.

    4. Akcipitrokulo*

      Wonder if she’s involved in the sub-conversations at her end? If not, or if she’s feeling left out, then maybe take it in turns to be on Lady-De-Bourgh-duty at her end of the table, to make sure she isn’t feeling excluded?

      And then if she asks about someone laughing, whoever is talking to her can say “oh, they can tell you later – what did you think about…?” (which is getting her to talk as well :) which may be more attractive!)

    5. Lilysparrow*

      How about, “Oh it was just silly, doesn’t bear repeating.”

      And then maybe tell her a joke she might appreciate, or ask her for a joke, or ask the nearest grade-school kid for a joke.

    6. Batgirl*

      Quick-fire summaries. She’s not going to laugh anyway, so the aim of the game is not ‘be a good story teller’ but ‘get her spotlight moved on quickly’ so just tell her the punchline/quirky bit of the story and just chortle like its the whole joke.

      -“Jasmine threw out Aladdin’ s old lamp and it’s actually priceless!”
      -“Gretels new neighbour built an entire house out of candy!”
      -“Ross thinks his new doctor is actually a monkey. Although hes not, his name is actually Dr monkey!”

      The summary should be said in the same length of time it takes to say “Oh it’s nothing/a long story/just a private joke” (or else you would just use those old deflection classics). Follow up questions should be handwaved away with “I guess it doesn’t make sense/we just have a weird sense of humour!”

      1. Batgirl*

        The other alternative is to repeat the joke for everyone’s benefit. She might actually be trying to facilitate that, badly, but assuming good motives might make her less annoying.

      2. Pinkle*

        Ooh I like the quick summary!It feels less rude than completely waving off the question and you’re right that she’s not going to laugh anyway.

    7. L. Trumble*

      As someone who wears hearing aids, I beg you to not say it’s not important or I will tell you later. To us, this means YOU are not important….a little kindness here, please?

      1. Pinkle*

        I’m really glad to hear from someone with hearing aids! Just to clarify, does Grandma’s behavior not sound rude to you? (Stopping the entire table’s conversation to hear a joke from a completely separate conversation does feel rude to me, regardless of her intent.)

        If she doesn’t hear something in a conversation I am having with her, I absolutely repeat it! But I’m talking here about conversations that were completely separate in the first place. But as a non hearing impaired person, I would love to hear if there are some considerations/factors I’m missing.

        1. Pinkle*

          Also if she were tickled pink each time we repeated the joke/story we would probably be happy to repeat it, but she kind of turns up her nose at it when we do, so if feels like we’re being asked to repeat things only to embarrass ourselves.

        2. A hard of hearing person who's sick of this shit*

          ” Grandma’s behavior not sound rude to you?”

          Not remotely. Stop telling hard of hearing people we’re rude for wanting to be included.

        3. BelleMorte*

          To give you another perspective, she may not realize how loud it is or that the story wasn’t heard around the table. I’m completely deaf and I have no idea what people can or cannot hear, but telling me “ill tell you later” (which they never do) or “not worth repeating” is basically telling me, that we don’t care enough to fully include you.

        4. Patty Mayonnaise*

          My sister is hard of hearing, and I’ve worked with kids with hearing loss. To be honest, it’s considered rude in the auditory-oral community to say “never mind,” “it’s not important,” or “I’ll tell you later” to someone with a hearing loss who asks you to repeat something (and I fully acknowledge there have been times when I’ve said these things to people with a hearing loss). Even if your husband’s grandmother is being rude, it’s not great to respond in rudeness back, and it’s also possible she’s struggling to communicate in general during these situations and feels left out, and this is how she’s showing it.

          1. Pinkle*

            Thank you everyone! I really appreciate the other perspectives, since the only thing I have to compare it to is how I act when speaking my second language (which I can understand very well unless people are mumbling or far away.) It genuinely hadn’t occurred to me that she might truly think that everyone else but her had heard – I was figuring she could tell based on the fact that people around her aren’t laughing either, but it seems like she may not be able to distinguish as well as I thought.

            Sounds like a quick summary is the way to go!

      1. A hard of hearing person who's sick of this shit*

        Okay I’ll give a less snarky explanation –

        The problem here is she has no way of knowing whether or not the WHOLE table heard the original joke or if really was just a few people at the other end – she can’t know she just knows people are laughing and feels left out. Then if you say to her oh it’s not important she feels like SHE isn’t important enough to include.

      2. Book Lover*

        The cut on tuesdays (podcast) had a story last week (I love you) about a deaf woman and her husband. And they talked about how they argue and how one thing he never does is say ‘never mind’ when she doesn’t understand or hear something he says. It really struck me – anyway, I thought it was relevant to the discussion and it was a great podcast episode in any case.

        1. A hard of hearing person who's sick of this shit*

          That sounds like a great relationship. I really don’t understand how people can be so difficult about making sure communication remains open and making sure everyone understands what’s going on.

  24. Crystal Smith*

    Anyone have tips for drowning out noise from an upstairs neighbor? I just moved into a new apartment and hoo boy, I can hear my neighbor pretty darn clearly, even when he’s just talking on the phone. I’m already planning on getting thicker curtains and a rug, and I ordered a white noise machine online…what else can I do??

    1. WellRed*

      Can you attach a few acoustic ceiling tiles in some strategic spots? You may also get somewhat used to it. I am a first floor tenant and it’s always a bit annoying.

    2. Wishing You Well*

      It would be more effective if HE got a thick rug. Can you talk to him about it?
      (I would want to know if my downstairs neighbor could hear my phone conversations.)

    3. StellaBella*

      Dang my reply is at the end of the page … Can you knock on his door, ask him about it and maybe frame it as a privacy concern for him?

  25. Laura H.*

    Wishing the AAM community a lovely Passover, Easter, and spring in general!!

    Tangentially mentions work but as I work in a candy store/ ice cream shop where they make their own ice cream….

    What is the most off the wall flavor ice cream you’ve tried?

    We have an avocado one that people seem to like, but the default reaction (mine included) is “that’s weird”, but it seems to be a lot of “yum” once people try it.

    I’m gonna see if I can get a taste today!

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I’ve really enjoyed the few avocado ice creams I’ve had. They’re mostly a texture thing– the avocado makes the ice cream really smooth, with a slightly fruity flavor. I am a big fan of olive oil gelato sprinkled with salt so that’s probably the “weirdest” flavor I’ve had. Or maybe black sesame and green tea, which I used to get at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory in NYC.

    2. gecko*

      Olive oil. I liked it a lot (in a small quantity). But it did taste like when you were a kid, finish a popsicle and kept sucking on the popsicle stick. Good stuff.

    3. Nye*

      Ooh, I would love to try a roasted barley ice cream! Have never seen it before, but roasted barley bubble tea is my favorite flavor (and sadly super hard to find), and I think it would translate really well into ice cream.

      Weirdest ice cream flavor I’ve actually tried was garlic. It was at least as gross as you think it would be.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I had garlic ice cream as a tiny cold side taste alongside hot spicy food… about a stablespoon max. I hope they didn’t serve you a big scoop!

    4. Bluebell*

      Rye bread ice cream, and it was delicious. I also have heard this is a specialty in Iceland so looking forward to it again.

    5. Blue_eyes*

      I had some really tasty, but unusual to me, flavors at an Asian frozen yogurt place here in NYC. Black sesame and purple yam. The black sesame was really good, I think they had toasted the sesame seeds so it was very nutty and rich, sort of like peanut butter ice cream. The purple yam was good too, but I’m having trouble recalling exactly what it tasted like now.

    6. LibbyG*

      I once had corn ice cream – really flavorful sweet corn in a rich ice cream. It was so good!

      This thread is making me want to dig my ice cream maker out and experiment!

    7. Flavors*

      The most surprising to me was one with no flavoring at all. They called it “sweet cream” and loved watching the expressions of people tasting it. All these years later, I still remember the surprise on my tongue.

      An unsurprising one was the lemon ginger at a dairy farm. They’d serve you the ice cream and then ask you to” stop to say thank you to the girls” on your way out. We always did; the cows often mooed back at us.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      I tried to make vanilla violet ice cream the other day, but it didn’t work because I didn’t have full-fat cream. I wasted my violets and now the yard guy has mowed them all down. :(

    9. HannahS*

      Buttermilk and brown bread, in Galway. It was awesome! Really not that different from frozen yogurt in flavour, with some wheat-y tasting bits.

    10. Lilysparrow*

      It’s not really off the wall, but it was new to me – the shop near us has one called “Exhausted Parent.” It’s espresso, dark chocolate, and bourbon.

      Yum.

    11. CastIrony*

      I used to work in a place where the ice cream was local. Since the selling point was huckleberry many things, all the travelers were obsessed with huckleberry ice cream, which cost an extra dollar more than all the other flavors. It’s basically a tart blueberry. Now, it holds a place in my heart, and now that my workplace now offers huckleberry-flavored enhanced water, I’ve had some for the last two days.

    12. Batgirl*

      Black pudding ice cream. It was unexpectedly nice but I can’t say it became a new favourite. Best description I have is ‘like salty cookie dough’

    13. Anon. Scientist*

      Lobster! Such a touristy Maine thing to do, but like the corn flavor, it has a nice natural sweetness.

      My local place does a killer Indian Pudding flavor that tastes surprisingly like the desert (molasses and cornmeal)

    14. The Gollux (Not a Mere Device)*

      The oddest one I’ve tried was probably lox. The oddest ones I like are cucumber ice cream and violet gelato.

      Cucumber is a seasonal special at JP Licks (Boston area). One of the people who work there told me that almost nobody is neutral about cucumber ice cream: we either like it a lot, or think it’s weird and unappealing.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I once had a rose ice cream in Italy. In fact it might have been a sorbet, but it tasted like frozen rose flavoured turkish delight.

    15. Lemonwhirl*

      Once went to a wedding in the south-eastern part of Germany, near the Czech border. The reception was held in a restaurant on the top of a mountain, the name of which translated to Garlic Mountain. Every course at the wedding had a garlic-based option, including garlic ice cream for dessert. It was delicious!

  26. Competent Commenter*

    Looking for advice from parents experienced at navigating the 504 process for their kids.

    I’m on my second son who’s needed 504 accommodations. They’re far apart in age, have very different issues, and have attended different schools (albeit in the same school district). But with both I’ve experienced two identical pressures during the 504 process, and I’m wondering if that’s coincidental or typical.

    1) Pressure to structure the accommodations so they’ll “seamlessly work when your child goes on to the next school.” Little Son is about to transition to junior high and we’re hearing this, but we heard this a lot when Older Son was a high school senior about to go to college…and at college they did the accommodations process from scratch anyway. I don’t see why this is useful. We don’t know what we’ll need next year, but in the limited time we have in these meetings, we’d really like to establish something that will keep our child from failing class again this year. Am I missing something?

    2) Pressure to have the child “advocate for himself,” such as requiring the student to ask the teacher each time to take his tests separate from the class, rather than the teacher always administering them that way. I am really, really big on teaching self advocacy, but in both cases the nature of my sons’ learning issues have made this a barrier to the accommodations working, even though Little Son can advocate for himself extensively and Older Son could barely even speak to the teachers. I don’t understand why more than the occasional accommodation should involve self-advocacy. Students who use wheelchairs and need to use an elevator shouldn’t have to keep self-advocating for access to it each time, so why should a student with a learning disability be any different? Again, am I missing something?

    Both of these pressures have significantly undermined the usefulness of the accommodations to the point where they’re mostly useless, but the response I get from the school when I push back makes me think I’m naive or helicopter parenting or both. I’m prepping for a meeting to update Little Son’s 504 and before I push really hard on either of these points, I’d love any context you all have.

    1. Laura H.*

      I’m physically disabled, but point 2 grates me a bit! Self-advocacy is scary regardless of what age and ability you are- it’s necessary but it’s daunting! We see it all the time in the AAM archives… It’s something you can’t be forced into, and passing something as important as getting extra test time on to an elementary student as their responsibility/ as a starting point for their self-advocation isn’t ideal.

      No advice but wishing you the best!

      1. fposte*

        Yes, I had a similar reaction. Even if we weren’t talking kids whose abilities made the demand challenging, this is a problem for me. I’m not in elementary/secondary ed so I don’t know the protocols are, but in higher ed we absolutely wouldn’t demand adult students request the accommodation every time, so I’m blown away that preteens would be expected to. I could see it in the vein of “If the teacher forgets, we encourage you to remind them,” but “It’s on you to request an accommodation over and over and over and over again” seems pretty damn discriminatory to me.

        1. Competent Commenter*

          Thank you both for the affirmation!

          To be fair to the school, the test taking accommodation was for Older Son, who was at the start of his senior year of high school.

          However, he was diagnosed as an adult with autism. When we said to the school that he really couldn’t self-advocate, we were 100% correct, even if we didn’t have a diagnosis that explained why. He is our foster son and has significant PTSD, which obscured the autism issues and delayed his diagnosis. But the school knew he had PTSD and still pushed self-advocacy.

          I think these particular details just further support my feeling that pushing self-advocacy instead of addressing the actual learning issues is not useful.

            1. Janteloven*

              It usually is, IME. I worked on the other side of this, in the medical provider’s office trying to help families get what they need and providing documentation. These were kids with very specific physical limitations that affected their day to day in the classroom and involved some more complicated things, but also things as simple as needing them to sit in specific parts of the classroom. Universally, every single family I worked with on this would report the same problems. Teachers would express to the kids that they didn’t like having to change things for them (“I don’t like having students always sit in the same place so I’m going to move you anyway” was the most common refrain) and it’s on the kid to repeatedly, over and over every semester, argue with their teachers to get the incredibly basic accommodations they needed.

              Every kid would always say they would get tired of protesting and always having to make a fuss, and would stop asking. Then when their parents would find out and say something to the school, it’s all “Oh well why doesn’t Suzie just aaaaaaaaask for what she needs?” Infuriating.

          1. Laura H.*

            I’m still not the best self-advocate at 29, but I have made improvements- and sometimes people still have to push me into an accommodation, but that’s more of an “I don’t need help! (spoiler, yes I do)” mentality.

            Anyone has to find their comfort level in advocacy, and as I stated prior, it’s not always easy!

        2. Tau*

          Agreed! And… I think one of the biggest things that can block someone in self-advocacy is the feeling that what we’re asking for is a burden/special treatment which we aren’t really entitled to. It strikes me that a really, really easy way to make someone feel that way is to force them to ask for the accommodation every. Single. Time.

          1. Tau*

            (not a parent, fwiw, but an autistic adult who’s had to do self-advocacy at the university level in the past. I would have been INCANDESCENT if anyone tried that sort of bullshit on me, and shut my disability advisor down hard once the time she started going “well, we could get you this accommodation, but I don’t really want to because it’s not an accommodation you’d have access to in employment…” like, as you say, let’s focus on me not failing out of university first and work out the rest of it once I have an actual degree in hand, hmm?)

            1. EinJungerLudendorff*

              Aaargh, the whole “we’re making this needlessly difficult for you because that’s just like the Real World!” is such a load of hornswaggle!

              Like you said, their job is to teach us things. They are not a company, and if they wanted to teach us secondary skills they can make it part of the curriculum. And most of the teachershaven’t worked in their fields for over a decade anyway.

              1. Tau*

                I know! It turned out that:
                – it would, in fact, probably have been possible to get that particular accommodation for employment (although I would have had to navigate a specific process to get it, one the disability advisor did not bother ever mentioning to me)
                – I didn’t even need the accommodation for employment because guess what, a full-time job is really different from studying and a bunch of my problems are much more manageable with the added structure.

                But thanks for almost sabotaging my degree with your pearl-clutching “but what about the real world?!”, disability advisor.

    2. Luisa*

      Okay, you asked for parent responses, and I’m not – I’m a special education teacher – but I want to tell you that this is absolute bullshit, so I hope you will forgive me for jumping out of my lane.

      Accommodations are supposed to be based on what your child needs to succeed and grow currently, not on what is likely to be available in the future in another setting. So if he needs to use a computer rather than handwriting responses, or extra time to complete work, or frequent breaks, it doesn’t matter one bit if there’s uncertainty about whether he can get access to that stuff in junior high (also, they have to accommodate him!), or uncertainty about whether he’ll still need those same accommodations next year (this is why we have annual reviews!). His needs are his needs!

      And having to ask for his accommodations and calling it “self-advocacy”? NO WAY. His teachers must be familiar with his accommodations and are required to implement them. Self-advocacy is about being empowered to drive adjustments to his accommodations based on self-reflection (or in some cases, reflection with another person, like a teacher). My hard-of-hearing student asking me to repeat directions as needed is self-advocacy, because I know she has that need and I prepare to support her (by giving written/visual directions along with oral directions, chunking directions into smaller steps, etc.), but sometimes she does prefer to hear them again. Or it’s my student who normally takes a scheduled break after 30 minutes of independent work realizing that this particular assignment is really draining and asking for a break after 20 minutes.

      If the school is not meeting your son’s needs, you have every right to ask for another meeting. And another, and another, until the issues are resolved. And don’t forget that you have the right to a special education advocate or an attorney, if needed. (It’s not clear whether you’re already at that point.)

      1. Competent Commenter*

        I shouldn’t have limited my question to parents, I really did want educator responses too! Thank you. This is such helpful framing and is very reassuring. I’ve done a lot of advocacy for Older Son, both with social services and with the schools, and it’s exhausting to keep going back in there and arguing. I begin to doubt myself and my perspective. It just wears you down. Everyone’s advice this morning will help me so much in my upcoming meeting.

      2. Batgirl*

        I’m a special needs educator in the UK who is equally shocked on the same points. I have seen this though – It’s a sign of an overwhelmed organisation getting very irresponsible about passing the buck. If this were my kid’s school I’d be calling inspectors to do a health check on special needs provision.

        The whole vibe is one of ‘It’s too haaard’ and slight disbelief that anyone else could could have their act together. With funding this could be true perhaps, but simply remembering which kid has which need? Noooo! Oh my god, Ofsted would absolutely hand them their arse!

        Honestly CC I’d fall to my knees with gratitude if I had a parent as well informed as you with me on Team Kid.

    3. Mimmy*

      I was waiting for a few people to respond before I said anything in case it came off ignorant….

      I’m more familiar with accommodations in the postsecondary context. Self-advocacy is a very important skill to develop, but fposte is right. Yes, you do have to self-identify and request accommodations each semester using whatever procedures the school/Disability Services office uses, but not for every single thing that may require such an accommodation.

      HOWEVER, I have never heard of self-advocacy being so stressed upon in the public school systems. I do think self-advocacy skills should be developed as the student begins to prepare for postsecondary life, but it sounds like this school is pushing it on your sons too strongly, particularly (as noted in your reply below) since your older son’s disabilities greatly impact his ability to communicate his needs.

      One resource I would like to suggest is your state’s Protection and Advocacy agency. I’ll post a couple of links in a reply so as not to hold this post up in moderation – but every state is mandated to have such an agency. They provide legal and non-legal advocacy and assistance in many areas of disability rights, including education. They may be able to help you advocate for your sons with the school.

      1. anonagain*

        I don’t think the problem is that the school is pushing self-advocacy too strongly. I think the problem is that they’re making the kids jump through pointless hoops in order to access educational opportunities and calling that self-advocacy.

        Able-bodied children also need to learn self-advocacy skills as they prepare for adulthood, but no one is making them individually approach the teacher every time they have a test and ask for a desk to sit at. We just give them what they need to do their work without making them plead for it, because that would be ridiculous.

      2. MatKnifeNinja*

        My niece’s friend is required to sit in on all her (the friend) IEP meetings and give input since 5th (!) grade. From what I hear from the mom, middle school was bad and high school is horrible because they asked the friend first what she felt she need etc. The basically told mom to shut up and let her daughter speak.

        Shit really hit the fan when friend wanted to dump the parapro mom fought so hard to get.
        Of course, the parapro was dump (district was thrill), and it was a bumpy year.

        In this district, self advocacy starts really young (11ish), unless the child is absolutely can not let her needs be known.

        Insane.

      3. OyHiOh*

        I suspect her child goes to a school that’s in an umbrella network like No Excuses U or similar. We’ve really, really struggled to get a full compliment of accomodations for my son because the NEU model doesn’t really “allow” for the accomodations that SPED kids need. So my kid with ADHD (diagnosed; medicated and therapy), grief, and language deficits currently does not receive any accomodation whatsoever regarding note taking and use of his planner for assignments/etc. Because under the NEU framework, all 4th graders **should** be able to manage these tasks independently.

        Yes, I’m thoroughly aware of the issues involved with an umbrella org impacting fair and appropriate education . . . . . I have no spoons to push harder right now :-(

        But I bet this is what’s going on in LW’s son’s school. Even if it’s not publicized, I bet there’s an educational model in play that pushes independence and “self advocacy” over appropriate accomodations for a student’s needs.

    4. Green Kangaroo*

      I’ll play Devil’s Advocate a bit and say that one reason why the school system may be pushing self-advocacy is due to the extreme difference in obtaining services as a child versus as an adult. It’s a completely different landscape and so many young adults and their parents are completely blindsided by what qualifying for services looks like after graduation.

      1. OyHiOh*

        That shouldn’t even be an issue when a child is transitioning from elementary school to middle school.

        Generally the post education conversation kicks in somewhere around 2nd or 3rd year of high school. Which it sounds like this child is many years removed from, still.

      2. Janteloven*

        Ehhh as someone who’s both had to get these services for kids and had to get them herself her whole life, I can tell you with absolute certainty that it’s 0% easier to get accommodations in a school as a child than it is to get them anywhere else as an adult. “Junior needs to learn grit because it won’t be easy later” is just a smokescreen over top of the same BS refusals that have always been there.

    5. Thursday Next*

      For #2, I’ve never had anyone suggest that self-advocacy has to happen for every test. That’s ridiculous, and undermines the intent of having a documented, approved accommodation. I would push back hard on this one.

    6. Elf*

      Direct quote from my husband who is a special education teacher with years of experience with the process from the other side “They are gaslightlighting her to make their lives easier and the teachers’ jobs easier at the expense of her kids. When they push for that form of the accommodation, it is a feature rather than a bug for the school that the student will end up using the accommodation less when the student would benefit from using it 100% of the time.”

      TL/DR: Advocate as hard as you can against this

      1. Elf*

        He adds that a way you can tell if it is reasonable for them to talk about opting in for a service as self-advocacy is to look at whether it is a service your son has had in the past and whether has has frequently opted out of it. In the case of a service where he has frequently opted out in the past it might make sense to change it to opt-in, but barring that circumstance, no.

        1. Competent Commenter*

          Please tell your husband how grateful I am for his perspective. I am just so tired after so many years of advocacy for Older Son. You can imagine that trying to cope with social services/schools for a teen with autism when no one knows they have autism would be a challenge. And he still lives with us as an adult, so now that we have his diagnosis we’re dealing with our state’s services for that, so more advocacy.

          When Little Son was diagnosed with ADHD this year I was like…NOT…AGAIN. Although I know a lot more now than the first time, I also have all this emotional baggage. Trying to shed as much of it as I can so I’m not making things harder on myself and everyone else.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Not a parent, nor a teacher. However I spent over a decade working with people with all types of needs. One of the rules we LIVED by was that any plan was good for about TWO WEEKS then we needed a new plan. I cannot imagine a plan going for one year or for many years. That would never happen. Never.

      Just my opinion, these folks have NO idea what they are doing. At best they are ill-informed and perhaps lazy. There has to be professional source material that supports your concerns here.

    8. Ellie*

      Regarding point 2- it usually means that if a child sees he isn’t getting an accommodation, he should speak up at that time, not that he should have to tell the teacher about it all the time. The average junior high or high school teacher has a minimum of 100 students, and as the day rushes past, it might slip the teacher’s mind that a child in 4th period needs accommodation x; it’s more of a “remember that you can and should ask for what you need” type of thing than a “it’s your responsibility to make the accommodation happen” kind of thing. However, if a teacher consistently does not remember or provide the accommodation, that’s an issue that needs to be addressed by the parent ASAP.

      1. Mobuy*

        Yes, I agree. I have 150 students and frankly, I forget things sometimes. If a kid were to just sit there are feel like it was just my job to remember everything, they might miss their accommodation. Not because I’m gaslighting or lazy, but because I’m human and trying.

        1. EinJungerLudendorff*

          Which is totally reasonable!
          But if you remembered a certain student is supposed to get x and y, you would presumably go and give them those things. And maybe have a list or a system to ensure you remember what everyone needs.

          While CC’s school would want you to sit back and not give anyone anything, and make every child come up to you to ask for the thing they need.
          And if they didn’t, they don’t get the thing, even if you know they need it and could just give it to them.

  27. Blue Eagle*

    Returned from my week-long trip to the Missouri Ozarks. Thanks to Glomarization Esq., The Rat-Catcher, and Jean (just Jean) for your suggestions. I enjoyed touring the Bonne Terre Mine (amazing to take a boat ride in an underground river), Elephant Rocks State Park (yes, the rocks do look like an elephant’s butt cheeks), and seeing the petroglyphs at Washington State Park.

    If you are in Bonne Terre, they added a new museum about 1/4 mile from the Mine called Grisson Center, which had their grand opening just in March and has over $250 million worth of artifacts from the space program, much contributed either by astronauts or by NASA. The fellow who is the force behind it was a wealth of info, and if you are lucky enough to be there when a NASA old-timer visits and shares memories, you are in for a treat.

    1. Jean (just Jean)*

      I offered advice??! Oh, yes, IIRC I wrote about Big Spring, MO. Glad your trip was a good one.
      Thanks for the information about Bonne Terre. I will pass it on to family with special interests in NASA and space.

  28. Amber Rose*

    I tried to do the 500 squat challenge in a game and I made it to 68 last night before collapsing. That’s not terrible but I am a long way away. Funny how I hate exercise for exercise sake, but if you put it in a video game I will push myself and train like an Olympian just to pass a level. I bought weights. Brains are weird.

    Side note: I. Am. SO. Sore.
    My shoulders and thighs are aching.

      1. Amber Rose*

        Beat Saber. It’s a game where you cut blocks while dodging obstacles so someone made 12 minutes of just cut and duck.

    1. KR*

      I feel you. I did a pretty long whole body work out yesterday and I’m so sore. I was considering some cardio today but I think I got to wait until tomorrow

      1. Amber Rose*

        12 solid minutes, while some dude yells inspirational stuff about pushing yourself that is kind of annoying. XD

    2. The Other Dawn*

      My trainer trains the state police cadets and every year he does a squat challenge with the senior cadets. He calls it Thunderstruck (he loves AC/DC). The goal is to beat the previous cadet class. So far the count is up to about 1,100 squats! He said that he caps it at 1,200 because otherwise it would just keep increasing and he can’t keep up with that–he does it with them and he’s 64! I hope I’m in shape like that in 20 years! I can always tell when he’s preparing for it. I go once a week and for two weeks in a row in the Spring he can barely make it up and down the three stairs into the studio.

    3. Marion Ravenwood*

      This is exactly why I like Zombies, Run! – I mean, I can run just fine by myself (at least providing I have music), but get virtual zombies to chase me or give me missions to complete/stuff to collect and you bet I’ll be legging it as fast as I can.

      I hear you on the squats though. We did tons in one of the exercise classes I go to the other week and I couldn’t walk downstairs for two days without wincing afterwards.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      My husband lost 25 pounds playing pokemon, primarily at lunchtimes!
      What’s the one you’re using?

  29. Quake Johnson*

    I don’t know how I feel about these new Twilight Zones. There’s been nothing wrong with them really but they just leave me feeling ‘meh.’

    I’m waiting for an episode to really hit me, like the one with the guy who just wanted to read and became the last man on earth, or where there were these five random people mysteriously trapped in a giant cylinder and they found out at the end that they were all toys in a charity bin.

    Currently I’d say Black Mirror is more Twilight Zone than Twilight Zone.

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

      Every reboot I’ve watched on TV so far has had me feeling the same way, to be honest. I think the problem is simply that there’s nothing like the real thing.

  30. Good Riddance*

    My annoying roommate, who I’ve been living with for four years but has been complaining about wanting to move for three years, finally bought her own place and will be moving out in a month! No more passive aggressive dishes in the sink, no more hour long petty complaints about her day, no more being forced to invite her to friend gatherings, no more blasting the TV while I’m trying to sleep; by the end of May she’ll be gone! And financially, myself and my second roommate can handle the finances on our own so we agreed to not replace her, meaning I get her bigger bedroom. I’m so happy!

    1. Quake Johnson*

      Ah, congrats! Currently trying to offload my brother. We get along fine, but him crashing in the apartment I bought for me myself and I really wasn’t part of the plan.

      1. valentine*

        Eviction notice+30 days (or the law in your jurisdiction, assuming he’s acquired tenants’ rights).

        1. EinJungerLudendorff*

          Presumably they’d like to not sour the relationship too much, which legal action would probably do.

          It does sound like an unpleasant situation though.

    2. Ms Cappuccino*

      Sharing a house can be very difficult I know that. I used to have one who hosted parties all night! And the landlord didn’t care about it.
      I am glad for you she’s leaving soon but don’t force yourself to bring her to your friends gatherings. What can she do about it?

  31. AvonLady Barksdale*

    I finally– FINALLY– got off my proverbial butt and planned a trip away with some girlfriends. Four of us are going to Dollywood in June and I am SO EXCITED. I have wanted to plan a trip there for ten years! One of them even suggested– before I could– flying to my city and driving to TN, which will take us through the mountains and provide some great time to catch up. Anyone have any suggestions for the park or for Pigeon Forge? We will probably get a condo within a few miles of Dollywood and our plan is to spend two days exploring the park.

    1. Thursday Next*

      Go to Smoky Mtn National Park—it’s beautiful! There are various driving routes within the park, so you can choose an itinerary by time.

      If you’re into it, go to Dolly’s Stampede, which is a dinner-arena show, with lots of cool stunt riding.

      1. Lady Jay*

        Seconding Smoky Mtn National Park!! Heads-up though that it is the *most visited* national park in the country and in June it will be BUUUUSY. Arrive early; leave lots of time to find a good parking spot; monitor your expectations (it will not be a quiet little nature walk unless you locate one of the more rural trails). Bikes are available to rent and apparently some parts of the park (Cades Cove) are closed to cars until 10 AM so bike people can explore.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Not planning to go anywhere but Dollywood and the immediate Pigeon Forge area– again, we’re only there for two days– but this is good info if we decide to return to the area, thanks!

          1. silverpie*

            If you come back with any sports fans in tow, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame is nearby in Knoxville.

          2. MsChanandlerBong*

            The park is right nearby! I highly recommend Clingman’s Dome for great views. Also highly recommend the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Dolly’s Stampede, and the Smoky Mountain Opry. I’ll be in Pigeon Forge at the end of May, and I will probably be going to all three again.

            1. Lady Jay*

              Yes, thanks! I think Pigeon’s Forge is literally on the edge of the park, like 15 minutes? Clingman’s Dome has great views and is super easy to get to, even for people who don’t consider themselves mountain drivers. (SMNP is one of the best-kept mountainous areas I’ve ever driven in.)

    2. Dr. KMnO4*

      If you enjoy art, check out the Cliff Dwellers artist community in Gatlinburg. There are a lot of different art styles and the scenery is beautiful. Some of the artists teach classes which are tons of fun. There is a watercolor artist that I took a class from, her name is A. Jann Peitso, her class was great.

    3. TN Girl*

      I highly recommend the Park, the Smokey Mountain Candy Kitchen in Gatlinburg, and the Aquarium. Pigeon Forge and Dollywood is about 3 miles from Gatlinburg and about 5 miles from Smokey Mtn National Park.

    4. Kimmy Schmidt*

      Dollywood is such a blast!

      Make sure you go into the little mini museum in the park. It has all kinds of Dolly memorabilia, but her outfits are the BEST! And perfectly Dolly sized. It’s a great way to get out of the amusement park sun for an hour or so.

    5. Forestdweller*

      I’m so sorry, I know it is Wednesday and decidedly outside the weekend timeframe, but I just had a chance to read this and wanted to add that you should consider tubing at Deep Creek! You can rent a tube just about anywhere for like $10 and they’ll strap it to the top of your car. When you get there, there’s a short, not-too-steep walk to the put in and then a lovely 20-30 minute float back down. a few almost rapids but otherwise pretty smooth. You can take out and put back in to your heart’s content and it is actually a ton of fun. Hope your trip is lovely!

  32. Help*

    I wrote in last weekend about having a hole on my retina. I just wanted to thank those for writing in with their stories/experiences. I had cryopexy done yesterday on my eye- it’s sore and red, but I’m glad it’s done and hopefully all will be okay with my eye.

      1. Help*

        I was so nervous, but glad it’s over with! (I’d rather have that than the more serious surgeries.)

        1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

          Yeah, I’ve 2 of the more serious ones, and 2 of the simpler ones. Give me the “catch it early” simple ones…

  33. Not a receptionist*

    I’ve been feeling inexplicably gloomy and unmotivated since yesterday. Don’t know why exactly. I took some much needed vacation to recover from burnout symptoms – I didn’t go anywhere, just to relax. It’s been helping, though I still feel a bit fatigued. I think my current job plus my dead-end job search is wearing me out. I feel like my job search is taking up a lot of my free time and I can’t remember the last time I did my hobbies or hung out for fun. I’m always too tired. It’s so weird – I’m in my twenties and should have more energy than this!

    1. Wishing You Well*

      I hope you can get outside and breathe some fresh air. Wishing you some sunshine, too.

      1. Not a receptionist*

        That is interesting! I like that there is a word for something in another language that doesn’t exist in English.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Get extra rest, load up on water and veggies.
      Stop telling yourself you should have more energy, just ‘cuz that will not give you more energy. And it might be draining you faster.
      People who have lost their path to their goals, or people who feel defeated at every turn are going to have problems with keeping energy levels up. I suggest breaking your job search strategically into baby steps. I bet you are running marathons of hours of searching. Rethink how you are handling it. My MIL was a nurse, she always said, “use your head to save your feet”. A variation applies here, build a strategy to conserve your energy.
      Start thinking about a small support team of say 2-3 people who can help you. Maybe they don’t help you job hunt but maybe one person will take a 15 minute walk with you every other day. Maybe a different person would check job postings once a week and send you anything that looks relevant. Or maybe someone will just bring you a bowl of home made soup. It’s odd what can be re-energizing or comforting. Pick people who add to your life in meaningful ways and ask them for specific helps.

      1. Not a receptionist*

        This is very helpful and comforting advice – thanks! I think my impatience to get a new job did get me carried away, and I tired myself out. I’m allowing myself to scale back on the job search considerably. I’m still doing professional development stuff and looking out for postings here and there, but I want to get back my personal time.

    3. Koala dreams*

      That makes a lot of sense actually. When you take a few days off you have time to really feel tired. When you are busy you don’t feel it as much. It’s similar to how many people fall ill in the weekend after a busy week.

      I like to plan some hobbies or things to do when relaxing, such as colouring or talking a walk, because otherwise I just sleep and feel more tired after. Why not plan a few fun things for the weeks to come? Let the job seek be now and then and recharge.

  34. Jessen*

    It’s one of those weeks where I want to smack the entire world. But on the plus side, I found out new kitty’s favorite scritch spot?

  35. Junior Dev*

    Mental health thread! How are you doing? What are you struggling with? What are you proud of?

    This week was a roller coaster for my brain. I had a lot of self-esteem stuff happening early in the week, I was feeling very sensitive to rejection and super lonely and awkward. My mood got better in the middle of the week between the weather being really nice and having plans with my friend. Then yesterday I got extremely tired and couldn’t do much. I did manage to make a call I needed to make to the sleep clinic—who knows if that’s going to help but it’s probably worth a shot. It’s so limiting to have random days just eaten up by being too tired to even sit up straight, let alone leave the house or get anything done.

    I’m proud of exercising several times this week—roller skating, biking to work twice, going to the gym once—and of making social plans even though my social anxiety was really bad.

    How are you doing.

    1. anonagain*

      It’s so awesome that you exercised and made social plans! Did you see anything neat on your bike rides?

      A couple weeks ago I went to a lecture and asked the speaker a question after. I’m pretty shy offline, so I was proud of that. It was a really great lecture too.

      1. Junior Dev*

        Ahhh that’s so awesome that you were able to ask a question! That can be so nerve-wracking.

        I took a long way home on Wednesday and got to see more of the river near where I live.

    2. bassclefchick*

      I haven’t commented on your thread in awhile because I’ve been doing pretty well. Except 2 weeks ago I lost another friend to suicide. She was 29 and left behind a 10 year old daughter. She was my best friend’s daughter and I’ve known her since she was 8. We’re all just so devastated. This is the 2nd friend lost to suicide in 2 and half years. There are no words and I just feel terrible that none of us could help them.

      But, I just got my hair dyed purple and it looks FANTASTIC! Much happier than last year’s attempt. And I’ve finally designed my memorial tattoo. Will have it done in June by the brother of the friend who just died. Still struggling with accepting she’s gone, but trying to remember the good times.

    3. Alpha Bravo*

      This has been one of those times I’m really missing Spouse. Our daughter had a minor surgery this week; nothing huge but my history of caring for Spouse throughout multiple surgeries and medical procedures during his last battle really made the whole experience very fraught for me. It was outpatient surgery and Daughter is doing fine.

      Yesterday morning I was making coffee and I had a moment. Spouse was always the coffee maker, and I thought of how many times he had stood there, going through these exact motions. And I felt like he was really close – felt his warmth and humor. It seemed perfectly natural to remark to him that of course I’m probably doing it wrong. And share a little chuckle. That was sweet. But it doesn’t make me miss him less.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Feel the feelings. Just like waves of water, let them come toward you and pass through you and around you.

        You are right though, it’s hard for the brain to sort out major health issue vs small health issue. Every health issue sets off five alarm fire bells in the brain. That will settle after a bit, it won’t stay this way.

        Annnd, FWIW, of course he was there while you were making coffee. We can tend to feel them more when there is a problem/crisis. They do seem to come and softly answer us. (I think it’s okay to expect them to do this.) My husband attended his mother’s funeral with me. He kept jittering like he always did, I had to tell him to stop, like I always did. The flickers of movement were annoying. Before we derail too much here, his family also knew he was at the funeral, it wasn’t just me.

        Bodies die, Alpha. Love never dies. That’s why love is such a powerful force.

    4. Nessun*

      Not such a happy weekend. My best friend is off camping with her husband and I was asked to mind their cat. I’m allergic, but he’s a suck (and I do love cats)… spent an hour last night talking to him in their empty, messy apartment while drinking a cider and feeling suddenly rather down about having no one to spend holidays with. No pets, no SO, and unlikely to change. The random moments these things hit me are few and far between, but they hurt.

      Positives – I guess getting my hair done yesterday, which I always enjoy, and a full two days I can devote to whatever game/book/activity I want (minus going to take care of the cat twice a day).

    5. only acting normal*

      Found out at my annual dental checkup that the side effects of my antidepressants have damaged my previously perfect teeth. :-(
      Grinding has started to cause measurable wear – so I need a night guard. And dry mouth has led to me needing my first filling at age 42 (normally saliva has a protective effect on the enamel).
      I am so pissed off.

      1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

        Don’t know if this helps? I found that wearing my invisalign/ and now my post-invisalign retainers (which cover the teeth like invisalign) … work for me like the night guard. I keep my teeth straight, and I quit grinding/clenching. Win/win. My HSA paid for the invisalign. And, I won’t (theoretically) lose my teeth from mis-alignment later. I can wear the invisalign retainer during the day, so if I catch myself doing the grinding/clenching at work, I can brush my teeth and pop them in. Can’t do that with the night guard. Lots of adults get braces.

        1. only acting normal*

          I had braces as a kid, so my teeth are straight enough, and Invisalign to perfect them would be private dental at about 10x the cost of an NHS custom nightguard, so not a good cost-benefit for me.
          I’m more concerned with the dry mouth causing more cavities; having kept cavity free to my 40s (combination of good teeth-genes and good oral hygiene practice) it’s pretty devastating to effectively have them caused by chronic depression.

    6. spiralingsnails*

      Sleep issues suck. :( I’m struggling with getting back into a decent bedtime routine to keep my insomnia from flaming out of control. But I’m proud that I’ve finally taken another step towards getting the counseling I know I need. It’s been on hold for the last few months due to feeling overwhelmed by analysis paralysis, but I finally pushed myself to start researching providers again and found a counselor that I think looks like a good fit. Next step is to call my insurance again to make sure the pre-authorization hasn’t expired (and try hard not to shame myself for letting it go so long). That’s my goal for this week. Then next week I will hopefully follow through to set up an appointment. Providers around here tend to be booked out 1-2 months but at least maybe I can start moving forwards in the queue.

  36. OyHiOh*

    Mentioned Passover briefly on Jaid’s Passover thread above

    It’s a **spectacular** opening gambit, let me tell you. You go into grief knowing that holidays are going to be hard. Everyone makes sure you know holidays are going to be hard. You get extra support lined up. In my case, I had a few months lead time to mentally prepare for the first big one (Puim a month ago was no big deal for me emotionally but it’s also a fairly minor holiday as Jewish holidays go). Did my best to set up getting through it emotionally intact.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Went to a community seder last night. Went a little early to help set up seder plates and other last minute preps. Felt fine. Laugh/smile/joke. Nothing amis at all.

    Start the first song, start feeling tearful. Five minutes later, literally sobbing into the seder plate. Left the room, spent a solid 45 minutes in the lobby sobbing my eyes out. I could not have told you what was specifically wrong, if you’d asked. Still couldn’t tell you what was wrong this morning. Just cried. Got myself together (I thought), made another attempt to join the community. Lasted possibly three minutes. At a convenient break, exercised one of my “talk to a friend” options and arranged for my girls to stay for the rest of the event and went home early with my son.

    Getting ready for an attempt at regularly scheduled Saturday morning services. We’ll see how this goes!

    1. Bluebell*

      Oh OyHiOh – hugs to you. I’ve been thinking of you. Pesach is such a holiday of memories. I always think about my grandparents, who loved their seder s, and my mother-in-law, who passed away during the holiday. Treat yourself gently and let your community support you.

      1. OyHiOh*

        The weird thing is, I DON’T have the family memories. My husband was a ger, as am I.

        Holidays are hard no matter what background we come from.

        1. Bluebell*

          Oh! Some of my most important Pesach memories are from my adult years, if it helps to hear that. But you are right that holidays are hard. I learned of my father’s passing on New Year’s day, and so I think of him every year at the end of the year, even though we had a very complicated relationship.

    2. WellRed*

      Your husband just died. That’s what’s wrong. I think you did all right here. You’ve been in my thoughts and I read all your updates as you move through this.

      1. MatKnifeNinja*

        I bursted into tears walking into my mom’s old church I haven’t been to in 15 years. Loss and emotions are a weird thing.

        So please be easy on yourself. I give you mad props for even going.

        I too read all your posts.

        Huggles to you and the littles <3

    3. My Brain is Exploding*

      Hugs. It is good to know that things can get extra hard during certain triggering times, and it sounds like you did your best to prepare. But grief does let itself out at the oddest times and places (10 years later, in the grocery store!), And sometimes your reserve of sadness breaks the dam and yep, you don’t even know exactly why. Such is being human. Hope today is a good day for you.

    4. Jean (just Jean)*

      + a million to WellRed. Sorry you’re going through this. Sometimes it’s manageable and sometimes it’s impossible. Please credit yourself for good self-care and being flexible enough to find different paths when necessary.

      If it feels comfortable to you, can you talk with a rabbi or someone else who has observed a lot of grief? Maybe it would help to have a sense of other peoples’ experiences. They may have faced similar challenges even if they occurred in a different setting or time sequence. Also, the rabbi/onlooker may have learned what other people found more or less helpful. There may be books or local community groups. If anything sounds helpful, pursue it; if not, try something else.

      1. OyHiOh*

        We don’t have a local rabbi. There’s not enough active Jewish community where I live to bring in a rabbi. We do manage a Friday evening service (smaller) and a Saturday morning (smallest ever – there were 7 people this morning) but it’s pitiful.

        There are a couple of strong rabbinical writers I refer to pretty regularly (Rabbi Melvin Glazer and Rabbi Naomi Levy) but one has passed and the other lives half a continent away so, regardless of how good they are in writing, it’s no substitute for talking to someone.

        1. Jean (just Jean)*

          I keep returning to your comment without knowing what to say. I am glad you have these writers and sorry there aren’t other, more accessible/interactive resources. May the rest of Passover include some easier moments as well as times of grief and loneliness.

    5. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      I commented on your comment above…. but a bit more here. Just lost my husband 6 months ago. And not Jewish but… I cry sometimes during the singing at my church. There is something about the quiet, contemplative, spiritual environment, the fellowship, the awareness of God and the love of my fellow people… I feel uncorked, somehow (not eloquent today) and the tears begin to flow. It is a safe place, somehow, to get in touch with my feelings.

      Plus, I’m usually rushing, doing, busy, and allow myself very little down/quiet time. Something about the words of the speaker, the music, the loving people around me… works with the solitude (even when surrounded by people) and inactivity, to open me up.

      Hug.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      This is grief. It does not always make sense.
      I walked into Target and started blatting like I was two years old. Target. wth.

      I know it does not feel like it but every time you have a good cry, you are rebuilding parts of you. Yeah, I know feeling the depths of despair cannot possibly be reconstructive. But it is.

      I got so sick of being blind-sided by the tears. The way out is directly through the middle. Feel the feelings. Let the tears roll. Being the way that I am, I even went as far as to induce tears at home during quiet time, so I would not cry so freely. This seemed to help some. I think it added up over time. I would find tunes that I knew could pull the tears up and I would play the tunes and have a good cry.

      After I did this a few times, I noticed the next day felt different/lighter. That helped to encourage me to cry some more at various times. Be patient with yourself. It takes a while to get that river of tears out of us. I started to figure that each time I had a good cry, I was one step closer to making sense of my life.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        PS. If you tell yourself to stop crying that will probably just make you cry more. Instead start a habit of telling yourself, “it’s okay to cry”. Watch how that changes things.

      2. OyHiOh*

        I think . . . . . . it’s this strange overwhelming sense of loneliness. And that it generally kicks in when people are usually together, in groups.

        The making sense of my life part isn’t quite as much of an issue for me. I’ve hung onto a strong sense of identity and purpose while married for 14 years and raising three kids . . . . I still know who I am. I have some ideas for where I want to go.

        It’s the lonliness that kicks my butt. And not even lonliness at home, weirdly. We’d moved into this house 12 days before I took him to the hospital. It’s far more my house than our house. The house is mine and feels safe and nest like. But out there, where people gather in groups, those are the places that I get kicked hard.

        1. Belle di Vedremo*

          I wonder if there are rabbinical chaplains at any nearby hospitals who might have something to offer. The grief is a thing unto itself, as is the living with it, but sometimes people have helpful or comforting words, that this path you’re on has been trodden before and has some sign posts one would prefer to have never needed to learn to read. Your courage, clarity, and faithfulness come through your posts. Internet hugs if you’d welcome them.

          1. OyHiOh*

            Not trying to be dismissive, but seriously, our community is SO isolated and small! The chabad rabbi almost an hour north of us, sent a couple cases of matzah down with one of our members, with instructions to make sure that every Jew in southern [state] gets a box. Two cases can cover distribution to families that participate at least semi regularly. Rabbinical chaplins don’t exist in my part of the state. Military rabbinic chaplins (my late husband was a veteran) don’t exist in my part of the state. My resources are the lay congregation, some of whom I know and trust and many others I don’t trust for small town reasons, books, and the greater internet.

            And NOT the chabad rabbi mentioned previously. I’m a progressive Reform Jew with an egalitarian Conservative streak. Chabad doesn’t work for me.

              1. Jaid*

                I’m not particularly observant, so keeping Kosher isn’t a thing for me. But this week, my Mom was particular about getting rid of frozen corn and surprised that they purchased “Kosher for Passover” popcorn. (I got to take it home and discovered it was kind of stale and tasteless anyway…)

                I was looking up something and came across this little gem, that rice, corn, corn syrup, sunflower seeds, soybeans, soy sauce, tofu, lentils, peas, sesame seeds, kidney beans, and peanuts are considered kitniyot or otherwise not Kosher for Passover. Corn syrup is a horrible thing anyway, but rice?

                And I note that matzo for Passover is not gluten free. Unless one can find it made with oats…Kestenbaum’s Gluten-Free Oat Matzos is kosher for Passover, but will cost 35 dollars on Amazon… or make it yourself following the recipes online.

                I digress. The article about kitniyot ends with the author getting a new rabbi who ” strongly advocated eating kitniyot, arguing the following:

                Avoiding kitniyot is a custom, not a law; halacha (Jewish law) only requires us to avoid chametz (oats, spelt, rye, wheat, and barley).
                The custom of grouping chametz and kitniyot together in our practices can make it more difficult to remember which five foods the Torah actually prohibits.
                It detracts from the joy of the holiday by limiting the number of permitted foods.
                It causes unnecessary divisions between Ashkenazim and Sephardim.
                Arguably, kitniyot falls into the category of “mistaken or foolish customs” subject to reform according to halacha.

                He explained that the original reason for avoiding kitniyot is unknown. One of the first to mention it was Rabbi Samuel of Falaise in the 13th century, who referred to it as a minhag mahmat taut (mistaken custom); in the 14th century, Rabbi Yeruham of Provence called it a minhag shtut (foolish custom). Many rabbinic authorities, including the sage Maimonides, have ruled that it is permitted – and perhaps even obligatory – to do away with a mistaken or foolish custom.

                Jews, our rabbi insisted, have a duty to resist this mistaken and harmful tradition by making it a point to eat kitniyot on Passover.”

                The author, a vegetarian, was rather thankful to hear this, because it made it easier to make meals for her family.

                Again…rice and beans? Tofu? Well, I kinda see the tofu thing, because it’s basically processed soybeans, which is suggestive of leavened bread, both being time-consuming means of producing a food product.

                I just thought it was interesting…

      3. Batgirl*

        I always find crying in the shower/the car to be the most convenient times for me. I found that those tears had to be shed. Crying for me, was ‘doing the work’ of grief. You’ll still get blindsided in strange places, but for me ‘doing the work’ helped.

    7. Laura H.*

      Feelings hit out of nowhere. It sucks. It happens.

      Has happened to me a few times during mass, and I still wouldn’t fully be able to explain why I broke down in tears in a pew after communion… aside from that those things have to come out in some way at some point. Super thankful that I had a few shoulders to cry on when that happened. Still embarrassing though.

      Community is a lovely thing. Sending you and yours plenty of well-wishes.

      1. OyHiOh*

        I decided weeks and weeks ago I had no energy to spare for feeling embarressed and even less energy to spare on being indirect and beating around bushes.

        I’ve therefore learned to be extremely open about my personal grief process – literally everyone is going to experience a deeply personal loss at some point in their life and yet we maddeningly don’t talk about it most of the time (!!!!!) – and also learned to get very comfortable telling people precisely what I need. This weekend, it was telling some relatives “I need you to help get my kids registered for summer camp. I should be able to fill out 1/2 page form x3 children but this week, I cannot.”

        So last night’s sob fest in the lobby was just sobbing. The leader who came up to hide the afikomen wanted to know if he could help in any way and I basically shoe-d him back downstairs. I had to just sit there and cry, and then see a friend today and get hugs and sympathy.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          You are singing my song with every sentence you have here. Yep. We need to talk it out.
          A friend just lost his wife, after 50 something years of marriage. We had been emailing on another topic and I mentioned the idea that some folks use: Don’t move or do any other big changes the first year. He has thanked me four times so far for blurting that out. Talking is a good thing.

          I do agree there is something about groups of people that trigger tears, especially at church or religious occasions. For many (long, boring) reasons I can’t totally attribute mine to loneliness. But you are making me think that maybe at church there is something that stirs my spiritual core and that mixed with seeing people milling about with their families is causing tears/heart pangs to bubble up. It’s the combo that gets me? It has tapered substantially with time.

          Growing up no one ever mentioned how hard it is. We take care of them, they pass in spite of our best efforts annnd then we get to work harder than we ever have in life. This is where I landed with my friend, if we change our address and/or phone it seems to double the workload as we have to keep double checking and following up just in case people can’t find the new contact info. There is a surprising amount of work to do and absolutely no energy to do it with.

          I don’t think every emotion goes away fully. Instead of tears now I get hit with a melancholy feeling. Sometimes it’s a sense of everything being so big and me being so little. I can only conclude that is accurate. The world is big and we are very little by comparison. I have a friend who, instead of saying “good-bye” when he leaves, he will say, “It’s a big world out there. Be careful.” That just makes so much sense to me.

          1. Jean (just Jean)*

            This is deep and rich. So much to unpack–but I have to reply briefly because I still have Passover tasks. (We’re having another Seder tonight after deferring our original plans for Friday night because life. workplace. stress. exhaustion.) Thank you.

            I do agree there is something about groups of people that trigger tears…maybe at church there is something that stirs my spiritual core and that mixed with seeing people milling about with their families is causing tears/heart pangs to bubble up.
            After various family medical crises I found it strangely comforting to watch other, ostensibly happy and healthy families in my congregation. It reassured me that life goes on even if my own small circle is regaining strength after a private earthquake. But yes, it is also easy to be wistful, to feel set apart with one’s troubles even though the truth is that everyone has, has had, or will have, some sort(s) of challenge(s).

            Sometimes it’s a sense of everything being so big and me being so little….The world is big and we are very little by comparison.
            This reminds me of the logo of the Chidren’s Defense Fund: a child’s drawing of a boat below the child’s printed message “Dear Lord Be good to me The sea is so wide and my boat is so small.”

    8. HannahS*

      Nothing to add, but keeping you in my thoughts! We have some grieving people around us this year, and there’s nothing to do but hold tight to each other.

  37. Aspiring Fish*

    I’ve been a regular swimmer for years. I’ve just started to have an extreme nasal reaction – sneezing and runny nose for ~ 8 hrs on the days I swim, probably to the chlorine/chloramine. I used to take an antihistamine(reactine) that was effective, but is no longer. Anyone have any tips? Better antihistamines?

    1. HeyNonny*

      Can you do nose plugs? I hate them, but have swimmer friends that like them and tell me they work for decreasing “chlorine face.”

      1. Aspiring Fish*

        Yes, those are on my radar. Do you have a sense if they help with the sneezing reaction? And … what is chlorine face?

        1. HeyNonny*

          chlorine face is when all your face emissions (tears, saliva, nasal mucous, sweat, ear wax, A sneeze) smell like chlorine, and sometime long after swimming you think “ where is that pool smell coming from?” And then discover it is your face. In the worst case your face will itch and turn red. This tends to be related to swimming in a pool with chemistry that is off (as Girl fromQuinns house talks about), or competition training amounts of swimming that also can turn your hair a funny color. I use large well fitted goggles to swim, as the eyes are the most sensitive thing for me.

    2. That Girl From Quinn's House*

      I used to be a pool manager. If you’ve just started to have the reaction, it might be because the pool’s chemistry is off. When the combined chlorine (chlorine that’s been “used up” to kill crud) gets high, it outgasses sharp fumes right around the water’s surface when it’s stirred up by splashing, which often cause sneezing, runny noses, and nosebleeds to swimmers. I actually used to be able to tell when the combined chlorine was getting high while observing swim lessons, just based on how many kids were sneezing, etc.

      If the combined chlorine is over 0.5 ppm, the pool needs to temporarily raise the chlorine to shock it and burn off the crud, then bring it back down into normal ranges. Maintenance like this is often done over holidays or weekends when the pool’s offline for the highest number of hours, so if it’s been awhile since the last holiday closure or reduced hours, it’s more likely this is the problem. Perhaps they’re closing for Easter, so they might fix it this weekend.

      Unfortunately, no one who works at the pool will ever admit to the swimmers the chemistry is wonky, so you can report your symptoms so they know, but you likely won’t get any assistance back from them: they’ll just silently fix it when they get a chance.

    3. DRJ*

      Put ointment in your nose before going in the water. My ENT recommended saline gel, but antiseptic (such as Neosporin or Bacitracin) is probably easier to find, and definitely works. It will protect the sensitive tissue from so much contact with the chlorinated water, which ought to help.

  38. Slewp*

    Alison’s gray kitty (in the picture above) looks SO much like my sister’s cat. Every time she posts a picture of him/her, it makes me do a double take for a second!

  39. Jessen*

    Speaking of cats, anyone know how to cure a carpet-scratcher? She has scratching posts and a flat cardboard scratcher but she seems to prefer the carpet.

    1. scarlet magnolias*

      My cats loved the deep plush sage green rug for scratching. When I moved that rug upstairs and replaced it with very good quality braided rugs from LL Bean (had never previously liked braided rugs- too little House on the Prairie) the cats don’t scratch nearly as much. A tiny bit when the large fluffy black and white one takes his morning constitutional leaping all over the living room but not on the former scale.
      They do however sneak upstairs for nostalgic visits to the sage green rug.
      We got the idea for that kind of rugs when we put braided carpet pads on the stairs, and the cats would literally skitter on the sides of the stairs to avoid the pads.

      1. Jessen*

        Sadly I have wall-to-wall cheap rental carpet. I honestly don’t care that much if it gets shredded (and to be quite honest I doubt it’s something I could be charged for when I moved out). But she thinks it’s a great scratching surface and I’m not really in a position to remove it.

    2. Venus*

      Cats often go to carpets or furniture because their cat-specific scratching options aren’t completely stable. Sometimes the cat post will sway slightly, and the cardboard scratcher is small and moves around.

      Or it’s just possible that they happen to like the feel of the carpet more than their approved options. Which is why I trim cat nails, so that when they do scratch the carpet at least the effect isn’t quite as bad. You can also try putting catnip on the posts.

    3. Akcipitrokulo*

      Does she have a specific place she likes to scratch? If it’s always the same place, it’s possible a scratchable small piece of carpet over it might help (and might be able to move it in future!)

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        This is what I was going to suggest – something like a carpet sample in a similar texture to what she likes to scratch (possibly infused with catnip) over the patch she likes scratching might help.

      2. Jessen*

        It seems to be pretty random where she wants to scratch, honestly, from what I’ve seen.

  40. Teapot Librarian*

    Whole in-law family is coming to my house for Easter dinner tomorrow. My first time hosting. Wish me luck!

    1. Ali G*

      Good luck! I’m jealous. I usually have the in-laws over for “East-Over” (I’m Jewish, hubs is Catholic), but too much going on with my new job and the house and I just couldn’t get it together for this year.
      Hope your family has a great time!

      1. Teapot Librarian*

        Ali G,
        Congrats on the new job. I am actually working from home this weekend and the cousins are doing all of cooking. I just got the house ready for company.We had takeout Chinese food for dinner last night. Everyone was on their own today. Dinner tonight is brats, coleslaw and chips for husband and company, salmon salad for me. Tomorrow, doing eggs for breakfast and dinner for 12 at 1:00.

        Just got back from grocery shopping with his cousin. I’m Jewish. His family is Catholic. They are going to Mass (services tonight)
        Tomorrow is scalloped potatoes, spiral ham, roasted asparagus, fennel salad with blood oranges and olives, white rolls. fish for me. Dessert is some kind of vanilla sponge cake with what looks like buttercream and fresh berries (cousin brought that today)
        The weather is spectacular, there might be bocce in the back yard tomorrow.

  41. HeyAnonanonnie*

    My cat keeps peeing on the tummy time mat. I know he is feeling neglected but I just don’t have time for this right now. I barely have time to shower, let alone clean the carpet.

    1. fposte*

      Sorry. So there’s a young baby? You probably know all the guidance about cats and babies, but it all does seem to imply you have time and energy. If it helps, remember this isn’t cat being a jackass; it’s cat anxious about changes trying to define a role in that new high-value space of the mat.

      Possibilities:
      Plug-in Feliway
      A cat-focused perch with soft bed in the same room as tummy time. If there’s one already there, make that one extra-enticing. If she’s a catnip cat, maybe give her a whiff on that perch before you start tummy time.
      Patience and sainthood.

    2. Jean (just Jean)*

      Can you get a second (and third?) tummy time mat as a buffer, so you always have a clean spare? (Yes, this assumes bandwidth, time and money sufficient for the purchase.) Or borrow one? or purchase one used? Or delegate the shopping to a trusted and sensible spouse/friend/relative who will solve the problem without judgement or additional demands on your scant time and energy? Depending on your home logistics, online shopping might be the simplest way to accomplish this. It could even be accomplished by someone in another city.

      Also ask that person to pick up/deliver or ship to you the catnip, Feliway, cat-enticing furniture?

      What about a trusted pet-sitter to come give the cat some personal time, or run these errands for you?

    3. Anona*

      Ugh, I’m sorry. You can always do tummy time just on a towel or blanket on the floor. The beginning part is so hard. I would forget to feed our dog until halfway through the day. The sleep deprivation/lack of free time is so real. Just get through it the best you can! It will get better.

    4. Thursday Next*

      It’s a tough adjustment for the cat, at a time when you’re likely exhausted! I think giving the cat an enticing cushion or blanket, with catnip rubbed on it, and placing it next to the tummy time mat, could help. Maybe during tummy time, give the cat some treats, particularly if she goes to her spot rather than the mat.

      When my first was born, my cats would sleep on his changing pad. They didn’t pee on it, but I think there was a bit of a play for my attention going on, as well as a desire to figure out who this interloper was.

    5. HeyNonny*

      You might have to buy a new mat. Once it’s peed on, the cat will always be able to smell it, and now it’s a pee spot. The initial pee might be due to jealousy or hurt feelings, so more attention might fix it. I found TOO MUCH attention made kitty stop being jealous, which is extra work, but only for a couple of days.

  42. anon for this weekend*

    I’m visiting with my gynecologist soon. I’ll be 33 soon. I’ve been on birth control since I was 18. I’m not sexually active and I haven’t been for at least four or five years (I genuinely can’t remember the last time I had sex). I’m on the pill because my endometriosis is so bad that I needed BC to deal with the symptoms otherwise 3-5 days a month would be spent on sick leave. My doctor recommended I take my BC non-stop and my pill packet doesn’t even have a placebo week. I haven’t actually had a period in over five years.

    My issue? I’m not sure what parts of my personality/body are actually me or influenced by the BC hormones. My sex drive is so low but I don’t know if that’s me or the BC since I’ve never been off it long enough to know what it was like without medical influence. I don’t know if my trouble keeping weight off is influenced by hormones. I vaguely remember never having concentration problems or energy issues pre-BC, but again, it’s been so long that I can’t remember if that was maybe due to my teenage youth or BC influenced. BC has messed with my body significantly in the past before I found a pill that worked well for me, so I do know there’s a chance that some of the things I’m dealing with are caused by the BC.

    I’ve been considering going off BC just to see what I’m like when I’m not influenced by BC hormones. I’m not worried about pregnancy. But I’m also dreading the return of my monthly endo pain. It’s really horrible. It’s at least three days of non-stop diarrhea, vomiting, migraines, vertigo, nausea, and muscle spasms in my back/legs that are so painful nothing helps, as well as my breasts being so tender that it hurts to wear clothing.

    Anyone have similar experiences? Anyone on BC for such a long time and find out they were a different person once they were off it? Any recs on whether this is even a good idea?

    1. Amber Rose*

      No advice just empathy. I’ve been on BC since I was 13 because I used to run high fevers from the pain. I haven’t not been on it since I was a kid so I have no idea who I am without it.

      1. anon for this weekend*

        I really wish there was more research into how BC affects women. I’ve been on previous version of the pill that drastically altered my personality, so I at least know there’s something going on. But there’s so little research out there about the side effects of BC or how it alters your body/mind, and I wish that wasn’t the case.

    2. Anon Anon Anon*

      I was on and off of it for a while and it did seem to influence my personality. Eventually, it started to cause constant nausea and loss of appetite. I lost a dangerous amount of weight. So I had to go off of it for good. And I’m really glad I did. Off of it, I feel more clear headed and rational, and less prone to depression. I have more intellectual energy. I feel more balanced and less stereotypically feminine, if that makes sense. Like the “feminine” and “masculine” sides of my personality are more in harmony? If one were to draw that kind of line at all?

      Seeing those changes in myself, I have to wonder if that stuff is common and if so, what impact it’s having on society, since so many people are on some kind of hormonal BC.

      Being off of it, I’m not having as much sex. A lot of guys just don’t want to take the risk, or don’t want to use condoms. But I’m OK with that. I think the guys who want to rush into condomless sex are good to rule out. You can never know for sure if someone is being honest about their sexual activity and history. I want to save unprotected sex for a long-term relationship with someone I’ve known long enough to trust and where there’s a plan in place (vasectomy, having kids, using some other birth control method). I think that being off of the pill is making me more appropriately selective about who I get intimate with. Condoms can malfunction. I don’t want to take that risk unless it’s with someone I have real feelings for, etc. So the decrease in sex is a good thing.

      The medical condition you described sounds horrible, though. Are there any other ways to treat it? Or small things – like dietary changes – that can help?

      1. anon for this weekend*

        It’s pretty much BC or a hysterectomy for treatment. A hysterectomy isn’t even guaranteed to help with endo.

      2. pcake*

        Anon Anon Anon – be careful. I got pregnant with my second child while using condoms AND foam. They can develop little cuts in the rubber if there’s not enough lube or the guy is extra aggressive, or – in my case – the resevoir tip stayed sealed and the semen came up over the top of the condom.

        1. Anon Anon Anon*

          Right! That’s one of the main reasons I haven’t been as sexually active. Me and/or the guy are concerned about that, which is good.

          I’m basically holding out for someone I can communicate with well enough that we can have good conversations about all of that stuff and be strategic. Condons plus timing during the cycle, etc. Discuss it with a doctor who won’t push hormal BC (imo most of them do!). Someone who will be level-headed and on the same page about it.

    3. KR*

      I wonder if you’re eligable for a different kind of BC? A friend of mine got monthly shots and doesn’t get her period most months. I’ve also heard a lot of people on mirena don’t get periods. I have a skyla IUD (like mirena but smaller and not as long of a commitment) and get my period every month but I also have a stubborn uterus and nothing I’ve ever taken has stopped my period.

    4. Overeducated*

      I had the opposite experience. I went off BC after many years and…nothing noticeable changed. Nothing whatsoever. I later got an IUD and the only change there was lighter periods, and maybe slightly milder PMS.

      I got that taken out after a few years and did gain some noticeable weight in the subsequent 6 months, but that’s not a known side effect of removal so it was probably just due to age and eating habits. And I think this is a potential problem – there are too many variables in life, if you are different than you were 15 years ago I am sure there are so many other changes that have happened in that time that it may be hard to pinpoint a single cause.

      I don’t know what to tell you about your own body, and am not trying to sway you, just wanted to add another anecdote in case that is comforting.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        Chiming in as another no-effects anecdote. I was/have been on the BC pill for 25 years. Originally it was just my choice as a preventative thing and not to manage any symptoms, and now I have been taking it continuously for almost two decades to avoid having a period at all. When I went off it twice in order to get pregnant, I had no noticeable changes in personality or health or sex drive, which for me has always been low. I also didn’t notice anything when I went from the stronger (tri-phasic) version to the lite-hormone (mono-phasic) version, though.

    5. Dr. Anonymous*

      I had similar trouble tolerating birth control pill sand went off and dealt with the pain for a while, and finally after limited temporary relief from laparoscopic surgery went for hysterectomy. Of course this is major surgery and isn’t for everyone and doesn’t solve endometriosis pain for everyone, but for me I’d have done it a decade earlier if I’d known I would have the outcome I got. In the intervening years I took a lot of naproxen and used a lot of heating pads (the portable stick-on ones are great) and planned my life around my body’s schedule as best I could.

    6. Bluewall*

      That sounds miserable. If you’re interested in learning more about a functional medicine approach, Dr Aviva Romm has written (and podcasted) extensively about both topics- post-birth control and endo.

    7. Traffic_Spiral*

      Well, you should probably try going off it for science (since you’re curious) so stock up on spinach, potatoes, coffee, steak, chocolate, and ibiprofen, then try it on a Thursday so you’re at home on the weekend for the strongest of the comedown. Maybe it’ll suck, maybe it won’t – only one way to find out.

    8. Lilysparrow*

      I couldn’t stay on bc more than a couple of months because the mood swings were so horrible, plus I suddenly developed migraines.

      But I will say that my periods in my 30’s were significantly different than they were in my teens and 20’s. It might be worth a try?

    9. Jane*

      I’ve been on hormonal BC since I was 14 due to awful periods, and I’ve come off it three times for the reasons you describe. In my case, each time there were a couple of months of not too bad pain when I thought it might be ok before it ramped up to the nausea / diarrhoea and not able to get out of bed level (I’ve had a laparoscopy and apparently don’t have endo, I just have really awful periods). I also developed cystic acne and PMT so severe I felt seriously depressed for two weeks out of the month.

      For me, I’ve accepted that while the pill wrecks my sex drive it’s better than the alternative – I’m approaching late 30s and starting to worry about the doctors refusing to prescribe the combined pill any more (I’ve tried about a dozen methods, the current formula I’m on is the only one to help with the pain, acne plus PMT). I feel happier staying on it now I know what the alternative is and the trade off I’m making, though – otherwise I’d probably still be wondering.

    10. Tomacco*

      Do you have decent insurance? I was on BC for years to deal with skin issues and painful periods, but it turns out I had severe, stage 4 endometriosis too. Once I ended up with a ruptured ovarian cyst (which not only revealed the endo, but the severity of it) BC pills just didn’t cut it and I was put on Lupron shots (put me into menopause) and then hormone replacement pills (to deal with the menopause symptoms). I had all kinds of reactions to the different kinds of BC through the years, but the Lupron/hormone combo gave me none of that. My skin cleared up, my emotions evened out and the insane endo pain went away too. Maybe it’s something you can talk to your gynaecologist about? The Lupron was really expensive (I say ‘was’ because I eventually had a total hysterectomy and didn’t need the shot anymore) but it was covered by my insurance plan.

    11. PookieLou*

      I switched up my rx in college when my mood swings made a healthy social life impossible. I had to try a few different hormone levels before I found something that was easy on my moods and made my periods manageable. It was frustrating for a while, but for me it paid off big time in the long run.

      That being said, your periods definitely seem worse than mine. I don’t know if more severe equals fewer options, but I bet an OBGYN would have good answers.

      No idea about bc and sex drive. Mine was rock bottom for a while, but I was also on Zoloft, which is notorious for killing libido. I also started a different rx that makes bc less effective, and now I’m off entirely because my partner and I want a baby, so I have no idea what role bc played. Aren’t chronic health issues just so much fun (she said with an eye roll)?

  43. Venus*

    Foreign Octopus:
    Based on a post from a couple weeks ago, in response to teaching ESL online, here are some added suggestions:
    Dada abc (I think there are a few, so it is ‘abc’ specifically)
    Also try out Online ESL teacher pub group on FB
    I will also post a couple links in a reply (in case they get caught in moderation)

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      Hi! This is kind of you to remember and come back. Thanks so much for this, I’ll check them out later today. Your last suggestions were very helpful as well so things are already looking better!

  44. Jarffe*

    So I’m thinking about taking in ny sister’s cat when she goes away overseas next week. The problem is that I work long hours and she’s an old cat, I think about 14yrs old. Plus I rent so I’ll need to call the rental people and sort that all out. It should be fine, someone I know is on a similar contract with the same rental people and has two cats. Does anyone have any advice about older cats?

    1. Gerald*

      The best thing you can do is get them checked yearly by a vet because cats are good at hiding illness. Other than that, a comfy spot by a window and dedicated cuddle time should be more than enough.

    2. fposte*

      In addition to what Gerald said, I’d pay special attention to teeth and lessened food consumption that might indicate tooth problems, and I’d consider putting intermediate stops for higher perches, since they often can’t as comfortably jump up or down the same distance as in their youth.

    3. Auntie Social*

      Favorite foods, maybe a tin of sardines—a nice welcome gift and it keeps their appetite up.

    4. All Hail Queen Sally*

      This is so kind of you to take in an older cat! My Anthony is 14 and a real sweetie. Sleeps all the time, but acts like a frisky kitten (for about two minutes) if I dangle a string in front of him. The vet advises annual labwork, but he has not had any serious health problems (yet).

    5. cat socks*

      Have the vet run bloodwork to check for kidney or thyroid issues. Also blood pressure, if possible. Monitor for any signs of urination outside the box or constipation. Before my older kitty passed, she mostly enjoyed napping in the sun and occasionally rolling around with a catnip toy.

      1. pcake*

        This! Our elderly cat has had kidney disease, thyroid issues and severe IBS for years – he’s 20 now. There are treatments for all his issues, but it requires knowing about them.

        Find out from your sister what food the cat has been eating and stick with that. If the food is kibble, leave it out for free feeding so she can eat while you’re gone. If the food is wet food, give her a can before you leave and when you get home, and also try and leave some kibble so she can free feed. If you’re gone a long time, leaving two water bowls out is a good thing. That way if bowl one gets a little stale, the cat has an option.

        If the cat suddenly starts going outside the box, it could be a sign of a UTI, which needs to be treated by antibiotics. You don’t mention how long you’ll have the cat, but just an fyi here. For the last two years, our cat missed his box more or managed to pee over it. Our solution was to put an extra large kennel tray under the box for easier cleanup. When his legs got weaker, we removed the box altogether and filled the tray with litter.

        And Anonymouse for this nailed it – have your sister give you a blanket or shirt that smells like her. Also, although unappealing, a little scoop of used cat litter so the cat recognizes her smell in the cat box or take her current box, which will smell like her and make her more comfortable and likely to use it.

    6. HeyNonny*

      Do you have experience with cats in general? This will go more smoothly if the cat already knows you, but watch for refusal to eat, as that can go very bad with an older cat. Not the first day or so, but after that.

      1. Goose Lavel*

        After a day or two days of not eating, the cat can start developing hepatic lipadosis, a life threatening form of liver disfunction. This can happen even faster to a plump cat.

        With the change in environment, any cat will have stress, which cause them not to eat.
        I recommend that you carefully monitor the cat box for activity and have the vet’s number ready. We have had to force feed our 14 year old cat for several days when he became sick and depending upon the cat, this requires two people.
        Good luck

    7. Anonymouse for this*

      Could you leave something with your sister like a tshirt that you’ve worn and she can put it in the cat’s bedding. That way the cat knows your smell before she moves in the house. Might make the move a little easier.

    8. Aspiring Fish*

      a bit short time frame for this but can the cat visit a couple of times before your sister leaves? that way the cat is a little bit familiar with your environment

  45. Blarg*

    I’m going to move. And it is looking more and more like i will be moving without a new job. I have a few months of savings just for this. And I’m in the kind of field where I can always find a job, so I won’t starve, it just may not love it. But it is still scary. I just kind of hate where I live and after four years, it hasn’t changed. So I’m picking a new city. I have a few criteria. Otherwise it is a guess on where I’ll find the best job. My plan is to sublet or get a long term AirBnB for 2-3 months and see if new city is working or if I find a job elsewhere. I’ve moved to new places where I didn’t know anyone before. But never without school or a job to count on. It’s scary but I’m so excited to get out of here and not waste another whole summer. ~ 2 months to go! Anyone done similar? Advice?

    1. Pippa*

      No advice, but I just wanted to say that I love your attitude on this! You’ve obviously thought it through, recognized the risks, and come up with a flexible plan. Taking this kind of plunge is brave, and it sounds like you’re doing it in a smart way.

      1. Katefish*

        Done this a couple times and it’s hair-raising but SO worth it. All the best to you!
        In terms of advice, pre-arranging local interviews for jobs in New City was a big help each time…

  46. StellaBella*

    Can you knock on his door and tell him? Maybe out of privacy concerns you could frame it in a polite way?

  47. naha*

    a friend of mind is in the middle of grad school for history. it sounds like an INCREDIBLE amount of work and doesn’t seem redeeming from the stories she told me. i’m well aware of the low job prospects in academia (i work in an ed tech for profit), and i’m worried that she’s going to be suffering the adjunct life, crushed under debt + low wages and lack of tenure for like, all eternity. what i really want to say is “i wish you would drop out, do temping work until you find a good company, and then use your spare mental energy to do this in your spare time when it’s a labor of love.”

    i just don’t want her to end up like that “death of an adjunct” story. i’m scared for her. :(

    1. Overeducated*

      Don’t worry. People who get PhDs in fields like history can and do find other things to do besides wallow in adjunct poverty. I live near DC so I know multiple people with that and similar degrees working doing everything from giving out NEH grants, to documenting the histories of military units as they happen, to working for the State Department monitoring international issues, to ghostwriting politicians’ memoirs.

      You might consider that your advice may not be a good fit either. She would not necessarily be better off temping than getting transferrable experience part time or over the summers while having student benefits and stipend. My degree is not in history but I’m aware that the American Historical Association is working pretty hard to encourage students and faculty to create training and career exploration opportunities beyond research while still in school. She may have a tough career transition if academia doesn’t work out for her, it can take a while and people in her field are well aware of the challenges, but that’s hers to figure out and don’t think you have to be worried to this degree.

      Also, a paid PhD is a job, if not a luxurious one, and it is totally legit to want to treat it as work and not a hobby; saying it should be a “labor of love” can sound like devaluing that work and its professional contributions to the field and may not come off well. That’s not even mentioning the need for free time and often funding to travel to archives or do interviews. Lots of people stop doing research when they leave academia because they choose not to do unpaid work that is other people’s full time job for “love.”

      1. Lady Jay*

        Yep. Seconding this especially: She may have a tough career transition if academia doesn’t work out for her, it can take a while and people in her field are well aware of the challenges. This is true, but it’s also true that even if she were to drop out and temp as you suggest, she’d probably have a tough (and possibly unrewarding) career transition anyway; not doing the PhD is no guarantee of avoiding tight job markets and finding satisfying, well-paid work (otherwise, this blog wouldn’t exist!) In fact, difficult as the transition from academic to “alt-ac” work is, research shows that many people who make the jump wind up pretty satisfied with their careers later on. There is also “middle ground” between academic and non-academic work; people with PhDs go on to work as academic advisors, work in the teaching and learning centers at the university, work in administration, etc.

        Also I’d echo Overeducated’s point that doctoral research isn’t the kind of thing one does in one’s “spare time”, except in very rare circumstances: the institution (peers, faculty, access to a library) makes research possible, so usually one either does academic research in the context of an actual academic institution, or one doesn’t at all. Your friend has currently chosen to do the research. She could choose to make a different choice later on, of course, but it remains *her choice*.

        1. Overeducated*

          YES. Library access! I didn’t realize how huge a difference that made until I started with an employer with far more limited journal access than an academic library. (I’m still working on the more applied side of my field, so this really bothers me.) You can’t do decent research if you don’t stay up to date, and you can’t stay up to date without library privileges.

    2. anon today and tomorrow*

      I trust that your friend has considered all of this before starting her program. As someone who was in your friend’s shoes, it was pretty annoying to have friends or family worrying for me as though I wasn’t intelligent enough to figure out future job prospects on my own. If a friend had given me the advice you want to give her, I’d be pretty pissed. Grad school isn’t something you do in your spare time, and minimizing research as nothing more than a labor of love is insulting.

      There’s a misconception that people who go to grad school for the humanities have no job prospects and will have a life of debt and low wages. I received a PhD in English and now make six figures in a marketing company. A lot of people I knew during my grad school days went on to pretty successful corporate or government jobs. There are a lot more options than the adjunct life.

      As for the workload and whether or not it’s redeeming, it’s not your place to judge. You may not find it redeeming but perhaps she does, and that’s all that should matter. I understand your worry, but it also comes off as a bit paternalistic.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        The thing to realize about the adjunct life is that people choose to stay in it. They might be choosing for bad reasons (being afraid to move on, desperately hoping they’ll get a stable academic job when they realistically have no chance), but it’s not an indentured servitude and they can leave at any time they want.

        If someone is in the middle of a PhD and is really miserable, I’d advise them to leave. But it’s also really really normal to be in the middle of a PhD, to be stressed and overworked and have ridiculous stories about your work life, and ultimately be enjoying what you do and have it be worth finishing. Plus, dropping out of the PhD means that you won’t be eligible for academic jobs, or some of the high level alt-ac jobs.

        I have to say, though, that working random temp jobs in the hopes of getting hired on somewhere decent permanently seems like odd advice to me. She’d be trading one set of uncertainty (academic job market) for another (a string of temp jobs), and be giving up her student benefits and research that she presumably really likes. If she did decide to leave mid-way though, I’d be advising her to do something less random and more thought out for the next step.

    3. dumblewald*

      My company hires a lot of social sciences PhDs whose academic careers don’t work out for them, so there’s hope! The only sucky thing about it is you don’t NEED a PhD for the same job title usually, so sometimes it feels like a waste. The only main benefit is you might move up the ladder a bit faster.

    4. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      One of the things I’ve learned (my experience only) about people telling me stories is that sometimes, they are not looking for advice. They are just venting. To help them get through to the other side.

      So true for me that in the midst of my grad school, it was a grind. I was exhausted, etc etc. But… I was venting. I wanted encouragement. You might not be hearing the good stories, the moments of victory, the accomplishments.

      And the person’s underlying motivations – the “other half of the story” may not be clear. My goal was in part, to prove I could do it, I could get that degree, and I LOVE learning. The environment was hard, it was tough to pay for, and I had a tough time finding a job, but I still look back on my graduation with an enormous sense of pride that I made it.

      I couldn’t have stated it that clearly at the time, I just felt deep down that it was critical that I not give up. YMMV, but consider that maybe unless directly asked “should I quit” – you don’t say it. Reminding them of all the good reasons why they chose this path, instead, and how much progress they’ve made, works to help in a vent situation.

    5. naha*

      thanks for all the comments on this thread. i’m going to try to worry less! i really appreciate your honest and constructive thoughts on the matter. AMA commenters best.

  48. Ham and mayonnaise!!*

    Happy weekend, everyone.

    Anyone have suggestions for flats that are comfortable for people with foot problems? I just got a new job (many thanks to AAM!) and I will be switching from work in the field where I wore hoodies, jeans, and sneakers to working in a business casual corporate office. I’m a woman, have slightly wider feet, and have rheumatoid arthritis. Hush Puppies work decently for me- any other suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Kathenus*

      Depends on how casual your business casual is, but I love Skechers and there are quite a few different styles, some more casual some a bit nicer. I also love Rock Spring shoes, but they are hard to find anymore in the US.

      1. fposte*

        In a random YouTube moment, I learned that Emma Thompson wore Stella McCartney sneakers when being made a Dame. The powers that be were apparently quite taken aback, but I thought it was awesome.

    2. Dr. Anonymous*

      Ros Hommerson, Aravon and Rockports. I also got some wooden shoe width stretchers with little “bunion” inserts on Amazon so I can stretch my shoes so they fit the bumpy bits of my toes, because even “wide” shoes don’t always fit me. Maryland Square mail order catalogs specialise in width variations if you are tired of clicking the “wide” filter on Zappos and having 80% of the shoes disappear.

    3. just a random teacher*

      I used to wear SAS Free Times, which are little closer to “sneakers” than “dress flats”, but with an overtone of “medical shoes” that meant no one ever gave me any grief about not wearing dressier shoes. SAS also makes dressier, less medical-looking styles, but I needed something very wide that would fit orthotics, which limited my choices.

    4. Auntie Social*

      Easy Spirit low leather wedges, and Mephistos. Both are adjustable! Try Nordy’s and Zappos. Nordstrom used to be just a shoe store, and they still carry not-ugly wide sizes, bless ’em.

    5. HeyNonny*

      hoka one one black leather Bondi. They are large klunky looking black sneakers, that saved my feet when I had injured heels. They have a wide toe box and lots of cushion. They are all black, so you might be able to get away with them in a business environment ( I do, but my coworker s and manager did not notice right away when one of my other coworkers went from mid-back-length hair to bleached crew cut (“hey you look different today?”) ). They are a bit pricey, so I recommend trying them on somewhere, or ordering from a seller that is good for exchange/ return.

      I found Dansko to be good in arch support and toes, too wide in the heel. I flung one Dansko clog off walking briskly (NOT running) down the hall with results similar to an earlier post here referencing something along the lines of “ drunken baby giraffe.”

      Algeria is another brand to consider – they run a little short in the toes a s your feet will never look even adjacent to dainty in them. But they have a long t of options, and have good arches and heel cups.

  49. Cheshire Cat*

    I’m guessing that at least a few AAM readers use US-based specialty pharmacies. I do, and I cannot stand the one that, up until now, has been the only one designated in-network by my insurance co. There are multiple layers of red tape around getting every monthly refill — so much so that on occasion I’ve had to skip doses, or cut back on dosage for a couple days. I have a case manager now, & he’s able to cut through the b.s. and get my prescription on time. But I’m not supposed to call him every month … this pharmacy is *very* bureaucratic.

    At any rate, I just received a letter from my insurance co. that they are adding two more specialty pharmacies to the in-network list, and I am overjoyed! But before I switch, I’d like to know if anyone here has experience with either one, & if you’d recommend it?

    The new pharmacies are Accredo & CVS Caremark. Thank you in advance!

    1. Ali G*

      I use CVS Caremark for all my prescriptions and have never had a problem. They’ve always been the RX provider for my health insurance. I take fairly normal prescriptions, nothing specialty.

      1. Cheshire Cat*

        Thank you! I suspect the red tape factor is higher with specialty meds, but good to know Caremark is responsive with other meds!

        1. fposte*

          I have CVS Caremark as well. I don’t know if all their policies are created equal, but I’ve been very fortunate in how much it covers–I take a few really expensive meds that they cover entirely once I meet the deductible. They do sometimes require a physician statement that that particular medication is necessary, which is a PITA, but it lasts for a few years. I did change one medication because the old one fell off their formulary, but it wasn’t one where change was a big deal.

          BTW, I did just look and found the CVS formulary online, just using that as the search term, so you could have a look to see if they cover what you need. The Accredo one was a little less clear–it looks like that’s specifically a specialty pharmacy, so you may not have to deal with them.

          1. Cheshire Cat*

            I will definitely check their formularies, thanks for suggesting it!

            How are you finding the service/timeliness? My current specialty pharmacy insists on calling my dr Every.Month to be sure he knows about a particular side effect, and that causes delays in shipping the med to me. I don’t understand why they can’t put a note in my record that my dr knows and prescribes it anyway! He told me about it 6 years ago, when I first started taking it.

            1. fposte*

              I don’t actually do mail order with them–I fill my prescriptions at the pharmacy in my supermarket, which feels easier to me so I’ve never bothered to get on the mail order program. I do have one prescription with big warnings that insurance calls me about periodically but it doesn’t slow anything down.

    2. Kathenus*

      I use Accredo and have had good luck. My delays have been with my insurance company and new specialty prescription approvals and things getting sent to the wrong specialty pharmacy by my doctor’s office sometimes. But once with Accredo they’ve been really good.

    3. Snazzy Hat*

      My partner has used Accredo in the past, & their customer service was great. However, he was very irritated by the “handler” who checked up on him every few days to make sure his appointments and whatnot were set up, but he can’t recall if that was through Accredo or the drug company.

      My only beef with CVS/Caremark is that I’ve gotten different answers regarding transfer. I started out using their mail-order service, but now I use the CVS in my nearby Target. Mail-order says Target CVS needs to call mail-order and request a transfer. Target CVS says they can just call my doctor & get the transfer that way. I still get calls from mail-order saying my script is ready for a refill & asking if I’d like to fill it at this time. So their service is great, but their bureaucracy is a little misguided.

    4. Kuododi*

      CVS Caremark manages the pharmacy portion of mine and DH healthcare policy. Personally I’ve found them to be a PITA regarding medication approval. I suspect however, that may be more a function of the contract negotiations between DH employer and Caremark. More than once, I have had to have my MD’s file multiple appeals regarding perscribed meds which Caremark refused to cover. Best wishes.

    5. IntoTheSarchasm*

      We have CVS and they are very good, even helped my husband with speciality injectables for Eczema and Cholesterol. He has been very satisfied.

      1. Wulfgar*

        I have been forced to use CVS, and I hate it. I used to use my local grocery store, and I earned fuel perks, and the pharmacist would go out of her way to find discounts for drugs that my pets used. My pharmacist knew my name and was friendly. My health insurance provider, United Health, now only pays for drugs via mail or at CVS. CVS receipts are two feet long, and they don’t offer discounts or look for better deals. The techs and pharmacists at my store are often testy. I hate CVS.

  50. matcha123*

    This is a question that is somewhat work related, but not completely, so I hope it’s OK.
    In the Friday open thread, a few people mentioned having superiors who wanted them to “argue” their position with regards to their work. I have a supervisor who I think thinks that way and I also have a friend that seems to think that way.
    Personally, I find it incredibly stressful to have to argue and defend my position against people that are older than me and/or have some kind of power over me. I was raised to do as I was told, to never question authority (as in teachers, not some crazy person trying to get me to do something illegal), and such.
    I am actually fine defending my position when I feel the other party respects me as a person and is genuinely interested in hearing how I came to my conclusion.
    The problem I have with the women above is that they basically say I don’t know what I am talking about and dismiss me. That leads me to feeling like I’m a six year old running up to a parent or teacher saying, “But..but…listen to meee!!” I guess a big part of this feeling comes from never feeling like my peers took me seriously, and always being in a lower position at work.

    If you are someone that wants to be challenged, how do you want to be challenged? Do you let your friend know that you respect their thoughts?
    If you are someone that’s being pushed to argue or challenge someone, how do you deal with it in a way that doesn’t start unnecessary drama?

    1. Overeducated*

      I have thoughts on this in a work setting where i think this can be useful that i shouldn’t get into in this open thread, but I think it’s a totally different scenario socially. A friend you constantly have to prove your points to sounds exhausting and frustrating. Does she think it’s a fun debate or something? Maybe you could ask her where this is coming from and tell her it makes you feel like she’s not believing or trusting you, in case she doesn’t realize how it comes off.

      1. matcha123*

        With the friend I think she wants me to expose weaknesses in her life, dates, family structure that she can’t see for herself, then she will tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about and finally after some time has passed, she’ll admit that my points were solid.
        I find it draining and would be more open to those kind of debates if she didn’t get so worked up. If I get worked up with her, then she feels like I’m not listening to her and will go on some personal attacks. I feel like I have to be the emotionally mature, calm side all of the time…while also asking her the pointed questions she craves.

        1. Washi*

          Honestly, it sounds like she wants you to be her therapist, and you are right to back away from that dynamic.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      So you get the arguing at work and the arguing during off hours with your friend, no reprieves anywhere.

      My friend answer is different than my boss answer. I have a friend with very strong opinions. I know I can have strong opinions. I know we both can’t do this at the same time. So when we disagree, I sometimes say, “okay you win”. I can see by the look on his face he does not feel like he won. ;) Other times I blow by his upset by just stating facts in a particular tone of voice, “oh, you silly goose…”. I notice when I use that tone of voice the argument is over. Other times I will say, “I can’t do this today”, if I am tired or had a long day.

      I do have times where the point is meaningful to me and I will keep following up until my point finally gets heard.

    3. Asenath*

      I used to enjoy debating things, and never really had much issue with doing it with those more senior or more powerful than I am. I did learn over time to spot certain responses that indicated that the debate wasn’t going anywhere I thought was interesting. They would include all those old fallacies I was taught in school – bandwagon effect (“everyone knows …”), appeal to authorities (“Famous author/person says this so it must be right”) and so on. No logic, no analysis of premises means no interesting debate. And it would include excessive emotion, which is often a sign that the speaker is so personally attached to a position that they can’t discuss it rationally. So then, I extricate myself, say something bland like “I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree” and change the subject or move away to chat with something else. If I really don’t know what I’m talking about (that is, I don’t have much information on the subject) I won’t be drawn into debate. If I do, and someone else says I don’t, I’ll suggest they check some reputable sources and move on – making such generalizations don’t promise an interesting debate. Similar methods can be used with friends, but a close friend can be told directly something like “I’m really not in the mood to discuss X right now; can we talk about something else?” And if they’re a good friend, they should respect that request.

      I don’t know if I want to be challenged – sometimes I enjoy it. But I’ve noticed how easily it can get out of hand, for the reasons above, when the person doing the challenging gets upset because I don’t accept their views or their arguments automatically, and then it’s best to move on. I don’t need to convince everyone who challenges me that I’m right.

    4. Traffic_Spiral*

      Frankly, as a lawyer I don’t argue unless I’m getting paid for it. So does your boss want you to give a nice clear logical explanation about what you’re doing and why? Yeah, that’s fair – how else are they supposed to know what you’re up to? Do they basically want to play the Mortal Combat music every time you present a plan? Screw off, that’s douchey.

      TL;DR: If people want you to fight pointlessly, that’s a sign of dysfunction and you need to get out. But also you should be able to clearly and concisely explain your opinions and plans – and you should have opinons and plans, because only supervillans need yes-man minions and even supervillans like a little common sense and sass.

    5. Ann O.*

      There’s a difference between discussion and having to defend oneself against being dismissed, so I tend to feel like if you’re having trouble in the latter and not the former, then it means you’re correctly reading the lack of respect.

      I really like respectful discussion, and I think it’s a pretty normal expectation that people can defend or advocate for their position in cases of disagreement. But I am very over bad faith argumentation. I do my best to simply disengage from those discussions. It is very depressing seeing bad faith argumentation or argument by snark seeming to gain ground in my social circles, though.

      I’ve had some encounters with partners in hobby work where they’ve gotten really upset when I’ve asked them to explain their thought process because I didn’t see how their recommended action would produce the intended result. That’s very frustrating! I don’t understand how anyone can expect a partnership to function with no disagreement ever. Sometimes, you are going to have to explain yourself!

  51. Ali G*

    Dog doors!
    I have a question about dog doors. Is it a no-go if there are a few steps down immediately on the outside of the door? We have a screened in patio off the back of our house, that then has a screen door that leads outside. Immediately beyond the screen door are 3 steps that lead down to the ground. I’d love to put a dog door in the screen door so that we don’t have to walk across the whole patio (which is usually dirty so you need shoes) to let the dog out the second door. But I am worried it’s dangerous for him to use a dog door with a drop off on the other end.
    Anyone have experience with this or ideas?

    1. Vanauken*

      While we were house-searching recently, we visited a house that had a dog-door to the outside over a short drop, but they’d attached a (pretty permanent-looking) small wooden ramp below it. So the dog could just step down the ramp onto the ground. The ramp was covered in carpet, so it had plenty of traction for the dog’s paws. (It was under a patio overhang, so I’m assuming the carpet stayed pretty dry.)

      The dog went in and out it several times while we were touring, so it seemed to work pretty well! But not my house, so I can’t really speak to how well it might work long term. But maybe something to consider?

    2. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      First, the dog might be able to drop out and go down, but getting back in might be too hard. The dog door won’t come to the bottom of your door. So the dog has to not only go “up” the height of the stair plus over the extra inches of that lip / bottom area of the door, push into the door flap, and then propel self upwards into the house. Size and age of the dog may make a big difference.

      Second, I have a small landing there – so it is straight in – but as my small dog aged, she still wanted me to come let her in. (I got a portable aluminum pet ramp, and she preferred that to the stairs, but still waited patiently for me to let her in… ).

      She also took to going around to the OTHER door (we have two to the back yard) closer to the kitchen, so that she could wait there (both have patio covers, at the end, both had ramps).

      I did actually add a pair of slip on croc-type shoes, at the door, so that if I had to run out and find her, help her, fix something… I wasn’t tracking in. They could sit under the patio cover in the rain, etc, and filled that gap. You could try that first and just let him/her out….

    3. just a random teacher*

      If you’re thinking of the ramp route but don’t want a dog ramp to dodge as you go up and down your stairs, you could also put the dog door someplace other than inside a human door, such as next to it, and then build the ramp down from there. Our basset hound decided to Kool-Aid Man through the screened floor-to-ceiling opening next to the screen door one day, and if we get around to putting in a dog door in the screen we’re going to put it there rather in the door itself. (We have a little non-screened open-to-the-elements deck outside our screened-with-a-roof patio, so not your situation with the immediate steps.)

    4. Not All*

      Depends on the dog. My big dogs (rottie, German shepherds, and a whole lot of foster boxers, huskies, border collies, etc) never had any issues at all going in/out of the dog door with steps. The steps were normally tread-depth but about 3′ feet wide so maybe they turned their bodies at the top of the stairs? I don’t think I ever really watched beyond making sure that new dogs could figure out how to use the door since every now & then I’d get one who didn’t want to push on the flap.

    5. Brunch with Sylvia*

      The ground outside of our doggie door slopes away from the house. My hubs put a couple of small cinder blocks outside of the door and the pups have had no problems learning and adjusting. Sometimes they fly outta that door so fast I don’t think their paws even touch the steps.

  52. anon24*

    Who else is enjoying this weather? It feels more like June than April here and I’m not complaining. I’m happier and have more energy than I’ve had in months, and the last 2 days I woke up on my own and ready to go before 7am! Pretty impressive considering I’ve struggled all winter to get up before 930 on my days off work. I work tomorrow but currently am sitting on my balcony enjoying the warm breeze and drinking iced tea. How’s everyone else doing?

    1. Ali G*

      It’s great! Breezy, warm and sunny. Finished up some chores and going to take the dog on a nice walk around the neighborhood.

  53. Jackie*

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a room air purifier ? The allergies are really getting bad and I have heard an air purifier would be helpful. Any advice ?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      YES. My husband used to have terrible allergies — literally was taking multiple Bendadryls every day and it still wasn’t controlling them. We bought one of these for each floor of our house. I was skeptical that it would make that much difference, but it’s been magical. He hasn’t taken a Bendadryl in years now. We’ve bought them for family members with allergies, and everyone reports significant improvement if not total relief:

      https://amzn.to/2DnCUOc

  54. carrie heffernan*

    So the lease is up on my car next month. I am way under on mileage but have a few large scrapes on the bumper. I am not sure if I will have time to get them fixed before I have to turn the car in but I don’t want to pay a huge penalty either. Does anyone have experience with this?

    1. Lucette Kensack*

      What are you planning to do next? Buy your lease? Lease a new car from the same dealer? Lease from a different dealer? Etc.

      Dealers are likely going to be very flexible to keep or earn your business. If you’re planning to buy or lease another car from a dealer, you may be able to turn your car in as is. (You can turn your lease in to another dealer — even another brand! — if they are interested in buying it, and if you’re well under mileage they probably will be.

      We just sold our two leased Hondas to a Mazda dealer and got two new Mazdas. The Mazda dealer “bought out” the lease payments on the Hondas and applied the additional price (the amount they offered over the lease buyout) as a trade-in value on the new cars. It also avoided the “turn-in” fee.

  55. Nessun*

    Weird fangirl/mental health problem. I’m a huge Marvel fan, and a bunch of us have tickets to see Avengers: Endgame on Friday. I am anxious about going, and not sure how to proceed. I mean – I want to go, I want to see it with my friends, and I know that the entire internet will have comments and memes shortly after, which I’d rather not puzzle about if I can know what happened instead. Plus – hello, resolution? But here’s the thing – I kinda utterly freaked out after the first one. It was NOT purely related to the movie; there was a lot of other stuff going on in my life, and the movie was the 2×4 straw on the runty camel’s back.

    I am a big fan of movies, and I am a huge marshmallow. No apologies, I’m fine with it, I just bring kleenex to EVERYTHING – I never know what will make me cry. My friends think it’s hilarious (some seriously weird things have had me bawling), and I’m okay with them making jokes! We all knew I’d cry at Infinity War – the basic premise and assumed conclusion were going to involve world-ending and character death. Of course, no one (including me) realized I’d start at the 12 minute mark or so and never really stop. (Without full context, let me say I’m a huge Loki fan…things went downhill for me fast.) And with everything that happened during the two weeks leading up to this rather epic storyline, I…went into shock. Cried through the movie, walked home without being able to speak, sat in my dark apartment for hours on the couch, unable to function. Eventually I realized what must be going on, made some strong sweet tea, and bundled myself into bed. Took me the whole weekend to begin to function, and I would not discuss the movie on Monday. (I also made an appointment with a therapist, and worked through what was going on otherwise.)

    Now Endgame is rearing it’s head, and I want to go. I do. But I find myself anxious and teetering on an edge. My friends will go regardless, heck, the world is going to this movie, it’ll make billions. And I do want to know what happens! But I’m emotional sometimes, and I recognize that I’m going to need to be at my mental tip-top best to handle this, and I am rather worried this movie will hurt me like the last one does. It’s such a ridiculous thing to be triggered about – trauma, amirite?

    Anyway – it seems like such an incredibly first world problem one moment (scared of a movie I want to see), and then it’s a legitimate worry the next (everyone has the right to be upset by whatever upsets them, trauma and feelings are real and need to be addressed)…I’m kinda leaning towards a few stiff drinks before the movie on Friday, and that’s probably not the best solution. Not sure there’s anything to be done here really.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I’d stop this activity, it’s not working for you.

      I am not sure when it happened but I started having a strong negative reaction to violent movies. And it stay just about movies for a few decades. Then the negative reaction shifted to tv shows. I could not sit through a violent tv program.

      I cut way down on how much of that type of thing I watched period. I guess I reached an overload point? I used to watch this stuff often. eh. We change as we go along.

      Honestly, it sounds like this stuff is just not for you.

      1. Nessun*

        TBH, the violence is not a bother to me (I am somewhat desensitized in that respect). It’s usually the music that gets to me – a good orchestral score can knock me off my feet, both in a movie and hearing it before or after. I’m the same with songs/instrumentals that aren’t directly connected to a visual. I guess I could say it’s a nod to how well composers can orchestrate their movies!

        You raise a valid point about overload though. The first time was definitely due to an overload of emotion, based on so many things. I think I need to take stock of what’s upsetting me/impacting me this week/month, and see how much of that I’ve properly dealt with before I watch anything that might stir me up.

        1. valentine*

          I agree with Not So New Reader.

          I don’t understand your willingness to risk such a massively intense reaction that leaves you not functioning. I think you’d need intense therapy to reach a place where you know your triggers well enough to severely mitigate their impact, and even then, the best thing to do might be to avoid Avengers movies.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            The last upsetting movie I made myself sit through was Apocalypse Now. The place served beer and the beer did not even help. Then I said to myself, “I don’t have to do this and I am not going to do this anymore.” If I need a dose of upset, I can just read the news and seems to be enough.

    2. Asenath*

      I opt out of things I no longer enjoy – and that’s included violent books and movies that are now too much for me.

      If you still want to keep up with the characters, you can always wait a bit and watch the movie at home, where you can turn it off if you want. But you don’t need to go to an even that you know will upset up. Well, and entertainment event – obviously, there are upsetting events people go to, like funerals and memorials, but something intended as entertainment isn’t worth upsetting yourself over.

      1. Tau*

        Yeah, I lost the ability to view about 99% of video-based media (and everything in a cinema) without major stress and overstimulation sometime in my early twenties. It particularly sucks when it’s something I’m fannish about… but there are ways to manage. I’d definitely recommend watching at home rather than in a cinema, maybe with a trusted friend or two, if you can hold out that long – that way you can have whatever reaction you’re going to have in a private, safe environment.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I was in my early 20s also. I wonder what triggers this. Life was not that kind at that point, maybe that was a factor. Interesting that you mention this.

          1. Tau*

            Super interesting! It’s always been weird to me that it happened so suddenly when I was already an adult – like, I distinctly remember that I was watching Avatar: the Last Airbender while it was coming out and in season two I was struggling a little, and then it kept getting worse and worse until halfway through season three I had to give up watching it entirely. There are a few TV-related things I can point to that could have been triggers, but they all happened a few years earlier and the reaction seems so extreme – a decade later, this has shown no signs of abating.

            (FWIW, I’ve always chalked this up to “weird thing that is probably caused by the autism in some way” because a) it involves sensory issues and hypersensitive reactions b) almost all my unusual behaviours tie back to autism in some way, but really I have no clue how accurate that is. Would love to know if this is a known Thing because it’s something I find supremely awkward to deal with in RL – I sometimes pretend I’ve done stuff like see the latest Star Wars just so I don’t have to field the questions.)

            1. Not So NewReader*

              I don’t even try to fake it any more, how sad is that. I hope you take this one off your “autism list” and move it over to “human being list”. Eh, this is who I am, I don’t derive a sense of being entertained when I watch something horrific. Instead I find myself on edge and anxious for days afterward. I think that this is just a pretty human type reaction and I do understand that some people don’t flinch an eye. Differences in people, that is all.

            2. Awful Annie*

              I believe it’s a Known Thing for autism – I need to be really careful about what I watch, plus of course there’s a host of other things like being trapped in a dark noisy room with flashing lights and unwritten behaviour rules that may or may not be followed.

            3. LJay*

              I have the same thing.

              I’ve never been diagnosed, but I strongly believe I am somewhere on the autism spectrum. (Like, when I was in elementary school I had to have lunch with a para-professional and one other student in a classroom every day for 4 years because the cafeteria was way too loud for me to deal with. And I’ve always had rather marked social differences. So I’m not just making things up).

              I pretty much watch the same tv shows over and over again because they are “safe”. I know the plot-lines. I know the characters. I don’t have to invest any mental energy into watching them.

              Watching a new show or movie requires a lot of energy investment, and a lot of times I’m just not up to it. Especially if there is a lot of potential for death or dramatic tension etc. Like the most recent show I had to stop watching was Drop Dead Diva. It was cute and fun at first, but then I couldn’t deal with the tension (and I mean it’s not even very much tension). Even if I intellectually know it will all be fine at the end.

              And when I do watch and listen to things, I do it for emotional escape, so I’m not a fan of how dark all the movies in a few fandoms have been lately. I was caught off-guard by Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and have avoided the most recent Avengers movies because we knew they were going to be dark. Some of the recent Star Wars, too. Like, real life is depressing enough as it is, I don’t need my movies to be able to be summarized with “(almost) everyone dies at the end”.

              So yeah, I pretty much guard my emotional energy by limiting the things I watch to mostly be things that I know are “safe” for me.

    3. Akcipitrokulo*

      Assuming you want to see it – which is reasonable :)

      Working out who you’re going with – making sure it’s people you trust – and working out some plans in advance could help? Everything from having plenty of hankies, favourite snacks to a signal which means get me out of here?

      Maybe go to a second showing with someone who’s seen it before and will be available to help you if needed?

      If you can find a showing that is likely to be quieter than others, that may make it easier on you. Have seats near exit if you can.

      It’s possible preparing yourself and knowing that you have the options all ready to deal with it might be enough to get you through it?

      Also it might be an idea – if you haven’t already – to rewatch infinity war somewhere safe and private.

      1. Nessun*

        I think, after reflecting all morning, that I do really want to go. We are going to a later showing, and I’m going with the same folks I saw Infinity War with – and I specifically explained my reaction to my best friend after that debacle, so she’d know what had happened (I wanted her to be aware of what shock looked for me, so she’d know it under any circumstance – though I’m sure she could have done without the object lesson).

        I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch Infinity War since that first viewing. Very good point, for a lot of reasons, I should watch it beforehand, in the privacy and comfort of my living room.

        1. Akcipitrokulo*

          It sounds like you’re getting your plans in place – I hope you enjoy the movie!

    4. Briefly, anon!*

      If you really want to go, why not wait a day or two for the plot to be posted on wikipedia? Then you can do some emotional processing before seeing it. I usually do that. I don’t like being surprised, and it keeps me from getting emotionally involved to a degree that I don’t enjoy.

      1. Nessun*

        That’s a good idea. I shall consider it carefully – I’m a little worried that anticipating moments I won’t like could make it worse; my imagination is pretty crazy at times. (As an example, Titanic was not easier to watch, knowing the boat would sink; I actually ended up exclaiming in the theatre because of where my head went with that knowledge, and I hate talking in the theatre!) But in this instance, it might make sense.

        1. spiralingsnails*

          If you feel like knowing the full plot could be too much weight to bear, another option would writing down your riskiest triggers and asking a friend who saw the first showing to tick off any of them that happened. Like “Does X character die, y break up with z, or is there a kid shown with blood on them?” It keeps it focused on anything likely to send you over the edge but it doesn’t spoil the whole plot. (Loki – me too. )

        2. Batgirl*

          Knowing the boat would sink wasnt really a spoiler though. A big part of creating tension in a narative is giving the audience a non negotiable, like a bomb going off in the first scene then a flashback to ‘two days earlier’ and the point of the tension is making you worry about which characters are going to survive the bomb.

          Music is another way to build tension, so I’d say…you don’t really need the tension in your life? If I were you, I’d try watching Titanic again (I wouldn’t go straight to the movie which affected you the most) and seeing if genuinely knowing the spoilers (X is going to die, even though there was totally enough room on the raft!) makes any kind of difference. Do it with alternative music/white noise available with earplugs to experiment with that angle.

          There are also gadgets available to measure stress (I think it’s called a heart rate feedback and is an anger management tool). You could use that as a way to take a risk with a safety net alert of when you truly have to bail. Something to ask your nominated professional about. Please don’t dismiss your health issue as ridiculous though. It’s a valid thing to be worried about, make sure you’re taking this risk for your own recreational happiness and not because of an old fashioned idea of normality or toughness.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      I’m going Friday too, and I’m so excited I could scream (and have done! :D) but also dreading it because I know it will be tough to let go of this story arc.

      An extremely emotional movie can be a catharsis for some folks — I know when I feel like I need to vent but can’t, watching something that makes me cry actually helps me feel better. It seems like for you, this may be the opposite?

      Asenath suggested, and I second, maybe not seeing it at the cinema, but at home where you can process / stop / start the film. From what people are saying, I think this one is going to be even more intense than Infinity War. Chris Evans said he saw the first hour and choked up three times and he’s IN it. I’m definitely taking an entire box of tissue, and I will absolutely be sharing it.

      Briefly, anon! also had a good suggestion about reading the plot before you go. It might be that the energy of watching it with an audience heightens your reaction. So spoiling it for yourself beforehand could help blunt that response.

      Whatever you decide, I hope you can find a way to enjoy the film without too much difficulty.

      1. Nessun*

        I usually find movies an excellent source of catharsis! I enjoy crying at movies and getting it all out, but Infinity War was…extreme. I’m sure this will be intense. I hadn’t heard Chris Evans’ comments on IW; that’s very interesting to hear!

        I’m of two minds about reading the plot beforehand – it is a great suggestion on some levels, but anticipation might also make things worse. Of course, anticipation is what’s got me here right now. I knew this movie would be tough, the week after watching IW.

        Thanks. I’m not going to abandon the fandom now; I’m far too invested! I guess forewarned is forearmed, in this case.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          No no, Chris’s comment referred to Endgame. The only person who’s seen the entire script is Robert Downey Jr. He said people will have no idea, just none. Ha, my fangirling friend and I have spent HOURS discussing what could happen. We think we’ve got it figured out, but according to him, we don’t!

          I can’t imagine stopping now either. I’ve invested too much time/money/angst into it too, haha. I’m sure that whatever happens, I’ll be satisfied. Someone asked a question on Quora the other day —”What will you do if Endgame sucks?” I wrote an answer — roughly, “It won’t suck; are you kidding? After all the work they put into it and how the films have been getting better as they go along? We might be disappointed or heartbroken, but there is no way this movie will be bad.”

          1. Nessun*

            Ah I see! Sorry, I read that wrong. Well…I’m sure Chris Evans knows better what to look for, so that’s a vote in favour of knowing some things in advance. But yeah, it’s so hard to say a full goodbye to something I’ve loved (emotional roller coaster and all), so I am assuming that it will be rough, but still good. Interestingly, I don’t consider watching something that makes me sob a bad thing – or proof of a bad movie, so no matter what, I think I’ll find it a good movie. I just don’t want it to hurt. I keep thinking of those booths at comicon with the free mental health moments for people traumatized by IW.

            I think I need to have my place set up for cozy and comfy and a big cup of tea the moment I get home, in addition to everything else suggested.

        2. PetticoatsandPincushions*

          I want to add to the voices of everyone suggesting you wait and read the plot, but I would say specifially read a synopsis. Those tend to be quite detailed, so the sense of anticipation might not be as strong. To use your Titanic example, the plot might tell you Rose and Jack fall in love and experience a disaster when the boat sinks, but a synopsis will start with Jack winning those tickets and elaborate through the storyline, so you don’t only know the big things that happen, you get a map of how to get there. I say this as a huge fan of spoilers- I almost always read synopses before I watch something, especially if I know it’s complicated or difficult. I hate horror movies, but was interested in The Witch and finally watched it on Netflix a few months ago. Having the Wiki synopsis in my hand allowed me to feel like I could enjoy the substance of the movie, because I wasn’t stressed out waiting for blood or jump scares. It sounds like you have a deep emotional investment in the movie so I think you ought to go, but give yourself some cerebral bubble wrap for the experience :D

    6. D'Euly*

      I’ve had similar reactions to movies and can sympathize. Drinking beforehand was… counterproductive, shall we say. One thing that does help me a LOT is going to matinees: coming out of the dark theater into a sunlit world makes an enormous difference to my recovery (and my ability to separate movie-induced from real-world-induced emotion). That’s not helpful if you want to go to openings, I know! The other thing is simply once you know this is coming, you can plan for cozy-times as soon as it’s over: take concrete steps to prepare for tea and blankets (add friends, furry creatures, a fire, warm cookies, etc. as suits your taste) so that that recovery-period is set in your mind even during the movie.

      I also would make *sure* you really want to rewatch Infinity War right before this. I’ve found that, even with very emotional first viewings, the details do fade over time and rewatching stirs them all back up again. You might not want that just before seeing the next.

    7. Librarian of SHIELD*

      I had a similar experience with Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith when I was in college. In my case, my reaction was about 15% the actual events of the movie and 85% lingering emotional baggage from previous trauma. I totally understand your worry about stepping back into the world of this story, even though you really, really want to.

      What worked for me when I wanted to get back into Star Wars media was doing a whole lot of self care in the time leading up. You want to make sure you’re as healthy as you can be before you step back in. If that means a whole lot of journaling, or bubble baths, or meditation, do what works for you and don’t judge yourself too harshly if it’s not happening on the time frame you wanted.

      You said you’re planning to see this next movie with the same people you saw the last one with, so they’ll know at least part of this history. Let them take care of you. When I go into anxiety mode, it’s hard for me to let people in because I feel like I’m too much of a burden. But that’s not true. Your friends love you and enjoy doing these things with you, and they want you to be as comfortable as you can in this. So let them in as much as you’re able, and you can all get through together.

      From one anxious nerd to another, you got this.

    8. Lilysparrow*

      I empathize. For me, I love swords-and-sorcery stuff. I know I’d love most of Game of Thrones – the storytelling, the dialogue! Dragons, ffs! Iain Glen’s scruffy beard! Peter Dinklage doing anything! Gwendolyn Christie being glorious! The gore and battles don’t bother me. Killing beloved characters doesn’t bother me.

      But I can’t watch rape or zombies. No dice. Violent screaming nightmares for days. Not an option.

      So I get my dragons-knights-adventure-battle-quest fix via YouTube clips. It’s kind of paltry and frustrating, but I get to see most of the great character-interaction moments. And it’s better than dealing with the fallout.

      I’m sure your movie will get sliced and diced into digestible chunks very quickly. Could be an option?

    9. Not A Manager*

      This advice isn’t specifically about this movie, but about being able to watch movies in general/interact with media you like. You might consider a few sessions of CBT. Not necessarily to work out all of your quote-unquote “issues” that underlie this response (which you’ve worked on with your therapist), but more to work out concrete strategies for dealing with the issue of media-watching in itself. Techniques and scripts so that you can enjoy the experience without internalizing all of the content.

      As a silly example, when I get too immersed in movies, I force myself to look around the theatre, noting the rows of seats and the exit signs, etc., and I remind myself that this intense experience has a context – I’m in a theatre watching an entertainment. It helps to pull me back if I’m going in too deep.

      1. Nessun*

        That’s a very good idea! I tend to get so invested in any movie that I forget where I am (it’s one of the things I love about movies in dark theatres with no talking/phone noises…). I should try to keep that in mind, to pull myself out of the movie if needed.

  56. I am Samantha*

    Tips for restoring hair that has been ruined by bleach? I made a stupid decision and let my friends convince me to color my hair. Getting my thick, virgin hair ice blonde was a process and it dried out my hair so much. The upkeep on my roots didn’t help and my hair was eventually destroyed to the point of melted straw. I had it dyed back to black and lots of the worst parts had to be cut off. My roots and the dyed color look the same but the new growth is so much healthier than the old, dyed bits. I was never big on hair maintenance before I colored it and the only stuff I did when it was colored applies to colored blonde hair. I’m okay with whatever cost since I already spent thousands only to wreck my hair. There’s so much advice on the internet I don’t even know where to start. I lost a few inches in the process and may have to cut off a few more and while I am fine with that I would like to get my hair healthy again. If anyone who knows about this kind of stuff would like to share tips that would be great. Much appreciated :)

    1. fposte*

      You can’t really make already grown hair healthier–it’s not a living substance–so you’re limited to treatments that will basically coat the damaged strands to add strength and smoothness (hair masks seem to be popular there) and treating it like an invalid (no heat, rare shampooing). Have you asked a stylist about this? They’re going to have a lot better idea of how viable a preservation plan is by looking at your hair.

    2. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      + what fposte said. But… in the meantime. Look at the ethnic hair care section for restorative/ treatments for hair damaged by chemical straightening. Basically, you have to add back some oil (not at the roots) to those straw-like ends. Hot oil treatments, Sheen spray, deep conditioning – don’t get it on your scalp or on the healthy hair, as the healthy hair will look greasy.
      Also look up “conditioner wash.” Don’t even bother using shampoo. Just wash with conditioner. You are trying to make that damaged hair look less dry.
      In the end, though, super good nutrition (zinc, biotin) and growing out the healthy, trimming off the broken – is your key.

    3. SOAS (NA)*

      Ohh black dye is the worst for your hair, nad I learned that the hard way. I wnet through several color cycles. I have naturally black hair but at one point I got so sick of the highlights and color that I dyed it black. When I wanted to color again, it was orange. So no choice but to let it grow out and keep cutting it.
      The best thing to do, is to condition and get regular, frequent haircuts to cut off the dead/colored ends.
      You can try deep conditioning treatments. There are home remedies as well (mayonaise, coconut oil, olive oil — not all at the same time!) come to mind.

    4. Chi chan*

      There is not much to be done for hair already grown but you can eat a healthy diet with vitamins so the hair growing out is healthy.

    5. Lilysparrow*

      Conditioning treatments can mask the damage to a certain extent but won’t actually fix it. It might be time to consider whether you’d look better in a pixie cut or even a buzz. The new hair will take the same amount of time to grow, but is the damaged hair worth keeping at all?

    6. Almost Academic*

      Olaplex hair masks (Sephora sells it). Pricy for a bottle, I think it’s around $40 or so. But it lasts for a long time, and I’ve never found anything else better at restoring hair that has been colored or bleached. I’ve seen a huge difference in my own unicorn hair, and when I asked my hairdresser (specialized in wild hair colors) she agreed that it was the one product that actually is as good as the cult following it has says.

  57. Fellow Traveler*

    What would you say is the most valuable/ influential/ lasting thing your parents (or parental figures in your life) have done/ taught you/ given you? I’ve been pondering this since the college admissions scandal broke out in the US- about what are the things a parent (I have two children) can do for their kids that are truly helpful towards them being successful, however you want to define that. I wonder if the parents that paid to get their children into top colleges- did they think that is the best use of their resources to benefit their children? (Or, more likely, they had so much money that it didn’t feel like a big expense?)
    For me, monetarily, my parents paid all my college tuition so I didn’t have to take out any student loans. I didn’t appreciate it as much at the time, but I’ve come to see that graduating without student loans was an incredible gift. I’d also say piano lessons were a great thing that they provided.
    Non-monetarily – they let me study what I want to (I work in the arts), and they said to me, “You can always come home if you need to.” That kind of faith and support has been invaluable. And now that I have kids they give us an incredible amount of their time to watch them. they both worked a lot when I was growing up, and weren’t always around, but now, they come visit and help with the children whenever we need them to. My parents sometimes really irritate me, so I feel like I need to remind myself not to take them for granted because they really have done so much.
    What kind of things did your parents do that you feel had the biggest payoff for the person you’ve become?

    1. Square Root Of Minus One*

      They’re on my side.
      Available in time of need, willing to lend an ear or a shoulder, all that.
      It doesn’t seem like much but it’s invaluable.
      Knowing I have a Team Me (copyright Captain Awkward) gave me courage I might not have had otherwise.

    2. Banana*

      I have a lot of Bad to say about my parents, because they were really crappy in a lot of ways, including being abusive.

      BUT one thing especially my mom did well was to instill in me the joy of helping others. I think she started dragging me to things like soup kitchens and other community work from age 5, and I think that is pretty much the best thing you can do to raise people who find fulfillment in giving rather than fulfillment in receiving.

      I was an only child of fairly upper-middle class people, so from the outside I could have looked “spoiled” because I had just about every toy and tons of stuff and tons of opportunities. I think some people think that giving kids everything materially makes them materialistic, but I think giving kids the opportunity to find a sense of fulfillment from OTHER things, like giving to others, is way more important. That kind of fulfillment is more durable than fulfillment from material things, and I think kids who have opportunities to give to their communities will naturally come to value doing so.

    3. Middle School Teacher*

      Being self-sufficient. I can’t believe how many people my age just… don’t know how to do stuff. Or how to figure out how to do stuff.

    4. Sylvan*

      1. My grandpa, not my parents. He was an estate lawyer. He left me and my cousins trust funds that could only be used to pay for education until our 21st birthdays. My cousins got 3-4 semesters out of it. My university was inexpensive, so all four years were paid for.

      2. My parents helped me open a kids’ account at a credit union when I was around 11. I learned to save my $1 allowance, budget, balance a checkbook, etc. really young. It’s been helpful. They also had some frank talks about credit cards.

      I don’t have student debt or credit card debt. I’m so, so grateful that I was given financial help for college and that I was given the education to avoid serious financial trouble.

    5. Librarian of SHIELD*

      My parents gave me a lot of practice at decision making, starting with small stakes and working my way up. They taught me that good decision making is a skill that can be practiced, and that making the wrong decision isn’t a failure, it’s a learning opportunity.

    6. Lilysparrow*

      Monetarily, college – which was possible because my brother got a full-ride through ROTC, so it was really a joint effort. And in terms of financial literacy, my mom taught me how to keep a budget, and let us see how paying bills, doing taxes, planning, was an ordinary non-mysterious thing. She took us along when she had to cash checks, change bank accounts, roll over a CD, visit the safe-deposit box, etc. I took that for granted until I got out into the world and had friends from many different backgrounds. I vividly recall talking a boyfriend through a visit to the bank, when a check he’d deposited had been put on a 5-day hold. He was utterly panicked and thought he was being accused of something, it was hard to get him to understand that this was totally normal, because the banking system was opaque and intimidating to him.

      Non-monetarily, they instilled absolute security in their love. I didn’t want to upset or disappoint them, but I knew that they would always accept me and be on my side, even if I did something objectively horrible, they would still love me. Again, I had no idea that was so precious until I met folks who didn’t have it. And they were always willing to give me a room if I needed it. In fact, they pushed that line, “you can always come home,” so hard that it made me bust my butt to make sure I didn’t need it.

      When I moved out, I put the first $20 I earned in a frame and wrote, “In case of emergency, break glass.” That was my pact with myself. If I ever had to use that twenty, it was time to go home.

      And when I eventually did go home, it was because they needed me. Which was sad but sweet.

    7. naha*

      my parents covered my college, so there’s that. but i don’t think that helped me become the person i am now, in an intrinsic sense. i wouldn’t have taken that over their emotional/psychological support if my whole life played out the same way (got the good job i have, etc) only i had debt.

      for me, the best thing my parents did for me was support me and tell me they loved me even though i was a little wierdo. i spend most of my grade school (we’re talking into teens) in my own head, writing bad poetry, talking to my imaginary friends, and playing in the sandbox in my backyard. i was a pretty isolated kid, but i was basically happy. my mom didn’t pressure me to become cool/popular, wear different clothes, make more friends, get involved into more activities – etc. i think things would be really different for me if my parents didn’t make me feel like, no matter how weird i am, they still loved me and imbued me with a sense of true value just by nature of being me.

      i know you didn’t ask this, but i think the *worst* intrinsic thing my parents is overstate their amazingness at my accomplishments. my mom was *amazed* that i could take a train to work every day, and all i could think back to that was “mom, it goes to the same station every day, at the same time. this is not rocket science. how dumb do you think i am that this is a huge accomplishment?”

    8. ADB_BWG*

      My mother wrote me a note – like jotted on a note pad and mailed – after we’d talked in the phone. I was a college sophomore, flunking engineering, needed a new major, and panicked over having no direction. I’ve kept that note at my desk for every job I’ve ever had – and I’m 55 with a BA, an MBA, and a PhD. Her words can be summed up as these:

      1) sometimes we have to try something to find out we don’t like it. That’s not a failure; it’s making an informed decision

      2) sometimes there isn’t a straight line to get where we want and we have to “hop” from thing to thing, and that’s not foolish

      3) we go through life only once and it’s kind of silly to be miserable

      I miss my mom a LOT!

    9. Aurora Leigh*

      A lot of people are mentioning that their parents paid for their college. My parents couldn’t do that, but they did give me a reliable old car and let me continue to live at home while commuting to college and working part time.

      This made a huge differemce in the amount of debt I took on and really has helped me.

      My parents gave me a really great safe and nurtured childhood and encouraged all kinds of learn