weekend free-for-all – May 11-12, 2019

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

Book recommendation of the week: The Farm, by Joanne Ramos. This is one of my favorite books of the year so far! It’s about a luxury baby surrogate business and gets into class, race, inequality, and motherhood in interesting and disturbing ways.

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

{ 1,167 comments… read them below }

  1. Nena*

    I just read the Farm too! (It just came out this week so we both must have grabbed it immediately.) I loved it too – what a story. I recommend it strongly.

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      The whole topic sounds quite interesting. I think Chicago Med did an episode on it where the parents would only take the baby from the surrogate if it was perfectly healthy and (according to the show, so pinch of salt) this was backed up by law. It’s such a strange industry to me but really fascinating.

    2. TotallyNormal*

      I’m currently 30 weeks pregnant as a surrogate through an agency in Chicago…so now I want to read this AND find the Chicago Med episode!

      (If the baby was born in Chicago and is genetically related to at least one of the intended parents, it’s their baby, no matter if it’s perfect or not…according to Illinois law at least…but I’m still intrigued by how they would have it play out!)

  2. Bananas Bonanzas*

    My family has recently started having a cleaning service come in every other week. It’s such a luxury and I appreciate it so much. My question: I’m sometimes working from home on the days that they’re here. I try to just say hello and stay out of their way but I feel a little self conscious. I don’t have a home office so it usually looks like I’m just hanging out on the couch with my laptop while they work…which makes me feel, not lazy exactly, but…yeah maybe a little lazy, like I can’t be bothered to clean my house and am just going to surf the web while they do it for me. (I’m not just surfing the web, I’m working, but you can’t tell that when you’re walking by.) I know I’m over thinking this but is there some etiquette around this? Is it better for me to be out of the house on those days?

    1. Jen RO*

      I feel the same! I try to be out of the house when my cleaning lady is there, but if I am home, I just tell her I am working from home and that’s it. If I have any meetings, I tell her in advance so she can schedule the vacuuming around them.

    2. Ms Cappuccino*

      I wouldn’t get out of the house. Maybe you could change room. Like working in the kitchen when they clean the living room.
      If you feel self-conscious, you can tell them you are working. But for me it’s not very different from going to a restaurant. I bet you don’t feel like someone who can’t be bothered to cook while they cook for you.
      They are probably glad they got the job rather than having you cleaning, meaning no money for them.
      In my teens I did some cleaning jobs and people stayed in the house.

      1. Lucy*

        But for me it’s not very different from going to a restaurant. I bet you don’t feel like someone who can’t be bothered to cook while they cook for you.

        That’s a great analogy. I also love the suggestion to work in a different room for a bit.

        If you would feel more secure about what “wfh” looks like, could you drop in something like:

        “I need to concentrate to get these TPS reports to my boss by 2pm so I’ll be keeping out of your way. Please don’t think I’m being rude.”

        1. Lucy*

          To add: there exists a lot of sexist societal expectation about how houseproud a woman is. If you feel guilt about not cleaning your own house (even though you don’t enjoy doing it and can afford to outsource) then is it justified or just socialised nonsense?

          1. Asenath*

            It’s often just a person’s personality; some people put more value on keeping their house clean themselves than others do. Sometimes I think it depends partly on how much a person sees their house as an extension of their own personality – they know how they want it clean, maintained and decorated, and even if they find the process tedious, don’t want to outsource it. Some people are uncomfortable at hiring cleaners – there’s something about doing it so personally that seems exploitative in a way that, say, using the services of a server who is employed by a third party, the restaurant owner, isn’t. One person who had such concerns overcame them enough to interview a cleaner who said “You don’t want to clean, I do, and I like getting paid for it”, which soothed the future employers concerns about exploiting someone.

            1. fposte*

              In addition, I think a lot of people, gender notwithstanding, have an idea of some things that people should do for themselves rather than outsourcing; changing your own oil is another common one. I grew up with that approach to room service in hotels but have seriously changed my mind on that one, but I still can’t quite get past my mental block about grocery delivery.

              1. Environmental Compliance*

                We have our groceries delivered, and the side benefit is that we actually spend a lot less on it, even with the subscription delivery cost….because we’re not wandering down the aisles, going oooooooo that looks tasty and chucking it in the cart.

                It 100% felt a bit presumptuous at first, but we’ve rebranded it in our minds as a cost-saving measure overall.

                We use instacart, $99/year. Our grocery bills have nearly halved. Plus, since I detest crowds, I am much happier.

                1. fposte*

                  I shop very strictly with a list and can get in and out pretty fast, so mostly I don’t mind it and I think probably the walk around the supermarket is a good thing for me to do. But there are some times when I’m super busy and I really should think about getting delivery then.

                2. Beatrice*

                  Fposte, does your grocery store offer grocery pickup? I’m not quite ready for delivery yet, but I have done my order online a few times, and just picked it up at the store, all bagged and ready to go. It still saves me a lot of time. My only problem is that sometimes I get the wrong sizes of things because I’m not paying enough attention, like a HUGE jar of peanut butter or mini dessert-sized paper plates instead of meal-sized ones.

                3. fposte*

                  @Beatrice–interesting question; I’ll have to check to see. It’s good to know the options. That might be a good gateway drug to delivery :-).

                4. Dan*

                  @fposte

                  My dad and I were talking about grocery delivery the other day and why it hasn’t taken off. Perhaps it’s a mix of people wanting to see what they buy (especially for produce) and people not wanting to put together a really strict list.

                  The large grocery chains have been in the analytics business for years. For those who shop at Kroger, there’s some serious analytics going on with the loyalty card.

                  In the Northeast, I would like to work for Wegmans data analytics department. Wegmans has a great app (it’s the only store-specific app that I use) and I use it because it tells me what aisle everything is located in, and what my total is going to be. For as much as I’m a list shopper, I’m not a *strict* list shopper. What I’d like to know is how much people actually buy from the list vs what they buy that isn’t on the list. Done right, they could drive huge profits from impulse buys.

                5. Auntie Social*

                  I notice that when I buy fruit vs when they pick it out, theirs is SO much better!! (This is Vons in SoCal).

              2. Dan*

                I must be the king of laziness.

                I live by myself, have a full time job (just 40 hours/week) and rent an apartment in the suburbs of a major metro area. I pay someone to change my oil, the apartment complex mows the grass, shovels the snow, and takes care of all maintenance. I enjoy cooking, but TBH, the economics of cooking for one just suck, so I go out as often as I eat in. While I don’t farm out my cleaning, I don’t do much of it either.

                1. fposte*

                  Once I realized I liked outsourcing, I did a ton of it, but it was funny for me (a friend mentioned she gets groceries delivered recently) to discover that even when I embrace the overall concept I can have localized resistance.

                  It’s all bought time to me, and time is precious.

                2. Dan*

                  I have to admit, a small specialty market opened up near my apartment last year, and I like shopping there in part because they have nice stuff, but in part I’ve gotten to know some of the staff there. I can’t imagine buying some of my more specialty items (meat, seafood, cheese, beer) just by looking at a picture on the internet.

              3. Lucy*

                I’ve had my groceries delivered for over a year now – there’s still quite a lot of work involved for me (planning and ordering, yes, but more onerously putting it all away, which is no small task for a household of five) so it only feels like mitigating the task rather than outsourcing it … perhaps the equivalent of getting a Roomba rather than a cleaner!

                1. fposte*

                  The putting it away is kind of like emptying the dishwasher–I don’t know why it’s so tedious, but it really is!

              4. Edwina*

                Try Amazon Prime Pantry and see how you like it–it’s mostly “products,” like paper towels and toilet paper and soaps and so forth, and it’s only a tiny bit different from regular shopping online. Then add some foods, mostly canned goods. Also order some nice jam or honey from an online source. From there it’s a hop skip and a jump to grocery delivery. It’s really just shopping online, not some kind of luxury that you have to feel “guilty” about. It’s super convenient and much cheaper, and the first time you experience the stuff JUST COMING TO YOUR DOOR you’ll be “WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG!!!”

              5. A bit of a saga*

                We have a cleaner and sometimes have groceries delivered. Normally I do the order in advance and pick up in store option so I’m not tied to being at home. Where I live the state actually subsidizes cleaning to create jobs and ensure people are employed legally so it’s not particularly expense but also, it’s just very, very normal to have a cleaner. Very different where I come from originally where there is definitely an undertone of ‘well, if you really can’t/won’t do it yourself…’ I’m often at home when she comes, I just go to another room to work.

    3. Jemima Bond*

      I’d be tempted to greet them with a cheery, “hello I’m just going to be working on the couch, so let me know if you need me to move for you to do in here!” After a few times it’ll be “Well I’ll be in my usual spot!”
      Then you’ve greeted them politely as a fellow human, and established that you are letting them get on with their job (and that you are happy to get off the couch for them to vacuum it, or tell them where the bleach is, etc.).

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        This is pretty much what I do. We’ve had the same person clean our house for the last 10+ years, so it’s easier to talk to them, maybe. The one thing I’d change is say “let me know when you need me to move”; this puts less of the onus on them, and indicates you will leave when they need to work there. For me, I would find it awkward even if I could stay in the room and not get in the way of their work, and I also worry if I sound like I want to stay that they might try to work around me even if it’s harder for them.

      2. Public Health Nerd*

        Yeah, that’s what I do too. I say hi, let them know that I’ll be working in X room, and that they can ask me questions if needed.

    4. ellie*

      Does it even matter if you actually are lazy and can’t be bothered to clean? That’s why they’re there, that’s why you’re paying them.
      I once used a cleaning service for a moving-out clean, and the agency sent over this lady who’s quite elderly (she talked about her grandchildren) and it annoyed me because, well, I’m paying for them to do the work so I don’t have to, but I felt obligated because she was elderly and seemed tired. That probably says more about the agency and the way they assign people to jobs but still.

      1. Marthooh*

        So what was the problem, exactly? Because it kind of sounds like “How dare they make me look at wrinkles?” but I hope it was something you just forgot to mention.

    5. Messy Bun*

      Those few occasions I was home when I still had cleaning service come, I did what other commenters recommend (changing rooms, greeting and mentioning I am wfh). I also added to feel free to tell me when I’m in their way so they know I am gonna move out of the living room as soon as they want to vacuum there.
      Also, I offer them coffee or tea upon their arrival or when I am having one.

    6. Asenath*

      I don’t think you need to be out of the house, just be polite to them and get out of their way if you want the room you’re in cleaned. You don’t need to treat them as guests – when someone – actually a series of someones – were found to help my grandmother with her cleaning as she got older, she always prepared (and cleaned up) and elaborate snack for them, not just tea or coffee, but cookies etc, just as she would for a friend who dropped by! Offer them a cup of tea, sure, but stay out of their way while they’re doing the work you paid them for. It’s a business relationship.

    7. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      The person I pay to clean my house is my housemate’s mom (she has her own business, it’s not just my house that she cleans!) and I work from home too, so it was really weird the first few times because of the added “person I know” factor to “are they judging me for being lazy” or whatever. But yeah, like someone else said, “I’m working in here, but let me know if you need anything or if I’m in your way” is a good way to go, and it gets less weird eventually :)

    8. Everdene*

      This was me last week. I just say hello, wr have a quick chat and I stay out of the way mostly. Our cleaner usually offers to get me a drink (sometimes she is here when I’m recovering from a hospital visit or off sick) which I decline as I’d rather she cleans! If I’m looking particularly casual I will ensure I make a couple of work calls so it’s clear I’m not just hanging out on the sofa – but that’s, I guess, a vanity thing!

      I’m not embarrassed about her being here as she charges a high rate (cos she’s great), loves working for herself and treat her as ‘a friendly collegue from a partner organisation’ (‘cept they haven’t hung up my knickers!).

    9. Nancie*

      I’ve only done WFH once since I started hiring a cleaner. Since then, I’ve just taken the afternoon off. I felt kind of weird the first time, but — she wants the business, I want to not be cleaning, so I’ve learned to chill.

    10. Lynn Whitehat*

      I take my laptop out on the front porch. I hate the dance of moving from room to room, trying not to be under foot or re-dirty something they already cleaned.

    11. Coffeepots Anonymous*

      If I’m WFH when our house cleaners come, I do one of two things: 1) Stay home & do the switcheroo others have mentioned — work in the office/spare bedroom while they’re cleaning downstairs, and then move to the living room while they’re working upstairs. 2) If the weather is good and I don’t have any calls scheduled, I’ll pack up & take a 10 minute walk to my favorite coffee shop, and then work there for 2 hours or so till I know they’ll be finished. The cleaners come @ 8 am & my current client is 3 hours behind my time zone, so I’m usually just working on my laptop & not in meetings, & this works fine.

    12. MissDisplaced*

      I’d personally feel a little weird and in the way, so I’d probably go to Starbucks or McDonalds for an hour. Or maybe to a library or something.

      1. Grand Mouse*

        Idk if this is too late, but I’m a professional cleaner- in a business setting but still! I don’t want you to feel awkward about me being there. It actually makes me more awkward about doing my job. You feel like you’re imposing on me and I feel like I’m imposing on you because I see how much you’re fretting about it. Just be matter of fact, polite, and we can get the job done no problem! It IS a service, so just being nice and treating me like a person is all I ask for. I don’t care if you’re in your pajamas or binging Netflix, as long as you’re not actively making a mess while I’m trying to clean. Oh and I have cleaned houses both as favors and short term gigs so I’m familiar with it!

        Being nervous is natural though, so don’t feel bad about it. I’m just saying if you can, don’t overcompensate.

    13. Edwina*

      They are just there to do their work. It’s like having an assistant in the office do your xeroxing for you. In both cases, it’s someone just doing their work, and happy to have a job and be paid. They honestly just want you to go about your business and don’t care what you’re doing. In fact, if you over-interact with them it will just make them more uncomfortable.
      No, stay in the house. And also—keep an eye on what they’re doing. Politely point out if you want something done differently, or if they’ve skipped something. Even the best cleaning services will slowly try to get away with skipping this or that, or not quite cleaning something as well as before, and you need to notice it and nip it in the bud.
      Also: you get to surf the web, or take a nap, or do whatever you feel like, while they clean your house, as long as you’re being polite, respectful and friendly, and say hello, ask them how their day is, etc, when they arrive, i.e. treat them like people. You work HARD for your money, and you are sharing that wealth by providing a job for someone, and it doesn’t make a whit of difference what you’re doing while they’re doing their job. Hey, you’re a job provider! No need to skulk around and leave.

    14. Young coworker*

      Hey! I’m a former house cleaner (well my mom is but I’ve been helping since I was in middle school). Best thing you can do is leave the house (we have no use for stealing your random house things). Second best thing is sit on the porch. You may feel you’re being unobtrusive on the couch but when you get up for water, bathroom, etc, it’s a pain to shuffle around you, especially as we may be running around mopping and vacuuming and might have to slow down because you look like you don’t want to be interrupted by a loud vacuum.
      Also – please turn on the AC for your house cleaners! Some people don’t and it gets HOT as we run around trying to get out of your hair as fast as possible.
      Also please don’t micromanage our work – maybe the first time if you want to see how we work but after just trust us to work without your supervision.
      Ah, growing up Latina.. memories.

    15. BetsCounts*

      I have a service come in also. If I am working from home when they come, I’ll say hi, ask them to clean my work area first, and then I’ll putter in the garage or run to Sbux for 15 minutes, and by then they are done and I can get back to business (but I make sure to have my water with me so I am not getting up and down while they are working). If it makes you uncomfortable to be in the house while they are there, then by all means schedule an off-site meeting or work from the library that part of the day. Although that is only practical if they come at a regular time- not useful if sometimes they arrive at 930 and other times at noon.

    16. learnedthehardway*

      I work from home, and sometimes when the cleaning lady is here, I’m not actually working. I don’t feel like I have to justify myself to her. She has her job. I have mine, and I get to decide how and when my job will be done.

      You’ll get used to it. The big thing is to just stay out of the way, and to not plan any important work phone calls / teleconferences while there are vacuum cleaners running (or people talking) in the background.

  3. Anonymouse*

    So I was thinking about enrolling in the Century movie pass program: $10/month gets you 1 movie a month, discounts, and the tickets roll over. But then I googled summer 2019 movies, and you guys: there is maybe ONE movie I want to see this summer (Toy Story 4) and even that desire is lukewarm. I would pay money to NOT see most of movies scheduled this summer.

    This is sad. I used to love going to the theater and having fallen out of the habit, so I was looking for an easy, low-bar way to get back to the theater. But to be honest, my local repertory theater has way more appealing choices (for instance: a double feature of Little Shop of Horrors/Rocky Horror) — if only the schedule wasn’t so rigid (they’re only playing it on a day I can’t make it).

    TV is so much better than movies right now, it’s not even a competition.

    1. Lena Clare*

      Am I the only person who hasn’t seen Endgame?! I think I stopped watching most of the Marvel films after Age Of Ultron (but I enjoyed Thor Ragnarok).

      Streaming services have made cinemas have to work harder I think, yes, but cinema is enjoyable. I think it just goes through stages where there isn’t much on.

      I’m just watching The Shield TV series (I’ve not seen it before). Some of it hasn’t aged well, but it’s depressing how little has changed in the 17 years since it was made.

      1. Anonymouse*

        Endgame was… mediocre. It’s not a movie so much as a 3 hour victory lap, and the fact that it’s gotten good reviews etc. is depressing.

        I’m rewatching Buffy (the parade of ’90s fashion alone is amazing). I’m starting The Good Fight and Killing Eve, and catching up on Venture Bros., and of course, settling in for the end of GoT. And these are the quality shows that interest me; there are a ton of great shows out there that I’m not watching because of lack of time and relative disinterest in their subject matter.

        1. Qosanchia*

          Hi five on rewatching Buffy! I recently discovered the podcast Buffering the Vampire Slayer, so I’ve been going through that and Angel, now that I’m up to season 4/1.
          I definitely agree on Endgame. I thought the first act was at least kind of interesting, but then it was all wacky hijinks and overblown mega battle.

      2. Lemonwhirl*

        I’ve not seen it. I think the last Marvel movie I’ve seen was one of the Captain America ones, and that’s because it was my husband’s birthday outing. The last I saw out of any interest was Ironman 2.

        We don’t see many movies at all and haven’t since our son stopped going to day care. (When he was in a day care, we’d take an afternoon off once a month to see a film. And before he was born, we saw loads of films.)

        there are logistical reasons for not seeing as many films – like we live rurally and it takes over an hour to drive to our preferred cinema. But also, I’ve come to realise that I’m just not a film person. What I love, above all, is character development, and TV is a better medium for the kind of character development I enjoy. I’ve always preferred novels over short stories, so it’s not really a surprise that when my time is limited, I prefer TV over movies.

        1. WellRed*

          Me too! Books, tv or listening to music. Film is a distant fourth and it has nothing to do with logistics.

          And yeah, no interest in Avengers or anything Marvel. Or GOT ; )

      3. The Cosmic Avenger*

        We got tickets for tomorrow for Endgame, so it’s not just you. We’ve had crises and obligations and stuff going on, and we usually try to wait a week (or two or three for big movies) anyway, because none of us like crowds.

        And The Shield is on my list, too, thanks for reminding me.

      4. Falling Diphthong*

        I haven’t. Though I’m one of the few people who was meh on the preceding movie.

      5. Foreign Octopus*

        I haven’t seen it yet, and I probably wouldn’t go and see it in the cinema but it’s my birthday next week so my dad is taking me out for dinner and then to see the film. It’s more father-daughter time than any actual film watching, but I like RDJ so I figure, eh, why not?

        And how can you not enjoy Ragnarok? I’d watch Korg on repeat and be happy.

      6. Emily*

        I haven’t! I’ve seen a lot of the origin movies, but I haven’t seen most of the ensemble films since, like, the first Avengers movie…at some point they were just putting out a lot of movies that I wasn’t that interested in (Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Civil War, etc.) and I realized that I didn’t feel like keeping up with it any more.

      7. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Haven’t seen Endgame… because we’re using it as a carrot&stick to get our daughter to get caught up on homework. Again. :(

      8. Person from the Resume*

        Endgame is the finale to 22 movies, I believe. I had seen only 4 or 5 of them so I certainly didn’t bother. I assume it would be pretty baffling. Also so many characters; I’m doubtful that there’s much plot and lots of battle scenes.

      9. Marion Ravenwood*

        No you’re not. I kind of feel like I’ve missed the window for it now and might as well wait until it’s on TV/Netflix (unless it shows up on a long-haul flight I’m taking in November). I haven’t watched that many Marvel movies so am not tremendously fussed about it, but I would like to see it at some point. If my local cinema’s still showing it this weekend I might go though.

    2. Lena Clare*

      I also think that there are films which don’t get marketed very well so get limited releases and we therefore don’t know about them. And they seem like the kind of films that would be perfect for a cinema pass.

      Like Fast Color – a film about 3 generations of black women with super powers (!) I mean, I want to see this film right now, it’s not on anywhere!

        1. lilsheba*

          Check on Demand if you have it. There was a movie released last Friday called Tell It To The Bees which was in very limited release in theaters but was also available on On Demand and I watched it that way.

      1. Llama Face!*

        I’m waiting for Fast Color to show up here in Canada too!

        I find that good movies seem to come in yearly waves of nah, nah, nah, finally some I’m interested in!

        Although, unlike Anonymouse I do have several upcoming movie releases I plan to watch this year (Brightburn, The New Mutants, Superintelligence, and Artemis Fowl). I liked the kids’ book series on that last one so I’m hoping Disney doesn’t ruin it too badly as a movie. :)

        1. Grace*

          I still have a soft spot for Artemis Fowl – I think I was thirteen when the last one came out (yes, I’m young, I’m just finishing up uni) and won a competition to get an advance copy of the final book and speak to Eoin Colfer on the radio about it! It was mostly me being star-struck and him asking what I thought of the ending because he didn’t know what fans would make of it, and me squeaking that it was good. Fond memories.

          I haven’t seen any of the trailers, because I don’t know if I want to see the film yet. The other three series that were my favourite at the same age were Percy Jackson – we all know how *that* film turned out – and Skulduggery Pleasant – I met the author at a signing and he said that he’d been approached about a film but they wanted to make it a musical and remove all the deaths, yikes – and How To Train Your Dragon, which by all accounts has a good film (I haven’t seen it) but jfc you can’t just take the title and the main character’s name and change every single other thing and call it “inspired by”. I’m a very salty twenty-year-old when it comes to what mass media has made of my childhood classics. We’ll see how Disney does on this one.

          1. Llama Face!*

            Heh, I am a fair bit older than you so I actually read Artemis Fowl in my young adult years (I still like reading some kid and YA books even now since they are often way less depressing in tone than adult books).
            I can identify with the childhood-ruining frustration. The Giver and A Wrinkle in Time were both letdowns for me. Books to movies always seem to be a huge gamble. (Also, cool that you got to meet the author!)

    3. The Other Dawn*

      I’m not much of a movie-goer. I tend to go maybe once or twice a year. My husband doesn’t like going so if I go, I go with a friend, and typically she’s the one asking to go. There’s hardly ever a movie I actually want to see, and the prices are ridiculous. I’m really excited about the next John Wick movie coming out next week, though, so I may try to get my husband to go to that one.

      As far as TV goes, there are series I like and record, but it takes us a long time to watch them. I have so many episodes of NCIS, Walking Dead, and several others, my DVR is constantly at 98% full. I’m considering deleting Walking Dead. I just can’t get myself to watch anymore.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        Honestly, I’d just delete TWD. It was good to a point but it just feels as though it’s a) gratuitously violent and b) covering the same moral and ethical grounds that were well covered in seasons 2-4. It’s an example of a show that doesn’t know when to stop, which is a shame because when it was good, it was really good.

    4. Jules the 3rd*

      My family basically didn’t go to the movies for a few years (2006 – 2010ish) – uncomfortable seats for my tall husband, bleah food, very young child, mediocre movie quality, nothing I couldn’t wait for. I forget what movie pulled us back in, but we met up with some friends and discovered Things Had Changed. Recliners. Hummus. Marvel (I’m a big comic book fan, still have 40lbs or so of my childhood favorites) .

      So, while I think TV’s doing great (The Expanse!!!), I’m back in theaters a few times a year, meeting up with friends, taking the kid. I liked Endgame, my kid was desperate to see Captain Marvel, X Men is at least half that comic collection (though I always liked Kitty more than Phoenix), Star Wars is going to be about 20 people meeting up, and Toy Story has been great. There’s another three movies that my kid wants to see (Pokemon Detective. Sigh. Will try to pawn that one off on my partner, but will probably fail.)

      So, it’s great for kids and people who grew up liking certain things. One of my friends is a horror fan, and she thinks this is the best year ever.

      1. Lemonwhirl*

        I’m taking my kid to see Detective Picachu tomorrow. Definitely not something I’d be seeing otherwise, but at least my expectations are very low. :D

    5. Liane*

      To get this back on topic:
      Sounds like you’re asking to be talked out of the club and perhaps out of going to movie theaters, period. If so, that’s fine. It’s $120 if you keep it a year, which is way too much to spend on something you don’t really enjoy any more. Or just don’t see yourself using a lot for whatever reason. Our local Rave, same parent company, has this club and it is only a good deal if you go to evening showings frequently and/or buy snacks.

    6. Koala dreams*

      I’m thinking maybe you find better movies at the local art cinema, if you have one? Or you could try to get into play-acting, if it’s the feeling of being in an audience that you are missing.

      For myself, I am looking forward to Arctic with Mads Mikkelsen and Red Joan with Judi Dench.

      My favourite tv show at the moment is the mystery show Hathaway and Shapekspeare.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        I’ve just Googled Hathaway and Shakespeare and I’m a little disappointed that it’s not Anne Hathaway and William Shakespeare investigating murders back in the 16th/17th century.

      2. lilsheba*

        I plan to watch the 30th anniversary of Steel Magnolias, in the theater, on May 22nd. I saw it in the theater when it came out, and have it on DVD but it will be fun to see it in the theater again after so long.

    7. Maya Elena*

      I think it’s the profitability spiral of failing media that accounts for it: fewer goers –> more surefire short term revenue –> fewer risks on interesting stuff –> fewer goers. (With something analogous going on in regular broadcast TV with commercials.

      That said, it also seems like a lot of modern movies are cynical money grabs wringing out a popular property – Marvel Star Wars, libe action Disney animated movies, endless sequels for everything (e.g.pirates of the Caribbean). The resulting product has largely been crap: generic or nonsense plots, characters acting out of character, unrealistic fights, and over the top cgi.

      While Netflix and similar have invested in like 20 different kinds of content, some good some bad, but they’re clearly experimenting and doing new things. Kudos for them.

  4. Lena Clare*

    Just an add on to cats peeing in the house! As they don’t like the smell of orange, I also put some orange oil in a spritz bottle with lots of water and am trying it sprayed on the area they’ve marked after I’ve cleaned it. Seems ok so far.

    1. Ella Vader*

      Cats don’t have the ability to process citrus oils, and they’re very dangerous for cats. You can google it and find out more.

      1. Lena Clare*

        I thought it was just tea tree oil which of course I don’t use. I’ll stop using the orange too.

        1. Ella Vader*

          They lack an enzyme in their livers (I think) that keeps them from metabolizing it. There’s several oils they can’t be around like cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree, wintergreen, and ylang ylang. Not sure if there are more or not.

    2. BetsCounts*

      Our cats tend to pee when we leave fabric on the floor **and** their litterboxes are gross (sorry kitties!) but Nature’s Miracle Urine Destroyer is TRULY A MIRACLE for getting the pee smell out.

      1. Anonymous Pterodactyl*

        Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything that can get the Nature’s Miracle smell out. :(

        It’s better than cat pee, but it gives me a headache. I really wish they made it unscented.

      2. Lena Clare*

        Thank you, I will try this. It was advised last week and I can get it online, although I cannot abide scented stuff either but we’ll see!

    3. TheOtherLiz*

      Wasn’t here for your initial post, so sorry if this is something you’ve already discussed, but have you checked out whether your cats have UTIs? I had a roommate’s cat peeing everywhere for awhile – finally she found out her poor cat had a UTI and the way cats’ brains work, she was just trying to pee in different spots with the logic that “it hurts when I pee in the litter box. Maybe this comfy soft pile of towels won’t hurt?” And an antibiotic cleared it up and stopped the behavior.

      1. Lena Clare*

        Yes, he’s ok, it’s behavioural! I took him to the vet and he doesn’t have a UTI. He’s stressed about the cat next door poor thing :(

  5. Chylleh*

    Just wanted to thank everyone who gave me petsitting advice a few weeks ago for my cat. I found someone! The advice everyone gave really helped us choose who to go with and she was amazing. My cat was too shy to come downstairs to meet her but the sitter sent texts saying the litter box was being used and her food was being eaten. My cat meet me when I came back and was a bundle of love. Thanks again everyone!

  6. OyHiOh*

    I have a father-figure-like friend I’ve met up with for lunch once or twice a month for around three months now. There are a couple specific local topics of conversation we always end up complaining about and trying to understand why logical solutions to the problems are not in play. Probably six weeks ago now, I remarked to my sister after one of these lunches that I was pretty sure my friend was going to try and persuade me to run for the relevant public office.

    This week, he made exactly that suggestion.

    I . . . . . . have not said no. I told him I’d give the idea a good hard think through the weekend and get back to him next week. I’ve been doing exactly that for a few days, digging into public records, etc.

    Unless I run into a major “nope, do not have energy to deal with that problem!” issue this weekend, I intend to tell him I want to run for that office next week. Kids are naturally worried about loosing time with me but this is a pretty low-key sort of situation in a community of around 100,000 and I’m not too concerned as long as we set some boundaries around days and times that are important to us.

    I also started a very part time job last week and it’s a job that is going to give me opportunity to write contingency and sucession plans again. I did that in my last job, quite successfully, and am looking forward to being able to do it in a different industry, once I get settled into the flow and culture.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I am chuckling… one of the first things that happened to me after my hubby passed was I was offered a seat on a board that had become vacant. I took it.

      Yep. Do this. It’s extra work but it launches your life into a different direction. I can honestly say, my life has improved because of board work. It’s an opportunity to meet people and over time you gain insight and understanding about your area that you would not have had any other way. It’s clear to me that I am in a new chapter in my life and I have taken control of how that chapter plays out. And it helps to fill up the brain with thoughts.
      Go for it. Let us know how it’s going for you.

      1. Resources for learning R and/or Power BI?*

        I’m glad you’ve responded NSNR – my first thought when I read this this morning was oh goodness no, not when your grief is so fresh.
        Good luck coming to a decision OyHiOh and especially good luck if you decide to run!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I know what you mean about fresh grief.
          My thought at that time was I could sit home alone and grieve OR I could sit in a board meeting with a dozen other people and grieve. Either way, I would just keep grieving.
          BUT.
          I also thought there is no salvaging today, today sucks no matter what. My only hope is to salvage tomorrow. This could mean I must try new things today, whether I want to or not, if I ever expect to have a better tomorrow.

          Colander brain was a problem. I could not keep track of things to save my life. So I made action lists for myself and followed my action lists.

          It did not get better right away (no surprises there). Matter of fact for a bit it seemed worse. I think I was on the board for less than a year and it started getting better. But I had to keep showing up even when i had serious doubts.

          People need something to do. It’s a basic human need to want purpose in life, right up there with food, water and rest. In an odd turnaround, OP, is resetting her purpose in life right now by getting interested in this board. It’s a reknitting/reweaving thing. It’s good.

          1. Sally Forth*

            I read “colander” brain as “calendar” brain and thought I had found someone like me who keeps screwing dates up!

        2. OyHiOh*

          “not when your grief is so fresh.”

          Nope nope nope

          I have two choices: I can use my grief and anger as powers for good in my community, meet people, listen to other people’s heartbreak and have them know on the most personal level possible I understand exactly what they’re going through themselves

          Or I can stay in bed for days at a time, sulking over my loss and the unfairness of the situation.

          One leads to renewed hope and connection. The other (given my medical history) leads to major depression.

          At the beginning of all this, I had to make an appointments list every Sunday. I needed to meet at least one person every day, on purpose (a friend coming to the house counted), and I had to get out of the house for at least four hours. Every single day. I don’t have to physically make that appointment book anymore but I do catch myself sliding towards depression if I’m not aware of how often I sit and listen to someone.

          It’s not about politics. It’s about taking care of a community that has taken care of me for the past three months. I would not be human without this place and these people. It’s possible I can give them all something back in return.

          1. Sam Sepiol*

            My response came from a place of fear. I’m so glad you’re stronger than that.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Speaking for myself, the fear came first. And it was pretty massive to me at least. So you’re not wrong here. Then came the “screw it, I cannot live like this, there has to be something more and I am going to find it.”

              A pendulum swings to one side then it has to swing to the other side. So it goes with emotions, I think. If I did not have that level of fear, I would not have taken the bold steps that I did. Parallel to what OyHiOh has written here, I had to channel my sorrow into helping other people with their burdens. It’s really uncanny how closely OyHiOh has a perspective similar to mine. I could not care less about political parties or getting one up on the next person. Hey, if that next person is correct, then they are correct, good for them. It’s not about glory or having that moment of popular acclaim, rather, it’s about helping people where it matters. Making a difference in other people’s lives. There are folks out there from any demographic we can think of who are really struggling, if it’s not money then it’s addiction or housing or employment or loneliness.

              Oddly, in the process of helping others, I started overcoming my own hurdles. It’s strange how that works.

              1. Sam Sepiol*

                NSNR you have helped me so much here. I have changed names because of the fear of putting out too much information that can be collated which could put me at risk but just know that you have helped me in these weekend comment threads more than I can say.

                1. Not So NewReader*

                  Keep going, Sam. There are plenty of things in life just waiting for you. While I have no idea what those things might be, I do know that if you keep looking around you will definitely find things to fill this chapter of your life.

    2. Bluebell*

      That is so exciting- I hope that you get the seat and it works out. I’m glad you’ve also taken on some work that feels right for you.

    3. OyHiOh*

      Clarify that friend and I have been friends for a number of years (we actually met when we were both appointed to a non profit board); we’ve just made the effort to get in touch regularly since my husband died.

    4. Sleepless*

      Do it! My dad had always been interested in community planning and local politics, and he ran for a seat on the county commission after he retired. He loved it. It was incredibly interesting and he helped do some good things for my hometown.

  7. Kuododi*

    Mother’s Day weekends are a bit sucky for me, and have been for a long time. Between my mother’s raging dementia… emphasis on “raging” and our inability to have children I pretty much hibernate at home with DH. Ever since the cancer diagnosis, I have strictly avoided Mother’s Day services. I also refuse to attend baby showers. DH is supportive as always… we’ll find something low key to do…(movie theater, going to new restaurant, this weekend we’re binging Netflix Lucifer season 4. ). I appreciate everyone’s good thoughts. Just a little blue this morning.

    (I’d prefer not to get into the Why not adopt question. We considered it and looked into international and domestic adoptions. Bottom line, between my complicated medical history and the staggering cost… adoption isn’t happening.).

    1. Jemima Bond*

      Ooof, that sounds tough; I think hibernation sounds like a good idea. Sending you lots of good thoughts.

    2. Lena Clare*

      It’s not mothers day here in the UK (that’s in March) but I always find it very stressful.
      Sending you good wishes, and Jedi hugs if you want them.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Warm thoughts, Kuododi, warm thoughts.

      Please know that there are many of us out here who would rather crawl under a rock than deal with Mother’s Day.
      People do understand, even if it is only because of their own lenses.

      We have to give ourselves the care our mothers can’t or don’t. So take good care of you this weekend.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      Sympathy. I looked into adoption (when we concluded a third was unlikely to happen, despite our neat little four child map–so not strictly analogous to your situation) and decided the emotional and financial ups and downs looked a whole lot like those that come with infertility, a merry-go-round I had decided I definitely needed to climb off–I didn’t need to transfer to a whole new adjacent merry-go-round.

      On a completely unrelated note–I can’t remember the context–I was thinking when I got up about “just trying” and how very few things you try truly require no investment from you. With limits on time, money, and emotional and physical energy, it’s okay to look at some things and decide that the likely payoff (with low odds of success) is not worth the large investment it takes to try.

    5. Thursday Next*

      There have been times (including yesterday!) when I’ve thought that Mother’s Day should be abolished. I always have to find a card for my mother that wishes her a happy day without platitudes about how great she is. My MIL used to see MD as a day to get everyone together on her turf and terms, but taking my younger (disabled) child anywhere that wasn’t safe for her needs meant a lot of extra work for me, and I think I resented doing that more on a day that was ostensibly about mothers. (“Happy Mother’s Day! Now go do some stuff to please other people and be reminded of how complex your child’s needs are!”)

      I know this isn’t comparable to your situation in that I do have children, but I hear you on the difficulty of dealing with one’s own mother, and you have my sympathy and support for hibernating and not marking the day at all. I finally noped out of any obligation trips a few years ago. While I do send cards and flowers, I don’t demand special treatment from my kids and husband. It’s just a regular Sunday. I want to break the cycle of guilt and obligation.

      1. Batgirl*

        Every year at school we have to manage a fresh outbreak of grief from kids who have to navigate mother’s day activities. Those are the kids in care or bereaved kids. Then you have the kids with lousy mothers who dont feel allowed to complain. Youre not the only person who’s considered banning it.

    6. Jessen*

      I was just coming here to see if we could have a little hideout from mother’s day!

      I’m going to the lawyer’s office today to review power of attorney paperwork, so if anything were to happen to me my mother wouldn’t be in control of anything. I’ll call my mother tomorrow just so she can’t claim she hadn’t heard from me and then turn the phone off, because she’s going to be mad that I didn’t take her out and play happy family for the day and I’m just not up to it.

      So, my sympathies, and there’s a lot of us here!

    7. MeepMeep*

      Why not just hide and skip the whole thing? That had always been my approach to every commercialized holiday extravaganza until I got married (now, I still skip Mother’s Day for my own mother but my wife insists on celebrating it for hers). Take the day off and do something nice for yourself and distract yourself with something pleasant. All of these holidays are optional, not mandatory.

    8. PhyllisB*

      I would say avoid restaurants on Mother’s Day. Not only are they vastly over-crowded/over-priced, but there will be all kinds of Mother’s Day activities, such as handing out flowers, ect. I suggest going to the movies.

      1. PhyllisB*

        One year my mother wanted to go out for Mother’s Day lunch. All the grands were still pretty young, and I thought hmmm…but she’s the senior mother so we do what she wants. Well, we waited for over two hours for a table. The restaurant obviously knew this was going to be the case, because they hired a magician to entertain the kids. Yes, I know you’re wondering why didn’t we just leave? One, my mother had her heart set on eating here. Two, see senior mother comment. Plus, it was quite a drive to get there. When we were headed home, my husband looked at me and said, “I love your mother, but NEVER AGAIN!!! If y’all want to go out Mother’s Day take my debit card and drop me off at the house!!”

    9. SOAS*

      Second on this being a tough holiday. Sounds like you’re handling it well and have a proper support network around you, hope this day passed quickly.

    10. Not Alison*

      Sending gentle hugs – particularly with regard to the adoption suggestion. My husband and I were unable to conceive and were frustrated by “suggestions” that adoption was the answer. We were not interested in going that route so we understand an aspect of where you are coming from. Please just know that others are in a similar boat to you and are also struggling with Mother’s Day so you are not alone.

    11. Marzipan*

      Um, if you haven’t already started it, can I give you a slight heath warning about Lucifer season 4? It does include a storyline that could be a bit of a trigger.

    12. MatKnifeNinja*

      Hibernating sounds so good! Enjoy your low key day with your husband.

      The local church does a HUGE MD celebration. My friend has infertility and goes to that church. She won’t today. The hype of all thing child and maternal is unbearable.

  8. Lena Clare*

    Sorry for the two postings!
    I went back to bed to try to get more sleep.
    I’m now more exhausted than before!

    Anyway, I have bruxism. It’s driving me mad.
    I have a dental guard to sleep in which is pretty uncomfortable but it does help loads with the teeth grinding although I’m finding my jaw is really tight and sore, and my gums get trapped when I’m asleep and I’m getting loads of ulcers. I’m also waking up a lot at night still.

    So… any tips on helping bruxism, insomnia, and stress reduction? It’s stress that’s causing it, and I. Am. So. Tired.

    1. only acting normal*

      Unfortunately the only reliable method of stress reduction is to eliminate or reduce the source (not always easy or even possible, I know). For managing it I’ve had luck with MBCT (mindfulness based cognitive therapy) and yoga. Sleep hygiene and avoiding much alcohol – tempting as it is when stressed.
      Is your guard a custom fit one? I had the cast taken for one yesterday.
      My bruxism is an antidepressant side-effect, so I’m going to speak to my dr about it too. (I’m on the most generic or generic NHS SSRIs so there may be alternatives to try).

      1. Kuododi*

        I’ve had Bruxism in various degrees of severity most of my life. (There are family legends of my ability to wake up my parents with both bedroom doors shut. Mine is a combo plate of Bruxism and snoring.). My situation improved greatly after a couple of years of braces in high school. (Really helped with jaw alignment which took the edge off my grinding.). Things got really bad after a long period of time on Metoclopramide for chronic nausea. One of the side effects of long term use is increased grinding and fine motor tremors. (I take Zofran now.) I’m hoping once I get established on a machine for my apnea that some of the other stuff will sort itself out. I do take about 30 min before bed to listen to Chopin (a personal favorite) while deep breathing and doing progressive muscle relaxation. (Seems to take the edge off the worst of the problem.)

      2. Lena Clare*

        I think I’m going to talk to my GP ‘re anxiety meds too.

        I think mindfulness meditation has a similar effect. I’ll try that too. TY!

    2. WS*

      A common side-effect of bruxism is jaw pain in the temporomandibular joint, so if you look up TMJ exercises there’s a lot you can do to reduce the pain and tightness. Damp heat (like a wheat bag) is particularly good for relaxing the jaw.

    3. chi chan*

      I have some suggestions. The jaw muscles involved are in a vertical band between your eye and ear. Spend some time massaging the area, let your jaw go slack. Do this 2-3 times a day and before bed. Make sure you can breathe properly with your pillows and that you don’t lie with your shoulders hunched. Also having something like a lollipop that you gently hold with your lips will relax the jaw. Try to remember that position when sleeping. You have a mouth guard so I suppose you have been to a doctor about sleep apnea and everything. I have always found ASMR videos to be helpful with stress while I am trying to sleep. There are some specifically for stress. For ulcers drink plenty of water everyday.

      1. Lena Clare*

        This was really helpful ty. I have got some lavender oil which I massaged on and it helped ease the tenderness this morning.

    4. Book Lover*

      For the mouth guard, what you say is concerning. Of course we all have different mouths but I have had one for about thirty years and have never had one that hurt. I love mine and won’t sleep without it because otherwise I worry about my teeth and have more soreness. I have one where the lower teeth just slide over the guard with nothing to catch on. In the past when I had a sore jaw I would do a soft diet, gentle massage, moist heat over the jaw.
      I have enjoyed Tai chi for stress reduction and biofeedback is very helpful too. For sleep, Shuti.me is an online cognitive behavioral therapy tool for sleep and there are books on sleep hygiene. Hope any of that helped :)

      1. Lena Clare*

        Hi, the shuti.me appears to be only for people who’ve had it prescribed is that right? and I don’t think it’ll be available to me in the UK unfortunately!

        1. Book Lover*

          No, anyone can do it, at least in the US – I haven’t tried it from Uk but I would be surprised if anything was needed. There is an option for a coupon code if your doctor has one though. You could email them? Patients have good luck with it usually.

    5. Ham and mayonnaise!!*

      Oof, that sounds awful. I don’t grind, but instead my jaw does this super fun thing where it snaps shut involuntarily. It was hard enough to crack my teeth. I got a custom made mouth guard (they did the impression to make the mold) and my dental insurance actually covered it. Ideally your mouth guard shouldn’t be causing you so much discomfort. What kind of guard so you have? Are you able to look at getting one through a dentist?

    6. Ethyl*

      Have you given CBD a shot? I have used the gummies to good effect for insomnia related to my GAD. It makes me sleepy and relaxed, not loopy, kind of similar to melatonin without the nightmares.

      Make sure you go with a reputable source — a lot of places are banking on folks not knowing the difference between CBD and hemp oil so make sure you check the ingredients.

      1. MeepMeep*

        For that matter, THC edibles always help me sleep when I’m having insomnia. I just take a micro dose, not enough to make me loopy.

        1. Ethyl*

          Also this! It depends on your body, local laws, etc., but medical weed could be worth looking into!

    7. Lena Clare*

      For those concerned about the mouth guard – it’s uncomfortable because I’m not used to sleeping with something in my mouth (!) and my mouth waters which is what is uncomfortable. It doesn’t cause me pain :) The guard was fit by my dentist.

      The pain is coming from my jaw which is caused by stress which also causes the bruxism :)

      I think the pain in my jaw is more noticeable now the grinding of teeth is not happening. I’m ‘holding’ my jaw tensely when I’m sleeping and when I wake up it aches.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I hope you are doing something of a general nature to help yourself with stress also.

      2. Pennalynn Lott*

        I sleep with a night guard and my inner cheek was getting caught in it since I [apparently] suck in my cheeks when I sleep (in addition to clenching my jaws). I took the guard back to the dentist and they pared down the sides so now the plastic just barely cover my teeth (instead of going up over the gums, too), and they cut off the back tooth-and-a-half on both sides. The smaller size fits so much better and, while I still suck my cheeks in and they occasionally get pinched, the cheek “skin” has toughened up a little where the guard rubs on it so I no longer get blisters.

        Oh, they also ran a flame over the edges of the guard to melt and smooth out the plastic. That also made a huge difference.

        1. Lena Clare*

          Oh if the ulcers don’t improve I will speak to my dentist again about this, thanks.

      3. TechWorker*

        This may not be useful at all, but I had bad jaw pain that was keeping me up at night (like 3 months of basically not sleeping) but by the time my ordered mouthguard arrived it had basically.. disappeared by itself. So there is a chance that along with everything else time will just fix it. Good luck!

      4. Mari M*

        I’ve done that before; coupled with bad sinuses, it made my teeth hurt like anything. Concentrating on the TMJ stuff definitely eased the pain. Do you take anything at night to help you sleep? Even a mild sleepytime tea might do.

    8. Lilysparrow*

      Moderate exercise in green space is proven to help with stress, anxiety, mental focus, all kinds of things.

      A short walk outside as often as you can will do a lot more than you expect to reduce stress symptoms.

    9. Lena Clare*

      Thank you so much for the suggestions!
      I’ve made a list, which in itself is one of the most relaxing things I love to do lol:

      – I can’t afford therapy atm so am following Prof Mark Williams and Danny Penman’s mindfulness meditation course, and the one by DP on pain relief. They’re both on YouTube

      – I’m tidying my bedroom and changing my sheets!

      – Cup of herbal tea before bed

      – Massaging my jaw with almond and lavender oil; worked a treat last night. I had 8 hours’ solid sleep! I can’t remember the last time that happened

      – Seeing my GP for anti anxiety meds. I know eliminating the anxiety is the best option but it’s not possible right now so the next best thing is minimising its impact and dealing with the stress in healthier ways

      – Due to a hip (or knee?) injury I can’t walk rn but I can yoga and I can swim, and I can also *sit* outside in green spaces. So that’s on my list :)

      – I’ve got some TMJ exercises to do!

      I’m a bit wary of CBD, don’t know much about it, can’t get a prescription for it… not sure I want to try it rn, but it is an option for another time I’d the since doesn’t work and/or the TMJ doesn’t disappear in its own.

      Thanks so much everyone!

  9. Looking for a watch*

    Anyone here has experience with Olivia Burton watches? I love the designs, but not sure if the mechanical(?) quality is as good as the design.

    1. Previous watch-haver*

      I had an Olivia Burton double strap watch and both the strap and the battery held up for 3 or so years of daily wear without replacement (at which point the strap mechanism separated from the watch body). I never experienced a problem with it losing time either. All in all it was a reliable watch for the £50-60 or so I paid for it at the time.

    2. Reba*

      I love mine! It’s a large face stainless. The case is holding up really well after 3 years. I’m not sure I can comment on the mechanical quality… It works? It’s quiet, unlike a cheap watch of similar size I had previously. I’ve replaced the battery once?

      I will say the leather strap was disappointing. The color coating(?) Wore off well before the leather itself needed replaced so it looked dirty. Definitely not worth the $50 they are asking for replacements! I have subbed another brand strap without issue.

      1. Middle School Teacher*

        What is it with expensive watches and cheap leather straps? I have a great Kate Spade watch I got for a song on eBay and the strap looks awful after less than six months of wear.

    3. Jane of all Trades*

      I have had mine since July and sooo love it. The design looks even nicer irl than if you’re just looking at the website. I wear it a lot, so the leather strap will need replacing at some point. The store clerk told me the mesh straps would last a lot longer but I wanted the this particular one.

  10. Quoth the Raven*

    So, I’m going to be travelling to Seattle on Friday for 10 days for holidays. I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations about places to visit in the city off the beaten path (I’ve got the more tourist-friendly places in my itinerary already), or if you’ve got safety travel tips — I’ve travelling internationally before, but never on my own (I’m a woman, for the record, so there may be specific things I haven’t considered yet).

    Thanks :)

    1. CopperBoom*

      I did a three month internship after college in Seattle, and loved it! It’s been ten years (hoo boy) so apologies if my info is out of date. I was also there as a solo woman, and felt very comfortable and safe there. I liked getting out to Ballard and walking around. There was a lovely park and lots of small shops to see, as well as the fisheries. I loved taking an underground tour of old Seattle (and especially the “adults only” underground tour! Seattle was basically funded by a wealthy madame, so that was cool to learn about!). I lived in Fremont (look up “Fremont Troll”) and that was another nice neighborhood to walk around. The Gas Works park is also in that area. I was there for the opening of the Olympic Sculpture Garden. Smith Tower has the best view of the skyline. And please get a cupcake from Cupcake Royale for me!

      Have a great trip! My partner and I are planning a visit to Seattle in August, so report back any stuff you loved!

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      I was in Seattle for a short time last fall, so we were hitting more familiar things. Things I liked and would suggest:
      • Chihuly glass museum. Probably on your itinerary.
      • If you like quietly walking, the Arboretum is really nice. I happened into a Japanese Tea Ceremony in the Japanese Garden, sheer serendipity, which was unique and lovely.
      • Pike’s Place Market is in fact fun to wander around and nibble things.
      • Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour: A tour that takes place in downtown basements, which were once street level before they raised the city. With a good guide it’s a great local history experience, pondering what it is about people that we would kludge together the most awkward solutions to initial poor designs. We took the regular family tour; there’s an evening tour with adult beverages and more explicit discussion of the tax base of “seamstresses” aka sex workers.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I went many many years ago and as a food fan, ocean-lover, and tech geek my highlights were Ivar’s Acres of Clams, a Chinese restaurant whose name I’ve never known, and the Boeing Museum.
        But now? OH MY I want to go back to go to the Chihuly museum.

    3. Glomarization, Esq.*

      My favorite casual restaurant there is Bimbo’s Cantina, 1013 East Pike Street, bimboscantina-dot-com.

      An interesting way to spend an afternoon is to see the Chittenden Locks over in the Ballard neighborhood, ballardlocks-dot-org. It’s a working waterway for commercial fishers, goods transport, and pleasure boats, so you may well see the locks in operation. There’s also a fish ladder there, on the south side. It’s a little too early to see the salmon migrating but they have little windows like an aquarium so that you can walk “underwater” and see the ladder works. Then go to the north side of the locks and check out the botanical garden. When you’re good and worn out and ready for a refresher, drop into the Lockspot Cafe, 3005 NW 54th Street, @TheLockspotCafe on Facebook.

      Buses and light rail are better than average for an American city. You can do Bimbo’s and Ballard very, very easily from downtown, no need to drive and try to find parking.

      Source: I lived in Seattle for about 10 years and go back every once in a while for friends and professional reasons.

    4. Madge*

      If you’re into that sort of thing, the living computer museum is a fun visit. We had a guide who just decided the people around him were his tour group. It was amusing and informative and we would have gotten to see the computers in the basement if we’d had the time to stay.

    5. Zinnia Bee*

      I second the Chihuly museum— I live here (and have, on and off, for 15 years), and that is one of my favorite places.

      Seattle is relatively safe. Pay attention to your surroundings, especially after dark, like you would anywhere. The word on the street is to steer clear of Pike Place Market area and Pioneer Square after dark— and honestly I’m not sure whether that is a classist thing (re people experiencing houselessness) or an actual safety thing. Might be some of both.

      My favorite hike in the area is the Talapus and Olalie hike, so if you enjoy being outdoors, definitely look into that!

      1. LCL*

        I’ve lived in Seattle many decades. The safety concerns about the market and pioneer square after hours are a safety problem, not a classism problem.

    6. Jess*

      I grew up in Seattle and just moved a year ago, and as a woman, I did feel safe to walk around alone. And as a general rule, at least compared to Florida where I am now, most people will just leave you alone and not initiate much convo or contact as you go about yoir business. I lived in one of the sketchier areas off of Aurora Ave, and there I tried not to walk by myself too much at night but even then, it wasn’t bad.
      I second the Locks! If you’re an outdoors person, Discovery Park and Greenlake are also favorites of mine. If you like vintage and kitschy stuff, the Fremont Vintage mall is fun, it’s a bunch of different vendors all together in a basement. Nearby is a little hole in the wall coffee shop called ETG, they’re one of my favorites. I seriously miss Elliott Bay Bookstore and the University Bookstore, both independent with big selections of new and used. I think its called Sol Liquor Lounge now, but they have their own small distillery and cute cocktail bar tucked into a more residential block. Hotel Albatross has fun tiki inspired drinks in Ballard.
      Aaah, I miss home. Have fun!

    7. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      See if the Art Museum has anything going on late – its a great art city!

    8. Public Health Nerd*

      Yay! I live in Seattle, it’s a great place to visit. There are several spots where you can visit a beach in the city, which is really pretty this time of year, particularly at sunset. Golden Gardens, Alki Beach, Richmond Beach are all great. If you have a day to burn, walk on to any of the state ferries. Best photos from the water, particularly on a sunny day.

      Safety wise – it’s turning into a bigger city over time. As with other cities, lock car doors, don’t leave valuables in the car, pay attention when you’re walking around. But I think that’s probably true in other places too.

    9. LCL*

      What part of town will you be staying in? Will you have access to a car, or transit only?

    10. Erin*

      I live in Seattle and just had a friend visit a few weeks ago! Here are some of the things we did (and some of these will be very specific to our interests, so feel free to ignore anything that isn’t interesting to you):

      – If you’re into running, meet up with the Seattle Green Lake Running Group on Saturday at 7 AM. It’s a huge group of around 100 people, and distances and paces vary widely (think like, 3-20 miles, 12 min/mile to 6 min/mile paces… lots of people to run with). They meet up at Revelation Coffee after, which is absolutely delicious.
      – Visit the Starbucks Roastery in Capitol Hill. The original in Pike Place isn’t worth waiting in line for – it’s just like a normal Starbucks. But the roastery is huge, beautiful, and the coffee is better than regular Starbucks.
      – If you’re into beer, some of my favorite breweries are Fremont Brewing, Holy Mountain, Optimism, and Cloudburst. (Fremont and Optimism for the ambience, Holy Mountain and Cloudburst for the beer)
      – If you’re into ice cream, Salt and Straw and Molly Moon’s (go for the salted caramel) are both amazing choices. Molly Moon’s is local to Seattle, and Salt and Straw is from Portland.
      – I think the Space Needle is worth going up. Buy tickets online if you can, otherwise you have to buy a timed ticket when you get there and may not be able to go for ~1 hour.
      – Check out Meetup and Airbnb Experiences if you want to hang out with people while you’re there. I’ve done several international solo trips, and they can be lonely at times! It’s nice to meet and hang out with locals.
      – Climbing the water tower at Volunteer Park is interesting, and the houses around Volunteer Park are gorgeous. This is also a nice place to go to get away from the hustle and bustle without actually going very far.
      – It may be hard to get out to a hike by yourself, but there are lots of nice options sort of within the city. The arboretum, Seward Park, and Green Lake are all nice options.

      Have fun! Seattle is as safe as any other city (or maybe safer). I’ve never felt uncomfortable here.

    11. Smol Book Wizard*

      I have found Seattle one of the more comfortable areas to be in as a single woman running about. Aurora Avenue and certain areas of downtown can be a little nervous-making but walking in a businesslike manner in the daylight has rarely led to any issues at all (thankfully).
      I’m a little biased because I worked as an intern in the area once, but the Greenwood neighborhood has some delightful unique shops and restaurants (Northwest Seattle iirc.)

      1. Katefish*

        Highly recommend riding the Ducks as a tour… The combination tour on land and water is great!

    12. Double A*

      I lived in Seattle for 12 years from ages 18-30, was a community organizers and worked political campaigns so I’ve knocked on doors all over the city, was a runner so I’ve run all over the city and I never felt unsafe (using common sense safety strategies of course). If you’re a runner it’s an incredible place to run. I liked running around Seward Park and along the Lake Washington shore north of it, but that’s a bit far out from the usual visitor beaten path. Discovery Park on the other side of the city also has great trails and a nice beach walk with an old light house.

      Honey hole sandwiches on Capitol Hill is one of my favorite restaurants. Capitol Hill has changed a lot in the last 6 years since I moved away so I don’t really know what’s fun around there anymore.

      1. Double A*

        Oh, also I’m a woman, since you mentioned that.

        I forgot to mention that the university of Washington campus is beautiful and worth visiting!

    13. Bluebell*

      I went about 5 years ago and one fun outing was taking the ferry to Alki beach. Wanted to make it to the Scandinavian Museum, but didn’t. I heard good things though!

    14. Adara*

      I don’t live in Seattle, but I live on the Kitsap peninsula, near Bremerton. If you have the time, a ferry ride to either Bremerton or Bainbridge Island is always nice. Both places are walkable and Bremerton in particular has the free Puget Sound Naval Shipyard museum to visit as well as the USS Turner Joy, if you’re interested in the Naval history of the area. BI has several eateries and boutiques near the ferry terminal and is home to a couple of wine and spirit tasting rooms.

      Have a wonderful time visiting the PNW!

      1. Pinko*

        Oh man, I went to elementary school in Bremerton/Silverdale. I loved that area so much.

    15. Catherine*

      I lived in downtown Seattle from 2010-2016 and eventually wound up avoiding Pioneer Square even during the day if I was walking alone because I was getting catcalled/propositioned so frequently (Asian female in my 20s at the time). Your mileage may vary, of course, but it was a major factor in my decision to move away.

      Favorite restaurant: Witness. Get the chicken and waffles!

    16. Kendra*

      If you’re planning to go to Pike Place Market, there’s a store there called Happy Tails that sells a greater variety of cute stuffed animals and cute-animal-related paraphernelia than I’ve ever seen anywhere else!

    17. purple otter*

      I just got back from a weeklong leisure trip to Seattle, and really liked it! I felt pretty safe as a single woman on a solo trip walking around town during the day.

      – Chihuly museum; I know it’s a major tourist point, but it’s soooo worth it
      – Discovery Park – good for a hike, you stop feeling like you’re in the city when you’re at the edge of Puget Sound
      – Seattle Central Public Library (no seriously, worth a visit; it’s like a modern art museum but a library!)
      – the old Ballard area is *great* for walking around and browsing, plus the Chittenden (Ballard) Locks are a really cool feat of engineering
      – Gas Works Plant park
      – Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is worth a peek
      – Kerry Park on a sunny day to see the Seattle skyline and Mt Rainier looming in the back
      – Woodland Zoo – the zoo was much much larger than I expected! Definitely worth a visit
      – Pasta Casalinga in Pike Place Market was delicious and the line was much shorter than Il Corvo
      – Storyville Coffee at Pike Place Market instead of the original Starbucks location
      – Starbucks Reserve & Roastery – if you *must* go to Starbucks in Seattle, go here. It is AMAZING and I’m not even a coffee drinker. It’s massive, you can see beans roasted on-site, there are 3 or 4 coffee bars, including a mixology bar, and lots of nice places to site.
      – Rachel’s Ginger Beer in Pike Place Market
      – Stateside for modern French-Vietnamese; their crispy duck rolls are to die for. (Just a couple doors up from the Starbucks Roastery)
      – Seattle Japanese Garden in the UW Arboretum. There is an entrance fee of $8 for the Japanese Garden while the rest of the Arboretum is free, but the Japanese Garden is indeed very pretty at this time of year.
      – Elliott Bay Book Company
      – Salare for a nice dinner – caveat, I’m biased as I know people who work there.
      – Kedai Makan for Malaysian food
      – Ooink for Japanese ramen

  11. Curious Kat*

    I’m very curious about how other people communicate to someone that they have something on their face.

    If our son has something on his face, I will wipe at the same side of my face so that he knows where to get it. However, my husband has taught him that the correct way to show someone where something is on their face is to wipe on the opposite side, such that if both people turned and faced the same way, they’d both be wiping the same sides.

    I think my husband’s way makes no sense because it makes both people do the opposite of what they’re seeing in front of them. I’m not looking for ammunition to argue which way is right – I’m legit curious about what other people do and how common each of our ways is.

    1. Square Root Of Minus One*

      I’m not certain I understood you right so I don’t know if I act like you or your husband, so I’ll say it this way: if someone has something, say, on their left cheek and I’m facing them, I point the place on my right cheek. I consider I’m showing it to them the way they would see it in a mirror, and they always act accordingly. I have never seen anyone confused by that so far, however the other way would twist my brain a little bit :)

      1. Curious Kat*

        Yeah, that’s the way I do it. I struggled to explain what I meant. I do it mirror image, but if I turned and faced the same way, we’d each have our hands on a different cheek. My husband does a reverse image so that if he turned and faced the same way, they’d both be touching the same cheek.

        My husband’s way just makes no sense to me. :D

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Like, if Son has something on his right cheek, husband brushes at his own right cheek? That makes sense to me, sorry :)

          I just tell my husband, hey you have coffee in your mustache, and he wipes the whole thing. If that doesn’t get it, I point at his face rather than mine or send him in to a mirror.

        2. Square Root Of Minus One*

          Both ways make sense, I think, if you’re wired differently.
          Now I want to conduct an experiment about that :)

          1. Myrin*

            Yeah, I don’t think either method doesn’t make sense.
            I naturally do it like Kat’s husband but have trained myself to do it like Kat herself because I’ve found that people were confused because they’d naturally move their hand to the side they saw my hand being, too, and would thus get the wrong spot.

            1. Blue Eagle*

              I do it your way (mirror image), my husband does it your husband’s way (same cheek) – his way has me wiping the cheek with nothing on it, then having to wipe the correct cheek every time.

              Hmmm, is this a gender thing?

        3. Tris Prior*

          My partner does it your husband’s way and it drives me mad and after 15 years together I STILL never get which side of the face he means!

    2. eggonyourface*

      I show people mirror-style as you, and in my experience that immediately works on everybody – except the few times the they have been medical doctors. I think it’s something about the training to talk to their patients from the patients point of view that MDs can bring to normal conversations as well.

      1. Overeducated*

        I can confirm this, see my comment below. It actually starts before they deal with patients in first year gross anatomy.

    3. Clara*

      I do it your husband’s way – the mirror thing doesn’t make sense to me, I always reverse it mentally before reacting, so I end up wiping the wrong spot. So I do it the way that I would respond effectively to.

      It usually works, in my experience, and in the rare cases it doesn’t I just say ‘other side’ and they get it.

    4. WS*

      My partner and I have obviously been trained the opposite way – I do the same as you, she does the same as your husband – so whenever one of us is trying to tell the other about something on her face, it goes wrong! (We’ve been together 20 years and still haven’t worked this out – sometimes we try to do the other one’s style and get even more confused.)

    5. fposte*

      Oh, how funny; I never thought that there were different ways of doing this! I’m mirror face all the way.

    6. Angwyshaunce*

      What a fascinating question. Like several commentors, I like your method, as it’s acting like a mirror for the other person.

    7. Thursday Next*

      This is so interesting—I do the same side. Mirroring confuses me—I’m used to dance and exercise classes that do same side, and when I was watched an instructional dance video that used mirroring, I was lost.

      1. Square Root Of Minus One*

        Maybe there’s something here : mirroring versus imitating/mimicking, depending on background.
        (There’s an Agatha Christie novel based on the culprit trying to pose as someone else, checking herself in the mirror, getting confused and doing something on the wrong side.)

        1. Thursday Next*

          Oh yeah—the one with the valuable painting and someone posing as the scatter-brained sister? All the titles kind of meld together.

          1. Square Root Of Minus One*

            Yes. I don’t know, off the top of my head, the original title.
            I tried to remain vague in case someone was reading it, so better not mention it, or any more of the plot, anyway.

            1. Thursday Next*

              Is there a statute of limitations on spoilers? ;)

              I liked your distinction between mimicking and mirroring—it’s a handy way of thinking about it.

    8. Grapey*

      My parents have done it differently so I just say where the thing is. “You have something in your upper right teeth” for example. Solves the problem, assuming the recipient knows their left from right.

    9. Squid*

      I took American Sign Language in hs and we learned to mirror- so if someone has food on their left cheek you touch your right. I remember my ASL teacher saying that most of her students come in doing the opposite (touching their left) but that’s just anecdotal. Mostly I tend to look at the spot they need to wipe and I think that, more than what side if my own face I touch, communicates location.

    10. Not So NewReader*

      I use the mirroring method also.

      I tried the other way years ago, where I wiped the correct side of my face. I found that most of the time people did not get it. They mirrored me instead and wiped the wrong side of their face. So I switched to the mirroring method.

      What I liked about mirroring is that it can almost be non-verbal. So if I am sitting in a meeting and a person (who i know would want to be told) has something on their face and I can just wordless gesture and the message is correctly understood. It’s quick and not obvious to others.

    11. Overeducated*

      I argue about this with my husband too! He has a medical background and insists the correct way is to show them on the same side anatomically (so if it’s on their left cheek, use your left cheek) because position should be absolute, not relative. I insist that mirroring is the custom in our culture and being anatomically correct is confusing for people who are not used to it.

    12. Lilysparrow*

      No matter what you do, someone is going to get confused. The “correct” way is to teach your son that magical communication does not exist, and sometimes you’re going to have to use your words to say, “Oh, no – I meant the other side.”

  12. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going?
    I’m not doing much creative writing at the moment due to a bunch of deadlines for written assigments approaching, not to mention the date for our play.
    I am so nervous about that play.

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      I’m glad this is here already!

      Have you heard back from that competition you entered last week yet?

      This morning I received…it wasn’t a negative review of a new chapter I’d put online but it was an exasperated review. The main complaint was that I had gone deep into the lore of a specific topic but then got things completely wrong. I went on the defensive and I am upset that I did that. I read into the reviewer’s tone offence and insults that weren’t there and whilst I was polite in my response, I was also to the point.

      Now that a few hours have passed and I’ve received from her a list of four things that she viewed as glaring inconsistencies, I’ve got back to the chapter and realised that she’s completely right. The chapter was a bit of a mess plot wise and her points are good ones. I’ve just spent an hour fixing it and I’ve put the edited chapter online in place of the original version. I’ve sent her a message saying thank you and apologising for my tone but I’m upset with myself that my first reaction to the criticism was immediate defensiveness.

      Any tips and advice on how to divorce myself emotionally from criticism?

      1. JJ*

        Constructive criticism is a gift. A reader took the time to consider your work and give their thoughts about it. It sounds like this person helped strengthen your work. I think there are two responses. Silence if the person has been rude about your work. It is not worth arguing with that person. Or if the comments are positive or constructive, just a word of thanks for showing interest in your work. Criticism is hard to take sometimes, but talk to your writer friends about your feelings. Criticism is part of any job and you need to start getting used to it (and using it to improve your work), because you will receive it from the agents you query, the editors they query, and the readers of your books and stories. I hope this helps.

      2. XYY*

        Honestly, I think it’s natural that negative criticism, however well intentioned, makes us feel defensive for a while before we can see its value. I’ve learned to make a kind of peace with this: instead of trying to “grow a thicker skin”, expect those feelings and wait them out before replying. So, don’t respond to criticism right away.

        Also consider how you best receive feedback. For instance, I find criticism much easier to take in a conversation (even if it’s just a phone call or real-time text chat) rather than email, because there’s a sense of such conversations passing quickly and thus being “harmless”. Not to mention that tone, body language, etc can make it clearer that the person has goodwill towards you and their criticism isn’t a personal attack. Anyway, consider whether getting criticism in a different form might make it easier on you.

      3. A.N. O'Nyme*

        My entry was accepted, so now we wait. The winner will be announced on the 1st of June. I’m kinda following Allison’s job seeking advice here though: assume you didn’t get it and move on. If I do end up winning, it’ll be a pleasant surprise :) .

        Honestly, if this very blog taught me anything it’s that a lot of people feel defensive when receiving criticism, and I agree with some of the other advice that the best thing would be to let it sit for a moment and get back to it later with a fresher mind – maybe even write a response in a Word document but not sending it (that way you get it out of your head and don’t keep seething). Then later you can go back and see if this person is right or not (as was the case here). And in my experience, unless a review is of the “you really suck and should stop writing immediately”-variety most people tend to be fairly okay with their criticism, and most people leaving reviews actually want to help you become better. So instead of seeing it as an attack, maybe you can try reframing it as someone teaching you something. Another trick an acquaintance uses is having her computer read the reviews to her – because it’s a robot voice, the tone is very neutral which helps her see it less as an attack.

        Something to keep in mind, however, is that not ALL criticism is correct. You really need to go back and see if the critic is right or if implementing their criticism would actually help you. In this case you were factually incorrect, but if a reviewer says, for example, that you need to add a rainbow-coloured platypus to the story to make it better, it’s up to you to see if that actually holds up. Similarly, people tend to be slightly biased to what they like to see: a romance fan, for example, might suggest adding a romantic subplot to your gritty high fantasy quest story. Again, it’s up to you to see if that actually works within the story or not.

    2. Troutwaxer*

      I just finished a short story I’m proud of. I’ve sent it to a couple people for beta-reading and my wife loves it, so I think it’s a winner! The story is set a hundred-thousand years in the future when humanity is beginning to recover from Climate Change. They can smith copper, but have forgotten both the wheel and the arch, and cannot make glass. Someone finds a “museum” left behind by present-day humans which is meant to guide humanity back to technological society, and is immediately tried for heresy…

      I wrote it with one eye on the idea of the Motie Museum from “The Mote in God’s Eye,” and the main character comes very close to being a Motie Engineer/Master.

        1. Troutwaxer*

          Yeah, I know. The story is my part of trying to make sure that doesn’t happen – if it sells.

  13. ellie*

    Having one of those weekends when I’m torn between wanting to do everything and wanting to do nothing.

    Sigh.

    1. Asenath*

      I usually try to do nothing on weekends, but today I’m going to an annual multi-faith symposium on spirituality for the morning. It’s put off by the local Hindu Temple, and they serve a fabulous lunch at the end. The speakers are usually interesting too – this year, the topic is “Maintaining one’s peace of mind in the middle of turmoil through spirituality”, and we will be hearing from Hindu, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Sikh, Baha’i, Christian and Humanist speakers.

    2. londonedit*

      Same. I have three and a half days of holiday left before I start a new job, and I’m torn between feeling like I have to make the most of the time, and feeling like I should also make the most of being able to just do nothing!

    3. WellRed*

      I was so happy when plans to do something I didn’t want to do last night (drive 30 minutes north to some rural sports bar for karaoke(!), then turn around and drive back to city to go to 80s night which is crazy and I don’t like to dance) fell through (though I would have loved to see my friends). So happy to get out of that, but then, around 6pm, I felt restless and bored and lonely, despite all week just wanting a night on the couch with book and tv.

  14. whingedrinking*

    SPOILERS FOR THIS WEEK’S EPISODE OF RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE:
    |
    |
    |
    Why, why, WHY is Silky Nutmeg Ganache still there?! If the producers are going to meddle so obviously, couldn’t they give us the so-satisfying Yvie vs. Silky showdown we all crave, where Yvie wipes the runway with her? Instead they sent home the last person everybody actually likes. At least Nina’s a shoe-in for Miss Congeniality.

    1. Roseberriesmaybe*

      Last week I was sure Nina was in for the win. It doesn’t make any sense??? Why was she even in the bottom?
      I think if I was Yvie v Silky, Yvie would have completely obliterated the competition to the extent that Ru would had to have sent Silky home…and for some reason, Ru really wants to keep Silky around

      1. whingedrinking*

        And poor Soju. Even before the reveal that she’s not much for walking in heels, Silky was pouting and sulking and calling shade, even though she’s seen that Soju can be gorgeous. And then that makeup – dear god, I’m surprised Soju managed to smile on the runway at all. I would have burst into tears in her situation.

    2. Middle School Teacher*

      I’ve noticed since VH1 took over the show, it’s way more over-produced for storylines and way less interested in finding the top talent. Silky should have been gone last week, or at least lost this lip sync. Her padding issues are not improving and she’s just obnoxious in general (ehich of course makes for drama tv). At least Vanjie finally stepped it up!

  15. Messy Bun*

    I am moving internationally in a little bit over a month (within Europe).
    I don’t need movers because my furniture is staying as I want to rent out my flat. My clothes and other things (a few wall decorations, sports/hobby equipment) will be moved as checked luggage (I am flying there a couple of time till then and can already leave things at my future place). There’s so much to arrange/pack and I am getting a little nervous.
    What tips do you have for going through stuff, tossing what isn’t needed and then transporting them in luggage? There have been wonderful moving threads here so I am hoping someone has been in a similar situation.
    What are things you are glad you did before moving abroad or should have thought of?
    Have a sunny weekend you all!

    1. JustKnope*

      When you’re deciding which clothes to bring, lay them all out together on the floor! I chose pieces one-off before packing them for a semester abroad and accidentally brought NINE striped shirts (out of the 13 I brought… I was known as the stripes girl). Try to bring “building block” basics and stuff that can mix and match!

    2. Not A Manager*

      I’ve done a lot of transporting fragile items in luggage. My method: Wrap the items well in soft clothing and place them in the middle of the luggage. Be sure to pack the bag full enough that everything is held tightly in place. I have an expandable bag, so I pack using sweaters and bulky clothing to fill up the expanded bag. Then I zip the bag and close up the expansion part. That compresses the bulky clothes enough that I know my fragile items will be secure.

      Be sure to weigh your luggage. It’s really easy to exceed the weight allowance.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Not sure how useful it is because I haven’t used it, but Flylady has a moving guide on her site.
      One international-travel oddity I learned the hard way… 1-pound bags of gourmet coffee are foil-lined and read as potential explosives on xray machines. So use it up at home and buy more there!

    4. DrTheLiz*

      If you’re at all fussy about kitchen utensils, bring them! When Husband and I moved to Germany, he was all for getting a new set of pots, pans etc when we arrived. I hung on tenaciously to a few superstar items, and I’m *so* glad I did – it took maybe two months before we found a satisfactory set of saucepans, and we still only have two. I’ve seen maybe two frying pans as nice as the one I kept since arriving.

  16. Asenath*

    I tend to take a rather scorched earth approach when moving any distance – that is, I ruthlessly go through my stuff and donate or throw out as much as I can – there’s not usually much that’s worth the trouble of selling instead. If I haven’t used something recently, out it goes. If I have a lot of a similar item, ditto. I don’t think I’ve often if ever regretted getting rid of things. This solves a lot of the luggage problems, particularly if you’re leaving the big stuff like furniture. I used to be able to check or even mail the bulk of it, but alas those options have become quite expensive. One of my siblings found that one of the shipping/courier companies had reasonable prices so she shipped some things that way and didn’t have to pay excess baggage fees on the plane. That was in Canada, though, so you’d probably have different companies offering similar services in Europe.

    What else? I stored a few items with relatives when I knew I was going to be living away for only a few years. If I am transporting breakables (dishes, ornaments) I pack them with my clothes or towels rather than transporting special boxes for them. But, in general, I don’t think it’s worth transporting a lot of stuff if you’re going to be away a year or more, because you can probably buy basic household goods (towels, bedding etc) at your destination for less than shipping – unless your research reveals that your destination is crazily expensive for such things, or you need your towels to protect that ornament that has enormous sentimental value.

  17. Lemonwhirl*

    Favourite things to do on the Internet to decompress?

    I love doing crowdsourced science on zooniverse.org. Lately, I’ve been doing the Snapshot Debshan where you identify the types and numbers of animals from some sort of automated camera on a ranch in Zimbabwe. It’s amazing the variety of animals. And I love how I can see many photos of impalas and reedbuck, then suddenly be looking at an elephant’s knees. I’ve also seen baboons, a leopard, giraffes, and zebras.

    They have other projects as well. I’ve taken a try at transcribing Australian prison records from the 30s and also looked at radio telescope images to try to help locate undiscovered planets. It’s an amazing site and what’s nice is that I can spend 2 minutes or I can spend 20 minutes or whatever, but at the end, I’ve learned something and helped out a science project.

      1. Lemonwhirl*

        https://www.zooniverse.org is the main site

        This link goes directly to the Debsham Ranch project – https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/meredithspalmer/snapshot-debshan

        This link is for a project to transcribe surveys from WWII soldiers – https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/tkotwim/the-american-soldier

        And this link is for the project to find a planet:
        https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/marckuchner/backyard-worlds-planet-9

        There are so many amazing projects – and you can pretty much try out any of them and do as much or as little as you want.

    1. Carmen in Canada*

      I play trivia games: sporcle.com, or visit a celebrity fashion blog gofugyourself.com

    2. Other Duties as Assigned*

      A really fun website is Radio-Garden, which someone described as “Google Earth for radio.” It’s a image of the earth with green dots where there is a streaming radio station, about 10,000 in all at present. When you cursor over to one, its stream launches and provides the local time there and a link to the station’s website; many cities have more than one station to choose from. It’s neat to listen in on what’s on the air RIGHT NOW in Nuuk, Greenland or Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. One extra nice feature is that when you move from location to location on the map, there’s audio of static.

      There are also a couple of YouTube categories I’ve stumbled on recently. One has people restoring tools or other machinery. The best I’ve encountered of this lot is by found by searching on “My Mechanics.” The person has skills and equipment I don’t have, but it’s hypnotic to watch (helped by the fact it has neither narration or music).

      The other category is by auto detailers. Here, look for “Autoshine Cars” and cringe along with the owner at how dirty a car interior can get. He does a surprising job and his wry, low key approach is fun. I find watching his videos oddly therapeutic.

  18. Bluewall*

    What was it like when your dating partner transitioned into a more exclusive partner? Was there a conversation? How long did it take?

    I (she/her) have a fourth date with a lovely gentleman tonight. The uncertainty of dating is such a struggle for me. I really enjoy this gentleman and spending time with him; think it’s still a little too new to be bc/gf, but would love some general sense of what a timeline might look like.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I knew my husband for ten years before we started dating, so we went backwards. Like, he moved in with my housemate and me, she didn’t notice for six months that he had started sleeping in my room instead of on the back couch, and we went on our first official just-us date several months after that and made our relationship official that night. We’ve never dated or had any sort of ahem involvement when we weren’t already living together.

    2. Everdene*

      Oak and I didn’t have a conversation until about 6 months in at which point we became officially bf/gf and did I love you’s, not long after we discussed moving in together. Prior to that point I made all the verbal noises about it being casual etc while we spent 5-6 nights a week together, started to meet each other’s wider families and had even bought art together. Oak was a patient man.

      If you aren’t as silly as me I’d recommend having a conversation earlier. I’ve never dated multiple people and I would want any partner to do the same. It doesn’t have to be awkward though or two formal. Just say what you think/feel.

    3. annakarina1*

      With my last boyfriend, we became exclusive a month in, which is fast in retrospect. We only lasted a year together, but yeah, we became a couple after only a few weeks of dating.

    4. ATX Language Learner*

      For my husband and I, after 4 months we became exclusive. I was only seeing him and he might have gone on 1-2 other dates during that time frame. We had conversations pretty early on about what we wanted out of a relationship as well as future plans (we both don’t want kids so that was important). It just kind of flowed and I recommend you do the same! There’s not really a need for a timeline if things are going well.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      My husband and I started settling right in within a few months. We both separately had decided that we did not want to see anyone else. So that is how we framed it, “Right now I am not interested in seeing anyone else but you.” And I said the same thing because I had reached the same conclusion.

      It was kind of nice because it was like we had both arrived at that choice on our own.

    6. SOAS*

      Maybe off topic so apologies in advance…..Do y’all think age has something to do with it? I was talking to someone who’d split from her high school sweetheart after 20 years and was living with someone she’d known for a few months. She had a really great acronym that I cannot remember. But it was something along the lines of “st this age/stage in our life what crap are we willing to put up with?”
      I thought that was an interesting way to look at it.

      1. matcha123*

        I’ve heard soooo many people say that by x age they are over blah-blah and that EVERYONE by x age should already know what they want….
        Which I completely disagree with. I’m mid-30s have only dated two men and don’t really care if I never get married, but am open to it. I don’t have many hard and fast rules I’m looking for a partner to fit in to. I’m pretty flexible and that comes off as a negative to many men it seems. I don’t know. Or maybe unflexible people need each other and give each other that kind of advice?

        1. Lilysparrow*

          I read it that life experience helps you see & avoid getting stuck in unhealthy relationships. Which I absolutely think is true.

          I also think that when you are older, you have a better idea of what kind of life you want for yourself, what makes you happy, what your values are, etc. So of course that makes it easier to tell if you’re compatible with someone. It’s not about rigid rules for a partner, but about knowing yourself.

          For a lot of people, early adulthood is all about trying new things, discovering who you are and what you want, figuring out if your family’s beliefs & values are your own or not, and so forth.

          So we’re more prone to choosing a partner for superficial reasons, or tying ourselves in knots trying to make an untenable situation work. When you’ve seen a bit more of the world, you can more easily say, “okay, this isn’t going anywhere good” and nope out before it gets ugly or you waste a lot of time being irritated or unsatisfied.

    7. Karen from Finance*

      We started hanging out a lot more, specially during the day and on things that weren’t dates. Like I had to move apartments and he’d come with me to the stores (and ride me since I don’t have a car), which also got his mind off some stuff that he was going through.

      It was months until I admitted that he was my boyfriend, though we were doing couple things for a while. The day he took time off from work to ride me to the airport was the day I finally admitted it.

      1. TL -*

        I’ve always heard it as “give me a ride” as in “he gave me a ride to the airport.”
        “Ride me” is usually slang for vigorous bedroom activities.

        1. Karen from Finance*

          Oh thank you!! English is not my first language so I wasn’t aware of this connotation. That’s embarrassing.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I marvel at how many folks here are using English as their second language. I would not even attempt to learn another language and post to a blog. I think all you guys are pretty awesome. Karen, if you had not mentioned English is not your first language, I would not have been able to figure that out based on your posts here.

            FWIW, many of us have tripped over something where there was a second meaning that we were not aware of, this is pretty normal. English speaking people have to tell each other stuff like this, too. So now you know and it’s your turn to help someone else.

            (Additionally, there are expressions in ordinary American English that are considered crass or worse in British English and visa versa. A family member learned English in Germany, they taught her British English. Now she lives in the US, it’s like she as two English dictionaries inside her head.)

            If you are interested there are websites that are dictionaries of American slang. I have to read them because I don’t know either.

            1. Karen from Finance*

              Thank you!

              I was sent to a bilingual school, so about half of my classes agrs 5-17 some of our classes were taught in British English. But I think in a lot of cases, me and other non-native English speakers picked it up more from hanging out on the Internet. Once you have an overall handle on the language, there’s a LOT more Internet in English than in other languages. And I’ve been spending way too much time online since I’m a teenager, so that’s helped a lot in my fluency. By the time I was 25 I was working on a Fortune 500 where I had to Skype daily in English with people all over the world, I love being able to do that. But it’s definitely as you say, those little pieces of common word usage sometimes get lost as you speak with people from different backgrounds and we don’t always use the same expressions.

              I think I read somewhere that Britney’s song One More Time has that weird line where she’s asking him to hit her, baby, because the songwriter thought that was American slang for “call me” (presumably he mixed up “hit me up” with just “hit me”).

    8. NicoleK*

      About a month in, we had the exclusive talk. I didn’t want to assume that we were exclusive so I asked him if he was dating anyone else at the time.

    9. Lilysparrow*

      We were both over 30 when we met and both knew we were interested in marriage & kids, so things went a bit faster than if we still had all that stuff to figure out for ourselves.

      We knew each other socially for about a year. We were attracted & he’d asked me out, but I had gotten some bad information about him that turned me off so I said no. (Later discovered the bad info was not true).

      When we did go on a real date, it stuck. We got engaged at 6 months, married right around the year mark.

      I don’t recall any specific conversation about being exclusive. I was going out on dates with different people at the beginning, I think he was in a dry spell at the time (not sure TBH).

      But within a couple of months we were exclusive by default because we were just spending so much time together.

      That makes it sound much simpler than it felt at the time. Of course there was lots of emotion involved and questions in my mind.

      But one of the things that made it work was that it wasn’t all complicated and full of angst like relationships I’d had in the past. It was easy, and just…nice.

      He’s easy to talk to. He understands my thoughts & feelings (not psychically, but when I explain, he gets it, and vice versa.) We make each other laugh & smile. He’s nice to me, and he’s easy to be nice to (if that makes sense. Some people are just a lot of work to be nice to.)

      We were both pretty happy before, but we were happier together. It was really a no-brainer.

  19. The Other Dawn*

    I mentioned last weekend I was going to have my flower garden demolished. Well, it’s gone! Got the quote on Sunday and the guy called Monday morning to say a job had been pushed back and asked if could he come that morning. I had wanted to try and save a few plants to put in pots until I replant, but I didn’t want to risk the job being delayed due to all this rain we’re having so I gave him the go-ahead. I hadn’t yet staked out certain spots that were not to be touched (kitties’ graves) so I just described them. Within three hours they were done! Got home and it was all dirt, nothing left but the little man-made pond and the rock wall. They saved all the rocks for us so we can reuse them–there were some BIG ones so I’ll be getting a workout when we put them back in. Turns out there’s literally a rock ledge near where the bushes were, so I’ll have to plant around that. I have no idea what I’ll plant, so I’ve decided to make a rock border like before and throw down mulch this year. That will give me time to plan. I don’t want to start buying random plants and sticking them wherever, which is my typical gardening style.

    Although I’m sad to lose some of the plants I liked–poppies, daffodils, tulips, lemon thyme, some of the phlox–I’m glad I have a clean slate to start over. And I’m SO happy that stupid Tree of Heaven is gone!! We cut it down to the ground many times and it just came back. The guys sent me a picture of it when they pulled it out and the tap root was really long, like four feet!

    1. LibbyG*

      How satisfying! I think I need to do the same in an 8’ x 12’ bed at my house. I’m inspired!

      1. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

        Libby, a cheap option is to get that size of black tarp. Mow the bed

        1. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

          Oops hit submit by accident…

          Mow the bed then cover with the tarp. No need to pull stuff out. Weigh the edges with bricks and leave it for at least 6 weeks then peek.

          The lack of light and heat from the sun with kill the plants and weeds and return their nutrients to the soil. The dark attracts worms who will till the soil for you.

          Walla, clean slate.

          1. LibbyG*

            But I have woody and vining weeds too, so I wonder if that method would work on those too? I worry about smothering the annuals and making the vines and tree sprouts actually more of a problem. What do you think?

            1. fposte*

              It won’t make them worse–it just won’t necessarily kill them all off. (And of course you still get airborne weeds parachuting in when you take the tarp off.) So it won’t take care of everything, but it still can be a useful way to help reset a feral bed. It’s especially good if you want to turn a piece of lawn into a garden bed.

              1. LibbyG*

                Huh. Cool. I’ll try it, probably with cardboard and wood-chip mulch. Thanks, CiP and fposte!

                1. fposte*

                  Cardboard with mulch over it is a classic. (Layers of newspapers work too, but people don’t tend to have that much newspaper anymore.)

    2. Penguin*

      Speaking as an invasive plant scientist, props (and congrats!) to you for getting rid of the Tree of Heaven! They’re tough to deal with.

      1. fposte*

        Around here, tree of heaven is satisfying to pull when it’s teeny, but heaven help you if you miss the window.

        My adventures with plant ID this week consisted of puzzling over a couple of self-seeded volunteers in the front–they were a little phlox-like, but it’s way too early around here for the tall phlox species to be blooming, and the leaves weren’t quite right. And then I went in the backyard and admired my blooming bits of dame’s rocket . . . oh. Apparently all a plant has to do to baffle me is reseed on the other side of the house.

        1. Penguin*

          *laughs* Buckthorn has done that to me; sometimes context is weirdly important to recognizing things!

          I pounced on the one dame’s rocket plant I found when I moved in; the garlic mustard will take… rather a bit longer, sadly. Not to mention the English ivy, vinca, goutweed… at least the yellow irises are… mostly… constrained to the pond…

          1. Qosanchia*

            Ugh, English ivy. I moved in with a friend when he bought a house, and it’s great that we’re basically in the woods, but the property is covered in English ivy, and I’m pretty sure it’s choking all the trees

            1. Penguin*

              Yeah, it can be a real pain, especially if you’re in say the southern US. Even up north (Northeast, in my case) it’s a VERY hardy thing. We’ve got it all up one old maple tree and all across the shaded areas. I put strawberry plants in last year (they’re surprisingly aggressive) to give it some competition. Now we have ivy, vinca, mint, and strawberry plants in a four-way fight, and the only reason it’s not a six-way fight is that the wysteria is too busy trying to eat the house to spread yardward and I go after the grape vines seems like every over week to keep them from getting down to soil level from their arbor.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          Hey, fposte, has your redbud leafed out yet?
          Your area is a bit warmer than mine I think we figured.
          I am concerned because the nodes are black. But the branches feel like they have life in them, they are not brittle or willing to break right off.

          1. fposte*

            Yes, but it’s slow and the leaves are still small; it doesn’t help that mine is probably not the healthiest and has lost bits of its clump in previous years. I think also we had a tricky freeze-thaw pattern this spring–my flowering cherry unfortunately never flowered, but the leaves are coming out just fine.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Thanks. I won’t start worrying yet. I think I will fertilize it tomorrow, maybe that will help.

      2. The Other Dawn*

        I unfortunately have a lot of Japanese Knotweed coming up around the rock wall that’s in the front of the house. We chopped it and then sprayed it with brush killer and it’s gradually wilting. We’ll have to either hit it again or just pull out the dead ones and see what happens.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            I’ll say yes. Last year I tried to leave all of what I pulled in a plastic tarp so it couldn’t come back up, and it didn’t die. :(

            1. Seeking Second Childhood*

              ** waves at Dawn ** My other nemesis is Bishop’s Weed. Between that and the bunnies we lost most of our perennial garden herbs in the old house. Even horseradish got choked out. Anything I transplanted here, I moved bare-root!

              1. The Other Dawn*

                It’s really weird: my herb garden is never touched for some reason. I fully expected it would get eaten up by furry critters, but it hasn’t yet. Maybe because it’s a raised bed? Or they’re “stinky” herbs, like oregano, thyme and sage? (OMG all three of those spread like crazy this year! I bought two little plants of each last year and they’re huge now! And it’s just the beginning of the growing season!)

                1. Seeking Second Childhood*

                  I have never had luck with sage, rosemary, lavender or tarragon… but I moved out of the river valley 2 years ago and the soil is so much different I’m going to try yet again. Bunnies ate back mint, chives, garlic chives, horseradish AND my husband’s wine-grape vines that he’d grown from cuttings. He was really angry…but there’s no have a heart that’ll trap a rabbit.

                2. The Other Dawn*

                  Even though rosemary is a perennial, I find it’s too cold in mid-CT for it to survive. It lasts quite awhile, though, far longer that the other herbs. My sage has exploded from the two little plants I got last year. I just read that I was supposed to cut it way back before spring, but apparently it’s not necessary. It would just make it grow fuller, I guess, had I cut it back. I did lavender last year, but for whatever reason it didn’t do well. Tarragon…I’ve never tried growing it. Probably because I haven’t a clue what I’d use it for!

              2. Not So NewReader*

                Bishops weed is a constant battle here also. It will grow anywhere no matter what.

                1. LibbyG*

                  Bishop weed made me go from “Oh, glorious nature!” to “Die, scourge of hell!! Die! Die! Die!”

            2. Penguin*

              Seeking Second Childhood, The Other Dawn:
              Ok, knotweed suggestions! Keep in mind that treating invasive plants is almost always a multi-year effort, since the roots can and will often send up a new plant. That said, you might try the following process:
              1), cut it down repeatedly, at least once a month (you’re aiming for ~5 cuts in a growing season)
              2) assuming your growing season runs May-Sep or thereabouts, in September spray the leaves with a glyphosate herbicide (i.e. “weed killer”) (Roundup is a common example); you want the leaves to be thoroughly wet but not dripping (you do this in the late summer/fall so that the herbicide gets absorbed and carried down to the roots; spraying now won’t kill the roots)
              3) about a month after spraying, cut the plants down as close to the ground as possible, then cover the area with a heavy tarp and leave the tarp in place for at least a year
              4) don’t take the tarp up until you have something ready to plant there, preferably something vigorous that will sprout up quickly or is already somewhat tall (like a shrub) so that new knotweed sprouts have to fight it
              Note: once the tarp is down, spray any new knotweed sprouts with glyphosate as soon as you see them, even if it’s spring; you’ve weakened the rootstock and you want to keep “hitting it while it’s down”

              Please note that I can’t promise that this is the silver bullet answer that will be perfect for anyone and everyone (as readers in the UK may know, often the only way there to get rid of knotweed is to dig out the plants with heavy machinery and replace all the soil) but my research suggests that a multi-prong approach is going to be your best bet.
              Do be sure to follow all warnings and directions on the herbicide label- that is both the safest and the legally-required way to use those products.

      3. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

        Please figure out something for goatheads.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          Spray the entire area with roundup and kill everything. Throw away the dead plants. Water it well so the seeds sprout. Spray the entire area with roundup and kill everything. Water it well so the seeds sprout.

          Repeat that, over and over, until nothing sprouts when you water it. The goathead seeds can last for years in the soil, so you want to sprout and kill every single one of them. It will probably take an entire growing season. (And yeah, roundup is nasty stuff, but you need to sprout every seed and kill every living plant in the area.)

          Then, if you ever see a tiny sprout, pull it out and throw it away – don’t ever let it go to seed, or else you get to start the entire process over again.

          We no longer have it on our property, so this does work.

    3. Ethyl*

      I hates those tree of heaven jerks! We had them at the old place. Now we have invasive grapevines. I just got a very reasonable quote to yank them all out, trim back the privets and other assorted randomness, and get things generally under control, so that’ll be happening soon and I’m SO psyched. The previous owners rented this place out for five years before we bought it and nothing has been taken care of like, at all.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        At least if you have grapevines you can make dolmas. (Stuffed grape leaves.)

    4. OyHiOh*

      Trees of Heaven die if copper sulfate is applied to the fresh cut stump ~~ signed Person Who Helped Dig Out A Small Forest.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Thank you! We have two that are pretty big in the back yard. They seemed to sprout overnight (probably close to the truth!). I keep telling my husband I want to take them down and he keeps insisting he wants them because he wants more trees. So do I, but not them! But I do know how to use our chainsaw, so they may just disappear while he’s at work one Sunday. Or I can just get a quote from the tree place that’s coming out this week for other reasons. :)

  20. Coco*

    Couldn’t decide whether this is work related or not but does anyone have recommendations for white/ light colored oxford/ button down shirts for women? Requirements: Not sheer – should be able to wear a skin tone bra underneath and it not be seen, big enough chest area to not gape between buttons, long enough that when tucked in and you raise your arms the shirt doesn’t untuck. (I’m pretty 5’3” but will order tall sizes to prevent the untucking)
    Thank you!

    Finding shirts for work to wear in summer that don’t require layering is soooo frustrating.

    1. Insurance mom*

      Lands’ End. Also they have shirts with concealed in between buttons for the gapping problem

    2. Notthatkindofmarinebiologist*

      Lands End? I haven’t bought their white ones, but they seem to be a nice thick fabric and many are “wrinkle-free”. They have a whole line of work shirts that they can logo, but I get them plain. Look for coupons…

    3. r*

      I’ve done well recently with Athleta button-downs. They have some stretch (makes sense, given they’re a workout company), are opaque, and can machine wash and hang dry.

    4. Kate*

      Also 5’3″ and a “Buxom Lass”. “Hollywood Fashion Tape” for the Win! It is tape designed to stick fabric to fabric and fabric to skin. I always use between buttons to avoid gaping. Also great for securing v-neck or scoop-necked tops to skin or bra to avoid gaping when bending over. I like to wear cardigans and light weight jackets without a layer underneath. I also don’t like the way shirt or cardigan plackets do not stay in line between buttons. Hollywood Tape keeps that from happening. I also use this tape to secure shoulder pads and bra straps, keep sandal straps from falling down over my heal, hem pants in an emergency and keep low cut socks from crawling down into my shoes. Always have some in my wallet. It is available on Amazon. ( This is not a paid advertisement!)
      .

  21. Elizabeth B.*

    Why do people wish total strangers a “Happy Mother’s Day”? I’m a middle-aged woman with no kids and I’m tired of people saying “Happy Mother’s Day” at the grocery store, etc. Usually I just ignore it, but sometimes I respond “I’m not a Mom” and let them deal with the awkwardness. I have two friends with fertility issues who avoid going anywhere on Mother’s Day weekend because it is too painful to be constantly reminded that they don’t have children.
    I know people mean well, but I wish they would stop and think.

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

      Our bus driver (!) was doing that yesterday. He meant well, but I was cringing every time…

    2. londonedit*

      Gosh, I’m glad that isn’t a thing here! Our Mother’s Day is tied to Easter so it’s usually in March, I’m sorry you’re dealing with this crap this weekend! I’m childfree by choice and I’d be annoyed if someone wished me a happy Mother’s Day, let alone how it must affect people who actually want to have children but don’t/can’t. I can’t imagine why anyone would think this is OK.

      1. Grace*

        Fun fact about why our Mother’s Day is tied to Easter, vs the US version – theirs began in 1905 when the founder held a memorial for her mother and decided that all families should have a day when they honour their own mother, while the UK version is a revival of a medieval tradition of returning to your ‘mother church’ on the fourth Sunday in Lent, which was also used to check up on elderly parents and make sure they had enough food to get them through to the summer harvest, since spring was the time when people were most likely to have food shortages and starvation, and the second half of that was (sort of) revived.

        So basically, the US one is supposed to entirely about honouring your own mother – so no-one should be saying it to strangers! the founder insisted on it being a singular “mother’s” for that very reason! – while the UK one is just checking in on your parents and making sure they’re doing okay, which also does not require talking to strangers.

        1. londonedit*

          Ah, I didn’t know how the US one managed to end up in May!

          There’s definitely a cultural difference with these things – in the UK we don’t see days like Mother’s Day as ‘holidays’, they’re just days on the calendar. And we don’t like talking to strangers anyway! Apart from Christmas, and perhaps people at a church wishing others a happy Easter, you wouldn’t wish strangers a happy anything.

          1. Hufflepuffin*

            Clearly you don’t live in a village. People wish strangers happy everything if you do!

        2. Ham and mayonnaise!!*

          Interesting. Isn’t called Mothering Day? I like that better because it’s a little more inclusive than Mother’s day.

          1. londonedit*

            Traditionally it’s Mothering Sunday but that’s a bit of an old-fashioned term now. Most people call it Mother’s Day and I think fewer and fewer people know the actual origins of the day now.

            1. UKCoffeeLover*

              I didn’t know the origins of the UK Mothering Sunday either. Thank you for this.

              My mum has always told us she does not want us buying her anything for Mother’s Day (UK), as it is too commercialised. Now I’m a mum, I totally agree with her and expect nothing from my children.

              I understand why it is an upsetting day for many people for many reason, and having total strangers wishing you a happy mother’s day is just weird and actually very insensitive. Hope that never happens here!!!

              1. Lucy*

                Fun (?) fact: it’s one of only two “rose” Sundays in the liturgical calendar. A priest wearing pink vestments on Mothering Sunday (fourth in Lent) or Gaudete Sunday (third in Advent, pink candle) is … well equipped.

      2. Square Root Of Minus One*

        It isn’t a thing here in France, even though historically, it should. Compared to the US, we have it backwards :D
        In France, it was first heard of in the late 1800’s (though it only got official somewhere in the 20’s) and was designed to honor mothers of many children, with natalist purposes. As far as I know, French people only honor their own mother, sometimes their mother-in-law, but that’s it.

    3. That Girl From Quinn's House*

      Yes, I got this too last year. I don’t understand it. If you’re not in a parent-child sort of relationship with a person, why would you wish them a Happy Mother’s Day? The mechanic wished me one last year when I took my car in on Mother’s Day and I was just perplexed. I mean, if I’d bought a cake that said Happy Mother’s Day! on it, I’d understand if the bakery person made the logical inference that I was celebrating it with someone and wished me one, but I don’t typically celebrate holidays by scheduling routine maintenance on my car.

      1. WellRed*

        The only mom I wish Happy Mother’s Day too is my own (and even this is done reluctantly). Not my friends or anyone else.

    4. Qosanchia*

      I almost wonder if people aren’t even thinking of the day in specific. Like, they know there’s a “holiday” there, and they know it’s called “Mother’s Day,” but there’s no actual consideration of what that means, just the impulse to wish someone a happy whatever as a form of politeness?
      It makes me wonder if people do that for Father’s Day.

    5. MissDisplaced*

      I got that today too! So not a mom and don’t know why people all assume it. I usually just say “same to you!” and let them deal

      1. Dan*

        That’s awesome, I love the response.

        As a dude with no kids, I’m bewildered that people do this. Strangely, I don’t get “happy fathers day” If people ever pull that on me on Father’s day, I might have to try “I appreciate that, but for the last five kids I know about, I signed my rights away at their birth. This conversation might get awkward!”

    6. Elizabeth West*

      Same. I wish people wouldn’t assume they have to say it to every woman they see.

    7. Fritz and Liesls' Mom*

      Dog mom here and I’ve given up on dissuading the sentiment. I just say, ‘thanks my dogs think I’m awesome!’ But otherwise you’ll find yourself having a bad day. It just won’t change being such a commercialized holiday.

      Happy Human Day :)

      1. valentine*

        It is actually the best response. Bonus if you can hit some really sharp wails.

    8. matcha123*

      Have you tried saying “Happy Mother’s Day” back to them, regardless of their sex?
      I think some people think it’s a general greeting for any woman and use it like they’d say “Happy New Year.”

    9. ZoeyF*

      For some it is just a greeting. Like wishing people happy national donut day or coffee day or other ‘day’. For some people it may feel like saying ‘happy thanksgiving ‘ to a non-US citizen on the 4th Thursday of November but it prob isn’t said with malicious or unkind intent. If a stranger wishes me happy mother’s day, I reply in kind regardless of age and gender.

    10. Earthwalker*

      The hardware store gave me a pansy for mother’s day. I told them I wasn’t a mother and gave it back but they insisted I take it. Happy Mature Woman’s Day!

    11. The Other Dawn*

      I don’t have kids nor do I want any, but I get “Happy Mother’s Day” every year. I just roll with it and say, “Thanks.” It takes less energy. People mean well so it doesn’t bother me. (I have cats, though, so I guess I’m a cat mom? Thankfully there were no “gifts” this morning.)

    12. Miss Astoria Platenclear*

      I know it’s late in the weekend, but I want to share a nice experience. The young man ringing me up at Dollar General this afternoon said, Ma’am, may I ask you something?” Sure. “Are you a mother?”
      Didn’t want to cause offense by wishing me a happy Mother’s day in case I wasn’t.(I’m not),
      As a childless woman, I take the wishes in good grace, but it was refreshing to have someone break the woman =mother assumption.
      Wishing a blessed day to all Askers, no matter your parenting status.

      1. MysteryFan*

        I am with those who understand Mother’s Day to be about honoring/celebration your OWN mother. (Everyone’s got one, either here or in the great beyond). It’s not about YOU.. it’s about HER!!

    13. Vicky Austin*

      Remember that letter last year about the male boss who gave all of his female employees flowers on Mother’s Day, and if they weren’t moms, he said, “You’re a wonderful woman and I’m sure you’d be a wonderful mother if you ever decided to have kids.” And nearly all the women said in the comments section that it was gross and sexist? And a few men kept saying that the women shouldn’t be complaining because he did something nice and thoughtful for them, and then all the women schooled him?
      I just went back and read that post again and all the comments.

    14. Never a mother, always a bother*

      Not sure which corner of the world you’re in, but at least where I’m from (Germany) “Father’s Day” is sometimes also called “Men’s Day”, so maybe whoever wishes total strangers a happy Mother’s Day thinks of it more as a “Happy Women’s Day?” I mean, it’s still weird and cringy and all, but mostly I just give my standard “thanks, to you too”, response, which has the pleasant side effect of confusing the hell out of them.

      Also, fun fact: most of my friends are from the US/Canada and while I’m from Germany (and my parents still live there), I’m currently living in a different European country. All three areas celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day on different days, so I end up triple-confused each year.

    15. Liz*

      I agree! I’m not upset I’m not a mom, never wanted kids but I have friends who, like you wanted them but couldn’t, or in the case of one friend, lost a child to suicide. So not every woman who appears to be of child bearing age has kids. there could be many reasons, many of them painful, WHY they don’t.

  22. Marion Q*

    Rant Ahead!

    My family’s going out for iftar tonight, with me paying (first paycheck and all that jazz). I don’t have the bandwidth to pick the place (too tired from working) , so my brother was the one to do it. He picked this Japanese place he’d been to before. The pics looked good, so I said okay.

    Then we got to the place and … It’s disappointing. It’s a place that caters to college students, so the focus is more on hanging out than on the food. I saw the kitchen and it’s not inspiring any confidence. Sure it’s cheap, but since we don’t dine out often, I want to go to a proper restaurant, with good service and food when we do.

    I’m low-key pissed right now. I’d been looking forward to sushi, but with the kitchen condition, no way I’ll order it. I really should’ve known better than to let my brother pick the place.

    1. Grace*

      Ramadan Mubarak!

      There really is nothing more disappointing than looking forward to food or eating out and then it being a let-down, especially when eating out is a bit of a treat. And with your paycheck, as well!

    2. Not A Manager*

      Is it possible that he was being thoughtful of your budget? Maybe he didn’t want to presume by choosing a place that was too pricey.

      1. Marion Q*

        It’s possible, yes, but I doubt it. There are other places in the similar price range with better food, and also more suited for family outings. Plus he’s the only one in our family who’s into Japanese food. I feel a bit sorry for my mum actually, because she actually doesn’t like “foreign” cuisine, so she only went along because my brother and I wanted to.

    3. Ethyl*

      Ramadan Mubarak and also yay first paycheck! I hate going somewhere out to eat that is disappointing! At least you didn’t pay a fortune for average food? I once went to go try out a new brewpub and I paid, I kid you not, $17 for a teeny tiny ramen bowl with “house made noodles” and it was *terrible.* Bland (it was ramen how did they even do that), the noodles were mushy, ugh. It’s a local brewery and their other restaurant has terrific food so I have no idea what happened but man, I was bummed out the rest of the day!

      1. londonedit*

        There is nothing more disappointing than going out and looking forward to a meal and it being disappointing! I had a similar experience – I went out with a group of friends from my home area who were raving about this particular restaurant. Got there and it wasn’t cheap – and it was disappointing! Their speciality was apparently their pizza – which came with all sorts of elaborate presentation – and it really wasn’t great. I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to be that awful sort of big city person who goes to a small town and sneers at everything, but it really wasn’t great. I can get better pizza just down the road from where I live, and probably cheaper!

    4. HannahS*

      It’s frustrating when you go out rarely and are disappointed! My friends frequently want to go to this very trendy brewery pub in our city, but every time I go, it’s terrible. I don’t drink and when I ordered a juice, it was literally three dollars for a juice box. They handed me a child’s 200 mL juice box with cartoon oranges on it. Like, put it in a glass! You’re selling yourself as an upscale place! Another time, When I ordered their mac ‘n cheese, it tasted like nine dollars worth of lukewarm kraft dinner with some hot sauce mixed in. Appalling. Meanwhile, they’re selling gourmet sausages for the meat-eaters. Gah. That place. Anyway, sorry for your disappointment! I happen to love cheap Japanese food, but that’s largely because I don’t eat a lot of sushi.

      1. Marion Q*

        And that’s why I avoid trendy places. The overwhelming majority sell hype, not quality food. I love cheap Japanese food as well, but there are time and place for when to eat cheap and when not to.

        1. Liz*

          You and me both. i will admit to being a bit of a food snob; Mainly in that I like good food; prepared well, and don’t’ mind paying for it. And I love trying new things. Sadly, many of my friends have what I like to call a “less sophisticated” palate. Not knocking them at all; they weren’t exposed to certain things, and are afraid to try new things, and are kind of picky. But its ok. We just find places we can all agree on when we go out together, and i try the other places with friends who are a bit more adventurous.

          But I’ve also tried places people have raved about, and was disappointed as to me, it was just meh.

      2. Nye*

        That also just sounds like a preference mismatch. Some places do a couple things well, and make grudging concessions to things they feel they have to accommodate. Sounds like a good place for beer-drinking carnivores but not so much for others. Personally I love a place that does one (or a few) things well, but those places aren’t a great pick for groups of people who aren’t on board with those things.

    5. MissDisplaced*

      I think this is just one of those things you let go as not being worth the energy of being pissed about. Just pick the yourself next time.

    6. Jaid*

      Eurovision 2019, people! I’m gonna watch the music videos before I make another comment on it. Anyone have opinions about it? The final is on the 18th!

    7. Samwise*

      Well, you didn’t want to choose— totally understandable why you didn’t, but since you asked someone else to do it and then you agreed to the choice, I think you need to be gracious about it.

  23. LibbyG*

    What’s your anthem? Not necessarily your favorite song, but the song that makes you feel like all eff-yeah-I-got-this!

    Mine is Pat Benetar’s All Fired Up. From the first guitar riff to that last drum fill, I’m a fist-pumping maniac when I hear that song. Yep, child of the 80s over here.

    1. Grace*

      More of a power ballad, but for times when I feel like I just want to stop trying, Cher’s You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me. Yes, from the Burlesque soundtrack. Sometimes that’s just what you need when you’re in a bit of a funk. It lets you wallow in your misery for a little while, then gives you a kick up the arse and tells you to get out there and prove them wrong.

    2. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      Not exactly a power ballad, but Katie Herzig’s Lost & Found. I listened to it after a particularly nasty long distance breakup 8 years ago, and a few years ago when I escaped a toxic boss.

    3. The Other Dawn*

      I would say most of the songs on my workout track. I purposely picked songs that have inspirational lyrics, so I would say most of them make me feel like “I’ve got this.” I really like Eminem’s Til I Collapse and Hollywood Undead’s Whatever it Takes right now. A recent favorite is Volbeat’s My Body.

    4. Vic tower*

      The Indiana Jones theme song – if I imagine it playing as I head into a challenge at work it makes me feel like I’m going to save the day, but also reminds me to laugh at myself and that no one is a proper superhero….

      1. BunnyWatsonToo*

        Second that. Runner-up is Joy to the World by Three Dog Night. It never fails to lift my spirits.

    5. Square Root Of Minus One*

      My favorite pick-up song is “Carry On” by Fun. (I love how it starts so soft and suddenly goes wild).
      However, my fired-up songs are respectively “A Sky Full Of Stars” by Coldplay for the light side, and “The World Is Not Enough” by Garbage (in the eponym James Bond Movie) for the dark side.

    6. Mimmy*

      “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman or “Let It Go” from Frozen.

      I also like “A Million Dreams” for when I need a little push to go after my goals.

      1. Alpha Bravo*

        I like “This Is Me” too. I have always been … different. This is who I am, and this is who I want to be. The world will deal. ;)

      2. Vicky Austin*

        Not familiar with “A Million Dreams,” but I absolutely LOVE both the other songs you listed.

    7. Qosanchia*

      It’s Raining Men, by the Weather Girls.
      I used to work as a baker at an Einstein’s Bagels over the weekend shifts, and the girls up front would request it right around 5pm, to get us all pumped for closing. I can’t not sing along, though I haven’t been able to belt that high in a few years

      1. fposte*

        Heh. I developed a one-minute dance break playlist after seeing it on 30 Rock–much the same theory.

        Choices vary from time to time, but Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House,” Lizzo’s “Good as Hell,” The Proclaimers’ “500 Miles,” and Gogol Bordello’s “My Companjera” and “My Gypsy Auto Pilot” are usually right up there in choices.

    8. londonedit*

      Go! by Public Service Broadcasting. It became a ‘thing’ for me when I ran a marathon in 2015 and it’s still my ‘getting fired up’ song. I play it whenever I need a bit of motivation!

    9. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Lately it’s been “Creole Lady Marmalade.”
      I….do not fit the profile. ;) But it’s a blast.

    10. Blarg*

      I have a playlist! Here’s some of it.

      Beyoncé – Formation (also my alarm clock)
      The Who – Baba O’Riley
      Florence & The Machine – Shake it Out
      The Mowglis – Carry Your Will
      Pearl Jam – Alive
      Josh Ritter – Homecoming
      Matt Nathanson – Giants
      Mumford and Sons – I Will Wait

      Specific quotes:

      Pearl Jam – Present Tense: “you can spend your time alone, redigesting past regrets
      Or you can come to terms and realize you’re the only one who cannot forgive yourself”
      Eminem – Not Afraid: “I’d shoot for the moon but I’m too busy gazing at stars”

    11. Quake Johnson*

      My brand new one is Lizzo’s “Juice.”

      Prior to that I’d blast “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” Like, come at me life.

    12. Elizabeth West*

      “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Mostly because it’s fun to sing and I love belting it out in the car. When it’s over, I feel great. I also love to blast “Electric Chair” from Prince’s Batman album.

      In the ’80s, when I was getting ready to go out, I’d put on A Flock of Seagulls (the album with “I Ran”). For some reason, that techno-pop got me all ready to party, lol. Once I was dancing around my bedroom to it and ended up burning the shit out of my ear with the curling iron.

    13. hermit crab*

      This is a great question, and I love everyone’s answers! Mine’s “Short Skirt Long Jacket” or maybe “Killer Queen.”

    14. Sam Sepiol*

      Telephone by lady Gaga and Beyonce.
      Roar by Katy Perry.
      Salute by little mix.
      Woman by Andreya triana.
      Great question :)

      1. T. Boone Pickens*

        Wu-Tang Clan-Protect Ya Neck. I’m ready to fight the water in my shower after listening to it.

    15. DrTheLiz*

      Viva la Vida by Coldplay. I know it’s weird, but I can listen to it on an endless loop and I did during exam cramming for undergrad, so it’s sort of got wired into my brain as an “okay, now get to it!” noise. Also a really good beat to it :)

    16. Victoria, Please*

      John Williams’ Olympic Overture, especially listened to while running on the DC Mall.

    17. Vicky Austin*

      The song that makes me feel all eff-yeah-I-got-this is “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor.

    18. Vicky Austin*

      Oh, and I almost forgot to mention “You Get What You Give” by New Radicals. It’s quite possibly my favorite song of all time, and it always lifts up my spirits every time I hear the lines, “This world is gonna pull through/Don’t give up, you got a reason to live.”

    19. Liz*

      Under Pressure, Queen and David Bowie. Amazing collab from two amazing artists. LOVE it. I play it in the car all the time and sing out loud. Very badly i might add

  24. Noisy cat help?*

    Cat lovers, help! Is there any way to get a cat to stop meowing to wake you up?

    I adopted a 10 year old cat who’s sweet during the day but MEOWS to wake me up when I’m sleeping. I’m trying to get more rest and this is driving me crazy!

    If I go to bed early, she starts meowing. If I’m still in bed at 5am, she meows. Then st 510, 520, 530 etc.

    My alarm is set for 630 and I refuse to get up earlier because that rewards her for meowing, but she’s not grasping that I’m not moving until the (loud) alarm sounds.

    She has food, water, litter box, and she doesn’t really like toys.

    She might be lonely but when I’m awake and doing things at home, she takes naps. I try to play with her to wear her out, but she’s not interested. She doesn’t even chase a laser pointer! She just watches it or any other toy I wave around.

    I’m losing sleep almost every day because of this and it’s driving me crazy! How do I get her to be quiet??

    1. Grace*

      Honestly, that’s just what a lot of cats do. The time-honoured lament of the cat owner is Go back to sleep, you’re not getting fed yet!

      You could try other toys with her. Different cats hunt in different ways, and toys mimic prey. Mine (also ten) never goes after birds, so dangled or waved toys don’t interest her in the slightest – and she couldn’t care less about laser pointers – but she enjoys stalking mice. Most of her play sessions are initiated by putting a pen or a nail file on the table so the end of it is just visible from below, and then letting her think she got the better of us/it. Paper scraps left over from shredding with toys (often pom-poms) hiding underneath are another favourite. She likes pouncing on things and then kicking them, not jumping up.

      And really, I think the reason we’ve never had problems with her waking us up is that the cats, always since the first cats we adopted, sleep downstairs. We say night to them, shut the door that leads to the stairs, and they stay there all night. Some cats can’t deal with doors being closed, but ours have always been fine with it, to the point of getting very pissy with us if we go to bed any later than usual because they want us to feed them and then leave. If not letting her in your room is an option, try it.

      Or just get an automatic feeder that goes off at 4.30 am (before the meowing starts) to give her a bit of food, or a ball she can roll around with treats in it if she gets hungry.

      1. Rachel in Non Profits*

        Yep our cats are used to the basement routine as well. I called their names when it’s time and they come running.

        1. Grace*

          I think the main reason ours have always been fine with us closing the door leading upstairs is because it means they get the sofas all to themselves! They’ve always slept on the beds during the day, chilled with us on the sofas in the evening, and then kicked us out once they decide it’s our bedtime.

          1. Lucy*

            Another cat shut downstairs for the night.

            He starts shouting for us when he hears the floorboards creak or the shower running (etc) in the morning. We will also hear him pawing the door.

      2. tangerineRose*

        Talk to your vet. There could be a thyroid problem or something else physical going on.

        Would it help to get a second cat around that age for your kitty to play with?

        1. Autumnheart*

          I wouldn’t recommend this option unless one genuinely wants a second cat.

          Signed, someone with 4 cats who meow to get me out of bed at 5am

    2. LuJessMin*

      My 16-year old cat recently started howling at night, and I mean HOWLING. Nothing would stop her, save me getting out of bed and screaming at her, then she’d howl because she was scared. I really thought she might have some sort of dementia, so I took her to the vet and they diagnosed her with arthritis. I’ve been giving her Adequan injections twice a week, and she’s quieted down a lot.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      Is there any food associated with your getting up? A friend’s cat has a strict 12 hour timer on his stomach, so they don’t feed him dinner at 4 unless they want to get up at 4 the next morning.

      We woke up one day to our cat batting the on/off on the alarm clock, which had failed to rouse us in a timely manner.

    4. Rachel in Non Profits*

      Each cat is different. We have a noisy cat and quiet cat. The only solution that has worked for us in the 16 years noisy-cat has been alive is our cat version of crating. Before we go to bed, we put our fresh water, a little bit of food and lock them in the basement where the litter boxes are. Then we go to sleep on our second floor bedrooms, with a white noise machine. Noisy cat is still noisy, but a floor away and with the white noise we can’t hear him.
      on the rare occasions when he is not at home, we leave the doors open and our quiet cat never bothers us

    5. Angwyshaunce*

      I don’t know, but if you ever figure it out, please tell me.

      Actually, a good distraction technique that works on my little guy is to throw a couple of treats into a different room. The act of throwing let’s him chase them like a toy, and then enjoy them as a snack. After that, he seems content to move onto the next thing.

    6. Lepidoptera*

      Mine howl to be fed at an obscene hour, despite being ignored for years. I gave up on changing their behavior and sleep with ear plugs.

    7. JJJJ*

      Giving canned food at night/before bed seems to help my cats sleep through the night (something about satisfying the hunting instinct). I’ve also mixed in a small amount of CBD oil which mellows out my anxious cat.

    8. gecko*

      Repeating get her checked by a vet just in case.

      What worked for me—autofeeder. I set it to like 5:30AM and 2PM and give my cat a bit of wet food in the evening. That way she doesn’t associate me waking up with her getting food, though she does love it when I get up and watch her eat in the morning.

    9. Ella Vader*

      My cat does this but was diagnosed with separation anxiety. Take the cat to the vet and see what they say. There may be a physical/psychological reason for the meowing.

    10. Ella Vader*

      Could be separation anxiety or some other physical/psychological reason. Take the cat to the vet and see what’s up. Hopefully, they can give you an answer.

    11. Noisy cat help?*

      Thank you everyone for the replies!
      I’m taking her to the vet for her shots soon so I’ll ask while I’m there.

      Surprisingly I don’t think it’s the food because she usually still has food. It’s like she’s bored and wants company.

      I wonder if tossing her a treat would work.

      1. Venus*

        My cat was normally very quiet, so when he started to meow I discovered that it was a thyroid problem.

        If it is for food (fat cat on a diet) then I have fed them wet food before bed, and that has helped, although you mention that this isn’t the case for yours.

        Some cats are just chatty, and it isn’t medical. They are used to someone feeding them at a specific time, or getting attention then, and you need to reset expectations. When this has happened, I have enclosed them in another room (washroom when I was in a 1-bedroom, or the basement / spare room when I was in a house). It is their bedtime spot, and it’s totally fine if that spot isn’t with you!

      2. Melody Pond*

        Seconding Hufflepuffin – that would be effectively training her to meow at night, because she’ll get a reward for it.

    12. Courageous cat*

      I’ve heard those timed feeders that dispense food at a set time each day can be a godsend for this, because the cat learns to wait for the feeder instead of you, and it has that consistency.

    13. Samwise*

      No, there is no way to resolve this. I’m sorry.
      Well, you could get up, stick her in a cat carrier, then move her someplace in the house where you won’t hear her, but then you will definitely be awake and the cat will not learn.

  25. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

    Hubs & I got food poisoning from eating leftover rice (fried rice syndrome) gone stale. Hubs is starting to feel better and I’m resting a lot. I skipped dinner yesterday and now I’m trying to convince myself to take sips of ginger ale.

    Kinda bummed because the one brat diet food I can count on (rice) isn’t gonna work this time. Prob relying on pb/crackers, ginger ale, tofu, potatoes :/

    1. The Messy Headed Momma*

      Leftover rice is one of the easiest ways to get food poisoning. It’s packed tightly into that square container, full of warmth & moisture – bacterias favorite way to replicate! As soon as you’re done eating, spread it out on a baking sheet & get it in the fridge to cool down for an hour. Then, you can pack it back up & eat it later.
      I hope this finds you back on the mend! Food poisoning is the worst!!

    2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      Can you convince yourself that rice cakes are a different food than rice for these purposes? The last time I had a major stomach thing, I pretty much lived on soda water, plain rice cakes, Benadryl, Pedialyte, and self-pity for several days. Cooking actual rice would have been too much work at the time, and required being too far from the restroom.

      (The Benadryl was at the suggestion of my health insurance’s nurse advice line – it turns out that it can calm down stomachs for some people. It turns out to work pretty reliably for that for me, so now I take it at bedtime whenever I have a stomach thing going. If your insurance has a free nurse advice line, they’re really great for those times when you’re “gross and don’t want to leave the house sick” rather than “something specifically wrong that a doctor will need to do something about” sick.)

      1. hermit crab*

        Benadryl and similar antihistamines are actually pretty effective antiemetics! In fact, the active ingredient is also a component of Dramamine. I was really surprised to learn this (and so were doctors, originally – apparently the anti-nausea effects of first-generation antihistamines were discovered when people taking them suddenly weren’t motion sick anymore!).

    3. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      There was a single frame comic in a book in microbiology that went something like:

      (Shocked looking person) “I can get sick from leftover rice? B. cereus!”

      1. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

        Haha….<:) re: B. Cereus

        Got my appetite back (last night’s dinner: 1 tiny (1/4 cup sized) cooked potato unseasoned; dessert: 1/8 of a frozen banana with 3 mini pb filled pretzels).

        Today: getting oodles of rest before mother’s day early dinner…as long as there’s nothing acidic (knock on wood) hopefully I’ll be ok. Ketchup made my stomach cramp up yesterday quite painfully :((

        1. Jen in Oregon*

          I’m sorry you are dealing with this, but thank you so much for sharing because I didn’t realize that “fried rice syndrome” was actually a thing! Thank you for the warning and I hope you feel much better very soon. :-)

  26. PX*

    I feel like this might be interesting to various people on here especially as its vaguely related to something that comes up a lot: here is an episode of a podcast about linguistics that talks a lot about tone and how it relates to culture (and also code-switching). The discussion which starts around 20 min in of how differences in culture/upbringing affect tone and how this relates to how you can be perceived in different environments is definitely worth listening to I think. I was reminded of this by one of the questions earlier this week…

    soundcloud[.]com/lingthusiasm/13-what-does-it-mean-to-sound-black-intonation-and-identity-interview-with-nicole-holliday

  27. Bibliovore*

    Taking the whole day off! Well except for some work reading. Oh, and prepping for a work gig tomorrow. But other than that. Putting away laundry, a phone call with an old friend, dinner with an old friend in town for the day.
    What I learned last week. If I take the weekend off the world didn’t end, I didn’t get fired and all deadlines are mostly the ones I made myself.

    1. fposte*

      Teach me your wisdom, because boy, could I stand to learn that. Glad you’re going to enjoy today!

      1. Bibliovore*

        well here we are at 6:00.
        reporting in.
        what worked-don’t fall down but I left dishes in the sink! and on the counter! They are still there! From breakfast! Dishwasher filled with clean ones.

        Sat. I did put away laundry. prepped for the work thing. Watched two episodes of NCIS. and did 2 hours of volunteer work. Had a sudden work thing from 11 to 1. (went in but as you might recall, I do love my job and was happy to do that)
        Sunday. Did the work thing and then went to hear an author- Ross Gay. Was amazing.
        Home now sitting on the back porch with the old lady dog reading my favorite blog. AAM.
        OMG!
        An Oriole just landed on our feeder! I never saw one in real life. It is stunning.

        a little anxious about the week to come but feeling grounded and centered. I believe there will be a bowl of cereal for dinner.

  28. Eyeliner*

    I used to have an eye pencil (I think it was Estee Lauder) that was soft enough that I could use it to line the inner part of my eye — not on the skin, but the part above the lower lashes (and below the upper lashes). Most pencils I’ve tried aren’t soft enough to do this. I can’t just keep buying pencils in the hope that one will work. Oh, I just realized as I was typing that I could go to a Macy’s makeup counter and go up and down the aisles trying out pencils — but it would be great to have recommendations. Thanks in advance.

    1. Green Kangaroo*

      No recommendations, but what you’re trying to describe (if I’m understanding correctly) is the waterline. If you ask the salespersons for something that will do this, they should be able to help you find something.

    2. Ali G*

      Do you have an Ulta Beauty near you? The people in mine are really helpful and you can test everything! I have found that rather than a pencil, a gel liner gives me the control to get the line where I want it.

    3. WrenF*

      Clinique’s pencils are pretty soft and work like kids’ Twistables colored pencils; you rotate to raise and lower the actual eye pencil. I haven’t tried them on the inner lid but I love how easily and gently the color applies above and below the lash line.

      1. Double A*

        I use Clinique pencils on my water line, but I use the pencils you sharpen (I like that the “lead” is a bit bigger). But in general they’re a good soft brand!

    4. Makeup Addict*

      Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils are soft and creamy enough to tightline and use on the waterline (what you’re describing as above lower lashes and below upper lashes), without smearing or smudging. They come in a great selection of colours and finishes. They also do a version that is specifically for the waterline (24/7 Waterline Eye Pencil).

      1. sharkBite*

        Mally Roncal is the way to go. Not sure if she’s out in retail anymore, but definitely on the qvc shop network.

      2. Rusty Shackelford*

        I’m late, but wanted to point out that the Urban Decay 24/7 pencil in Perversion is ridiculously soft; softer than the other shades. I bet it would be great for the waterline, even though they do have a specific waterline pencil.

    5. Sunflower*

      If you’re talking about lining your waterline, you could try a gel eyeliner which is applying with a small brush. Gel eyeliner changed my life! I used a soft pencil and it was smudging so easily. I use Bobbi Brown and love it.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        I do this too, it’s a lot easier for me than a pencil. The gel eye liner does make a distinct line (not great for me because my lining isn’t always symmetrical!) but I can break up the line a bit with some eye shadow for a little bit of a smudge effect.

        The actual stuff I use isn’t marketed as eye liner, it’s liquid eye shadow/primer applied with an eye liner brush.

    6. Overeducated*

      I just use a Revlon pencil from the drugstore and it is soft enough. Right after sharpening you might want to dull the point a little though.

    7. SOAS*

      Is it a traditional pencil that needs to be sharpened? If so I wouldn’t recommend that. Try one of those mechanical pencils. Mac has good ones as does Clinique and

      For budget friendly I’d look for L’Oréal wet and wild NYX and maybelline.

      If budget is higher U can go to Sephora and try many on too. They will sanitize them for you. Some of the good brands there are Sephora’s in house brand, Charlotte tilbury, urban decay, amashbox makeup forever, hourglass, Marc Jacobs Anastasia two faced

    8. Seeking Second Childhood*

      At the risk of being the board’s worrywart… that way of applying eyeliner leaves you highly exposed to any contaminant on the pencil or brush you’re using. NEVER share the tool! Mom had drilled that into me, so when I was in junior high school and pinkeye ran wild, I was one of the few who escaped it.

    9. Eyeliner*

      Thank you everyone! These are wonderful suggestions. I treasure the helpfulness of this group. Thanks again!

  29. Red Sky*

    Has anyone tried the Everlywell Food Sensitivity test? Was it helpful? I’m still having some issues even after an elimination diet which identified gluten, palm, and anything in the allium family as triggers. I know my next step is probably a FodMap diet, but dang, it seems like a lot.

    1. louise*

      Fodmap is a lot, but there are more resources now than ever before. I know because I first read about it here 5ish years ago, researched it sporadically for several years, and HAD to plunge in 2 years ago due to a debilitating symptom flare up. It’s been both easier and harder than I expected, but I’m so glad I did and I’m much improved, so take heart! If you need to go that route, the benefits may well outweigh the “it’s a lot” factor.

      Things that helped me succeed:
      1) I don’t mind repeating meals or eating the same thing for awhile. I do get burned out eventually, but I am fine for a few days. This means once I found a few things that worked well, I make really big batches and eat it days in a row to minimize kitchen time.
      2) no kids to cook for, spouse is really supportive and took on all his meal planning so I wouldn’t have to factor him in.
      3) Stock up on Fody brand sauces and condiments (I buy at my natural grocery store and online). They’re pricey, but helpful (especially when starting out and reading labels makes you realize little triggers are in nearly everything). Their garlic and shallots infused olive oils have saved my sanity. The cost of those special ingredients is why my spouse handles his own food; he doesn’t want to use up expensive things he doesn’t have to.
      4) found some good substitutes for my go-to meals and ingredients.
      5) found some good eating out options, especially a particular smoothie from the Tropical Smoothie chain with a particular set of modifications that hasn’t upset my stomach once in 2 years. I get these 1-2x week, sometimes more, and always feel good that there’s no nagging worry in the back of my mind.

      1. Red Sky*

        Thank you! It seems overwhelming, so it’s good to hear from someone who has actually done it.

    2. Ree*

      YES! I have been GF since mid 2012, DF since 2009 and late 2017 started noticing my food allergy symptoms were coming back and I was like, what.the.heck.
      So I took the EverlyWell food sensitivities test(they’ve since expanded it to more foods!)last spring and I hit moderately high on some unexpected foods – spinach, coconut, almonds, chicken(?!!!?) eggs and a few other things. All were foods I ate VERY frequently! Cut most of them out of my diet completely and WOW, what a difference! All of my usual food allergy symptoms went away plus a few other things like slight bloatedness I didn’t even realize existed.
      Definitely would recommend!!

  30. Waiting At The DMV*

    Woke with food poisoning type stomach pain 2 hours ago. Currently miserable. Going to read all of your posts as a distraction.

    1. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      Feel better! Ditto….
      What’s helped: saltines, Trader Joe’s candied ginger pieces, ginger ale, peanut butter/crackers, pb-filled mini pretzels
      Also: ice packs on stomach and zofran…

  31. step by step inch by inch*

    tldr; I need conversational tips for talking to women 70+ when you’re 30 years younger.

    Full story: I live in an area dominated by senior citizens. I volunteer for a number of organizations that are, perhaps not surprisingly, dominated by senior women, most of them over 70. They tend to have led very traditional, upper middle class housewife lives, so always, always, their first question to me is, “Are you married?” (Yes), followed by, “Do you have children?” (No.) And that’s where it shuts down. They often just look startled by the No, and then usually go right into a monologue about their grandchildren or great-grand children. I cannot fathom why they think that’s interesting to a stranger.Once I was stuck at a table with a group of women, each of whom went through, grade by grade, which classes and which teachers each grandchild had ever had. I nearly flipped the table in Hulk rage.

    I’ve tried asking the usual small talk questions, such as about hobbies, but it’s almost always been church (for me: Nope) ; usually it swings right to their husbands’ hobbies (“George enjoys golf”) and yes, their children and grandchildren’s extracurricular activities. Sociologically, I kind of find it fascinating that they seem to frame their entire existence around their spouse and offspring’s lives, without any individual qualities. Occasionally they seem to marvel that I have a job, but aren’t interested in it. One time I was asked if I got a lunch hour (I’m a VP, so…yeah?) . I ask about books, travel, pets, sports- sometimes I get a connection, but it’s very, very rare.

    So of course I continue to seek out other ways to meet people and strengthen the rare connection, but I’m stumped as to how to make small talk to all these women I have met and will continue to meet. I also feel like these women really are people worth getting to know and if I could find the right questions, maybe I’d find out about THEM ( and not that Lou likes to fish and that Ashley sang “Edelweiss” in the school chorus- or was it “Do Re Mi” and OMG kill me now).

    Any thoughts? Commiseration welcome too!

    1. fposte*

      There may be a regional component there, as I’ve spent a lot of time with women of that age over the retirement community years, and I knew plenty of women who didn’t fit the old you describe. (BTW, where I work, the higher you are, the less lunch you get, so lunch hour wouldn’t be an automatic yes for me.)

      But these do fit the mold, and I think three things. First, that you’re accustomed to a specific kind of getting to know someone that’s different from theirs, and you may just need to accept their grandkids *are* their interests and hobbies–that they’re more relationship-focused than you are, and that that’s not better or worse than somebody who drones on about cats, knitting, or videogames. Second, that maybe you could ask them more about their volunteering–why did they want to do it, why this organization, what satisfactions do they find. Third, consider asking them about the past, though connect it to something reasonable rather than just “Where where you when Kennedy was shot?” over the tacos. What were they doing at your age? What was the town like then, and how do they think it’s changed?

      It may just be that the wavelengths don’t cross, and that’s okay; it sounds like you’ve all got plenty going on in your lives. But maybe this could offer some possibilities.

      1. step by step inch by inch*

        I’m in the south, which I think accounts at least for the church-focus. I don’t mean to suggest ALL women in this age bracket are like this; it’s just that seems to be what I’m running into. (I was surprised especially because I used to have great conversations with my granny into her late 80s. She loved to talk about current events and interesting news stories and oh, I do miss her.)

        I like the idea of asking more about their volunteer work. At least that’s a shared interest. Thanks!

        1. fposte*

          I wondered if you were more southern, with the church primacy. Some of this may also be not so much about their interests but about what they consider appropriate or comfortable to share with you, too, so I would be exploratory but philosophical about the possibility of failure.

        2. MatKnifeNinja*

          Remember there is a big difference talking to an older relative who wants to share, and maybe a person you see in a nursing home/senior living setting than your volunteers.

          The first two are more open to discuss things with the other person. Relatives usually want to share. When I volunteered at the senior living center, people I saw wanted to talk and be with others.

          A volunteer may or may not be open to things outside that are considered “safe” by her standards. Family and kids are safe. If you know a little bit more about them, you can slowly expanded the topics.

      2. HannahS*

        I 100% agree with this. One of my best small-talk openers for older people is, “Did you grow up in [city]? Wow, really, it must have changed a lot in the last x years, what stands out to you the most?” And then all the usual, “What are you doing for [upcoming holiday]?” and all that.

    2. Nervous Nellie*

      I can relate – my folks are in their 80s, and my Mum has no interests, hobbies, anything, beyond managing Dad’s medical care. And it’s all she talks about. When I was a kid, she defined herself fully as a Mum, and now defines herself fully as a Wife. I see much the same thing in her similarly-aged neighbors. They have nothing to talk about besides their families and their families’ interests. Maybe it’s a generational thing? I’m in my 50s, and don’t see the same issues developing in my peers.

      The only advice I can offer is to see the warmth and kindness behind the senior women’s comments, and feel compassion for them, because in many cases, this is the world they grew up in, and it was a tough world for women (today’s world is tough in a different way). That said, you did mention that you are meeting them at volunteer organizations, so good for them! Their participation is rounding out their lives, even if all they do at the org is talk about the grandkids. Maybe chat with them about the org, its purpose and see what ideas they have for it?

      1. MatKnifeNinja*

        That’s how those women were brought up. You were a daughter, then a wife, then a mother, then a grandmother…a lot of times there is no “you” there. You are defined by what is around you, and your station in life.

        Their family and church IS the most important thing to them.

        I’m 55, and live in a fly over state. I know women my age who are becoming grandmas. They are able to retire early (from pretty interesting jobs). ALL they talk about is family, religion or the latest nonsense on Facebook.

        I’d ask about their viewpoints/plans for the org. If you do ANYTHING remotely crafty you have a good shot of finding non kid/family talking subjects. Gardens are good conversation starters too.

        To an almost stranger, I would not ask questions, “Where did you meet your husband?” “Where did you grow up?” Where I live that’s considered really intrusive.

        I’ve had better luck with organizations that are not totally all women volunteers. Older men in that age group will crab about politics, sports, “dude stuff”. I like sports. So, it’s more tolerable to me to hear how the Detroit Lions will suck again, than birth weight of the newest grand kid.

        I feel your pain. Volunteering for the PTO was not different an experience, except the women were from 20s to 50s.

    3. Not A Manager*

      “How did you meet your husband” is good because it connects with something they like to talk about (husband), but a lot of times the backstory involves something OTHER than husband, because they hadn’t met him yet. Lots of these women were working or in school (even if it was expressly with an eye to finding a partner), so then after you hear the “meet cute” story, now you can ask about that OTHER thing like what college was like at the time, or her office experience, or whatever.

      “How did you get started volunteering at [organization]” might be another one.

      Also, if you have any more domestic-type hobbies such as needlework, gardening or cooking/baking, sometimes people don’t think of these as “hobbies” but they might actually do those things and like to talk about them.

    4. coffee cup*

      I feel like I kind of want to commiserate with them a bit, because if they talk mainly about their husbands and grandchildren, they maybe feel like they have nothing interesting about themselves to say, or that nobody would be interested. I think asking them about their own lives and histories might be the way to go. If they tend to hang out with each other a lot, that’s probably the subjects that crop up. And to be honest this isn’t necessarily a 70+ thing (my mum is over 70 and would be horrified at these topics!). In my 30s I hear so much about kids and partners and houses and cars and… none of that really interests me, either. It’s a different take but it’s the same stuff. I tend to either ask about those people in their lives or even ask small questions like what’s the last good thing they saw on TV, what are they currently reading… trivial, but something other than ‘family’ and so on.

      1. londonedit*

        I agree. My mum is nearly 70 and would be horrified by most of those topics of conversation! I’m in my late 30s and it seems like everyone my age wants to talk about childcare, schools, houses, etc. I have no interest in any of that!

        I think definitely try to find some nugget of information about them or their own life and find a way to ask more questions about that.

      2. tangerineRose*

        My mom is also in her 70’s and has a lot going on and worked full time before she retired. My grandmothers both worked too.

    5. OperaArt*

      My mother is 85, and she also gets a little frustrated by the grandchildren-and-church focus in some of her friend groups. Fortunately, she has friends with whom she can discuss books, politics, and the latest films.
      If the women mention anything in their past in passing, ask a question about it. “You visited your grandparents’ farm every summer? Did you get to help with the animals? What fid they lack that we take for granted now?” (My father’s first few years in the late 1920s were spent on a homestead with no electricity. )

    6. Not So NewReader*

      ” I cannot fathom why they think that’s interesting to a stranger.”

      They don’t think it’s fascinating to a stranger. In all likelihood that is all they have, it’s their focus in life.
      Not all older women and Not all the time. But it comes up often enough.

      I have often thought that for those of us who do not have children/husbands it really stands out as how often people use these topics for conversation. They can’t think of anything else to talk about. They don’t realize how much they do it.

      And as we age, our world closes in. It gets narrower and tighter. I have a VERY cool 80 year old friend. She is does a lot of stuff around her house and the things she thinks of to ask…. Yesterday she wanted to know why there is no white smoke coming out the chimney of her furnace like there is coming out of my chimney. Then she wanted to know if that related to the problem with lots of dust in her house. But most of the time she talks about her family, the weather or the birds in her yard. If I tell her I have an important meeting/appointment/something else, she will remember and ask about that. So yes, as people age, conversation changes.

      I remember with my 90 y/o MIL we did not even mention the WTC. It wasn’t so much that she seemed unaware of the event, it was more about her fragile health and why get her upset over something she could not do anything about.

      Going the opposite way, when my 80 y/o friend talks to her 3 y/o grandson that conversation mostly entails him telling her about his new toys. Each age bracket brings different topics of importance or immediacy. And there is the key, we talk about the things that are important or immediate in our current lives.

      So think about how much is doable for you. Who do you want to build relationships with and who do you want to just wave to as you go to your car. My 80 y/o friend caught my attention because of her compassion and caring for others. I introduce her to my friends and she treats them with the warmth and kindness one would (hopefully) give family members. She has also been a rock in my life after losing my husband. While no one thing is that huge, she has been a steady supply of support for me doing life on my own all these years. When my dog had fleas she gave me a bottle of dog shampoo. She’s watched my house for me. When my friend was working on my house and I had to go to work, she kept an eye to make sure my friend was safe and had not injured himself. (He was alone on my property.) The list goes on and it’s a sizable list that took years to build.

      It’s fine not to engage in longer conversations if you do not want to. It’s fine to just know people’s names and wave as you come and go. The older folk do understand that younger people are at a different stage in life and even as little as a 10 year age difference does show in conversation.

    7. MissDisplaced*

      Well, my mum is 78 and our conversations generally run to all of her aches and pains and health things which thankfully are minor but (ugh) and her cat, which is fine as I love cats.

    8. Ask a Manager* Post author

      My mom is 75 and complains that a lot of her friends have gotten like this. Recently she was texting me non-stop from a trip to complain that the friends she was visiting (all her age) wouldn’t stop talking about their children/grandchildren and had no other interests. She found them very boring!

      She seems no different to me than she’s ever been: same interests, even same energy level. (I suspect that might be thanks to her constant yoga, which worries me as I have no plans to take it up for myself.) She recently broke up with her long-time partner and has started online dating, and it’s very amusing having the same conversations with her about her dates as I have with friends my age or younger. (Although it turns out that unsolicited dick pics are NOT a thing at her age, luckily for her, and she was very interested to learn that younger women have to deal with that.)

    9. No fan of Chaos*

      Ask how did you meet your husband? What was your favorite meal ever? What was the first car you bought?

    10. Lilysparrow*

      I grew up in the South but also lived elsewhere.

      The social facade is very real, and very solid among ladies of a certain age & class. There are things of which One Does Not Speak Before Outsiders, far more than in other regions & groups. If you’re dealing with the Junior League, or its equivalent, there are very very old-fashioned ideas about decorum.

      It’s not just that you’re new or young. There are interpersonal dynamics in that group that you can’t know yet. There are gossips, and backstabbers, and snoops, and petty tyrants, and bff’s who had a falling out and are barely civil, and everything else. You don’t know the history, but they do.

      These topics – kids, grandkids, husbands, are socially acceptable with new people, and with peers they may not like or trust. It doesn’t mean it’s the only thing they talk about. It’s the things they are willing to talk about in that group.

      I’m not sure of specific advice to start getting past the facade, other than continuing to show up and be very polite and kind. Time is certainly an element.

      One thing that’s worked well for me is to ask for advice. Maybe it’s how to cook a particular dish (you know, I never can get my devilled eggs filled without making a huge mess. *Sigh*).

      Or maybe it’s how to get something done in the inner politics of the volunteer organization itself (You know, I’d really like to do more of X, but I don’t know who to talk to about it).

      Maybe it’s how to play bridge, or where to find a really good whatsit, because the one I got at the big box store was just cheap and flimsy, so disappointing…

      Letting someone be the expert on something goes a long way to establishing rapport.

      If they’re often from housewife backgrounds, then anything about traditional skills like gardening, cooking, sewing…or the related functions of entertaining, event planning, knowing who’s-who in the community, local history & politics, what to see & do with out of town visitors, recommendations for a good plumber or doctor, that kind of thing.

    11. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Instead of framing it as hobbies — ask about food they cook, crafts they do for their home & family, things they have loved in their gardens, decorations they’ve done for the holidays. My mother didn’t think of those as hobbies — that was just homemaking. If you’re into music, favorite musicians & songs & dances & musicals from an earlier era can also be an eyeopener. As a teen it thrilled my mom’s friends that I loved Glenn Miller & Benny Goodman & Louis Armstrong & Patsy Cline & Elvis &…. The conversations about shows they’d seen was a blast — I found out that my mom had seen Louis Armstrong live AND gotten to speak with him after the show. And somehow she hadn’t thought to mention that to me before!!

    12. Temperance*

      Maybe ask them how they got involved in the charity you’re volunteering with? That’s an automatic and easy connection.

      I grew up in an area where older women just kind of … didn’t have interests or hobbies outside of church and grandchildren, so volunteering with cool women who have interesting education backgrounds and experiences was really great for me. Ask where they went to college!

    13. MeepMeep*

      This is them. They don’t see “themselves” as distinct from their role in the family. What they’re interested in is little Johnnie’s latest report card, little Suzy’s beautiful finger painting, and generally the joy of watching their children and grandchildren grow and develop. I don’t see why that’s automatically less interesting than a “real” hobby. If you want them to love you forever, ask them about the grandchildren and let them go on and on and on.

      My mother is in her seventies, and she is a very active and intellectually engaged woman. She loves to read, she sees all the latest movies, she keeps up with the news. But ask her about her grand baby, and display real interest, and she’ll go all goopy and love you forever.

      Personally, I love getting to know people whose lives are very different from mine. If you display sincere and nonjudgmental interest, it can be a great learning experience.

      1. Washi*

        To me, whether it’s less interesting than a “real” hobby depends on how someone talks about their kids/grandkids. If we start off talking about grandkids and get into a discussion of, I don’t know, what kind of skills their school focuses on vs how we grew up, or strategies for connecting with young kids, or favorite children’s books, I love that!

        But there are some people (of all ages) who just want to brag or endlessly narrate about their kids/grandkids, and that is, to me, more boring than hearing about other hobbies. But it’s better than hearing all the intricate details of every medical condition someone has, which is my biggest pet peeve. Talking about kids is at least pleasant, but I truly do not understand the need to go on and on about all the pills you take and the various side effects and what medical procedures you had done recently.

    14. Dr. Doll*

      Slightly OT – while driving yesterday I was behind a car with a license plate frame that said “Blessed to be Ryan’s Mommy!” …I was like, “Good luck, Ryan. You’ll need it.”

    15. Need a better name, CPA*

      Someone who turns 70 this year was a young woman during the VietNam protests, the struggle for women’s rights, integration – okay, that one might still be a sensitive subject. They witnessed huge changes in society: Medicare only started in the 1960s; girls sports equity in the 1970s; women being allowed to have credit in their own name; the destruction of the Berlin Wall – some of the older women could remember when it was built, too.
      The people who marched to protest various injustices would mostly be in their 70s or older by now. Surely, there must be something there to ask about?
      I suppose it depends what sort of volunteer organizations you share, but many of today’s middle-of-the-road causes have their roots in the radicalism of forty or fifty years ago.

      These women may be all home & family now, but ask about their granddaughters, how things are different for girls now than when they were growing up.
      Mrs. X comments on little Sally having a soccer match – there’s an opening to ask about whether she or her daughters were encouraged to play sports.
      Mrs. Y’s grandchildren are starting to look at colleges – what about her? Did she go to college, and what did she study?
      Mrs. Z doesn’t approve of her daughter’s or granddaughter’s choice in men – what did her parents think of the boys she dated?

    16. Erin*

      What about things like town history, recipes, mayyybe politics (maybe local politics?).

  32. Mortgage help*

    Mortgage questions:

    -We put in a house offer but my spouse (who earns ~85% of our household income) is highly likely to have a job offer in the next few weeks

    -We know not to change jobs or put in notice before closing. But how soon after is okay?

    -We aren’t trying to do anything sneaky and can’t figure out who to ask without throwing up red flags. But this has to be a thing that happens right? Don’t people move for jobs and often buy a new home at the same time?

    -While both discussions look like they’ll lead to an offer, we don’t anticipate either would pull an offer over a delayed start date. But it certainly feels like he shouldn’t give notice before closing—is that right?

    -Is there anything we’re overlooking? If this home falls through, we would not be looking for several more months, so we would be really disappointed but it wouldn’t ruin our lives. For the sake of the sellers and the fact this is our first choice home, we don’t want to overlook some detail that sabotages such a delicate process.

    -final context if matters: we have a tiny down payment but good income and excellent credit score. New roles would both be increases. Spouse is in an in-demand professional role. We didn’t set out for these things to occur simultaneously! Sometimes the universe smiles upon us…we can’t figure out if this timing is a smile or a taunt that we can’t have it all.

    1. Ali G*

      You should be fine. I refinanced my mortgage and it took too long and I changed jobs during the process. I just had to get a letter from my new job that confirmed I had a start date and my annual salary was going to be X.
      Good luck! I hope it all works out for you.

    2. Angwyshaunce*

      “But how soon after is okay?”

      You should be okay pretty much immediately. All that stuff is important right up to the signing – once you sign, it’s a done deal and you can move on with your life.

    3. WS*

      Closing is closing! Once it’s all done and signed, change whatever you like! Good luck with both the house and the job.

  33. Nervous Nellie*

    I want to thank whomever it was last week here who recommended Drew Hayes’ vampire accountant books. I ordered one at the library and it’s a delight! Thank you!

    New this week for me also is the DVD set of Hannibal. I had seen and loved all of Bryan Fuller’s other shows: Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, but this one is dramatically different – darker, weird, with huge plot holes and strange disjointed dialogue. I don’t like it yet, but will try a couple more episodes before deciding to continue or toss.

    What is everyone reading/viewing?

    1. WellRed*

      I just finished season 1 of Dead to Me on Netflix. It wasn’t what I expected at all.

      1. Nervous Nellie*

        I haven’t seen that one yet. I kept passing it by, thinking it was Dead LIKE Me which I have already seen, but recently figured out it was an entirely different series. How did it differ from your expectations? Did you like it?

        1. WellRed*

          I can’t say how it was different because that will spoil the plot, which took a sharp turn out of the gate from what was advertised. It was a bit darker than expected. But that’s OK.

            1. Nervous Nellie*

              Neato, and thank you for not giving away any spoilers. You have me intrigued! It’s going on my list.

    2. Akcipitrokulo*

      The new version of Fruits Basket (anime involving chinese zodiac) is being released … now at ep 6 on crunchy roll and I am loving it!

      I loved the original which was cancelled after season 1, so you didn’t get to meet all of the animals or see who Tohru eventually ends up with. Looking forward to season 2 where I don’t know what is going to happen but so happywatching it.

      Music is different though :( and I liked the animated dancing riceball….

      1. Nervous Nellie*

        Oh, wow, thank you, Akcipitrokulo! I had not heard of this, but just did a quick Google and it looks great!

        1. Akcipitrokulo*

          It is really good! Less overtly cutesy than original, but still has atmosphere – this week she met Hatori and (formally) Momiji and I was so happy!

      2. GoryDetails*

        I hadn’t heard of this either – thanks! I loved the manga and the first anime, and will definitely check out the new one!

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I needed something light so I went on a binge of humorous romances again and finished up Penny Reid’s “Knitting in the City” series. The first book* is still my favorite, but all and the overlapping “Winston Brothers” series feature unusually real people. They are sometimes awkward, often face mental challenges, and she even spreads out the time lines so that the relationships don’t all build so insanely fast as happen in many romance novels.
      (*Neanderthal Seeks Human)
      Next up is “Miss Management”, a followup to “Miss Behave” by Traci Highland. The first had me laughing even after I put the book down, so I am hoping it’ll get me through the middle-school homework wars with good graces.

    4. Jaid*

      JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure Golden Wind and JJ B Battle Tendency.

      JoJo is awesome in that characters and adventures change from season to season.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      I’d love to see Hannibal. The music is great and I love Mads Mikkelsen.

      I’m watching several things!
      –Finishing up Season 4 of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend–I dropped the ball re watching on The CW. –Also watching Shrill on Hulu. Aidy Bryant is so good; I just love her.
      –I finished Season 1 of Black Butler and I LOVED it. When I get a job, I’m getting a Crunchyroll subscription; I’m way behind on anime.
      –Speaking of, Attack on Titan is back! For once, I’m actually watching along with friends instead of getting to a show late, haha.

      I am REALLY upset because ABC canceled The Kids are Alright. That was the funniest sitcom. I loved it. :(

    6. WS*

      I didn’t like Hannibal much for the first few episodes, but then I really got into it around episode 4, so I think it’s worth sticking with a little longer. It’s still weird, dark and has strange plots and dialogue, but Bryan Fuller’s arty sensibility and strange humour starts coming through much more.

      1. ThatGirl*

        The plots also come together a bit better, though the dreaminess is more of a feature than a bug. I do love Hannibal, though. I found it more darkly humorous the second time through.

    7. Kuododi*

      DH and I finished the 4th season of Lucifer on Netflix. We both really enjoyed it and it was worth the wait. IMO 4th season is the absolute best so far. (Very Dante’s inferno meets Milton’s Paradise Lost.) The cliffhanger at the end was out of left field.

    8. GoryDetails*

      I just watched the 10-episode Over the Garden Wall; my sister had been urging me to see it for ages, and finally got me the DVD so I had no more excuses {wry grin}. And it’s really lovely, kind of a surreal/wacky hero’s-journey with great voice-acting and music, and a good mix of humor, horror, and heart-warming. (And there’s a graphic-novel adaptation of the series, with some additional spin-off volumes!)

    9. Need a better name, CPA*

      Glad you’re enjoying Fred. He’s up to volume 5 now, unless I missed a newer one.
      Drew has written other things that I don’t like as well, but YMMV.

      1. Nervous Nellie*

        There are five Drew Hayes ‘Fred’ books? Awesome!!! That’s great to know. My library only has two. I will go buy the rest immediately.

        And thank you to all here who said stick with Hannibal. I just watched two more while cooking the week’s lunches, and it is starting to grow on me (like the mushrooms in Episode 2 – shiver!!!).

  34. AnonThisWeekend*

    I was in a car accident last weekend. I was rear-ended hard, and the car is going to be in the shop for a few weeks. Hopefully the other person’s insurance will cover everything, because there’s going to be a lot of expenses related to this. That’s not my question, though.

    When I was hit, I immediately called the police. I was shaken and terrified and alone, and that was my first move. However, I think the man who hit me was likely an undocumented immigrant, and while this accident was 100% his fault, he’s likely facing much worse reparcutions than someone else. Obviously there’s nothing I can do about this now, but – is there something I can do going forward?

    This isn’t the first time I’ve worried about someone else facing serious consequences because I called the police – I used to have a next door neighbor who was seriously mentally ill, and had some behaviors that scared me. I never called the police on him, because I was worried about what would happen, but someone else did, eventually.

    How should we deal with situations that call for police help then? Is there something else I could be doing?

    1. fposte*

      First, I’m glad you’re all right!

      While it’s a tough road being an undocumented immigrant, I don’t think that means you have to take additional risk or cost onto yourself to save the other person. Calling the police is the usual response there, and while I’ve had accidents when the police weren’t able to come out (got rear-ended in an ice storm, basically, and the cops were like “Is everybody okay? Then come in and fill out a police report tomorrow”), my insurance has asked about police presence when I’ve reported accidents to them.

      I think it’s good and wise to understand that cops aren’t a no-risk proposition, and I don’t like the nextdoor dot com Permit Patty approach, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t call them in the standard situations.

      1. Green Kangaroo*

        Agree completely. You can be empathetic to the struggles that someone else is facing yet still expect them to be accountable for their actions, especially when there is a negative consequence to others.

    2. Dan*

      While we all have our own opinions on certain social issues du jour, the reality is that all of us make choices, and those choices have consequences, positive or negative. It’s not on us to shield people from the consequences of their actions, whatever they may be. I’m actually surprised an undocumented person has insurance. Don’t ask me why I’m surprised, but I just assumed that under the radar meant under the radar. Seems to me that the last few times I’ve gotten insurance, I’ve had to submit an SSN. What if this guy is using completely fake information?

      I’ve been in like two fender benders in my life (I’m 40), the first rendered the car undriveable, so I did call the cops. Plus, I thought the other driver was high. The second, both cars were still driveable, so I didn’t even think about calling the cops. It was just swap insurance and get out of there.

      1. Temperance*

        Honestly, undocumented folks typically don’t have insurance, from the people who I have worked with (attorney). It’s a real problem for them and for the people they get into accidents with.

        My guess is he’s either here legally/has a green card OR has fradulent insurance.

        1. Dan*

          That’s what I thought. Out where I live, I think most policies are issued with “uninsured motorist coverage” riders.

          1. AnonThisWeekend*

            That’s reassuring, honestly! I don’t know at all, there were just clues that made me worry- he didn’t have a driver’s’ license for one, and his insurance was unlike any I had seen. It was under his name though. Hopefully he was here legally under a green card.

            I just went straight to the worst possible conclusion and immediately felt guilty. It’s been my 2nd biggest worry about this crash, right after how to deal with my car, which is stuck in a state I don’t reside in.

            Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread, y’all have been so helpful!

      2. rear mech*

        (TX) you can get an SR-22 in place of regular insurance. It is used like insurance when you have an accident. Lots of places around here advertise that SSN, US bank account, US ID, etc are not required.

    3. AB2019*

      I think it’s commendable that in a stressful and unsafe situation, you think of the other person. But in the end, from your perspective, your safety is paramount and you have a right to be and feel safe.

      Maybe if you think of it this way, it might help….

      Let’s change your question to the following statement: In all situations, my safety should be sacrificed so the other person involved is not affected at all.

      Or: In all situations, the victim’s needs, concerns and safety should be superseded by the other party.

      Also, if you start wondering about the other person, you may fall back on implicit bias or other prejudices and end up creating a narrative around this other person that may or may not be true. I personally see nothing wrong with calling the police when you have a car accident. It protects you AND the other party. You have a neutral third-party (the police) taking down both sides of the story.

      In terms of the neighbor…this is tough b/c I don’t think all police officers have enough training to deal with the mentally unstable or ill. With that being said, no one, including his family and loved ones, may not realize the extent of his illness, if they aren’t interacting with him daily. Strange enough, you may have a better idea than they do because you see it more often. I may be projecting here b/c in the past, I stayed silent on abuse that I experienced at the hands of a family member. I did not say anything to my parents because I went through similar thinking as you do. In other words, I went through endless mental thought experiments: “what will happen to the family member”, “what will happen to our family”… I allowed these to dictate my decision to stay silent. Imagine my horror when years later, I learned this family member abused his child during the same time frame..

      Not involving police has its pitfalls as well…

    4. Wishing You Well*

      Calling the police to report a serious car accident is a very good idea. In some municipalities, cops won’t even show up unless there are injuries. So I would err on the side of calling when it comes to traffic accidents.
      Don’t blame yourself for not being psychic. How would you know the life circumstances of the person who rear-ended you? Or knowing the result of your call in advance? My police department advised that if I’m wondering whether to call them, call. They will decide if they’re going to respond. I keep the non-emergency dispatch number in my phone. It’s not as intimidating as calling 911.

    5. CL Cox*

      If he had insurance, it’s pretty unlikely he was undocumented. To get insurance, you almost always have to have a driver’s license, SSN, proof of income, etc.

    6. Lilysparrow*

      When you need help from the police because you are hurt or in danger, you should call the police. A significant car accident counts.
      If someone is behaving in a way that poses a real risk of harming themselves or others, you should call the police. If you know that person is mentally ill or disabled and may not understand or be able to quickly comply with instructions from the police, you should make a point of including that information when you call them.

      If you observe an actual crime in progress, you should call the police.

      If you are annoyed about someone’s existence, or the way they look, or the noise they’re making*, or their presence in a space you do not personally own, you should not call the police. You should mind your own business.

      *Noise complaints about chronically loud neighbors may have to escalate to the police, but that’s a last resort.

      1. Observer*

        If you know that person is mentally ill or disabled and may not understand or be able to quickly comply with instructions from the police, you should make a point of including that information when you call them.

        Theoretically the right answer. Unfortunately, the track record on the usefulness of passing on that information is not high. Too many systems don’t dispatch people with the training to handle this information, and too often even when police do have SOME training, they aren’t given this information so they go in with incorrect assumptions.

        If you are annoyed about someone’s existence, or the way they look, or the noise they’re making*, or their presence in a space you do not personally own, you should not call the police. You should mind your own business.

        Yes!!!!

        Having said that, if you are in danger or (as you describe) “shaken and terrified and alone,”, do NOT think twice about calling the police. It’s not like you were in a panic because you saw something out of your comfort zone. It’s not your obligation, AT ALL, to be in danger to shield someone else from the possible repercussions of the situation.

    7. TL -*

      What makes you think he was undocumented? It sounds like it was a pretty normal procedure – you got rear ended, called the cops, exchanged insurance.

    8. Temperance*

      Hopefully he has insurance. Honestly, you should have called the police. You need the report as evidence to get your expenses paid for. If this happens again, you should still call 911.

      Depending on your neighborhood, calling 911 might send an ambulance as well as police, in the case of your neighbor.

      1. Lady Jay*

        Yes, I was coming down here to say this: Having the police out provides documentation that the accident happened and can support your claim to insurance money; do call them. That said, when I was rear-ended last summer, I didn’t call 911 (nobody was injured), just the local police line, and they sent a nearby cruiser over

      2. Lilysparrow*

        Good point. I once got T-boned by someone and wound up concussed & transported to the ER.

        They totally, totally lied about the entire situation and sued my insurance for an ungodly amount of money. When my insurance’s attorney called to check on some details, it was a good thing the police report showed exactly where the damage was and where my car wound up when it was flung. If it was my word against theirs, I probably would have been uninsurable (or unable to afford the premiums) for a long time.

  35. Llellayena*

    The housecleaning thread above reminded me that I wanted to ask how much a standard housecleaning service usually costs and what’s usually included. I don’t even know where to start the research! I’ve got a 600sf studio and I’d love to have washing dishes included b/c I HATE that task. I’m hoping to figure out if it’s worth it to me to pay someone once a month or just keep (not) doing it myself. Right now I tend to do a frantic surface clean whenever I’m getting company but not much else. Thanks!

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      A lot of services will give you a quote, but the downside of that is they have your contact info and will keep bugging you about it. The best way to find out is to ask people you know. The first time I hired someone to clean, she was recommended by a friend. My friend’s apartment was three times the size of mine, so knowing how much she paid per cleaning helped me figure out how much I was willing to pay.

      Washing dishes is usually not included in a general cleaning service (in my experience, anyway), but most services and independent contractors would be happy to do that for an extra fee.

      To give you an idea of what I’ve paid… when I lived in NYC in a 500 sq ft studio, I paid $50/visit (I think, it might have been less) for someone to come in twice a month. She cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen (very thoroughly, I might add), vacuumed and, occasionally, dusted. She used my supplies. I now live in the southeast and paid $75/visit for a two-person crew to clean our 1000 sq ft house twice a month. They cleaned the bathrooms and kitchen, vacuumed, washed the floors. No dusting. They started with a deep clean for $150 that included dusting (even the ceiling fans), and occasionally I would pay extra for dusting and changing the bed linens.

      In my opinion, if cleaning is something that causes you a ton of stress and you can afford it, it is absolutely worth it to hire someone. Even once a month might help you feel like you have more control over your space.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Miss Patti is an independent house cleaner, not part of a service or whatnot. We’re in suburban Indianapolis and I pay her $70 per visit for 1.5 bathrooms, plus floors, windows and surfaces in my kitchen, dining room and living room. She doesn’t do any dishes or laundry or such, and she doesn’t clean anybody’s personal spaces (bedrooms, offices, etc), unless she goes downstairs and squawks at the state of her son’s room. (If she cleans his room, that’s not part of what I pay her for and I have no idea what their arrangement is, if anything.) occasionally I pay her extra for extras, if I want the oven deep cleaned or whatnot, but that’s like 2-3 times a year.

      A service isn’t as likely to do dishes by default, but if you find an independent cleaner on care dot com or some such, it’s just a question of your negotiations :)

    3. cleaning*

      I think it depends and an independent person is probably more flexible than a service. I have a 950 sq ft one bedroom and pay $100. She won’t wash the dishes, but will wash my coffee pot and “morning dishes”. Every so often, I ask her to do my refrigerator shelves and bins (I usually take out the stuff I want her to clean from the refrigerator, she puts it back in). She also does my laundry, which was a welcome surprise. She uses my supplies and laundry card and lets me know when I’m running low. I’m in an expensive NE city. I think if you want your person to do dishes, it’s a conversation to be had; it could mean you pay her more, it could mean, she won’t do something else that is perhaps less important or annoying to you.

    4. WellRed*

      Interesting question. I wouldn’t think having someone who only comes once a month would be practical when it comes to dishes. Do you just let them pile up for a month? Pay an extra fee to have one or two day’s worth washed?
      My cleaner did the stuff like bathroom, kitchen floor, vacuuming, but not dishes or laundry or anything else “personal.” It was awesome.

    5. Anonymouse for this*

      I’m assuming because you’re in a studio there isn’t room for a regular size dishwasher? There are some portable kitchentop versions on amazon. My apartment came with a regular size one and I never thought I’d use it that much because I live alone but it’s great. I load it up and use it once a week.

      1. Llellayena*

        I’ve got a countertop one. I just hate hand washing the stuff that’s left like plastics and large items. I’ll probably still have to do some dishwashing but reducing the number of times would be a blessing!

    6. Teach*

      I researched house cleaning before A Major Life event we were hosting last year, and a lot of businesses, even small locally owned ones, had info online. The first cleaning will likely be longer, more thorough, and a little more $ than the scheduled ones after that. Most places had a list of what they clean, what might be an add-on, and what they won’t do.

    7. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Our cleaning person cleans about 1400-1500 SF of our house (certain rooms we don’t use much we tell them not to bother), and they vacuum about 2/3 of that and mop the other 1/3, clean 2 bathrooms, change the bedsheets, and wipe down/dust some but not all surfaces. It takes them about 2 hours, and we pay $100. Basically, if you’re going to ask them to focus more on or add one task, you should make sure they will do that ahead of time, and realize they may either charge more or have to spend less time on the remaining tasks.

    8. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think it varies a lot by location (you’ll pay more in large metropolitan areas, less in smaller ones), but we pay $180 every two weeks for a 3,500 square foot house.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        Wow. I got ripped off. I just paid almost $400 to have someone clean my house, and it’s only 940 square feet! Plus, I said the one thing I really wanted them to do was clean the oven, and they didn’t even do that (the lady who booked the appt. said that was a service they offered, so it’s not like I just assumed they’d clean the oven; I asked about it specifically)!

        1. Katefish*

          I found my deep cleaner on Yelp, and, in addition to the reviews, you can get local price quotes for your space. I’m sure you could ask about dishes. I do the weekly clean (bathroom/linens/liveable floor) myself, but love having someone else do everything, including the dusting/windows/surfaces I didn’t even notice once a month. For a deep clean mine is about $110 + tip for a typical NYC shoebox, I mean walk-up. :)

      2. Lucette Kensack*

        Dang, that’s a great deal. I pay $150 for our 1800 sf house, in a much smaller/cheaper city.

    9. Autumnheart*

      I find that NextDoor is a good place to ask about services like these, because you’re polling people in your own area, but without giving away your contact information. Plus, people are usually pretty outspoken about “This service was great!” Or “Don’t use this company!” so you can get some more honest feedback that way.

  36. FaintlyMacabre*

    My sibling has come out as transgender and has transitioned from male to female. I’m having some difficulty with how to talk about the past- I have some 30 years of memories of her as my brother, so while I have no problem talking about her as my sister in contemporary time, historically I think of her as my brother. Maintaining distinct “before and after” periods feels a little disrespectful to my sister. I’ll talk to her about it at some point, but I wanted to know how others approach the situation.

    1. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Have you browsed the Pflag website? No practical experience – the only trans person I know I met after they transitioned, so it was a nonissue.

      1. valentine*

        She’s always been your sister. Her current pronouns apply to her whole life. (But ask.)

        1. DrTheLiz*

          Um, no. I may have two female parents now, but in the run-up to transition, *she* suggested that I should talk about “dad” when discussing my childhood. People’s preferences vary. That said, I have gotten pretty good at “de-gendering” childhood stories because I don’t like “has a trans parent” to be a big thing to people who know me. Consider talking about your “sibling” where you can.

    2. transguy*

      Everyone is different so please do talk with her (and also it may change the further into transitioning). For me, as a female to male person, if I feel safe or with someone safe, I have no problem referring to myself as female at those times when I was such. However, for example, at work, even though people know about my transition, I would rarely talk about myself as female, except one on one with a few people I really trust. I think in general you want to follow the lead of the trans person because unfortunately it can really be a question of physical safety so I would not out her to strangers.

      1. FaintlyMacabre*

        Safety is definitely a consideration. With friends it’s a non-issue because I am not friends with idiotholes. However, I recently started a new job and do not trust some of my new coworkers. My sister and I live in different states, and I doubt my coworkers would ever meet her, but it makes me much more concerned about talking about her. I certainly don’t want to just never mention her existence.

    3. Llellayena*

      It’ll take some time to get used to it but they’re the same person just with a different name and appearance. If gender matters to the story (like a locker room or boys only event), you can use a “when Amy was Matt…” leader otherwise present the story as if she was always Amy, “Amy and I used to…”. And definitely ask her if there’s a way she’d prefer.

      1. Vicky Austin*

        I’m cisgender, and I’ve only ever met one transgender person in my life, but I have heard that transgender people don’t like people to use the name that their parents gave them, to the point that they call it their “dead name.” It sounds morbid, I know, but the point is that the identity they used to have is now “dead” and now you should only call them by their chosen name. So instead of saying “when Amy was Matt,” the correct thing to say is “before Amy transitioned.”
        It is also considered impolite to ask a transgender person what their name was before they transitioned.

    4. I'm Bluffing*

      I have the same struggle with a trans friend. I asked him and he said that *for him* it doesn’t bother him to have female pronouns when talking about times when he presented female. But he did say that not all trans people feel the same, so talking to your sister is your best bet.
      I approached it with a “I’d like to get this right, but I am finding it particularly hard to adjust when talking about the past. For example, I caught myself saying the other day ‘When I first met Mike, it was in her blue hair phase.’ and I’m wondering how you feel about pronouns when talking about the past.”
      For what it’s worth, I’ve since noticed Mike uses female pronouns when referring to childhood memories too. He recently said something like “When I think about kindergarten, I feel so sad for little me. She was so timid and missed out on a lot of fun.”

      1. Another transguy*

        And see, I’m the opposite – I know what my name and pronouns used to be, so do you, so why bring them up when we’re talking? I only want to hear my current name and pronouns even if we’re talking about the past.

        Definitely ask your friend op! It’s different for all of us :)

      2. Autumnheart*

        I struggle with this too, although I haven’t socialized with her since before she transitioned. I definitely don’t want to be disrespectful, but it is hard to reconcile my mental frame of “Marsha” when all my memories are of “Steve”. And yeah, talking *to* Marsha is much easier because, well, it’s the same person and she knows, but when I’m talking to mutual acquaintance about past events, it’s tough when our mutual framework is Steve.

        I know it’ll get easier with practice, but I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who stumbles over it.

    5. Zephy*

      +1 suggestion to ask her and follow her lead, and maybe just don’t talk about your childhood in the company of people who don’t know she’s trans. Unless and until you have different guidance from her, she’s a woman and always has been and information to the contrary is to be kept private – it may pose a threat to her safety, depending on the community in which you and she live.

  37. Foreign Octopus*

    Yet another weird conversation with my mother that I’ll relay here.

    I’m taking a course that will (hopefully) help me access other jobs and improve my skills at my existing one. I’m paying for this by myself (freelancer) and I mentioned it to my mum the other day about how I was looking forward to it, and how I hope that it’ll be interesting. She asked the price ($400) and she told me not to tell my dad. I asked why and she said “Just don’t tell him, do it for mummy”.

    I am a 29-year-old woman who earns my own money and she’s asking me not to tell my dad how I spend that money because she might have to listen to him sigh and complain over how it’s a waste of money/time?

    The older I get the more I realise that my mother and I are two very different people. I love her but it does feel like I can’t be honest with her because of how she reacts to certain things, and how she demands things (like above) that make absolutely no sense. I should also point out that I haven’t called her “mummy” since I was about three years old, so her choice of words seem even more infantilising. I know that she was drinking that night (not an alcoholic but certainly a little too free with how much she drinks) and whenever she’s slightly tipsy, she’s impossible to have a reasonable conversation with.

    She once interrupted me mid-conversation at dinner with some family friends to say, very loudly, “Mummy’s talking now”, and then she goes on to tell me that she’ll treat me like an adult when I behave like one. It’s like she’s not willing to let go of the child I was. My dad’s been able to but Mum seems to be holding on tightly to it and it’s frustrating, and always leaves me feeling awful.

    I know I’m not unique having awkward relationships with my mother but I just needed to be this down in a rant, so it’s not knocking about in my head any longer.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Yeah, it’s tough to reason or even converse with someone whose mind is altered by booze or whatever.

      Your mother seems very interested in control. Generally speaking, people who are interested in control are that way because they sincerely believe everything is OUT of control.

      You could try telling her, “Mom, you worry too much” and see what happens with that.

      Sometimes people super impose their own emotions on other people. She wanted/wants her mother so she smothers you instead. Actually she is the one feeling child-like on the inside. Notice “child-like” as opposed to “childish”. She wants someone taking care of her, so she assumes you want the same treatment she is looking for.

      You might consider having that conversation with her where you say, “I’m an adult now.” But do it when you know she has NOT tossed back a few.

    2. tangerineRose*

      There are some people who have odd reactions to some topics of conversation. In some cases, getting warned about it first is a good thing. Sorry your mom keeps treating you like a child.

    3. Autumnheart*

      If it makes you feel any better, my mother does similar things—acts like I don’t make good decisions about work or money, refers to herself in the third person as “Mommy” (note: all her children are in our 40s), even with the drinking too much as a hobby. Frustrating, isn’t it?

      Just do what you’re going to do, talk about it with whomever you please, and let Mummy manage her own fallout. If she insists on embarrassing you in front of others, like with that “Mummy’s talking now” to her grown daughter—trust me, she only made herself look bad when she did that—then maybe it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to just leave her out of the loop. Or, tell them after you’ve already done it, and not in the planning stages, so that she won’t wreck it for you or cast doubt on your decisions.

      I know how it feels when your parents can’t just demonstrate that they trust your judgment and believe in you. Everyone should be able to get that from their parents, and it feels crappy to have parents who undermine and diminish instead. The older you get, the more accomplishments and wins you’ll have under your belt, which will be proof *for you* to know that your judgment is sound. Mummy may never become more mature, but you will.

    4. ..Kat..*

      I wonder if your dad controlled the money in your household (and possibly she didn’t directly earn her own money at a job). She may have had to justify every expense to your dad. So, expensive things were downplayed or hidden.

  38. AvonLady Barksdale*

    There is a 98.645% chance we are moving at the end of next month. (The remaining percentage is because my partner’s job offer is verbally final but the official paperwork has not yet come through– federal government, so fun!) We are moving to DC, a place where I and my partner have lived before and where I am excited to be going. We moved to our current city from Manhattan and I miss city living terribly. Most of our social circles know that this move has been pending for a while and also that I wanted to go back to the Northeast or at least to a much larger city than our current one.

    The response to this news from about half of the people we have told is, “Ugh, it’s so EXPENSIVE. No one can live there!” or when they ask us where we’re looking to live and we say we’re planning to look in the District, we get, “Yeah, if you can afford it!” in this sarcastic tone that implies no one could ever afford it, ever, and that we’re naive to think we could.

    So here’s my PSA for the day, friends: this response is rude. It just is. And it puts people on the defensive. What am I supposed to say to that? “Well, actually, now that Partner will be earning an actual salary, we’ll be doing just fine, thank you.” No, I can’t say that. What I end up saying is something like, “We lived in New York for 10 years, we’re used to smaller spaces.” Or I try to say how much I’m looking forward to being able to walk everywhere again. I’m trying to avoid saying that I’ll be glad to get out of our area because I don’t want to inadvertently insult people who love it here. Because, you know, I’m trying to be polite. And it’s not a horrible place, it’s just not for me long-term. Whatever happened to, “Oh, we’ll miss you! Are you looking forward to your move?” Sigh.

    1. Ruffingit*

      I;’m sorry you’ve been subjected to that kind of rudeness. It’s so unnecessary. When someone tells me they’re moving, I start asking questions about where and if they’re excited and what they’re planning on seeing/doing, etc. I just assume that wherever they plan on moving and in what area they plan on living within that city is affordable for them. I assume people do their research on where to live and whether they can afford it. And hell, even if they don’t, that’s not my business.

    2. londonedit*

      I can sympathise! I live in London and people from outside London just looooooooooove to tell me how much they hate the city, how they could never live there, how expensive it is, how horrible it is. I mean, I get that people have other viewpoints, and city life isn’t for everyone, but I happen to really love where I live, and it’s rude when people’s first response is to say ‘Ugh, how horrible’ when I mention where I live.

      Maybe people are feeling a bit jealous of your move? Maybe because really they’d like to do something different but for whatever reason don’t feel like they can? All I can say is try not to let it affect your enthusiasm for the move, but it’s hard.

      1. Reba*

        Ugh, who could live there?!?!???

        I dunno, several million people seem to have figured it out!

      2. Akcipitrokulo*

        Moving to Glasgow soon (from home counties) and getting tired of “won’t you be cold?”. No. It’s not some arctic wasteland.

        1. Wishing You Well*

          “Arctic wasteland” has me smiling. I imagine you posting “Finally made it to Glasgow!” and showing a photo of the Wall from Game of Thrones!
          Hope your move goes well!

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Appropos of nothing I LOVED Glasgow. The rhododendrons at the park near my friend’s college dorm, the People’s Palace, the Burrell Museum… and all that lovely late 19th/early 20th architecture. (I was heartbroken about the School of Art… my trip there wasn’t long enough to do everything and I figured I’d go visit that another time. Sigh.)

          1. Akcipitrokulo*

            There’s a teashop down Otago Lane that is awesome called Tchai Ovna – I love the People’s Palace and Kelvingrove too. And the kids love the science centre :)

      3. Grace*

        I have had that response to people talking about London – but in my defence, it’s in the context of how everyone seems to be moving to London after we’ve graduated, and people telling me that I should do the same because all new grads should move to London for the jobs. Cue impassioned rant from a life-long northerner about how the rest of the country deserves decent jobs too and I refuse to move to somewhere I don’t like just to get a job. Maybe I get a little *too* impassioned sometimes. Sorry. But I’m really not built to live in cities, and I do stand by what I say about how it’s a sacrifice that I’m not willing to make on principle.

        1. londonedit*

          Definitely do not move here if you don’t want to live here! I grew up in a rural area and always wanted to live in London, so it’s always been the place for me. But as with any city, you’ve got to love the lifestyle if you want to live there. And the idea that there are only jobs in London is ridiculous – of course there are graduate jobs elsewhere! You definitely shouldn’t move to London for the sake of it, just as I shouldn’t move to the middle of nowhere just because I might be able to buy a house if I did.

    3. Not A Manager*

      I would say, “Thanks, Pam. I’ll miss you too.” Say it with a sincere smile.

    4. ArtsNerd*

      I’ve definitely had the “ugh, DC is so expensive” conversation with people moving here, but only when they bring it up first! I’ve been lucky enough to find below-market housing deals, which is how I make it work on my modest (not meager) salary.

      Usually my reaction is “yesssssss join me” — and that’s I am saying to you here too, even though we don’t actually know each other.

      As someone who has very little interaction with the federal government, it’s a great city in its own right and I never plan to leave. (Of course, like everywhere else, an excellent social circle of excellent people is key.) Even my friends who love NYC can’t help but imagine what a life here would look like for them when they visit.

    5. Washi*

      I live in DC but am from a rural area, and whenever I visit my family, they love to ask me what my rent is and then go “that’s more than my mortgage!!!” And it’s just like yes, that house you bought in the middle of nowhere in 1999 does indeed have a lower monthly mortgage payment than my rent, go figure!

      1. londonedit*

        Those pointless comparisons are the worst! Yes, if I moved to X rural area I could theoretically afford to buy a house, but there are also no jobs in my industry there, so how do they suggest I buy a house with no income? Not to mention the fact that I don’t actually want to move, thanks, I’m more than happy with my life here!

        1. WellRed*

          No jobs, and depending on the area, you likely won’t have trash pickup, the nearest hospital is 30 minutes away and the airport? So far away you need to get a hotel room the night before to catch an early flight. Fewer interested buyers when you are ready to sell.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          And out in a sub-rural area you have to have a car whether you want one or not. Move into the land of public transit and that becomes optional!

      2. Dan*

        Same for me, actually. It’s actually an impossible conversation to have… never mind that now I make well over six figures and live by myself, so I have some disposable cash to throw around. What I say to people who inquire is “DC is great if you can afford it.” My brother’s father-in-law is from a VERY small town in rural Wisconsin (we all grew up there, my bro and his wife met in HS). When we get together for holidays, my bro’s FIL is always genuinely curious about my life out here. He’s not judgmental about it, he genuinely wants to know. So I tell him.

        As for why I’m here… I have a very niche background, with a limited national demand for my skillset. There are a limited number of jobs in private industry, and if I can manage to snag one, they’re limited to 3-5 cities. Private industry is rife with H1B competition, so salaries tend to get lower. There’s a bit more demand on the government side, but that demand is limited to two agencies, and the contracts that support them. Most jobs on the government side are either out in California or metro DC. Because the government has restrictions on H1B hiring and what not, salaries tend to be higher.

        So, for me, it boils down to “I like what I do and am good at it, and there’s little national demand for my skillset. I have to go where the jobs are.”

    6. That Girl From Quinn's House*

      I’m on my fourth state in 16? years, and most of the remarks boil down to: Where I live is better than where you came from/are going. I get that, on some level, everyone feels threatened to defend their own life choices when they’re presented with evidence that they could have chosen differently, and lots of people have hometown pride and really love where they live. But as you move around, it gets so tedious to hear the same handful of comments over and over again about the weather/price/cultural vibe of their city being better/worse than your past/current/future one.

    7. Beta*

      I think it’s a shame that these days people can’t be excited for others… These replies are about them, not about you. They could already be shocked / in denial / grieving that they’ve lost a good friend / company… Or that they might be jealous that they can’t move anywhere and stuck with their houses, jobs,lives… Or they feel inadequate because they are not moving …. whatever be the reason, they might be coming at your news-sharing from different perspectives / preferences. Try not to take it personally.

      When they come at you like that… you can just say one of those neutral replies that don’t mean anything…
      – I know!
      – Yeah .. Let’s see how it goes ..
      – Mmmhmmm
      – Uhuh!

      Follow these up by the most important – change topic – technique.

    8. Overeducated*

      Have you had anyone tell you that they feel so #blessed to have good jobs so they can stay in a cheap area, and can’t imagine how hard it must be to live somewhere so expensive? Because I have! I couldn’t even think of a response.

    9. Katefish*

      This thread reminds me of one of the bizarre things about living in NYC, which is people saying, “Oh, I could never live there!” We don’t all sleep outside in Times Square people. ;) (With love from a quiet-ish tree-lined street)

      1. londonedit*

        Yes! People always say they hate London and it’s so expensive etc – nine times out of ten they mean they hate Leicester Square and Oxford Street and they think it’s expensive because they’ve only ever been to tourist trap places in those areas. We don’t even go to those areas if we can help it, and people certainly don’t live there!

    10. Dan*

      It’s great if you can afford it :D

      Why I live here, other than the job thing, which is huge.

      1. It’s got four pro sports teams. I’m not a sports nut by any stretch, but I like going to games. I grew up in an area that was three-four hours away from any pro sports.
      2. Big name concerts come here.
      3. I like to travel, I’m close to two airports. In a pinch JFK and O’Hare are reachable.
      4. DC is close to lots of things… beach, skiing in the mountains, NYC…
      5. Lots of different types of cultural activities… symphony, concerts, comedy clubs.
      6. Food scene has taken off in recent years.

    11. MatKnifeNinja*

      I’m looking to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan, but the way people act around here, it might as well be London, Paris or Toronto.

      OMG that’s place so EXPENSIVE.

      It gets tiresome.

    12. naha*

      i live in a very expensive city. when people comment on how expensive it is, i usually respond with “yeah, that’s true, but i’m lucky enough to have a job where i can support myself and still live there.”

      this isn’t to say i don’t look at my rent checks sadly every month….

  39. SleepyAndTired*

    Does anyone have recommendations for drugstore chemical sunscreens for the face? Preferably unscented or only a light scent? I’ve been using Neutrogena’s hydroboost sunscreen for over a year, but the most recent tube I bought seems to be making my face and neck breakout, so I’m looking for another brand.

      1. SleepyAndTired*

        I can’t use mineral sunscreen because my face is too oily. (I tried two different mineral sunscreens last year, and every time I went to the bathroom there were white streaks on my face that I had to wipe off because the oil was moving the sunscreen around.)

        Thank you for the suggestion though! I should have been more specific.

    1. catsaway*

      I really like Elta MD UV clear. I have sensitive skin that tends towards redness and many/most lotions I try make my skin feel like its burning but not this sunscreen. It’s a little pricy so I only use it on my face and neck.

      1. SleepyAndTired*

        I can’t use mineral sunscreens. Should have been more specific in my post. Thanks for taking the time to post a suggestion though!

    2. dumblewald*

      I recommend CeraVe, Cetaphil, or BananaBoat For Kids sunscreen (the for kids part is important!) All of these are fragrance-free. Neutrogena’s hydroboost have fragrance in them, but they do sell some fragrance-free ones. I would say the Banana Boat one is the best bang for your buck – it comes in a large tube.

      1. SciDiver*

        Another fragrance-free option is Vanicream. They make lotions, sunscreen, and moisturizers without fragrances or scent-masking ingredients, and they’re a great option for sensitive skin or people with eczema or rosacea.

    3. WellRed*

      Not sure if this fits the bill for you, but Oil of Olay has a couple of new facial sunscreen products out. They seem nice and light.

    4. kc89*

      I like the neutrogena clear faces one, they claim it’s designed to not break you out

      it’s basic, but nice! and I don’t find that it breaks me out

    5. SpiderLadyCEO*

      I like Biore Watery Essence, which I grab on Amazon, so I am not sure it fits your drugstore requirement, but I’ve gotten 2 packs for as low as $11 usd, and since it’s clear, I am reasonably sure that it’s chemical. I have hypersensitive skin, and I don’t have an issue with it.

    6. Messy Bun*

      I use Uriage’s spray sunscreen (30SPF, specifically for the face) and it’s been working. What I like about it is that it’s light and easy to apply. You just spray it on your face – no rubbing in or anything. Works also on make-up if that’s something you use.

    7. HannahS*

      Shiseido Urban Protect. Some drugstores sell it, but you can buy it at Sephora and department stores. It’s $40 Canadian, generally, for a teeny-weeny bottle, but it’s very watery, so I find that the little bottle lasts me six months to a year (six months if I wear it every day, instead of just when I’m spending lots of time outside). It’s very gentle and non-greasy. Only caveat, it leaves a white cast. On my very pale skin, this fades within a few minutes, but there’s a risk of it being ashy-looking on someone darker. Unless you’re pale to begin with, I wouldn’t buy it without trying it in person.

  40. gsa*

    Glad to see so few comments this time of day @ 1522 Zulu.

    Local weather is pleasant.

    I wish a good end of the week to all!!!

    gsa

  41. Be the Change*

    Does anyone know if memory foam pillows ever stop smelling, or how to get the chemical smell out?

    1. fposte*

      It depends on the brand. I have a memory foam topper that still smells years on, and a memory foam pillow that never really smelled. If yours is new, take everything off of it, including any zippered cover, and let it sit in a room on its own for a few weeks. If you’ve already done that and it still smells, any further change will probably be slow and incremental at best. Try tackling it from the other direction and putting an anti-bedbug zippered cover on it in addition to the original cover, since those are very tightly woven and should help keep some of the odor inside.

    2. tangerineRose*

      I’ve had to air out a mattress topper for maybe a month or so. Frustrating, but the smell eventually goes away.

  42. I'm A Little Teapot*

    2 weeks ago today I lost my kitty, Sibley. She was nearly 20, and a heart problem had made her quality of life go way down. I miss her. I still have my younger cat, Arwen, but there’s a void. This week was hard. I don’t like this rollercoaster, I just want my Sibby.

    1. Thursday Next*

      I’m so sorry. Our pets do leave a void when they go. One of our kittens died a month ago, and through we have her littermate, we miss her. And he misses her, too.

    2. Zephy*

      20 years is impressive! Sibley was clearly very well cared for, to have lived so long.

    3. Sparkly Librarian*

      I miss my Cubba cat. Even in the middle of New Baby New Kitty shuffle, I had a sad moment yesterday. But it has gotten better as time passes. I hope it will for you, too. They are the best little fur friends.

    4. MissDisplaced*

      Ah, I’m sorry. Losing a beloved kitty is so hard and it’s perfectly ok to grieve. You’ll always remember them, but the worst will pass with time. Give your other kitty lots of love too.

    5. gsa*

      Been there done that.

      I was there when she was born and I was there when she passed. It will take more than two weeks. I’m sorry for your loss.

  43. AmeliaAnhedonia*

    I have been struggling with depression for years and I am functional, but stuck. Right now I’m dealing with major anhedonia and lack of interest in anything. Nothing I used to enjoy is actually fun anymore. I’m a good artist, but I’ve lost almost all interest in making art. I used to enjoy browsing Wikipedia to find random interesting topics and then research them like crazy; now I don’t even want to finish science articles or videos that barely scratch the surface. Playlists of my favorite music are boring. I lose interest in eating halfway through most meals. I’m just generally unmotivated and it sucks.

    I’m doing well at my menial job, but it’s stressful and I know working there is contributing to my depression, so I want to get out ASAP. I’ve managed to get good grades part time at my community college (though I admit I’ve been taking easy classes), but I feel like I need to try to take something to help me get a better job while I finish my degree. Aside from college, I can’t get myself to do anything to move forward. I’m really struggling with my self care (cooking and getting to sleep on time are particularly difficult). I’ve been saying for over a year now that I’m going to get a new job, but I haven’t been able to apply to even a single one. I also need to pick an actual major, but trying to think that far ahead is overwhelming. Also, I feel it’s dangerous to make decisions about the rest of your life when you’ve lost all your passion.

    I have a new therapist that I’ve seen once and I have another appointment this week. However, due to a traumatic event in my childhood, I have a very hard time trusting doctors, especially mental health professionals. Whenever I’ve gone to therapists in the past, I’ve had no trouble talking about everyday stress and working on managing simple family conflicts, but whenever we’d start to dig into my real issues, I’d freak out and leave. I’m not a candidate for meds. I’m starting to feel a mild but constant blend of panic and hopelessness because I’ve reached the point where I really need to make progress in my life, but it’s so hard to do even the bare minimum to get through each day, much less try to move forward.

    FYI, I’m not suicidal or anything, just very discouraged. I feel like it would be good for me to set a goal and try to accomplish something every day, but everything seems pointless and like, yeah, learning a new skill to help me get a better job would be great, but I know that there’s almost no chance of me sticking with it for more than a few days. Also, I’m afraid the guilt of failing would send me into a worse depressive spiral. I just feel so stuck.

    (Sorry if this is the wrong page to post on; I wasn’t quite sure where to put this.)

    1. Reba*

      Hi Amelia, so sorry you’re dealing with this. I know treatment for anhedonia can be a very long road.

      I want to challenge you to recognize that getting through your college classes is a big accomplishment! Please don’t overly discount the effort and focus needed to get through that while also working a stressful job!

      Regarding the therapy… Have you considered writing a letter, or just writing down some thoughts, about the “deeper issues” that you tend to retreat from? Do you think you could tell the therapist that you have a pattern, like “I want to let you know that trusting Drs and so on is very difficult, in the past I have had an urge to escape when we get to more vulnerable topics.” Finally, do you have any online or other supportive community where you can basically practice talking about these issues in a lower stakes environment than the therapists office.

      Sending you good thoughts.

    2. Qosanchia*

      I can sympathize to some degree, as a fellow person-with-depression, or whatever the demonym should be. I don’t know that I have any good advice for you. I want to recommend, “oh, try this thing!” but with anhedonia, it’s hard to actually recommend a hobby or something. For what it’s worth, my go to things are fiber crafts and language learning (hooray Duolingo). Neither of these helps me professionally, or will do anything big, grand, or meaningful, but they serve as little goals that I can achieve for their own sake.
      That’s a bummer that, despite not being really able to feel good about stuff, you aren’t a candidate for meds, but I don’t know your situation, so all I can offer there is sympathy.
      Ultimately, it’s probably not much, but you are heard, and I am rooting for you. I don’t like being in the hazy, “why even?” mindspace, and it sounds like you don’t either. I hope you can find a way to a different one.

    3. BRR*

      For setting accomplishments, Maybe an app like daily feat would be helpful? It lets you track accomplishments like cleaning or going to bed early. While you’re not a candidate for meds, my doctor has mentioned how ketamine is being used for depression treatment.

    4. Public Health Nerd*

      Depression sucks so much. I’m glad you’re trying to get help. The only thing I would offer is to tell the therapist up front about what’s been hard for you with therapy in the past. Maybe they can suggest a creative way for you to nope out of a hard topic without quitting therapy entirely. Or maybe they can help you tolerate talking about that stuff in the future.

      It’s too bad that meds aren’t an option. I’ve had friends with nice responses to ECT, but I know that’s a big step.

    5. Llama Face!*

      For what it’s worth you have all my sympathies, AmeliaAnhedonia. I have struggled with both low grade and major depression in my life (with a side of SAD just for the fun of it /snark) so I’ve had similar experiences.

      It sounds like you may be experiencing anxiety along with depression. If that sounds legit and if it is useful to you, I did* an online course on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy where they recommended taking overwhelming tasks/activities and working your way up to them by making a list of progressively easier similar tasks (or pieces of them) and starting from the easy ones. Only going onto the more difficult thing when you feel comfortable with the easier version. It’s a strategy called graded exposure. I’ll do another reply with a link to a pdf in case you are interested (so this reply doesn’t go into moderation). Something like this might help with the “big” choices that feel like they are too much to deal with like job changes or picking a major.
      *as a patient, I’m not a medical professional or therapist

      Also, fwiw, remember that even these big choices won’t control the rest of your life. Nobody in my entire family is still in the career we first went to school for. But we are okay.

    6. Eliza*

      Depression/anxiety really suck. It’s easy to become angry and shameful about oneself,
      but it helps me to remember that those are only temporary emotional states and they are a small part of who I am, not my entire identity. They don’t feel temporary and instead seem to take over your brain like an alien invasion, but the intensity will pass.

      Focus on the present and taking one moment at a time. Each small moment or action may seem exhausting, but those are accomplishments. Celebrate them no matter how small. I once celebrated getting out of the house (after a long period inside where I ran out of tissues and just reused them or blew my nose into old clothes) by going to CVS and getting every type of fancy tissue (lotion additives, colors, scents) that I could find. That was literally all I did, but it felt good to reward myself in a way.

      Getting to a therapists office is a big step, even if you have a lifetime fast pass. It can take ages to find the right treatment team (psychologist,psychiatrist) and I usually hate every moment of being there. I imagine you do too. TMS saved my life, since I was at a point where meds just weren’t enough. I definitely recommend TMS, though insurance may require you to “fail” several meds before authoring TMS. That was good news for me, since I’m an expert at failing psych meds. I finished the TMS, made some more med changes, and started doing a very focused type of therapy called RO-DBT. That combination has helped a lot.

      I’ll cheer for you over here. I’m not “better” but at least I’m outside enjoying a frozen lemonade today wishing I could help you more.

    7. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Some things you said sound so familiar to me: “no chance of me sticking with it for more than a few days” and “I’m relaly struggling with my self care” and “haven’t been able to apply to even a single one”. Have you ever read anything about undiagnosed ADD in adult women?
      I was given a depression diagnosis in my late 20s… in my late 30s, a shiny new MD figured out that I had an obscure thyroid disorder and put me on synthroid. My symptoms lessened a bit. In my early 40s, I realized that I’m ADD — and after the medication changed my outlook, I did some research. Women with ADD have a high rate of being MIS-diagnosed with depression, and they will appear medication-resistant because it’s the wrong med for their needs. So…you know you and I don’t, but it might be worth taking a quick peek at additudemag for the basic screening questions, or clevelandclinic or webmd, all helped me.

      1. Hufflepuffin*

        With respect, the OP clearly described anhedonia and hasn’t said anything that sounds like ADD.

    8. Hufflepuffin*

      I’m sorry you’re dealing with all this. I agreed with my therapist that if I freaked out, I would always come back for just one more session. That helped me to keep going.

  44. Gloucesterina*

    On my houseplant experiment: all three plants I have seem to be doing well. I was a bit worried about one of my newest acquisitions, a flowering maple, when it arrived in the mail, because it had some yellow leaves and is just a more twiggy plant to begin with (as opposed to leafy plants like the peperomia and the neon pothos). But those yellow leaves eventually dried and dropped off, and looking closely, I can see some new growth. It does seem to be more sensitive to the lack of sunlight than the other two, but again, I am no expert.

    I purchased the peperomia and flowering maple from an Etsy shop in Northern CA called 9EzTropical. A lot of the plants in their shop are outdoor plants; I can’t remember how I came across the flowering maple as an indoor plant specifically, but I imagine it was on some list of houseplants, and it can be grown outdoors in warmer climates.

    1. Ruffingit*

      BEST: We’ve had rainy weather and I love that kind of weather, it’s cozy to me.

      WORST: Not getting enough sleep.

    2. PX*

      Best is probably the weather getting better and some interesting news at work.

      Worst? Nothing major but I am bummed that I dragged myself out of the house to the local pub to watch the rugby because last time I was here it was full of friendly people who were also fans. Turns out it’s got new owners and so no more rugby and no more nice people :/ Much boooo

    3. Messy Bun*

      BEST
      Saw my family after a few weeks, we also exchanged gifts for the recent holidays we had. They liked the small things I got for them. I absolutely adore their surprises. It was lovely. Great food!
      Seeing a friend tomorrow, lunch plans, looking forward to catching up.
      WORST
      Work. Still stressed out. And the weather has been the coldest in 150 years.

    4. Lepidoptera*

      BEST: Orville is renewed!

      WORST: I woke up with bloodshot, yellow-oozing eyes thanks to my neighbors’ collective non-stop mowing. I don’t like HOAs, but I do wish we could coordinate lawn care so people aren’t suffering all week long.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Best: beautiful spring weather and seeing last year’s work at starting a garden pay off. I’m getting the overwintered tender perennials into the dirt, seeing the hardy perennials come back up, and waiting for seeds to sprout.
      Worst: Middle school homework battles. Even with the carrot&stick of Endgame she isn’t finishing some badly overdue projects.

    6. Sh’Dynasty*

      WORST- A sneeze last Sunday put my back out of alignment; pain was so severe I could sit or lay down without my tailbone hurting.

      BEST- besides the pain subsiding, my husband has done SO MUCH around the house. I’ve really never felt so taken care of.

    7. Hufflepuffin*

      Worst: I’ve been dealing with a bit of a relapse of depression and convincing myself that nobody likes me or wants me around.

      Best: a friend texted me saying she had a rare day off (she normally works weekends) and suggesting plans, and it was just really nice timing given how I was feeling.

    8. Karen from Finance*

      Worst: I’m sick, again. Been getting sick a lot lately. This week it was some virus. Very bad cough, it got nasty.

      Best: I’ve been active and it’s helped me feel better about myself. I got to see my friend that I hadn’t seen for a while.

    9. Victoria, Please*

      Best — really wonderful local concert last night by a choir singing spirituals

      Worst — amygdala hijack led to such serious inattention that I stepped in front of a car. Fortunately he managed to stop but he was *mad* which made me absolutely furious. Not rational, but that’s an amygdala hijack for you.

    10. Samwise*

      BEST: I picked up my son from college this weekend (yay! I adore my baby boy!) and he cooked me my favorite dinner for mother’s day.

      WORST: I broke my rule about checking work email and so now I’m already irritated about having to deal tomorrow with an unreliable coworker. (I gotta stop checking email when I’m on vacation!)

  45. drug use intervention?*

    In the last few weeks, just walking on my way to work, I’ve seen a few people injecting drugs and a few people totally high, in that way they seem paralyzed in their own world. These people in particular, how do you know if you need to intervene or call someone or what to do? They are not present in any sense of the word. I’m in a big NE city.

    1. SAC*

      I work in substance abuse treatment and generally speaking, you don’t need to intervene unless you see the person having a seizure or in some sort of danger such as walking into traffic. If you ever see someone seizing or looking as though they’ve overdosed, you can administer Narcan, which is available to anyone in a pharmacy on an open script (which means you can just buy it from the pharmacist). It’s spendy, about $100, but if you happen to be around/near/are/know someone who is an opioid user, it can save their life during an OD. And if you’re wrong and they’re not ODing, you can still administer it without harm, it’s a nasal spray so it’s not difficult to administer. In any case, it’s troubling to see people in the throes of a high sometimes, but there’s not much to be done unless it’s a safety/life or death issue.

    2. Wishing You Well*

      Some police departments won’t administer Narcan, due to the physical danger it puts the officers in. (Addicts can become violent when their high is taken away.) IMHO, leave Narcan to the professionals, but you could donate to related charities. That would help, too.

      1. Natalie*

        The agitation that people can experience after Narcan is a physiological reaction, they are not mad because “their high is taken away”. Someone who has just been unconscious minutes ago doesn’t know what’s going on enough to have that sort of emotion. They are intensely disoriented, and administering the medication too quickly in particular causes such a rapid shift in brain state that it increases the likelihood of agitation.

    3. Temperance*

      So depending on which city you’re in, there might be street medics/overdose response folks who can help. Call when you get to work, if you are so inclined. Don’t get involved otherwise.

    4. LCL*

      There are lots of those people where I live . We leave them alone unless they are in obvious danger or are causing danger to someone else. Police carry Narcan here. Unfortunately there is no magic phone number that will result in an agency picking them up and putting them in rehab.

  46. Squid*

    I have a random storage question- the kitchen cabinets in our house (a rental) have fixed, 13” shelves in EVERY cabinet. It’s exactly the wrong height for pretty much everything. But right now the issue is pot lid storage- we can’t stand them on their sides because most of our lids (and the ones we use most frequently) are too tall. We can’t use one of those cabinet door holders because there’s only about half an inch clearance between the cabinet door and shelves. We don’t have wall or door space (no doors, cabinets on all viable walls).

    Right now they’re just in a pile in one cabinet but we’re finally clearing out our old hand-me-downs and thrift store cookware for new ones that aren’t warped or missing handles and it would be nice to have a better storage solution. Has anyone solved this?

    1. Ruffingit*

      There are bands you can buy that basically stick the lids to the inside cabinet door, so it’s not like the rack you hang from the door, it takes up much less space. I’ve also seen people install dowel rods in a drawer as a way to separate the lids and store them. Linking below to a Good Housekeeping article about this.

    2. Not A Manager*

      I assume that your cabinet is wide enough for the lids on their sides, but not tall enough. I have that issue, and I got a wide, shallow plastic bin that I just pile the lids into. It’s still a big pile, but it feels tidier having them corralled in a bin rather than banging around the whole shelf of the cabinet. Also, when I need one I can pull the bin partway out to find my lid, rather than having to rummage in the cabinet.

    3. The Other Dawn*

      Hang a lid storage rack on a wall, assuming you have some free wall space. I have a tiny kitchen in a very, very old house (1735), which means my kitchen cabinets suck for storage much of the time. I bought one of those lid racks that goes on the inside of the cabinet door and just hung it on the wall instead. I also got myself a magnetic knife strip and put that on the wall so I don’t have to get a butcher block or worry about cutting myself by storing knives loose in a drawer.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Ack, sorry! Just saw you said you don’t have wall space. Maybe the outside side of a cabinet?

    4. fposte*

      I have a horizontal cabinet stacker that might be worth looking at–I have one for pans and one for lids. Try searching Amazon for horizontal pan organizer–that should get you the right ilk.

    5. ArtsNerd*

      Oof. Is there a chance your landlord would be open to you taking a cabinet down or replacing one with different shelf heights? Open storage is super hip so there’s a “future renter appeal” argument in there, I think.

    6. Qosanchia*

      I haven’t solved it yet, but you’ve just given me an idea for my first big 3d printing project

    7. Seeking Second Childhood*

      How is your counterspace? We have similar issues with nonadjustable short shelves so cutting boards are against the wall next to the drying rack. I don’t think I’d like the solution if I had cats though…

    8. DrTheLiz*

      Ikea (or other) accordion-folding plate rack! Just put them in it like plates – we got given a bunch as a gift, and I love them.

    1. Sam Sepiol*

      I’m struggling at the mo. I am very very tired and my house is a tip and I seem entirely unable to deal with it.
      I am feeling very much caught between “I love loads of friends and support” and “aaargh no one chooses me to be their friend” and I suppose both are true (depending on how you look at it) but also the first is more demonstrably true. One of my friends was supposed to be coming over today so kids could play and we could catch up but I put her off till next week because of the mess. I know this is daft.

      I’m also in one of those stretches where I feel like my personal life is falling apart but work’s going well and as a result I just want to work all the time because I can see I’m making progress and it feels much more rewarding. I did about 5 hours extra this week (I will get TOIL) but I just want to have a nap then log back into work. But I should be doing something with the kid and I really want to make sure I have at least one day without doing any work. Weekends are important.

      1. ArtsNerd*

        Sending you hugs. I can definitely relate to “work is ok so I’m just going to stay in that space instead of dealing with the rest.” My mental health crashes largely manifest externally in the messy home and minor-ish hygiene slips (thank god for meds for managing most of the rest). I don’t have kids — that must make the struggle so much worse, because you want/need to be present and engaged with them.

        I’ve been floored by the number of friends who have, in all earnestness, offered to help me clean and stay on task when my place is a health hazard. And who followed through magnificently when I reluctantly accept their help.

        I’m not sure how comfortable you are being transparent with what’s happening, and/or what your ability to hire a cleaning service is, but I find that both are lifesavers for me. Prioritizing a regular cleaning service in my budget forces me to tidy up at regular intervals, and takes the “actually cleaning stuff” part off my list. It took me years to give myself permission (my salary is modest and I live in a high COL area) even when I found the money for it.

        Good luck.

        1. Sam Sepiol*

          Just for the record, that should have been “I HAVE loads of friends” not “love”.
          One of my friends did offer today to come round and help me sort the house out. I would bite her hand off but when I’m not at work she’s with her kids. If I can find time for her to help I will. And I’ve been thinking for ages it would be a good investment to get someone to clean the house. If it’s clean I can keep it clean.

          Thank you for getting it <3

      2. Lena Clare*

        Yes! Omg can identify with so much of this.

        I’m not doing so good. My anxiety is through the roof leading to some physical health problems which are affecting my sleep (see bruxism thread above!) and ability to do exercise which I know would help.

        My work is not great but at least I’m earning and can pay the bills for now, so I do understand about the wanting to work all the time coz it’s the one thing I’m successful at. Everything personal-life-wise seems to be a dud in comparison.

        I’m gonna do 20 minutes of unf*cking my habitat now, which I hope will go someway to making me feel better.

        Sending you good vibes and Jedi hugs.

        1. Sam Sepiol*

          It helps to much to have people understand the work thing. Most people I mention it to are horrified. I’m glad someone else understands.

      3. Washi*

        Ahhh I do the friend thing too! Sometimes I feel like I have so many great friends and sometimes I feel like no one except my husband really cares about me. How do you get out of funks like that?

        1. Sam Sepiol*

          Ha. Yeah. I am divorced so haven’t even got the husband to be there any more (not that he was any good for me).
          It’s hard to get out of it. With me usually it’s just time, sooner or later it gets better. But full disclosure, the other thing that has helped is cutting toxic friends out of my life and accepting that some of my friends/family members cannot be there for me and That’s Not My Fault, and I get to be angry and hurt, even if I’m not up to talking to them about it. It’s made things so much easier. I know it probably doesn’t sound like it but it’s true: I can at least see right now that my feeling that I’m friendless is untrue, even though it feels very true.

        2. Sam Sepiol*

          Oh oh oh and I’ve also accepted (with the help of my therapist) that it’s ok to get a lot of my social support through my work team. I have boundaries in place, and on a practical level nothing has changed, but for example my best work friend is the only IRL person that knows about my final acceptance that I’m bi, not straight, and that’s ok. And I am myself in work – depression and single-divorced-parent-ness and deeply-uncool-ly-excited-about-work and all – and it really, really helps.

          I am extremely lucky to work somewhere where everyone accepts this as true and that I don’t appear to be judged for it. My career is sky-rocketing after years of stagnation and I get to be myself. It’s like I’m getting rewarded for all the years of shit. (Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot of shit, but there’s good stuff too. At last)

    2. ArtsNerd*

      Just had a mad month of overwork (couldn’t be helped — busiest season and down a staff member so I had to do more tasks on top of the hiring process) and I’m feeling the crash for sure.

      On the plus side: I’m extremely weather sensitive so spring helps, and super used to being in this space (much more frequently in the past than in recent times) and have some solid coping mechanisms in place at this point. New employee starts in a little over a week, and personal-project deadlines are almost all behind me. I expected it, and reminding myself that this is just a temporary thing, and I’ll definitely make it through.

    3. Book Lover*

      Doing quite well with news avoidance and started doing embroidery again which I think is good. I have been spending too much time on my iPad on stuff that just doesn’t add up to anything and feels wasted. If I read a book or make something it feels like I am more positive.

    4. TechWorker*

      Busy at work and still very stressed, reaching something like apathy but still lots of headspace going on worrying about it. Feel like I’m prioritising work over actually like exercising but I’ve also had so many injuries (currently back pain + a shitty foot I’ve had for more than a year) that actually I can’t do as much as I want. But maybe I’m lazy and that comes into it too? Worried about everything.

    5. Catherine*

      I’m not doing great lately as I’ve been trying to get more fit and all that happens is that I get bloated and the number on the scale goes up. I’m trying to work on decoupling my self-worth from my appearance but my whole life I’ve used pretty as the wedge to get my foot in the door and I’m scared people won’t listen to me if I ever stop trying so hard to look good.

    6. Smol Book Wizard*

      Pros of vacation: no more homework, no more anxiety-producing/emotionally abusive (?????) ex-roommate (I have had to deal with her via text a little due to financial wrap-ups, but have blocked her text tone so I don’t have to think it’s her when I hear my phone go off).
      Cons of vacation: living at my parents’ untidy house, which I can’t quite clean because hardly any of it is my stuff; and while I think they *want* to clean it, doesn’t really get clean (think clutter piles, crumbs and dust visible on floor, unmatched furniture crammed past use into patches of space. Also, I started out being productive and while I’m still better than I was, I’m hearing the vague theme of “I don’t want to do anything and it won’t work anyway if I try it” playing at the fringes of my brain now and again.

      Things that are good: hugging the dog, having a car so I can go places during the day, making beaded jewelry (etsy shop up soon, I hope!), *writing* – I have been sending my bestfriend installments of a story every day or so, although I’ve been faltering at that recently.
      Things that are hard: gauging the difference between what’s good and what’s just… ordinary? As in, I’m really not great at telling between things that make me anxious and unhappy vs. actually unkind/unreasonable things, or things that are hard for me because of aspects about myself vs. things that are just hard and I am being lazy. I have a new psychiatrist so thankfully I’ve got my prescription in order, but I miss having a therapist to talk to (as is probably obvious by the length of this post, alas). Unfortunately my schedule for the next little while may conspire along with my financial state to make finding one tricky-to-impossible.

    7. Best cat in the world*

      I’ve struggled at work the last couple of weeks, I’ve been in a strange environment and wearing a different form of uniform. It’s led me to realise that I really do wear my work uniform as a shield, I can do almost anything in it, take charge of a room, stand up to people. Out of it I was a bit of a nervous wreck. Completely self diagnosing but I’m definitely starting to think I’ve got some form of social anxiety. And it doesn’t seem to be getting any better as time goes on. Between that and identifying some self destructive behaviour patterns I get into, I’m wondering whether to see if I can find someone to talk to about it.

  47. ArtsNerd*

    Fostering cats:

    I keep finding myself drawn to the “become a foster home” pages on area cat rescues, but I don’t want to torture my current cat and I think I need to be talked out of it (for the next few years at least.)

    I’ve taken in two (adult) cats for several weeks / a few months when their owners were in a real bind, and with Feliway it wasn’t remotely a disaster either time. Still, it was clearly stressful for her up to the point where they went back home. She has successfully lived with another cat in the past, but had a ton of space to keep her distance before she bonded with him. Then they lived together in (much too) close quarters for several years, and she did just fine. Still, she clearly prefers being the only cat.

    Right now we’re doing well in 650ish square feet, and I know in 3 years or so we’ll move into a 2br 1000ish square feet. So that’s definitely a better time than now to add a new cat into the mix. She’s 13 and I suspect this is just my way of stressing about her getting older / being mortal (even though we should have a good many years ahead of us!)

    I need to stop rationalizing that a kitten will let her be alpha kitty and is a good idea, right?

    Right?

    1. ArtsNerd*

      and/or: I’m curious about people’s experiences with DC-area rescues and which are the best ones to foster for.

      See, I need a reality check.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think some cats adjust pretty easily/quickly to new ones, and others … really don’t. You may have the latter!

      That said, you could always try it by letting the shelter or rescue group you’re working with know that you’d like to try a short-term kitten situation as an experiment. They sometimes have a need for short-term foster homes (like a week or two weeks) when another foster home is going on vacation, etc.

      We fostered through the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (the county shelter) and thought they were really good. (Of course, we failed at it and kept both Olive and Eve, which they don’t want you to do!)

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        * I think it’s just AWLA that doesn’t want you to keep your fosters. The rescue group we adopted Wallace and Sophie from in the fall was surprised to hear that and said they’re fine with their foster homes adopting their fosters.

        1. ArtsNerd*

          Yesss, I was hoping you’d chime in. Based on my reading, the “foster-to-adopt isn’t ideal” is because they then lose that ongoing foster home for future kitties, which makes sense from the organizational perspective…. But is pretty ambitious when you think about the personalities drawn to helping cats and human psychology.

          A short-term experiment is a great idea! I’ll look into that.

        2. Perse's Mom*

          It usually depends on a number of factors, including what you can foster, how reliable a foster you are, and how many fosters the organization has.

          In areas where foster homes are limited, if a foster home has to drop out because they “foster fail,” that impacts the organization’s mission. If you foster something like neonate kittens or hospice/post-surgical/long-term care animals, those are harder to place into care and can be much harder to replace as the fosterer needs more specialized training or skills.

          If your fostering is more sporadic and/or standard, or they have a lot of foster homes, it’s probably not a big deal.

    3. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      We would love to foster too, but with our bonded pair and small living space at the moment, its not gonna happen. Maybe in a few years when we have a house and can make good decisions for the happiness of all kitties involved.

      I can’t say I have any advice, but check out pokeypotpie on Instagram and Facebook – she is a big foster mom and I think she may be in the DC area and could have advice if you write in or follow what shelters she is fostering for.

      WARNING – the cute overload is intense… I’ve caught my other half watching some of their live streams they do every once in a while where she will sit with the kittens/cats playing with them and answer questions from watchers. The blind kitty Bop is amazing – I think she has 5 of her own kitties, and is currently fostering 6 kittens (they seem to have their own room and they change clothes to go in and visit with them/take care of them). Frankly I want to know what her secret is cause her house looks so clean!

    4. Grace*

      I don’t know about where you are, but Cats Protection – the main cat rehoming charity in the UK – doesn’t let you mix your own cats with your fosters. They either require their own room with the door kept closed at all times, or they provide an outdoor ‘cat cabin’, unless you have no other pets in which case they can have the run of the place. I know that’s not the case with other places, but I think it’s a sensible policy.

    5. I'm A Little Teapot*

      I would discourage you from getting a kitten with a 13 yo. That age gap is going to cause problems. You’ll have the older cat who really would prefer to sleep, as well as the younger cat who is ready to play. Even if your 13 yo loves to play, the activity level is going to be pretty different, and it’ll get worse as time passes. I had a 8/9 yo when I got a kitten, and it did not work out well in the long term. If anything, get 2 kittens so the older one can have some peace.

      My older cat died 2 weeks ago at nearly 20, and I have the younger who’s now 11. While I’m not a happy camper right now, I’m also not considering a 2nd cat. I need my existing cat to figure out how she likes being an only, and then based on that I’ll decide. If I do get a 2nd cat, I would aim for one at least 9yo, just so the activity levels are more in line.

      1. Grace*

        I had two ten-year-olds when we got a kitten. They co-existed, but not happily. Youngest was definitely top cat and bullied the others when we weren’t looking, but we could never have considered returning her – she’s extremely skittish, hates change and new surroundings, hides for forty-five minutes if someone sneezes too loudly. Shelter life would have destroyed her.

        I’m so sorry for your loss – we lost our eldest last year at a few days short of 21, and it still hurts. Our youngest is now an only at about the same age as yours, and she has really benefited from being the only one with our attention – but then Cleo, who we lost last summer, had to have a friend adopted for her after her brother died when they were one (the other then-ten-year-old, Pippa, who passed at sixteen) because she couldn’t stand being alone. They all differ. I hope your darling works out what she needs so that you can make your decisions and move on from there.

    6. Venus*

      This is fairly repetitive with other comments, but I’ve been fostering for decades with quite a few rescues and want to reinforce some points:

      Most foster situations require that you separate your cat from fosters for at least 2 weeks (and ideally closer to 4+). While the rescues do their best, some fosters have hidden problems (ear mites, worms, skin problems, etc) which only show up in time. I would definitely wait until your place has a spare bedroom (or washroom).

      Most importantly for me is that I wouldn’t have one young playful cat with an older one. Most rescues with kittens have a litter of them, so you could do that more easily. If you only want one foster at a time then I would suggest an older cat, at least a year or two in age.

      Are you fostering in order to find the right cat to adopt? In that case why not just tell the rescue that you want to adopt. Are you fostering in order to find homes for many cats? In which case why not help out with older cats who are closer in age and personality to yours. If you are thinking that younger cats will be better as fosters because they are more submissive… then yeah, you’re going to be disappointed because younger kittens are more likely to be assertive and confident, and have plenty of energy to burn on irritating your cat.

      1. ArtsNerd*

        Commenting here but applies to the few above this too: this is a really helpful perspective!

        I had read back in the day that age and gender differences help two reduce tensions between two unbonded cats, which is why I was thinking “kitten.” But the playfulness disparity and bugging her to no end is not a factor I had considered. This really helps!

        And yeah, it’s becoming increasingly clear that this is not the time for me to choose this path.

        Thanks all for the input!

  48. WellRed*

    Was just checking my painfully low checking account balance online and there’s a new maintenance service charge of $18. $18! WTF?

    1. fposte*

      Is there a minimum balance that you’ve dropped below? Or is it just plain time to find someplace else?

      1. WellRed*

        Probably both. I am sure that’s it, but the fee is new, because I’ve been far lower. I know, I know, read everything. But it’s so boring.

    2. WellRed*

      This is another example of why it’s so expensive to be poor! If I have thousands in the bank, no fee, although if I had thousands, I wouldn’t squawk about the fee. (Actually, I probably would, that’s how the monied stay monied, right?)

    3. BRR*

      You might have some luck if you call and ask them about it and ask to waive it this one time.

        1. Sunflower*

          it might be time to change account types. Your bank 100% should have an option for a checking count that doesn’t require a minimum balance. You may not get as many benefits but it will probably outweigh the $18 fee!

    4. That Girl From Quinn's House*

      Switch banks! There are plenty of smaller banks and credit unions that still offer free checking. I’ve never paid for a checking account in my life, and there have been times I’ve had some very low balances in there.

      Banks usually have a chart on their website as to which sorts of accounts they have and what the fees/requirements are, and credit unions have a list of who is eligible to join. Usually they’re related to your employer or city/town/county, but I’ve seen some weird ones, like having a membership to the local museum.

      1. SignalLost*

        Credit unions are the best. I’m still salty that I have a bank loan for my car, but I use credit unions for everything else and I’m planning to transfer the car loan to one of my CUs when I get more of the balance paid down.

        1. Earthwalker*

          This. When a parent died a few months ago and we had to go out of town to take care of things, I failed to watch my checking balance. The credit union moved money from my savings account to checking to cover my checks six times, for free, and sent me a notification letter for each one before I got home, got mail, and realized what had happened. I could tell you horror stories from three big name banks where I kept money for a few years before I got into the credit union, and nothing but kudos for amazing customer service from my credit union for 30 years since.

  49. Cruciatus*

    Well, I’ve finally had an offer accepted on a house! I wish I was more excited but this means I’ll move out of my parents’ house and they will begin the process of selling it (it no longer works for them–and I get that rationally but it still makes me sad. I wish I had some more separation of not living at home and I’m embarrassed I don’t, but my last job paid me $10 an hour after 4 years so…not much I can do with that!). I’m able to do this not really because I now make a ton more but because of an inheritance I received in the last couple of years that I’m using as the down payment+ (by the way, does anyone have any idea how long it might take to cash bonds? Some are e-bonds and I’m more worried how long it takes the government to cash them).

    Anyway, inspection is Wednesday so we’ll see if there are any major issues with the house. It’s technically a one owner home–it was built in the early 80s. It’s not a beauty and needs some updating, but hopefully everything is in good order so that it’s definitely livable since there’s no way I’ll be able to make all the changes at once–for now start with some floors and the wallpaper. So much wallpaper. The carpet is in good condition and I wish I didn’t have to rip it out but it just doesn’t work for me.

    For those interested in such things (since I am) it’s an almost 1500sq.ft ranch, 3 (sadly small) bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms. Yes, 3.5. Two full and one half bath on the main floor and another full bathroom in the mostly full basement (and that bathroom has actual walls! Not just a random Pittsburgh Potty as is normal in my area (which is not Pittsburgh, but close). Has a small sunroom that I imagine will be enjoyed by the cats. The yard is smaller (.25 acres) and less private than I wanted, but the neighborhood seems good (talked to neighbors, looked at crime statistics). Good location–it’s further from work than I’d like, but it’s 2 minutes from the local mall. Grocery shopping. The big stuff. It was on the market for a while and I truly don’t understand it–I’ve seen worse purchased more quickly. It’s in the school district people prefer, but the sellers started the price around $175K which they lowered every few months and after sitting for 5 months with no offers I offered $151K and they accepted. My realtor thought we were going to walk into a piece of crap but even she was surprised by the good condition and can only guess that the work required for the wallpaper and flooring and updating cabinets may have turned off people. And maybe after a while, sitting for 5 months scared people away.

    So, a lot has to happen from here. Hopefully no surprises at the inspection. But I was just getting so used to my offers not being accepted that I figured it might happen again–it’s a little surprising when they actually do accept! I’m sure I’ll be here to ask more questions about this or that, but for now I’m just starting to think about all the things I’ll need (all of it) and what to buy where. I have some time off in a couple of weeks so it may be time to have a household needs spree.

    1. fposte*

      Hey, congratulations! I know it’s taken a while to find the right house, but finding the right house is why you want to take a while. (My guess is that the overpricing is why it sat, and then it became a stale listing.)

      If it’s just going to be junked anyway, the carpet can stay to be a dropcloth while you redo walls and then get pulled out afterwards.

    2. Not A Manager*

      A quarter of an acre back yard sounds… pretty large to me. What are the dimensions? I bet you can do some fun stuff back there.

      The three small bedrooms might be useful, too, depending on how you like to live. For me, I like my sleeping space to be mostly sleeping and not, say, working at a desk. So for me, I’d rather have a small bedroom, and a separate office that can get as messy as I like because I can always close the door. I grew up in a time and place where people had dedicated guest rooms. I haven’t seen a single-purpose guest room in a long time, but I’d set up the third bedroom as, say, a TV room or a library with a comfortable sleeper sofa for visitors.

      Congratulations on your new place! It’s super exciting. No place is going to be completely perfect, but part of the fun is making into what works for you.

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        0.25 acres could easily be quite small if that’s the entire lot (and where you’re from has a huge impact on this). We have a 0.5 acre lot and I wish we had more for privacy.

        What we’re doing for ‘privacy’ and to create a sense of wall is to put up a lot of shrubs, bushes, grapevines (they’re actually all edibles…blackberries, currants, etc) so that we have what feels like a nest of green in the yard, but isn’t a 6′ tall privacy fence, which to me feels like a box.

        Our home was pretty much move in ready but was ‘on the market’ for a few months because they had accepted a previous offer, but it fell through due to the buyer’s financing issues. So it had really been moved on very quickly, but over about 4 months the negotiations went south, and it appeared as though it had been on the market about 6ish months.

        We also have three bedrooms (just the two of us), and one is our master, there’s the Craft Room (full of yarns), and then the guest/assorted storage room, which has also turned into the EC Can’t Stop Planting Things room. But hey, all my blue cactus seeds sprouted, so there’s that, lol. We also have two living rooms (it’s a quad level, which was fun to explain to the insurance company), and one is the bird room/EC’s comfy circle chair spot and we’ve turned the other into the gaming/entertainment room. It seemed like a hell of a lot of space for just us at first, but it’s been really nice to be able to stretch out. There’s no coffee table in the upstairs living area (where the birbs are), because I’m the primary person up there, and I usually walk into coffee tables. Hubs loves coffee tables, so we put one down in the entertainment room where he likes to game (and leave socks everywhere).

        1. fposte*

          Agreed that a lot depends on where you’re from and what you’re used to on this. My lot is, I think, .25 or smaller and that’s pretty standard in the older part of town until you get to the McMansions. It’s plenty big enough for me, but I do fenceline plantings for privacy, which is also pretty common.

        2. Cruciatus*

          I do think it’s the whole lot. It seems about even front and back yard so neither part feels particularly big. And it might feel bigger if it wasn’t connected to someone’s backyard on the other side. The current owners put in some trees and things, but it only helps so much. I’m used to 1 acre and neighbors 100 yards away so it feels tight for now, but when it takes me, what, 20-30 minutes to mow I’ll probably be like “good choice!”

          It’s just me so this really is more space than I need (house wise) but it’s not so much space as to be obnoxious. I do have 2 living areas. Well, technically three. A family room, a living room (though to be honest I don’t know which is which), and the tiny sun room. Well, all the rooms are a bit small since they are divided up but one will be the TV area with couch and if I can swing it built-ins or faux built-ins. I’m not sure about the other one yet. It has a gas fireplace on the narrow wall, but also the half bath and first floor laundry (in a closet) on one long wall, the other side of the room has the sliding glass doors to the sun room (it obviously used to be the entry point to the outside). It’s a long, narrow room and it’s also the entry point to walk into the house from the garage. It leads to the kitchen. The owners already moved out before they posted the house for sale so I can’t see how they had the room set up. So I will figure that room out later after I see how I use the house more.

          1. Asenath*

            It sound fabulous! Really, you’ll adjust to the size of the lot in no time (I nearly didn’t buy my condo because the view consisted of the roof (and ventilation equipment) of the roof of the floor below, the corner of a ball park/playground, and a few houses, but I did. My first house was far more rundown than yours, but it served me well for years – and was large for one person – three bedrooms (two small) upstairs and a large bedroom downstairs. I used the downstairs room as an office, one of the upstairs rooms as a sewing room and the other, although it had a bed and was techincally a spare bedroom was where I kept the cats’ litter boxes and what storage I didn’t put in the other rooms. I did tend to accumulate a lot of junk with all that space, though. I’d leave carpets and such that are serviceable but not to your taste for a while – especially carpet, and especially if you intend to paint. I’m a very messy painter – maybe you aren’t. I think you’re wise to wait a while to see how you use the space before deciding on the last room.

      2. Venus*

        Typical lots in the cities around here are 50×100′ which is 0.115 acres, so a bit less than half that size. Some are even half of that (old homes are being torn down and two are built in their place), which I find too small for my preference as I like a veggie garden. So for me .25 acres is big!

        I’m a fan of homes that are 1000-1200 ft^2, as I live alone and anything bigger is too much work. Cruciatus’s new place sounds ideal!

        I bought my place for what seemed like a very low price, but I have realized over time that people don’t like to do renovations. Mine needed a lot of little things, so it took time and effort to organize everything, but it didn’t need a lot of money and the house foundation is solid. Over the first year I got the critical things done (removed the furnace chimney as it now vents to the side, fixed some siding, got the electrical repaired because squirrels were in the ceiling, etc), and now I have a solid, safe home. It still needs updating, and for that I have a long-term plan on how to get it done (this year was the bathroom, then it will be the deck because it is rotting, then some drywall repairs, then flooring, then… ). I will do all of it as I can afford it, because none of the remaining items is critical (and I do have some extra funds set aside in case something becomes an emergency)

        1. Cruciatus*

          Yeah, I’m worried about the renovations needed (and that’s before even knowing if anything is wrong) and how much more that’s going to add to the overall cost of the house over time than if I had just purchased a higher priced house already more updated. I’m just hoping it’s all solid and the rest will be just details. They seem to have updated the big stuff–though of course the inspection will let me know…. There’s no way I could afford to do everything I’d want to do at once. Because I’m paying less than expected I could probably get some of the flooring updated. I just need the kitchen and bathrooms (well, and everything else) to be in good order, but any updates there will probably be just paint on walls and cabinets. New stuff will have to (hopefully) wait a looooong while. I do have some savings if needed. I am just hoping for my basic comforts to be met in a house that’s hopefully not a complete money pit! Not too much to ask for, right?

          1. Venus*

            I think it’s very reasonable to hope for a solid place!

            The funny thing for me is that I did a ‘big’ bathroom reno this year, and the room looks completely different, yet it was quite cheap because all I really needed to do was put in new drywall (the old stuff was plaster and it was falling apart). So despite doing something which sounds expensive, it was relatively cheap and only took a week of work, because I didn’t change the shower or toilet, and I indulged myself with an IKEA vanity (with loads of storage) for $300. The room looks completely different, yet it was straight-forward for me. Most importantly, I could have been fine for more years if I hadn’t updated it, but the paint was starting to flake (they obviously hadn’t used a waterproof paint for kitchens and bathrooms, *sigh*) and I had the budget for it.

            A small place also has the financial advantage of having cheaper renovations (flooring for a small place is inevitably cheaper than a big home). I have seen a few places recently with a lot of ‘dead’ space (for example huge entrance hallways with no ability to do anything functional in them) and all I can think is how much money people are willing to waste up-front and long-term.

    3. Aurora Leigh*

      So exciting — I remember you’ve been looking for a long time.

      I sympathize about your parents selling their house, though. My parents did something similiar and I still tear up if I have to drive by now. My whole childhood was lived in that house and I miss it.

    4. Nacho*

      That’s great. I remember how much of a pain it was when I was house-shopping last year. I’m glad you found someplace you like.

    5. Overeducated*

      Good luck! Hope all goes well and smoothly from here. I also had an offer accepted this week, but the inspection today turned up what may be deal breakers, so I’m trying to be open to letting go (I’m scared of waiting to long because prices in this neighborhood rose 18% in the last year). I can understand how all the stuff you have to deal with is a little overwhelming and it’s hard to be excited staring all that down!

      1. Cruciatus*

        Wow, you got your inspection fast! The earliest I could get was this coming Wednesday so I have to miss work–and still not sure how much work I have to miss. I hope that things found during the inspection aren’t as bad as they seem, or maybe it can be worked out with the current owners so it’s not all stuck on you. This is what I’m nervous about. I can probably let this house go if I have to, but I honestly hope I don’t have to because I think I am getting a deal (well, obviously only if it’s in good condition)! I already have so many ideas for it too (which is surprising because I never thought I much cared about that or knew enough about design or whatever–though I’m also not saying my ideas are good! Just that I have them.).

        Best of luck!

        1. Overeducated*

          We had actually scheduled inspection before the contract was complete because the seller made a couple mistakes (e.g. signing an old version, forgetting initials) that held it up for way longer than it should have. It was a weirdly suspenseful week as a result, but the inspection timing worked out well! Which is good, because we’re going to have to spend this week getting estimates to figure out if this is even worth pursuing further. We don’t think the seller will credit any repairs and we knew it would need some, so we budgeted a certain amount for them, but it’s so much worse tham we expected that the numbers just may not work. I know what you mean about really wanting this one to work out, yours sounds like it may not be so bad and i hope that is the case! I’m sorry you have to miss work though, I wish inspection periods were longer, the standard time frame means things really have to line up perfectly to do on a weekend.

    6. Erin*

      I have to say- we used to have an 1100 sq ft 3br/1ba ranch on .5 acre and we now have a 4-5br/3.5ba 4000sf on a bit over an acre. I miss the small house. There are 5 of us so it would be too small, but for a 1-3 people I’d be in your house in a hot second. We spend SO MUCH maintaining the bigger house/yard. And to me, it isn’t worth it. But it’s DH’s dream and we can afford it so here we are.

  50. Cruciatus*

    In other news, anyone want to discuss the network TV cancellations and renewals? Last year I don’t think there were a lot of cancellations I was upset about, but this year I’m bummed about Speechless, The Passage, The Kids are Alright, Life in Pieces, and Constance Wu’s reaction to Fresh off the Boat being renewed.

    I kinda liked The Rookie so I was a little happy it was renewed. It’s not a great show, but the cast makes it better than it should be. There are some others that were renewed I just can’t think of at the moment. And I’m not sure cancellation season is over quite yet so may be more to come.

    Are you happy or upset about certain renewals and cancellations?

    1. WellRed*

      Annoyed by the cancellation of Friends from College. Also not a great show, but I wanted to see what happened next.

    2. rider on the storm*

      This is why I never commit to new shows and also pick up shows after they have had renewals or a proper ending.

    3. Lemonwhirl*

      I hadn’t been able to watch The Passage yet. (Not in the US. Not sure where/if it’s on any place I could catch it.) I loved the books though and had been looking forward to the TV series.

    4. Quake Johnson*

      This isn’t really new information and I’m not altogether surprised it was cancelled, but I’ll miss The Gifted. Mutant persecution will always resonate with me.

      I’m having a hard time imagining life without Criminal Minds, I’m honestly dreading it leaving.

      Similar but to a much lesser extent, Supernatural. It’s a real messy show amd I kind of hate like half the episodes, but not having it here is going to be so strange after 15 years.

    5. MsChanandlerBong*

      I am glad that “Manifest” was renewed. I never in a million years thought I would like that type of show, but I LOVE it. I’m also glad “American Housewife” will be on for another season. Bummed about “Criminal Minds” being canceled, but mostly for nostalgic reasons. I used to watch that show with my college roommate when we had an apartment together!

      1. Cruciatus*

        At least Criminal Minds knew it was coming. I forget how many seasons it’s been on but it’s had a much better than average run! And it still has its final season to air next season (unless I’ve missed some news regarding it).

        I also watched Manifest. Sometimes I really liked that show and sometimes I didn’t. I wasn’t going to be too upset if it was cancelled but since it’s coming back I’ll probably check out again to see what direction the show is going in.

        Since I posted I found out The Orville was renewed which I’m glad about. It was another show I was unsure of, but I thought it got better this 2nd season and now I’m really enjoying it.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      VERY upset about The Kids are Alright. It seems whenever I find a show I really love, like this (and One Day at a Time), they ditch it. I love the characters and it made me laugh so much. Plus I’ve been tweeting about it and had some interaction with the actors, which was fun.

    7. Bluebell*

      The Passage on network tv- I loved the relationship between the agent and Amy. On streaming, I’ve been disappointed about Santa Clarita Doet as well as One Day at a Time.

    8. Chaordic One*

      One of my guilty pleasures has been the reboot of “Dynasty.” It started off as an interesting reimagining of the original and it has had its moments. It clearly “jumped the shark” this last season, but I can’t make myself stop looking at it. Like a train wreck (which it is). In spite of low ratings in the U.S. this past season, it has supposedly done quite well in ratings in overseas markets, which is the reason given for its renewal.

    9. Person from the Resume*

      Somehow despite me thinking Station 19 is just plain not good, 9-1-1 is slick but dumb, and the Orville is dumb a lot of the time I found myself watching them because I wanted to watch something on TV when they happened to be on. It’s a weird mood for me because I almost always watch DVRed stuff. Now I find myself DVRing the last few episodes of the season.

      I also watched Grey’s Anatomy which I stopped watching 4 years ago or so. The relationships are confusing but it’s still good soap opera drama IMO.

      But I’m not gonna set the DVR to record any of these series and I’m not gonna watch their next seasons.

    10. Karen from Finance*

      I’m amazed at how fast Netflix was able to make the new season of Lucifer, which came out this week. Seems like yesterday that that whole thing went down.

  51. Spunky Brewster*

    A complete stranger opened her front door to yell at me that I was a Crazy Old Lady as I walked by with my dog this morning. To be fair, I was wearing ratty PJs, no bra, and hadn’t washed off last night’s eye makeup.

    I own the Crazy and the Lady, but I’m only 41. Am I officially old now?

    1. fposte*

      Sure, why not? There are a lot of advantages.

      I’m surprised, though. In most places where I’ve lived, you could stalk the streets in a prison uniform with a blood-stained machete without raising a hair as long as you were walking a dog.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        …you could stalk the streets in a prison uniform with a blood-stained machete without raising a hair as long as you were walking a dog.

        Thanks for some desperately needed mirth! (It’s been hella week…I might go into detail in a separate comment.)

      2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        Yeah, that stranger needs to read up on her dog-etiquette. The appropriate thing to yell at someone walking the dog, whether they are wearing a ballgown or a flour sack, is “What’s your dog’s name!” “What kind of dog is it?” and/or “Can I come pet your dog?”? (If the dog is the one wearing the ballgown or the flour sack, it is also appropriate to yell about how cute they look in it.)

    2. Middle School Teacher*

      I’m 39 and I’m owning the old. If it gives me an excuse to lie in the tub and watch Netflix, then I’m old!!

    3. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      Maybe, but you aren’t the one who opened her front door just to yell at a stranger…

    4. AvonLady Barksdale*

      WHY? Why do people feel the need to express every single thought that comes into their heads? Why do they think anyone cares?

      Personally, I do my judging privately, occasionally to my partner. Even if it’s out loud (which it usually is if I’m in the car). I might think you looked crazy, but why would I waste my precious time telling you so? Why would I think you would care about my opinion? I feel like the last of a dying breed. :)

      (Also, listen, you do you. Even if you look a little funky. That’s between you and nobody except your dog. If your dog is anything like mine, he/she appreciates that you’re willing to take him/her outside without wasting time putting on clothes and a bra. My dog gets extra whiny because I insist on getting dressed before I take him out.)

    5. Lepidoptera*

      The actual number doesn’t matter. You will always be old to people 10+ years younger than you, and young to people 10+ years older than you. I’ve been called “old” and “a kid” in the same day.

    6. OyHiOh*

      About the same age as you

      I got called a Baby Boomer last night.

      Words cannot fully express how amusing I find this.

      On line discussion in a setting where I have virtually know public profile info visible and am not friends with the person who was trying to calm me down. Statement came out something like “we boomers have to listen to the younger generation because one day they’ll be making decisions for us.”

      Words alone also cannot fully express how badly I wanted to conclude my response to her with KTHX

      I think this might be an advantage. If you read “old,” then maybe “old” people will be more prepared to listen to you and pay attention. That could be a useful ability.

      1. Arjay*

        I just turned 50 and someone called me a Yuppie the other day! People are so weird!

    7. MatKnifeNinja*

      The bougie neighborhood across the street from my place would have called the non emergency police number on you, thinking you had dementia.

      To a early 20 something, you are a dinosaur.

  52. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

    Cat drama in the casa..

    This neighborhood went from calm kitty town to seemingly stuffed full of random cats overnight – and thats before taking the foxes into account. A new kitty moved in two doors down and hangs out his back window to stare at our kitties in our yard and then another one has twice today jumped on the high brick fence and stared down at ours out in the yard. Twice this week I watched another kitty chase off the calico who lives across the way from his doorstep, and then out popped another blackie from somewhere at the same time! There’s got to be about 15 cats in a one block radius I swear. This is the UK too where everyone is allowed out and no one has a collar, except ours, who can hang in their yard and can’t get out.

    Only this now makes everyone in this house unhappy, stressed, and now we have Box Problems. Boy has been spraying (at least in their bathroom so its contained) and girl kitty was also apparently spraying last week too as I had a quick check because it sounded a little too watery when I heard her go in to the room. And then when changing the sheets this morning I noticed that someone has done the unthinkable and peed in the middle of the bed! Neither of them want to play with their toys or string or da bird either lately.

    We’ve both been working really long hours the last few weeks and were away for 10 days about a month ago and while I chase away the intruder when I see him, I can imagine he comes by during the day when we aren’t home and toodles on through the yard.. which our cats can see from the window in their bedroom. Is this all just too much stress for them and we need to get some Feliway plugins? Should we shut the blinds on the windows overlooking the yard when we are away? (they still have other windows that give a nice view of ducks and joggers). Or are they just lonely too?

    They do have a really large litter box made out of an Ikea underbed storage box, and I change out the litter as needed. We snuggle with them at night but in order to get some sleep we do shut the bedroom door (some nights) which isn’t popular. Some nights when we get in late we may only get a chance to spend a few hours with them. The weather hasn’t been great either for them to get yard time.

    Help!

    1. Brilliant Mistake*

      It’s my understanding from watching Jackson Galaxy that your cats are likely spraying to mark and protect their property from all the cats they see outside. If there’s a way to have a water spray that’s motion triggered outside, and/or block your kitties’s view of the other cats (not ideal, I know), it might help them feel less stressed.

      I didn’t pay a lot of attention when Galaxy addressed this issue, as it’s not one I’ve experienced, but his steps were successful. Hopefully, someone on here who has some experience can chime in.

    2. Nicki Name*

      Any chance of starting a fashion for catios in your neighborhood? They’re enclosed spaces where a cat can get a taste of the outdoors but not come into conflict with strange cats.

      Resources and benefits for convincing your neighbors here: https://www.catssafeathome.org/catio

    3. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

      Really common. I’d try the Feliway and yes, close the curtains/blinds. See if that helps. The vet may have more suggestions. Use enzymetic cleaners and hopefully it’ll end soon.

    4. Marzipan*

      Is there any possibility any of the other cats are coming in? If so I highly recommend getting a microchip catflap – they’re expensive but great.
      I seem to recall that the recommendation is to have one more litter tray than you have cats, so you may also want to up things on that front.

  53. My boss is an idiot*

    I’m one of those people who recently discovered The Office on Netflix and binge-watched it and loved it! In some ways, it was a nice trip down memory lane because they make a lot of references to pop culture from the early-mid 2000’s that I forgot about. I also appreciated the parody of office culture as I now work in an office job. The only part about the show I feel didn’t age well is how they depict work sexual harassment. This show is def not unique in this regard, but if this show were shot post-Weinstein, many of their jokes would NOT have gone down well. Basically, they treat harassment more as a joke, and the harassers as harmless idiots rather than downright jerks. (Fun fact, my office uses the image of Tony putting his hand on Pam’s leg on our sexual harassment training documents, but it definitely wasn’t treated as such in the show!)

    But otherwise, I do like how the characters were written.

    1. LibbyG*

      I had the same reaction a couple years ago when I watched it start to finish, especially because Michael is the worst offender in the early seasons, but then Pam seemingly forgets about it an becomes a close friend to him. I also got cringey over the jokes about Meredith (as amazing as Kate Flannery was). But, holy smokes, so much of the humor in that show is just brilliant.

  54. FD*

    Here’s one–favorite YouTube edutainment channels!

    What I like to watch:
    – Extra Credits (history and literature)
    – DefunctLand (amusement park rides)
    – Overly Sarcastic Productions (history, literature, and mythology)
    – Lindsey Ellis (film analysis)
    – Name Explain (linguistics)
    – Artefaxian (worldbuilding and linguistics)
    – Bibliridion (linguistics and conlanging)
    – Geography Now (geography)

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      The only actual channels I’ve followed are Swedish Homestead , and horse trainer Mia Lykke Nielsen.
      That said…if you have a chance to, look up bricklaying videos that show vault construction and twisted columns. It’s incredible to watch come together.

    2. OyHiOh*

      – Penn Museum (lectures on a wide range of topics related to Penn exhibits)
      – Oriental Institute (lectures, more narrowly focused on the middle east)
      – Wes Cecil (philosophy, language, culture)
      – Dr Marc Reynolds (vocal coaching and performance; yeah, random, LOL)

      – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (ethics, religious studies, just a wonderful human mind)
      – Dr Henry Abramson (Jewish history)

    3. Pam*

      My sister loves one where people go around Disneyland trying all the food.

      Lately, we’ve been using the Relax My Dog channel. With both of us on medical leave, and nurses coming and going, the two terriers have been stressed.

  55. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    So this is an awkward post to write, but with my anxiety the way it is, I am likely going to end up doing an intensive outpatient program soon. I have to go in for an assessment before that as well. I am not moving forward in my career nor the kind of partner I would like to be right now due to my problems.

    I know I need to do something for it, but I feel very anxious now about THAT, and also I feel guilty about possible costs, making less money while being treated, and making my wife worry about me. I feel like a big fat costly burden.

    I’m also slightly worried that where I go won’t be LGBT friendly (won’t use they/them with me or will allow people to say mean or rude things), or that a trauma I have from an assault might be minimized in the age of #metoo because it was by another girl rather than a dude and only happened once. There seems to be this idea that only men and boys can predate.

    I don’t know where i’m going with this post, maybe just send some good vibes.

    1. Lemonwhirl*

      Good vibes sent.

      Anxiety sucks. I am glad you have been able to recognise it as a problem and have been looking for help with it. Please know that you are definitely worth help.

    2. edj3*

      Hey–I rarely comment but feel like it’s super important for you to know that you are not alone in having been assaulted by another woman (I’m female).

      I 100% believe you.

    3. Pnut*

      If you don’t get treatment, it could be more costly and “burdensome” down the road. Good for you for taking care of yourself so that your — and your spouse’s — future is brighter.

    4. Lilysparrow*

      Is there any way you can bring up these concerns about the way you will be treated before you start? I know it can be hard to talk about before you have established trust, but it’s so relevant to the treatment being helpful.

      It’s certainly not going to benefit your anxiety if you feel attacked, dismissed, or re-traumatised in the treatment environment.

      They’re very valid questions, basically about the program’s qualifications and ability to help you.

      Wishing you the best.

      1. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

        Thanks, my current counselor has asked them some questions about how LGBT friendly they are- basically that they’ll call me what I want (as far as staff are concerned), and they work with all kinds of people. Didn’t hear further than that though, but the program did get good reviews from a queer friend who attended.

        Maybe the other issue is just me projecting. I hope it is taken just as seriously as if it had been a man. I’ve scheduled an assessment for the 23rd and seeing about getting in earlier.

    5. Observer*

      If the program you’re dealing with is any good, they will not minimize your trauma, nor will they allow others to say rude things. Those are just not things that any *competent* mental health care provider does.

      I’m being logical and rational here, and part of your problem is that your anxiety is not rational and logical. But, please do have the rational part of yourself keep reminding your anxious self that, actually this is going to be ok.

  56. HannahS*

    Gardening! Tell me what you’re up to. My little balcony garden has gone from “Maybe two plants and an herb garden” to “How about thirteen 10-inch pots with bamboo stakes” because I was anxious that nothing would grow…and I’m going to have to give away a lot of the plants during peak eating season (tomatoes and green beans) because I’m going out of town for two months for school and driving five hours with indeterminate tomato plants isn’t going to work. But I’m enjoying it so much! I’ve spent WAY more than I intended–let’s say, about $50 Canadian on the pots, two bags of dirt, seeds, some seedlings, and fertilizer–but I crushed my inner frugal voice by telling her that I could go out for dinner twice and easily spend that much.

    Also, how can I keep plants with stakes from falling over on a windy balcony? I’m a little worried that as the plants get taller they’ll fall.

    1. HeyNonny*

      If your space allows, clump the pots together so they shield each other a little from the wind and help keep each other from tipping over. Also, extra stakes, and tomatoes can be pinched back or pruned to be shorter. I’ve never grown green beans (don’t like them), but I think they are pretty sturdy.

      1. HannahS*

        That’s a good idea! I clustered a bunch into the eastern corner this morning, which I think will actually shield them from the wind better.

    2. Bluewall*

      Can you tie the stakes to the balcony?

      I’m also doing container gardening; tomatoes and herbs. I have squirrels digging holes in the soil in every container; have to figure out what to do about that…

      1. fposte*

        It might be a challenge if you’re doing plants rather than by seed, but I covered the tops of my containers with chicken wire (tied around the rim with twine). It worked reasonably well. There’s a kind of anemone bulb that is apparently the stuff of squirrel legend, because they would just wreck themselves trying to get to those while pawing half-heartedly at everything else.

        1. Bluewall*

          I’m going to try the chicken wire, I think. Have to get wire cutters too, and figure out the tomato cage situation. Gardening is always more exciting than one would think!

      2. HannahS*

        I thought of it! I might, but I’ll have to double check that it’s allowed by the building. I actually considered staking the plants directly to the railings, which would only work if I wasn’t planning on giving them away.

      3. HannahS*

        Wait, wow, the squirrels come for your containers?! Goodness, that’s some determination.

        1. Bluewall*

          It’s so odd! I put a note up on the neighborhood listserv to see how others are dealing.

    3. SAHM*

      Lol, there was a plant sale by the local gardening club today and I bought 49 plants. 5 sweet William, two snap dragons, a basil, 7(8?) poofy blue and white little bushes I can’t remember the name of right now, and the rest were various types of chrysanthemums. I spent a good couple hours pulling weeds and planting some of those things, but had to come in when baby woke up. I’m actually quite happy with my haul, I’m kinda wishing I’d bought some more plants since everything was 2-3$ each, and I barely looked at the tomatoes and various veggies. But. I still have a good 10 ft section to weed in my backyard and a good 15 ft section to weed in my side yard, where I put the veggies, so …. yup. Hopefully I can ditch my kids for a few on mother’s day tomorrow to weed and plant stuff.

      1. HannahS*

        Oh my! Good luck with your weeding. I wish I had more space, but I’m grateful that a container garden does not require weeding.

  57. Embarrassed strawberry without seeds*

    This is a super painful topic for me and could be for others, so I’m just putting this in the first line: Mother’s Day

    Mother’s day is tomorrow and a question that comes up every year lately..

    There’s a pic shared on the internet for the last few years now that says Happy Mother’s day to everyone who has children, struggles with infertility/want to be a mother, mother figures/stepmoms/aunts/grandmoms etc.

    It also includes those who DON’T want to be mothers in any way shape or form.

    I am curious as to why it’s a thing to wish “Happy Mothers’ day” to someone who actively does not want to have children? Please don’t get me wrong–I’m not questioning the choice itself but including those won’t don’t want to be mothers.

    Again this is a painful day for me so I will be off social media, so just wanted to ask in relative anonymity.

    1. fposte*

      There are one or two more detailed threads upstream about Mother’s Day issues. I think mostly what you’re seeing is massive mission creep in a culture where it’s increasingly viewed as a hostile act to leave somebody out. I haven’t seen that particular version of it, but I imagine it’s just part of that expansion.

      1. Embarrassed strawberry without seeds*

        I think so too. I will read those threads. I am all for inclusion but it just seems silly to include someone who doesn’t want to be included?

        On another note, I was looking for a card for a new stepmother (not mine but a family member) and could NOT FIND ONE. Instead I found cards from pets etc. as cute as I think that is it was kinda weird.

        1. Clisby*

          I always look for blank cards, and buy extras if I find some I like. I really don’t like canned card messages.

      2. Steve*

        I’m more cynical – I think they phrase it completely inclusively so that they can be pushy with their share of the statement. I can’t imagine that anyone who doesn’t want kids would ever want to be included in such a statement (all the ones I know do their best to avoid being considered mothers). So my suspicion is that this is a company which is trying to advertise to everyone, or if it is just a pic without purpose then I’m still suspicious that it’s shared by people who are overly invested in motherhood who want to remind everyone about the topic.

    2. Ali G*

      That’s ridiculous. Why would I, a woman who doesn’t have/doesn’t desire kids need to be wished a Happy Mother’s Day?
      Please ignore this. It’s not something you should bother yourself with.

      1. Embarrassed strawberry without seeds*

        I think it is silly too.

        Personally I want to have children. So I appreciate the inclusion.

        But it’s just so weird. I’m pretty sure someone who doesn’t want kids doesn’t want to be wished so..? Idk.

    3. dear liza dear liza*

      The image that I’ve seen is entitled “Thinking of You” and then lists all the categories. With that perspective, I view it as, Let’s use this day to reflect on what motherhood means in our society, how the role of mother can be played by many people, how the idea of “mother” is put on a pedestal and how women who cannot or choose not to have children are seen as less-than. It asks us to consider how much more complicated the idea of “mother” is than an overly simplified, overly commercialized, day of celebration of the person who gave birth to others.

      1. londonedit*

        I really dislike that image. OK, it’s thoughtful to acknowledge that there are people who find Mother’s Day difficult. That’s fair enough. But I’m childfree by choice and I don’t need to be pitied and included in an image entitled ‘Thinking of You’ on Mother’s Day. I very much do not want to be a mother, and that doesn’t make me a figure to be pitied!

        1. Dear liza dear liza*

          I’m also happily child-free. At least in my newsfeeds, the people sharing it are really trying to prompt reflection on why this is a holiday, not to make anyone feel pitied. But of course, intention does not equal effect.

      2. Jessen*

        Ironically a lot of the efforts to be inclusive that I’ve seen almost make it worse. Like they’re trying to make all women “honorary mothers” or something. I don’t see people doing the same thing to men.

    4. Lissa*

      I doubt there was that much thought put into it – just trying excessively hard not to offend anyone. I don’t want kids and have no problem not being included in a MOTHER’s day, lol. I also don’t want to call pets furkids because I don’t want to be a parent to anyyyything! (just how I see it, I don’t care if others call their pets, plants or cell phone their kids, makes no difference to me!)

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, I think some people/meme creators/companies really haven’t accepted that it’s okay for something not to be for everybody. You don’t have to think of me on Mother’s Day. It’s not a reflective day for me; it’s just a perfectly contented Sunday where I need to remember not to go out for brunch because of the crowds.

    5. Courageous cat*

      Yeah, this is dumb af. I don’t want kids and have no desire to be wished a happy mother’s day. I don’t get this push to include eeeveryone in eeeeeverything.

  58. Sunflower*

    Has anyone here tried CoolSculpting or any other sort of non-lipo fat removal treatment? I’m 30 and have been looking into lipo for my thighs and maybe tummy. I’m in generally good shape and like my figure but would like to trim an inch or two off my thighs. Some of the photos of lipo I’ve seen are truly amazing and I’m shocked at how much they were able to take off. I don’t think i need that much so I thought something non-invasive would be safer and a little cheaper. However, I’d be upset to try it, have it not work, and then kick myself for not just spending a little more. I’ve been on RealSelf a lot and checking reviews that mostly say it’s a 50/50 shot on results.

    1. PlatypusOo*

      I had it done with no results :/ but the main thing I wanted to mention is that it’s very painful. The place I had it at did not mention this in advance. I would for sure not have this done the week before your period and I’d take a couple of Advil’s preemptively.

    2. Anonny*

      I had liposuction done on my chin, but I had looked into CoolSculpting. The low success rate, the lack of long-term studies (because it’s so new), and the risk of paradoxical adipose hyperplasia all convinced me to go with liposuction instead.

      1. Kuododi*

        From what I have gathered reading up on the procedure, it’s appears to be used frequently by celebrities who need that last little “Oomph” to be able to fit the red carpet dresses. Obviously that gets them through the evening and not long after the event the weight creeps back. Hey, if a person can afford to pay for it and understands the problems with outcome….more power to them.

  59. Ellie*

    Vacation suggestions, please. Specifically, vacations that aren’t cruises that take VERY LITTLE PLANNING. (I enjoy cruises- I’m just wanting to think of other things.). I desperately need a vacation for my sanity, but the thought of researching and planning and preparing is too much. I just need to put items in a suitcase and board the boat/plane/train. I’m in the southeast Texas area/Houston. I really have no other thoughts beyond “must get out of here” and “don’t want to plan.”

    1. fposte*

      Do you have any taste preferences–cities, countryside, national, international, hot sunny beach, cool forests? Would a package tour, which would take a lot of the planning off of your shoulders, be okay? Do you like resorts? How flexible is the budget and the timeframe?

      1. Ellie*

        I like archeology – a lot – so historic stuff is awesome. Package deals are ok, and I have no real constraints. Ok, money is an object, I have to be careful, but I’m willing to save to do something more awesome.

        1. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

          Not too expensive off the top of my head –

          DC do the Smithsonian properly and a side trip either to Charlottesville or Jamestown.

          Boston do the historic stuff.

          You’d have to book hotels etc but both of these are pretty straightforward.

    2. Sunflower*

      If you’re looking to relax, I’d suggest heading to the Caribbean and sitting your butt on the beach at an all inclusive. You can also reach out to a travel agent- I think a lot of them take commission from the hotels and don’t charge you.

    3. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      Do you want someone else to have planned things for you to do after you’ve gotten there? Or do you want a low-key “hang out in your room and maybe go for a walk” experience after you get there instead?

      I quite like going to SF conventions for “lots of planned activities available, none of which I am required to do” weekend trips. I find the experience to be somewhat like college – everyone is around hanging out and available to do fun stuff, lots of activities available, lectures and discussions on interesting topics – without the stress of homework assignments and grades. However, that relies on you being someone who likes SF and wants to to be around a ton of other people doing stuff for a vacation.

      For “relax and unwind” vacations, I like to rent a condominium or other place with a kitchen in a beach town or other tourist spot within walking distance of low-key attractions like the beach or some arcades. I can then mostly hang out in my own place and not have to go out for meals, but if I feel like going someplace I can just start walking until I find a beach, bar, or bumper cars depending on what seems like a good idea at the time. If it’s a “relax and unwind” trip I try not to go any place very far away or with “must see” attractions, so I won’t feel like I missed out on the point of the trip if I didn’t get to a certain theme park/museum/landmark/etc. because staying in the room and reading a book sounded more appealing that day. (Having a regular town you go to is helpful for this.)

      If you’re really feeling “done” and just don’t want to do anything in particular on your vacation, a struggling little town in the middle of nowhere that is “trying to attract tourists” but doesn’t have any unique attractions to do that with can be a great fit. Nothing is crowded, the hotel rooms are cheap, and they probably have walking trails with signs about the local history as a well as a museum they made with stuff out of everyone’s attics. On the west coast, I’ve found that the hotel chain to stay in in these smaller towns is Best Western.

    4. HannahS*

      Boston! Find somewhere to sleep, and then spend the days walking around the Freedom Trail (literally embedded in the ground; no map required) and popping in to the sights along the way.
      Chicago’s great for that, too. Walk in Lincoln Park, Millenial Park, and spend the rest of the time in the museums. Nothing too complicated.
      Or, book a couple of days at all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean or Mexico. That’s very relaxing, I hear.

    5. Ali G*

      All inclusive? Do you like tropical?
      When my husband I first got engaged we had BIG PLANS for our honeymoon. Then I started wedding planning. We ended up at an all-inclusive, adults only resort in Jamaica. I swear we barely talked or moved from the beach for the first 2 days. The good thing is you can plan your extras when you are there, and so you can just book and go, and then plan all the side trips later. It was great for us.

    6. MissDisplaced*

      Like an all-inclusive resort like Beaches or Sandals? Just pick one and go!

    7. Not A Manager*

      I’ve had lots of fun at all-inclusive dude ranches. There are lots of activities besides horseback riding, and the walk rides are super safe for beginners and very pretty. The one I’ve been to includes everything except liquor, and the food is pretty good. If you want the name, lmk and I’ll post it.

      Some people like spas. I don’t, especially, because I think they are overpriced and boring, but if you like an endless buffet of fitness classes, yoga, mindfulness, walks etc. they can be fun. The private treatments and consultations are add-ons, but the open classes and activities are included.

      I’ve never been to a Club Med kind of thing, but some friends of mine just came back from one and they liked it.

      You could also pick a place that you’ve always wanted to go to, like Santa Fe or New Orleans, and figure that you’ll find activities once you get there.

        1. Not A Manager*

          Check out Tanque Verde ranch outside of Tucson. It’s family-owned (I think they’re 3rd gen at this point) and they’ve had basically the same model forever, although they’ve added some new amenities over time. They can be pricy at high season, but at the shoulder seasons they offer 4-for-3 discounts, etc. Also if you call and make your reservation in person and ask about specials, etc. sometimes they will sweeten the pot.

          The food is quite good. The basic rooms are basic, but if you get the slightly nicer ones they have little patios and nice views. There are two or three group rides every day, with both a “walk” option (open to everyone) and a “lope” option that you need to test into. The walk rides are much prettier than the lope rides, which are basically just in a dry arroyo. They have several pools, nature walks, bike rides, fishing gear, art encounters, etc. All of that stuff is included. Spa treatments, private rides, and the like are not.

          My favorites are the old chestnut type of activities. Twice a week there’s a cookout in the cottonwood grove, with live music. Twice a week there’s a “breakfast ride” that ends at the “old homestead” and they griddle up pancakes. It’s all corny, but super fun.

    8. Dan*

      Your request is way more open ended than you think :D

      I’ve traveled to 30 countries on six continents. When I go, I’m usually gone for a month at time. For trips of that length, there are limits to how much planning can be done and still keep one’s sanity. Usually, planning on focuses on where/how-long and I leave the day-to-day activity planning to the day-of, or night before if I’m feeling ambitious.

      Pick a place on a map. Book a hotel room from Tripadvisor, pick something on the first page (there’s 30 hotels usually) that fits your budget. Buy a plane ticket. Pack your bags. Go.

      I’m totally not being a smart ass with that advice. Whilst my destinations are generally selected from “places I haven’t been” that’s about the extent of it. Destinations are further selected based on how close to one another they are and how easy it is to get from point A to point B.

      Along those lines, I’m going to Europe for two weeks, leaving in two weeks. I have my hotels, flights and train tickets booked. Everything else? Who knows, I’ll figure it out later.

      1. Ellie*

        Oh, I know my query is super open ended – I am so ——— that I can’t even craft a detailed question!! (The ——— is where adjectives would go of I had enough spark to come up with them. I’m that burned out. That’s why I can’t even think of planning, much less do it! )

        1. Dan*

          You wanna know the truth? Just picking somewhere and going is probably a hell of a lot more fun than trying to make sure everything is “just perfect”.

          If you try to make everything perfect and you’ve never been somewhere before and you’re not working with some experts (professional travel agents or people who otherwise know what they’re doing) you run a very high risk of overplanning, screwing stuff up, and burning yourself out. If you just go somewhere and wing it, it’s hard to have that perception of a perfect vacation and subsequently have it ruined.

          To date, I’d say the one place I’ve been where you should actually plan ahead is a safari in South Africa. Do not show up at the airport and think you’ll figure it out when you get there.

          That aside, pick a beach, pick a city, pick somewhere with an airport that you can get there and say screw it all, you’re having fun, and you probably will. BTW, Barcelona is a good combination of beach and city.

          I planned a trip from the US to Argentina with four days notice. I mean it, too. I went from “I need a vacation” to “I’m getting on an airplane” all in four days. Totally winged it, totally don’t regret it. I needed to go somewhere where I didn’t need an actual visa arranged ahead of time, and it hadn’t even been on my “I’ve always wanted to go to X…”

    9. Teapot Translator*

      What about an all-inclusive in Mexico? You could take excursions if you want to see archaeological sites, but if all you want is to sit down and nap/read, the Caribbeans and Mexico seem like good options.

    10. Cedrus Libani*

      Amtrak? Get a sleeper cabin. You sit in your internet-free cubicle, watch the scenery go by, and just exist. People feed you periodically (cafeteria food, but still). It’s a top-notch introvert vacation.

      The first time I did this, I had just finished my PhD, and was similarly in need of an instant vacation that involved no planning. I booked a ticket on the next train to Denver. (Why Denver? Mountains are pretty, and there’s a big airport there, so it would be easy to get home.) I read Harry Potter books 1-5 on the way, then got a massage, then dyed my hair neon pink. 10/10 would recommend. Since then, I’ve done another long-haul from Kansas City to Albuquerque, touristing for a day on both ends of the trip.

    11. naha*

      if you’re into a relaxing vacation, hit up an all-inclusive. I recommend Excellence Resorts Riviera Cancun. I did nothing for six days other than wake up, breakfast room service, sit at pool all day and read while I was brought margartias.

    12. Ethpanya*

      Just went to Madrid. Spent every day walking around the city, eating whenever I felt like it, drinking whenever I felt like it, oh let’s go to this nice museum, oh there’s a nice park here, oh that place offers free tours, hey this company also does bus tours to neighboring areas, oh they’re offering a wine tasting–don’t need to plan anything but the flight and hotel!

  60. Lepidoptera*

    This is the second weekend in a row that my husband and I have torn apart the garage because it smells like something died in there. When this happened in the past, we found a songbird that must have been hiding when we closed the doors for the night. This time, we can’t find anything.

    I’m 50% sure that the smell is a the ground-up bits of a certain weed that grows in our lawn. The smell peaks right after he cuts the grass, then fades away in a couple of days. So now I have to wait for a fresh cut and stick my face right up to the blades to make certain, since hubby’s allergies mean he can’t smell for shit.

    This is the most boring CSI episode ever.

    1. fposte*

      Could be a weed, could be he runs over mice or voles. Gotta say, with departed mice or voles I’d usually just wait the smell out–it doesn’t last long.

    2. Troutwaxer*

      We had horrible smells in our garage for a couple years and didn’t know why. (We used the garage mainly for storage.) When we were moving we discovered that a skunk had died in the garage!

    3. Ginger Sheep*

      No advice, but just to say I laughed out loud at your “most boring CSI episode” comment!

  61. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

    Do you find that you have inadvertently collected a lot of a particular kind of trivial item, and then found it weirdly difficult to get rid of the excess?

    I have been reorganizing the kitchen cabinets and found that I have a ludicrous number of reusable canvas shopping bags. But I find it weirdly hard to decide which ones to get rid of!

    1. HeyNonny*

      I have way too many of those free cosmetic bags that department store give out when you buy makeup. I use a bunch of them for stuff, but they have been accumulating for decades.

      1. Lepidoptera*

        I have a use for those! I collect those bags and product samples all year (Sephora addict). When my work does a Christmas “angel tree” I always choose a young teen girl who asks for makeup, and include the cosmetics bag full of samples as part of her gift (I also give her full-size products).

        1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

          LOL. I took my extra coffee mugs (Chicago, 1989…) into the office, where things disappear from the cupboards onto desks (or who knows where) never to be seen again. Considered it a donation to the office, of sorts. They went green and quit stocking paper cups… which means guests have to go out and buy coffee… and for water, buy bottled water (which is in plastic bottles!).

    2. fposte*

      Can you approach it the other way and decide which ones you want to keep?

      There are places in my area that will take stuff like that for fabric recycling, which is nice.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I share your problem. Marie Kondo left me cold — it’s a tool, you need tools, it’s not a joy kind of thing!
      But I’m making some progress with Dana K. White – “Decluttering at the Speed of Life”. I combine that with BuyNothing and Freecycle because someone comes to me to get what I’m getting rid of, I don’t have to remember to drop it off at a donation station.

      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        I might look into this. I find that the spark joy thing just doesn’t work with my depressed brain. And the weird indecisiveness.

        I know I can donate extra bags to the local food bank. It’s just deciding which ones to get rid of that ties me up in weird psychological knots.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Her basic concepts are to do the high-visibility decluttering first (to encourage yourself because you can see ptogress) and to acknowledge the size of your containers (and even your home is a container). So when you go to put away X, how many X can fit? If there’s room for 12 mugs on the shelf, keep your favorite 12 and donate the rest without second guessing yourself later.
          Website is a slob comes clean dot com (no spaces).

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Oh and because you asked…I have four rocking chairs, and I know I need to put the delicate onto FB Marketplace!

    4. Elizabeth West*

      LUGGAGE.
      I love luggage. I don’t know why; I never go anywhere. Finally got rid of some of it. But I still have a small roller, a medium roller, a big roller, a zipper tote, two backpacks, and the Zuca roller bag my skates are in. I need the backpacks; one of them is my go-to carry-on because it always fits under any seat, and the other is about to become a bug-out bag.

      I keep feeling like I’m forgetting one. Or two…lol.

    5. Earthwalker*

      I find it easier to figure out what I need – like six bags – and decide which six to set aside before throwing them all out. It’s just a mind trick, I suppose, but it’s easier to choose my X number of most-favorites from a whole pile of excess somethings I’ve decided to get rid of than it is to decide which ones I don’t want, particularly when I like them all. I second donation, too. It’s easier to let things go knowing that a charity will profit and someone else will love the nice things I don’t keep.

    1. Ardatli*

      (Changing nicknames — I’m a semi-regular commenter here under a different name, but I prefer not to cross the streams between fandom and RL)

      I’m definitely a fanfiction reader, though I tend to stick to AO3 — I had a looooooong list of Steve/Bucky and Steve/Bucky/Sam bookmarks after Winter Soldier. :D Congrats on the longfic and the sequel! It takes so much work and dedication to keep going on passion projects like these.

      I’d love to see links to what folks are working on, and what they’re reading fic-wise! I’ve planted myself rather firmly in Young Avengers, with a lot of Alternate Universe settings because I loathe keeping track of What Marvel Has Retconned Now in 616.

      This is me: https://archiveofourown.org/users/Ardatli/works

      My current project is a Roswell crash remix (What if Hulkling was the Roswell Alien), and I’ve got my third Young Avengers / Pacific Rim mashup in the nascent stages.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Could you give me an age rating on those? Movie ratings would be easiest. There’s a young Marvel fan in my life whose excursion into fan fiction turned up stories that were R-rated at least. The school system put that site on the banned list…

      1. Ardatli*

        Most of mine are R-rated at minimum, but I’ve got a couple of Pokemon Go-related Young Avengers fics in the list I linked that are G-rated — specifically so that I could let my own kids read them.

        If you use Archive of Our Own, then you can set a filter for a General rating which should be predominantly non-sexual and non-graphic. (You’ll still want to screen first, mind you, since the ratings are applied by the author and can be misused.)

  62. Aurora Leigh*

    You guys, you guys!!

    I’m engaged!!

    It was thanks to this forum, especially Not So New Reader and fposte, that I got up the courage to try internet dating almost 3 years ago. So thank you all!

  63. Virginia Plain*

    This is kind of a life 101 question, but I need some advice.

    I’m helping my mom arrange some repairs/maintenance work for her house (well, I’m doing it all… because she doesn’t care, but that’s neither here nor there). Right now I’m working on getting quotes to repair some cracks in her stucco/parging and re-shaping some of her shrubs (I’ll probably just pay for this one myself, because I love the damn shrubs more than I should). Anyway, I have no idea how to go about doing anything like this. My father passed away a few years ago and was into DIY and did almost everything around the house in terms of repairs/renovations, for better or for worse. I think his limits were roofing and installing the furnace. So, I’m really not sure what the process is like for calling these businesses for this repair work. I’ve sent some emails off for quotes, and I’ve recieved a few back. One for the shrubs seems quite reasonable to me. One of the places I’ve contacted for the crack/parging repair has replied and asked for more photos of a tricky area, which is fine. He’s been polite in all of them. Another guy just emailed me back and asked me to call him, ughhh. This is what I’ve been worried about, I am oddly afraid of talking to these guys on the phone. I don’t know what to say, how to arrange work on a home. What on earth am I supposed to say via the phone about this? I feel like I prefer email because I don’t fell as pressured by people. Gah. Are there any questions I need to ask over the phone? I feel… confused. Again, I’m sure this is life skills 101 but what can I say? My father was an engineer who didn’t let anyone else touch our house!

    1. Madge*

      These contractors are likely pros who have been doing this for a while, so they’ll probably lead you through the process. A good contractor understands that they’ve been through the first steps hundreds more times than you have and they’ve dealt with all sorts. Your awkwardness will be nothing and probably not even noticed. And you don’t have to be clever; direct and to the point works just fine. If they’re a furnace repair person, then that’s probably what you’re calling them about, and yet saying you have a problem with your furnace is your best intro. They’ll likely take the lead from there. The emails you’ve exchanged with the tree trimmer might be a good start for a script with any contractor. Ask how long they’ve been in business. Are they certified (if that’s required). Can they provide a couple references? (names and numbers are better than pre-written ones) What is their hourly rate? Do they have a base service fee? Small jobs don’t need money up front but bigger ones might. (Never pay the last bit until the job is done to your satisfaction.) How far out are they scheduling? In many cases you’ll want to schedule a time for them to come out and give you an estimate.

      Doing this by phone is better than email because you can learn things. You’ll likely learn how professional they are. If they’re a man and you’re a woman you’ll learn how they treat a woman customer and whether you’d feel safe being around them or leaving your mother around them. You could also learn that the reason they can’t come out Tuesday is because they have to drive to the airport to pick up their nephew who’s visiting from Florida. Some people like to share.

      Also, the internet being what it is, I’d be willing to bet there are scripts and articles out there for how to do this. Check places like Angie’s List or just google for how to get bids from a contractor. Good for you for taking this on. Your first call is probably going to be awkward but it will get easier after that.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Here is something that worked for me.

      I decided to call other women who were successfully managing their own properties AND living on their own. I asked them who they went to for help with specific things. They shortened my learning curve a lot.

      If you can find a local handyperson you have found pure gold. Many of these handymen can do a variety of tasks and are cheaper than hiring a contracting firm. Some joke about being a rent-a-husband and there is some truth to that. In my area, you can hire this generalist for about $50 per hour. Don’t get discouraged here, a regular contractor is $100 per hour in my area, if they have time to come do the job.

      My friend who helps me here does most things except high roofs and furnaces. His main thing is carpentry work. But I think the work actually interests him. He seems to light up when I have a real puzzling thing going on with the house.

      He hangs out with other guys who are doing the same type of work so these guys become his resource when he is not sure how to proceed. They all help each other even though they are not in business together.

      Because we are pretty rural and spread out, these folks have a lot of travel costs. So when I hire someone I plan that it will be some where over $200 and it usually is. However, good repair people will try to toss in something extra for their customer such as making a minor repair at no cost or not charge the customer for the dozen screws they used. (Have you seen the price on screws? wth.)

      In general, a good start is to ask friends and neighbors for referrals.

      I’d make an appointment for the person to come to the house and look at the work. And talk about how much it would cost. There is something about looking at the work that helps conversation along and their estimates seem to be more accurate.
      Each contractor will do things slightly differently, each one has something unique about them. But they should give you an over all idea of their process.

      Once you find someone you like to do the shrubs, you can just keep hiring them back each year. You will not be perpetually looking for contractors.

    3. Clisby*

      This might not apply in your case, but is there an active FB neighborhood group where she lives? That is my go-to place to find people for house repairs, yard work, etc.

  64. Baconeggandcheeseplz*

    Running thread!

    I have 2 weeks til my 10 mi race and we did 7 mi today. It was kinda hard but I’m hoping adrenaline will help me with the last 3 mi. Now that there are only two weeks I think I should be tapering, but I’m not really sure what looks like in terms of my final sessions.

    How’s everyone else’s running going?

    1. coffee cup*

      I think adrenaline definitely helps. It pushed me to the end of my 10k last year when there was a surprise!hill just before the 10th k. Uggh. Did not enjoy.

      I ran my fastest 5k on Thursday evening (still not actually fast, but fast for me!), which was nice, although I really did push it quite a lot. Got a 5k race in 2 weeks with a few friends, so that should be fun.

      1. Bulbasaur*

        I used to do an annual 10k that featured a 100m climb in the last kilometer, which is a heck of a thing to encounter when you’ve been pushing yourself for 9k and aren’t sure how much you have left in the tank. Most of it was a switchback path with steps at the corners and at various points along the way.

        It was actually pretty funny in practice at my level (~60 minute finishers) because we would end up ascending in a mini-convoy of walkers, with frequent lead changes as one or the other of us mustered enough energy to run a few steps on the flatter parts. I think there may have been some who ran all the way up, but it would have been a very small number – I think I was something like 20th finisher out of 100 despite the walking.

    2. Jayess*

      100km fun run 3 weeks back was very fun! Recovered 2 weeks and meant to have this week be a peak week in prep for 50km race two weeks from now, but got hit with a nasty cold going around and have been sick POS for the last 5 days. I guess I’ll just be extra rested and tapered for the 50km? *coughs out lungs*

      It’s silly, I just ran 100km but being sick during what should be my peak week has me all stressed out about running half the distance. It’s like you think you’ll forget. Racing is very different than fun-running, though. I’ll have to try very hard not to have a taper tantrum too close to race day.

      1. Baconeggandcheeseplz*

        100km as in 62 mi!?!?!! as a fun run?! I can’t even comprehend that, but I’m sure you’ll be great in your race! Good luck!

      2. londonedit*

        Good luck!!! Enjoy the taper!

        I paced 65 minutes yesterday at a 10k race organised by my running club. It was great fun! I’m always nervous about pacing but it’s amazing to help people achieve their goals, and we were so consistent with our timings! It was a slightly challenging course with some trails and a couple of hills, but everyone in our pace group stuck together and they did amazingly well.

        I’m giving myself a rest day today – might go for a run tomorrow instead. Next weekend I have a big crazy running event that involves running both Saturday and Sunday – 11 miles the first day and 8.5 the second – which is going to be a bit of a challenge and I haven’t done enough training, but it’s a brilliantly fun event and I’m really looking forward to it!

    3. LGC*

      Good luck! Don’t be nervous – you’re right in that adrenaline will carry you through (…somewhat), but especially as you go longer distances, the additional miles…kind of matter less. 10 is more than 7 (if that was your longest), but it’s not the difference between a 5k and a 10k. (Same additional distance, but obviously a 10k is twice as long!)

      For tapering, you generally want to keep up intensity but lower volume. So, you’re probably going to run as hard as you have been…just, overall, do less of it. So, you’d probably want to cut off more on your longer distance runs. And of course, take care of yourself – make sure you’re rested and well nourished!

      (I will also say that – bouncing off of Jayess’s comment – I absolutely love the phrase “taper tantrum”, and also, this actually happens! I’ve had it happen to me…the one time I was doing a race off-cycle from everyone else in my group. Aside from having friends to share in your misery, try to keep yourself occupied.)

      1. LGC*

        Also (because the only thing I love more than giving vague meathead advice is talking about myself): I won a “5k” today. “5k” is in quotes because I crossed the finish and my watch said 3.03 miles. This is the first time I’ve had to deal with a short course – I’m used to seeing more than the race distance!

        It was cool, though. We did a 5-mile run beforehand, and then I did the race as a workout. (If anyone who knows me IRL is reading this: yes, this is a humblebrag. “Oh, yeah, I wasn’t going all out, that’s just my goal half marathon pace.”) It was a pretty good race, though – the guy in second was only a couple of seconds behind me and nearly caught me at the finish.

        Other than that:

        – Brooklyn’s next week. I’m hoping to run a 1:18 this year.
        – FINALLY got the Boston finisher’s jacket.
        – I also learned that Adidas’s tracking system is hot garbage and also it will feel like forever if you order something to a store that doesn’t have it in stock.
        – And then…race season! Looking into a couple of races – I have to check when the Pride Run is this year. And also look into Front Runners, since I’ve seen them around and they look cool. (And also, re-up my USATF reg, re-up my NYRR reg, possibly get an NYCRuns reg, cry about how much I’m paying in membership fees, you know the deal.)

      2. baconeggandcheeseplz*

        Thanks! My calves (and my entire body) are definitely sore now, but hopefully will hop right back into it on Monday or Tuesday. I probably should start more consistently foam rolling & doing yoga… maybe I can do that the next two weeks since my workouts will be shorter (I think),

        To your comment below (or maybe above depending on how it threads) – congrats on the win and good luck in BK next week! How fast is 1:18 for you?

        1. LGC*

          Thanks! 1:18 would be about a minute faster than my PR (on that course), so I’m hoping that things line up next week.

    4. hermit crab*

      I’ve done my local parkrun two Saturdays in a row now and it’s been super fun! Running isn’t generally my activity of choice but our local course is super pretty (and flat! haha), and everyone is soooo friendly. So I highly recommend the Roosevelt Island parkrun in DC if anyone in (or visiting) the area is considering it.

      Also, the week after next, I’m going to a work conference that has a 5k as part of the program (like, as an optional add-on along with the networking happy hours and stuff), which I think is a little weird but I still signed up. Having a race at 7am will be a GREAT excuse for why I don’t want to stay out late socializing with my colleagues…

    5. Tara R.*

      I did my second ever race today! Both this one and the one two weeks ago were 10k, and I came in at 59:35 for the first and 57:58 for this one. I felt like this route had a lot more up and down, and I was a bit hungover & underslept, so I was really thrilled that my time was better!

      I have officially signed up for a half over Thanksgiving weekend (Canadian Thanksgiving, so mid-October). I’m not sure if I’m super interested racing longer distances, but I figure I might as well give it a try once & it will hopefully help my 10k times!

      1. LGC*

        Good luck! And congrats on running better on a more difficult course (and…on a hangover)!

        If your “problem” is endurance (that is, you’re falling apart mid-race), training for a longer race will help with that. (For the simple reason that at the 10k mark of a half marathon, you still have 11k to go.) And it’s definitely worth trying, just because you’re probably going to recover fairly easily from the race regardless. Plus, you’ll probably learn how to pace better.

  65. Sparkly Librarian*

    Current position: on bed with phone, as a physical and visual barrier between Established Kitty and New Kitty, rocking the bassinet with my foot. I feel like this is more mediation than I do at work, where I at least get paid to stave off turf wars and comfort fussy children.

    (But it is going well. Someone said yesterday, about the cat introductions, “If it’s not getting worse, then it will get better.” I can work with that.)

  66. I edit everything*

    I feel like baking a thing. What’s your favorite thing to bake? I’m leaning toward cheesecake, so if you have an amazing non-chocolate cheesecake recipe, lay it on me.

    1. Gilmore67*