weekend free-for-all – June 8-9, 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: Ask again, Yes, by Mary Beth Keane. The saga of two very different neighboring families, and how they intersect in ways both tragic and loving.

my nurses while I’m sick

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

{ 1,339 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Y’all, I am still sick and it’s awful. When I don’t have a horrific headache, I am queasy, and vice versa. And it’s affecting what I can read! The night this started, I was reading Homegoing, and it’s so dark and upsetting that it mixed horribly with illness and made me feel worse. So until I’m better, I’ve switched over to light reading only, and I need recommendations things that are light but still well-written and not overly fluffy. It needs to be like … light reading that might still be reviewed in a reasonably highbrow publication. Light reading for snobs? (Also, fiction but not genre fiction.) I finished Where’d You Go Bernadette today and that was perfect. Give me your recommendations!

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      Heroine’s Journey by Sarah Kuhn.

      Feel better soon! Kitties are great nurses.

    2. wittyrepartee*

      Do you do sci fi or fantasy? I’d go with The Rise and Fall of Dodo. It’s a fairly highbrow/well researched book about time travel and how organizations evolve as they grow.

      1. Lady Jay*

        Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next might also be good! Funny, and you can feel pride yourself on catching all the classic literature (Shakespeare, Poe, Bronte, etc) literature references.

        1. Just need a door...*

          I second this! Thursday Next is my go-to when my brain needs a highbrow vacation.

        2. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

          Also a fan of Thursday Next! It’s a funny, quirky series (time travel and cloning both casually exist, without being the focus of the narrative at all) which is full of literary references but still makes sense if you haven’t read the literature it’s referring to.

      2. Overeducated*

        Oh yes! The Rise and Fall of Dodo was such a fun book. Maybe not snobby enough but a lot of fun ;)

      3. Karen from Finance*

        She said no genre fiction, but Ted Chiang is the master of sci do in my eyes. The man is a genius. But I don’t know if it constitutes light reading. Only in the sense that they’re short stories.

    3. Elenor*

      The shellseekers by Rosamunde Pilcher is good. It’s light but has enough to keep your attention. I hope you feel better soon.

    4. Sherm*

      Did you ever read Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman?

      Queasiness is the worst, take good care of yourself, and this too shall pass!

    5. MMB*

      Domestic Violets by Mathew Norman is light and hilarious. The Two Mrs. Grenvilles is a good Dominick Dunne classic.

      Being sick sucks. Hope you feel better soon.

    6. Kylie Carney*

      I like David Sedaris for a light, funny read. It’s humorous essays rather than a novel so great for short attention spans. Calypso is my favorite. Hope you’re on the mend soon

      1. ThatGirl*

        I enjoyed Calypso, but Me Talk Pretty One Day always makes me wheeze with laughter at points.

    7. Pam*

      The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo, by Zen Cho. It’s a novella. A young Malaysian woman has moved to 1920’s London to become a writer, and falls in with the Bloomsbury group.

    8. Lemonwhirl*

      Pretty much anything by Rainbow Rowell (if you don’t mind YA) but especially “Eleanor and Park” and “Attachments”.

    9. Ginger ale for all*

      I like books by Ruth Reichl when I am not too sure of what to read next but I just need a change up. Garlic and Sapphires was my last one of hers and it was enjoyable.

      1. Lemonwhirl*

        Have you ever read any Ann Cleeves – she writes mysteries that are set in the Shetland Islands.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          The audiobook is read by the actress who played Miss Pettigrew in the film. It is one of my all-time favorite audio books!

      1. A day at the zoo*

        I am re-reading Janes Herriot — he lived in the moment, had a sense of humor, loved animals and adored his family. Not a bad blueprint..,

    10. Seeking Second Childhood*

      This is a fun way to filter the books I’ve loved. I have another for you, this one a humorous parody of “cooking toutism” books.
      “Cooking with Fernley Branca”

      1. Weekend Warrior*

        Cooking with Fernet Branca! Yes! So very blackly funny. Just a hint of “smoked cat”…

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          The book went around my husband’s university department one summer…he bought a bottle out of curiosity and we both agreed to pass it along to the next reader! Vile stuff. We know it was originally medicinal and couldn’t find out what it was supposed to cure…but we suspect it would work fine as an appetite suppressant.

    11. Eleanor Shellstrop*

      Rahh Alison I didn’t mean to reply to your comment on this! I am so sorry

    12. L*

      A heating pack on the tummy is absolutely saving grace for nausea for me! Not sure why this works but it’s low risk to try. :) hope you feel better!

      1. Turtlewings*

        I’m not sure I’d call “Eleanor Oliphant” light, but I do absolutely recommend it generally!

    13. peanut*

      Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson. This is nonfiction, but reads like fiction. Shirley Jackson wrote The Lottery, a super creepy short story, and The Haunting of Hill House. Life Among the Savages is nothing like these!

      This is a bunch of stories about raising her children. I don’t have kids and I’m not really interested in how they are raised, but I loved this. It is absolutely hilarious. It is light, but because this is Shirley Jackson, also extremely well written. I’ve read this multiple times; that’s how much I’ve enjoyed it.

      1. fposte*

        Oh, I *love* Life Among the Savages. Also its followup, Raising Demons. They are relentlessly hilarious.

      2. ProducerGalNYC*

        I read The Lottery at a very impressionable age, and it still haunts me. Even now, if I catch myself doing the dishes or making the bed before leaving for a trip, I get a little shiver thinking of the mom in that story. HAUNTED by that story.

    14. Rebecca*

      Oh, feel better soon! For me, queasy is the worst. When I’m hit with that malady, I take ginger capsules. At first, I was extremely skeptical, but after several days of being queasy due to taking antibiotics, they did the trick.

    15. anonagain*

      Maria Semple’s other book “Today will be different” is pretty good.
      I have in my head that you recommended “Modern Lovers” by Emma Straub here once. I just read The Vacationers which I didn’t like quite as much, but was still good.
      “Sweetness #9” by Stephan Eirik Clark
      “Calling Invisible Women” by Jeanne Ray, though I am not sure if this is overly fluffy.

    16. Cookie Monster*

      Absolutely check out Elinor Lipman. I’ve read “On Turpentine Lane” and “Good Riddance” and both were charming and funny but not too twee. I hope you feel better soon!

    17. Femme d'Afrique*

      When I need something light but intelligent (? Don’t judge; I’m a snob too ;) ) I read the Amelia Peabody series. The lead character is an unconventional Victorian archaeologist, who is a “confirmed spinster, suffragist, and scholar.” I really enjoy them!

      Hope you feel better soon, Alison.

      1. Jedi Librarian*

        This isn’t *exactly* the same but it reminds me of The Last Watchman of Old Cairo by Michael David Lukas. It ties together three stories of the first and most recent Watchman and two sisters in Victorian times looking for a scroll that the Watchman watches over. Maybe you’ll like it? I definitely want to give that series a try

        1. Femme d'Afrique*

          Thank you! I’m always looking for new books to try. I’m going to look for it now!

    18. Rosie M. Banks*

      You’ve read everything, so you’ve probably read P.G. Wodehouse. But if not, and if you are looking for comedy, his books are pretty hysterical. “The Inimitable Jeeves” is a good place to start. Hope you feel better soon!

        1. Elisanne*

          100% agree – PG Wodehouse is brilliant, amusing and impeccably well written. Just the job.

      1. NMFTG*

        Second Wodehouse.
        Would recommend the Blandings Castle ones, i.e. “Something Fresh” or anything with Uncle Fred.

      1. Nicki Name*

        Also seconded, even though it technically fails the “fiction but not genre fiction” test. The genre presence is extremely small.

    19. Just need a door...*

      Maybe a lighter classic, like Mary Stewart’s The Gabriel Hounds? I also use times when I feel sick to re-read things I’ve loved. You can revisit an old friend, without giving it your full concentration. I might reach for some David Sedaris.

    20. it happens*

      So sorry. Jorge Amado’s Doña Flor and Her Two Husbands is light, but thought-provoking. It’s set in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil- the only warning is that I do remember a lot of writing about food, that sounded very tasty, but might not be so great when feeling queasy.

    21. SpellingBee*

      I really enjoyed What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty, which I read on the recommendation of a friend. I haven’t read any of her others so can’t speak to them. The Thursday Next series that Lady Jay mentioned is excellent! Oh, and A Gentleman From Moscow, which I absolutely loved, although I think you may have read that one already.

      I’m not sick but am feeling a little down this weekend, so I’m taking copious notes of everyone’s recommendations.

    22. Amber Rose*

      Happiness by Will Ferguson. It’s a fictional satire on self help books. Pretty silly but also thoughtful and interesting.

    23. Adele*

      You have probably read them, but any of the Lucia and Mapp novels by EF Benson. They are perfect books and make me laugh even after reading them repeatedly for 30 years.

      Also anything by Barbara Pym. Avoid the later novels. They are wonderful but much darker. A very early work, Compton Hodnet, is a delight.

      These are my comfort reads.

      1. londonedit*

        I was literally coming here to say exactly the same thing. I love Barbara Pym in particular! Excellent Women is one of my favourites.

    24. Chalk*

      Can webcomics count if they have a distinct plot and touch on interesting subject matter? Because I always swear by Digger, by Ursula Vernon.

    25. SpiderLadyCEO*

      I just finished Red, White and Royal Blue last night, and it was a genuine delight. It’s a novel about the son of the first female president of the US falling in love with the prince of England, and it’s laugh-out-loud hilarious, incredibly well thought-out, and in general a feel good book.

      1. GoryDetails*

        Red, White and Royal Blue sounds great, SpiderLadyCEO; I just ordered a copy! And I’ll recommend Steve Kluger, whose works include Last Days of Summer, Almost Like Being in Love, and My Most Excellent Year; the last one’s a YA book but they’re all great fun, done in the form of letters, emails, journal entries, news items, etc.

      2. Kate Daniels*

        Second this recommendation! Favorite book I’ve read this year so far. The audiobook is also terrific.

    26. Ethyl*

      I’d go with Christopher Moore — either Fluke or Fool, or The Love Lizard of Melancholy Cove. They’re funny, clever, well-written, and surprising.

      1. Scarlet Magnolias*

        Patrick Dennis, a bit dated, but I recommend The Joyous Season which takes on the myth of the “chic child” and Little Me, a faked biography of a movie star.
        Also the short stories of Saki

    27. Aphrodite*

      If you like well written and historically-based mysteries, try Anne Perry’s Thomas Pitt and William Monk series. Though both wear themselves out eventually, the first seven or eight in each series are outstanding The Pitt series begins in the 1880s, and the Monk series (my favorite) begins in 1856.

    28. Swingbattabatta*

      I deeply love Laurie King’s Mary Russell series. It’s a retelling of Sherlock Holmes, but in such a new and not cliched way, told from the point of view of a genius young woman. The books are beautifully written, the stories are gorgeously detailed and incredibly engrossing, and they are at the same time easy reads and really stimulating. The first 8 (I think) are the best- Beekeeper’s Apprentice to Locked Rooms.

    29. Falling Diphthong*

      The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey, in which a fictional detective stuck in traction gets interested in solving the murders blamed on Richard III.

      1. NMFTG*

        Agree! That’s a lovely book. And it’s so fun to go the National Portrait Gallery and see the line-up. :D

      2. Scarlet Magnolias*

        Also the newer mysteries by Nicola Upson which have as their protagonist the author Josephine Tey. Beautifully written with a true feel for the time period and bringing in such luminaries as Alfred Hitchcock, M.R. James and John Gielgud

    30. Forrest Rhodes*

      Hope you’re well soon, Alison; from the photo it appears that you have an efficient feline therapy team on hand.
      About books: Absolutely agree about Wodehouse and Amelia Peabody. You might also like Joan Hess’ Maggody/Arly Hanks series. A divorce has caused Arly to leave her sophisticated Manhattan life and return to her home town of Maggody, Ark., population maybe 400?, where she finds herself elected sheriff. At some point in every one of these books I find myself laughing out loud. Reading them in order is not required, but you might want to start with the first one, Malice in Maggody.
      Happy reading and good health to you.

    31. Anoncorporate*

      Jane Austen tends to be no stress reading material for me (I’m one of those people who rereads my favorite books from childhood.).

    32. Kathenus*

      This may not meet your criterion for the highbrow review capability, but I love going back to some of the wonderful young adult/child fiction – especially things like The Wrinkle in Time series and Madeleine L’Engle’s other works, and anything by S.E. Hinton. Easy reads, especially as an adult, but complex characters and exceptionally well-written.

    33. Not A Manager*

      I’m in the middle of a novel called Less, by Andrew Sean Greer. I can’t remember if I got it off your recommendations list, though! Inexplicably, it won a Pulitzer Prize, so that’s it’s highbrow cred. I’m enjoying it but actually find it pretty light and fluffy. There are some very nice turns of phrase, but honestly I have no idea why it won any prizes.

      I had been thinking of posting here and asking people if they’ve read it and what they think.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yes, I recommended Less here! I really liked it, although I agree with you that I wouldn’t have figured it was a shoo-in for the Pulitzer. But I often find that about Pulitzer nominees — which is okay with me, since it still points me to some really good books, and I will happily read them.

    34. JediSquirrel*

      About A Boy by Nick Hornby. The characters are endearing and while it can go darkish at times, it’s full of humor and warmth, and has a happy ending, to boot. (The movie was terrible, though.)

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yes, I love Nick Hornby! I actually got excited last night to see he has a new book out (State of the Union) but it turns out it is QUITE short and not what I wanted.

    35. fposte*

      Hilary McKay is a brilliant writer for young people. The Casson family chronicles, starting with Saffy’s Angel, are wonderful, but for sickness reading I’d recommend The Exiles–it’s kind of if Little Women had been written by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey and they were English.

      1. Bibliovore*

        Seriously, it’s like your are my personal RA librarian. So right about McKay.

        1. fposte*

          I think I want to be buried with Permanent Rose. One of the loveliest books ever.

    36. Corky's Wife Bonnie*

      Aww, just wanted to tell you to feel better soon! Illness at the start of summer sucks!

    37. Elizabeth West*

      I don’t have any recommendations, Alison, but I hope you feel better soon.

    38. Public Sector Manager*

      I’m not a big comic book fan, but “The League of Regrettable Superheroes” by Jon Morris is a great look at not so great superheroes.

    39. Emily*

      This might bump up against the genre fiction requirement, but it’s a weird example so I’ll include it and you can disregard if it’s not what you want: To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis, is a fairly silly book about time-traveling historians trying to return a cat to its owner in Victorian England before they cause a time incongruity.

      1. SpellingBee*

        Oh, oh, I love (most of) Connie Willis – she lost me a bit with Passages, but her latest book, Crosstalk, is much lighter and is very fun.

        1. Emily*

          I really liked Passage, but I can see how it might not be for everyone! I obviously wouldn’t recommend it (or Doomsday Book, the other Connie Willis book I’ve read) as a light read, though.

      2. Blue Horizon*

        I’d agree with this one. As you might guess from the title, it’s a homage to ‘Three Men In A Boat’ and has very similar central plot thread (to the extent that ‘Three Men In A Boat’ can be said to have a plot at all).

        It’s like a lot of Connie Willis in that she creates a number of idiosyncratic and dysfunctional characters and bounces them off each other for effect. In this one she’s doing it for comedy and light entertainment, rather than drama, and it works very well.

    40. Nervous Nellie*

      I am so sorry that you are feeling unwell. Yes, light reading & rest! I suggest Nightingale Wood by Stella Gibbons, a lively fairy-tale like story about a woman forced by circumstance to live with dreadful relatives. A local charity ball offers a pleasurable night, and maybe a handsome prince-like guy. Sound familiar? There’s plenty in in that’s not, and it’s a sweet romp from the 1930s that may cheer you up a bit. Get well soon!!!!

    41. Llellayena*

      Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
      The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

      Real life stories, generally kind-of feel-good, though the second is set in an Al-Kaida (sp?) operated area so not sure if it would be ‘dark’ to you.

      Most of my light reading is teen fantasy, so not what you’re looking for. Maybe short stories? There are probably some “best of” collections out there.

    42. PhyllisB*

      I just finished one you might like. It’s titled The Frosting on the Cupcake by Jennifer Ross. It’s not heavy, but it has a good story. First chapter I was like, hmm..but it got more interesting. Plus, it’s got recipes for the most delicious sounding cupcakes!! It made me want to head to the kitchen. Gonna have to check it out again and get some of the recipes.

    43. PhyllisB*

      This is not “light” but not super heavy, either. I am now reading The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. It’s fiction, but based on fact. It’s about a librarian in Kentucky who brings books to the mountain people via mule. She is also one of the Blue People of Kentucky. I had never read anything about them before, so I find this fascinating. Google it. You won’t believe it.

    44. CrazyPlantLady*

      The Storied Life of AJ Fikry would fit the bill perfectly, if you haven’t already read it. It’s probably the most charming book I’ve ever read. And I read the whole thing over a few nights of being up in the middle of the night with jet lag when I really couldn’t handle anything heavy. Also, The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood is great and reasonably light. I’d put it in the same category as Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine. A few others: Severance by Ling Ma (literary post-apocalyptic satire – think Station’s Eleven crossed with Where’d You Go Bernadette), Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson, Before We Visit the Goddess by Chita Banerjee Divakaruni, Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal, and the Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob (her newest book is getting a ton of buzz right now).

    45. ADHDAnon*

      Let’s Pretend this Never Happened and Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson? She’s amazing and hilarious and quirky and weird. She writes a lot about her own mental health, but it’s not dark and she has an incredible talent for being able to describe some pretty universal but not talked about worries and issues.

    46. Cafe au Lait*

      My best friend published her first novel! Tag line: Why do the well adjusted get all the happy ending?

      “How to Stay” by Christina Mitchell

    47. PB*

      Another recommendation: Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown. The protagonist is the chef for Lord Ramsey. On the night of a dinner party, the dreaded pirate Hannah Mabbott breaks into the party, murders Ramsey, and sits down to eat his dinner. After declaring the chef’s consume the best she’s ever tasted, she order her men to kidnap the chef and bring him back to her ship. It’s historical fiction with a large dose of culinary history mixed with adventure on the high seas, and is a lot of fun.

    48. Michaela Westen*

      Sorry I just saw this. I hope you’re feeling better!
      I used to love reading P.G. Wodehouse’s novels and short stories. The characters are fun and funny and the stories cute. I don’t have time to read now and I miss them.
      In addition to the famous Jeeves and Wooster, the Blandings Castle stories are also excellent, and the ones with lesser-known characters are good too!
      I used to read them in bed to fall asleep.

    49. Blue Horizon*

      I just thought of Italo Calvino, who meets all your criteria. I liked Cosmicomics in particular, but he’s written a lot of others.

      I will warn that he is fond of run-on sentences and complex philosophical constructs, so some of his work may not do your headache much good (but you did ask for literary). On the other hand you get the sense that it’s all a bit of fun for him, and his air castles are mostly just intended to look pretty, so you can pick and choose as you see fit.

  2. Ask a Manager* Post author

    If you have any tricks to combat queasiness, please let me know those too! Pepto hasn’t worked. My doctor prescribed an anti-nausea drug, but it says it can cause headaches and I can’t bring myself to risk it since my head is already so awful. (This is queasiness without actual throwing up.)

    1. OG Karyn*

      Try peppermint tea. My ex ate a spicy chicken sandwich that he knew was too spicy and yet ate it anyway because he’s an idiot, and the next day I made him peppermint tea. If you want it iced, double steep it. Sometimes magnesium helps too. Feel better!!!

      1. Lena Clare*

        It’s definitely a trial and error thing! I find peppermint tea makes my nausea worse but something bland like a piece of white bread with some water helps calm me.
        Also fresh ginger.

        Alison, if your Greek salad helped, you could try a water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in. And keeping cool might help too. I hope you feel better soon!

        I love romance books, so anything by Zoe Chant or T S Joyce is great for complete switching off, but I think you’re not a fan of romance?

          1. Ada*

            The trick with saltines is to let them linger in your mouth so your mouth gets dry.

            It’s a neat little body hack. Your mouth will create extra saliva when you’re nauseated to protect your teeth from stomach acid when you vomit. If it senses the saliva isn’t there, it shuts off the signal to throw up. But this only works before you’ve thrown up the first time – so you’re actual in the perfect position for this to work right now.

            Hope you feel better soon!

        1. Alice*

          The ginger can be hot or cold. Cold ginger tea is very soothing for me, but try to add the honey when it’s hot.

          1. Adele*

            Thirding ginger tea, especially made with fresh ginger. Also gin-gin soft candies. Cola syrup from the drugstore also helps.

      2. Hatch Green Chile*

        “My ex ate a spicy chicken sandwich that he knew was too spicy and yet ate it anyway because he’s an idiot, ”

        I hope this isn’t derailing too much, this isn’t a particularly kind thing to say. If you eat something, you (not others, even those you’re dating) get to decide whether it’s too spicy, and certainly that’s not the kind of thing that makes you an “idiot.”

        1. OG Karyn*

          If you knew what my ex pulled with me, you’d know that a) there are other reasons he’s an idiot, and b) I don’t really care about whether or not I’m particularly kind to him. Also, if you know a thing is too spicy WHILE you’re eating it and then continue to eat it knowing you’ll get sick… then what are you?

          1. No bland European food.*

            This is full of awful ethnic prejudice. Do you think that Thai, Mexican, southern Indian, Ethiopian, and other cultures with spicy food are sick all the time? Spicy food in fact can help congestion by clearing your sinuses.

              1. OG Karyn*

                I know you said to leave it there but I just wanted to let you know you are correct, Alison. I meant that HE said that the sandwich was too spicy for HIM to be eating.

        1. Jules the First*

          On some people. . . Chamomile tea makes my nausea worse. I go for apple juice diluted 1:4 with water.

    2. HannahS*

      Sometimes I find that tums help, even though I’m queasy and not feeling heartburn. For nasty headaches, even if they aren’t full on migraines, I rely on naproxen. Other things that help me when I’m nauseated and headachy are wearing the loosest pyjamas (nothing tight over the abdomen) and lying down. And shutting my eyes.

    3. JenRN*

      Ginger. Any type. Ginger candy ginger root tea. Candied ginger root. Ginger ale (flattened a bit).

      Also whatever the trade name for diphenhydramine is in the US (Gravol in Canada… Dramamine?). Many speculate it really works because it makes you sleepy… regardless, it works for many.

      And obviously being really easy on your stomach: rice, boiled chicken if *need* meat, bananas if constipation and dehydration aren’t an issue (dehydration and the potassium in bananas being constipating, not a good thing), apple sauce, dry toast, dry heavily processed cereals like Cheerios. Lots of water, herbal teas. Avoid milk and acidic foods. Popsicles make a nice treat, home made so less sugar.

      Good luck. Queasy is the worst.

      1. Liane*

        Benedryl is the US brand name for diphenhydramine. I find the generic (Store brands) just as effective.

      2. Always science-ing*

        Second the ginger. If you don’t want the ginger taste, or just want something stronger, ginger capsules are great.

      3. Melody Pond*

        Thirding the ginger! I particularly find that a high-end ginger beer (i.e., something you’d use as a quality mixer in a nice cocktail) that’s relatively low in sugar but super high in the ginger, will tend to fix most of my queasiness. I’ll see if I can find the link to the kind I usually buy – maybe your spousal unit could locate something similar for you?

        So sorry you feel so sick, Alison! :(

        1. Melody Pond*

          Aha, I found it on Amazon!


          It’s marketed as a mixer – and it is VERY ginger-y spicy. But I swear by it – I keep some on hand in our fridge literally just for nausea/queasiness emergencies. It’s not super sweet, and it has a lot of fizziness and ginger. The ginger and the fizziness together really help settle my stomach when I sip on it slowly – it causes a burping reaction, and I always feel so much better afterwards.

          1. Parenthetically*

            Q brand is also super spicy and gingery and only very faintly sweet, and Reed’s Extra Ginger — my favorite — is sweeter, but sweetened with pineapple juice so not syrupy.

      4. peanut*

        Another vote for ginger. I go with Stash brand lemon ginger tea every time my stomach feels wobbly.

        1. Sled dog mama*

          The Stash Lemon ginger is awesome and at least to me isn’t in your face ginger but it works

      5. Rebecca*

        Seconding ginger, I take ginger capsules, they work really good for me! I suggested that above, then saw this…hey, it’s early and Saturday and only 1/2 cup of coffee so far :) :)

      6. Overeducated*

        Yes. Sucking on candied ginger helps. I also like “tea” that’s fresh grated ginger, honey, lemon juice, and hot water, as it feels like “sick food” and helps your throat and stomach.

        Alison, i hope you feel better, this sounds terrible!

      7. Nicki Name*

        Ginger ale for sure, as long as it has actual ginger (some don’t). If you have a Rocket Fizz nearby, or a hipster soda section in the local grocery store, you can usually find some with real ginger there, if you can’t find it in the regular soda section.

      8. Public Sector Manager*

        Sea-Band has an anti-nausea ginger gum that really works well for me.

    4. Liane*

      1) Ginger ale, if you drink soda. I drink a lot of ginger ale when I have migraines*. Non-diet is best, and go with a major brand like Canada Dry, not a store brand. I don’t know if any of the name brands still have ginger in them, but I find the store brands don’t help as much.
      *for me, nausea is the first & worst symptom
      2) Haven’t had it in years but my dad swore by a mixture of Coca-cola and milk, which he said one of his doctors had recommended. I know it sounds terrible, but it’s one of those things that tastes way better than it sounds.

      I hope you feel better soon.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        We keep a 6pack of “medical grade” ginger ale from Whole Foods–it’s made with sugar not corn syrup and uses real ginger. I find it works so much better than the “big brands”.
        (Yes we drink it and replace it every few months so it isn’t flat.)

      2. Lilysparrow*

        If you have Vernors locally, it has real Ginger and is very good. It’s available in some areas of the US but not everywhere.

    5. Kuododi*

      Ouch!!! Queasy is horrible!!! My GI specialist has me on Ranitidine (generic Zantac) 2x/day. That and Zofran as needed and my stomach finally feels good to the point I can even tolerate small amount of spicy food. I’ve not found either one to have a bunch of side effects. (Zofran does aggravate constipation however that’s why God invented Miralax). I also keep that cheap tacky Ramen noodle that all college students are familiar. That and/or won ton soup are both things I can tolerate when stomach is a problem. As always, push fluids and get well soon. Best wishes.

    6. Flash Bristow*

      Yikes. I spent the last 24 hours throwing up, so sympathies. I just stay in bed with Window open… being cool helps, also avoiding any strong smells so if you can avoid fridge runs etc that’s good too.

      What’s the anti-nausea drug? I’ve tried so many! Ondansetron works for me with no side effects, it’s what is often given to chemo patients (though I have a different cause).

      Good luck, so sorry you’re sick, hope it’s not too bad riding it out and you’re soon back feeling back to your usual self.

      1. Kuododi*

        Ondansetron is generic Zofran. I was put on it after developing gnarly reactions to other anti nausea meds. Your correct it was originally developed for chemo patients and also for pregnant women with hardcore nausea/vomiting. (I learned that bit of trivia while fighting insurance to get the darn stuff covered.). Bottom line, is would have been simpler and less painful to beat my head into a wall for about 20 minutes.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yes, it’s ondansetron! Kuododi, am I correctly reading your last line to mean it did give you the headache warned about? (If so, I am feeling good about not taking it!)

        Weirdly, I just ate a highly vinegar-y Greek salad (the opposite of what I should be eating but it was the only thing that appealed to me), after eating almost nothing all day, and I am less queasy than before.

        1. Ewesername*

          Root beer. Specifically, A&W. I think it has a higher vanilla content than the others, but I find it works for some reason.
          Feel better soon!

        2. Julia*

          I remember a period of pronounced queasiness a few years ago (as in several months of me finding any food revolting, even chocolate) and it seems as if the longer I go without food, the queasier I get, maybe from the hunger, but the less inclined I am to eat.
          The last time I had a queasy week, I ate crackers with mild hummus and drank ginger ale and protein shakes to fill my stomach a little, and I got over it much more quickly than before.
          Could you nibble on a cucumber or something to test the waters?

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            Yep – not even specific to nausea, but my husband has this super irritating habit of ignoring the fact that he’s hungry and needs to eat until he’s so hungry that the idea of food makes him queasy. (So annoying to listen to the grumbling at that point. :-P Buddy, you did this to yourself.)

          2. TechWorker*

            +1 that sometimes eating even when you really don’t feel like it can help. I find if I avoid eating through nausea then my blood sugar drops and I feel even worse. Reckon the ‘best’ thing to eat is whatever you can contemplate/that feels appealing. Sometimes this is toast and milk for me.

          3. Lilysparrow*

            Yes, low blood sugar levels can cause queasiness, as can dehydration. Which is why it’s so easy to get caught in a downward cycle.

        3. Kuododi*

          Oh…woops!!! That’s what I get for responding at 1:30ish am. No, I actually don’t have headaches with the Ondansetron…the reference to beating my head against the wall was regarding my having to fight insurance to cover the cost of the medicine. BLECH!!! I actually find Ondansetron to be quite free of side effects. ( Only have minor constipation…NBD). Be well soon!!!

          1. Washi*

            Same! I once got gastro the day before my husband and I needed to make a 9 hour drive. I spent the whole night before throwing up constantly, finally went to the ER to get some fluids, and then was given a prescription for Zofran. It was truly a miracle – made it through the whole car ride with no vomiting or headaches. And I am prone to car sickness and headaches!

        4. DrTheLiz*

          The vinegar will have dropped your stomach pH, which is usually good. I relatively often find my stomach pH is too high (not acidic enough, leaves me feeling odd/queasy) and drinking a bit of lemon juice in water helps immensely.

        5. fposte*

          I’ve taken ondansetron frequently and never had a headache. That doesn’t mean a guarantee, of course.

          I totally get the salad thing–when I’m nauseated I lean toward sharper flavors, as bland stuff can feel weirdly muddy.

        6. Bibliovore*

          Sorry about how your feeling. For me, that puking feeling. Peppermint and ginger tea with a little honey poured over ice. Overdone white toast or saltines.
          Anti nausea meds did make me sicker.
          There are nuun tablets the dissolve in water ginger lemon that contain electrolytes and caffeine. These have help me in the past especially if the queezy has a headache component,

          For light reading Lisa Lutz, The spellman files. Start at the first one.
          For really light reading Terry Pratchett The Wee Free Men

          For listening and so awful that you can’t read, West Wing Weekly.
          For feeling so awful that you can’t read AND feeling sorry for yourself and you think this will never end.
          On Being with Krista Tippett

        7. hermit crab*

          Zoltan always gives me a headache, but it’s like a very specific type of headache that somehow doesn’t bother me very much? It’s hard to describe. Maybe it’s just that the relief from not being nauseated is so strong that I don’t mind (or maybe I’ve come to associate it with “yay, meds are kicking in!”). Anyway, that’s my experience. Feel better soon!

        8. LMs 2 cents*

          Raw potato is something I read about for pregnancy nausea.

          Have not tried it myself, but if you already have potatoes at home, might be worth a try. And if you do, let us know if it works.

          1. Tango Foxtrot*

            It worked for me! I had no idea it was a common thing; I just followed my cravings

        9. Natalie*

          If anything sounds appealing, go for it!

          Sometimes your body knows what it needs and you’ll find yourself craving a specific food that has some particular ingredient. You mostly hear about it during pregnancy, but it actually happens to people whenever their bodies need something, especially during illness.

          Hope you feel better!

    7. Silver Fig*

      I am unfortunately very good at nausea. Chronic migraine FTW.

      Keep the house cooler than you’re normally comfortable with, and have air lightly blowing on you steadily, but NOT intermittently (no oscillating fans).

      Texture sensitivity is a thing, so avoid material with a lot of “feel” like fleece or wool. A satin pillow case stuck in the freezer for a few minutes is heaven.

      Dipping your hands in icy water helps.

      Keep your hair secured lightly back, not tight enough to pull, but well enough that the strands won’t brush across your skin.

      I tend to focus on patterns when I feel nauseated, possibly synching with the rise and fall of the queasiness. I need to avoid anything repetitive like popular music because it makes me focus on that cycle. A good substitute is a rain/thunderstorm track on YouTube.

    8. WS*

      I’ve taken ondansetron for migraine-related nausea for a few years now and it’s never given me the headache reaction. I can see why you’re wary, but if the nausea gets really bad, do try it. It’s extremely effective.

    9. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Second the Zofran/generic. (Had it on hand from hubs chemo). They make 2 versions – one dissolves, so if you can’t keep down the regular pill, the dis-solvable one is great. Enabled sick stepson to actually be helped to his own home and to his own bed (bad shellfish at lunch, stopped by house and I was afraid he was going to spend the night sleeping on my bathroom floor huddled in a quilt, after the food poisoning hit him). Zofran did not help when I had the worst of the flu, but “that” was enlightening to the doctor.
      Dry toast. Saltine crackers. Sometimes something in your stomach, really helps.

    10. matcha123*

      I don’t get nauseous that often when I get sick, but the times I do my go-to is room temp Vernors. Just small sips. And small bites of saltine crackers. Also avoiding anything with a strong scent. And strangely for me, Haribo gummy bears really calm my stomach.

    11. Kimmybear*

      As others have mentioned, mint or ginger. When I had morning sickness, I couldn’t stand mint so my doctor recommended going to the Asian market and buying ginger candies to suck on. Ginger ale/ginger beer with real ginger also works.

      1. mystiknitter*

        Prince of Peace brand Instant Ginger Tea (there’s a lemon version too, both are excellent hot or cold) and Prince of Peace or Ginger People brand ginger chewy candies, candied ginger and Sea Bands got me through nausea from chemo and radiation. Candy cane pieces, peppermint hard candies and Simple brand ginger gum are also in my bag of tricks. Still use all of these things today, always have them on hand.

    12. Ginger ale for all*

      I like ginger ale as well but Gatorade is pretty helpful too. I also think Chicken in a Bisket brand of crackers are helpful along with a cool dark room with the radio playing low. Bonine or Dramamine are helpful for me but I have Menieres that tends to kick in when I take certain medications. Dramamine has a ginger version that didn’t help me much with my bppv, but it might help you with your condition. Best wishes.

      1. Ginger ale for all*

        Sometimes one of those drinkable ‘meal replacements’ like Slimfast, Glucerna, Ensure, etc. are good when you have several days of queasiness.

    13. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Eat things that are easy to digest. One of my go-to things is wonton soup…drink the broth until I’m ready to nibble on the wonton wrapper, and save the filling until my migraine passes and I’m suddenly ravenous. (Warn the others who use your fridge if you put it back half eaten.) Pho is another good one, if you have a way to get it…we do a ‘faux pho’ with boxed beef broth, ginger, hoisin sauce, and ramen noodles (no spice pack).

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Ah thanks, I’m too new to know that. At least the faux pho would work with vegetable broth.

    14. L*

      Sorry I commented this on the wrong thread, but just in case you don’t see it there, a heating pad on the tummy is the best thing that helps me. Hope it passes quickly!

    15. Lcsa99*

      I am so sorry you’re feeling sl blah! The only thing I can recomend is to make sure you’re staying hydrated. Its hard when you’re queasy cause you don’t want to put anything in your stomach but it helps.

    16. Ranon*

      I always get myself in trouble by not eating/ drinking and then winding up with dehydration/ low blood sugar headaches, so light snacks and hydration, especially if you’re keeping food down, really can help.

      You can also self stimulate the pressure points that sea bands hit which might get you enough relief to have that snack, the points to press are relatively easily web searchable although you may have to play with the exact spot a bit.

      1. T. Boone Pickens*

        Bitters + soda water for queasy stomach. Pedialyte to help fight dehydration.

      2. A day at the zoo*

        Watermelon — I lived on it through three pregnancies where I puked from the day I was pregnant until the delivery room. It is easy on the stomach and full of water.

    17. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      If your med is Zofran or ondansetron, that stuff works really well and has few side effects.

      Scopolamine patches (like for seasickness) work for 3 days but take a couple hours to kick in.

      1. Lobsterman*

        Zofran will slow your digestion, so don’t overdo it or the backing up is unpleasant

        1. Not a cat*

          I’ve got chronic, monthly barf-migraines. Zofran was no help so my doctor was stumped. I use a combo of a strong Sativa and Emesyl (nasal spray for nausea). This combo almost always takes me from a 10 to a 3.

    18. PhyllisB*

      Lemon worked for me when I was having pregnancy queasiness. Lemon wedges, or hard lemon candies. Also ginger is great for this. If you can find (or get your husband to find) hard ginger candies, these are great. Also ginger tea. Peppermint tea doesn’t really work for me, but the smell of mint helps with headaches sometimes.

    19. Pharmgirl*

      If you’re wary of the Zofran, I like meclizine (the non-drowsy Dramamine) for an OTC option. Ginger or peppermint can help too, but also flat-ish Coca-Cola too.

      Also, just an FYI that nsaids like ibuprofen or naproxen on an empty stomach can worsen the nausea, so make sure you’re taking those with at least a small snack, or maybe try Tylenol instead.

    20. Jane*

      Ginger tea has always worked better for me than any medicine. You can make it with fresh ginger or just buy a box of tea at the store (I prefer ginger lemon because it tastes better than plain ginger). I hope you feel better soon!

    21. The Messy Headed Momma*

      Advice a nurse once gave me – she used it on the boys at the boarding school where we worked & SWORE by it –
      Make Jello up to the point BEFORE you add the cold water – the point where it’s still warm & thick & drink that. She said the gelatin coats your stomach & calms it down.
      I hope you feel better, however you get there!

    22. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      Uncrystallized Candied ginger!
      I tried cinnamon gum and at times zofran but candied ginger from Trader Joe’s is amazing.
      Also: diet ginger ale, and water crackers/crunchy Trader Joe’s peanut butter. Frozen banana slices.

    23. Chalk*

      Ginger ale, something simple to eat like saltines. Green tea. Those are my usual go-tos.

    24. Ali G*

      What you are describing is exactly what happens to me when I have a migraine (the alternating horrible headache and queasiness w/o vomit). Ironically, the only thing that works for me is to stuff my face with anything and everything.
      Hope you feel better soon!

      1. Lobsterman*

        I also get migraines and had the same thought. There are migraine meds that are very effective nowadays

    25. Angwyshaunce*

      I will admit that, when I feel sick, I spend a lot of time playing Nintendo. Focusing on something easy and external distracts me from feeling the symptoms.

    26. HamlindigoBlue*

      For me, sea bands take the edge off of the queasiness. I didn’t realize how much they were working until I took them off. It wasn’t not a 100% cure, but it helped me.

      1. nnn*

        That’s what I came to suggest. I find them particularly useful because, unlike so many remedies for queasiness, you don’t have to ingest anything.

    27. StarHunter*

      Warm, flat Coke. You can also buy Coke syrup at the pharmacy (at least you could some years ago). It gets poured over ice. Only thing that helped me during a week long stomach virus. Feel better!

    28. MissDisplaced*

      I recently had surgery and because the anesthesia makes me sick, they put an anti-nausea medication patch on my neck.
      Not sure of the name of it.

    29. Mimmy*

      Oh Alison that sounds positively miserable! Does the doctor have an idea of what might be going on? Feel better!!

      I occasionally get a little queasy myself, so I may be trying some of the tips in this thread!

    30. Wishing You Well*

      Try sucking on ice chips (letting them melt in your mouth) and/or a C-band ( stretchy bracelet that puts pressure on the inside of your wrist). There’s an acupressure spot there. Whatever you try, I really hope you get relief soon!

    31. MatKnifeNinja*

      If it’s Zofran, TAKE IT.

      It can make you slightly sleepy.


      I can take Tylenol for a headache. Never got a headache talking Zofran.

    32. Falling Diphthong*

      Sea bands. Your husband should be able to find some at a drug store. I find they dial my nausea down a couple of notches–so if I’d be mildly seasick it’s gone, if I’d be medium seasick it’s mild. Used by a lot of pregnant women to dial down constant unproductive queasiness.

    33. Anoncorporate*

      The last time I kept throwing up, I took Emetrol and it helped stop the throwing up motion. (Take one dosage and don’t chase it with anything else for 5 minutes – you want to give it time to coat your stomach.). For general nausea, ginger ale helped with both the indigestion and combating dehydration. Gatorade helps with this as well, though I don’t love Gatorade. I hope you get better soon!!

      1. Anoncorporate*

        Oh I misread and thought you were throwing up! My bad, I’m out of it today. Emetrol can help with queasiness as well, but other than that i would just recommend staying as hydrated as possible!

    34. Kathenus*

      I’m so sorry, nausea is horrible. I think all of these have been listed already, but for me it’s completely a mood thing as to which I want at that time, but the nausea remedies that help me the most (in no particular order) are:

      – Coke (for some reason has to be Coke for me for nausea, not another brand) – fizzy and cold (versus the flat-ish others mention)
      – Ginger ale – also fizzy and cold
      – Cola syrup from the pharmacy over crushed ice, sometimes in stock sometimes has to be ordered – I had to order it last time I needed it but did so I’d have it in the future (also it arrived the next day so was there quickly)
      – If cola syrup isn’t available, Eretrol is an OTC nausea medication

      I try to have all of these at home just in case. Hope you feel better soon.

      1. Anoncorporate*

        I also like tart things when I’m queasy. Like citrus or green apple with salt. It’s all I can stomach before I progress to dry carbs and eventually eating normally.

    35. Kim*

      My recommendations:
      1) Be cold. Get rid of blankets, crank up the AC. Just be uncomfortably cold for awhile.
      2) Weeeeeeeeed
      3) Cold, carbonated beverages. Seltzer water is great, but a lot of times I just find a Coke very soothing (especially if you get it as a fountain drink).
      4) I take some ibuprofen even if I don’t have any pain symptoms. Could even be a placebo effect, but either way, it definitely helps.
      Best of luck!

    36. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      Wierdly, vinegar might help. I drink about a tablespoon of vinegar (red or white wine or cider, not the plain white stuff) in a small glass of water, followed by a bit more plain water, and it often does wonders for heartburn. I recently bought a bottle of some kind of fancy cider vinegar with ginger in it at Safeway that worked surprisingly well when I had a bout of Montezuma’s Revenge. However that was after three days of antibiotics and a round of Zofran (which did give me an awful headache) so YMMV.

    37. Lora*

      My personal cocktail is Benadryl, ondansetron and ketorolac. Side effects are sleeping for about 12 hours, because Benadryl. Triptans are sometimes helpful sometimes not.

    38. Not A Manager*

      Try seltzer water with a good sprinkle of Angostura bitters. For some reason, the slight bitterness helps me keep the water down and settles my stomach.

    39. fhqwhgads*

      If what you’ve been prescribed is Zofran (or Ondansetron, its generic), I strongly recommend taking it anyway. It is THE BEST for nausea. It’s a little weird it has a cause headaches warning because it’s often prescribed for migraines. It’s a real possible side-effect obviously or they wouldn’t list it, but if you already have a headache it’s not going to make it worse and may very well make both better.

    40. Not So NewReader*

      If you go with the suggestions along the lines of ginger/ginger tea, you can try some honey. Not for everyone. But I have had good luck most of my life with a tablespoon of honey for stomach upset. Honey absorbs into the body really fast. There were times I downed the honey and walked directly to the bathroom. Even though it seemed like I had lost the honey, it felt like I had not. I could sleep after that and because I could sleep the stomach settled even more.

      We need energy to sleep and heal, so that hit of sugar seems to do it for me. If I felt better when I woke up, I’d have honey on toast. I had to cut the toast into quarters because one piece of toast was that daunting. Usually, I was able to finish the toast even after promising myself that I did not “have to” finish the toast. I actually wanted to finish it.

      This seems unusual for you to get so sick Alison, I hope you feel better very soon.

    41. I don’t post often*

      Peppermint candy and lemonade … not together but separately always helped me.

    42. Lilysparrow*

      Ginger tea, especially if it’s made with fresh gingerroot.

      Peppermint hard candies or peppermint tea.

      Nice cold compress on the back of the neck.

      Sip slowly on an elecrolyte drink – Gatorade or even Pedialyte. Very small sips, very cold.

      1. It’s All Good*

        Yes on the electrolytes! A tablespoon at a time of Gatorade on ice! Works wonders.

    43. JSB*

      Some people have really good luck with ginger – nibbling on dried ginger; ginger tea.

      1. Joie De Vivre*

        I forgot to add Bonine is a chewable, which is one of the reasons I like it.

    44. Belle di Vedremo*

      Have you tried shifting one of your nurses to your midsection? A light, warm, and purring weight can be very helpful.

      If the vinegary Greek salad helped, I hope that you’ve had some more. Do stuffed grape leaves appeal?

      Hope you’re feeling better.

    45. That Girl From Quinn's House*

      My doctor always recommended cola, stirred flat of fizz. I’m a fan of it. A different doctor recommended liquid Mylanta for mystery stomach viruses.

      Feel better!

    46. Esme*

      Giada’s Detox Soup. Leave out any of the vegetables or the chilies if that seems too much, but ginger and lemongrass are the best combo.

    47. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Thank you for all of these recommendations as well!

      I’m actually quite a bit improved today (which is such a relief — this has been going on since Tuesday night) but I have written down all these recommendations and am going to start keeping a lot of this stuff on hand. (Also, be warned I may still run repeat posts on Monday; I am not so improved as to necessarily return to working right away.)

    48. Courageous cat*

      Non-drowsy dramamine (meclizine). It’s the only reason I haven’t thrown up in 15 years, and I’m a regular drinker too.

    49. SigneL*

      Ginger ale helps me. There’s also ginger chewing gum (I don’t remember where I got it, however). Have you tried Benadryl?

      Saltines helped me a lot when I was pregnant and had morning sickness.

      I’m so sorry you’re not feeling well! I HATE queasiness!

    50. LGC*

      So, I am absolutely useless in recommending alternate remedies (whatever I can suggest has almost certainly been posted already), but I really hope you get better soon!

    51. Double A*

      I don’t know if pregnant lady tricks would work, but I took half a unisom sleep tabs every night for morning sickness (the ones you can break in half, not the gels– they have doxylamine). It helps you sleep and helps with queasiness, and I find they didn’t leave me super groggy. But I don’t know if it’s special sauce for morning sickness or would help with general nausea.

    52. Anon phd*

      My sympathies to this and lots of hugs. I had persistent nausea two years ago after an awful sinus infection. My doc gave me a prescription for an antacid and an antinauseant. For some reason I kept one of the bottles and one of those drugs is called Pantoprazole. My nausea was because of excessive post nasal drip gathering in my stomach. The antinauseant didn’t give me headaches, just made me drowsy and because of that it was only to to be taken at night. This drug combo worked wonders, I took it for about two weeks. Other than that, peppermint tea or lemon-ginger tea from Twinings are my go-to’s. All the best!

  3. OG Karyn*

    I just want to thank everyone who reached out with sympathy last weekend when I posted about my breakup. It’s not been an easy week by any means but he and I are trying to remain friends, and I took myself to Washington DC this weekend to visit one of my best friends. We got dressed up tonight and managed to get hit on by a few guys, which was nice since for the last few months my ex barely wanted to touch me. So thank you all for your kindness while I mourned my loss.

    1. fposte*

      I’m glad to hear you’ve been up and going out–a trip away was a great idea. FWIW, though, I think it’s okay for you not to be friends with your ex, at least for a while, if you’re not feeling it. You can be a good person dealing maturely with a breakup and still need some time apart from an ex.

      1. Angwyshaunce*

        I became very close friends with my ex and her (eventual) family, but yeah, it took a few years after the breakup before that happened.

        Glad to hear you’re going out and having fun OP! Major changes are rarely easy, but time and a positive perspective can do wonders.

      2. Jules the 3rd*

        I am friends with about 60% of my ex’s. In every case, we needed a cooling off period, usually about 2x the length of time we dated. The two times I tried being friends too soon did not go well.

    2. Ethyl*

      Agreed with others, don’t feel like you have to stay friends right this minute! Especially since I suspect that in a couple of months, once you aren’t feeling so sad and heartbroken, you’re going to get real real angry with him. Once you have your living situation sorted out, I think it’s more than healthy and normal to take a break from communicating.

      1. OG Karyn*

        I moved out. Back in with my parents. Not ideal but at least he’s paying all the expenses. I can’t afford our apartment alone.

        1. Not A Manager*

          I’m just glad you’re someplace stable and that you don’t have to put a lot of work into it right now. Studying for the bar is work enough.

          Also glad that he’s paying the expenses. Jerk.

  4. Aphrodite*

    Get well soon, Alison. I was there not long ago and, yes, it’s beyond awful.

    I really don’t know how this will work for queasiness but it will for headaches: get a cucumber, slice it in thick slices and freeze them individually on a baking sheet (preferably nonstick). Once they are frozen, put them in a plastic freezer bag. Put them on your eyes. You can reuse them over and over by re-freezing. (You can also refrigerate them instead but the intensity of the freezing will shock your head into feeling better.

    I’m sorry I have no recommendation; I do nonfiction only. But if you want some recommendations there . . .

      1. Sunny*

        For sinus headaches, I swear by my lavender-filled satin eye pillow. I store it in a zip bag in the freezer. I just lay it across my face as I rest. Also good if you’re just generally overheated. (I’ve had it for years and it still has its light, lovely lavender fragrance.)

        Hope you feel better soon!

    1. Trixie*

      I do this as well with little baggies of frozen peas which can settle in and around my eyes. Will try cucumbers next.

    2. Tau*

      On the cold front, I cannot recommend cold patches highly enough. I don’t know if they’re sold in the US – they are in drugstores in the UK, but here in Germany I have to order them online – but they are amazing. They are basically adhesive patches that will cool your skin for several hours (packaging claims eight, I find this an exaggeration). The fantastic thing is that you can target the area experiencing the pain very precisely, can cool said area while keeping your hands free, and the cold is cold enough for pain reduction but not so cold that it causes problems if you leave the patch on for a long time – this being an issue I have with icepacks and anything that comes out of the freezer. I have maybe-cluster-headaches where cold is basically the only thing they respond to in any way at all and these things are a godsend.

    3. SigneL*

      A cold, wet washcloth on the back of my neck helps me if I’m queasy. I have no idea why.

      1. Deranged Cubicle Owl*

        Last year, when our European summer was really hot, I read an article that you will sleep better (and fall faster asleep) when you put a wet washcloth on the back of your neck. And I can say that it really worked. Perhaps it is indeed the same when one is feeling sick.

  5. Electric sheep*

    The Women’s World Cup for football/soccer has started this weekend! Who else is excited? (Go Matildas!)

    1. WS*

      I wish I could watch more matches! SBS had the opening match and has all the Matildas matches and the finals, but I’m not sure where to access more.

      1. Electric Sheep*

        Annoyingly, they’re on Optus Sport, which is a streaming service. It’s $14.95 a month, but they have an offer where school kids can watch for free, so if you have a kid the right age you might be in luck. As well as via their app or on their website, you can stream to you tv via Fetch, Xbox, chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV (gen 4 and later) devices, and any generation Apple TV to airplay direct from the Optus Sport mobile app.

        It would also be nice if it were in a better time zone! Now I have a job with more responsibilities, I need to be more awake at work than I used to be, so just being sleep deprived for a month isn’t going to work out for me this time.

    2. londonedit*

      Yes! Come on England! The BBC are showing every match for the first time ever, I’ve been so impressed with the efforts from them and from the English FA to raise awareness and generate a bit of excitement around the tournament. Men’s football is such a huge, huge sport here that the women’s game has struggled to compete with the Premier League. But now the FA are branding everything as ‘Two teams, one England’ and really hyping up the women’s team. I hope they do really well, they deserve to!

    3. Femme d'Afrique*

      I am! Waiting for the Germany-China game.

      Did you see the Google doodle tribute to the Women’s World Cup? It’s really cool!

      1. londonedit*

        It’s very cool! And what a first half in the Germany-China game too. No idea how it’s 0-0!

    4. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      I’m watching too! Where I am (USA) a lot of the games are on cable in English (Fox Sports One) but on Telemundo in Spanish, which I can get on a broadcast channel, so I’ll be dusting off my Spanish to catch more games. (Some of the English-language ones are on the broadcast Fox network, but not as many as Telemundo puts on their main rather than sports network.) This happens a lot with soccer broadcasts here.

    5. Kathenus*

      Yes! Very excited. Deleted a bunch of things on my DVR last night to make more room for recording a lot of matches. I know what I’ll be doing at home for the next few weeks.

    6. CTT*

      SO excited!! Although slightly nervous, which is a new feeling for me going into this tournament (American). I’m annoyed so many of the games are while I’m working, but I think my family’s plan is to DVR all the US games, attempt a cone of silence and watch together later.

      1. londonedit*

        As a fan of the England men’s team I am well versed in pre-tournament nerves! It’s been extremely weird dealing with the fact that we’re actually half decent at the moment.

    7. Femme d'Afrique*

      Watching this Spain/ South Africa game through my fingers, I’m so nervous.

      Go South Africa!!

    8. Marion Ravenwood*

      Me! Really looking forward to England v Scotland tomorrow. The Matildas are my second team though so will be cheering for them too.

      I’m also really pleased that the BBC is getting behind the tournament here in the UK and putting it on their main channels. Whilst it’s definitely not men’s World Cup levels yet, I feel like there’s a lot more public interest in the Lionesses since 2015 (granted good results in the last two major tournaments helped) and I really hope they do well enough to build on that this time.

    1. Jule*

      If this is for the light reading thread, I would like to extend a word of caution here. Giant content warning for suicide. Most of the first part of the book is about it.

      1. Tango Foxtrot*

        Thank you! I’ve been making a note of the suggestions in the thread to make myself a recovery reading list, and content warnings are so appreciated.

  6. OyHiOh*

    Took my kids to a dry, all ages drag show Friday night. Y’all, there were *littles* there. Four and five year olds parked in the front row rocking out and having a blast. It was wonderful and heartwarming to see. The presenters took the opportunity to talk about acceptance of the emotional/physical place you are at right now, identity, and exploring what makes you you, and also about appreciating your body and what it can do. Such good messages for the littles and the many many teens in the audience.

    Finished my move to new neighborhood on Tuesday. Did most of it myself because I managed to pick the one weekend when most of my friends were busy and not really able to help as much as they’d like. Which was a useful lesson in itself that I probably would not have noticed if more friends had been more available. I learned a lot about the kind of furniture I want/need building my home moving forward. I have to have things that are comfortable and practical, but which I can also move myself, or with the assistance of my own kids.

    I’ve been meeting to practice singing with one of the service leaders from my synagogue this week. I take myself far more seriously when I sing with other people and my youngest daughter commented that if I take a more active role in service leadership, then she knows she can do more too. Out of the mouths of babes.

      1. OyHiOh*

        Locally, our queens and kings will perform wherever they can book space. Which is usually bars. Which is rather limiting. They had so much fun with the kids in the audience. The coffee shop/community space I work at part time is doing a series of special events for Pride so we rolled a First Friday Art Walk into Pride and decided to host drag. Within an hour of the final number, people were posting wanting to know when we’re going to host another show. In a few months, I hope!

        1. Sparkly Lady*

          That’s super cool, and extra super cool that you had kings and not just queens! I get a little irked when drag is presented as queens only. I think it undercuts a lot of the message and there are amazing hella talented kings, who deserve a lot more recognition than they get!

      2. Middle School Teacher*

        Some of our local queens are doing a read aloud at the local library today!

    1. fposte*

      Gotta say, Oy, with all you’re getting up to recently, you are freaking amazing. (And the show sounds great.)

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Totally agree, OyHiOh, you’re doing it, you are running at life.
        Ya know, when my husband passed I was very much aware that the choices I made then would impact how my life played out in years to come.
        So based on my own narrow experience, I have to say that you are going to be pleased with how life goes for you in years to come. You are going to be okay, in spite of having your whole world turned upside down. Keep going, keep doing what you are doing.

    2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      That all-ages drag show sounds wonderful! I’ll have to look into if we have anything like that here – all I’m aware of is bars, but I kind of hate leaving the house so I may not be up on all of the things available these days.

      For furniture, one of the best suggestions I can make if you’re serious about being able to move all of your things yourself is to get a nice futon. (Not one of the cheap metal-framed ones.) I have a wood frame futon, and it’s so much more possible for me to move that thing by myself than a real couch, and it’s more comfortable to sleep on than a hide-a-bed couch while being much lighter. Since the mattress and the frame are separate pieces, I have to do two trips if I’m moving it alone, but it’s very do-able. (I tie up the mattress into a roll with rope to make it less awkward to carry.)

      I chose to hire movers to move my heavier furniture, but I know that doesn’t make sense for everyone. You can hire local movers to just move the heavy things without also paying them to pack up your stuff or move every little thing, and that compromise point generally works for my situation and budget. (I decided to start doing that when I inherited a couch too big to fit in my minivan, which fits the futon or a full-size bed, but would not fit an 8 foot couch that I wanted to keep. I decided that rather than renting a truck I had to fill myself I’d escalate all the way to actual movers if I was going to own furniture that bulky.)

    3. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      That sounds fun! I think my niblings would have awkward questions but still have a blast. Drag is fun, after all.

      1. OyHiOh*

        My kids are little theater babies so my initial explanation was “drag is theater. It’s performance. It’s building a character and making that character so believable your audience doesn’t doubt it at all.” I didn’t see any reason to dig into identity while explaining what we were going to go to. My friend we’re living with gave them a little more detail but there were no awkward questions at any point.

        Driving home, we talked more about character development and the differences between drag and burlesque (which they’re familiar with from some period TV serials they like). Both of my daughters want to learn burlesque-style performance now, lol.

    4. Belle di Vedremo*

      The drag show sounds like great fun – and to include the messages about appreciating one’s own self makes it also sound awesome.

      Very impressed with how much you are doing and how you are moving forward. It is so good to hear your updates as you share them.

      May your new home be a blessing, and the life you build rich with memories.

    5. That Girl From Quinn's House*

      Does your public library do Drag Queen Storytime? A lot of major cities do now.

      1. OyHiOh*

        No, but we’re trying to organize one at the shop later this month. A couple of the queens who performed are completely on board – we just need a couple sponsors so people don’t have to pay to bring their kids. We even have the training kit from the organization so that any queens who do participate can list themselves on the Drag Queen Story Hour directory and do future events. Obviously, we really, really want to do that thing :-)

  7. Free Meerkats*

    I’ve been visiting Mom and family in rural Central Missouri for the past week and a half. Also visiting friends, one whom I met in person for the first time.
    She’s doing good, her critters are doing good, rest of family mostly good. I got a gout flare up and had to visit the doctor, but otherwise good. The flooding along the Missouri River and it’s tributaries is serious. The number of fields that should be waist high corn but are just water concerns me. And the scattered tornado damage!
    Home to the Great Northwest Monday. I’m looking forward to getting out of the rain.

    1. OyHiOh*

      I have a family member who lives in one of the river hamlets along the Missouri river. Relative has had water lapping up against the river side of their house for a few days – 34.5 feet of water needed to get into their house and the river is just a touch below that mark.

      Unfortunately, there’s probably going to be another peak in about two weeks or so: The Rocky mountains got hit bad with a series of late spring snow storms that only just starting melting of this week. Great for our local tourist season! Ski in the middle of June! Absolutely awful for planting the bread basket states.

      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        Oh I didn’t even think about runoff. My parents had over a foot of snow at their house the week before (so, you haven’t been in the US in the spring for several years, eh, Pantalones? Ha ha ha let’s throw all of the freak weather at you, especially since you mostly packed light summery clothes!).

    2. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      was wondering how it went… I flew into Omaha a few weeks back, and the devastation from the air was striking. The family members and friends back there who had crops to plant, are suffering… the decisions are hard. If there’s no crops, a big whammy is yet to be felt.

    3. fposte*

      As NoLonger says, it’s going to be a summer without crops in a lot of Midwestern fields. Apparently fields that had cover crops are faring a little better, but it’s still going to be a region full of fallow fields in late summer. Bad year for insurance.

    4. Ey-not-Cy*

      North east MO here. We had kids leaving school early at the end of May to help evacuate their homes. My husband has helped with sandbagging. We are down to one bridge to cross over into IL. I don’t mind helping, but I must admit, sometimes I just want to say–“you know this happens! Move out of the bottoms!” But I also know those places rent cheap for that very reason, and my students need homes to live in. Ugh.

    5. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      I just visited relatives in NW Missouri, right along the river, last week and it was really something to see. We got there the day after the huge tornado near KC and the flooding we could see from the plane was really terrible. My relative’s house managed to escape too much flooding, although there was water in the basement, but the rest of the town was swamped for a day or so. Really sad and frustrating for all the farmers around there.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      I heard somewhere that Missouri might be looking at another flood season like the one in 1993. That was bad. I was in California at the time and flew back for a visit, over some of the flooded areas. The water had gone down somewhat, but I remember looking out of the plane window and thinking, Daaaaaaaaaamn.

    7. ..Kat..*

      Am I the only one who thinks it is ironic that you are headed back to the Seattle area and looking forward to getting out of the rain?

      Safe travels.

  8. Jaid*

    My apartment’s central A/C crapped out and maintenance was able to bring me a portable room A/C unit. It’s lovely to have a 60 something bedroom to sleep in again… Central was putting out air, but it wasn’t cold air.

    Other than that, I hope to go to the waterpark today.

    I wish y’all a good weekend!

  9. Lemontree*

    Does anyone have a friend, SO participating in Transam bike race?

    @Alison get well soon. Book recommendation: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.

  10. Kuododi*

    Found out last week I’m in need of a needle biopsy bc of “suspicious area” in my left breast. Went off into orbit briefly as the news triggered old worries from my previous bout with cancer. DH was a love and brought home massive sirloin steaks for the grill and fixed me a wonderful dinner to take my mind off of the upcoming testing. He’s already taking the day off to go with me and hopefully hold my hand while the procedure is taking place. I’m keeping in touch with my sister who is my dear beloved and I have also updated my therapist. Nothing really to do at this point. I’m concentrating on not magnifying this into an epic disaster. Thanks for a moment to put this in writing. Blessings to you all.

    1. Lemontree*

      Hi. I hope the biopsy results show that there is nothing to worry about and you get to do something fun while waiting for the results.

    2. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      fistbump of solidarity. It sounds like you have a great support network, and I hope your biopsy is a precautionary item that finds … just calcification (which mine was…although my brain had already spun into anxiety), or something else benign. No matter what, we are here for you….

    3. Rebecca*

      Been there, done that, twice – thinking of you. It’s hard not to let our minds wander to the worst thing.

    4. LondonBridges*

      Best wishes! I just had a biopsy done a week or two ago, luckily it came back just a fibroadenoma. Wishing you similar results!

    5. Not So NewReader*

      You always write from the heart, Kuododi, and you always have something heart touching and kind to say.

      You and those walking beside you IRL are in my thoughts and heart.

    6. Thursday Next*

      I’m thinking of you. I’ve had a few biopsies lately, and it’s nerve wracking to wait and wonder. I comfort myself by thinking about how great medicine is at early detection, to try to calm my nerves while waiting for the biopsy appointment and then the results.

      Best wishes to you.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      Sending good vibes ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ and hope it turns out to be nothing.

    8. WoodswomanWrites*

      Extending another hand your way, and glad you’ve got support in person.

  11. Laura H.*

    My 10 year reunion is today! I don’t feel like it’s been 10 years… kinda excited!

    1. Another Manic Monday*

      I got an invitation this week to the 30th anniversary of my class graduating from Junior High. It feels like yesterday and I can’t believe it has been that long. I will most likely not attend, but I was kind of excited about the possibility for a second. I hope you will have a great time!

    2. Not So NewReader*

      If you go to your reunion, you will have to tell us a little something about it.

  12. Another Manic Monday*

    I’m having yet another fight with insomnia so I ended up on AAM. I got an email from my elderly parents earlier this week. They have signed a lease agreement for a small apartment in town as they have become too old to care for their farmhouse. It wasn’t really a surprise as I have told them before that they needed to move to place that required less upkeep and didn’t put as much strain on them. I was perplexed, however, by one sentence in their email. They said that they are telling me first because I am the most trustworthy of their children and they are keeping it a secret from my siblings for now. I don’t know what to do with that. I guess that I should be flattered for being considered more trustworthy, but I don’t see why it matters at all. There’s no controversy about them getting a small apartment to live in at their old age, so why are they keeping this information from my siblings? I was often emotionally manipulated as a child, so I am very weary of anything that comes across as manipulative when I am talking with my family. Maybe I am just making a big deal about nothing and they didn’t really mean it the way I took it.

      1. valentine*

        They said the same thing to each child? They want to be gone before anyone can guilt them into staying? Would they use it against you later by informing your siblings they told you first or claiming you’re the one who wanted them to sit on it?

        Do nothing. Let it be. This is thermonuclear war: “The only way to win is not to play the game.”

        1. Another Manic Monday*

          While I do love my family, I have kept them on an arm-length distance since I become an adult. I bought a one-way ticket as soon as I could afford one and started a new life more than 6,000 miles away from my parents and siblings. The number of times I have been back home during the last 25 years can be counted on one hand (last year was the first time in almost ten years). Life seems less stressful that way.

    1. Ginger ale for all*

      They may be wanting to stave of the requests for certain pieces of furniture and keepsakes that roll in when people downsize until they have caught their breath from the change.

      1. I hate the offseason.*

        This is what I was thinking. They trust you not to make a lot of drama about how they get rid of the stuff in the house and/or the proceeds from the sale. Some children will see this as a chance to get theirs.

        1. Trixie*

          I find this heartbreaking, the sibling drama. But I am always relieved to see our parents downscale in their own time, and before it becomes an emergency situation.

        2. Another Manic Monday*

          My parents has nothing in our family home that I would want. There were only a handful things of pure sentimental value to me and I picked them up at my last visit. I neither want their property nor their money. My siblings can fight over them. I don’t want anything.

          1. LCL*

            That’s exactly why they told you first. They have to tell someone, and you will provide the minimum of drama. Odds are at least 1 of your siblings would try to guilt them into staying on the farm. Or pressure your parents to give them the property to keep it in the family.

    2. Rescue Dog*

      This is exactly the weird kind of thing my parents would do. I’m sorry…I know from experience how stressful the seemingly smallest things can be, because they are part of a larger pattern. Lately I’ve been doing an exercise in my head where they are not my parents but rather some random elderly people I met. Because random elderly people can say odd things and it doesn’t make my stomach clench. It’s not working yet, but it does give me something to concentrate on and strive for as I’m interacting with them. Good luck.

    3. MissDisplaced*

      Is it because they don’t want all the siblings speculating on the sale of the family farm?
      You don’t mention that, but it seems a normal concern all the kids would have.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        This was the first thing I thought of. Eh, it’s their money, they can use it as they wish.

        I did wonder though, maybe you have a sibling who keeps hitting them up for money. My older friend has this situation, so she just simply says, “There is no money, it’s gone.” In reality, she can pay her bills and have a modest treat once in a while. She definitely cannot loan money to others.

        If your parents have always been private about money then this is probably more of that just in a different costume.

        I do have to think, though, how do parents keep a new address a secret???? Whatever this is, it won’t last long.

    4. Nervous Nellie*

      I feel for you so much, AMM – I deal with the same thing. No good can come of your parents’ game playing – which is what this is even if they don’t think it is- but it can cause great problems with you and your siblings. I echo everyone here that you should not participate in this game, but if you think your parents would be receptive, I do think it might be worth saying to them that they are creating an awkward situation for you that could be swiftly solved if they would just tell the whole family of their plans. Burdening you with this secret and exposing you to possible fallout from siblings for it is thoughtless.

      I left my family home at 14 and at 52 I am still running. My family is so much like yours. Solidarity! Hang in there and let us know how you are.

  13. Don't get salty*

    I’m keeping my mother at arm’s length because she has invited her brother , who is married and homeless, to live with her again. This time, she didn’t tell me; I found out when I arrived to her house and I overheard him showering. She confessed that he’d been living there for about a month before I knew.

    She’d previously kicked him out because he tried to break her mobility device in anger. Prior to that, he’d threatened to kill me. It was the property damage that prompted her to get rid of him. I live on my own, but I visit her to help with weekly errands. I told her that I don’t trust him and that I want her to tell me if he is going to be there when I plan to visit. She claimed that she forgot.

    I had a great discussion with a friend who told me about a show where a doctor helps families cope with difficult family members. The doctor works to heal loved ones’ mobility & disability issues (namely, family members who are bariatric and require surgery). The doctor explained (as told by my friend) that some people use their disability to create drama — to keep people close around them to do their bidding — and they don’t want to get better. It opened my eyes and I haven’t visited her for over a month. The longer I stay away, the less I want to see her.

    1. valentine*

      You’re not safe with either of them and there’s an argument for her being more dangerous because she’s secretive and seemingly passive, whereas he’s willing to make threats.

      I think there’s greater harm in not believing people about their disabilities, especially when your uncle violently made your mother more vulnerable, in general, and to him, in particular, even if it was only once. It was a threat to harm her, just as breaking belongings or punching walls is. (Not that you need to do anything about this. I think if you were to report him to adult services to try to get her help, they might turn on you and say it never happened or you did it.)

      If you feel relieved and free, keep at it. If not, keep at it, anyway, and see if you come to feel that way when you think about how you don’t have to see them.

    2. Thankful for AAM*

      I don’t really speak to my mom, I don’t try not to, its more I just don’t have anything to say so I did not call often. She noticed and made it a BIG DEAL.

      Anyway, I notice some coworkers felt better pulling back from their parents when they tralized I have too. We all give each other “permission” to have the level of family contact that is right for us.

      You get to have the level that is right for you. Be safe!

      1. Agent J*

        I agree. I’ve recently pulled back from talking to my mither because so many if iur conversations are about money: her lack of it, the impending doom of another bill being overdue, the unfilled promises to pay me back, the neverending requests for help. I love my mother and wish we were closer but the constant guilt/shame/stress around money is too much.

        @Don’t get salty — Your feelings are valid. If you feel better not seeing your mother, that means something. Kudos to you for being able to separate yourself and see the situation for what it is.

    3. tangerineRose*

      I think what you’re doing makes sense. Your mother doesn’t seem to be concerned about your safety.

    4. Wishing You Well*

      Trust your feelings and act in your own best interest.
      Many of us are dealing with parents who aren’t safe – physically, emotionally or both. The only healthy option is to minimize or eliminate contact. It’s sad, but necessary.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Her unwillingness to keep YOU safe, makes her just as dangerous as him. She knew not to tell you he was there, so she is aware of what she is doing.

      I am glad you are looking at this clearly. I take it you are having a sense of relief from not being around her, this probably means you need to continue to stay away. Get some support going on for yourself, if you feel you need to. And just keep going with your own life and your own plans.

      We can’t protect people from themselves. If we try we can end up injured. That injury could be physical, emotional or financial or any combination, but it is still an injury. Keep yourself safe first. This is something that your mom is NOT doing for herself, but you can make different choices for yourself.

      1. Don't get salty*

        His moving in and getting kicked out has been going on for over a decade.
        Her ultimate fantasy is for everyone to accommodate him and make his life easy and all be one big happy family. She’s the only one who allows this, but she constantly complains about it. Everyone else has cut him off.

        I’m seriously considering just cutting her out of my life, but I still hesitate.

        Thanks, everyone, for the support.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      I think I know what show you’re referring to. I’ve been watching it on Hulu. When people do that, there is no way to force them to work on the situation, even in the face of losing their life. The pain of staying the same has to outweigh the fear of change. I’m sorry this is happening in your family.

  14. Anon Would-Be Driver*

    This seems like a good group to ask.
    I couldn’t afford to learn to drive when I was younger. Then a now-ex tried to teach me and that didn’t go well. So it’s been almost 20 years since my last attempt.
    I am worried that I am just not attentive or skillful enough to drive properly.
    If you learned to drive later in life, how did you do it? How do I determine if I am actually capable of driving well?

    1. only acting normal*

      I learned a few years later than usual, long after my friends, but I was nervous about skill and attention too.
      I wouldn’t get a friend or family member to teach me, I’d pay for professional lessons, they’re pricey but worth it. My instructor was a woman who was very very calm and clear in her instructions (a boon as I don’t know left from right), and she almost never used the dual controls (maybe twice that I recall). Contrast with a school friend whose instructor was intervening constantly right up to the day they took (and passed) their test! If you don’t gel with/trust your instructor find another.
      Now in the car I still consciously *focus on driving*, mainly on awareness of the road, the physical actions are automatic now, but distractions take my skill level down a long (way even after 15 years regular practice). Just know yourself and what you need to be safe and comfortable.

      1. Avatre*

        I’m not sure if getting my license at 21 qualifies as “later in life,” but driving did not come easily to me *at all.* 16-year-old-me just barely passed the practical part of her school-district driver’s ed course, then refused to get behind the wheel again for two years. Never mind processing all the information that comes at you on the road, I had trouble physically controlling a car!

        When I finally let my parents persuade me to get another learner’s permit, my dad and I went all the way back to basics. We went to a big, veeeeeeerrrrrrry empty parking lot (I think it was the industrial district on the weekend or something like that), and I just drove circles and figure eights. I don’t think I even touched the accelerator the first day. We worked up to empty streets, the mall parking lot, less-empty streets, various kinds of parking, and, yes, highways. (Sometimes.) We did that on all my vacations home from college for almost three years. I still don’t really like to drive, especially at high speeds and/or in heavy traffic, but I got my license! It does get easier with practice. I just happened to need a lot more practice than most of my peers for whatever reason. Could be because I’m neurodiverse, could be I angered a traffic god as a child… ;)

        I second the recommendation for professional lessons, for a few months at least. My high school driving teacher was a blessedly unflappable guy and I did learn a lot from him. But asking a patient, licensed friend to take you to a very empty parking lot for a while is something I also recommend. It’s a lot easier to pay attention to the road when you know how to make the car go a consistent speed in a non-wobbly line, and I wish someone had told teenaged me that the two things are not the same skill!

        Best of luck!

    2. Lemonwhirl*

      Get a good professional to teach you. As “only acting normal” says, it’s pricey but worth it.

      Concentrate on looking for a good teacher who is going to work with you and suit your style. Ring a bunch of places, describe what you’re looking for, and ask questions. And if an instructor is a mismatch for you or is harsh with you, fire them and find someone else. Also, explain to the instructor that you’re very nervous and might need to build up your confidence in an empty car park or some place that there’s not a lot of cars or people.

      The other thing is to work on your own feelings about yourself and, if possible, maybe unwind some of this with a therapist. 16 and 17 year old kids are not, on a whole, skilful or attentive people, but they’re taught how to drive. I’m wondering about where your perception of yourself comes from and whether you’ve internalised some stuff that’s potentially not true and also causing you some harm.

      Be gentle and kind with yourself and try to take an attitude of “I am going to learn how to drive. With the right help, I can do this thing.”

    3. Novocastriart*

      I got my drivers licence in March, aged thirtyfreakinfive. Took a long time due to medical conditions, money, time and scaredness but I love it!!! Do it, was hands down the best thing I’ve ever worked for (spent a tonne of time and money on lessons because my husband couldn’t reach me but it was all absolutely worth it).

      1. Ann, you perfect sunflower*

        I stopped driving regularly around the time I was 27, after moving to a city and selling my car because parking would cost too much. For four years I drove occasionally, friends’ cars or Zipcar, and then I moved to an even bigger city and just… stopped. That city made me too anxious to drive in and there were plenty of other options. The longer I went without driving the worse my driving anxiety got. At 37 I decided to learn to drive again, and I found professional lessons – turns out learning or relearning to drive later in life is a whole thing, because you’re just so much more aware you’re not invincible than you were at 16/17. I took away some very practical advice on things like how to see if a car is coming through parked car windows, how to time my turns, etc, and I was reassured by the instructor that I’m a good driver. It helped a lot. I’m still slowly working on the anxiety part, getting up the courage to get back on the freeway soon, but that’s more cognitive behavioral than technique-related for me. I’d highly recommend you look for lessons near you, and I’d also suggest not scheduling anything immediately after your first few lessons. It’s a lot to pay attention to and at first I found myself very very tired after my lessons. Good luck!

        1. Lilysparrow*

          I also learned as a teen and then had to re-learn after living car-free for many years. It is quite common, as is not needing to learn young. The US tends to be so car-centric (for a lot of reasons, including simple geograpy) that it’s easy to forget many people just don’t need to drive, even here in the States.

          1. That Girl From Quinn's House*

            Yeah, I had this happen too. I learned to drive in high school, but I went to college in the city, then I moved to the city, and basically went 10 years without driving before we got trapped into moving to the suburbs and had to buy a car.

            I had been a bike commuter for the first year we lived in that suburb, so I practiced driving the routes I biked on, since I knew the traffic flow. It is scary, especially if you live somewhere with lots of angry, aggressive, reckless drivers who behave unpredictably! But it’s doable.

        2. Minocho*

          I’ve been driving since I was 16, with a short two year break while I was in Japan, so I don’t know much about learning to drive while older, but the comment about being more aware of our vulnerability as an adult than a teenager makes a lot of sense to me.

          One thing you can do even before you fine a teacher is start paying a lot of attention to the road when someone else is driving. Try to recognize when someone is not signalling, but is going to change lanes anyway. Look for drivers you think would be dangerous and think about how you can avoid them. There are signals that a driver projects into the motion of their car, and these motions give you clues as to what the driver will do next – I can’t describe these clues, but they have to exist, because I know when a driver is thinking of changing lanes, even without a signal or braking. There are patterns in the cars around you, and paying attention to that and learning to recognize these visual signals can only help you navigate the roads once you start driving.

    4. Marion Q*

      My mum got her licence at the age of 50, so it’s definitely possible to learn later in life! She had never had driving lessons before, so she wasn’t very confident at the beginning. She also has a tendency to space out and we originally worried about her ability to stay focused. I second the suggestion to pay for professional lessons. I think it was a big factor of why my mum was successful.

    5. Utoh!*

      My coworker told me her grandmother did not learn to drive until she was 70. All in all, if you want to learn to drive, then you should look into doing so through a professional driving school (of course comparison shop and check out reviews). I did when I had not driven in 10 years and was moving to a new state where I had to drive. I don’t think I could have had anyone related to me teach me to drive, way too much stress on both parties.

    6. Policy wonk*

      My mom didn’t drive until, in her 60’s, my dad died – she had always relied on him for transportation. If she could conquer her fear and do it, so can you! Around here there is a company run by off duty cops – they do a good job teaching. If you have something similar I’d recommend it.

    7. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      Lessons from a professional! Granted I was only getting a UK licence and have had a US licence for decades, but the professional has the insurance, experience, and the car with dual controls. A family member or friend will be more worried about you damaging their car on top of the stress of trying to teach you. Expensive-ish but less stress overall, plus they are invested in being honest with your skills and progress and not letting you book the test until you are ready.

    8. Lilysparrow*

      If you have enough coordination/multitasking ability to type on a computer while you talk on the phone, or cook a simple meal while watching TV or listening to the radio, then you probably have the attention and skill level needed to drive a car.

      The rest is just learning the mechanics and the rules.

      Driving schools exist for folks in your situation, don’t worry about it. You’ll be fine!

    9. Not So NewReader*

      Capability. How do you do maneuvering other things? A shopping cart, a lawn mower, etc? This will kind of guide you to see that you do understand spacial relationships. You know when something will fit in a space and when it won’t. You do understand how to figure that out and not crash into things.

      Have you ever operated anything with a foot pedal such as a sewing machine? Helpful, but not necessary. If you have operated anything with a foot pedal, you understand how pedals feel under the foot. I helped my friend get her license. She could not feel the pedal. Probably those shoes with 2 inch thick soles had something to do with it. I told her to take her shoe off. That is not illegal in my state, so know your state on this one. However officers do not like to see people driving “barefoot” here. Her solution was to get a cheap pair of shoes with very little sole so she could feel the pedal better.

      Not attentive. Fading attention can be just fatigue. Learning to drive is a big burst of concentration if you are not used to it. The solution here is to drive shorter distances and build up your endurance as far as paying attention. I had my friend quit for the day when she had success. “Do something well and then go home.” Most people keep pushing until they “mess up”, then go home dejected/upset. My friend build confidence as she had shorter lessons, did something well then she went home. Instead of fretting over a mistake, she was ready to go again the next time.

      Use down time to your advantage. Incubation time is a very helpful tool here. Incubation time is time spent just NOT thinking about driving. For reasons, my friend and I had to take a 3 week break in her driving practice. When she came back to it she was stronger than ever, even she could see a difference.

      Now my friend thought it really helped her to go out driving with her husband also. She wanted me around for a woman’s perspective but she found that she liked hearing her husband’s perspective also. The two of us talking to her dove-tailed well for her. A thing you can do to help yourself is to read about driving and read about things tangent to drive, such as tire safety, new signage on the roads, new features in vehicles and so on. My friend and I shared a fear of driving. So she did the same thing I did, she avoided the topic and tangent topics. Reading will help you. Instead of tuning out conversations about cars, listen in, that will help also.

      Do seriously consider getting a professional trainer to teach you to drive. Their cars are equipped with brake pedals on their side. They have final say in whatever you are doing. They should take you to an empty parking lot at first. This is your opportunity to get used to how much to turn the wheel and how much push the pedals need. You can pretend to park the car by going in and out of marked parking spaces. My friend and I went twice. But the third practice she said, “NO more parking lots!” I laughed. She was getting exasperated with me, and I was waiting for that. She had out grown the parking lot and was ready to try the back streets. We ended up driving all over.

      Like me, she found that driving at 50 mph was easier than driving at 30 mph. At 50 mph I forgot I was supposed to be “watching” her, we just went right along no problem. We both agreed that moving slowly through a busy downtown was harder. So we practiced the things that she was saying where hardest for her to do.

      Now I helped her for free. But I think that you should be able to tell a professional teacher where you are having the most difficulty and they can help you practice that and talk you through some pointers.

      Last. It’s a well-known secret. We don’t really learn to drive until after we get the license. Basically getting a license says that you know how to keep yourself relatively safe. With my friend, I kept mentioning how she would handle something if she were alone in the vehicle and had to decide for herself with no one to bounce ideas off of. You can do this too, you can say to the instructor, “If I am alone in the vehicle and I encounter x situation how do I decide what to do?”

    10. Elizabeth West*

      I learned how to operate a vehicle in high school, but I never became an actual driver until I was 32. Until then, I had no car, and no real need for one until I met someone who lived in a rural area an hour away from me. Then I pretty much had to bite the bullet. I got a very cheap car and had friends and family help me refresh that knowledge. I second the others who say if you can afford professional lessons and they’re available, that might help mitigate any anxiety you have about it.

      Driving was scary at first, especially the first time I ever drove here in MyCity. But the more you do it, the more intuitive it gets. Yes, you do have to pay attention, but it won’t seem like you’re swimming in total chaos forever.

      I love being able to drive myself around, but I do wish I lived somewhere with good public transport. It’s nice not to have to worry about it at times. I get so spoiled when I go to London; as long as I know where I’m going, all I have to do is hop on a damn train or a bus and let someone else worry about it.

    11. At the Wheel!*

      Me, age 38! I did take professional lessons, then took 4 times to pass the driving test ;-) (and mind you, in my state you just drive in a big parking lot, not in traffic). I still didn’t drive afterwards. But then I knew I really had to start, and we got a 2nd car for the family, so I was committed. I could not even drive that thing home from the dealer! So, this was my strategy: 1) reviewing where things are in the car several times with super patient husband; 2) driving around empty parking lot with super patient husband; 3) driving around the block with super patient husband and practicing parking; 4) watching how super patient husband drives to the store and to my work and any familiar shorter routes; 5) driving the same routes with with super patient husband; 6) driving by myself on one of these routes! My other goals where things like driving in the rain for the first time. Trying to merge for the first time. Filling up the car with gas for the first time. Driving into more urban area. Driving in the snow. Driving when I am not feeling 100%. Driving further distance. Driving in the dark! Driving on the highway for the first time (that took me another 3 years to build up to). I still need to work on my parallel parking goal :-) – I walk blocks so I can park somewhere on end of a block where nobody boxes me in. I know these might seem easy to many out there, but each was a BIG deal for me.

      My go-to at the beginning: Breathing deeply and using Bach Rescue Remedy, and double-checking everything. Driving slow and easy routes. No distractions like radio. If you can, get a car that doesn’t have a stick shift. For me, it was also important to get a used car so I would not feel so bad if (ok, when) I scratched it. I am also short, so I felt I could not tell where the right front end of the car was, and my super patient husband got me a little flag pole with magnet that I attached to that area and could see the top to estimate the end. Hearing things enough time and voicing loud what I am doing/about to do, and knowing my super patient husband would jump in and grab the wheel if needed. (So, “I will put on the blinker, slow down a bit and start turning right. The light is changing, I need to start stopping.”). Driving longer distance on less busy roads so I get to places comfortably. I second Not So New Reader’s friend about the shoe choices – if you see somebody with a stiletto on left foot and a tennis shoe on the right one getting out of the car, that’s me, looking silly but driving every day and okay with it now. Driving was terrifying for me, but I am really grateful I started driving and have so much more freedom now! P.S. My mom started driving around age 50.

      1. Bob*

        Thank you so much for this comment. (And thanks to the OP and other commenters too.)

        I also passed my test in my late thirties and also didn’t drive afterwards. I’m 42 now and for the last year I’ve been wondering (on and off) about how best to get back into driving but haven’t done anything about it. Your brilliantly worded tips have given me such a clear path for how to move forward, thank you!

    12. Bibliovore*

      Learned to drive st 54. Pay someone to teach you. Get a lot of practice . Someone told me to put a something sharp tasing in my mouth. So I always had a peppermint when I was going to drive. It helped me to say things out loud. Here comes a stop sign. Full stop. Look right look left look right,

    13. Llellayena*

      My mom didn’t learn to drive until she was pregnant with me, “just in case of emergency.” She hasn’t let go of the steering wheel since! I’ve also taught a friend how to drive when we were in grad school. I think finding a good instructor that works with your personality is key. Go professional if there’s no one you’d trust to stay calm when you do new-driver stupid things.

    14. Anon Would-Be Driver*

      I am really grateful for all these suggestions and anecdotes. It may take a while, but I hope to be back with an update as I progress. I agree professional lessons are the way to go.

      1. Madge*

        I’m currently teaching my daughter to drive. Here’s a few things we’re doing that may help you. Start with a large business parking lot that’s quiet on weekends. You’ll have street-width passages you can drive on at low speeds to get comfortable with positioning, turns and parking. Get out of the car often and measure your view from the driver’s seat with the actual position of the car. This might not work where you live, but we do figure 8s around 2 blocks in our neighborhood as a warmup before heading on our way. I don’t do much highway driving now and I’m always a little nervous when we rent a car at an airport and I have to go straight from the parking lot to a busy highway, so I think I need to find my own warmup routine.

    15. anon for this*

      I didn’t get a license until I was 27. I took failed the practical portion of the test when I was 16 and basically gave up on getting my license in high school. Then I ended up moving to NYC when I was 18 and didn’t need one for several years. When I moved back to the south I was able to take the bus pretty much everywhere I went.

      It became an issue when my parents moved to another state and I didn’t feel comfortable asking anyone else for rides to places I couldn’t take the bus. I was spending a ton on cabs (before Uber was a thing).

      I don’t suggest you do what I did, but here’s what I did. I read up on all the laws using the book the DMV has online. Then I bought an inexpensive car on Craigslist for around $1600 and I started driving. First around the parking lot of my apartment complex and the grocery store in front of it, and then I’d drive on surface streets out to the country and practice on the country roads. After about 3 weeks I was confident enough and drove myself to the DMV and took the test. The hardest part was parallel parking, which is the same thing I failed on when I was 16. The rest of the test was just driving through a neighborhood around the DMV where there was zero traffic.

      I was convinced I sucked at driving for over a decade but when I just stared doing it, it really wasn’t that bad. I probably should’ve done it the right way and gone to get a permit and done real driving lessons first, but at the time I couldn’t afford it. Also, absolutely start with an automatic transmission. One less thing to stress about.

    16. PBJnocrusts*

      Hi Anon I got a very paitent instructor. Parent and SO both tried to teach me, declared me ‘hopeless’. I told my instructor this and that I may need some extra patience and time. He was amazing I got my licence first test.

  15. Myrin*

    I’m having a weird plant issue which someone on here can hopefully help me with since Ms. Google as a whole has been quite unhelpful. First up, I’m an experienced gardener and it’s rare for me to be stumped, but here goes.

    When we moved in late February, we brought several trees we had originally planted in our old garden with us – among them, a dwarf weeping willow. We had dug them up and put them in big pots in autumn already, and they were doing fine all throughout the winter, which was snow-heavy and cold this time.

    The weeping willow was in a pretty shallow pot (the only one still available which would accommodate its roots) with not that much ground and fell over several times, both during the move and later at the new flat. However, it’s a survivor! It started sprouting in early April, you could see the enlarged buds and the beginnings of some catkins already. However, I was afraid to let it stay in the shallow pot longtime and specifically bought large pots to plant the trees into, which we did before my gallbladder surgery because I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it afterwards for quite some time.

    Now in a bout of spectacularly bad luck, literally two days after we’d successfully replanted the trees, it started to become colder again and even to snow! For the record, it was highly weird that it snowed – it usually snows at 0 degrees and it was 5 to 8 degrees then, so not, like, extremely cold, but certainly cold enough and wet-snow-y enough that all the newly sprouted trees (the ones in the forest surrounding our house also!) were in for a nasty shock and promptly stopped any attempt at growing. It had been cold-ish and really rainy for a long time afterwards but it’s been very warm for two or three weeks now and all of the little replanted trees have started growing again – except for the little willow.

    I don’t want it to have died because of this stupid weather change and I don’t think that it did, but I’m worried. It’s not drooping or anything, and if you scratch at it, you can see that it’s still very green underneath, but it’s not sprouting, either. I love that little guy and desperately hope my dumb timing in replanting it didn’t do permanent damage to it, but I’m at a loss – have any of you experienced something like that? Is it possible for trees to be so shocked by a new environment that they promptly freeze in time?
    I could find one source describing something similar and it said the tree basically went into its hibernation phase again and then sprouted normally during the next spring but man, I don’t know.

    1. Venus*

      There are gardeners who answer questions on Mondays. I suggest looking up Ed Lawrence and Ontario Today.

    2. fposte*

      I don’t think you’re going to get much better than “Wait and see,” but if it’s still green underneath, I think the theory that it went dormant again is a plausible one.

    3. Jaid*

      Look up “You Bet Your Garden” with Mike McGrath… You can contact him via Facebook and he has a Saturday call-in radio show at noon EST

    4. Lilysparrow*

      Yes, I’ve had a similar thing happen to shrubs and trees when the weather was strange, or after transplanting. Some of them seemed to take forever to come around.

      Some sprouted again very late in the season and were normal the next year. Others stayed dormant until the following spring.

      A couple we lost to a second shock of drought or freeze. So I’d recommend you baby it a bit if the summer is extra-hot or dry, and maybe wrap it this winter.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      That thin green layer is called the cambium layer. That’s its life line. You don’t want to dig at that green layer- or scratch it. I’d say as long as you can see that it still has a cambium layer then the wood probably is not dead.

      There is a thing called transplant shock. So yes, transplanting will slow down the growth of a plant sometimes. It sounds like it was pot-bound and the roots are taking their time spreading out in their new home. If the roots are really rapped tight around each other, I usually loosen the fist, so the roots can spread out. If you did not loosen the roots before putting them in the new pot, this could be part of the problem. (Just guessing here.)

      Other than that, I would say make sure you keep up on the watering as willows like wet feet. If you have some 5-10-5 fertilizer you may consider giving it a lunch. And make sure it has good light, so the plant remembers, “Oh, yeah, it’s spring!”

      This is just general stuff. Kind of along the lines of making sure the car has gas before taking the engine apart to find the problem. Others gave resources to check, be sure to check there also.

  16. Myrin*

    “3 nurses”? That’s so sweet – I’m assuming they’re keeping watch over you, Alison?

    1. Jessen*

      I love that about cats – how they basically say “I love you” by “I’m just going to relax near you now where I can see you.”

      1. Anoncorporate*

        My roommate’s cat who is not the most social cat in the world always reappears out of his hiding spot to keep me company when I’m sick. Kitties are the best!

      2. Windchime*

        I love that, too. My sister came over once, years ago, and was very upset and crying. She is not a cat lover and is very allergic, so she had never, ever touched my cat. He came and sat at her feet while she sobbed. He just looked up at her, with his eyes half closed, and sat by her while she cried. It was very sweet.

      3. Minocho*

        When I was sleeping because felt horrible, I would wake up with my cats’ toys arranged around my head, as they slept next to me. So sweet!

  17. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

    I’m planning to bring home a new-to-me rescue doggie tomorrow! I meet her at noon and hopefully all goes well. I hadn’t heard back on my application, and had given up hope (I put it in last weekend)… but boom, not only do I meet her, I can bring her home!

    She’s only 6 – the last several dogs I’ve gotten have been senior citizens, and a couple fosters in the last year of their life. It’s been awhile since I had a “younger” dog!

    So I’m super excited. I went out tonight and put up the interior yard dog fence (around the big covered patio, access to the house through the dog door – she doesn’t stay out there – the house is “hers”, but it’s an extension of her space). I want to make sure she does respect the 4 neighbor cats – who hang out in the jungle of the far back yard (it’s about 1/4 acre) and keep the barn and outside portable garages “mouse free.” This way, she can’t chase them…. Once I’m sure she’s integrated and respectful, she “may” get further access, but… I want to keep a close eye on her first.
    Oh, so looking forward to this!

    1. JenRN*

      Congrats! We got a rescue dog in March. Finally feels settled in just in the last two weeks. He is very reactive on leash to all sorts of things and had been abused and is afraid of anything with a handle (broom, rake, etc) and steel toed boots (and of course the city workers have been in our neighbourhood x 2 months…).

      Finding his triggers and correcting has been a real challenge. He’s super trainable though and our local canine school does “Reactive Rover” classes. So all the operant conditioning tricks are working a treat. I hadn’t thought about Pavlov and Skinner since university days!

      The turning point was being able to get him to the off leash park and burn off the energy. A tired dog is a good dog. Anyways, all this to say if your pup has had a rough start too the best tip they gave us was to remember that re: unwanted behaviours, they aren’t giving you a hard time they are having a hard time.

    2. Smol Book Wizard*

      Best wishes to you and your new pupper! My little shy poodle is about that age and I just got her last Christmas… at least by our experience it’s a great age. Snuggles and maturity but still enough energy to do runabouts.
      I’m waiting Very Impatiently till I’m stable enough in my circumstances to add another dog to the crew.

    3. rubyrose*

      I remember the anticipation right before I got mine two years ago! Congratulations.

    4. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      She’s home. I feel for the foster mom (who has a worsening health issue that made her feel doggie would be better with a younger adopter… but wanted to originally adopt her, so has fostered her for a year). Met her, we both cried. This is a wonderful gift. So doggie is mellow, happy, clean, and no longer as traumatized (hoarder situation).
      She “does” show signs of separation anxiety …. I went out to triple check the fence, and she never left the door I closed, so I am concerned that she won’t do well at all alone. She will be alone for very small chunks of time – 3-4 hours 2x a week – in the next few months, since I primarily can work from home.

      I think the key will be a BIG walk to wear her out, right before I go in for the staff meetings at work. That way, she should sleep most of the time.

      I’d love to post a picture – she is the sweetest white/tan shih tzu. I’ll have to see if I can!

      1. Sunny*

        Congratulations! Our rescue has some level of anxiety, but we didn’t really know that, and when we first brought him home, we gave him the run of the house day/night. Mistake; he started chewing furniture. Got him a crate and he took to it really well — we kept him in during working hours. After a year, he can stay home w/the crate door open, and I’m pretty sure he sleeps in it while we’re away.

        Good luck!

    5. PBJnocrusts*

      This is so lovely to hear- I hope all goes well for your new pooch. I have 3 rescues ;)

  18. matcha123*

    I’ve been living overseas for over a decade. I’d like to make the move back home to the US, but in my mind I need to have a significant financial cushion in order to get through what may be a long period of unemployment.
    My friend and parent think I’m overthinking and that I should just dump my things and move home with what I can carry.

    The concerns they see as overblown are:
    Needing significant savings. My family is not large and not rich. I don’t really have family that can afford to feed me for a significant amount of time.
    I never got a driver’s license when I was in the US because my family couldn’t afford a car. I’d need to learn how to drive and buy a car. Which brings me to my next point…
    Since I’ve been out of the US for so long, I have no credit. Renting an apartment, getting a credit card, leasing a car are all pretty much a no-go for me, unless I have a large amount of cash I can put down. Again, I can’t ask for help from my family.

    Am I overthinking the amount of money I’d need (10 – 20k at least) to take with me, or should I trust that “everything will work out” like my friend and parent think they will?
    For people that have moved back to the US from overseas, or even from one coast to the other, did you have a good amount of savings with you or did you just ditch your stuff and hope everything would work out?

    1. Anonymouse for this*

      I’m in a similar situation – live overseas but thinking of returning back to UK. A few friends have had the same “it’ll be fine you don’t need that much money” mindset. But as far as I’m concerned the dollar amount has to be what works for me. I know how much money I want in my relocation fund – worked out worse case scenario of no job for a year and set up costs of rent/car etc. It’s great that they’re eager to have you back but they’re not the ones that will be living through the stress of relocating with limited money. The one or two people who really wouldn’t let it go I’ve laughingly said if they want to pay for my expenses while I”m out of work then I’ll come straight back and live with/off them indefinitely – which finally stopped the discussion :o)

      1. matcha123*

        This. I told my friend she could pay my expenses and she was sure that I could find a job paying over 80k a year if I just applied myself and looked…

        1. Anonymouse for this*

          Lol – I have same conversation with my mum whenever my returning home comes up. She can’t understand that I will end up having to take a large paycut when I go back to the UK, especially if I don’t want to work in London or another big city. Hence the reason I feel the need to stockpile as much cash as possible to cushion the fall when I return.

          I’m currently trying to figure out any options for working from home – maybe that could be an option that would work for you.

    2. Weegie*

      Hope you don’t mind a reply from someone who moved back to the UK (rather than the US) after a similar length of time working overseas (Asia).

      This was 20 years ago, so adjust the amounts involved for today’s prices, but I returned with the equivalent of about $30,000 in savings. I didn’t need it all immediately – I used about a third of it as a ‘float’ to keep me going while I got started. (I needed the rest a few years later when I fell ill, but that’s another story.)

      Things that helped: I stayed with a relative for the best part of a year until I got a decent job and could get my own place. I didn’t pay rent, but contributed to household costs and paid for my own food. I was also able to get work quickly – it was low-paid temp stuff, but kept me going and meant I just used my savings as a top-up. I lived in a big city and didn’t need a car, so one less expense.

      Yeah, ditch the stuff! I sold or gave away everything except my books, clothes and a few sentimental items – even then, I was surrounded by boxes during my first year home.

      Stuff you might not anticipate: reverse culture shock. It takes a while to get re-established in all ways (work, friends, family, health, life), and I do think a financial cushion helps with this phase. I started mentally and financially preparing for my return roughly 18 months before I made the move, and I’m glad I did. It meant I didn’t ever seriously do the ‘why did I ever come home?’ thing.

      Good luck with whatever you decide!

      1. matcha123*

        It does help, thank you! Based on the replies here, I’ll need about 30k in savings…at the rate I’m going now, I’ll be here another decade!

      2. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        Can confirm – we came to the UK with about $30K as well in 2014 and it took us 9 months to get jobs. We used about a third in living costs then (staying with a friend on her floor rent free, going to stay with family in another European country for a few weeks at a time when we needed a break). Then another third getting sorted with rent and start-up costs for a flat. The final third was a cushion that was good to have and went towards paying US-based student loans and some remaining credit card debt.

        We made it through and it was stressful, but I also didn’t anticipate the UK labor market to be this rough at a senior level. Be aware that the economy is starting to stall and it seems like it is taking longer and longer to get jobs again. But I can understand wanting to move home.

        To this point we are looking at moving back to the US in 2021 probably – after the election, after we get citizenship here, and are saving up accordingly, just in case. Hopefully this time we will be able to get jobs before we move back!

    3. Paris-Berlin-Seoul Express*

      I moved back to the US without a job after living in Europe for over 10 years. I had a budget of about 45K. That included shipping my household goods, buying a car for all cash, car insurance, temporary health insurance, and having enough to live on for several months while looking for work and having some money to move to wherever I found a job (I applied US wide). I prepaid my rent for six months to include the deposit. It was pretty nerve racking because it took me more than four months to find a decent job and 5 1/2 months before I started working and I ended up having to move to another state. I think alot depends on where you are planning to move to. If it’s a rural area or suburban area, how would you get around without a car? How would you get to work or interview for jobs? Do you have any health issues that require medication/doctor visits? How would you support yourself while looking for a job? Obviously, some of these concerns are not valid if you’re moving back to a big city because you can use public transportation and you’ll probably will also have an easier time finding work. In the end, it all worked out for me and it was the best decision I ever made from a financial standpoint but it could have ended differently if I hadn’t had that financial cushion. So, I would definitely tell you to listen to what your gut instinct is telling you and don’t listen to your family and friends unless you know that they’re willing and able to support you.

    4. CoffeeforLife*

      I’ve done several big moves and money is so very very helpful. Just keep in mind that it’ll be difficult to rent a place without a steady source of income (job). I ran into that problem when I made a move. I second staying with a friend to find your feet and acclimate).

      You’ll find that even having money is no replacement for good credit though. I bought a new car solely based on my credit score – I wasn’t working, had limited money in the bank but my score was 800+

      See if you can get a US based credit card to start your history now while you’re still in the planning phase (look for one with no international fees/conversation charges). Buy small things (if your area allows their use) and pay them off each month. If you cant use one where you live maybe you can set up recurring payments for a friend/family and they pay you back each month. Something small like Netflix/gym membership etc.

      Best of luck whatever you decide!

    5. Thankful for AAM*

      My son had the same no credit, needed a cheaper place to live issues but it was bc he was young, not moving back to the US.

      He got credit like cards from his bank, the kind you put money on and use them for purchases. He did not want store credit cards which also help with credit. It built up his credit fairly quickly.

      He also used roommates.com to find a room in a house that costs him less than half of the cheapest apartment rental in his area and he is really happy there.

      Once he got a job, I cosigned a car loan with him and thatbsolved the car issue (not the learning to drive issue).

      1. fposte*

        When I was building credit, I found a gas card one of the easiest to get. I didn’t have a car, so I just paid for gas in friends’ cars and they paid me back in cash.

    6. Thankful for AAM*

      25 years ago, we (me, spouse, 3 year old child) moved back to the US with 3 suitcases, a few boxes, and about $1,000.

      We were probably a bit foolish but we moved back bc spouse had a job at a uni and we felt the income would get us started. I stayed in another state with my family for 1 month till he found an apartment. He was able to walk or bike to work at first (he had no credit bc not a US citizen at that time and I had no credit bc out of the US and no job). And he had to borrow the apartment first and last from his uni officemate! So glad I was not there to be part of that awkward convo.

      Anyway, it can be done on little money I think!

    7. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I had $10k saved up and all debt cleared when I moved from Seattle back home to the Midwest. I wasn’t starting from scratch – I had a car and a planned landing spot and credit and all that jazz – but I wanted to be unemployed for at least the rest of the year (I moved in late May) because I hadn’t been not-working for more than a couple weeks at a time for fifteen years, and I didn’t figure I was going to be in a position to take, and fully enjoy, an extended break like that again. I ended up also getting a small inheritance and taking advantage of that to extend my break and do some traveling, so it ended up being about 18 months before I got back into my career field.

    8. Glomarization, Esq.*

      I’ve had clients who moved to Canada from the U.S., where the issues are very similar. The big ones that come to mind are:

      – Yep, you will have a hard time getting anything on credit, so be prepared to buy things with cash. For a while it will feel like you’re absolutely hemorrhaging cash, even though you know your spending only on essentials.

      – You probably can’t get a “real” credit card right away, so see which bank will give you a secured card: low limit, and you have to pay it off every month. Use it wisely and you’ll start to get offers for credit cards with horrifically high APRs and surprisingly low credit limits, but at least they’ll be “real” credit cards, which you can use wisely to get better offers after your first couple of years.

      – Are you in a country now where a bank can offer an account that holds U.S. dollars? And does that bank have a related U.S. entity? (For U.S.-Canada readers, my clients have used TD Bank and TD Canada Trust, for example.) Even if that’s not your preferred bank for the long term, setting up accounts with them before your move can make it easier to move your non-U.S. savings back to the U.S. after your move.

      – Talk to an accountant and/or tax advisor who is familiar with people moving back to the U.S. so that you don’t inadvertently do something that incurs a huge tax bill for yourself. By the same token, keep paperwork on hand that you will need to prove to your current country that you are no longer resident there after Date X so that you don’t have tax liability there any more.

    9. Overeducated*

      I did this with around $8k in savings and needed maybe $2-3k, but I was in my early 20s and able to live very very cheaply in ways that might not sound so good now:
      -stayed with my family for the first month, ate their food for free while planning to move
      -rented a room in a group apartment that had just been vacated mid-lease, so I didn’t have to put down first and last and also wasn’t tied down when it came time to leave
      -moved somewhere with robust enough public transportation that I didn’t need a car – I could drive but cars are $$$
      -got a part time job ASAP so I wasn’t running through my savings entirely while looking for something better, which was important because the job market was awful and that took forever. This is where most of my money went, offsetting costs in the first 4 months while I only had one part time job.
      -got subsidized health insurance through the state exchange – probably more expensive now since prices rose in the laat few years, but cost me $30/month at the time, with a 2+ month wait for an intake appointment to access any care

      So I think it can be done without much money, but you are right that it may require not having all the things you want to build a life right away, and deciding what lifestyle you can live with is part of figuring out your timing. I think “it will all work out” is a philosophy that requires a support system, compromise, or both. Good luck deciding!

    10. Waffles*

      We (spouse + toddler) moved to Washington DC from overseas and we ended up using about 40k of our savings over 6 months to get settled and pay for our regular living expenses. We didn’t stay with family or friends so were renting straight off. We were moving for a job, but my husband didn’t work for about 6 months. We had to slowly get everything all over again because we had ditched most of is stuff (mattress, cutting boards, sheets, etc), and we did buy a car in cash. You can have a US credit card while living overseas, but we liked putting everything in cash because having credit card debt is stressful for us. I have done this move at other times in my life and spent way less money (living in NYC where I didnt need a car), but moving can cost more than you think, and it is nice to give yourself a cushion.

    11. Traffic_Spiral*

      Credit: Do you have, or can you set up a bank account in the USA? If you can do that first, then you can use it to get a credit card – see if you can get a travel card that doesn’t penalize overseas purchases (capital one’s ‘Venture’ is pretty good). Use the travel card to buy stuff occasionally and always pay it off at the end of the month (set up autopay if you can). that’ll get your credit going. Also, you can stuff money in the USA account as you save up.

      How much money you need:

      That depends on where you (cost of living, relatives) are and how soon you think you could get another job. Personally, I’d over-save. Even after you get your new job, you’re still going to want savings, social security/retirement fund, possibly down payment on a house, etc.

      1. Glomarization, Esq.*

        Unfortunately it’s pretty much impossible to open up a bank account in the U.S. without appearing at the bank in person, and showing a U.S. address.

        1. ..Kat..*

          There are banks that are US banks, but are online only. I.e., they do not have any brick and mortar banks that you can walk into.

          1. Glomarization, Esq.*

            You still need a residential address in the U.S. to open even an online-only account with a U.S. bank.

        2. Traffic_Spiral*

          Yup, that’s why I asked if she had one or had the ability to open one. Lots of USA expats (your truly included) keep one, and if she’s taking a trip back to visit family any time soon she can go in to a bank and use a parent’s or sibling’s address.

          1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

            I wondered this, too. I’m an expat but I never gave up my ties to the US so I still have my bank account, credit cards, drivers license, and address registered at my parents’ house. If you have any of these things currently set up or can get them it will be one less hurdle.

            IIRC you can register to vote in the area you last lived in before moving, so that might be one place to start. I don’t know if that varies by state but you could contact the relevant county clerk’s office.

      2. matcha123*

        I have two credit union accounts. The newest one I opened said that they would give me a credit card after I could show a W2 from a job in the US. Which I don’t have. I don’t want to use a bank like Chase or BoA because I don’t have enough in savings to keep an account open without accruing monthly charges. I have a small amount of money, less than $500, in an account.
        Based on friends that moved back I could be jobless for a few years. My hometown has good transportation, but the outlaying cities don’t. Unfortunately for me, as far as my searches online have shown me there’s not much available for me in my field in my hometown…

        1. Traffic_Spiral*

          Well, Step 1: save enough to open a BoA checking account. BoA is evil, but they have a decent online banking option, and don’t panic every time you send in some instructions from overseas.

    12. Movin’ Movin’*

      So we made the move back to the U.S. last year after living in Japan for about 15 years, and I can completely sympathize with the anxiety around savings and logistics with the move.

      I think there are so many different factors (# of family members, lifestyle choices, where you are moving to in the U.S., etc), it’s hard to say how much savings is needed. I’m sure there are ways to do the move with minimal savings, but overall having more money makes it less stressful, and regardless of whether others say you can do it with less, if you would feel more secure doing it with more savings it may be better for your own mental health to spend a bit of time saving and planning before moving back. Personally for us, we discussed/planned for about 18 months before coming back which allowed us time to financially (and mentally) plan for the move back home.

      I think you are coming from Japan, so hopefully this is a relevant (if not – apologies!). There may some sources of money you haven’t factored in (or maybe you have!) that will be helpful with the move.
      – Given we were foreigners living in Japan, we had to have 4 months of rent as a rental deposit so that was nice to get back (most of it). Rent and our deposit in Japan was more expensive than in the U.S. so that money went a bit further.
      – You need to file your taxes before leaving the country. We received a tax refund after filing given we were leaving mid year.
      – You say you’ve been there 10 years – I am not sure for how much of that time you paid into their pension versus U.S. Social Security. If less than 10 years, you could consider receiving a (partial) lump sum payment. But I believe this will negate any reciprocity agreement between the U.S. and Japan governments that you can apply for when reaching retirement age so you need to consider carefully given your circumstances. Any lump payment would be paid AFTER leaving Japan.
      – We sold a bunch of our stuff so that was some help (although minimal).

      Moving stuff overseas is very expensive! That being said I am not entirely convinced that selling everything, moving and then having to buy new stuff in the new location is really significantly cheaper. We moved maybe half (or less) of our furniture, so after moving we had to buy a new sofa, TV, a bed for our child, mattresses, dressers, etc. None of that stuff is particularly cheap and it really added up. This of course depends a bit on where you get it – so if Craig’s List, IKEA, recycle lists, etc are options – that will greatly help. So my general advice would be to move the stuff you need and would use, and be ruthless in getting rid of the things you don’t need.

      I think some of the other advice about trying to build up credit in the U.S. beforehand is also a really good idea.

      1. matcha123*

        Yes, I am in Japan! I’ve been paying into the pension here for all the time I’ve been working, which is over 10 years. My friend is adamant that taking the delayed tax refund of max. 3 years is better than keeping the money in pension. I think it’s better to let the money sit. I only need to work about 3 or 4 more years in the US to be eligible for SS here, too.
        Thank you, I don’t have a huge amount of stuff. I ended up selling and throwing away a lot of things a few years ago when I moved within Japan. And tossing good work clothes and books that I use for work/study doesn’t make sense to me.

        My friend is perhaps a bit naive, imo, because she’s always had a large family to fall back on and they are well-off. My parent is fine living in poverty as long as a family member is close-by. My friend has been berating me for years about my lack of motivation towards moving back while completely dismissing my concerns are overblown. Reading through the comments, I’m glad that I’m on the right track.

        1. ADHDAnon*

          The Wirecutter (product review website, owned by NY Times Corp) has a series of articles around building credit, including for people new to the US. I know you’re not exactly new, but the info is probably similarly. Might be worth looking at- their product reviews and are fantastic, I’d imagine their financial stuff is too.

    13. ..Kat..*

      People who aren’t doing the actual work and taking the actual risks and living with the actual consequences (like your parent and friend) can be overly optimistic about what is needed. But, since they will not be the ones to suffer anything if they are wrong, I think you should listen to your gut. Plus, I think you are wise to prepare a financial cushion. From what you say, your friend and parent won’t be stepping up to help you out if they are wrong.

      Good luck moving back to the US. Do you plan to move near your parent and friend? Or are you looking for a new place to experience?

      1. matcha123*

        Ideally I’d find a place in a larger city like Chicago or NYC that have companies that would hopefully be in need of my skillset. Realistically, my a smaller city in my home state or another smaller state might be the best options (hence the need for a car and driver’s license).

    14. Minocho*

      When I came back to the States after two years in Japan, I had $4000, and my parents let me live with them for a few months. I used the money to buy a used car, and finding a job took about 9 months (and it wasn’t an awesome job then). You should listen to what your brain is telling you, because it makes sense to me, and it will make you feel more comfortable and confident when you come back. Confidence and comfort will be huge helps when you’re interviewing for employment!

      How nice it is to know you family would love to have you back sooner rather than later! Enjoy that knowledge, let them know how much you love them, and do it the way that will work for you!

  19. Orange You Glad*

    My neighbors got a puppy that cries all day long while they are gone. I’m not a “dog person” so I’m wondering how long until it grows out of this behavior?

    This will stop at some point, right?!

    (Not a dog person meaning I wasn’t raised with dogs, never had one myself, and have a slight allergy so I mostly avoid them.)

    I’m self employed and work 100% from home and the crying is both heartbreaking because it sounds so sad by itself & obnoxious because it’s loud.

    We’re in an apartment building and they are the floor below me.

    1. Wren*

      You should let them know! Happily and neighborly but they really may have no idea that the pup cries all day. It’s not good for the pup.

      They will often not grow out of it without training, so you want them aware and working on it now.

    2. Venus*

      They don’t grow out of it. Suggest they get distractions for the dog, specifically a kong to freeze kibble and treats in it. Dogs often do well with crate training (this needs actual training to make it a safe space). This is why dogs in apartments can be difficult (many are fine, but it only takes one noisy one to cause a lot of problems… )

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      It can stop, but only if they take steps to fix it… and they won’t know they have to fix it unless you tell them. :) The crying is likely separation anxiety and (if they’re good dog owners) there are a few things they can do. If you know them, speak to them in person, but if not, a kind note “from the neighbor upstairs” is ok. Just tell them you want to make them aware that the puppy cries all day, and while it does bother you, you’re more concerned for the puppy than anything else.

      Our dog had separation issues when we first brought him home; he would bark and cry when we left. Thankfully, it only lasted for a few minutes, but our neighbors were very kind about it and we felt that some trial-and-error was ok.

    4. No fan of Chaos*

      There is a device on Amazon for bark control that looks like a little cottage. It eats batteries but the one that looks like an egg eats more and is not as effective. Put it on the bare floor and turn the adjustment to high. I can’t hear the tone but the dog does. I used it when a neighbor moved in and the dog cried loudly from 4-6pm. Occasionally the dog would bark once to see if the tone was still set. Saved my sanity and I was in control.

      1. roger 1*

        Thats horrible. You should speak to the neighbor and not punish their dog. Would you hit someone else kids? You should be ashamed that you did this.

    5. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      Let them know (nicely)! I had a similar problem with my neighbor, who had just gotten a new puppy. She didn’t cry or bark when they were in the house but as soon as they left she started. The neighbor was trying to kennel train her and she didn’t like it at all. But she ended up getting a bigger kennel and putting both her dogs there together when they went out, and that seems to have solved the problem. Maybe your dog is bored or scared, and something like different toys, a radio on in the background, etc. would help. My neighbor was very nice about it and and thanked me for letting her know that her dog was in distress.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      You could suggest leaving a radio playing softly. You might get lucky and have that work.

    7. ..Kat..*

      That is too long for a puppy to be alone. Can you suggest that they get a midday dog walker?

    8. Batgirl*

      My neighbour’s dog cried well into old age because they never took any action to stop it.

  20. Mom Waiting*

    We’re waiting for two life changing letters at the moment. One with the date for one child’s (minor but important) surgery, and one telling us whether or not another child has a place at the prestigious school that will really suit him. It feels like life is on hold, but of course daily life has to go on.

  21. Cows go moo*

    I am having a mental health break down. I’m in a fortunate situation where I can take a few days off work but I judge myself for it. I feel like I am being weak and pathetic and the voice inside my head keeps saying “this is stupid, you can’t even handle this? What’s wrong with you? Suck it up.”

    I have no energy to be patient. I spent the last couple of days in bed sleeping and playing games on my phone. My home is a mess and my in laws have been bringing food over because I can’t be bothered cooking. I feel pathetic.

    (Not looking to get advice about long term treatment, just venting about my own feelings of guilt)

    1. Novocastriart*

      I’m glad you’re taking time to look after yourself and that your in-laws are bringing food. You’re not pathetic. All the best to you, I hope you are able to to regroup and restore x

    2. Lena Clare*

      Here in sympathy with you! Just been off work with a major bout of it.
      My meds are finally kicking in I think, at least I feel slightly better but that might be because the side effects are wearing off.
      Fuck feeling guilty. Seriously. I hope you feel better soon.
      Jedi hugs.

    3. LGC*

      I’m really sorry!

      I’m not sure how much this will help, but even by recognizing what you’re going through and taking steps to combat it, you’re not weak and pathetic. And I’ll admit, this is something that people say OFTEN in response to people having mental health issues, but…okay, so your home is a mess, your inlaws are cooking for you, and you’re thinking of taking a mental health week. But also, it sounds like this is all just temporary.

    4. My Brain Is Exploding*

      Would you feel this way about yourself if you were physically ill, no energy, no patience, didn’t feel like cooking, house a mess, lying in bed, playing on your phone? You might just think you needed to rest and take care of yourself! So do the same now, rest and take care of yourself, and also realize that the guilt you feel is a part of the mental health breakdown, not a result of it! Hang in there.

    5. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      I can relate. Every time I have a depressive episode I seem to berate myself a lot for feeling bad when there is nothing actually wrong in my life. Usually it goes away after a few days but sometimes I have to write my feelings out, including all of the self-hating bullsh*t, and then I feel better. Almost like mental vomiting? It’s weird but definitely a pattern for me.

    6. Not A Manager*

      If your friend called and told you all of this, what would you say? I bet you wouldn’t judge your friend or say mean things to them. You are taking steps to care for your own health. Please talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend that you love.

      1. Blarg*

        Yup, my psychiatrist once told me to be as kind to myself as I am to my friends. And that framing really helped me. I still feel guilty when I take care of myself sometimes, but I also somehow manage to feel guilty when I don’t feel guilty enough. Which is impressive. ;) Most importantly, perhaps, is that you cannot care for others (or do your job well) if you aren’t taking care of yourself. So by prioritizing your health, you are, in fact, prioritizing your commitments and obligations. Much support in whatever way you need it (cheerleading, empathy, etc).

    7. Claire*


      One thing I remember from their kitten days is that both went through a daily bonkers hour. As in, bouncing around the house like wild things, after which they dropped dead to sleep. Kinda like toddlers.

    8. Jane of all Trades*

      I commend you for admitting that you need a few days and following through. If a good friend of yours were in that situation, you probably wouldn’t judge them for taking a few days to take care of themselves, right? And if you were physically unwell, rather than mentally unwell, it would be entirely normal to stay home and take care of yourself until you feel better. Feeling unwell mentally, as opposed to physically, is no less real, and you deserve to take care of yourself.
      I understand that feeling though. My job is ridiculously stressful, and I have had to take a day, or even just an evening off to feel a little better. Admitting to myself that I needed that was hard, because I somehow felt weaker for it. But it was necessary and needing a break sometimes is not weakness. I hope you feel better soon and are kind to yourself!

    9. knitter*

      I totally get it–I had a rough Winter with mental health. When I came out of it and could see clearly, while there were things I could have done differently, overall I was just shocked by how much energy it took to do basic things. I couldn’t have done more. Now I can, but looking back, I’m still floored by how different I feel now and how much easier things are just because whatever is going on in my brain is different now. Feeling better now makes it more clear how much my brain was making life challenging for me. It wasn’t clear when I was in it.

    10. PBJnocrusts*

      Same here Cows, same here. I’m sorry this post is not a supportive one – just to say I hear you! Please let things improve for us both. Ready to throw myself in front of a train right now.

  22. Sam Sepiol*

    Is anyone watching/has anyone watched Good Omens?

    I’ve got 2 left to watch but I’ve read the book… shall we keep the discussion spoiler-light? I don’t know how much it diverges from the book.

    1. Sam Sepiol*

      (I absolutely love how Aziraphale and Crowley interact. I also have a raging crush on Crowley.)

      1. MissDisplaced*

        I love David Tennant and try to follow all his roles. He’s playing Crowley much like he did in Fright Night, in a very sexy/dangerous Rock Star manner and look. Though a couple of times I thought he looked a bit like Geddy Lee from Rush LOL!

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I haven’t watched it yet. I read the book a million years ago but remember pretty much nothing about it, trying to decide if I should reread it before or after watching. My husband, who is a huge Pratchett nut, blew through the whole thing in one sitting and really enjoyed it, and I’ve heard good things from other friends who have watched it.

      1. T. Boone Pickens*

        I’ve seen the ads and have been thinking about making the plunge. The cast appears to be top notch. Between this, Chernobyl, new seasons of Black Mirror and Designated Survivor I’ve got some tough choices to make on what to watch next. Thanks for the reminder!

      2. Sam Sepiol*

        Oooh I’ve read the book about a million times and know sections off by heart. I might suggest watching before re-reading if you don’t remember the book very well. I can’t wait to watch the last two tonight!

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’m 2 episodes in and read the book way back when it first came out.
      One thing I love about the internet is reading authors social media posts in the gaps between new books. Neil Gaiman’s posts during the filming of American Gods and Good Omens were a blast. Apparently they got some really weird storm cloud skies when filming an oncoming apocalypse or battle (now I can’t remember which show) so no special effects were needed for that scene!
      And may I just say, Good Omens could be a gold mine of kitten names.

      1. Sam Sepiol*

        Oh my good God you’re right about the names. I had one in mind but I might save that for a future kitten!!

    4. Lady Alys*

      I’ve read the book somewhat recently (within the past year) and seen all the episodes now. I really enjoyed it; the casting was fabulous and the Crowley/Aziraphael relationship is adorable. They did cut some characters, and I would say that they didn’t spend as much time on the kids as the book does, but it still works.

    5. Middle School Teacher*

      I’m finding it fairly faithful to the book, aside from the addition of a few characters and fleshed-our backstory of Aziraphale and Crowley. The important parts are there (Crowley and his plants, for example).

      I’m really enjoying it! The casting is perfect, and I like the voiceover by God.

    6. MissDisplaced*

      Just started watching it last night (3 episodes in) and it’s totally funny. I’ve read the book, but it was so long ago I don’t remember much other than the main plot, so I think that’s a plus to rediscovering it. The show looks gorgeous and extremely well cast with many little surprise appearances.
      And who the heck doesn’t LOVE Tennant & Sheen!

    7. Anathema Device*

      It’s too long since I read the book so I don’t remember, but the tv series was SO GOOD.

    8. Traffic_Spiral*

      I was annoyed that they made Anathema/Newton into the standard ‘Hot Girl/Schlub Guy’ thing – either make both of them hot or keep both of them average but I liked all the other casting choices.

      Gabriel was a nice addition – his whole ‘I wish to purchase some pornography’ bit was hilarious.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        How funny…I actually found Newton adorable. The Dr. Who tie might have triggered me. :)

        1. Traffic_Spiral*

          Yeah, he can manage ‘adorkable’ but then they should have given her the same treatment. ‘Adorkable guy/supermodel girl’ is still a painfully overdone trope.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            I’ll wait until I get farther…because as of episode 2 she’s not seeming very supermodel in thick black glasses and heavy wool to the wrists & ankles.
            And I’ll be watching today I hope because I just learned my husband Binger w as the the rest without me. (Amazon Prime is a tattletale. )

    9. Karen from Finance*

      I was waiting for this series for so long. Passively waiting for it for years, actively waiting for it for months. Good Omens was the first book I ever read by Gaiman or Pratchett, and it was the beginning of an obsession for me. I wanted to love the series so so much. But it was merely good.

      What I loved most was Crowley and Aziraphael, they honestly couldn’t have cast them better. What I didn’t love was too much narration, too much exposition, which I understand was done to preserve parts of the book but it got annoying and affected the pace.

    10. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Did anyone catch the twitter thread on @NeilHimself where a white supremacist wrote in sputtering? He hated that Adam&Eve were white and/or God’s voiceover being female. I saw it in real time and almost wish I had taken some screenshots — the account has since been shut down by Twitter, so all you see is replies by @NeilHimself and the commentariat.

      1. Traffic_Spiral*

        My only problem with Adam & Eve was that he had a shaved head. I mean, it looked good on him, but where TF were they getting razors in Eden?

        Also yes, the wailing of white supremacists was lovely.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Lol good point — I figure a few days after creation he just hadn’t grown much yet. But then Eve would have been bald too.

    11. noahwynn*

      I saw a preview for this on Friday at the movie theatre when I went to finally see the newest Avengers movie. I was in Florida for a work trip and had nothing to do and there was a huge mall right across from my hotel, so I figured might as well see a movie.

      Anyways, it looks really good and is on my list to watch once I finally catch up on Handmaid’s Tale.

    12. Dusty Bunny*

      Binge watched all 6 episodes last weekend. Never read the book, so I had no expectations for it, and I thoroughly enjoyed the series. I suspect the amount of narration is for those of us who have not read the book. I feel like I should have known/admired Michael Sheen before this, but he’s on my radar now!

  23. Sam Sepiol*

    Also: I am getting kittens. Hopefully tomorrow. I’ve never had animals before. I am really nervous but SO VERY EXCITED. I think it will be really good for both me and the kid, and I hope we can give them both a really good, happy life.

    1. Eleanor Shellstrop*

      Yay kittens! All the best with your furry new arrivals. If you’ve never had animals before, the best tip I can give you (especially with cats), is give them space and let them set boundaries. Not sure how old your kid is, but make sure they know that as well. I have three semi feral cats. Two of the girls were untouchable for the first few months and now they’ve had the time to adjust, they’re like utterly different cats, had we rushed it, might not have happened.

      1. Sam Sepiol*

        Yes the kid is 8 and he’s aware of this, but I think will need lots of reminders. They are coming tomorrow while he’s at his dad’s house which will hopefully help.
        I’m all in favour of respecting boundaries :)

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Also, begin as you mean to go on. Especially if they’re literal kittens and not the way my 11 year old bloodhound is my puppy. :) what I mean by that is – if you don’t want them doing x as adults, don’t let them (and especially don’t encourage them) to do x as babies. For me, I don’t want them on my kitchen counters or tables, so they have never been allowed up there, even when they were three months old and it was cute. Perhaps more importantly, if you don’t want them chewing on you to play as adults, don’t let them do it as babies, even when they’re wee and adorable and “aw look at who’s the big froshus tiger, gonna gnaw my toes off!” If you don’t want to find yourself hounded out of bed at 3am to fill a food bowl with one square inch of its bottom showing when they’re adults … you get the idea. :) baby animals have this ability to make the most annoying behaviors super cute, and I joke that that’s how they survive to become adults, but when they’re adults it’s not super cute anymore. Heh.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Also, I believe I have read (and my personal experience supports, but anecdata, etc) that catnip isn’t particularly effective on cats until they’re a year or two old, so save the drugs until they’re older. Developing brains, you know. :)

        But when they’re older, knowing their reaction to it can be useful. My housemate’s cats are total stoners and will just loll around counting the stars or something, so if we need to make sure they’re out of the way, a couple quick squirts of catnip spray on their mat will keep them occupied for hours, but my husband’s cats get excited and loud when they’re on ‘nip, so they only get it in the mornings so they calm down and quit screaming for the revolution by the time I’m going to bed.

      2. Sam Sepiol*

        They are literal kittens yes :) that’s really good advice, thank you. It’s how I’ve tried to be with the kid – modelling good boundaries and mutual respect so hopefully that will stand me on good stead. Hopefully!!

        Thanks for the catnip tips too!

      3. Animal worker*

        Setting the ground rules for behavior with young animals as you want them to behave as an adult is such good advice for any pet! I just adopted a young cat (~1 1/2 years) a week ago and we are currently negotiating these parameters right now. She was playing/grabbing/chewing very gently but then it started getting more and more frequent and I realized I wasn’t setting clear boundaries. Understanding that she could do it sometimes if gentle was too vague, especially as it’s all so new, so I’ve now switched to the black and white of no chewing on mom but here’s a plush toy to grab and play rough with. Have fun!

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I adopted my younger dog at 8 weeks old, and from the get-go, I didn’t let her lick me in the face. My now-husband, on the other hand, would lay down on the floor when he got home from work and let her go to town. She is now almost five, and the most I get is the occasional tiny nose lick if I literally stick my face up to hers when she’s sleepy, but my husband still regularly gets his face washed any time it’s in reach. He doesn’t complain, because that’s basically what he taught her to do as a baby, but now he gets why I was such a stickler for it :)

      4. Minocho*

        Another thing about starting as you plan to keep on – get them used to hygiene tasks. If you plan to bathe them, start now. Get them used to being brushed. Clip their little claws so they get used to having their paws handled. When it’s done, give them a treat to help them associate positive things with these little annoying tasks.

    3. Turtlewings*

      Animals are WONDERFUL, but if you’ve never had them before I want to make sure you’re prepared for the fact that they are also a massive pain! You will now have multiple infants in your home, and they are only somewhat less trouble than human infants. They will impact more of your options and activities than you think, cause more destruction and mess than you think, and will definitely cost more than you think. I recently saw kittens described as “screaming barbed wire on crack.” They’re very rewarding!!! But they are also a ton of work and inconvenience. Be braced for that. Many (most?) people find them to be worth it, but it’s possible you will decide pet ownership is not for you! Since you have a kid, you may find it easier to adjust — as a single person accustomed to looking out for myself only, it took awhile for me to adjust to needing to always look out for my dog’s needs first, because she can’t do it herself.

      1. Sam Sepiol*

        Thank you for the warning :) I’m braced!
        I think it will do the kid good to have something else living in the house that he needs to look after (although I’m under no illusions about that; I’m well aware that I’ll be doing the work!) and since I left the ex about 18 months ago I’m very lost when the kid is with his dad. I think it’ll do me the world of good to have something to look after although I’m sure it’ll also be exhausting <3

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Pets are a great investment. Decades ago I think I saw a study that talked about pets helping us stay healthier.

          I had a friend who got a small dog for her son. The idea being she was a single mom on her own and she wanted something that would give her son incentive to come home rather than run with the fast crowd from school. He was around 10 or so and her idea really helped. He was interested in the animal and he did rush home from school to see the dog. They went for walks and played together. She blew bucks she could not really afford, but in the end the dog was a priceless addition to her family. And the two of them learned about pets together.

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Liquids to stock up on: Nature’s Miracle for potty accidents, bitter apple spray to deter chewing (on cords and whatnot), possibly an anti-scratch spray. The one I have is really nice, I think it’s rosemary and lemongrass? Cats are generally deterred by citrus scents.

      Make sure you have something solid they can scratch on. For now, the cheap cardboard type will work until you figure out whether they prefer vertical or horizontal surfaces (cats do have preferences – husband’s cats like vertical, housemate’s like horizontal), then once you figure that out you can get something a little more permanent – but if they don’t have a good place to scratch (and even sometimes if they do) they will find one, and it will almost certainly be your nicest or most expensive piece of furniture. (Or, if you rent, something that isn’t yours. I once lost a security deposit because my cat had scratched his way almost through a 1.5” thick wood closet door from the inside.)

      Plants! If you have house plants, they will probably be at risk of chewing – move them to be inaccessible as best you can, and look them up to find out whether they’re hazardous to kittens if they do get chewed on. Other things the cats in my house or of my acquaintance like to chew on: plastic bags, bread, cardboard. I don’t even KNOW. My housemate’s cat is more a hazard to his plate of food at dinner time than the dogs are, she once stole an entire wing from KFC.

      1. That Girl From Quinn's House*

        Sticky tape! Either the sticky tape they sell for cat discipline (expensive) or just a roll of wide masking tape (roll the ends back onto themselves and you can stick it sticky side up.)

        My fishtank lid is covered in sticky-side-up masking tape, and so are our night tables. (Someone figured out that tipping over a water glass is a guaranteed way to wake up the hoomans.) She’s 2 and periodically sticks a paw on the night table to see if it’s still sticky, so I can’t get rid of it anytime soon.

        1. Windchime*

          I love the double-sided sticky tape. I got the actual stuff from the pet store and put it on all corners of my upholstered furniture. My then-kitten tried scratching just a couple of times but was quickly put off by the stickiness. Of course, he had a couple of other scratching posts, and I told him he was a good boy every time he scratched there. Seven years later and he has never scratched the furniture.

      1. Sam Sepiol*

        It is. They are beautiful and I’m in love and they are exploring the room as I write <3 I'll figure out pics for next weekend!

  24. SandrineSmiles (France)*


    I just got out of the hospital, got diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It was so bad they had to keep me for a week to find a treatment that would work, possibly without insulin (not a matter of cost but they knew I’d have a hard time) .

    It feels WEIRD. I knew it was coming eventually, but it still came with a shock and while I know this was a wake up call I needed, amongst others, it’s bizarre. Because while I was there, I also saw a psychiatrist, who did confirm that everything pointed to me suffering from high functioning depression, too.

    Oh well, life is probably going to get better I guess! Mom and I are trying to rent a house together, as she needs to move urgently. We’re getting there… so my dream of having MY OWN DOG might come true as well!

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      That’s a lot of changes at once!
      Since you’re looking for a dog… consider if there’s any chance of getting a diabetes alert dog. Yes, trained to detect low blood sugar episodes. Here in the US they’re extremely expensive, but maybe France is different. And if nothing else, you could focus on getting an intelligent & calm dog and try training her in that yourself using materials online. Even if she couldn’t travel with you everywhere. A friend has a formally trained service dog that alerts for seizures & low blood sugar.

    2. fposte*

      Sandrine! I feel like I haven’t seen you around here in ages. I’m sorry it’s for bad news, but it sounds like you’re going to get good treatment; treated depression, managed diabetes, and a new dog would be great things to have.

    3. Belle di Vedremo*

      Salut Sandrine! It’s good to see you here. I hope you find a house soon, that it’s not long before you have your dog, and that things continue looking up. Please check in with us sometimes. Meilleurs voeux.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      There you are! I am glad to see you back!

      I am sorry about your diabetes diagnosis but I am glad you are getting help. I hope with getting your blood sugar under control helps with other stuff. Dragging our bodies through the day is a quality of life issue.

      And YEA! dog! Oh that will be fun. I hope you guys have a place soon. Let us know how you are doing.

    5. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Just wanted to say – sounds like you are on the right track, information you can work with,and the dog and new house to look forward to. (Just got a dog, further up thread). Life changing for me, so… I’ll be over here rooting for you!!

      1. SandrineSmiles (France)*

        I’m replying to all of you here: thank you for your kind messages! I’m having a hard time adjusting, but I’ll be okay in the end, which is what matters.

        <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  25. Seeking Second Childhood*

    Today there are so many things happening in the region that I’m almost glad I have reasons to stay home and do chores. Last chance for my middleschooler to do some overdue hw assignments so she doesn’t get a D in a class she’s gotten A’s in. Next year we requested her non-electives be scheduled in the morning!

    1. MatKnifeNinja*

      I hate when schools schedule required to graduate classes after lunch.

      My niece has history, biology and math all after lunch. All three classes are Lords of the Flies, and these are honors courses.

      I hope things calm down in 10th grade.

      Teachers have asked for what you want for your daughter, but it comes at the expense of electives.

      Finals this week, then FREEDOM!

  26. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going?
    I’m in the middle of exams so not a lot of writing for me, apart for some worldbuilding.

    1. Julia*

      I’m staring to think that what I planned as a fantasy series in three parts doesn’t work because I’m terrible at coming up with fantasy plots, but I could write it anway as a contemporary YA standalone novel. I’m not sure I want to do that, but I also don’t want to be that “writer” who never writes because she gets stuck in planning…

        1. Julia*

          I agree, but this was supposed to be fantasy and the standalone wouldn’t be, and that means a LOT of changes and cuts.

            1. Julia*

              I am not expressing myself well. I have to cut out the fantasy elements because they don’t work, so the standalone thing isn’t the issue, it’s losing the fantasy stuff that bothers me.

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Yeah, I know the feeling. Honestly that just happens sometimes, something ends up working way better in a completely different form than imagined at first (to use a gaming example: Fortnite is probably one of the most genius genre switcheroos I have ever seen).

    2. Turtlewings*

      I should almost certainly be working on the novel manuscript revisions that are due back to the editor in two weeks, but it’s been over a month since I updated my fanfic sooo I’m doing that instead today, and no one can stop me.

    3. Claire*

      I complete failed to make any progress with the pirate novel. But at my agent’s request, I have reworked the synopsis and chapters for a third Janet Watson novel to make it more standalone.

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Syill, congrats on the works you did get done! Hope the pirate novel goes better in the future!

        1. Claire*

          Thanks! I am getting a clearer picture of what the pirate novel needs, so that’s good.

    4. Karen from Finance*

      Hi. I haven’t written in years, but I used to do a lot of writing that was very personal, mostly nonfiction essay-type things and poetry.

      This week I went into the archives and found one of the last things I’ve ever written, a poem/rant after the Orlando Pulse shooting. I remember writing that in a rage at something someone in particular had said to me, but now 3 years later I read my own text and was moved to tears.

      I had stopped writing because I didn’t think I had anything to say, but now I don’t think that’s true.

      If I decided to go back to writing, what do you think would be the best way? I don’t think my old way of just writing about whatever was making me angry that day is healthy for me anymore.

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Oof, that’s a tough one.
        I always recommend taking a few minutes out of your day every day (preferably at around the same time) to sit down and just write – wether it be a journal, a short poem, do some worldbuilding, etc. As for what you can use for inspiration, is there anything you are particularly passionate about? This doesn’t have to be anything as tragic as the Orlando Pulse shooting, but maybe a hobby, or your pet, or a desire for a better climate, or…Literally whatever.
        I do believe the writing every day is the most important part though – even when you don’t feel like you have anything to say, even if you feel like it’s becoming a chore, the most important part is sticking to it. Maybe find some local writing competitions to submit to so you have a clear goal and deadline.
        I know I’m kinda late but if anyone else has any other suggestions they’d like to chime in with, feel free.

        1. Claire*

          I’d say picking a goal that you control is good. Aim for 15 minutes, or 100 words. Pick a topic that you care about. Writing every day can be helpful, but if life intervenes, don’t beat yourself up when you can’t.

  27. LivingMyLife*

    My husband and I are considering relocating to Tucson, AZ. I will be applying to work at Univ. of AZ. Tucson is our first choice, but we are open to consider Phoenix. Are there any AZ people here? Do you have any recommendations?

    1. VlookupsAreMyLife*

      Hey Living! My entire family relocated to metro PHX right after I graduated high school & I lived there for 18 years. One of my younger sisters moved to Tucson when she got married & lived there for 10-ish years. We both left AZ in 2014, so more recent changes are harder to speak to.

      The 2 cities are very different, IMO. Tucson is more of a college town with a lot of nature/environmental enthusiasts and is huge in science-based industries, including defense contracting, aerospace, and medicine.

      We jokingly called Phoenix LA East because of all the SoCal folks that moved over in the early 2000s housing boom. It’s becoming much more diverse than when I first lived there, but still trends more conservative socially & fiscally. Phoenix is more business/corporate focused & is service-industry heavy.

      Both cities are HUGE in terms of overall land area. Public transportation is impractical once you get outside the university footprint. Don’t let the “light rail” promise fool you – it services the Phoenix-Tempe main corridor & that’s pretty much it.

      Housing in AZ is pretty much the cheapest I’ve found anywhere, if you’re in the burbs. Property taxes are so low that rentals are plentiful.

      I absolutely loved living in PHX. Let me know if there’s specifics I can speak to.

    2. Book Lover*

      Tucson is really nice if you prefer a smaller/college town type of feeling along with still having good restaurants. Slightly cooler than Phoenix.

      That said, Phoenix is a sprawling city of suburbs so you can find what you want – Tempe is college town-like, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley a bit more upscale, Chandler and Gilbert family friendly….

      1. Irene*

        LOVE Tucson. Especially around UofA.
        I never cared for Phoenix. It just always felt like one giant sprawl that lacked the character of Tucson.
        If you do end up in Tucson please enjoy the food for me. I miss it terribly.

    3. Samwise*

      Working for a college or university, especially a public university: hiring can take forever, even if they want to hire you. The position has to be approved, it has to be posted, it has to stay posted for X minimum time, search committees may or may not start reviewing applications until after the “apply by” date, very often the members of the search committee are doing the search on top of the regular work, if there is a large number of applications it can take quite awhile to do the initial review, then there may be a round of phone interviews, then there will be a round of in person interviews, then the committtee has to meet and they may not have the power to decide on who to hire, so then the hiring officer has to make the decision, references have to be cintacted, the decision has to be ok’d by HR before the offer is made. At every step there is also paperwork for the committee/dept/hiring office to complete.

      And at every step something can go awry.

      I would look to see what other higher ed institutions you could apply to and also, do you need to work at a college or university? (Maybe yes because of the kind of work you do/want to do, or maybe there is some other reason?). I’ve spent most of my career working for colleges or universities and there are many things that are good about them as workplaces— but be hard headed about it!

    4. noahwynn*

      I grew up in Phoenix and lots of my family still lives there. If I ever found a job in my field there I’d move back in a heartbeat. I also loved visiting the mountain areas during the summer, and it was only a 2 hour drive for some amazing weekend getaways from the summer heat.

      It is definitely warm in the summer, but once the sun goes down it cools off. Even when it is super hot the dry heat thing is true and it doesn’t feel as bad as it did when I lived in North Carolina. The winters are amazing. Lots of outdoor activities in both metros.

      Tucson is definitely a smaller city than Phoenix, but both keep spreading out more and more. I know people do it, but I would not want to commute between Phoenix and Tucson daily. I grew up in Tempe and like that area, especially some of the older neighborhoods, but I don’t know Tucson as well.

  28. Vendelle*

    I’m doing my very last round of ivf and literally EVERYTHING has been a total mindf*ck for us. We had hoped to have multiple chances, but in the end we only had 1 embryo. Embryo was looking great but the appointment to put it into my womb was terrible (won’t go into details, bit it was traumatic). Eventually it worked, they put the thing into my womb. Now, two weeks later, I have done a pregnancy test and the result is…. Unclear. I don’t know how I’m going to survive this weekend. I already emailed my fertility doctor (clinic can’t be called during the weekend), but of course every office in my country is closed Monday because of Whitsun. How do you keep yourself calm for 3 more days at the end of a more than 10 year fertility journey? Please tell me, because I really don’t know whether I’m coming or going at this point…

    1. Thankful for AAM*

      Sending you good thoughts!

      I dont know how to help but wanted you to know I was thinking of you! Infertility is hard!

    2. Wishing You Well*

      Sending you Internet Hugs.
      Try distraction. What do you REALLY enjoy? Get that book, watch that movie, go eat out. Whatever you’re feeling like. The state you’re in is temporary. Some people would dive deeply into the feelings for awhile as a way to manage. Hope you have good news soon.

    3. LibbyG*

      The waiting is the worst! Especially, post-transfer. And especially on the heels of such difficult experiences (and so many of them).

      I don’t have any inspirational ideas for how to get through the next three days, but here are my warmest wishes for brighter days ahead. I hope whatever path you embark upon next week feels good for you and your family.

    4. Book Lover*

      I’m sorry that this has been such a long and difficult experience. I hope the results are positive.

      1. Book Lover*

        Oh, and I don’t know that this is the right choice for you, but I assume and plan for a negative outcome and move ahead as though that has happened…. And try to stay busy – book I have been waiting for, etc.

    5. I don’t post often*

      The waiting is terrible. I never did IVF but my doc refused to do blood work to confirm until week 7 unless there was an issue. How about a movie marathon? I really hope this cycle works for you.

    6. Quandong*

      I’m sorry, these times of uncertainty can be surreal and intense in strange ways. My advice is to remind yourself that you won’t feel this way forever, and lean on your partner.

      Use any tools at your disposal e.g. distraction, sleeping, getting out into nature, mindfulness meditation if it works for you. Talk online with other people who are in a similar situation, or mentors if you have them. Utilize helplines if you are experiencing distress and you need to talk to somebody who isn’t your partner.

      Personally I strongly recommend going to therapy if you aren’t already doing so. No matter what the outcome of one’s long IVF journey, it’s a stressful one, with so very much impact on one’s life. For me, therapy was an integral part of processing what happened during and after fertility treatments.

      Sending hugs if you’d like them. You will get through this to the other side.

  29. Applesauce*

    Does anybody have any tips for staying up late while sober? On weekdays I typically go to bed at 9-9:30 pm and get up at 5 am for work. I love this schedule as I’m naturally a morning person. The only problem is that most of my friends are not and most of my socializing on weekends happens after 11 pm and involves drinking. I recently started a new medication that has bad interactions with alcohol so I’ve had to quit drinking, which I don’t mind as I’ve been trying to drink less lately for health reasons anyways. I don’t mind being sober while my friends drink so I have tried going to parties and events and drinking ginger ale or club soda but I really, really struggle to stay awake. I often find myself falling asleep before the party even starts or being grumpy and tired and wanting to leave and go to bed as soon as I get there. I never had this problem when I was drinking. Should I just start drinking coffee instead of soda? Is there anything else I can do, short of getting new friends? (If it matters, I’m in my late twenties and I’m the youngest in my friend group by probably 5 years, most are in their 30-40s.)

    1. Lena Clare*

      I don’t know that you can change your body clock other than through sheer force of will.
      I am naturally a late to bed-late to rise person, but even I find social situations tiring so there might be a bit of that going on with you too.
      I no longer drink caffeine as it didn’t agree with me but when I did I found it just made me sleep in the evening and then wide awake at 3 in the morning. You could try it though!

      As for your friends – how about suggesting something to do together that doesn’t involve late nights so that you are able to enjoy it also? If they don’t want to do that then I’m not sure how good of friends they are.

    2. Occasional Baker*

      I’ve never been a drinker of alcohol, so all of my social life has been while sober.
      When you say “after 11” – do you mean things don’t even START until that late? I don’t have any advice for that, because where I live, that would never work, there would be only two hours until last call.
      I have taken a nap, if I knew the plans would be on the later side. At house parties, I’ve even dozed on the couch, if if got later than I was awakeish enough for. ( ex was a HEAVY drinker, so we might often be at a party til 3am) Everyone knew that was my speed. I think they were OK with it, but possibly they just let it go because I was just tagging along with Ex. They were “his friends”. For lots of reasons, I never really made good connections, but that’s ok.
      But if these are your friends, I’d imagine they would be OK if you did that, or left a house party when it worked for you. Events are harder, but since by definition there’s something going on to catch attention, I find those easier to stay awake for. It’s parties that seem trickiest – it’s hard to develop an engrossing conversation with people who are drinking, I think – either they’re getting into focused drinking mode, or SQUIRREL! !!! they’re running off to something else that just caught their attention, lol
      Late coffee upsets my whole system, but I’ve done that in small doses.
      There’s an added bonus of always knowing there can be a sober driver!

    3. gecko*

      Replacing the drug of alcohol might help–like, drinking caffeinated sodas, or using some weed. Using some virgin drink that feels more like A Drink might help to get you in a more energized and loose party mindset.

      In the end you might have to transform some of your nighttime friendships into daytime friendships. No need to get new friends, but you might end up figuring out you just can’t do the nighttime part for a little while. It’s possible this is a transition point in your friendships, which happens inevitably and is not a bad thing.

      Good luck–I hope you find something that works!

    4. Wishing You Well*

      Maybe you need to change your socializing for a little while. Your new medication might be contributing to your new symptoms. Give yourself a temporary break from late nights and “stock up” on sleep. No one is happy when they’re tired. Once you’re rested, you can decide how you want to proceed.
      Wishing you success.

    5. LCL*

      As soon as you get home from work, take a nap. You will wake up around dinner time. Eat then go out.

    6. Karen from Finance*

      Oh I feel you. I rarely get good sleep so I can fall asleep almost anywhere, it’s very inconvenient.

      Diet Coke is one of the most caffeinated sodas out there, which works for me in these situations. Other sodas have caffeine as well, there are websites out there that compare caffeine values in different drinks.

      Try to keep moving, even if you’re sitting change positions a lot.

      Something I do sometimes is go to the restroom and wet my washed hand with cold water, and gently drop a few drops of water into my eye. It sounds very weird but it feels fresh and gives me a gentle nudge to wake up. Also, put my hand wet with cold water on my neck, that always gives me a small jolt.

    7. chi chan*

      Afternoon siestas should let you stay up late. May take a while to develop the habit.

  30. Eleanor Shellstrop*

    I get married in 4 weeks today! I am so excited and nervous (about the day not the actual marriage bit, that bit is a 100% yay).

    1. Cookie Monster*

      Congratulations! I’d love to hear more about the wedding itself if you’re up for talking about it. (Not that I am anywhere close to that day, I just like weddings.)

      1. Eleanor Shellstrop*

        Yes of course! My partner and I have been together for 6 years and we wanted a wedding that was fun. We’re also fairly laid back, so our bridesmaids and groomspeople are wearing whatever they want while myself and my partner match (coordinating suit and dress). Our theme is all of the bright colours and deers. We’re feeding everyone about 5 times because I was worried about people being hungry… During the day we’ve got live music, a photobooth, quiz after dinner.

    2. ATX Language Learner*

      So excited!! I’m getting married in 2 months! V excited as well, although we’re just going to the courthouse then having a hotel pool party with friends in late August :P

      1. Eleanor Shellstrop*

        Congratulations and that’s sounds amazing! I would have loved that, but my partner really wanted to do the traditional wedding and I was ambivalent so happy for him to have that. Pool party sounds like my kinda wedding

    3. Amber Rose*

      I’m excited for you! I was a wreck for like 2 months prior to my wedding because I was so excited I couldn’t sleep, and it ended up being a blast. You’ll have a blast at yours I’m sure.

      1. Eleanor Shellstrop*

        Yes, I have moments like that, and keep having weird dreams about the wedding, like no one showing up and instead a pack of penguins coming.. Unlikely to happen in the UK!

    4. LittleBeans*

      Congratulations! My wedding is in 5 weeks! I might get nervous but I’m not yet. I think it’s because we planned this whole thing in about 4 months, so we have had to keep things relatively simple, and we don’t have time to second guess most of our decisions!

      1. Eleanor Shellstrop*

        Honestly that’s probably why! I think there’s a lot to be said about planning it on a short timescale. Good luck!

      1. Eleanor Shellstrop*

        Thank you and yes, I need to write ” have fun” on a card and keep it on me!

  31. Depression and anxiety getting worse*

    My apartment was burgled last week. Apart from the loss of material possessions (I didn’t own that many valuables anyway) I’m having such a hard time trying to get over the psychological toll.

    An aside: Prior to this I’ve already been dealing with some issues related to anxiety and depression. Part of it was dealing with feelings of isolation as friends drift away to spend more time with partners and/or children. Most of the time I’m okay. I’ve always been introverted, and while I’ve tried to broaden my social circle in the past it’s just difficult when you’re no longer at school or uni to find that connection.

    After this incident my head is so messed up. I wish I had someone I was close enough with who I could ask to come and stay with me for a while. And even more I wish I had a partner who could make me feel safe (I’ve never minded being single before this).

    I’ve done all the things they tell you to when something like this happens: file a report, change all passwords (the only thing they took that really mattered was my laptop), contact financial institutions. My landlord changed all the locks and reinforced the doorframes. I’ve spoken to neighbours about keeping the downstairs door locked properly.

    But I don’t know what it’s going to take for me to stop feeling so vulnerable. I’ve thought about moving, but I don’t know if that’s going to change how I feel. There’s this sense of injustice – I’ve always been so cautious about things like locking doors (but that can’t protect against a weak door frame) yet this happened to me. I’m paranoid about things like getting pickpocketed on the street and losing even more stuff. I’ve also found out how little the police can or will actually do in these cases – which, I understand. Limited resources and much more serious issues they need to deal with. But doesn’t make me feel any better.

    My employer has been really understanding about giving me a few days off, but I really would prefer to get back to work and try to return to normalcy again. But right now I’m so emotionally messed up I don’t know how I’m going to be feeling or how long I’ll be feeling that way.

    Part of me is also annoyed that I feel so strongly about it. I know logically that worse things have happened to better people, and I’m almost embarrassed about feeling so sorry for myself at this point. So that’s another negative emotion to throw into the giant, bundled mess of negative emotions.

    So yeah. I’m a mess. Talking to people helps, but only temporarily. I’ve thought about therapy but in the past (when I sought out professional help for depression/anxiety) it’s only ever made things worse so I don’t want to go there again. I don’t know what I can do to stop feeling this way.

    I just want to go back to my previous mindset. How ridiculous is it that I long for the days where I wasn’t feeling so scared and paranoid, and ‘only’ felt depressed, anxious and lonely?

    1. Applesauce*

      I have never lived in an apartment so I have no idea if it’s feasible or not but have you considered an alarm system of some kind? My family had a really bad break in when I was a young child and shortly after we got an alarm system. We always use it when we’re not home and my mom and I always used it growing up at night when my dad was away for work. I know it helped give my mom (and me when I got a bit older) some peace of mind.

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. I can totally understand feeling paranoid and a bit traumatized after something like that. I hope you feel better soon.

    2. Wren*

      When this happened to me, we got a dog. It instantly made me feel more safe.

      First, dogs in general, even small friendly ones, prevent burglary-nobody wants the added hassle.

      Second, my dog was *not* a small friendly. He was a nice dog, but large and black with a pretty loud bark any time he heard A Strange Thing. We didn’t search for those qualities by any means, it just happened that way.

      I remember being home alone when my husband was traveling and the only reason I was able to sleep comfortably was because Dog was in the room.

      A few years later our neighborhood was burgled again. Not us.

      Not saying you should run out and get a dog, but we’d been wanting to get one and this incident just accelerated our timeline.

      1. Wren*

        Oh also, dogs can do wonders for depression. My bipolar sister got one and her dog is what gets her out of bed on bad days.

      2. Asenath*

        The mailman actually saw one of my relative’s dogs – “THAT’S the dog that’s been barking when I come to the door?” The dog is a lovable laid-back animal – but with a VERY loud bark. They haven’t been burgled, although of course you can’t prove cause and effect.

        Other than that – is seems like the usual precautions – make your place a little harder to get into than other places with locks etc – are already being taken care of, and I think after that, it takes time to get over the shock of a burglary. In similar situations (not burglaries, but I have been robbed), I repeated over and over to myself “I am NOT going to let that (fill in adjectives and nouns as desired) get the better of me!!!” and grimly focus on whatever sensible precautions I have decided to take. Eventually, I recovered and could stop talking to myself.

        And precautions are not a guarantee against bad things, not in any part of life. Naturally, you do what you can to protect yourself, but I had to accept that if something bad happens anyway, it’s the fault of the thief or whatever it was. Or even blind random chance, although that applies more to accidents and illness than burglaries. It’s not my (or your) fault, we did what we could, bad things happen, and we aren’t going to let them beat us or make us move when we don’t really want to or…., well, anything really.

        1. Wren*

          In our case, we had 15 homes on our street. 8 were broken into. The other 7 had dogs ;).

          Of course, if your home is a target, then a dog won’t help. But if it’s opportunistic it’s just one extra hassle.

    3. Formerly burgled*

      A random life saver for me after a burglary (while I was home no less) was the podcast Sleep With Me, which is basically long rambling and surprisingly artful bedtime stories told in a low monotone. I found that the vocal company helped me relax and stop angering over every noise when I was feeling scared at night. Other gentle podcasts also helped. I would also really encourage you to talk about your fear even with less close friends; I think you’ll get a lot of empathy and perhaps some offers of help, and most people will be touched that you’re sharing this sort of thing with them. If you have close friends who you just don’t see as often for logistical reasons at this phase of life, ask one of them if they can keep their phone not on silent at night (or to exempt you from their do not disturb setting) so you’d have someone to call if you get scared. And don’t be hard on yourself; these things are super scared!!

    4. Wishing You Well*

      Your reaction to being burgled is really, really normal. There oughta be a support/help group for people whose homes are violated because it’s a big deal. A coworker whose home was broken into when he was a child was still traumatized by it decades later. So be kind and patient with yourself as you work through this.
      Internet hugs.

    5. Kathenus*

      I’m so sorry! I’ve been there, my house was burgled about six years ago and it was really hard to deal with the psychological part, and the feeling of somehow being weak (which is SO untrue) because it affected me so much. I literally slept with a 2×4 in my bedroom for months (I didn’t have a baseball bat), and the knowledge of having this at hand made me feel better. As Applesauce mentions, there are a variety of alarm options that don’t require installation/contracts (meaning that you can do them in apartments on your own), including things like door alarms that are really loud if the door is opened. And if you don’t already, have dowel rods or window locks on all windows/sliding glass doors to keep them from being able to be opened from the outside. Basically take control of what you can, and it does fade but takes time. Everything you’re feeling is normal, so don’t feel that it’s ridiculous – it isn’t at all.

    6. Lilysparrow*

      I know how you feel. My roommate/BFF were burgled while at work once. It was really invasive – they went through our closets and drawers, too. We just couldn’t bear to sleep there again.

      We stayed in a hotel the first night and then crashed with a relative until we found another place. Fortunately we only had 1 month left on the lease and the landlord let us out of it.

    7. Belle di Vedremo*

      Ooof. That’s miserable. I made piles that would crash loudly to the floor if the door was opened even a little bit. I added a chain lock to the door. I put lights on a timer and changed up the times so the lights were visible at odd hours. It took a long time to relax. If there’s a “crime victim” unit with the local police they may have suggestions, if not with the police maybe there’s a citizen based group that would have suggestions for you?

      As for your muddle of emotions, this is a big deal. Cut yourself some slack, if you can. And do everything you can to support your physical self – eat well, exercise, whatever works for you. If there’s a sliding-scale therapy resource perhaps they have general information to share, or perhaps you can have a single appt focused on this issue? I’m sorry therapy has not been helpful in the past. Having one’s safe space violated is a big deal. Jedi hugs if you’d like them.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      Decades ago, I was robbed at knife point at work. I will never forget how it turned my world upside down. I felt like I could not trust anyone or anything. I knew my thinking was screwed up when I started not trusting my own parents.

      It did not stay raw forever, but it sure felt like it took a long time to calm down. I don’t think they ever caught the kid. I quit the job on the spot. After a bit the fear gave way to anger. I was so angry that I scared ME. It’s probably good they did not catch the guy. If I had to ID him I might not have acted in an adult manner. Years later I read where this happens to people after a crime, the fear goes into anger. I have never been so angry with another human being in my life.

      Cry when you can. This is one of the many reasons we grieve, here, you lost your sense of security. That is a huge loss. Crying creates a chemical reaction in the brain that helps to keep the brain healthy. So it sucks to cry, but tomorrow might be a tiny bit better because you did cry.

      Make an action plan to tighten up your own personal security. I am not sure what is doable for you, but as ideas occur take the time to implement them. It’s important that we see our own selves as taking care of our own predicament.

      If you can get a drink with electrolytes in it that may help a tiny bit. Worry can really burn up vitamins and minerals. Electrolytes will replace some of the lost minerals and help your brain to cope with all this. If you are having difficulty eating, you can get some veggie juices and “drink” your food so at least you get some nutrition into you. Getting good stuff into you will help your body and in turn help your thinking process.

      If you are a church person, or would be interested, I’d suggest you look for a friendly church near you.

      FWIW, it’s coming up on 40 years ago that I was robbed. And it changed me forever in some ways. I think I am a little more cautious and a little more aware of my environment. I won’t work alone at night any more. EVER. And I am quicker to talk to people, especially older folk about keeping themselves safe. I have a neighbor who does not drive. She knows she is to call me when she wants to go to the bank, I will drive her even though it’s only a few blocks. So if you sense that a part of you is forever changed, it’s probably true, but those changes are not all bad changes.

      Come back next weekend and tell us how you are doing.

    9. Batgirl*

      I felt exactly the same way that you do; Right down to ‘Ok I need a partner!’, I also considered getting a roommate, even though I hate roommates. Moving absolutely helped for me. There were also some things that helped in the interim before I left. I no longer feel at all in danger, and I felt only mildly wary towards the end of my time in the old place, so it doesn’t last for ever.
      For me, it was a feeling of being surveilled. It was an unusual time to break into someone’s place and the police said someone must have seen me leaving for a shift. I had lights installed to come on randomly (still do, Phillips Hue are great and you can switch them on while you’re out) but the biggest help was psychological as I was no longer arriving home in the dark (which is when I discovered the burglary and I fled because I didn’t know if anyone was still there). I also got doorbell cameras and cameras looking out on the approaches to my house (you’ve got to be careful with legalities and privacy there though) so I could look and reassure myself whenever I needed to. I had a good friend stay for a while and that really helped me reclaim the space somehow.
      The lack of justice sucks. Turns out the police were right and I discovered on the grapevine that my neighbour had been watching my coming and goings so he could break in. I had no way to prove it so I just had to go on living next door to him. In one way it helped, instead of the boogey-man I had conjured in imagination, it was just this pathetic kid. But in other ways it was impossible to avoid knowing it could happen again. It didn’t and I strengthened my fences but it’s very, very jarring.

  32. lambda fan*

    Just wanted to congratulate commenter Claire on her Lambda Literary win!! Huge Congrats!!!

  33. what's eating me*

    I am trying to honor hunger/not hunger, as I am getting better at telling when I’m hungry but I’m sometimes baffled, especially if I’m eating out. I also struggle with trusting that there will be food later (I grew up with a psychological food insecurity, food was very controlled – it was not a monetary thing). For example, the other day I had about a quarter of the food on my plate and felt full but that seemed too little for my brain and I also felt embarrassed about having eating so little so I ate more. Depending on my day, I may not be able to carry leftovers so that makes it worse. How do you handle these types of situation?

    1. Wishing You Well*

      You can leave as much food on your plate in a restaurant as you want. There’s no need for embarrassment. I remind myself that my body is NOT a garbage disposal. It’s better to leave it than to overeat.
      Can you pack a food box for the day to remind yourself that food is available later? This worked for a foster family whose new kids would overeat at dinner to the point of pain because of past food insecurity. The foster parents prepared lunchboxes at dinnertime to put in the kids’ bedrooms at night. The kids then knew there was food for later and quit overeating at dinner. This is just an idea – maybe you can think of something that will work for you.
      Wishing you success.

      1. Not A Manager*

        I do this. I almost always have a snack bar or some nuts in my purse. That helps me avoid what I call “prophylactic eating” where I’m not hungry now but I have the urge to “eat for later.”

    2. Not So NewReader*

      The portions in restaurants are ridiculous. It’s way too much food.
      I order smaller meals such as just getting a soup or just a salad. Then I keep something in my purse/car/desk to graze on if I need something later.

      It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to realize that we have put food in our stomachs. If you are chatting with friends and eating slower than you would usually then you will probably notice that you feel full quicker. That is because it’s taking you longer to eat, so your brain got the message from your stomach.

      I try to order something that looks like what I would have at home and be content with. For example, at home my lunch is about 5 ounces of protein and a lot of salad. These means that jumbo burger with a huge helping of fries is not going to work for me. I will regret it later. If I do indulge in such things, I ask them to hold the bun and just give me the burger and fries.

      I also had food issues growing up. It helped me to think in terms of measurements- ounces of this, cups of that. I learned what satisfied me most days. I did not restrict myself, I just kept track of what was working well. And I also learned to plan extra food for yard work days or days with other heavy physical activity. I am not sure I will ever stop looking at food and wondering is there enough. But I do not have to act on it immediately, I do not have to eat everything just in case, any more. And you can tell yourself that also. Sometimes we have to give ourselves little affirmations, to help our minds live in the present.

      1. Thursday Next*

        One of my mantras is “It will still be there tomorrow.” I also grew up food insecure for non-monetary reasons. I learned to eat more than one portion if I came across food because I *wasn’t* sure there would be more tomorrow.

        This doesn’t work as well with eating out—I think Wishing You Well’s “I am not a garbage disposal” might serve you better—but if I’m home and find myself wanting more pasta or cheese, for instance, I tell myself that it will be there tomorrow. Because I’m the one who has control over my own food now.

      1. Samwise*

        That’s a great idea!

        And you can ask to have half the portion boxed up right away. Or when you start feeling full, call over the server and have them box it up then. I like to take swank leftovers for lunch at work.

    3. Kuododi*

      I worked with immigrant children in the mental health field and periodically I would have a kid referred to me who was an outright food hoarder. This was typically rooted in complex trauma and insecurity from their country of origin. I usually recommended the guardian set up some type of Rubbermaid container where the child could ” hoard” to their little hearts content. I personally keep things on hand (ie veggie pieces, apple slices) so I would be able to snack without feeling like I have to hit up the nearest drive thru. I hope this helps in some fashion. Best wishes.

  34. UKCherries*


    I regularly receive comments about good I look, and comments on how can I eat so many ‘bad’ foods* and still be so slim. Thing is, I do a fair bit of exercise. I’m in training for another marathon, do yoga and extra core work. I commute by bicycle, and walk everywhere – I live in London, so you don’t really need one! I hope this isn’t coming off as a humble brag, but I’m saying this as an explanation – I’m not naturally blessed with my body, it’s something I have because I do quite a lot of exercise. I’m very awkward at taking compliments generally – getting positive feedback on work is a cringe experience for me too.

    As I’m marathon training now (not my first), I’ve also a lot of people saying that they couldn’t even do a 5km – we are in different worlds of fitness, and I’m never sure how to respond to things like that. I wasn’t born a runner, I HATED sport at school in all shapes and forms. It’s taken me years of work to get to where I am – I never though I’d like running, so I really do understand why people find it so :o. I never brag about it, but if people ask what I’m doing this weekend, I tell them I’m running – it’s a large part of my out of work life right now!

    So, if there are any other sporty/slim people who can give me advice on what to say to people who compliment me I’d appreciate it :) The context of this is mostly work but also friends and family.

    *I will get on my high horse about calling foods good or bad, or clean or dirty. I’ve had ED friends and know how toxic it is to categorise food like this.

        1. Sigh.Rude*

          You do understand that we are supposed to provide helpful commentary, right?

          Also, OP is outlining a situation where people make unwanted food and body comments and she wants scripts on how to shut that down.

          1. Wow*

            If that was all she wanted she could just ask about how to stop people commenting on her body/appearance/lifestyle habits. People have asked that here before without feeling the need to emphasis how gorgeous they are.

            1. Myrin*

              That seems like a pretty uncharitable read – some people are just more wordy than others (myself included, at least on the internet; I think “oh, I’ll just briefly give some background/explanation/context” and then when I hit “submit” I suddenly encounter a huge wall of text). Let’s try to be kind and un-snarky!

          2. Alice*

            She said she wants scripts from other slim and sporty people. I’m choosing to believe that she didn’t mean it that way but it’s an unfortunate phrasing.

            1. Thursday Next*

              It is, and it’s unnecessary. There’s utility in soliciting feedback from “non sporty and slim” people as well, as these are presumably the people who are making these comments to OP.

              A hefty majority of questions of the “how do I respond to this uncomfortable remark?” can be answered with some form of “thanks”/“I’m pleased” OR “no thanks”/“I don’t like that”+ redirection. Extensive context usually isn’t necessary.

    1. Alice*

      Taking you at your word that you want advice about what to say: when people compliment you, say thank you and then continue the conversation.
      Do not continue the conversation by trying to persuade the person that they really will like running if they keep trying.

      1. Acornia*

        This X1000
        DO NOT get on the “If you just worked really hard you totally could do it, too!” train. People who think of themselves as “sporty and slim” and talk about how they used to hate it too seem to love to try to tell people that they too, could have the same moral win if they only just tried hard.
        Your post seems to head that way UKCherries. Don’t be that person.
        The “running isn’t for everyone, what do you do for fun?” suggested below is perfect.
        (Make sure you say “for FUN” not “for exercise” because there’s a difference there…)

        1. UKCherries*

          I’ve never ever tried to persuade people into running. People used to do that to me, and it made me reject any kind of sport throughout my teens and early 20s!

          I’ve had people ask for advice about running, or say that they are doing a race, and I’ve said I’d chat to them about it *if they want*. I like your comment about asking what they do for fun, I’ll remember that! :)

    2. CoffeeforLife*

      While I don’t have any nicely worded things to say try Captain Awkward archives and I think there are some things on AAM re: comments on food/eating at work. Good luck shutting down body/food comments. I find that people push back when they think they are being complimentary and asked to stop.

    3. Rosie M. Banks*

      It is probably just a conversational opening. They say, “Oh, I could never run a 5K!” If you want to talk about running, you say something like, “Oh, lots of people find running hard, but I really enjoy it. Just yesterday, I went running and saw blah, blah, blah.” Or, if you don’t want to talk about it, you say something like “Well, running isn’t for everyone. What do you do for fun?”

      1. VlookupsAreMyLife*

        “Well, running isn’t for everyone. What do you do for fun?”

        ^ this!!

    4. Jane*

      I’m not sure these are really compliments. I mean, they aren’t insults, but comments about your body and your food don’t need to be graciously accepted as a compliment, in my book. It’s not the same as “Wow, you did a great job on that presentation,” or even “I love your blouse!”

      I might go with “Well, it’s a side effect of training for a marathon,” and then try to change the subject as soon as possible.

      People are so weird. Why can’t we just all agree that comments about bodies and food do nothing but make people uncomfortable?

      1. Batgirl*

        Yeah, if I said thanks it would come off super sarcastic like ‘thaaaanks?’ Or ‘Cool, do we assess your body now?’

    5. londonedit*

      Can’t comment on the skinniness, because running makes me chunky, but I hear you on the ‘I couldn’t even run a 5k!’ stuff. I’m always like…well, I’m pretty sure you could if you wanted to…and I’m not forcing you to run a 5k! I’ve had all sorts of comments about my running, people can actually be quite actively nasty about it (‘God, you’re crazy’, ‘What sort of stupid running are you doing this weekend, then?’ ‘You should sit down and eat a pie once in a while like a normal person’, etc etc). I tend to think it comes from their own insecurities – they probably know they should be doing more exercise, and seeing me running every weekend makes them feel inadequate so they get all defensive. Just try to ignore them and not respond!

      Also, hello from a fellow Londoner. Do you do parkrun? Which marathon are you training for?

      1. Reba*

        “Comes from their own insecurities” YES!

        I think that’s why comments like these can feel so uncomfortable — because just under the surface, there is all this knotty body image baggage that so many people carry. And I think we all sense that’s what it’s about, even though the surface-level chat may appear light and innocuous.

        I second other people’s tips about just changing the subject.

      2. UKCherries*

        My legs are pretty chunky, but the rest of me isn’t! Yes, I like your point about you’re not forcing them to run, and I wonder if it seems quite intimidating? I’ve always had those nasty comments delivered under the guise of a joke, but they can be quite insulting after a while, I eat perfectly fine thank you.

        I don’t do parkrun…. 9am is sleeping time! I’ve done a couple, and I think the concept is one of the best things I’ve ever come across! If I go on holiday, I try to run the local one there. My marathon is in Eastern Europe, so tying it in with a holiday!

    6. Thursday Next*

      Consider the possibility that people saying they could never run a marathon really can’t run a marathon. Does that change how you might respond to that statement?

      Beyond that, just think of some of these statements as conversational filler. “I could never run a marathon” = “It’s impressive you’re running a marathon.” So say something benign and filler-y yourself.

    7. Middle School Teacher*

      I’m neither sporty nor slim, so I’m. It sure how much my advice counts, but usually I just say “thank you” to a compliment and move on.

    8. anonagain*

      Any comment or question about body size gets a shrug + “Everyone’s body is different” + subject change.

    9. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      I guess I would be tempted to say “thanks! I took up running and I have done all this crazy amount of exercise over the years, never thought I’d like running, blah blah blah” and they might get the message that it’s actually a lot of work on your part. That is, assuming you want to shut down the wistful compliments. Otherwise I suppose you could say that you never liked running but you found that X or Y method helped you get into it and you’d be happy to talk about that sometime if the person is interested. If this is a casual conversation with a colleague etc. I wouldn’t go into a lot of detail.

    10. Not A Manager*

      It sounds to me like you’re hearing these remarks as a kind of criticism, like “why are you making me feel bad by eating that *bad* food and still being slim,” or “why are you making me feel bad by running a marathon when I can’t run around the block?” And then you feel like you have to manage their emotions and your own emotions about their emotions.

      I think you should work really hard to take those comments at face value. If someone comments on your “bad” food, you can say, “Eh, I don’t think of food as good or bad.” If someone comments on your appearance in a way that sounds complimentary, take it as a compliment. Just say thank you. (Or, if it’s in a context where the compliment is inappropriate, push back on that. “I really don’t like to discuss my body at work.”) If someone comments on their own lack of physical fitness, treat it as a bland statement. “Oh? Well, running is my hobby. What’s your favorite hobby?”

      Give yourself permission to interpret all of these remarks as completely value-neutral.

      1. UKCherries*

        Yes, I would agree that I do feel they are criticising me, and I’m quite an emotional person (and care a lot about other people). I just hate the feeling that they think I’ve got here easily or not had my own issues with weight/eating in the past. I love the ‘value neutral’ concept – I think that will really help, thanks :)

    11. Blarg*

      I think other commenters’ recs are great. If you want to go in the direction of acknowledging that it is hard for you, you could reply with an “I do love running, although my toenails are so gross it may never again be sandal season” or “thanks … you wanna hear about ALL the chafing?” I think sometimes it is easier to be self-deprecating or downplay what might be a compliment but might not be… so identifying the parts that are hard for you might help.

      Congrats on falling in love with running — I tried. Hard. I did a half marathon. Ran the whole way. Hated every dang minute of it. Haven’t run a total of 13 miles since. :)

      1. UKCherries*

        Haha, this is definitely what I do to some people. I am one of those runners who still wears sandals at the office….. I just apply a lot of nail polish to my toes! Congratulations, that’s a great achievement, running nonstop for 13miles is seriously impressive! You’ve an excellent statement for a game of two truths one lie there :)

    12. Lilysparrow*

      My experiences aren’t about being sporty because I’m not. But I think there are many circumstances in life where people use you as a lightning rod for their own emotional baggage, and it really is awkward and uncomfortable. Because they *appear* to be complimenting you, but it’s obvious in the moment that it’s not about you at all, it’s some psychodrama of their own that they’re projecting onto you.

      I’m thinking of things like getting engaged, being visibly pregnant, getting a promotion at work. Some people even get defensive, as if you accused them of failing, when you never said anything at all.

      It’s particularly fraught when it’s unsolicited comments about your body.

      I’d suggest saying “thanks” only if the person is actually saying something nice about you, like “Wow, a marathon? Good for you!”

      If they are making weird comments about your food or your body, you can just say, “Huh. Food is just food.” Or “I don’t think about it too much.”

      When people do the self-deprecation dance of “I could never do that!” (For me it’s writing books), I shrug and say something jokey like, “Don’t worry, I won’t make you!”

      I expect you know perfectly well when you’re being complimented, and when you’re being projected on. When it’s the latter, just avoid getting sucked into it or making the conversation longer. Just deflect, change the subject if you can, or get out.

      1. UKCherries*

        Thanks for this – this is very insightful, particularly about the defensiveness of others. I’m trying to get better at getting out of conversations better in general (I always leave events far later than I wanted to).

    13. Not So NewReader*

      “It’s just my metabolism, I guess. Everybody is different so it’s hard to pinpoint. So how about that game yesterday?”

    14. CheeryO*

      I run a lot, so I get this a lot too. I don’t think people really expect a real response when they say stuff like that, and saying “thanks” would be a little weird. For food comments, I usually say something jokey like, “Gotta take advantage of my fast metabolism while I can!” When people act impressed about my running, I usually just say something like, “Thanks, I actually really enjoy it – it’s a good outlet for my excess energy!” Then I change the subject, because no one actually wants to hear about running in any detail.

    15. matcha123*

      I’ve got a muscular build and some friends say they like my body type. I’d love to be more slender, but whatever. On the rare occasion I do get a comment, I tell them about how much I enjoy exercising, how many years I’ve been exercising and say that I keep up with it. I try not to make any judgmental comments and say if they are looking for advice I can point them to some resources. I might get into some TMI about how exercising helps with my monthly pain, but basically I just say thanks, I like to do [ exercise ] and leave it at that.

    16. Jemima Bond*

      I’m neither sporty nor slim but if I’ve understood this correctly; the question is, how do I respond graciously to compliments without looking arrogant or insulting the complimenter, whilst also making the point that I worked hard for [result] and it wasn’t just luck.
      I can understand a bit as I make some clothes for myself and also patchwork quilts and jewellery. If someone says, “oh I could never make that!” I say something like, oh it’s just how I enjoy spending my time, it’s not for everyone. You could say this. If they ask how I find time, I tell them I neglect the housework (partly true and humour deflects). You could say, “oh I do a lot of my commuting on foot so it fits a good bracing walk in nicely twice a day and I spend less time on the tube with my face in a merchant banker’s armpit!” If I feel they are overdoing the “that must be so difficult/have taken ages” bit, I say, don’t believe the hype, you just follow the instructions and watch YouTube tutorials (True but perhaps less helpful in your situation.) I might add (which is something you could adapt) “it did take a while but I’m pleased with how it turned out, and look it has pockets!” You could say “yes the marathon was really hard work but I raised £250 for orphaned one-eyed llamas so I’m really pleased with that!”
      But mostly just thank them for the compliment if a compliment is paid. If it’s the question of how do you eat x but stay so slim, just tell them what you told us; you do a lot of exercise.

      1. UKCherries*

        Thanks a lot for this – you’re correct with your interpretation. I’m building a little library of comments off this thread – will definitely use yours :) The online running world is a curious beast, and one I don’t really like – quite judgey particularly about times so I really don’t recommend that! (or maybe I’m not in the right places online!)

        Good luck with all your quilting and clothes making – I’ve such admiration for people who can do it, it’s such a skill. I also love pockets.

    17. Seeking Second Childhood*

      A former co-worker’s answer might help you. Scene in the kitchenette, where co-workers are waiting for microwave.
      CW1 takes out a generous sized dish of pasta.
      CW2: “How do you eat like that and stay so thin?”
      CW1: “I’m in training for the city marathon.”
      CW2: “If I ate like that I wouldn’t fit through the door.”
      CW1: ” Marathon is on $Date if you want to join the spectators.”
      CW2 was not there but *I* was!

      1. londonedit*

        Oh yeah. The night before my last marathon, a load of us from my running club went to an Italian restaurant for some carb-loading. One friend’s parents had come to cheer us all on in the race, and I sat next to his mum at dinner. From memory, I think I had bruschetta as a starter, and then a pasta dish as a main course. The portions were pretty generous, which we were all pleased about! But my friend’s mum must have remarked five times how much I was eating. ‘Ooh, goodness, you’ve polished that off haven’t you! AND you’re having pasta?! Goodness me, I can’t believe you’ve eaten all that as well!’ Seriously. The first time I responded with a bright ‘Ha, yes, well I am running tomorrow!’ which quickly turned into ‘Yes. *I am running a marathon tomorrow*.’ Honestly it was so frustrating how fixated she was on what and how much I was eating.

    18. UKCherries*

      Just wanted to say thank you to all who replied – though I’ve not the time to reply to all, I have read every single comment and taken them aboard. Hopefully now I’ll be able to respond better and feel less awk about it.

      Thanks, and hope you had a great weekend! :)

  35. CoffeeforLife*

    My partner’s daughter (12) is coming to stay with us for a month this summer. I work from home for myself (so not tied to a schedule) and he is going to do half days and be home around noon. My question is what do we DO?

    We moved from a Hawaii where activities were naturally easy to find (beach, hiking, parks, sports) to a DC burb. Apart from the many battle fields and museums we can visit, I just don’t know what else to do daily. I don’t want her time with us spent playing on her phone and being bored. Ideally, she’d love it an want to stay (ha! who’d voluntarily leave Hawaii?!) but I mostly want her summer not to suck.

    1. Thankful for AAM*

      There is great novelty in taking the metro to places to visit in DC! We lived there for a summer when my son was about that age. Just the metro and all the festivals and summer events for kids at museums was great.

      And time spent with dad and you just walking or hanging or cooking is great.

      1. Glomarization, Esq.*

        Has Daughter ever been to D.C. before? Always lived in Hawai’i? Asking because if so, getting her on the Metro would be a great teachable moment. Rail-based rapid transit is basically the same all over the world, and experiencing it at age 12 would be a nice gift that will pay dividends when she’s older and thinks about travel elsewhere in the U.S. or to major cities around the world.

        1. Overeducated*

          Unless CoffeeforLife lives near any of the stations south of National Airport in VA…they’re all closed for 3.5 months! (But if so…there’s no way she doesn’t know it already. It’s such a headache.)

        2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          This is a great idea! I started taking mass transit to school at about that age, and it really helped me be comfortable going on vacations to other places and not renting a car when I got there as an adult. It also opened up a lot of independent adventures for me in my own city in high school, but that would be less the case for a kid who wouldn’t be sticking around. (Being who I am, my “independent adventures” were mostly that I could get to the main library by myself whenever I wanted to. This was probably one of the reasons my parents didn’t worry about me having a bus pass and access to the whole city on my own at 13.)

          1. Glomarization, Esq.*

            Similarly, I raised my kid in a major city with buses, subways, and interurban rail. They started going to school on their own by age 14, and now as a young adult they have no worries at all living in a (different) major city and using transit there, or trying the public transit system anywhere at all.

    2. Washi*

      DC in summer is rough, not because there’s nothing to do, but because it’s so hot and humid! I live in the burbs on the Maryland side so my suggestions are more tailored to that, but here are my favorite activities that are slightly less hot:
      – go to the pool
      – kayaking/canoeing (Key Boathouse to see monuments, but best on a weekday, Jug Bay Natural Area for best nature, Bladensburg waterfront on a weekend because it’s less crowded)
      – biking feels less hot than walking because you make a breeze for yourself. I love the c&o canal and the mt. vernon trail for the scenery
      – for hiking, Great Falls is nice because you can put your feet in the water when it gets too warm
      – Harpers Ferry is only about an hour away from DC and you can tube/hike/explore there
      – I love pick your own type farms; Butler’s Orchard and Larriland Farms are two of the closes in MD

      1. CoffeeforLife*

        Thanks for those! We are on the VA side but those could be great day trips and I’m sure there are some similar activities here.

        I suggested a day camp tailored to her interests (volleyball or music – and not all day/everyday) but he vetoed that.

        1. Overeducated*

          What about some of the free summer concerts in DC? I think there’s one called Jazz in the Garden at one of the museums, lots of military band stuff, probably more. Sometimes it’s nicer to relax in the hot afternoons and get out when it starts to cool down, and you can probably bring picnics,

          1. Hmmmm*

            Just a thought but while there are many great outdoor concerts I would not take a 12 year old to jazz in the garden.
            It is mostly a place for college age/early twenties people to get drunk on Friday evenings. It’s a big mess and it could be a learning experience rather than a fun night.

        2. Washi*

          Ooh gotcha. Well my favorite closer-in VA part is Sky Meadows, which has lovely views everywhere. Meadowlark botanic gardens are also lovely, but I’m not sure a 12 year old from HI would be impressed. Depending on where you are in VA, you might not be too far from Mallows Bay, where you can take a kayaking tour of sunken WWI ships, which is pretty cool.

          Also, the DEA has a museum in Arlington! It’s only open on weekdays and it’s not huge, but it has some fun exhibits about what now-illegal drugs used to be widely used/put in food, which I think I would have found entertaining at 12.

        3. Quandong*

          Your ideas of day camps tailored to her interests are excellent and very thoughtful.

          I’m sorry to hear your partner vetoed them. What ideas has he come up with in their stead?

      2. Double use of my name*

        You can also hike at Turkey Run or kayak at Pohick bay. And I 2nd the many biking options.

      3. Victoria, Please*

        Would you believe I used to WORK AT LARRILAND FARM. It was the best training ground possible to become a highly effective leader.

        Also tons of fun to visit.

      4. Reba*

        This summer I’m looking forward to going to outdoor movie screenings in my DC neighborhood. You might see if there are any of those near you, or other evening-time park activities (stargazing–maybe events at Udvar-Hazy since you’re in VA).

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      In general, what does she like to do? I had my niece (a little older, but still) come stay with me for a week last summer – we did some zoo, museum, historical park type things, but we also spent an evening eating pizza and playing Minecraft. I taught her how to crochet. Summer is good movie season, especially if you have anything “extra” like a drive-in or dine-in theater around, those are fun if you’ve never done them before. Bowling? Roller rink? If y’all are sporty types, is there a 5k nearby during that time frame that you could walk or jog together as a family? Farmers markets can be fun, also grilling out either in your backyard or at a local park. Arts and crafts, either you teaching her or both/all of you learning something new, like a pottery painting thing? See if the local community center does one shot classes. Is there a community pool? If everybody gets along, maybe she could scrapbook her trip as she goes so she can show mom how much fun she had when she gets home? (Related, maybe one of those little Polaroid style instant cameras she can carry around as a gift? I don’t know if 12 year olds have their own smartphones these days.) Depending on how nerdy you are, a d&d or similar tabletop game can be done in a couple hours or longer, and that’s the kind of thing you guys could continue by Skype when she goes home if everyone enjoyed it. (I took my niece to GenCon for a day while she was here and she loved it, but mine is a house of huge nerds.) Or maybe board games? New ones or classics. Heck, teach the kid how to play blackjack or poker for m&ms :)

    4. purple otter*

      What about the local public library? She can either find books on her own, or join some classes/events there’s anything she might be interested in. Good for days when it’s 90F out and 90% humidity (ah DC summers) or when it’s rainy.

      1. Lilysparrow*

        All the libraries near us have an extensive schedule of summer activities for kids, tweens, and teens. Some shows, some classes, some hands-on activities, some interactive stuff like escape rooms or laser tag, themed game nights or movie nights, you name it.

    5. Madge*

      All those HI things are also easy to find where you are after you sub pools for beaches. If It helps, plan the trip for HI things and find them where you are. Reframe the time on phone as down time vs being bored. Some kids need a lot of it. Boredom is ok and doesn’t mean she’ll hate being there. This visit doesn’t have to be all singing and dancing. Redirect to non-screens when you can and set a time limit for all screens. Give her a responsibility like dishes. Set up some basic rules with your partner calling for time outside, time reading, active time, helpful time, etc. every day. Let her manage this as she’s able. Buy some basic art supplies or adult coloring books and have them lying around. I saw an advanced dot to dot that looked fun. Also sticker by numbers. Get a couple classic board games and designate a game night. I’d have a couple activities planned for the first few days and then see how it goes from there. Google for summer break ideas in your area. Check out library programs, Health clubs, local pools, city park and rec programs, movie theaters, pottery painting/arty places. Ride the double decker tourist bus and get off for ice cream. Be corny, if it’s bad you can laugh together. Do you have a maker space nearby? Take a yoga class together. Sign her up for the library’s summer reading program.

    6. Agent J*

      Hiking in Rock Creek Park might be fun, since you’re used to activities outdoors. Or maybe one of the cruises on the Potomac that leave from Georgetown Waterfront.

      You could also do a touristy month of DC. I find I never do the touristy stuff unless friends are in town. Make your own list of favorite places that you want to show her or find ones online. And check out the Express newspaper on Thursdays (I think?) for weekend ideas.

    7. Occasional Baker*

      Can you introduce her to any similarly aged girls with her interests? Because I’ve been away from home for stretches at that age, and it was really hard to have no interaction with peers for such a long time, though this was before the current electronic age, lol. Not a hard push, necessarily, but if they start with snap chatting each other, maybe they can get to being friendly enough for light companionship? Works best if it happens as early as possible. I realize this trip is for Dad time, but just consider peer time. Mornings while Dad’s at work will be too early to online game with friends back home, for example. Are there cousins?

    8. Turtlewings*

      Activities are good and necessary, but also don’t be afraid to just give her some time to chill. A lot of kids don’t get the “down time” they need to just decompress, relax, do whatever. (And in fact, constantly complaining of being bored can be a sign that they’ve had so little down time, they don’t know how to exist without being entertained. Which means they need it all the more, though they might need some guidance in how to cope with it.)

    9. MRK*

      Silly question but, have you asked her what she’d like to do? At 12 I would expect she might have her own interests/hobbies. Being involved in decision making would likely be positive for her and make her feel included, especially since she’s spending a month of her summer with you. Plus its easier to come up with things once you have a general idea of what she likes.

    10. Not A Manager*

      There are a lot of one-week specialty “camps” for kids in the 12 year range. In our city, the park district used to offer some, and I think the public library and some of the museums, too. Those tended to cost less than the private ones.

      My small relatives do things like cooking camps, coding camps, climbing camps, and even a Star Wars camp where I think they just go into the park with light sabers all day.

      She might enjoy being with kids her own age for part of the time anyway.