{ 1,456 comments… read them below }

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Thank you. She’s been sick for a while (kidney disease) and we knew this was probably coming this year but she had seemed to be doing a little better. She had a stroke on Thursday and couldn’t move and we didn’t want her to suffer. It’s not been a great few days, especially having just lost Sam in the fall.

      1. Tabby*

        I’m so sorry I lost my 17 year old Persian to kidney failure too I had to put him down I’m so sorry

      2. The Other Dawn*

        Oh, I’m so sorry. Kidney disease is hard. I lost my last kitty to that and now her sister has it.

      3. Myrin*

        Oh god Alison, I’m so sorry. I was shocked to see this and I only knew her from your pictures and tales – I can’t imagine what it must be like for you and your husband. Jedi hugs if you want them!

      4. Forestdweller*

        So very sorry, Alison. Losing a feline family member is just awful. Sending positive energy.

      5. cat socks*

        I’m so incredibly sorry. I said goodbye to my girl back in February due to kidney disease. Rest in peace, sweet Lucy.

      6. Blinded by the Gaslight*

        Awww, I’m so sorry about your kitty. This is the worst part of having pets, even though it’s the kindest choice to end their suffering. Hugs to you!

      7. Windchime*

        Oh, poor Lucy. Such a pretty girl and she looks especially beautiful in this picture. I’m so sorry for your loss, and right on the heels of Sam. :(

      8. tamarack & fireweed*

        Very sorry to hear this, Alison. We have Siberian Huskies and lost a whole group of old dogs (aged 15-17 over the last two years) — they just don’t live long enough.

      9. Belle di Vedremo*

        Oh, no, not Lucy too! I’m so sorry.

        What a lovely girl. I’ll miss seeing her photos and hearing stories about her.

        Condolences to your family, human and feline.

      10. Fellow Cat Person*

        I am so sorry Alison! A few years ago I lost my 12-year-old cat to a stroke (a saddle thrombus that paralyzed him and sent him into heart failure) as well. Prior to the stroke, he had been ill for a few years with feline inflammatory bowel disease (that was likely transforming to a GI lymphoma) and needed daily medication and a special diet that he hated; I had been coaxing him to eat but he had lost a lot of weight. It broke my heart to lose him so suddenly, but my only consolation was that he was no longer suffering anymore from his chronic disease that would have also killed him more slowly. That doesn’t make the grief any less sharp, though. I am so sorry to hear about Lucy’s passing, and hugs to you and your family (feline and human) during this sad time.

      11. Formerly Known As*

        I’m very sorry, Alison. I’m a cat mom too. My previous cat had kidney disease.

      12. Sam Sepiol*

        It only seems like a few months ago you lost Sam! Can’t believe it’s that long. You must still miss him very much <3

      13. Lucien Nova*

        I’m so sorry, Alison. I lost my second youngest to kidney failure last year and I still miss her every day.

      14. frystavirki*

        oh no, poor lucy :c i’m glad you were able to help her not suffer and you got some warning. she looks like she was such a sweet girl and i know you must love and miss her very much. my heart goes out to you guys.

      15. LaSalleUGirl*

        Oh, I’m so sorry. She looks like such a sweet little floof. It’s always so, so hard to get to this point.

      16. Wantonseedstitch*

        I’m so sorry, Alison! My first cat was a Lucy as well (short for LucyFur), and losing her was heartbreaking. My sympathies to you and your family.

      17. Minocho*

        I”m so sorry. My beautiful Japanese cat Yami passed away between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it’s so hard. But when I look at your pictures, I can easily tell that they’ve had wonderful lives, and given and received lots of love and good times.

    2. Best cat in the world*

      Oh I’m so sorry about Lucy Alison. It’s so horrible :(
      Hope the others are giving you plenty of kitty cuddles.

      1. Square Root of Minus One*

        Oooooh little thing :(
        My condolences Alison. It’s so sad when they leave *hugs own cat*

    3. Dame Judi Brunch*

      RIP Lucy
      Alison, I’m so sorry for your loss. Our babies leave us too soon.

    4. Anono-me*

      So sorry for your loss.

      I know Lucy brought lots of love and joy to your home. And you kindly shared her with the AAM community. I will miss her sweet smiles.

    5. MatKnifeNinja*

      Run free sweet Lucy! There is never a shortage of brown bag bags or boxes in heaven. Sorry about your kitty, Alison.

    6. Bibliovore*

      I am so sorry. A dear friend of mine told me her kitty Rigby had the same issues just yesterday. I like to imagine these two are meeting up for the first time and comparing their family notes.

    7. Foreign Octopus*

      This is awful, I’m so sorry. Particularly as this has come so soon after losing Sam.

    8. Ead01s*

      I’m so sorry Allison, she looks like such a sweet kitty. It’s so hard to part with them. Jedi hugs to you.

    9. Washed Out Data Analyst*

      Nooo Lucy <3 <3 <3 She was a beautiful cat and I'm sure she was happy in this life!

    10. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

      I am so sorry for your loss. They take a piece of our soul when they leave. I hope good memories someday outweigh the pain.

    11. StudentA*

      I’m so, so sorry. The beautiful Lucy had a proud mommy and thanks for sharing with us just a little of the joy she brought you over the years.

    12. Tomato Anonymato*

      So sorry, Alison! She was a beauty and I am sure she had a charmed life with you.

      1. WrenF*

        I’m very sorry about Lucy’s passing. Your kitty family members bring so much joy to your readers. She was a beautiful girl.

    13. Staxman*

      A few days after one of my cats was euthanized at age 18 in 1994, I received the following from my vet:

      “There have been a couple of times in my life when I have wondered if I could survive the sadness of the moment. I expect you are feeling that way these last few days. Yes, we survive, but we are never the same. In some ways that is good. We should be changed by the wonderful experience of having had such a loving companion for so long.”

      They never live long enough. :(

      1. Thankful for AAM*

        that is really lovely, thank you for sharing.

        And my condolences to Alison!

    14. NYCProducer*

      I’m so very sorry to hear about your beautiful Lucy, Alison. I lost my Ollie a few months ago, and the loss is so profound.

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    I don’t want this sad news to make people feel like they can’t post lighter things! I know the juxtaposition can be weird, so how about this: What is everyone reading?

    1. Cat Meowmy Admin*

      Gurl. You have been a supportive resource of hope for countless people in countless ways. You deserve to have some of that from your loyal commentariat. XO
      Okay – I just learned about the book (which I’m ordering) “UnFuck Your Habitat”! Offering real world advice for tackling overwhelming housework or clutter (or anything at all) into bite sized manageable pieces. (Especially if you’re dealing with anxiety/depression.) Which is what all goals should be based on, amiright?! Sign me up!

        1. Cat Meowmy Admin*

          Truth you tell! The “prime directive”* is something I always kinda knew, deep down. For some reason, I find that I always need to be ‘reminded’ of those principles, and not let my self-criticism brain get in the way. I’m going to try to incorporate “The 5 Second Rule” in tangent. Lort – something’s gotta give!

          1. Lena Clare*

            I just bought the book. I hadn’t read the website in ages and I decided to treat myself today :-)

      1. Chylleh*

        Looking at the spiraling chaos that is my house right now, I so need that book in my life right now. Thanks for the recommendation!

    2. Detached Elemental*

      I am reading Packing for Mars, by Mary Roach. It’s a look at astronaut selection and training, but really interesting, and full of things you always wanted to know.

      I think someone on the blog might have recommended it in a recent thread? If so, thanks for the suggestion!

      1. Teacher*

        I adore Mary Roach books. I recommend all of them, but I don’t think I’ve read Packing for Mars. Thanks for the recommendation!

    3. Feliz*

      I’m reading “The Vessel” by Lisa A Nichols – about a mission to another planet where only one of the team comes back and can’t remember what happened. So far so good – enjoyably mysterious, decent characters and exploration of what it would be like to gone for 6yrs

    4. NeverNicky*

      Joe Country by Mick Herron. He writes the best spy thrillers out at the moment but they are also witty and biting about modern British culture and politics.

      This is the sixth in a series and he’s not afraid to kill off people we have invested in. The blurb hints at this happening so I’m reading with bated breath.

    5. Bulu Babi*

      I started Cribsheet by Emily Oster, a data-driven analysis of best practices in parenting babies and toddlers. It’s fun and informative! She also wrote Expecting Better, for pregnancy. I recommend it to pregnant folks in general — I’m much more relaxed about the whole affair after reading it! #science :)

      1. Mystery Bookworm*

        Haha. I have a two-week old (our first) and just finished that as well. I’m kicking myself a little for not having read Expecting Better, but oh well. I enjoyed Cribsheet! Certainly seems to be getting a lot of coverage.

        A bit tired of reading about babies now though, so trying to hit on some good fiction. Not totally sold on the mystery I just started….

        1. Bulu Babi*

          Yeah, I alternate with the most escapist high fantasy books I can find! ;) Currently on a Brandon Sanderson marathon. Oh, and I try to play board games once a week, to convince myself that my brain can still work on non-baby stuff. It’s good therapy.

    6. The Other Dawn*

      The new Robert McCammon book in the Matthew Corbett series, Cardinal Black. Historical fiction, takes place in the very early 1700s. Matthew is a “problem solver”, a detective before they were called detectives.

      I love historical fiction in general, but I’m particularly attracted to this series because of the time period. My house was built in 1735 and I like to imagine my house as part of the settings in the books and what life in my house would have looked like at that time. Yeah, I know, weird.

      1. Tort-ally HareBrained*

        This looks right up my alley. Added the first book to my ‘want to read’ list. Thanks!

        1. The Other Dawn*

          You’re welcome! If you like post-apocalyptic books, try his book Swan Song. It’s about rebuilding after a worldwide nuclear war, but really the theme is good vs. evil. That was the first book of his I read and I loved it.

      2. Juniper*

        Thank you, I like his other works, but I hadn’t read anything in this series. I just put it on my Kindle for an upcoming camping weekend.

    7. Elizabeth*

      The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger. It’s about parents being competitive for an elite school for their kids. Set in the US.

    8. Liane*

      I am doing the online Summer Reading Club through the library –there’s an adult division. I have been reading a lot more non-fiction. Just a few: I recently finished meteorologist Al Roker’s Storm of the Century (1900 Gulf Hurricane) & Ruthless Tide (Johnstown Flood). He’s an amazing writer. Just before that it was Storm Cursed, the latest in Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series. Am about to start Alphabet Squadron, a new Star Wars novel.

    9. Bored*

      Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. Loved every one of her books – well that’s not true – but even if I didn’t LOVE them, they moved really quick. This one is…dragging along. Anyone else read it? Should I power through or pick up a different book?

      1. Vanellope*

        I didn’t love it, and I usually love her books. I powered through just because I can’t not finish something, but it never really did pay off for me…(sorry! Wish I could tell you there was a fabulous twist that made all the set up worth it, but no)

        1. Bored*

          Thank you!! I have a huge list of to to-be-reads so I might just give up on it…thanks for saving my time :)

      2. Summer Rain*

        I felt the same way. Definitely my least fav of hers and I was frustrated in some of the (IMHO) more ridiculous plot twists. Esp disappointing as I am a huge fan!

      3. Come On Eileen*

        Oh man. By the end I haaaated that book! I’m like you: have read her other books and really enjoyed them. This one just takes such a weird and unbelievable turn that I had to force myself to power through finishing it. It’s like Liane wrote the first half and then she handed it off to someone else to finish it.

    10. Outside Earthling*

      The book you recommended last week, Alison, “The Expatriates”. It is so, so good and I’ve had a lovely week reading it, especially with a great new reading lamp. Where would we be without books? They are a joy.

      Sorry to hear about Lucy. I lost my own cat Lucy a few years ago.

    11. Dr. KMnO4*

      I just started reading Automating Inequality by Virginia Eubanks. It is about how letting algorithms make decisions about big decisions, like who gets loans, makes it much more difficult for people to get out of poverty.

      I recently finished Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez and Technically Wrong by Sarah Wachter-Boettcher. The former discusses the lack of data on women (in pharmaceutical research, transportation needs, etc.) and the impact is has on our lives. The latter discusses the lack of gender and racial diversity in the tech industry and how that reinforces biases and negatively affects our lives.

      None of them are light reads, but they drew me in and I couldn’t put them down.

    12. SpellingBee*

      I’m reading Early Riser by Jasper Fforde. I’ve read all his others (the Thursday Next series were my favorites) so I was excited to see he had a new one out. It’s different but an interesting premise, and his writing is as sharp and funny as ever. My “on deck” book after this one is Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson – I tried it once before because I love several of his other books but wasn’t able to get into it, so we’ll see how it goes this time.

    13. Falling Diphthong*

      I just finished The Rise and Fall of Dodo, by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland, recommended here a few weeks ago. A fun read, if ultimately a bit light in the landing–Stephenson has written some stories I love (Anathem, Diamond Age) and others where I really want him to have an editor.

      About to start How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin.

    14. Françoise etc.*

      Doppler by Erlend Loe. Midlife crisis hits father of two and he decides to move into the woods around Oslo in Norway. He makes friends with a deer and shares critical observations of our society’s consumerism. Entertaining satire where all characters seem to be caricatures but very real at the same time.

    15. Emily*

      I just finished The Lathe of Heaven! Probably my favorite experience reading Ursula K. Le Guin to date. (To be fair, that experience is limited to A Wizard of Earthsea in high school – I didn’t like her writing style at the time – and The Left Hand of Darkness more recently, which should have been right up my alley but was a bit of a slog. I might try them again at some point.)

      Basic summary: A man’s dreams have the power to change the reality of the world. He goes to a psychiatrist for help, but the psychiatrist is more interested in harnessing his abilities than stopping them. It goes about as well as you’d expect.

      1. Lady Jay*

        Isn’t the Lathe of Heaven good? Very unsettling and surprising; I love the way the menace grows more obvious as the novel proceeds.

        For what it’s worth, I couldn’t get into Left Hand on my first run. I’d been reading science fiction for awhile, and it was just too . . . weird. I took a second stab at it when I received it as a gift and loved it. So perhaps if you go back at some point? Also, my favorite Le Guin is The Dispossessed, which is timely and hearthbreaking and hopeful.

        1. Emily*

          I enjoyed how quickly things escalated. I don’t want to get too far into spoiler territory, but it felt like things went very quickly from mildly disconcerting to full-on bananas. I also appreciated that Le Guin wrote characters who I could like and root for.

          The Dispossessed is on my list! I don’t know when I’ll get to it, but I’m intrigued by the premise and have heard good things.

      2. Reba*

        I also was turned off by the Earthsea books as a teen. I’m sorry, *another* teen wizard goes to wizarding school? idc. But I recently read them all and loved them! They are actually about, like, gender politics and aging! Ha.

        Looking forward to Lathe of Heaven.

        I’m currently in the last book of The Bear and the Nightingale series. Very atmospheric and rich world.

        1. MMB*

          I just finished The Bear and the Nightingale series and LOVED it! One of my new faves for sure :)

        2. Emily*

          Right! While there’s a chance I still wouldn’t like them, I imagine there’s some stuff I missed or discounted on my first reading (of only the first book – I haven’t read the series).

      3. Lost in the Woods*

        Left Hand is one of those books that I think is best read with other people to discuss it with. It’s very rich but, since we’re in Genly’s mind the whole time and he’s getting maybe 10% of the nuance of any given situation, it really benefits the book to be able to talk it over.

        1. JediSquirrel*

          Completely this. I read this book last year and it was thick and rich and wonderful, but it really was almost too much at times. It would have been great to have someone to talk it out and over with.

    16. ThatGirl*

      I need something new, I’ve actually read quite a lot of your recommendations, so time to browse this thread I guess!

    17. Lady Jay*

      I just finished something I think people here would enjoy: the Poisoners’ Handbook, by Deborah Blum.

      On the surface, it’s about the very first medical examiner office, in New York City, the rising use of chemistry to solve poison murder cases, and the rise of forensic science as a field. But the book is broader in scope and touches on other aspects of 1920s and 1930s NYC: mostly Prohibition, but also city corruption and the automobile. It’s basically a series of murder mysteries with historical and forensic science stuff thrown in.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        It’s excellent. There’s also a documentary version of it that was just as good.

    18. CJM*

      I’m knee deep in the Guido Brunetti series by Donna Leon. If you like crime novels, these include a glorious setting (Venice, Italy), lively family dynamics, and delicious cooking tips. I had a month’s break until a friend lent me the next dozen books, and I was surprised how eager I felt.

    19. MysteryFan*

      I love the urban fantasy books of Seanan McGuire, especially the series with October Daye.. and most of the Incryptid series.

    20. merp*

      I just ran across a book called Gathering Moss, which is about (surprise) moss. I am unreasonably excited.

    21. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain. Despite the title, it’s more memoir than expose or useful information, though I bookmarked the advice on knife buying, and his reasoning for “never order seafood on Monday” is plausible. I’m not at all sure I would have liked Bourdain, if I’d met him, but at this distance the dramatic scorn of people he thinks of as picky eaters can roll off me, since he’s not in a position to impose his preferences on me.

    22. MMB*

      I’ve got two on the burner right now. James Lee Burke’s New Iberia Blues (I’m beginning to burn out on him though so I guess it’s a good thing that this looks like the final book in the Robicheaux series – at least for now) and one of my guilty pleasures, a fantasy by Jacob Peppers. Oh! And a beta read that’s been fairly interesting.

    23. PB*

      J by Howard Jacobson. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2014. I bought it then, and am just reading it now. It’s set in a future in which people are encouraged to forget about the past, following an incident referred to as just “What Happened, If It Happened.” It’s interesting, if not always a great deal of fun.

    24. Mimmy*

      I love personal narratives by people with disabilities, and one that I’m finishing up is a new book called PRAVE: The Adventures of the Blind and the Brittle. The author, Dave Bahr, is blind and his wife had Osteogenesis Imperfecta, aka, brittle bone disease. Dave reveals almost immediately that his wife has passed on, but it doesn’t spoil the story at all. He talks about how they met, got married and battled inaccessibility and discriminatory attitude. It is sweet and funny. His wife was very small due to her condition, but she is a pistol.

    25. PhyllisB*

      I have to wonder: Am I the only one on here who enjoys Chic Lit? I mean, I like other things too: Thrillers, anything to do with medical science, memoirs, ect. but I also enjoy light-hearted things, too. Like this weekend I am reading Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews and last week read Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank, and loved it. (Actually, that turned out to be somewhat educational because it had a lot of facts about bees and beekeeping.) When I read some of what y’all are reading, I feel slightly intimidated.

      1. Mammo-anon*

        I like some chic lit, like Jennifer Weiner and Jane Green. I like other stuff too. Mysteries are faves. Currently feel like I’ve read everything I like and there’s nothing left. But, that will pass

      2. NeonFireworks*

        Everyone should read exactly what they enjoy reading. Chick lit gets devalued because pretty much everything perceived as feminine does. I actually think I should make an effort to read MORE chick lit!

      3. Emily*

        I don’t read much chick lit specifically, but I do read some things (YA novels, certain types of “genre” fiction, occasional comic books/manga) that are considered less high-brow. And I hardly ever read nonfiction books, which has made me feel inferior on occasion.

        Mostly, I think you should read what you like!

      4. WrenF*

        Have you read The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry? So good and right there in the chick lit category.

      5. babblemouth*

        I just ordered 3 Nora Roberts books, so I’m going to say you’re not alone. I alternate genres quite a lot, which confuses a lot of people who know me. I think spacing out the very hard reads with some more easy going stuff helps with the hard stuff, and increases the enjoyment of the simpler books. I am very slowly going through Ron Chernow’s Hamilton, and trust me, if I couldn’t take breaks from time to time to read shorter novels, I would never, ever finish it.

    26. Ead01s*

      I’ve been escaping into Star Wars novels. The newer Thrawn trilogy (3rd book coming out this fall) and the Ashoka novels are all excellent. I’m half way through the first Heir to the Empire book. It’s not as strong, but my husband has assured me that the writing and plot twists get better as the trilogy progresses.

    27. Peacemaker*

      Between audiobooks, paper and ink, and e-books, I always have several going at any given time. Right now it’s “First: Sandra Day O’Connor,” by Evan Thomas, “G-Man,” by Stephen Hunter (part of his Bob Lee Swagger series), and “A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy,” by William Irvine. Yesterday, I finished “The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure,” by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, an excellent examination of the sources of anxiety and conflict in present day America and some ideas for addressing those challenges.

    28. Wishing You Well*

      I just finished “The Silmarillion” by Tolkien. It’s quite the slog through many made-up places and names that sometimes differ by only one letter. Locations can have multiple names and then change 2 or 3 times. The tiny hand-drawn map contains only a portion of the world described in the book. I had to photocopy and enlarge the map to keep track, only to give up when many important places were not on the map at all. I had to constantly refer to the genealogy charts and index in the back. There’s also a pronunciation guide and appendix for more language lessons. The book is mainly exposition about a dying world, not at all like “The Hobbit” or “Lord of the Rings”.
      “The Silmarillion” is a lot of work. Read a synopsis. Save yourself!

      1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        I wonder if I would have made it through The Silmarillion back in elementary school when I worked through The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. My elementary school library, quite understandably, did not have a copy so I went on to other authors after finishing LotR. I had a very high tolerance for slow-moving books at the time (before reading LotR I’d just finished reading Little Women, so I was used to powering through things that weren’t written for modern elementary school kid attention spans), so I suspect I would have put in a good effort. (In middle school, I also read TTRPG supplements for fun, particularly some of the more involved GURPS books, so referring to an appendix and taking notes wouldn’t have stopped me, either.)

        Now, however, I have access to so many things to read, and I am not generally a fan of “we go everywhere on the map, and also there are complicated elves” fantasy, so I don’t think I’m going to put in the effort.

      2. Elbereth Gilthoniel*

        It just goes to show how differently books can impact people. The Silmarillion is my favorite of Tolkien’s middle earth books. But I love myth and legend, so a creation story is right up my alley.

    29. LCL*

      Hag fish by Margaret Atwood. It is a modern day retelling of The Tempest, set in the world of a theater group. And then…Exquisitely written, every word belongs, no metaphysics or larger ideas, it just cooks. I’m loving it so far.

    30. Djuna*

      I’m halfway through Daisy Jones and the Six, and it’s a good, fun read. A fictional oral history of a rock band in the 1970’s that makes me wish I could listen to the music they’re talking about making. It’ll be fun to see how the soundtrack for the streaming show (when it’s made) will compare with the songs in my head.

      1. Luisa*

        LOVED that book. I’d seen it recommended multiple times and thought it sounded like something I wouldn’t be interested in, but then it was on the New Fiction shelf at my library, and I decided I might as well try it. So glad I did!

        There is a Spotify playlist companion, although obviously it’s actual songs from that period, and not the songs from the book. I still really liked it though!

    31. Archie Goodwin*

      Currently working on I, the Supreme by Augusto Roa Bastos. It’s been sitting on my desk for the past few years, teasing me. Finally I had an overseas trip and took it along.


      It’s extremely dense. I don’t dislike it, necessarily, but it’s one of those novels that requires a lot of taking slowly.

      Hey, nobody said I don’t relish a challenge. :-)

    32. Michaela Westen*

      My therapist is recommending to everyone a book called “Attached” by Levine and Heller. She says it describes the different ways people attach to others and helps women determine how a man is attaching to them and whether it’s compatible.

    33. Kathenus*

      Moondust – In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith. It’s about the men who walked on the moon and specifically what happened in their lives afterwards. My dad and brother had/read it years ago and I got it last year from them once they were done with it. I started reading it last month, not intentionally coincidental with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. A really interesting book from a unique perspective.

      1. Alison1965*

        Moondust is great, isn’t it? So interesting. I was privileged to attend an event in London not long after it came out, with Andrew Smith and the moonwalker, Alan Bean.

    34. Typhon Worker Bee*

      The Power by Naomi Alderman. Kick-ass YA fiction, loving it so far.
      Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. Great story, but gets bogged down by too many pedantic and unnecessary details at times. And I’m someone who likes some pedantic and unnecessary details in their sci-fi – it shows that the author has really and truly thought about the logistics of how their scenario would unfold. But this is too much even for me.

    35. Windchime*

      I just spent the last week re-reading the “Wool” series by Hugh Howey. I read it all every year or two, and I just love it. It’s post-apocolyptic (my favorite genre), and it was released in sections:

      Wool (five smaller books are combined into the omnibus)
      Shift (comprised of three smaller books : First Shift, Second Shift, Third Shift)
      Dust (I think this was just released as one book)

      Highly recommended. It’s about people who, for some unknown reason, live in a huge underground silo because the outside world is poisoned for an unknown reason.

    36. Ra94*

      Just started the Milkman, set during the Troubles in the 1970s- it’s written in a really modern way while still having a very engaging plot, rarely balanced for my taste.

      I finished Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly this week, which was harrowing but also wonderfully written. I loved the focus on the journalistic and legal process, which kept it from just being a rehash from the stories I’d already read online.

    37. GoryDetails*

      For the history-of-science/weird-brain-behavior fans, I recommend The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons by Sam Kean. I’ve enjoyed other books by him, and he blends history and science with a readable style and occasional quips, to very good effect.

    38. DrTheLiz*

      The “Young Wizards” New Milennium Editions by Diane Duane. I finally caved and bought them on Wednesday. They’ve been updated for a consistent timeline (instead of being set with thirteen-year-olds in 1996 and 14-year-olds in 2001) and with a (very welcome) update of one of the important side characters, who’s autistic. My conclusion: damnit, Duane, you can still make me cry as well as you could when I was 15 and found these the first time.

    39. NewReadingGlasses*

      I just finished “The Android’s Dream” by John Scalzi. It’s openly, joyfully contrived, and I enjoyed it.

    40. rubble*

      (first ever comment – low stakes!)

      as soon as the university semester ended I picked up a bunch of history books from the library to read over break – currently reading a little book calledBlood & Guts – A Short History of Medicine, by Roy Porter. it’s Western-medicine centric, but still very interesting!

    41. Luna123*

      I’m reading Bad Blood by John Carreyrou about Theranos and it’s just . . . bonkers. The work environment sounds totally nuts, but I’m mostly just blown away by how much Holmes lied to EVERYONE about EVERYTHING.

      1. WrenF*

        Daniel Silva’s The Other Woman (I discovered Silva late; read 8 of his Gabriel Allon books and had to take a break. Started back up with this one, which touches on the Cambridge Five, Russian spies, and more).

        Then I’ve been racing thru some fun YA series; Jenny Tan’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trio, Aprilynne Pike, and Diana Peterfreund.

      2. babblemouth*

        OMG, I read it and loved it so much, and it was often hard to believe it wasn’t fiction. That woman is a public menace, and I can’t believe she’s not in jail. I keep it as my reference for next time someone goes “well, all these smart rich people are listening to this one person, so he/she must be right.” The way she razzle dazzled influential people is incredible, and yet I see it happen all around me. I had to bring up that example at work a few months ago when someone was getting ready to invest a whole lot of money on a project that simply had really good marketing and a charismatic founder… like no, just because this person is saying all the right words does not erase that in 5 years of existence, they still haven’t produced the thing they said they would do.

    42. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      Free Food for Millionaires/Min Jin Lee.

      It’s a rather addictive read and should be turned into a movie.

    43. MsChanandlerBong*

      I am almost done slogging through Patricia Cornwell’s “Scarpetta” series. It was quite good from books 1-10 or so; then it went off the rails until about book 19, and now it’s okay again. It’s not great, but at least I don’t want to throw my Kindle. I’m on book 21 now, and I think there are three more after this.

    44. babblemouth*

      I have just finished reading Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez, and I highly recommend it. It looks at all the ways data gaps on women’s needs and behaviours is reinforcing gendered problems around the world. I had to put it down a few times to let out some anger, some of the stuff in there is truly outrageous.

  2. Cat Meowmy Admin*

    Oh no, Alison! I’m deeply sorry and totally empathize.* Grieving the loss of a beloved pet is often harder than the loss of a human loved one, in a different way. May your cherished memories of your beloved Lucy comfort your heart, over time. Such a beautiful girl. Someone once said, “pets don’t live as long as we do, because they already know in their hearts and souls, what we humans need a lifetime to learn”. I’m sure you enriched Lucy’s life as much as she did yours. And that unconditional love never dies. Lucy’s paw prints are forever etched in your heart. <3 Hugs to you and Lucy's fur siblings too. XO
    (*exactly the same condition with one of our pets a few years ago; totally understand)

    1. Not So NewReader*

      The animals and the kids. We can feel a higher sense of obligation to protect the smaller beings. I think that “helps” to make the grief harder because they seem so dependent on us.

      It’s important to remember that Lucy knew she had a happy, safe home with Alison and Hubby. And Lucy knew she had a good life. Likewise with so many of our pets, in their own way, they know they had a good life in our homes. And they know they are loved.

      1. Cat Meowmy Admin*

        Absolutely, I feel the same way. <3 To live a life filled with love is a life well lived indeed.

  3. Fran*

    What is the etiquette when someone invites you to a birthday party and says no presents? We are invited to the 4oth birthday party of SOs stepmom’s daughter. I ended up getting her a gift bag from body shop but I am going to another similar party next month thrown by a person I have met a handful of times and I don’t know what to get her.

    1. KimberlyInOhio*

      Urgh! I am pretty literal, so I’d bring no present. But some people bring presents anyway and I’d feel bad being the person who didn’t bring a present. I feel your pain!

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Don’t get a gift. It doesn’t matter if everyone else shows up with one, that just showed they didn’t care enough to listen. I say this as someone who really, really hates it when I invite someone over, they ask what to bring, I tell them I have it covered, and they show up with dessert.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        YES. Seriously. If I tell you don’t bring anything, frigging don’t bring anything. Argh.

        1. PhyllisB*

          Obviously, y’all don’t live in the South. :-) Hostesses will tell you “don’t bring a thing!!” and sometimes they mean it. But a lot of time you get some side eye if you don’t. About the gifts thing: I would get something generic (like the afore-mentioned gift bag) and leave in the car (if you’re driving) and if others bring gifts then “OOPS!! I left something in the car.” If there are no others, then you have a happy for another gift-giving occasion.

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            I recently moved from the south and I still took people at their word, and I found it frustrating when guests refused to take me at mine.

          2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            I don’t maintain friendships with people who get shitty at me when I believe them. And two of my dearest friends are Southern, and they agree with me. So.

          3. Iron Chef Boyardee*

            You don’t have to be from the South to have that problem (taking people at their word). I have Asperger’s and we tend to take people literally. which really sucks when so many phrases are just expressions not intended to be taken seriously (“how are you,” “see you soon,” “I’ll call you,” etc.) but your brain is wired to think they really mean it.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Me too; I usually have a good reason for saying I don’t want you to bring anything. Either I’ve already taken care of it or I don’t need more stuff.

      3. Iron Chef Boyardee*

        “It doesn’t matter if everyone else shows up with one, that just showed they didn’t care enough to listen.”

        Exactly. It’s like the “no brown M&Ms” clause in Van Halen’s contract rider, which everyone thinks of as the pinnacle of unreasonable rock star demands, but the band explained that they did it because it was an easy way to find out if the technical specifications of their contract had been thoroughly read and complied with. (A good, detailed explanation can be found at snopes (dot) com/fact-check/brown-out/.)

        1. Iron Chef Boyardee*

          And, again, I forgot to add a close-italics tag, and because this site doesn’t have a “preview post” button, the mistake is present for all to see. Why, Alison, why is this important feature denied to us?

    3. Feliz*

      I usually go with a nice bottle of wine or fancy chocolates – so not empty handed but not high value and easy to regift

    4. A teacher*

      Don’t bring a gift. I actually wouldn’t give a birthday gift to an adult anyway (adults usually don’t need stuff), but I know that varies a great deal in different circles.

      But if they have specifically said no gifts, definitely don’t bring one.

    5. Kuododi*

      That’s one of my bigger pet peeves. If the invite sz “no gifts”, I really did mean “no gifts!!!”.

      1. A teacher*

        Yes. If you give me a gift and I don’t want a gift, much as I appreciate the thought, you’ve really given me the gift of getting rid of something I don’t want or need, plus a mental load to carry about the waste.

        I realise I may be extreme, but if people say no gifts they have a reason.

        1. FancyPants*

          You’re not extreme. I feel the same way. I started a “no gifts holidays” policy a few years ago with my loved ones and friends because I have too much stuff and I’m trying to declutter my house. Some of the gifts I used to get were very thoughtful and useful, but most were nice but basically just more clutter. People who got me gifts after I told them no more gifts were basically gifting a burden–I had to either keep it and feel resentful I had more clutter I didn’t need, or go through the trouble of donating it and feeling guilty. It was more important for the gifter to feel good about giving a gift than to respect my totally reasonable (and cheaper for them) request. Made me feel less good about those people.

    6. The Other Dawn*

      It says “no gifts”, so don’t bring a gift. If you truly feel weird about it–though you shouldn’t–bring something small and unwrapped, like a hostess gift. Leave it in the car. If you go in and see a majority of other people have brought gifts, say you forgot something in the car and then go and grab it. If you see just one or two, then just leave it in the car and either bring it home or bring it to the next party.

      1. PhyllisB*

        The Other Dawn, I didn’t see your comment when I posted. Obviously, we think alike.

    7. Victoria, Please*

      I brought home grown tomatoes and basil one time. Generally welcome but if not then toss in the trash while cleaning up from the party.

      1. SezU*

        Oh, you can bring me home grown tomatoes and basil anytime! Just give me a heads up so I can have the mozzarella handy!

    8. Julia*

      Why would you ignore the no gift request and take something? Listen to it. If people bring a gift it doesn’t mean you were wrong it means they were wrong.

    9. Lucy*

      If they’ve gone to the trouble to say no gifts, they mean it. Definitely take a card, but give the gift of trusting their word!

      That said, I would probably contact them in advance to see if I could bring a contribution to the catering e.g. a bottle, a cake, a plate of something; or if I could be helpful in other ways e.g. picking up cousin Sam from the airport/their railway station/their house my side of town, or blowing up balloons or whatever. Again, if they said no (within cultural norms for what that looks like, including a second offer if appropriate) then I’d respect that no.

    10. Not So NewReader*

      If you MUST buy something, bring a food item. Leave it unwrapped.
      Now is also a good time to return that book you borrowed two years ago, if that is something you need to do.

      “No gifts” is not code for “bring lots of gifts”. Bring the gift of your good company, good sense of humor and willingness to help with this or that.

      1. Loz*

        What? There is no code. No gifts. No food, no nothing. It’s not ‘if you must’. It’s not about you. Respect their wish. The host will just have to deal with throwing your crap out. Why would you think food?!

        1. MatKnifeNinja*

          No gifts=no food no wine no stuff.

          My friend has numerous anaphylactic food allergies in her home. She does no gift parties. Someone always shows up with a food item that can’t even be brought into the house. You know how awkward that is during a party?

          Send the gift the day before. If it’s no gift party, you will not see them open it anyway. Write a very nice hand written note afterwards on how much you enjoyed said party, and all sorts of other nice thoughts. Snail mail it. People love getting happy snail mail.

          Do something the day before or the day after if you must. The party giver will be grateful that you followed their wishes.

      2. Observer*

        Why a food item? Unwrapped makes it even worse as it creates a pressure to serve it.

        Food is actually not a terribly good gift for someone you don’t know well. At least if it’s sealed, they can re-gift it.

    11. Fran*

      Thanks everyone.
      She appreciated the Body Shop gift back.
      A few others brought flowers and a few others gift-cards and fewer other gifts.
      For the other I will go with my gut getting her a bottle of extra virgin olive oil my family produces and leave in my backpack if I feel it will not be appreciated although I doubt it.

      1. Venus*

        I think a bottle of oil (a consumable product) works well, although agreed to have it in your bag and see what happens. In my culture, ‘no gifts’ means that they don’t want to collect more things around the house. I usually don’t bring anything, but might make a donation to a charity, or maybe a bottle of wine or something (which they can regift). I wouldn’t do Body Shop only because I find those products to be a personal preference, but that’s just me. But my default is not to bring anything.

    12. MatKnifeNinja*

      Please honor the no presents request. It’s horrible for the other guests who did bring nothing, and see others bring in gifts.

      If you absolutely, positively can not stop yourself from bringing something, get a card and put in a gift card or a gift of money. You can discreetly give it to someone without being notice.

      My niece’s 5th birthday party had a no gifts request. English must be hard because I fielded so many calls on what “no gifts” means. I finally sent and email blast saying if you want to bring something, bring a gently used book to donate to the pediatric hospital waiting room.

      Honestly, you make people aggravated when you schlep a present to a no gift party. Why not send your gift the day before? I had a few people do that for my niece. It was not wanted or needed, but I was grateful I didn’t have to deal with it at the party.

      From then on, I include bring gently used blankets/books/dollar store gloves/mittens whatever for a donation to a charity as an option besides no gifts. Not because I’m that good of a person, but because some people can’t help themselves and I don’t want the other guests embarrassed.

      1. Lucy*

        A small friend of mine had a food bank collection in lieu of gifts for her fifth birthday, so she got to have a trip to the food bank the day after her party to drop off the donations. I honestly don’t think any quantity of Barbie dolls and Lego sets could have put a bigger smile on her face.

        I would gladly have no gifts ever again, but that’s socially difficult, so I tend to direct people towards consumables such as socks, tea towels or hand cream which will be daily and gratefully used until the very last ounce of life is wrung from them (because the gift version of each of those is far nicer than I would buy for myself).

      2. Lora*

        This! I collect things for a battered women’s shelter run by the local YWCA – I drive nearby about once a week anyway, it’s easy for me to drop things off. One of my friends who lives in a small cottage-size house collects gifts and donates them to the state foster care system, so kids who have just been removed from an abusive home, often with only the clothes on their backs, can get clean clothes and a toy of their own to bring to foster care.

        It’s really just, I have too much crap as it is. I have enough money. I would enjoy something like homemade olive oil or home-grown tomatoes, in that they can be used up without waste, but I have a vegetable garden and the local fancy gourmet food shop owner already knows me by name. I’m good.

    13. quirkypants*

      When someone says no presents, I don’t bring presents but if they’re hosting the party or its at someone’s home I will bring a bottle of wine or some food they might like or might serve (like chocolate or cheese or something that won’t hurt to have duplicates of).

      1. MatKnifeNinja*

        I think there is a difference between dinner party/house warming open house, and a birthday party.

        I can (maybe slightly) see bringing something if the person hosting says verbally they don’t need anything. That’s the dinner party/open house.

        I never bring anything the day of a birthday/anniversary party if the invite says no gifts.

    14. HannahS*

      Bring a card. A card with a nice handwritten message, that they can either display on their mantle for a month or throw away immediately after the party, is a nice way to show that you care without burdening them with stuff that they don’t want.

    15. Clever Name*

      I am throwing myself a 40th party literally today, and the invite specifically says no gifts. I seriously mean do not bring gifts, and if someone brought a gift, I would be embarrassed. If you are close enough to her to feel moved to give her a personal gift, give it to her some other time.

    16. Lucette Kensack*

      Believe someone when they say no gifts. Especially an adult! I know opinions differ on whether birthday parties for adults are delightful or ridiculous, but certainly adults don’t need a roomful of people to bring them gifts. Be grateful she spelled it out and don’t bring anything.

    17. Parenthetically*

      Don’t get a present? It’s not a code, for goodness’ sake — take people at their word. If someone says “no presents” but secretly means “(but really get me presents or I’ll be miffed you didn’t know I actually didn’t mean it)” that person’s a jerk and deserves no friends or presents.

    18. That Girl From Quinn's House*

      If you have to bring something to a no-gift party, make it something perishable (flowers, food, drink, soap, a balloon that will deflate eventually.) That way the person gets a gift, but doesn’t have to keep the gift.

      1. Good luck with that*

        Soap? Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but the way I was brought up, giving someone soap would be a mortal insult. “Here, you obviously need this.”

        1. Grace*

          Probably a cultural hang-up on your part.

          At least in my corner of the UK, getting hand-cream, nice soap, bath bombs, body wash, etc, is a common and accepted gift for all ages. Nice soap, obviously. Something artisanal or an unusual scent. Not just a bar of Dove. But getting ‘smellies’ for birthdays or Christmas (is that UK-wide slang, or just a regional East Yorkshire thing?) is a time-honoured tradition for “I don’t know what to get this person, but I know this will get used”.

        2. Parenthetically*

          I’ve heard this too, but no one is, like, plonking down a bar of Irish Spring on the table at a birthday party! They’re buying a fancy, french-milled soap with a beautiful fragrance in a lovely dish wrapped in cellophane along with a bag of bath salts or a candle or a bottle of lotion. Anyone who interpreted that as a mortal insult is… bananas.

          (But also don’t buy gifts if people say no gifts FFS! It’s super rude to do the opposite of what the party host/birthday person asks for!)

          1. Patty Mayonnaise*

            I desperately want someone to buy me super fancy soap, because it’s the kind of thing you never buy for yourself.

    19. GibbsRule18*

      On my wedding invitations I had the following:

      No gifts please. Seriously.

      Only one guest brought a gift and it was a bottle of wine. My husband and I married when I was 51 and he was 59. We did not need any more stuff!

    20. Kathenus*

      I totally get being torn on this, but the reason people are so uncomfortable giving no gifts when the invitation clearly says ‘no gifts’ is because so many people keep bringing gifts. So this is a really low stakes way to ‘be the change you want to see’ and honor their wishes. You are not only following the person’s request, but you are helping to free everyone else on the guest list from this bizarre notion that they should still bring a gift because others might do so.

      And I get that your friend probably did like the body shop gift bag, but also, what did you expect her to do if she would have rather you not brought it? She was being nice and polite, and you were being gracious, but one internet stranger encourages you and all on this thread to fully embrace and respect no gift by not bringing anything at all.

    21. MissDisplaced*

      If I saw “no presents” I’d still take a small hostess gift or bottle of wine or the like.

    22. Anonymouse for this*

      If they said no presents take them at their word. If you absolutely feel like you need to buy something then make a donation to a charity you know they like and include that in the birthday card you give to them.

    23. KK*

      My daughter and her friends throw a Boxing Day party the day after Christmas every year. It’s a potluck. Everybody brings gifts that they receive that they don’t want to keep. Those gifts are placed under the tree. Everything is available for adoption. These parties are so much fun and feel so good! Any items that are not adopted or donate it to charity.

      Maybe you could start at the tradition with your friends, and hold Boxing Day parties the day after Christmas. Just keep a Boxing Day box in the closet.

    24. Nana*

      If you feel you MUST…give any amount to a favored charity in their name. S/he’ll get an acknowledgement card from the organization (no amount indicated).

    25. babblemouth*

      Don’t bring a gift. Some people truly have everything they need materially and have a party to enjoy the company. If you’re feeling truly weird about being empty handed, get a really really nice card.

    26. Reliquary*

      Why is it so lmnopq hard to take people at their word?

      *lmnopq is my attempt to keep my sorry abcd from cussing.

    27. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      Bring a card. This kind of weird social pressure is part of why we have the endless conversation about whether or not it’s tacky to have a wedding registry or to ask for money if people insist on bringing gifts even if they are asked not to. If we just start believing that people don’t want gifts for whatever reason then maybe that whole dance can die in peace.

  4. Arya Parya*

    Does anyone here have any advise on how to treat a sore neck?

    A week ago a woke up with a painful neck and upper back. Probably slept in a weird position. No biggie, has happened to me a couple of times before. Usually it’s better after a couple of days. But now it’s been sore for a week.

    I’m getting a massage in a few hours, so I’m hoping that will help. In case it doesn’t, does anyone know any good stretches? And does anyone know how to get proper sleep? I keep waking up a few times at night, because it hurts. Tried painkillers, a different pillow, but no luck yet.

    1. Fran*

      Yoga with Adriene has nice stretches. Hot pads help with the pain. Ask your massage therapist to give you pain relief cream as well.

    2. Pony tailed wonder*

      My boyfriend bought a ‘personal massager’ for Valentine’s Day for um, romantic purposes but honestly, we get way more use out of it by massaging our backs and shoulders. It really gets the kinks out of my neck so quickly. I get headaches that start in the back left side of my head and go through to my shoulder muscles and the Hitachi relieves them in minutes. It is one of the best gifts that I have ever received, my shoulder muscles are so thankful.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        So, I haven’t used my Hitachi in years, and my partner found it yesterday and asked why I never threw it out. This is why! Thanks for the tip.

    3. WS*

      A heatpack relaxes the muscles. If all that doesn’t work, see a physiotherapist to relax it fully and give you some exercises so it doesn’t happen again.

      1. Lilysparrow*

        You can make an easy quick heat pack with dry rice & a cotton sports sock. If you sew, fill the sock untill you can just close it and zigzag the top shut.

        If you don’t sew, leave enough room at the top and tie a knot.

        Microwave it about 1 minute, the heat lasts a long time. Flexible shape, provides a little pressure for headaches, etc. Will last nearly forever if you don’t get it wet.

        You can also keep these in the freezer for gentle cooling if you find ice packs too intense.

        1. Apt Nickname*

          I once sent my spouse to the store to get rice just for this purpose! On a lighter note, when I looked up directions to make a rice sock there was an angry comment from someone that their rice sock didn’t work- it was wet and sticky when hot and solid as a rock when cold. So, you know, make sure you use UNCOOKED rice.

    4. Lena Clare*

      Google Arthritis UK neck pain and try the exercises there! They’re very helpful.

    5. YetAnotherUsername*

      Its been a week and it’s still so painful its waking you up? I think you should see a physiotherapist or a physical therapist.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      This could be anything.
      I was using glucosaime and that worked. But the doc took me off of it. (??)
      I recently found I was tipping my head oddly to read my computer screen because my glasses needed updating. The new glasses seem to be helping to ease things.
      Sleeping without a pillow has also been helpful for me.

    7. ATX Language Learner*

      I have a thinner foam roller than a normal one and will put it in different positions under my neck laying down, then I bring my head side to side over it. It’s reallllly amazing!

    8. Alex*

      That happens to me sometimes, and that acute “I slept wrong” neck pain tends to be a job for a chiro, although a skilled massage might do the trick as well.

      I’m lucky to have a great chiro around the corner from my house who does same-day appointments!

    9. Llellayena*

      It took me months and way too many wasted purchases to find the right pillow to relieve my neck/back discomfort, but it’s worth it! Keep trying different types/lofts of pillows. I also use a small pillow between my knees which helps lower back/hip pain.

    10. merp*

      In my case, alternating heat and ice helped a lot. Also, you say this has happened before so you probably know this, but mine took longer than it seemed like it should to truly feel better. I’d be feeling fine and then turn my head too quickly and do the same thing all over again. So even after you feel better, be careful with it!

    11. Llama Face!*

      I had a terrible neck pain issue a couple months ago and couldn’t get into my massage therapist right away. The most helpful thing I found was a youtube video titled “Physio Neck Exercises Stretch & Relieve Routine” by a physical therapist named Michelle Kenway. (Not putting the link to avoid moderation but you should find it easily by searching that title).
      Hope you get relief soon!

    12. Arya Parya*

      The massage was good. She found a treated quite a few knots. It’s all still sore from the massage, but feels looser. So I hope the soreness will go away soon. If it doesn’t I will definitely look into all your suggestions.

      1. Windchime*

        Lots of hot showers usually helps me. Also, when I can tell that my headaches are originating from my neck, I will sometimes sleep with a rolled towel under my neck instead of a pillow. It sounds weirdly uncomfortable but sometimes it’s just what I need to get my neck back into the correct position.

    13. MissDisplaced*

      Usually when I do this, heat, massage and ibuprofen do the trick. But my mom tweaked her neck badly some months ago and her doctor sent her to physical therapy for six sessions.

    14. Clarissa*

      Go to a minor emergency clinic. They gave me a muscle relaxer and steroids when I had that. It worked right away. (None of my home remedies even helped.)

    15. Jemima Bond*

      As others suggest, a physio may help you figure out what caused it and give exercises. When I had similar we worked out it was probably from me pushing my head forward and hurting my chin out when doing craft things (at a sewing machine or with a tray of beadwork on my lap) – like a tortoise poking its head out of its shell if that makes sense!
      If it is a muscle strain in that sort of way, ibuprofen was the advice from the doctor. I also find heat helps and I swear by Voltarol gel – not sure if you have that brand in the states but it’s a gel containing diclofenac that you apply to the painful area as opposed to a tablet you swallow. It’s good stuff. Google suggests it may be known as Voltaren in the US.

    16. Willow*

      I like the TheraCane, that green thing with the big hook and various knobs, I can get into the tight areas on the back of my neck and the ones under my shoulder blades. I was surprised that it helps as much as it does!

  5. Cows go moo*

    I just finished reading The Gift of Fear (strongly recommended reading for everyone!) It got me thinking, has anyone had a gut feeling/”premonition” that cannot be explained in any way?

    Several years ago I was overseas and had a horrible sinking feeling the whole trip. It wasn’t just a bad mood or anything I’ve experienced before or since. I was incredibly upset, in dread and fear of something I couldn’t understand, and felt like I had to go home immediately. I couldn’t rationally explain why so of course I didn’t go home until the scheduled date. As soon as I came home I discovered there was a sudden death (a freak accident) in the family shortly before I arrived. But no one had called me because they knew I was just about to return and didn’t want to cause upset on the way back to the inevitable. I still cannot explain why I went through that.

    1. Fran*

      I have read the gift of fear and I liked Zoe Quinn’s Crash Override too.
      5 years ago I had a similar feeling to what you described while hiking. There was nothing to worry about but I felt dread. The following day police who was notified by my sister discovered our friend dead in his apartment. We didn’t communicate every day so him not picking up a few calls was no biggy. But he didn’t pick my sister’s calls either and when she went to his apartment she could hear his phone ringing in his apartment although he was not answering the door nor the phone. He died from an aneurysm.

    2. Those little things.*

      Two people close to me died in my life. When my great-gran and, over a decade later, my grandmother died, the first time a light when on in the bedroom (one of those desk lamps you touch the base of to turn on, no switch needed) in the night she died, for my gran the front door of my studio opened around dawn (rationally, I’d probably forgotten to close it properly).
      When after the door incident, my dad called me in the morning, I knew exactly what he was about to say (rationally, gran had late-stage pancreatic cancer and it was a matter of a days at best).
      Complete coincidences. But, there’s also that voice whispering ‘your beloved grandma said goodbye, like her mother before her’, and that’s a comfort to me.

    3. WS*

      I was going to see a specialist doctor at a hospital I had been to five or six times before with no problems (apart from their terrible parking garage). And yet, on this one day, in a town with a simple grid layout, I couldn’t find the hospital. It took me nearly 20 minutes of driving around and around to find it and I was in tears of frustration and thinking I was going crazy.

      Then I went in to see the doctor and it turned out that my previous surgery (some years before) hadn’t been done properly and now I had to have more surgery and then radiation treatment. I had totally not expected this news, and yet something was very irrationally wrong with me before I even got there.

    4. CoffeeforLife*

      I saw him on Oprah like a zillion years ago and went to the store that day. It was such a great, scary, eye opening read. I was just starting to spread my wings and needed to know to trust my gut and that it was OK to say no. I’m still wired to be a pleaser and struggle with that. I think it’s a great book for a grad/new adult.

    5. The Other Dawn*

      Definitely. When my bank was shut down in 2013 I had to get another job. I was unemployed for about three months and not having any luck, though I had talked to one bank early on and turned it down: crappy commute, needed a couple months off for surgery and wasn’t willing to budge, and just didn’t want that particular job in general. An acquaintance reached out (someone who consulted for my former bank) and said she had a newly created position. I went in for the interview and was offered the job, At the same time, that other bank contacted me again with a more attractive job. I struggled with the decision a lot, but I went with the one my acquaintance offered. When I drove into the parking lot my first day, I heard a very clear voice in my head, “You took the wrong job.” I hadn’t even shut my car off yet and had a very strong gut feeling that I made the wrong decision. Turned out I was right. It was the worst 10 months of my working life. Everything about that job was wrong and I basically cried every single morning in the shower. It really shook my confidence and made me doubt my decision-making skills. I eventually moved on to a much better place…which was sold last year so had to start looking again. I got a good job, though eventually I’d like to be out of banking and onto the vendor side.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I also have had dreams of something happening and it turns out that something very similar happened to someone I know that same night or weekend.

        Once I dreamed that I spit two of my teeth into my hand. The next day my coworker comes in and tells me that her granddaughter had to go to the ER the night before. She and her friends were playing with a BB gun. It accidentally went off and shot two of her teeth out.

        Another time–a Friday night–I dreamed that I knocked on my friend’s front door. When she answered, she told me that her father had died. On Monday morning, I was told that our EVP would be out for a couple days because her father had died. When I talked to her later in the week I asked her when he had died. She said Friday night.

    6. Best cat in the world*

      I found some of the information in that book interesting but I didn’t finish it because some of his attitudes really bothered me.

      I tend to rely on my gut a lot, especially at work. There have been a few patients that I’ve been to where I’ve not been able to put my finger on what’s wrong but I’ve just had a nagging feeling that they need to be in hospital and fairly sharpish. Trying to explain that one over a radio can be interesting!!

      1. Overeducated*

        I’m glad you do! I would want medical personnel to use their gut that way if I were a patient…sometimes it takes the brain more time to figure out what ghe gut was seeing.

      2. Vanellope*

        I think I’ve read that he comes from a domestic violence background, ie, his dad abused his mom throughout his childhood. Because of that he does carry some twisted views/judgement toward women who stay in that situation, even though the rest of his work is excellent (trusting your gut, etc). From what I can tell the general consensus is that the DV chapters are trash, but the rest is helpful.

        1. Best cat in the world*

          Yeah, it was the DV bits that I had a problem with.

          @Overeducated. I think it’s actually something that we use a lot more than we realise.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      We are supposed to have intuition, it’s necessary for our survival.

      I had gotten a new-to-me car. The windshield was pitted from years of road salt and other crap. I decided that I wanted to tap my glass coverage and get a new windshield. My good friend said, “Oh, you don’t really need to do that!” And I dug my heals in for no obvious reason. “I am doing this.” (He meant well, but he was not viewing the situation from my exact perspective.)

      The man came to replace my windshield. My friend happened to come over as the process was unfolding. As the man removed my old windshield he informed me that the windshield was so loose that it was ready to fall out.
      I could have been seriously injured or worse.
      Here’s the deal, I had no way of knowing the windshield was getting ready to fall out. All I knew is that something inside me kept pushing me to get a new windshield. In the past, when I have ignored that push, it has always gone badly.

      Another time I had that feeling of being pushed, I refi’ed my house. My mortgage payment dropped by 55%. I had no idea why I was feeling pushed to refi. All I could say was, “I have to hurry up and get this done.” The next thing that happened was the economy plummeted.

      My wise friend used to say, pay attention to the times you think your intuition is telling you something. Try to learn to discern what is intuition and what is just over-worry. Intuition feels differently than over-worry. But we have to teach ourselves the difference. One way is to check how we feel and match that to outcomes. How did I feel before the windshield was replaced? How did I feel AFTER the windshield was replace? Yeah, it was day and night difference. I found out the reason for the push, sometimes our intuition pushes us and we never learn the reason why. That can be a little confusing.

      1. Observer*

        The windshield story is a perfect example of the idea that sometimes we pick up clues that our brain can’t quite process explicitly.

        In your case, it’s pretty obvious from a distance what was pushing you to fix that windshield. You were seeing clues that the windshield had suffered a lot of wear and tear, enough to cause significant damage. If that’s the case what other HIDDEN damage might there be?

        To be honest as I was reading your story, I was thinking “I bet the windshield shatters as the repair guy is taking it out.” It’s not for nothing that car insurance pays for these replacements without too much fuss.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I do agree that much of what is attributed to ESP, etc, is actually a fairly logical deduction.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      @ Cows go moo.

      The night the Titanic sank, people all over the US had dreams of people in a large body of water, screaming for help. My great grandmother was one of those people. In the morning she told her daughter (my great aunt) about her dream.
      Her doctor did not allow her to look at news. So Great Grandma had no way of knowing what had actually happened.

      Sometimes tragedy has its own energy.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I remember the day the Challenger exploded; I was sleeping in, but woke up suddenly and went straight to the TV, a thing I didn’t normally do. I turned it on and saw what happened.
        Did the same thing on 9/11.

        1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

          I got up really early on 9/11, which was extraordinarily weird for me at the time. But I turned off the TV just before it happened and didn’t find out until later that afternoon.

    9. TPS Cover Sheet*

      Ok, this is total voodoo. My parents were in their 80’s, been married for 60 years etc. Dad had what the autopsy revealed a kidney cancer that had metastased into his brain. At first he had a face paralysis like a stroke, then he started having the record on, then swapping the records and finally all the records were stuck. Mom had been poorly with a chronic acid reflux so she wasn’t eating anyways and was worried on top. So finally we got dad into the hospital as he was getting violent, well, uncontrollable, he deteriorated in your eyes. Mom also was admitted, and they were in the same ward but different rooms. Mom is in an IV drip and a few days pass and something like 03 am one night she buzzes the night nurse and really insists she needs to go see dad down the hall. The nurse is telling her to sleep but mom is adamant. So she goes with the IV drip roller and when she gets to his bed, dad takes the last breath. We went in the morning and all the nurses were at shift change and giving us looks and my mom was a bit sheepish of all the attention ”I just knew I had to be there”.

      Come to think of it I remember grandma putting the kettle on because people were coming because of the announcing spirit, and then the people came after a while. But I was so small then I didn’t find it at all odd she had premonitions like that.

    10. Nervous Nelly*

      Yes. I have an anxiety disorder lol!!! I can trust my gut anymore because it’s ALL doom and gloom.

      1. Madge*

        Yep, me too. I still try and listen to the feelings of dread but they’re usually anxiety. But my intuition usually speaks in a different way. It’s sort of like how anxiety will create all sorts of drama in my head over imagined social gaffes I’ve made but be completely silent over the real ones.

        But one time I was at a party and met a man who terrified me and I don’t know why. Still don’t because I stayed away from him.

        I also had an acquaintance in college who was perfectly nice but for some reason I had a feeling that I shouldn’t trust her and was proven right.

        And one time I tested my intuition. Just after college I accepted a retail management job on a Friday and felt sick to my stomach almost immediately after and for the whole weekend. So on Monday I rescinded my acceptance based only on that feeling. Then I took a part time job there and hated it. That place would have driven me crazy and was full of disfunction. That experience taught me to trust my intuition.

      2. Sylvan*

        Me too. I have good gut instincts in a couple of areas, but overall I’m paranoid and a lot of my defensive instincts don’t need to be listened to.

    11. Vendelle*

      One morning I was at work and at 8.25, just before my first client would arrive, I started to cry uncontrollably. Well, my client showed up, I worked with them for the allotted time (30 mins). After they had left, I checked my phone and sure enough, I had a missed phone call. I called back and got my dad on the line, who told me that my maternal grandmother had died that morning at 8.25.

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

      Obviously this isn’t a really serious one, but before and during our vacation last month I was *certain* we were going to have car trouble. And sure enough, a part of our exhaust system failed 30 miles into the 250 mile trip home. We made it home, but boy, was that unpleasant.
      I’m going to think much more positively before our next trip.

      BTW, I’m in the minority here, but I found The Gift of Fear almost useless. Like another commenter above, I couldn’t get past the arrogant tone of the author.

      1. random color*

        I’m with you on The Gift of Fear. I couldn’t get past the scenarios where he pointed to the woman ignoring her intuition, and bad things happen. But he never seemed to consider that the woman may not have the “bad vibes” intuition. I mean, it’s Friday, you get into the elevator with some guy, what if you’re not thinking about him at all? And then he follows you to your apt and rapes you….. is it your fault you were thinking of something else? I guess it felt victim-blamey to me: if you don’t follow your intuition it’s your fault, and if you don’t have intuition it’s *also* your fault.

        1. Anon Librarian*

          I agree. You also don’t always have options. Sometimes the person giving off bad vibes is a co-worker or neighbor or someone else you can’t avoid. You can ramp up your standard safety measures, but if it’s only a feeling and there’s no hard evidence, you can’t report them. You have to keep living next to them, working with them, or whatever the situation is. (Myself, I always look for evidence – things I can point to, explanations for the feeling, but it’s often not enough to be actionable.)

          1. Observer*

            Sure, something there is nothing you can report – but at least DO ramp up your safety measures, whatever they may be. And *DO* look for evidence, and present it when you can!

            That’s a step a LOT of people don’t take for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes it’s internal, and sometimes it’s external. And it’s important to know that it IS absolutely OK to push back when you have that feeling.

        2. Observer*

          I haven’t read the book, but I have listened to him speak.

          If you don’t have an intuition, you don’t have it. His point, from what I have seen and heard, is that if you DO have an intuition, LISTEN TO IT.

          We all know that sometimes people don’t have good options, and sometimes they just don’t have the sense that there is a problem. But, we also know (look in the archives here for TONS of examples) that people – especially women – are often reluctant to listen to their gut, and even when they do want to listen to their gut, they are discouraged and dismissed.

          His main point is that if you have an intuition listen to it! It’s FINE! You’re not being “bitchy”, mean, hysterical or any of the other ridiculous adjective women get tossed at them. And you’re not imagining things, overthinking etc. either.

    13. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

      Not sure this fits but I’ll toss this out here. Probably more of a Halloween story. I was recently fired from my church job, but this story concerns the senior pastor’s (who fired me) office – I think there is something very wrong. Several times, the door has been open when it should have been shut and locked; I’ve come back after I know the light was off to find it on again.

      The most recent one is the most intense. The pastor had me get his door rekeyed with just three keys after finding his door open repeatedly. It was Friday, no one else there with a key besides me, and I had shut and locked up everything, then had need to leave the office for about ten minutes to go to a different room. And came back for my things to find the door open about a foot. I know this makes me sound like a nut, but I swear…. there is something going on. And he brought it, whatever it is. I asked, and nothing odd has ever happened before.

      My intution is telling me he has hurt someone badly, badly enough to cause…. things.

    14. MMB*

      I read The Gift of Fear year’s ago and although it’s not perfect, I still think it’s something every woman should read. :)

    15. Peacemaker*

      I’ve had De Becker’s book on my to read list for years, and finally read it a few weeks ago. It reminded me of when I used to ride a motorcycle. Occasionally, I would get on for my commute or for a weekend ride, and a strong feeling would come over me saying “not today.” On the advice of other bikers, and because of past experiences of my own, I always paid attention to that quiet voice, and took the car instead. Usually I had no idea why that premonition occurred, but a couple of times, subsequent experiences showed me what likely would have happened that would have been catastrophic on the bike, but were inconsequential in the car. The last of those convinced me to sell the bike and take a break from riding for a while. I may go back to it some day, but not yet.

    16. cat socks*

      Last year my husband and I were on a week long vacation in Europe. One evening we were trying out a new restaurant. While we were there I felt incredibly sad. I went to the bathroom and cried for no discernable reason. A few days later when we were at the airport waiting to fly home, I got a call from my pet sitter that my tabby boy had passed away. He had heart disease and died of heart failure.

    17. Ann*

      This happened to me this past spring. I was riding in the car with my husband through an unfamiliar area and saw a person standing outside an old church. They started straight at me as we drove by and it gave me a very bad feeling. When we got to our destination, a crowded garden nursery, I kept feeling as though people were looking at me in a very strange way. Not as if I had my shirt inside out or something; more like there was some cloud of bad energy around me. I started to feel this strange feeling of dread I’ve never felt before. It was so unnerving. I know it sounds nuts, and I’m not a woo-woo person whatsoever.

      Two days later the cloud still hadn’t lifted. I had the overwhelming feeling that something terrible was about to happen. And then on my commute, just a few cars in front of me, a man was struck and killed on the highway as he tried to retrieve something that had fallen off his truck. His son was on the side of the highway watching. It was a horrible tragedy. I saw him lying dead in the road and I immediately felt the feeling lift and a sureness that this was the event I had been dreading. I have no idea why I had this connection to the event in advance, but something was going on there.

      1. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

        How scary and sad :(
        Resonates with me right now because I woke up today feeling sad for no reason—like something in the universe wasn’t quite right, like maybe my elderly aunt or grandmother—like something happened.

        Then just now, one of my shoes completely fell apart for no reason. Luckily hubs was in the area and got spare shoes. Not a danger/sad/scary story. Though it would’ve torpedoed my plans this afternoon and been a possible safety hazard (not having functioning shoes, not able to run in said shoes, burning/injuring feet on 100 degree pavement)…

    18. Anon weird dreamer*

      I once had a dream that someone knocked on my door late at night. I answered through the door and they asked for money. I said no, never opened the door. And then later saw them in a car in my driveway. Keep in mind all of this was in the dream.

      Next day I get home from work and someone had kicked in the front door and robbed the place. Too weird.

      1. Windchime*

        I had a similar thing happen, only it was years apart. I was living in a rental house at the time, and I dreamed that someone was pounding on the door, saying something that I couldn’t understand. I opened the door, and the person jumped inside and grabbed me. It was terrifying.

        Some years later, that exact thing happened. I woke up to someone pounding on the door. I was confused (half-awake), thought it was my teenage son coming home and I opened the door, only to have it be a drunk stranger who pushed inside and grabbed me. Everything turned out OK, but it was creepy how the dream that I had years ago ended up happening.

    19. k8pages*

      I have learned to follow my intuition when it comes to my health. A few years ago I was dealing with some symptoms and my thyroid numbers were borderline, so the doctor prescribed Synthroid. I was optimistic and really hoped it would help, it works well for my mom. After about a week, I noticed that taking the pill each morning was making me furious. I was angry and resentful and I stomped and grumbled around all morning, every morning, mad at the world and at that little pill. It was totally irrational, I could not explain it! After about 6 weeks, I went back to the doctor and sure enough, the Synthroid had made my thyroid numbers worse, not better. I went off it immediately and the sunshine came back to my life. Now I pay close attention when my body speaks to me!

    20. OhBehave*

      Yes. When I was a teen, I worked with my sister in our church office. The priest was close to our family, saw them through the death of my other sister, dad helped build the church, we were a fixture in the church as we always served, etc. He always gave me the heebie jeebies. I never knew why but I did not want to be alone with him (this was the mid 70’s). Ten years later my sister told us that he had been emotionally and sexually abusing her for YEARS. Since she was 13 until well into adulthood. He was a very influential man in our area. I finally realized why I felt the way I did.

      1. Observer*

        That makes me SOOO sad (and mad). This is the template for SOOO many of the stories of abuse, and it’s just soooo horrible that people like that could get away with it.

    21. Elizabeth West*

      This is relevant to that book and will scare you. It scares me even now when I think about it.

      Back in the early 1990s, when I was young and stupid, I went on a date with a guy I’ll just call Fergus. He took me out for sushi and then he wanted to show me the place where he was setting up a new business (we’d talked about that at dinner).

      This was before cell phones, or I would have texted someone where and with whom I was going. But of course I didn’t have that or think about it, because when you’re that age, nothing can possibly happen to you, right?

      So we walked several blocks to his place, a small storefront with a glass door, a plate glass window covered with mini-blinds, some of his work stuff and a bunch of shelving. Fergus showed me what he wanted to do (I forget what it was) and we leaned on the big work table there and continued chatting. Somehow, he landed on the subject of his ex, who had done him wrong. I think there was a child involved that he wasn’t being allowed to see, and his whole demeanor changed.

      When we first went in, he had locked the door, explaining that he didn’t want anyone to see the lights on and wander in looking for a bathroom or anything. So now I’m in this locked room with a man who had gone from pleasant to sullen to angry.

      I made appropriate sympathetic noises. Fergus asked me if I wanted to stay over. I said no, I didn’t feel comfortable doing that so soon. Fortunately, he didn’t push. We moved from the work table to the front.

      I can’t remember exactly what Fergus said next, but something came out of his mouth at that point that gave me the worst vibe I’d ever had in my life. It was so bad I could see it in my head — it was utterly black, shot with red veins, and I knew I was in actual, physical danger. I remember thinking, If he comes at me, and I hit that plate glass window hard enough, I think I could go through it. The blinds will protect me.Everything depended on my reaction. Rationally or not, I felt that if I showed even the slightest bit of fear, I would die.

      To this day I don’t know how, but I stayed calm and just kept talking mildly. It seemed to take forever for the vibe to ebb. Eventually, it did and I told Fergus I should probably get on home. He asked if he could walk me back and I said, no no, it’s fine, I’ll be fine, thanks for dinner, and I’ll see you around.

      I left that place and vowed that I would never ever EVER go out with Fergus again. I saw him later, at my work, and he asked me if I wanted to hang out, but I said no, I didn’t really think we had much in common and I didn’t want to. To his credit, he didn’t make a fuss.

      I always wondered what really happened in that relationship. And I am not gonna lie; I kept an eye on the paper for a while afterward, thinking I’d see something awful, but I did not.

    22. Sami*

      Oh yes. Many years ago I interviewed with a family to be their nanny. After I had moved in, I just kept getting a bad feeling about the situation. A few days later I called my parents to come and get me. I don’t know what it was exactly and never heard from them again so perhaps they were a fine family. But I just knew I couldn’t stay here.

      Second time, I was house hunting with my Mom when she wanted to downsize to a condo. We walked into one place. Two-three minutes later I turned around and walked out. There was just a bad aura, spirit, whatever in there.

    23. Anon Librarian*

      Yes. That’s happened to me too. Not just with events, but also with people. Sometimes, someone just gives off a really bad vibe and it makes me want to get away from them ASAP, but I can’t rationally point to anything to explain it. But if I stick around, it almost always turns out to be accurate – that they are indeed doing something creepy and have bad intentions. Trust those instincts and stay safe!

    24. Willow*

      I was driving home one day wondering how grandma was doing after her stroke, and when I got home, my mom called to tell me she had died. And once I was wondering how someone’s husband was doing with his brain tumor, and when I got to the obituaries in the newspaper, he was listed.

    25. Catherine from Canada*

      I starting having a recurring nightmare that my 2 year old was in the water. I could see his blond hair disappearing into the dark water. I’d dive and dive but I could never reach him. The dream happened in various places, a beach, a lake, a pool, but always with the same view of his blond hair disappearing. I’d wake up screaming and thrashing, it would take my husband ages to calm me down.
      Then my in-laws bought a house on a small lake. Understandably, I was adamant, insistent, vigilant that the children not go near the water without an adult!
      The next spring, their grandfather took them down to the lake as part of a walk. Son, being almost three now, ran ahead and out onto the rotten ice. It collapsed and he went through!
      Grandfather leapt after him and caught his hair as his head disappeared under the water. (I’m getting the shakes just typing this out….)
      And I haven’t had the nightmare since.

    26. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      Not quite the same but a friend of mine who writes a “mommy blog” had an interesting post on so-called women’s intuition. She said that it’s not that women are magically more in tune with children and thus inherently more adept at caring for them. Rather they tend to spend more time with children and thus learn the subtle differences between crying because of hunger, tiredness, or what have you.

      I think it’s the same thing with any other kind of expertise. You have encountered a particular situation enough to recognise that the windshield is loose or the person you are talking to is irrational, even if you can’t articulate the cues you have noticed.

  6. Jarffe*

    So I’m seriously starting to think I might have adhd and I was just wondering about what the next step might be. I’m an adult and I think I would like to get a diagnosis and treatment but it just all seems so overwhelming. It’s really starting to affect my life but when I consider taking to someone I just get embarrassed because I’ve managed ok so far so I think I should just continue to muddle through it. After reading some of the previous posts on here I just wanted to know people’s experiences with getting diagnosed as an adult if anyone is ok with sharing.

    1. Big Sis*

      “I’ve managed ok so far so I think I should just continue to muddle through it.”
      Be kind to yourself. If you discovered your feet were always full of blisters because you always got the wrong shoe size, would you force yourself to keep walking in pain because you’ve managed to tough it out until now? You’re not taking away anything from anybody by getting help, on the contrary, the better you feel, the more you feel up to accomplishing, the more you can give.
      I won’t patronize you by trying to talk your shame away, I’ll just point out that you’re already feeling bad for not being on top of things.
      As the sister of someone who got a diagnosis as an adult, I suggest you get a loved/trusted person to help you and keep you accountable by, say, taking and accompanying you to appointments.

      With my brother (that I took to his first appointments after he told me he probably should get diagnosed, but wasn’t sure he should because it wasn’t ‘that bad’, in that, he did manage to hold a job and a not-too-messy house, just by expending 3x the energy an average person would, which was turning him into a ball of anxiety, exhaustion, and low self-confidence), he got referred to a psychiatrist by his main doctor (I’m not in the US FWIW) and he had to go to a couple of sessions to establish that the diagnosis was likely, and then three months of weekly sessions in order to confirm/refine the diagnosis and figure out what medical and behavioral solutions would work for him. This was recommended, not compulsory, but the out-of pocket cost was reasonable and the time slots compatible with his job.
      He was put on medication half-way through. He then kept with monthly appointments for six months, and now he goes once every six months to check in. He says it changed his life, and from where I’m standing, he’s a much happier person and more on top of things.

    2. OhGee*

      Hi! I did the earlier this year. I’m in my late 30s and have suspected I might have ADHD all my life, especially because my mom was also diagnosed as an adult. I found a private practice psychiatric nurse who helped me figure out a path to pursue, because I didnt have a primary doctor at the time, though you could go through your regular doctor, if you have one. The nurse suggested talk therapy (I also had symptoms of depression and anxiety) and a neuropsych evaluation, which luckily my insurance covered. The place that did the eval mostly works with children, and the testing conducted of three appointments (1 hour intake conversation, 3-ish hours of testing with a doctor, 1 hour results conversation). The tests were thorough and exactly like some similar testing I had as a child. Based on the results, my psych nurse recommended a medication to try, and I’ve been taking it for about a month – it will take a few months to see if it’s having a significant effect.

      And by the way, I thought I should just muddle through, too. Friends being open about their mental health treatments really helped me start the process. Give it a shot.

    3. Jean (just Jean)*

      tl;dr: Yes it’s possible to survive, even thrive, after adult diagnosis.

      Longer version: My diagnosis at age fifty-plus wasn’t super-formal. When circumstances forced me to improve, quickly, my skills (in communication, prioritization, and management of time and detail) I ran myself through a “do you have ADHD/ADD” checklist, then told my therapist my score was off-the-charts YES! Since then I’ve worked steadily to improve small habits and routines. It’s not overwhelming if you just keep chipping away. (As with any other life project, be determined, but also give yourself time for rest, sleep, nutrition, and exercise.) The good part about surviving other life crises is that you can apply lessons learned to the next situation. And there is always a next situation.

      Best reaction: I told one friend who replied, “No kidding!”

      Taking meds is a personal decision based on each individual’s medical history and specific situation. I’m not an expert in the area of brain chemistry; I would say neither dismiss the option immediately nor rely only on medication.

      -website of CHADD (U.S. nationwide membership and advocacy organization on ADHD/ADD; lists local chapters; offers books and magazines; has an annual meeting for professionals and ordinary folks)
      -authors Kathleen Nadeau and Edward (Ned) Hallowell (there are many others); I found my checklist in “ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life” by Kolberg & Nadeau
      -depending on where you live you may find the topic addressed in public lectures organized by parent groups, public or private schools or PTAs; programs sponsored by public libraries or professional practices (educational psychologists, psychiatrists, other counselors, therapists, specialists, etc.)

      Like anything else once you get interested you’ll have your antennae up for information on the topic. Good wishes.

    4. Jean (just Jean)*

      Wrote a long reply that seemed to vanish…
      short version: Welcome to the club. I figured this out well past age 50. Resources:
      – Authors Kathleen Nadeau, PhD and Edward (Ned) Hallowell, MD. I found a helpful “do I have it?” checklist in “ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life” by Kolberg & Nadeau.
      -Organizations: CHADD (in the U.S.; might have some international presence; check their web site lists of state/local/regional chapters) offers info online, publications, subscriptions, membership to professionals and ordinary folks, and an annual meeting
      – Local resources: you may find presentations organized by schools (public or private–especially schools for kids with different learning styles), parent groups, professional groups, or maybe the public library or local bookstore
      – Medications: I’m no expert, so I’ll just say neither dismiss the idea nor rely totally on meds to solve all problems. There’s a real component of self-improvement here (think about what’s a problem, identify ways to change it, work to learn new habits/routines) but also take time for self-care (rest, nutrition, water, exercise).

      Good wishes. It can be a pain in the neck but there are worse problems.

    5. EinJungerLudendorff*

      I too thought I was doing OK because my life didn’t resemble a plane crashing into a dumpster fire most of the time.
      Then I took psychiatry sessions for some recurring mental issues and found out that “OK” meant “in a constant state of mental overload, shame, self-hatred and gradual mental collapse”.

      It’s very easy to get caught up in the idea of being “normal”, that your life is the way it’s supposed to be, and rationalize all of your feelings and struggles through that.
      Sure, you might be barely keeping your head above water, but that’s “normal”. You might be feeling overwhelmed, but that’s “normal”. You may be constantly filled with anxiety, but that’s “normal”.

      And if you realize it maybe isn’t “normal”, it’s very easy to blame yourself for it. After all, your life is normal, you’re supposed to be able to do this right? And if you can’t, then it must be your fault. Because if only you did X, this wouldn’t be a problem. Why can’t you just do X?

      All of which can be an excellent smokescreen to hide the fact that your life right now isn’t normal, that your struggles aren’t supposed to be this bad, and that your constantly recurring problems are much deeper rooted than in some vague personality flaw.

    6. Old Biddy*

      Thank you for posting this – I’m in the same situation at age 50 and am going to ask my primary care physical for advice or a referral. Peri-menopause hit last year, my parents are both having major health issues, and I’m working on a lot of completely unrelated projects at work. My mild absent-minded professor tendencies have completely taken over and I am driving myself and others up the wall.

    7. Anonymous St Irregular*

      Here’s my experience. It was very straightforward in a practical sense, though of course there were conflicting emotions. Extremely beneficial to know, and I did choose to medicate, which has been a great help to me & my family.

      Also helpful to understand how some of my co-morbid health issues relate, and treating one helps the others. For example, sleep disorders and autoimmune disease are far more comfortable mkin in people with ADHD than in the general population. Like for sleep problems, it’s 30 percent general, but 70 percent for ADHDers.


    8. Booksalot*

      If you can’t convince yourself that you “deserve” help with something that skirts around mental wellness, consider the long-term physical effects of untreated ADD/ADHD. Many sufferers have severe sleep disorders, self-medicate with drugs or alcohol (even mildly, not just illegal substances), or develop memory problems very young.

      Some studies are suggesting correlation between ADD/ADHD and dementia. The overactive parts of the brain in ADD/ADHD are the same areas that show plaque build-up after dementia diagnosis. Disrupted sleep is also known to heavily influence dementia. This tracks VERY strongly in my family: the men start developing symptoms of Alzheimer’s by their early fifties, and their younger years are a tornado of ADD/ADHD symptoms that only began to get diagnosed in the past ten years.

      Choosing to take steps to get your symptoms under control may literally save your mind.

      1. Lilysparrow*

        There’s some recent research suggesting that undiagnosed sleep disorders may be a major contributor to ADHD, or that both are symptoms of some systemic disorder that’s not yet understood.

    9. Nacho*

      If you’ve managed so far, I recommend thinking bout what exactly you want medicating your ADHD to do for you. Is there anything in particular you need the extra attention span for? Anything you’re having trouble with because you can’t sit still? If not, you might want to consider leaving well enough alone.

      I was diagnosed in college and started taking meds, and I didn’t like how they made me feel. The extra attention just made time drag on, and I missed how much more enjoyable my life was when my mind was free to wander. ADHD isn’t for everybody, but it’s also not something you should just automatically discount as a disease to get rid of first chance you get.

      1. Lilysparrow*

        Having first gotten medicated as an adult, I really notice the different states of consciousness that happen on meds vs off meds. To me, that’s a positive thing. The meds are a tool for when I need to accomplish certain things.

        It’s not like taking antidepressants or blood pressure drugs, where you need to maintain levels in your system for them to work. You can just take them when you need them.

        I take at least 1 day off per week, if not the whole weekend. Otherwise they start interfering with my sleep.

        If I need to really free-associate for a creative project, I’ll work on it early, before taking my pill. Or if it’s a day to chill with the kids, or if we’re traveling and I need to go with the flow, I skip taking them.

        When I need to function efficiently in overstimulating places (like doing a big Costco run) or hunker down and get.shit.done. for work, it’s Adderall time.

    10. Adult ADHDer*

      I was diagnosed 2 years ago, at age 44, when I returned to college and couldn’t manage to make myself study or do anything until the very last possible minute, even though I’m a smart, generally competent (at work at least) adult.

      With the help of the doctors at my college student health clinic, I started testing out the different meds. Over the course of one year, I tried six different versions of simulant medication, and wound up on a combination of mostly Vyvanse and a tiny bit of Ritalin.

      Now? My brain is quiet, without a second track running a negative commentary or worrying about things that might go wrong in the future. I’ve filed all of my taxes (back to 2008). I clean major chunks of the house and go on organizing sprees. I chose a project, start it, and often finish it in one day because I can stay focused.

      My life would have been so much better if I’d figured this out in my 20s… But it is never too late! Good luck!

      1. Ermintrude*

        I do love the sound of this – maybe all my amazingly successful and together friends are just that way because their brain works better. Although that sounds like such a Massive excuse

    11. Lobsterp0t*

      Definitely don’t just keep muddling through. Get a referral from your GP if you need to, or just go to a psychiatrist who can diagnose you using DIVA, which is the current standard diagnostic tool.

      If you can’t do those things then talk to your GP if you have one – if you don’t the adhd subreddit has a lot of advice

  7. Pony tailed wonder*

    At work today, a work friend spoke about a co-workers party that they had assumed I was invited to. I was not. I am an introvert (plus strangely enough I have other plans for tonight) and I would have declined the invitation but how in the world do you politely tell someone that they probably shouldn’t be speaking about it in front of me. I just changed the subject. My nose was out of joint for several minutes though. I like both co-workers just fine, it is just one of those minor awkward moments that crop up every so often.

    1. Lena Clare*

      They have every right to speak about it in front of you. I think you can’t say for them to stop. Maybe chat about your plans too?

          1. Anon Introvert*

            You seem to believe there’s a secret coworker party and you’re not part of the in crowd.
            That sounds very middle-school and it sucks.
            ” am an introvert (plus strangely enough I have other plans for tonight) and I would have declined the invitation ”
            Then why would people invite you when they figure you’re not interested? It’s no fun to hear ‘no’ all the time for people who invite you either. Unless you’re the intern or a new hire, they don’t owe you an official invite after a several consecutive nos unless you’ve expressely said you enjoy being told.

            Why would they not talk about in in front of you, since they figure you’re not excluded, just not participating? There’s no reason they’d think it’d offend you. They probably think you don’t care, and that you don’t like them enough to bother hanging out after work either way (and I say this as a fellow introvert who skips most of the events).

            If you want to check whether there’s deliberate exclusion going on, or just people lazily not informing you because they figure you’ll say no, just express some enthusiasm at the idea of going to a party another time.

            1. Iron Chef Boyardee*

              “‘am an introvert (plus strangely enough I have other plans for tonight) and I would have declined the invitation’
              Then why would people invite you when they figure you’re not interested? “

              If they presume he wouldn’t want to go because he’s introverted, that’s one thing.

              But how would they know he’d decline not because of any introvert-related concerns but because he already had other plans?

              1. Upstater-ish*

                My daughter is introverted and shy but would go to a party if invited. I was brought up not to talk about a party in front of someone who wasn’t invited.

          2. Lena Clare*

            Mmm then just act as if you’re not bothered by it, say something like “that sounds nice, I hope you have fun! Next time you guys do x,y,z I’d love to come along”, and then change the subject or talk about your plans a bit, just in a normal to-and-fro conversation.

        1. Julia*

          I don’t know. I think the rule is if you invite a certain number of people, you either invite everyone or at least keep it on the downlow. I get why Pony tailed wonder would be bothered by it a bit.

      1. Liane*

        Actually, Lena, per Miss Manners, it is still bad manners to talk about events in front of people who aren’t invited–yes, even in this era of social media. But it sounds like this was unintentional, where the coworker assumed Pony Tailed was invited.

        Pony Tailed, I would ignore it, unless the invitees keep babbling about it.

      2. Lilysparrow*

        It sounds like this was not something overheard in passing, but that the friend brought it up in conversation with OP.

        Which was accidental, and not rude, per se, but tactless and awkward.

      3. Good luck with that*

        The idea is that it’s OK not to invite everybody to everything, but don’t rub their noses in it by talking about it in front of them.

    2. The Other Dawn*

      I wouldn’t say anything; however, if someone asks you outright if you’re going, then I think it’s OK to say, “No, I wasn’t invited” and leave it at that.

      That happened to me at a place I volunteer. There’s a small core group of volunteers that have been around since the rescue was founded, so they’re generally friends, too. A couple of them were talking about a fellow volunteer’s wedding they were all invited to. One of them asked me if I was going and I told her, “No, I wasn’t invited.” She got really embarrassed and didn’t know what to say, and basically just apologized and walked away. I didn’t necessarily feel slighted that I wasn’t invited, since these volunteers had been together for several years before I started, but it was still awkward.

    3. Bad Brain*

      I get it can be awkward to hear about a party you weren’t invited to. The majority of my friend group is pretty close so recently I thought everyone was invited to a friend’s birthday party. I was hanging out with some friends before the party but when I mentioned about heading over there from our current activity, only half had been invited to the party. It was definitely a bit awkward and I felt bad for bringing it up but these things happen.

      1. Lilith*

        Something similar happened at a great niece’s wedding. My brother -in-law (not part of the wedding party) asked where my kid was. Well my kid (let’s call her Shelby) wasn’t invited to second cousin Christy’s wedding even tho my brother -in-law’s kid was. They are second cousin s too. It was weird & we live about the same distance from the wedding. Shrug. Fortunately it didn’t bother Shelby. Still bothers me!

    4. Coco*

      Do you make a point of inviting the host to do things? Have you declined the host’s invitations previously? If I issue 2 invitations and there’s no reciprocity / acceptance/ interest, I stop inviting someone. I don’t want to come off as pushy.
      It isn’t always easy to know who has been invited to something and who hasn’t. I don’t think the friend or the host did anything wrong. If you want to be invited to more events (as an introvert I’m grateful to be excluded), you may need to reach out more.

      1. Pony tailed wonder*

        I have never been invited by the host but he has known me for years. I do tend to skip going to parties, but I go when the whole office is doing it.

        I do hope they have a good time.

  8. QT*

    One of my local theatres is closing. And I’m far more broken up about it than I reasonably should be.
    Technically, it’s not even closing, just renovating, but once that’s done it’ll be very different to what it was. Objectively speaking it’ll probably be better, but that doesn’t make me feel any less sad.
    It’s not like I was ever involved in theatre, here or anywhere else. But that place meant a lot to me and I have a lot of memories associated with it.
    And yes, no one can take those experiences away, but damn it’s going to hurt walking past that familiar place and knowing it’s not really ‘there’ anymore.
    Yeah, it’s silly to be so sentimental over something like this. I can’t really talk to anyone about it, so I’m just venting here I guess.

    1. Miss Astoria Platenclear*

      Don’t feel bad about mourning a change in a place that’s important to you. Different people feel passionate about different things.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yep. A used book store closed by me. I was heartbroken. Grief is not just for deaths. It’s for losses of any sort. People can grieve a lost ring or a lost house and so on. Sometimes things just hit us hard.

    2. T. Boone Pickens*

      I can sympathize with you as I drive by the old children’s theater I went to a ton as a kid that is now all boarded up a couple times a month. While the initial twinge of sadness is a bit of bummer a wave of nostalgia usually floods over me shortly thereafter and it always makes me smile because it brings back a lot of really fun childhood memories.

    3. YouwantmetodoWHAT?!*

      I’m still upset about the closing of my favorite Indian restaurant, and its been over 3 years!
      But on a happy note, I just found out that (some of) the family that ran it opened a new place last month! oh boy!

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

      I understand how you feel. When our local theatre burned while being restored, I cried. It was the only theatre in the area that was good enough for the medium-sized theatre productions, ballet companies and artists that don’t need complicated setups. I even keep the ticket of the last show I saw there.

    5. misspiggy*

      I felt like that when our city’s beautiful Victorian library closed last year due to funding cuts. Now half the businesses in that part of town have gone due to the reduced footfall, so it feels even worse.

      I hate the feeling that elements of a civilised society are falling apart and disappearing.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      I know how that is. Someone torched the church I attended as a kid, and although they renovated it, it’s not the same at all now on the inside or the outside. I saw a picture of it online and the new design looks like the inside of a boat. :\ It’s nice, but it’s not the same.

      I don’t want to see what the people who own my old childhood house did with it either. I know the barn is now gone. :( I wonder if that pissed off the ghost (the barn was haunted). I still dream about those places sometimes and in my head, they look the same.

      It’s okay to feel sad about it. The place was important to you.

        1. Lucette Kensack*

          I think this is a Baby-sitters Club reference, not an attempt to out Elizabeth?

    7. Grace*

      Memories attached to places are incredibly strong.

      I felt like that when our library built an extension and reorganised – it was back when I was a kid, but I still feel a sense of loss. The old part is still there (children’s library, adult shelves, gorgeous wood-panelled silent reading room), but the purpose of the extension was a new entryway that added better upstairs access, a cafe, and a small museum.

      All laudable causes, but part of that was that the old Edwardian entryway was lost to the public, although not to staff. It was a gorgeous three-storey entryway with a mosaic floor and a staircase winding up the side with a carved wooden bannister, and I can’t even really remember what it looked like anymore, and there are no pictures of it on Google. I have so many childhood memories of the excitement of walking through that door that I feel a sense of loss at the inability to reenact that in adulthood. That Saturday ritual of going to the library and following the patterns of the mosaic as I waited for my parents to catch up and chasing up the stairs to get to the gallery is never going to be done again. By me. By anybody. It’s a very odd feeling.

      1. Grace*

        No photos, but since it’s a listed building, there’s a description of the original entryway on Historic England. Just found it. Some serious nostalgia feels today.

        The original entrance hall has a green, grey and white mosaic tiled floor with geometric pattern; ahead is a panelled and part-glazed oak screen door with fixed matching side panels and a modillioned entablature, dividing the hall from a small office which is accessed from the lending library. To the right, accessed via a pair of oak panelled doors (as previous) is the original stair hall, a double height space containing an original open-well, open-string stone staircase with a wrought-iron balustrade and a sweeping timber handrail. The ceiling is barrel-vaulted and panelled, bordered by an C18 rinceau oak frieze. All doors are original, and are similarly detailed, with original moulded oak architraves, door furniture and brass-plated door plates with maker’s marks. The door to the lending library from the stair hall is wider than others, containing two doors with a central fixed panel, set in a segmental headed opening and having a fixed glazed toplight.


        I guess it was a little different to how my vague memories are picturing it. Two-storey rather than three. Well, I was rather small when I last saw it. I can picture the door to the lending library, but I think I’ve merged the entrance hall and the stair hall into one in my mind’s eye.

    8. The Rat-Catcher*

      They redid our movie theater a few years ago. Not precisely the same as your situation, and objectively it is way better now, but it’s not the place where I ditched the school dance with my best friend sophomore year or where I had my first date with my now-husband. It’s a type of loss which is super normal to feel.

  9. Kuododi*

    Well here’s the latest update. ….. I’m having the lung biopsy on the 25th of this month. (I’m looking at at least an overnight in the hospital.). Breast surgeon SD that lumpectomy could wait until the lung issue was resolved surgically. Apparently the breast cancer is not one of those fast moving ones so I have a 6-8 week time cushion for that issue before something has to be done. Thanks everyone for your love and support.

    1. Breast Solidarity*

      Hang in there!

      The waiting for answers and actions is SOOOOOO hard, isn’t it?

      Hoping all the news is as good as can be.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Well, it looks like they have a plan and they are stepping through the plan.
      I hope each step shows a much milder situation than they expected to find.
      Inch by inch.
      Warm thoughts.

    3. Anono-me*

      Wishing you Strength and Grace and lots and lots of Patience as you navigate this difficult time.

    4. Ethyl*

      Sending positive thoughts your way. This sounds incredibly scary I’m so sorry you are going through it.

    5. NoLongerYoung*

      sending hug. Was wondering how it was going since you’ve had a rough ride and things were so open the last time you posted. Please know we are thinking warm thoughts here in this corner of the internet.

    6. WS*

      Best wishes for a good result – last time I had to wait for results I got myself a stupid phone game, and every time my anxiety started kicking in, I distracted myself with that.

  10. Lena Clare*

    One of my cats has ringworm :(

    I’m off to the vets this afternoon, and I’ve got to spend this morning scrubbing everything that can be scrubbed, plus washing anything else that can be washed.

    Ugh. I also have another cat, so I’m worried that she had it too, although I’ve not seen any signs. How to I prevent contamination for humans and felines alike??

    Also I feel sorry him. I read that apple cider vinegar helps – is this true?

    1. WS*

      It’s not particularly contagious on hard surfaces – wash soft furnishings and animal bedding. A regular wash is fine, hot wash is better where possible. The vet will give you an anti-fungal treatment for the cat, and the other cat gets it, you can use it on her too. It’s really not a big deal unless it goes untreated or in immunosuppressed people or animals.

      1. Lena Clare*

        Oh thank you, that has put my mind at rest somewhat. I haven’t had a pet with ringworm before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Some of the advice online is a bit alarmist (it’ll take months to go away if you don’t clean and follow precautions thoroughly!) It also looks horrible on him, but he seems otherwise fine and chatty as usual.

        1. WS*

          And if you catch it, an over-the-counter antifungal cream will take care of it!

          There are worse scenarios where it’s gone untreated for a long time, or the animal or person in question has an underlying illness that makes it harder to cure, but in the vast majority of cases it’s not a big drama at all.

        2. Texan In Exile*

          Yep. I got ringworm from a stray kitten once. I just used Lotrimin. It’s the same meds you use for athlete’s foot or jock itch.

      2. The Other Dawn*

        Agreed. Assuming that the two cats don’t spend too much time together, meaning sleeping together, mutual bathing, things like that, the other one probably won’t get it. Watch for signs on yourself. By handling the cat, you may see it pop up on your arm. It’s basically a round, flat, pink spot and will probably be a little itchy. That happened to me one year while helping my local cat rescue with a ringworm outbreak. It quickly went away with an anti-fungal cream.

        Kitten season is always fun at the rescue. One gets ringworm and they pass it around to the whole cage (we have large cages and we put a few kittens together, depending on how big they are, their personalities, etc. so they can socialize with each other). That means multiple sessions of bathing the kittens in a special solution, followed by anti-fungal creams. I actually don’t mind the bathing part because we get to “fluff” the little ones in towels afterwards–basically towel-dry them. Some of them love it and some of them decidedly don’t.

    2. A.N. O'Nyme*

      If possible, try to keep that cat in quarantine. If you notice any ring-shaped itchy spots on yourself, you’ll also need to go to the doctor. As for your other cat, try to get them checked out as well just to be safe. As long as it’s treated, it’s more of a nuisance than anything, although it is quite contagious. As WS said, wash anything soft thoroughly and you’ll probably be fine (and of course follow vet advice).

    3. Venus*

      I have done it with puppies but thankfully I knew before they arrived. Wash soft items (bedding, clothes, etc) with Borax. I also had special shampoo so you might bathe the non-infected one. You can treat it with anti-fungal cream (athlete’s foot) for humans, both for the cats and yourself.

      It is not a big health problem but vets nd shelters freak out because it is so very contagious and is hard to treat (baths and creams for 4-6 weeks). Shelters will often euthanize animals because they can’t cope with an outbreak (which is why I fostered very cute little puppies)

    4. Red Sky*

      Oh, not fun. I went thru the same thing a couple years ago and unfortunately both myself and my husband got it. You may want to get a black light flashlight as the ringworm will glow under it in a darkened room. I think I got mine from Target or Walmart for under $15. Makes it a lot easier to spot and start treating on other kitties or yourself if it’s just starting out and hasnt progressed to the crusty ring appearance.

    5. Eva and Me*

      This is something I’ve had experience with — twice! Google Dr. Karen Moriello at the University of Wisconsin. She is truly an expert and has published articles that are science-based.

      The lime-sulfur dips are stinky, but they will cut down on the amount of spores being shed into the environment. There are also oral/systemic medications that can be added to the dips to help reduce the amount of time it takes for completely clearing it out of kitty’s system. It will take a couple of months to get a true cure (not just that you can’t see any spots).

      Please do not believe all of the random “cures” people post about — colloidal silver, tea tree oil (toxic to cats!), bleach (ugh, who would put bleach on their cat?), human athletes foot cream applied only on visible lesions (it is more widespread than what you can see), the apple cider vinegar, etc. I get why people feel desperate enough to want to find a cure, but the lime sulfur dips with/without oral meds truly work.

      Quarantine your cat, since you have another kitty; unfortunately, cats are the perfect hosts for ringworm. Buy a cheap vacuum with a HEPA filter and actual bags that you can toss after each use.

      Most important to keep in mind — ringworm is really a cosmetic problem, not a deadly disease. And if your cats are generally healthy and you clean well, this will be a one-time thing. My other cat never did get it, but she is healthy and she also is very good at grooming herself, which likely helped.

      Best of luck — don’t let the lime sulfur dips dissuade you (and they are safe for kitty).

    6. Lena Clare*

      Oh I’m so furious! The vet said it’s not ringworm, it looks like a contact reaction from something like a spot-on flea treatment. He’s speculating that one of my neighbours has given him it to stop their own cats getting fleas!!!

      I’m so angry. He has regular flea treatment, and this could have really made him more ill if both mine and my neighbour’s had been administered within days.

      He’s had a steroid injection, so he should be ok, and I’m £40 lighter.

      Extremely cross and grumpy face.

      To make matters worse, I’m stuck in traffic on the way home!

      1. Eva and Me*

        Oh, I am so, so glad it’s not ringworm, and equally angry at your neighbor! I would let your neighbor know you have the flea issue covered so it doesn’t happen again!!!

        1. Lena Clare*

          I don’t know which neighbour it was unfortunately. Think a note and a collar (he doesn’t usually wear a collar) will have to do for now.

      2. Ramanon*

        I’d be concerned that your neighbors are doing other things with your cats if they’re bold enough to give an owned cat flea treatment. The first rule of flea treatment is that you don’t double-dip! It might be safer to keep both cats inside for a few days (I know, I know, they’ll hate it) and see if you can’t hunt down that neighbor. If they don’t see the cat while you’re looking for them, it might drive home how dangerous what they’ve done could have been. If people ask, just say that the cat had an adverse reaction to someone applying flea medication without asking if he’d already been treated.

        I assume he’s microchipped already, but an orange breakaway collar full-time might help drive home that this cat is Owned.

        1. Lena Clare*

          Yes I know right? He is microchipped, yes. He had a collar, actually he had about 5, and lost every.single.one.of them, so I just gave up on it in the end. I think that’s a good idea.

    7. That Girl From Quinn's House*

      My sister’s cat came home from the shelter covered in ringworm. She treated it with sulfa soap baths and Monistat rubbed on her skin. (Apparently yeast infection cream is “lick safe” while human ringworm medication is not.)

    8. I'm a Little Teapot*

      I believe that if you go to tinykittens.com and poke around they have information about treating ringworm. They do a lot of fostering, including for various feral colonies and have dealt with ringworm a lot.

  11. Chocolate Teapot*

    A salon where I have regular treatments seems to have closed down. I received an email before I went on holiday cancelling some appointments, but when I replied to ask when to reschedule, the email bounced back!

    I am going over there to check, but when I went past on the bus the posters in the window all seem to have been taken down. To compound things, the treatments are the sort where you buy a block of them in one go, and I still have a few left.

    1. Uncle Bob*

      If you paid for the treatments with a credit card, you can call them and file a dispute. I did this with pre-paid doggie day care (for when I have to go into the office, 1 hour away) and Discover had my money credited back to me in a day — and I got it all back, despite having used 2 of the 10 days.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        So I went to the salon in person to find it was all closed up, and the name has been removed from the doorbell. There wasn’t even a note on the door saying that it had closed down, or contact details for unused appointments.

        Oddly enough, it appears a new salon offering the same treatments is in the process of being set up in a nearby town. I wonder…

        1. Jemima Bond*

          Are you in the UK? (use of “holiday”…) If so, and you are curious, you can look on companies house beta to see if the company directors etc are the same for each business. Then if you go down to the new place to ask for your outstanding treatments or money back, you are armed with “but I know you are the same people”. Might help, might not, bit of fun! Link in reply.

          1. Chocolate Teapot*

            Not UK, but the trade register is pretty comprehensive, so I will have a look there.

  12. Teapot Translator*

    I’ve started learning to ride a bike (with a teacher). Second session, I hit a pole and the bike landed on me. I’m fine! I’m just glad I didn’t start crying there and then (which would have happened a few years ago).
    I’m off to a hike (shhhh, don’t tell the podiatrist), so I’ll be away from my computer for the day, but what have you done lately to push yourself and get out of your comfort zone?

    1. Cher Horowitz*

      Kudos! So many kudos! So many many kudos!
      I learnt to ride a bike at 40 because my 5 year old asked me to so we could ride together and I’m so glad she did! I feel like a secret badass

      1. Teapot Translator*

        I’m low-key terrified? Like, before I started to learn I would look at people biking and think, so mysterious. Now that I’m learning, I’m thinking how do they go in a straight line and not keep hitting each other? The teacher says I’m progressing well, so hopefully, I’ll start going in a straight line soon; otherwise, I’ll only be able to ride at 6 in morning, on Sundays, in empty suburban streets.

        1. Cher Horowitz*

          I found it to be a matter of practice bringing me confidence. It’s like driving! Learned to do that in a straight line without hitting anyone!

        2. EinJungerLudendorff*

          In my case, I do it by learning it at 5 years old and using it constantly for decades. But then we live in biking country.

          On the other hand, I still can’t figure out how other people can drive a car without ramming the nearest object or having a minor panic attack every time they push the gas pedal down.

          I guess it’s just a matter of practice until it becomes subconcious like walking.

        3. theothermadeline*

          I love biking! I love to go on 15-20 mile rides and am even a commuter cyclist when I can be. But boy oh boy do I hate riding on the road even though I am a very experienced cyclist. Keep to your comfort zone and keep it enjoyable! I have many paved bike trails that I love to do my long rides on – I hope your town has some too!

    2. LGC*

      Oh no! I’m glad that it sounds like you’re all right. Other than hitting a pole, how are the bike lessons going?

      I need to schedule driving lessons this summer, which is nerve-wracking. I’ve actually driven before but not since I was a teenager (so going on 20 years).

      1. Teapot Translator*

        I’m okay. I think the teacher was a bit worried.
        The lessons are going well. I’m progressing faster than what he usually sees so we have some leeway if suddenly I stop progressing.
        Learning to drive IS nerve wracking! I learned in my 30s as a high-anxiety person. You can do it! Particularly if you’ve done it before.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Agreeing on the driving. LGC, driving will look differently to you now that you are a bit older. Some parts will actually feel easier. You may find yourself catching on quicker than you expect.

    3. TPS Cover Sheet*

      Oh boy, it is bad enough to learn as a kid, I can’t imagine how it is with adults. I managed to flip over handlebars and break all my ribs when I was 16 so haven’t much been on a bicycle since. Like I can ride, but am really uncomfortable. Funny enough on a motorbike and with more speed I am absolutely fine, even I had some falls. A bit the same as my totally bizarre acrophobia. I get really bad on ladders or stairs made of grids like fire escapes or these escalators in malls that go between floors and there is space in between… I am fine with flying

      1. tangerineRose*

        I have a hard time with ladders and basically anything where it looks like I might fall off, but I’m OK with flying too.

    4. Ranon*

      I learned/ relearned to ride a bike a year ago! There was definitely a phase where every time I went somewhere new that wasn’t on nice empty bike lanes I would somehow manage to dump my bike, so much solidarity on the running into things! But it did get better and I have absolutely no regrets, my city has been putting in bike infrastructure at a rapid clip while car traffic gets worse and worse, biking is definitely the best way to get around a lot of the time. Plus my kiddo is already a terror on his balance bike so I need to get my time in before we give him pedals and he totally smokes me…

    5. tangerineRose*

      You probably already do this, but please always wear a helmet when you’re riding a bike! And be careful with cars – some drivers aren’t paying attention.

    6. Amethyst*

      Two years ago I started learning how to drive with two of my friends as my teachers. One dropped out because I’d sent myself into panic attacks after getting up to 20 MPH in an empty parking lot, & trying to do simple things in the same lot. (I’d warned her multiple, multiple times that I WILL cry when I get started & didn’t mince words over how badly I’m scared of it, but she didn’t take me seriously, or thought I was exaggerating over the severity of my responses.) She found out earlier this year that if I got into an accident in her car, her insurance wouldn’t cover it. Not that I would as I’m terrified of breaking someone else’s stuff, & that would probably send me back to square one as it is, lol. Another complication is that I’m trying to put some distance between me & this friend because she’s increasingly seeing me as a child when I’m in my mid-thirties. I feel some slight mother-like feelings toward her, but nowhere near the strength of her feelings toward me, & I don’t want a mother figure in my life.

      My other friend was fantastic. He took me out into another parking lot & did some basic things, but now won’t do it because I had to downgrade my permit to a non-driver’s ID (state regulation that amounts to “Get your license, retest for your permit or, if you don’t have the money, get an ID.”), the aforementioned insurance thing, & being busy with his own life with his wife & kids.

      I don’t have the money to hire a driving school to teach me so I guess it’ll be another few more years before I’ll officially be behind the wheel again. :(

    7. Lilysparrow*

      I started adding some functional strength moves to my gym workout. They’re based on animal movement and I’m sure I looked like an idiot. But it was fun, and it obviously did something, because I am soooooore! (In a good way, not an injury way).

    8. chi chan*

      I have been stretching everyday and am working on doing splits. I am really not good at it but I have never done anything like that before.

    9. Ra94*

      I went on a long, long road trip and did half the driving (1,500 miles!) despite having never gone further than my 25-min commute to work by car before. It was absolutely fine, using the GPS was easy, and whenever I did make a wrong turn it was no big deal.

    10. Syfygeek*

      I joined a rowing club for the summer. I’m 57 and hadn’t been in a boat with oars since summer camp when I was 12. I got blisters, bruises and bug bites, but had a blast.

  13. Julia*

    I’ve been suffering from cramps for the last few days, which feel like an endometriosis flare up. I’m on a progesterone only “pill” (medication) which has so far worked really well (although I’ve had one or two shorter flare ups in the past three years), so I think it’s odd this is happening now after only being late with a pill for one hour due to a work thing, but I can’t come up with any other explanation for these symptoms. So much for having a fun and romantic long weekend…

      1. Julia*

        Anyway, I feel much better today, after three days of cramping. Thank goodness, I would have had no idea what kind of doctor would even try to help me here.
        Thank you!!

        1. fhqwhgads*

          Norethindrone is the generic name of a medication that generally matches the description you gave. It may or may not be what you’re actually on.

          1. KoiFeeder*

            Yeah, sorry, it’s what I take for endo and the description matches, so I just kinda assumed…

    1. IhearYa*

      If you have a TENS unit, those can help with cramps, either on your abs or lower back.

      1. Julia*

        I don’t, but I’ll look into one if this ends up being a frequent occurrence. Thank you!

  14. Bulu Babi*

    How do you protect books (namely paperbacks) in travel? I read on the go during the day, on the bus, cafés, etc, so I often toss a book into my very chaotic bag or rucksack… And after a week it looks a decade old. Is there some easy lazy solution, like a universal protective book cover or case that I can use to save books from myself?

      1. BRR*

        I have some silicone zip lock bags. The added thickness and structure might be helpful for paperbacks.

        1. valentine*

          I kept a carpeta* in my bag and slipped my grocery-store-bagged book in it. Good for anything flimsy.

          *Spain’s binder-cover folder with interior side pockets.

      2. JediSquirrel*

        Came here to say this. Quart size freezer bags are tougher, last longer, and can handle most books. Larger books will probably require a gallon-size bag. Plus, it’s not work, you can see through the bag so you know easily which book it is (yeah, I have a few of these), plus for rainy days they are fairly waterproof.

      1. krista*

        I never covered any books with waxed paper in school! How does it work? Doesn’t it just slip off?

        1. epi*

          You fold the excess paper around three sides of each cover, taping it down sort of like wrapping a gift.

          If you’ve ever gotten a library book where they used a plastic cover that keeps the dust jacket on, it’s similar to that.

        2. Madge*

          I don’t know about waxed paper, but I used to cover my textbooks in brown paper. You can either use package wrap or a grocery bag. It’s too complicated to explain here, but there are tutorials on YouTube.

          1. Parenthetically*

            Yes, we used grocery bags or old wallpaper samples or sturdy wrapping paper or butcher’s paper.

            1. KK*

              The brown grocery bag had the added advantage that you could draw on it. Or write notes or phone numbers.

        3. German Girl*

          Cut the paper so that it’s an inch or two taller and wider than the book’s cover.

          Place the spine of the book in the center and cut at a 45° angle from the top edge to the top corners of the spine, so you get a trapezoid that’s wider at the edge of the paper and has the top of the spine as its narrower side. Fold this trapezoid in. Do the same on the bottom.

          Then tip the book to one side, fold the excess paper round the cover and use a bit of tape across the corners so it doesn’t unfold (you can also tape the paper to the cover, but that’s usually unnecessary). Then do the same on the other side. This will only fall off if you have a really thick book and the paper wasn’t wide enough.

        4. TPS Cover Sheet*

          Well, wax paper, like the stuff you lined kitchen or larder shelves with. So yeah, like wrapping presents. You just need to fold and cut a bit differently.

          Reason was some of the books had to be returned (some were hardcovers, some soft), and you’d get penalized for any scuffs and marks. So you would cover all your books…

          Later on we’d use heavy contact film for the paperback schoolbooks, that stuff is relatively cheap per roll and I think some libraries cover their paperbacks with it. Of course battling with air bubbles was half the challenge…

      2. Texan In Exile*

        There were advertisers who supplied our paper book covers when I was a kid. In the first week of school, we got our textbooks, with the teacher noting the condition of the book, and spent half the class putting the covers on them.

    1. GoryDetails*

      There are many types of book-covers available – Book Sox is one brand I’ve heard of. That said, I don’t do anything special for my carrying-around books, and if a cover gets a corner folded I just roll with it. (I should probably add that I generally leave such books in the car, only tucking them into my bag when I’m heading in to a restaurant or doctor’s appointment or other need-book-while-waiting situation, so my books don’t spend a lot of time jouncing around in a big bag. In the latter case I might pick up one of the book-covers.)

    2. epi*

      I put them where they won’t rattle around, then put everything else in after to keep it secure. Flat on the bottom of the purse usually works with small books, or standing up on one side against the side of the purse that is usually against my body. It gets easier to slot the book back into place without unpacking your whole purse, with practice.

      I’ve found it damages them way less to always shove in spine down if possible. If you have the space, setting them down on one cover damages them least.

    3. Phlox*

      What about a zippered planner type protector? Something that’s rigid, can be found book sized and is easy to access.

    4. Reader*

      They also sell bungee bookmarks and very large rubberbands that hold all the pages and cover together. Levenger’s site has some called Bungees and Notebook belts.

    5. bkanon*

      Ask your local library! Mine has sheets of this nice sturdy plasticy stuff that they use to protect paperbacks. Caveat, it’s permanent but it’s Super Effective. They might be willing to give you a few sheets or wrap a book for you.

      1. Pony tailed wonder*

        I work in a library and I can tell you as much as we would love to give stuff like that away, our budget is limited and we can’t afford to give that stuff out.

        1. bkanon*

          Still doesn’t hurt to ask. My mother just retired from her library and they would occasionally have some to spare. Not a lot, but a book or two, maybe.

    6. Seeking Second Childhood*

      There are book covers, but any small case will work. I zipped them into flat makeup case on one trip. Larger ones, try a small tablet sleeve.
      But honestly they’re produced cheaply as disposable so even with good treatment they age on the shelf.
      I’m about ready to grit my teeth and rebut some old favorites because the glue is giving out.

    7. Lilysparrow*

      If you own them (not library books) you can get clear self-adhesive plastic by the roll in most stores that sell kitchen or office supplies – the pharmacy, larger grocery stores, Target, etc. We called it “contact paper” growing up, and used it on our workbooks. I’ve heard other people call it shelf liner. I don’t know which is the normal term in your stores.

      If you’re doing smaller paperbacks, one roll would do a bunch.

    8. DrMM*

      Go on Etsy and search for book sleeves. They’re basically padded fabric pouches that you put books in to keep them looking nice. I have several and love to use them when I travel. I like to keep my books looking pretty, so these work great!

  15. LGC*

    Oh man!

    Anyway, this is…probably ill timed, but I’ve been having issues with my neighbor’s cat. I feed her sometimes when she’s out of town, and she JUST DOESN’T LIKE ME (or acts like she doesn’t). Basically, she hisses at me every time I come in (and just does normal cat stuff like blocking me from getting to her food).

    Last week, she pooped on the floor, which was a first! I can deal with her being a little aggressive to me (although I want to fix that too), but I’m not okay with this.

    So…how do I become a better cat uncle? I’m not great with animals to begin with, which makes it harder.

    1. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      Cat etiquette:

      1. Try to be quieter and move more slowly
      2. Speak to the cat in a higher pitched voice “baby talk”
      3. Don’t try to pet the cat without being approached first
      4. Let the cat sniff your finger “cat handshake”

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

        I’m not sure I agree with #2; our cats hate high-pitched baby talk! (and yet I keep doing it) The others are spot on.

      2. Zona the Great*

        No don’t speak in a high pitch. Only prey has high voices. Monotonous and low and yawn and blink at kitty from a distance.

    2. WS*

      As well as what Cheesesteak In Paradise said, pooping on the floor can be the act of a very scared or very aggressive cat (or both!) It sounds like she’s very defensive of her home. Do you ever come over while the neighbour is there, and do no cat things at all? If you can do that a few times, maybe go over and sit quietly for an hour or so, preferably just before the neighbour is away, she may be calmer.

    3. The Kerosene Kid*

      Just a thought: When you go to your neighbor’s place, do you just pop in to do the maintenance, or do you ever hang out? (I mean, only if the neighbor is cool with you chilling on the couch for a while or whatever.) Maybe try kind of neutrally hanging out, not interacting with the cat, but letting her come to you if she wants? I used to pet-sit a lot, plus I had to win over my wife’s crazy little demon cat (we’re cool now, but it only took six years!), and that helped me.

    4. epi*

      I did some reading about cat body language and how to communicate with cats before I got my first, and it made a huge difference. You don’t have to do tons of research here– reading a few blog posts should do it. Mostly it will help you avoid antagonizing a cat that is already stressed or annoyed.

      It’s also good advice to just hang out there, with and without the owner, while not really trying to engage the cat. We have a lovely friend as a cat sitter that one of my cats probably loves more than me. But my newest cat did not accept her until he saw her again, talking to my husband after we had come home. Once he realized she was a friend, not yet another new family, and he wasn’t stressed out by us being gone, he jumped right up in her lap and they’ve been fine ever since.

      If the cat does come out, try not to react and just let it come to you. Go really slow with any touching or petting, don’t do body pets unless the cat seems to want you to (they’ll let you know!). Ask the owner if there are any treats or toys the cat loves that you could give during those times, to show it you’re a friend.

    5. Not a Morning Person*

      Pooping where you will find it is pretty commonly a sign that a cat is irritated and wants you to know. Or that their litterbox has not been cleaned to their standards! Cats are very routine oriented and when their routine is upset, they express it. All the other advice is really good about being slower to approach and letting the cat sniff your hands. Does the cat like treats or being brushed or cat nip? Ask the owner what the cat enjoys and see if that is something you can do. Good luck!

      1. Jedi Librarian*

        My two cats love to express their distaste when the litter box is not up to their standards, right in the middle of the living room. OP, are you scooping it everyday or just when it gets too much? If so, try scooping every day and see if that helps too with the poops.

        1. LGC*

          Usually I’ll do every other day, and that was the first time (out of several) where she did that.

    6. LGC*

      One more note about the present: It did lead to an interesting group chat – she has an actual human name, so I just typed “So [name] just pooped on the floor” without any context and let that simmer for a few minutes.

      I’ll definitely be even more aware of my body language, and just letting her get more comfortable with me. I think part of the difficulty is that…okay, I can stay for a few minutes, but often I can’t really stay more than 10 minutes at a time. I’m usually pretty quiet, I think, and I try to let her sniff me before petting her. I do tense up, which is just a thing that I do and that I’m trying to not do. She’s also pretty shy – she was a stray from a small city by us before she found her home, and she ALWAYS hides under the bed when people come over, even now.

      I also figured that she was pretty ticked off at me the day she pooped – I was running a little late with feeding her that day. (Part of the issue is that my neighbor and I have different schedules – she’s mostly home all day, while I work full time and have an hour commute.) I do appreciate the aptness of her using her own butthole to call me a butthole, though! I also made sure to check her litter box – which did urgently need to be cleaned out that time. Normally, that’s not an issue, though.

      1. valentine*

        What if you clean the box daily or put a clean one next to it and see if she uses it on your off day (thus telling you to clean it daily, dude)? Can you go over first thing instead of last? Can you stay at the house so you can play with the cat? (Maybe they’re lonely.)

    7. Trixie*

      I’ve also had experience where the cat just doesn’t like strangers including me as pet-sitter. Sometimes they warm up but often they just prefer their human. I give them their space and take care of the necessities while they keep a distance, carefully hidden from me.
      My cat is easily spooked by loud noises or any noises not part of his regular routine. So he’s familiar with say the garbage disposal or blender but runs at a door knock. He also doesn’t love loud voices. We had a vet for a short time that insisted on using her outside voice even thought we were in a room the size of a closet. On our last visit before I switched vets, I said “we” really need to use our inside voices to keep cat calm.

    8. Kathenus*

      In addition to the other great suggestions, become a treat dispenser. Get a few different cat treats (soft, hard, etc.) and every time you go in just put some down and walk away, so she can eat them out of your sight if she prefers. Right now she doesn’t have any particular reason to like you, and just the fact of you being in ‘her’ house by ‘her’ stuff could be negative, and the association of you meaning her family is gone could also be poisoning you in her mind. Since you can’t change the last two, build your value to her by being the bringer of good things, asker of nothing – meaning treats for nothing.

  16. Dame Judi Brunch*

    Does anyone else hate summertime with a burning passion? What are your coping strategies to make it through?
    I’m just so miserable and cranky, not myself at all. This happens every year.
    I’ve been staying in the AC as much as possible, eating healthier, exercising indoors, and I found a less congested commute to lower stress.
    The edge is off but I’m still a bundle of misery. Any other ideas? I can’t afford to travel to a cooler climate sadly.

    1. Overeducated*

      Yes. I also hate it. I moved a few hundred miles south three summers ago and this is the worst one yet in terms of heat and humidity. I have not gotten used to it and my spouse and I are hoping to find jobs back north in the medium term (2+ years). I don’t have a lot of strategies for now, except whining a lot and taking the bus more instead of bike commuting every day.

      It also drives me crazy because I associate summer time with the outdoors, camping, hiking, etc., and that’s really uncomfortable to do here, but there’s a lot of rain in the shoulder seasons. People say “be flexible” but campsites book up months in advance and have cancellation fees, so not sure how that works. I am seeing the appeal of the beach for the first time though, that’s an outdoor place that is not bad when it’s hot!

      1. Dame Judi Brunch*

        That sounds like a nightmare! Except for the beach, that sounds nice. How in the world can you be flexible with cancellation fees and booked sites? Agreed, that makes no sense!
        The Midwest states make fun of the South for how they handle snow, but we have no business making fun of anyone. None of us would survive the heat and humidity that the South deals with.

        1. Overeducated*

          Agreed. I’m at the northern end of “the south” and I don’t know how people at the southern end do it. On the other hand, I still roll my eyes when we close down for an inch of snow, but i don’t miss chipping ice off my car every morning!

          1. NeonFireworks*

            I passed up a chance to move to Virginia years ago because I couldn’t take the humidity. How does anyone farther south manage? I currently live in inland northern California, where it is hot but not humid, and I love it.

          2. TexasRose*

            There’s a reason the South has an extra future tense in their speech:

            I remember my grandmother sitting on the porch, rocking and fanning herself, and saying, “I’m fixin’ to get ready to start supper.” Then, after another 10 minutes or so, she would get up and start supper.

      2. Overeducated*

        Late breaking, world changing update: just discovered a local pool (1.5 miles away) that costs $4 and is perfect for chilling out, not seriously exercising. I actually got to spend a summer afternoon outside without driving an hour and a half to a lake. Again, I’ve lived here three years…I feel so much better today and my kid is already bugging me about which day we can go back.

    2. WS*

      Sleeping is my biggest problem in hot weather, plus a medical condition means I overheat easily. I do all my exercising in the pool, have a ceiling fan above my bed (surprisingly effective!) and sleep with an icepack on the soles of my feet. Natural, loosely woven fibres for clothing and bedding are also helpful.

      1. KK*

        Back before I had air-conditioning, I used to take a shower just before bed, then direct a fan over my bed, and go to bed still wet. By the time I was dry, I was asleep. Always gave me a good night sleep in hot weather.

    3. AcademiaNut*

      I don’t deal well with hot humid weather – I’m built for cold climates. Which is, of course, how I ended up living in a subtropical climate. It’s 35C (95 F) and 75%+ humidity for four months straight, with regular thunderstorms and occasional typhoons, and I don’t own a car.

      Oddly enough I find that too much/too cold AC makes things worse for me. The AC is comfortable, but it makes non AC environments so much more miserable. So at home, I use fans in the morning, just enough to sleep at night, and at work, the AC doesn’t go below 25C (77 F) anyways. I also try to walk outside for at least half an hour a day, particularly as things warm up, getting moderate exercise and building up a sweat.

      Other than that – lots of water. I use a SodaStream for fizzy water, which is most of what I drink. I take cold showers a lot, particularly after getting home, and eat a lot of cold food – tonight was cold sliced beef and salads. I also have very short hair, and work in a job where shorts and sleeveless tops are normal.

      One compensation is the lovely fruit. Currently we’ve got local mangos, pineapples, watermelon, lychees and dragonfruit.

      1. Dame Judi Brunch*

        I’ll have to try that getting acclimated to warm, thank you for the suggestion!

    4. Jean (just Jean)*

      Hello, fellow unhappy resident of heat and/or heat plus humidity!
      I cope by wearing non-synthetic fabrics (linen and cotton and damn the wrinkles!), sometimes commuting in a sleeveless shirt and carrying my sweater/jacket until I get to work, carrying an ice cube wrapped in a washcloth to get cool quickly & wipe away some of the stickiness, drinking lots of fluids, and grinding my teeth and counting down the weeks until autumn.
      The sort-of-sense-of-relaxation is nice, as are the flowers, cicadas, and absence of heavy winter coats and boots. The rest of summer, not so much.

      1. infopubs*

        Another vote for linen clothes. They make a HUGE difference in humid weather. I can get through a summer in Florida in linen, but cotton is too heavy and hot.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Linen is fascinating — the fiber is made from the plant stem and doesn’t lose its ability to move moisture. A very few merchants are selling knit linen shirts and I love them. A little too thin for the office but great for home. Also, when you get 100% linen to make your own clothing, wash it before you measure & cut. I swear it gets softer each time it’s washed. Haven’t brought myself to splurge on linen bedsheets yet but I’m dreaming.

    5. epi*

      I don’t like it but have gotten more ok with it over the years. Especially this year, the Midwest had a very cold, wet, ugly spring so I really appreciate summer now.

      I try to take advantage of bearable times to be outdoors– around sunset, and early in the morning when my deck is in full sun but it’s not hot out yet. I have a lot of plants and caring for them gets me outdoors in small doses, doing something that is with it to me. You might also see if there are activities you can really only do in the spring and summer, and treat less hot days and times as opportunities just as others might be in the lookout for a beach day.

      It also helped a lot to try to improve my summer clothes. I really prefer winter dressing and my summer clothes never seemed to be in good condition– combination of more wear and tear, and thinner fabrics I think. It helped me feel like less of a mess on really hot days because even if I was hot and sweating, at least I liked my outfit and it was actually appropriate for the weather. Plus then I know there is nothing more I could have done!

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

      You’re far from the only one. Where I live (northeast USA), the last couple of summers have not necessarily been searingly hot temperature-wise, but they’ve been *so* humid. That is the worst. It just kind of breaks my spirit after awhile.

      I’ve decided to throw some money at the problem by setting our air conditioning lower at home. It doesn’t help outside of home, and I feel bad that it’s an environmentally reckless thing to do, but it does help me sleep better and more sleep makes me feel better overall.

      A side note: For someone who hates summer, you would think the “Christmas in July” fad that seems to have taken on new life this year would make me feel better. But it just makes me kind of want to punch a wall every time I see it.

      1. That Girl From Quinn's House*

        Christmas in July always makes me feel hot and stifled, because so much of it is built around heavy fabrics (flannel, knit) and potent smells (cinnamon, peppermint) that are just oppressive when it’s warm out.

    7. merp*

      I’m not sure if you mean you hate the heat or more than that, but I swear I am more anxious in the summer. Feels like it’s somehow related to pressure to be enjoying the season? And it gets all built up until I am a nervous wreck. Mostly just knowing the pattern helps me a little bit, and giving myself permission to be a hermit when needed. If that means indoor hobbies like crafty stuff or baking, that can be fulfilling, or it frequently just means watching youtube in bed after work if I don’t have the energy for anything more.

      1. Lena Clare*

        Yes this! I also find that the hot weather makes people much more cranky drivers, and as a person who drives fa lot as part of their job, well – ugh.

    8. Seal*

      After spending most of my life in the Upper Midwest, I moved to the Deep South for a job and wound up spending over a decade there. While it was a good move professionally, I absolutely HATED the weather there, especially summers because they were so hot and humid. That part was especially depressing, because in the Upper Midwest summers are practically sacred because of the long, cold winters. I did, however, develop a new appreciation for air conditioning.

      My strategy was to try to go outside in the evenings when things were a bit cooler. I’m not a morning person so getting up early before things really heated up wasn’t an option. I also made a point of drinking lots of water, eating better, dressing in layers, and the like. Still, I wound up spending much of my time indoors in the summer, which never seemed right. I didn’t realize how truly miserable the weather made me until I moved back to the Upper Midwest a year or so ago. I would much rather suffer through a cold winter than a hot, sticky summer any day. You can always put on more clothes but can only take so many off in polite company.

    9. Ainomiaka*

      Some friends and I are actually trying hot yoga. It does feel better afterwards.
      The only other thing I know of is to ignore the admittedly environmentally friendly and money saving advice to let your house heat up a little bit at night- i.e. don’t run the a/c as hard. I absolutely cannot sleep if I do that.

    10. matcha123*

      I also hate the summer. I dislike the heat, the humidity, and the strong sun.
      I also work in a place that barely uses air conditioning and I feel sick all day long.
      So, what I do is carry a portable fan with me when I’m out, try to spend time indoors and try to drink water and sports drinks. Sunglasses and parasols!

    11. Aphrodite*

      I too loathe summer with the passion of a thousand suns (which is what it feels like anyway). Give me snow, cold, rain, fog! I come alive in that.

      I have central air and heat so thank heaven for that. But not everyone has that. So . . . fans. Lots of fans too. Sometimes I turn the air on, get it down into the low sixties, then turn it off and use the fans. I also use aluminum foil on the windows that get the most sun, that’s the side that faces the morning sun. Tape aluminum foil to the windows on the inside (with the dull side of the foil facing out for good neighborly relations). It really will help make a difference. You can also, if you prefer to keep tape off the glass or wall tape it to large pieces of cardboard and stand them in the window. I keep the foil up all summer and the drapes closed.

      I keep a large fan pointed at the front of the bed from the side so it blows on my face all night long. I also own a bed fan ( http://www.bfan.world/ ) and this is the best! In fact, I have to keep it on very low and even turn it off in the early morning as my feet get COLD. That way, I can keep two blankets on the bed, which I like, while my body stays cool. Percale sheets are helpful too.

      Good luck. Sleeping is lousy in the summer but try these things; they might help..

    12. Gatomon*

      Yes, I’m miserable. 90 yesterday and high 80s today. I felt kind of sick after running errands yesterday evening, even a 75-degree room felt hot for a while. I’m starting the moving process this weekend though and it looks like my new place runs MUCH cooler than my apartment naturally. It also has an A/C unit in the wall so no more dealing with hoses out the window and a big, shaking, noisy appliance in the middle of my living room. The wall A/C is much quieter.

    13. Kathenus*

      100% with you. I hate summer, I’m totally a fall/winter person. But the majority of my adult life has been in areas with very hot and humid summers due to my career. Sounds weird, but sometimes just (mostly good-naturedly) complaining about it to friends helps (they do the same to me in the winter). Echo the fans if you are somewhere that’s uncomfortable, the one I have in my office has been a lifesaver. And I allow myself to not feel guilty for staying inside versus ‘enjoying the warm weather’ in outdoor activities, and to keep the thermostat at a temperature that is comfortable, especially for sleeping, as I’m miserable if it’s too hot to fall asleep. I don’t spend a lot of discretionary money compared to some friends (bars, restaurants, movies, etc. – I do these but not overly often), so I am happy to spend more on my utility bill in the summer. Counting the days to fall along with you.

    14. tamarack & fireweed*

      Right now a lot of people around me are begging for winter to come back soon. I’m in Alaska, which of course is full of people who like serious winter. But the main issue is that we’ve had over a week now of record-breaking bad air quality because of wildfire smoke. (Fine particle levels are slowly coming down, and we appear to be in the red zone now, flirting with orange, instead of deep purple. But if I, who has no known respiratory issues, starts coughing and wheezing I can only imagine how it is for people with pulmonary conditions. Also, I’m worried about long-term effects of this pollution bout.) Climate change is very noticeable up here (“polar amplification” – temps rise more at the poles), and this year has been brutal.

      But normally summers are short and epic. Plants are just gorgeous. Hiking is deeply refreshing. And whenever I have to travel outside (this word means “not in Alaska” in Alaska) I get surprised by the darkness at midnight.

    15. NB*

      I take a cool shower right before bed. Then I lie down with a fan pointed at me, and I don’t move until morning.

    16. Elizabeth West*

      I used to hate it with a passion, but after going through a horrendous ice storm, now I’m kinda hating on winter. I’ll even exercise outside in summer now (as long as I can do it before it gets too hot).

      I keep the curtains closed; that seems to keep out the worst of the daytime heat. Drink a lot of water, even if you’re indoors.

      1. valentine*

        keep the curtains closed
        Yes; it makes a massive difference. Get blackout curtains if you must. Wear sunglasses indoors. Lie low in a fan stream with a frozen two-liter or gallon bottle of water in front of it.

        1. ..Kat..*

          Put a towel under the frozen bottle of water – otherwise you will get a drippy lake of water!

    17. CastIrony*

      I’m not alone! My little brother installed our window AC the other day for the living room because the temps have reached 88 degrees F.

      Other than that, my sister and I open windows at night and close them in the morning. Currently, a box fan is on a windowsill, cooling my bedroom with the night air.

    18. Iron Chef Boyardee*

      Yeah, I’m not a big fan of summer. Too hot (I’m in NYC), and thanks to emotionally abusive, unsupportive parents I never got to enjoy summer as a kid, whether it was vacationing with them or the camps they sent me to.

      It also doesn’t help that I don’t have any real friends I can go to, to hang out with. Never have – I’ve never felt like I fit in anywhere, again thanks to my emotionally abusive parents who never encouraged me to do anything. So when I see groups of people enjoying themselves and each other, it’s like another emotional nail in my coffin. Actually it’s like that regardless of the season, but we’re talking about summer here, so fooey on summer.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        Internet hugs if you want them. Life is long (hopefully); I hope you can find a way to make it better.

  17. Knitting vs crochet*

    I’ve read a number of articles about the differences but do any of you have a preference? Are there things that are easier to make or do with one over the other? I’ve been wanting to learn one of them to make an open weave grocery bags. Thanks.

    1. Lucy*

      I have a strong crochet preference; my friend strongly prefers knitting. I know people who can do both, but most have a favourite.

      I would say knitting is better for garments, and crochet is better for things especially odd shaped things like plushies or bags. Crochet works up faster. A grocery bag is one short evening’s beginner work in crochet, but slower and more advanced in knitting.

      Another consideration is that crochet is typically easier to pick up and put down without dropping stitches. If you are likely to do short stints, or work when in transit, crochet is typically more forgiving.


      1. The New Wanderer*

        I agree with Lucy’s distinction. I only knit, but I chose that because I had someone who could show me how to do it (well, I thought I did but she knits left-handed because her mom did, and she didn’t want me to ‘learn it backwards’). Have never crocheted, but it does seem like the best patterns for objects are in crochet and best patterns for garments/blankets/scarves are in knit. (Best = subjective of course!)

        1. nonegiven*

          My left handed aunt taught me to knit when I was 7. She had me doing it backwards but I have learned from books to do it with either hand or both. I also taught myself to crochet from a 69¢ pamphlet when I was 8.

      2. university minion*

        I’m team crochet, but what is that magical grocery bag that works up in an evening?
        I’ve got 20 years of skill and am not slow, but am also a week into my pineapple crochet produce bag. WTF?

        1. Lucy*

          I was thinking of this kind of thing – use a fat hook and a holey pattern for a macrame-look bag! Something cleverer or denser would definitely take longer.

    2. Teapot Translator*

      From what I hear, it depends on what you learn first. I learned crochet first, then knitting so I find knitting harder.
      I find knitted items are more stretchy while crochet stitches have no “give”.

      1. Dr. KMnO4*

        That’s interesting, because I learned to crochet first but I find knitting easier. Certainly having learned to crochet first impacted my knitting- I carry my yarn in my left hand when I’m knitting since that’s how I learned to do it when crocheting.

        1. Lucy*

          Similarly I learned knitting first, but never quite took to it; then I switched to crochet on a whim (bought a magazine in the supermarket that came with a hook and a skein!) and everything just clicked.

          My knitting is still horrible.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        My mother tried repeatedly to teach me to knit. I got the details, but was terrible at it. I didn’t enjoy it at all. In my forties I picked up crochet, and like that, and my mother said her mother didn’t like to knit either. Weirdly I’ve since gotten better about knitting too.
        Knitting is more ambidextrous, crochet is mostly work for one hand.

    3. NeonFireworks*

      Knitting is good for mostly flat pieces sewn or otherwise attached together. Crochet is better for really three-dimensional objects. It’s remarkable how different they feel given that they’re both all about loops of yarn!

      1. krista*

        I totally disagree with this statement – knitting (with circular needles) is great for three-dimensional objects. I knit garments all the time (including socks and sweaters), and almost never knit flat & seam.

        1. Venus*

          I think of socks as having a flat surface. By 3D I think NeonFireworks is referring to little figurines which can be crocheted and stuffed like a doll. Crochet is definitely easier for odd shaped things as you can add a few stitches here or there, without having to plan for them.

        2. epi*

          I have heard the distinction as knitting is for stretchy tubes, crocheting is for flexible shapes.

          You can go 3D with either but the types of objects that each lends itself to are different.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I learned to knit first. I think crocheting was harder because I kept thinking there should be a second needle some how. (I was a kid when I learned both.)

      I actually prefer the look of knitted items. I think there is a much larger variety of stitches in knitting also. I like crocheting but I can’t seem to connect crochet work with “fashionable items”, if that makes sense.

      I do know that crochet work is like handwriting. Everyone has their own unique style. It is possible to be able to identify who made an item by looking at the stitches.
      Crocheting is fun though and it does work up faster than knitting.

      1. nonegiven*

        Crocheting granny squares is really portable if you have to do much waiting around. Then sew them together to make an afghan.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        FWIW, Crocheted hand bags are cool again according to my middleschooler. (Think the 1980s “Le Sac” from Sax 5th Avenue.)

    5. Shrunken Hippo*

      I crochet but I’m learning to knit. I love to crochet little stuffed animals but I want to be able to make more apparel and that’s much easier to do with knitting as it has more give to it. Crocheting is more forgiving because it’s super easy to take apart and redo if you mess up and it’s easier to do in the round, but knitting is less chunky so nice for more clothing designs. I think you can learn both so which one you want to attempt really depends on what you want to make and what patterns you want to use. Although you should start with basics in either case I find having a goal project helps me work through times of frustration.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Interestingly, I see knitting as more forgiving– miss a stitch and there are ways to undo one column, fix it, and rework that with a hook.
        But mess up one stitch on a blanket crocheted in the round, and you have to rip out whole rounds.

        1. Lucy*

          I mean, personally I go with the motto of my (church) yarn club, which is “only God is perfect”, so if I see an error further back than I care to frog, I remind myself that I am not God, and continue. Again, crochet is forgiving so ad hoc decreases/increases are trivial.

          I dabble in Tunisian crochet for the best of both worlds, but it is very hard on my (probably becoming arthritic) wrists!

    6. HannahS*

      I find crochet easier and more forgiving for beginners. I would say that anything that needs to be sturdy (rugs, bags, washcloths) is more easily crocheted, and things that you want to be more stretchy and flexible, like a sweater, is more easily knitted. You can make either work with either craft, obviously, but the best way to think of it is to remember that the crocheted version of something will be twice as thick as the knitted version, if you use the same yarn and same diameter needle/hook.

    7. merp*

      I’m not sure what it is with my brain but I can only crochet round things. So anything that requires straight stitches (scarves, etc) has to be knitting for me, haha.

    8. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I learned to crochet when I was six and knit when I was in my early 20s. (I’m 38 now.) I generally prefer to knit, because I like cables and lacework. You can’t crochet nice looking cables, I don’t think, and crocheted lace all seems to be doilies. But for a market bag, I’d crochet (and just did one recently, look up Lion Brand’s Market Tote pattern, super easy).

      For me, crochet is good for patchwork (granny square/hexagon afghans), dishcloths (which are basically the patchwork bits just not joined together), bags and stuffy toys. (That said, I did knit a stuffy flamingo once.) Anything else, I’m much more likely to knit.

      1. university minion*

        You can crochet nice cables, but the amount of yarn you consume in doing so is positively obscene. I’ve been crocheting my whole life, so I know well that crochet generally uses more yarn than knitting, but cables take it to a whole other level.

    9. MeepMeep*

      For grocery bags, crochet is better – it’s not as stretchy. For clothing items, knitting is better (the fabric is lighter and stretchier). Both are fun to do.

    10. A.N. O'Nyme*

      I strongly prefer crocheting even though I learned knitting first – mainly because I find that second needle difficult to work with. That said, I agree with most commenters here that crochet would be better to make grocery bags with – the end result tends to be sturdier (although in my case my knitting may just be shitty :p).

    11. Lost in the Woods*

      It depends a lot on the person. I can barely chain, despite my crochet friends’ best efforts. I can’t figure out where to stick the hook, while my spreadsheet of a brain is very well suited to knitting.

      In my opinion, crochet would be much better for grocery bags, since it generally anchors the yarn more, while knitting allows give and stretch between stitches by design. Crochet is also much easier to do freeform, while knitting is kind of like a grid – you can increase and decrease or change directions using various techniques, but the most basic knitting is columns and rows of stitches. Because knitting is stretchy, it works better for garments and things like socks, while crochet makes a much sturdier fabric with less drape which is good for objects (like bags). Both make nice hats, mittens, and blankets, although with somewhat different properties.

      The barrier to entry for knitting tends to be higher, also, because the first step of crochet (chaining) is pretty easy, while the first step of knitting (casting on) is one of the most complicated parts of it.

      Crochet is also harder if you’re a lefty, in my opinion, because all the instructions (in my experience) are right handed, while very few people knit in reverse. Most lefty knitters simply hold the working yarn in their left hand, in a style called continental knitting.

      1. Lucy*

        I find that most crochet websites and blogs nowadays duplicate their tutorials for left-handers – brave new world!

        1. Lost in the Woods*

          That’s good to hear!

          (Unfortunately I learn best in person, and while my best friend is a fabulous crocheter, she is right handed. I have yet to come across a lefty crocheter in person, alas.)

          1. A.N. O'Nyme*

            Would a youtube video help? There’s a youtube channel called Naztazia that does left-handed beginner tutorials.

    12. Lost in the Woods*

      I agree with the consensus that crochet would be better for the specific purpose of grocery bags; crochet basically anchors the yarn with each stitch, while knitting is a series of loops which can pull on one another, giving it stretch and drape but less stability.

      That being said, some people are happily both knitters and crocheters but a lot of people also have a preference, and if you really dislike crochet then I recommend trying out knitting. Crochet is much more freeform while knitting is more structured; personally I really prefer the sort of grid structure of knitting. In crochet there are too many options for me!

      (I tried to post this earlier but it’s not showing up for me, if it does for others then I apologize for the double!)

    13. Lucy*

      oh and if your mental image of crochet is mainly Afghans of granny squares then ugh ugh ugh please Google “Sophie’s Universe” and see how intricate modern crochet blankets can be.

      1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

        I just looked this up – WOW. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing… I haven’t crocheted in years, so it is “probably” way beyond my abilities… but gorgeous.

    14. tamarack & fireweed*

      The fabrics you can obtain are very different. Stretchiness is greater with knitted fabric, and different stitches give you quite a variety — though with lace, you also have tons of options in crochet. Crochet fabric tends to be stiffer and sturdier. So I’d crochet pot holders and dish washing cloths! But if you want fine, homogeneous fabric, I’d go for knitting. (I haven’t ever worn, say, crocheted socks…)

      Usually crochet is considered to be easier to learn (only one live stitch at a time, or very few for complicated stitches), and faster in production of fabric quantity.

      Either has its place of course, and I frown upon any jockeying for superiority.

      1. tamarack & fireweed*

        (You asked for my preference — I’m a knitter, and only have crocheted a few ornaments and edgings lately. I want to learn weaving next.)

    15. Blue_eyes*

      I agree with others that you probably want crochet for making open weave grocery bags.

      Here’s an example of a quick mesh produce bag in crocheting:

      I’ve knitted for almost 20 years and crocheted for almost 10 and I don’t have a strong preference. They each are good for different things. Crochet generally works up faster, and is easier to pause in the middle of a row or round. I also find it easier to “fudge” things in crochet if something isn’t coming out quite right (like increasing or decreasing a stitch here or there), whereas with knitting I might need to unpick multiple rows to fix the problem without leaving a visible error. Some people also find crochet easier because there’s only one hook and only one “live” stitch at a time. Knitting is often better when you want a really polished finished look because the stitches tend to look more even and precise on a finished piece. I find that crocheted pieces always retain a bit of a folksy home-made look even when done correctly.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        Also, I’m left handed, but have never learned to knit or crochet “left-handed” because I mostly taught myself from books and online tutorials, and those were all right handed. When I first learned to knit I fairly quickly taught myself to hold the yarn in my left hand aka “continental knitting”, which may have been easier for me than others due to being left handed. So when I learned to crochet, I just kept holding the yarn in my left hand and held the hook in my right hand.

        For knitting in color work, I can hold one color in each hand so I don’t have to keep switching which color I’m holding.

    16. Windchime*

      I’m on team knitting. I know how to crochet and have made some cool things with it, but I like the way knitting looks better and it’s soothing to me to knit in front of the TV (depending on what I’m knitting). I’ve knit some really cute stuffed animals and am currently working on another one (teddy bear). But I do love me a cute granny square and am always up for crocheting something, too.

  18. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going?
    I’m currently trying to figure out how to write myself out of a corner…Might need to rewrite a big chunk of this chapter…

    1. Julia*

      I’m kind of taking a break right now, and I miss it. But work has been really busy lately and my health not 100%, so I’m doing a lot of relaxing and easy things like games or TV instead of using my limited brain capacity. Maybe I should try to at least come up with ideas during downtime, but that’s where I’m also stuck…

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Oof, hope things calm down for you a bit!
        Honestly, relaxing is also quite important, you can’t be “on” all the time. As for coming up with ideas…Is there anything in the games you play/shows you watch that really interests you? A certain theme or something? Maybe it can help to try and figure out how to put your own spin on that theme/a certain type of character/a certain type of plot?

        1. Julia*

          Thank you!! I already have my characters and setting, but am trying to fill the plot these days. I do keep up with new stuff I want to try out, but don’t really need any more half-baked ideas for now…

    2. Liane*

      I need to finish a quick review for the game blog and then I am ahead a month! (Not counting the 2 or 3 in Reserve, for if I am sick or something.) So I will start articles to go up during holidays, then get back to staying a couple weeks ahead. It’s one of the little perks of having editor access on our Word Press–I can schedule my own.

    3. Claire*

      It’s been a long slow slog again this week, but I am making progress on #pirates2.

      But my editor did send me the cover art for #pirates1 and it’s gorgeous. (Link added in reply.)

          1. Claire*

            Thanks! I had to go through a round or two with the publisher, so I’m glad they finally came through with artwork that wasn’t all about a white woman in a tank top. My agent and editor both went to bat for me on that one.

            Publishing is funny. :)

    4. Have dragon, will quest in exchange for hummus*

      I’m thinking about doing NaNoWriMo this year. I tried to do it all last year in November, but lost steam and got overwhelmed with trying to outline-and-write at the same time.

      I’ve got a story idea, and some stuff on what I want it to do emotionally, but I’m thinking of doing a bit more detailed work before November hits this time.

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Yeah, that’s a thing I hear a lot about NaNoWriMo (and is also one of the reasons I personally don’t participate). I’d say go for it with more detailed planning, it might help. And I’ll be wishing you luck if you decide to participate!

        1. Have dragon, will quest in exchange for hummus*

          Thanks! Yeah, I’m definitely going to spend more time prewriting this time so I don’t burn out. Although I’ll try and remember that this really isn’t supposed to be anything beyond a first draft, so I won’t sweat being perfect.

      2. Lucy*

        ooh that’s an idea – I have a rough outline for something I never quite start. NaNoWriMo would be a great time to tackle it!

        Thank you for the inspiration.

      3. Grace*

        This is the first NaNo since I became interested in it when it won’t be slap-bang in the middle of exam/essay/revision season (two years of GCSEs, two years of A-Levels, three years of a BA – I’m graduating next week and hope to be in a job, any job, ASAP) so I’m cautiously hopeful, although I recognise that the majority of working adults also find that time is short! But working days generally finish at a set time, as opposed to my studying days that usually finished somewhere between 9pm and 11pm, so I’ll hopefully have evenings.

        1. Have dragon, will quest in exchange for hummus*

          Congrats! Kinda the same here. Definitely looking forward to having more time for this kinda thing.

  19. Anona*

    I’m so sorry. What a beautiful photo. I hope you guys will have peace and be able to think on your happier memories with her soon.

    1. CJM*

      I’m sorry too. Lucy is my favorite kind of cat: creamsicle colored. We loved “creamsicle cats” too: Minkee and Sunny. Little goofballs. I sure do miss them. My heart aches for you, Alison.

  20. Elf*

    I’m sort of trying to start Bullet Journaling to see if it works for me, and since I’ve seen it recommended here a bunch of times I’m hoping for some advice. I’ve looked at a lot of the online materials, so I think I mostly have a handle on how it physically works (though tips are still appreciated), but I could use some more overview of how the practice fits into your day, and what reflection is supposed to be/do/look like, frequency of migration, etc.

    Please keep in mind during your responses that my personal woo tolerance is approximately -1000.

    1. it happens*

      No woo here. Bullet journaling = blank notebook. So YOU make (And break) the rules. What I like about my notebook is that I only template one week at a time. In practice that means at the start of the month I make and fill out (what I already know) the two page spread of the days of the month and the To Dos and then draw out the first week. And all of the rest of the book from that point forward is blank. So if I want to take notes on a meeting or reflect on something for a day or a week, I can. And then the next weekend sketch out a new week. That’s the value of the index. And some weeks I just skip because I’m doing something else. It’s MY book. I have some cool gel pens that I use sometimes, but it’s whatever I feel like and I do not feel beholden to any diktats from the interwebs. I even have some pages I started from the BACK of the book where I keep lists of books/movies/resources. The horror.
      Go ahead, start your book in the Middle of the month. Embrace the blank page!

      1. valentine*

        blank notebook. So YOU make (And break) the rules. What I like about my notebook is that I only template one week at a time.
        Yes. I have a page for the week, one line per day, and the space underneath is for stuff that can be done any day that week. The right side is for my grocery list. I have a separate page for ongoing shopping I need to do, and one for maintenance things like how often something’s cleaned or any health stats I need to keep. I use Post-Its for laundry because that to-do list became oppressive, but I might go back because the Post-Its pile bothers me.

    2. sometimesreader*

      There’s a group on YouTube that is focusing on bullet journalling for the month of July. I’d Recommend checking out Rhomanys Realm, she’s a very non woo artist/witchy person. She’s taking the month to follow the bullet journal very stricktly and posts videos about the different pieces of the method. She’s just posted a video this past week on reflections. Also check out her (admittedly long) q&a sessions that were originally livestreams.

    3. Penguin*

      I haven’t used bullet journaling myself, but should you want to dig into the topic more there is an excellent podcast that talks about it (as well as a host of other organization/productivity things)- productivityalchemy.com.
      (No woo there- the name is a joke/reference; the host works in IT and is very down-to-earth.)

      Good luck!

    4. Twinkle*

      I started a bullet journal this year and read/watched a tone of advice about how to do it. One thing I didn’t love was the need to estimate how many pages you would need for a category and if it wasn’t enough, create a “go to page X” or front page noting page numbers. I also didn’t like the idea that I couldn’t easily rip out a page (as it would need up the page numbers and affect later pages). But I found someone suggesting you could use a binder and so that’s what I’ve done. If I need more pages in a category, I just add them in, and I take it pages I no longer want. (I just bought a $2 A5 sized binder at a stationery store and covered it with fabric then inserted paper cut to size and hole-punched; is also been a very affordable solution.) I don’t do a lot of “make it pretty” kind of stuff, it really is more a practical tool for me, but I do use leftover scrapbooking paper as some of my pages, which does make it look a little more interesting.

    5. Ewesername*

      Use a bullet style journal as my go to at work for sorting out my day. I don’t get fancy anymore. I have some sticker dots I use and the book I use has an index in the front that one like for tracking where I write down important stuff I might need later. (Like – what did we order last year for the xmas party. Oh no, I need to do a pivot table).
      You’ll figure out as you go along what works for you and what doesn’t.

      1. Reliquary*

        “Woo” is shorthand for “woo-woo.”

        1. unconventional beliefs regarded as having little or no scientific basis, especially those relating to spirituality, mysticism, or alternative medicine.
        “some kind of metaphysical woo-woo”

  21. Lupin Lady*

    Tldr: I need relationship advice/perspective from a community I respect.
    I’m strongly considering breaking up from my common law husband of over 5 years. We own a house together that neither one of us can afford on our own. We tried couples counselling 2.5 years ago and we got back together, we both improved things, though he refused to attend more than a few sessions. In the past month we’ve fought about 2 different things so badly I’ve considered leaving permanently. I’m exhausted from carrying the emotional needs of this relationship. He refuses to apologize for anything, which is this final straw. A few weeks ago I was away for a wedding (which he didn’t go to due to medical concerns with the long drive) and he went out with some friends, including a flirty female friend he’s known his entire life. All fine, I’m not the jealous type and I trust him. His 2 friends end up staying over at our house that night, and she wore his boxers at night. She slept in a spare bedroom. My issue with this is that a mutual friend told me about this, my spouse didn’t mention it. Also not okay with anyone but me wearing his boxers. When I brought it up he didn’t think there was anything to tell since nothing happened and it would never happen. I’ve reiterated that it’s not the fact she stayed over that I’m upset about, it’s that he didn’t tell me. He can’t grasp this at all and now we haven’t spoken for 2 days. He’s told his friend that I’m mad she stayed over and she turned up last night with a guy she’s dating; I’m so mad I didn’t go out to see them. Please, I need some perspective, opinions, or maybe experiences from leaving a long term relationship at 30. For what it’s worth I do have somewhere I can go while we sell the house, and could afford to rent a place on my own.

    1. NeonFireworks*

      This sucks – sorry to hear. It sounds like he’s checked out. It’s only possible to do so much to compensate when the extent to which the other person is putting in the effort is really limited. I suspect that by not doing more, he’s clearly indicating whether salvaging your marriage is important to him.

    2. ATX Language Learner*

      I would absolutely leave. He sounds disrespectful and unwilling to make changes. The flirty friend wearing boxers would be the final straw for me, I wouldn’t even want her staying the night! Who the f does that?

      Your emotional needs and mental sanity are important and it sounds like you’re ready to GTFO and move on so you can be happy.

      Whenever I have friends in relationships that aren’t going great, I always ask them if this is something they’re willing to deal with for the rest of their life. Does he/she make you happy more than irritated/sad/angry? Are they willing to work on their own problems and grow with you? Are they willing to work out issues and communicate when there’s a disagreement?

      Sorry you’re having to go through this and I hope you are happy soon!!

    3. Reba*

      Hi Lupin Lady, as I read your post what popped into my mind at like line 3 was “lady, life is too short!” My reaction is definitely being colored by all the times I’ve seen the brilliant, fabulous women in my life try to make it work for what seems like forever with partners who are …. Not trying nearly as hard! Just “managing” the relationship with an immature partner becomes such a weight and it’s really sad.

      I don’t know if he’s being unfaithful or ever would… But he certainly doesn’t appear to care about your feelings or that he has harmed your trust. I mean, he’s just not acting like you’re someone he cares about, or owes any consideration to.

      The Sheelzebub principle is evergreen: if you knew it was going to stay like this for another year, would you want to stay? Five years? Ten?

      Moreover, you can leave at any time, just because you’re not feeling it anymore–there does not have to be an incident that is “bad enough” or whatever.

      Maybe see what happens if you suggest counseling again? At the very least, you will be able to know that you tried and you were fair.

      At the same time I think you should be getting ready to leave — lock up your finances and find personal documents and valuables.

      Easy for me to say, I know.

      Good luck sorting things out!

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Bingo, this is it right here, LL.

        The friend with the boxers is a symptom of an on-going issue. There are only so many times a person can jab us and finally there is a jab that is a game changer.
        You hit your load limit. You are done with all these “small” betrayals one right after the other.
        And, of course, that is correct. Life does not have to be this hard. You could have a person in your life who actually values you and wants you around instead of tolerating this crap.

      2. Foreign Octopus*

        I was going to make a comment to say just this as well.

        From what you’ve written, it doesn’t sound as if your husband wants to change. Ask yourself how long you’re willing to go on for if the status quo remains the same. Another day, week, month, year, decade, lifetime?

        It’s never easy to close the door on something that you hoped would be a success, but walking away from something that is causing you grief and anxiety isn’t losing. It’s choosing yourself, prioritising yourself, and that is so, so important.

        If you’re not ready to permanently separate, why not try a trial separation and see if your husband puts in any work to keep you around? I’m not saying that’ll change anything, but it’ll give you an indication of whether or not he’s willing to work at the relationship or if the entire workload is on your shoulders. Furthermore, you need a break. You need to take time for yourself.

        Good luck.

    4. Anona*

      Can you tell him you’re thinking of leaving and would like to consider counseling again? What do you have to lose?

      1. Damien*

        What does she have to GAIN from staying? Another five years of his low-effort behaviour and refusal to see things from her point of view?

      2. Wishing You Well*

        It sounds like things are getting worse.
        I wouldn’t warn this guy about leaving but I WOULD go to counseling with the focus on “how do I leave this guy in a way that’s best for me?” A therapist can really help with that. You’ll also need an expert on how to dispose of the house.

    5. Goose Lavel*

      Men tend to be conflict adverse and with your shared history, he most likely didn’t mention it to avoid the arguments and drama that he feared would occur.
      Just a thought to consider for your next chat with him.

      1. Lupin Lady*

        Hey Goose, thank you for your perspective. That makes sense except for the fact that we’ve been doing great and I’m very low drama- to the point where his friends comment on it. I would have been fine if he had just explained they crashed here in the same conversation he told me about the rest of the night- and it was on the phone, so he could have avoided an in person discussion easily. I understand that just because people say they’re low-drama doesn’t mean it’s true. I honestly think the most I would have done would be a loaded ‘hmm’ while I got used to the idea.

        1. Maya Elena*

          That’s true, but does he know that, exactly what you said above, in so many words? And how does this particular, comparatively minor conflict fit into the context of other conflicts?

          I will say though, I think people are a lot more mercurial than they realize, depending on things like hunger and general stress. Definitely true for me and my husband – we do not always compare that favorably with our toddler for emotional regulation. :D

        2. Foreign Octopus*

          So this “low-drama” thing…I appreciate it because I’m fairly low-drama in my own life as well, but low-drama doesn’t mean not standing up for yourself and recognising when things are wrong.

          I may be wrong here, but it seems that you’re caught in a trap of thinking “I’m low-drama, I shouldn’t be overreacting to this”. It’s like you’ve trained yourself to fit into other people’s perceptions of you as an easy-going person, and that’s fine. Be easy-going, absolutely, but there’s easy-going and low-drama and then there’s a doormat (please forgive that, I can’t think of a better way to phrase it).

          It seems like it’s been a series of little things that have built up over the five years you’ve been married and haven’t been properly dealt with within the relationship. This friend staying over is just the latest in a long line and looks to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The thing with a multitide of small things happening over time is that when you do finally snap under the pressure, people only see you snapping under a small thing. They don’t see the weight of what’s built up behind you, so it’s easy to pass it off as overreacting.

          Except it’s not.

          You know the truth of the situation. You know that you’re at the end of your tether because of all those other things, and the important thing is to do what’s right for you.

          Your husband is going to have his own truth about your relationship and the possible end of it. That’s the truth he’s going to be telling people, and it won’t be your truth. Whilst that sucks, it’s also okay. If it means that you can have a life where you’re not crying because your husband isn’t communicating with you and you no longer feel this urge to leave then it’s a fair payoff for people who don’t know about the situation to think of you in perhaps less than complimentary terms.

          Do what is best for you, screw everyone else.

        3. Goose Lavel*

          Here’s something from my past for perspective. When I first married my spouse and started having get togethers with her friends, one of her friends became very flirty with me, but I didn’t recognize it.

          I only became aware of it at one get together, where Ms Flirty was directly across from me at the table and I suddenly got glaring, pissed off looks from my wife.

          I really had no clue as to why she was pissed until everyone left and my wife accused me of too much chat and eye contact with her flirting friend; she thought I was flirting with her. I was gobsmacked!

          Wife said this was the last time she would put up with it as the flirting happened every time Ms Flirty came to visit. I didn’t know I was “flirting”; I only thought I was just chatting with one of her friends as I was trying to get to know them. I was completely clueless and it took multiple conversations to convince my wife that my social interaction was completely benign.

          Things only completely resolved once flirty friend stopped coming to our get togethers and she eventually lost contact with the group.

          It was quite the eye opener for me as I a social introvert and I was really trying to connect with her friends. Couples therapy really helped us to understand our unique individual communication styles and form a new way of communicating as a couple. Still married for 31 years.

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        “I didn’t tell you because I knew you’d be mad” is … not actually okay, and is in fact a pretty solid red flag that there’s a problem somewhere in the situation.

        1. The New Wanderer*

          Totally agree. The high drama, low drama thing is kind of a red herring. It wasn’t you and your specific reaction he was hiding from, it was any kind of reaction or hassle that he would (in his mind) have to put up with. Guessing he’s conflict averse with his friend/family too.

          I was in a serious (for college) relationship with a guy who had the flirty friend and hid the fact that they went to the movies together when I was away – he lied and said it was with another friend but slipped up later. “But I know you don’t like her so I knew you’d be mad.” He wanted to be friends with her and enjoy the flirting, but avoid getting me mad enough to break up with him. It’s not that you can’t have both, it’s that you can’t have both without some consequences.

          In hindsight I should have called it quits then but young+stupid. Ultimately, he was a good boyfriend in many small respects but not the primary one – actually building toward a future together and not just saying so. I did finally end it after 4.5 years, but I regret not doing it sooner.

          1. Traffic_Spiral*

            Yup. This one. Also “men are conflict averse?” Bullshit. Guess men never started a war then.

    6. Not a Morning Person*

      Comments here are really good. For more you might want to write to Captain Awkward. She has a great way of offering advice and helping you see how you can make changes if you choose.

      1. SciDiver*

        She also has talked about being upset by how-you-gave-me-the-news vs. the-news-itself. I know you said you would have been fine with it if he had just explained it at the time…but you might want to think about how true that is, since this sounds like it’s been a long struggle of him pushing buttons and boundaries. Would you really be okay with all this if he had told you at the time “the guys are staying over and Flirty Friend is in the spare room and didn’t have anything to wear so she’s in a pair of my boxers, see you tomorrow bye”? It feels like of course that would be better, I wouldn’t be nearly so mad if I just knew about it, but you’re allowed to be mad no matter how the news was delivered. He does things that upset you and he knows it too, and it’s part of an ongoing pattern. Don’t let how you “should feel” or “would feel” get in the way of how you feel right now about all this.

        1. valentine*

          Would you really be okay with all this if he had told you at the time “the guys are staying over and Flirty Friend is in the spare room and didn’t have anything to wear so she’s in a pair of my boxers, see you tomorrow bye”?
          Yeah, this sounds like revenge on his part. “You left me, so I invited Flirty over and gave her my boxers, but you can’t be mad and don’t you trust me?!” Is he trying to get your goat or to make you jealous, to let you know there’s a runner-up at the ready? (Not that this should change how you proceed.) You seem resigned to him doing whatever he wants (cutting off counseling, having a (flirty) woman in your house overnight). Aren’t there terms and conditions you both agreed to?

          Call a divorce lawyer so they can tell you if your state calls leaving abandoning the family home, whether you should document a walk-through (Would he damage the place to make you stay (longer)?), how to deal with assets, and so on. They’ve heard and seen it all. Let them help you help yourself.

          Picture your peaceful future life. Make a list of the steps to get there and cross them off or color a graph of your progress. I hope this works out for you.

    7. Maya Elena*

      I wonder, how does the conversation go when he does something you think requires an apology? Does the anger escalate really quickly? When the anger escalates, does baggage/resentment from past arguments come up, and blanket statements like “you never apologize”? I know I have no desire to apologize when my husband confronts me with a lot of anger – even if he’s right – especially over something I didn’t think was that big a deal.
      If yes, perhaps changing this dynamic might help repair the relationship? That would mean creating a “safe space” for discussion, so he knows you’re not looking to attack him or argue; articulating what exactly made you angry, and *why* you think he should apologize; hearing his side without judgment; and acknowledging your own contributions to the conflict – e.g., poorly communicated desires, dragging in irrelevant past conflicts.

      1. Lupin Lady*

        This is something we really improved on 2.5 years ago, and it’s a good skill we’ve kept up (for the most part), so thank you for the comment. This time, I tried staying calm and explaining my feelings and I just get defensiveness “nothing happened” it seems like he doesn’t hear me at all: that the issue is he didn’t tell me about it, not that a drunk friend crashed at our place. And that defensiveness just has me worried that there’s an emotional affair going on. I know he’s not physically cheating.

        1. Texan In Exile*

          Even if he had told me about it, I would still be bothered. Sharing underwear is really intimate.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I agree. If it were my dude and he’d loaned a friend a pair of pjs or a t-shirt, I’d probably not think much of it, but underpants? Coupled with the fact that he didn’t mention it would make me feel really weird.

    8. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      My thoughts on leaving a relationship at 30: I was divorced twice by the time I was 30. (I was dumb. I married two different irresponsible manchildren. Don’t be me, kids.) I took some flak for it. But you know, regardless of your age or relationship longevity, you deserve happiness. If you can’t find it with him, you have a better chance of finding it without him. And the years are going to pass. Do you think you’re going to feel better leaving him in another five or ten years?

    9. Dr. Anonymous*

      For me, telling my partner that I’m hugely upset and having my partner explain back to me, not that they didn’t realize or they’d like us to figure out how to do things differently, but just that their personal opinion shows that I am wrong to be upset, is such a demonstration of disrespect that I would not be able to stay in the relationship. To me it’s not even the specific issue. He hurt your feelings and doesn’t seem to care except to prove you’re wrong. You’re so young! Sell the damn house and live in freedom.

    10. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      I’m inclined to say yes, end this: you’ve told him you’re unhappy about something, and he doesn’t (or won’t) grasp it, and therefore thinks it shouldn’t matter. You don’t have to understand why something would bother another person, to understand that it does.

    11. Dan*

      Ok… so IMHO, I don’t think the sharing-the-boxers-thing is all that big of a deal. But that’s not what this is about.

      What this is about is that this relationship isn’t working for you, and you’re not happy.

      I got divorced five years ago. At the time, I was known to say, “I’m glad she did some really crazy stuff, it was a good excuse to call it quits and file for divorce. If things didn’t get quite so bad, I would have stuck it out and been miserable.”

      I was framing it wrong in my mind. If I was miserable and things weren’t going to change, what was I sticking around for?

      The problem with American culture is that we have somehow decided that it is “Relationship Uber Alles” and I don’t quite get it. Not all relationships are good, and yet, we’ve somehow created this thing where a bad relationship is better than none at all. Why?

      My rant aside, you’re not happy. You made a good faith effort to lay out your position and change things. Things aren’t changing. Leave!

      1. Merci Dee*

        Americans are known for their can-do, keep-on-keepin’-on spirit in general, and that ends up working out so strangely in relationships. Especially with the idea that quitting is a moral failure all the time, instead of being a wise and reasoned approach in some situations. Coupled with the fact that you’re not even a “complete” person if you’re not joined at the hip with a significant other, regardless of whether the two of you are suited for each other. Between the fear of failure and being labeled a loser, on top of the irrational need to be paired no matter how bad the situation is, it’s no wonder that people have the same general feelings of “my partner hasn’t gone off the deep end in front of me, so I have to hang around even though I’m thoroughly miserable.”

        1. TemporaryMe*

          +1. I made that mistake. Now, some of my friends say “you were a poster child for why being single is not worse than some marriages…”

    12. KR*

      Honestly this relationship doesn’t sound worth it. It would be so easy for him to say, “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings. I didn’t see the big deal but I also didn’t think about how you would feel about it. I will tell you if she comes over next time and not lend her my boxers.” But he’s not and that’s the point. He refuses to admit he’s wrong even when he can plainly see it’s causing you emotional turmoil and it will not get better. He doesn’t respect your feelings.

      Also like… His boxers?! I get they were probably clean but he doesn’t have any gym shorts or PJ pants to lend her? Or even call you up really quick and ask if she can borrow a pair of your PJ pants? Yuck I would not want to wear my guy friends boxers.

    13. sum of two normal distributions*

      You can call those 5 years a sunk cost, experience, a ‘this is what I refuse to go through again,’ a relationship you’ve outgrown but I would seriously consider how much more time you want to spend with this person. Is this just another rough patch? How many of those rough patches do you want to deal with going forward? Are the middle patches of ‘peace’ worth it to you? Are there real solutions in the future or is this his character? If you can, I would go stay with someone else, out of this shared space you have with him that might remind you of your anger or make you sentimental. Then I would suggest taking a whole day for YOU – pamper yourself how you know how and then with a clearer head, make a simple pro/con list. You can love someone but not be good with them so I would keep it objective.

      However, I am confused by “Also not okay with anyone but me wearing his boxers.” So you are okay with her staying over if he had told you but in that case, would the boxers have been another issue? There are a lot of reasons to get out of this relationship; mainly, you have set up a dynamic where you ‘put up’ with stuff and don’t hold him accountable until it festers and explodes into him doing something outrageous wherein he gets to villainizing you as being dramatic when you reasonably protest. That’s why you are clinging to terms like “I am not the jealous type” (that boxer statement, imo, makes me feel otherwise; it may not be jealously but it’s a lack of trust, which is the root of jealousy) and “I am low drama” (low drama =/= letting everything fly) – you have to stick up for yourself and take control of the narrative of your relationship, which he controls at the moment.

      1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        A relationship can end and still have been worth having: a friend of mine once described his time with an ex as “we had five good years, and two bad ones.” He might in retrospect wish that they’d had five good years and only a few bad months, but he didn’t regret having been with that person.

        1. sum of two normal distributions*

          That’s a really lovely way to look at it actually. Maybe ‘sunk cost’ is a bad word to use but I was trying express to OP that being with someone for 5 years doesn’t mean you have to keep trying, even for another 5 months. The amount of times I have seen “we’ve been together for x years” being used to justify a situation where no one is happy is upsetting. There is a case to make for familiarity and years together but ultimately being paired off shouldn’t trump personal happiness and satisfaction.

          I agree – I don’t think regretting a relationship is ever a good position to take. You learn something and grow and barring any overt abuse, were probably quite happy at some phase in the relationship. These are all things to be grateful for.

      2. Traffic_Spiral*

        However, I am confused by “Also not okay with anyone but me wearing his boxers.” So you are okay with her staying over if he had told you but in that case, would the boxers have been another issue?

        Well… yeah, probably? Guests are one thing, but if your wife or husband gives someone else a pair of their underwear, that’s the sort of thing that raises questions. Do you think he’d have been as fine if she gave some guy her panties?

        1. sum of two normal distributions*

          I read it as he gave the flirty friend boxers as pajama shorts since it’s summertime/hot (he could have given her OP’s clothes but personally, that would be a line for me). Woman’s panties usually cannot double as men’s bottoms like men’s boxers can double as women’s shorts.

          It seemed inconsequential in the grand scheme of things – she still stayed over (so whatever happened, happened – boxers or no boxers) and he still didn’t tell her (even if nothing happened).

    14. NoLongerYoung*

      I may have missed this perspective here… and I admit (see the end) that I am viewing this from the lens of personal experience…
      But consider this possibility (only you know if your guy is like this):

      If you are carrying all the emotional water in this relationship (and in living together common law for 5 years, over half of it you’ve struggled if you have had 2.5 years since counseling…you’ve been the one doing the work so far)…

      it may be that he is somehow trying to make YOU leave. In other words, he may be so passive or in denial/ avoiding his feelings, that he doesn’t want to actually end it himself… so he’s trying to have you do it.

      Now, he’s not only starving the relationship with a thousand little cuts of neglect…. he’s added concealing, and the flirty one. Why? Not only is he no longer working on the relationship… it may be that he is over you, but not even willing to say so. So he sets it up that “you” are the one that breaks it off. Problem solved. He moves on, blames you, does no work.

      I could have it all wrong… but I lived it (where I was manipulated into doing all the decisions and taking all the blame).

    15. The Rat-Catcher*

      I’m almost 30, husband is 35. This is super over the line for me. Staying at random friend’s houses and even borrowing clothes might have been par for the course when I was 20 (although even then I’d wear my own underwear, goodness), but not now and definitely not with someone in a committed LTR. Also “but nothing haaaaaappened” is a red flag, whether it’s true or not.

  22. Seeking Second Childhood*

    Gardening thread! We visited the regional market today and I got a little over ambitious because one of the local nurseries had a “last spring market season” sale…

    1. Reba*

      What did you get????

      I’m patio gardening: passionflower vine is going gangbusters and the little ferns for the walls pots (shade) seem happy.

      We have several baobabs growing from seed, and I think they are happy to get to live outside for now!

      1. SpellingBee*

        Oh yes . . . I am SO bad about this! For the first time ever, though, I have a large enough space (we’re on an acre of land) that I have enough space to put those “oh so pretty don’t know where it will go but have to have one” purchases. TBH, though, I’ve always done it.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        BAOBABS!? I’m having all sorts of Little Prince images now. How do they do in pots?

    2. PX*

      Late last summer I spontaneously threw some tomato seeds (from actual tomatoes I had bought, so not seeds specifically for growing) in a pot and to my surprise, they sprouted and survived growing all winter in my pretty dark flat. Now its summer and I’ve been putting them put to get sun and while they are quite tall, I’m sad they don’t seem to be flowering at all. I’d love to get some actual tomatoes! I give them plant food every few weeks and water almost every day, mainly by gauging if the soil is dry/leaves are droopy.

      In contrast, the pepper seeds I also spontaneously threw in pots have flowered and have some adorable peppers growing.

      This is all patio gardening, in the UK. Tips?

      1. Phlox*

        The tomatoes might be indeterminate and want to constantly grow and spend less energy on fruiting. Might be worth looking into

      2. Venus*

        Pinch out the new growth so they stop with the leaves and start with flowers. Remove any new small growth near the base of the stem.

        There might be more (fertilizer? Different light?) – I’m no tomato expert but I was given that advice years ago.

    3. Venus*

      I just ate a bunch of raspberries straight from the garden, collected some garlic snapes (the buds at the top can be used instead of garlic in recipes), and ‘played with’ my tomato flowers (apparently to promote fertilization one should vibrate them a bit (I know of someone who uses an electric toothbrush) so I just give them a quick touch in the hope that it helps.

      My milkweed are growing and bblooming like mad (saw two monarchs yesterday!), the orange lilies and some yellow flowers are blooming, and my clematis is growing well.

      Oh, and the asparagus (perennial) is a fluffy plant so it doesn’t cast much shade, so I planted it throughout my garden and it looks like it has taken over! Other things are growing with it, but you can barely see them (the roses and catnip are mostly hidden). So it’s a sea of orange, yellow, and asparagus fronds (each are in different spots). The potatoes have surprised me by growing, although I may need more dirt for them in order to optimize their numbers.

      1. HannahS*

        Yes, the tomatoes! My tomato blossoms were shriveling up and dying without producing tomatoes, so I started giving the stakes they’re attached to a firm shake whenever I water them, and it made all the difference! My garden is a balcony garden, so there isn’t much of a breeze, because it’s north-facing and shielded on three sides.

        1. Venus*

          All my flowers are attracting little local bees (mason bees) so I probably don’t need to give them a ‘buzz’, but it’s easy to do!

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I got interrupted as I was writing that, and I am about to get interrupted again. It’s just been that kind of a day!
      We got a flat of 8 basils, 2 sages, enough dill to fill a large planter, 5 lilies, and a peppermint (my daughter’s request).
      This is loopy because I still have not prepped places for everything — and the weather hasn’t cooperated. Although we did get the surprise volunteer tomato transplanted out of the geranium/dahlia pot, and finally got the zinnias in.
      The darned deer ate my blackcap raspberries down 8 inches just as they were ripening. Thorns, stems, berries, and all.
      But we’ve been having cherry tomatoes by the handful…my daughter even snuck a few into Endgame this morning.

    5. Jen Erik*

      One of our trees fell over this week. Was a thirty to forty year old weeping beech, very pretty, so that was a bit sad. I’m growing dahlias for the first time this year: so far, I’m not convinced – they’re nice, but I’m not sure if they’re reward enough for all the faffing about they entail. (But maybe I chose the wrong ones.) And some of the kale is not happy – the red ones are fine, but about three of the green ones just keep falling over. I’m wondering if it’s cabbage root fly?
      Apart from that, we did the annual trimming back of the Virginia Creeper yesterday, so everything is looking nicely tidy, and we can see out of all the windows!

    6. Grace*

      As a spur of the moment thing a few months ago, my housemates and I – despite the garden being the landlord’s responsibility under the lease, and despite none of us being particularly green-fingered – decided to take over the strip of dirt at the front of the house, in-between the wall and the metre of paving. Just picture your standard late-nineteenth/early-twentieth British terrace and you have it.

      Five perennials for £10 was a pretty good deal. The two aubretias died rapidly – it was a little bizarre given that they’re rockery plants and you would have thought they’d be well-suited to the terrain, and we did stick to the planting guidelines – but the iberis and dianthus are chugging along, and the wallflower is flourishing. We might buy more this year and plant along the length. The pack of wildflower seeds that were rather carelessly scattered have produced an as-yet-unknown climber that will need to be trained over the wall. We all know that future tenants will likely fail to care for them and will let them run wild, but at least they’ll look pretty while doing it, as opposed to the scrubby moss-covered patch of ground that greeted us…

  23. BeanCat*

    Bwuh. I’m trying to handle my stress better, but I woke up completely at 3 am and was on and off the rest of the night. We had tentative plans to drive an hour and a half north for a friend’s family party today, but combined with little sleep and my endo aches recently I’m not sure I’ll go. Can I give myself permission to stay in and get better?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      In my mind it’s not optional. You absolutely need to rest, no discussion necessary.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      *flutter flutter flutter*
      You absolutely have permission to stay home because you are not feeling well.
      *flutter flutter flutter*

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Happy to help! A post like yours, with someone expressly wanting an adulting fairy to okay a decision, was where my tag line came from :) I hope you feel better soon!

    3. BeanCat*

      Update: staying in helped a bit! I’m still not 100% this morning, but my friend ended up canceling our other social obligation. So another day of rest!

    4. Observer*

      Can I give myself permission to stay in and get better?>/i>

      This here is part of your problem. You NEVER need “permission” to take care of yourself!

      Now, I’ll grant that sometimes life gets in the way and it’s not possible or practical to take care of yourself in the optimal way. But if that happens more than rarely you should be looking at what changes you can make so that you can take care of yourself. And even in those cases, it’s not a matter of permission but logistics.

      1. BeanCat*

        It is definitely something I’m working on! I stretch myself too thin a lot and need to learn to say no. That’s, I think, the big change I need to make. Thank you for giving me things to think about!

  24. Central Perk*

    TLDR, is there anything I can do or say to a friend who has a great pattern of staying in lousy relationships because she’s happier being in a couple than being alone

    I’ve been friends with Rachel for ten years now, since we were in college. When we were at school together, myself and other friends noticed that she had a pattern of dating not so great guys. To be clear, not that they were abusive, physically or emotionally, just that they were party boys who never seemed attentive or caring towards Rachel. She’d make comments about her boyfriend at the time being distant and wanting to drink and smoke more than spend time with her. They didn’t seem to make her happy but she was reluctant to break-up. When they did part ways, she was quick to find a new guy with a very similar disposition to the last.

    After college, she seemed to break this pattern and, for at least four years now, has been dating Ross. He’s a major step up from her past boyfriends: kind, publicly affectionate, gels with our friend group, all around seems really great for her. They’ve been living together for a year or two. Lately though, Rachel has been sharing more details about Ross and how she’s unhappy with him: he smokes weed which she knew before but he’s increased his smoking and is pressuring her to smoke with him, he doesn’t want to go out to friend gatherings anymore (he’s been invited to our gatherings but I haven’t seen him at one for two months), she wants to get married but he doesn’t think marriage is important as long as they’re together, and some other things.

    But most distressing about all this is that, when Rachel was sharing with me her frustrations about Ross, she mentioned she’s recently met a guy who she has a passing interest in and said that, if things suddenly fall through with Ross, she could have this guy as a back-up. Rachel has outright told me that she is happier when she is in a relationship and she doesn’t like to be alone. That’s why she had a long string of crappy boyfriends in college because as soon as one ended, she’d be really quick to find another. I thought she had broken the pattern after college and being with a ‘better’ guy so I was really alarmed when, in the same conversation that she’s telling me about her and Ross going to couples counseling, she also said she considers this new guy an immediate option if things with Ross fall through. I have tried in passing to make comments about a relationship not being the end all, be all thing but she insists she’s happier if she’s with someone. For a little armchair diagnosis, Rachel has a physical disability that she considers ugly so I think being in a relationship for her boosts her self-confidence because she has a partner who loves her despite it.

    Anyway, I’m just worried about her pattern starting up again; is there anything I can do to help her see that there is more to life than having to stay in a romantic relationship just to say you’re part of a couple?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      It’s probably something she needs to explore in counseling.
      However, for some people a bad plan is better than no plan. You could ask her how much longer she plans on using this bad plan. But I would frame it as “this plan that is not working for you.”

      Sometimes the answer is to just love our friends as they are. Clearly this is a person who thinks they are not lovable. This may be happening for more than one reason, not just the disability. You probably won’t be able to unpack that. But you can encourage her that if she looks for something better she probably will find it. And you can encourage her that she does deserve better.

      1. Central Perk*

        Oh yes I certainly don’t think I can solve all her problems and I don’t mean to pin everything on her disability. I lavish her with love as much as I can, let her know she’s one of my dearest friends, I just wish she could see that she’s loved as she is, not because she’s in a relationship.

        1. Reba*

          I think it’s possible to lovingly say, “can I tell you something I’m observing about you? You seem to have this pattern…(describe) I’m not judging you and no, I don’t have all the answers. I just wanted to say this in case it’s helpful to you because I love you!”
          But only once, I think. You sound like a kind friend!

          1. valentine*

            Maybe Captain Awkward’s original Darth Vader* boyfriend letter would help?
            She’s getting something out of sticking to the one brand, especially with the marijuana feature. Because you can’t replace that, I don’t know that you can help her find a different path, but a therapist can.

            *In German dub/subs, is he Darth Dada, to cancel the spoiler?

            1. Myrin*

              Re: your asterisk, no, he isn’t, because 1. it’s “Vater” and 2. it’s still pronunced the English way and no one would ever connect the two words (in fact, I sat here for close to a minute trying to figure out what you meant ;) ).

    2. HannahS*

      Having been in kind of a similar situation: tell her that you’re concerned about the way he treats her. Validate the negative things she says about the guys. Encourage her to get her own therapist, outside of couples counseling. If you’re single, talk about the nice parts of being single–keeping your own schedule, not considering anyone else’s preferences, traveling alone, etc. If you’re coupled, talk about the things that go well in your relationship (not in a rub-it-in way, in a “we had a conflict and here’s how we solved it” way). Keep your friendship from her independent from the guys she’s with. A person’s deeply-held insecurities can definitely influence why they stay in bad situations, and it did in my friend’s case, but that’s not something a friend can solve; it’s really a therapy thing.

    3. Dan*

      I have to be honest, I really don’t think this is your place, and that you ought to let Rachel make her own decisions. From what you describe, Rachel’s “boyfriends” aren’t all that serious, and seem more like casual things. Her college choices? That seems more like college fun and less like a “serious” relationship. And there’s nothing wrong with that — college is the time for non-serious fun and games.

      And I’m having trouble with your benchmarks for what initially made Ross a good guy: Public affection and gelling with the friend group. Those seem like things that are important to *you* in a relationship (and that’s ok!). But guys can be not publically affectionate, and TBH not gel with the SO’s friend group, and that doesn’t make them bad guys.

      The reality is, if Rachel’s always got backup plans ready at a moment’s notice, there’s no way she can be psychologically commuted to the current relationship. She seems really into casual relationships, so if that’s her jam, just let her be. You don’t say that she lives with her SO-du-jour, nor do you say she has kids. Assuming both are true, all-in-all, it’s her life to live, even if it’s not the ideal for many of us.

    4. Wishing You Well*

      This pattern works for Rachel and she’s aware of what and why she’s doing it.
      Encourage Rachel to see a counselor. You’re too close to be neutral in your advice.
      Accept that Rachel will probably never change and test your feelings about that. Consider setting boundaries for how long and how often you listen to her relationship woes. Do you want to keep doing this?
      The only one you can change is you.

    5. Kuododi*

      No, regrettably the only person you can change is yourself. It’s truly important to know for yourself where your boundaries are when trying to support a friend in this type of situation. (ie- are you willing to provide assistance with “A” but not “B”). Otherwise, there is a genuine risk of burning yourself out and negatively affecting the overall quality of your relationship. Best wishes.

      p.s. I get your good intentions in bringing up your friends disability as a possible source of the problem. Over time, I have learned attributing a distressing behavior concern to one overarching issue leads to a major oversimplification of the predicament. Human beings rarely function on a level of “problem A is the cause of problem B.” We tend to be much more a sum of all our life experiences both positive and negative. I wish you both nothing but the best life can bring.

  25. Is it the city or me*

    Having a tiny life crisis here, please help! I moved to a new city about 9 months ago. I moved to be with my partner who is now in their 2nd year of their PhD program. I’m an army brat, so I’m used to moving. Before this, I lived in Baltimore for two-ish years and loved it. Was really sad to leave, but excited to move out west as I had never been there before and most excited to live with my partner.

    Well, now I hate it here. I cry at least once a month in a “why was I so dumb to move here?” mess. I don’t like the city I live in (it’s a small college town.) I HATE my job, which makes it harder. I travel a lot for my job, so I often don’t have the energy when I come back to really plug into the city. However! I cannot say I haven’t tried.

    In 9 months here, I have:
    -found a therapist to cope (miss my old therapist, but I miss everything about my old city)
    -joined volunteer groups and have become active there
    -tried numerous activities that interest me here like arts, roller derby, started fostering dogs (this has helped me cope!!) etc.
    -made many different acquaintances that border on friendship, but still need more time to click (probably? I just haven’t clicked with many people here yet.)
    -tried new things that are big here, like biking and hiking and anything outdoors

    And nothing. I still don’t feel a sense of community here like I did in Baltimore. Maybe it was dumb luck, but in a year there I felt settled and at home. I found friends that I connected well with, and it was easy to find so many things to do because it was a big city. I know I definitely had times of loneliness there, but I didn’t feel this glum. I feel like I’m a bad match for this city.

    My biggest hang up is that I live in a smaller town where I feel so Other. There are not many POC in this smaller west town. If they are, they’re at the university, but since I don’t work there, it’s harder to plug in (definitely trying.) I feel really alone because it was just so easy to find diversity in Baltimore. It also is much more conservative in this town than I thought. I didn’t expect to see so many MAGA related things in this city!

    I spoke to my partner and I have been applying for jobs in a big city south of us, where there is more diversity and more things to do. I get sad when I see an event that would be right up my alley, but its a commute and I think what’s the point, who wants to be friends with someone 1.5 hours away from them. Part of me REALLY wants to move there, or move back to the east coast. My partner is sympathetic and has said they would master out early in order for us to move, but I know they don’t want to do that deep down, and I don’t want them to either.

    What should I do? I heard you should give a city at least a year before you can feel like it’s the city for you, but I’m creeping up there and I can’t shake the feeling of “I want to go home.” Two friends I made up here who I dearly like are moving back to DC because they don’t like it out west either. I want to be packed in their luggage :(

    Complicating factor, my partner and I live together and we love that. If I moved before their PhD was finished, we would either be in different in-state cities or cross country again. I don’t love being long distance (how do you even split all the stuff we bought jointly?) but I also don’t feel good here, in my job and in this city. And I feel like it’s affecting our relationship and my own self esteem because I’m beating myself up for making this decision. (My therapist says I made a calculated risk and maybe it didn’t calculate in my favor, but still. Maybe I’m just dumb. Or a failure. Or both!)

    At the very least, we both agreed we would move away from the west and back east in 4-5 years when they are graduated. So that’s a small comfort.

    What do you guys think? How much time should I give this new city? What am I not doing that I can’t feel like I’m not fitting in? I don’t want to spend the rest of my 20s stupidly bitter about this. Would it be worth it to go long distance so I could be happier in a bigger city?

    Also, Alison I’m so sorry about your kitty!!

    1. infopubs*

      I am also an Army brat, and have lived in dozens of places. I honestly think I can live happily almost everywhere, but there are exceptions. I hated Houston, for instance. I think you should listen to your gut and go back to Baltimore. It’s not fair to your partner to know that their short term, but important goal, is making you miserable. You can’t be at your best as a partner if you’re miserable. The feeling of “other” is a true misery! A long distance relationship where both people are HAPPY can survive. The logistics of splitting up your stuff are something you’ve seen before in your various moves. It will be over quickly. And a few years’ separation will also pass more quickly if you are happy. A few years of deep misery will seem like a lifetime, and could actually cause you and your relationship real harm. Go. Love can survive miles easier than misery.

      1. valentine*

        Move back to Baltimore. It’s home now and it’s more than okay for that to be a pillar and part of the foundation of your life choices. Move back and see if you’re instantly relieved and at peace, if it’s like putting on that first fall sweater. I think yes, because you not only made friends with people who are moving back to the Best Coast, but you want to go with them! (If it’s not too late, make it happen. It’s a great story.)

        The worst that can happen is that you’re over Baltimore or you were idealizing it, and that’s still a net gain because it’s vital information that will stop the pining and help you plan your next step.

    2. Dr. Anonymous*

      This is a hard one. I lived in a similar town in northwest Georgia for a few years and it took me two years to find my people even working at one of the three tiny colleges. And we definitely made regular weekend treks to Nearby City, distance be damned. I ended up taking a new job out of state to get my spouse out of there and it was the best thing I ever did for either of us. (I was much happier and my spouse discovered he could be unhappy anywhere!) I’d say give it another year if you can, get your partner to pitch in hard to introduce you to every university person they know, and then make a decision. If they’re putting mastering out on the table, don’t take it off yet. You may or may not be able to stay.

    3. WellRed*

      I’m curious as to what percentage your job is contributing to your unhappiness. I know when I dislike work it overshadows so much else in my life. Where is your partner in all this? Do they like current city? Do they do things with you? (I have no idea what getting a PHd entails, timewuse).

      1. Is it the city or me*

        I’m not sure what percentage, but I would definitely have to say it’s a good chunk of my unhappiness. When I think back to my Baltimore job, it wasn’t my favorite, but I loved my coworkers and it connected me to people around the city. This job is just the opposite. I think if I found a better job, it would definitely help, but I’m not sure it would make me want to stay. It would make me less miserable I believe!

        Partner doesn’t like our city either, and if it wasn’t for wanting to get this PhD, we would be moving sooner than later. We do things together, but not all. I’m more social than they are, so often I’m introducing them to my acquaintances.

        1. Daniela*

          I had similar thoughts. If your job is a major factor with your unhappiness, try changing that first. It may change how you feel. And 9 months isn’t terribly long. Give yourself a deadline (“if things aren’t better by March 1st” or whatever) and permission to move after that. But in the meantime, really try to integrate into your smaller town?

    4. Madge*

      I don’t think -you’re- a failure, but it’s entirely possible that your experiment of living in the West has failed. And that’s ok. Good even. Now you know.

      There are some areas where it takes longer to get to know people. They just seem to have this extra layer of reserve and it takes them longer to let new people in. This can be more noticeable in a small town or where people tend not to move away or move there. I’m in one such area in the East and it honestly took me years to actually like the place and feel like I had friends. And even after 10 years, I don’t have the close friendships I had in my previous location. I visit my hometown often and work hard to keep those friendships going because I don’t have anything comparable here. I also think that you can just not fit with an area’s population for any number of reasons. And some areas are great for certain groups, like families with school aged kids, and terrible for other groups like young singles or seniors. And if you don’t fit in with your demographic, say most people your age are married with children, then it can be extra hard. (Now that I think about it, all those friendships I protect were made when we all were single.) If you can analyze the reasons why you feel like you don’t fit then you might have an easier time finding your people.

      So this could be a complete bad fit that nothing will fix, or maybe a poor fit that just needs a few alterations. You could try changing jobs, that could be the cause of a lot of your unhappiness. I know options are limited in a small town, but look around and see what’s available. You’re doing all the right things; therapy, volunteering, etc. The key to all this is to keep showing up and mixing things up. But it’s ok to just be done and need to move.

    5. Dan*

      I think you’ve given New City a go long enough to get a feel for it. It’s hard to say where the line is, but three seasons is probably enough.

      But here’s the problem I have with the overall relationship: It seems that your big-picture plan is premised on what I will refer to as a “geography trade”. I see this a lot in relationships, and it seems to be a regular cause for consternation at some point. People can’t agree on where to live, so one sacrifices first for the other, with the expectation (and sometimes explicit agreement) that they both will geographically relocate at some point (predetermined or otherwise). And then… later on when it comes time for the other person to pay up down the road, the other person doesn’t want to. Roots are established, the job is going well, etc. Partner who benefited from the initial sacrifice is happy and doesn’t want to change it. Partner who made the sacrifice is unhappy, and wants their original agreement to be adhered to. Feet dragging ensues. Partner B says things to placate Partner A, but in reality just drags things out until Partner A hits a breaking point.

      In your case, things are worse. You’re in a relationship with a PhD candidate. If your SO is on the academic track, your partner has very little control over their professional destiny. They go where the very few (if any) jobs are. They don’t know when they will get one, and they don’t know where. They can promise you all kinds of things now, but you CANNOT count on it. It doesn’t make them liars, but their academic professional destiny is mostly out of their hands. OTOH, if they go alt-ac, things can be a bit better. But even then, PhD jobs don’t grow on trees, so you kinda have to go where the jobs are. (That said, there are *lots* of jobs in DC.)

      So… you don’t have easy choices here. It’s going to be hard, and it’s only something you can decide for yourself. You really do need to do what makes you happy — as others have pointed out, you being miserable for the long term doesn’t do you, your partner, or your relationship any favors.

      1. Is it the city or me*

        Phew, I hadn’t thought about that geography trade, but it’s cropping up in more of my friends relationships now that people move for jobs. Ughhhhh this is a difficult decision. Thank goodness, my partner has said they don’t want to go into academia but industry, so I’m hoping this will open up options career wise after they graduate!

      2. Amy*

        I’m struggling with the “geography trade” right now. OP, I saw myself in your letter so much. I moved to the West Coast with my partner right after college since he got into grad school here and I was on a career path where I could find work just about anywhere. I immediately didn’t like it out here. I missed the East Coast and my friends and family. We agreed that our goal was for him to finish grad school, then we would move back East soon after.

        Now, nearly ten years later, we’re still here. I still don’t like it (I’ve tried, I promise) and I still want to move back East, but it’s becoming less and less likely over time. My partner has been very successful in his field but that success is tied to the fact that his network and area of expertise are located here. Plus, he loves the West and always wanted to end up here anyway, so he has no motivation to move besides my unhappiness. If I had known when I first agreed to move here that we would end up stuck here for a decade (and possibly forever) I might have made different decisions, or at least pushed a lot harder against moving in the beginning.

        I’m sorry this isn’t very helpful or encouraging. Just know that the “geography trade” issue Dan talks about is real, and it sucks.

    6. Emily*

      I don’t know if I have any great advice, but I just wanted to say I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’ve lived in places like that – where I just felt so utterly miserable that I spent everyday fantasizing about what it would be like to live somewhere else. I know it’s hard, but I definitely wouldn’t beat yourself up for this decision. You tried something new and totally different, and it turned out to be really hard! It’s okay that it’s hard. You’re not dumb or a failure.

      I’ve moved a lot for school and work, and one thing that helped me adapt to new places was remembering a concept in psychology about familiarity. Something like the familiarity principle or mere-exposure effect. The idea is that the more familiar something is to you, the more you like it. So I would remind myself when I got somewhere new that it was okay if I didn’t feel a connection right away – with time, even if all that changed was that I had spent more time there, I would start to like it more (maybe a a loose interpretation of the principle, but it helped me).

      It sounds like you’re doing all the right stuff (volunteering, therapy, trying new things, making friends). The travel-for-work thing makes it hard. And it definitely doesn’t help that you hate your job. Is there any option at all to change the job part? Even something like doing a Master’s or something while your partner finishes their PhD?

      Some things that helped me adjust when I moved around (don’t know what might be options for you, just throwing it out there):
      – Read/watch local or regional news regularly so you’re familiar with things like the town’s history, who is running for office, major infrastructure projects, sports teams, etc.
      – Try to go to the same places on a regular schedule. Even things like – find a nail salon you like and go on the same day every 2 weeks. Find a coffee shop and go there every Sunday morning. Go to yoga classes with the same teacher. Things that create routine and familiarity (as much as you can with traveling for work).
      – Writing/journaling. Getting the feelings out and taking a step back to process things.
      – Setting small goals outside of work to give you something else to focus on (training for a race, reading x number of books a month, starting an Instagram about the dogs you foster, trying to generate as little trash as possible, etc.)

      I hope you start feeling better about where you live soon!

    7. Ainomiaka*

      Even if you move away you have a natural point of to go back together-yes distance sucks, but it would end. I also want to expand on the comment that a negative experiment result is not a failure-I am a scientist and a huge part of experiments is making sure you define a null hypothesis and null result and making sure that you get that when warranted. Every set of data I produce has to show that both expected positive and expected negative happens before any new data is considered valid.
      So really my advice is that moving for a few years of grad school is super super common and not a failure.

    8. Ree*

      I’ve lived in the Kansas City area for four years(having moved from Southern California to north central Kansas and then to KC) and I would say….I really don’t like it.
      In fact, since we moved from CA(eight years ago) I haven’t made any friends. Acquaintances but not friends. No one I can call and grab lunch with or go shopping or anything. I’ve always felt very out of place and my husband does as well. He liked KC when we first moved her but is now to the point I am of: Its run it’s course, where to next?

      I think it’s fine to live somewhere you don’t like because of the advantages of that area. For you, that’s being with your partner.
      And, you’re used to liking where you live so to NOT like where you live is probably jarring, right?
      We try to look at our choice to live in the Midwest as a necessity and that it’s ok that we don’t like it here because we have each other and a plan for the future to go where we DO want to be and living here is making that plan a possibility.
      What I’m trying to say is: this sounds temporary, can you reframe your thinking from “Ugh, this place, I don’t fit in” to: “This is where my partner needs to be to get their career on the path they want, so that our lives in two, three, whatever years are where we want them to be. This is a temporary place and that’s ok. We have each other.”
      And if you ultimately decide you just can’t deal, that’s ok too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried about WHY DO WE HAVE TO BE IN THIS PLACE WE DON’T LIKE?! Because we’re adults and sometimes we just have to do stuff that does t fit for the short term. That’s what I tell myself at least :)

      1. Not My Kind of Town*

        I’ll be moving back to the KC area soon. I’m dreading it because I already know I don’t fit in, so I know what you mean. But after reading this post I’m imagining starting a “I don’t fit in here” meetup group.

        1. Miss Astoria Platenclear*

          A Meetup is a good idea – it could include natives who never quite felt like they fit in.

    9. StrikingFalcon*

      You’re not dumb or a failure. Not every place is for everyone!

      I think I’d give the new place about a year. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to start to look for other options. PhD’s can take a really ambiguous amount of time so it’s hard to know what the end date will even be.

      My partner and I lived an 1.5 hour drive from each other and spent weekends together for a few years. It was doable but not ideal. A lot more doable than being across the country from each other, though, which we also did for a shorter time. YMMV, of course.

      Your partner could also try applying for PhD programs elsewhere. Obviously the ease of this varies by field, but they don’t necessarily have to give up on getting a PhD to move. At least in my field it’s considered an advantage to have a masters and a PhD from two different universities because you get a broader exposure to different theory and methods.

    10. Policy wonk*

      Can you take a class at the University? Might not be possible given your work travel, but it would give you an entre into that community apart from being an SO.

    11. Overeducated*

      I don’t know what you should do, you’re in a tough situation and you’re doing all the “right” things so far, but just wanted to say that I think some places are not great fits for some people. You can do all you can to adjust and still…just not really want to be there. That’s not crazy. How long you can commit to sticking it out, and whether you can get back where you want post-PhD if you stay, are different questions, but your feelings aren’t wrong.

    12. That Girl From Quinn's House*

      Honestly? I think you need to give it more time. I’m trailing spouse too, and it takes *years* to settle in. We had a hugely rough adjustment when we moved to California because everyone was so provincial, selfish, and hostile to newcomers. You said you’re in the West, so maybe that is in play.

    13. Is it the city or me*

      Thank you everyone for your responses. I really appreciate stories of others who have or are going through the same thing, and the kind reminders that I’m not a failure for not loving or fitting into this city just yet. I’ve got a lot to think about, and I will continue to look for a new job, hoping that will at least help. I’m traveling for work right now so I haven’t been able to respond to each comment, but I appreciate all of them!

    14. NicoleK*

      You hate the city you live in. And you hate your job. Those are two huge things. Sure, you can get a different job, but you’re still stuck in a place where you feel you don’t fit in. Nine months is enough time to know that something isn’t working for you.

      Your feelings of feeling so OTHER really resonated with me. As a POC, I’m not sure I’d ever feel like I belong in a city that has little diversity. Especially in the current political climate.

    15. Jack Russell Terrier*

      Can you skype with your old therapist? I think it would really be helpful to discuss this with a therapist you like and with whom you have a relationship. My friend’s long-term therapist moved back to Israel and she’s delighted with their Skype-therapy. Her take is that it works well when you already have a good, long-term relationship.

    16. Reliquary*

      I’m in academia. The “geography trade” is so real. I actually delimited my potential relationship partners to folks who had portable jobs.
      What I learned over the last 20 years is that despite all the “bloom where you’re planted” encouragement, when you make serious geographic sacrifices that make you unhappy (especially if these sacrifices require compromises to your identity, and going without the things you most treasure), you are not going to be able to create a fulfilling life for yourself.
      After many years of sacrifice and compromise for my career, I finally got a job in a place I love. It is not even near my region of origin, but it has all the amenities it takes to make me happy. But in the meantime, during all those years of trying to move to a better place, I lost my ability to live near my aging parents. I was not able to be near them when they needed me most. There’s no getting that back.

  26. Rebecca*

    Sorry this is so long. Lots of background leading us up to Mom being in a rehab facility as of last evening.

    My 83 1/2 year old Mom fell and broke her wrist on July 3 while trying to change her clothes, after spending part of the morning pulling weeds and puttering around the yard. I took her for a follow up Xray on July 5 and July 9, and the bones were where they should be, and at that time, no surgery was needed. Luckily I took vacation time for the first week of July, so I was with her 24/7 until Monday the 8th.

    But. The cast is heavy and awkward, Mom is very small, 5’2″ and about 120 lbs. And she urinates very frequently due to the bladder issue she didn’t address years ago. There are also bowel issues, again, some sort of surgery was done to put things back into place, it failed years ago, so now she has rounds of constipation, loose bowels, and fecal urgency, and she didn’t address it over the years. Then there’s the hole in her right ear drum, again, she had the first 50/50 chance surgery, it failed, and she never went back to have the more extensive surgery to fix it. That means when bathing or showering, there’s a whole routine of putting a gizmo in her ear, covering it with a cup, etc. so not one drop of water can get it. Then let’s add the gall bladder problems, that she controls with diet, again, she was told it should come out years ago, she refused, so thus the ultra low fat tasteless weird diet. I’m listing all of this for a reason.

    So I went back to work on Monday, with ladies from the church coming at lunch time to fix lunch, do dishes and sit with Mom a bit, as she has all her faculties and can eat with one hand, she just can’t fix anything. And, she can go to the bathroom alone, she’s left handed, right arm is in the cast, and I found elastic waist pull on pants, so we were OK there as long as she makes it in time, and then, extra laundry, but doable.

    And here is the first big problem – her constantly getting up at night for bathroom trips. I work during the day, and was up literally every 45 minutes, hour, etc. getting at most maybe an hour and a half of solid sleep at a time, because she’s so unsteady on her feet she needed help in the night getting to the bathroom and back to the lift chair. Then we had to get a pill, or a drink, or something, she was awake, lather rinse and repeat. While I was on vacation, I could take a nap here and there, but my employer frowns on that. I was so exhausted by Tuesday evening I napped in the evening with her parked in the chair. I told her we needed more help, and she was snippy with me, and said “I’m the one who can’t sleep at night”, and I reminded her that I have to drive back and forth to work, stay awake and alert, do things, etc. and she cat naps all day long in the chair. Then I got the “well, I’m sorry I’m such a bother” routine, and I said Mom, I’m trying to help you, but I need sleep too, it wouldn’t be bad if you got up 2x per night, but this is more like 6 or 7. “Well, I haven’t just gotten up 2x in over 20 years”. And there you have it.

    So, overnight that night, after she had been up 2 or 3x since 10 PM, I heard a scream and a thud, ran to the living room from the front bedroom, not more than 10 feet away, and she was on the floor, cane nowhere to be found, so I picked her up, she seemed fine, insisted all was OK, she was just disoriented in the night, so not much sleep for either of us into Wednesday. I parked her in the chair on Wednesday, church lady came early and stayed longer, and she slept better on Wednesday night. I got at least 4 hours straight sleep.

    Thursday after work I was starting supper, and she was in the kitchen with me, bare feet, so no socks or shoes to trip with, about 6 feet away standing with her cane, and all at once her feet started to shuffle, she waved the arm with the cane, and pitched over backward, hit her head on the table, and the floor with a thud. She said get me up, get me up – I said no, I’m calling 911, you stay still, she fought me on it, but I overrode her.

    EMT’s, ambulance, ER, no new broken bones, she has a knot on the back of her head, and with her osteoporosis it’s a miracle she didn’t break anything else. However, the CT scan shows a pocket of fluid behind the bad ear, and they suspect it’s infected, so that’s probably why she’s been losing her balance and fell 3x in 7 days. They kept her overnight for observation, and I went home and slept like the dead. Friday she was released to a rehab facility, and I took her there, and had to call a friend to help her get into the car, she literally cannot walk now. She’s so terrified of falling, she cries out and yells, it’s really awful, and I hope and pray she can do the rehab because if not, they will send her home. I’m just starting to navigate all this senior care stuff, and it’s a nightmare already.

    So, my mother went from being pretty independent, getting her own groceries, doing laundry, light housework, puttering around in the yard, going to her own doctor’s appointments, etc. to being in a rehab facility unable to walk or do anything for herself in 10 days. I’m truly stunned by this. And, she was fussing already when I left about food choices, “her” fat free greek plain yogurt she MUST HAVE EVERY DAY, etc. I made sure the staff knows she’s a retired RN too, and they always appreciate that, I’ve learned.

    Rehab is 30 miles away, so I’ll visit 2x per week, going today to take more clothes, but this weekend I need to mow (I think the neighbors are going to riot or send goats shortly), do laundry, clean things up in the house, scrub her bathroom, etc. and I’m going to contact the cleaning lady who comes every other week and see if she can help me clean up the endless hard wood floors downstairs. And sleep!! Thursday night and Friday night I slept and slept…but gotta get busy now.

    So please wish me luck with all of this, send prayers if you are so inclined, and good thoughts. Mom should be in rehab for 2-3 weeks, then that heavy cast will come off, to be replaced by a smaller fiberglass cast. That should make things easier, and once that’s off, hopefully she’ll be able to use a walker of some sort for more support.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      So how much more of this are you going to do?
      This is way over the top, I hope you are getting to see it’s way over the top. Based on what you have been saying I am not surprised that her health has plummeted like this. She has been sliding away for a while and draining you in the process. I can “hear” it in your writing.

      They will eventually release her from rehab. Hopefully this will involve an assessment of her needs and involve a home inspection to see if her home is suitable for her. You can tell the rehab people that you cannot take care of her at home anymore. Then they will have to figure out what to do and she will be told what she is doing.

      Her inability to sleep at night does NOT trump your inability to sleep at night. You are her primary care giver. If you continue to go without sleep you will end up in the ER. Ask me how I know this…. sigh….

      Your complaints about lack of rest are valid but her negating your concerns is NOT valid. If you wait for her permission to get additional help or to move her, pigs will fly first. She probably will not give you permission to move her to another place. Ever. She has you and that is her plan.

      She has not been making responsible decisions for a while and you have been showing that in your posts here.

      1. spiralingsnails*

        Normal caregiver fatigue is hard enough, but she’s completely draining you. :( You need to start thinking seriously about how much is too much to give, and where you need to start making the decisions to meet BOTH of your needs… even when she hates them.

    2. Jean (just Jean)*

      O M G … I am sorry for all your troubles and your mom’s understandable terror of falling, yet I also see some “hand of the universe” in the way that circumstances suddenly rearranged themselves. (And I’m trying to apply this to myself: turn down the cookies and get more exercise now to make life better for my twenty-years-older self.)

      Prayers and good thoughts are on the way. It’s good that you are getting sleep and beyond good that you can get some break from your mom’s ongoing super duper negativity. You’ve already proved yourself strong and determined. I’m sure I’m not the only AAM reader trying to follow your example of just keep on keeping on.

      I hope the neighbors _do_ send goats or better yet someone with energy and a functioning lawn mower. After they mow your lawn I hope they have the sense to offer other assistance and follow through!

      1. Llellayena*

        I vote for the goats, they have added entertainment value!

        While she’s in rehab is a great time to see if there’s an assisted living facility she could go into. It might be easier to get her into one when she’s already not living in her own house. (We ran into this with my grandma when she went from hospital to rehab after a fall, she thought she was going home and yelled for hours when she realized she was going to rehab instead)

        1. Christy*

          Yes this!!! It’s so hard to get parents to move into assisted living (or even a retirement community, ask me how I know) so if you can do anything to encourage/force that transition that will be a big help.

        2. tangerineRose*

          Yeah, this is probably going to be the easiest time to make the transition (although I doubt it will be actually easy, sorry).

          1. Kathenus*

            I agree with this. My mom had a lot of health issues. Lived alone, one brother within driving distance the other two of us a plane flight away. A good fried of mine who my mom has also known for decades who was local also helped out.

            One night she fell multiple times, the last resulting in a 911 call as well by my friend. It started the trajectory of hospital to rehab hospital for the next few months, with much family taking turns being there with her. Unfortunately she never came home, and her health issues finally caught up with her and she passed. As hard as it was, and still is at times, she wasn’t happy and wouldn’t have been safe anymore. I’m not religious, but I know that she had a very negative quality of life and that in some ways what happened was the best thing.

            I am not trying to be a downer, but from the recent health issues you’ve already seen a cascade of events follow, just wanting you to be mentally prepared for a variety of outcomes. And as mentioned, the transition to assisted living now might be the best for all involved – she will likely be happier that way too even if she may not think so right now.

            Endless empathy for you, I’ve been there and totally get it. I love and loved my mom but could not have lived with her at the end and maintained my sanity, so I have the utmost respect for you. Best wishes to you both.

    3. The Francher Kid*

      I admire you so much. I am in awe of how far you have come. Please take care of yourself.

    4. My Brain Is Exploding*

      Oh, Rebecca, SLEEP. Yes, get things done, but please use this time to take care of yourself! Definitely sending prayers. (Once she comes home, can you afford some help at night so that you can sleep? Even if it is just a couple of nights a week?)

      1. Wishing You Well*

        Yes, this.
        Rebecca, if your mom comes home, you need a night person for her. You HAVE to get enough sleep.
        Sending you all good thoughts for a good outcome. Because – wow.

    5. MatKnifeNinja*

      I’m so sorry. I was thinking about you all week, and hoping things would settle down.

      My mom is your mom’s twin. Anxiety, control issues and being mentally competent is a nasty combination.

      Because my mom was “orientated x3”, she would snow discharge planning and the social workers on how much help she would have if she could go home, and how much she was willing to do. Mom would lie to speed up her discharge.

      Mom had no help besides two kids who had to work, and she was a freaking mule who would do nothing suggested. Like getting up with no walker. (internally screaming)

      Be brutally honest with discharge planning people. If you can’t do over nights forever. Tell them that. My mom would half truth a whole bunch of stuff just to get “home”.

      I wouldn’t wish what you are going through on my worse enemy. I’m feel bad for your mom too. It sounds like she isn’t a go with the flow type person. No one likes all those health issues and changes, but my mom fought tooth and nail with everyone until she died. Her quality of life really suffered because she wouldn’t give on anything.

      Thinking of you! <3

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

      Thinking good thoughts for you, Rebecca. I’m a believer in the law of averages and you are *so* due for something positive.

    7. LivingMyLife*

      Wow! So sorry to hear about how quickly your mom’s health has deteriorating. I took care of both of my parents while they were dying from cancer, so I know how difficult it gets for caretakers! My prayers are with you and your mom. It sounds like at this point you can only take one day at a time. Hopefully, you will be able to get some help with taking care of your mom. Rehab time for your mom can be a good time for you to rest. Hoping she will be able to recover her balance and mobility. May be an electric power wheelchair should be considered, if she can’t safely get around. That will give her a lot more freedom to move around, and you will have a peace of mind when you are at work.

    8. Jaid*

      A virtual pallet of Black & Tan and your choice of Girl Scout cookies, to you.

      My best wishes to you.

      1. Lucky Daughter*

        I feel so bad for both of you. Your poor mother thought she could hold illness and aging at bay by strictly controlling things that for the most part didn’t matter and ignoring real medical issues and hoping they would go away. She must be devastated.

        I feel bad for you because you are doing everything possible to care for her and not only does she not appreciate it, she heaps abuse on you. I wish I had some way to make things better for you. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to shoulder the burden completely on your own.

        I wish you both all the best. I thank my lucky stars that my almost 90 year old mother is so easy to get along with.

    9. Booksalot*

      I say this as someone who was a deciding factor in three relatives going into a care facility, so, not lightly.

      Your mother is controlling you through guilt and obligation. Please believe me when I say that she eventually will fall, become ill, or suffer some other disaster when you are not there–because you have responsibilities, a frail human body of your own, and the inability to cater to her 24/7. She needs to be in a care facility. The worry and guilt you feel right now is nothing compared to how you will feel when she inevitably suffers some calamity in the house that she can’t bounce back from. My husband still has crying fits about his mother dying while he was at the hardware store buying supplies for a leaking toilet, and that was over a decade ago.

      You have even more complications as a resident of Pennsylvania. Filial responsibility laws in PA are draconian. If you don’t have an elder law expert to guide you through this, now is the time.

    10. Elizabeth West*

      Oh jeez.
      Wishing you luck! Once they get her infection cleared up, that should help with the falling issue. I don’t know what to say about the rest. Is it possible to get a night carer to come over when she comes home? My friend used to do that — she would stay overnight with two ladies. One was nonverbal and the other was a 70-year-old with Down syndrome. They mostly slept but my friend would help if they needed to get up or anything. That way, you could sleep and the night person could handle the bathroom visits, etc. I know how your mum is, but she might just have to suck it up and do it.

    11. Lora*

      Oh, hey, no. She cannot ask this of you. You MUST sleep, it’s not optional.

      Realistically, you have a full time job. It doesn’t do either of you any good if you drown yourself trying to help her. When care goes beyond “check in, make sure she is dressed appropriately, bathed, has eaten even if it’s something not so nutritious, do a load of laundry and take out the trash, reset the Roomba, run her to an appointment” that’s about what someone with a full time job can hack long term if they have minimal other demands on their lives (e.g. long hours at work, crazy commute, other relatives or spouse who also needs help, children). More than that is just not feasible for longer than a week at most. That’s the point where you gotta get help to come by regularly.

      What she is asking is just not reasonable. If she can’t walk reliably without falling down, that’s The End for her independent living. And she probably knows it.

    12. WoodswomanWrites*

      I feel bad for both you and your mother going through so much difficulty. And, this situation is way beyond anything that you can handle alone. Your mother’s care would require more than you can offer even if she were kind and appreciative, and adding on the abuse she sends your way just makes it that much more over the top.

      That she is declining I’m sure is very hard for you, but that doesn’t mean she gets to take you down with her. She cannot do that, and it’s time to draw a hard limit. You have to work. You have to sleep. You deserve to have a life that includes some joy, and this situation has to change.

      Your mother being in the rehab facility is providing you with the gift of time. I hope you will use it to talk to a social worker, find out what care options are available, determine if she can be moved into a facility to get the help she needs, etc. Because you cannot provide it.

      Mow the lawn if it will make you happy, but otherwise my wish for you during the coming weeks is to nurture yourself. Sleep, relax, see your friends, go for walks outdoors, whatever makes you feel good. Please take time to care for YOU. You so deserve it.

    13. NoLongerYoung*

      Rebecca, I’m so sorry. My heart breaks for you.

      Maybe this can help? (maybe)…
      At breakfast (Group of women) this morning, I sat with an acquaintance who is a consultant on setting up senior care. She told me that there’s a clinical term (?) – a DSM term – for the decline stage when someone can’t make good, logical decisions. (it’s not dementia, but a similar thing to your mom). It’s when they just continue or completely make the wrong decision, no logic, stubbornly clinging to something. Their brain can’t process the logic and come to a good conclusion.

      This is far different from disagreeing with you. This is a complete inability to see that logically, she can’t continue with her health and this situation. (Similar to her decision to ask you to help her up and not call the ambulance… not a good decision).

      In your case, your mom could go to an assisted living after rehab, or have a set of caregivers (not you). Is she going to be able to make those decisions? No. She is going to stubbornly try – as my mom is – to roll back the hands of time and expect things to “be like they were.” It is not logical to deny that her health is poor and she is spiraling down…. but she will deny reality as long as she can. (I hold out a feeble hope my mom may be able to see the need, but only because she has a great fear of being a burden to me, so I will use that argument when the time comes).

      My heart breaks for you… Like NSNR, I almost broke myself doing care giving for husband, not sleeping for more than 15 minutes at a time,damaging myself trying to help him up after falls (and he was 145#)…but the end point for the cancer was clearly in sight and I’d (wrong line’in the sand – it was not sustainable) said that the day he “x” would be the day he want into the hospice ward. It was not a good plan. Don’t be me.

      You have a much longer time window. And you need to make a plan. As soon as you get enough sleep. She is not going to consent, but I would bet my last dollar, she is no longer capable of being logical to the extent she thinks she is…. or that you need her to be.

      I am so sorry.

    14. tiasp*

      My grandmother lived in her own home until her 90s, the last couple years with a homecare service coming in a couple times a day. I don’t even know what it was for, but someone took her to emergency one night (I think concerned she had injured herself or maybe broken a bone) and she never came home again. Ended up almost 2 weeks in the hospital and at that age she lost quite a bit of her mobility quickly. She went to a rehab facility next and then from there to a nursing home where she lived a couple more years.

      Part of what happened was the decline that happens quickly to the aged in the hospital, but also they found other health problems that she had never complained about but they wouldn’t let her go home again.

      So maybe this is the end of your mom living independently. It’s tough and I feel for you having to get it figured out, but I hope it ends up with you in a better situation.

    15. ..Kat..*

      Please talk to the rehab center social worker and/or discharge planner NOW. Let SW know that you are unable to safely care for your mother by yourself and that this is (partly) why your mother ended up with multiple accidents and injuries and therefore in a rehab center. Ask about placement options post rehab center. The reason to do this NOW is that placement options can take time. Ask to be notified of any care conferences about your mother so that you can be present. Plus, we both know that your mother is telling them that you will be her care giver at home and can do it all. At a minimum, you need home health care for your mother. Have you checked with eldercare services in your area to see what is available and what she may qualify for and what medicare/medicaid might pay for, etc? Note that home health care can be at night so that you can get some sleep.

      Your mother has a lot of healthcare needs from her lack of care earlier in her life (yes, I know it was her choices). I think you are a good daughter, but you are only human. I say this as a nurse who knows what it is to provide constant care like this. And I have a mother like yours (seriously, I think they were twins that were separated at birth).

      Good luck whatever you do. I am sorry that you are having to deal with this.

      1. ..Kat..*

        Another thought: bedside commode. If your mom only had to travel a couple of steps to reliever herself in the night, would that enable to independently toilet herself at night? Of course, she might refuse to use it for reasons.

    16. Rebecca*

      Positive thing!! I went back to the rehab facility yesterday (it’s 30 miles away, so I’m not going every day). Mom was happy. As in, she actually smiled, laughed at a few things, told me about her rehab that day, how she was able to do all of it, and I stayed while she ate her meal, and she actually ate it vs sitting and frowning at her food like it’s toxic waste like she does at home. She scored really well on the cognitive exams, one was 26 out of a highest possible score of 26-30, another 7/7, and she said they compared her to Sophia on the Golden Girls. I was sort of like…where is my mother and who is this pod person replacing her? Honestly the Mom yesterday afternoon and the Mom I took to rehab 24 hours earlier couldn’t be more different. She was still a unsteady on her feet, but with the nurse guiding her, she was able to walk with a quad cane and sit down with assistance, a huge improvement from the day before. I have to think getting some real food, some sleep, and activity, etc. has something to do with it.

      Mom said she is glad to be there, she’ll be there for at least 2 weeks, and is happy the doctors are trying to figure out why she is falling so much. She’s agreed to wear pull up adult diapers, so if she doesn’t make it to the bathroom, cleanup is easier, as before, she used an pad but that just wasn’t adequate.

      As for the nights though, when she comes home, that’s another story. I’ve read through the comments, and was really busy yesterday between laundry, cleaning, mowing the lawn, driving to rehab, then my neighbor stopped by and we chatted and had a few beers on the back deck, and I crashed again and slept soundly :) :) Her urologist suggested a catheter if she is still urinating so frequently. I know that sounds awful. But. This would allow her to sleep, and I could sleep because she could go to bed and not have to get up. It might be something she needs to do. Once the cast is off and her arm is better, she can use a walker too.

      And, we’re getting a new PCP for her. Her doctor never called me back last week, after she called once and I called twice, and was very blunt about needing help. I am going to report the office to someone, I haven’t figured out who yet, but their lack of action is ridiculous. When your office receives multiple calls for an elderly person falling, broken bones, etc. and the PCP needs to refer the patient for services, you pick up the damned phone. I’ve been after Mom to find a new doctor for years! Ugh.

      We now have a social worker, and I have private care lined up for when she gets home, ladies from church have volunteered to fix lunch for her until she’s able to use her hand and arm properly, and the private care staff will take Mom to an appointment if necessary. I get out of work at 4 PM, so we’re going to make late afternoon appointments, they can take her, and I can pick Mom up on the way home.

      Today is going to be groceries, I’m going for a walk, and I’m going to vacuum. That’s it. The work week starts tomorrow, and it will be good to be able to go to work with a clear mind.

      1. Jaid*

        OMG, this is such good news!

        I think you’re right, that proper care and food is helping your Mom. Maybe she’s been hangry this whole time!

        I wish you both well.

      2. LibbyG*

        I’m so glad things are looking up. Maybe she’s had an ear infection for a while? After dealing with your ex and everything, I really hope you get a good, long, easy spell soon when you can focus squarely on what you need and want for yourself going forward.

      3. fposte*

        I’m really glad to hear that things are taking a turn for the better.

        I also think you might start sorting through possible guidance and assistance while you’ve got a little more breathing room so that plans can be in place for the future. Google is blessedly good at searching through the vocabulary parameters for the different agency names, so if you search something like “senior advocacy [town/county/state]” you’ll probably find some useful guidance. My state, for instance, has a state agency with clickable maps pointing you to local coordinators. States also offer free counseling services to help seniors understand their Medicare, etc., coverage; this program is usually called Senior Health Insurance Program, so if you google that and [state] you should be able find some links on that (though at least one state has a commercial insurance company by that name, so make sure your results are talking about free counseling).

        Also, since your mother’s had a hospital admit, she would likely be eligible for some visiting care, like PT at home. Medicare doesn’t pay forever–it wouldn’t be focused on assisted living but rehab–but it might be really useful to both you and your mother for her to have an opportunity to maximize her recovery while she’s home.

      4. Observer*

        I’m so glad that you’re getting some real help in place.

        When you get your mother to the new PCP, make sure you get all the records from the rehab – it sounds to me like they are doing something right in addition to the actual physical rehab, and that’s useful information. Also, I wonder if her prior doctor was just negligent – the fact that he never followed up on this stuff really lends some credence to that.

      5. Nana*

        So glad to read this follow-up. But I wonder if her cheeriness has something to do with being with people all day, instead of in the house (brooding about your inadequacies) . Please get info on other living arrangements; she might do better NOT coming home.
        Even the nice church ladies…if they’re like the ones who were my mother’s friends, they’re old ladies, too. Loving, but limited in their ability to assist.

        We’re all praying/pulling for you.

      6. ..Kat..*

        This is all good news.

        Some thoughts. One, maybe your mom has blossomed into a different, happier person because of all the socializing that she can do at the rehab center. This tells me that your mother could find a lot of enjoyment at this point in her life by going into a senior living residence of some type.

        Two, I think she has a bad (maybe unbreakable) habit of her interactions with you being intense complaining on her part.

        And finally, indwelling urinary catheters have a significant downside: they cause urinary tract infections! And they make it hard to cure a current UTI. Maybe a really good, adsorbant adult diaper (that wicks away moisture so your mother would not get up repeatedly during the night to urinate) would work? Note that in hospitals, we use the crappiest, most saggy, most uncomfortable brand (also the cheapest!); so don’t buy the brand used in hospitals.

        Good luck.

    17. Blue Eagle*

      Here’s the sad but true truth – your Mom will never get back to where she was when she was 50 (what she would probably like to have happen), and will likely not get back to where she was before she went into the hospital. So my advice is to make sure that all of her financial stuff is in order and that you are on all her bank accounts and anything else you need to be a signer on. I promise that it will save you alot of trouble later. {Ask me how I know this . . . . . sigh!}
      Sending you positive energy and good luck with your Mom.

    18. Daniela*

      Oh, this sounds so difficult for both of you. Sending internet hugs and positive vibes, that you both get back to normal, where you can enjoy each other’s company.

  27. Christmas*

    I’m still deeply depressed about a break-up and it’s been over two months. I see a counselor, but I think I need to go on antidepressants. What’s so hard to get over is the reasons why he broke up with me. It was a giant mix of reasons, some of which contradicted each other.
    For context: he’s recently divorced and has children that he’s told me all about and shown me photos/videos of, but I had not yet them yet. Being a child of divorce myself and having grown up watching my dad date, I was very sensitive to the situation and went with the flow of his pace regarding waiting to meet his kids.

    It would be understandable if he broke up with me because he just wasn’t ready to date yet. But he said about thirty other things in a weird spiral. First, he said he’s not in a rush to get remarried and he feels pressured to because he thinks I “want to get married very quickly”… Which is odd, because no I don’t?!? And we never even talked about it yet!! He then said that he will “NEVER be in a relationship AGAIN” and that he will **“happily die alone”** because his children are “all he needs” in life. In the same breath of saying all that, he muttered something about how in his next relationship he’d prefer her not to talk on the phone so frequently or spend so much time together. (Another issue he never talked to me about!) then reiterated that he will “die alone“ and I can’t tell you how awful it is to hear that someone has decided **he would rather die alone than be with me.**

    He added that we are basically a perfect match and that I’m the perfect girl, but he just can’t guarantee that one of us won’t want to divorce the other someday for any number of reasons. This led to a rant about how he’s terrified of being controlled again, like his ex-wife did to him. (Even though he admitted that I’m the polar opposite of his ex-wife and I do not have a controlling personality, he’s afraid of it nonetheless.) He spun off about how much he hates his career(!!) and that his ex pushed him into it!! I tried to talk to him about how it’s not too late to change careers, which he could easily do based on his skills, but he just spiraled about hating his job AND the city we live in and how it’s all his ex-wife’s fault because she “made him.”

    That spiraled into a rant about how angry he is at his parents for having babied him as a child. (???) Again, all of this was in a conversation about why he was breaking up with me. At some point he commented that he is generally unsatisfied with his entire life. I guess I was the one variable that he can control, or get rid of. I don’t know. All I know is that he tried dating, and he tried it with me, and that experience was enough to tell him that he would prefer to die alone.

    I can barely sleep, I have no energy for anything, nothing makes sense. We were so happy until all of this exploded out of him. I feel like I could move on from this if any of it made sense at all. But I’m just still trying to untangle everything he said. Maybe one of you out there can make sense of it because you’re firmly on the outside?

    1. Christy*

      I don’t tend to find much use in untangling breakup conversations. Because really, all that mattered about what he was telling you was that he doesn’t want to date you. The rest is just noise and blather. Who knows if he meant any of what he said. The point was that he didn’t want to be dating you anymore. The reason doesn’t particularly matter.

      I’m sorry if this sounds really harsh, but it’s my hope that it’s freeing to not have to think too deeply about him anymore. For what it’s worth he sounds deeply unready to be in another relationship.

      1. Christmas*

        Christy: Thank you so much. I wrote out a lengthy reply, went to submit it, and my wireless dropped! I wish I could remember everything I said. Oh, I wanted to say that your response was not too harsh at all. It’s exactly what I need. All my friends keep coddling me and insisting that this guy will “come crawling back any day now”… which is probably not a good seed to plant in my mind. I truly appreciate you guys being clear and direct with me. You’re absolutely right: I mistakenly thought it would help with closure by trying to figure out why this ended, but there is no figuring it out. I need to face that he has ended the relationship, and it’s over. It’s going to require a lot of self talk but I’m going to stop overanalyzing his words. I’ve been making myself sick; my hair has been falling out! Thank you again. I’m so glad I reached out here.

        1. tangerineRose*

          The guy sounds like he’s a mess. I think you may have dodged a bullet there. He’s assuming all kinds of things incorrectly, he sounds like he hates most of his life. He also sounds wayyy too wrapped up in himself.

            1. valentine*

              dodged a bullet there.
              Totally. I hope he enjoyed the free therapy he got in that exit interview, but probably not, because he sounds deeply and willfully unhappy. Everything is someone else’s fault and he has no power to end calls or to schedule fewer dates. Sheesh! Imagine that conversation, in whole and in part, for the next sixty years.

              You may have been happy, but he is largely not, and the fact this was all a surprise to you means you were only happy with the severely diluted version of himself he presented to you. If you think about his actions as evidence, the only one that’s fact is he chose to break up with you. And that’s enough. The reasons don’t matter and they’re not challenges for you to accept. You’re not meant to mount a campaign to recover him. Let him be and embrace yourself.

              Be kind to yourself. It’s a loss and you are grieving, but it’s a small part of your overall life and there are better times and kinder people ahead for you. So. Pretend you are a dear friend and give yourself good things and wrap yourself in comfy stuff and enjoy something each day. The fog will lift and you will ready for what comes next.

              1. Christmas*

                This truth-bomb is huge:
                You may have been happy, but he is largely not, and the fact this was all a surprise to you means you were only happy with the severely diluted version of himself he presented to you.

                Valentine: I feel like something just switched on in my brain when I read that. I’m literally about to write this on a piece of paper and tape it to my wall. You are absolutely right. In moments of weakness or doubt, I will refer to this.

                Thank you also for the incredibly kind words and encouragement!

      2. Parenthetically*

        Totally agree, and very well stated.

        The only thing that matters in a breakup is one person deciding they don’t want to be with the other person anymore. But SO MANY people are socialized to think they really need lots of good reasons to break up — hence the cascade of contradictory statements — but yep, bottom line is he made that decision, and it sucks, but you don’t owe his explanations another moment of your mental space.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        I agree with this.

        Christmas, I don’t think he’s ready. I was in almost this exact situation, and while we both went into it thinking it would happen, later on, the guy decided he did not want to get married again. He eventually did, but what mattered was that he did not want to marry ME — he had the same kind of fears, and his reason was that we were too different.

        He was right about the latter, and I’m very grateful now that we didn’t marry. If we had, we’d be divorced. Not that our breakup wasn’t any less painful than a divorce, since we lived together and functioned as if we were married, but I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with the legal crap on top of all that.

        I also experienced severe situational depression after we broke up, and I ended up taking a very low dose of medication for a short while. It made a world of difference. If you think you need to see your doctor, do it! Maybe some counseling can help you work through these feelings as well.

        1. Christmas*

          Thank you! It helps incredibly to hear that other people have been in similar situations. Also, i appreciate the encouragement about antidepressants. For a while I’ve been trying to “power through it” but I am realizing that I just can’t do it alone. The possibility of going on antidepressants is… a lot. But I’m at the point where I’m struggling to function. Thank you again for the kindness and encouragement!

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Well it doesn’t have to be a huge thing. An extremely low dose, taken very short-term, was like night and day for me. As for talking with a professional who can help you process feelings (and patterns), I wish I’d had that option at the time, but I didn’t.

            And you’re welcome. *hug*

      4. Traffic_Spiral*

        “I don’t tend to find much use in untangling breakup conversations.”

        True, but, that being said, this was a brilliant bit of “I’m not over my divorce and am not ready to date yet,” complete with powerpoint presentation, cited table authorities, and a small yet poignant interpretive dance.

        1. Christmas*

          True, but, that being said, this was a brilliant bit of “I’m not over my divorce and am not ready to date yet,” complete with powerpoint presentation, cited table authorities, and a small yet poignant interpretive dance.

          LOL!! This is hysterical! I so appreciate you for making me laugh. Just a couple days ago, thinking about “the talk“ was so depressing and made me feel so small and worthless. But looking at it in a new perspective, you guys are helping me see that not only was it not really about me, but this guy had a pretty fantastic, detailed, and ridiculous egocentric meltdown. Oh my god, I needed this.

    2. FD*

      Honestly, I think you’re trying to make it make sense, and that’s a losing game.

      It sounds to me like this guy simply tried to get involved with dating too fast and also isn’t very good at setting his own boundaries and asking for what he needs. This probably IS one of those “It’s not you, it’s me” situations. People’s emotions often DON’T make sense in that situation, or a person can be a tangled ball of reasons.

      But when you get down to it, it doesn’t actually matter why he doesn’t want to date you, does it? He doesn’t, and that’s that. I kind of feel like getting hung up obsessing over his reasons is probably making it harder for you to move on, because it means The Dude gets to keep taking up space in your brain.

      I also feel like you’re kind of buying into his dual-extremes thinking. He’s saying the only choices are ‘be with Christmas’ and ‘die alone’. Which isn’t really reality, because for both of you, there are lots of third options. I get why it hurts to hear, and I think he was being a bit of a jerk to phrase it that way. Could you reframe it as: “He had a choice between dating me and not dating me, and he decided that he didn’t want to date me. He coincidentally is dealing with the breakup by feeling like his only choices are to date me or never date anyone ever again, but that’s his way of framing it and probably isn’t all that accurate.”

      1. Christmas*

        FD: thank you for the well-written response. Your perspective helped clarify this . I understand what you mean about the dual extremes, and that’s a big part of what I’ve gotten obsessed about. It was a highly emotional\irrational statement to say that he “will never date again” and “wants to die alone”. You are right that I was making that about me, when really it’s revealing about him. There is a solid consensus that I will never find closure by sorting out the reasons, and instead just need to accept the end result: The relationship is over.
        Thank you, truly, for calling me out on “buying into” his problematic thinking and for fruitlessly overanalyzing to the point of becoming a bit obsessed. I truly needed the clearheaded thinking of others; it’s a wake-up call.

    3. Hazy Days*

      It sounds to me like you put your finger right on it – he isn’t in a good place after his divorce, he isn’t ready to date, he has a whole load of feelings he hadn’t worked through – and he hasn’t realised the problems are largely at his end. Saying he would ‘rather die alone than with you’ is just the kind of melodramatic statement that people make when they’re in a bad place after a long term relationship breaks down. It doesn’t reflect on you, it doesn’t reflect on him, even – it is an expression of emotion that reflects where his unconscious assumptions are right now.

      If you’d met in five years time, or he was further on in processing his marriage breakdown, then you might have been a great match – but as it is, it seems you are mismatched in time.

      I’m so sorry for your grief, and I wish you all the very best in working through things yourself and being that happy, Open partner that he doesn’t seem able to be right now.

      1. Christmas*

        Hazy: Thank you so much for the kind response! Your description of “melodramatic” is pretty apt. For a while I’ve been taking everything he said personally, like I wasn’t worth it, or that something about me is so awful that it drive him to such an extreme. But it’s really helping to hear other, clearer perspectives such as yours to point out that he was laboring under all these feelings/issues he never worked through, and so it’s really about him more than being about me.

    4. Dr. Anonymous*

      My first thought is that his real personality came out, with all its mind reading, negativity, and projection, and in the long run you have dodged a bullet. I hope you find ways to be kind to yourself right now and give yourself time to feel better.

      1. Christmas*

        Dr. Anonymous: That’s a good point, and it kind of occurred to me too. The more I think about it, he spent an inordinate amount of time complaining about every aspect of his life, and most notably, how everything that he wasn’t satisfied with was someone else’s fault (parents, ex-wife, even girlfriends from his youth). Like, I highly doubt that his ex put a gun to his head and make him get the job that he has come to hate. Also, I just can’t even compute that thinking. When I’m not happy with an aspect of my life, I tend to blame myself, but then I figure out how to work the problem and move forward. (When *I* was stuck in a job that became unbearable, I beat my brains out networking and searching for a different job and achieved a great move.) it was mind-boggling to try to listen to him break up with me, while also railing against everyone that has ruined his life. I guess that’s partly why I keep trying to make sense of it, in addition to not wanting to let go. But the fact is that it’s over. And clearly for the best. Thanks for responding to me! Sorry if this is choppy, I’m having Internet issues.

    5. The Francher Kid*

      He seems to have a great deal of anger and grief over the divorce that he has not yet dealt with. It also sounds like he’s not taking responsibility for his own actions. He isn’t ready for a healthy relationship and it’s **not your fault** and nothing you can fix.

      Please speak to your counselor, it may be that a short course of antidepressants along with your therapy will help you see daylight again, that’s what helped me. I’m sorry you are hurting so badly.

      1. Christmas*

        Francher: Thank you so much. I truly needed to hear that (that it’s not my fault). My tendency is to agonize over what I did wrong or could have done better or differently. But I have to submit to the fact that I don’t have the answers and neither does he, so I have to let it go. Everyone’s responses are really helping me break out of this. Thank you again.

        1. Lobsterp0t*

          I like to remind myself that I can only do something differently next time. There are no do overs. It’s ok to think about making changes yourself, but nothing you do now is gonna change what happened. And, like everyone else, it really sounds like he isn’t someone with enough insight to even reflect on his own stuff, let alone change any of it, after a trail of poor family and romantic relationships

    6. Vic tower*

      The answer is – he has a problem or multiple problems that means he is not right for you. I was in a three-year relationship where my ex had a similar litany of reasons why he wasn’t ready or maybe he was but he wanted x,y,z that were totally new things…
      In the end I realised I couldn’t reason it all out because it didn’t even make sense in his head. The ultimate answer was – he is not keen enough to work this out and a relationship cannot rest only on one person’s efforts.
      And I am so much happier now! My new partner is amazing and being with him made me realise that previous relationship was the opposite of what it should be.

      1. Christmas*

        Vic Tower: You absolutely struck a chord where you said “… he is not keen enough to work this out and a relationship cannot rest only on one person’s efforts.” That’s so true. I didn’t mention this in my original post, it at one point I asked my boyfriend if he’d be willing to take a break while he saw a counselor to determine if he can work through all this. He essentially replied, “No, that would be a waste of time. I know what’s issues are and I accept them, even if it means never being in a relationship again.” I was like… well… there it is… That was about the moment I finally excused myself. I realized it was pointless to argue or compromise. Now to work on letting it go and stop trying to understand it after the fact.
        Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to me. I have felt like a crazy person, and totally ashamed. But all of the clear-headed responses are SO helpful.

    7. self employed*

      I agree. It’s hard news but he is not ready or willing to date you. I’m sorry.

      The good news is that it sounds like his reasons (or lack thereof) have been tormenting you. But lots of people are pointing out that his reasons don’t make sense, which is semi-normal, and they don’t ultimately matter. I hope that helps you shut the door and move on.

      1. self employed*

        Also I want to compliment you on how you’re taking the feedback here. Today seems like a good turning point for you; congratulations on a fresh start.

    8. Come On Eileen*

      The only thing I can make sense of is that it sounds like his head is a jumble of thoughts and emotions that a trained therapist can help him with. He’s recently divorced and has a LOT to process. If it were me, I wouldn’t want to be with him in this state. I’m sorry.

      1. Christmas*

        Eileen: That’s a good point. During the break-up talk, I tried to suggest just taking a break while he got mental health counseling but he refused. He was like, “These are my issues and I accept them. That’s it.” In the moment, that made me feel like I’m just not worth it to him to get help. But really, like you said, it’s just the state he’s in, and come to think of it, I agree with you about not wanting to be with someone in that state. I see now that it’s not about my lack of value as a person to motivate him to get help; he doesn’t even realize he needs it!!! Ugh.
        Thank you for responding to me! It means a lot!

    9. WellRed*

      This reaffirms my belief that recently divorced dads are disasters. I won’t date one again unless he’s been divorced more than a year.

      1. Dan*

        Side track: As a divorced guy with no kids (and an engineer who tends to take things literally) I think any dating timeline post-breakup is arbitrary. When does the clock start? From the time the breakup was initiated? From the time the divorce was final? I do agree that it takes time, but that time and its affects are different for everybody. I think it really comes down to “has that person dealt with their relationship shit or not.”

        I know for me, the divorce was final almost two years after we initially separated. We had no kids, few assets and an uncontested divorce. My obligations were lump sump — she moved out, I transferred some assets, and that was that. The rest was just a waiting game. I can tell you the day we split, but the day our divorce was final? I know the month and year, but I’m not sure I ever really knew the date. And it doesn’t matter. *My* divorce clock started with the separation date.

        1. HR Stoolie*

          That’s almost mirrors my spouse and I split. My recovery was pretty quick and 11 years later we occasionally exchange calls or texts.
          I do know of a lot of guys who are a mess after a split, especially when kids and financial conflicts are involved.

        2. WellRed*

          Sure, but I have to start somewhere. Recovery programs often have similar timelines so maybe that worked it’s way into my subconscious.

        3. Christmas*

          Dan: Thank you so much for the perspective of the divorced dad! Nothing but respect for you. I think I mentioned it in my original post, but my dad went through two terrible divorces, and I saw what he went through. So I really tried to go into this relationship with understanding and caution. But like you said, it’s a good question: “when does the clock start?” That’s one thing I wish I’d considered more deeply before starting this relationship. My boyfriend and I talked a little bit about how his marriage ended. (It wasn’t shocking and sudden; they slowly grew apart and long wanted to leave but just stubbornly and miserably stuck it out.) So I guess I got the understanding that his “clock” started further back *before* the divorce. But really, I guess I didn’t consider that making it official is a pretty big life event itself. Maybe that’s when it became “real“ for him and just dug everything up fresh. I don’t even know. And like so many others have said, *he* doesn’t even seem to know what he’s feeling or why. I really hope he sorts it out. I just wish he didn’t drag me into his rebound in the process. Sigh! Thank you again so much for responding, and for sharing your experience!

          1. Dan*

            Thanks. I’ll be honest and say that I in part married my ex because I had empathy for people who had less than ideal childhoods. And then I ended up marrying someone with an f’d up childhood that carried into adulthood. We then all want to compensate by making up rules about who we should (or shouldn’t) date/marry as a result. As if a checklist will make all future problems go away. As if.

            TBH, I think it’s less about the clock starting and more about the clock ending. How do we know when it ends? Oh that’s tough, and I’m not sure there’s a bright line. I can’t speak for those with kids, because in some ways, the ex will never be out of sight/out of mind. In many ways, it was easy for me. No kids. Lump sum payment. Transfer of assets and no more required contact. She tried contact a couple of times, but I pretty much ignored it and then it just stopped.

            And yeah. It sucks to be dragged into Other People’s Shit (OPS). I’m sorry you had to get dragged into it, and then have it end the way it did. You don’t deserve that, and I mean it. The rest of us can tell from his words that he was in no shape to be dating in any sort of serious way.

      2. Christy*

        This is so interesting! I’m of the opinion that divorced dads are some of the best pickings! They know their priorities and won’t waste your time. There are exceptions, of course.

        1. WellRed*

          I agree about the priorities and not wasting time once they are in a good place post divorce. ; )

        2. Traffic_Spiral*

          Well, if your only priority is “get a guy committed fast” then sure, it’s easy to find a recently divorced dad who’s like “shit, I need a new wife-unit, stat!” That’s… uh… that’s not always for the best in the long run, though.

    10. Disgruntled Daughter*

      Oh, Christmas. I feel for you because it seems like you were fully present in the relationship…but he wasn’t. It sounds like he hasn’t ready to date again so soon after the divorce but didn’t have the self-awareness to know that. He has a lot of Feelings he needs to work through but couldn’t do that and be a healthy/present partner to you.

      It may not feel like it right now but maybe this is for the best. You deserve someone who is truly present and emotionally available in the relationship. For him, being in this relationship might have been more than he could emotionally handle. That’s okay but it sucks that he didn’t realize that before now. I hope that you find peace knowing you did your best.

    11. Dan*


      I’m with everybody who says that he was in a place where we could properly date. I think in any rejection (relationship, job, whatever) we all look for things that say *it wasn’t me.* And you know what? *It wasn’t you.* The words don’t matter, the message does. And he couldn’t have been more clear (just literal).

    12. Clever Name*

      This guy sounds like a total mess. Do you want to be with someone who is a mess? How can he make you happy when he isn’t happy himself? You deserve someone who puts your needs first. Sometimes that person has to be you. Hugs.

    13. Not So NewReader*

      My wise friend used to say sometimes the kindest thing some people can do for us is to LET GO of us.

      On some level he knows he has a lot of baggage to sort. And he knows that he has to sort it himself. Not you or anyone else can sort it for him.

      Ironically, sometimes when things are going well, old stuff erupts to the surface. My wise friend used to say, that the old stuff comes flooding forward because we have found a safe place to confront that stuff. It is possible that you were a safe place for him and he actually started looking at his emotions for the first time.
      Clearly, NOT the role you wanted to play in his life. Things just fell that way.

      I do think that it’s pretty clear that this has nothing to do with you and everything to do with bad timing. He needs to sort his life out before he can invite someone else into it.

      As far as his reason for the break up? The fact that he has 30 reasons and some are conflicting stands alone as enough reason to set another person free to go live their life. He has lots of confusion going on and he thought enough of you not to drag you through it.

      It’s sad on both sides of the story here. I am so sorry. Take care of you and do what you need to do to reknit your life.

      1. Christmas*

        “Ironically, sometimes when things are going well, old stuff erupts to the surface. My wise friend used to say, that the old stuff comes flooding forward because we have found a safe place to confront that stuff. It is possible that you were a safe place for him and he actually started looking at his emotions for the first time.”

        MIND. BLOWN.

        I feel like this explains the sudden-ness of the break up. I’m struggling to describe it right, but that’s how it felt. I was really happy with him and I felt safe and cared for. And I felt like he was happy with me and felt safe with me, too. Then there was a couple weeks where it seemed like he was backing off a little, but I chalked it up to other things (we were both traveling around the same time). He got back from a work trip, I got back from mine, and the very first night that I went over to his place after having not seen each other for a week, he broke up with me. It was like having a bucket of ice water dumped over my head. I was literally shocked. I came out of almost nowhere. But what you said really makes sense. I really appreciate yes. And all the other responses, too. I felt like I was drowning when I first posted this, but I’m finally above water and catching air now.
        Sorry if this doesn’t make sense, it’s hard typing on my phone. But I truly thank you for your kind words, and your eye-opening perspective!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          What you are saying here fits with the theory of him finding a safe place.
          It’s okay to frame things this way and wish him well, then move on.
          In what you say here he actually has a good handle on all the things he needs to sort. His message delivery sucks but he seems to be facing his reality.

          Somethings are just bigger than us, OP. And you just happened to step into one of those settings. Doesn’t make it hurt less, but at least kind of seeing what happened and why sort of gives us permission to move forward.

    14. Parenthetically*

      He then said that he will “NEVER be in a relationship AGAIN” and that he will **“happily die alone”** because his children are “all he needs” in life.

      Holy shirt. This is a super fcking gross and manipulative thing to say, and based on his breakup speech alone you are WELL RID OF THIS DICKBAG. Honestly I want you to sit on my couch and drink a little too much and tell me all the stupid, asinine, self-sabotaging, self-excusing things this guy ever said or did in the course of your relationship so I could text them back to you at crucial moments, because I guarantee he didn’t just transform from a kind, open, self-aware, generous, working-on-himself kind of dude into a blamey, manipulative, ranty, clueless jagweed with emotional IBS in a single conversation.

      *drunkenly screeches Alanis Morissette’s You Oughta Know at him on your behalf*

      1. Lilysparrow*

        Indeed. Honey, this has nothing to do with you. This guy is having some kind of breakdown over his divorce. He’s not saying he’d rather die alone than with you. He’s saying he is morbidly fixated on death. He is in a bad place, and you are not the one who put him there.

        His “reasons” don’t make sense because they are literally not about you and bear no resemblance to you. He’s just projecting all these mixed-up feelings onto you.

        Dating YOU didn’t have anything to do with him feeling this way. Dating, period, made all this mishgias bubble up that he can’t cope with.

        You will never make sense of it, because it makes no sense. Stop trying. He’s just imploding and you got hit with the shrapnel.

        He sounds so chaotic right now, wouldn’t be at all surprised if he cycles back to asking for a second chance because he was wrong, he didn’t know what he had till he lost you, (insert self-pitying nonsense here), etc.

        If that happens, do NOT give him the time of day. Lace up your shoes and run a mile to get away from him.

        You dodged a bullet, totally.

        PS – I used to work for a divorce attorney. Unless it’s an abuse, fraud or bigamy case, it’s extremely rare that a divorce happens because one party is utterly toxic and the other is totally healthy and has enviable relationship skills. There’s usually plenty of toxicity to go around, because nobody behaves well when they are in a dying relationship. And nobody who is extremely healthy winds up married to someone totally toxic. If a healthy person starts dating someone evil and horrible, they pull the ripcord early, not after they have multiple kids.

        1. TemporaryMe*

          +1, I was going to write some helpful comments, but the wonderful folks here have it covered. I’m even learning (as I always do) more insight.

          Christmas, you got this… and you have so much good input here as you move forward. Don’t look back… you are not going that direction. He’s the past. You have a much better future.

        2. Christmas*

          Lilysparrow: I just now saw your comments! I love the metaphor you used about how he is imploding and I’m getting hit with the shrapnel. That really stood out to me, so much so that I screenshotted it to save and look back at. (I tend to blame myself for making someone leave, and think that the behavior of others is a direct reflection of me. So this is all been difficult.)

          By the way, you were spot on about toxicity and unhealthy behavior in dying relationships. My guy talked about how controlling his ex-wife was, but I’m sure he’s not spotless. He can be pretty rigid/controlling himself. There were a couple of other behavioral red flags, but I will refrain from going on a tangent. The biggest one, though, since you mentioned kids: He kind of admitted that he and his ex kept having children and buying houses together, even though they were thinking of splitting throughout that time. “This will fix the marriage!”
          The more I think about all of this, and discuss experiences with everyone here, I’m starting to think that he probably has no idea what a healthy relationship even looks like.

      2. Christmas*

        Parenthetically: I’ll bring the ice cream and wine!!
        By the way, your comment about belting out “You Oughta Know” had me **howling**!! LOL!!!

        By the way, I have to admit, his comment about how he doesn’t need a girlfriend because he has children and thats all he needs… That one stung. I don’t have any children of my own (and it’s looking like I never will) so I was just like… Heartache. I think I mumbled something like “I’m so glad you for you.” Ugh.

        1. Lilysparrow*

          Well, if he thinks children are a replacement/compensation for the emotional intimacy and support one gets from a romantic partner?

          I pity his kids.

          Kids, bless ’em, do not meet an adults emotional needs. They can’t, and it’s not supposed to be their job. Parents are supposed to be giving support and meeting the kid’s emotional needs until they are grown enough to form relationships on an adult level.

        2. Parenthetically*

          Oof, yes, come right over, and Lilysparrow should come too because she’s absolutely right about children being a desperately, tragically wrong substitute for an adult partner/friend/sounding board.

          It stung because he was thinking only of himself, and when people are going on spiky, self-absorbed rants, they rarely notice where the spikes land.

    15. Wishing You Well*

      I am sorry this is hurting you. I do think you dodged a disaster here.
      “Recently divorced” sounds like this was a rebound relationship. His “reasons” don’t matter. (He was babbling.)
      I hope you can move through this and realize you’re better off without this mess of a guy.
      Sending good thoughts.

      1. Christmas*

        Thank you so much, “Wishing”
        As much as I have tried to avoid the R-word, I admit it: this was a rebound for him. You’re absolutely right. It’s a bit embarrassing because my close friends warned me specifically that it might be a rebound, so after it ended I felt like an idiot or like I got played. But, I know that my intentions were good, I put my heart in it, and there’s nothing more I can do for him because he is indeed a “mess.” This has been really helpful because I have a tendency to blame myself, and wonder what I could’ve done differently or done better. I really appreciate all the encouragement as well as the general consensus that this is not my fault, and I’m better off moving on from this guy. I truly feel a world of difference from the choking depression I was feeling when I first posted this. I feel more energized to continue to get help. Thank you again, so much.

    16. LibbyG*

      Warm hugs to you, Christmas! I was once REALLY torn up after someone who, like your ex, was really just utterly unavailable, called it off with me. I realized it conceptually, but I was left with the question of what was going on in my own life that prompted such a strong reaction. In my case, some career set-backs and a couple of personal stressors led me to put SO much on this non-starter of a relationship. Parsing the ex’s words made me feel worse and worse. I had to figure out my own context before I could feel better. Whatever your path forward is, I hope it is a swift and joyful one!

      1. Christmas*

        LibbyG: This is really insightful. I probably did put far too much weight on this relationship, actually. You have made me think about my own personal stressors and insecurities regarding my job. Looking at it now, you are right. I was really happy with him so it kind of became the one really good thing going on in my life. So losing it was devastating. I’ve been trying to invest in other aspects of my life, like getting back into running and marathons, hiking, other hobbies. I’ve been struggling with depression and panic attacks, so I think it’s time to get more serious help with that until I get back on track. Thank you immensely for the insightful response, the kind words, and the warm hugs! (Hug!!)

    17. nonegiven*

      This guy is his own worst enemy. He is the one putting pressure on himself. He may have jumped into a relationship too soon because he felt that pressure.

    18. Alex*

      Agree. One thing that stands out to me here is that this post is all about HIM. He feels this, he said that.

      But, he broke up with you, and he’s allowed to do that. I’m so sorry that it hurts, but maybe try and free yourself a bit from the “reasons” because any reason would have hurt. Any reason hurts if someone is breaking up with you and you don’t want to break up with them. There wouldn’t have been a magical reason that he could have had that would make it not hurt, and believing that there could be (“I could move on from this if any of it made sense…”) is just prolonging this for you.

      So, try to sit in that a bit. Grieve for the relationship. Make it about you and what you are feeling, not what he is/was/could have been/maybe not feeling. His feelings don’t matter anymore. Yours do. Make the breakup story about you. “I dated a guy I really liked, I felt really happy with him, but he decided he didn’t want to date me. I was devastated.”

      Keep going to therapy. Call some friends. Wear sweatpants. You WILL feel better eventually, but not today.

    19. ampersand*

      I went through something similar with my ex-huband. If not for the fact that he doesn’t have kids, I would swear you were dating my ex! What eventually helped me, after he filed for divorce, was realizing that his reasons for divorcing me had a lot more to do with him and his family of origin (among other things, I think he was afraid that I would try to control him, because his mom tried to/did control his dad) than me. He also told me he’d never get married again and wanted to be single for a lonnnnng time—that really hurts to hear and can be a blow to your ego and sense of self. Just keep in mind that it’s not you.

      I eventually realized that I was not going to make sense of why he divorced me—while it turned out to be for the best, and definitely it was a (long-term) bullet dodged, it didn’t feel that way at the time! I had to make an actual effort to move on—not suggesting you should do the same; just wanted to let you know that I was in a similar place and what worked for me was to say, welp, this makes no sense—I have to move on with life or I’m going to drive myself crazy. Three years later and I’m remarried to an awesome guy and am very happy, and though I’ve moved on I don’t think I’ll ever be “over” what happened to me. Some things just don’t make sense, are hard or impossible to reconcile, and you get through them as best you can and move on to other—and often better—things. Give yourself as much time as you need to grieve. I feel for you and I’m sorry you’re going through this!

    20. bunniferous*

      If it helps, I believe you have dodged a bullet with that guy. I am sorry he did that to you, it was not fair. But he is in no way shape or form in a good place to have a relationship. And he probably had more to do with the divorce than he is letting on.

    21. Lobsterp0t*

      Are you spending that therapy time and money on his issues, or yours

      Because he sounds like a real piece of work

      End of story – he chose to breakup with you – for reasons that seem to have nothing to do with you.

      Sounds like an ass, to be honest.

    22. Nana*

      Please, please, please…do NOT let him rent space in your head (or heart). His life sucks, and he’s just realizing it. Rather than thinking of things he might do (starting with therapy), he’d rather blame outside forces (his parents, his ex-wife, YOU) for all of it.
      It may be hard to believe now…but you are well out of this. Never be involved with someone who’s just left another relationship (whether widowed or divorced) says the very old woman.

    23. The Rat-Catcher*

      My friend was broken up with in an eerily similar manner during a spiral that ended with his (ex’s) hospitalization. Not at all that I am trying to Internet diagnose your ex, but maybe that framing will resonate with you? If not, I think everyone else is right that he just wasn’t ready to date.

  28. Hei Freya*

    How do you get used to living in a colder climate?
    I just moved to Northern Europe from a city that gets pretty hot summers and nice and long springs and falls. I’m trying to adjust and can dress appropriately but I obviously need a lot more layers than locals.
    I generally get cold quite easily so my goal is just to be less cold and having to carry less layers during a sunny day when I left in the morning when it’s still cold.

    1. Middle School Teacher*

      I live in a cold climate and layers are key, so you’re doing the right thing there. I’m also a fan of carrying tea (or hot water with a bit of honey and lemon) with me in the fall and winter, and often before I’m going out, I’ll run my hands under hot water right before I go. If my hands get cold, the rest of me gets cold fast.

    2. Glomarization, Esq.*

      I’ve been back and forth between the mid-Atlantic U.S. and Canada all my life. What works for me:

      – Tights, thin leggings, or thermal longjohns from mid-September to June or even July
      – Even if it’s warm and sunny out, I’ll carry a light “athleisure” jacket, a silk or cotton scarf, and a hat with me, because the temperature drops surprisingly steeply when the clouds roll in or after dusk
      – I’ve embraced being the oddball newcomer who can’t tolerate the cold: yep, that’s me wearing a sportsteam toque from the city I used to live in, even though it’s July, you know it
      – In winter I’ll have a cup of hot caffeine-free tea most evenings, warms up my core and my fingers

    3. The Messy Headed Momma*

      Smartwool socks. They’re expensive, but last a long time & are AWESOME!

    4. Dan*

      It’s possible you don’t ever get used to it. I did the opposite — moved from a colder climate (Northern US) to a mild climate (mid Atlantic, in a state that is actually considered “the south”.)

      What’s different for me is the humidity. The first summer I lived here, I was a walking sweat bomb in the summer. I did get used to that to some extent.

      In terms of *living* in a colder climate, as others have said, you layer up. But you may never cut back on the number of layers you wear. Me, I spent 18 years sleeping in a cold basement with thick blankets. So you’d think 20 years down the road in a warmer climate, I’d be happy with a sheet on my bed. Nope! I need thick blankets and an air conditioner.

    5. Policy wonk*

      Silk thermal underwear. Warm, but not bulky, doesn’t make movement difficult. I grew up in a cold climate, but moved to a warmer one and no longer have my old tolerance for cold weather!

    6. Goose Lavel*

      Your blood will thicken to adapt to the cold conditions over time and you’ll fell warmer.

      Climate change is also making Europe warmer.

    7. NicoleK*

      I’m generally always cold too.
      1. I wear a camisole under my blouses. It’s not bulky or heavy, but gives me a little extra warmth
      2. I typically wear pants or long skirts to keep me warmer
      3. closed toe shoes
      4. I keep a light jacket or sweater at work as the air conditioning can be too much
      5. On the weekends, when running errands, I typically leave the house with a zippered hooded sweatshirt on. If the weather gets warmer, I can tie the sweatshirt around my waist.

    8. zyx*

      You might also look into whether your clothes and shoes are made of the same material as what other people wear. One of my friends moved to Banff from a hot part of California, and during her first winter she learned that no amount of cotton clothing would ever keep her warm enough. Buying warm boots and wool clothing made a world of difference.

      You probably don’t want snow boots for summer, but the clothing favored by locals might be different than what you’re currently wearing.

    9. Traffic_Spiral*

      1.) go running outside. It’ll help your body reset to the new temperatures it needs to deal with. If you can start running while it’s warm and keep at it through the cold season, that’s great.

      2.) Protect your extremities. Feet, hands, and head will lose most your body heat so keep them warm.

      3.) a warm scarf.

    10. Lost in the Woods*

      Layers are an unavoidable part of living in a cold climate, I’m afraid. Wearing layers under what you might consider your “base” (like tights or leggings under trousers) is a good idea. I recommend becoming a fan of jackets and/or sweaters. Try making those layers non-synthetic (wool or wool-blends are especially good), because manmade fibers don’t tend to breathe nearly as well as natural fibers, and as a result you get sweaty and then even colder. Fabric fiber content matters hugely to heat retention and breathability.

      Could you also become the kind of person who wears a nice hat? Heat loss from the head is a real thing, so maybe wearing a beret or a classy beanie during chilly mornings would help, and hats are less bulk to lug around than an extra jacket. Scarves might also be an option, if you aren’t a hat person.

      One tip for the winter: in order for all those layers to do their thing, they need to create seals against the air. As a result, the order in which you put things on matters a lot. The hat should go on first, then a scarf, then a pair of gloves or mittens, and then finally the coat (or you can just tuck your gloves/mittens inside your cuffs). So long as there are little gaps between each layer, the air will have the opportunity to leech heat off of you.

    11. Good luck with that*

      Animal fibers are your friends: wool, alpaca, mohair. Cotton will never be warm enough for a northern winter. Knitted silk, as mentioned by others, is surprisingly warm.
      Make sure your boots are waterproof, with wool socks or liners. Wet feet are cold feet, and cold feet make all of you cold. Wool remains good insulation even when damp, but dry is better.
      Never go out without hand and head coverings if it’s below freezing. Frost bitten once, extra sensitive to cold forever. Mittens are warmer than gloves. Mittens over gloves are warmer yet. Hats that don’t cover your ears are for chilly, not cold, weather.
      Just because a coat has a hood doesn’t mean it will keep your head warm. Too many hoods are for looks, and let cold air inside. Wrap a scarf around the outside to keep your hood close against your head.
      Cheap hand-warmers to put in your pockets: take a pair of socks (cheapies are OK, but no holes) and fill the feet with dry, uncooked rice. Sew them up or tie knots to keep the rice in. Zap them briefly in the microwave before you go out. Much cheaper than the fancy chemical hand warmers, and infinitely reusable. (Unless they get wet – the rice will swell, then go bad. But you can dump it out and replace it. Plain rice is cheap.)
      If you have to stand outside to wait for a bus or train, turn your back to the wind as much as possible, or duck your head, to keep the wind off your face.
      Moisturize religiously. Cold air has very low absolute humidity.

  29. Just One More*

    Content warning for liquor and drinking.

    I feel like I’m having a hard time with social drinking. When I’m hanging out with my friends, I constantly have a drink in my hand. I’m not getting black-out drunk every weekend but I constantly refill my drink in social settings. Has anyone else gone through this and can give tips for cutting back? I don’t want to be the friend who is drinking to excess at every single party.

    1. Agent J*

      Do you think it’s habit? Does drinking help with any social anxiety? Do you just like to drink but want to but limits on it?

      One thing that has helped me recently is to limit myself to one drink per outing. This was more for financial reasons (I was also buying multiple drinks, food, Ubers home because I was too tired, etc.) so limiting myself to just one drink has helped me to save money. I also try to time my drinks so if I get to the bar first, I’ll wait for my friends to arrive before I order so I feel like we’re drinking together.

      You can also try switching to something non-alcoholic after you have a drink or two. Something like a club soda and lime so you can have something in your hand, but not necessarily liquor.

      1. tab*

        Exactly what I do. I start with a large glass of water (with lime to make it festive). After I’m done with that, I have a drink. Repeat no more than twice.

      2. The New Wanderer*

        Yes! It spaces out the time between drinks, usually helps with any resulting hangovers, and you end up having to spend time in the bathroom which is time not spent refilling your drink.

      3. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        Yes. You can also try soda water/seltzer water if you’d rather have that instead of plain water. (Most bars have this, and many bars will either charge for one refillable soft drink or not charge at all for soft drinks if you’ve also ordered, say, a shot of whiskey. I have spent many evenings sipping on two neat whiskeys and drinking multiple pints of soda water between each, particularly when it’s hot out.)

    2. Rexish*

      I’m a social drinker. I dont get drunk, but I do have a drink in my hand and often suggest going for “one”.
      Some of my favourite cider brand do non alcoholic versions. Also mocktails are really good. Sodas are making a comeback so you can find many cool ones so it’s not just sprite or coke.

      One thinking that helped me was to pace myself. Nurse the one drink. Take a drink and water so you won’t drink the alcohol for the thirst.

    3. self employed*

      You might be interested in the book “This Naked Mind” about cutting back on drinking.

    4. MatKnifeNinja*

      Not paying attention to what you are drinking? Like mindless snacking or are you self medicating for anxiety/whatever?

      I found carrying in a glass of soft drink or club soda with lime/club soda with cranberry juice looks enough like a “drink”, you don’t stand out.

      I like top shelf vodka, and Guinness. If neither can be had, I wander around with a club soda and lime. That looks like a mixed drink so the nosey-s don’t ask why I’m not drinking. I’ve walked around with orange juice (faux screw driver), or a virgin bloody mary.

      I’m 55 so no one usually hassles me about not drinking anymore. Drink water in between your alcoholic ones to keep well hydrated. Carry a decoy drink if you have friends who nag you about “not drinking”. I have had virgin mix drinks that are tastey and bonus round no booze. The bartender puts the virgin drinks in the same style of glass.

    5. LGC*

      Basically what everyone else suggested – alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Hopefully, your social circle does not pressure you to drink to excess (and if they do, that’s an entirely different issue).

      In addition – yeah, check in with yourself as to why you need to refill your drink constantly. (In my case, I’m nervous in social situations and also I need to have something with me.) I’ve often asked for “X and a glass of water,” which slows me down considerably.

    6. Dan*

      Just for the sake of conversation, I’m having trouble separating “don’t get black out drunk” and “don’t want to drink to excess.” In my book, they are pretty similar.

      “Always has a drink in hand” well, its significance is partly a function of body type. I’m a big guy, and if I drink two drinks an hour, I can always have a drink in hand, but not get terribly intoxicated.

      As for what you can do. If you drink beer, switch to the lower ABV beers. I’ve found these days that anything under 6% takes me a *long* time to feel its effects. And there are plenty of good beers in this ABV range.

      Alternating with water helps too, and in fact, is a very good idea for a number of reasons. If you’re mixing your own cocktails, you can water them down.

      If you mostly drink wine, your options for moderation are a bit more limited. Wine tends to be a rather consistent ABV, and one doesn’t water down wine, so…

      As an aside, depending on your party logistics, don’t let people “helpfully” top off your drink. You can’t manage consumption like that. My ex and I used to get together with her social-drinking (and then some) family. And then afterward, she’d be like “OMG I drank too much.” To which I would tell her, if she really wants to cut back on what she drinks, she needs to tell her dad to stop “being nice” and topping off her wine. I saw how often he would do it, and there’s no way anybody was keeping up with how much was actually getting poured/consumed.

      1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        In the summer, I water down (cheap) wine 50/50 with soda water, but that’s more of an “at home” thing and I don’t know that you could talk a bar into doing it. (I also dilute most non-alcoholic juices with water or soda water at home. I just don’t need strong flavors, I guess.)

        1. ..Kat..*