weekend free-for-all — October 12-13, 2019

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

Book recommendation of the week: Evvie Drake Starts Over, by Linda Holmes. A recent widow whose grief is complicated gets to know a baseball player whose arm stopped working and things must be worked out. It’s a little light and fluffy, and sometimes that is exactly what you want.

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

{ 1,217 comments… read them below }

  1. Amethyst*

    My project from hell reached a new circle of hell yesterday. (I’d been fixing up an old dresser to use as additional kitchen counter space. This is also my first project, for context.) My dad came to show me how to install drawer slides, & he cut his finger on his circular saw. 4.5 hours in the ER later, he had 12 stitches, a gap between 2 stitches since he’d shredded that area & the doctor couldn’t find any skin to pinch together, & a splint cuz he’d broken the middle joint of his index finger.

    I can’t stop looping through the whole thing & crying. The blood spray. The blood all over my living room & kitchen floors & cabinets. The panic. All the blood he’d lost. Him insisting he’s gonna let it heal as is (he’s ripped through all the tendons in addition to breaking the bone) since he doesn’t really use that finger & being really oddly combative with the ER doc over it. But now he seems to have calmed down & I’m hoping he sees reason & goes to his orthopedic specialist in his state to get it looked at & fixed properly. Now I’m just left feeling horribly guilty cuz he’d come to help me with MY project & it’s gone & shed blood & now I’m thinking of just eating the costs I’ve already sunk into this bastard & dumping it.

    Nothing’s worth bloodshed.

    1. Sunny*

      It’s gonna be okay. If you feel better ditching the dresser, just do it. Don’t keep it fi it’ll make you sad every time you look at it.

      And it’s not your fault! An accident is an accident.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        This, all of this.

        Accidents are scary, but your dad will be all right and this was NOT your fault in any way.

    2. Laika*

      I’m so sorry this happened. My dad had a very similar accident while working on a project in our basement, also with a circular saw (slicing vertically through the pad of his thumb, down to the bone). I didn’t see it happen but he came upstairs with a whole towel wrapped around his hand. It *is* a lot of blood, and in typical Dad fashion, he insisted he was probably okay. Then laid down on the floor holding his hand above his head, and presumably shock set in, and started arguing with me about going to the clinic (he wanted to go find my mom instead, who was out shopping at the pet store??). Luckily I was the driver and got to decide that we were going to straight to the doctor. He also had plenty of stitches, although I don’t remember now how many.

      Anyway, that was a few years ago, and he healed up just fine. He still uses circular saws, and still is delighted to help out teaching and learning with all my dumb projects. Please don’t take on feelings of responsibility for something that was situational and not at all your fault. Although I totally wouldn’t blame you for going full Office Space on that dresser.

      Hopefully you can still find joy in tackling similar projects in the future, and wishes of a speedy recovery to your dad. <3

    3. CoffeeforLife*

      I’m hoping to make a kitchen island from pipes and a precut butcher block top (ikea). No moving blades involved. Mental hugs for help erasing that image

    4. Book Lover*

      I’m so sorry but glad it sounds like he is ok, all in all. I would put the thing somewhere you won’t see it for a while and if it were me I probably would get rid of it because I do tend to get flashbacks when I look at things and it wouldn’t be worth it to me to keep – but you don’t necessarily have to decide immediately. So sorry, try to be good to yourself this weekend.

    5. Wishing You Well*

      I’m sorry this happened. It’s not your fault. You can get rid of the dresser if it helps you.
      I’m worried about your dad’s state of mind. Is he always this nonchalant about serious injuries or has his judgment faltered in recent years? His behavior wasn’t rational. I hope it’s a one-off for him and the incident fades with time for you.

        1. valentine*

          I think he was in protective Dad mode and possibly embarrassed to appear less competent with a power tool plus feeling guilty himself for messing up the project. This is getting close to a Gift of the Magi sitch.

          I’d wait to decide on the dresser because he may feel worse if you dump it. (Not that you should keep it to spare his feelings while burying yours.)

        2. LGC*

          That’s how I read it – like, this is pretty common. I’ve seen it from both myself (went over the handlebars on a downhill, and I was WAY more embarrassed about the cops, an ambulance, and a fire truck showing up than worried about anything else) and my dad (accidentally slammed a heavy cabinet on his finger, jamming his ring onto it – and then calmly drove himself to the ER). Some people just get oddly calm or are even in denial about trauma, because it hasn’t really registered yet.

          1. Just Passing Through*

            I’m the oddly calm never panic type.

            Dad might want you to keep the dresser once he’s healed. That’s a lot to go through for no reward at the end lol. It will likely become a funny anecdote eventually… literal blood sweat and tears went into that piece and it’s something you did together. Even if there was a wildly unexpected detour

            If it’s really too hard to keep it I suppose he’d understand but he might really want you to keep it.

    6. anon9*

      I’m so sorry, Amethyst! I imagine your dad is being so casual about it to alleviate your worry, combined with denial and shock. If you need to get rid of the dresser, it’s not a waste – there is no point in keeping something that will only bring up painful memories.

    7. Shiny Onix*

      Oh my god that sounds awful! I’m so sorry!
      Echo the others – get rid if that feels right. Hugs if you want them.

    8. Nita*

      Oh no, I wish him an easy recovery! He probably wasn’t thinking straight and will probably have the finger looked at properly once he calms down. I remember being in the ER over something I felt was my fault. Once it became clear that the doctors can’t 100% fix it I just wanted to go home. I was angry at myself and felt I don’t “deserve” anything more than first aid to make sure I don’t drop dead. I was arguing with the doctor who wanted me to wait for some additional treatment and trying to get her to just discharge me already. Once I got home and calmed down, though, I went to all the follow-ups and got the issue sorted out properly.

      Oh, and I’d dump the dresser if I was you. Not worth the negative feelings you’ll get every time you look at it!

    9. Mid*

      Just to repeat other comments: it isn’t and wasn’t your fault. At all. Accidents happen, and they’re scary as hell, but it’s not your fault.

      But also, if this is the project from hell, just let it go if that would make you feel better. Start over on something new later.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        One more voice saying, this is not your fault. Here… let me tell you about the time I slammed my father’s hand in the tailgate of the truck. Okay, we can skip it. Accidents happen.

        Ya know, dads are real funny/odd. Why don’t you ask him if he wants to abandon the project. I am thinking that if you abandon it, he will say, “Gee, I shed blood for you on that and you gave up?”

        You know everything is relative and you know that time changes our perspective. Your dad may have had bigger things happen that hurt way more. He may actually think this is small potatoes compared to other things. We, the kids, do not get to decide what hurts our parents the most. Eh, we don’t get to decide what hurts anyone the most.

        I don’t know which answer is best here, (stop or keep going) but I do think that you should just let the dust settle here and see where that puts you. Don’t make a hasty decision.

        My father and I agreed that only one of us would close the tailgate and the other would walk away. That never happened again.

    10. Amethyst*

      Thanks for all your reassuring words of comfort. I’ve been coming back here a lot this weekend to read & reread your comments. I also spent the night at a friend’s house watching their boys while they had a date night. It’s helped, but it’ll take me a while to stop looping. I’m still undecided on the dresser. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere to hide it in my apartment while I consider my options, so it sits right out in my living room for now.

      1. gsa*

        Sorry to here about your Dad, your dresser, the clean up.

        I only cut myself with a Skil saw once. The scar is still visible, 30 years later. If he actually cut tendons, he needs to get those fixed.

        Hang in there, you did not do anything wrong! Take care.


      2. Quinalla*

        So sorry about the scary experience! I too would be trying to blame myself, even though I would know rationally it wasn’t my fault. Accidents happen! I had a bad accident where I hurt myself and I irrationally blamed (I’m mostly over it now) myself even though it wasn’t my fault.

        I agree do what you need to do about the dresser, I too would suggest hiding it (with a blanket/sheet if that is your only option) for a bit and see how you feel. Some folks would want to trash it, others would want to keep it, etc.

        And regarding your Dad acting weird, could be shock, could be embarrassment/shame, etc. I know the few times I’ve been to the ER I acted pretty odd, so it happens.

  2. merp*

    I’ve been wanting to shoutout to whoever posted the super easy recipe for peanut butter cookies like, months and months ago. They’re my fave now!

    (Maybe everyone knows it but if someone wants it: 1 cup sugar, 1 cup peanut butter, 1 egg, handful of chocolate chips, 350 for 12 minutes. All credit to the mystery commenter from earlier this year!)

    If anyone wants to share their favorite comfort baked good recipe, I’d love to hear them, I need more baking inspiration lately.

    1. Baker*

      Pumpkin bread is my favorite quick bread.
      3 eggs
      1 c. vegetable oil
      1 1/2 c sugar
      2 c. pumpkin
      3 tsp vanilla
      3 c flour
      1 tsp baking soda
      1/4 tsp nutmeg
      3 tsp cinnamon
      1/4 tsp baking powder

      Beat eggs, add oil, pumpkin and vanilla. Add sugar. Add dry ingredients. Pour into greased muffin tin or bread pan. Bake at 325. Muffins take about 2o min and bread takes about 50-60 min. It is done when a toothpick comes out clean. I find this super moist and full of cinnamon flavor.

      If you’re interested in exploring lots of types of recipes but don’t want to make large batches, there are cookbooks called Small Batch Baking that make 8 cookies, 2 tarts, etc. that you might enjoy.

      1. Kate R. Pillar*

        The 2 cups pumpkin – is that grated? pureed? We have access to so much pumpkin right now and I’d love to try your recipe!

      2. Baker*

        The pumpkin is pureed. I buy actual pumpkins, cut them into pieces about as big as my hand and remove the seeds and stringy guts by scraping them out with a large spoon. Place pieces skin side down into a pan with high sides and add a bit of water, about an inch but you don’t really want the flesh to get wet. Bake at 400 for 45-60 min after covering with foil. It’s done when a fork pricks it and it’s very soft. Cool a bit, then scrape flesh off the peel, which is easy because it just falls off. Blend with a food processor or hand mixer. I freeze this in 2 cup amounts and thaw a day or two before I need it. I’ll also put it into a strainer for a minute and get rid of some of the excess liquid. I think using an actual pumpkin is so much better than canned pumpkin which I think is denser and stronger flavor, especially if it comes already seasoned. But canned pumpkin bought from the store would work. I’m not sure if grated pumpkin would work or even how easy it is to grate a pumpkin, it sounds harder to me than baking it to puree it. Sweet potatoes: hmm, I have no idea if that would work. After baking and pureeing pumpkin it’s actually quite wet, kind of like applesauce. Do sweet potatoes get as moist? If not, the recipe might be too dry. I suggest trying half a recipe, maybe increasing the oil or eggs if it looks really dry and making a few muffins so you don’t waste a bunch of ingredients if it bombs. * Note: a full recipe usually makes 12 muffins plus a few small loaves of bread. These small loaves are about 3 inches by 2 inches, so tiny individual loaves.

        1. Baker*

          Forgot to say that I think most pumpkins will work but I learned about a variety called “pie pumpkin” that I think is less stringy so it’s better for baking than say a jack o’lantern. I found them in my local grocery store.

      3. NYCProducerGal*

        I can’t wait to make this!! Thank you! I love pumpkin bread but so often get dry, flavorless slices when I take a chance on them (in bakeries and stores, etc).

    2. NeonDreams*

      I found a cake batter cookie recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. so i decided to use red velvet cake mix in that recipe. it was an awesome discovery. i use regular chocolate chips since i don’t like white chocolate.

    3. Tess McGill*

      Apple Muffins

      1 large apple, peeled and chopped
      1/3 cup vegetable oil
      2/3 cup sugar
      1 egg
      1/3 tsp. vanilla
      1 cup flour
      1/3 tsp. cinnamon
      1/3 tsp. baking soda
      1/3 tsp. salt
      PAM cooking spray

      Preheat oven to 375. Sift flour with cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Mix oil, sugar, egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture. Add apples. Put into WELL-greased muffin tins (do not use liners) and bake 15 minutes. Makes 12. I normally triple the recipe (because: math) and make 36. This is a pretty fast recipe and can easily be made in the morning for breakfast. Warning: we call these muffins “crack” in my family. Incredibly addictive.

    4. hermit crab*

      I love the Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Bread recipe from Six Sisters Stuff. I found it via random googling one day (I am very much not a clean-eating, no-refined-sugars type, which is I think the recipe’s target audience) and now I make it all thee we time. So easy and I love it. Like, I used to think I didn’t like banana bread but this recipe converted me.

    5. Red Sky*

      Oooh, I wonder if the super easy peanut butter cookie recipe could be made with almond butter or other non-peanut nut-butter? Anyone tried it that way?

      1. CoffeeforLife*

        Work, yes but taste/texture could be really different. I did a side by side bake with natural peanut butter and skippy/jiff. The crap peanut butter delivers a better texture and bake (much to my dismay). Most other nut butters seem to be of the natural variety. FWIW. Good luck!

      2. merp*

        Like CoffeeforLife says, the texture of them varies a lot depending on the PB (and they’ve never been quite the same as regular cookies with flour/etc for me in the first place) but honestly I’ve liked every variation. I say go for it!

      3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        You can sort of do it with Nutella, but you have to replace the cup of sugar with a cup of flour because the Nutella itself doesn’t have the right food chemistry mumbo jumbo that the PB does to form a protein structure that will hold together. But I don’t know if that’s because of the hazelnuts or the chocolate in the Nutella spread.

      4. Alexandra Lynch*

        I do something close to make almond protein cookies for my boyfriend.
        1 small container almond butter
        1 egg
        1/4 c. flour
        3 cups almond flour
        1 tsp. cinnamon
        plain unsweetened yogurt.

        Mix wet, mix in dry, mix in yogurt until the mixture is the consistency for drop cookies. Drop by spoonfuls or cookie scoop on a cookie sheet, and flatten with the palm of your hand. Bake ten minutes, let cool on the sheet, and drizzle with melted dark chocolate if desired. That makes about 30 cookies.

        1. Flawlessly Flawed*

          Sounds so yummy! How much yogurt do you use? (May be obvious to most people, but I’m not the best cook out there. However I can follow instructions really well. :))

    6. Gingerblue*

      Pumpkin Scones

      1 ½ c all-purpose flour
      ½ c whole wheat flour
      3 T dark brown sugar
      2 t baking powder
      ½ t baking soda
      ½ t salt
      1 ½ t apple pie spice; ie, some combination of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger
      6 T cold unsalted butter
      2/3 c inclusions: currants, chopped crystalized ginger, chopped dried apples, or white chocolate chips are good
      1 large egg
      ¼ c cold buttermilk (or 1/4 c milk and 1/2 t vinegar)
      ½ c pumpkin puree
      2 T half-and-half or milk, for brushing
      rough sugar, for sprinkling

      Preheat oven to 400 and grease a baking sheet.

      Combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add the inclusions.

      In another bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk, and pumpkin; add this to the dry ingredients and mix until it just holds together. Turn onto a floured surface and knead a few times to make a coherent dough.

      Divide the dough in two; pat each half out into a 6” round, 1” thick circle. Cut each into quarters and place the scones on the baking sheet a few inches apart. Brush with milk, sprinkle with sugar, and bake 15-20 m.

      It’s a bit hard to judge doneness in these, because they’re already an orange/brown; but the edges should be browning when you take them out.

      Another option for finishing them is to skip brushing them with milk and sprinkling the sugar on top–just bake the scones with bare tops. When they come out of the oven, turn the broiler on. Sift powdered sugar over the tops of the scones and put them under the broiler for just long enough for it to caramelize.

    7. C Average*

      I made some really good muffins this morning from odds and ends that I had around. I very loosely interpreted an existing recipe; most amounts are my best guesstimate.

      Huckleberry Pineapple Whole Wheat Muffins

      2 1/2 c whole wheat flour
      1/3 c white sugar
      1 1/2 t baking soda
      1/2 t baking powder
      3/4 t salt
      a few good shakes cinnamon
      2 eggs, beaten
      about 1 c pineapple, finely diced
      4 T coconut oil, melted
      3 glugs heavy cream
      1 1/2 cups frozen huckleberries or blueberries

      Combine dry ingredients in one bowl. Gradually add wet ingredients to dry mixture, stirring as you go. Add more cream or, alternatively, applesauce or yogurt, until the batter coheres. Mix in pineapple thoroughly, then add berries and stir. Bake for 25 minutes or so.

      I’ll bet they’d be even better with chopped nuts.

    8. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I don’t know if I’m the specific one who posted it for you, but I know I’ve shared that recipe a few times here, and I’m glad you like it! (It’s good with mini m&ms in too, or leave out the choc chips and stick an unwrapped Hershey’s kiss or Rolo candy in the top of each one straight out of the oven.)

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Not a bit! I asked a food scientist once and was told that the proteins in the peanut butter and egg combine to form a protein structure that makes flour (or anything gluten-y) unnecessary to hold the cookies together. They’re fairly soft cookies, definitely not going to get crunchy short of massive overbaking, but that’s how I like mine anyway :)

    9. Arts Akimbo*

      I learned how to make jam recently, and it has made me so happy! I like tart fruit jam, so it has been great that I can add sugar to my taste. My favorite is rhubarb, and I like to add blueberries for their color– you get a nice deep rich red.

      4 stalks rhubarb, sliced & diced
      1/2 pint blueberries (whole, fresh)
      1 TBSP lemon zest
      1 TBSP lemon juice
      1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
      1 or 2 tsp almond extract (optional– gives a lovely complexity to the flavor!)

      Chuck it all in a pot together and stir on medium-high heat until the fruit has cooked, become mushy and liquidy, and finally thickened into jam. This usually takes about 45 minutes given my stove temperature and how chunky I cut the rhubarb. Enjoy! :)

  3. Fishsticks*

    Tdlr: Does anyone have suggestions for stopping my cat from ripping up carpet under the door?

    Longer question: one of my cats hates being locked up (currently working on introducing my 2 cats to another cat so for the foreseeable future the door is staying closed). And so he digs at the carpeting. We have cover the floor with those plastic covers that you can use with a chair and then over the cracks used double sided tape (that was sold specifically for cats) and he is still getting the carpet pulled up!!!

    Of course I rent and so any help would be appreciated. We trim his nails regularly and I’m concerned about using the nail caps cause I’ve seen both good and bad info about it.

    So if you have suggestions on either how to stop my cat from doing this or how to replace carpeting, I’d greatly love it! Thanks!

    1. merp*

      This may not be ideal, but my cats do this less when they have a rug that they are allowed to scratch. The woven ones (I’ll see if I can add a link) don’t get damaged by claws.

    2. fposte*

      Would it work to put a sacrificial bathmat or entry rug over the area that he could scratch without damaging landlord property?

    3. JMAK*

      Yikes! Your sweet kitty is making sure all the other cats know that door is HIS DOOR.

      Here’s what worked in my house: Remove the satisfaction (Double-sided tape or aluminum foil) and replace it with a suitable alternative (a flat cardboard scratching mat).

      1. Fishsticks*

        He would 100% eat the cardboard. It’s his favorite food lol. We try our best never to give him some lolol. But I think I’m going to try rugs! That could help I can only hope.

    4. All monkeys are French*

      This sounds like marking territory. Have you tried Feliway? It’s a pheremone spray or diffuser that can help calm stressed cats. I’ve had mixed results with it, but lots of people report success, especially when introducing new cats.

      1. Fishsticks*

        I have tried it! And he hated it and it made him more aggressive. I might try it again eventually but I want to wait a bit longer (my other cat isnt feeling the best so I dont want to force her to get along with a new cat unless i have to)

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Spray the carpet with vinegar?
      Bad news, you will have to keep up on doing this.

      Some times I have a bowl of grease drippings cooling on the counter. I put a splash of vinegar in it and my dog just totally stays away from it. Anything else that smelled good to him would cause him to be up on the counter helping himself.

      I have a spritzer of vinegar anyway because I use it to clean windows and mirrors. So I can spray anything the dog gets too interested in.

    6. Wolfsbane*

      I had this issue and I had zero luck with nail caps. How often is regular trimming? Weekly? Every other week? I found the sweet spot with my tom is every 3 weeks. Any longer and he gets territory marky.

    7. Venus*

      He’s upset about being locked up as he wants to see your other kitty, so all the usual stuff (double-sided tape, feliway, etc) isn’t as likely to work.

      A few more options are:
      Cats apparently hate citrus, so you might try spraying some citrus smells along the edge of that carpet (I’ve never had to try this myself, but I figure that it can’t hurt). Similarly, ‘bitter apple’ is sold at pet stores. It’s meant for flavour, to keep cats from biting wires, but he might also realize that when he scratches it he gets a bitter taste on his paws
      Put another carpet, or anything that has a bit of thickness, under the door. Carpet stores often have samples, so you can ask them about buying a short pile yet really tightly woven, or you can look at hardware stores for a front-door mat
      Trim the nails often, and get them quite short. This won’t fix everything, but it will hopefully slow him down

      I have had cats start to destroy the bottoms of doors, in an attempt to get out, so I can sympathise. Thankfully in my case I didn’t need to confine them for long so it didn’t look too bad

    8. Andream*

      Get something that he can scratch and put it right next to the door. Lots of positive reinforcement to use the new scratcher, i.e pets when you see him use it, treats etc.

    9. Hope*

      Make sure you’re swapping the cats that are behind the locked door periodically, so they can get used to each others’ scents. That should help alleviate some of the ripping up carpet thing.
      You can also try getting a thin piece of wood and nailing it over the carpet–we had to do that because one of my cats eats carpet, but only if she can get at it at the edge of the door threshold. When you move, you just pry up the wood, and it’ll be like it was never there.

      You can find tons of videos on YouTube about replacing carpeting if it comes to that.

  4. NerdyKris*

    I need to apologize for my weird, angry posts on Wednesday. I was having a health issue and was reacting to things people weren’t saying in the threads and being combative. I am very embarrassed and sorry for accusing people of things they weren’t saying. I was upset about those things outside this blog and was then reading it into people’s posts here.

    1. WellRed*

      Thanks for saying this. I was debating posting here about what felt like a general increase in negative, nit picky comments this week (not specifically you) and it weighed me down. Maybe it’s something in the air? Take care of yourself!

    2. Ted Mosby*

      Hey, this stuff happens! We should all strive to keep things positive and be understanding, but no one is their best self every day, so don’t beat yourself up! I, for one, really appreciate this sweet, sincere apology. I hope you’re feeling better.

  5. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

    A couple we’re friends (“Jacinta” and “Joe”) with separated a month ago and one (“Jacinta”) is moving near us. They seemed like a happy couple so this came as a shock. We noticed Jacinta was amazing with small toddlers of her own friends/past neighbors but they never had kids of their own. And Joe seemed the gruff type that wasn’t the most kid-friendly.

    1. We will host a housewarming sometime. How do we invite them? Just Jacinta? How would you handle this? (Jacinta never stated much as to why they separated and we didn’t want to pry).

    2. What should we say/do for someone going through a separation? We’ll invite Jacinta over with the rest of our friends but besides that? What helped if you were in a similar position?

    1. WellRed*

      I’m mostly curious why you are mentioning Jacintas aptitude with children? And, do you even like Joe? Seems like you’ve already decided on Jacinta.

    2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      1. I would not invite both of them. Even if the separation is mostly amicable (and that’s not something you can safely assume without specific information), it’s better to let raw feelings settle, and one month isn’t very long. Invite whomever you would more want to spend time with.

    3. Asenath*

      I’d probably invite the one I was friends with first, or the closest friend; or, if I couldn’t decide on that basis, neither of them. I generally try not to get into discussions with people going through a separation – I might say “sorry you’re having a rough time” if the opportunity comes up and that seems appropriate, but honestly, so soon after the separation, feelings can be raw and people can be in various states – wanting to move on and not brood over things, terribly bitter and wanting to go over all the details or worst of all, try to enlist you in their ongoing dispute with their ex. Best to just be kind and polite to them as individuals.

    4. Anon Librarian*

      Were you a lot closer to one than the other? If so, consider inviting that one. But I think the safest route is to invite neither. If you invite one, the other may find out and feel hurt. Not only that, but it could come across as though you’re taking sides in the split. I would just leave them both out of this and pursue separate friendships with them to the extent that you want.

    5. Warm Weighty Wrists*

      I’ve had good luck with directly asking separated friends how they would like us to handle invitations/being friends with both/talking about the separation. Usually the person appreciates being asked directly, and has something they would prefer. The potential downside of asking directly is you might get details you don’t want, so be prepared for that.

    6. Lilysparrow*

      In the majority of couple-friend configurations, two people are the primary friends and the partners are more casually friendly. There are situations where both pairs or all 4 people are equally close, but that’s pretty unusual.

      It sounds like you are primary friends with Jacinta, and more casually friendly with Joe. So it’s fine to just invite Jacinta. If your partner feels strongly that Joe is a good friend too, then you should ask Jacinta and Joe how they want to handle things like the housewarming invite.

      Don’t just invite both of them without saying anything about it. That’s asking for a high degree of awkwardness.

      1. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

        Thanks; we’ve actually known both for half a decade…we know each of them equally.

        1. Auntie Social*

          Have the guys in the family ask Joe for Saturday breakfast or golf or whatever. Guys like to talk while they’re doing things.

    7. AnonANon*

      As someone who went through a separation and divorce, don’t exclude them forever. And right now they are going through a loss. They don’t also need to lose friends.
      This may not be the party to invite both of them to, but don’t shut one or both out of your life if you were close with them. Or if you want to invite both of them, inform both of them that you invited the other one.

      One of the crappiest things about divorce…the friends that didn’t know how to handle it so decided to not speak to me again. Divorce is a weird thing to navigate for everyone, but we can still do lunch.

  6. Snory*

    Hi all, I’ve posted before about my troubles with my cpap machine. I take the mask off every night while I’m sleeping. So I’m looking for alternatives. Has anyone had the laser surgery to get rid of the extra tissue causing the snoring? Any info would be appreciated, thanks!

    1. RemingtonTypeType*

      I haven’t seen your previous posts, but I have a question that I hope you haven’t addressed already. Have you tried a completely different style of mask? My family/extended family has several cpap users and the trick for them was trying and trying and trying masks. Insurance covered it, and when they each found “their” mask it was magical.

    2. Jen in Oregon*

      I tried a c-pap for several years and was never able to keep it on through the night (and most nights woke up terrified when it slipped off, because it sounded like a jumbo jet was landing on my face) and quit using it even tho’ I desperately needed it. My dentist asked me how my sleep apnea was during a routine visit and when I told her of my non-compliance with the c-pap, she suggested device called a somnomed, which I have had and used faithfully for seven years now. I will tell you, it does take a little getting used to, and I did wake up with a sore jaw and mouth for about a week, but that went away completely for me as I got used to using the device (which is similar to a sports mouth guard, or a really bulky retainer.) I was reminded of this again last month when I had to get my original one replaced and had to go through that refamiliarazation process again.

      Getting a good nights’ sleep is life changing. I truly didn’t know what I was missing until about a month into wearing this. Wishing you all the best as you figure out what is going to work best for you!

    3. Marie*

      My husband got a mouth guard which he uses with a cpap. He’s been recommended for a frenectomy too. Our baby got a double frenectomy & handled it like a champ (mostly). I’m trying to convince my husband to just get it done already.

      1. Beatrice*

        Marie, a sublingual (under the tongue) frenectomy, or one somewhere else? My dentist has recommended a sublingual frenectomy for me before, because I’m moderately tongue tied, but I turned it down because he couldn’t articulate a clear benefit to me as an adult – I don’t have problems with eating or speech. I wasn’t aware of a link to sleep apnea.

    4. Wishing You Well*

      Talk to your CPAP medical person about alternatives. They should have accurate, current information about what’s available and the chances for success.
      Thank you for using your CPAP and taking care of your health! Hope you find a solution soon.

    5. NoLongerYoung*

      Could not tolerate CPAP but was able to use bi-pap. Later had the surgery plus huge tonsils and adenoids out. Only works for some, did for me.

    6. Meepmeep*

      A simple wedge pillow helped my mother resolve her sleep apnea. Now she’s got a hospital style bed that tilts. Maybe try that?

    7. gsa*

      I definitely have a love hate relationship with my CPAP. When mine was magically coming off at night, I figured out that the headgear had stretched, I replaced it and it stopped happening.

      From people I’ve talked to, the surgery is a crapshoot. The ones that helped that was awesome and the ones that didn’t regretted it.

      I’ve learned to live with mine, it makes a huge difference.

      Good luck!

    8. NowIWantPeanutButterCookies*

      My dad has the surgery – not sure if it was the same as the laser one you mentioned but he got his tonsils and uvula out. He said it was helpful; he could never tolerate the machine and the surgery definitely have him some (I think not complete) relief of his symptoms from apnea. He did say recovery from the surgery was more painful than he expected but that was short term and in the end he thought it was worth it.

    9. Nom the Plumage*

      I had the surgery, and it didn’t do anything but leave me with a hole in my wallet (even after insurance). I’m so upset. It was so much money and time off for NOTHING. I also cannot sleep with things touching my face, so I’m still suffering.

    10. It’s All Good*

      I’ve starting using a tongue sleeve a few night sounds ago. I have mild sleep apnea and it appears to be working so far. Normally I wake up every two hours, now I can go six hours! However I have a large tongue so when I remove it the base of my tongue is sore. You can find them on amazon, about $20. Good luck!

    11. Seeking Second Childhood*

      One simple idea for you to try… try it over a bandana some night. It keeps the mask more secure on my head when I have my hair short.
      Bedhead extravaganza, but the mask doesn’t slip.

  7. OyHiOh*

    Neptune and I started joking about running away for a weekend to a mountain cabin two months ago. Our family situations being what they are, that wasn’t a shift in relationship we wanted to take lightly so it wasn’t until a week and a half ago that we decided to plan for a day that would just be ours. Turn off phones, put computers away, and disappear for eight hours. Right place, right time, everything we’d done to plan for the day and to take care of each other; it felt like magic – like time stopped for the hours we spent together.

    Yom Kippur was an interesting day too. It’s come exactly when I needed to reflect on the past. To understand with hard-won acceptance that the life and plans I’d dreamed of with Mr. Oy will never be, and that where the dragons and I go from here is completely up to us. I get asked fairly regularly what my plans for this or that upcoming thing are and I usually say “I don’t know.” I don’t know – because there are so many things we *could* do and want to do. I don’t know what’s most important or what we should do first. It’s exciting but also scary

    1. Miss Astoria Platenclear*

      I just now got the “Oy” in your name. :-0Slow on the old uptake. Hopeful for you.

    2. Not So NewReader*


      Boy, do I hear ya.
      I went for life coaching because I realized that I could do anything I wanted, I had no immediate family to consider. The very next thing I said was “OMG, I can do anything I want! Help!”

      Specific dreams pass, but that does not mean dreaming stops entirely. In some ways my dreams are quite modest to most people. But they are mountains to me and I shall climb those mountains.

      My wise friend used to talk about doing what is immediately in front of you. Look at that first and see where that puts you. Sometimes reaching too far out makes it too hard, better to focus on what is near-by first and know that the rest will make sense in a bit.

    3. Bibliovore*

      Thank you for sharing. I do love hearing from you and about your dragons. The holidays have been a time of looking back and looking forward for me.

    1. OyHiOh*

      At a standstill this week. Got fifty-five pages deep into the script I’m working at, plotted out the last fifteen pages or so, and got stuck on what needs to happen for the next fifteen pages or so. It’s a strict timeline play, so the passage of time the characters experience on stage is the same two hours that the audience spends sitting in the theater. In a way, the timeline makes it easy – a page is about a minute and I can think comfortably in ten to fifteen minute blocks. On the other hand, I’m at a point where I’ve wound up all the characters and conflicts . . . but about fifteen or twenty minutes away from where I get to put all the conflicting characters back in the same room and watch the chaos unfold. So a little bit stuck but started to figure it out last night so hopefully I’ll be close to done next weekend!

    2. C Average*

      So very stuck right now. I keep opening my doc and then . . . nah, let’s look at AAM, let’s browse the Washington Post, let’s make muffins, let’s work on a sewing project, let’s play a dumb game on my phone.

      I finished the draft of Novel #1, which I’m workshopping in November, and had planned to go directly to Novel #2, which should be easy because I have it outlined six ways from Sunday. But alas, no, it is not proving easy.

      1. Claire*

        One technique that I’ve learned is to practice 5-10 minutes of mindful breathing. Eyes closed. Let your thoughts drift. You might feel yourself going into a light trance. This helps to clear the brain of life’s “chatter” and to focus on the writing. Your mileage may vary, of course.

    3. Daisy Avalin*

      Slowly, very slowly for me too! Pretty sure my muse took a one-way ticket somewhere and didn’t give me the details!

      1. C Average*

        It sounds like all of our Muses are having a nice holiday somewhere far away. I hope they’re having a good time and resting up for all the hard work we’re going to demand of them when they finally get home.

    4. Claire*

      Still making steady progress on #pirates2, still on target to finish a draft by the end of this month.

      Comic Con was awesome. I signed stock at the Harper Collins booth, hung around to watch people and costumes, talked to folks, and participated in a srsly fun panel about Murder, Mystery, and Mayhem, followed by an autograph session.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      I can’t remember if I said this already, but I submitted Tunerville to Pitch Wars. If nothing happens from this, I will stop querying it (don’t wannnnnnaaaaaaaaaaa).

      I’m about to start working on something new, I think for NaNoWriMo. Or maybe I’ll write Book 3 just to get it the hell out of my head and then write the new thing. But gah, there is great big time-consuming stupid life stuff happening.

      1. C Average*

        I’m thinking of doing NaNoWriMo this year. We should nag *cough* encourage each other. I would like to read your stuff sometime. I always enjoy your contributions here.

        For the workshop I’m attending next month, I had to read and prepare a critique of the other four participants’ manuscripts. I really enjoyed it. Some of them were more to my taste than others, but overall it was fun to see other people’s works in progress.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Haha, I usually blog NaNoWriMo if I do it, so feel free to hop on over and scold me when I post things like “Only 272 words today because blah de blah blah herp derp derrrrrrp.” I will do the same for you. :)

          If I could just get this damn thing out into the world, you could read it! Meanwhile, the short collection is available, which is dedicated to the AAM commentariat. :3

    6. Ted Mosby*

      Been at a stand still w my novel for weeks as work tanks and I’m too exhausted to write at night. Feeling bad about myself.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Sometimes writing is taking a break and letting the writing go on in your head. Don’t feel bad.

        1. Claire*

          This. There’s a myth that you must write every day, but realistically, we all need to take breaks to fill the well.

    7. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      I dusted off last year’s attempt at a Christmas novel, about halfway through but plotted further. The writing at the start is a bit ropey, but I was definitely picking up speed by the middle. For a first draft its not bad, and would be a bunch of editing after. I need something to take my mind off other things and since I have time, I think perhaps this is the year I finish it and get it tossed up on the ‘Zon. Just for a sense of accomplishment.

    8. The curator*

      I came to write that I was a NaNoWriMo fail but as I thought about it, every project I started during NaNoWriMo has been published over the past five years. Taking inventory- 3 peer-reviewed articles, 2 books, and a blog. What? That is me saying that I’m in. All a want right now is to complete one essay. I can do that right? I think meeting here on AAM open thread is a great idea.

    9. Troutwaxer*

      I started another book after getting poor reviews of the first book from alpha readers – not enough plot apparently. But right now I’m deeply in the mid-book blahs, having reached the point where I need to make things really hard on my main character and develop her opposition – she’s at the top of the world right now and I need to knock her down… This is more difficult than anticipated.

    10. Kiwiii*

      I finished the fanfic thing I’d been working on for a month (and had to restart twice because I was being overly ambitious) but now I can’t seem to make myself work seriously on any of my other wips (or write anything more than about 300 words of intro on new projects). I’ve always had that problem, where I only want to write the very first section of a thing.

  8. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Gaming thread! What’s everyone been playing this week!
    I made some progress in Divinity: Dragon Commander, hoping to annihilate one of my enemies completely. Not too thrilled about about another one’s capital being on the island right next to my capital though.

    1. Laika*

      Oh, I just bought the notorious Untitled Goose Game! Turns out… I’m great at being a do-nothing goose, but terrible at being a bad goose! But it’s still very cute and enjoyable.

    2. Tess McGill*

      Not sure if this counts as actual gaming, but have decided to spring for a refurbished Nintendo 64 player along with a couple of games and two controllers for my son for Christmas (he’s 21, senior in college, home for Christmas). His Nintendo 64 was lost/misplaced/stolen during our move from Ft. Benning (GA) to DC in 2009 and he’s never quite gotten over it. I’m hoping it will be a fun surprise. Not sure who is more excited …. him or me. Since he’s an only child and his Dad was deployed a lot, with every new gaming console that was purchased (Wii, xBox), I tried to learn all the games so he’d have someone to play with (until he made friends at each new duty station and had someone his age to play with). As of this past August, 10 years after buying the Wii I can still kick his butt at MarioKart. :)

    3. Nicki Name*

      I decided to restart Sunless Skies on the Fame path a couple weeks ago, and I’ve nearly finished it. Once I do that, I might go for the Truth path or put it on the shelf for a while.

      I’m just about to go to my first KeyForge store championship– should be fun!

    4. SandrineSmiles (France)*

      I can’t play Age of Empires anymore, though I did update my video card drivers yesterday so I’ll try again later tonight. Other than that, mostly mobile games. And soon some Minecraft again too ^^

    5. Warm Weighty Wrists*

      I’m playing Greedfall these days, which is very pretty but all the criticisms of it are completely justified. Oh well, it’s still a nice break from Work Mountain. I’ve also been enjoying watching my BF play through Parenting Skills of War, which I’ve already played, and is a wonderful game and story.

      1. Wolfsbane*

        Greedfall sounds like any focus game tbh. Their specialty is about the horrors humanity inflicts on itself.

        If you don’t want to look at how terrible it was to live through the plague then don’t play plague tale. I don’t think you can succeed in one of their games without doing something terrible.

    6. Gingerblue*

      My Time At Portia, a 3D Harvest Moon-esque game. I’m enjoying it well enough to keep going, but I’m not in love. Once I finish it I’ll probably just start another farm in Stardew Valley.

        1. Gingerblue*

          Yeah, MTAP I’ll finish once, but Stardew I can see myself coming back to for years. Some games just make the right sort of satisfying click in the brain, and some don’t.

    7. Shay*

      I’ve been playing Zoo Tycoon 2.
      How the heck did they neglect to put a fast forward button on this thing? It takes months to raise the $40,000+ to buy two of the four star animals. I’ve been leaving it running while I’ve been cleaning and unpacking.
      I keep giving up around 4 stars because my zoo layout starts to get weird. This most recent one I created the layout way in advanced, a wide path around the main exhibit cage with fancy indents in the exhibit to put eating areas and playgrounds and fountains. But guests keep walking around this area and then getting hungry and frustrated because there’s no food / playground / fountain. So they don’t donate and my zoo fame stays low.
      So I need to round them all up and then block off those areas.

    8. The Ginger Ginger*

      I cannot WAIT for Planet Zoo to come out. I’m halfheartedly playing other things while waiting for it, but nothing is grabbing my interest because I just want to play Planet Zoo!!

        1. The Ginger Ginger*

          Right!? I just keep watching the youtube videos of the developer live streams while I wait around until 11/5.

    9. silverpie*

      Finally reached Mostar (last city I had left) in Train Commander World. Also a good bit of Mario Kart Tour.

    10. Raia*

      Fire emblem three houses – trying to push to the end, but im like 7 chapters away
      Stardew Valley – Currently not making any progress in the desert but finding a lot of ancient seeds for the greenhouse. The night market is odd.
      Star Realms app – fun hard card game app

      1. Wolfsbane*

        I have such a thriving farm, I cant make it to the dessert in any sort of decent time frame.

        I have seriously considered downsizing the animals.

    11. Wolfsbane*

      I finally got Plague Tale. I like it but I don’t know if I can recommend it. Its a horror game whose horror is more the things you have to do. Since I am very empathetic its been tough.

    12. Alexandra Lynch*

      I’m enjoying ARK: Survival Evolved. Open world, gorgeous graphics, and dinosaurs. If they had ordered it up special for me they couldn’t have done any better.

    13. Arts Akimbo*

      I have one, ONE shiny Eevee, and I got impatient and evolved it just to see what I would get. I had a 2/3 chance from a straight-up evolve to get something cool looking– I love the look of either shiny Jolteon or shiny Vaporeon.

      I got a Flareon. :P

    14. Free Meerkats*

      WoW Classic. But this time I’m playing the Alliance side, I didn’t play any Alliance toons until probably Cataclysm. I had forgotten the never ending running, followed by running, then running some more. I predicted the people who hadn’t played WoW until later would be surprised by its difficulty compared to latest version, and I wasn’t disappointed. The amount of whinging on chat was epic the first week.

      And of course, I ran out of ammo because I forgot you need it.

    15. Kiwiii*

      I’ve been playing Mini Metro A LOT on my phone. It scratches the same itch as traffic-planning things in Cities: Skylines does, but in easy half-hour or so sprints.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      My honest advice: don’t. I have a few friends who have tried various online dating sites, and it’s not been pretty. Maybe you’d do better, but one of my otherwise smart friends seems to start chatting and flirting with guys until they tell her they are suddenly stuck traveling overseas with their accounts frozen, and need her to wire money, just until they get home. This has happened more than a couple of times, apparently some of them are very good at playing a longer game.

      I keep telling my single friends to follow their interests, volunteer, take classes, and see who they meet that way. In the 70s and 80s “blind dates” were a bad joke, but they seem so much better than internet dating now!

      I’ve made internet friends, who I’ve only known online, and then met IRL, but that was more an online version of what I just recommended, where I got to know them and had a context, and even then it was sometimes a little weird, but much safer than online dating sites, IMO.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Is this generic advice, or specific to the DC area? I know a bunch of women who met their spouses or long-term partners through online dating.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          I did, too, but I’m male, and this was in the pre-Internet days, plus my partner and I already had a real-life connection. My friends that I referred to are women in the DC area, though.

          I’m not saying that my advice is the only choice, but meeting people through local activity or other people you know IRL gives you a social context, which weeds out the spammers and scammers. For people who aren’t happy with online dating, this might be a less bumpy ride, so to speak, although real-life dating is hardly smooth sailing, IIRC. It’s been a while!

      2. Anonymous5775*

        I met two short term boyfriends online. I’m in the midwest and this was about 6 yrs ago but I never got asked for money or felt scammed in any way. Perhaps that has changed in 6 yrs or it was because I was not in a big, urban area, but I think if you were wary and used safe practices and perhaps even read up on how to watch for scams, it’s worth a try. Good luck!

      3. Clever Name*

        Wait, were these women chatting with the men over some period of time and never met them? Or were these men they met in real life (went on a date) and then got scammed? Every online dating expert I’ve read suggests you meet up in person as soon as possible. Like go on a date a week or maybe 2 after starting to talk, and some suggest talking on the phone before going on a date.

        I met my live-in boyfriend on Bumble.

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Some they chatted with at length first, and some they met fairly early. The latter tended to not be scammers, but either ghosted them or, in one case, turned into a relationship that crashed and burned.

          It’s possible that a few of my single friends just don’t make great choices. (Not sarcasm, a couple are getting credit counseling and considering bankruptcy. And I specified single only because we’re talking about online dating.) Or they need to screen better, at least. Maybe they’re not skeptical enough, I’ve wondered that.

      4. different name bc location*

        I’m a twenty-something female living in/near DC and while I don’t love online dating, it’s not this bad! I mean, obviously be vigilant and use common sense, but I know people who met long-term partners through online dating. Pretty much everyone here does it.

      5. C Average*

        I met my partner of almost two years on Tinder, and before I met him, I had overall good experiences with the other people I met on Tinder. I went on a lot of dates and didn’t meet a single creep, nor did I receive a single dick pic or other unwanted contact.

        Here’s what seemed to work for me. (And I know a lot of it comes down to luck and timing, so I offer this up with all due humility.)

        –be really clear about who you are and what you want. In my case, this was “bookish, creative, outdoorsy fortysomething with a cat, recently divorced, mainly wants to make out with someone new but is open to an actual relationship.”

        –be really clear about deal-breakers. In my case, this was “I am proudly liberal, happily child-free, and monogamous, and I’m looking for dates with people who can check all three of those boxes, too.”

        –I chose pictures that made me look friendly and approachable and fun rather than trying to look hot, including a shot of me in a sloth costume I made myself for Halloween–believe it or not, I’d say nine of ten chats started with questions about that picture.

        –I thought very seriously about which things to limit. I think a lot of people select a pretty narrow age group. I couldn’t think of a specific age that seemed too high, so I didn’t put an upper limit. I’m really glad I didn’t, because my partner is 13 years older than me and if I had put a limit, I probably would have set it low enough to filter him out. Think carefully about how much age and other specifics really matter, and whether you might be filtering out someone great.

        –I was utterly honest about who and what I am. I never once tried to do anything specific to please the people I met who interested me. I really did want to make out with new people, and I did–a lot! And that was fun. But I was only interested in a relationship with someone who saw the real me and liked her, and for that I was willing to be patient.

        Good luck! I had a really good time online dating. I hope you do, too.

        (One kind of funny aside: I only tried online dating because my therapist, the one who helped me through my divorce, encouraged me to do so. I’d always had a pattern of meeting men through shared activities–rock climbing, running club, cycling, stuff like that–and my therapist said, “I don’t want you to fall into a relationship with the next guy you play sportsball with. I want you to be intentional. I want you to get on Tinder and treat it like you’re shopping. Think about what kind of relationship you want, and with what kind of person.” It was a great way of looking at things.)

        1. Not All*

          This is FANTASTIC advice!

          I was similarly very upfront with who am & what I care about. I used OkCupid because I can’t get past thinking of Tinder as a hookup site and the demographics on OkCupid generally skew much more liberal than eHarmony. They have tens of thousands of questions you can answer and I made a point of only answering things I truly cared about. For example “kissing in a tent or kissing in Paris?” I passed on answering because whether someone answered the same thing as me is going to have zero impact on our actual compatibility. “Religion is very important in my life” I answered because I’m an atheist and absolutely will not waste even 30 seconds chatting with someone who ranked religion as very important…we might be able to be work friends but there is no way we’d be compatible dating.

          One heads up…at least with OkCupid you don’t want to start a profile until you’re actually ready to finish it and start chatting. There isn’t a way to work in it without other people being able to see it and you’ll get 90% of your incoming messages the first week. (The experience of everyone I know on it….has a tendency to be the same people for a long time so when a new profile pops up everyone gets excited lol)

          I did meet someone amazing pretty quickly. If I wouldn’t have had to move for work, it would have probably turned into something very long term. Who knows…it may still since we still talk most days.

          Captain Awkward has some great advice on writing profiles suited to you.

          1. ZaDale*

            I agree with Not All and C Average. I met my now-husband on OkCupid, in the DC area, but only after I had revamped my profile 3 or 4 times over as many years to be:
            –actually my weird ass self
            –showing my nice fat bod
            As well as giving myself the permission to ignore messages from people I thought might could react with anger at a rejection. Had lots of nice makeouts, a few 3-6 month relationships, and then this one which is now onto 6 years!

      6. Venus*

        I have heard that it really depends on your city. I tried online dating in two cities, and for one it was miserable and the other I didn’t meet anyone who appealed but at least they were reasonable.

        You can’t know what the prospects are like online until you try them out… I might suggest trying to meet 5 people in real life (from the internet), and that would likely give you a good idea if you should continue.

    2. Lena Clare*

      I’ve got some writings on my blog Lenaclare dot WordPress dot com, about dating profiles, and attachments in dating.
      There’s other stuff on there, but you don’t have to scroll very far to read it if you want to.

      Remember, it’s just a way to meet people. The work of boundaries and deciding if they’re suitable is like non-online dating.

      And meet quickly after initial contact.
      Don’t give out your personal details other than your first name before you know that they’re ok and you trust them. Use the dating site for communication.

    3. Purt’s Peas*

      Enjoy it for what it is, if you can. Do you like meeting people, in general, and getting to know people? That’s what it is. If you go in saying, 100%, you’re only there to find your forever relationship, it’s going to really stink. If you go in wanting to meet people, go on some dates, hook up a bit, it’ll be fun.

      I had a lot of fun online dating, even though I had some terrible sex in the process. Meeting people and hanging out with new people was fun! There’s advice on this subject too about maintaining your boundaries and making sure you’re presenting yourself online such that people self-select out of messaging you, but most of all, recognize that online dating is what it is—a way to meet people, and not an automatic relationship dispenser.

      Eventually I did find a long-term partner—I went on a few dates with a guy, kept on wanting to schedule the next date, and now we’re married.

    4. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      Use Tinder, but expect to eliminate 8/10 profiles you see. Be very specific as to what you’re looking for. It’s how I met my husband of almost 2 years :)

    5. Angwyshaunce*

      I personally avoided the big-name sites, and signed up for a small specialized site. That’s how I met my now-spouse.

    6. NeonDreams*

      I tried it but haven’t gotten past the texting stage. Most matches are in a city two hours from me so it’s hard to actually go on dates. My views are opposite 90 percent of the population in my town so matches run out quickly without expanding. My best advice is to stick with your gut-if a situation feels wrong or troublesome, there’s usually a good reason behind it.

    7. Emily*

      I’m a pretty quiet, down to earth girl who wasn’t sure if online dating would work for me. I gave Coffee Meets Bagel a try while I was a senior in college (age 21) and had pretty good results! I met up with 3 people total, two of whom were nice enough, and the third I ended up dating for a year and a half. Although I met my current bf in person, I would definitely recommend giving online dating a try. A few tips would be:
      – Do a little research on the different types of dating sites. I used CMB back in ~2015 because I liked that you only got one match per day (instead of swiping through dozens). Not sure what apps/sites are out there today, but I don’t think they’re all created equal, so it’s worth reading up on them.
      – Make a list of the traits/qualities you’re looking for in a person. Or if you’re not sure, list a few you wouldn’t consider. Even if it’s vague, it gives you a starting point. Like, I want to date someone with a college degree, at least 1 inch taller than me, and who isn’t religious. Or something like that.
      – Don’t just text with someone for weeks on end. Try to figure out quickly if they seem like someone you’d get along with, and if all seems well, make plans for a casual date in a public place (e.g. coffee on a Saturday afternoon, happy hour drinks on a weekday). I’ve had too many friends text with someone for like, 2 months, only to meet up with them and realize they don’t like them in person. You’ll waste less time meeting in person.
      – Don’t take it too seriously. Meeting up for coffee doesn’t mean you have to marry the person. You don’t even have to see them again if you don’t hit it off. Just have fun with it. Things will come naturally if/when you meet the right person.

    8. AnonyNurse*

      Trust your gut.

      You don’t owe anyone anything.

      You don’t have to reply.

      You don’t have to keep replying.

      You don’t have to meet.

      You don’t have to stay when you meet.

      You don’t have to meet again.

      You don’t have to hug, kiss.

      You don’t have to have sex.


      You can have sex!

      You can have fun!

      You can reply!

      Just listen to your inner voice. If something feels wrong, you are right.

      1. Lilysparrow*

        “If something feels wrong, you are right.”

        This is great advice for dating in general, particularly for those of us raised as girls/women. We tend to over-analyze our gut feelings to see if they are “justified” or not.

        They don’t have to be justified, anymore than you need outside validation whether the milk smells sour. If you think it’s off, then something is off. Toss it out.

      2. Mid*

        Yes to all of this. Don’t worry about being mean/rude. You don’t need to justify your feelings to anyone. I ignored my gut about someone and ended up in the most hellish, abusive relationship of my life. Trust your gut.

      3. Mary*

        Adding to this: spend more time thinking about whether you like them, and whether you’re having fun, than you do thinking about whether they like you. Way too easy to get into the obsessive headspace where you’re so focussed on whether or not someone likes you that you forget to ask if you like them.

    9. Vistaloopy*

      This was 10 years ago in a different part of the country, but I met my husband on Match. We emailed for three weeks before meeting up in person. I liked that he didn’t try to use cutesy flirting, winks, etc but just honest conversation. Also, on our first date, he acknowledged the inherent awkwardness of first date etiquette (for example, figuring out who pays) which I thought was sweet.

      1. RemingtonTypeType*

        My husband and I met on match.con 19 years ago. I’m sure the online scene has changed markedly from the olden days of the internet, but I will always pipe up and say positive things about my experience!

        1. All my friends live in my computer*

          I think it’s actually much safer now than it was then. Now you have access, if they give it, or I’d like me you’re savvy enough to figure it out (totally not a stalker here, just diligent) their other social channels. You can see their Instagram and Facebook and figure out if anyone else actually knows them in real life. You can view their twitter feed and find out if they’re hiding racist or homophobic views etc. 20 years ago being online to date was very new, still taboo, and your digital footprint was very small. You couldn’t do due diligence to figure out if someone is who they say they are. Harder to look up a company that they claim to work for etc… I think it’s super safe and super normal to meet friends and lovers online. You just have to be smart. Anything fantastical that seems hard to believe might be, but it’s not too hard to figure out. And there’s no excuse that someone wouldn’t want to FaceTime or Skype you first if you’re feeling doubtful about meeting face to face for the first time etc. everyone has a camera phone now and if they don’t they are in proximity to someone who does, somewhere. Anyone who balks at something like that is a red flag… it’s less taboo now than then. Just be smart.

    10. Nynaeve*

      I would say know what you want and make that clear on your profile. Be willing to be flexible on your nice to haves. Not everyone is into you and that’s okay; you’re not into everyone either. As you go on, you’ll find your own boundaries and hacks (I only responded if it was clear they actually read my profile, for example).

      When you meet, pay attention to how you feel. Bored? Anxious? Annoyed? Relaxed? Vibrant? Scared? Ignored?

      I did online dating for a while (OkCupid) and generally had a good time meeting people, but I stopped because I got busy and didn’t want to put effort into building new relationships for a while. Your mileage will vary. Good luck!

    11. Button*

      I met both my husbands online! I think I turkey is being selective and not taking every interest as someone you need to consider.

    12. MinotJ*

      I met my partner 7 years ago on OK Cupid. My method for online dating was to preemptively block lots and lots of men. I would go through and filter for guys who wanted kids and block them all, then I’d filter for guys with politics the opposite of mine and block them, etc, for all of my categories. It took a lot of time but it saved me from so many “Hey Baby” messages. And it cut the number of possibilities way down, which I was okay with.

      And like others have said, I made my dealbreakers really obvious in my profile – and then I’d bring them up again on the first date.

      I never had any of the bad scenarios happen to me, but my entire personality is “Resting Bitch Face”. The worst I got was brand new guys on the site who I hadn’t blocked yet messaging me to tell me how sexxxay I was. Block.

    13. Warm Weighty Wrists*

      For me, online dating worked really well as a thought exercise for what I wanted in a relationship and whom I wanted to date, and to remember to be open to new experiences and people. I met a few great people (and I have at least 5 friends who married someone they met online), but the majority of my dates were people who were just fine–not amazing, not terrible. I did meet my partner through friends, but it was when I was online dating, and I do think that the openness I was practicing through online dating helped me get into that relationship. So, based on my experience (and mine only, obvs), here’s my advice.
      -Think hard about your dealbreakers and don’t worry about being “mean” by sticking to them. For me, examples of dealbreakers were: preferred range of ages does not include own age; holding a weapon or dead animal in picture; using the term “soulmate”; referring to how “most women” are and saying they want someone different from that. It weeded out a lot of people.
      -Do something on the date you would like to do anyway. This is your time in your one and only precious life–make sure you’re getting something out of it even if the person accompanying you might not be someone you ever see again.
      -If you’re not feeling it, call it quickly and kindly. Again, this is your time you’re spending, so don’t waste it on someone who seems ok but isn’t pushing your buttons. No need to do it in person if you don’t feel safe, but I had good luck with a quick message saying thanks so much for meeting, I wish you the best, but I don’t see us going on another date.
      -If someone else calls it, react briefly and politely. “Thanks for being honest, I wish you the best!” is a good reaction.
      -One of the benefits of online dating is it can skip right past the stage of politely showing one side of yourself and covering up all your weird bits. Lean into it! Be your weirdest, most authentic self because you don’t know these people so what do their opinions matter–go off about moon rocks or Hungarian police dramas or the 13 different kinds of snow and find the person who’s into that, or into the fact that you’re into it. If nothing else, you guarantee the conversation will be more fun than ascertaining each other’s hometowns.

      1. C Average*

        This is great advice, every word. And whether you’re online dating or not, leaning into the weird is a wonderful way to live.

    14. Alexandra Lynch*

      I met both my partners online. Now, I’m not quite typical as I was using a kink website designed to help people meet partners for kink, but I think some of this will transfer.

      I messaged with the person just long enough to confirm the big issues, which for me was no cat allergies, no problem with me being pagan, no problem with being in a polyamorous relationship, and compatible activity levels. (I have chronic pain; I will not be running with my boyfriend for fun.) Given the setting, I also looked to make sure we had compatible kinks, because there are some things I’m just not into and won’t be getting into, and if that’s his primary kink, we won’t suit. Then we moved very quickly to meeting up with each other for coffee. I had a LOT of no-shows, and I didn’t take it too hard because we really didn’t have a lot invested yet.
      Boyfriend and I just celebrated six years together; Girlfriend and I have been together for four. We all live together, and it works nicely. (It would work better if Girlfriend could find a job, but that’s life….)

    15. Ted Mosby*

      Go for quality over quantity!! Pick some things you want. I picked HAS TO say looking for a relationship, Jewish, nonsmoking, needs to seem curious and engaged in their life, stable job. Don’t swipe on anyone who doesn’t meet your standards, and don’t feel guilty for being judge mental. People tend to swipe on too many people to keep their options over, but your inbox will really quickly get clogged with meaningless small talk as you don’t have the time and don’t remember specifics well enough to engage deeply with anyone.

      Try for a 5 min phone call or Skype before you meet up to see how you vibe. I’ve met several people who within minutes, like often one minute, I realized I should not have met up, because we were on totally different wavelengths socially, but our small talk texts were fine.

      Be very honest about what you’re looking for. Know that men who don’t specify what they’re looking for or have very short/no bios are generally just trying to have casual sex.

      I have several friends who met their spouses online! Good luck!

    16. Aurora Leigh*

      You’ve gotten lots of great advice already! I’ll just chime in and say it worked for me! We met on Match and are planning a May wedding. :)

      Tell a friend who you’re meeting and where. It might be a little paranoid, but my friend was happy to know and excited to hear about the date after.

      Be authentically yourself andlook for people who are equally upfront.

      This probably won’t apply to you (in DC) but if you’re in a smaller pool, don’t just look at the chosen “matches” . . . do a search for your preferred gender amd age range. Honestly, all Match had for my now fiance and me was “you’re both nonsmokers” . . . I am religous and he is agnostic, he put not sure for kids, I put definitely . . . but we share a sense of humor, a love for animals, grew up with similar backgrounds, love learning and trying new things, but also just staying in to watch TV and eat ice cream.

      Have fun! But honestly, don’t take it too seriously or obsess about it. If it stops being fun, take a break. Our first date was my favorite pizza place after work on a Friday.

    17. Kimberlee, No Longer Esq.*

      I live in DC, and while I’m not dating, I know several people who are using dating apps in the area, and I know a few couples who met online and now have been happily married, having kids, etc.

      A friend of mine recently said that she changed her settings to only looking for a relationship, and expecting all her matches to dry up, but found that not only did the number of matches she got go up, the quality went up as well.

      Bumble seems to have gotten the highest reviews, but I know people who met via Match.com and Tinder also.

    18. young professional*

      i’m huge on online dating – i’ve met 2 really respectful hookups, and 3/maybe soon a 4th actual boyfriends of at least 1 year. I’ve met no creeps.
      some tips:
      Put your deal breaker on the profile. for me it was “looking for someone who cares about social issues.”
      Forgive men for being kinda ugly in pics – men often take real bad pics. But swipe left on shirtless or weirdly sexy photos.
      Keep your photos cute, flirty, not sexy unless you just want to bang.
      as a woman, I set my age limit 2 years older than me and up.
      for the convo, i indirectly bring up some of my deal breakers. I casually talk about a social issue (if they’re dismissive of it, red flag.) I make a casual comment that could be met with an overly sexual reply (ex: I’ll write “it’s so cold and i dont own any pajama pants!”). If they take the bait (ex: let me come and warm you up ;)), I’m not impressed that they’re mentioning sex/hooking up before a date. that’s just me though.
      I also don’t chat with someone longer than 4/5 days. Any longer, it’s awkward if you finally meet up and you want to let it fizzle out.
      for DC, I would also ask how long you’re planning on being in DC for. It really sucks that 2 boyfriends whom I loved moved a year after dating. but that’s the game in DC.
      Before the date, think of some questions to ask! for me it’s important to know if they have goals, find their job/school to be important, etc.

  9. MMB*

    Happy saturday everyone!

    I was thinking about memorable short stories the other day (ones that impacted me or stayed with me for years) and I realized it’s a very short list. Some of my favorites were:
    The Most Dangerous Game, Richard Connell
    Cerile and the Journeyer, Adam-Troy Castro
    The Ghost of Dibble Hollow, May N. Wallace
    The majority of Ray Bradbury’s work, but especially stories like The Foghorn and All Summer in a Day.
    (Now I’m remembering novels like The Enduring Years and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story!)

    When I close my eyes and think about these stories I can see my grandmother’s living room in the summer and smell the dusty yellowed pages of the books. What are some of the most memorable or impactful short stories you’ve read?

    1. OyHiOh*

      The Most Dangerous Game is on my short list of memorable short stories as well
      The Lottery
      The Yellow Wallpaper

      1. MMB*

        Yes! I loved the Yellow Wallpaper! So creepy.
        Just remembered Here be Dragons though it’s not a short.

      2. D.W.*

        The Lottery; I re-read this last month after 12yrs. Just as stirring as the first time I read it
        The Yellow Wallpaper
        The Veldt

    2. Purt’s Peas*

      Absolutely my biggest one is Robot Dreams by Isaac Asimov. I don’t want to spoil it but I find it so profoundly tragic and perfect—I think about it all the time.

      1. Marzipan*

        Ooh, ooh, also, Singing My Sister Down. Margo Lanagan is amazing at creating a complete world within just a few pages.

    3. Nervous Nellie*

      Great question! I love to see everyone’s answers to questions like this. Mine: The Rocking Horse Winner by DH Lawrence & The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.

    4. Marion Q*

      The Most Dangerous Game had been in my TBR pile for quite some time! I’m still waiting for the urge to actually read it.

      My memorable short stories:

      – The Library Window by Margaret Oliphant.
      I’m actually not sure where this is a short story or a novella; quick Google search brings up contradictory results. The writing is so engaging, and although the reader can guess the revelation at the end, the narrator is very adamant that you want her to be right. I regularly reread this one.

      – The Spider by Hanns Heinz Ewers. It’s a (psychological?) horror story. It’s memorable mainly because it is disturbing.

      – Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad by M. R. James

      1. Asenath*

        Anything by M.R. James! Every time I hear about a short story about a window, I think of Saki’s “The Open Window”, although his “Sredni Vashtar” is possibly better known.

        1. fposte*

          Oh, God, how could I forget Saki! I love “The Open Window.” Last time I checked, it looked like he’d invented “Bertie, Why Do You Bound?” himself, which is just delicious.

          1. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

            My favorite Saki story is “The Story-Teller,” which is a lot more lighthearted.

            1. fposte*

              Also “The Scharz-Metterklume Method.” But I nonetheless love the bloodthirstiness of Sredni Vashtar.

      2. fposte*

        Glad to see M. R. James in here. I read “The Mezzotint” when I was about 8 and it’s stuck with me to this day (not least because I had no idea what a mezzotint was).

        M. R. James has a literary descendant in Robert Westall. His “The Call” is my favorite–spooky and poignant.

    5. MMB*

      I’m going to have to try all of these. I remember reading Flowers for Algernon in school, but it’s hazy, a character with a sweater is all I really remember when I think of it. Two people mentioned The Lottery, I looked it up and it sounds perfect for the season! So does the Rocking Horse story.

      Robot Dreams seems vaguely familiar, I’m going to put it on my list as well!

    6. Fikly*

      Harrison Bergeron, by Vonnegut. I read it for 7th grade English (several decades ago) and have never forgotten it.

      1. Spooooon!!*

        Yes, same here! I never forgot it. One I read recently was “The Half Skinned Steer” by Annie Proulx. It’s very visceral and eerie.

      2. SarahKay*

        Our headmaster read part of this to the school when I was about 14, and it stuck with me for decades, until I googled the details I could remember and read the whole thing. It’s such a fascinating story about the difference between fair and equal.

        He also read us Ursula K Le Guin’s Road To Omelas, although as a huge fan of her writing I came across that one when reading her short stories in me early twenties.

        I have very fond memories of that headmaster, not least for creating an environment that encouraged thinking.

    7. Ali*

      “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” by Ursula K. Le Guin. I think about this story all the time. At least once a week at my current job and in this current cultural climate.

      1. SarahKay*

        Snap. I just posted a response to the comment above about the same story and then saw yours. And now realised I mis-named the story, which will teach me not to comment after a large glass of wine!

      2. sequined histories*

        “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”
        I’be been teaching at a middle school/high school for 14 years and was thrilled to finally work it into my curriculum last year.
        My mind boggled, though, when a number of 8th graders dismissed The Ones Who Walk Away because they didn’t actually liberate The Child.

    8. Anono-me*

      There’s a short story by Louis L’Amour that I read in high school. The story follow the traditional lines of most of his westerns. But there was a line that is always stuck with me. A family was headed west with the husband died. The Wagon Train leaders tried to talk the woman into turning back East with her children. She refused. Later when explaining to her son, she said “We didn’t turn back when the dogs barked as we passed through the towns, we are not turning back now.” That line always stuck with me. And I try to remember not to let the yapping irrelevant people impact my decisions.

        1. Glinda*

          That story was originally in a collection called “war party” and features another one of his short stories “one for the pot” which is also about a strong woman. I love both those stories by him. The story you referenced ends up being used as the prologue to the novel – “Bendigo Shafter”.

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

      Hellfire by Isaac Asimov is my all-time favorite. Nightfall (also Asimov) is a close second.

    10. alex b.*

      Ooh I LOVE short stories. A great short story, to me, indicates true mastery of writing.

      I agree with the mentioned ones that I know. Other greats I haven’t seen mentioned:
      The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin
      A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
      The Mark on the Wall by Virginia Woolf
      The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield
      The Dead by James Joyce
      The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry
      The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe
      Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne
      Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald
      The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber
      Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville
      An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce
      The Lady, or the Tiger? by Frank Stockton
      A Worn Path by Eudora Welty
      Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
      Heat by Joyce Carol Oates

      1. C Average*

        Oooh, I forgot about Joyce Carol Oates. Have you read “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” It’s one of the most disturbing and well-crafted pieces of writing I’ve ever read.

        1. fposte*

          And Smooth Talk, the movie version starring a young Laura Dern, was also very good. I haven’t watched it for years so I don’t know if it’s held up.

        2. alex b.*

          Oh yes– great story, super disturbing. Just like “Heat.”
          I’m so torn on JCO. Black Water– the novella based on the Chappaquiddick incident– is arguably snuff porn, and Zombie, based on Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes, is disgusting. We Were the Mulvaneys is horrifying in its own right.
          I have trouble with her work just ’cause it’s so upsetting. But I named her in that list, maybe because of my mixed feelings about her.

      2. MMB*

        Bartlett, the Scrivener was fantastic. “I would prefer not to.”! The Lady and the Tiger is one of my all-time favorites. He wrote another short story “The Discourager of Hesitancy” that was interesting as well.

        1. alex b.*

          Thanks; I didn’t know about the Stockton sequel but just read it. It’s kind of a one-trick situation but a good one. :)

    11. CTT*

      “When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine“ by Jhumpa Lahiri. It stuck with my because it was the first time I read a story that described the moment a child learns about Grown Up Problems and that you need to protect your fellow children from.

    12. Earthwalker*

      Leninger Versus the Ants. And while you’re on Ray Bradbury, Dark They Were With Golden Eyes.

      1. SarahKay*

        I’d like to add Frost and Fire, also by Ray Bradbury, which I read in my stepdad’s battered sixties sci-fi paperbacks in my early teens.
        Some 30 years later, we were chatting about old sci-fi stories and he said something like “There was an excellent one about two groups of people living in caves” (maybe not his exact words, but definitely no more information than that) and I instantly interjected “eight days!” and yes, we were both thinking of Frost and Fire.

    13. Elizabeth West*

      I’m a horror fan and have been since childhood, so most of the stuff that stayed with me was scary. I had a Whitman children’s book of classic horror stories that contained, among others, the following:

      –The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs
      –Second Night Out by Frank Belknap Long (this one scared the shit out of me)
      –The Whistling Room by William Hope Hodgson (so did this one)
      –Floral Tribute by Robert Bloch

      The rest were fairy tales, Grimm’s and Anderson’s. And we had a bunch of those Childcraft books from the 1940s with stories about animals and kids from different lands, etc. I read them so many times that they’re still in my head.

      My parents also got tons of Reader’s Digest anthologies and subscribed to the magazine, so I read a lot of those too. One had animal stories in it also. I would read anything as a kid, and I was partial to the “Drama in Real Life” stories in RD, probably because of my bent for the macabre, haha.

    14. Best cat in the world*

      The Red Room by H.G. Wells
      The Signal-Man by Charles Dickens

      Both have stuck with me vividly. And neither are my normal reading, they’re things I read in school and had to go and find again as an adult.

    15. MMB*

      This has been so much fun to read. So many stories I loved and had forgotten about and so many new ones to put on my list. Thank you all for sharing! Maybe we’ll even have a few more to add this afternoon :)

    16. Patty Mayonnaise*

      Ones that haven’t been mentioned yet:

      -A Christmas Memory, Truman Capote (my 11th grade English teacher read it to us at Christmas and cried. She was the best!)

      – The Finkelstein Five, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

      – every story in Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado (but especially The Husband Stitch)

      – Click Clack the Rattlebag, Neil Gaiman

      1. alex b.*

        OMG Capote’s “A Christmas Memory” broke my heart in middle school.
        As someone above said, I am also loving this thread and thought of a few others that haven’t been mentioned but can’t be missed:
        “Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston
        “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” by Hemingway
        “A Rose for Emily” and “Barn Burning” by Faulkner

    17. pyjamas*

      I’ll put in a plug for a few childhood favorites:

      “The Strange Sea Monster of Strawberry Lake” in the _Mad Scientist’s Club_ by Bertrand R. Brinley

      “The Doughnuts” in _Homer Price_ by Robert McCloskey

      All the Nicholas stories in the series of that name (Nicholas, Nicholas Again, etc.) by René Goscinny & Jean-Jacques Sempé. I can’t find the volume to check the table of contents, but my absolute favorite is about soccer dads in _Nicholas Again_.

      “The Wonderful Day” by Robert Arthur, in
      _Alfred Hitchcock’s Ghostly Gallery: Eleven Spooky Stories for Young People_ (Also, “Miss Emmeline Takes Off” by Walter Brooks)

    18. HappyOne*

      Short stories by Roald Dahl – before he wrote children’s books, he wrote short stories for adults. They are all darkly hilarious with delicious twists. You can see the seeds laid for fabulous future characters like Miss Trunchbull….

    19. Dancing Otter*

      “The Nine Billion Names of God” by Arthur C. Clarke.
      Of course, modern computers could generate all the combinations in moments, but that would be a very different story.

    20. Dancing Otter*

      Maybe someone will recognize this, because I can’t remember the title or author. Science fiction, 1960s (though possibly it was not new when I read it).
      A young woman stows away on a one-person rocket ship going to a colony within the solar system (maybe Mars?). It might have been delivering something crucial and urgent such as vaccine, but I may be conflating another story.
      The reality of the engineering and physics, where her added mass and oxygen needs would doom the flight, is the crux of the story. The pilot can’t sacrifice himself for her survival, because she couldn’t maneuver and land the ship. And there isn’t a lot of time before it will be too late….
      It’s a little dated, in that the author uses “silly young female” as a shortcut for being ignorant about the reality of space flight and never having had to face inescapable consequences. But that someone would be that ignorant and selfish – I want what I want, so it should be possible; What’s the big deal?; don’t confuse me with facts – is unfortunately not dated at all.

      1. Asenath*

        “The Cold Equations”. I didn’t like it, I suppose because the idea of inescapable consequences upset me at the time – and it seemed like cheating to have the humans and not the “cold equations” act – but the responsibility is laid on the equations.

    21. Slam*

      Blood Bay, by Annie Proulx. Not what I expected at all. In the middle of a very solemn book, it’s hilarious, folklore-y and so well written. I’ve been known to read it aloud to people I particularly like!

    22. Blue Horizon*

      ‘The Ninth Symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven and Other Lost Songs’, by Carter Scholz. Science fiction, a kind of slow-burning psychological horror for music scholars. It haunted me for years. Don’t read it. Especially don’t read it if you’re a grad student struggling with motivation, like I was at the time. (And if you do, don’t say I didn’t warn you).

    23. NowIWantPeanutButterCookies*

      Anything by Lorrie Moore!

      Also sorry if this was already mentioned– I didn’t read all the comments– but the New Yorker has The Best short stories. They also have two short story podcasts and free even if you don’t subscribe to the magazine: “New Yorker fiction” and “the writer’s voice”

  10. Lady Jay*

    Running thread!

    Let’s start with this: Overnight, Eliud Kipchoge broke the two-hour marathon record with a 1.59.40 in Vienna. I’ve seen footage of him crossing the finish line: he just makes running look so graceful and effortless.

    1. fposte*

      I don’t run, but I watched the video of that finish. That’s amazing; it’s the breaking the four-minute mile of our time.

      1. D.W.*

        Fposte, I finally recognize your avatara i purchased this book for a friend’s son a few years ago. Really cute book. It became one of his favorites.

    2. Purt’s Peas*

      I started running again, which has been really nice. I’m doing an online program to work up to a half-marathon distance. It’s fun but a little frustrating since I’m quite a slowpoke :)

      I watched the video too—what an incredible athlete.

    3. LGC*

      You beat me to it! I missed the livestream, but – yeah – that is WILD. I’ll admit, I was a little bit cautious after Breaking2, but…man. I’m just amazed. I’ve got to watch the finish video – although I’ve watched him race and then thought to myself, “Man, why can’t I look like that?”

      Funny thing is, my best friend texted me asking if I thought Kipchoge would do it in a “real” race. (Because of Reasons, INEOS 1:59 isn’t an official marathon record.) I had to think about it and…I’m not sure! I know just after the Nike trial, he ran the WR in Berlin. (Which almost got broken this year by Kenenisa Bekele at Berlin!) So…like, I don’t know! It could be possible that the actual marathon record drops below 2. I’m thinking it could easily become high 2:00 at this point in London or Berlin. Or maybe I’m just way too hype about this.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        He’s broken a psychological barrier: he proved that it’s even possible so now everyone else “just” has to … do it. He “just” ran a five-minute mile, and then another, and another, for 1.59.40 (ahem). Maybe an official sub-two time will come at the Olympics?

        1. LGC*

          Probably not the Olympics! It’ll be in Tokyo in summer, which isn’t ideal climate-wise. It’s not going to be as bad as the world championships this year were (yes, run a marathon outside of winter in Doha, Qatar, that’s an awesome idea!), but it’ll almost certainly be very warm.

          (As a matter of fact, I’d put my money on 2021 because of the Olympics. Most WR attempts nowadays come at London or Berlin, it seems. And if top marathoners are targeting the Olympics in 2020, that leaves little room on either end for those races.)

    4. coffee cup*

      Yeah, he makes it look super easy and he’s just from another world or something.

      Me, I did park run this morning and did my fastest time ever for a 5k! Not that it’s *actually* fast but for me it is. I’m happy, especially as the course in my local park has hills.

      1. Mid*

        Congrats! That’s the best part of running tbh. Running for your own personal records. I just did my second ever 5k race and cut 9 minutes off my finishing time! First time ever doing a sub-30 5k

      2. londonedit*

        Well done! And please don’t feel the need to qualify your achievements with ‘it’s not really fast’. We’re all runners and we’ve all got our own goals and abilities, and they’re all equally as valid as each other. If it was your fastest time, it was your fastest time! That’s a brilliant achievement and it takes hard work however fast you’re running.

        Me, I did parkrun yesterday too, and ended up pacing my friend to a new PB. It was great fun! It was also only 30 seconds slower than my own PB, which tells me that if I’m pacing someone at that sort of time, I ought to make an effort sometime and try for a PB myself!

        By the way, I responded to a comment about parkrun on last weekend’s thread but I’m sure I was too late, so if anyone hasn’t yet discovered the magic of parkrun please do Google it and find out! It’s the best thing. Free, timed 5k runs every week all over the world, all put on by amazing volunteers, and it’s a wonderful community of people.

      3. LGC*

        So I’m just going to add on and say that…one thing I’ve learned is that fast is relative, no matter who you are. (Like, I’m a sub-17-minute 5k runner when I put my mind to it…which is still significantly slower than Kipchoge’s per-mile pace in Vienna and his Berlin WR.)

        That is to say – you shouldn’t add on a qualifier! You ran a PR! Who cares if other people can run faster? Part of the beauty of running is that for a large part, it’s a competition against yourself. Regardless of whether you’re Eliud Kipchoge, Brigid Kosgei (who I will be discussing shortly because I need to yell about this immediately), a guy like me that runs around a Boston Qualifier, or someone who’s just trying to finish their first marathon. (Okay, I used all marathon examples here, but you can extend the metaphor in all directions.)

      4. Blue Horizon*

        Congrats! As others have said, unless you are an Olympic athlete or generally running competitively then “fast for you” is all that really counts.

        I am back down to 4km on my runs for now because my lower calf has started doing… I’m not sure what right after that point. On the plus side, instead of turning into a niggling condition that takes months to resolve it seems to be clearing up within days this time, which hopefully means the exercise program is paying off.

    5. Femme d'Afrique*

      I watched the entire race live from start to finish and screamed myself hoarse!
      He was spectacular.

      1. Reba*

        We also watched the whole video — not live, but last night. It was surprisingly riveting!

        What a fantastic athlete and interesting person. I loved seeing the enthusiasm and performance from the whole team of pacers, and imagining how special it must be for them too, to have been a part of this.

          1. LGC*

            You can get them for the low, low price of $250! (Or a version of them, anyway.) And if pink isn’t your color, you can also choose lime green.

            I could probably write an entire post about Kipchoge’s shoes in particular, but basically: WHAT ARE THOOOSE

            (I’ll spare you guys the full VaporFly rant because it’s going to be really nerdy and kinda bananas. Not as bananas as THREE CARBON FIBER PLATES, but bananas nonetheless.)

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

      Incredible! That’s so inspiring. I was hoping it would happen some day. I can’t even run a half marathon in that amount of time anymore.

    7. Elenna*

      I started running a couple weeks ago with a beginner’s program (similar to couch to 5k programs except longer and leading up to a 10k) and so far it’s been going well! Next week we’ll drop the 2-minute walking break to a 1-minute break which is a bit intimidating, but we’ll see how it goes.

    8. Hi there*

      Kiddo got a PR in middle school cross country this week, which we are both very excited about. My week of training wasn’t great but I can think of several reasons why: not fueling properly for the long run, a stressful week with lots of evening events, and, as they said in an Another Mother Runner podcast I listened to, “most runs are mediocre.”

    9. LGC*

      So, just to add on: Brigid Kosgei just shattered the women’s marathon record by running a 2:14:04 at Chicago this morning (breaking Paula Radcliffe’s long-standing 2:15 – I was surprised to see it was “only” from 2003, I thought it was much older!).

      On top of Kenenisa Bekele’s nearly WR-breaking run at Berlin a couple of weeks back (he ran a 2:01:41, which has got to sting)…dare I say this has been the most bonkers month in marathon news in history? At least in a long time.

      (Oh yeah, and Worlds happened earlier this month. THAT TOO. I’m almost glad there’s some downtime between now and New York. I might have irrationally yelled at various electronic devices multiple times this month.)

  11. self employed*

    Who here has a podcast? Which host do you use? Which microphone? There are tons of resources online but I’d love to hear from someone with experience here. Thanks!

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      I used to have a podcast, and I started off hosting it on SoundCloud, but that got very expensive for the very small audience the podcast had, so I switched to hosting on a generic host (not tied to podcasting per se) with a WordPress installation and the free Podlove plugin, and that was much cheaper. Honestly, for a microphone, I just used the MacBook Air’s built-in mic. As long as there weren’t loud motorcycles outside, and my co-host and I weren’t chewing or making other weird noises, it sounded fine.

    2. Naomi*

      I’m just getting into podcasting myself! But I was lucky enough to find a local community TV station/ media center that let us use their recording studio and host the podcast on their web site. I may shop it around to other podcast aggregators but it’s early days yet and the first episode is still being edited.

    3. Texan In Exile*

      I do podcasts at work (for internal use). I just record over skype, with each of us using a headset. I edit in moviemaker and convert the file to mp3 using a free converter I found online.

      I have checked into some fancy podcasting services but I didn’t think they would add much value for what they charged – that is, I would still have to edit out the parts where my guest says, “Wait – let me say that again” or where my cat Joins The Meeting at a critical point. The editing services can smooth out some things, but the hard part of editing is still on you.

      1. Bonferroni*

        A mic makes an enormous difference in the quality of a podcast. I would strongly encourage you to use one with a pop filter. Even a cheap microphone at close proximity will work well.

        I use a Blue Yeti and have found it to be worth its weight in gold. The same company makes another called the Snowball that is also really good but a bit cheaper. However, for most purposes, you can just buy something less expensive and get really decent sound – much better than the built-in mic on your computer.

  12. WellRed*

    Here’s my low stakes question. Any tips or product recommendations for sore, hot tired feet after a day of trade showing? Going to Atlanta, then To NOLA for vacay and oh, my feet. Staying in hotels, so epsom seems impractical.

    1. Lena Clare*

      Massage with almond (or other carrier) oil and a few drops of essential oil(s) such as lavender &/or peppermint.
      Clary sage is excellent for relaxing aching muscles, but do not use it if pregnant.
      I like using a bottle with water in and a few drops of lavender which I then spritz onto my skin wherever I feel achy. It’s both relaxing and refreshing.

    2. Leona*

      Two relatively light things that might help: first, compression socks if they’re practical for you can really alleviate that tired, swollen feeling in your feet and calves if you wear them during the trade show. Second, I LOVE traveling with one of those little spiky-looking foot massage balls. A few minutes rolling your feet over it at the end of the day is really helpful.

      Good luck!


    3. Life sucks sometimes*

      Change into a different pair of shoes midway through the day.

      I heard that a famous movie director did this and it really helps my feet be less sore at the end of the day.

      1. Anono-me*

        If for some reason it is Impractical to switch shoes, can you switch out inserts? Also if the shoes you have to wear don’t have good support, please look into adding good inserts. (They even make high-heeled inserts nowadays. The inserts are not great but they’re better than nothing)

    4. Fikly*

      My pilates guy just recommended arnica to me today for a giant bruise that appeared on my knee with no discernible cause. He said it’s good for any kind of inflammation.

      Can’t comment on personal experience yet, but he hasn’t steered me wrong yet!

    5. Bluebell*

      Maybe you can find one of the reflexology salons? When I go to NYC and do lots of walking, I usually get a half hour foot massage. Also, NOLA has a great pedicure place where you sit in a porch swing—Southern Swings.

    6. Lilysparrow*

      You can still find old-fashioned fabric ice packs in drugstores. They are cheap and incredibly useful. Get two – they collapse flat and weigh practically nothing.

      I made it through a long road trip and a dance-all-night wedding with plantar fasciitis by using LOTS of hotel ice on my feet.

    7. Damn it, Hardison!*

      Foot masks! You can pick them up for $6 at Sephora (and now Aveeno makes one too, which I’ve picked up at Target). Basically lotion in plastic booties (travel friendly!) . I like the almond and lavender versions from Sephora.

    8. WellRed*

      Found a spiky foot ball and foot masks at the drugstore today and will look at some sort of peppermint or lavender oil/ spray. Thx everyone!

    9. MissDisplaced*

      Ice! I get some from the hallway, put it in a bag and then wrap a hand towel around it. I sit with feet elevated w/the ice for a few minutes. This helps with the cooling and swelling. Later I will take a nice hot bath to relax before bed + some Advil. And do it all again next day!

    10. rear mech*

      If you’re wearing pants and closed shoes, wear compression socks (might be labelled diabetic socks or stockings at the pharmacy). They aid circulation and help prevent blood from pooling in your feet and lower legs. This is a significant cause of that achy feeling from standing all day. Signed, someone with no significant health issues who is on their feet all day.

      1. Mrs Socks*

        You can get adorable, or work practical compression socks/stockings/tights and leggings that don’t look medicinal or like a burn unit compression online for very reasonable prices.
        I buy a lot of mine on amazon and have several different ones, w diff compression levels. I have plantar fasciitis in both feet and Issues with both my Achilles’ tendons that I’m hoping to prevent from rupturing spontaneously one day.

    11. rear mech*

      Also! when you get home, lay on the floor with your butt against the wall so your legs are straight up at a 90 degree angle. just chill and decompress for 10 minutes or more and the feets will feel way better

    12. Lora*

      I do compression socks, then when I get back to the hotel I sit down in the shower/tub/whatever and put my feet up and let the warm water pound on them. Then right after I hop out and towel off, I put a ton of tiger balm or some kind of menthol rub on in stupid quantities, and put socks on so I don’t leave a greasy mentholated trail, wash my hands (do NOT touch anything until you wash your hands) and flop into bed. But I really like the feeling of my legs being numb and cinnamon-scented from the knees down after a long day on my feet, so…

    13. Not So NewReader*

      Make sure you are drinking water through out the day.
      When I go to shows of any sort the first think I stop thinking about is hydration.
      It’s amazing how much pain escalates when our water reserves start to go down. You can use the pain as a memory trigger- oh yeah, time for more water.

    14. Alexandra Lynch*

      Good shoes. If there was ever a time to drop money on your feet, this is it. I have bad feet, and buying good shoes is the difference between me being able to do a normal day’s walking and work around the house, versus being able to maybe walk to the bathroom a few times. I get my shoes at Footsmart.com mostly, because they can handle my weirdnesses (I wear a 10 wide, need metatarsal support and a wide toe box since I have Morton’s foot, and the torn tendon and the plantar issues require a solid non-heeled sole, preferably a slip on so that torn tendon isn’t getting rubbed.)

      (Yes, I’m going to fix the tendon, but I have to wait til I get married to my boyfriend and we have to plan it so that he can take three months off between contracts to take care of me.)

  13. Queer Earthling*

    My spouse and I started a weird craft project. We’re making a Victorian vampire hunting kit! I’ve wanted to build one for like a decade and a half, since I saw them on LiveJournal or something in my youth. It’ll also be a great prop for an upcoming blog post, but let’s be honest, it’s mostly just because it’s cool. It’ll have two stakes, a wooden mallet, some “holy water,” an ornate cross, and probably other things I forgot, all in a handsome leather case for the vamp hunter on the go.

    We have all the pieces; the stuff we’re working on is aging and weathering the items, and then strapping it all into the case, hopefully in such a way that the pieces will be removable. My favorite so far are the bottles of “holy water”–Hobby Lobby, being Hobby Lobby, had some very ornate little crosses that function as paper brads, so we’re taking off the back stabby bit* and gluing them onto the bottles, and we’ve aged the corks with a combo of scraping chunks off, dunking it in coffee, and painting. The glass bottles have also been aged with brown and black paint and frankly look amaaaazing.

    *excuse the technical terms

        1. Queer Earthling*

          It really is! Not only is it just a really fun concept, but one of my favorite crafty things to do is to age items. My spouse and I once did this cool project for a LiveJournal group we were in lo these many years ago where we made up stories about keys and sent the key and the “notes” or “found items” or whatever with them, everything from an Atlantean key to creepy pasta type ones, and it involved days of aging paper, the keys themselves, and other props.

    1. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

      I have a large wooden hairstick that I sometimes call my vampire stake. It is oversized for a hairstick yet undersized for a stake. Still, it should reach the heart unless the vampire happened to be really fat. I’ve never read about a fat vampire, so I should be safe. :)

      1. Queer Earthling*

        In Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, Jesus takes out a vampire with a toothpick, so you should be okay! ;)

        (Yes, it’s a real movie. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like.)

        1. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

          … If Jesus in that story isn’t God and so can’t just destroy the vampires out of hand, why isn’t he using holy water?!! He could certainly bless it himself! Though I suspect I am being too logical for a movie like that.

          1. Queer Earthling*

            It’s been a few years since I’ve seen it, but I think the movie forgot about holy water as a vampire option? I can’t remember. I was distracted by Jesus’ sweet kung fu moves.

  14. Myrin*

    Little Thing of the Week:
    Since my family’s move early this year, I’ve started to treat myself by buying myself a bouquet of flowers about once a month.
    This actually came about because I really like flowers and we re-discovered an old decanter while in the throes of moving and no one knew what to do with it so I put it on my new windowsill and thought “Y not vase?”.
    It’s such a small thing but it makes me so happy – especially the current ones because they’re so pretty!
    (There’s also a weird thing in here somewhere about how I realised only after moving out how unhappy I had been at our old place, but I don’t want to dwell on that at the moment.)

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I buy flowers once a week. I used to get them at the farmer’s market and take them to my office. “What’s the occasion?” “Monday.”

      Now we moved and I work from home, and I get Whole Foods bouquets on sale. I just like having them around. A simple way to make things a little brighter!

    2. fposte*

      I love indoor bouquets! I also love pottery, so the two go together very well. At one point I thought I’d enjoy cutting flowers from my garden for inside, but it turns out I often can’t bear to lose them from the garden, so I end up buying flowers even when my yard is full of flowers.

      1. spiralingsnails*

        I have that problem too, so someday I want to plant a “cutting garden” bed in a not-visible-from-the-window spot in the back yard. :)

      2. SarahKay*

        I understand that sweetpeas actually benefit from having their flowers cut regularly, if that helps?

    3. Fikly*

      I cannot do cut flowers due to terrible allergies, but I work from home and have a windowsill in front of my view, so I keep small indoor plants on it.

      I’m not terribly good at keeping them alive, but that means I have a rotation going on! Right now I’ve got basil from the late spring, a new friend called a bloodleaf (google a picture, it’s wild) and a miniature pot of mums. They really cheer me up.

    4. Overeducated*

      For years I said when I had plenty of extra money I’d buy myself flowers every week. Feeling actually prosperous looks pretty far off thanks to childcare costs, but I am tired of waiting until I own a home and my kids are both out of day care to ever have nice things, so I’m now buying them on occasion as well. For $5-10 a month they really make me happy, and I was gifted a small, pretty crystal vase last week too! Little luxuries can be lovely.

      1. Myrin*

        I’ve always hesitated to get “frivolous” stuff like this because of money (although I weirdly don’t have that feeling regarding my numerous kitchen utensils or gardening supplies…) and then a few months ago I just went “Fuck it!” and bought a nice bouquet.
        (Although now that I’m thinking back on it, it was actually spurred by the very nice bouquet I got from work for my birthday, which was immediately after my move. Seems like all I needed were some nice flowers right next to my working station and I was suddenly ready to go!)

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Gerbera Daisies. They always make me smile this big foolish smile when ever I see them. Once in a while I buy a bunch or I buy them potted in a container. Just because….

    6. Reba*

      Love this! I always get flowers when people are coming over, and I like to bring them to other we go over to other peoples’ places. They just make me happy.

      I often get comments on this as being like, extreme high-level adulting… But I get them at the grocery store or the farmers’ market! They don’t have to be crazy expensive and hard to do!

    7. moql*

      Look into a subscription bouquet! A florist in my city who mostly does events porpusely over-orders and then puts together their extras and delivers it to your home biweekly. It’s a bit expensive ($25/bouquet) but feels like such a luxury, and it is fun getting a surprise every other week.

    8. Flora*

      Trader Joe’s florals are so inexpensive I usually buy a fresh bouquet once a week, or a little longer as I’ve gotten better and better at keeping bouquets looking fresh longer now. But they have such a nice selection for such low prices I usually put together really beautiful bouquets for my front room and they make me so happy when I come in the house and see them sitting there.

  15. The Other Dawn*

    What would be the best way to get text messages off my phone and into my computer so I can print them?

    I need these texts because I’m having to evict my tenant (again!!) and need to keep the messages for when I bring them to small claims. They’re playing the victims in regards to certain situations and seem to forget I have everything in writing showing I made offers to help and was rejected. I also want these messages off my phone because I need to replace the phone.

    I’ve googled and it seems like the best way is a backup app. I have Samsung Cloud and Google drive, but it doesn’t appear as though I can upload the messages there. Unless I’m missing something. I though I could select all texts and share them via email, but the Select All option isn’t there. And there’s no way I’m doing it one message at a time.

    I have a Samsung Galaxy S8+ if that makes a difference.

    1. Purt’s Peas*

      You could try the Droid Transfer application. I’ve seen that mentioned a few times.

      Definitely ask a lawyer whether that backup file would be ok, or if you need screenshots too—the backup files are fully editable, so I’m not sure how acceptable they’d be. (Obviously screenshots are editable too, but ya know.)

      1. Weegie*

        I was going to suggest screen shots too – a little time-consuming, but less so than saving each message one by one. The images are then easily transferable to your computer via a cloud/file-sharing account.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I hope I don’t sound like a broken record, but for the future, I’d recommend using Google Voice. I can access my texts via my phone or desktop, so I could easily print out a conversation.

      If you want to move your texts to a new phone, “SMS Backup & Restore” by SyncTech is what I used when I upgraded from a Galaxy S5 to an S7 Edge. I would do print screen (make your hand into a “stop” position, then slide the edge of your pinky and palm across the screen from right to left), then you can send yourself the screenshot images and print them. I know that might be tedious, but IMO having the screenshots looks better than any method of exporting the texts, because it would be harder (although not much, really) to fake or alter the text.

      Also, I was able to pinch and reduce the text size one step, so if you do that you could fit more messages on each screenshot, and so save yourself some trouble.

    3. Pennalynn Lott*

      When I had to preserve a series of texts for legal purposes, I just saved screenshots of them into my Google Cloud drive. I had an S7, so it was just “swipe palm over screen, scroll down, swipe palm over screen, repeat.”

    4. Clever Name*

      Do you have a printer with Bluetooth? If so, you can print right from your phone. I took screen shots and saved the images to a folder and printed from there.

    5. CoffeeforLife*

      Oh my! I’m going that route myself. Best of luck on the next tenant. We’ve tried communicating exclusively via email, so .maybe that for the next one.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Oh, there absolutely will not be another tenant! I’m not going through this a third time. We’re moving my in-laws in temporarily since their house burned down. Once their house is done and they move back, we’re selling. Good luck to you!

        1. CoffeeforLife*

          We were hoping to put family down there but they all want to keep their independence-looking at you 86 year old grandma. Best of luck on the move :)

    6. Anona*

      Do screenshots. Otherwise, I don’t think it’ll be apparent that they’re really texts- they could just as soon be a document you edited/produced yourself. If you’re working with a lawyer, I’d consult with them, but screenshots seem like your best bet.

    7. The Other Dawn*

      Thanks, all!

      I tried a few backup apps and found one I like. I was able to backup every text with them that was stored on the phone. (I wish I could get older ones, but when I first got the phone my message settings weren’t set up to save all texts. It was set up to save only a certain number.) The is not editable and it’s time-stamped. I also took a number of screen shots, which were the important ones. The file isn’t for use in the eviction. It’s simply to use in the event they try to contest the small claims suit, which is for non-payment of rent and nothing else. I’ll check with the lawyer just to see if I can use the file. Honestly, they don’t have a leg to stand on since I have other communications with them and it’s clear they simply didn’t pay the rent.

      Their move-out date is Monday according to the Notice served by the marshal. We shall see! God, I hope they leave. Mainly because I want my in-laws in there as they are living in a hotel.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          No. I have to file eviction papers, there’s a court date, they’re told when to leave and only then, if they don’t leave by the date, would that happen.

    8. Meepmeep*

      As a lawyer who does rely on text messages as evidence sometimes, simple screenshots are the best thing to have – this way you get the time stamp and everything. So maybe screenshot the most relevant matter?

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Thank you! Yes, I took some screen shots of the most important conversations. I honestly don’t think I’ll need them, but I want to be prepared. And I have to say, I’m extremely happy I retained a lawyer for this even though it can be done on my own. I did it on my own last time and made a couple mistakes that cost me a lot of time and stress, and it was way more drawn out than it should have been. I also had to make many trips back and forth to the housing court. Now I have someone else who can deal with it and I know it’s being done right.

  16. LibbyG*

    I’m worried about my spouse’s health. He’s accumulating the usual litany of middle-age health woes, the most worrisome of which is high blood pressure. He sort of started on the med, but has skipped it sometimes because it makes him lightheaded.

    When he was first diagnosed a couple months ago he seemed really committed to get regular walking into his routine. I was ecstatic! But it’s totally fizzled. There are sufficient hours in his day to do it, but his first attempt at making it part of the routine has failed.

    My question is about my role. I’ve been mostly uninvolved, beyond bringing up his walking when we’re crafting out household schedule (we’re both academics, so it changes semester to semester). And I comment sometimes about how much I benefit from exercise. But I don’t see any good coming from repeatedly encouraging him. He wants to exercise after all.

    But I’m sad and worried (we have young kids) and I feel frustrated when he comes home from campus early and (by his own report) fritters away the free time. I keep all that to myself; it’s not his problem. It’s not something he’s doing to me.

    But maybe I’m being overly passive? Maybe as a partner I should be doing more to set the stage for change? But what? Any ideas, wise AAM people?

    1. Nena*

      Suggest he take the blood pressure medicine right before bed. That’s what my dr recommended and it solved the problem with feeling weird. Also, sounds obvious, but make sure he understands why high blood pressure is a big deal. Since I didn’t have any symptoms from it (most people don’t), I honestly didn’t realize what the big deal was until I started reading.

      1. Oldster*

        I take mine at night as I read that is the most effective time. Spouse should talk to doctor about the lightheadedness. He might need a different dose or a different medication. I had to change my medication as it caused my feet to get painfully when exposed to cold. There are 4 or 5 families of medication. They work differently to lower blood pressure.

      2. Dancing Otter*

        Check with the doctor (or a good pharmacist) before changing the medication time. Mine told me point-blank that if I don’t remember my BP pill before one o’clock, it’s better just to skip it. It would depend which type of BP medicine he takes, so ask.

        Second thing – a lot of BP meds include a diuretic. Dizziness can be the result of dehydration, which can easily occur if one takes a diuretic and doesn’t drink enough. Well, actually, even without a diuretic, but you’re describing it as starting with the BP pills. It took me about six months to get the balance right between spending half my time in the loo or getting dizzy from dehydration.

        About the walking, would it be possible for you all to go for a walk together occasionally? As a child and teenager, I was the designated Dad-walker, going for a post-prandial stroll with him every evening, come rain or come snow.

    2. Dan*

      As someone who resembles your spouse, my best advice is that he has to decide things for himself. Unfortunately, your role is to hang out in the background and leave him be.

      It sucks, but if you try and take an active role, you stand a good chance of building up a lot of resentment.

      1. MonkeyInTheMiddle*

        Agree. People don’t change for others. Be supportive and encouraging of positive things he is doing.

    3. WellRed*

      Does he have a Fitbit or pedometer or app to track walking? And earbuds and music or something to listen to? If not, that might motivate.

    4. Perpetua*

      Can you talk to him about feeling sad and worried? Without going into the issue of “frittering” away time? If my partner felt sad and worried about my and our future, I’d like to know. It might not be a fun conversation, but to me it seems like a necessary one (well, probably more than one conversation).

      I don’t think it’s on you to set the stage for change, but I also don’t think it’s unreasonable to talk about these things and his plans for better health. There’s a wide space between doing nothing and controlling/pressuring him, and I hope you’re able to find a good spot for you both.

    5. Koala dreams*

      No, it’s not your role to take more responsibility for your partner’s health. What you can do is to encourage him when he says he wants to exercise. However, it’s his choice how he deals with his health problems. It’s hard when someone close to you are sick, but the solution is not for you to try to solve it. You can of course do active things with the kids and invite your partner to come with you.

    6. Perpetua*

      Can you talk to him about feeling sad and worried? Without going into the issue of “frittering” away time? If my partner felt sad and worried about my and our future, I’d like to know – I love our life together, so why would I not want to be a part of it as long as I can? It might not be a fun conversation, but to me it seems like a necessary one (well, probably more than one conversation). I know lifestyle and habit changes are not easy, but it’s not like he gets one shot at it and that’s it now that his first attempt has failed. That’s par for the course, so maybe he (and you) can see that as a necessary step, instead of a final destination?

      I don’t think it’s on you to set the stage for change, but I also don’t think it’s unreasonable to talk about these things and his plans for better health. There’s a wide space between doing nothing and controlling/nagging/taking responsibility for his health, and I hope you’re able to find a good spot for you both.

    7. Annonno Today*

      My BIL refused to ever see a doctor (for anything, including his very HBP) and died of a stroke at age 59.

      I’m a more active type of spouse in terms of pushing for what I think needs done. So I’d start with a heart-to-heart. “We have kids, we have a future, I want that future with you, and I want to help you do the right things.” Ask what his fears are, talk it out, and see a different doc if his meds aren’t working quite well.

    8. Fikly*

      People not taking medications because the side effects make them feel bad is so so common! And then doctors often ignore those complaints, which is not helpful.

      Besides switching when he takes the medication, he may need a lower dose (light headedness can be a sign of low bp – have you checked his bp when he feels this way?) or a different med entirely. I would focus on helping advocate for him on the medication issue. If he’s feeling less bad physically, the rest may come.

    9. Nynaeve*

      You can’t make him do anything he doesn’t want, but maybe you can make the prospect seem less dreary. What if you walked together? Then it’s an opportunity for bonding as well, not just some endless guilt slog. You mentioned young kids, so maybe you could walk the whole family to a park if there’s one nearby or just walk around the neighborhood if it’s walkable. You may not be going fast, but some movement is better than none. I find it easier to motivate myself to do something if other people are also doing it and I don’t feel so alone.

    10. LibbyG*

      Thanks, everyone! This is all helpful for thinking through the context. My spouse is definitely taking this all seriously, and I’m realizing from these comments how much I should appreciate that.

      I’m thinking I can keep a look out for more opportunities to reduce barriers to exercise (“Hey, you wanted to walk more. Can we tweak our routine to help with that?”) but otherwise just be a partner and not some kind of coach. More thoughts or similar stories? Keep ‘em coming!

      1. LGC*

        Yeah – if you want, do something with him! I’m not sure if this is feasible for you, but have you considered hiking?

        1. valentine*

          He wants to exercise after all.
          Does it have to be walking? Is there no movement he enjoys that would benefit him? Oh, to have a campus again. He could walk there! (Doesn’t he?) Maybe he can take the long way between buildings most days. If it feels like work, well, he’s at work and then his home time is his and he doesn’t have to feel guilty about how he spends it. In future, seeing that it’s all his time and he is choosing poorly when prioritizing, but starting small, with more movement, is good for now. What about having a pedal machine at his desk? Couch to 5K? Rowing or cycling at a gym? Swimming?

          Seconding telling the doctor about the lightheadedness. Maybe a anti-motion sickness pill would stop that.

          But I’m sad and worried (we have young kids) and I feel frustrated […] I keep all that to myself; it’s not his problem. It’s not something he’s doing to me.
          Either Hax or Captain Awkward wrote something about how your spouse owes you sorting their health stuff because you’re in it together. You can certainly sit him down and say the kids and you want him around as long as possible and we have increasing technology and other things that can help him get his pressure under control. I’d be wary of trying to be part of whatever he does because it shouldn’t be dependent on you and, if he sees it as a punishment, you definitely don’t want him casting you as a drill sergeant. I might get the kids in on it if he can, say, walk them to a park or skateboard with them.

          If he resists medical stuff, he can take control by buying a blood pressure monitor (see if insurance will pay, or use FSA/HSA) and using it regularly, so having it done at the doctor’s isn’t like going to the principal’s office. He could also share the data with his doctor, who might then reduce the Rx or what have you. He can also look at calories and sodium and find some mix of a solution. The less trapped or siloed, the better.

      2. Parenthetically*

        My best friend had ONE sort of “come-to-Jesus” conversation with her husband about 10 years ago. He came home from work and ate Doritos in front of the computer, rarely ate vegetables, never exercised, you know the drill — plus, her own dad had died very young from a litany of lifestyle-exacerbated diseases. So she sat him down and said she was only going to say this once, but he had a strong history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and lots of other health issues in his family, and that she wanted him to be around for a long time, at least as far as it was up to him. She asked for specific changes in specific behaviors and asked how she could help support those changes. It ended up being a great conversation in which he felt really empowered and supported, and they changed the way they cooked, ate, and lived — family bike rides after dinner, balanced meals, less sedentary time, etc.

        But honestly I reckon that’s all you can do.

      3. Pony tailed wonder*

        I used to take weekly ballroom dance lessons and many couples were there week after week combining the weekly date night/couples exercise class. If you look around, you can probably find a lot of couples classes in many dance genres. Country western dance seems to be the most popular. My dance partner got off of one med and lowered the amount of metformin he needed and lost over 50 pounds while we danced together. He dumped me and now with his new wife, the weight came back on again which is a shame. He deserves to be healthy and happy.

        1. Pony tailed wonder*

          Also, maybe you could look into joining a bowling league as a family? Just avoid the alley food unless it is healthy.

      4. Alternative Person*

        Could you make walking part of running errands? Like walking to the bank, a few stores and then the supermarket?

        Also, part of what helps me to keep reasonably active is having a pair of dumbbells and a resistance band in the house. Means basically to do exercise I just have to put something on a screen and get them out.

    11. spiralingsnails*

      I’m afraid I don’t have any ideas, just empathy for the OP and appreciation for the other commenters’ suggestions. I’m gearing up for a difficult conversation with my own husband this week because he has multiple physical/psychological health issues that he needs to take care of… but isn’t. Trying to figure out where the line is between being proactive and being a nag is not easy!

    12. anon9*

      If you have some control in what meals are cooked, then planning healthy meals is one option to help manage blood pressure. As for the exercise, could you make it a family activity? Like a walk to & in the park or a hike?

    13. WS*

      Feeling light-headed is a really common side-effect when you start to take medication for high blood pressure. Unfortunately, stopping and starting means that he’s getting the worst of the side-effects without taking it long enough to be getting ongoing benefit as well. It’s worth taking regularly at the same time each day (whatever time is best for him) for at least two weeks to see if the early side-effect will linger, in which case he can consult his doctor about changing medications. But right now he’s setting himself up for the worst part without getting the useful part!

    14. MatKnifeNinja*

      There are may reasons for high blood pressure.

      I have white coat hypertension AND Conn’s syndrome (low potassium/high bp spikes) because my left adrenal gland is being a bish.)


      Tossing ideas out there…

      Does he have a good blood pressure machine? Omron brand is what my doctor suggested. Make sure it actually fits properly (your DME place can fit him). This is worth the investment even if you pay out of pocket. You need those data points.

      Look up how to correctly a check blood pressure. The only doctor who does it correctly is my endocrinologist. Arm height, if you just ate, talking while it’s being taken, how you sit, all this can contribute to 10 to 20 points higher. If you are an edge case, this can make a difference.

      Lots of things affect blood pressure. Caffeine is my worse. 12 oz of coffee will sling shot it in to the 170/100 range. Low potassium will cause it too. (see my diagnosis above). I’m on a DASH diet, because high salt will trigger 200/100 spikes. Allergy medications, especially decongestants can be brutal on blood pressures. Nicotine will also increase it. Being heavy doesn’t help either. (saying this as a fat person who is working on this issue)

      You see there are a few tweaks you husband can do before it’s FML I’m on meds forever. My cardiologist had me do a month of daily blood pressures. It’s a small chunk of time to get really valuable info. Is he truly high or was the medical assistant just sloppy taking the measurements?

      If it was me, I’d cajole him into getting the bp readings for a month. Then you know if this white coat hypertension or something much more chronic. I dumped my beloved coffee and salty snacks so I can be on the lowest dose blood pressure pill. I walk 4 miles a day, but honestly the no caffeine/very low salt does more for me lowering bp immediately than exercise. Exercise is important, but caffeine cause an immediate spike.

      And sometimes you can be a 2٪ body fat, vegan triathlete and have high blood pressure. Nature can be cruel.

      If you are going to “nag”, do the bp readings. Even if it’s you doing it for a month while he huffs and puffs. That is information you can take to the doctor. Also if he starts new meds, what is dizzy? Is it a slight drop he’s noticing or is he going from 170/100 to 114/60, which will make you feel like hell. Him taking his bp will let him know what’s bp.

      Good luck. He feels like he has no control, this is all too much work and he’s doomed. Taking the bp readings helped me feel like I was in control.

      1. assistant alpaca attendant*

        If you can convince him to go to the dr, it is worth getting meds reevaluated. I had awful side effects even though my parent is on the same one and we have similar genetics. My dr switched me and no more issues. Good luck!

    15. Ranon*

      Is there any way for him to switch his commute to an active mode (walking, cycling, multi modal, even just parking really far away from his destination)? The hardest part about starting any kind of new routine is the motivation to choose to do that rather than your usual routine. But going to an active commute is a revision to a routine rather than a whole new thing so it can be easier to make it happen.

    16. LilySparrow*

      When my husband got serious about getting more exercise last year, he asked if I would get him started by coming with him for the first few months. This wound up being really helpful for me, too, as I struggle to be as consistent as I ince was, due to life responsibilities.

      It’s really nice to have this couple time 3 days a week. We both look forward to it. We don’t do the same workout, but we go to the gym & come home together.

      Could you offer to meet him for walks at lunch, or find time to go together?
      Or ask how you can support him in his goal. He may have good ideas for what would help.

    17. Alexandra Lynch*

      One thing to look into for him is that there may be deeper issues around exercise and food. My ex could not overcome his food addiction, and he will likely die well before he should, and he showed the same pattern of “I want to be healthy, I want to exercise,” but it never quite happened.

      If that is the case (and you will be able to spot it if it is) then he needs therapy because you have to unpack the baggage first.

  17. coffee cup*

    Does anyone here go to gigs alone? I’ve been to a couple but not for a few years, and I’m considering going to a few in the next 6 months. I miss seeing live music and I’m tired of waiting for other people to want to go or be available (not that it’s their fault!). I’m female and I’d probably have to drive there, considering where gigs tend to happen here and where I live, but not too far. For some reason, I’m feeling less brave about this, so I was wondering if anyone else can relate! I’m on the verge of buying a ticket for a gig in another city, but…

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      I occasionally do! I’m not a huge one for live music, but when one of my favorite bands comes to my area, I am 110% THERE. I feel like I miss out on some feelings of togetherness by going by myself — the ‘alone in a crowd’ feeling is intense — but I also feel free to set my own exact terms for the trip, and not be harnessed to someone else.

    2. PX*

      I do! It can be a bit awkward sometimes when you have no one else to talk to during quiet moments (stage/band change whatever) so for me personally, I really like a having a drink (no alcohol required) of some kind just so I have something to occupy my hands/fidget with. Maybe I’ll take my phone out.

      But the actual experience is usually fine – dancing and singing along can be easily done on your own. And if you’re a social person (sometimes I am), it can be easy to get chatting to other people as well and get drawn into bigger groups (if you want ofcourse).

      So yes, I say go for it! And if its in another city, I usually take the chance to have a mini-holiday for myself and see local sights/museums/new restaurants whatever.

    3. Miss Astoria Platenclear*

      I have had to a couple of times because I have very few friends who share my taste in music.
      I’m a woman in my fifties who likes hard rock, among other things, and do not have many female friends who share that interest. I don’t have a romantic partner either, so sometimes I’m stuck. Not to whine, but this issue is a big frustration in my life.

      1. coffee cup*

        Ah, yeah, I’m single too, so I understand! My friend and her partner are super into music and like all the same stuff, and they’re constantly away at gigs. Can’t help thinking why am I not doing that?

      2. Metoo*

        Are you me?
        I just wanted to say I have the same issue. I ask but do things regardless if someone comes with.

    4. Asenath*

      I often go to concerts alone – I don’t know if that differs from gigs. I started going out alone in my late teens when none of my friends wanted to see a particular movie, and in those days, once the movie had left the local theatre, I thought I might not get another chance to see it.

    5. Fikly*

      I do! I have a very small group of friends, and musical taste does not overlap much.

      I usually kind of have to make myself go, but I never regret going, if that makes sense.

    6. riverflows*

      I mostly go alone (I do invite others but if there are no takers, I go alone). You might consider attending house concerts if that is a thing in your area. That is always fun for me, more intimate setting, get to talk to the musicians afterwards, usually earlier in the evening, etc.

    7. AnonyNurse*

      All the time! My rule is “I’m going to this show. Get a ticket if you want and come with me.” I prefer to have something to lean on/hold onto for standing shows, so I tend to go early and get up front or off to the side. I talk to bouncers/security before the show. Make friends. They will look out for you. And also they have water and will often share. Do your thing. Have fun. Sing at the top of your lungs (if appropriate). Act like a crazy person. You’ll never see your concert-neighbors again. Or make friends with them and have new show buddies.

      1. coffee cup*

        Actually yes! The time I went to see U2 I went early and got a front rail spot. My neighbours either side were both lovely, sharing food and magazines to pass time while we waited. And I made friends in the queue with two women I’m still Facebook friends with now. I guess I’ve lost my courage a bit with this… why, I don’t know! But I will have to try again.

        1. AnonyNurse*

          Do it! To me … I don’t know. Live music is like what I think people who go to church get out of going to church. A connection to each other, appreciating the gift that is music. Now with phones and headphones … I put my phone on battery save. I stare at if I’m bored waiting in line or saving my spot. I put my headphones in if no one around me is making me feel chatty (usually don’t play anything over them so I can hear what’s going on). And I enjoy the show. And I didn’t have to wait for my friends to make a decision. :)

          1. Miss Astoria Platenclear*

            Absolutely, on your church comparison.
            “The most important part of my religion is to play guitar.” – Lou Reed

            Interesting to see I’m not the only one who has flown solo. I’m be grateful for social media for letting me connect with others who share my arts & entertainment tastes.

    8. Nynaeve*

      Do it! I’ve just started getting into concerts in the last couple of years and I’ve gone a few times by myself. Actually, those times were when I was seeing some of my favorite bands and I didn’t want to distract myself by worrying about whether anyone else was having a good time. I can be as social or withdrawn as I want. Last time, I didn’t talk to anyone, but the time before that, I wound up sharing dinner with friendly strangers.

      But I definitely worked my way up by doing smaller things by myself: dinner, movies, wandering around downtown, etc.

    9. Shiny Onix*

      Yep. I’m 43 and my friends who share my music taste are not local. I love gigs. I wish I could get out to more.

    10. mreasy*

      Yes! I do and have been doing it for decades and you just get used to it after awhile. Phones make it easier to while away between-set time. Plus, when you go alone, you get to decide how late to stay, when to arrive, etc!

    11. Anonymous Educator*

      Yes, I’ve done it before. Saw Maria Taylor in concert and went by myself. It was great! Sure—I like going with someone else, but going alone is fun, too.

    12. The Other Dawn*

      I did it once and I had a lot of fun.

      Def Leppard did a residency in Las Vegas back in 2013. My sister couldn’t go and my husband doesn’t care for them all that much. Since the ticket I wanted was expensive (front row, meet and greet, etc.), I told my husband I was going alone to the show since I wasn’t will to pay that much money for a ticket for him when he doesn’t even care about them, but we would go to LV together. He was absolutely fine with it. He did his thing and I did mine. I ended up knowing some people there from other DL shows I’ve been to, so we hung out and had a great time. It felt strange at first, being along in the audience, but once the show started we were all in it together.

    13. anonagain*

      I don’t like music, but I’ve gone to all kinds of other shows alone. Go! Go! Go! If it’s horrible, you can leave early.

    14. Atheist Nun*

      Go! Why wait on another person to live your desired life? You can dine alone, travel alone, watch movies alone, and you can certainly see a concert alone.

      I see live music shows (general admission and seated; rock and classical; clubs and theaters) all the time. I love live music* and, as a shy person, I feel like I can participate more–dancing, singing off key, shouting “whoo hoo!” in appreciation for a great performance–when I am on my own.

      If you want to minimize the “standing around alone waiting for the band to go on” time, call the venue the day of the show and ask what time the headliner will take the stage. I first did that years ago for a GA show because I was wearing a “boot” for a foot condition, which made standing painful. These days I call the venue before any show, then show up 10 minutes before the headliner time so that I can grab a drink and work my way somewhere onto the floor with a good sight line (hard to effect when one is 5’3″). I have not seen an opening band in years, and I treasure that extra time I have to myself.

      *Well, I DID love live music up until a few years ago, when I noticed the ubiquity of phone recording during the shows really seemed to diminish the energy of the crowd. That, plus the boredom of the moldy oldy bands going back out on tour 25+ years after their best work, probably because their finances took a dive in recent days and they need money again (guess what, bands, my mutual funds are the same as yours, so I cannot afford your concert tickets), has dissuaded me from going to shows regularly.

      1. Mr. Shark*

        Sometimes you’re missing out on the opening bands. A lot of times they have new music and new creative energy. I understand the idea of wanting to wait and only see the main attraction, but (as you mention) many of the bands touring are just touring off their old music, so seeing a new band that is similar in style to the band you’re paying to see may be beneficial.

        I’ll go to concerts myself. It’s nice, because if I want to pay to get a good seat up front, I don’t have to worry about whether or not my friend can afford it or wants to pay as much as I’m willing to pay. Or if I want to be up front, and therefore get there early enough to get near the stage, I don’t have to worry if they don’t want to get to the show early.

    15. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      I do sometimes! My only friend who has the same tastes in music as I do is in another country and my husband thinks my favourite bands are “easy listening” so I just go by myself. I don’t go to as many as I used to, partly because of the expense and the fact that I am a middle aged woman who is tired all the time now, but I still enjoy it.

    16. Alternative Person*

      Yeah, been doing so for years. When I started, I kept a safety item in easy reach (collapsible umbrella in a backpack side pocket) but I’ve never had any issues. Follow the usual steps for going out- tell someone where you’re going and arrange a check in, watch your drinks, etc., maybe hang back the first few times when figuring out the dynamics but otherwise, go forth and have fun.

    17. StellaBella*

      I do. I have gone to concerts in my city and in cities 2-3 hrs away. Not many of my friends like my favourite band si I am happy to go alone. I am female. I find places to stand hear security usually. Never had any issues.

  18. You can call me Al*

    We have two cats, one older, sedate and in mostly good health except for some hip issues that make stairs hard.
    The other is a young but fully grown kitty who happily plays and bounces and rockets around the whole house.
    They get along great 90% of the time, and surprisingly, younger kitty has been able to engage older kitty in play somewhat, but occasionally younger kitty’s energy annoys older kitty and we have to separate them for an hour or so. When younger cat is calm, they snuggle together in the same bed, they often groom each other, etc. We’ve had older cat for 10 years, younger cat for about 18 months. Both female, both spayed as kittens. Both were born after their pregnant mama was rescued from a feral colony and adopted out at 10 weeks. We got younger kitty after her first adoption failed over her energy level. Was supposed to be a short term foster, but as can happen, she’s family now.
    We live in a three story townhome and have a litter box on every floor. Young cat uses all three. Older cat, because of her difficulty with stairs, pretty much spends all her time on one floor and only uses that litter box.
    The last month or so a new issue has come up. Younger kitty is not letting older kitty use the litter box. So older kitty ends up just reliving herself anywhere.
    Here’s what we’ve tried:
    Feliway diffuser on the floor where older cat hangs out
    Additional litter box on the floor where older cat hangs out. (Younger kitty defends both)
    Took both to the vet, both had a clean bill of health and vet didn’t have any suggestions other than an additional litter box.
    Closing the younger kitty up on another floor a few times a day and placing older kitty in the litter box. This is the only thing that works, but it’s getting old and I’d rather not have to do that forever.
    Older kitty is much bigger than younger kitty, so I can’t think of a litter box that would accommodate the bigger kitty and also keep the smaller kitty out.
    Other than this standoff over the litter box, they still get along the same. They’ll go from grooming and snoozing together in the same bed to angry conflict over the litter box in less than 5 minutes. Then back to purring and spooning on the couch.
    Would love any advice.

    1. fposte*

      When you say you put a second litter box on the first floor but “younger kitty defends both,” that suggests the two are right next to each other. Can you put them far enough apart that there’s no single passage that younger kitty can block off? I realize that might mean putting one litter box in a room where you didn’t want a litter box, but that may be preferable to cleaning up cat pee and poop for years.

        1. fposte*

          Wow, that’s some dedication for sure. I may be out of suggestions, then. How does younger kitty know that it’s time to defend? Is there a way to interrupt that circuit? Can you eliminate (unintentional pun) her guarding or defense spots?

          My guess is that the answer is no, and of course even near-misses at defense could be enough to put older kitty off her game. I was thinking also, if you’re up for the commitment, to installing a temporary wall with an RFID activated cat door and chipping older kitty for access. The problem I foresee with that, though, is younger kitty catching on and either defending the door or following older cat through. Ugh.

    2. All monkeys are French*

      Do you play with younger kitty? I have a couple of cats who can be buttheads to each other. It is always worse when they have pent up energy. Making time for interactive play to really drain their energy makes a big difference. Jackson Galaxy has some good YouTube videos about this and other issues.

      1. You can call me Al*

        Yes, we play with her all the time! She’s a crazy fun kitty and we adore playing with her. She can really JUMP and loves it when we do what we call “fly fishing” and let her catch toys that way.

        1. fposte*

          If you read the Way of Cats blog, it sounds like she might be what the blogger there terms an alpha cat. She may just be finding the box guarding a really entertaining goaltending game rather than it being about hostility or dominance. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any easier to solve–adding physical obstacles may just up the challenge level of the game.

              1. tangerineRose*

                Jackson Galaxy recommends this too sometimes for a kitty with a lot of energy. I actually adopted a 3rd cat so that my younger kitty had a friend to play with (the older kitty doesn’t have the same energy). For me, it’s worked great.

            1. EddieSherbert*

              Yeah, honestly, that was my first thought. An old cat doesn’t want a baby to babysit :/

              The younger cat sounds like she’s bored to me and inventing games to entertain herself. A friend might be a good solution. Otherwise, do you rotate toys and enrichment activities to keep things interesting? You can try puzzle/interactive feeders, leash walking/catio, clicker training (recommend checking out Cat School in instagram… will link the account in another comment below), introducing her to new smells (My cat has literally toured the fridge) , or making a box “castle” for a day.

              Also, watch closely as she might be resource guarding other things too – denying access to cat trees or casually “trapping” the older cat up high, maybe blocking the access to food/water, etc.

    3. C Average*

      I think you’re going to have to separate the cats. It sucks, because it sounds like they get along really well aside from the litterbox issue, but it’s really hard to train a cat to do anything, especially anything related to territorial behavior. (If you want to know how I know this, ask me about my extremely territorial cat and the fun I’ve had getting her to share a household with my partner’s cat.)

      Get some kind of gate arrangement that keeps Small Kitty out of Big Kitty’s area, and keep it there for at least a month or two. During that month, replace Big Kitty’s litterbox and litter and thoroughly clean Big Kitty’s area. If it’s not too much of a hassle, consider replacing ALL the boxes and litter and doing a thorough cleaning of all the cats’ favorite haunts, especially any places Big Kitty has relieved herself when she couldn’t get to her box.

      There will definitely be some complaining from both cats, and probably some efforts on Small Kitty’s part to jump the gate.

      Once some time has passed, you MIGHT have broken the cycle to the extent that you can let both cats roam free. At least, this is what I am told with regard to my own cat situation. Based on my experience so far, I think that my cat and my partner’s cat will always need to be separated, but from what I’ve read and heard, it sounds like some of these stories have better outcomes.

      Good luck!

    4. 1LFTW*

      It’s called “resource guarding” and it’s a tough one.

      Could they live together “part-time?” It’s not ideal, but if they mutually groom each other, complete separation might stress them out. I also like the RFID idea, but as the commenter pointed out, Younger Cat might catch on and just follow Older Cat into the litter box area.

      These two definitely seem to have a complicated relationship. If you figure something out, let us know. I’d love to hear about it.

    5. AnotherRedHeadedOne*

      Try a “calming collar” on younger one. Essentially pheromones on a collar that lasts 30 days, available on Amazon.

    6. WS*

      My brother’s cats had this issue, plus the younger cat scattering the older cat’s food for fun. He got a pet gate that would only open for the older cat (RFID chip in the collar) so she could have alone time when she wanted.

    7. ThatGirltheFormerVetTech*

      Late to the game here, but a few suggestions. Veterinarians and others recommend a litter box per cat, plus one more. So, if you have two cats you need three boxes. Also, Feliway plug-in diffusers and/or spray. It’s kitty pheromones and can really calm them down. (Don’t worry, humans can’t smell them!)
      Otherwise, as others have suggested, lots of play for Younger Kitty and play with Older Kitty as tolerated. I would certainly try more before separating the cats entirely. That could be very stressful for cats and people in the home!

      (One final point, Older Kitty May need a full physical and labs with your veterinarian. Sometimes cats will shun/harass another cat when there is something wrong. Could be nothing, but worth a checkup if nothing else is helping)

  19. Ra94*

    This is sort of a future concern, but I had a conversation with a friend about rescuing dogs that left me a little sad. She said that since I’ve never had a dog, there’s no way I could deal with an unpredictable rescue, and I should buy from a reputable breeder instead.

    The thing is…I really staunchly believe in rescuing animals instead. In my mind, I could potentially foster first, or volunteer at a shelter to learn some ‘dog skills’ and get to know the pups.

    The other issue is that I already feel like I’ll be an imperfect dog owner, because I work full-time and live in an apartment (but am able to spend a lot on daily dog walkers or doggie daycare). Basically…am I being totally naive? I just hate feeling like because I didn’t grow up with dogs and I’m not a stay at home mom with acres of land, I’ll never be a proper dog parent.

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      It sounds as though she might be thinking about rescues in terms of dogs who have some difficult history — abused animals, or ones that previously had some ‘professional’ use and have been retrained (off-track greyhounds or similar). Not all shelter or rescue dogs are significantly more unpredictable than the ordinary ‘domesticated predator’ baseline!

      No pet owner is the ‘perfect’ pet owner. You’d want to consider what kind of a dog your home is appropriate for (and consult your landlord in case they have any restrictions), but living in an apartment, I think you can do fine.

      1. WellRed*

        +1. Reframe it as adopting, not rescuing. Lots of dogs would love to have an imperfect but loving home.

          1. MissGirl*

            Me too! It’s got to be thing here in the ritzy communities to “rescue” a dog. No one can say this is my dog, Rover. Oh no, they have to tell everyone this is my rescue dog. (I work for but not live in said community.)

            I literally overheard another woman say to a newcomer, “to fit in, you have to get a rescue dog.” It was sort of jokingly.

            OP, get the dog that will fit in with your lifestyle and that will be happiest in it.

            1. tangerineRose*

              “get the dog that will fit in with your lifestyle and that will be happiest in it.” Yeah, this!

              You may want to check out a few shelters, get the vibe, try to find a place that really cares about getting the right fit.

          2. Avasarala*

            Me too. Once the dog is born it has to go somewhere. Technically speaking you’re “rescuing” the dog and giving it a home whether it was born on a purebred ranch or a puppy mill or an intact stray.

        1. Ra94*

          This is how I feel with fostering in particular- surely living with an imperfect, still-learning fosterer at home is nicer than being in a shelter? I’m excited to be the best dog parent I can, and the love will certainly be plentiful.

          1. fposte*

            The difference to consider here is that it’s not just about the dog but your community. Once you have the dog, it’s not just your obligation to take care of it but to ensure it’s not a problem or risk to those around you. The shelter isn’t going to be bothered by constant barking, and they’ll know how to deal with dog aggression, for a couple of examples. But it’s a big problem for your building if the dog barks all the time when you’re not there (or when you are) and for your neighborhood if it takes a chunk out of a passing spaniel. Obviously some mitigation is possible for situations like that, but if not, a dog may be better off being at a good shelter than being put into a home that’s not ready for this particular dog’s problems.

    2. fposte*

      I think there’s some friendship stuff here and some dog stuff. Your friend’s right that a reputable breeder means working with a net in the way that adopting doesn’t, and that first time owners are likely to find dog ownership and basic teaching of canine good citizenship challenging enough without throwing in dogs with serious issues, especially if you’re in a situation where a dog’s going to be confined alone most of the day, which can be hard on a dog.

      That doesn’t mean adoption is an inappropriate route for you, though (and your friend may have been being a bit of a jerk, depending on how she phrased it). Adoption doesn’t automatically mean a traumatized dog with issues (that’s one reason why I steer away from the “rescue” term–it tends to prioritize the notion of need, which is easy to buy into even though one might not be able to meet that need), and there’s ultimately no guarantee with any dog on health or personality. So I think it’s fine for a first-time dog owner to adopt; they just need to be realistic and choosy, not just fall in love with a face.

      I think fostering first is a good idea too, though obviously your situation will limit you on the kind of dogs you could foster. A dog in need of more socialization would be a poor fit there, while a dog that’s undergoing heartworm treatment and is therefore on exercise restriction might work very well.

    3. Weegie*

      Your friend is talking nonsense.

      Friends of mine adopted a rescue dog with some behavioral problems, even though they’d never owned a dog in their lives. And they lived in a flat without a garden. They’ve done just fine – I grew up with pets, including a dog, and I do think they’ve been a bit lax about training (12 years on and he STILL won’t sit on command or cease his endless war against the postman!), but he’s well looked-after, and fed, and they use dog-walkers (and me, and family) to look after him when they’re on holiday or at work. He’s a happy dog!

      A decent animal rescue will offer advice and support, and might even do a home inspection first to ensure suitability. Your idea to foster/volunteer first is a good one – go for it, and ignore your friend!

    4. MMB*

      Buying from a breeder, even a reputable one, is no guarantee that you’ll wind up with a friendly well-mannered dog. I would suggest you ignore your friend and spend sometime volunteering at a shelter. It will help you to really narrow down the type of dog that will be the best match for you and your lifestyle. Things like shedding, drooling, propensity to bark, stubbornness, energy level etc., may seem small at first but 10 years later when you have Saint Bernard drool dripping from the ceiling and enough lab hair on your clothes everyday to to knit a coat it’s a whole different story, no matter how much you love your furry friends. Also, adopting an older dog you’ve interacted with gives you a much better understanding of their personality.

    5. KR*

      I had never had a dog before and I “rescued” aka adopted a senior happy boy a few years ago. He is a perfectly normal mutt who lived with a family for most of his life. They moved and put him in a shelter, and now I have him. I was definitely not the perfect candidate to adopt a dog but I had the money for his vet bills and pet sitting, the drive, and I love him a hell of a lot. He was better with me in a small apartment with a mom who works full time than in the shelter freaking out. Don’t listen to your friend, it sounds like you’re putting a lot of thought into dog ownership which is the important part. I’m sure you’d be a great friend to a puppo.

    6. Anon Librarian*

      That sounds more like a jab than a knowledgable comment about dogs. Something’s up with her, or she was just in a bad mood.

      It’s true that some dogs are better for first time owners than others, but that definitely doesn’t preclude rescue dogs. I would exercise caution about the more “intense” and “complicated” breeds (high energy herding breeds and bully breeds – medium size and up). But even then, don’t rule it out. It’s ultimately about the amount of time and effort you can give to that animal. And your bond with that particular dog. Volunteering at a shelter to gain experience is a great idea.

        1. Anon Librarian*

          Yes, but I actually was thinking about rescues when I wrote that. Meaning that for a first dog, with no outdoor space for it to exercise, I would, sadly, not rescue a bull-terrier breed or a border collie. As a couple of examples. It’s sad because dogs of those breeds are great and they need homes! But when you add their high energy and complex personalities to an unknown background and an owner who’s new to dogs, it’s not the safest choice. Unless it’s that one dog who you really bond with as soon as you meet them.

          I would look for a rescued mutt, smaller breed, or calmer breed (basset hound, greyhound, etc).

          I have a rescued dog who is mostly pit bull terrier. He’s wonderful, but he’s not always good with other animals, he challenges my authority sometimes, and he needs a lot of exercise. He needs a human who can read his behavior and give him clear rules to follow while also showering him with kindness. And who can exercise him in a city while keeping him away from cats and other dogs. He wouldn’t be good for a first time owner unless they were dedicated to taking on that challenge and learning fast.

          1. Ra94*

            I’ve been reading a lot about greyhounds, actually! It sounds like they’re very chill and lazy, and I have a great dog park nearby that’s usually pretty empty and seems perfect for safely muzzled zoomies.

            1. Jules the First*

              You actually shouldn’t let retired greyhounds off leash except in a very big fully enclosed areas (friends used to take their rescue greyhound to the local baseball stadium for his off-leash runs).

              On a different note, I have a friend who foster guide dog puppies – he drops the puppy off at guide dog school on his way to work and picks it up on his way home, and the dog is his to play with and exercise evenings and weekends. This might work well with your situation?

              1. Ra94*

                Oh that is good to know! This place is basically a fenced-in field the size of a soccer pitch, and is usually empty in mornings- but I’ll watch out for smaller spaces.

                That sounds like the perfect thing to look into, actually!

                1. HoundMom*

                  Yes, retired greyhounds are amazing. They come housebroken, leash-trained and non-barking. But if something catches their and they run, they do not hear you frantically calling their names. They are a great first time owner dog .

              2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

                This has been my experience too. My uncle adopted a retired racing greyhound, and while she was the sweetest thing under the sun, once she got outside there was exactly one thought in that pointy little head of hers: gotta go fast. Unfortunately, he wasn’t physically up to the task that managing her on walks turned out to be, so she had to be rehomed :(

            2. JKP*

              I have a mini greyhound (Italian greyhound), and she’s a great apartment dog for a first time dog owner who works full time. She always had short bursts of energy easily burnt up by fetching the ball around the apartment for an hour after dinner, but mostly just lounged around on the couch. Now she’s 16, so she doesn’t have as much energy as she used to. Also, I trained her to use a litter box in the apartment, so when she grew out of puppy mischief and could be left alone, she was fine all day when I was at work. Bonus, I can sleep in, and she’ll go use the litter box on her own and come back to bed. Greyhounds also don’t bark much, so she’s fine with people walking past my door and making noise in the building. She only barks when someone rings my actual apartment (which on my phone has the ring tone for the Star Trek red alert klaxon, so she also barks when I watch Star Trek). Greyhounds can be very emotionally sensitive, like if I give her a scolding look, she runs off crying as if I’d just beat her, so positive reinforcement works best.

          2. fposte*

            I think those are good points–I was thinking more that whether we’re talking shelter or breeder you don’t start with, say, an Akita.

            1. Anon Librarian*

              Right! Stay away from breeds that are known to require experience as well as high energy working breeds.

          3. Kuododi*

            I second that vote. I had a home based counseling client who lived in a one bedroom apartment in the downtown area of a large metro area. Unfortunately, this clients family had taken in a Jack Russel terrier. It was a sweet natured doggo, however as it was with Jack Russel’s in general, the little furball needed to be on about 100 acres with a job. What that meant for my visits with my client was the dog was so wound up and anxious it became almost impossible to get anything accomplished. I ended up drafting one of the younger siblings to take the dog out for a long walk while I worked with my client. Definitely not a breed of dog I would have opted to adopt for both our sales. I also wouldn’t adopt a large breed at this time in life bc DH and I live in a small patio home with no space for a high energy large breed dog. Best regards.

      1. Ra94*

        To be fair, my friend’s background is that she grew up in the countryside with big family dogs, bought as puppies, and her stay at home mom cared for them. And she was bitten in the face as a child by a rescue. So I think her thinking is still pretty black and white! I’m also the first of our London friend group to own a flat, so no one has been able to consider a dog yet. She definitely meant well!

        Definitely agree about breeds- from what I’ve read, it seems like calm bigger dogs like greyhounds might be an option for lower energy and low barking?

    7. Asenath*

      I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I don’t have a dog, but a relative of mine and her partner adopted one – neither of them were dog people before and both worked full-time, but like you were able to hire a dog-walker/sitter when needed. They did a good bit of research ahead of time about the type of dog they wanted – including dog-sitting once for a friend. They eventually adopted a medium-sized mixed breed adult dog who had been given up by her previous owner for vague reasons that I think were related to them being a largish family that found they had no time for proper dog care. There was nothing particularly serious wrong with the dog – she had some minor behaviour quirks, like being very nervous around children – and the adoption has been a resounding success. Of course, there are dogs with serious issues that need adopters with a lot of experience in dog care, but there are others available to a good home!

    8. Fikly*

      Actually, my understanding (granted, I have more cat experience than dog) is that it’s much harder to train a dog from puppy than work with a dog that is older and their personality is already established. Puppies are a TON of work. Learn how to have an adult dog, which is not going to be from a breeder.

      And that’s setting aside the issue that 1) breeder dogs are initially much more expensive and 2) continue to be more expensive due to their higher rates of health issues.

      1. fposte*

        Though “breeder” doesn’t necessarily mean “puppy”; they may have retired show animals, adult animals that have demonstrated something that means they don’t want to breed from them, retired breeding animals, etc.

          1. fposte*

            I think that depends how you define rare. If you’re willing to be patient and look widely and you’re not looking at a super rare breed, it’s pretty possible to do, in the experience of people I know (same goes for cats, btw). However, it’s obviously a lot rarer than show-quality dogs or even pet-quality puppies from show breeders, and likely puppy mill or backyard breeder dogs are more common than dogs from responsible breeders across the board.

            1. Fikly*

              And the puppy mill dogs are going to have massive behavioral and health issues, frankly. Not that they don’t deserve to be rescued from that hell.

              1. EddieSherbert*

                +100. And puppy mills are VERY sneaky these days. “Responsible” breeder is a very hard line to navigate even if you’re very dog-experienced… just look at the recent stories where multiple AKC certified/champion breeders were exposed as animal abusers and puppy mills this year :/

      2. Natalie*

        Yep, this is what I was going to say. Puppies are adorable fuzzy nightmares. Even the best bred and socialized puppy is months and months of potty training and bite inhibition and insane energy. One of my friends ranks puppies above babies (but below toddlers) in overall difficulty/terribleness. Unless you experienced a series of puppies in your family of origin, a 1-3 year old dog is a much easier place to start.

      3. Rio*

        I have fostered both puppies and older dogs who haven’t been trained, and my experience is that puppies are easy to train in comparison to adult dogs. For one, puppies don’t yet have bad habits, and they are smaller. I had the exact same breed at 3 years old and 3 months, and it was much easier to teach manners (don’t jump on me), leash, and all sorts of other skills with an animal that is 20lbs instead of 90lbs. Puppies are a lot of work, but so are untrained adult rescue dogs. I would rather have a puppy than a large adult dog with no manners, although in both those cases the dogs were smart and the adopters were lucky to get dogs who were relatively well trained by the time I had worked with them for a couple weeks.

        An ethical breeder is very careful about who they have as mother / father, and they do testing to ensure that the parents are healthy. If done properly, purebred dogs are statistically more likely to be healthy. The problem is that many people don’t do any research, and they just buy a dog. If anyone buys a purebred dog then they should meet the parents, go to the home to see the puppies at different stages (or at minimum go to the home once to ensure they are in a home and not a pen outdoors), and research the breeder online.

    9. CoffeeforLife*

      I foster and have a regular pet. Fostering is rewarding, can be challenging, but so so educational. You learn about different personalities, training, etc. The program I go through pays for obedience classes and doggy day care to help you with training and to socialize the dogs. You wouldn’t be in it alone if you foster or even adopt from a rescue organization.

      1. Ra94*

        That sounds like an amazing program- I’d love to be involved in something like that! (Hopefully there’s a London one.) I would be happy even taking a week off work and doing a fostering staycation at some point, just to make sure I felt comfortable leaving the dog at home.

      2. Fikly*

        OOoh, yes, seconding the fostering thing!

        It’s both a great way to learn dog-handling skills and a fantastic way to learn what kind of dog actually works for you lifestyle wise.

    10. Anono-me*

      I’m sure your friend meant well but …..

      As someone who’s added puppies (both from surprise litters and from breeders) and also adult dogs to our family, my suggestion is to:

      1. Do your breed research. Breed traits are not a guarantee, but it’s the best place to start.

      Then when you are ready,

      2. Request help from a breed specific rescue group that does in-home fostering of their rescued dogs. (The foster parents will be able to give you a lot of background on the dog and the dog will have learned a lot about living with people already.)

      3. Sign you and Doggy up for a training class. You will learn a lot about how to be good to your dog.

      Please be open to looking at adult and senior dogs.

      1. Ra94*

        I’m definitely looking only at adults versus puppies, and would be open to senior dogs, especially for fostering.

    11. AvonLady Barksdale*

      We adopted our buddy and had never owned dogs as adults. My family had a dog when I was young but she was not well cared for because my mother didn’t want to put in the work.

      We adopted from a rescue that fosters. We knew a lot about the dog’s personality and habits. We knew how he managed in an apartment. We knew little things, like how he needed a slow feeder bowl and how he wasn’t into vegetables.

      Friends of ours pulled that “you don’t know what you’re getting” crap and ended up buying from a breeder. Their dog has some issues because he’s a dog– breeder or rescue doesn’t prevent that. And their dog hates their cat, which they could have screened for if they had adopted.

      If you’re committed and you have support from your fellow adopters (we have an active Facebook group), you will be fine. And we have managed very well in an apartment– long walkies and daycare are excellent things to plan for. Look for a dog with the temperament you want and remember to be flexible (the initial weeks are amazing but eye-opening) and good luck!

      1. EddieSherbert*

        I foster dogs through a rescue and I still talk to any of my adopters that want contact! One woman who adopted a foster of mine reached out over a year later with some behavioral questions… I was happy to talk to her!

        And my husband had never had dogs (or pets of any kind) before we started dating. His family was literally horrified when they heard I was getting a dog. My husband is an amazing “dog dad” and has totally become a dog person since we moved in together. My dog was already a couple years old by then, but I had my husband go do a basic training class with Pup anyways, and that honestly helped a ton. They bonded, husband started understanding the training process and gained confidence with Pup… honestly, husband got hooked on classes and now Pup and him are like four classes deep in Rally training (just for fun). Hahaha.

        PS fun classes like Rally, Nosework, Obedience, even tricks or dock diving or whatever are GREAT ways to keep dogs engaged, happy, entertained – even if you work during the day and can only give them that one hour of focused attention. If your dog isn’t a big fan of one class, try another and they might love it!

    12. SandrineSmiles (France)*

      Oh my! Your friend is seeing things the wrong way. I mean, completely.

      Yes, dogs from shelters can be unpredictable. But it’s important to note that family life and shelter life aren’t the same and most dogs who are adopted out will get “better” once they know they have a home. Then, if you can get a dog that is good size wise related to your place, and do crate training, so long as you can walk the dog, you’ll be fine.

      I mean, dogs are amazing animals (I never imagined how much I would love mine until I got her… we fostered her as a baby and adopted her when we rented our house) and it’s so cool that you’re thinking about adopting one! I wish you the best on this journey.

      My only tip: keep shoes and slippers and the like away from doggie. Mine loves to eat those xD

      1. SandrineSmiles (France)*

        (I mention crate training because you said you work full time and it would probably be safer for your apartment I suppose :p )

        1. Ra94*

          That’s a good tip! I have basically accepted that my lovely natural leather sofa getting destroyed is the price I’ll have to pay for doggie love, haha, but crate training definitely sounds wise.

            1. Ra94*

              That could be useful for curing my boyfriend’s book hoarding habit, actually. (I only buy books I’ve read and want to own, and go to the library otherwise, whereas he can’t resist a shiny title and then never opens it.) “The dog ate your philosophy tome” could be a handy excuse, lolol.

        2. Lucette Kensack*

          Crate training is safer for some dogs, but for many it isn’t necessary. It just depends in the dog (like everything!).

    13. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      If you have a municipal animal shelter where you live, that may be a good middle ground between “breeder” and “animal rescue group”. Some rescue groups get so focused on trying to find the perfect fit for their dogs that they have a list of requirements a mile long, an elaborate application process involving home inspections and calling references, and generally seem to be looking for perfection from potential new homes. This all comes from a a well-meaning place (they want these dogs to have the best possible lives), but that’s some exhausting stuff to deal with. Meanwhile, if you watch the county dog shelter, their application is short, mostly requires that you also buy a dog license and haven’t surrendered an animal recently, and is generally a more achievable level of hoop to jump through. (They also charge less in adoption fees in my area.) I realize that some of this comes from rescues targeting the most difficult dogs, but I think some of it also comes from the personalities of the kind of people who start animal rescue groups.

      I’m in a situation where I can probably adopt from even the fussiest rescue group (homeowner, fenced yard, no kids or other pets, grew up with dogs, used to pet-sit professionally with a focus on dogs with behavioral and/or medical needs) but I probably won’t bother to consider dogs from some of the more intense local rescue groups because I just am not up for an exhausting set of hoops. There are lots of different good dogs out there, so I’m probably going to go get one of the ones stuck at the county shelter rather than one of the ones with their “perfect homes only” rescue. (Plus, the county tends to keep their dogs in institutional kennels and the rescues tend to keep theirs in foster homes, so I feel like the rescue dogs can wait longer for homes.) I might work with one or two of the less demanding rescues depending on who has what dogs looking for home available when I’m ready to get a dog (I will be gone for multiple weekends this November, so this is not a good time), but I am not going to work with, for example, our local dachshund group even though I like dachshunds, have worked with/trained a pretty difficult dachshund in the past, and would do well with one in terms of my lifestyle. Their list of requirements just sounds perfect-world and exhausting, so I’m going to see who else has a dog that could use a home.

      Whoever suggested doing fostering of dogs who need low-activity due to heartworm treatment, I agree that that sounds like a good foster area to see if you can get into if you want to try fostering for a while. A reasonable foster group will understand that, since those dogs specifically need low activity while they’re undergoing treatment, an apartment without a lot of dog-initiated opportunities for exercise is the perfect short-term fit.

      Plenty of people have dogs while working full time away from the home. It’s not ideal, but few things in life are. Depending on the number of stairs involved, that could be a good reason to look at getting an older dog, since many dogs turn into couch potatoes as they get older. (Older dogs also often end up having trouble with stairs, though.)

      1. Ra94*

        Yeah, I think reading some of the super stringent requirements from some rescue groups made me nervous and echoed my friend’s comments…so these replies have been so reassuring! I guess my thinking is that it takes a village, so even if part of my dog care is hiring people to take care of it, that’s still better than being stuck in a shelter. Plus, down the line, I’d be on the lookout for a dog friendly office, hopefully!

        Municipal shelters sound like a good idea- I’m not sure I’ve come across those in London before? (American permanent expat in the UK, so if anyone reading has specific advice, please share!)

        1. Weegie*

          Try the Dogs Trust – there’s at least one centre in London. You have to pay a fee to adopt a dog, but it’s not especially expensive, and they usually know the dog’s history. Check out their website.

          The other main option is the RSPCA – I don’t think they charge anything, but I’ve heard they can be a bit iffy about flat-dwellers.

          You can volunteer at both of these organisations.

          I don’t think there are any local authority-run shelters in the UK. Most animal rescues and adoptions are handled by either a local charity or one of the bigger charities like the two above.

            1. Ra94*

              Battersea is actually one of the organizations that made me pessimistic :-( In their requirements to foster, they say you MUST be able to be with the dog at all times (so, only people with no jobs or who work remotely?) and you must have prior dog experience…but maybe they’re more lax in reality?

              1. WellRed*

                Oh FFS! People don’t even stay with their human babies all the time. Honestly, some of these groups…

        2. Not a cat*

          In Los Angeles, the rescue groups are utterly over-the-top. My professional dog trainer brother-in-law was turned down which is crazy to me. Anywho to avoid that BS I went to a Municipal Shelter and adopted my senior chihuahua. She has become my heart.

    14. Cora*

      In this case, I would say ignore your friend. Maybe she means well, maybe she’s just being a jerk, but either way, she’s wrong.

      What I would recommend if you don’t spend a ton of time at home and you’ve never owned a dog before is adopting an adult dog. Puppies can be kind of a wild card in terms of behavior and they are super labor intensive in the beginning. There are plenty of adult dogs in shelters and rescue organizations with great temperaments! Do your research on breeds and if possible, adopt a dog that is currently with a foster family – they can usually give you a lot of good info on where the dog is with training and behavior.

    15. Bluebell*

      Fostering is a great idea! If you foster for a non-breed specific rescue, you can get experience with different sizes and ages of dogs. And you’ll learn more about training and adjustment, especially if you are hooked up with a reputable rescue that is supportive. You can certainly tell your friend you appreciate her advice, but remember it’s you who wants to add a new dog to your family, not her.

    16. Shay*

      I’m a huge dog person. I think you’ll do fine with a shelter dog.
      The shelter I volunteer with does not turn away animals for any reason and has a 97% save rate. They make huge investments in rehabilitating dogs with temperament concerns, including aggression and anxiety. These dogs they wouldn’t adopt out to “just anyone”. They have adoption consoling to find out if you could support a dog with more intense needs and how intense, and talk to you about that.
      But then, there are also just perfectly nice, normal dogs they get say, because their owner died or joined the military or lost their jobs and needed to move in with their parents and couldn’t take the dog.
      These dogs aren’t as common, and there’s a wait-list for them, but they’re out there.
      They also do just straight up get puppies. Sometimes, puppies that have been taken from their mother too young and need to be bottle fed.
      Not everyone is a perfect dog parent. I have owned my dog for 3 years in an apartment before moving into a house with a backyard. She is so. so. so. so thrilled with her backyard. I felt bad for those years she’s been without one.

    17. Lucette Kensack*

      You shouldn’t trust anything this friend had to say about dogs. She’s demonstrated herself to be both uninformed and biased. You can safely write her off on this topic.

      If you’re very concerned about what you can handle, the best route for you is to adopt an adult dog from a foster-based rescue. The fosters will know the dog inside and out, what they’ll need and what challenges they will bring. This just isn’t possible with a puppy. A good rescues (like “good” breeders) will also take back any dog that they adopt out (typically they actually require that you return the dog to them if you ever can’t keep them), so they have your back.

      1. ThatGirl*

        I agree. I never had a dog growing up, my husband’s family did but your parents handling everything is not the same. We adopted and found a great adult dog who fit our life: he’s small, very well behaved, can stay in his crate but doesn’t need to, doesn’t really bark, sleeps all day while we’re at work. We did training with him and he is perfect for us.

    18. Cedrus Libani*

      There are dogs who end up “in the system” because their owners were abusive jerks. There are also well-trained, low-maintenance dogs whose owners were hit by a bus. It’s OK to be honest with the shelter staff about your situation: you’re looking for an apartment dog, and you aren’t looking for a challenge. They can point you in the right direction. If you’re open to adopting an older dog, that might help; they’re harder to place, and they also aren’t as hyper as a young pup.

    19. Eeeek*

      Ugh no you’re completely fine dogs actually can be home alone for a while and tons of single people I. Apartments have dogs. You might end up going with a breeder bc the shelters don’t like to give dogs to single people who live in apartments. I was turned down from multiple shelters for that reason bought my dog at a breeder and he’s the best thing ever!!! People act like leaving a dog home for 4 hours is akin to beating it. It’s not. It’s fine. Walk it, but it good food, plenty of vet care and you’re a good dog mom.

    20. Not So NewReader*

      Your friend gives terrible advice.

      Do you have other friends who have dogs? If yes, please go visit them and their dog and talk about dogs.
      I have had 5 dogs all from rescues. Two have been kind of wild but they eventually calmed down.
      My current dog, a vet helped me get the dog to chill out. She does mainstream medicine and alternative stuff. This meant he got herbs and I was told not to feed him certain foods. It worked, he chilled right out. You can probably find a vet like this near you, if you need help with wild behaviors.

      Each dog I have had has taught me something or showed me something that I never knew before. Dog #4 showed me baby teeth. I found them on the floor. Why did I not notice that before? Dog #5 showed me how he can unlock doors. I did not know dogs could do that.
      There is always something more to learn, so don’t let not knowing slow you down. The only time there is a real problem is when the dog parent does not ask questions.
      So you find a good vet, you find a pet store with helpful folks, and you line up a couple friends who you think have nice dogs. This is your circle of people to talk to when things come up.

      Personally, I get dogs from a shelter because they are usually mixed breeds and I can kind of get away from what ever issue a particular breed has. If you get them as pups whatever issues they have you can work through those issues.
      I got my current dog at 9 weeks old. He did not like doorways. At all. I carried him through every doorway for months. When he got to be about 5-6 months old and weighed over 30 pounds, I realized carrying him was not a long term solution. By then his habit was to sit before each doorway and wait for me to pick him up. So one day I chose a doorway that did not have a rug, it was just a hardwood floor. Predictably when we came up to the door way and he sat. I got down on my hands and knees and cupped his butt. I pushed him through the doorway. He slid very well across the hardwood. I was laughing the whole time. And that was the end of the doorway problem.

      You will find that some stuff you will work through on your own and some stuff you will talk over with other people.
      You WILL be an imperfect dog owner, just like the rest of us. Just as you teach your pup, also your pup will teach you. And you will both be fine. What your friend did not tell you is that our animals forgive us. They are not like people who hold a grudge. They want their relationship with you back on track as quickly as possible.
      I stepped on my dog’s BLACK tail in a dark room. Imagine that. Oh my, he was so. very. upset with me. I squatted down (made myself look small and less of a threat) and using my tone of voice I said, “I am sorry, buddy.” The snarling stopped instantly, he leaned over and licked my hand. All was well. Your dog will forgive you if you make a mistake.

    21. Sled dog mama*

      Your friend sounds interesting.
      One of the reasons we picked the breeder we got out two current pups from was her belief in rescue. Any reputable breeder is going to support rescue as well.
      Our breeder (who breeds at most 2 litters a year) will take back any puppy she sells at any time during it’s life no questions asked. She then rehomes them, she also gets called by herself local humane society when they get anything resembling her breed as they know she has connections to get the dog rehomed faster.
      Your friend might be thinking of a breeder like that as she tends to have the younger dogs who are just not working out with the family.

    22. Shelter Pup Owner*

      IMO, it’s great you want to adopt! I believe it’s important to adopt by “a fit”, not by looks – if you can’t do long walks, get a dog that is a couch potato. Some shelters actually do behavior evaluations and ask about your lifestyle before they match you. They use this because if people want to adopt just by looks dogs get return to shelter more often (you can also look up “big black dog syndrome”).

      And, it’s important to understand you need to put in some effort (adjustment time, training, educating yourself) and money (ooo, the vet bills in our house).

      Having your own pet is different than volunteering at a shelter, but it might make you more comfortable with tasks like washing and feeding the dog, understanding canine behavior and training. You will likely get a sense of what dog you might enjoy – for example, for me personally I realized as much as I like the look of hounds, so many of them didn’t want to hang out with me much and just wanted to sniff endlessly,so I learned a more “interactive” dog was a better fit. However, please promise yourself not to adopt dog for some time if you are to volunteer – give yourself 3 months or something to learn. It is HARD not to adopt them all and right away :-)

    23. NoLongerYoung*

      I’ve had the puppy from a breeder (albeit, from a guide-dog-for-the-blind litter), then 2 fosters, then a bevy of senior dogs, and now – after a bit of a wait – a middle-aged (6), problem free dog. Mellow, from a senior citizen who couldn’t care for her any longer due to mobility issues.

      She is okay home all day without me; I walk her before and after work. I may not be home all day with her, but it is better than a shelter (at least one of mine was saved from the long walk of death). They are overcrowded here.
      Bonus on the mixed breed – fewer health issues, IMHO. My one from the breeder was (perhaps) over-bred and allergic to everything (including grass!) which made parks and some options (hikes) a bit of a misery for her.

    24. Smol Book Wizard*

      Hullo! I’ve worked with dog rescue as a volunteer and frequent visitor for about the last 10 years. I think that if you CAN find a rescue group – not a municipal shelter – that doesn’t have unrealistic requirements, they are a good option for giving the good, the bad, and the ugly as it were about a dog’s history and behavior. However, I absolutely understand that a lot of them are… picky in ways that make me wonder who on earth adopts from them.

      Some things can be changed about a dog’s behavior when you get it. For instance, the Welsh Corgi we had for a while when I was a kid was indifferently housetrained, given to peeing a little when nervous, deeply clingy (must be 3 feet away from his person at all times), very reactive to other dogs, and guarded his toys during retrieving games. We were his second owners, and he was about 2 years old. In a few months, we had him moderately better housetrained and much more polite during games. The clinginess and the reactivity had not budged and frankly gotten a bit worse, and so we ended up homing him with a retired couple who were a perfect fit and he for them. My precious current poodle is a retired breeding dog with Limited Life Experience – she is probably never going to be a total social butterfly, gets jumpy and stress-drools in new situations, has no idea what to do with children – but is learning about toys and other dogs who aren’t poodles, and has lots better health care now too. She has come a long way in temperament and openness to things, but we’re still working on it.

      The gist being, if you acquire an adult dog from whatever situation, there will be some things in which it adjusts to you and some things in which you adjust to it. Being clear on what is a deal-breaker for you (love people, or tolerate people, or hide and bark? scrupulously clean, maybe a little dodgy on housetraining, etc.?) and not allowing yourself to get an otherwise lovely dog whose needs are Really not a fit with yours, would be my main advice. I have had to leave some sweet, awesome dogs behind because I knew we couldn’t make each other happy in the long run.
      And don’t give up on getting a dog from a breeder! It’s actually quite common in my experience to find breeders who have older puppies, retired mom and dad dogs, show dogs who washed out, etc. – but the point definitely stands about knowing what you can deal with and what you can’t.

    25. Rio*

      A few lengthy thoughts for someone who is new to dogs and wants to adopt, based on my years of fostering for rescues:
      – I would suggest adopting from a foster-based rescue, and not a shelter. I have fostered several dogs who were fine in the shelter, but after a few days in my home their behaviours changed completely (they became aggressive). Our rescue worked with them, but I was surprised at how common it apparently is for dogs to have negative behaviours once they are in a home environment. I learned that it was common because I mentioned it to other fosters and learned that they also had stories. This happens rarely, but for first-time dog owners I have recommended they not go to shelters if at all possible.
      – Those I know in rescue are most often supportive of bred dogs, from reputable places. Backyard breeders are awful, and more prevalent, so do research if you go this route. I am very supportive (and I dislike anyone who blindly advocates for ‘rescue only’), in part because some parts of the world there aren’t a lot of rescue animals, in which case bred dogs are the only way for some people to get the right match of personality. In northern US there are essentially competitions for the younger, healthy dogs, because there are too few of them. Our rescue gets 50+ applications when we have a retriever, poodle, small-breed puppy. We have elderly dogs, ones with behavioural problems, and chronic health problems… and all of them find homes quickly. I also work with cat rescue and I’m not nearly as keen on cat breeding (I don’t openly object to it, but there are so many cats up for adoption that there’s not the same motivation to get a purebred cat). I was a staunch believer in rescue, but when I got involved in dog rescue that strong opinion disappeared (for dogs) – I now have a strong hatred of backyard breeding / puppymills.
      – I knew nothing when I started to foster dogs, but I was willing to learn and the rescue helped me out. Find a good rescue, offer to help out (maybe with a fundraiser or two at the start, to meet other volunteers, although you can skip that and only foster), and when you find the right foster then you can adopt them. That’s what most of us do! They aren’t keen if you foster only once, adopt that dog, and then never talk with them again, so I would suggest fostering a few or worst-case if you adopt your first foster and can’t do more then at least help out with fundraising.
      – Your friend is definitely biased. Every dog / puppy has a history, and while rescues can definitely have behavioural problems… so can purebred dogs. It’s all about the training! There are people who will abandon their dog at a shelter or rescue because of behavioural problems, which is why I suggest a home-based foster rescue. The worst possible problem with dogs is separation anxiety, as it is very time-consuming and frustrating to fix. We are always very clear that those dogs have to go to detached homes, as they bark endlessly, and we aim to find a home with someone who is there almost all the time (retired or home business). Most dogs, purebred or rescue, need training in a new home, so they will be work. When I meet potential adopters they often jokingly (yet optimistically) ask about adopting my dog, and I point out that the difference between them is that I have several years of training my dog, so of course he knows me and responds well. I would have the same relationship with the foster dog after that time, except that some of them are bad matches for me (typically too little or too much energy) so I would never have a good bond, but I don’t mention that part of it to a potential adopter – the point is that all dogs need time and effort. Untrained dogs need more time at first, but even the ‘trained’ ones are a continuous work in progress.
      – Rescues have different criteria. Some don’t adopt to children, some refuse apartments, and others want someone home all the time. I volunteer with one that seems to have a lot of steps, as there is an initial meeting, a home visit, and reference checks. Yet all of those can be done quickly, and we only want to weed out the completely inappropriate homes (hoarders, liars, etc). I like that our rescue adopts out to almost anyone, as we often adopt to families with young kids, in apartments, elderly (there was a very sweet adoption recently of an elderly dog for someone with early dementia, who lives next door to family so the dog is her constant companion and is very well cared for by the family). A smart rescue knows that circumstances change (babies are born, people move home), so it’s about matching up expectations between adopter and dog, and not so much about a farm with acres for every dog.

      If you are willing to adopt an older larger-breed dog and go on a longer daily walk or several shorter ones, then you would likely be a great option for a rescue, even if you are in an apartment. This may seem a bit weird, but I would suggest going on walks at minimum a month before you start to think about contacting a rescue. I have had some high-energy dogs, and often an adoption didn’t work out because the person realized they didn’t have the time or energy (we talked about this during the initial meeting, so these weren’t adoptions which later failed). With the best adoptions, the person was already keen to walk, and wanted some company. Especially if you are in an apartment, getting out in morning, after work, and before bed for 15-30 minutes would be a great way to show commitment. There are good reasons that some rescues aren’t keen to adopt out to someone in a flat… because the person doesn’t have enough time to walk their dog before they go to work, or they are too tired before bed. Some days I have to go to work early, and my way of coping is to open the back door, and leave the dog to wander the yard while I get ready. This isn’t possible for someone in an apartment, so a bit more effort on your part would help show the rescue your commitment. When I first fostered, I didn’t have a fenced yard so I had a harness and very long line tied to a buried metal post, which the rescue recommended so that the animal could get exercise without escaping. At the time I rarely used it, and instead woke up even earlier to go for a morning walk. The right rescue will want to find a dog that is the right match for you.

      Your worry about working all day: I have had several older retrievers (6-7 years old) who were abandoned at the shelter, yet they had friendly personalities, big bladders, and an ability to be exhausted by 3 walks (2×15 mins, and one after work was 30-45 mins). They would have been perfect for your lifestyle. I also work and am away 9-10 hours, so I crate the fosters and do my best to house-train them, but with the understanding that puppies can’t hold it so I put them in big crates with a towel at one end so they can soil there. I wish that I had a better plan, but I usually only take puppies when I can work from home, so when I have them during my full-time work then the rescue is desperate. Most of the time I foster adult large-breed dogs, and I’m careful to time the food and water so that they can easily hold it. There are ways to make things work, even if it’s short-term.

  20. Penguin*

    Plant thread! I know it’s starting to get cold (unless you’re in one of the places that already has snow, in which case it’s not “starting”) and gardening season is winding down, but tell me about your off-season plant stuff! Houseplants? Planning for next year’s garden? Hydroponics?

    1. Penguin*

      I got a small hydroponic setup for Christmas last year, and I’m thinking about actually setting it up this winter. Anyone have any experience with that sort of thing? Any tips you want to share?

    2. fposte*

      Just came in from first round of bulb planting! It was summer here pretty recently so I’d planned to give the ground another week to cool, but we had a good solid rain that means a window of opportunity, so I’m hoping the serious temperature drops this week will suffice. It wasn’t too bad today, back-wise, but I know I’m going to feel round two :-).

      1. Parenthetically*

        Yes, we’re putting in more bulbs this weekend. We’ve got tulips and daffodils but we’re putting in some crocuses and snowdrops and hyacinths to fill a few gaps and provide some early spring interest.

      2. Jenny F. Scientist*

        I went out to plant bulbs and fell in the creek! Will try again once the bruises heal.

      3. Reba*

        I sent my mom a big load of tulip bulbs and she planted them yesterday! I can’t wait to see how they grow. She also laid down chicken wire on the soil, under the mulch, which she will pull out in January or February. Very curious to see if this will work as a rodent-deterrent trick.

        I moved all my patio plants indoors this week. They are settled in windows and my baobab seedlings are under lamps.

        I have two passionflower vines on my patio. I’ve stopped feeding and watering in anticipation of wintering them over. But it hasn’t been all that cold and they’re both still going gangbusters out there, though I don’t think we’ll see any more flowers!

        1. Parenthetically*

          I interplanted all my tulips with daffodils and alliums, and haven’t seen any evidence of squirrel problems — and Lord knows we have plenty of squirrels.

          1. fposte*

            I am weirdly lucky with my tulip bulbs. I don’t do a fall cleanup on that bed, which I think helps. There’s the occasional one dug up or relocated but there’s no onslaught. Yet when I had anemones in the back it was an absolute free-for-all, so I mostly stick to daffodils there.

            (I actually kind of like the occasional weird bulb relocation–it’s fun to see a crocus miles away from anywhere I put a crocus.)

    3. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      My goal is to setup an indoor grow light to start vegetables from seed this winter. U of Maryland Extension has nice step by step instructions for one from PVC pipe.

      1. Reba*

        Nice! We just bought one of those metal shelving units (like, the commercial kitchen or garage storage kind) and have the light units resting on the top shelf. I like the way it looks better than suspended units. They are LEDs rather than fluorescent tubes.

    4. Weegie*

      I finished my raised bed and got half of my strawberries planted out into it!

      I made the raised bed out of the shoals of pebbles the previous (non-gardening) owners left behind – think gabion walls on a smaller scale – and am feeling quite chuffed with myself.

      Now planning more gabions for my herb garden…

      1. fposte*

        Where/how do you use them? They’re not common in my area and I find them really interesting-looking.

        1. Weegie*

          They’re most often used as retaining walls, e.g. bordering motorways, or in large public outdoor spaces – but they’ve become popular in private gardens in the UK thanks to the endless slew of home and garden improvement shows. They’re a cheap and quick way to put up a decorative wall in your garden or near your front door.

          I’m using mine a bit differently: basically I made a series of foot-high circular cages out of chicken wire, gave them a bit of strength by threading bamboo sticks through the chicken wire vertically, filling each basket with pebbles, then putting enough of them side by side until I had a rectangular bed that I filled with compost. Then add strawberry plants!

          I’m rubbish at uploading/linking to images, so I’ll post a link in a reply to someone else’s pic of a rectangular gabion raised bed, to give you an idea.

            1. fposte*

              Oh, that does look nice. I’ve only seen the really big ones so this gives me a much better idea. Thanks!

        2. Grace*

          When we next do over our garden, we’re adding gabions – we’ve had wooden sleepers for the last decade and they’ve held up fairly well until last year, but now they’re all rotting, and good quality ones add up when you’re buying a few dozen every ten years or so. Gabions will work out cheaper and more durable, and apparently are very good insect habitats between the stones.

    5. Lilysparrow*

      It’s finally cool enough that I’m willing to go out in the garden again. I have several failed veggie beds that need clearing and putting down for winter with compost and mulch.

      Then I want to start gathering perennial cuttings for the front yard – several neighbors have given permission to split some of their overgrown herbaceous clumps or take trimmings from their shrubs.

    6. EddieSherbert*

      I just moved my potted plants indoors for the winter a few days ago (cold forecast this weekend)! We have floating shelves, as the cat would definitely eat my plant babies if he could reach them.

    7. Venus*

      This is the weekend for garlic bulbs! It’s a bit quiet outdoors, as I’m focusing more on making tomato sauce now that the plants are dying off

  21. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

    It is Self Care Weekend time! I’m nearing burnout with spending all my time outside of work with job hunting + side projects + online class + other life management stuff for the past few months. I’m not doing ANYTHING work-related this weekend. I’m going to a park later today to get some sunshine, and then going over to my friend’s house and playing with their cat. Enough is enough!

    1. WellRed*

      Me too! Beauty treatments, batch cooking, books, magazines, Acorn TV. And I’m sure there’s a bottle of wine in there somewhere.

    2. Marie*

      Good for you! I had 18 months of that lifestyle while taking night classes and being pregnant and working a toxic job. It’s hard but WORTH IT! My new job has its problems but is so much better than my old career, writ large.

      Hang in there sister / brother.

      1. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

        Wow. If I were every pregnant, I would have to put my entire life on hold. I can’t do all that not pregnant. I’m glad to hear it gets better!

    3. Ra94*

      I’ve started going to Saturday morning yoga, which is tough because I love to sleep in and lie about til past noon. But wow do I feel good afterwards! It means I actually have energy to do active self-care (which I find the most satisfying). In that vein, I’m planning on seeing two friends, cooking some ambitious projects, painting my nails in a gradient for the first time, AND hopefully going on a long hike tomorrow.

    4. Shay*

      I came down with some sort of awful stomach bug that kept me up for much of the night. I’ve been sleeping on and off during the day and have gotten absolutely zero work done. I’m still tired.

      I have to come into school tomorrow, so as much as I’d like to stay up late and keep unpacking and cleaning, I don’t think that would be a great idea. But also how late is going to be too late? UGH.

    5. londonedit*

      Sounds good! Hope you’re enjoying your self-care weekend. I’m having a similar self-care day today – I’ve had a busy week and yesterday was really fun but also super tiring, with a run in the morning and then a friend’s wedding in the afternoon/evening. So today I’ve had a lie-in, I’m doing a bit of pottering around and housework, and I’m planning to make a big batch of comforting autumnal dhal for dinner before having a nice long bath before bed.

    1. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

      Flonase (that saline stuff you shoot up your nose) worked for me in the past. I also recommend drinking a lot of hot water with lemon and ginger, as well as spicy food to open up the sinuses. Also, lots of hot, steamy showers!

      1. AcademiaNut*

        Just to clarify – Flonase is an over the counter steroid spray used for treating allergies – nasal saline spray is something completely different.

        1. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

          Thanks for the correction! I forgot what exactly it was. I just get whatever the doctor tells me

    2. Pennalynn Lott*

      I recently saw an ENT specialist for a never-ending sinus infection. I’ll need surgery to correct a deviated septum and to vacuum out my sinus cavities but, in the meantime, I’m using two nasal sprays that are really helping: Fluticasone Propionate (brand name: Flonase) which is a steroid that decreases nasal passage inflammation; and Ipratropium Bromide (brand name: Atrovent) which helps stop all the watering (both eyes and nose).

      Flonase is available OTC, Atrovent is not.

    3. CastIrony*

      My sister takes over-the-counter decongestants when it gets bad, but I got her this essential oil called Breathe by DoTERRA that helps her, too. She rubs this roller thing near her nose, but it also comes in different forms. I was skeptical about it, but dang, does it smell!

    4. AvonLady Barksdale*

      See an ENT. You might need a procedure. In my case, I had enlarged turbinates. Quick outpatient surgery and it helped a ton.

    5. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      I have no medical reason why this should work, but eating more turmeric really helped my constant nasal congestion. My doctor had me trying turmeric pills for inflammation reasons, and it cleared my Ongoing Sinus Thing up. I decided the pills were too expensive for what they were, so now I make a point of adding at least a teaspoon of turmeric to something I’m eating each day, and that seems to keep the congestion at bay. (It starts up again if I stop eating turmeric, so it seems pretty well-linked for me personally.) I just buy the spice in bulk at the local discount/bulk grocer, which is extremely inexpensive, but this method only works if you scratch-cook enough things that you have at least one logical thing to add spices to each day.

      I don’t know if it would help you, but it is a pretty cheap thing to try.

    6. Invisible*

      I put a tablespoon or so of apple cider vinegar in herbal tea and that seems to help with congestion.

    7. Elenna*

      This might be a silly/pointless question, but how sure are you that you aren’t allergic to something? It took me ages to realize that constantly sniffling in the mornings wasn’t normal, nor was it some sort of several-month-long, super-minor cold, but was actually allergies.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        This. I had surgery to fix a deviated septum and remove excess cartilage from my nose, and it didn’t help at all. It wasn’t until later that I realized my problems stemmed from living in a house in which we burned coal and wood for heat all winter. It used to be so bad that I could barely talk on the phone because postnasal drip would be dripping down my throat as I was talking. The issues went away when I moved out of my parents’ house.

    8. Natalie*

      I’ll co-sign the suggestion to see an ENT. I had congestion that had steadily gotten worse without my really realizing it, and it turned out my sinus cavity was full of polyps and some of the holes (technical term) were too small. It was the easiest surgery ever as far as I know – only took and hour and a half and then I got to go home. I took a few days of work but honestly felt fine, just kind of head-coldy. And the results were amazing.

    9. MissDisplaced*

      If this is a long time issue due to allergies, I really suggest seeing an ENT specialist.
      I also bought a Navage nasal irrigation system (or you can use the manual bottles from NeilMed which are cheaper). Either way, regular nasal irrigation with saline has really helped me, especially if I do so before bed.

  22. To med or not to med*

    I am debating if I should go on meds for depression or not. My therapist thinks I have persistant depression disorder. What I am looking for is specifics on how they helped you or didn’t help you and any side effects. If it matters I am female in my early 50s. I tried Zoloft about 20 years ago and it didn’t help so I stopped and didn’t try anything else. Thanks everyone!!

    1. Marie*

      I didn’t like Zoloft. It killed my sex drive and was awful to taper off of.

      Wellbutrin however is the rare bird that evidence has shown is one of the rare ssris that actually boosts sex drive and doesn’t cause weight gain. I loved this medication and it’s my first choice if I need to go on meds again.

      Best of luck, and internet hugs.

      1. To med or not to med*

        Thanks Marie! Agree on the sex drive killing properties of Zoloft! That did not help things!

      2. Una*

        Wellbutrin doesn’t have SSRI side effects cause it’s not an SSRI! It acts on dopamine and norepinephrine. I don’t have personal experience with it but know people who do and it seems to work well for them.

      3. Elf*

        I was briefly on Wellbutrin about a dozen years ago, and it caused some scary personality changes (rage and aggression). That was my second try, the first drug tried was (I think) Paxil, which made me feel great but also put me into a manic state. (At that point I decided that until brain science advanced to the point where those side effects could be predicted by modeling my brain, I would refrain from further experimentation)

    2. Lena Clare*

      I think they’ve improved even over the last 10 years, so you may find that drugs you tried then have different effects now.
      Anyway, there are lots of others to try.

      Being on antidepressants saved my life. I thoroughly recommend giving then another go. If you don’t line then you can come off them with your doctor’s support.

      The side effects initially weren’t great. I had rotten insomnia that lasted a few months (but it was worse in the first few days before it gradually got better – and I’m menopausal which didn’t help the not sleeping), and very dry mouth for a few days, which was highly unpleasant.

      Once the side effects calmed down I really noticed that my emotions were more balanced, which enabled me to examine them, and my PMS nearly gone (my depression was severe around my period). It’s made such a difference. I wish I’d gone on them earlier, but I was put off by my previous experience of antidepressants.

    3. CastIrony*

      Here’s a vent that’s all over the place:
      After eight years of remission (anxiety and depression), I started taking fluoxetine (Prozac) again after dramatically yelling at my good superior at work (I quickly apologized.), so I know how hard it is to decide on going back to meds. I was sad about it, but I know he deserves so much better from me.

      Because I have been working either six days a week or 13-14 days in a row, it was hard to think or accept feedback, and when I took my first dose, I could immediately *think* again. My family all claimed that I am better that I have been, and my doctor says I was less stressed and agitated. My sister says that I am more emotionally available to her!

      I have had only one side effect this time around: a period came for the second month in a row, thus regulating it (Hopefully, since mine have been so irregular!)

      I don’t recommend stopping cold turkey on Prozac, though, I did that around eight years ago, and I was a keisterhole for at least three days before calming down.

    4. Fikly*

      It’s impossible to predict side effects. My best advice is to start on the tiniest dose possible and taper very slowly up. Be aware it will take a very long time for most to kick in for mood benefits.

      I look at meds like a brace. They help me get my brain to a point where I can do the work in therapy to help heal. But I also may need some for the rest of my life. Just like with my ankles – I needed a brace full time post-op, but I will always need one whenever I exercise.

    5. Lluviata*

      I’m taking Wellbutrin + Abilify, because Wellbutrin alone wasn’t handling all the side effects. Things I’ve found: my motivation AND interest in hobbies and friends went from zero to actually present, it’s sooo much easier to get up in the morning, I don’t seem to need as much sleep, I’m not despondent and weeping, I went from doubting or harshly judging myself most of the time to rarely, and the quality of my connections with other people has went way up because I’m more interested in them. Medication has made an incredible change in my quality of life, just by adjusting a few neurochemicals that were out of whack.

      My therapist has been my best resource around medication, because she sees my symptoms, and sometimes I just don’t. When I’ve listened and tried adjusting my medication, it’s like coming out of an emotional fog that I didn’t know I was in, and this has happened multiple times for me where she’s seen something I don’t.

      It’s hard having depression. I wish you luck in finding something that works for you.

    6. Wishing You Well*

      No meds worked for me but they did have frightening side effects. It takes weeks to know if they work and the side effects can slowly make you feel worse. I had extreme weight gain on one, rapid heart beat on another and leg tremors on another. The leg tremors would’ve become permanent if I had continued with that one. Sheesh. My experience can’t be typical, so I hope you have better results.
      What did help me was a sunlight lamp, lots of exercise. counseling and lots of coping techniques like DBT. You’re more likely to succeed if you use more than one technique. Consider making some life changes that are more supportive of your mental health if you need to. It will take time and consistent effort, but you can do it!

    7. SandrineSmiles (France)*

      I’m 36. I got on Escitalopram 5mg earlier this July. And I got the dose doubled last month. It makes a world of difference for me. I no longer have the panic attacks I used to have everyday. I do sleep a lot, but I feel I am much more positive. It’s had an amazing effect and I’m quite thankful for having them.

    8. KayEss*

      The difference between an antidepressant that was not truly working for me and one that was… was largely in weird, little things that I didn’t take into account at the time. My therapist at the time claimed that the most definitive mental difference between depressed and not-depressed was in how much you thought about and planned for the future–that never really resonated with me, because I’ve never been a particularly ambitious or future-oriented person.

      But when I was on a treatment that wasn’t really working, I would go visit my mom and just have nothing at all to say to her, like nothing I would usually be able to talk to her about nonstop–all just mundane things I had seen or read or experienced–seemed worth remembering or noting. I thought I was fine now, because I wasn’t crying for (literal) hours per day anymore! And maybe I was no longer on the edge of crisis, but… I was not fine. Even my mom knew I was not fine, but I didn’t know it until (for a variety of reasons) my meds were changed to one that worked much better for me and suddenly my life was filled with vibrant conversations again instead of long silences.

      (Granted, it took a stupid high dose of venlafaxine to get me there. But I’ve been able to step it down to a more conventional indefinite maintenance dose over the past couple years. I don’t know if I could ever go off it entirely, and finding out isn’t really a priority for me.)

    9. Quiznakit*

      38 here. I’ve done fluoxetine (prozac) before and had good results, eventually going off it twice and getting along well for a while afterwards. This most recent depressive episode was a beast, though, so they tried me on bupropion (wellbutrin) and sertraline (zoloft) together–the first for depression and the second for anxiety. It makes a world of difference for me and may in fact be why I’m still above ground and breathing, tbh.

      The thing to know is that sometimes the first med isn’t effective or the dosage isn’t calibrated to what you need, so you may need to adjust a few times to get it dialed in. It’s definitely worth the effort, if you ask me.

      1. To med or not to med*

        Thank you all so much for your replies. The amount of adjusting of meds/ramp up/initial side effects seems daunting. Of course if it helps it would all be worth it. I guess even if it doesn’t it’s a lesson learned. Sigh.

        1. Kuododi*

          I’ve been on and off medication at different points in life as well. I found Wellbutrin to be the most helpful b/c I also enjoy my sex life with DH. Right now I’m on a combination of Wellbutrin and Buspar. (Addresses both the depression as well as the anxiety from the cancer dx and the anemia.). As a rule of thumb, I don’t stop mental health meds cold turkey. (Too much risk of side effects.). Also, I find it crucial to remember that antidepressants etc aren’t a magic bullet. By that I mean they are a positive resource in which addressing concerns such as depression/anxiety but I am also responsible to do my part by working in therapy, support groups and any other resources which I might find helpful. I wish all the best for you both now and in your future. Blessings.

          1. ThatGirl*

            Never quit long term meds cold turkey. Usually you want to taper and do it with the help of your doctor.
            OP, it’s best to work with a psychiatrist to find the best fit for you. Side effects can vary a lot from person to person.

        2. hermit crab*

          FWIW, I’ve taken citalopram on and off for about 15 years with great result – and have only ever had side effects when going off it and not tapering properly (my fault for being impatient). I know I’m lucky but maybe you will be too! I just want to add my experience as one data point, since I think fewer of the positive, undramatic stories get shared. Good luck and best wishes to you!

          1. The Ginger Ginger*

            I started citalopram this summer and I feel better than I have in a decade. I was a little nauseated the first week or so, and it definitely took 3-4 weeks for me to start feeling the benefit and 4-6 for full effect, but I’m so glad I stuck with it. I wish I had done it so much sooner.

        3. Reba*

          Hi To med or not to med,

          My spouse did a pharmacogenomic test (cheek swab) that showed X class of medicines would be effective, while Y class would be less effective, based on his personal makeup. Science does not seem to agree that such tests are even effective–obviously, depression is really complex, and the tests are focused on how your body metabolizes the drug compounds. If this is of interest, I’d be sure to get an FDA-approved one (if you’re in the US) that the Dr. has to order. Insurance did not cover the test.

          In the end spouse ended up on Prozac, which likely would have been the first thing to try even without the test… But nevertheless it was also helpful on an emotional level to help him with the process of seeking help and starting on a regimen, because it seemed like there would be less of the lengthy try–fail–try again–what’s the point cycle of getting to the right drug.

          Fluoxetine has been life-changing for our household.

        4. Auto Generated Anon*

          I’m on the same page as others above – tried some different things, some worked, some I stopped after 2 days (looking at you Effexor). Sometimes the side effects are crappy – like I get really, really sweaty on sertraline (Zoloft) but I balance that by thinking about the fact that without it, I wouldn’t be doing the things that raise my heart rate at all.

    10. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      I have mixed feelings. I have taken different antidepressants on and off for many years. They have been helpful but also have resulted in troublesome side effects. The best long-term result was from sertraline, in that I have not had many problems with anxiety and the multiple panic attacks per day that I used to have since I took it for over a year, even though it’s been a couple of years since I stopped taking it. But it also seems to be the culprit behind my ridiculously sweaty face and restless leg problems.

      I stopped taking my most recent antidepressant earlier this year because I felt that I was developing severe SSRI induced indifference or emotional blunting and anhedonia. Getting off any antidepressant has involved a long tapering off process. You might search for “mad in America” for more information about antidepressant use and side effects.

      However, for as much as I am convinced that some of my issues have been caused by antidepressant use, I also think they have been very helpful. I’ve been through multiple major depressive episodes and drugs helped me recover. But I also think that I too have persistent depression more than recurrent depression, and I am not sure now that long term antidepressant use was the right choice in retrospect.

    11. SAD*

      Different diagnosis here–I have seasonal affective disorder. When I was first diagnosed my doctor put me on citalopram but it didn’t help. He switched me to fluoxetine (Prozac) which does work for me. My sister has some more persistant depression (using that as a comparative term to my symptoms not a diagnosis) and anxiety issues and has had to go through multiple different dosages of different medications to find a combination that works, and then readjustments as her body adjusts.

    12. Pennalynn Lott*

      I am also an early-50’s woman. Over the decades I have tried just about every antidepressant out there, with mixed results in both effectiveness and side effects.

      One thing that really helped me was getting my serum Vitamin D levels tested. I was low-normal but decided to take supplements. After a few months of taking 2000-6000 IUs of Vit D3 (depending on the amount of sun exposure I’d gotten), I was able to quit taking antidepressants. That worked well until I hit menopause and then I went back on Wellbutrin (SR 150 mg). During the spring and summer, I take just one pill a day, but when late fall and winter hit, and the amount of sunlight available decreases dramatically, I up the dose to two pills a day. I also use light therapy lamps.

      If I had it to do over again, I would have never taken Effexor. (My doctor calls it “side-effexor” because of the horrible side effects). If you forget a dose, you’ll know by that afternoon because you’ll feel either tiny electrical jolts throughout your head and body, or you’ll feel like you’re swimming through molasses. And stopping the drug takes *months* to do it safely.

      Oh, and this is the article that prompted me to get my Vit D levels tested: https://www.scientificamerican(dot)com/article/vitamin-d-deficiency-united-states/

      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        Oh yes. You definitely need to taper off slowly. I ended up buying a pill cutter and taking ludicrously tiny doses over a period of months before the brain zaps and tiredness stopped.

    13. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Read up on undiagnosed ADD and rule that out …it was highly uncommon diagnosis for women your age & mine, and it was frequently misdiagnosed as depression. There are differences in how it shows in male vs females–the physicality in the ‘H’ part of ADHD is apparently testosterone-linked. That plus gender-role training meant it wasn’t spotted when we were kids.

  23. CoffeeforLife*

    Rental/Tenant/Landlord laws in Virginia
    I’m not certain what minefield I’m stepping into but I need to evict my basement renter. I’ve read the process but am still confused as to what to do.

    The tenant hasn’t paid rent in two months (we worked out a deal to use the deposit in lieu of payment so they would have a “clean slate” with promises of on time going forward). So the 1st came and went and now we are at the 12th. When asked (via email) the response is just excuses – my gig deposits don’t hit until Saturday, I’m training for a new job that’ll pay more, all my bills hit my account and put me negative. Etc. Not one on time payment since move in, no payment for the last two months (so seriously, where’s the money going?)

    I’m so over it. Rent is a bill (and we use it to pay our own mortgage!). How do I send her an eviction notice when she doesn’t get mail here? It’ll just go to me? Can I just post it on her door?

    If anyone has knowledge of the process and can help me figure out my rights/their rights it would be appreciated. I seem to find a lot of conflicting information, like using the deposit as rent payment (we had them sign an agreement).

    1. fposte*

      I think this is lawyer territory, not internet info territory. The law can vary county by county and municipality by municipality, and if you screw up on this, you can owe big time. If reading the information online hasn’t been enough to make it clear, you need a certified expert with feet on the ground in the jurisdiction.

      Sorry. The situation sounds like a pain.

      1. Rebecca*

        Totally agreed. I’d start with your municipality. Even cities/towns/townships here in PA have different rules than the commonwealth in general sometimes. What’s worse, this is a holiday weekend, so many government offices are closed on Monday. But – I would start with your local courthouse, find out who handles this, and find legal council. I am not an attorney, but I have a friend who rents properties, and I know this can be a legal headache, unfortunately. So sorry this is happening!

        1. valentine*

          It’s worth a legal consult and the sooner you start, the better.

          With the deposit, my concern would be you don’t have it now in case they trash the place. If your lease doesn’t spell out consequences for nonpayment and/or you want to rent again, have a lawyer shore it up.

      2. Rebecca*

        And I’d like to add, here in PA we have a website called Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System. One of the options to search for, under a particular name, is Landlord/Tenant, and the papers here are filed first in Magisterial court. This might help you figure out where to start on your end. Good luck!!

    2. Anon Librarian*

      I agree that this requires legal expertise. You might need to get the notice served to her (where she has to sign saying that she received it, and they’ll keep trying until she answers the door).

      You don’t necessarily need to hire someone, though. Look for local landlord/tenant’s rights groups, or try a public or university library. There should be a way to look up the correct process without hiring a lawyer.

      1. fposte*

        It’s also possible you could pay for an initial consult fairly cheaply and not hire somebody to handle the whole thing.

    3. Wishing You Well*

      Find out what you need to do in your state/municipality and do it – quickly. This is time-sensitive and it will drag out even with your full attention on it.
      Best of Luck

    4. CTT*

      Seconding all the “get legal advice” comments. Look into your local legal aid office; mine has a handy landlord/tenant law basics brochure.

    5. LNLN*

      If you have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through work, you may have a legal benefit that would give you a consult with an attorney at no cost to you. Call your EAP and tell them you want to use your legal benefit. Good luck!

  24. Marie*

    As you all know, we’ve got a baby and I’m fairly new at my job. Between having almost no accrued vacation days and the sheer complexity of traveling with an infant, I told the extended family that we aren’t able to visit for the holidays this year. Two weeks elapsed until my MIL started pressuring my husband, who unfortunately brought it to me to ask “how firm” my No was.

    I don’t do wishy washy No’s & I do not appreciate having to justify myself here especially since the attempts just hurt my husband’s feelings (mostly related the balance of labor preparing for past vacations).

    Advice welcome, or just send coffee. The baby is taking his morning nap so I’m trying to get caffeine before my husband wakes up.

    1. fposte*

      Oh, making me repeat myself is a huge hot button for me for some reason, so even without a baby I’d be grinding my teeth at this.

      That being said, this might be a moment where you can get better results for you as a couple by being not just annoyed but honest about why this strikes at you so hard. Guessing/projecting here, but “Honey, it really upset me that your response to pressure from your family was to pressure me. I really want to count on you to have my back when we make decisions like this, and that includes standing up to your family and not leaving me to be the bad guy. It’s not supposed to be *my* no that was firm but *our* no. I go to bad for us with my family–can you do it for us with yours?”

      1. Anony H*

        Amen! If the in-laws want to see them, why don’t they take time off to come visit the couple and baby?

        1. valentine*

          why don’t they take time off to come visit the couple and baby?
          No! Then Marie has the added work (logistics, probably, and) in-law care, in her own space, complete with, “Well, this wouldn’t be a problem if you’d come to us” and “Poor Relative is all alone and this could be their Last Holiday.”

          1. ..Kat..*

            A) have in-laws stay at hotel
            B) husband does work of hosting parents (meals, cleaning, etc). Husband first has to prove he can do this by first cleaning the whole house, then cooking all meals and cleaning up afterwards for two weeks. And keeping the rest of the house clean as well. If he can do this, he can invite his parents to visit for less than a week (at a hotel).

            1. Beatrice*

              Nope, I prefer Option C. In-laws can come if they’ve already proven they’re the type who do not see themselves as “guests” who must be prepared for and entertained, but helpful family members whose presence is a net benefit to a household with a new baby. That means they bring food, they clean up, and they help out with things that need to be done around the house. If they don’t have that track record already established, they need to stay where they are and visit at a much later date.

    2. Anono-me*

      I also think this is one where your husband needs to take point. Maybe he can say something like Mom would really love to spend Christmas with you but we have to put G-baby first. Marie and I only have a few vacation days and we need to save them for when G-baby needs us. Also, traveling with a little baby over the holiday season almost guarantees some sort of bug, and nobody wants that. … maybe a month or two after the holidays you could come for a visit. ” And optionally, he could add “If you get a room in a hotel with a pool, we can take G baby swimming.”

      Sending virtual chocolate covered coffee beans. The good ones.

      1. Wishing You Well*

        Yes. Husband has to tell his mother it’s a firm no. He tells his family no, you tell yours no. Set the right trend now or you’ll be doing this forever.
        Good Luck

    3. AnonyNurse*

      Well … I’d start with waking husband up and reminding him just how much work the baby is that he’s apparently literally sleeping through. You’ve presumably fed and changed the baby, soothed him back to sleep, and are starting your day — and husband is still asleep. Of course he doesn’t think it should be a firm no. It isn’t hard for him. (Maybe that’s too harsh but you are working and caring for baby so unless he works nights or was up with baby all night letting you sleep … he’s got it easy).

    4. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      Not clear on if you don’t want to see the ILs or don’t want to travel. Obviously both are fine and reasonable! But if it’s more travel/vacation time thing, roads and planes go in both directions – the ILs can visit you and your spouse can ferry them around. Still likely more work for you but a possible compromise. Or a possible thing to throw at them if they’d never in a million years visit you but expect you to shlep out to visit them…

    5. Ermintrude*

      Oooh well, of course now you have a baby at home, it’s really important to spend your first Christmas as a family at home.

      Is your line And a very reasonable line. Any reason they couldn’t visit you?

    6. Sparkly Lady*

      Is your husband pressuring you because your MIL is pressuring your husband or because he actually wants to go for a visit? If it’s the latter, would it be a win-win for him to take the baby and go for the visit while you get a little break?

      1. should be napping*

        Actually, this was going to be my response: You want to visit mom? Take the baby, bye! Oh, and if you/baby get sick I’ll buy you some soup & stay out of your hair.

    7. Policy wonk*

      Tell your husband you can’t go, but you are happy to let him take the baby to see his folks – you’ve got plenty of things you can do while they are gone. Oh, and would he like you to give him a list of what he should pack?

    8. Clisby*

      “I’m not up for holiday travel with an infant. It would be so nice to order Christmas dinner from the Publix and just cocoon here at home. Of course, if your family would like to rent an AirBnb nearby, it would be great to spend some time with them, but nothing that’s any work for me.”

    9. Overeducated*

      Ugh I’m sorry. We had a similar family interaction last year (about alternating holidays with our families) and I basically questioned my husband about it to make him see how unfair it was to put it on me. “Why are you asking me if we can change the system we’ve been using for years to skip my family’s year, do you have a problem with it and want to come up with a new plan for holidays? No – then why are you asking me instead of telling your family member that? How do you think it could affect my relationship with that person if you make me the bad guy?” It’s easier to blame someone else for a decision than to stick to it yourself sometimes, but not always ok to take that easy way out in a marriage.

    10. aarti*

      Sending you so much sympathy! My husband and I just had this same fight. I’ve found it most effective to go over the nitty gritty details with him:the cost, the time it takes to travel, time you need off from work, plus you all have a baby! Generally once we’ve laid it all out like that, he acknowledges it’s not possible. We frame this a “we” discussion which I think prevents side arguments over division of labour.

      If you wouldn’t mind your in-laws visiting for a few days, you can offer that.

      I hope all works out well for you!

    11. Not So NewReader*


      It does not need to be longer than that. NO means no.

      Some times less is more. So you simply say NO. Then he has to figure out what to tell his parents. He knew no was the answer when they asked. He hung up with them and asked anyway. Let him figure out how to work his way out of this one.

      Now if he starts trying to negotiate then go with more words. “Hon, remember we agreed to a hard no for reasons? I am still at hard no and I will not be changing my mind for those reasons plus ten more reasons. So… no.”

  25. All monkeys are French*

    Fashion/appropriate attire question:
    My spouse, an academic, is receiving an award at an event out of town next week and I am attending with him. It’s in our state capital and will have deans and chancellors and whatnot. I believe it’s happening in the context of a conference, at the end of the day, but it’s not a banquet or something formal.
    I live in a rural area where everyone dresses casually and I don’t work in an office, so I’m bad at dressing up.
    What would you wear to an event like this?

    1. OperaArt*

      Is this an annual event? If so, can you find pictures online from past events to see what people were wearing?

      1. Filosofickle*

        This is always my go-to tactic for interviews, client meetings, events…anywhere I’m not sure how to calibrate my dress level. Social media is a gift in this way.

      2. All monkeys are French*

        Ah yes! I found video of the symposium from recent years. Great suggestion. And a good reminder that these academic types (at least in my state) aren’t too worried about getting gussied up.

    2. CoffeeforLife*

      Slacks (dark color like black is generally an easy transitional color when the dress code is questionable) and a nice blouse/sweater/sweater set. Then you can wear comfy shoes for the conference (if you are attending).

      1. Chaordic One*

        About the shoes. Try to avoid sneakers and athletic shoes. Stick to something leather, but with a low heal so that you can comfortably walk around if you have to.

    3. Alex*

      I’d wear something businessy. Are you a woman? If so, nice slacks, a nice blouse, and a cardigan would probably be fine, or a plain skirt and the same.

    4. LibbyG*

      Congrats to your spouse!

      I’m an academic in the social sciences. Some outfits that would be at about the 75th percentile of dressiness at one of my conferences include (1) a sheath dress (with a sweater if needed) , (2) dressier pants and blouse or knit top (I love a sweater set myself), or (3)dress pants (step up from khaki), button down & tie (but not a whole suit).

      Overall conference dress in my field is highly variable; there’s a wide range of dressiness that would fit right in.

    5. All monkeys are French*

      This is all very helpful. Thank you!
      I am a woman (thanks for asking – I love the lack of assumptions on this site) and I think my original aim was off. I picked up a dress that is at the dressier end of business-y and probably a tad too low-cut for this event. I’ll save it for the wedding we are attending two days later and go with something else.

  26. Recreational Moderation*

    Seeking interpretation:
    What does it mean when every other letter in a sentence is a capital, like so: DiNnEr WiLl Be SeRvEd AfTeR tHe CoNcErt. Is it just a, well, style thing? Is there a subtext I’m supposed to pick up on?
    Genuinely asking here—and, I guess, just confirming how out of touch with the world I am.

    1. fposte*

      I’ve seen a recent surge in it as a satiric use. Like “Of course, that neighborhood’s response to the homeless shelter is all ‘NoT iN mY bAcKyArD.'”

    2. Laura H.*

      I think it’s a variation on toggle case- I find it annoying.

      The only contextual instance I can think of is a certain sponge bob meme.

    3. Mariella*

      It’s generally a mocking/sarcastic thing. If you google “mocking spongebob meme” the result from knowyourmeme.com has lot of examples.

    4. Recreational Moderation*

      A-hah! I knew there was a logical, intellectual explanation. Never occurred to me that it might just be toggle case.
      And not once did I think of SpongeBob (known in my house as SpongePants SquareBob). I did many happy-dances when the two kids in my life were finally old enough that Bikini Bottom was not part of our daily TV regime. No offense, SpongePants lovers—but holy cow! How was Patrick able to walk and talk simultaneously?!
      Anyway, many thanks for the interpretations. Instead of searching for any secret meanings to those toggled lines, I’ll just give an eyeroll and move on.

    5. Lilysparrow*

      I see it used to parody the reaction of someone over-reacting or reacting irrationally, or hijacking something to further a destructive political narrative.

    6. Queer Earthling*

      Yeah, these days it’s genuinely used in a mocking tone–the “nyah nyah” kind of tone you might use when imitating someone who frustrates you or something.

      But it always makes me think of people trying to look edgy in their Myspace profile or their AIM away messages or forum signatures.


      xX QuEeR eArThLiNg Xx

  27. bassclefchick*

    After a long road in and out of the hospital and nursing home, my dad passed away this week. His funeral is tomorrow. We knew it was coming, but you’re never really prepared when it finally happens. I am sad, angry and all the other emotions.

    Everyone keeps asking me how I’m doing and what can they do for me. Well, I’m just numb right now and don’t know how I feel. And there’s really nothing anyone can do. Because I just want my dad. Mom is holding up pretty well, but they were married for 54 years. I’m sure she’s just lost.

    Talk to and hug your parents, if you still have them.

    1. fposte*

      I’m so sorry, bassclefchick. It can definitely take a while to process this kind of loss. My best wishes to you and your family.

    2. riverflows*

      Much empathy for you and your family. I lost my dad last year and mostly managed my emotions to be there for my mom (they had a 59 year marriage). Now a year later lots of little things triggers me thinking of my dad and I ugly cry :-( It’s a hard to lose someone who had unconditional love for you. I focus on the fact that he had a long amazing life, he is no longer in pain and discomfort, how he shaped me and my own life in all ways good, and his legacy in his family (my mom, my siblings, my niblings) lives on and is a source of comfort and love for me.


    3. WellRed*

      I’m so sorry. You don’t have to feel anything. Lost my dad three years ago, parents married 47 years.

    4. NoLongerYoung*

      Sending you a hug. Crying = rivers of memories for me. Lost my dad 20 years ago and still tear up at special memories. Be gentle with your self. Theres no timeline….

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Ditto, but 25 years for me. I still miss him. And my Nana. Forty nine years for her.

        Some people come in to our lives and they never leave our minds. ever.

        Very sorry for your loss.

    5. bassclefchick*

      Thank you, everyone! The funeral is today and of COURSE I caught a nasty cold and feeling terrible. I really don’t want to get my germs on anyone. Guess a stop at the drugstore for a mask is in order today. I was thinking I’d go to back to work tomorrow, but if I still have this cold, I’m not going.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Stay home tomorrow. You do not need to push yourself like this. Stay home be mellow, sleep, read or watch movies.

  28. Sound of silence*

    I sometimes have an itchy red bump on my leg that turns into a bruise. I don’t know if it’s because I sometimes scratch too hard, but even if I don’t, the red bump still turns into a bruise. I can’t find anything online about it and my doctor just sort of looked at me funny when I told her. It’s not from shaving my legs, so I don’t know what it is.

    Has anyone had this before? What is it?

      1. Wishing You Well*

        Agreed. Or it could be a bug bite that needs a prescription, etc. Get in touch with a dermatologist. Some places let you send in a photo in a text or email. I hope it’s gone soon.

    1. Doctor is In*

      Sometimes you can get a recurring herpes virus breakout. Looks like a little patch of shingles. It can happen every few months.

  29. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    Wife needs her FOURTH leg surgery in three years and will be totally off her feet for six weeks (will have crutches and be off work only half of the six weeks).

    I have already spent so much time and stress taking care of her and trying to also work with no PTO when she has had her other injuries and mental health issues. Probably about five months in total of her being totally unable to do things and my having to take over everything.

    And I just can’t do this. When I got the news, I just cried. She gets annoyed and depressed when she is injured and then starts being extra needy and frustrated at me.

    I just can’t come home after all my work to an endless pit of need and no positive interactions. But it’s not a bad enough problem for insurance to cover nursing care or to be able to send her to a rehab facility. So I have to do this. Our families are several states away and we don’t have local friends.

    The last time she got hurt, my anxiety was really terrible because I was always on call- I never knew when she would yell for me or need something, so I had no real downtime or ability to relax in my own apartment. It’s a nightmare, and though I know she didn’t choose these problems, part of me really resents having to put my own health through the wringer to help her. I also couldn’t sleep well because of anxiety and her getting up to go to the bathroom at night (because crutches it was noisy and she would have to turn on every light).

    I can’t do this. I want to run away to Timbuktu!

    1. BRR*

      Ugh I’m sorry. Caretaking is so hard. While your insurance won’t cover nurse care, can you hire anybody for any temporary help like to clean or something? I’d also try and talk to her about setting up a better procedure.

    2. Shiny Onix*

      I want to run away too!
      I’m so sorry. You must be exhausted from it all. Hugs if you want them x

    3. WellRed*

      Have you told her any of this. I often feel tired just reading your updates so can’t imagine how you do it all. And why is she always getting injured? Not my biz but is that something to consider? An underlying cause?

      1. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

        She broke her ankle as a teenager, and due to lack of insurance it went untreated- that was surgery #1.

        Surgery #2 was for a broken leg due to a freak accident, in which they put a metal rod in it.

        Surgery #3 was to remove the rod, as it hurt.

        Now this surgery is to repair a torn ankle tendon to remedy frequent sprains.

        So it’s mostly just unfortunate, though I feel the problems might not be so bad if she lost weight, what with less weight on the leg/ankle. She is losing, but slowly, and had a ways to go.

        1. valentine*

          Do what you can not to blame her weight. There’s no guarantee that weight loss would help, but it’s guaranteed her weight would eventually rise again.

          You don’t have to do this and you don’t have to do it alone. If you don’t already have a therapist or can’t afford one, find a free service because you need a third party to tell you this cycle isn’t sustainable. (It’s so unrelenting, I’d be concerned your wife was propelling it because overwork and sleep disruption are literal torture and it keeps you feeling helpless and obliged to stay.) If you don’t stop this cycle, you could destroy your health in a way that leaves you unable to arrange alternatives. So. Make a list of things that need doing and solutions that don’t involve you. Pretend you are going to the ISS for the rest of the year or, hey, you yourself are in need of care. (Because you are! And your need is just as legitimate and vital.) Who would help your wife? They can do that now. Can she live with other family or friends who can form a rota? Can they pay for nursing care somewhere? If you break up, does that entitle her to some aid? In the short term, can you plug in motion-sensor lights for her? Can you sleep in a different room?

    4. Wishing You Well*

      I am sorry. You sound exhausted. You could use some practical and emotional support.
      Can you ask her medical place for advice and resources for caretaker help? Caretakers need help, too.
      There are bedside potties for people who can’t walk – a relative used one after her ankle surgery until she could walk to her bathroom. Can a family member stay to help out? Can an acquaintance stay with her while you get out of the house or even take a nap? Some people would be happy to help for an hour or so. Can you sleep in another room for better sleep? Bottom line: you’ve got to start taking care of you before you collapse. Even though this is (another) temporary setback, you need some changes now to get through this.
      Sending you Jedi hugs, if you want them.

    5. Sparkly Lady*

      Do either of you have access to therapeutic support, through an EAP or anything similar? It sounds like you both need someone other than each other to be able to vent and process with.

      Is there any possibility of hiring a caretaker for at least one day/night of the week to give you a break?

    6. LibbyG*

      How wearying!

      I hope this round is somehow easier than you anticipate. Is there anything you can do on your end about the anxiety part? The answer might well be no, and this is something you’ll have to just get through as is.

      And I hope, longer term, you can get to where you’ve forged what feels to you more like a genuine partnership. It’s so hard to find when things are so asymmetrical, but a lot of couples do that. And it’s more than reasonable for you to insist on it as a goal.

      Best of luck!

    7. Anono-me*

      This is horrible for both of you. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I would check with your medical center to see if there is some sort of support system for family members in place.

      Can you get a cot or flatable air mattress and sleep in the living room for a few weeks? That way you’ll probably be able to sleep better and you won’t have to risk bumping your wife’s healing foot. (If you’re worried about hearing your wife call for help, she can phone you instead.)

      Would one of those knee scooters work better than crutches for your wife? If it would, but insurance won’t cover it; check Craigslist.

      After I injured my ankle, I did physical therapy that included weird balancing exercises specifically to prevent future sprains. Coincidentally two friends later had similar injuries. However, neither of them had the preventive exercises. You or your wife may want to ask about sprain prevention exercises.

      Be good to yourself, you deserve it. But if that’s hard right, now please remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone.

      Also I’m sorry about the reason for your post, but I’m glad to see that you posted after this past week.

    8. Fikly*

      You need support, as a caretaker. And that caretaker emotional support needs to come from someone other than her.

      Because seeking from her is only going to make her feel guilty for having medical issues she has no control over, and that’s relationship damaging. It isn’t that your feelings aren’t valid – they 1000% are! And you totally need support. But you need it from literally anyone else. A therapist, a religious person, a support group, something.

    9. misspiggy*

      I’m sorry. Now that this is a chronic, longterm issue, the two of you are probably going to need to revisit how you handle illness. Agreeing some ground rules on how she asks you for help, including tone and vocabulary, will be important. Agreeing when and how often you’re going to have downtime and not going to be available to her, unless things are extraordinarily bad.

      I’ve got chronic health issues and it makes me want to snap at people. But most of the time I keep it under wraps, because caregiver burnout will destroy a relationship.

      On the other hand, even if your SO changes her behaviour, her suffering will still stress you out. You will need support from others and regular breaks, as everyone here has said. There will have to be some times when your SO is either on her own or pays for help.

    10. OyHiOh*

      Can you throw money at the problem? Hire a home care service for, oh, say 20 hours a week?
      Bring in a maid service two or three times to do deep cleaning
      If you have a decent social network, signing up on Meal Train might help. Even just a couple meals a week would help take the pressure off. Baring that, using grocery store deli for ready made meal options may help you feel less like you’re doing *everything,* especially if you have a grocery store with delivery service available.