weekend free-for-all – April 18-19, 2020

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: Redhead by the Side of the Road, by Anne Tyler. A socially oblivious IT guy who holds himself at a bit of a remove finds his life increasingly complicated.

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

{ 1,610 comments… read them below }

  1. NL*

    Love Anne Tyler, haven’t read her in years. I’m looking for comfort reading and she might fit the bill. What other comfort reading are people doing?

      1. Miss Astoria Platenclear*

        Suds in Your Eye!!!
        I discovered the first book years ago at a lakeside rental. Now I have to check out the series. Tray Serve Aces!

        1. MysteryFan*

          Me too!! I was only about halfway thru The Goblin Emperor when I just HAD to stop reading and goo to the internet to find out if there would be a sequel! I could not wait!

          1. Cruciatus*

            When I read it there wasn’t a sequel in the works, but according to Good Reads there is now–though I think it focuses on just one of the characters from the book and won’t be a sequel with the characters we know. My mom finished it after I read it and said “please tell me there is another book” and she was so bummed there wasn’t!

            1. OtterB*

              As I understand it, there is a sequel in the works that follows Mer Celehar in his new career as speaker for the dead. Not following Maia et al, though one hopes they will at least get background mention.

    1. Not A Manager*

      My problem with Anne Tyler is that all of her books that I’ve read seem to have the same set-up. “A socially oblivious guy who holds himself at a bit of a remove finds his life increasingly complicated” by a zany and free-spirited woman. Heartbreak and hilarity ensue.

      I like her writing, but I wish she’d branch out a bit more. On the other hand I haven’t read her in years, so maybe I’ve missed something.

      1. Argh!*

        Yup. I read several of her books and I love her writing style, but I got tired of guy-hates-girls / guy-meets-girl / guy-loves-girl / guy-turns-out-to-be-too-weird-to-love / The. End.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I haven’t read much Anne Tyler (maybe three over the years?) but maybe she’s branching out, as none of the women in this one were zany or free-spirited! More practical and down to earth. But now I want to read more to test that.

      3. Nita*

        Hmm, the only book of hers I’ve read is When We Were Grownups, and it doesn’t fit this description in the least. I rather liked it, but I think you have to pick it up at a certain point in your life to really appreciate it. A crossroads, something like a midlife crisis, when you start to wonder how you ended up living like this.

      4. LeeBklyn*

        I loved “Ladder Of Years,” about a mother who runs away from home. I read it when I had high schoolers, and it resonated.

    2. misspiggy*

      Dorothy L Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey books are my go-to.

      Also Alison Uttley’s The Country Child. She wrote the Little Grey Rabbit children’s books, and this is a beautifully poignant account of growing up in rural Derbyshire in the late nineteenth century. (The remote farming landscape she describes is still there, although more roads now run through it.)

      1. Zooey*

        Seconding DL Sayers, I adore her. My husband has just started on her and I am relieved he is recognising her brilliance! I also love Georgette Heyer’s Regency Romances which are perfect comfort reads (annoyingly I can’t get away with her murder mysteries even though that’s a genre I love). And I just rediscovered Mary Wesley, gently satirical stories about the very posh, with loads of amazing food and sex. She’s lots of fun.

        1. AcademiaNut*

          I found a great podcast recently – As My Wimsey takes Me. Two English lit types doing a readthrough of the series.

          1. Zooey*

            I’ve been listening to that two, it’s brill isn’t it? Giving me a new appreciation of already much-loved books.

            1. Zooey*


              I must be tired, for some reason this always breaks my ability to distinguish between homophones!

        2. curly sue*

          I wish I could love Heyer, but I can’t get past the anti-semitism that’s so pervasive in her regencies. It’s not even an ‘everyone was like that in her time’ issue because she wrote The Grand Sophy – the worst of the lot – in 1950. It poisons the whole thing for me.

          1. OtterB*

            If you like Heyer in concept, you might like K J Charles’s Band Sinister, which has been described as “Heyer but Gayer.” M/m Regency with the London rake and the country innocent. Well-handled Jewish secondary character. Loads of fun if steamy m/m appeals.

            1. curly sue*

              I’m very familiar with KJ – thanks for the recommendation, because you’re dead on with my tastes! I also like Rose Lerner for Jewish characters in regency romance.

      2. MistOrMister*

        I tried Dorothy Sayers but somehow couldn’t get into her books even though it’s a genre and time period I enjoy. Agatha Christie all the way for me :)

        1. allathian*

          Agatha Christie is one of my favorites as well. I particularly like the Poirot stories. Miss Marple is OK but I admit that her modesty when her skills as a detective are recognized grates on my nerves a bit.

      3. CTT*

        On the Sayers tip, my mom just told me about a book called “Square Haunting: Five Writers in London Between the Wars” about female writers who lived in Mecklenburgh Square. In addition to DLS, it also profiles H.D., my favorite poet who rarely gets written about, so this is really my dream book.

      4. Nervous Nellie*

        Alison Uttley! Thank you for the reminder.

        My go-tos have long been Mary Stewart (Airs Above the Ground! The Little Broomstick! Ludo & the Star Horse!) and Stella Gibbons (Cold Comfort Farm, but especially Nightingale Wood, a wacky adult fairy tale. Happy comfort reading!

        1. Nervous Nellie*

          And forgot – This Is the End, by Stella Benson, written during WW1. She described her heroine as the most ‘constantly apparent woman in this story.’ Edgy & brilliant, and full text is available at gutenberg.org.

    3. MistOrMister*

      I still have to finish my C.S. Lewis book, but now that I’m reading an adult book by him, there’s a really good chance I’ll end up breaking out the books I like in the Narnia series again. And I’ve got some Agatha Christie books calling my name.

      1. KaciHall*

        I have been reading a series set during the Golden Age of Narnia, and it’s wonderful and makes me want to read the actual works again. Sally all my books are currently in storage but I should be able to get to them in a few weeks! Fan fiction is so hit or miss, but some are so good! The only Christie books I currently have access to are the few that are on project Gutenberg, and while I love Tommy and Tuppence, I’m getting a little tired of the Secret Adversary…

        1. King Friday XIII*

          What series? I’m currently buried happily in a million and a half word Harry Potter AU but I’d love to dig into some Narnia next.

          1. KaciHall*

            Rthstewart on ao3 has some excellent series, one set in Narnia when they were adults, and another set after they return and their activities during the war. They are all part of the same universe but not too intertwined

            1. wickedtongue*

              Seconding the rthstewart recommendation, the series during the war starts with The Stone Gryphon!

              Also recommended for Narnia fanfic, cofax’s Carpetbaggers, and a companion piece, The Last Defense of Cair Paravel.

              I have a whole list of Narnia fanfic, although none are as long as rthstewart’s series.

      1. gamboge*

        Second Barbara Pym, and add E.F. Benson, Saki, and Edmund Crispin. These four are my old reliables. Looks like the Crispin “box set” is currently $0 to read and ~$7 to buy on Kindle, and Complete Works of Saki is under a buck.

        1. Scarlet Magnolias*

          I’ve been re-reading Sue Graftons, John D. MacDonalds (dated but fun) will next go back to Gaudy Night. May go thru the Butch Karp series by Tanenbaum, but don’t read past #13 as he lost his ghost writer then

          1. allathian*

            I really enjoy Sue Grafton’s books until about O or P. After that I think their quality drops sharply and I never even finished the last one (Y is for Yesterday?), although I do think it’s a bit unfortunate that she never completed Z.

    4. cleo*

      I’ve been reading fairytale / folktale retellings. I enjoy them under most circumstances but they’ve really hit the spot lately

    5. PhyllisB*

      Viola Shipman is a good comfort read. The author is a man (can’t remember his real name at the moment.) Viola Shipman was his grandmother. Anyway, the books are great. He really understands women.

    6. NewReadingGlasses*

      I’m rereading the Brother Cadfael series. I also got the movie set as a present some years ago, so I’m comparing the books to the movies as I go.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      I have a ton of books on my Kindle I need to read, but I have an irrational desire to read all the books in my packed-away library. Probably because I can’t get to them, haha.

      A lot of the Kindle stuff is horror— most people wouldn’t find that comforting, exactly! But I like horror, so they’re fun reads for me.

      1. Chaordic One*

        I’ve been rereading Shirley Jackson. (I found a book of her short stories at the used book store in my hometown library, which lead to my rereading “The Haunting of Hill House.”) Jackson is an underrated master. I’ve also been rereading Ira Levin (a bit dated, but still generally well done).

    8. Nita*

      I’m planning to re-read the Lord of the Rings when I get a few minutes. Maybe I’ll read it to the kids too, so they know that even the darkest darkness does end.

      1. allathian*

        Start with The Hobbit…
        I love the language in Lord of the Rings, but I can’t face it just now, it’s too heavy going.
        My comfort reading is light and fluffy, Terry Pratchett rather than J. R. R. Tolkien.

    9. Princesa Zelda*

      The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series is the ultimate in comfort for me. I can practically recite them, and Adams has such a brilliant way with words – it’s guaranteed to make me laugh every time. The whale and tulip scene in the first is probably my favorite piece of writing in the entire English language.

    10. TexasRose*

      I find myself alternating between fluff and thrillers – fluff for comfort, and thrillers when I want to blame something other than the current circumstances for my anxiety and nervousness.
      Fluff: Donna Andrews (her Meg Langslow series, if you like large Southern, eccentric families with a dash of mystery thrown in)
      Anne George’s Southern Sister series, especially on audio
      anything by Jennifer Crusie (mostly romance, with some paranormal romance)
      Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series (romance and romantic suspense, with thriller aspects thrown in)
      Little Fuzzy, both the trilogy from the ?50s ?60s?, and Scalzi’s reboot of it (though Scalzi’s is considerably less fluff)
      David Rosenfelt’s series about a dog-loving lawyer who really doesn’t want to practice law

      Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series
      Dick Francis’ horse racing books (not a series as such; most highlight a different aspect of racing, or racing-adjacent occupations)
      Patricia Brigg’s werewolf series (Mercy Thompson and the Alpha and Omega series) – great kick-ass heroines, but they really need to be read in sequence
      Bujold’s Vorkosigan series (which ranges from space opera, to coming of age, to romantic comedy) – another series that really needs to be read in sequence
      John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War and follow ons (umm – partly military SF, but good reads)
      anything by J A Jance, though I am partial to her Ali Reynolds series at the moment (but her J. P. Beaumont series and Joanna Brady series are also good)
      …and that’s enough for the moment

      1. allathian*

        I really should dig out my Dick Francis books… They’re thrilling, but also rather comforting. The more recent Felix Francis books are also quite good. It took a few for him to really find his stride, but I think he has found his voice now.

  2. Pandemic Baking*

    With social distancing, obviously people are bringing supplies to those who can’t leave their homes; it’s okay if it’s necessary like for food to leave it on their doorsteps.

    I love to bake but always bake too much. Is it responsible in terms of social distancing to bake things, place they in ziplock bags and leave them at the doors of my friends and family? Or I should I not do that since it’s just extra goodies, not important for their survival.

    1. Llama Face!*

      I’d say you can, but ask the recipients first. Everyone has their own balance of risk tolerance in this situation. Some friends and family may be okay accepting it but others may not and then it’s awkward if you already left it on their doorstep. It can be a boost to mental health to get a nice gift like that (my mom brought me baking and it was so comforting) but not everyone wants to take a chance. Personally, I decided to accept food from my family because I know the steps they are taking to reduce possible cross-contamination. My next door neighbours, on the other hand, are not eating any outside food whatsoever.

      1. Ann Onny Muss*

        Definitely ask first. And only ask once. My mom keeps wanting to bring cookies and masks and cat food to me (I’m good on all of these), and I’m increasingly annoyed at having to tell her “NO. STAY AT HOME.”

        1. lazy intellectual*

          I’m hearing a lot about people having trouble keeping parents at bay lol. Poor moms and dads who miss their kids and need people to nurture, but they definitely are the ones to stay at home.

      2. A New Normal*

        This. Plus you don’t know who just did a load of stress-baking and already has a million calories worth of their own things to eat!

    2. Nessun*

      My coworker offered to send me a care pack when he bakes again; he and his kids have been making his extended family cookies and such, since they can’t stay to visit. They do up little bags and leave them in the mailbox! He’s offered the same to me, since he knows I hate to bake…I talked him into including his mother’s next batch of samosas, which I consider a personal victory because they are Ah-mazing.

    3. CastIrony*

      That is really kind of you!

      That is pretty sanitary. I see people using drones to deliver goodies to each other on Tik Tok. Perhaps you could wipe the bags down before delivery, if it makes you feel better.

    4. Marion Ravenwood*

      I would say yes provided people are OK with it. Personally I would love to get a care package from a friend/relative/neighbour, but as Llama Face says others’ mileage may vary about this. It doesn’t hurt to ask though!

    5. Agnodike*

      The guidance we got from our public health unit on this was explicitly not to, but I think it probably depends on what’s going on in your own community.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Agreed, I personally lean toward no do not do this. But some people might be okay with it. Please consider masks and gloves while preparing the goodies.

        1. Ranon*

          There’s no sanitation advantage to gloves over well washed hands for covid, and folks who aren’t used to glove wearing tend to be more aware of touching things they shouldn’t with their hands than they are with gloves. Hand washing really is very effective and sufficient in this case.

          1. Parenthetically*


            Handwashing and social distancing are our most powerful tools. Masks and gloves are for when we have to be in public areas. Helpful link to follow.

            1. Jules the 3rd*

              Masks and hair coverings seem appropriate if you are baking for other people though. It’s a form of social contact.

              I would be a firm “No” if anyone asked if I wanted their baking. Firm.

      2. ThatGirl*

        Honestly, food is a pretty unlikely source of transmission. I’d happily accept baked goods from others. But I do agree with asking first.

        1. Agnodike*

          Commercially-prepared food is generally agreed to be an unlikely source of transmission. I’m not aware of any data or published opinion on the safety of homemade food, especially food not designed to be heated before consuming. Would love to see the info you’re working from if you can share it! :)

          So much of what to do is opinion-, not evidence-based, which is why I pointed out that advice may (and probably should) vary by community.

          1. ThatGirl*

            Commercially prepared food is no more or less likely than homemade food to be a source of transmission. It’s food. The virus is inhaled; if you were to somehow digest any, it would be destroyed in your digestive system. Hand washing is far more effective than almost anything else we can do, aside from not being coughed on. Again, I think it’s smart to ask first. But I don’t see a homemade brownie as any more dangerous than a commercially prepared one.

            1. Agnodike*

              The difference, to my mind, in the risk of fomite transmission would be proximity of exposure. Again, there are no studies on fomite transmission in vivo, so we’re extrapolating from in vitro research to make a guess. Maybe my public health unit (who don’t advise sanitizing groceries) are worried about people who drop off goodies staying for a chat. Maybe they’re seeing increasing probable fomite transmission in their case reviews. I don’t know, so I follow their advice. The poster of this question should do the same with their local PHU. It’s hard to say there are universal best principles beyond “wash your hands and keep a good distance away.”

              1. Food Safety*

                Honestly, I’d be more concerned about the baker’s general hygiene and kitchen cleanliness (as I normally would, in a non-pandemic situation) than getting the virus. I think we’ve learned from this… that a lot of people don’t routinely wash their hands with soap and water thoroughly, they don’t truly “clean” their homes with products that disinfect (as opposed to wiping with wet/dry rags, etc.). It’s highly likely that people are paying more attention to that kind of hygiene now than ever before. Generally speaking… I’d only accept baked goods from people that I trust wash their hands and don’t lick their fingers while cooking and baking, etc. That would hold true for me now as well.

          2. RagingADHD*

            How is takeout safe but homemade not safe? Takeout is handled by more people, and not usually reheated.

    6. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      Yes, but ask first and make sure they agree. Plenty of us are still bringing baked goods (bread, cookies, what-have-you) home from the supermarket, or having food delivered, and might well think that we’re as safe with our sister or friend’s baking as with Pepperidge Farm or Stop and Shop.

      Other people are being more, or differently, cautious.

    7. Buni*

      I’ve been keep my neighbour in bakes since they’re letting me use their wi-fi for free – it’s probably different because I don’t actually have to leave the building to get to theirs.

    8. RagingADHD*

      Don’t just dump them, but as long as they’re okay with it and expecting it, sure. Lots of people are depending on takeout rn, and there hasn’t been any increased risk demonstrated from earing food someone else cooked.

      Gestures of kindness and treats are good for morale & community. There is no scientific or moral benefit in forgoing treats on principle. If we were all supposed to subsist on gruel to show solidarity, we’re not going to make it.

    1. A bit of a saga*

      Happy weekend! I’m really up and down. The last two days were awful. The semi-lockdown has been extended for at least another two weeks here but no-one thinks we’re done with that. The kids have already been home for 5 weeks and they are clearly starting to struggle too. The combo of being a decent parent and employee at the same time is wearing on me. need something to look forward to, some date to work towards where things will start to ease up, and it’s difficult to put a timing on that right now. But I just got myself a new puzzle and it’s raining so I have permission to just stay inside and laze around. I hope you’re ok?

      1. Jdc*

        I’m feeling the same. We received a voicemail this morning that they won’t be going back to school at all, which isn’t a change since if he did go back it would’ve been for a week. He was already two weeks into his spring break when it started so from my calculations my step son has been here forever. Combine that with the fact that he doesn’t leave the house that often us usually anyway….

        Even though I’ve known the end dates could change i have been holding on to some hope that end of May was the limit but it’s getting harder to believe that and therefore harder t feel like I have that date to look forward to.

        Speaking of dates! I want a date night so bad. We’ve done some at home but it’s not the same as the kid is here and isn’t great at boundaries, even when we say “we are doing a date night please leave us alone for X hours”. He’s 17 so this isn’t torture for him or neglect.
        Husband and I joked that once we are free we will go out to our local bar together and then say “see you later” once we walk on and go socialize when this is done. I miss our bar. I’m not a huge bar person but we live in a small village and our local bar is where everyone who lives here goes on a weekend and we all know each other. I want to see my neighbors. Also they are the only friends I have here.

        1. lazy intellectual*

          I miss nightlife so bad. I mean, I’m not a crazy party-er, but going into town on the weekends to get coffee/a drink or dinner, window shop or whatnot, was a regular thing for me.

    2. Oxford Comma*

      Yesterday was terrible. I get so angry. So so angry and I burst into tears over stupid things.

      Today seems better so far. It helps if I can keep busy.

      1. anon24*

        I’m sorry Oxford Comma. This is such an emotional roller coaster, isn’t it? It feels like anger is the safest emotion to feel sometimes. I’ve been very angry too.

      2. The Cosmic Avenger*

        I got like that for a year or two after my dad died, getting furious at little things. I think most of us are grieving the loss of normalcy to some extent.

      1. Sam I Am*

        I had a meltdown Wednesday. I felt better that evening but I really let it all hang out all day and didn’t try to get things done. I think I needed the stress release. I hope you feel better soon, I’m thinking of you.

    3. anon24*

      Happy weekend! It’s been rough. I’m still working (essential) but the last 2 days were my scheduled days off. I get so darned depressed so fast on my days off now that I can’t go to the gym or anything. Yesterday I put my laptop on my kitchen counter and popped on a funny TV show for company and spent something like 6 or 7 hours making candles, one of my hobbies that I only do a few times a year but seems to be one of my favorite new activities. Its soothing and the combination of laughing along with the TV show and making candles is so good for my mental health. Thankfully I had a good stockpile of supplies to make them but I’m running low. I hope this ends before I run out although I now have something like 60 candles taking up space on my shelves :) I really want to bake but then I end up eating it all so not a good idea.

      1. WineNot*

        What kind of candles do you make? That is one of the many things I see people doing and am so impressed by! Do you sell them?

        1. anon24*

          They’re so easy and fun to make! I usually make soy wax candles, but yesterday I made 3 kinds – soy wax, palm wax, and coconut wax. When I tell people it’s my hobby some people always want to buy some, so I usually end up selling a few here and there. I’d love to make it a side business but I just don’t think I have the business brain to make the leap from hobby to profitable business. As for jars, I have a whole bunch of different candle jars that I bought from a supplier but I also have fun! The ones I made yesterday are in a combination of 10 oz clear round jars with no lids, 10 oz frosted white jars with no lids, 9 oz frosted blue jars with no lids, square pint canning jars, tall round pint canning jars, little tins with lids and coconut shells! You can use pretty much any container that can safely be heated up without becoming a fire/melting risk or becoming too hot. When I woke up this morning my kitchen still smelled like a candle :)

    4. Laney delaney*

      And today the stay at home game has leveled up in difficulty. Woke up to a power outage, affecting only my street and they haven’t dispatched anyone yet to fix it, estimated fix by noon. Now I can worry about all the food in my refrigerator and freezer going bad. And with a well, must watch water use until noon.

      1. Wired Wolf*

        I hear ya. I love spring but hate it, at least the mandatory face covering helps somewhat. Our building landscapers use juniper mulch, so the day they actually put it down I cannot go outside unless it rains to hold down the dust. Bee pollen and manuka honey seems to help for my allergies.

    5. Not A Manager*

      Yesterday was the first time I was really aware of not being able to sit still. I just had to be doing something – anything – but I still felt rote and numb. I guess that’s okay occasionally but I’d really like it not to become my new normal.

    6. Anon Accountant*

      No. Struggling badly because am trying to meet work deadlines plus my mothers family still stops by and she gets mad because I won’t leave my work to come talk to them when they’re here (an hour or more).

      And we are generally under each other’s feet. Then she screamed at me because I received my stimulus check but her niece didn’t get hers yet. Then she screamed because her brother keeps asking when he’s getting his and I don’t know.

      It’s been rough and today is bad.

      1. CastIrony*

        I am so sorry! I was upset when my sister didn’t get hers when I did. She got hers a few days later, though.

        She’ll hopefully get it soon.

    7. lazy intellectual*

      Happy weekend! Mental health was a bit teetering this past week. Decompressing this weekend will definitely be appreciated. I think it finally hit me for real that I won’t be seeing my friends in-person for quite a while that is not equal to a few weeks.

    8. OTGW*

      I’m fine until I remember I still have like 10 things to do for school. Ugh. On the bright side, it’s only one more week + “finals” week. I need to go on a walk today. We snowed yesterday but it’ll be in the 60s today so. Some fresh air will be nice.

    9. Nita*

      Depends on the news. I read that cases are going down, and I feel grateful that the family is together and having a pretty good time. I read a little more about what the virus does to people, or the expectations for lockdown, vaccinations and immunity, and right away I feel like I can’t breathe, and I want everyone to go away and leave me in a corner to cry (oh, this doesn’t happen).

    10. AnotherAlison*

      Our quarantine was extended to May 3, maybe May 15. Found out this morning that our dry cleaner is closed forever. That was a bummer. I might go there 3x a year, but the owner was always working and always knew my name.

    11. Nala*

      This might sound weird, but I’m actually enjoying being stuck at home – aside from the fact that people are getting sick and dying, of course. I’m a bit of an anti-social introvert, and I so prefer working at home and not having to talk to people all day. I’m getting more work done at home than at the office, the days zoom by ( no pun intended) I don’t have to worry about what I’ll wear or doing my hair etc. I didn’t realize how much work triggered my social anxiety until I didn’t have to go there anymore! I’m so much more calm now, knowing that I can stay home every day. I’d like to work at home even when things get back to normal, but I doubt the boss will allow that.

      1. lazy intellectual*

        Though I miss socializing, I don’t mind working from home. I find my regular office environment a little hectic when I’m trying to get a lot of writing done and trying to concentrate. I felt like I was working in a newsroom though I’m not a journalist! Writing at home in solitude is so much more peaceful.

      2. Wired Wolf*

        Likewise; it’s interesting to realize exactly how crazy our useless ‘supervisor’ was driving us all. Maybe we can all ‘start fresh’ when we go back. My company is going to start calling us back next week; store hours have been reduced so I likely won’t be at FT for awhile but can probably keep partial UI until then.

        I colored my hair last week and went a shade darker than usual, and I like it! (found a boxed dye that has anti-brassing stuff) I also found a small tube of holographic hair makeup and can’t wait to try it on this color.

    12. NoLongerYoung*

      I actually feel crummy. I am trying to be gentle with myself. I have been sleeping as much as needed yesterday and today, and I broke into the nausea meds and feel a little better. I don’t know if it is the combo of stress, and the dairy and sugar? (trying not to be anxious that it is more).

      The first month + of this, I was WFH, but put in too many hours (my regular overwork, but had the covid items added… and also felt overly responsible to do “all the things” even when everyone else on the teams were able to work part time and do school for their kids.). I finally ramped back down this week, but now… I physically just have either my ulcer returning, or something going on. (I am actually hopeful it is the ulcer). I finally took one day of vacation this week – I had to go to the store (which took 3 hours, from the line outside to getting home) and the auto repair place, and did not want to try to go on Saturday.

      But… I have a new goal now of stopping work at 5:30, walking the dog as a transition to “home/ me time” and then just resting on the couch as needed. 2 naps today. So hopefully better soon. I hate taking acid-blockers, as a rule, but I may do so just to alleviate any anxiety that this is “maybe” more.

      On the other hand, I did manage to clean months of magazines off the “land of good intentions” (the coffee table and side tables)… it is clear to me that I won’t be getting the 2019 ones read. It feels like an accomplishment, and I am giving myself credit.

    13. Tris Prior*

      Ugh. Since my partner is laid off and I’m partially furloughed, I am feeling very guilty about ANY moment I am spending not trying to bring more cash into the house by any means necessary. And, uh, that is a lot of moments, these days. I have a side handmade business selling a total non-need (unfortunately my medium does not lend itself to mask making and I do not sew), and I’ve actually gotten a handful of sales over the past few weeks. But it’s not enough and I feel like I should be working harder to get us out of this hole.

      Anything I would normally do to try and bring in money is unavailable to me or a bad idea. Normally I’d sign up for more craft shows (can’t, they’re all cancelled), sell random household crap I don’t need (having strangers in my home seems unwise right now and it’s all too big to ship so I can’t use ebay), get some random part-time retail job (we are not yet so destitute that we need to look at putting our health at risk and risk exposure in order to make money.) I signed up for some of those online survey sites but have yet to qualify for anything.

      Also working hard on trying to keep my partner from falling into a black hole of depression due to it being very hard to job hunt right now.

      I feel like I might do better if I could just take some time and relax without feeling guilty about it, maybe read that book I bought a month ago that I’ve not gotten more than a few chapters into. But the guilt and the panic over not bringing in extra money seems to be winning these days. :/

      Thanks for listening. Sigh. These product photos aren’t gonna photoshop themselves….

  3. Can’t Sit Still*

    I finally installed my bidet. My only regret is not getting one sooner. I worried about messing plumbing, but it turned out fine. I did have to use a hair dryer on the nut of the tank intake to get it to loosen up. I think the whole valve assembly needs to be replaced, but I don’t want to push my luck.

    I even remembered to get the cats stoned on catnip beforehand, so they were sprawled in the living room, staring at their paws, instead of pestering me in the bathroom.

      1. Can’t Sit Still*

        No. I would say I’m a bit handy, but messing with plumbing was kind of scary at first. It’s a cold water bidet, so I wasn’t running a hot water line or anything.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Reeeally basic question: isn’t the cold water.. uh.. not comfy? Or is it that one does not let the water run long enough to get cold?

    1. CoffeeforLife*

      All about that bidet life! Our master bathroom plumbing space won’t allow for the after market add on (which I already own) There’s a Toto in our remodel plans!

    2. Red Sky*

      Would you mind sharing which one you got and how it’s working out for you so far? I’m thinking about getting a handheld attachment style bidet if the one I think I want ever becomes available again.

      1. Can’t Sit Still*

        I got the Luxe Bidet Neo 180, which is self-cleaning, has dual nozzles and two wash strengths: Wash and Women. The wash setting is powerful, even with fairly low water pressure, the women setting is gentler and farther forward. I was worried about it being cold water, but the cold doesn’t bother me. Everything I needed for installation was included in the box, except for a rag and the hairdryer. The instructions were clearly written and illustrated. They include a help line number as well if you have any issues. Oh, and I needed bumpers for the seat, since the seat didn’t sit flat after installation. I believe they will mail them to you, also, but I purchased mine separately.

        I paid $33.50 for it a month ago, but prices seem to have doubled since then.

        The reduction in toilet paper use is great, but I really feel cleaner, too. I wish I had had one when I was still menstruating, it would have made a huge difference.

        1. Washi*

          I have this one too! I installed it myself and it was super easy. I have to say it’s taken a bit of practice to know how much water for how long will clean me. I don’t use the women setting because that one is too far forward for my toilet and creates puddles on the floor, so I just shift back a little bit and use the regular nozzle when I want to clean up front.

          Not going to lie, I yelped the first time the cold water hit my butt but now I find it kind of refreshing. I used to use a little toilet paper but now that I don’t have guests coming over I just keep a “butt towel” on top of the toilet and mostly use that to dry myself off. My husband isn’t into that and still uses toilet paper to dry off though. But we still reduced our consumption considerably.

    3. Anono-me*

      I’m really regretting not doing one earlier. We’m going to wait till all this settles down (in case things go wrong with the older Plumbing), then get a nice toto with the dryer. But we have DIY hand ones for now.

      1. Can’t Sit Still*

        Ooh, luxury! I only have one outlet in the bathroom, which is too far away from the toilet to plug in one with a heated seat and dryer.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I’ve had one of the little ones that go on the side of the toilet in my wish list forever, waiting until I get my own place. But the price went up! Ah well, perhaps it will go back down again when things calm down, and by then I’ll have my own toilet again, lol.

      1. Can’t Sit Still*

        I recommend it! It’s worth it. It should be as easy to uninstall as it was to install. I live in an older apartment building but they remodeled the bathroom before I moved in, so the toilet was brand new, so that might make a difference, too.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Well, I don’t want to order it now because I don’t want to get anything I don’t need from Amazon. Also, I don’t think Mum would want me messing with her plumbing. I’d just–rather not.

    5. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I am so envious, I’ve been to 3rd world countries that have the hand shower installed and they are amazing. We tried to install one in our bathroom but the layout is so weird and outdated that it doesn’t work. My husband tried for 2 hours before throwing in the towel. So, I use a handheld bidet (a squirt bottle) now. Not the same but better htan nothing.

      1. Can’t Sit Still*

        I won’t lie, it took me a couple of hours to figure out what was supposed to be a ten minute installation, and that was with new plumbing. I wouldn’t have been able to do it at all with the original plumbing. There was lots of swearing involved!

        1. Potatoes gonna potate*

          I might try doing this again in the winter since I can’t really bend down too much anymore.

    6. Happy@home*

      My household has a running joke that unless the cats are right there, supervising, you won’t do a job well!

  4. Gaia*

    Some of you might remember that I began taking Lexapro for anxiety in November. I’m happy to report that my anxiety is significantly reduced. I started at 10mg and increased to 20mg in late January. Im actually really impressed with how I’m handling the pandemic.

    But I have a concern and I’d like some insight. I knew going in that “emotional dulling” was a risk. At first I thought I’d avoided it. I felt happy, excited, nervous, anxious, love….all normal. But then I started to notice one emotion I never feel anymore: sad.

    I literally never feel sad. I recognize sad situations. I feel empathy and sympathy. But I’m never sad, even when I otherwise would/should expect to feel sad. All I get is a thought of “this is sad.”

    I asked my doctor and he suggested I go back down to 10mg which I have. I’m hoping this helps but all the info I’ve found on emotional dulling is about not feeling anything. And I feel other emotions, just not this one. And it feels weird to complain about not feeling sad, I don’t want to be sad. But I do want to feel.

    1. Not A Manager*

      When did this start? The whole pandemic thing has everyone in a tailspin. “Not fully experiencing your emotions” could be from the situation, as well as/instead of from the meds.

    2. misspiggy*

      It could be that with anxiety reduced, you’re legitimately not feeling sad. Just for comparison, I wouldn’t say I’m feeling sad at the moment, because I’m focusing on positives and avoiding a lot of media.

      1. Jdc*

        I agree. I actually had this happen for a period in my life. Honestly it’s when a lot changed and a lot of stress was removed and regardless of sad things I just didn’t feel sad. I didn’t cry for maybe a year and I usually am fairly expressive emotionally.

    3. Retail not Retail*

      That is fascinating! At first I started thinking I don’t feel “sad” with my anxiety making everything heightened, I can’t even pinpoint an emotion as complex as sadness.

      I want to see a new shrink once stuff has settled down – I think I’m on too much, not that I’m feeling bad side effects or even much of an effect. The last med that did have an effect is too much of a hassle to get because it’s so new and expensive insurance requires prior authorization. I didn’t have withdrawal when I went off, so I thought I was fine. I also have left grad school where I had the time and resources to manage what I thought was grad school anxiety.

      My therapist there said my desire to control my emotions is really a desire to deny them which is true for me.

      Brains and emotions are hard, endless empathy and solidarity.

    4. AnyoneAnywhere*

      I think, too, that when you are anxious, negative emotions tend to be exaggerated- like crying at TV commercials and every little news story because your emotional bucket is just so full to begin with. I wonder if you are actually experiencing a more normal range of emotions but you don’t recognize it as normal because it’s been so long since you felt normal.

      I have no idea, I’m not you- but mental health issues can wreak havoc with your emotions in lots of ways, and I wondered if that might be part of what’s going on for you.

    5. Parenthetically*

      I started taking Zoloft right before this all kicked off and I AM SO GLAD I DID!

      My grandmother was on a too-large dose of Lexapro after my grandfather died, and she said that was one of the things she hated about it — that she couldn’t cry. Once she got the dosage sorted out, she was able to grieve properly. So that’s one anecdotal “yup, sounds right.”

    6. 30ish*

      This sound somewhat similar to my experience with Lexapro, although to be honest I never really saw it as a problem (by now I do feel sad again from time to time, though crying would still be quite rare – it might take a while to find a balance of emotions that feels right). I noticed that I was actually able to show more sympathy to others when I wasn’t feeling too much sadness over their situation myself. I have never been more able to respond well to others’ feelings than since I started Lexapro. It’s weird for sure to observe how one’s emotions can be affected by a medication, but for me it has definitely been a net positive.

    7. KoiFeeder*

      Anecdotally, having untreated anxiety for years absolutely messed up my ability to feel “sad” and “afraid” even without medication.

      But that being said, the purpose of medication and therapy is to give you an emotion quotient that you’re comfortable with! If you are not happy with your sadness quotient, then you should deal with that how you see fit.

    8. MissDisplaced*

      I’ve never taken Lexapro, but at one time I took a low dose of Klonopin for anxiety and panic attacks. It worked like that for me. I still “felt” everything emotionally, but it just didn’t overwhelm me and I was able to keep working.

      Unfortunately, I got laid off of that job and lost my insurance and had to stop taking it. I haven’t really needed to go back onto it, as I think a lot of the extra anxiety and panic was because of that job. Uh! WHY do we let our jobs do this to us?

    9. Thankful for AAM*

      You got me thinking, do I ever feel sad? I’m not on any medications and am considered neurotypical (son and husband and even the dog are not) so I cannot speak to the meds but maybe can offer an unmedicated view if that is helpful.

      I honestly cannot recall feeling sad in a very long time. The please send money bc of abused animals commercials are very upsetting to me and I have all kinds of concerns and worries and empathy for the struggles I see around me due to covid and life, but I don’t ever describe those feelings I am having as sad. My dad died 8 years ago, I was sad then. A close friend moved across the country 5 years ago and I was sad then. And I’m sure I said, “thats sad,” here and there, but I don’t think I have actually felt sad in years.

      Is it just a matter of definition? Are you feeling it without recognizing it?

      1. Laure001*

        I want to second what Thankful for AAM just said. I am neurotypical and not on medication and I actually feel sad… Once a year? Not even that? And only when connected to people I really love, who are my husband and my children. I feel joy, guilt (a lot!), empathy compassion, anger… But my amount of sadness feels normal to me. So maybe you were feeling a lot of anxiety related sadness before and that you are now discovering your “normal” level of sadness? If someone tells me something sad, I do not feels sad in return. I feel compassion and a desire to help.

    10. RagingADHD*

      Are you talking about when sad things happen to you? Or when you read/hear about sad things happening to other people?

      It’s possible that your anxiety caused you to be overly invested in other people’s emotions, and the more abstract type of empathy you’re experiencing now is just new to you.

      It could also be that with so much bad news happening right now, your self-protective boundaries are functioning to shield you from being overwhelmed. That’s what they are there for.

      Id say, coming from an unmedicated place, that “that’s so sad” is an appropriate response to something that doesn’t affect you directly (if that’s the case), and that empathy is demonstrated more in a desire to help than in intensity of feeling.

      If you’re talking about sad things happening to you, it’s probably shock.

    11. Kuododi*

      If I’m understanding correctly the anxiety is improving but you’re now experiencing increased levels of sadness.
      Eliminating other mitigating factors, something to consider is the Lexapro has possibly helped improve your quality of life to the point you’re now able to address issues of sadness which had previously been unaccessible. (Strictly a loose theory based on previous counseling clients. In no way am I presuming to step in as any official capacity.). I’m delighted to hear you are doing well and wish you the best life has to offer

    12. MysteryFan*

      I have a friend who takes Lexapro, and she has a similar complaint. She just “doesn’t cry” anymore. Even when REALLY sad stuff happens.. it’s just not there. Interesting!

    13. Mindovermoneychick*

      So that’s totally how my emotions work normally. When I see or hear about something sad I think “this is sad”. I can feel compassion and an impulse to help. But I don’t feel sad myself. Which I sued to think was a character flaw.

      The years ago I got anxiety as a side effect of some other medication. Then I did experience feeling sad about things that happened to others. And I hated it. When we switched meds and resolved the anxiety that ability to feel another’s pain went away. And it was a relief.

      I fretted a bit about being glad this flaw had returned, but my best friend who is a strong empath told me to just enjoy it. She said she can only ever be as happy as the least happy person in the room. And that’s not fun for her.

      So just saying that maybe this isn’t a drug induced abnormal state, but just an alternate one.

      1. RagingADHD*

        Being able to separate yourself from other people while still treating them with compassion is not a character flaw.

        Nobody would be able to set bones, investigate crimes, try legal cases, or do social work if we all took other people’s pain as our own.

    14. I hear ya!*

      I take Lexapro’s generic. And I know exactly what you are talking about. I noticed this before the pandemic or even the word “COVID-19” entered the world’s vocabulary.

      I have noticed things that used to make me tear up don’t anymore. It is very hard and very rare for me to cry. I finally cried a week ago when I fell out of bed, and I think that only happened because it stunned me (I wasn’t hurt; just more like shocked that I actually fell out of bed). With Lexapro though I don’t get anxious as easy and I can reason with myself in order to avoid anxiety. But I want to feel all of the emotions anyway as I am human. I notice that instead of crying upset, I get angry upset.

      With all that said and done, I was supposed to be on this short term. It was given to me for reactionary depression – meaning I don’t have depression but a traumatic experience I went through last year put me in one as I wasn’t eating, sleeping, crying all the time. However, I am now passed that experience, understood what happened and why, and how it is best I am away from that situation. I have moved on. The doctor didn’t want me off it of it during the winter, but here we are in the spring. However, here we are in a pandemic. So who knows if my doctor will take me off of it. I put in a refill request the other day; I’m waiting to hear back. I know I can’t just quit it cold turkey.

    15. It’s All Good*

      Yes. On Lexapro and my friend on Zoloft. Quite the dulling, perfect word. But benefits outweigh this so still using.

    16. Gatomon*

      I was on Wellbutrin, and later Lexapro in the past and I noticed a similar effect. All my negative emotions were gone, I didn’t really experience them at all. My positive emotions were dulled and fleeting.

  5. Something Blue*

    Hi! Does anyone know a way to download or store old text messages that doesn’t require you to be really tech savvy?

    I noticed my iPhone storage is almost full and the main category is “Other.” Since I don’t have a lot of photos on my phone, I suspect my text conversations are the culprit.

    I’d rather save them somewhere than delete them entirely but I don’t know much beyond the basics of how to use the phone.

    Any suggestions?

      1. Eeeek*

        You would have to take thousands of photos to save all your convos and then you’d just have thousands of pics taking up room.

    1. Anonymouse*

      So, I highly doubt that text messages are taking up a ton of storage on your phone. Words are not that much info.

      Pictures and videos eat up way more space. Check your different text threads for pics and videos that people sent you — I suspect that those are the culprits; I routinely go and delete the pics and videos that people text me and am always surprised by how many I accumulate.

      1. Not A Girl Boss*

        Yeah, for me its not the texts, but the GIFs sent in texts. Now I delete them after receiving.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      There’s an “SMS Backup & Restore” app for Android that I’ve used to both back up my phone and text activity and transfer it from an old phone to a new one, but I checked, and the one I use does not have an iPhone version. There may be one out there, but be careful, look for one with a lot of downloads, and check the reviews!

    3. MoopySwarpet*

      Have you cleared your caches recently? Also, check which apps are large and how much of that is “documents & data”. The ones that are big *might* contain cached data. If those are things like streaming apps or apps you log in to (Netflix, Facebook, pandora, Spotify, etc.) you can delete them and reinstall and that will often reduce their cache (which is partially stored in other).

      As far as text messages, screenshots are good for saving, but will take up way more space than the original messages and won’t be searchable. I also agree the pictures/videos are likely the cause of the bloat. You can go into a message, touch their name, touch the info icon, scroll to the bottom, see all photos, and the select to choose which ones to delete (or to save somewhere else).

      More detailed directions on clearing the cache in link to follow.

    4. Eeeek*

      They’re probably on the cloud can you log in and check? Most iPhones auto sync all the content to your cloud

    5. li na*

      Look into the program iMazing! You have to buy it but you can export your messages as a PDF or plain text and it has a lot of other useful features as well.

    6. Gatomon*

      Your text messages should be stored in iCloud – check to see that you have it enabled and syncing. If you search for “What does iCloud back up?” you should find an Apple article with more details on what that saves and how to ensure it’s enabled.

      If that other category is truly crazy large you might have some file corruption. It looks like my iPhone is using 7GBs for other, but I have a 128GB model and lots of space left to grow. I remember it being much more of a headache back when 16GB was the default storage size.

      After you’ve verified that iCloud is saving your text messages, I’d recommend doing a backup to a computer (to save your other stuff) and then restoring your iPhone from that backup to clear it out quickly. There are some articles about clearing the cache in various spots but I think this is still the easiest method if you have a bit of time to let it sit and do its thing. If you’re unable to install updates wirelessly due to a lack of storage space, plugging into a computer should help you get around that too.

    7. Something Blue*

      Thank you all! I will look into these and hopefully find the culprits taking up the space!

  6. Myrin*

    Thanks to the fact that I know the musical Cats by heart, reading the titles of this post’s pictures, I immediately thought “we make our toilet and take our repose” – which is an appropriate sentiment for your cats but not for me because now I have the damn Jellicle Ball stuck in my head at eight on a Saturday morning.

    1. Analyst Editor*

      Did you like the new movie? Is it worth seeing? I love the old one, which is how I even learned about the musical in the first place, when it was on PBS.

      1. Myrin*

        I haven’t seen the new movie (the one I know by heart is the 1998 film) and only saw some memes about it floating around so I honestly can’t say anything about it other than that people said it’s bad and weird – I personally only saw some stills and found the costumes kinda creepy and unsettling but that naturally doesn’t say much.

        1. Mimmy*

          Oh I LOVE the 1998 film! The only Grizabella I’ll accept is Elaine Paige (sp?), end of story. Her version of Memory brings me to tears every. single. time.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I love that song but I have never seen Cats on stage or film. I think I’d prefer to see it on stage the first time.

        2. MysteryFan*

          I have a friend who saw the new Cats, and she said the dancing was amazing.. but she would never have recognized the songs without listening hard for the lyrics. apparently the music has changed!

      2. Forensic13*

        There’s a YouTuber I really loved named Lindsay Ellis who does movie studies-adjacent discussion of things like Disney and the Transformers movies. She just did a great video called “Why is Cats?” about why it works as a musical and not as a movie and some discussion about theater vs movie musicals in general. She’s really interesting and funny!

        1. Mimmy*

          I am definitely going to look that up (when I have the time…). Does she mention the most recent movie adaptation of Les Miserables? It helped me to understand the story better but very much disliked the close-up singing.

      3. sat morning blues*

        I love the actual musical, and the ’98 movie. the 2019 movie … isn’t bad but isn’t great. I think a lot of the hate it got was from people who wouldn’t have liked the original musical. “it has no plot”. Yes, it has very little plot. If you were expecting an intricate detailed plot, you’ve come to the wrong place. However I don’t think it was super-terrible. On a scale of 5, I’d give it a 3. I’m glad I saw it. There *is* some absolutely fantastic dancing in it. (by a principal at the Royal ballet). There is some fabulous acting in it. When I left the theatre, I got talking to a couple who were going to come back the next day to rewatch. So, there are some fans.

      4. curly sue*

        Hahahahah oh G-d no.

        We downloaded and watched it and I cannot begin to describe how awful this thing is. It’s incomprehensibly bad, and deeply uncomfortable to watch. And I say this as someone who has willingly watched every X-Headed Shark Attack sequel that’s been made. This isn’t even laughably bad, it’s Great Old Ones Peering Into Your Soul Unwatchable Bad. We didn’t make it through to the ending.

        1. curly sue*

          (And I was obsessed with the musical from age 6 to 14 or so, have seen it on stage multiple times, and own the film of the stage show. This isn’t an ‘I hate CATS’ thing, this is a ‘this movie is an abomination of filmcraft’ thing.)

  7. Taylor Made*

    I saw this question on the Friday work thread and thought I’d ask it over here: what’s one minor, frivolous thing you miss since starting social distancing? Personally, I miss my local theater and the little diner nearby that I’d go to after watching a particularly good movie. My Netflix subscription and mediocre grilled cheese sandwiches don’t really compete.

    1. Marion Ravenwood*

      I miss being able to go and get coffee when I’m out – just passing by a coffee shop and stopping in for a cup if I feel like it. Yes I’ve been making my own to take on walks etc but again it isn’t the same.

      I also miss being able to run to the small supermarket near my flat for one or two things, rather than a trip to the bigger store once a week and having to plan it like a military operation.

        1. WellRed*

          I got up early yesterday and treated myself to Dunkin drive through for coffee. So sick of making my own.

          1. Thankful for AAM*

            I have been debating this all day today. I want some puzzles and don’t want to risk someone’s life so I can have a puzzle and stave off boredom for a few hours.

      1. Improbably Bob*

        Second to the supermarket trips! I’m going every 7-10 days and I long for the day when I can, once again, just pop in to pick up some milk.

    2. The Witch of the Wilds*

      Impulsive Amazon purchases. I like to treat myself fairly often to a new book or movie but I’ve been trying to be respectful and responsible as of late. When I bought cat litter a week ago, I threw in a few books and spent the next few days feeling worried that some poor Amazon employee was going to judge me for ordering manga & the Witcher books during a pandemic. And, though things have normalised a bit, there were a few things I really wanted that were projected to be delayed until May which was really sobering.

      1. Kate Daniels*

        The chocolate egg controversy made me give pause about what I’m ordering online. I’ve bought a few books from an indie bookstore across the country that uses USPS to ship, and while online orders are important for keeping them afloat during this time, part of me felt really guilty for doing so because me receiving new books are not more important than someone else receiving prescriptions or masks in the mail. USPS has been extremely delayed due to the large volume of packages. I now worry about whether I’m doing more harm or good when indulging in treats.

      2. Ann Onny Muss*

        Yeah. I miss not debating if a purchase is really necessary or not. And if I’m being an asshole by buying something not strictly 100% necessary.

      3. Ranon*

        If you live in the US and want to impulse book shop, try Bookshop.org- they’re only doing books (and some toys/ misc bookstore type goods) and some of the profits go to indie bookstores

        1. Irene Beyond*

          I’ve been ordering all my books and puzzles from different indie bookstores – found by googling. Also bears from ‘plush in a rush’ to put in my windows for kids doing the ‘beat hunt’

          1. Ranon*

            Bookshop.org is a new online storefront for a lot of indie bookstores (including our local one) added bonus they carry Melissa & Doug toys, Green Toys, and Gund plushes! It’s not the easiest to browse but with the right search terms I’ve found they carry pretty much everything an indie bookstore would

        2. knead me seymour*

          I’m in Canada, and a lot of our independent bookstores are offering free local delivery. I’m guessing that’s probably the case in other areas as well, so for anyone who’s looking to do some extra reading, you might want to do a search to see if you can support your local bookstore and avoid overtaxing Amazon at the same time. Anecdotally, my locally ordered books came really fast, too.

        3. The Original K.*

          Co-signing bookshop.org. I was just turned onto them a couple of weeks ago & just received my order from them a few days ago. I love local bookstores and it feels great to support them. (Not as good as browsing one in person, but these are the times we live in.) I intend to make them my go-to for online book purchases going forward.

    3. Elenna*

      I think I said “the Tim Hortons in the first floor of my workplace” in the Friday thread and yeah, that’s true, but also I really miss being able to just pop out to the grocery store to get that one thing that was missed that you suddenly realize you want. My mom bought a ton of bagels today and I was like “you know, I really wish we had more than one tub of cream cheese. Oh well, guess we can’t get any for another two weeks or so until our next grocery run…”

    4. Princess Deviant*

      Going for a coffee in the coffee shop, while I sit in a comfy chair, watching the world go by and reading a book.

      Btw, not the same thing at all and you may not enjoy it because it certainly lacks the intimacy of the theatre, but the National Theatre have a recorded play on their YouTube channel every Thursday available for a week
      This week’s is Treasure Island. I haven’t seen it yet, but last week’s was Jane Eyre and it was incredible.

    5. Misty*

      My coffee shop. Every morning before I drove I would stop at my local coffee shop. They have really cheap coffee but it’s really good and since I went at least three to five times a week at 6am, I used to talk to the baristas every morning. I got a lot of social interaction from that.

      1. Princess Deviant*

        I often think it would be nice to meet for a coffee with some of the regulars here.
        I’m sorry you’re going through a hard time. (I read your post below.
        Your roommate sounds like the most selfish man alive.)
        Take care misty.

    6. Djuna*

      Sitting in a coffee shop, drinking good coffee and watching the world go by.
      Mostly (if I’m honest) the watching the world go by part.
      That, and the ambient noise.

      I can make good coffee at home, I can sip it with a stream of “coffee shop ambiance” playing, but it’s just not the same. It’s missing the people.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I need to buy some more coffee, as the last pack I have is one I was saving for a special occasion.

        Walking around an empty town centre feels odd, especially on a Saturday, when you can’t move for people. Also not be able to “Just pop in and have a look round” shops.

        Admittedly I have saved quite a bit of money during the lockdown, but I would still like to get my new washing machine. (See previous weekend posts for the saga) Some measures are being relaxed, and DIY stores can open from Monday, but that still doesn’t help with purchasing a washing machine!

        1. Djuna*

          I hope you can get that sorted!
          Hassle-free clean clothes are more important than fancy coffee to me too.

    7. blackcat*

      Our local breakfast joint. We’d go once every 2-4 weeks, and the owner/main waitress has doted on my son his entire life.

      1. Jdc*

        Me too!! We have a great place a block from our house. I want their skillets so bad. Also They make a biscuits and gravy omelette that is surely 12000000 calories but so good.

        Funny thing. I read this article a while back about American foods foreigners tried and love and biscuits and gravy was the number one answer. Go figure.

        1. Marion Ravenwood*

          I LOVED biscuits and gravy when I had it in the US recently. Definitely something I want to try and recreate at some point!

    8. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      This coffee shop in my neighborhood (that doubles as a restaurant at night) would make hot trays of scones (blueberry-lemon and cranberry-orange usually) in the morning so you could drink your coffee and have a *warm* scone. I miss that.

    9. CoffeeforLife*

      I miss going to Orange Theory. It blows my budget, but I went daily. I don’t/won’t exercise at home so i needed the ritual or getting dressed and going somewhere. I WFH so it was part of my morning routine and helped me set the pace for the day.

    10. Kate Daniels*

      Visiting the library (and the relaxing, peaceful walk along the lake to get there). I had a routine where I’d go every week to pick up new holds and return books. Since I’ve been stuck at home and the library has been closed, I’ve bought three books. I like supporting indie bookstores, but not so much the “loss” of $60 that I otherwise would not have spent. (I have a e-reader, but I greatly prefer physical books.) I’m a minimalist and don’t like to keep a lot of stuff so I’ve also been feeling guilty by this waste of money. Sadly, the parks and paths by the lake are also all blocked off, too.

      1. Ice Bear*

        If it helps with the guilt, think of that $60 as a donation – as a minimalist you’ll probably donate those books when you’re done with them and someone else will get to enjoy them who might otherwise been unable to.

        1. Kate Daniels*

          That’s true! I plan to put them in the Little Free Library that rarely sees new books when the park reopens.

      2. Josephine Beth NotAmy*

        I desperately miss popping in to the library. The librarian always has perfect recommendations for me, we enjoy chatting about what our adult children are up to, and then I usually stop in a coffee shop to start one of the books.

        1. Kuododi*

          I’ve been in the same position in my corner of paradise. Our local library recently built a magnificent huge new branch that is a book lovers paradise. For all of the Dr Who fans, this new branch of the library is like the TARDIS. (It’s bigger on the inside!!!).
          Best of all it’s approximately 10 min from my house. Sadly enough, our entire library system is closed and they are still using the terms “indefinite future,” in reference to when we can look for it to reopen. GRRR!!! I do miss quality time at the library. My little slice of heaven.

    11. Retail not Retail*


      The local university does free “community cards” and I got one in mid-February and wandered the stacks before overloading with ten books. The due date got indefinitely postponed so I haven’t been back.

      I can browse overdrive but it’s not the same.

    12. Lady Jay*

      Being able to pick out a running spot w/o worrying about how many people will be there. Suddenly all my favourite, remote, single-track trails have become hotbeds of activity, and I avoid them. I’ve been running in more crowded or non-designated running spots, lately.

    13. Retail not Retail*

      It wasn’t a regular thing, but clothes shopping at goodwill.

      Someone in October – not naming names – looked at her raggedy work shorts and said i’ll take care of this before the warm weather returns. Well it’s back and I have to settle for the ones that aren’t as comfortable or have deep enough pockets. Ordering something online fitted like shorts isn’t appealing because I can’t tell important things like the weight of the fabric.

      1. Kate Daniels*

        Sorry of the reverse of this, but I miss being able to go to Goodwill to drop off donations! I live in a small studio apartment, and one of my tricks to keeping things tidy is to regularly declutter and donate. The stuff piling up is making me anxious because I have nowhere to take it for the indefinite future.

        1. Nicole76*

          I miss both things – browsing Savers (similar to Goodwill), and being able to drop off my donations. I have been cleaning and decluttering like mad lately because it helps relieve stress and boredom for me. Luckily I have a garage to store things in, but I also want to declutter THAT once the weather warms up.

        2. Parenthetically*

          Both! Both of these. Our local St. Vincent DePaul thrift store is WONDERFUL, the cleanest, neatest, most well-organized little thrift store, and we both take donations there and find amazing deals there. I definitely have had the thought several times in the last few weeks that I’d love to be able to take a trunkload of stuff there and then have a browse!

        3. LizB*

          I also miss both sides of this! I’m doing a bunch of decluttering and organizing, which feels really good but it’s annoying that I can’t get the extra stuff all the way OUT of the house and to a donation center. And since I have so much time on my hands, this would be an ideal opportunity for some leisurely thrifting to build up my spring and summer wardrobe… but nope.

        4. Filosofickle*

          I’m actively avoiding “clear out” activities right now because of this! I can’t live with donation bags in the hall for weeks/months on end, and it’s not clear what will happen to donations in the immediate aftermath. Will they be accepted? Will people be willing to bring things home in a viral world?

          If I can clean/straighten it, YES. If it can go in my trash or recycle bins, YES. If the project needs new bins/storage devices or will create giveaways that can’t go easily on Buy Nothing, NO. Kind of a bummer because I feel ready to shed some shoes. But nope.

        5. Marion Ravenwood*

          Same here. I have three boxes of stuff from my pre-moving clear out currently sitting at the end of my bed, which in normal times would have gone to the charity shop by now. There are still a couple of companies online that will send you donation bags for clothes which you can then just post back, so that will help a bit, but there’ll still be at least one box of books and mugs coming with me.

        1. Filosofickle*

          My Buy Nothing group is pretty active right now with so many clearing things out plus needing different things. Food, puzzles, books, crafting, etc are all being shared via porch pickup. For my items, I’m offering lots of time to pick up so they can combine it with essential errands and not make an extra trip. (I’m sure there are members who are not participating out of concern for transferring the virus between homes.)

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Oh yesssss just going to the flea market and wandering around, even if you don’t buy anything. I miss that a lot.

      3. Alexandra Lynch*

        The project for the year was weight loss.
        I’m doing fine with that, despite the pandemic; apparently my psyche decided that if I didn’t have control over anything else I did have control of what I put in my mouth, so staying on the new eating plan isn’t a problem.
        But when you lose weight, your old clothes don’t fit. And while I’m able to buy new clothes as I go downward, I hate like blazes to just get rid of perfectly good clothes that are barely worn because I was in a size 18 for a month. I boxed them up and either my girlfriend will wear them when she drops in size or I’ll donate them eventually. I’m moving this spring, though, and hate to haul anything extra. (sigh)

        1. Retail not Retail*

          Ah my mom’s in the same boat and i fit in her old clothes. Except I’ve had this job a year and killed the khaki shorts. All that’s left are women’s pants which aren’t tough enough or properly pocketed.

          I ordered shorts through work and they go below my knee and they weigh almost as much as my pants to the point that on a mild December day I was able to survive in them after a great pair of pants got the rip of doom.

    14. AngelicGamer, the Visually Impaired Peep*

      I miss my weekly routine of getting out of the house to go to Starbucks and the library, which also included a quick pop in at the small grocery store for more green bananas.

    15. Overeducated*

      Not having to navigate so much interpersonally on walks around the neighborhood. I basically can’t take my kid out on a scooter after work because the sidewalks are so busy we have to go into the street a lot (which is fine when I’m a solo runner, not so much with a small child). It’s nobody’s fault, I think people around here seem much more considerate than social media would indicate, there are just a lot of us.

      Parks being closed doesn’t help. It’s been a glorious spring. I hope some can reopen before the full heat of summer.

    16. TimeCat*

      I miss going to the grocery store without a plan in mind and making something random.

      I miss afternoon coffee runs.

    17. Anony Nony Mousey*

      I miss, in no particular order:
      -Spicy Korean hotpot stews
      -Sunbutter protein bites from Trader Joes (we’ve gone there 3 times, and left the parking lot without going in, since the line’s out the door and around the store)
      -Spicy ramen noodles (the really good kind, like Shin ramen or Neoguri)
      -Being able to plan a trip somewhere
      -Sleep (anxiety, somewhat…)
      -Long walks in the crowded summery public park near the lake

      1. ThatGirl*

        Just a note, I went to our Trader Joe’s yesterday, they had a line but it looked longer than it was because of spacing people out. It only took me 5 minutes or so to get in. They’re just waiting for someone to come out.

    18. Parenthetically*

      I miss the LIBRARY. I can check out books for my kindle, which is fine, but I miss just going and browsing and finding something interesting to read, or grabbing the next mystery in the series I’m reading, or flicking through a magazine while sipping a coffee from the beautiful cafe in my library.

      1. Emily*


        My library system also has physical but not electronic copies of some of the things I want to read. Overdrive and Libby are great, but not a full replacement.

    19. Laura H.*

      I miss being able to get away from the house to have a lunch to myself or with friends…. however, my wallet is liking the lesser demand on it. (I acknowledge that this is a luxury a lot of folks don’t have, so I won’t go any further on that.)

    20. And this from a cat person*

      Petting my neighbors’ dogs. There are a lot of dog owners in my neighborhood with really sweet dogs. Walking is my preferred form of exercise, and I would often briefly chat with a dog walker and pet her dog. I can still chat from a distance but I miss petting the dogs.

    21. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I just miss standing around talking to people. That’s usually the highlight of my day, social interaction. And while I do not live alone, I am the sole extrovert in a house of introverts!

      1. Parenthetically*

        I went to a grocery store a couple weeks ago and had a LOVELY chat with the checkout clerk that was absolutely the highlight of my day. I definitely miss chit-chat.

        1. Filosofickle*

          Chatting with strangers is surprisingly energizing for this introvert, because it’s so short. Then it’s fun! Larger, longer, or more “important” people events are super draining for me but a few minutes with a delightful stranger is the perfect amount of interaction. I miss that too.

        2. Sparrow*

          I donated blood last week, and the chit chat with the blood drive staff improved my mood so much!

    22. Lore*

      I woke up this morning desperately missing the kind of Saturday where I do laundry and treat myself to the fancy coffee at the place near the laundromat and then do my errand loops that include the library and the farmers market and the gym and the four-store grocery combo (specialty middle eastern grocery, produce market, regular supermarket, Trader Joe’s)—and after all of that it’s inevitably 5:30 and I’m irritated that the whole day is gone and I did nothing relaxing or fun. But it’s all I want right now.

      1. Elenna*

        I miss going to more than one grocery store! The other weekend my mom bought ingredients for tiramisu, but she couldn’t find whipping cream, and there was a bunch of debate about whether we could go to another store for it, whether that was really essential, whether it was okay if my dad did it while picking up his prescription (our pharmacy is inside the grocery store), whether his prescription was even ready, whether there was any point to this discussion since the other store might not have it either…. And then they ended up having apple cake instead for their wedding anniversary.
        (And then I messed up the apple cake and it didn’t rise for some reason. :( but that’s a different story)

    23. Anon Accountant*

      Going to Panera with my friends. We eat, get coffee and hang out socializing. We are in a small town with few options and look forward to sitting outside of Panera, talking and laughing.

    24. Llama Face!*

      I can’t choose just one, sorry. So I have two:

      Being able to order a coffee drink in one of my favourite coffee shops where the baristas all know me and we have a friendly rapport and then relaxing there while sitting and reading or journalling with all the quiet, pleasant people sounds around me.

      Going to the library! I am very slowly reading the few actual paper books I managed to snap up before the library shut down and supplementing them with a ton of ebooks. But there is just something different about going to the library and choosing a book by reading the blurb on an actual physical object. I miss it so much! And I miss our very nice city librarians.

    25. LQ*

      I really really miss brunch. I’d go every week with my aunt and it was a really good social thing for me. I’ve lost that. And I’d often go Saturdays with a friend. So it was my social, my unwind, my favorite meal. But that’s big enough and hard enough of a loss of that social and human interaction that I don’t feel like it’s the frivolous thing. No, the frivolous part is that right about this time of year I’d go out by myself and eat outside (I’m in a cold cold-weather state) on the first even slightly “nice day” which we’ve had and be really snitty in my head about being able to handle the weather when everyone else is fair weather. A super petty and quite delightful thing I indulge in 2 times a year, the first outside eat and the last of the year. And I missed it.

    26. MayLou*

      This is a really interesting question for me because I think the answer is… there isn’t one. The only things I’m missing feel big: I miss the baby I nanny for, I miss physical contact with someone who isn’t my dog, and I miss being reasonably confident that my presence in the vicinity of other people isn’t potentially fatal. Most of my small pleasures were already home-based. Hot chocolate, curling up with a book, watching my dog trot happily with his tail up on a walk, smelling fresh linen on the bed. I suppose one thing I do miss is going to a cafe for a hot chocolate and slice of cherry flapjack while the baby napped, although he’s now 18 months old so that is rarer! (He demands all the cherries if he’s awake, making a very cute “mmm!” noise and smacking his lips.)

    27. Aurora Leigh*

      So many things:
      The library!
      Going out to eat — take out is great, but it’s not the same.
      Dropping off Goodwill donations
      Aldi — we’re only shopping at Walmart right now so we can just make one stop.
      Movie night at my friends apt
      State parks!
      My in laws — we do their shopping and chat 6+ ft apart in their front yard when we drop stuff off, but it’s not the same

    28. lazy intellectual*

      I commented to this effect above, but I miss all aspects of nightlife. So I guess all of the frivolous things? Going out to eat and drink on the weekends was how I spent my weekends before this. I also miss going to the movies.

    29. Corky's Wife Bonnie*

      We are members of a large botanical gardens destination, it used to be a DuPont estate. Each season has a brillant feature, going on now would be the tulip display, each year I’m amazed at their colors, varieties and differences. This is the first year since we’ve been members that we’ll miss it. We make a day of it and have lunch in their restaurant. I go once with my hubby and once with a friend. I know we’ll be back, just really missing it right now.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        My mum volunteers at the one here. She dragged me to see the orchid show not too long before everything crashed. It was pretty cool. They didn’t have any monkey-face ones out, darn it, but there were some really pretty ones I’d never seen before.

    30. Wired Wolf*

      Too many to count…but mainly just wandering downtown. I don’t drive so any place I want to go now I have to coordinate with my mom and mostly it’s “do we really need to go there” …um, no but for some reason I don’t like walking in my neighborhood, I have to go somewhere with something interesting. She’s not into driving someplace “just to walk” so a lot of the nearby trails are out.

      Popping into a store just to grab a coffee or other random food item, or just browsing/chatting with employees I know.

    31. puffle*

      Going to one of the local National Trust properties to stroll around their beautiful gardens. I often order a cream tea in the cafe and enjoy it outdoors with a good book.

      Also like just about everyone else in this thread, my local library. I usually have a lie in on Saturday mornings then wander down to the library 5 mins walk) to pick up some books for the weekend. Browsing ebooks just isn’t the same

    32. London Calling*

      Breakfast at my local restaurant – avocado on toast with a poached egg, or if I’m feeling decadent, avocado with smoked salmon and hollandaise, plus a a large americano.

    33. Elizabeth West*

      I miss going to Alamo Drafthouse. There is supposed to be one opening here, but it’s been taking forever, and the stupid coronavirus will make it take even longer.

    34. AnotherAlison*

      As the lone introvert at my house, I think that this is weirdly worse for me socially than my husband. The small doses of human interaction at work and the gym and the cycle gang were what I needed. I miss the people there, but I wasn’t the type to take those acquaintances to the friend level where I can call them and chat now. Lesson learned?

      1. London Calling*

        Yeahhhhh… I’m seeing the true colour for the first time in years and it’s grey. Or at least, seems to be silver, which isn’t so bad.

      2. Tau*

        I have a pixie cut and the last time I got it cut was in January. I was going to make an appointment sometime in March. Regret. So much regret.

        1. London Calling*

          I couldn’t get an appointment at my usual salon for my cut and colour so went to a little local one the weekend before UK lockdown for a trim to tide me over. The stylist interpreted ‘short, please’ very generously and I’m so glad she did.

    35. WineNot*

      I miss picking a recipe I want to make that night and going to the grocery store same-day to buy whatever random ingredients it calls for that I need. I haven’t been to a grocery store in over a month, but the thought it shopping for specific recipes sounds amazing right now, rather than getting creative with what I have in the house.

      1. Wired Wolf*

        I tend to go to the store, see/pick up interesting ingredients and try to find a recipe on my phone while I’m there. Planning meals more than a few hours ahead is alien to me.

    36. knead me seymour*

      I’m fortunate to live really close to a really beautiful seaside walk, which I used to walk along at least once a day. Unfortunately it’s such a popular walking spot that I haven’t been there since social distancing started.

    37. Alexandra Lynch*

      I miss going to used book stores with my loves. We love used book shopping so much one of their Christmas presents were canvas bags with quotes on them about it. (Things like “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy books, and that’s sort of the same thing.”)

      We’d go to the used book stores and then to Steak n Shake and then home for a peaceful afternoon spent with our new books reading.

    38. KR*

      Coffee and restaurants. Farmers markets (ours are still open but obviously it’s risky). Going to the store just for the hell of it. I want to buy plants but don’t want to make an unnecessary trip to Home Depot or the nursery. I know you asked for one thing but here we are.

    39. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      Shopping for plants and other garden stuff. It’s a small irony that I now have the time to do the total garden revamp that I’ve been putting off for years, but I am limited to the things I can buy without going into town or propagate from existing plants. Garden centres are open but I’d need to get on the train or bus to get there, and I have a supermarket in my neighbourhood that has everything I need so I have no reason to go.

    40. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      I miss watching TV with other people! Left to my own devices, I rarely watch tv, but I have various series that I watch with specific other people. Everything my dad and I were watching is just piling up on his DVR and I have no idea if I’ll even remember where we were in anything by the time we get back to visiting again. Similarly, there’s a box set of a ridiculous tv show a friend and I have been slowly working through when out schedules allow, and I have no idea when we’ll be able to do that again. (Yes, I’ve heard of the Nexflix Party Chrome extension. None of us has Netflix. Dad is still old-school paying for cable, and my friend and I buy things on DVD rather than streaming services because it works out better for when you want to watch something specific slowly since once you buy it it won’t disappear.)

      I also miss doing laundry at my dad’s house. This was going to be the year I finally re-did some of the plumbing at my house and got my good washer and dryer moved in, but that got derailed since this is not the time to start a home remodel so I’m stuck with an ancient washer that causes the terrible floor drain to back up when it drains and line-drying everything. I’d been going over to my dad’s house once a week and doing laundry there as a stopgap, but I’m not doing that now and am stuck with the lousy set-up at my place. (I have a bucket in the utility sink to stage out the water from the washer to keep the floor drain from overflowing, but this is all just unnecessarily annoying compared to using a modern washer and dryer with reasonable plumbing.)

      I also miss drinking. I have plenty of booze here at home, but drinking by myself at home is not at all the same as drinking with friends and I just can’t get up any enthusiasm for it.

      1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        Oh I forgot about the remodelling. It’s a small thing but I was going to get a new bath tub installed last month. I’ve been wanting to replace it ever since we bought this house, 11 years ago. I finally had the money and the time. Maybe this fall?

    41. The Other Dawn*

      I miss being able to just browse around a store, even the grocery store, just because I feel like wasting some time. Back surgeries were last month so I wouldn’t have been out very much anyway. But I’ve been out even less because of COVID, which means I’ve been much less active for the last seven weeks than I would have normally been. If I was able to just get out of the house and browse some stores, I’d be walking much more than I am. Sure, I can walk around the yard or the neighborhood, but we’ve been dealing with a lot of wind, rain, cold, and even snow the other day.

    1. NoLongerStuckInRetailHell*

      What’s a “foster fail”? Is it someone deciding to adopt the animal they are fostering because they can’t bear to give it up? I wouldn’t consider that a “fail”. How about “foster to forever” instead?

      1. Chelsea G*

        Yes, that’s exactly what it is. It’s intended to be a bit of a humorous recognition of the situation, but there is a kernel of truth to the name.

        It’s a “fail” because the whole point of fostering is for the animal to go on to another home, and because each time it happens it reduces the number of foster placements available which makes it harder to care for all the other pets who could go on to be adopted after a suitable fostering. Most people don’t foster fail on one pet and keep fostering others. They realise they are likely to keep foster failing, so they stop fostering altogether. Which is fine – people get to choose what works for them, obviously! – but from the perspective of the shelters trying to work for all the pets, each failed foster placement makes things just a little harder. When one of my fosterers calls to say they’ve foster failed and want to adopt, I’m happy for them, but sad for us. That’s one less option for all the other animals I’m trying to get ready for adoption. One cat adopted from a foster fail may mean another five or six cats that year just don’t get the fostering that would make them adoptable. Great for the one, not so much for the many. That’s not the foster failure’s fault! It’s just how it is. There simply aren’t enough fosterers for all the animals that need them. So yeah, there is a little failure involved.

        1. CoffeeforLife*

          I just foster failed and that weighed heavily in my decision. I told the agency that I can do temp fosters and puppies since they are quickly adopted. Until our geriatric dog passes I can only do the two and it makes me sad (and feel like a failure)

          1. Dog Fosterer*

            Please don’t feel too guilty! We do the best we can, and rescues can’t expect every foster to be perfect. If you have fostered previously, or will foster again (which you plan to do), then that matters most to me. I’m not a fan of people who foster once and clearly planned to fail on their first one. Some people don’t do well at fostering (Alison as an example admits it openly :) and that’s totally fine, but others take up a lot of resources and then adopt the animal and completely disappear. When I joined, I told my rescue that I planned to adopt a dog, yet was clear that a big criteria was a dog who would be good with foster dogs, as I wanted to continue (so I specifically wanted to adopt a dog I had fostered as I needed to trust their skills with other dogs).

            I think it’s good for foster homes to take breaks sometimes, and some of those are forced on us by circumstance. Enjoy your break, try to not feel guilty, and hopefully you will foster again (but not too soon in your case).

            1. CoffeeforLife*

              Thank you :) I have done several fosters and they were placed in great homes so I do feel like I helped. My fail wasn’t much of a choice- she has trust issues but bonded to me and is a velcro dog. I don’t think she would respond well to a new family.

              1. Dog Fosterer*

                Right, I forgot the other caveat:
                Anyone who adopts (foster fails) with a difficult animal should be completely free of any feelings of guilt. Alison takes in the harder cats too.

                I feel slightly guilty because I have ‘failed’ with the best animals. I foster quite a few, and I pick the best of the bunch to live with me. Yet I like to work with the more difficult animals (dogs and cats) so I want my forever ones to be easy for me to care for and also a model for good behaviour. Neither is perfect, but I know their weaknesses and they are good with most other animals (my dog is reactive with aggressive dogs, which I’m mindful of when walking off-leash, but the rescue doesn’t foster aggressive dogs).

            2. Bibliovore*

              Oh, I was a foster fail on my first placement but felt a little set up to fail. The dog was a super anxious, obviously under nourished, 8 lb, somewhere around 10 to 12 years old, blind in one eye, two bad back legs, a mouth-full of rotted teeth. Her entire rescue group had been adopted and she was the last one. Hates people and other dogs. Spent her first year with us hiding behind the couch. The rescue basically told her there was no hope for her. I probably will foster when she leaves this earth but no guarantees that it will be successful given my track record.

              1. Four-legged Fosterer*

                Oh goodness, that’s awful of the rescue! We always start out new people with something easy, and sometimes the easy ones surprise us with bad behaviours or health, but your first one must have been known to be a problem. I’m sorry you experienced that! I am much more disappointed with dishonest rescues than dishonest adopters or foster families, as essentially you were being so kind and they took advantage of it by making your life really complicated, and guilting you into adopting this dog. I am so sorry!

                1. Bibliovore*

                  on the other hand. Took her to the vet. All her teeth were pulled. I cook her food for her, a stewish mix. She now barks to let us know the postal carrier came. (I thought she was de-barked because all she made was whimpering sounds) She calmed down significantly after the first year and has become a real snuggle bunny with us. (still doesn’t like visitors or people) Has a few dog pals in the neighborhood that she doesn’t bolt from. There will be no playing but there is a brief acknowledgment of their existence. And she uses the pee pad near the front door. (the indoor out door thing was too much of a challenge so at least she knows “where to go”)
                  So it is an alls well that ends well. And I don’t know how I would be getting through “these times.” without her.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yes, that’s exactly it! The thing that made us finally submit to failing with Hank and Shadow was that we realized we couldn’t foster again regardless of whether or not we kept them (because we were finding it so upsetting to part with them, largely because it felt like re-traumatizing Shadow, who was just starting to not be terrified). So we figured the rescue was losing us as a foster home either way. But I still do feel guilty about it. (In our defense, I’d originally contacted them about something else* and they talked us into fostering, even after I warned them we were terrible at it.)

          * The something else was that I’d seen on their Facebook page a cat they’d rescued who’d been in a shelter cage for seven years, and so I contacted them to say that if they came across another cat in a similar situation, we would take them. Which we still would. I mention this in case anyone else wants to tell their local rescue groups something similar!

          1. tangerineRose*

            I don’t think you should feel guilty about it. You gave them a great home, and it sounds like Shadow is really coming out of his shell. Shadow and Eve might never have found a happy home if you hadn’t taken them in.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            Oh no, that poor little cage kitty. :'(

            This is why I scream SPAY AND NEUTER at everyone I see.

          3. Dog Fosterer*

            Not everyone does well with fostering, and if you forewarned the rescue then you are better than most.

            You should definitely have no guilt – people who take in the harder cases are wonderful people, whether or not they foster or adopt.

            I would describe you as ‘foster to adopt’, which is a totally fair way to do things too! We do these rarely, and they tend to happen with harder cases and previous adopters, when we know it’s a good match from the start. They don’t directly adopt because the animal needs some care for a while, so stays as a foster until they are healthy.

      2. hermit crab*

        The rescue I foster for calls them “foster wins”! But we’re in a big urban/suburban area with no shortage of potential foster placements.

      3. Dog Fosterer*

        I’m in an area with enough foster homes (although there are too many cats that need help, but funds are the biggest hurdle), and we enthusiastically refer to fails as a joke. Technically they did fail at fostering, although the animal wins the jackpot with that home. It’s pretty much a silly joke in a community that often has a lot of frustrations.

    2. Lena Clare*

      All cats, like babies, are beautiful, LOL, but Shadow and Hank are sort of model-like!

      Hank really looks like my cat, Albert:

      Alison – how do you keep his fur clean? Are all your cats indoor cats? Mine are both outdoor because they were feral when I got them.

      Albert’s grooming is a bit hit and miss as he gets older and it’s a real battle sometimes to get the matts out of his coat.

      I’ve found a brush he likes – the furminator! – but he won’t let me go underneath.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Oh wow, he really does look like Albert!

        They’re all indoor cats. We don’t do much to groom them — we brush them occasionally, but that’s about it. I thought Hank would need more because his fur is so long, but he doesn’t seem to. (We have a Furminator too though — that brush gets out a shocking amount of loose fur.)

        1. Lena Clare*

          Oh I thought it’d be because he’s an outdoor cat. He really comes in looking like a tree sometimes… the best is when slugs get tangled up in there /sarcasm font.

          I’ll just have to keep brushing him and take him to the vets for the worst bits when all this is over.

          And Furminators are great, aren’t they!

          1. Elizabeth West*

            SLUGS?? Blecch, that makes me glad Pig had short hair. She was firmly an outdoor cat no matter what I tried. Her favorite spots in summer were 1) under the hydrangea bush (that’s where I buried her), and 2) in the culvert pipe. Two very dirty spots, lol.

  8. Elenna*

    How are people sanitizing groceries? We obviously can’t use soap on anything that doesn’t come in a waterproof package. I’m not sure how much washing things in just water even helps but we’re doing it anyways. Some things can be left out for a few days but we’ve been washing and drying all the produce that needs to go in the fridge and it’s a pain. Thoughts?

    1. Rewe*

      Based on what I have read sanitizing groceries is not necessary. Then again the information changes all the time so could be that I’m already behind. But if wanting to sanitize I’d use a whipe on top of the boxes and water on fresh produce. But I think it would be most efficient to wash your hands after you’ve opened the package.

    2. Clementine*

      I am definitely not a virologist. But I put the produce together in one clean paper bag, and put it in the fridge. Then I wash the produce when I use it.

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I haven’t been sanitizing or quarantining groceries or packages or deliveries or mail or any of it, to be honest.

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        I’m not sanitising my groceries either – just washing my hands when I come home from the supermarket and again after I put the shopping away. I am throwing away external packaging material and washing my hands afterwards, but it is making me feel very guilty to bin stuff that I know could be recycled in normal times.

          1. MatKnifeNinja*

            My city stopped all recycling, and told people not to hoard it up until the restrictions are lifted.

            The recycling center said if they get overloaded after the restrictions, they will shut down until has more room.

            Donation centers are all closed in mybarea too.

      2. Generic Name*

        Me neither. I do wipe down the grocery cart handle and wash my hands immediately after coming home, and again after putting away the groceries. But I don’t sanitize the groceries themselves. I wash produce as usual before cooking.

      3. Not This One*

        We also haven’t been sanitizing grocery products (either produce or things in packages). Like others, we wash hands as soon as we get home (not just from the grocery store, but any time we leave the house, although that’s really just grocery shopping and walking the dog). Obviously we rinse produce, but that was standard in our household even before coronavirus.

        I will say that I didn’t really research deeply the necessity (or not?) of sanitizing items that come into the home, except for reading clear guidance that washing produce with dish soap was not a recommended practice, period. Really it’s just the mail and some deliveries and the groceries.

      4. RagingADHD*

        Me neither.

        Though when we picked up the kids’ school supplies, I left them out in the car for a few days before bringing them in. Because school = germ central.

        FWIW, I have autoimmune disease and elevated blood pressure.

        I just haven’t seen any science supporting it, and the only way I know to stay sane is to stay evidence-based.

    4. CoffeeforLife*

      I like to wash my produce when I bring it home (berries seem to last longer that way). I tried decanting all the bulky things (so much hand washing) but most of it went into our pandemic closet and are in quarantine :)

      I shopped on the 1st and was super stressed and asked partner to take lead on the putting away. I was just done and didn’t have the emotional bandwidth to do it.

      I’m hoping we can make it until May. Praying my coffee creamer holds out (store was out of my flavor last time).

    5. nep*

      Similar to others, I am more about making sure I wash my hands really well after being at the store and handling any packaging. And of course throughout the day, a lot. I wash the hell out of produce with soap and water; Lord knows how many people touched it in the store. I put my jacket in the dryer for 15 min or so when I get home from the grocery store, as it’s the item that might have touched things in the store like the little shelf at checkout.
      I hope this is sufficient. I’m all ears if someone has information that we should be washing or spraying all packaging that comes into the house.
      (Past couple of times I was out, I was all tight in the chest just from anxiety and I barely breathe in the store, even though I’m wearing a mask. I can’t go to more than one place at a time then I just want to race back home. I have a tough time envisioning a day that won’t be the case.)

      1. Alston*

        So what we do is have a corner of the floor in our kitchen called “quarantine corner.” Everything non perishable goes in there for about 3 days.

        Everything going in the fridge or freezer gets sprayed down. We bought a bottle of 96% Polish grain alcohol and put it in a spray bottle. Just spritz everything before if goes in the fridge. Stuff like berries get washed and put into a new container right away. But even like a clamshell of herbs gets sprayed with liquor.

        I have heard you probably don’t need to sanitize the grocceries, but I know several health care workers who are, and it makes me feel safer/doesn’t take very long.

        1. nep*

          Understandable, for sure. It’s not like anyone is a complete authority yet on how this virus operates.

        2. Worked in IT forever*

          Similar to your “quarantine corner,” we have “grocery jail” for our non-perishables. It’s part of a table and floor. We also let things sit for three days, which is theoretically enough for plastic packaging and more than enough for cardboard packaging. We could just wipe those things down, but if we don’t need them right away, letting them sit saves effort and wipes. Perishables get cleaned.

          I do hear wildly different perspectives from credible sources on the need for cleaning groceries, and at the beginning of the outbreak, we were doing nothing at all. I’m more nervous now.

          1. Alston*

            I like the name grocery jail.

            And yeah, first grocery shop I wiped things down, but realized quickly I would be out of wipes. The spray bottle of alcohol is working nicely.

    6. Oxford Comma*

      After freaking out and then reading a lot and talking to a friend with a background in virology, I am not really sanitizing groceries. I wipe down containers and I make sure to wash the produce extra well. Packages and mail I open and discard wrapping right away. I wash my hands a lot. But that’s it.

      1. Wired Wolf*

        I try to open packages in our vestibule and take the outer box to the trash room immediately before coming up to the apartment (especially since every AMZ warehouse has had cases reported) but my mom will bring everything up and plop the boxes/bubble envelopes–some of which are actually physically dirty from warehouse/road grime–on my bed -_-

        I get you’re trying to be helpful, but…NOT WHERE I SLEEP. Geez. And she’s the mildly immunocompromised one.

        1. Anono-me*

          Can you put a tub or something by the door and ask your mom to put everything there? (It might be helpful when discussing this with her to focus on how it will aid you in keeping track of everything, rather than on the covid-19 aspects.)

          Also is there something you can cover your bed with during the day? Maybe one of those picnic plastic tablecloth or something that you can easily sanitize and will protect your bed? Even if it turns out to have been more than what was necessary later, it will probably help you sleep better now.

          1. Wired Wolf*

            We do have a tub for shoes and stuff, she now wants to move the shoes into the coat closet so we can repurpose the tub for mail…we used to do that in our old two-bedroom. I think the problem stems from being in a one-bedroom temporarily; I don’t have an actual door (my “bedroom” is half of the living room). I’ll definitely push the “keeping things organized” angle again; I use my bed to photograph/pack my online sales (I do have an old mattress protector that I use for that) and accidentally shipping out something that she ordered would not be good.

    7. Not Alison*

      My thought is that it was really irresponsible of that Grand Rapids doctor to put out that video on sanitizing groceries and moreso for one of the main TV networks to report it on their evening national news. Unless you are in an area where the transmission has exploded, sanitizing groceries is likely a waste of both time and psychic energy (where it increases your worry about the virus). And, in fact, the national health agency recently came out saying that this was NOT necessary or useful.

      1. Lady Jay*

        Yep, there was a good Twitter thread a day or two later debunking it as overkill; the most important thing is washing your hands before you eat.

        Me, I’ve settled on wiping cardboard / plastic containers (like cereal boxes, pasta boxes, peanut butter jars, etc) down with a clorox wipe when I bring them in the house, because it’s easy and otherwise I wig myself out whenever I touch one in the process of making something to eat. But I leave produce to wash until right before I eat it.

        1. Parenthetically*

          Once the link goes through, do read the article I posted below — I found it so reassuring! Basically: viruses only die. They’re always dying. The cereal box in your cupboard that you brought home 3 or 4 days ago isn’t capable of making you sick, if it ever had live virus on it to start with.

          1. Lady Jay*

            Sure but I eat cereal the day after I bring it home from the grocery store, so there *could* still be live viruses on it. The point is, people get to err on the side of caution if that makes them feel more comfortable.

            1. Parenthetically*

              Absolutely! Everyone is going to come down in different spots on this. If it makes you feel better rather than making you feel obsessive or fixated or whatever, go for it.

        2. Ranon*

          Please don’t use cleaners on porous surfaces like cardboard, it’s unlikely you’ll get a virus from the surface but ingesting cleaners is definitely bad for you and porous surfaces can absorb the cleaner and it can contaminate your food (especially in the case where the packaging is just cardboard). Same with washing produce with soap- eating soap is definitely bad for you, the odds of catching covid19 from produce is almost certainly lower

        3. Anono-me*

          Have you considered removing the bag of cereal from the cereal box and discarding the cereal box right away?

          A couple of the multiple sites I research suggested discarding the outer packaging and only retaining the inner packaging for things like cereal and frozen pizza Etc ( But be sure to write down the cooking instructions on frozen meals.)

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I like to do this anyway — that is, when I have a kitchen and all my vintage Tupperware.

            1. Anono-me*

              I have no idea how people are able to retain both halves of Tupperware for any length of time much less long enough for it to be vintage.

              1. Elizabeth West*

                Oh, I bought it at the flea market. But yeah, how did they keep all the lids long enough to sell it? There was a booth in this one market in OldCity with a whole wall of Tupperware.

                1. TexasRose*

                  Don’t feel bad. The seller aggregated one person’s extra lids with another person’s extra bowls. Voila – it LOOKS like some super-organized individual could keep up the sets intact, when really it’s a mix-n-match display with the extras neatly stored away for later matching.

              2. Owler*

                I store mine with the lids on each container. This, of course, takes more space, but I don’t get frustrated by misplacing lids. Plus I’m more likely to use them if I can go to the cabinet and quickly find a set. I haaaaate having to sort through a bin of random lids.

      2. RagingADHD*

        Was that the guy who was supposedly enacting a return fron the store, where he sanitized his counters *before* bringing in the groceries, and then washed his hands *afterwards*?

        So he had touched everything in his kitchen before washing?

        And then used the same paper towel – the one he handled with his dirty hands – to wipe the packages with?

        Maybe it’s a different guy, but a friend sent me that one and my eyes about fell out of my head, I rolled then so hard.

    8. Jonah*

      I have been sanitizing, and I hadn’t heard anything about it being overkill until now. However, I know at least two employees at my grocery store tested positive this week, and my mom who’s extremely high risk lives with me, so I’ll probably continue to do so just for the peace of mind. She’s been bad about forgetting to wash her hands after touching things from the store lately.

      I just use a spray bottle with soapy water in it and a rag. So far, this has worked fine on everything. Even most cardboard packaging has a coating on the outside that’s somewhat water repellent these days.

    9. Parenthetically*

      Link to follow, but there’s no need to (attempt to) sanitize your groceries. Washing your hands is far more important than Clorox-wiping your Cheerios box or whatever.

    10. Kathenus*

      I wash produce and stuff going in the refrigerator, but my last shopping I put all the nonperishables in the bags in the corner and waited four days to use any of them. I know the ‘three days’ for the virus to remain on surfaces isn’t 100% proven, but it seemed a good rule of thumb for me to use.

    11. Irene Beyond*

      Sanitizing groceries: using a washable rag or paper towels and bleach spray. All items that are wrapped and need to go into refrigerator/freezer get a wipe down. All items that can be put on shelf for 3 days before use are ‘quarantined’ , items that are immediately needed get a wipe down, all fruit and veg are given a rinse and put away in crisper bins rinsed again when using. (Anything worn to shop is thrown into closed wash bag and shoes are left just outside of the door for 3days) It takes me about 15 min to get this all done/put away. I make the bleach spray using directions from CDC 1/3 cup bleach per gallon water

    12. I'm A Little Teapot*

      My view is: I’m mentally and emotionally stable and (relatively) healthy. But there is a limit to what I can manage, even so. I’m not sanitizing groceries. Or the mail. Or the car. Or my shoes. Not unless things get a LOT worse where I am. I wear a mask when I go to the store. I’m trying not to touch my face until after I wash my hands well. And I’m limiting trips out to the minimum. I understand that others are doing differently, and that’s fine. They are not me.

      1. Not This One*

        This is how my household is handling it as well. The only places we go where there are people who aren’t us anymore are the grocery store and the park – and we’ve adjusted to maximize our social distancing by taking the pooch for her walk at 6 AM, when there are barely any people there.

    13. The pest, Ramona*

      We sanitize everything coming in the house. Full stop.
      And wash hands frequently. And wipe down all parts of the vehicle which was driven. And leave shoes outside.
      Yes, viruses die, but not always fast enough, so why risk it? And I have more peace of mind knowing the things inside the house are safe as I can make them. If it’s non – perishable we leave the goods (after wiping down) in the garage (yes,we are lucky to have a garage) until it is needed. Produce gets a long soak & wash. If it’s double wrapped, the outer wrap stays outside. And we wash our hands a lot.
      I will not take chances with this until we know more about covid 19. A lot of the info coming out is based on previous similar diseases, not specifically covid 19. Until the actual science on covid 19 is known I will remain cautious.

    14. Bluebell*

      Our non perishables are staying on the inside porch for 3 days. And the hardier veggies and fruits also stay out for a day or two. The dairy goes in the fridge after a quick Clorox wipe. Fruits and veggies are washed before prepping/cooking them. We wash hands before and after we eat. We are in the Boston area, so being pretty careful.

    15. A New Normal*

      All non-perishables go into our “quarantine room” (guest bedroom) for 2-3 days to let anything on them die off naturally. Perishables and anything we need immediately gets wiped down as well as possible. I know we’re beyond fortunate to have the space for a quarantine room and it’s probably more than overkill but we can do it so we might as well.

    16. Venus*

      Like most things in life, there is no absolute answer. It depends on how vulnerable your household is, and how prevalent the virus is within one’s community.

      I worry about my lungs, so I’m a bit more cautious. Yet I’m healthy right now, so I try to balance the risk with the effort. I take all plastic containers and put them in my sink with a bit of soapy water, and splash that around, then rinse. I remove things from cardboard boxes because they are double wrapped (granola bars). Those things only take a few extra minutes. There may be some virus on the produce, but it takes a lot of effort to clean and veggies go bad more quickly if washed before stored, so I put them straight in the fridge.

      Balance all the precautions based on your risk, your exposure, your energy levels, and your comfort level. There is no right or wrong answer!

    17. RagingADHD*

      I’m very careful about everywhere I touched, including the car doorhandles, my doorknob, keys, etc. I make sure that I wash properly and then sanitize all those contact surfaces in order so I don’t recontaminate my hands or anything else. And then wash again.

      But packages, no.

    18. Ann O.*

      Per what I’ve read about disinfection, water alone does not help. You need soap or a recognized disinfectant to affect the outer layer of the virus shell.

      I was washing down everything I could with dishwashing soap and water and quarantining cardboard boxes back in the beginning. But I’ve since relaxed on it after talking to some chemist friends and doing a lot of reading. With respiratory viruses, the main vector of transmission is air. Fomites are a secondary, and there’s apparently not strong evidence for fomite-based transmission outside of a health care setting.

      I started paying attention when I went grocery shopping, and it is just so unlikely that my groceries are going to come home with me with a significant viral load on them. If the air is that saturated, I’m going to have bigger problems… like the fact that I breathed it in! Especially now that people are masking in my area, the likelihood of someone coughing or sneezing on the groceries that I happen to take seems negligible.

      I’m still washing my hands, of course, and we never wore shoes inside the house in my home.

      Of course, the downside of reading for me is that while I am much more relaxed about fomites, I am much more concerned about ventilation and air quality! I’ve found it surprisingly difficult to find good info about that.

    19. Not A Girl Boss*

      I have always used an ozone generator to sanitize veggies I plan to eat raw.
      I use the “Roving Blue” brand puck. You stick it in water, turn it on to ozonate the water, then put the veggies in the water to soak for 5 minutes. Really easy and sooo much gross stuff comes off the veggies (dirt, etc). It works in the same way as chlorine does.
      Its saved us money in the long run because now I don’t feel the need to buy the pre-washed lettuce packs, I just buy the open heads of lettuce. Plus it makes the veggies stay fresher longer.

  9. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going?
    For the record, this thread is NOT limited to fiction writing, any writing goes.
    Mine is going really nicely, wrote a lot of words two days ago!

    1. Akcipitrokulo*

      I’ve started using scrivener in hope it will help as I tend to jump about a bit and it would be nice to see where I have to fill in the gaps… but then I read some stuff as I was pasting it in and got depressed it wasn’t good!

      Hoping to write a scene a day this week.

    2. MistOrMister*

      As usual, mine is not going well. Ha!! Still doing a little journaling. Haven’t gotten back to the book because I find myself really wanting to tackle cleaning my house while I’m “trapped”. But I THOUGHT about my story!! For the first time in soooo long. Not sure if that counts, but I was excited. I hope that in 20 years once my house is clean, to fall back into the writing.

    3. Kate Daniels*

      Thanks for the note about how this thread isn’t limited to fiction! I’ve never participated before because I assumed it mostly was. I am writing a chapter for a book and am struggling to knock it out due to the distraction of everything going on in the world. I think I’m going to try the pomodoro technique to knock small sections at a time out that will hopefully add up to the entire chapter by next week.

    4. MissGirl*

      I just finished a huge round of edits and sent off to beta readers. Hopefully, they make my pages bleed.

      Side note, I get frustrated with people who post on critique groups then argue with everyone whose advice they disagree with. Someone posted a picture of a model and asked how to physically describe the person if they were a character. I suggested focusing on the physical characteristics that affect who the character is as a person or matters to the plot.

      I just got a rambling Facebook response about how she doesn’t want any negativity, it’s her book, and she wants certain things. She also had three panic attacks last night after posting because of how hard it was to put her question out there. I am really perplexed.

      1. Turtlewings*

        Some people have their own issues going on, way beyond what anyone else could be expected to anticipate or accomodate. O_o

    5. Laura H.*

      Slow. It’s going slow.

      I’m still wondering how I pounded out a chapter in two days three weeks ago and haven’t completed another since- and I’ve got 3 WIP chapters that I want to finish…

    6. LQ*

      I wrote the (likely throw away) start of a short story yesterday. It was maybe 200 words. But it’s the most nonwork words I’ve written in 2 years that I didn’t feel angry at. So I felt really good.

    7. King Friday XIII*

      I’ve got a serious case of Project Squirrel. Nothing I write on feels write after a day or two and I end up poking at something else, in the hopes anything will stick.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      Hm, well I wrote a blog post, finished my screenplay treatment draft, and decided to hire someone to do a voice-over for a new book trailer a friend will show on his Roku channel. The first one was so dumb I felt compelled to replace it. All I have is PowerPoint, so I just do the best I can.

      I’ve engaged an actor I met in Cardiff when I visited Wales. He has a lovely voice. We agreed on a price, signed a contract, and now he has the script and a rough cut of the video for timing. It’s so weird; I’ve never hired anyone before for something like this. Nor have I ever made any videos before now. I don’t know anything about marketing, so I’m just flailing in the dark, lol.

    9. Turtlewings*

      I’ve spent all day wondering why I can’t write to save my life today or yesterday… and literally just now realized where I am in my menstrual cycle. Yeah, all writing will be like pulling teeth for the next 5 days or so. PMS Brain Fog is real and it SUCKS. -_-

    10. Sled dog mama*

      I’ve just started writing a my outline of what will hopefully become a professional presentation on some unique things going on at my clinic. I’m struggling with needing some distance from events to get things clear and wanting to get things on paper to so I don’t forget anything important

    11. Blueberry*

      Is it silly to be proud of a pinch-hit I wrote for a fanfic challenge? I saw the prompt and the story popped into my head and even with my roommates intermittently screaming at eadch other I wrote 4500 words in 12 hours.

    12. Anonnington*

      I dedicated my iPad to writing only, no internet use. I wrote a few pages, but the typing was awkward, using the touch screen. So I got a keyboard for it. It’s charging right now.

  10. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Gaming thread! What’s everyone been playing this week?
    For the record, this thread is NOT limited to video games. Board games, card games, apps teaching card games,…anything goes.
    I finished all of Steins;Gate and DAMN ALL THOSE ONION NINJAS.

    1. Julia*

      I am still squealing over the remade Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. Pretty hard game compared to the main series, but so, sooooooooo cute.

    2. Chylleh*

      Still playing Animal Crossing, I finally collected all of the fruits! I got Terraria on my Switch and have been diving back into it again. Also Persona 5 Royal and Diablo 3 Season 20.

      We just got King of Tokyo and The Fox in the Forest, so looking forward to playing some board and card games!

      1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

        Just started Animal Crossing, but OT at home is cutting into my progress.
        Just a few 100k more Unemployment Insurance claims to process and I will finally have some time for that and The Untitled Goose Game.

        1. MayLou*

          I was kind of intrigued by all the Animal Crossing talk and vaguely remembered having played it at a friend’s house in the early 2000s but I don’t own a Switch and was not £250 intrigued… so I downloaded the free Animal Crossing: Pocker Camp phone app! It’s a mini game with the same game dynamics and it’s met my need for being part of the hype very nicely :) I’ve become a bit obsessed with growing the rare purple versions of all the flowers.

        2. Chylleh*

          I hope you’ll get some time to play, soon. Both are wonderful games and will hopefully help you to reduce or process any stress you are feeling!

    3. Vistaloopy*

      Not sure if this counts as a game, but I’m obsessed with Paint-Doku puzzles! I ordered books of them on amazon and they are so fun and relaxing.

    4. Blue Eagle*

      At our house we play battleships. But after playing several games we have somewhat figured out each other’s strategy so we tweaked the game to make it more fun. We wrote down every board position combination on little pieces of paper and alternate calling board positions with pulling a board position from the paper pile. If you pull a paper board position that you have already called, you pull another one.

      It’s kind of a bummer when you pull a paper board position that you know doesn’t hide a ship, but it’s definitely joyful when you pull one that is hiding a ship!

    5. Lluviata*

      I’ve been playing Tabletop Simulator, specifically Splendor. I love TS! I think without the ‘rona I wouldn’t know about it at all, but now that I know about it it’s going to be a big part of my board gaming in the future!

      1. Bassoonish*

        I’ve been playing Wingspan, Everdell, Dice Throne, Cartographers, etc on Tabletopia and Tabletop Simulator and its so much fun. If only I could convince my one friend to play more often with me! I’ve never played Splendor before though.

    6. Pamplemousse*

      I’m just now finishing up Zelda BOTW. It’s such an amazing game I’m honestly dreading when it’s over lol

      1. Chylleh*

        What a beautiful, fun game! The BOTW Reddit is fascinating since players are still finding so many incredible gameplay mechanics and amazing stunts and posting the footage.

    7. Jaid*

      I’m not a gamer, but I AM watching Simon of “Simon and Martina” play the FF7 remake on YouTube in a recorded livestream. It’s interesting and I’m learning about the game mechanics. Not that I’ll ever play…mashing buttons and adrenaline triggers anxiety. But I can watch just fine.

    8. No Tribble At All*

      Started this cute exploration video game called Astroneer. It’s very chill and taps into the hole left by Subnautica, which I realized was too stressful after a while (jump scares!! Can’t find resources!! Bigass scary ocean monsters!!). Astroneer has no enemies, just stationary hazards, and very little survival— you have an oxygen tank, and it’s easy and cheap to build tethers to extend your range. And that’s it! I’ve already made little rovers so I can drive around this planet. I haven’t wanted to play anything with a driving plot because I don’t know how often I’ll be able to play, so this is a great time-waster.

      1. Tau*

        Ooh! I always made sad eyes at Subnautica because it looked great but too stressful for me. I’m checking this out.

        1. No Tribble At All*

          Astroneer is similar but more relaxing. I’m playing on xbox gamepass. A few notes: if you’re playing on console, it feels like a port in a way Subnautica doesn’t. The controls are sometimes janky in terms of selecting the parts of different components, so be a little patient when plugging things into other things or picking things up. You don’t have to play the tutorial (I did, but it’s a little slow and the music is annoying). Once you start the main game, you can go to the in-game menu and there are brief overviews of how the different controls work. Don’t be afraid to go into caves, just make an access ramp for yourself as you’re going down. Hope you enjoy! :)

    9. Nessun*

      Guild Wars 2!! My guild is having a quarantine party tonight in our guild gall with a fashion show and prizes and silly games. There’s usually about 40 if us on for these events; should be hilarious and entertaining! And then we might go smite the foes of Tyria. ^_^

    10. Anon Accountant*

      Played cookie jam and am crushing several levels. It’s kinda fun. Plus want to get back into playing chess online. Used to be really good but stopped for a while.

      I love chess.

    11. IAmOnlyHereForThePoetry*

      Any recommendations for an interesting game to play on my iPad? Would prefer a game that has a storyline and does have excessive need for in app purchases (would prefer to pay for a game outright – if there is one)

      1. Glinda*

        I would look at big fish games – they seem to have a wide variety of games for ipads. I use them for all my pc games as well.

        I haven’t tried any of the ipad games, but the majority of the pc ones are an outright purchase, with no further investment needed.

    12. another scientist*

      I want to thank the posters who recommended online Dominion last week, and also I love Hue. The former let me connect and play some games with the peeps that we would normally play Dominion with. The latter has been such a nice way to decompress for a minute, especially between exhausting meetings.
      Thanks all!

      1. Professor Plum*

        Yay for another Dominion fan. Yes, it almost feels like playing together in person with the game on and chatting at the same time.

    13. Might be Spam*

      My son gave me Monument Valley. Most games upset my stomach, but I can play this game without trouble. I’m looking for other games that I can play.

    14. Elenna*

      My sister and I have started a project to create our own version of the board game Pandemic. Because it’s fun and it seemed appropriate. (I checked a week or so ago and I couldn’t find an actual game that cost less than 60 bucks, plus making it ourselves is fun.)

      1. Elenna*

        Forgot to add, I’m also hosting a game of Werewolf (aka Mafia) on an online forum. I promised a Harry Potter-themed game with a ton of power roles and I think I can deliver, but man was it more work than I expected coming up with roles that fit the theme and also didn’t break the game in combination with other roles.

    15. Colette*

      I’ve been playing boardgames with friends online (boardgamearena.com is the site we’re using). A couple of us bought the premium membership, so we can play all of the games. (Only one person in the group needs premium.) So we set up a zoom call and start playing. Since we can talk naturally, it feels almost like being in the same room.

      And I’ve discovered MarioKart has an app version, so that’s been fun.

    16. Quiznakit*

      I don’t recall who mentioned I Love Hue and I Love Hue Too but I’ve been playing it obsessively and got my mother and aunt hooked on it too. So well done!

    17. puffle*

      Currently playing Dragon Age Inquisition again, I’ve got Lost Odyssey lined up as well. I played them both 4-5 years ago, so long enough that it’s almost like playing them for the first time

      1. No Tribble At All*

        DRAGON AGE INQUISITION!!! Don’t forget to do the quest with the horses as soon as you can, so you can ride around on your magical teleporting steed. Do you have the DLCs? If you only get 1, I’d recommend Trespasser as it’s much more relevant to the story. Maker keep you and guide you.

        1. RowanUK*

          I second getting Trespasser! Descent and Jaws of Hakkon are also great for lore. (Sorry, DA fanatic checking in!)

    18. MoopySwarpet*

      Hidden Folks. It’s on iOS, not sure if there’s an android version or not. Also, dream detective, which is a similar style.

      I loved Space Miner and just restarted it. Although, it has been purchased by a game conglomerate that requires a monthly subscription where you can play any of their games. I purchased it a long time ago when it was independently owned. (I would say you probably could finish it in less than a month and would be worth one month of subscription.)

      I am always playing pixelogic (A pic-cross game) and love Piczle, which is sort of a paint by number line puzzle game.

    19. Wired Wolf*

      I’ve been wanting to get Steins;Gate for awhile now and I finally have an excuse. Just ordered it today.

    20. Nicki Name*

      Thanks to a marathon session last weekend, I wound up finishing the Golden Deer route in Fire Emblem: Three Houses a couple days ago. I looked up recommendations for what order to play the other routes in, and I think I’ll do the church route next.

      But first, I’m taking a break with online Dominion— thanks to whoever mentioned it last week! Just playing with bots, since I don’t know anyone else who’d be interested in playing, but it’s still fun to get to play with All The Cards.

      1. Raia*

        I stopped playing right after i started the church route, and now im worried about if i know how to get back into it! Ugh, its always so hard to restart a fire emblem in the middle of a campaign.

    21. Ktelzbeth*

      I’m playing D&D 5e on Roll20 and Ventrillo right now and did it with Roll20 and Discord last night. My two groups prefer different technologies. Last weekend, I played Ticket to Ride and Terraforming Mars online.

    22. 653-CXK*

      I installed Stella for the Atari 2600 and downloaded some of my favorite ROMs. I still can’t believe that after nearly 40 years of getting the Atari 2600, I can still play all those games without a problem.

    23. Nynaeve*

      I’ve been playing some of the Jackbox Games online with friends and family. I got party packs 3 and 4 and Drawful 2, so I have 11 different games to play. (Basically, you use your phone to submit answers.) The games are easy to learn, fast, and pretty fun. It’s been nice because it’s a fun way to interact with friends and family I either don’t see often or would normally see, but can’t because of social distancing.

      1. Cruciatus*

        Dumb question, but I’m currently downloading some Jackbox Games now (party packs 6 and 2 and Drawful–it was so hard to decide I had to just pick!)–anyway, my question is do you actually see/hear your friends or are you just interacting through the game when they answer questions? I’d like to be able to see them/hear them while we play, if that’s at all possible, just to make us all feel a bit more connected.

    24. RowanUK*

      I’m playing around 10mins of Animal Crossing a day. It’s great, but I can’t focus on it for long.

      I tried a bit of Skyrim yesterday, but the game I just can’t escape at the moment is Greedfall. It’s got a few issues, but it’s such a good RPG. It’s my third playthrough, I really need to move on a bit…

  11. Vic tower*

    Fellow book lovers, frivolous question for you. When you lend someone a book and they treat it badly (think – bending the cover all the way back, dog earing pages, breaking the spine)… do you say something?

    1. NeverNicky*

      I’d probably smile weakly and say “no, keep it” but they would never, ever, ever get to borrow a book of mine again and I would think twice about giving them a book.

      1. Princess Deviant*

        Same, same, same. It’s so rude!
        In fact, like that with any of my personal belongings.

        Then, if I could afford it, I’d buy myself a lovely new book.

      2. Nessun*

        Exactly. I’ll get a new copy, and no sorry can’t loan you anything until I’ve assessed how much I love it first, so I know what I’d have to replace.

          1. RagingADHD*

            But give…as in it belongs to them. I get not *lending* to a careless friend, but not give a gift?

            Unless you mean you’re not gifting them at all, it doesn’t make sense.

            1. Courageous cat*

              Agreed, that feels a bit more sanctimonious to me, whereas it’s definitely a good idea not to lend anymore.

    2. Damien*

      Well, i lent a very close friend a copy of one of my discworld books (basically a hugely sentimental item) and she then abruptly stopped talking to me for no reason and i never got the book back. I bought a used copy off ebay and considered it an unexpected lesson learned.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        This happened to me with a DVD and I decided never to lend any books or movies ever again unless I know for a fact I will get it back in good condition. If anyone wants to watch a movie I have, they can either come over and we’ll watch together, or they can rent it on YouTube. :P

        1. Gatomon*

          This has happened to me with books and DVDs several times, and absolutely why I don’t lend things anymore either. I don’t even trust my mother anymore after she borrowed some books from me after a visit, never returned them and then gleefully told me how she donated everything that wasn’t her bible in a religious fit.

    3. Green great dragon*

      I don’t mind buying second (or third) copies of books I love as it’s supporting the author/publisher etc. I have a couple of friends who don’t return books, so I just hope they’re enjoying the ones of mine they have, and they’re not getting any more.

      1. Bibliovore*

        I never lend a book with the expectation of ever getting it back. Sadly I would love to still have the galley of Harry Potter and the one of Because of Winn Dixie.

    4. MistOrMister*

      I wouldn’t say something but they would never get another book from me ever. The caveat would be if someone who usually took good care of borrowed books had an accident. I’ve dropped a book of my own in the bathtub and my mom’s dog tore up my library book that she grabbed off the table once. If something like that happened and the person offered to replace the book (which I would not take them up on) I would be willing to give them another chance. But if it happened the next time….nope!

      My mom bends the spines on her books and it drives me batty to see them on her nightstand, being done in. I want to say, please, for the love of god, use a bookmark!!! Personally, I never know where my bookmarks are – I always end up using random bits of paper.

      1. Not a cat*

        When I lived w/ my parents, my mother also cracked the spines (on hardbacks too). I used to cringe at the sound. She thought it was funny to do the same to my books. Also- I tend to read more than one book at a time, so she would take out my bookmark from one of my books because, “no one can read more than one book at a time.” She’s a delight…..

      2. Lally*

        Our local library once put together a display in the display cases by the main desk of all the items they found tucked between the pages of returned books. Actual bookmarks were only a small part of that! It included things like chocolate bar wrappers, snapshots, envelopes, lists, flat fridge magnets, school notices, etc.

        1. Scarlet Magnolias*

          I found an elderly peanut butter and jelly sandwich inside a copy of the Cricket in Times Square once, when emptying the book drop at my library

        2. Fikly*

          I used to have a terrible habit of using paper money. Usually small bills, but once I found a hundred dollar bill when I went to reread a book years later!

        3. Chaordic One*

          When I volunteered at the used bookstore run by the Friends of the Library I would find all sorts of interesting things, in addition to bookmarks, there were lots of photos, lots of funeral programs and lots of letters. One of the letters that touched me was in an old book and it was written by a local man while he was serving in the front lines of World War II in France and was sent to another local man. Curious, I googled the names and discovered that letter writer survived the war and returned home only to be killed in a traffic accident in the early 1950s. There were several different people (apparently all related to each other) with the same name as the intended recipient of the letter, so I don’t know what happened to them.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Lots of variables to consider. I think my last straw would be if the person had a history of ruining my stuff. Maybe the particular book I don’t care, but I could end up caring very much about the over all pattern of just not taking care of other people’s things.

      In general though, I tend to be laid back. Books are for reading, I am all about content and less about keeping the book pristine. If I dumped coffee on a book that would upset with me because I may not be able to read the book once it dries. A dog-eared page doesn’t interfere with its read-ability.

      In my area here, everyone is throwing books out at a scary clip. There is no where to go with these books so they have implemented a price per pound to toss books out. Our society is placing a lower and lower value on books. Your friend might be surrounded by people who reflect this trend or your friend just might be careless.

    6. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I buy a lot of my books used, so they come pre-battered and I don’t care. If it was a book where having it in less than pristine shape would bother me, I probably wouldn’t loan it out.

      1. Thankful for AAM*

        Same. Not everyone defines “taking care of things” the same way. If you care, you have to let the person know before you loan them an item.

        I dog ear pages and honestly had no idea that that bothered anyone. In my experience, everyone I know does not care at all for the spine of a book so I would assume anyone borrowing one of my books would damage the spine.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          So, the concept of returning items in the same condition you received them does not extend to books?

    7. Marion Ravenwood*

      No, but I’d think twice about lending them one of my books again. For me it’s more about the fact that it’s another person’s property so you take care of it like it’s the most precious thing in the world (accidents not withstanding). I have a habit of slightly trashing my books but if a friend lent a book to me I’d treat it with the utmost care even if it wasn’t in great nick, and I’d hope they’d do the same for me.

    8. Foreign Octopus*

      I once let a co-worker a copy of The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, by Joël Dicker. When I got it back, the last half of the book had been stained by balsamic vinegar and she asked me whether she should replace it. I was terribly British and said, no, no, it’s not a problem, but I was pretty upset about it. There was a copy for £7 in Tesco’s that was ten minutes from us. It would have been so easy for her to replace. I wish I’d said something now.

      That being said, I’ve finally stopped lending books to people after I had to fight tooth and nail to get my copy of Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier back. It’s one of my most beloved books and I was eager to introduce it to a Russian-speaking friend but it took me nearly two years to get it back, and I lost my copy of Outlander to her. I don’t know if Russians don’t lend books and think they’re being given as gifts or if it was just my friend, but it really soured me on lending books to people. Now if there’s a book I think someone would enjoy, I just buy them a copy.

      1. Wired Wolf*

        I don’t lend books any more after getting Making Ghostbusters back with a cracked spine and the cover creased to hell and back (another friend found me a mint first printing for less than retail price and I donated the bashed one to someone who just wanted an intact copy). I have a friend who’s more than a bit out to lunch, on occasion I’ve found a few books in my “haven’t touched in a year” piles at home that she might like and offered them to her. Reply tends to be “oh, I don’t know if I’d like this”…I know it’s new to you but take a look at it and see. If it’s not to your taste, just say so and no harm although you really should read something other than depressing WW2 fiction. The most recent was a Pusheen book and I know she loves Pusheen because she told me so; she looked at it and said “oh, I don’t know if I’ll like this”.

    9. Retail not Retail*

      I realize I’ve rarely loaned out books. No one seems to want them, even when I’ve told roommates they can borrow them when I’ve had a bookshelf in a common area.

      The issue I had with the two borrowings was how long they kept them. “Hey I’m moving cross country in a week… do you have my book?”

      1. Traffic_Spiral*

        Yeah, we have access to a pretty good library service where I’m originally from, so generally you’d just recommend a book and let a person decide whether to get it from the library or not. As for the books I have loaned, I’ve always got them returned in good shape, but I think I’d make some sort of “woah, did you take this with you to the wars” comment if it came back banged up.

    10. Kate Daniels*

      I struggled with this when I was a kid and quickly realized that it caused much less heartache and anxiety if I just viewed loaning books as gifting them to others with no expectations of getting them back.

      Today, I prefer not to hold on to any books except for absolute favorites, so it’s pretty easy for me to give them away as “gifts” and never worry about whether they will damage or return them. For those books that are on my keeper’s shelf, since I’m really particular about condition (I’m one of those who can read a book and have it still look brand new after finishing it), I am likely to buy them another separate copy as a gift.

    11. Jonah*

      I’ve never had this problem because the few times I’ve lent out books I’ve said something like, “You’re welcome to borrow it as long as you treat it gently.” I’ve had a few people politely decline after that, which I appreciate. I did lend out a book when I was in (a very conservative, religious) high school that had titillating sex scenes in it, and it made the rounds to a bunch of different people. I never got it back, but I can see why now!

    12. GoryDetails*

      I’m lucky in that none of my family or friends treat books that way. Not sure what I’d say if someone did dog-ear or spine-crack one of my books; I decided long, long ago that lending books created too much pressure on both sides, me to keep track of the book’s whereabouts and the lendee to feel obligated to read it even if they weren’t in the mood. So when I had books that I adored so much that I wanted to foist on others – er, encourage others to try! – I’d hunt up inexpensive secondhand copies and give them outright. [I did this even in pre-internet days; now, it’s a lot easier to scrounge for cheap replacement copies.] I also give books away as a hobby – I’ve been a member of bookcrossing.com for many years now, and (in pre-COVID days) enjoyed leaving books in public places for people to find. Since I seldom know who picks up the books or how they treat them, that’s an exercise in hope…

      Since I get lots of books secondhand to begin with, I own plenty that are pre-banged-up. I patch loose spines and try to flatten out any dogeared pages, and generally render them as sound as I can, but I’m still happy to read battered ex-library books as well as shiny new ones. But it does make me wince to see someone inflict damage on books!

      1. Blueberry*

        I love that you left books for people in public. I may have found one or two of those beautiful serendipities.

    13. Anono-me*

      I have a very small circle of friends and family that I lend books to. (People that I know are going to be careful with them.)

      Otherwise it’s a gift and I’m not expecting it back.

      I normally keep an extra copy of To Kill a Mockingbird on hand. (My second-hand bookstore usually has one or two in the Bargain Bin.) It is one of my most favorite books ever, and I love to share it with people who never read it in school.

    14. Finding Nemo*

      I once loaned a book to a friend and they returned it damaged; don’t remember how badly damaged but enough that I was really mad. When I asked them about replacing it, they refused because they didn’t think the damage was that big a deal.

      Now when I loan books or really anything to anyone, I say ‘Please return it in the condition I’m giving it to you or I will ask you to replace it’ and I haven’t had any issues. Some people ask why I say that but they always understand when I explain and say they would have no problem replacing the book if they damaged it. So personally I would ask for a replacement.

      1. Not really belong anywhere*

        That reminds me of a post I once saw at my company’s buy/sell board. Someone was looking for a used copy of a novel, saying their dog ruined a book they borrowed from a friend and they had to replace it. I don’t know what the condition of the borrowed book was before the dog incident, but the idea of replacing someone’s book you (or your pet) damaged with a used copy sort of amazed me. If someone borrowed my (always treated carefully and kept in neat condition) book and gave me a used copy as a replacement, I don’t know if I would want to take it. Not because that used copy is necessarily dirty or bad, but because I would accept it as reflection on what that person takes me for.

        But now I wonder if that person was at least trying, and deserved more credit for the efforts.

        1. Blueberry*

          The book might not have been in print anymore, though? At least the person was trying to replace it.

        2. RagingADHD*

          Or maybe they borrowed the book in the first place because they were broke, and they couldn’t afford to buy it retail.

    15. Jules the First*

      No, but only because I never lend my copy; if I liked the book enough to lend it (rather than giving my copy away), I buy a second copy and lend that.

    16. RagingADHD*

      No. I don’t lend books I’m really attached to.

      I mostly read library books or buy used books due to space & money considerations, so the ones I’ve kept are usually decades old and already have condition issues anyway.

    17. Eeeek*

      No but I wouldn’t care. Once I’ve read a book and I’m loaning it out then w/e. I probably wouldn’t even expect it back? If it was super special to you that’s a bummer though!!

    18. Chaordic One*

      I lent a book to a friend and some time later when I was visiting them I was horrified to see that one of their cockatiels (who they let loose to fly about the house) had pooped on it. I never said anything, didn’t ask for it back, never lent them anything ever again and it kind of killed the friendship. From time to time I wonder what ever became of this person.

    19. Dahlia Enthusiast*

      The last book I lent out was never returned to me. In a ‘hey, I’m moving far away, trying to round up stray things I’d like to bring with me’ sort of way,… got the response of “oh, I don’t have that anymore.” Who gives away something they borrowed???
      I’d still lend books out if asked,.. but no one asks.

    20. Avasarala*

      I’m usually pretty careful with books, especially borrowed ones, but once I borrowed one from a friend and carrying it in my bag so much really weathered the corners and some pages got bent and so on. I was very ashamed and bought her a fresh copy and kept the weathered one. I would expect others to do the same for me.

  12. Sock puppet confusion*

    A while back Alison admonished a reader to not sock puppet (from Wikipedia : misleading uses of online identities, such as those created to praise, defend, or support a person or organization,[2] to manipulate public opinion,[3] or to circumvent restrictions, suspension or an outright ban from a website).

    At the time I didn’t know what it meant and was looking for someone who was trying to suggest using actual puppets made of socks in their responses to the various letter submitters. I reread that post’s letters and tried to picture how using a sock monkey or something when communicating with their manager or coworker would be helpful in any way.

    This site has def been educational.

    1. Misty*

      Lol the minute I read this I just pictured someone reading posts, thinking seriously, and then being like ‘yes sock puppet communication IS the solution these folks need’

    2. Akcipitrokulo*

      I think it depends on the culture of your office whether you could use a sock puppet on your skype team meetings!

      Also need to consider sock puppet dress code, of course.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      The term sock puppet makes me think of Lambchop (puppet) and I end up smiling. Clearly, smiling is not the correct response for the situation.

      1. MassMatt*

        It always makes me think of Mick Foley’s Mankind wrestling persona, he used a sock puppet (“Mr Socko”, because of course) for his mandible claw submission move and featured it in many promos and recorded bits. That guy really gave the fans some of the most spectacular moments in WWE, as well as the most ridiculous.

    4. Llama Face!*

      Oh haha you made me laugh! I am now imagining a letter to Alison from a frustrated employee whose manager wants her to use sock puppets in her one-on-ones or when dealing with coworker conflict. Really, stranger things have happened! :D

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        Reminds me of my favorite movie (“What About Bob?”). The father is a psychiatrist who makes his kids use sock poppets to talk out their feelings. Naturally, they hate it.

    5. Potatoes gonna potate*

      LOL! I remember that debate. I’ve never heard the term sock puppet until I joined this site and tbf I haven’t seen any examples of it that I could point to (but I’ve missed a lot of threads over the years). I used to be in another online community, and we just called them multi nicks.

    6. Anonnington*

      The typical sock puppet scenario is when a regular user of an online community creates auxilary accounts to advance their agenda there. The sock puppet accounts do things like agreeing with a controversial opinion, attacking members who the user doesn’t like, siding with the user in arguments . . . or sometimes the opposite – arguing with / attacking the main account in order to generate interest and sympathy.

    7. Fikly*

      Wasn’t there a post or comment way back about how someone’s coworker started using a puppet to communicate with everyone in the office?

    8. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      Is there a Zoom filter so you can appear as a sock puppet? Might liven up some online meetings…

  13. Misty*

    I posted last week about my roommate who lied to the rest of us for 27 days about where he was going. He was going to get coffee at a busy gas station every morning but we had all agreed to limit our interaction with the public when the virus started. After my other roommates and I found out, his gf (also our roommate) broke up with him and everyone was really upset that he had been lying to us.

    Anyways, the update is he’s stopped getting coffee every single day and is now getting it twice a week. His gf and him remain broken up. Everyone is looking for a new apartment when the virus is over. One of my roommates is viewing two places that are two towns over and wants me to move with them if it’s a good place. I think everyone has reached their depression point here. One of my roommates spends all her time obsessively cleaning, another one spends all their time sitting outside of the front door in a lawn chair. I think the adjustment from having no one home to having seven people home in a small apartment all the time has been a little too much for us to handle. I cry all the time and I don’t even know why.

    1. Akcipitrokulo*

      It’s really tough :(

      It is ok to handle this however helps as long as you stay away from people not in your household, and crying a lot is happening. Is there anything that you enjoy that could help occupy mind?

      You absolutely DO NOT have to do something “worthwhile” or “productive” during this time. If it helps you to learn a new skill, awesome! If it helps you to binge watch Judge Judy, also awesome!

      1. Wired Wolf*

        This is what I’m trying to explain to my mom. Work-wise, my company is bringing people back starting next week so I’m just waiting to get a call. So what if I want to binge-watch Parking Wars or Science Channel on occasion?

        I think the issue here is that she still sees the dining room table/living room as her office and my bed is now in half of the living room; while she has an actual room, I don’t (and the printer is in “my room” but it doesn’t have to be). So any time she wants to “work” in the dining room I can’t watch TV and she doesn’t understand my mechanical keyboard which means random comments if I’m typing.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Crying without knowing why can (sometimes!) indicate the brain is low on minerals. Prolonged stress can cause this. Perhaps you can find a drink with electrolytes in it. I know with Gatorade or Knudson products, they will taste good to me if I need them. If I don’t need them they are not appealing at all. This is along the same lines as a banana can taste extra good if there is a potassium shortage problem.

      I’m not a doc. Definitely, ymmv. So am just throwing this out there. It’s no magic bullet as the situation still sucks, but getting a handle on tears can be a tiny bit of relief.

    3. LGC*

      Again – I’m really sorry that you’re going through this!

      As for your last sentence…like, I’m normally reluctant to suggest therapy, but if you can get a (telehealth) therapist – or even talk to a friend outside of the little house of horrors – that would probably help a lot! I think a LOT of people are going through diffuse anxiety right now (I mean, heck, I am).

      1. Misty*

        Thanks for the suggestion, I actually have one already! I talk to him twice a week. (I used to have a different lady who I saw for over a year who I wrote about once on here, but she closed up shop once the pandemic started.) The new guy is really good and specializes in anxiety which is relieving because I was worried about meeting a new one during this esp over the phone or video – you know?

    4. Ann Onny Muss*

      Your roommate sucks. I’m glad you’re looking for a new place. I hope you are able to move soonest.

    5. No Name*

      I have found gentle exercise really helps break the depression and anxiety of being cooped up. I have been dragging my family out for a bike ride or to walk the dog most days to break the funk we were sinking into. Admittedly we live out in the suburbs so it is easy to keep our distance from other people. The shut down is still difficult but we have had a huge improvement in mental health for all of us. Be kind to yourself – the crying is a pretty common reaction to ongoing stress.

    6. T. Boone Pickens*

      7 people living together under one roof eh? Sounds like Real World:Misty isn’t going well. I’m sorry to hear about your inconsiderate roommate. Sounds like a lot going on.

      1. Misty*

        This comment made me laugh so thanks for that. If there was a star of this apartment though, it would not be me! I’m the quiet one. Lol

        Also my roommate JUST got off the phone with an apartment they want to look at (we’re trying to move together) and it’s twenty minutes closer to my college than where I currently live. So now I’m feeling prematurely excited.

      1. Misty*

        I think it’ll eventually be okay just like everything that the pandemic is affecting. Or maybe I’m just hoping it will be, you know?

        I’m def glad to have you guys on AAM because I greatly look forward to these threads and knowing everyone is out there somewhere in the world, if that makes sense. It brings me a great sense of comfort thinking of everyone from this site is out in the real world somewhere.

        1. Laure001*

          Well Misty, I am reading this from a Parisian suburb and I completely understand how bad you feel. Hang in there! We’ll be thinking of you. :)

  14. Foreign Octopus*

    Book thread!

    What’s everyone reading this week?

    After finishing Wolf Hall last week – oh god it was a journey, one I enjoyed but definitely need a break from before tacking Bring Up the Bodies – I’m now reading Ba Blood, by John Carreyrou about the Theranos scandal. Only a couple of chapters in but it’s super readable and, so far, I can see how people fell for it as it sounds real enough to pass the muster.

    1. Princess Deviant*

      I’m reading what feels like a gazillion books on CBT and psychodynamic therapy for my assignment, and then – for some light entertainment – the new T.S. Joyce series (werewolves, romance, happy ever after. Love it.)

      1. Ann Onny Muss*

        What’s the name of the series? I’m all for “happily ever after” books right now.

        1. Princess Deviant*

          The series is called Becoming the Wolf, and the first one is called Behind the Beginning. They’re only available on Amazon/Kindle.
          I don’t know how many there are meant to be as I haven’t quite finished the first one yet (they are not long at all) but there are 3 books so far.

          I hope you enjoy them!

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I just finished “The Great Influenza” about the 1918 pandemic (and also lots about medical and epidemiological history in general) – very fascinating, though I’m sure not everyone’s cup of tea these days.

    3. Marion Ravenwood*

      Still War and Peace with Tolstoy Together – about a third of the way through now. It’s becoming a nice calming evening ritual, a little anchor in these weird times.

      I’ve also just started Conversations with Friends, Sally Rooney’s second book. So far it’s OK, but I’m always a bit wary of really hyped up novels – most of the time when I eventually get round to reading them I do like them but they never blow my mind the way I think they will. Maybe I just have too high expectations.

    4. Ann Onny Muss*

      Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies were both excellent. (As was the mini-series. Go watch it if you haven’t.) I’m looking forward to reading the final book, but am going to hold off a bit. Right now I need something light(er) and am rereading The Wee Free Men for the billionth time.

    5. Lily*

      I’ve begun reading Treasure Island as I just watched the National Theatre version of it on youtube and wanted to compare/refresh my memories – it’s been ages since!

      Last week they showed Jane Eyre and I’ve begun the first few pages but will save it for after Treasure Island. That show is the first time I’ve enjoyed the story and it made me curious enough to begin reading.

      1. Traffic_Spiral*

        I recommend watching the Muppet Treasure Island movie if you can. Also, Black Sails is a pretty good prequel if you’re ok with violence.

        1. Lily*

          I’ve seen it a long time ago. I loved the beginning song!
          I’ve heard about it but it does indeed seem pretty violent :(

      2. Analyst Editor*

        Treasure island was my favorite book as a kid. I watched almost every adaptation, including foreign language ones.
        It’s a great book. I savor the time my kids are off she to read it.

        1. Lily*

          Ooh, which versions are your favorites?

          I’m also enjoying it immensely! :D I am sure your love will shine through and your kids will love it as well!

          1. Analyst Editor*

            Hard to say! Christian bale version pretty good. Muppets is fun. Treasure planet is terrible.
            There are three Russian versions– 3-part, 1-part, and the animated one. I think you have to get a bunch of in jokes for the animated one, but it’s still pretty funny while staying fairly true to the book. I like Silver best in the 3-part one and Jim in the 1-part.

      3. Academia blues*

        Treasure Island made me go into sailing during Uni. It’s still one of the books that are very dear to my heart.

    6. Overeducated*

      Exhalation by Ted Chiang. I was given two copies by people who know my taste, so unsurprisingly I’m enjoying it so far.

    7. TimeCat*

      Bad blood is great but also so frustrating. S9 many chances to catch the fraud and she wriggled out of it over and over. The part where the guy sided with Holmes over his own grandson telling him it was all fake was so frustrating too.

      I also just don’t get it. Finger pricks, IMO, are worse than a normal blood draw. They hurt a lot more and the pain and annoyance lasts longer on a finger than having a pick on your elbow. (I had a baby last year and had a lot of blood taken). That doesn’t seem like a distinction to base a billion dollar company on. There just isn’t the need.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        For me, having blood drawn is an exercise in unpleasantness. Even if I drink half a gallon of water right before to make sure I’m well hydrated, I’m just a terrible stick – I walk in and go “give me a pediatric vampire with a small needle and a lot of patience, like whoever you’d want sticking your four year old kid.” They go “Oh, yeah yeah, we hear that all the time, it’ll be fine.” Then they start looking for my veins. They tap on both elbows, both wrists, both hands – the one time I ever had an IV it had to go in the side of my hand between thumb and wrist – and eventually go back to my right elbow, but they look real skeptical, and I say “It’s deep, small, uncooperative, and it rolls to the right.” Then they finally take a couple whacks at it. One person ever – the nurse who runs the employee health unit and does our work screenings – has managed to get me in less than three sticks, and five or six attempts is way more common. (The IV took three people four tries each.) Then the inside of my elbow has a grapefruit-sized bruise for the next four days.

        Give me a finger poke any day. :)

        1. TimeCat*

          Funny. I wonder what the breakdown is in people who hate fingerpricks versus those who hate blood draws. I’d pick having it done in my elbow any day.

          1. Grace*

            Fingerpricks bruise my finger for weeks afterwards, while elbow-drawn tests sting a little then done. I have very good veins, though, despite chronic low blood pressure – I’m a regular blood donor and it’s always been one-and-done, as have all the blood tests I’ve had.

            I think the real benefit to an easy fingerprick test would be for small children (less traumatic than a bigger needle) and for people with truly terrible veins. I seem to remember something about it being easier to do blood tests in the field if they’re fingerpricks, as well.

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              Yep, less invasive testing in the field is much safer and easier. That’s why, as I recall, she was cozying up to the military with her nonsense.

              1. TimeCat*

                I guess but I question how often you need a blood test out in the field. If someone was seriously ill you’d take them to a field hospital at least.

    8. Policy wonk*

      A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell. True story of an American behind the lines in WWII France. Definitely worth reading.

    9. Analyst Editor*

      I started a book called “Heavy Sand”. It’s a Holocaust book written by a Soviet author, so it has asides like “Now, we know the tsarist regime oppressed all people’s, but”… – little very Soviet asides. I didn’t get very far yet; I anticipate it being heavy subject matter…. But it reads smoothly!

    10. WellRed*

      Funny, I don’t see how people fell for it at all! Maybe it’s just because I know it was a scam and can’t set that information aside. Looking forward to the Bad Blood movie.

      1. TL -*

        I’m a biologist and I first heard about the “new technology” right after college – someone sent me an article and I rolled my eyes and said it’s another scam using fancy science words to hide behind.

        Reading the book last year, it was a lot of the same. The science is so clearly wrong! And all throughout the book, the experts all are saying, no this is wrong, it doesn’t work, it doesn’t make sense. But with the exception of the general, they’re basically ignored because her strategy is to convince the people at the top – non-experts – before anyone who can fairly evaluate it even gets a chance.

        I found the book really fascinating. It would have turned out so differently if people had believed the people they employed for the expertise they were paying them for.

    11. MMB*

      I just finished two books by Johnathan Dunsky. A n excellent short story called, Shootout With Death, and the fifth book in the Adam Lapid series, a Deadly Act.

    12. mreasy*

      I loved Bad Blood – just even a crazier story than was reported in the press! Well written too I thought.

    13. Bluebell*

      Just finished Ghosted by Rosie Walsh, and I really liked it, even during the part where it got weirdly twisty. Now I’m reading You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb. Fascinating book by a therapist about her own life and therapy experience, plus her work with clients, and therapy in general. I’m not sure if Alison has ever recommended it.

    14. knead me seymour*

      I’m reading Fabulosa! which is a history of Polari. The perfect combination of secret languages and gay history.

    15. Teal*

      Joy at Work.

      I’m only a few pages in. I might save it for my during the week reads because I want to ~relax~ on the weekend. Otherwise, I’m listening to Harry Potter on audiobook while I finally clean my room, wee!

    16. Teacher Lady*

      Currently reading Afterlife by Julia Alvarez, A Good Provider is One Who Leaves, and Hearts Unbroken.

    17. Searching*

      I just finished “JFK’s Secret Doctor” and it was fascinating! Someone on a climbers’ forum recommended it. It’s about Dr. Hans Kraus who was a well-known climber in his day and also a forerunner in calling out declining fitness levels in American kids. He became an expert in treating back pain non-surgically and ended up treating JFK (in total secrecy) for his initially debilitating pain and eventually curing him. I read it in about a day, it’s an easy read, written by Susan E. B. Schwartz.

  15. PX*

    Anyone had amusingly weird dreams they want to share? I woke up yesterday morning from one in which Jamie Oliver was married to Normani who was pregnant but had also broken her ankle and he was taking care of her.

    If you know who those two people are, you’ll understand why it is:
    1) a hilarious combination of people and
    2) so random what the hell brain?!

    Sometimes I can figure out where things came from but this one seems utterly random to me. *insert shrug gig here*

    1. MistOrMister*

      I had a dream the other day that I was talking to my coworker at my desk before work. Then the atty I work with came in super excited, saying they had done something the night before that was going to fast track them to Partner, and here is a Dunkin Donuts sandwich for me, to celebrate. At which point I noticed the coworker I had been talking to had randomly given me hash browns from Dunkin. I felt some dread over the sandwich because I don’t eat meat and sure enough, when I peekere, there was candian bacon on it. I had to slip out the candian bacon so I could eat the sandwich without hurting the attorney’s feelings. But then someone who was both me and not me at the same time stood there eating the piece of canadian bacon while I ate the sandwich.

      Upon waking up I realized that the attorney in my dream, while having the name,of the attorney I work with, had physically been a different attorney. I am also confused as to why I ate that sandwich. If something has meat on it, I don’t eat it at all….I can’t pull the meat off and eat it anyway. The juices are still there! Honestly that was a pretty tame dream for me though…

    2. MistOrMister*

      oh! More interestingly, I had a drea where my parents and sister were up to no good. I never got the full details but somehow I found out while on vacation and they tried to drug me to get me out of the way. A friend and my niece were also there and I was trying to pack my suitcase while in the bathroom so I could sneak out.

      Where I was trying to go and what I was trying to do, I have no idea. I wish that one had gone longer and had more detail. It was quite interesting. And I didnt wake up mad at anyone, like I usually do when dream them has tried to kill or maim me.

    3. Jdc*

      I’m fuzzy on the details as I’ve been up a couple hours now but I had a heated debate with a male celebrity last night. Not as though we met on the street but we knew each other and got into an argument. I have weird dreams when I get too warm at night.

    4. MoopySwarpet*

      I dreamed I was taking bong hits with my boss. Seriously, brain, WTF? We don’t do that and we especially don’t do that WITH EACH OTHER!

    5. Paquita*

      I dreamed that I was in a church somewhere and a man was chasing me. Up and down lots of steps. I woke up and felt exhausted. :( Had about another hour before the alarm went off. And I felt tired all day.

    6. anon24*

      Not a dream, but one of those fuzzy morning thoughts that seems so brilliant at the time but truly makes no sense.

      My alarm went off at 5am the other morning for work and I woke up absolutely exhausted and my first thought was “If someone had all the secrets of the world in a computer chip and they wanted to hide it where no one would ever find it they should sew it into a cat’s mouse toy. It would get batted under the fridge or the stove and NO ONE would ever find it! The bad guys would never think to look there and the cat would be very protective of his toy!”

      So yeah.

    7. JKP*

      My favorite weird dream was one where I fostered a dolphin who needed rescuing and had a little hot tub installed in my living room. Everyday I would come home from work and sit in the hot tub with my rescue dolphin watching Netflix together. I became so attached to the dolphin in the dream and it felt so real that when I woke up I legit started crying when I realized I would never see him again.

    8. Buni*

      I’m church organist, and dreamed that on the first Sunday back post-virus the vicar didn’t tell anyone until just before, so no one knew what was going on.
      1) He’d cleared all the chairs away and marked boxes on the floor with tape, so everyone had a box to be isolated in.
      2) He’d picked all the hymns – usually we do it together – and just left the music. I didn’t know any of them.
      3) He randomly moved the service forward half an hour, so when I thought I could quickly practise – nope!
      4) I said he’d have to acapella teach them (which we do do, sometimes). He said no problem, and when it came to the first hymn started singing something entirely different.

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

      A love triangle between mysoginist coworker, 100% maximum quality cinnamon roll figure skater, and my cat. Yes, my cat. All in a hotel in the middle of nowhere.
      Thanks, brain.

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

        Also, this is the best idea for a reverse harem anime. If someone is writes it, I want to have a bit of credit!

    10. Nicki Name*

      A few nights ago I found myself going on a long-distance canoe trip with one of the original MST3K cast members. I don’t remember why, just that there were very important reasons that made sense at the time.

    11. DyneinWalking*

      Usually my dreams are such a badly mangled sequence of events that I’m barely able to reconstruct the storyline once I’m awake (I remember bits and pieces a lot of the time, but am generally not able to fit them together). But I had one about a year ago that was fairly logical: I dreamed me and my boyfriend did a trip to the moon with an elevator and really enjoyed it (took a moon rock as a souvenir), so we invited my parents to do that trip with us. My father spent his time in the elevator working on his laptop, and then a “data wind” happened – due to the speed of the elevator, time got mixed up a bit and pieces of data from the future appeared as an invisible “wind”, and some of the data settled on his laptop. As it turned out the data wind had been sufficient enough to produce a complete paper from the future on my father’s computer! The publication date was three-thousand-something. It was on biology and I was SO hyped to read it. Sadly, the dream didn’t last long enough to study it in full – al I know is it was something about mitochondria.
      There was also a random thing about feeding the ravens with walnuts from a basket that was provided at the site of the elevator once you’re back to earth, for whatever reason. No idea what that was about. But the data wind and paper from the future was really cool and creative – definitely one of my favorite dreams.

    12. Elizabeth West*

      I’ve been randomly having dreams about skating. It’s not likely I’ll take it up again soon.

    13. WineNot*

      I love this topic! I always have really vivid dreams and write them all down. They are usually a lot stranger than this, but I found this one interesting as a single woman who has finally started dating again… A few nights ago, I dreamed that it was my wedding day, but I was wicked anxious and freaking out because I didn’t know who I was marrying or why I was getting married. No one else could help me understand what was going on, but it was happening anyway. Then it flashed forward to the reception, which was in an indoor zoo with giraffes roaming around. So weird.

    1. Princess Deviant*

      I just thought it was absolutely brilliant. I sat down to watch one episode last night and just binged all 4 episodes in one sitting.
      It’s fantastic.

    2. Brunch with Silvia*

      I also binged and loved Etsy. Did you watch the “making of” short also. There was an incredible effort put into the series production.

    3. misspiggy*

      Yes! Adored it. One of my favourite bits was the varied uses of ‘Gut Shabbes’ to have an entire argument on the Sabbath.

    4. Just a PM*

      Loved it! It ended perfectly, I thought. Also watch the “Making” documentary – it’s really fascinating.

    5. Not a cat*

      I am in the minority here, I really, really didn’t like the lead actress and I thought the plot unbelievably unrealistic (the part where she was accepted at Music School–her audition was terrible). The book it was “based on” was really good–but the series, ugh.

      1. Princess Deviant*

        I didn’t think we were told that she’d been accepted, had we?
        Anyway, yes, it was unrealistic and her singing wasn’t ‘music school’ standard… but I still liked it!

      2. Frankie Bergstein*

        I think the author said the same thing — the past in Satmar was based on reality, and the “future” in Germany wasn’t based on her actual story.

        I loved this story. I got Feldman’s book from the library along with Carolyn Jessop’s Escape (similar idea but leaving FLDS rather than Satmar), watched “One of Us” – a documentary about Satmar in NYC – and am generally loving how folks’ courage and curiosity can free them.

    6. Teal*

      I did!

      I watched one episode, stopped because I wanted to binge it, then watched the other three plus the making of another day.

      I thought it was great and kind of wanted one more episode, but it ended where it needed to end.

    7. Windchime*

      Yes! I just binged it over a couple of days and finished it yesterday. I loved it; loved everything about it. It was just such a beautiful story.

    8. Analyst Editor*

      I did, and didn’t like it. I did at first but then the impression fell away.
      I think her transition to secular life is way too easy, I can’t see someone raised very religious being so easy with bare skin, same-sex relationships, multicultural groups, etc. All in one day!
      And they don’t really do a good job of showing why someone would stay in a community like that — basically, that the fluids to the intrusiveness and strictness of that life is also faith, community, and certainty which life outside doesn’t give you as easily.

      I watched Shitsel,v the Israeli show, right after and likes that much more, though it wore on me after ~6 episodes in.

    9. LibbyG*

      I loved it! I had read the memoir, and I was forewarned that the series departs from it.

      I was entranced by the many subtleties. Like when she goes to the night club and is momentarily startled by the stamp on her forearm. I loved the way they put her coming-of-age experience in the context of the collective trauma that informed Satmar culture.

      And her husband Yanke (sp) ended up being a compelling character too. I’ve thought about it a lot since I watched it.

  16. Clodagh*

    Pokemon Go – thanks to everyone who has been sending me gifts over the past few weeks! (I’m ezripop in the game, 4172 9196 7709 if anyone wants to add me.) I can’t reach any stops from my house and I’ve only been going out once or twice a week so getting gifts from people has been great. I’m heading out today for the replacement event for the cancelled Liverpool Safari so I should be able to send some gifts to you all as the day goes on. Fingers crossed I catch some unowns today!

    1. Ismis*

      I have a gift from you sitting there because I’ve been trying to stay home more (ismisecaz). I have worked from home for years, but usually managed to send people gifts at least once a week. The Monday updates aren’t quite as impressive these days – “You walked 0.8km last week” – but at least the guilt for being lazy is gone!

      1. Book Lover*

        Hi, Ismis! Thank you for the Australia gifts. Don’t worry about sending gifts – I am sending gifts from Arizona regularly, feel free to open.

        1. Ismis*

          Thanks! I need to get out for a good walk in the next few days though so hopefully I can send on something. Otherwise, I find it hard to keep track.

      2. Clodagh*

        Leave it sitting as long as you like, Ismis. No pressure to send me anything in the near future. And I feel you about the Monday rewards. I’ve taken to always having my phone in my pocket when I’m rattling about the flat in a not very effective attempt to up my step count for the game!

    2. Retail not Retail*

      Ooh unowns! Jealous!

      I don’t care if people don’t send me gifts, I want them opened so I can send you more.

      (I’m not saying my name bc it’s like yup. That’s where she works.)

      Walking doesn’t aggravate my hip too much and lord knows the dog is happy so even with taking a week off I still got my 50km. And at work since I refuse to ride in vehicles, the distance just keeps ticking.

      1. Clodagh*

        I’ve never caught any unowns before so I was delighted! Also caught a bunch of relicanths which I didn’t have before so it was a successful event for me. Well done on still hitting the 50km every week. I’m not getting anywhere near that, I have to admit!

        1. Retail not Retail*

          Some Monday mornings have been close. I’m off Mondays so I get up and walk the dog weather permitting and sometimes we’ve had to walk further than she wants to get that 50 or more likely to make sure i have an empty egg slot.

          Work usually delivers but greenhouse and weeding days suuuuuck so little walking, my life is hard etc etc etc. i’m also a little resentful of the sped up eggs. No, I want to put in a 7km at 7am and not worry about it.

    3. LGC*

      Sending you an invite! (And I’ve really got to get my own gifts in check – I have a couple from last week that I need to get sent out.)

      Greetings from across the pond, by the way. ;) I got gifts.

    4. MatKnifeNinja*

      Waves hi! The police here are questioning people lingering by Poke stops. There is a stop by my grocery store, so I’ll play on my car for a bit. The “addiction” is real.

      My trainer code

      6675 7680 7387

      I walk almost every day and try to keep my friends under 15 people. Not picky about sending/receiving gifts. I don’t delete after a week of no gifts..lol.

      1. Clodagh*

        Oh, that’s so awkward! The police here have been pretty low key as far as I can tell. I’ve actually only seen two since the lockdown started. I’ve sent you a friend request but won’t be offended if you don’t accept it so you can stay under 15 friends!

    5. Book Lover*

      Hi, Ezripop! You have been a great gifter! I try to send you fun pokestop gifts when I can rather than boring Starbucks ones :). Don’t worry about whether or not you can send gifts.

        1. Clodagh*

          Thank you, Book Lover! And thank you for trying to send me interesting gifts when you can! I love seeing all the weird and wonderful things that get turned into pokestops in different places. I used to feel a bit guilty about sending people so many train stations from my commute to work so at least the lockdown has saved people from yet another train station gift ;)

    6. Cruciatus*

      Good luck on the unowns (or it looks like you did have luck already)! And I figured that you were unable to send anything due to the virus so no worries! I always try to send you new or interesting gifts, but I apparently really like my walking route through the town and the local university so it’s always the same gifts (and even more repetitive now that I don’t go in to work or…anywhere else). I have wondered if you ever went “what the heck?” to any of the gifts since my town and its university are so very, very Scottish in name and mascot. But send when you can, and if you can’t it’s no big deal. I’m able to walk without encountering anyone (or at least able to stay very far away from them) so it’s still (seemingly) very safe for me to be out and about. I’m actually trying to get the motivation to get off my butt now and go out. We got many inches of snow yesterday and while it’s 70% melted now seeing it is zapping my motivation to move.

      1. Clodagh*

        I love the gifts you send, Cruciatus! It really tickles me that so many of the place names where you are are Scottish-influenced. The first time you sent me one that said ‘Edinboro’ I literally said out loud ‘THAT’S why Americans say it like that’ :D I hope you’ve been enjoying getting some gifts from me that aren’t train stations or the place I work for once! I have to admit that the sun we’ve been getting over here has improved my mood during lockdown so hopefully you’ll be snow free soon.

    7. Quiznakit*

      I’m lucky that I’ve got a Pokestop near my house that I can usually pick up when the game has my little avatar running around, but I am really looking forward to this update that’s supposed to let us join in nearby raids even if we’re not actually at the gym in question.

      0462 3571 1865, if anyone needs another friend. I try to keep up with gifts daily, but no fuss if they don’t get opened.

      1. Clodagh*

        I get loads of drift at work, but none from my house so the closest pokestop remains just out of reach. Yeah, the remote raiding is intriguing. I’m looking forward to seeing how it’s going to work. The game developers have been pretty decent at making adjustments to keep people playing in the current circumstances.

  17. Whistling in the dark*

    Spouse and I usually get along okay, but being in lockdown together is really testing us. We’re fortunate in a lot of ways: both still employed, no kids to homeschool, our house is big enough we can go to separate quarters. But as all summer plans disappear, he especially is struggling. He has always struggled with change- he has spectrum tendencies- and I’ve encouraged him in the past to consider therapy. He thinks “this is just how he is” and has zero interest in talking to a therapist. Sigh. I don’t know, I’m just tired of hearing how unhappy he is and there’s no real escape and I feel like a Ladies Home Journal Can This Marriage Be Saved couple.

    1. Jules the First*

      You are perfectly within your rights to tell him that you can’t listen to him talk about how unhappy he is if he won’t commit to trying something to change it. Try “if this is just how you are, then I need you to stop talking about it so often. I find it really hard to be the positive person I like to be when the primary topic of our conversation is how unhappy you are.”

      You could also try modelling good behaviour by seeing a therapist yourself, and said therapist may also have suggestions.

    2. Pieforbreakfast*

      I’m in a similar situation. I’ve had to train myself to not respond to my partner’s complaints and negative/pessimistic conversations as often. I either give him a few minutes then change the topic entirely or just stop responding with the usual attention- what’s called “being a gray rock” so he stops talking. It feels…mean? sometimes, I’m his partner and I should be 100% supportive? But then I also should not be so irritated with him that I start being passive aggressive and sarcastic, which has happened and doesn’t help things.
      This winter he started having physical symptoms of anxiety and I declined to coddle him, just repeated “talk to your doctor not your spouse” until he actually saw his doctor. Who prescribed an SSRI and counseling, one of which he chose and is helping.
      Take care of yourself.

    3. Koala dreams*

      Just because he is content with complaining about how unhappy he is, doesn’t mean you must be content listening to that. It sounds really difficult for you! You can tell him you don’t have the bandwidth to listening to his vents any more. Maybe he can write his complaints in a diary or talk with friends instead?

      I don’t have any advice about the marriage aspect, but I like the advice above about you finding a therapist. Sometimes it’s very helpful talking to a neutral outsider, and maybe you’ll find out what you want. Good luck!

    4. we'll get through this, right?*

      just coming to commiserate…and tell you I got a chuckle out of the “Can This Marriage Be Saved” reference. Don’t you wish someone on the outside could describe your relationship to you?

      I feeling spouse-snarky today as apparently all mine does all day, every day is sit on the couch on his laptop. Actually, that’s not true, sometimes he goes on his phone, and sometimes he lays down on the couch.

    5. Fikly*

      It sounds like maybe he thinks therapy is going to try to change who he is?

      I’ve always found therapy is much more about helping me cope with who I am and who everyone else is and the world.

  18. MistOrMister*

    Anyone have a book and movie adaptation where one of them is perfectly fine and the other scares the snot out of you? For me it’s Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. I read the book and was looking over my shoulder and pulling the covers over my head for such a lot of it. But the movie (not sure what year it was from, but it’s black and white) didn’t give me creepy vibes at all. Granted, they changed the ending, so I’m sure that’s part of it.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I bought the tie-in book over the Christmas when the mini-series was shown, so the cover was mugshots of the cast. The programme had a really creepy feel to it.

      2. Oxford Comma*

        The BBC miniseries was outstanding. Heartily recommend that. I almost never like the adaptations to things too.

      3. MistOrMister*

        I will have to see if I can find it. I’ve only got prime for streaming and so much of the british stuff is, regretably, not on there for free. Can’t bring myself to have 50 subscriptions to every streaming service in town, though.

        1. HamlindigoBlue*

          Yes, I just checked Amazon, and it’s available for purchase but not included with Prime. I checked our virtual library, and it’s available for streaming there via Hoopla, so that’s what I’ll be watching this weekend.

    1. Retail not Retail*

      I think it’s because our imagination creates scarier scenarios than can realistically be done. Although that one doesn’t have monsters and all that.

      I saw the Bollywood version, Gumnaam. Not scary and the ending was changed. Good music and good performances from some of the cast members.

    2. Haven’t picked out a username yet*

      There is a new version of the book, I think it came out last year and it was definitely creepy and really well done. I believe I watched it on Prime. You should look it up.

    3. The Witch of the Wilds*

      It’s probably a given, considering the source material, but I’ve found Alice in Wonderland adaptations run the gamut from charming to mindfudgery. The Burton films are quirky and charming to me but I’ve found a few of the more modern re-tellings unsettling (but entertaining!), notably Alice (the Syfy mini) & Malice in Wonderland. I think modern settings & less fantastical/more realistic drug references make certain versions of Alice more relatable and thus her predicament becomes somewhat visceral.

    4. T. Boone Pickens*

      Pet Sematary and It the books? Terrifying.

      The screenplay adaptations? While It was still creepy, it didn’t quite have the same punch. Not at all for Pet Sematary.

      1. MistOrMister*

        I read Pet Sematary, but not It. I’m fuzzy on the details but I don’t think I will attempt it again, I remember some parts and once was enough! Cant quite remember if I saw the movie but I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t hold up!

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I’m the other way around – but I think for me it’s because I’m literally incapable of making mental images, so the books are just words and it’s easier to “just a story” it, while the movies put all the scary Right There for me to see in living color. :) I don’t even try to watch Stephen King adaptations anymore, on his horror stuff, because it gives me the wiggins and I can’t sleep for days, but I can read IT right before going to bed and not bat an eyelash.

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

      The three Wallander adaptations. The first Swedish is slow paced at the beginning and took some interesting liberties by the end, the second Swedish was able to handle the loss of one of its main actress gracefully (R.I.P. Johana Sällström), and UK’s… well, it’s a hot mess where the only good thing is that Golden Retriever Tom Hiddleston is in it. The only story both Swedish and UK adapted successfully (with massive differences) is The Fifth Woman.

    6. tangerineRose*

      I tried reading Jurassic Park, and gave up. It’s well written but the book is so much more sad and grim than the movie.

    7. Koala dreams*

      The version I saw on TV was very scary. I think it was the 2015 one. I have an opposite example with Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case. The novel felt light and humourous, but the movie (from 2013, maybe?) was dark and scary.

    8. Cendol*

      Just hopping in to say that I’ve never reread And Then There Were None because it frightened me so much. SO creepy. Augh! Glad I’m not alone…

    9. The New Wanderer*

      I read the novel adaptation of the movie Alien before I had the courage to watch the movie. Mistake – the book kept me awake for several nights and I still had nightmares. But after that, I was able to watch the movie and only be a little freaked out. I didn’t have the same reaction to the first sequel (movie or novelization) but that one was more of an action movie and less of a horror story anyway.

      Silence of the Lambs too – I read the book first and it was so, so disturbing. The movie was definitely scary but it didn’t hit me quite as much as the writing.

  19. MistOrMister*

    Has anyone watched City On A Hill? Its free on prime through april 30. I tried it because I really liked Aldis Hodge in Leverage. It’s been interesting. Not my favorite show ever and some inconsistencies are niggling my brain, but overall I’m liking it. More profanity than is really necessary, though.

    1. Damn it, Hardison!*

      Oh, thanks for this! I was watching the new season of Bosch, but I will binge City on a Hill instead.

      1. MistOrMister*

        Ha!! Fabulous name!! I’m not ashamed to say I am almost done with the first season. But….maybe a little ashamed b/c I have to stuff i should be doing but I got sucked in this morning!

        1. Damn it, Hardison!*

          Yeah, I was going to take advantage of the cloudy weather to wash windows, but not anymore! My husband is delighted by this turn of events. (My cats are named Sophie and Parker, no joke.)

    2. Filosofickle*

      I recently sought it out, also because of Hodge. I watched the first episode and wasn’t interested enough to watch another.

      1. Violet Strange*

        This is me. I love a lot of the cast as well as Hodge (huge Leverage fsn) but found the show tedious and didn’t get past the first episode.

  20. coffee cup*

    I’ve been feeling lonely this week. At least three more weeks of being on my own. I can do it, but it’s been hard going. I’m missing hugs and just seeing people I care about in real life. Not the end of the world at all, but I think coupled with getting used to my antidepressants (mostly fine now) and working at home, it’s been tougher than I thought.

    My answer last week was to order myself dungarees. They are SO comfy and have cheered me up during lockdown. This week I’m on the hunt for a bakery who will deliver to me, as I’m really missing nice cake.

    1. Marion Ravenwood*

      I’m not sure if you’re in the right area so ignore this if it’s no good, but SE Cakery is brilliant and they are doing deliveries at the moment. I recommend the brownies in particular.

      And I hear you on missing hugs and seeing people. I have regular video calls with my loved ones every week, but it just isn’t the same. Sending virtual hugs in case it helps though.

      1. coffee cup*

        Aw thanks. I am in Scotland so I doubt it, sadly! But brownies do sound amazing. I’m on the lookout for somewhere that might deliver.

    2. Gaia*

      I’m not a hugger in my normal day to day life but lately I’ve just been craving a hug so bad. I miss them so much and I never thought that was possible.

      I’ve already warned friends that when this is over hugging all of them. Probably for an inappropriately long time. And I just need them to be okay with that.

      I hope you get your cake.

    3. Colette*

      I was really struggling earlier this week. I had a 4 day weekend last week, and the realization that going “back to work” wouldn’t involve actually seeing anyone hit me hard.

      And then it got better, but I think this is going to be an ongoing struggle for a lot of us.

      Is there something you can do to feel more connected? My family did an Easter zoom call last week, for example, which was really nice (even though I wouldn’t have seen 90% of them if the world has been normal.)

  21. ManName Longhair*

    Since barber shops are closed in my state, I wanted to experiment with growing my hair out long. I am a man (late 20s) and have never done this before.

    I’ve never really had a chance to do long hair *well*. The default growing up, and around a lot of my family (for men), is short to long-ish short. Whenever I’ve left my hair uncut for a while, I always defaulted to that too, even if I didn’t like the result.

    I can kinda see why, up through when I left for college, my parents wouldn’t let my hair go past a certain point (besides HS dress codes that forbade hair at the neckline for guys). I didn’t give two fucks about upkeep, and combing was just “run hands through hair to pat it down.” Now I actually *do* care about upkeep… combing it every morning, combing it when I’m about to leave for an event, washing it every day, etc. I think I could probably pull this off if I did it right.

    So, if I were to have long hair with a short or medium beard, hair being fine/somewhat wavy and beard being springy/somewhat curly (naturally), what would you suggest as far as care and feeding? (If it matters, the hair is naturally light-brown and the beard is naturally red.)

    1. Anon Anon*

      You are probably not at the point yet, but once it’s about shoulder length all around, you may need conditioner! Just a little bit, and mostly on the ends. You probably won’t need conditioner near your scalp. Also, once it gets to the shoulder length, you have to be a little more careful when combing your hair while wet. Hair is a lot stretchier when its wet and it’s easy to get stuck in knots and break strands. You’ll also be better off with a brush when your hair is dry.

      If you are using hair bands/ties to make a ponytail, you can get breakage from that too, so be gentle. If the ponytail is loose and you want it tighter, start over rather than pushing the band up your hair. Any rolling of the band over your hair will tangle some of it.

    2. Lyra*

      Once your hair gets long enough to really start getting tangled in it, definitely start using conditioner (if you don’t already). My bearded friends used beard conditioner/beard oil – products specific for beards rather than hair. Anecdotally, I think it makes a big difference in keeping a beard pleasantly soft.

      You might want to wash (and condition) yourn hair less often as it gets longer as well. Washing daily can make your hair too dry, which makes it more prone to damage, especially if it’s already rather fine.

      If you’re planning to keep growing it out once everything reopens, tell your barber/hairdresser next time you see them, and ideally they can give you a cut that will be flattering as it grows out, rather than something intended for frequent trims.

    3. Bubble buried in this Jungle*

      I’ve worn long hair / beard / mustache for over 40 years. A few things:

      – As Anon said, add conditioner to your hair washing routine. Also, get a dedicated brush – combs don’t work well for long hair.
      – For me, the important part has been controlling my facial hair. Sideburns mustache etc should be sharp and well-defined. Unless you’re Nick Offerman, avoid the ‘neck-beard’ look. Again: sharp, well-defined lines under your jaw and along the ear.
      – I swear to God I’m not shilling for them: the Philips-Norelco OneBlade system is the only electric shaving system I’ve ever used that really does what it claims to do. You’ll probably still want to keep several wet-shave blades around, but the OneBlade will be your main tool.


    4. KR*

      As your hair gets longer, watch out combing it especially if you have somewhat curly hair. You will want to move to a wide tooth brush if you find your curls start separating or your hair gets frizzy/poofy. A wide tooth comb allows you to comb the curls while maintaining the shape of the curl.

      Also yes to conditioner when your hair gets longer. How much you use depends on how curly your hair is and the humidity levels where you live. If you find your hair getting dry, you may want to limit washing to a couple times a week. If you start getting some seriously long hair, you may have to look into getting a curl creme or a small bit of conditioner in your hand, bending over so your hair is upside down, and gently crunching your hair up towards your head. It helps your curls maintain their shape. Good luck on your curly journey.

    5. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      As your hair gets longer, if you find that it gets really tangled at night you can braid it before bed and take the braids out the next morning (or just wear your hair braided, for that matter). Leaving hair braided overnight makes it much easier to comb out in the morning since it can’t get as tangled.

  22. CoffeeforLife*

    So Florida is opening beaches. Good idea, right? They are only a few weeks away from their predicted infection high so makes perfect sense. I mean, gotta protect that economy.

    1. Retail not Retail*

      I love living through an experiment in epidemiology! Always wanted to!

      What’s killing me is extending orders 1-2 weeks at a time. Just overestimate, you can always cancel it early.

    2. CoffeeforLife*

      Alison, please delete me. I’m feeling cranky and shouldn’t have posted my sarcastic rant.

      1. Ann Onny Muss*

        Your sarcastic rant is fine. I’m feeling the same way about those people who insist on reopening despite the great risk of doing so. I live in a state that has a sane governor but there are still idiots who are “fed up with this [gay, Jewish*] Nazi and are going to March on the state capital to force a reopening.” Never mind the fact the state is still a hotspot and hasn’t reached its peak yet (proof that social distancing *does* work).

        *The cognitive dissonance is mind boggling.

      2. I'm A Little Teapot*

        Honestly – you just said what a lot of people are thinking. My unfiltered thoughts lately are not always the kindest. At my most unkind, I am perfectly happy for about 30% of the population to die.

        1. Potatoes gonna potate*

          I’ll admit I’ve had a few times I thought about this — I’m in NYC which is awful and I see news reports of crowds gathering for things or people posting that this is a hoax and not real….and I’m just like……Darwin do your thing. Except perfectly innocent people can get infected to. At this point it’s almost criminal to bedoing this.

          1. Alexandra Lynch*

            Yeah, I look at this and I’m in Indiana, and thinking, “You all can be as stupid as you want, but I don’t want your stupidity hurting me and mine!” Our local idiots rallied in front of the Governor’s mansion today to protest the stay at home orders.

            1. Epiphyta*

              Happened here in Washington today, and I’m cursing like a banshee because my bestie lives there with her children and is an essential worker – if she gets sick because of contact with some schmuck who was at this protest, I am going to set people alight with the power of my mind.

    3. TimeCat*

      There was this article about how The Villages (this horrible retirement community (I say horrible because they have this age restriction and have kicked out people with very little accommodation because the grandparents have ended with with their grandkids due to tragedies or similar). It’s all retirees and they haven’t been social distancing. Coronavirus could literally decimate the place.

      1. JKP*

        It’s not just the Villages. There are lots of communities in FL with age restrictions on the deeds. And if the grandparents end up with the grandkids, they do have to move somewhere else. It’s because none of those communities pay taxes for the school system. If even one resident ends up with kids living with them and going to school, then suddenly everyone in the community has to start paying all of those taxes and the whole community loses its exempt status, possibly permanently. So all of the 55+ deed restricted communities police that hard, not just the Villages. My dad was on the HOA for their community (not Villages) and more than once they did have to kick out people who had their grandkids living there. But you know the age restrictions before you ever move to a retirement community.

          1. Policy wonk*

            They had to create these loopholes because people in these retirement villages all vote, and kept voting down funding for schools. It was the only way to be able to have bond referendums etc.

              1. Black Horse Dancing*

                It’s not like religious institutions pay taxes. Why should they be the only exemption?

                1. Anonnington*

                  So, like, I could start a community for people who are ok with dying in fires. You sign something when you move in and you don’t pay taxes that fund the fire dept. And they don’t come to your community if there’s a fire. You’re on your own. Great idea, right?

                  You see, it sounds crazy, but it’s analogous. You depend on young people getting a good education because they’re going to be doing all the jobs that you depend on. Unless you want your community to be completely self-sufficient and sealed off from the outside world.

          2. Fikly*

            This happens in communities with large religious communities that all privately school their children, too. If they are in a large enough population to control the school budget, the public schools get less and less money and fall apart. See Rockland County in New York for an example of this – there have been lawsuits in recent years.

      2. TexasRose*

        Keep in mind that the Villages is a deed-restricted, planned community ruled by a Home Owner’s Association (which is, in itself, a taxing authority, by state law). You have to sign a contract to abide by their rules** at about the same time you sign the financial documents to buy property there. It’s the Disneyland of retirement communities: heavily curated, and full of entitled people who would prefer that the unpleasant truths (poverty, liberals, etc.) not impinge on THEIR world.
        **The rules specify – I kid you not – what kind of trees and grass you can grow, and how closely they must be trimmed. And the HOA can fine you if you don’t comply, and put a lien on your house to collect the fines. Everyone there AGREED to this power structure before they moved in. [I much prefer my unincorporated, non-regimented community, that includes a few small mango orchards, and households that raise domestic chickens and alpacas (for the wool), all in a suburban setting.]

    4. Misty*

      I have a serious question (I’m putting serious in front of it because I feel like it’s going to sound sarcastic typed out). But how does opening beaches protect the economy in FL? Do they charge for parking? Isn’t going to the beach free?

      In my area we have a lot of small beaches (which are closed and they blocked off parking) but they don’t make a lot of money off of them, but I guess they do make a lot of money off of the tourists and 2nd home people coming here and shopping after going to the beach. Is it the same thing in FL? I’m actually curious and I did google it but figured maybe other people here would know.

      I don’t think they should open the beaches yet as I think too many people would be there esp since there’s nothing else to do since everything is closed (altho Idk if this is the case in FL since that’s not near me) but I’m curious why they would open the beaches to help the economy.

      1. Gaia*

        It doesn’t. But also: how did they list WWE wrestling as an essential business with a straight face?

      2. ThatGirl*

        Many beaches do charge for parking, though I can’t speak for all of them. Locals can get parking passes.

      3. Elenna*

        Maybe the thought is “if beaches are closed there will be no reason for tourists to come here so we won’t get any tourist money”? Of course, that ignores the fact that nobody should be travelling anywhere anyways.

      4. TexasRose*

        Okay, I’ll admit I have a bit of bias here. I live in Florida now, and the beach issue is one that is playing out in my local area. The county has re-opened the beaches for exercise purposes only, not sunbathing or all-day parties. The beach-side locals have deliberately retired to a beach-side community BECAUSE it’s beach-side — and last week they were being told they can’t walk to the beach from their home to take their usual 5-mile jog down the surf-line. (This is why the parking lots are closed. The locals don’t want the tourists coming in and having beach parties; the locals just want to get the ion-high from exercising near the surf, and enjoy what they consider to be their “extended back yard.”)
        And for many of these locals, the stock market tanking has hit their retirement accounts HARD. So, in their minds (or budget projections), they very well may be living in end times, or at least the end times of their own comfortable home where they chose to retire. That kind of economic despair changes what folks are willing to risk for short-term comfort and solace.

    5. WellRed*

      One of my coworker’s (we are WFH) will be sending her kids back to daycare when it opens next week. Schools are closed, gvt, non essential–basically everything, but her daycare, a cesspool in the best of times, is opening?

    6. Might be Spam*

      My son lives in Miami and his roommate is an EMT who can’t get any PPE. She even had to buy her own gloves. It’s not a question of “If” they are going to get sick, but “When.”

    7. Pinkie pie*

      I live in Daytona Beach. Our beaches are open but public parking is not. It’s interesting.

    8. Ann O.*

      I don’t think it’s obviously a bad idea. Between the waves, shifting sand, and sun, a beach seems like a low-risk environment. They usually have plenty of space for people to stay the recommended 6 feet apart.

      I’ve Googled my heart out for it, and I couldn’t find any accounts of clusters or superspreading events associated with beaches (or actually even any outdoor environment).

    9. Analyst Editor*

      I agree with you, and support the precautionary principle. But to bake you feel a bit better, there’s studies going around suggesting that infection is way way more likely to happen indoors than outdoors, and sunlight held against it (UV, immune boost, all sorts of theories). So…. Better than opening up the indoor pools I guess!

    10. KR*

      My dad lives in Florida and I’m just so nervous he will not be able to continue working (he has paid sick leave right now because he’s high risk, but who knows how long his company will keep paying him) or he will get sick with the disease. I don’t understand all these people protesting the disease prevention methods – do they just think they can protest the disease away? That if they make a big enough stink they’ll find a vaccine and everything will go back to normal? Ugh, I’ll show myself out.

      1. tangerineRose*

        They should take the energy they’re using for protesting and use it to figure out ways to open up some businesses safely. I wonder how many businesses are closed that could work by selling over the internet.

        1. Anonnington*

          I completely agree. Even bars and restaurants could adapt. It wouldn’t be the same, but there is plenty of room to innovate. It would be better than just being closed vs putting people at risk.

    11. Retail not Retail*

      They’re opening a local golf course (golf courses took forever to shut down because “we serve food” and “we’re not in that municipality”) and blah blah blah social distancing experiment.

      In looking at the beaches, it kind of makes sense if you think of them as local parks – our city parks closed their parking lots and all amenities, but are still open to walking/running/biking.

      I just want to grab these protestors and go we haven’t even plateaued let alone seen a reduction in cases! Cool your jets!

      In the article about the golf course one golfer said it’s nice to get some exercise. Oh i was unaware that walking without a golf club in hand is just invisible. /also cranky – who golfs? Who probably isn’t feeling a big economic hurt? Who has solid health insurance? Probably not the course staff disinfecting your stupid golf carts.

      1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        Golf courses stayed open here, they just closed the clubhouses and went contactless in terms of paying for rounds. Really, it seems pretty reasonable since it’s a way to get a walk without other people crowding you since you have your own scheduled time and the sport norms already included staying out of other people’s way. I’d rather my dad played golf than took up walking on the local nature paths, which are pretty crowded. I don’t know about other places, but it’s a really common retiree sport here across a lot of economic levels, and I’d rather older folks who want to walk get a way to do so safely with lots of space, but also someone who will notice if you just don’t come back in a few hours, and golf has both of those things built in.

    12. Anonnington*

      I hate to say it, but I foresee another spike in infections if things start to reopen in the absence of medical advances. Social distancing just keeps the disease at bay, so to speak. It isn’t an actual cure or treatment. Reopening should be done in response to changes in disease management from a medical perspective – much more widespread testing, improvements in treatment, etc. We are making progress in that direction, but not enough to turn things around just yet.

      Instead, we’ve created a situation where people are hungry for social time, they have a false sense of security because they haven’t gotten sick yet, leaders are back to setting bad examples, and there is a lot of misinformation out there. And the disease has spread far enough that exposure could increase rapidly with just a few days of care-free beach-going.

      We can’t control other people. I think the trick at this point is to keep playing it safe and avoid all the nonsense until there really is cause to return to normal.

      And the economy! You see, lots of people getting sick at once will be even worse for the economy. We can get the economy going by changing how we do things in order to make it safer. New business ideas, not, “back to normal.”

  23. nep*

    Anyone else’s digestion gone to hell during the pandemic?
    Eating slightly differently just because I’ve not really adapted my shopping properly; but mostly it’s stress. I’ve not had digestion problems for AGES and now, ugh.

    1. MoopySwarpet*

      Not really anything that manifests to the level of a problem, but my stomach has been more grumbly and gassy than normal.

    2. RobotWithHumanHair*

      Definitely. I don’t think I’ve been eating any worse/better than I ordinarily do, but the stress of everything goes right to my stomach. Either that, or it manifests in headaches which lead to intense nausea which, again, goes right to my stomach.

      What’s especially irritated is that it’s led to me not going out for a run as much as I need to for fear of…having issues a couple miles out from home.

    3. Damn it, Hardison!*

      Yep! My acid reflux is back in full force, as is my random nausea (probably related to the acid reflux, apparently it can present as nausea some times). Whether we consciously feel stressed or not during this time, I think our bodies can express it for us.

      1. nep*

        Absolutely. Stress hits the physical body HARD.
        Hope you’ll have some relief. I never had such bad heartburn–it’s awful. Working on ways to really mitigate the stress.

      2. NoLongerYoung*

        Yes. It’s bad enough that it feels like the ulcer is back… and I’ve been great for a year! Not sure if it is the stress (likely) or the food (lots more dairy and sugar). But definitely bad enough that I’m going to need to re-start the meds.

      3. Diahann Carroll*

        Mine is back as well after 8 years of no problems – it’s horrible, and this OTC stuff is not cutting it. I don’t want to have my doctor call me in a prescription somewhere because I do not want to go and get it, but I may have to if this doesn’t get better. :(

    4. Wouldyoulikecheesewiththat?*

      I’m staying with a lovely friend and she has a completely different eating style than I do. Much later dinner, she eats way fewer veggies, but much more dairy/protein. So I’m eating more, and my stomach feels a little different. She has been so gracious with getting me groceries, but I’m still eating kind of a different style. This is the most cheese I think I’ve ever had!!

    5. Trixie*

      I’m eating more refined foods (with plenty of carbs = sugar), less produce/veggies, and not moving as much as I should. All resulting in not feeling physically energetic.

    6. Chaordic One*

      Yes, and I’m not exactly sure why. It has been difficult to maintain the same amount of fruit and vegetables in my diet as I usually do. I’ve been eating a bit more carbs than usual and more sweets which isn’t good. I’ve also been drinking more coffee during the day. The worst part is having some mild acid reflux and it is caffeine-free herbal tee that I’ve drunk before bedtime.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I have found eating a varied diet to be tricky, since I can’t justify visiting the larger supermarkets with a wider range of products. However I have been ordering pre-prepared meals from a very good local caterer once a week, which means I can have a bit of a change.

  24. Blue Eagle*

    Decluttering Update #4

    Decluttering was going great guns for a little over 3 months when it partly came to an abrupt halt due to the stinkin’ coronavirus because (1) all the thrift shops have been shut down and are no longer accepting items and (2) recycling has been shut down and everything put out for recycling goes straight in the trash truck until further notice.

    There is one silver lining in the current situation. Just before the shutdown, I finished clearing out all the accumulated stuff in the “loser bedroom” and was able to recycle/thrift it so now I have a place to put the boxes of (1) stuff to take to the thrift shop and (2) stuff to put out when recycling starts up again. So even though the totally cleaned out “loser bedroom” is starting to accumulate stuff, it is stuff that will be gone soon enough. At least the trash truck is still picking up trash so useless items are continuing to vacate the house.

    After 4 months of decluttering, it feels really good to see the house begin to look the way it did when we moved in – minimum entropy.

    1. Damn it, Hardison!*

      It’s really awesome that you’ve come so far, and that you’re still working on it in these conditions!

    2. LuJessMin*

      After years of saying I needed to clean out my shed, I’ve finally done it! Of course, it’s all in my garage until I get the shed sprayed for ants and then sprayed again (there were a LOT of ants). I sorted through everything in the garage, and I have about 10 boxes for Goodwill whenever they reopen. I had about 5 bags of trash, but could only put 2 of them out at trash days because I ran out of extra refuse stickers.

      1. Wishing You Well*

        Good question!
        I assumed it was because all the stuff in it would go away, i.e. get lost. BUT maybe “loser bedroom” has a bigger story behind it!
        *sigh* I could use a good story right now…

        1. Blue Eagle*

          Loser bedroom is just because it was so filled with stuff that you could barely walk in it and didn’t have a bed in it. Sorry to say that there isn’t a better story.

    3. Chaordic One*

      You know, I really do try to recycle as much as possible, however recently my local recycling center stopped accepting plastic. I feel bad about it, but I think that for my own sanity it is important to get rid of some of the trash and make space, so I’m willing to let things go t0 the landfill.

  25. nep*

    For those who regularly worked out at a gym, what are you doing for exercise? Favorite YT channels/workouts? Have you taken up something new now that you can’t go to the gym?

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      My partner lifts weights and bought a barbell and plates almost immediately after our building’s gym closed. This morning we’re going to a local gym to pick up a set of plates he’s renting from them.

      As for me, I’m using the barbell without plates. I started doing Mr. Motivators daily 12-minute workouts and I love them. That plus my morning dog walks.

      1. Artemesia*

        I only had 5 pound weights in my place — so when they closed our building gym I ordered a couple of 10 pounders which should come soon — I am used to being able to use gym weights and the nautilus machine for weight resistance. We take long walks and I do the Canadian 12 minute workout in the morning. Their military developed a quick morning series of stretches and exercises and they are available on line. The routines are designed to be progressive and also matched to age and gender. It is nice to just have a set of things to work through. I do them in the morning while I am making coffee and oatmeal.

    2. annakarina1*

      I workout to Hasfit videos on YouTube, they feature a married fitness professional couple, and the weight workouts are pretty challenging, I get winded out when I’m not familiar with the moves or hadn’t done an older video in a long time. I also join Zoom workouts from my local yoga studio and Muay Thai gym, where an instructor either at home or in the studio teaches the class virtually. It’s been good for connecting with people I know casually and having that routine.

    3. Parenthetically*

      @aliceliveing does live workouts every day(? or most days?) on Insta live! She’s just a completely lovely human. Bodyweight exercises and kettlebell stuff, and they’re KILLER workouts.

      1. nep*

        I love @getupwithhannah on IG. She is fantastic with the kettlebell, and has great bodyweight moves. Karen Smith is great also @_coach_karen_

    4. Rachel*

      I’m using Beachbody right now, the workout programs are great and really challenging. I also love Sydney Cummings on youtube. She posts full length workouts everyday as well as stretching and foam rolling videos. Also discoverd Madfit, Heather Robertson and the Popsugar fitness account, all free follow along workouts. I’m honestly working out MORE than I was before lol.

    5. Nessun*

      I lift…or rather, I did. My trainer has been working with me on a body-weight regimen based on what she knows of me, and giving me workouts each week, including step targets for getting outside for cardio. I’m very lucky, she made the switch to “online” offerings very quickly, and she’s great. We dont want to lose all the work we did together, and it’s great to keep myself accountable.

    6. Stephanie*

      My gym was on the ball and recorded a whole lot of videos and release a new one each day. They’ve also started doing Zoom group workouts, which are great.
      I did go for a “run” (which was really a very slow jog, mixed with a lot of walking) once, early on in the quarantine, but it was awful. I’ve been walking the dogs almost daily, and have thought about taking up some yoga, but haven’t done it yet.

    7. CoffeeforLife*

      I’m doing nothing, but my gym is doing zoom sessions and corporate is sending daily workouts via their app (orange theory). I have zero equipment at home and maybe a negative 10 motivation to do anything.

    8. Wandering*

      Have you seen the US Figure Skaters “off ice challenge” on twitter? Start with JasonBskates at twitter, each skater hands off to another or another team. Fun to see what individuals can manage on their own. I can’t keep up with them at all! (Note: “off ice” challenge merges with “office” challenge if you just follow the hashtag.)

    9. A New Normal*

      I have a little step machine I got years ago on a fitness kick and then stuck in the back of my closet. Now that my gym’s closed I’ve pulled it out and am tracking how ‘far’ I can get in 30 minutes every other day. That and yoga when I get the motivation. Unfortunately my kitten loves to join me for yoga so I wind up in some interesting poses trying to work around her.

    10. Kuododi*

      I’ve been involved in my local Y for about 3yrs give or take. My trainer through LiveStrong connected our group with a link for free online workouts sponsored by the Y. The classes involve a great deal of yoga, Barre exercises etc. Nothing requiring lots of equipment. Typically, a chair for balance and if you don’t have access to small handweights can improvise using water bottles, soup cans or the like.

    11. Frankie Bergstein*

      Heather Robertson: She has a free, YouTube-based 12-week plan with 5 workouts per day. She uses a lot of tabata, HIIT, etc. the only equipment needed is weights and a stability ball, but you don’t need either for the first week.

      5 Parks Yoga: The teacher, Erin, has over 300 videos (all free). There is a variety of times from 10 minutes to almost 90 minutes. They range from prep-for-sleep yoga to a sweaty power yoga sesh.

    12. Turtlewings*

      I had finally talked myself into visiting my apartment complex gym, and gone all of twice, when the lockdown came. After a couple weeks of living like a coral, to the point that my butt hurt from sitting all day, I started looking for workout videos on the Amazon Prime channel. The first two I tried were way, way beyond my ability to do, but I finally found a stupidly basic beginner video that I can MOSTLY do. Pretty sobering to realize just how little stamina, flexibility, strength or basic physical competence I have. I’m totally in shape, though. Round is a shape!

    13. WineNot*

      Hi! My mom and I have discovered Sydney Cummings on YouTube/instagram. She posts YouTube videos every day with different length workouts for different body parts, HIIT, cardio, etc. She is awesome and really pushes us, we’ve been working out at home for the last month and discovered her two weeks ago or so and I feel amazing. She does a lot with weights, but I think also has some no-equipment workouts too. We tried workouts from a few other people before finding her that we just didn’t love or feel pushed by. Highly recommend her!


    14. WineNot*

      I’ve always been a gym person but I found a woman on YouTube that has me questioning whether I’ll fully return to a normal gym routine. Sydney Cummings is awesome – she has all different length workouts for different body parts, HIIT, cardio, etc. My mom and I have been working out at home for a month-ish now, discovered her two or so weeks ago and LOVE her. We’d tried a few other peoples videos first, but feel motivated and pushed by Sydney. Highly recommend! Posted this once before but it disappeared…

      1. nep*

        Cool–I’m going to check her out. I love finding new fitness people online. I follow a LOT, but always great to see a new approach/routine/etc.

        1. WineNot*

          Definitely! She does workouts that are timed and with music (as I’ve found a lot of people who do YouTube workout videos do) so you’re forced to work hard. A lot of the workouts introduce at least one new exercise that I haven’t seen before, so it’s also cool to find new exercises to add to the memory bank. I’m a fan! Have fun!

    15. Reba*

      Not a gym per se but I did a video ballet class from my studio today! It was conditioning and surprisingly really fun. I used a kitchen cart for my “barre.”

    16. Epiphyta*

      My local gym is offering fitness classes through Zoom, as is the local yoga studio.

      I’m a fan of Darebee: they’re free (supported by donations) and there are 1400+ workouts, most of which do not require any equipment.

      I have an old NordicTrack ski machine and after finding some parts online and working through maintenance with the manual, have started using it on the days I can’t go out for a walk (the pollen count locally is bananas).

      1. NightOwl*

        Ooh, I still have my NordicTrack; it was the first piece of equipment I bought myself years ago. I should use it one of these days. I regret throwing away the book stand/water bottle holder in a move years ago; that part was around $50 last time I looked – ugh!

    17. NightOwl*

      I tried to be a gym person and never really got into it (aside from liking some kickboxing classes) so I’ve “tried” to be an at-home exerciser. Surprisingly, I’ve been working out more during this shelter in place; I think it’s due to my anxiety and working out helps. I have a home gym and have been using the treadmill, varying my speed/resistance and watching some fun old shows on Amazon Prime. If you’re used to weights, perhaps some dumbbells or resistance bands may work. There are a lot of good suggestions from other commenters, and I’ve heard that some fitness pros have some workouts available that use your own body weight as resistance, so you could use them if you don’t have any equipment available.

  26. Help with Help*

    Sort of pandemic related. I used to live across the street from an 84- year old German lady about a year and a half ago. She lived alone and had no family around (no kids and husband passed away 20 years before). I liked to say hi, bring little goodies for her, and have her interact with my two kids. She has seen them grow from babies into a rambunctious tot and kindergartner. However, she smokes a lot. Never when we are over, but enough that when we lived there, we would stay outside. After we moved, I would still call and visit her every once in awhile.

    The last few visits have been weird. First, we had to go in her house, since she has had more than a few falls and don’t feel comfortable straining her. Second, my husband hated that the kids came back home smelling like smoke and didn’t want me to take them next time (I understand). Third, she tells me that she’s just waiting to die, and I don’t know how to react to that at all.

    Now it’s been a month since the pandemic hit the area, and I’ve shamefully avoided calling her. I don’t know how to help, especially since both my husband and I aren’t working, and we have a huge house renovation we were in the middle of, so budget is super tight, and we’ve been staying in an rv meanwhile (a year to be specific). I am trying to do the homeschool thing with my son.

    She has also told me that she was really upset when one of the other neighbors brought her groceries when she asked them too, but they didn’t take the money for them. She was upset because “she’s not a charity case”.

    I guess I am looking for what to say when she says she’s waiting to die, and what I can do to help. I really want to call her and see how she is, but I don’t like to be in the position of saying “Yeah, that sucks ” like an idiot. I don’t know what she is going through, and I recognize that.

    1. Blue Eagle*

      One thing I’ve noticed is that people who make comments like this don’t want to be told “oh, no you won’t die” or something similar. My suggested response would be to ask her something like – What is something you wish people would know about you? or What is a piece of advice you would give to people about living as long as you have lived?, etc, etc (just figure out what would be appropriate questions for that particular person of something to share with others, perhaps after she has passed).

      1. J.B.*

        I like this suggestion. Also is there something she might be willing to talk to your son about? Some sort of school-ish discussion?

        I know that it feels difficult to reach out, but am glad that you are thinking of doing so. I would also send her a note, as receiving something in the mail would likely be good connection.

        1. Help with Help*

          I like this too. She doesn’t have a computer, so a letter or a card may be a great way for my son to practice writing too!

      2. Help with Help*

        That’s a nice idea. It is hard for me to understand what to say, both my grandfathers passed before I was born, and both my grandmothers passed when I was a child, so I am not to comfortable with what to say in these situations.

      3. Not A Manager*

        In a way, her unwillingness to accept charity might make it easier to help her out, if you’re so inclined. The next time you’re getting groceries or going to the pharmacy, you could ask her if she needs anything, and be fairly confident that she’ll reimburse you. Especially if she’s had falls and doesn’t like to go out, AND you say that she’s not online, it might be super helpful for her if you could run an essential errand for her.

        In terms of “waiting to die” comments, I take a couple of approaches depending on the person and how they’re saying it. Sometimes it’s something more light, like, “okay, but what are you enjoying doing in the meantime?” Sometimes it’s acknowledging that it’s hard to be alone/be sick/be in their shoes and say “I hope you’re able to enjoy this beautiful day,” or whatever. I think the most important thing, as someone said above, is not to minimize how they feel or argue with it.

        1. Help with Help*

          That’s true. I can also try to order an online drop off for her too. Acknowledging the statement, though it’s obvious, didn’t occur to me in that way.

    2. MatKnifeNinja*

      My aunt is 80 and a smoker. She told us 1) she’s not going to the hospital to die alone, and has the same issue being a “charity case”.

      The I want to die part, I told her I’m glad she has it all sorted out. And she has the right to live life on her own terms.

      Charity case…I take the money and use it towards her food drop run. I buy a little better quality canned soup, fancier cookies…little gifties that I just drop by whenever. I never flat out refuse, because that just makes her angry.

      1. Help with Help*

        That’s true. I don’t think I would refuse, I just feel weird because I know she doesn’t have too much money as well.

    3. Anono-me*

      The letters are a brilliant idea.

      I would also say that it would be a win-win if your kindergartener makes pictures for your former neighbor. (She gets a space and day brightener, and your kindergartner gets a purposeful activity.) If your area is doing the bear hunt, one of the things your kindergartner can color is a teddy bear for her to put in the window. A lot of areas are also doing rainbows in the windows.

      It might be helpful to to ask your former neighbor to write your kindergartener stories about when she was a little girl. Most kids love those kind of true stories. And your neighbor might not be sure what to write back to a child.

      1. Help with Help*

        We haven’t seen the rainbows or bears too much for that matter, but we have seen and done the hearts. We can do one for her. I like it! Thank you.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I have heard this from a few people and it comes in variations.

      My 60 something y/o friend said: “I am good here. If I die tomorrow, I feel I have had a full life.”
      I said, “Get a plan just in case you don’t die tomorrow. Know how you will fill your days.” (It’s been 10 years, she’s still here.) I did add that it was hard for me to listen to her say that from a selfish perspective but I also know that at some point I will want the people around me to respect me IF and when I say that.

      A much loved, 70 something y/o, aunt who had suffered several tragedies plus health issues in a short time: “I feel I have done all I can do here and I am ready to go home.”
      I said, “I understand. And I think that at some point I will probably feel the same way, also. I would want the people around me to let me go when it’s my time.”(She passed within a few years.)

      Currently I have an 81 year old friend whose way of broaching this subject is to repeatedly point out that she probably won’t be here five years from now. I said, “So be it then. Until that day, I will happily walk beside you. And you will always be my friend.” This relationship is similar to the one you described, where she has been my neighbor for 27 years. We have so much shared history. Sometimes I can turn the conversation to a shared memory, “Hey remember that time my previous dog got loose and you [punchline of cute story here]?” You might reminiscence about some cute things the kids did that she would remember.

      I use the same pattern each time she says it:
      I show acceptance. Yep, we don’t live forever. So this can be a simple, “I understand.” (Right, I don’t entirely understand her setting, but I do understand that people get tired. Really tired.)
      Next, I indicate that she is my friend and I am willing to walk beside her for as long as she remains here.
      Last and optionally, I segue into a story of shared memory that might remind her of the warmth and camaraderie. This can get her laughing and she tells another story and off we go as the conversation is redirected. I think that the reminiscing helps in some ways.

      1. Help with Help*

        I really like these scripts. I am sure maybe trying to get her to talk about Germany would be great. I wish I could walk with her, but I’m not comfortable with exposing her right now.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Ugh, sorry, i meant the figurative “walk through life with you”. Yeah, taking the older ones out now is not a great idea, I agree.

    5. OhBehave*

      She sounds lonely and depressed. It’s so common for the elderly. Now that no one can visit, it’s especially hard. Getting things in the mail is exciting for them. Please do reach out to her. Imagine if your highlight is waiting to die. That’s incredibly sad. Suggestions here seem like good ideas. You can also ask her about her youth. Things she liked to do. Regale her with funny things your kids say or do.
      As far as the smoking is concerned, you can’t visit now any way but when you can, don’t take the kids, or take them right before baths! They don’t need to go every time.
      Please reach out to her.

      1. Help with Help*

        You will be happy to know I called her this morning. She was happy I called. I asked about her grocery situation. It isn’t regular, so I offered to order stuff for her, since she doesn’t have a computer. She doesn’t trust having her credit card number put online for an order, so I told her I would see what the other options are. She was grateful. She said she had enough stuff for the next few days, so not to worry. She offered a Japanese Maple sapling to me! We talked about the kids, neighbors (she likes to gossip, haha). She did mention again that she might not make it through this, and I asked her what she wanted people to know about her. She said “Nothing! I don’t want anyone to know anything about me. This neighborhood isn’t what it used to be.”

        At least I had a different response, and I wasn’t as nervous about it. I’ll try other scripts because I know she’ll say it again. I will call her again probably tomorrow. She got to say hello to my daughter. She was happy, which makes me happy!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          You sound a little more comfortable with all this. I am glad. If you run out of things to say, you can always just say, “I will miss you. I am so glad we are friends.”

          The mindset is different at her stage and being candid is more acceptable perhaps even comforting.

          PS. I hope you take the Japanese Maple. Those are not an inexpensive plant here, if someone offered me one, I would jump that offer. It will be a nice connection to her now and in the future also.

      2. Not A Manager*

        Good for you for reaching out. I know how hard it can be to overcome that feeling of “I won’t know what to say/I can’t be helpful enough,” etc. And it’s modeling good behavior for your kids, too. I’m glad your daughter got to speak with her.

  27. Lily*

    Helle everyone!

    The National Theatre is broadcasting one of their shows each week on youtube, for free and with subtitles. This Thurday it was Treasure Island.

    I mentioned it last week but I thought I would post again in case some missed it and in case some wanted to talk about it.

    BECAUSE I HAVE A LOT OF THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS ABOUT THIS SHOW and I am overanalyzing as usual and have already written a bunch down and maybe someone else wants to discuss with me?

    1. Princess Deviant*

      I’ve started watching it. I don’t like it. Lots of stereotypes, played for laughs but which are offensive.

    2. NoLongerYoung*

      I didn’t watch treasure island yet, but I stayed up Wednesday night and watched Jane Eyre (which ended Thursday). It was great. I wish I had made the time tonight (was not feeling great), so we could discuss….

      1. Lily*

        Jane Eyre was so amazing!

        I hope you are feeling better :) Sometimes you just need to let your body and mind rest.

  28. Oxford Comma*

    I need some strategies for keeping my days distinct. They’re all bleeding into one another. I’ve tried a few things. I have started watching my church service on YT on Sunday (never really been that religious but at least it helps keep the day feeling different). For what it’s worth, I do have a dedicated room for an office but I also like gaming and using my computer a lot for social things.

    But it’s not enough. Any suggestions?

    1. MoopySwarpet*

      Themed days? Milkshake Monday, Taco Tuesday, and so on. Maybe even a change of clothes or type of clothes for work and not work. Or each day gets its own color scheme. I have a couple pairs of lounge pants that I only wear for work and change out of them when I’m done for the day.

      Maybe have your desktop background change to indicate the day of the week or time of day. You might have to change it manually, but could be a bit of a ritual to start/end the work day.

    2. Anono-me*

      Days-of-the-week underwear?

      Seriously, how about a journal? Maybe one more with the idea that in a hundred fifty years ago it will be in a County Museum for the local kids to understand what the C-19 pandemic quarentine was like for real people.

      Also, I don’t know if you’ve ever read Little House on the Prairie or similar books. But Prairie homesteading was very isolating, especially for the women and children. One of the things that women did to cope was dividing up the chores by days of the week. Laundry on Monday, ironing on Tuesday, baking on Wednesday, Etc. This wasn’t just a smart labor plan. It also helped keep the days from blending together as much. Maybe a similar routine would be useful to you.

      1. Anono-me*

        I’m doing the journal, and dividing up who I called by day of the week. As in I’m calling my friend Pat on Mondays. And texting my friend Chris on Tuesdays.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      This isn’t really anything new that I am doing but I have different chores assigned to different days. I follow this plan because I don’t like everything bunched up on Saturdays and Sundays.

      To help the days not to bleed into each other, I pick one or more small projects that aren’t longer than 15 minutes but they are a PITA to do, so I typically stall out and don’t do them. I keep my gardening tools in a bucket. Each year the bucket needs to be cleaned and I should sharpen a couple of the tools. So that was a project one day last week. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to do that annoying small task. In another example, I had a pair of good pants but the hem was falling down. I repaired them one day about two weeks ago. It kind of helps to make the days seem less similar by tackling different projects.

      One thing I have used to con myself to move along is to ask myself if I am ready for everything to open back up. Do I have done what I need to do when that happens?

    4. Retail not Retail*

      This is probably stupid or irrelevant, but if you have an antenna for your tv (or cable you maniac), you could pick a background noise show for each day. If they’re slipping that hard!

      I had to remind my mom yesterday was a weekday because she was watching her judge shows.

      A couple weeks ago I got messed up because only one person from the sunday-thursday crew was working on Thursday. So I thought it was at least Friday! I didn’t help my own self by taking most of Tuesday and Wednesday off.

    5. DyneinWalking*

      This is just a small thing, but I grew up with a special Sunday breakfast that had croissants instead of bread (I’m in Germany FYI, bread with jam or cold cuts is pretty common for breakfast). I’ve since moved out but still continue that tradition. My parents stopped getting croissants but started eating adding a boiled egg on Sundays (a a different German “fancier breakfast” version).
      Maybe you could also do a fancy breakfast once a week? Maybe even make it an elaborate brunch?
      You could also define a specific day where you order take-away instead of cooking yourself, or get a special takeaway instead of the usual. Or just make an elaborate dinner.
      Also, I don’t know how often you clean during these times, but it it makes sense for you, you could also define a day where you tidy up and clean more thoroughly.

      Other things you could do on defined days: Read/watch a specific book/comic/TV series, bake, do arts and crafts… whatever you like to do or would like to learn.

      Since I have tons to do at the moment I’m not following a schedule like that, but in your situation I’d probably do some crafts Tuesday, find a web comic to read every Wednesday, get special takeaway on Friday, cook an elaborate dinner on Saturday and have breakfast with croissants and a boiled egg on Sunday.

      1. Bibliovore*

        since the pandemic, I have started making Dutch Babies every Sunday. That is how we know it is Sunday.

    6. Patty Mayonnaise*

      I do weekly chats with a couple friends and we keep it to the same days – helps differentiate the days and gives me something to look forward to!

  29. Red Sunglasses*

    Can someone recommend some comfortable bra/bralettes for lounging at home for chestier women? I’m a 32DDD and I struggle with finding something that fits the bust as well as my band/frame size since most run S-L.

    1. Lluviata*

      Oooh, I’m so glad that you asked! I’m a 30-32DDD, and I’ve been trying bralettes lately so I have a few suggestions.

      What’s worked: Aerie Seamless Sleep Bralette (M) & Aerie Chill Scoop Longline Bralette (M). The Scoop Longline Bralette is my favorite, but it tends towards just a tiny bit of uniboob and the pattern can be seen under thin shirts, fyi. The Sleep Bralette is also great. Next time I order the Sleep Bralette I’ll get a S and M to try both – the M is just a little big on me and the bralette is super stretchy so I’m wondering if the S would be a better fit. Both of these are stretchy, comfortable, and lightly supportive.

      What’s ok: Savage X Fenty Bralette with wide underband and triangle cups (M). The S band was too tight, but the M band is a little loose. I kept it and wear it sometimes, but wouldn’t buy it again because the band slides around a little and that drives me crazy.

      What hasn’t worked: Aerie Chill Cotton Bralette (M). I can’t remember why, but I sent this back right away so there was something pretty off. Maybe it was too small in the cups or made my boobs look weird?

      If you end up ordering any bralettes, I’d also love to hear about your experiences. Most bralettes seem to be made for women with smaller cup sizes, and hearing from someone else who’s busty would be great.

      1. Red Sunglasses*

        Aerie now offers S-L sizes in D and DD in some bralettes – just placed an order. I’m really impressed with Aerie- just offering this is so amazing so I’ll be in touch with how they fit

    2. Jdc*

      Cosabella is the only brand I’ve found that make for us larger chested. I’m obsessed with mine. I’ve only ever found that bigger ones online but right now that worke

    3. Generic Name*

      I’m a 32DD/34D (depending on my weight) and I literally never even considered bralettes. I figured they were for teenagers and B-cup maximum. But they’re so cute, and I love the idea of wearing them around the house instead of sports bras, which work but are very utilitarian. So I’ll be watching this thread closely.

      1. Katrianah (UK)*

        Hi! I’m a 38 G (UK sizing) and I’ve had suprising success with bralettes! Wearing actual bras right now is exacerbating my anxiety (makes me feel like I’m having a panic attack for some weird reason) and I can’t go braless because it does a number on my sternum.

        My favourites are unfortunately from UK stockists but I think Marks and Spencer may do international post? Their DD+ Bralettes are awesome.

    4. Jules the First*

      Bravissimo does some lovely ones that are sized like normal bras but start at 28DD and get bigger from there, but not sure what shipping is like to the US right now.

    5. Alex*

      Check out Tomboyx. It is a company that focuses on gender neutral underwear, and is heavily skewed towards women who would like to present more masculine (although there are all kinds of products on there), but their essential bra, which is a plain cotton crop top type thing, works well for bustier women. The racerback version is OK as well but I found the essential style works better. They also have a couple of other styles, but I wouldn’t recommend the microfiber ones for larger chests, since the fabric just isn’t supportive enough.

      The sizes *are* small, med, large (they go from XS to 4X, actually) but if you follow their size guide I find they did well with sizing for larger cups. I have a 32 inch band/giant cup size (bigger than yours!) and the medium size fits me well. Do go by the band measurement rather than the chest measurement. This is the only lounge bra/bralette type thing where I’m not falling out of either the bottom or the top.

      Their products are kind of pricey but there are sales every so often and they pay a lot of lip service to fair wages/environmentally friendly practices so I hope those things are truly the reasons for the higher prices.

      1. LizB*

        Seconding TomboyX! I’ve been wearing nothing but their essential soft bras while I’ve been home and omggggg I love them. Just enough support and so soft and comfy. Looks like they’re currently doing 15% off multipacks, so I may just pick up another set…

        1. Alex*

          Oh no why did you tell me this! Lol.

          One small joy of just being home every day is that I wear a matching set of 6inch boxers and an essential bra every day, under my sweats. SO cozy.

    6. mreasy*

      I like The Busty Bralette from Lively (same size). Otherwise for the dreaded underwires I’ve had good luck with the house brand from Figleaves.

    7. Filosofickle*

      Expensive but awesome: the Curvy Sweetie Bralette from Cosabella. Their Curvy line is meant for small ribcage, larger cup size.

    8. Alexandra Lynch*

      I’m currently in a 38DDD, and just got two leisure bras from Women Within that I’m very happy with. Apart from the color; I’m SO not the sort of woman who wears hot pink, but I’ll wear it and not have back pain in the evenings, cause no one sees it under my shirt and I threatened Boyfriend with dying horribly if he made jokes when he saw it. (Apparently I’m just queer enough that this shade of pink just… no.)

    9. Green Turtle*

      Jockey dot com has a bunch of really great options – I personally wear the Modern Micro Cami Strap Bralette

    10. Epiphyta*

      Glamorise offers band sizes 30-58 and cup sizes A-K. I’m a 34F and live in their “Cami” medium support sports bras, as they’re wireless, have a stabilization panel that looks like a camisole if your top is cut low enough to show it, and only run about $40 USD.

    1. fposte*

      We’ve been having ridiculously late hard freezes. My star magnolia blossoms are sad brown sog, and I put sheets over the bulb beds last night. I do need to start some veg seeds inside this weekend but I think it’ll be awhile before anything happens outside.

    2. Parenthetically*

      We had three nights in a row of hard freezes just after we got everything in the ground, for crying out loud. Had to cover the tomatoes and peppers and bring the container plants inside, but the onions, carrots, peas, cukes, radishes, beans weren’t up far enough to be harmed.

    3. Retail not Retail*

      We may be getting our summer annuals next week and I’m not looking forward to planting those because you are inevitably in people’s space.

      Despite working with plants for a year, I’m still uninterested on spending my own money on them.

      The weeds are out in full force. Have any of y’all encountered a weed called a chameleon weed? We call it “stinks when cut” but that’s not completely accurate as it stinks when you pull it too! Last summer 2 guys were using a weedeater on it down in a moat and the humidity and tight space made the smell so overwhelming.

      I think it’s similar to cilantro and stink bugs.

      1. Pieforbreakfast*

        That weed sounds like what we call “Stinky Bob” here in Oregon, aka geranium robertianum. It was all over our yard when we moved in and that was a dreary day when we worked to take it out.

        1. Retail not Retail*

          It’s the houttuynia cordata actually. (Searching stinky weed last spring was… a choice i sure made that did not help.)

          It’s great ground cover if you want it and nothing else. We had a bed that my boss wanted junipers in. We pulled, we put in new soil, we dug stuff up, NOTHING. Finally we went drastic and saved what we could in pots before making it a chemical wasteland. Untouched it grows to like a foot high.

          1. Venus*

            > It’s great ground cover if you want it and nothing else.

            I have several of these ‘ground cover that takes over the garden’ plants, and am rather surprised that they coexist. Last year a specialized gardener identified one of them when I showed her the leaves, and she said that she was surprized that it hadn’t overtaken everything. I just laughed and said that it had a lot of competition, and when I described the other plants she agreed.

          2. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Thank you for the warning, i will avoid it completely.
            My traditional nemeses have been Bishop’s Weed and Japanese Knotweed. They choked out horseradish and garlic chives and, well…we moved.
            My current problem is mint. I planted it because we eat it a lot…but this batch came up tasting like dirt. Totally inedible. I’m making headway by going out every WFH lunch that isn’t rainy. I just dug in the lawn for two hours and spotted another patch as I was standing up. On the bright side I gathered at least a dozen worms for the worm bin.

    4. Blue Eagle*

      I started two kinds of swiss chard, spinach and roma tomatoes from seed early last week. This week the little seedlings are starting to sprout up.

      One thing I did not know – – the seemingly larger swiss chard seeds (that I mostly planted because I thought that bigger seeds would have a better chance of germinating) are, in fact, two seeds stuck together and not one large seed. Most of my swiss chard has come up with two little seedlings next to each other. I probably will have to transplant thes to get two viable plants.

    5. WellRed*

      I posted last week with a question about the herb seeds I had just planted (kitchen windowsill). That night, I realized the chives and basil had sprouted! Appropriate for Easter weekend, I think.

      1. Venus*

        Very nice! I love basil, and should try to find the seeds that I had from a couple years ago. Mmmmm…. thanks for the reminder!

    6. Hazy Days*

      Gardening disaster! The annual flowering tobacco which made it through this mild winter has come into flower – and it’s pink! It is supposed to be either white or lime green – but it’s been so valiant in outlasting drought and winter that I’m going to have to let it stay.

      Gardening triumph! The rest looks truly glorious.

        1. Hazy Days*

          Yes! Must have had a mix-up at some point, because Pink is very definitely not the colour scheme of choice.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Well curiosity got me and I googled for a minute. Apparently, they can open as white flowers and then
            turn pink even going to a red before quitting. I have a hydrangea here that goes from white to pink to hot pink, I wonder if this is more of that idea.
            I tried to search for a nicotiana that stays white and I am not finding one. I never paid attention to this before, I just assumed the white flowers stayed white. Now I have to watch for this. ha!

      1. Pieforbreakfast*

        I wonder if the plant is a hybird and has reverted to true form. I’ve had various plants, most notable varigated leaf ones, that are as expected one season and then non-varigated then next.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yeah, I had a variegated sedum ground cover that did that to me. I was so very disappointed.

          But I have seen Jackson and Perkin’s roses regress also.

          F1 hybrids are the strongest hybrids. They get their main characteristics from their “parents”. I never see anyone bragging their hybrid is an F2 (main characteristics coming from their “grandparents”) or more. ha!

    7. Pieforbreakfast*

      It’s been beautiful here in the PNW the last week or so. Apple blossoms started this week, the crabapple tree looks good like one week out of the year and that is now. My Redbud is budding and Dogwood as well. Spring has fully sprung!
      I have planted All The Leafy Greens and some are sprouting. There are also volunteer giant sunflowers coming up in that bed that I need to move somewhere else. Half my potatoes did not emerge but I was late in planting them so not a big surprise.
      The sugar snap peas have not emerged after 12 days so I may have to replant. I hate not knowing if it’s the seeds (slightly old, 2 years, but should be okay) or location or what. Do I waste more time replanting where they are or move them… gardening anxiety 101.

      1. Venus*

        Maybe try putting them in a bit of water to see if they germinate? Yet I would expect at least some of them to sprout.

    8. Venus*

      Gardening good: My tomato and pepper seedlings are mostly doing well. I went out today and cleaned up my deck, so feel that I accomplished some work outdoors. I can’t do a lot of cleaning up as it’s still too cold, but next weekend should be optimal to start preparing the ground for the herb seeds.

      Gardening bad: There is still another month before they can be planted outdoors, and I worry that they will have a problem before then. Numerous friends and family plan to get their seedlings from me, and they are heirloom varieties, so I don’t want to disappoint.

    9. Tris Prior*

      It snowed this week. TWICE. Good thing everything’s in containers, that I could bring in but, grrrrrr.

      My tomato seedlings are coming along nicely under the grow light, though!

    10. Sparkly Librarian*

      Zucchini seedlings! 3 of 14 visible so far, which is only as many as I need (and they were last year’s seeds, so I didn’t expect most of them to sprout). The marigolds on the front porch are germinating; the ones in seed trays in the backyard plastic greenhouse not yet. Got some borage plants from the nursery as well as the seeds I put out dubiously; starts always feel like I’ve gotten something right already. Also found a stash of old seeds tucked away, so am germinating clutches of ten to see how they’ll do.

    11. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Miserably cold and damp today. But I made myself go outside in the bright cold sunshine yesterday and pulled more of the bad tasting mint out of my lawn.
      I am worried about the rough stone retaining wall–it’s definitely shifting, and I don’t know if my wall-top garden is contributing.
      My irises are coming up all over. And a friend is going to trade me still more varieties for some of the lemongrass I overwintered. So I guess tomorrow is all about splitting the tender perennials. That’s something to look forward to!

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Sunday is an improvement. ..I spent it getting nowhere on a land drains issue and making massive headway on my weeding. (I99ntentional mint, unintentional bad tasting variety!)

    12. Sleepless*

      We’re finishing up with the messy part of spring in Atlanta. The dogwoods are finished blooming, so there are petals everywhere, to go along with the pine pollen and those tiny pod things that fall off the oak trees this time of year. Yes, the lovely tree canopy that covers my city does come at a price. Other than that, my hostas and hydrangeas are leafing out and my astilbes are coming up. My azaleas had a pretty good year. I ordered lantanas and a butterfly bush from a shop on Etsy and they blew me away…they arrived in perfect condition. I would have never imagined somebody could ship me a baby shrub in a mailing tube.

    13. Clisby*

      Checking in from Charleston, SC here – all 6 of our tomato plants have tomato babies now. Cilantro and basil doing fine. Peppers looking iffy. Our garden is pretty small because the backyard is so shady and only an insane person would eliminate shade in Charleston. From time to time I toy with the idea of turning the front yard into a garden – I’ve seen that at some homes here, where the walkway up to the house is planted with edibles instead of flowers.

      1. Clisby*

        Also, for indoor gardening: Both of my orchids are blooming, and the white poinsettia I bought from a school fundraiser is thriving in my kitchen window. All the new growth is dark green, and I have no interest in figuring out how to make it get pale, but it’s going strong.

        1. Dog Fosterer*

          From what I recall it goes pale as it gets older. Or maybe it was less sunlight? We would plant them outdoors in May, and by then they would look very pale and have a few leaves at the ends of spindly twigs.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        We did this, with big planters on the rock border. Geranium planters alternating with tomatoes. This year I’m thinking of trying for peas on a trellis as a backdrop.

    14. Campfire Raccoon*

      Harvested the last of the onions, artichokes, and fava beans. I pulled a few of the garlics to check their progress, but I think I’ll let them go at least another two weeks. The mulberries are ripe, so I have to shake the trees every morning.

      The tomatoes are now 5′ high and fruiting- though it’s not warm enough for them to ripen. Peppers are still short, but producing fruit quite well. I imagine once we hit the 90s next week, I’ll be able to start picking those. (usually I limp them along in the heat, and get a big harvest Aug-Dec.)

      Summer squashes are producing, herbs are still hanging on, and the peanuts are poking out of the soil. The anna apples have lots of fruit, so another 4-5 weeks until they’re ready. The galas are slower, and haven’t flowered yet. The grapes are going grapeshit, and without a goat this year, I might actually get some. The yard-long beans are climbing, as are the cukes, while the watermelons and muskmelons are waiting for the heat.

      And… i think that’s it.

  30. Doc in a Box*

    Like a lot of people, I’ve been having disturbing dreams for about a month or so, but last night’s was the worst — it was actually quite pleasant when happening, but I woke up angry with myself. Warning: Dream Logic Ahead!

    I woke up around 2:30 am and was unable to fall asleep for a long time. (This is my pattern when anxious or depressed, so I’ve learned to recognize it.) When I finally did get to sleep sometime after 4am, I dreamt that I was sitting on a park bench on a street in New York City, where I used to live. Lots of foot traffic. Warm, spring day, I was reading something. A minor Internet celebrity saw me and stopped to chat; I don’t know who this person was, but Dream-me definitely recognized them.

    After a while, I got up and started walking down the street toward the restaurant where I was supposed to meet my boyfriend. (In real life: ex-boyfriend, but in the dream we were still together) Along the way, I ran into his roommate, a good friend of mine in real life though we lost touch after the break up, who was like “Oh, I happen to be going that way too” so we chatted as we walked along. When we got to the restaurant, there was a line to get seated, and the host thought Roommate and I were together; Roommate was like “No, I’m meeting a big group” and I said “And I’m waiting for my boyfriend.”

    So I waited for an unspecified amount of time until Boyfriend arrived, late and charming (This was his MO in real life too.) The host led us to a cramped booth that had a live tree growing in the middle, and as I was moving the tree branches to get to the seat, Boyfriend said something to the host and we were moved outside to a pretty patio with twinkling lights.

    My dream skipped the actual dinner, but then at the end, he proposed, down on one knee and everything, and when he hugged me and kissed me he tasted like blackberries. The whole restaurant applauded and when I turned around the “big group” that Roommate had mentioned was everyone we had known in our nearly-four years together.

    I woke up so stinking mad. I haven’t thought about this guy in years! We were together from 2007-2010, until I realized that his handsome charming self hid some pretty vile perspectives — narcissism, misogyny, and racism was the final straw. It’s been a decade since I left him, and I don’t miss him at all. I get how the dream was trying to convey a desire for human closeness, stability and normalcy — I live alone, haven’t touched another human being or even had a face-to-face conversation in over a month — but why not one of the men I’ve dated since? Or even my puppy love college boyfriend, whom I genuinely do still think fondly of.

    The only explanation I can think of is that I watched an episode of World on Fire on PBS last night, which is about the German invasion of Poland at the start of WW2 — Ex-Boyfriend’s grandparents were Polish Jews who emigrated to Canada just before that, but most of the extended family was murdered. So I guess that little nugget that was buried somewhere in my brain was activated by watching the show, even though I wasn’t consciously aware of it at the time.

    1. Granger Chase*

      Our brain does funny things, especially when we’re anxious and sleep deprived.

      I actually thought this dream was going to go quite differently when you mentioned running into his roommate. That was the one person in the dream who you are actually fond of and maybe it was your subconscious urging you to reconnect? Many people are finding a silver lining of quarantine by using it to reconnect or repair social relationships with people. I know I have been talking to friends I have missed because life just got really busy/took us in different directions, and it’s nice to talk about how we will work to make time for each other still even after things start working their way back to normal.

      If it’s been 10 years I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reaching out to your former friend if you really did just drift apart due to the breakup without any animosity.

      1. Doc in a Box*

        Ha, not exactly what you think there; Ex’s roommate is gay and is now married to another man. But you’re right about using this pause to reach out and reconnect.

    2. Epsilon Delta*

      I’ve had a few dreams where I’m back together with my exes. Including some where I leave my husband to be with the jerk ex (wtf brain?). It can be upsetting for a day or so, but dreams are that way sometimes. Some dreams might have a deeper meaning, but others are just what our brain randomly decided to throw together.

    3. WineNot*

      That is such a crazy dream! I have always had very vivid dreams and usually write them all down. In real life, I hadn’t been thinking about my ex (2016-2019) much until this all began. He has been in my conscious thoughts more lately (not like I miss being with him, just glad that I can finally be happy without him and picture myself dating other guys, but also appreciate what we had), but has also been appearing in my dreams! We haven’t been together in these dreams, but he is there nonetheless.

      It’s so weird but I am attributing it to my brain reaching for feelings of comfort and safety (or what once provided comfort and safety) in this crazy time. Otherwise, I can’t imagine what the dream therapist might say!

  31. Marina Marina Marina*

    I need book recommendations. I really love novels by Amitav Ghosh. Whose books would I also enjoy?
    I’m looking for stories that are beautifully written and take me away from my cold and gray Northern European town (in space, maybe also in time although I prefer 20th century/contemporary). Bonus if it has strong female characters.
    I need to escape from my terrible work-life balance in quarantine, please help.

    1. Akcipitrokulo*

      Daughters of Nri by Reni K. Amayo is a fantasy set in a west-african analogue with two awesome twins, separated at birth.

    2. bright as yellow*

      Unaccustomed earth and the namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. They are beautiful stories of (mostly) Indian immigrants in the U.S. and their children.

      1. bright as yellow*

        Also, I just read the novella Delhi is not far, by Ruskin Bond. I was transported right into the story. It’s simple and honest writing, made me laugh out loud a couple of places, and it’s almost painfully beautiful at times.

      1. Belgian*

        I haven’t read Akata Witch, but wanted to recommend the Binti series by this author :-)

        1. HQB*

          I loved those! I feel like “Akata Witch” is closer to what OP asked for, though, so that’s what I went with.

    3. Bluebell*

      The Toss of a Lemon by Padma Viswanathan was great. I read it many years ago. Strong female characters. I also agree with the Jhumpa Lahiri suggestion.

      1. Imtheone*

        I just read the Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carlson. It’s a classic a lot of people don’t know about. A beautiful story about a Midwestern family and their life which seems simple and simple on the surface, but on a deeper level is complex.

    4. Avasarala*

      Maybe you’d like it: Where the Waters Turn Black by Benedict Patrick. It’s technically book 2 but each is a standalone in the series. Imagine Moana in a tropical archipelago, and she meets Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. Has a strong tone of myths and stories, gods and folklore. Bit older than your preferred timeline but I love to read about tropical settings in winter.

  32. Teapot Translator*

    Can we get a thread going of companies (in the art sense) that are showing free stuff online?
    If you go on YouTube, you can watch The Phantom of The Opera (25th Anniversary). Andrew Lloyd Webber is showing every weekend one of his musicals (first was Joseph, second Jesus Christ). It brings a lot of memory feelings back. I was a big fan in my teenage years.
    Also, the Met Opera is showing a free opera every day. I downloaded their app and I’ve been listening to different operas while working.

    1. Princess Deviant*

      National theatre are showing plays online on you tube. New one every week.
      English Touring Opera had some Easter stuff online (Bach’s Passion), and there was a free concert that Andrea Bocelli did also on Youtube.

    2. Virtual Light*

      Not quite a company, but definitely art – Jennifer Ehle (star of the classic 1995 BBC Pride & Prejudice) has been doing daily readings of Pride and Prejudice on Instagram. Now they are all up on her YouTube channel, easily found in a google search. It’s like a one-woman show (she does all the voices) and it’s something I’ve been looking forward to every day. She really makes the wit and humor of the story come alive.

    3. another scientist*

      The Berlin Philharmonics have made their whole concert archive available for free at digitalconcerthall.com

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

      The Berlin Philharmonie has free passes to their archive services! Also, Dutch National Opera and Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires (although the last one is the less techie of the bunch, maybe they will embrace YouTube after this)

    5. RagingADHD*

      We watched Phantom with the kids this morning!

      My husband & I were both huge fans as teens, and the kids hadn’t seen it. Lots of interesting, good talk about relationships, but also they seem to have fallen for the music in a wonderful way.

      1. Artemesia*

        I am not a musical fan but do like both Phantom and Les Mis — I took each of my kids when they were young teens and both loved them. I will try to look at the Phantom stream — I have been watching a met opera every day — that has been terrific.

    6. NoLongerYoung*

      Thank you for this! I’ve been catching the National Theater (London) performances (Jane Eyre last week)

      Nothing free to add, but I have been paying for the streaming of some live performances

      Blackfriars Playhouse of the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia is streaming productions of Shakespeare’s plays. While there is a charge, a portion goes to the actor’s fund.

      I bought an adapter that let’s me stream from my laptop to my older TV – functionally making it a “smart” TV. So I’ve been able to enjoy the concerts on YouTube and these performances. I’ll keep watching this thread. While I am WFH (I won’t post on the issues – working too much), I am trying very hard to adhere to my new year’s resolution of one movie or theater event a week.

  33. Beancat*

    Any advice for helping a bored kitten? He has all the toys in the world, a giant climbing/scratching tree, a little scratching post, a cozy bed, playtime with both my husband and I, and his brother to play with. Tulio is about seven months old and bitey – he loves to grab and claw and nibble my hand. I always firmly say no, place hin on the floor, and redirect him, but he comes back instantly to bite my hand.

    I want my kitty to be happy and not bored! But I also would like my hands and legs to not be his scratching posts. :( They’re both really sweet boys and I think he’s either bored or trying to show me affection…with his teeth. Thanks in advance!

    1. fposte*

      I don’t know that your kitten is bored; it just sounds like he’s a kitten and he’s found a fun stalking game. It may be a hard habit to break since it’s so rewarding.

      Kitten Lady on YouTube has a good video about biting kittens; it sounds like you’re doing a lot of the standards already but it wouldn’t hurt to watch her to see if there’s something additional you could do. Is this happening in a specific place or time? Think about prevention as well as response.

      1. Beancat*

        Thank you so much for the rec! I’ll check her out.

        Honestly I’m a-okay with it being just kitten behavior! I was afraid I was boring him and not stimulating him enough. I’ve never raised kittens so I want to be sure I’m doing the best I can for them, you know? :)

      2. tangerineRose*

        For biting, sometimes it can help if you make a sound like a small animal in pain. Also, walking away, maybe somewhere you can shut a door to keep the kitty out (even for a minute or 2) may help – gives the kitty a better idea that you don’t want to play like that.

          1. Beancat*

            Indeed he is! :) Miguel even has a star collar (“the stars…can’t do it…not today…”)

    2. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

      Yelp. It’s what he would do if someone bit him and it hurt. Watch when he plays with his brother and one gets a bit too rough. That noise. He knows what it means. And if the biter didn’t knock it off, the bitee would hiss or bite back to make him stop. I usually say “HEY!” or flick my cat on the side of the head. Not hard enough to hurt; in fact her brother would probably give a much more painful lesson. I know it’s not commonly accepted cat lore, but my family has always ended up with really great cats who trust us absolutely so it doesn’t break their spirit or anything.

      1. Beancat*

        There is so much yelping! Not even always because I’m trying to teach him – he barreled into my legs full on in excitement this morning and I didn’t see him coming so I yelped.

      1. Kuododi*

        Back when cats owned our home, we discovered a dusting of cayenne pepper or chili powder was helpful as a deterrent. Only downside was the pepper would irritated sinuses for 2+or 4 legged humans.. Best of luck.

    3. A New Normal*

      No real advice because one of my older cats took over playing with the kitten when she was that age but 5-8 months were the worst. It’s a good thing our kitten is stinkin’ adorable because she had SO MUCH energy and was large enough to cause damage with her momentum. Fortunately now, at 18mo, she’s calmer (still a torpedo at times, but less frequently) and only gets bitey when you go for her adorable belly (which is fair).

      1. Beancat*

        I’m baffled sometimes by how much weight can be behind something so small! His brother is bigger, but that’s just bludgeoning damage as he barrels into me while Tulio with his tiny claws is piercing damage.

        (Can you tell I’m in the middle of an online D&d game?)

  34. The Cosmic Avenger*

    I mentioned in a post this week that I’ve been staying sane by video chatting a lot with coworkers and friends. (I have a lot of friends at work, people who I exchange details about our families, and we get together outside of work.) Is anyone feeling isolated? Is there any interest in a group video/audio chat? I would have to get a link through moderation, though, so I’m not sure when it would be available. And of course, you’re welcome to use your username here rather than your real name, or even stay anonymous if you don’t want people linking your face to your username.

    The reason I’m asking instead of just doing it is that I posted a link on social media a couple of times, and in 3+ hours no one “showed up”. Despite having many other planned chats this week, that was really depressing for me. So I don’t want to attempt this if there’s no interest, it just makes it very hard for me to stay positive.

    1. Misty*

      I literally only talk to my roommates and my therapist. I haven’t seen anyone in 40 days now outside of the people I live with. In the beginning I was skyping with my group of friends and my two best friends separately but that’s def fallen off because no one has anything to say since we’re all home doing classwork/work 24/7.

      So yes, I would up for talking to you guys whenever. Idk if that’s something we could realistically do ever but I look forward to the weekend thread A LOT ever since the pandemic started.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Sorry, the link is still in moderation. Maybe we can drop in and out later…if this doesn’t work, how about 1400 GMT (10 am ET) tomorrow?

      Right now I’m just sitting in the chat room and switching back and forth from doing crosswords in another tab and watching ST: Voyager on Netflix. :)

      1. Misty*

        If you saw someone come in and then x out literally a minute later – that was me. My roommates are loud right now *eye roll* I’ll try again later when they all take their nap or go for walks. During the weekend things are chaotic sometimes here.

    3. Courageous cat*

      I think it’s really difficult to get random people together. You don’t want it to just be 2 or 3 people that show up and have to awkwardly talk, and it can be uncomfortable enough meeting up with strangers in person – doing it over Zoom can make it feel even more awkward for a lot of us.

      Not to say that your desires are unusual by any means, but just that I wouldn’t be too disappointed or take it too personally if no one shows up. It’s hard to hang out via Zoom even for people who’d want to see you if it were in person.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        That’s true, but on Facebook, there are plenty of people I know IRL. And it’s awkward even for me, but I strike up conversations with random strangers in lines for things, so I know I can do this.

        I think I’ll try to stay on for another 40 minutes, until 1400 ET, and then go exercise. I just finished the 1999 NYT crosswords, so I only have 20 years left in the archives. :D

    4. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Crap, I forgot the farmers market doesn’t open until 9am here, so I may not be back by 10am our time. I’ll try it as soon as I get back, though.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Well, I shouldn’t have said anything — we showed up a few minutes early and the line for the farm that has all kinds of meat and dairy was relatively short. (Usually you can wait half an hour or more, and they run out quickly.) We got chicken AND beef AND pork AND fresh blue cheese, plus some pastries from the local bakery…and I treated myself to a couple of pieces of their (bakery’s) quiche for later! :-d

  35. Not a frequent poster*

    Very good news in my family. My parents got a full price offer on their condo within two hours of being on the market. They moved into an assisted living facility in August (They are fine and no cases in their facility, but they are on lockdown). This was their downsize home after they sold my childhood home. Fingers crossed it will close by the end of May. Purchaser is taking a loan on her current home to have the cash to buy. She is preapproved. She will sell her current home after the purchase so no sale contingency. The condo is pretty unique in their area as it is one floor /ground floor model. Mom has Parkinson’s so that was a requirement when they moved there. I was very concerned about how they were going to pay their monthly bills to the facility. They have long term care insurance. It has been a godsend for them and they potentially will use the full four years of benefits, but they still have to outlay about $6,000 a month to the facility (total bill is about $15,000 per month.) They have spent most of their liquid assets so the next thing would be to sell stock of which there is a limited amount. The proceeds will pay about three years of what they owe monthly. This is a huge weight off my shoulders potentially as I was thinking about how I could help them pay a portion of the monthly bill before the house sold without wreaking my retirement in eight years. It is also a huge relief for my Dad as he worries about money. He is a child of the Depression. We all need some good news.

    1. Anono-me*

      That is wonderful news. Thank you for sharing. It is always nice to hear good things, but especially now.

    2. Artemesia*

      Amazing in this situation. Glad. We sold a condo a year ago and thought we had bad timing — and then a bunch came on the market and it turns out we got the best price that year for a place like ours (we still lost a little on it) and the others just didn’t sell over the spring. One or two are now rented and the others were sold at a lower price.

      We are so grateful we moved as we now have a fabulous view and lots of space for this shut down.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      My parents were depression kids. I am so glad that things went well for your folks on this one.

  36. Red Sky*

    TLDR: What to do with expired hand sanitizer?

    I’ve got 8 of the big Purell 1200 ml bottles of foaming hand sanitizer that expired in 2016. They were stored in the back of a supply closet and the Active Ingredient is 70% Ethyl Alcohol. The CDC states min requirement for Covid 19 is 60% ethyl alcohol (vs 70% for isopropyl alcohol). All my research done online states the alcohol content will reduce over time, but there is a chance this might still be good, and expired hand sanitizer is better than no hand sanitizer. I’ve tried contacting the manufacturer to see what they recommend, but haven’t heard anything back in 2 weeks so I imagine they’re just super overwhelmed. Local organizations who are collecting donations of PPE don’t want it for liability reasons, so I was going to post it for free on Craigslist or Nextdoor, but I’m just not sure if I should give it away or just chuck it, which seems like a huge waste if some can use it. Thoughts?

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      If it was sealed, I don’t think the alcohol could evaporate, or not much of it could. I would still use it…in fact, I am using bottles of old sanitizer! It still evaporates quickly, so I can tell it’s still mostly alcohol and not water. I may check the evaporation rate against newer bottles, see if I can estimate the percentage of remaining isopropyl, though, now that you mention it.

    2. Blue Eagle*

      Definitely put it on Craigslist or Nextdoor. We had someone put some sanitizer that expired in 2015 on Nextdoor last week and it was snapped up in less than 24 hours.

    3. Red Sky*

      I guess my main hesitation is that some nefarious person might repackage and sell them in small bottles or use in their business (they’re the big kind that go in a dispenser like they’ve been putting for customers to use at the entrances and exits of grocery stores) without disclosing they’re expired. But maybe that risk is somewhat diminished if I use Nextdoor rather than Craigslist.

    4. another scientist*

      It will be just fine. The salient point is that ‘Since hand sanitizer is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it’s required by law to have an expiration date and lot number.’ So, even if there isn’t any loss in efficacy, they are forced to print one on. Same goes for things like table salt.
      You can check: If your bottles had fine cracks or leakage, and some alcohol were able to evaporate, you could see whether the contents of the bottles look lower than you would expect for an unopened bottle. If the alcohol making up 70% of the contents has disappeared to a significant amount, it would affect the fill line.

    5. Red Sky*

      Thanks y’all! There are no cracks in the bottles and they look very full so I went ahead and put them up for free on Nextdoor.

  37. StressedButOkay*

    How are folks making downtime different than working? Everything’s blending together and I keep trying to “plan” things like board games or movie nights but we keep ending up too tired to do anything more than read or play video games. Weekends used to be super packed and busy for us and something to look forward to and I do still look forward to the time off but certainly not as much as I used to!

    1. WellRed*

      I haven’t really been ordering takeout, but when I do it’s on the weekend. When I wrap up work on Friday, and take my walk, I pick up a bottle of wine at the corner store and I am also doing a lot of self care on Friday evening, (lotions, masks, cuticle oil). I am planting radishes this weekend. I just look for small stuff I can leave for the weekend. Reading and TV don’t cut it since I do that daily.

    2. Ranon*

      Massive weekend cleaning projects, mostly. And we’ve always done the majority of our cooking and cleaning on weekends anyways so keeping that going too

    3. Elizabeth West*

      I’ve been trying to get things done during the day and then make nighttime TV time. When Mum has nothing to do, she will sit and crochet and watch TV all day long, but I don’t even turn it on (or currently, access streaming sites). Watching whatever shows I’m working my way through or a movie is my reward for doing other things. It also helps divide the day up, since I have to go upstairs or outside to get any natural light.

    4. LDN Layabout*

      Create different environments if you can (even if you live in a tiny space).

      Work only happens in the work corner, on my work laptop. The work corner is ONLY used for work and nothing else. Even when my backside thinks the sofa would be comfier and I don’t need two screens (laptop and monitor) for a meeting.

      I also have some adult colouring stuff that I’ve been using in short work lulls and I’ve found I don’t access it outside of work time.

  38. ONFM*

    My neighbors have completely quit social distancing. It’s like a block party out here and I’m so disappointed and furious at them, and I really need help getting over it. It’s hard to explain to my kids why they can’t go out and play when literally 4 households of kids are together, right in front of our windows. One of the dads approached my husband in the driveway last week and asked why we weren’t out with everyone, and started talking about government conspiracies. How am I supposed to be civil to these people when this is all over?

    1. Argh!*

      After this is all over, you can be civil to them by going to their graves and leaving flowers.

    2. Laura H.*

      You’ll manage. I don’t know how but you will be civil with these people, even if that civility is in the form of NOT wringing their necks/ not acknowledging them beyond maybe “hello fellow human” type reactions for however long you see fit.

      You’re responsible for your and you’re family’s health and well-being.

      Do I think these measures are a bit of an overreaction as a whole? I have to say yes I do. But I won’t deny that it’s working!! Likewise these people who are eager for normalcy to the point of “forget the well-being of others” is also an overreaction- one with NO positives whatsoever.

      To a point, I don’t trust the media, or government farther than I can throw it, and I don’t entirely trust statistics because there’s so much discrepancy depending on where you get them from. I don’t trust conspericy nuts either. I have my own weird hang ups and don’t need part in anyone else’s. But I know that:

      1. This virus is a problem not only because of it itself but because of consequent other possible ick that comes from it too.

      2. I live with people who this could really mess with. It likely would lay me out for a while at the very least. (If it’s like the flu- that still sucks and put me on my back for a week and a half years ago and that was with the vaccine.)

      3. There’s no widespread immunity yet. And while I’m more diligent with hand-washing than I have ever been, there are likely hygienic gaps I don’t know I’m missing (and good god I touch my face a lot despite my best efforts).

      So while your neighbors wouldn’t quite infuriate me (barring being stupid directly in my face), I’d still be giving them major side-eye. Because regardless of what numbers are given, if they can’t see that this IS an issue, there’s something wrong.

      I understand the want for normalcy but it shouldn’t come at the cost of another’s peace of mind.

      I’m sorry your neighbors are jerks at the very least or willfully ignorant and beyond at worst.

      1. Agnodike*

        I’m really curious about this: “Do I think these measures are a bit of an overreaction as a whole? I have to say yes I do. But I won’t deny that it’s working!!”

        Is your perspective that lesser restrictions would work just as well? What would you change, and how do you think it would affect viral spread? I’m asking because I work in healthcare and one of the things I’m most interested in is public perception of public health measures, especially where they intersect with citizenship/freedom discourse.

        1. Laura H.*

          Maybe I said that wrong. It does seem like a bit much, but given that a lot of people are terrible self-regulators (Myself included- if these measures weren’t in place, I would be so unintentionally blasé about this and go on as normal, in a non-malicious not my problem sort of way.) these restrictions need to be in place for the greater good.

          Even if I think it’s a bit much and came on a bit fast, the measures are working and regardless of my opinion, general trends pointing towards success/ slowing the spread entice me to follow the restrictions, along with awareness of the three points in my original comment.

          1. Agnodike*

            I’m not suggesting you’re not working for the public good :) If you don’t mind elaborating a little more, I am genuinely really interested in your perception. Here’s why:

            For most people, that line seems to be at “it’s working.” It’s usually very easy for people to believe that something was necessary if the desired result happened at the same time as the intervention, which is why so many people want antibiotics for their cold. They took the antibiotics, and their cold got better, therefore they must have needed the antibiotics! It’s very hard to convince them that no, their cold happened to get better on its own at the same time that they took the antibiotics, and the two are not connected.

            What interests me about what you’ve said is that you think this is working, but you also don’t think it’s necessary, which is pretty unusual. So I’d love to hear more about what you think is too much, what you think “just enough” would look like, and why this feels like “too much” and not like “a lot, but a proportional response to a problem that’s also a lot.”

            But you have no obligation to assuage my curiosity if you don’t want to! :) I’m not looking for a reason to disagree, I’m just sincerely very interested.

          2. Fikly*

            I too am trying to understand this.

            Are you saying that you believe the behavior commanded by the restrictions is needed, but mandating this behavior is not needed, or an overreach?

          3. Elizabeth West*

            Someone said in an article I read that if it works, it will absolutely look like an overreaction. And Fauci said almost the same thing–if you’re overreacting you’re doing the right thing. When you say “this is a new disease; nobody has any immunity to it, and we don’t know if the people who survive it will either,” people’s eyes glaze over. It’s more than they can handle, so they choose not to. I think that’s why some people pooh-pooh it. I’m not including the ones whose heads have rotted from the inside out from years of conspiracy theories.

            We’re really bad at threat assessment as a species, especially when things look normal. Most of us don’t live in a hotspot. But it’s hard for a lot of folks to parse that we are indeed doing the right thing, especially when it hurts to do it. We want it to stop.

            1. tangerineRose*

              People can be odd. “this is a new disease; nobody has any immunity to it, and we don’t know if the people who survive it will either,” is mainly why the whole shelter in place seems more than reasonable.

            2. Agnodike*

              Usually those two different understandings don’t happen in the same person, though, which is why I think “if it works, it will look like we overreacted” is pretty condescending every time I read it. The implication is that people who are really in the know will understand that it worked, and the ignorant will just see low case counts and assume that it was a case of overkill, not understanding the link. Whereas I actually think most people are pretty smart and if you can explain stuff to them in a way that resonates with how they understand the world, can understand most complex concept in healthcare. At least that’s been my experience providing healthcare to people.

        2. Ann O.*

          I hope you don’t mind if I chime in because I also think certain aspects of the shelter-in-place measures are overreacting, but that shelter-in-place as a whole worked. Also, I think certain aspects are UNDERREACTING.

          I am in the Bay Area, so those are the measures I am working with. I am not a virologist or chemist, but I have been reading a lot from the Twitter circle of virologists so have a decent layperson’s understanding.

          I think Bay Area measures have overreacted with limiting access to public spaces and barring outdoor work like construction and landscaping. As far as I can tell, these choices are motivated primarily by general public perception of them rather than actual risk. Access to outdoor environments are important for mental and physical health. It also feels dissonant with the experience of standing in long lines waiting to enter a grocery store, which I never see anyone criticize or express concern about.

          I also am questioning the discouragement of things like socially distant gatherings in outdoor environments (e.g. having a friend come over to hang out in a backyard, socializing with one person in a car in a driveway and the other on a yard, even drive-in church celebrations and movie theaters). I recognize my lack of expertise, but I cannot envision how these would lead to transmission of a respiratory virus in anything other than the flukiest of circumstances. And again, the closer we can get to old normalcy, the better for people’s mental health.

          Where I think we have underreacted is with indoor environments. I have no idea what I would do if I got sick. My spouse has an undiagnosed condition that spikes blood pressure, so we’re treating him as high risk right now. As far as I know, I have no option other than to risk exposing him at home. What do we do with our child if we both fall sick? Meanwhile, essential workers are still in indoor environments, and it seems like there are few consistent standards for trying to regulate safety in those environments. The Bay Area is just now requiring masks for patronizing essential businesses.

          It seems like most of our ongoing clusters or spikes are associated with indoor essential environments or multi-people residencies. Shelter in place does nothing for that.

          So it does feel like shelter in place was this necessary hammer to bring numbers to peak, but that there are ways it can be eased up to both let more people work and to ease mental/physical health issues caused by being cooped up. It also seems like there are obvious, significant gaps that are just being left as gaps.

          1. Old and Don’t Care*

            I agree with you, and I think we need to know a lot more about how to keep people safe in offices and other businesses and worry a lot less about people taking reasonable precautions outside. I hope the powers that be have guidance for the former.

          2. Catherine*

            This aligns very much with my opinion. My neighborhood has civil servants posted outdoors with megaphones telling us not to be outside, which discourages even masked solo walks for exercise.

            I’m also frustrated with how eager so many people are to judge and police how necessary other people’s errands or purchases are. I’ve even noticed it on this site several times this week, even though we’re usually so good as a community at recognizing that different people have different needs and that people need small pleasures to make the huge miseries bearable.

            A lot of the restrictions we’re under are necessary but they’re absolutely bringing out the worst in other people. I simply won’t discuss any of my own purchases or coping mechanisms in public because I have no tolerance for everyone shouting “I saw Goody Proctor buying chocolate during the pandemic!”

            1. Lynn Whitehat*

              Good Lord, yes on the judging and criticizing. People keep showing up on my neighborhood NextDoor to whine and complain that they still see people taking walks and riding bicycles. Exercising is a specific exception to our local shelter in place ordinance. And it makes a big difference in maintaining sanity, especially for parents of young children. But it’s the same people every day, posting “what part of stay home and shelter in place don’t you jerks understand?“

              1. Old and Don’t Care*

                Yeah, I’m not familiar with every state’s orders but all the ones I’ve seen allow for, and often encourage outdoor exercise. Which makes sense to me, given the high co-morbidities with diabetes and hypertension, and how good exercise is for both conditions. Where I live, state parks and local parks and recreational trails are open. And someone posted on NextDoor “I read on another social media site that people are still doing their long runs at {local multi use trail}…if people keep using the trails the Governor will have to shut them down.” Priceless.