weekend free-for-all – May 23-24, 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: All Adults Here, by Emma Straub. This is a story about the messiness of families, as all Emma Straub’s novels are: a grandmother who rethinks her life when she sees an acquaintance get hit by a bus, a teenager granddaughter who comes to live with her after an upsetting incident at school, the friend she makes in her new town, and a web of family members all intertwined.

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

{ 1,675 comments… read them below }

  1. anonThisTime*

    Has anyone used Discover Card’s CDs (certificate of deposits)? Were they good/bad/other?

    1. fposte*

      I have. They’re fine. For CDs, as long as you’re not getting into a really suspect or flaky bank, they’re likely all to be fine; it’s just a question of duration and chosen rate.

    2. Squidhead*

      I have in the past. We have a money market account with them too so it was easy to buy the CD from our funds and then at the end of the term have the money just go back into our account. I never needed to take out funds early or do anything complicated. We also have a Discover credit card and all accounts will show up when you log in, in case that’s an issue.

      Last I checked (2 weeks ago?) The interest rate for the MMA and the 1-year CDs were both less than 1.5%, and I imagine this is comparable to everywhere else right now!

      1. Kate Daniels*

        Chase was 0.2%. Not a typo! I opted not to enter into a new term when one of my CDs reached maturity a couple weeks ago.

      2. anonThisTime*

        Discover Card looked like it was one of the higher interest rates. Maybe bonds are a better idea now.

      3. Public Sector Manager*

        I just got a mailer yesterday from Goldman Sachs and their new product Marcus was doing a high-yield savings account at 1.3% with no set minimum deposit required. I ended up using Marcus for a personal loan last year and the approval was less than 5 minutes and the money was in my account in about a half-hour. No problems using them so far.

  2. Treebeardette*

    What do you do to cope with stress in your life? Books, tips, shows, etc? I’m way more stressed at this time for obvious reasons and I need to pick up better coping skills. Keep it positive, please!

    1. Drew*

      Maybe a little “trite” but I make sure to get physical activity every single day, seven days a week, whether running, walking, biking or yoga (and sometimes 2x/day). Don’t underestimate the mental impact of physical exercise and its positive effect on stress.

      1. Lena Clare*

        Good point!
        I walk, as far as I can although I have bad bad joints so sometimes it’s really painful.

        I can start a walk overthinking stuff and not paying attention, but then my mind calms down the further I go, so by the end I’m just thinking of putting one foot in front of the other.

        I miss swimming! The pool is closed right now. You’ve reminded me that I want to buy a bike, and to try Pilates!

        1. Caroline Bowman*

          a good option for dicey joints is rebounding, aka trampolining. I was advised to do it as a counterpoint to running, because I was getting bad plantar fascitis and the podiatrist said that it is an excellent, calorie-burning, sweat-making activity that does no harm to joints and is gentle. Good for circulation too, lymph drainage and so on. You can get a little one and just do short youtube videos and you’ll soon get into it! It’s quite uplifting, not just literally (so witty!) but fun and a bit silly.

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          I added in occasional Pilates, as I am limited in how much weight-on-legs exercise I can do and my former saviour, the pool, is closed. A lot of the exercises are done on the floor rather than standing.

          1. allathian*

            I miss my weekly Tai Chi classes. I have the opposite problem, sitting on the floor is painful, I’m too stiff to squat on my haunches, so yoga and Pilates are out because you have to be on the floor so much.

            1. Koala dreams*

              I do some simple yoga exercises sitting on a chair or on an exercise ball. It’s not a full work out by any means, but it’s something. There are some chair exercises out there if you are interested.

          2. Lena Clare*

            Yeah my podiatrist says I have hypermobility so yoga is making it worse, and I should do Pilates instead.

      2. epi*

        This is a really important one. Physical activity reduces stress, it is simply how our bodies and emotions work. Find a way to move your body that you find enjoyable, or at least tolerable and repeatable, right now. Don’t worry about getting fit or self improvement; focus on the immediate benefits to your mental and emotional well-being. Those rewards will help you build an exercise habit you’ll always want to go back to. Personally, I like yoga and going for walks. There are tons of free yoga videos available online now that don’t require you to have much equipment or any experience.

        If you think you don’t have time, dancing, getting up and stretching, going up and down the stairs a few times, or standing up and doing a lightly active chore like doing dishes or cleaning the floors all count as moving your body. They can also allow you to zone out and relax your brain for a bit. Take a quick one if stress or tiredness is interfering with something more sedentary that you are doing.

        I would also recommend the book “Burnout” by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski. While the book was written for women, it discusses how to safely and healthfully deal with chronic stress, without checking out of things that are important to you. I think it would be relevant to almost anyone right now for that reason. The book also talks about other good ways to deal with stress, including things you can do when exercise truly isn’t an option.

        1. Phlox*

          I’m halfway through Burnout and it’s such a great read, acknowledging structural underpinnings of stress (racism, sexism and more influence your reality!), actual science and really great practical here’s what to do.

    2. Kiitemso*

      The book Burnout by Emily Nagoski really helped me deal with stress. It is specifically directed at women’s stress but it has advice for any gender. It goes into science and one of the most important things I got from it that stress is a physical reaction and requires a physical response, you unfortunately can’t just “think” it away.

      Since then, I’ve tried to do something physical if I feel stressed. Exercise, even if it’s just light yoga or a walk.

      1. WickedWitch*

        I have found that audio books (for my purpose mostly light fiction/mysteries and some humor and biographies) are my drug of choice. Some podcasts too, if they don’t hit any buttons which make you mad, sad, anxious, up tight, etc. As I’ve aged I often either can’t get to sleep or I wake up too often. So I turn my book on, hope it puts me to sleep, and just rewind to the last thing I remember the next time I want to listen. I listen if I want to while cooking, cleaning, walking, yard work – sometimes even in the shower!

        I put the books on my phone and use an inexpensive-ish regular Bluetooth phone earpiece. I don’t need a noise blocking headset, I don’t use it for that purpose. Most libraries have audio books to borrow, and I’m lucky that my daughter lives in a big metro area with a bigger library than my area has, so I have access to 2 libraries to download from.

        When my mind isn’t necessarily occupied with useful tasks, it sometimes likes to worry, fret go in circles, or fixate on things I can do nothing about. This pretty much keeps me from needless negative thinking!

        1. Kate Daniels*

          Yes! I have had the hardest time concentrating on reading over the past two months, but I’m getting through a lot of books via audiobooks. Organizing and tidying up my apartment has also helped reduce my stress and anxiety because it makes me feel like I have control over *something*, and audiobooks and cleaning go well together hand in hand.

      2. Kate*

        That book is seriously awesome. The need to close out the stress cycle completely changed how I saw stress, and yes, I have also started getting physical and stopped trying to “think it away”.

    3. Not A Manager*

      Maybe this is too rudimentary, but for me it’s very important to structure my life as if I were not stressed. What I mean is, I try to maintain a predictable sleep schedule, I try to eat my main meals at mealtime (I’m always a grazer), I try to keep my space somewhat tidy, I try to maintain my stretching and exercise routine.

      It’s not quite “fake it til you make it.” It’s more that for me, letting those things slide sort of reinforces my feeling of being stressed. So maybe it doesn’t *address* the stress, but it helps keep it from getting worse.

      1. BethDH*

        This is important to me too. I’ve realized that anything in my life that is out of joint adds to my stress. Even more importantly, the stress increase contributed by something is often out of measure with the thing. Having the sink empty is one of those things for me. So is having showered within the last 24 hours. Little things can be surprisingly big.

    4. nep*

      As others have said, exercise.
      A good cry can help, if it comes…but for me it rarely comes.
      Watching funny shows/blooper reels.
      Listening to speakers whose words/approaches resonate with me.
      Deep breathing.
      EFT tapping.

      Hope you’ll find some relief.

    5. Retail not Retail*

      Walking my dang dog and reading.

      This is the no work thread but my work is not super stressful when compared to like a salaried office job. Clock in, do hard physical labor, clock out, forget what you did immediately.

      Also while we were closed to the public I really enjoyed walking through the empty park taking pictures and playing pokemon go.

      Ah yes, walking the dog includes pokemon go. I mean. Obviously.

    6. chi chan*

      Two things I usually do is ASMR to fall asleep and journaling. I write down all thoughts and worries. Sometimes that helps identify where the stress is coming from too, like social media or the news or my mom. Then I try to reduce it at the source. After writing everything down try to divide it into what you can and can’t control. But writing is cathartic in itself.

    7. Hotdog not dog*

      Reading, walking the dog, and gardening. The trick with the reading is to choose something challenging (I just finished a nonfiction book about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge) so that my mind has to stay focused on the book instead of meandering off. If I read something too light I just end up ruminating. Pulling weeds can be very satisfying, both because you can see your progress and if you’re frustrated by something you can project that onto the weeds and then yank them (weed and frustration combined) out of the ground and throw them away. Since my dog takes extreme joy in going for walks, it’s almost impossible not to pick up on his good vibes. I hope you find something that works for you, we’re all challenged with this right now!

        1. Kate*

          Here I was scrolling down and this caught me unawares… to paln a wedding in order to fight boredom?

      1. Clisby*

        Every day I go out for at least 15 minutes and fight the good fight against the encroaching jungle in my back yard. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate Virginia Creeper? Probably not. I’m motivated to get as much done as possible while Charleston, SC weather is still bearable because once we hit July there is not a single hour in the day when I’d be willing to do this.

    8. Coco*

      Structure def helps for me. Lately time being more blobby than usual has been stressful so keeping the weekly/ daily schedule as normal as possible has helped.
      For me it means the same level of alcohol consumption as previously. Making Sunday, cinnamon roll Sunday. Getting up at the same time to walk the dogs. Making the bed daily. Doing laundry once a week. Anything that keeps my head in ‘this is normal and fine and we are on autopliot’ territory.

    9. bring on the silver*

      Exercise – specifically going for a walk before I start my work day. Even if it’s just 10 minutes, I can tell it helps.
      Gardening – and researching gardening things online. My fantasy garden is a lot more impressive than my real garden, which consists of about 10 pots on my patio, but I am veryyy knowledgable about a lot of things I will never get the chance to use.
      Puzzling – after I clock out (I’m wfh these days) I have a glass of wine and sit and work on my current puzzle. I’ll often listen to a podcast or music but a lot of times I just decompress.
      Weekly zoom meeting with friends – this is good overall but sometimes I bow out when I’ve just been on my computer too much and can’t deal with another obligation

    10. Treebeardette*

      Hey everyone! I love all the replies. I’ll continue to read them as they roll in. Thank you! This is giving me great ideas.

    11. Book Lover*

      Cross stitch. Listening to podcasts that have nothing to do with what is going on right now. Good tv from the 90s and 00s.

      1. Lili*

        I heart cross stitch. I Just tried a needle felting kit I got for Christmas. Stabbing something repeatedly is also cathartic and as a bonus, you get something artistic and pretty at the end.

      2. Jedi Squirrel*

        Second the podcast rec. I have a couple of cryptozoological and paranormal podcasts that I binge when I walk. It’s fun listening to weird stuff and getting some exercise at the same time.

    12. Jackalope*

      Exercise has been my biggest; if nothing else it wears me down enough that I can actually get some sleep at night rather than worrying about Things, which helps. I’ve been doing a lot of comfort reading of old favorites; I’ve also read some new stuff but had a few nasty surprises (like reading at a friend’s recommendation the book Station 11, which through horrible timing I got [not knowing the plot or what it was about at all] in the middle of March….). I’ve been trying to be gentle with myself as far as keeping myself busy enough at house upkeep (basic cleaning, etc.) to have the house be a reasonable place to live but also knowing I have less mental energy for it. And when I was younger I had a video game that I played at a cousin’s house and loved but never got to finish. My husband happens to have a copy of it (redone a tiny bit but otherwise still the same), and so I picked this time to play it. I get the feeling of Saving the World, can relax while grinding, and the music brings back happy memories of a good time in my life visiting family.

    13. Fikly*

      The general can be applied to most everyone version is that I make sure I have a list of coping activities, so when one stops working, I’m not out of options.

      And it can be really helpful to have that list written down, because thinking of what will help when you are super stressed out is a lot harder than thinking of those things when you are not stressed out.

      My mains are podcasts, tv, reading, and cross stitching.

    14. Mark*

      Pet therapy. When I get home from work, I play with the dogs for awhile. Then I sit back in the recliner with one or two cats on my lap and the dogs at my feet, and watch TV. It is soooo relaxing to be surrounded by animals that think you are the coolest person ever!

    15. lazy intellectual*

      I just try to stay as busy and active as possible:

      – Yoga and stretching help a lot
      – Listening to music or audiobooks while I cook and clean
      – I watch funny videos on YouTube to cheer me up
      – Go on walk as daily as possible
      – Calls/video chats with friends and family help a lot, too
      – I’ve re-taken to creative hobbies I had more or less abandoned as an adult like painting, writing, and playing the keyboard
      – I’m not big into T.V. but I’ve been occasionally watching movies on the weekends while baking or something

      I’ve been stressed, too. Hang in there!

    16. Natalie*

      For me, managing my stress is not just what I actively choose to do (read a book, watch a funny YouTube video, good sleep, and exercise) but also what activities I choose to avoid.
      At least two days a week I don’t read or watch any news, and on those days I also stay off of social media.
      I’m kind of a news-junkie, so at first it was really hard to give up my daily newspaper reading, but it’s been good for my blood pressure.
      I didn’t go complete cold-turkey; but carving out parts of my life to be politics free has been really healthy for me.
      YMMV, of course! :-)

      1. Kate Daniels*

        I love the idea of taking a break from all news and social media at least two days a week! I was planning on potentially cutting all screen time for myself either tomorrow or on Monday.

    17. Misty*

      Exercise every day if possible, also keeping up a schedule (such as showering, a good sleep schedule, wearing actually clothes instead of PJs all day even though I’m staying home all day), limiting the news, listening to upbeat music

      Also watching funny youtube videos helps. Yesterday I felt really stressed then I watched this five minute youtube video and I started laughing and I felt better after. A pretty small time commitment for a big benefit!

    18. Elizabeth West*

      Exercise (mostly walking) and meditation, although I’m finding it extremely difficult to do either right now because of my location. They do help, though.

    19. Stephanie*

      I’ve discovered Yoga with Adriene on Youtube. She has lots and lots of videos, but I started her 30 days of yoga series and it has really helped me cope with all of the stress. They’re all relatively short (under 30 minutes, some are a lot shorter), and you don’t need any experience with yoga to do it.

    20. charo*

      I read myself to sleep. Usually current Mysteries. Not that original, I know.
      BUT if you’re NOT a mystery reader, know that there are lots of genres, some dark, some “cozy,” and some “funny.”
      If you find the one you like it can be very distracting from your life and easy enough to read that it’s relaxing. Not always that violent, either, more a game of wits.

      Jigsaw puzzles are relaxing for me too; as a big reader, how non-verbal it is is calming.

      Cooking and Baking are satisfying but currently dangerously fattening. Stress Baking is so tempting now.

      I used to do Crossword Puzzles but lately, as a news junkie, I just can’t. It feels like work.

  3. Dorothy Perkins*

    Has anyone here had a romantic relationship where you were the opposite of your partner in terms of eating and physical habits? How did it work in the long run? My partner being a real health and exercise nut, and me not so much. We are compatible in other ways, but I sometimes feel like she is overdoing it on the exercising and dieting and wanting to keep her super thin weight/frame. The relationship is good but I feel like these things are getting in the way sometimes. I worry about her weight too. I would appreciate any who has experience with this weighing in.

    1. Kiitemso*

      I find if you can find compromise between extremes it will work. My dad’s fiancee is a gym/health nut who never uses butter or eats pasta, my dad loves physical activity but also loves food and enjoys cooking something delicious but high in calories. At first he was steaming vegetables with lean meats but soon enough he started going back to his usual ways and she eased up on her eating when she was with him, though she still never eats dessert. So in essence they met half-way. Exercise is important to both but they do different things – he does martial arts, biking and running, she does gym and jogging. Sometimes they hike together.

      It also helps neither of them judges the other. Sometimes they tease each other about the other’s habits but it’s never mean-spirited.

    2. The Twelfth Doctor*

      I was engaged to a woman who was like your partner. Like your relationship, we were compatible in many ways but the diet and exercise divide was too great for us. She was very thin when we met, and had lost more weight during the course of us dating. It wasn’t healthy, she looked sick to the point where people noticed and commented and exercise monopolized all her free time. It’s not much of a relationship when you don’t see the other person. It was years ago, through mutual friends I know she married a personal trainer and I have seen photos of her online. She is still really thin and it has aged her. But I’m married to a wonderful woman now. My ex and I were just not meant to be. We couldn’t make it work.

    3. Not A Manager*

      I’m not sure if your post is a code for “I’m concerned about my partner’s physical or mental health.” There’s a difference between having different choices and priorities, and being worried about your partner’s wellbeing.

      1. Washi*

        Yes, “my partner likes to exercise more than I do” is a different level of question from “I think my partner might have an eating disorder/other health problem.” The first I’ve found to be a pretty easily surmountable problem as the more active partner, as long as you can each see the value in the other’s approach (my husband appreciates that I get him moving, I appreciate that he helps me relax.)

        The second is more challenging. Have you talked about it with her? How does exercise and dieting make her feel? How much of her day does she spend thinking about her weight? What does she see as the benefits of her approach, and what are the cons? Regardless of what’s happening, I think the most important thing is that you be able to talk about it honestly (if you aren’t already). Not to fix her, but from a place of curiosity and wanting to understand the person you love.

        1. runner*

          Talking about things honestly and with a goal to understanding is really important, I echo this!

          I did want to add, as someone who loves running (e.g. double-digit runs on weekends, running 6ish days a week) that sometimes a healthy appreciation for a particular sport is read as being an “exercise nut” who has an inherently bad relationship with their body. Loving to run long distances and watching what I eat accordingly is not the same thing as having an eating disorder, at least for me. (This varies so widely by person, of course.)

          In any case, it can be a little wearying for people to assume there’s something wrong, just because we enjoy exercise (there was an AITA this week along these lines). I’m not saying you assume this, only pointing out the importance of understanding and listening.

          You may find that your interests aren’t compatible, or come away with a different appreciation for each other’s passions, but an honest talk geared to understanding will make that smoother.

          Good luck!

          1. university minion*

            Everything you said is true, but I’ve also seen running (and triathlon) training as a way to check out of a relationship. After a million years on the edge of the running and tri communities, I can predict the year’s divorces (and subsequent new hookups) with amazing accuracy as soon as mileage starts ramping up. “Meet my cool, healthy new friends”. “Nope, can’t today, I have my long ride and lunch/beers afterward.” etc, etc.
            I love to run and cycle. I’ve trained for long events. Families need to be open and communicate how to work a time consuming hobby into family life. I’ve seen it go off the rails too many times to consider it a fluke.

            1. runner*

              Yeah, no, using running to check out of a relationship is bad. It’s important to build relationships beyond just “I like doing this” and “maybe I’m using this as a way to make hookups.”

              That said, most/all of the runners I know are running to run, not running to hookup. :shrug emoji: And I just get tired from people who assume that I must have some kind of disorder because I like running long-distance.

              1. university minion*

                I enjoy it, too, but also have other hobbies and can carry on a conversation that goes beyond, “I ran 4 hours yesterday. Check out my Strava. It was hot outside. Bob and Joe are faster than me, so after mile 9 I couldn’t keep up.” That’s often lacking in my running acquaintances and I’m thankful for the couple of well-rounded friends I have whose lives include exercise but aren’t consumed by it.
                The lines between hobby and consuming obsession are blurry for a lot of folks.

              2. university minion*

                runner, I’m pretty sure none of the partnered people who took up ultrarunning (or whatever) did it intending to search for a new partner.
                They did use it as an escape from issues/reality that were already present and as a way to avoid those dealing with the reality of their present life.

            2. Not a cat*

              This. Wow. I hadn’t thought about it this way. A good friend of mine is a marathon runner/iron man doer. And he’s not so happy with his partner.

            3. Marion Ravenwood*

              Agreed. When I was getting divorced, I lost a ton of weight because I was running more, because if I was running then I didn’t have to think about other stuff – I could just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. I still go for a run or walk when I need to resolve a knotty problem as it helps with my thinking, but it took me a fair while to realise that *literally* running away from my problems wasn’t that healthy.

              However, when I was training for my 10k-that-never-happened earlier this year, I’d factor my training runs in around when I was seeing my boyfriend/friends/work commitments etc. I’m about to start training for a half marathon that’s hopefully happening in October, and I intend to take the same approach (although I suspect this is where being an early bird and lighter mornings will come in handy!). It’s all about striking the balance and, as you say, being open about how to fit the hobby into your life, which I think applies to any time-consuming activity.

            4. Fit enough, maybe?*

              I have to agree here regarding the ultra community. I saw several divorces when the one person focused on training and events, and the other was left dealing with the home/children/cooking/ cleaning/ boring details of regular life. I also saw one great and healthy relationship start as the two were very much on the same page as far as athletics.
              Personally, I’m naturally a sloth who loves food. When I was in a relationship with an athlete I was fairly healthy, as I enjoyed his activity (to a lesser extent) and spending time with him.
              Now I’m in a relationship with a fellow sloth. It’s not so good for my health, and I have to work really hard to keep exercising on my own…
              So I think an answer to the question is that it just depends on the couple.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Just my opinion but couples should tend to put a similar level of value on things- this means foods, budgeting and a slew of other stuff . This is a generality of course and some couples can allow more slack in to the relationship than other couples.

      Not sure how long you have been in this relationship, but if you are concerned now that to me is a warning. While your relationship may remain fine, her health may not. Start by looking at whether she insists (openly or subtly) that you do as she does. If this is just her thing and she does not pressure you to join in, then the next step is to look at her health and the results she is getting with what she does. Is it helping her or is it interfering with her quality of life?

    5. Squirrel Life*

      My partner runs 5k every day and loves salad. I hate to sweat and love to cook the starch and fat rich foods of my childhood. It’s not an issue. We make sure to carve out time each day for him to exercise (I watch the kids while he runs or lifts weights or whatever) because it makes a huge difference to his mood. I cook supper every night and mostly cook what I like; he enjoys most of what I make and eats his salads for lunch. Our kids love to move, so they do lots of physical play/exercise with him, and they love to bake and hang out in the kitchen with me too!

    6. blackcat*

      Obviously this may not apply to you two, but I’ve seen this dynamic play out really badly if the couple has kids, particularly daughters. Often there’s a middle ground for two adults making their own decisions, but not a middle ground for how to raise kids. So if you want kids, I’d view this as a big flag that this might not be the right person to have them with.
      (If not, feel free to ignore this thought!)

      1. blackcat*

        Also, to be clear, the food stuff is much less concerning than the focus on weight/frame. I know plenty of health nuts who are completely chill about what their body looks like. It’s what it *feels like* that matters. A focus on appearance, rather than overall health, is the big red flag.

        1. un-pleased*

          This makes so much sense to me. If I feel badly in my body, I can blame that on weight. But if I feel comfy and like I can do what I need and like to well, I don’t think about weight at all.

          I agree that there are some red flags here that go beyond just having different perspectives on food and diet.

        2. lazy intellectual*

          I monitor my weight and diet to an extent, but there is a threshold beyond which it becomes an unhealthy obsession. Since moving to a metropolitan area for work, I’ve been subjected to a lot of food-shaming by kale-loving urbanites and it’s kind of annoying. Like, I eat 3 balanced meals a day and work out 3-4 times a week. But, I will occasionally skip a workout to go to happy hour and eat sugary treats or fries. Two of my friends, who are otherwise nice, will look at a doughnut and be like “oMg I could NEVER eat that!” like it’s full of poison or something. I also get a lot of “Why are you so skinny???” comments. It’s just like, if you don’t like it don’t eat it, but please shut up.

    7. Bounce*

      I agree, if you can live and let live, it’s fine. If you start trying to change each other- danger zone.

      Spouse and I have been together 25 years. About 2 years ago he found a sport he loves, and combined it with a really strict diet. He lost a lot of weight, feels great, and can’t understand why I too will not embrace intermittent fasting, eating no carbs, and giving up sugar.

      It’s not fun.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Your first point is so true. I’m really sorry about your second. :-(

        My partner of 9 years (we’re a cis het couple) started lifting weights a few years ago and got really serious last year. When the lock down started, he bought or rented plates, barbells, all kinds of stuff. He is also a vegetarian.

        I work out but lightly, I have no interest in weightlifting, I am about 50 pounds overweight and I eat meat. He thinks I am the greatest and he’s probably the reason I stay chunky because he loves dessert and he encourages me to eat it. We keep the home vegetarian because it’s easier to keep kosher that way. Occasionally he suggests exercises for me but mostly because he likes to show off his knowledge. He was very encouraging when I tried to lose weight but never said a word about my progress unless I brought it up.

        So it can work if there’s an element of, “This is my thing, I don’t expect you to do it too.”

      2. Kiwi with laser beams*

        The way your spouse is pressuring you is making me mad on your behalf, especially since his behaviour is implying that he thinks he knows how nutrition works and you don’t. I’ve been told to lose weight by a doctor and am seeing a top dietitian (as in, he’s worked with Olympic athletes) about it, and he doesn’t expect me to do any of those things. Assuming that all of those things are medically *OK* to do (I don’t know, but for argument’s sake I’ll assume they are), they’re extra things, not things that every human needs to do in order to be healthy. Grrrr.

    8. Jackalope*

      From my experience it can work as long as you’re both willing to respect the other person’s likes & desires and you’re okay doing different things with your time. If you want to spend all your time together then that could be more of an issue, but if you’re happy being a bit independent in that area then it can be a good excuse to have separate activities. My husband and I are VERY different in this regard and we’re pretty happy together; we have our separate activities where I get exercise and he plays a computer game, and then we come back together to hang out and do other stuff we both like.

    9. Chaordic One*

      Although not as extreme as the situation you described, one of the contributing factors in my ending a relationship was my ex-partner’s addiction to fast food (which I could almost live with) and the fact that he “fried” everything. (I’m not the kind of person who is going to do all the cooking.) I swear that everything he ate was greasy. I find fried food to be unappetizing and it often doesn’t agree with my digestive tract. (This was before I made the discovery about my food allergies.) I’m really big on roasting things instead of frying.

      There were other factors in why things didn’t work out for us, but the food thing was major.

      1. lazy intellectual*

        Food would be a huge dealbreaker for me in a relationship. Some differences are surmountable, but I couldn’t date someone who didn’t like spices and herbs, because well, that’s something I eat a lot of. Also, I can’t with picky eaters – especially those who don’t eat any vegetables and can’t eat anything besides cheeseburgers.

    10. Anonnington*

      I have! I eat super healthy, near-vegan, and work out. I’ve had relationships with people who were the opposite – carnivorous, beer-loving couch potatoes.

      I like having some differences. In a relationship, you’re a team. I like being with someone who’s different enough from me that our differences balance each other out.

      In the scenario I described, we cooked separately. When we went out, I ate his vegetables and he’d take any mayo, butter and other greasy stuff that I was given. It worked. And the exercise thing was nice because there was no competition. And I enjoy working out alone. It’s peaceful.

      There was, however, judgment both ways. Not just from each other, but from friends and family. That put a strain on things.

      More importantly, the exercise and diet thing always turned out to be part of a bigger picture, tied to views, values, beliefs, etc. That stuff became more of an issue over time. It was a matter of priorities: investing time and money in your health now so that you’ll avoid future issues versus living for the moment, being cautious versus assuming that the odds are in your favor, taking care of your appearance versus deprioritizing that, doing what you believe is right even if people judge you versus doing what your friends are doing, questioning things and forming your own opinions versus going with the flow. And more. Those kinds of differences have an impact on many parts of life. It’s good to share life with someone who offers a different perspective, but you have to make it a strength and avoid letting it come between you.

    11. lazy intellectual*

      Like other commenters have pointed out, I think the actual issue is different from your initial question. “I’m worried about her weight” is what stands out to me. I would try and resolve that first. I’m not sure how…without more information, it’s hard to tell whether your concern about her weight is warranted or not, but since you are concerned, it is worth addressing. If she has an eating disorder, she would ideally go to therapy for that.

    12. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Currently celebrating 15 years of marriage to my complete opposite!

      It’s probably different and not all applicable but, he’s an exercise nut and very into eating as a social event but eats what he likes…and I’m overweight, disabled and won’t eat in front of another person (and yeah, have a long history with anorexia)

      We’ve learnt slowly over the years that an expression of concern (if there’s a serious issue) done once in a loving manner can work but after that you simply have to drop the conversation. I know it stresses my husband out that I can’t lose weight, and he can’t have dinner with me. It stresses me out that his frequent exercise sometimes feels like a slight against my character (‘why don’t you exercise at all?!’ kind of thing).

      It’s been a long period of discovery that we’re allowed to have those feelings but not put responsibility for them on the other person.

      I offer this in a positive manner because despite all that we’re still very happily married.

    13. university minion*

      I just realized I got off on a side tangent about exercise and relationships and didn’t address your question. Being healthy and into a sport or exercise hobby can be done in a relationship and not at the expense of it.

      In my experience, red flags are activities that take a ton of time and/or leave them so exhausted they’re unable to be a partner (conversation, their share of the housework, do activities that you both enjoy), use food as a means of control in the relationship, only have friends/conversations/social media that revolve around their workouts/sport and exclude you and your life together, either intentionally or unintentionally.
      I know ultrarunners and Ironman triathletes who balance families and careers successfully and are engaged partners, so time-commitment to the hobby isn’t necessarily the problem (both of these are about as time consuming as you can get in the workout world).

      You say “health and exercise nut”. What does that mean? Some of my coworkers say that about me because I run several days per week, do the occasional race and have trained for marathons in the past. I keep generally healthy habits around food and my runs consume about an hour per day, give or take (including showering afterward). I don’t post my workouts on social media, have race swag at work, talk about my running (boring!) or talk about food unless someone asks me for a recipe. Sometimes I ride my bike to work (4.5 miles each way). I write all that to say that all I’m doing is basically what the CDC recommends for healthy diet and activity and that makes me a “health and exercise nut” to many.

      There are absolutely people who take diet and exercise to extreme, unhealthy ends. Our cultural norms around food, exercise and activity also frequently paint healthy activity as excessive.

    14. Dorothy Perkins*

      Thank you to every person who responded. The replies were thoughtful and helpful and I do appreciate them so much. I have lots to think about from these.

      Part of why I am so distressed about this is because we are compatible in so many other ways and we do love and have deep feelings for each other and I don’t want this getting in the way.

      The weight thing is noticeable and can be sometimes jarring for me, because both of us are 5’5 the same height so the differences between us are easily seen and it emphasis how super thin she is. I do know I could lose a pound or two, I freely admit that but she only weighs 140 and I have at least 60 lbs on her. She counts her calories daily and will only eat about 2000 per day whereas I’m a foodie and I don’t count calories and eat what I want. The other big one is that she insists on going to the gym for an hour early in the morning before work 3 times a week and waking up early one weekend day to lift weights at home for an hour. I don’t think waking up early to exercise is necessary. She believes that because she isn’t trying to lose weight and has stayed at the same weight she is now her whole adult life that it isn’t a problem. Or that she doesn’t push me to do as she does.

      I disagree because she is too thin and the counting calories and dieting and sacrificing sleep isn’t healthy. And I’m afraid it is going to affect her relationship and her self denial is not good for her. Thanks again for all the responses.

      1. TechWorker*

        Does she also get to bed early when she exercises? I don’t often get to up exercise before work but when I do I feel *great* about it – I would find it odd if someone else categorised that as ‘sacrificing sleep’. (Like, yes, that’s technically true, but tonnes of us sacrifice sleep to hang out with our friends and/or respond to AAM posts – past midnight where I am – and I don’t think that’s inherently unhealthy).

        Counting calories is possibly different but honestly most folks do in one way or the other. It possibly depends whether it’s general ‘I need to eat healthily because it makes me feel better’ or an emotional/panicked reaction to eating slightly over on occasion.

      2. chopsticks*

        Honestly, I don’t think she’s being unreasonable given the additional details. Depending on her frame, 5’5 and 140lbs does not strike me as “super” thin (I’m 5’4 myself). Also, eating no more than 2000 calories a day for her size is probably not overly restrictive, and her desire to work out 3-4 times a week regularly seems pretty normal whether you think it’s necessary or not. Given she’s not pushing you to do the same as her I guess I’m wondering why you have such an issue with it.

      3. university minion*

        Thank you for offering those details. Her activities are not in the least bit unreasonable nor is her weight unhealthy. I am 5’6 and feel my best between 130-140 pounds. I wish I could maintain (ie not gain) weight on 2000 calories per day. A lot of people prefer morning workouts as a way to start their day. I am not one of them (though I join friends for a run from time to time just to change things up), but what she’s doing is so, so, so normal. It’s unremarkable.
        I love food. LOVE. IT. I’m part raccoon. There’s nothing I won’t eat. One can be a foodie and also be careful about portion size. Sometimes I do have to watch what I eat, lest I have to do the waddle-of-shame mid-run and blow up some poor, unsuspecting construction site porta-john, but that’s not unhealthy… that’s not wanting to have to take an emergency dump mid-workout.
        I write all this to say, your partner’s habits as you state them are so incredibly normal – refreshingly so! They’re so normal that if you have trouble coming to terms with them, it might be something worth exploring as to why that is.

        1. university minion*

          One other thing, then I’ll shut up – note I said I *feel* my best at the weight range I stated. I’ve weighed between 120-165 pounds over my adult life. I am not conventionally attractive. I’m not even un-conventionally attractive. I also am not someone who looks good exercising.
          My food and exercise habits have zero to do with vanity – that weight range is simply where, over the last 25 years since I’ve arrived at my adult shape, I feel best.
          Your partner sounds like someone who is in tune with her body and what works well for her.

      4. Ranon*

        Before the whole covid thing went down my height, weight, and weekly hours spent exercising were pretty identical to your girlfriend’s. It’s truly a pretty reasonable routine, she’s only doing 30 minutes more per week than the minimum 30 minutes per day generally recommended for everyone. I’ve also weighed less than I do now and still been at a comfortable healthy weight (per my doctors and my general sense of well being) and I’d be pretty surprised if her current weight were an unhealthy one for her build.

        Frankly, I’m much more troubled that you think it’s reasonable to ask her to change her very reasonable behavior- she is happy with her routine and isn’t asking you to take it on too. If that doesn’t work for you you may not be compatible.

      5. TL -*

        140lbs is a healthy weight for a 5’5″ person. It would be generally be a concerningly low weight only once you got up into the 6’+ range.

        Eating 2000 calories a day is also well within the range of normal, as is getting up early a few days a week to go the gym – tons of people like to start their day off with a workout, nothing wrong with that.

        Everything you describe sounds like a very healthy approach to achieving a lifestyle that makes her happy.

      6. Catherine*

        Based on these details, it sounds more like you are self-conscious about the visible difference between the two of you, and that you feel like she is exercising at you. 140lbs is perfectly reasonable for her height. Is there some way in which you feel her habits are shaming you? Do other people comment on the physical differences between you two in a way that embarrasses you? (Those people are jerks.)

        As for the counting calories, I’m 5’3″ and if I don’t keep myself below a rough 1400 calories (I don’t count properly but generally estimate), I can’t maintain my current weight (which is in a healthy range for my height). For me, keeping an eye on my calories is self-care; it’s reinforcing that I’m happy with my body where it is and I want to keep it that way.

      7. Batgirl*

        That is a very reasonable routine. There is nothing inherently wrong with keeping count of what you eat, especially when it’s to make sure you’re eating enough and a healthy amount. You say you don’t keep track, are you sure? Some people use habit and routine, others use a sense of fullness to measure what they eat, but not everyone is great at that; it’s easy for some to eat more than they wanted to and lots of people forget to eat at all.
        I think you’re being very prescriptive about ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in matters which are merely preferences. Being prescriptive is a problem in any relationship, because you seem to place yourself in charge of what’s right. I’m your height and there have been times in my life when I was your partner’s weight while eating like I had a tapeworm and without trying to exercise. I would have reacted very badly to being told I was the *wrong* weight just because I was a cyclist and other people my height happened to have different bodies!
        Though I’m larger now, I’m not better/worse off, I just have different lifestyle preferences. There’s no one true weight to aim for that’s more important than my happiness and preferred routine.
        If early morning exercise and meal arrangements bug you, be brave enough to name them as your feelings and preferences. You’re allowed to have them! You don’t have to cast judgement on her preferences in order to be allowed your own.

      8. allathian*

        Whoa, 140 lbs is a perfectly healthy weight for 5’5″. She’s not even at the lower end of the range, 114-144 lbs for her height. 200 lbs on a 5’5″ frame gives a BMI of 33, which is obese, not just slightly overweight. I don’t want to body shame anyone here, the weight alone should not be an issue if you’re happy with your body and feel healthy. But you’re not just slightly overweight, and she’s definitely not underweight. (For reference, I’m 5’9″ and 250 lbs, so also obese.) Granted, BMI has its problems as a measurement, because it doesn’t take into account the muscle to weight ratio, plenty of athletes have “overweight” BMI but it’s all muscle. It also doesn’t take into account where the fat is, it’s more dangerous if it’s around your inner organs like a beer belly than if it’s on your hips and butt.

        Please, let her embrace her healthy lifestyle and love her as she is.

        My husband is a runner and exercises by lifting weights. I do Tai Chi when I can and try to walk at least half an hour every day. Sometimes when the weather is nice we’ll ride a bike together. But when we go for walks, it’s all too obvious that he’s so much fitter than I am. I try to do what I can, but I don’t have the mental energy currently to make any profound lifestyle changes. I just consider myself very lucky that my husband loves me as I am and that I love him.

      9. Emily*

        Her diet and exercise habits sound very reasonable. Unless she has an anxious or obsessive mindset about it that you haven’t described here (meaning that she has a disproportionate emotional reaction to missing a workout or eating over her calorie limit), I wouldn’t be overly concerned for her health.

        Is she saying or doing things that make you feel bad about your own size or habits? If not, then it might be worth thinking about why her routine bothers you – maybe you feel self-conscious about the differences between the two of you?

      10. Not A Manager*

        Now that you’ve added these details, I’m a bit more concerned about you than I am about your girlfriend. There’s no reason that you need to have the same priorities or make the same choices as hers, but your attitude that she is a “super thin exercise nut” is not realistic based on what you posted here.

        I’m not sure if this is maybe an issue of misinformation on your part, or if this situation is pushing some of your buttons. Maybe you could do a bit of research into the wide variety of healthy bodies and the wide variety of ways one can have a “healthy” attitude toward eating and exercise. “Eat what you like, move when you want” is completely valid, but so is your girlfriend’s routine of exercising four times per week for an hour, or staying within a (very healthy and reasonable) target calorie range.

        On the other hand, maybe something about this is distressing to you for other reasons. You mention that your girlfriend “doesn’t push you to do as she does.” Could you think about why it’s hard for you to extend her that same courtesy?

      11. Washi*

        Based on these details, I have to wonder if you have some of your own anxiety that you’re displacing onto her, because what you describe sounds very very normal, both in terms of her weight and habits (I am not personally into calorie counting but she doesn’t sound obsessed with it or anything.)

        I think it might be good for you to do some self reflection on what it means to you to have a partner who is just thinner and more active than you (but not unhealthy as far as I can tell) because the comparison seems more distressing to you than the situation seems to warrant on the face of it. Despite being a very feminist, body positive person, I definitely had some mixed feelings during a period where my partner and I weighed the same (he’s a man and I’m a woman.) Part of me wanted him to gain weight just because it was etched in my brain that the man must be heavier! I really had to do some work on my body image/gender assumptions in order to not try to make something that was my problem his problem. Not that this is the same situation exactly just…I do understand that “how do my partner and I look together” can be unexpectedly fraught!

      12. Angstrom*

        Yes, those relationships can work. My idea of a good summer Saturday is to get up early and go for a 4-hour bike ride. My wife’s is to sleep in and then work on an art project. We’ve been happily married for 20+ years.
        What makes it work is that we’re both happy that our partner is happy. We don’t resent the time and attention they spend on something they enjoy, because that positive energy comes back to the relationship. And we share — I send photos to her of things I see while I’m out riding, and she shows me her progress on her projects when I get home. You don’t have to participate to be interested and appreciative.
        In your specific case, are you two from different social/cultural backgrounds? It sounds as though you have very different ideas of what is a “normal” size and activity level.

    15. Jules the 3rd*

      Mr Jules and I are very different eaters – we both eat reasonably healthy, but he likes variety, Asian / Indian, lots of spice, while I like bland or Mexican. We both will eat pizza, quiche and Mediterranean, but we get bored with those. We deal with it by sharing food sometimes, and eating different foods at the same time sometimes.

      Exercise – we both think it’s important, but I’m a lot more consistent about it than he is.

      We’ve been together over 20 years, and we still love each other. The main thing is that we don’t take ‘I like x’ personally. We recognize that we are both just doing our thing, and that sometimes our things are different, and if everyone was the same, life would be boring.

    16. charo*

      Yes, what counts isn’t how alike you are, but how you work it out.

      The reason this does NOT apply to POLITICS is because politics is the use of power, to execute your values in a civil way. So, many political issues can’t be compromised. These days, many issues are either right or wrong.

      Remember the anguish over Border Babies being locked up? They still are, we’ve just moved on to a national Pandemic. Some policies are not a quibble or an “opinion,” they are moral values.

      So, re: the question here about dating someone, ask yourself if a cute smile is worth ignoring your morality. Because, having different eating habits is not a moral issue, it’s a preference. It can seem to have moral elements but it’s for sure not the raging moral quandary that political issues these days are.

  4. Enter_the_Dragonfly*

    Happy last day of Ramadan/ Eid everyone! What are your plans for Eid since everyone’s staying inside?

    1. Happy Eid!*

      Thank you! Nothing special. Gift giving to the kids and calling family to wish them a blessed Eid!

    2. Potatoes gonna potate*

      Thank you!
      Nothing special, I’ll get dressed up and take pictures but that’s about it. My mother will make her famous dish. and just texting everyone. I haven’t celebrated for 2 years, I was planning to this year….but COVID.

    3. Keymaster of Gozer*

      I found a few cross stitch patterns for Eid cards and did a few to post out :)

  5. Jaid*

    Man, my head and torso are like a furnace and my hands and feet are ice blocks. Even with the fan on and the window open, it’s hard for me to be comfy enough to sleep. It’s not night sweats, I’m just…hot. :-(

    1. Beancat*

      Ugh, sympathy from another person with ice extremities :( I hope you can get some good rest soon!

    2. WS*

      I tuck icepacks on my body for a while before going to sleep – it really helps me get that core temperature down. One on the back of my neck especially helps.

      1. Wired Wolf*

        I end up having to do that in the summer at work (although now, loose ice won’t be as easy to get because we won’t have the grab-n-go drink coolers, nor do I have access to a freezer where I can stash an ice pack). Our renovated units do have wall a/c units which is going to be a lifesaver…I hated our old window units as I use the sunlight to wake up.

    3. Julia*

      That’s the worst, isn’t it? Especially when you share a space with someone who tells you to wear a T-shirt if you’re too hot, and you want an inverse T-shirt because your core is burning but your extremities are freezing.

    4. fposte*

      I’m semi-fortunate in that my hands are fine; it’s just my feet that can’t self-heat. I’ve always got an extra layer over the feet and legs at night, and the heating pad that lives by the bed gets put in the feet sometimes even in summer. I find actually that A/C can be a particular challenge; my feet are always colder in blowing air. I have many, many socks.

      1. Jaid*

        I sometimes will wear socks that I slit at the end…my feet can’t stand being confined at night. But the toeless sock thing helps. Also I have a couple pieces of fabric that I’ll tuck my hands in. Sometimes though, I’ll just warm my hands between the “girls”.

        Yeah, my internal thermostat is shot. It’s happened to me before, but resolved itself and I was fine for a couple of years. This spring with the combination of the Daylight Saving time switch and wonky hot/cold weather… did not help. That said, I did have to use the heated mattress pad a couple of nights because the building shuts off the heat in May and even my hot self wasn’t enough for under 50 degrees at night.

        Oh, and if it helps any of y’all, I found a blanket on Amazon that is incredibly lightweight, is cotton on one side and this cooling fabric on the other. And when I say cooling, it’s actually cold to the touch. It’ll warm up, but it takes a while to absorb your heat.

        “Elegear Revolutionary Cooling Blanket Absorbs Heat to Keep Adults, Children, Babies Cool on Warm Nights. Japanese Q-Max 0.4 Cooling Fiber, 100% Cotton Backing. Breathable, Comfortable, Hypo-Allergenic”

        I wish y’all well!

    5. Anono-me*

      Have you checked to see if there is a medical component? Sometimes cold hands and feet can be a circulation issue due medicine side effect, or an illness (Renards?).

      Usually Menards has inexpensive heated wool socks as a holiday gift item.
      Lots of places have reusable hot packs (especially outdoors stores in cold winter areas).

    6. NforKnowledge*

      I sleep nude but with warm socks if I’m feeling cold. Makes a surprisingly large difference :)

    7. Chaordic One*

      Oh man, this is me. One of the perks (about the only one) of WFH is that I can have a space heater under my desk. Still my feet remain a bit cold while my shins get hot.

    8. NoLongerYoung*

      I have the feet of ice. YMMV, but I bought a pair of the compression knee highs, and wear them to bed (after I discovered they worked, I bought more). Also called “TED” (to avoid thrombosis) hosiery. Your FSA/HSA covers them, in some cases, and they do come in black (with toes) or toeless (my toeless ones come thigh high and I wore a garter belt back when I wore those). Needless to say, not very sexy but neither are ice-toes, which inevitably I managed to try to heat with the then-spouse.

      Not ever to wear 24 hours a day. As I’ve aged, I wear them during the day (I sit too much at my desk) and they help avoid leg fatigue. At night, wool socks winter; summer, blanket over my lower legs, cotton gloves (great way to moisurize) on my hands.

  6. nep*

    I shook my grand-niece’s hand on Friday. I am kicking myself and I’d give anything to turn back time. Both I and her mom are responsible , I suppose. I was dropping some goodies off on the front porch and to my surprise her mom opened the front door. So there we were visiting through the closed storm door and at one point the little one put her hand up and said, ‘I want to shake her hand.’ And damn it, in the next second her mom cracked open the storm door and I reached and shook her hand. Now it’s watch and wait, and hope nothing was transmitted…
    Seriously, it was a great potential ‘teaching moment,’ and I completely blew it.
    Nothing to be done…Somehow it just helps to put an account of my awfulness out there.

    1. Not A Manager*

      Oh my goodness. Do you have reason to believe that you’re infected? If not, then unless your niece is at a very high risk, this was really not terrible. Hopefully her mom washed her hands right away, or rubbed them with hand san, and that’s the end of it.

      I know you wished you’d made a different choice at the moment, but I don’t think this is likely to have a lot of real-world consequences.

      And you’re not awful.

      1. nep*

        Thank you. I don’t know whether I’m infected or not; if I am, I’m asymptomatic. I did get tested on Wednesday, out of an abundance of caution after some family members came into the house without masks on mother’s day. But even if the test shows negative, that alone would not completely ease my concern given how many false negatives occur. Just have to wait it out and hope for the best.
        In any case, it’s not like I can control exactly what goes on in the little one’s life 24/7. But just the fact that I unnecessarily added a layer of risk.

        1. MissGirl*

          Take a breath. You’re not positive, you’re not around anyone who is positive. Even if those people were positive, you probably washed your hands and didn’t touch them. Wearing a mask reduces risk but not wearing one doesn’t equal transmission. Because you’re hyper-aware, your hands were probably clean when you shook.

          You did not add a layer of risk to this girl’s life. I totally get your fears as someone who has anxiety. It’s hard to ignore the screaming “what if?” your brain sets off. But sometimes, a lot of times, that anxiety-ridden brain is just plain wrong.

          We’ll all have a lot of moments likes these ahead of us as life starts to return to normal. We’ll have fits and starts about what is okay and what isn’t. We’ll widen our circle, close it, widen it a little further as we make halting steps forward.

          1. nep*

            Thank you.
            sometimes, a lot of times, that anxiety-ridden brain is just plain wrong
            Ooh, boy. I need to remind myself of that again and again.

    2. MistOrMister*

      Please don’t feel awful!! I went into my parents’ house on mother’s day. I didn’t mean to but I had to GO and wasn’t going to make it back home. I went through the garage that is directly off the bathroom and back out that way, touching as little as possible. No one got sick to my knowledge, but, like you, I felt completely horrible for letting it happen. There is always going to be the risk of transmission. But the studies now are saying the length of exposure time matters a lot for low virus yields (and your handshake would not come close to long enough exposure!!) and that transmission is not nearly as contact based.

      It might have been a nice teachijg moment to have explained why you couldn’t shake her hand. But sometimes we need that physical contact even when there’s a risk. I wouldn’t advocate for a handshake every time, but ghe odds that any damage has been done by this are so very miniscule. And now that it’s happened, I am sure you will be on guard in case of a repeat. Unfortunately, if you’re anything like me, you will continue to worry until you know everyone is safe. But really, you are not awful and you shouldn’t feel like you are. We’re all only human…except for any aliens or lizard people lurkng amongst us :)

    3. TimeCat*

      My in laws went out to a crowded restaurant yesterday and are now complaining we haven’t visited in a while so… you are so, so low down on the worry list based in the behavior I have seen recently.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      What everyone said here. Go easy on you. Tell yourself that you are just going to wait and see if it is a problem before you start beating yourself up too much.
      You sound pretty careful. I kind of believe it will be okay.
      I am holding this in a positive light for you all.

    5. migrating coconuts*

      The more data they gather on this thing, the more they are saying that touch/surface transition is unlikely. I think you and your grand-niece are fine.

    6. Migrainemonster*

      Please don’t beat yourself up over this. It was an accident, everyone makes mistakes!

    7. Chaordic One*

      Well, I would just hope that you didn’t touch your face afterwards and that you washed your hands ASAP afterwards. You should be fine.

      I keep hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes (Handi-Wipes) in the car for this reason and often wash my hands in between trips to different stores. Now that the stores are a little better stocked, you should be able to find something.

      But today I just found a story on the internet about hand sanitizer getting too hot in parked cars on sunny days and exploding and starting fires. It’s always something.

      1. nep*

        My sister warned me the other day about keeping sanitizer out of the car for the high temps we’re expected to get in the coming days.

        I’m not so worried about myself, more so the little one. But I can’t live the next two weeks worrying about it. Have to hope for the best…and I’ll keep checking in with (bugging) her mom to make sure they’re watching for any early signs of anything.

        1. Courageous cat*

          The little one will be fine. I feel like this is very rarely affecting children. I wouldn’t worry very much. It’s not like she can’t get it from any number of other routes too if parents are still going to grocery store/work/etc.

      2. Wired Wolf*

        I saw that too. My mom parks in an underground garage overnight so it may not be a risk there, but thanks for reminding me to take it with when we leave the car if parked outside.

    8. Disco Janet*

      You’re only human, and this is so reflexive! Don’t beat yourself up about it.

    9. tiasp*

      Sounds like a very low risk encounter for grand-niece, especially if you have been diligent about taking precautions otherwise. I find it’s REALLY hard to overcome my usual sense of personal space, especially with people I know well. OF COURSE your instinct was to shake her hand. It’s something you wouldn’t even think about normally. Be kind to yourself.

    10. Observer*

      Take a DEEEP breath. The odds of your transmitting anything are extremely low, unless you have reason to think that you are infected. And even then, little children rarely get infected.

      Ideally, you shouldn’t have done it. But having done so, don’t beat yourself up.

  7. Anon and alone*

    Happy Birthday

    To all those who celebrate a birthday the week of May 24 to May 30, may you have a nice day, with those you love and who love you, both human and non-human, virtually or in person. May you enjoy the foods and drinks you like (and dance a little, if you’re so inclined). No matter how you’re celebrating, know that there are those out here who also wish you a Happy Birthday.

    Until next week.

  8. MistOrMister*

    I’ve started feeding birds and squirrels on my deck. I assume the chipmunks are getting some seed as it falls below as,wrll, but I can’t see them from the window. Any advice on how to keep the squirrels happy without giving them junk? I read that corn is kind of junk food for them so I was trying not to put it out. But they come eat all the sunflower seeds and eat or steal all the peanuts. When I put out nuts in the shell, which are supposed to be great for them, they take them to bury. I don’t begrudge them their winter stash, but I’m trying to figure out how to keep the birdseed for the birds. I’m working especially on developing a friendship with a crow. They will and and give me time to go grab them peanuts.

    1. Retail not Retail*

      There is hot birdseed that only birds like – squirrels and dogs hate it. Or that’s what the bird shop guy said. It’s coated in a safe capsaicin stuff. Birds don’t care, mammals do.

      We don’t set out stuff for the squirrels because my dog thinks they’re trespassing as it is.

      1. MistOrMister*

        Thanks! I recently read that you can feed your birds jalapenos and other hot peppers because they don’t have the right receptors to feel the burn, so to speak. I’ll have to look into that birdseed. Maybe if they dont have easy things to eat on hand I will finally get to see the squirrels actually break open a shell nut and eat it.

        1. Pigeon*

          From experience– wear gloves if you deal with “hot” birdseed! It’s worse than chopping hot peppers for what it’ll do if you touch delicate tissue with it still on your hands.

          They also sell squirrel-proof feeders that largely work. The bigger problem is raccoons can figure out how to get these off their hooks and pry them open, so if you have that issue, you need to hang it where they can’t reach or climb.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Get a bird feeder that closes itself when anything bigger than a small bird sits on the peg and they and the jays & crows will still get plenty from what drops.
      Remember that bird food in the summer will also attract other animals — bears in the country, raccoons & rats anywhere. And squirrels & chipmunks can both be very destructive.
      I just put a bird bath out in front of my home office window…..and I’m thinking of asking my daughter to do a Crowbox as a summer “camp” project. You’ve got a friendly crow already so crowbox dot com might be for you!

    3. GoryDetails*

      I use feeders-in-a-cage – tube feeders inside metal cages, with openings large enough for the birds to reach through but that keep the squirrels from hoovering the entire contents. (Squirrels can still reach through the openings with their paws, but it slows them down a lot, giving the birds a fair shot.) I also have a peanut feeder that’s a tube with small-mesh openings; I put whole peanuts in it, and various birds peck at them through the mesh, while squirrels can’t get at them at all. (When the peanuts have been thoroughly pecked-at I dump the remaining contents, so the squirrels and chipmunks may get a share eventually!)

    4. Maze Doctor*

      If you have neighbours who garden, consider feeding more bite-size food for the squirrels. My neighbour gives all the squirrels in the neighbourhood peanuts…which they bury in my garden and then dig up, uprooting my plants and damaging my bulbs! Smaller snacks like oats or shelled sunflower seeds may alleviate this somewhat.

      1. WellRed*

        I had this problem. Couldn’t figure out why my containers were getting ruined until I realized the old lady across the street littered her front walk with peanuts.

    5. Library Lady*

      I have nothing to add to this except that I read it as “feeding birds and squirrels on my desk” and I was very concerned.

    6. Anon for this*

      Hahaha, it is very very hard to keep squirrels out of birdfeeders. If you are just scattering seed or putting it out in a dish — the squirrels will eat it.
      Squirrels: rats with cute tails.

    7. Jill*

      If you’ve ever heard of a “Twirl-A-Squirrel,” it’s an electronic bird feeder that spins when too much weight is on it so squirrels and crows get flung off. It’s hilarious to watch and they learn fast.

      1. Wired Wolf*

        My grandmother had something like that; it wasn’t electronic though (IIRC it was the old Droll Yankee metal feeder). Her squirrels learned quickly how to defeat the spinner mechanism. The feeder was also more or less completely exposed so it’s possible that the spinners just rusted due to weather/overuse.

  9. MistOrMister*

    Anyone having trouble keeping up with the dishes? I am fine on the weekends, but being home during the week now it feels like there is just a never ending pile of dishes. I am one person! Where are all these dishes coming from??

    1. Retail not Retail*

      If you usually use a dishwasher, handwashing them may make it seem less overwhelming.

      I never put dishes away when I had a drying rack – just washed em and used em and washed em immediately after.

      I have a dishwasher now so that doesn’t happen but I’m also not working from home so I’m just making stuff up.

    2. PX*

      Hi, it me!

      I have complained about this to everyone. Like you, I’m a single person, who doesn’t even have that many dishes (shout out IKEA 6 set) but I feel like there are always dishes. I guess it’s just the fact that being home all the time means eating every single meal from a dish whereas before I’d have lunch containers for work or eat out more?

      Either way, while I’m sure the solution would be to wash up after every meal…I shall just continue to let them pile up until I have nothing left to eat from and then have a big washing binge :D

    3. TimeCat*

      You are not alone at all. Always always dishes. I ended up buying my toddler more milk cups because I never seemed to I have a clean one.

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I have found that our dishes (household of three adults) are actually less dire seeming since we switched to a system where, instead of assigning one of us to load the dishwasher when the counter is stacked, everyone puts their dirty dishes straight into the dishwasher and I run it when it’s full and empty it asap afters. The kitchen stays tidier because dirty dishes aren’t stacking up and it’s ten seconds of work at a time, or two minutes at the emptying. The boys aren’t super efficient at loading the thing, but good enough for government work and I adjust anything SUPER egregious when I’m putting my own plate in.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        (I always feel like I should specify, I do the
        d/w emptying, but one of the boys takes out the trash and the other does any pots and pans that must be hand washed. It’s more or less equitable and I hate doing both of those things. :-P )

        1. Kate*

          We have had the “put your own dishes away” from the very start (I guess I just didn’t think of opposite). OK, there is stuff that I put in myself – for example I’m only now training my 5yo to join in. I adjust dishes as necessary before starting the machine, too, but emptying has been the job for teens from the time they were tall enough to reach upper cupboards where we keep the plates. I handwash the pots/pans so I don’t think it’s unfair. :D

          1. Jdc*

            Same. If dishes are left in the sink it’s because the dishwasher is full and cleaned and needs to be unloaded and that follows with me saying “why has no one done this”. Dishes just left out will make me lose it because to me it says “you do that I refuse to be a participant in my own home”. That being said everyone in my home is 17 and older so very capable of this.

            1. Not a cat*

              My roommate does this. She’s one of the universe’s lazy creatures. Off from work for a week, didn’t get out of bed except to put dirty dishes in the sink and get more food. If I want a clean sink (and I do) I have to run the whole enterprise.

              1. Jdc*

                Grrr. I have barely lived with those not related to me (also meaning married to) and I’m so glad. I honestly barely could even afford it a lot of the time as I lived in Orange County, CA but I just might be too much of a neat freak to deal with roommates. Luckily after 22 years in the Air Force (now retired) my husband is pretty close to my level but the 17 year old would live in pure trash if he was given the choice. We don’t come down on him hard about clutter in his room but no food, drinks other than water and you clean it up once a week. Otherwise it would be disgusting

              2. Marion Ravenwood*

                Ooh yes this. Both my housemates are lovely, but the dishes left in the sink/out on work surfaces etc drive me crazy. (Seriously, there have been glasses left on our coffee table for a week before being washed, and I’m pretty sure it’s put off prospective future housemates.) Unless I need the dirty dish, I refuse to do it for them – because they are ADULTS and can clean up after themselves and it is not my job – but I feel like this is a very strong indicator that I’m ready to get my own place sooner rather than later.

        2. Kate*

          How far do you have to take trash and how often, that it is equal to washing pots and pans? Our family produces about two or three dirty pots and pans a day, but only three or four bags of trash in a week (includes diapers) and the outdoor trash can is about 20 steps from kitchen sink. ;)

            1. Kate*

              Yeah but pots and pans take so much room in dishwasher! I rather wash them by hand and leave room for plates to gather.

              1. allathian*

                On the days we cook, half of the dishwasher is pots and pans. Ours are mainly stainless steel, so definitely dishwasher safe. The only thing that isn’t dishwasher safe is our ancient cast iron skillet, but we only use that on the side burner of our barbecue grill, so about once a year! Although to be fair, we do barbecue almost every weekend in the summer.
                We also have a 10 liter pot, which also sees little use because it’s so big and unwieldy, and it definitely doesn’t fit in the dishwasher. I’m lucky if I can get it in the sink…

                1. university minion*

                  Use the bathtub!
                  For actual bathing, I’m team shower, all the way, but for big cookware like a turkey fryer or huge mixing bowls – those either get scrubbed out outdoors or in the bathtub.

      2. Disco Janet*

        This is what we do to. Husband starts the dishwasher at night before bed, I unload it in the morning, and then dirty dishes get put it in throughout the day.

      3. Wired Wolf*

        That’s what we do. Either run it when it gets full or when we find ourselves rinsing a plate because they’re all in there.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Yes. Thank goodness my husband uses a coffee mug with his name on it and we all have a favorite big water glass. Because the milk glasses & coffee-with-milk mugs proliferate like rabbits.

    6. Seeking Second Childhood*

      And I suggest this from the Washington Post’s Style section for one of your free articles this month. Partial quote because it’s just too close to what you’re saying not to share.
      “The dishes will never be done
      Ellen McCarthy
      May 20, 2020 at 7:00 a.m. EDT
      The world is in disarray. The economy is crumbling. The news is bleak. The kids are stir-crazy. The parents need a break. Everyone is tired of the vigilance needed to dodge the virus, which doesn’t tire.

      And the sink, I am sorry to tell you, is full of dirty dishes. Again.

      A side effect of the fact that we’re all eating three meals a day (plus snacks) at home — with school cafeterias and restaurant kitchens and fast-food garbage bins no longer absorbing their share of the aftermath.

      Dirty dishes are the least of all problems. The very least. And so easily fixed: soap, water, a little mindless scrubbing. Come to think of it, how dare we lament this simple chore in light of everything else. And how dare you nod in recognition!

      Still, a sink perpetually brimming with dirty dishes is a proxy for all that is tedious and tiresome about life at the undramatic edges of this crisis. It is incessant, like the quarantine. Repetitive, like our days at home. Demanding and messy, like the tasks that fill those days. And somehow fraught with shame and judgment: Who can claim to have their act together if they can’t fit their Brita pitcher under the faucet?

      The dirty dishes are the least of our problems, yes. And still the one we’ll avoid until we’re eating cereal from a beer stein with a butter knife….”

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Clothes and dishes, there are always more to wash. The only thing I can come up with is to do some each day. Now, I am here on my own and you would think how much can one person generate?
      Uh, lots.

      I do something with the clothes almost every morning (wash, fold, iron) and I do the dishes every night. Even then things can go out of hand. This weekend I decided to wash the winter coats and some dog blankets. I have two more loads to do. Living life generates dirty dishes and clothes. sigh.

      1. Lena Clare*

        Haha right? I can’t believe how dirty my house is. I am cleaning it the same as before, so I guess I am the one creating the dirt. There is so much dust everywhere. Sigh.

        OP, I do the unf*ck your habitat method: 20 mins (or less), usually I do 10), then 10 min break. I do a couple of those before bed.
        I had about 2 days with no laundry, now it’s just multiplying, so I do what I can and try to not give a f*ck :)

      2. alligator aviator autopilot antimatter*

        This is really what it boils down to. Even on days where we’re only eating takeout or leftovers, the only way to stay on top of dishes is to do them every day. I don’t necessarily get to Sink Zero every night but we run the dishwasher once a day, more if we’re doing heavy-duty cooking. Every time we take a day off dishes, we regret it.

    8. T. Boone Pickens*

      Haha I’m staring at a huge pile of dishes right now wondering that exact thing MistOrMister! It’s definitely on my list of stuff to do get done this weekend.

    9. Alexandra Lynch*

      I have two partners, and I also have chronic pain and exhaustion issues. We are trying to pack to move, and my boyfriend acknowledged that he will have to step up and help with the daily work because my body doesn’t have very much “carrying heavy boxes down from upstairs” before I’m on the couch and pretty useless. I’m not thrilled about this, but it is what it is.

    10. WellRed*

      I have a new roommate who is good about washing her dishes. But she puts the plates in the dish rack backwards. There are worse thing in the world but it drives me batty. I’m trying to up my own dishwashing game.

    11. CTT*

      I never knew that regularly eating lunch at home instead of work would make doing dishes seem insurmountable, but here we are. What’s helped me is to set a timer for 5 minutes and see how much I can get through; usually I can either finish all the dishes in that time or I have so little left to do I finish it up. But actually starting on it is so hard.

      1. Jackalope*

        The timer method for me is so helpful. It started when I was living with some housemates where I was the primary dishwasher (they had other responsibilities) but also often had an evening class. I kept either skipping dishes and coming back to them having been done by someone else a bit crankily (which I was going to do them post-class but I guess it was stressful for them) or being late to my class. I finally started setting a timer so I could get at least 10 min (or however much time I had after we finished eating) washed and done so I was working on my bit of household work and also respecting the time of my classmates. I eventually started feeling it was like a bit of a contest – racing against myself to get as many dishes done as I could. My situation has long since changed, but I still find it helpful when I’m exhausted and can’t face a whole pile of dishes but can’t face coming out and seeing a pile again in the morning either. I do as many as I can in 10 or 15 min and when the timer is off I reevaluate. Sometimes I’m energized and keep going. Other nights I’m done and go to bed satisfied that tomorrow it won’t be as bad. Either way this strategy is almost always a win for me.

    12. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I started a “Sink Zero” initiative this week and got my partner on board. Every night before bed, the dishes must be either done or in the dishwasher, even the fancy glassware. It’s pushed me to clean right after meals rather than letting things pile up.

      I hear you, though. I used to live alone in a place with no dishwasher. I had the flu for over a week and the worst was feeling ok enough to eat, then having to leave the dishes because eating was exhausting. This was almost 15 years ago and I still remember washing as much as I could for 10 minutes until my leg muscles gave up.

      1. Ranon*

        Sink zero is legit, man. I lived with roommates for a while where the house standard was sink zero and there were never dishes anywhere but the drying rack, but the second someone needed to soak a pan or something, bam, sink full of dishes. I swear they breed.

    13. Kathenus*

      Oh my gosh yes! Strangely, it makes me feel a little better that I’m not alone. Pre-pandemic I used to hand wash most dishes, and run the dishwasher maybe once a week when I had a lot built up or after cooking something with a lot of dishes/pots/utensils. Now even with running the dishwasher every couple of days, handwashing dishes, it seems like every time I turn around there are more. And I live alone, so I can’t blame anyone else (except maybe my critters, since a lot of the dishes are due to them). It’s like bad magic, I clean out the sink, feel all good – turn around five minutes later and there are more dirty dishes. Aaaagh.

    14. matcha123*

      I was like that and kind of still am. Living in a small apartment with a very tiny kitchen and sink…plus the ever looming worry about attracting roaches has caused me to wash my dishes almost immediately after eating.
      Since I don’t have space and don’t have multiples of skillets or pots, if one is dirty, that’s it and I’ll have to take more time to clean it the next day.
      Plus having it out of the way at night makes my mornings and evenings go smoother.

    15. Koala dreams*

      Dishes are well known for growing and growing and never stop. It’s a never-ending work keeping up with the dishes. I have always had trouble keeping up with them, but luckily I am not required to keep the sink empty. I do a little every day, and sometimes several times a day. It’s a nice break when I’ve been sitting too long in front of the laptop or the tv, especially with a little music on. My advice is to prioritize anything that have had fish in it, anything you need for your next meal and the baby stuff, if you have a baby. And the grater, if you like to grate carrots, cheese and other things. That grater gets so difficult to clean after a couple of hours!

    16. Nynaeve*

      Today as every day! If I ever found a genie, my first wish would be for the dishes to always clean themselves and put themselves away. Then I would think about how to dismantle structural inequality or whatever. I don’t have a dishwasher and I’ve always been terrible at staying on top of the dishes, but now it’s just so much worse and there’s no escape from their judginess. I hate it!

    17. WoodswomanWrites*

      Ha, I was complaining about this very thing recently, hand washing everything. I’ll be fine for a while, washing everything as I go so nothing piles up, and then getting to a place of to hell with it as a mini-rebellion until I have to do a whole bunch at once. I can’t imagine how it must be for multi-person households.

    18. Stephanie*

      Oh yes, I feel like I constantly have dirty dishes piling up. We went from just me and my husband in the house to now having both college-age kids here, all of the time. We run the dishwasher two or three times a day, and if my daughter decides to bake something, that’s almost another load alone. I know that having two extra people all of a sudden is a big reason why there are so many dishes, but it’s also just because we are all eating every single thing at home, and using reusable stuff instead of disposables. It’s kind of crazy-making, but it sure does highlight how much we were eating out/getting takeout before all of this happened.

    19. Batgirl*

      It’s my least favourite task so I am prone to letting it stack up too. My best tool is a dish scrubber with a soap-filled handle. Whenever something is easy to clean (a still warm pan or mug I’m going to reuse for myself) , I do it straight away under a running tap with the soapy brush. This cuts down the pile loads. The other thing I do is clear away the days dishes to great music before my evening snack/drink. I need bribes!

    20. Stephanie*

      It’s not just you. I definitely forgot to go to mute during a meeting while I was doing dishes.

  10. Beancat*

    My weekly manga update!

    I finished my very small sketchy storyboard last Saturday night! My husband recommended I do a larger one before I jump into the real pages, and I tried…but it wasn’t working for me. I was dragging my feet and overthinking it. So I decided to forego the larger storyboard and jump right into the real pages.

    I’ve gotten four pages sketched since then! It feels really productive and great, honestly. I hope to get a few more sketched during d&d today :)

    (also unrelated to the manga but I just received a copy of the fanzine I got published in, too! I’m one of a handful of writers who were chosen. …Aaaaand I can never use it as an example of my work because I used my pen name and I don’t really want people to have that to associate with my real name. Whoops! I’m still quite proud of myself.)

    1. Julia*

      Congratulations! I remember being really into manga in high school and even trying my own. Unfortunately, I cannot draw, so I moved on to writing fanfiction lol.

      Do you have any stuff online?

      1. Beancat*

        Thank you so much! :) I love writing fanfic; I’ve been writing it for seventeen years!

        I do! I mostly use Archive of Our Own, and I tend to stray towards anime fandom. Do you post anywhere?

        1. Julia*

          I took a pretty long break from fanfic, and before that I mostly wrote in German and posted that on animexx, which is our resident fandom community. I’m finally getting back into writing though! Gotta finish up some stuff…

          AOOO allows comics as well? The things you learn!

          1. Beancat*

            That’s so cool! I love hearing about other folks’ writing processes :) Good luck finishing up!

            Oh, sorry for the confusion! I post fanfic on Ao3; this manga will be my first major comic! I do post a little comic about mental health but nothing on this level. Though I think you can actually upload art to Ao3? I don’t see much art but it’s there sometimes!

            1. Julia*

              Thank you!

              Oh, I see. Mental health is something I’m interested in, so I’d love to read youe comic!

              1. Beancat*

                Oh, thank you so much! I’ll share a link in the next reply, but I’m on Pillowfort under the name Banj’s Brain!

            2. allathian*

              Good luck! I really like the pencil sketches in your mental health comic. The style looks very anime/manga although I’m not very familiar with either.

    2. Jaid*

      Nice! I’m looking forward to the finished product. May I ask what it’s about? You can always say you’re not ready to share :-)

      1. Beancat*

        Thank you so much!! :) I’ll be sure to link when it’s done!

        Sure thing! It’s a fantasy about a teenage girl who was adopted, but in the village her father is from all the teens coming of age need to go on a three-day survival trial-slash-hunt to prove they can support the village as it supported their growth. She isn’t from there but wants to take the trial to prove that she belongs, too. And from there it’s mostly how that trial goes! :)

  11. TimeCat*

    Just a rant: my father in law had a heart attack a month ago. It was very touch and go for a while there but he pulled through. He had to have his heart restarted twice.

    And then last night my in laws call us from a crowded restaurant out with a bunch of people they barely know from their church. I seriously just explained the CDC restaurant transmission paper to my MIL last week. We just had a talk about how their state is likely undercutting numbers. Seriously I get the whole “Boomers think they’re bulletproof” but seriously the guy just had a heart attack. What are they thinking? My spouse is absolutely furious.

    1. Hazy Days*

      It’s tough for your spouse, but I think that people who have just gone through a major traumatic event like a heart attack or cancer often do make the decisions that make sense to them at that moment, not the ones that make sense to their wider family. He has access to all the same health info you do, so he can make those choices when he’s in a different head space.

      1. pancakes*

        His wife didn’t just have a heart attack too, though. I’ve had cancer (and a recurrence during my first round of treatment, fwiw) and would not expect friends and family to join me if I felt the need to do risky things. I do still drink, which is risky, but I’d never in a million years consider pressuring anyone into joining me.

        1. TimeCat*

          They also live with my sister in law and her 18 month old, too. So they’re risking my niece too.

          1. Observer*

            Your niece is the one person you probably don’t need to worry about unless the child has some underlying illness. No one knows why, but young children just aren’t getting it unless they have other risk factors.

            But I can see why you and your spouse are ready to blow…

            1. TimeCat*

              I mean, my Dad is a pediatrician and he says to take the Kawasaki stuff seriously.

              My Dad is a doctor and my brother and younger sister both work in hospitals in various capacities. People are cavalier about this virus but then run to the hospital and of course my Dad will treat sick kids and my brother and sister keep the hospitals running while being exposed to patient areas.

              1. Observer*

                Yes, the Kawasaki thing is serious. But it’s just not that common.

                Again, I agree that the IL’s are being irresponsible. And I disagree that they are making “reasonable decisions based on their best information”, because AT MINIMUM, they are putting others at some risk. But, given the numbers and what we know, the child is not the one most at risk. Her PARENTS are…

    2. bunniferous*

      They are hungry for normality. I am a Boomer myself and my husband has health issues, and we are NOT going out to restaurants, etc. A lot of our friends in the same age range are chomping at the bit to get back to normal. And I am thinking that especially after that heart attack, some heavy duty denial is going on as well.

      You talked to them, you gave them information, you did the best you could. Hopefully they live in a state where things are not as impacted as others. I’m sorry.

    3. allathian*

      That’s just so tough when people you care about make choices that you disagree with, especially when it concerns their health.
      They do have the right to make that choice, though.
      In my area, sit-down restaurants are takeout only until the end of May, and after that they’re only allowed half the number of covers that their license is for. I don’t know when I’ll be comfortable eating in a restaurant again.

  12. My Family Knows I Read This Blog*

    Small successes: My motherinlaw has told her freeloader* friend that he must wear a mask in her house or he must move. I am relieved…. last time I did the “driveway dropoff” and waved through the window, he was on the porch on the phone with a black market barber.
    (Doubly frustrating because his hair’s so short he might as well go full Picard.)

    1. Kate*

      Sounds like there’s a footnote to go with the * !

      I just can’t with my inlaws. One thought it was a great idea to go shopping while having covid symptoms, but won’t go to have a test.

      1. My Family Knows I Read This Blog*

        I deleted it as too long & identifiable. He “helps with the things she can’t do”…but she’s cooking & shopping & not paying rent.. and this isn’t even a romance.

      1. RollyPolly*

        If you don’t mind me asking, what constitutes a foster fail? Asking because I’ve been seriously contemplating fostering for a while now. Thanks.

          1. RollyPolly*

            Thank link helps; thank you, Alison. I, too, thought that adoption was a fostering success, but having read the discussion, now I understand the other perspective. That helps me move forward. Thank you.

  13. Seeking Second Childhood*

    How does your garden grow? I’ll put it in the comments to make it easier on people who collapse threads & skip past this one.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      tldr? YAY flowers! SOB sun-burned overwintered plants and frost-killed seedlings.
      I’m so glad I mowed the lawn when it first started looking ragged — during the wet week that followed, I had a couple of bulbs bloom *IN* the lawn that I didn’t notice other years. (The hazards of me mowing in the evening I guess!)I have them marked and just need to not mow them over before it’s safe to transplant them. Grape Hyacinth and Star of David. Between that and the dianthus (pinks) just starting to bloom the yard smells sweet.
      The may apple and peony look great without their blanket of raspberry cane (and my thorns are gone thanks for asking).
      Our fig and many of my geraniums though, they did NOT transfer outside very well. Nights got warm enough to put them out and immediately the days got hot. I’ve lost most of the overwintered lilies (last summer’s sale items that never made it into the ground because of my commute)….they had to be moved outside too early because they spawned aphids, so they’re all bent & twisted from that late frost. And I didn’t get the aphids out soon enough anyway, the dahlias are also covered. Today I’ll plant the seedlings I got just after that forecast frost and before the UNforecast frost — the zucchinis went in last week because I was hoping maybe they could be saved. Not looking good. But the tarragon and dill seem happy in their planters, as does the first heirloom tomato (“Old German”). I’ve also started spreading the random old flower seeds I found in our storage unit in hopes that some of them come up. Nasturtiums are sturdy and hard to sprout anyway so what the heck, out by the mailbox they go, along with daisy seeds gathered from a friend’s house, and things like that.
      I do wish I could plant milkweed out by the road — but the town runs a bush-cutter along the edges of this country road, and we’re so steep that we pretty much only have edges. So anything over about a foot tall is in danger. Wish me luck, a lot to do before the rain starts.

    2. Lena Clare*

      Oh my gosh, well my mum planted a grass type plant in my front yard a couple of years ago and it has taken.over. So I’m busy trying to get rid of it. Currently I have cut all the woody stems down to the ground and now I’m trying to get rid of the roots, which is basically like a tree stump >.<

      1. Anom-a-long-a-ding-dong*

        So I’m a gardening novice, but my husband and I finally bought some seedlings from a local farm and planted some herbs and lettuce last week. It took most of the day to prepare the garden box/protect everything with chicken wire, but we are so excited! Any tips other than watering it regularly? We planted chives, dill, sage, mint, cilantro, scallions, and red/green lettuce, and we live in the northeast. We followed all the instructions to space the plants properly and stuff, but I want to make sure we give our little plants the best chance.

        1. Twinkle toes*

          I’m a garden novice too but had to give up after iguana ate everything b4 I could harvest it. I’m in South florida.

          1. Anom-a-long-a-ding-dong*

            I had no idea iguanas were common garden menaces! My main issue were rabbits and the occasional deer.

            1. Kate*

              My garden’s main menace are free-range cats who dig out my seedlings while pooping on plant beds.

        2. Hotdog not dog*

          Following the planting instructions is about 90% of the road to success. Watering and weeding are another 5, and the last 5 is luck!

      1. MistOrMister*

        Hahahaha, my weeds are flourishing like…well, weeds!

        I planted various seeds a week or two ago. I’ve got radishes and catgrass popping up and one lone pepper plant is making an appearance. I think the critters dug up some of the other seeds so I don’t know if I’ll be getting the carrots, beans and cucumbers. But boy howdy, if you like radishes, those things sprout in 2 seconds!

        1. Kate*

          Yeah, I have two raised beds out of four filled with radishes (to be eaten before other crops get planted out), but they tend to not grow much root in my garden. :( Is it some kind of day length/temperature ratio or whatever, I don’t know. I have rathėr a shady garden actually, maybe that influences it. But peas, carrots, tomatoes usually grow well!
          I also have some peas and carrots sown (but no sign of carrots yet, maybe I need new seeds), and I planted zucchini out last week only for them to die during a colder night. At least I didn’t plant out all seedlings, but I will be careful with those that I have indoors… So I still have tomatoes and zucchini and some peppers on windows. My 5yo likes to sow whatever seeds there are to be found in food, so I think some of tomatoes are “unofficial” seeds, and we are waiting for a pepper, some apple and pear and orange seeds to start. I’m not very optimistic about these myself.
          Oh and I have some herb seedlings but I don’t remember what they are because I dumped all my past-best-before seeds in pots (gotta give them a chance after all) and didn’t mark which was which.

      2. Venus*

        Dandelions are apparently really important for bees and other insects, as they are the first flowers to bloom and help them recover after a long winter. So you are doing your part to save the little pollinators!

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          The leaves are also edible when small. Bitter, and someone here spoke of what sounded like an allergic reaction, but edible.

    3. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      I have still not planted anything out, although some of the seedlings I started ages ago have graduated to the plastic greenhouse outside. Except we had one wierdly hot day last week and I didn’t think to check on the plants until lunchtime so a few of them got cooked. :( Some of them survived but half of them did not. I started a new round of seeds the other day.

      I got busy with a volunteer research project and I have done hardly anything in the garden except water some things now and then. My major renovation project has been on hold for a few weeks as a result, but they are starting to collect garden waste again here so I can get back to cutting all the overgrown things back. The strawberries have flowers on them and a few of the bulbs I planted months ago might actually be starting to show some signs of life, finally. The asparagus is being very pitiful and so far it’s been unpleasantly woody to try to eat. I hope things are normal enough next year that I can buy a few more crowns to plant.

      1. Bluebell*

        Peonies are my favorite. They aren’t quite out here in New England. My one peony bush has one bud this year. My in-laws used to have quite a few- I may ask spouse if we can do a drive by in a week or so.

      2. Nita*

        Yay! I just discovered this year that my peony, which was nearly killed a few years ago by an overzealous neighbor, has recovered enough to set a flower bud. So glad to see it. I spent so much time trying to get it healthy again!

    4. Clarissa*

      The gardeners came yesterday for the first time since lockdown began, so the hedges are clipped back and the weeds have been dealt with, at least. The lavender and roses are looking pretty good, just waiting for the tubs and other beds to get there.

    5. Ali G*

      We had oue front beds redone a couple of weeks ago. We fully watered twice (it takes like 4 hours total because we have to move the sprinkler around to get everyone) and Hubs was like – we are getting soaker hoses! So we laid them out last weekend and this weekend we will bury them. I’m also creating a care sheet document for all the plants so we know what we need to do and when.
      The peppers I planted are doing OK. One of them is like 6 inches tall and is making tiny peppers! I picked one because it was rotted on the end, but I’m going to let the other one go and see if grows or not.

    6. Jaid*

      I have two dogwood sapling growing in my balcony planter. I mean, the planter has fake greenery in it because I’m too lazy to actually deal with it, but there’s real soil in it. And there’s a lot of trees in my apartment complex…

      It’s not the first time “life finds a way”. Eventually I’ll bring them to my BFF’s Mom and she’ll find a place to plant them on her land.

        1. Jaid*

          Oh, they’re already about a foot and a half tall. I wouldn’t mess with them at this point.

    7. pancakes*

      My tomato seedlings are doing well, even one I accidentally decapitated with the thin, sharp edge of the plastic mini-greenhouse trays I started them in. For a couple weeks it was just a naked stalk but now it has four weird leaves!

    8. Anonymath*

      Passion fruit are starting to drop off the tree, some inside our fence and some outside, so I’m on regular patrol to grab any that have fallen outside before any passers by do. Got some mint repotted and also some wintergreen that have outgrown their first pots. Kale is still going and the jalapeños are starting to get to pickable size. One type of okra is producing and the other type looks to be starting soon. We’ve also got some baby honeydew and cantaloupe melons growing. The volunteer cherry tomatoes are taking over one side of our side yard. And it’s hot, getting too hot to putter in the garden except for early morning.

    9. Venus*

      The nights are now warm enough for tomato seedlings to be planted, which is great news! My asparagus is doing really well right now, as are the tulips and raspberry plant. I tried growing a pepper plant from seed, and we’ll see if it does anything this year.

      My garden is doing better than I am – I managed to get sunburnt yesterday! I’m now limiting my time outside to before 10am or after 4pm. Speaking of which… time for me to mow the grass!

    10. Nita*

      Finally got the seeds I ordered by mail, and planted some today. So far, most of what I put in the ground last week hasn’t come up… but it’s still early so I’m hoping to see seedlings next week. The bean sprouts are looking good, but I don’t know if that will last. There seems to be some kind of bean virus in our soil, because I’ve never managed to get beans to grow beyond the first few leaves in NYC indoors – they always get sick and die. I hope they grow better outdoors with more light and fresh air!

  14. Retail not Retail*

    Glasses wearing peeps – how goes the mask in the humidity?

    I think I’ve got it set with my big sunglasses and cup style mask. So today I’m wearing the identical framed normal glasses. (I’m addicted to buying glasses and just find prescription sunglasses so cool.) It’s less humid right now so here’s hoping!

    Thursday my good mask was tangled so I put on another and I could not keep it on, the elastic is too small. And when I did have it on, forget about seeing.

    The open gyms in town want people to wear masks when they work out. Well it’ll hit 90 today and while we don’t do like gym cardio, we will be miserable. I can’t imagine wearing a mask to work out!

    1. Jdc*

      So annoying. I have got better at breathing in through my nose and out my mouth. I finally bought some shaving cream. They say to wipe the lenses with it and it should help. We shall see. I don’t use shaving cream anymore though so it took an actual trip to buy some.

      1. Jdc*

        Also I have no idea how one could be expected to workout with a mask on. I hope they have an ambulance in the parking lot waiting because I’d pass out for sure. Even a quick run into the store has me ripping my mask off as soon as i hit the car, cheeks red. My gym sent an email about their rules when they open. No masks required for working out but only 10 people in the gym at once and blocked off machines. Easy for my gym as it’s a small private gym in a small town. I’ve never seen more than one person there so I’m not overly concerned. Plus I go at slow times for any gym for the simple fact that I never have liked being packed into a gym. They open on the 1st here in Illinois and I can’t wait. I want to be careful but at the same time me ending up dragged off on a stretcher and brought to the ER surely is higher risk than being in my gym with one or two other people there 20 feet apart. If I don’t get back to working out my mental health will suffer far worse. I’ve tried more workouts at home but running is really what I need. My knees hate running outdoors as well as we’ve had rain pretty much every day for weeks and weeks. I’ve gained weight so mentally that’s hurting me and my body aches from less activity. We’d get a treadmill used or something if we had anywhere at all to put it.

        1. AA*

          I sympathize, but the mental health of one does not trump the potential physical health impact on many. I know this is hard, but we all have to make sacrifices. Hang in there!

    2. T. Boone Pickens*

      I’ve tried wearing a mask with my glasses and it’s been an unmitigated disaster each time. Therefore I’ve had to adjust some things that require me to wear a mask to times when I’m wearing contact lenses and it’s a little annoying/minor inconvenience.

      As for your gym requiring a mask while working out, that seems pretty extreme. The only people I generally see wearing masks while working out are professional athletes who wear training masks to simulate the effects of high altitude training. Requiring a mask seems kinda harsh by your gym. It’s going to be very difficult.

      1. Jdc*

        Luckily my vision is good enough that I don’t “require” glasses for driving, meaning i can see just not make out small details. I wear them for driving because i can see the animal in the road but with them i can see if it’s a bunny or squirrel. At least I can take them off when I’m in a store. I just can’t see the sign that tells me where the pickles are until I get closer.

      2. SemiAnon*

        The problem is that exercising involves a lot of heavy breathing, generally with the mouth open, which means spraying droplets past the six foot “safe” radius. So if someone is exercising while contagious, it’s a lot less save than doing something like grocery shopping without a mask. Honestly, if I were making that choice, I’d stick to outdoor or home exercise, and bypass the gym.

        As far as glasses – it helps to wedge the glasses down over the top of the mask, so that your breath goes down rather than up. It’s above 30 C here (90F) and humid, and masks are mandatory in many places, so I’ve had time to practice.

      3. Wired Wolf*

        I can wear a mask with my glasses if it’s situated properly on my nose (I found a washable headstrap-style mask that I can actually wear, straps are adjustable which helps with the nose seal and my glasses can sit above the mask if I do it properly). Still mildly annoying but nowhere near as much as the masks I was using.

    3. AnonandAnon*

      Went to the store for the first time in weeks yesterday as hubby usually does the shopping. Had my mask on and yes the glasses were fogged up, and initially I had my sunglasses clips on and forgot so was really annoyed thinking I had to do the shopping half blind. I was so anxious about the whole thing, following the lines, having to go back and forth to one end of the store to the other since I’m not familiar with the store. Took me an hour and a half to shop for what amounted to maybe 1/2 a cart of items, I was in awe and amazement when I saw a woman with her cart piled high. Of course there were people going slow as molasses, going the wrong way, wearing their masks incorrectly (you have to cover your nose too!), and I could not find a few items on my list. Thankfully I was checking out when I saw a family of three, no masks, waltz into the store. Management can’t stay a damn thing to them as they may have a reason why none were wearing a mask and HIPAA laws prevent questioning them about medical conditions which exclude them from doing so. I was far enough away and was leaving but it really pissed me off. I honestly think the stores could also remove some of the items that are in the middle of the end aisles, they really cause people who are trying to be careful unnecessary anxiety if they can’t go around someone safely. I could not imagine going to a gym wearing a mask, I’d rather just be outside in the wide open spaces mask-free.

      1. Alice*

        Re HIPAA – that is a common misunderstanding. HIPAA only applies to health care providers and health care facilities.
        Separately, the ADA does apply to stores, but as we’ve often heard on this site on work threads, the accommodation has to be reasonable. If a store employee offered to do curbside delivery for someone who says they have a disability preventing them from wearing a mask, that sounds like a perfectly reasonable accommodation to me. (Not a lawyer)
        I wouldn’t want to be the retail employee trying to explain that fact to those folks though….

        1. Fikly*

          In fairness, the majority of healthcare workers do not understand HIPAA.

          For example, in an emergency, disclosure of medical information without consent (not refused consent, but when consent is unavailable) to save someone’s life is permitted, but most don’t know about that exception, and will refuse to disclose.

      2. ThatGirl*

        There is a meme going around that claims the ADA and HIPAA mean someone can walk into a store with no mask. It’s baloney, and the people invoking it are doing so because they think it’s letting them get away with something or that rules don’t apply to them. If the ADA truly applies there are other options that don’t involve walking into a store maskless.

    4. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I don’t wear glasses outside, but I hate how the mask feels. I did read (maybe here?) that twisting the sides makes a vent so makes it easier to breathe. It feels only marginally better.

      What makes it feel worse is that literally as soon as I step out of the house, I have to cough/clear my throat or sneeze. While I haven’t gotten any dirty looks, I’m sure they’ll be coming. I still cover my mouth with my elbow/arm out of habit.

    5. Mimosa Jones*

      I find if I wear the mask a little higher on my nose my glasses don’t fog up. But then my glasses aren’t resting on my nose and they slip down much easier. They’ve almost fallen off a couple times. I’m going to have to make something to hold them on my head better.

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

      The gym wants you to wear masks? Even when you’re exercising? Even cardio? They’re mad. There’s at least one case of a runner who had a collapsed lung because he was forced to wear a mask. That’s a no no.

      1. Retail not Retail*

        Yeah the website says “requests” and “recommends” in common areas! It’s so wild!

        My job is gardening so allergies have necessitated a mask this year but we have to wear them any time we’re in vehicles together and any time guests can see us. It’s gonna suuuuuuck next week.

      2. runner*

        I mean? I would not feel safe in a gym with a bunch of unmasked people; the studies are showing that one of the ways the virus infects more people is through (re)circulated air, such as in restaurants but also gyms. Being indoors in enclosed spaces for a long time is not a great idea.

        I get not wanting to wear a mask while exercising (I don’t while running) but also gyms are going to be a transmission spot.

      3. rear mech*

        heavy breathing and/or forceful exhalation in an indoor space is pretty much the best way to spread the virus (adding a 2nd comment with the link that explains why, with some case studies) Honestly not sure why gyms are even open?

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            Thank you, this is a great link–explains the science and math well. I especially appreciate the little illustrations of mass outbreak architecture, like the floor in the call center.

      4. Fikly*

        No, what’s mad is exercising in a gym with multiple people in it without wearing a mask.

        You do not need to be exercising in a gym. You do need to be alive.

    7. LGC*

      Ugh, I couldn’t imagine wearing a mask to work out either! Although it might be necessary for gyms.

      I’ve finally figured out how to get masks to kind of fit me. I just need to put it pretty high up on my face. Which is a bit problematic with my nose shape – kind of broad and flat. Even in those cases, with my regular prescription glasses I get a lot of fogging (my sunglasses are a bit larger and less problematic).

    8. matcha123*

      I use anti-fog wipes on my glasses before I go out if I think they’ll get fogged up. Check Amazon!

      1. pancakes*

        Try just washing them with soap and water. Sounds improbable but it really does work.

        1. Retail not Retail*

          The big glasses and finally getting the cup right really made a difference today in terms of fogginess.

          Last week i put dish soap on them and let them air dry.

          Now making it through the last hour of work when it’s high humidity and high temperature? Ugh well i survived didn’t i?

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I recall that snorkel guides used baby shampoo, a drop rubbed inside the lenses. Guessing that would work here too.

    9. Wehaf*

      The more snugly your mask sits across the top of your nose and cheeks, the less fogging you should see; this is likely why your cup-style mask causes fewer problems. In addition to cup-style masks, ones with nose wires should work well to help you avoid fogging.

      You can also wash your glasses in mildly soapy water, and dry with a clean cloth without rinsing. The soap residue should not be visible but will resist fogging.

    10. Rebecca*

      I just walked to the post office in my rural town, it’s only in the 60’s F but 95% humidity. Put my thin cloth mask on to go into the post office. Glasses fogged immediately, I couldn’t see, I started to sweat, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I don’t have underlying health issues, so it’s not due to asthma or a breathing issue. This is not going to work during the summer.

    11. Jean (just Jean)*

      Indoors, I take off the glasses and resign myself to being near-sighted. (Fortunately for me I can see pretty clearly for up to six feet away. It’s just annoying when I’m trying to read the overhead signs in a grocery store.)
      Outdoors, when I’m not near other people, I push my mask down to uncover at least my nose, or both my nose and mouth.

      It’s not ideal, but not much is ideal about this coronavirus situation.

      1. Rebecca*

        I’m nearsighted, and can see clearly about 12-18″ from my face. It doesn’t work for me to take off my glasses where I have to see things and discern what they are in a grocery store.

        1. Jean (just Jean)*

          I understand my solution won’t work for all nearsighted people. Sympathies.

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          We added a little nose-bar pocket to the top middle of the fabric masks I made. Insert a bit of pipe cleaner (my choice, lightweight) or other wire (my husband uses a heavy wire he had for something in the shop). To mimic the little metal clip over the bridge of the nose in the masks from the hospital.

    12. Lynn*

      I have a couple fabric masks that don’t have the part to fit on top of my nose. I pull them up to just under my eyes and set my glasses on the fabric. Any hot air that does come out the top of my mask bypasses the lenses. Unfortunately, these don’t have a filter pocket, so I don’t use them for longer wear, like the grocery store, but I like this method for popping out to the copier or bathroom on my in-office days.

      1. epi*

        Yeah, this is how I do it. Wear the mask a bit higher, set glasses down on top, and the weight of the frame holds down the top edge of the mask. People with larger plastic frames should definitely give this a shot.

        I have gotten in the habit of putting on my mask first as I get ready to leave my apartment, so I can see how it’s working while I’m still indoors. If I get ready too quickly sometimes I’ll just stand around for a couple minutes seeing if I get an unacceptable amount of fog. It only took me 2-3 tries before I was getting through this step noticeably faster because I recognized when I was wearing it right.

    13. nnn*

      So far, I’ve found the kleenex barrier to be the most effective way to keep my glasses clear. There’s still a bit of fog, but I can see at all times now.

    14. Pam*

      I not only have the fogging, but the glasses that don’t want to stay on my ears, so I put a sunglass leash on, so the glasses stay on.

    15. Dancing Otter*

      But breathing harder makes your exhaled breath go farther. That means that six foot distance needs to be doubled or trebled. The studies were published in reference to runners and cyclists, but I’m sure machine exercise and free weights would have the same effect.

      Maybe you should stay home if you don’t want to follow the gym’s stated rules.

      Or you could just be sensible and wear the mask, to protect not just yourself but everyone around you.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Even singing…
        “How coronavirus spread from one member to 87% of the singers at a Washington choir practice

        Authorities interviewed all 122 members of the Skagit Valley Chorale, which met every Tuesday for 2.5 hours before the outbreak. They focused on two rehearsals held March 3 and March 10 in Mount Vernon, Washington.
        The report said 53 people were sickened and two died — and all but one attended both rehearsals. The report said Thirty-three cases were confirmed, the report said, and 20 people had probable infections.

    16. AL (the other one)*

      2 things that I found helpful

      – wearing a mask that allows for a wire across the bridge of the nose.

      – when exhaling, breathe through your mouth and angle the air flow downward (like playing the flute?)

    17. Biolab*

      So a couple of tips for glasses wearers:
      1. If you can, find a mask with a nose wire (or make your own). This helps to make a better seal around the top of the mask which stops the air you breath out from going out the top and fogging up your glasses. Depending on the mask you already have you might be able to add a nose wire to it – youtube and instagram are great resources to find tutorials.
      2. I’ve seen (but not personally tried) a few people recommend putting a tissue under the mask at the top as this also block air from wooshing out the top.
      3. Put shaving cream on the lenses of your glasses and rub it until the lenses are clear. This leaves a film on the lenses which should prevent fogging.

  15. Last week’s dog anesthesia post*

    For those who responded to my post last week about my almost 18 year old toy poodle getting anesthesized for a dental, she did really well. Thank you for the words of encouragement.

    I’m so impressed with how tough she is for a 7 pound very old dog. She def has RBG energy. She’s got enough spunk in her to fight us when we try to give her pain killers and antibiotics. A little too much spunk .

    1. Nesprin*

      =) Our pit mix needed handfulls of pills for a month- we coated pills in peanut butter or wrapped in kraft singles and he was thrilled to eat em.

  16. Alice*

    What a weird problem to share: I like being “safer at home” too much. I am introverted and I have a great situation – good WFH conditions, big house with outdoor space, plenty of supplies.
    My problem, if you can call it that, is that I fear I’m letting my social ties atrophy. It’s just hard to call or text people when there is nothing new to say. There are only so many cat photos you can send people.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      This is the problem with not going out much, it’s harder to find things to talk about. But lots of people are in the same boat, they don’t have a lot either. You can make conversations shorter, expect less of yourself in terms of how long you visit. And you can ask them questions- how are they doing; working on any thing fun; how’s the dog/grandma/small child. You might feel better if you plan a couple of things to talk about before you initiate the conversation. And it’s fine to say, “I am not doing too much here, so not too much to talk about. But just wanted to call and say hi and find out how you were doing.”
      Once you have talked to a couple people you will have more material to talk about with others, also. For example, my friend mentioned making tick tubes. I googled that. Now I am making tick tubes. It’s a stupid little thing, but it’s something to talk about.

      1. Please Exit Through The Rear Door*

        The problem I’m finding is that if I call someone, we inevitably talk about the virus. And how things have changed because of the virus. And I am so, so, so sick of talking about the virus. So I find myself not reaching out at all.

        1. Wired Wolf*

          I have a friend like this. Almost every conversation is about the virus or work (she was fired a week before the rest of us were furloughed). She’s not the type of person who seeks out new things, so I can’t give her a neat link I found; if she reads it I’ll get quizzed on “what’s the point of this? By the way, that site had a [clickbait ad] link to XYZ about the virus is that what you wanted me to read?”

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Tick tubes, not as easy a DIY project as it seems. Cornell Extension blog post link coming up separately.

    2. Bookworm*

      Join a book club, or just read a book so you have something to talk about. It’s not about reading the book, it’s about maintaining social skills so that when you need them, you have them.

    3. Lena Clare*

      A pal and I sometimes watch a Netflix film ‘together’, then we’ll Skype each other afterwards to chat about it.
      We make ourselves a coffee, and pretend we’ve just been to the cinema and are now at the coffee shop (our usual haunts).

      1. Blarg*

        I’ve watched a couple concert films of bands with friends (we all click play at the same time on YouTube… low tech and easy, ok if we are a couple seconds off). Then we text throughout it. Makes me focus more on the music rather than it being in the background and a reminder what a crowd singing along looks like. It’s very easy social connection. Don’t even have to talk. But shared experience. Then I end up crying cause I miss live music but I cry at the actual shows, too… what else is new?

        1. pancakes*

          There are browser plug-ins that will sync you all up! I haven’t tried this yet but have been meaning to.

      2. Filosofickle*

        Some friends have started a weekly movie club. Watch the movie independently sometime during the week, then spend an hour over the weekend chatting over zoom. It’s so nice to have something light and easy to talk about!

        As a bit of a hermit myself, I was doing so well at reaching out in the beginning. In some ways it was ideal — meaningful conversations without going anywhere. But I don’t want to have the same pandemic convo over and over, and most of us don’t have a lot else going on to talk about. So I’ve stopped reaching out and feel lousy about not taking better care of friends who need contact more than I do.

    4. nep*

      I hear you.
      I think we can’t really know exactly what happens with social ties, as we’ve never gone through precisely this experience. But maybe think about how they’ll be different–not necessarily stale or dead–and how it will be interesting to watch them re-ignite or re-bloom, so to speak, once the virus is not such an all-consuming presence.
      All the best

    5. MistOrMister*

      This is interesting, because I’m the same way about loving being “forced” to stay home. No issues with conversation points though. I find there’s usually something in the news (did you hear about those nfl players that apparently robbed people at a house party that it sounds like they were attending??? WHAAAAT?) or I blather about what I’m doing. It’s amazing how you start telling someone about your vacuuming spree and open up a whole floodgate of coversation. I’ve had a lot of talks over the years with a friend about mundane house stuff (getting ants, etc) and it always amazes me how we can actually enjoy that kind of conversation. With people I know, I feel like there is always something to tall about. Now, put me with a stranger and all you’re going to hear is crickets chirping!!

    6. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I’m with you. I live with the majority of my local social circle (my husband and my brother :P ) and everyone else I normally have social ties with was long-distance anyway, to some degree or another. (Some are an hour away, some are three or four states away.)

      I started sending postcards – I got a couple variety packs off Amazon, and for every postcard, I’m writing four or five trivia facts that I find on the internet for whatever is on the front. (The last two batches are wild animals and Disney princesses.) I’m also sending postcards directly to my friends’ kids, so that they can get something in the mail too.

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

      +1 I’m an introvert and I haven’t text some of my friends. Most of them are swamped with work, spouses, kids or all of them, so I don’t feel that bad for being distant.

    8. Disco Janet*

      Yep. I feel like I’ve turned into just endlessly talking about work and how my kids are driving me crazy because there’s nothing else to talk about. Then the negativity gets to me.

      I’ve started planning a vacation for next summer to have something else to think about.

    9. KR*

      I completely understand this. I am so introverted and withdrawn I have a very hard time maintaining friendships with people and keeping up touch. I have to be friends with really awesome understanding people who know and understand that I love them dearly but my socializing ability is very limited.

    10. Arya Parya*

      A couple of friends and I would go to a music quiz once a month. We’ve now found some of those online and skype during them so we can play as a team.

      I’m very introverted as well and love this. I can still play a quiz, but don’t have to go out and be in a crowded, loud space. I’ll actually miss this once all of this is over.

    11. allathian*

      I feel the same. There’s literally not much to talk about. I text or call my friends about once a month now…

    12. Raia*

      This will sound really random, but do you enjoy board or video games at all? Any hobby you’d wanted to pick up and didn’t find the time or energy before?

      The board game community is much bigger than I ever imagined (theres more than Monopoly and Sorry!), and several games can be played solo. That might give you things to do and/or talk about. I’ve been enjoying a game called Sorcerer City solo, but there are easier solo games to start off with, like Cartographers or Tiny Towns. Some people even stream games on Twitch so that the whole chat can play, which is pretty enjoyable to engage with live. Being active in chat is where I’m getting most of my social interaction these days. Video gamers also stream on twitch, although that is less engaging if you arent playing the game with them. Twitch also has people who just chat, cooking channels, music channels, etc and if there are less than 50 viewers ish in a stream, and you stick around for a few days the streamer will remember you and get to know you, which is fun!

  17. Princess Deviant*

    This isn’t really a question, but I just wanted to share call on I told my best friend (who is neurotypical) that I am autistic and her response was so lovely! We ended up crying for ages.

    It was over text, I just thought it was easier that way.

    What really got me was when she said that she was sorry I have been masking and she hoped that she hasn’t made me feel that I needed to hide parts of myself from her. She also said that she loves me just as I was but if there were parts of me that she hasn’t seen yet, then to bring them on.

    I just wanted to share that.

    1. Migrainemonster*

      Aw I’m glad you have a supportive friend and that you felt comfortable to tell her! Happy for you guys! Good to hear some good news!

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Felt a little pang in my heart on this one. She sounds like a very neat person. You both won here.

    3. Lady Farquaad*

      My son is neurotypical and I love his every quirk. I’m so happy God made him the way he has. The world would be boring and much less advanced if not for our neurotypical humans. Much love to you!

    4. Raia*

      Friends like this is what life is all about. Makes my heart happy to read this and am so glad you shared! I hope to be this kind of friend to the people in my life.

  18. UbiCaritas*

    I mentioned last week that I have been diagnosed with breast cancer – I had surgery on Thursday. Everything went well, very little pain, now waiting for path results. Here’s the thing – I need to take better care of myself: lose some weight, get some exercise. I haven’t cared about my body in so long that I don’t even know how to start! Baby steps, right? I’ll probably be on lockdown for the rest of the year (if I have chemo) so maybe this is a good time to start? How do you change the tape in your head from “I don’t matter” to “I’m worthwhile”?

    1. nep*

      What I hear in your post right here is ‘I’m worthwhile.’
      Remember the space between a thought and a reaction–you have a lot of power in that space.
      And YES…baby steps. That’s the way to go. Baby steps turn into huge leaps.
      So glad your surgery went well. Peace and best of health to you. I look forward to hearing how it goes.

    2. Choggy*

      I too feel the same way, I go back and forth between caring and not caring. I wish I could bottle the feeling I get after a nice walk though, and remember how good I felt as a motivator to make it a habit. I always thought doing something in a small way did not matter, but it does, even if only for your mood. One thing that helped me was to make sure I was as comfortable as possible, I purchased nice active wear, good sneakers, got myself some wireless headphones, downloaded the free Pandora app on my smart phone, picked some enjoyable music and off I go. Now that the weather is nicer, I make sure to enjoy the flowers, the trees, the birds, just the smell of the outdoors. I take a breather when I need it, not that I’m walking fast, but sometimes, just standing still and taking it all in is a great pick me up. I am worth it, so are you!

    3. Hi there*

      I am so glad everything went well! My big suggestion would be to do things you enjoy and to give yourself time to find those out. For exercise maybe you like jumping rope or walking or biking. Or boxing. I’d also recommend not trying to change everything at once, instead picking one thing at a time. Will it be one more serving of vegetables at dinner? Learning to cook your favorite vegetables in new ways? Healthy snacking? Exercising a certain number of times a week? Taking up a mindfulness practice like meditation, yoga or coloring a certain number of times a week?

      I recommend the book about happiness by Gretchen Rubin. (I think it is called Happier) It helped me look at a lot of areas of my life and see where I can make small changes that increased my quality of life. I am cheering for you!

    4. Anon woman without breast cancer*

      Congrats on getting the surgery done, having little pain, and acknowledging your needs. I was diagnosed in October 2019, had chemo first, then surgery in April, and am now almost done with radiotherapy. I am cancer free and will take probably Letrizol starting in June.

      If you have chemo, and if you are in lockdown for months due to being immune compromised, you will have a lot of time to think and change your inner monologues. I kept a journal in my chemo and checked in here on weekends to share progress. Being cheered on here and by friends and family helped me to cheer myself on, too. I always knew I was strong but kicking cancer’s lumpy bastard ass to the curb and getting healthy again has proved to me that I am very strong.

      Chemo finished for me in mid March, since 26 March I have walked over 250km, walking each day and building my body back up again. I did a few walks during chemo when it was nice outside, too. Exercising will help you care for your body and will help the chemo go more smoothly. Walk each day, do some gentle yoga, drink lots of water, and sleep a lot if you can. Once your body is reset after months of chemo, the exercising and gentle walks will help you to climb out of that and rebuild yourself.

      Wishing you terrific pathology results and light chemo and good health outcomes. You are worthwhile.

      1. UbiCaritas*

        Oh, thank you – very good ideas. “Time to think and change your inner monologues” – so true. Best wishes on your journey!

      2. Sara without an H*

        I’m 18 months out from my last chemo treatment, and I’ll vouch for all these suggestions.

        I also like Hi There’s recommendation not to try to change too much at one time. Pick something, do it long enough that it becomes a habit, and then pick something else. I don’t know if it’s something in the American psyche, but we tend to go for all or nothing choices. Well, you probably can’t do it all — nobody can — but you can always do something.

        Best wishes for a good recovery!

      3. Kuododi*

        Hi there!!! I’m tickled to death to read your post. Thrilled to see the cancer is almost a none issue. I’ve been on Letrozole for the past six months and anticipate doing the full 5yrs on the med. Per my oncologist, Letrozole is given to women who are post menopausal. (Natural or surgical.)

        I had the temporary shunt removed back on Thursday after getting the left side kidney stones removed. I’m going back in four weeks from now to get the right side kidney stones addressed. More news as it is available. Blessings Kuododi

        1. Anon woman without breast cancer*

          hi Kuododi! Great to hear your news too! Good luck with kidney stones and good on shunt, too! Wishing you a good week ahead and continued improved health too!

    5. Mimmy*

      So happy to hear everything went well and with little pain! Sending positive vibes for the path results.

      Yes, you are worthwhile!

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Congrats on getting through the surgery with little pain.

      Going from “I don’t matter” to “I am worthwhile” can feel like a huge leap sometimes.

      My suggestion is to change your tape to, “I don’t wanna have to do this again and I am willing to do what it takes to keep myself out of this stuff.”

      I shifted from thinking of weight loss as a way to look better to weight loss as a way to FEEL better. And this is when I gained ground with my goal to lose weight. I started watching what I ate and how I felt after I ate it. It became much easier to stay on track. To this day, I’d love to have a Coke Cola. I am not willing to put up with feeling crappy on and off for days afterward, though. Likewise with other stuff. Once I saw that I did not get headaches like I used to and I was less apt to catch a cold, etc., that is when the dots connected in my head. I was able to stay on course.

      Something to mull over: Once we start taking more care of ourselves we then give ourselves the ability to feel worthwhile. So yeah, this may be the chicken or the egg question. You have an inroad by wanting to reclaim your health. I’d start there and follow your road where ever that goes.

    7. Texan In Exile*

      I am so happy that everything went well and am crossing my fingers for good path results!

    8. Sara(h)*

      I once read somewhere that even to just put on your workout clothes (which for me is just a t-shirt, gym shorts or yoga pants, and running shoes) is a great first step, and can be a goal in and of itself. Some days I make that my end goal, just to put on my exercise clothes, but usually once they’re on, I end up going on at least a short walk or run. Once in a while, the change of clothes is as far as I get! But somehow, this concept really helps me on days that I’m not motivated. And if the clothes change is as far I get today, I forgive myself and move on. But often the clothes change motivates me and helps me follow through with actual exercise.
      Another thing that helps me is the health app on my phone that shows daily mileage and steps. It helps me track progress. I have a wrist wallet that fits my phone and housekey, and inexpensive bluetooth earbuds. I listen to podcasts while I walk or run — I used to listen to music, but I find the podcasts work better for me, because I get absorbed and it’s a great distraction.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        When I was pregnant and uber fatigued and debating skipping the gym on my way home, my husband would tell me to go for 5 minutes. And it worked–usually once I’d done 5 minutes I was good to go longer than that. I used the same trick when I went back to the gym after cancer surgery–and sometimes it actually was 5 or 10 minutes and I was Done. But usually I could go longer than that. Having the baseline goal be really short and highly attainable helps.

    9. Falling Diphthong*

      I had surgery in January and am just winding up radiation during lockdown.

      I really liked this podcast on just how exercise increases immune function, sent around by my local cancer support center as lockdown started:

      Exercise–even if you don’t drop a pound–substantially diminishes the risk of both cancer recurrence and lymphedema, so I am highly motivated to find something physical to do. It also helps counter radiation fatigue, if you’re having that–I am the poster child for efficacy there. As someone said upthread, try to find something you like, or at least tolerate, and thus will be willing to do.

    10. Owler*

      I finished chemo ten years ago this month for colon cancer. One thing I started doing was thinking of my body as separate from me: the physical being as separate from the mental part of me. And then I started thinking of my body as a friend who I had ignored all of these years but deserved its own value. Similar to how you might be kinder to a friend than you are to yourself? So I tried to be kind to my body. I decided we had to be a team to beat back the cancer, and exercise became part of being a good friend to my body. Also, forgiveness. Baths in lavender and Epsom salts and resting when I felt like it were part of being kind to myself.

      And this all sounds weird to have typed it out, but if any of this rings true for you, give it a try.

  19. Teapot Translator*

    Adventures in learning new things!
    For those who remember me trying to learn to ride a bike last summer, well, yesterday, I tried riding for the first time this season. It took me a few tries to start more or less straight and then I was scared during the short ride I did, but I did it! If I can, I will try to ride again today.
    Are you learning anything that is scaring your shirtless?

    1. nep*

      How wonderful. Good for you.
      This is a great reminder–do something each day that scares you. It’s a good way to live. Also I like that line, when’s the last time you did something for the first time? (Of course we’re all doing something for the first time every day right now–navigating a pandemic.)
      All the best and happy riding.

      1. Teapot Translator*

        Thank you! I rode again yesterday. I was stressed, but less. I’m going to try to ride again today. These are very short rides, but I’m working on my fear at the moment.

    2. Colette*

      Good for you! I wouldn’t say I’m learning things that scare be, but I have definitely pushed myself outside my comfort zone in the past couple of months! My Girl Guide travel group doesn’t escape room fundraisers- but of course we can’t do them now, so I’ve been moving them online.

      1. Teapot Translator*

        I think it’s important to push ourselves out of our comfort zone in a “controllable” way, just because life will do it to us and, speaking only for myself, I need to learn to be able to manage.

    3. TechWorker*

      Good Luck!!! I love cycling I’m not fast but it makes me feel so free! I hope you are able to push through the fear til you feel that too :)

      1. Teapot Translator*

        Thank you! I really want to stop feeling fear (and shame also, that I’m an adult who never learned as a child) so I have to push myself and it’s exhausting.
        I’m so out of shape though after two months of working from home and doing nothing! If I can get comfortable riding a bike, this will be so good for my cardio.

    4. chi chan*

      I am thinking of moving. I am only thinking of it but it is the first time I will be moving away alone so it is a little scary.

      1. Teapot Translator*

        Moving is scary! Not because something horrible is going to happen, but because it’s big leap. I was old when I finally moved out of my parents’ house, but so were my brothers (it’s a cultural and family thing). I was so scared, but I needed to do it. I live with a general anxiety disorder that’s gotten a lot better over the years (with treatment), so it hasn’t been easy learning to live alone and being an adult, but we can do it. For me, living alone is the best. Too much togetherness makes me retreat into a shell and triggers “down” episodes, but everyone’s different.

  20. Green Mug*

    I have a neighbor situation. It’s so much more involved but here is the condensed version. The neighbors and their kids repeatedly cause damage to my property and trained their dog to use my lawn. I spoke up about the kids and the dog. The neighbor lost it. He completely cursed at me. He added that it was my fault he’s yelling because he’s a calm guy, and I’m unreasonable not wanting his kids or dog on my property. I left. My husband spoke to him. He apologized to my husband. My husband is taking the position that we have to live next to this guy so I should be cordial. My feeling is that he is the kind of guy who curses at a woman and tells her it’s her fault he’s yelling and cursing. I don’t want to interact with him on any level and would feel like a phony pretending otherwise. How do I walk this line?

    1. Jdc*

      Ugh I think you kind of just have to not engage even though it’s complete BS that you can’t speak to him without him yelling. Best option I guess given his behavior is to just have your husband be the one he speaks to. The damage thing is a big problem. Husband should be presenting him with a repair bill every time, but alas, then he’s mad and life is more difficult. I wish people could just stop being rude for no reason.

    2. Choggy*

      One thing you could do is put stuff on your lawn so the dog won’t want to go there. Something non-toxic, of course, but at least you don’t need to engage with an unreasonable owner. Not sure what to do about the kids though. What is so great about your property they want to play there? Maybe put up a fence?

      1. Dahlia Enthusiast*

        I’ve heard (anecdotally) that sprinkling used coffee grounds can deter dogs from using your lawn, assuming the dog is just allowed to wander over on its own, rather than brought over on a leash? Plus the nitrogen helps your grass grow.
        I’m not a coffee drinker, so I’ve never had enough spent grounds to try myself.

      2. Jackalope*

        One of my favorite stories about dog repellant: I knew someone who worked in a zoo whose yard had become a dog hub, including of course scent markers. He got some snow leopard urine and used it to “mark his territory”. He then watched several of the dogs who had previously used his yard walk by, smell the new scent markings, and flee. No more issues! Obviously this wouldn’t work for most people but it was highly satisfying to hear.

    3. Rebecca*

      Can you put up a fence? Plus, he is willfully trespassing! I don’t know where you live, but people here do not tolerate that very well – like, if I want to go hiking, and part of it is on private property, I go to that person’s house or call on the phone and ask permission first. And what would happen if one of his kids gets hurt? As for him, being “cordial” can mean not speaking to him. You are NOT unreasonable!

      1. Green Mug*

        Thank you for saying that I am not unreasonable. I also think about what happens when the kids get injured over here.

    4. Potatoes gonna potate*

      My god that is awful. I don’t know why some people are so entitled and think it’s OK to act like this. I’d be worried for the women and children in his family if he’s nice to men but yells at women.

      I would just refuse to interact with him and pretend he doesn’t exist. Not sure what can be done about the dog mess (he trained the dog to specifically use your lawn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). For the kids causing damage, is there an equivalent of 311 in your city where you can reach city services for non-emergency? I worry that if someone gets hurt on my property, I can be held liable.

      People like that are terrible humans.

      1. Frankie Bergstein*

        I wholeheartedly agree with this comment. What he did was not okay, and it is a red flag to me that he didn’t act that way with your husband. While it is not OK, it is reality – I think tasking your husband with all further communications with this neighbor is a good idea. Saying his lack of calm is your fault is NOT okay.

    5. I vote for a fence*

      Ugh, I’m so sorry.
      I agree, just have hubby deal with your neighbor. He’s shown you who he is. And if you can swing it, put up a fence. I imagine it will make a world of difference.

      We had neighbors move in a few years ago who put in a basketball court just feet from our house. It drives us all crazy. I regret not putting a fence up when we first realized how disruptive it would be. Honestly, I didn’t want to do it because I was annoyed that WE would have to spend money because THEY are so noisy…but I think my peace of mind would have been so much better over the years. It would have been money well spent. And it’s even more terrible now during this stay-at-home since the kids are out there all the time. However at this point, we are moving in a year so we are just going to continue to suffer through.

      1. Green Mug*

        We put up a row of bushes to mark the property line and try to keep the kids away. The bushes weren’t up a day before their kids were running through them. The wife said this is my fault for putting in more nice things. She wants me to count how many times her kids trespass on my property. She told me that they can’t watch their kids because they both work. The worst part is that I can tell that they truly believe that they are good neighbors. I don’t know how to deal with people who have a completely different outlook on reality.

        1. Jdc*

          Sorry neighbor but watching your kids is actually your job. CPS would agree. Serious facepalm.

        2. bring on the silver*

          I’m so sorry! You have my total sympathy. It seems obvious that reasoning is not going to work – and of course you do have to still live next to these people. Maybe a solid fence? Do you think both you and they will be there for years to come? I guess also consider how old and how many kids they have and figure out how many more years they will be abusing your yard.

        3. StellaBella*

          Now that garden centres are opening up, I think you need a new plan, and depending on your budget you can go high end or low end. Here are some ideas. A fence with a gate – and maybe trellis type wood that hold rose bushes – these have thorns but the roses and trellis fences look really pretty. Make the fence maybe only 4-5 feet high to keep the pests, including kids, out. Alternate between the shrubs these roses. Get a noise making animal repellent device – does not have to be very loud – some are up to 100+dB, but adding one to the yard to scare them or at least make noise to alert your neighbours to come wrangle the dog and kids may be an option. Get a camera and record all the trespassing. Then, after a few weeks, deliver the video to them and ask wtf they want to do about this issue. Fences are best option and can improve the look of a yard so may be the best option. Also there are scent repellents that are harmless to dogs but will keep the dog off your lawn. And I would bag up the dog doo and deposit it in their cans if they leave trash cans out.

          1. Alexandra Lynch*

            Joseph’s Coat roses. Very pretty vigorous climbing roses that start with a golden bud and end with petals dropping deep red, and all the shades between as the flower matures. Also the thorniest m-f’ing roses I have ever encountered. The big thorns have medium thorns between them and the medium thorns have little thorns between them.

          2. The pest, Ramona*

            Motion sensitive water sprinkler. I bought one to keep the cats from using my flower bed as a litter box. It really worked, so I would imagine it works for kids and dogs (unless it’s a hot summer and it becomes a game for the kids).

        4. Potatoes gonna potate*

          So this obnoxious jerk thinks its YOUR job to watch THEIR kids?

          Sorry I am just getting so angry on your behalf.

          1. Green Mug*

            I appreciate your empathy. My blood boils when I think about it but I don’t want to live with constant aggravation. Getting support from this post actually makes me feel better. We fenced our entire back yard last year. This year I already added a row of bushes. After reading the comments, I think I’m going to extend the bushes all the way along the entire side of the driveway to the street. Blocking them out is the only way.

            1. tangerineRose*

              I think you’re right. That and getting your husband to do the talking to the neighbor husband (which is ridiculous that you need to do, but clearly that’s the safest way).

              Your neighbors sound seriously messed up. Hope their kids don’t turn out to be felons with this kind of upbringing.

            2. Potatoes gonna potate*

              I know, I hate the idea that I have to spend money to protect myself but that’s really the most realistic way. I would really try to find out if there’s anyone to call. Not necessarily police but a non-emergency number because I would be really worried if those kids & dogs end up hurt on your property, this could be disastrous for you.

              Good luck and let us know how it goes!

            3. bring on the silver*

              Yes, it does sounds like you are going to have to prevent all access and increase the bushes or fence. I’m glad you already have most of the fencing done. I hope that does the trick and stops them – and all the aggravation and stress.

        5. Mx*

          Regardless of the situation with your lawn, you should contact CPS for the sake of the kids because it seems they are neglected.
          Some people may feel mean about involving CPS, but it will benefit the kids if the parents don’t take care of them.

        6. allathian*

          Anonymously call CPS on your neighbor. Sounds like their kids would be better off in the welfare system than with parents who neglect them.
          Not really, but a fence sounds like a great idea. Put as high a fence as your zoning regulations permit and you can afford.
          I get it that you’re liable for injuries in your yard if the injured people are your guests, but I just don’t understand how that could possibly apply to trespassers.

    6. Koala dreams*

      I’m so sorry. It’s scary when the scary guys live next door. I have a lot of sympathy for you. In your shoes, I too would keep as far away from that neighbour as possible. With more reasonable neighbours, you could speak directly with the kids, but I guess the neighbours would get angry again if you did that.

      Do the neighbours only treat you this way, or the other neighbours too? If there is a neighbour association, or if you could go together with other neighbours maybe it would be more effective. You could also look into the laws and law enforcement in your area. Where I live, it’s not legal to let your dog loose in the neighbourhood, and you can report the irresponsible dog owners to the authorities. They will send someone out to speak with the owner, and if there are many repeated complaints, the owners can be fined or no longer be allowed to keep dogs. Of course, if they only harass you, it might be safer for you to not report it, since the angry neighbours will know it was you who complained and maybe retaliate. Sorry I don’t have any better advice!

      1. Green Mug*

        They are the kind of neighbors who send their kids uninvited to people with pools. Did I mention the youngest can’t swim?
        Dogs are not allowed to run off-leash. I have considered photographing their dog and calling the police. Calling the police escalates though. I’m unsure about that course of action.

        1. tangerineRose*

          “send their kids uninvited to people with pools. Did I mention the youngest can’t swim?” This is horrifying. I’m sorry you have neighbors like that.

        2. Koala dreams*

          Wow, that’s really scary. Poor kid! Yeah, you need to do what’s safe for you. Take care!

    7. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Good fences make good neighbors.

      I also have a problematic neighbor, though honestly mine is 10x worse in some ways and much less worse in others from yours. Get a fence. A real one. Pretty white picket fence, etc. The prickly plants along the fence are also a good idea. And when damage is done, start sending a bill over. Be polite, don’t cause the problem, but do stand up for yourself. You may want to consider cameras as well, but that’s a completely different level.

    8. Fences make good neighbors*

      How about two kinds of fences on that side of your property?
      A physical one, 4-5’ high should be enough to stop kids & dog. You could plant a hedge of some kind in your side of it.
      A human one: your husband can do all the talking. And he can do the clean up after the neighbors until they stop. Neighbor guy sounds like a mess, cordial is a big ask. Polite sounds like enough.

      1. Not So NewReader*


        After my husband passed, I learned there were a couple men in my neighborhood whose hobby was to bully women who had few to no men in their lives.
        This guy sounds like one of those bullies, because he had a different tune when your husband spoke to him. I totally agree with delegating this one to your husband. You can be polite but you do not have to be ranted at in your own yard.

    9. Fikly*

      So he’s gaslighting you, and abusing you, and your husband thinks this is ok? Nothing you said sounds not cordial – it’s this guy who is not. Asking someone not to let their kids damage your property and their dog use your lawn as their toilet is not rude neighbor behavior.

      This is a guy who is very likely to escalate. It’s not a safe situation. And he (or at least the kids) are literally trespassing, which is presumably illegal.

      1. Traffic_Spiral*

        Yeah, what kind of a husband is like “oh yeah, no problem – go ahead and yell at my wife! Feel free! I’ll just tell her to be nicer afterwards.”

        1. Green Mug*

          I probably didn’t properly explain that my husband was irate. He let the guy know that he should not speak to me. My husband’s position is that we have to live next to them. He wants us to be the bigger people. I just don’t have it in me right now.

          1. Fikly*

            There’s a difference between being the bigger person and letting someone get away with committing crimes against you.

          2. Anono-me*

            It might be helpful if you and your husband speak to your insurance agent or maybe even a lawyer specializing in real estate and liability issues. Because it sounds like your husband isn’t nearly as worried about this as you are.

            Also you may want to Google Yucca plants and bayberry shrubs.

    10. SpellingBee*

      I sympathize – that’s dreadful. If you’re thinking of thorny shrubs, I can highly recommend a rose variety called Darlow’s Enigma. It’s a bit hard to find, but totally worth it for barrier purposes. I guess you’d call it a climbing rose or maybe a rambler. It’s got long, thin, whippy canes that form an impenetrable mass; I’ve used it successfully to keep deer out of my yard. It blooms in clusters of small white flat blossoms, and smells a little spicy, like cloves. It’s hardy and extremely disease-resistant (no blackspot or powdery mildew ever) and was always full and lush. Blooms all summer. Best in full sun but does okay with some shade.

    11. IntoTheSarchasm*

      Saw a YouTube Video last night for a security company, I think it was Deep Security or similar. They monitor by camera and speak through a speaker to anyone who comes on your property. If they don’t leave, a truly appalling siren thing sounds with escalating demands to leave, police will be called etc. No kid would come back and it would also drive the parents crazy too. Could probably ask them to alert for any dogs that come in the yard too. No idea what it costs but there are probably similar options out there. It is a horrible noise.

        1. ONFM*

          That was my rec as well. Cameras are really cheap these days, and easy to install yourself. There are a number of complete systems you can buy, or go a la carte. Once your neighbors see the cameras, they may keep away on their own.

    12. KoiFeeder*

      You know what would go really nicely with those bushes you planted? A couple of black or red mulberry trees near their property.

      1. Nita*

        That’s too nice for them! Mulberries are a real treat, and if they’re not dangling over something nice one can just ignore the mess :)

    13. Nita*

      Being cordial to them?! I wonder if your husband is trying to say that the neighbors are insane and it’s best not to provoke them. That’s the only way his statement makes sense. Anyway, I hope you have the option of putting up a really nice tall fence to keep them out. There’s a reason they say that good fences make good neighbors.

    14. Batgirl*

      I used to live next door to him too! Uncontrolled kids, sending dog over to foul my garden, helpless shrugging wife, disrespectful to women. Check, check and check. For years I boxed him off as simply idiotic but my dad more correctly interpreted the warning signs: “He’s purposely sending the dog over; have nothing to do with them and keep four sets of eyes on him.”
      Talking did nothing, the only thing that helped was locks, gates, fences and plenty of planted holly.
      I wish I’d installed cameras too as I completely underestimated this family and forgot to worry about them once I’d eliminated the dog and child forays of the early years. Some other stuff that happened a few years on: The dad gatecrashed an all female party at my house by walking in like he owned the place and wouldn’t leave. He visited my property when I’d left a relative working there, claiming he was returning something, but some of my property actually went missing. Shortly after, his wife kicked him out claiming he was abusive; fresh start seemed to be on the cards, but… nope.
      His eldest son started using my address when stopped for fare dodging by the transport police (I nearly had bailiffs round over the fines) and though I can’t prove it I think the same kid vandalised my car and broke into my home. My dad had the rights of it all along. Don’t expect conflict to achieve any shame or resolution; you’ll only reveal your hand. Just play a hard defence, have more security than you seem to have and expect the unexpected.

  21. Evening Star*

    Hi everyone, I’m a long time reader, first time poster. I have a big dilemma that I’m trying to untangle, and there is a time pressure involved — and lots of anxiety included too. I’ll try to stay to a point, but there’s lots of details so if will be long, but I’d really like to hear your thoughts.

    I moved to a new country (I’m from Europe, the country is also in Europe) just when the lockdown started, for a job. The new job is great, so far I’ve only known my coworkers over Zoom, but it’s a big step up and I feel respected and overall, it’s healing some past wounds from Terrible Jobs.

    I’m now staying in a place that kinda saved my ass. I had a place lined up that fell through because of covid, so I’m staying at a friend of a friend’s place. It’s big, I have a lot of space for myself, I have an office, friendly cats, lovely neighbour that we bonded with over the course of the quarantine.

    The downside is that I would have to likely move out around July (this is a southern country and under usual circumstances, real estate agencies do not operate in August). The landlords are stuck in their home country and aiming to be back around September, when the borders have opened. Another downside is that my flatmates are … kinda just there, both very introverted and especially the vegan one makes a huge deal around everything kitchen (timing, super-cleaning of everything, no meat present, no meat on shared stuff) that given me already being anxious around all covid as we all are, I almost stopped using the kitchen (this is probably very minor but for me it escalated when I put some dishes next to the sink because — another issue noise — I didn’t want to wash it and make noise in the middle of the night and I got such an escalated message in the morning over how this pile of (dry, not smelly) dishes totally out of her way made her whole day terrible), and this whole situation pushed me to start searching for my own place.

    Now, my company pays an agent to help me find accommodation of my own. We went on three meh visits and the fourth place was so random and nice and empty and ticked off a large amount of boxes (I have a LOT): gas stove, shared terrace, elevator, good location, close to the beach, close to downtown, good connection to work, lovely street, food market nearby… that I immediately said yes, and got accepted and sent the deposit the very next day. This was Thursday and yesterday evening I went into a full panic mode over “what the hell have I done”.

    It feels very hard to untangle if I’m more anxious about 1. moving out (here despite the flatmate it’s very comfy, furnished, CATS, my friend upstairs), 2. moving in (it’s a small house with 4 flats, one on each floor and I’m going crazy paranoid haywire that my neighbours might not be nice, that I don’t know anyone in the area — it’s 15 minutes walk from where I am now), 3. moving into this particular place (furnishing from scratch, is there enough security, how will nights alone feel there, did I move too fast, could I have gotten something better) and 4. the general insecurity of everything and also money (do I pay 4k deposits and agency fee and spend at least another 2 on furnishing).

    Part of me is excited and happy about a real new beginning, and part of me is anxious for all the reasons above + being single and not really having friends here just yet to ask for help.

    I feel like my ratio has pretty much made the decision based on external features (it’s definitely not the only place of that quality even though they are not so easy to find) while ignoring how much I’m freaking inside.

    Last point is: I put down the deposit, but haven’t signed the contract yet. I have a good relationship with my new boss and the company and I feel like if I would want to back out, I’d have their support. The problem is it would be a temporary solution (as I still need to find something), and I still fear being marked as troublemaker, or at least someone who is really indecisive and changes opinions like crazy.

    Thanks to anyone who has read so far, I’m really curious about your opinions. Love from lovely Spain ;)

    1. Evening Star*

      And a side note (as if I haven’t written enough, haha) is that since I’m new here, decisions like city parts still feel fairly uninformed. So as much as I feel that I lucked out regarding the location, it’s still not a decision as informed as I’d like.

    2. mreasy*

      This place sounds wonderful and your current roommate sounds like a nightmare. It is very anxiety-inducing to make a big change like this, but you won’t be far from your friend and your old place, and you’ll have a great spot of your own!

    3. Jdc*

      I think this decision would’ve come with some anxiety no matter how many places you looked at. You can really never know a place will be perfect or your neighbors will be great no matter how much research you do. It’s one of life’s gambles.
      The place sounds lovely and you can slowly build the furnishing. Buy what you must have to begin, slowly find other things you like as time goes. I hate to say take advantage but with businesses struggling, once they open, you are likely to find some good pricing or deals on furnishings.

      Your roommate sucks. If their day is ruined over two dishes they have their own problems. I’d be tempted to roll my eyes and walk on by not listening.

      1. Evening Star*

        Yeah, I am ALMOST looking at it that way — convincing myself about exactly this. I can take things slow, set up internet + home office + sleeping area, and take the advantage of the home office regarding looking for nice second hand stuff + being able to pick up the deliveries. (And enjoy the massive kitchen just for myself.)

        Another factor is that one of the local cats is a traumatised cat that finally after 2 months started trusting me and sleeping in my bed and I feel really terrible about leaving. Flatmate has her on cat but keeps the door closed all the time — the cats mingle sometimes but only rarely.

        Uh, I hate being so torn, because usually it signals I should be waiting for more information, but it’s really hard to give up the place!

        1. Jdc*

          Think of all the fun parts. The big kitchen. The new furniture. The peace and quiet. Embrace as much of the new fun changes coming your way. Having your home exactly how YOU want it and not having to make decisions with someone else in mind is in its own right a very nice thing.

    4. Choggy*

      It sounds like you will have anxiety either way, though one is ongoing (where you are now with annoying roommate(s) and needing to find another place hanging over your head), and the other will probably only be that way initially until you are settled in (it sounds really amazing!). It will be nice to have your own space, furnished the way you want, and heck, why not get your own cat to boot?

      1. Evening Star*

        My cats are waiting in another European city for the flights to start so they can come here. So yeah, another factor is that cats are allowed in the new place and the balconies look very cat-optimised. (But part of me is thinking about going to the shelter that is conveniently placed 100 m from the new place and … looking around, no strings attached. I’m sure my cats would love a third :D

    5. Katefish*

      My hunch is that buyer’s remorse is natural even when you’ve made a good decision. I’m angsty in transitions also so I get it. If you’re really uncomfortable that’s worth questioning more though.

      1. Evening Star*

        Heh, I didn’t look at it that way. Last time I was house hunting, it took ages and I was taking the place over from a friend, so it was immediately clear that if they have had a good life there, so can I. Thank you. <3

        1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

          I always have buyer’s remorse over stuff like this, and it almost always goes away. The place you found sounds great, and the annoying roommate alone would be making me want to move out ASAP! Even if you don’t like your new neighbours at least you won’t have to live with them, right?

      2. Paulina*

        I also get super-anxious at big transitions, especially in the waiting times when I’ve made the commitment but haven’t reached the time it takes effect and I start doing the new thing. I find once I can actually start doing instead of waiting, the anxiety all goes away and it turns out yes I can do the thing, yes I actually did make a good decision even if it seemed quick, and so on.

        The new place sounds great, and it also sounds like you have to leave your current residence soon anyway. Maybe working on the details might help put some fears to rest and/or move you into a more “doing” phase? That tends to help me.

    6. Twinkle toes*

      What the others said. And can you talk to the agent and ask if it is possible to have one more afternoon of looking to make sure you made the right decision before you sign the contract?

      15 min walk to visit your friend there does not sound too far?

      And even if you researched the people in the other flats in the new location (but I have no idea how you do that and have never done that myself) and you loved them, they could move any time. Trying to offer evidence that there is no “perfect” here.

      1. Evening Star*

        That’s a really good idea, and I’ll ask on Monday. They said I can come in and measure stuff if I’m approved, so I can play that part and come see. And maybe knock on neighbours’ doors :)

        There is no perfect, it’s more me trying to make sure I’m not doing something largely stupid and rushed just because of differences in a kitchen…

        1. Anono-me*

          I don’t know if I would be knocking on people’s doors right now. You have to look at the city you’re in, but under the current circumstances some people might find it disquieting.

    7. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

      Your new place sounds lovely! It’ll be weird at first, because a new place always is. But you’ll have your own kitchen, and will be able to leave the dishes as long as you want and prep meat in ever dish in the place if you so desire. I’ve just outfitted my own first apartment, and it was more stuff than I expected, but also a lot of fun. I got some great steals on thrift store and Craigslist furniture! Does your new place allow pets?

      I think sometimes we need ALL the data, at least I do, to make a decision, so we can pick out the very best solution possible. It can take me forever to choose a meal at a restaurant. But this is a flaw, really, both because there isn’t actually a perfect solution, and because a lot of the possible solutions are quite nice actually. So I’ve been practicing making quicker and less overthought decisions, and it’s been totally fine. My last computer I spent a couple weeks learning about memory and processors, comparing specs and looking at prices. This current computer I walked into a store with my brother (who knows about computers) and walked out with a new laptop. And the one thing that bugs me about it is something that I would not have thought to look for if I had all the time in the world.

      What I’m trying to say, I guess, is that your new place won’t be perfect, but it will very probably be a nice place to live. And that sometimes you have to just go with a decision instead of 2nd guessing yourself, because all decisions are leaps into the unknown, so you might as well just pick something.

      Best of luck! My place is in a house with four flats as well, and the neighbors have been perfectly fine.

    8. MistOrMister*

      When I bought my house I thought, ok this is perfect. But before I signed the papers I saw a listing for a other one that looked perfect. So I went to see it (against the advice from my realtor). It turned out to have a bunch of problems. My point being, if you found something you liked, go for it. There will always be another potential perfect place out there and a lot of them will be duds. And since you’re renting, if you decide you’re not in love with the place you’ve put the deposit on, you know you only have until the lease ends and you can find something else. But it sounds like a great place and that you might just be having some, understandable jitters.

      Re the friend in your current building, as long as you are both able-bodied, being 15 minutes apart is nothing! That’s less than a 10 minute walk for both of you to meet somewhere in the middle. And you might enjoy going to see them as an excuse to get out when you’re feeling cooped up.

      As far as costs for furnishings, you can find so much stuff for cheap. Almost every piece of furniture I own is second hand – either from places like goodwill or stuff family was getting rid of. You realy do not have to break the bank to furnish a place. And there is no shame in doing it piecemeal. I had a lot of empty spaces for a long time, and that was ok! My dad likes to tell me how in his first place he had crates for living room chairs and I think a piece of plywood on crates or blocks for a living room table, as he saved up to buy items. One thing you don’t want to do is buy a bunch of cheap stuff that will just fall apart and need to be replaced because then you’re just throwing your money away.

      Good luck!!

    9. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Honestly, take a deep breath and move out. You will figure stuff out and be fine.

    10. Koala dreams*

      Congratulations for your new place! Moving is super stressful. Make sure to have a light source, toilet paper, a water bottle and other life necessities at hand when moving. Did you put in your notice for your old room yet? If you delay too much, you might need to pay double rent for a couple of months, which is super annoying.

      The furniture you can buy slowly, no need to buy everything at once. Are there any options for second hand open in Spain? In my European country, you can still buy second hand things online and from a few stores that stay open. Easy to clean stuff like pots, cutlery, hard chairs are good to buy second hand. Bedding and stuff I would buy new.

      Good luck! It’s scary now, but before you know it the new place will feel like home.

    11. WellRed*

      I’m amused and confused that you moved countries but are now anxious about moving neighborhoods. It’ll be fine! That roommate alone would have me screaming for the hills.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Am chuckling, sometimes a person can only take so much and then they are at max capacity.

        You have four things on your list. The first two, moving out of one place and into another is something that is short, has a quick turn around time and then it will be over. That means very shortly you will be down to two major concerns.

        As far as staying there alone, I’d suggest putting a radio on with soft, classical music. You want something soothing and something that will also be a little white noise so you don’t jump at every “house sound” you hear.
        Think about ways your friend might be able to help you. Perhaps you’d like to chat by phone after dinner or maybe chat by phone before breakfast.
        You might want to try some tea- chamomile or sleep time tea.
        One good thing is that moving stuff may tire you out enough so you can sleep okay.

        FWIW, I think you made a good call on moving out. It’s not good that someone is in meltdown over a couple of dirty dishes. The right response is to leave. That person needs to sort through some things on their own.

        1. Evening Star*

          Extra special thanks — I’ve lived alone before, but … freakout. Radio + netflix + trying to get to know my neighbours. Spain has been pretty welcoming so far, so I’m praying for the best :)

      2. Evening Star*

        Everyone in this thread, I hope you get to read my response! Thanks, lots of that makes me feel normal and more at ease. I think the thing I’m dealing with is that I got comfy here in the quarantine and next to the roommate, it’s really lovely and I do find it hard to leave. (Plus I have a church and church bells right outside and it has been a great comfort in these times.)

        Second — all the advice on furniture buying is noted down :) I have already thought about it — it means overcoming some language barrier but generally, I think I can do that (and opting in for an ikea delivery is always an option for the necessary stuff).

        WellRed — haha, that made me laugh. Yes, it felt easier to move countries! I had a lot of time to think about that and decide :)

        Finally, I think that I recognise some of the fears from the first time I moved countries. It’s this floating in the air, distance from my loved ones, both in my Original City and my Home For Last Five Years are so far away. I came here embracing the change in my life, but the tension the whole world is experiencing had me cramping with unforeseen anxiety.

        Unless my next two days soul-searching uncovers something really blocking, I think I’m gonna move on and move — and I’ll make sure to mention it next weekend here. Thanks for all the kind words, advice and virtual love, sending the same to you!

        PS I talked to my landlord and given the circumstances, we’re talking about me taking the cats with me before they come back! So I can have company and the female cat who finally warmed up to me (she’s of a traumatised sort) would have me on home office all the time for herself. So, not bad at all!

    12. Call me St. Vincent*

      We are the same person. I feel like you describe ANYTIME I make a big decision or purchase. I think you just have to remember why you made the decision in the first place and recognize that anxiety over these things is normal. Trust your gut! You made a decision you wanted to make and you had good reasons that are still good :)

    13. MissDisplaced*

      Well you never know, but honestly your flat mate sounds like a real overbearing pain in the ass.
      It’s nice to have your OWN place, even if a bit lonely. Can you get a kitty? Maybe a neighbor will have a kitty.
      I know it’s just coming out of lockdowns, so you can get out completely yet, but you’ll do fine.

    14. Ronda*

      i also recently move and arrived in my new location for covid restrictions.

      I chose the one that looked best on the day I looked, cause I wanted to get it done quickly. It is a year lease, and if I dont end up liking the location, I will plan to move at the end of the lease. ( I had done some online research on apartments before coming out and had a few I wanted to look at)

      It sounds like you have to move sometime soon and it is not a life long commitment …… you can change it later if it doesnt work well for you.

  22. River Song*

    Is there anyone who is on them spectrum or suffers from sensory processing disorders that can give me some tips on what has helped them cope? I suspect my four year old is possibly on the spectrum, although not enough that I am positive that he will get a diagnosis. He definitely has problems with sensory stuff, mostly noises. He functions in his normal day to day life just fine, but I am worried about how he will cope when school starts. I’m afraid school bells and even other kids talking too loudly will overwhelm him. My biggest fear is that I can see a fire alarm going off, and him hiding under a table with his hands on his ears and crying instead of lining up.
    I’m trying to walk that line between helping him learn to cope, but also wanting to end his distress as soon as possible. He is wonderful and I don’t want to change who he is, I just don’t want his life to be harder unnecessarily.

    1. Mimosa Jones*

      My daughter grew out of most of her noise aversion. And sometimes kids have problems with things at home that they’re able to manage fine at school. Or his reaction will be different at school. Sensory difficulties are much more recognized and understood now. Most schools have special needs staff and resources to help kids and their parents. Be sure to ask about this during kindergarten screening and ask specific questions during the school year. Parents also have many opportunities to be involved and in the classroom during the younger grades so if you’re able, you can observe how he manages and how they help him.

      There are many great books on sensory integration. And you can google things like “heavy work” and “sensory diet” for ideas of things you can do at home.

      1. River Song*

        Thank you! We’ve had been debating before whether to make him appointment to see about a diagnosis or wait and see if he has problems in his pre-K classroom first. Then covid happened. I, personally, think he probably falls somewhere on the spectrum, but things are mild enough that I worry that he wouldnt get that diagnosis, and without a diagnosis there will be no accommodations.
        I will definitely be looking for books when the library opens back up!

        1. School Psych*

          Could you contact your school district about preschool screenings? The district I work for does screenings multiple times per year to find children in the 2-5 year age range who may have a disability and be eligible for our early childhood special-education program. They would be able to give you information and resources, even if they saw mild or no concerns on the screening. I wouldn’t hold off on at-least getting a screening and mentioning concerns about potential Autism to your school district or pediatrician. If your son is on the spectrum, early intervention can make a huge difference in getting both him and you connected to resources and support.

    2. Migrainemonster*

      I deal with sensory processing overload.

      At home it’s easy to manage, I turned my room in my house into a quiet spot. I use weighted blankets, aromatherapy diffusers, and I also moved the washer and dryer. It used to be against the wall downstairs and it would shake my bedroom wall when people used it which I found upsetting even though over people insisted that they couldn’t hear it that much upstairs. I also wear ear plugs when people watch TV downstairs sometimes and basically any time I feel like it’s not quiet enough. That’s really helped me.

      I’m in college now and at college it’s much harder to manage. In HS and the first two years of college I wore earplugs or headphones when doing homework or walking through the halls but now I’m used to my college enough that I know the quieter halls that I can walk through without them. I talked to the disability office and that helped a lot because I can take tests in their office if I need to. I actually have never done that but knowing that if I needed to take a test there or if I needed them to talk to my professors is helpful even if I don’t need them to if that makes sense.

      The hardest part for me has been I’m a commuter so when my schedule has large gaps in it, I didn’t know where to go so I ended up spending hours during the week under a dark staircase in my college. When I told one of my professors he told me that there is a lot of empty classrooms during the day and I could do my hw in one of those instead. So that was helpful.

      Your son is a lot younger than I am and I don’t remember what it was like when I was younger except I used to get overwhelmed and cry in school a lot because of the noise. I’m sorry that I don’t have more specific suggestions for his age range. I just wanted to let you know that he will be able to find ways to cope in the world with support as I have been able to. It’s hard sometimes but it does get better/managable. I would say the fact that you are aware of his needs and hopefully you could maybe talk to the school or him about what he needs when he starts school would be helpful. I didn’t figure out what was going on with me until HS so in elementary school and middle school everyone just thought I was weird/a bad student. I think it’s good that you want to help him but don’t want to change him. You sound like a wonderful parent and I’m glad he has you in his corner. Best of luck to you and your family.

      1. River Song*

        Thank you! I’m so glad you figured out ways to cope. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to not know what was going on during those early years

      2. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

        Have you looked into doing your homework at the library? Most colleges have particular libraries that are known for being quiet (a law library for example) and often have glass rooms inside the library that students can reserve for quiet studying. Some of this isn’t applicable at the moment but for when things open up again…

        1. Migrainemonster*

          I know this is going to sound odd but my campus library has a lot of windows and is really bright inside so I kept getting distracted whenever people walked by or things happened. The empty classroom solution (or my professor’s office while he’s grading papers) seems to work best. But yes, the library in general would be a better solution than under a staircase if it wasn’t for all those windows.

    3. LGC*

      Hi! Adult on the spectrum here, lives with a bunch of adults on the spectrum, works with disabled individuals (including developmentally disabled individuals), has some mild sensory issues (think garden-variety misophonia).

      So, first of all – if you can get him assessed, do so. (For what it’s worth, I think that since he’s a boy he’s more likely to be diagnosed as having ASD, but that’s just my uneducated opinion.) If he needs to be in a special needs class to deal, that might be the first step there.

      Second, don’t worry about “ending his distress,” at least if it’s like a fire alarm or something. If he’s overstimulated…he’s overstimulated. Reassure him that he’s not in danger, but if he puts his hands over his ears gently guide him to what he needs to do. I’ve had to do this with one of my neighbors who has significant sensory issues (as in, she’s been on the point of meltdown in what I thought was a moderately loud bar, and had a meltdown when we had to call the fire department a while back because of the lights). But if he covers his ears, then I think that’s fine. (Some people might not. Those people are wrong.)

      It’s really specific to your son, though, and he’s…four. So just deal with things in an age-appropriate manner. Your goal shouldn’t be so much to get him to “calm down” as it is to get him to “do the thing.”

      1. River Song*

        That is a good perspective, thank you. It’s hard because my impulse is to make sure that nothing ever bothers him ever, but I know that isn’t good for him, and will make his life harder in the long run.

    4. Koala dreams*

      Schools know that kids find the fire alarm scary, that’s why they practise what to do.

      For noises in general I like ear plugs and headphones. Headphones with music distract from outside noises and ear plugs decrease the volume. I use foam ones, but there are silicon ones too. Not sure what’s useful for a four year old, though. When I went to school teachers had really weird ideas about things, I hope it’s better now. I recommend you to talk with the teachers about how they do at their school, and if it doesn’t work for your son, look into how to get accomodations.

    5. Princess Deviant*

      Coping when young, well I didn’t really!
      I’d recommend an official diagnosis because reasonable accommodations can be made by the school then, depending on your child’s needs.

      I like quiet space, and used to sit on my own in empty classrooms in sec school, but when very young the pull of wanting friends was stronger, and not knowing what was normal versus what was normal for me was extremely confusing, I can look back and see that now.

      Now I need my space to be a sanctuary, clean and quiet. I get up early to sit outside when it’s quiet before the rest of the world gets up and starts making noise. And I wear foam ear plugs a lot.

    6. Generic Name*

      Whether or not you pursue a diagnosis is up to you, but legally, schools don’t have to accommodate that stuff without a formal diagnosis. That said, good schools will work with you regardless, but a diagnosis offers a lot of legal protection. My son has auditory processing issues that have improved over the years. For things like fire drills, it will be important for the school to communicate when those will be in advance so he can anticipate the drill and cover his ears before they start. My son sometimes wore over the ear protectors (ear muffs) in class sometimes. He also like to wear hoodies with the hood up to dampen sounds, which has caused issues with dress code compliance in the past.

    7. Disco Janet*

      There’s actually a book we got for my son on the spectrum when he started school last year that has that exact scenario! (Hiding under a table with hands on ears during fire alarm) I don’t have it in front of me, but something about a zebra and autism…all my stripes, maybe?

      Talk to his teacher about this stuff before the school year starts. If he does get a diagnosis (I wasn’t sure we’d get one either – every time I try to describe it I get told the very annoying, “Oh, that just sounds like normal kid problems!”, but yes, he was diagnosed), it will be even easier because there will be an IEP meeting where you can set up a plan.

      A big thing that helps my son is social stories, where I find a book about the situation he is struggling with and it gives him concrete steps he can take to do what he needs to do. When he’s really struggling, we’ll keep one in his backpack so he or his teacher can get it out if it’s needed. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen often – usually just at drop off. We also have a pair of noise-cancelling earmuffs – the kind you might see kids wearing at concerts or a racetrack. You could get a pair and keep them in his backpack just in case.

      Virtual hugs – you never know what the future will hold! My kid went from being sensory avoidant to sensory seeking. Now he’s the one making loud noises and wanting to hear and touch everything (which comes with a very different set of struggles!)

      1. River Song*

        I would love to hear more about getting him diagnosed if you want to share. Because I hear a lot of those same things, the “this is normal kid stuff” It almost feels like people think I want the attention or something.
        We do actually have ear muffs that we bought during his siblings’ basketball season, because he could not cope with the buzzers and whistles at all. He spent all games in my lap, with my hands over his ears.

        1. Disco Janet*

          Sure! So, the number one thing that I do NOT recommend is describing what you’ve noticed and asking people online if it sounds like he’s on the spectrum. My son was around 3/4 when I started noticing things that made me suspect autism. He had a lot of sensory difficulties – could only stand shirts with a certain kind of tag, melted down at loud noises, stuff like that. The way he interacted with other kids seemed a little off in ways that I have trouble describing. He’s constantly in motion, flapping his hands, spinning in circles, etc.

          The internet said, “My kid does that stuff too! Sounds like a normal kid to me!” Heck, even my family said that. But I just had this gut feeling that something about him was different – something about his mannerisms that I don’t quite know how to put into words. I wish I’d sought a diagnosis sooner – it wasn’t until he was almost 5 that his daycare teacher pulled me aside and gently told me that she thought I should have him tested for autism. The diagnosis process was very in-depth – home visit, daycare visit, observing, playing with him, asking questions, etc. And at the end of it he was diagnosed – if the term Asperger syndrome was still around, that’s probably what it would be called, but that’s no longer a diagnosis – it’s just one more thing under the autism spectrum.

          Even now, my in-laws ignore his diagnosis. My family finally came around, and now when he displays those mannerisms I mentioned before, they’ll make eye contact with me and kind of nod to acknowledge that yes, they were wrong and they see what I mean. And he is still just a normal kid! But he’s a normal kid who has a harder time with certain aspects of life, and now I have professionals on hand to help me with tools and strategies to teach him to better cope with that stuff.

          Call up your local school district and formally request an evaluation – I don’t know how that is working with the pandemic (normally they must begin evaluating within 30 days), but at least you can get yourself on a waiting list of something.

          1. J.B.*

            Ugh why do relatives do that? It’s so dismissive! I got my kids diagnosed so we know how to treat the things that are hard for them! Kthanksbye

            1. Alexandra Lynch*

              Sometimes because we’re ALL a little spectrum and so stimming and social avoidance and monologuing is just… how we all are.
              When one of my sons got diagnosed on the spectrum, we suddenly looked at me, and at his grandfather, and my grandfather, and went OHHHHH!!!! in sudden understanding.

    8. Anon for this*

      You need to get a diagnosis so that the school can provide services and accomodations. Once you have that you shojld arrange a meeting with the school to see what is a ailable. Whe my son was getting ready for kindergarden they sent a specialist to his day care center to observe his interactions with his peers. he did a visit to the school on a school day to show him what it was like. And they made sure his teachers met him before the first day of school. (He also went to a different school for some testing to see what kinds of learning suited or wou,d be difficult for him. But no e of this is possible without a diagnosis. The psychologist who gave us ours said that it was really too early to give a firm diagnosis (son was 3) but without one you won’t qualify for services. The school system confirmed this.

      1. Anon for this*

        Re: how to get a diagnosis, ask your pediatritian for a referral. Mine sent me to the local children’s hospital, and there was a waiting list. But it made a lot of difference in being able to get the help he needs.
        Sorry for all the typos – tablet trouble!

    9. Mimmy*

      I’m not diagnosed as being on the spectrum but have suspected that I may be. I have a different, rare condition that I think has been known to include autism-like features. So, I too have issues with sensory overload, though never formally tested for sensory problems (I do have vision and hearing impairments). My main aversion is with noise but also a little bit with motion (darn seat kickers! lol) and certain fabrics.

      It looks like you’ve gotten a lot of wonderful advice already so I can’t really add anything. I do think your son will be equipped with better coping methods than I was. I was in elementary school during the 80s, so awareness of these things were nonexistent.

      I wish you all the best!

    10. Firefly*

      At the elementary school I work with, we have many kiddos especially when younger who use noise-cancelling headphones, the kind you’d put on a baby at a concert. They can use them when they feel overwhelmed, during fire drills, or during assemblies. For kiddos with diagnosed sensory processing issues, we recommend the family works with an occupational therapist to figure out strategies that work. Most parents then choose to share the OT report with the school so we can all be on the same page to help the child. For me, I’m not on the spectrum, but I crave deep pressure, and I often use a lap weight when I’m working at my desk. I’m who weighted blankets are marketed at!

    11. KoiFeeder*

      Earplugs, or earbuds. Your kid might want to have music, I usually prefer not to have music, but being able to turn the volume down on the world is so helpful even now that I’m an adult.

  23. Migrainemonster*

    Tips for getting rid of and or preventing migraines?

    I’ve been getting horrible ones for the last five nights.

    1. nep*

      You poor thing. My heart goes out to you.
      I know it might sound like I’m trivialising it, but I do want to say that peppermint oil on the temples and forehead–while it does not eradicate the pain–can take the edge off. (For some reason for me, castor oil on the temples sometimes helps.)
      I find that when I stop fighting the pain and being stressed about it, it slightly loses its punch.
      Other thing that comes to mind is checking to be sure you’re getting all essential nutrients.
      Have you had migraines for a long time? Do you know the cause? Stress-induced?
      Wishing you relief.

      1. Migrainemonster*

        I think it’s stressed induced. I thought it was new but when I brought it up to my roommate, they mentioned that I’ve had them for four years. But then I started acupuncture and they got much better but of course that has been closed for over two months now. I will try peppermint oil. Just need to get some! Thank you very much. I think my diet is okay, I’ve been eating healthier now that I’m home all the time and cooking.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Can you call your acupuncturist? Not for an appointment, but they may have ideas. They may do telehealth for this very thing.

    2. Lena Clare*

      – Deep, regular breathing. (Swimming is great for this, but the pools are closed rn).
      – Lie down in a dark room, blindfold on if poss. Sometimes I even tie a pair of tights around my head for the pressure comfort.
      – if you can take NSAIDS, 2 x ibuprofen with 2 x paracetamol at the first sign might help get rid.
      – caffeine: try it or try giving it up. For me, caffeine makes me ill in general so I don’t drink it now.
      – avoid orange juice and dark chocolate.
      – alleviate stress.
      – rub a bit of lavender essential oil diluted in almond oil on your temples and forehead.
      Hope some of this helps.

      1. Migrainemonster*

        Yes! I gave up caffeine and alcohol a while back because I thought it was giving me anxiety or making me a little shakey. I have been laying in dark rooms. I will try the lavender oil with almond oil. I will buy some today when I get some peppermint oil. (I already don’t eat orange juice or dark chocolate but I’m curious, how would oj lead to a headache – is it the sugar?)

        Thank you for the suggestions!

        1. codex*

          I sympathize! My family are all prone to migraines. Have you tried ice? (That is, ice plus medication, darkness, silence, caffeine/no caffeine, etc… Not suggesting ice by itself resolves a migraine!)

          Freezer bags, gel packs, insta-freeze packs, frozen peas/corn, etc… are all good for the forehead and eye area. I keep frozen water bottles to rest my head/neck on for more pressure.

          It took me years to try it because it felt like my brain was being tortured enough, so when I finally did it was a revelation. Anyway! Hope it helps!

        2. StrikingFalcon*

          Certain foods can trigger migraines. It’s different for different people, but chocolate and red wine are really common triggers. Oranges can trigger them also – really, any food theoretically can. If drinking orange juice doesn’t cause one for you, though, there’s no reason to avoid it.

          You should start keeping a migraine journal. Track what you eat, how you sleep, when the migraine starts, how long it lasts, how severe it is. Track stress levels too if you think that’s related. You want to see if there are any patterns.

          Managing migraines involves a couple things: finding and eliminating triggers, stopping a migraine when it starts, and preventative treatments.

          Here’s some common triggers to look out for: specific foods, sleep patterns (not enough sleep, sleeping in, too much variation in what time you go to sleep), fasting (not eating for a period of time), certain scents (can help or hurt), caffeine or caffeine withdrawal (caffeine helps a lot of people but triggers migraines for others), alcohol (certain alcohols or all of them), stress, and muscle tightness (look up specific neck stretches for migraines).

          Treating migraines when they happen: Excedrin is the best over the counter option for migraines in the US. Prescription medications include triptans (you may have to try more than one to find one that works), and a new medication called Ubrelvy. Generally, the earlier you take something after symptom onset, the more effective it is.

          Preventatives: If you have at least 4 migraines a month, it may be worth talking to a doctor about a preventative medication. There are lots of options.

          1. StrikingFalcon*

            I should note that Excedrin has caffeine in it, so if you are avoiding caffeine that may not be a good option. Tylenol and NSAIDs (e.g. Advil) can also help. But really, if you get more than the occasional migraine, you should consider getting a prescription for a triptan.

          2. Lena Clare*

            Yes, I should say OP that orange juice and dark chocolate are triggers for me, albeit they’re quite common triggers for lots of people I think.
            StrikingFalcon I’d right – find out what triggers yours!

            Striking – I didn’t know variations in sleep patterns can cause migraine, I am definitely looking into this because when I’m going into work my sleep pattern is up the wall.
            Lately, WFH means I can sleep my preferred hours, which are 12-8am.

            1. StrikingFalcon*

              You’re welcome! It’s a major trigger for me. My brain is happiest if I sleep exactly the same hours every day. Of course, then it refuses to fall asleep when I go to bed ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    3. TechWorker*

      I get stress migraines and eventually went to a doctor about it. I get migraine medication on prescription and it totally works for me. I guess I’m lucky because I don’t get side effects but it now means that when I get a migraine I can take the medicine and feel ok again in a 2-4 hours rather than losing a whole day and then sleeping badly. I found paracetamol didn’t touch it.

      1. TechWorker*

        Also I think it took me a while to go because mine have never been days long in bed throwing up (which I think some folks are sadly) but instead just bad headache/sometimes blurry vision/fatigue afterwards. But having the medication is worth it even if I only take it infrequently.

    4. Anon5775*

      A friend was told to take 3 Ibuprofen and 1 Benadryl when getting a migraine. Recently I have been having hives and therefore took lots of Benadryl over a period of weeks. I noticed I had much less headaches then. The Benadryl might help with inflammation but also with histamine which I just learned can be a cause of migraines.

    5. Belgian*

      My GP just prescribed me the lowest dose possible of blood pressure meds and they seem to be helping. I had been having ocular migraine attacks every 2-3 days for the past 4 weeks, and none since I’ve been taking the meds.

      1. Dancing Otter*

        Yes, I was going to suggest getting your blood pressure checked.

        They say hypertension is a silent killer, but a colleague of mine would get headaches with nausea when her blood pressure spiked. I asked, because the symptoms sounded like migraine, but she was monitoring her BP, and it was definitely that. Hypertension is easier to treat: more people have it, so more research money put into treatment, for one thing; also, nobody tries to tell you it’s all in your head.

    6. Chaordic One*

      I’ve had good luck using Excedrine Migraine, but other brands of pain relievers and other varieties of Excedrine use the very same ingredients and may cost less. (Excedrine Migraine contains equal parts Acetaminophen and Aspirin with a small amount of caffeine added.) Sometimes you just need to sleep for however long it takes.

      Have you been able to identify your triggers? I find that I really need to stay well-rested, well-fed and hydrated. No skipping meals. No staying up late to binge-watch or surf the web. Avoid caffeine and dark chocolate. Exercise helps the mitigate the effects of stress. I have many fewer headaches since I quit smoking. I also find that I’m more likely to get one on smoggy days. One trigger for me is, um, not being “regular.” I’ve added prunes to my diet, and on rare occasions I use a mild laxative.

      Sometimes a headache that starts for another reason can turn into a migraine. For example, a headache that starts as a sinus headache will evolve into a migraine. If that’s the case, you need to address the triggers for the underlying problem (the sinus headache).

      Sometimes they can be tied your hormonal levels and you may be more prone to having migraines at certain times of the month. You didn’t mention this, but if you see a correlation between the headaches and your normal cycles, it is something that you’d should discuss with a medical professional.

      1. Policy wonk*

        I second the Excedrin Migraine, though I think they had to pull it from the shelves recently because of production control problems – but the competitors are just as good. I also have a prescription for migraines – that knocks me out, so I only use it if the over-the-counter stuff doesn’t help. But it gets rid of the pain and other symptoms.

        1. Chaordic One*

          I hadn’t heard about this so I googled it. The last time I bought Excedrin was last fall and I’m still using the same bottle.

          Apparently there have been quality control issues and while I can’t find anything on the precise problem, one source says it has to do with how the ingredients are transferred and weighed. Another one says that broken or chipped tablets might have gotten mixed in with other tablets, potentially affecting the ingredients and dosage amounts.

          As far as I can tell, the product was never actually recalled so I would imagine that the issue was not too terribly serious. However production was stopped in January while they worked to remedy it. Production resumed in April and it is supposed to be showing up on store shelves again now.

          1. Policy wonk*

            Good to hear! Last time I needed it they only had the store brand, but it works just as well.

    7. Elizabeth Bennett*

      I get horrible migraines, too. My doctor prescribed magnesium glycinate 150-300 mg, vitamin E 400 mg, and Vitamin B2 100 mg at bedtime, daily as a preventative. It seems to be working. I also have a prescription med (that I hate taking, it makes me groggy), and find Gatorade really helpful in recovery after a migraine.

    8. tangerineRose*

      Do florescent lights seem to trigger them? If so, there are things that can help, like wide brimmed hats.

    9. CorgisAndCats*

      Migraines are the worst. I also get stress triggered migraines and one random thing that helps is a hot bath in the dark. I have no idea why it works for me but maybe it would help or work for you too? I hope you have a good nights rest tonight and don’t have to try any of the tips for a long while!

    10. blaise zamboni*

      I second the recommendation of ice, but you might also try a hot shower or a hot washcloth draped over your eyes and forehead (but not so hot to be uncomfortable, obviously!). I find the steam from a hot shower to be especially helpful.

      I hope this episode resolves very soon! Migraines are terrible, I can’t imagine having them for five straight nights.

    11. ELM*

      I use sumatriptan – if you can catch your migraine in the very early stages, it can skip the migraine part and put you into the post-migraine stage (which for me is almost as bad). You need to go to a doctor for it but can recommend. Good luck.

    12. My Brain Is Exploding*

      For some people, caffeine helps at the point when the migraine has already started. There are definitely trigger foods for some people – red wine, aged cheeses. Some people prefer cold compresses, others (like me) prefer hot compresses.

    13. Eeeek*

      I’ve only had success treating them not preventing. Highly recommend Cove for totally online migraine consult and meds if you’re interested in medication.

      1. Migrainemonster*

        Wow thanks to everyone for the advice, I really appreciate the support and advice!

        Responding to this comment because I looked up this site and it looks really interesting. Have you personally used it before?

        So I called my doctor last night when I was having a horrible migraine (since it had been nights in a row I didn’t feel that guilty using the emergency line) and she prescribed me something called Topamax (Topiramate) to help with the migraines. It’s a really low dose but she said that I should try it for now and see if it worked. Last night it didn’t seem to work because I think by that point my migraine was already so bad that it just wasn’t going to be super helped (I could be wrong perhaps there are medications out there that would have helped but I didn’t have them at the time). Eventually I fell asleep.

        My migraines seemed to be caused by clenching my jaw, stress, and nighttime. I’m not sure if “nighttime” per say is a stressor or if it’s more than by night I’m more stressed. My doctor wants me to see a neurologist but I’m supposed to get braces on Tuesday (lol adult braces make me laugh) but then I realized that maybe I need to put off the braces because the dentist said a few weeks ago that when you first get braces they could give you headaches. Obviously since I’m currently having migraines on and off, I don’t want to do that right this second. Plus I’m not sure if seeing a neurologist would mean they would want me to get an MRI or something which can you even get that w braces?

        So my plan was to call my dentist, doctor and hopefully get the referral for the neurologist on Monday… then I realized Monday is a holiday so Tuesday it is. I’m already having a headache tonight but it’s not a migraine yet.

        1. TechWorker*

          I’m not sure if this is reassuring or not but I had 3-4 months of bad jaw pain on waking up, got a mouth guard to sleep in (it’s often caused by grinding your teeth at night apparently) and then barely wore it because by the time it arrived the jaw pain just… disappeared again. I hope yours is similarly short lived!

        2. Katia*

          I started doing exercises for the jaw articulation and it helped lots. It’s also a bit relaxing if you do it slowly at night
          Hope it helps

        3. Mark V*

          Topomax is a preventive medication. It needs to be taken regularly. If it works, you will get less migraines over time. It won’t do anything for one in progress.

          1. StrikingFalcon*

            Yes this. And you must take it regularly – don’t start and stop it. It’s actually a medication that you shouldn’t stop taking without talking to your doctor as you have to taper off of it. It’s one of the most effective preventatives available, though there’s no guarantee any medication will work for any given person.

            1. MigraineMonster*

              The weird thing is my doctor prescribed it to take as needed but when I looked it up it said to take every day… but she didn’t even give me enough to take one every day for a month. I’m planning on calling her on Tuesday anyways so I’ll ask her for something else.

              1. StrikingFalcon*

                I have never heard of it being used that way, but I’m not a doctor. I was told when I was on it briefly not to stop it suddenly without talking to a doctor. I would recommend seeing neurologist, or better yet a headache specialist (subspecialty of neurology). Most GPs aren’t really that knowledgeable about migraines.

              2. PeteyKat*

                I take this medication 50 mg in the am and 50 mg in the pm every day as a preventive. It won’t work as an abortive. Please contact your doctor. You need to work up to your daily dose as there are side effects. Good luck in your treatments!

        4. Nita*

          Interesting… I developed migraines about a year ago that seemed connected to bad tooth alignment, and possibly jaw clenching. There were other factors too, but the migraines did seem to get worse when a tooth crown was “off” its normal position, and better after I got it repositioned properly. So I really hope the dental work helps you!

        5. StrikingFalcon*

          Braces actually helped my migraines – they reduced the stress on my jaw. I wear night guards now that I have mine off, and I found that a softer pillow also reduces teeth clenching and grinding. Finding a pillow that was the right height, so my neck is straight at night, also helps. Muscle tension is a major trigger for me, so my neurologist sent me to PT to learn stretches to reduce tension and to build muscles to improve my posture. It was one of the most effective things I tried. Since your migraines tend to come at night, I would look at things like your sleep patterns (the more regular your bedtime and wake time are the better), the position you sleep in, and foods you eat late at night.

    14. nep*

      P.S. Be conservative with the peppermint oil. In the first few seconds of having it on your forehead and temples you might not feel much…but give it a few minutes. Put too much and you might cause burning in your eyes or just too much intensity overall. A little goes a long way, so see how much you need to feel some relief (if in fact it brings you any relief).

    15. Paralegal Part Deux*

      I finally have up and went to a doctor for mine and was prescribed aleve (500 mg), compazine, and Benadryl at the onset with an injection of imitrex if the first three don’t work. I’m also on a cocktail of preventative meds as well.

      The best part of the preventive meds is the nerve block, though, where they inject lidocaine into the nerves in my head. It hurts in the short term but get a month of no migraines, so it’s worth it for me.

      I hope you find some relief. They’re miserable.

    16. Jim Bob*

      I’m on prescription preventives, but also take OTC supplements for prevention. WebMD has a good article on “ Vitamins and Supplements for Headache Treatment”; I take everything on that list except the feverfew and it seems to help.

      If this is a regular thing, you really need one of the triptan-or-similar acute prescriptions to take when you get one. If you’re trying to treat with just NSAIDs, and let your system get “hot” and overly sensitized, they can keep coming back over and over.

      1. Jim Bob*

        Almost forgot; the #1 thing to do is to figure out what your triggers are and avoid them. It can take some time and journaling effort, but once you know what to avoid it’s really a relief.

    17. misspiggy*

      For me it’s absolutely water. Chugging a lot as soon as I get suggestions of a migraine, and keeping out of bright light, is a great help. If I feel I can’t face a lot of water that’s a sign I have nausea without really realising it, so I take an anti-nausea pill and sip water for ages.

    18. Alexandra Lynch*

      It won’t get rid of them, but keep an eye on the weather. The only trigger I can’t control is the rapid drop in pressure ahead of a storm front. On the other hand, I can at least see it coming and plan for a couple hours in a quiet dark room.

    19. Qwerty*

      How has the weather been in your area? A lot of places in the midwest have had been having storms lately and so most of my migraine sensitive friends (and me) have been getting them from the high pressure buildup before the storm. If that is one of your trigger, then taking medicine like Excedrin when you start noticing the pressure can help prevent it from turning into a full blown migraine.

      Here’s what helps me:

      – Magnesium!!! There’s a correlation between magnesium levels and migraine severity. Topical applications seem to absorb it better than food/pills. You can find topical creams or take a bath with Epsom salt (aka magnesium sulfate). I highly recommend Dr Teal’s Body Lotion because it has Epsom salt in it. The insides of your thighs and arms are best places for absorbing topical products. When I’m using that lotion every night I’ve noticed a dramatic decrease in the severity of my migraines so that the majority are tolerable rather than debilitating. There’s multiple options, but I recommend the Eucalyptus and Spearmint one, because they use real oil (not just the scent) which each have other herbal properties and there’s a light tingly feeling to the mint that helps disrupt the pain.

      – Excedrin (generic works fine and there isn’t a difference in active ingredients between the regular and migraine versions, just in price). Take as soon as symptoms start.

      – Sumatriptan – This requires an Rx but it is the only thing I’ve had successfully stop a fully blown migraine in its tracks. I call it my magic pills. Sadly insurance usually only allows 9 pills a month so make sure to set up automatic refills even if it is a low-migraine month so you can save them for a really bad month.

      – Willow Balm – its basically an topical cream equivalent to aspirin, so don’t take this with an NSAID. Mine has menthol in it, because the cooling effect helps to temporarily disrupt the pain while you wait for the drugs to kick in, so relief comes faster

      — Humidifier / steamy shower – Not sure why this works, but it seems to help especially at night. I put some of Dr Teal’s Body Oil (Eucalyptus/Spearmint) in the diffuser section of my humidifier if a migraine is keeping me up at night and it makes me significantly more likely to fall asleep. Or use the oil liberally during a steamy shower to release the oils into the air.

      — Real herbal oils – Lavender gets recommended a lot, but you have to verify that whatever scented product you are using has the real oil and not just the scent. The special properties in most aromatherapy based stuff comes from the actual oil of the recommended plant, not the pleasing smell. I’m obviously partial to eucalyptus and spearmint, but that’s partly because it was difficult verifying whether lavender products actually had the scent.

      — Vitamin powder drinks (like Emergen-C, though some generic brands have better flavors) – I don’t know if it is from the magnesium or something else, but these often help me out.

      — Protein drinks (like Slimfast) – I lose my appetite during a migraine but not getting the proper nutrients can be a trigger so this helps shorten the duration of the original migraine

      — Yoga or self-massage – Pain causes us to tense up and recent studies are showing that the tension from a migraine can easily trigger another migraine.

      Ways to get blood vessels to constrict. Unlike a typical headache, migraines are often related to blood vessels expanding
      — Soft ice packs – They mold around your head so you can stick them right on the painful spot or on the base of your neck
      — Brain freeze – Migraines are the one time when brain freeze is enjoyable rather than painful. Slushies are my favorite method for this, but you can also use ice cream, ice water, etc. Get the icy stuff on the roof of your mouth, for the fastest response
      — Small amount of caffeine – There’s a reason it is in Excedrin
      — Afrin spray – Use very sparingly because these can cause rebound symptoms. I wait a couple days between a single use but have found it useful for those extra terrible migraines when nothing else is working

      **Note: Migraines slow down your body’s metabolism, which is one reason why they are hard to treat. That’s part of the reason I’ve recommended a lot of alternative style treatments like topicals and liquids because the benefits happen faster than waiting on a pill.

    20. allathian*

      I had migraines in my teens and early twenties. I sometimes get auras even now, but rarely a headache, but this weekend I ate more dark chocolate than usual and drank probably far too much caffeine, so I got a headache as well as mild nausea and an aura. Luckily I was able to just close my eyes and rest for a while in a darkened room, and it went away.
      I also get headaches if I don’t drink any caffeine at all, as can happen if I have a stomach bug.
      I have mildly elevated blood pressure, enough that I self-monitor and visit a nurse’s office a couple of times a year. I really hope that I won’t need meds for that any time soon, because with some of them you can’t take ibuprofen, and paracetamol doesn’t do anything for me. It makes me feel a bit fuzzy and makes the pain a bit more distant, maybe, but it doesn’t block it like ibuprofen does.
      I hope you can identify your triggers and avoid them.

  24. Foreign Octopus*

    I wanted to thank everyone who commented on my thing last week where I was looking for the name of something that happened to me – general consensus appears to be a flashback – following an unpleasant group conversation about sexual assault that was highly victim blaming. I’m sorry that I didn’t respond last weekend but I read your comments and found some resources that I hope will help me avoid a situation like that again. Whilst I’m hesitant to lay claim to any diagnosis without a doctor/therapist, just knowing that there’s a name for what happened is really helpful in coming to terms with it.

    This community is really wonderful and knowing that I can turn here with questions has helped me a lot in the past, so thank you again.

    1. Misty*

      I’m glad you’re finding resources. It gets better. Keeping you in my thoughts this upcoming week.

  25. Ponyboy*

    My gym is asking people to sign a petition to get our governor to re-open gyms. Our state is currently in Phase 1, even though numbers keep rising. The petition states that the gym can follow “CDC guidelines for disinfecting” and if restaurants and stores can re-open at reduced capacity, gyms should be able to do so. I understand the gym owners are extremely stressed because of loss of revenue. But I looked through the CDC guidelines and they don’t have anything specific for gyms, probably because they are so very high risk. I looked at the guidelines for Youth Sports- probably the closest fit- and I highly doubt the gym could meet them. It’s one of those boot camps where people rotate between exercise, so lots of shared equipment, touching, no social distance. And let’s not even get into the South Korea fitness super spreader event.

    But no one wants to hear from me, and I need to not argue with people on the Internet and just not sign the petition, right?

    1. fposte*

      Heh. Arguing on the internet with people has been one of my pandemic stress signs. So I get the impulse, but I agree with your conclusion.

    2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      I have realized that you just can’t reason with some people. I would just decline to sign the petition and if they question you just say you aren’t comfortable with signing it.

    3. Ranon*

      I completely agree with both your sentiment (everything that makes it incredibly difficult to wear a mask while exercising is exactly why masks to protect other people are pretty much the only hope gyms have of not turning into disease hubs and those sure don’t seem like compatible issues) and your conclusion that arguing with people on the internet about it would be futile.

    4. Anono-me*

      If you strongly disagree with someone else’s proposal of action for your government or another third-party to take; I think that it is more effective to share your feelings directly with the entity being asked to take the action.

    5. LGC*

      The low-stress option is not to argue. But I think that you can say something! It’s a relatively high-risk scenario, and even if they do take all precautions a tragedy can very well still happen there. (Okay, tragedies can happen anywhere, but gyms are definitely a high-risk scenario.

      But you’re not obligated to say something. Arguing with people on the Internet is not fun.

    6. Alice*

      You *could* respond by reminding them that even if they can pressure their governor into allowing them to reopen, that’s not going to bring back all their customers. If the customers don’t trust the infection control procedures (for circuit training!), or if the customers think the business owners don’t get how serious the situation is, they won’t be back soon.
      It’s in the business owner’s interest to try and get a sense of the conditions under which customers will return, but that doesn’t mean they are going to want to hear it.
      If you do respond, I’d probably do it in private.

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

      You have your right to refuse, don’t be afraid to say you don’t agree. (Also, you don’t need to explain, but saying “because science” is valid for me)

      1. pancakes*

        No, but you can let people know their opinion isn’t respected by anyone with expertise, or that their opinion is only shared by a particularly disreputable fringe, etc. “Irrational” isn’t synonymous with “not worthy of discussion.”

        1. Fikly*

          Irrational people will not care about this. Because irrational people believe that everyone else who does not believe what they believe are sheep/fools, and they are smarter than everyone else.

        2. Anonymou5*

          The fact that the CDC has now said COVID-19 isn’t easily spreadable on surfaces proves your fear of it in a gym setting is irrational. You’re, apparently, not keeping up with current statements by the CDC.

          1. Bluebell*

            If people weren’t breathing in the gym, maybe your argument might be rational. But the last time I was in a gym, there was lots of exertion going on. Ponyboy, feel free to write to the governor’s office directly, if you want to.

          2. StrikingFalcon*

            It’s not just surfaces that are the problem though. Groups of people gathering in indoor spaces are at much higher risk of spreading than doing the same thing outside. Sustained contact (an hour long class) is higher risk than short interactions. Activities that involve breathing heavily (high intensity aerobic classes, singing) are higher risk than those that don’t. And it’s not that surfaces *can’t* spread the virus, it’s just they aren’t the main way it spreads. Gyms really shouldn’t be open if cases are rising.

          3. kz*

            That report is exactly why gyms ARE so dangerous. Breathing in the same air as other people for an extended period of time is how the most spread occurs. In gyms, you are exerting yourself, which means you are expelling even more micro droplets and expelling them further than in an average situation.

          4. Fikly*

            Well, thankfully you can only get covid if you lick a hard surface.

            Oh wait, you catch it by breathing it in when other people breath it out. What is it people do a lot of in a gym again?

    8. Not A Manager*

      I haven’t lost all faith in all people to be swayed by facts and reason. Sure, a core number of people on either side will have their unshakable beliefs, but I think you can push back on the internet dialogue if you want to.

      I’d start with the “CDC guidelines” statement. I’d ask them which gym-reopening guidelines they’re referring to, can they quote them, how would they specifically meet them, etc. And I’d ask a few specific questions about things like requiring masks or cleaning shared equipment between users. I’d also ask about dealing with aerosolized droplets, especially if people are breathing hard, grunting, panting etc. and maybe pulling their masks down.

    9. Call me St. Vincent*

      Sort of related, but did you see the article about the Zumba workshop in South Korea where over 100 people were infected? The Zumba teachers had Covid and spread it to all the students, yet when some of the same teachers taught yoga classes, the yoga students didn’t get infected. Interesting what kind of activity is more likely to spread the virus. Was it the huffing and puffing of being in a cardio class or were people singing and spreading? Yoga you also tend to be farther away from others. Sorry for the tangent!

      1. LGC*

        It’s actually interesting, because I also heard about the Zumba class in South Korea! It seems like it’s a mixture of both – higher-intensity gym routines seem to be higher-risk, and if they were teaching low-intensity yoga classes, it’d be less risky.

        (On the flip side, I can speak from experience – doing strenuous exercise in and of itself can depress your immune system temporarily. So a Zumba class might lower your immune function for a little while afterwards – probably a couple of hours at most.)

        1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

          Somewhere today someone posted a link explaining several circumstances in which people were infected and the amounts of virus particles involved. The upshot for this discussion is that things that result in forceful breathing and enclosed spaces are particularly good at resulting in infections. The examples that struck me most were the choir (singing equals forceful breathing) and the restaurant where people who were downwind of the ventilation system blowing over an infected person were also infected, even though they were not actually close to the person. Working out in a gym seems like the worst combination.

    10. Koala dreams*

      Maybe you can mail a post card to the gym asking them to not re-open? Or you could just decide to not go there in the future. Sometimes you want to speak up just for peace of mind. Sometimes it’s better to just let it go. I don’t know. Sometimes there isn’t a perfect answer.

    11. Jim Bob*

      What was that quote? Something along the lines of: “it’s hard to make a man understand a thing, when his livelihood depends on his not understanding that thing.”

      Not that these are bad people; when you’ve worked for years to build a business that’s going under for something entirely outside your control, I think all of us would be guilty of the same wishful thinking. Especially when it does look from the outside like state governments are choosing winners and losers, with the winners frequently being large corporations with lobbyists.

    12. Jack Russell Terrier*

      The best way to get your message across is to call the governor’s office and tell the staffer about this and how you as a gym member don’t agree. If the people with the power to make the change hear from people who use gyms that they do not agree with the pressure the gym is bringing to bear it’s that’s most likely have any effect on how this plays out. Not sure it will have any effect, but I would think it’s the best way for you to use your energy with this.

  26. Colour matching nightmares*

    Home renovation rant coming up… I am well aware lots of folks have more important problems rn but I needed to rant!

    We ordered a grey bathroom vanity to go with grey bathroom tiles last fall. We’ve not really used that bathroom yet because there were a couple of bits left to finish off delayed by Covid, and the (thankfully cheap) vinyl floor needed replacing because it was damaged by the builders. The vanity never matched… the cabinet was a blue toned grey and the tiles a silver toned grey – once we took out the vanity to get the floor relaid it was clear just how much it didn’t match as the bathroom looked way better without it!

    After much deliberation between replacing it and trying to paint it, and in the knowledge that we wouldn’t be able to sell the first vanity for much as it’s been installed my partner and I eventually decided on the least hassle option of forking out for a replacement of a plain white one.

    Today the plain white one comes and it… also looks pretty bad! It’s white gloss and idk if it’s the light or what but it looks nearly lilac which again looks a weird next to the porcelain bathroom suite, grey/blue tiles and off white floor. It would cost $60 in delivery fees to return it, and in theory could be exchanged but given the colours in person have been so far off the pictures I’m not even sure that’s worth it. So we’re now in the position of having spent the extra money but *still* considering spending the time and effort painting it a better white to match.

    To add insult to injury the one we just bought (Last week/delivered today) is now $50 cheaper due to a sale having just started. Argh!!!

    1. WellRed*

      I think you should not buy vanities online. Too many possibilities to go wrong. I feel your pain. You’re excited to do this and get it Done! With a capital D and the universe isn’t aligning.

      1. Colour matching nightmares*

        I think it’s more actually ‘desperately wanting things to be over’ rather than excitement (we did a full house renovation and it was a lot :)) – but I’m aware that we’re still being non-zero levels of picky. (It’s the kind of thing where if I looked round a house I’d probably live with it but after spending time and money picking things out it’s sad when they don’t look right!).

        In better news (actually improved my day A LOT) I wrote to the company on Facebook giving this story of woe and they’re refunding the difference between what we paid last week and the current price (with barely any asking tbh). So that was nice!

        1. WellRed*

          It’s not picky to the right color for something like this. It’s not something you change out often.

      2. Reba*

        Whites and greys can be surprisingly tricky!

        Nightmares, I think you should give it a little time to see if you stop noticing the vanity. Right now it’s jumping out at you because it’s new.

        (I recently put up a sheer curtain in one window, the fabric is literally exactly the same shade as the wall paint and it replaced one that was a contrasting color… and yet I’m turning my head to look at the curtain every time I go through the room, because it’s still catching my eye just by virtue of being a change!)

        You could also try changing the lightbulbs in the bathroom for a slightly different temperature and see if it changes the tones in a way you like.

        1. pancakes*

          Changing the lighting is a great idea. I would also add, if the walls are semi-gloss try painting them a bright matte white. Remodelista is a good place to look at shades of white.

        2. Colour matching nightmare*

          Thank you! You are so right that the lighting is affecting it – the bathroom has no windows. I think there’s already just so many colours going on though that *another* White was too much. We’re gonna try spray painting it…. :)

        3. Jack Russell Terrier*

          Yup – lighting and the other colors in the room really affect color tone.

      3. pancakes*

        A vanity in a shop isn’t going to be in the same lighting conditions and amidst the same colors as it would be in the commenter’s home though. Those are what affect perception of color.

    2. Nicole76*

      Oh man, I feel for you. Grey is such a hard color to match even when it’s just rugs and towels. I have towels but cannot for the life of me find rugs I like that don’t clash. I can only imagine the frustration with a vanity. I guess your best bet is to paint the old one and try and sell the new one (assuming it hasn’t been installed). Or paint the one you like best style-wise and see what you might be able to get for the other one (or donate it) so it doesn’t go to waste.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Call or email the store and ask if you can get the sale price. Tell them you would have waited a week if you had known.

      Remodels are tough. I am sorry you had all this stress here. It does seem like it should be a fun and enjoyable thing. But somehow it’s just not.

      1. Colour matching nightmares*

        Yes – the store actually gave us the sale price without really asking for it – which was lovely of them :)

        We’ve decided to repaint it a slightly less aggressively bright white, so I’m hopeful we might get it sorted soon!

        You guys are all correct that its very dependent on the light – this is a bathroom with no windows and I think that definitely affects how things look, but I think we’ve made it harder for ourselves because there’s already quite a few things going on (grey/blue tile, off white floor, black shower screen, white porcelain toilet) so anything else needs to match rather than introduce yet another colour! :)

    4. Bluebell*

      Grey is sooo difficult to match. I ended up testing Seven different shades of gray on my kitchen walls. I love the one I finally settled on, both in full morning light, and at night too. Good luck.

      1. pancakes*

        There’s a company called Backdrop that sells 12” x 12” swatches that are sticky on the back (and easily removable) so you can see how the color would look in the room. I haven’t tried the paint yet but did order a few swatches for my hall. It’s a brilliant idea, and big enough that you can position it in a spot that gets both shade and sun at some point during the day — that really gives a sense of how it will look.

    5. bunniferous*

      White is not white….by that I mean there are all kinds of variations of it. In general all colors have either warm or cool tones-a grey or white can be cool toned or warm toned. Add to that our perception of a col0r literally changes depending on what it is next to…..it can be difficult.

      Before you paint or change anything, one idea-change the light bulbs? Some put out warmer light, some cooler, and that might be part of the issue.

  27. Potatoes gonna potate*

    What do people do in this situation where they need an ultrasound but because of paperwork, have to wait weeks/months to schedule anything and get treated? Is ER really the only option?

    I’ll try to keep this short. I had to schedule a breast ultrasound and it took me 6 phone calls and 5 work days to make an appointment. (will put the background in comments). I had to schedule one in December for a related issue but ended up cancelling it. With this one, it was a really weird process. On the first phone call, the offices were closed. Second, third, fourth and fifth calls, they wouldn’t schedule an appointment because they didn’t receive the order from my obgyn office despite me calling htem multiple times to fax it over..

    At the final phone call, the rep informed me that no order had been received but they could definitely schedule an appointment (!!!!). I explained to her what each rep had said and she was surprised because they could create appointments. She was apologetic and said she’d forward my comments to her manager. I thanked her for her help. This is a major hospital network in my city. 

    I was just so baffled. With the insurance I’ve had the last 5 years, I’ve never needed a referral to see a specialist. I consider myself fortunate because my symptoms have eased up so I can wait but….going back to my first question. God forbid, what if things were worse? If someone had more severe symptoms and/or family history of cancer? It seems like such a time sensitive thing, wouldn’t making someone wait so long get them sicker? Mind blowing. 

    1. Potatoes gonna potate*

      For background, I did post this briefly last weekend because I was freaking out. I’d been having breast sensitivity since November. I went to my obgyn in December for that and possible PCOS. She did my bloodwork and ordered an ultrasound for the PCOS and the breast. For the latter ultrasound I had to wait 6 weeks for it. Well I found out I was pregnant and I switched to a high risk doctor who assured me the breast tenderness was normal for pregnancy so I cancelled the u/s.

      Cut to 6 months later, it got severe enough over a few days that I sent an email on a Thursday night. Friday morning the Dr sends me an email with the order to get a breast u/s at their hospital’s radiology center.

      Friday, Saturday and Sunday I had literally no pain. It’s something weird that happens that as soon as I complain to a Dr about something, the symptom disappears. My husband noticed a skin change on me that wasn’t there before. I googled the specific change and results came back as cancer. The rest of the week was spent calling the radiology center and my obgyn. I was finally able to get an appt for the next week. 

      Again, just so baffling. 

      1. MistOrMister*

        I’ve never heard of this!! Is it possible for you to go somewhere besides the hospital? When I’ve needed any imaging, I end up going to a specific radiology business in my area. I assumed those were all over the place, but maybe they’re not. I always manage to get an appointment pretty dang quickly, I guess since all these people do is imaging. I’ve never needes the doctor’s office to send over paperwork. You just need your work order when you get to the radiology place.

        Your situation does sound quite baffling.

        1. Potatoes gonna potate*

          I was able to make an appointment for this coming week, so I don’t have to wait too long. I didn’t consider specific imaging centers but if I wasn’t’ able to get an appointment on Thursday, I would have looked at other options. I did have a Dr appt this week and he asked if I scheduled it and I told him what was going on; he said they’re being weird because of COVID.

      2. AnonoDoc*

        I am so sorry you are going through so much just to schedule a test! That is ridiculous!

        But as far as “as soon as I schedule an appointment the symptom goes away” — that ALWAYS happens :) And every Doc should know it (hey, it always happens to us too!). It i s the same as the car rattle that goes away when you take the car in to the mechanic but comes back as soon as you drive away :) Any decent doc knows that is the case and gets the information from what you report. And now with cell phones for things like rashes you can take a photo too :)

    2. Coffee Bean*

      Just to clear things up: they likely weren’t scheduling your appointment *because* they hadn’t received the order from your doctor. This is different than a referral – with some insurances you need a referral from your primary care doctor to see a specialist. The order for the u/s is basically just a prescription. But most places still won’t schedule you for imaging without the order because 1) some insurances require a prior authorization for imaging, which the office needs the order to obtain, and/or 2) People say “oh I have the order” and then don’t bring it to their appointment, in which case they can’t be seen and it’s a wasted appointment slot.

      1. Fikly*


        There’s a big difference between a referral and a order/prescription.

        Often, they cannot legally do the test without the order, so they won’t schedule it. I’ve had experiences with places that won’t even tell me if they have open appointments without the order in hand (though I think that is outrageous, because I’m not getting an order sent to multiple places just to find out if they have a time that works for my schedule).

        1. Potatoes gonna potate*

          Ok that makes sense. I did get an order for an ultrasound a few months ago and scheduling that was really easy (even if the appt was 6 weeks out).

          The last rep I spoke to said that the order hadn’t come through, but they could create a temporary order to make the appointment and have it faxed over to them. so she asked some information about the doctor ordering it. Fortunately I had the paper in front of me and read off everything. None of the reps prior had mentioned doing a temporary order, they just flat out said no, go to the ER if it’s that bad.

    3. Disco Janet*

      You call and call and call until you annoy them into getting it done, in my experience. I don’t like being ‘that person’ and have only needed to do so once, but these do tend to be situations where the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

      1. Disco Janet*

        (And just to clarify, the person I’d be calling repeatedly is the doctor who hasn’t sent in the order.)

    4. My Brain Is Exploding*

      Also they may have changed procedures for referrals and authorizations since Covid-19, possibly multiple times, and there is still confusion about it.

  28. Anon woman without breast cancer*

    hi all… a quick update to my breast cancer journey. I have only 8 more (of 19) radiotherapy treatments to go, and aside from being tired and a tiny sunburn like pinkness to my breast, I am doing well. This is nearing the end of this journey which my surgeon called a ‘bump in the road’ back in October. My scars are healing well and there was no loss in shape after the lumpectomy. I have physio therapy to massage the area and my arms (preventing lymphodema) once a week and all is good. Still walking (have done 250km since 26 March, am so pleased). In June I will start Letrizol.

    I really wish everyone who gets this has as easy a time as I have had – chemo was no picnic, being alone and isolating mostly since October has been ok, but really it could have been worse. I am so grateful. To this community and to friends and family and doctors and nurses.

    When you can, wear your mask and go get a mammogram and other cancer screenings if needed. It will save your life.

    1. Potatoes gonna potate*

      Getting an ultrasound and mammography next week. Glad to know things are going well for you and hope it continues <3

    2. NoLongerYoung*

      Hug! glad to see you posting and that it is continuing to go as well as it can. And thank you for the PSA…

  29. COVID related: special hours at grocery stores*

    My local grocery stores have designated hours for elderly, pregnant and immunocompromised people. I have not gone at all as my spouse does all the shopping.

    I’ve tried contacting the stores multiple times but no answers.

    My elderly parent wants to go to the store after being in shelter for 4 months. I won’t be going but my husband who doesn’t fall into any of the categories above will be taking her as she needs help getting around.

    I’m just wondering generally how vigilant the stores are being in making sure only designated people are allowed for that time and if helpers are allowed in. They/we will go this week or next, but we like to have an idea in advance.

    1. fposte*

      I don’t know that what my store does will mean much for what yours does, but I think the special shopping hours are mostly honor system–stores really don’t want to interrogate their customers on their medical diagnoses. My local supermarket requests that shoppers come in alone but specifically includes elderly shoppers who need assistance as one of the exceptions. Have you checked the store’s website/FB page for any specifics?

      1. another Hero*

        Yeah, there’s no method of enforcement that would be even remotely okay. My grandpa has gone to some stores that count how many people are inside during that time though and make others wait outside until someone leaves

      2. another scientist*

        Yeah, for all the store employees know, your husband could be immunocompromised without looking the part. To expect him to disclose a health condition to access a grocery store would be wild. They very likely use the honor system.

      3. Please Exit Through The Rear Door*

        Same here. The stores near me are all honor system — both the special hours and the one-way aisles are suggestions, not mandates.

    2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      I’ve heard good and bad things about this. Early on I heard about a number of incidents in the UK where people were told they could not shop together even if it was something like a blind person with their spouse or someone who was obviously there with a carer. But I haven’t heard as many such stories recently. Sounds silly but if you have twitter could you maybe try asking people who have been to your specific store what it was like?

    3. Anon Accountant*

      Ours has been on the honor system and a cashier told me her manager said there’s immune compromised people who are young and “don’t look sick”.

      Their staff was instructed to NOT turn away or question shoppers who come in during the designated hours for elderly, pregnant, etc. people have been pretty good about respecting the designated hours.

      1. HBJ*

        Yes, and through halfway through the prenancy or more depending on what you’re wearing or body type, a pregnant woman is not going to “look pregnant.”

      2. Fikly*

        Well, there are immune compromised people who are young and don’t look sick. There’s a whole thing called invisible disabilities, and we get a lot of crap for using things that are set aside for the disabled and not looking the part.

        1. Anon Accountant*

          Yes and I’m 1 of them. I’m thankful the cashiers manager told the employees to not judge and go on the honor system. I’m thankful others are allowed in during special hours and hopefully won’t get dirty looks or comments made to them.

          That happens too often b/c we “don’t look sick”.

        2. Anon Accountant*

          Sorry I’m agreeing with you. My typing wasn’t clear.

          Blaming it on weekend mode. :)

          1. Fikly*

            Weekend mode for me too, I thought you were saying people who don’t look sick couldn’t be immuno compromised, initially.

    4. Choggy*

      Yeah, a family of three came into the grocery store yesterday, not one of them wearing a mask and the store manager could do nothing about it. I would say, make sure both are wearing masks (covering both nose and mouth, as I also saw people not wearing their masks properly), and make sure to wash your hands before putting on the mask and before taking it off since you will be touching your face. Wash your hands when you get home, before putting away the groceries, and then after the groceries are put away. Try to go as early as possible when there will be less people and have a good list (better if you know where items are and can sort the list by aisle so you don’t have to backtrack).

        1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

          I have started going in the evening here. Usually almost nobody in the place at 7 or 8.

      1. fposte*

        In my state they absolutely can turn shoppers away for not wearing masks. They have somebody at the door to check at my supermarket. (Then there’s that video going around of somebody going into Costco without a mask and getting turned away, and it’s the prospective shopper’s video, which boggles my mind–you thought this made you look *good*?)

        1. HBJ*

          Yes, Costco is enforcing it. I was just at the Costco in my area a couple days ago, and they were handing out masks to people who didn’t have them. I will say, though, that it was not enforced at all once inside. Multiple people pulling them down. Multiple people wearing them under the nose. And of course the adjusting and such. My daughter, who is almost three, was messing with hers a lot, and it didn’t want to stay up on her face despite it being one of the wired ones.

      2. AnonoDoc*

        They can turn away customers for not wearing a shirt or shoes. Surely they could turn away people not wearing masks if they chose to! It is a private business!

      3. Fikly*

        The store manager could do something about it, if the store owner wanted to.

        It’s a private establishment, they can make whatever rules they want.

      4. Wired Wolf*

        I do the list-by-aisle thing; if it’s a store I’m at regularly I can make a list by item position in the aisle. Mom used to make fun of me for this until shopping solo/minimize time became The Rule (I really don’t like shopping with her in this climate; she still thinks we can split up the shopping which just makes things more complicated).

    5. Koala dreams*

      If your spouse goes there during regular hours for shopping, they could ask next time they go. Probably the regular staff is there during the designated hours too, or at least have heard about the rules.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      In my area, you husband would probably not have a problem.

      I think the actual issues will be when your parents see how some stuff is low or out of stock entirely. And when your parents see how there are signs on things limiting quantities. My favorite sign is the one that limits quantities but does not say how many.
      They might have fun (not) with the arrows on the floor. I end up going the wrong way at least a couple times. This is because I breeze by something and when I get 3/4 of the way down the aisle I remember it.
      It’d probably be good to describe all this stuff so they know before they get there.

    7. I hate Karen's*

      I live in a community of Karen’s. I’m sure they are well meaning, but sometimes people need to MYOB. I fit the old folks demographic and have recently had cancer surgery putting me in a double jeopardy risk. The front door checker at the super market gave me the evil eye and loudly mentioned the store was for senior citizens at this time. Feeling snippy, I drove the ½ mile home, scanned my drivers license, blacked out some vital info, printed it and hung it around my neck. I returned to the market 10 minutes later with my fancy billboard and stopped in front of Karen (at a respectful distance) and requested permission to enter. She is still stuttering an apology.

      1. un-pleased*

        That really seems like an overreaction on your part to something that could have been explained on the spot easily.

        1. Wired Wolf*

          If the checker was even willing to hear an explanation rather than escalating things further. Like the ‘service dog’ designation, there are some people that will take advantage of courtesies but the law prohibits us from demanding proof.

    8. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Each store’s had different policies on helpers. The place I went yesterday asks that only one family member go inside. So I would call ahead and ask about bringing a helper.

  30. Jdc*

    Grrr. So frustrated that every package I’ve ordered since Covid has been lost. Not stolen, lost somewhere in shipment. I haven’t ordered much but I do need some essentials I can’t get at Target or grocery. I needed shampoo and really didn’t want to buy cheap stuff and destroy my color, that was lost. I needed a knee brace for my outdoor workouts since no treadmill to lessen the impact. Lost. I of course end up getting refunds but heck I still need these things. Of course anything my husband has ordered has shown up right on time. It’s not one carrier either. FedEx, UPS, USPS, all lost. I even have paid extra for quicker shipping to help and still, lost.

    1. juliebulie*

      I’m sure it isn’t personal, but on the other hand, it would be hard not to take it personally!

      I’m glad at least you got refunds! Something I’ve ordered is nowhere to be found, but I don’t think it has shipped yet. They don’t answer their email. Grr.

      1. Jdc*

        Well of course it isn’t personal but man is it annoying. Actually my mail carrier is so lovely she goes so far out of her way to make sure my packages are safe. We are friendly and chat (not so much lately with distancing). She’s my new carrier for a year, the prior woman retired. I’m assuming she was burned out because she would scream at me constantly. If i ordered two packages she’d yell about having to carry two packages. Not to be mean but am very happy she retired.

        Would be far less annoying if there was anywhere I could go myself and buy these items but since I can’t it’s extra frustrating.

    2. Lcsa99*

      Its not just you! I have had multiple packages get lost or just stop moving. A package for my husband showed up two weeks after it had just stopped moving, another one I still haven’t seen but can’t do anything yet because tracking said it would come sometime between the 15th and the 28th (must be walking it from Floridia to NY. I spent HOURS getting stuff just right for a package for work and because no one bothered to tell me it never arrived, not only did I have to do it again and pay extra, but its been too long so we can’t have FedEx look into it.

      I definitely feel your pain.

    3. Colette*

      Get your husband to order them. :)

      I’ve had issues as well, with parcels being weeks delayed, but I think most of them have finally shown up. UPS was particularly bad.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I ordered Masks at the beginning of March. I followed the tracking. They sat in Rochester for at least a month. (Why???)
      Finally, they arrived. I ordered black masks and cotton. These were white, nylon-y. The label on the package of WHITE masks clearly identified them as being BLACK Cotton. (How does one look at something that is one color and randomly decide it is a different color?)
      I wrote the Big Company. It was about a week, then I saw a refund pop onto my credit card. I thought my email had fallen into oblivion but apparently not.

      1. Jdc*

        At least you got the refund. I’ve had the same. Email, no response, refund. Which is all great but I still actually need the product. I’ve asked for them to just ship another, not a refund and no response. Guessing because they are busy and it’s just easier to do that but still, I really need to wash my darn hair haha

    5. Stephanie*

      Oh yeah, I had a couple of things take a month to show up, including one package that had some citrus from my parents. They sealed the box well enough that most of the citrus was fine.

  31. juliebulie*

    I didn’t sleep last night (no special reason, I’m just not good at sleep) so today I have an earworm. A double earworm: It’s the guitar opening of “Layla” on a loop, alternating with the piano part of the song. It’s not the worst earworm I ever had, which was several days of Patsy Cline’s “A Poor Man’s Roses.”

    Tell me about your worst earworm ever.

    1. Jdc*

      That mother flipping Kars for Kids commercial. Causes me actual anger to hear at this point.

      1. juliebulie*

        OMG. Yes. A lot of commercials drive me crazy (sometimes I just blurt “Liberty bibberty” for no reason now), but Kars for Kids is a special kind of obnoxious.

        1. Jdc*

          I have got to the point where i will not do business with or purchase a product if their whole advertising concept is to be annoying.

          1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

            I’ve been like this for years. Usually I wouldn’t be interested in whatever it was anyway but if they have an irritating advertising strategy I definitely avoid them.

        2. Not A Manager*

          That one cars for kids is so horrible that I literally leave the area when it’s playing. It creates an instant earworm.

          I was doing PT at an office for a while and they started laughing at me because they knew I would step away from the equipment in order to avoid that ad.

        3. Lcsa99*

          Ha! My husband does the liberty bibberty thing too. And “money’s on the way with cash net usa!” We forward through whatever we can bit somehow always bounce back to those. Singing along kinda defeats the purpose of muting.

      2. Please Exit Through The Rear Door*

        YES. And for some reason it really irritates me that the boy sings the song with no enthusiasm, like a robot. When I could actually listen to baseball games on the radio, the boy would sing it like a robot, and then a creepy adult would come on and sing the jingle with more enthusiasm. That version doesn’t play on TV. Both versions make both me and my wife strangely ragey, but the duet one is especially creepy.

    2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      I’m afraid to even think about it for fear of getting it stuck in my head again!

    3. Parenthetically*

      I once had “Bad Romance” stuck in my head for, no joke, two months. I do not know “Bad Romance.” I have never heard the entire song, to my knowledge. So I had about 30 seconds of it replaying over and over, for weeks and weeks.

      1. juliebulie*

        I had that with “Brandy.” “Brandy, you’re a fine girl, what a good wife you would be” – that’s the only line I know, it was from a K-Tel commercial or something.

        1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

          But my wife, my lover my lay-ay-dee
          Is the seeeeeaaa


            1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

              I don’t even know how but I know most of the words to this song. It’s not something I would ever listen to on purpose and it wasn’t used in any ads that I’ve heard. It just got there through osmosis or something. But now I think I’m going to have to find it and listen to it to get it out of my head!

    4. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I’ve been watching Full house reruns lately and the theme song is stuck in my head. Except somehow its mashed up with the Family Matters theme song. -_-

    5. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I recently played Free to Be You and Me for my husband. (He had never heard it! Did boys of the 70s not listen to it? I listened to it while falling asleep every night for years of my childhood.) I got “William’s Doll” stuck in my head for WEEKS. No matter what I did, Alan Alda was singing in my head about William wanting a doll.

      1. Valancy Snaith*

        This was me the first time I played I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas for my husband, who didn’t grow up in Canada. I had that song stuck in my head for what seemed like AGES. I regretted my actions.

      2. juliebulie*

        I wasn’t allowed to watch the TV special at home, but my 3rd grade teacher played the album for us in class.

      3. Please Exit Through The Rear Door*

        I know people love Free to Be You and Me, but I think it’s pure, unadulterated torture.

    6. Nicki Name*

      I don’t know about worst ever, but there are anime theme songs that can get stuck in my head for days. Welcome to Demon School, Kokkoku, Keep Your Hands of Eizouken, and School-Live all spring to mind.

    7. Queer Earthling*

      I’ve had basically the entire Cats soundtrack stuck in my head off and on for like a year and a half.

      My favorite earworm story, though, is when I had Phil Collins’ “Easy Lover” stuck in my head, but I couldn’t remember the actual words or what it was called, so my brain radio decided to go with “Oo-ooh crispy lover.”

      1. juliebulie*

        Oh dear.
        “Layla” just got knocked out of my head, replaced by Easy Lover.

        My fault for asking ;-)

    8. another scientist*

      “Somebody I used to know”. Replayed it over and over in my living room, for weeks. That must have carried, because then my neighbor played it non-stop for another couple weeks and I heard it through the wall.

    9. Disco Janet*

      My kids are in a Ghostbusters phase. They sing the song CONSTANTLY. Even when they’re not singing it, I cannot get it out of my head and ahhhh I can’t take it anymore!

    10. Policy wonk*

      Worst one I ever had was Please Mr. Postman stuck in my head for a solid week. It was a nightmare of a week for other reasons, but that didn’t help. I no longer remember why the week was bad, but cringe if I hear that song.

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

      I had Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 stuck in my head since FEBRUARY. Because (unsurprisingly) skating. Send help. XDDDD

      1. allathian*

        When I was a teenager and lived at home, I sometimes used to watch figure skating with my mother. Whenever I heard Ravel’s Bolero, I’d have an earworm for days afterwards. But months, that’s a new one on me.

    12. How I Rose From The Dead And You Can, Too*

      Many years ago I noticed that when I was stressed, I’d hear the first few bars of The Brady Bunch theme looping continuously in my head. It was awful. The upside is that a) it brought me to realize that I had a genuine anxiety issue, and b) my doctor gave me an Rx for a mild tranq medicine for the thankfully rare occasions that I need it.

      The Brady Bunch thing is rather pathological in its icky stickiness. I’m a fairly musical person (let me tell you about my new Kong Wavestate!) and I’ve often got some kind of music in the back of my head, and I can almost always control it.

      What I find interesting is that I know a person who claims to *enjoy* the really sticky earworms in various songs – in fact, if a song gets stuck in his head, he considers it a “good song”. He’s an otherwise normal person. I personally have radically different criteria for determining the music I like, and it blows my mind that he processes music this way. Then again, maybe *I’m* the freak.

    13. MsChanandlerBong*

      Price Chopper’s “Go Can Crazy” commercial. A bunch of kids jumping around with giant canned goods strapped to their feet, singing “Go can crazy…go can crazy.”

    14. dinoweeds*

      The stupid Charmin bear singing “ooh my hiney’s clean…” I feel an actual palpable rage when that jingle comes on the TV.

      1. juliebulie*

        I have a whole set of personal issues around the TP-using bear family. (Actually I think there are two – a blue one and a red one?)

        1. Former Employee*

          Yes, there are 2. That’s because there are 2 types of Charmin. Blue is Ultra Soft and red is Ultra Strong.

        2. Pomona Sprout*

          For some reason, the sheer absurdity of the Charmin Bears amuses me. The idea of a bear who obviously never wears ANY clothing singing about a pair of underwear is totally ridiculous and the ridiculousness makes me laugh. (Like, I’m glad your hiney’s clean, but where in the bloody hell did those freaking things come from?)

          I also like Limu Emu. I think he’s adorable, and again, the whole premise of those commercials is just SO silly that the whole thing cracks me up.

          In both cases, I feel like the absurdity is deliberate, and the creators are winking at me going, “Look how silly this is!” If I felt like I was expected to take any of it seriously, I’d hate it but I feel like they know they’re being silly, and they know that I know they’re being silly and we’re all having a laugh together.

          1. juliebulie*

            I like Limu Emu, but the Charmin bears… I mean, we all know bears shit in the woods, so how can they use TP without littering?

      2. Jean (just Jean)*

        The Charmin bear is merely one of a gazillion intelligence-insulting advertisements that make me loathe commercial television with the fire of a thousand suns.
        The Internet also has abundant stupidity but at least I can mute the sound and control the degree of visual stimulation. GRRRR. /rant

        1. allathian*

          One reason why I mostly watch either our public broadcaster or a subscribed streaming service. I hate most commercials.

    15. NewReading Glasses*

      The theme song for “I Dream of Jeannie”. Daa da de de dedede. Arrrggh. I started humming it while pulling weeds without realizing what it was. I’m now also hearing that sort of bleringngng noise made when she does magic.

    16. Please Exit Through The Rear Door*

      Somehow I figured out that you can sing “Bingo” to the same cadence as “Amazing Grace.” So every time I hear “Amazing Grace” (unfortunately, that’s surprisingly often, as the TV is always on in my household and singing “Amazing Grace” is an overused trope on TV), I hear it in my head sung to the tune of “Bingo,” as in the kid’s song about the farmer and his dog.

      1. knead me seymour*

        Oh, I have a modified version of that with the Transformers theme song. Anything that has the same cadence as the word “Transformers” must be followed up by “robots in disguise” as far as my brain is concerned.

    17. knead me seymour*

      “Don’t Stop Believin'” is lurking somewhere in my psyche at all times, waiting for its time to shine. Now that I’ve written this, I look forward to a solid week of JUST A SMALL-TOWN GIRL LIVIN IN A LONELY WORLD invading my dreams.

    18. Please Exit Through The Rear Door*

      Oh boy, one more. I turned on my TV just now and one of the Harry Potter movies was playing. It was a scene with Severus Snape. So now I have this Paula Abdul ’90s classic going in my head:

      He’s a cold-hearted Snape,
      Look into his eyes,
      Uh oh… he’s been telling lies…

      1. Wired Wolf*

        OK, now I have that song (original) going through my head. At least it knocked out whatever stupid ad jingle mom was singing (she seems to get stuck on pharma ads).

      2. allathian*

        I love misheard lyrics, although they’re even more annoying than ordinary earworms, my “favorite” is Bon Jovi’s Like a Prayer:
        She says, we’ve got to hold on to what we’ve got
        It doesn’t make a difference if we’re naked or not

    19. Seeking Second Childhood*

      My husband & I use Nickelback “Rock Star” as the antidote to other earworms. We at one point had 3 songs driving each other out and named it “rockstar paper scissors”.

      1. Please Exit Through The Rear Door*

        Hahaha! Thanks for making me laugh.

        I always used to use the Divinyls’ “I Touch Myself” as an earworm antidote, but find that doesn’t really work anymore, sadly.

    20. Anon for this*

      The horrible slightly jazzy call-waiting music a local hospital/health system plays. It’s bad enough on the phone…

    21. Longtime Lurker*

      Brick House and Play That Funky Music have been longtime issues for me, but I recently learned that chewing gum (mostly) solves the problem! Hooray!

    22. Stephanie*

      Not sure if this was my worst, but it’s up there: the Eastern Motors jingle. It’s one of those predatory, your job’s your credit, 25% APR car dealers based in DC. They have a (probably intentionally) catchy jingle.

  32. Anon Accountant*

    This week mom and I realized the house is too much for us. We inherited grandmas house in 2006 and it’s over 100 years old. It needs too much work/not worth the funds to fix it. My goal is to buy a house myself in a year.

    A monthly savings goal is set (for a down payment, repairs fund, etc) and I’m excited. Sharing on here because our relatives are going to be complaining about us letting of of “grandmas house“ although we’ve lived here my whole life (36 years).

    1. fposte*

      Congratulations! That sounds like a great decision. I bet those relatives aren’t preparing to buy the house–they just wanted you to keep it for them forever. It’s a stealthy kind of hoarding that happens in families sometimes..

    2. Potatoes gonna potate*

      If they complain, they can buy it.

      I find just doing it quietly is the easiest way to do it especially when there are naysayers around.

      Best of luck to you, I hope you achieve your goals easily <3

    3. Choggy*

      Yup, you need to do what is right for YOU. I love how to people who have nothing invested will offer opinions left and right. Good luck in your house search, and just ignore them, complainer always gonna complain, they’ll find something else soon enough!

    4. Anono-me*

      You get to make the choice that’s right for you. So does your mom. If the other people in the family want the house to stay in the family, they can buy it.

      The problem is a couple of them are going to probably want to buy it for ‘cheap’ because ‘family’ and because ‘you didn’t pay anything for it’. (Insert rude noise here.) So it might be good to have a plan. Most real estate agents have dealt with something like this and can talk to you about several different options. As I remember, when we sold our prior home, our agent said that they could add a codicil into our contract to deal with a potential family member sale. Something about a reduced commission if the family member made an official offer in X days with the home to be listed in X+ 7 days. (This was long ago and far away and I’m not any kind of real estate professional, so talk to someone who knows what they are doing. )

    5. WS*

      Get the house valued so that when the relatives complain, you can offer it to them for the listed price!

    6. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Get an estimate from the realtor. Give family 2 weeks before day it goes on market to contact the realtor themselves and buy it. And prepare for a bruhaha. I’m sorry.

    7. Former Employee*

      There are people who want an old home that hasn’t had too much work done so they can restore it/update it to their own taste. Depending on your area, you might be able to get a reasonable amount of money for it “as is”. Of course. the big plus is that you inherited the house, so there’s no issue of “we paid X so we need to get at least X+ for the house”.

      As others have suggested, do offer it to the relatives for a reasonable price. Chances are an appraisal will result in a figure that is close to what a knowledgeable realtor tells you the house is likely to bring. Perhaps you could even give the relatives a discount if the realtor would be willing to handle it for a flat fee since they wouldn’t have to do much work. That way, if the relatives tun it down, they’ll have nothing to complain about once you sell it to a third party.

      Congratulations to you and your mom for recognizing that you and the house are no longer a good fit and best of luck to you both.

  33. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

    Weird question, since we have a lot of people who have or had breast cancer here: What does it feel like? I mean physically, when you touch it? I am asking out of curiosity, but also because I’m a woman and have never been quite sure what I’m looking for in the recommended self exams.

    1. MistOrMister*

      I’ve never had it either, but I believe what you’re looking for in self exams are hard lumps. According to my doctor I should expect some lumpiness (she sure isn’t wrong there!!) but that if they’re hard to be concerned and go in to get it checked.

      1. Anon woman without breast cancer*

        This – a lump that was not there before. hard lumps definitely but lumps in general. Doing a monthly check is important – in the shower, arms raised, just check each one, all over, for lumps. I found my breast cancer this way. You can then go to get a mammogram and other tests if needed (depending on medical insurance stuff and how it works for you).

    2. TimeCat*

      I haven’t had breast cancer but I am high risk due to family history and what I have been told to watch out for is basically a change. That’s why doing them regularly is the key, you’ll notice something different.

    3. WellRed*

      I want to jump in and say it’s also important to see your doc every year for exams and when age appropriate, mammogram. I’m pretty flat and had a lump I had to get biopsied. It’s all fine, but even knowing where it was and having no layer of boob, I still couldn’t feel it.

      1. Claire*

        A huge YES to annual exams and mammograms. Back in 2016 my OBGYN visit didn’t turn up any concerns, but my mammogram did show something off. I was diagnosed with Stage 1A breast cancer–a tiny, tiny lump–and because they caught it so early, I only had to undergo a couple weeks of radiation.

    4. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I’ve always been told to look out for lumps or discharge or skin changes or pain.

      Well I’ve had nipple pain and just recently noticed a skin change. My obgyn ordered an ultrasound & mammography for me to rule anything out.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Yes – not just lumps. I have a benign tumor in one of my lactic ducts that not only isn’t palpable, but also isn’t visible on a mammogram – it has to be an ultrasound or a scan with radio contrast before the Martian shows up. The first sign I had of it was – this is gross – my doc pressing on the quadrant where the duct is and literally squirting a blood-tinged discharge across the room. (Doc: “Well. That ain’t right.” Me: “THE DUCK??”)

        But I also have boobs full of dense tissue and micro cysts, so basically mammogram time is just always an exercise in “Well, we gotta check that, and that, and that, but they’re probably all fine.” And so far, knock wood, they have been.

        1. Anon woman without breast cancer*

          Agree here too – discharge, changes, pain, heat, etc – there is a good list on the breastcancer DOT org site under symptoms/testing/types/self_exam – shows steps to doing the self exam and there is a section that lists symptoms that include:

          swelling of all or part of the breast
          skin irritation or dimpling
          breast pain
          nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
          redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
          a nipple discharge other than breast milk
          a lump in the underarm area

    5. Lora*

      Well, my answer will be useless to you: my breasts had (have) so many cysts, benign fibroids, calcifications and general strangeness that when one of the weird lumpy bits turned out to be cancer it didn’t feel any different from the other five lumps I had at the time – in fact it was considerably smaller than the others. It wasn’t painful, it was just a little hard spot. I was actually more worried about the other larger (painful, not moving) ones when the ultrasound tech suddenly got very quiet looking at that spot and started using that measuring tool thingy in the imaging software.

    6. pancakes*

      Not a weird question! There are good self-exams instructions on the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s site:


      I’m not sure whether it was this particular set of illustrations, but one of my suite mates in college posted something like this in our shared bathroom, laminated, so it’s always been in the back of my mind. Years later I found my own very small lump during a routine self-exam, went to the gyno to ask if I should have it biopsied, and that was how I ended up with my fortunately-early diagnosis.

    7. Not A Manager*

      One easy answer is that you’re looking for “changes.” If you visually inspect your breasts regularly, you know what they generally look like. Same for the self-exam they teach you to do in the shower, where you gently rub/palpate all around your breasts. You know what they feel like. If you find something “new,” it’s worth respecting that.

      Depending on what you find that’s new, you might just keep an eye on it and see if it resolves and never returns, or you might want to phone your doctor’s office to talk to them about it. I’ve always brought a lump to my doctor’s attention immediately. Visual changes I’ve tended to wait and see if they resolve, but they were always changes that you would expect *would* resolve, like a bit of redness. If there had been something really odd, I’d have called immediately.

    8. KoiFeeder*

      Actually, gonna jump on this for a secondary question of my own. I actually have some pretty serious nerve damage in that area, and no one can seem to agree if it’s even worth it for me to self-examine when I’m only feeling pressure, and just barely at that.

      I do get mammograms every six months, so it’s probably not a big deal, but given the family history…

      1. Wehaf*

        As long as you have feeling in your fingers you are still getting important sensory information; don’t focus on what your breast tissue is feeling, but what your hands are.

      2. Not A Manager*

        I’ve found lumps before, and they were never tender or sore. Them being touched felt like anything else on my breast being touched. I’ve always looked for the sensation in my fingers, not the sensation in my breast.

    9. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

      Thanks all! I should perhaps be clear that I have no particular reason to be more worried about breast cancer than any other woman. I was basically just curious, so thank you for indulging my curiosity.

    10. allathian*

      I’m not sure either. On my next gynecology visit I’m going to ask them to teach me. I’ve tried doing it about once a month in the shower, but I have a big chest and also family history. My paternal grandmother had it when she was in her early seventies, had a double mastectomy and lived for another ten years and died from Alzheimer’s. My mother got diagnosed following a mammogram screening when she was 50. The lumps and some lymph nodes were removed but she got to keep her breasts, although she had radiotherapy and had to take estrogen blockers for a few years afterwards. My father also had a lump removed when he was 65. So I’m checking, and I’m definitely going for my free mammogram screening when I hit 50.

  34. Bibliovore*

    In the beginning of all of this I was able to structure my days, take time for my physical and mental well-being, time for work, time to write. I signed up for Apple plus and CBS all access.
    Work is fine, its the other stuff.
    People have been very generous and kind. We do not lack for food or cleaning supplies.
    I am grateful for all of this but…
    As I write this I was going to ask, does anyone else feel that they have run out of gas?
    Everything is a HUGE effort. Showing up. Participating in remote meetings. Engaging with students.
    No interest in food. Living on bowls of congee.
    Then I remembered. So far I know 9 people who have died in the last 7 weeks. Not all of Covid 19 but one who was like a sister to me.
    Grief. Trying to give myself a break.

    1. WellRed*

      It’s hard to have this keep dragging on. When it first started, I think most of us thought, short timeline and definitely normal by summer. It’s sinking in that won’t happen. Also, I wish I could just go a store without all the military planning.

    2. MistOrMister*

      I had a couple of weeks like that. I was doing fine, but then I went to the store and ran into traffic and it just shot my whole day to pieces. Then I sat around like a lump on a log for 2 weeks other than working. I had no pep in my step and was just mentally exhausted. I’m slowly staging a comeback, but it’s HARD!!

      I think there is just so much going on that we can find ourselves experiencing a sort of break where we go into a survival-type shutdown mode. And for you, having lost so many people recently that would not be unexpected. Go easy on yourself, amd know you’re not alone. At some point you’ll get your mojo back!

      1. Bibliovore*

        Thank you. Feeling so “not like myself” Going to do some straightening up and a little cleaning and then call it a day.

    3. fposte*

      Sprint energy isn’t stamina. They literally require different kinds of muscles when you’re talking a physical endeavor; I think they take very different kinds of psychological energy as well.

      If you haven’t yet, take some days off of work. Even if you’re 9-month (I’m 12) there’s still the ever-present projects and pressures. It’s really self-supportive to say “No, I’m not beholden to that today.”

      1. Bibliovore*

        Thanks. I am on a twelve-month contract. School is out next week but still have administrative and supervisory responsiblities. You are right. I need to schedule days off in a row with no Zoom meetings, emails, or contact with work. Will do that right after graduation. The real puzzlement right now is lack of interest in food (my happy place) and stupid distracting television. I was so excited to see Picard but have only watched 3 episodes. I

    4. Disco Janet*

      Totally know what you’re talking about. I just deleted a big, long rant because it got into work stuff, but I am completely drained and having a really difficult time being a good mom, teacher, or wife right now. And I can’t take any more illness or death. And all my husband ever wants to talk about is the news. And I am just perpetually exhausted and sick of what life is like right now.

    5. NoLongerYoung*

      Just wanted to note that the lack of interest in food, and irritability, was a sign of grief for me.

      So do read up a little on grief. For me, even if it is not someone close, for each death, they are not in isolation. It becomes additive. I would say “but that’s mom’s best friend, not mine…” when I cried. And realized it was bringing up other stuff.

      In this time, I (and I suspect others) are grieving “the end of the world as we knew it.” Because it won’t be the same. (for me, retirement timeline has changed, job fears higher). Now for you, add those extra deaths, and yes, you should be extra gentle. I do recommend the walks in full sunshine. They – and journaling – were my best helps. You look for what helps you cope and build your resiliency…. there will be something that does.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yep. This. A symptom of grief can be eating too much or no interest in food.

        Going in a different direction, if you are sitting all the time you may not be doing enough to work up an appetite. I’d suggest salads (raw nutrition) or soups (foods already broken down) to make sure you are getting stuff into you that your body can use.

    6. MsChanandlerBong*

      I could really use a break. My husband lost his job due to COVID, so I am extremely thankful that I have been able to do a lot of freelance work this month. But, the problem is that the work is dropped in batches, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. So I can’t just pick up one assignment, complete it, and pick up another one. I have to pick up four or five at a time, or else other people will claim them and I’ll get nothing. If you claim them all at the same time, they all have the same due date/time, so I end up working like a madwoman to get everything done. The work I do this weekend will more than cover my husband’s first missing paycheck in June (thankfully, he will get one more paycheck in May) and carry us over until his unemployment kicks in so that we don’t have to touch our savings, which is awesome, but I am tired. I was up until 4 a.m. this morning, and I’ll be working all weekend.

      I could use a week on the beach.

    7. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’m sorry. My family went through something like that when I was a child. It sucks I highly recommend therapy. I didn’t get it until years later, and it made a difference when I finally did. Take care of yourself, and if there is anything we can do here I’m sure I’m not the only one who will be offering.

  35. Chocolate Teapot*

    This week’s broken washing machine update.

    There seems to have been a run on washing machines. Expecting to see lots of models to choose from, the shop had to spread them out to hide the shortage. Plus machines were being sold whilst I was trying to make my mind up.

    So I ended up with an ex-display machine (with 5% off) and it is being delivered on Tuesday afternoon.

    1. Reba*

      Yay! I’m so happy for you. Seriously! Glad you were able to get a little discount for your trouble.

  36. Sled dog mama*

    I’m not sure if I’m just being extra sensitive right now but I am so annoyed with people right now.
    My coworkers are complaining about everything! It’s so annoying and I just want to yell that they should shut up, be happy that their job is considered essential enough that our employer hasn’t laid off or furloughed them and go do that f-ing job.
    My mother in law decided that because I took my kid to the store to get some stickers (first time kid left the house in 6 weeks she wore a mask and did better about not touching it than some adults) I’m not taking COVID seriously and she was going to a Memorial Day cookout at her other son’s house, four hours away in another state.
    My daughter’s sunglasses were missing for most of the week and suddenly this morning hubby decides it’s a crisis and they must be found NOW!

    To top it off we were supposed to be getting out of mil’s house into our temporary place on Monday and the landlord raised the price on us on Friday, the place wasn’t perfect but we were willing to deal with the lack of closets and other things because of the price, with the raised price we can find other places that fit our needs much more closely within $100, but hubby is totally fed up and wants to just stay and “make it work” living with his parents

    1. Colette*

      I think a lot of people are irritable right now. I’m pretty lucky – I like being home, can work from my couch, and have a beautiful backyard that lets me get outside, but there are still times when everything is just so much harder than it should be!

    2. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Your husband can find the sunglasses. You’re going to go lock yourself in the bathroom or something and have a nice, peaceful interlude to yourself.

      1. Traffic_Spiral*

        Yup. The key to staying calm is to not borrow stress from others. Tune out the coworker bitching and make a few sympathetic noises, or just go “I’m sorry, I can’t talk about this any more. How about that [subject change]?” For your husband, his weird sunglasses problem is his problem, leave him to it. For the MiL, tune her out as much as possible. She’s just a thing that makes noises like the parents in Snoopy.

        1. Jdc*

          I agree with this but I also agree that after enough time of hearing it the whole blocking it out thing stops working so well. I usually just let my husband do his freak out or whatever but if I hear him slamming things in the kitchen because “the utensil drawer is too full” I may shove a spatula…well. That’s the only dang drawer we have. You tossing a fit doesn’t change that. Stop!!!

          1. Traffic_Spiral*

            Have you considered getting some sort of countertop utensil holder (big vase for utensils)? You can put the spatulas in it.

            1. Jdc*

              I have but a.) I despise counter top clutter and b.) I am the one who cooks mostly and I don’t find it to be so dramatic. I just open the drawer, take a second to look, and remain calm. Hhahaha

      2. Sled dog mama*

        So the sunglasses…after making that post I took a cue from Sherlock Holmes’s Baker Street irregulars I turned to the kiddo and said where are your sunglasses?
        “In nana’s car” so I walk out and open the door to the car, there they are in his mothers cup holder. That is the last time I trust him when he says I’ve looked everywhere

    3. Not A Manager*

      IIRC, your husband has always leaned more toward staying and making it work at his parents’.

      I think you need to remain firm that the plan was not “this other rental or staying here,” the plan was “find a way to move out.” The fact that this one rental might not be right doesn’t fundamentally change your plan.

      IDK what’s going on with your husband and his decision-making/tolerance for anxiety and change, but it might be worth it to you to spend the extra $100 to move into the less-than-ideal rental for a year, rather than spend that extra $100 on a better rental if that means you have to start from scratch with your husband.

      In fact, you might present it to him that way. “We’re going to have to spend an extra $100 a month. Should we spend it on the current rental because it’s easy and a sure thing, or should we keep looking?”

    4. Former Employee*

      How does your MIL know what her other son and his family have been doing? Maybe she just wants to go to see her other son, knows it isn’t a good idea to travel, and was just looking for an excuse.

      I would go online and see if I could find another, better place within the parameters that make sense for you and your family. If not, try doing “pros and cons” re: this rental vs. staying at your MIL’s.

      Hope everything works out for the best.

  37. Colette*

    So 4 years ago I broke my ankle. While it was recovering, I had issues with the ball of my foot – it was kind of achy and irritable, but it felt better when I taped it. And now it’s happening again, possibly irritated by the number of times I went up and down a ladder while painting last weekend.

    The thing is, I can only tape it for 3 days, then I need to give it a rest.

    I’m sure it will calm down soon, but for future reference, does anyone have any suggestions for how to support that part of my foot when I can’t tape it?

    1. fposte*

      Try metatarsal pads. You can experiment with the gel foot pads you’ll get at the supermarket or pharmacy–put them just behind the ball of the foot so that the ball isn’t carrying as much weight. I’d also avoid going barefoot and consider wearing shoes in the house for a while, especially if you can get a nice cushiony sock layer in there.

      1. Colette*

        Thanks! I will check those out. I’ve been trying to wear good shoes in the house, but since it’s summer I keep taking them off when I sit down and then forgetting to put them on again. (I usually remember when my foot hurts again.)

        1. fposte*

          I have an old foot break on a metatarsal, which conveniently I rebroke a few years ago. I forget it until it reminds me, but once it reminds me it takes a while to convince it to shut up again. I just stick pads in most of my shoes–my favorites come from an Amazon seller who clearly just shaves thick sticky-back felt into the appropriate beveled shape and sells it in multiples, and I am happy to give them money for doing that.

    2. Sheep*

      Hey! I broke my ankle 6 years ago, had metal put in and then taken out 3 years ago. I haven’t had the same type of pain that you’ve described, but I’ve had a lot of pain when walking for more than 5-10 minutes. It’s only this year that I’ve found the time and money to try to figure out what it was: I went to an orthopedist who figured out a whole lot of issues with flat feet + poor mobility due to the surgery and and and…. So now I’ve been given insoles that have been custom-made for me, with support in all the right places. I’ve only had them 5 days, but I can already feel the difference. I don’t know if you’ve discussed it with a health professional (and it may be difficult now during covid), but I would really encourage it.

      1. Colette*

        I think this is not a direct result of the ankle break, it was probably a result of the physio (calf raises – I think the repetition of putting pressure on that part of the foot is what aggravates it.) Since I was in physio, my physiotherapist showed me how to tape it, and that works well except for the 3 day limit,

        I have insoles, and they definitely help! I just don’t usually wear shoes at home, but I should bite the bullet and do so until it calms down. (I’ve been wearing Birkenstock’s, which help as well but are too easy to kick off.)

        1. Jules the First*

          My physio sent me home with one of those spiked balls and instructions to spend at least ten minutes a day rolling it around underfoot. I was super skeptical, but I’m 18-months post-injury and writing this from the floor because I’m too tired to get up after my third workout in 24 hours (translation: the ankle is now better-than-new…it’s the rest of me that can’t keep up!)

          1. Colette*

            Hmm. I seem to remember an exercise like that. Thanks! My ankle is pretty good – prone to sprains and I still limp going down stairs, but it doesn’t really affect my life much. And neither does this foot thing – it’s just achy, I can do whatever I want to do.

            1. Stephanie*

              You can freeze a disposable water bottle (a full one), and use that to roll under the area that’s hurting. I’ve had some foot and ankle issues, and that really helps with arch/ball of foot pain. And wearing good, supportive shoes virtually all of the time is really important. I’ve also found that wearing the same shoes every day–even supportive ones–can cause some pain. My feet feel better if I make a point of switching up my shoes every couple of days.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Not helpful at this moment, but a friend of mine does a lot of ladder work. He has switched all his ladders to the kind that have a step several inches wide. He says the ones with rungs do his feet right in. This might be a worthwhile investment for you. His problem developed in his 50s or so and it is after years of using the ladders with rungs. He feels it makes a big difference for him.

      1. Colette*

        I did not know those existed – thanks! I don’t know that a new ladder is worth it for me since I use it so infrequently, but if it becomes a bigger issue, it’s good to know there are options out there.

        1. Not So NewReader*


          This is an example. You can zoom in to see it better. It’s probably about 2-3 inches wide which can make a big difference for tender feet. That round dowel they use on other ladders is really not that comfy. (Not recommending this particular ladder, I am just showing the difference in style.)

  38. Potatoes gonna potate*

    My husband and I are planning to move away within the next year. Ideally we would like to be in our new home by next summer. We were able to narrow it down to the nearby states as we want to stay within a 12-hour drive of Toronto where his family is.

    Aside from living in an apartment for a few years in my 20s, I have lived in my childhood home all my life whereas my husband has moved countries, provinces and states and cities. lol.

    The idea of moving to a new state is so much but really exciting now. I never wanted to leave my city but now I am ready.

    I’ll post separately on Friday about job searching in a new state. But I’ve never moved so far away before. What are things to consider? We’ve set our budget and will be renting for the time being. Since its 4 of us, I strongly prefer a house to rent, not apartment. I’d like to be in suburbs near big box stores and shopping and other facilities.

    Other than that what are some things to look for when moving to a new state?

    1. Reba*

      How much do you know about the states/towns you’re considering? This is a great time to tap into your network and talk to people about life in the areas while you are shopping for cities. Pros and Cons lists are essential when you are trying to weigh a lot of various factors.

      Almost all my moves have been out of state or across the country, lol. But always for a particular opportunity in that place — the location choice wasn’t for the location itself, if that makes sense. So it is interesting to think about how I’d choose!

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        I’m looking at a few neighborhoods in Jersey. Starting close lol. There’s one area that I really like and is about a 90 minute drive away and is my ideal neighborhood IF we can find a proper space to live in within our budget. But I’m open to other parts of NJ, PA, but I have no knowledge of them.

    2. Fulana del Tal*

      If this is a long term stay look in the schools/cost of private schools. When my cousin moved out of the city she factored in the cost of private schools because the school system wasn’t great.

    3. Disco Janet*

      Four of you? Is your mom coming with? I had assumed the plan was eventually to move out of your childhood home and she would stay there – given your struggles with her, it seems like it would be easier to care for/raise baby without her around. Maybe that’s a non-negotiable, but I thought it was worth raising.

      Is the plan to sell the childhood home? If so, how far would that money go on a new place? In some states/areas (like mine), renting costs about as much as a mortgage, so definitely think through the renting vs. buying thing.

      Choosing what state you want to be in can be exciting and overwhelming! Sounds like you have lots of choices, so just start making a list of what’s important to you. Does public transportation matter, or are you fine with driving everywhere? How about the schools – will you still be there when baby starts school in five years? Does it matter to you where the state/area tends to fall politically? (I’ve had trouble making friends in our new city because we have VERY different views on this from most of our neighbors.)

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        She’ll split time between us and her home in the home country. I know there are struggles and it’s not an ideal situation but…I just can’t abandon her. It’s not great but that’s my non-negotiable reality and we have to make do with it.

        It IS so overwhelming and exciting! One place I really liked when I visited was Vancouver, Washington. I loved it, the houses, the weather was comparable to NY and Canada was a nice drive away. But we wouldn’t be able to do our road trips to visit his family, which is a huge factor, so we narrowed it down to Eastern states.

        When husband or husband & I moved, we had very few factors to consider…. not so much so when it’s a family and used to a certain lifestyle. Like, I could not go back to living in a 1-bedroom taking public transit everywhere like I did in my 20s.

        I drive now (late learner) so that opens up so many more possibilities lol. We don’t plan to stay in the same place for 5 years, maybe 2 years max so hoping within that time I can work and we can save up to buy a home in a good school district. I’m very much more so concerned about finding work in my field but that’s a Friday post.

    4. Colette*

      One thing to keep in mind – it can take far longer than you’d think to adjust to living somewhere new. Give yourself at least 6 months to adjust.

    5. Carlottamousse*

      If you have any jobs lined up before you go, look into convenience of commute/public transportation. Also ease of access to local daycare if that’s something you’ll be looking at, schools, grocery stores, and local hospitals/medical plazas (I’ve heard babies have a lot of doctors’ appointments). Also possibly research local crime statistics for different neighborhoods and proximity to noisy areas (like airport & plane paths, etc.). Perhaps also look at proximity to local parks. Lots of things to think about, but it’s definitely exciting, if a bit daunting, to explore a new city and start fresh somewhere new.

    6. Roja*

      Take a look at the subreddits and citydata forum pages for the cities you’re considering. My husband and I picked a city and moved there this past year, and those sites were invaluable for hearing what things are really like in an area. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a city or an area, look for local facebook pages. Not every place has a thriving local group, but for those that do, they can be VERY helpful.

    7. Potatoes gonna potate*

      So another thing i forgot to consider is timing of this all.

      We won’t be ready to move until next March at the earliest. How soon in advance do we search? When we moved from one borough to another in 2009, I was looking 2-3 months in advance but we were moving from rent free home to an apartment. All renters wanted us there immediately so it was a little tricky.

    8. Stephanie*

      The job market, for sure. I live in your desired radius (Metro Detroit) and I wouldn’t say this is the easiest place to move without a job (a lot of the local economy is tied to how the auto industry is doing).

      What are housing vacancies like in the area? How easy is it to visit your family? For example, are there lots of direct flights or an easy enough drive? I lived in a mid-sized city for grad school and a layover was always involved (some people had less patience for this than others).

      12 hours from Toronto (especially if you’re considering the US) offers a lot of weather variation — do you want to avoid cold winters or hot summers?

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        So tdoay we were able to settle on a few specific neighborhoods. My husband is open to anything so I was doing the research on it. I talked to a friend today who moved to the area I’m looking at and she said it’s the best decision they ever made. The more she told me about it, the more I want to move there lol. It’s a 90 minute drive from where I currently am, so I could still take public transit if I had to for a job (or drive if it was within the state) and has everything else we would want nearby, short and long term.

        So when husband and I initially discussed it…I had brought up PNW as I liked it when I visited and I have family there. After discussing, we realized it didn’t work for us because a flight to Toronto would be 7+ hours and it was important that we be able to drive there in 10-12 hours. I wouldn’t really be able to visit any of my friends or family, even though I see them 2-3x a year, and West coast would add on an extra 6-8 hours flight time for my mom to travel to our home country where she would spend substantial time. So I think that wa a good place to start to narrow it down.

        So that was a good progress today I think, narrowing it down to the area. Now I just have to worry about being able to afford it, we’re looking at March and hopefully this shouldn’t affect my job search.

  39. Mimmy*

    Mask musings

    Everything is beginning to slowly reopen but continuing to adhere to social distancing and wearing masks in public is strongly encouraged. I have two (probably silly) questions about this.

    1. What if you’re eating out (many restaurants are allowing outdoor dining). How can you wear a mask and eat?

    2. What if you have to sneeze?

    Also, a bit of a gripe: I am a little hard of hearing so hearing people who are masked can be difficult. Also, I absolutely get all of the safety measures being taken, such as plexiglass at stores. But I cannot hear a thing from the masked store clerk behind that plexiglass. So PSA: If you’re a store clerk, please make an effort to speak up, especially if you have a soft voice.

    1. lazy intellectual*

      I’m not going out even if restaurants open until this whole thing is over. It’s just not worth it. Cases in my area is still increasing but we’ve already started opening up. The only thing I plan on doing once shelter in place is lifted is visiting some of my close by friends.

      1. tangerineRose*

        I’ve been sticking with curbside pickup and occasionally buying a u-bake pizza.

    2. fposte*

      1. If you’re eating, it’s expected you’ll remove or lower the mask. That’s why restaurants have been such a carefully considered venue–it’s a high risk for the servers.

      2. The mask absolutely stays on when you sneeze–that’s the exact thing it’s supposed to be keeping from getting out. Yeah, it’s not nice on the inside, but nobody else wants that on or in them either.

      The mask thing is a real problem for the hearing-impaired. There are some templates for masks that allow lips to be more visible by using clear plastic over the mouth portion, but they’re not as easy to make or find so they’re not likely to be in general use anytime soon. I think a lot of us, even if our hearing is average, are finding it harder to communicate with people wearing masks, so I think it would be fine for you to start by asking if they could speak loudly since you find it hard to understand masked people otherwise.

      1. Mimmy*

        2. The mask absolutely stays on when you sneeze–that’s the exact thing it’s supposed to be keeping from getting out. Yeah, it’s not nice on the inside, but nobody else wants that on or in them either.

        Ahh…right. Duh *slaps forehead*

    3. Nervous Nellie*

      Same here. I am not going anywhere near restaurants until I am vaccinated. But I do agree that masks have turned us all into mumblers. We must now speak slowly & clearly if we want to be understood.

      1. Jedi Squirrel*

        I’m with you. This thing is far from over, and all the states opening up are just going to make things worse. We have not seen the worst of this situation.

    4. I'm A Little Teapot*

      The bigger problem for me is I’ve realized that I’m having trouble breathing in the masks. I’m ok for a while, but then its a problem. The asthma isn’t helping. Basically, my company had better not be dumb and try to pull everyone back into the office while masks are still needed.

      1. Colette*

        I have asthma as well, and I’m OK up to a point … and that point is when I get out of the store/back to my car. I don’t know whether it’s the asthma if it’s psychological. But I can’t take the mask off soon enough.

        1. Jdc*

          I have about 20 mins before I have to panic run out of a store and tear it off. Panic attacks every time I have to go out. I’m so annoyed with it.

          1. Colette*

            It’s not that severe for me – I can make it through whatever I was doing in the store – but as soon as I’m outside it has to come off immediately- I can’t wait until I’ve put my purchase in the car or done anything else.

    5. AthenaX*

      2. You have to sneeze with the mask on; basically the whole point of the mask is to prevent the virus from spreading through aerosols, which is what a sneeze is comprised of. It feels gross and wrong to sneeze into a mask on your face, but you have to keep the mask in place when you sneeze in public. The rest of us thank you :)

    6. LGC*

      1) You don’t! If I remember, in China and Korea, they give you bags to put your mask in while you eat.
      2) You…sneeze? I’ve just tried to act like I had to sneeze pre-plague – I’ll still put my elbow over my face.

      And yeah, it’s rough. I’m soft-spoken myself, so it’s a pain in the behind for me to talk! Honestly, I try to avoid speaking as much as possible when I’m out in public because of it.

    7. Mimmy*

      Ahh of course you have to keep your mouth and nose covered when you sneeze. Yup, that’s the point of the mask.

      Oyyyy I promise y’all I didn’t mean to be thoughtless *facepalm*

      Thanks to everyone for the info and to All The Single Ladies for the link!

    8. Please Exit Through The Rear Door*

      Thank you for asking the sneeze question. I’ve been worrying about what happens if I sneeze in public for weeks, now that it’s allergy season for me and I’m an allergy sufferer. Even with my mask on, when I felt a sneeze coming on in the grocery store a few weeks ago, I ran out of the store and nearly had a panic attack because I was worried I was going to incite a riot. I’m glad to hear that’s probably an irrational fear.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        Last week, I happened to sneeze in a queue to pay for something. Everyone had their masks on, but I still got filthy looks and a “You need to respect the distance”. (I was)

        Sneezes aren’t always something you can control, especially not with a mask on.

  40. All the Single Ladies*

    My boyfriend broke up with me this week, and that’s been a little rough. I thought of our relationship as a long term thing and he clearly did not. I realize that I will get through this but right now it feels like I will never find someone else I click with. It doesn’t help that I live in an area where many people get married straight out of school. So sometimes I feel behind even though I don’t want to be married at this exact point in time.

    Anyone have any stories of meeting a significant other after there mid-twenties they’d be willing to share? Or benefits of being single I’ve forgot about?

    1. Aza*

      I’m not sure if this is old enough for you, but I met my husband when I was 27. I hadn’t been in really serious relationships before then- some casual dating and a few relationships where the dude led me on or didn’t want anything serious.

      After deciding not to keep seeing one of the leading on dudes, I decided to try online dating. I had this rule for myself that I’d keep going with a person until there was some sort of deal breaker. I decided to be more open than I had in the past. My husband’s profile wasn’t great, the writing/interests he posted weren’t compelling. His pics weren’t great- he had a crappy haircut. We messaged and I wasn’t enthused. But after we started talking on the phone and then actually met, I was like, oh this guy is cool, even though he has a bad haircut.

      Fast forward to 10 years later, we’re married with a kid. He got a different haircut :)

    2. MMB*

      You aren’t alone. I promise. I met my husband when I was 45 and he was 57. Neither of us had been married before and honestly getting married wasn’t even something either of us had ever been seriously interested in! I know you’re hurting right now and I hope you’ll use this time to pamper yourself a little bit while you grieve your loss.

    3. musician*

      I suddenly became single at 33 when a long-term long-distance relationship ended, and was pretty nervous about not having dated in years, let alone much at all. I then ended up with my current boyfriend (who is “the One”) within two months, after meeting through work (we’re both musicians, so there’s not really the workplace dating stigma) without having used any dating apps or intentionally tried to meet anyone at all. I know I got super lucky, but for me the “he’ll show up when you are least expecting” adage was true.

    4. Anon5775*

      I met my boyfriend when I was 38. I’m 45 now and I don’t know if we’ll ever marry but we did meet later in life, so it’s totally possible! Sending you good vibes!

    5. Queer Earthling*

      Not precisely what you’re asking, but possibly relevant: I literally never dated until I was 24. No high school dates, no college sweetheart, no random one night stands from the bar, nothing. Then I fell head over heels for the person who is now my spouse. Some of this is admittedly due to trauma and some neurodiversity & mental health issues, but there was also a lot of, “I like being single, so I’m not going to get involved with someone unless I like them *better* than being single.”

      I lived alone prior to moving in with them, and at the time I loved it. I liked the ability to eat what I wanted, when I wanted; to go out for a movie by myself; to play whatever music I wanted or watch whatever TV show; to not have to consult anyone else if I planned to hang out with friends after work; to hop on a bus and explore a strange part of the city with no one waiting for me. There were a lot of things that are just harder to do with a partner, not because they’re controlling or whatever but because of logistics and stuff!

      It also means that I was able to be a better partner when it got to that point, because I had a better sense of myself than I think I would have otherwise.

    6. Filosofickle*

      My partner and I met in our mid-40s — that might sound depressing, 20 years from the place you’re at, but it’s not to me. Three years in, our relationship is more than I ever thought possible.

      My 30s were great! I dated when I wanted to (which, honestly, wasn’t that often). Built a good life. Went to graduate school and pivoted my career. Gained a ton of self-awareness and self-acceptance. I guess what I’m saying is, I’m only capable of loving and loving so much because it took so long to find him and I went through all that.

      1. Filosofickle*

        s/b “loving and being loved so much”
        my brain and my fingers are not operating at the same speed today

    7. Generic Name*

      I met my fiancé when I was 38. I’m divorced and he’s never been married. Please don’t think of yourself as “too old” to find love, no matter what your age is.

    8. Call me St. Vincent*

      My ex-boyfriend of almost 5 years who I definitely thought I was going to marry broke up with me completely out of the blue and I was devastated. We hadn’t had a fight or anything. He just decided it was over. I thought my life was over. I decided to take some “me” time and just become happy with myself. One year later I met my husband! Now looking back, my ex breaking up with me was the best thing that ever happened to me!

    9. Policy wonk*

      Met my husband in my early 30s, we have 3 kids. You have plenty of time. The key is to go out and do things (when Covid-19 lets us) so that you have opportunities to meet people. As one gets older it’s harder – not like in school years when meeting new people is built in. And enjoy being single. Do things you like when you want! I loved visiting museums on Saturday mornings and going to book talks at a place near me. I love my life now (moreso pre-covid) but wish I had the time to do those things.

      The key: don’t put your life on hold waiting for the perfect mate. Enjoy the life you have now. But keep your eyes open to the possibilities.

    10. Rewis*

      I know it may not feel like it at the moment but mid-20’s is still young. I think the average age when people meet their spouse is 25 for women and 28 for men. So there are plenty of people who meet after their 20’s (and adding second marriages, I’d say its even more common). Age and meeting someone is not somehting you have to worry at this time. Also, being single is awesome. Relationship is only worth it if it adds something positive to your life.

    11. Generic Name 2*

      I am a dinosaur. I met my husband through the “woman seeking man” classifieds of our local paper (that just tells you how long ago it was). I was 33 at the time. Neither of us had previously been married or engaged.
      We are still married and have a great marriage. It just goes to show that the Time Magazine old story about women over 30 having only a 5% chance of ever getting married was bunk – – if you are willing to wait to get married until you find the person who is a great match for you, your marriage will be better and you will have a much happier life. {But I will say that in the meantime being single and not dating much until your 30s kind of sucks.}

    12. Not So NewReader*

      I had friends who were both in their 70s. They had each lost their previous spouse. They found each other and stayed together until one passed well into his 80s.
      The opportunity to find love is always there. It never ends.

      As far as “being behind” yet conflictingly not wanting to be married, this is okay, I think you know that on some level. We only compare ourselves to our friends when they appear to have more or have better. Notice I say “appear”. Friends with a great income and a $1M house are now getting divorced. I would not want to be in their shoes for even a second. Their savings is shot, their income is gone and their lives are upside down from what I have seen right along. There is no repairing all this damage and they are gutted.

      Play the cards you do have to the best of your ability. Maximize opportunities that come up. I think this will help to counter-balance the feelings of “being behind” because you will be developing other things for yourself. Time used wisely and all that. But above all, hold out for the type of person you want as a life partner. Commit to getting yourself the best person you can find and putting some time in to doing that.

      I was widowed just before my 46 birthday. I am not saying this to make you feel sad. I want to tell you that a whole new chapter in my life opened up. I chose to remain single for the time being. My life is so very different from what it was when I was married. I decided I wanted to be a smiling person who went out there and did things. So I started right away. It was painful as I had to find a new life rhythm. I learned to say yes more often when people invited me somewhere. If someone wanted me to join a group, I’d put in the effort to check out the group. In some cases I joined the group. Although I went carefully choosing one thing at a time, I never stopped looking around and picking things. I have added so many friends to my life and I have done activities that I never would have done if I were still married.
      While not the same as what others are doing, life is good. Each chapter in our lives brings something that the previous chapters did not have. Expect it and look for it.

    13. Bluebell*

      Back when I was 28, a friend of mine joined a dating service and convinced me after 6 months to join it as well. I never met the first match up in person, but after about 3 dates with guy #2 I realized that I would be happy to marry him. We got engaged after about 3 months, and married a year after that. This January was our 24th anniversary.

    14. Jdc*

      Met mine at 35 and I had become quite happy being single. My now husband did a lot of wooing the get me to even consider dating him as I wasn’t interested in anyone. I’m sure glad I did although will probably be a bit note glad post quarantine ha

      1. Not a cat*

        54. I never met the one. Never will, as I haven’t had a date in 10 years. My last relationship was when I was in my late 30s. Where I live, all the age-appropriate guys are married or with partners in their 30s. I’ve learned to be OK with it. You’ll be fine. I promise.

    15. matcha123*

      Dude, I didn’t even get my first ‘official’ boyfriend until 26. I didn’t date in high school or college, not because I wasn’t open to it, but because I was really only ever approached by weird, older men. And dating anyone even 5 years older is something that honestly makes me ill at the though of.

      I could have taken the easy route and dated men who I knew I wasn’t compatible with just to stay I had a boyfriend, but what good is that? Being single isn’t some kind of curse. Having a boyfriend or a husband doesn’t make you worth more than anyone else. Of course it’s lovely to be with someone you like and who understands you, but there are so many people with SO’s that don’t care about them. I’ve experienced that. It is so depressing and lonely to have a boyfriend that makes no effort and doesn’t seem to love you at all. When I experienced that, I realized that being single offers more freedom. I don’t need to feel tied to someone who doesn’t care about my well-being, even when I invest time in theirs.

      It sounds like you live in a really small, close-minded town if everyone is getting married straight out of college and they are putting marriage on this weird pedestal.

    16. Arya Parya*

      My SO and I just celebrated out 5 year anniversary. I am 36. My only other serious relationship lasted from when I was 21 until I was 24.

      I always loved being single. I would probably be fine being single even now during the pandemic. I still sometimes miss the alone time, not having to take anyone into account when making decisions. Because of that I’ve always been very picky about who I date.

    17. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      I had a couple of boyfriends in high school, then nothing but a few unsatisfying dates all through college, working for a few years, then going to grad school for an MA – over ten years. In fact one of the things I wrote on my pros/cons list when I was trying to decide whether to come to the UK for my PhD was “American accent might get me laid”. I came here a month before my 30th birthday, and met the guy who is now my husband on the very first day (so I guess the accent thing was true, LOL). That was 15 years ago.

    18. Jemima Bond*

      Out of all my friends I can think of precisely two who met their OH (now husband/wife/parent of their children in most cases) before they were 25. Several met their beloved after 30. I met mine when I was 35 and he was 45. Don’t sweat it! It must be hard surrounded by childhood sweethearts but that’s not really the norm across the board in western culture these days. Remember, it’s not a race, and others being married etc does not “use up all the marriage” and leave less for you :-D I’ve had to tell myself this quite a bit in the past so i feel ya!

    19. Clisby*

      I was 40 and my now-husband was 36 when we met. (Neither of us had been married before – the idea of marriage had never particularly appealed to me.) We’ve been married almost 24 years now.

    20. Nynaeve*

      Benefits of being single: you don’t have to consult anyone’s inclination but your own when deciding what to do. No compromise, no dithering about “well, I don’t know, what do YOU want to eat/watch/do?” All those annoying habits and hobbies of your ex, his terrible taste in songs/movies? Gone from your life forever! You don’t have to pretend to care about things you’re indifferent to. On the other hand, any new hobbies/interests he’s added that you want to keep? He doesn’t have a monopoly on those. Consider them his parting gift.

      Honestly, I do get lonely sometimes, but 1) I got lonely sometimes even when I was in a relationship and 2) even so, you couldn’t give me enough money to get back together with most of my exes. Even the good ones, it would be more, “Eh, I guess I could make that trade-off” than “At last, my life is complete!!!”

      Make yourself a good breakup playlist (I typed mixtape, hahahaha, OLD), give yourself time to grieve, and start putting the pieces of your life back together. It sucks now, so let it suck, but I promise it won’t suck forever. (PS: I recommend “Changing of the Seasons” by Two Door Cinema Club. It’s a great breakup song.)

    21. Paralegal Part Deux*

      My sister met her husband at 30 (he was 31), and they’ve been married 9 years now. My mom was 27 when she married dad, and he was 33. Personally for me, I prefer being single, and I’ll be 42 in October. I like the autonomy of being single – doing whatever I want, whenever I want. I don’t want to sound patronizing, but you’re young yet and have a lifetime to find someone.

      There’s no timetable to find someone and get married, and I say this as someone from the South (and who was told at 18 that I was an old maid for not being married). It’s weird down here for people to not be married and have kids.

      Take a deep breath and realize that you’ll meet the right person when it’s time. Call it fate or whatever, but I firmly believe you meet the right people at the right time.

    22. Mindovermoneychick*

      At 23 broke up with the guy I’d been with since age 18. It was weird and hard at first. Then it got fun. (Which was good because I was very single for the next 5 years) I felt strong managing life on my own. I got much closer to my friends. then when I met my now hub at 29 I wished I could put him on hold for a few years and still be single

      My hub is awesome and we’ve had a great marriage for 20 years not but the first year of marriage was very hard for me. At least as hard as that first year of being single. I had really grown to love my independence.

      For me the biggest advantage of those 5 years was it cemented friendships that still last today. I’ve made new friends since marriage but the for me have never been of the same depth or intensity of those forged as a single adult, because I already have a primary person.

    23. allathian*

      I was 33 when I met my husband. We had a mostly long distance relationship at first, when I only saw him on weekends because he worked in another town. Then he got a transfer to our current city and we moved in together. I was 36 and we decided after less than 6 months that we enjoyed living together so much that we wanted to try and get me pregnant. Luckily I got pregnant very quickly, not something I was expecting at that age. At some point in my second trimester I just said that it would be nice to be married before the child is born, and he was like, OK, let’s call city hall tomorrow. In my country more than half of all firstborns are born to parents who are not married, and there’s no stigma attached to that, except in some religious circles and we don’t want anything to do with those. As long as the father acknowledges his child, inheritance rights etc. are not affected by the marital status of the parents. We got married in a small civil ceremony with me 8 months pregnant and just our immediate families attending. Perfect for us and we’re still happily married 11 years later. I was just so happy to have the perfect excuse to avoid a big wedding, which neither of us wanted.

    24. Gruntilda*

      A great friend grew up with similar expectations about getting married young and having children–never thought of having a career because she thought she’d be married–and she is in a serious relationship with someone she met after age 30. They are happy together but dunno if they’ll get married, that’s not the point anyway, the point is to have fun.

      I recommend Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries to you, she’s an older lady who can’t be bothered to “settle down” because she’s always off on an adventure!

  41. Parenthetically*

    Y’all. My last grocery order they subbed a bag of those little sweet mild peppers for the one red pepper I requested and they are CLOYINGLY sweet, like inedibly sweet. Any ideas what the heck I could do with them?!

    1. fposte*

      Ha. I love those, so I may therefore not be a great guide. But I really like stuffing them with grated cheese and nuking them until the cheese melts. I recommend a small bowl so you can stand them upright (thus keeping the cheese inside when it melts) and letting the cheese cool a little before you bite into them.

      1. Bibliovore*

        omg. this may be life-changing! I’ve got little peppers. I’ve got cheese! Hey, interest in food. win, win.

      2. Parenthetically*

        I would give them to you if I could! But I do like the idea of stuffing them with something very savory!

    2. BRR*

      In a breakfast hash or with eggs, could use some hot sauce in either room balance it out.

    3. HBJ*

      Honestly, when we have extras of those, I just sub them straight across for regular peppers. I never noticed that much of a difference in taste that it affects the recipe.

    4. Nicole76*

      My husband really likes roasting them in the oven with just a little olive oil and salt.

    5. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      You can use them as dippers – with hummus, ranch, guacamole, whatever kind of crudité you like. I use them as a healthier alternative to crackers or tortilla chips.

      I also agree cooked in a recipe they will be indistinguishable from a regular bell pepper.

      1. Parenthetically*


        I actually have a bunch of random veggies from our Misfits box that might be great pickled!

    6. Courageous cat*

      If it’s those little hot sweet peppers I’m thinking of, I like to put some feta inside them and eat.

      1. Parenthetically*

        I WISH they were hot and sweet! They’re just sweet. Sugary, sickeningly sweet.

    7. Traffic_Spiral*

      Dip them in hummus; stuff them with cheese, sausages, lentils-and-onions, or some combo of that, and roast them; roast them with olive oil, salt, and pepper and eat them plain or make a dip of them; chop them into a stirfry or hash, or make a goulash-type thing (maybe with some paprika),

    8. Not A Manager*

      If they’re really that sweet, don’t fight it. I would slice them up and saute them with some sliced onion, and season them with salt and pepper, a bit of apple cider vinegar, thyme or some other herb, and maybe a pinch of brown sugar. At that point you can taste it and see if you want to add some raisins or currents, or maybe some chopped nuts. Or maybe it wants something like brined green olives or capers.

      I’d be aiming for a tapenade/chutney kind of thing. Then serve it on toast or crackers with some goat cheese or feta.

      1. Parenthetically*